Tag Archives: novel

The Antierra Manifesto – blog post #47

… That was a warning to get myself together, and quickly.  More effort, when all I want to do is lie here, be taken care of and let the world go on without me.  Oh, to just wallow in self pity and pure wonderful misery.  To be a bitch.  To be dead!

He walks out of his office looking pensive and the automatic door swishes closed.  I got a glimpse of the sky, still cloudy and windy but not raining.  A cold draft finds my back and I shiver.  It’s not just the cold I am reacting to.

[end blog post #46
______________________
[begin blog post #47]

Don’t they say that when one door closes, another opens?  I turn to YBA5.  I feel the flesh on her bare arm with my finger tips extending beyond the bandages.  It feels normal, human.  She covers me and rubs a heavier wrap over my goose-pimpled flesh.  I smell of lavender or something.  I smell human.  No, better, I smell like a woman.  I wonder what my hair looks like.  I must be alive.

All this while the Cydroid has her hand on my forehead with a finger pressed against my temple.

“Your hair is fine Antierra.  And I’m holding back some of your pain so you can feel normal.  No drugs, I know.  But your young friend left you a priceless gift: a box of stim cubes.  Let me know if your pain becomes unbearable and I’ll split a cube in half, give you just enough to ease your pain.”

“You can mind read?  Mind meld?  What kind of AI are you?”

“Ah, one question at a time.  I’m a Cydroid, as you’ve been told, a clone of human genetic material with artificial intelligence – not human.  I do not possess human feelings, only mimic them from mind-touch – we do not like the term “mind meld” as it presents a form of invasion.  AI’s are particularly wary of mind invasion probes.  Despite the many safeguards we build within ourselves, we are more susceptible to mind probe attack than full humans for we do not carry the confusion your egos create in interaction between mind and brain, nor can we so easily fabricate “mindless” or irrational verbal expressions such as your use of swear words. 

We only mind touch when the human or the other AI has given its permission for us to proceed.  I can sense your thoughts because I feel you wish it.  I know when it is not desired.  Nothing happens then, just what you call white noise.”

“White noise… hah, yes.  That’s what I mostly pick up from the fighters in the cages.  Only in the training can I pick up disconnected segments of thoughts.  White noise is caused when the mind blocks probes…

And having caught a thread of thought I wish to share with this person I continue:

“Or as on most pseudo-human worlds where genetic deformities and pathological diseases are the norm and where telepathy is rare or non-existent, the telepath encounters white noise from minds completely scrambled, full of true madness or autistic.  A dysfunctional mind does not create logically sequenced thinking.  The binary code necessary to form the thoughts for verbal communication has empty sockets; is missing parts of itself; is gapped. 

“Hence we have deduced why some autistics can accomplish amazing feats with their minds with certain numbers, or “observations” that do not translate into a life equation.  They can “count” but they cannot really “add.”   Their simplified view jumps across the normal logical and logistical connecting details (missing from their wiring), merrily skipping across the board from number to number – without being able to make a logical connection that gives the reason or purpose as to why they should be “counting” for example. 

“A bit like this: if someone is “doing it” for example, with a purpose, four marbles plus four marbles will equal eight marbles.  To the one with the missing detail (the marble) it narrows down to four plus four equals eight.  The equation has the same value, results derived much quicker because the ‘non-essential detail’ has been removed but translated into life, it becomes, not so much meaningless as useless. Just numbers in space, not connected to reality.  To communicate you need to connect the “necessary detail” to the number. 

“This falls in the same category as information versus knowledge.  You can access tons of information and remember a tiny percentage of it for some  useful purpose if you happen to have that kind of brain but if you access only that information you really need, apply it to experience, then you have knowledge.  You never get knowledge without experience.”

“Yes, interesting observations.  I have ‘such a mind’ – she adds smiling – I have stored that for future research and comments, should I function on such a world.  Thank you.”

She bows to me.  She stands beside me and I gauge her size.  Slim, just slightly taller than the people of Malefactus, slightly darker of skin – looks like she does tan – and of finer build – like expensive china, her skin softer even than mine. 

“Do you always look like this, or are you able to shape-shift to match any human form on any world?  Can you explain the cloning process used to “make” Cydroids;  how you function within a human society or what your real purpose is?”

“No, I don’t shape shift.  It’s too hard for us.  We’d have to re-enter the cloning tanks and go through a painful and expensive process.  I use disguises, that’s all.  I can change my voice and have a working command of any language I wish to use.  We are telepaths and we simply make sure, as when on a world like this one, that we are never together in the same place.  Everyone of us is the same person to those who are not acquainted with our type of life.  We are all clones of the original who is cloned from generic, if carefully chosen, genetic stock. 

The originals, purchased by Doctor Echinoza are vat-stamped YBA (Y for the female chromosome and BA for the initials in the name of the purchaser, in this case, Balomo instead of Echinoza – there were other “EC” entities being processed) and XBA (X chromosome for the male, etc.).  A woman or a man of means who wishes to own a Cydroid has to legally adopt one before the cloning process can begin.  Illegal Cydroids are unknown.  If they were found they’d be terminated and anyone involved would be jailed for life without parole.  The reasoning behind this law is sound.

“The first Cydroid cloned for Dr. Echinoza was male stamped XBA1.  If the person is truly wealthy, or involved in civilian or military off-world “research” (you can just imagine what “military research” can mean!) the cloning process for more can begin but only after the first is fully integrated in our society.  First, the legal documents must be procured, approval granted and costs met up front.  Koron’s economy does not allow for monetary debt.  Others there are of course, but must be hidden, or as I find in your mind, the term is “laundered” – that’s funny.” 

She smiles like a child with a new toy.  I think she is falling in love with my mind or perhaps the outlandish terminology and images there! 

“So Bal, I mean Dr. Echinoza is a research scientist attached to the civilian side of government on Koron?  Is there a cross-over here, on this world, between civilian and military goals?”

“Absolutely not.  Dr. Echinoza hates all things relating to military and para-military activity.  He would sooner abandon his own research and the notoriety and profit of it if he had to share his results with military minds.  Of course he realizes and so do we, that he does not have complete control over what is done with his notes and discoveries from his research.  Militaries, in any society, spy on everyone, but particularly on the very society they are supposed to be protecting.  They are always pushing for more “state security measures” which, when translated means more surveillance of, and control over, their own people.  As far as Dr. Echinoza and other influential people like him are concerned, all militaries, wherever encountered, should automatically be disbanded. 

“It has never been proven that on the long run any military benefited any society it purported to protect.  All military forces are there but for the ease of extracting power from those who trust them, or must endure them.  Fear, through lies, is their modus operandi.  But I digress and I apologize.”

“No, it’s OK.  I did ask and I appreciate your candid answer.  I have similar feelings in that regard and my own experiences on Old Earth support Dr. Echinoza’s assessment of the military.  Please continue to explain what it is like to be a cloned Cydroid.  The subject fascinates me.”

[end blog post #47]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #44

(I must be tired… forgot to post the title of this blog post…)

Fate, yes.  Some Earthian friend of long ago called it karma.  Whatever it was I would pit myself against, I would serve Earth again.  The people would never know but she would know.  She would be grateful.  “Ich diene.”
[end blog post #43]


[begin blog post #44]

Chapter 20 –  Goodbye until the End of Time

The day drags on, yet the moments fly.  I strain to hear sounds from the kitchens that indicate Deirdre is there, working and in her inimitable way, amusing the other workers without seeming to do so, right under the eyes of their guards. 

Why am I torturing myself so?  I act as if I were a pubescent girl in love for the first time with a man who pays no attention to her.  Damn.  What a predicament.  Now I can understand what those poor Earthians went through with their own personal love affairs I thought were so stupid.  Now I certainly could empathize.  Now I’m living their pain.  What a terrible thing this inloveness is!  And the worse is yet to come.

I dread the time of evening meal.  She will come out, unaware, innocent, and will give me my bowl with her beautiful hands, the long fingers shamelessly running over my skin, her hair brushing my bare shoulders.  She will lean against me for a few moments before moving on and returning into the kitchens.  And I will never see her again.

The sun has gone behind the battlements and Albaral has not risen yet.  We end our training for the day; put away the wooden and rough or worn out fibresteel weapons we train with.  Wash and get in line for count, inspection and finally our evening meal.

Two of our own have not returned from the arena.  I should feel something for them, I know, compassion and a real sense of personal loss, not necessarily in that order.  But what I feel is envy.  I’m jealous of their new found freedom.  Death means it’s over, all the pain and suffering we are made to endure; that so many endure all over this world.  Death means we find peace finally.  We can fly away free for as long as we wish it.  Death is our blessed realm.

Of course that is an incomplete picture, but my mind is not into completing images right now.  I feel torn and shattered.  The count and inspection complete we line up at the tables and sit, waiting silently for our meal.  The clattering in the kitchens stops and silent young servant women file out, each with two bowls in hand, passing them out.  Deirdre is not among them.  Again I’m paralyzed by fear that something happened, that our plan was discovered, that they’ve taken her to kill her.  I can barely eat, yet I must so as not to arouse suspicion.   

The meal over we wash our faces quickly as we pass the washing troughs, then file into the cage compound, each to our own.  In the gloom I see a young woman in my cage, and for a moment I think it’s Deirdre but it is not.  She could pass for Deirdre in size and no guard recognizes the subterfuge.  I don’t know where they found her or how they got her into my cage but it satisfies the official count.  I sit next to her and she moves against me, crawling between my legs as the young ones often do, like young animals seeking a mother’s warmth and protection.  I hold her lightly and wait.  More lights go out and there is the usual noise of the changing of the guard outside, only with much less volume than usual.  Many less men out there.  Then as the automatic alarm systems fully set themselves, no one remains in the yards to accidentally trigger the sensors. 

Rising Albaral is hidden behind phosphorescent-edged clouds above the keep.

With night comes the expected storm.  I can hear the thunder far away and soon the wind comes up.  Heavy drops of rain spatter far above on the tiled roofs, sparsely at first, then increasing to a true downpour. Distant lightning flashes and my heart beats as loud as the thunder.  After a time a trainer comes to my cage and opens it.  The young woman, startled begins to stand.  She is ordered to lie down in the straw and to not make a move: she won’t.  Guided by the Cydroid-trainer’s extended arm I step out and follow.  In the gloom I see two guards carrying the body of a woman towards one of the southern portals.  Deirdre?  It has to be!  It opens and I want to run out to her and at the very least, whisper goodbye.  The false trainer grabs me and whispers my task again. 

“You have twenty minutes now to lay the marks.  I will wait for you inside the wall and return you to your cell.  Your friend is fine.”

I run out as if I were making for the crossing, then turn sharply, digging in the muddy sand to leave impressions, run down to the water and go in silently, gliding through the deep waters.  For a moment I can even enjoy the sensation of swimming, even though the water is icy.  Reaching the far side, I run up the bank far enough for my footprints to get lost in the shifting sands.  I steal one moment to stand and stretch in the breeze, outside the keep, giving myself a momentary illusion of freedom. 

I carefully retrace the steps, backward over the first set until I’m in the water, turn and, as silently as before swim back across the moat.  I take a different path along hard ground and rock, back to the portal that immediately hisses shut.  The false trainer leads me back to my cage.  It’s now empty.  I understand the simplicity of that part of the plan here:  I go in with Deirdre; a trainer orders me out of my cage in the night and makes me walk outside the walls and back.  When I return Deirdre is gone.  Meanwhile in reality my false companion is returned wherever she came from and cannot be found to be interrogated.  In any case, she would have no story to tell except she was put in the wrong cage, in the wrong line-up.  She could not know why the mistake was made.  My lies and her innocence almost guarantee a dead-end.

I spend the night transfixed in thorough angst, ice running through my veins – feeling more alone than I remember ever having felt.

I look up through the only opening visible where sometimes you can see a star or two, or where Albaral crosses.  It’s still dark and raining so if they reach the craft in time, assuming they have a reliable carrier that won’t be grounded by lightning, it will have gone through the clouds and become invisible quickly. I can see and imagine the shuttle craft streaking across the skies picking up speed to vanish on its way to Koron, a trip that should take the small craft just a bit over six months shunting time.  How I long at this moment, to be aboard that craft!

Goodbye until the end of time! 

“Don’t look back when you reach the new shore,
Don’t forget what you’re leaving me for,
Don’t forget when you’re missing me so,
Love must never hold,
Never hold tight but let go.

Oh the nights will be long,
When I’m not in your arms,
But I’ll be in your song,

That you sing to me, across the sea.
Somehow, someday, you will be far away,
So far from me and maybe one day,
I will follow you,
‘Til then, send me a song.”

(excerpt from “Send me a Song” by Celtic Woman)

And I cry for us, for her, for me. 

Not all of it is sad. 

I take comfort in the Cydroid’s words of certainty.  She is safe.  What else matters? 

For now I must try to find some sleep.  Tomorrow we will be subjected to the inevitable investigation.  Escapes, even attempted ones, are taken most seriously here as I’ve seen.  If the investigators cannot arrive at logical conclusions regarding the events, they will arrest individuals at random and send them to be interrogated by the inquisitors.  Most will never return.  They will be made to endure the most extreme sophistication of torture ever devised by pseudo-humans, either to extract information (the lesser reason) or satisfy the torturer’s lusts. 

Since Deirdre is my friend and known as my lover, I will certainly be one of those chosen for the inquisition.  Ah well, it’s the price you pay for loving, for caring, for standing out in some way and for upsetting the status quo which I’ve already done much of.  I know in my heart that even if I had nothing to do with Deirdre they would come for me.  I’ve been on their list of suspected subversives for some years now, whomever ‘They’ be.

This I must share here: my experiences on Old Earth taught me well as regards those we are forced to call ‘They’ in referring to ‘Powers’ we know exist but cannot identify because they are chameleonic in nature and use humans to camouflage their evil works.  We’ve always known ‘They’ exist and have power of life and death over us, never mind how many legal ‘rights’ or safeguards we are given under the law.  Whenever we choose right over wrong in their viewpoint and according to their arbitrary rules we are targeted as the enemy; terrorists, subversives, spies and in many cases we forfeit our lives to them.  So, let me emphasize that ‘They’ are very real to me. 

I must sleep now.
[end blog post #44]

 

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #40

 Is there a relationship between the Melkiar, perhaps in some of their early penetrations in this Galaxy and the black metal men who defeated the green Desert Beast by blowing her ship out of the sky and subsequently enslaving the women and children of T’Sing Tarleyn?  What about the chronology of these events?  What happens to “linear time” when crossing dimensions?  Could the Melkiars have wandered in this dimension thousands of years ago while at the same non-linear “time” invading our dimension of the Galaxy?

Obviously I’m not yet asking the right questions but I’ll get there.

[end blog post #39]
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[begin blog post #40]

And this brings me back to worrying about Deirdre.  Should I try to speak to the Cydroids alone?  Would they communicate with me, help me?  Could they take Deirdre aboard their ship and deliver her safely to Koron or some friendly world where an empath would be accepted?  How much autonomy do they possess?

In physical form Deirdre cannot go to Altaria for it is one of the “hidden worlds” tucked as it were inside the folds of a non-accessible cross-dimension outside the reach of any known technology.  Only avatars guided by off-world Altarians can find their way to my world.  Alone, only fully self-empowered and freed minds can work out the complex space telemetry required to find it and even then, the world itself passes judgment by mind probe on the one who would enter.  If the  probed mind fails to pass the test it will simply believe it has entered empty space.  The fold closes as a wave over a fish that has surfaced and takes Altaria down into its protective girdle of deception and confusion.  Sometimes when a non-Altarian friend is dying a WindWalker can ‘guide’ that one to Altaria with a code name as I, as Al’Tara, did for Tiegli.  But Deirdre is not dying, that’s the point!

Further only a full-fledged ISSA human being can live there; one who must have mastered the process of physical manifestation or reincarnation.  Nothing physical from “outside” can enter Altarian space within an average distance of ten parsecs.  So it was decreed by the Ancients, and agreed to by the Galactic Council of that time.  The alternative, had the Galactic politicians refused this hidden status, was for the Altarians to simply move their planet to another dimension, a parallel galaxy.  They were quite prepared to do this but the loss of Altarian empathic altruism was considered too high.  Millions of worlds in the process of terra-forming were being guided by Altarians.  Would they leave their work to follow their world?  If they did remain, how would they fare in time, unable to return home for necessary readjustment?  What would they become? 

I’m beginning to suspect I know only too well.  You become lost.  You remember but you are no longer what you remember.  You become “where” you are located.  You fall into the same disease pattern as did the ancient “time lords” who created the Melkiar AI invaders.  Matter seduces you and you die.

Altarians are entities who mind-link to their base world in order to function.  If it is not the native world of Altaria, then it will be whatever they are on.  They will “become” the evil and the good of it; their minds ingesting the thoughts; adapting the feelings and with the erosion of time, fall into the lowest category of the pseudo-human: the emotional entity.  Their beautiful voices become nothing more than the susurrations of sand moving eternally and mindlessly at the behest of the great winds.  That is how you kill an Altarian.  Too many have already fallen to their deaths that way and can no longer remember.

Possibly, I could send Deirdre to Nova Elora, a planet-sized entity who according to what I remember should be currently in orbit around one of the Pleiades suns.  This ancient universal wanderer has quite a story and what I know of it should probably be told.

From digital records discovered in the galactic wandering library-mind called Aíoná, an excerpt from the story of Nova Elora according to Altra WindWalker, the “male” counterpart to Al’Tara, her brother and also an Avatari:

Assisted by Al’Tara, I went through a dimensional doorway and entered the Pleiadian star system worlds.  I was as a ball of multicoloured light and floating on what seemed like a liquid light.  I came to a stunningly beautiful planet which was actually a planet-like being of feminine energy.  Her name, as translated to me is Nova Elora.  This being is a universal wanderer which has become a galactic healer, a resting place for ailing, aging or tired sentient life-forms.

There were many other balls of light of differing colours, emitting various frequencies of energy also floating all about this being.  Some were still, some danced, some floated along slowly and some zoomed by me.  I found it was possible to get close to some of these beings and meld in with their energy.  There had to be mutual consent and compatibility to do this.

As I observed in awe at all that I was experiencing, I saw that the sentient beings, the balls of light were being periodically touched by the planet being’s energy. Wisps of soft, white, light-like energy would rise from the being’s surface, much like arms, and upon reaching a ball of light or a sentient being’s essence, for such it was, the arm opened like a hand.  Small strands of light, like fingers, curved around the balls of light, cradling them.  Some it stroked gently, some it re-directed, sent spinning wildly or sent arching off on mini-orbits in every possible direction.  It seemed like a game and I too participated in it. 

As I was touched by Nova’s extensions, I felt her love.  She held my essence in her energy field, filling me with the fullness of sensual experience.  I felt empathy, compassion, unconditional acceptance and pure pleasure.

Nova opened her telepathic channels to me and related part of her story.  I saw her beginnings as a wanderer; her search and bonding with a male energy like herself.  I felt the depth of her pain and loss when her partner was destroyed in an attack upon them as they wandered through the depths of space.  Her loss was the greatest in that she could not find another like herself as she continued her search.  During those lonely times, she vowed to discover a way to share her love and wisdom with other sentient life-forms everywhere.  She came upon the Pleiadian worlds and stated her desire.  She was welcomed there and assigned her own orbit.  She was granted full right to be a healer and impart whatever knowledge she had garnered through her eons of wandering the universe.  Her healing powers and wisdom are made available unconditionally to all who come to her for healing and enlightenment.

This place or entity is perfectly suited to Deirdre’s empathic nature, but how to cross the dimensional barrier?  The Koron stealth craft does not have such capability and they have no idea how to construct such a drive.  They do not possess the rudimentary understanding of the physics involved in designing and using a Shearing-type drive.  Even if they were able to design such a drive and they believed me on the existence of such ‘other’ worlds, I could not promote physical interactions between those worlds, at least not now.  So my reasoning would be purely self-centered and selfish.  I cannot do that.  It remains that the only way people from ‘here’ can cross to ‘there’ is through physical death.

Meanwhile I have to entertain an even broader concern and that is concerning the women fighters.  I still haven’t figured out how to communicate even the simplest of abstract ideas to them.  I can interact with them on concepts such as weapons tactics; the psychology of hand to hand combat and basic skills they require to stay alive and bring down an opponent.  But that they should question the why’s and the wherefores of it, that is beyond any of them. 

Only the Cholradil understands but she is an outcast among her peers.  The women avoid her and if she approaches one who is hurting, she is often beaten and sent away.  If I have my way, she will not be here much longer.

By her branding she is now fifteen years old.  She has maybe one more year before she must enter the arena and I still have no idea what criteria they use to decide when a new trainee makes her debut in the arena as an official fighter.  The way it looks, unless someone notices her and buys her out of this place into concubinage or the sex trade – not much of an improvement from what I’ve heard from the two “demoted” concubines I’m in the process of training for the arena – Deirdre is doomed to die within the year. 

I cannot let that happen.

end blog post #40

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #39

The second fight has lasted over three hours.  Later the doctor tells me it was the longest one-on-one combat fights ever recorded.  Even as Torlat still twitches on the ground the King rises, ends the tournament and dismisses the unruly crowd with a show of force from several hundred black-clad uniformed and armoured Hyrete police held in readiness.  As the police units file down the aisles in the stands all outbursts cease.  The fans file out to consider their staggering losses and a few to rejoice over their winnings.  Despite the mounting evidence that female fighters will overcome their male challengers on an average of three to one, these sick men cannot believe the evidence, going with their feelings of revulsion and hate; believing women are weaker than men and continuing to place their bets on the male challengers.   

I live another day, and to what end?  For the moment, there is but one end: to save Deirdre.

[end blog post #38]
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[begin blog post #39]

Chapter 17 – If One Woman Escapes

In the weeks following the fight I am employed, or better said, occupied, strictly as trainer of new recruits.  It is a time of reflection and observation.  I think about my performance, not in the physical realm – there is not much I could change or improve on that – but in my heart and in my mind.  I think about what I thought I would do here, and what I have done instead.  In deep and constant retrospection, I analyze my feelings.  The killings are now beginning to haunt my thoughts.  I feel like a murderer of innocents.  Innocents because I realize they are pushed to be what they are.  Something drives them, something they have no defence against.  I encounter that same feeling of helplessness and frustration I knew so well on Túat Har when I encountered injustice and the various levels of oppression constant in all her societies.

Balomo Echinoza, medical doctor and anthropologist, citizen of the world of Koron, intelligent, educated, aware; an interstellar traveler renowned for his research and writings, after fifteen years on this world is succumbing to the same misogynist force that controls all the men of T’Sing Tarleyn.  He falls into moods of uncontrollable rage against a woman if he feels she has slighted him in some way and strikes her without any qualms until the madness recedes and he realizes his act.  Then he plunges into deep despair.

How much longer before I too become like other gladiator females and fight simply because I want to live and I have no other choice, or worse, because I want to kill men?  I realize now that both the men and women of this world are victims of some Power beyond their will to overcome.  Even the rare Cholradil, the natural born empaths, do not see the problem of Malefactus.  They see themselves as the problem for being unable to become normal members of their society.

I thought at first the problem was in the local natural stimulant drug made from the chakr root.  A simplistic conclusion that was quickly proved wrong.  Neither Bal nor I use it and the few times I did, it only made me sick.  And why do the Cholradil – both female and male – remain immune to the sickness? 

Yes, I did learn that there are male Cholradil on this world.  The males never live past the rite of puberty.  When confronted by the female he must kill, she invariably kills him, end of story.  So, according to Deirdre, Cholradil males absorb large quantities of chakr in desperate attempts to overcome their dreaded affliction – all to no avail.  They cannot hurt another, no matter what is done to them and no matter what they do to themselves.

So, does one have to be born a natural empath to be immune to misogyny or can one develop that sense somehow?  I have no answer.  The only side issue I find from this line of questioning is that I would never want to become a natural empath.  To be driven to whatever end by a feeling you have absolutely no control over is a terrible thing.  It’s too much like an addiction.  On Altaria we are empaths by choice.  We choose how we respond to our feelings. 

I remember a time when I was going through particular angst over my visions of this world.  I entered into an extended fast without food or water.  To do this I walked up the green hills of my Altarian home near the valley of the Great Rift we call Shaliant.  I got to the top after three days of steady walking, not stopping of day or night – there is seldom any real darkness there because of our binary sun system.   I remember my feet being guided to my destination by the very soil and stone of the planet herself during my ascent, for she too is an empath. 

At the highest point I sat on a smooth red mound of sun-baked clay, now abandoned, made by travelling swarms of long reddish coloured architect beetles.  These creatures build their mounds over long years of endless work, going through a full cycle, then suddenly swarming and taking flight to the very last, travelling hundreds of miles before they must descend again, lay their eggs in the ground and die.  The emerging larva then begin their task of building a new mound.

Long I stayed awake through the days and the nights, sitting motionless, thus becoming more aware of life’s movements all around.  I knew the fundamental impressions I was taking from my world would keep me sane enough to know when it was time to return, whatever happened to me as a result of my choices.  They were the trigger I would use to cause the remembrance of my true self, whatever the dangers, the temptations or seductions put before me.

Allow me to describe this small aspect of Altaria.  Mists filled Shaliant in the mornings and gently lift, or fade throughout the day as one of our two suns fill the deep canyons to reveal the sinewy bed of the river Fallouin, longest water course on Altaria.  I could hear the dragged-out cries from the majestic osoleys, or sea birds, below the promontory outcropping where I sat and sometimes could see them soaring slowly and gracefully on the thermals far below my vantage point, their grey-blue wingspans up to five times the length of my body.  They come in from the sea during their breeding periods that last approximately two years.  Their time at sea we measure at seventeen to twenty-one years depending on the species.  There are tales on our world of the old sea people (still known as the Mer-people on Túat Har) talking to the osoleys and of their children riding them.  I believe these tales have more than a little truth to them.

But I hadn’t climbed to the top of Shaliant to enjoy the beauty of this totally unspoiled natural space, nor to guarantee my return in some future.  I had come to rediscover another aspect of myself… and to cry alone.  There is an odd flow of intelligent “mind” energy over Shaliant that has the power to block all telepathic connections.  It is so strong that you cannot take any flying object over it, but must circumnavigate it.  It blocks all flow of information from artificial computers.  Only natural life can penetrate the mystery of Shaliant, or survive in it unscathed. 

I wanted to block out the protective, empathic love of Altaria that flows naturally through all of us.  I wanted to re-experience loneliness, as I had known it on Earth and knew I’d know even more on Malefactus.  I remained on Shaliant for over a month.  I relearned how to cry within a brokenness of heart.  I relearned to allow all my feelings to jumble in and out of mind and heart and throw me in utter confusion.  I relearned how to live within the mad cacophony considered normal on non-empath worlds.

It was from these heights that I chose to fade out of my Altarian body, allowing myself to fall over the edge of the Great Rift, plummeting into the maze to re-awaken and manifest physically transformed, on Malefactus. 

Speaking of Malefactus, there is more to this world that makes me wonder.  I cannot see much of it from the confines of our sleeping and training compound, but in this micro environment some things are obvious.  You never hear anyone sing.  It is prohibited.  Why?  There are no visible birds except for the vultures that appear without fail at every killing.  There are no animals, wild or domesticated, except for whatever makes that lugubrious call on our walls in the night.  You rarely see a blade of grass growing along the base of the great stone walls or in fissures and cracks, though there should be.  If one does grow and is found, we are supposed to pull it out and bring it to a trainer to be disposed of… as if a freely growing thing was a sign of disease, or weakness.  Of course no one does that.  Any green thing we find, that being rare enough, we eat!

No flowers, wild or domestic, are ever seen.  No leaf ever blows in from outside, so my guess is there are no tall trees, at least in this part of the world.  Tiegli mentioned trees that made tents in the deep south.

Where do the vegetables we eat come from?  And the straw we put in our cages?  No answer.

I’ve been here several years now and the only thing that has changed is in the amount of sand blowing in and spreading in the yards, in the washing troughs and on the tables and seats.  We have to clean it out and sweep constantly.  I notice less rain also and on rare occasions our water has been rationed.  When I first came here I was aware of a salty sea smell on certain days when the winds blew strong and steady from the north-east, bringing in clouds and rain.  Now the smell is brackish and of rotting sea vegetation as on hot days when the tide goes way out in a collector bay.  I’m guessing the level of the water is dropping.  Is this a natural cycle or an environmental anomaly?  Is the entire planet experiencing desertification?  I have no answer.

Well no, that is not quite exact.  I do have the beginning of vision dreams now.  For years I wondered why my ability to dream was gone.  I think the same force that causes the misogynist imbalance is also responsible for preventing people from dreaming.  I know the women don’t dream, though some have reported seeing things at night akin to nightmares but they “see” their dreams as something happening outside of themselves.  They see ghosts wandering around the cages and walking through the walls.  They have little sense of creativity and most dismiss “brain images” as nonsense that will get you killed in the arena.

On recurrent dream is an image of the planet imploding, with all of her natural life force simply flowing out of her, leaving her, as if she were dying and sending off seeds of herself to re-grow herself somewhere else.  If this is the case, it may come to pass that the sun will also die and all that will remain to light this doomed place will be the cursed Albaral, assuming of course that it is indeed self-powered and its light isn’t just a reflection of the natural sun.

Each time I verbalize the name of Albaral I find myself entering a psychic trance and “seeing” ideas as well as images connected to this artificial sun.  This time I see the image of “Melkiar,” not as invading AI’s in spaceships, but as a gigantic artificial life form frozen within an ancient shiny black metallic carapace housing some kind of mind once an ISSA life, now drained of every aspect of its original self.  A monstrous entity capable of programming AI’s to destroy all that it once was, as if doing so could erase the memory of what it had been before greed for longevity corrupted it. 

Where do you exist now, in space/time, Melkiar?  Where are you?  What are your plans?  Is Albaral one of your observation posts? 

Could there be some connection between this world and the invaders of the United Treaty Worlds?  For example the doctor’s old auto-medic cannibalized from one of the UTW jump scout ships that was sunk beneath the massive stone walls of Hyrete: how was that embedded under a fifty meter thick foundation supporting a twenty metre stone wall without being damaged?  Melkiars could morph from thousands of small armed robots to giant inorganic brains encased in elephantine carapaces that could withstand the most powerful fusion weaponry.  The only way we learned to destroy these monstrosities were with tripleheaded singularity grenades which create multi-level fusion bursts that “ate” their intended target then “died” before they could expand into an uncontrolled melt-down.  

These Melkiar constructs could travel unaided through short distances in deep vacuum space.  They could hack their way through the hardest stone, causing havoc in mining communities of asteroid fields.  Certainly, if they did penetrate the Malefactus stack world dimension along with the jump scouts, they could have easily taken an auto-medic and placed it here.  The question foremost in my mind remains, ‘Why?’  What use would they have for an auto-medic designed to repair biological life forms, namely human bodies when their entire drive was to destroy all biologicals?

What else could they do we know nothing about?  Much research into their particular type of life ended with the wars.  No one wanted more to do with them.  Probably another big mistake.  But logically, if there is any logic to this place, why would they hide an auto-medic here in Hyrete?  Is it possible there are AI rebels even among the Melkiar who sought to save human lives?  Is there a relationship between the Melkiar, perhaps in some of their early penetrations in this Galaxy and the black metal men who defeated the green Desert Beast by blowing her ship out of the sky and subsequently enslaving the women and children of T’Sing Tarleyn?  What about the chronology of these events?  What happens to “linear time” when crossing dimensions?  Could the Melkiars have wandered in this dimension thousands of years ago while at the same non-linear “time” invading our dimension of the Galaxy?

Obviously I’m not yet asking the right questions but I’ll get there.

[end blog post #39]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #37

(from the last post: )His entreaty is genuine.  I reply, “You’ve given me two reasons to come out alive sir.  Deirdre and you.  To be cared for as a slave woman in this place is truly the ultimate gift.  To be cared for by a man?  If I did not honestly believe that all things are possible I’d say to myself, ‘this is impossible; it’s a trick.’  But I believe you.  I want to believe you doctor.  I need to believe you.”

[end blog post #36]


[begin blog post #37]

Chapter 16 – To Save Deirdre

“Let me introduce myself properly to you.  My name is Balomo Echinoza.  My close friends call me Bal for short.  Can you find it in your heart to call me what my friends call me, without fear of reprisal?”

“Doctor Echinoza: that is a beautiful name sir.  It is difficult for me to call a man by a first name.  But I will do it, even if it brings up your anger against me later.”  My words cut him, I know, and I wish I hadn’t said them but the pain of being struck so viciously across the face, and by someone you thought you could trust, a medical doctor, is not so easily dismissed, even now.

“Doctor Echinoza, I have a question I’ve been keeping in the back of my mind for years now.  Why, when I entered my first fight those years ago, did you say to me, ‘We want you to kill him,’ of the pompous dandy who made the challenge?  Can you now tell me who he was and who ‘we’ were, or are supposed to be?  I know that in my own small way I’m part of a subversive process in this society which I understand, but what else am I involved in with you I have no idea what it’s all about?”

He consults his chrono wrist-com.  “We still have a bit of time before the end of your rest break; yes, I can answer your question.  It was discovered by my Cydroids, and related to the King by me that the man was a spy working with his brother to overthrow the legitimate King and install the brother in his place.  This was, of course, before we made the royal switch at the castle.

“This was an opportune time to get rid of the spy without letting the brother know we were onto his intrigues and conspiracy.  You served us well, without knowing.  It was of course not possible for the King to even think in such terms since to them you can only be a fighting animal of high calibre; a wise investment perhaps, but one which he would have soon tired, not having the brother to contend with.  In the course of time you would have been re-sold,  certainly as soon as you showed any signs of slowing down.  The high ones like their fighters not only powerful and agile, but also sexually attractive.  Your efforts to put some entertainment value in your fights have paid off for you and we are grateful.

“Things have changed somewhat now.  Nevertheless “our” king must demonstrate similar traits to the original, and you mustn’t take anything for granted.  I already said the Cydroids can be literal.  Despite their training and understanding of life, they can be as ruthless as any other man here, circumstances demanding.  The pattern to keep for the cloned King is that he readily tires of his concubines and fighters.  He could order your death should that serve his ends.  Now that you have accepted to join us in our attempts to resolve some of the problems of T’Sing Tarleyn, you are part of the “we” I mentioned at the beginning.” 

He frowns as he turns away from me to add, “You may have to die for us yet.  What of that, Antierra?”

My own reply comes instantly, as if I’d though about this much.  “I have known of this likelihood from before the time I arrived on this world and became a slave in Hyrete.  I will die here of a violent death.  I would not be here if I had any doubts about this.  But I did not come here just to die.  I came here as a change agent, a catalyst.  I came to introduce an idea that may grow and change how the women view themselves in relation to men.  You see, I think the sickness you know of does not affect the women.  They are free to change once they understand they are not the ones who are cursed.

“As for you and your people then, it is my understanding that you came here to probe this planet’s energies to discover why this world is apparently “imploding” upon itself, both socially and physically?”

He looks at me in a new way.  He realizes I am two people, a simple slave woman or gora, as caught in the gears of Malefactus as any other woman of this world, and the inscrutable dimension-hopping avatar called Al’Tara and considered by a few of the fighter women to be the reincarnation of their Desert Beast of T’Sing Tarleyn’s ancient lore.  He knows also I am as trustworthy as any member of his Cydroid family or the Cholradil.  But he also knows I possess no superhuman physical abilities apart from the changes he made to my anatomy, that my body and brain functions can be twisted, destroyed. 

He concludes, “Your conclusions about our purpose are quite correct, as I touched on before.  We are concerned and we do want to prevent a total collapse of this world.  I will endeavour to find a way to discuss this with you at length at some future time.  Now remember I have told you these things in complete confidence.  I must trust you now to keep them to yourself, whatever happens between us, whatever is done to you to make you reveal our discussions if my work here is discovered.  You understand?”

“Yes I do Bal,” saying the name thus almost makes me choke with fear, “I will remember.  I know I cannot survive Malefactus but what’s in my mind I will keep.  I won’t let anyone have it.  No force will take it.  I’ve been under torture before, though not by neuro-inductor but we have a way on Altaria to shift our knowledge into parts of our minds that even we cannot access during times of stress or under duress.  It may be the memory of this power will come to me should I need it and I won’t be lying when I say, “Je ne sais rien.”  I do understand that strange ability to lock information possessed by the Cholradil on this world.”

[end blog post #37]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #36

End of last post: … His face turns into a snarl and he lunges.  I parry and slash.  The blade does its work and cuts between the slit in his coat.  Blood gushes from his thigh and he winces, jumps back and prepares for another assault.  He’ll be more careful and more dangerous now. [end blog post #35]

[begin blog post #36

He’s angry more than hurt.  The cut was not life-threatening and did not slow down his movements.  He manages to slice into my forearm but I pull out of his slash in time, replying with another long wide swing that takes him on the shoulder.  To my surprise, the light axe bites through his protective armour and cuts deep into the arm.  He reels back but recovers before I can jump him and administer the slash across the throat I had anticipated.  I get a double cut on the calf of my left leg and now my blood is pouring out.  Were it not for Deirdre’s gift of stim and the cheelth coating in the laces the fight would have ended there – a sobering realization.

Risking it all I pull within his swing and turning as if to drive my pike in his stomach, I balance on my good leg and let the other rise impossibly high – doing those splits everyday may yet pay off – and having activated the hidden sole blade, I bring my leg down again, the tip of my sandal aimed straight at his heart.  This was beyond anything he could have anticipated or any information he may have purchased because I have never used this move since the day I killed that “careless” trainer, and that was pure accident.  As for the blade in the shoe, I can only guess he thought such a weapon too silly to be of any value, the extra weight on the feet not worth the effort and dismissed the concept. Remember what I said earlier about difference? A weapon does not have to be superior if it can help create the unexpected.

He cannot parry the kick in time and doubles over, the look of contempt for me frozen on his face.  I pull my foot back, regain my balance, swing the good edge of my axe and slash swiftly with my remaining strength.  His head is almost completely severed from the neck and I watch the corpse twitch to its death, the bloodied mustache hiding the rictus smile.  I practically eject myself from the fighter trance I’d hypnotized myself into to make myself aware of my surroundings and the sad shape my body is in. The stim is still working and I haven’t begun to feel my pain yet.

Instead of the usual spitting and cries of “Death!  Death!  Death”  there is no sound coming from the stands.  My trainers come and take me down through the tunnel.  Is it over?  I survived and I’m alive?  Same question each time.  You never get used to this even though you tell yourself each time you will return.

After roughly stripping me of my armour they take me to the shower stall and dump cold water on me.  I almost collapse from the shock and pain from my cuts.  I barely hang on to the edge of the trough, bent over, one hand in my mouth to keep from screaming.  Then I’m walked to the doctor’s clinic and again Deirdre is there, having somehow managed to get herself released from the cage.  She is allowed to follow behind, doing so in an uncharacteristically meek way.  Once inside the doctor’s office and the door closed, he helps me on his working table and quickly goes to work cleaning the cuts to cauterize them with a laser pen and sew up the worst ones. 

Deirdre holds me down but nothing is given to ease the pain.  I want to scream with the added pain but I understand the need of it: I have to return to the arena for round two, so they cannot give me pain killers or any other drug that would slow me down, confuse my thinking or knock me out altogether.  I must be able to feel my body, pain and all.  Also speed is of the essence so no luxury of time for another treatment by the auto-med.

“The slave will wait for you outside; I must speak to you alone,” says the doctor.  I sense another of those moods in him and say nothing.  He continues to examine me carefully.  I feel his emotions.  I must be exuding an extra measure of those pheromones.  I sense a kind of admiration mixed with loathing and hate towards me.  He would have taken me, even in my condition, I can easily tell he wants to, but some greater force prevents him.

After taking several deep breaths and running his fingers through his hair he says, “You are the only fighter on the roster today, I must warn you.  The reason is simple.  You belong to House Tassard.  No, you belong specifically to the King.  When you first arrived here in Hyrete and were put up for auction by the freelance slave hunters who found you, his aides came to look you over and when they reported what they saw, the King decided to buy you.”  

So that’s what the brother meant when he said he’d kill the King’s favourite animal.  I am the King’s fighter.  All the years I’d wondered who owned me until finally I gave up trying to find out and learned to concentrate on my purpose.  Interesting.  That explains a lot, especially the gradual ‘perks’ I’ve been granted with training and in weapons design, choices and handling.  I wasn’t alone.

“Wonder not I know these things.  I am assistant to the King on a regular basis.  He it is who orders me to take care of you…  but I cannot be here all the time.  I spend much time in the castle with the King, dealing mostly with the more serious state matters for politically, things are not well in Elbre.  Because I cannot always be here when you need me, I arranged for the Cholradil to be given to you.  We have taught her many new medical skills so she can take care of you when I cannot be here, or when I’m otherwise busy.  She has not spoken to you of these things because we bonded her into silence.  Once so bonded Cholradils cannot violate the trust put into them, however impossibly they be tortured or put through truth probes.  They cannot unlock their information to divulge it outside of their own minds.

“So I must warn you again that today is a special day.  It is adoption day for the King.  He has chosen a son from a specially raised group of boys bred for leadership among the aristocracy.  That is how they get their heirs here.  As a sign of goodwill he has opened the arena seats free to all propertied and moneyed interests who wished to attend and has decreed no taxes would be levied – today only – on any profits made from the gambling.  The King of course, hopes you will win.  He has promised to put his personal winnings in a special account for his son.  Believe me, if you do win, that money will be considerable.

“So it’s a great celebration but on the downside, it became known that his brother has been seeking to kill the King to take the throne.  There was much hate between these brothers – who were boys from different crèches.    It was the brother who contrived to have you fight the drook.  Your death was to cost the King a fortune and was meant to weaken him financially.  When you defeated the drook, the brother lost a fortune to gambling debts and legal claimants to the drook’s wages.  He went into a terrible rage and made a vow to kill you himself – a vow eternally binding upon the person who takes it if taken before three reliable witnesses, which was done.

“So he had you watched and also came to see you fight himself.  He took special training in the axe because, as you said, it is a most difficult weapon for a female to handle.  But he failed to recognize the value of your new designs.  He also underestimated both your strength and endurance though it was your speed that cost him his life.  Now his hireling and aide has, by contract and previous arrangement, to avenge the death.  Your next encounter is against Torlat whom I am told, you have already briefly met?”

“Well doctor, I only saw him.  He did not speak to me, nor did he come near me.  The Tassard did all the talking.”

“That is how it is.  Another warning: he is taciturn, yes, but highly intelligent and thoroughly into hand-to-hand weaponry.  Likely he will prove to be even more formidable and dangerous than the King’s brother.  With this one, I suggest you take your time for the obvious reason: it is easier to outlast a known opponent once you know his basic moves than to take on a new one.  Well, I don’t need to tell you that, it’s just a reminder. Also, since you are the only defender for the day, it’s all a matter of lasting out the time.  The King will terminate the sport once you kill this Torlat if you make it last long enough.  Otherwise the rule is that you must face a third contender to satisfy the requirements of gambling.  Third contender, triple winnings.

If the King leaves, the fighting ends.  So make it last, for your own sake.  They won’t give you any reprieve in terms of time, not after killing the Prince.” 

He suddenly reaches for me, pulls me up so I am sitting and we are face to face.  He puts his arms around me and holds me tightly.  There are tears in his eyes and even in my pain I feel a moving of my heart for him. 

He takes my hand in his, squeezes it.  “I care for you, Antierra.  I have lived here fifteen classic years and I am cursed with this planet’s madness, ‘tis true, but I know in my clear moments that I care much for you.  Please be careful in this next fight.  One at a time; just one at a time.  Remember no one can do what you do.  No one can fight like you and certainly no one knows weapons like you do.  You can win this next fight.  You must win it and you will win it.”   

His entreaty is genuine.  I reply, “You’ve given me two reasons to come out alive sir.  Deirdre and you.  To be cared for as a slave woman in this place is truly the ultimate gift.  To be cared for by a man?  If I did not honestly believe that all things are possible I’d say to myself, ‘this is impossible; it’s a trick.’  But I believe you.  I want to believe you doctor.  I need to believe you.”

[end blog post #36]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #30

[begin blog post #30]

“May I continue with this story Doctor?”

The Doctor’s response is affirmative, even eager:  “I am certainly intrigued, Antierra.  Do continue.”

“According to Altarian research in the matter, and something I can vouch to be true from personal experience, when an ISSA dies, it vanishes, disappears, and there is no contact with those who remain in the vacated dimension.  Death is the process that separates the mind from the body and sends it automatically and without recourse into another dimension.  Few have ever been able to cross that barrier and contact the “dearly departed” and even when that has been claimed, the likelihood of the contactee being in fact the real “dead” person sought is astronomically small – perhaps nonexistent.  As an incarnate on Túat Har I have experimented with the process of contact with the so-called spirit of the dead.   I have made myself available to this experience but never have I been successfully contacted though I have been aware of such attempts being made by “someone” or “something” not of the current dimension I was in.

“To give an example. The psychic mind probe on astral travel seeking dear aunt Julie is wide open to spirit entities who sense the expectations found in the probe and can easily mimic the images.  Aunt Julie shows up, looks right, and says all the right things to the psychic who in turn relays them to the paying client.  But there is no Aunt Julie.  No secrets are shared.  The hidden cache of bonds or gold is not revealed.  Platitudes are exchanged.  Nothing more than expensive and time-wasting navel lint gathering, in my opinion.

“The only thing that is likely to happen is the essentially evil entity attaches itself to the psychic probe and, as a jump scout shuttle attached to a destroyer being “sheared” across a dimensional barrier makes the jump with it, the spirit entity jumps back into the psychic’s dimension and joins the growing host of ghosts, demons, spirits and other disembodied entities who haunt these worlds and seek bodies to inhabit and control.  These are not Avatari who can manifest material bodies from thought; these are failed lives driven by selfish and depraved desires.  Some of the more powerful of these failed lives manage to inveigle themselves into the minds of leaders, teachers, philosophers and engineers on various worlds…”

The doctor interrupts at that point to set me back on track.  “You were going to explain the small space ships we found free-floating in our space.”

“I am sorry to take such a round-about way to get there but yes doctor, I haven’t forgotten your initial question. 

“During the Melkiar invasions (there were a series of them) the USC lost thousands of their ‘jump scout’ crafts which they sent in convoy formations to attack the Melkiar ships.  When the Melkiars broke up a convoy and disabled some of the ships, they “fumigated” (killed all biological life on board) the captured ships and propelled these across various dimensions, not destroying them but saving them for some future and still unknown reason, perhaps simply because they were no longer a threat to them and they considered these crafts as having been liberated from their biological controllers and could now go on their merry way through infinite space, as relatives of the Melkiars, or as their children?

“Obviously some of those crafts were “pushed” into this dimension, where you found some free-floating in deep space and which Koron eventually appropriated to its own purposes to further its development of interplanetary space flight abilities, I presume?”

He nods affirmatively and smiles. 

“To make this part of the story more understandable, I’d like to explain about the USC’s propulsion system that can take physical objects across dimensional barriers.  The future of human survival, even on these stack or relative worlds, may depend on greater awareness of this process and consequences of its growing usage.”

“I’m much interested in that.  Please continue.”

“In one of those sorties, a wolf pack of thirty USC war craft engaged a Melkiar main ship who had just translated.  After a violent battle that claimed twelve USC crafts and all aboard, the remaining attackers were able to penetrate the Melkiar force-fields and disable their craft.  In a coup that will likely remain as the great heroic deeds of those wars, the USC troopers boarded the main ship destroying the Melkiars who became helpless when the central computer was blasted with controlled charges of singularity grenades.  The captured ship was taken back to a Federation space port and USC’s finest engineers were put to work on it to discover its drive properties, particularly their ability to just appear and disappear in colourful displays of lights resembling aurora borealis.  The question had always been: “Where do they come from and how do they just disappear without trace?”

“There were those who were convinced that Melkiar ships were able to “fold space.”  The now-famous Paul Shearing, a Leptan physicist who lived his entire life doing research and experimentation in low or zero-g space stations, was called in to study the Melkiar ship.

“Shearing, whose mind it is said functions more like an AI than a human, was able to identify the drive mechanism that caused these ships to vanish and reappear at will.  He experimented with smaller versions of that drive on a UTW craft, using insects and small animals to test his theory that no biological life would survive the “dimensional warping” effect of the drive.  He was correct.  All biology aboard the craft terminated.  After much additional research and re-design he was able to create a new drive as effective as that of the Melkiars but whose effects did not kill the biological occupants of the craft.

Pieta Olnava, a researcher-engineer in parallel worlds theory, a reincarnate who had been a political/religious prisoner killed in a prison camp in Túat Har’s North-East Coalition and partner in a triune marriage with Shearing, offered to take a test drive of the redesigned drive.  She successfully crossed a dimensional barrier in her small craft and returned it to its exact departure point. 

“The Shearing drive was perfected by the Shearing team, Paul, Olnava and Associates.   At first it was installed only on the larger UTW ships.  Great ovoid vessels called space arks were built and designed to accommodate a single gigantic Shearing drive mounted on their underside.  The vessels were sized to house tens of thousands of humans and entire cross-sections of lifeforms from worlds under attack, these remnants to be scattered throughout the then unknown space, hoping that some would escape the Melkiar devastation.

“Behemoth class warships of the USC were equipped with dual Shearing drives and auxiliary standard fusion drives and sent through dimensional barriers to intercept Melkiar ships, blowing them to smithereens when they announced their arrival with their typical light show.

“But that was still not enough to turn the tide.  The huge attached drives were cumbersome and useless in combat.  When not actually active, they were a drag upon auxiliary power systems.  Also they required maintenance which these ships’ crews could not perform under almost constant battle conditions.  If they were damaged in combat, the ships became sitting ducks to Melkiar attacks.

“Then came the revolution that would change the course of the greater galactic human movement.  The Shearing group invented a detachable drive with an x-ram configuration that would engage the ship and boost it into required velocity for the “shear effect” to take place.  Once the shear accomplished the ram pulled away to await the return of its ship, or any vessel equipped to accommodate the detachable x-ram drive.  These automated drives were also equipped with a devastating auto-defense system that would vaporize any unauthorized traffic, including unmanned missiles, entering its scanning field in over a hundred thousand kilometer radius.  Detached, the drives settled into preordained tight orbits around space station, moon, asteroid or whatever world to which it arrived, thus adding their awesome fire-power to the defense perimeter.  Once a ship had been propelled across the barrier it used its dual rear mounted standard fusion auxiliaries to function in physical (normal) space.  These are the same basic drives your “desert ship” is likely using.

“X-ram Shearing drives were installed and controlled by the USC in critical positions within any dimension the USC and UTW federations had ships, ready to propel crippled, retreating or returning ships to their home worlds or send new waves of destroyers and the behemoth planet crushers against the invaders.  Thus were the Melkiars defeated and the wars ended.

“That the Melkiars never caught on to what had happened says much about their computer mindset.  They were incapable of meeting new threats with instant decision-making.  They needed home-based direction.  They could not evolve or adapt to meet changing circumstances.  They could only increase their current efficiency linearly, as any computer does.  They could not alter the basic programming, could not evolve.  When the humans developed a superior drive, the Melkiars were defeated.  Another aspect of their faulty programming: it did not make allowances for retreat or surrender.  Once outmaneuvered or outmatched they could only stand, fight and be destroyed.

[end blog post #30]