Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 9 (v.1) - Chapter Eight

Submitted: February 22, 2017

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Submitted: February 22, 2017

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Corbellis (UKA airspace)

 

Prince Wilhelm was cold and miserable, but he knew, that after nearly being discovered, he had to delay initiating the shuttle’s life support systems until the Corbellis was under way.  That meant that he had to suffer.  He was able to locate an oxygen mask and had begun to use it. He was also able to locate food and water.  He had obtained materials to enact his plan to create a self-induced state of unconsciousness to help him survive the jump into light speed. However, such plans did not ease his mind, he wondered if he had gotten himself into a life or death incident, and he had debated, whether it would be better to expose himself, and be arrested as a stow away, at least, he would not be at risk to the effects of the warp into light-speed.  Wilhelm exhausted from his ordeal, soon fell asleep.

In their assigned room, Teric, Jasen, Khewin and Kore had been conversing about their backgrounds, to become more familiar with one another.  Khewin enamored with Teric, wanted to hear more about the Cappian Incident.

“What actually happened on Cappia, I know what the official report said, but you two, were actually involved.” Khewin asked.  

Cappia was the only inhabitable planet in the Aura Star System that was not part of the Akadian Government.  It had refused to join the union when offered.  The largest Government on Cappia and the most advanced on the planet, Hisland, had allied itself with the Akadian Government, while the remaining governments of Cappia, banded together as the Confederate Cappian States and had allied itself with the Myan Empire.

There were many border skirmishes between Hisland and the CCS, but none more serious than when CCS troops penetrated the Hisland border near Ryland and overran the garrison of Akadian troops there, killing over twenty soldiers and capturing eighteen more.  They crossed back into CCS territory with the captured Akadian troops and threatened to kill all the soldiers if Akadia did not agree and begin removing all Akadian troops and installations from the planet.

“Well, those reports are mostly true,” Jasen replied.  

“Yes, but,” Khewin interrupted, “they don’t explain how you got involved,” Khewin gestured towards Jasen, “and of course official reports are vague on your role Teric, had it not been for eyewitness accounts we would not have even known how pivotal your involvement was.”

Jasen looked at Teric as though to ask if he wanted to speak, Teric did not offer, so Jasen continued.

“Well I was brought on board through the AIA,” Jasen paused.  “This is all classified, but I would say that, everyone here has clearance.  Well, a rescue mission was being planned, but we didn’t know where our men were.  We wanted to setup negotiations, but Cappian officials claimed that a non-government faction was responsible for the raid.  We didn’t believe that, but, we setup a negotiation team to check on the welfare of our soldiers and to negotiate with this faction. I was the lead on that team.  In reality we wanted to tag all of our men for the rescue that was being planned.”

A loud beep interrupted Jasen’s tale as an overhead clock began a countdown.  

“Where was I?” Jasen asked after the beeping stopped.

“the rescue,” Khewin replied, sitting on the edge of his seat.

“Yes, well, there were three of us. And let me just say that at this time Hisland was amassing troops along the border as were the Cappians, so it was getting very serious.  We were preparing to assist the Hislands and we had received reports that Myan supply ships were in route so the timing became critical.  Anyway, we got permission to review the condition of our captured men and to start negotiations for their release.  We crossed the border under Cappian escort and about four or five miles inward, we came upon an abandoned military base where are men were being held.  The next day we were allowed to see them.  We were told one of the captured men had died but, we had heard from the other troops, that he was tortured and killed.  As we visited each man, we tagged them with an invisible strip, which emitted a signal, so that the rescue team would be able to account for every man.  However, while trying to tag one man, whom we discovered had also been tortured, the man went nuts and refused to be tagged and he caused such an incident that my colleague was exposed and it went downhill from there.  He was shot as was my other colleague, they took me and.”  Jasen paused.

“They tortured him,” Teric added.
After comporting himself, Jasen continued.  “So, it was bad.  They stripped all of us of every stich of clothing and we were moved deeper into the Ebbiba forest. So, the rescuse mission was scrapped, and we were closer to war on Cappia, than at any other time.  We were also receiving warnings from the Myan government against further escalation.  Nova, stepped in to negotiate the whole situation.  However, Tannis was prepared to act before those Myan supply ships reached the quadrant. " Jasen paused again. "Teric, do you want to take over?”

“OK," Teric sighed. "Well, Jasen had informed me of this mission he was going on.  And I heard about the botched mission, and I went to the AIA and offered to help. They weren’t enthusiastic about the offer.  I needed to get to Cappia, but there was a suspension of travel to and from Cappia at the time, but, I managed to board a military cargo ship to Cappia near the area of breach, and, got our guys out.”

“Don’t be so modest,” Jasen interrupted.  “He crossed the boarder and found where we were being held, and,” Jasen stopped, looking at Teric, waiting for him to take over. “Come on, Teric,” Jasen added.

“Alright," Teric continued. "I, located the hostages and waited for darkness, slipped through the defenses and spoke with a couple of the men, who like Jasen said were all naked.  In the night, I began to drop the hostage takers one by one.  The weapons I retrieved I gave to the men.  We planned a break of dawn raid.  I think I managed to get eleven guns. Just before dawn I took out the leader and managed to get to Jasen, he was unconscious.  But at the break of dawn the fireworks started, they were in shock and they began shooting each other.  We commandeered a transport and got everyone on board and raced for the boarder.”

“That's unbelievable!” Khewin added.  “But there were rumors, that, you, were like a shadow, some, thought, that, they were dreaming.  And, ah, I heard that you were throwing bolts of lasers or something like that.”

“Rumors,” Jasen added.

“Sure, but usually, there is always some element of truth, that, spawned the rumor?” Khewin asked.

“Well, I saw nothing and knew nothing until I woke up in a Hisland hospital.” Jasen added, rescuing his friend from addressing more rumors.

“What, I am curious about,” Koreleon spoke up. “Is that, I heard, that you came into possession of a sword, a sword that had long ago belonged to Aniij Hymid-Sanj.”

“Who?” Khewin asked.

“Ancient history,” Kore replied.  “He was a Numydian, the Last of the Guardians of KyDune.  It is believed that he crashed on Cappia while escaping the purge.”

“Never heard of him,” Khewin added.
“I don’t doubt that,” Kore replied annoyed by Khewin’s interruption and appalled by his lack of historical knowledge and curiosity.

The room fell silent for a moment as everyone’s attention turned towards Teric, who said nothing.

Flashing lights and sirens broke the silence.  The alert being broadcasted throughout the public compartment of the Corbellis signaled the call for all to retire to their assigned SAC units.

Teric was the first to stand followed by the rest as they walked to their respective SAC units inside their room.  

The units were like torpedo tubes, which had to be entered feet first.  Once inside, the door would close and seal.  A mouth piece had to be inserted and an audio selection would begin, if it had been chosen ahead of time.  The surrounding foam would begin to inflate until the body was tightly secured, but by this time however, the occupant would have already entered the suspended state.

The loud blast, woke Wilhelm, and he nearly fell to the floor. He shook off the remnants of his sleep, and began to recall his situation.  He immediately initiated the shuttle’s life support systems and began to prepare his contraption. After it was ready he picked up the pill bottle and a container of water.  The pills were called Conicol, it was a drug that put a person to sleep or in a sub-coma state, for the purpose of performing a surgical procedure.  Wilhelm was confident it would work, but he didn’t know how many of the pills he should take.  Since it would take some time for the Corbellis to reach warp speed, just before the jump, he debated regarding when he should take the pills, since he didn’t know how long it would take for the drug to work.  He could feel the deep rumble of the Corbellis’ massive drive engines.  So he took three pills, swallowed them with water, and sat in the co-pilots chair and began to tie himself down, and then, he went limp.

 

Tannis (Kessel)

Akadian Intelligence Agency

 

Kenton Msedi’s request for a review with Director Timson had been granted.  Reaching the Director’s office, he was allowed in by the security officer stationed outside the door.  

“Kenton, please sit down.” Jak offered as he gestured towards an empty chair in front of his desk.

“Thank you, sir.”

“How are things?”

“Good and underway sir.”

“That is good to hear. Keep me up to date, as soon as any information is received.”

“I will sir. And sir, I wanted to brief you on the current situation with Prince Wilhelm.”

“He hasn’t been found?”

“No sir, the investigation is being handled by the guard, and we have had two or three request for information.”

“Speak to the Director’s Office and offer our support.”

“That offer has been made, no acceptance at this moment.”

“Good, keep me posted.”

“Will do, and sir if I may?”

“Yes.”

“A friend of Prince Wilhelm’s, named Blaze Marcoon, who is Senator Marcoon’s son, he helped Wilhelm escape his escorts by switching clothing with him.  This Blaze reports that Wilhelm had disguised himself to try to visit the Lady Anya Yemen of Knome.  I believe they had some sort of a relationship.  The Lady Anya’s shuttle had departed for the Corbellis some time ago.”

“Do you suspect he may have a boarded the Lady Anya’s shuttle?” Jak asked.

“I don’t know, but it is within the window of possibilities.”

“OK,” Jak stood and began pacing the floor.  “Let’s open a vein on this ourselves and setup a channel with the guard. Let’s request a full surveillance sweep.”  

“Yes, sir.” Kenton replied, taking notes.

“I want someone else to lead on this, I want you to stay focused on this Knomen thing.”

“Do you have someone in mind?”

“No, you make the assignment.  This is the last thing the King needs at this time.”

“Do you think the senate will have the numbers?” 

Jak stopped pacing, he sat down and for a moment considered Kenton’s question very deeply.  

“I could say no, today and currently that is true, but all it takes is a spark and we have defused a few of them, that’s why we have to get this thing right on Knome.  And, if rumors are correct about Prince Wilhelm and Lady Anya, that may indeed be the spark.”

“I just can’t believe that it’ll happen.” 

“It may not, but we have to consider the very real possibility that it could. This is the closest the opposition in the senate has ever been.  But their nearing the deadline also.”

“The House of Palatia is doing everything they can to make it happen, behind the curtain of course.”

“Well, we can’t get involved in these political intrigues, we have work to do.”

Kenton rose to his feet.  “I will keep up updated until I find a lead.”

“Very good,” Jak said as he picked up a document and began to read.


 

Anuvus Hyperspace Route

 

The Massive engines of the Corbellis were twice as large in weight and size as the transport section of the ship.  The engines were in a deep and sustained hum, preparing for a stage one burst the would exponentially increase the Corbellis’ already lightning speed.  After reaching stage seven, the Corbellis would reach the edges of sub-light, and would warp into hyperspace, like hitting a barrier and pushing through.  There, the seemingly nonresistance of hyperspace and the increasing speed of the Corbellis, would imprison the ship into an endless voyage with unknown consequences.  In hyperspace, the energy needs of the Corbellis decreased to ten percent of that needed to warp in.  The Corbellis actually gained speed in hyperspace and required the use of damper drives that would generate hundreds or thousands of periodic bursts, slowing the Corbellis down to, and maintaining, cruising speed.  When nearing its destination, the main engines would again engage, and begin preparations for the warp out of hyperspace, which was different than the warp in.  Warping into hyperspace, the Corbellis was going from resistance to nearly no resistance, warping out was exactly the opposite as the Corbellis, going from nearly no resistance, would face a wall of resistance.  This is where most of the energy needs of the Corbellis was used and it was the most dangerous part of the journey.  It was the warp out, that caused the most damage to the human frame, if not well protected.

Most of the crew like the passengers made use of the SAC, as they warped in and out of hyperspace.  However, a few crewmen mostly navigators would awake while in hyperspace to continue to monitor and maintain routes.  Once those duties were performed, they would return to their SACs for the warp out.  There have been many disasters in hyperspace travel.  The number of ships lost have been too numerous to recount.  Warp out crashes are always complete disasters.  Only one Tug has ever been lost.  The Synthia, was lost on a warp out.  The disaster was blamed on the miscalculation of the navigation system.  The Synthia did not have enough speed as it hit the wall of resistance.  The ship began to break apart in pieces as the crash, slowed the ship down even more, causing it to burn and explode.  Not one of the more than six thousand souls survived.  It was that disaster that caused, the hyperspace wake up, of the ships navigators, to basically verify the systems before the warp out.  Another major disaster involved the Kitwe, a Morgus Corporation built ship, sold to NOVA.  While in hyperspace, the damper system on the Kitwe malfunctioned, and the ship could not moderate its speed.  It is believed that the ship traveled deep into the Waste, before running out of fuel. Months later, garbled communications, was received from the ship, but nothing afterward.

As the Corbellis’ engines pushed the ship through the nearly nonresistance of hyperspace, it had reached its top speed.  By now the dampers had been disengaged offering no impediment to the increase in speed of the Tug.   And the Corbellis would need that speed.  When all systems were working in harmony, piercing that wall of resistance on the warp out would have minor consequences on the Corbellis and on its SAC protected occupants.  For Wilhelm, however, it was a different story.

Wilhelm’s self-induced coma like state was for the most part inadequate in comparison to a Suspended Animation Chamber.  A SAC literally suspended the life of the occupant, slowing cellular, cardiovascular and neural activity to its lowest recoverable state.  Wilhelm’s self-induced coma did none of that.  He could still hear, he could still dream, he could be shaken out of his coma.  In a SAC, a process of Re-animation had to be initiated. It is a very dangerous process which has seen its share of failures.  However, it has become so common place that the risks are viewed as minor, until an incident happens.

Wilhelm sat unconscious in the co-pilot’s seat, unaware of the Corbellis’ approaching warp out of hyperspace.  All of the Corbellis’ systems were now under the control of the ship’s AI.  Millions of calculations were being made every second as the AI had to prepare not only for the warp out, but also for the hyper drag, once the Corbellis entered into normal space.  The measured engagement of the engines and the use of the damper drives were all needed to maintain a reasonable speed coming out of hyperspace.

As the Corbellis pierced the wall of normal space, Wilhelm’s body was flung forward against his makeshift brace. The initial pressure cracked two of his ribs, and displaced his collar bone. The sustained pressure against the straps that held him, caused such tremendous pain on his injuries, that it shook him out of his self-induced coma and he screamed as he never had in his life.  He was delirious as he awoke, trying to relieved the pressure on his ribs.  Still hard pressed against the straps, they finally gave way, snapping and sending Wilhelm over the cockpit console, slamming him into the viewport’s glass.  Hitting his head, he lost consciousness momentarily.  When he came to, he was on the floor in the middle of the bridge, covered in his own vomit.  He tried to stand, but was having difficulty as the shuttle swayed in various directions.  Harnessed between an array of heavy shock absorbers, the shuttle was able to absorb the impact although it still swayed somewhat in the bay.

As the sway of the shuttle lessened, Wilhelm was able to get to his feet.  He held his head in a fruitless attempt to stop the throbbing in his head.  He slipped occasionally on his vomit as he slowly walked back to the copilot’s chair.  The shuttle now ceased its swaying and Wilhelm was able to stand without aid, he held on to his ribs and yelled from the pain. 

For the first time since the warp out, Wilhelm had some mental clarity and he remembered where he was, and why.  He looked at the vomit on the deck, and he could not believe it all came from him. He realized that he had to clean it up, and hide before the shuttle’s crew returned.  However, Wilhelm didn’t know if the destination of the shuttle he was on, was bound for Knome, or if it would remain on board for the Corbellis’ next jump.  Either way, he had to find a way off the shuttle, and hook up somehow, with a Knome bound ship.  As he leaned over to clean up the vomit, his ribs screamed with pain.  He stood, paused, and then took some of the straps off the copilot’s chair and wrapped his ribs, which brought him some relief.

Automatically the Re-animation process began while the Corbellis was adjusting to the drag, and by the time the Corbellis had reached cruising speed, the SAC occupants were awake, and recovering.  

Teric was the first to exit the SAC, standing for a while until he began to feel normal.  Koreleon exited the SAC next followed by Jasen.  They all began to gather their items and leave the room when they realized that Khewin was still in his SAC.  Teric walked over to Khewin’s SAC and opened the door.

“Khewin, are you alright?

“I don’t feel so good, he replied.  “And I feel tired.”

“Warp sickness,” Jason suggested.

“Is this your first Hyper journey? Teric asked.

“What happens if I say yes?”

“You get sick,” Teric laughed.

“My first time,” Khewin confessed.

“Are you coming out?’ asked Jasen.

Khewin grabbed the exit bar and made an attempt to pull himself out, but could not do it.

“I could use some help.”

Jasen took one of Khewin’s arms and Teric took the other and they pulled him out, helping him to stand on his feet.
“Thank you,” Khewin added as he held on to the wall for support.  

“Well if we want to avoid the exit rush, we better head out now.” Jasen advised.

“You okay to walk?” Teric asked Khewin.

“Show me the door, my hero,” Khewin answered as he took his first unbalanced step.

Jasen smiled at Teric, “let’s go, my hero.” He laughed.

 

In the Corbellis’ Security quarter, a gathering of guards was taking place.  Uggia had assembled the men after he was informed that the Shuttle Volton ADA 23423 had its life support and other systems initiated just before the jump.  A violation of the ship’s policies, the shuttle which was connect to the Corbellis’s power grid, would drain power from the Tug.  Although the power drain of one small shuttle would be miniscule, it was the principal, especially after the shuttle’s passengers had been warned.

Uggia with eight-armed guards went, in search, for the shuttle's crew.

 

Yutiro stepped on to the Setcha, followed by the Lady Anya Yemen.  He held her hand as he assisted her inside.

“My Lady, we have been granted first launch.  As soon as you are secure we will be under way,”

“Thank you, Yutiro. Now that we are here, I’m anxious to find out what is going on.”

“I hope you do, my lady.”

“And you know nothing.”

“Everything I know, I have related to you.”

“I just don’t understand this.” Anya stood, deep in thought for a moment.

“May I see you to your room, my lady,” Yutiro offered.

“No thank you, I will be fine.”

As the shuttle door opened, Jasen was assaulted by a foul odor, he gagged.

“What’s wrong,” Teric asked.

“Don’t you smell that?

Teric sniffed the air as he approached the shuttle’s entrance, he covered his nose.  

“Something, died in here,” Teric offered as he walked inside looking around.

Khewin and Koreleon both entered also covering their noses.

Jasen and Teric entered the bridge and immediately noticed that the power was on.

“You did shut down all the systems?” Jasen asked.

“You were here, and the little guy verified it.”

“Do you think it has some kind of auto engage.”

“No.  something is not right here.”  Teric walked to the cockpit console and notice a few broken switches, “look at this,”

Jasen walked over to look.

“Someone’s been here,” Teric said mostly to himself.

“During the jump?” Jasen asked not expecting an answer.

“No, maybe before.  Maybe they are trying to set us up or something.”

“Speaking of them, I’m sure they know and they’re probably on their way here,”

“Who?” Khewin asked as he and Koreleon entered the bridge.

“The Arakis, the power was on,” Jasen replied.

“What?” Khewin exclaimed.

“Get buckled in, we need to leave as soon as possible.” Jasen ordered.

Teric was already buckled in the pilot’s chair and he had powered on the engines.

 

Wilhelm hidden away in the medic closet, could hear voices but he could not make out what was being said.  He felt the engines powering up and decided that he had to escape now.  He opened the closet door and entered the medic room.  Slowly he walked to the door and disengaged the power to the door.  He disengaged the door latch and it slid open.  

He could now here the voices clearly.  He knew he could actually make it to the shuttle door without being seen.  It was getting the door open that would be the problem.  He decided that he would open the shuttle entrance and then run away.

 

Lady Anya watched out of the aft port as the Corbellis became smaller and smaller.

Yutiro walked up to join her.

“I feel like we are reaching a turning point,” Anya offered turning towards Yutiro.  “Somethings not right,”

“I feel it too,”

Yutiro, took Anya’s hand knowingly breaking protocol.  “Anya, you know I would do anything for you, I hope you believe that,”

“I do, Yutiro, and maybe one of these days, I will take you up on your offer.”

She turned back to look out of the aft port as the Corbellis was now barely noticeable.

 

Teric opened communications with control.  

“Shuttle Volton ADA 23423, requesting exit window,”

“Shuttle Volton…,” there was a pause from control.

“Shuttle Volton, please power down your craft and prepare to be boarded.”

Wilhelm had managed to reach the shuttle entrance unnoticed.  He placed his hand on the trigger and prepared to run.

“What is the problem?” Teric asked control.

“Shuttle Volton, please power down your craft and prepare to be boarded,”

Wilhelm, hit the trigger as an alarm started to sound.  As the shuttle door opened, Wilhelm froze as he was confronted by guards with weapons drawn.  Wilhelm, turned around and ran back inside the shuttle, towards the medic room.  The guards entered in, as Khewin arrived.

“Hey, we got company, armed company,” Khewin yelled.

Jasen, unbuckled and rose, “Don’t shut down,” he whispered to Teric.

Where is your captain?” Uggia asked Khewin.  

Khewin kept his arms raised.  “Jasen,” he called.

Wilhelm ran into the medic room, closed the door and engaged the latch.

Teric released his harness and took out a weapon, checked it and put it back. 

“Take the controls,” Teric called to Koreleon.  “Be ready to get us out of here.”

Jasen, walked into view of Uggia and the armed guards.

“What’s all this?” Jasen asked.

“You violated our policy, and you all are being arrested,” 

“Look, we don’t know how the ship powered up, you watched us power down and you said that you verified it,” Jasen pleaded.

“Please, power down your ship and come with us,” Uggia demanded.

“No, we’re not going.  We are representatives of the Akadian Government.  You don’t want to do this.”

“Arrest them,” Uggia ordered his men.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” came a voice hidden from view.

Teric came out of the bridge to reveal himself.  He had in hand a long black sword and he walked up to Jasen.  “Get behind me,” he whispered.  Slowly Jasen moved behind Teric.  

The guards all paused, not expecting to be challenged.  Uggia was not fazed.  “I said arrest them!”

Now close to Khewin, Teric pulled on Khewin’s jacket pulling him back and jumping in his place.

Startled by Teric’s action, the guards started firing, bolts of lasers lit up the room.  Jasen dove for the deck.  Khewin was already on the deck after being pulled by Teric.

The room filled with smoke as the lasers bolts, found their target.  The guards stopped firing at Uggia command, and as the smoke cleared, they saw Teric still standing with his sword in hand, only now the sword, seemed to be glowing, and it was smoking.

The guards started to step back in amazement, as did Uggia.  

“Do you really want to arrest us?” Teric asked.

The guards began to back completely out of the shuttle, and Uggia was not far behind.

“You will not get away with this,” Uggia yelled as he backed out of the shuttle.

Teric walked over to the door and hit the trigger and the shuttle door closed.

“You better get in here,” Koreleon called out from the bridge.

Teric carefully sheath the sword back into its scabbard.

As the others arrived on the bridge, Koreleon pointed to the bay door.

“Its closing.”

“Get this thing moving,” Jasen ordered.

As Koreleon attempted to go, the shuttle met with resistance.

“We’re still locked in.” Teric explained.  “Let me have the controls,” Teric demanded as he sat in the copilot’s chair.  

Teric pushed the engines to full power as the shuttle began to pull against the locking mechanism.  The shuttle began to lift tugging the locks until they began to break.  
The guards in the bay began firing at the shuttle, causing damage.  

Finally, the shuttle freed itself and Teric pushed hard for the bay opening.

“Teric, you’re not going to make it,” Jasen warned.

“We’ll make it,” 

“You’re not going to make it,” Jasen almost yelled.

As the shuttle reach the opening, it was too narrow, but Teric didn’t stop.  The shuttle pushed through as the screech, of metal on metal, informed them of just how close they were, to being pulverized.

Once the shuttle cleared the doors, Teric pushed hard, for open space.


© Copyright 2018 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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