Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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

Chapter 33 (v.1) - Chapter Thirty-Two

Submitted: March 31, 2017

Reads: 121

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Submitted: March 31, 2017

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Fort Thaingor (Knome)

 

Thousands of Knome’s Caverns were interconnected by passageways and bypasses. Some of these passageways were naturally made, but most of them were manmade, constructed during the period of Akadian occupation.  These cylindrical passageways allowed interconnection and communication between most of Knome’s cities and villages.  The Kata Minn reached Fort Thaingor by means of one of those passageways. The Kata Minn landed in the midst of a dozen or more medium class transport ships, dwarfed by the massive cavernous docking bay of Fort Thaingor. The ground crew were busy locking down the landing gear as the shuttle ramp opened.  The passengers of the Kata Minn descended the ramp led by Prince Yuri Yemen.  At the base of the shuttle an entourage of Fort Thaingor officers waited and greeted each arrival as they stepped off the shuttle’s ramp.

“My Lord Prince Yuri, I am Raig Jorjen, the base commander, Welcome,” Raig took Yuri’s hand shaking it vigorously.

“Pleased,” Yuri replied. He turned toward Mura, pulling her forward. “My wife, Mura.”

“Madam,” Raig took and shook her hand as vigorously as he did Yuri’s.  “Please, this way.  Raig personally began to lead and direct the Yemens, allowing his subordinates to greet the rest of the Kata Minn’s passengers.

Yuri had toured the base on previous occasions while it was still under construction, but, he had not seen it fully staffed, equipped and operational. He couldn’t stop gazing around in amazement.  All of the Kata Minn’s passengers were in awe of the massive base, except for the Myan Ambassador.  Etian departed the shuttle and, bypassing the welcoming committee, he quickly met up with the base commander and the Yemens. He greeted the base commander, exchanging a few words and began to walk alongside the Yemens.

Yuri was pleased with everything he saw, he was excited about the prospect of the base, its operation and all the fighter crafts he observed in their hangar bays being operated, by Knomens.  Still, he felt a small twinge of discomfort in the back of his mind as he looked over the large contingent of several thousand Myan troops assembling at the base’s large main landing bay. He dismissed the thought. 

All Knomen officials and Myan officers gathered toward the main landing bay on a makeshift reception stand.  Thousands of troops were formed into two columns with a broad pathway between them, leading toward the reception stand. 

----

From the maintenance deck high above the assembled group, Teric, Jason and Kore, passed the Mag Viewers between themselves observing the gathering below.

“I see Prince Yuri,” Jason informed, “He has a large following accompanying him, I suspect there all members of the government.”

“Well that confirms it, as if we needed any further proof,” Kore replied.

“Yes, but something big is about to happen,” Teric added, “They’re assembling on that platform and Yuri does not appear to be the guest of honor.”

“Who are they waiting for,” Jason asked, lowering the Mag viewers, knowing that Teric and Kore could not possibly know the answer.

The gate began to grind open. Teric, Jason and Kore, cowered instinctively.

“I guess we are going to find out,” Kore added.

 

KSS Satcha (Knome)

 

Something was clearly wrong. Korah sensed it from the moment she walked into Anya’s apartment.  Anya was unusually content, and although it wasn’t apparent in her demeaner, nor in her facial expression, Korah knew her sister.  Anya had been depressed to the point of ending her own life and now, her bliss was blaringly discernable behind her expressionless face, at least it was discernable, for Korah.  Anya’s mood shift had something to do with the Talian Priest who clung closely by her side.  Korah watched them closely and suspiciously for something out of place, something, that would expose Anya's sudden religious conversion as a fraud.

Anya and Wilhelm sat harnessed in the Satcha's passenger compartment across from Korah, who watched them with a scowl on her face.  While in her apartment, Anya and Wilhelm had come up with a plan, while Anya changed her clothing.  They had decided to take the Satcha off world and travel as far as they could, while contacting Akadia for assistance.  But first they had to find a way to dump Korah and her four Palace guards.  As the Satcha traveled down the Heborn Passageway toward Fort Thaingor, Anya wrestled with how and when to execute their plan.  However, the Palace guards presence presented an unsurmountable problem toward implementing their plan. 

Korah released her harness and rose from her seat and walked over to where Anya and the Priest were sitting.

“So, are you converting,” Korah asked.

Anya glared at her sister for a moment before answering, knowing Korah had no concern whatsoever in her interests.

“I am considering it,” Anya replied.

“I’ve never known you to be religious,” Korah stated with a scoff.

“Well, you have one thing right, you’ve never known me,” 

Korah seethe, realizing that she wasn’t going to get anything out of her sister, they simply knew each other too well. Korah stepped away, she knew Anya was up to something and she wanted to expose it. She wondered if the Priest was an imposter, and she tried to recall what she knew of the Talian religion. She turned back and stood before the Priest.

“Would you bless me,” Korah asked, while her eyes remained on Anya.

Wilhelm pressed the release button on his harness and started to rise, but he halted when Anya put a hand on his knee to prevent him from standing.

“No?” Korah asked in response to Anya’s action. “Are your blessings exclusive to my sister.”

Wilhelm rose, despite Anya's efforts to prevent him from doing so.  He stepped toward Korah and touched his own forehead three times, and then, he touched Korah’s forehead three times, returning to his seat after completing the blessing, closely watching Korah’s guards.  He was relieved that they made no move toward him.

Anya smiled as Wilhelm sat down, knowing how infuriated her sister must be at the moment. And Korah was indeed upset.  She knew something wasn’t right and she was determined that her sister was not going to win. What she wanted to do was to unmask the priest.  If he was genuine she would know it almost immediately.  She would ask him to open his mouth and if his tongue was not present, then she would apologize for the violation.  But, if he was an imposter, then, Anya would lose. Korah walked away again trying to think of another tactic, and then, she stopped.

“Talians believe in healings. Their priests perform the healing ritual, I’ve seen it,” Korah said, smiling when she noticed Anya’s fallen countenance.  “Would you perform the healing ritual on me? I’ve seen it done before.”

Anya’s mind was racing, seeking a diversion.  She turned toward Wilhelm practically seeing his worried expression through his hood, as if he was asking, ‘what now. 

 

Fort Thaingor (Knome)

 

As the base's surface gate expanded completely, four one-man snub fighters descended one after another to the landing surface below.  The small light fighters, landed apart from each other at the corners of a square formation.  Closely following the fighters, a large executive shuttle, began to descend, barely clearing the gate as it lowered and landed within the space of the four snub fighters. Ground crewman quickly rushed to the shuttle securing its landing gear and then just as quickly rushed away before the shuttle's engines wound down.  The docking bay was eerily silent as the shuttle’s ramp lowered, breaking the silence as it descended to the ground.  The anticipation in the base was palpable as one and all waited for the emergence of the shuttle’s important occupants.

Kore watched intently through the mag viewers from the gate's maintenance deck, delivering commentary to Jasen and Teric of everything that transpired.  Every one of the black ships that arrived at Fort Thaingor, were closely scrutinized by Kore. He had noticed some similarities between the design of these new ships and that of the Myan ships that he was familiar with, but, he was puzzled by the style of the craft that he had been observing. The vessels were definitely of Myan origin, but they were more advanced than anything he had ever seen before. Particularly the snub fighters, they were super small and light built for speed and aerial combat.  He recalled his days in the Myan Engineering Corp, hearing talk of a super fighter labeled as, knat fighters, he wondered if he was looking at the result of those early brain storming sessions.  It didn't escape his notice that all the ships, officers and soldier’s uniforms were black, which would have given them stealth advantage against the blackness of space or in the night. The more he observed and discovered through his examinations, the more fearful he felt. Something dreadful was coming, he felt it deep within his bones. As Kore continued observing the opening of the shuttle, two rows of black-clad, heavily armed special forces soldiers, emerge from within the shuttle.  They descended in tight formation down the ramp and filed out onto the deck into two rows, facing each other, with a space the width of the ramp between them.

“Shock Troops,” Kore said as he turned toward Jasen and Teric.  “They're from the Emperor’s personal army. They are the elite of the elite.”  Kore turned back to observing the shuttle.

In a single file, various military officers began to descend down the ramp and began to assemble behind the two rows of shock troops. Kore was able to identify the rank of the officers from their insignia as they descended the ramp, but he could not identify any of the officers themselves. Soon there were several rows of officers standing behind each row of shock troops and the procession of officers ceased.  The base was still silent except for the clank of boots against the ramp as the shuttle’s occupants emerged and descended the ramp.  Next, two lightly armed, tall sinewy guards emerged from the shuttle standing, side by side.  Decked in an open sided black cloak, their thin muscled arms were clearly seen as well as the long sword at their side. In unison they began to descend the ramp.

“Kausacks,” Kore uttered in shock as he lowered the mag viewers. 

“Who?” Jasen asked.

Kore paused for a moment, trying to calm himself.  “Kausia, was the only inner-core world that the Myans were unable to conquer.  The Kausacks are very fierce warriors. They prolonged that war for decades,” Kore looked again through the mag viewer just to confirm that they were indeed Kausacks.  “There were rumors just before I defected that the Kausian war had ended in stalemate and that an armistice was signed.”  Jasen held out his hand for the mag viewers.  Kore handed them over in time for Jasen to observe the Kausacks taking their position, not behind the shock troops as the other Myan officers had done, but they positioned themselves at the head of the rows, in front of the shock troops. "By the time I defected," Kore continued, "more than a million men had died on both sides in that war."  Kore put his head down, "This is getting worse and worse," he mumbled.

Jasen changed the target of his observation from the Kausack guards to the mouth of the shuttle, just in time to observe the next person to emerge from the shuttle. Standing at the top of the ramp heavily decorated in medals and Imperial garb, stood a single individual clearly disposed as a man with authority. He was tall and muscular, older with a trimmed beard. He stood atop of the ramp observing the spectacle under his command.  Every soldier in the base snapped to attention at his appearance.  Even those on the reception stand stood for the man.

Kore snapped his fingers at Jasen for the mag viewers.  After receiving them he focused on the man at the top of the ramp.  He recognized the man, The Grand Duke Simon Sa'Dat. 

“It’s the Grand Duke,” Kore stated.  He passed around the mag viewers so that the others could have a look.  Kore had never met the Grand Duke, but he knew of him.  "Only the Emperor's fifteen sons carried the title Grand Duke," Kore explained, “But Simon Sa'Dat was not one of the Emperor's sons.  It was a very big deal.  He just appeared one day within the Imperial court.  If the rumors are true, it was he, that negotiated the end of the Kausian war.  He also managed other conflicts successfully for the Emperor."

"And you don't know where he came from," Teric asked.

"No," Kore replied. "When he was given the title, it caused some jealousy among the Emperor's sons.  The eldest son, tried to have Simon assassinated.  The plot was discovered and the Emperor had many in his own court executed, including his eldest son. It was quite an ordeal."

As the Grand Duke began to descend the ramp another presence emerged from the shuttle to the top of the ramp behind the grand duke.

Kore had the mag viewers and as he observed the man behind the Grand Duke something about the man struck him. The man was tall, taller than the Duke and clearly more solid, more muscular than the Duke.  The man was decked out in a black skin layered body suit. And wrapped around him was a fitted black cloak with a thin red belt and a strip of red, lining the tail edge of the cloak.  He was hooded and wore a thin meshed mask. As Kore focused on the man, there was something familiar about him but he could not identify it.

“Who is that,” Jasen asked, his hand held out for the mag viewer.

Kore turned, “I don’t know, but there’s something about him that I can’t identify…” Kore stopped talking as he held out the viewers for Jasen.  Kore was staring at Teric, his forehead wrinkled exposing his confusion.

“What is it,” Jasen asked lowering the mag viewers after noticing Kore’s expression.

“Have a look,” Kore told him.

Jasen focused the viewer on the man walking behind the Grand Duke and he too was struck with by what he saw, but Jasen immediately knew what it was.

“Teric, you have to take a look,” Jasen advised as he handed the viewers to Teric.  Jasen and Kore shared a puzzled glance and watched Teric as he focused on the man.

Teric observed the man as he reached the floor behind the Grand Duke and he immediately lost his breath.  Teric lowered the mag viewers.  His thoughts were pounding his brain for answers, for something to explain what he was observing.

“Teric, what’s going on,” Jasen asked, still puzzled himself.

Teric was speechless still trying to resolve the anomaly in his own mind.

“This man is wearing the same garb as you,” Kore asked wanting to understand.

“Its impossible,” was all Teric could say.

“I’d agree with you, but there it is,” Jasen replied gesturing toward the surface.

“The Mesic attire is native to Kessel, how would a Myan even know about it,” Teric mused.

“Could it be a coincidence,” Kore offered.

“No, it’s not a coincidence, he’s definitely clothed as a Mesic assassin.  What I am wearing is just the under layer, but he has the whole attire, the full regalia, I’ve never seen it myself except in pictures. Of course, it's outlawed in Akadia."

"But how does he come to have it," Jasen asked.

"I don't know," Teric replied, putting his hand to his forehead, rubbing it, as he wrestled to understand.

“He sure is sticking close to the Duke,” Kore added while observing him through the viewers.

“He’s standing in his shadow," Teric replied, "Its a Mesic practice, he must be the Duke’s personal guard.”

“Well, what do we do now?” Jasen asked.

The question pulled Teric out of his ruminations. He was extremely curious and, it was a mystery he intended, to resolve.

“We proceed with the plan,” Teric replied.

“We need to find a way in,” Kore asked still nursing doubts, especially after observing the spectacle on the landing deck.

Teric paused as he surveyed their surroundings. 

“Follow me," Teric said as he rose. Jasen and kore rose also and began to follow Teric.


Yuri followed Etian and the base commander down the steps of the reception stand to the deck floor.  The three men walked abreast toward the rows of men who stood at attention as the Grand Duke descended the ramp.  The Duke and his Guard reached Yuri, the ambassador and the base commander, greeting each of them.

“It is a pleasure to finally meet you my lord,” Yuri uttered as he bowed slightly.

“I am likewise pleased,” Simon replied as he too bowed slightly.

“My lord, if you would follow, we have a conference room prepared,” Etian offered.

“Lead the way,” Simon replied.

Yuri turned to follow the ambassador as he walked next to the Grand Duke, who was followed by his Guard.  The Kausacks took position behind the Duke’s guard and the shock troops took positions behind the Kausacks, followed by the remainder of the shuttle’s occupants.

 


KSS Satcha (Knome)

 


WHERE IS YOUR PAIN.

After writing those words on his pad, Wilhelm watched Korah's face before revealing the message to her.  He wondered about her pain, a pain that would cause her to detest her sister so much. Wilhelm noted that Korah was a beautiful woman, outwardly.  She could have anything she wanted as the daughter of the Knomen ruler.  Was it just jealousy, he wondered.  He watched Korah face fall with impatience.  He turned over his pad and handed it to her.

Korah read the pad and smirked, gazing at the priest, knowing his eyes were scrutinizing her. She handed the pad back to the Priest without a word rolling her eyes as she did. Anya watched her sister nervously, wanting this interrogation to end.  She considered insisting that Korah back off, but she didn't want to fuel her curiosity and determination any further. Anya tried to read the pad as Korah returned it to Wilhelm but was unable. Wilhelm erased the words off of the pad, and then he looked up, waiting for Korah’s answer.

“Does it matter?” Korah contemptuously asked, “Just say the word, and it shall be healed,” she feigned sincerity.

"This is not a game, Korah," Anya glared, annoyed with her sister's meddling.

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to make light of your deeply held religious beliefs."

"Yes, you do, that is clearly your intentions," Anya accused.

The tapping of Wilhelm's writing interrupted the two sisters who began to look on silently as he wrote.  Wilhelm held up the pad for Korah to read. 

YOU ARE NOT A BELIEVER.

“Good one,” Korah replied. She stared angrily at her sister for quite some time. Without coming out and directly accusing her sister of perpetrating a fraud, Korah was at a loss as to what tactic to try. Wilhelm, erased the words from the pad and rested it upon his lap.  Korah turned away from her sister and her sister's Priest and walked towards the front of the ship, entering bridge.

Anya and Wilhelm both, let out a deep breath in relief after Korah had gone away.  But they were still unable to converse freely with the Palace Guards seated around them. 

“What are we going to do?” Anya whispered leaning in Wilhelm’s direction. Wilhelm wanted to speak, he had more he wanted to say than could be written on his pad.  He leaned as far as he could towards Anya.

“There’s not much we can do at the moment,” he whispered, “Maybe we will have a chance once the shuttle has landed.”

“I don’t think we will get that chance if this ship lands, we are heading to a military base,” Anya pleaded her voice rising slightly with her stress level.

Korah had quietly stepped back into the passenger compartment.  She watched her sister and the Priest leaning in towards each other as if they were in quiet conversation with each other. She observed the Priest and the small movements of his head and she, felt vindicated. 

Korah smiled, satisfied, and she quietly turned around and walked back on to the bridge.


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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