Fresh World

Chapter 9: Culmination

Written and illustrated by Adrienne Potter

 

Suddenly they sensed words in their heads, all at the same time:

"You don't have to be together to block them!  You don't have to be holding hands.  We'll all do this together.  Just feel the group feelings and imagine we're all together!"  It was Kaylar with Nola, speaking through the parent-child crystal, and Darak's crystal was receiving.  The seers could all sense it.  Their mothers had seen the attack of the stealth cruiser crystal and had heard Kevo report the transporting of Irvana and Darak by the Grisling.   

The two women who had born these crystal seers and through whom the seers had inherited their telepathic abilities needed only their motherly senses to know that their children needed extra help and that they could provide it.  All of the Evarjans on the planet sensed the urgent need of their concentration and everywhere crystals glowed as they began to make the music they had made in the Supreme Dominant Summit.

The three seers could hear the music in their minds--the amazing melodic music with tones that cascaded over each other like layers of waterfalls and penetrated one's thoughts and moods like water through a sieve.  It caressed and pierced one's innermost being until tears long hidden were irresistibly called to the surface.

The Grisling could hear it too, in his mind, and while everyone else in hearing range was touched by its purity and clarity, the Grisling was enraged by it.  Again and again he sent bolts of seering pain to the three telepaths, but now they were deflected.  Strengthened by their mothers, the beautiful music, and the unity of the Evarjans, Darak, Irvana, and Jeremy, though separated by the blackness of space, used all the powers they possessed to concentrate on the crystals and the bond their minds had forged.

Meanwhile the battle raged on and Kevo sent an encoded signal to the cloaked fighters that had been waiting impatiently on the edges of the fury.  Invisible, they all began to converge on the location of the Grisling's monstrous mother-ship, carefully weaving their way through photon blasts and fireballs.  Two were hit and had to retreat, then another, and then two more, but the rest continued onward to their goal.

When the Grisling and Fenshar realized that they could no longer penetrate the minds of the seers they resorted to more primitive measures.  He took out a long, steel whip, threw back his arm, and aimed it at Irvana's head.  Angry beyond anything he had ever felt before, Darak thrust a crystal towards the whip and instantly it evaporated.  His was not the dark, destructive anger that they all sensed in the Grisling; it was a steely calm and steadfast refusal to bend to the aggression of a monster.  Without breaking her concentration Irvana shot him a grateful look, then gasped as she turned and glimpsed what Fenshar was about to do.

She had crept up behind them, opposite the Grisling, and now she and Darak were in the center of the two grossly hideous beings.  Fenshar held a fiery, glowing scimitar high over her head with two of her arms and ran towards Darak with her huge legs.  Darak had seen Irvana's face at the same moment that he sensed danger behind him and just as the she-beast let the weapon fall towards him he rolled out of the way with cat-like reflexes.  The scimitar sank a foot into the metal floor as Fenshar screeched like a Banshee, then it suddenly vanished since it was too close to Darak's crystal.

Now the two creatures ran to Darak and Irvana and  grabbed each of them in a strangle-hold.  As he fought for breath a thought occurred to Darak and Irvana instantly sensed it.  They could both feel the essence of the vanished objects.   These weapons weren't vanishing into nothingness!--they were being evaporated into their original molecules, electrons, neutrons, atoms, quarks, and so on.  The crystal did not destroy.  It dissipated solid matter like waves over a sand castle.  It returned objects of aggression to their most basic form. 

Jeremy could feel their thoughts and they all reached the same conclusion simultaneously--Use the giant crystal on the Grisling and his wife!  Quickly he relayed this to Kevo, who began to maneuver back to the front of the giant Pitorgan ship.  He didn't like to return to the vulnerability of his previous position due to the danger of detection, but it was a risk they would all have to take.

Also, he would need to transport Darak and Irvana off the enemy ship before he blasted the Grisling or they might get caught in the beam.  Maybe it would have no effect on them, but there was no guarantee.  The pilot maneuvered the ship into place and instantly they were blasted.  The Grisling was automatically firing at all their previous locations.  Their shields held but it would be difficult to hold their position and aim the crystal while under fire.

In that moment Kevo's encoded battle hologram showed seventy cloaked ships around him, surrounding the monster ship in front.  Reinforcements had arrived!  He gave the command and all the smaller Earth Force cruisers opened fire at once on the Grisling ship with everything they had.  The ship was big enough that all their fire power was needed.  With Jeremy's help Kevo zoomed in on the location of the captured seers and engaged the transporter.  Nothing!  The Grisling had them in some sort of shield.  His entire battle bridge was shielded from transport beams.

"I'm going over there!  Whose with me?" shouted Kevo.  "We'll take personal transporters and beam out the instant we have them."  Instantly six men volunteered and within seconds they were beamed to another location within the Grisling's ship.  Guided by Darak and Irvana's thoughts, Kevo lead as they made their way to a place outside the battle bridge, encountering and putting out of commission several groups of Pitorgan soldiers on the way.  With explosives and lasers they blasted their way through the steel doors, destroying the shielding in the process.  

There was smoke inside the bridge from the attack of the cruisers and the explosion, and in the confusion Darak had escaped the grasp of the Grisling and run to Fenshar.  He came up behind her and used his crystal to bore deeply into her leg.  She shrieked and dropped Irvana.  Darak grabbed her hand and they ran towards Kevo.

When the smoke cleared the commandos got their first glimpse of the Grisling and saw his size and shape.  Stunned, one of them exclaimed, "Wow! You could park a star cruiser up his nose!"

"I'd like to park something else up it at the moment," Kevo responded.

The Grisling focused on them with his squinty, infrared eyes and aimed a laser weapon at the group.  Darak and Irvana flew behind a beam together and the commandos dived for cover behind control computers and whatever else they could find, then quickly set up shields.  As the Grisling kept firing and moving closer towards them, Kevo spotted Darak and Irvana through the laser shots and smoke and acquired them in his transporter. They evaporated in space just as the laser beam whizzed through the spot that nanoseconds before had held the little group.  The remaining commandos transported in the same moment.

In the second that he appeared on his own ship Kevo gave the command to activate the crystal and once more the giant, blinding beam shot through the blackness of space towards the evil ship.  Jeremy had reset it for a wider area, even wider than he had realized, and before their eyes the entire Grisling ship was enfolded in a brilliant light.  Aided by the continuing music of the Evarjans that seemed to reverberate across space, and the concentration of all three seers, who were once more holding hands and joining their minds, the light was bigger and brighter than it had ever been.  All firing stopped and the universe seemed to freeze for a full minute as the light engulfed the giant ship and evaporated it into it's original particles.  Kevo could hear the music crescendo inside his head and wondered if his men heard it to. He looked around at them but they seemed unphased.

On the screen they could see something tiny where the ship had been and Irvana ordered, "Beam that to the brig!"  Kevo, suspecting what it was, looked at her like she had gone mad, but on receiving the order directly in his mind from Darak, Jeremy, and Irvana at one and the same time, he did as he was told, although with a grunt of disapproval.  There were times when even the commander in chief had to take orders from telepaths.

Quickly they moved to the brig to see what it held and stared, open-mouthed.  It wasn't the Grisling.  It was what he once had been.  The same evolution that had mutated the Grisling from pure Evarjan to Pitorgan, to his horrid monster form had worked backwards in the power of the crystal.  He was now back where he started--an Evarjan baby!

Okay, so this was no danger to the ship, thought Kevo, heaving a big sigh of relief and at last letting down his guard.  The baby in the brig began to cry hysterically.  "Give him a bottle... or something," he said to the brig guard.  "And take him to sick bay.  He smells."  They returned to the bridge and saw that the Pitorgan ships were now doing a fast retreat, having viewed the destruction of their master's huge transport.  "Shall we pursue?" questioned his pilot.

"No.  Let them go," he replied. "They're worthless without their fearless leader, and he's going to sick bay to get his diaper changed."  They all laughed.

Irvana and Darak watched the departing Pitorgan fleet and were both thinking the same thing.  'What had happened to Fenshar?!' 

"Kevo, could you scan the surrounding area for any sign of Fenshar?" Irvana asked.  He ordered it done but nothing was found.  This was just what the seers suspected.  She was still alive!   She had probably ejected herself in an escape pod during the explosion and the laser battle that followed, abandoning her lord and master in his hour of need.

Kevo ordered a wide-area scan of the surrounding space but no pod was found.  "She must have been picked up by one of the fleeing Pitorgan ships," he concluded, and the seers agreed.  He gave another big sigh and sat back in his captain's chair, put up his feet, and ordered the crew to stand down.  The fleet headed home, some to the Starbase and others to Janavrah.

When they landed at Othis it seemed the whole planet had gathered to cheer them.  One by one they disembarked to the roar of the crowd, consisting of new settlers, Evarjans, visiting humans, and the original colonists.  As the soldiers headed towards their barracks Evarjan children begged to carry their packs and when it was allowed they bore them along-side the soldiers like trophies.  When the seers finally made their way off Kevo's ship and showed themselves there was a huge cheer, and the throng broke into Evarjan song.  Even the humans joined in, having heard this music for the last 14 hours.

News of the victory was already all over the Earth telecasts, and reporters, who had not been allowed to land during the battle, now converged on Othis and the Starbase and pestered the soldiers for interviews.  Finally Commander Bergan gave a press briefing at the Starbase and divulged the details of the battle. 

Out of a thousand earth ships ten were destroyed but the crews had been rescued.  Three hundred and eighty-four ships had sustained damage, but were reparable.  Three hundred and sixty enemy ships had been disabled and over two hundred were destroyed by laser cannons and photon torpedoes.  There were five hundred and twenty-two soldiers injured, but no casualties.

This last piece of news seemed unbelievable.  Never had Earth fought a war in so short a time with no loss of life, and the credit was given to the seers and to the Evarjans and their crystals.  In the days ahead reporters began haunting the three seers and Beldan's village, asking for interviews.  In the end they relented and held a press conference at the village around the huge crystal, which Kevo had returned the day before, much to the dismay of two Evarjan grandfathers who were tilling the soil as it suddenly materialized about ten feet away from them.

The Evarjan children seemed to think the reporters were a new enemy and tried to use their tiny crystals against them, but with no effect.  Beldan, Nola, Irvana, Jeremy,  Charma, Darak, Meltro, Kaylar, and Kevo, were all gathered in front of the crystal and the reporters were told that they could only ask one question at a time.

"How do your powers work?" they asked Darak, and he explained the history of seers.

"How do the crystals work? they asked Beldan.  He responded, "I will try to make this simple.  Any action or change in matter, whether large or tiny, gives off waves, such as light waves, radio waves, or sound waves.  The crystals separate electromagnetic waves of every kind and organize the strongest into solitons, or groups of many waves, which can be directed against energy used for aggression.  In a sense, they focus Quantum energy naturally, without mechanics, but they require thought waves to activate them."  The reporters scribbled furiously but no one asked him any more questions.  It was as though somehow their curiosity had been turned off.

"When did you first know you were a seer?" they asked Irvana, and she explained about her first experience with a crystal.

"Is it true that you will all be enrolled in Earth Force Academy?" one reporter asked.  The three seers looked at each other.  This was news to them.  Earth Force Academy was an elite military university reserved for those who had demonstrated outstanding mental, social, and physical skills and high academic ability.  Thousands of applicants were turned down every year and it was a great honor to be extended an invitation.  Kevo was one of it's top graduates.  Meltro, with a twinkle in his eye, took the microphone.  "They have all been offered full scholarships but the decision will be up to them."

After two hours of answering questions and hundreds of flashes from holographic and digital news cameras, the interview ended and the Evarjans and colonists were left in peace.  Irvana and Darak stood by the waterfall where they had enjoyed the friendship feast between the two races many months before.  "So do you want to go?" she asked Darak.  "I don't know.  I know little of Earth Force Academy.  Do you?" He returned the question.  "Yes," she told him, "but Mom wants me to wait until I'm 14.  I'm going to be the youngest cadet ever, so I think I agree with her."

"And when will you be fourteen?" he asked. 

"In about four months," she told him. 

"And I will be sixty-one next week," he informed her proudly.

"Really?  I'll have to go find a cane for your birthday," she teased.

"And I will have to find a baby buggy for you," he retorted.  He was beginning to master the intricacies of earth humor.

Just then Kevo walked over to them with Shayla, who had made the journey from earth on the same transport that brought the reporters.  He introduced her to them and Irvana was delighted to meet her.

"So you're all invited to Earth Force Academy," said Kevo with a smile.  "I'll have to warn the professors that you're coming, and Darak, you'll be the oldest cadet on record you know," he said, slapping him on the back.  "They'll have to order up a case of prunes."

"What are prunes?" asked Darak innocently.  Irvana explained, after which Darak said to Kevo, "And I'll have to send you some kinja berries."

"What are kinja berries?" asked Kevo curiously.

"You eat them and they lock up your mouth for a day," he replied.  Irvana laughed out loud.

Leena, who was eager to rejoin her friends, found Irvana and Darak.  Irvana suddenly realized that if she went to Earth Force Academy she wouldn't see her friend for a long time.  She put her arms around her and gave her a big hug.  Her eyes watered as she said, "Lee, I'm going to miss you way too much if I go."

"You're going to miss me a lot more if you stay," she replied, laughing.  "I've been accepted to the Academy too."

"What!  You're kidding!  Oh wow!  That's fantastic," cried Irvana and Darak gave a big smile.

"You don't need to act so surprised," teased Leena.

"That settles it.  I'm going," decided Irvana, looking at Darak to see his reaction.

"I need to talk it over with my tribe and see if they can spare me," he told her.  "I'll let you know."

"I don't think Earth Force Academy can spare you," said Meltro, who had overheard the conversation and just joined the group, along with Kaylar.  They were also  Earth Force Academy graduates but had left active duty after just two years to marry and pursue their research.  "Just don't go anywhere near Professor Pillman or Dr. Dourly.  They always seemed to have porcupines in their pants." 

Kaylar added, "And Dr. Quiller usually has her undies in a bunch too.  But there are some excellent teachers there, like Dr. Donovan.  He caught your Dad and his buddy Irvin one night when they were dressed like gorillas and hiding in the bushes to scare the girls, but he didn't turn them in."

"Dad!  You did that?!" 

"Afraid so, and a lot worse.  But I managed to graduate cum laude anyway."

"Tell us what else you did," requested Irvana with a giggle.

"Oh no!  Don't want to be giving you any ideas," he retorted. "Besides, most of the time I studied my brains into cold fusion."

They stayed for a feast prepared by the Evarjans and later said their goodbyes, walking Leena home under the two Janavran moons before heading to their own dome.  Jeremy called as soon as they arrived to ask questions about his up-coming wedding.  Kaylar was helping him and Charma with the arrangements and everyone on the Starbase and Janavrah would be invited.  It was to be the first earth wedding on the planet, and it had become an earth news item due to Jeremy's part in the victory over the Pitorgans.

Little did they know that Fenshar was at that moment back on Pitorgia, planning a comeback.  She had seen the results of the crystal 'death ray' as she called it, and longed to rescue the Grisling and return him to his 'preferred' condition.  She didn't know that the day she had pinpointed for the rescue was also the day of Jeremy's wedding.  That night Irvana had another dream...

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