Star Force: Resolution (SF89) (Star Force Origin Series)

BOOK: Star Force: Resolution (SF89) (Star Force Origin Series)
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1

 
 

June 30, 3272

Adriart
System (Uriti
Preserve)

Stellar Orbit

 

Nefron stood at a workstation inside the
Zeus
, which had become his mobile home
ever since the Uriti Preserve had been established. Right now it was in system
number 7 of an 11 point circuit that they were slowly parading their two Uriti
around in. This system, like the others, had an established navigational course
that they would run both the Uriti through in turn, as well as several
construction sites on the major planet to facilitate mining operations across
the Preserve.

In addition to that, there were three mobile
observation stations here. None had interstellar jump capability like the sedas
did, but these were fast enough to move around the system and keep out of the
way of the Uriti while they housed the workers, researchers, and every other
person assigned to this system to keep them out of danger should either Uriti
take unpredictable action.

But to date that had never occurred. Both of them went
where they were told and were getting along with each other like siblings. The
command language that Nefron was using was also getting more advanced as he
pressed and instructed them to do more and more delicate tasks. He wasn’t
teaching them anything new, rather utilizing greater depth that the Chixzon had
never bothered with in the field but had been meticulous to construct while
growing the Uriti in order to obtain maximum control.

They’d never needed it when all they did was point the
Uriti at a system and say ‘destroy,’ so what Nefron was doing now was really a
continuation of their research rather than something new of his own. That said,
this wasn’t the only project he was working on, and while direct communication
between him, the Archons, or anyone else and the Uriti was still hitting a
stone wall, he was getting much closer on yet another project.

The reason he could control the Uriti was because he
was Chixzon and he had the specially built transmitter. The transmitter had
been duplicated many times over and existed in 14 different starships within
the Preserve that functioned as backups should the
Zeus
ever see a catastrophic malfunction, but as talks with the
Knights of Quenar and The Nexus continued to bear fruit it was obvious that
they were going to need to be able to control the Uriti in more than one system
at the same time. Even if he wanted to keep all of them in one system, going
out on retrieval missions would mean that Nefron wouldn’t be here to oversee
these two, hence he needed a way to give the Archons the ability to issue
orders as if they were coming from him.

Doing that meant making the transmitter and the Uriti
think they were Chixzon as far as telepathy went, and it wasn’t about power or
skill, for the Archons had far more of that than him. What was needed was a
telepathic fingerprint that matched his own, or at least the narrow band that
identified him as Chixzon, and right now he was troubleshooting the final
problems in his design on a simulation program while the ship’s crew left him
alone.

That was typical, for aside from Riley and a handful
of others nobody ever saw him in person. His quarters and work facilities on
the ship were located in a very specific region, meaning the only time he got
out from there was to do workouts or eat. He didn’t avoid the crew then, but
they didn’t stop him to ask questions or force interaction. A few nods of
respect and they’d pass him by, leaving him to his work that never seemed to
end.

He’d had a long talk with Davis before the Director
had left to go back to Earth and both of them knew how important, and
potentially disastrous, this Preserve project could become. Already there were
more races in the Alamo System from unaligned and otherwise unknown
civilizations than there were in Star Force, and more were coming in by the
year. All had various agendas to push or play, but between the Star Force
fleet, the Voku, and the enigmatic power of the KoQ, order had been kept and
progress was being made on many fronts, but Nefron knew how fragile everything
was even if it didn’t appear that way to outsiders.

Something Riley had told him long ago had stuck in his
head. It was a quote from Star Wars, a little obsolete reference that the
Archon had thought pertinent.

Fear attracts
the fearful.
 

That was illogical, but over time as Nefron observed
the races and representatives coming into the Preserve from his fortress of
solitude onboard the
Zeus
he began to
see the nugget of truth in that stupid statement. Fear is something that drove
one off, but here these races were, coming up to look at the very beasts they
dreaded. It was as if the fear was attracting them here like a narcotic. They
wanted to be close to the danger without getting bit by it, which was reckless
on its face, but the fact was races from across the local quarter of the galaxy’s
outer rim were showing up for little more than to see the Uriti and the empire
that had them under its control.

Others wanted more than that, but some appeared just
to want to feel the fear and bask in it, almost daring fate to smite them down
the closer they got.

And the fleet was having its hands full keeping ships to
honor the perimeter range. There was always someone wanting to go closer, but
at least in this system they didn’t have to worry about that very much. Almost
everyone was back in Alamo while a handful of Star Force jumpships were here
carrying spectators, and he knew those ships wouldn’t be violating the boundary
lines. There was, however, an occasional ship that pressed further into the
Preserve than Alamo, but the KoQ usually got to them before Star Force did, and
they’d intercepted one
Cabrari
ship just a week ago.

Right now it was sitting in a higher orbit around the
star with a contingent of Star Force troops onboard it as an assessment was
being made of what to do with the crew. If there had been some misunderstanding
they might be allowed to keep their ship. If not it would be added to the
collection of trophies from various races stupid enough to violate the Preserve
boundaries that were floating in a very public display orbit in Alamo to remind
everyone that Star Force was taking the security of the Preserve seriously.

A lot of races had begun to respect that, as well as
the fact that this place was becoming a great deal more important than they’d
thought. It wasn’t just about the Uriti anymore, though that aspect was never
going to diminish. There was constant wrangling and complaints about control
and potential abuse of power by Star Force, but some of the other races were
requesting permission to set up colonies nearby to take advantage of the
crossroads that the Preserve had become. Previously it had been an undeveloped
region, even when the lizards controlled it, but now there were several black
hole ‘highways’ that were developing traffic spurs to this location and
creating a slow link between several regions that had not seen connectivity
before.

But beyond that, the location was making the
connections important, and as a few savvy empires began to ingratiate
themselves with Star Force and secure planets around the perimeter of the
Preserve the rest of them took notice and a rush of interest and negotiations
was forming that attracted even more races from afar…and all of whom were very
interested to meet him.

But Star Force wasn’t allowing that, thankfully
keeping Nefron out of the whole diplomatic mess while allowing him to observe
it from afar. No one could get close to the command ship aside from other Star
Force vessels. Even the KoQ and the Voku kept a respectful distance, but so
long as he was the only one that was able to control the Uriti this ship was
going to be the weak link in the entire operation, meaning that he had to find
a way to give the Archons the redundant ability to issue the Uriti orders.

And he was close to it now, so close that he’d called
Riley in to help him test the equipment that he hadn’t yet told him he’d been
developing. When the Archon arrived, the Chixzon waved him over to an auxiliary
control station with a flick of his armored hand.

“Did we get a message back?” Riley asked, referring to
their endless attempts to communicate with the Uriti outside the defined
channels.

“No. I just need a mind other than my own right now.
Link to the console please.”

Riley did as asked, making telepathic connection with
the machine via his bare hand on the panel before him and waited for whatever
Nefron was going to do.

“This is the Chixzon navigational program used to
direct the Uriti. Nose around it a bit and tell me what you think. It’s hooked
into a simulator so you’ve got a fake Uriti to experiment with.”

“Recreated or copied?” Riley said as he mentally
started to fiddle around with the alien interface.

“Mostly copied, but I reworked some of the commands
into English so you’d be able to adapt to them quicker. I can rework the whole
thing later, but right now I just need to know if you’re compatible. I’m
scanning you as you work, so just keep busy for a while.”

“Fiddling as ordered,” Riley said as he began
utilizing the simulator for some basic obstacle course runs that had a fake
Nami pulling loops around a planet and its four moons.

As he worked Nefron made adjustments, fine tuning what
he thought was needed to sync up the Archon’s brain to the Chixzon designs, but
Riley grew bored before he had finished.

“What’s going on, buddy?”

“I’m close. Give me another 20 minutes.”

“Why the secrecy?”

“I don’t want to tell you about it unless it works.”

“Prefer to fail in private?”

“You could say that,” Nefron half agreed. “I don’t
have to explain the why and how, I can just keep working the problem in
silence.”

“I’ll humor you then, but this thing is pretty
primitive.”

“The Uriti can’t be remote controlled, only ordered.”

“Yeah, but I’ve seen you tell them to do stuff that’s
more complicated than the options I have here.”

“Sorry about that. I didn’t copy everything. I just
needed a basic control package to work with. If this works, I’ll give you the…”

“What?” Riley asked, sensing his friend’s mind freeze
in surprise.

“I just shunted your mental moniker over to the Uriti
so I could get a calibration reading. I expected it to fail, but they both just
accepted it.”

“Meaning what exactly?”

“Statistics,” Nefron said, shutting down the simulator
and bringing other programming online at Riley’s station. “Try and draw status
feeds from them.”

“How?”

Nefron’s
mind suddenly
entered the Archon’s in the form of the computer linkage that allowed him to
bypass the Ikrid blocks. With his help Riley was able to navigate mental
program controls he had never seen before, catching on quickly as the Chixzon
guided but did not do any of the tasks himself. Within a few minutes Riley felt
the raw feeds coming in from the Uriti as they were shunted to the display on
his control panel.

“Hello, fellas,” the trailblazer said, recognizing
their massive yet obtuse intellects emanating out from the star they were
currently bathing in. A prompt from Nefron and Riley tried to connect to them
directly with a simple order.

Suddenly their minds opened to him for brief moment,
both of them acknowledging the order and beginning to climb out of the star to
a point in low orbit. Both Riley and Nefron watched as they came out, neither
asking questions, then when both Uriti stopped exactly where Riley had told
them to Nefron let out a long sigh as he sank back onto a nearby stool.

“Finally.”

“What the hell did you just do? Find a way for me to
piggyback onto your signal?”

“No. I found a way to give you your own. I didn’t
think it would work yet, I just wanted the data from the attempt. It seems I
was closer to the solution than I thought.”

“Enlighten me,” Riley said, eager to hear what he’d
come up with.

“I was going to try and create a bit of Chixzon brain
tissue for you guys to give to whomever you trusted enough to give orders to
the Uriti, but I eventually nixed that when I realized you wouldn’t want any
more tissue crammed into your already thick heads. Especially some that wasn’t
your own.”

“Good call there. Would that have worked?”

“If I could engineer it to be a modifier for the rest
of your brain activity, yes, I think so. What I’ve done here is to create a
mechanical version of the same thing. This machine is calibrated to you and you
alone. It’s crude, but apparently functional. Right now it’s the size of a
dropship underneath the floor, but over time I think I can reduce that greatly
by further tightening the requirements down to a single individual. Basically,
I’m hoping that I can create a palm-sized control device that will make the
transmitter and the Uriti think that your telepathy is coming from a Chixzon,
and one who has all the proper identification codes.”

“Wait. Not all Chixzon can order the Uriti?”

“All the new ones can, but the originals couldn’t.
There was a very selective group given that power.”

“Secret passwords?”

“Metaphorically speaking, yes. And I’ve created this
adaptor to include them.”

“And it’s tuned for me?”

“You’re the only person I’ve spent enough time with to
have an idea of how your mind works. I was making a lot of educated guesses
based on our prior contact. I didn’t expect to get the balance right so soon,
otherwise I would have let you know what was going on. I expected this to take
months, if not years from this point. I may have just gotten lucky, in which
case I’ll have to analyze what I’ve done and figure out what works and why, but
for the moment you have at least a limited ability to control the Uriti through
the current equipment and settings.”

BOOK: Star Force: Resolution (SF89) (Star Force Origin Series)
3.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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