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It took several minutes for Thet to show Daniel how to work the system, but once he had the basics of it, he was happily munching the pizza and learning about his new surroundings.
According to the database, the planet he had landed on was a very close analogy to Earth, right down to the animals. The only difference was that instead of humans living in cities across the globe, androids lived in a sort of compact ‘mega’ cities known as districts. Each district also had similarities to earth, mirroring in one fashion or another a particular high point in Earth’s cultural development. The one he was currently in, known as the Epytian district, obviously went with the ancient Egyptian cultures of his world. Each district adhered to it’s own set of laws and customs. In one district, clothing would be viewed simply as another piece of jewelry. In another, nudity was as taboo as how Daniel’s universe perceived as.
The districts were laid out in a hexagonal pattern across the globe. Each district would be surrounded by six other districts with vast wildernesses separating them. The knowledge within the database concerning the other districts only went as far as those other six. Anything beyond that would have to either be found in the surrounding districts or viewed in person.
Reproduction in this universe was also as amazing as the only sentient
life forms found here. Reproduction was done by downloading personality
perimeters of two beings into a single computer system. The system would
then randomly choose one of the two sides for each personality category.
In this way, the outcome would be, in a way, the sum of the two halves.
However, reproduction was done very little. Why would a race of theoretically
immortal beings need to increase its population? The rest of the information,
while being just as fascinating, was of little value to him … at least
right now. The only other pieces of info he found valuable was that there
was a great war going on across the globe between districts, and that no
one knew who started the android race or why the war started.
After a couple of hours of running through the database, Daniel shut it off.
"Thet, what lies outside of this district?"
"There are the six surrounding districts of the Ronams, Raissenance, the …"
"No. What I mean is what lies BETWEEN the districts."
"Is it possible to travel there? I mean, are there any dangerous predators or anything?"
"No. There is no animal that would attack us in the wilderness."
"Could you take me there tomorrow? I’d like to see as much as possible while I’m here."
"I am afraid not, sir. While there are no dangerous animals within the wilderness, there are roving bands of barbarians. They are known to attack travelers leaving this district and have even mount occasional raids on the district itself. Our lord has not allow travel outside this district in some time."
"What about trade with other districts?"
"Only those allied to us are allowed within the district walls, sir. None of our people are allowed to venture out."
"Great, " he muttered to no one in particular, "just wonderful."
Exhausted from his journey through the gate, his search on the computer system, and stress of the first encounter, went to sleep.
Still on his throne, the ruler of the Epytian district viewed Daniel as he slept through the eyes of Thet as he addressed one of his servants. "Ta, It seems this one will prove more interested than I originally anticipated. I would have an audience with this … human … as soon as he is conscious. I am sure he has the information that I seek."
"As you wish. Shall I have Thet bring him when he is ready?"
"No … No, that won’t be necessary. Have her remain where she is. I need
to keep a close watch on her.
She is beginning to show some most disturbing signs. I do not want the human contaminated by her if I can help it. As soon as they are separated, have her taken to diagnostics."
"As you wish."
The aid moved off to accomplish his ordered tasks while the one on the throne kept watch, studying the human as he slept. "Most interesting indeed."
Daniel dreamed. Daniel dreamed of faces he never saw. Daniel dreamed of people he never met. He dreamed of places he never visited. He dreamed of his friends, Robert and Susan and two he never knew, shattered across hundreds of worlds, trying to find themselves and their home. He dreamed of a small girl who was a ship, fighting to keep those in her care alive. He dreamed of a plain in Africa, populated by Cheetahs that could think and reason. He dreamed of a man who became someone else as he slept. He dreamed of a man who was not, a voice among many trying to find its humanity and uniqueness. He dreamed of a being born of magic and horror, wielding the sword of justice, and fighting for the life and soul of his son. These dreams went on, none of them complete in themselves but all made up a whole.
The dreams were an important puzzle for him to know, but not to figure out … not yet. Eventually he dreamed of the other; a creature split in two, each half fighting to destroy the other, fighting to destroy all that was, is, and will be. Two halves fighting to possess him and those like him. Daniel would need to find those like him before the other did, if any of their futures were to survive. After these dreams, he slipped into a peaceful sleep, dreaming about nothing in particular.
The next morning, Daniel awoke to Thet standing over him.
"Good morning, sir. I trust you had plentiful rest?"
"Yeah. I had … the strangest dream … but I can’t seem to remember it."
"Yeah. I’ll have to explain that to you sometime. Great things, dreams."
One of the male Epytians walked into the room, wearing what looked like a gossamer skirt and holding a ruby tipped scepter.
"I trust you had plentiful rest, sir?"
"Um … yeah. What’s up?"
"Why, what ever that is above your head, sir."
"Thanks," Daniel mumbled, "I need to start remembering this taking things literally. So, what bring you in here?"
"I am known as Ta. Being the direct messenger to our Lord, Phah, I have been instructed to bring to his audience chamber. He requests your presence."
"Great. Been meaning to pop a few questions at him … figure of speech."
Daniel and Ta moved towards the door. They were just leaving the room when Daniel turned. "You coming, Thet?"
"No. I am … I am afraid that I am needed … in the … diagnostics room."
Something in the way she said, the look of fear on her face … Daniel turned to Ta. "What’s going to happen to her? Why’s she going to this … diagnostics room?"
"She is in need of repair. Before that can happen, the healers must learn what is malfunctioning."
"She looks fine to me." For some reason, Daniel was afraid for her. "Look, if she needs to be worked on, I’d like to be there to watch."
"I am afraid that is impossible, Daniel, sir. Our internal components are VERY delicate. If one were to distract the healers while they worked, it is unknown what sort of damage could be done to the patient."
"Ta. With all due respect to you, your master, and your … customs, I think it might be best if I watched. I won’t bother the healers. Besides, it’d give me a chance to see another aspect of your culture."
"NO! I mean … No. It is forbidden for even Phah to view the healers at work. Come. We should not keep the lord waiting any longer."
As Daniel and his guide moved out of the room, he turned one last time to Thet, giving her a look saying, ‘I tried’.
The audience chamber hadn’t changed since Daniel first met the great and might Phah. Even those around him were the same, albeit in different positions.
"Daniel, my guest. It is good to see you again. I trust had plentiful rest."
"What is it with everyone around here and my ability to sleep?!"
Confusion swept over the man on the throne’s face. "I am sorry. I am afraid I do not understand?"
"When I first woke up, Thet asked that question. Then when your … messenger, Ta, … came to me, he asked the same question."
A darkness passed over Phah’s face, but briefly. Daniel wasn’t sure what it meant, but there was anger definitely mixed in there. As soon as the cloud came, it was gone. Daniel caught a glimpse of Ta. The man had a genuine look of fear on him. The ruler of the Epytians wasn’t one to be messed around with.
"I am sorry if any of my people had upset you. I promise any trouble they have caused will go unnoticed."
"No. No trouble. I just thought it was kinda’ strange that everyone keeps asking me the same question."
"We will speak of these things no more. We have better, more … important … things to speak of."
"I’m all ea … err … Ok. What questions do you have for me?" Daniel was getting tired of having to explain his expressions and was relieved at having to avoid this latest one.
"First, dear guest …"
"Daniel. Everyone calls me Daniel or Danny."
"Ok, Daniel. Fist, how did you come to our world? When you came, you had no device for inter-dimensional travel on you."
"Yeah. Long story with that. You familiar with multidimensional realities?"
"Yes! My scientists have been studying the phenomenon for quite some time now. No one has ever been able to understand the mechanics of it fully."
"The mathematics are kinda complicated. The basic premise of it, though, is looking at it like a geometry problem."
A look of extreme interest moved on Phah’s face, but he didn’t change his upright sitting position on his throne. "Please, do explain!"
"Ok. You have a point. That would be the zeroth dimension, if you could call it that. You then have a line. That is the first dimension, the dimension of width. A plain is the second dimension, or width …"
"Then is the third dimension; a cube, or depth"
"Yeah!" Daniel started to get more excited. For once he found someone he could talk to about this theory without viewing him as crazy or too much of a dreamer. "If you sort of move out of those three dimensions, you see that the cube is merely a point in a time line!"
"Like the simple point is to the first dimension." Phah was beginning to catch on to the train of thought.
"Exactly! The time line is a fourth dimension. You could move in only one of two ways down it. Then you have the fifth dimension. It allows one to …"
Before Daniel could finish, something rocked the structure they were in, startling all in the chamber and causing dust and small debris to rain down.
"NO! NOT NOW!" Despite the violent shuddering and the outburst, Phah remained in his upright position on the throne.
Soon, a second explosion, this one much closer, rocked the chamber and tumbled over a couple of outlying earns.
"What in the Hell was that?! What’s going on here?!"
Phah motioned two guards towards Daniel. "I am sorry for this, my guest. We are being raided by a band of barbarians."
"Yeah. Thet told me about them." Another cloud passed over Phah’s face, this one longer than the last but still quick enough to almost not be spotted.
"I am sorry. I must put you under these guards’ watch for your own protection."
"Right …" Daniel couldn’t complete his thought. By spear point, the guards led him out of the audience chamber and into a narrow hall that lead downwards. "Could you two please … uh … point those things somewhere else? It isn’t like I’m going to attack or anything." No reaction.
They had almost made it to a small room when the wall behind them exploded, throwing Daniel to the ground. Three figures moved out of the resulting dust cloud, wearing only what looked like some sort of metallic pair of black shorts and black face paint and carrying some sharp looking javelin.
"This … is getting weird … and VERY sic."
Before the guards had a chance to react, the new arrivals had impaled them on the sticks, causing the bodies to spark and shudder.
"You are the organic? You are to come with us."
"Somehow, I doubt that was a request …" Daniel got up, dusted himself off, and allowed the three to escort him. Oddly enough, there was no weapon pointed his way. His would be captures seemed intent on guarding him instead of keeping him guarded.
"Wait! There’s one other I’d like to take out of here!"
"I am afraid that will not be possible, organic. We were only ordered to take you out of here."
"Then I’m not going if this other person’s not going. And I doubt whoever ordered would appreciate my wanting to stay here, right?"
Daniel’s guards looked at each other as some sort of unspoken communication was passed. In unison, they nodded. "Where is this person being held?"
"Diagnostics, I believe." A look of determination come over them. Not as if they had to do this to get Daniel out, but as if a life was at steak. They still were leading Daniel through the newly created hole.
"What about this other person?!"
"Do not worry, organic. We have sent the word to other comrades. What is this person’s name?"
"Her name is Thet."
"She will be rescued. You have done right in alerting us to her whereabouts."
"Why? What’s wrong with this diagnostics place?"
"No time for questions. If you are to remain safe, then move." That was enough for Daniel. He moved.
When the companions of Daniel’s rescuers entered the diagnostics center,
Thet was just about to be hooked into a computer system next to the lab
table she was lying on. There was no need for violence against the healers.
As soon as the invading party entered, the others moved to the other side
of the room, clearly understanding who was the superior power. Thet was
on lying unconscious on the table. Because of her smaller frame, it was
a simple matter of unhooking her from the computer and draping her over
one of the invader’s shoulders
To Be Continued....