The Space Time Parable
“What is your business here Captain?”
Icy feelers delved into Zentran’s mind probing for heightened activity. Tell tale semi transparent traces erupted in his consciousness confirming the intrusion.
The synthetic undercover operative’s eyes didn’t blink, its voice slow and deliberate. It looked authentic. The Council's newly produced pseudo agents were virtually indistinguishable from real people. Their purpose to apprehend paranormal individuals it seemed, had become more vigilant during Zentran's absence.
He'd let his guard down and the android's perception had taken him by surprise. Communicating through the mental realm so close to Council headquarters had been self indulgent. How was it that this insentient machine could monitor his psyche? The trespass had not been into his brain, but intruded directly into his mind, into his thoughts beyond any material operation. It appeared that the Council had somehow developsed circuitry to probe into the area where ideas originate - the spiritual realm.
“Freighter docked – must report,” Zentran answered dysfunctionally for the Look-alike's benefit.
More pin prick explosions invaded his inner being. On the back flow of the disturbance Zentran discerned a strange sense of despair purveying the Look-alike, a deeply buried despair. Its relentlessness determination however, focused its entire processing capability to root out the illegal force that had triggered its sensors.
Through the return flow of the synthetic operative's mental link, an intention to grab hold of him became apparent. Realistic hands rose in confirmation. A trace of elevated activity had been found, or had it? Zentran offered no resistance to the intent. Not responding to the aggression would keep his mental activity to a minimum and hopefully serve better.
It gripped Zentran’s arm too firmly for that of a man. Feigning surprise was appropriate. Little else in Zentran’s purposely emptied mind existed for the microprocessor driven entity to assimilate. His thinking patterns slowed reflecting the current degraded populace.
“Must report,” Zentran repeated attempting to take a step forward.
The man like machine barred his way. Zentran still felt its sensors searching his mind and the mental realm for a trace of activity, while mechanical lenses focused on his obtuse pretence.
The grip on his arm increased, testing him. Intensified needles of pain raced through his nerves overwhelming his senses. Zentran still refrained from reacting. Faked alarm and fear were suitable responses and the machine took it in.
A change in its course of action relaxed the steel grip. No match had been found for the mental activity it had sensed earlier. Thrusting Zentran disdainfully aside, as if its programming could somehow manifest contempt, the synthetic operative made a half turn, focussed its sensors on the surrounding throng and strode off too erectly.
Familiarity of the Capital City’s interplanetary docking bay welcomed him home as he guided his freighter along the entry corridor to the company’s allocated lot. Neglected cruisers stood in disarray, littering either side of the vehicle passageway, more so now than he recalled prior to his trip.
Zentran had anticipated being back for more sun revolutions than he cared to remember and his thoughts were of a woman.
He had no idea what he’d say to her considering the amount of time that had elapsed; besides, he'd never been very conversational anyway. So much chronology had come about and elapsed since they’d last been together, bringing an overwhelming need to see her again.
Docking procedures imposed their tedious authority. It wasn’t until the last of his crew had disembarked, before he felt comfortable in opening his mind quietly to sense the realm for a trace of her. He felt a hint of her presence and that was enough for now. She would have felt his probe and been reminded of him, but would she still feel the same? His concern wasn’t that she’d succumbed to the Council’s subliminal conditioning. She was far too strong for that, but protracted absence could be unforgiving. He just hoped he was in time.
Throngs hindered his passage along the skywalk. Individuals with reduced potentials following programmed existences, sauntered en mass, oblivious to their plight.
Ahead of him a man stumbled. Zentran caught him before he fell.
“Are you okay?”
No response prevailed. Instead a blank gaze answered from eyes that showed emptiness inside. The results of deprogramming were obvious as he steadied the man on his feet.
“Go well and step surely, or this crowd will have you trampled underfoot.”
A hint of understanding confirmed the presence of a soul within. Zentran’s smile reciprocated.
“Have a good sequence of endeavours.”
The man identified a sequence as being a work period and the down time that followed. To be zealously industrious had been implanted as part of the Council’s deprogramming procedure. Zentran recognized the condition and more, as the man’s thoughts were available to him. The ability was one he’d hidden since childhood.
Zentran’s stature could enable a more deliberate negotiation through the crowd ahead, but he refrained from using his strength to force his way past them.
The woman he'd briefly traced to came to mind, returning the mental flow she’d sensed. Attributes he’d only been able to imagine all the sun revolutions he’d been away became clearer. A picture of her face formed in his mind mouthing silent words, which weren’t really words at all, but thoughts that only travel through the realm.
Zen! Oh Zen. It’s you at last. I’ve missed you so much.
Yes… I’m back. It’s been too long - far too long - but a little less than forever.
She laughed before withdrawing from the realm. The Council sought individuals with their abilities. If caught they’d end up like the programmed zombie Zentran had just helped.
Suppression of the populace in this sector of the Confederation had been subtle but thorough, with only a few enlightened individuals were aware of the insidious mental debasement.
Having been born and grown up on this planet, Zentran was no outsider. He found the evident populace degradation disturbing, as this was his home and these were his people.
Casting his mind back to planets where he’d spent earlier lifetimes, he thought about the magicians of Plumous. They were of little consequence now, having been tricked and destroyed by underlings eons ago. Even the Elite Electric Swordsmen of Rowen, where he’d been so honourably decorated, were long since lost to history. The memories were still clear, although he paid little attention to them in his present existence.
A bewildered individual stood motionless as Zentran approached. Other passersby bumped him this way and that, not cognisant of the stationary person in their path. He seemed lost or had forgotten what he was about. His gaze met Zentran’s before the confused man looked away. His muffled consciousness chanced that Zentran might be of assistance.
“Where am I?” he asked.
Zentran took him out of the pedestrian traffic flow to the side of the skywalk. “This is Delta4B, the fourth planet that orbits the Delta sun.”
Little accord became evident.
“We are in the skywalk linking Alpha 1 and Alpha 6 buildings. Alpha 6, the Interplanetary Docking Bay is back there.” Zentran turned and pointed behind him. A glimmer of understanding appeared.
“What’s that way?” the man asked pointing in the other direction.
“Alpha 1, the Council Headquarters.”
An alarmed response caused the man to lurch away from the Council building’s proximity, bumping into Zentran.
“Oh! Sorry, I didn’t mean to…”
Zentran smiled, “That’s okay.”
Some conditioning has come undone,
Zentran thought to himself.
He knows who the danger is.
The man considered for a moment, “Delta4B – Is that the planet in the same orbit as Delta4A?”
“Correct - on the opposite side of the Delta sun. It is from Delta4B that the Council controls the Namkon Confederation, which reaches beyond this solar system.”
Zentran’s thoughts drifted to his lady and the question he so wanted to ask her. Perhaps she already knew from when she’d entered his mind earlier. The delay here was justified though as the man in need of assistance could so easily have been him.
“I have an uneasy feeling about the Council.” The assertion returned Zentran’s attention.
“And so you should have, although you best not mention that feeling to anyone. Are you from Delta4A?”
“I don’t know – I think so. It feels like I’m coming out of a sleep – some sort of bad dream.”
Zentran nodded, understanding an awakening from sloppy de-programming.
“Do you have credits to get back to Delta4A?”
“I think so.”
Zentran reached into a pocket of his Star Freighters uniform and pulled out a wad of Delta credits. “Just in case, take these and make your way home. Find some friends and recuperate.”
“Thank you – I don’t know…” The man noticed Zentran’s out stretched hand and shook it.
“You have friends on Delta4A. You’ll find them.”
The men parted with Zentran continuing towards the Council Headquarters.
He glanced through a skywalk window as he went by. The bright amber sun, partially above the horizon where it always was, confirmed that he was home. The sun was where it always was because it never moved. As Delta 4B orbited the sun, the planet turned on its axis so that the same side was always lit. The other side was permanently dark.
Here in the Twilight Sector, perpetual dusk prevailed. Below the sun’s amber semi circle lay the sandy barren region. The desert’s majestic simplicity served to house the foundations for this great city.
The Council’s Alpha 1 was probably the best known building in the Confederation. It stood as its designer had envisaged, a round edifice with clean lines, able to withstand any known force. The building was said to be impenetrable by even the historical but dreaded nuclear blast.
Alpha 6, touted a more flamboyant design. Tasteful curves of the outer shell and ornamental inserts were as elegant as those of a splendid woman. This building served as the interplanetary docking bay. An integral part of its design were the large force field windows on all sides. Energized, they were transparent but impenetrable. Access staff could reduce power to the force fields, permitting outside elements in to varying degrees. Zero power allowed access to incoming and outgoing space vehicles.
The wonderment of his lady presented herself in his mind again. Like harmony in poetry and rhymes of a ballad she whispered.
You’ve been away as long as time could allow.
Don’t dillydally now.
There was no chance to respond. A machine designed to look like a man walked menacingly towards him. She withdrew from his thoughts, sensing the danger. Somehow these synthetic agents could perceive activity in the telepathic realm. This one had clearly picked up on them.
Zentran’s practiced blank stare was in place. He relaxed the quickening of his heart beat as he felt sensors searching his mind for heightened activity.
“What is your business here Captain?”
End of Chapter 1.
Naration: Brian Leatlean
Zentran: Charles Angelopulo
Phora: Nadine Lopes
What is your business here Captain?: Composed and played by David Fritz.
Bass Guitar: Brian Leathlean
Drums: Lorenz Jooste
Space Time Theme: Composed by Brian Leathlean
Keyboards: Kobus Botha
Guitars: John Wainwright & Brian Chubb
Trumpet: Brian Chubb
Violin: Nelly Du
Bass Guitar: Denny Lalouette
Drums: Daryl Du Plessis
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