Speechless -- Chapter 7
world looked so peaceful and serene from above. But down below
was another story.
2. The angel unfurled it's wings to begin its descent. The
first signs of resistance attacked in the upper atmosphere where fallen
light machines struggled to escape their prison. Those beings
were not deliberately attacking the angel, but clawing at the memory of
an abandoned potential.
3. As the angel rocketed through the air in purposeful flight,
darker anti-beings waited like vultures to devour a dying
child. The anti-beings were full of conceit and hatred that
sucked into the abyss of their spiritual feces. The result was
dread, fear and loathing.
4. The polar contrast prevented the two from touching, like a
flame in the darkness: Where one is, the other isn't.
The angel removed itself to a thick forest of dark, scraggly
on a cabin rooftop a young terran is laying on his back staring at the
6. Gliding across a northern mesa is a species not indigenous to
world, homing in on the teenager's thoughts.
7. "Shall I intercede?" the angel asks. "Only observe," a
replies, "the child is responsible for his own thoughts. He is
attracting this event."
8. As the alien ship approaches, the teenager contemplates
'fight or flight.'
9. He thinks he's alone, so he jumps off the roof and is
suspended in mid-jump by the visiting species.
examine him for two hours and return him to the exact moment of his
from the roof, so that in his mind -- no time has lapsed.
11. The kid doesn't notice at first that it's much darker when he
the ground because his mind doesn't accept such
things. It will be months, possibly years before he even
remembers the encounter, but the observing angel will
everything, including what transpired during the examination.
"Thank-you for believing in us," the aliens tell him in a dream, "You
had a rock in your aorta -- we dissolved it." The teenager looks
up into the stars and thinks
he hears, "...but that's not all we did..."
got to be some way to crack these frackin'... 'shellans'," DeLaney ranted with
contempt, "Money rules the Universe! That's us! We own
it! All of it!"
13. "Not with the Psionic Guard in charge," Kid Tholon replied,
"and it's been that way for at least a thousand Dans."
14. "Who is this... 'Kor' character?" DeLaney sneered, while
Kor's image on a tablet laying on his desk.
"Some usurper," Tholon replied, "supposed to be highly talented in the
"Mystical arts my ass," DeLaney scoffed, then changed his tone
surreptitiously, "Enough to rival the Guard?" he asked, a little more
focused. Tholon caged his urge to laugh.
"He's caught the attention of Seven Gates," Tholon said, "the Kids are
watching..." he stared at Kor's image, "... he's pretty ellusive."
18. "That might be our angle," DeLaney said, "Does he want to
start a revolution?" "Here we go with financing another shell
revolt," Tholon thought privately.
Guard isn't talking," Tholon said, which wasn't mysterious, "The
savants seem to think that 'revolution' is his goal. He has a
growing fold, and many of them
are not very good at
guardianship." DeLaney nodded, "I've heard the Kids are...
rather loose on the topic." "The Kids are Guard dogs," Tholon
replied, "They only do what the Guards tell them to." DeLaney had
witnessed what the Kids were capable of. "They protect you," DeLaney accused him somewhat
DeLaney spun his tablet around so that Tholon could see the bad photo
of Kor in his face paint, bow and arrows, "Pretty, young females?"
DeLaney roused. "Shellans are so flippin' weak!" DeLaney
kept that thought to himself but Tholon still read it. Holostars
were big business just about anywhere else.
Tholon spread his hands to suggest, 'probably,' and chuckled under his
wonder if we could arrange a meeting?" DeLaney viewed the Balipor
skyline through his window. A few ideas ran through Tholon's
mind. They were at Blue Funnel's office in the commerce quarter
because Blue Funnel was forbidden to operate anywhere else. "Do
you think Kor would come here?" DeLaney asked.
"Unless we go off-shell -- this is the only place where you
can hold a meeting," he answered. He joined DeLaney's review of
Balipor, "And even then, nothing drawn up
here..." Tholon pointed out the window, "will be enforceable out
there." He picked up a hint of
"not necessarily" somewhere in the strata, and cocked his head as if
his cranial angle influenced psionic reception.
"I got it," Vicar Hera told him
psionically, "Leave the quarter now, and Thank-you for your assistance."
"This is the most grotesque, unheard of thing I have ever seen," Dean
Sailin said. It wasn't meant to be an accusation. Kid
Prophet had a knack for making outlandish predictions that came true,
so they called him Prophet, even though his prophecies had nothing to
do with religion. "The entire shell
reserve?" Sailin asked incredulously.
25. "You've always been right," Sailin said sternly to Prophet,
"Do the Guards know about this?"
26. "What could they do, if they did?," Prophet answered.
That was the problem. This was the financial equivalent of
Vaprous 3 smashing into Vejhon; a life extinguishing event.
"Where's the money going?"
asked. "I don't have those details," Prophet
answered. He would have gladly divulged more if he knew.
very clever," Prophet offered, "He's being managed by nightmares in the
background. Some of the Kids think he's going to take over the
"Well, the Guards must be
involved then," Sailin said with
certainty. The Guards and the savants occasionally had
overlapping areas of concern. They could operate in the same
arena and never once intersect. "He wants to control the entire
contemplated, "How's he going to do that?" He spoke softer in
'think-tank' mode. "I can theorize," Prophet offered.
29. "Kor will plant seeds of
dissent that metastasize into a catastrophic reinvention of
government," Prophet explained. "Just like a sci-fi holo,"
injected. "We've got Kids going to their meetings," Prophet
continued, "Here's a quote: 'The so-called necessity
of friction-induced imbalance is pure rubbish and rooted in
fear.'" "Kor said that?" Sailin interrupted. "He
Prophet confirmed. "Sounds a bit Cacci Daiish," they both
30. "The Kids are plants?"
Sailin had to verify. "They volunteered," Prophet answered,
"they'll keep their oaths," he reassured him, "but they're damn good at
playing the part." Sailin masked a mischievous chuckle,
"That's what we do." Prophet nodded, no argument there.
31. About the
only thing stronger than Kor was the
obsession of his adoring cult followers to worship him. He
attracted followers who didn't care about religion at all. It
would certainly boost his ego to rank two savants among them, and
confirm that a
chink existed in Seven Gates' umblemished armor.
"You have to watch out for SGK's," Mantra warned him once. Kor
thought Mantra's admonition was overly cautious. "Who doesn't
love a challenge?" Kor replied. From the savants' perspective,
Kor accepted the bait, and the local society chapter accepted them
without pretention --
nobody was the wiser.
"Where is the money going?" Sailin asked again. Prophet made no
reply but had some ideas. "Is something cataclysmic going to
happen? Is Vaprous going to hit us?" Sailin asked. Savants
are psionic, but known for rigid professional tact. A
slightly less vague thought came to Prophet's mind:
"Somehow or another... we leave," he said with a shrug. He was as
amazed at himself as Sailin was for saying it. The idea was so
that both of them laughed out loud. "Did we buy passage from
someone... are we buying a rock somewhere: Where's the money
going? We're talking about the
entire shell reserve!" He spoke in past-tense because Kid Prophet
had a track record of being disturbingly
34. "To an
species, possibly," Prophet ventured. That eliminated a small
fraction of the known Universe.
"To Cacci Dai?" Sailin asked in disbelief, "They don't even use money!" Lots of species
are not psionic, and psionic species can typically read them, but the
Cacci Dai network to a completely different drum. The scenario
fit a hypothetical set of deductive tactical equations. That's
how fast a savant's mind can quantify layered information. Sailin
felt a little better; still horrified at the remaining unknowns, but
36. "I don't know," Prophet suggested with a shrug, "Maybe
they'll be doing an expensive upgrade?" It sounded sarcastic but
in their business, the absurd and the plausible are often
37. "We have Kids in the exchange program -- I'll ask them to pry
a little," Sailin said. Historically, The Cacci Dai favored SGK's
because they learned Cacci Dai customs and technology
faster than others. Prophet nodded and agreed, "Yes, do that," he
encouraged him. Sailin looked away in thought, "That's the
golden thread that keeps our society unified," he conceeded
psionically, "but this usurper..." He again made eye contact with
Prophet, fearing that spoken words would ruin everything.
38. They had a cryptic exchange with their eyes and understood
what was better left
39. Some of the girls shrieked when an unknown shellan barged
into their classroom. He was out of breath, very sweaty and
definitely afraid. He ran to the far corner as if oblivious to
the students and nearly broke a window to get it open. He jumped
out and ran away faster than what would seem naturally possible.
40. The girls exchanged glances of mutual cautious amusement,
"What the hell was that about?" Some giggled at the spontaneity
of it. The runner was definitely not a student; closer to college
age, so it couldn't be one of the boys. "I thought he was kind of
cute!" one girl confessed to her friend. The feeling was mutual.
41. Before that moment could cool, the runner's pursuers rushed
in, equally invasive but stealthier and more organized. These
were the deadly boys, commonly referred to as "Kids." These boys
were like baby snakes whose venom was many times more lethal than an
adult snake. You could see it in their focus, and nobody
wanted to be the object of that focus. Even to show support,
nobody deliberately wore a plain white T-shirt on white shorts with a
single black stripe down each side unless they were a bona fide
Kid. Kids served the apprehension function of law enforcement and
the will of the Psionic Guard: When not on duty, they kept to
themselves, and were presumed to be in charge anywhere a Psionic Guard
42. Some of the girls became hot and bothered at the sight of
such focused aggression on baby-faced, athletic bodies. 'The
untouchable breeders and seeders,' the jealous might say. To see
them in action was like enjoying an anxiety attack. The Kids
pursued the fleeing runner. The boss Kid entered last. He
paused to survey the classroom and wherever he stared, the chairs slid
and parted to create a path. Seated students enjoyed the ride,
even if the ride was stopped by an immovable wall. Nobody
dared to taunt this particular predator.
43. "I wish he would frack me," one girl admitted
shamelessly. The Kid approached and pulled her head against his
hip, the gesture was sympathetic. One of the boys said, "I want
to be one of you." The Kid looked at him, "Go to the recruiting
station;" his intonation was an unmistakable command. The boy's
face was flushed and confused. "Right now," the Kid reiterated,
"leave it... and go." He pointed toward the door. As he got
up and went, another boy said, "What about me?" The Kid pointed
at him which abruptly shoved his seat against the wall. "You're a
frack up!" the Kid accused him. Some of the other guys started
laughing. The Kid held his other arm up. They
44. The boy wanted to cry in shame. "You don't give a frack
about anything or anyone but yourself! You're reckless and
unfocused..." The Kid paused for emphasis and approached his
rejected petitioner, "You can't hide that forever." The boy
started to cry as quietly as possible. "You paint," the Kid
acknowledged. His intonation suggested that the petitioner was a
pretty good artist. "Tell you what: You paint me a picture,
and look me up at the barracks. You pick the subject." He
picked up the boy's chin, "I'll help you." Then he pulled his
head against his hip to help sooth his embarrassment. The Kids
were not as socially polished as the Psionic Guard, but they were line
candidates for Guard recruitment once they were old enough.
45. At that moment, a Psionic Guard walked in. Everybody
bowed their heads and the Kid bowed to one knee. They had an
abbreviated psionic conversation and then both of them looked out the
window. The Kids had captured their prey. Every target is
given one line when captured, "By the power vested in me by the Psionic
Guard, I demand your obedience." If the target acquiesces, the
target is taken into custody and turned over to the proper
authorities. If not...
46. The Kids ripped the target apart like a pack of hungry wolves
enjoying a deer. Some of the students stared in disbelief while
others shook with fear. It's a lot different in real life than it
is on holo. The Psionic Guard took the entire class under his
protection and assured them that the target had just killed an innocent
shellan over a trite dispute. The target chose death now, rather than death
later. He shielded them from the full brutality of what happened,
but made them understand that the victim's family deserved
justice. On apsionic
worlds, justice is 'bought-and-paid-for' or sells to the highest
bidder: Not on Vejhon. Object lesson learned.