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Diplomacy -- Chapter 8

1. "All of the avatars are on-line," Jana reported.  "I hate these extractions," Edlin sighed.  "Yeah, but it's our bread and butter," Brody added.  Edlin had pontificated  the ramifications of interferring with intelligent species so much that everyone knew his lines by heart.  His consistency was comforting in this case.   

2.  In the real world, the three of them could see each other in their avatar bodies, Universally recognized as the mysterious grey aliens.  In reality, "The Greys" were biological robots invented by Theos for genetic extraction since terraforming was a Theotian signature export.  Even the Cacci Dai deferred to Theite expertise on the subject of genetics and biology.  

3.  Jana, Edlin and Brody were operating their avatars from a larger Cacci Dai designed ship in high orbit; evidence of a long standing trade agreement.     

4.  "This place seems a bit more developed than usual," Jana commented, "there's a lot of debris in orbit."  "This was probably Theos a thousand years ago," Edlin added.  "I'm getting an advisory on the H-band," Brody said.  Brody piloted the saucer to a forest on the orbs northern hemisphere.  The saucer automatically synchronized with the sphere's polarity and refrenced indigenous navigation systems and signals.  "Their grain weighs about the same as ours;" Edlin noted, "the circumference is within 1,000 miles; gravity is the same..."  Jana injected, "... radically displaced continents -- it could almost pass for Theos.  I like the color," she added, "very soothing."

5.  "The natives call it Earth," Brody said, "Here's the advisory; in the alpha bands... right there on that rooftop, thinking about us."  "Evidently, they're not psionic here," Jana observed.  "Doesn't look like it -- no indicators," Edlin answered.  Brody piloted the ship down the sloping terrain and glided over the treetops toward the subject.  "We might as well use that one," Jana said.  "It sees us.  This is remote enough," Edlin checked an instrument panel, "Think we'll scare it?"  There was a mutually supressed chuckle like hunters stalking game on safari. 

6.  The subject started to jump off of the roof, "Gotcha," Brody said.  "Guess that answers that," Edlin injected.  The subject was suspended in mid air.  "Bring it up," Jana ordered.  For two hours, they examined its synaptic pathways, tweaked a few things here and there and tagged it because they were required too.  They also blessed it with a few untraceable cardiovascular repairs.  Nothing terribly serious, but the creature would likely live longer now.  

7.  "Two hours of missing time on theirs, is about 20 minutes to us," Brody calculated, "Just one, big, giant mystery."  "Superstitious," Edlin suggested.  "Or worse," Jana snickered.   Every world transposes the larger Universe into their native time, weights and measures. 

8.  "Did you get what you needed?" Edlin asked.   "Yeah -- that's enough from this one," Jana confirmed, looking up the next item on the list.  "I have a couple more advisories," Brody said.  "I like the easy ones," Jana commented.  She enlarged Brody's H-band on her own console to see what he was observing.  "Check out the light bands," Edlin also enlarged his.  'H' was for 'Harmonic' which included a repertoire of exosensory information.  The robotic eyes of their avatars were designed to pick up expanded bandwidths without technological assistance, much like natural Jolvian eyes.  'H' information was useful for filling in missing pieces but was otherwise considered cumbersome and generally ignored.

9.  Jana replayed the H-band recorder to account for the last 30 minutes.  "Guards!" she sighed, feeling like an idiot, "Light machines!  They're everywhere!"  "Here?" Edlin asked.  "Should we leave?" Brody didn't know if this cause for alarm or not.  "They haven't done anything to us," Jana observed, and it's a good thing."  "They probably know we're avatars," Brody suggested, "and the subject is real."  "But look," Jana added, "They were messing with the subject at the same time we were."  Jana ran the checklist through her mind again, "We pulled the file on this place... didn't we?"  Of course they did -- that was item number one on the checklist. 

10.  "Light machines... the Light Race," Edlin clarified, "Like the Jolvians believe.  We don't interact with this type of photo-mass."  "True," Brody analyzed, "this stuff is reduced, graduated and polarized."  It was obvious he had never seen this kind of photo-mass before, "I don't know if we have names for everything it shows, the database..." Brody changed his approach, "I'm going to try something else."             

11.  "It shows intelligent design," Jana observed.  "They're evil," Brody commented.  "Evil?" Edlin questioned incredulously.  "I think you're right, Brody," Jana agreed, "those are gravitons -- these are anti-being probably banished here... check to see if were in the right place."  Brody punched up a list of 10-planet systems and discovered a minor discrepancy.  "Quarantined," Brody read for him.   "By who?" Jana asked.  "There's a footnote?" Brody pointed out.  "And that symbol?" Edlin added.  It was a  holographic clock with 6 hands pointing in 3 dimensions. 

12.  Jana's heart sank.  "Truly,' she exhaled despondantly, "a footnote indeed."  She chuckled sardonically and shook her head, "that symbol means they don't exist."  "Who?" Edlin and Brody asked in unison.  "Corlos," she replied.   "So the fictitious police of the Universe quarantined this place?"  Edlin asked.  "Yeah, what he said," Brody perked up.  "Probably not just Corlos," Jana answered, "see the one next to theirs?"  Edlin and Brody looked.  "That's the Ellipsis," Jana identified.  The Ellipsis seal was a literal hologram projected from a two-dimensional panel of electrons.   It looked perfectly normal until one realizes that pixelation technology doesn't naturally project from a non-holographic panel.  "I think we're in deep, now," she said, flicking her finger through the tiny holographic seal. 


13.  "So high and mighty they think they are," the anti-being scoffed, "toying with Elohim's... precious little creatures."  The sarcasm was so thick that those around him heard what he really meant, "Jehova's contemptuous little dung bags."   His mood swings were far reaching and calloused. 

14.  He evesdropped over their shoulders unnoticed by the robotic grey aliens examining their Human subject, "I was there when your homeworld was terraformed.  I remember when your species was more primitive than this one.  And now here you are, interfering where you don't belong."  The anti-being drifted to a different observation point, "Didn't you see the 'no trespassing' sign?" he asked in their own native language.  His contempt was obvious.

15.  The aliens were tweaking with this Human's mind.  "Don't mess up... your little advisory," he said facetiously.  His voice was hypnotic and sensuous with forced calculation.  His power was vested in the past, in a temporal struggle to reverse the fabric of time; praying to avert the inevitable.  Evil is an icy vacuum.

16.  This particular anti-being had the ability to make itself visible, but being passively unembodied was it's greatest tactical advantage.  It's greatest strategic advantage was knowing everything that mortals had voluntarily forgotton. 
17.  A much more beautiful being appeared; one that could adjust its radience and density as required.  There was a polar difference between the two.  The anti-being could not withstand the radiance of the Angel and fled, while the robotic avatars did not observe any unusual photonic activity at all.   Not initially.

18. The Angel permitted the avatars to finish their genetic extraction, since the Angel was only a light machine, programed by God to serve God; Who embues His Angels with distinction and personality as an extension of Himself.  
19.  "Should I interfere," the Angel asked, knowing that Earth had been placed off limits to foreigners; 'observe, but don't touch.'  Foreigners too, have their agency to ignore the commands of God -- knowing that all choices have expansive and contractive consequences.   

20.  "No," the Archangel instructed, "the boy made this choice.  He attracted it.  He's not in any danger.   The Theites are just doing what Theites do." 


21.  "Static line, umbilical and collar connected," station keeping reported.  "The port authority is expediting the emissary's... cancel... Vicar Miles will be escorting the emissary," personnel reported.  "That simplifies things," the captain commented.  "I hope you have a successful expedition," the captain said warmly to the emissary, "the Vicar will be here any moment -- a first class reception." 

22.  The Jolvian was clearly impressed since Vicars rarely met foreigners unless there was a security issue.  The purpose of this trip was to discuss expedition clearances for new trainees among items of unilateral interest.   The trainees, of course, did not know that their expeditions were managed at a higher level.

23.  "I'm sure the prolitariat vice-chair will appreciate the special gift," the captain said warmly.  Two hours earlier, he had entertained the emissary for lunch at his table.  Jol 2 considered this a classified mission, so the emissary was asked to minimize socializing.  He did, however, let it slip that the 'special imbibement' would make even a shellan change colors.  That was cryptic for Jolvian Mead.     

24.  "And I wish you well with Madam D' An' Dolla," the Captain cheerfully complimented him.  The emissary was suddenly sullen.  He spoke in Jolvian to his comm link, "We've got to get out of here.  Leave immediately!"  Madam D' An' Dolla was Jol 2's Secretary of State.  Captain Zell stood in disbelief and wondered if reality had suddenly changed channels in his brain. 

25.  The vessle suddenly pulled forward without properly releasing any of the disconnects.  Most of them released automatically, but some were designed to anchor the ship to port.  The docking collar ripped off and dragged aside the Vejhonian cruiser until it was jettisoned in the approach buffer.  All of this happened before Captain Zell had any time to contemplate, much less respond.       
26.  "I haven't time to explain," J-2 said to his stunned host, "You've been tremendously gracious and this is certainly not a reflection of your hospitality, but my relationship with the Madam is a closely guarded secret."   The captain shook his head, dumbfounded.  His crew had been instructed to implicitly comply with all wishes of the emissary, so the helm responded as ordered, without batting an eye.  "I'll rendezvous with a Jolvian ship and release this one back to you with my thanks." 

27.  "I'm not sure the vice-chair will understand," Captain Zell replied.  J-2 patted the captain on the shoulder, "Don't worry, the special gift will remain aboard."  Captain Zell nodded as if the 'special gift' would make their unorthodox departure disappear.  J-2 courteously nodded and exited the Captain's Mess.

28.  "My command?" the captain asked to no one.  He knew that a departure like this would be inexcusable; even diplomats did not have immunity from docking protocols.  "Virtually in front of a Vicar?" he mumbled under his breath.  "This is going down into pilot hell!"  It made no difference who was driving -- he was in charge so he was responsible.     

29.  Since a Vicar was meeting the ship, the details would be sealed until released by the Vicar.  That meant the Vicar could discretionally omit certain aspects or amend how the episode actually went down.   

30.  "So now you know where the expression 'Jolvian Denial' comes from," Mrs. Jetson said to Bonnie.  Bonnie was looking at her tablet in the dictionary: "Jolvian Denial - verb.  Spontaneous embarkation without undocking."  "My Mom's a pilot!" Bonnie said happily, "I'm gonna fly B'lines!"   
31.  To this day, port safety courses still use the cliché' for an excuse to tell the story.  "What happened to Captain Zell?" Bonnie asked.  "Well, let's scroll down a little," Mrs. Jetson suggested, "...and read here."

32.  A few months after Captain Zell was relieved of duty for, "...instigating, without criminal intent, the destruction of orbital property and canceling an unofficial State visit without authorization..." he was elected to the proletariat and received a generous raise.  "You mean I can fly stupid like that and get more money?" Bonnie asked.  "That's not how it's supposed to work," Mrs. Jetson said, "but in this case, the media made him famous and his fame won him a seat in the Proletariat." 

33.  In footnote 2 on the following page:  When Zell found his seat in the Proletariat, he discovered a bottle of mead with a hand-written note:  "Lose any more collars lately?  You can still fly recreationally.  This one's on me."  It was signed, "Dm d' Vaht," the Proletariat Chair. 

34.  "There's always a caveat behind the agenda," Mrs. Jetson sighed.  Zell had published his memoirs many years later, "and who knows what else?"