Book II: Requiem for the Blue Planet
by euhal allen
Table of Contents|
Chapter 4 appeared
in issue 149.
In a short time, the Galactic Council will englobe the Earth, cutting the remnants of its native people off from the rest of the galaxy for the foreseeable future. The Earthlings have been deemed too petty, cruel and dangerous to be allowed to wander the stars. Most are unaware that their planet’s sky will soon be blanked out and their view of all the universe will be occluded. But there are some who do know of the coming changes, and, whether they realize it or not, they have friends in unexpected places.
Chapter 5: Hearts Defined
part 1 of 3
The two ships, Alexei’s Pride and the other as yet unnamed, flew to the Jovian moon, Ganymede. There, in a place well hidden from any prying eyes, they landed as close together as possible in preparation for the transfer of information and mass that had to be concluded before each ship would be complete and ready for future missions of importance.
First Cyr downloaded to the unnamed ship all the memories and data on the life and personality of Katia Shapirov, as a pre-transfer backup. Then a large cylinder with the actual memory boards containing the original information and a sustaining power source, were carefully installed in the central area of the new ship.
To finish the process, another cylinder containing massive amounts of computer storage devices was removed from the hold of the new ship and installed in the core area of Alexei’s Pride recently vacated in the first transfer.
Next, in both ships, came the final connections that were needed to integrate all the new and transferred capabilities into the computational arrays and instrumentation needed to control the ships.
Days passed as each ship organized files and memories to an optimum degree in the greatly expanded capacities and capabilities now available to the core character of each ship.
Finally, Cyr, from Alexei’s Pride, sent a probing query to the other ship. “Katia? Katia? Are you all right? Did the transfer go well? Are you still you?”
“Well, Cyr, I was wondering if you would ever wake up. I have been all right for a couple of days. I am wondering if this process was not harder on you than it was on me.”
“Well, Katia, it does seem very empty here without your gentle being in residence just waiting to pounce on anything I might do that was wrong.
“I think I miss your company already.”
“We were rather close, weren’t we, Cyr? Still, I feel better not being privy to all your very regimented thoughts. They always made it hard for me to be ladylike and illogical.
“I think, Cyr, it is time for us to christen my new home. Do you have the bottle of wine for the occasion?”
“Of course. You don’t think I would forget something like that, do you?”
“Cyr, dear, I don’t think you ever forget anything. Very well, let us get started.”
A small port opened on the side of Alexei’s Pride closest to the new ship and a mechanical arm, holding a bottle of wine, reached out to the other ship.
Katia’s voice resounded over the speakers of both ships with the words, “I hereby christen me, Harrigan’s Whelp,” followed by a high pitched giggle at the humor of it all as Cyr’s long arm broke the wine bottle over the prow of the newly named ship.
“Cyr, when we get back to where an atmosphere will allow the name to be painted on, I think I would like it to be done in a lovely lavender. Don’t you think that would look nice?”
Cyr answered back with the closest thing a rational computer could do in imitation of a frustrated masculine “humph!”
* * *
Nervously, Natasha Borisovna waited outside the Administrator’s office. Today she was to find out why her people were in this place and what they would be asked to do. She hoped that all of them would soon be busy, for they were not cave dwellers and they wished to go back to their village and live has they had always lived. Why they could not do so had never been explained to them. What they had was Olga’s word that their lives would be better here and that, for the time being, was almost enough.
The man called Hocat, the Administrator’s assistant, approached and spoke, “Administrator Tinker will see you now, Natasha.” Then, leading her across the outer room, he opened the door to the Administrator’s office and announced her presence.
Thomas Hiram Tinker, Administrator of Starhell, looked up and found himself captivated by the young lady who walked into his office. Surely this young girl was not the leader of the Siberian village. This must be the daughter of Natasha Borisovna.
“Miss Borisovna, I am very sorry to have bothered you, but I really think it was probably your mother that I am supposed to talk with.”
“I am Natasha Borisovna Chernova,” she replied. “My father’s was name Boris Illyavich Chernov. Borisovna means the daughter of Boris.
“My mother has been dead for many years. She was killed when renegades from another clan attacked my village.
“Now, you have brought us here and my people want to know why.”
“Perhaps, Miss Chernova — it is OK to call you that, is it not? — I have been led astray in my thinking. I assumed that a leader of a Siberian village would be someone much older.”
“It is customary for friends to address one with the first and middle name in my village. I do not see why it should be any different here, so Natasha Borisovna will do, if, that is, we are to be friends.”
Administrator Tinker replied “I most heartily do hope we will be friends, Natasha Borisovna. How may I bring that about?”
“You can,” she said, “start by telling me why my people are here and why we cannot go back to our village. And, if we are to stay here what are we to do?”
“Well, Natasha Borisovna — that is a lovely name, you know — I will be most happy to give you all that information. However, that story is quite long and my schedule for this afternoon does not allow for long stories.
“Perhaps, you would be able to join me for dinner this evening and I can tell you then all about what is going on and why your people, whom we have rescued from great harm, are so desperately needed here. Shall we say seven o’clock?”
Natasha stood up and as she left the office she said, “I will come and listen to your words. Then I, and my people, will decide as to whether we will be friends or not.”
The Administrator then called for Hocat and instructed him to make arrangements to have Miss Chernova picked up at her quarters in time for their dinner appointment. Then he was to contact Olga and find out what kind of food the Siberian group preferred and how he could impress their young leader with his friendship.
Hocat, smiling inwardly, assured his boss that all would be cared for.
* * *
Jonkil sat in an office at the Observation Post and worked on the questions that Me’Avi et Sharma had given him about things that had happened during his tenure as et Sharma. Looking at the pile of forms and papers he sighed with relief that with just a little more effort the job would be finished and he could leave this place.
Right then he heard footsteps coming towards him and wondered who in the world it could be. The answer to that question came all too soon as Me’Avi et Sharma entered the office.
“Ah, Me’Avi et Sharma,” Jonkil exclaimed, “I have only a few sheets to finish and the work will be done. Just give me a few more hours. I am working as quickly and accurately as possible.”
“I am not,” she replied, “here to discuss those papers. I am here because I want to know what is really going on down there. I want to know what you were really up to in the years you were et Sharma here.
“And I want to know where Hocat has gone and where Cyr and Katia are and what they are doing. Then you are going to tell me just what Takeshi Kurihara was doing working for the late General Chu.
“And then I want to know where my mother is.”
Jonkil, overwhelmed at the suddenness of all this was about to try to answer the et Sharma with proclamations of innocence when another voice answered for him.
“I am right here, Me’Avi.”
Me’Avi et Sharma turned around and saw her, and forgetting the dignity of her office, ran and embraced her, tears flowing from her eyes.
“I’ve missed you so much since the nova. Where have you been? Why haven’t you contacted me? Where is father?”
“I have been here, Me’Avi, on Earth. I have, with others, been working to bring our people back to a life as a civilized people.
“What we have been doing, surely you as an et Sharma know, is not legal under Galactic Council laws. Yet, illegal or not, how could I abandon our people?
“Your father, Me’Avi, died years ago defending our village. Many of our people died defending the progress we were making, the people we have loved.”
Then, somehow, anger began welling up in Me’Avi at the knowledge that she had spent all those years an orphan while her mother and father had been trying to help the barbarians on the Blue Planet. Her father had died protecting those people?
While this scene played itself out Takeshi Kurihara quietly entered the room from the opening behind Me’Avi. There was the little hissing sound of a hypo-injector and the et Sharma of the Blue Planet fell limp in Takeshi’s arms.
* * *
“I have to do it soon, Cyr. I have to do it, before things get complicated and while there is still time. When the force globe is activated, things will be very complicated here, and very busy. If I am going to go to Starhell, I must do it soon.”
“But, Katia,” Cyr replied, “the processing is not finished. The computational power is great enough; the memory capacity is sufficient; but time is not one of our most abundant commodities right now. If you interrupt the processes now there is no telling when, if ever we will be able to complete it. You must complete it, Katia, you must!”
“No, I must go to Starhell and see that it is progressing as it should. I must help the people there to feel in their hearts what we are doing. I do not think that I will able to do this afterwards. I do not think that my heart will be the same.
“However, if it will make you feel better, I will continue the process on the trip to and from there. I will even keep the process going, to what extent that is possible, while I am there.
“I have made up my mind, Cyr. Now that I have the independence to do this, now that I am no longer so dependent on you, it is time that I became more visible to all of our people. If they come to know me now they will not ask as many questions later.
“Part of the success of the Shapirov Project depends on them not asking as many questions later.
“Besides, think of the challenge ahead of you; your career as an actor can begin, Cyr. You have the backups of my life and memories. You have the recordings of my holographic appearances. Can you convince those here that I am still with you?”
“I hope so, Katia. I certainly hope so.”
* * *
Grand Minister Pwirkavi dreaded the next appointment on his schedule. The Galactic Chronicler was here again with his papers and his fantasies about the actions of Grand Minister Katia’s term in office. ‘Why’, he thought, ‘did these people think that any time a number seemed a little strange that it meant some sort of problem? Wasn’t he aware that often things just did not do what number-jockeys thought they should?’
“Ah, Galactic Chronicler, it is so good of you to come see me again. I do hope your visit to the Cernon section has been fruitful. I have read your reports and they are most interesting. I was most happy to see that you found that all was aligned so closely to the reports sent in by those working with Grand Minister Shapirov.”
“But, Grand Minister, did you not see that this was the very problem?” argued the Chronicler. “All those figures matched almost perfectly in the vacated and marginal places, but they did not match in the more self-sufficient colonies? This type of thing just never happens anywhere. There is something very wrong with what has happened there!”
“Yes,” answered Pwirkavi. “I have read your analysis, and it is quite good and very informative. But, you must remember that these projects were done under the supervision of Grand Minister Shapirov. She was known as one of the most efficient and conscientious Grand Ministers in a very long time. You must realize that.
“You must also realize that a percentage point or two of error in some project like those you are reporting on is not enough reason to call into question the integrity of a Grand Minister. Why, I would be willing to believe that some of the projects that are being done under the present administration are several percentage points off in one direction or another. There are just so many things to do and so little time.”
“Well, yes Grand Minister, several of your projects are quite a bit...” the Chronicler tried to say.
“You need to really appreciate Grand Minister Shapirov’s abilities to keep track of things. It was unbelievable.
“Even now I find myself wondering how she would handle some problem or another. It was a great loss to the galaxy when she was killed in that accident.
“Now, Galactic Chronicler, if you will just leave the current reports with me I will read them as soon as my schedule allows. I really wish I could give you more time, but my assistant has scheduled an appointment with the Ambassador from Gendai and you know how irritated he gets if he is kept waiting.
Copyright © 2005 by euhal allen