Book 9 – Eruption
Chapter 18 – Difficult Decision
“Silternjan, repeat these words you just said!” Horn Kikon gritted his teeth as the atmosphere spiked with tension.
“Calm down, Kikon”, Archbishop Silternjan felt a tinge scared that the beast will lose all reason and attack the messenger. Inwardly he cursed the Violet Star Commander for sending Horn Kikon along General Logan and not someone less unhinged. “It’s the chain trying to take what little advantage still available from obtaining the Galactic Communicator”.
“Silternjan”, Admiral Hamumni banged her tiny fist on the table. “You said that the administration permissions of the Galactic Communicator were erased, but you haven’t said what was left?”
“Regarding that…” Archbishop Silternjan’s old bottom slightly shifted on his seat. Only in front those of the same caliber as his and in matter related to His Holiness, such as the joint operation, would he fail to completely mask his unease. “All other functions are either fixable or undamaged to begin with. If the chain wants, they are capable of broadcasting the coordinates of this planet outside of the Milky Way plain”.
“Why have you kept to yourself it till now?!” General Logan berated.
“We didn’t assume that the chain will get so far? Maybe regardless how much they know, they are still unaware of what will happen if news about this tomb of a planet will spread to other Immortal powerhouses”. Cardinal Northstar relieved a portion of the burden from Archbishop Silternjan.
“By settling inhabitants of our three powers and letting them blend for a few thousand years with the old population of this planet, for my Violet Star Commander it’s no longer a legal or ethical issue if all life on this planet will perish. I’m sure it’s the same for His Holiness and General of the Armies”. Horn Kikon grunted. “But if someone else will snatch the treasure of that expert, then all this patient work will end them being for naught and we will have to suffer the consequences. Even I won’t be an exception”. Perhaps because of how rare was his class as a beast that when an imminent threat to his life, beyond his abilities to defend himself, presented itself, his instinct for self preservation kicked in and he became extremely coolheaded.
“Then how should we respond?“ Admiral Hamumni asked, her line of sight budged toward General Beking. “We can’t consult the Planetary Battalion, Voltic Star or Holy Palace. An hour is not enough time for correspondence”.
“We will have to decide on our own on whether to comply or not. Our leaders will realize if we suddenly stop communication-“
“Wait a moment”, General Logan cut her mid speech. “You do understand that this is no compliance, but submission to enemy’s demands”.
“I’m also against breaking off communication”. Cardinal Northstar affirmed.
Looking at the two, General Beking’s brows creased. “Northstar, you landed on this planet with His Young Eminence, Stelero Mars, and a postulant with an extraordinary background. Do you think it is not obvious that you seek whatever solution that will permit you to bring them back to the Holy Palace? Logan, tell me how you prefer to handle the situation, but remember, one transmission to your Voltic Star and you might doom your Violet Star Commander’s hopes for the treasure”.
Reprimanding one, warning the other… after General Beking finished, neither Cardinal Northstar nor General Logan opened their mouths to further embarrass themselves.
“Making this judgment on our own still feels wrong, in my opinion”. Archbishop Silternjan insisted. “You said it yourself, Beking, currently in the Grand Abode is an Ascended Elite, whose authority in the Holy Palace higher than both mine and Northstar, and a young postulant who even His Holiness cherish deeply, not to mention her parents. By complying with the chain’s demands, those two will have to remain on this planet for hundreds, if not thousands, more years”.
“I considered them, already, Silternjan”. General Beking comforted. “As a matter of a fact, it’s quite simple. Answer me, Silternjan, Northstar, too, if you wish… What’s more important, the Immortal treasure we are after or sending Stelero Mars and the postulant back to the Holy Palace?”
Archbishop Silternjan and Cardinal Northstar both grimaced upon hearing the inquiry. Nothing short from what they predicted would be General Beking’s thoughtful consideration. There was no need to replay, nor blame General Beking’s straightforward manners. The reason they had ugly looks on their faces was because they will have to explain the situation to His Young Eminence and enforce the decision, even if he would be against it.
The more they tried to refute the notion of going along with Sinister Chain’s demands, the closer they found themselves reaching to the frustrating understanding that there is no better alternative.
The atmosphere around the round table was downcast.
“Please, everyone, it’s not like we have zero options out of this predicament”. General Beking said with reassurance.
“Beking, we admit. You have the best strategist mind. Now tell us what we haven’t thought off, yet”. Archbishop Silternjan spoke with resigned tone.
“Elder sister Beking, don’t play with us like that Silternjan did at the beginning”. Admiral Hamumni pleaded as she could not tolerate more suspense.
Snickering, General Beking opened. “Sheldon”.
“Sheldon? Your intentions are…?!”
Nearly everyone but Cardinal Northstar took only a moment to realize General Beking’s, most probably, final resort.
At the same breath of mentioning the name of the Mercenary Association’s leader, General Beking jumped on the momentum of her speech before she will get interrupted. “You don’t know this, so listen, Northstar. Sheldon, the man leading the Mercenary Association, once in the past discovered communication device wreckages of the Immortal expert that died on this planet. After years of studying them and comparison to the communication technology used here, he came up with a half decent Galactic Communicator. With this makeshift communicator that could reach deep space, he contacted a number of Immortals, but could not figure this planet’s coordinates to give any of them”.
“And you just let him do it?” Cardinal Northstar asked, not yet putting blame on anyone.
“We couldn’t know. Our Immortal leaders agreed to operate on the same frequency and block all others from coming in or out, even just to get detected. Sheldon was lucky, that all”. General Logan took it upon himself, being the nearest of the six to the man in question. “When he mentioned God made dark attribute’s essence, in one of his conversations, that is when he caught the attention of an Immortal expert who contacted Violet Star Commander, His Holiness and General of the Armies for clarification. Having neither coordinates, nor his own personal forces on the planet, the Immortal expert and our leaders reached an agreement. He will not fight them for the location of the planet, which we will have to transmit, and they will not order us to eliminate his sole subordinate, Sheldon”.
Speaking for so many words without pause, General Logan poured himself, and all of finished drinking from the cups, another round of the purple beverage.
“Currently, Sheldon doesn’t know that we can’t communicate with the Planetary Battalion, Holy Palace and Voltic Star”. General Beking said. “Therefore we can do this… proceed regularly with the search for the treasure, as if nothing happened. When we’ll find it we can wait for our leaders lose their patience and come looking with the approximate info they have on our location. Or, we can devise a plan to convince Sheldon to send a message to his benefactor, to our leaders. Worst case scenario, the Immortal expert will invite a few friends and together they will follow our leaders here. They will fight, we might get caught in the cross fire, but overall I’ll believe our leaders will win”.
“And the chance that all of us may die? It doesn’t bother you?” General Logan seemed unsatisfied.
“It’s only a chance within the worst case scenario”. General Beking shrugged indifferently.
“I agree”. A voice rumbled, Horn Kikon raised a brawny arm.
“Me too”. Admiral Hamumni was fine with whatever her elder sister concocted.
“I guess… I, as well”. General Logan heaved a long, scented sigh.
“Silternjan, Northstar?” General Beking turned for the two’s decision.
“It’s your call, Silternjan”. Cardinal Northstar simulated a considerate mien, which did not fool the Archbishop.
‘Curse you, Northstar! Of course ultimately you will not care. While you are merely responsible to His Young Eminence and Sister Iaura, I have the responsibility of protecting His Holiness’s interest’. Angering His Holiness and angering Stelero Mars were two concepts on different levels. “I agree”. Archbishop Silternjan sealed the decision.
“Good”. General Beking nodded. “Silternjan, since the chain contacted you and your church, give them our answer and tell them that they can watch the frequency, if they don’t believe us”.
Hastily responding to Sinister Chain, before he will have second thoughts, Archbishop Silternjan drank from his cup until not a drop was left and turned it upside down.
“Since this matter is settled, for the meantime, should we return to the identity of Sinister Chain’s newly joined menace…?”
“Do so if you want, but I feel irritated”. Horn Kikon growled. “If you only have speculations and cannot tell us who exactly he is, I don’t care whether he is an aboriginal or a descendent of those we moved. Seek me when like ‘Yurnal’ and ‘Gid Chu’, you will have a name”. By the time his voice stopped echoing he was long departed.
“Logan”, Archbishop Silternjan glanced at him, not fully making eye contact. “Are all the members of the Voltic Star uninterested in speculations?”
“Before the headache your loss of the Galactic Communicator caused us, I more than had been in the mood to listen. Now… even if the chain will have tomorrow its first fifth level expert, one on one and for a few hundred years, anyone of us could still kill such a newbie. As for expecting him to attain Evolutionary Ascension… forget it. I’m also not in the mood for jokes”.
Following Horn Kikon and General Logan, General Beking and Admiral Hamumni left, as well. Although they all recognized Zax’s threat as real, they were drained and believed that without their help or not, Luminous Church will sooner than later identify the culprit who wronged and shamed them more than the rest of the four powers. Hence, they will act when there will be someone to act against.
“They agreed”. Gid Chu looked with a smile at the seven before him in C-4.2.1 vault, including Yurnal.
“Can we trust them, Leader?” A short haired, black woman named Aljiah, seemingly at her late fifties, asked.
“No”. Gid Chu promptly replied.
“But we can monitor their frequency”. Michael noted.
“And if they will break their word, we can then decide whether to keep ours or not”. A tall fatty with milky skin and head half bald said.
“No”. Yurnal sounded as if he is about to refute. “They will only break their word if they won’t need to keep it anymore. In this case, we will immediately transmit our coordinates to the whole universe”.
“Right, Second Leader, better going out with a bang than allowing the risk of them killing us and obtaining whatever treasure they are after”. A bony, shriveled, gray skinned woman, with thin white hair, said with a vicious shine in her eyes.
“Nam Ner, Nam Ner”, Gid Chu tried to calm to aging woman who was only one generation younger than him, yet looked like she could be his grandmother. “Don’t be so pessimistic. Above ground there is always a plan for rainy days, while beneath it we had long ago learned to prepare for Sun Stone storms…”