A Family Affair
I. A Family Reunion
“The Central Nervous System, created by the Ancients, exists only a few meters away from our planets solid iron core. It is a vast network of tunnels containing fiber optic conduits as tall as the tallest Tetchkin.” Stated the City Organizer.
“What does it do?” Somyan asked.
“The Central Nervous System is where our information, all our academic and cultural data absorbed from the ages, is collected and stored on light waves and sent to appropriate conduits when needed.”
“That is all very interesting but I really need to know how to get there.”
“An entrance to the tunnels is located in every city. The tunnels have ladders that lead to walkways along the conduits used by our Maintenance Personnel. Reaching the core is another matter. Due to depth elevators are available. The journey could be made in a day.”
The city organizer led Somyan to the outskirts of the property line where they could see the Riab cityscape. While Somyan looked out over the activity he noticed two Tetchkins walking towards them.
II. Our Family Goes With You
“Kamin you are here.” Somyan said as they embraced. “Who is that with you?”
“This is Afan my wife. She is here to talk to you before we go.”
“You are coming with me?”
“Yes. My spirit is raised by anger and vengeance and a strong desire to see my daughter Varva again. I can no longer fill my role as homeowner and citizen due to these strong desires. The only place for me is the heart of my planet where my hate can be used to purge ourselves of Sha.” Kamin held Somyan out at arms length.
“You. Alien. Keep him alive.” Afan pointed her finger at Somyan in an aggressive manner. “And you, my husband, do not worry about your family. First, go and do what you are meant to do. Second, Osha will take care of Sophie whose illness has left her incapable of many things. I, your wife, will be waiting for your return. Sophie has a message for Varva if you encounter her spirit. She wants you to tell her not to go to Sha without her.”
Afan walked away and only turned around once to look at Kamin again before heading home.
III. The Rest of Us
“There are a few more here to help us.” Kamin led Somyan over to three men. “Here is Matvei and his son Manni.”
“We loan you our sorrow for this kindra, Alien. Uzka my other child died in the auditorium. Our lives purpose has changed and so we will travel to the center with you.” Matvei bowed to Somyan.
“Thank you. We will need all the help we can get.”
“I am Iva, a Surgeon from Riab, and I have been following you since the Vanitch was found empty at the Riab Galactic Travel Center and feel drawn to your cause.” Iva embraced Somyan.
“Well, we are an interesting crew. Let me make sure I know all your names. Kamin, Matvei, Manni, and Iva. It is an honor to work with four capable Tetchkins.” Somyan bowed to the group and they bowed in return.
“We have no weapons to offer you Somyan. Tetchkins do not believe in weapons but we have found a couple blasters from within the Vanitch, with holsters.” The City Organizer handed them to Somyan. “Each of you will be equipped with a utility belt worn by System Maintenance Personnel. The belt will provide the tools necessary to solve most problems. All your backpacks are packed and ready to go along with Diudya Wrist Communicators so we all can be in constant communication.”
Only a few more hours of night remained. The group followed the City Organizer back to the station to try for a few hours of sleep. The plan would begin in the morning.
Somyan could not sleep. Everytime he closed his eyes Kolpa smiled at him.
IV. The Descent
At sunrise the group, fed and properly fitted with their gear, drove to a large tunnel entrance. A team of System Maintenance Personnel opened the entrance cover, bowed to each member of the group, and drove off.
The Tetchkins placed prayer blankets, they had packed along with gear, on the ground towards a Place of Worship for their morning prayers. Somyan watched, with interest, as the men placed their foreheads to the ground to pray.
“Do you not have an Ut that you pray, Somyan?” Kamin asked after their prayers.
“Lai worship the Stars and our prayers are sung in a chorus.” Somyan explained as he helped Manni onto a ladder leading into underground tunnels. Matvei followed Manni, then Iva, and Kamin and Somyan closed the cover as they started their descent.
The tunnels were cold and damp. Water droplets fell on their shoulders as their feet moved from one wrung to the next. Light from their headlamps created eerie shadows.
A tunnel, at the bottom, turned them left towards two sliding doors.
“You have reached the elevator.” The City Organizer’s voice, heard through their Diudya Crystal Communicators, echoed in the tunnels. “Kamin should be able to ensure the elevator moves towards the core.”
“How long will we be in the elevator?” Iva asked.
“It is a day long trip to the core. I suggest you lay down and rest while riding down.”
“Do we have a map of the bottom once we get there?” Somyan asked as Kamin walked over to the elevator door.
V. Family Memories
“I have one in my bag. Let us go.” Kamin held the elevator door open. Once inside he pushed a few buttons and the elevator, after the doors closed, started its downward trek to the core.
The inhabitants, of the slow moving elevator, found places to sit and rest. They all seemed to stare forward into nothing before most of them closed their eyes completely.
“Somyan, we have no idea what you and your group are about the encounter. Prepare yourself.” The City Organizer’s voice filled the elevator.
Kamin fell asleep and dreamt of Varva. He remembered her three years old when she used to follow him around everywhere. She seemed full of questions.
“Da, why do we pray? Why does Mom wash our prayer blankets every seven days?” Varva, only nine at the time, would look to him for answers and he would tell her he did not know but he would find out.
At ten, Varva started to pack her bags, she roamed the neighborhood. She would stay out all day, from early in the morning till late at night, exploring Riab and talking to its inhabitants.
“I am getting to know my neighbors and find the answers to all my questions.” She would always say the same thing when told to stop. So night after night everyone worried and her chores remained to be done.
She loved to hang around at Places of Worship to admire their simple beauty and Tea Ceremony seemed to be her favorite part of the day. A Ceremony where all the different people, she had met through the day, gathered to sit and pass around a cup of tea.
VI. Plans of Violence
He felt a physical pain in his chest from missing her so much.
The desire to destroy, the monster who caused him such pain, obsessed his every thought. Plans of violence moved around in his head in a never ending loop he could not control.
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