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Vejhon by Ty Estus Narada
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Remote Viewing
Restricted Area

Vanishing Act -- Chapter 27

1. Daniel felt his body free floating in the vastness of space. 

2.  It was not his corporeal body, but his energy-matter within. 

3.  In the distance was a layer of colorful rings made of luminous material.  As he approached the rings, he realized that he had greatly underestimated their size. 

4.  At first, the rings seemed to be made of an ever-shifting solid material; a fusion of light and metal held together in an inexplicable fashion. 

5.  He thought he saw gemstones, then the stones dissolved into liquid jewels.  The effect was heavenly, and seemed distantly connected to a previous life.

6.  "Isn't 'everything' connected to my mind?" he contemplated.  "We live in our minds," he once said to B'jhon about co-location and timespace.

7.  The rings spanned in excess of 1,000 miles in diameter.  In the central area of the rings were billions of glowing creatures dressed in luminous robes surrounding a glorious personage in the center.  Had it not been for the infinitely expanded bandwidth of his photonic eyes, he would have captured very little detail. 

8.  "Is it really?..." Daniel lipped, breathless in his energy body.  Breathing is not a photonic necessity, but it is a hard habit to break. 

9.  The central personage sat upon a throne made of luminous jewels that rotated slowly on three invisible axis.   It was the zero point upon which all existence is predicated.

10.  All life, energy and bandwidths seemed to originate and end at this point in space, and the point was movable and could be co-located according to the Will of God.  His photonic mind felt like it had access to information that his corporeal body could not contain or even imagine:  Life is a filtration process.  We are evolving.   

11.  "Clearly, I'm not dreaming this..." he told himself, "I couldn't come up with this if I tried." 

12.  His movement stopped within 50 miles of the center, and seemed to establish an aesthetically perfect berth between the Billions of beings and the nucleus.   It had the effect of a literal nucleus, with The Author of Creation at its center.    

13.  There was an indescribable music that could not be heard in corporeal form.  It flowed through the soul as a creative force.  Apart from the ethereal sounds, there was a humbling, reverent silence.  These creatures were accustomed to being in the presence of God; in the rhythmic cradle of creation. 

14.  A streak of light sped from its vanishing point straight to Daniel, who was holding fast at a predisposed point.

15.  The being was breathtakingly glorious beyond anything Daniel had ever imagined; beyond his dreams of the Light Race. 

16.  The being only looked at Daniel, and downloaded a conversation into Daniel's mind that would take the rest of his natural life to understand.  "You will remember parts of this conversation at specific times in your life," the being explained.  

17.  Daniel guessed one keyword right:  Tetragammaton.  Then he awoke on the sofa in his office in a wonderful daze.   Incredible! 

18.  Coming into focus was B'jhon's face, who had been standing there, waiting for him to awake. 

19.  "Yes?" Daniel asked, without so much as twitching an eye.

20.  "Dayton has returned to Earth."  B'jhon said rather flatly.

21.  Daniel shot up, gave B'jhon an uncomfortable stare and strolled to his enormous wall-length window.  He held his hands behind his back in military fashion and slowly paced, his thoughts well removed from God's throne.

22.  "I think this is the first time anyone has ever done this," he said. 

23.  It wasn't a simple matter of going back to Earth to retrieve him; during the ten minutes that lapsed, a million different variables changed.  That's why deployments and redeployment were always calculated in advance to intercept and compensate for quantum vulnerabilities.  B'jhon read Daniel's next question and answered it, "Station keeping," he answered. "After you left, Alma went to station keeping and then he suddenly ran out of operations in a panic." 

24.  "Well, who was manning the station?" Daniel asked.  "We were using it to backup analytics," B'jhon answered, "there was nobody there."  Both of them took for granted that the maturity level of a Corlos operative had to pass the simulator test in order to arrive.  "We've ALL experienced it!" Daniel nearly yelled.  What he meant was, "Curiosity is NOT an excuse!"  B'jhon could only shrug in agreement.  It was pointless to ask, "Who let him do this?" because Dayton should have known better.  "And I'm not going to blame Alma, because he was in Ops at our request," Daniel said.  There was an understandably awkward silence, "What possessed him?" Daniel asked truly mystified.  B'jhon could only gesture with his hands and face that he hadn't the foggiest idea.  Yes, everybody has 'thought' about it, but nobody has actually done it.  In the realm of God, thoughts and actions are one and the same, and mortality is a proving ground to test one's ability to exist with God.       

25.  "You know," Daniel said, barely more composed, "I've never had to terminate an agent before... at least not for this reason." 

26.  B'jhon felt that it was very unfair to stick Daniel in this position, "He made the choice for you," B'jhon rationalized for him.  Daniel nodded meekly and smiled thinly.  He appreciated B'jhon's concern for his mental health. 

27.  "OK," Daniel agreed, "reassemble them."  If it wasn't for these constant psycho tropic meetings -- Corlos wouldn't have anything else to do. 

28.  Alma had already forwarded the simulator user log to the conference room.  The simulator wasn't networked on purpose, to safeguard its technology.  That's how it had always been, and would always be.    


29.  Everyone watched Dayton flirt with disaster, struggle with morality and ultimately choose suicide.  Everyone had experienced the same temptation more than once.  It even gratified some to finally see somebody actually do it.  Now they could all witness the consequences.  The Glory of God is Intelligence -- but the Valley of Death is prerequisite.  It wasn't just disobedience on trial, but a scornful lack of common sense. "Is he wanting to die?" an operative asked just as Daniel entered.  They all began to rise, Daniel motioned for them to sit.  They went through that same rise half-way and sit down antic every single time. 

30.  "My thought exactly," Daniel said psionically to the agent who asked.  Then to everyone, "I never thought this day would happen."  Daniel found their discussion to be much more robust than the usual morgue-like silence.  It was unfortunate that it took an unprecedented act of stupidity to provoke such excitement.  Nobody of their lofty caliber wanted to admit that the forbidden was this exciting. 

31.  "Who was Dayton's recruiter?" Daniel asked.

32.  "I-40," came a choral response.  "Oh, there you go!" I-40 rebuked them, "Blame this all on me!"  It wasn't necessary to point out that I-40 was also a machine.  That sort of profiling was beneath Sunova etiquette.  But it was also curious, since I-40 seemed to have connections that nobody could resolutely prove or disprove.  I-40 was above suspecion.  

33.  "I-40 is always dead pan accurate," Daniel said introspectively.  Everyone caught the unspoken, "If anything went wrong -- I-40 wasn't the problem."

34.  "We need a retrieval agent," Daniel added.  "What are the dynamics of extraction?"

35.  The images of three extraction agents appeared on both walls; the room had an ovular shape.  

36.  Gryffyn was considered the official Corlos executioner.  His image was one of the three. 

37.  Everyone recognized the third image, who was on assignment near Alpha Centuri and the 2nd closest agent to Earth.

38.  The center image was Ireana, who was aboard an Elite Destroyer enroute Earth to destroy it.  She was the closest and practically there already.         

39.  "Well, Ireana is probably in the mood to kill somebody, so why not send her?"  The voice at the other end of the table was safely out of range. 

40.   Daniel allowed himself to laugh quietly at the sentiment, "Maybe this is The One's way of getting me back for sticking her with Kor," he thought privately.  The others were a little more cautious, since Dayton's termination could one day be their own if they messed up as badly.    

41.  "The intrigue is killing me," Daniel replied.  It was another abbreviated sentiment.    

42.  The same voice on the other end surmised, "It's Onimex."

43.  Another voice amended, "No, I think it's Xanax!"

44.  There was a mutual, "Oh, that's right!" on everyone's faces.  Daniel had to re-assess the verdict.  The Ellipsis forbade the conviction of machines indentured to chaos, and Dayton's situation was a perfect example.  Xanax made the magic happen, but under Dayton's authority.  

45.  "You know what?" Daniel whispered, "We really can't kill Dayton." 

46.  That was a revelation because the word "can't" did not exist in Daniel's vocabulary. 

47.  Xanax was an A.I. statement whose full potential had not even scratched the surface; the closest thing to cybernetic alchemy ever concocted.  "We can't kill the inventor of such a thing," was the silent conclusion.  "We don't even understand it yet:  He messed up -- but we've got to find some other way."   

48. The voice at the end of the table was right -- Ireana was the only choice.  

49.  "We've got to get her off Kor's ship," Daniel came to.  What they heard was, 'we need to secure the industrial vulnerability ASAP.'

50.  Daniel touched a button on the onyx table surface.  "I need an analysis on moving Ireana from Kor's destroyer to Earth."

51.  "We're on it," came the immediate reply.  At the same time, another operative's voice could be heard in the background asking, "Where's that?"  Everyone appreciated the sarcasm but repressed the urge to laugh out loud.  B'jhon was about to solicit theories on the missing Cardship when operations called back.  "Yes," Daniel answered.

52.  "Did I mention that four quantum distortions are congregating at one point in space if we move her?  And Dayton -- he's in an alternate timeline altogether.  We just barely even know where to start!  Alma is working on the timeline issue -- he doesn't have a report yet.  I think he's close..."  

53.  "Can't Xanax or Onimex buffer such a transport?" Daniel asked.  Onimex rose to the occasion, "Xanax can," he said, "and I can help him if I go."  Daniel gave Onimex a nod and lipped the words, "You're going.  Thank-you."  Onimex used his diagnostic pixels to reveal emotions, similar to how Jolvians used their natural skin cells to do the same.  In this case, a transparent beam passed through him from left to right, of his own choosing.      

54.  "We have so many slip calculations to navigate that we might as well let Onimex do this, if he's going," Ops said.  "Why is all this attention focused on Earth?  All at once and right now?" Daniel asked no one.  "Onimex, get your Ops briefing and report to the simulator." 

55.  Before Onimex could make his exit, Daniel added, "And Ireana can be briefed during transport?"  "Very easily," Onimex assured him.

56.  "Good-luck," Daniel said. 

57.  The door rematerialized after Onimex left. 

58.  Alma's assistant scurried into the room with a data recorder from the simulator. 

59.  She set a hockey-puck shaped disc onto a reader at Daniel's station.  "You'll want to see this," she said.  Evidently, Alma had loaded quite a bit of stuff on it.

60.  A red "Y" symbol, just like the alpha-numeric "Y" appeared on every wall.  It was the most serious event in the Universe and precisely what Corlos was chartered to interdict and prevent.  Anyone who thought the meeting was over, sat back down.  The symbol represented a forced time split.  Naturally occuring splits were identified with a green "Y."  Forced splits typically contain bridges between alternate shards that must be collapsed before the forced shards will terminate. 

61. "He messed up like you wouldn't believe," the librarian reported.  Then she noticed that some of the agents looked very willing to 'kill the messenger.'  She spread her hands toward the agents, alluding toward herself, and said, "What!" to rebuke their accusation.       

62.  "Thanks Angel," Daniel said, dismissing her and sitting back down, finding it harder to hide his disgust.  This was the 2nd instance in one day where he was tasked with terminating the same person.  "Blessed Be the Machines," he said to himself. 

63.  Before the alternate reality had a chance to play, Daniel pushed the disk off the receiver. 

64.  "That reality will not happen," he said sternly, "so we might as well not watch it."

65.  He rose to his feet once again, dispensing with any formality.     

66. "Seek and Terminate.  Meeting adjourned."  "Damn!" somebody remarked at the spontaneity of it.  It was starting to look slightly hopeful for Dayton, but not anymore.        

67. Operations chimed back in, "We have a lock on Ireana and we know when to move her.  It'll be any second."

68. "You got Onimex in the stream?" Daniel asked.  "He's actually better at this than we are," Ops confessed, "We're going to add him just before we add her."  "You got the conjoining waves at their widest oscillation?"  Daniel was just checking.  "Yes Sir," Ops replied.

69,  "Just..." he started, and then let out his breath, "I know you know what you're doing.  Thank-you."  Conjoining waves are a small part of navigating energy through a convergence of anomalies.  It's prudent to allow for as much space as possible.  Linear motion was the smallest denominator of the quantum dynamics involved.      


70. Sol 3 gradually enlarged on the main viewer as 30 Elite destroyers decelerated and approached conquest # 919, soon to be annihilated.    

71. "A beautiful blue shell," Kor observed indifferently.  The Elite empire believed that God too, was indifferent.  If The One really cared, He would have intervened long ago.  Kor was not superstitious, but just in case the Jolvian tale of Me'thosha's Tower was true... there was no reason to tempt fate without cause.  "Did I not drive every vice from the shell?"  If anything, the future of folklore was entirely vested in him.                  

72. In spite of Earth's logically conceived defensive posture, it was grossly maligned for this type of attack.   Earth's psionists knew that 'the proverbial aliens' had been dwelling among them for centuries; that the best defense would be inadaquate against a determined telestial foe.  There was nothing to gain for the bank, except the fiction earned by recapitalizing on credit to finance construction.           

73.  By the time Earth's sensor grid registered a crack in their defenses -- the shell would be reduced to a septillion bite-sized pieces:  There would be no evidence that a shell had ever existed.   

74.  "Meet me in my throne room," Kor instructed Ireana.  She couldn't escape the ship, and Corlos had not retrieved her, so Kor gave her free reign of the ship.  The crew adored her as a heroine and future Queen, so they respectfully stepped aside with veiled smiles of approval when she passed.  "Let sleeping droids lay," the Cacci Dai say.   Rigidly gaunt facial expressions are trademarks of Kor's super kids, so the act of smiling was reserved purely for her.  Shellans wanted a matriarchal figure to complete Kor's image and she felt it very strongly.      

75. Ireana could also feel the solemnity of those on board.  In their own piously misguided way, shell destructions were necessary to rid the Universe of evil.  They were not villains in their own eyes -- the deserters were.  "Just how backward..." she stopped herself.  "Don't think," Onimex had suggested.  She desperately wanted to hear his voice again. 

76.  Earth was within minutes of eternal oblivion.          

77.  The throne in Kor's audience chamber had been forced to fit aboard a ship otherwise void of pomp and circumstance.  Extra monitors were added so that he could observe ship operations.  His prized feature was the full-length observation window which came standard for the recreation room.  As long as he was happy -- the ship's carpenter was happy.   The crew could have their rec room back when His Majesty no longer required it. 

78. Dal El's presence was purely figurative although he was held in high esteem.  He was seated in one of the lounge chairs facing the observation window.  Elite SOP was based on his operational knowledge of the Theotian Spaceforce, which he adapted for Elite use. 

79.  Kor greeted Ireana at the door and escorted her to a specially made seat right next to his; she was, after all, his mistress.  Dal El rose in salute.  Kor accepted his greeting and motioned for him to sit back down.  Ireana was thinking, "If only I had an IED..."  She perished the thought.  Dal smiled at her and nodded kindly.  She returned a forced grin and slight nod, "If you only knew..."  Dal did not perceive himself as a bad guy, but he was the one who unknowingly bequeathed the art of shellicide with his soul, while Kor blessed it with his heart; "What more sanction do we need?"                  

80. Operations was visible on the deck below:  Elegant, sheik, stylish, purposeful and ordained by Kor to kill everything in sight.  The entire apparatus made wholesale murder appear nostalgic and necessary if not sentimental.        

81. At times, her rational mind would seep through the cracks, "How did he hypnotize an entire culture to do this?  ...a cultural addiction... to death?

82.  She scanned the crew for a shred of apprehension or remorse:  Nothing.  They found the mission intoxicating, "We share The Master's vision:  He wants what's best for everyone."    

83. "They ...enjoy... what they do.  They're not just brainwashed -- this is what they are," Kor clarified for her.  She looked away as if she needed to hide what he said.  She asked, "Does it really defy all rationality... " She stopped.  It seemed pointless to finish her question, "... to include 'live and let live' somewhere in the equasion?"  He indulged her deeper thought:  "Without knowing anything about a shell -- you annihilate it without a second thought?"  He even read her justification for him, "It's too pedestrian for Kor."  "You can't beat a soulless avatar," the Jolvians say.  She asked instead, "You promote wholeshell annihilation because ... they... enjoy it?"   

84.  "You imply a moral prerogative that doesn't exist," Kor answered.  They were on opposite sides of a very wide moral chasm.  He no longer felt a pressing need to follow every synaptic thread.  Her individuality posed no meaningful threat.  She also realized that there was no possible way to win.  Kor was, as she discovered for herself, as close to an absolute deity that anyone could hope to become while mortal.  If someone was going to be the Emperor of the Universe:  He was overqualified... "But why this?"  All rationalizations seemed to funnel back to that one question:  "Why?"  "Wouldn't someone with absolute power impose a more benevolent agenda?"

85.  As the veil of Elite psychosis lifted, she understood why Daniel wanted her here.  Daniel was like a savage beauty, always two steps ahead; somewhat of an enigma himself.  "What was that expression?" she searched her memory, "Life through Light and Death, Beauty and Savagery."  It fit somehow.  She turned her head toward Kor and then back toward the window.  This was the closest Corlos would ever get to Kor.  "Daniel knew exactly what he was doing," she thought, "And who is his handler?"  Kor was barely paying attention to her now, "Too pedestrian for him," she imagined.          

86.  "They think I'm one of them now... no, ... that I have always been one of them."  She scanned the crew for symbols of herself:

87.  "The Secret Sorceress.  The Elite Queen."  It was like stepping into a royal treasury and finding your name written on everything.  Only she wasn't who they thought she was, like a typical Jolvian tragedy.  The crew liked her, akin to a matriarchal figure -- they thought it was time for 'The Great Father' to 'get a woman.' 

88.  "Guards!" she mumbled under her breath, "They love me -- they think He needs me... that He needs... a mate."   An awkward juxtaposition.

89.  "A marriage by acclaimation," he clarified nonchalantly.   "But aren't you..." she started.  He interrupted, "You may not think so, but I'm a product of what they wanted."  His candor surprised her.  "The Constitutional rhetoric that the whole Universe revolves around me is simply untrue," Kor shrugged, "You hear them -- you can decide for yourself."  Ireana cocked her head back incredulously -- for a second, it sounded like he was proselytizing her into the fold.  "What would it take?" she asked herself introspectively, "I can't believe my allegiance is on the table."  

90.  "This moment," Kor alluded to the lull in time before destroying a shell, "is what we call the Black Mass."

91.  His voice reflected reverence and solemnity for the dead.  "If there's a definitive, two dimensional point where Heaven and Hell meet -- I'm there," Ireana thought.  It was her quantitative way of reconciling a marriage between good and evil.  "Did he, in a round-about way, say that he would marry me?  And if so, we need to work on our priorities:  Shellicides are out.  If I am to be Queen -- cancel this now!"   Kor did not disturb her intrapersonal conflict. 

92.  "You don't have to do it," she said, "You don't have to do this -- you can make a choice.  You can save this shell by not destroying it.  There are no Vejhonians there -- I was the only one, and I'm here now, so... just... stop."   She turned to Kor as if she was already proclaimed Queen, "Don't... do this," she said calmly.  There was still a tinge of frustration in her voice, but it was within her newly acquired right to make such a request.  

93.  Kor was truly taken back and cocked his head inquisitively toward her, as if she was pleading for perdition.  "Are you trying to bargain with me..." he asked, "for their lives?"  "Making deals with... the devil, a... Human might say?"  He had to plod through that question, but he was serious.   Ireana felt like he was talking 'at' her rather than 'to' her:  "Am I even a part of your monologue?" she wondered openly.  He could read it if he chose to.     

94.  A cold fusion fire cracked through the gates of hell and penetrated her soul like an icicle.  Kor thought that he had captured her, but clearly, something got lost in the translation.  She knew that Corlos could extract her at any moment, making this the shortest love story in history.  But if she could save one life, then she could save them all, and Cacci Dai would plant an astral swril in her honor in the Museum of Chaos.  "Could I really change him?" she wondered.  They both had an agenda:  Corlos couldn't have picked a more perfect agent to play this particular role right here and now.  

95.  Her breathing stiffened.  She became conscious that Dal El was in another shell, far from the one outside the window, or maybe just giving the love birds their privacy.  Dal El struck her more like a cartoon character that had come to real life. 

96.  "Would you?"  she asked.  Kor captured the two additional words that she didn't say, "for me?"  "You've got to be frackin' kidding me?" Kor shielded from everyone.  It was the most incredulous thing anyone had ever asked of him.  In a mischevious way he was thinking, "What sort of God do you take me for?"  He too had to struggle with this 'relationship' dynamic.

97.  Of course, he could do any damn thing he pleased, and had indulged her passion once already, "I could give you shells without end," he replied, "like pearls on an unbreakable string."  "So who bears the burden of sanity now?" Ireana retorted.  Kor read her logic, "If he can make that choice, then he can make the right choice, right now -- he doesn't need anyone's permission or consent; he can simply decree this shell 'off limits' and and it's done."  "Do we even live in the same Universe?" he questioned.  His tone accused her of ruining the moment.   "Mirror," Ireana replied -- because she truly wondered the exact same thing.  For not being a Psionic Guard, she demonstrated clear potential.    

98.  A crack in her brass fortitude revealed a tear attempting to escape from her eye, "Is it so unthinkable?" she asked. 

99.  "Give me this world and I'll do whatever you want," she whispered.  Kor also heard, "... and don't tell a soul, because I'll deny it."  The moment had come:  The decision to cancel 919 was now or never.  She was weakening, but not philosophically.   She would find a way to make the best of an inexplicable situation, "But the price is Earth."  She had barely lived there for 2 days while observing Dayton.  M'tro-1 had not been that long ago.  He was thinking about his brother.   It was her tear, the archtypical symbol for, "Every Dan Must End," that reminded him.  "Maybe I have a chink in my armor," Kor conceded; he kept that expressly to himself. 

100.  Dal El interrupted politely, "All ships are reporting 'GO.'"  Even his intonation suggested that Kor and Ireana were already a thing.  She returned a tight smile to acknowledge his ludicrous presumption -- he didn't have a clue.  "Such an extraordinary mind," she sighed.  "...caught up in all of this."  She looked more penetratingly into Dal El's eyes as if some part of the contradiction could be explained if she probed deep enough.  Dal froze like a popsicle.  She looked away and smiled in apology.      

101.  Kor nodded toward a yeoman who stood invisibly by; he was in charge of holding the main fire button until The Master required it.  The invisible jobs were sometimes the best ones. 

102.  The ships Captain called Kor and reported, "We have a teutonic lock.  All systems are synched.  Awaiting your order, Sir."  Ireana was forcing her diaphragm to function because she couldn't breathe otherwise.  He had given her hope that he might abort the mission, but then she realized that he never intended to abort the mission -- not for her or for anyone.  The Earth was enlarged on the viewer.  The destroyers were parked at a very safe distance, encircling the shell. 

103.  "Well Done, Captain," Kor acknowledged, "I'll fire from up here."   Ireana didn't know what else to do.  She had offered herself to him, and that was all she had to bargain with.  Kor rolled his eyes.  "If Onimex was here..." she started.  "I would massacre the son-of-a-bitch, and still destroy 919," Kor injected.  Then he backtracked slightly, "I know... Onimex... was your greatest achievement."  The situation was crushing her, "I could throw myself in front of the disrupter beam," she scratched for ideas.  "Now, you're just being stupid," Kor gently swayed his head, as if their dilemma was nothing more than a silly lovers quarrel. 

104.  He rose for the occasion, took the detonation switch from the yeoman and approached the observation window as if the additional 10 steps made a tremendous visual difference -- it was habit.     

105.  Monitors throughout the fleet were focused on Kor's every move because whoever held the switch was the celebrity for the occasion.  Sometimes that honor was bestowed upon someone who had demonstrated great valiancy in the face of grave danger to protect the Elite.  Ireana felt a joyous sentiment sweep across the entire fleet and unanimously elect her to push the button... a 'wedding' present of sorts.  She was not the feinting type, or she would have passed out on the messenger's sled when Onimex deserted her. 

106.  Kor motioned for her to join him near the window and offered her the remote.  She was utterly and morbidly stupefied, "Director bless me," she said.  She had never even met a Psionic Guard, let alone the Director.  Her sentiment did not travel far, compliments of Kor.       

107.  Kor tempted her with the remote like one might offer a drinking buddy some pretzels, and even feigned comic puzzlement by her hesitation.  She made a customary bow to ingratiate herself, and declined the honor as one unworthy.  Everyone watching throughout the fleet thought that she was being respectful and modest, which deepened her endearment to them.  'Button pushers' had their own club, like 'ring wearers' in the Theotian SpaceForce -- nobody declined the honor when it was offered.  She had made a huge sacrifice.  

108.  Ireana thought that she was losing consciousness, when in fact, she had become familiar with the feeling.  The psionic shield was temporarily disabled in order to fire the primary weapon.  This time, they were prepared to defend against a surprise attack by B'lines if they suddenly appeared.  Nothing was left to chance.   

109.  Kor returned his attention to 919.  He pressed the fire switch and a weapons officer said, "Weapons Free!" into his mic.  That was the last time Ireana saw him.      
110.  As the ships activated their primary weapons, Kor peripherally noticed that Ireana had disappeared.  He spun around to see where she went.  She was nowhere in sight; she was not in an adjacent dimension, the door had not been opened.  Her psionic imprint was vacant.   "How the hell?" he wondered. 

111.  He returned his gaze to the window and there was nothing to see but thousands of miles of empty space in all directions.  There was no implosion: Conquest 919 disappeared before any disrupter beam could impact the upper atmosphere -- the entire armada witnessed it!  Some thought it might be a spacial distortion, because the weapons were never known to fail -- Dal El made sure of it.  

112.  Kor dropped his arm to his side and numbly fumbled with the remote, "An Act of The One?" he entertained, "...and if so... why now?  Why such a 'delayed' interest Universal affairs?"  It really didn't make sense.  "Did we destroy the shell, or not?" several ship commanders asked in unison.

113.  "We're still in the 10-planet system," cartography reported, "but 919 vanished.  They would need to re-name it the 9-planet system now.  "Our weapons did not impact the shell.  No joy," the chief weapons officer reported.  A psionic clamor crescendoed throughout the fleet, understandably.   Nobody noticed precisely when Ireana disappeared because all eyes were on Kor. 

114.  Energy blasts from ships positioned 50,000 miles away were beginning to streak past Kor's destroyer, having impacted no target at all, to confirm the fact. 

115.  Earth's moon had been clipped by the energy casings of two disrupter beams, and without Earth to hold it in orbit, drifted injured into space.  The anti-matter pellets sailed through the casings without resistance to who knows where.