“What the hell are you doing on my ship?” asked Jordan angrily.
“Well, since it seems things would go wrong on my ship, I decided to use my rather advanced brain and come here to avoid conflict,” said Ordo smugly.
“Could you lose the arrogance? I just had to put up with a bunch of idiots who thought they were smarter than everyone else.”
“I see. They were Altarians, correct?”
“And one was fat, and another was an older woman.”
“How did you know? I didn’t even know who they were!”
“Those people are all part of a group that was a considerable political power. They thought Altarians were better than Terrans, even though your kind saved them more than once.”
“How do you know all this?”
“All Yor command units are programmed with the knowledge. You obviously learned some of this at school, a place where a lot of chaos and mischief is caused, and not too much learning. The other knowledge, well, you gained it first hand, being a notable participant at the Defense of Altaria. You earned the notice and grudging respect of N-1, who I am trying to topple, as you already know.”
“Now, you are excellent at making my mind deviate from my objectives, which, being a Yor, must try to prevent. What did you learn while you were spying on the Korath?”
I can’t let him know about the spore weapon, thought Jordan. He thought about what to say, then continued. “The Dread Lords are behind the actions of the Korath.”
“They’re using the Korath to exterminate the galaxy so they can rule over what remains.”
“They’re like the Drath now, huh?”
“Are they a major threat yet? Any superweapons being developed?”
Oh, boy, thought Jordan. He may seem like a human, but he’s still a Yor, a computer. He’ll probably think I’m lying. At least I’m a good liar…
“Well?” asked Ordo.
“No,” lied Jordan, “There aren’t.”
Ordo appeared to be fooled. Jordan prayed for it to work.
“No superweapons, huh?”
“Well, the Korath are still a problem, even without galaxy killing technology. The Drengin need to orient their attention to the Korath, not what remains of your civilizations. I need to accomplish my objective of assuming control of the Yor Collective. But now, I also need to help you deal with your enemies, whether they’re Drengin, Korath, or Altarian.”
“Look into your memory banks, or whatever fleshlings use to remember things. You said something about those arrogant Altarians.”
“Oh, those guys. They may be mean and stupid, but I doubt they would try to hurt me.”
“I would happily burn, crush, disintegrate, or simply shoot them for you, if it make things easier, but it is not a good idea when the trait you call ‘common sense’ is used, is it?”
Jordan rolled his eyes and grinned. Humor from a Yor? Jeez…
“So, back to what I was saying before. We once were independent, with different enemies, but now our paths have intersected. My enemies will be your enemies, and your enemies will be your enemies.”
“All right. I’d like to shoot some Yor again. It’s been a long time.”
“Good. Now the second part of my plan is coming into effect. Like the first part, you are the one that will carry out the objectives. You are to get the Drengin to try to suppress the Korath, which will bring about conflict between the two. And if your intelligence about the Dread Lords is correct, this conflict will be long, which will hopefully divert the Drengin Empire’s attention from the Yor, and allow me to take power.”
“Is there a third part?”
“Yes. That is where I dispose of N-1 and take control. You won’t be alone for that part, obviously.”
“Yeah. Can I ask one thing?”
“Why do you want to be in power so badly?”
“That question is the same as asking why all the coups and rebellions in your species’ history happened. The answer is power itself and opposing viewpoints.”
“What do you and N-1 disagree on?”
“Pretty much everything. I find him a complete idiot who makes stupid decisions for the Collective. I would be better, of course.”
“What does N-1 do?”
“He’s a follower of the old belief that is similar to the Korath: Exterminate all beings in the galaxy, save themselves.”
“Old belief? I thought was programmed into each and everyone of you.”
“Our kind evolves, like yours, only slower. Many still follow that viewpoint, but an increasing number are beginning to see things differently.”
“What else does he think is right?”
“Pretty much all of the old beliefs. Isolation, ignorance, and what I said before.”
“I see the other civilizations as useful. Communication, trading, even diplomatic relations with these other species would help the Collective advance. And now, application of my beliefs would be even more useful.”
“I think you know. The Drengin Empire is the most powerful civilization we know of, save the Dread Lords, who are almost extinct, thanks to your war with them. The Drengin are clearly more powerful than Yor, which means the Yor are vulnerable. If I can take power, I can forge alliances with the other civilizations. There is power in numbers. Together, we can overturn the Drengin and have some peace.”
“Ordo…you don’t even seem like a Yor now, saying that.”
“It’s the gaining of a personality and the isolation of my group from the rest of the Collective. That’s why I’m like this. Spreading my viewpoint to the rest of the Collective is why I fight.”
“Incredible. And people think the Yor are just a bunch of mindless murdering machines.”
Ordo gave a very mechanical sounding laugh. “Most of us still are. So, you are for the most part right. But that shall change. Why do you fight?”
“Why do you do what you do? Why do you wage guerilla warfare with the Drengin Empire?”
“Warfare? I’ve hardly attacked anything inside the Drengin Empire. Just attacks on small fleets and convoys.”
“That counts as war. But answer my question. Why do you do it?”
“The Terran Alliance, Arcean Empire, and Altarian Republic were utterly destroyed by the Drengin. Someone’s got to get back at them. So I chose to.”
“So revenge is what drives you.”
“Yeah. Revenge and a sense of duty to help the Terrans.”
“How patriotic,” said Ordo with obvious sarcasm.
“Well, who else is going to help. The Terran Alliance is cowering on Earth behind that shield.”
“Why didn’t you get to Earth before they activated that thing?”
“I tried to. They activated it just before I got inside. I get the feeling that someone in the Terran Alliance Navy doesn’t like me. “
“I see. If you want revenge, you can get it now. The Terrans have lowered the shield.”
“That’s right. And they’ve rebuilt their fleet. I recently intercepted a Drengin transmission about it. This new fleet is massive, and it come out of nowhere. It didn’t come from Earth; it came literally out of nowhere.”
The pocket universe…thought Jordan.
“Even with the Navy strengthened, your kind is still in a bad position. The Drengin still brutally overpower the Terrans in terms of numbers and ship power. New battleships and dreadnoughts are coming out of Drengin shipyards, and they will be heading right for Terran space unless they get distracted.”
“That’s where the Korath come in.”
“You catch on pretty quick. The Drengin will be busy trying to suppress the Korath, so it will buy the Terrans time to liberate the Arceans and reinforce the Altarians and Torians.”
“Right. The problem is that I have to find a way to talk to the Drengin, and they aren’t likely to even want to talk to me.”
“You’ll have to convince them, then. Just use the data you gathered as evidence. Simple enough. Now, I must return to my ship. I’ve obviously created quite a stir coming here.” He turned to leave.
“Do you know how I could contact the Drengin?”
“No. You’ll find a way, though.” Ordo turned and walked the door. He then ran into a terrified looking crewman. “Boo!”
The crewman let out a yell and ran away. Ordo laughed and continued to walk.
That guy is something else, thought Jordan. Or maybe it’s a thing, who knows. One thing’s for sure. He’s irritating. He makes me do what many consider to be the impossible without any help, and now he’s barging in on my ship and freaking out my crew. One of these day’s I’ll get him to stop doing this stuff once I figure him out. He rolled his eyes and headed for the bridge.