Tower of Time: Long Ago and Far Away
   

The Road to Rediscovery
Part 15 - Sojourn at Telos

Amid a small fleet of miscellaneous ships, the Hammerhead-class cruiser Sojourn slowly orbited Telos. For the first time in over five years, Carth was home, but it hardly felt like it. Far below, salty waves lapped against lifeless shores. Putrid air blanketed dead and ruined cities. The Sith nuclear bombardment that decimated Telos years before left only a few resilient microbes and insects alive to populate the graveyard planet. Now, to walk the surface unprotected was to invite illness and death. The Sith's destruction of Telos really had been complete. If not for the population of off-world Telosians, Telos would be lost to memory and history. The chance that the Republic now gave it in the Telos Restoration Project was an almost unimaginable heaven-send. A daunting task and expensive experiment, they had to succeed for the future of their planet and for the future of other worlds like theirs.

They had the dream. They had the money. They had the people to do it. Now all they had to do was organize themselves and get the process started. In the Sojourn's largest conference room was a gathering of thirty odd personnel, all with their own opinions on how the Telos Restoration project should begin.

“The ultimate goal here, just so we're clear, is to make Telos habitable,” a plump Telosian woman, Emrie Lacen, asserted. She was the head of the Telosian Home Council and endlessly vocal about it.

“Yes, that is the goal,” Chodo Habat, head of the Ithorian heard that had volunteered to take charge of the ecosystem planting, rumbled. A single protocol droid rattled away, translating the proceedings into Basic. “But while the new ecosystem is taking hold, we cannot jeopardize its stability by adding settlements on the surface.”

“There is Citadel Station,” Burqo Dam, one of the Duros engineers on the project, pointed out. “What we have now is small, but it is on a modular design. It can be easily expanded to house thousands of people; not just the restoration crew but Telosians wanting to move back.”

“That would take a lot of fuel,” another of the Duros engineers pointed out.

“But we do have almost exclusive access to Peragus,” the Zabrak tech by the name of Bao-Dur pointed out quietly. Carth couldn't help but stare and the glowing array of machinery where the lower two thirds of his left arm must have been before.

“But let us get our crew set up in the station first,” the newly-appointed financial minister of Telos, Adam Enkraquenn, reminded.

“Then it could be years before Telosians are able to resettle to this system,” Emrie protested.

Jerol Onasi held up his hand for quiet, “But so it must be. This is not a project to be taken in a rush.”

“Before we can begin, sections of the planet must be secured and shielded from the toxic atmosphere,” Chodo Habat rumbled. “We must begin slowly with small plots of land.”

“I have designs mostly finalized for ray shield towers,” the Zabrak with the glowing arm spoke again. “They need to be tested on the surface of the planet, but it should meet your needs, with some tweaking.” Both Duros next to him nodded appreciatively.

“How do you propose we power those shield generators?” the Czerka representative who had been silent until then asked. Czerka had volunteered to help in the Telos restoration efforts, but Carth loathed to trust them with the future of his planet. Unfortunately, it wasn't his decision.

“Wind power is unreliable down there,” Bao-Dur answered, “And so is solar, in the continuing nuclear winter. Tidal power could be used to get the project started. There is plenty of coastline to utilize.”

Jerol nodded. “The initial work will all have to be done in environment suits,” he assessed, “Which we have in ready supply, courtesy of the Republic. Chodo Habat, what is the time line your heard has planned for environmental development, so that everyone here is clear?”

“First, we must have shielded environmental zones,” he began slowly, “Then we will began by planting flora and fauna, beginning at the bottom of the food chain, in each of the zones from worlds we suspect to be successful on Telos. As zones succeed, we will expand their borders and plant more until the entire surface is covered. If a particular planted ecosystem is unsuccessful, then we will purge it and re plant over it with a more successful system. Once an ecosystem has demonstrated long-term stability, re-settlers may begin moving in into low impact housing.”

“When will it be appropriate to bring back agriculture and husbandry?” a petite Corellian woman sitting not far from Carth asked. She was a new addition to the council, one of the volunteers that appeared in orbit shortly after the Sojourn arrived. Carth had heard her introduced as Leiraya Moran, an organic fruit farmer. That description did little to explain the lightsaber hilt that hung at her belt, however. That and her barefoot, free-spirited appearance make Carth curious of her reasons to leave her fruit farm on Corellia to help rebuild Telos. Carth was sure he would have plenty of time to get to know her and the other newer volunteers as their project lurched into motion.

“At small scales,” Chodo replied, “Almost immediately. It will be crucial to experiment early on which crops are successful on the new Telos.”

“And could be a step towards eventual self-sufficiency for the planet,” Leiraya Moran added.

“Have you considered industry or mining in your plans?” the Czerka representative voiced.

“That should come much later, when the environment is stable,” Chodo advised.

“But don't you think Telos would be better off in the future if it had some income for itself?” he pressed, “When the Republic is no longer willing or able to support this project, Telos must have some way of continuing. Consider droid mining in un-restored zones. It would hardly get in the way of restoration. In fact, it would help in the long run.”

“We must be careful of anything we do to our planet in terms of growth, testing it on a small scale first,” Jerol warned, “But you do make a fair point. We will have to find a way to work that into our larger plans.”

The Czerka representative nodded and leaned back in his seat, satisfied.

“Our first priorities, it seems, are to get Citadel Station running and a few tidal power plants going on the surface with our first ray shield networks,” Jerol concluded, “We will need surveyor crews on the surface to give us an up-to-date map as well as to point out good regions to start our restoration in and dangerous regions to avoid. Telos has changed greatly in the last five years, so we must move forward with care and caution.”

There were murmurs of assent in the room.

“Also with regard to care and caution, we must maintain strict security on this project to avoid accidents or even sabotage,” Jerol continued. “Admiral Onasi, would you brief us on the essentials of our security going forward?”

Carth straightened up and addressed the crowded conference room. “Although the Sith are as good as defeated, they are still out there and they are still a threat to the Republic, particularly to a fragile operation like this,” he explained, “The Sojourn will maintain orbit over Telos until Citadel Station is equipped with its own security force and defense system. At that point, the Sojourn will patrol the system, never straying far away. Only when Telos has its own comparable fleet will the Republic military presence here lessen. All weapons on the surface, on this ship, and on Citadel Station must be registered and adhere to strict safety guidelines. Firing a weapon on any of those locations, except in situations of direct self defense, is a punishable offense. We all must be wary of smugglers and illegal landings on the planets surface, so I will be relying on all of you to be a network of eyes and ears watching out for the unusual.”

“Thank you Admiral. Once the new Telosian government is settled, we will begin recruiting a security force,” Jerol added. “This is an expanding project and will eventually grow to encompass the entire world. I want to thank you all for volunteering for this project. Let us see it through to the end. Here is to a new Telos!”

Polite cheers erupted in the room. Carth was not the only person in the room with eyes damp at the joy of a dream finally beginning to come true.

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