"I always feel like somebody's watching me..." Rockwell
The corvette stood just inside the Oort cloud, and he realized that they had yet one light year to go, but he found it very odd that this cloud could be caught in a solar grip like that. He could only think that, because they were so light, the very fain hint of the star's gravitational field was what kept them there. He decided at that point to get closer before launching the probes, and warped into the edge of the planetary field. It was there he also noticed another field of potential comets in a belt, and he knew they definitely were held in place by the yellow dwarf. It was here that he launched the probes. They arched over the belts and skimmed along what looked like the planetary orbital plane. The first thing the probes ran into was two small objects that had a planetary shape. The one that was about 750 miles in diameter was obviously big enough for its own gravitational field to make it round. It was not a comet, nor was it an asteroid, and if it was a very small planet, its atmosphere was frozen to the surface being so far from its host star. However, the smaller one confused him, because it was only 250 miles in diameter, but it was round. Normally, objects that small cannot form like that, and the way the two orbited each other around a central point, he had to conclude that they were a double planet, the smaller having come out of the larger when they formed. Yet, despite the miniscule size, there seemed to be asmall installation on the surface, so the probes did what they could to stay out of detection range. The cameras, however, did detect a small military outpost there, and what looked like a mansion inside a large, clear dome. The constitution of it was a crystallized form of steel-a transparent steel, if you prefer. However, locked in the dual orbit of the two objects was what looked like a space shipyard, and there looked to be a small flotilla just nearing completion. The probes moved on before they invited something that the captain knew they could not defeat.
The probes then ran into a planet that looked to be about ten times as big as their home world. They scanned it, and they realized that it was all gas, with some liquid methane, and a core, nothing more, along with some faint debris rings around it. However, there were several satellites orbiting this blue, stormy giant, the largest being about 1,700 miles in diameter, and it possessed a very thick atmosphere. He found it interesting that it orbited in the opposite direction than its host planet, as well as rotated that way. The probe went to its maximum to scan through the cloud layer, and it discovered that, though the surface was still cold, it was not uninhabitable. In fact, it had the markings of having been altered to be able to hold life, considering the distance to its host star. As the probe approached, they then understood why. In orbit around the gas giant was a pair of gigantic mirrors that were designed to gather, concentrate, and then reflect both the direct starlight from its host down to the heavy cloud layer, and also the reflected light from its host planet. Despite the efforts, the surface looked like it never got above sub-artic at the equator and in the lower temperate zones. In that area was discovered a large area of civilization, a military post, and again, another large mansion under a clear dome of the same material. Another spaceport was found, and this time, with a completed flotilla. The probes were then wisely sent on.
They next came to another gas giant-green in color-and very odd for a planet. Its axis pointed directly at the star, and it spun on its side. All its moons spun that way as well. They knew it was on its side due to the more notable, but still faint, field of eleven rings about the planet. Its largest moon was a class D world, all rocky and with no atmosphere. However, there was anotable installation there, as well as the same mansion set. This made the captain quite curious. He wondered if this was some kind of royal or presidential palace for the system's leader to live from time to time, or if it was a part of some family thing. He knew that this would warrant more investigation later on down the road. Again, another common thing was the flotilla that seemed to be common in those two other worlds. So far, he counted about six large ships either finished or still under construction, and several smaller ships. Already, that was sizeable, but not unbeatable. However, he also wondered if this was also going to be a common theme.
The probes then reached the orbit of a huge gas giant, very colorful, and with notable debris rings. It was a beautiful sight, but what amazed the captain was the number of moons this world had. It was almost as if it was a star in its own right and had a separate system. It was then that he was able to first detect the fourth gas giant that he would next visit, and he realized that these four worlds, if they had formed together, may have formed a small star themselves-probably a blue dwarf-something that was not uncommon in the galaxy. To have stars like this that form solo were rare, and systems like this even more rare, because a binary system's tidal pull would have ripped any planets apart before they could form. This world had a large moon about 3,400 miles in diameter, and it thrived with life. It was blue-green with land and oceans, a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, and he noted that, by the way things looked, that it too was altered to have such life upon it. They also had the large mirror rig, but not as prominent due to the closeness to the star it had versus the other. He also noted how there seemed to be several places on the moon's surface that seemed to tap into its crust, and by further scans, the captain noted that the place was rigged for geothermal technology to power things, and to warm the moon to temperate and livable conditions. Again, the pattern was also reasserted, and the probes moved on.
The next one was huge-about 300 or more times the size of his home world. There were two large moons there as well, one quite tectonically violent, and the larger was also a thriving world. By the scans, the captain realized that this had once been a class D world, but there had been some major planet forming done to it. The only reason he could think that the first objects he ran into with the mansions and bases were not so formed was because of the distance from the star from where they sat. The one around the blue giant was only barely habitable with the aid of the mirrors. This one, however, was close enough to where it could be like the large one around the previous giant. It too had the mirror rig to aid it, as well as the geothermal helps. This was also the first of two worlds, (the other being around the ringed planet,)that had a sizable population. This gas giant definitely looked like a star that never ignited, with many violent storms, dominated by the large red one on the southern hemisphere that stood out like an eye. He also noted that, to ether side of the giant, and sharing its orbit, were large patches of asteroids. In addition to the fleet, there also seemed to be several installations upon the largest of the asteroids in either field. This was in addition to the flotilla there, and due to the heavy military presence there, he got the probes out quickly before they were detected.
The probes then detected the massive asteroid belt that orbited where a planet logically should have been, and the captain could only figure that they were parts of a planet that just never came together. Even then, the world would have been no bigger than one of the satellites that he had already encountered. It was not such a field that they were thick enough to walk across, but there were enough that he had to keep his eyes peeled for a random rock coming out of nowhere to take out the probes. However, on the four largest, there were contained installations, but no flotilla. Instead were acouple of escort ships, and a slough of transports. He also noted that there were several fighters circling around the largest, and upon closer observation, they looked like they were doing training runs. There was a notable facility there for fighters, and it seemed that this must have been the home of their fighter wings. This would have to be noted. He noted by the observations of the squadrons there that the fighters were very good at what they did, and that would have to be countered during the invasion. With that, the probes moved on.
He soon came to a world one half the size of his home world, and it too was ablue-green habitable world. It too also had the marks of world shaping, and it was the first world that had a very sizeable civilization on it. It only had two natural satellites, and both were no more than captured asteroids. The probe then searched for the common mark of royal residence and flotilla, but this flotilla was floating in the water near one of the largest ports. This interested him, considering that his fleet had no space faring vessels that could land on a planet's surface. If it came to it, that would have to be something the Gnarl would have to consider if these creatures were ever able to mount a counteroffensive. There were also more military instillations, and this gave the captain the first hint that he was approaching the nerve center of things. He noted that the next planet was on the other side of the star, so he sent them to the next world in hopes to swing around and find it.
The next world was almost the same size as his world, blue-green and much inhabited, and it was a tropical paradise. Along with the common pattern, (as well as the flotilla on the surface instead of others in orbit,) there were also several amusement parks and what looked like resorts all over the two massive continents on the planet's surface. Indeed, this must have been the tourist site of the system, and he noted that the inhabitants seemed to wear very colorful clothes, flowery in print, and they were all very tan. In scanning them, he would later analyze the main sentient form of life to see what they were all about. In contrast to this was the world closest to the star, which was an incredibly hot and barren rock. It was about the same size as one of the moons that were inhabited, but there only seemed to be a lonely outpost and flotilla, as well as mansion. However, the dome around it was quite tinted for obvious reasons. He could only think that it was more out of need than want that anyone would be there. As he passed the massive fusion reactor that is a star, he finally came to the last planet, which was third in line to the last two, and this one was interesting. It looked like the fourth and second planets, but it also looked like it became this way rather than it being shaped and formed this way. Its satellite, however, did look like that it was, and it was interesting the size of the satellite. Proportionally speaking, it was the largest satellite to circle one of these planets compared to its host planet. Here, the flotilla was in a port by a large subcontinent island that had an animal-like shape to it. It was the most populated of the worlds that the probes had found. The city by which the flotilla was moored was huge. It was very modern with technology on par with their own, and by the massive crystalline tower in the middle of it, this had to be the capitol. This was confirmed by the most massive of the palaces he had yet encountered by the probes, and it sat under a large crystal encasement. A similar mansion rested on the satellite, and he knew this had to be the home world. With a few exceptions, the inhabitants all seemed to have the same hair, skin color and complexion. (Do remember that five hundred years have passed on a united Earth, and by this point, with the exception of genetic throwbacks, the people of the Earth would have interbred to the point of unifying the human race into one appearance, save the exceptions, and the royalty.) He now had enough to go over for some time, and he was excited at all he had found. What concerned him was the size of the fleet they had. Each world had its own flotilla, each one with what looked like a battleship of some kind, a carrier, and many different kinds of fighting craft. They appeared to be a formidable foe indeed, and thus he would have to analyze things to find a weakness, or find out if he had to come back for more information. The probes were then sent into the star, and the corvette headed home.
Back at Jupiter, when the probes were there, one of the scanners went off, saying that it had detected something. One of the members of the science wing came up to look at the data, and found the scan odd. He then began to try to get a fix on them, but by the time he did, the objects were gone. He then went over the data, and tried to get a good look at them. The best images were blurry at best, (considering how small the probes were,) and they looked no more than common weather satellites around Ganymede. Yet, the sailor there said that they were not there before, and then appeared. Indeed, that was odd, but considering how much stuff was floating around the solar system by that point it could have been anything. He dismissed it, but did note it in his log. He would have to send this to Princess Admiral Mercury to see what she could make of it. It was not much, but did warrant a touch of investigation.
Back on earth, the royal couple were outside on their balcony, looking up to the now terraformed Moon in the sky, and she always liked how the largest ocean on the moon still kept to the rabbit shape that people had seen there for millennia. Instead of being gray, it was blue and pretty. "Isn't it beautiful?" asked Serenity, "I cannot believe that this was once how the moon looked, and how we got it to look that way again."
"We indeed have come a long way from the Cataclysm," said Endymion, "Yet, what surprises me is how we all get to see it forever."
"Do you ever get bored of this?" she then asked.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, we'll never die, unless our bodies are vaporized beyond repair. Do you think that we will get like some people have said when people find immortality? They say that we should get so bored, we would almost desire death."
"Then we have to always keep our lives interesting. With ruling a whole solar system, and you being a part of the Navy as well as being the queen, you have awhole galaxy to explore. I believe we are what we are at the right time. Icould say that I would have gotten that way had we become this way any other time."
She looked up into his eyes dreamily, and she said, "I could not imagine an eternity without you."
They then slowly embraced and kissed a passionate kiss, to which she said when they came up for air, "You can to that to me forever if you like, milord."
He smiled and said, "Indeed, I will."
They kissed again and snuggled closer, and as they separated, she looked up in time enough to see two streaks in the sky that zipped by and vanished. "Oh, look: two shooting stars-one for the each of us! Let's make a wish!"
"I already have mine," he said with a smile as he scooped her up and headed for the royal bedchamber. If she only knew what it was that she saw. As they went, she suddenly had an odd feeling, and she said, "Funny: you ever get the sensation that someone was watching you?"
"How's that not normal? We all get that way from time to time."
"I don't know. I feel so exposed."
"You probably feel the anticipation of that," he said with a knowing a look in his eye.
She dismissed the feeling and giggled. It was going to be a good night, and she hoped that her wish of peace forever would indeed rest on the stars she saw.