Chapter 3 is up. Start warming the syrup!
The voices are beautiful.
It was amazing to hear the endless voices, the ethereal song that permeated every fiber of being. Comprehension was still beyond grasp, but the raw emotions were there, freely felt and experienced.
There was one voice, however, that brought discord to the music. A voice that was a stranger, and yet not so. A voice that was familiar, even though it was not known how, or even why. Nevertheless, it was there, and there could be no doubt of who it belonged to. The voice grew stronger, and if it were allowed to continue, would bring an end to the ethereal music. And what would happen then?
This must not happen.
Juni walked slowly down the dark corridor, alone with her thoughts. A strange sense of deja vu accompanied her. Where had she seen this before?
A ghostly figure suddenly materialized out of nowhere and she stopped in her tracks, feeling no fear, only a sense of curiosity.
The figure beckoned to her and she approached. As she did so, she became aware of a strange yet beautiful sound which seemed to fill her entire being with soothing warmth. Was this being trying to communicate? She approched closer, and as she did, she heard a faint whispery voice:
Blackness and cold overtook her.
Juni sat straight up, bathed in sweat and breathing heavily. The strange dream had retuned yet agin to rob her of precious sleep. She groaned and stood up slowly, waiting for her balance to return, and then made her way to the washroom. She splashed some cold water on her face and looked in the mirror. What did it mean? Was it just a stupid dream? What should I do?
Several hours later there was a knock at her door.
Lord Hakkera walked in.
"Jun'ko, I just received your message. Are you all right?"
"I...I don't know," she said. She then related the dream to Hakkera. His face betrayed no emotion, but his eyes narrowed slightly.
"I'm sorry," Juni said after she had finished, "I'm probably wasting your time over a stupid dream."
"No," Hakkera replied, "you have nothing to apologize for, Jun'ko. I find it strange as well. Strange enough, in fact, that I would like to contact Herr von Claussen. With your permission, I would like to tell him about your dream also."
"I believe that there is a deeper meaning to this than just a dream, and I feel that von Claussen may be able to shed additional light on this."
King sat in the bar, unwinding after another long day of sitting down and not flying. He took a long pull at his drink and sat back. At least he had not had to deal with another call from Orillion. He found that situation very uncomfortable. Jacobi had been right. Orillion was a good friend, and King had never been one to turn his back on friendship. But on the other hand. he had a duty to protect and serve Liberty. Hell, King thought to himself, what's a guy to do?
King looked up to see the bartender standing there, a little uncomfotably, with a standard datapad in his hand.
"Someone left this for you. Didn't say who he was, just to give it to you." He handed the data pad to King.
"Can I get you another drink?"
"Yeah," King said, "I could use another one. Thanks."
The bartender nodded and went back to the bar, returning a minute later with a fresh Sidewinder Fang, which King promptly drained. He looked at the datapad with a sense of apprehension. Who would leave me this? Will it explode when I turn it on?
Come off it, King thought to himself, that cloak-and-dagger stuff will give you ulcers. it's a damn data pad. He turned it on.
"This pad has been encrypted with Encryption Protocol Zeta-Gamma One-Seven. Please provide the decryption protocol."
Damn, King thought to himself as he tried to remember the sequence. Only the Order used that protocol, and only for high-priority stuff that King rarely saw. Not even Orillion used that protocol when he would request information. Finally he remembered the sequence.
"Decryption Protocol Epsilon-Delta Two-Nine. Execute."
The face of Herr von Claussen appeared on the screen, to King's surprise.
"Greetings, Commander King. I hope this message finds you well." King suddenly realized that in his surprise that he had forgotten he was still in the bar, and messages from von Claussen were not idle talk. He quickly paused the message and left the bar. He walked out onto the landing pad, found a spot away from prying eyes and restarted the recording.
"There is a matter of the highest importance that we must discuss. I request that you meet me in the Freeport 2 bar in twelve hours. I am unable to provide you with more detailed information, but let me assure you that I would not be taking such precautions if it was a trivial matter. I await your arrival in twelve hours. Until then, my friend, farewell."
King turned off the pad and looked up. Now what do I do? He knew he would have to report this to Jacobi. He cursed to himslef. What have I done to deserve this today?
"And he didn't say anything else?"
"No, Madam President. Just to meet him on Freeport 2."
"I really don't like this turn of events, Commander. It stinks of a conspiracy."
"I know," King replied, "but von Claussen has always been trustworthy. I think I should go and meet him. If nothing else, it will be good to get some juicy information."
Jacobi considered this. "I agree. However, I expect a full report of the meeting when you return. Is that clear?"
"Perfectly clear. I'll be leaving shortly."
"Good luck, Commander. And please don't do anything stupid."