Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 12 (v.1) - Chapter Eleven

Submitted: February 26, 2017

Reads: 105

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Submitted: February 26, 2017

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Tannis (Knome)

Somewhere

 

News about the disappearance of Prince Wilhelm began to leak to the general population.  The demand for more information was growing.  The Senate was already calling for hearings in to the circumstances leading to the disappearance of the King’s heir.  A narrative was permeating among those of the opposition in the Senate, blaming the incompetence of the King’s Administration for the Prince’s disappearance. All of this was causing intense pressure among the King’s officials.  Meeting after meeting produced only nuggets of information, each although revealing a piece of the puzzle, none revealing the location of the King’s son.

Kenton waited for Jak’s full attention. Having just returned from a Security briefing at the Palace, Jak was preoccupied regarding the conundrum he and his agency were under.  Although they did not have the answer, they knew more than they were telling.  He wondered how long it could go on. He tried to clear his mind as Kenton stood waiting. 

“What do you have?”  Jak asked.

“Sir, there was an incident on the Corbellis.”

“What Incident?” Jak asked as he sat up in his chair.

Kenton paused.  “An Incident involving our shuttle.”

Jak held his head down, muttering something Kenton did not understand.

“Go on, tell me.” Jak replied.

“According to the Incident Report filed by the Corbellis Security Office, the shuttle Volton’s systems were powered up while in hibernation, a violation of the ship's Policy.  The crew of the Volton were alerted, and Security accompanied the crew to the ship, to oversee a shutdown of all systems.  

Jak sighed, laying his head on his hands.

“However, sir,” Kenton continued, “after the jump, the Voltons systems were discovered to be powered up again.  This time, Corbellis security went to arrest the crew and a confrontation ensued.  Corbellis security claims they were fired upon.  They say the ship escaped causing a great amount of damage to the bay.”

“Great,” Jak blurted out.

“Their Report lists the undercover names of the crew men,” Kenton added.

“Kenton, can this get any worse,” Jak asked.

“I’m afraid so, sir. The King’s office, has, this report and the manifest from the Corbellis. They're going through it as we speak.

Jak sighed again. “What’s your analysis of this,”

“Two things sir, if Wilhelm boarded the Volton, then he did so without the crew’s knowledge. I believe if they had known, they would have aborted the mission, they would not, have risked the life of the King’s son.  Second, if he boarded without the crew’s knowledge, then, that would explain the two incidents of the ship’s life support systems powering on. Someone did that.”

Jak again, sat up, “You think he remained on the shuttle during a hyper jump, that’s impossible, he would be…” Jak stopped short of finishing his sentence. “My God.”

“Sir, there were two incidents of the Shuttle’s powering up, one, before the Corbellis departed, and one, sometime after the Corbellis’ Security team monitored the ship’s power down.  So, that could have been soon after the power down or just before the jump.”

“But either way, Kenton, he could not have survived a hyperjump unprotected, could he?” Jak asked unsure, hoping.”

“I don’t know, but the crew left, still not knowing that Wilhelm was onboard, if he was, onboard.”

“We have to find out if he was onboard, and soon,” Jak stated.

“We’re looping alerts to them sir, but no response, not yet.”

There was a long silence as, both men, wrestled inwardly over a solution.

“Kenton,” Jak stood up, “Do you think we should lay it all open, reveal it all,”

“I don’t know,”

“If we did, then we could marshal all our resources, send a task force, confer with Knomen officials, we’ll have options.  Right now, we have nothing, and Wilhelm could be…”  Again, Jak could not finish his sentence.

“I think I agree with you sir.” Kenton, added still unsure.  He knew that revealing what they knew about Wilhelm’s disappearance, would have grave consequences for them both.”

“Wilhelm could be dead, lying somewhere in that shuttle. We have to do something!”

 

Upai Dunes (Knome)

 

Multiple calls from Kore was not enough to wake up Wilhelm.  Kore knelt beside Wilhelm’s still body, and began to shake him.  Still there was no response from Wilhelm.  Kore began to shake him hard enough that his body lifelessly rolled over and stopped with his face planted in the sand. Kore immediately lifted Wilhelm’s head and was surprised how cold his body was.

“Hey, I need some help,” Kore called.

Jasen and Teric were busy gathering up their gear when Kore called out.  They both ran over and began to attend to Wilhelm.  Jasen turned over Wilhelm’s body and immediately began to check his breathing.

“He’s not breathing,” Jasen yelled. 

Teric began to look through his backpack, finding a medical kit he ripped it open and knelt beside Wilhelm’s body.  He broke open a resuscitation syringe and injected a solution of concentrated oxygen with a regeneration agent into Wilhelm’s blood stream. Jasen immediately began to compress his chest while Teric took out an auto breathing device from the medical kit and placed it deep into Wilhelm’s throat.

Kore stepped back giving room to Jasen and Teric as they worked frantically to resuscitate Wilhelm.

A deep cough from Wilhelm caused Teric to immediately remove the device from Wilhelm’s throat.  Wilhelm continued to cough deeply as Jasen sat him up.  
“Kore, water,” Teric called out.

Kore dug in his pack and pulled out a water tube that was mostly empty, he handed it to Teric who gave it to Jasen.  Jasen poured the remaining water slowly onto Wilhelm’s lips and it flowed down his throat.

“Slowly,” Teric advised.

After drinking the water, Wilhelm began to shiver.

“He’s freezing, we got to get him out of here.”

They had camped in the low land between two high dunes for shelter from the cold piercing night winds.  Now, shaded from the heat of the rising Knomen star, it was going to take nearly an hour, to trek up and over the dune hill and into the heat.

Wilhelm was too weak to walk. Jasen and Kore gathered up their remaining gear, while Teric picked up Wilhelm carrying him in his arms.

“You’re not going to be able to get him over this hill,” Jasen cautioned.

“We have no choice, let’s go.”

It was hard enough trekking over the dune hills alone, carrying Wilhelm made it much harder and slower.  Jasen and Kore offered to help but Teric insisted on carrying Wilhelm himself.

Teric was straining every painful muscle to lift one leg at a time, and just when he felt he could not take another step, he began to feel a familiar rush through his veins as his muscles throbbed. He stopped to let the temporary pain, rippled through his whole body, and then, it was gone.  Every painful muscle, every sore joint, relented.  He felt stronger, and the weight of Wilhelm, now felt like the weight of a small child.  Infused with a rush of energy and adrenaline, Teric almost ran up the hill, still carrying Wilhelm, now passing Jasen and Kore along the way.

Kore and Jasen stopped, and watched amazed, as Teric moved without even a pause, up the hill.  They looked at each other stunned, and began to climb.

As Teric finally reached the top of the hill, he suddenly, froze.  Jasen and Kore noticed that Teric stopped, just at the peak of the hill.

“What is it,” Jasen yelled.

Teric slowly lowered Wilhelm to the ground.  He stood with his hands out, facing four massive steeds with riders, cloaked in black capes. The heads and faces of the riders were covered except for their eyes. 

“Teric, what is it,” Jasen called again.

Teric held up his hand to stop Jasen and Kore from advancing.  The cloaked riders remained still, with their eyes fixed on Teric.

 

Tannis (Kessel)

Somewhere

 

On a lonely road in a neglected part of Tanis, in an area hidden by poverty and crime, a vehicle, that was completely out of place stopped in front of a crumbling and decaying structure.  A covered figure exited the vehicle and entered the ramshackle building.  As he entered he was met by another figure clothed in a way to conceal his appearance. Once inside both men uncovered their faces.  

Senator Colm Radsom, one of the most senior members of the Senate greeted Lord Havik Poul, King Wilhelm’s most senior advisor.

“Lord Havik,” 

“Senator,” 

“I have to say, I don’t like meeting like this,” Colm admitted.

“All for the cause, Senator,”

“So, what’s so important.”

“The King, naturally, is consumed with the efforts to find his son,”

“And how is that going?”

“It’s driving him mad, he’s lost confidence in his advisors, and they know it.”

Colm stroked his long grey beard. “So, what’s that have to do with this meeting?”

“I think it’s time,” Havik paused, to let Colm reflect on his words.  “I don’t think they’ll be a better time than now, The King is at his lowest and preoccupied with the effort to find his son.”

“I’m not so certain, Havik,” Colm admitted.  “What you see as an advantage to our cause, I see as a disadvantage.  If we, at this time, submit our resolution of No Confidence, the King, although not his usual self at the moment, able to rally senators to his cause, will actually be in a stronger position, he’s lost his son, think of the sympathy he will garner, with less effort.  And what will our side look like.  I’m not persuaded that this is a good time.  We only get one chance at this Havik.”

“I understand your concerns Colm, but in all the ten years that you have been rallying the Senate for this cause, never have you been so close.  And you’re right about the sympathy the King will garner, if he never finds his son, or, if his son turns up dead.  Then you will never even get close to the numbers you need.  And if he is found, then, well, his support will grow.  We only have this small window.”

Nearly ten years ago, Colm had introduced the resolution for No Confidence and during those years, he has painstakingly built a coalition of support among the Senate, building a majority, although short of the three-fourths majority needed, to adopt the resolution and pass it on to the Council of Governors for deliberation.  Colm's numbers have increased or decreased depending on the state of the nation, or on King Wilhelm's abilities, to peel off supporters.  With the current state that the King finds himself in, dealing with corruption scandals among his Ministers, he has lost his pursuasive abilities and is currently facing his largest and the most vocal opposition during his reign yet. 

Ever the strategist, Colm has kept his resolution in state for all these years, defeating three attempts by King Wilhelm's supporters, to force a vote on the resolution, killing it, when Colm's supporters did not have the numbers.  

Colm, held out his hand and Havik shook it.

“Lord Havik, I do appreciate your council and your families support.  I will discuss it with our leadership group.  Please keep us inform.”

"My uncle is very much interested in seeing this Resolution on the Senate floor, his advice is not to wait too long.  Don't underestimate the King's hand, he still can tie up your resolution in the Courts or officially step down in favor of his son, killing your resolution outright."

"Yes, I see," Colm considered, "The Govenor is wise, and I appriciate his council, please relay that, for me."

"I will, Senator."

Havik covered his face and stepped outside.  He looked around at the few people standing by, observing his out of place vehicle. Havic entered his vehicle and it departed.

 

Upai Dunes (Kessel)

 

The cloaked riders did not move, or make a sound, their eyes were fixed on Teric.  Teric did not move, he watched the hands of each of the riders as they held on to the reins of their steed. It was a standoff.  Jasen slowly continued to climb, Kore remained frozen as directed by Teric.  Wilhelm laid on the sand where Teric laid him.  

“My friend, here needs water,” Teric pleaded, trying to sense the disposition of the riders.  “Please.”  Teric continued to watch the hands of the riders preparing for any sudden twitch.  The riders said nothing.  The attention of one of the riders was diverted as Jasen came into view.  Teric again signaled for Jasen to freeze, this time he did.  The lead rider pulled on the reins as his steed became restless diverting the other riders momentarily from watching Teric. In that moment, Teric reached behind his back, drawing his sword, and, by the time the riders returned their focus on Teric, he stood, sword high in a crown guard stance.  Startled the riders at first pulled back on their steeds in an attempt to escape, then realizing that the man in front of them held only a sword, they pulled weapons from their cloaks aiming for Teric.

Teric did not move in the split second in which the riders drew their weapons.  They began to fire as Jasen dropped to the sand.  Teric did not move as bolt after bolt, was pulled, literally, bending into the blade Teric held high.  The riders, stunned, continued to fire, watching their well-aimed lasers dissipate into the blade held by this stranger. Their steeds began to jump around nervously in the midst of the fireworks.  The black blade, Teric continued to uphold began to turn a deep blue in places as the sword began to drip with energy like liquid, like sparking drops of water.  

The riders ceased their attack and began to move their steeds into retreat.  As they turned and rode away, Teric quickly lowered his sword, driving it into the sand as the sand began to spark wildly when in contact with the blade.  Teric drew a pistol from the holster on his hip and detached a small barrel from the side of the pistol.  He quickly attached the barrel as he ran after the riders.  He pulled on the attached barrel extending it into an assault rifle.  He stopped suddenly in the sand, taking aim and he fired.  The super thin laser bolt hit its target, piercing the rider as he fell from his steed.

Teric without hesitation took aim at the next rider with the same results. With an almost imperceptible turn, he took aim at the third rider, who fell, pierced by the third laser.  Before the third rider hit the ground, the final rider was pierced, and also began to fall. Teric immediately dropped his weapon and ran in the direction of the fallen riders.  Jasen reached the top of the hill and walked over to take care of Wilhelm.  Kore began to climb after receiving a signal from Jasen.  Teric continued to run until he caught up with one of the galloping steeds.  He leaped on to the back of the trailing one, taking the reins, he kicked his heels hard into the beast, as it galloped, catching up to the next two animals.  Teric reached over and grabbed the reins of another animal and then he took the reins of the third one.  The last one was too far ahead, and while holding two and riding a third, he knew he would not reach the final animal.  He pulled on the reins hard to stop the animals.  

Kore finally reached the top of the hill as Teric returned with the three steeds.  Teric threw a water tube on to the sand next to Jasen.  Jasen took the water tube and helped Wilhelm to drink.  

“This will help us make better progress,” Kore said, excited that he no longer had to walk.  Teric dismounted, holding the reins, he walked over to Jasen and Wilhelm.

“How is he,” Teric asked.

“I think he’ll be OK,” Jasen replied hoping for the best.

Jasen, stood and walked closer to Teric.  “So, this is what I missed while I was unconscious. My God, Teric, the rumors were true,” Jasen whispered.  He watched Teric in wonder, as he lifted Wilhelm.  

“I’m going to mount the animal and if you would, help me with Wilhelm.  I will carry him, you can attach my rein to your steed,”

“I got you,” Jasen replied

“Kore, you mount the other steed,” Teric commanded.

“Sure.”

Jasen and Kore lifted Wilhelm as Teric pulled and lifted him on to the animal with him.  The others mounted their animals and began to ride away, passing the four dead riders in the sands.

 

Krestlin Palace (Maessa)

 

Avar Gardens was one of three gardens on the Krestlin estate, situated, at the rear of the palace. It was the smallest and not as elaborate as the other two.  It’s tall, stately and manicured hedges provided solitude and solace to all who entered. For Anya, it was her refuge. Its deep soothing colors, soft textures and sweet aromas, always seemed to revive her stricken spirit. Even now, Anya longed for that intoxicating blend of mints, herbs, and warm spices, to sooth her anxious thoughts.  Her favorite spot was under the Tamarisk tree, which was, the garden’s centerpiece.  Its protruding roots and large deposited leaves were covered under a thick blanket of pall moss, soft, cool and tranquil. Just what Anya needed.  But now, as she looked upon it, something wasn’t quite right.  Its large leaves weren’t so large anymore, and most of them, were shriveled, barely hanging on dry branches.  She no longer had a soft place to land, for that blanket of moss she had so anticipated, appeared to be nothing more than a figment of her imagination.  Anya stood there, before that tree, in stunned silence, and then she burst out in tears, not so much for the tree, but for the comfort she would not get, the comfort she desperately needed from the shadow of its presence. She fell to her knees and wept without restraint. 

Distant footsteps alerted Anya to her predicament, she did not want anyone to see her crying, but, she was finding it hard to control herself.  She turned away from those approaching footsteps, as she fought to gain her composure.  

Sensing the presence of eyes upon her, did much, to calm her nerves.

“Anya, are you alright?” came the voice from behind her.  

Anya knew that voice, and a sense of dread flooded over her.  She certainly, did not want her sister to see her in her present state.  Anya and Korah, did not have a good relationship, something Anya truly regretted.  She had tried, over the years to improve their relationship, but nothing she tried, nothing she said, ever, seemed to work. Korah’s words toward her, always seemed to be loaded with contempt.

“I’m Fine.” Anya uttered, trying to control the emotion in her voice and failing miserably.

“Are you crying? Korah asked, surprised, since she could not remember ever seeing her sister cry. 

“I’m alright Korah,” Anya replied, trying to convince her sister.

Approaching Anya, Korah tried to sound concerned. “Can I help?”  

“No,” Anya quickly uttered, but then changing her mind she added, “Actually, if you don’t mind, I, really want to be alone right now.”  

As if she didn’t hear her request, Korah asked. “Has father spoken to you about his plans?”  

Being reminded of those awful plans, threatened Anya’s current emotional stability, she paused, until she could calmly speak. 

“Yes, he spoke to me.”

Korah was aware of Anya’s struggle for composure, but she continued anyway.  

“Is that why you’re crying?” Korah asked with a bit of pleasure.

Not wanting to admit to crying, Anya kept silent, as she turned around, facing Korah, as if to prove, that she was not crying.  

“I’m fine, Korah,”

Looking into Korah’s eyes, Anya truly wanted to confide in her sister, yet, fear held her back, something in Korah's expression warned her not to.  

“I’m not crying.” she said unconvincingly. “This has not been easy for me. I’m trying to understand.”  

“What’s there to understand?” Korah interrupted. “Do you accept father’s conclusions?” she asked.  

“I don’t know what to believe.” Anya confessed.  “I don’t understand any of this!”  She added with a little more emotion than she intended.

“I don’t believe it. You do doubt him,” Korah said.  

“I don’t doubt him.” Anya lied.  “His intentions are good, of this I’m sure, but Korah, father could be wrong, and his conclusions could be based on incorrect information.”

“Incorrect information,” Korah laughed. “You know father, the kind of man he is, do you think he can be fooled?  Do you think he is wrong?” Korah asked, approaching Anya.

Anya was torn, she knew exactly what kind of man her father was, she knew him to be thorough and deliberate, yet, something inside of her, just could not accept it, she felt ruptured.  

“Korah, it is possible that father could be mistaken, you must admit that,” Anya pleaded.

This, is what Korah wanted, a confrontation, an opportunity, to release that, which has been bottled up inside her for so long.  That, which has been slowly eating away at her, slowly ripping her apart, she wanted to release it, upon her sister.

Seeing a look of disgust in Korah’s expression, Anya tried to leave, but, Korah blocked her path.  

“You are truly pathetic, you would side with the Akadians against your own father, your own people.”

“That's not what I’m doing Korah,” Anya tried to explain. “It’s out of concern, that I am struggling with this. We have to be right about this!”

“I’m confident that father is right,” Korah said proudly.  

“Well, I’m not,” Anya admitted. “Korah, what do you think the Akadians are going to do, when we break off diplomatic relations with them, when we place an embargo on them?  Do you know what that is going to do to their economy?”

“Destroy it I hope,” Korah replied.

“Do you think the Akadians are going to just let that happen?” Anya asked.

 “They won’t try anything once they see that we are allied with the Myans”

“Korah, are you that naive. You believe that the Akadians are going to just sit back, and let the greatest economic disaster in history happen. Remember I lived with these people, it’s not going to happen as you and father believe, and then there is going to be a war, a terrible and brutal war, and we are going to be in the middle of it.  And the poor and starving Knomans, whom you and father use to justify this action are going to suffer even more.”

“The Akadians are cowards,” Kora countered in response to Anya’s arguments.

“Fine, if that’s what you want to believe,” Anya said throwing up her hands. "Your hatred for Akadia has blinded you to the stupidity of your own folly. But the truly sad thing is, the utterly sad thing is, that millions of lives hang in the balance due to your stupidity.

Korah was now at a loss for words.  She grabbed Anya, quickly releasing her which amounted to a push.  Anya froze, in shock.

“You disgust me,” Korah sneered, “I told father that this would be your response, but he didn’t believe me, he felt that as soon as you understood the suffering of our people, suffering caused by the deliberate actions of the Akadians, he thought that you would understand, and accept what he was going to do.  He is in for a shock.  You don’t care what happens here, you’re not a Knoman, you’re an Akadian.  And you don’t want anything to upset the delicate balance of your comfortable life.  That’s what your concerned about, that’s all your concerned about.

“That’s not true Korah,” Anya replied, her voice shaken with emotion.

“Its true alright, father is a wise man, he conducted a two-year detailed investigation into this matter, and you come here and say maybe he is wrong or his sources are not correct.  That investigation confirmed those sources and not just Myan sources.  He didn’t want to believe it.  You were not here to see the state father was in for months,” Korah paused, to control herself, “You were not here, but you, father’s precious daughter, was in Akadia, indulging in a relationship with the heir of the Akadian throne, the same government that is raping us, maybe, that typifies your relationship with him”

“How dare you!” Anya raised her hand as if she was going to strike Korah, but instead covered her eyes and burst out in tears.

Korah was unmoved.  “Anya, did you even read the report that father had prepared especially for you. Did you even read just one sentence of it?”

Anya, still crying did not respond. Korah waited, “I bet that you didn’t even look at the cover, you are pathetic.”

Anya, managed to stop crying, and gaining her composure, filled with anger and determination, she looked directly at her sister.  

"I am finished with you! You are not a sister to me, I don't know why, and I no longer care!  If you want to be my adversary, so be it!”

Korah, started to reply, but Anya stiffened as she walked past Korah, leaving her sister in stunned silence.

 

 


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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