The Die Is Cast
Liam Kincaid brought his shuttle out of interdimensional space on the dark side of the moon and began his approach to the Taelon mothership, which was still sitting in a safe orbit over the moonbase. He had no idea how the Synod was going to react to the information that he was bringing them, he knew that they wouldn't like it - Da'an especially - but he wasn't sure what they would do in response. They'll probably ask for my opinion, he thought, after all my perspectives on the situation will be very different to theirs. And I know what I will advise them to do. Hubble Urick has to be stopped and stopped soon, and I can see only one way to do it without resorting to direct force.
As he closed upon the mothership Liam noticed that the ship was glowing much brighter than he had ever seen her glow. The same was true of the moonbase. Looks like the Taelons have been busy these last couple of hours, he thought.
A small icon abruptly flashed up on his display. He was being hailed by the mothership. Liam immediately opened the channel.
"Incoming shuttle please identify yourself," the cool voice of Ta'li - the Taelon in charge of traffic control - said over the speakers.
"Major Kincaid," Liam responded. "I have the information on the Atlantic National Alliance that Da'an wants." And a great deal more besides, he thought.
"Welcome back major you are cleared to land in bay seven."
"Understood," Liam responded more relieved than he let on by the standard query of an incoming shuttle and the format of his conversation with Ta'li. It was a constant - something that never really changed. Ta'li broke off the communication even as Liam adjusted his approach pattern to land in bay seven.
A few moments after the shuttle docked Liam was walking rapidly down the corridors of the mothership towards the bridge where - according to Ta'li - he would find Da'an. As he walked Liam couldn't help but notice how different, yet how much the same, the interior of the mothership looked now. The corridors were no longer dark - which was how they'd always appeared before even with the main lights on. Now the corridors were bright and welcoming - the bulkheads and deck giving off an appealing blue glow marbled with veins of colours that shimmered and changed in complex but soothing alien patterns. It made the ship seem warmer somehow and more beautiful. Intellectually Liam knew that nothing was new that the beauty he now saw had always been their but hidden by the demands to keep expenditure of core energy to a minimum but still Liam almost felt like he was on a completely new ship and not the same ship that had just been restored to its former glory.
Then there was the Commonality. At the back of his mind he could feel it stronger than he'd ever perceived it before. Already a sizeable amount of the new core energy had been transferred into the Commonality and the result was that the Commonality was getting stronger as the Taelons slowly and surely regained the strength that had been steadily slipping away from them for more than two thousand years. Liam knew it was only a matter of time now before the rejuvenated Taelons became aware of his own partial link to the Commonality - if they weren't already - and he wasn't really sure how they would react to the discovery. He had always feared that they would want him dead when they learned that he was part Kimera - but now he wasn't so sure. Liam was surprised to find that deep in his heart he wanted the Taelons to accept him for who and what he really was. He wasn't sure why he felt that way just that he did.
Liam dismissed it from his thoughts as he reached the bridge. He paused in the entrance for a few seconds to survey everything. The bridge was still almost deserted though like everywhere on the ship it now seemed brighter and more welcoming. The Taelon flight engineers were once more enclosed within their cubicles performing the functions necessary for the operation of the mothership. Aside from the distracted flight engineers the only other person on the bridge was Da'an.
Da'an was sitting in the command chair surrounded by holographic displays filled with progress reports on the work being carried out throughout the ship and on the moonbase. Liam found it very fitting to see Da'an in the command chair at this time and not Zo'or. It seemed to him that it was where Da'an belonged especially now that the Taelons had been given another chance at life. Hopefully Humanity would be willing to give them a second chance as well - but first they had to get rid of Hubble Urick and his extremist butties who called themselves the ANA.
Liam walked up to the edge of the command dais where Da'an could see him. Da'an inclined his head in acknowledgement of his protectors presence and dismissed the holographic displays surrounding him.
"Welcome back Liam," Da'an said standing up and walking right up to the young hybrid and giving him an affectionate touch on the cheek in greeting. "You have uncovered the evidence linking Hubble Urick to the attack upon this ship?"
"And more besides Da'an. Urick is completely out of control he's looking out for his own power nothing more." Da'an studied Liam carefully as he spoke. Though Liam was very good at hiding his emotions - he could see that Liam was very angry about something, and that something definitely had to do with Hubble Urick.
"Please explain Liam."
"It would be easier to show you," Liam responded as he held up his hand in an offer to share with the Taelon. Da'an was deeply touched by the offer as he raised his own hand to meet Liam's. It had been along time since he and Liam had shared in such away. As soon as their hands met Liam initiated the sharing.
With a calmness that he had inadvertently inherited from Sandoval Liam showed Da'an exactly what Hubble Urick was doing on the planet below. The roundups, the torture and interrogation of the ANA prisoners - some of whom were political prisoners, the plan to place everyone of them in sendep for an unspecified length of time. He also showed Da'an his memory of watching the downloaded record of the global conversation between Hubble Urick and Admiral Roberts in which Urick ordered the firing of thermonuclear missiles at the mothership.
Finally after a few minutes Liam brought the sharing to an end. Da'an was silent for several minutes digesting everything that Liam had just shown him. To say that he was distressed by it all would be an understatement.
"What you have just shown me distress me greatly Liam," Da'an said after a moment. "It is clear that Mr Urick must be stopped and stopped soon. You have material evidence of your findings."
"Yes." Liam briefly produced the disk from his pocket. "It's all on here. With this we can cause a backlash that will wipe away Hubble Urick and the ANA, and gain the Taelons some sympathy from the general population. And we will need as much public goodwill as we can get if we are to build the fair and equal relationship between Humans and Taelons that we've always wanted."
"Yes we will," Da'an agreed. "So now we just have to figure out how to get this information out to the general population of the planet without Hubble Urick interfering. Any ideas my friend?"
"Actually I have one."
Castlewood Apartment Complex
Abby Franklin stepped off the lift and hurried towards the safety of her apartment. For the past two days her station had been trying to find out what the ANA was really up to - they didn't buy the ANA's line that it was only arresting those who'd worked for or with the Taelons and who were - in their eyes - traitors to Humanity. They suspected that it was more than a coincidence that among the 'traitors' were a number of known critics of the policies of the ANA. In an attempt to find out they had begun trying to probe the ANA database but had been meeting with no success in trying to break through the guardian programs the ANA was using.
Abby reached the door of her apartment. After disarming the security system she hurried inside to find that the lights were already on. She paused in the hallway and fumbled in her handbag for the small pistol that she had carried for years - in her line of work one could never be too careful. She practised regularly with the pistol and was a crack shot if she did say so herself.
Cautiously she advanced into the living room. Set up in a corner of the room was a portable interdimensional portal but other than that there was nothing. Abby frowned as she saw the portal. How did that get here, she thought. Abruptly she heard movement behind her and whirled and gasped at who she saw.
"Liam," she exclaimed in surprise.
"Hello Abby," Liam Kincaid replied. "It's been awhile."
"Yes it has," Abby admitted as she lowered her gun. "What did you think you were doing surprising me like that? I could have shot you?" Liam shook his head.
"You wouldn't have shot me," he responded. "In future before you point a gun at someone make sure that the safety is turned off."
Abby's face coloured as she checked the gun. Sure enough the safety was still on strange when practising she usually turned it off automatically. So why hadn't she this time or had she and had Liam somehow turned the safety back on without her even seeing him do it. It was a possibility she knew, for she knew what no other reporter on the planet knew. Knew that Liam was not a Human. It was a secret that she'd never betrayed and a secret she never intended to betray.
"What do you want Liam," she asked after a moment as she looked back up at him. Liam smiled softly.
"Still as direct as ever I see," Liam replied. "We need your help Abby."
"Because we trust you."
"Who is we?" Liam just smiled mysteriously.
"Come with me," he said softly and headed over to the portal. Abby paused then followed as her reporters instincts took over. Cautiously - wondering if this was the right thing to do - she stepped between the arches of the mobile portal. Liam pressed a button and the ID slipstream abruptly washed over them in a flash of light.
And suddenly they were on what could only be the Taelon mothership though everything looked brighter and warmer than Abby remembered from her prior visit to the Taelon mothership. The time when it had been hijacked by a Jaridian replicant, the time when she'd learned that Liam was more than Human.
"This way Abby," Liam instructed. "Da'an is waiting for us." Abby blinked startled at the Taelons name - it was something she had never thought she would here again.
Quickly she followed Liam down the corridors of the mothership. Abby was surprised that they encountered virtually no one as they walked the corridors of the ship - if the corridors had been darker it would have brought back memories of trying to defeat that replicant three years ago now.
"I don't remember these patterns from before," Abby commented looking at the walls and the shimmering colours veining the bioslurry.
"They were there but you just didn't see them," Liam explained. "Those patterns mark energy moving around the interior of the ship. They were hidden last time by the demand to keep core energy expenditure down to a minimum. Now that restriction no longer applies. The mothership is at full power and showing her true glory for the first time in centuries." Seeing the question forming on Abby's lips Liam held up a forestalling hand. "Please Abby save your questions everything will be explained soon."
They reached the nearly deserted bridge a few minutes later. Liam led Abby up to Da'an who to her shock was sitting in the command chair. Their was no sign of Zo'or anywhere.
"Greetings Ms Franklin," Da'an said making the Taelon gesture of greeting/leave taking.
"Greetings to you to Da'an," Abby responded automatically making the gesture back. "It is good to see you again."
"I only wish that the circumstances were better," Da'an responded. "As Liam has no doubt told you we need your help."
"How can I help you?"
"By doing what it is the job of your caste to do. Exposing the truth about Hubble Urick and the Atlantic National Alliance and what they have done and are doing."
"You know something," Abby exclaimed. "We've suspected that the ANA was up to something but we only had suspicions."
"Well you need not suppose anymore Ms Franklin. Liam show Ms Franklin our sensor logs of the nuclear attack upon this ship and the evidence of the ANA's actions on Earth that your investigations have uncovered." Nuclear attack, Abby's mind screamed at her, when did that happen?
Several Hours Later
Trevor Haywood - head of the Washington branch of ABC news - looked up startled as Abby Franklin burst into his office holding a computer disk and looking very excited and also angry about something.
"Abby?" he questioned.
"Chief you're going to want to read this. We've just got our hands on one hell of a big and exclusive story."
Liam Kincaid came into the medical section of the Taelon mothership. He wasn't surprised to see no one around - Mit'gai was probably off helping with the continued revival of those Taelons still in stasis. Calmly he moved through the rooms until he came to the regeneration tank section and went in.
Ahead of him Sandoval still floated unconscious in the thick blue fluid. Liam noticed with some relief that the burns had almost completely healed now, soon Sandoval would be restored to full health and would be ready for release from the regeneration tank. Liam wasn't actually sure what would happen to the Implant then - though he found it highly unlikely that Sandoval would be able to go back to work as if nothing had happened. Da'an would never allow that. Sandoval had collaborated with Vorjak in his desire to destroy Earth, had betrayed the Taelons and Humanity to the Jaridians on more than one occasion. He would have to be punished for such actions, but Liam wasn't sure what Da'an would do to punish Sandoval.
Liam looked around for a moment then went to the door and closed it before returning to the tank to study his Human father for a few more moments. It seemed strange to see Sandoval so defenceless.
After a moments thought Liam reached out and placed his palm against the glass before reaching out telepathically to touch Sandoval's mind.
Sandoval was dreaming. Liam saw images of another time in his fathers life - images that came from the time before he was Implanted. Images mainly to do with his fathers lingering love for DeeDee. The images were interspersed with more recent memories - the hatred that of him that DeeDee had displayed at the ANA hearings that had struck to the core of his soul bringing intense grief and sorrow and an overwhelming desire for revenge on the Taelons for taking his life away.
As he probed his fathers thoughts Liam began to finally get an understanding of why Sandoval had done what he had done. His anger at the Taelons and his desire of retribution for what had been done to him had warped Sandoval's thinking. And Sandoval wasn't just angry about what had happened between him and DeeDee, he was angry about the loss of practically everyone else he was close to. The death of Siobhan Beckett and the apparent death of Isabel/Maiya had driven Sandoval almost to the point of total despair. Initially it had only been his desire for revenge that had kept him going. Only later did he gain a new reason.
Liam suddenly saw that he was that reason. For he was suddenly seeing Sandoval's memory of being told by Dr Curzon that he had a son somewhere - determination became a part of Sandoval's desire to get rid of the Taelons, determination to make the world safe for his unknown son that he would probably never see. Liam saw a number of dream images of Sandoval playing with a small boy - Sandoval didn't know that his son was actually a Human/Kimera hybrid and appeared an adult - and had been right in front of him the whole time.
Liam pulled away from Sandoval's mind and lowered his hand. He was unsure what to do now - or even what had motivated him to probe Sandoval's unconscious mind like that. Maybe it had been because he had wanted to understand why his father had done what he had done. Liam considered for a few minutes. Their had to be away to swing Sandoval away from the self-destructive path that he was currently on - for a sure as he breathed Liam knew that deep down inside Sandoval was still the good man that he had once been.
After a moment Liam sighed. He would really have to speak quietly with Da'an about this. Maybe they could find away to undo at least some of the harm done to Sandoval by the Taelons - maybe then he could reveal the truth of who he was to his father and maybe just maybe help him find peace.
Liam sighed again and dismissed the thoughts of Sandoval from his mind for the moment. He should go back to the bridge now. Abby would be making her television broadcast soon and he should be their with Da'an so that they could watch the broadcast and prepare their next move against Hubble Urick which would depend on how the general public reacted to the truths they were about to learn.
Liam opened the door to the rest of the medical section again and left heading for the bridge.
ANA Detention Facility
Cascades Mountain Range
Renee Palmer groaned as she was roughly thrown back into her cell. Her whole body ached with the after-effects of her latest session in the torture chamber. Her torturers kept asking her the same questions over and over again. They wanted to know everything that she knew about Liam Kincaid and a few hours ago they'd started asking her for the security access codes to Augur's Lair. Why Hubble wanted those she had no idea, but she was still determined not to betray either Liam or Augur to Urick. Hubble could torture her till the cows came home but she would never tell him what he wanted to know.
Footsteps caught her attention and Renee forced herself up into a sitting position as the force field was dropped and Hubble Urick came into the room. Squatting down to her eye level Hubble shook his head.
"I hate doing this to you Renee," he said softly. "If you just tell me what I want to know then this will all stop."
"Go to hell Hubble," Renee snapped defiantly at him. Hubble shook his head again.
"I do not understand you Renee," he said. "You've fought for Humanity for years. We'll my way is going to give us our freedom back permanently by rooting out all those who would conspire with aliens to enslave us. Why do you fight me? Why not cooperate with me."
"Tell me another one Hubble," Renee snarled. "What you're doing has nothing to do with saving the Human race and everything to do with securing yourself and the ANA in power and you know it."
"In away you are right," Hubble admitted. "We must rule without opposition if we are to protect the Human race from all the alien threats that exist out there. The Taelons may be gone but there will be other threats - like the Jaridians. Tell me uniting our planet under one rule isn't going to insure our survival against alien threats like them."
"Hubble what you're saying is bullshit and you know it," Renee snapped. "The real reason that you're doing what your doing is only to insure that you remain in power by eliminating all those who could challenge you. Just like all dictators." Hubble's face went bright red at that. "Truth hurts doesn't it Hubble," Renee mocked. "You know I should have listened to Liam when he warned me about you all those months ago."
Hubble sighed and shook his head as he stood back up and looked down at the battered but still beautiful and defiant blond woman.
"You do not understand," he said softly. "Which is a pity as my way is the only way to save Humanity. Sacrifices have to be made if we are to control our own destiny. I would have thought that you would understand that. It obvious that you do not. Your exposure to that hybrid and to the Taelons has blinded you to what must be done. Such a pity. Your interrogation will resume in the morning, soon you will tell me what I want to know or you will die the choice is yours Renee."
With that he turned and left the cell. Renee crawled over to the narrow cot and physically dragged herself up onto the uncomfortable mattress and lay back to rest and will away the pain in the mediation that Liam had taught her over a year ago after she'd broken her leg on a raid on a Taelon facility. She had found it useful whenever she was in pain or wanted to focus her mind ever since.
Hubble Urick walked out of the cell block and headed back to his office. Try as he might he couldn't help but be troubled by Renee calling him a dictator. Maybe he was - but it didn't matter as he'd said to her his way was the only way to save the Human race from those species who would exploit and enslave them. The old ways had practically handed Earth to the Taelons on a silver platter, no his way was better. And now there was no one left to stop him he'd seen to that.
Little did he know that he was wrong.
ABC News Studio
Abby Franklin nervously entered the broadcasting studio straightening her top as she moved to the news desk where she would sit to broadcast the contents of the disk that Liam had given her, the disk detailing all the ANA's illegal actions against not only the Taelons but against those in their own race who they judged to be traitors. The truth she and ABC were about to expose was the biggest story they had ever come across - courtesy of Liam and the Taelons. And it was going to cause terrible ripples in the populace and other governments round the world when they learned what was going on. But it was necessary the people had to be told. What happened between Humanity and the Taelons later was something to be handled by the United Nations at another time. As Da'an had said her job was just to expose the truth.
Trevor Haywood came up to her from near the camera's.
"We're ready Abby," he said softly. "All the camera's are operational. Holograms have been programmed into the screen. Interactive links are programmed. I've spoken with the other networks they've agreed to act as relays for the broadcast preventing the ANA jamming us. Everything's ready. Are you ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," she replied. "Let's get this over with shall we."
"Indeed. Take your seat then Abby we'll be going on air in four minutes." Abby nodded and went to her seat and made herself comfortable and made sure that the notes in front of her were in order.
Before she knew it Trevor had taken up position behind the camera crews. This broadcast he intended to supervise himself. Trevor held up his hand to indicate five seconds. Abby took a deep breath then let it out slowly. The hologram field behind her shimmered into existence and the on air sign lit up followed by a brief burst of music and the announcement of a special report presented by Abby Franklin.
"Good morning America and hello to all of our viewers around the world. I'm Abby Franklin and welcome to this special broadcast," she said with the professional calmness that was her trademark. "For the past fortnight arrests have been carried out secretly and not so secretly around the world by forces loyal to the Atlantic National Alliance, while we the people and other governments around the world have been told a variety of half-truths and lies by the ANA. The truth however is far more serious. Much of what we have to say will shock most of you, appal many of you and anger all of you. It gives none of us here at ABC news any pleasure to expose this information but you the people of this planet have the right to know what is being done.
"First of all however let us go back to the beginning of this sequence of events. Almost three weeks ago now a beacon signal was detected by the Taelon mothership coming from the long dormant Mount Karmenikov one of the many volcanoes in the area of Russia's remote Kamchatka peninsula. This signal was coming from a chamber constructed deep in the volcanoes heart by the ancient Taelon scientist Ma'el a thousand years ago with the goal of creating a place where the Taelon and Jaridian races could be saved through the joining of Human, Jaridian and Taelon energy. The beacon had been activated when molten rock or magma began to rise from the bowels of the Earth into the volcanoes throat in preparation for eruption but becoming trapped behind a plug of solidified lava that had hardened in the volcanoes throat creating an immense build up of pressure." On the holoscreen behind her graphics showed a view of molten rock rising into the throat of volcano but becoming stuck behind a plug blocking the conduit to the surface.
"Knowing that Karmenikov would soon erupt the last few members of the Taelon race still out of stasis went down to the regeneration chamber accompanied by a delegation from the Jaridian Empire and Companion Protector Major Liam Kincaid in a desperate attempt to save both themselves and the Jaridians from extinction. Rather than allow this procedure to go unhindered the Atlantic National Alliance took advantage of the situation to fire upon the defenceless Taelon mothership with highly illegal thermonuclear missiles with the solo goal of destroying her and those Taelon adults and children in helpless stasis on board. This attack as our first peace of evidence shows was directly ordered by ANA Director and former presidential advisor Hubble Urick."
The holoscreen image changed to two separate individuals one of them was Hubble Urick and the other was none other than the chairman of the joint chiefs Admiral Roberts.
"This is our chance," the recorded Hubble said. "The Taelons have left their ship for Kamchatka - the mothership has her shields up but otherwise she is completely defenceless. Admiral Roberts by executive order you are hear by directed to lock all thermonuclear missiles onto the Taelon mothership and open fire. You are to keep firing until you have destroyed her. It is time that their despicable race died."
"Very well sir I will give the orders. In less than an hour the Taelon mothership will no longer exist." The hologram disappeared back to the neutral blue background and Abby resumed her narrative.
"The ANA did fire upon the Taelon mothership," she said. "Fortunately as can be seen in their next peace their cowardly attack failed and the Taelon ship with its precious cargo was able to escape."
The holoscreen came on again showing images shot by some of the ANA's orbital satellites. They could clearly see thermonuclear missiles flying up from the surface of the Earth to detonate against the shields of the Taelon mothership as she veered away out of orbit in an attempt to escape. The mothership noticeably seemed to stagger as the missiles impacted her shields but she kept going and a moment later was disappearing behind the moon out of missile range as she headed out into space.
"Believing that they had driven away the Taelons forever," Abby began again. "The ANA immediately began arresting and detaining without the possibility of trial everyone who had ever worked for or with the Taelons - even those who helped pioneer medical treatments that have saved thousands and in some cases millions of people from certain death like the CEO of Doors International Renee Palmer. However among those being arrested are people who have never worked for or with the Taelons on any joint projects. Their only crimes in the eyes of the ANA is to criticise the ANA and its policies."
"Those arrested by the ANA suffer a fate that many people had believed had been banished from our world forever," Abby went on. "They are taken to specially constructed facilities where many are beaten, interrogated and tortured repeatedly by ANA personnel as our next few peace's of evidence show."
ANA Detention Facility
Cascades Mountain Range
Sitting in his office Hubble Urick starred in horrified silence at his desk vidscreen which was currently tuned to ABC News. On the screen reports and video files were being shown of people being beaten and subjected to repeated physical and mental torture by ANA personnel. How the hell did this stuff get into ABC's hands, he thought. Then it dawned upon him. Augur! You will die for this you, you traitor. You've destroyed everything that I have worked months for giving this information to the media.
A knock came on his door. Hubble looked up from the vidscreen.
"Yes?" The door opened and Williamson came in looking grave.
"Sir the president is on the line for you," he said softly.
"Very well put him through. And Williamson try and stop this broadcast before it goes any further."
"We cannot sir all of the other telecommunications and media groups are relaying the report."
"All of them!"
"Yes sir all of them. The only way we could stop them would be to shoot down every single non-military and governmental satellite in orbit. And we don't have enough anti-satellite missiles for that. And even if we did it would do us no good." Hubble looked back at the screen in which Abby Franklin was now reporting on their plans to put all of their prisoners into sendep.
"No I don't suppose it would," he said softly with a hint of resignation. "Very well put the president through."
With that Williamson left the room and Hubble Urick turned to the videocom screen and with great reluctance waved the screen on. The look on Daniel Thompson's face was enough to burn a hole through the heart of a planet.
"Urick you assured me that no one would find out what we were doing," Thompson snapped. "How do you explain this… this catastrophe?"
Hubble took a deep breath but before he could answer an announcement on the newscast caught both his and Thompson's attention. What he heard filled Hubble with horror and made his blood run cold.
Abby Franklin had just informed the world that the Taelons were still alive and that they had now returned to the mothership. And that the newly appointed Leader of the Taelon Synod had recorded a statement for the people of Earth and the ANA. Apparently Zo'or had perished in the eruption of Mount Karmenikov for when he saw who the new Taelon leader was both Thompson and Hubble gasped.
The new Synod Leader was Da'an.
That's all for episode three. The story continues in episode four coming soon.