Thursday, 1 September 2016

9. Salvage and Recovery

Explosions? Ha ha, yes, I’ve seen and felt a few of them. In my experience there tend to be two types of person in moments like that. First, there are those who will run in fear from the horror, and second, - those who will run like the devil towards it.
Serve yourselves well by befriending the fire seekers. - They are made of the might that turns the universe - and they will never let you down.
An'ewat Jentha-Korbandin.

Knight Commander in Chief, Order of the Ark Protectorate and Director General.  
Stellaris Militia Intelligencia.

Failure, loss and confusion was all that was left after sixteen hours of intelligence work at the Lunar Keep. Every last staff member and Gobot had checked and triple checked every possible shred of monitor data concerning the apparent theft of the drop team’s Angel. It was time to debrief.
“I simply can’t comprehend why she did it Enik.” Said Tarapel as the two old men each sat broken and weeping in Lord Enik’s ready room. Aethian stood, staring out of the window at the craters, standing to attention like a statue with his back facing them both.
Enik voiced curtly to Aethian’s robed silhouette, “This was NOT your fault Aethian!”
The Spymaster didn't flinch, rather he just stood there with the same grimace on his face reflecting off the glass of the window and back into the room.
“I believe I know why Lemin. It pains me to say it, but I believe Brindi defected out of sheer pent up anger for me, and for the mechanism of her birth.” Enik spoke slowly as he licked his tears from his fingers.
“It makes no sense Lord,” replied Lemin as he continued to dab the tears from his own eyes.
“We are all born of you and the Mothers. The breeding rules have never been an issue, your love and care for us all has guaranteed a long and fruitful life for all of us. Without your discovery of shem bread we would all be long dead by now.”
“Thank you my son, your words are kind but I simply never calculated the Levyethin risk early enough. The mouth breathers are at the route of this whole deception.”
“What will you do about it my Lord?” Asked Tarapel.
“There are things about the Levyethin which are known to only myself and the Mothers. It may be the case that I should have told all of you more about them long ago but you just weren’t ready.” Enik closed his eyes as he massaged his temples with his long pale fingers.

Aethian pivoted wide eyed to face the old men.
“And you tell me this now Enik? - Now? I could have prevented this my Lord! Tell me! Tell me for love’s sake!”
“I cannot Aethian! Not yet!” Barked Enik.
“So, when do you think the time to share these truths with the rest of us will be my Lord?” begged Tarapel, his voice a whisper.
“I don’t know Lemin. I need more time. More time! And I need to call a gathering with the Mothers as soon as possible. Adoni is our most important issue right now. It is imperative that he be trained at the Temple of the Knife and receive his guard for Gia. In the meantime, I want you to build three Archaean Arks, quickly. In them we shall store our entire libraries, histories and knowledge. When you have completed them, we shall bury them on Gia. A last chance for our final stem - in the event that all is lost.”
“A brilliant measure my Lord.” Said Tarapel with a nod. “But where on Gia should we place the Arks?”

Enik sank his head back into his chair and gazed at the ceiling.
“Epistemically speaking Lemin, we should hide them in places where the Ada’maya might find them further along in their evolutionary process. Places which can only be reached with great courage and sophistication. The top of Gia’s highest mountain for the first Ark I think.”
“Ah, yes, I know the very place!” Lemin opened up a holomap of Gia from the table between them. “Here, this frozen mountain top has an elevation of over eight thousand meters above sea level. In order to reach it’s peak an Ada’mayan climber would require compressed oxygen breathing equipment. They would also require a reasonable level of technology and courage to make the assent. If the site were finally to be reached, they would then have to dig. A fearsome task even for us.”
“Quite so Lemin. In my experience, none of our children have ever managed to acquire that level of ability until at least one hundred and twenty thousand years after Ape level. But these Apes have the Elish to quicken their endeavours.” He paused in thought before continuing.
“As for the other two Arks, I want one at the very bottom of the deepest ocean trench - The third, will be your choice and you will tell nobody. The location of the third Ark goes with you to your grave. Do you understand me my son?”
“Clearly my Lord.” Replied Tarapel as he continued to survey the global map.

“What of the now Enik?” Aethian spoke soberly as he stared across the barren moonscape. “If we do not move quickly we could lose everything. You know this my Lord.”
Enik gathered himself together once more with a stern look and eyed Aethian through his dark lenses.
“For the now - we carry on and salvage what we can, but we double our efforts and put the keep on full lock down.”
“And what of me Sire?” Asked Aethian as he finally took the empty seat next to Tarapel.
“You Aethian, - my dearest, sharpest blade,  -You, are with me. I want you to summon your father. Bring me my An’ewat! We must hunt down the Levyethin clutch on the surface - or we shall all die trying!”

For the first time in what seemed like a lifetime, the six initiates of the Temple of the Knife woke in their cots without an alarm.
Ki’entha woke first and was immediately aware of the strapping and shem bread poultice that had been applied to her broken collar bone the night before. It was already healed, she could feel it. Her sleep had been euphoric but very calm. Almost womb like dreams were now fading from her memory as she rubbed her eyes and began to remove the straps.
As she looked around the bunk house, she could see the rest of her brethren stirring and waking.
The Medibot called Rubrius, that had tended to their wounds after the iron palm fights the previous day, was stood in the corner monitoring each of them tentatively.
Soon all six of them had relived themselves of their bandages and splints and were beginning their breathing exercises and fist form motions.
The com system chirped open and the voice of Master Thorin Hassan echoed through the room.
“Good morning Brothers and Sisters. You have done well! I am informed that each of you are now fully recovered from your fights and I would like us to have breakfast in the courtyard - twenty minutes please.”
Jachin and Ibenjin beamed at each other as Leon and Welsen laughed.
“I could eat a Whale!” Yawned Leon.
“As could I!” Welsen grinned as he supplied his friends with a firm nod.
The Gobot Rubrius, toned in, “My work here is done. Heal and be well.” With nothing further to say he powered up and marched out of the room.
After showering and dressing, the six Gia guards filed out into the beautifully sundrenched garden courtyard.

A large round table with eight seats set around it had been placed opposite the mausoleum. The table was covered in fruits, juices and dishes containing colourful rices and chindah of every conceivable variety.
Seated at the far side of the table next to each other with their backs to the tomb were Master’s Raethal and Hassan.
“We eat together here today as equals, this will complete your recovery. - Sit down and feast!” Said Lars as he began spooning mounds of fragrant rice and grapes on to each of the plates awaiting the six students, turning the lower tier of the table clockwise as he served.
Thorin Hassan began breaking wafershem and sprinkling it over each plate as it passed by.
“It is right and fitting that we Master's serve you your food and your first tastes of shem bread here this morning. In the field, there must be a command structure but here in the Temple, we are family.”
Welsen, Leon, Jachin, Ibenjin, Althea and Ki’entha took their seats, excitement blossoming in their chests. A clear air mixed with eagerness and apprehension flooded the table as the holy bread was served under the bright sun of Ishtar Prime.
When all the plates had been filled and everyone was seated, all eight brethren turned and looked at the tomb with their hands raised, in one voice they let out a clear shout;
“We thank our ancestors!”

“Eat! Today you feed from the shem!” Cried Raethal as they all filled their mouths with the much needed food - all of it laced with purest shem bred.
Within moments the powder took hold and each of the six initiates fell back in their seats wide eyed and in awe as their Masters smiled knowingly at each other.
“I know you all!” Cried Ki’entha. “It is as if I have known you all forever!”
Leon bolted up from his seat, “Mathematics! I have it…. I have it all!”
Jachin clapped his hands and muttered, “Incredible, I understand now how to build Angels!”
Welsen laughed a deep booming belly laugh and swallowed before speaking, “They weren’t joking! I have memories from my Great Grandfather’s life - clear as day and here in my mind as if they were my own!”
Althea, dropped her spoon and whispered, “I have awakened! Ki’entha, we are related more closely than I could have ever known! I see the memories, I feel them!”
Ibenjin gawped wide eyed in amazement at Master Raethal, “Remarkable! I have been a fighter for ten thousand years and I see all of those lives inside of me!- What now?”

Raethal and Hassan looked at each other and grinned.
“You have achieved the Holy awakening Brothers and Sisters! All because of the shem bread you have just swallowed and it’s marriage to that fire stone there!” Master Hassan boomed as he pointed at the fiery crystal obelisk in the centre of the courtyard.
“Now,” continued Hassan, “You are fit for the universe! But first you must meet your new Lord and Master. His name is Adoni- and he arrives here today!”
The two Masters and their six students stood and clapped their hands with whoops and cheers.
“Come, come,” barked Raethal over the cheering as they all settled down, “Go and report to the Quarterbot in the training range, you will all be issued with your new Temple tunics of red and grey. From today, you may also grow and wear your hair in whichever manner you wish.”

As the newly awakened students filed back to the Temple, smiles plastered across their faces and excited words upon their lips, Master Hassan shouted across to them;
“We will all be back here in full regalia for the arrival of Adoni and his Choir at high sun! - Enjoy it my loves! - Today your lives have truly begun and your destinies await you!”

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