Read Star Force: Zealot (SF87) (Star Force Origin Series) Online

Authors: Aer-Ki Jyr

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Colonization, #Galactic Empire, #Military, #Space Fleet, #Space Marine, #Space Opera, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages)

Star Force: Zealot (SF87) (Star Force Origin Series) (2 page)

BOOK: Star Force: Zealot (SF87) (Star Force Origin Series)
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“That’s it? No tribute required?”

“No. And we will not extort you or others with the threat of unleashing a Uriti on your homeworlds…though that is well within my power. We are Star Force and have a long track record of how we fight wars, and if you examine it you will see that such things are not our style.”

“But you would still have the power of the Chixzon at your disposal?”

“Yes.”

“Can you make more Hamoriti?”

“No. To do so would require the original source, and if it has not been destroyed or escaped back to the core of the galaxy, I know only of its previous location long ago, and it is far outside the current travel range of Star Force vessels.”

“And if you had this source?”

“The methods used in their construction would not be permitted by Star Force, but I do hold the full knowledge of the Chixzon…or at least everything they deemed of value to pass on to their reborn civilization.”

“Then you are by far the most dangerous individual within the galaxy,” the cyborg said logically.

“That’s your ignorance talking. But I am probably the most dangerous that you know of.”

“Then some would reason that we are honor bound to kill you here and now, no matter what it takes. Some would even say that risking waking this Hamoriti would not be too large a price to pay to ensure that the Chixzon do not return and create more Hamoriti.”

“And yet I am also the only solution you can see to the current crisis.”

“True. It was wise to release us from your telepathic imprisonment first,” the cyborg said, looking at Riley. “You have played your hand well thus far. I hope that is a sign of wisdom rather than guile, for we have no legitimate choice but to make use of your knowledge, all the while knowing that we have no way to control you. Allow the rest of my people in here before you wake the others and we will provide security while they are informed of the situation.”

“One thing first,” Riley said, unable to hold the minds at bay and search the cyborgs’ for the answer he sought, especially given that most of their memories were electronic and beyond his ability to access directly. “Could you and the others have built up an army to fight the Uriti minions over the given time had you acted differently?”

“The Trinx could have. Of the nine of us they are the smallest, but they have devoted their entire civilization to the protection of the Hamoriti site entrusted to them. They even abandoned their previous worlds to relocate to it. They have no other concerns to deal with, while we and others cannot devote our full resources to the problem while maintaining our own borders against other threats. We have contributed much, and continue to do so, but the Trinx are in the sole position of being capable of doing more.”

“Why have they not?”

“They are devoting all of their resources to the moment to moment containment and producing as many of their vassals as they can to forestall a breakout rather than devoting some of those resources to create more production facilities. Their justified paranoia has blinded them to the reality that the Li’vorkrachnika troops are successfully containing the minions with their sacrifice. The Trinx should divert resources to the development of more resources, but they hold their production quotas to the maximum without fail.”

“Are they expending them?” Nefron asked.

“Some, but they have assembled a large army in reserve. We believe they have more ground troops than the rest of us combined at this point, and perhaps half as many ships. If you were to attack them out of retribution for their gifting technology to the Li’vorkrachnika, they could probably defeat any attempt you made.”

“So they’re hoarders?” Riley asked.

“Rooted in fear. In the past they have been the wiser, but over time their wisdom has twisted.”

“How would you suggest we break the news to them?”

“I will do so. Release them all simultaneously once my troops arrive and I will speak for you. If their vassals are ordered to attack we will shield you…if necessary,” he added after Riley shot him a disbelieving look, considering the display they’d just put on with the external defenses. “We will interpose ourselves to help prevent any confrontations while the others come to grips with the necessity of the situation. We have long sought a solution to the Hamoriti. Once they realize this may very well be it, they will agree to assist you.”

“Alright, but get your people here quickly. My telepathy has limits and maintaining my grip on them is becoming tedious.”

 

2

 

 

December 2, 3254

Unnamed System

(Uriti/Hamoriti location)

 

Paul walked across the platform connecting to the entrance into the Uriti prison shell, looking up at the pair of vassals guarding the aperture and partially obscuring the battle damage that was slowly withering away under the care of the Oracle and its maintenance bots. Other than the mechanical Trinx ground troops there was no one living nearby as he walked inside, so the trailblazer passed through empty section after section until he came to the chamber were Nefron was standing and picking away at an open panel.

“Broke something?”

Nefron half turned to face him. “Merely getting confirmation that the information provided is accurate. This program has been designed to lie very cleverly, but it is still a program. If it is willfully giving us information in order to keep the Uriti sedated then the Ftrolee had to have programmed that scenario. Why they would do that I do not know, thus I am checking various facts given to me.”

“If the Chixzon found this place it wouldn’t matter what the Oracle did,” Paul surmised. “But if someone else found it, then keeping it secure via bargaining might be relevant.”

“A likely possibility, but I need to know for certain. Is there something you require?”

“How are you holding up to the telepathic pressure?”

“I have to take breaks outside, but I am managing. This Uriti is less dormant than the others based on the limited information I have been able to obtain from the Oracle and the reports given to us by The Nine. It is somewhat more resistant to the sedative and I am trying to determine why.”

“Do we need to start producing the chemical as backup?”

“No. I have other concerns.”

“Such as?”

“If an immunity can be derived.”

Paul’s eyes narrowed. “You worry about the Chixzon being able to create a Uriti that can’t be sedated.”

“It was thought impossible, but they did not have access to the data on the sedated ones. All were spirited away before recapture was possible. Based on the levels I am seeing in Cardosan I am beginning to suspect there may be at least a way to make a Uriti…a new Uriti…at least partially immune. If the Chixzon return and discover this, they will pursue it.”

“Is it worth us traveling to the containment site to see if the Hadarak is still there?”

“No. If it was not released it would have starved to death by now.”

“Unless someone else took custody.”

“A small possibility. My fear is that the Chixzon may try to capture another.”

Paul cringed. “That’s not going to be easy.”

“Virtually impossible, but if the gains are of sufficient value I would not expect them to do anything less. If they do not discover the data the Ancients collected they will not think to try, but if they do…I fear their plans to conquer the galaxy will be germane once again.”

“And they’d alter the new ones so you couldn’t control them?”

“If they know I exist, yes. Perhaps so even if they don’t.”

“Can the existing ones be modified?”

“No. Unless the solution is a minor one, and even then it would require capturing one. That has never been attempted by the Chixzon. They made all adjustments prior to their release, then guided them where they wanted. They never had the control necessary to order one to sit still long enough for inspection.”

“And what will you be able to do with the one that is free?”

“Difficult to say. The stagnation incurred on this Uriti is significant. How it has affected their minds I cannot say. I will have to call to it and see how it responds.”

“How much more time do you need here?”

“I don’t know. I’d rather not leave too soon. There is still much for me to learn about what the Ancients did.”

“What did you call them?”

“Narshama.”

“Translation?”

“Those who would defy the inevitable.”

“Without being able to kill the Uriti, I guess there’s some truth to that.”

What I told them was not fully true
, Nefron said, speaking telepathically so no one, including the Oracle, could overhear.
There is a way to kill them. A way the Chixzon programed them to self-destruct if it was needed. I do not wish them killed, so I haven’t mentioned it before, but it is possible.

How?

A very different chemical that, once delivered, will induce a genetically programmed shutdown of vital systems. They will simply die without visible cause over the course of several hours, perhaps days or weeks. It was never tested outside the laboratory.

We’re not going to kill them unless we have to, but if we can’t control them we can’t exactly let them run around smashing inhabited systems.

Which is why I need to pull as much data from here as I can get.

“Want some help?”

“Obviously. What did you come here for, specifically?”

“I’m not going to do the Uriti run, if that’s what you mean.”

“A pity. I wanted to watch.”

Paul smirked. “I’ve had enough headaches in life already to hit my pain quota, so I’m fine keeping my distance, thanks.”

“Coward.”

“I’ll go if you go,” Paul said sarcastically.

“You know I cannot. I will not survive it.”

“Can they turn the effect off?”

“The Chixzon or the Uriti?”

“Uriti.”

“It’s a primitive defense mechanism that they can override with conscious effort, but relax and it will return. All of their communication is telepathic, so it’s natural to emit an aura that you and I don’t. We can if wanted, and in reverse, the Uriti can cancel its aura if wanted. And you haven’t answered my question.”

“The Trinx, Sety, and to a small extent the Jonstar, are making as much trouble as they can. The other 6 members are providing us cover, but the sooner we can deliver results the better…though I think when we do that won’t solve matters. They’re about to lose control and they don’t like it. As soon as the unstoppable threat is stopped, I get the feeling there’s going to be a revolution.”

“Most likely,” the Oracle said, appearing beside them.

“What do you know of it,” Nefron asked skeptically.

“I am designed to gather data, surreptitiously, to aid in your return, and have managed to access three of the communications systems of the races in orbit. The conversations they are having are most predictable.”

Paul raised an eyebrow. “Aid in your return?”

“I made a slight alteration to his programming earlier,” Nefron admitted. “He now regards me as Ftrolee…I think. I’m still doing checks to make sure there isn’t some counter intrusion software mimicking what I want in order to keep secrets from me.”

“Are you that good or just familiar with Ftrolee programming?”

Nefron laughed, a single huff that managed to sound more menacing than mirthful. “The Chixzon gave them most of their technological base.”

“In exchange for?”

“Their assistance. Which makes their betrayal all the more poignant.”

“How advanced were they?”

“Not very. We didn’t give them anything of consequence to us, but to them it advanced their powerbase considerably. They still use predictable methods, which I have been able to isolate within the Ancients programming. They stand out considerably if you know where to look, though there is a lot of code to sift through and the interface,” Nefron said, holding up a small device of Chixzon make for him to see, “is barely adequate for this.”

“Why didn’t you build a bigger one?”

“Star Force components aren’t sufficient. This was the best I could do without asking you to build some specialized factories.”

Paul shrugged. “No biggie. Just ask.”

Nefron looked at him quizzically. Paul wasn’t the first trailblazer he’d dealt with, but he was one with whom he had little previous interaction. “Is that offer from Star Force or Clan Saber?”

“Whichever. Building is our specialty, and we like challenges.”

“I was led to believe that reverse engineering Chixzon tech was preferable to constructing it.”

“Depends on the timeline. If you need something quickly, we’ll build it old school provided you can tell us how to do it.”

“Generous,” Nefron balked.

“And if it’s too hideous to stand looking at we can always blow it up later.”

The Chixzon laughed. “That sounds more like Archon logic. But your concern is unnecessary. This device is sufficient to the task, though it may not be as fast or comprehensive as I desire.”

Paul turned his attention back on the Oracle. “What are they saying?”

“Many things. They do not wish to trust you, but feel they have no choice. Some believe your plan will not work, others do not trust themselves not to at least try. There is much confusion and the beginnings of panic. Their allegiance is based off of an assumed impossibility that you are shattering. I believe it will shatter their relations with one another as well. Tread carefully, for they possess the other Hamoriti.”

“What are they going to do, wake them up?”

“They cannot. But some will be protective of them and not want to grant you access.”

“For now that’s not an issue,” Paul said, looking to Nefron again. “How intelligent are the Uriti?”

“Very, but vastly different from us. Talking with them is nearly impossible…despite your predilection for challenges. We can direct them. I do not estimate that we will be able to negotiate with them.”

“I doubt it was every tried?”

“No, it was not. They were meant to be tools.”

“Is there restrictive programming inserted into their consciousness?”

“Enough to get them to comply, yes.”

“Can it be undone?”

“Not without direct access, and even then probably not.”

“Lizards all over again?”

“I find that comparison insulting.”

“My point is, do we let these guys hibernate forever or do they need to be woken up eventually?”

“I won’t have an answer for that until I do a
lot
more research.”

Paul looked at the Oracle. “How big is his program?”

“Considerable.”

“Think we can fashion a mobile database so we can bring him with us?”

“If you want to spend the time building it. I would not recommend interfacing this program with your computer systems. They won’t fully be compatible anyway, but where they are it could cause problems.”

“We can construct an isolated module. Actually, Oracle, can you construct a mobile unit using the resources within this facility?”

“You wish me to observe the rogue Hamoriti?”

“That’s the idea.”

“Feasible. I will require specific orders, for the blueprints to create such a device are not within my memory, but the construction tools required are within my control.”

“How big do you want it?” Nefron asked.

“Make the database as large as needed, but make a mobile interface about,” Paul put his hands together and stretched them out as if he was holding a beach ball between them, “this big.”

“You want it to be mobile onboard your ship, but to do so without interfacing with your comm and computer systems?”

“Yes.”

“Simple enough. But I recommend you allow me a full survey of its programming before you allow it to activate. I do not trust Ftrolee programming.”

“Well don’t give it any weapons. Just make it a talking, floating sphere that can gather data and display it.”

“As you wish. That will also allow me to do part of my research from afar, though actual readings on the Uriti will have to be taken here.”

“Don’t you have millions of years worth of data to study?”

“I need to induce a few changes and study its reaction,” Nefron said evenly.

Paul bit his lip. “I trust you know what you’re doing?”

“I won’t wake it. But I need to study its condition. There is little chance of it accidentally waking. None if it has not been damaged.”

“Oracle, are you feeding the other races information on the Uriti?”

“As they requested, yes.”

“Can you falsify those feeds so they are unaware of any tests we run?”

“A prudent suggestion given the unstable relationships involved. Yes, I can replay previous data that will be genuine other than the timestamp if so directed.”

“Do not do so until I say,” Nefron instructed, “but make the necessary preparations.”

“As you command.”

“Leave us.”

The hologram disappeared, but both of them knew that it could still monitor their conversation.

Do you really have that thing on a leash?
Paul asked.

I believe so, but I must finish my confirmation before undertaking any action.

BOOK: Star Force: Zealot (SF87) (Star Force Origin Series)
2.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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