Category Archives: Cosmic Tear

Everything Must Balance

Everything Must Balance

The Watcher appraised his past as he contemplated his next steps. He was the last Kuli left in Tyria after the galaxy’s destruction and the expulsion of the Linthian system from normal space and time through the Galactic Tear. He had spent thousands of years watching the Galactic Tear for signs of the lost Linthians. The rest of the Kuli had taken the remnants of the galaxy, in cobbled together ships, across the gulfs of space to the eight nearest galaxies. The Kuli that came before him worked to prevent the destruction of the galaxy but failed. Ultimately, the end of life in the galaxy was due to the ministrations of the Great Deceiver and complicated by Kuli mistakes.

The Kulis’ last Supreme Guardian, J’Rontia, directed the remnants to seed the surrounding galaxies and do all they could to restore the Linthians to Tyrian space. During his watch of the Tear, he received the Journal of the Traitor and learned that a Deceiver’s apprentice lived and the Deceiver’s poison had spread across what was left of Linthia creating a violent and vengeful population that now considered themselves Thorlinthians.

When information came to him about an opportunity to remove the legacy of the Deceiver forever, he went deep into Thorlinthia to destroy the reconstitution chamber that allowed the evil and knowledge of the Deceiver’s apprentice to transfer to additional generations. His mission was a success and he was also able to terminate the use of an ancient archive of forbidden knowledge by exploding the device along with the reconstitution chamber. He knew his mission was a one-way trip and fully expected to die, probably after serious suffering at the hands of the Thorlinthians.

To his surprise, he was rescued by J’Rontia and her Soretto and then, for unknown reasons, was dropped onto this ship only to find that it was one of the seed ships tens of thousands of years in the past and in the middle of nowhere. This ship was the first seed ship finished and his command ship before he decided to be the Watcher and now it full of mysteries and dead crew men. After many primitive repairs, he finally had enough energy flowing so that he will be able to check the Captain’s log to find out why the ship is in such bad condition and so far in the past. Reading the log is not his only option and he could contact the Kuli of the time he was in for help; however, Tomli’s instructions were to do what “he” thought was best. So, with an understanding of the weight his decisions may have on the future he relaxed in the commander’s chair and connected with the computer and the captain’s log.

The captain’s log is very thorough in its descriptions of the planets that were seeded and in providing details on the disasters that befell the expedition at various points. The New Beginnings 8 was actually the first of the seed ships to be completed and the seed ship builders designed most of the on-board protocols for the long trips using this ship. It was good to see that the captain and the crew used the protocols, thus allowing him to understand the structure of the log.

His interest, at this time, was in how the ship ended up so far in the past and what happened to its crew. The thought of the crew caused him to stop his scanning of the log and he turned to the monitors. The command control center was a mixture of several battleship command control centers. They had taken them out of the original ships and set them up in the seed ships to control the section of the seed ship that was built from that particular battleship. The control centers were covered with monitors that allowed the user to see the various outputs as directed by the ship’s main computer. The ship’s main computer hooked all of the various computer systems from so many ships together and acted as a translation interface to a standard control room computer. This allowed for synchronized command and control through the use of seven pedestal interfaces in the primary control room.

Each of the seven pedestals has their own control orb to allow simultaneous control for separate components of the ship in a battle or planet seeding. Each of the pedestals was positioned in front of a hatch that covered a stasis pod. The control room was in the middle of the ship for protection and away from any escape modules. Thus, each operator had their own emergency stasis pod that they could enter in mere moments if the ship was in peril.

He told the computer, “Display the status of the stasis pods.” The monitor lit up with seven sections, each showing the status of one pod. He was surprised when he realized that six of the pods contained some sort of life form. “Display the information on the contents of the pods,” he commanded the computer. The monitors showed that the pods contained four Linthians and two Murhans. He asked the computer, “Display the Kuli energy levels.” The monitors now showed that all six were Kulis and two of them were Guardians, at least in their energy generation ability. It was exciting to know that some of the crew survived and that he may be able to learn a lot from them.

Each of the six outputs showed flashing symbols indicating that there was a problem. All six of the monitors showed errors on the recovery charges. This meant that he could not restore any of the people in the pods without replacing the recovery capacitors. To use external power would be extremely dangerous and if anything went wrong the occupants would die. He needed to replace the capacitors and recharge them.  Still, the monitors showed that they were safe for now.

He returned back to the Captain’s log and continued his search.  The results showed three sections of interest. The first was an extended stay in orbit around the last seed planet. Then there was a crisis on a nearby planet with an attack by the Thorlinthians, which he was sure dealt with the ships he saw from the Station. The third section of interest dealt with a time period after the crisis and consisted of the latest entries. The rest of the log was the largest and seemed to be rather boring data about the trips between seedings. He did tag the times in the log when the seedings occurred so that he could review those areas to form some idea of how successful the landings were.

He decided to target the area that he believed dealt with the Thorlinthian attack on the people called Fehmadadi by the Captain in his log. He told the computer which areas he wished to review and went into the kitchen to eat a snack while the computer was loading the Kuli reader. Kuli readers are rather fascinating devices as they match the data outflow to the user’s maximum brain processing ability. The ship still had his readings from before the destruction of Tyria and was almost done building the review when he stopped it. He had completely changed since he was this ship’s commander, especially after his visit from Tomli, and now his abilities needed to be diagnosed again.

It took quite a while on this huge ship to find where the diagnostic equipment was and even longer to set it up. The ship did not have day or night and he just ate when he was hungry and slept when he was tired. He could have set the timekeepers for days and nights but he could neither find a reason why nor could he decide what system to set the clocks by. So, he just went by feel and made sure that each waking cycle had time set aside for appropriate exercise and studying. During his search for the diagnostic equipment, he had traveled through almost the entire ship. It was sad to see the number of crew members that lay dead everywhere. At first he thought to move them and proceed with proper disposal; however, after doing that with three of them he realized that the people in stasis had not done that and there might be a reason. So, he only moved those who were in areas of the ship where he now had life support running as they would decompose. They were moved to the nearest area of the ship with no life support and a note was left on them indicated exactly where he found them. Every day brought more mysteries.

The diagnostic was not a fun process and usually Kuli only did this three times. The first time usually was when they became an apprentice, unless they were a Soretto who processed through their Kuli. The second time ordinarily was after they graduated and became a Kuli. After that is was mostly at the times when they were promoted due to a better understanding of the lifeforces, such as when one would become a Guardian, a Healer, or other major change. There were also other more exotic reasons to use the equipment, such as preparation for a core build to use for reconstitution, preparation for certain surgeries on the brain, and other times when the entire body’s input/output system needed to be measured with extreme accuracy.

These tests are not often given by the individual being tested as they can be very disruptive to the nervous system and may leave a person incapacitated for an unknown period of time. Unfortunately, he had little choice. Using a properly attuned reviewer, he could skim through the tremendous amount of data in the Captain’s log in minutes and review only the areas he needed in perhaps one or two sleep cycles. Without the synchronization, he might take up to a standard year to find only part of what he needed and, for some reason, he felt that he needed to work as fast as possible.

The equipment was in one of the medic offices and, after a small snack, he settled into the examination chair. He attached the connectors to his naked body with care. He then strapped himself in and adjusted the pressure to the highest level he could tolerate. He knew from previous experience that the process would not be fun and that the body, on occasion, revolted on its own. Naturally, as a Kuli, he would attempt to control his body throughout the tests; however, only a few Supreme Guardians had enough control to prevent the body from responding on its own. Of course, that is also part of the testing.

He hesitated before pushing the start button. Pain is always different when you know what is coming. He pushed the button and time stood still. This diagnostic was different from before and it seemed that the tests went on forever. He had taken some of the tests before and mainly reacted to the probes. This time he was able to anticipate and prepare his body for most of the trials and responded quickly enough to negate the worst of the body’s reactions in all other cases. His new understanding of his body and the world around him allowed him to finish the tests without losing control once. He stepped out of the chair astonished with how much he had changed. The diagnostics showed that he had the instincts and abilities of a Supreme Guardian but with the lowest training level on the charts for a Supreme Guardian. He would have to find some of the Supreme Guardian training and fit it into his schedule. He smiled a rather mischievous smile and silently thanked Tomli followed by J’Rontia and her Soretto. They believed in him before he believed in himself.

Back in the control room, the new data was fed into the interface and it adjusted for his updated abilities. He started with the “Fehmadadi” incident. The various data points flowed across his mind with the corresponding audio or video context, including advanced data analysis such as emotions from the Captain and crew entries. It was his most intense review he ever experienced and he began to understand why the Supreme Guardians were able to comprehend events at such a greater depth. The story was both fascinating and frightening as he came to realize how vulnerable the nearby seed colony was.

He turned off the review and leaned back in his chair as he contemplated what he had learned. The pieces did not all fit together but he did learn enough to understand how the seed ship ended up in the past. The ship seeded the planet called Terira but there was a problem with the seeding. It turned out that there were already Murhans on the planet and had been for a long time, although they did not have all of the advanced genetics the current Murhans had. In addition, there was a race from the planet with the same DNA ancestry of the Murhans that evidence showed developed on the planet. He was not sure how this was possible as the Murhans supposedly developed in the Galactic Wing of the Tyrian galaxy.

He understood why the ship’s crew would want to spend time there to resolve the issues the DNA brought up. Still, the Kuli running the ship did not have the answers when they left Terira and something about the whole situation stirred an old memory that he could not quite grab on to. He queried the part of his brain where the Tomli memories came from but there was no recognition or vision that came forth. His curiosity demanded answers that were not forthcoming. The temptation to review the logs about Terira was huge, but his present needs demanded that he move on with the information he had already found.

He summoned the computer and asked, “Consider the coordinates from the log that I highlighted and access all archives the ship is connected to and find any related histories.” He went off to the kitchen and ate some troger root. When he returned, the computer had the data ready and there was only one entry about the area in question. The entry had limited information as the complete entry had a security block. What was being shown indicated that the entire section of Galaxy 8 where Terira was located had been marked off limits by the Linthians long before the Murhans separated from them genetically. He tried to access the restricted information but the data was not on the local archives and he was too far out for a system connection. He could use a hype connection, except that they had security protocols that he was thousands of years out of date with, in the reverse.

He went back over the Captain’s log on the Fehmadadi incident. The seed ship had found a perfect planet for seeding, the third planet, and entered the solar system. As they entered, they recognized that the fourth planet was already populated. The planet’s occupants, who called themselves Fehmadadi (pronounce using Linthian standard phonemes), came out to greet them near the seventh planet. The Fehmadadi thought they were returning to visit their planet and welcomed them as old friends.

The confusion continued when they reached the planet. Across most of the planet were extremely primitive settlements of Murhans and other related peoples. The Fehmadadi introduction shows that the seed ship settled in orbit around the third planet for thousands of standard years. It did not contain the information on the exploits of the ship, its crew, and why they stayed although that is in another section of the logs. On the other occupied planet in the system, the Fehmadadi were not silent but did not interfere as they believed in a hands-off approach to other life forms. The Fehmadadi were a private people who explored the galaxies for information only and did not interact much with the people of Terira or any other planet, until the visit to Thorlinthia.

He remembered, when he was at his station back in Tyria, how the Fehmadadi accidentally went through the Galactic Tear to Thorlinthia.  When they came back out they were being pursued by what later turned out to be Thorlinthians. The home defenses were able to repel the little ships that came but the thought that more would come was difficult for the Fehmadadi and they did not have the mental aptitude for war preparations. They asked their friends, the Kuli, for help.

The Kuli had notice the skirmishes and recognized the Thorlinthian technology as an offshoot of Linthian.  The voice recordings from the Fehmadadi ships of the Thorlinthians also showed a language that was closely related to Linthian. When they examined the damaged components of the Thorlinthian ships it became obvious that the equipment was Linthian based but had many pieces of banned technology in it. The crew searched their on-board archives and came up with the Journal of the Traitor as it had been retransmitted by himself as The Watcher.

They explained to the Fehmadadi what they knew about the Thorlinthians and reviewed the resources at hand. There was no way out except to turn their economy to war and prepare for the Thorlinthian attack that was sure to be coming. The Fehmadadi refused and indicated that they would rather die than turn their society into a war machine. They had many advanced skills but refused to consider an option that would change their fundamental nature.

The Kuli explored many defensive options with them and came to the conclusion that the technology the Thorlinthians possessed would surpass any defensive stance they could take. The Kuli sent a shuttle back to Tyria to see if any help was available and then set about working on the only answer they could find – the preservation of a small group of Fehmadadi through the use of a temporal lever.

The mathematics of a temporal lever is a bit beyond his current training in space-time but he understood the fundamentals. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This axiom works in all dimensions of space-time. The Kuli decided to eliminate all evidence of their presence on Terira and to help the Fehmadadi use a temporal lever to send some of their people into the future in the hope that the calls for help will be answered in time to save at least part of their race.

The Kuli knew that they were not supposed to use a temporal lever as it was forbidden technology. Still, the only other choice would be to allow an entire civilization to fall. They sent their request for help and proceeded with their plans, hoping against hope that help would arrive in time. It didn’t.

The Kuli withdrew all of their members from Terira to work on the project and left a group of trained Terira members to continue the lifeforce schooling for the peoples of Terira. The original crew of the seed ship had grown many times as they all had families. For this project, the families were left on Terira and the crew worked with the Kuli to help the Fehmadadi build the lever.

The theory of a temporal level is simple, to go forward in time, an equal amount must go back in time. The Kuli of the seed ship and the crew were dedicated to the preservation of life and volunteered to go back in time. The ship had the main stasis pods in the control room and they also had the sleep chambers from the original journey in the back. The sleep chambers were inexpensive stasis pods that were not designed for more than one use so they needed to be restored to their original state. Part of the crew went to work on rebuilding enough of the sleep chambers for the crew to use.

Their plan was simple. In order to send a small group of Fehmadadi forward in a self-contained city, they would have to send the seed ship back in time. The formula is extremely complex but the underlying logic is simple. Mass times distance in one direction must equal the mass times distance in the other. Then, there is the rather significant matter of opening a portal and providing momentum for the journey. Based on the technology from the first assault, it was believed that the Thorlinthians would use a form of nuclear bomb to destroy the cities of the Fehmadadi. They built the lever right near a city so that they could use the energy from the blast to open the portal and provide the momentum. This plan fit with their desire to wait until the last possible moment in case help did arrive.

The plans called for the Fehmadadi to go forward one hundred local years and to move in space to near where the solar system will be at that time. The seed ship was to go back in time approximately six hundred standard years and would move into an unknown area of space in a direction that balanced the equation for the Fehmadadi. The sleep chambers had been design for one sleep of up to one thousand standard years so they should have plenty of capacity to park the ship, go into stasis for six hundred years, and come back into the system right after they left. One group worked on the weapon systems to see what they would be able to help with when they returned. Most of the weapons had been left in Tyria and as a seed ship it was only armed with defensive weapons and shields. The group was planning on gutting the ship where possible and using as many materials as they could for building offensive weapons. The outlook was not very positive but based on the weapons in the scout ships, they were pretty confident they would be able to defend their own ship.

He had skipped a lot of the data dealing with the years of preparation; however, two things became very clear. First, they were not able to fabricate offensive weapons. Second, the Fehmadadi refused to build any offensive weapons. Still, they did manage to greatly increase the number of defensive weapons and the planet may be able to hold of the attack until help came.

The temporal lever was completed less than one standard year before the Thorlinthians arrived. Once the lever was finished, they started working on disguising the seed ship and the Fehmadadi city that was to be moved. They had barely finished when the Armada arrived. When they saw the size of the ships and the number in the Armada, they knew they had miscalculated. In addition, the technology they were looking at was thousands of years improved over the scout ships they had seen before and their defenses would not hold. As the Watcher, he understood how the time difference through the Tear can be confusing to those in normal space/time.

He took note of the exact time of the attack by the Thorlinthians. His son used/will use the information to sneak into the past and rescue two Fehmadadi, not knowing that an entire city was being rescued. He pondered for a moment the intricate threads that wove together throughout these events to make a web that continued to draw important people into the continuing story that was the Tyrian disaster.

The crew took their positions as did the Fehmadadi in their city. All of their plans for the temporal lever were about to come to fruition when the Thorlinthians surprised them again. The Thorlinthians brought an Armada with over 200 ships, including one that was a forbidden judgment ship. The Kuli did not have enough power to support the jump without external power and as the Thorlinthians attacked it was clear that they planned on something other than dropping bombs. First, the Thorlinthians deliberately destroyed all of the defenses that the Fehmadadi set up. It was as if fire raged across the sky for days in their local time. The Fehmadadi civilization learned quickly that all that they were or ever would be now rested with the temporal lever.

The battle raged on as the Fehmadadi defended their homes with the courage of champions. As the last defenses fell, the Captain of the Kuli seed ship reviewed his monitors with a grim expression on his face. All of his emotions were recorded in the log and the Watcher could feel the anger and frustration rushing through him. The Thorlinthians had plenty of conventional weapons and did not need the judgment ship. The hatred could almost be tasted after the mental broadcast from the Thorlinthians. He wanted to radio the Fehmadadi city in the lever to let them know what was about to happen but that might have drawn the interest of the attackers. Once the Captain realized what was about to happen, he only had time to tell his crew, “Prepare for a long jump and a rough ride.”

The Captain and his control room staff knew what was about to happen and they could do nothing about it. The judgment ship used a forbidden technology known as Glascing. The technology was forbidden for many reasons but one was its use of unstable power sources intermixed with lifeforce. There was no way to calculate the amount of energy to be released and this completely changed the temporal lever’s effects. The amount of energy that would now be absorbed by the opening of the portal was beyond control and their previous destinations were now a joke with no humor.

The Watcher hooked back up to the computer to review the jump once more in regular time. He was connected to the Captain’s input channels. The Captain tasted fear in his throat as thoughts swirled in his head about being tossed into a star or too close to a black hole or any number of other situations that could extinguish all life on his ship. When the Glascing happened, the energy released was over one thousand times what their computations had showed for a nuclear bomb. The transition into the portal was smooth but the massive energy release threw them tens of thousands of years into the past and off course into the abyss between galaxies. The last thoughts of the Captain before he blacked out concentrated on the Fehmadadi and if they survived their thrust forward in time.

The Watcher unhooked from the computer and sat back again to consider what had happened. The condition of the ship made more sense with this information as did the number of dead crew members he had found all over the ship. Plus, the sleep chambers would not have been able to withstand the energy that flowed with the Glascing in the unshielded parts of the ship and even in the shielded areas the electromagnetic forces would have shorted out the controllers on almost all the chambers, not to mention the destruction to the ship’s engines, life support, and defensive systems from the huge, high intensity energy waves. The same was true of any living things in areas of the ship with limited protection eliminating the hydroponic atriums and other live foods as the Glascing destroyed all unprotested life forms. Any of the crew who did not die immediately would likely have perished before help arrived as there were only six in the protected command center at the time of the Glascing.

The Watcher had witnessed the energy waves that had flowed out of the system from his station near the Tear when the monitoring devices laid by the seed ship sent him their data. He also received some information from his son’s trip, although his son did not yet understand the time dimensions he traversed with wormholes in the experimental ship he used so he did not have the equipment set to record properly. There are very good reasons for all of the Linthian decisions to ban research in certain areas and that ship was full of banned technologies. Not that it really mattered. His son did as was expected and even brought new Kuli to the station, even if only for a short time. His son’s performance ranked up there with some of the best Kuli and he did not have anywhere near their level of training. On the first diagnostic his son took, his skill was up there in the range of Guardians and he was still getting better. His mother felt that he could reach the level of Kuli such as J’Rontia and she was seldom wrong.

He refocused his mind on the present and reviewed the events to calculate time. J’Rontia and her Soretto had fought and slept for over seven thousand years before they died. He had been The Watcher for over fifteen thousand years when the Thorlinthian Armada surged forth to exterminate the Fehmadadi dragging their time distorting fields with them making any relationship to real time impossible to calculate exactly. He was sure that they fixed the time leakages in later models; however what came through the Tear for the invasion of Fehmadadi pulled the fabric of the anti-verse with it. All his calculations indicated that they went about two to four thousand years in Terira’s past when this happened. It must have been a shock when the Thorlinthians returned to the Terira system to find out how much time had passed while they were gone since they thought that time dilation only happened on their side of the Tear.

The Watcher’s calculations brought him to the conclusion that the ship had been drifting for over six thousand years and those in the stasis pods must have known the capacitors would run out long before they made it back. It was time to figure out what to do with this ship and then get to work. He smiled a rather mischievous smile as he considered his options.

The remote space dock he approached seldom had visitors. The repair facility was built during an earlier war when the Linthians needed their ships fixed as close to the battle front as possible. After the war, the facility was sold to a private ship builder who kept a skeleton crew on board and made a respectable profit. The operators of the remote space dock ran a check on the credentials given by the strange ship with the Kuli Central Command. Instead of an instant approval or denial coming up on their monitor as usually happened, they received an audio contact. “Please describe the ship’s model and manufacturer along with their system of registry” the voice commanded. The two operators looked at each other and the bearded one answered, “The ship corresponds to no known model and has no registry. The Commander said to tell you, if you did not approve the repairs, to contact Supreme Guardian Tomli and let him know that the two the Commander was asked two save are alive but one needed serious medical attention.”

The pause on the other side was long and the operators were starting to worry when their screen lit up with the message, “Approved. You can repair jump, minimum life support, essential electronics, one kitchen, one Captain’s Cruiser upgrade, and stasis capacitors only! This is an eyes only – no paperwork and the repairs are to be done by drones and robots only. All billing will go directly to the Kuli High Command.” The operators’ eyes widened as they checked the list from the Commander. The two lists matched exactly and yet they had not transmitted the specific requests. Who and what was on this ship?

The Watcher smiled as the approval details came in. He could hear the fear in the operators’ voices as he communicated with them about the repairs. They definitely wanted him out of the dock as soon as possible but knew he would be there a long time. They also kept his bay completely closed so that no one even knew he was there which saved him from asking. It was amazing how Tomli just knew. He wondered once again how all the threads fit together. The smile returned and he went back to work.

The repairs took two standard years. All the main external engines were now working making a jump easy. The stasis pods took the longest to repair as the capacitors he needed had not been invented yet. He had to remove one from the unused pod and send it to the Kuli High Command so they could prepare specifications to send to one of their manufacturers who now had the most advanced capacitors in the galaxy. He smiled as he wondered if Tomli was the one who selected the manufacturer receiving the job.

He had expected a visit every day from one of the Kuli but it never happened as the ship was repaired and now it was time to go. He fired the engines and prepared to move out of his bay. The exit was perfectly timed so that no one would be in the vicinity and his mood sobered as his lonely existence was about return once more. It is true that the conversations with the operators were brief and that they did not talk about anything except what was absolutely necessary. Still, they were people and he did speak with them. Now he was back to being The Watcher, this time of an almost dead ship that he still didn’t know for sure what to do with.

Later, the Watcher turned his viewer toward the space dock and watched as it disappeared off the monitor. He had left any vestige of civilization behind as he moved out into the void between Tyria and Galaxy 8. He had just sat back to consider his next move when his proximity alarms went off.

The viewer showed an experimental ship that J’Rontia had taught him about. The ship had special characteristics and perfect stealth capabilities but poisoned its crew so it was banned. Yet here it was in front of him. He brought his ship to a halt as the strange craft matched his movements. He was wondering how he would be boarded when a beautiful woman appeared right in front of him.

She was as tall as he was and looked very much like his wife. The thoughts brought tears to his eyes as he realized how much he missed her since she died. The woman in front of him smiled as her thoughts drifted across his mind calming his sorrow and enlightening him. This was J’Rontia mother and she was very pleased with the help he gave her daughter. Knowledge flowed from her directly into his mind and he became overwhelmed rapidly so she switched to speech for a while to let him catch up.

“It is good to finally meet the famous “Watcher” in person,” she said with a huge smile that warmed him to the core. She reached over and gave him a huge hug that brought tears back to his eyes. She stepped back a bit and went on, “My missions required me to know some of what you have done and will do. This made me the perfect person to contact you about your current mission and to answer what questions I can.”

The Watcher asked, “What am I supposed to do with this ship?” She looked at him and said, “You already know the answer to that.” He thought a moment and then nodded that he did and continued, “Okay. How do I move this ship into the future and what do I do about the Thorlinthians?” She smiled one of those devious smiles and said, “A much better question. Or shall I say two?” After a short pause she continued, “The ship needs to go back to the Terira system and remain hidden until one of the Matriarch’s warriors finds it.” She let him think about that for a moment and then went on, “You are to take the ship to the Rotrum Black Hole and use the Schripi anomaly to move forward in time.  It will not take you all the way but it will take you past when the fourth planet was shattered and its life snuffed out by the Thorlinthians.”

He told her he understood and asked some basic questions about how to calculate the entry into the anomaly and other related items, such as where he might hide the ship from the Thorlinthians when they come to occupy Terira. Then he grew very serious and asked her, “How do you handle knowing so much from various times and fitting them all together?” Her whole attitude changed and she answered, “I do not try to put any of it together. I once asked Tomli for a huge favor and he granted it at great expense to himself and his plans. My promise was to do as he and his wife, my mother, asked without questions until I die.”

The Watcher was shocked and he asked, “What favor could be so big that you would give up your life?” Her face brightened pleasantly as wonderful memories flew through her mind and she said, “J’Rontia! Would you not give your life for her?” He immediately answered, “Without hesitation and only my own child could come before her!” She smiled a sweet smile and reached out and touched his forehead. She transferred many memories to him of J’Rontia’s childhood and some of what she has done recently. She stepped back as a sad smile stretched across her face, then she vanished. He wished she had stayed longer but with all of these new memories to enjoy he would not be lonely for a long time.

Two standard years later, he was at the Schripi anomaly trying to finish the calculations for his trip to the future and the numbers did not work out. He must have something wrong and he could not figure it out. He reviewed all that she had told him and realized that at one point she had told him he would find out one of the pieces in due time. Well, it was time and he had not found out what the missing piece was. He decided to relax and try to get some sleep.

The vision came in the night. Tomli smiled at him over a drink in the Rsroter café in old Linthia. The café was surrounded by clouds and it floated in orbit around the planet always keeping the setting sun in the windows. He loved the view and had wanted to go there for years. Tomli asked, “Why do you ask questions you know the answer to?” He struggled to reply as he did not think he knew the answer. Finally he said, “I guess I did not recognize that I had the answer.” “Excellent reply,” Tomli said. He continued, “When you received messages as the Watcher on the station, did you receive any that would help now to complete your mission.” He sat up in bed as he awoke with the answer: balance. He was both excited and sad as he hated to leave such a great dream.

The computer asked, “What do you mean?” He was having little luck explaining what he needed. He tried again, “I need you to extend the formula to include the opposite effect on the anomaly.” The computer answered, “How will you generate the opposite effect?” He relaxed as the computer finally understood. “I want to use the Captain’s Cruiser. We can program to travel as we wish and it can go backwards in time as this ship moves forward.” The computer hesitated for a moment as billions of calculations flew through the system and then it said, “You will be sending it far into the past where its technology has not been invented. This is a violation of the Tommotrion Law and my programming will not allow me to do that.”

This could be a problem he thought. And then it came to him, “Your existence and this ship’s in this time line is already a violation of the law and we will be correcting that. Which is more likely to cause a conflict, a secure ship in the past or this ship in the present?” The computer answered, “This ship and the technology it contains, such as myself. I see your point and my programming will allow that if you use a secure encryption from the Kuli to lock down the Captain’s Cruiser.” The Watcher smiled and said, “No problem.”

Two sleep cycles later he was settling the ship into the atmosphere of a gas giant to await its discovery by one of the Matriarch’s warriors. He wondered who the Matriarch was and decided that this was a good time for some more Supreme Guardian training. Fifty standard years later, he decided he had enough training for a while and needed to go into stasis himself as he waited for the ships discovery. Before he entered stasis he broadcast a final message toward Tyria. He remembered when he was working at the station and intercepted the cryptic messages and wondered who sent them, he never thought it was himself. He had been sending messages regularly, although this last message was simple and would provide a memory when he needed it. It read, “Everything must balance. End.” He entered the stasis pod and smiled as it dropped into the floor.

 

 

On a lonely station, in a decimated galaxy, a lone man reviewed the message he just received. Like the ones before it over the past fifty years it made no sense. He assumed the “End” meant he would receive no more. He smiled. The messages had started coming just when he was about to give up his mission. He thought he was the only one left and had decided to just quit the deep-sleep and all the rejuvenation treatments and let nature finish the job with age. The messages gave him hope and he now knew he could continue on as The Watcher. He smiled more as he walked toward the deep-sleep chamber content with the duty he had given himself.

 

 

On a lonely, forgotten planet beyond the edge of the galaxy in a cavern the message was received by the ancient computer and a program was triggered. The program awoke a very old man. He reviewed the message and smiled through his wrinkled face that was wet with tears. Finally, it was almost time. He went across the room to a communications station and sat down. When the equipment had warmed up, he composed and sent a message to a number of locations, including into the deepest and darkest region of the universe where nothing existed. It read, “Everything must balance. Begin.”

She awoke from stasis a bit confused at first and then saw the message on her monitor. The message read, “Everything must balance. Begin.” Tomli, who supposedly was dead, sent her a message just before the end of the war to go into hiding and to use the long sleep stasis to protect her abilities. He had told her she would be needed in the future and what to program the ship’s computer to look for.

The computer finally received the message it was waiting for and woke her. She had been in the long sleep stasis for thousands of years and at first worried that her fitness was compromised. She went through her daily exercises and found that Tomli was right as usual. She had not lost any of her speed or abilities, although she probably could use more practice in some areas. Still, there is no one trained better than her as she had Matriarch and Kuli training. There were even fewer with her abilities, even the legendary grandsons could barely match her and they did not have her training. The thoughts reminded her of her famous niece, J’Rontia, and she wondered what happened to her and the rest of the family.

She reviewed her computer’s data feeds to see what the current year was and felt that she waited too long, but Tomli had assured her that the message would come when her Aunt needed her the most. She set her ship on a course for Galaxy 8 and started an intensive study and practice routine so she would be ready and up to date when she arrived.

 

 

The Matriarch reviewed the report with a growing sadness. Her forces were the best trained and most powerful soldiers ever. They performed exceptionally but her numbers were still dropping.  The birth rates were always low but their lifespans were longer than most and things had previously balanced. Now they no longer did. She had lived too long and seen too much. Her world was so dark and the Monarch only worked to darken things even more. She knew the dangers of the invasion they had planned. It would task her troops even more. She saw no light, no hope, and with her numbers dropping she felt the future fading away from her.

The door opened to her office opened and her secretary walked in. She said, “This just came in and it makes no sense. You said to bring you anything strange. It was broadband and picked up by one of the sensors you had us place outside the Bifrost. I reviewed all of the equipment settings and have no idea where it came from.” The Matriarch thanked her and took the message. It read, “Everything must balance. Begin.” One single tear hit the page. She walked to the window and straightened herself up. She spoke softly to no one, “Tomli, is it possible that you truly did plan for everything?” The sadness was still there when she turned back to her duties as she knew her job did not get any easier nor did the dark responsibilities belong to someone else but now she knew the others did not all die and at least one was on the way to help her.

 

Welcome back Commander

Welcome Back Commander

He had power now and would be able to restart critical systems, and hopefully have enough power to find out what this ship was doing here and now. Oh, he knew it was a seed ship; after all, he helped build the ships from the remnants of the fleet.

 

After the death of J’Rontia, he was the senior Kuli and sent this ship on its way. In addition, he selected the crews and worked to divide up the resources. He recognized this ship as New Beginning 8, the one he sent to the galaxy in section 8 beyond the Cosmic Tear in a direct line along the Star Channel. He smiled as he remembered how it ended up that Galaxy 8 was in Section 8 and so he named that ship New Beginning 8. Although that was not the official name, everyone used it. No one really liked how the numbering went but it did prevent at least one war.

 

It seems that the various people were rather attached to their own names for the galaxies and areas of space around Tyria. This led the standards committee to use numbers for everything. We now have twelve Sections of space that start in the center of the Tyrian galaxy and move out in three dimensions as a ball might be divided into twelve equal sections with the ball having an infinite size. The galaxies were numbered based on how close they were to Tyria. Galaxy 8 was the 8th closest. Naturally, everyone used their own names for the galaxies, except in formal communications.

 

It turned out that Galaxy 8 was located in Section 8. Therefore, he felt he needed to name the seed ship going there New Beginning 8 and the names for the rest of the ships fell in line. Interestingly, the crew enjoyed the word play and rarely used the official name of the ship.

 

His thoughts returned to his current situation. He was floating in the space between the galaxies in the years before the galactic war started – in the times when everyone talked peace. He had been without power and getting ready for the end when he saw the derelict ship. Tomli’s visions had helped him in many unusual ways and he knew that his life now had a scope beyond any he ever imagined. Without the most recent vision he would not have scanned the surrounding space and would have floated right past the damaged ship.

 

The engine he borrowed from the wreck he considered a gift from J’Rontia to go along with all of her other gifts to him. It was a good thing that he saved J’Rontia and her Soretto. After all, not only did they select him to be a Kuli, they did quite a bit of his training, and, most importantly, they saved his life in Thorlinthia and that allowed him to save them in this time and place. Wow. What a complicated web had been woven.

 

The seed ship must have been at or near the end of its journey because it was almost totally empty. It appeared that almost all of the supplies and people were gone. Still, he could not know if all were gone until he was able to enter the main control room. So far, he had to do all of his work from the secondary bridge with limited power using an emergency bypass. He had finished installing the engine and he hoped it would interface properly and he would have some power to restart the command computer and possibly repair parts of the ship.

 

The newer engine would never have fit in a normal ship; however, this was not a normal ship. Designed from the pieces of multiple warships, some of the engines just hung from struts outside the main frame of the ship and others were fully built in. This made for a very unattractive ship but one where all he had to do, in this case, was modify one set of mounts and he was able to use a different engine.

 

As he thought about things he realized how ironic his thought was that “all he had to do was modify one set of mounts.” He was only one man and he had little in the way of equipment. It had taken a long time to create a mount that would hold up to the forces the engine would generate. Fortunately, the captain’s shuttle had over half its fuel and he was able to use it almost as a crane – it is not as pretty now as it had been.

 

The engine would not allow for any type of hype or warp travel as it was too small and could not be mounted correctly for that function. Still, it would provide power for the ship’s systems and give him some travel ability. He started the engine and was thrilled when it did not rip off of its mounts.

 

The regular lights started to come on as the power levels moved up and the ship came to life somewhat. He moved to a section control panel and examined the ship’s systems. The control panel used a 3D visual of the ship with zoom and color coded system identification. The system came with various fonts depending on the status of the system. It was easy to see the areas of the ship that were damaged and he quickly realized that some extreme stresses had acted upon the ship.

 

He found one set of crew quarters that was all blue and he zoomed in for details. This location had no system problems and would serve much better as his home than the secondary control room that he was using now. He zoomed back out to review the rest of the ship.

 

He shut off the systems in most of the ship either due to high numbers of errors in that area or because he didn’t believe he would need that part of the ship and wished to save energy. He identified three areas to visit. The first was an internal engine and compartment area that had almost no errors and showed a high fuel reserve – he might be able to repair that engine and achieve the ability to jump.

 

The second location was the kitchen near the main control room. It had no errors in its systems and that could mean some decent meals instead of the rations he found in the secondary control room. Finally, he wanted to examine the control room, especially the stasis chambers to see if he could learn what happened to the ship and crew.

 

He slept whenever he was tired and ate rations while he worked on the engine. He knew that the ship was very limited in its maneuverability and speed with the engine from J’Rontia’s ship and felt his top priority needed to be more power so that he could control the ship better and possibly perform a jump.

 

The work was not easy and at the end of each day he had a mess. The white slime did not come off of his hands easily nor did the green sticky oil stains wash out of his clothes the first time. He never rebuilt the navigation section of a Wroster engine before and hoped he never had to again. He took off three layers of protection compartments around the engine, each filled with something disgusting, before he could even work on the broken parts. Then the components did not match the manuals nor were the spare parts located in the front of the supply room. Instead they were in the back, behind hundreds of boxes he had to move, and then at the bottom of the pile.

 

When he finished putting it all back together he noticed the Torsion Brace and realized that he was going to have to take it all apart again and put the brace where it belonged. The second time he had it all together he placed his hand on the control plate and asked the engine to start. He was nervous and this reminded him of when his teacher asked him to show the class his floating Snark project. When he opened the case with his Snark he was deathly afraid it would sink.

 

When he said “start,” nothing happened and his hopes crashed. He started to walk away when he remembered that this was built by Murhans. He placed his hand back on the control plate and said the same thing in Standard Murhan. This time the panel lit up and the safety plates dropped into position. He heard the whine of the twiners and the rush of air from the blowers. Then a whoosh and red lights turned on all over the control panel.

 

He frowned and considered the display. There was a pattern with the red lights and he zoomed in on the indicators. He moved around to the back of the engine compartment and found a bent panel. He removed the panel and found a broken spring on the Gromttel actuator. He replaced the spring and walked to the control panel.

 

He placed his hand on the panel again and spoke the word. The panel lit up and the safety plates dropped into position. He heard the whine of the twiners and the rush of the air from the blowers. Then all sounds stopped and the panel turned all green. He smiled and stopped holding his breath.

 

He turned to the nearby 3D control panel for the ship and examined the power levels. He held his breath again as the power level started to climb. When the level indicator passed out of the danger zone he started to breath. When the level indicator moved past the warning zone he was thrilled. When the level indicator reached the ready zone he felt relief and realized how worried he had been that he would be stuck here forever. The level indicator did not make it to the jump ready zone, but it came close. The controls were set for a fully loaded ship and with it almost empty he may have enough power output. He would have some calculations for the main computer if he was able to enter the control room.

 

All of this success left him really hungry and hoped the kitchen he found had decent food. He found a refresher and spoiled himself with three refreshes. The clothes in the cabinet were standard crew clothes and he wrapped his Tramall over them. Feeling more like himself than he had in a long time, he went to the kitchen he had found.

 

The kitchen had seating for ten at one large table with simple metal chairs. The far wall was covered with system monitors that lit up as he came into the room.

The monitors covered all of the critical systems on the ship and he was able to double check the results from his previous checks with one quick glance.

 

The wall of the room to his left was full of doors with labels for types of food and drink concentrates. Each door contained a monitor for the food levels in that compartment. Almost all the doors had food but the levels were below ten percent in most cases, except for the door for Szatree which was at ninty percent due to the fact that no one likes it. Szatree was always included on long distance journeys due to its nutritional value; however, it is not pleasant to eat.

 

The wall to the right was covered with monitors that showed scenes from Tyria, mostly from the Galactic Wing. The pictures brought back memories he had suppressed, some for thousands of years, and he had to pause for a while to compose himself. Memories of his war years, his time as The Watcher alone, and then the times as The Watcher with his wife and son staggered him and he had to sit down.

 

After a few moments, he turned to view the wall on the side he entered. There were ten infusers for adding liquid back into the food. These were evenly spaced on the wall with counter space around them so meals could be prepared. He checked the monitors on the units and found two that still held liquid for infusing. Excellent.

 

The plate he prepared had seventeen different foods on it and he was determined to waste nothing. One of his selections was so spicy that his tongue burned through two additional selections. The meal was delicious and he could not move out of his chair when he finally finished.

 

While he recovered from his meal, he considered what he would find in the main control room. He was sure that with what J’Rontia gave him he could enter but he was not at all confident in what he would find in the room. How did so much damage occur, where was the crew, and, even more importantly, how did the ship end up so far in the past?

 

He decided to sleep and eat again before going into the main control room.

 

The door’s power levels were back to normal and all the door functions were intact. He placed his hand on the pad and the security controls initialized. The system recognized him from his previous role in charge of the fleet at the time of the seed ship deployment. After posting his information, the ship asked him for the current passwords. He used the codes he remembered but they would not work.

 

He then took the device from J’Rontia and placed it on the panel. The door responded instantly and asked him to input a new password as the previous one had expired. He complied and the system reset.

 

The door opened and as he stepped into the room the lights and equipment all turned on. The system said, “Welcome back Commander. It has been a long time and it is hoped that your journey here will prove rewarding. What are your commands?”

 

You can give options only…

 You Can Give Options Only

“You can give options only. You can deliver visions of part of the future. You can tell stories of their past. But you can never tell them what to do! They must always do what they think is best. This council will not consider any other approach and if you decide to do this, you will be monitored.”

The words from the Linthian council still echoed in his head and would for the rest of his life. As he walked down the great hallway in the Linthian capital he considered what was meant by monitoring. There was only one group capable of monitoring a Supreme Kuli without detection and they supposedly went extinct thousands of years ago at the end of the religion wars in some systems in another spiral arm of the Tyrian Galaxy.

The council consisted of twelve official representatives of the Linthian people. The twelve members represented the original twelve planets that formed the Union of Planets. This has expanded into the organization known as the Galactic Wing. Of course there are not twelve members of the council, only twelve official members. When the Union split during the technology wars, two groups were formed, the Linthians, who dedicated themselves to the advancement of technology, and the Murhans, who refused to use technology to modify their bodies in any way and believed in limiting the use of technology.

The wars spanned four generations but never were violent. These were wars of words more than anything and finally ended with a treaty and the formation of two independent federations. The federations existed only for a few years, until the attack of the Rollians of Tarkosis. The Murhans were overwhelmed by the superior technology of the Rollians and the Linthains had to come to their rescue. The ensuing war saw the Rollians pushed entirely out of this spiral arm of the galaxy, along with all of their allies, and the start of the Legend of the Linthians’ miraculous technology.

The practical result was that the Murhans agreed to be the foot soldiers and industry for the Linthians if the Linthians would protect them and allow them to follow technology their own way. The agreement allowed for the Murhans to vote for one representative to the council and that person held veto power only. The Linthians had a similar arrangement with the Murhan government. The Galactic Wing was formed and the two groups would live in peace between themselves from that point on.

For Tomli, all of this meant that he had to deliver his presentation in a way that the technology gifted Linthians would be pleased with and that the Murhan representation would still understand. The year after he returned from the trip on the time ship was full of preparation for his presentation. He felt that he had to address the problems he saw on his journey. The devastation in his soul from what he saw drove him and he could not rest without visions returning to haunt his days.

Tomli also returned as a changed man physically. He had suffered the Tregron syndrome in a mild form and returned aged. The Linthian medical teams were able to cure him but the aging that had taken place did not reverse because he refused the restoration treatments. He told no one why but those from the ship understood it as a symbol of his love for his daughter. The rest of the galaxy would know that there was only one Linthian that looked old.

All of these thoughts ran through his head as he walked through the great hall. The hall was created at the peak of the Linthian’s architectural technology movement and it showed. The ceiling was made from clouds and they floated in various patterns below a perfect view of the sky above. The density of the cloud cover depended on the event and today they were thick with little sky showing. The walls were 3D holograms of some of the most beautiful locations on the planets. The walkway itself was as the glassy surface of a pond in the evening with no wind or black ice on an unheated pathway. The floor would brighten when you came near a room and the systems would send a message to your brain letting you know the use for the room that day in whatever language you used.

This made thinking deep a dangerous thing as the system read the electromagnetic patterns of your brain as part of the translation and broadcasting process. This is the same system used to uncover those who worked against the council when they shut down the advanced technologies programs so many years ago.

The shutdown happened right after they finished moving the planets in the Linthian system. There was a crisis when it was discovered that for every move they made here in the Linthian system a balancing move happened across the galaxy. The resulting changes exterminated entire races of beings and generated a moral dilema over advanced technologies. The council finally decided to ban advanced technology development and started a review on all of the existing programs.

One group of scientists secretly worked against this decree and continued their research. When they were uncovered it caused sides to be formed within Linthia as their history and success is so wrapped up in the advancement of technology. The compromise was to exile the group forever into the oblivian of R’Verian space. A container ship was outfitted with plenty of life support but no propulsion and the ship was towed to a location at the edge of the galaxy. They were jumped many times in a direction where no other galaxies existed. Then they were boosted into high speed travel and let loose to drift forever into the nothing.

Somehow, the council was decieved and they were rescued. When they were discovered again they had built a technologically advanced society on a remote planet at the edge of the galaxy. They promised to live out their lives in peace if left alone. When the council sent troops to return them to exile, it was discovered that they were no longer there and all the transports were disabled. They found a warning that next time they would not hold back. The council backed off.

The time ship brought knowledge of the distruction that the decievers would bring and the council expected him to come preaching for a full attack on the deceivers and an elimination of the problem before it started. The deceiver and his followers loved technology and they would use their advanced knowledge to battle any who came after them. It would require high levels of technology to counter what they could bring to bear. He didn’t come with that type of plan as he knew they would say no. The Murhans would never approve the use of so much technology nor would the Linthians agree to bring back the advanced technologies they worked so hard to put away. In addition, he was a Kuli dedicated to the prevention of problems with technology and knew the issues such a use of technology could bring forth.

Instead, he used the argument that had worked so well with the crew. Because they saw the results, then they must be destined to take action. His theory was that the past should stay set, now that they took the actions to create the history of Linthia they knew actually happened, but that the future they saw was still dependent on decisions not made, so it could be changed. The entire crew had refused to tell anyone about the future except to those on the council who were investigating the issue. Even then, they only told the minimum required and asked. Unfortunately, the council took a completely different approach.

The hallway announced his approach to the Linthian protected archives. As he entered the archive room, he pondered the turn of events that led to the release of these advanced technologies.

The council believed that the Cosmic Tear was a direct result of the use of advanced Linthian technologies and thus no one is at fault for what may happen except them. The review of the possible futures given by the ship members is based on decisions not made so they rejected all of it. They would not destroy the deceivers as they have no proof that the future would proceed as seen. They believed that they should stop all use of advanced technologies, except in critical situations, to prevent disrupting the balance in the universe any more. They felt that the various natural forces may find a balance on their own if the Linthians stopped interfering. They also told him that they had access to information he was not privy to that allowed them to have a better understanding than he did. He was stunned.

Still, they needed contingency plans. The first contingency would be him. He was directed to find two outstanding Kulis or candidates and train them as he saw fit to prepare them for what may come. He was allowed to train them in any of the advanced technologies that he had recorded in his report. Other Kuli could be trained only in the use of technology that was actually used to counter a threat that existed. He was allowed to warn others of the future if he only used “possible” in his conversations and did not reveal that he “knew” anything about the future.

The second contingency they would not talk about. However, they told him to always monitor the Hrubbitor for stealth beacons. He is to train his people to respond as quickly as possible to a stealth beacon alert and be prepared to appear in the middle of a battle. They are to rescue whoever is there or do what they think is best. If they rescue anyone, they are to use a random setting for where to take them to, rather than returning to where they came from, and drop them off with no questions asked or answered. He attempted to ask questions and was repeatedly denied answers in this vein.

He turned the archive unit on and sat in the chair. He would be able to download all of the information on the technologies needed into a L’Strum storage unit. The L’Strum unit installed into the skull at the back of the sinuses and connected electromagentically to the major brain regions allowing for direct access by all the various brain processing centers.

The downloading just finished as one of the council members walked in. The representative from sector 8, Yseter Qzucy, smiled and sat down. He was a big man in both height and stature with a family history that included many scientists and war heros. His family preferred to use the maximum genetic enhancements that Linthian technology offered. The family is also deep into politics and has always ended up on the winning side. It is even rumored that some of the deceivers are related to him.

His smile was infectious as he pursued some small talk, clearly avoiding his reason for being there. After talking long enough to be considered polite, he turned a serious face and said: “You need some help to make this work and I am ready to place my family resources at your disposal.” Tomli was shocked. The last family he expected help from was the political masters, the Qzucys. This assistance will make all the difference in the difficult times that he knew was coming.

He reached his home in the late evening with the sun setting into a deep purple sea. The entire Galactic Wing now knew of the decision of the council. The decree is now public and the word on the net is that almost everyone is comfortable with the decree and the universe has now changed.

 

Linthian Council of R’Steriix – Decree 33342

Whereas the advanced technologies of the Galactic Wing have, although indirectly, caused serious problems in the timeline, universal balance, and influenced other cultures negatively;

It is decreed that the Galactic Wing will no longer use technologies above a 3xc rating without council approval and all research above the 2xds rating must be cleared by the council. All organizations will have one Linthian year to submit their plans to the council for reduction and eventual elimination of the advanced technologies.

It is decreed that the Kuli will be deployed throughout the galaxy to help minimize the problem associated with the use of technology. Kuli will be recruited from all races and peoples. Only Supreme Guardian Kuli will be allowed access to advanced technologies and will be required to deliver regular reports to the council on the use of technology in the universe.

It is decreed that the Kuli may only take defensive actions when in a military zone and may only advise military commanders who support the planets of the Galactic Wing.

 

No mention was made of the second contingency or of the reasoning. Linthia had come to trust the council so much that seldom was its decisions questions. The Linthians and Murhans both accepted the decree with little comment and they settled into peaceful routines as if nothing happened. For him, things became extremely complex as he needed to find the proper candidates and start their training.

Tomli watched a distant cloud drift across the sky and hoped that his daughter was happy in her final years. If the council knew who her mother really was, they might have been much more concerned about what happened to her. The cloud drifted behind one of the floating apartment complexes people liked so much now and he thoughts went back to his mission. He asked himself again, how would it be possible to stop this nightmare if he can give options only?

 

Traitor

“Grie, you’ve got an incoming wireless connection from Osgord,” one of Grie’s friends from engineering said as he poked his head into the rec room. “You should probably take it. It’s your father.”

The Armada was just about to send its fleet through the Bifrost on the way to Earth. Transmissions past this point would be impossible. All correspondence would be relayed by courier ships past this point. Grie stood and walked to the wireless room for his last conversation with family before the hype into the Bifrost, which would be taking place in a few millidays. He stepped into a booth marked, “INCOMING: Recipient Grie Khuda’Mundi, Origin: Osgord Transmission Satellite 5.”

“Hi, Dad. We’re about to head through. Is there something wrong?” Grie was concerned. His grandmother had been in the healing station for radiation poisoning for the past few weeks. Her death was due any day now. “Is it grandmother?”

“No,” the tinnily relayed voice of Grie’s father said over the wireless. “Though she’s certainly not getting any better. It’s about our discussion right before you left.”

“Ah,” Grie exclaimed lightly. “Well, that’s sensible. It is a rather sensitive matter. Is this transmission secure enough to discuss it?” As he asked, he enabled the signal encryption protocols and place his cypher key into the comm unit as he sealed the sound blockers in the booth.

“It’s going to have to be, Grie. We don’t exactly have the luxury of the time necessary to set up something more secure. I’ve done what I can from this side.” Grie’s father sounded distressed.

“Same here, Dad. Encryption protocols active in three… two… one.” Grie turned the cypher key, and there was a series of clicks audible, indicating that his father had just done the same. “Is there something you need to tell me, Dad?”

“Yes. Your grandfather says he wants you to know that the Valkyries have been monitoring this planet, Earth, for a very long time. If you can get in touch with Veriar Khuda’Treer, the Blue should find its own way to contact you.”

“Wait, the Blue is going to contact me?” The Blue only contacted a select few of the Ginnung. It didn’t make Grie any more comfortable knowing that Veriar was under the Blue’s surveillance. Veriar probably didn’t even know. He sure wasn’t Ginnung.

“There’s no other way. Whoever the Blue is, he’s not sharing information with anyone but you. I don’t know why. Whatever’s going on, it’s way above me. Your grandfather knows, I’m sure, but he’s a bit preoccupied with your grandmother right now.”

“I’ll see what I can do. Thanks, Dad.”

“And Grie?” Grie’s father sounded nervous.

“What’s up, Dad?”

“Be very careful, son. I know how much of a risk this is for you. Don’t get yourself killed, alright?”

“I’ll do what I can, Dad. I guess I probably won’t talk to you again for a long time, so be safe, Dad. Take care of Mom.” Grie smiled slightly, and he just knew his father could see it, even if there was no way he could. At that moment, a claxon sounded throughout the ship, and the signal was cut as the TAS Dragon King hyped through the Bifrost.



“Wait, you’ve been helping us?” Mickey dropped his cigarette from between his lips. “But you’re a flipping Dragon Rider! There’s no one closer to the Sheii’Cronell than the Dragon Riders.”

Grie turned to Larry Denton, who had removed his helmet. “You really don’t tell your team anything extra, do you, Denton?” Grie made a face expressing dissatisfaction and turned back to Mickey. “Look, Mister Shore. I am perfectly capable of moving you out of my way, but I think it would be preferable if you would just move.”

Mickey looked exasperatedly to Larry, who nodded, his face grave. He didn’t look scared, though, which surprised Mickey. Now that he looked around, Angus and Summer didn’t look particularly frightened, either. He had no idea what was going on, but this situation clearly wasn’t what it had seemed to be at the beginning. He slowly walked toward the rest of the team and watched the fiasco unfold.

Grie reached down, violently grabbing the Muffin Man by the neck and slamming him against the wall. He then proceeded to remove the Muffin Man’s helmet, revealing Baker’s haunted face. “I present to you the traitor of the Earther Resistance, Wil Baker. This man has been rigging operations, intentionally harming and killing civilians who’ve expressed total compliance with the Monarchy.” He squeezed Baker’s neck more tightly, loosening his grip only when Baker looked like he was about to pass out.

“You can’t kill him, though. The Muffin Man is a figurehead in the–” Larry started off calmly before being cut off.

“The Muffin Man hasn’t shown his face to another living person since I arranged his official death three years ago. Even the few people who know who he really is haven’t actually seen his face or heard his real voice. I may not be able to kill the Muffin Man, but I can sure as the sky kill a dead man.” Grie snarled at Baker as he spoke, as if he were a caged animal waiting to attack his captor as soon as the cage opened.

“Yeah? And who’s going to be the new Muffin Man, huh? And why does he have to have such a stupid sounding codename?!” Larry had wanted to mention that last bit ever since he had joined up with the Resistance. As for his first question, the way his team looked at him made that answer clear. He frowned. Being the Lieutenant was hard enough.

“Well, the codename’s probably because his real name is Baker,” Summer chipped in. “Anyway, Grie, are you going to kill him or should we? I just figure you already got to kill the guy once, and I can’t imagine anyone in this room is a whole lot less inclined to do the same right now.” She realized after saying this that she had said Grie’s name, earning her a harsh look from both Larry and Angus.

“How’d you know his name, Summer?” Mickey asked, exchanging a suspicious look with the Texan, Colt Tyson, who repeated the inquiry.

Summer quickly did something Larry and Angus could never have done. She cited the news. “Grie Khuda’Mundi is the only Osgordian Dragon Rider in the Armada. There was a thing on the news about him a few weeks ago, when they did the special on the Dragon Riders. His picture was on it and everything. Do you guys seriously not remember this?”

Larry and Angus exchanged a look of amazement. They weren’t sure how, but she had just turned the question back on them. “Anyway,” Larry said, “we should probably figure out what to do with Baker here.” He stepped up to Grie. “I’m sorry things turned out the way they did, but you should probably leave before anyone else finds out you’re here. If anyone caught wind of the fact that a Dragon Rider spared even one person, ever, let alone five, that Dragon Rider’s allegiances would probably be publicly questioned.”

Grie nodded, put his helmet back on, and grabbed his knife from the doorframe, putting it back into its sheath on his right thigh. He walked out with silent footsteps. Five seconds after he had stepped outside, he was gone.

“Now,” Larry said, drawing his own knife, “why don’t you guys meet me outside in a few minutes? I’d like a few minutes alone with this idiot.” The team walked out and closed the door. As soon as they had, Baker began to struggle, trying to fight Larry, who used some of the skills he had learned from Terira to temporarily paralyze him.

As he began the slow work in which he was about to take no joy, Larry said, “Would you like to know how I really got my Kohstr deck, Mister Baker?”

Khuda’Mundi’s Confession

As a Minor Admiral, I remember, I was a bit less abrasive than I later became in life. My career had consisted only of quelling rebellions that were inevitable on the outer planets. Due to the dangerous debris from the remnants of other, less fortunate outer planets’ collisions during the Ragn’Rouk, the surviving outer planets were difficult to reach for most cargo vessels, which meant that they mainly had to fend for themselves, supply-wise. This gave them considerably more independence than other planets, which in turn made them more rebellious.

The most distant planet from the core of the system was Nivlahim, a planet which had itself not completely survived the Ragn’Rouk. The initial passage of our system through the Bifrost had altered Nivlahim’s orbit so severely that it had actually rammed another planet whose name was lost long ago. Were it not for the fact that Nivlahim had already had a rather extreme environment for which its inhabitants had heavily adapted, the impact alone would have destroyed all life on the planet. Its atmosphere had dissipated to near-nothingness, and the volcanic activity that followed the collision made what little atmosphere remained highly toxic. But the people of Nivlahim had built most of their society beneath the oceans, and so a loss of atmosphere had little effect.

As if the planet had not suffered enough from the collision, Nivlahim had also been sent into an elongated orbit, causing extreme winters two standard cycles long. Still, its people had survived. The ice above their homes grew thicker, which helped to insulate them from the cold above them. With an entire quadrant of the planet decimated, a hellish winter, and almost no atmosphere, the people of Nivlahim had to form a very different culture from that most formed before space travel became again viable well over a hundred cycles after the Ragn’Rouk.

It wasn’t until Nivlahim began sending out its own ships two hundred cycles after that, looking for other survivors of the Ragn’Rouk, that the other planets of Thorlinthia even knew they had survived. Because of this incredible feat, in fact, the people of Nivlahim became known to the Thorlinthian people as the heroes of the ice for quite some time. Then, upon the annunciation of the Monarch, they rejected the Thorlinthian identity. They were proud of their planetary heritage, and they refused to adopt the Monarchy and abandon their republic. The Monarch refused to accept this and sent the Armada to forcibly occupy Nivlahim. That sparked the beginning of the rebellions.

The Armada was never able to overtake Nivlahim. Due to the nature of the atmosphere, troops could not be landed above the ice, and ships were immediately overwhelmed when they tried to land in the cramped Nivlahim docks. The Armada’s assault ships held no measure against the ice, which was miles thick. Eventually, the planet was merely quarantined. No cargo would be taken to Nivlahim, and any ships leaving the planet were to be destroyed.

Upon word of the first assault on a Nivlahim ship reaching the planet, we discovered how well suited to war the Nivlahim were. Swarms of small fighters and bombers would launch against a single ship at a time, making short work of the quarantine. Larger ships followed. They were slow and clumsy, but they were so heavily gunned and armored that our ships were no match for their fleet, which flew in close formation toward the core. Then, when they reached the fourth orbital range, they stopped.

They had been sent out to remove the quarantine and any members of the Armada from stopping their trade with the other outer planets. Their cargo ships were unlike our own, equipped with weaponry capable of destroying any small debris in their way and maneuverable enough to work around any debris too large to destroy. Their technology was then shared with the outer planets, and those planets formed the Ginnung Domain. The highly militarized void between the Ginnung Domain and the Thorlinthian core worlds became known as the Ginnung Gap.

After over a thousand cycles of all-out war, the Monarch declared a cease-fire. But secretly, he had formed a military organization completely independent of the Armada. Composed entirely of Khuda’Cronell females who possessed unique genetic makeup, the organization was known as the Valkyries, alluding to the great Valkyri’din who had fought in the Eternal War of scripture. The Valkyries were assassins, straight and to the point. They utilized two-person crews and the latest technology to achieve nearly unlimited military strength with only a handful of ships, called Valkyrs.

Valkyrs 1 through 4 were all built within the same cycle, and they were quickly utilized to infiltrate the heavily armored ships guarding the Ginnung Gap. Within hours of arriving, the Valkyries left the ships to die in the cold of space, their crews freshly killed inside the only things keeping them warm. As they moved from ship to ship, the Armada moved in behind them, disposing quickly of fighters that had once been superior to their ancestral counterparts. As they worked through the Ginnung Domain, the Armada occupied the worlds that had seceded from Thorlinthia all those many cycles before. It was not until only Nivlahim remained that the Armada stopped moving outward.

The Valkyries moved in to infiltrate Nivlahim’s cities, but Valkyrs 1 and 4 were gunned down by the people of Nivlahim. Only Valkyrs 2 and 3 remained, but upon reaching the docks of Rym’Yotn, Nivlahim forces overtook Valkyr 2. Valkyr 3 managed to land, and when the boots of the Valkyries touched Nivlahim deckplates, the war was as good as over. More deadly than any ship, Valkyries had strange power that gave them impossible speed and reflexes. A single Valkyrie was stronger than a hundred Special Operations Armadians. Though they carried a repeater for suppressive fire, they tore their foes apart with their bare hands. In centidays, they had moved to the Capi
tol in Rym’Yotn. A full surrender was declared by the Nivlahim senate, and the war had ended. All the worlds of Thorlinthia were united under the Monarch, and the tales of the blue-haired angels of death faded into legend.


Nonetheless, the occasional rebellion still sprung up in the outer worlds, and the Armada spent most of its time providing a preventive presence in the Ginnung Gap, still riddled with dead ships such in number that it was just as hazardous to travel through as the debris fields.

So there I was, a Minor Admiral suppressing another small rebellion, when the Bifrost came alight. It was well known through the Armada that flying too close to the Bifrost would result in the total destruction of your ship, but this was not the light of a core explosion. “Admiral, we’re picking up some strange signals from the Bifrost!” A young ensign panicked as he announced his news without even standing from his console. “There’s a very large ship out there, sir. I’ve never seen anything so massive.”

It must be one of the ancient worlds, I thought. If a world collided with the Bifrost, it would surely spew strange radio signals, and small bits would likely remain of the planet, large enough certainly to be confused with a ship.

No such luck. “Sir, we’re receiving the signals on every wavelength. It doesn’t sound like noise. It’s almost like…” The ensign trailed off, concentrating more intensely on his displays. I pulled up the signal.

A noise rang throughout the bridge. It was almost like a voice, but there was something more animal to the sound. Nevertheless, the same sound repeated through the bridge. “See if you can clean that up. The ancient worlds produce all sorts of interference.” The ensign nodded and spoke quietly to a handful of enlisted men that worked under him. They nodded in turn and got to work removing the signal noise by comparing the signal on varying wavelengths.

“Garf’kan, Fehmadadi bara. Defri serai farjin? Fehmadadi jibah serai farjin!” Such was the content of the message. It was being broadcast on all wavelengths in raw audio. This was a distress beacon, but who–?

“Sir, the ship just passed Nivlahim! It looks like it’ll reach the Ginnung Gap in ten centidays.” The minor officer speaking from battlefield detection was frightened and rightly so. If that ship was moving quickly enough to close that void in only ten centidays, colliding with a planet could be enough to eliminate all life on the planet it hit within five.

“Does it show any sign of slowing?” I grimaced. Here was our first extra-Thorlinthian contact since our system’s passage through the Bifrost, and we faced rapidly expanding crisis. If it slowed down enough, we could aim our weapons to its foremost points and keep it from hitting a planet.

“Y-yes, sir. In fact, it appears to be slowing at such a rate that it will stop of its own accord by the time it reaches Valhal’s orbital range.” That was too quick. Acceleration that great would crush any ship.

“Double-check those calculations! Cease all cargo traffic between that ship and the Ginnung Gap. Maneuver all available Armadian resources along its previously projected flight path. If that ship isn’t really stopping on its own, I want to be able to stop it before it hits the core worlds. And take us as close to that ship as we can get.”

A chorus of “Aye, sir”s resonated through the bridge. Orders were spread along through the ship, and we moved with a military precision one normally only saw in battle. The next several centidays are well enough known to the public.

The ship stopped exactly where it was expected to stop. When we approached it, its hull became visible, and everyone on the bridge or with a feed to the external cameras could tell the ship had been badly damaged. When it began ejecting cylinders, we realized that there was a cargo ship still in the area. It was later discovered that it had lost its wireless to the debris field and hadn’t received the order to leave the unknown ship’s flight path. One of the cylinders hit the cargo ship, and the cargo ship vented into space. The fighters standing by reported later that they had received orders to do so, but no one ordered anyone to destroy the other cylinders. They did anyway. Other Armadian vessels began to fire on the ship, which released four smaller versions of itself that began to fly back to the Bifrost. All but one was destroyed or immobilized.

The final alien ship reached the Bifrost, which lit up brightly once again, and was gone. A few Armadian ships had followed too closely and disappeared into the Bifrost themselves. Investigations were launched, and technological advances in materials, plasma shielding, and drive systems were made in the next cycle that would have taken tens of thousands more cycles. Two cycles later, the Temporal Manipulation Drive System was announced, TMDS for short or Timids to technicians and pilots.

A cycle after that, the ships that had disappeared into the Bifrost reappeared, repo
rting having been gone only centidays, and the Monarch announced those unfortunate travelers that had been encountered to be the Murhan of old, citing the technology used as evidence. He announced that we would go after them with massive new ships of an entirely new design being built at that time and destroy them, finally avenging our ancestors’ fate of being thrown through the Bifrost.


After I had volunteered to test the first ship with a TMDS on a suicidal whim, I was promoted and assigned by Mi’Olnr Khuda’Cronell to lead the Armada with him in the newest flagship, the TAS Fhit, one of the new Qzceno class ultracarriers. A Sheii’Cronell would be accompanying us to test out his new team of fighter pilots, the Drig Reidrs.


I was told that I would receive the greatest honors if the operation was successful. Five cycles later, the new Armada, completely refitted with new hull designs and TMDS propulsion, headed through the Bifrost, and I left my home to destroy another’s.

I was going to destroy the homeworld of the one creature whose body had made it through that fateful day cycles ago. In my pocket still, I carried the soft slip of cloth that bore a picture of two of the creatures holding another, smaller. When I held that slip out, it still emitted a small sound which I could only assume was the laughter of that small child. When I ran my thumb over the characters on the back, it spoke that foreign word, “Kahlisa.”

Great One, my name is Gril’Die Khuda’Mundi, Grand Admiral of the Thorlinthian Armada, and today, my ship has arrived over a world innocent of my people’s blood. And I will kill them all. Forgive me.

Valkyr 52

“–tention required. Repeat: Unidentified craft detected. Valkyrie attention required.” A tinny voice echoes through your quarters. You open your eyes to a red glow. You rapidly extricate yourself from the harness holding you to your bunk and make your way to the cockpit.

“Display unidentified craft.” Your voice cracks. Rapid removal from hype stasis is not unlike awaking from a coma. Despite full functionality, none of your organ systems have been used in quite some time, and they behave as such. This is why you hate distance hyping. No matter how many times you do it, there’s always the chance that the automated systems will encounter a problem they haven’t been programmed to handle. As the primary pilot, you are the only person in the vessel to be awakened. The display lights up in a gentle, dim red that is not difficult to view after your eyes have been closed for so long. A series of numbers appear, denoting the edge coordinates of the craft. It’s large. No, it isn’t large. It’s huge, the size of a small city.

“Enable visual approximation of unidentified craft.” The computer obeys, rendering a rough, three-dimensional image of a small asteroid that has very odd features that seem artificial. The strangest part is the asteroid’s proximity to the Bifrost. It seems to be impossibly close to the Bifrost’s event horizon, but you can’t figure out what’s keeping it there. “Enable full Valkyrie control of Timids.” You speak almost ethereally, driven by pure amazement at this point.

“TMDS controls are now released of all automated functions. Valkyrie has full control.” You miss the gentler voice that had been utilized by the computerized systems in Valkyr 51, but only Valkyr 52 has been properly fitted with the same rapid response controls included in the Armada’s latest 52-F Dragon. But unlike the Dragons, which are simply equipped with pre-programmed, short-distance hype vectors, the Valkyr 52 had manual controls. At this moment, you are simply grateful for that particular feature.

You flinch slightly as the pilot seat engages its contacts with your flight suit. The cockpit is sealed off and filled with liquid as your helmet engages its breathers. When all air in the cockpit has been replaced with the liquid, the systems begin to pressurize to approximately 12 standard atmospheric pressure units, and your breathers force highly oxygenated air into your lungs at an equalizing pressure to prevent your chest from being crushed. Your own slowly extracted plasma is injected back into your bloodstream to increase your blood pressure in order to prevent your blood vessels’ collapse. Your eyes shine brightly, filling your helmet with a cool green as your heart’s muscles are strengthened to prevent heart failure. You grasp the TMDS controls and engage fully manual hyping for the first time in Thorlinthian history.

Were it not for the fact that your entire respiratory system is currently fully regulated, you would surely gasp or skip a heartbeat. Instead of simply feeling that familiar exploding sensation immediately following the implosion of a hype, you now look into a form of space you could never have imagined before this moment. Remembering your objective, you attempt to move toward the strange asteroid. Despite a crushing sensation against your body, however, all visuals seem to indicate that you have not moved. You look for the asteroid and are surprised to find it only an arm’s distance from your left side. Yet that isn’t possible. Your position hasn’t changed.

Resigning yourself to the fact that the manual controls seem not to work, you disengage the hype and feel yourself explode, the sensation that indicates the end of a hype. Your proximity alarms light up, and you see that your position has in fact moved to nearly the exact position of the asteroid. Gripping the controls even more tightly, you maneuver the Valkyr away from what is from this distance obviously a space station. Panicking, you realize the stealth systems are not engaged. Looking about, you see no external signs that the station has reacted to your presence, but that means nothing in space, where there is no need to speak quietly. For all you know, alarms are sounding throughout the station. Quickly, you activate the stealth systems one by one, starting with the gaseous metamaterial shielding, now spread about the skin of the Valkyr and held in from the expanse of space by a cool plasma field only an atom thick. By the time you finish, your Valkyr should be hidden from any sensors.

Nonetheless, you feel uneasy as you approach what appears to be the main docking area of the station. It appears to be open, but looking more closely, you can see that there is a plasma shield. If you tried to fly into the dock like that, you’d probably just bounce off the shield, muddling all the sensors and stealth systems on the Valkyr. Instead, you set about analyzing the frequencies of electromagnetic containment used to hold the plasma shield in place. If you can neutralize the signals with the Valkyr’s own plasma fields’s containment signals, you should be able to pass through, but you would have to do it quickly. Despite this, the signals appear to be constantly changing, probably to prevent exactly such an attempt.

Operating on a hunch, you re-engage the manual hyping system. You find yourself again in that fascinating form of space that even now you cannot seem to properly describe. You adjust the controls to move the ship just inside the docking area. As you suspected, you appear to be at both points simultaneously. You turn the Valkyr to face yourself. Just as surely as the approach of death itself to all living things, you find yourself looking at yourself twice over, from each perspective. Beginning to feel a sensory overload, you disengage the hype once more and find yourself inside the dock, fully concealed.

You land the Valkyr and wait for the cockpit to depressurize, feeling anemic as the extra plasma is removed from your system. Finally, your suit’s restraints disengage from the seat, and you move to the
airlock, feeling impossibly light, even more so than when in deep space. This is probably simply due to the decreased pressure felt on your body, but it is a freeing sensation. You move out of the Valkyr, mapping your exact position in your suit’s location sensors. You quickly scan your surroundings, looking for a door. Just as you spot it, however, it opens. You leap to cover, hiding yourself and remotely utilizing the Valkyr’s sensors to look at the door again. No one’s there. You move inside. The door closes behind you and air rushes into the room you’ve just entered. There are garments of a strange-looking material settled neatly onto a bench. There are no obviously missing sets.


You open one of the compartments on the thigh of your flight suit, removing a small tube. You compress the tube and release it, acquiring an atmosphere sample as you move toward the next door, which has opened on its own just like the previous door. You place the tube in an opening on your wristplate. Your helmet’s display shows that the analysis has begun. You move down the passageway that awaits you past the airlock. The passageway is unusually tall and wide, unbefitting for a space station, which should waste as little space as possible, since more space meant more volume to be heated, which meant more energy consumption.

Suddenly, you notice that there are no handholds on the bulkhead. You gently float to a stop, slowly drifting to the center of the station’s mass. How is one supposed to maneuver about without handholds on such long passageways? Realizing quickly, you spin about and kick off at an angle toward the opposite end of the passageway. You repeat this many times, noticing a slight burning in the less conditioned part of your muscular structure. Clearly, you’ve suffered slight atrophy from your long journey back from Earth. Oh, how Jake would laugh at your current state of fatigue after all your boasting that giving birth wouldn’t have any long-term effects on your physique. Stupid husbands…

You finally make it to the end of the ridiculously long passageway. Looking back, it must have been at least 4 miles long. No, you think to yourself, it was 5 rosts. Slips like that would reveal the mission to be more than just deep space long hype conditioning. Earth mustn’t be discovered yet. Not yet…

The door is open, as you expected it would be. What you did not expect was the vast expanse of greenery that would await you on the other side. Looking up, you see that the room is lit by the Bifrost itself. It’s incredible.

Your helmet beeps quietly at you, and you see that the air is within Thorlinthian standards and devoid of any detectable unknown viruses or bacteria. You set your suit to refill its air supply and supply you direct with the fresh air. The smell of plants fill your nostrils, and you smile unconsciously. Grabbing the branch of a nearby tree-like plant, you begin to maneuver yourself toward the center of the complex, where you had noticed a small tower before entering the station. Again, the door is open. You begin to wonder if the station is an old Thorlinthian project that was abandoned and now trying to start itself back up or if it’s something significantly… older.

You move more easily down this passageway, now accustomed to the mode of travel necessary here. It must be designed this way to prevent its personnel from experiencing muscular deterioration during their time here. You make it to the next open door and are surprised to have arrived at what must be the center of the complex. While it contained yet another large greenroom, at the center was an upward sweeping of the ceiling into the tower. You work your way to the hatch leading to the tower main. It dilates open, and you work your way toward the top.

The passageway becomes narrower as you reach the end, the door opening slowly to a room basked in red light. Maybe someone was in stasis here. You enter the large room, its bulkheads covered in instrumentation and its floor riddled with strange writings on thin pads like paper.

Looking about, you see what must be the stasis area. As you had begun to suspect, the facility is much older than Thorlinthian travel outside the Bifrost. An incredibly tall man with red hair looks past you into the room, frozen in a strange form of stasis, seeming to be completely suspended. But that would kill a man. Concerned for this man who must be long dead, you press your hand against the edge of his stasis pod. It was oddly warm to the touch. No, it was warming itself. The stasis was disengaging.

Looking away from what was sure to be a gruesome sight, you cannot bring yourself to let go of the pod. What had compelled you to come here? What had caused you to disregard the safety of the two still in stasis on the Valkyr 52 and explore this facility? What had opened all those doors?! You begin to look about, searching for enemies, drawing your repeater from its holster under your armpit. Still, your hand will not release the pod behind you. Suddenly, something grasps your fingers.

“Is this a dream or a nightmare, young Thorlinthian?” A voice behind you as you turn in response to the grasping emanates throughout the room, seeming as if it had never been in stasis at all. But it was the man with the red hair who was speaking. Even as you moved the repeater to his face, it disassembled, its parts staying where they disengaged from the rest of the device. By the time your arm had spun toward him completely, a mere 5 milliseconds, the repeater had been reduced to nothing more then a handle.

Something you’ve never felt before begins to arise from within the deepest recesses of your heart. For the first time in your life, you are truly afraid. From stasis, this man had brought you here, and fresh out of it, he had achieved in a moment and without effort what took you a g
reat deal of concentration and five minutes, disassembling the repeater with only his mind. This was a being of a power much greater than yours. No, his power was on level with that of a Sheii’Cronell.


“Well, no, I don’t have quite that much power, Mrs. Kendrick.” That was impossible. How could he know of your marriage? Did he know of Earth? Was that English?! “Don’t panic. I know everything you know right now, Mrs. Kendrick. Please, have a seat.”

Looking around, you realize that not only was there a chair directly next to you that wasn’t there before, but the room had completely changed. Were you in the same room? Seeing no other choice, you sit.

“Mrs. Kendrick, my name is Jil’Hanr. I run this station, as I’m sure you suspected already.” You nod. “Well, we’ve taken a great deal of interest in the Thorlinthians. In fact, this station exists exactly because of the Thorlinthians. I understand you’re a descendant of the Qzicy family, yes?”

You nod, adding, “Qzcivden takes its name from our family.”

“Then you are aware of a document known to your family as the Traitor’s Journal?” You look at the man, Jil’Hanr, with curiosity. Was he saying that the document was true? “It is accurate to our knowledge, yes. At least, it is consistent with other knowledge we’ve acquired from this side of the Galaxy Tear, what your people call the Bifrost. In any case, this means I have much less to explain to you. This is about your son, Drake, and your niece, Terira. We have something very special in mind for them…”

The Corbin Incident – Thorlintians

The Corbin Incident – Thorlintians

The station is quiet and peaceful as I awake. The Linthian ship is gone and all the complex time conflicts with it. They do not know for sure how many more jumps it will take to return to their time but appreciated the information I was able to give them from Supreme Kuli Tomli. They refused to tell me where in their journey they were or what they had seen. I helped them refuel and refit their spaceship along with providing them information on the destruction of Tyria.


They stayed fourteen months and I lost hope that the unknown ship would return from the Tear. When I asked the Linthians about what was on the other side they only responded that it was impossible to know. When I asked them, if they found the modern Linthians, what they would do, they said they would not find them. No matter how I answered they continued to give the same answer – they would not find them. Finally, on the day they were leaving, Tomlin told me that once they entered the tear they applied “other forces” and their journey changes before the exit. He said “It has taken thousands of years to learn the navigation of the anti-verse. Now that we know how it works, we are desperate to return home. Besides, some of our journeys went far into the future so we are not curious as to the final fate of the “Thorlinthians” as they are now known.”


He saw the look in my face as I tried not to ask the questions that I so desperately needed answers to. He smiled a smile I was very familiar with and said “I will not leave you in despair. I have two gifts for you. First, there is a group of the Thorlinthians who know the truth. Second, I have a daughter who wishes to stay with you.”


I asked “Why does she want to stay?” He smiled again and said “She knows too much to be happy where we are going and has grown attached to you as you have helped us. She was always a loner and will not be bothered by the solitude of this station. Plus, she has Tregron syndrome at an accelerated rate. If we cannot cure her soon, and we do not have the equipment with, she will die before we leave the ship again. Will you allow her to stay?”

What could I say? There was only one answer, “Of course!” She was beautiful, intelligent, and I had fallen in love with her. I dared not ask her to stay as she belonged to a different world than I did. Now my dreams were coming true and joy leapt from my heart at the knowledge she wanted to stay. Tomli and his smile – I believe he can read my mind.

Today marks the fourth year since the ship left and four wonderful years it has been. I have never been happier in my life and love my wife and new son. J’Trondia walks into the room and gives me a little kiss on the cheek. She has a forlorn look on her face that does not improve my mood. I ask what is wrong.


J’Trondia said, “The Tregron has progressed and now is in Stage 3. I am sorry.” She was truly sad as if she had done something to me. I hugged her and told her “I love you dearly and every minute is a joy. Do not feel as if you have done anything bad to me – you have only brought my life to heights I never thought possible.” “But I will abandon you with a son out here all on your own” she said. I shook my head and held her tighter. I told her “You have provided me with the best gifts of my life and dying is not abandoning me. Besides, there is still hope.” She smiled a familiar smile and hugged me tighter.


Two years later, my son and I are making breakfast when she calls. I went to her and she smiled that smile I love so much. “It is time” she said. I knew and so did our son. She did not want the end to come in front of us. Her request was to leave in the Sentient Dancer for the final two days. The disease did not result in a painful death but the last two days would see extremely advanced aging and she did not wish to be remembered that way. We understood.


When the Dancer returned it was without her body. We knew she was floating through space and that she had been born while her ship floated through space. I could still see her smile and always would. My son looked at me and asked “Will we ever forget her?” I said “never!”

I dedicated my extra time to training my son. Kuli training is difficult and dangerous. Normally, we never allow family to do the training because it is so hard to place your own child in peril. The discipline requires a hardness that many cannot achieve with their own child. However, my son, Jil’hanr, thrived on danger and challenges. If anything, he was too aggressive for the Kuli lifestyle, a bit like his father I am afraid.


I awoke to the Corbin alarm again. I ran to the control room to find multiple alarms going off. The video showed the return of the unknown ship and it was seriously mangled. I saw no section of the ship that did not have damage. Whatever happened, it was not a pleasant experience. My son ran into the room and his jaw dropped at the sight of the ship.


They were having trouble firing the jump engines and the delay allowed us time to record using every instrument we had. This should give us plenty of data to analyze. I think the next few years will be full of revelations as we investigate the identity of the unknown ship and where it came from. The sad part was the condition of the ship. My dreams of them helping salvage the Linthians disappeared as quickly as the ship had reappeared.


When the jump engines showed to finally be charging, I received a message directed at the moon where I hid. “Beware the Thorlintians” they said. Then they jumped and the track showed them moving rapidly toward Section 12. The message told me that at least some of the people from the seed ship sent to Section 12 survived. Although I was curious as to how they learned the Tyria Standard language and how did they know we were there.


Who else knew we existed? Then I saw the probes on the interface. They were all transmitting and the pattern pointed straight at us. I immediately shut down the probes and looked at my son to see if he had any ideas. He started to shake his head no and then pointed at one of the alarms. There on the panel was a familiar smile on a photoscan of Supreme Kuli Tomli. The image changed and his voice played out “Do not worry about these people. Instead, prepare your instruments for what comes out next.”


I asked my son if he heard that and he said “heard what?” Reload the Corbin and ready the recorders. “But we will lose most of our data on the ship” he said. “Do it quickly” I shouted as I ran from the room. A Tomli memory when I was awake must be triggered by a traumatic event and I was probably running out of time. I launched the Sentient Dancer and all the other ships available, ordering them to hiding as far away as possible. I moved to the electrical room and shutdown all of the non-essential systems on the station.


When I arrived back in the control room, my son had the Corbin system up and running. Whatever came through the Tear would be tracked in every way that we have technology for. Could this be the Thorlinthians or did the unknown ship encounter something else? We wait.


The alarms were set to silent so we saw the ship at the same time that the alarms went off. The ship was very small and built similar to the Captain’s cruiser we used at the end of the war. This ship had a similar design with weapons mounted everywhere on the superstructure. It paused for about ten heart beats and turned in the direction of Section 12. The ship shook as it started to prepare for the jump. We watched as the craft moved away and marveled at the fact it held together as it jumped.


For days we reviewed the data. The Thorlinthians had taken a Captain’s cruiser and modified the drive to match the one on the unknown ship. They did this in an incredibly short time and rather effectively. Clearly the Linthian abilities with technology survived. Still, the damage on the unknown ship and the warning indicate that the influence of the Cosmic Tear disaster and the deceiver’s assistant drove the Linthians in a dark direction.


Three cycles later the Thorlinthian ship returned and went back through the Tear. Now my work as a Watcher has truly begun. I will have to accelerate my son’s training and await the next message from Tomli. I am no longer alone and I am surely not bored.


The Watcher.

The Corbin Incident – Tomli’s Visit

The Corbin Incident – Tomlin’s Visit

The unknown ship invigorated me and brought a sense of excitement to my life that I had not experienced in hundreds of years. My routines were no longer boring and held new meaning as I contemplated the interaction between the Linthians and this unknown ship.


Once the Traitor’s journal/warning came through the tear, I knew it was possible for someone to come out of the tear. The knowledge that the Linthians were still alive was extremely hopeful and perhaps we now have a race with the technology to help return them to this universe. My dream would be to return the entire solar system.


I worked tirelessly updating and adding to the Corbin system. If the ship returned, I wanted to be able to learn as much as I could about our visitors and their journey to another universe. Travel through the tear is a mystery in itself that I have many questions about. I know that it is terribly traumatic but do not understand the long-term effects.


On the third day, I woke after a night without nightmares or pain and smiled all through breakfast. Thirteen nights was my previous record of nights with pain and nightmares before a good sleep. To only have two nights of terror and pain after a deep sleep is unheard of for all except Linthians. Hope stirs that I may have adjusted to the deep sleep after all this time.


I went to the control room and examined the layout of the probes and decided to add a new section of probes in the direction of Section 8 where another galaxy is located. This galaxy is just beyond our fuel limits and as I finish programming the units to seed the probes I notice the anomaly in my memory. Why did I decide to place those probes?


A Kuli is trained to look for patterns in everything. The universe speaks in a soft voice and you must quiet yourself in order to hear it clearly. I was hearing something but I am not sure what is speaking. Should I stop the placement of the probes? Who or what wants them positioned in that path? Did I think path?


I quickly head to the interface and note the placement I programmed. I asked the interface what an intercept would be for a ship from Section 8. The answer brought laughter to my lips as it matched the locations I programmed for the probes. Now I was curious to know what I would find and who can control a Kuli.


“Only another Kuli or one of the ancient Linthians” says a voice behind me. I turn around to see the legendary Supreme Kuli Tomli sitting in the command chair with a rather devious smile on his face. He went on to say “I am glad to see that Kuli J’Rontia trained you so well! You discovered the memory update within a remarkably short time.”


I am ready to ask the obvious but he answers before I can ask, “I did not die but nor did I stay alive. The deep sleep is dangerous and wears on the body. I knew that I was too old to do it without a reconstruction and I would never allow anyone to make that sacrifice for me. Instead, I used the space warp created by the cosmic tear to transport myself into the future. Unfortunately, you cannot make precise calculations for such a jump due to all the variables and this was the closest I could come to the time of the tear. Sorry you had to wait so long.”


I was stunned and responded “How can you not be alive but not be dead?” He gave me another one of those devious smiles and said “By being one of the living dead.” He went on “In your training you learned how to slow the metabolism of your body to a level where others cannot detect you are alive. You were told that if you stayed in that mode for more than two sleep cycles you may not awake. But do you remember why?”


I spoke about cell decay, the effects of a lack of oxygen (for Murhans and Linthians), and other factors involved with cell death. He just smiled that smile. When I had finished he said, “Well thought out and a great lesson for your son.” “What son?” I said. He just smiled.


When I did not go on, he said “Let me give you a little history.”

            The ancient Linthians learned many secrets as their technology advanced and they came very close to immortality. With the deep sleep, many feel that they did achieve immortality. However, they could not stop the cell decay. They learned to imbed chemicals in the cells that prevented damage during the deep sleep but the chemical use came with side effects that proved agonizing to all non-Linthians and deadly to some. The Linthians examined the differences and found that the DNA configuration of the Linthians and Murhans were based on a similar pattern but that the rest of the galaxy was different. They also discovered that the Linthian DNA had been artificially modified with pieces from other organisms.

           

The ancients thought they were the first race in the galaxy to achieve intelligence and now found that they had been created and that their entire wing of the galaxy was a variation on that design. They examined their some of their greatest achievements related to the body and found that they only worked perfect on the modified Linthian DNA.

           

The leaders decided to find out who did this to them and learn why. After much discussion, it was decided to send one of their best scientists back in time to when they believed the change happened to find out how. We know, as they did, that the laws of the universe prevent time travel under almost all conditions and when it does allow it, the ability to send a person back does not exist.

           

The Linthians did not become the greatest race technology wise by avoiding the impossible. They used to say “the impossible challenges are the only ones worth attempting!” They finally settled on an approach that would have consequences far into the future. If the universe’s rules do not allow time travel, then we need to go outside the universe, travel back in time, and then return to the universe.

           

The preparations for the journey took years and multitudes volunteered to go. Twelve Linthians were accepted and one Murhan. Two days after they left, the crew of the ship J’Rontoom returned to the surprise of all. When they stepped from the ship everyone saw forty-two extremely old, thirteen middle aged, and seven young people exit. Since their life span is in the thousands of years, the visible aging showed everyone how very long they had been gone.

           

The story of their journey spans many volumes in the great archives but a short version will suffice for now. You see leaving the universe only requires a minor tear in the fabric of the life threads; however, once outside the universe there are no concise rules such as we have here. They also found that they could not control when they returned. They could only control the where in a small way and only with time, not with space. Their movements out of the universe changed the rate of time that flowed and the direction. This then controlled where they returned to the universe and all of that was relative to where they left. The longer time jump they tried, the further away from Linthian space they were when they reentered the universe.

           

This led to many, many trips in and out over thousands of thousands of years in their time. They saw the universe from almost the beginning to way in the future. Every time the reentered the universe they had to travel back to Linthian space, sometimes crossing multiple galaxies. Since their ship had limited fuel, they often would drift through the space between galaxies for thousands of years.


When they finally made it to the time of the change in the Murhans and Linthians they were shocked. The race was suffering from many diseases and almost extinct. They only existed on one planet in an area of the galaxy with almost no life in the galaxy at all. They had found the beginning of Linthia and realized that it was the end. They examined the people.

           

The DNA structure was there but none of the advanced components were working. In the body the physical structures were there with basic functionality only. In addition, the local radiation continually damaged the DNA and destroyed any of the positive mutations before they could take hold. They waited to see who would come and change the people. No one came.

           

After hundreds of years, the race was down to several hundred people. It is at this time they noticed one woman and her family who were not getting sick. Within a few generations, their people merged with the rest and the entire population started down a road of renewal. The scientists selected a subject or two and tested them to find the mutation that caused the revival of the species and found the DNA of the Murhans.

           

They all came together to solve this dilemma as they had watched carefully and no outside influence had entered the system – except for them. Had one of them violated protocol and altered the DNA of the people of the system? To do so would be criminal and the violator must face severe punishment. Before asking the computer to do a comparison on the DNA of the crew, two stepped forward. J’Tondre, a Linthian, said that he did not directly alter the DNA of the people but he did mate with one. T’Reyda, a Murhan, said that she also mated with one and implanted her fertilized egg into a female who was barren but wanted children.

           

The crew was stunned. The two members were exiled to the planet and the entire crew felt shamed by their actions. As they left, J’Tondre said “You still don’t understand do you – we were sent here to create the change. When you refused to do what destiny required of us we had no choice. We did not break the law!”

           

The ship left the planet to start its long journey back and carefully analyzed the last words of those they left behind. There was no law against the actions they took but there was a law against modifying a people without their understanding and their oath to not change things when they went back in time had been broken. J’Tomlin argued that history showed the change had taken place so that the crew were the ones guilty of changing history as they did nothing. He argued that those left behind did what was needed to prevent history from changing and thus are not guilty as they fulfilled the intent of the oath and did so within the letter of the law. He started a debate on the use of technology that continued until the great rift that ended with the exile of the deceivers. He also argued that those who believed the two did wrong did even worse by leaving them behind to breed their DNA even more if their logic was correct.

           

The crew realized he was right about leaving them behind and returned to pick them up. They were not there. Instead they found multiple solar systems full of Murhan ancestors and no trace of the two. Less than a year had gone by for them and yet hundreds of years had passed on the planets. On top of that was another mystery, the people had no space travel ability and yet existed in multiple solar systems on planets that had evidence of terraforming. They were mystified. They left and started back on their long journey home.

           

Their journeys back and forth out of the universe bounced them around in time and space and they became very wise. Realizing their mistake, they returned to the people they had left behind, picked them up, and took them into the past before the disease hit. They reviewed history and placed some of the people on each of the planets where Linthian history said they were found, creating the needed environments. When they were done creating the Murhans, they left to face their peers with the truth.

           

The Linthians used this story to examine their actions with advanced technologies. This discussion and the Star Channel crisis led to the decision to stop the use of advanced technology to disrupt natural events. That decision brought the exile of the group now known as deceivers and with it the disruption that finally caused the destruction of Tyria and the Cosmic Tear which swallowed all of Linthia.

 

“There are many lessons to be learned in this piece of Linthian history” Tomli said. He went on “The Linthians went out of the universe in the same location every time, the spot you call the Cosmic Tear. They created the Star Channel when they were moving planets and they created the Tear when moving through time. Whose fault is it that their solar system is now outside the universe? They think that they created themselves, but how do we know they returned to the same universe every time? Perhaps someone was controlling them. They traveled through time on many, many occasions in their journeys, what did they see in the future? How did the people of the times they visited understand them and their purpose? Did they even begin to understand their impact? And finally, what about the enlarged crew they arrived with? They were in space a long time.


Tomli spoke again, “I would like you to consider two aspects. First, you are seriously concerned with various types of guilt related to the “Thorlinthians” as you call them. I submit that it is their own actions that placed their system at risk and their inaction in times of crisis which allowed the situation to progress to a dangerous state. Second, you have a choice about what role you wish yourself and other Kuli to play in the future. You need to decide how passive you wish to be. Consider the results of the Linthians’ passiveness and ask yourself if they were correct.” He returned to the warm smile and the slightly devious look to await my comments.


I agreed to think on it over night. We discussed many things during the rest of the day and late into the evening. My mind was full of revelations and confusion as I lay down my head. Sleep came fast and hard.


In the morning, I awoke with no nightmare on my memory, only the discussions with Supreme Kuli Tomli, and yet the agony was back. At first I started the old methods I used, and then I remembered some of Kuli Tomli’s advice. I sought out the part of my brain he noted for filtering pain. I set the chemical pattern needed to turn it on and waited.


The organ examined the cellular indicators causing the pain and noticed that the deep sleep chemicals were causing a reaction to one of the receptors of my body’s cells. A protein was released into the blood that caused this receptor to quit the reaction resulting in the pain going away. The organ then released a trangor virus that rewrote the DNA in the cells so that further reproduction would include this change. I was amazed that this happened and even more astonished that I was able to track and understand the process.


The process repeated for the cramps, the shakes, the headaches, and many more irritating side effects of the deep sleep. When I finally stood, my knees, which hurt whenever I sat or lay for any amount of time, went through the same process. I then made a conscious effort to mentally inspect all the injuries and agonies I experienced over the years, repeating the process many times. I felt like a new man.


I entered the control room and proceeded to the interface to check the reports on the probes I installed in Sector 8 yesterday. They were gone. I was bewildered. What could have happened to them and how could it happen without raising an alarm? Who am I dealing with now? I looked at the timeline on instruments and my astonishment increased – yesterday never happened.


Now I fear that the deep sleep has corrupted me and I head for medical. I drop into the diagnostic unit and close my eyes until the process is complete. I open them to a green light on the machine that indicates I am in perfect shape and have no anomalies. I was about to leave the chamber when I noticed a small light blue light in the top left hand corner. Realization starts to come to me and my fear leaves bringing in a sense of amazement and final understanding. My years of training as a Kuli are complete and now I begin my training as a Supreme Kuli. The indicator light I am looking at is the species DNA indicator. According to my DNA, I am now a Linthian.


I know how Tomli stayed alive and died. He transferred his knowledge and mind to others with triggers based on key situations. I go to work rapidly. If I am correct, the probes I place in Sector 8 will allow the Corbin System to find a space ship drifting toward the former location of the Linthian solar system. On board will be scientists from the Linthian past, including one who will bear me a son and another who will become known as Supreme Kuli Tomli.


I was correct about one thing – things are going to get busy around here.

The Watcher

The Corbin Incident – The Ship

 The Corbin Incident – The Ship

Sparkles dance across my mind as feeling returns to my body. The agony drives stakes of pain through my senses and disrupts any thoughts I was able to form. The shakes and cramps prevent any possibility of finding a less painful position and moving only increases the level of tenderness and usually adds new heights to the aches.


I feel as if I have always awakened in agony. Deep sleep was originally designed for Linthians and thus they have few difficulties with it. Murhans, who are from the Galactic Wing and genetically very similar, can handle it with training in meditation. However, it is near impossible for the rest of the developed species unless they happen to be a Kuli or some other group that trains their members in the arts of deep meditation under stress.


I happen to be a Murhan Kuli, as most of us now are due to the Virtrocet plague. The plague was designed to destroy the life-force connection in all Kuli but did not work on the Murhans. This made the last years of the war even more difficult as Kuli were actively recruited from those Galactic Wing planets who were trying to stay neutral in the war. The people of that particular spiral arm of the Tyrian galaxy left war behind thousands of years earlier, plus the legendary ship makers of the Galactic Wing did not want to take sides. They would only have half the profits that way.


The Galactic Wing did stay neutral until almost the end. I often reflected on the plague as sealing the doom of the Murhans. Their continued connection to the life-force and their production of Kuli candidates infuriated the deceivers to no end. This led to more and more attacks on Murhans and finally they joined the rest of the Republic against the forces of the King.


I now see so many places where a calm hand may have stopped the war or prevented the entire galaxy from being destroyed. So many mistakes are clear when you are looking back. If only the Supreme Guardian Tomli had completed the training of those two Kuli he left behind, things may have been different.


It is now seven thousand plus years later and Tomli still stands as the last beacon of light and the warning voice of the ancient Kuli. Before he died he pleaded with the entire Republic to leave the King and his little solar system alone. Oh how history unfolded darkly after his warnings were ignored. My mind, once again, reviews the mistakes of the war and how we all contributed to the destruction of beautiful Tyria.


The same tortured stories, filled with regret, run through mind every time I awaken from the deep sleep. This is why the ancients quit using what we call “dark” magic. Of course, the entire term is incorrect. The deep sleep and other magics are only advanced technologies and the “dark” only refers to the thoughts that commonly run through the minds of the users of the technologies and the negative side effects they experience.


The technologies were geared toward a specific genetic imprint and the further away an individual is from that pattern, the more “dark” thoughts that run through their minds and the more difficult it is to focus away from the pain when using the technologies. I am so grateful that I am a Murhan or I would not have been able to withstand so many deep sleeps.


The clocks indicate that I am not awakening at my normal time. I must focus on the alarms now and find the reason I have been awakened. I am shocked to see the Corbin alarm flashing on my panel. I cannot access that information in the sleep chamber and must wait until I am completely rejuvenated and can go to the control room. Patience is not longer an easy task for me when awakening and I know that I will have to purge my body and mind soon or quit the deep sleep. If only I had some help…


Hours later, I enter the control room and consider the Corbin alarm. The alarm was designed by Kuli Corbin and protects against the stealth technologies of the deceivers. The system continually probes near space for the presence of particles out of synch in their atomic spin with the particles in that area during the previous probe. In the case of my station, I use external probes and keep the entire station in stealth mode. Since the station is located on a fragment of a moon, there are no movements that would allow someone else with a similar system to detect this facility.


I have even devised a method of using back-spin quark particles to report the status of the Corbin system so that I do not have any changed connections online to detect. This should mean that whoever set off the alarm does not know I am here. Still, if they computed all the known and detectible information for this area and compared it to the spin and orbit of this moon they could notice a minor error that might lead to a more detailed investigation that could, if someone was very good at their job, lead to a physical inspection of this moon. I feel safe.


The Corbin system shows the presence of a large spacecraft of unknown origin. The track of the ship indicates a galactic jump from the galaxy in Sector 12. The ship appears to be examining the galactic tear. This is not a good plan. I am not sure how a people could manage to build such a beautiful ship capable of crossing the gap between galaxies and yet position themselves within the flex zone of the tear’s anti-space field.


The ship’s drive residuals indicate an anti-matter drive which, in the galaxy of Tyria, led to anti-space understandings. Yet some of the disturbed particles show a negative inversion spin ratio and an anti-space refraction that point to either a poorly tuned engine or a race with no sensitivity to radiation and quantum refraction. Kulis know that all things are possible given time and circumstance so it is plausible that they do not know the danger they are in.


This is a difficult problem as I must maintain secrecy and yet the Kuli vows require me to help them. So I awake the Sentient Dancer. The Dancer moved from its garage and fired up its engines. The great ship turned toward the Dancer as it started to transmit its warning. Too late.


The Galactic Tear flexed and the ship was engulfed in an instant and then it was gone!


Who were they and how will they survive the journey to another universe? Will they find the Linthians alive and well? Will they be destroyed?


I decided not to sleep and worked instead on creating and setting additional external probes and independent systems. If their ship is capable of surviving the transition to another universe it may be able to return and things could get real busy.

The Watcher

The Journal of a Traitor

The Journal of a Traitor


I didn’t realize I was a traitor at first. I thought our cause was just and we were cleansing the universe of evil. The gloomy creases beneath my eyes tell the tale of a dead man. The color matches the depth of darkness that has accumulated in my soul as snow gathers on ground in a blizzard. There is no beauty, only cold shifting drifts of death.


I am beyond redemption and if a true God exists she will most assuredly ask a high price for my soul – there is no one left to pay. Perhaps someone who hears my story will accept my final actions as a down payment and have pity on my soul.


I saved a life and allowed that one to corrupt the only innocent ones left. My story is a warning to any who may survive. The Thorlinthians are to be feared. They will come to hunt any and all who remain – if any remain. That though is not the warning. A way more dire truth awaits those who receive this broadcast.


Linthia was the best of us all. Their twelve worlds never wavered and they warned us all. We didn’t listen and they paid the price. Now they are separated from their history and on a mission to take revenge on the remnants of glorious Tyria.


The warning I have for all of you is that a Deep Deceiver’s assistant survived and has a reconstitution chamber. I ask you to hear my story and promise I will end it with a gift to all who survive.


A Traitor’s Tale


The sun was green in the evening sky as I arrived at the Academy of Truth. The morning star was long gone and I could hear the whispers of the ships that crossed the night sky. I knew that my journey had started and I would be a star in the new order. The universe would rid itself of the false truths of Tyria’s priests – the Kuli.


They claimed they were not priests. They claimed they were only guardians of Tyria. They claimed to be peaceful. Yet when the war machines of Tyria arose against the king they were designed and built with Kuli technology. When the soldiers of Tyria arrived they fought with skills and weapons provided by the Kuli.


However, they made a fatal error. They didn’t know about the king’s alliances with neighboring solar systems. They didn’t know about those systems’ alliances with their neighbors and so on. The Holy High Seer personally negotiated those treaties and others saving the lives of millions of the king’s subjects and creating the largest alliance ever seen.


My home planet was the third ally of the king and the first to feel the taste of democracy’s military persuasion. We informed the Tyria military that our space was off limits to its military ships. In their long dark ships, like thieves in the night, they rode the solar winds through the corner of our little area of the galaxy.


We met them between the Torotory Nebula and the Rings of Exiquer. Everyone thought that history would remember the Battle of the Rings as the beginning of the end of Kuli domination. Unfortunately the battle did not go well as the light cruisers were destroyed one by one. Beautiful white ships with gold stars on the tail section burning as their fuel pods exploded one at a time. The view was as impressive as it was devastating for my people.


In two days, the entire Torotory fleet was destroyed. We all thought the ambush would work and the Tyria battle group would leave our space. No one anticipated they would even fight and we never thought our 700 ship fleet could be destroyed by a five ship battle group.


The Admiral planned on the surprise and overwhelming force defeating the Tyria battle group. Instead of surrendering they split and went in five different directions as we pursued. After seven tetraines, one of our commanders fired on the first of the dark ships and instantly they all five stopped. Thousands of drones exited the portals of each ship and within minutes all of our ships’ drives were neutralized. When the Tyrians called for our surrender the Admiral laughed and told them “You will all die for entering our space illegally”. The Tyrians transmitted a truce from the time of the third Torotory Council that gave them transit rights through the Torotory Nebula and surrounding space for eternity.


The Admiral refused to acknowledge the treaty and called it a hoax. He asked for their surrender again and reminded them that they were out numbered 700 to five. The Tyrians, cowards that they are, started to fly away. The fleet all fired as one on the five ships expecting the dance of flames to carry away the anger at the arrogance of the Tyrians.


It is at this time that the lies of the Tyrians were revealed. Our weapons had almost no effect on their ships. It must be the dark magic of the Kuli that protected them. They claimed advancements in shimmer technology but we all knew that the dark powers of the Kuli protected them. We fought to the last ship and to this day all the survivors are heroes of the realm.


My father told me the tale as his breath wheezed out of the Cobor lung. Forever damned to live inside of a machine he begged me to carry on the fight. “Join the Holy High Seer and defend the right of the King”, he said. So here I am, forty sentaries later, at the great temple, the Academy of Truth, anticipating my initiation.


I am the chosen. From tens of thousands of volunteers they only selected ten. We will be dedicated to the High Council of Truth. It will be our job to sleep the long sleep and await the needs of the Council. I will have the honor of becoming a “core” for one of the Council.


The green cast of the evening sky draws eerie shadows behind the statues of the six members of the Council. As I ascend the staircase to the Temple of Truth I recall the secret of the steps. There are six sections of six sets of six steps as you climb to the Temple. The six sections represent the six members of the Council. The six sets represent the six areas of the galaxy they come from. The six steps symbolize the six Truths the Academy is built on. At the top of the staircase is one large door to the Temple that symbolizes the Holy High Seer as the guide for all who seek the Truth.


Every member of the Council is given a “core” of their own. One of the six Truths is “A person’s knowledge is more important than the person”. To this end, one of the highest priorities is to preserve the knowledge of those who know the most. To accomplish this every Council member regularly submits to a brain scan to record their knowledge. Then if anything happens to them the information is transmitted to their waiting “core”. The receipt of this knowledge automatically places the person on the Council to prevent the loss of knowledge.


By this method, the Academy of Truth protected its information against the greatest depravations of the Kuli and survived when everyone thought they were exterminated. To be selected as a “core” guarantees a seat on the Council. My family was so proud. I entered the Temple with great anticipation.


Three weeks later I had still not met the Holy High Seer and my training consisted of medical examinations. The questions mounted and the answers were few. After four weeks I was brought to an office where I met with one of the medical officers. They told me that I passed all the tests and was ready to begin my duties.


I asked what my duties would be and they said “To sleep”. Further queries did not elicit a response as I was led to a metal walled room. As a slab slid out from one wall I felt a shiver slide up my spine. For the first time my faith was challenged. This was not the program I signed up for. I laid down on the table.


My skin burns and I know I am in hell. My faith failed me and I did not find the heaven I was promised. I see nothing and my limbs will not move. The harder I try to move the more the pain increases and the greater the burn on my skin. Eternity never felt so long as it does now. How could things have come to this? These were my thoughts as awareness returned.


The medics finally removed me from my chamber. The light streamed through my closed eyes as my head exploded in pain. The first visions were of blinding light brighter than ever imagined. The pain shot into the center of my brain as if a metal pick was thrust through my skull.


They smeared an ointment on my naked body and it cooled the burning skin. They poured liquid into my eyes and the pain subsided as my vision returned. However, the pain had only started. Every organ in my body screamed as it restarted and the entire process took three days of excruciating pain.


Nothing in my experience prepared me for the truth about my awakening. I was not chosen to be a host for the knowledge of a Council member. The attendants informed me that I was chosen for my ability to survive a deep sleep. Why? The answers to the infinite number of questions did not come. Once again I spent my time going from medical check to doctor to medical check.


This time I did receive some information that only served to add questions. I was seven thousand sentaries in the future. The war was not going well. For a few thousand sentaries the forces of the King prevailed as the alliances brought additional systems into the fray, stretching the forces of Tyria to the breaking. However, the Kuli brought their dark magics to play and slowly turned the tide against the King and his allies.


I realized that much of my knowledge worthless and outdated. The current King was the great, great, great grandson of the original King and they all received longevity treatments. The current King was two thousand three hundred forty two sentaries. So what could I possibly contribute to the battle? I felt worthless, confused, and not a little angry.


They moved me out of intensive care into the main section of the medical facility. There was nothing I recognized anywhere. I could not operate any of the technology, the buildings were strange, the clothes did not make sense to me, nor did any of the constellations. On the fifth day I considered the possibility that I may actually be in hell.


On day six I opened my eyes to orange flashing lights. The triple moons of Crettium echoed through my room in pulses of intensity that seared my eyes even after they shut. The room shook and I bounced off of the walls as the universe appeared to end. Alarms sounded and voices screamed as panic filled the air. I threw myself against the door as fear filled me beyond the breaking point and my world went black.


The world around me was dark again as I awoke. I felt rough hands grab my arms and pull me toward a searing heat. I fought back as my brain reeled with the thoughts of being dragged by demons into the fire pits of hell. My right side screamed as it touched the burning door frame and I blacked out once more.


I heard music floating on waves of nausea through my mind. A sweet voice encouraged me to wake up and a soft hand held mine. My insides released their contents with a violence I never knew before. My body convulsed as if to protest its recent treatment. Too many shocks to the system and my body’s rebellion started. The next morning arrived with no rest and empty insides.


The music drifted in and out of my room with gentle caresses of soft sounds that remained to dance on my thoughts. The sweet voice continued to speak to me and finally I opened my eyes to an angelic face with deep green eyes and the sparkle of ages. She was beautiful and she was a Kuli medic. My heart sank and hope fled; I was in the house of the demons.


She saw me cringe and pull away. The smile faded and the music stopped as she realized that I knew. The dark magic only works if you let it and I planned on resisting. When I looked up again she was gone and only a medic was left. I looked around and saw no trace of her. I asked the medic where she went. He said, “who?”


I asked where I was. The medic told me I was on the medical ship Hristro headed away from the fighting. I asked if there were any Kuli on board. He laughed and said, “No one has seen a Kuli medic since before I was born. The Kuli medics all died sentaries ago and the few other Kuli that remain are in the thick of battle.” Then he surprised me. “Besides, there were only you and an old priest left alive so we don’t need that level of help anyway.”


The few days I was awake confirmed that our Truths had not changed and One of the Six Truths is: “No one can lead you to God because God is everywhere.” Therefore we have no priests, only teachers of the Truth. We believe that only those that God calls to her can come to her. So, we concentrate on knowledge and leave faith promotion to lesser groups. So who was the priest? And where did my “vision” come from?


Over the next few weeks I sleep, eat, exercise, and rest. I am alive, in enemy territory, and surely am bound for a prison. My sleep is deep and my worries are few as I am resolved to suffer quietly for my beliefs. My Kuli medic does not return and finally I meet the “priest.”


He is an old man with slight limb on his left side. There is a scar that runs across his right eye and all the way down to his neck. A bald head sat atop a thick neck where multiple tattoos declared him a priest of the Holy Order of Tyria. The Holy Order of Tyria is the oldest religion in the entire galaxy. They are huge supporters of the Federation and tireless proponents of requiring all planets and systems to be a democracy.


He smiled and embraced me as if I was his long lost son. “My assistant has returned to me” he said as he held my shoulders and looked deep into my eyes. When he hugged me again he whispered “act as if you have known me all your life” into my ear. I smiled at him and fell to my knees in homage. “Arise my son” he stated with elegance born of years of practice.


We went to his quarters where he turned on a small black box with three pyramids sticking out. Then he started to explain. He told the Tyrians that he was a prisoner on the planet they captured and that his assistants were missing. There were only three survivors and the other two were janitors in uniform. The Tyrians agreed to find him passage to his church in the outer edge of the galaxy in the Wetrig wing. We are almost there.


After we land we are escorted to the church where the staff clearly recognizes the “priest” and welcomes him home. They refer to him as their “light” and guide from heaven. It is hard for me to keep from screaming the “Truth” at the top of my lungs. The priest, also known as T’ Nouret, smiled and embraced them all one at a time. Time seemed to drag on forever as the sick charade continued for at least an hour.


After much ceremony we slept and awaited a new day. The morning brought a visit to the clinic where I was led to an underground bunker behind a secret panel. It was time for the truth to be told. T’ Nouret started with his job. T’ Nouret is a priest of the light and has been since his youth. He cautioned me to restrain my questions till the end and I settled back to hear the tale.


The Holy Order of Tyria requires all regions to submit candidates for priesthood based on the membership numbers of that region. The candidates must be younger than six years old and their training lasts until they are seventeen. At seventeen they undergo a complex surgery that sterilizes them to help avoid temptations of the flesh. T’ Nouret laughed at this and said “What a weak cover for the implanting of a hyperphase transmitter.”


I did interrupt and asked “Do you get sterilized?” T’ Nouret frowned a little and stated “Yes. They must do that to keep the cover.” He continued on and told of their placement with an experienced priest for the first ten years where they are watched day and night. At 38 the priests either disappear or receive their own church.


T’ Nouret paused and motioned for me to hold my questions. I was bursting with curiosity and his request was very difficult to honor. His manner became serious as he continued. “There are no priests of the Holy Order of Tyria that are not completely loyal to the Holy High Seer.” I think my world disappeared in a haze of confusion. These facts crashed against the sea wall of my beliefs with a thunder that roared in my brain.   


He smiled as he noted my discomfort. “The evil needed to be purged from the galaxy at all costs” he said. He went on to explain how the Academy of Truth had tried for thousand upon thousands of sentaries to eliminate the Kuli to no avail. So they changed their master plan to include a supreme deception. The Holy Order of Tyria was designed as a counterpoint to Academy. While the Academy stayed behind the scenes and committed visible mistakes, the Holy Order was visible and appeared to stand against the beliefs of the Academy.


He continued, “the creation of “peace” was very successful against the Kuli. The galaxy did not need them and they faded away. When the war started they were almost extinct. The last Supreme Guardian died with no replacement as the plans had predicted. However, there were two unknowns that changed the course of the war and spelled doom for the Academy’s grand plans.


The first was the Kuli who took the deep sleep. The Kuli avoided products of Academy’s science as one would avoid the plague. Yet for some reason, two of them took the long sleep many times. The grand plans called for the loss of Kuli knowledge as the war dragged on over time and these two prevented that from happening.


The second unknown was the role of the peoples of the Galactic Wing. The Galactic Wing is one of the spiral arms of the Tyrian galaxy and is situated almost totally separate from the rest of the galaxy. This separation resulted in the entire arm being populated by one species. This separation also resulted in the war avoiding these people until the very end. We calculated that they would not entry the fray and at first we were correct. This arm made huge profits by selling arms and ships to both sides. The Grand Plans counted on this neutrality to last for the entire war. It did not as the Murhans, with one exception, sided with the Tyrians.


The center of the Galactic Wing is the home of the star system known as Linthia. The Linthians are the foremost proponents of neutrality in the known universe. It was believed that they would keep all the rest of the Murhans neutral. None of us could have predicted the side effects of the Virtrocet plague. The plague left all of the galaxy’s species, except the Murhans, with no connection to the life-force. This meant that all new Kuli came from the Murhans. As we targeted the Kuli more and more as the war progressed, the Murhans started to take this personally and they sided with the Tyrians. The entire Galactic Wing, except the Linthians, put their resources at the disposal of our enemies. The Grand Plans started to fail as once again the difference was the Kuli.


All of the forces of the Holy High Seer were ordered to retreat to the King’s star system. There they were to be the bait to draw the last of the Kuli into the open. The Holy High Seer was planning an ambush and we were all to participate. I was waiting with the final group at the hospital where you were revived when we were attacked.


The attack destroyed the facility that was the key to the ambush. Now the Holy High Seer and the remaining Academy members will have to fight it out with the remaining Kuli. We are doomed to miss the battle and the Tyrians sent us here thinking we are one of them”.


When he completed his story, I had nothing to say. Everything I believed over the years has turned out to be a deception and my life is in the hands of someone that spent his life living a lie. The religion I hated was created as a huge deception by those who preached the truth and I was assumed to be a loyal follower who understood this.


“What is our next step” I said. The smile that spread across his face chilled my bones as I started to realize that this priest still did not feel that the war was over. “We need to make sure that the Kuli do not survive. We must release the plague of Torusis. All of the loyal forces have immunity as do our spies. Soon we will rise again” he said. Almost as an exclamation point, the world trembled and we were thrown to our hands and knees.


For five minutes we bounced around on the floor as the world crashed around us. Never, in my experience, had there been an earthquake as devastating as this. When a piece of the roof fell in, I made the greatest mistake ever, I pushed the priest out of the way.


I saved the life of one of the most evil men I had ever known. The earth shook again and we both fell to our knees. Only the strength of the bunker saved us. Three days of repeated events left the entire planet in total disarray and with millions dead.


Hungry and weak we emerged into a disaster zone. All around us was destruction. I glanced at the priest and saw a smile cross his face. Evil and excited the look ran my blood cold as I realized how much he enjoyed the destruction around us. He loved it and soared with an energy that defied his years. I finally understood how wrong I had been over the years. If this was an example of “truth”, then I preferred the lies. I now know that I am a traitor to all.


Five secorits later, I watched the scout ship land. The planet’s defense system was still online and what little still functioned attacked the ship. They ease at which it avoided damage made it clear that it was the Kuli. The ship was a cruiser of great speed and we also needed that ship to escape. The priest had released the plague and now he wanted to put the rest of his plan into place. He believed that all over the galaxy people were going to rise against the Kuli once the plague hit and they could not heal the disease. All of the academy followers were immune and this should leave the galaxy finally in the hands of the academy. How wrong he turned out to be.


Six planetary cycles later we are able to enter the ship. Once again, the secret priest controls that have been built into all ships, allow access to most ship controls. We loaded seven crates of unknown contents and our limited luggage. We were not able to take much food, but the priest felt that the crates were more important.


As we took off I watched the planet fade away into the dark. Death and destruction were left behind and the priest was once again ecstatic. He turned to his control panel and tapped in the code for the academy. There were no responses except from a few beacons. All of the channels were dead. The censors were fired up and he scanned all bands. There was a cry from the consol and the readings came in. Whatever disaster hit our planet also hit the rest of the galaxy as everything was dead or totally disrupted.  The priest started to turn and the ship jumped.


Something caused the ship to jump without a command. The priest reviewed the panel and then laughed. “The ship is set to automatically perform a full power jump to Linthia” he said. He went on, “I would not have executed a full power jump as it wastes too much fuel, but that is near where we wanted to go anyway. The Galactic Wing is almost totally undamaged by the war and that is where we will release the plague.”


I asked, “Did not the controls show galaxy-wide devastation?” “Of course, that was to keep anyone from using the ship. Standard Kuli lies!” he noted. It seems as if the standard lie is to accuse the Kuli of lies. What purpose does my life serve? Why and where are we going? How can the Academy be so deceptive without being exposed? I sit down and contemplate my next actions. With almost no one alive and those dying I wonder what my future could be.


The blinding swirl of light that accompanies the return to real space dances across my eyes. I look to the control panel for a view the famous Linthia system. Linthia is a custom built solar system. The Linthians achieved technology at such a high level that they were able to move their planets. All the planets are positioned around their sun in perfect formation allowing for the best climates in the galaxy. Their planets have no disease, no predators outside of parks, and agriculture integrated completely into their biodegradable structures.


Even during the war people from both sides visited the Linthians. It was only after the Murhans joined with the Tyrians that the Galactic Wing was cutoff. I knew that if anyone survived it would be the Linthians. I looked at the view screen and froze.


 The Galactic Wing is famous for its beauty and the Linthian system is the jewel of the wing. It contains a perfectly clustered group of stars that revolve around one huge star around which all the planets are perfectly aligned. The view is renowned for the awe inspiring vista it paints. Some even say that it is the only view that can truly touch the soul.


The ancient Linthians had the power to move planets and suns. They started to rebuild the Galactic Wing to their own design. Yet one day they just quit and dismantled their equipment. They always remained the best at technology yet after that point their profits came from correcting errors others had with their technology.


Today the impressive view was gone. Directly in front of us is chaos. Scattered remains of planetary bodies were strewn around the center of the wing. The center itself was a black abyss that appeared as if it was a sheet of ice on a dark night. Linthia was no more!


The priest screamed, “No! The Star Channel should have allowed the Holy High Seer to escape – not this. We must go to the battle and save him!” He started reprogramming the controls only to scream again, “No!” He slammed his fist on the panel as he raged over and over, “No!” Blood splattered from the damage on his hand and he finally stopped his rampage.


“The Star Channel was our backup plan. If the ambush failed, the Holy High Seer would still destroy the Kuli and use their power to transport over here through the Star Channel. The Star Channel should have taken their power and used it to move the King’s system to a spot next to Linthia. Now there is nothing.” He hung his head and I felt my soul grow cold as the life seemed to leave my body. I lurched to the floor and clenched my heart as the pain surged through me. As I weakened I saw his strength return – what was this?


His smile returned as he said, “Now you understand your place. I see in your eyes that the truth has finally arrived. Remember the truth “A person’s knowledge is more important than the person.” Well it is very true. However, a grown person brings their own ideas into the mix when the knowledge is carried to a new body. For that reason, we use your bodies to regenerate our own. Your body was linked to mine in the hospital. If the Kuli had not attacked, you would be old and I would be young again. Now all I can do is draw small amounts of energy from the implants we placed in you.”


My defeat was now complete. I was a traitor to all and I had helped with an evil so big that it destroyed a galaxy, ruined and killed the real heroes, and obliterated the one system that could have helped us rebuild.


He smiled again and said, “It appears that everyone has died on all the planets. My scanners show nothing except at the location of the last battle. It must have been great as there are a lot of energy sources left. We must find a fuel source. The Kuli rigged this ship to come here and to consume all of its fuel. Then we must revive the ancient cores of the High Council. They will know what to do.”


The seven crates – six members of the High Council plus the Holy High Seer. We are carrying the Academy of Truth on this stolen ship with no fuel lost in the middle of a field of destruction beyond compare. How appropriate.


“Will we revive all seven?” I asked. He answered that we would not. One would have to be sacrificed so that the others could live. We would have to empty one reconstitution chamber and put someone in it so that their body energy could revive the other five council members. Then the empty chambers’ energy and the one with the body in it could regenerate the core of the Holy High Seer. Clearly he considered me disposable and intended me to be the “someone” in his story. The council member cores could be revived without regeneration but would be weak and with so much time as a core, they would degenerate rapidly outside their container. It would be critical to find a body for each of them as soon as possible. From where?


Most of my strength had returned but I was still scared. How could I have any hope of stopping such powerful and evil beings? If everyone is dead, who cares? Let it end. I was just about to give up when the priest commented, “The ships will never reach the next galaxies and if they do, we will find them, eliminate the Kuli, and build things the way they should be.” “Someone survived” I asked.


“Yes” he said. He went on, “I have the captain’s log from this cruiser.” The fools somehow managed to trap the power of the battle and even planned on dying in the effort. However, they did not know that the Holy High Seer had tapped the power of the Linthian Star Channel and so the forces escaped down the channel instead blowing out of the solar system. When it was released here it caused the devastation you see. However, the attack fleet of Murhans and Kuli survived intact. While some went to check planets for survivors, the others retooled the ships for crossings to other galaxies. They can try to hide, but we will hunt them down.”


The five High Council members had revived and were discussing the connections for the core transfer when I entered the room. They all smiled and my blood went cold. It was clear that they all were the greatest type of evil. They believed that they were Gods and that, as the truth says, “The end justifies the path.”


I hooked the Holy High Seer’s chamber to mine and connected all the other chambers together to draw power. No one wanted to take the chance that there would not be enough to complete the process. They were all so arrogant. They ordered me around as if I were a dog. They left the directions on the table as they discussed how they would destroy the remaining Kuli and take over the seed colonies that the Kuli were sending out. It was clear now who worked to build and who worked to destroy.


I am almost done when the universe lights up again. I watch in slow motion as the council members and the priest fly across the cabin. They slam into me and once again the darkness fills my mind. I awake and see the six of them with fear in their eyes. I smile inside as I wonder what could chill the soul of ones so cold. The ship is a mess and everyone has cuts and bruises. It is evident that once again they were surprised. The great knowledge they hold is clearly filled with holes.


They are intent on reviving the Holy High Seer. They tell me that only he has the knowledge to understand what has happened. However, most of the directions to the chamber hook-ups are now destroyed. Only one of the archive units holding the Academy’s knowledge base is intact and they fear it will harm them if they use it. It is decided that I should use it under one of its control settings to see if it still works.


My brain screams with delight and pain. The knowledge courses into me like a beam of light in the night. They think it is controlled, but it is not. It brings me all the information I request without hesitation. It is too much and I surrender to the darkness once more.


When I come to they ask if I learned how to hook up the chamber. “Yes.” I said while smiling deeply inside. I review the connections and tell them that everything is almost ready to go. As I lower myself into the chamber I finally have a sense of peace I never knew.


There is no pain this time. I am outside the field. The chambers were hooked up wrong. The power couplings were not strong enough to handle all the energy and they burned up. The energy was funneled into the Holy High Seer and fried his core into oblivion. All of the chambers, except mine, were destroyed. The single remaining archive unit can only be used for one person’s knowledge, and with only one chamber they could not force their knowledge onto anyone. If they wished the knowledge to go on, it would have to be downloaded into a willing recipient as I destroyed the controller and that was the setting left on.


I emerged from the chamber to confusion. The Holy High Seer was finally dead and they 1ooked as if they had seen a ghost. “What happened?” I innocently asked, drawing all the confusion into my voice that I possibly could. “The field built wrong and the energy flowed to the wrong sections” the priest said. “The controller must have received damage when we left Linthia space” he added. It was good that they had an answer and I left the matter alone as everyone stared at the incinerated core of the Holy High Seer.


Three tetraines later, the damage from exposure to the field was starting to show. All of the Council Members were experiencing dementia of one sort or the other. Even the priest was having difficulty maintaining his demeanor.


The following morning a glorious sight came into our view screens. In the middle of empty space was the Linthian solar system with its circling stars and planets. They are thrilled. As we draw near the joy recedes.


The planets are no longer in perfect order orbiting the sun and many are missing. The ones that are left do not follow the nice paths left by the ancient Linthians. Instead they careen around the sun in wild erratic paths that bring into question the sustainability of life. The question became, “Is anyone left alive/” The tumult we experienced on the ship must be nothing compared to what whole planets and suns went through. Without fuel we slowly drift toward the system using our positioning thrusters to aim at one of the more stable planets. Without food enough for all of us, the Council members took the deep sleep in the cruisers lifeboats.


The priest and I maintain the ship while they sleep. There are no communication channels open and we only see night light on one planet. At least some are still alive, but do I want them to experience this evil? I know I must do something as the Academy’s version of the “truth” does not resemble reality in any way.


We should land in two days and I have made my decision. I need to leave a record for any who come this way and the record needs to transmit on both sides of the tear in space we went through. I wish I understood more, but the knowledge I received from the archive unit indicated that the Holy High Seer planned to use the ancient technology from the Linthians to move the King’s solar system into the Galactic Wing. The process opens a channel in the fabric of space itself through the use of energy from an alternate universe. Perhaps now as we saw the chaos in the Galactic Wing and view Linthia in another universe we know why the ancient Linthians quit using the technology.


The second thing I need to do is warn the Linthians about this crew. I now believe that they are the most dangerous people left alive. I am going to disable the ship’s thrusters. The ship will never be able to land and will drift forever. Then I will set up a warning for the Linthians.


The priest was asleep and I snuck up on him with the syringe. As I injected him he awoke and his surprise was complete. The drug disengaged his control over my implants and returned all of the power left. I felt a surge of energy as he collapsed back into his bed. I realized how dependant he was on his implants as his true age became apparent.


When I returned to the control room I saw my mistake. There was an asteroid coming and now I had no way to avoid it. I have three cycles to record all that I can.


I am preparing this message as the asteroid approaches. My last gift to you is knowledge that the Linthians of Thor survived with their planet almost completely intact. They have a couple of lifeboats left that they are using to move between planets. There are many Linthians still alive.


There are two bad news items. First, where ever this is, time is not the same. Thousands of generations have past here. The inhabitants took the name of the planet as their own – Thor of Linthia or Thorlinthia.


The second is the Council. When the asteroid hit I was seriously injured and would have died had the Thorlinthians not found me. As it was, they revived the Council while I was incapacitated. The priest helped them and found a volunteer for his own renewal. By connecting a deep sleep pod to the reconstitution chamber he thought he would regenerate his body. He did not know that instead his knowledge would be transferred into the volunteer and he died from the shock of finding himself still in his old body.


However, I must now add a warning to my message. The story told by the new version of the Deep Deceiver’s assistant is quite a ways from the truth. The revived Council members backed him up and convinced many before they died of some sort of dementia. The Thorlinthians believe that the Murhans caused the great wars and that between the Kuli and the Murhans their system was exiled to this place.


Encrypted section


Not all Thorlinthians believe this. I was found by the Qzicy family. The Thorlinthians are now a warrior caste system and the Qzicy family is one of the top. The law allows all prizes to be kept and I was “salvaged” so I am kept. All the rest of the people and the ship were sold to the High Command.


The Qzucy family has records from before the exile that show the Kuli to be benevolent teachers of high technology. Their records show that at the time of Linthia’s retreat from technology two groups formed. One that believed in isolation and eventually resided completely in the Linthia system and a second group that formed the Kuli to train others to use high technology in peaceful ways and to protect civilization from improper uses.


The family has a third history that is not written in their books but that is passed down to the children by word of mouth only. I encrypted this into my message with a Kuli code that the archive showed me. (I apologize for using your information without permission.)


The third history is of a group of ancient Linthians that were banished. They took the high technology and infused it with the life force in ways that allowed harm to come to those whose life force they used, even at times causing death. This group was stripped of their ability to use the life force and sent off into empty space away from all galaxies.


They did not die as alone in space. Instead one family took pity on them and sent a rescue unit for the group. That family was the Qzucy family. The group used a reconstitution chamber to place the intelligence of the greatest member of their group into the body of a genetically pure young man. This body was then put through the core process. When the others died he lived on using other bodies while keeping the core in deep sleep.


They showed me the crest from his chamber. It was the chamber of the Holy High Seer that I had killed. Their guilt is absolute and they dedicate all of their family to the cause of the Kuli. Yet their mission is to remain undercover and work from the inside. They saved me and helped me prepare the capsule I now send.


Unencrypted


The group that captured me took me back to the ship so that I could show them how things worked. During that time I finished this message. Heed my warning.


After thousands of generations of suffering, the Thorlinthians are recovering their technology. They are determined, beyond all that I have ever seen, to have their revenge upon the Murhans for the tragedy of beautiful Linthia and the deaths of billions.


My gift to you is this message. Heed my warning. The Thorlinthians know of the seed races and plan to hunt them down and seek their revenge. Their bitterness runs cold and vengeance drives them all. Their race once ruled all the galaxy and had technology that could move stars. They will return and when they do let all beware and be ready!