Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Investiation begins....

Jackson enters the arboretum on the space vessel, looking around for the structural differences mentioned in some reports he was given while still on Cordelia. “Jerrik, this is very different from what we were told the Konair would be on. Are you sure he was on this kind of ship?”

“Yes. This was the design of the flag ship. The only difference between this ship and the Konair’s was the shielding.”

“The shields were dual level shielding, correct? Outter and lower?” Jackson walks around the room, comparing what he is looking at to what he has on his schematics.

“Yes. Added for his ship alone, at the time. We have since upgraded that to a standard for all of our ships.” Jerrik stands, nearly at attention, waiting for Jackson to complete his comparison.

“Would the shielding codes have been encrypted?”

“Yes, they would have had to be. Everything on board the Konair’s vessel is uniquely encoded. The Captain, Executive officer and a trusted member of the senior staff are the only ones who know this coding system, at least the only ones on the ship. Why do you ask?”

Still looking over his data tablet and back at the materials in the arboretum, “We only forced down one shield that day.” Jackson, then turns to Jerrik wondering if this even bothers him. Doesn’t notice a reaction, Jackson walks across the room, hoping to get a view of the shields up from inside.

“One set of shields are up at all times. The second would only come into place once an attack started against the outer shields.”

“Yes…well, the second level shields never came online. We were sure you only had one, and very light weight one at that. We broke through easily enough. “

“Jackson you speak as if you were on the initial assault team. “

“I was.”

Jerrik frowns “You are responsible for the death of the konair?”

Jackson pauses what he is doing, looks over at Jerrik “I was part of the team that took the shields out, yes, and I took out or helped to, weapons and power. Some kind of chain reaction occurred inside to cause the explosion. Our goal was to obtain the ship for research and counter actions, not destroy it.”

Jerrik raises an eye brow looking at Jackson. “That does not sound promising.”

Jackson walks back to where Jerrik stands, turns so they are both facing out the window. “Well, now you understand why this war did not feel right to me, from the start. My people were convinced to attack a ship of exploration, by the look of things. This would not make sense. We did nothing to cause the chain reaction I saw, another reason why I’d like to know who is behind this.”

“I suppose under those circumstances I would desire very much the same.” Jerrik hands him a data tablet from his pocket. “This has one interview that was not in public record.”

“Who would that be?” Jackson begins to read the interview, eyes wide. “She saw this? She saw the events leading to the explosion?”

“Not all. Just those around her brother.”

Jackson starts to read the interview carefully. “She said someone pushed the Konair back into his room before it exploded. She doesn’t know what the person looked like or who it could have been, right?”
Jerrik nods “Yes, that is what was in the report.”

Jackson frowns. “Alright, when we are done here our next stop is to talk to the Sonteria.”

“I provided you with a highly classified document that does not mean she has more to add to it.”

“Yes, Jerrik, I realize this; however that does not mean she doesn’t either. She is the only living eye witness among your people.”

After considering his point a moment, “Yes…you are correct. She is the only living eye witness, on Zarrok.”
Jackson starts to review his options. Going over a list in his head of stops they should make, he realizes the Sonteria could be put off until another day. He knows that there was another ship in the area that should be available to enter and research more details about the battle that started it all. He also knows that with the effort of reconstructing from the various vantage points they may see something that was not seen before. His only regret is that the Konair’s ship was destroyed completely and that the computer core was never recovered from it, knowing it would have held the recorded events on the ship that day.

Jerrik indicates he should walk with him. “Jackson, you have much to see and learn of the Zarrokian people.”

“Yes, I understand that much.” Walks looking over the data tablets and his notes, hardly paying attention elsewhere. “What I’m not understanding is why both of our people were givin the impression they were under attack.”

Jerrik nods, continues to walk, realizing he’s not paying attention, takes the arm of his shirt and directs him into a small room. “Jackson you need to pay attention. I’m walking you through some very sensitive areas. If you are going to learn the answers you want, you have to watch what is going on.”

Jackson looks up from his notes. “hu?” looks around. “ yea..I just…” lifts data tablet. “need to keep this in mind. Sorry. You’re correct. I need to be watching.”

“Good.” Jerrik walks out of the room, Jackson next to him.

As they walk through the ship Jerrik bring Jackson to the engineering section of the ship. He walks Jackson through the offices then the propulsion system. The chief engineer showed him to a simulation room, where they run several different options for a ship of this form to explode. Several options show something similar to what Jackson recalled from the night they boarded the Konair’s ship. Then the engineer runs a simulation that starts in the propulsion drive section of the ship. The chain reaction leads to explosions in four different locations leading up to the bridge, before it also explodes into the darkness. Jackson’s eyes  go wide, staring at the exact duplication of events. He explains how his teams were pulled quickly back to their ship, and explains how he was almost caught in the third explosion because of how quickly one lead to the next. The engineer agreed that his assessment fit this model.

Jerrik frowns as they go over the possible triggers, then offers one of his own. “Would an interruption to the antimatter stream cause this?”

The engineer looks at the guard, nods “yes, depending on what it was, it could. What did you think of?”
Galk looks at the simulation, then holds up a small medallion, roughly the size of his fist. “Something like this, not obviously this item.” The engineer takes it from him, looks at it carefully, scowls a moment until he figures out what it’s made of, then nods in agreement with Jerrik. “So it could be something small thrown into the stream?”

“Yep. All it has to do is interrupt it in several places, which would occur in the effort of throwing it into a stream.”

Jackson looks at the exchange, makes several notes, then turns to leave. “Jerrik we need to get back.” He walks out toward the transportation room, nose in his data padd, again not paying attention to where he is going.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

History that haunts some...surfaces for all

Once they are on their way, Galk speaks up “I am glad that you are no longer neglecting betrothed.”

Anazlyn continues to walk to her meeting, clearly distracted and missing what was said. “Have you spoken with Jackson recently?”

Galk smiles slightly, but speaks evenly. “No. He has been occupied with the Dolk Wilton, for several weeks.”

“Weeks?” Anazlyn pauses her steps. “How does that work? Should he not be…?” She shakes her head and resumes walking. “Please advise him that I require a meeting later today. We have some areas to cover.”
Galk makes a note on the data tablet he is holding, then “Sonteria you also have an appointment with Slarc and Dopath.”

Galk stays silent for a long while before asking “When will you be addressing the council again?”

“I will later. I cannot bring myself to stand in front of that many people so often and get the same anxiety results. There must be some other way to handle that address…although someone could stand in for me, I am thinking maybe something remote, what do you think?”

“Tradition says that the address must be given before the council of families at least twice a session. It does not say that it cannot be done by satellite feed or other method. Is knowing that you will be speaking before so many diplomats at once what makes you uncomfortable? If it is, there are many options to address that.”

“I have not ever been a fan of public speaking, well not for myself anyway. I know I can deliver a speech, and I know I can entertain as needed, but to speak before a crowd that vast…I just find it...uncomfortable. Parin however enjoys that kind of focus and attention. “

As they walk Galk notices two of the advisor’s office doors open, just slightly. “Yes, that does seem more of his area; however that is not his responsibility at this time.” He opens her office door, surprised by the person sitting in a chair, facing the Sonteria’s desk. “Why are you here Jackson?”

Without acknowledging Galk’s statement Jackson begins “Sonteria, we have a problem.”

Anazlyn walks in, as if oblivious to the interaction, walks around her desk noticing the pile of data tablets in the center. “What kind of problem, Mr. Jackson?”

“Not one I like to consider, however the evidence is there to indicate our worlds may have been intentionally manipulated into the war. “ Jackson indicates the data tablets on the table. “Each one of them has some piece of the puzzle and I still have not put it all together.”

Holding the first tablet she sits down, begins to read it. As she does she finds much of the information disturbing and she becomes obviously uncomfortable about it. “What makes you certain these are accurate?”
“I’ve taken the time to fine the right sources.”

“Jackson what makes you think you have?” Galk walks to the Sonteria’s desk, and picks up another tablet, then begins to read it, scowling over the details.

Jackson leans forward on his knees. “The information comes from sources on both planets, I can’t promise that all of the sources are the most ideal, however I can tell you that all of them seem to have some of the same highlights. A Zarrokian business man, indicates he is the council representative, he has intelligence indicating a plan to attack or be attacked, depending on who he’s talking to. He’s convincing enough that he gets to the Cordelian President, and that leads us into the pre-emptive attack.” His tone is matter of fact but his posture is unhappy.

“I have a hard time believing a Zarrokian would want the loss of life we have experienced, on either planet.” Galk continues to review the tablet he is holding, still not convinced.

“I would have the same position, however it appears Sarket Jackson has been very thorough with his investigation thus far.” Anazlyn frowns while she continues to read, after several moments of silence, she looks over the desk. “I want you to finish this. Find out who would want to create this upon our peoples.  You’ll work with Galk on this project.”

“Sonteria, I must object. My job is to protect and assist you.”

“Galk, you will retain your post, while you are working with Sarket Jackson. When you are unable to attend another can take your assignment until you return.”

Galk looks as if to say something, not looking forward to the idea of being assigned to work with Jackson, thinks better of mentioning it. “Yes, Sonteria. As you wish.”

Jackson looks up at Galk, unphased by his attitude, then back to the Sonteria. “I can handle this one.”

“Galk has information you do not, and cannot access, even as a Sarket. You require his assistance, even if you do not yet realize it.” Her tone was very calm, but her expression was anything but. Reading through the data tablet and listening as Jackson spoke turned her state of mind, less than pleasant and she reflected this in her face and position. “Is there something specific you’d like from me Mr Jackson?”

“Access to the records on the station near where the first attack occurred.”

She look up over the data tablet and evenly tells him “it’s classified.”

Jackson frowns “With out that information I will be unable to put the next piece of the puzzle in place.”

“Galk can get it for you.”

Jackson speaks calmly. “I understand Sonteria.”

Anazlyn looks between them for a long moment before speaking again “Make sure you two keep me apprised of the progress on this. I do not want to be caught by surprise on any part of the investigation. You report only to me about these things.”

Galk stands at attention, nods “Yes, Sonteria.”

“Yes, we will keep you appraised.” Jackson sits up a little straighter. He looks at Galk realizing he should be doing much the same, but doesn't.

“Good. I look forward to your first report.” As Jackson stands and they both leave, Anazlyn continues to review the pile of research he left for her. “I don’t understand why anyone would bid their own people ill will.”

Galk and Jackson walk into the office, Jackson puts down his tablet, sits frustrated in the office chair. “Galk, I know you don’t like us working together, but the Sonteria seems to think we should. “ He tosses the tablet in Galk’s direction. “That should show you what I’ve been up to.”

Galk scowls, grabbing the tablet, gruffly “Why you looking over this anyway?”

“Because, nothing about the start of the war felt right. Then I was not ranking enough to make a difference, now I can at least figure out what happened.”

Galk looks over the tablet, glances in Jackson’s direction. “You have been doing a lot of research, and have made some hefty contacts.” Jackson nods, stretches out on the chair, which annoys Galk. “Why are you so relaxed, you have work to accomplish.”

“Because Galk, I have accomplished my goal thus far today, and I’m taking a break.”

Galk focuses on catching up on the research done thus far.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Lesson in Tradition is not always clear

Walking into the grand hall, Anazlyn notices that the room becomes uncomfortably quiet. She leans over to Parin “What is this?”

“Tradition big sister.”

“I don’t understand.” Anazlyn looks around the crowded room, realizing all of the Zarrokian families are represented in the room. Notices the banquet has been served, but no one is eating. “What tradition?”
Parin grins, then whispers “I guess you’ll have your memory refreshed in a moment.” He nods toward the front of the room, where Kareth stands with a sword in hand. Parin stands a little straighter, stares Kareth in the eyes from the other side of the room, he nods, then takes his sister by the hand and walks her toward him.
“Parin, why wasn’t I included in this?”

Parin whispers never leave his gaze from Kareth. “Because you’ve been avoiding betrothed since they arrived. This was the time, so we planned it for you. Thank you for dressing for the occasion.” Parin fights a smile.

Anazlyn walks down the aisle, holding her brother’s hand, knowing shortly she will be given to her husband to be. Uncomfortable, but not showing it, she maintains the most elegant posture and behavior she can manage. As they arrive to Kareth, he pulls the sword of his family to his face, holding the blade flat against his nose, and then he speaks the words of the ceremony, requesting the hand of his bride. Parin offers it, in exchange for the fee to be paid. Kareth hands Parin the sword, bows slightly and takes the hand of his bride to be. Anazlyn stands watchful through the entire exchange, then holding Kareth’s arm, she walks with him to the head of the table, sitting together, the crowd begins to cheer, the couple smiles and take the first bites of food. Once both have begun to eat, the room follows, and the ceremony is concluded.

As they eat Anazlyn looks at her betrothed, trying to find the most appealing qualities. “Kareth, I must apologize for not being a part of this preparation.”

“It is fine Sonteria. I do not expect you to have much involvement with such trivial matters.” Kareth continues to eat, not looking toward her, but toward the rest of the table.

Hurt by his remark, she puts her fork down, seeing she has neglected a portion of her duties. “Kareth, I am sorry.”

“I am sure you are. I will not debate that with you.”

“Kareth, you are rightfully upset at me. I should be more interactive with you and your team. It has been six months of council and I have been neglectful of my family duties. This is not what I wish to start our future off as.”

Kareth softens his demeanor slightly. “Anazlyn, I know you are busy, and I know the traditions of our people can at times, be difficult to abide by. I have my own reservations at becoming Kolnair in this manner. However, we both agreed to do what is best for our people. That may mean personal sacrifice. I know my duty. Are you willing to do yours?”

She looks at him, then across the room at the plethora of people who attended this very simple, but important ceremony. Then she looks back at her betrothed, Kareth, realizing now why her family selected him. “Yes, like you, duty to our people is crucial. You are correct; I will do what is best for our people as well. My reservations for the process come because I was not groomed or trained to take this role, this was to be my bothers. The war changed that, and …I just haven’t come to terms with it I suppose.”  Anazlyn picks up her utensils again and begins to eat. “It feels like accepting this part of the duties finalizes his death, and I guess…I’m just not ready for that yet. I will change my efforts.”

Kareth, puts down his food, and then looks at his wife to be, surprised by her confession. “I am sorry you lost your brother in this. We can’t go back and change things. We move forward, and we do it both for ourselves and our people.” His normal stoic look, relaxes into a calm, tender and thoughtful expression. “We will be married just after your coronation. We will face this together.”

Surprised by the power and kindness behind his words, Anazlyn smiles and says “Thank you, for your kindness and patience. I will make more time to do what is right for our future as it involves our people as well.”

He takes her hand a moment, giving it a gentle squeeze. “We will discuss all of this tomorrow. Perhaps breakfast on the balcony?” She nods and then starts to eat again. “Good, tonight we enjoy the betrothal ceremony and reception. It is always better to celebrate than mourn.” He smiles.

“You are correct.” Anazlyn spends the rest of her evening bragging about how wonderful the night is, and how the surprise was appreciated. Everyone enjoys themselves and as the betrothal party stands to depart for the evening together, the room stands in applause.

Breakfast was lovely the next morning, as they both spoke of things of their past and plans for the future of Zarrok and Cordelia. By the end of breakfast the two are speaking on familiar terms like old friends. The attendants clear the table, and show in his personal assistant. The well cloaked figure enters. She says nothing until spoken to.  Kareth continues to talk to Anazlyn as though it were just the two of them.
Anazlyn looks at the cloaked woman. “I know you, don’t I?”


“Is it time?”

“It is not time yet. No.”

“Is that soon?”

“It will be. We will know when.”

“Yes, that I believe.”

Kareth watches the exchange, then looks at Anazlyn. “You understand her cryptic talk?”

“Yes, Kareth. Some things are left said simply.”

“Agreed.” The cloaked figure then smiles under the hood.

A moment later Galk enters to fetch the Sonteria for a meeting. “Kareth, I look forward to breakfast tomorrow.” Anazlyn smiles and follows Galk out the door.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lessons to learn

Arianna sits in her room, calming herself, starts to reach out slowly with her mind to find the people nearby. She smiles when she touches Kareth’s mind, then moves on from there. Carefully she identifies the guards outside her room, then the Konair as he returns for the day. Feeling more confident she reaches further, finding many minds to account for. Suddenly, one finds her, projecting to her she stops her search. Arianna projects to the mind that found her ~ who are you? ~

~I am like you~ the voice echoes in her mind, calmly.

~how are you like me?~ Arianna hesitates, the new skill is difficult to focus, but finds that focus here comes easy.

~I am telepathic like you. You are not confident with this are you?~

~No. I am not, not yet. This is still a fairly new skill for me.~ Arianna opens her eyes and looks around the room, making sure there are no listening devices or speakers.

~No you are alone. I am only here because you came to me first.~


~I am sorry if this is uncomfortable. Are you Cordelian? ~

Confused by the question, Arianna hesitates to answer ~No. I am Zarrokian. You are not?~

~No. I am Cordelian. ~

~I had no idea that Cordelian’s were telepathic. ~ Arianna stands up and walks to the bed, sits more comfortably.

~ Most are not. I was not made aware that the Zarrokian people were either.~

Arianna smiles broadly. ~ Most of us are not, I however am, and need to be. I am just learning, that is why I am not confident.~

~Just learning? You were not born with it?~

~Yes…I was born with the propensity for it, but it did not appear until recently.~ Arianna pulls her hair out of the hood of her cloak, before continuing, ~ I have to teach myself enough to serve the people of Zarrok well.~
~So you can read minds now, right?~

~Yes, and project thoughts as words.~ Arianna makes certain that no one is due to enter, removes her cloak and puts it on the chair next to her bed. ~ How long have you known you were able to do this? ~

~All of my life.~

~So you have had a lot of time to practice. Is there a way I could ask you to help me learn?~

After a long pause the Cordellian woman agrees, with one condition. ~I do not want you to discuss who I am, or what I can do with anyone. I have maintained a quiet understanding all of my life, I would like to avoid disrupting it.~

Arianna finds this odd, but understands why someone might want this to count this among their secrets. ~Yes I will keep this quiet. I am Arianna. What is your name?~