Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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

Chapter 18 (v.1) - Chapter Seventeen

Submitted: March 09, 2017

Reads: 109

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 09, 2017

A A A

A A A

(Bog Orbit)

PTV Enola - Port Tasman 

 

Twenty-nine years ago, a major systems malfunction caused the penal carrier, RFS Equista, to crash land onto the small densely clouded moon-size planet, called Bog. The prisoners killed the crew and escaped onto the planet’s surface and scattered throughout the dense Jayesha Forest. The escaped convicts were hunted down and executed.  However, it soon became common practice for governments to deposit their worst criminals to the planet.  It was economically convenient to transport citizens who could not be rehabilitated or required separation from the general law-abiding citizenry, to an off-world site, of which no requirement of maintenance was demanded. 

Government entities that took advantage of this economic windfall, began to unload, even the expense of its minor offenders, by transporting them to the planet. Soon political rivals as well as criminal organizations began to make use of the planet. For the unfortunate souls sentenced to the penal planet, life there was a literal nightmare.  There were no laws, no oversight, no administration whatsoever on the planet, every man, woman and child was indeed alone and defenseless, unless they submitted to the various clans or armed camps that developed on the planet for mutual protection. Suicide became preferable than a sentence to the planet Bog.  

Physical conditions on the planet were harsh, rain was nearly a constant and high humidity was the environmental standard.  The Flora was lush and rich, Bog was nearly a complete forest notwithstanding the mountains, lakes and seas.  The Fauna was abundant, but, after nearly three decades as a prison planet, animal life on the planet was nearly wiped out.  On the planet, life was more than hard, it was wretched. Men did as the pleased, with no thought of self-control.  Drunkenness, prostitution, disease, terrorism, abuse in every form was a common and daily experience.  Such conditions were unknown to outsiders for many years.

The universal court on Nova sent a commission to the planet, to ascertain its conditions, and to make recommendations for the enactment of strict regulations over the use of the planet, by government entities.  The first shuttle to land on the planet in decades, was attacked, and the commission members were slaughtered.  Several years later, a second commission was created.  This time an army accompanied the second shuttle to land on the planet in decades.  After several months, the Penal System of Bog report, was issued.

In time, Nova became involved in the administration of the penal planet, and any admission of prisoners to the planet, had to be approved by the Judicial Penal Court set up by Nova.  A massive planetary navy and Interior Force was setup and maintained, by funds extracted from the member governments of Nova.  Changes were also implemented on the planet itself. Walled regions for female prisoners were constructed and secured. Protected and guarded facility for staff and security personnel were constructed as well as a major airport for the transport vessels. 

The Penal Transport Vessel, the Enola, was docked at one of Bog’s orbital ports, the Tasman. After unloading its crop of convicts, the Enola's crew enjoyed a few days of leisure aboard several of the Tasman's pleasure centers. However, the crew’s leisure time had been cut short when it reported that a small administrative shuttle had made an unauthorized launch from the Enola.  An investigation of the incident revealed that a convict had somehow escaped noticed, remained on board the Enola and then stole a shuttle. Captain Coles Miso had just briefed his officers on the situation and had explained the measures that they would be undertaking to capture the escaped convict and the stolen shuttle. Captain Miso canceled the Enola's scheduled dock aboard the Tug, Dardossa, then the Enola, departed Port Tasman, and set a course in pursuit of its stolen vessel.

 

Basin Lake Castle (Knome)

 

Wilhelm was exhausted and in agony, he wanted to dismount his ja-rak, for every gallop sent waves of spasms through his whole body.  As he shifted on the animal, trying to maintain his balance, one part of his body protested in pain while another part gained relief.  His back, shoulders, neck, thighs and even his knees ached for relief. He was still suffering from blisters and burns all over his body which his strenuous ride did not help. The chafing he experienced was made even worse as his impact in the saddle rubbed against his charred flesh.  He was also still feeling the effects of hyper sickness, and he had vomited up what little food he still had in his stomach. Wilhelm was miserable and on more than several occasions he was on the verge of giving up, however his thoughts were constantly on Anya, and his love for her, and he somehow willed himself to endure a little longer.

Wilhelm pulled hard on the reins as his ja-rak protested.  He held the reins to still the animal as he strained to look ahead.  He had been traveling toward a distant edifice and now as he got close he could see a brood of ja-raks at the base of a large mound.  On top of the mound was a large ancient structure. He panicked trying to decide what to do as he was in the open and there was still enough daylight to expose him to the surface riders whom he could see roving about on top of the mound.

And then he made a decision.  Wilhelm kicked hard into his ja-rak, ignoring the pain it caused him, while he loosened up on the reins.  The animal riled up almost throwing Wilhelm as he held on tight. The animal took off in a gallop as Wilhelm buried his head into the beast.

As he rode swifter than the blowing winds, he was noticed.  Wilhelm’s ja-rak had passed by the mound just as a dozen or more surface riders had climbed down from the mound and managed to mount their own animals. They began to pursue Wilhelm.  Some of the rangers, as soon as they could, began to fire their weapons at Wilhelm, but he had a huge jump on the them and was just too far ahead. Wilhelm feared that his ja-rak would soon give out, but he had no choice, he kicked once more into the beast this time uttering a scream to move the animal onward.

Now all of the rangers were in pursuit, riding hard and gaining on Wilhelm. As twilight gave way to the night Wilhelm could hear the swoosh of a blast fly by him.  His ja-rak was slowing down and he could hear the galloping hoofs of the pursuing animals gaining on him.  He kicked again into his animal with no noticeable gain in speed and then he heard a thud and a loud cry from his ja-rak as it had been hit.  The animal did not break its stride, but in fact picked up a little speed.  Wilhelm, however could feel the limp in the animal’s gallop and knew that it was just a matter of time before his animal would collapse.

----

The sound of a distant blaster caused Jasen and Kore to rein in their ja-raks and turn in the direction of the sound.  Teric who had been walking alone at a distance in front of the pair, had jogged back towards them after hearing the blaster.  Kore pulled out his mag viewer and began to scan the area.

“Do you see anything?” Teric asked, his eyes narrowing, scanning the horizon.

“Yes, a rider, Kore barked, his heart pounding, “He’s coming this way.”

Teric unfastened his sword and scabbard from Kore’s ja-rak and strapped it to his back. He then removed his blaster from its holster.

“Hey,” Kore called out, “the first rider is being followed by a cavalry of surface riders.”

“They’re chasing him?” Jasen asked as he too removed his blaster from its holster.

“They’re firing upon him,” Kore added.  He increased the range on his mag viewer and focused on the first rider.  “It’s Wilhelm!” Kore screamed.

Without a word, Teric tugged on Kore, almost pulling him off his ja-rak.  “Let me have him,” he commanded. Kore dismounted, falling to the ground as Teric quickly mounted the animal.  He began attaching pieces to his blaster, converting it in to a rifle as the animal raced away.

“Get on,” Jasen called to Kore.  Kore stood and mounted the ja-rak behind Jasen. Jasen handed his blaster to Kore.  “Can you shoot?” Jasen asked as he grabbed tightly on to the reins.  “Yes,” Kore replied.  “Take out as many as you can.”  Jasen’s ja-rak began to dash away in response to his kick, almost dumping Kore, who held on to Jasen with one hand while clutching the blaster with his other.

Teric had halved the distance to Wilhelm. While holding on to the speeding ja-rak with his legs only, Teric began to take aim at the surface riders pursuing Wilhelm. "Wilhelm, he yelled.

Hearing his name, Wilhelm’s spirit was renewed.  He found them. He grasped the reins tighter, trying to will his wounded animal to continue.

Two of the pursuing riders dropped to the ground as Teric picked them off.  The rangers began to fire a barrage of lasers at Wilhelm and Teric.  Wilhelm’s ja-rak was hit and crashed to the ground almost landing on top of Wilhelm.  Wilhelm took cover behind the beast.  Teric had drew his sword as he reached Wilhelm. He dismounted his animal and took a stand in front of Wilhelm’s fallen animal.  The barrage of fire power continued from the rangers.  Teric stood, straining to hold his sword steady as every oncoming laser bent into his blade.  The rangers stopped at a distance but kept firing toward Teric.

Jasen and Kore approached behind Teric firing at the rangers and taking a few of them out.  Teric’s blade was now emitting a very low and ominous sound as it turned a deep blue.  “Get down,” Teric yelled. “Get down.”  Kore and Jasen quickly dismounted in response to Teric’s command and hit the ground.  Teric turned to look behind.  “Stay down.”

Teric brought down his blade as the energy dripped to the ground like water, sparking as it came into contact with the surface.  He held the blade with his right hand, first turning to his left and then he spun right, building momentum and then held his blade straight out.  As he spun with the blade out, a stream of energy leapt from the blade bending into an arc as he spun.  The arc of energy spread out in the direction of the surface riders, who froze as the advancing arc of energy overtook them.  Bodies began to fall to the ground, men and animals. Those remaining were in a severe panic, both men and animals. Teric began to run straight for the remaining rangers, who immediately began to retreat.  With one final slash of his blade he sent one final wave of energy toward the retreating riders, dropping one.  Teric stood watching the retreat as his blade continued to drip.  Teric raised his sword, hilt high and drove the blade into the ground as it sparked and smoked. He drew it out from the ground after the blade was still.  He walked back to his friends who were still hiding behind the dead ja-rak.

Kore rose first, he was stunned by what he had just witnessed.  Stories and myths, that had been told to him as a child, had just been confirmed.  Stories that every child believes until they grow up, until they discover the truth.  But what he had been told as a child, was true, he witnessed it with his own eyes. Kore’s mind was racing, recalling details as he approached Teric.

“This is the sword of the Duma.” Kore stopped in front of Teric kneeling to get a closer look at the sword.  “Where did you get it?”

“What?”

“This is the sword of the Duma, the last guardian.” Kore was like a child, he wanted to touch it, but feared to do so.  He rose smiling, “Where did you get the sword?”

“We don’t have time for this.”  Teric walked past him, placed the sword back in its scabbard and knelt down towards Wilhelm, who was still on the ground nearly unconscious. Jasen was caring for Wilhelm’s wounds.  

“Will he be alright,” Teric asked.

“Look at him,” Jasen replied, “What happened to him?”

“I don’t know, but we can’t stay here, Teric replied.

Jasen looked around, “we have only one ja-rak.”

“Let’s get him on it, you ride with him, we can walk.” Teric advised.

“Kore, help Jasen, Teric yelled, shattering Kore’s trance.

 

Tannis (Kessel)

Somewhere

 

In a long forgotten industrial area of Tanis, in an abandoned four-story building, Senator Radsom stood, as Lord Poul entered one of the building’s interior windowless offices unaccompanied.  The dusty room with cobwebs in every corner and graffiti on every wall, still had an old decaying desk and several chairs situated in the center of the room.  Senator Radsom selected two of the sturdier chairs, cleaned the film of dust and cobwebs off of them, and as Lord Poul entered the room, the Senator gestured to one of the available chairs.  Lord Poul ignored the gesture and remained standing.

“Senator,” Lord Poul extended his hand and shook the Senator’s frail boney hand.  “It’s good to see you again.”

“Yes, and so soon.”  The Senator debated on whether to sit or stand as he shook Lord Poul’s hand.
The Senator took a seat for the sake of his sore knees.  “Excuse me,” he uttered as he sat down.

Unfazed, Lord Poul began to pace the floor. “It is soon, Senator, but necessary.  We will not get another chance like this. It is why I am imploring you to submit your resolution within the next seven days.”

“Seven days, why so soon?”

“I believe we are getting closer to a resolution regarding the King’s son.  If that happens, regardless of the outcome, things will move swiftly into the King’s favor.  I would prefer that you submit it in tomorrow’s session, but I understand that you must confer with your colleagues.”

Senator Radsom was miffed with Lord Poul’s constant interference in Senate business, in particular with matters under his governance. “I appreciate your eagerness and we would like nothing more than to start the process, but I’m afraid seven days is too soon.  We will need to poll our supporters so that we can submit the resolution with the required numbers to bypass debate.  Just the polling may take a month while we are in limited session.”

Lord Poul frowned noticeably, he wondered what was in the water at Chamber House, the Senate was so slow and overly deliberate even with issues everyone agreed with.  With so little to show, he thought, the Senate was a waste. “Senator Radsom, you intorduced your resolution more than a decade and a half ago, was it just for leverage or are you serious?

“Of course we are serious!” Senator Radsom did not hold back his disgust with the King’s Advisor. “It has taken time and much effort to build our coalition, Lord Poul, and remember if we submit our resolution and it fails, then it will be another decade before we can submit another resolution, if ever, and by that time his son may be enthroned and that will be the end.”

Lord Poul took the seat Senator Radsom had prepared for him.  “My friend, I understand your hesitancy, I really do.  But at the moment, the King is in no mood or position for a battle in the Senate.  I’m afraid if you miss this opportunity and his son is found, he may abdicate in favor of his son.”

“Abdicate?”

“Yes, he has mentioned it on more than one occasion, and I believe he is serious.  He’s old and tired, tired of the battle, of the opposition.”

“That would be an unexpected move for him,” the Senator replied, now seriously considering Lord Poul’s plan.

“If you were to call an emergency session, how long would that take for the full Senate to convene?”

“If I did that, it would surely tip our hand, and the opposition would soon mount.”

“Yes, but how long would it take?

Senator Radsom ignored the irritated manner in Lord Poul’s demand.  No one has ever talked to him in that way, not even the King. He paused for some time. “I suppose it might take a day or two, but that would still give the King and his supporters that amount of time to oppose us.”

Lord Poul was irritated, did he have to spell out every detail for the Senator. Had he no vision.
“If you could get the President to call for an emergency session, in support of the effort to find the king’s son, something in that vein, might that give you cover for your caucus.”

“I’m not sure, if we did that, then we would risk creating sympathy for the crown.”

“But it would give you time to poll your faction and you could submit your resolution, just as the session begins.”

Senator Radsom sat back in his chair considering Havik’s suggestion, which, was difficult, with Lord Poul hovering like a bird of prey ready to pounce upon his every word.  He had enough of it. “Let me speak with our leadership and I will let you know.”

“Just remember, Senator, time is not on your side, your window of opportunity is closing while you dawdle in endless debate.”  Lord Poul stood up as did the Senator.  

“Lord Poul, I do appreciate your support, but let me remind you, this is the Senate’s business.  We will do what we have to do, when we decide to do it.  This will be our last meeting of this sort.  Senator Radsom did not offer his hand, and walked out of the office.


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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