Kairostone

by J.M.Barrie

Chapter One | Obsidian

Prologue

Beneath the surface of an ordinary land another world was spinning. The two realms, different as night and day, existed side by side. In one, people lived simply, farming and keeping the customs of their ancestors; in the other, visitors from another galaxy lived at the bottom of the sea in a state of crystalline elegance, where time stood still … until the arrival of the Yedek.

Evenor speaks —

I am not from here, or at least that is what I have been told. My people came from a distant star long ago. Our mission was simple: find water. We discovered this planet; then drove our aeroships into the ocean floor. Beneath the depths and hidden from view, we built a colony to explore the sea as our planet lacked such accumulations of water. From my underwater laboratory I watched the movements of bio-luminescent creatures. Replicating these fascinating life forms in silicon and circuitry was my function. We learned the planet’s systems, cataloguing all the creatures and never disturbing the natural order. Living in that peaceable kingdom under the waves was the only life I knew. Our world was a nexus of innovation and invention and there we thrived.

Chapter One – Obsidian

Daylight never penetrated the walls of the glass pyramid that sat on the ocean floor. The structure appeared deceptively fragile, made from sheets of obsidian that leaned in — like a house of cards of uncertain balance. Lone creatures of the deep slid through beds of high reaching kelp and were mirrored back in the dark glass.

The faceted surface sent splintering reflections off in every direction. Buried here in the depths, the massive structure was nearly invisible.

The Arayici colony spanned the ocean floor. Long corridors extended like the arms of a giant starfish, half buried in the sand. Linking together the numerous laboratories was a solid state matrix brain. Its purpose – to collect data on the life of the sea. The complex was run by a team of tireless robotic workers. These mechanized calismen stood upright on bodies of blue chrome to serve the Arayici, who had traveled so far to make the ocean their home.

From down the length of a corridor came the sound of heavy breathing. Arms pumped, synchronized with long strides of athletic legs. Two hands, ghostly white, cut the air with mechanical precision. Protruding from the collar was an even whiter neck and head. The figure wore a sleek skin of black, making the stark head and hands appear disembodied in the dark. The fleeting apparition disappeared down a dimly lit corridor. Her fish-skin suit was made of Nautaleen; a high grade polymer, custom fitted with thousands of nano computers. Pressure gauges printed into the material controlled airflow and body temperature, allowing for peak physical performance. This was an outfit that would have pleased an Olympian.

Fusion propulsion built into the soles of her boots allowed for fluid locomotion. Her feet never touched the ground. Like a skater on black ice, the phantom sailed through the vacant corridors — just a blur in the darkness. Illuminatedby the narrow beam of a headlamp, the slim figure moved swiftly, tripping sensors in the floor that lit her energetic wake. With a smooth even glide, she coveredgreat lengths of the sleek hall. In the quietude she was all alone — except for her twin reflected in the polished floor — hanging close at her heels, as if trapped in a parallel dimension.

Like a dark flame she flickered against the dimly lit connector tube. The skin of her suit acted as a chameleon, absorbing all surrounding color. She turned sharply left then right and disappeared into the restricted area. Breaking her stride for only a second she cleared the security scan.

A series of beeps sounded as the glass doors of the elevator slid open. She stepped into the elegant glass shaft. The elevator plummeted down in a smooth descent headed to the base of the pyramid. The first hundred floors whooshed past and the force shook loose strands of white hair that whipped against her forehead. Tall and strong, but with a complexion pale as a fish, the girl looked much like the rest of her race. The Arayici had wide set grey eyes and long peaked ears, creating an expression of intelligent serenity.

The girl looked out beyond her reflection suspended in the glass. The Arayici colony spread out in a vast array of terra-spheres and halo-decks. There, this race of super intelligent beings worked tirelessly in the pursuit of knowledge. Thousands of researchers lived in watertight domes set in orderly patterns of fractals. The domes were situated to provide housing, gardens and recreation centers. Transparent tunnels connected the domes, allowing for easy passage between the structures.

The compound glowed softly, like a web of light spun across the abyssal plain. Sapphire blue, violet, and citron lights filled the subterranean maze. The frequency of color played like symphonic chords upon the mind, serving to elevate brain waves to higher states of clarity.  The Arayici pyramid was a testament to the design capability of the star travelers.

As the elevatordropped, so did the temperature. The girl’s hands became chilled and she rubbed her palms together for warmth. The Nautaleen suit acclimatized the rest of her body, acting like a protective skin. The temperature at these lower floors was well below the level of human comfort. For it was here in this frigid environment where calismen were birthed from pools of liquid metal.

A quantum lab at the base of the pyramid created zero point energy without upsetting the planet’s ecology. Thermionic generators drew heat directly from volcanic shafts, leaving no footprint. There was no waste, no pollution, and no one labored. But this well ordered world now appeared vacant, with only a skeleton crew of calismen left behind.

Suddenly the elevator wall burst to life with swirling projections of news bulletins. A large talking head delivered a news update in a sharp voice. Against the onslaught of sound and images, the girl pushed sound buds into her ears to muffle the irritating news feed. Lids closed over pale grey eyes as she focused on the lyrics of the song. The media blitz continued with a rapid succession of overlapping stories.  Evenor’s people had transcended emotions in order to gain higher states of intellect. Gene editing had allowed for alterations of their biologic profile, enhancing sensory perception and brain capacity and making them masters of their own evolution.

The accelerator has overloaded! Disruptions in the magnetic field have led to instabilities in the core…. Evacuation procedures have commenced.”

Another broadcaster broke in, cupping his hand to his ear. He reported, “This just in — The generator has been pushed well beyond the limits of safety… Seismic activity has opened fissures across the ocean floor.” 

The third screen showed colonists moving about but the image became scrambled as an alert sounded, warning that intruders had infiltrated the compound.  But Evenor’s face showed no reaction. Broadcasts tended to exaggerate.As daughter of two senior scientists, she would hear of any problems directly from her parents. They often warned her of the disparity between the truth and what the media reported. Their high ranking positions assured them of first hand knowledge of even the most classified situations.

There was a sudden stop and Evenor looked up.  An intense beam of yellow light scanned her from top to toe, before granting her clearance. The seconds dragged by as Evenor was made to stand still. Her thoughts turned again to her parents. She had not seen either of them for two lunons. It was not like them to work so long without checking in.

The elevator made its final descent and Evenor bit her lip. She frowned after checking her wrist band to see there were still no messages. Her parents often worked late, but surely they would have sent word if there was an emergency.

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