King Garda is happy to deal with any of the representatives from the United Federation of Planets now that he has made his point and fulfilled his obligation to convey his gratitude and that of his people. I don't envy the Federation their task though. There is so much work to be done.
The Helvetians are experimenting with new, less harmful and non-sentient energy sources like simple electricity. They are adapting their existing technology to use it, focusing their immediate attention on communications because without it, the Helvetians don't understand what is happening to them and their world.
Imagine everything you know suddenly changing. Everything you have has ceased to function. There is no artificial heat or light, no radio or video, no transportation or computers or functioning machinery of any kind—nothing. You have become isolated from the rest of your planet. You can not contact anyone to find out if they are in the same boat. They may be dead for all you know.
And when you look up into the sky at night, that velvety soft blanket of darkness that was once so reassuringly solid and black, it is now speckled with thousands of pinpricks of light. Is it breaking apart, crumbling away before your eyes?
And how do you explain it to them? Where once there was only a single sun to be seen—their sun, now there are billions of them and each one has a solar system of planets like their own; and many of those planets bear life too.
Once upon a time, they ruled the universe. They were alone—one sun, one planet, one race. Everything that they knew was theirs and theirs alone. Even the creation of the Dancers was of their doing: a Helvetian creation. But now they are one race among so many. What a humbling thought that must be—and one that cannot be ignored when the evidence is so clearly visible at night.
Every aspect of the Helvetians existence has changed. Every concept has to be rethought and re-evaluated, but only after they have learned the truth.
And then there will be the countless visitors invading their world. Over the coming months, hundreds of people from hundreds of different worlds will want to find out about the Helvetians; another reason why a Federation presence is so desirable. These visitors with their fragile, soft, pale bodies and white teeth will have very different customs and mannerisms to the Helvetians. It's going to take a while for everybody to learn about each other and that's why a team of specialists are coming in from the Federation to assist: to help everyone during this transition and to protect the Helvetians from such races as the Ferengi who will see them as a new opportunity for exploitation.
But there is another side to this coin too. The worlds nearest to Hell are particularly anxious about their new neighbours. They have lost a sizeable region of their space—at least, I hope they will view it as a loss and not an acquisition. They are also wondering how many other new worlds are going to pop up out of nowhere.
No, it may be the end of our adventure but it is only the beginning of theirs, and I don't doubt that the Earhart will be drawn back here again in the future. The Helvetians talk of the Earhart with great fondness and hail us all heroes. As Troy said just before we left, we are their future legends because without the Earhart's crew running amuck through the space station while we sabotaged the kaleg, we would not have succeeded. Each and every member of the crew risked, and some gave, their lives for a people they didn't even know, which brings me to my current task.
I am compiling the casualty reports, and as I look up from my desk, once more my eyes fall upon the beautiful watercolour of the Earhart painted by my predecessor, Ensign Eleanor Barnham. At least now her family will have some answers.