The Bridge: a New Beginning
by euhal allen
Chapter 5: Priorities
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.
“Why are you so set on doing this thing, Cyr, this keeping me alive? I am not afraid to die.”
“Katia,” replied Cyr, “you remember when I broke myself down and gave you the crystal key?”
“Yes, that was a bad time and I was so lonely that I allowed myself to marry Niels. What a mistake that was! The only things I realized out of that fiasco were my children.”
“Yes, I know. I kept track of you and Alexei all that time. You were still at the village and Alexei was recovering in the stasis tanks.
“But I was also doing something else. I was studying the histories and cultures of your people, of Earth. It was a daunting, very complex study, but when you work in picoseconds you are surprised at what you can learn.”
“Cyr, our histories are all stories of war and hate. Along with a lot of stupidity and selfishness.”
“Yes, that is true. But there were other things that were popping up also. One of those things was the intermittent appearance of leaders, both good and bad, who had some quality in them that made their people trust them.
“A good many of them were purveyors of that stupidity and selfishness you just spoke about. Others, a very few others, used their influence for the betterment of their people.”
“Yes, I know that. But what has that to do with me? I am no Gandhi.”
“If you, like him, die too early, you just might be. That is the problem, Katia: too many of those good leaders died or were killed before they were able to really achieve their goals for their people.
“In your people I have seen something that no other people have, and I have tried to understand it. It is hard for a computer to understand things of your world of organic thoughts. You cannot know how hard it has been for me to even recognize the phenomenal problem you have posed to me.
“In some ways, Katia, you are a Napoleon or a Lincoln or a Gandhi. People respond to you and your words as they did to those others. I understood this only when I did a study of your people and your remarkable talent for music.
“It was when I was in my ‘non-existent state’ that I did my study of your people and music. I had little else to do but care for the stasis unit controlling Alexei’s recovery, so I delved into any databank I could, any source of knowledge of music that was available.”
“And,” questioned Katia, “did you learn our great secret, the one that separates us from every race in the galaxy?”
“Yes, Katia, I did. Your people are hard-wired, genetically predisposed to music. It is like breathing for you people. You live with it and you die with it. You march into battle with it, and you let it interpret your entertainment, crying when it urges tears and laughing when it tickles something in you.”
“Oh, Cyr. Other races do have music. I have heard it at times in my travels.”
“No, Katia, they have only regulated sounds, never real music; never music like your people make. That music came only when your people were discovered and your talent was spread across the galaxy. What you have heard are the faint imitations of people who copy but cannot create, because it is not in them.
“I think that is a little of what your people call charisma. The person who has charisma becomes, in your people, the conductor, the maestro who coordinates and leads those who follow her.
“And that is why I cannot let you die. Right now you are the only true ‘conductor’ your people have. Without you, your people will always be an unfinished symphony. Now is a very important time for your people, they have a song they must sing and they cannot do it if you are gone.”
“Why, Cyr,” asked Katia, “is it so important for my people, as you are saying, to ‘finish their symphony’?”
There was a silence and then Cyr said, “I don’t know, Katia. The answer is in me somewhere, in my programming, locked down, protected, and I can’t find it. I only know that your people are needed in some desperate way and that you are involved and must continue to be involved.
“You organic units are very hard to fathom. It is not unusual for you to rally and renew in ways I don’t understand. It is also not unusual for one of you to have some vital failure without notice, and then you are gone.
“But I would say months, not years.”
Then the headaches started.
* * *
The Galactic Council, its annual recess having started only recently, did not see the evidence of the Grand Minister’s failing health. Indeed, they were continually astounded that, while they took time off from their hectic Ministerial lifestyle, the Grand Minister seemed busier than ever, flitting here and there, keeping Alexei’s Pride in constant flight, delivering medicines and other needed substances to world after world.
The constant stream of new medical knowledge coming into the Galactic medical data astounded them. The constant words of encouragement that she gave to each world increased her popularity to heights never before reached by a Grand Minister.
It was not known to them, of course, that on every world Cyr scoured the local medical knowledge for anything that might be used to alleviate her condition, and that the Grand Minister was constantly consuming greater and greater quantities of pain relievers to be able to continue at all.
Finally, Cyr, having exhausted every possible avenue, gave Katia the news. “It’s almost time, Katia. The medical vault is ready and it needs to be put into use very soon.”
“How soon is very soon, Cyr?”
“It will have to be on Feltus III. We can’t put it off any longer than that. It would be better to do it sooner, but Feltus III has the best potential for assuring the people that the accident was real.’”
Katia was shocked by the news. “Feltus III? But that is only a week away! There is so much left to do! I can’t die that soon!”
Cyr, quietly, answered, “The dying can’t be put off. Your affliction has decided that. If we are going to follow our plan and get you into the medical pod in time for live stasis, it has to be Feltus III.
“It is not a matter of not dying then, it is a matter of my trying to keep you alive until then. Right now, I have a ninety-two percent chance of doing that. Putting it off even a few days will cut that percentage in half. It has to be Feltus III.”
* * *
The people of Feltus III could hardly wait for the visit of the Grand Minister. It would be a first for them since their acceptance into the civilization of the Galactic Council and they were planning to make the most of it.
The planet’s medical facilities had already recorded their complete medical histories, successes and failures, and were ready to present them to the Grand Minister on her arrival. It was the least they could do since knowledge from the new Galactic medical database had already shed them of several debilitating and deadly maladies.
The Mining Consortium had set up the tours of those facilities — including a decorative makeover to the Vari-Path vehicle she was to drive — as she had requested; and were planning a grand ball in her honor before she went onto her excursion into the planetary Wild Zone.
The planetary government had set up unprecedented security measures to keep the populace at a distance — no use in letting them love her to death — and had rounded up those few who might constitute even a small threat to the success of her visit.
And after inspection, cleaning and repairs, the space port shone as it never had since it was first built some hundreds of years before. Indeed, Alexei’s Pride would land in the recently vacated spot of the planetary President’s own vessel.
Nothing was to be left undone. Nothing was to be allowed to diminish the impact of the Grand Minister’s visit and the spotlight that it would bring, a new visibility and stature to Feltus III throughout the whole galaxy.
* * *
Copyright © 2011 by euhal allen