Seron Ti’s military prowess was equaled only by her achievements made in the areas of science. However, her Travels for the advancement of The Chronicals of Dahr and the veneration of All were unsurpassed by any other Dahren Traveler. On this day she was to be celebrated by the Encyclopedians and indeed the entire Citizenry. But Seron held a secret. She must openly defy the Encyclopedians and institute chaos in the Hall. And she must escape Dahr.
Blain had been through hell. Employed by Worldwide Newsgroup, he was recovering at home from injuries while covering one of the damned wars. He glanced at his Pulitzer Medal for Journalism. Did it really mean anything? He was cynical and burned out. He didn’t know that 3 golden discs were about to lead to the most incredible journey of his life. And he would be unable to report it to anyone.
The Truth is always palatable, but the heart determines the flavor.
~ Ancient Dahren Book of Contemplations
Ti, Chronicle, Subjective Distributor, Register 2
“Citizen Seron Ti, Circle of The Most Excellent Cosmotic Travelers, holder of the Holy Medal of All, Mechanical Physician . . . the list goes on, and is as numerous as it is glorious. Your accomplishments for All have been revered and praised for the Gathering of Truth and Knowledge. Now, with pride and reverence, we bestow upon you the Crystal of the Hall and wish you peace, happiness and success as The Coordinator of the Archives. Your untiring gyres of work toward the orderly compilation of the history of All has made you . . .”
“Has made me expendable, Aabec Ai! Tell me, First Encyclopedian, what is your fear, that you choose this time to end my travels? Why address me in the High Tongue when your hidden thoughts are vile and conniving?” I shouted from the floor. Both Encyclopedian and Citizenry in attendance became hushed. There had been rumors circulating about my mental state, but a forgiving Citizenry and respect for a Traveler had hushed discussion of Calming. However, because of the stress caused to the most accomplished Travelers, Calming had been discussed as I have become one of the most prolific. I had enlightened the Encyclopedians with scientific and engineering acumen and was now being honored with hollow words and false accolade. There must be strong reason for this chicanery.
All eyes—from those in attendance to the millions observing on tele-distributor—were affixed on the images in the Hall.
“And what will be the outcome of this most recent treachery perpetrated by our most high and respected Encyclopedian and his cohorts? Shall there be more crystals and rare metals to line their hungry pockets or perhaps a number of Rosolite sex nymphs to warm their barren and perverted chambers? I would wager the outcome of their efforts will benefit none save themselves,” I spat with a mixture of High Tongue and the most common of the language. In either eloquence or crassness, I do not allow myself to be misunderstood when dealing with treachery.
“Seron Ti, I would speak,” began Aabec Ai. He paused to carefully choose his words as a warrior would choose weapons. He continued in the High Tongue, ignoring my previous harangue. “It has long been known that our great and holy endeavors have not been without consequence to the most prolific. We are not without compassion, dear Seron. We realize the nature of your condition and hear your words as confirmation of your affliction. We regret this as our fathers did, but the procedure of Calming will right your mind and bring you back to us,” Aabec Ai said with insincere tenderness.
A murmur again arose among the Citizenry in attendance. Aabec Ai was showing great restraint and compassion toward me. Perhaps I was suffering illusions of the mind and the Calming was indeed indicated. The First Encyclopedian would surely do all in his powers to allow me to speak again with a Truthful tongue. Aabec Ai motioned for dismissal of the gathering.
Suddenly, I arose from the chair that was located in front of the Encyclopedic body. “I demand my Right of Statement as guaranteed by the Law,” I insisted. Afflicted or not, every Encyclopedian, Citizen, Traveler and least of the Coordinators had the Right to speak Truthful words at public proceedings. After some discussion, Aabec Ai answered a weary “Granted.”
This day, I was not dressed in Citizen attire, preferring instead the black form-fitting uniform of my rank as Traveler. I slowly paced in front of the long table that separated me from the Encyclopedic Body. With hands clasped tightly behind my back, the green of my eyes wild and angry, I at last stopped in front of Aabec Ai and surveyed the faces of the Body. Troubled thoughts raced through my mind, and memories of my mother when she was whole and loving. I froze my glance on Aabec Ai and began in a low voice that was nearly a growl, “I will not trouble the Body with a lengthy statement. The First Encyclopedian speaks of illusory thoughts locked in a troubled mind. Allow me to speak of real fears that are substantiated in All’s Truth. What has transpired here today is a sham which cloaks a scheme that will mean death to millions here and countless more far away. I fear that our holy endeavors are being corrupted by schemes of those who have little regard for life and peace. I also fear and believe that an ancient and decadent philosophy has reemerged to again poison the minds of our Citizenry.” I then startled all present and leapt the table that separated me from the Body, springing like a jungle animal in front of Aabec Ai. Crouched in front of him, with my face close to his so that he could feel my breath upon his skin, I cried out that oath which is considered the lowest epithet that could be uttered to another Dahren, “Above all, I fear that the First Encyclopedian neither hears nor speaks All’s Truth!”
“Seron Ti!” cried Aabec Ai amidst the hue in the Great Hall. “You overstep the sanctity of this Hall! Your enviable additions to the Compilations of All does not give you passage to profane this Body.”
“It is you, whore Aabec Ai, and those with you, who profane All and Dahr!” As the Patrons approached me, I continued the harangue. “Acquaint us but with one single truth! What manner of star vehicle was received by you from the Rosolites for allowing that degenerate world of Rosol secrets of the Shear? What advanced weaponry are the Rosolites providing to a world millions of pulses from Dahr in hopes of plunging that world into war? The outcome will be the enslavement of that world by . . .”
“Patrons!” said Aabec Ai. “Place Seron Ti in Reticence and alert The Physician. She speaks from night burdens. We will help you, dear Seron!”
Two Patrons assumed positions on either side of me, one of them holding a small tube. I made no move of resistance. The Patron activated the Reticence device and as the bubble surrounded me, I cried out, “You are a fatherless liar, rotting bastard Aabec . . .” and then silence filled in the Hall, as no sound could escape the bubble encasing me. The bubble rose slightly from the floor and with mere touches to the outside surface, the Patrons guided the bubble out of the Hall.
I was transported to a chamber adjacent to the Hall. The bubble was dissolved after the chamber door was locked. I peered out of the portal and observed the gardens three floors below. That put me, the Physician and Tubes all on the same level. All was with me thus far.
After a time, the door opened and two Patrons entered. “You will accompany us to the Physician, Citizen Traveler Seron Ti. I do not wish to put you in Reticence.”
“You shall not have to, Patron Zi. My anger is directed only toward those who wish to do harm to Dahr.”
I was directed to the chambers of Physician Garta Ki. He’s an old and cherished acquaintance to the family Ti. He’d assisted in my birth and watched over and counseled me through my schooling and eventual training as a Traveler. My thoughts are always warm toward the First Physician.
“So dear Seron, we have not conversed in an age. How is that old rogue Klalo?” Garta Ki asked as he slowly rose from his chair. The Physician used the same older High Tongue that was used in the Hall, but his tonal inflections were warm and friendly and pleasing to my ear. I met the Physician and touched my fingers to his cheek.
“Father is well and wishes you to join him in an evening of gaming and refreshments,” I said, as Garta sat back down behind his desk. I took a seat directly opposite him with my back to the chamber door. “Father says that you seem to avoid his company as of late,” I said with a knowing glance; the slightest traces of a smile escaped my lips.
“Dear Academician Klalo’s company is most enjoyable and stimulating, but his libations are powerful and he is a much better Rokala gamesman than this old Physician. And his wagers! All! I consider myself fortunate to possess even my chambers after an evening’s gaming with him!” Garta said, smiling himself as he obviously recalled evenings of merriment in the company of the family Ti.
Our smiles faded as a sunset into an uneasy and dark silence. At last, the Physician sighed as he said, “Dear Seron, you seem to have incurred the wrath of Aabec for yet another time. I monitored the proceedings in the Hall on my distributor. How could even you reverse a time of pleasure and adulation directed toward yourself into such a brawl? Have you not yet learned to keep your innermost thoughts from your tongue?”
The anger in me welled up when I considered the actions of the First Encyclopedian. I had to make Garta understand what I was doing here in his chambers. “We are becoming prostitutes of knowledge that was sworn to remain secreted in our Archives; knowledge so dangerous as to cause harm to the entire Bendyre system and others in systems beyond our own. Aabec Ai is the perpetrator of these actions. He is a conniving bastard that cares not for Dahr . . .”
“Seron Ti! You have voiced these accusations before, but without substantiation.” Garta’s eyes glanced toward the open chamber door where Patron Zi was standing. “Perhaps the Calming is certainly indicated at this time. You have been a Traveler for many gyres, not even pursuing a mate and offspring.”
“You then think me mad?”
“Of course not, not in the sense that you fail to discern right from wrong. You have a fear of
the Calming procedure because of the sad accident of your mother. With all of your accomplishments added to your fear of the procedure, these factors may have clouded your mind. Total madness? No. The fact of the matter is that I must be present when you are put through the Calming that Aabec will surely insist upon. And for no other reason than that only the recorded thoughts of your harrowing Gatherings of All will be effaced. You will still know Dahr, family, friends and one particular Physician.”
“And what of my mother? Will I remember how her Calming made her as so much vegetation, the night burdens terrorizing her and then brought out to be dressed, fed and returned to her chamber at night?” I asked with anger.
“That thought will always tear at our hearts, dear Seron. The Ghy-wave reduction device is no longer employed in Calmings. But we still have her memories and great contributions to All. Nothing can dim your mother’s truthful memory. And you, dear Seron, have her fiery green eyes and space-black hair, even her svelte frame and physical mannerisms. I do see your dear mother when I see you. Of that, you can be proud.”
“Yes, dear Garta, her memory is Dahr and her thoughts are of All, but that truthfulness of technology which we must keep secret so that it is not transformed into destructive power is currently being whored to the highest bidder by the faithless First Encyclopedian! That is unconscionable! I would surely end his ways! I would swear to see his demise!”
Garta put his hand up to stop my speech. He was watching the Patron, who surely had heard the conversation. The Physician feared for my immediate safety. I had always put my faith in All and never feared to speak the truth and this sometimes had put me in heated situations. Garta apparently wished to dissuade me from further outbursts by saying, “Let us begin the examination.” This would be the time to let him know of my plan.
With my back to the Patron, I raised my thumb to my lips as a sign for silence. I motioned with my eyes to a universal distributor that was on a shelf behind Garta. He realized what I intended and casually picked up the device and laid it on the desk between us and then placed an instrument against my temple and began the examination. Still facing away from the Patron, I quickly removed a contact disc from one of my eyes and placed it in the omni-receiver of the distributor. The swift and practiced motion was undetected by the Patron. The disc was a clandestine information-gathering device used by Travelers to record personal contacts on other worlds.
The actions were not wasted on Garta who picked up the distributor so that only he could see the screen. A universal distributor was always used by Physicians and did not arouse the suspicion of the Patron. The Physician was silent for a long while as he viewed the distributor screen, which had swiftly translated the encrypted information contained on the contact disc. He read of a plot I had discovered through the deciphering of what Aabec Ai had thought was a secure and hidden distributor log. Indeed, to most, it would have been secure, but I had strong suspicions and applied all of my technical skills to decrypt his entries. A shadow drifted across the wizened old face of Garta Ki as he read.
Aabec Ai had sought and gained knowledge of a distant world that would be exploited for personal gain by using that world’s certain concentration of atmospheric gasses and liquids. This perfect combination, not found on other worlds in this enormous a concentration, would be used to create a fission, simply, massive and of unfathomable power. It appeared the inhabitants of this world would be manipulated into building the reactor and a light transfer beam. However, the world would literally consume itself after a number of gyres and die. The unfathomable power generated by this reactor would be concentrated in a beam and transmitted through the Shear, to be received by satellite weapon stations in the Bendyre system. These satellite stations could be directed toward any world in the Bendyre or other near system. The least of these stations would be capable of destroying a world with nearly limitless and highly-concentrated light quantum-particle beams. Indeed, the date 694/os9 was indicated as to when the final stages of some plan was to commence. That was scarcely 12 periods in the future. And I did not know what the actual plan was to gain control of D-8-3. However, the successful outcome would make Dahr the most powerful and dangerous force in the Cosmos, an aspiration never intended by the Founding Encyclopedians.
Garta looked up to see the Patron approaching. I suddenly stood up in front of the Patron. “Do you have no respect for a Citizen and her Physician?” I began with fury. “Does Aabec Ai instruct you to seek my medical records in order to use them to his own ends?”
“I serve my office, Citizen Traveler,” was the Patron’s curt and proper reply. He brushed past me and took the distributor from Garta, but my stall was successful. The Patron saw only medical readings on the screen.
“I beg indulgence, First Physician and Citizen Traveler,” the Patron said with the highest inflection of the Tongue. He then turned and stepped into the anteroom and sat at the far end with his back toward Garta and myself. The Physician tapped the keys. “What proof?” he wrote. I tapped a few keys on the pad and returned the distributor to Garta. On it, he read of a journey Aabec Ai had taken two gyres past. The Citizens were informed it was a visit to the world Elpa-2 in the Renza system for the purpose of trading food to that starving world for mining rights on one of their moons. I had extracted the vehicles’ logs for that journey, log entries thought by Aabec to have been destroyed. Indeed, the vehicle had actually traveled to Rosol, the fourth world in our own Bendyre system. Garta knew that the world Rosol is known to be a harsh but technologically advanced world ruled by a single leader whose methods were brutal and totalitarian. With Dahren knowledge of most weaponry in the explored Cosmos, Rosol was not eager to confront Dahr in a conflagration, but was willing to trade knowledge for knowledge.
Garta saw the proof of the journey and the lies of Aabec Ai on the copied logs, but what hopefully caused him the most fear was that a Rosol Hostilvehicle was what Aabec gained and the knowledge of the area of the Shear was what was exchanged for that vehicle. A Rosol Hostilvehicle is a superbly designed and built war vehicle that is nearly impregnable and highly destructive. In more than one instance, Rosol had welcomed other worlds into their sphere of influence through the employment of a single Hostilvehicle. That would be the only vehicle Aabec would need to overtake a world. And worse, knowledge given to the Rosolites about the location of the Shear would give them pulse access to any part of the Cosmos, an ability perfected and used by Dahr in Gathering for All. Most certainly, Aabec had not informed the Rosolites of his intention of destroying a world to gain nearly infinite power, as even the Rosolites would fear the intentions of the First Encyclopedian and not have acquiesced to the trade. His explanation to the Rosolites was that Dahr intended to study belligerent worlds with the Hostilvehicle. They would have given him 10 vehicles for the knowledge of the location of the Shear and the technology to enter and navigate through its depths. The possible consequences of this treachery were more than frightening.
Garta Ki set the distributor aside and again began touching the examining probe to my temple and neck area as he weighed the information that I had revealed. After a time, the Patron again entered the chamber.
“I beg indulgence, First Physician, but I fear the Chief Patron will soon be inquiring as to the Citizen Traveler’s whereabouts. I am bound to . . .”
“Get out, Patron!” Garta said as he rose to his full height.
“I serve my office, First Physician!”
“Patron Zi! I know your parentage and saw you into this world, but I will surely see you on your journey to All if you do not depart immediately!”
“I shall report to the Chief Patron,” replied Patron Zi.
“The Chief Patron be damned! Go fetch him and quickly as I surely have truthful words for him!” the First Physician said, with reddening face and clenched fist. The Patron departed, but not without securing a time lock to the Physician’s chamber door.
“Seron, what would you have me do?” Garta quickly asked.
“You then believe me and not think me deranged?” I asked with some surprise.
“Seron Ti, I know your family and I believe I know you. That is first. Also during your brief examination, I applied the probe to those areas of the brain that had affected previous Travelers and those with signs of mental disease. There are no abnormalities of your mind as far as I can tell,” the Physician replied in a matter of fact manner.
“I expected no less of you, First Physician,” I replied in the same stern verbal form. I then lightly touched his cheek as I picked up the distributor. “There are instructions contained on the contact disc describing what I require. Those items will be found in my lodgings using this sequence of numbers found here for all locks.” I indicated on the distributor where to find the numbers which had been programmed into it by the contact disc. “Also is described and recorded in language spoken on the world to which I travel. I require an engram injection when we meet tomorrow for my second exam. You will deliver the items to tube 26 . . .”
“The redesigned Traveler vehicle? How will you . . .”
“I will acquire the vehicle by my own means. I will use the vehicle to travel to the world of Aabec Ai’s intended conquest. Aabec Ai may have already sent a vehicle to that world. I must leave soon to intercept the assassin,” I replied.
Garta contemplated for a time and said, “Dear Seron, I fear you put your life in peril. Surely, if we approach the entire Body, they would hear you and explore your evidence.”
“Aabec Ai has recently manipulated my logs and reports and added erroneous entries and lies. It was my own carelessness that allowed that to happen. In the process of gathering the evidence against Aabec, I left my own records open and vulnerable to distributor tracers. The evidence no longer exists in public records, only that which I showed you on my personal distributor. He knows I am aware of his plans, but I no longer have any tangible proof. You see, he must have me Calmed. The more I rant, the more insane I appear without the actual records and logs of his deceit. The more insane I appear, the more the calling for my Calming and a meeting with the First Physician.”
“So the disruption today was . . .”
“A regrettable sham to contact you without suspicion wafting to me or your own House. You are the only one I trust. Will you please assist me?” I pleaded with my eyes as I did when I was a young girl to gain some small favor from Garta.
“Dear conniving Seron, you knew that I would assist you before you ever entered my chamber.”