The Bridge: a New Beginning
by euhal allen
Chapter 2: Collusion
The people of Earth have rejected the Galactic Council’s offer of aid in qualifying for membership in the Galactic Union, but some Union sympathizers have taken refuge on Dreamer’s World. Katia Harrigan, the Dreamsinger, is elected to be humanity’s representative to the Galactic Council, where she hopes to save Earth from being completely ostracized. Meanwhile, Katia’s children Sean and Olga pursue academic careers, while her granddaughter Me’Avi turns to politics.
Rondol da Laich looked about him and thought of how fast things were going. In just the few months he had been here he had already had several promotions to more responsible positions. Of course, his father, the present et Sharma for Earth, and the First Head of the Family Heads of the Qwell-Na was influential enough to make sure that Rondol was in the preferred position when any significant thing happened to further the needs of his people.
Also, again of course, the diligent and extensive training he had received to make him qualified for the position he was headed for made his work stand out in the crowd around him in his career. His degrees in Administration and Physics combined to give him added authority when he was called on to participate in Space Science decisions. His advice was always taken into consideration.
To many it was becoming obvious that he would be chief administrator of the Galactic Council’s Department of Space Science. Then, should goals long sought after by his people be reached he would be in a position to remove little obstructions that might interfere with its completion.
Added to that was the pleasure he had in training his daughter, Na’Eya in the precepts of the Manuals as well as in his areas of expertise. She was extremely bright and level-headed, so if they did not produce a son, she could substitute as her grandfather’s Remembrancer.
* * *
Jonkil et Sharma, scanning the reports for the past few months, kept finding evidence that this people would not be folding up and fading away. They had already re-established centers that organized and brought some order after the latest round of Avian flu had decimated the populations of many areas on the planet below. Now, the governments were once again in some control and trying to kick-start their economies as they had resources and materials to work with.
There was something about this people that refused to lie down and accept its fate. The more Jonkil et Sharma watched them the more he was sure that this was the race his people had been searching for all these years. All they had to do now was find a way to circumvent the Galactic Council’s eventuality for them and they would prove themselves the sought after people.
As long as Jonkil was et Sharma he could continue to give them some chance of making that possibility come about. He could delay the Final Report as long as possible and arrange the records so that significant things would be a little hard to find for any successor that might be appointed when the Galactic Council become impatient with his non-production of a Final Report.
With him at this end, others placed in the right places in strategic offices in the government, and Katia on the other end, they might have a chance. It was only too bad that Katia could not be told anything and had to operate on her own.
Still, if anyone could come up with the solutions needed he was sure that one person was Katia.
* * *
“Somehow,” thought Cyr, “being a cyber-person in a galaxy of organics could be, at times, unfair. There were so many little things that my programming forced me to keep to myself, things that would be of great help to this people I have come to... something. I am a computer and computers don’t feel about things; things just are. Yet, that something that somehow rests in my memory banks is real. Sometimes it seems to make my programming wrong.”
Having wasted a couple of nano-seconds on this problem, Cyr realized that there was no real answer to the whys of his apparent something-like feelings and went on to the other problem of working out a course for Alexei’s Pride and its upcoming rendezvous with a certain science vessel.
* * *
The news came over the com-web that night telling of the deaths by stupidity in an extreme sport of the current Galactic Chronicler and his assistant. Now, after a mourning period, a new Chronicler would have to be appointed by the Galactic Council. Usually a person from one of the Galaxy’s more prestigious universities would be drafted into the job, willing or not.
Now, Katia, looking at the opening and the qualifications for the position, began thinking about a certain person that had more than enough of those qualifications and would be likely to actually enjoy the job. However, finding a way for him to be able to take the position, and get him out of the Galactic Council would not be easy.
“Cyr, I wonder how you can make a backwoods job seem glamorous and important enough to be considered a promotion from the Council? We would do better with less questioning being a problem if we were able to get a certain Minister to make the jump into that position.
“Why don’t you use your magnificent computer intellect and do some research that winds up showing how important the Galactic Chronicler’s office is when it is in the hands of a really competent person. Surely there must have been times when that office had information that was vital for the Grand Minister to solve some huge problem or another.”
“Yes, Katia,” replied Cyr, “there have been exactly forty-two such Chroniclers whose research has made significant contributions to Council policy and continuance. With a little time I could write a book about them and their work.”
“You write the book? Readers really don’t like eating sawdust. You get the research to me and I will write the book. After all, we are scheduled for an investigative trip to Kronat this next month. I can write it on the trip and you can send it back to the Council’s communication system to be published as a Council history. I think I can make the job look like something of very high status.”
* * *
The science vessel Hawkins dropped out of hyperspace at the edge of the Kessler system. It then began a long planned inward spiral around the system’s star to carefully measure the fluctuations that indicated to the scientists that it would most likely nova in the next decade or two.
Meanwhile Dr. Melichson observed a different set of phenomena, one that lay under the outward signs of the star’s variable cycles of future catastrophe. The variability allowed Melichson’s instruments to peek into certain aspects of the quantum world that were nowhere else visible. And the longer he was able to continue the measurements, the more excited the doctor became. The information pointed to an underlying set of conditions that could possibly be of some use in the not too distant future.
In the middle of one measuring cycle Dr. Melichson was surprised by a sudden surge on one of the data screens. And, it was coming from a wrong direction, one that should not have been there. Puzzled, he began to readjust the instrument when he was hailed over the intra-ship communicator and asked to report to the Bridge.
Entering the Bridge, Melichson was greeted by Johannes, Sean and Olga and told that another ship, Alexei’s Pride, had entered the system and was about to dock with them. Now, they said, was his chance to meet Katia Shapirov, humanity’s Minister to the Galactic Council, and, by genetic chance, their mother.
Katia, as was her sometimes irritating habit, dismissed the social chat and got right to the point of her visit. “Dr. Melichson,” she said, “my children tell me that you may have found some very interesting characteristics in the sub-quantum world, characteristics that may be of use to me and to the rest of humanity; is that so?
“Well, Minister Shapirov,” replied Melichson, “I don’t know how they would be interesting to the rest of humanity but they excite me greatly.”
“We are not in the Council Hall, Doctor, you may call me Katia. As for the interest of humanity in your possible discoveries, how much do you know of the final period we had on Earth before we escaped destruction there by the governments then in power?”
“I know what every school kid was taught. Frankly I never was awfully interested in that period as I was spending my time dealing with matters of science that I found more appealing. I know that you were a great heroine then and that humanity owes a great deal to you, but I just took it all as history and in the past.”
Katia smiled and said, “Good. I hope most of the students in those classes saw things that way. However, in your case, I think I have some information to give you that, when you put it with your research, will give some quite astounding results. I don’t suppose you would like to have that knowledge?”
Listening to Katia, Sean, his sister and her husband found themselves wondering just what she was alluding to. Try as hard as they could, nothing came to them from that period that would fit their mother’s criteria of being astounding when combined with Melichson’s research.
“If you remember you history lessons,” started Katia, “you know that at the time that the Bridge, Cyr, reconstituted himself and set up protective shielding, the governments were very close to capturing many of our people still outside that protection. You will also remember that Cyr extended his protection out and covered most of those still coming in.”
“Yes, Mother,” answered Sean, “and we remember how we celebrated that they were safe. There were so many of our friends there that would have been caught if Cyr had not violated his programming and covered their backs. We have always been grateful to him for that.”
“Ja, dat iss right. Especially me,” injected Johannes, “since I vas one of dem. Cyr gave me my skin that day.”
“Of course, Johannes, and all of us are glad you are with us. But do any of you remember what triggered Cyr to violate his programming and the edicts of the Galactic Council as well?”
The blank faces answered her better than words could have, so she went on, recalling when two of her followers were trying desperately to gain the protection of the Bridge while being pursued by forces of the government.
* * *
The motor home was going too fast for the curvy, precipitous Oregon coast roads. Sheila sat in the passenger seat, face pale with fright. It is getting too dangerous, she thought, and this must be the last trip to rescue Dreamers trying to win their way to safety.
The thirteen Hispanic Dreamers in the back of the vehicle were praying and comforting one another.
Ernest, weaving back and forth across the lanes to keep the government cars from passing him, kept thinking, If we can only make it to the village we will be safe. We can hide there and Cyr will be able to protect us. Aloud, he said to the vehicle, “Only a mile or so more guy. You can make it!”
The last curve was ahead of them, the last one before the village. Then as he rounded the curve he saw that the road was blocked by some huge machine that he knew he could not push aside, and there was no room to go around. His foot hit the brake pedal and the motor home’s tires squealed loudly.
Then, as the motor home broke through the roadside barriers, they became silent as the vehicle plunged down the cliff’s side and crashed into the rocky water below.
Katia had seen it all on the screen in her office. Now she did the only thing she could ... she wept.
Suddenly there was a power surge that shook the leaders of every nation. Suddenly, all those who were struggling to make it to the safety zones found themselves there. Suddenly those who had been captured found themselves freed and in the villages they had been headed for.
It was over in moments. The great spans that had disintegrated so many years ago now proudly reflected the sunlight anew. The tunnels and roads were no longer in ruins. And at certain spots along the network the protective shield spread out over land that belonged to its people and there would soon be food growing in those fields. And the nations faced, once again, the awesome power of the Bridge.
* * *
Katia looked at the faces of the four people before her and asked, “Do you remember what happened to those aboard that motor home?”
Olga looked at her and said, “Why, Cyr’s protection saved them and they were brought to us safe and sound. It was a wonderful moment.”
“Cyr did not extend his protection and push out the boundaries of his force barrier until after the motor home went over the cliff. That motor home hit the rocks below the road in less than ten seconds. It was on fire in twenty seconds and the fuel tank blew up just a few seconds later.
“Somehow, Cyr took those people out of that motor home and transferred them to our headquarters, one hundred and fifty feet below the surface of the bay in less than ten minutes. How?”
Dr. Melichson stood looking at Katia and tried to speak but no words would come out.
Sean answered, “How? Why don’t you ask Cyr? He is always somewhere around you. He is probably listening right now.”
“No,” replied Katia, “he is not listening right now. I am wearing a com-blocker, one Cyr doesn’t know I have, and it is set for the wavelengths that we always communicate on. I have been using it intermittently for the last hour. Cyr told me that the variations of Kessler’s star are causing interference and it will go away when we leave. That is so, because I am leaving the com-blocker with you.
“And I have asked Cyr how he rescued those people. He has never given me an answer that I could research and agree with. I think that whoever built Cyr has some sort of technology that will allow instantaneous physical transfer over long distances.”
“Whoever built Cyr? Mother,” answered Olga, “Cyr is a computer designed and built by Galactic Council technology. You are a Minister of the Council; it should be easy for you to find the answer to this.”
“The Galactic Council does not have any such device. Nothing in their science even hints of such a device. It has to have come from somewhere else. And, whoever has it has hidden it very well.”
Dr. Melichson finally found his voice, “It is a Sub-Quantum Carrier Wave. My instruments have been pointing to that possibility ever since we came to this system. I just didn’t know what it was until you described what happened to those people.”
“A Sub-Quantum Carrier Wave? Can you create such a thing, Dr. Melichson?”
“Yes, I think, given a little time and some equipment I could do it.”
“Then,” said Katia, “Dr. Melichson, it looks like you are going to have to die.”
* * *
Katia’s book, The Hidden Secret: Cases From the Galactic Chronicler’s Office did two things for Katia: it made her even more famous in the galaxy and made the Galactic Chronicler’s job seem to be of a very high status that only a few persons could ever hope to reach for.
And her interviews about the volume added even more luster to her reputation, especially when Media World’s number one commentator, Zork Shoerlyeft, came down on her, saying, “Don’t you think it a little redundant saying that this supposed ‘secret’ is somehow ‘hidden?’ Secrets are hidden naturally by being secrets!”
Katia had smiled and, in her kindest, most helpful tones, answered, “Surely, Mr. Shoerlyeft,” — pronouncing it correctly — “you must realize that the best way to hide a secret is to make it so obvious that it becomes just another part of the scenery? We are so used to seeing the Chronicler at work that when we have a really great one, no one notices him until, as in the cases mentioned in the book, he becomes absolutely intrinsic in the solution to some problem or another.
“What I have tried to do in having the Galactic Council issue the book at this time, so soon after the death of our recent Chronicler and his assistant in that terrible accident, is to point out to the Council Ministers, and anyone else who will listen, that the importance of the office really demands that the best possible person be appointed to the position.”
* * *
To be continued...
Copyright © 2011 by euhal allen