Cybergal - The Original Epic - section 3

Cye reached out to steady herself against the cairn wall.  The vision was overwhelming.  Starm-D was staring at Cybergal as though she was there in person.  She had taken the form of a Buddara god, a very unfriendly Buddara god.  In her lap.  What was that?

As though reading her unspoken question, Cyberscott added, "Yes, the orb in her lap is one of ours.  Note the cage forming in back of her head.  We think she must have been about to envelope the orb with it because it was shortly thereafter that the orb ceased its bond with us."

"What else did Lieutenant Jorl tell us, Scott?"

Cyberscott was silent.  "Nothing, my Princess," said Scott, looking away. "Lieutenant Jorl is no more."

"What about the first picture, then.  Fill me with its contents."

Plate 11   Starm-D with caged planets

Cyberscott raised his arm again, this time describing the scene as the vision flowed.  "This is a fragment of Starm-D's own thought patterns. (Plate 11)  They are images of planets and our own orbs which at that time had not yet been caged.  We attempted to halt the caging of the two already living planets to no avail.  Our power was unable to prevent the implementation of the force.  Millions of inhabitants died.

The first thing the cage does is replicate the planet's normal background communications.  Starm-D knew exactly which planet's to target.  They were both ones we normally have no relations with.

We were able to save our orbs by not sending them to the planets for which they were designed.  But those planets became caged anyway, so I am unsure what good our action achieved."

Cybergal reached up and lowered Cyberscott's forearm.  "Not much," she said, "Unless we can find some way to free the planets, I am afraid all we have done by our action is to alert that monster that we are aware of her plans.  Do you think she learned much from Cyberjorl?" 

"No, Cye.  Jorl was in constant contact until the end.  His last thoughts in the face of Starm-D's rage were of his wife and three children.  Even then, he was cool enough to envision them as by his side so that Starm-D would not learn of their whereabouts.  It was difficult to be the person with him during those last seconds."  Scott turned aside, his voice wavering.  Cye realized it was Scott who had been with Jorl.

Waiting a moment Cybergal broke the silence.  "Thank you, Cyberscott, for that report.  We need to probe these caged planets to learn the source and function of the power that drains the subject of life.  I need to see one of them up close and personal.  Can you accompany me to the nearest one?"

Cyberscott knew his Princess always had the best medicine for grief.  Pure focus required an unimpeded Spirit Mind.  He wiped the sadness of Jorl's

death from his mind and inhaled deeply.  "My Princess, are you prepared for this?"

"Of course, Scott.  Pure focus is my specialty, remember?"

Scott laughed.  "Yes.  All too well, my Royal Lady.  May I suggest the Maerling Technique.  It is the safest method, as you will need to appear on the planet only in partial resolution.  Our first scouts to a caged world barely made it back with their lives.  The force began to work on them the moment they fully materialized."

"Then let's do it, Commander.  Time has quickly become a precious commodity."

"Very well.  Enter my vision and I will show you the slipstream path to the planet Ergoth in the Barlow system.  It is not the closest example, but the most dramatic."

As Cybergal assumed the floating focus position by Cyberscott's side she thought momentarily about Ergoth.  It was one of the Cybernaut's first triumphs, a lush tropical planet that was bursting with life and awareness even before the Creons had sent along their orbed insurance package.  She followed Scott's lead and was soon standing only partially materialized by Scott's side on the planet's now lifeless surface. (Plate 12)

Plate 12   Planet Ergoth

With their physical bodies still on Tharsis, Cyberscott described the scene.  "It took weeks for our operatives to find this location.  The beaming station you see above that hillock is heavily encrypted and invisible to long range scanners."

"The object within the cage, is that a model of Ergoth?"

"Yes.  At first we thought that this station was responsible for the main-tenance of the field surrounding the planet, but it is much more than that.  Our repeated scans found that the station is also sending pure energy back

to a receiver somewhere deep in the heart of the Doitmey Way empire.  The station is not preventing the emergence of life so much as it is funneling life's potential energy back to a hidden collector."

"So, with each new cage, Starm-D's power grows," stated Cybergal.  "I have seen enough, Commander.  Let's release ourselves back to Tharsis."

The recoil and reconstitution typical of a pure Spirit Mind focus rebound left them both drained.  Cybergal stumbled and caught herself against the polished Oasis2 cairn.  Cyberscott lay himself flat against the ground.  "Couldn't we evolve just a bit more so this wouldn't be so damn agonizing?" he groaned.

Cye laughed painfully.  "Right!" she said.  "I'll ask the Infinite about it next time I have a chance.  Listen.  Before you rest could you send a brief focus to your ensign?  Tell her to inform my court we shall return in an hour.  And, ask her to request a Council Gathering for tonight at evening 7." 

Plate 13    Cybergal deep in thought as Cyberscott assumes the rest pose

Scott complied and then fell into a deep sleep.  Cye rested and pondered the alarming new threat to her Cyberian world. (Plate 13)  Before the hour Cyberscott rose and slowly paced around the perimeter of the marker.  Cybergal met him as he rounded a corner and placed her hand lightly on his arm.  "I have thought long and hard about this, Scott, and I will need your support again in this crisis.  Although you will attend the Council Gathering as a Web Knight, I want your promise of support now, as I fear you will not approve of my plan."

"You always will have my support, even to the ends of the universe, my Princess," spoke Cyberscott.  "But your words worry me.  What is your plan?"

"I am not 100% sure yet, but I see few options.  It is best that you do not know at this point so that you can register surprise at the Council Gathering.  We must not permit the loyal opposition any justification of rumors that you and I together decide royal policy.  These Away world confidences of ours have not been lost on them, I am sure."

Scott placed his hand on hers, holding it only for a second before removing it from his arm.  Then Scott smiled, whispering softly as though others might hear, "Very well, my Queen, but don't go doing anything stupid!"

As evening fell across Creos' capital, Faercyn, the lights began to wink on in Cybergal Place, a broad opening in the crowded downtown surrounded by skyscrapers housing the Cyberians' major administrative functions.  In the center stood the raised Council Gathering edifice (Plate 14) which was already throbbing with massed Cyberians. 

That night the Council Chamber was packed to capacity.  Rumors can make those outside the inner circle very nervous, especially when those rumors include stories of dying planets.  Scott stood by his men and women as Princess Cybergal ascended the dais and called the gathering to order.

"This is a special meeting," she intoned and rose from her simple yet flowing throne.  Walking to the front of the dais as if to personally talk to each member she continued, laying out all of the facts as she knew them. 

Plate 14   Faercyn, capital of Creos

The Council grew very quiet as she spoke assuredly with that depth of emotion that is sometimes misdiagnosed as coolness.

"I have spent the last two hours alone in the Infinite Chapel, deciding what to recommend," she began after a brief pause.  "I have studied the history of this Starm-D, and read all of her transmissions from Budrath An Doitmey Way.  She has focused all her energies into the feminine dark path.  As such, throwing our excellent but mostly male Web Knights against her power would probably result in a tremendous loss of life.  I have a different proposal.  And, it involves resurrecting the Terraspheres."

A noticeable gasp swept the Chamber floor.  "You cannot do this!" bellowed Arbet Strang, lifted arms pulling his massive body out of his council chair.  "You would surely kill us all!"

Karia Torlac, one of Cybergal's strongest supporters, rose almost as swiftly.  "My most noble Princess, please.  This is most assuredly a suicide mission."

Some of the councilors looked to Cyberscott who WAS noticeably stunned.  "The Terraspheres?  Tahl Frac Ni!  I don't believe it!"  Scott knew enough to play his surprise for all it was worth, but he needed to know more if he was to support the Princess in this extremely hazardous plan.

"Princess, we need to know the details of this idea!  How do you propose to safeguard our world and our very lives from the unpredictable effects of these outlawed creations?"

"Commander Scott!  Arbet Strang!  Councilors all!  Please attend me.  These spheres CAN be handled!"

The commotion in the chamber continued unabated.  Cyberscott ascended the dais and striding past the Princess pulled the Orzone from its scabbard and struck the Sounding Rod solidly.  The low-pitched tone overwhelmed the confusion on the floor.  "Attend the Princess!" spoke Commander Scott.  His imposing frame and steely demeanor quelled most of the noise.

 The Princess began immediately, leaving no moment for renewed interruption.  "Several years ago I authorized a small group of our best science rangers and technicologists to send robots to Deep Iso.  They were to work on techniques that would permit personal control over the spheres.  I am here to announce that their work has succeeded.  In controlled field tests we have had robotic control with personnel-sized field protection units that have prevented the robots from mutating out of control.  We have since been able to use those robots to detune the Terrespheres so that they will only affect the objects they come in contact with.  There will be no danger!"

"No danger," mumbled Strang under his breath.  "I still don't like it," he spoke aloud.  "I don't like it one bit!  Tell us, your Highness, how do you intend to use these delightful little orbs?" his voice rising for the entire assembly to hear.  "These delightful little creations of that mad dog Xerac that mutated an entire planet's lifecode into new strains with no memory of their past history, where entire species were wiped out in the name of science."

"Arbet, this is old news and we will not relive it here," broke in Cybergal.  "We face a power that will soon be unstoppable if we do not act quickly.  I am prepared to personally attend to this matter, using all of my Cybernetic powers backed by the most advanced technology our civilization has to offer.  I can only tell you that I intend to use the spheres on currently caged planets.  The mutative and life generative forces that the Terrespheres bring to bear on affected objects will give us our best chance to break the bonds that the cages have imposed on these bodies.  If it works then we can reassemble the council and evaluate our next options."

"And if it doesn't work?" retorted Councilor Strang.

"If it doesn't work, Arbet," replied Cyberscott, "our armies will join the battle when Starm-D comes calling.  I expect you must be anxious to lead your prefecture into war alongside our brave Web Knights."

"Yes,  . . . well then, . . . perhaps the Terrespheres ARE an option we should examine more closely," said Strang.

The Gathering continued on into the night and early morning.  Every detail was examined again and again.  In the end the Princess got her way.  As the chamber finally began to empty Scott spoke clearly to the Princess.  "My Princess, I must assemble the Guard in the morning.  Will you require an escort to any initiation point?"  Then quietly he leaned closer.  "Are you sure you don't need a backup on this?"

Cybergal looked pensive and whispered aside, "I didn't tell the others, but we only have one functional personnel protection field generator.  Robotic errors on the other two unbalanced their fields.  The Terrespheric forces ripped them to shreds."

"Corm Marge, Cye!  Are you crazy?"  Scott whispered forcefully.  "Let me do this, if it must be done.  You are our Princess and this is my field of expertise."

Cybergal smiled and waved at a well-wisher leaving the hall, whispering, "You forget, Scott, that I too, served in the Web Knights.  And besides, the sole remaining protection field is only powerful enough to protect 12.6 haloides of mass.  What do you weigh?"

Scott turned his head away and fought back emotions of anger, and powerlessness.  Then he placed his hand on Cybergal's arm and turned her toward him. "You WILL succeed.  And, you WILL return.  And, it had better be in one piece, or I will reassemble you myself."

Smiling briefly, then in a louder commanding voice meant to be overheard, Cybergal replied, "Commander Scott, you will assemble your Guard and meet me at the palace at morning 6.  We will require your escort to Crosis from which point I will focus unassisted to Deep Iso.  You will receive a copy of our specific mission objectives at that time."

Commander Scott raised a corner of his mouth in recognition of her act and heroic spirit.  "May the Infinite be with you till we meet at morning 6." Scott saluted for all to see and left the chamber hall accompanied by his attendant Knights.

The morning trip to Crosis was uneventful.  With the Knight Guard flanking her left and right and Cyberscott in the lead she knew there would be no private last moments.  Cybergal was given to thoughts about the mission ahead.  Her unspoken fear was also her unspoken hope.  She hoped not only to rescue some of the planets from the Cyberian Cager, but to draw this beast into the open where the Princess might stand a chance of using the Terresphere on Starm-D as well.  If she could make Starm-D become overtly angry, Cye might have enough time to react before the Planet Cager could launch a first strike.  She was sure Scott was aware that freeing any caged planet from Starm-D's grasp would probably result in a very quick response, but she could not risk a mindlink with the others so close, And, it would be best if Cyberscott did not learn all the details until she was well on her way.

Crosis was a nearby planet orbiting a star by the same name.  It was that star's only planet, having lost its complement of gas giants eons ago in a close encounter with a passing sun.  Crosis's importance today lay in its freepath connection to Deep Iso.  After resting at Crosis several hours for reconstitution and mental preparation, Cybergal bid the Knight Guard and Cyberscott good-bye.  She was now on her own and began preparations for the major Spirit Mind leap to Deep Iso.

Back on Creos Cyberscott opened the sealed mission statement.  After a quick perusal, he read most of it aloud to his Knight Guards.  The Princess would travel with a Terresphere first to Prodis in the rather desolate Braxton region, then to the much closer Rodyan system which hosted the planet Ergoth.

If all went well she would then move closer to Doitmey Way to an as yet uncaged border planet of Frace.  Why, she did not state.

Scott did not read the last destination aloud.  He had realized immediately that Cye's strategy was going to be an attempt to draw Starm-D out into the open.  Scott crumpled the paper in his hand and silently began to frame a mental plan to travel alone to Frace ahead of his Princess.