The Voyages of the PS Nones
Chapter 13, Aiding Pharos
We rejoin our heroes just after they had beat a hasty retreat from the Pharosian system after being challenged by an Imperial blockade of that world. As we made the jump to hyperstate, there was a loud THUMP, which was distinctly not normal. Of course, it may have had something to do with Robbie's use of a fire extinguisher as a hyperstate engine tuning aid.
Now that we're safely in hyperstate, Robbie asks the Nones to do a systems check. The Nones responds frostily, "Already in progress ... Sir." The Nones does NOT seem happy with Robbie.
Last time we engaged Dybor II's covert operatives, we were boarded by a Hexenjager which had the ability to "phase" through the hull of the ship. Thinking that the THUMP may have been another Hexenjager landing on the ship, Salimar pokes a viewpoint outside for an inspection. Fortunately, she doesn't find anything. Other than the two Hexenjager we've deactivated, we seem to be free of the pests.
At this point, we're not sure how to proceed. One possibility is to contact the media on Aondoar and have them start asking questions about why the Empire is attacking a peaceful neighbor. While it would be delightful to cause trouble for the empire like this, we didn't notice any mention of the invasion while we were on Loald preparing to free Aelwe from slavery. While it entirely possible that we simply didn't notice such a minor matter (from the point of view of the Imperial news agencies), attempting to bring this to the media's attention risks time lock. As a test, Robbie asks the Nones to engage its Stochastic Buffers and attempt to contact one of the Aondoar media outlets. After several minutes, we assume that the Universe is conspiring against us and consider other alternatives.
Morniesul is partial to finding an Imperial Senator to investigate the matter. It wasn't that many years ago that the Senate managed to dispose of Dybor I. They probably would be very unhappy to discover that his clone-son is acting up too.
Yet another possibility is to go back in time and warn the Quishonne of the Emperor's plans. That way they could evacuate the planet before the Imperial ships arrive. Even better would be if the Imperials had just fallen into a trap. Hmm. Trapping the Imperials would require technology to counter the Hexenjagers. The message that Klulimi (and Aelwe) were carrying to Pharos was that the Hexenjager's technology was found at an archaeological site at Axar City. Which is unoccupied in OUR contemporary time, 3000 years ago. This is starting to sound like a plan.
We decide to go back to Aondoar and contact the Pharosian embassy. Since they sent Klulimi and Aelwe to Pharos with the information, we'll probably be able to convince them of our good intentions. After all, we've got Aelwe to testify on our behalf. We've also got Klulimi (admittedly, more use as a drying rack than anything else at the moment), the body of their "clockwatcher" from Loald, and best of all, two Hexenjager.
Robbie and the Nones go through a thorough tuning session. Hell hath no fury like an annoyed computer. We've been heading in a random direction through space and time at a high velocity. The Nones now heads back to Aondoar.
We arrive a day or two after we left Aondoar to rescue Klulimi. Aelwe volunteers to go ahead and introduce us. We decide to just show up on their doorstep in local garb and then "uncloak" to show that we're not from around here. Dafnord decides to stay with the ships and the stiffs.
We arrive at the embassy and Morniesul introduces himself to the young fellow behind the desk, "My good sir. We need to talk to one of your clockwatchers. If not, the highest person at the embassy. Perhaps the ambassador."
The young man stares at Morniesul. It's not every day that folks wander in asking to speak to representatives of a supposedly secret organization. After a moment, he murmurs, "Please wait here," and vanishes into the back of the building.
While we're waiting, Morniesul pulls out his book, opens it to the appropriate page, and takes out Brunalf's egg-ship. As he pulls it out, it expands to its normal size. Brunalf boards. The rest of us take off the cloaks we've been wearing and stand forth in our native garb. Salimar retains her human appearance, but glamours her tunic octarine.
The young man returns with an older man who studies the assembled group. He looks fixedly at Aelwe, then asks, "What is your connection with us?"
Morniesul replies, "We have multiple connections. My kinsman is a student of one of your people." Morniesul pauses. "It is also my sad duty to return to you one of your people whose murder we witnessed. We're very sorry that we were unable to prevent her murder. We have brought the murderer."
"This is ... momentous. When was she murdered?
"Um. In about 5 months."
"What was her name?"
"Unfortunately, we don't know. We were trying to contact her when she was murdered. She passed this note to my kinsman." Morniesul gives the official the note that the clockwatcher gave Aelwe on Loald. He examines it, and then holds his hand over it, passing it back and forth as if he were reading Braille. He writes some information on a sheet of paper, hands it to the receptionist, who takes it absently.
"We can also return you the body of my kinsman's mentor. His name is Klulimi."
At the mention of "Klulimi," our interrogator turns to the young man who was manning the desk and says, "Check the name." Unfortunately, the frontman is staring at Salimar's tunic. There's something about octarine that distracts these people. The older man nudges the younger one in the ribs and repeats, "Check the name" again, this time louder. With a start, the young man drags his eyes away from Salimar, who grins. He goes into the back of the embassy again.
Morniesul ignores the exchange and holds out Klulimi's computer. "This is the message that Klulimi was trying to get to Pharos for you."
The embassy worker activates the system and presses some keys. Satisfied with what he's found, he looks up. "Well. This does much to substantiate your story. And does much to explain problems we've had in the field."
"Yes. That sets us up for the bad news. After we recovered Klulimi, we tried to report this to your planet." Morniesul pauses a moment to consider when we arrived at Pharos, relative to our current time. About now. As we approached Pharos, we were intercepted by cloaked Imperial ships. Fortunately, we were able to get away."
The young man comes back and hands the older man a sheet of paper. He scans it, and looks up, frowning. "Yes ..."
"The good news is that we have the beginnings of a plan. As I'm sure you can tell, we're time travelers. In fact, we're from 3000 years in your past. We propose to go back to our own time and search Axar city for technology to counter the Hexenjager. We hope that the passage of 3000 years will erase the evidence of our search."
The older man considers our proposal. After a moment, he nods his head to agree. "We'll want to take custody of the bodies. Can you handle transporting them here?"
"My kinsman's mentor seems to be in some sort of stasis. He's ... rather difficult to handle. Perhaps it would be best if you saw for yourself."
We return to the ships with the gentleman from the embassy. As we're walking, Kate asks, "Can we have something to call you in case we need to contact you again?"
The man considers, and then replies, "My name is Arioso."
Morniesul says, "If there's to be an expedition back our way, I would think that one of your people should come along."
Arioso frowns. "Our people will be rather thin on the ground. Mr. Aelwe is in point of fact one of our people."
"I was thinking of a clockwatcher."
"I'll see what I can do."
When we arrive, Arioso asks to examine both ships . We agree. He asks for one of the Hexenjager. We say we'd like to keep one, but offer him the one that attacked the woman on Loald. "We need to set up a rendezvous place and time. I also would like a chance to debrief with Mr. Aelwe."
We arrive at the Nones. Arioso looks around and finds the Hexenjager that attacked the clockwatcher on Loald, which is still gooped to the wall. He asks to take this Hexenjager. We agree to let him take it, and Dafnord ungoops it from the wall. Meanwhile, Arioso examines Klulimi. "Do you have any further need of him?" "No." Snap. Klulimi is gone.
We go over to the Obscura. The clockwatcher is in a sealed coffin. Arioso examines it, then calls someone on his phone card. After he hangs up, he tells us that someone will be by to pick it up the coffin in about an hour. "You wanted to talk to a clockwatcher. You have been. You wanted to know how far back to go?"
"Yes. We don't know much about your technology, so having one of your folks along would be very helpful. And I and the people that I currently belong to recognize no relationship to any treaty organization. Some of our party are in one way or another are encumbered by Allied Epochs."
"It is perhaps to our advantage to have someone who is cross-temporal along when Allied Epochs gets into one of its more high-handed states. There are also other groups that tend to stick their noses in other people's business."
"I don't believe that you need to worry about any Ecumenical organizations if you're going into the past in the Reach. It was uninhabited 3000 years ago. You will need a technical archeologist. And we still need a time and place to meet. Do you have any problems with coming to an earlier time on Pharos?"
We look at Aelwe. Morniesul asks "How long have you been here?"
"About 4 years."
Arioso gives us an exact place and time on Pharos 5 years ago. "If you'll stay in port another day, I'll see what help I can get you."
"May I take Mr. Aelwe away to debrief?"
Morniesul sighs. "I really must have him back. So far, we have faced Hexenjagers, the empire, and traveled 3000 years. All this I'd far rather do than report to my grandmother that I didn't bring him back."
"I do understand. If you'd prefer, I could retire with him to a cabin."
"That would be excellent."
Aelwe and Arioso go to one of the Obscura's staterooms. While they're talking, a person shows up to remove the coffin. We help him maneuver the coffin into the aircab.
Some time later, Arioso and Aelwe emerge from the stateroom. Arioso thanks us for our help and says that he will bring help tomorrow. Then he takes his leave.
Well. We've once more got some free time on Aondoar. Markel says that he wants a suit of armor and Brunalf want's some contemporary armaments for his egg-ship. A bit of shopping turns up a suit of Kevlar for Markel and some guns for Brunalf. Dafnord goops them to the outside of the ship.
A day goes by, and a little more, and there's a knock on the airlock of the Obscura. Salimar pokes a viewpoint out. It's Arioso and someone else. We let them in. Just before we open the lock, Arioso was starting to look puzzled, in the direction of Salimar's viewpoint. Arioso says, "I have obtained the services of Mr. Ilyar. He's from Pharos. Mr. Ilyar has been briefed on the crisis. I have also passed the warning back."
Morniesul grins and says "Good. We were hoping at least to allow you to evacuate." He pauses. "There is a favor that you could do me. We've become rather wealthy in this time, but I can't take my money back with me to my own time. I would love to have access to 1 or 2 million marks of something that would be valuable back home. Don't get me wrong. I'm not asking for payment for our aid or anything. I'm perfectly willing to buy it."
"That sounds entirely equitable. I'll have it at our next meeting."
Morniesul turns to Mr. Ilyar. "Now. You sir seem to be in desperate need of a food, drink and a nap." He looks decidedly pale and wobbly. We suspect he's just been teleported across time and interstellar space.
"I'd settle for just the bunk."
"No, no. Grandmother would never forgive me if I let you sleep without providing for you."
Morniesul turns back to Arioso. "There is one other thing. You're going back to some time before our rendezvous. We have two sets of crystals from the Hexenjager. You'll no doubt want one set." He hands them to Arioso. "We'd like to keep the undamaged of the two sets.
Brunalf says, "When traveling, you should check for psilence."
Arioso is startled. This is the first time that the cat has talked.
We show Ilyar the crystals. He's fascinated and starts muttering to himself. Something about "dimensional technology."
Arioso shakes his head. "Is there anything else you need?"
"Then good luck and good hunting." He departs.
Shortly after, we depart Aondoar. We're aiming for approximately a year after we left, plus or minus 6 months.
During the trip back to our time, Robbie asks Ilyar about the crystals. They are a form of dimensional technology. The crystals can get you just outside the current continuum, which would be excellent for teleportation and interpentration, as demonstrated by the Hexenjager.
At the end of two weeks, we break out of hyperstate near a dull looking red dwarf star. The Nones announces that we are in the Impre system. The third planet out is the planet Axar.
Last Updated: 7-Oct-06
©2004 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved