Mighty -- Chapter 10
The round room had a celestial effect, dimly lit with illuminated
marble columns that stretched into a mosaic of stars overhead.
The ambience was Holy. A central chandelier was surrounded by 13
reclining chairs that faced outward rather than inward, so that
the skulls of those reclined formed an unbroken
heads did not touch, but the intention of a circle was
obvious. Those seated were performing shellwatch.
This room was the only room above the Director's office and occupied
the highest level of the Director's Spire
on the Spearpierce compound. It was affectionately known as "the
temple" and was the most easily recognized symbol on
Every Guard rotates through a 90-minute
shift, with one Guard replaced every 30 minutes to keep the
circuit continuous. Guard tradition believes that shellwatch
purges a Guard of his impurities accumulated inbetween rotations, for
his sacrifice in the service of others. It is a sacred duty,
never declined, and takes two weeks for everyone to have a
The Director's office was directly beneath the temple with a
360-degree unobstructed view. His office was also a national
monument and considered the most valuable real estate on Vejhon:
All real estate and navigation coordinates were relative to this
spire. In terms of importance: The President of Vejhon was
general elections, but the Psionic Guard Director's appointment was for
One of the heir apparent's additional duties was to oversee the
shellwatch rotation and insert himself as necessary. Wexli was
doing precisely that; he was honing into a dysfunctional harmonic on
side of the shell.
6. Shellans in rural
areas often thought they were out of sight and out of mind.
Many did not believe that the proverbial 'shellwatch' was a literal
function since the Guards were omnipresent already. The Director
preferred that less ostensible belief; only those shellans
to get away with something discovered differently.
Wexli located the source of the disharmonic and drifted into a thatched
hut on the edge of a natural forest
clearing. The wind prevented seeds from taking root in the
clearing, but the forest was dark and mystical just like a storybook
razor sharp contrast between the clearing and the forest was
The Kids were already enroute with a warrant
for psionic deviancy. "No... industrial espionage,"
Wexli uncovered, "'psionic deviancy' was just a cover." Thousands
deceptions like this took place every day. It was simply not
possible, or plausible to arrest the entire shell for every loose
psionic rambling and thought. Psionic Deviancy was serious.
A verifiable trend had been established and an investigation was
The suspect seems to know that she is in danger and flees into the
forest. On the ground, a Guard liason is encouraging the
Kids to make haste. The suspect is afraid. The Kids
are light and strong; they can run long distances without tiring.
Kids fan out and close in. "Interesting," Wexli observes,
boughs are making a path for the suspect to flee, and blocking
the pursuers from following." "Very supernatural," he
observed. "Note that and follow up," he ordered. Wexli's
face showed dismay as the tree boughs continued to part; giving the
suspect a flight advantage. "What do we do with the trees?" Miles
asked curiously. Shellans
believe that plants are alive, but tree limbs don't move like
Another shell watcher tapped into Miles' drift. "Look at
that," Miles pointed out, "The trees are making a path for the
suspect's flight." The Kids were gaining ground, but
"And blocking the Kids," another Vicar observed, "I've never
seen anything like that." "Me neither," Wexli
concurred. "Check records," Miles suggested, "and see if anything
like this has ever happened before." "On it," his assistant
Wexli and Miles drifted down to the ground and followed the
suspect who kept turing in fear to check for her pursuers. She
could see the Kids, and their steathiness made her more afraid.
"She doesn't know!" Wexli read, completely dismayed, "She doesn't know
that the trees are helping her!" "I think she does now -- she
seems confused!" Miles read. She was out of breath and just
noticed that the trees were blocking her pursuers. Her flowing
white clothes looked like something
out of a holo.
"Are they filming?" Miles asked, and he was going to kill somebody if
the answer was, 'yes.' "She's wanted," Wexli
replied. "For What?" would have been the natural next question
but he didn't ask.
Miles drifted into the Guard liason. "The Guard doesn't know,"
Miles said. "It was industrial espionage earlier," Wexli
The suspect retrieved something from a fold in her dress. Just as
Wexli was about to enter her mind, she pressed a button on
the device and disappeared. "What the hell?" was his
Miles saw it too, but he wasn't as close, so he tapped
into Wexli for his perception. Then the Director
appeared. "She vanished," Wexli reported. Then a 4th
watcher appeared, "Where did she go?" How many Guards does it
take to catch a shellan? somebody was thinking. "Close ranks,"
the Director ordered.
The Director probed Wexli's memory of the device. To him, it
felt like a surgeon tweaking a patient's neurons for a specific
synapse. "Unless... she wasn't a shellan?" Miles offered
cautiously, which technically, shouldn't have made any difference,
although it did add a handful of unwanted unnatural
dynamics. "Thanks, Miles," Wexli intoned with feigned
delight. The Kids were now encircling the spot where the woman
vanished and looked upward as they closed ranks. She was damn
lucky to get out alive. "Good thing they can't fly," a Guard
There was the device; a small, oxidized rectangular device with no
obvious buttons or recesses: When she pressed her thumb
on the surface, she disappeared. "We need more information than
that," the Drector thought, and permitted everyone to review it like an
APB. "There's another possibliity," Wexli directed exclusively to
the Director. The Director flashed a clock symbol in Wexli's
mind: The minute hand on 10; the hour hand on 1. It was a
code that meant, "It takes one to catch one, proceed as directed --
this never happened."
"Miles, follow up on the industrial espionage -- that's what
they were responding to," the Director ordered. "Wexli, find out
more about the owner of the hut." "There was a pinprick in
shell directly above her," the 4th watcher injected. "An
expedition?" Miles asked. "That's really not their style," Wexli
replied. "No, it's not," The Director agreed. Wex could
imagine Kyle'yn rolling his eyes, just as he did. Miles flashed a
symbol exclusively to Wexli; a bird wearing a watch caught in a
trap: It meant, "I thought 'they' were more careful than
that?" Wexli gave Miles the "stay-on-mission" symbol, but
confirmed that he was right, with his eyes.
21. The pomp and
circumstance at the Big Ball had the air of an imperial
coronation. Bri had friends in attendance from parts of the
galaxy that he had never visited.
that!" a reporter commented, "Even the Cacci Dai sent an emissary --
when has that ever
happened?" "Probably never," somebody injected. Bri was now
32 and old enough to accept a Presidential
performed every task with blind
enthusiasm and exceeded all expectations. "Some are calling this
an appointment by acclaimation," one reporter commented. "That's
interesting," the politician answered, "Because we believe it's a
well-deserved appointment if it is."
23. "This is much bigger than
the Theite treaty," a reporter said, "and look at the large delegation
of Theites in attendance!" It wasn't a small delegation -- the
entire auditorium was sprinkled with them. "This appointment is
to the Presidency," another reporter injected, "but one might think he
was being crowned Emporer of the Universe." "Judging by the turn
out!" another added. The
cameras zoomed in on the President at the podium. "The President
of Vejhon is about to address the shell," the anchor commented quietly,
"We're going to stand by..." There was an unmuffled click of a
children," President Aqu' Sha began, "I am
pleased to report
that Vejhon is in excellent health. All of the department heads
have given me satisfactory reports and I am pleased." The crowd
applauded lightly and the President smiled.
The President moved his arm to the right, "I would like to recognize
the Theite delegation." A narrator very quietly explained, "Queen
Estuses didn't attend because of controversy surrounding her desire to
marry Bri." Another added, "There's not a debutante anywhere who
doesn't want him." Her Lord
Chamberlain nodded regally at the camera in proxy for the Queen.
"The Theotian monarch is also a polyandrist," an anchor mentioned,
"That's more than one husband," another explained. They quieted
The President continued, "As
our greatest blood acquires the wisdom and knowledge to govern a
remarkable shell, there comes a time to mark the occasion with equally
revisions in leadership." "Do they always talk that way?" a kid
in the audience whispered to his Dad. "It's a great moment,
Son," he answered psionically, "can you feel it?"
The spiritual fire in the room began to heat up because everyone
knew where this speech was going.
"I have watched this young
A gentle wave of fervor swept over the audience, that unified their
thoughts into a single hearth, and a hot hearth it was.
The President felt the energy flow through him and smiled
warmly, nearly stepping back to cool down. He held one arm up and
waited for the intensity to calm. A Vicar had to psionically hold
him down to the dias floor.
"I have watched this young shellan pour his soul into the marrow of our
society, and I can not begin to describe my joy at the arrival of this
"As I look at your faces and feel the pulse of the entire shell, I
marvel that this phenomenon
has stirred everyone's heart into a unified voice."
The intensity was beginning to sizzle, like a very large
amplifier about to explode. The
sensation was surreal, like the fuzzy anchoring points of
the Ball's exterior.
seem like any further speech was
necessary -- the light in the President's face said everything:
This was an appointment by acclaimation.
"Effective Noon today, Bri An'Trol
Rain..." The eruption exceeded the sound constraints of the ball
exterior. The roar was clearly heard outside. On an apsionic shell,
this wouldn't have happened so quickly.
President had to laugh quietly. He felt no imperitive to be
rigidly formal amid the fever, since it was his prerogative to conduct
the assembly as he saw fit.
The news reporters tried to comment above the noise
unsuccessfully. "I've never seen anything like this," the
President said psionically to the Director.
38. "Let them
enjoy their moment," The Director suggested, "this doesn't happen very
often." "I think I'm enjoying it too!" the President replied.
electricity to quell by stepping back to wave at random shellans
throughout the auditorium; very informal. When he
podium, the assembly quieted.
"Effective Noon today I have appointed
Bri An'Trol Rain to be my Second Counselor. His devotion to duty
proven to me, above and beyond all applicable criterion, that he is
ready and able
to face the challenges ahead."
41. "I have
full faith and confidence that
Bri will continue to maintain the highest standard, and can think of no
one more worthy to accept this appointment than he."
42. An adjutant
quietly approached the President from behind, bearing a square blue
velvet pillow, upon which was a
ceremonial badge of office.
An'Trol Rain,” the President ordered,
“Please assume your station."
Bri stepped out from among the Theite delegation and stood beside the
President on his right side, one step back.
An'Trol Rain,” the President said
solemnly, “do you accept the
as Second Counselor to the President, along with the responsibilities
and powers prescribed, to perform your duty in my name; to uphold the
Constitution and defend the shellans of Vejhon with your life?"
"I do, Mr. President," Bri said soberly. Then he grinned when a
girl in the audience screamed "I love you, Bri!" She would
have to share with 50 million others. Bri did not look away from
the President's eyes.
warrant," the Director said to the
President's mind only. Bri knew the formality.
President lifted the 2nd Counselor Sigil from the velvet pillow and
placed it around Bri's neck, to seal the bestowal of power. The
Sigil possessed holographic emblems that reflected hues of blue from
aqua to cobalt. It wasn't terribly loud, and could be toned
down to a natural metal effect for display.
shaking Bri's hand, he turned to stand behind Bri, and placed his hands
on Bri's shoulders in offering.
President was supposed to say, "I give you Second Counselor Bri An'Trol
Rain," but the crowd already knew that much and was resuming its former
gentle influence from the Psionic Guard, the crowd quieted somewhat so
that the President could pronounce, "His voice shall be my voice.
His will is my will."
And so it was done. The Guard loosed their
leaned behind Bri's ear, and a camera close-up captured everyone's
intrigue, "Does the Second Counselor have anything he
would like to say?"
53. When Bri
stepped away from the President to the center of the dais,
the crowd quieted completely: They wanted to hear the golden
boy's first 'official' words.
and my shellans," Bri said, "I will never, ever let you down."
Bri waved at the audience, bowed, then turned to shake hands with
guests on the stand. For the first time in history, Bri jumped
up away from the gravity field, and drifted in the free space between
the dimpled booths and the stage. His fans jumped out into
the freespace to congratulate him. The act was absolutely
prohibited and left the President aghast. "He's in no danger,"
The Director comforted him, "we'll let it happen this once." The
Guard had no problem manipulating objects in free space, so the
indescretion wasn't as disorderly as it could have been.
55. The Ball
noisy for the next 20 minutes while the media covered all aspects of
Bri's public and private life for the next several weeks.
In a different part of the shell, a less publicized event was about to
begin. It would not have the Presidential pomp and
circumstance of a royal coronation, but it was equal in
significance among the invisible underground.
57. Nine days
had passed since
Bri's appointment and the psionic strata
saturated with news and sensationalized tales of every kind.
58. "Why do we
follow those fools?" Kor asked to nobody in particular. He was
taking his ritualistic bath as prescribed by the scrolls; the ordinance
had to be witnessed.
cavern was torch lit and dead quiet except for the trickle of water
dripping from Kor's gentle splashing and the echo of his voice.
Any woman would have given anything to bathe him, but the doctrine of
the sexes had to be strictly observed until after his ascension.
should be first," he finished. His voice echoed in the
dancing shadows of torch light on the rough cavern walls. His
attendants quietly organized his ceremonial garments.
Occasionally a torch flame would pop and spark like a real
61. "What tones
are we using today?" He knew the answer, but wanted his attendants to
relax more. The Elite was about to become a new paradigm, and he
wanted the occasion to be more festive than solemn.
attendant unrolled a scroll on a stone bench and studied a frequency
matrix created during the 6th Dan. The symbols were archaic but
translatable with an epikey. Every Dan left an epikey to abridge
lexicographical etymology from new to old and past to
6 Intonations," the attendant said, following the narrative with
his finger: "396 - Enlightenment." Kor lifted his eyes
toward the ceiling and nodded. "417 - Reversing," the attendant
continued. Kor nodded again. "528 - Transmutation."
"That's a key one," Kor injected. "639 - Bonding," the assistant
paused. "Another one," Kor added. "741 - Seeing," the
attendant continued. "I had that one mastered when I was 8," Kor
confessed to the attendant psionically." The attendant nodded and
read the last one, "852 - Harmony."
64. "We'll have plenty of
that..." Kor paused to find a submerged step with his foot, and
proceeded to egress the pool, "in just about an hour." He was
excited if not withholding pure delight. The attendant
smiled and facially queried Kor for further instructions. Kor
nodded to dismiss him from that particular task. A "Thank-you"
65. The other
attendants began assisting Kor with his ceremonial garments. This
event only happened once per Dan, so the extra time to get it right was
He let them dote and fuss over him, however reverently, and when they
had achieved the utmost level of perfection, stood back and admired
him. "I can't believe how flawless you look Master," one
remarked. Kor reached out and patted the attendant on the
cheek. "Come on!" he said to them while turning toward the exit,
"We've got a show to do!" The attendants would not be seated as
Elders, but in many respects, were more privileged than the Elders
because they had Kor's ear on a more intimate level.
ceremonially robed members
assembled and seated themselves according to rank.
and facing them were 13 stone-hewn chairs in a semi-arc with the
central chair elevated.
69. The engineering alone, hewn out of stone,
made the chamber look like it had been designed by an alien
of Antiquity had occupied the
stone-hewn seats on occasions such as this, but nobody in this
dispensation had ever sat
on one of the stone chairs, even in jest.
tapped 11 of the 200 to occupy the 11 remaining
chairs with Mantra. To each he said psionically, "Come forward
signal you. It will be after I'm pronounced, 'The One.'"
Mantra was the most nearly qualified,
he assumed the Vicar role, and officiated at meetings where a Vicar's
warrant was prescribed. The word 'vicar' was avoided because of
it's popular use by the Psionic Guard.
Mantra did not sit on any of the chairs in the arc. Instead, he
sat on a stone bench, that separated the arched chairs from the 200
general authorities. The arced chairs were on a slight dais.
next to Mantra on the same bench.
opposite them, to the viewers
right, was another bench like
theirs. That bench was traditionally reserved for the
moderator. Technically, guests would sit where Mantra and Kor sat
and Mantra would sit on the other bench. They did not have a
adorned 'society guard' would
traditionally stand at 'ready-arms'
the vacant moderator's bench. There was
no society guard since everyone in
the society collectively assumed that role. Kor would
change that after his ascension.
submerged 10' x 3' solid stone altar, flush with the floor, was raised
to podium height; the act accomplished psionically.
Mantra rose, stepped toward the lectern and raised his arms over the
assembly. "Let's begin with purification," he said
squealed for three seconds, and then turned off like a switch. It
practice to get the purification perfect. Dogs were not
In the back of the room, an alleged authority fell over dead.
inquisitive heads turned to see who it was. "Always someone,"
Mantra quipped. Anyone who could not withstand
purification did not belong in this particular crowd. Mantra's
remark caused a few chuckles to break out, which helped to vent the
"The rest of you are still breathing," Mantra
added with a warm smile. "200," a rear guard reported.
"Odd," the assembly thought collectively, "That's how many of us there
was supposed to be." The attendants removed the deceased from the
withdrew into the darkness.
82. All eyes
returned to Mantra, "Anyone else
care to keel over before we begin?" There was a little less
restrained laughter and then the Elders quieted down. "We are
here to witness what none
of us ever dreamed of witnessing in our lifetimes, and I'm sure we will
never witness again."
assembly knew that a major epoch in
Society affairs was forthcoming, so Mantra allowed them to feel it
briefly first. "Kor... step forward," he said, while maintaining
his gaze upon the assembly.
arose and positioned himself behind Mantra
and slightly to his
left. Mantra continued, "Each member of this assembly knows Kor
I have raised him since he was 7 years old. I remember on
the day I met him, he wanted to fight me for standing in his
way." Kor dignified Mantra's jest with a smirky
leaned his head toward Kor for
everyone's benefit, "Did the old wizard move for you, Kor?" It
was a rare treat to be privy to such open compassion.
Mantra," Kor answered quietly, to indulge the gesture in the spirit
intended. Mantra was referring to what Kor was thinking before he
dazzled him with his ball-of-light trick.
The faces in the assembly beamed; rarely was anyone privy to such
intimate detail between a teacher and his student. They all felt
a kinship to Kor.
friends," Mantra continued, "Nobody
knows better than I, the extraordinary effort it takes to do the right
in the face of adversity. Nobody knows better than I, the
devotion required to preserve the traditions of our past.
Sometimes, I feel that we all sense a lack of fulfillment; that 'our
time' somehow overlooked us."
Clearly, everyone identified with the sentiment. Mantra
redirected his attention toward Kor. "That fulfilment," Mantra
said, "does await."
he turned toward the assembly,
"Sometimes conditions are provoked to satisfy a lust for purpose.
That is not the case here," Mantra said. "Our war has always been
against our own lethargy! Look at me! I'm old!"
Again, Mantra drew laughter from the audience, "But the power that
illuminates our path is among us!"
"Kor possesses every trait that the scrolls prescribe for The One
have spoken of this for years; about 'The One' who
would come... but who believed it, beyond wishful thinking? We
are on the threshold of restoring a glory that once was." Mantra
made eye contact with Kor,
"Do you accept the challenge, Kor?" he asked.
"I do!" Kor replied powerfully and without hesitation. "Then lets
begin," Mantra said.
As Mantra stepped back, the altar rose above podium height and became a
towering 15 feet in the air. It's 3' x 10' base remained
unchanged. Two tall mirrors were placed, one behind each rear
corner of the monolith so that the audience could see behind the altar.
antiquity," Mantra continued, "when a new
leader was selected, he
passed three tests, randomly drawn from a list of nine.
Successful passage of each test meant that the candidate was chosen by
Cosmos to rule Chaos. Once an applicant passes these tests, his
authority becomes absolute. He will then select 12 counselors and
one Vice Elite who also commands his Elite Guard." Mantra alluded
toward the empty bench where a traditional guard should be, but wasn't.
structure of our society will change," Mantra said, "when we
become answerable to the One true Master. At that moment, our
changes... to The Elite." Mantra
patted the stone monolith from its right side where all
could see him. "This altar was
during the first dispensation and poses the fourth item on the list of
nine challenges." Four attendants placed eight additional torches
behind the altar so that the monolith was perfectly lit from
97. "Kor is to
pass ‘through the stone’."
ever seen this done. For
most, this one feat would be authentication enough. The society
was famous for denying the impossible, and this act would prove
not copy the diversionary tactics of
a magician because this was not a trick -- the stone was very
real. He approached
the stone from the rear, disappeared into the stone momentarily, and
in plain view on the assembly side. The mirrors left nothing to
question: He seemed to step into, and out of
rock as if traversing an ordinary portal.
questioned the composition of the
stone. It could be inspected later if necessary. The
problem with all miraculous acts, is that once performed, they no
longer appear fully miraculous. The advantage in Kor's case, is
that this assembly was true hard-Kor believers: They believed in
him with or without proof. They all felt the coldness of the rock
as Kor passed through it.
Eventually, somebody began to clap and the
rest followed. Clapping wasn't a society norm, but it made Kor
feel good and he wanted them to remember this as a joyous, rather than
that wraps it up," Mantra jested,
nevertheless, we must proceed."
receded to its previous altar-level
test, being the ninth of the nine choices is to restore
to the dead. A corpse can not be dead beyond three days."
Passing this test would prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Kor was
the only rightful leader."
"Where is that infiltrator?" Mantra asked.
106. In the
same manner in which the deceased had
been removed, it was returned to the assembly with an attendant at
each lifeless limb. Forensics was unnecessary -- the lifeforce
was not in the body, and could be psionically confirmed. The
attendants deposited the body on the floor in front of the assembly.
Someone in the assembly remarked, "What for -- we only have to kill him
again!" The assembly broke out laughing. Mantra replied,
"Now, you know why I invited him." The laughter increased.
They knew Mantra did not really invite whoever it was.
Even Kor could not help but shake his head and grin, "Now you
know what he's really like," he said, nodding his head toward
was a much needed stress
reliever. Kor bent to one knee and elevated the
dead shellan's head with one hand, and held his other hand above
the shellan's sternum. He was middle-aged with a stately face and
otherwise pleasant to gaze upon.
Kor closed his eyes and seemed to break into a cold sweat. A
fuzzy aura of light energy gathered around his hand with its highest
concentration of energy suspended like a ball under his palm. Kor
lowered his palm to the dead shellan's chest.
shellan's body reanimated with a
jolt. He awoke stunned with frightened eyes. As his
spirit reinfused into his flesh, he clutched the arm that
had brought him back from death.
His breathing began to stabilize. "I felt you pulling me back,"
he said. Nobody could tell whether he was grateful or
complaining. As he calmed down a little more, he looked into
Kor's eyes, "What are you?" he asked. His only concern was
"Perhaps I should be asking you that question," Kor answered, "You
uninvited – maybe you might tell us what you
are." That certainly pegged everyone's curiousity. Kor was being
rhetorical because he knew exactly what the shellan
was. He also knew that the shellan was questioning everything
had been taught to believe.
"I know you have the power of God,"
the shellan said, "but you're not what I envisioned God to be."
Kor raised an
eyebrow at the man's honesty. "Am I not?" he replied, almost
Kor raised his head to the assembly to confirm that he had
passed the 2nd of three challenges. He knew that they didn't care
about the infiltrator. He moved
his hand to the shellan's throat
said psionically, "The power to heal can also kill. Don't
move." The shellan laid his head back down quietly.
addressed the assembly, "I have one last
test to pass before I become your your 'tried and
proven true' Master." I want to mark this moment by
asking you as my advisors and spiritual leaders, what you would have me
do with this shellan?"
cold calculation, Kor added, "He is
indeed caused a great spiritual
consternation, barely above absolute zero. They knew because Kor
said it, that it had to be true, but it crushed them to have been so
inept, and Kor could sense their embarrassment. They depended
upon him. "When I become your Master,"
Kor admonished them, "I will be intolerant of this kind of
deception. Therefore, I will decide for you:"
"I am going to set this Guard free."
Psionic Guard?" was everyone's mutual question. There were many
confused faces in the assembly, but they all believed Kor had a
larger-than-life purpose for everything he did, so this too would fit
some grander scheme.
Kor squatted back down to the floor and psionically instructed the
"You go and tell
the President's Second Counselor what you have witnessed here -- and
will justify me in letting you live."
It was a curious request but the Guard was not going to argue. As
he started to rise, Kor pushed him back down,
"and if you
ever come here again... you've had you're second chance." The
lazer beam glare in Kor's eyes made him perfectly understood. The
Psionic Guard did not waste any time making his exit.
Kor had converted the Guard and knew that the Guard loved him for
restoring his life. If Kor
had asked the Guard
stay -- he would have blindly followed Kor.
After the Guard departed, Kor permitted the assembly to probe his
thoughts just in case someone didn't understand what had
happened. Kor blocked the '2nd Counselor' aspect which nobody
cared about anyway. His power to resurrect the dead had upstaged
Small insects can not survive within 10
feet of a real Psionic Guard; the cave was too dark to notice if any
insects had died and the humidity was too low to sustain
life. For being sworn enemies, Kor admired the Guard's brass for
getting in alive.
"There is a third and final test," Mantra said, "The first challenge,
of the nine, is considered impossible. That is to 'make
someone else fly."
barely finished his sentence when
he felt his body raise above the ground and levitate in a slow circular
motion above the assembly. It was truly marvelous to see and a
true show stopper, which was why Kor chose that challenge for
last. For all intents and purposes, the show was over now anyway.
clearly more impressive than
bringing a Psionic Guard back to life. There were some quietly
voiced, "wow's, oooh's" and "ahh's" as Mantra floated above the
assembly. Nobody could copy even one the feats that Kor
performed, which is why he lobbied the council to select the three most
difficult of the nine choices.
Mantra enjoyed the ride, the scrolls
required him to ask, "Is
there anyone here who disputes the evidence presented?"
suspected, the assembly was clearly
speechless -- even psionically.
Mantra down in the aisle where Mantra
wanted to be landed. He sensed a fusion of delight and "what
now?" running through the assembly's mind. Kor was standing
behind the lowered altar, in front of the High
ceremony's last step was to officially pronounce The Elite paradigm
T' Mantraas 'An, the highest recognized authority in the Ancient Arts,
voice of this assembly as High Patriarch, do proclaim Kor V’ Trol Rain,
'The Chosen One.'"
the assemby recited, "It is done."
"My last official function, as prescribed
by the scrolls, is to pronounce The Chosen One's chosen title.
which, all power and authority will be conferred upon him. So
It Be." Mantra turned to Kor one last time, as his mentor and
"Kor," Mantra asked, "Have you selected a form of address?"
Kor replied with another question, "What were the ‘tried and
proven-true’ leaders of
The assembly knew that answer, so Mantra bowed his head and pronounced,
"And thus," Kor continued, "you have spoken my proper title, and
shall ever be. Well done, my friend!"
ceremony was over and Kor was now in
"What are your first orders, Master?" Mantra asked psionically.
"First," Kor answered, "You may call me anything you like, along
with eleven others that I have chosen. Come stand on this side of
the altar with me." As Mantra repositioned himself behind the
Kor made eye contact with the other eleven, and instructed them to
142. "My name
can now be used as a swear word."
Kor said. The assembly felt invited to laugh, since Kor was
proving that he had not lost his sense of humor.
He addressed the assembly, "You have all done well! There are
only 13 seats up here, but know
this: You are my chief ambassadors to all of Vejhon and Vejhon is
a pretty big shell. You are my power base and represent
my core leadership. As witnesses of my ascension, you have earned
the prestige and respect of being among the first chosen: You are
from this day forward, enshrined as the Sons
of the First Morning." It sounded like an edict from God, and
from their perspective: It was! As each of the eleven
selected a stone seat, Kor continued:
are structures and programs
'used' to exist that I'm going to restore. Those programs should have
never been dissolved in the first place, and have never existed at all
during our dispensation. That's going to change."
Kor revealed the exclusive
rights and privileges reserved for The Sons of the First Morning; the
prestige of which
would guarantee their eternal loyalty. Some became so enraptured
that they wanted to seize the Big Ball at Balipor to celebrate their
emergence as an organized shell power. "Nothing can stop us now!"
was another disturbance... one that nobody in the chamber would
recognize except Kor.
Just like changing scenes in a holo, the cheerful sounds of celebration
began to fade as Kor redirected his attention toward an object he
couldn't read. He motioned for Mantra to continue officiating
while he sat down on his High chair for the first time. He had
felt this disturbance twice before in his life.
right back," Kor said hastily, and
then he vanished! The King was entitled to vanish and reappear as
he saw fit, especially in this festive atmosphere. Mantra simply
said, "He'll be right back," to those who noticed; the communion
This time, two humanoid hands gripped Onimex and squeezed
him with unbelievable strength. "What in the hell are you!" Kor
This was the spookiest situation that Onimex had ever
experienced. He knew the future of his
captor, and the thought ot being tortured by Kor was
Now that Kor was clutching Onimex, the fractal wave modulation was
modulating Kor as well. The trick he used to shake Kor last time
wasn't working. It did not make sense that any
biological, anywhere in the Universe, could attach themselves to
non-biological modulation... unless Kor
wasn't biological? That thought was even scarier!
Kor demanded in Vejhonian slang, "I
want to know who and what you are, you
"Such language!" Onimex thought. He modulated so far out of phase
that he and Kor were now the only objects in a unique dimension,
surrounded by fluid nothingness. He leaked a fatal dose of
electricity into his static envelope and Kor did not release his
grip in the slightest.
154. There was
an expression that Kiles used to
say in trying times, "This really sucks." There was a
'last-ditch' method of
egress that Onimex had hoped to
avoid, but it looked like he had no
The droid vanished from Kor's grip -- leaving nothing but empty
An assortment of unwholesome thoughts emanated from Kor's angry
mind. The last one was, "I will find
out what you are and rip you to shreds with my bare hands!"
Onimex didn't hear it because he was gone in more ways than one.
By disengaging the index, he was recoiling to real time,
notwithstanding his perilous location.
IN THE SHELL OF THE
unit would 'disengage
index' while deep inside a mountainous cavern. If the cavern
collapsed, for instance, he might not be able to separate himself from
the unwanted infusion of new material. Energy-matter transport
could only be accomplished with external assistance and he had not yet
taught himself how to do that.
it's three suns would not be at
the same point in space around Kolob. There were a lot of slip
adjust for when returning to real time. Fortunately, when a
vortexian trailer dissolves, the affected object recoils to its native
time like a tape measure.
now in a state conforming with Kolob Universal Time, the atomic clock
Universe. 'The One' decreed that any attempt to exceed
Kolob Standard Time would result in permanent expuslion from
existence. Most creations function behind Kolob time, which
allows God to tweak events, and otherwise appear prophetic to the
had gone through several phases of
renovation and was now an abandoned museum. The former
polished floor was dull and grey.
162. The stone
chairs had been deliberately vandalized, at one point restored, then
163. There were
no datums inside a cavern with
which to calculate a
new index so Onimex would be forced to return to orbit. Turning
off an index was one thing, but turning it back on required flawless
quantum calculations. At
least he was already at the target destination.
one serious reason why Onimex did not want to return to natural time
during an investigation at Vejhon, at
least not yet. That reason was a dearly
loved and sorely missed object from his past, who was probably going
hysterical about right now.