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Terexia was a small blue-green ball of a planet. It was number four in a system of twelve planets that orbited Ephesia. Terexia was the crown of the Ephesian system. Terexians were a space-faring people and had visited as well as managed holdings on six of the twelve heavenly bodies found in their night sky. Terexia was orbited by two moons, Coronarand Golapi. Each moon took its turn shining in the evening sky. On a few rare occasions, Coronar and Golapi would shine together in the evening sky but more often it was well into the night before both moons could be seen together in the sky. There was a child's story, written a long time ago, that told a tale of a day when Coronar and Golapi would collide. No one paid any serious attention to this story because astronomers, for decades, had calculated the orbits of Coronar and Golapi and determined they would never naturally encounter one another.
Terexian life was very simple. Advanced technology had made it so. Ever since the council of Terex had been established, technology had virtually exploded. This renaissance had begun a little less than one hundred years earlier. The era before council rule was known simply as 'the time before the council' and nothing more. That's how everyone remembered and that's how it was taught in school. All that anyone knew for sure was that the 'time before the council' was the time when the world existed in pure chaos and no one wanted to remember that.
The council had been established because, at the time, people were motivated more by profits and personal gain. The change of government was a revolution, of sorts, and a change in favor of human improvement. Now that the council existed, any need for personal gain had been eliminated and what was left was the drive for personal development, a far nobler reason for creative endeavors. Any situation where personal development crossed over to personal gain had to be ruled upon by the council. And the council rulings were final ... Very final! For all parties involved. In the last forty years, there had been only seven or eight rulings that did NOT result in total disgrace of the person or persons accused. It might seem harsh to onlookers but this system of government had kept people in line and on track. Terexia had developed positively for almost one hundred years now and the council was the reason.
* * *
Coronar was high in the sky this evening and showing as a full moon with a tinge of a green glow. Golapi was not visible and there were no clouds in the blue-gray sky. Theocratessolemnly walked down the cobblestone path heading away from his home. It was early spring but Theocrates did not hear the birds as they sang joyfully in the trees.
Tonight Theocrates would face the council and defend his knowledge of the 'others' who watched over Terex. Theo was the shy, friendly sort. Under normal circumstances, Theo would not have chosen to speak in public about the 'others.' Theo gained great pleasure in thinking through problems in his mind. As Theo walked, he questioned the events that had brought him to this point. "Why did the elders seem so against the idea that there might be unseen parties that could influence us for good?" Unseen entities that might influence Terexia, was not a foreign idea. Many had long accepted 'the Fates' or some form of Deity. Dreyas, God of ideas, for example, was a most popular deity. The idea of common people from somewhere else influencing Terexia was out of the question. Even if they were from another galaxy, another dimension, or whatever. The council of elders seemed to object completely to this idea. His good friend Ricardis had warned against bringing this to the council's attention but Theocrates knew that it had reached a point where it was necessary to do so. To wait would mean that unseen forces might cause serious damage to many on both sides of the open rift. "A rift, a rift ... in space;" Theocrates was not even sure he had a clue what that was! What he did know was that, the fact that the rift was open is what made it possible for Theocrates to communicate with the 'Others.' Theocrates just had to convince the council.
It was necessary to make the council understand the danger because Theocrates needed their help to save both his world as well as the world on which the 'others' lived. Unfortunately, this was bound to be no small task.
* * *
Chancellor Corrigan sat in his chambers asking himself why Theocrates would make such outlandish claims. Corrigan had served as Theo's advisor at university during Theos' graduate studies. Corrigan knew Theocrates was level headed ... Most of the time.
As Corrigan considered the facts, he found he had reason to question if he had all the details necessary to make a ruling. Tonight, Corrigan would be requested to make a ruling on something that could be considered unseen as well as unable to be proven.
There appeared to be no way to prove the existence of these representatives or 'others' Theocrates had referred to, but what if they DID exist? What if Theocrates was right? Was all of Terexia really in danger? On the other hand, what if this was just a way of getting public support for personally motivated gain? Such a thing was expressly forbidden in the law.
Corrigan could never understand why some people, albeit a very small faction, would be driven to seek personal financial gain as an alternative to the three P's ... peaceful and positive personal growth.
Everything a person required was provided by the government. Still, attempts at hidden personal gain happened more often than Corrigan liked to admit.
Tereis, Corrigan's wife, was convinced that Theocrates was insane and that was enough for her. Corrigan, however, was not convinced of this. Corrigan's parents had raised him to believe in the unseen. A benevolent deity looked over the grand nation of Terexia; of this, Corrigan was sure. At least he had 'faith' that this was the case.
Whether Deity ruled or not, Corrigan decided, "When the lights go down in the temple of Terex, it would be up to Theocrates to convince the council of the urgency of his case."
Corrigan shifted gears to contemplate each of the points of the argument.
First, Theocrates would need to convince the council of the existence and benevolence of the 'others.' Then, the council would have to consider and rule on the danger, if any, which the 'others' posed to Terexia.
Second, Theocrates would need to clarify his need to enter the crystal cavern, a place forbidden to all Terexians.
Corrigan wished it had not come to this. He hated seeing great men like Theocrates, destroyed by a council ruling. It would not be the first time!
Unfortunately, that was generally what happened when the council called an emergency session such as this.
Quinlan, Corrigan's predecessor, had been so much better at making rulings like this. At least that was how it appeared. "When Quinlan was head of the council, he always found a way to deal fairly with offenders of the law." Corrigan decided.
Corrigan was also of the opinion that outside forces in the government of Terexia had made council rulings more and more difficult. Still, Corrigan was sure that Quinlan would have found a way to clear this up. Unfortunately, this ruling did not fall on Quinlan's shoulders. Corrigan prayed he would be able to make sense of this and not offend the lawgivers.
* * *
In his treatise to the council, Theocrates had been as clear as he could be, as to what threat faced both Terexia and Tera. The fabric of space was torn and unraveling. A 'rift' in space had been torn open. The only clue, that might provide an answer as to how one might mend this rift in space, was hidden in a riddle from hundreds of years ago, apparently on both worlds. This riddle was translated from the ancient Cyrillic and went like this:
"White to Black are in the stack bearing green upon their back. When we find the fear we lack and balance that upon the crack ... Unified again we'll find ourselves on track. Secret again, no more to fear with codes and worlds to shed for loss, a tear, for the sacrifice of years, never more will the dream be clear, but ignored, will be the end of all ..."
It made no sense ... "Okay, so It ALMOST Rhymed." Theo decided. This 'prophecy' had even been thoroughly reviewed by the council fifty years earlier and been deemed to make no logical sense. "Why would the 'others' have repeated this prophecy to me? ... Only yesterday?" Theocrates questioned. It had even been written in a dead language using the same exact Cyrillic words as the original prophecy.
Earlier in the evening Ricardis had counseled him ...
"You know Theo, simply bringing up the prophecy to the council will weaken your argument ... The council has already ruled that the prophecy means nothing and that it is the ravings of a mad-man"
"I know Ricardis, I know, but according to the Terans, the prophecy holds the answer as to how we can save both of our worlds. How can I NOT bring it up?"
"I'm just sayin' it's gonna hurt you, Theo. Not, that I have a better idea."
Theo was glad he had chosen to walk the path today and not take mass transit. The walk was beautiful and peaceful. As Theo got closer to the temple, he could not help but think to himself, "what a mess this has become." Theocrates wished that somehow this responsibility had not fallen on his shoulders.
It had been on the second day of the week, just over two cycles of Golapi now passed and late in the afternoon. Theo had eaten his fill of Tokara Pie, a recipe his mother had taught him. Theo had been clearing the dishes when a glow appeared above the table. The glow was subtle at first but it caught Theo's attention. Theo watched the glow increase as a plate slipped from his hand and shattered on the floor. Out his window, Theo could see that Golapi was waning high in the evening sky. It was then that Theo had heard them. Theo could make out voices. Voices from the glowing mist above his table. Voices that later came to be known as Marta and Diedrich. Aliens from a planet called Tera which they also referred to as Earth.
The location information the 'others' had provided was very accurate. One cycle ago, Theocrates had been curious enough to visit the national observatory. Theocrates had been able to determine what part of what galaxy contained the planet Tera, and even where Sol, their star resided. Nevertheless, without being able to explain what he was looking for, Theocrates found it impossible to find any proof of the existence of any "tearing" of the fabric of space. The idea that space was a fabric that could be torn was probably a bad example of how things could get confused. However, trying to sort such a cosmological concept out was not one of Theo's strength's. No, Theo was NOT a cosmologist and he was sure that anyone who was, would laugh him out of the room if he told them that a voice from another realm, let alone another galaxy, had told him the fabric of space was torn.
According to what Marta and Diedrich had said, the danger was just a little more than three days away. Theocrates was convinced that the timeline was right because they had already predicted, accurately ... within minutes of each occurrence, two large quakes that manifested simultaneously both on Tera and Terexia. Theo was afraid that three days might not be enough to solve this. Even the quakes provided no proof of Theo's case. That the quakes had happened was a matter of record on Terexia. That the quakes had been predicted, was not. If only Theocrates had a prediction, that the council could hear and then experience in a short enough period of time, that it might give them pause to consider. But the next quake prediction was not until tomorrow afternoon.
Theocrates was sure his fate would be sealed by that point and there would be no going back no matter how the ruling turned out tonight.
"What can I say to the council that might convince them?" Theocrates pondered the question, but was not sure of an answer. For some reason Theo was the only one that could hear the voices across the rift. Theo had to admit that it sure 'looked' like he might be crazy.
Theo had considered that when he communicated with 'the others' there was a glowing cloud of light that appeared above his table. The light energy from the rift could be detected but the council could not be bothered to accept a light infraction in his kitchen as proof. Nevertheless, technicians had been sent this morning to measure the phenomenon. Unfortunately, the visual element was in no way proof of anything. The technicians had listed a hundred natural causes for the observed phenomenon. Truly, if nothing could be done, Theocrates knew he was doomed.
Theocrates felt only a small reassurance that his discreditation would not last long because the end would arrive so soon afterward assuming no action was taken. With only three days left to find and resolve this mess, Theocrates knew he must succeed. His normal smile was replaced by the tight lips of a negotiator as Theocrates continued toward the temple of Terex.
* * *
The Council of Terexia was made up of five. Chancellor Corrigan Winderlon and Chancellor Tereis Winderlon held the first two seats. Corrigan and Tereis were husband and wife and both served together on the council before they had fallen in love. Corrigan and Tereis addressed all issues with internal affairs. Corrigan also served as Prime of the council and it was his responsibility to vote last and to resolve any ties between the other four council members. Should Corrigan break a tie in favor of his wife's opinion there was always the chance that a grievance might be called and a retrial be held but this had only ever happened once. The only thing Corrigan and Tereis truly 'agreed' upon was their love for each other. This made for an odd but wonderful relationship most of the time. As Prime of the council, it also fell on Corrigan to render final public judgments.
Council seat number three was occupied by Chancellor WixanTomarat. Wixan served as the lead lawyer over Terexian affairs on and off-world.
Chancellor Jeric Torn held seat number four and presided over the financial matters of Terexia. Jeric also sat at the head of the Terexian World Bank. Jeric often found himself auditing company ledgers but as the head of the bank's board of directors, Jeric could pick and choose his assignments.
Finally, Chancellor Simeah Quinn held seat number five and presided over agricultural and health issues on Terexia as well as all other colonized worlds. Simeah was was the newest member of the council and was the wife of Morbin Quinn. Morbin was the president of Axxitel Corporation, a company dedicated to developing and distributing the latest technology to all of Terexia.
* * *
Chancellor Simeah was dressed casually and resting on the patio under a waning sun as Coronar rose in the afternoon sky. Simeah was reviewing each of the briefs, one last time, preparing for the council hearing to come. Her council chambers at the temple were extremely elaborate and comfortable but Simeah could find no comfort this afternoon. What was Theocrates' motive? "He certainly could not be profiting monetarily by this alert to the council," Simeah thought, "at least not directly."
The possibility did exist that he was simply crazy, but Theocrates had been so reliable and responsible in the past. "What could have driven Theocrates over the edge?" Simeahthought, assuming that this might be the case.
Simeah was listening to music from "Samaritan" her favorite musical group. She had met the group once when they performed at the Daystrom hall. Simeah had heard they had gotten their name from Joel Samarite the designer of the interplanetary vehicles used to traverse the Terexian system. Joel's ships were known as Samaritane vessels. Joel had been the inspiration for the name of the band but the lead singer had pushed to shorten the band name to Samaritan, dropping the 'e.' The song Simeah was listening to had more of an impact on her thoughts this evening as she listened to the words, which eerily seemed to apply to her deliberation.
"... it seems so long ago, when we fought the world, fought for our right to be who we are ... to be free."
The music went on but it made Simeah think. Is this some kind of 'fight' that Theocrates feels he must undertake to be free? It seemed illogical because all Terexians were free. Free to pursue their intellectual and creative goals so long as they did not interfere with others rights to do the same.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Theocrates and the Crystal Cavern"
Copyright © 2015 Bryan DeWeese.
Excerpted by permission of Bryan DeWeese.
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