81_Return to the Source III

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81_Return to the Source III

Post by Diaho »

Return to the Source III

Eliana reported to Cassandra on the decisions made, it was initially met with skepticism. It took her about five minutes to convince Cassandra that this was a proper course of action. Orders were approved and as Eliana left she heard.

"I'm doing this on the faith I have in your abilities, try not to shake that faith."

Eliana paused, reflected and continued out of the Command Center.

While waiting for orders to be issued, KO went in search of Marjee, she didn't have far to go. Responding to the request that she be back within three hours KO found her ready to enter the Command Center and stopped her. It was at that moment Eliana exited the Center and said.

"Good, I don't have to go looking for you. Here are your orders. You'll launch as soon as possible, and be careful out there."

Marjee was momentarily confused until she read her orders, showing them to Scholar she said.

"You are coming, aren't you?"

"I wouldn't miss it for the world." Scholar replied, and then continued. "I'll assume KO's in charge and what's the plan?"

KO had finished reading the orders and in a nonchalant way said the following.

"We'll figure that out enroute, you've got new data and I know Pegasus has been quite busy. Its six hours out there, that'll be enough time and our planning won't have those looking into it if you follow my thinking."

After the planetary network breach, KO still had little faith in the system, in space, just the two of them swapping encoded information between them is what would make KO content. Marjee understood, although she had greater faith in the system, and yet she didn't place the probes data within it… Trust is easy to lose, regaining said trust is always difficult.

"Besides Scholar, I'd like to recruit some more help; can I have another thirty minutes before we depart?"

KO looked at her data pad, made a couple of entries and said.

"It'll take me forty minutes until I'm ready to launch. You've got thirty minutes but not one minute more. I will leave without you if necessary."

Marjee accepted and left, KO raised her creunoc and said.

"Sarah, I'll assume you're aboard?"

"I am and I'm on the pre launch checklist, how soon will you be here?"

"Half hour, in the mean time have Orion establish a secure data link with Pegasus. Did you get the operational orders?"

"I have, course plotted and approved, as I said earlier we can launch in thirty-five minutes if necessary."

"Do wait for me I'll be there shortly."

The communication ends, KO walks into the Center, pulls Cassandra aside and says.

"The limits these orders contain, are you telling me that I can't take action even if we receive incoming fire?"

Cassandra motions KO towards a corridor and quietly said.

"We're acting on our own; there wasn't time to fight through the 'red tape' the Council would require. Personal opinions; if you get attacked defend yourself, but defend, not attack."

Not what KO was expecting, actually a little better, she figured fired on and fall back… something that wasn't in her makeup, so fired on and fire back but don't fire the first shot. Partially satisfied she left the Center and made her way to Illusion.

Marjee had returned to the Village and filled in Dawn, Seelnay and Arisa of what had transpired. When asked, Dawn and Arisa said they'd stay planet side. Seelnay was deep in thought; she looked at Scholar and said.

"Two telepaths, one with your abilities and one with mine; if necessary we could stop a war, although the collateral damage could be…"

"Contained, I take it you're coming with us?" Scholar inquired.

"Yeah for some unknown reason this trip is calling to me, something I sensed in the data from the probe. Say my curiosity is peaked and let it go at that."

Pad in hand Marjee was checking on the ship and said.

"Interesting; we have six Stingers aboard, but this says there are no pilots with them. Does anyone besides me know how to 'fly' one of them?"

"I can but I'm not." Arisa continued. "Although I know of four trainees that could…"

"Trainees, into possible combat, you're kidding right?" Marjee said.

"They're good, really good, probably won't have any trouble getting them, I got to admit each one of them is under Greta's tutelage." Arisa said as she locked eyes with Marjee.

Greta's telepath's, those whose natural ability exceeded the norms as defined by the Council… also known as the 'wild children'… unorthodox and almost uncontrollable, but talented beyond imagination… Marjee was contemplating taking them aboard even though….

"Marjee you're being obvious, the thought of… yet their being… I think we should …."

Scholar's random thoughts echoed in the room. Arisa was talking to someone and the conversation ended like this.

"Meet Seelnay at Pegasus you've got twenty minutes."

Seelnay glanced at Arisa and got the answer.

"Greta and the girls will meet you in twenty minutes; you better get a move on."

Dai was traveling between the Command Center and her quarters when she caught a glimpse of Greta and her charges heading towards a shuttle… following at a discrete distance she saw them board, noticing they had full 'space' gear with them. The shuttle departed and Dai retraced her steps. Entering the Command Center she spotted Eliana and…

"Eli, I just saw Greta and group launch, they were carrying full 'space' gear with them, are you aware of this?"

Eliana stood stunned, you could see her rationalizing Dai's words then…

"They have to be going with Marjee, but why?"

Her own words had triggered the answer, pulling up the manifest for Pegasus she said.

"Marjee has Stingers but no pilots for them… until now… Dai, round up the rest of the command staff. I've got to find Cassie; this isn't going to set well with her."

Dai leaves and Eliana tries to contact KO to no avail. Illusion has gone silent, which means she's launched. Pegasus is also silent as well; her search for Cassandra didn't take long, finding her with Lafiel she said as she approached.

"Cassie did you issue orders for Greta and group to join Marjee on Pegasus?"

The look on Cassandra's face as Eliana spoke answered her question; she was taken completely by surprise as she recovered Lafiel said.

"Marjee has Stingers, no pilots; however… what's done is done, if Greta's with them they'll behave. That said one hopes nothing happens to Greta."

Eliana was not comforted by Lafiel's statement. Looking at Cassandra she says.

"I'm taking Dai and Kenesh with me… leaving Plakia and … Shawn in reserve… before you ask, it's my intent to have him ready to take Paveryua out with Marjee's crew."

There was concurrence and as Eliana excused herself, Cassandra said.

"So we're clear, the Council is in the dark, KO's orders include self defense but not firing the first salvo. I wish you well and if necessary I will approach the council, however…"

Eliana, paused her departure, listened then said.

"Out on a limb again, I have no problems with KO nor Marjee but, Greta's group…"

Lafiel said.

"Don't worry about Greta's group, they'll be fine. Probably."

Eliana continued her departure, once out of earshot Cassie inquired.

"Mother, you have a lot of faith in that bunch of misfit telepath's would you care to explain yourself?"

Her response was to return to the Command Center with Cassie following her.

"Dai and Kenesh are coming with me, Plakia, you and Shawn will be in the reserve, Shawn, I've had orders cut, you're to proceed to Paveryua and take over as its 'acting' captain. Are there any questions, if not we'll launch in forty minuets."

There was no further comment, as Eliana left, Plakia and Shawn headed towards the space docks it was Shawn that said.

"Grandmother, I … I'm confused why Paveryua why not…"

"Fool, listen to you, Paveryua is Ramaj with a different exterior scheme; however it has a fully trained crew which Ramaj does not. Maybe you're not ready for…"

Shawn had let emotions cloud his judgment, Plakia's words had shocked him back to reality, he apologized, took the lecture in stride and continued onwards to Paveryua. Plakia watched as he left and thought to her self… 'Trail by fire is one thing. But being constantly tossed into the fire... I've got to have a heart to heart with Eliana.'

In the hanger bay Greta was admiring the production version of the Stringer. The crews had chosen their craft and were aboard examining them, when Marjee approached Greta and said.

"Tell them not to get too attached to those, like your crew; they are on loan as well. There will be a briefing in a half hour have your people in conference room six upper deck at that time. Oh yes, welcome aboard."

Greta took it all in stride, as Marjee left she called her pilots and informed them of what Marjee had said. There was a bit of disappointment with the squad leader saying.

"Temporary craft with temporary pilots, guess we'll just have to make things permanent."

Greta again took the comment in and opened the pad Marjee had given her; it was the layout of Pegasus with crew quarters and conference rooms indicated. Taking note of the time required she said.

"Lets get your gear stowed and room assignments, then shortly after that we have a briefing to attend. Ladies shall we go now?"

An orderly departure was made with Greta thinking, 'this ship is full of telepaths, one I know quite well, this will be an interesting briefing to say the least.'

Noel Ekuryua had just returned from the underground city. As she relaxed on the sofa the communications device went active. Hoping it wasn't one of her colleges wondering for something that could wait, she let Risch answer it. Although a one sided conversation took place by the tone of his voice and the call he placed afterwards, she rose to her feet and entered the room where he was located, picking up on this conversation.

"Son I know it's late but, Dawn was insistent that you and I come to her office… I'm sorry she wouldn't go into detail but the general tone of her voice leads me to believe… I understand I'll meet you there."

Ending the communication and seeing Noel he said.

"If you overheard then you know where I'm going… I know you just got back and wanted to spend some time with me but…"

Noel pulled out a chair, reached for her boots and jacket, put the boots on, placed the jacket on her shoulder and said

"I'm going with you, if you could see the look on your face you'd understand why I'm coming."

Nothing more was said, they left and shortly thereafter they spotted Robert and Lily waiting for the shuttle to the Village. It was Lily that spoke.

"Mom? I didn't know you were back, shouldn't you be home resting?"

Noel looked at her daughter and said.

"You know I could say the same thing to you as well."

The shuttle arrived and they headed to the Village.

"Marjee just so you know there have been a half dozen attempts to access my central core… both telepathically and the old fashion way. It would seem our 'guests' might be quite a handful after all."

The last thing Marjee needed was someone distracting Pegasus while every resource of the ship might be needed and soon. The briefing she felt was going to get out of hand and …

"Marjee…" Scholar's greeting went unheeded because Marjee was very preoccupied. Scholar's second attempt was noticed.

"MARJEE." A telepathic blast settled in her frontal lobe, turning around she said.

"A tap on the shoulder, pat on the back or facing me directly would have gotten my attention… I have enough headaches without you giving me one as well. So what's on your mind and vocalize it, please."

A fast pass of her hand in front of Marjee and the headache was almost gone. Gathering her thoughts she proceeded to explain to Marjee.

"Our guest, their abilities and their spontaneous ability to become one thinking being I find quite disturbing. How Greta keeps them in check is beyond my comprehension at present."

Marjee took in her words and said.

"First the ship, and now you, at least it's a consistent story. We got a briefing ahead of us, let's address it there."

Dawn and Arisa continued to observe the latest data from the probe. It's very detailed scan of the approaching asteroid; it was at that moment Lily's voice was heard.

"Dawn. Where are you?" as they entered the dimly lit building.

Dawn moved to a console, raised the lighting and said

"In the back of the office, follow the noises and you'll find us."

While Lily, Robert, Risch, and Noel made their way to the back of the office. Dawn brought a large screen on line and moved the latest information to it. As they entered she said.

"This is the latest information from the probe, it's the …"

Confused looks came from all present it was at that moment Dawn realized.

"Oh I'm sorry; you guys are out of the loop. I'll bring you up to speed right now."

A quick explanation was given and then Dawn continued.

"KO and Marjee are on their way to intercept the asteroid, however we've discovered this in the detail scan, and it's the engineering data that we need your assistance with. Basically, how do the domed cities function… there are reactors and some kind of complex on this section but I don't see any infrastructure to …"

Dawn's words had started a conversation between Risch, Robert and Lily. Noel stood observing, seeing that this conversation was headed over her head she ask this of Dawn.

"You know my area of expertise, is there anything I can do to help?"

Dawn produced a lap pad handed it to Noel and said.

"This has the scans of the cities; see if you recognize anything that might suggest their origin and any information you might glean from them."

A thousand images; this was going to take awhile; Noel found a comfortable chair and settled in. Her peace was short lived; it would seem the others found something of greater importance.

"Those are antique reactors by current standards, but there is no fuel source on the asteroid, so how are they fueled and that weird energy signature, can you pinpoint its source?"

Robert's word brought Noel into the area where they were gathered, getting a look at where their inquiry was, she pulled up the detail scan of the same area. The building in question had devices which at first glance resembled old style communications dishes, on closer look they proved to be… Noel's words silenced the room…

"I believe those to be energy collection devices and if that is the case the building they are located on is a large, old fashion storage capacitor, maybe, but that energy signature, I've seen something similar before…"

Producing her personal communications device, she scanned the signature and inquired of the planetary network to analyze it. The answer was almost instainous, followed by a panicked look. Passing the device to Robert she said.

"How close to the asteroid are they, because if what I just handed you is what those are, our force is in grave danger."

Dawn checked their estimated time to contact was one hour, forty minuets. Hearing that, Robert said.

"We need to stop them before they get any closer and they need to maintain their distance. Are you talking to them?"

"They're both dark, since launch, KO doesn't trust our network." Dawn replied.

Robert fumed, it was Lily that asked.

"Marjee has Stingers aboard is that correct?"

"All six of them with crews why do you ask?" Arisa said.

Moving to a console Lily opened a scrambled link started entering codes as she said.

"I'm activating their comm. systems and setting them to broadcast within the ship. Pegasus will hear our message; now what shall we say?"

The briefing was well underway; the planning for the approach to the asteroid was finalized. It was time to address how Greta's charges had been acting; Marjee was expressing her displeasure with their antics when…

"Marjee the communication devices on all of the Stingers have been activated. I'm receiving a message which I'm not sure of its origin…"

Furious, Marjee lashed out.

"I believe it told you people to stop the nonsense, so whose bright idea was this?"

Blank stares filled the room Greta was about to speak when…

"Marjee here's the audio I'm receiving…"

"Marjee, its Lily, you need to hold position get no closer to the asteroid than two light hours. Establish communications with Dawn for details."

"Marjee the message is repeating I believe it will continue until I open a link home."

"KO, are you listening?"

"I am, I heard, and it's authentic, Lyra can hear the transmission, open a link and silence the Stingers. And Greta, keep your kids in line... this is getting serious. No more distractions."

"I understand KO…. Ladies you heard the Fleet Commander, are there any questions?"

"No Ma'am."

Marjee took in the mood in the room and was satisfied, for the moment that her message had gotten through. She dismissed Greta and company, instructed Pegasus to open a link and consulted with KO where to stop their progress.
After that she turned to Scholar and Seelnay and said.

"You two were unusually quiet, I was expecting something out of one or both of you."

"Well my dear we sensed how angry you were and felt any comment we might have made, would have redirected said anger our direction and we wanted no part of it." Scholar said as Seelnay agreed.

It was then Marjee realized just how angry she had been…

"Those collection systems, Noel are you implying…"

"Not implying almost certain. Follow this logic, the last place they were, a sun and it planets disappeared, or did they. My contention is they converted that system into heavy energy and absorbed it, with the black hole being the left over heavy matter. Did the probe scan the black hole?"

Dawn sorted through the data and said.

"Just cursorily, it figured you've seen one black hole…"

"Let me see what you have… if my theory is correct; the gamma and x-ray bands should be almost nonexistent. Which a normal black hole because of a stars collapse, even a neutron star, which this wasn't, should have gamma radiation off the scale."

As Dawn transferred the data to the tablet Lily asked.

"Um mother, not to be disruptive but…"

"How do I know this? Is that what you're asking?"

Lily nodded and Noel continued.

"The original inhabitants of Shahrazad had experimented with a similar system they found in their wonderings. I'll find the reference later, it would be interesting where it was, could be an indicator of where that, what are we calling it?"

Dawn pointed to it and said.


"Asteroid it's correct I guess; we might learn its point of origin. That aside if it can do what I think it can, our fleet would make a tasty meal. And of course those aboard would die a horrible death."

Noel's comment brought the room silent except for the machinery running therein. Not deterred by her statement Noel added this.

"I suggest we include Eliana and Cassandra when we link with KO and Marjee. If and I must stress IF I'm correct, all of our assets need to know the danger that may await them."

Robert's curiosity was tweaked he asked another question of Noel.

"You said they experimented with it, were there results of their experiments recorded?"

Noel had been scanning the network finding what she needed she forwarded the information to a display and said.

"As you will see although crude, the system was very effective but not efficient. It was determined that it would take a small moon to build an efficient version of the unit, also there was objection to the 'waste' products it produced. Adjusting for time line differences this report is dated approximately twenty five hundred solar cycles ago. A tidbit of information; if one paralleled time lines, that would be about five hundred cycles before the Sol's systems sun went neutron, for a reason still unknown… or?"

Noel had dropped another conjecture for thought; however this one left those in the room numb. It was Dawn that said.

"Links ready, a small moon, how about a large asteroid… a lot can happen in five hundred cycles too."

Noel nodded as Dawn opened the link. The conversation took a dark turn almost immediately. Noel was determined to get her point across.

"Noel you're overworked... this data, it makes no sense you stopped us for this?" KO was quite annoyed.

"You're missing the point; I'll put it in very simple terms; that asteroid converts to energy what ever it's pointed at. And by converts; I mean natural energy sources, our reactors, your life force, the energy of a planet and its sun, into a source it can utilize. We're still working on a theory; it's related to a device the planetary founders discovered about twenty five hundred cycles ago. But, with that said, we're certain enough of what we've seen in that data it's probably a refined version of said device."

"If what you're saying is fact then there's no way to get close to it?" KO inquired.

"That's not necessarily true; I'm going over the data the founders left. They did experiment with the device at length. I'm sure there's an exploitable flaw in the system or we'd be using it today."

"Then the reason for keeping our distance is…"

"You'd be correct to assume it's enough time, should they try to absorb you, to make a tactical move. Also I strongly suggest you two, place some distance between your vessels. Just incase."

"Just a reminder time is of the essence, that thing is a day and a half from being close enough to set off long range devices along the boarder. If we don't figure it out we've got to warn them and clear a path… Dawn you're sure of where it's headed correct?"

"Ninety five percent certain, your observation will confirm the probes data."

"Understood, can we safely scan it?"

"Good question for which, at this moment. I don't have an answer."

"So how'd the probe do it?"

"It went stealth at a distance and drifted by, however it might have triggered a warning device, because it registered an energy discharge, before it cut and ran as programmed."

"My opinion, figure out how close it got and get me that data. Then we'll draw straws to see who becomes a guinea pig."

"Not acceptable, figure out a different approach." Cassandra and Eliana said simultaneously.

In Dawn's office Arisa was examining the probes recording of the data being transmitted between the domes and discovered…

"Dawn look at this… that transmission is part of multidimensional network, look its data, commands and subliminal stimuli. Simple mind control, that's why three separate sources, there's a master location controlling the entire asteroid, but why, for what purpose…"

Looking at the method of transmission Dawn said.

"Wonder what would happen if we interrupted that stream… or maybe overwrite what's… we don't have time for that… if they suddenly had no direction could we use that to our advantage?"

Arisa, still studying the data said.

"Here's my take on what you've said… if we knew for sure what subliminal stimuli was being transmitted interrupting it could work to our advantage. I'm for it… however remember how an AI acts when suddenly disconnected from its host… that momentarily panic and restoration to a defensive posture. We don't know what they're controlling… you getting my drift?"

Noel listened to Dawn and Arisa with great interest… taking the data recorded and running it through a universal translator she got the following result which she said out loud.

"Interesting, your data contains a ton of information… the subliminal stimulus is three pronged; a different prong, I would assume, for each dome and a totally different message for each prong…. not knowing which dome is receiving which message fooling with the messenger could be…"

Dawn move to Noel and inquired.

"Do we know the content of the messages being sent?"

"Not yet, its still compiling the streams, at least it seems to be in a language we've run across before."

"And that language would be?"

"Sol system Colloquial English."

"I see, then we know where they came from."


"I'll report what we've found, when will you have a readout of what's being suggested?"

"In a few hours, the equipment is struggling with keeping the data streams correct don't want a mixed message do we?"

Dawn moved to the front of the room to check on Risch, Robert and Lily. They were still pouring over the engineering data looking for a weakness to exploit. Lily was resting off to the side Dawn approached her and said.

"Did you find anything of interest; I'm getting ready to report to Command."

From the console Dawn heard Robert say.

"It's very inefficient, wasteful; I'd say it probably needs to 'feed' again and soon. I heard you in the back, if and I say if, we can interrupt their routine and catch them at power limits we might be able to…"

Dawn took what she's heard and related it to Command, she was instructed to continue and inform them as soon as she had the messages cracked. With that Cassandra opened a link to KO and Eliana.

Cassandra was greeted with a heated discussion between KO and Marjee when that part of the link was activated Eliana appeared and motioned for them to listen.

"KO listen I've got Stingers they are very stealthy if we set a couple a drift towards the asteroid, get past the defenses and land, we could disable…

"Disable what Marjee? You think there's going to be a bright orange plug for you to pull and poof they're dead in space? Try again, while your idea has merit I'm not sacrificing you, Greta or Stingers until we have more to go on…"

Taking that cue Cassandra took the opening to relate what Dawn had told her, to which KO said.

"Interesting… Cassie remember Marjee has a crew of telepaths, if we knew what was being accomplished we could alter, interrupt, coerce etc. from a distance. Change the message to something in our favor, how soon?"

The answer of hours left KO miffed until Cassandra explained the crux of the problem to KO with that said. KO continued.

"We'll wait and spend some time on an obscure language, let us know will you?"

The link closed and KO addressed Marjee.

"I like that plan of yours; convert it to fit what Cassie was saying and submit it to me… However Scholar and Greta along with you are not allowed to leave the ship… I'll not lose any of you. You do understanding me on this and no arguments."

Marjee acknowledged KO's request and closed the link. Unbeknownst to her, Scholar had overheard the entire conversation and was querying Pegasus on it's understanding of the English language.

"Scholar, the last visit was in their mid twenty third century the languages had morphed considerably since the visit in the early two thousands. When you've got something feed it to me but… no guarantees if I can easily determine what I'm hearing and if it makes sense that will be one thing, if I have to interpolate, hour's even days may be required."

Marjee heard the response and as she entered the bridge she said.

"If what I believe is being fed to those domes, the conversation should be fairly simple. Brainwashing is that way, if you're too complex, the message gets lost as the brain's trying to rationalize what its hearing. I might be wrong but my limited experience tells me simple ideas, concepts, are easy to understand and carry out."

Scholar listened to Marjee, you could see the wheels spinning and…

"Marjee, you're probably on the right track. I was over thinking considering we were dealing with beings who were recently brainwashed… there have been generations of those indoctrinated with that thinking which will make them an even tougher nut to crack… Pegasus once you have the messages please examine what long term damage could have been done using a standard human persona as a basis."

"As you wish… the underlying problem as my data is indicating… if there is long term programming the sudden change in programming could defy logic and understanding… possible outcomes indicated are; revolt, over throw, violent rebellion… a peaceful solution at this time escapes me… I can operate in any abstract, except when it comes to sentient beings, you are too unpredictable."

Marjee and Scholar heard Pegasus, taking a long look at each other, and then returning their gaze to the console they said in unison.

"Unpredictable, correct, rebellious, definitely… where you have limits to your thought processes, we can leap beyond logic, so… we ask you for the facts based on your vast knowledge, and we'll make the leap beyond if necessary."

After a long pause, concurrence was what followed. That problem set aside, for the moment, the next thing was the wait for Noel to send the data. It wouldn't be long.

Three messages were displayed, Noel examined each carefully. There were words she understood, however, making any sense of this would be something for Pegasus to tackle.

The data, along with recommendations was passed along to Command, which sent it to the field commander.
When it arrived at Marjee, she and Scholar said in one response.

"We'll have Pegasus scan the messages, find a commonality and report back when we have something."

It did not take long for Pegasus to come to its first set of observations. Marjee was on the bridge when the AI console went active.

"The initial confusion was the stream was intercepted mid point. This showed three separate thought lines, however upon translating and syncing the message became clear. Obey those above you, question nothing, and trust no one but those you've been told to trust. All presented in a cheerful presentation, the only difference, were those on each dome who were in charge."

Scholar joined Marjee as Pegasus continued.

"However while the message at two domes repeats at a given rate; the third dome was receiving its message at double the rate of the other two."

A point Scholar didn't miss.

"There seems to be something up in one of the domes, the populace might be on the verge of rebelling."

"The message is the same, with exception of those people to trust, which varies by dome, however one dome is being barraged, for lack of a better word, with information to correct, what?" Marjee asked.

Scholar listened and then said

"Attention span in two domes seems normal, they need a gentle nudge to maintain normality, that third dome, there is something, I'm assuming internal, affecting the message and the system is trying to balance, um cancel, the effect. If I was betting on the most receptive bunch I'd target that dome after I figured out what the other message was. Pegasus how close would we have to be to listen inside each dome?"

"Much closer than present orders allow, I'm analyzing emissions from the asteroid, my first suggestion is an unmanned probe similar to the previous one but instead of making a pass have it get close enough to listen and forward the data to us. And Scholar, the long term effects of altering what they been fed could be devastating that's putting it, as you would say, lightly."

"Bursting ones bubble that would be putting it factually and the fact that bubble has been secure for sometime makes it even more disturbing. We need to know what's occurring in the non compliant dome."

Seelnay had entered as Pegasus was finishing his report she'd heard what Scholar just said and added this.

"The truth of our world is not the truth of the universe. Those on that asteroid need to discover that. Normally I would say through the natural course of events. What if on the third dome something like I just said has occurred? Being or beings realized that what's going on isn't the truth of the universe. Wouldn't that be enough for those in control to try to restore order in this fashion?"

Marjee turned to the console and said.

"You've heard the discussion your opinion on the information expressed and I want a formula for probe deployment as soon as possible."

Before Pegasus could answer another voice was heard.

"Marjee I believe you're on to something and you have permission to explore it further. Pegasus that probe, I want it to not only observe but equip it to communicate. If what is being discussed is true then let's try talking to those who may realize the world is not my universe."

For a moment KO's comment left Marjee confused then she remembered that Lyra was linked to the ship and everything that was said KO knew. Accepting the fact that KO was in the room she continued.

"KO, do you mean standard communication or thought projection?"

"Set it up to do both and have a heart to heart with Greta, you're going to need those charges of hers. I just got something from Dawn you should know. Two items, first it's estimated that there storage unit will need recharged and soon. Second and as important, estimated thirty thousand inhabitants in those three domes around ten thousand in each dome."

"KO could you define 'soon' the first statement…."

"Estimated within the next two solar days, give or take, it not an exact science, they're struggling planet side with a lot of variables."

Marjee turned to the main display and her look, for a moment went blank then she said.

"Pegasus, project the next sixty hours of asteroid movement on the screen and include all known anomalies."

The image appeared it showed crossing the boundary in thirty nine hours and another twelve hours from there lay a shaded area marked restricted. It was then Marjee spoke.

"Does the phrase 'Souna Geomagnetic Rift' ring a bell, how about 'Runan Forty Seven'?"

Aboard Samson Eliana had just put two and two together and interjected.

"Marjee are you absolutely sure about that? If that's true the repercussions would be devastating."

The rift was the largest natural, in space terms, energy source and the artificial planet Runan Forty Seven processed the majority of the fuel used in this part of space. A neutral area protected by not only treaty but its proximity to the rift. Only a few have visited and many have perished trying to get there. Marjee had been there with in the past twenty years. The engine refits to Illusion and Pegasus were designed and constructed on 'Forty Seven'. Forty Seven's destruction would send this part of the galaxy back to the 'stone age'. If the rift was damaged or became unstable, it was uncertain what would happen, granted it would not be good.


Information was streaming in from Samson through its link with Illusion. Cassandra had gathered her entire staff at the Center and was feeding information to Dawn in the Village. When the information concerning Souna and Runan arrived Cassie stared at the display in disbelief. Turning to Lafiel she said.

"Mother we can't go it alone any further. Should what Marjee has found out, if that asteroid finds the rift and… we've got to tell…"

Cassie froze; the thoughts racing through her mind had isolated her body from her mind. It was Lafiel that calmed the chaos within her.

"Okay Cassandra it'll be all right, take a deep breath and focus on me. I'll inform the Council… the Alliance we'll leave to the Council as well… the asteroid must be stopped before it can scan the area around Forty Seven… if that means taking the lives of thirty thousand, to preserve the lives of billions…. then so be it."

To be continued in: Return to the Source IV

"Ah! You don't know my name?
Its very simple, Lafiel you shall say.
In return I'd like to call you Jinto."



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