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Approaching Minos- Part Three July 13, 2007

Posted by psimitar in Uncategorized.
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The Old Ones of Minos speak of a prophecy predicting the demise of our great ancient Solarian culture. It names you, Cyan Lianas of the Uprising Colony, as the one on which an empire’s destruction or ultimate salvation pivots.

Meet me on Minos and I will reveal myself to you. Keep your watch vigilant. Not all among you are who they seem. I would tell you more…but you’ll figure it out soon enough.

Cyan closed the encrypted message written in a curious script and dialect he knew was native to Triton, but unused for the better part of the century. It was like reading high literature from the pre-colonial days, conspiratorial and close like it was being whispered into his ear, the words warm, wet and somehow exciting. He clapped his personal data assistant shut.

“What do you think Una’s got going on in her bridge-lab?” Iris asked whilst picking through the littered corridor leading to the central lift of the Oro.

“She mentioned something about the ship she’s found out in her studies,” Cyan tapped the summons key on the lift, wincing at the unhealthy grind-chug of its failing upward conveyer beam. “Hopefully the good professor found a reset button to restore the old-girl to her pre-Rebellion glory.” With that final insult, the conveyor beam de-powered, leaving the lift plate mid-deck, useless to them for the time being.

“Now you’ve done it. Never speak of a lady’s age so dismissively,” Iris cooed caressing the summons button. “Nothing happened. I guess the old bag isn’t listening to us all the time.”

“I’m sorry,” Cyan genuflected in the fashion his mother taught him, now a relic habit of his youth. “I know not what I spaketh.” Cyan looked up at two open access hatches parallel to the lift’s shaft. “First one to the bridge gets a week’s personal mess hall duties for the other. Be mindful of that blue signal on the two hatches. What do they indicate?”

Iris swung lithely up onto the first rung and propelled herself further to a set of rungs nearly fifteen feet into the tight access way. “Gravity generators are malfunctioning, exercise caution in a zero G environment,” she rattled off from the ship’s diagnostic manual. “I’m going to become this ship’s best system’s expert you know…without turning into an Una-bot and I figure the best place to start was the ship’s learning annex.”

“Resourceful and smart,” Cyan said following Iris in his own access tube, hurtling up its length with the grace of a professional swimmer. Although Iris was fast, she wasn’t skilled enough in zero G to move fluidly, so she lost progress with small micro-corrections she constantly made to keep from banging into the tube siding or rungs. Cyan arrived at the closed terminus about a dozen seconds before he could hear Iris’s approach. There he floated, wanting to give her the win. After all, he was impressed with her progress not only in this small test, but several others he and Una had come up with to pull Iris out of the protective shell she constructed about a day off of Miranda.

She suffered from classic post-trauma shock, something that Cyan had seen in his fellow team mates in the Tritonian Guard after weeks of special training or on away missions to the Kuepier Belt, the farthest reach of the empire; a cold and lifeless place filled with the tossed-away leftovers of the solar system’s original building blocks.

Some cultures believed the sparse halo of ice and rock surrounding the sun’s jewel collection to be haunted with the echoes of pre-empire civilization; the old ones. After the night of terror on Miranda, it had become easier to believe those old stories of ghosts and shuffling carcasses with a hunger for human flesh.

Iris had been behind the glow of a powerful energy field in a small Mirandan detention cell when the chemical attack hit. Luckily the room was negatively pressurized, so nothing larger than a nanometer could find its way into or out of the cell. Her guards turned quickly; the strange chemical agent acted fast, clawing red marks down their throats as the tissues beneath cauterized and became insensate. They slumped in their seats, spasmodically kicking their limbs and bleeding from nose, eye, ear and mouth. She watched terrified into silence, knees pulled up into a fetal position on the cell’s cot.

Then the guards got up and started toward her cell. She screamed then, but clamped down when the sound was met with hundreds of other similar ones emanating from the open door to the rest of the police facility. The dead guards turned, bloody snouts upturned tasting the air with new and heightened senses. They smelled fresh kill and loped out of the room toward it. They would be back when the facility personnel were finished off, this time joined by several dozen newly minted friends.

She regretted the decision she had made a week ago to slip the watchful eye of her father’s men and hitchhike her way to Ishtar from Neptune. They had skills and guns that would come in handy right now.

It was in that cell Yura and Cyan had found her nearly forty-eight hours later. They had to fight their way through several dozen throngs of the undead to get to the delirious girl’s cell; its energy field nearly depleted from the emergency fuel canister attached to it. The floor outside the protective cocoon was slicked with ichors and blood, the remains of several guards and unprotected civilians who were unfortunate enough to be outside of cells when the chemicals hit.

That same girl stood before Cyan right now on the bridge, hands on hips, expectantly waiting for Cyan’s brief reverie to end. “Napping on your feet, captain? My grand-Aunt Marie Chiveaux did that a lot before having to be cared for at the family retreat on Venus’s Ionian countryside.”

“I take my breakfast at 0600 before my diagnostics run of the ship, whey-toast, dry, honey on the side with fruit gellies…and caffe,” Iris said exuberantly.

“Yes ma’am,” Cyan replied. “Turn-down service for you as well?”

“That would be lovely,” Iris proceeded ahead of him down the gangway into the tactical bay which housed Una’s temporary workbench.

“Well hello Cyan, the Lady Iris.” Una said from her draftsman’s desk assembled from parts without looking up from a glow display affixed to the surface material.

“This ship was a trap,” the woman looked up finally after allowing sufficient pause for time to absorb the meaning of her words. Headdress amulets tinkered effervescently in the humming chamber.

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Comments»

1. psimitar - July 10, 2007

Approaching Minos is an adaptation of Swords of Silver, an RPG I played through much of college. I’ve condensed the storylines down to their bare bones, preserving (in my opinion,) the overall tone of the story and spirit of the characters.

The cast is a varied one representing the many cultures of the multi planet Sol Empire, based in a solar system very similar to our own.

Professor Una Hawking, also of Neptunian origin but a long-time Jovian (Jupiter Colony) resident, shares Cyan’s wanderlust and has devoted much of her research to extra-solar communication and detection. She was responsible for much of Verdoux Kai’s education and specialized technological training.


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