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Vejhon by Ty Estus Narada
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Remote Viewing
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The Psi Strata -- Chapter 2

1. Vicar Wexli psionically drifted through the ether while his body remained in the shellwatch temple at the Spearpierce compound.  All Guards rotated through shellwatch to search for distressed shellans and psionic anomalies.   This enabled the Guard to keep a pulse on the shell's psionic health and to dispatch assistance when needed.    

2. He honed in on a curious development:  A shellan has just entered a pawn shop and wants to sell what looks like a grenade.  It is a grenade.  The store owner is humored by the grenade but can't meet the seller's asking price.  The negotiation fails.  The seller pulls the pin on the grenade and asks, "How much is it worth now?" 

3. Vicar Miles, drifts into Wexli's event, "That's a compelling technique," Miles observed.  The store owner withdrawals 1,000 credits from his drawer and hands it to the seller.  The seller takes the credits along with his grenade.  As he exits, he tosses the grenade back inside and runs away.  Nobody pursues.  Everyone takes cover.  

4. The patrons hold their breath for a long time before a kid bravely inspects the grenade and announces, "It's a dud!"  The shop owner is pissed, "Get that Jolvian swine!" he shouts.  Wexli breathes a sigh of relief.  "I'll go find the prankster," Miles offers.  "Yes," Wexli nods, "Thanks."   Miles keeps the prankster under observation and coordinates his apprehension.  

5. Fish was not a delicacy on Vejhon, but the fishing industry was one industry operated mostly by non-shellans.  Off-shellers thrived in costal regions and often brought their off-shell traditions with them.  "Why do they come here?" Wexli asked himself.  'Cultured shellans have no use for sea water,' came the choral response of 500 souls who were unconsciously listening.  That happens when a Guard's thoughts get too loud.      

6.  "I think I just caught a Jolvian," Wexli said.  It was perfectly legal for Jolvians to visit Vejhon, but the Jolvians were a unique breed of reptile; very attractive with white scales and glowing blue eyes. 

7.  Jolvians could pixillate their scales to blend into any background and immobilize their prey with hypnotic subliminal suggestion. 

8.  The Jolvians had survived cultural struggles for millinia.  For them, it was a badge of honor to successfully evade the Psionic Guard.     

9.  Wexli entered the Jolvian's mind, "What's your expedition number?"  The Jolvian de-pixillated to indicate embarassment and resignation.  "Don't take it so hard," Wexli consolled, "How long were you here?"  "This was my last day," the young Jolvian replied.  That meant it was his 10th day visiting illegally.  The two governments had worked something out.   

10. "Who's your High Up?" Wexli asked.  The kid made a glottal sound that Wexli recognized.  "I know him!" Wexli replied, "one of the very best!  Technically..." Wexli added, "you passed -- this is your 10th day.  I found you too late."  The kid disappeared.  Gone.  "Anyone get a pinprick in the shell somewhere?" Wexli asked out loud.  "He's back aboard his ship," came an anonymous reply.  When feedback synched, the source was rarely questioned.  "Thanks," Wexli said.

11.  As the sovereign custodians of shell health and psionic virtue, the Guard absorbed the thoughts and affection of adorning fans into one polar extreme, like many rivers flow into the sea.  The Guard protects all who align with them.  Some shellans wear a talisman of their favorite Guard for luck while others wear the Psionic Guard symbol itself:  Two concentric rings with either a personalized bead or a tiny vial of shell water suspended in the center.  The more expensive talismans make the center ring appear to float without fasteners. 

12.  Unlike faith in galactic legends, the Psionic Guard is composed of live, tangible beings who can help in times of need -- 'living' Saints who psionically patrol the shell.  Although venerated as demi-Gods among mortals, their omnipresence causes some of the public to take them for granted:  "Do all-knowing, all-seeing Gods need to be patronized?"  The Guard was tolerant of any belief that respected the sanctity of life and the liberty and happiness of others.              

13. "It looks like Blue Funnel closed on another system," Miles said, who was drifting through the financial district at Balipor.  The financial district was an intergalactic duty-free zone with no known oversight.  Anything under Zena could be bartered there.  The Blue Funnel banking conglomerate runs the financial infrastructure on virtually every shell in the Universe and maintains a prestigious consulate in the quarter.

14. The absense of Psionic Guards in the district gave Blue Funnel carte blanche.  It also provided the Psionic Guard with a plethora of intergalactic intelligence that could not be gleaned through direct covert effort.  Wexli drifted into Miles' event this time.       

15. A young protégé was presenting a portfolio of a new acquisition to Blue Funnel's CEO.  "About, another septillion credits," the protégé said proudly.  The CEO nodded sternly in approval, "Very good!  Do you have design concepts for their new currency?"  The protégé pressed a button on his PDA and several holographic candidates appeared above the CEO's desk.  He studied the cultural significance of the artwork, "Lots of water there," he commented. 
16. The CEO touched a button on his desk to minimize the hologram and leaned back in his chair.  Blue Funnel maintained unrequited contempt for the Psionic Guard, because the Guard restricted their reach to the quarter.  Everywhere else in the Universe, entire governments could be purchased:  Not on Vejhon, thanks to the Guard. 

17. The fraud of selling debt and recapitalizing on credit worked everywhere except here.  Vejhon's notes could be exchanged for hard currency, which was unheard of elsewhere.  Off-shell, Blue Funnel had a different name to suit each world's financial illusion.  "As long as the public believes that their money is controlled by the government -- it keeps prying eyes away from us!" the CEO said.  The deception works by printing "Federal Reserve Note" on each IOU.  Smoke and mirrors, "And that's how you control EVERYTHING!" the CEO veiled a thin smile toward his protégé.  "They 'owe' us for every one of these we print!"  He snatched his keepsake collector's note from his desk and waved it like a magic wand for emphasis.       

18. "We can't possibly be the only shell that opted out of this abysmal scheme," Wexli moaned in disgust.  "Nothing unusual going on here," Miles added.  "Oh my!" Miles amended, "Guess what the kid is?"  Miles had a boyish manner when he got excited.   Wex was fast: The kid had to be something fabulous or Miles wouldn't have got excited.  "SGK?" Wexli guessed.   "Yep!" Miles said, punching Wex in the arm psionically.  A Seven Gates Kid, "it's one of ours."  The possessive pronoun was normal; SGK's were perceived as objects, rather than shellan.      

19.  SGK's are financial savants owned by the Seven Gates Corporation; although it wasn't illegal for a corporation to adopt a child, Seven Gates was the only company that did.  SGK's were savagely protective of Vejhon's fiscal sovereignty, so the Psionic Guard left them to their own devices; unvested, but well protected.  "Guards Bless them!" Wexli said.  It was now confirmed that Seven Gates had infiltrated Blue Funnel, "Finally!"  The best litmus test of an SGK was to try arguing with one. 

20.  Wexli squinted his eyes curiously, "What's he posing as?"  What Miles heard was, "How did he get in?"  Miles shrugged and said, "Money."  "OK," Wexli conceded quizzically.  It was logical.  Blue Funnel spoke fluent money.  That was the best answer.         

21.  No place on Vejhon is off-limits to a Psionic Guard, to include the President's office at Balipor.  A Guard may traverse industrial concerns and military facilities at will.  They avoid bedrooms out of respect for marital privacy and the financial district per The Director's orders.  The Psionic Guard Director was the quintessential God since Guards were already deified as demi-Gods.               

22. Guards never transgress customs and courtesies unless they have good reason, and when such reason arises, a Psionic Guard is his own warrant.  The mere presence of a Psionic Guard automatically confers control to the Guard; which compels them to avoid unnecessary public mingling.  They 'see' and 'feel' quite well from wherever they are; shellwatch being the most revered example.      

23. Shellans swear "by the Guards," to underscore earnestness, and for the pedestrian utility of swearing.  Their monogram is the same symbol used by mathematicians and physicists to identify an, "absolute;" like the amulet worn by devout admirers. 

For being an absolute, not everyone who is capable of becoming a Psionic Guard, chooses to become one; but nobody believes that, because it's a sin to intentionally fall short of one's highest potential.  Peer pressure in a psionic environment can be beneficial and detrimental.

24. Daniel felt a direct kinship to the Light Race that had hewn out the many caverns within Sunova.  He would often trek to the library and wonder why the Light Race needed a library.  The cavern was disc-shaped and terraced with a mysterious unfinished alcove at the far end.  "Was it a statement of imperfection?" he wondered -- it was the only blemish within Sunova.  There were loose pieces of the collapsed matter in the alcove, virtually impossible for most biologicals to move.    

25. Daniel could not begin to imagine the power requirements necessary to hollow out these chambers.  Modern spectrometer equipment did not have an atomizer sensitive enough to know exactly how the caverns were made; collapsed matter contained no gastric bubbles.  The entire cavern network was geometrically faultless except for the library, and its unfinished condition looked deliberate. 

26.  Glyphs on the walls suggested that the Light Race used their minds to create the caverns.  The rock is so dense that the air separates into a thin fog on the floor, but not thick enough to hide the floor.  There was a water well in one chamber, affectionately called 'The Joker' because there was no end to its depth.  An intricate grill prevented measurement and Daniel ordered that no measurements be made.  The breathable air emanated from the library and was ventilated throughout Sunova.  It was in this mystical space where Daniel most often fell asleep.  Nobody else would sleep there because the Joker and the unfinished alcove was spooky. 

27.  Daniel became conscious at the bottom of a great chasm roughly 20 meters square.  He felt that his mind and body was in pain.  His exhaustion led him to believe that his physical body had already died, yet he lay on the dull grey floor of this chasm unable to stir his soul, "Why is my mind unable to move?" he complained.  He thought his soul should at least separate from his corporeal body so that his spiritual matter could escape the physical pain.  "I'm stuck!"  

28.  The chasm walls stretched upward for miles into a pinprick of light no bigger than an optic fiber, "Why am I here?  Why am I imprisoned?  What have I done?"

29.  "Am I dying spiritually?"  There was a fearful exhaustion about this condition -- like being too tired to answer the door when death knocks.   

30. Softly, in his field of vision, he saw two handsome angels gradually descend and pick him up, one at each arm.  He couldn't feel their touch.  One angel was blond and the other one had jet black hair but both of them reflected God's glory in their gaunt, youthful faces.  Daniel wanted to ask, but couldn't.  His thoughts went unanswered.  He couldn't speak.  He could only go to wherever they were taking him. 

31. Daniel was gifted at interpreting dreams and experienced waking dreams too, but this one was far from the usual subjects -- the pain in his body was real.  It should have awakened him, but the flight to the chasm's opening was soothing.  It made him focus less on the pain.      

32. The angels deposited Daniel on the outside of the chasm and flew away toward an illuminated ball of fire that must have been the Throne of God in the distance.  It was the distance that struck Daniel the most: "Two angels rescue me from a deep chasm... and leave me so far away."  

33. "It's not time yet," he reasoned, and his soul felt that God agreed. 

34. Daniel awoke in the alien library.  "It's not time..." he mumbled, fighting the confusion of consciousness.  "Where am I really?" he wondered.    

35.  He had fallen asleep while reading a book, but not this book, "... or was it?"  It didn't seem like the same one.  The veil here was razor thin and everyone experienced heightened paranormal sensations. 

36.  Many years ago, Daniel piloted the simulator to the moment when Sunova was still a star.  He watched the star transition from super nova to its current hyper density and found nothing.  He scrutinized each frame, hoping to find the exact nanosecond, but the caverns mysteriously took shape like crop circles in the night.  He could see the caverns appear, but 'who' and 'what' remained unseen. 

37. The book was open to a symbol that caught Daniel's attention, a large triangle.  At the bottom left angle was the shape of a terran man and woman.  At the top was a DNA helix.  The bottom right angle had a ring with 10 spokes.  Above the triangle was a ball of light, and inside each triangle angle was a darkened dot.  

38. Daniel closed the book.  He needed to return to his office.


39.  "Pigmentation is soft and pourous," #6 commented, "possesses neural relays and absorbs sunlight like we do."  I-20 injected, Its CPU registers sensation before it actually happens -- it supports sentience...  Consciousness."  There was a respectful pause -- the symbol for 'consciousness' was similar to 'Conscious,' which calls for reverence.

40.  "Epigenomic memory is built into the construct..." #5 observed.  "... Except the construct won't know it," I-20 injected, "synapse sparks potential but none of it is hardwired." 
41.  Adressing #8's concern:  "In less than 0.2 Sections," I-20 clarified,"12 million instructions can reduce to 6 million and the remainder can upgrade!"  "Automated chaos -- isn't that just great!" #8 remarked, feigning joy.  He wasn't alone -- the others had the same concern.  "If it fails -- we start over," I-20 reassured them, as if the only issue surrounding an antimatter containment breach is the container.  I-20's enthusiasm was contageously reassuring, "Even the hydrogen in Zena will end someday," he eulogized prematurely.  True but vague.    

42. "A procreation protocol?" #4 injected while observing the function of half-units.  The recombinant process was unique to biologicals.  "The construct has to validate before cellular division initializes," I-20 commented.  Machines are simply assembled.  The DNA had a lot of redundant safety precautions built in.  You can never be too sure.

43. "What we're doing is very similar," I-20 said, "I need all 10 of you to validate this helix.   The helix needs 20,000 validations before cellular division takes place and every new cell is encoded.  No code -- No animation."  "The bio-CPU is designed for photonic matter," #4 observed.  "For Light Race infusion," I-20 confirmed.  Unlike machines, photon-infused biologicals are sifted through chaos until they transcend their limitations; a tempering process.  "Distillation," # 4 observed.

44.  "Long range potentials?" #7 asked, as if reading from a checklist.   

45.  "We can't build around the construct," I-20 answered, "we have to 'find' a suitable environment for it... if we wish to observe Segment 1 in our life cycles."  All chaotic processes contain innumerable and unpredictable potentials.  Over a thousand years, the matriculation would seem like nuclear fission.  "Matriculate?" #2 questioned.  "The Ellipsis," I-20 clarified  "Yes, yes," #2 agreed, although it seemed more tangential than parallel to Elliptical conventions. 

46.  "Accountability?" #2 asked.  "Although epigenomic memory transfers from progenitor to posterity, resposibility is still shaped from one generation to the next,"  I-20 answered.

47.  Machine cartographers had been dispatched 1,000 years ago to chart space in all directions.  Cryptic data was still being received from unrecognizable spacial paradigms.  Some cartographers never return, while some get annexed by foreign machine worlds.  Even annexed machines sometimes attempt to comply with their original orders, transmitting indecipherable data through untranslatable filters. 

48.  #2 and #8 sampled 100 quaddrillion yottabytes of data to deduce 18 potential candidates within 100,000 light years of Zena.

49.  Of the 18 possibilities, 15 were eliminated rather quickly.    

50.  The remaining 3 candidates had negligible atmospheric, gravity and density differences.    

51.  Conscious dissolved two of the three remaining candidates and presented an instability curve that matched the helix's degradation over time.  The helix had to be incubated there -- the match was perfect.