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The Thule Project - Ch. III

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The Thule Project - Ch. III
by Pakkrat

III. Because the many Reporters, Anchors and their crews were busy with incoming masercom beam feeds from all over known space or fiddling with their electronics, Siobhan had little trouble making her way past the main lobby and camera sets. The only other Progen that she could see was occupied conversing with station hangar personnel. Thus the Sabura made her way past all into the lounge. The man she was searching for was found at the bar, his back to her entry.

The clone brothers had the same hair and style, so it was easy to pick out the Dr. Pakkratius, a Magister Magna of the Sabine Order. The different Net-7 News logos on his armor made little difference. Alpha-caste Progen were not hard to spot in this mostly-Terran station here in Saturn sector. The Doctor was sipping vodka gingerly as she approached. Siobhan looked about. All the patrons were busy watching the feeds on the monitors, making communications connections on the net terminal or taking jobs on the opposing jobs terminal. Quietly slipping out the Athanor heavy pistol, she approached the imbibing Magister Magna.

Siobhan had seen the gleaming white Tradesman-class vessel she had been trailing now sitting in the hangar of NET-7 SOL. Likewise, the Sabura Warrior confirmed the presence of the sailed and N7-labelled Sentinel-class craft. Her target was here and most likely resting off any potential Iteration Haze. This allowed her time to confront the Doctor who had by now used the stolen and now-defunct Biostruct.

Closer she came to the Doctor of the Call Forward. She meant to shove the heavy barrel into his kidney and order the Pakkratius to cough up the patient. But before she could level the pistol in her approach the Sentinel spoke without turning around.

"Put my brother's gun away, Warrior," said the Pakkratius. "I knew someone would come and have monitored and recorded your arrival since docking."

Siobhan, though fast, had not thought that this clone brother of her friend would be so crafty. That he knew she had kept Imperator Pakkrateus' Athanor heavy pistol said that he was familiar with her at least superficially. She holstered the weapon and joined the Sabine at the bar. He pushed a spare vodka to her. She did not lift it.

"What gave me away?" she asked as if the two were familiar.

"Your coming was betrayed a little under 150 years ago, Warrior."

"I don't understand."

"You will, but you're going to pay for such understanding by helping the Terran."

Siobhan was taken aback, but in this public venue she could not protest. Instead she drew closer to the Doctor who still sipped his vodka. "If you know why I am here and under whose authority, what makes you think you can order a Warrior around, Sentinel?"

He turned and smiled. The Dr. Pakkratius had the same red irises as the Pakkrateus. "What I now know will get Vinda in a hot, water planet ocean of trouble. The things I have learned will get me, you and that Terran reclaimed in short order to keep this under wraps."

Siobhan countered with, "Then you should comply with me and hand over the Terran thief. I don't know why Vinda wants him other than some stolen Biostruct, but what she says goes and you are her subordinate, Doctor."

Pakkratius downed the last of his drink and turned on her. "Not anymore or do you not watch the news? Vinda struck me from service two weeks ago and has let me live for reasons I am beginning to suspect. Else I'd be reclaimed by now. I work for Net-7 News now as an Anchor for the NET-7 SOL Faction. Vinda has no authority over me any longer. In fact, you Siobhan, you are in my territory."

"What?" asked Sibohan. It was rare to have a Sentinel give a Warrior such aggression. She was surprised at the Pakkratius' confidence before her.

"I am one of two Lead Anchors here at Net-7 News. I can turn the cameras on you, blow your cover, expose your mission, and who you are working for in under a minute to the entirety of the galaxy over the news. I can order the hangar to put a hold on your vessel, Siobhan. So. You're going to work for me for a little while while remaining on-mission for Vinda, acknowledge?"

It was so sublime as Siobhan considered how she had allowed herself to become compromised. He had her and through her, he had Vinda and the entire Sabine Order. "You'd betray your Order over this?"

"I can remain a Net-7 Reporter and Anchor for a long time and live many lifetimes worth of adventures. Vinda can try her hand with my clone brother if she dares."

"Your brother is a Coll-" the Sabura was interrupted by the Anchor-rat.

"My clone brother is obviously a planted mole-agent for Vinda, deposited into the Collegia to keep tabs on her rival Theodoric Cassel. Now I shouldn't have told you that and the knowledge could get everyone reclaimed and stored for a very long time, so listen up. You are going to stay on-mission for Vinda, but you will not harm that Terran and you will lend him aid whenever he needs. Now acknowledge or shall we saunter into the studio right now? The studio is on the way to the hangar so you would be forced right where the newscams can catch you. What's it going to be?"

She was trapped. Siobhan thought that she might have to kill the Pakkratius to save herself, but the stare of a particular young, Jenquai girl with a fanged grin at her let the Sabura know that Pakkratius was not alone here in the lounge. The Doctor may have had his back to the door, but he was not unprotected. The teenager had her hands on both of the twin combat knives at her side. She was obviously Shinwa or something like them. A warrior. Pakkratius Siobhan could take, but what of the girl and the Doctor working together?

"Acknowledged," Siobhan said with careful pronunciation. "Where is he?"

"Let me take you up to him. He should be in my mini-lab, resting."

The Doctor led the Warrior up to the next floor to his domicile-office. Siobhan saw that the Jenquai girl with silvery-white hair followed gingerly behind. The Progen entered the mini-lab and found the Terran missing.

"I thought you said he was here resting," noted Sibohan.

"I know where he's going next," answered the Pakkratius. "Follow him to Arx Magister, Mars sector and try not to frighten him. This is his path."

Siobhan nodded, but then asked, "You aren't coming along?"

"No," explained the Sentinel. "That Terran might get me reclaimed, especially after the events of late. Best that I was never involved publicly. You go. He might need help if he suffers the Haze, something with which you are familiar."

So, Imperator Pakkrateus must have shared something of Siobhan's story with his clone brother, the Magister Magna Pakkratius. He did have her cornered in so many ways, she concluded.

The Anchor-rat leaned over and lifted a scribbled note on a lounge napkin from the lab's counter. It read:

Thanks, Doctor. I'll owe you an interview or something later. -P

"You'd better hurry," suggested the Pakkratius. "I hear Terrans are known for their velocity and Arx Magister is the last place for a Terran inquiring about Republic business."

So, Siobhan left the office on her way to the hangar to chase once more after the Terran man.

* * *

He had been in this sector of Progen space before on various business tasks, but the Pakkrat was never lost on the aggressive attitude of Progen space station architecture. Arx Magister, two or more sectors from the orthorombic shape of NET-7 SOL, was a huge, draconic orbital war platform to the Terran's eyes. With the gargantuan twin Romulus and Remus cannons nearby, the might of the Progen Republic was on display. It was with great politesse that the Pakkrat signalled his desire to dock at the massive fortress in orbit over the Red Planet.

Once the trader had docked and made his way into the great lobby of the facility, he immediately realized he had no clue as to how to ask for access to the Call Forward archives of the Sabine Order. It was some time later after wandering the lobby, the bazaar and then finally in the social pavilion and bar that the Pakkrat was about to give up and leave. Turning to the exit, he was immediately blocked by a Progen female in a strange set of armor.

She was no tall amazon like most Progen. The female before the trader had dirty blonde-to-light brown hair in two different cuts. The majority of her locks ended just below the ears in a sharp line around her head, while a ponytail tassel streamed up and back behind her head to descend in a double helix hold. It screamed Progen pride to the InfinitiCorp employee. The woman wore a set of light, plated armor over a black jumper that was dotted with tiny, red, metal hexagons sewn into the fabric. The jumper hugged every womanly curve that was not concealed by the protective armor. A heavy pistol rode a holster at her waist belt and hung down, strapped to her thigh. The Pakkrat could have mistaken her for some sort of scout if it were not for all the battle technology dispersed throughout the entire uniform and armor. The female was muscled but wiry and the suit hid the lithe form at first notice. It took a second and closer inspection to see that this woman was not like the other Progen sporting cybernetics enhancements. Aside from a communications choker, the trader could appreciate her light brown skin and her dragon green eyes.

Naturally, the woman sized up the much taller Pakkrat with faster assessment and tactical dismissal. But then she spoke directly to the trader.

"Do you like our station, Terran?" the woman asked. "Or are you lost?"

The Pakkrat, not being armed with more than his PDA device gave a polite bow to the Progen woman. "It's quite efficient, yet I can't seem to get the time of day from anyone here."

"Time of day? A Terran figure of speech," noted the woman. "The time is right there on any wall monitor."

"Well, I can't seem to obtain some very private information that I need," explained the Pakkrat. "I'm InfinitiCorp Merchant Prince Pakkrat by the way."

The Progen nodded formally and responded, "I am designated Praefect Siobhan. Can I be of assistance instead?" She added the first smile that the Pakkrat had received from a Progen in a long time. "I may be able to direct you properly."

"To tell the truth, Praefect Siobhan, I am looking into who was the first Sabine to perform your Call Whatever-thingy on me. See, it must have happened quite a long time ago and I was unaware that it was happening."

Siobhan seemed to consider the Terran's words. With half-doubt on her expression, she said, "Non-Progen were only recently allowed the interpolation services of the Sabine Order Call Forward. Just how long ago were you Called?"

"Well you may not believe this but I estimate that it happened between five and 150 years ago," declared the Pakkrat.

"You're that old?" asked Siobhan with impressed stress to her question. "That is some impressive longevity in your genome, Terran."

The trader then told the story of his need to enter cryostasis in an emergency situation long ago and was only recently revived almost two years ago. He set his crystal employee badge on the table where the two had sit for beverages. Cautiously, the Pakkrat showed Siobhan his arm and told of how it ached on occasion. To avoid confusion with the mark left by the interpolation earlier that morning, the Pakkrat explained his recent service from Dr. Pakkratius at NET-7 SOL. The Praefect seemed to take in the story. She seemed to accept the tale when she saw the two listed ages on the employee badge.

"So, you would be about forty years of age had you not endured extended cryostasis before your rescue," concluded Siobhan.

"And I was having some birthday, um- modifications- with the Call done when the Doctor noticed that I had been Called some time ago. I had never remembered having - or answering- this Call Forward done." The Pakkrat felt he was getting somewhere with Siobhan as she was giving him far more attention to his details than most Progen.

"That you had been Called against your will is quite against Sabine ethics," Siobhan said, but then shed light further with, "but at the time it was supposedly done, no non-Progen were blessed with the Call. This is highly irregular and I am no Sabine Sentinel to know this."

With Siobhan agreeing to help the trader, the two finished a short meal and she took him to a net terminal in the pavilion. Cycling through menus of data took time, but soon the Praefect had drawn up the Progen Republic Call Forward Archives. It listed every Sabine Order use of the Call Forward that had ever been recorded. But then the menu halted the search.

"It says that this is classified information," said Siobhan. "Sabine Order only."

"Is there any Sabine here in the station," asked the Pakkrat as he looked about.

Siobhan too looked about the pavilion. When she was seemingly confident that there were none about, she slid her green IdentData Cube into the terminal interface. Then she tried to enter the Archive. Much to the surprise of the Pakkrat who had the self-control to keep quiet, he watched as Siobhan scrolled through the history of the Call Forward. The woman had some form of hidden access that she had not let out. Who was she?

Through bloodlines, gene-maps, re-iterations, and wars upon wars of Progen history Siobhan continued to scroll backward in time from the present. She seemed proficient in speed reading or perhaps she was cybernetically enhanced to the trader's perception. She stopped at a date that was roughly 161 years into the past.

"This is the year you entered cryostasis, correct?" she asked.

"Yes, but I don't think that I was Called that quickly after entering the capsule," answered the Pakkrat.

Siobhan then scrolled forward in time, past various conflicts, slowing until she came upon a Call date with no name. "The timestamp for this Call is here but there is no listed name or it has been deleted."

Pakkrat looked over Siobhan's shoulder into the holographic image list. "Does it say who performed the Call perhaps?"

Siobhan nodded and pointed a gauntleted index finger into the display. "It lists a Sabine Order Reclaimer designated Talus-M Ravindran. Hmm. Says he was well rewarded with the gene-map's reclamation too. But other than that, nothing."

"So, this Talus-guy, he could have been the Reclaimer to Call me in my sleep?" asked the trader.

"If so, then he should not have, due to ethics and policies of the day," reminded Siobhan. She lowered her voice at the nearby entry of some Centuriata. "We need to have a look at the personnel records of this Talus-M Ravindran."

Backing out of the high-security of the Sabine Order Archive, Siobhan then ran a search for the Reclaimer, Talus-M. She let out a sigh of defeat.

"See here his name in red?" asked Siobhan pointing again. "It says he fell in battle during the Gate War."

Pakkrat rubbed his beard in thought. "Don't you Progen gather the dead? Did this Talus-M, you know, Answer the Call Forward?"

"Good idea. Maybe he did."

"What is it like?"

"What is what like?"

The Pakkrat blushed as he continued, "What is is like to die and then Answer the Call Forward to a new life."

Siobhan, to the trader, seemed to look distant for a moment. She stood up and faced the tall Terran. "As a Progen, you would have seen your death and met it headlong with confidence, recalling it with pride to fall in battle or other service." She paused again. "My last iteration, I did not get that opportunity, but that is another story. But when you, as a Progen, Answer the Call, you wake up as if from a long sleep. You're tired, hungry and your muscles are on fire from the electrical jolt to start your new heart and body. You might itch a lot. To keep you from accidentally biting your tongue off, you have a bite guard in your mouth at first. When you gather your wits and realize you have Answered the Call, the medics and Doctor let you up and help you dress in your new life. You have all your memories, but you have to go through new training to get used to your new form."

Siobhan again looked sad and her gaze was glossy.

"Did I ask the wrong question to ask?" inquired the Pakkrat softly.

"Again it was another life and another story, but at one point I was an Alpha-caste Warrior, but now I have Answered the Call to a Beta-caste iteration."

Pakkrat was confused. This caste stuff, sounded classist the way she said them. "I'm sorry," he apologized not knowing why. It just seemed appropriate to Befriend the woman with such.

Siobhan recovered with a half-smile and a cute tilt of her head. "In the end, it is nothing. Though I cannot be given new life as an Alpha-caste Warrior, I now have something far more valuable in trade. But enough about me. Let's find if this Talus-M Answered the Call."

The Progen woman returned to cycling through menus and then ran a name search in Progen Republic / Sabine Order / Talus-M. A hum alert sound confirmed a match.

Siobhan pointed at the match. "He did Answer the Call and came back to serve the Republic as a Sabine Order Specialist. It was some time later but his genome had been flagged as Extolled. It means that he was guaranteed as valuable to the Progen, to be Called as needed instead of stored indefinitely."

"It says his name is Talus-N Ravindran," noted the Pakkrat. "Is that how it works?"

"It is a nomenclature option some Progen choose," explained the Praefect, "especially if they want some form of separation from their old life. It happens when a previous iteration may have been painful or traumatic."

"Maybe I can ask him why he found me, did that Call-thing to me and did not rescue me," suggested the Pakrkat. He privately wanted to know why he had been discovered and not rescued. Had he been found in that asteroid and looted for his genes? This was turning out a bit much for the trader with more questions following each discovery.

"Perhaps," answered Siobhan.

"Is this Talus-N in service now?" he asked.

Siobhan punched the file for Talus-N Ravindran. "Says he, like many Specialists, was sent by the Sabine Order to Varen's Girdle, Aragoth to search the sector, perhaps for another piece, another Shard of the Codex. He may still be out there. We will have to search though. That he has not yet returned from the assignment may mean that he's living either at Aragoth Station or at InfinitiCorp's Chernovog Station and still searching."

Pakkrat became enthusiastic. He wanted answers from a man who was most likely standing over the sleeping trader stranded in an asteroid so long ago. Why was he not rescued? Why was his genes mapped? What purpose would such have served? Couldn't the Reclaimer, Talus-M, have at least called InfinitiCorp and post his coordinates of the hauler?

The Terran trader pocketed this new information as he again reminded himself to look in on the Finn who has given the Pakkrat a certain nav-disc to a discarded route. More questions lie that way and he did not dwell long before he stood up from the terminal at Arx Magister.

"Siobhan," the man from North America said in a lowered, warning voice, "I think I was not meant to know this - that this was hidden for a reason beyond just some ethics and policies. My name as a patient was missing or deleted, I saw."

"I think you are correct, Terran," she agreed and then added, "I also think I need to know some answers as to the misuse of the Call Forward. Such seems to be happening more often of late." That last part brought another distant gaze to the dragon green eyes of the Progen woman.

"We could haul some gear or other stuff out to Aragoth Station as a cover story," suggested the trader. "Y'know... to have a reason to be out that far to begin with and make a little funds growth." He smiled in inviting the Progen woman.

"You didn't have to ask. You had me at Call Forward."

The Pakkrat then offered his arm, a gesture the Warrior woman did not seem to understand. Reaching over, the trader put her arm through his offered and led her from the pavilion back towards the bazaar. "It's a date then."

"What is a date?" she asked curiously.

Soon, with two cargo holds full of construction equipment, the Tradesman and the Warrior were underway to the Aragoth solar system.

* * *

After many sectors of travel later, Siobhan found herself enjoying the wing position next to the Terran Tradesman vessel. The Pakkrat's engines and devices were chosen for maximum commuting speeds. Siobhan had likewise done the best with her repertoire of systems and found that even then the average of their two ships in formation was much faster at warp than her usual speed. It felt lightning fast to instantly line up on a distant gate across the sector and freewarp, that is to fly directly to the target rather than travel nav-bouys. Watching celestial bodies such as gas supergiants, ringed planets and asteroid fields slip by as they travelled, gave her a slight rush.

She occasionally looked over at the Pakkrat on the formation monitor. He was fully concentrated on flying freewarp to the next stargate. She noted how he seemed to care little about his reactor drain at the speeds he was attaining. Terran systems and ships seemed ahead of the curve in the realm of travel. The trader himself was constantly looking to the horizon to the next warp target.

Then Siobhan noted the name of the Pakkrat's white-colored ship. It was named in red letters, *Labyrinth Runner* and had a circular labyrinth for wing decals. The name looked familiar to her but it was the suggestion of the graphic that said this Terran was likened to a rat in a maze, running around for bits of cheese.

*Labyrinth Runner* seemed similar to the Imperator Pakkrateus' Privateer-class ship named *Maze Runner*. Was there a connection, she asked herself. Sure there must be some coincidence that their root names were the same. Siobhan noted the detail and saved it for later to confirm. Was there more to this?

The two pilots stopped overnight in the Valkyrie Twins sector station, Aragoth Station. The spectacular reflections off the facility's radiation plate shielding spewed a spectrum of wavelengths, visible and invisible around the otherwise delicate superstructure. Siobhan and the trader off-loaded the trade goods to a modest profit to the thankful technicians via the station's customs kiosk.

Then the Pakkrat, using the funds he had garnered, treated a surprised Siobhan to a meal of steak, hydroponics greens and potatoes at a restaurant in the bazaar over looking the station's arboretum below. As they ate and sipped Yum-O-Beer, courtesy of a travelling Tada-O merchant out of Muspelheim, Pakkrat spoke to her alone.

"This, Siobhan, is a date," he said leaning forward over the table to her.

The Sabura Warrior was indeed surprised. This date seemed like some form of social one-on-one over the enjoyment of a meal that was catered to be pleasurable to eat. The social aspect was that the exchange was private and singular. "Is this how all dates work?" she asked.

"Back where and when I come from, it can vary depending on what each finds fun, right?" answered the Pakkrat. "It just depends."

Siobhan was interested to learn more. "I want to go on more of these dates."

"We'll see," said the Terran before feeding himself another bite of steak.

Though she had this 'fun' with other kinds of activities, such as space combat and stopping the villainy of madmen, Siobhan found she very much liked this kind of peaceful 'fun'. After the meal, the Pakkrat saw to it that he escorted her to her rented room in Aragoth Station for the night. She asked why he felt it necessary to see her to her room. He told her it was the polite thing that Terrans do for their date partners. This strange custom, done for a Progen Warrior, in a secure research space station, seemed out of place. Yet, it made her feel warm inside in a way she could not identify.

"How do Terran date partners thank the other person for a good date?" asked Siobhan.

The Pakkrat seemed to think while he stroked his sharp-clipped beard. Then he shrugged and offered, "How about a kiss goodnight since you Progen don't seem to have deeper relations?"

"Oooh, now that I have done before!" she said enthusiastically and bear-hugged the Trader and kissed him. It seemed to catch the Terran by surprise but he yielded to her strong arms around him. She kissed him with every ounce of her passion she could muster, having done so with the Privateer the first time she had been kissed.

Once separated, she sauntered into her room, leaving the Pakkrat outside in the hallway. She had done that, leaving the Pakkrateus likewise on the tarmac that day in the heat the last time she saw the Collegiate. She guessed that was how a kiss was performed, right? The door automatically closed on the stunned Trader.

* * *

The next morning, Siobhan was up early, doing stretches, exercises and weight lifting and combat manipulations of weights. She found the Pakkrat in the lounge having coffee. He looked like he had partaken too many Yum-O-Rum drinks to Siobhan's eyes. Then his appearance and demeanor looked familiar.

She let him off easy with, "It is called Iteration Haze. It is a side effect from not resting properly from a recent Call Forward. For us Warriors it also happens when the process is rushed or performed haphazardly after Answering the Call Forward."

"Oh, I thought the dreams were bad, is all," said the trader who again nursed his coffee.

After a breakfast in the lounge, the two were launching from the hangar in their ships, the *Labyrinth Runner* and the *Kitten*. Since the name Talus-N Ravindran was not in the station registry, the two made for Chernovog Station on the way to Varen's Girdle.

Once into the next sector, Aragoth Prime, the pair of travellers pulled up to the orbital and corporate space station and queried the control tower staff. Was the Sabine Order Specialist Talus-N Ravindran registered at the station? The tower controllers checked the docking registry there and responded that, yes, the Sentinel was listed as a tenant, but for some time now the Sabine was working long hours in Varen's Girdle and only arrived to sleep. He then would gather sustenance for another trip to the Girdle and depart once more. Thanking the station's tower and administration, the Pakkrat turned the formation towards the distant sector gate to the frontier. Again, to save time, the trader freewarped to the gate to avoid any traffic.

The enormity of the Aragoth system's asteroid belt, named Varen's Girdle, was almost overwhelming. The belt of asteroids was almost limitless. Only a fraction of its entirety had been fully explored by explorers of the Jenquai, Progen and Terran races. To this day, the fields were still being analyzed for potential discoveries and archaeological finds. There was no outpost, facilities nor space station in Varen's Girdle. Each of the three races of humanity had mutually let the massive belt remain unclaimed and yet shared by all after they had, under treaty, agreed that Aragoth system was no one race's territory. It was a frontier and all treated it as such.

It was here that the so-called Appian Codex had been discovered by Vinda's Sabine Order. It was also in Varen's Girdle that Andaren was laid to rest by his brother Aragoth. And still the wonders of the belt continued to yield more. The varied space fauna of the huge asteroid belt made for some interesting and often dangerous encounters. The bulbous Mabonae and Sagut creatures filled their bodies with the gasses they needed to grow. Crystalline biologicals also floated amongst the inanimate rocks of their home. A space sector of wonder and danger made up Varen's Girdle.

Siobhan's *Kitten* led the way through the sector as she called out locally for the Sabine Order. As the only Warrior that was privy to why the Sabine Order was combing the Girdle, Siobhan led the Pakkrat into the deeper, more dangerous fields where the Sentinel Specialists had been sent to search for Ancient artifacts and clues to re-open the collapsed Appian Gate in Lagarto, Gallina. In addition to their search, the Sentinels were mining for rare minerals that Vinda felt may come in handy. So, the Sabura woman had been the one to transmit her search for Talus-N Ravindran. The process took hours as the pair searched field after field.

The Progen and the Terran had to dodge their share of the local space creatures that inhabited Varen's Girdle. This was no safari and the Pakkrat was anxious to move on. As the search went on, Siobhan took the time to change her weaponry to the deadly DigiApogee Prototype projectile weapons she had collected since her new life as a Sabura. This was dangerous times for her as the First Sabura and here on the frontier sector. The weapons were massive compared to the messenger's beams she previously mounted on her ship's wings. Into her cargo hold went the puny beam weapons. The huge, belt-fed chain guns looked far more intimidating now.

The pair was almost across half the sector when their call was acknowledged by a Sabine Sentinel trailing of the Jenquai-sanctified Andaren's Tomb. The male voice answered the hail from Siobhan.

"I am Specialist Ravindran," greeted the Sabine Sentinel vessel.

"I am Praefect Siobhan of the Centuriata, Specialist," said Siobhan, half-lying, "and we need to speak with you."

The Sabine craft halted his mining beam and turned to meet the Warrior and the Terran ship next to her.

"Specialist," asked Siobhan, "have you ever met this Terran beside me?"

There was a pause as the Progen man on the comm monitor seemed to regard the Pakkrat in formation beside Siobhan. Then he answered her, "No, Praefect, I do not remember ever meeting this Terran man."

"But you surely must have-," the Pakkrat tried to ask, but he was interrupted by Siobhan.

"Sir," she said to Specialist, "there are records that this Terran's gene-map was sampled via the Call Forward long before the discipline was opened to non-Progen. Do you recall such?"

The man looked back to Siobhan and answered, "No, Warrior. I do not recall such. I have no memory of ever engaging the Call Forward to any non-Progen. Now if you will excuse me-."

The Pakkrat chimed in again with, "But is there any way you could have kept your own records?" Siobhan almost tried to stop the Trader, but the question was less intrusive.

"Sir," the Sabura implored, "this is important."

"I do not remember ever meeting this Terran, encountering this Terran, much less performing the Call Forward for any Terran." Siobhan though she was about to hit an information dead-end when the Specialist added. "But I do recall making a confessional to the Virtuals on Olympus Mons before I fell during the Gate War."

"What are the Virtuals?" asked the Pakkrat more to Siobhan. "What is going on? Why doesn't he rememb-?"

"Thank you for your time, Specialist. We will leave you now." Siobhan backed the formation out and the Warrior began to make for the nearest sector star gate.
The Sentinel ship went back to his project of searching the field of debris and asteroids.
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