One of the most extremely rare and beautiful wonders of nature had suddenly appeared. It had thrilled in satisfaction at something and then hissed in alarm at a flashing intruder alarm. Alec panicked and started killing automated intruder alarms as fast as he could. The delicate creature was precious gift of creation. It’s entire race was considered the first wonder of nature in all the known universe. It’s natural ability to teleport had defied science since it’s discovery back before the golden age of exploration. Research on there forefathers had gave rise to faster than light travel on a large scale.
It was a small delicate green Fire lizard from Pern.
It flicked in and out of existence here and there around the station. Alec piped the feed to Alice, Alice forced it on to every screen in range. The import of its appearance was lost on no one.
It was presently scolding a couple of stunned sanitary engineers on board Alec. It suddenly disappeared. He worried that that he had missed his only chance. Alec quickly adjusted the lights to mimic the sun called Rukbat. Alec turned on happy, heart warming music and waited anxiously. Then a few moments later it was back. This time in the bar called “Alec’s Can”, it had appeared again, it looked around indecisively chirped then disappeared. Then it reappeared with several more fire lizards. Blues, greens and browns. They started appearing in odd places all over the station. Exploring. Searching for something.
Alice and Alec had acted immediately to declare them a very protected species with special rights. Anyone who saw one was to freeze and think kind welcome thoughts until the timid telepathic creatures left the area. There was a blatant outright threat added to enforce the declaration. If anyone harmed one, if anyone attempted to harm one, if anyone conspired to harm one, Tiamat would be encouraged to “indulge herself” in regards to the offending person/persons responsible.
Finally two of them found a window and spotted Alice in the distance, she was strobing her lights in the natural colors fire lizards come in. When Alice started picking up firelizards on her sensors popping in and out of existence. She called an all stop to all crews and inform them she was busy with VIP’s from Pern.
They appeared like wisps, just a few at first. Then the color bronze flashed in and out here and there. Then a gold streak appeared at very high velocity and shot though a hanger at high speed. Suddenly hundreds of Fire lizards were searching in a spreading pattern with a purpose in mind. Alice started turning on all the lights. Everywhere.
The Fire lizards could be a bit annoying at times but they often acted as scouts for there bigger cousins. Alice hoped they still lived more than anything else. Those creatures were large, beautiful, intelligent, sensitive, telepathic and emphatic. And there ability to teleport or communicate almost instantly over incredulity long distances made them extremely useful creatures. Rumor had it that they even had the ability to physically jump time itself at will. The rumor was based on confirmed reports of them and there riders appearing in multiple places at the same time on several occasions during several planetary emergencys. They were very circumspect about it but had exposed themselves in order to save many lives.
Alice started an emergency overhaul of a habitat that had belonged to a race of rich desert dwellers that were now extinct.
She opened a bunch of doors and guided the firelizards to find the right habitat with the colored lights and sounds. One came through the last corridor into the huge habitat. Hundreds of the fire lizards appeared and suddenly started to swoop and dive though the huge rooms and great halls that the claustrophobic race had required. Alice put the picture of a large analog clock on one long wall along with distinct geometric shapes, colors and lines ment to aid navigation. Almost immediately the small precious golden queen stopped and hovered, shifting mutely until she liked the spot. She disappeared without a peep.
A huge bronze dragon appeared almost instantly in its place. It hovered majestically and set down heavily. Alice saw signs of great fatigue and weariness. Those incredible eyes gazed around in mild curiosity. She felt humbled by the honor of a visit from what in her opinion was the single greatest race ever made.
Alice was looking closely at one of the legendary Dragonriders of Pern closely for the first time. She felt small somehow on meeting a true living Legend. Alice was struck by the sheer nobel gentle beauty of the great bronze dragon.
The rider slowly unbuckled his riding straps and dismounted painfully, tiredly. The small golden queen fire lizard was perched on his shoulder. She was screaming with an imperious voice at the flights of lizards that were swooping around the habitat. She was obviously giving orders the other fire lizards.
The wall nearest them lit up and Alice’s avatar appeared in 2 D and offered a very humble greeting to the noble beast. It’s eyes looked at the holographic person with mild interest. Alice knew they had a very good reason not to trust A.I.’s. And she totally agreed.
Her desire to be of service had her very humble in the knowledge that they valued things she could only guess at. The rider completely ignored her image at first and wearily kneeled down, knees popping, back creaking alarmingly to inspect the barely lukewarm sand. His face twisted in disgust as he threw the handful of cool sand down angrily. He stood back up quickly.
Alice reacted fast and flash heated a huge volume of air. The heating coils went full on. She checked and then cranked the lights way up.
A sudden blast of superheated air hit the big dragon full broadside making a momentary sand storm, it suddenly it reduced to a light hot breeze. The great beast unfurled his tightly tucked wings and then arched his back cooning in pleasure as the lights suddenly doubled then tripled there infrared output. The air was dry at first but she piped some steam in to help with heating and she injected some of that into the air to keep the dragons delicate hide from drying out. Panels high up on the walls made sounds. They moved to make openings that the dragons could use to access the apartments they could now use as weirs
She had the riders full attention now, so Alice began apologizing profusely for the sands dreadfully cold temperature and assured them both that this was a “fully” climate controlled habitat. She admitted that the short notice had left her unprepared. She also guaranteed that in a few hours the sand would be as hot as any hatching ground. She then displayed several different sand options and then inquired as to there preference in grain size, color and temperature range.
Sounds of forced heat expansion confirmed her claim. Alice had slammed open all the doors and turned up the lights like high noon at karoon. The small fire lizards swooped through the whole habitat on a mission to inspect it for adequate living space. Alice was keenly aware of the fact all those lizards looked to owners back on Pern. Owners who had to make serious decisions for a lot of other people.
Alice showed video feeds from four other identical habitats. The walls had distinctive markings unique to each one with a large easy to read analog military style clock. She told the dragonrider that she had five habitats just like this one that were being modified to house the people of Pern. The peoples of Pern could have them all. And any other space they should need. For as long as they had a need.
Firelizards appeared in the live views and continued there inspections.
The tall thin humanoid looked at his bondmate as they consulted with each other using telepathy. Alice waited. She had to, she had no choice. There was no known way to tap a dragon/rider link and no way to block it short of death.
Many of todays technologys that made space travel possible was derived from the horrible experiments conducted on the ancestors of these dragons and those lizards in ages long past. Including technology like communications and almost all faster than light drive theorys came from that terrible dark time so long ago.
The rider looked at the queen on his shoulder and she launched into the air. She paused to lock the shapes and the clock on the wall in her mind then she disappeared. The swooping firelizards suddenly disappeared in mass.
The deep soothing voice of the bronze dragon entered her mind from nowhere and gently informed her that almost there whole planets population was coming. Coming in a series of jumps from the future to escape the enemy with the evil dark minds from the distant past.
There home planet Pern was on the far side of the galaxy and clear out on the tip of a long arm. It was a long jump for anyone with a ship. But for organic beings of flesh and blood to archive it, with just there minds alone, that what so many races had failed to archive
with technology. That was what made them a true wonder. They didn’t even use space suits.
A flight of bronze dragons appeared loaded with cargo and the bronze on the ground trumpeted a greeting to them. Flights of dragons suddenly appeared grouped by colors bronze brown blue and green. They dumped there cargo loads and disappeared.
Baskets of precious Firelizard eggs were set down with care as queen firelizards fussed with imperious voices at there larger cousins. A flight of queen dragons blinked into the great hall loaded with so many passengers that they were barely able to fly. The people ran to clear the space for the next wing to land.
The walls were color coded and the different flights of dragons from different wiers figured out which was there new home. How this was done she didn’t know. There was some confusion as to what to do. The trouble was that a lot more people were showing up. Alice had identified almost twenty thousand dragons and each was making repeat trips back to Pern for passengers.
The confusion didn’t last long because a woman named Marta started issuing orders before her feet hit the ground. Alice amplified her voice so that no one missed her orders.
Alice had also heated the level directly below each habitation, that level was for the service conduits but the light-sensitive watch-wier’s would make good use of the ill lit labyrinth of tunnels.
She fired up everything within two hundred miles heat lights and services.
The dragon-kin asked about plants and animals. Alice showed a view of the almost empty hydroponic gardens and the vast warren of empty feed lots. She had feed for stock just no real stock.
The botanical crews were surprised to see Fuzzy Minions coming though there feeble garden. Fuzzy Minions were not big on veggies.
But the sight of ten golden dragons suddenly appearing and landing almost hospitalized a few of them.
The head botanist clapped joyfully and hugged her best friend with tears in her eyes. She understood that in the dragons ability to teleport was the secret to salvation for the food poor fleet.
A pile of Alice’s minions finally arrived in the Pernese habitat by spilling out of a small express elevator. The dragons barely noticed them at first.
They started escorting the new tenants to there temporary rooms. Alice assured Marta that the best spots were being saved for the dragonriders. And she would be consulted before anything was made permanent.
All five habitats like this one were quickly heating up as she shoved any heat she could find at them.
This was a race of devoutly peaceful beings. They avoided all conflict because it upset the there dragon friends. And to the peoples of Pern the dragons were everything. The fact they trusted Alice with the lives of all there members was something that Alice considered her greatest honor of all time.
The powerful combined minds of so many Pernese dragons would guard against any surprise attack. There ability to send messages backwards and forwards in time was well documented. This was the first time that they had let out the truth of there true abilities with time travel.
It was literally impossible to truly surprise a pernese dragon now days. The dragons would simply contact an earlier version of themselves if a threat showed up. That way they were always ready when trouble came.
The two peaceful races made a powerful allegiance that would benefit the company greatly.
“Angel of ark” sent a formal welcome and greeting. Along with a pledge of aid should “any” need arise. And assurances that no need was too small. As did almost every ship out there.
There reputation for fairness and kindness was known thoughout the galaxy. There ability to teleport had ment medicine when disease struck, to captains it ment rescue when lifesupport failed. And to many races it had ment salvation when disaster loomed. To an ambassador it ment being there in time to make a real difference.
After three trips the dragons finally paused for a break to rest. Alice was glad she hadn’t killed the herdbeasts. She had two hundred fifty thousand head onboard. She had almost destroyed them to save the hassle. But the dragons were worried about food until a video feed showing the large herd appeared. The dragons then went home and gorged themselves on there home herds. Saving the best for breeding stock.
They spent several days packing items and people and saying goodbye. Then they grabbed the last of the cargo and breeding stocks of important native plants and animals and left for the last time.
On a remote western island of Pern.
A large brown dragon set down a heavy box on the ground. They had chosen there favorite beach, it was sunset. They were very old. The cancer that ravaged his riders guts was found to be unstoppable. So they had volunteered to make sure the dark souls from before don’t triumph on Pern. To guarantee that Pern was free to the end of her days.
Alice had made this package with extreme care. It was in her opinion the most important bomb she had ever made. One of a kind. It was considered too gentle for use in war. But she had the plans and had used the devise twice before for mercy killings involving whole planets. To painlessly exterminate whole races.
Alice was good to her word, they felt nothing, nor did the hundreds of sick and elderly dragons and riders that had been unable to make the trip nor the tens of thousands of people that couldn’t make the transition to space. They could not bear life without there beautiful Pern.
It whiped all higher brain functions first then shattered the whole planet.
The telepathic dragons could not be guarded against there loss. All Alice could do was make it quick and silent.
The minds of those left behind disappeared and through out the fleet every being with the soul except those of Tiamat and the Outsiders, collapsed in the wave of grief that Alice had ordered the dragons not to contain.
They shared it.
All the organic beings where adversely affected. The doctors had been warned and they had injected mood elevators into the lifesupport systems to prepare and the dosages had went to the redline as the bomb had detonated. There were a few suicides as distraught beings lost themselves in the wave of the dragons grief. No one blew any drive cores so it wasn’t to bad. Those had been locked down for safety.
The wild Fire lizards found an unexpected relationship in the Fuzzy Minions. The Fuzzy Minions were just small enough and light enough to ride the small fire lizards in flight. But it took over six weeks for a Fuzzy Minion to befriend a fire lizard.
The proud rider had popped into Dan-no’s office and landed on the counter. He had dismounted right in front of Dan-no and looked at him with bloodshot eyes surrounded by burnt hair. His hand where wrapped in rags to defend his small fingers from the brutal cold of between. He smelt of burnt fur, fear and Pernese firestone.
Two windswept trails of snot were pasting his fur down in lines going from his nose straight back below his small ears.
He declared that him and “snakeburner” were reporting for duty.
A first mate from a Firebug pointed at it and asked of his captain “is that a fire lizard?”
The captain watched as Snakeburner turned on the offending finger with a irritated hiss and cut loose a fat belch of flame that torched the firstmates finger and then crawled all the way up his forearm.
The little pair started a fire lizard frenzy. As a whole the minions hated flying, clear sky and going out doors. Some of the fuzzy minions were totally terrified of the fire lizards.
The holy leader of the fuzzy nation declared them a sacred animal on sight. Most of his people declared him crazy at the concept.
Wild Fire Lizards used a starkly different technique to get riders then there larger cousins. They considered the Dusty busters to be prime rider material, they already understood the concept of riding.
The Fire Lizards would stalk a potential rider until the time was right. They would appear when the Fuzzy Minions least expected it, they would breath fire at the Dusty and run the Dusty off while the Dusty Busters were on patrol. This left the stranded Fuzzy Minion stuck with no choice but too ride the lizard home. Fuzzy minions suffered from a racial agoraphobia that made flying scary and the jumps between terrifying to the Fuzzys. The only fuzzy minion that had ever got on the back of a Pernese fire lizard without being coerced was the first one and by all accounts he was a crazy basterd.
The incident stunned everyone includeing the dragons and riders as adult unattached wild fire lizards that had followed there tame cousins from Pern in the final moments before destruction stalked, hunted and bonded with the small Fuzzy Minions.