Chapter 1, part 2
As they went on talking, the shuttle pilot opened communications with the space station, and commenced docking procedures, a process that always held Citlally’s complete attention. She fixed herself upon the window, staring as the bay door on the space station began to open. When it stopped suddenly, and a pair of bright spotlights attached to the sides of the portal turned on, she blinked, and glanced to Endan for a mere split second.
“That is not part of the normal procedure,” she breathed, gazing around for anything else unusual.
Endan watched with her, and was about to suggest that perhaps Regulus Station II did things differently, when there was a flash somewhere below them. Something long and narrow sped past the window, hardly more than a blur, starting Citlally into a yelp. She grabbed Endan’s arm and gazed up into the earthy green of his eyes.
“What could that have been?!”
Shaking his head, Endan peered outside. The shuttle had stopped, at he could just barely overhear radio communications coming from the cockpit.
“It moved so fast, I could not tell if it was some ætherial life-form, or a much smaller shuttle.”
“Ætherials out here?” Citlally pondered aloud. “I suppose it could happen, but that would be quite unusual.”
Endan shrugged. “Aren’t some of them curious about planetary life-forms? I’m sure our space stations must be very confusing to them.”
They spoke further on the subject for a few minutes, until a pair of shuttles, the word SECURITY painted on them in a variety of languages, descended upon either side of their transport. After another minute of radio communication, the bay doors opened the rest of the way, and shuttle 2361-QXZRW floated slowly inside of Regulus Station II. Citlally peered behind them, through the opposite window, and noticed that a third security shuttle was following behind them. She was thinking up something to say about the whole phenomenon as their shuttle touched down, and switched over to disembarking procedures.
The shuttle pilot opened one door, rather than both of them, and invited several uniformed agents aboard, some of them men, some women, a few too alien for the couple to be certain. They looked over the thirty-odd passengers of the shuttle, then murmured to one another briefly. Then one of them turned to the pilot and nodded.
“They are cleared to disembark. We will escort them through security and keep in contact with the Hoshi-Narada.”
“Well, these travelers will be glad to hear that!” the older pilot replied, trying to keep the good humor in his voice.
The man stepped into the cockpit with the pilot, and Citlally could hear them talking about getting the shuttle back out of the docking bay. She held her tongue from any comments,noticing the way the guards had their eyes on every single passenger. Row by row, they were escorted off of the shuttle, and led across the drab gray of the docking bay, out into a brightly-lit hallway. It was plainer than she had expected it to be, but it was not the main causeway after all.
The passengers soon found themselves in a wide room, set up with table and chairs, and a long counter where several workers had assembled. They wore uniforms, but not to signify that they were in security. They seemed more like travel representatives, ready to check them into the station. Citlally was used to having to check in, , but never in a style such as this. The heightened level of security and carefulness certainly put her on her guard.
“Have we done something wrong?” she asked out loud, to nobody in particular, as a man with several pins on his collar to signify his rank asked them to take a seat.
“This security inspection is for your own safety,” the higher-ranking man replied. Although he was alien, and she had to guess his age differently, there was something about him that told Citlally that he was quite old. “We are doing everything in our power to ensure that you are still able to travel as you have originally planned.”
Endan noticed the worried look on his beloved’s face, and asked the older man, “Is something dangerous going on? If it isn’t safe here, we can go back to the Hoshi-Narada and continue on our way.”
The older man gave an offended scoff, and responded without any hesitation, “Young man, you are safer here on this station than you ever were on that wandering hunk of metal. I have the security of this facility down to an art, and nobody and no thing that would be unwelcome here does undetected. You can take your risk of space pirates, solar flares, and nebula storms out there, or you enjoy your vacation on Regulus Station II. The security detail that you saw is not reactionary, but precautionary. That is how I have kept this station safe for the past decade, even while the two closest stations fell victim to pirates and rebels.”
“He was even the one who led the brigades to rescues those stations,” one of the uniformed men added.
“No need to be boastful,” the older man admonished. “Get these two through security and checked in. I am sure they would like to get to their rooms sooner rather than later.”