Knights of the Illuminati - another two chapters (see previous thread)

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Space Monkey
Mar 4, 2009
Thought I'd add another two chapters to the pot - As previously these are Unedited, the Grammar has not been dealt with and there are probably a number of spelling mistakes, this is not the polished version. The following chapters begin to start placing the pieces together. There is no bridge in chapter one with the prologue because chapter one is present day the prologue is a long time ago. Chapter six, which is not here explains the prologue - it was merely added for background. It has been mentioned that action should be short punchy sentences which I agree, however, two swordsman on a stand off may be action, but this requires a slightly slower approach to relay the tension to the reader.

Chapter Two

It was 2:00 am when he received the call; he’d been finishing some reports, updating witness accounts on the computer, when the phone rang. Detective Keith Randall had been on the graveyard shift for the last six days and he was tired. He sighed and lifted the receiver,

“DC Randall here what’s up?”

“Sorry Sir, there’s been a murder and it’s that Ashton kid” exclaimed the officer on the other end of the line. “You know, the same kid that was in that News report last month.”

“What, the same kid whose parents got decapitated in that car crash?”
Keith paused, “Your kidding?”

“Yes Sir, I mean no Sir!” said the officer, “And it looks like some kind of, well, you need to come and see for yourself. The Forensic team is already here.” He continued rather haltingly.

“You alright?” said Keith,

“Yes, it’s just that, you need to see it for yourself!”

“Ok, I’ll be right over.” Keith replaced the receiver pondering on the officer’s strange tone. He had a gut feeling that this was going to be a long shift.

After saving his work, he switched off the computer and picked his car keys up from the desk. Looking out the window he noticed that it was beginning to rain so he grabbed his raincoat and proceeded out the office, down the stairs and out to his car.

The other officers joked about his rain coat. They called him Colombo after the TV detective. Not that there was much of a likeness, he was in his mid-forties, reasonably well built with dark hair and what he at any rate considered to be an outwardly handsome appearance. The only other possible connection he had with his TV counterpart was perhaps his approach to the cases he handled.

Once in his car, he checked in on the radio to confirm the address and proceeded on his way. The estate he was going to was on the other side of town, but at this time of morning there wasn’t a lot of traffic on the road. He passed various food joints, still open to catch the stragglers, the lonely individuals who had to wait for the very last song before they left the night club, and even then still went home on their own. He slowed down once, observing a punch up outside one such joint and considered radioing it in, but it petered out to nothing, probably over some girl or casual remark. As he left the town centre, hitting the more residential area of town the only real sign of life was the occasional light left on for security, though he observed it was probably more because they were afraid of the dark and not because of any threat imagined or otherwise. Eventually he arrived at the estate; it consisted of row after row of terraced, cream houses interconnected by alleyways and side streets. He had taken the road that cut through the middle and carefully examined each of the road signs as he passed. After passing several he turned right into Maynard Street where the radio operator had said Ashton lived. It wasn’t long before he saw the Police Cars parked outside the house and he pulled along side.

Getting out the car he noticed that the wind had picked up slightly, and combined with the rain, had brought the temperature down. He pulled in his coat, lifting his collar to shield his face, and tightened up the belt. The area had been cordoned off, with bright yellow police crime tape that made a rasping sound as it was buffeted by the wind. Ducking under, he hurried towards the entrance. He noticed the body, already zipped up in a bag and lying on a stretcher, being loaded into the back of an ambulance, parked on the other side of the police cars from where he was standing. From here it would be taken to the morgue for further examination in a more controlled environment. The flashing light from the ambulance illuminated a young police officer sitting on the step, his head cradled in his hands. Hearing DC Randall approach the officer looked up and tried to rise on unsteady feet, his face pale, as if he’d been sick.

“It’s ok!” Keith exclaimed, helping the officer sit back down, “Where’s Jake?”

Jake McCloud was the chief Forensic officer; over the years he and Jake had become solid friends, sharing the occasional drink on a Friday night when they had the chance. Both men had seen their share of death on the streets and Keith respected him; he saw him as a very knowledgeable man who was extremely good at his job.

There was no ridicule in Keith’s face or voice when he spoke to the officer on the step. He knew what it was like, that first time, when the victim’s lifeless eyes stared back at you, the body, twisted and bent into what ever position fate had deemed fit and always that question, why? He placed a comforting hand on the officer’s shoulder.

“He’s inside” the officer said shakily “Oh god!” he lowered his head back into hands and began mumbling unintelligibly.

Before entering the house, Keith noted, that whom ever had committed the crime, most likely, did not enter through the front, or at least not by any forced means as both the window and the door were intact, he also observed that as the officer was on the step; forensics had most probably finished their examination of this area.

Opening the door he was shocked by the utter chaos that he saw before him. The banister on the stairs had been shattered, splinters of wood, some soaked in blood, had been scattered everywhere. A young forensic officer, dressed in a white paper suit, medical gloves and wearing a paper mask was kneeling on the floor carefully picking up the splinters with a pair of tweezers and placing them in individual evidence bags. Slowly, so as not to disturb anything that had not been processed, Keith made his way further into the house.

In the living area the scene was no less chaotic. There were deep gouges in the walls that appeared at first glance to be scratch marks. Closer examination suggested that the shape of the mark was definitely made by a hand; however, if this were true, it would have to have been twice the size of a normal Human hand, and that definitely did not make sense. The furniture, also soaked with blood, had, in some places, been overturned in what now clearly seemed to be some kind of struggle. Cushions had been ripped and upholstery had been torn revealing rusted springs underneath, which another officer, female this time, was carefully examining. A second scan of the room showed the cocktail cabinet had been trashed, spilling its contents onto the floor which had shattered, alcohol soaking into the carpet and gradually evaporating in the warm environment of the house, adding to the already acrid aroma that filled the air.

Looking through the Kitchen doorway, Keith noticed Jake, examining a broken pane of glass in the back door and talking to the officer that had made the call. Making his way over to where they were he noticed a trail of blood that led through the door, out to the kitchen table, where it appeared that the injured party had paused momentarily before heading out towards the back door. Jake looked up from the door and noticed Keith approaching.

“Nice mess you’ve got here.” Keith said in way of a greeting

“And some,” Jake replied “You missed the best bit. I take it you Know Dan here, he was the one that phoned you, and you probably met Will, his partner, on the way in.”

“Yeah, is he alright? He seems pretty shaken up by it all; someone should go and help him.” Keith replied, motioning with his head towards the front door.

Dan nodded and went to check on his partner.

“So Jake, What have you got for me?”

“Well, it’s pretty gruesome really!” Jake scratched his chin, then using his hand to emphasize his story continued, “Not much to tell upstairs, the bed was slightly damp from perspiration and there were a few small scratches here and there, we recovered some unusual hair samples which we’ll analyze when we get back to the lab, but it seems the battle, and I call it a battle rather than just a simple struggle, started at the bottom of the stairs.”

“Yes, I saw the mess on the way in, do you think the fight started on the stairs and during the struggle they fell through the banister?” Keith asked

“No, definitely not,” Jake stated emphatically, shaking his head,” the way the remains of the banister are angled outwards towards the living area, I’d say that what ever was on the stairs, leapt through the banister.” He paused, “the only thing I am not sure of yet is who? The victim? Although judging from the victim’s size, unless he’d been taking drugs of course, I would not think him capable; or the assailant?”
Keith interrupted, “You think there was only one involved then?” He looked quizzically at the destruction in the living area.

“You didn’t see the body,” Jake looked Keith straight in the eyes with a deeply serious expression on his face, “A cursory examination estimates the time of death at around 12:45am and was caused by stabbing the victim through the heart, but there is no trace of the weapon as yet.” Jake looked down at the kitchen floor, “Ashton, obviously injured his assailant, as the trail of blood into the kitchen indicates, but what you may not see is that the assailant went back to the body.”

“Went back to the body; what for?” Keith said surprised.

“To decapitate the body!” Jake said this and paused again for effect “He came back here to collect something which he then used to cut off the head, it appears that he then stabbed the floor, which would suggest a knife, and as it is not still in the floor I would guess the assailant took it with him.” Jake turned and looked back at Keith,” One other thing that puzzles me is that both wounds had been cauterized, the heat necessary to do that is quite high, yet there are no burn marks in the floor.”

A shout came from the living area and one of the forensic team came into the kitchen holding up an evidence bag which contained two fingers.

“We found these when we lifted the Sofa sir, could be from the assailant as the victim appeared to have all his fingers” the officer announced.

“Good work, get them back to the lab so we can get prints off of them” Jake replied

“Yes Sir!” The officer turned and left the Kitchen with the bag

“One other thing Keith, follow me.” Jake turned and walked towards the back door, taking a torch from his belt as he did so, Keith following behind as requested.

Outside a tarpaulin had been hastily erected in an effort to shield the area from the weather and prevent the evidence from being washed away; its ties creaked as they strained against the wind. A couple of spotlights had also been set in place, but the illumination was barely sufficient, so Jake switched on the torch to enable Keith to have a better view of what he was describing.

“The assailant entered through the back door, by breaking this pane of glass, and also left by the same way as can be seen from the trail of blood. However, following the trail of blood outside it stops half way across the back lawn and disappears.”

“Could he have put something over the wound to stop or reduce the bleeding, perhaps the trail starts again further on” Keith replied,” or maybe it has already been washed away by the rain” He added as an after thought.

“We checked that, and could find nothing, also the rain started after we covered the area.” Jake shone the torch on the ground “you can see the ground is soft underfoot and there are clear footprints in the turf” he moved the torch along the trail “from the impressions, it indicates that he was not wearing any kind of shoes and the footprints themselves also stop where the blood trail ends, so unless he was airlifted out of here, which is unlikely, the assailant seems to have just disappeared.”

Keith shook his head

“I sent one of my men to get some more light out here so that we can take some casts of the prints and clearer photographs” Jake continued “The depth and size suggests the assailant was well built and probably about 5ft 8” tall, other than that there is not much to go on, no other recognisable prints were found at the scene, they were either smudged or didn’t leave anything discernible” Jake looked back at the house “ maybe we can get something from those fingers we found, maybe!” Jake didn’t seem so sure” the autopsy might throw something up as well”

Keith looked at his friend, he’d not seen him like this before; normally he was quite sure of himself.

“I’ll go and question the two officers; I take it they were the first on the scene?” Keith asked

“No; no err!” Jake replied as if coming back from a daydream “The local lot were here first, then our guys turned up after, but they were the first to go inside” he looked up at Keith, “Dan had been explaining this to me when you arrived. They had to enter through the back door as the front had been locked; they went down one of the alleyways and climbed over the fence.”

“Ok, well, I want to find who it was that called this in as well, maybe they saw something or at least heard something that will give us a clue.”

“Yeah sure” Jake started walking back to the house “I’ll finish up here and get back for the autopsy; I’ll let you know if anything else turns up”

Keith followed him in into the house then left the way he had come saying his farewells as he went. The two officers were sitting in one of the patrol cars drinking coffee from a flask. He walked over and got in the back.

“You want some?” Dan said, raising the flask.

“No, thanks” Keith paused “How are you feeling Will?”

“Better now thanks, I’m sorry it’s just, well, the smell it was horrible and seeing him beheaded, blood everywhere” Will took a deep breath “Well it freaked me out a little, always thought I’d handle it.”

“You never handle it, you just learn to live with it and concentrate on the facts” Keith replied “listen, I understand you two were the first inside. Any idea how the call came in”

It was Dan’s turn to talk “Several people reported that they heard fighting, thought it was just a domestic at first and left it to the locals, but when it came over the radio that someone had reported they heard howling or roaring we thought we better take a look” Dan motioned towards Will “We were parked up in town getting something to eat from one of the food joints.”

“About what time did you get here?” Keith asked

“Must have been about 1.05am” Will replied

“That’s odd!” Keith frowned “Jake put the time of death at around 12:45am, which means that you must have just missed the assailant; did you notice anything as you pulled up, a parked vehicle or someone leaving the area/”

“No, we didn’t sorry” Will looked down at his cup “when we got here the locals were hammering on the door and trying to peer in through the window; we got out and just went straight down the alley about hundred yards up, there is a pathway that runs behind the houses so that they can be accessed from the rear and after finding the house we clambered over the fence. We went into the house through the back door”

“The door was open then? Was the outside light on above the door?”

“No, why?” Dan asked

“When I was out the back I noticed it had been smashed, Jake didn’t say anything about it so I assumed it had been done after, when the Tarpaulin had been put up” Keith said “But, now that I’ve thought about I’ll get one of you to mention it to him when I’ve gone” Keith rubbed his forehead

“There was one thing” Will said, pausing as he was about to take another sip of his coffee,” As we approached the fence from the back there was a crackling sound like electrical discharge followed by a faint flash of light, but there was nothing there when we got over the fence.”

“Maybe that’s what happened to the light” Dan added

“Maybe, maybe!” Keith replied “When you get back let me have a copy of your report and be sure to include what you’ve just mentioned.”

Keith opened the car door and thanked them for their time, got out and made his way back to his own car. He had a lot to think about and the first rays of a wet dawn were just touching the sky.
Chapter Three

Baldev opened his eyes; he was lying on a cold, steel table. Wires and luminescent tubing connecting him to a strange computer like machine to his right. He could hear it whirring and clicking as hundreds of multi-coloured lights winked on and off in various patterns. A split screen display showing the output from numerous monitoring devices attached to his body was mounted on top.
Further to the right, another body, also laid out on a steel table, wrapped in an opaque, plastic type material was connected to the same machine in a similar way. He guessed though, that life had long since left its shell as there was no visible output on the second display.
Baldev’s eyes slowly began to adjust to the lower level of light in the room and he noticed dried blood on the inside of the plastic. Instinctively, he raised his hand to his shoulder and chest, remembering the horrible wound he’d received during the battle with the creature, but, as always he could find no trace of any injury.
He relaxed and returned to examining his surroundings. The flickering lights from the front panel of the machine caused shadows to dance across the walls occasionally highlighting bottles and other laboratory equipment neatly arranged on metallic benches. Recognition dawned and he realized that he must be back on the ship and in his mind he called out.

“Father, are you there!”

After, a few seconds light levels increased as power was diverted to the chamber. A panel in the wall to Baldev’s left hissed open and a tall, grey alien wearing white robes tied at the middle, entered and moved over to where Baldev lay.

“I see your awake Baldev.” The Alien looked concerned, “How do you feel?”

“I am fine Father” Baldev said out loud

The Alien tilted its head to one side a comical expression on its face.

“You now we do not hear in the same way as Humans do, the frequency of the Human voice if far to low, we need special equipment to even detect frequencies such as this”

“I am sorry Father, I feel fine, just a little disorientated from my journey” Baldev spoke in his mind once more.

“Are yes, the journey, the transition from one body to the next.” Concern returned to the Alien’s expression,” You know you had us worried, it was close this time, a few minutes more and you could have been on a different path .”

The Alien moved round the other side of the table and switched of the machine.

“The Empathics were too late Father.” Baldev replied as the Alien began remove the wiring and tubing from his chest, “I only just found the manifestation in time.” Baldev frowned, “This was a large single entity, much stronger than I remember and it was on me before I knew it.”

“If we hadn’t gotten to you in time, you may have succumbed as your brother did, many years ago.” The alien removed the last tube from Baldev’s body “I know that our procedures have changed, you now take the journey and enter a new life instead of being placed in an incubation chamber, and a different DNA mix is used at each conception, but unless we can solve this.” He left the rest unsaid.

“From what you have told me I am nothing like my brother, although I now little of him except a name; Daemon” Baldev replied

“No, no, you are not” the Alien looked down at Baldev, “You are much stronger than he was, both in body and soul.” The Alien changed the subject “I will continue this later, we have been summoned to the Council and are already on route to the Mothership”

The Alien pressed a button on a draw under one of the benches which opened silently and withdrew a set of hooded, blue, robes which he handed to Baldev.

“Get up now and dress yourself; we have work to do.”

As instructed Baldev put on the robes that he had been given and followed the Alien out into a corridor. Once they had stepped over the threshold and the door had closed behind them, the walls began to glow with a strange luminescence, giving off just enough light to illuminate an area no more than two feet either side of where they were. Hearing a faint click, he turned to the left to see a similar light, further down the corridor that faded from view a few seconds later, when, who ever it was entered another room. The Alien turned right and Baldev followed the light tracking with them as they went, they were heading for the centre of the ship and passed many doors with strange characters written on them, he vaguely recognized these characters but their meaning seemed to elude him. Some of the doors were left open revealing many different types of laboratory equipment, unusual in their design. After what seemed an age they arrived at an intersection. A pattern lit up on the floor displaying arrows and more strange writing. Baldev examined the writing more closely, now less groggy he was able to discern that left would take them to Science Section 2, right would take them to Science Section 8 and the direction they were heading lead to Engineering Level 1 Central. Further on they arrived at a large circular archway two heavy doors barring any further progress. A circle of green light around the arch lit up as they approached and a small panel that had been hiding a keypad slid open on its left. Written on the doors in large writing was the word “Engineering”. The Alien went to the keypad and turned towards Baldev.

“You may want to cover your ears at this point; I have to use speech to activate this door and as I touched on before communication this way is at a much higher pitch and frequency than Human hearing can tolerate.”

Baldev covered his ears with his hands as the Alien entered several digits into the keypad. Once done, the Alien turned towards the door and started to speak. Even though his ears were covered the noise the Alien made still made him clench his teeth and as the Alien thought of what to say, the words echoed in Baldev’s mind.

“Culdaer, 6798412, Open”

The two doors slid open to reveal another corridor, wider than the one they were in and fully lit. This corridor bent round in a circle and there were doorways at regular intervals along the opposite wall allowing entrance into engineering itself. A loud humming could be heard above the clatter of machinery and Aliens dressed in different colored robes wondered backwards and forwards along the corridor, either entering another Science section or going into engineering itself. A sign opposite stated that the turbo lift could be accessed from either direction.

“Father, is that your name, Culdaer” Baldev asked

“Yes, although I thought you knew that?” Culdaer replied

“I might have done before the journey; however, there appear to be things I cannot remember?” Baldev remarked

“I will have to examine that, it may be due to the fact that you were close to death when you arrived back at the ship, but I will check the procedure and equipment anyway to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything” Culdaer said, concern showing on his face.

“Why was it necessary to use verbal communication at the door?” Baldev asked curiosity getting the better of him.

“Our voices are like fingerprints, and the added security was protection against the Humans; as I said, we communicate at higher frequencies” Culdaer replied

“Protection?” Baldev looked quizzically at Culdaer

“A long time ago, when we were still taking Humans and other life forms from the planet below and storing them for use in our experiments, their instinct for survival meant they would try to escape.”

Culdaer stopped and took a step back as an Alien, dressed in the green robes of an engineer, came running out of one of the doorways and nearly knocked him flying. Through the doorway there was a hive of activity, some were sat at terminals pouring over data displayed on the screen in front of them, others were sitting at benches examining charts and keying in data to portable devices. In the centre stood a, huge glass tube of immense volume capped with a thick steel plate, the source of the incessant hum, thousands of wires and metal tubes coming out in all directions. It was filled with multicolored light that danced and flickered confusing the eyes. Around the tube at floor level, monitoring stations had been set and at each one an engineer monitored levels on a screen, adjusting settings where necessary to maintain the balance of the engine.

Regaining his composure Culdaer continued on his way and picked up the conversation where he had left off.

“Do not get me wrong, we are not proud of what we did, or at least, I would like to think that the case. I know that there are still those among us that believe Humans to be an inferior race, which we should just wipe out and then, when the dust has settled, make it a new home world.” Culdaer sighed, “I would like to think that one day we could coexist but, still, anyway.” Culdaer paused again, “Originally, the doors were just like the ones to the laboratory we just left and when the Humans revolted they managed to break into the engineering section and caused havoc. A few managed to get as far as the weaponry section on the next level and one or two even managed to operate the teleportation system, although thankfully when they materialized on earth there memories were disjointed and muddled so no one totally believed their stories and in a lot of cases considered them to be crackpots.”

Rounding the corner they finally made it to the turbo lifts. Small groups of Aliens were milling around waiting for the engineers, who were in the process of loading the lifts with supplies and equipment that were being moved to the docking areas ready for transport to the Mothership on their arrival. Culdaer decided to wait and while they stood there many of the Aliens began to eye Baldev nervously, some even moving away when they drew near.

“Why do they look at me like that Father?” Baldev enquired, now conscious of the many eyes focused on him.

“Understanding” Culdaer replied “You are not like them, so they fear you, sometimes this will manifest itself as anger but no doubt you’ll experience this before the day is out.”

Culdaer changed the subject and continued the story. “Eventually it was decided that we would cease all experimentation on Humans. We’d collected enough DNA, and if necessary we could replicate more. Also if we needed anymore information there were other things we could do. Using what we’d learnt previously about the transporter, how it appeared to distort the subjects memories, we transported them back to earth. However there were some who could not go back, they were the infected and I believe there are still some held here now.” Culdaer stared at the lift as if remembering, “Anyway, you will hear more at the council. Despite the stir it will cause, I have decided to take you with me.”

After a short while they were able to enter one of the three turbo lifts and found themselves alone once more, the other Aliens choosing not to ride in the same lift as Baldev.

The lift they were in was large in comparison to any normal lift, constructed of what appeared to be toughened glass with a heavy duty steel base. It had been specifically designed to allow movement of equipment and other materials to the storage areas above, both to and from this level, and the one below. The lift appeared to be floating in some translucent liquid, green in colour that distorted the images of the occupants of other lifts. On a panel by the door was the glowing image of a splayed, right hand with slightly elongated fingers. Culdaer placed his hand on the image and instructed the lift to take them to the next level. Bubbles began to form in the liquid, small at first but gradually increasing in size until with a gentle push the lift started to move upwards then almost as quickly came to a gradual halt at they reached there destination.

Stepping out of the lift, Baldev found himself in an immense, storage facility, equipment and materials piled one on top of the other as far as the eye could see, set out neatly in precisely marked storage areas. The engineers had already unloaded the items from the lifts onto a floating platform which they now pushed along a designated course towards an archway on the far side. Looking up, another engineer, operating some kind of hovering fork lift truck, stacked another large crate on top of one of the piles. They were on some kind of low level boarding platform with steps leading to the facility floor. Culdaer motioned Baldev to the right and they got into another vehicle that hovered by the platform, he then entered their destination into a keyboard on the vehicle’s dashboard and they slowly glided out across the facility, sticking to a track marked by grooves cut into the floor, one either side of the vehicle.

“What is all this stuff?” Baldev asked as they passed yet another large pile of crates.

“Because of our nomad like existence since the destruction of our home world all those years ago, we have had to learn to live off the land so to speak, forage for raw materials for the maintenance of our ships and food to maintain the population.” Culdaer explained, using his arm to emphasize his point, “There are similar facilities on all the ships of this size and a much larger facility on the Mothership. Out of necessity for survival, we have accumulated quite a considerable amount, not just from the planets we visit but also from our dealings with other races.”

Baldev looked thoughtful, “I know I have been here before, yet when you tell me these things, although familiar, I cannot remember any of it”, he paused, “it took me a short while, but I can now read the writing and recognize the basic layout of the ship anything else just seems to elude me.”

Culdaer looked at him,” The method we use to transfer your mind from one body to the next has not totally been perfected, so it may be some memories are lost during the process, as I said before I will check this later. Also, you were quite close to death this time, and your heart did stop beating quite early on in the process which meant we had to revive you, so some of your memories may have been lost at this point.”

“Do you have to go through all this, every time I come back?” Baldev asked, “What about things like my combat skills or even basic stuff like speech or mind speech as we’re doing now, has this been effected?”

“No, I do not have to go through this every time, sometimes you come back in one piece. Other times, when you have not been so lucky and your injuries have been severe enough for you to take the journey, your body has remained alive throughout the process”, It was Culdaer’s turn to be thoughtful,” As to your other question, these things are instinctual and we have not seen problems in this area, however, you have never been so badly injured before and as you pointed out, it took a short while for you to recognize the writing, so it may be worth while doing some further combat training in the simulators just to make sure.”

The hover car arrived at a crossroads, paused momentarily as it checked the direction against the required destination, then turned smoothly to the left and continued its journey. They were closer to the arch that the engineers had gone through earlier and Baldev could see them moving the crates off the platform and loading them on to a transportation grid. They were using a device which fitted over the top and fixed to the middle of the crate. It allowed the engineers to lift what seemed to be an impossible weight with little effort.

Culdaer continued the stories but explained that Baldev would learn all he needed to know, and more, after arriving at the Mothership. The hover car finally pulled up to another low level platform and they exited the vehicle, it then moved of its own accord and parked itself next to a line of similar vehicles waiting for passengers.
They boarded another turbo lift, this one smaller than before, but of similar design and made their way up to communications on the next level.

A hive of activity, the communications area was a sea of red robed Aliens, each sitting at their own individual terminals, wearing a gold headset. The headset consisted of three arms, two that held it in position on either side of the head and one which ended in a black, hexagon shaped, stone that lay flat against their forehead. Above each terminal a matching stone hung on a frame and through this the Aliens were deep in communication with other Aliens whose images could be seen on the screens in front of them. It appeared that the stone focused the thought patterns so that only the intended heard what was being said.

The area was divided into different sections and above each, large screens, displaying many different ships, hung from the ceiling. In the centre, slightly raised above all the rest was the section dealing with the Mothership, a timer in the bottom right hand corner of the screen above marked the time until contact. Culdaer lead Baldev through the maze of terminals to a door on the far side of the area where he paused.

“Before we take passage to the Mothership I thought we would pay a visit to the Empathics.”

With that they entered, the door hissing shut behind them.

The adjoining room was dark, a heavy, oppressive darkness that seemed to envelop them as they entered the room. The only exception to this was a small area in the centre which was lit by the glow off an image of the Earth that floated in mid-air, approximately four feet from the ground. Eight plinths surrounded the image, each one topped by a circular, glass disk, with a hexagonal black stone, embedded in its centre, slightly larger than those used in the communications area. Baldev could hear a faint, continuous whisper that sent shivers up his spine. As he listened words began to form in his mind, strange words, that he did not understand and in a language that was indefinable. Standing patiently, both Culdaer and himself waited for what seemed an eternity before the chanting stopped, then eight Aliens, different from those he was used too, emerged from the darkness, each taking a position at one of the plinths and placing a three fingered hand on the stone in front of them. Physically, they were similar in appearance to Culdaer; however, they were much shorter, just over four feet tall. They had large silver eyes and were blue in colour, wearing long, flowing yellow robes emblazoned with a strange symbol on the front.

In a deep resonant voice that echoed in Baldev’s mind they announced their readiness to speak,

“We are the Muhktar, who is it that interrupts our ceremonies to seek our council?”

“My name is Culdaer and my companions name is Baldev, we seek private council so that others may not hear” Culdaer replied

The Muhktar did not answer straight away; instead they seemed to go into some kind of trance, as if considering the request. Then, quietly at first, slowly increasing in volume, Baldev heard the whispering once more, except this time it held a different melody. The fine scales which formed his skin reacted slightly, sending a tingling sensation through his body as the static energy within the room suddenly increased. The whispering reached a crescendo then stopped the energy dissipating at the same moment.

“It is done!” the Muhktar replied

“We come to you with a question.” Culdaer announced, “Of late, when we have sent Baldev to destroy those who are infected on earth as is our way, the manifestation has already reached its full strength by the time he arrives and he has been put in considerable danger”

“We are aware of this; our travels through the ether have been impeded of late, the source of this hidden from us. We battle against this barrier constantly, but our strength of will has prevailed and we have been able to break through. We sense that those that control the barrier are not of our kind and are weak, so it only serves to delay us.” The Muhktar exclaimed “we sense though that things will become worse, when we break through the barrier, for a short while, there feelings are open too us and we know that they have plans.”

“What plans?” Culdaer asked, now troubled, he had feared the worse when Baldev had spoken to him of the problems he had encountered, but this, this was unthinkable.

“You know that your people are not happy with the nomadic life they lead and the divide is growing. There are a few that have been fuelling this feud. They believe that the ways of your ancestors are archaic and a new order should arise. They plan to show that your methods are floored and will go to any means to do this. “The Muhktar replied, “They search for the rift that brought the fragment to earth, they search for ways to control the abomination your race created, thinking it a tool rather than a blasphemy, and they wish to destroy life on this planet and take it for their own, but know that this is not openly possible so they scheme. Ultimately this path will destroy your race.”

Culdaer remained silent, the concern showing in his Alien features.

The Muhktar continued, “There is a way they can be stopped, a way in which your race can survive. Not all the paths are closed to us, we can still see the future and it is not clear. Decisions you make now may alter the outcome either way, but they are your decisions and our order forbids us to help you choose your path.”

“This will spell your death as well!” Culdaer exclaimed

“Your temper is unbecoming of you Culdaer, but from respect we will answer your question, then you must leave.” The Muhktar retorted, “We do not fear death but see it as a transition, a journey towards a better existence and you of all people should understand faith Culdaer!”

“Yes, yes, I am sorry!” Culdaer replied quietly

One by one the Muhktar stepped away and disappeared back into the darkness.
Just a quickie- I would drop the Columbo reference, it seems awkward, and not everyone will get it. Plus it seems redundant when you say the only thing they have in common is the way they approach a case-show us that, rather than hang it on a tv character reference.

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