Pre-Log 1 (Sub-Log XII)
Marc hovered around the hatch and, when it opened, Crisa, his girlfriend, rushed out laughing. “Marc!”
He kissed her but she pushed him away. “Yuk. Come on, do you have a room?”
Marc grimaced but nodded. “It’s down here.”
She chatted inanely as they walked down a few flights of steps to the accommodation block. “I’m so happy, I’ve been selected for Ascension to the First Plane. And of the Blue Fire so I’ll get to live in the Valley of Spirals…”
The room was basic with a bed, small table and chairs, and a desk with a monitor. He’d just closed the door when Crisa pulled him to the center of the room.
“Now, let me return your greeting.”
He didn’t even get to answer before she stepped close, and shared her erotic energy, blasting all thoughts from his mind. Smiling in satisfaction, her blue eyes heavy lidded, she stepped back. Marc was shattered, as usual. It was too much too fast, in her excitement she forgot to control herself. As quick as she had blasted him, she soothed him. “I’m sorry, Marc… I forget myself.”
He smiled, feeling the soothing effects calm his over exited nerve endings. His brain was frazzled with her enthusiasm. “Crisa, it’s best if we don’t do this again.” He fell back and sat down on the bed.
“Oh… I said I’m sorry.”
He drew her down and touched her face, feeling his fingers tingle. “I don’t mean to sound so harsh. I’m going away for a time, and I wanted this to be—”
“You’re not going to report me are you?” Her voice was sharp.
“No. I wouldn’t do that. I wanted this time to be—”
“Relaxing.” She interrupted again.
“No, not relaxing … slower at the beginning … but…” Marc knew he was a novelty for her. His inability to turn into pure energy had intrigued her, and she had liked what she called his “solid” body. He could please her, but she had to let him. At the moment, he felt a little ill-used.
“My friends said it wouldn’t work and I need to move on.”
“Now that you’ll be ascended and all.” He hadn’t meant the bitterness to seep through. He couldn’t stand her hurt look, and stood. “Enjoy the room.” He left, hot from hurt and being burned out. He went home and managed to get to the kitchen. His hands were trembling from the aftermath, his body buzzing up and down.
“Marc?” The light came on. Aven saw him flailing around. “Marc!” She just managed to grab him as he collapsed in the couch. She touched his mind. “That bitch. I’ll call the officials—”
“No … no, don’t. They’ll cancel the mission. Just help me recover.” He’d lied, a little, but he really didn’t want Crisa to be in trouble. Normally she was very careful with him.
The next mission was vital. They weren’t just Aether agents; they were from the Consortium, outside the Lacuna, acting under another set of directives, not to play one against the other, but concurrently. They were both members of the Consociation of Eight.
It was on that mission that Marc had to make the worst decision of his life and, in the end, he betrayed his sister, over an issue to do with the Eight.
Over time Aven had grown bitter.
With this new mission Marc hoped to make amends. He worked hard and was content with his lot so he drifted off to sleep as they waited for clearance to leave.
“Where are we going to start?” Aven seemed distracted.
“Anchorage Station. The prime planet.”
“Jade?” Aven nodded. “Nice.”
Marc leaned back in the chair, rubbing his full belly. He was feeling rather smug of late. “Read the mission.”
Aven read the notes. “We need to recover three Aether brats who decided it would be fun to play with the Matter Beings.”
“High profile Aether are sending us. What does that make it now, eighty-six recovered?” Marc closed his eyes.
A comms unit beeped.
Marc relaxed, happy again.
“Consider Marc wiped. I was going to add a little flourish but I’ll just get the job done.”
Marc’s eyes popped open and saw a hand weapon pointed at him. “Aven?”
“I’m sorry, Marc. You really shouldn’t have betrayed me.”
She shot him.
Marc woke in a sweat, sitting bolt upright. He gripped the sheet, and tried to get control of his erratic breathing and his heart rate. “It’s just a nightmare.” There had been a gap in his dream and it took him a moment to realize his cheeks were wet. He’d been crying in the dream and woke up crying right before she shot him. It was a dart of some kind and his mind had become dark and then white. Blank white.
His door opened and Ara peeped in. “Marc?”
“I’m okay. Just a bad dream.” Doubt crept into his mind.
Ara came in and closed the door. He automatically pulled back the sheet as she climbed in. He lay back and she snuggled into the crook of his arm. For once she didn’t tease him about the smell and soothed him with mental strokes. She had been doing it since she was little, but this night he appreciated it more than he cared to admit. Marc had betrayed his own sister over Ara but, for some reason, he couldn’t remember anything leading up to that event. Cruelly, Aven made sure he remembered the act of betrayal and the repercussions.
Log 1/Sub-Log VIII
Scribe Entry 681
Trideck Quad-deck Station, the Bellus
Summary: Three Principal Trustees along with three Junior Trustees, known collectively as the Peripherals, record a monumental (both Jamie and Marc rolled their eyes) halting of the transformation to the relationship between the Tartarean, Erebus and the Aether.
Topic: Change from the desired Ternary to Quaternary by accepting Matter Beings currently stationed in the Horizon, the Core, and out-regions.
Risk: Lose all contact with other beings including Dark Matter, Energy-matter and Antimatter Beings. Significant energy used to immobilize regions of space in holding pattern. Delayed engagement of three beings.
Crucial Issue: Time and energy at critical levels, last opportunity before all matter destroyed. Cardinal Unit may resort to triggering the Genocide Vote.
Transcript (some flourish):
“Are we agreed?” Erebus Principal glanced at the other two, her clever, narrow face and dark eyes missing nothing.
“We are.” Tartarean bowed his head, his dreadlocks falling over his massive shoulders.
“Yes.” The Principal, SHE, from Aether—supreme of their kind—smiled, its face blurring from male to female.
“Aether, your duties?”
“We of the Triaxial Milieu will maintain the Cardinal Unit and its components, monitor the matter levels, and maintain our connection with the Pure-Gens. We will consider widening our special branch of sHe to include the ‘body’.”
Marc’s black eyes held his amusement as he winked and pointed at Jamie, mouthing, “That’s you.”
The representatives from Tartarus and Erebus glanced at each other, annoyed. They’d been trying to get Aether to add the “body” since both Dark Matter and Antimatter Beings had bodies. The Erebus Principal shook her head.
“And we, the Erebus, will maintain the holding pattern of the closure until the time is up, at which point we will become a Ternary or a Quaternary Alliance.”
“This meeting is then adjourned. Until our first update.”
They left the smaller Trideck and entered the special section of the Bellus designed for their being state needs.
Marc yawned, stretching his tall, lean body. “And that’s how we go from three to four.”
Jamie had frowned at him. “Three is more stable than four in anything. Isn’t it?”
Marc shrugged knowing Jamie hated science more than technology and that was a lot. “I would say they don’t care much for what works better—as long as it works for them.”