MERCY [NOVA AFTERMATH], CHAPTER 2: MASTERS OF THE EMPIRE

M2-0
     Ghethe left the Police Station and went buying a new transport vehicle. He preferred the high quality luxurious ones, therefore he selected a sturdy, three vectors controlled dark-blue “Xoretta Pandolumn four hundred forty-seven per eighty-two”. It was the last model of its series, and it had a static antigravity suspension strong enough to stand to a free fall from the ninetieth floor.
     He went for a quick test drive, and he was pleased to discover that little technical jewel had an excellent “Variable Relative Altitude Control”, a strong acceleration, an incredibly responsive deceleration, and it took sharp corners with perfectly balanced vectors! Ghethe paid the price of the vehicle on the spot, without much bargaining.
     After lunch in a small cafeteria, he noticed the appointment time with the apartment owner was close, therefore he rushed to the meeting place. Ghethe bought the apartment one hundred thirty-one based on owner’s assurance that it was clean and in a perfect condition. Both of them confirmed the “Transaction Record”, then they made the “Transfer of Ownership Act” for Miss Ahlane Loh Zelhane. In the end, Ghethe received the ownership entrance admission codes.
     Soon afterwards he contacted Ahlane on comnode, and he invited her and Mlane to visit their new apartment. She agreed after a few ineffective protests for his endless generosity.

     The apartment was composed of four suites on a three-levels layout, with the Social Area occupying the entire uppermost level, and it was, undeniably, clean and in a perfect condition. Both Ladies were ecstatic, mostly because the apartment had a splendid view over the Morning Dew Park.
     Mlane rushed to inspect the lower level suites. Ahlane turned towards Ghethe and said with a charming smile, “Oh, what a superb view, Mr. Dakka! I do not know how to thank you for this!”
     “My Dear Lady, this is nothing compared to the Imperial Palace on Nottam—” started Ghethe, though he stopped short because it was not his intention to remind Ahlane about the lost home.
     “You cannot even imagine in what conditions we lived during the past three i-std. years, Mr. Dakka,” said Ahlane smilingly and looking at Ghethe with a lot of gratitude in her eyes. She continued, “This shows me more than the money that you are, beyond doubt, very serious about your plans.”
     Ghethe couldn’t help noticing the wonderful contour of her lips when she smiled, and he felt unexpectedly happy. He smiled back, then said, “I am very serious, My Lady, and my intention is to convince you to cooperate—to a noble purpose.”
     “Again, Mr. Dakka, maybe,” replied Ahlane cautiously.
     “That is sufficient for me, for now, My Lady,” said Ghethe with consideration, then he added timidly, “Aah . . . would you consider Ladies . . . umm, to have dinner together?”
     “Yes, Mr. Dakka, we accept your invitation. However, we have to do little shopping, then to bring here the few things we have . . . We are going to finish, probably, very late,” warned Ahlane, then she gratified Ghethe with such a beautiful smile that left him half dizzy.
     Ghethe struggled hard to recover, as he felt that Ahlane’s smile had imprinted all by itself inside his permanent memory, forever! He replied with shy looks, “Please, take your time, Ladies. My apartment shares the same levels as yours, and it is at number one hundred twenty-nine. Contact me on comnode, or come to my entrance gate, when you are ready.
     Oh! Aah . . . incidentally, My Lady, as your Legal Representative, I would like to advise you that . . . umm, err . . . hmm, hmm, you do not have to wear those Halem dresses.”
     “That is such . . . comforting news! Thank you very much, Mr. Dakka,” replied Ahlane with another wonderful smile, though a little bit ironic.
     Ghethe left, and he promised to himself a vigorous, self-induced, mind suggestion therapeutic session, to improve his basic, minimal control over his senses . . .
M2-1
     The Ladies called indeed very late. Ahlane explained looking troubled, “I am sorry for being late, Mr. Dakka: it took longer than anticipated.”
     Ghethe replied, “You do not need to apologize, My Lady. I shall come to your place in a few moments.”
     “Our place! I thought we are going out,” said Ahlane surprised and vaguely confused.
     He explained, “Not tonight, My Lady, because there is nothing more pleasing than the first dinner in a new home. I have everything prepared, therefore you do not need to worry about anything.”
     Ahlane replied appearing to be pleased, “Mr. Dakka, that is so nice of you! I hope you didn’t read my mind—”
     “Oh, My Lady—” protested Ghethe mildly.
     “I am joking, Mr. Dakka. Please come to our new home,” invited Ahlane smiling sweetly.

     He came with lots of packages. There were appetizing, exquisite, and very expensive dishes and drinks, fresh pastries, dessert cakes, delicious exotic fruits and vegetables, and even a small bunch of delicate, yellow, divinely perfumed “Breath of Dawn” flowers.
     Ahlane invited him to take a seat because they were going to serve everything. Ghethe started to protest, but she interrupted him in a firm voice, “Look, Mr. Dakka: for the time being the Empire is gone. Until you shall build another one for us, I want you to call us simply, Mlane and Ahlane. If you need a stronger drive for that, then take it as my first command to you. In addition, we should be very happy if you allow us to call you Ghethe.”
     He started shyly, “This is not quite the proper—”
     She suggested looking smilingly straight into his eyes, “Ahlane.”
     “Ahlane,” managed Ghethe to articulate timidly, although deep inside his soul he felt very happy pronouncing her name.
     She explained with a vaguely ironic smile, “You see, it is not that difficult. Besides, this should help improving our dialog.”

     The Ladies laid the table with serving utensils, dishes and drinks, then they started with toasts and many jokes. Ghethe noticed that the Ladies were wearing beautiful dark-blue dresses, and both of them were slim and superbly proportioned, although Ahlane had the natural advantage of a bit more flourished, breathtakingly contoured—even fascinating!—womanly body. Both Ladies were very friendly with him and so nice, that Ghethe had a hard time holding his logic clear. What delightful metamorphosis from the shapeless Ladies in Halem dresses he had met!
M2-3
     When dinner was over, Ahlane invited him to take a seat at a low table, in a nice area surrounded by relaxing, decorative plants, and close to the crystal window wall. There was a storm running outside, and the wind was blowing hard over the tips of the trees in the Park. They were savoring sweet fruit liquors, and were waiting for Mlane to finish cleaning the dining area.
     Soon Mlane joined them, and Ahlane asked, “Do you actually have a plan for your imperial restoration, Ghethe?”
     “Oh no, Ahlane. We just met, and I had no time to think of one. Important, however, is our intention, not the plan itself.”
     “I do not follow you, Ghethe; please explain,” said Mlane while watching him attentively.
     “You see, My Dear, each plan starts from an intention which is also the force that drives later, when the plan is in full motion. As long as our intention-drive is strong, we shall be able to overcome any obstacle; if our intention-drive is weak, we could abandon the plan when the first difficult moments come. That is why I said the intention is far more important than the plan itself.”
     Ahlane replied, “I do agree with you, Ghethe, but I still think we need at least a general direction.”
     “You are right, Ahlane. For the time being, we should monitor carefully the following political events within the most important Systems. On the other hand, from my past experience I know that destiny should lend us little help, if something truly important has to be accomplished.”
     “Soo, you believe in fate, Ghethe!” remarked Mlane smiling ironically suspicious.
     He smiled gently back at her, then he replied with confidence, “Fate is there for everybody, Mlane. We are all born with it, and we fulfill it while living.”
     “Are you a fatalist?” asked Mlane smiling even more.
     “Not in a bad way, meaning, I do not consider that no matter what we do the end result is going to be the same—so, why bother to fight. On the contrary, I believe we have to work very hard to discover the path that was meant for us, and then to accomplish our predestined tasks.”
     “Meant by whom, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane with relaxation and little curiosity.
     “I would use the words ‘by what’, Ahlane, not ‘by whom’, because I refer to fate, or destiny. On the other hand, destiny is such a strong driving force that it may very well be regarded as a true entity in itself.”
     “Do you say, we would have met later, anyway, if we hadn’t met yesterday?”
     “I am confident about that, Ahlane. However, please note something particularly interesting: the meeting itself; the way our destiny maneuvered us into finding one another.”
     “Was that strange?” asked Mlane with doubt.
     “It was very strange, My Dear. However, the importance of our meeting goes way beyond its strangeness. It is more like the drive of the destiny itself, or it is a message directly from our destiny, if you prefer.”
     “And, what is that message telling to you, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane beginning to display sparkles of curiosity in her charismatic eyes.
     “The message says something similar to this, Ladies. ‘I, the Destiny, have brought you together; now, it is your turn to fulfill the assigned tasks’.”
     “Ha, ha! I must admit that you made it sound so . . . authentic!” remarked Mlane ironically.
     “The way I see it, Ladies, is this. Although our individual existence appears to mix into a complete social chaos, I believe that each of us has a certain task to perform during our lives. For many, that task could be something insignificant, such as a single word without any particular meanings or, simply, the physical presence related to a certain place, and to a particular moment in time. For others, only a few this time, destiny has complex and very important plans.”
     “I suspect you are referring to us when you think of the second category of people,” speculated Ahlane.
     The dialog with Zelhane sisters was dynamic and to the point. The Ladies appeared to be genuinely interested in philosophical concepts, and that pleased Ghethe a lot. He explained happily, “Yes, Ahlane, because our meeting goes far beyond an accidental one in the park. You are the only persons left, representing the official power of the past Empire, and I am the only person capable of rebuilding the Empire, providing that I have your legal and moral support.”
     Mlane declared with the hidden intention to provoke Ghethe to further detail his thoughts, “To me, our meeting seems to be very strange.”
     Ghethe replied amused, “Ha, ha! Of course it is very strange, My Dear, but the importance of the meeting makes its strangeness totally insignificant. Think, Mlane, that the destiny of our Civilization needs to go on a special path—a particularly important one. Therefore in order to fulfill itself, destiny does something unusual and strange by bringing us into contact, because our natural chances of meeting were practically zero.
     Now, we see that our meeting is strange, even unnatural, but we should also note the efforts destiny made in bringing us together. We should understand that there is an important task waiting for us, and we have to fulfill it together.”
     “Ghethe, you talk about destiny as if it were an intelligent entity,” concluded Mlane.
     “Please, My Dear, consider that this word has a far deeper meaning. I use the word ‘destiny’, except I want to differentiate it from a logic force, but also from an abstract entity. I studied lots of histories of Civilizations, and of great people, and I noticed a few specific trends in what appears to be a general chaotic behavior. Those trends are repetitive, and they follow an improbable path towards a necessary goal, although they are very well hidden, as I mentioned, into an apparent chaos.
     Now, I need a term for those trends, therefore I use the word ‘destiny’, meaning, there is a certain degree of logic, order, and intention in it.”
     Ahlane replied with an ironic smile, “Ghethe, you have some theories . . . quite impressive! Although . . . I am not certain I totally agree with you.”
     He assured her, “It is perfectly natural that you don’t, Ahlane, because what I tell you now is so vague and so general that, even if I heard these concepts from someone else, I wouldn’t necessarily concur to them. In order to agree with me, we need to talk about minute details, and then to build upon them logically, step by step.”
     “What is this ‘destiny’ to you, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane with the intention to clarify the subject.
     “Oh, Ahlane, in order to understand the way I see destiny we need to talk for days . . . Have you heard of people who can tell the future?” asked Ghethe in his turn, trying to explain the concept of “destiny” as he used it.
     “Don’t tell me you can do it,” replied Ahlane smilingly, though with doubt.
     He admitted, “No, I cannot do it.”
     Mlane complained making a sweet disappointed face, “Oh, I am so sorry! I would like to know what I am going to do.”
     “Well, My Dear, knowing the future is not always a desirable thing—” started Ghethe gently.
     “Oh, I remembered something!” announced Mlane, then she added, “Excuse me, please, for interrupting you, Ghethe. Do you remember the story of the Laxa Cube, Ahlane?”
     “It is just a story, My Dear,” replied Ahlane with a caring smile.
     “Could you, please, share it with me, Ladies?” asked Ghethe looking interested.
     “Well, it is not much of a story,” started Ahlane, then she continued after a brief pause, “Laxa Cube is an ordinary toy for helping students to enhance their memory. It was brought in our family by the Enlightened Emperor himself, about two hundred i-std. years ago. The story says, if the Empire needs to be rebuilt, that Cube should help.”
     Ghethe asked perplexed, “Is it possible that was just a simple coincidence?”
     “We do not know. Before she left for University, Mlane asked uncle Kytel to give her the Cube, to help her memorize, and—” started Ahlane.
     “And he reminded me to never lose it, because of the story!” finished Mlane enthusiastically.
     Ghethe said excited and amazed altogether, “This is precisely what I meant about destiny lending us some help, Ladies! May I see that Cube, please?”
     “It is just a cheap, ordinary toy—” started Ahlane to explain.
     He interrupted her, “It doesn't matter, Ahlane. What is intriguing is the fact the Enlightened Emperor has foreseen the need for a restoration of the Empire! Let’s not forget that his period of reign was the most flourishing one, therefore he shouldn’t have had any reason to suspect the Empire would ever need a restoration . . .” Ghethe stopped thinking hard at something inside his mind, then said, “You told me, Ladies, that you had to sell almost everything during the past three i-std. years. Should the Cube had any value, it would have been lost by now—”
     Ahlane interrupted him surprised, “Yes, Ghethe, you are perfectly right! If instead of this worthless toy it had been a valuable object, we would have sold it a long time ago.”
     “This is most amazing! Being an worthless toy was the only necessary quality for that Cube to survive in your possession, Ladies—where it rightfully belongs,” said Ghethe, then he added, “This could be another incredible coincidence, or a very wise intention coming from the past . . .” He paused again for a few moments, thinking hard, then he concluded, “I need to analyze that toy, Ladies, and then I shall tell you for certain if there is anything unusual about it.”
     Mlane offered, “I shall go and look for it but, please, do not discuss about anything important until I come back.”
     “Yes, My Dear, we shall wait for you,” promised Ahlane, then she watched her departing with caring looks.
M2-3
     After they sampled their drinks, Ghethe said with admiration, “She is such a wonderful young Lady, Ahlane!”
     “Yes, Mlane is a dear; a little too trustful, and too sincere, but a very well behaved child,” replied Ahlane looking contented.
     “I am very glad I had the chance to help you, Ahlane, though do not take it as a genuine help. All that I did, and I shall do in the future, is only to restore a little of what has been taken so brutally from you.”
     “Your behavior is unusual, Ghethe, because you could have simply walked away without—” started Ahlane.
     “Here it is! What are you talking about?” asked Mlane with investigative looks. That dinner meeting was her first social event as a young Lady—a meeting with a strange Gentleman, though very intelligent, kind, and well educated—and she was hyper-excited to blend into such intellectual discussions.
     He replied, “I was about to explain your sister the motivations that drove me to help you.”
     “Oh! And what are they, please?” inquired Mlane curiously.
     “Mlane, that is not nice of you! Never ask anybody to confess about private feelings, My Dear,” reproached Ahlane in a caring voice.
     He intervened, “It is perfectly all right, Ahlane. We need to know one another very well, and even to become . . . friends, because we may have to walk together on a long and difficult path, into the future.”
     “Yes, Ghethe, but we do not necessarily need to go on that particular direction. We can live our lives nicely, in peace and tranquility, just as ordinary people do—this is, considering our current situation, thanks to you,” tried Ahlane to reason with what she considered to be an immature bravery from him.
     “You are perfectly right, Ahlane. Please, rest assured Ladies that, before we shall commit onto anything, we are going to sit down and discuss about it, all three together, and then we shall decide democratically,” promised Ghethe.
     “Oh, that is so nice!” remarked Mlane happily, then she clapped her hands a few times.
     “Now, allow me to explain my inner motivations for helping you, Ladies. My first one was, once the Empire has disappeared I lost all my previous life, therefore I had to start with a new one—not much appealing to me. In contrast, by helping you to rebuild the Empire, I can restart with my old way of life, almost from where I left it.
     The second motivation was, restoring the Empire is within my powers, and it is a great purpose, as an extraordinary achievement for my life. The third motivation, and possibly the strongest one, was the good friends I lost in the Accident: by restoring the Empire, it is something I can do, so that they did not just vanish and nobody would ever know anything about them. In order to understand these motivations, I think I have to explain the true history of the Empire of which you have no idea about.”
     Ahlane replied with surprise, doubt, and a bit of revolt, “I do not believe there is a history of the Empire of which I am not aware, Mr. Dakka.”
     “Please, listen to my story, Ahlane. You will tell me later if you knew about it, or not, although I am certain you don’t, because only a few people did.
M2-5
     Initially, about six hundred i-std. years ago, a great Scientist named Ergol Belon from Planet Dene has invented the ‘E-Fields Glide Drive’ engine which further led to the first colonies outside the Lioth System, and to contacts with alien Civilizations. That Scientist became incredibly rich, and he was the founder of the Subatomic Research Laboratories. His son, Dr. Miren Belon, decided that it was better to unite all the known Worlds at that time, about thirty, under the Imperial political management. Consequently, he helped the House Zelhane of Nottam to get the leadership, due to the unique genetic characteristics of the Zelhane Ladies.”
     At that moment both Zelhane Ladies went on adding rapidly blue color shades on their cheeks, and they avoided his looks for a while.
     He continued, “His intention was to hide the Scientists from the public eye, while being the true owners of the Empire. Things were this way, and I am certain you do not know about them, Ladies. The True Masters of the Empire had been, all the time, the Scientists from the Imperial Subatomic Research Department on Dene, together with the Imperial Neurophysics Department on Naxel. If you had checked the accounting records of the Empire, you would have noticed that the Empire paid eighty parts out of ninety, of the imperial yearly income, to the two Scientists’ Worlds. Each Emperor knew that the true Emperor was in fact the Imperial Chief Scientist—in our particular case the late Dr. Dembrah Velkon—together with the Imperial Council of the Scientists of the two scientific Departments.
     There has been along the centuries only one exception: the Enlightened Emperor. His previous name was Dr. Korle Duvart, before he changed it according to the rules of the House Zelhane, and he was, before becoming Emperor, the Imperial Chief Scientist. It happened that he fell in love with Emperor’s daughter, and that determined Dr. Duvart to break the tradition and to become an Emperor himself, while remaining Imperial Chief Scientist and taking completely over the Council of the Scientists. Later, he personally limited the powers of the Chief Scientist, and he enhanced the powers of the Council—”
     Ahlane interrupted him appearing to be bothered, “Are you absolutely confident about that, Mr. Dakka? I never heard the Enlightened Emperor had been such a great Scientist.”
     “Yes, Ahlane. Everything I tell you is exactly the way things happened,” replied Ghethe with genuine sincerity in his eyes.
     “Then, in that case, Mr. Dakka, you are the True Master of the Empire and we are your subjects!” concluded Ahlane with surprise, and also with little controlled revolt in her voice.
     He explained in a kind tone of voice, “It depends on how you relate to it, My Dear. For everybody, your Dynasty represents the legal official power. Among us, as friends, the true power is in the hands of the Scientists.”
     “Why all that twisted arrangement? Why don’t you just simply take the official power and that’s it?” asked Ahlane with indignation.
     “Ahlane, Dr. Miren Belon was an exceptionally intelligent Scientist. Therefore, he understood that the official power in the hands of the Scientists is a very bad thing. By dividing the powers . . . better said, by taking the official power away from the already too powerful hands of the Scientists, he managed to build a social structure that was viable and accepted by everybody.
     You see, Ladies, things are this way. I am powerful enough to make myself the Emperor now, except this will create many tensions and disagreements within the New Empire. Sooner or later, a Civil War will start which could destroy everything. On the contrary, if I help one of you Ladies to take the official power, nobody would be able to claim your supreme, imperial position in the future, because IT DOES BELONG TO YOU LEGALLY,” explained Ghethe, and he pronounced the last words a bit more distinctly, in order to stress their importance.
     “I see . . . but, do we have to follow the previous agreement with the Scientists?” asked Ahlane not quite pleased with the idea.
     He pleaded, “Ahlane, this is the way the system worked from the very beginning. You NEED the Scientists, because they are the power that protects you. They made your people, IN FACT, the most advanced and the most respected Civilization of the Empire.”
     She objected nervously, “Yes, they did, but everything is gone now! Do you really believe you are able to rebuild the entire Empire from the ground up again?”
     “Rebuilding is not very difficult, Ahlane. What is harder is to prevent future historical Accidents, as the previous one.”
     “What do you know about the Accident?” asked Mlane in a timid voice.
     “Nothing, and this bothers me a lot. What I suspect is the Scientists of Dene, the ones who worked at the Subatomic Research Department. They made, probably, a mistake in their experiments.”
     “If that is the case, it may not be wise to keep the Scientists and the Empire together in the future,” suggested Ahlane.
     “It cannot be the other way, My Dear, because the Scientists need to feel that they belong to the same World; otherwise . . .” said Ghethe, and he stopped looking with expectation at Ahlane, waiting for her to continue.
     “I see . . . we could lose the control over the Scientists,” ended Ahlane Ghethe’s words.
     He approved with satisfaction, “Right!”
     “That is too complicated, Ghethe,” complained Mlane appearing to be confused.
     “No, My Dear, it is the simplest structure possible. The Scientists mind their work, only, and the Empire rules with the power of the Law. That is all,” concluded Ghethe.
     “Yes, but what about the True Masters?” asked Mlane troubled.
     He explained, “The system worked very well for almost six hundred i-std. years, Mlane, because only the Emperor and a handful of trusted Scientists knew about it. Besides, the Scientists were very well organized within a logic structure. I mentioned that there were two Planets having different research specializations: the Subatomic and Neurophysics. Both of them selected the Council of the Scientists which, in turn, helped with the election of a Chief Scientist from outside the Council.
     Now, the Chief Scientist was, again, only the official power, because the true power was the attribute of the Council, which had a specific structure itself—”
     “Ghethe, why must everything be that complex and structured?” interrupted Ahlane appearing to be upset.
     He answered in a sad voice, “My Dear, you have no idea of how powerful and dangerous the Scientists could be.”
     “I have the Accident as an example,” replied Ahlane quickly, with caustic irony.
     He understood her inner revolt, therefore he said only, “Yeah . . . What a disaster!”
     All of them remained silent for a while thinking of the terrible loss.
     “Can you think of something that would prevent the Accident from happening again, Ghethe?” asked Mlane shyly.
     “I do not know, My Dear. The problem is, regardless of how careful we are, accidents will always happen.”
     “Do you think the Accident also had been predestined to happen?” asked Ahlane in a sad voice.
     Ghethe replied after a deep sigh, “Yes, Ahlane. We have no idea why it had to happen now, but one day we shall discover the need for such a terrible sacrifice . . . Well, it is rather late, Ladies, therefore I would like to thank you very much for your charming company.”
     “Oh, Ghethe, we want to thank you again for everything you did for us. It is such a wonderful feeling to sleep in our own house!” said Ahlane while watching him with a lot of gratitude in her eyes.
     “And we shall never forget it, regardless of what may happen into the future,” added Mlane, and then her cheeks began displaying plenty of blue, because Ghethe and Ahlane were both looking at her surprised.
     “Thank you, Ladies. With your approval, I shall take the Laxa Cube for investigations.”

GREEN LEAVES




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