The Stellarball by Jose Diaz

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In the foreground, Captain Jousen Gideon stood in front of one of the few windows alongside the corridor. The window, made of super-transparent aluminum ten meters thick, somewhat distorted the would-be panoramic view of a giant star that loomed in the vicinity of their trajectory.

Behind the captain, traffic moved at a fast pace; transports of all sorts passed one another at speeds that seemed unreasonable in the closed quarters of the vessel, however big it might be. Dozens of pedestrians walked along the ‘sidewalks' of the avenue-like corridor, leaving the corridor itself for the busy machines rushing about in their blind determination to deliver their cargoes.

"Captain Gideon, please report to the bridge," the ship's intercom announced over the buzzing sounds of the transport machines.

Captain Gideon was a large man, at least two and one half meters tall. He was approaching middle age, but didn't look to be anywhere near the age of one hundred and ninety-seven terran years that he was. His bronze-colored skin, perhaps a little darker than normal, added to his boyish good looks. His absolute lack of hair gave testimony to the evolutionary advancement of his lineage.

The call startled the captain. He recovered and touched a glass plate on the corridor wall; immediately a transport stopped, a door opened and the captain got in it.

"To the bridge," the Captain ordered.

"Yes, Sir!" the transport replied in a high-toned metallic voice. Then, with a swishing sound, it sped away down the corridor.

At the bridge, a large crew sat on seats attached to row after row of computer terminals.

A swishing sound was heard once again before a door opened and the transport appeared. The transport door slid open and out stepped Captain Gideon.

"What is it, Marian?" the captain asked.

Marian Montenegro, a strikingly beautiful young woman, looked up from the computer monitor she was staring at.

"We've spotted a Telkan frog that won't identify itself," Marian replied in a worried tone of voice. Frog was the derogatory term that terrans used to refer to Telkan warships.

"Hopefully a good frog," the captain said to himself.

After the second war, rogue Telkan captains and their crews had deserted the Telkan Federation and continued a guerilla-type war against the Terran Federation.

"Zoom in on it," the captain ordered out loud.

Almost immediately, a screen that until then had been displaying a close-up view of the giant star just a mere six light minutes away from the ship, showed the menacing presence of one of the class-A delta-shaped Telkan warships.

The captain turned to a primitive-looking man, who sat in front of a large panel brimming with flickering lights dancing around a computer monitor.

"What is its position, Mr. Karon?" Captain Gideon asked.

"Just under two million kilometers, Sir," the man answered.

"And its course?" Captain Gideon asked.

"It appears to be pursuing us, Sir," Mr. Karon replied. "Gaining steadily."

Lieutenant Lodny Karon was a very pale man, somewhat resembling the fabled white man of olden days.

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