(I’m afraid I have to “bore” you a bit more with esoteric explanations on stack worlds, space wars and dimensional barrier crossing. And some more philosophy. All a necessary part of the story though. It can’t be just about arena fighting but we will return to that…)
[begin blog post #31
“I have a bit more to tell you about the Shearing drive system that is of great interest to worlds such as these. The drive is a pseudo space folding energy system which propels physical ships across non-physical dimensional barriers at multi-quantum “speed.” It has been ascertained that the drive creates violent (and many observers believe, dangerous and objectionable) disturbances or chaotic conditions on the edges of the barriers but for the time being its benefits are considered to outweigh future costs. Some believe such “costs” will prove catastrophic and predict sudden, inexplicable melding of dimensions, fusing everything within and urge termination of Shearing drive use.
“Much research is being done in alternate modes of cross-barrier physical transport but nothing so far has produced significant or reliable results. The search for man’s age-old dream of finding doorways or portals through which one could just walk to translate unscathed from one dimension to another, or to another point in physical space, these remain dreams, remaining a tantalizing and possible aspect of man’s future.
“It should be noted that throughout human history, war or the threat of war has always been used as justification for playing fast and loose with the natural environment. That has not changed except on a few more evolved worlds such as my home world of Altaria. United Treaty World federations, taking a typically political stance refuse to endorse or veto the Shearing drive. United Space Command insists it would be helpless without it.
“While the debate continues the number of orbiting x-ram Shearing drives is on the increase around all United Treaty worlds, now more commonly referred to as the Supremacy, a hegemony that combines the civilian authorities of the old United Treaty World federations and the military power garnered by the United Space Command during the Melkiar series of invasions. Thus all authority, including those worlds dedicated to religious “freedom” or theocracies in all known human worlds is coming under the sway of the Supremacy. For all practical purposes humanity once more exists under a military dictatorship in all but name.
“Every astro-worlds (artificial moons or space stations that span more than a hundred kilometers and are considered self-sustaining for a ten-thousand or more human population) is now orbited by a least one x-ram shearing drive as a necessary part of its defense system and supply lines.
“Of great interest to you doctor should be the fact that the human Supremacy has no contact with (this time) Earth and her stack worlds. The great galactic human dictatorship has not as yet been able to penetrate the supra-dimension that hides Earth, though its rulers are aware of the existence of such a world and much research is also being done to understand why the Shearing drive will not work in these spaces. I can assure you that it certainly galls the Supremacy to be thus foiled at its varied and costly attempts to break through into Earth’s space. As to the existence of her stack worlds and their dimension, they simply do not believe such a possibility exists. But should they find Earth, they will soon enough discover the stack worlds, that is inevitable.
“If the Shearing drive indeed causes dangerous fluctuations between dimensional barriers this could adversely affect the stack worlds we are now on. Earth, what you refer to as your unknown singularity, and her supporting stacks could well be destroyed. This too we have to keep in mind as we seek solutions to other problems. We are also faced with the interesting fact that the Melkiars were able to send ships into this dimension. The question I have is, were they able to enter this dimension also? Or did they just “propel” the unmanned captured ships into unknown dimensions just to hide them from pursuers? Who, apart from us Avatari and WindWalkers, know of your existence, and if such knowledge exists, what will be the nature of the inevitable intrusion in these dimensions?
“Now we have one more, glaring problem which was never taken into consideration: the real possibility of space travel between stack worlds! People from Koron are now interacting physically with the stack world of T’Sing Tarleyn. The question I ask myself, and must take back to my fellow WindWalkers is, how will this space travel capability affect the stack worlds’ balance? What happens if they develop their own type of dimensional shear and become “physically” aware of each other? What happens if they find a way to exchange ideas across their once inviolable dimensional barriers? The possibilities from your discovery of space flight capability are staggering to consider. Hopefully they can be channeled in positive ways. I cannot even begin to imagine what would happen to Earthian energies should stack worlds go to war with each other!
The doctor has put his elbows on the table once again and is holding his head. “Well like it or not we do have space travel and we are going to use it. If the worlds we explore and interact with are in some way connected to your stack world theory, that is as it is. According to the logic you have presented to me thus far, I think we can… er, will have to, live with the consequences since they cannot be quantified.
“As for your galactic history, it is certainly interesting Antierra, or perhaps I should refer to you as Al’Tara?” Not giving me time to respond he continues, “I am not saying I believe you. Apart from the small space ships you call jump scouts which we cannot explain and which you claim to be familiar with, you present me no evidence I could use. I can sense how your story does clarify certain things. But is it just you creating a plausible case scenario to inveigle us in some personal agenda of yours such as a female take-over of this world with you as Goddess or queen, or is it really true? How can I believe that these Altarians whom you claim as your people are truly benevolent? That your incursion in this world is not just a preliminary fact-finding mission prior to invasion?”
“An old argument doctor. What is truth? We of Altaria choose to consider “truth” as a compendium of experiences coming together as “cosmos.” There is no such thing as an overriding, singular concept we could label “truth” except in an interim, at best a theory that one uses to begin a new search, a new quest within infinity. Truth is our starting point, not the end of our discovery, doctor. Once engaged upon the search, the original “truth” like the x-ram drive, is discarded, perhaps never to be used again should we not return by that route. Somewhere else, we always find another x-ram drive to take us to the next dimension!”
“That’s exactly what I mean! You have a dangerous and devious mind, Al’Tara. The way you present difficult concepts is, on the surface, quite attractive and I enjoy the play. I like the way you move your pieces on the board. But I realize that you have a greater ability yet to hide facts from anyone and that on such a level no amount of inducement or physical pain would extract those facts from you. All in all, I am willing to take my chances with you and trust you. Your mind is the truly erotic part of you. I am glad I got to know at least a part of it.”
“Spoken like a true Koronese intellectual, my dear doctor! And now I am returning to my Antierra persona.”
“Just like that, huh?” He says, looking at me in that strange way he sometimes get. I have returned to my more normal self and respond with my typical shrug that earned me a smashing blow to the head from him once. This time he just gives me a broad but sad smile. I made him re-think some important points at least.
During my lengthy recital of current Earthian and galactic history Deirdre had remained silent and in a state I would have called listless. As the doctor was going to ask a question, she atypically interrupts as if she’d come from a deep sleep. She is running a finger over the facial scar I received in one of my earliest fights.
“Why didn’t the auto-medic remove the scars from her body?” She addresses the doctor with a puzzled look.
A great healer but weak on the simplest concepts of deductive reasoning, my Deirdre.
The doctor’s answer is obvious. “If we removed all the scars and all the signs of the many fights from her body, how would you explain that to the handlers and her owners? Everything we do here would be exposed. I’d be the first suspect on their list. Antierra would be thought of a witch and be tortured to death by the “Inquisition” and I would be next. My place would be searched, likely our auto-medic facility discovered and many others working in this world’s underground would be discovered as well. Our network would be destroyed.”
“Ahhh!” A sound of deep pain escapes her. “It is time for me to die. I cause too much upset and pain around me. I’m no good here. I don’t understand any of the important things.”
I open my arms to her and she throws herself into me sobbing. I look at the doctor pleadingly.
I have to get her away from here before she destroys herself and I’m certain that by some method no one could even imagine, Cholradils can terminate their own lives at will. Could they, like Avatars, stop their own hearts?
And I think, so that’s what you meant when you pledged me to ‘join with you’ – that I would become a part of your underground work on Malefactus. So, what’s all that about a network? A network of what and for whom? Is this underground network made up of other than Koronese researchers? What is the good doctor hinting at that he is not telling me, or not willing to share with me just yet?
Does he withhold information to protect me or to test my sentient abilities? My power of deductive reasoning? Is he testing my intellect? After all, he’s certainly told me enough to destroy him and whatever “network” he’s involved in, should I be exposed and break under neuro-induction questioning. So, he’s not protecting himself, but preparing and training me for some purpose.
He adds, “Yes, I know I’ve told you things you wonder about. I want you to discover how much of what I’ve told you may be suspected in your compound, among handlers, trainers or slaves. I need you to spy for me, tell me, through the kitchen Cydroid, if you hear talk among the men or the women.
“I fear we have been too complacent and rather imprudent. Before your arrival things were somehow different, simpler, predictable. In ways I do not understand you’ve caused an upset in the status quo here. It began when you killed that trainer and the king bought you as his fighter for Hyrete. He has other fighters in other towns also but the main events are always held here. Consequently you became the main event and your affinity for hand to hand combat weaponry has changed the balance. Power is switching to the side of the women, however much they still die, however much they still remain slaves. This, they will have noted by now and some will be asking questions. Your closeness to me puts me in a difficult situation. Seems to me you’ve turned our medical compound into another arena, an arena of mind fighters. ”
[end blog post #31]