Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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

Chapter 6 (v.1) - Chapter Five

Submitted: February 21, 2017

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Submitted: February 21, 2017

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Somsett Territory (Kessel)

 

Near the Somsett Security Checkpoint, Jason parked his vehicle at the Somsett wait station. Since most vehicles could not travel on the primitive roads in the territories, it was necessary to leave one’s vehicle at wait stations located nearby, and, after entering the territories, use local transportation.  Jasen exited his vehicle, secured it, and began walking towards the Somsett security check point. Somsett was a native Kesseli village, and as with all native Kesseli towns and villages in the enforced territories, the inhabitants exercised a measure of autonomous control over their regions. Historically, most of the population of the planet were of outworld origin, and as these Akadians began to settle into various areas on the planet, there expansion began to push the natives in to regions were life was more difficult.  When the natives began to revolt against these forced migration and attacked Akadian settlers, these skirmishes developed in to a series of wars that resulted in the subjugation of the native peoples into enforced territories all over the planet

Security around the territories began to tighten severely with the rise of the Khanakhans, a native Kesseli terrorist group, that caused havoc for the government and were responsible for many assassination of government officials as well as many innocent people.  Security checkpoints dramatically reduced many terrorist acts by these, and other groups.

As Jason reached the checkpoint, he had to submit to a full body molecular scan that would check for weapons, or any substance that could be used in the production of hostile devices or products. His biometric identification was checked and he was finally allowed to passed through. Once on the other side of the security checkpoint, a number of young boys immediately rushed upon him, all speaking at once trying to seek his patronage. Jason took out several coins and holding his hand high in the air he just dropped them.  As they fell into the hands of one of the young boys all the other boys ceased their bartering and walked away. The hired boy grabbed Jason's hand to lead him to his buck transport, these were small motorbikes with attached open air carriages in which a passenger would sit and be pulled by the motorbike. The boy took out a wooden block and helped Jason step up into the carriage, then moving the block away he hopped on the motorbike and began to pull away.

After traveling for half a standard hour, Jason could see the village of Somsett in the distance.  Visually, the village was not pleasant, it was large and cluttered. No thought to planning went into its creation.  A blanket of smoke rested above the village, created by hundreds of smaller plumes exiting exhaust pipes.  As they got closer to the village, there was a makeshift checkpoint manned by two disheveled guards dressed in unmatched uniforms. Jasen wondered if they were part of an official village unit.  Once the buck stopped at the makeshift checkpoint however, he concluded that they were a couple of guys looking to make some money. Jasen's driver handed one of the men two coins and after inspecting them, they proceeded to lift the beam that blocked their way.  The two men did not bother to reset the checkpoint as they began walking towards the village.

After passing a few homes, Jasen's driver slowed down, pulling to the side of the road.  He got of his motorbike and walked back to him, the boy was speaking, but Jasen could not hear what he was saying.  As he stopped beside him, the boy asked for directions, or a destination. Jason pulled out his notes, and told the boy that he wanted to go to, Topthem Park Square.  The boy nodded like he knew where it was, and he got back on his motorbike and they headed, a little fast for village travel, in that direction.

Jasen, was prevented from enjoying the ride as the stench of the place forced him to take a rag and place it against his nose.  Some areas they passed by made the rag useless as Jasen began to cough from the foul air which did not seem to bother his driver.  Passing by people, avoiding some by some tricky driving, Jasen began to hold on to the rails as it seems they continued to speed up.  As they went deeper into the village, the buck was forced to slow down due to the sheer number of people occupying the roadway.  His driver leaned on to the motorbike's horn, alerting the crowd of his approach, and they dutifully stepped aside to allow him to pass.  Occasionally a face would lean in to his carriage to get a glimpse of the passenger.  Jasen's stress level began to rise a little, he wanted to get to his destination.  As he looked outside the carriage he could see that they were nearing a park.  He yelled to the boy, "Is this Topthem Park," then realizing that the boy probably could not hear him.  "Yes," came a voice above the roar of the engine. 

Jasen again took out his notes and yelled, "I need the south end of the park, near a pond."  "Yes, sir,” yelled the boy as he began to speed up now that the roads were clearer of pedestrians near the park's edge. The air was a little less foul as they skirted the Park's western edge.  Jasen, now started to think about Teric.  It had been many years since he last saw him, not by his choice, however.  Teric had just vanished.  But who could blame him, Jasen thought, t must have been difficult for him.  The trials, the publicity, the loss of his family's fortune and honor. It was a true tragedy.  One minute a national hero and the next minute a national disgrace.  Jasen recalled the last time he had seen Teric, he had just been acquitted, partially.  He would not be imprisoned, but damages would be set at a later date.  Teric was worn out, and as he approached him, the spark that he always admired in Teric was dead.  Teric was an unhappy and angry man.  Jasen tried to shake his hand but Teric brushed by him, surrounded by security, without even an acknowledgement of his presence.  But Jasen did not hold that against him, Teric was under a tremendous amount of pressure. 

Jasen hadn't noticed that, the buck had stopped, and his driver was by his side with a hand stretched out to help him out of the carriage.

As he got out, he surveyed the area across from the park, to a row of houses if you could call them that.  One of them, he was certain belonged to Teric.  Jasen consulted his notes as his driver stood by.  His notes informed him that there would be a row of five houses, but he only saw four.  Teric's ancestral home would be the middle of the five.  He looked towards the park. 

"This is, the southern edge of the park?" he asked the boy. 

"Yes sir,” the boy answered pointing to a pond.  "I did well?” the boy asked. 

"You did,” Jasen replied, pulling out a few more coins and placing them in the boy's hand, who began to thank him over and over again. 

"Please, wait here for me, OK?” Jasen asked. 

"I will wait for you, I’m your driver,” the boy stressed.

Jasen crossed the road, concluding that one of the end houses must have been torn down.  "But which one? he voiced to himself. 

Yells, of displeasure coming from his driver caused Jasen to turn around.  A group of young men, who had been in the park, were now surrounding the buck and harassing the driver.  Jasen crossed back towards the boy.

"Hey, leave him alone! Jasen demanded of the men.  And surprisingly they did, now turning their attention towards him.

"Who, you say,” the larger of the bunch yelled at him.  Jasen assessed him to be the leader of the bunch as the others seemed to fall in behind him, adding their voices in his direction.  Jasen, looked directly at the leader, "I'm talking to you, he's my driver." 

That, got a rise out of the others as they angrily approached Jasen.  His driver took that opportunity to get on his buck and sped away.  The leader turned toward Jasen after watching the buck head away. 

"Your buck?” he asked, followed by over exuberant laughter from his gang.  The leader now approached Jasen and taking something out of the jacket he wore, he challenged,

"You have a problem, devil.  Again, eliciting some laughter.  Jasen held his ground, but calculated that this was a no win situation for him, his mind raced for a way out.  Others in the gang began reaching for their own concealed weapons.  Jasen began to back up.  "No Trouble," he pleaded.  As the gang matched him step for step, the leader, replied, "too late, trouble here." 

As Jasen backed up, crossing the road, with the gang of men following, he reached for his own concealed weapon, as discreetly as he could.  But before he could present it, he heard approaching steps behind him.  He did not turn around, keeping his eyes on the gang.  He noticed that the eyes of many of the boys were diverted from him, to what appeared behind him.  Soon, fear broke out on some of the faces of the men as most of them began to back down and back away.  Jasen wanted to look behind him, however the leader was still approaching him.  Then a voice spoke from behind him. 

"Take one more step, and I promise you, it will be your last."  The leader stopped.  "Now,” came the voice from behind him, “take your brood and go away."  Most of the gang had already crossed the road back into the park.  The leader and the remaining ones now turned and walked away.  With relief, Jasen turned around, recognizing the voice he put away his weapon.  On seeing the man from which the voice came, he again felt unsettled, for although the voice sounded like his friend Teric, the man he saw looked nothing like him.

The man looked much older than his friend. He was bearded, dirty and disheveled.  He wasn't old but could have passed for an old man had he not had a strong and intimidating posture, especially holding a long black sword in front of him.  He was quite intimidating. 

"Teric?" Jasen inquired. 

"Jasen, what are you doing here, trying to get yourself killed," Teric asked. 

"It's what I do," Jasen answered. 

"I remember," Teric replied.  "I guess you want to come in? 

Jasen, wanting to put his rag up to his nose to filter the stench coming from Teric's open door, but choosing not to do so, so as not to offend his friend. 

"Thank You," he said as he walked up the two steps onto the porch and then into the house following Teric. 

"Find a place to sit down, Teric instructed, I'd offer you something, but I'm afraid it might make you sick. 

"No, I'm fine, Jasen said trying to locate a place to sit. 

After shutting the door, Teric began to move clothing and papers around,

"Here, sit here." 

Jasen, sat, now taking in the utterly filthy surroundings Teric was living in.  As if reading Jasen's mind,

Teric stated, "I know, I let myself go, I'm dirty, foul and possibly contaminated." 

"I hope not," Jasen objected. 

"Well, it’s a full disclosure anyway, and you’ve entered at your own risk, Teric joked. 

But Jasen wasn’t so sure.  Teric sat opposite of Jasen and it was hard for Jason to look at him, even harder not to cough. 

"So, why are you trying to commit suicide coming here and alone,” Teric asked. 

Jasen, thinking about how close he was to just that scenario, thanked Teric. 

"You rescued me, yet again,” Jasen added. 

"Well, those hooligans know who I am, and leave me alone for the most part, but each year they get a little braver and I am afraid one day, I may actually have to use, that sword.” 

"Well, I am indebted to you, Jasen said.

“No, no debts among friends ok, Teric insisted. 

“Sure,” Jasen agreed. 

Silence filled the room as each man paused to gain some composure.  Finally, Jasen, asked.  "Teric, what happened to you? Teric tried to speak, but paused trying to hold down his rising emotions. 

“Well,” he said, “I guess I just stopped caring, like everyone else.” 

"But that's not true Teric, Jasen offered, you had crowds of supporters, including myself who were behind you, but you disappeared.” 

"I guess I was too self-absorbed, to ashamed," Teric admitted. 

“But you were acquitted, you were a 10-year-old child manipulated and controlled by adults filled with hate.” 

"I know,” Teric said, “that still does not absolve me from my actions, my hands harmed innocent people even if I was a child.” 

"Only one man was harmed in that bombing and I not making light of that, but you gave away your estate, your wealth to help him and his family and that was something that the courts didn’t even require of you.  You did that, out of your own sense of sorrow and regret.”

“Yeah.” Teric sighed. 

“I’m sorry it became such a feeding frenzy in the press.”

Teric did not want to relive those awful days, but it felt so good hearing another voice that he let Jasen continue.

“I wanted to get away, that’s why I came here, not even the press would follow me here.” He smiled.

“whose place was this?” Jasen asked looking around, totally unimpressed.

“My grandfather’s, he brought me here after mom died. Of course, I was too young to remember, it took me a while to find this place.”

“You did have a lot of support, Teric, you could’ve stayed.”

“I don’t know, they saw a little blood in the water.

But, there will always be agents of hate, envious and jealous of your success, even before everything came out they were there. It might have been subtle, but they were there.

“And when everything fell apart, they were relentless.”

“I know,” Jasen acknowledged.  “When they stripped you of your rank and title, I was appalled as were many others.  When that happed, I resigned my post, as did many others in protest to what happen to you.

"I didn't know that, Teric said surprised. 

“Teric,” Jasen continued, “you have helped far more people than you have ever harmed, you risked your life to save others, including me, for which I am eternally grateful.  You have nothing to be ashamed of, you were a child manipulated by a hate group.”

Teric's posture changed, becoming more erect, as he listened to Jasen words.  Teric cleared his throat trying to force down the emotions flooding over him. 

“I guess,” he said, clearing his throat again, I guess I never really got over Rom’s death. Rom, was a stabilizing force in my life, when he died,” again Teric cleared his throat, “when he died, I felt like my life had no compass, no root any longer, I sure needed him during those troubles.”

“He was a great man” Jasen added, “Teric, you are not alone, there are many that still support you and are willing to do anything to help you, count me in among them.”

“I really appreciate that Jasen, I glad you came, thank you for your words,” Teric added, reaching out and grasping Jasen’s hand. 

“I know Rom would be proud of you.”  Jasen added as he grasped Teric’s hand. 

“Well,” Teric laughed, in my current condition, I think not.  I can see his face, he had a way of looking at me to express his disapproval, and it always got to me.  I can see that look. And I think it's time for me to make some changes,” Teric said, touching his unkempt beard.

"There is something else." Jason added. 

“OK,” Teric said, concern showing on his face, “what is it?” 

“I need your help Teric,” Jason asked, “I’ve been tasked with a mission, and I agreed to it only if I could elicit your support.” 

Teric sat back into his seat, “What's the mission.”

 “Well first, full disclosure right,” Jason smiled.  “This is an unsanctioned mission, in fact, it would be in violation of a Royal Security Council directive. If it was discovered, the AIA would disavow it.”

“So, their sending you on a mission and will not support you if somehow the mission was exposed?” Teric asked. 

“That's correct,” Jasen agreed, “it’s a very sensitive mission and could have damaging ramification for the government and the agency if discovered.  So, I wanted to get that out there first, and I understand if you decline, but as I made clear to my handlers, there is no one else I would want by my side in a mission like this but you.” 

Teric, sighed, as he stroked his beard.  “I do appreciate your confidence in me, Jasen and you do understand I'm already in a precarious situation.  To actually do something against the government, well that would certainly play into the hands of my critics.” 

“I do understand Teric,” Jasen assured him, “that’s why I wanted you to clearly understand the possible consequences.”

“Well, for the Agency to plan a mission in direct violation of a government order, they must have some imperative need for it, some national security issue?  Teric asked.

“Yes, your correct.” Jasen agreed. 

Jasen pulled out a small device from his pocket.  Teric could see it was a holographic base unit, he moved a table in front of Jasen so he could sit the unit on the table. 

"So,” Jasen began, “it is a mission that will consist of four assets, you, me and two others, who are being recruited.  We will take shuttle and land on the planet Knome, in a specific area.  One of our agents on Knome, we believe, was killed for the information he transmitted off the planet.  One of our COM Station near the planet was destroyed. This may have happened because of this transmission,” Jasen started the visual by touching a button on the base device.  He continued, “this is the transmission taken by our agent on Knome, he was tasked to discover what was happening in some restricted regions that began appearing all over the planet in the last year or so.  What he found and saw a need to transmit was this craft.  And obviously, someone did not want what he found to be discovered.The transmission was heavily adulterated with a jamming pattern which was filtered out.  The transmission reached the Ankara our Com station and shortly after they relayed the transmission, their live beacon ceased.  So, something is happening on Knome, and we need to find out what the Knomen’s are killing to protect.  We know that the craft captured in that transmission is beyond the capabilities of the Knomen’s to build. Some feel that it is of Myan origin, which I don't have to tell you, if true, that would have dire consequences to our national security posture.” 

Teric took the base unit examining the holograph.

“The tricky thing about this,” Jasen continued, “is that Tannis is in the midst of Ingression talks with the Knomen Republic.”

“Really,” Teric asked surprised.

 “Yes, however, the talks broke down about a year ago after one of our agents was caught stealing documents from one of their department ministries.  Thus the Royal Security Directive.

“If it turns out to be a Myan vessel, what then?” Teric asked. 

“Well the agency has always been uneasy about the Myan government's increasing trade relation with Knome,” Jasen said. “The Nova negotiated trade agreement between, us, the Knomens and the Myan government, restricted any kind of military exchange.  We were allowed to inspect any Myan vessel bound for Knome.  However, our inspection scheme was inadequate from the start and with the increase in trade between Knome and Mya, we just could not keep pace, I was told that one tenth of Myan vessels received spot inspections.

“I would say that’s inadequate.” Teric volunteered.

Now if this ship is of Myan origin, it would be a violation of that agreement.  And if Knome and the Myan government are violating that agreement, what else may be going on there.  So, our task is to infiltrate that area where the ship was discovered and to bring back conclusive proof one way or the other.”

Teric, sat up in his chair, smiled at Jasen.  Well, I better get cleaned up.  Jasen took Teric's hand shaking it with relief.

 

Canton Spaceport (Kessesl)

 

It was a day like no other. Canton Spaceport was overflowing with and understaffed for the masses of people that filled every available space with in it. There were long lines for every service manned by frazzled and abused personnel.  Canton was normally a very busy port, but with the sudden influx of thousands of Knome citizens seeking passage to their home world Canton was nearing the breaking point.With all the delays, readjustments of flight and general confusion, it was surprising how patient and yielding the Knomen patrons have been.  It was the Akadian citizens who were heaping abuse on the staff, each other and the Knomen masses that caused most of the commotion at the port.

In a hidden area of Canton, unknown to most of its occupants, the Princess Anya Yemen, her personal secretary May Yamay, the Knomen Ambassador Thames Horak and his envoy Yutiro Gosum along with several security guards, rode a Canton provided Transport through the sparsely populated VIP halls to a special hangar where Anya’s personal Barge was docked.  This whole day for her was a nightmare and it just wouldn’t end. She kept glancing behind hoping for something but not knowing what. She understood where she was going and she knew what she was leaving or who she was leaving and she could not stop it.  Again, she strained, looking behind. Ambassador Horak was now becoming a little irritated, “What is it? Did you leave something behind?”

Anya wanted to say yes, but she said nothing, she was so angry at the people controlling her life. Again, the Ambassador asked, “Child, what is it?  Ambassador Horak did not treat Anya like royalty to him she was like a daughter.  He was a close friend of Yuri and served under him during the war.  He was specifically appointed to his position by Yuri when he decided to send her to Akadia for her education.  Horak had watched Anya grow up from a child to a woman. There were no formalities between them. Anya ignored him as she turned looking behind hoping to see Wilhelm coming for her.  But she knew he wasn’t coming she ended their relationship. Had she really ended her relationship with Wilhelm, she thought.  Leaving Akadia seemed so final.  And the way she was departing, in a rush, with no explanation, something wasn’t right, it all felt ominous to her.  She turned again, she could not help it.  But with every glance behind, her heart sank with disappointment.

As the transport arrived at their terminal Anya froze, everyone departed the transport except her, she could not move, she did not want to move. “Anya,” the Ambassador called, “we are not without a schedule to keep, he demanded, not hiding his irritation, “Come!”  She rose at his command and was assisted by her guards as she departed the transport. Workers were busy unloading cargo and luggage from the transport and loading them in Anya’s person shuttle barge she had named Setcha, after her pet cumma, whom she had raised during her early years at home.  She loved her barge, but at the moment she hated it, because it was going to take her home for good.  Anya lagged behind the group, except her security detail whom maintained her pace.  “My dear,” the Ambassador uttered clearly irritated, “Please!”

Anya paused, not to spite the Ambassador, but for some commotion down the hall.  She strained to see, moving from side to side, ignoring oncoming people who seemed to slow upon noticing who she was.  Her rising hopes were dashed as the disturbance had nothing to do with Wilhelm.  She turned towards the Ambassador’s call and followed him towards the shuttle.  Anya's heart was breaking, Wilhelm occupied her every thought at the moment.  She admitted to herself that she was too far gone, and she wanted to undo what she had just done to him.  Her eyes began to fill with tears as she recalled his pain at her words.  She considered defying her father's order, if for just a few hours, so that she could find Wilhelm, embrace him and assure him of her love.

Yutiro took Anya's hand, pausing as he noticed the tears in her eyes.  He wanted to say something, to comfort her, "This way, my lady, was all he said.  Anya followed Yutiro on to a ramp that led to the shuttle.  Anya could see May, at the shuttle's entrance, and she almost ran to her, putting her head on her shoulders.

"Oh, my lady, I am so sorry, May said, embracing Anya.  As the Ambassador looked on puzzled by the display.  “Anya,” he called interrupting the comfort she was seeking.  “I promised your father that I would personally see to your shuttle.  Having done that, I will take my leave, I have a number of tasks to complete here, before I join you back home.  I know this is all very upsetting to you, I can see that.  But you will see, it is for the best.”  He leaned towards Anya, kissing her on the cheek.  “Yutiro,” he now addressed his envoy, “You see to it that she wants for nothing, take care of her.”  “Yes, sir, I will,” Yutiro answered with determination.  The Ambassador departed down the ramp, “May,” he called.

May ignored the Ambassador’s call and led Anya inside the shuttle, taking her to one of the private quarters.

"Oh May, what am I going to do, I love him, I can't lose him, Anya pleaded.

"What can I do My Lady, she asked, wiping the tears from Anya's cheek.

"I don't know, Anya admitted.  "Stay with me."

"Oh, my Lady, I wish I could, I'm not coming with you. I am staying to complete your affairs, May confessed.

“You’re not coming,” Anya asked.

“No, not with you, I’m sorry. I wish I could do something, I do, but...  May paused.

Anya perked up as a thought came to her. "May, there is something, you can do,” Anya said excited with a new hope.

"Anything, my lady, May said, happy, in Anya's excitement.

"Would you deliver a letter for me, A letter to Wilhelm, for me, please,” Anya asked.

May was hesitant, it was possible for Anya to navigate among royal circles, but how would it be possible for her.  Still the look in Anya's face, the hope she sensed in her and the happiness that followed, was overwhelming to her, she did not want to discourage her.

"Yes, My Lady, I'll do whatever you want,” she said, yet wondering, if she could really make it happen.

Anya, opened one of her cases that were already in the room, she searched through it, finding a piece of paper and a writing instrument, she sat down at a small desk and began to write.

May watched Anya, as she wrote, pausing from time to time, mouthing words she would then write down.  May had never seen Anya in such a state, she was afraid for her emotional health.  She loved Anya as best a servant could.  May had watched Anya grow up in Akadia, she witnessed the change in her.  She also suspected that she and Wilhelm were secretly seeing each other, and she had actually warned Anya.  She also knew that Anya was really in love with Wilhelm, and she felt sad for them both.

Anya finished her note, inserting it in an envelope that she also found.  She sealed the envelope and gave it to May.

"Please, May, see that he gets it,” Anya begged.

"I will, my lady, I promise,” May replied wondering if she should have added that last bit.

Yutiro, entered the doorway, "May, we will be leaving soon, and the Ambassador will soon short circuit, you should depart.

May, rose, putting Anya's letter in her pocket.

"Please deliver it May and thank you,” Anya gave her one final embrace and then May followed Yutiro out of the room.


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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