Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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

Chapter 26 (v.1) - Chapter Twenty-five

Submitted: March 21, 2017

Reads: 117

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Submitted: March 21, 2017

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Tannis (Kessel)

Knomen Embassy Complex

 

The reception hall of the Knomen Embassy Complex was eerily silent but for the echoes of footsteps from the few crewmen who were busy moving cases of items out of the embassy set to be destroyed.  There was no receptionist to greet any arriving guest because none came.  All Knomen activities within Akadia have been effectively terminated.  Only the Knomen Ingression Committee continued to operate, for the time being.

May had closed the door of her office for the last time and stepped out into an empty hall.  She was struck by the silence and paused for a moment trying to understand what was going on.  She walked across the hall to meet with Ambassador Thames Horak for perhaps the last time, his was still a working office and as she walked in he was busy at some task but rose as she entered.

“So, you’re done,” Thames uttered as he moved away from his desk and approached May.

“Yes, finally,” May replied.

“Good, when dose your shuttle depart?

“Within the hour, I'm heading there now.  How about you?”

“Oh, I still have much to do, maybe in a few days.”

“Its so strange, this place has never been so quiet.”

“I know, for now, but, maybe things will get back to normal soon.”

“That would be nice, but I don’t think I would request another assignment here. I miss home.”

Thames took May’s hand and caressed it.  “That saddens me, you have done an excellent job here, I’ve relied on you so much.

“Thank you, Sir, I appreciate that. But do you really think we will ever get back to normal, this seems so final.”

“That is my hope,” Thames replied releasing May’s hand.  He walked back to his desk and picked up a few documents. “Have you heard any news regarding Prince Wilhelm?”

“No, I haven’t.”

“I’ve been called to appear before the crown, I guess there have been some, developments,” Thames explained as he glanced at the notice to appear.

“What developments?”

“I don’t know. But I shall soon find out.” He dropped the document back on his desk. “Have you spoken with the lady Anya recently?”

“No, not since she departed. Besides, my access was restricted.”

“Oh, that’s right."  There was a pause in the conversation as Thames stood near his desk lost in thought.  "Well May,” Thames said as he approached May again, “I don’t want to keep you.”

“Thank you, sir, I guess this is goodbye?”

“Goodbye,” Thames kissed her on the cheek and watched as she exited his office.

A high-pitched tone broke Thames’ concentration and he turned and walked towards the source of the tone.  Confounded, he picked up a small device on his desk.  The Crypt-key was used for the most sensitive communication with the home office and it was rarely used.  Ambassador Thames had never used his before.  He immediately walked around his desk and picked up his AI device and inserted the Crypt-key in the slot designed for it.  After a moment he used a lens on his device to scan his left retina.  An acknowledgement tone sounded and a page full of garbled text appeared on the screen.  Thames placed the tips of all five fingers of his right hand on the screen and within a minute the text became readable.

Thames read the text in shock.  His knees buckled causing him to sit.  Astonished he reread the text over and over and over again.  Thames was bewildered, he just sat there wrestling with his thoughts.  He wondered if someone was playing a joke on him and he reread the message.  But, now, everything made since to him.  This was no joke, for it was happening and it had been in effect for several months.  The Embassy had been effectively and quietly abandoned. The blue letters. The cessation of all its various missions across Akadia.  The disentanglement of Knomen corporate interests.  No, this was no joke. Thames removed the Crypt-key and placed it in a hidden pocket in his clothing and he just sat there overwhelmed considering the implications of what he had just read.

 

Udin (Knome)

Near the Chakata entrance

 

Wilhelm followed Tukka up the steep narrow and crudely constructed stairway.  At various stages during the ascent, Wilhelm felt claustrophobic as he squeezed himself up through areas so cramped he feared that he would get stuck.  By the time they reach the top, Wilhelm was completely exhausted.  Tukka lifted the camouflaged top and they exited into the cold night air.  Wilhelm fell purposely to the ground to rest.

“It feels so good to breathe fresh air,” Wilhelm exclaimed as he lay on his back.

There was no response from Tukka, but Wilhelm sensed that something wasn’t right.  He sat up, looking around for Tukka.  Wilhelm noticed a beam of light in the sky, which Tukka was observing, he stood up walking next to Tukka.

“What is it,” Tukka asked.

“I don’t Know.”

As soon as Wilhelm finished speaking, the sky flashed brilliantly, illuminating the night sky.  Tukka and Wilhelm both cowered, covering their eyes in pain from the intense light.  Then the sound thundered causing both Tukka and Wilhelm to move from covering their eyes to covering their ears.

The blast originating from Knome’s orbit penetrated the Planet’s protective atmosphere, streaking through its protective layers de-atomizing its chemical makeup, effectively, drilling a hole through it, causing a shockwave that followed quickly on the heels on the blast’s soundwave.

The shockwave forced Wilhelm and Tukka to the ground, where they covered their heads as they were pelted by air particles.

“What is it,” yelled Tukka.

“We have to find shelter,” Wilhelm screamed.

The heat from the diffusing laser bolt completely burned every tree within the blast radius before it even hit the surface of the planet within Thaingor forest.  The powerful laser bolt’s impact penetrated deep into the planet’s crust gouging a large crevasse causing an eruption of dirt, rock, clay and other elements propelling them high into the sky.  The forest was on fire.

Wilhelm rose to his feet as his eyes sight gradually returned.  He found Tukka, still on the ground and he grabbed his hands and lifted him to his feet.

“Get up, we’ve got to find shelter,” Wilhelm yelled.

“No, I’m going back, that’s my home.  Tukka yelled pulling away from Wilhelm.

“Wait, you can’t go back there,” Wilhelm screamed as he tried to hold on to Tukka.

“My family is there, my people are there, I’m going back.”

“I can’t go back,” Wilhelm replied giving up on restraining Tukka from returning.

Tukka stopped, he pointed past Wilhelm, “Go that way, you will reach Chakata, then take one of the shafts to descend to the city.  I’m sorry I can’t go with you.”

Wilhelm was at a loss of words and felt unsure that he could make it by himself.

“Don’t forget to put on the robes, I’m sorry,” Tukka called out as he ran towards the tunnel entrance.

Wilhelm did not have the robe, he looked down and began to search for it.  He watched as Tukka entered the tunnel entrance and started to call out to him but was too late.  Wilhelm continued to look for the robe, looking up from time to time viewing the roaring fire.  Discourage he began to walk in the direction that Tukka showed him and he tripped over the robe he was looking for.  He picked it up and began walking.

----

The shockwave capsized the boat, Teric, Jasen and Kore had been traveling in.  Teric had reentered the boat first, followed by Jasen.  They both began calling out for Kore but heard no response.  Just as Teric prepare to jump back in the water, Kore emerged gasping for air.  Jasen and Teric rowed closer to Kore and began to lift him out of the water and into the boat.

“Something tried to pull me down, I fought it and it released me,” Kore explained, as he continued to gasp for air.  He pulled up his pant leg revealing teeth marks on his skin.

Teric was focused on the fire blazing in the forest.  He felt compelled to go back and help the Albians, to protect Shushan.  But Hoshushanna’s final words made sense.  The best way that they could assist the Albians was to get help.

Now they were all watching the fire.

"I hope Wilhelm is safe," Kore added.

Teric watched the flames, hoping in Hoshushanna's assurance that they would protect Wilhelm.

"They'll protect him, besides he's very resourceful," Teric replied with a smile.

“We need to go,” Jasen declared.

Teric grabbed a paddle, as did the others and they began to advance toward Mount Thaingor.

----

Udin was in chaos, hundreds were dead, hundreds were missing.  The heat and fire had reached down to the remote tunnels and caverns of Udin.  The smoke was stifling causing panic and death as it bellowed through the cavern system.
As the injured fled the disaster area flooding into the center of Udin the panic spread.

Doleg and his warriors had reached the throne room and he began calling for Shushan and Hoshushanna.

“Have you seen Hoshushanna,” Doleg asked one of the Lord’s ministers.

“They escorted the foreigners to basin lake,” the man replied.

“Was Shushan with them,” Doleg asked.

“I don’t think so,” the minister replied.  “What should we do Doleg,”

Doleg thought for a moment and then called over his warriors.

“We need to evacuate the caverns to the Forest's end, and we may need to ascend to the surface.”

Just then the whole cavern shook as it absorbed another blast.  The cavern walls and ceiling began to crack. The ground reverberated with aftershocks.

“Do it now,” Doleg yelled over the screams.  He grabbed two of his chiefs.

“We need to find Hoshushanna and Hudus, they were headed to basin lake, you take a band with you and hurry,” Doleg directed one of his chiefs.  “You come with me, we need to find Shushan," he said to the other.

 

Krestlin Palace (Knome)

 

Yuri entered Anya’s residence chamber without notice, permission or invitation.  He walked slowly and quietly through her reception room peaking around every corner before entering a hall, or a room, or through a doorway. Reaching her private quarters, he ventured to the door but found that it was locked. Yuri pulled out a small card from his clothing and stood for a moment, contemplating.  Coming to a resolution Yuri inserted the small card into a slit near the door.  The locking mechanism disengaged.  Yuri slowly opened the door and saw Anya, fully clothed, lying down in her bed. He entered her room.

“Anya,” he called.

Anya rose, shocked to see her father in her private room. She grabbed a blanket to cover herself, not realizing that she was fully clothed.

“What are you doing here, how did you get in here,” Anya demanded.

Yuri held up the small card.  Anya was insulted and felt violated.  She stepped back as if to flee, grasping more of the blanket to cover herself.

“How dare you,” Anya pointed towards the door, “Get out!”

Yuri did not move, instead while putting the card away he took a step towards her.

“I’m sorry I had to do this, but you won’t answer my calls or see me, and we need to talk.”

“I have nothing to say to you. Please leave.” Anya demanded pointing towards the door.

“I’m not leaving, not until we talk Anya.” As if to make his point Yuri sat down on the edge of her divan.

Anya was appalled, she did not want to talk to her father, she had resolved never to talk to him again.  “Father please, I don’t want to talk. There’s nothing left to say.”

Yuri did not reply, nor did he move; but he remained defiant in his posture.  Anya stopped protesting and began to cry in anger.  This violation was the final proof that she had no control over her life, she had no choice or free will to act upon her own will and desires, she had no control even in her private quarters.  The embers of her hopes, were dying out.  She relented.

“Alright," she replied, clenching her teeth, " I’ll hear what you have to say".

“Please come sit here,” Yuri tapped on the open space on the divan next to him as if the gulf between them had been resolved.

Anya did not move and, stifled her first reaction, “I can hear you from hear, talk.”

Yuri rose and began to approach Anya causing her to step back.

“What are you doing, just stay where you are and talk!”

Yuri stopped and held up his hands.  “Alright, alright,” and he stepped a few steps back.

“Anya, you judge me harshly. If there was any other way, believe me, I would have done it.  What else could I have done?” If you, were faced with this burden, this great dilemma, what choice would you have made? Freedom for one and suffering for millions or, freedom for millions and suffering for one.  What choice would you have made?

Anya remained silent looking down as tears leapt from her eyes. She understood the difficult choice that was laid before her father, she even knew that the choice in question was no choice at all, of course the lives of millions outweighed the one.  But she couldn't get past the one, because she was the one.  And had her father trusted her, and told her, from the beginning.

“Already our people are benefiting." Yuri continued, "You’ve seen the camps, isn’t that what you want, to see these miserable places disappear, it’s happening Anya, all thanks to you.”

Like a statue Anya remained still, but internally she wept. 'Pa, I know you are right, but how can I do this, how can I.  Oh Wilhelm, save me, please save me.'

“Do you want me to break the agreement," Yuri asked, trying to engage her.

Anya lifted her head, looking directly at her father, but said nothing.

“Do you understand what that would mean?  Do you really want to see your people suffer Anya?”

Anya recalled what she had seen in the camps, among the children, among the young women.  What if it was her, who was suffering and being violated in those awful camps.  Would she not pray for relief?  Anya could no longer bear it.  She didn't want to think about this.

“Is this all that you’re going to say father, because you’re not going to convince me, so please stop trying, please, leave me alone.  But her fear was the opposite, that he would convince her, that she would convince herself.  "Save me Wilhelm, please, save me," she whispered.

Yuri again approached Anya but gave her space.  “Anya, I don’t want us to remain this way.”

“You made the decision, father, without regard for me.  You don’t care about me, you hate what I’ve become.  I hate what I’ve become, at least we have that in common.”

“Anya, I don't hate you, you are my daughter, my child…”

“Father,” Anya interrupted, “I can’t do this.  If you care for me, please.”

Yuri gave in, he observed his beautiful daughter, remembering better times, her infectious, contagious smile and the way her nose wrinkled when she smiled.  He so longed to see it again.  He couldn’t bear this rift between them, her crushed spirit.  He had done that to her.  "But what choice did I have, my darling," he thought as he watched her cry.

“Alright.” Yuri started to walk away and as he neared the entrance he turned.  “The Myan delegation will be arriving soon, the Emperor’s son Simon Sa’dahd, will be among the delegation.  We will be part of the reception group. Anya, I expect you to attend.”

Yuri did not wait for Anya’s response as he turned and left the room.

 

Udin (Knome)

 


The bombardment of Thaingor forest was intense and devastating. The savage wave upon wave of targeted strikes caused massive reverberations to the caverns of Udin. The tremors, the cracking, the shattering of tunnels and caverns entombed Albians alive and dead. The complete evacuation of all Udin’s villages was under way.  In the panic and rush to safety many were trampled, fleeing the superheated flames, dense smoke and toxic fumes.  As the flames consumed the thin oxygen in the caverns and began to die out, they left little, for any oxygen breathing creature, left to suffocate.

Doleg’s warriors expended much effort in the task of finding and evacuating Udin’s citizens.  Doleg in his frantic search for Shushan, had put himself in life threatening situations several times. Every lifeless body of a woman he saw struck him cold, as he imagined the worse. He and his warriors had finally reached Hoshushanna’s compound and searched the whole complex for Shushan and her family.  Most of the compound was still intact, although some areas had collapsed.  Doleg and his warriors searched through the rubble looking for survivors.

“Doleg!” one of the natives called, “Here!”

Doleg in a panic rushed to the side of his warrior, who was busy lifting stones off of a trapped individual.  “Who is it,” Doleg asked in fear.

As Doleg began to assist, he recognized the unconscious woman. It was Kalima.

“Kalima,” he called out.  Kalima, on initial observation looked dead.  As they freed her, it was evident that her body was severely battered, bruised and broken.

“Kalima, Kalima,” Doleg shook her gently and was sickened by the way her body moved when he did.  But she did not respond.  Doleg checked anxiously for her pulse but did not find one.  She was still warm to his touch so he lifted her, feeling her body bend in an unnatural way, he slowly laid her back down. “She’s dead,” Doleg announced dejected.  He stood nearly in tears and turned away from Kalima's mangled body.

A foreshock caused the room to vibrate forcefully as stones, dust and debris fell to the ground.  Stunned, Doleg quickly directed his warriors to follow him.  As they entered the hallway, a violent quake shook the whole area causing the room out of which they barely escaped, to collapse.  The pulsations made it difficult to maintain balance as the men began to run in terror.

The screams they left behind, was disturbing to Doleg.  But there was nothing he could do, he thought, as he continued to run.

----


As Hoshushanna, Hudus, Shushan and their guards reached the caverns of Udin, they began to encounter more and more of their people.  Hoshushanna directed them to depart to Basin Lake. As they continued on they could smell the smoke and dust and could hear faint screams.
 
“Father, what’s happening?” Shushan cried.

Hoshushanna halted the group.  “Shushan, I want you to go with the others,” Hoshushanna signaled to one of his guards.  “Take her to safety.”

“No, Kalima is still there,” Shushan pleaded.

“You don’t know that, she may have made it to safety,” Hoshushanna tried to reassure Shushan.

“I don’t want to go.”

Another signal from Hoshushanna caused one of his guards to hold on to Shushan as the others left.

Shushan fought hard to free herself, kicking her captor, who for a split second doubled over in pain, releasing Shushan.  Freeing herself she ran, catching up to, and passing by, her father and brother.

“Shushan,” Hudus yelled, surprised as Shushan passed by.

“After her,” Hoshushanna called out to his warriors.

Shushan ran as fast as she could, but suddenly she was violently shaken to the ground by a great quaking.  Immediately she began to cough as her lungs filled with dust.  Shushan felt that she was going to die from the pressure she felt in her chest.  She continued to cough deeply as the dust dislodged from her lungs.  She stood up, stepping over large stones, still coughing and she turned and looked behind to see a mound of rocks and stones.  No warriors were chasing her.  Shushan began yelling.

“Father!”

“Hudus!”

There was no response as she continued to call out.  “Father!”

Shushan began to dig through the mound, lifting stones as she continued to call out for her father and brother.
“Shushan,” echoed a voice.

“Father!” Shushan responded to the voice, believing it to be her father.  But the voice came from behind her.  She turned unable to see anyone in the dust filled cave.

“Shushan, is that you,” called the voice.

“Yes, help me,” Shushan cried.

“Are you ok,” 

Shushan recognized Doleg’s voice.

“Doleg, I’m here, please help.  It’s Pa and Hudus, they’re trapped.

Reaching her, Doleg held her, kissing her.

“I’m glad you’re alright.” Doleg said as he continued to caress her.

“I’m not alright, Doleg,” Shushan pulled away from him, “Help me, Pa and Hudus are under there,” She pointed as she bent to lift another stone.

Doleg directed his warriors to help, as he pulled Shushan back.

“Let them do it,” Doleg held on to Shushan as they watched the men dug through the mound.

 


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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