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Chapter 1 - The Battle - Page_2

After his stay on BS3, Functionary had initially headed for the nearest Service space station. There, a communique awaited him. Once again he was given a small incremental promotion. But the small pleasure he obtained from this tiny advancement was only briefly sustained. Another missive from a different section of the large bureaucracy which dealt with every aspect of the lives of officers of the Service, unceremoniously stated his next posting. His developing seniority and experience had bought him the dubious distinction of being a security chief upon a medium size warship currently serving at the extreme edges of the System, where the Service was now warring with beings know as the Voracious who sought to encroach upon System space and plunder its riches. Functionary was to join the savage war from which so few seemed to return. The rest of  the extremely brief message, which spared no words in sending Functionary to his almost certain death, explained that he should make his way quickly to the distant space station Kontrol(Outer)_36, where the System Military Ship, SMS The Protector, was undergoing repairs and refitting and a replenishment of officers, men and other supplies, after its recent encounters with the Voracious.

Functionary, needed to find his own solitary way across space to Kontrol(Outer)_36. The remoteness of the station was signalled by the bracketed “outer” within its designation.  From almost anywhere in System space, journeying to this station  would be a substantial journey and, once again he found himself travelling against or across rather than with, the major flows of persons and trade, and with the bloody war at the edges of System space, also against the vast tide of humanity, as most individuals who could determine where they lived shifted closer to the secure centre of System space. As he hopped ponderously across space, Functionary was aware that the days and weeks were rapidly passing and that the due date for his joining SMS The Protector was become precariously close. Functionary had very mixed feelings about this situation. He knew that if he arrived at Kontrol_36 and his ship had refitted, remanned and left once again for borderlands of space, he would have some serious explaining to do. So, he knew he had to make every effort to arrive at Kontrol_36 as soon as possible. Nevertheless, if Functionary could arrive at Kontrol_36 and he could demonstrate that he had taken every opportunity to travel across an area of space which was in increasing turmoil, but on arrival he had found his ship was gone, in truth he would not have been displeased. Indeed, he would have been quietly delighted with such an eventuality..

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