Castle Roland


by Al Norris

In Progress

Chapter 3

Published: 6 Jul 15


Copyright © 2015 by Al Norris and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Scireians LogoThe change in pitch of the engines, signaled that the chopper had reached their destination. She could feel them losing both speed and altitude, in preparation to setting down. Then the engines revved to full power and the kid who had fired the SAM shouted above the roar of the engines, "Everyone that can walk needs to exit the helicopter immediately. Please step off to the left and wait until the injured are taken inside!" Then the helicopter flared and set down, the engines shut down while the ramp was already descending.

Within a couple of moments, the people and walking wounded were off the chopper. Then some kids rushed in and laid down a pair of collapsible stretchers, assembled them, and the medics began to transfer their patients onto them. Janet and Chang rode along side of their patients as they were pushed out of the chopper by other kids. They maneuvered the stretchers into what was obviously an elevator and without waiting, down they went.

The doors opened and within a few seconds, they were in an open trauma bay. Some of the medics began a quick, but thorough scrub before they went any further, while both Janet and Chang simply pulled sterile gloves over their bloodied hands. Then, Janet grabbed a device from off of the women, that Sabrina hadn't noticed before and openly scanned the woman, who Sabrina had learned was President Bryce's wife, Linda. Her eyebrows went up a bit, as this was technology that was beyond the knowledge of this world. Sabrina noted that the other medics were as startled as she was, which confirmed that they knew nothing about this device.

In the meantime, Chang grabbed a pair of scissors from a sterile tray and deftly cut away the ace bandages, then the protective gauze to get at the entrance wound.

This allowed Sabrina time to move over to Janet. She looked over Janet's shoulder to observe the device and its readings. Interesting, she thought, the device is capable of giving a quite detailed picture of the patient.

IVs had been attached and the two patients had begun to be given transfusions, as both Janet and Chang worked to save their lives. Sabrina, helped when and where she could. Mostly observing the techniques being used. She had never seen anything in the Outside, like what she was observing here. Certain procedures were universal to medical science, some of what both Chang and Janet did were variations, and that she could accept. Other small procedures that Janet was using were completely foreign and Sabrina fought to understand what was being done.

The other medics were somewhat in awe of what was being done. That much was obvious to Sabrina. As good as they were, they were not doctors and simply did not have the technical background to fully comprehend what was being done.

During all of this, more blood was being transfused into both patients. Sabrina did notice that Chris was receiving less blood now, than before. It was also obvious that Chang was in intense concentration over what he was physically doing. More than the mere exertions would indicate.

Then, she gasped! That right there! Sabrina wasn't sure, but it almost looked like there were some form of nanites working at the cellular level. Damage was being repaired at a rate that was inconsistent with even the procedures she was witnessing. This shouldn't be possible for these people. The Outside simply didn't have that technology.

As Sabrina helped, one by one the data points that she assembled led to only a few possible explanations. And those explanations could only be narrowed and verified with a complete bio-scan of these people. A scan that she couldn't make, given the circumstances. But a scan that she would make, sooner, rather than later.

Right now, she wished that she could take a break to review what her scanner had discovered. Ever since she had triggered the homing beacon, she knew the device was performing a general scan on everything within one hundred meters and sending that data home. At least her people would get to see what was happening and with whom she had cast her lot. But she still wanted to review the data herself. More importantly, she needed to take some deep scans of some of these children that had rescued them from Ashwood's assassination attempt.

Chang had finished what he was doing and motioned for one of the medics to close for him. He moved to the head of the table and placed a hand on the child's forehead and became still. Sabrina could tell by his body language that he was concentrating intensely. After a few minutes, Chang removed his hand and walked over to Linda's bed. There he did the same thing. Only this time, beads of sweat broke out across his forehead.

It suddenly dawned on Sabrina that she had seen this sort of thing before, but not to this extent. Chang was in telepathic communication with the patient! This added a whole new level of understanding to these people. And it added a new dimension of warning for her own safety. If they were telepathic, as Sabrina now suspected, then she was in danger of being discovered. At the moment, she was safe. Her own empathic ability told her that no one was suspicious, only concerned and concentrating deeply on their work. Well, except for the medics that had come with her. Those people were simply astounded by the techniques they were seeing.

This presented Sabrina with an entirely new set of possibilities and liabilities. That these people were fighting for Bryce and against Ashwood, was precisely the kind of thing that her boss, Marko, would want to know. There was also the possibility that these people were from another hidden colony, just like hers. However improbable that was. After all, her people had mapped the entire planet, almost down to the grains of sand on a beach.

Yet, here they were. More technologically (and mentally) advanced than Outsiders. More advanced than the AoG. And this base! If it had existed for any length of time, then her people would have known of it, and the people that were here.

But they didn't know of these people. Therefore they didn't know of this base. That argument alone led to contradictory conclusions. Either they had tech that was beyond even her people; capable of a level of stealth beyond the amazing, or they simply appeared out of nowhere. That last was too farfetched to even think of it.

Chang was suddenly finished. He broke the silent communication with the woman, Linda, and calmly walked through the doorway where the audience had been watching.

It was then that Sabrina noticed that it was the children that had led the rescue that were donating all of the blood. Another factoid that Sabrina filed away.

About another hour, and Dr. Janet stepped away, asking Sabrina to close. Sabrina nodded and began the routine work of suturing Linda back together. As she worked, she was also reviewing everything she knew about telepathic abilities. There were ways to shield oneself from telepathic intrusion, if they were actively scanning you. But a shield alone, would raise alarms. After all, the telepath would want to know how she knew she was being scanned and what she was hiding behind her shields. Besides, Sabrina had not practiced with such things for a couple of years now. Using the techniques improperly were worse than not using any shield at all. There were organic shields that her people used, but she wasn't equipped with those devices. Her work as an Outside operative hadn't required them.

Having finished closing, Sabrina stepped away to let another medic bathe and bandage the wounds. Sabrina went over to the scrub sinks and began washing herself.

As she finished toweling herself dry, a young boy of about eight years came up to her, "Hi! My name's Tommy." he said. Sabrina stopped what she was doing and looked at the young boy and then at his companion. If Sabrina had been faint of heart, she would have probably screamed. Standing next to the young kid was the largest black panther Sabrina had ever seen. "Oh, Fluffy says to say 'Hi'" Tommy said as innocently as anyone could imagine.

Looking at the animal, Sabrina got the impression that this 'animal' was more intelligent than most people she had met. The cat began to purr.

"Oh, Fluffy likes you! What's your name?"

"Hi, Tommy. I am Sabrina Ziegler. I am a doctor with the group that just came in." Sabrina told him.

"Yup. You're the one I was told to help!" Tommy said. "I'm supposed to show you where your room is and to show you where the mess hall is, if you're hungry?"

"Thank you Tommy. That is very nice of you and Fluffy to do this for me. I admit, I am pretty lost at the moment. What about these other medics, though?"

Tommy thought about it for just a moment, then he got a big smile on his face, "Hey everyone! Y'all hungry for sumptin' to eat?" Tommy shouted out, while Fluffy looked over at them and innocently licked her mouth.

Several heads had turned their way. To a man, everyone was focused on Fluffy, rather than Tommy. Seeing this, Tommy almost fell to the floor laughing. He would have, if Fluffy hadn't grabbed his shoulder with her mouth.

One guy actually fainted and had to be helped by two others. This caused a new round of laughter from Tommy, and Sabrina found herself giggling at the young boy's antics. "Tommy, you are a little mischief maker." She smiled. "I do not think they have the courage to come with us, so show me my room and then let's go get something to eat, shall we?"

"Now you're talking! I like you, Lady" Tommy smiled back.

"My friends call me, Sabi, Tommy." With that, Sabrina, Tommy and Fluffy left the trauma bay.

Jens had spotted the trio as he came into the dining room. He filled a plate, grabbed some juice and made his way over to Katja's table. As Jens came near, Marko pointed to a place for Jens to join them.

"All right then. I'm here, so what is this meeting all about?" Jens asked, looking at Katja, as he sat down.

Instead of Katja answering, Marko drew some papers out of his satchel and handed them to Jens. "Jens, we have some fascinating and startling news. A basic synopsis is in these reports. I suggest you read them, while you eat. Then we can talk." After saying this, Marko went back to his own food.

Jens Winkler started to skim the reports, as was his habit. He had made it through about five pages when his eyes went wide. Muttering, he picked up the first sheet and this time he began to read it thoroughly. By the time Jens was done reading, the others were finished eating and his own food was cold.

"We will have to send a survey team out as soon as possible. Proper readings cannot be taken with bio-scanners or even mech-scanners. We will need a full compliment to get the proper readings... and we will have to do it in stealth mode." Jens remarked, as he began eating off of his cold plate.

Peter's eyes just got huge, while Katja's jaw bounced off the table! This was not the normal attitude of Jens, thought Katja. "Jens? Did I just hear you correctly?" Katja's asked, recovering from her shock, "Are you actually suggesting that we breach protocol?"

Looking up from the papers he held, "Why yes, Katja. First off, we have an appearance of an unknown, to us, set of caverns. That alone is enough to investigate fully. We also have an unknown group of 'humans,' which I hesitate to call human, judging by the preliminary data, that have also appeared out of nowhere. Now add into this rather strange mix, these 'people' appear to have technology that even we do not have... At the very least, where have they been hiding all these centuries? You simply cannot hide the energy signatures I am seeing."

"What energy signatures, Jens?" Peter asked.

Jens handed over one sheet of data, "Look at these readings, Peter. Does that show nuclear fusion, or not?"

"My God! I completely missed that!" Peter said, while Katja snatched the paper out of Peter's hands and studied the data.

"Jens, there is no way these people are from this planet! There is no doubt that this signature is from a fusion generator, but not even we can make one as small as this would have to be... A helicopter?" Katja was almost beside herself with obvious glee. "Jens, you get me a small team, no more than five people and equipment. Marko? You get me a security force and something to get us to this location. I will convene a special session of the council by ten o'clock this morning. Be ready to go, right after the meeting."

And with that, the breakfast meeting broke up and everyone hurried off to ready a particularly extraordinary expedition.

Tuesday, Nov. 6th, 2012, 0700 MST


Sabrina carried her tray from the serving line, and walked to the table where Tommy sat eating his breakfast, "Tommy, I want to thank you for showing me my quarters and for sharing your mealtime with me." Sabrina turned her head towards Fluffy, "Fluffy? Don't you eat breakfast, too?"

Tommy barely paused before he said, "Fluffy says she likes to eat at dinner time, Sabi. She gets a bunch of raw steaks and likes them a whole lot!" Tommy turned in his chair and gave Fluffy a hug. Fluffy licked Tommy and purred.

Sabrina smiled at the obvious affection the two had for each other. To Sabrina, it didn't seem strange that a huge panther and a little boy could be so … loving would be the term, towards each other. Sabrina also sensed that Fluffy would protect that little boy, for all she was worth.

Fluffy looked over at Sabrina and it appeared the cat actually smiled at her. Fluffy then did a slight head nod. Sabrina's thoughts were confirmed, when she sensed that the cat not only understood, but agreed!

"Tommy? Fluffy understands us and reads minds, yes?"

"Oh yes Sabi! But, how did you figure that out? Most people just think she's just a big, cuddly, kitty-cat." Tommy's grin was larger than life. At this, Sabrina held up a hand, while she looked intently at the cat.

Sabrina recalled her training and concentrated, 'So you are more than you seem?'

'Yes, as are you.'

That caused Sabrina to sit up, 'Do you know who I am? Am I that easy to read?'

Fluffy flicked her ears forward, 'Not easy. You are not like these other two-foots. Like Tommy, you are different.'

Picturing some of the children she had met, 'Like these?'

'No. They are different than you and different than Tommy. You are different, yet still human. They are human and they are not.'

Tommy giggled. "Sabi, Fluffy is a cat. She doesn't think like we do. But she's never wrong."

"So you heard us 'talking'?" Sabrina asked.

"Sabi, you need more practice. You're very weak. And you don't hide yourself well. You need to learn, or they will know who you are!" Tommy had gotten real serious. "Do you mean to hurt us?" Tommy asked quietly.

'No Tommy. She is here to help. Look into her mind...'

Normally, this exchange would have broken through Sabrina's calm exterior. But for some reason, Sabrina felt calm. She could tell that Tommy was looking deeply. She could also tell that it was the cat that was guiding Tommy. It suddenly dawned upon Sabrina that it was the cat, that was the source of her calm. Just as quickly as it started, she could feel them withdraw from her mind.

Tommy looked at her. His eyes were as wide as saucers! But he quickly got himself composed and without a word, began to finish his breakfast.

Sabrina looked at both Tommy and Fluffy before saying, "I think this conversation needs to be in private. Would you both care to join me in my quarters?"

Fluffy looked at Tommy, for a moment, before both of them nodded their heads.

"You know, if I were a mere human, I would be pretty much dead on my feet." Sabrina said as she sat on her bed and motioned for Tommy to take a chair. Fluffy just curled up at Tommy's feet, "While I am human, I am not a 'mere' human. I could feel that you scanned me deep enough to know I am not from 'this world,' as it were. My people are a peaceful people. We have been researching, for centuries, to find ways to help mankind break out of the habit of want and need, that inevitably leads to war." Tommy was silent, but nodded his head. Fluffy just laid there and stared at her.

"Our problem is that another group of humans, have taken it upon themselves to do their own clandestine research. They do not want to end human suffering, as we do, they want the total enslavement of all humanity. They want to bind everyone to a pseudo-religious creed, where they themselves will hold all power. They started as a group of money hungry businessmen about 150 years ago. They have since morphed into this religious order that wants world domination.

"They are the direct cause of what is happening to the United States, right now. They and their puppet, Ashwood."

"So what are your people going to do to help," Tommy asked.

"Well my assignment was to originally find out how far into genetic manipulation this 'Army of God' had gotten. That way, we can assess their actual scientific abilities, and how to best counter them. Now? … I think my mission may have changed, since I have met you and your kind."

Sabrina thought about what she was going to say next, but was interrupted by Tommy. "Sabi, most of the people here are human. From this world. Your medical device should've told you that a few of us are, um, more than what we seem."

"Yes, Tommy. My bio-scanner has logged that some of you are much more, than mere human. I really need to make some deep scans, but I simply do not know how to do that, here." She pulled out her scanner and looked at it. "This device is not at all like the tech the people here use. Even the scanner that Janet used is mechanically based and is different than mine. Hers can read much the same data as mine, but unless I am mistaken, it cannot act to heal, like mine can." Tommy looked curious, so Sabrina, knowing he could not hurt the scanner or even do anything harmful with it, handed the device to him.

"Oh!" Tommy said in surprise, as he held the scanner. "It feels like it's alive!"

"Yes Tommy. It is alive. Our science is much more based upon biological methods than the mechanical methods the Outside uses. While we still use metals and mechanical devices, our methods are much more 'nature friendly.' We do not have to 'rape' the earth for what we need. We have learned to grow what we need. It is a large part of the way we have developed and advanced our sciences."

"But, if it's alive, doesn't it need to feed?" Tommy asked.

"Yes it does. Like all growing things, it needs nutrients and sunlight. All of our devices, like this, need to be exposed to the sun. And they need to be immersed into a nutrient bath, every few days. I have packets of 'food' that I can give it, about once a week. And I let it get its sunshine whenever I am out and about. Of course, the more I use it, the faster it needs its 'bath'. In that respect, it is just like the devices you are used to using. On standby mode, the device uses little actual energy. But start using it, and you will have to change power cells very often... Or at least, recharge the power cells."

"You also said it heals. How does that work?"

"For certain types of wounds or injuries, I can set the scanner to active mode. This causes the device to send out certain ultrasonic pulses to the damaged area. Combine that with specific electrical signals to the surrounding tissues, and this encourages the body's own immune system to ramp-up and repair the area at an accelerated rate.

"There is one drawback to this method. The physician must monitor the rate of repair and send out signals to place the immune system back into its own 'standby' mode. If you do not, the immune system runs wild and a repair turns into a type of cancer. That would be very bad for the person you are trying to heal.

"One of the side-effects of this, is that we can stop a cancerous growth in its tracks. From that point, we can use other measures to excise the growth from the body."

Tommy sat there and thought about all of this for a minute, before he replied, "But this doesn't answer my first question. How are you and your people going to help us?"

"I am going to try and convince my leaders that we need to lend our active support to Bryce's opposition to Ashwood," Sabrina said.

"What do you need to do to convince them?"

"If what my preliminary scans have indicated are true, I need to take some deep scans to show that you and your friends are not the humans, this world thinks they are. Then I will need to talk to your friends and find out why you are supporting Bryce, and what you are going to do to stop Ashwood's takeover. After that, it will be up to my people to make the decision to help, or not."

"Do you have the capability to stop Ashwood?" Tommy asked. Fluffy perked up her ears at that question.

"Some of our research is in the area of weaponry. While we have a few offensive weapons, we do not have a large amount of such things. Most of what we have developed is for defense." Sabrina looked down at her feet, "We simply never wanted to take actions in an offensive manner." She looked back up to Tommy, "I said we are a peaceful people. Perhaps to a fault, especially now that the Army of God is actively advancing their agenda.

"But we can help. We have medical advances to help the wounded, as well as the infirm. We have defenses that can shield areas from active scans. We can even shield from chemical or nuclear detonations.

"I now feel we need to come out of hiding and to the extent we can, provide what we have for your defense."

Tommy handed Sabrina her scanner, and stood up. "Scan Fluffy first, so you can see what she is. Then scan me Sabrina. See what I am."

Without so much as a blink, Sabrina activated the deep scan mode. As she watched the indicators, her eyes seemed to grow larger. If it wasn't for her own knowledge of the scanner's capabilities, she wouldn't have believed what it was telling her. As the scan finished with Fluffy, Sabrina restarted the scan for Tommy. The scan was shortly finished and Sabrina brought up the DNA scan. "You are not human, Tommy!"

"Gee! Ya think?" Tommy giggled, "I'm Eryradain."

"You know, my people do not require a lot of sleep. But we do require rest, now and then. I think this is one of those times..." Sabrina muttered, and she was now at a point where even her emotional control was about to break. What she was seeing in the scanner could not be possible. The human genomes in this boy's DNA, were totally missing. Yet, here he stood. A small boy of about nine or ten. "If you are not human, then what are you? I ask, because my eyes see a small human boy, yet my bio-scanner says differently."

"Sabi? I'm not human. I'm Eryradain. We come from a star system very, very far away." A tear fell to his cheek, as his eyes got a distant look, "And now, my broth... my people are even farther away. I don't know if they even exist in this universe!"

Even though she was shocked by the words from Tommy, she could see how this was affecting him. Her compassion took over, despite her shock, as she gathered Tommy into her arms and held him. Rocking him slowly, while Tommy buried his face into her chest and sobbed. Fluffy moved over to Sabrina's feet, curled herself up around them and began purring softly, in an effort to help comfort Tommy.

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