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 The Death of a Life: TimeSaga C6 (All 8 Chapters)

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PostSubject: The Death of a Life: TimeSaga C6 (All 8 Chapters)   May 5th 2017, 12:41 pm

The Death of a Life
TimeSaga:  The Society Story Six

Chapter One

The word I received from a number of sources was that mankind was rushing into space.  News of a space station near a black hole had a multitude of scientists begin packing their bags.  The information of a number of potentially habitable worlds had a horde of regular people buying tickets with some leaving with only the clothes on their backs.  Honestly, if I could make such a decision, I would wait until the spaceships had artificial gravity and the buildings had working elevators.  What I was receiving however were words that by the time I would have willingly chosen to go into space, it would already be filling up.

Dr. Beyoncé and I spent time going over a number of issues dealing with RayWeight Technologies.  FER-RON was a very complicated robot, so there really was no way to rush the two production models of her.  I however assured those who had the controlling stocks in the company that the logic for both robot designs was exceptional, although I would continue to look it over for possible enhancements while the manufacturing plants were built.  Dr. Beyoncé promised those of the company she founded that she would claim quality areas on the space station for RayWeight Technologies to continue to hold a prominent position in the advancement of mankind.

I then heard Ted Chemill say, "Oh, Queen Debra, we need you to be considering the logic for a sexbot version of FER-RON."

"Why?"

"Excuse me?"

I knew Ted, and liked him, so kept my emotions under control as I gave a very long-winded answer to his question.  "Let me remind you that my team was given a Chattanooga series android.  She is proving herself to be a dependable personality with my team.  However, her intended use has none of the requirements that I am placing upon FER-RON.  Fran does not need different configurations to handle various situations.  She does not need jets to manage a weightless environment.  She does not need a lot of receivers to keep her overly aware of conditions.  She really does not need that great of an intelligence.  I like Fran, but I feel she is a very limited version of a real woman, and further reducing the place of a woman to something like a walking, talking doll reduces my place as a woman even further."

"We have the technology to enable you to become a man."

"If men want to play with dolls, that is fine with me.  To equate what I did with FER-RON, what I am doing with some other very capable robots, with what men want from their dolls is very demeaning."

It was Clyde Fellington, another major stockholder in RayWeight Technologies, that said, "I have to support Queen Debra there.  The problem the Straw Sapien Corporation is having with their Chattanooga series is that they are almost real women.  FER-RON is very present in the life of Queen Debra with many speaking of our robot as a lady.  I believe it would be best if any future sexbot produced by our robotics division actually was closer to being a doll, and not a real lady."

Ted replied, "The default is that we use the logic for our DARLINGs, only including some routines for certain, uh, suggestions or commands."

I restated a point made.  "If you do that, you will basically just have a mechanical version of the Chattanooga series, and susceptible to the legal situations the Straw Sapien Corporation is now facing."

"Queen Debra, I trust you enough to present this fact to you.  We, RayWeight Technologies, have a couple of lawyers working with the legal team for the Straw Sapien Corporation.  Should they be forced to make their Chattanooga series less human, could I have them come to you about perfecting the code?"

"You should be aware that I work with Charcoal in maintaining the code for Perry.  I also count Dr. Beyoncé's daughter, Mary, as a good friend.  As a friend, I have looked over the code controlling certain interfaces in her.  While that certainly gives me the skill set to help the Straw Sapien Corporation, I don't know if you want the Straw Sapien Corporation to have access to me."

As hoped, I had women laughing and men apologizing.  Both Ted and Clyde sought to find words to reduce their embarrassment.  They all said parting words, then I felt able to close the connection.

The voice of Dr. Beyoncé stopped me, "Debra, how is Mary?"

"She is in wonderful shape.  I spend time with her wishing that my own father could have given me such a positive personality.  It is not there in the code.  Her computer logic is purely functional, built to enable the speed of handling so much data.  Mary is just a very positive person, and I find myself envious of her."

"Well, good.  I just feel bad that after a little time with her we again are parted."

"I told her that was how it would be, Dr. Beyoncé.  She has come to me admitting that my words were true.  It helped her meeting you, as it let her know that you were not an evil person and you did not hate her.  It also helps her that when we talk about you, she has personal things to add."

I saw her smiling as her head slowly went up and down, then she admitted, "I like having personal things to say about her as well.  It also felt good hearing you call her a friend.  Both of you are doing wonderful things.  Keep it up.  I am proud of you."

No sooner did I close the connection than the door to my room opened.  It did not surprise me to see Mary.  While she only appeared as a pink-haired girl of about ten, most knew that she was an awesome receiver of information.  Instead of her being a logically thinking mentality, she interacted with others as a very cheerful personality.  One sometimes forgot that she had access to a vast wealth of information, but I could not help but smile knowing that she was truly a friend.

"You were right, Debra, they did not have me present because they were going to talk about me.  It would however have been better if they went ahead and acknowledged that I was listening."

I replied, "Honestly, I feel that they keep trying methods of keeping you from listening.  I know they had new security on this transmission."

"Yes.  It did take me some time, as it was a little tricky.  I believe it was one of your improvements to my father's routines that helped me see the way to crack it."

"Well, I won't tell them, so the secret is yours to keep."

"What I however want to tell you is that I agree with our destination.  Of the three worlds now available to us, this one takes us closer to the problem that doomed the Nerisus Federation.  I am now able to detect that signal.  It troubles me that it is still active."

I had to admit, "It troubles me what I have been told about that signal.  I have actually been expecting Shame to again appear to me, but that has not happened.  The other option is for Saprello –"

"Call him Chaos.  He uses that handle on the communication system, and it helps me separate him from the feminine form."

"That is what I was going to say.  Chaos is supposedly Saprello, but I do not hear him speak of the things she told me about."  Realizing that I had a source of information, I asked, "When does Roy think we will actually open the Rothman Tube to this world?"

"The Solomon Foundation has a lot of Islamic roots.  They are thus being petitioned, basically threatened, by certain groups of the Flags of Freedom.  Roy is ready to jump, and wants Nick to take over all the political stuff.  It is Roy who is out here facing everything however, so everyone sees him as having the real decision making authority.  As soon as he can free himself, he will probably give the command for the Roland to move on."

I saw her head slightly tilt in a sign she was giving her attention to something her body could receive.  While waiting for her to return some focus to me, I looked about for things I could do.  My eyes rested on FER-RON.  She was active, and looked at me as if to await some orders. I found myself realizing that she was work, and about all I had in my life was things associated with my job.  That did not really please me, so I was glad when Mary spoke and enabled me to put my attention on her topic.

"Things have not degraded unto conversations of war, but there is contention over the two other worlds.  There are Islamic Flags of Freedom going to each.  A European vessel is heading to one while a Japanese one is going to the other.  The Islamic group are declaring that one of the worlds will be devoted to Allah, but they are being overruled about naming it Mecca, Mesina, or anything like that.  There is a unified voice saying that the planets will keep the names given by the Nerisus Federation.  Mission will now be called Confullate, and this is the Atrachion Space Station.  Roy just gave the orders for the Roland to advance to this next world.  By the way, it is named Michtam.  I think it means forgiveness."

"Forgiveness?  I doubt anyone would think to name a world that."

Again I saw her head tilt, but this time she quickly replied, "I do not believe there is a city named that on Earth.  It might be better if we do keep the names the Nerisus Federation gave them, as it would prevent confusion."

That had me spend time with Mary discussing the names she found accessing the computer network of the space station.  I found myself believing that she enjoyed the conversation because it put to use some of the data she had about the aliens.  Just as with the situation with those of the Islamic faiths, our drive to advance through the portals was more due to our own motives than becoming a part of a larger culture.  Information about the society of the Nerisus Federation was usually ignored with most people speaking of using our names, replacing furniture with those that fit our forms, and changing out computer systems for those of our design.  In the conversation with Mary I found her pleased that the knowledge she had gained would occasionally be used.

I found myself bothered by some of the things she said, and finally asked, "Don't you detect a difference in certain things?  The evidence is that a number of alien races combined to form the Nerisus Federation.  Surely some of their personal differences are evident in the data."

"Only in certain arguments, really lengthy statements, about what was being proposed.  It seems to have happened suddenly, without any warning of its implementation, as there is no commentary about the results.  All I can access is a strong desire by the leadership to unify everyone.  Not only would they put an end to any threat of the okagaki, but they would make everyone of the Nerisus Federation the same."

I felt nothing but displeasure as I replied, "I guess they did, as everyone became monsters."

"Yes, and that is one thing we need to worry about, Debra.  On this world we are going to, the signal could be strong.  We might become monsters."

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Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.


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PostSubject: Chapter Two   May 10th 2017, 4:33 pm

The Death of a Life
TimeSaga: The Society Story Six

Chapter Two

I took the words from Mary very seriously and started checking on ways to filter the dangerous wavelength. My problem was that I was not an electrician or anyone who actually knew about receiving signals and translating them into sound, video, or physiological shattering radiation. What I did have were people who could understand such technologies. What caught me by surprise was to receive a message of words from someone else.

My mouth dropped open as I heard Dr. Floyd Kuliak, one of those who was in charge of the Solomon Foundation and someone who was directly responsible for the finding of the first Rothman Tube, say, "Roy has put in a request to help you with the problem of the still active signal changing people into korlocks. You have the full support of the Solomon Foundation, Queen Debra. In matters facing all of humanity, we of the prophet must stand with the other peoples of Earth."

That latter statement bothered me, so I put in a call to Dr. Kuliak. I really did not communicate with him, but as I worked with Roy, who also had authority over the Solomon Foundation, I did have the information to directly contact Dr. Kuliak. Since his message to me was not old, I figured wherever he was he would still be awake.

My call was quickly connected, and a cheerful face of an old man spoke to me. "Ah, Queen Debra, was there something about my message that was unclear?"

"Yes, that line about 'we of the prophet must stand with the other peoples of Earth.' This is not a religious issue, Dr. Kuliak."

"I definitely agree, Queen Debra. However, there are factions within the Solomon Foundation that consider everything from the religious perspective.

Feeling that I was speaking to a man of science, I found myself able to release my displeasure in his words of non-science. "No. We are not the bad guys, Dr. Kuliak. Ever since mankind has gone into space, our wars have not followed. Let's not bring them! No. I hear enough religious statements from a group of Flags of Freedom. They are speaking of separatism and non-compatibility. No. We work together. These aliens surely have their religions as well. I believe we are all, I mean all religions, are going to have to accept that our relationship with God is not the only way he deals with and interacts with people. I am glad that you are a religious person, Dr. Kuliak. I am glad that religious groups are coming into space. However, we do not bring our wars, and many of our major wars in the past were over religion. We cannot do that!"

The smile on his face grew wider as he said, "Ah, the conviction of the heart of RayWeight Technologies. I am honored to hear your words, Queen Debra. I already gave you the support of the Solomon Foundation. What more could you desire?"

"I just don't want us to become the bad guys. The korlocks are korlocks because the Nerisus Federation made a mistake. I am out here making friends with the okagaki, the verakiy, and even a remnant of the Nerisus Federation. We are the good guys. We are the good aliens. I don't want that to change, and every time I hear those of the Islamic religion speaking of their own separate world I am worried that we are bringing our problems with us. I have seen the movies of where we went to war with aliens. I don't want that, and I definitely do not want us to go to war with each other."

"Queen Debra, I could say words to ease your mind. The very fact that we of the Solomon Federation are willing to stand behind those of RayWeight Technologies should be comforting to you. However, I don't want your mind at ease. You keep your heart troubled. I agree with what you are doing, Queen Debra, and I want you to keep doing it. We need you out there creating this new society."

Finding the drive that caused me to make the call fade, I said, "Well, thank you, Dr. Kuliak, for taking my call."

"You honored me, Queen Debra. I now know why there is such a demand for the robots you helped to make. FER-RON is a good robot, and I feel it is because you are a good person. People want things that are good, and so there are many orders for a DARLING. I have ordered one as well. I see FER-RON in the background. Do you have her clean your room?"

I found myself having to smile as I turned to look at my robot, then I said, "No, Dr. Kuliak. She does not clean. I could teach her, but I never have. She stays with me, as I do not want her acting as some piece of equipment kept in storage. I like having her around, but she does not clean."

"You continue to take pride in your work, Queen Debra. You also continue to keep us humans as the good aliens. Once again, let me say you have the full support of the Solomon Foundation. Thank you for this call."

I closed the connection, then found myself able to put my thoughts on the project. I had worked enough with the technology to understand what my people were attempting. I had to write my code so it could operate electronics, which forced me to learn things about circuits. I thus could read the schematics, although found my concentration on the project interrupted by a call from someone I did consider important.

Dr. Beyoncé said, "Debra, Floyd Kuliak just called me praising you. Just wanted to let you know." I guess she saw something in my features she did not like, as she then added, "Let me also tell you to get some sleep."

I replied, "I have some schematics that need my approval."

"And then what? I know your ship is ready to open the Rothman Tube for this other world. Debra, you need some sleep."

"Not right now."

"Then when? Debra, you need to sleep." I feel that she sensed I was again going to put off taking a nap, because Dr. Beyoncé kept talking. "We are trusting you. I am not just speaking of me, but all of RayWeight and all of the Solomon Foundation. You need to trust your people. Tell them to work out the problem, test their theories, then you will look them over after – I said, 'AFTER' – you get some rest."

"I have a couple of schematics, then I will get some rest."

"Okay, Debra. I trust you."

I felt there were problems with one schematic, and as I detailed my thoughts on the proposed circuit my door opened to Mary. "Mommy said that she really did not trust you. She sent me to assure that you went to sleep."

I mumbled a reply, "You don't sleep."

"My mind is constantly having to deal with the information it receives, but I sometimes doubt that it works as hard as yours. Daddy taught me methods of resting my mind. You need to be taught to get some rest as well." I saw her tilt her head in the manner of her focusing on some information, and found myself not surprised by her words. "Those are some good points. Finish what you are doing with that schematic, then go to bed. I might not have your understanding, but I do know things about receiving information. If they cannot filter out those wavelengths from my sensors then I will feel that they are not doing things right. Let me take over for a few hours while you get some rest."

I finished my comments to the schematic while explaining the various divisions of the project to Mary. While she surely had access to the information, she had not been focusing on the work. She also did not have the experience of developing the technology. While she was a marvel of engineering, it was her father who constructed her with Mary only having the blessing of his wonderful care and attention to numerous details. I finished my comments actually wondering how many hours her father would go without sleep in order to assure his project would come out exceptionally.

While Mary was capable of receiving a vast amount of information, she had no methods of outputting anything other than the usual methods of people. Listening to her speak to the various groups had me believing that she could handle things while I slept, although also had me feel that she would keep me awake. I however found myself incapable of keeping my eyes closed once I secured myself in a hammock.

"Debra."

I found myself standing in a graveyard. The rectangular mounds of earth with headstones appeared familiar, but the trees were those I knew from the world of the Nerisus Federation and the symbols on the block of stone I could not recognize. I looked to Shame wondering if one of the graves would be identified as hers, although her words spoke of life and not death.

"Of all the personalities that held on after our transformation, one like yours did not. There are some I would call evil. One works intently on Al. It actually has me again feeling my name in that no one with convictions like yours was able to survive our ordeal."

I asked, "Where was your leadership? I am trying to lead my people into doing the right things, and I am finding others supporting me."

"It is to our shame that they drove us to this cliff, then pushed us over. You are having your people climb mountains, and that is good. What you need to fear is the height of the cliffs they will face."

"Right now I am hoping to have us not suffer from falling down the cliff that doomed you."

"That is necessary. It is not a good step. It would be foolish not to do that, so one should say that you are just doing something practical. What has me come to you however is the warning of the cliff becoming present in your life."

Those words took me by surprise, so I blurted out, "But we are seeking to have it not affect us."

"Which means it is there. In learning how to recognize it and cancel it, you will identify it. You need to fear that, Debra."

The shock of realizing what she said brought me conscious. I saw FER-RON right next to my bed. Mary was on the computer seemingly speaking to a number of people. Realizing that my robot surely recognized the foreign aura with me, I first spoke to put her at peace.

"It was only Shame, FER-RON. Not all the korlocks are bad."

She replied, "Mary identified the presence as Shame, but told me to be alert, as when she appears other korlocks tend to arrive as well."

Mary said while keeping her fingers moving on the keyboard, "And they did. Really not a large presence, and weapons to use against them are part of the arsenal with the Engendered. FER-RON was not needed, not that I felt she would leave you without your direct orders."

I replied, "You would have to assure her that I was safe. You do have that clout with her."

"Yes, well, I was busy. Really could use your help. I understand what I am receiving, but I do not have your knowledge of the actual mechanics."

I hoped Mary did not have the camera turned on as I went to her still in my underclothes. What I saw on the screen was a diagram with some technical scribbles. I pulled over a chair while letting Mary know my concern.

"That was what Shame was warning me about. She said that what we were doing would enable us to see the cliff that those of the Nerisus Federation fell from. She spoke with the worry that those in charge would also have us jump from it."

"Yes, and there are suggestions from certain groups that we test exactly that."

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PostSubject: Chapter Three   May 15th 2017, 12:29 pm

The Death of a Life
TimeSaga: The Society Story Six

Chapter Three

It helped that I had just gained a number of hours of sleep. If I had encountered this problem without sleep, I probably would have collapsed at my desk. Not that one actually collapsed in space, as our ships did not yet have artificial gravity. Still, I felt good having a clear head as I warned people about the dangers of the signal still being transmitted through the worlds of the Nerisus Federation.

Some presented the argument that the complex wavelength showed us how to do things without invasive surgery. I felt the evidence for what resulted was enough of a warning about its dangers. It helped that more and more people began to accept that my caution was more than justified. While there were those that wanted more access to the complete wavelength being transmitted, their arguments slowly lost ground as others accepted the danger.

Mary accessed her own network channels to show me messages concerning the results of my debates. RayWeight Technologies and the Solomon Foundation were restricting access to the channels transmitting the signals from the Nerisus Federtation. Those of the Flags of Freedom were also holding back any movement to further worlds. Everyone respected the horrors that had come upon the Nerisus Federation due to that signal, and I saw other conversations where people were proposing methods of accomplishing our mission by destroying the transmitting hub by sending in bombs. I read the messages wondering if I approved or would have to change the tone of my debates.

I finally said to Mary while assuring that my channels were open, "The way this message is being transmitted, there really is no difference in us being here or on the other side of the portal. Our visuals of the planet, or whatever is actually there, is limited. The bombs sound good, but the Engendered is only prepared for korlocks."

A voice I should have suspected was listening, but who I had not considered suddenly said, "Debra, the U.S. military is prepared for conventional threats. The Achilles is preparing to join you."

I replied, "Clyde, let us figure out the filter first, as I know you can gain the transmissions just as we can."

"I said that we would be joining you, not taking the lead. We are your humble servants, Queen Debra."

Neither of those already in the conversation were happy with the US military taking a prominent position. The Iranian military on board the Roland spoke of also supplying support. As suspected, they gained the support of the Islamic Flags of Freedom vessels. While I felt the division really was not the best, I found myself with requests to look over certain code to help filter out the message. Feeling that the matter of the various military presences was not the most important issues, I set my mind on resolving the problems I felt needed my attention.

Mary tapped me on a shoulder to get my attention as she said, "Clyde, Debra has turned her attention to resolving some code issues in a proposed solution."

"Just let her know, Mary, that the Iliad is being sent as well."

That piece of information brought me out of my thoughts of code, and worried about the Islamic groups getting irate I asked, "Why, Clyde?"

He answered, "Not for a good reason, Debra. Zychi wants access to the transmission."

"They're U.S. government, Clyde. They deny it, but we all know the truth, especially those of us that work with Dr. Beyoncé. I'm surprised they did not just give the assignment to you."

"I might be special forces, Debra, but I am not mindless or heartless. You also have proven yourself to me beyond any family loyalties. My superiors know that you would work with me. If I could come to you with a reason that would survive your high and mighty counters, they might have left the duty to me. If the reason was not that good, I have a history of standing down to you. I believe that is why they are sending in the Iliad."

Really not pleased with what I heard, I could not help but give a simple response to my brother. "I would rather not fight our government at any level."

"Let's see how this goes down. Give me credit for confiding in you, Debra."

"Yes, thank you, Clyde. Let me get back to work." As soon as the connection closed, I said to Mary, "Call your mother and let her know. If there is anyone that can work against Zychi, it is her."

The pink-haired girl chirped, "Gladly."

I realized why Mary needed to login on a computer as she spoke to her mother, then others. While she could access the transmissions, she had no way to let those she wanted to communicate with know that she was listening in other than the usual methods. As I was working on developing the technology that would enable us to advance to the next world, Mary worked on another computer speaking to those who had an investment in projects or people who would be possibly affected by what we found.

After I sent in the final set of code, I heard Chu ask, "Queen Debra, how will we test this thing?"

"That's easy," I replied, "we will have Mary tell us if it works or not."

"Is she picking up the signal?" Then, as if realizing what had been said, he blurted out, "If she has been picking up the signal all this time, why hasn't she changed?"

I answered, "Her head is not the same as the speakers the Nerisus used. Those are some high quality speakers."

Chu spoke an agreement. He then started speaking technical jargon about the speakers found in the alien constructions, which evolved into speculating about the quality of what Mary actually heard. Hearing comments from Linda, I knew he was working as he chatted to me. Not wanting to disrupt his train of thought, I let him ramble on. Finally, Chu said what I wanted to hear.

"Okay, Queen Debra. Tell Dame Mary that we will be coming to have her test this device."

Mary moved over so she could use my microphone to say, "I have been listening the whole time. Come on. I'm ready."

The device was supposed to be able to be small enough to fit on the head without being a problem to having on the helmet of a spacesuit. While Mission had an atmosphere comfortable to us humans, as did the space station, we could not assume every planet of the Nerisus Federation would be compatible with us. If not just a different flora generating the breathable gases, but changes in the ecology during the centuries. What Chu had Mary put on her head appeared as a set of large headphones, but I understood that I was looking at a practical operational test of technology and not something that could be considered a viable prototype.

She put it on, then almost immediate took it off with a sour expression coming to her face. "I believe you mis-identified the flux in the frequencies."

I brought up a model of the signal pattern. Mary barely set the device back on her head, then spoke of a harmonic time signal as well. That had me call upon other technical people, and soon we found ourselves attempting to identify more than a physical and electromagnetic series of pulses. Our work soon had a team going into the space station and dismantling a speaker. What we learned had us become even more in awe of the technology of the Nerisus Federation. We kept ourselves awake by speculating on what type of music and other entertainment was possible requiring such a complex device. Our working model that Mary approved ended up using speakers from the space station, and was so big that she could not pick it up, much less wear on her head.

Linda said, "Queen Debra, it is possible for us to duplicate this technology. We know sound, and electromagnetic, and the time process. Still, I don't believe we know enough to do what the Nerisus Federation did. There are some alloys and other components that enabled them to get the speakers to the size we have here. Further miniaturization is beyond us."

I was tired, so I knew everyone else was tired. "Listen, we need a solution. Let us all get some sleep, then some time to brainstorm. Let us meet again in twelve hours, and hopefully we can agree on a plan."

Chu asked, "Why can't we just send in a drone and bomb the source of the signal?"

"Because I would say it is near the portal. We know about the worlds accessible from this world, but not the coordinates. While those are surely in the computer system of the space station, we are not aware of how they programmed their systems. What coordinate system they used also surely will not match what coordinate system we are using, so even if we could read their databases we would need to figure out how their values would interpret into our values. We need the portal to send through a probe and gain the coordinates."

"We could send in FER-RON."

"If we knew enough about what we are looking for, we certainly could. From what we have encountered so far, it is reasonable to assume that there will be complexities forcing us to resolve them."

My team was not composed of obedient servants. They were hired due to their expertise, and had proven their capabilities in their work with FER-RON and other projects. I thus listened for other counters from them feeling that any challenge they issued would be worth my time to consider. What surprised me was hearing Chu speak to one who was an obedient servant.

"All right, Fran. Take me to bed."

From a back corner of the room I heard the piping voice of the Chattanooga series. "Oh, most certainly, Chu."

I had to ask, "Chu, you are having her stay with you?"

He replied, "I know what you said, Queen Debra, so what is your question?"

"Oh, none. I just might contact you next time I get contacted about writing code for a sexbot."

"Honestly, Queen Debra, if she was a robot, I doubt I would find her fascinating. There however is a real mind, a real lady, there in Fran. I feel that the reason I like Fran is a result of all the reasons the Straw Sapien Corporation is being held at fault in creating what they are. Where I feel I will be taken from you, Queen Debra, is in giving a report to government committees about what the Straw Sapien Corporation is producing."

Linda then said, "And I am being requested to take over a utility division of RayWeight. We are going to make weapons, but other products as well. I am interested in what we can do with other products."

Li spoke of her own messages to advance her employment. "They want me to move over as VP of FER-RON Industries. You write wonderful code, Queen Debra, but they need someone who can understand it to make certain tweaks."

I looked to Lenny, and he began to twitch as he said, "Well, uh, well, Queen Debra, I, uh, I told them I wanted to stay with you."

Chu said, "I guess you want to work on that sexbot, huh?"

"If that is what you will be working on, Queen Debra."

I felt that I detected the reason for Lenny to want to stay with me. Actually, I was honored. I felt his problem was that I really was not considering any romance in my life. He also should have realized that as a fellow employee, he was off limits. I then thought of Jimmy, and realized that with me it probably would need to be someone who would work with me and listen to my arguments for me accept them into my life. I thus kept my reply to Lenny calm and emotionless.

"Well, right now what I am working on is getting humanity where they can expand into the void left by the Nerisus Federation. If you are going to be staying with me, you better stay in shape."

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PostSubject: Chapter Four   May 20th 2017, 11:49 am

The Death of a Life
TimeSaga: The Society Story Six

Chapter Four

When I woke up, I found the attitude of those I contacted rather positive as if all the problems I had commanded to be put on hold were instead worked on and resolved. I had expected to set a time for us to gather again and discuss our proposals. Instead I found as I ate that others wanted me to immediately show up and look at what they had come up with as a solution to our problems.

Seeing one name being mentioned as someone who wanted to speak to me, I put in the contact as he was someone I felt able to talk with at any time. "Clyde, what is this about you going with me?"

He looked as if he had been dozing, although his surroundings was that of a mechanics shop. "It's our vehicle, Debra. What we have done is put that contraption on an all-terrain vehicle. That will give your team the ability to move. There are then two more smaller units, basically just one speaker, to protect any individual that needs to move off. It however is recommended that any reconnaissance be done with FER-RON."

"I assume that your squad will consist of my team."

"Well, one other from my squad. We concluded that it would be you, FER-RON, Mary, and Perry. There is a sixth opening that is presently being contested. My suggestion is Freckles, but Roy is wanting to go as is Charcoal. My personal belief is that Charcoal is a better choice than Roy."

I knew that the young forskin was enamored with Mary, and that he could use his youth to support his own desires, so replied, "Roy however has more clout than Charcoal, and Charcoal works well as an advisor. If I was going to pick another mercenary, it would be Sandstorm. How much combat do you think we will encounter?"

"That would be my question as well. Listen, my squad is now on board the Engendered. We're here for you, Debra. Let us go look this planet over, then we can decide on the sixth position."

Feeling a need to reduce my problems, I asked, "Is Roy on board the Engendered?"

"No. He is actually waiting for your invite."

"Well, then I guess I should call him. After I eat, I will probably be down to look at your vehicle."

I had to wait for a short period before I saw the face of Roy. "Hey, Queen Debra, you know you cannot go down to that planet alone. There is more than RayWeight Technologies and the U.S. military out here."

"Yes, but we have all the smarts."

"Ouch, that hurts. Still, it is not like the Solomon Foundation does not have its qualities."

I suddenly felt some relief in hearing movement. Turning to look I saw the person I wanted to see. I considered it strange that the girl would be hiding behind a doorway, although I felt it better if she went ahead and answered a question.

"Mary, would you want Roy to go with us?"

She did not seem to want to step out where she would be visible to the camera as she said, "I would rather him than Sandstorm."

I felt able to take up any issues with Mary later, so turned back to the image of Roy while saying, "And if Al shows up I guess you are the one we need with us."

The lad smiled while saying, "Oh, YEAH!"

"Now, just wait. I am going to finish eating, then look at what they have put together over here. We will let you know if or when to be available at an airlock to be picked up."

"Yeah, sure." There was something said behind him, which he let me know about. "The Roland will however also be going to this world."

"Can you do it safely?"

"Well, yes, as you need those special speakers to transmit the dangerous signal. Those of us going to the planet, or any space stations they might have, will need protection, but staying in the ship we will be all right."

"Okay, as long as you are aware of things. Will be in contact later."

After closing the communication, I turned back to Mary to ask, "Any reservation about having Roy with us?"

She came to sit near me as she said, "Well, Daddy did not make me able to grow up, or do certain things. Roy will make suggestions however."

"And that is a reason to deny him traveling with us."

"How about you and Lenny?"

"Lenny?" Yes, I had assumed things about him, so went ahead and admitted what I sensed was really obvious to others. "Well, he is not yet making suggestions to me. Also, well, I don't know. Still, I am a grown up woman, so can do certain things. I also will not stay as I am, and have to accept that my life could change in a manner that would make Lenny's companionship desirable."

"Roy says that we could possibly take advantage of what the Nerisus did, and provide benefits to us. I however don't know if I could. I mean, waking up and being able to sleep seems wonderful, but going through the days without all this information passing through me I feel would be a horrible thing."

I smiled knowing that I knew the words to say. "Mary, always be proud of who you are. None of us had any choice about coming into this world, or what benefits we might be blessed with. We are all doing our best with our situation."

She nodded, but there really was not a smile on her face as she admitted, "I like Roy. I can also sense something from him that I cannot from others. I think I can detect his telepathic abilities. It has me think that he can detect things about me, and I really would like to have someone that can share some of my problems."

While she had not smiled, I did feeling that I heard something good. "Roy has his own path, but it sounds like there is a bond between you. That is good. It helps having people you can turn to. I am thus going to authorize him to join us, but you let me know if the feeling between the two of you becomes sour."

A slightly cheerful expression now came to her face as she replied, "Okay. Do you mind if I sit with you while you eat?"

We actually did not speak of men as we had a meal. Mary spoke of what could make out in the transmissions of the various alien races. While mankind had been sending signals out into space assuming a certain basic line of thought would be assured in other cultures, however bizarre, the truth was that their perspectives in the development of the technology had caused them to make different assumptions. She thus was having trouble figuring out the signals, but what interaction she had with them had enabled her to start making sense of the various transmissions. I ate my meal feeling that we were preparing our minds for the challenges that would come, and left speaking with Mary about seeing just what the men felt was a worthy solution to our problem.

What I saw arriving at the storage berth was just a couple of the jeeps I saw being used on Mission. Clyde however assured me that the hulls were sealed, and with the larger tires they would be good through any terrain. I allowed Mary to approve the transmission canceling equipment while I looked over how things would be packed.

With both of us giving approval, things moved rather quickly. Captain Iwasaki gave the command, and I felt the ship jolt as the engines fired to propel us through a Rothman Tube. As I felt things settle from the engines no longer engaged, the voice of the captain came over a speaker seeking verification that we had not moved too quickly.

"Queen Debra or Dame Mary please verify our status."

I felt it best if Mary gave the reply, so waited for her to come to the microphone. "Our speakers are indeed not capable of reproducing the signal being broadcast. The device created is also canceling the signal in a limited, but tolerable, range. We should be good to proceed, but ..." I saw the girl look to me and ask, "You have not seen any images of the planet yet, have you?"

Captain Iwasaki proved that he had a camera watching us as he said, "I don't believe Queen Debra has, Dame Mary. What our pink-haired darling has realized is that the planet appears to be a wasteland. There is evidence of nuclear, but some cities were probably leveled by earthquakes."

I called up views from the outside cameras, but as I began to look I asked my question, "Can you locate the source of the damaging transmission?"

The girlish voice of an Annapolis series replied, "I believe so, Queen Debra, but I fear it is underwater."

Mary said, "I understand why she said that, but water will distort a signal. I don't believe the transmitter is underwater."

Captain Iwasaki stated, "Sounds like the reason just sending FER-RON was vetoed. We need a team down there to look at the real situation and figure out what to do about it."

My brother approached while saying, "Just give the word, Queen Debra."

I looked to Mary and asked, "Has the Roland arrived?"

She answered, "Just did."

As if to verify, the voice of Roy came over a speaker. "Engendered, is there someone coming to get me?"

I activated a microphone to say, "I told you to wait, Roy, but you better be waiting with your luggage packed."

"Roger on the luggage, but Linda is supposed to have some new guns for me."

Wondering about that, I switched to a private channel to contact my team. "Linda, Roy says that you are supposed to have some new guns for him."

There was some noise, then Linda replied, "Oh, yeah! They're cool. He should like them."

Thinking it was none of my business, except maybe to authorize a bill to be sent to the Solomon Foundation, I ordered, "Well, get them here to storage. We are packing up."

Switching the microphone off, I looked to Mary to ask, "How are conditions on the planet? Will we be constantly bombarded by the dangerous signal?"

"No. As you heard, the buildings are mostly collapsed and the power grid is ruined. I will keep you aware of any speakers still working."

I then looked to my brother to say, "I hope things are not so ruined that we cannot take your vehicles."

He smiled while saying, "We have dynamite for that." He then raised his voice while asking, "Don't we, Perry?"

The cyborg did not seem too happy to admit, "It was intended to assure the destruction of the transmitting system."

As I thought of us going to the Roland, I suddenly felt a need to include someone else in what we were doing. "Captain Iwasaki, inform the Flags of Freedom about what we are finding. No reason for them to say that they were not informed."

I saw Clyde smile and nod when the captain replied, "I would not have done so without your authorization, Queen Debra."

"Well, right now I want it completely on their heads should they turn into korlocks. If you see something we need to be aware of, please inform us."

"I'll be turning the vessel to put us in orbit. There does seem to be some debris, so we might collect a satellite to keep us occupied while you are away."

"Sounds like a useful thing to do. Okay, we'll be packing."

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PostSubject: Chapter Five   May 25th 2017, 12:34 pm

The Death of a Life
TimeSaga: The Society Story Six

Chapter Five

Our descent to the planet occurred pleasantly enough. After picking up Roy, we loaded his gear while performing another check of our inventory. By the time we were being warned to prepare for landing on the planet we felt confident about our ability to do our job.

All of the portals we had discovered connected us with points in space. It did not make sense, as all the portals we discovered were in habited areas. Both the one in the derelict vessel and the one in the space station had what appeared to be resting areas for travelers to pass the time in comfort before being allowed to move on to a destination. This meant to us that it was possible for one portal to connect with another portal, but we had not discovered how to access that feature.

Our vehicles thus needed to be able to come in through an atmosphere and land on a surface. Getting back into space however was not a major problem. Once they lifted from the ground, they could use a Rothman Tube to put them back into space. Theoretically they could do it from the ground, but configuring the direction of a Rothman Tube was also still beyond us, so the vehicles needed the full range of movement being airborne would provide.

The voice of Chaos came over the speaker. "I believe I found a landing place. Like the city on Mission, it is near the water. What I mean to say is, there is going to be a lot of water around you. Glad that you brought vehicles that can do some boating."

We actually knew that. From space we could not be too certain about the quality of a landing site, but we had been able to recognize the presence of water. I did look to Mary to see if she had anything to add, but she did what she could to shrug while constrained by her harness.

I believe we were all glad that we put on the safety belts, as I felt us undergo forces that I felt certain was due to local weather then water on the landing site. No cursing or sounds of exasperation came over the speaker from the pilot. Chaos could have turned it off, but I heard some chatter as he shut off the engines, so I trusted the landing was what he expected.

He moved back to where we were while saying, "Okay, I got you here safely. Straight line distance to your destination is about a mile, but you could end up going two or three times that distance to get there. Your safety is not guaranteed."

Those words took me by surprise, so I asked, "Why not?"

"It pains me to say this, but we did have crime and other problems. Besides the monsters you are not wanting to become, there are our... our... I guess the proper translation is True Guns."

Clyde asked, "You had robot police?"

"No. You have to understand how much fear our authorities created in us once we encountered the okagaki. The True Guns were built to buy the citizens time to get to their places of safety. They were basically just big automated mobile heavy weapon platforms. There actually is a code to get around them: just wave your hands." Chaos demonstrated. "If you do that, the True Guns will tell you to move along. The okagaki used those large humanoid robot vehicles even back then, and they could not perform such an action."

"Are you saying that these things might still be active?"

"I am. Whether they are new models built by remnants of our civilization, or our old things still active, be careful."

Perry mumbled, "Now he tells us."

Mary however said, "I cannot detect them."

Chaos smiled as he said, "We knew about sensors, Dame Mary. Our True Guns would not be effective if they could be taken out from a distance. Their programming was completely internal, which is why we needed a clear disarm signal. Their construction was from an alloy that would not be distinguished from the surrounding material of the city. Someone coming in expecting trouble was not to know they had trouble until in range of the weapons of a True Gun."

Clyde asked, "How about visually?"

"In this demolished wreck of a city? I hate to say it, but you might come upon one buried beneath you and suddenly taking fire from below."

Clyde looked to Perry to grumble, "I agree with you; now he tells us."

The cyborg replied, "Well, actually, a lot of my missions as a mercenary were like that."

That got the two men trading stories. Strangely, I had heard about Perry's missions, but not those of my brother. I thus listened to what he would reveal of his covert special ops assignments glad to learn more about his history. I did nothing to disturb the stories, but would walk wide circles around the men as I prepared to assure that I gave them time to tell as much as possible.

Finally, we climbed in the vehicles and started moving. The ground ahead us was broken, and we saw fallen structures in the direction we wanted to go. Further, the crashing of waves only let us know that our travel had other problems than moving over rough terrain.

After moving enough that we could tell that the level of water was only a few feet deep, we began speculating about the changes in the global system over the centuries. We did not detect any large ice covered sections, so wondered if the reason for the flooding was that they melted. Of course, other possible reasons for the rise in the water level was suggested. I suddenly felt our movement stop as Mary indicated that she could tell something ahead of us could be dangerous.

I had to ask because I heard none of the others do so. "Is that one of those True Guns?"

Clyde stood in his seat and made the actions he had been shown to make. The large object was clearly not a statue. It did not stand on a pedestal, was not part of any building, and had a large mechanized appearance. We felt some relief that it did not turn toward us, although as we advanced the fact that it made no action at all had us form a different conclusion about it being a threat.

My brother said, "I believe that it is no longer operational."

I replied, "Yes, but I believe we also have to admit that the warnings from Chaos about their existence is verified. We stay alert."

Mary had us approach the thing we considered a True Gun. It was about twenty feet tall set on tractors. Instead of the treads being of metal, they were of some plastic-like alloy that we could only assume was installed in order to not hurt the road. Suddenly realizing that we had actual pavement broken, the men worked to get a piece while Mary stood and looked at the True Gun.

She finally spoke, but not to any of us present. "Chaos, did any of you consider covering the visual sensors?"

"Why would we consider that?"

"It is the fault in the system. If the True Guns could not see anything, they would not be able to recognize their own people." Before he could respond, she explained her words. "The okagaki did not attack. The signal we feared was piped through the world, and as the people went through the transformation some activated certain defenses. The True Guns activated. The commands they received were rash statements as people went through their ordeal, so the True Guns did not act with any clear instructions. When one building was damaged from aircraft due to their pilots suffering, the dust of its collapse blinded the True Guns. The database inside them clearly has them firing on moving targets that I can recognize as being people."

It was Clyde that asked, "You can read their databases, Mary?"

"It is like the signal that overcame me. I learned to translate that signal, and this file in the database was not nearly as complex. I could read it because it was active. The True Gun is actually still recording, but its memory has long been saturated."

The voice of Chaos said, "I am sorry to hear that about my people, Mary."

"Yes, but what I saw just verifies our caution in what we are doing and our determination to eradicate this signal. What happened as a result of that signal was horrible."

Clyde asked, "Why everyone? Why not just those engaged in areas where the okagaki were present?"

"I cannot really understand the language, Clyde. There is propaganda. The message does appear positive, but that is all I can say."

Roy said, "The bastards. They used the okagaki as an excuse to do this to everyone."

Mary smiled as she replied, "That does seem to be the evidence." She continued to smile as she pointed before making the simple comment, "We need to go that way."

Perry asked, "Mary, could we destroy the speakers as we go through the town? It would help us stay safe from the signal."

"They're on the network, Perry. I'm using them."

Clyde replied, "We got sensors from the Engendered and Roland to direct us. Let us know where the speakers are, Mary."

She obediently pointed while speaking of how to clearly identify a nearby source of the transforming signal. While the weapons used against the korlocks were rather powerful, they were made to disrupt what were insubstantial forms. Clyde and Perry spoke of being glad they had come prepared for physical threats as they pointed out the ancient use of explosives in the wreckage around us. I obediently looked through binoculars to see what my brother explained were craters from substantial projectiles.

Suddenly, an explosion sounded near us, and Mary loudly stated, "I cannot detect the source!"

It was the voice of an Annapolis series that replied, "We can. It seems that a True Gun is still armed and dangerous. They however have the same problem as all snipers. Once they fire they reveal their presence and general location. It is close to you, away team. Find cover."

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PostSubject: Chapter Six   May 30th 2017, 12:25 pm

The Death of a Life
TimeSaga: The Society Story Six

Chapter Six

We had gotten pretty confident in fighting korlocks. Their insubstantial forms were originally a problem, but with us finding weapons that would hurt them the human race proved its ability to massacre. Learning that they were truly monsters without any souls, we took to the fights almost with a joy of being able to perform the carnage without suffering any future turmoil. Realizing that we were facing a serious physical threat, we looked to each other wondering just how to respond.

Luckily, we did not have to. Mankind had been creating mechanized methods of slaughter for centuries, then smiling as we reduced our opponents to rubble. The captains of the Engendered and Roland told us to hold our positions, then death descended from the skies. As if competing, one missile from each space ship came down. With pinpoint accuracy they both hit the True Gun, and as we saw a plume of smoke go into the sky both captains let us know that we could return to doing what we had to do.

The voice of Chaos came from over the speaker. "Just to speak for my people, you would have to take out more than one, and in so doing our other defenses would have time to come on line."

I was actually pleased with the words in return from Captain Iwasaki. "Then let me say that I am glad not to be at war with the Nerisus Federation."

We moved through the city cautiously. While none of the threats had shown themselves to be formidable, we did not doubt that at one time they were all deadly. The broken terrain was actually the less serious of our problems, although became the matter that took up most of our time resolving. After finally exploding some debris in order to move along a route taking us into the heart of the city, Mary stood hanging out a window in the moving vehicle as if needing a better view of her surroundings.

Clyde and I both reached to grab and steady her with him asking, "What are you doing?"

"It should be around here," Mary replied before pointing. "There! You should be able to see that there was once was a reinforced security gate."

"What defenses does it have?"

"None that I can detect."

The voice of Captain Iwasaki said, "If you can give me a location, I can send something down to assure there is no trouble."

Moving through what had once been an outer perimeter, we found ourselves coming upon what was clearly a protected installation. The outer wall gave me the impression of a prison, although Clyde pointed out the lack of guard installations around the outer barrier. He spoke of what we would find as we moved to what appeared as the surface personnel station for a rather large facility below. The wall surrounding it definitely marked a perimeter of a number of acres inside with me accepting that the size of what was below to fill the entire area. Mary and Clyde chose a position far enough from the main gate to not hurt it, although be close enough to feel the effects and activate any defenses still operational. FER-RON took a beacon and set it where the two agreed, and when she returned I gave the authorization to have a missile strike the wall of the facility.

Not seeing any response to the destruction, Mary told FER-RON to move up to the guard shack and destroy the speakers inside. After she did so, the pink-haired girl told us we still needed to be concerned. It seemed that a number of speakers were active within the walls. She told us of a hope that the destruction to the walls would have knocked out the circuitry to the speakers, although it had not. FER-RON gave a response that clearly indicated her understanding of what was said.

"Do you want me to move around the walls and destroy the speakers?"

Clyde asked, "How are you going to get into facility, FER-RON?"

"Through the wall section that was destroyed."

There was still dust obscuring my sight of the destruction, but I asked my question knowing that my robot had a much greater range of vision than I did. "Do you think you can move through safely?"

"Yes, Debra."

It was Clyde that gave the order. "Go ahead, FER-RON. We will take a break and wait for you."

I could not help but smile when my robot looked to me. I believe that she would have obeyed Mary, but Clyde was outside FER-RON's command structure. While she would have agreed with his orders, I felt some joy in seeing her look to me as a real authority figure.

As I tried to watch my robot as she moved upon the rubble, the voice of Barbara from the Roland announced, "We got company. It seems to be a Flag of Freedom."

I could identify a strange voice as it said, "Engendered and Roland, this is General Manorum Iasaki of the Iranian Army. We are finding active defenses on the other two worlds, so were wondering how you were dealing with your situation."

Captain Iwasaki returned, "Slowly. You are free to watch and listen."

"Yes, thank you, as that was going to be my request. Do you find yourselves in need of assistance?"

"You might be military, General, but both of us here are civilian, and your vessel is actually a civilian vessel. As fellow civilians, we thank you for the offer, but do not need it at this time."

I heard annoyance in the general's voice as he replied, "You have American military with you."

A smile came to my face as Captain Iwasaki returned, "The highest rank is only a major, who is out-ranked by our queen. I am not certain about your rank in relation to her."

"I see. Okay, Engendered, our offer still stands."

It took us by surprise to see FER-RON return from the guard shack, and as she approached she verified, "There is a door to inside. It however is not large enough for the vehicles."

Clyde replied, "There has to be a way to open the gates."

Mary answered, "I sense that the system is active. Now that it is safe, let me look at the controls."

Actually I felt any of us could have activated the gates. The handle was almost a lever and not a switch. No computer authorization was necessary. We did look around for any oversight to any guard stationed with the duty of only allowing certain people inside, but suspected that if it existed FER-RON destroyed it when she took out the speaker. Ready to proceed, I turned the handle to open the gates.

When nothing happened, Mary said, "Not enough power."

Roy opened the rear door, then said, "Not that we could have advanced that far anyway."

Clyde replied, "We have the system for negating the signal on our vehicles. Still, I guess we carry it. Perry, do you want to help me?"

The cyborg replied, "Of course."

I crossed the distance behind the men attempting to determine the original purpose for this place. It had the design of a prison. It however did not have the windows for places where people lived, even if involuntary. My next thought was the place being a fortress, but that did not match its function. The men were speculating about the difficulty of going through the door we were heading to when I had them stop.

"Clyde, this does not seem right. The other places for portals was accessible. Here we are are on a once thriving planet of the Nerisus Federation, and I would think people would have been regularly moving between other worlds. This building does not seem like a place where people were allowed to visit."

My brother replied, "I agree that this does not seem like a place for the people, but considering that it is the source of the signal, and what we know the signal to be, it looks like they did not want the people to have access to the transmission." Before I could respond, he added, "And we only assumed a portal would be here."

I had to agree that taking out the source of the signal was important. There however had been clues enabling us to locate the source of other portals. The time signal was known to us, and something similar was used in creating the Rothman Tubes enabling us to move to other places in the universe. The fact that no one in any of the ships over the planet, or even Mary here on the planet with us, had spoken of locating a portal elsewhere had me agree that we needed to advance.

Again there was no special system necessary to open the door. No sooner was it opened than a number of shouts sounded. FER-RON was sent ahead to take out certain speakers. She however came back speaking of not being able to advance far. We all looked at the system with us to cancel the transforming signals understanding that we would need to depend upon it as we advanced through the door.

Some of the korlocks we fought were large creatures. The buildings on Mission had rooms and furniture that could accommodate a large figure. We entered to see an inspection chamber barely large enough for one of the sizable members of the Nerisus Federation to come through.

Mary said, "FER-RON, you could have broken that window."

My robot asked, "What window, Mary?"

It was Perry that answered by punching a place on the wall while voicing the question, "You mean here?"

FER-RON had an arm change into a metal lance that I knew to be charged, then sent it through what I could tell was a video screen before saying, "I did not recognize it as a window."

Mary explained, "It was not bolted to the wall, but resting in the wall. I could tell that another room was behind. I guess that originally there was just a window there."

My robot fired a physical round through the hole now opened up, I guess to silence a speaker, then said, "I cannot fit through the hole."

Roy moved next to Perry while saying, "If you can lift me up, old man, I believe I could make it inside."

Mary said, "You however will need me to determine the controls."

"It pays to be little, huh?"

We listened as the two spoke of being in a large control room. It seemed that there was another door to a break room, but both spoke of speakers being in that room. I hoped for a positive reply when Roy asked Mary about finding a command to silence all the speakers. I however listened as she gave a rather dismal response.

"The speakers are locked from a command center. I can access a map of the facility, and it seems the place to override the signal is where the transmission is coming from. We are just going to have to deal with it all the way."

Clyde asked, "Well, can you at least allow us into the facility, Mary?"

"Yes, but there seems to be various levels of security. Some doors we might need to blast."

Perry said, "We can do that, Mary. Still, let us take this one step at a time. Open the door, please."

"FER-RON, be ready to take out some speakers."

My robot replied, "Yes, Mary. I am ready."

No sooner did the door open than FER-RON rushed through. A couple of shots sounded, then I heard her speak of taking out a few more before considering it safe for us to advance. However, both Clyde and Perry rushed through the door upon hearing the sound of other weapons than those of my robot.

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PostSubject: Chapter Seven   June 4th 2017, 12:52 pm

The Death of a Life
TimeSaga: The Society Story Six

Chapter Seven

It caught me by surprise to hear explosions. I moved forward wondering why the robots would be built for physical opponents. I then remembered that no one in the Nerisus Federation expected anything like a korlock. Their fear, or at least the fear of their superiors, was concerning the okagaki. The explosions had me worry about FER-RON, as she had not been tested against conventional threats.

Seeing her rush to me brought me relief, even as she spoke of a concern. "Debra, I am out of regular rounds."

While I was glad to see her in good condition, I kept my focus on handling the situation. "Were you effective?"

"I targeted what I considered to be vulnerable areas, and did limit their firing arcs. My work enabled Perry to safely get into position and fire the necessary armaments to neutralize the threat."

I heard Clyde over my headset, "I believe you did load some extra ammunition for FER-RON. I had one of my men act as co-pilot for Chaos. He can bring the proper box."

"Considering conventional threats could be common in this facility, I guess so," I replied.

"I... I... I can bring it, Queen." I had forgotten about Lenny, and I had not considered another important point. "FER-RON will allow me to load the rounds."

I looked to my robot to command, "Go back along the route we traveled to Lenny. We are going to check out this area, so you should not miss anything."

"Yes, Debra, and I know that Lenny will not prolong my time. I will be back as soon as possible."

I did not bother about FER-RON's appraisal of Lenny's performance compared to others. I knew that my mechanics would have the robot do some system tests. Li would often seek to test some conversation routine she felt might not be satisfactory. Lenny however came from a history of building robots for combats, so understood the need to perform some resets quickly to get the machine back into operation for the next event.

After seeing FER-RON leave, I worked with the others to have our two youngsters join us. There really was no way for us to open the doors. Mary could detect the system to release them, but waited for our assurance that there was no threat from the signal. It seemed that she could detect a source of the transforming wave pattern, and suddenly hearing Clyde yell while running to us we understood why our youngsters were wanting to stay put.

My brother stopped near us to say while panting, "Why didn't any of us think of elevator music?"

Perry asked, "The elevators work?"

"Oh, yes, and I thought that was a good thing until the door opened. We need FER-RON."

I said, "Well, her girlish figure can only hold so many bullets. She is needing to reload."

Probably just to be conversational he asked, "Would that be a problem with the PASSIONs?"

"Not with their accuracy. Count how many speakers, then robots, FER-RON put out of commission before needing to reload. I doubt the PASSIONs will ever enter a situation like this one where they are dealing with completely mechanized units. Police forces and military have ways of handling that. Korlocks, well korlocks are something new our regular security personnel are not exactly prepared for, but the robots’ energy weapons will always have an unlimited supply."

A voice over our headsets asked, "Uh, Major, what type of rounds were they firing at you?"

That question kept my brother and Perry occupied taking one of the sentries apart. I had studied types of weapons and the ammunition they would require, but the topic had never been one I considered to have any importance in my life. While I had some understanding of what the men said, I thought about other things while waiting for my robot to return. Feeling that I had another source of information, I asked my question to the other female with me.

"Mary, where is the elevator to take us?"

She answered, "Sub-basement four. From what I can make out, there is a room like the one we saw on the space station. The portal is there, but the transmitter should be a separate panel. I would suggest sending FER-RON down and having her take out the component before we go down."

Indicating that she had been listening, I heard the voice of FER-RON over my headset say, "Lenny has finished reloading my weapons. I am now returning."

The sound of an explosion, then curses, had me concerned for the men. They however laughed then spoke of things concerning the ammunition they found within a robot. Something about the way it ignited the powder was different than the methods we used, and it gave the men something to talk about they found interesting.

We all went quiet hearing a message from Chaos over our headsets. "Uh, away team, the Flag of Freedom vessel just released a boat. It seems to be headed our way."

I replied, "Well, we cannot say that they weren't warned."

The voice of General Iasaki came over the headset saying, "I am glad that you see it that way. At the moment no intentions are being stated, but we do want to be present."

"Our only claim on the planet is to assure its safety and gain the coordinates through the portal. If you have those who want to stake claims, I just would ask that they wait until we shut down the harmful transmission."

"I do not in any way intend to interfere with what you are doing, Queen Debra. My motives and those of RayWeight do not conflict."

"Very well." Wanting to assure that there were no hard feelings, I said, "Thank you for the update, Chaos."

Seeing my robot return, I put my focus on securing the safety of our advance. FER-RON moved about destroying the speakers we had found. With that done, Mary felt free to unlock the doors securing her and Roy. Instead of them coming out, I however went in to see what I could pull up on the computers concerning this facility. The little security chamber ended up becoming cramped as the men joined me to assure our safety as we advanced.

Luckily, I did have one of my network units with me. I thus was able to tap into FER-RON's cameras. Informing her that I would have oversight of her activities, I sent her to ride down in the elevator. Watching the images on my unit, I found myself glad that I did not go down with my robot.

The air was thick with what appeared to be dust, but what the visuals told me were probably particles of decayed matter. Skeletons and clothes along with other things I really did not want to talk about cluttered up the floor and furniture of the room FER-RON stepped into. Attempting to overcome my emotions due to the visuals, I was glad that I had done such a good job of programming my robot.

The images went in a number of places, but what I could see and the sounds I heard allowed me to confirm what FER-RON said as the picture stopped. "The speakers have been destroyed."

I had her slowly move about, but could not argue with Mary who concluded, "I will need to go down there."

Clyde replied, "We will all go with you."

Seeing the carnage, I found myself disagreeing. "No. We're not going anywhere. FER-RON, what about other threats?"

My brother asked, "What other threats could there be?"

I did not speak to him, although felt my answer would be stated all the same. "FER-RON, look for robots, cameras, or anything dangerous. Those people did not get changed into korlocks, which meant they died. I want to know what killed them, and why the computer banks and instruments did not get hurt."

My robot replied, "Understood, Debra."

Clyde had to quip, "Are we being paranoid?"

I returned, "Of what? Being turned into korlock or being killed?"

Before he could reply, I heard Mary gasp then FER-RON say, "Found the threat, Debra. Not certain if I can take it out."

Perry said, "Tell your robot to wait, Debra. I'm going down."

Clyde asked, "And what makes you qualified?"

The cyborg tapped a metal hip with one hand while his other opened a compartment in his side and changed what it held. The weapon he assured had a round ready was much bigger than anything Clyde carried on his person. Showing his respect for the non-verbal answer, my brother saluted the cyborg.

"I'm ashamed of being found incompetent."

I said, "Don't hurt the portal."

Perry replied, "That is not my intent, but I am going to cause damage."

Mary advised, "Fire toward the ceiling."

I spoke advice to another. "FER-RON, when the elevator door opens, move to one side."

Perry and I traded a nod when my robot replied, "Understood, Debra."

I asked Mary about a possible surveillance image from cameras in the room. She expertly worked a keyboard, then had a few visuals. While I was used to seeing the images from my device, Roy and Clyde both spoke exclamations of awe in realizing the carnage in the room. We watched as FER-RON moved against a wall when the elevator doors opened, then Perry fired his weapon. The first round did not take out the unit, but only stray bullets fired as Perry loaded another round. The surveillance image clearly showed the destruction from Perry's second shot going into the internals of the weaponized unit.

We complimented both on their performance. Hearing Mary say that the portal was still indicating that it was active, there were no complaints to state. We told the pair to wait for our arrival, but then another spoke of another performance.

The voice of General Iasaki said, "I want to thank you as well. There is nothing wrong with this world. It surely had its own past, but not one we should consider proper. Just to solve any arguments, I and Mulad Onrik Burshene would like to claim this planet for Allah and his prophet. Once you infidels have gained your coordinates, we ask that you leave."

Not willing to have matters dealt with so easily, I replied, "No. I am probably overstepping my bounds, but as a human I am not going to allow any other group of humans to be so dictatorial. We all will be gracious. We all will be kind. We all will step forward with a hand of cooperation to all others."

"I said nothing of not being gracious, being unkind, or uncooperative."

"Then just say, 'We want to live here,' and be done with it. You are not being given ownership of the entire planet."

"We will not live on a world with the ungodly."

I really was not a religious person, so was not pleased with the conversation. "Well, Allah did not give you that option. Deal with it."

"I disagree. He did give us options, the same ones He gave His prophet. We are willing to use force."

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PostSubject: Chapter Eight   June 9th 2017, 5:38 pm

The Death of a Life
TimeSaga: The Society Story Six

Chapter Eight

I replied to the threat of the general, "Go ahead, bomb the Hell out of this planet you want to claim as your own. We might let you have it if you do a good enough job."

"We can help you bomb the Hell out of the planet," came a voice that I only recognized as being one of the men who served under my brother.

Another voice, one I did not recognize, said, "Let me apologize for my over-zealous companion. Finish what you came to do, Queen Debra. We can discuss things later."

"No," I clearly stated. "This is not something I care about. We, I mean humanity, is moving out into space. I am advancing proving the capabilities of my skills and the robot I helped build. You, I mean humanity, is free to come behind me and do what you feel led to do. Let us however not bring our faults with us. Religion is a good thing. I accept that. So, make yourselves into good people. Do not be reclusive and prejudiced. Those are bad things. We are the good aliens. PLEASE! We are the good aliens. Bring our good traits into space. Make our God, or Gods if you feel that Allah is not the Christian God, into being good things. That is what I ask. That is my only demand."

"Continue with what you are doing, Queen Debra. We will be discussing things among ourselves."

I suddenly felt arms wrap around me, and I heard the voice of my brother announce, "That was my sister that said that!"

While my brother smiled at me after releasing me, I cannot say that I had such a positive expression as I commanded, "Let's get moving."

I put my focus on assuring that the transmitting unit was put out of commission. The gun turret had been placed over the unit we desired to remove, but our damage had not stopped the production of the horrible wavelengths. It however did make it easy for FER-RON to assure that something went into the internal components to render them non-functional. With that job done, we all turned our focus upon assuring the condition of the portal.

The carnage in the room made me want to cry. I however retained my composure and had my robot help Perry in removing the remains. A number spoke of their interest in the once living material, and I allowed it under the assumption that they would be buried after a period of study. I heard others ask about finding graveyards on the planet, or if they cremated their dead. I however did not want to deal with religious issues, but worked merely to clear the carnage from the room that I and others would be working in while giving some respect to those who once worked in this place before me.

The Flags of Freedom vessel was not the only one to send boats to the planet. Medical people came down from both the Engendered and Roland to study the remains. Those knowledgeable in communications came down to study the device we had made and other speakers found in the wreckage of the civilization. All of us expected to be contacted by remnants of those who once lived on the planet, but in that matter those of the Flags of Freedom who had come to find a home were not challenged.

It was Mary that had a certain receiver set in the probes sent through the portal. It took some time before the portal was activated, as they sought for methods to have it activate different coordinates. The logic was that now we were within the boundaries of the Nerisus Federation, the portals should be more varied enabling a citizen to go wherever else in the society he would desire. Mary did her best to focus on the machines around her, and finally managed to speak what conclusion she could determine about the portal.

"This is not the only one on the planet. This is like a controlling unit. The other portals have their activities checked and authorized by this facility."

Clyde replied, "Don't take this wrong. It is not a suggestion, but merely a question. If we take out this facility, all the other portals on the planet would not function?"

Mary smiled as she replied, "Probably not, or they might need a key."

"Well, I guess that we might as well learn where these people considered it important to get their orders from."

As this was not the first time we needed to launch a probe from an enclosed space, we were familiar with certain steps. It helped that we had a working elevator. Instead of having to rush down hallways, those that set the probe merely moved into the waiting car and came to watch things through monitors with us.

We gained merely seconds of visuals before witnessing an explosion. Before we could voice questions, FER-RON moved with Mary verifying the presence of korlocks. I felt that we were all annoyed at the monsters making an appearance, as we had our minds other matters that we considered more important. Those of my party had plenty of previous experience fighting the barely substantial creatures. We thus set ourselves to the combat feeling the duty to again remove the threat. Once things finally calmed down, we again gathered to study what seconds of visuals our probe had transmitted.

In almost excited tones we mentioned the fact that our missile had entered another room and not some location in outer space. Considering what we had determined of the portal we were studying, calls went to the ships above the planet asking if there were signs of an explosion elsewhere on the surface. We waited for the vessels to make an orbit, then with excitement we spoke of changes in our next probe.

Mary however did not have any joy in her voice as she said, "They are transmitting the signal over there. I have encountered it enough to recognize it in a few seconds."

Clyde asked, "Do you believe the explosion took out the speakers?"

The girl shrugged, but Perry asked what I considered the more important question. "What are we supposed to do? Walk over there?"

Before any of us could respond, a man in rather elegant robes walked toward us. He had white hair and the use of a gilded ornate staff gave the impression of being an elderly man. While I did not doubt that he was an Islamic priest, I felt his attire really did not reflect that religion. Upon stopping before us, he made some religious looking waves with his hands before speaking.

"Are there any problems with your determining the coordinates?"

I replied, "We will not bite. You can come and watch with us."

"I don't mean to interfere."

"What you are saying is that you do not care, but you just want us to finish and move on."

"Basically, yes. Would you desire a blessing from Allah?"

We all gave him permission to do the rite. Roy might have followed the Islamic faith, but I doubted any of the rest of us did. My brother promoted organic foods and other special things in his diet, but nothing in his odd behaviors had me suspect him of being overly religious. I however felt that we did promote the things we did believe in as we allowed the priest to act in accordance with his faith.

At the end, the priest said words that I felt supported my conclusions about his presence. "Now, how about you trying again?"

Clyde replied before any of the rest of us. "The probe did not end up in outer space, but in another room."

With a perplexed expression on his face, the priest asked, "So we can just walk across?"
Mary answered, "We were discussing that very question when you arrived. There however is the problem of the room having the transforming waveform present."

"You could send FER-RON."

I replied to that. "I am not sending my robot alone through a Rothman Tube. At least not until further tests are done."

There was a pause, then the priest concluded, "So, what you are saying is that you might be a while."

"Lives are on the line, so we are not going to rush."

"Well, uh, souls are on the line. Considering your earlier words, Queen Debra, what would be your opinion concerning us building a mosque?"

I looked to the others with me to see if they wanted to speak, but finally went ahead and gave my answer. "If you are truly going to make this planet a home, I would assume a desire to give respect to your God. The city is pretty devastated however. Do you have a place in mind?"

"There is actually a standing tower that can work for the present. We are thinking of clearing the area around it and start making homes."

"I wish you the best."

The others in my group now spoke to also state their best wishes for those intending to settle this world. I believe all of us understood that humans would not stay on Earth. The number of ships that considered themselves under the designation of Flags of Freedom, whether Islamic or not, stated that many wanted to seek a life elsewhere in the universe. Those that spoke of humanity needing to remain in their place were not being listened to, and I only wondered if we would end up still calling ourselves Earthlings or if those following my advance would take on the name of the society whose worlds we were inhabiting.

It helped my opinion of the priest when he remained as we discussed our use of the next probe. He stayed with us as the next missile was set up with barely enough fuel to get it off the ground. This time we saw our cameras record the probe sliding on a floor and being stopped by the remains of a wall, but at the end of the portal being active we had the data we needed. The priest then asked a question that I expected.

"What are you going to do now?"

I answered, "Find out if we can walk across."

"Why can't you do that from your ship?"

"Because we fly our ships through those Rothman Tubes, and we cannot fly them into a room."

"Oh, of course."

Roy thankfully said, "We could possibly go back to the space station, but we do not know how to change the coordinates there. We don't know how to do so here either, but at least this portal goes to that room."

"Ah, yes. Thank you, young forskin. How about simply activating the portal and sliding something through?"

I believe the priest was trying to hurry us along, but quickly learned that would not happen. The truth was that we had a number of problems to resolve. At present we had a lot to learn about the portals, and as was common with science what was learned often resulted in more questions. The priest however accepted that we were not simply wasting time, and later that day had a group of the emigrants bring us some food.

They did speak of hoping that this planet would only be settled by those of the Islamic religion. I told them that I hoped in any event that they would find their lives on this world to be good ones. The all spoke their own hope in that possibility, and in that fashion I saw them working to make this planet another home for humanity.

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Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
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