Within the Eyes of Light [Eyes of Light series #3] [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Geoff Geauterre
eBook Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
eBook Description: In the third book of the Eyes of Light Series, the Yoolooets, Humans, and Newcomers struggle to build a governing body that can help everyone in the reconstruction of their cultures. In desperation an immense living space station, a wandering merchant captain and his faithful companion, all of whom possess remarkable gifts, are recruited to help. However, that does not mean peace is around the corner.
eBook Publisher: Twilight Times Books, Published: 2005
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2006
This eBook is part of the following series:
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She, who had once been so proud for having finally been "Chosen" was not having a good day. In fact, it was proving a particularly trying one. She was seriously thinking about committing murder.
Pure Thought's promise of help, as far as Her Mother was concerned, had locked her into a job she didn't want. Steam rose from her ears. It was one thing to ask, but having the gall to guarantee her cooperation on the scale required was too much.
The concept of establishing a New Aliens Relations Bureau had a smell that defied description. The very size of the task was monstrous. It would take all her time, and she had just gotten used to humans.
She blindly lashed out and a section of the chamber disintegrated. Just you wait until I get my claws on you! The floor beneath her feet buckled. * * * *
Half a galaxy away Broswell raised his eyebrows to the hovering ephemeral and wondered what was wrong. Lately, the way the Yoolooet kept jerking about, it was obvious he was distracted.
"You all right, old fellow?"
His friend's tones sounded subdued. "Yes. Just experiencing a daydream. Ah, but to get back to the matter at hand?"
"Of course." They directed their attention to the third person at the table.
Councilor Coriss leaned over the portable plot board and pointed out the columns of figures, displaying projections onto the flat screen.
"As you can see..." He showed them." The asteroids we're interested in are those with definite seams of Diamantium in the spectrograph scans. The realm in which they're located lies deep in a range of massed debris. "Trajectories are erratic with solar winds, there's fluctuating radiation, and no company has shown any interest. It's too difficult and expensive for them to go after."
Broswell smiled slyly. "Until now, that is?
Coriss coughed delicately. "Yes, well, that is ... if you would consider it. But think a moment. With you and Pure Thought coaxing out the richest deposits where they can be accessible, we could clean up with no appreciable time lag or needless expenditure of equipment."
He tapped on the screen. "Diamantium as an energy source makes regular reaction drives obsolete. Anyone using it instead of the old breakdown formulas for atomic disintegration of matter will have a guaranteed thirteen percent jump in engine performance. That would give a yield of velocity nine times currently standard in impulse engines. With enough of this on the market, every heavy metal corporation dealing in high energy fuels will be sent into a tailspin."
Pure Thought drifted downwards, interested. "And that would be to our advantage? Disrupting another's economy?"
Coriss looked up, and then around, a line of concern fixed between his eyes. "My friend, it may seem paradoxical that I should say this, but the answer is yes. The metal planets in this sector use miners who are almost exclusively Class Seven beings, and at the present time, Class Sevens are not regarded by the Syrtis-Minor Federation as intelligent biologicals."
Broswell arched an eyebrow curiously. "What does that have to do with us?"
The ex-Councilor's eyelids lowered partway as he explained. "They've built an underground system that managed to contact the New Alien Relations Bureau.
Gentlemen, they've made formal application for recognition."
Broswell wasn't sure he heard that one correctly. "Wait a minute, Cory. Class Seven beings? Class Sevens aren't composed of individuals. That's why they're classed as Sevens. They're examined by experts in the field and found to have only minimal response mechanisms. On the whole you couldn't say they were more capable of brain power than roots."
Coriss' expression was deadpan, admitting nothing.
Broswell had to get into it, as there was something the other said, the way he said it, that picked at him. "You say they contacted New Alien Relations, but don't you mean it was you they contacted?"
He couldn't help but grin. The idea of having a conversation with near vegetables struck him as ludicrous. "Hope you won't take offense, old fella, but if you ask me I'd have to say the idea was pretty far-fetched."
Coriss nodded sourly. "That's exactly what I thought when this matter crossed my desk last month, but then something reminded me..." He shrugged irritably, the line between his eyes gouging deeper. "When those classification standards were listed for these people, they were correlated towards a false assumption. I'm afraid that from the start of their First Contact, the situation was handled carelessly."
He took a filmy handkerchief, patted the perspiring beads dotting his balding head, and glanced around, weighing the diners around them then dismissing them as nothing more than that.
"Individually, the creatures are a mess, granted. But collaterally they share some kind of link, and on the whole are capable of responsible action."
"Hard to believe," murmured Broswell, his logistical mind taking in the hard-to-swallow possibilities.
"It is amazing, actually," said Coriss, "but more than that, when these people were classed over seventy years ago, guess who did it."
A solemn silence ensued until Pure Thought asked, "So these Class Sevens are, in fact, the hands and feet of a thriving mentality? That the classification you gave them was misapplied?"
Coriss smiled gratefully. "Thank you for that tactfulness, my friend, but the facts are cold. Thirty years prior to the Great Alert, I was a hungry, officious clerk looking for promotion. Had I been more responsive to the scientific findings, been more intuitive, I wouldn't have been blinded by ambition and I wouldn't have been here now." The scriber he'd been using as a pointer trembled in his fingers.
Coriss nodded slowly. "Exactly."
"That's a long time to make up for a mistake, Cory."
"Especially now, when the metal syndicates are dropping expensive robot systems." His eyes opened wide. "If the syndicates hear what you're trying to do--!" But he didn't need to finish the sentence.
"My life," Coriss completed, "won't be worth a twig."
Broswell looked at Pure Thought and shared the same image of their friend lying in a pool of blood.
"But that's the least of the problem," said Coriss, waving his personal troubles aside. "Think what would happen if these multiple tiered corporations ever found out that the powerful alien mentality their slaves really worked for was the one who had been quietly buying up the market's shares in the same industry. Can you imagine the repercussions?"
Broswell didn't need to ponder the implications. "If the syndicates ever found out what's happened, the position of those people will be similar to what occurred on B'min. They'd be slaughtered."
Ex-Councilor Coriss' handkerchief was having a difficult time mopping up the perspiration pooling at the base of his neck, some of it cooling and trickling down the center of his back.
"I keep telling myself that can't happen nowadays, but it's a pretense because I know there are people who would take out their own mother's teeth if they were made of gold."
"I am unfamiliar about this thing you call B'min," Pure Thought broke in. "Would you describe it?"
Broswell grimaced, remembering the incredible seven-foot tall, five-footed, three-armed natives with bloody spears, many of which held the heads of colonist-agrarians and their families."
"They were a beautiful race, Pure Thought. Beings that seemed like marbled Centaurs. Shy, curious, wondering, and incapable of anger in any form, it seemed, and guardians of a planet wondrous and incredible.
"It was said that when a B'min spoke, words took on musical notes, and even were the listener ignorant, it was hard to imagine not being understood."
"And the disaster that occurred, Broswell?"
"It was the water."
"It had curious properties, properties scientifically remarkable. When one drank the water, it caused a heightened awareness. On the one hand it was harmless, on the other, well, it gave the impression of being able to hear the solar winds, see otherwise invisible light patterns, and one other; one that was almost frightening."
"What was it?"
"It was said one could sense the dead."
There was a long pause. "Could this be proven?"
"They were trying when the disaster happened."
"A shaft was sunk into what was thought might be a good well for research purposes."
Broswell sighed, recalling how he'd been laying back in his bunk when the klaxon alarm sounded, and he barely made it out the doors before the blast portals slammed shut. His fighter was prepared, and he assumed it was an attack by pirates.
"The shaft was driven into a forbidden area. No one thought to ask permission. No restrictions had been set on the research, no taboos listed. Privileges were taken for granted."
"After the reprisal to the planet-wide attacks on visitors, colonists and scientists, they found out the shaft had been sunk into a hibernating pool, a place where the natives went for rebirth.
"Somehow, the act drove the race insane, and when it was over, it was over to the last B'min."
"There were no survivors?"
"Pure Thought, when the last B'min died, the planet died with them. To this day the sector is quarantined, standing as a reminder of what a simple mistake can mean."
"The planet..." Pure Thought pondered, "died from within?"
Broswell looked up curiously. "Yes. You could say that. The planet did die from within."
"That won't happen to these people," vowed Coriss, his voice grating with anger. "I won't let it!"
"You're asking," Pure Thought stated quietly, "that we institute the means that will disrupt entire communities, gigantic corporations, whose whole economic systems were purposely designed for cheap labor--and for what? So that in the interim, a small, rather insignificant group of misapplied Class Sevens and their mind link parent, should be given the opportunity to one day take their own destiny in hand? Is that really what you're asking us to do?"
Broswell chuckled at the look of outrage plastered over Coriss' face.
"It's all right, Cory. That's how he speaks when he means, 'Yes, we'll do it. It'll probably be fun.' Besides, making a fortune and helping poor natives gain their freedom always looks good in one's personal portfolio, don't you think?"
"By the by," put in Pure Thought, mind cast to several other matters at the time, "since we're to enter the service trade, what is the name of this client?"
Counselor Coriss' smile was a chagrined mixture of dry humor and seriousness, but the reply leant more to the latter. "Among themselves they're known as the Iiilsnndrt."
"What does that translate into?"
"We of the earth."