ood it either?
Whether it was an assignment to a fringe galaxy or this Decree of Intergalactic Exile, both were essentially punishments.
Louie stood by the ship’s entrance, looking on coldly as the hatch closed automatically.
It was a small, single-person vessel, with enough rations and fuel for ten years, sufficient for long-term missions.
But for the Decree, it was merely a one-way ticket.
The Decree of Intergalactic Exile had a long history.
It was said, before the Great Interstellar Era, when each planet’s civilization was distinct and without knowledge of others, Almia had this ancient tradition.
Every civilization in the universe had its own ways of surviving.
Earthens liked to expand, absorbing resources to support their growing population, Acarids lived in groups and wandered the universe, and Almians, a civilization that was impersonal and strict down to its roots, used a special method to ensure that each and every planetary resident had a ‘suitable’ allocation of its resources.
Resources are finite.
Some planets chose to expend resources wantonly—like Earth, for example—then expand once there was a shortage, thus spawning the Great Interstellar Era; some would be destroyed by their own extravagance.
And Almia, despite being able to engage in space battles, chose to strictly control its own population.
When the population was small, the number of newborns would be precisely estimated down to the single digits.
Everyone obeyed orders, with military and civilians as one integrated unit.
No concept other than superior and subordinate existed, so the idea of forced breeding likewise did not exist.
——The term ‘parent’ was only discovered after the beginning of the Great Interstellar Era, through courses from other civilizations.
But if there were too many people, no suicide order would be issued.
The selected ones would simply be given a spaceship with limited fuel and a certain quantity of food, then ordered to carry out an ‘interstellar exploration mission’ reminiscent of the exploratory space probes sent out by the early Earthens.
No two-way route.
Just waiting for the food to run out, for the fuel to be exhausted.
Only the collected data was permitted to be sent back to the Mother Planet.
The air would slowly but surely get used up, leaving only suffocation and death.
Almia granted these ‘chosen ones’, sent off to never return, with the highest of honors afforded to anyone besides the commander.
But after the Great War, Almia’s population had been decimated.
It even had to rely on the population of other planets to keep Almia up and running.
Naturally, this decree aimed at controlling overpopulation had become absolutely meaningless.
“The ship will now enter into automatic navigation mode.
Destination: Planet No.
Sophus’ digital voice sounded in the ship’s control room, drawing Louie out of her own thoughts.
Right, she had heard the commander mention that after the establishment of the academy, the methods used for intergalactic exile had been slightly adjusted.
Its full name should be ‘Decree of Intergalactic Exile—Order of Lifetime Assignment (New Edition)’.
She ordered Sophus to pull up the downloaded Decree for her to study carefully.
——Before, this Decree was like a blank piece of paper; almost no one on the planet paid the old law’s new edition any heed.
It was dragged out by the Propaganda Department like some sort of stage prop, and there was no time to understand it properly.
Aside from the differences in specific political terms between the Almian on one side and the translation into the Federation’s tongue on the other, there did not seem to be any significant differences?
But Louie soon found an additional clause within the dense text.
“The lifetime assignment will be set at a particular destination planet…Also…regard it as your new service base…all actions will be under the direction of the local commanding officer?”
Louie was a little surprised.
On second thought, there did not seem to be anything wrong with that.
Just what era was she in? It had been ages since the times where planets were ruled by warlords and such.
The military academy having a few external branches or outposts was…understandable?
But this was not something an Almian was capable of doing.
As soon as such a thought reared its head, Louie immediately dismissed it.
No, no, no.
Her thoughts were going more and more off course.
Sick beyond remedy.
Just then, the ship’s control room let out a shrill alarm, a red light flashing——
“Alert! Alert! The ship cannot locate the destination ‘Planet No.
13’ within the Federation’s Star Map, edition 89! Please reenter the the coordinates, or pilot the ship manually!”
Louie was dumbfounded.
The destination had already been entered.
How could there be a malfunction?
Is that the planet’s name?
With the push for self realization, almost all planets with numbers within their names had changed them, had they not? Since when were there still planets assigned numerical names?
Before she had a chance to react, Sophus suddenly stated:
“Automatically accessed the ship’s internal ‘Hidden Star Map of the Universe (Incomplete)’! Destination successfully located! The ship will readjust its course in ten seconds!”
A hidden…star map?
Louie’s heart clenched.
She immediately called out to Sophus to have it project the two star maps.
A moment later, millions upon millions of twinkling stars appeared in midair, radiating outward from where Louie stood.
A few seconds later, amongst those millions of stars, a red planet was singled out.
Coordinates that had never appeared within the regular-issue star map.
That specially selected planet began to revolve slowly within the inky-black night, leaving behind a red, trailing afterimage in its wake.
This raised Louie’s interest to its maximum level.
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