The Tholospharium

Even in a galaxy of technological marvels, Kara had to admit that the Tholospharium was a feat of engineering. From the pilot’s seat it appeared before her,  a simply colossal space station which spanned the length of a small moon. Zo had told them that it served as one of the few outposts on the border between the Arbeth sector and the Novoc sector. As such, it was constantly surrounded by a swarm of spaceships wishing to stock up on supplies on their way to or from the Novoc sector, a swarm she was currently navigating while gaping in awe at the space station.

“Technically, the Novoc sector should be out of reach for the Intergalactic Ulion Council since none of the planets there wanted to join,” she recalled Zo lecturing along the way. “Can’t imagine why,” he had added with a sarcastic shrug.

Apparently, ambassadors had been sent offering treaties and promoting the benefits of intergalactic co-operation but the planets had opted to remain isolationist and self-governing, he had elaborated. All Kara knew was  although the station was the last thing travellers on their way to the Novoc sector would see for quite a while, it certainly was something to see. Not just because of its size which should have been impressive enough in and of itself, for what made the Tholospharium truly a wonder was that the entire space station was situated within an enormous see-through dome which dazzled the eye. Kara could scarce believe that the enormous station itself only filled a third of the dome. The remaining two thirds was flying space marked by hundreds of hovering flightway lights which illuminated the path down to the landing docks in a kaleidoscope of bright reds and solid greens and was currently occupied by the arrival and departure of hundreds of travelling spaceships. As they had approached it from a distance, it looked like a gigantic transparent egg emitting a celebration of tiny lights or filled with a hive of buzzing bees darting about inside. Up close, its sheer scope and the abundance of activity was perhaps an even more impressive sight. All the ships heading towards the dome were directed into a queue leading to the sole entrance Kara could see, a massive opening on one side of its upper third, an opening which itself was huge but seemed tiny in comparison to the rest of the dome.

“Amazing, right? It’s covered by the most powerful magnetic exclusion shield in existence,” Zo exclaimed while Qin gaped enthusiastically and Midalyn just blinked as though completely disbelieving what her coal black eyes were seeing. Even Bor, although whether he was impressed by the sight or not, it was impossible to say. His violet face was as inscrutable as it was utterly perfect, his yellow eyes pierced intensely at the sight before him but yet seemed not to provoke any reaction. She didn’t know what to make of Bor and felt there was something different about him that made her feel uneasy although she knew he hadn’t done anything in particular to make her feel that way.  Kara focused her gaze back on piloting the ship just as the spaceship in front of the Zeppulian suddenly stopped silently without warning.

“Lehht!” Kara exclaimed as she slammed on the breaks with a furious tap on the pilot’s touchpad, stopping the forward thrusters and giving the backwards thrusters a quick blast. Luckily, the Zeppulian just narrowly avoided slamming into the ship ahead of them, a mid-sized bulbous Porwigle class cruiser. Kara glanced at her rear-view monitors. The ship behind them, a large Olifant freighter, was quite a ways away and seemed to noticed that the queue had stopped as it was slowing down as it approached. Kara let out a sigh of relief. At least they wouldn’t be tail-ended.
“Is everyone okay,” she called out.

Grumbles of “yeah, fine” came back from the shaken crew. Midalyn had nearly fallen over, she hadn’t got her spacelegs yet, while both Zo and Qin had been jostled notably by the abrupt stop. Bor hadn’t moved at all aside from a slight nod of his head in resistance to the inertia pulling on his body. Kara look back at the line of ships in front of them, it had stopped. Apparently, one of the ships by the opening hadn’t waited its turn and nearly collided with an exiting freighter which dwarfed the one just behind them, causing the spaceblock.  However, after some maneuvering it made way for the freighter and it looked like the line was moving again.

“Some people are in such a rush that they made things take longer,” Qin cheerfully noted, although Kara thought there was an almost melancholy lilt to his voice which sounded strange coming from Qin. However his face didn’t indicate anything aside from his usual overly optimistic demeanor.

She studied Qin quizzically for a moment, his jovial nature successfully hid another side to him she hadn't noticed before. However, aloud she just said, “Well, we’ll take our time getting down then but once we’ve docked, I’m going to explore. Qin, you want to come with?”

Qin looked at her enthusiastically and beamed, “You know what? I do.”

“I’ll come too,” Zo added.

“Sorry, flyboy. You’re gonna have to stay on the ship,” Kara informed a flummoxed Zo.

“How come I have to stay?”

“Well, Midalyn is obviously going to join us, right?” Kara responded, winking at Midalyn.
“Of course, I am. This is the first space station I’ve been to,” Midalyn announced with gusto.

“And Bor’s free to join us if he wants,”

Bor blinked at being addressed.

The offer is appreciated but I still have work in the engine room

Kara had noticed that the Zeppulain’s heating system did seem to be even more well-regulated than before. Bor seemed to know what he was doing in the engine room, something she was grateful for since she wasn’t the best mechanic and didn’t have much faith in either Zo or Qin in that regard.

“So someone has to stay on the ship and keep Bor company,” Kara stated with some finality.

Zo looked as though he was about to object but stopped himself short, realising this was a battle he had already lost. Letting out a sigh of defeat, he pouted, “Fine, I’ll stay on the ship.”

“Of course, you will,” Kara agreed with a wicked smile that Midalyn caught, causing her to stifle a giggle.

“Now that’s sorted, let’s get in that egg.”