Castle Roland

Ascension of the Thrones

by Thomas Nealy

On Hold

Chapter 4

Posted: N/A


Ascension of the Thrones

by ThomasNealy

Date: Hatril /6/6874

Callin and Chace were surprised at how fast the buildings were taking shape. There were man sized droids, little hover drones, and several other size droids and drones running around. The top side of the building had a well defined form now. The walls were up and the roof was on, the inside was still a work in progress.

"Celestia, what are these other droids?" Chace asked. He had not seen all the schematics for all of them.

<I have begun production of the rest of my drone and droid compliment, although I think I would like to double it.> Celestia responded from a disembodied voice.

"They're Technical, Engineering, and Electrical droids, the small drones are maintenance drones. When the medical bay is up and running there will be Medical droids as well." Callin told the stunned Chace. "Celestia how far are you now? And yes, you may double your compliment of droids and drones."

<My equipment is almost fully installed in the systems bay, the matter buffer bay is also complete, as are the living quarters. With my new level of droids and drones the lower level will be ready for activation by morning, but it won't be inhabitable for another two days and complete for four after that. The upper level won't be ready for about a month and a further month till the construction bays, all but the city bays are complete, those will take an additional three months after phase two.>

"How close is the medical bay?"

<I can divert resources and have it inhabitable by morning, if that is what you wish, other wise it will be the first done in two days.>

"No, that is fine, I can wait the two days. We are going to go back up to the ships, I modified their transport system to allow us to transport the cargo down rather than having to land the ships."

<That is fine, I will provide you with the coordinates to transport it all to. After each load please wait for me to absorb the load before you send another down.>

One hour later Callin and Chace were back on the planet. Chace was getting restless so they decided to spar for the afternoon. By the time they were done it was time for dinner and they were both a sweaty mess. They headed back up to Callin's ship to shower and change, then eat. After dinner they spent the rest of the night in the holo-suites then went to bed, it was going to be a long few weeks. Celestia did not need them to go get any more shipments for at least two weeks, more likely three. Callin was thinking about getting a few in advance, just so they would have it, and it would give them something to do.

Date: Hatril /10/6874

While the Medical bay may have been inhabitable for two days it did not have the data connection for two more after that when Celestia transferred herself into her new data core. She was like a peacock preening its self, but she was justifiably proud of her systems. She declared that she was the most advanced system, as well as the most advanced A.I. ever assembled. It was true, she really was the most advanced system currently in the galaxy. Callin and Chace had moved into their new quarters in the lower level. For an underground facility the suites were large, almost as large as their rooms back at the Palace of Light.

"Chace, you said you wanted to know what phase two was right?"

"Yes, but you seemed determined to avoid the subject whenever I brought it up."

"That is because it is to complicated to explain everything with out you having an understanding of what all is involved. I have been waiting for the Medical bay to be finished so I can use a neural imager to give you the information. This module will have the technical data for all of my inventions, with the exception of the harvester technologies; they will only be covered in basics."

"Callin, I HATE the imager, you know that, so why make me go through it?"

"It really is the only way to give you all the information in a timely manner. If I were to teach you it all we would still be here in two years. This way you have the information and all I have to do is explain what is happening."

"Fine, but this is the last time I sit through an imaging!"

"Hopefully after this you won't have to."

Chace followed Callin into the Medical bay where Medical Droids were waiting for them. At first, Chace was hesitant on letting robots do the work of doctors, at least he was till Callin explained that droids could not make mistakes and did not slip, after that Chace was more at ease.

Callin had Chace strip down and climb into a Bio Chamber, once he was in they started the imager. The neural imager worked by inserting three thin metallic probes into the brain, one in the base were the brain stem meets the brain and the other two in each temple. The probes then fired off electric impulses that the brain interpreted as data, the end result was that a person could rapidly learn something that would take years, some times other wise. Like the imaging that Callin went through, it would have taken him several life times to learn all the information that he absorbed. This imaging was only one short module, but it would take fifteen minutes anyway, the time of absorption did not seem to laterally progress with the amount of data.

Chace opened his eyes and winced, the imaging always left a tight feeling in a persons mind, it took some time for the feeling to go away.

"All that is insane Callin. Are you really going to do that?"

"Yes, I am, now there was another reason I wanted you to have the imaging, go over what you learned about the Biomites and the Neural Interface." Callin watched as Chace got a look of surprise on his face, followed by a grin. Callin was glad that the subject changed from the harvester program to a different topic.

"Now that is amazing, but I'm not sure I want my head cut open."

"Don't worry, it is safe, and any way, I'll be going first to make sure."

"What! Your going to test it out on yourself? No! You can't do that. There has to be another way."

"Would you like to try it then?" Seeing the look that Chace gave him told him no. "I didn't think so, I am the only one left, so by default I get to be the test subject." While he was saying this he began to strip. He climbed into the chamber and was put to sleep. The first step was an Imaging, after that the Medical Droids started fabricating sprays, tools, and bags of a liquid that Chace assumed were the Biomites and the support fluid, a strange mesh object with sharp point coming off of it that Chace assumed was the Neural Interface. The Droids started the IV's and let them free drain into his system.

Chace read the six bags, they had labels on them that read Nanite Biomites, Picite Biomites, Attite Biomites, Zeptite Biomites, Yoctite Biomites, and the last was Biomite Support and Maintenance. Each one was connected to an IV, three in each arm, the bags contained 400 ml each. After the IVs were hooked up they shaved Callin's head then cut away his skull from just above the ears, eyes and base of his skull, the goal was to expose as much of the brain as possible to wrap the Interface around it. A spray solution was applied to the brain and then the Interface laid on top and more spray was added. The spray was a Biomite solution that would aid in the implantation.

After the Interface was laid on the brain, the skin was pulled back from the skull and holes were drilled matching the spikes that protruded from the Interface. The skull was then reattached to his head and more Biomite spray was added, then the second layer of the Interface was added onto the skull; its connecting terminals fitting over the spikes. Once again more spray was added, then the skin was placed back on the spiks piercing the skin and sticking out. This time when the spray was added the spikes started to melt. At first it looked like some kind of acid was used, but then Chace realized it was the Biomites, they were absorbing the what was left of the spikes and moving them out to form small disks that dotted Callin's head.

Then one of the Medical Droids ran a dural regenerator over the areas were the disks were and a thin layer of skin grew over the disks. After all that was done the Bio Chamber started to hum and fill with liquid, by this point the bags and been replaced with new ones, the last set that was needed. The liquid was to accelerate healing, it was full of nutrients that the body needed for rapid healing. It was absorbed right through the skin, while the chamber was filling a mask descended to cover Callin's mouth and nose so he could breath. The entire process had taken four hours, he would need thirty more minutes of the fluid treatment before he would wake back up.

The interface was really an ingenues invention, it had two main purposes, to allow for integration with complaint technologies and communication with the A.I. units and other people. If this worked Callin would be able to directly and consciously interface with any A.I. equipped Ship, Frame, or other facility like the base here. Also, he would be able to be in constant communication with Celestia, and all other compliant A.I. units as well as any one anywhere, for all intense and purposes he had a communications terminal in his head now. The interface used both normal space wireless when in range of a compliant system and subspace for long range communication with A.I.'s and people.

The Biomites served several purposes as well, the main one was to maintain the interface, but they also improved healing, not a lot but enough to repair minor wounds and stop bleeding. They also repaired cellular damage and deterioration. Chace wondered if that meant it would extend life span by slowing aging as well, he would have to ask Callin. The third thing the Biomites did was to prevent toxins from damaging the body, the side effect of that meant any one with them could not get drunk no matter how hard they tried, the fourth was to act as a sensory enhancer. That meant they would interface with all the major senses and relay the information to the interface which could then be processed and displayed in the conscious mind as a visual overlay.

While it would not give you better senses it would allow you to filter and process the information you got better. The last thing it allowed was for equipment interface, meaning that the new fighters they made were keyed to the pilots genetics and required a Biomite interface to operate. Most of Callin's enhanced ship, frames and artillery, as well as the new skin suits, were all Nanite enhanced and Biomite and Neural Interface compliant.

Chace heard a groan come form Callin that meant he was waking up. Chace went to his side and helped him from the chamber, "How do you feel?"

"My head hurts. It will take some getting used to, I did not expect it to be this disorienting at first. It will definitely take some practice to get used to this. Then I should make up some kinda training documentation. Talking to Celestia is the easiest part, it is like I'm talking to Solaris, or someone, telepathically. The rest, well, it's over whelming. If I think hard enough I can feel the data systems and access them. The sensory overly is strange, as is the attack and defense modes, there are some unexpected things as well. It seems that it is able to act like a HUD as well. It has aiming assistance, something I did not anticipate. If I switch to attack and defense it tells me I'm not holding a weapon, well it actually says not usable as a weapon, it is picking up that I'm in contact with the Bio Chamber. "

"I programed the code to adapt as needed and feed back in the core system, which is to say feed back in Celestia, were it is then updated on all interfaces. It is adapting to my needs and adding things I failed to account for. It's basically using me to calibrate the system, you should not have to go through this except basic calibration for your system, so you wont be as over whelmed. Celestia, replicate me a standard 9 mm projectile gun, a sonic blaster, and hand phaser." Callin said before he realized he did not even have to ask any more, let alone have Celestia do it, he went and picked them up one by one.

"This is amazing, I never expected this. It's using my sight to see and cross reference each weapon, sit shows I have not handled them yet so it is giving me a brief user tutorial then telling me what type of weapon it is, its class and how many shots it has left. It also auto shifted to attack and defense. Absolutely amazing!" Callin seemed thrilled with it all. He tried setting down the weapons and pickling them back up, he did not get the tutorial after the first time but he did get the class, type and shots remaining from it. He found that if he thought about it he could pull back up the tutorial. It seemed like after the first use with the system it recognized it as a known weapon and assumed you knew how to use it. "Chace, you are going to love this. It even calculated angels for me."

"Well then, I guess it's my turn." Chace, while relieved that it seemed to work, was still not looking forward to having his head cut open, but he tried to relax and after striping he got in the chamber. The process was repeated for him the same way it was done for Callin. After they were both done and recovered they went and got some more food, Callin explained that they would get hungry more often because the Biomites and Interface used bio-electric energy. He also informed Chace that they would need a booster shot of the Biomite support and maintenance fluids every three months or the system, including the Biomites, would reabsorb into the body and be passed as wait.

When he reached out with his telekinetic ability to get his drink something unexpected happened. The glass over shot and nearly hit him in the head, something that had not happened since he was six years old.

"Callin, are you OK, is the interface messing with your abilities?"

"No, it's something else, there was a boost of power for a moment. It's not the interface or Biomites, but the only other explanation is that there was something in the support fluid that amplified the power. I think I just accidentally recovered the lost method of enhancement." When Chace gave him a blank stair he explained.

"Long ago it was believed that a mineral was capable of giving a boost in power level for psychics, it was lost to time and no one has ever been able to figure it out. The Justials use the mineral to tattoo their markings if they have them. It's the blue lines on their faces that glow when they are using any form of psychic ability. It's called Spritus, our fourth month is named after it. While it reacts to all psychic ability it was rumored that only psychokinetics could be enhanced, and then for only as long as the mineral lasts. As it reacts it is burned, so to speak, it also is metabolized by the system. I used in the Biomite support solution as an activator to tell them when they have interfaced with the psychic region. I never thought it would boost my abilities. That is going to take some training, but think of the benefit that will be. We can't tell anyone about this though, may be people we can trust, but it can't become common knowledge." Callin was saying as Chace tried it out and got hit in the head with the salt shaker, then tried it on his hydrokinesis and ended up soaking the table.

"Your right, that will take some getting used to. We could carry injections with some in it, then if we need to we can inject it. The skin suits could even be set to push a set amount in at mental prompts." Chace responded as he rubbed his head where the shaker hit it.

"Yeah, this could be good, we need to practice with it though. It looks like the old stories were true, it just about doubles the level. I need to be careful, although it will be nice to see what I will be like once my abilities fully mature at the end of my puberty cycle. Let's finish up eating and then go test what all we can do with this."

Later that night they were tired and sore. They had spent the whole day practicing, they worked out the best way to use their new found advantage as well as practiced fighting with their skills during hand to hand combat. Both now needed some time on a med bed, although Callin was close to needing a Bio Chamber instead, he was cut up bad. Callin may have been the more competent psychic but Chace was a master at hand to hand and place a sword in his hands and you would be better off running in the other direction, his speed was unparalleled as was his skill. As the boys limped into the Medical bay they grinned at each other, they had the most fun than they have had in a long time.

After getting healed back up they went and got dinner, it was a good thing the replicated meals tasted good or they would have been out of luck. They did manage to find some fruit trees on the planet that had a fruit that was close to the Terran orange, they now kept a supply in the base. Callin was starting to think of home, with any luck they would begin harvesting soon then they could get the chance to go home for a bit. He was worried about his mom being mad though. He knew he should not have left it the way he did, he had given the idea of calling them a thought, but was worried he would be ordered home, and he was not sure if he could disobey his mom out right like that. So he decided to play it safe and not call yet.

Date: Hatril /11/6874

The next morning Callin and Chace decided to explore the planet a little more. They took the shuttle out and flew around. They found a deer like animal on the plains and thought about having fresh meat, but decided against it. They might if they wanted a special dinner, or were camping out, but just to have it would be wrong when they could replicate any meat they wanted. They did collect some more types of fruit from the forests and jungles of the planet. They would take them back and have them analyzed to make sure they were not toxic; not that they had to worry about it any more. They found that the smaller islands were mostly volcanic and were also semi-tropical and tropical, one had an amazing waterfall. When Chace felt the water they realized the whole stream was heated by volcanic vents, but it still had life in it. It formed a few deep pools along its length and Callin decided to make a probe to send down and scan for life. He did not want to swim in the water unless he knew some thing was not going to come up from under him and eat him.

They moved on to the northern most land mass and saw that it was mostly evergreen type plants and had a cooler climate. Callin found it interesting that the planet could have so much life and not have any intelligent life on it, not even any that was on its way to becoming intelligent. He figured that the planet must be early on in its evolution. As they flew over the oceans they saw marine animals surfacing and circled to watch them for a while, then moved on to the last land mass; it was all tropical and semi-tropical.

They had missed midday meal, other then some of the fruit they already new was safe. So they headed back to base and ate dinner. As they were eating Chace had the idea to take a tranquilizer out and collect genetic samples of the wild life and plant life so it could be analyzed and possibly be replicated to see what it would taste like. Callin liked that idea. He really did not like killing just to eat, unless he really had to. He did not have a problem with it but if you had the ability to replicate the food there was no point in killing the animal to do it. If he was out camping and backpacking he would hunt, but not for every day use.

After dinner they went to the holo-suites on the base and loaded up the fighter that Chace had modified with Callins specifications. As they were running through a simulation Callin noticed that the Neural Interface was still adjusting, this time it was adding functions for a fighter. Callin realized he would have to test out all of his Interface compliant ships, frames, artillery and other devices and modified weapons systems to get the interface set. He now had something to do for the next two weeks. After that he would lock out the adaption protocol so that other users would not be updating the system without permission. The Interface was adding speed calculations and flight patterns as well as targeting overlay and combatant analysis. It was picking out the type of craft that he was facing and feeding tactical data to him and showing vulnerable areas. What he could not test was the system interface, since this holo-version did not have the semi-intelligence that he designed.

When he was making things interface compliant, like ships and other things, he developed different levels of intelligence for them. Systems like Celestia had superior intelligence, most bigger ships, with the exception of the city ships and command ships, were of advanced intelligence; as were field base, and base units. Medium ships and combat units were of average intelligence. Fighters, small ships, like shuttles and landers, frames, and artillery were of below average intelligence. Technically, Celestia was above the superior intelligence and all other systems were subservient to her.

Callin set it up like that so every thing could in some way interact with their user. The below average systems would be able to understand basic wants and needs, as well as be able to extract tactical data from its environment. The average intelligence could interact much like that of a person, but would not be able to preform complicated tasks or formulate tactics. The above average systems could run ships and coordinate with other systems and preform advanced tasks and tactical analysis. The superior systems were capable of designing systems and running whole planets if needed. They formed the back bone of A.I. systems running planets, city ships, and command ships. They were also able to self adapt and reprogram themselves. Celestia, while fitting into this last category, was even higher as she could coordinate and run whole galaxies, may be more, as well as create the advanced intelligent systems.

All of the A.I.'s had the same fail safe though, they had in their core programing to be loyal to Callin in all things, nothing they did could in any way cause harm to Callin. If they tried to knowingly betray him, or harm him, a self destruct would activate shutting off their system and deleting their personality. The only exception he had allowed was that if such an action was required to prevent immediate life threatening conditions for a group of people. In such a case they could override the fail safe to protect lives. Part of this fail safe was a 'do no harm list', it contained people like him that the systems were forbidden to harm in any way. He had Chace and his close family on that list and bellow them was the rest of the House of Deviaus. It was not just a 'do no harm' thing though, it was also an obedience thing. A person on that list would have their orders carried out above all others; unless they contradicted some one above them, would cause harm, or betray Callin or who ever succeeded him to the throne. He wanted to make sure his advanced technology and systems would not come back to bite him in the ass.

The level of system in use, along with a persons job and command level, determined the level of programing on the interface as well. While physically they were all the same, their permissions programing was different. They were divided into five levels, each capable of certain system interactions. The lowest level, called Limited Interface, was for systems like that of a fighter and skinsuit. It allowed limited subconscious interaction with higher intelligence systems, like opening a door as you came close, and full conscious integration with the below average intelligence systems, like the fighter and skinsuits, this level was not capable of subspace communication.

The next level up, called Basic Interface, allowed for limited conscious interaction with higher intelligence systems, unlimited subconscious interaction with all intelligence systems, and full conscious integration with the below average intelligence systems. It also did not allow for subspace communication.

The next one up, called Advanced Interface, allowed for unlimited conscious interaction and limited integration with higher intelligence systems, unlimited subconscious interaction with all intelligence systems, and full conscious integration with the below average intelligence systems. As well as being capable of subspace communication with people with the Interface of the command crew of a ship and could also communicate with the ship A.I. over subspace.

The next one was what Callin called the Command Interface. It allowed for unlimited conscious interaction and unlimited conscious integration with higher intelligence systems, excluding Celestia, unlimited subconscious interaction with all intelligence systems, and full conscious integration with the below average intelligence systems. As well as being capable of subspace communication with people, with and with out the Interface, as well as with the A.I. Systems, excluding Celestia.

The last one was what Callin called the Command and Control Interface. It allowed for unlimited conscious interaction and unlimited conscious integration with all intelligence systems, including Celestia. Also unlimited conscious interaction with all intelligence systems, direct conscious control of all devices and systems attached to any intelligence system; as well as being capable of subspace communication with people with and with out the Interface as well as with the A.I. Systems, including Celestia. All levels had an equipment instruction repository up-link and allowed for local, short range, non-subspace personnel communications, long rage non-subspace ship personnel communications, and local short range non-subspace A.I. communications. Only Callin, and a few other people, would have this one; most being his close family. He did not trust a lot of people with that level of control, and any one with that level of interface was automatically on the no harm list.

Over the next two weeks Callin would continue to work with each of his modified technologies, allowing the interface to adapt to each one. He and Chace would spend the first part of the day collecting samples of the local wild life and plant life, building up a data base of life on this planet. In the later half of the day Chace, while Callin was working with the interface, would work on updating all his designs with the things he had to leave out before; like the power systems and data systems. He also began the work on a planetary defense system. At the end of the two weeks all the designs were updated and most of the interface was configured. They still had a large portion of life to catalog but they had made a lot of progress, enough that they could try and replicate local food. The rest would be left to scientists to collect and catalog once the planet was open to the public, even if it was in a limited way. Callin would have to wait until he could produce each device, ship, systems and so forth, before the interface would be completely configured. By the time they got to this point Celestia had most of the top side level of the base done. Well, at least the physical structure was done, she still needed to install the systems, but to do that she needed more material. So, she sent them out again, this time for a back to back pickup; meaning that once they got back with one shipment they had to go back out again.

Date: Berity /11/6874

Callin and Chace were getting ready to make the return trip from their most resent pick up, they both hoped it would be the last one for a while. Everything was going to plan until they were spotted by the Lord High Marshal, of all the places in the Empire he had to show up there. He was on a routine inspection of a frontier out post, he never expected to see Callin there. So when he looked up and met the shocked faces of Callin and Chace he was just as shocked. It had been almost four months that had passed since they had left Devia and they were not being actively looked for, so this was a surprise, but maybe a way to let their family know they were OK.

Thristian took the chance and rushed over to meet them, completely ignoring the fact that they were in public, he pulled both of the boys into a hug. "Damn boys, I have missed you both. Ann is worried sick all the time and so is every one else, well except the bastard."

"Sorry, Uncle Thristian, we never wanted to make any one worry, but my father," he said father like it was a bad taste in his mouth, "was the very reason we could not tell any one we were going." Callin said as he looked down in mild shame. Chace just kept his eyes down, he hated the fact that they had made Ann worry, he owed her a lot.

"Yes, Ann figured that out from your message and past conversation, but what have you been doing all the way out here, and where have you been staying?"

Callin had to make a decision on what to do, he never expected to run into any of the family out here. At the last minute he decided to confide in his uncle.

"Do you have a week to spare?"

"Well, yes, I have to finish the inspection here then I am free, but why?" Thristian asked.

"I would like to show you what I have been up to. You would have to come alone though, no one else can come, and you can't tell any one else about this until I say it is OK." Chace shot a questioning glance at Callin, as if asking are you sure, the determined look was all he needed to see.

"I will meet you in the space dock lounge tonight, we can go then." There was a round of hugs then Thristian took his leave. Callin was hoping he was not making a mistake.

Later that night they all met up and had dinner then Callin led Thristian back to their ships. It was decided that Thristian would ride with Callin for the trip out. Thristian was shocked when he saw they were getting on a Freighter, he was even more shocked when Callin began a tracking and broadcasting sweep to check for any hidden devices. Finding none they left the port and headed back to Ember. Callin did his best to explain what was happening, but a lot of it he left to be included in a neural image.

Date: Berity /14/6874

When they arrived back at Ember Thristian was overwhelmed, to say the least. They transported all of the shipment down and then took the shuttle to the planet meeting Chace back in the living quarters. They cleaned up and then took Thristian on a tour, this severed to not only let Thristian see the base but also to show Callin and Chace the progress that had been made. Celestia had told them that they were a week away from phase two, so they were excited. They saved the medical bay for last.

"Uncle Thristian, I would like to give you a Neural Image to explain everything here. It wont be the full one like what I have but it will fill you in on a lot of things. I would also like to give you the Interface I told you about. Are you willing to do that?" Callin asked as they walked into the Medical Bay.

"Yes, I would do it for the soul purpose of being able to keep in contact with you." That was all Callin needed to hear. He got his uncle set up in a chamber and let the droids do their job, he decided to give him the Command Interface. Callin and Chace nervously waited for the procedure to be done. When Thristian came out of the chamber there was a sigh of relief.

"Boys, I can't begin to tell you how proud of you I am, I know Ann would be too. Now I have to say I can't wait to get my hands on some of the thing you two have developed. I may no longer be on the front lines but I am a solder at heart still, and I like big toys." He said the last part with a sheepish grin that made Callin and Chace laugh. They were happy to have some company for a change, other then just them, Celestia, and the droids. One thing Callin did do was to have one of his Nanite enhanced Neural Interface and Biomite compliant class X skinsuits fabricated for his uncle so he would have better protection. He also had one made for his mom, Medil, Dani, Lucius, Lilia, and Justin. They would not be able to interface with it yet, but it would give them better protection than they had now. For Callin and Chace's part they never left Ember with out wearing them any more.

Date: Berity /20/6874

Three days ago, on the 17th, Callin and Chace took Thristian back to the dock were his ship was. Of coarse, Celestia set it up to pick up another shipment, but this time it was only one, so they could travel together. Before they left Callin replicated a years supply of the Biomite supplement shot, minus the Spritus, the boaster shot did not need it. He also replicated a new weapon that interacted with his Interface. It was like a small crossbow that would hit what ever the person aimed at regardless of where it was pointed, it auto tracked based on the aiming feature of the Neural interface. Thristian acted like a kid in a toy store, he was excited to have, as he put it, "new toy".

At the space dock, Callin and Chace were both sad to see him leave, but now that they had a contact back home they did not feel as alone. "Uncle Thristian, could you please bring Lucius back with you as soon as you can?" Callin asked as Thristian boarded his ship.

"Why just him?"

"He is the only one that could come. Lilia is too young, Dani would not leave Justin that long and Mom and Medil could not get way that long without telling some one where they were"

"I'll see what I can do." He gave the boys one more hug before boarding the ship and leaving.

Date: Berity /22/6874

<Callin, I am ready to begin building the first harvester.> Celestia announced in the morning. They were still one day out from Ember, but with the Interface Celestia could communicate any where.

"Go a head, Celestia we are still about a day out so we will miss the start. How long will it take to build the Harvester and it's ships?" Callin sent back using his Interface. It was easier to speak out loud, for the most part, it was getting easier to use nonverbal communication with her, but it was still strange to him. On one hand he was used to speaking with his thoughts, but this was different, you did not so much speak as you thought you were speaking. It was still easier for a telepath then it would be for a nontelepath, so Callin counted himself lucky in that.

<Unless I can increase the droids assigned to the construction bays it will take five weeks to build the Harvester. The other ships that go with it will take a day, as I can fabricate them.>

"Do what ever you need to. We are bringing more material any way, and you said this was extra, but if you need any more raw materials we may have to get more money, we are almost out."

<I have diverted resources from the other bays and the rest of the building to compensate, once we have the first harvest we will not need to purchase any more.>

Callin got up and eagerly told Chace the news. They spent the rest of the day in the holo-suites having fun.

Date: Crutal /2/6874

When Thristian returned to Devia he immediately went to Ann and Medil. He told them what he could, he did promise Callin not to say anything about what they were doing or where they were, but they were happy just to know that the boys were OK.

"Ann, I have some good news." Thristian said as he rushed into her office, dismissing every one in there, lucky for him, Medil was already there. Ann looked up shocked, then amused, at her Uncles actions.

"I saw Callin and Chace! No, I can't tell you what they are doing, or even where they are, but I can tell you that they are OK. They gave me these to give to you two and the rest of the kids. I can't tell you what all is going on with them, but they are more advanced and more special than a normal skinsuit." The skinsuit confused them, because with out certain knowledge they could not figure out how they were made or why they were different, but agreed that if Callin and Chace thought they should wear them, then they would all wear them.

"Any idea when he is coming home?" Medil asked, he was missing his oldest son.

"He will be able to come home for a visit in a little over a week, but neither of them can stay long. They are still working on some things." Ann seemed relieved, as did Medil.

"Is there any way to contact them?" Ann asked, she had a sort of desperate look in her eyes.

"Through me for now, I'm sure that once they come back they will make it so you can contact them as well. In fact, I would like to take Lucius with me and go to them now. Lilia is to young, and Dani would not like being away from Justin that long, and Callin is not ready for Justin to know. As for you two, there is no hope of you being able to slip away for over two weeks.

Caleb was grateful things had gone back to normal, well as normal as he had ever had it. The extra beating he had endured for 'trying to seduce Nevor' had ended. For two months his master had beat him every morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. It was his punishment for begin a pervert. The beating only got worse when he tried to tell them that Nevor was the one that tried to rape him. His master nearly killed him after that, so he kept quite after that.

He had twelve months until Nevor came again. He would have to make sure he was no where in site of him when he did come. He did not know how he had done what he had done, but he could not figure it out and he was not going to get raped, that was for sure.

Things were getting worse too, strange things kept happening around him. His masters were the type that thought all psychics were evil demons. Caleb did not know he was a psychic, but he was sick of being called a demon and getting beat every time something strange happened around him.

The truth was that after Nevor almost raped him his latent powers awoke, if he was in the Empire they would have called it snapping. Some people are born as latent psychics instead of active ones. Once a latent snaps his powers begin to grow, it is a dangerous time for an untrained psychic. They have almost no control of their powers and most have no idea what is happening until they are found. In Caleb's case he was unlikely to ever have a trainer find him, unlike in the Empire, where Caleb lived there were no psychic ministry to train and test young psychics.

Back on Ember Callin was in a deep sleep, he began to dream, at lest he thought it was a dream. He was standing in a room that was, he swore, made of light, it reminded him of the Council chambers back home. He was in awe of what was around him, and there was a feeling of peace that seemed to wash over him. He looked around and noticed seats spaced around the room, they looked like thrones. As he was watching the seats began to fill with beings that were made of light. He watched as all 120 thrones were filled. They were arranged in a circle around where he was standing.

"Where am I?"

"Welcome child, we have brought you to the Guardian Council. As to where you are, you are every where and no where, every when and no when." Callin was confused at that but decided to find out who these glowing people were.

"Who or what are you?"

"You would call us the Spirits of the planets." A young looking woman answered as she floated close. When Callin heard her he fell to his knees, prostrated himself and began to worship them, until a warm glowing had stopped him. He looked up and saw the woman next to him with such a look a love on her face that it made him want to cry. "Please stand, don't worship us, only the Great King, the creator of all, is worthy of worship and only he should be worshiped."

"Why am I here?" Callin asked in a trembling voice, this had never happened before, there were no legends or texts that talked about this. No one ever communicated directly with the Spirits before. Symbionts were linked to them he knew, but that was only a vague feeling, not communication.

"Time is out pacing us, even we who exist without time find ourselves out paced by it, not because of us but rather because of those we guard. You and your kind have started events that will lead to one of two paths. Down one is a golden age of peace, down the other is darkness, death and destruction." An elderly looking man said from his throne. He, too, had a look of compassion.

"I don't understand? What do I have to do with this?"

"You and your other will either lead to the path of gold, or you will fail and the one you call Stephon will lead the other." The woman who had been standing next to him said in a soft whisper.

"The war!" Callin gasped.

"That is correct, you have foreseen the destruction that will take place. If he is not stopped that misery will spread to the rest of universe and a time devoid of all Hope, Love, Charity, Self-Control, Peace, Kindness, Humility, Justice, Wisdom, Logic, and Intelligence will take control and then the end will come." The Spirits started saying as one, then groups would talk in tandem while others were silent then finished as one. "We will show you what must be and what must not be. Prepare to ride the winds of time Child for none of your people have ever seen a time like you are about to."

Callin's mind exploded with images, the force of them drove him to his knees, and what he saw made him sob. He drew his knees to his chest, pulled himself into a fetus position, then just cried and let the vision of what Stephon would do wash over him. So much death, so much hate. While he could kill if he had to, Callin hated death. To see trillions wiped out broke not just his heart, but his soul, Solaris tried to comfort him but nothing could break through the Guardian induced visions. Then the visions changed and he heard someone in the background say, "Now see what must be." As horrible as the last visions was this one was just as good. The shear peace that rained throughout the universe was over whelming, he started to cry again, this time out of joy.

"Now you know for what you fight, why you must not fail. We will help as much as we can. Tell no one of this meeting, save your other. We now give you a gift to help you with what you must do." Once again an image exploded in his consciousness. It was a star map, but one unlike anything he had ever seen before. It was how the Guardians saw the Galaxy, every thing was in orbit around the central sun and every planet, star and body was accounted for. Then he watched as the images began to glow, the planets and other bodies took on colors. "The white are where we live. The blue have intelligent life on them, or will have intelligent life on them. The green have life but will never develop intelligent life. The brown have no life on them but are active worlds. The black are dead worlds. Use this map we gave you to gather what you need. Do not tell others of it except your other. How you use this information is up to you, as long as this map itself is never known about."

"Thank you, for every thing you have done." Callin said in soft respectful voice.

"Go then in peace and wisdom, but beware you are not like others, you were created with a pure soul. While you can feel anger it is righteous anger. You can not hate, it is not in you. Let these words guide you and know that what you must do, and the ones you will kill, will not tarnish your soul, for it is not done in hate but to protect others and is done with love."

Then Callin woke back up, his head was throbbing, and at first he thought it was dream.

~It was no dream Callin, you should count yourself lucky to have stood before them. They have given you a gift that is more precious than any other.~ Solaris said to his bonded.

{You knew about this didn't you?} Callin asked.

~Yes, it was forbidden to talk of how we came to be, or of the Guardians, now I have no such restrictions with you. If I can answer it, I will. ~

{Would making a map from this information be forbidden?}

~No, as long as the original and its origin remain secret. ~

Callin got up and using his link to Celestia began building a map. He went through and labeled each planet or moon as having life, intelligent life, dead or barren. With his link to the system it did not take long. He was greatful for this, because if he had to input all this it would take him a life time. His meeting with the guardians only confirmed and reinforced his plans, now he would redouble his efforts. This information could not have come at a better time, the ships were almost done and they would began harvesting within the week. They were able to divert all resources to the construction of the ship so they manged to get the building time down. It made Callin think that if he was going to have a full fleet in any reasonable amount of time he would have to have more droids. He decided that once they had their harvester he would increase the droids by twenty fold.

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