The Linthian Council – KR Decree
His mouth tasted terrible. It was that dry, sticky feeling that came with a taste like the bottom of your feet after a long hike. Although, he wondered, did anyone ever actually taste the bottom of their feet? He opened his eyes and the bright light hit them and sent that small shock to the body letting it know that it was time to wake up.
He sat up in bed and stretched his long arms and legs, hitting the walls of the small cubicle on the ship; even though it was a first class cabin it was still small. He pushed a button and the bed split in half with one side partially retracting and the padding rolling on to the bottom so he would have a small desk as he spun sideways.
He opened his mouth and inserted the oral refresher. The nanobots roamed around in his mouth cleaning and then providing nutrients to his teeth, gums, and tongue. When they finished, the rod glowed green and he put it back in the wall. He laid his hands on the table and feet on the step on the floor and started the nail cleaner. This one even massaged your hands and feet while it worked. He never had access to this equipment before and was enjoying it immensely.
When all that finished, he pushed the button for the refresher. It removed his clothes and more nanobots went over his entire body as they cleaned and provided nutrition. Kulis did not normally receive any special attention and usually cleaned themselves with wash rags and electro-sanitizers. So, he was determined to enjoy this as it may never happen again.
He sat back down with his new clothes on and considered his life. The events of the past few cycles had started to wear off and the questions surrounding his summons to the Council had now moved to the front of his mind. He had spent almost his entire life as a nobody and all that had changed recently. J’Rontia was already quite famous when they met, mainly because she was the top candidate Kuli in thousands of years and someone tried to kill her. The investigation that followed the assassination attempt on her at her final training exercise exposed a whole group of people in and out of the government and in and out of the Kuli organization who harbored resentment and fear toward the KR products.
He hated the term “KR product” for many reasons, including the implication that they were not as good as “natural” born individuals, but never heard a term that he liked better. There were two main groups against the KRs. One, wanted them exterminated and considered them an aberration against all natural born creatures. The other group felt that they were dangerous and needed to be quarantined to protect everyone else.
The immediate result of the investigation was to bring this entire mess out in the open. The Kuli, as expected, took care of their own and the punishment was severe. The government fired all of their conspirators and those who actually took part in the attempted murder went to a rehabilitation center in the Gorpro system. It is pretty much guaranteed that they will not be seen again, at least not any time soon. Still, all of that brought the whole situation with the KRs to the front and feelings were very mixed.
The KRs were a huge military success and the Linthians and Murhans had been able to almost completely eliminate their regular military forces. The vast majority of people in the Galactic Wing felt they owed a huge debt to the KRs and did not wish to bring back the armada that had existed. Still, they were concerned about the few that became unstable and the horrible things they had done. Most of the planets created identification processes for the KRs and their children acting as if they were their own heroes in waiting while sending them off to special schools.
The problem was complicated by the planets that did not have a system in place and by the KRs who did not wish to leave. There was also the matter of those with special skills who were not KRs. Should they have to leave also? This was a huge concern among families with long histories of producing talented Kuli candidates.
He shook his head as he considered once again that he was probably one of the KRs and may have to spend the rest of his life restricted to a single planet, except when on a mission. He sighed as he realized that for him that would be a huge move up from his childhood. He was so glad that he was able to see his parents and arrange for them to move into Linthia proper.
His salary was not large but using almost all of it he was able to move them out of the ghetto they lived in and provide pretty good medical care for them; however, after he set it all up he received word that his pay was not needed as an anonymous donor had purchased a lifetime retirement package at a top Linthian home care provider for them. When he found out that his parents were upgraded to a top package, he actually broke down and cried.
He contacted the company he had worked with and asked who purchased the upgrade. They said they were contacted through an attorney and had no knowledge. He thought he knew who was responsible and he was even more determined to be worthy of the help he had received.
During the investigation of the attempted murder, the Kuli released information on J’Rontia stating that she was not one of the KRs or their descendants. This greatly increased her popularity in the galaxy, especially when it was revealed that she had experienced other attempts on her life. The down side was that this latest attempt brought him into the picture as her savior and, at the same time, propelled him into the whole KR debate as no one released any information about his origin, leaving the news speculating about his origin. He was not in a comfortable spot.
The Council did notify the news outlets that they would be making a decision on the whole KR matter in short order so the news reporters figured he would be discussed at that time. He was not sure what they would do and spent considerable time thinking about it.
A familiar knock sounded on his door and he pushed the button for it to vanish. J’Rontia was standing there with one of her famous mischievous smiles and asked, “How many times have you used the refresher equipment this morning, less than ten?” The sight of her almost always made him smile. She was as tall as he was, and he was taller than most males, standing at 17.8 troes. She had beautiful hair that was naturally thick and curly with sea foam blue (the color of the water on Thor’s resort moon) and amber waves running through it. He always had trouble deciding which color was prominent and he actually believed she could control it and changed it each day to match her mood. In extreme combat, her hair turned as blue as the sky on Rhondtor and even glowed like her eyes did, although usually her head was covered and she wore an eye cover computer when they went into a combat zone so he believed he was one of the only people who knew. Right now, her hair fell to her narrow waist and highlighted the shape of her body. She always wore some form of combat gear and almost never had any skin showing, except for her face. The combat dress allowed you to see that she was very fit but did not accentuate any particular assets. She dressed very professionally and often wore the Guardian Kuli combat robe that she had won when she completed her final exercise in record speed.
“I only used it once this morning and twice last night,” he answered with a wink.
She lightly punched him on the arm and said, “I knew it. Are you ready for breakfast?”
“Yes, can we eat in private?”
She nodded and they walked quietly to one of the private meal closets. They sat down and the computer flashed the menu in front of them showing available food items, one at a time, in a hologram on the table in front of them. After it described each item, the computer would say, “The cost for this selection is complimentary.” They could not help but smile each time.
J’Rontia said, “They must not be mad at us or they would not spend all this money on us.”
He responded, “Who is paying for all this?”
She answered, “The Linthian Council is who I was told is responsible.”
His face twisted a bit as he considered that and then he said, “It makes no sense.” He started to say more but saw the current selection the computer was displaying and said, “Menu – select.”
J’Rontia laughed, “Are you always going to take the fruit?”
He said, “Maybe.”
She said, “Menu – select.”
They didn’t talk much as they ate because they both took good food seriously. Their last few missions did not have much in the way of food, let alone good food so they understood how long it may be before this opportunity came again. They finished almost at the same time and decided to just sit back and relax for a while before going back to the main compartment where the other passengers were sure to be full of questions.
“How do you handle being famous?” he asked.
J’Rontia thought for a moment and answered, “I really don’t think much about it. I have been so busy, as you well know, that there is not much time for consideration. Still, I do have news outlets trying to speak to me whenever I go in public when they know I will be there. I try to handle that by not letting anyone know where I am going to be. Also, as Kuli, we do not have individual net contact access so almost all of my correspondence is filtered by the Sector 4 command as is yours.”
He noted, “Until our recent incidents, I never received anything. Now, they tell me that I have various invitations to news programs and grand openings; however, nothing that I have wanted to read.”
J’Rontia laughed and said, “I cannot remember receiving information that I wanted either.” She continued, “The thing about being famous is that it does not affect most of the missions we go on. I do have to factor it in when we have an ambassador role because they will have more security surrounding us and more events to attend. For the most part, our lifestyle insulates us from the majority of the effects of fame – and I LIKE my lifestyle.”
He nodded and then smiled as he said, “and my partner.”
J’Rontia stood up and he followed. She reached over and gave him a hug saying, “I have the best partner ever.” She looked at him for a minute with a smile that he would be more than happy to die for and then turned serious as she said, “Let’s go face the galaxy.” He was not as nervous as he had been and knew he could face anything at her side. He grabbed one more piece of fruit, shoved it in his mouth, and headed out the door.
The Linthian Council chambers were intimidating and impressive. The council members sat on a raised platform that included chairs for each that floated above the floor. The chairs wrapped around the front giving each member a desk to write on if they wished. The desks were the interactive models that connected to the building’s central computer and provided multiple updates in either monitor mode or 3D mode on top of the desk. Any display could be transferred to the center of the room and displayed on the wall or served up as a hologram in the middle. The walls were all muted colors and were almost invisible, partially due to the lighting scheme, giving the room the appearance of being extremely large and highlighting the members and speakers in the room.
The speakers stood in another raised area to the side but in front of the members. There were three floating podiums that the speakers could use that had most of the projection and computer features of the members’ desks. The audience area was backed by a movable wall so that the room could accommodate small or large audiences and still leave the impression that they filled the center of the chamber while having that open feeling due to the features of the walls.
Behind the members, a holographic display showed the galaxy in 3D as it rotated on four axis in slow motion sometimes giving the first time viewer a bit of vertigo, depending on the species. The area behind each speaker dimmed when they were actually speaking and gave almost a halo effect around the person.
Today the council consisted of the twelve official Linthian members, the Murhan representative, and one member from the new Tyrian Republic. The council had arranged a unique relationship with the Tyrian Republic. Due to their standing in the galaxy, they had a veto member on the Republic’s assemblies and the Republic had a veto member on the Linthian Council. The Linthians were full members of the Republic and guaranteed all of the same rights but were allow more self-government than any other system, even Murhan. Since the Linthians offered extensive support to all systems joining the Republic, they had all signed off on the agreement with no exceptions.
J’Rontia sat next to him in the speaker section and, except for the presence of two Supreme Kuli, there was no audience. He had expected Tomli to be there but he was not. This did leave him a bit apprehensive, although Tomli did have a rather full schedule and this may not be very high up on his priority list.
The representative from Tyria started the meeting by saying, “We wish to begin by letting both of you know how proud we are of your accomplishments and how grateful we are that the assassination attempt was foiled. We also wish to report that the alleged connections of the attack to the King have proven false. The attempt to discredit the Kuli may be coming from the same group that attempted to assassinate you, J’Rontia.” He paused for a moment to allow all of that to sink in.
When he did, J’Rontia and her Soretto heard another voice in their heads that said, “Do not respond to the comments on the King. You will receive additional information later.”
The representative went on, “We have some questions for you and some answers also. I would like to have the Kuli address your backgrounds and then we will start the questioning.”
At this comment, the Supreme Kuli, T’Drofe stood up and moved to one of the podiums. He turned to the two and said, “We have records on J’Rontia’s ancestors that show she has her fantastic skills from naturally occurring DNA adjustments that are common to many of the Linthian families since the time of last Linthian DNA adjustments as a race. He turned to the Council and continued, “Her Soretto is rather unique. We do not have the information on his birth parents. He is not related to the parents he had as a child. We have had our best geneticists review his DNA and they cannot tell us if his DNA is naturally enhanced or if it has been altered. He has some of the most advanced DNA we have ever seen but without knowing who his parents are we do not know if it is natural.”
The entire room went quiet as everyone processed this information. With many of the people in the room looking at him, he started to feel very uncomfortable. In his mind, he felt a calming presences flow over him and he recognized J’Rontia’s influence. This time it was different. His new abilities showed him how she entered and what part of the brain she worked with. She signaled for him to follow her touch as she moved around his brain and showed him what he needed to do to relax and redirect the anxiety he started to feel. In moments, he had learned more about himself again and told her thanks as her presence left his mind. He turned back to the council.
The Section 8 member, Yseter Qzucy, spoke, “All Linthians have altered DNA, which is what makes us Linthians. That is also the reason that the Murhans and the Linthians separated and we are no longer one system. While it is true that the Linthian Council greatly restricted DNA manipulation a long time ago, my family has always believed that we should be the best that we can be and any alterations that come naturally from our previous changes, or already exist in Linthians, should be treated as natural. The Council designated me as their representative to review his DNA and I can state that there is no section of his DNA that does not exist somewhere in my family’s line. My whole family and all of our planets support the declaration of J’Rontia’s Soretto as a naturally enhanced being. We believe that this is the reason he matches so well with J’Rontia.” Shockwaves swept the room as the most politically powerful member of the council, and a regular detractor of the Kuli, endorsed J’Rontia’s Soretto by comparing him to his own family. In addition, all official Council members are monitored during the meeting and cannot lie without triggering an alert on the other Council members’ displays, giving his proclamation extra weight when it is finally broadcast to the public.
J’Rontia’s Soretto was not able to hide his surprise but recovered rapidly. As he came back under control a message popped up on his podium top. The message read, “Surely you didn’t think I would let you go before the Council without my support?”
There was no author listed but he heard J’Rontia in his mind as her touch told him, “Tomli.” Tomli continued to surprise them. Who would have thought he was working with Yseter Qzucy.
The Council members went into private mode, where the galaxy hologram moves in front of them, gently blocking the view and sounds. They spoke among themselves for quite a while. When their chairs came back into view, the Council Chair, J’Lopt stood and walked over to J’Rontia and her Soretto. J’Lopt was a former Supreme Kuli with an honorable and storied history in the galaxy, mainly loved by all. He asked, “May I probe?”
The Soretto smiled and said, “Of course.”
J’Lopt placed his hand on the Soretto’s forehead and closed his eyes. His mind felt the new presence and was surprised at how light it was. The presence smiled and said, “Don’t worry. I already know you and who your mother is. I want to thank you for exposing the connection to the King. Yes, we know that the Tyrian representative is wrong. For now, you must remain quiet.”
He felt another more familiar presence enter tentatively. J’Rontia said, “He is speaking to me also and asked that I join you two.” He could feel both of them in his mind and he could not help but smile.
J’Lopt went on, “You will be contacted by Qzucy after you leave. Follow his directions exactly. You will also be asked at various points in the future to work with banned technologies. If these directives come from Tomli or Qzucy, you have the blessing of the Council. We put a plan in place years ago and our agreement with the Tyrian Republic allows our existing plans to continue. I do not have time for questions now, but may after the meeting. Also, feel free to ask either of the above for more information, although they may not be willing or able to answer.”
J’Lopt paused for a split moment and then went on, “You are the product of a naturally advanced mother and an unknown father. Your mother put the blocks in place to protect you from outside people and from some adjustments to your father’s ancestor’s DNA. J’Portia can help you work through those problems. Lastly, you need to know that your work is extremely important to the galaxy. Some of us believe that your work, both of you, will allow our races to survive the terrible times that are coming. You have more friends than you know and ghosts and angels will be watching over you.”
J’Lopt left his mind leaving him and J’Rontia with more questions than before and she “smiled” mentally as she left. J’Lopt spoke to the room, “Qzucy is correct. His DNA and mental functions are no more complex, advanced, or dangerous than members of the Qzucy family. I second his declaration of J’Rontia’s Soretto as a naturally enhanced being.”
All of the remaining official council members declared the same. The Murhan representative proudly declared, “Murhan has no veto.” The last representative to vote was the Tyria Republic’s. He opened his chair and stepped forward so that he stood in front of J’Rontia and her Soretto and spoke directly to them as he said, “I am not a science expert; however, I do recognize exceptional abilities when I see them. The fears people have of those with advanced abilities deals with how they use them. I see no reason to believe that your abilities are being directed toward anything other than protecting Linthia and the Republic. The Tyria Republic has no veto.”
The representative then leaned forward and quietly spoke to them, “I will be following your careers carefully to make sure that your handlers use your skills properly.” The Tyria Republic’s representative returned to his seat and the chairman sealed the decree and the votes.
The chairman spoke to J’Rontia and her Soretto, “You may sit in the audience now as we finish the matter of the KRs. The chairman turned toward his colleagues and the galaxy moved in front of them once more as they entered into private conversation.
The time passed slowly as they waited in the room. There was no talking as they sat wondering what the council was discussing. The fate of all people with special abilities hung in the balance and those in the audience understood only too well what that could mean. For thousands of years, the Kuli helped those who had difficulty with their technology advances and tried to prevent technology from destroying people and civilizations as happened at the peak of Linthian power. The Kuli sought out those with special abilities and trained them in the safe use of their powers. Now all of that might change as more and more people were scared of those with special abilities, fearing that what happened with the KRs could happen to others also.
The galaxy hologram moved back behind the councilors as they prepared to reveal their decisions. The chairman spoke, “The council has made a decision on the KR situation and the difficulties surrounding people with special skills.” Clearly this was part of prepared comments and he was going to be rather formal. The chairman continued, “The Murhan people have worked hard for thousands of generations to improve their genetic make-up without changing who and what they are, as many other races have also done. This process has been very successful but, as with all technology, reached reasonable limits where some did not feel Murhans would retain their character and so the Murhans and Linthians split. The Linthians continued to work to improve themselves until some technology problems arose where they felt safe limits had been reached.” The chairman paused at this point to let the admissions sink in a bit and so people could process the reasons why the Council was even in this position.
When the chairman continued, he was a bit more sober, “The weight of the responsibilities the Linthians and Murhans have as technology and economic leaders place us in military situations quite often. It was in an effort to reduce the impact of these military obligations that the KR project was allowed. We were trying to help the entire galaxy without being an excessive drain on our own economies.” He paused again and then said, “We succeeded in this goal but with some unintentional consequences. The enthusiasm that some of the people with the KR gene set have for excessive violence was not anticipated, at least not outside of the battle field. In addition, they were designed to be sterile and the way the abilities magnified in the following generations was inadvertent.”
The chairman sighed and went on, “We believed that the situation was under control until the arrival of a grandson of a KR warrior. The warriors were sterile and there were many preventative measures taken; however, the birth of a son should have been impossible with the code used. Still, it happened and he grew to be known to most of you as the Lord of Light and the leader of the destructive Religion Wars. Since that time, many are suspicious of anyone with special powers, even the Kuli are not as welcome as they once were. Now, with the attempt on J’Rontia’s life, we are forced to examine the situation and come to a conclusion.” The chairman sighed once more and then sat down.
The room was on edge as those in the audience tried to understand why he stopped. After a few moments, Yseter Qzucy stood up and spoke, “The situation is dire as there are many planets where even the hint of special skills will cause crowds to gather and destroy the being that appears to have powers beyond the common. We have tried to support the establishment of advanced schools and gave rewards to societies that placed their children in these schools. Yet, we still have large areas where anyone who appears to have eyes that glow or bluish tints to their hair is hunted down and killed.” Yseter Qzucy’s voice crackled with emotion as he spoke and all in the room could see the determination in his eyes as he went on.
He said, “We can no longer watch innocents suffer or die. It is with great regret that the Council has passed, unanimously, the following decree.” Yseter Qzucy read the decree.
Linthian Council of R’Sterlix – Decree 87334
Whereas, the advanced skills and powers of a small group of beings, having been used without proper ethics and training, has caused great consternation and suffering; and
Whereas, the public’s response to these beings causes discord, riots, various forms of violence, and illegal terminations; and
Whereas, the Tyrian Republic has requested the assistance of the Linthians, Murhans, and Kuli in their efforts to handle this situation; and
Whereas, the current efforts to mitigate the problems of these beings, notably the KR2s and their descendants, are not proving effective;
Therefore, it is decreed that all new born beings in all the areas of influence of the Linthians, the Murhans, or the Tyrian Republic will be tested for advanced skills. The parents of those who are found to possess such skills will be given the choice of dedicating their children to one of three lifestyles; the Kuli, the Valiant Warriors of the Matriach, or the special skills schools of the Linthian military.
Furthermore, any citizens of the above who demonstrate advanced skills are directed to report to the nearest Kuli Guardian Station for testing and possible placement within one tenth of a standard year of discovering they possess such skills.
Yseter Qzucy paused and looked out at the small audience and it was as if a dark shadow fell over him. He straightened himself up to his full height with his stern expression emphasizing his words as he added, “My family has many members with special skills. We have spent generations improving ourselves as have many families in the Galactic Wing. I can assure all that we will bring this experience into the process for testing. My family will design the tests and regularly monitor them to ensure that people with special skills are not included in those identified as having advanced skills.”
Yseter Qzucy turned and faced the representative from the Tyrian Republic and said, “We will be ready to test newborns within one half of a standard year, adults within one standard year, and children within one and half standard years.”
The representative nodded and said, “That is an acceptable timeline and the Tyrian Republic will be eternally grateful for your assistance in this delicate matter.”
J’Rontia’s Soretto almost let out a shout when he saw his readout but J’Rontia had reached his mind first and calmed him down. He still had much to learn about his new abilities and how to control them. The readout indicated that the Tyrian representative had lied about being eternally grateful and everyone in the room knew. He was pretty sure that those results would not be part of the broadcast to the galaxy and wondered what it meant. He thought that the meeting was over when Yseter Qzucy sat down and he expected to hear that the meeting was adjourned when J’Lopt spoke again.
Instead, the chairman said:
These changes and our entrance into the Republic also necessitate an examination of the structures in question. First, we will discuss the military. The Murhans and the Linthians will have a separate military from the rest of the Republic because our military will have these special people in it. In addition, the Murhans and Linthians will not draft any of our population to the military of the rest of the Republic. Instead, we will bear the entire cost of our military ourselves. Due to this separation, the Galactic Wing is allowed to vote separately on any declaration of war from the Republic.
The Kuli have always subjected themselves to the will of the Linthian Council although there has never been a formal agreement. The Council has determined today that the Kuli are now a separate entity from the Tyrian Republic and all other political organizations. They will have voting advisors on the councils of all the military organizations in the Republic including the Linthian and Murhan military and the Valiant Warriors of the Matriarch. All of their participation in military matters requires the approval of a newly created Kuli Council consisting of Supreme Kuli elected by Supreme, Guardian, and other advanced Kuli guild members.
The Kuli are assigned the duty of policing the KR Decree. They are required, as part of the agreement for their separate status, to enforce the decree and punish those who refuse to follow its parameters. They are required to continue to follow the Kuli codes as written today and will receive funding from the Republic for their technology, police, advisor, and military services. The amounts of funding are set as a percentage of the systems’ populations and cannot be changed without unanimous agreement from all parties.
The past generations have benefited greatly from the KR2 warriors. Known by some as The Valiant Warriors of the Matriach, they won many of the battles of the Religion Wars and in other actions have greatly reduced the Galactic Wing’s reliance on its traditional military; however, many of those same warriors have a poor record of adjustment to regular society. We cannot discount the honorable service they provide and the sacrifices they have borne for us. Still, we must restrict their homes and their families homes to a planet designed to handle their special needs. In exchange for this restriction, the planet will be semi-autonomous and receive taxes from all planets that send people to them and will be paid for their military contributions.
The Council has three planets that are currently undergoing transformation and they will be able to select the one they prefer. The Council will give the warriors the treasure of Bandora the Lean to use to build their world. The treasure comes from one of the planets during the Religion Wars and the warriors have earned it. The warriors will be ruled by their own Council of seven consisting of their current Matriarch, one Kuli, one Linthian, one Murhan, and three elected warriors. Any selection of a new Matriarch will require the approval of the Kuli, Linthian, and Murhan Councils.
J’Lopt looked very tired as he finished and J’Rontia’s Soretto wondered how old he was. He marveled at the stories he knew about J’Lopt and could only imagine how many more there are. Some of this decree confused him as very little would actually change for the Kuli and the warriors. These rules were very close to what was already happening and, in some cases, how it had been for many generations.
Looking at J’Lopt, reminded him that J’Rontia had promised to share the true story of J’Lopt’s battle with the Lord of Light. He needed to remind her about that promise. The Council was finishing up the formalities of voting on the decisions just explained by J’Lopt and he was anxious to leave. He liked it best when it was just him and J’Rontia training or working together.
One of the Supreme Kuli walked up to him and clasped him on the shoulder saying, “Congratulations.” The Supreme Kuli, T’Drofe, handed him a medal and said, “You are now officially no longer an apprentice and have won the Honor of the Ancients for your prevention of the assassination. The Kuli would have been vilified if that plan had been a success.” T’Drofe turned to J’Rontia and said, “You continue to make us proud and your training of your Soretto is incredible.”
When he turned away, the other Supreme Kuli came up and clasped him on the shoulder delivering similar congratulations to both of them. A powerful realization came to him as he understood he was now a Kuli and that he had not undertaken the final trials.
J’Rontia smiled at him and said, “None of the trials are as intense as what you went through. Besides, I wouldn’t want you to score higher than I did!” They both laughed and turned toward the door.
Standing in front of them was the Tyrian representative who said to J’Rontia’s Soretto, “Congratulations on two counts. Now, you are not considered one of those who will be quarantined and you are a full Kuli. How does all that feel?”
J’Rontia’s Soretto smiled back at him and said, “I am thrilled to be able to continue to serve J’Rontia and help the galaxy stay as safe as possible.”
The Tyrian representative smiled an evil smiled and said, “You are only able to do what we allow. Today the dominance of all the Linthian and Murhan technical superiority has come to an end and you are all now placed in nice boxes so that we can keep a proper control over you. The Tyrian Republic is now the driving force in this galaxy.” The Tyrian representative laughed a horrible sound, turned, and walked out the door leaving the two of them standing there shocked. How had he drawn that conclusion to what had just happened?
There were only two other people left in the meeting room as they moved to exit the room. Yseter Qzucy and J’Lopt were deep in a conversation on the other side of the room so they figured they would get together with Yseter Qzucy later. They had just reached the door when they heard J’Rontia being called. They both turned back to see J’Lopt gesturing to them to come over to the council members’ seating area. The door shut as they turned away from it. When they reached the council’s seating area, the hologram moved to the front of the chairs.
Yseter Qzucy spoke, “No one can overhear us now. We have a special message for you from the old council. When the Tyrians asked us to join the Republic, they worked hard to eliminate our council and strip our sovereignty; however, they wanted our wealth and technology to be a part of their Republic. Therefore, we reached a compromise. We kept some of our sovereignty, especially in the areas of technology and war, and the Republic would only have representation and veto power on our council. In addition, all of our previous council decrees were allowed to remain in effect. As a result, the Republic believes that we cannot do anything without their permission anymore. However, we have a large number of activities ongoing that were put in place before we became a member and we have no intention of sharing knowledge of those activities. Still, we can no longer create new projects without Tyrian approval.” He paused as he often did to let the impact of his words settle.
J’Lopt continued the conversation in a very serious tone and with a wrinkled brow looking at them with his head tipped a bit to his right side, “We previously promised you two to Tomli for a project he is working on. You are to report to the Wartrag system and he will contact you. Stop by the Rhomsati Resort where we have made reservations for you. Enjoy your time there as it may be the last vacation you have.”
Yseter Qzucy spoke again with a softer voice as if he was addressing his grandchildren, “Today we gave the Kuli and the Warriors official status and income that they did not have before with the Republic. We did this because the Linthian and Murhan peoples no longer support many of the advanced technologies. The Religion Wars were terrifying and our society learned the wrong things from those wars. They wish to hide. They hope that if we abandon our technologies, then everyone else will also; however, we have an opponent in the King and the Deceiver who helps him that is capable of using the most advanced technology. They have done a great job in helping our people become convinced that there is no danger in the galaxy anymore, even as our Guardian Kuli are hunted down and executed. So we needed to act while we still had the people’s trust and votes.”
J’Lopt interrupted him saying, “But that means there will be a time when the people no longer trust and no longer will vote. There will even be a time when the council is not allowed secret decrees for security. If Tomli is correct, the whole Galactic Wing will refuse to help when they are needed the most. We must be ready if that happens.”
J’Lopt continued, “The Linthians have more wealth than is imaginable. During our years of supremacy over the galaxy, we amassed wealth beyond people’s wildest dreams. Over the past generations, the council has converted the wealth into forms that could be hidden in obscure locations around the galaxy. You two will be given some of those locations so that you will never run out of funds. Also, J’Portia is only one of the medical and research stations we have hidden throughout the galaxy. Tomli has permission to use any of the advanced technologies if he needs it to counter technology brought forth by the Deceiver. The wording of that decree was difficult but it is all legal.”
Yseter Qzucy went on, “We will provide you with copies of the relevant council rulings so that when others turn against you the truth will be available for all to see.” His ring glowed amber twice and then he spoke again, “I have to go. I wish you the best of luck. My family may speak against the Kuli and many of the things we talk about here but you can always count on us if you are in trouble.” He handed each of them a ring similar to his own and said, “These are Qzucy family rings and once they are on your fingers they will adjust to you and become invisible forever, whether on or off. You will be able to sense them in a room but no one else will. You do not need to wear them but if you need us, just put them on and press the star. That will activate a stealth beacon and someone will come to help.” Yseter Qzucy slapped his right hand on his left wrist and raised them up to his mouth and said, “May the Ancients protect you.” Then he left the two stunned Kuli standing with J’Lopt.
J’Lopt smiled a soft and genuine smile of friendship. He said, “So you did not know that the powerful Qzucy was a religious man? Maybe someday I will tell you about the Qzucy family’s true history and which of the Ancient Myths are actually true.” J’Lopt laughed softly and added, “He is also one of the biggest supporters of the Kuli and the Warriors.” When J’Lopt saw their expressions he added, “The Qzucy family are great politicians and their public stances are many times designed to prevent anyone from suspecting what they are doing behind the scenes.” J’Lopt then spent some time with them going over various parts of their plans and answering their questions.
It was late in the planet’s day when they left and a beautiful sunset greeted them as they walked out the front doors of the building. Immediately, J’Rontia’s Soretto stepped in front of her and summoned all the energy he could. He built his energy field just in time as a blast hit him square on throwing the two of them back into the doors. J’Rontia leapt into the air as she threw six knives toward their opponents swooping down from the sky with graviton carriers. The knives found their marks and six of the ten would never speak to anyone again as she landed on one of the carriers. Almost instantly, her Soretto did the same on another carrier. The fight was over in seconds and they jumped back to the ground just as the Linthian Council’s security arrived.
After a few moments of explanation, they boarded their shuttle to head back to their ship. It was a quiet ride on the shuttle and they were very careful entering their ship. After checking all their security measures and convincing themselves that they were safe. They set their course and were on their way.
Two of the planet’s days later, J’Lopt spoke into an encrypted comm noting, “They were attacked as they walked out the front door.”
A voice commented back, “Was he able to generate a strong enough field or were they injured?”
J’Lopt responded, “They had no injuries at all and the blast spray that hit the building showed a blast force of 15.3 grets.”
The voice said, “Then he has more capacity than you.”
J’Lopt answered, “That is correct. He would have been able to stand up to the Lord of Light.”
There was a pause in the conversation and then the voice on the other end of the comm said, “His father had to be an Ancient.”
J’Lopt shook his head no as he said, “I saw the last one die.”
The voice responded, “Could she was been pregnant before that?”
J’Lopt answered, “I don’t know. The timeline would say no but with an Ancient – it is possible.”
The voice said, “You have done well.”
J’Lopt said, “Then can I retire?”
The voice answered, “Not yet, but soon, very soon.” The comm connection was broken.
When J’Rontia and her Soretto arrived at the Rhomsati Resort there was no one there to meet them so they settled back and enjoyed the solitude and the amenities. The facility was located at the edge of the galaxy in sector seven on an old space station from before the Colonial ERA. Originally used as a fueling depot for the transport fleet, each docking port had been converted into a complete self-contained luxury suite that included food, drinks, and entertainment. The resort was a favorite of those who wanted to get away from it all, including people. There was no staff and the place was run by robots and automatons – the perfect place to escape to. The facility was surrounded by Kuli training planets, repair stations, and other secret facilities, making the overall security tight as it could ever be.
J’Rontia settled into a deep water bath and her Sorretto sat across the room enjoying bowls full of fresh fruit as he studied and practiced controlling the various energy forces with his mind. There were no windows in the room but the walls showed scenes from around the Tyrian Galaxy and left the visitor feeling as if they were in wide-open space. J’Rontia’s Soretto concentrated on adjusting the gravitational fields surrounding his body but was not able to connect with the force. He cleared his mind of all other thoughts and concentrated on releasing his body’s energy field from the forces of gravity.
After much work and concentration he was starting to get frustrated when he heard J’Rontia say, “You need to clear your mind – that means not thinking of me also.”
He turned around and saw J’Rontia floating in the air above the bath with one of the biggest smiles on her that he had ever seen. He started to say something and then caught himself as he almost dropped her. They both laughed as he sent her down gently. This was going to be a fun vacation.
The Dark Sun System – Hrusti City on Ternw
In the dark shadows of the forest, in a small ship with advanced stealth capabilities, a woman with seafoam blue hair watched her monitors as a shuttle deposited the Tyrian representative to the Linthian Council at the door of the King’s Advisor. The woman wanted desperately to reach out with one of his weapons and kill him. She had heard him bragging over his unsecured comm to the station’s security officers how he almost killed J’Rontia and her Soretto as they left the Linthian Council building. He was so proud of himself and seemed sure that the people here would make a hero out of him for his attempt. But she stayed her hand. She had made a promise and that promise was worth more than this worthless man’s life.
The woman put her emotions back in the box she had built for them and went back to the task at hand. She activated her receptors in the building and prepared to listen.
The Tyrian representative walked through the entrance hallway into the buildings main reception hall. The room was huge and very dark making it impossible to see the other side. As his guide led him further into the room he grew irritated. He told the guide, “Turn on the lights in here, a person can hardly see.” The guide said nothing and continued walking without acknowledging the Tyrian representative in any way. The representative demanded again, “I will not go any further until you show me some respect.” At this, the guide turned to the side and exited a door. The representative shouted at him, “Get back here now! You fool. Don’t you know who I am!”
At that moment, the lights came up just enough that he could see a figure in a chair at the end of the room. It was only a shadow that he saw but he heard the sound from the shadow as it pierced the darkness. With venom dripping from every word, the shadow spoke slowly in a careful and measured pattern with deliberation, “He knows who you are and wonders why he should care.” The deep gravelly voice entered the Tyrian Representative’s ears as a knife slide between the ribs delivering agony with each sound. The Tyrian Representative felt his hair on his neck rise and fear choked him as the words and their meaning sucked the arrogance right out of him. He struggled to breathe as the air left his lungs and he found he could not inhale. The shadow moved slowly and stood but did not come closer as the proud Tyrian Representative fell to the floor writhing in agony.
The shadow spoke again, “The Linthian Council tricked you and you are the fool. You gave their precious Kuli funding they did not have in exchange for what they were already doing. You gave that group of female mutant slime a planet of their own and funding also. And, worst of all, you allowed them to keep all of their past decrees. Did you not think that they planned ahead?” The representative was allowed one breath and then his skin was on fire. The agony from the fire spread from his head to his toes.
The shadow spoke once more, “It has been reported to the Republic of Tyria that your ship crashed. I will make sure that you are replaced with a more intelligent representative. That leaves you plenty of time to spend with me as you consider how much you disappointed me.”
The representative was picked up off the floor by four servants and taken to a room where he was laid on a table. He realized too late who his real boss was and it was not the King.
Outside, the woman with seafoam blue hair realized that killing that man would have been a mercy and turned off her receptors. She knew that someday she might have to face the person in the shadows herself and it increased her determination to continue her training every chance she had. She thought about her daughter and was happy that she had such a powerful Soretto. She knew that all her sacrifices were worth it.
The Black Abyss
Moving out from the Tyrian Galaxy there were galaxies in all directions except one. Far, far out, in that empty, lonely expanse known as the Black Abyss, a small ship received a message. The computer on that ship processed the message and repackaged it to send a pulse toward a black hole even further into the nothing. On the edge of the black hole, an old space station spun just fast enough to keep from falling into the hole and the message was received and processed. The monitor of the station was awoken to review the message. He smiled and composed his own message. The message was simple and he sent it deeper into the nothing. It read, “We were right to help.” He looked out his window in the direction of the bright light that is the Tyrian Galaxy. His life was a circle that was almost complete and he looked forward to his part in the great opera of the people known to some as the Linthians. After a few more moments, he returned to the kitchen for a snack before he returned to his duties.
Linthian Space – New planet
The terraforming on the planet continued at a much slower pace than was projected. Two standard years had gone by beyond the agreed upon end date. This was a complex job that included surface and subsurface work and it was the subsurface work that continued to cause the details.
The contractors complained again and again that they did not understand the delays. Continually they found members of their work groups tunneling deep into the planet because their instruments showed they were still moving in a level manner when they were not. The plans had all of the transportation for the planet moving underground and that required a lot of tunnels. What the contractors could not comprehend was how their equipment could continue to malfunction.
The contractor was losing money left and right as tunnel after tunnel bored deep into the planet. They were also frustrated because none of the workers ever noticed the problems and so they had to chase down the tunnels daily themselves; however, on a planet this large, they never seemed to find the errors until the tunnels with the problems were incredibly deep. When the contactor reached the point of going bust, they brought in some experts to test the equipment in an effort to demonstrate that it was the planet causing the trouble. They showed the results of their tests to the owner’s representative and, after intense negotiations; she agreed to pay for enough of their overruns to prevent a loss on the project.
The contractors were relieved that they would not go bankrupt on this job and begged the owner’s representative to sign a non-disclosure agreement so they would be able to find work in the future. Never had they had so much trouble with terraforming a planet. This place now had some of the most extensive and deep tunnel systems ever. They were so glad to finish the job and leave that they did not notice that none of the workers ordered tickets for transport off the planet as was common after these types of projects.
The Matriarch felt bad that the contractors did not make any money; however, she was assured that they would receive some lucrative contracts in the future. She looked around at her new planet and smiled. Perhaps this would all work out. Perhaps …
Linthian Council Archives
In one of the basements of the Linthian Council, a rodent moved across the floor. It had a headache and its body was sore. It had never gone this far from home before and was a little scared. So far the trip was good because he had found lots of food so he kept going. He could smell the food nearby and he became excited. He jumped up on the equipment and felt his fur rising but the power of the food drew him on. He saw the food! He pounced on it and started to eat. It was delicious. After he finished, he realized he could not remember how to get home and his head started hurting even more. He felt a strong desire to move toward a small blue light. He stepped forward and electricity surged through his body and life left him.
The technician shook his head when he pulled the rodent out of the equipment. It was hard to believe that this little creature just destroyed the records of so much of Linthia’s wealth. Of course the amounts are not significant, so they say, because the government still has an incredible amount. Still, they don’t even have dust down here so how did this rodent even get in. He shook his head again and went back to work.
She was crying herself to sleep again. They were so mean to her every day. When she was a baby they said her eyes glowed so they put her in this cage and never let her out. She was now three standard years old and barely fit squatting. There were men who kept an eye on her all the time. They told her that she was insane and would kill people if they ever let her out.
Lately, she thought that they were right and that she was crazy. For many days now, late in the night, she would hear a voice calling to her and asking her where she was. It was hard to describe where she was because she was never allowed out of her cage and the light was poor. Besides, they beat her every day, especially if she spoke. The men also beat the woman who fed her. They said that the woman was her mom and that she must be evil to spawn such a creature. The woman came once a day and fed her. The woman would tell her how sorry she was that this was happening and would clean her up as much as she could through the cage. The woman would occasionally tell her that someday angels would rescue her and take her to heaven. She no longer believed the woman.
Today she the food was so bad that she spent the last parts of day throwing up. The men laughed every time she retched until the room smelt so bad they had to leave. She was glad they were gone but figured she would die soon as she was shaking uncontrollably. There was a noise across the room and she looked up at the sound. The wall opposite her started to shake and then fell down in pieces revealing a bright light. A beautiful woman walked through the light into the room. The beautiful woman was taller than anyone the girl knew and had bluish hair with a soft voice that she only heard in her mind. The voice told her to relax that help had arrived.
The men threw the huge door open and started to lift their weapons. Before they could act, the beautiful woman moved with unbelievable speed, throwing knives and other sharp objects at the men. The weapons ripped at their throats and they all fell to the ground. The woman stooped down and picked her up. She couldn’t believe her eyes as she realized that her mom was right and an angel had appeared. As she was being carried out, she saw her mom run into the room. The angel stopped for a moment and her mom looked at the angel and fell to her knees saying, “Thank you” over and over again as she wept. The angel took her out of the room and up into a ship.
When the ship was safely away from the planet, the woman picked up the comm and reported back to her controller. She spoke, “I have successfully extracted another one. She is weak and in bad shape but will recover. I have placed her in status and she will need to go straight to medical.” She sat back in her chair. She hoped her mother would be proud.
Across the galaxy, J’Lopt stepped away from the comm and smiled. His daughter had earned her nickname – Angel.