The Dark Empire, Page 137-143 by Wolfenshire ()
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The Dark Empire, Page 137-143
He compared the part to the picture in the book, it looked the same, and the spare part he’d found in the storage warehouse where the Titans were housed looked the same also, but the new part wouldn’t fit where the old part had been in the Titan. Seth sighed. He had searched every shelf, bin, and box in the entire warehouse, this was the only part that looked the same as the old one. Why didn’t it fit?
“You look frustrated, young man,” said a voice.
Little Seth looked up and his eyes widened as he recognized Governor Santi standing next to the Titan’s foot. He hadn’t heard the man enter the docking bay. “My Lord, I didn’t hear you come in, I’m sorry.” Seth started to get up.
“Stay there, I’ll come up to you,” said the Governor, putting a foot on the ladder propped against the Titan’s foot. “I was hoping to meet the pilots of these amazing machines.”
Little Seth’s head whipped back and forth. “Oh, their umm…and they went…umm…they…”
Governor Santi gave the boy a crooked grin as he topped the ladder. “Just stop, Mekan’s can’t lie. I figured out already you’re the pilot. I’ve been here for two meals so far and haven’t seen any other Mekans.”
“How do you know a Mekan is the pilot, it could be one of the Jinn,” stammered Little Seth.
“All the Raven Jinn were accounted for on the beach when these came out of the water, except for your mother, but she was waiting with refreshments, and the Titans hadn’t arrived back at the Crystal Palace yet,” said the Governor. “You were controlling all three of the Titans. How do you do it?”
Little Seth dropped his head in defeat. “I’ll get in trouble if I tell you.”
Governor Santi gave the boy a reassuring smile. “I’m not going to tell on you. I’ve kind of guessed the Jinn don’t want us to know how short-handed they are. They weren’t sent here on purpose, they stumbled on their father’s palace and entered without permission. I think he’s letting them stay so they can cut their teeth on just how difficult it is to be a grown-up Jinn. They are woefully out of their league here, and only just hanging on.”
“I like them,” said Little Seth.
“I should imagine you would,” replied the Governor. “Mekans are born mechanics, I suppose here you think you’ve died and gone to heaven with so many machines to tinker with.”
Little Seth nodded. “All we had was the old tractor to work on, and it was boring.”
“What are you working on there?” asked Governor Santi, nodding at the part Little Seth was holding.
Little Seth started to hold the part out, but pulled it back. “Oh, sorry, it’s all greasy.”
“I can handle a little grease,” the Governor held a hand out for the device.
Little Seth shrugged and handed over the part. “It’s broken. I found a replacement part, but I can’t get it to fit.”
Governor Santi turned the part over in his hands and inspected the burned wires, tubes, and then spun the little balls in the center of the part with his fingers. “Okay, let me see the replacement part,” he said, setting the broken part down. Little Seth lifted the new part and handed it to the Governor. The Governor inspected the odd device, spun the little balls in the center and nodded. “Ah, there it is.” He set the new part next to the old one; they looked identical. “See here, the little balls in the center. On the old part the outer ball spins to the left, and the inner ball spins to the right. On the new part, the outer ball spins to the right, and the inner ball spins to the left. My guess is the new part you found goes to the other foot, it probably has something to do with helping the Titan keep its balance.”
“Oh my gosh, I had the wrong part, but there aren’t any more like it in this warehouse.”
“There are other warehouses?” asked the Governor.
“Yeah, there’s three docking bays for the three Titans. I think the other two are probably the same with a warehouse full of spare parts in the basement underneath, but I can’t get in to the other ones,” said Little Seth. “I have to move this one outside and bring the others in here through the launch roof when I need to fix something.”
“Why can’t you get into the other docking bays?”
“The door is broken and the tool to fix it is too heavy. Papa is going to help me but his list of stuff to fix is really long.”
“So, are you saying you haven’t seen inside the other docking bays?” asked the Governor.
“Not yet,” replied Little Seth.
Governor Santi smiled. “Well then, what do you say I help you get that door open.”
“You don’t have to do that, Sir, I can wait for Papa.”
“Son, I thought there would be nothing left to explore here, but I have the opportunity to be the first inside a Titan docking bay that neither man nor beast has seen in over three billion years, there is no telling what treasures might be waiting to be discovered. Let’s open that door.”
Little Seth grinned and nodded. Treasure hunting was always fun. “Okay.”
Governor Santi climbed back down the ladder while Little Seth took a more youthful route and slid down the Titan’s foot. Little Seth ran over to a large device on wheels and tapped on it. “This is the tool, it needs to go over to the door.”
The tool looked a bit like one of the jacks used to lift a Crawler up so the tires could be removed and repaired. The Governor was a large powerful man, but even so, and even on wheels, the tool was very heavy. He put his shoulder against the thing and pushed until it was next to the door. Little Seth worked a lever on the side and two long flat pieces of metal dropped flat on the ground.
“Okay, now push those flat things under the door,” instructed Little Seth.
Governor Santi nodded. “Ah, so it is a jack lift, but intended for the heavy bay doors.” He again put his shoulder to the lift and pushed until the flat metal pieces slipped under the door.
Little Seth again operated the lever on the side and it lifted the door just a fraction upward. “See, it takes the weight of the door off the bent hinges so I can replace them.”
Little Seth had the replacement hinges in a box and laid them next to the door. The bolts were too tight for Little Seth and the Governor lent his strength to the task. The door had to be adjusted several times to get the first hinge off. The second hinge was very bent and they had to take the first hinge back off and risk repairing the second hinge without support of the first. They got the first two hinges done and the third one came right off. The entire operation took an hour. Governor Santi pulled the door jack away and shoved it against the wall.
“Are you ready?” asked Little Seth.
“I’ve waited for something like this since I was your age,” replied the Governor.
“Gosh, that’s a long time,” said Little Seth, pushing the button on the control panel to swing the cargo bay door open.
Governor Santi gave the boy an amused side glance, it might have been a long time, but to him it seemed only yesterday he was a boy running errands in the Crawler shop for Driver Daniel’s father, may his soul rest in peace; the man had been one of the best mechanics.
The big door swung open and both Governor and boy entered the docking bay together. Inside the docking bay stood a Titan, the same as the other, but something much more caused both of them to stop and stare.
“Oh wow,” said Little Seth.
“Oh wow, indeed,” repeated Governor Santi.
Nestled snuggly in launch cradles were five more of the silver chariots, the same as the one that sat next to the Chariot of the gods in the main hanger bay. “There are six cradles, this is where Emperor Aestar got the silver chariot from.”
“This is really important, Raen is going to want to know right away,” said Little Seth, pulling a device off his belt and lifting it to his mouth. “Raen, this is Little Seth, I’m in the Titan docking bay with Governor Santi, come quick!”
Little Seth put the device back on his belt without waiting for an answer and darted off to inspect their new find. Governor Santi watched the boy disappear between the silver chariots to inspect them. The Governor turned away from the silver chariots, they would be an important find for the Jinn, but he wasn’t going to get to use them. The Titans though, a plan was starting to form in his head.
Governor Santi was standing at the foot of the Titan when Prince Raen, the Queen Mother, Lord Raven, Queen Jasai, and both the black and white tigers ran into the docking bay. The Governor turned towards them and quickly lost his smile. Raen, Moeth, Roael, and Jasai all had their daggers drawn and were bearing down on him with death in their eyes.
“Where’s the boy, what did you do to him?” shouted Raen, his eyes blazing with anger.
“You’re about to find out how many pieces I can cut off before you bleed to death,” shouted Moeth.
Governor Santi threw his hands out to the sides just as Little Seth came out from between the silver chariots.
“What’s going on?” asked Little Seth.
“What did he do to you?” said Raen.
“Come over here with me, you’re safe now,” said Moeth.
Little Seth looked back and forth between Governor Santi and the armed Jinn Ravens. “Raven Mother? He didn’t do anything to me. We were exploring, he helped me fix the door and we found these.” Little Seth waved an arm at the five silver chariots. “I thought it was really important so I called you.”
Raen let out a breath and sheathed his dagger.
Governor Santi dropped his hands and held his anger. He could follow the natural course and rightfully claim offense, but that would only force the Jinn into a defensive stance; he would gain more with this by taking a different road. He gave the Raven Jinn a disarming shrug as if an act of war hadn’t just been committed by the Jinn against an Aiden diplomat.
“I notice one of the silver chariots we found is missing, I suppose that’s the one up in the hanger bay,” said the Governor, his voice calm and even. “I would imagine you’ll be wanting to take the ones here with you when you leave, but the Titans are too large to go through that blue gate.”
Raen nodded. “Yes, they are an invaluable find and will solve much of our transportation problems.”
“And of course the boy won’t be going with you either as I understand the Jinn Emperor’s restrictions,” added Governor Santi. “We’ll need to make arrangements for him and his family.”
“You have a plan?” asked Moeth, knowing where this was going, but to try to stop it would only add more offense on top of the already precarious position her lack of restraint had just caused.
“I think it best if he remains with the Titans, but of course these machines will need many more mechanics than one Mekan boy to keep them fit. I believe the Santi are uniquely qualified for that task. Our Crawlers have reached a point where not even the genius of Driver Daniel will keep them running. I would be willing to assume the position of Titan Commander and shift my people’s focus here to the Titans.”
“Is that all?” asked Raen, understanding they were now negotiating compensation to the Governor for the offense and avoid further damage and possibly even war.
“If I were the Titan Commander, I would bring Driver Daniel here to assume the position of Senior Mechanic, and apprentice the boy with Master Daniel; Daniel has Mekan blood on his mother’s side and would make a good teacher for young Seth. He would have a bright future here on Aiden.”
Raen tipped his head. “I’ll speak with Lord Rotathian and Little Seth’s father, if there are no objections, it will be as you suggest.”
Governor Santi turned to Little Seth and smiled. “Well, what do you say we head down to the warehouse and search for the part we need to get the other Titan working again.”
Little Seth nodded happily now that everyone seemed not to be mad anymore. The Governor and Little Seth headed towards the stairs down to the warehouse. Moeth remained silent until the two were out of earshot.
“We were ambushed,” said Moeth.
“You think Little Seth did that on purpose?” asked Roael.
Moeth shook her head. “No, but the Governor probably knew what was going to happen from the moment Little Seth made the radio call. If we thought dealing with Master Aestar, just one Aiden, was difficult, we are now impossibly outnumbered by an entire world of them.”
Raen turned to look at the silver chariots. “We need to move these out of here and not give the Santi a chance to try to lay claim to them.”
“I agree,” said Roael. “We’re losing ground fast.”
“We need to set aside restricted areas for Jinn only,” said Sern.
Moeth pressed her lips together and nodded. “We also need to secure the computer room where Aestar is sleeping. The Aiden are not to have access to that room. Lord Rotathian was only here three days and managed to get himself elevated to Commander of the Crystal Palace, and now the Governor has taken control of the Titans. We’ll lose control of Master Aestar if we don’t act now. The moment he emerges from that chamber as a twelve year old boy, we are spiriting him away to the Mathors.”
Sern shifted back to his Darai form. “Saeber and I will move into the computer room and guard Master Aestar.”
“You won’t be able to do it alone,” said Roael. “The Aestar A.I. is working against us.”
“Jasai, see if you can get that abomination unplugged,” said Moeth
“Do we have a right to go against Master Aestar’s wishes?” asked Jasai.
“Jasai, Master Aestar was very old and displaying visible signs of reduced mental capacity,” said Moeth. “I don’t believe he was acting in a rational manner, and the A.I. has his last memories, meaning it is not acting rationally either.”
“Master Aestar always seemed so young,” said Jasai.
Roael held up a finger. “I just had a thought. The first day I arrived at the cabin in the woods, I met a future Raen that told me exactly when to evacuate the farm in eleven years. He also told me that Zil was the hero that saved us. I think Aestar was a young man when we first met him, but then he had Zil begin a time paradox, but Aestar would have had to remain outside the paradox to know what happened during each cycle. After the night of the Sherata attack, it struck me that Aestar was a completely different person. I think he aged hundreds of years during that night, probably trying to save us.”
“I think that is very possible,” said Moeth.
“There’s more,” said Roael. “Remember that last night with him. He sat down in that chair and just sat there with his eyes closed. I thought he looked pale, even before he pulled his shadow trick and left the room, and did anyone notice how he held his arm?”
“You think he was having a heart attack?” asked Sern.
“He said he was 324 years old, but he also said he always goes into the chamber at 320 years old,” continued Roael. “What if his body always has a heart attack at 324 years, so he goes into the chamber four years before that occurs?”
“He misjudged how much time he spent cycling past the time paradox,” said Moeth. “That’s why he was in such a rush to get into the chamber, he almost died for real this time.”
“Which means all his decisions in that last hour were probably not rational,” said Raen. “When he sat down in the chair was the moment of his heart attack. No person can make rational decisions at that moment.”
“He hasn’t been here at the Crystal Palace for tens of thousands of years,” added Jasai. “He must have decided to use the chamber here because it was a matter of life or death. But that also means the Mathors don’t know where he’s at because he’s not in his normal rebirth chamber.”
“I know what we need to do,” said Sern. “If we stay here alone with these Aidens, they’re going to have us locked in a closet long before Master Aestar can be re-born. He told me once the Mathor are more advanced than the Aiden. Jasai, you and Zil need to go right now to the Mathor Council and tell them what’s happened. I’ll bet anything they’ll send a team of guards to protect Aestar, and us.”
“I agree,” said Moeth. “The Aiden are quickly taking over, we’ve already lost control. Jasai, go now, the rest of us will bunker down in the hanger and computer room until the Mathor arrive.”
“Hey, where is Zil?” asked Jasai. “I would have sworn he was with us when we came in here.”
“No, I remember him being upstairs in the library,” said Sern.
“I remember him running here with us,” said Moeth.
Everyone turned their attention to the door as Boae ran into the docking bay shouting. “Guys, you’ve got to see this, an entire army of Mathor are pouring through the gate.”
“What? How?” asked Raen. “We haven’t called for them yet?”
“Anyone want to wager that our hero, Zil, has something to do with this?” said Moeth.