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Vejhon by Ty Estus Narada
Cyonic Nemeton, P.O. Box 3121, Page, AZ  86040-3121

Remote Viewing
Restricted Area

...Chaos -- Chapter 22

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 don't touch." 

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. 

4. "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 calls.                 

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.          

7.  "Is the Acceleration technology ready?" Mother asked.  "It needs to be tested," the subcomponent replied.  "Then Earth will be that test," Mother said.  

8. 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, "Acceleration," 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. 

10. Corlos cannot possibly interdict ad infinitum anomalies, at ad infinitum 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 overlapping.     

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.   

12.  "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 'future-detection' 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 the 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 Theites.  Mother compared the two genomes, filtering for gravity, density and mass:  "Flight Log," she entered: "Humans and Theites may be related."       

18.  For in-flight transparency, Cardship hulls had trillions of optic transmitters that made the ship appear invisible.  The transmitters also conducted cruder signal types right through the ship.  The naked eye, however, could discern a rectangular displacement amid a starry backdrop.    

19. 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 silica-sand, 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, "Psionic 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."        

21. 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 approximately 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."

23. 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.  

24. If the planet was machined into a perfectly round marble, the land would be under 5,500 feet of 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.        

27. 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.


28. Dal was enjoying another day as #2 in the Elite food chain, in contrast to the industrious hustle and bustle of everyone around him.    

29. A yeoman approached him with a tablet and reported excitedly, "We think we found a Cardship streaking towards a 10-planet system!"

30. 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 wondered.   

30. "I thought the 10-planet system was new?" he inquired, "...no sustainable environments?"  His comment was a complete gamble at stellar awareness -- there were thousands of 10-planet systems and very few possessed an inhabitable shell.      

31. "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 outcome.       

32. Dal 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!"    


33. "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, "clear in A'zoth over there?" "I believe so," the lieutenant replied.            

35.  "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 computational capacity of a single B'line multiplied exponentially when it networked with other saucers.   

36.  "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 a 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.      

38.  Saucers were a strategic trademark of Theos, tried and proven true since 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. 

39.  "Send this to Ops," O'Helno ordered, "and try to tap the grid over there -- I'd like to know more."  "Aye, Sir," the lieutenant replied.     

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 Senate.   

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!  Is there 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.  

45.  "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 agreed.     

46.  "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.

47.  "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 urgent."  Enough discrepancies could cause a nuisance alarm, but not likely in the middle of nowhere.  

48.  "Have we heard from Ops yet?" O'Helno asked impatiently, "Steady, until we know what they want."   

49.  The Theite grid passed a microdirectional signal through a series of precision relays spaced at 800,000-mile intervals between a known formation and Operations.  It was impossible to intercept the signal unless a wandering ship transversed the signal's path.  Even with a decryption key, packet-encryption required a 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 somewhere.  

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, he would laugh, but his mind was preoccupied with intercepting the Elite destroyer.       

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.      

52.  "Finally!" O'Helno exclaimed.  Operations returned an enhanced and enlarged image of the objects in question.  The destroyer was clear as day in HD.   

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.           

55.  With the mission data received, O'Helno's tactical monitor flashed, "INTERCEPT AND ENGAGE."

56.  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 cheered!  "It's about frackin' time!" a junior officer yelled, "We haven't had this much excitement since A'zoth was an SJ."            


57.  Onimex was at liberty to explore the hidden nooks and crannies on Earth without being detected.  He observed an aggressive strain of reptilians watching world events deep inside an abandoned alien ice cave under the North pole.  The ice cave's technology and design style was identical to the abandoned buildings on the dark side of Earth's moon.  27th century Earth never found the ice caves, but the moon structures were used as propaganda by Earth's military-industrial complex to increase defense spending against a possible alien invasion.  The 'aliens' had been dwelling among, and interbreeding with Humans for several thousand years. 
58.  Onimex eavesdropped on a secret gathering of Earth's uberwealthy elite; the puppet masters and political engineers who design the rise and fall of continents.  It was an insidious meeting with goals similar to Kor's, only they used economic leverage to enslave the masses to perpetual, inescapable debt.  They made Blue Funnel look sanitary.  Those who owned the banks ruled the world, and anyone who exposed that agenda was killed.  True psionists kept quiet.    
59. There was only 10 minutes remaining before the first missile impact.  News of the uncontrolled projectile situation had spread around the world.  Unlike Dayton's native era, there was no strategic purpose to conceal WMDs on a politically unified world.  The defense platforms were in high orbit, aimed away from Earth to interdict something like a Cardship.  Atmospheric contingencies had been replaced with weather control technology for 300 years.  The Earth was not prepared for an attack originating inside the defense shield.           

60.  Before the first acceleration wave hit, Dayton was listening to a narrative about southern California, "500 years ago, Badwater Lake used to be called Death Valley and was flooded with sea water in 2089 by the bureau of climate control.  The lake is 282 feet deep where the Badwater underwater resort currently attracts thousands of visitors each ye...."  The narrative froze.  Dayton made a frowny 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 static deceleration 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 acceleration fields but had never witnessed an entire planet frozen in suspended animation.  "In the first place," he observed, "this shouldn't be possible.  A localized 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.  Moving through the air was like swimming through a translucent fog; the effect greatly toyed with his mind.  The animation was not an absolute standstill, but slow enough to make motion undetectable.  "Acceleration?" Dayton questioned.  "From the subject's point of view," Xanax added, "We are accelerated.  The 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 suspended too," Xanax clarified.  "But 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 Onimex had to physically search for her.  He had returned from his covert adventure, 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 equasion.           

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 disharmonic like fingernails on a chalkboard.  "There you are," Onimex observed.  They had never had a chance to get formally acquainted:    

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 maturity.    

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, but the circumstance called for an accelerated protocol so that both of them could function in a hazardous environment.  Xanax gave Onimex a data-sharing key. 

70.  When two objects in one dimension, link in another -- they create a Trinity.  Both machines could now share information in a private cloud dimension.  


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.

74. "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 petroleum jelly.  The vacuum of space was unaffected.  


75. "Standby for transport," Xanax advised Dayton. 

76. Dayton was distracted by the jelly-like distortions that the Atgravs made in the air.  He wasn't really paying attention, “Standby for whaaa...” the energy-matter  transport began and he was a long ways from Earth by the time he finished his question.   

77. The photonic matter in biologicals is not hard-wired to its mass.  A 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 candidate.          

78. As soon as Dayton rematerialized on the simulator floor, Alma said, "You need to wait here -- I'll be right back."  This awkward capacity to pause and resume playback on cue almost made existance seem unreal.  The consequences for bad choices, however, was very real...   


79. 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. 

80. "Off the grid," Onimex replied, "Xanax said they were being retrieved."  The interdimensional data storage point concurred.  "What about us?" she asked.

81. 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.     

82. "There's a Cardship in orbit conducting nuclear-clearing operations," Onimex reported.

83. "Nuclear?" 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 hit.  I 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. 

85. "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.  

86. "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." 

87. "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.

89. "It was," Onimex confirmed, "but Corlos wanted him to assess the quantum anomalies first hand."  The secondary aspect of the mission was rather bland.   

90.  "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 process?" she surmised.  "Yep," he said.    

92.  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.  "That's 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. 

95.  "We need to get to orbit," Ireana said, opening the vehicle's gull wing door, "I want you to tell me about the amplifiers on the way up." 


96. Dal 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.

97. 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 word.      

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 it takes 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.      

100. 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.          

101. "Have armed boarding parties standing by," the Vice Elite ordered.  The order had already been given by 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 throne.  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.  

104. 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.         

106. "I'm registered," Ireana whispered, "I can board those."  She said it with reverent delight.  "That might 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 it 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.        

108. She watched the last two Atgravs speed toward the Cardship and disappear inside a hanger.  They were beyond visual range, magnified by the ship's monitor.

109. "They're getting ready to decelerate," Onimex advised.   Ireana shook her head and succinctly articulated, "They are not ... accelerated!"

110.  Then she whispered more politely, "Please synchronize."  She wanted to avert the transitional queasiness that she experienced the first time.   

111. 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 concerned would 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.   

112. "I like this speed better," Ireana sighed, "I'll be fine if I never go through... 'acceleration' again."  She hated the misnomer.   

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.   

114. 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 a distance, but not anymore.

115. "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. 

116. "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 low..." 

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 trouble.           

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 stabilize?" she 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.    

120.  "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.  

122.  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 landing.   

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!

124. Ireana's grief and frustration leaked through her eyes, like watching a train full of loved ones dive off a damaged bridge... in slow motion.  

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.   

126. The passive psionic shield permitted leakage where the superstructure was ruptured.  She wanted to keep her children as calm as possible. 

127. Onimex transferred a message to the monitor in front of Ireana: “The Cardship is under it's own power.”

128.  She rubbed his upper surface affectionately.  There was still hope. 

129. "The Cardship is going to attempt a crash landing," Onimex said out loud.

130.  "She's rerouted everything to create a buffer," he added.        

131.  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 personally.

134. 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.

135. 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 board."   

136. The Cardship faded out of existence.  Ireana squinted her eyes and leaned forward.  She wasn't shocked by the idea, she was shocked at how quickly her hope was restored, as if given a shot of adrenaline.     

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...

139. She leaned back in the driver's seat and stared indifferently at the approaching 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 destoryer.

140. "Think we can out run 'em?" she mused.  Onimex never responded to her bad jokes unless he could think of a better comeback.  

141.  Suddenly, he had one:  "There are 19,986 B'lines due to arrive in 8 seconds."

142.  Ireana busted up laughing!  "Hi!  My name's Kor, and I'll be blowing your shell all to hell today!"  

143. "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." 

145.  She was dazzled by his improvisational creativity.  His personality was something he had developed on his own. 

146. 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!  

148. Ireana's despairing smirk bloomed into radiant delight!  "You weren't kidding?" she shrieked.  All 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.   

150. "I have to say, no-contest, my round, fat friend," she teased.   

151. The destroyer was comprehensively immobilized, like when a dung beetle wanders over a fire ant hill.  There was simply no contest, bordering pitiful.  

152. "Surrender?" Ireana asked excitedly.

153. "I'm certain of it," Onimex answered, "I think we also attracted someone's attention."

154. "Onimex, fade out, now!"  she urged him.   

155.  Onimex faded out of existence.  He was there, but invisible, shifted slightly out of phase with the solar system. 

156.  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," she mumbled under her breath. 

158.  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.   

159.  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 prisoner.