The Bridge: a New Beginning
by euhal allen
Chapter 4: Pushing Outward
The Galactic Council Ministers, at first happy that they were at last being given all the information about the new exploratory missions, soon delegated the constant data stream to their assistants. That, of course, led to more delegation to those lower down and less able to protect themselves from the consumption of the reams of unending data. Soon, the data was just filed in an ever-expanding library of data files that no one read completely.
Then the data made its way back up the channels, each level only taking what seemed to be relevant to what was being worked on at the moment, so that when it reached the Minister it was rarely over a paragraph of general information that sounded good when read but rarely passed along any real information.
In all the confusion, orchestrated by the Grand Minister’s office, marginal-plus planets located near a member’s territory would be turned over to that Minister’s government for development. Other planets, very good planets, especially in the Cernon sector, would get lost in the paper shuffle and, not claimed by the limits set by the Galactic Council itself, would be settled by some of the more adventurous of humankind.
All this progress, shown by the fact that everyone got a little something, made the Grand Minister’s office look very good indeed, and would, should the Grand Minister continue to orchestrate things well, lead to the entry of a number of humankind worlds into the Galactic Council.
With just enough votes, Katia knew that she could head off the englobing of Earth and the rebuilding of a solid new civilization for her people on that world. It would take a number of years, but Katia was willing to spend them in that cause.
It was not to be. Cyr had come to the completion of his tests and they told of a different future for Katia Shapirov, Grand Minister of the Galactic Council.
“ROALS Syndrome, I can’t have ROALS Syndrome, Cyr, I have too much to do. You must be mistaken!”
“No, Katia, there is no mistake. You have Rejuvenation Onset Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It is always fatal, for it is almost too rare to study and there is not even a hint of a cure. You do not have many years to live, unless...”
“Unless what, Cyr? Unless what?”
“Unless we make your book come true.”
“My book? What book?”
Cyr shined a light on the gold filigreed box setting next to Katia’s bed and replied, “That one, Katia.”
Katia, realizing what Cyr was indicating, sat down in her chair, shocked, momentarily speechless. Then, getting a bit of control of her voice, said, “You must be insane, Cyr. Computers aren’t supposed to go insane, but you, somehow, have managed to do it.”
* * *
Me’Avi Shapirov was furious. Not only was she going to be relegated to be the permanent house guest at “Uncle” Elif and “Aunt” Sora’s home, now she was going to be kept away from her grandmother as well.
The Grand Minister’s residence, it seemed, was to be renovated and grandmother was going to make Alexei’s Pride her home until the renovation was finished. And, being a space ship with only minimal space inside, it would be impossible to cater to a visit from her granddaughter.
Besides, since the ship was to be the Grand Minister’s new abode that meant her grandmother would be able to spend her unscheduled time on trips around the galaxy, carrying Council business to those places that would benefit from actual communication with the Grand Minister.
“What about the benefit the Grand Minister’s granddaughter could have from being with the only family she had left?” thought Me’Avi. “Why were all these problems and needs of others always more important to her grandmother than the problems and needs of her granddaughter?”
* * *
The labs on Starhell had become busy places, indeed. After George had punched a hole through to the planet with a carrier beam and they had transferred all the lab equipment aboard the ship — breaking a lot of it down so it could go through the small opening they had managed to create — and George had brought over all the books and papers from Dr. Melichson’s work, the projects now took on a new urgency.
First, a carrier beam generator had to be built for the base station on Luna and then several Door units needed to be built for Earth itself. Then a signal repeater had to be made to be set up about halfway between Starhell and Earth so that a carrier beam, no matter how small, could be created for communication with those on the project there.
Finally all those pieces of equipment had to be broken down and Sean, Olga and Johannes trained in how to put them together when they reached their destination.
At least, as the ship got closer to Starhell and the power put into the carrier beam equipment was able to be transferred into making the beam wide instead of long, the opening became large enough for the workers to go back and forth without crawling.
Then, once the training was finished and the carrier beam shut down so that the ship could then head to Earth, the labs could now be dedicated to carrier beam research in its entirety. And, seeing how competent George was in his skills at making theoretical matters actually work, the former students gladly forgot their former disdain at working with an engineer and found themselves consulting him on all their projects.
It astounded them at how much knowledge George had in the theoretical realm as well as in the practical, and they were glad Dr. Melichson had spent as much time with George as he had before he took the Rejuv treatment that killed him.
* * *
Katia came storming into Alexei’s Pride yelling for Cyr. “Just what do think you are doing, sending a letter to my granddaughter saying that she could not come visit me aboard the Pride? We have three different cabins that are empty, anyone of which could be made suitable for a young lady.”
“No, Katia,” answered Cyr, “we don’t. They are all now taken up with equipment that we will need to keep you going as long as we can. Besides, you yourself said that you cannot be an effective Grand Minister if it becomes known that you are ill. The Council would retire you, with their deepest thanks, on a medical pension and you would die without accomplishing those things you want to do.
“I have been obtaining, under the guise of taking needed medical supplies to the planets on our itinerary, equipment we must use if you are to keep from showing the signs of your illness. If we are good at our job, it will not be obvious how ill you are until the last few weeks.”
“And, when it does start to show, Cyr, what then?”
“You will have to have an accident and die. Then we can start on the other project, the one to give you another chance.”
“Cyr, why do you keep bringing that up. That is a story from a book. It has never really been done. Even if we could technically get it done there are no medical persons anywhere who would do it. Have you thought of that, Cyr?”
“Yes, Katia, I have. I will do it. I have the resources and all the medical knowledge I will need when the time comes, and I have studied under a very good physician and I know what general procedures to use.”
“What are you talking about, Cyr? Just when did you study any medicine; especially any medicine complex enough to do what you envision?”
“I was the source computer for Dr. Jharner when he put Alexei back together. I was there the whole seventeen years Alexei was in stasis. I know the methods and the order of procedure Jharner used. I can do for you almost what Jharner did for Alexei, give you another chance at life.”
* * *
The work had gone well and the transfer point between Luna and Starhell allowed an opening of about eighteen inches. Small as that was, the instant transfer of materials and knowledge was priceless. Information from the labs on Starhell was slowly causing a rise in hope in what was becoming known as the Shapirov project.
And, in return, certain amounts of foodstuffs from Earth, harvested in places that now lacked inhabitants, even in the small amounts that were passed through, made life a little more pleasant in the cold, harsh world that was Starhell. It was a good situation, promising, as George and his crew of scientists made progress, to get better.
Then, as the first Doors were connected from the moon to Earth allowing a quicker transfer of needed supplies, that promise just became brighter and brighter. And, soon, as areas of some stability were found and as agents were to be successfully inserted into those areas it was hoped that more than food and clothing could be sent to Starhell. It was hoped that new recruits would be sent through to help with the mammoth task that Starhell promised to be.
It was for this goal that Jonkil et Sharma called the meeting. And it was for that goal that those at the Lunar base, who were a part of the project, attended.
“We have located one hundred nineteen areas of reasonable stability that can possibly be used for the project. Most of those, however, owe their stability to strongmen who have gained their power in the manner so prevalent in Earth’s history. Those areas have been rejected for the project.
“Of the twenty-six areas left, fourteen are within close enough proximity to the areas controlled by strongmen that we do not feel there is enough time to build stable societies before they are taken over by those units. So, we have twelve areas that can possibly be penetrated and led to a level of civil society that might meet Galactic Council standards for a civilized society.
“It is possible that there are more areas, but Katia has sent me information that indicates impatience in the Council and we must accelerate our schedules to reach the needed level of civil society. That level will take a good deal of time to reach, time we may no longer have.
“Grand Minister Shapirov will endeavor to give us as much of that time with whatever delaying tactic she can use in the Galactic Council, and I will do my best to lengthen the time it takes to write the Final Report on this system. By law, a system cannot be englobed until a final report is submitted and accepted by the Galactic Council.”
“We know this, Jonkil,” replied Olga, “we have some contacts with the Council also, or did until we ‘died’ in the ship explosion. Johannes and I have found, among the twelve identified areas, a small Siberian village that we are about to go to. We have been there a couple of times already, posing as itinerant healers. We are going back permanently in a week or two since we have gained their confidence enough to be asked to stay.
“So, our schedules are already accelerated.”
Jonkil et Sharma then turned to Sean and nodded. “There is a small group of people in the old American territory; near the Rocky Mountains that have built a small society they call Newtown. It is in an area easily protected and a bit hard to approach. They regularly send out a person or two to find and recruit people who can be of use to their village. On their last jaunt out I managed to get myself recruited as a tinker. I am to meet the recruiters again in two days and be taken to one of their leaders to gain approval.
“Satellite pictures and spy cams have given us enough information about this little society to put them way up in the needed survival factors. I think they will be one of our better areas of recruitment for Starhell.”
It was the turn of Takeshi Kurihara to speak; “I am about to go to an area of China that has a strongman in charge, but he is a more progressive one than those in other areas. I will go as a classical scholar, Dr. Jiang and will try to be the one General Chu is looking for to start a school to make his people stronger. The good general has come to the conclusion that if his people become better educated than the areas around them, they will become a more cohesive and a stronger society.
“That means that I can start out, if I can convince the good general that the classics are just what he needs, with one of our main goals, educating the society in civilized concepts, already in place and supported by those now in power.”
Jonkil et Sharma looked around the room and saw that no one else was ready to make a choice. “This is good. It is a small start, but it will be one that will teach us much. Observation equipment has already been inserted carefully into these areas. We will be able to monitor things both effective and non-affective.
“The rest of you will be assigned as contacts for these three projects and you will learn from their successes and failures for a period of time before you are assigned, sometime in the next year, to one of the areas left.”
* * *
Looking at the papers before her, Katia yelled out to Cyr, “Cyr, now you have gone too far. I am not going to introduce this bill to the Council. It is obviously a way for you to get your ‘medical studies’ enhanced on this ridiculous project of yours. I cannot allow you to use Council resources for selfish purposes.”
“It is not proposed to enhance my ‘medical studies’ as you say; it is proposed because of the Brion IV disaster.
“As you know forty million people died because of the Chanlar epidemic that hit that planet. It would have been worse if a cure had not been found on Soltek. If we had the database proposed here, and known of the cure, it is estimated that ninety percent of the victims would not have died.
“What most people do not know is that the cure for a disease like Chanlar had been discovered over one hundred fifty years earlier. The Ministers also do not know that there are in the medical histories at least ninety other such epidemics that needlessly terrorized worlds when a means to control them was available on another system in the galaxy. The data base proposed in that bill would have found all of those control methods and medications.
“If, in setting up the database we are able to find ways to help you, then that is only icing on the cake.”
“If what you say is true, Cyr,” replied Katia, “and I know that computers don’t use data incorrectly — you tell me that often enough — then I would be remiss if I did not introduce this bill.
“I will, though, have to have all the particulars that go with the reasoning behind the bill. It has to be proven to the Ministers before they will accept it.”
The printer on Katia’s desk began to spew out pages of data — with print on both sides of each sheet — at the rate of eighty pages a minute and continued to do so for the next hour and a quarter. It was then gathered and bound into several volumes for display to whoever wished to read them.
The same processes simultaneously occurred in each Minister’s office. As it turned out, no one really read them because they were so overwhelming in scope that no one but an academic would ever be up to the job.
Katia introduced the bill and, within weeks, the Galactic Medical Data Center, with fourteen web-linked Crossus VII computers, was ensconced in the Melichson Institute of Dreamer’s World University. In addition there was another computer linked — by a back door — to the Crossus units; one known only by a few in the galaxy as more powerful than all the others combined, and its name was Cyr.
* * *
To be continued...
Copyright © 2011 by euhal allen