Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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

Chapter 17 (v.1) - Chapter Sixteen

Submitted: March 07, 2017

Reads: 126

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 07, 2017

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A A A

Tannis (Kessel)

Akadian Intelligence Agency

 

Soon after being tasked with finding Prince Wilhelm, Director Jak Timson had employed his Counter Surveillance Team to setup an Anti-Room, a special room embedded with Counter Surveillance Measures. Since the AIA offices were already highly-secured, the rationale for an Anti-Room had been disparaged by the Royal Security Council.  Jak however, understood that the RSA had its own ulterior motives in its opposition of an Anti-Room within the AIA. Jak knew, that many of the AIA’s offices including his own, were under surveillance. Periodic sweeps had uncovered various devices of which he had no doubt were planted by the RSA. So, the construction of an Anti-Room within the AIA complex, had to be a highly secret endeavor. It was known only to the Director and his CS Team. Jak held the only forms of access to the Anti-Room, which was located in a secret sub-level in the AIA’s main office. The Anti-Room had been completed just in time for Jak’s meeting with Kenton regarding the reconnaissance mission by the PTV Enola. Kenton met Jak at his personal lift.  Once inside the lift, a retina and print scan followed by a key combination and finally the insertion of Jak’s access card, activated the lift to descend to the sub-level that opened into a small entry way where Jak had to perform another series of steps to gain access to the Anti-Room. The room was large and completely white without windows or any noticeable airflow or control cutouts. The only contrasting color in the room was a black conference table with several black chairs situated around the table in the center of the room. Occupying those chairs, Jak and Kenton sat with documents spread out over the black table. 

Kenton had just finished briefing Jak on the latest developments in the search for Prince Wilhelm, which were minor, due mostly to Jak’s withholding of vital information to the case.  Jak and Kenton both knew, that, time was running out on them and their secrets.

 “They have the last piece sir, and it’s only a matter of time before they discover the gap in Canton’s surveillance records”. 

“How soon?” Jak asked frustrated, wanting just a little more time to pursue one last option.

“Today, Tomorrow, next week, it depends on the skills of their analyst. In fact, sir, they may not even need those records. I heard that the RSA is now looking into the Volton incident on the Corbellis.”

“That’s not good.”

“I know, and if they start looking into that, they’re going to pull records on the ship, on the guys, and then there will be questions.”

That thought made Jak anxious, he wanted to resolve the issue and bring the King’s son home.  Jak had encountered many trying situations as Director of the AIA, a few times it almost cost him his job.  The current issue had the potential of being the worst situation in his career.  He knew that if he did not resolve it soon, it would not only cost him his job, but he was sure that it would cost him his freedom.

“So, Is Captain Miso on board?” Jak asked as he gathered his documents.

“Yes sir, but it took some doing.  The explanation we came up with, for his diverting the Enola from its scheduled dock with the Dardossa, will be a prisoner escape. So, the scenario is, A prisoner escapes, steals a shuttle and the Dardossa is in pursuit of the escaped prisoner.  In pursuit of the shuttle they will skirt Knoman airspace.  The Shuttle will land in the last know coordinates of the Volton.  Miso will launch a second shuttle with his security staff on board and he will lead that search party, not for a prisoner, but for Prince Wilhelm and our Agents.”

“Good work, Kenton.  How soon before we know anything?”

“They will enact the plan within the next standard hour and then we wait.”

“What’s our exposure?” 

“Captain Miso of course, and his second in command who will be piloting the first shuttle, the escaped prisoner.

Jak stood after stuffing his documents in his briefcase.  “Keep me informed,” Jak said as he slipped his hand into his pocket and pulled out a small device, he handed it to Kenton.  “If you need to reach me, use this.  I will meet you here within an hour, or, I will contact you if I can’t make it or if I’m delayed.”

“Right, sir,” Kenton stood, took the device, and slipped it into his own pocket.  He gathered his own documents, stuffing them in his case and he followed Jak out of the Anti-Room. 

 

Basin Lake Castle (Knome)

 

Teric quickly sat up, holding his breath as he strained to listen. It had taken him a while to fall asleep, the womp bats kept him awake for some time with their constant machine-like cries.  They were still wompping, even now, but he had become acclimated to their cries and they became background noises for him.  It was something else that woke him, a noise that did not belong.  He strained to listen, holding his breath, he was as still, as the crumbling sculptures in the room he occupied.  And then, he heard it again, and this time, it was familiar to him.  The stairs, he realized.  The creaking of the stairs that they had walked on, that was the sound.  Teric quickly looked to his right, and then to his left, verifying the presence of Kore and Jasen. He reached for his scabbard and sword and then went to his knees.  The creaking sound was now occurring more often and multiplied.  Teric listened, trying to determine the number of persons ascending the staircase. He crawled out of the room as Kore and Jasen continued to sleep.  As he entered the second-floor foyer, he determined that the intruders had reached the mid-level landing and were now ascending the right staircase. Teric slowly unsheathed the black, almost luminous, blade in the dim moonlight. He waited and counted the creaks on the staircase.  He went to his feet, staying as low as he was, when he was crawling.  With the sword in his right hand he brought the blade across his body.  He felt the familiar rush through his veins, enduring it until he could no longer contain his stillness.  

Standing to full height Teric ran swiftly and quietly.  He jumped over the second-floor railing toward the right staircase.  He was descending by the time the first of the surface riders had noticed.  To him, Teric seemed to be flying in the air, he imagined wings on his back, and he screamed uncontrollably as his worst nightmare appeared before his eyes.  While still in the air, Teric raised his sword high above his left shoulder, and brought it down, striking the screaming surface rider.  The second rider who stood one step above the screaming man turned towards him only to witness the blade exiting him and moving in his direction.  He had no time to scream, almost no time to react, as Teric still in one motion struck down the second rider.  The third man who was a step above the second man, turned only in time to see his first comrade go down and witness the second man’s fall.  He, however, froze, in sheer terror, he couldn’t speak or even scream, he watched Teric’s blade still in one fluid motion exiting his second comrade and advancing towards him, the blade, shinning like the surface of a lake on a still night, it reached him, and he met his fate, as Teric landed on the staircase. 

Jasen and Kore came running at the sound of the first man’s scream.  By the time, they reached the railing on the second floor, Teric was stooped over examining the bodies.

“What’s going on,” Jason yelled still trying to wake up.

“Surface Riders.”

Kore could not believe what he was seeing, he wanted to ask about it, but didn’t know how.

“Are you alright?” Jasen asked after briefly noticing a white liquid dripping from Teric’s eyes.  Teric quickly turned away wiping his eyes.

“I’m alright.”  Teric answered with his back to the others as he continued to wipe his eyes. 

Jasen was concerned and started to descend the steps toward Teric, and then they heard a crash coming from the first floor.  

“Someone else is here.” Jasen said after recovering from being startled by the noise, but Teric was already gone.

Teric descended the steps almost four at a time, barely touching the steps as he flew in the direction of the sound.  He could hear footsteps outside as he ran through the house towards a cracked opening that led outside.  He saw a man at the edge of the mound, the man grabbed a rope and jumped.  By the time Teric reached the edge of the mound he could hear the galloping of a ja-rak.  Teric took the rope, still holding his sword, he jumped, sliding down the rope.   On the ground, he jumped on one of the available ja-raks and began to pursue the retreating surface rider. 

Teric’s ja-rak was slightly faster and he was slowly gaining on the rider.  Sensing that Teric was gaining on him, the surface rider kicked his animal and began to pick up speed.  Teric dropped the reins of his ja-rak and he stood as high as he could in the stirrups, grasping his sword with both hands, he raised the sword high above his head, and hurled the sword with all his might.  The sword left Teric’s hands, spinning end over end, closing the gap with the rider, stopping only once the blade found its mark.  Screaming, the rider leaned back in pain, pulling the reins as his ja-rak stood on its hind legs, dumping the surface rider to the ground. 

Teric stopped his ja-rak, dismounted and walked over to the fallen surface rider who was dead.  He took his sword and slowly began to walk back to his ja-rak.  Suddenly he became dizzy. He stood for a moment and then began to walk again.  Just before reaching his ja-rak, Teric collapsed. Before losing consciousness, Teric heard the galloping of several ja-raks.

 

Maessa (Knome)

Krestlin Palace

 

Anya lay in bed, crying, her head throbbing with every convulsion of her body. She was exhausted and weak with despair. She wanted to sleep, to just sleep forever, but her mind would not let her.  It accused and abused her, chiding her.  She wanted to shut it off, to shut out the dark thoughts invading her mind, telling her that she did not belong. Anya felt like an outcast, an outcast in her own home, like a stranger.  Her family had learned to live without her, just as she, had learned to live without them.  She didn’t want to be there, to be in a home that did not feel like a home, and yet she wanted to belong, she wanted desperately to belong. She wanted someone to love her, someone to care for her, to value her feelings.  

“What’s wrong with me?” she cried.  “What is wrong with me?” She pounded her bed repeating it over and over.

An alert sounded in her rest chamber, informing her of a visitor.  Anya was so desperate for reassurance, that she didn’t even mind if it was Korah who had come to visit her.  Without checking who was visiting, she pressed a button on a device at the side of her bed which opened the door to her suite.  

Mura entered, and made her way towards Anya’s rest chamber as she called out for her.  Anya didn’t answer, as she was trying to compose herself.  She had gotten out of bed and was cleaning her face as Mura walked in. 

“How are you my dear?”

On the verge of crying, Anya did not answer, she simply walked over to Mura and embraced her.  She wanted to feel comforted in her mother’s embrace, but the desire went unfulfilled.  She embraced Mura more strongly, trying to force the comfort out of her, but as Mura gently held Anya’s waist and stepped out of her embrace, Anya relented.

“Oh, mother,” she cried disappointed, as she turned away from her mother and began pacing the room. 

Mura watched Anya intently, concerned for her emotional stability.  She had never seen her daughter in such a state and it worried her. 

“Anya, sit down please,” she begged, wanting to stop Anya’s frantic pacing.  “Sit, please.”

“I can’t, I have to figure this out. I have to do something, but I don’t know what I need to do.”

“Anya, sit,” Mura called out more forcefully, arresting her daughter’s attention.

Anya, stopped pacing and dutifully sat on a nearby divan.  Mura walked over to her and sat beside her.

Mura grabbed Anya’s trembling hands in an attempt to stop them from trembling.  

“Anya, my dear, it’s going to be OK, you’re going to be fine.”

“I’m not, mother, I’m not.  I can’t think.  What’s wrong with me?”  Anya began to sob.

“You’ve had a shock, you’re going to be fine.” Mura hoped.

“Mother, why does papa, hate me?”  

Mura was taken aback by Anya’s question, more so because it was asked in a moment of clarity that caught Mura off-guard.

“Your father does not hate you.”

“I want to believe that.  But I’m having a hard time accepting it.” Anya’s hands ceased to tremble as she pulled them away from Mura. “He hates who I’ve become, I know he does.

“Anya, the fact that it has taken your father so long to reveal all of this to you is proof that he loves you, this was not easy for him.”

“Easy for him? What about me?”

“I know, I advised him to speak to you about this a long time ago, but he couldn’t. He would try, but then he couldn’t.”

“You advised?” Anya uttered as she rose to her feet.  “You knew about this?”

Mura stood up, she was momentarily confused.  She did not realize that Anya was unaware of her own knowledge of the plan.  “Of course, I knew.”

“And you agree that I should marry this, this Myan, when you know, you know that I am in love with Wilhelm!"

Anya began to back away from her mother.  Mura walked towards her and took her hands.  Anya pulled them away and continued to back away.

"Mother, you said you understood how I felt about Wilhelm, you said you understood.  But you want me to marry a man, I don't love, a man I don't know, when my heart is owned by another? How could I do that?"

"I do understand, Anya. And I know that it makes this, much harder for you, my dear.  But you know that you and Wilhelm can never be together."

"He was coming for me.  Ma, he was coming for me."

"What?  What do you mean?

Anya began to cry.  "Pa told me that Wilhelm was coming here for me."

"You've must have mistakenly heard what he said."

"It was no mistake, but I sensed that he regretted telling me."

"Anya, you and Wilhelm can never be together.  It can't happen.

“Mother, I thought that you were on my side, why did I think that?”  Anya searched her memory.

“I am on your side Anya; your father is on your side.  We are trying to do what is best for our people, what is best for you. We sent you to Akadia, that wasn’t easy for us, but we were trying to do what was best for you.

“But it was not best for me, it wasn’t.  I’m confused, I’m not Knomen, I’m not Akadian, I don’t belong anywhere!

Anya’s hands began to tremble again as her tears streamed down her face.

Mura attempted to embrace Anya, but was stopped.

“Anya, darling, we love you.  You belong here!

“Do I? Or do I belong in Mya!” She added sternly.

Anya backed into her desk, almost tumbling over it.  Mura reached out to help her, but Anya’s hand prevented her.

“Are you Ok,” Mura asked as she watched Anya recover her balance.

“No, I’m not, I’m not Ok mother.  Please leave.

“I don’t want to leave you like this.”

Please, mother, leave me alone, Please.

Mura reluctantly complied with her daughter’s wish and turned and walked out of her resting chamber and then out of her suite.  

“Mr. Ambassador, I am deeply sorry for the incident involving my daughter,” Yuri uttered upon immediately entering the Ambassador’s suite.

Ambassador Salinid stood as Yuri approached.

“It is I that should apologize, if I had any idea that your daughter was unaware of the arrangements, I would not have broached the subject.”

Yuri waved his hand, dismissing the need for the Ambassador to apologize. 

“I have wronged you on two counts, first, not informing my daughter of our agreed upon arrangements, and second, leaving you in the dark regarding my failure in the first part.  Please forgive.  

“As you wish,” Etian offered his hand.  Yuri took it and shook it once.

“And, how are you?” Etian asked regarding Yuri’s collapse.

“Thank you for asking, I am fine.”

“And the Lady Anya?”

“Recovering,” Yuri replied unaware of how his daughter was coping.

“Do you think it would be wise, to delay my Lord’s arrival?”

“No,” Yuri replied without hesitation.

“And the Lady Anya, who is most certainly aware now, is she, well will she comply with our arrangements?”

“Yes, she will,” Yuri agreed again to something of which he had no idea was true. He continued, “She is very much eager to play her part.  She is aware of the great benefit this arrangement will produce for our peoples.”

“I must say, I am happy and relieved to hear that. Your daughter is exquisite, and, it would be a shame to break that spirit of hers.”

“Thank you, Mr. Ambassador."

"All is well then.  Good. My Lord is anxious to meet everyone."

"As are we.  And I might add, that all the arrangements at Tijan Palace will be completed and ready for the Grand Duke’s arrival.”

“I thank you, your majesty.” Ambassador Salinid bowed.

"You are most welcomed."

Yuri turned around and left the Ambassador's suite accompanied by his entourage of guards.

 

Basin Lake Plains (Knome)

 

Kore and Jasen dismounted their ja-raks and ran over to the unconscious body of Teric. Jason knelt and checked for Teric’s pulse. His body was cold.

“His pulse is strong.” Jasen uttered as he lifted Teric’s head.  “Teric.” Jasen slapped Teric’s face a couple of times. “Teric.”

Kore took out a mag viewer and surveyed the horizon all around them.  “I don’t see anyone, no heat signatures of any significant size.”

“Help me, we need to move him out of the open.”  Jasen began to lift Teric.  Kore assisted Jasen and they lifted Teric on top of one of the ja-raks.  Jasen mounted the animal while steadying Teric.

“Get his sword,” Jasen said as he passed Teric’s scabbard to Kore.  Kore pushed the scabbard on to the blade as it lay on the ground.

Then Kore went to pick up the sword and almost fell over trying to lift the black blade.  It was much heavier that he expected, in fact he could not lift it with one hand.  He used both hands and lifted the sword, straining under the weight.

“Am I extremely weak or is Teric extremely strong,” Kore asked dropping the sword.

“It can’t be that heavy, Teric wields that thing as if it was an extension to his arm,” Jasen added perplexed.

“Well it’s definitely not an extension of my arm.”

“Do you need me to help?” Jasen asked holding on to an unconscious Teric.

“No, you got your hands full, let me try one more time.” Kore tried again to lift the sword, lifting it up upon his back and then onto his shoulder.  He then walked over to his ja-rak, he managed to lift the sword on to a small hook on the saddle, he then tied the sword to the saddle.  Kore was exhausted and he rested for a moment leaning on his ja-rak, and then mounted the animal.

“Are you good?” Jasen asked.

“Let’s go!”  Kore replied feeling the weight of the sword tugging on the right side of the saddle.

Jasen and Kore began to trot in the direction toward the Basin Lake Castle.

“I think we should take advantage of the clear weather and keep riding,” Jasen offered.

“I agree, we have nothing back at the Castle.”

“Then let’s keep riding.” Jasen replied as he moved his ja-rak into a gallop.


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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