The War Begins -- Chapter
1. Kor had won the hearts of Theotian Outlanders like a
long awaited savior. He had hoped that his
effort in the Badlands would outshine any negative publicity that he
received from the Theotian homeworld. Kor and Theos proper had a
mutual misunderstanding. To them, he was a "rebel rouser,"
admired by young
debutantes and rebellious aristocratic young bucks with something to
prove. Kor's image had also become a best selling Indy holo
label, and icon for their underground youth movement.
2. Theos released an
official statement that it would not recognize the revolutionary
government 'on' Vejhon. The Senate had debated all day whether to
use the word 'occupied' or not. "How is Vejhon 'occupied'?" one
Senator asked, "We're from
here -- does that mean we're occupying
the Senate? How does an indigenous occupy their own world?"
"The legitimate government is at large, so Kor's
regime is 'on' Vejhon," the speaker resolved. A brigand was sent
to Vejhon with a holo
Theotian Senate laughing Kor to scorn. "Declare war with what?"
laughed. "You're a vegetarian!" On Theos, that was the
lowest possible insult. Vegetarians were not allowed to
serve in the military and could not be trusted near a produce
The Vejhonian etymology of "vegitarian" was "stupid," so it was a
unilateral insult. "What Kor
pulled off on Vejhon could never happen
here," the Senate chimed unanimously. "Psionics is an absolute
others said, "See what it does for law and order? The law
abiding citizens had to flee from their own
world!" "How fracking awkward is that?" The insulting
sequence played on endless loop.
"I suggest you take sanctuary in the commerce quarter," Kor
admonished the messenger. "They're not courageous enough to
in person," he said to Dal El.
4. Throughout his training with Mantra, money had
never been an issue
because everything Kor needed was
in the rainforest; he barely wore clothes and required no
maintenance. There was plenty to eat. Contrary to Theos'
insult; Kor was without question the greatest
hunter known to anyone, so the
insult was ludicrous and unsportsmanlike. Nevertheless, he
understood the mean-spirited intention.
5. Theos was in an awkward predicament too:
6. Blue Funnel
had set up shop on Vejhon and Blue Funnel was a Theotian corporation
whose interests were protected by shadowy entities. Their goal,
financial parasite, is to control whole systems through perpetual
debt. Their bureaucracy is a menagerie of unaccountability by
design. Blue Funnel owned the Theotian Federal Reserve.
They were an
autonomous political entity with vast holdings throughout scores of
systems. The Blue Funnel district on Theos was an independent
political State: It did not have to abide by anything the Senate
legislated, and more often than not, told the Senate what to
7. The first by-law in Blue Funnel's charter read: "It is illegal
to disincorporate the corporation, and the corporation shall be
eternal, ad infinitum."
8. Kor had a 'kill switch' option: "I'll let them
invest Trillions," he said to Dal, "and as soon as they forget their
place -- I'll kick them off the shell and keep their assets and
investments." If more shells had done the same, Blue Funnel might
not have fared so well. "It's all fiction anyway," Dal
9. "Invent a way to covertly manage them," Kor ordered, "We're psionic
-- they're not." "True," Dal agreed,
"considering what they are: Financial alchemists." "Their
symbol?" Kor pointed at the upside down whirlwind. "Oh yes," Dal
huffed anecdotally, "it's an inverted tornado -- wealth being
created from nothing." "Or perhaps draining everyone's wealth
into one pocket," Kor suggested. Dal cocked his head and examined
the tornado, "I think that's accurate," he agreed, "They registered
that trademark centuries ago because
everyone sees them as a money drain." "Nobody objected?" Kor
cocked his head incredulously. "They're unaccountable," Dal
shrugged, "but not vain. They don't give a damn what you
call them, as long as they get every damn thing
10. "Unbelievable!" Kor thought of
how shamelessly transparent their MO truly was. A small part of
him actually admired the purity in purpose of the machine, but the
power brokers themselves, left something to be desired. For a
he wondered if there were any SGK holdovers and Dal was thinking the
same thing. SGKs were owned by Seven Gates -- they had no choice
but to leave, and they all left willingly.
11. "Did you pick up what the Minister of Enlightenment said?"
Kor asked. Dal drew a breath to dramatize the minister's remark,
"Everyone with a
reality-based mind evacuated, my Lord. The 'so-called'
engineers, scientists, doctors, specialists and experts... went to
wherever they went."
Kor laughed at Dal's exaggerated intonation and let him finish, "We are
a shell full of dreamers, artists
and two-Billion unmotivated workers." "Guards!" Kor
exclaimed. Dal raised his eyebrows and suggested, "A'zoth," in a
hushed voice, as a repacement word.
don't think 'all' of them evacuated,"
Kor tonelessly reproved, "They're here -- we just need to find
them. I want you to locate where they are and bring me a detailed
report. Every skilled shellan can train a thousand more.
I'll bestow privilege and prestige upon all who heed my call.
They'll come because I have what they want." Thus spake Kor, so
the minister set out
to comply. "If there were
any SGK holdovers," Kor whispered, "I want them brought to me
13. Dal helped organized the
talent drive. Those 'diamonds in the rough' who gambled that
Kor would pay any price to rebuild his new
kingdom, were right. The least desirable social dredges
were hypothecated to pay the most preferable talent with premium
estates and prestige, as promised. Millionaires who were not in
step with Elite ideology were defrocked and sold into slavery or turned
into factory workers. Anyone who
couldn't endure the humiliation was destroyed or in a best case
14. Kor gave his 'citizens of higher mind' unlimited support and
political Carte Blanche, elevating them to the highest social circles
within their respective fiefdoms. One
in a thousand medics stayed behind: Fewer engineers and fewer
physicists. There were specialties
with no remaining practitioner at all, so interrelated specialists
located the proper training materials and trained new
There were technical instructions on how to do everything in
detail. Slowly, but surely, able bodied shellans fell out of the
The industrial resurgence provided the propaganda ministry with
uplifting and authentic material with which to
boost morale. The media
covered this period as Vejhon's 'reconstruction era' and it lasted for
16. Most of Vejhon's defense aparatus was in serviceable
condition, although certain tactical components had been minimally
disabled to facilitate the evacuation. Those discrepancies had
long since been corrected.
17. When the recovery began to show steady
positive results, Kor decided to re-inaugurate interstellar
There were systems that had promised their support during the campaign,
themselves afterward, and wanted economic ties now. Kor wanted
those who had abandoned him. Blue Funnel persuaded Kor to let
them take economic revenge instead, "It'll keep you from getting
negatively in the intergalactic arena," they said, "We have
ways..." Kor debated their offer from the opulence of their
consulate hall in the Quarter,
"Perhaps you would be useful for that," he agreed, "so, do your
thing." There were systems that banked on Kor's rise to power
that would be handsomely rewarded. Anyone who lent assistance,
even if they refused at first, would be added to the 'good' list.
Actions!," Kor reminded everyone, "Talk all you want -- it's what you
DO that matters, when it
18. It was sheer dumb luck that a talent scout
nine astronautical engineers who missed the
evacuation. They were throwing a retirement bash for a colleague
in an orbiting
hanger. The hanger was down for maintenance, so they thought it
would be safe to have their party
19. A operating BAC sensor revoked their
duty status and remanded them to the shell, pending review. They
a taxi to a rainforest to sleep it off, and when they awoke, the
celebre' who had
fallen asleep on his mock throne outside the cave entrance was
gone. Those who had slept inside the cave's entrance were left
The unpardonable act of entering a cave in a
spacer uniform bordered sacrilege.
20. Dal didn't really care about their
excuses. He offered them a blank check
get the shell's orbiting transit apparatus back in operation. In
effect, they received a huge promotion for throwing a wild and
21. The 'Sky Spirits' were
born. Kor appointed all of them to be his
attache's and gave them stewardship over everything that was not tied
down. They quickly became the envy of every kid, with their
imprinted on all kinds of toys, clothes and novelties.
Everyone wanted to be a Sky Spirit.
With shellans-of-mind working fastidiously in synch with
Dal El's plan, it took five months, working around-the-clock, to roll
the first Elite
off the orbiting assembly line.
23. Biocyberneticists reactivated dormant robotic helpers for the
task. They were recruited after they returned from vacation
abroad, and seeing no other option, made the best of what was
offered. It was their fault that they deviated from their
itinerary or a Cardship could have picked them up. Dal offered an
attractive employment package,
leaving them worry-free for the rest of their lives.
24. And it came to pass that Vejhon resumed its role as an
shell, which meant that they were capable of interstellar
25. Existentially and metaphysically, however, the shell had
alternate reality and time, which was of particular interest to a
non-existent, off-shell time-police agency.
26. Within two more years, Dal's armada began to look
formidable. As Vejhonian machinery built more efficient, hybrid
the ship-building process began to absorb and exceed Vejhon's capacity
to supply raw materials. The nearest source of minerals was the
Outlands and Theos had severed economic ties with rogue Vejhon...
"Vejhon Improper," was one nickname. Blue
Funnel had to invent a unique scheme to untangle foreign trade because
their puppet entities abroad had been ripped
apart by the SJ's. Very few knew that Blue Funnel routinely
financed both sides of the same war; even the SJ's believed that Blue
Funnel possessed a degree of sanctity. Plan EZ:
"Recapitalize On Credit and call it whatever you like," the Vejhonian
CFO said. The infusion of limitless fiction made it possible for
Vejhon to compete with the exorbitant tariffs imposed off shell.
All major clearinghouses were controlled by Blue Funnel. Cooking
the books was easy.
27. "Made on Vejhon" was a virtually nonexistent label, and a
collectable now. "How about... steal
it," a Blue Funnel executive suggested. "Steal it?" Kor didn't
know if he had heard him right. "You have a resident expert: Your
#2," the executive said proudly. Kor looked away in thought, but
not in disgust. "They were up to something," he knew. The
question was, "What?" Blue Funnel's agenda was as crazy as the
Cacci Dai hive mind. One exec didn't know what the other exec was
doing. "Whatever it is," Kor knew, "has to do with money."
"Steal it?" he repeated matter of factly. The executive
nodded with open arms to suggest, 'Why not?'
28. Dal El knew Outland mining operations like the back of his
hand. He also knew where the administrative cracks and loopholes
were. He created The Department of Deception to mine
Outland resources disguised as a legitimate mining operation. He
used to issue the permits himself, and knew that the
Outland frontier was largely unguarded. Many of Kor's
campaign sympathizers were only too happy to forward SJ patrol
schedules and report any deviations per se, since Theos didn't care
about the Badlands anyway.
29. "Free... is very cost effective," Dal quipped
in one classified report. He handed Kor a tablet that presented
the cost of an illegal mining operation. "With all the fraud,
lies and fiction being traded like it has real value," Kor said, "I
don't see a big fracking difference." He liked the aquisition fee
of zero. "Would you believe," he said, handing Dal his tablet
back, "that Blue Funnel suggested that I task you with this?"
"Yes Master," Dal answered with a grin, "he saw me right after he saw
30. During Kor's Badlands
campaign, Queen Estuses asked her favorite SJ to "Go spy on that
terribly handsome rebel rouser..." The SJ dispatched
immediately. Kor's retinue was unable to take evasive action
before several B'lines set down outside the rally stadium. To oblige his
adoring fans, he chose to
proceed, "I accept all walks," he said, "as long as they accept
me." After all, he had two SGK's in his fold, at the time, and a
Psionic Guard to some extent. "I accept SJ's too!"
31. It is a B'lines ability to respond at faster-than-light speeds that
seemingly non-existent supervision of the Outlands. SJ's are
as venerated on Theos as the Psionic Guard is on Vejhon, only SJ's are
alot cockier. Their balls are very, very big and every kid wants
to be one. "The ultimate challenge," Kor
thought, "Can I convert an SJ? If I can convert an SJ, I can
Before the affair went south, the squadron commander, as a vested
federal agent, fired the curator for misconstruing the right to
assemble as the right to conduct insurrection. The curator could
be reinstated by providing proof that his activities did not violate
the State's interests.
The junior officers approached Kor's
podium and heckled his rhetoric, "Is that
the shit you're spreading
around?" they mocked. SJ's were never known to get personally
involved during peaceful
assemblies so their conduct made the crowd paranoid. The
pilots scolded the crowd, "You're trading in your government for
this?" The baseless interruption made the crowd angry, so they
rebuking the pilots because the State never concerned itself with
outland affairs, "Since when do you care?" one shouted: The
murmuring escalated into a full blown riot. It didn't matter that
the Queen had only asked them to spy -- their 'duty to the State' came
34. Kor's advisors recommended that he vacate, so he
view and evacuated before he could be implicated for inciting a
rebellion on foreign soil. Some of his Guards stayed behind to
delete any evidence that he had been
Once the psionic shield was fully removed, testosterone
took over and medics were needed. One spectator commented, "This
whole fiasco could have been avoided if
Kor had shown up." Another added, "but he never did." "I'm
really disappointed," said a third. "I really wanted to see him,"
said a fourth. Kor watched a media clip of the skirmish, "Good
work!" he praised his clean up team, "We were never there."
The adage: "Whatever the mind believes
is real... is real."
THE ELITE'S SECOND DESTROYER
Dal asked the Sky Spirits to revive the
traditional salute when a
Head-of-State embarked or returned to port. For this particular
mission, he instructed the media,
"Don't report anything accurate: Make something up."
A Universal oxymoron. He knew he could count on them.
invisible saucers were at a dead standstill observing the departure,
"Isn't that their old salute?" the weapons officer asked, "Like the
Aqu'Sha days?" "It looks like it," navigation answered.
"That's the whole fanfare," the pilot observed, "are you seeing
this?" "Yep, we see it," the sister ship's pilot
answered. "That's one and two leaving," his navigator said.
"A brand new battle wagon," the WO admired as
the new destroyer glided by in all of its deadly sheik splendor and
glory. "Theos should have stopped this," the first pilot
commented. "Yeah, well, we're not the politicians," the other
38. "Look at
this," Dal handed Kor a magazine devoted to Kor-worship. "Kor is
the State religion," it says, "I know we
didn't print this. This is real. This is how they feel
Kor's iconoclast image had become the spiritual symbol of Vejhon.
He knew it was true among the Elite, but a majority of the shell's
population were not members. He studied the magazine cover with
mixed emotions and then handed it back to Dal with a blank
39. As a sign of good faith, and to improve his image with the
Theotian homeworld, he promised that
he would never attack Theos proper if Theos relinquished all claims to
debris that drifted into Vejhonian
space. The Senate maintained it's official sanction against Kor,
secretly authorized Blue Funnel to facilitate the
accidental drifting of unwanted liabilities into Vejhonian space for
their salvage. One back-room deal did
the trick. "Push those pieces of crap they're already mining over
there," the minority leader suggested.
40. In a manner of speaking, Dal El's rank within the Elite
created an interstellar marriage. Theos believed, sarcasm
intended, that "Kor would never
attack Theotia with a Theotian princess at his side." They
carefully avoided referring to Dal as a 'Queen' because Queen Estuses
had a crush on Kor herself. Dal was still within Theotian grace,
but only for
41. As the destroyer approached the Jolvian prison outpost, Kor
wanted to absorb as much of the death experience as possible.
This would help him to create a template for future occasions; to
a ritualistic protocol. This crime would reach far beyond the
gridboards into the deeper Universe at large, and become an
irreversible travesty. This
is the realm in which Angels dare not
tread. "This piece of debris keeps bouncing back and fourth," Dal
explained, "The Theites had it when we were here last -- now the
Jolvians are using it. I guess nobody wants
42. The Jolvians maintained
in border regions to make their borders less attractive. In
case of a jailbreak -- the prisoners could escape to someplace other
than Vril or Thule. Since Jolvian prisoners do not have rights,
they were sometimes consumed with a fine winter ale. To keep them
tender, physical conditioning was avoided and gravity was kept at a
minimum in the inmate areas. In the event of a riot, prisoners
can be incapacitated
normalizing the gravity. The guard areas, of course, are
43. "We're approaching the target now, Sir," a yeoman said to Dal El,
handing him a tablet to review. That would become a catch
phrase for the next 70 years, and this was the moment when the catch
began. It was a moon-sized meteor, perfect
for optimizing the destroyer's main weapon. "How many times did
this thing drift back and fourth?" Kor asked. "Eight," Dal
answered, "Theos kept pushing it back -- they don't like fluctuating
logistics." "Yeah, and I bet somebody 'wrote it off' all eight
times," Kor injected. Dal was amazed that Kor would know anything
about Theotian business practices. He returned their focus to the
subject at hand, "It's possible the Jolvians
will get blamed for this," he offered. Kor laughed out loud,
"You ARE psionic, aren't you!"
Dal adjusted the
tevatron beam to an intensity of 4.024 x 1032cm-2s-1 and
inserted encapsulated antimatter pellets in vacuum pockets within the
beam. A smaller yard test had annihilated an asteroid and left no
evidence -- the perfect crime, "Imagine what we can to to
an alien threat now?" Dal
commented. "I think we're done with convention,"
Kor agreed. Anti-matter
pellets had been used for clearing heavily trafficked
matter-dense trade routes for years. "There's always a use for
peaceful technology," Kor said at a recent Elite gala.
45. As the targeting computers
located the asteroid's weakest point, a negatively-charged,
dark-matter calm quieted
the crew. Dark Matter is the consciousness of tetragammaton
directly observing 'Life through Light and Death; Beauty and
Savagery' at moments of decision. Others might interpret the
sensation as a voice of warning from beyond. Whatever one
believed, that 'sensation' would unify and perpetuate the next 70 years
of conflict, because the sensation was addictive and amplified by
conquest. It blanked out everything except the clarity of
death. "The Black Mass," we'll call it," Kor said.
46. A weapons officer offered a remote fire switch to
Dal, who graciously returned the honor to the weapons officer.
Dal nodded and the officer pressed the switch. A single beam of
concentrated energy sped toward the asteroid while everyone
watched. There was a delay while the anti-matter pellets
bore down to their prescribed release depth. The explosion
cascaded inward and the cavitation wave canceled just as
configured. In a momentary flash, the episode ended as if
watching a holo. There were no impacts because everything
dissolved as calculated.
47. The asteroid fissured into a billion
brilliant fragments and dissolved into nothing. The observers
were astonished. "We just 'spoke' that asteroid out of
existence," Dal whispered. The perfect crime: Nothing
there some quantum variable that we simply can't see?" one crew member
Kor replied to all concerned, "Don't let the 'unquantifiable' mar your
achievement. We made history today!" Thus spoke The Master,
so all hearts were set at joy.
48. Dal turned to the
weapon's officer, "My compliments for calibrating a perfect
strike." The weapons officer smirked at Dal's altruism because
everybody knew that Dal had programmed the
targeting computers himself. "Thank-you, Sir," the officer
acquiesced, "We are of one mind," he reasoned. Kor concurred.
49. One of the observing saucers began to transmit a
video feed to SpaceCom.
"You're aren't transmitting that?" the saucer pilot asked his navigator.
"Guards! We got a B'line on our ass!"
communications shouted to the captain. "Shoot it!" the captain
replied. Weapons targeted the signal source and obliterated what
became an obvious saucer silhouette before it disintegrated into
"Are there more?" the captain demanded. "Searching, Sir,"
Tactical replied. "I think we've got our war now," Dal
articulated carefully to Kor. "Will SpaceCom get that signal?"
Kor asked. "The data
packets won't make sense unless the translation buffers are received
intact," Dal El answered succinctly, "They might get some of it,
but definitely not
it. They need the buffers and the end code to get the whole
SpaceCom did not know what to make of the garbled
mess that came through, so the closest available B'lines were scrambled
the Jolvian border. The Jolvian High Command was notified of a
breech. Jol and Theos had reciprocating agreements to
protect each others border communities.
"Evasive Plan B, full speed," Dal El instructed the
helm. He had been a saucer jock in his younger years and knew
precisely how to stay off the grid. "Call for
reinforcements, just in case," Kor suggested. "Aye, Sir,"
Communications replied. Outland clutter was famous for losing
transmissions, so it was possible that there would be no record of
anything, which was not the case: SpaceCom pieced
together a general idea of where the transmission originated.
They would have been caught fleeing the scene if Dal didn't have an
knowledge of SJ response procotols. "They followed us from
port," Dal explained, "B'lines are invisible."
When the saucers arrived, there was no forensic evidence to
study. Although saucers can fly faster than time, Dal had
crossed back into Vejhonian space through an uncharted wormhole.
Time is inconsistent at different point in space anyway.
54. SpaceCom Commander O'Helno did
not like unsolved
mysteries, and this particular mystery was one he was determined to
solve. His analysis postulated that an
annihilation weapon destroyed the
outpost. Theite saucers are powered by an annihilation reactor,
but a quantum residue remains when matter dissolves into an
anti-matter vacuum. The space surrounding the cancelled area is
not flawlessly unmolested. O'Helno had been experimenting with
annihilation detection for years, but could never convince SpaceCom to
support his 'half-baked' ideas. "You're the finest commander in
SpaceCom," fleet headquarters assured him, "but leave the science to
the scientists. Thank-you! Dismissed."
O'Helno lined his PDA into the B'line's computer, "Boys -- let me have
control for a moment." "We're
hands off," they replied. O'Helno positioned 10 saucers into an
and pushed their collective sensor array to spin a reverse wave
in the center. He attentuated the diameter and massaged the
dimensions until at last he said, "I have it." He could now prove
that a Jolvian outpost was
attacked, but it was impossible to transport the antimatter pocket in
"Record, film and sample," he ordered, "we can't take it with us, but
the evidence will be hard to ignore." "Not the way your luck has
gone with that," his XO said impulsively. He knew the whole story
so O'Helno didn't reply.
56. "You made that look easy," a 1st Lieutenant
commented, "How come SpaceCom isn't doing it more often?" "How
the hell did you do that?" another interrupted. "Because they
think I'm crazy," O'Helno answered the first, "and they rejected my
treatise on the subject, for lack of evidence," he answered the
second. "Well, Duhhhhh!" a female pilot chimed in.
"Exactly," O'Helno agreed. "We have the evidence of the evidence
but we can't move the source," a WO commented. "Yes, Sir,"
O'Helno answered. "Then lets just re-create this disaster
and show them how it's done!" someone suggested. "Yeah -- let's
bring a black hole home for show-and-tell," someone mocked. The
mocker knew the previous comment was not meant seriously either.
"I don't think so," O'Helno sighed.
57. "That was Thandal's disk!" the saucer pilot at
the Vejhonian port exclaimed when he received the scrambled feed of a
Vejhonian destroyer annihilating a Jolvian outpost. The feed was
from Thandal's saucer before it went blank. "Thandal?" Nav
questioned. "Gingah and Ember," the captain added. "They
just left," Tac said in disbelief. If was a captain's worst
fear: The transmission itself had drawn fire. "They should
have waited," he knew. He expected to discuss their losses over
drinks at the Nosedive after their shift.
58. "Send the feed of Kor's departure," the
"Captain," Tac realized, "Do you think Thandal's
transmission was intercepted..." "they saw it and shot 'em!" Nav
interrupted. The Captain's hesitation was an answer. "Yep,"
he replied soberly. It would be his job to contact the
next-of-kin, which subordinates forget. Their saucer was not
currently imperiled, "Sending now," Tac
59. "A'zoth!" Tac alerted,
"Look!" All three stations picked up Kor's inbound destroyer,
still from a
far. The port switched on the embarkation beacons. Nav
zoomed in on the destroyer's hull, where a victory emblem was proudly
illuminated. "Send BOTH feeds," Captain amended angrily, "if the
frackin' vegetable wants a war -- he's got his Guardsdamn war!"
aboard" Nav invoked, "We can legally fire on it now!" "Yeah... we could," Captain agreed cooly, "but
we're not stupid." They were crazily outgunned. Camera
crews were setting up to film the destroyer receiving a hero's
fanfare. "Both feeds sent," Tac confirmed. "I think we
would be wise to not stick around," Captain decided, "SpaceCom knows
what happened, and the
Senate has to declare war, so let's get outta Theos!"
60. A Theotian envoy made a formal inquiry regarding the
whereabouts of Outpost 491. "I will certainly look into the
matter," Kor's foreign minister replied, who knew nothing of the test
firing, "In the meantime, what can I do to help?" he
offered. Theotian tracking systems were based on Dal El's
he knew that Theos could not definitively prove what happened to
the outpost. The envoy returned home empty handed. "As long
as we continue to deny
it -- they'll never attack us," Dal shrugged, "That's just how they
are.... and I...
well," he sighed, "used to be
one." "No need to be ashamed of your heritage," Kor
consoled him, "You're with me now... and,
my greatest asset." Dal nodded with a blush.
SpaceCom was furious; both feeds left nothing to doubt. "We'll
show that vegetable what a serious mistake he made," the watch officer
said to his Jolvian counterpart in a holoconference. "A victory
emblem!" the Jolvian officer sneered, "We'll have his fracking heart
lunch!" The Jolvian wasn't kidding. "The Senate is real
sticky on these matters," the watch officer replied, "Blue Funnel
thrives on war and, well... some of our Senators have been bought and
for." "I understand," the Jolvian sympathized, "They own
some of ours too."
Jolvian general replayed the victory emblem scene just to aggravate the
"That toothless vegetable
declared war on you long ago!" he emphasized, "if this doesn't make
your Senate respond -- I know our High Council will!" Jolvian
property was attacked in Theotian space. The semantics were
unilaterally unnavigable although the military sentiments were
63. The Senate was enraged at Kor's arrogance to
display a 'victory' badge for attacking a prison outpost.
"The Psionic Guard should have kicked his ass when they had the
chance," one Senator snapped. It did not take long to produce an
official response: "The Theotian Senate continues to censor the
government of occupied Vejhon,' and orders all Theotian citizens to
evacuate the Vejhonian system. Theos is not at
war against the legitimate government of Vejhon; we do however, support
Jol II's effort to apprehend the
terrorists who attacked their prison colony; who we believe may be
responsible for the disappearance of Outpost 491."
64. "Additionally, outland expatriate, Dal
El' A'concioux, serving as Kor's Vice Elite, is
wanted for questioning for his involvement in the aforementioned
terrorist acts. First-class citizenship and a palatial retirement
will be bestowed upon
whoever brings him
in." Palatial retirement was an ungraspable sum: They
were offering a small kingdom in exchange for one person.
65. Kor and Dal El listened to the broadcast from a D'Luthian
balcony on Vejhon.
"Too bad my ex wasn't on that outpost," Dal quipped.
"That doesn't stop us from finding her and killing her," Kor suggested. Dal
laughed quietly. "Palatial retirement," Kor joked, "You realize I
trade you in for a
whole fleet of destroyers?" Dal appreciated the irony, "I
wonder what they would give me for you?" he parried. That thought
made Kor laugh too, "At least there is one place in this Universe,
where you have even less grace than I do." It was an awkward
Theos had no intention of waging a real war against Kor. Instead,
they authorized SpaceCom to taunt Kor's assets in any fashion
they pleased, "Keep your reporting to a minimum." That
meant, "We don't want to hear about it." A battle beneath the
watershell was considered
unwinnable and collapsing the watershell was out of the question.
The real purpose for censoring Kor was to keep
his military occupied while the Cardships were in flight. It
was pure posturing, like political theatre everywhere.
67. The shadow government on Theos advised the Senate to,
"Let the kids play while the folks are away: Don't launch a
full-scale war against a tribe of spiritualists
one outpost." The likelihood of
another '491' was next to none, now that the SJ's are on alert.
Vejhonian headlines read,
"WAR!" ...but Theos did not counterattack, another testament to Kor's
military genius, as one reporter wrote: "He ran our enemies
off-shell, and now the
Universe bows down before him." "Is there anything Our Father
can't do?" Public confidence was high as the shell and the fervor
68. The exciting war-time premises compelled Dal El to
militarize the youth; accelerate production of war materiels and
open hundreds of new
military venues. A whole new generation was born with fierce
loyalty to Kor, so Dal directed a new social focus on
tight, public order. School curriculums were streamlined to
pipeline students of Secret Society wizardry into even darker arts, and
ultimately into State service. Anyone who cited Kor as their
avatar was qualified
This new generation of shellans would become the future leaders of
Vejhon and inheritors of Kor's kingdom. Seizing the opportunity
to get it right, Kor appointed Mantra to engineer Dal El's curriculum
into reality. And thus, the perfect Elite shellan
was created. "Imagine what several
thousand Kors could do?" Dal asked persuasively. Kor imprinted on
the youth and the youth imprinted on him. They magnified his
legacy and he
magnified their future like a
symbiotic social organism. These new youth created a fraternity
even more exclusive than their Elite predecessors: They were as
as they were deadly, in a dimension occupied only by them. There
were no Kids to speak of, so Kor Youth took the concept to whole new
The gridboards gave way to friendlier, more enlightened policies.
The disenfranchised could be coaxed back into
the fold without the constant fear of death. Some returned
because of the new civility, while others were inspired by their
Kor prodigies who wanted their parents and guardians to be at peace
shell. It was the kids who ultimately prevailed in bringing
shell-wide order, as it had been in the old days, and that new reality
gave the youth Kor's permanent blessing.
"Giving shellans ownership of their inner-Kor," as one motivational
speaker put it, "helps them to attain the peace and unity that the
The more peace there was, the less stress everyone had
to deal with collectively. By no means did Vejhon's
problems simply vanish: It simply meant that they found a way to
make the best with what they had. "Who better to teach them," Dal
said to Mantra, "than The Master himself?" Mantra patted Dal on
the shoulder, "I can certainly understand why he selected