1. Mother was drifting near a star inside Andromedea and
intercepted a familiar psyos emanating from the third body in
an obscure 10-planet system.
2. "Identify," Mother commanded a minion
subcomponent. "There's an Elliptical note from Conscious
regarding this star formation," the subcomponent responded. "A
quarantine from the God of Chaos," Mother acknowledged, "Look, but
3. "You can do whatever you like," the
subcomponent asserted. "Population," Mother querried.
"Eight Billion sentient biologicals," the subcomponent
answered. The EMF alone was a testament to that.
"Cartography?" Mother asked. "This system
was not mapped in detail," the subcomponent answered.
3. The ambient data smog provided sufficient keys to
filter the word, "Earth." The central star is, "Sol," which
orbits binary stars, "Alpha Centauri A and B and a dwarf star,
Proxima." The Cacci Dai had an antiquated map of the area; the
objects had different names.
"Plot a course and engage," Mother commanded. Kor's armadas
destroyed any world inhabited by Vejhonian
seedlings to prevent them from rising up to take back
Vejhon. His policies
encouraged neighboring worlds to think twice before assimilating
shellan expatriates into their culture. Recent disasters like
M'tro-1 compelled all Cardships to respond to all distress
5. "The Thites have navigation beacons in the system,"
the subcomponent reported, "There are objects of unknown origin and
artifacts that appear to originate from a machine world more advanced
than ours." "Display," Mother commanded. The Light Race was
sometimes mistaken for advanced machines because Segment 10 machines
can manipulate photonic matter. Light machines were often called
Angels by biologicals. The display presented an array of advanced
photonic machines. "The Light Race is here," Mother
confirmed. There was evidence that intelligence from all
over the Universe trafficked this particular system.
6. Using the Thite navigation beacons, she
piggybacked on their ribbon of eternity to expedite their
arrival. The beacons were relative to Theos and adjusted to a
star's orbit around a parent star.
"Is the Acceleration technology ready?" Mother asked. "It needs
to be tested," the subcomponent replied. "Then Earth will be that
test," Mother said.
In theory, 'Acceleration' spins a reverse timewave around a target
object; the object is suspended, and motion outside the target envelope
is invisible. That enables a large scale intervention to occur
without the indigenous knowing anything about it. The misnomer,
stuck because it was accurate from the target's point of
view. "Can we isolate specific objects?" Mother asked.
9. "To reverse a timewave's effect, an object must
synchronize it's harmonic to a resonance outside the affected
area," the subcomponent answered. There is also a quantum recoil
that occurs when a
decelerated area 'catches up' to its natural time afterward.
Those quantum singularities are investigated and repaired by
Corlos. The Ellipsis has immunity from Corlos.
Corlos cannot possibly interdict ad infinitum anomalies, at ad
locations, at ad infinitum points in time... but they try. Other
Corlos' existed in multiple realities and it was Tetragammaton's
job to keep those jurisdictions from
11. The Theotian ribbon of eternity ended near their
beacon inside of Mercury's orbit. Mercury was nowhere
around, but the beacon was right where the Theites left it. With
the remaining momentum, Mother attentuated the acceleration wave
according to Earth's gravity, density and mass.
"Projectile analysis," she asked. "Chemically-propelled
projectiles in mid trajectory around Earth's low orbit," the
subcomponent answered. Mother transmitted the reverse timewave as
soon as she reached high orbit above Earth, and scrambled
the first wave of Atgravs.
13. If the debris clearing went according to plan
-- the indigenous would never know what happened. If an
Earth sensor did pick up a large 1 x 5 x 15-mile object -- it would
register for about one second and blip
out of existance when the timewave stopped; a ghost in
the machine. Earth's defense force was trained to repel an
extraterrestrial invasion, but would pose no defense at all against an
internal attack staged by a
more advanced civiilization.
14. "Report," Mother commanded. "The
missiles were on a failsafe grid; stored in vacuum silos and made
proof," the subcomponent reported.
15. The situation reminded her of the Cyberwars
in Section 3 of the Ellipsis. "What's this?" she asked. "A
Vejhonian," the subcomponent answered. "Analysis?" she
requested. "The Vejhonian's genome matches the registered
occupants aboard," the subcomponent answered, "The indiginous genome
contains 20,000 less instruction codes." "The indigionous are apsionic,"
Mother observed, "Isolate the singularity." "Unable," the
subcomponent responded, "the singularity is suspended." They knew
'approximately' where she was before the wave deployed, but her
signature was now gone.
16. Humans had barely achieved manned
spaceflight to Mars and Venus. They had an economic system
similar to Blue Funnel that drained all of the worlds money into one
family. That family supressed inventions that created energy
independence, threatened their global monopoly, or circumvented
established criminal enterprises.
"Federal Reserve Credits," Mother observed. Commerce is conducted
electronically which made it easy for a central world police to control
population. The people are chipped and orderly. "Ellipsis
Section 2 describes biological globalization before venturing away from
their home worlds," Mother explained.
17. The Humans could almost pass for
Mother compared the two genomes, filtering for gravity, density and
mass: "Flight Log," she entered: "Humans and Theites may be
For in-flight transparency, Cardship hulls had trillions of optic
transmitters that made the ship appear invisible. The
conducted cruder signal types right through the ship. The naked
eye, however, could discern a rectangular displacement amid a starry
The moon stabilized the planet's weather and massaged the ocean
currents; the winds would
exceed 200 mph otherwise. Weights and measures are based on
dihydrogen oxide's boiling and freezing point; a base-10 numeric, and
navigation based on 36. Machine worlds venerate the number "10"
because the sacred Ellipsis
symbol is a wheel with 10 spokes.
Chronograph: 365.25 revolutions per orbit.
20. "This world is based on deception," Mother noted,
development is squashed by the economic conglomerates." "There
are bona fide
psionists," the subcomponent injected, "but they are killed when
discovered, so they conceal their abilities."
Earth's terraforming was relatively new. Several systems wanted
control, but The One quarantined this world, "Look, but don't
touch," she noted again.
22. "This planet had a watershell that collapsed
7,800 cycles ago," Mother said, "Flight Log: Earth's watershell
did not fail due to faulty architecture. The architects, the
Humans or an aggressive species collapsed
the shell, possibly to reinitialize the biological population."
Three quarters of the planet's surface
was underwater and there was evidence of ancient civilizations
along the pre-collapsed shorelines. Mother mapped those
shorelines. The weight of the water radically altered the
planet's teutonic displacement.
the planet was machined into a perfectly round marble, the land would
be under 5,500 feet
water. "Flight Log," Mother entered: "Model for case study of
watershell collapse. Save for return to Vejhon."
Vejhon's watershell had never collapsed but Earth would be a perfect
model for future study.
25. The periodic table of elements
contained Neon and traces of Neon was in the atmosphere. "Collect
as much Neon as possible," she instructed an Atgrav. Vejhon had
no natural Neon because the watershell filtered a crimson light band
needed to make Neon 19, 20 and 21. Again, Mother admired the
symbolism, "Atomic number 10 on the local periodic table." In
fractional distillation, -245.92° centigrade was blank, which was a
cosmic blessing on Vejhon, since neon is used to make lazers and lazers
are responsible for eco-terrorism. The remaining group-18
nobel gasses were unaffected; Argon, Xenon, Krypton....
26. "Flight Log," Mother entered: "There is evidence that
interstellar conflict has taken place in previous dispensations and may
still be in progress. Earth has been occupied by other species
prior to the advent of Humans. There is compelling evidence that
parts of the
planet's mass was scavanged from other terrestrial regions;
abandoned, or salvaged from a dying
star." The mantle is 25 miles thick, polarized and still
cooling. It's fragile.
Vejhon's circumference was 3,000 miles greater than Earths, which gave
Earth a minus-point-one gravity. "Biologicals won't notice
the difference," Mother said.
DAL EL's DESTROYER
28. Dal was enjoying another day as #2 in the Elite food
chain, in contrast
to the industrious hustle and bustle of everyone around
yeoman approached him with a tablet and reported excitedly, "We
think we found a Cardship streaking
towards a 10-planet system!"
Dal had no idea which 10-planet system he was talking about, "Did we
indeed?" he intoned apathetically. He took
the tablet and examined the Cardship's bee-line path. That was
unusual -- a Cardship would not deliberately risk exposure unless it
was a dire emergency. Are we attacking something there? Dal
thought the 10-planet system was new?" he inquired, "...no
environments?" His comment was a complete gamble at stellar
awareness -- there were thousands of 10-planet systems and very few
possessed an inhabitable shell.
"The Cardship risked coming out of hiding, to get there in a big
hurry," The yeoman replied, "It would make a fine trophy
for The Master." A textbook mission statement, goal and
El smiled curtly at the yeoman's political correctness, "It would indeed." He handed the tablet
back to him, "Carry on --
General Order number one." The yeoman saluted and went about his
business. Still, Dal wondered what would make a Cardship
expose itself like that, 'Could this be some sort of a
trap?' he wondered. The idea of capturing a Cardship was too
compelling to ignore, "They never fight back. I don't see a
risk -- why the hell not? Let's go!"
MILITARY HEADQUARTERS (SpaceCom)
"Commander O'Helno," a lieutenant in the formation reported, "Look at
this." 13 saucers were in a triangular spearhead formation with
O'Helno's saucer at the tip. The lieutenant's saucer was
tagged on O'Helno's formation monitor and two lines stretched through
two galaxies. "It was the red one that caught my attention," the
lieutenant explained, "then the blue one showed up."
34. Theos' fame did not end with terraforming
technology and faster-than-light saucers -- their
astral-navigation net was another component that had no
real accountability; toll-free galactic highways that anyone could
use. The red line was an Elite
destroyer for certain. "Is that blue one what I think it is?" O'Helno asked,
in A'zoth over there?" "I believe so," the lieutenant replied.
"We have a beacon there," the lieutenant advised. "Let's get into
pick-up," O'Helno ordered. "What's that system clock at?" O'Helno
asked. "About 1 million upc around that one," his navigator
answered. Sol's orbit around Alpha Centuri highlighted on his
console; the identifiers were unfamiliar. The saucers
rearranged into an umbrella
formation for long range detection and aimed toward the distant flight
paths. O'Helno's saucer remained in the center. The
capacity of a single B'line multiplied
exponentially when it networked with other saucers.
"The next question," O'Helno posed, "is 'why' would a destroyer and a Cardship come out of
hiding?" It wasn't unnatural for a destroyer, but completely
unheard of for
Cardship, unless it was being chased. The flight paths did not
indicate a chase.
37. "I think a beacon picked up a planetary
disturbance and the Cardship responded," the lieutenant said.
O'Helno continued, "And the destroyer discovered the Cardship and set
to intercept." "That would make sense," the lieutenant
agreed. "Is it really that simple?" his tactical officer
asked. "Usually," O'Helno replied.
Saucers were a strategic trademark of Theos, tried and proven true
the invention of artificial gravity. Theite tacticians believed
that smaller ships possessed the agility to defeat larger
vessles, and all throughout history, the tactic worked.
"Send this to Ops," O'Helno ordered, "and try to tap the grid over
-- I'd like to know more." "Aye, Sir," the lieutenant
40. Theites were famous for inventing on-the-fly
attack styles. There was no field manual to intercept and
disect. From an enemy perspective, attacking a saucer
was like trying to
shoot a specific fish in an ocean on another planet with an
arrow made out of foam.
41. "Ops has more," the lieutanant
said, "They're dispatching more B'lines to join us." "Guess we're
engaging," O'Helno replied, satisfied.
42. So far, the Theites had never captured an
Elite destroyer because capturing a destroyer was not a high priority
mission. The new ships were a completely unique design. "No
unnecessary engagements, The Senate said..." O'Helno sighed. His
lieutanant knew what he was thinking, "SpaceCom is supposed to 'keep
them on their toes,'" the lieutanant reminded him, "and one of those
new beasts would make a mighty fine trophy!" SpaceCom was
drifting away from the pacifistic attitude of the
43. "Just exactly how far away is that?" O'Helno asked, "and how
can you tell a new ship from an old one?" An exact identification
from that distance should have been impossible.
44. "It's over past Andromeda," the lieutanant
replied, "and I clocked it." O'Helno laughed, "Andromeda!
What a waste of space!
anything even there? How fast was it going?" "About 5 or 6
L's," the lieutanant replied. That's twice as fast as the old
ships, but not half as fast as a B'line.
"It sounds like a Mother's M.O.," O'Helno said, "with the way their
colonies keep getting blown up." "I hear that," the lieutenant
"And how did we pick it up?" O'Helno asked, "The odds of our
formation being aimed right at it, three systems away, at this point in
time and space... is about..." "One in a goggle-plex," his
weapon's officer answered for him.
"The beacon grid over there went into cue," the lieutenant
replied. That could mean anything from a simple traffic report to
a more serious system error. "A spearpoint would pick up any
anamolous activity," the lieutenant answered. "There is a list -- nothing marked
discrepancies could cause a nuisance alarm, but not likely in the
middle of nowhere.
"Have we heard from Ops yet?" O'Helno asked impatiently, "Steady, until
we know what they
The Theite grid passed a microdirectional signal through a series of
relays spaced at
intervals between a known formation and Operations. It was
impossible to intercept the signal unless a wandering ship transversed
signal's path. Even with a decryption key, packet-encryption
biosynaptic packet-receiver to decode. "We stick those damn
things everywhere," O'Helno complained, "which obligates us to patrol
the whole frackin' Universe." It was a rhetorical opinion shared
by every SJ. "Not the ones in museums," his wingman joked.
Virtually every civilization had at
least one Theite beacon on display in a cultural museum
50. "I hear the Cacci Dai send our beacons to
other dimensions just to mess with us," tac added. "It wouldn't
surprise me one bit," O'Helno replied, "Machine humor." Normally,
would laugh, but his mind was preoccupied with intercepting the Elite
51. Light takes 4.3 seconds to
pass from one beacon to the next which is why navigators refer to them
as 'ribbons of eternity.' Theites prefer other species to stay
off the road until they learn how to drive. Mother computers
excepted of course. B'lines just follow a solid light ribbon.
"Finally!" O'Helno exclaimed. Operations returned an enhanced and
enlarged image of the
in question. The destroyer was clear as day in
53. The Cardship, with it's optic conduit
disguise, wasn't as easy to see, but it's rectangular displacement amid
the stars was clear enough.
54. More data poured in regarding the system
itself; images of the major planets, the primary star, and the best
route to take. The archaic tags were replaced by updated
nomenclature and local transliterations.
With the mission data received, O'Helno's tactical monitor flashed,
"INTERCEPT AND ENGAGE."
He forwarded his display to every monitor in the formation, "Let's
get 'em boys!" he said. "Anyone not on mission's, on it
now! We're takin' that fat frackin' bastard out!" Everybody
about frackin' time!" a junior officer yelled, "We haven't had this
much excitement since A'zoth was an SJ."
BACK ON EARTH
57. Onimex was at liberty to explore the hidden nooks and
on Earth without being detected. He observed an aggressive strain
reptilians watching world events deep inside an abandoned alien ice
under the North pole. The ice cave's technology and design style
identical to the abandoned buildings on the dark side of Earth's
27th century Earth never found the ice caves, but the moon structures
used as propaganda by Earth's military-industrial complex to increase
defense spending against
a possible alien invasion. The 'aliens' had been dwelling among,
interbreeding with Humans for several thousand years.
58. Onimex eavesdropped on a secret gathering of Earth's
elite; the puppet masters and political engineers who design the rise
fall of continents. It was an insidious meeting with goals
to Kor's, only they used economic leverage to enslave the masses
inescapable debt. They made Blue Funnel look sanitary.
Those who owned the banks ruled the world, and
who exposed that agenda was killed. True psionists kept
59. There was only 10 minutes remaining before the first missile
News of the uncontrolled projectile situation had spread around the
Unlike Dayton's native era, there was no strategic purpose to conceal
on a politically unified world. The defense platforms were in
orbit, aimed away from Earth to interdict something like a
Atmospheric contingencies had been replaced with weather control
for 300 years. The Earth was not prepared for an attack
inside the defense
60. Before the first acceleration wave hit, Dayton was listening
to a narrative about southern
"500 years ago, Badwater Lake used to be called Death Valley and was
with sea water in 2089 by the bureau of climate control. The lake
282 feet deep where the Badwater underwater resort currently attracts
of visitors each ye...." The narrative froze. Dayton made a
face and searched for the most likely spot to smack the console to make
it work again. Onimex wanted to make a frowny face
because he lost Ireana's signal completely. He could use his
diagnostic pixels to make kind of face he wanted, but in this case,
there was nobody to impress with his trick.
61. Xanax intercepted the acceleration wave in time to deploy a
envelope around himself and Dayton. "I know who those beacons
belong to now," he realized, while synchronizing his harmonic with the
Cardship. Dayton was not wholly unfamiliar with
but had never witnessed an entire planet frozen in suspended
animation. "In the first place," he observed, "this shouldn't be
wave?" he observed. "I never took you for a skeptic," Xanax
replied, "The Cardship scattered amplifiers to maximize the wave effect
-- there's more than enough ambient energy for power." Music
makes the creation, not the other way around. "The
Cardship?" Dayton asked.
62. "That girl you like," Xanax said incredulously, "is a
colonist from one of those..." "Oh that! I get it," Dayton
interrupted, "a Cardship! How did you know..." "If I had
hands, I would slap you..." "Kämpfende
Wörter von solch einem kleinem Mann!" Dayton sounded angry in a
fake sort of way.
63. "Would you prefer I stop protecting you?" Xanax asked.
the air was like
through a translucent fog; the effect greatly toyed with his
mind. The animation was not an absolute standstill, but slow
motion undetectable. "Acceleration?" Dayton questioned.
the subject's point of view," Xanax added, "We are accelerated.
testing was conducted from the inside, looking out." He
remembered reading about it: The inventors didn't realize that
the technology was working because they were analyzing it from the
inside; thus the misnomer...
64. "When has science ever named a result, from the experiment's point
of view?" Dayton asked. "Technically, we should have been
you fixed that," Dayton injected, "... it's still backwards."
"You're frustrating yourself over nomenclature," Xanax said, "Perhaps
it was meant holistically." "I'm sorry I yelled at you -- you
actually are pretty smart," Dayton admitted. "That too, is probably in the eye
of the beer holder," Xanax gested. "And your wit is improving,"
Dayton complimented him. "Besides, as a biological -- you should
know what being backward is
all about." "Hoffe, dass ich nie finden mein Feuerzeug," Dayton
said, this time, not so seriously. He told Xanax to develop his
own personality and this was the one he chose. "Well, you didn't
say 'stein' this time," Dayton noted.
65. Ireana had been suspended along with her psionic implant so that
had to physically search for her. He had returned from his covert
still shifted out of phase, unimpressed that the accelerated air
resistance greatly slowed him down. He looked like a low flying
comet streaking through the air. Unlike Xanax, Onimex was
WYSIWYG: He did not command resources stored in multiple
locations that were accessed through a thin, flexible plasma
screen. There may have been some hardware-envy somewhere in the
66. He knew her last location was at Canaveral III in the archives
section where Dayton was assigned to watch for quantum anamolies.
There was an obnoxious
like fingernails on a chalkboard. "There you are," Onimex
observed. They had never had a chance to get formally
67. Xanax and Onimex exchanged IFF's for the first time. "Sooooo
much better," Onimex cooed. "My pleasure," Xanax
replied. Their cymatic resonances were synchronized.
68. "You know," Xanax said incidentally, "my biological seems to really
like yours." "Interesting," Onimex replied appreciatively, "mine
can't take her eyes off of yours." "Well, at least we seem to
know who made who." Onimex laughed. Q-cept conversations
are immediate. Humor though, requires sentience and machines have
to allow time for that; a true sign of
69. "I'd love to know..." Onimex began, but Xanax already knew what
Onimex wanted to know, "Access this key, after we're retrieved," Xanax
said. Ordinarily, encryptologic keys are not casually exchanged,
circumstance called for an accelerated protocol so that both of them
function in a hazardous environment. Xanax gave Onimex a
70. When two objects in one
link in another -- they create a Trinity. Both machines could now
share information in a private
71. Mother positioned herself in a geosynchronous
orbit above Barbados and descended below stasis to shorten the distance
for her Atgravs to travel.
72. Kennedy III was an island surrounded by
manmade islands that
outlined the ancient coast of Florida.
73. The previous two Canaverals did not fare so
well in inclimate weather. Under ordinary circumstances, Mother
was not dangerously below stasis
and could easily reestablish orbital stability. There was no
reason to pontificate the details when time was of the essence.
"Status?" Mother querried.
"Four hundred Atgravs have intercepted, disabled and submerged 75 of
the 182 nuclear missiles in the Marianas Trench," the subcomponent
answered. Mother located the trench and examined the unique
biology of the sea floor. The aerial cavitation was similar to
what a submarine might look like cruising at 150 knots through
jelly. The vacuum of
space was unaffected.
75. "Standby for
transport," Xanax advised Dayton.
Dayton was distracted by the jelly-like distortions that the Atgravs
in the air. He wasn't really paying attention, “Standby for
energy-matter transport began and he was a
long ways from Earth by the time he finished his
The photonic matter in biologicals is not hard-wired to its mass.
transportee must consciously keep his mind with his matter to properly
reassemble. Corlos discovered through trial and error that the
greater ones intelligence -- the greater ones success with
matter-energy transport. Children were relatively safe since they
were willing to go wherever the beam took them. However barbaric
the postulate, Corlos believed those who did not survive the simulator
were never intended to be an operative. It was The One's way
of approving or declining a
As soon as Dayton rematerialized on the simulator floor, Alma said,
"You need to wait here -- I'll be right back." This awkward
and resume playback on cue almost made existance seem unreal.
The consequences for bad choices,
however, was very real...
Onimex unfroze Ireana the moment he found her
– it was her first experience in an accelerated environment. She
was unaware of missing time. "Where'd he go?" she asked.
"Off the grid," Onimex replied, "Xanax said they were being
retrieved." The interdimensional data storage point
about us?" she asked.
Ireana observed the suspended
motion of everything around her, "I feel nauseated." She massaged
her tummy then rubbed the side of her head. From her point of
view, the shell had just
gone into suspended annimation, and she had no recollection of having
been suspended herself.
"There's a Cardship
in orbit conducting nuclear-clearing operations," Onimex reported.
Ireana mumbled, "A bit crude for Kor, isn't it?"
84. "I don't think it's Kor," Onimex replied, "We have a
convergence of unnatural waves at this point in space. Xanax
saw the acceleration wave and decelerated Dayton before it
was on 'International Island' observing a top secret conference or I
would have decelerated you sooner." International Island was a
13-mile diameter floating disk at sea. Although the world was
technically consolidated, whichever head-of-State was on the Island at
the time, was presumed to be in charge of the Island, and asked to make
CEO-level decisions during their visit.
"As soon as he's off the simulator floor -- we're probably
next," Ireana said. For that matter, moving all four of them at
once should not have been such a big deal, except that Dayton was not
supposed to know who his rating official was. "Did you learn
anything at the Island?" she asked. She thought the Atgrav
cavitation effect in the air was interesting and was already
calculating the required dynamics.
"It may not be possible to retrieve us right now," Onimex said,
"Corlos tried to get a signal lock, but there's multiple layers of
interference and more interference coming."
"If Corlos is having a problem," Ireana said, "then there really is a problem." Her face
became a touch more pensive.
88. "I thought this was just a training
op for Dayton?" she commented.
"It was," Onimex confirmed, "but Corlos wanted him to assess the
anomalies first hand." The secondary aspect of the mission was
"And they lost the signal on us," she repeated. "I don't remember
getting briefed on the quantum interference. Weren't you supposed
to be looking in on 'secret combinations'?" she asked.
91. "B'jhon told me to assist you if
necessary," Onimex replied, "he wanted you to stay focused on
Dayton." Ireana smirked because Dayton was the most gorgeous
shellan she had ever laid eyes on, so keeping her focus on him
wasn't a problem. "And you went all over the shell in the
she surmised. "Yep," he said.
Ireana escorted Onimex outside, taking a special interest in two parked
state utility vehicles.
93. "Can you... 'accelerate' one of these?" she
asked. She did not accept the etymological contradiction, "They
call it 'acceleration' when the reverse is
true?" "It's from the environment's perspective," Onimex
answered, "We are accelerated
-- the vehicles aren't. I can 'decelerate'
the nav system once we're inside." Ireana was over-thinking the
misnomer, "Technically, if the vehicles
are suspended, and you bring them to our... never mind," she
said. "You might fry something," Onimex accused her.
supposed to be my line," she replied.
94. "If I understood you correctly -- a single Cardship decelerated this
entire shell?" Ireana surmised. "I can provide more thematic
details if you like," Onimex offered.
He caught the innuendo. Ireana was attempting to compute the
energy requirements and Onimex knew it, "You really are trying to figure this out,
aren't you?" he said facetiously. "I figured it out for you,"
she rationalized. "Mother established a statically-powered
amplifier net," Onimex clarified. That made sense, "She would
have to," Ireana said.
"We need to get to orbit," Ireana said, opening the
gull wing door, "I want you to tell me about the amplifiers on the
DAL ELL's ELITE DESTROYER
El watched from his royal dias as the teutonic integrity of the 3rd
body was analyzed by specialists below decks. Since the shell was
doomed anyway, it was illogical to study the indigenous
culture or glean vital statistics. They picked up intelligent
EMF, but there was no need to translate.
The invisible Cardship was marked by an electronic silhouette.
The destroyer was testing a stealth technology of its own. "Can they
see us?" Dal asked the commander. "No, Vice Elite," the
commander answered, "we are invisible to them." "Touché!"
Dal said in Theotian, which was an easily understood
98. "How about the communications block?" Dal
asked. "The barricade is up and running," the commander
reported. The Elite was more interested in the acceleration wave
than the planet now. "Imagine The Master's
reaction if we capture that technology?" the commander suggested.
"I don't even think the Sky Spirits know about it," Dal bemused,
"Commander," he said assertively, "I want you to do whatever
to get that technology." "Aye, Sir," the commander
replied. "I'll advise the Captain that you're on a special
mission," Dal assured him. That was the only license the
commander needed, and of course the Captain would agree.
99. Like a python in pitch black darkness, the destroyer
slithered into position and froze, unnoticed.
Most of the Atgravs had completed the debris clearing and were back
aboard the Cardship. Mother did not see the approaching
danger. She would ordinarily be more vigilant in long range
detection, but choose to expedite the rescue effort instead.
"Have armed boarding parties
standing by," the Vice Elite ordered. The order had already been
the ship's Captain, however, it was customary for Dal to go through the
motions of a flag admiral since he was 1st in line for the
Kor'An D'seas, who was now the fleet academy Commandant,
said that it was OK.
102. "I could get used to this," Ireana praised the
design of their borrowed spacecraft. "I'm doing most of the
driving," Onimex said.
103. "It's just as well," she said, "this atmosphere
would drive me nuts." "It'll clear up once were out of it,"
he assured her.
They slipped through the last pocktes of atmosphere and broke into free
space, which felt like an extraction from quicksand.
105. The rectangular dark spot displayed stars from it's
opposite side. The light refracted like it does in water,
and those refractions were
not faultlessly alligned.
"I'm registered," Ireana whispered, "I can board those." She said
it with reverent delight. "That
blow your cover," Onimex said gently, "You don't exist any more,
remember?" He hated to say it. She knew that he didn't mean
in a mean spirited way.
107. "What's this other thing way out there?" she
asked, pointing to a marker on the proximity
monitor. The Earth ship was crude, but not archaic. "No
idea," Onimex replied. He didn't want to validate his most
fearful speculation first.
She watched the last two Atgravs speed toward the Cardship and
inside a hanger. They were beyond visual range, magnified by the
"They're getting ready to decelerate," Onimex advised.
Ireana shook her head and succinctly articulated, "They are not ... accelerated!"
Then she whispered more politely, "Please synchronize." She
wanted to avert the transitional queasiness
that she experienced the first time.
The acceleration field deactivated, and life on Earth resumed where it
left off. The missles blipped out of
existance as if the entire affair had been a video game. Everyone
say, "It was a ghost in the machine," and spend 30 years studying the
anomaly. Since most of Earth's population didn't actually
see anything, it would be easy to blame a remote sensor for
malfunctioning. Nothing happened: Life goes on.
"I like this speed better," Ireana sighed, "I'll be fine if I never
through... 'acceleration' again." She hated the
113. It didn't take an astute student to
understand why the technology
was invented, but Mother didn't leave -- she was still in plain
sight. "You don't supposed Earth's detection systems will
miss something that big?" Ireana asked facetiously. Onimex
didn't know what to say. He thought he had Mother's MO figured
out, but this was a mystery. Each second
felt like a year. "Come on! Leave!" Ireana yelled, "What
the hell are you waiting for?" She was willing to get out and
push if she had to. "Something's wrong," Ireana said.
The ship in the far distance fired upon the Cardship. Personnel
transports from the distant ship disembarked and approched the
Cardship. "Is that a..." Ireana started. "...destroyer?"
Onimex finished. "Yes," Onimex answered, "One of the new
ones... and it's cloaked." The utility vehicle did not recognize
either of the
foreign vessles and tagged them both as 'unidentified' on the
monitor. The cloak had been good enough to fool Onimex from
distance, but not anymore.
"The Cardship has lost it's stability,"
Onimex reported, "The Destroyer meant to disable it, probably to steal
the acceleration technology." "They didn't compensate for the
shell's gravity," Ireana injected.
"To achieve orbital stasis, they need to be going about 10,000 i.u.'s
faster," Ireana calculated in her head, "and they're way too
117. "...and way to slow," Onimex finished.
So far, the Cardship was not reacting to it's loss of stability -- it's
mass was too great.
118. Ordinarily, Mother's lower orbit was not a
serious risk: She
could achieve escape velocity or rise to a stable orbit
at will. She was in
119. A 75 square-mile object does not stop on a
dime or fall from
the sky in a hurry. "It has no choice but to descend
within the next 20 minutes," Onimex reported. Her personal stake
in the survival of the Cardship had a direct impact on her
nerves. "Can't they
whispered. M'tro-1 did not own a tiny fraction of a
Cardship's assets; the idea of a crash landing was
devastating. "She can't survive a crash," Ireana said, "Even if
she sets one end down --
the other end would stretch 20 miles into the sky." "I know
Mother's doing everything she can," Onimex consoled.
"Are there survivable
alternatives?" they asked together.
121. "The ship has the mass of two mountain
ranges: Where will she hide if she survives the crash?" The
oceans seemed logical but the
natives would certainly notice.
The Cardship was starting to founder while Ireana watched in
disbelief. She would have given her soul to spare them of this
moment. That ship contained the compliment of M'tro-1, times
10,000. "There's nothing I can do," she said sadly, "The
Cacci Dai had no way of planning for this." It was given that a
Cardship would never founder on purpose or attempt a gravity
123. The Cardship's descent began to
accelerate. The hull might get a little warm, but she won't burn
up. Already there was atmospheric resistance. Inertial
buffers would make the impact
survivable but structural integrity would be compromised. The
Cardship would literally add to the
shell's mass. Clearly, 27th century Earth was watching this!
Ireana's grief and frustration leaked through her eyes, like watching a
train full of loved ones dive off a damaged bridge... in slow
125. She was trying to imagine what Mother was doing to
counteract Earth's gravity. If the redundant systems were
operational, she could soften the landing a little.
The passive psionic shield permitted leakage where the superstructure
was ruptured. She wanted to keep her children as calm as
127. Onimex transferred
a message to the monitor in front of Ireana: “The Cardship is under it's
She rubbed his upper surface
affectionately. There was still hope.
"The Cardship is going to
attempt a crash landing," Onimex said out loud.
"She's rerouted everything to create a buffer," he added.
Ireana brushed her
lips, like waiting for a verdict in court.
132. "She still has some control," Onimex reported, "but she's having
trouble compensating for the damaged areas." Mostly, the
polar destabilization was wreaking havoc on the flight control system
in a gravity environment.
133. The Elite destroyer was designed to destroy whole planets.
From their point of view, this oversight was minor, except that the
weapons officer was being lectured for not including the shell's
gravity in his calculations, "Do I have to do everything!" Dal El scolded him
Trillions of light conduits made the Cardship blend into the ground as
it descended into the upper atmosphere. From the ground, it would
look like a massive atmospheric distortion.
Two personnel transports broke pursuit and headed back toward the
destroyer. "They were going to board?" Ireana commented
sarcastically, "Mother would have never allowed it! She would
have imploded before allowing them to
136. The Cardship faded out of existence. Ireana
squinted her eyes and
forward. She wasn't shocked by the idea, she was shocked at how
quickly her hope was restored, as if given a shot of
137. "I picked up an
index-protocol when the Cardship
disappeared," Onimex said.
138. Ireana smacked him and screamed with
delight. "That doesn't mean they're safe -- it only means they
escaped the destroyer," he clarified. That was good enough for
her. What she heard was, "...they escaped...
She leaned back in the driver's seat and stared indifferently at the
destroyer. "Elite prisoners don't fare well," she said. She
returned her gaze to the Cardship's last known location, "As soon as
you know more, tell me." She looked again at
"Think we can
out run 'em?" she mused. Onimex never responded to her bad jokes
unless he could think of a better comeback.
Suddenly, he had one: "There are 19,986 B'lines due
arrive in 8 seconds."
142. Ireana busted up laughing! "Hi!
name's Kor, and I'll be blowing your shell all to hell
"All those chances I had to start drinking," she sighed. "And I
never once let my hair down just to live a
little. Not once!"
144. "From what I can tell," Onimex said, "You
were always busy. I read your diary."
She was dazzled by his improvisational creativity. His
personality was something he had developed on his own.
Ireana smirked affectionately and patted him on the
upper surface, and let her arm just lay there.
147. Swarms of Theite
saucers began to blur
space in every direction as if the curtain had drawn back on a gigantic
war epic! The sight was breathtaking!
Ireana's despairing smirk bloomed into radiant delight! "You
weren't kidding?" she shrieked.
she needed was
popcorn and a soda to make the holo a perfect date.
149. The saucers swarmed like piranha in a feeding
frenzy, against a single Elite destroyer and two transport carriers
that had not yet landed.
"I have to say, no-contest, my round, fat friend," she
The destroyer was comprehensively immobilized, like when a dung
beetle wanders over a fire ant hill. There was simply no contest,
"Surrender?" Ireana asked excitedly.
"I'm certain of it," Onimex answered, "I think we also attracted
out, now!" she urged him.
Onimex faded out of existence. He was there, but invisible,
shifted slightly out of phase with the solar system.
Two B'lines appeared on either side of her utility craft. She was
unarmed, so it was not engaged. She should have been happy to see
them, but she knew they weren't there to welcome her.
157. "I'm grateful we didn't have weapons,"
mumbled under her breath.
The saucers scanned her and discovered that she was a Vejhonian
piloting an indigenous craft. "What were they going to learn from
that?" the nav SJ asked. "Probably a souviner," the captain
said. "If you ride with the outlaws," tac commented. "Lock
her out," the captain ordered.
Her controls were locked out and her stolen vessel towed to a
docking bay aboard the Elite destroyer.
161. Once the Elite destroyer was fully under
Theite control, she was placed under arrest and taken