The Sixth Cycle Prologue

From: Cheryl Baumgartner(C Baumgartner, Posted Date: Aug 27th, 2011

Prologue

 

The blond man walked into the inn.  It was loud and rowdy.  He sidestepped as a pair of struggling men rolled past him.  He felt right at home.  He walked up to the bar where a tired looking woman was drawing another pint of beer.  He looked directly at her and said “I would like to make a deal with you.”

 

 

 

The Other Zone

 

            Second Kai had moved his chair as close to Fourth Kai as he could get it.  Over the centuries he had decided that being braced was the lesser of two evils.  Getting eaten was very inconvenient, especially when Fifth decided to chew her food.  It had taken 40 years for the Kais to piece him back together last time.  Luckily for him he was indigestible.

            Third Kai took his seat and glared at Second.  “Try to restrain yourself please, no ‘Geriatric Gang’ comments. Or I might just hold you while she bites your head off.”

            “No need, I’ll just brace it off and hand it to her on a silver platter.” Fourth said.

            “It’s soooo difficult being only one of us who possesses a sense of humor.”  Second said as First and Fifth hobbled into the room.  Although they looked to be almost of an age, First was the oldest of them while Fifth was the youngest.

            “I still have all my wits about me, why are there two unoccupied chairs at the table?” First asked as he lowered his body into his chair.

            “There was only one the last time we met.” Fifth confirmed.

            The door to the room opened again admitting Duke who took the seat nearest to Third Kai.

            “What are you doing here?” Third asked.

            “I was summoned.” Duke replied.  “I have no idea why.”

            “I believe we are about to find out.” Fourth said as the familiar glow appeared.

            KAI formed occupying the empty seat.  “They live.” KAI said simply, “Two fight this battle.”  The glow faded.

            “I swear that damned thing becomes more and more cryptic each time it appears.  It’s like listening to Jute rattle off one of his old nomadic sayings.” Second said.

            “They live?  Who are they?” Third questioned.

            “Well, we were confused last cycle and we figured it out.” First said.  “I suppose we had better start figuring on this riddle.”

            “Mantis maybe? After all he was three parts.” Fifth said.

            “Mantrid was destroyed completely when Echias ‘died’.” Fourth said.  “You felt him unravel just as I did.  He chose to scatter his molecules to escape the pain.”

            “I think we would feel his presence if he were alive.  When he dissipated we all felt it.”  Third said.

            “Forgive me for seeming dense but I have no idea of what you are talking about.” Duke interjected.

            “That’s because you aren’t a Kai.”  Second explained.  “All of us Kais felt Echias’ death, we felt the death of the insect and we don’t feel his presence now.  That is what we mean.”

            “We were created to battle the insects.  The five of us here represent each cycle of time that has passed since the beginning of the Insect-Human Conflict.  The conflict finally ended in the last cycle.” First said.

            “But we have not ended.” Fourth said.  “We still occupy the Other Zone, unable to access the Dream Zone except for brief visits.  If we stay too long, we get yanked back here.  We are still needed for some reason.”

            “You are sure that you destroyed Mantrid?” Duke questioned.

            “Positive.” Fifth replied.  “Perhaps 790 could help.  He is in the vault.  I shut him down and placed him there when I left for Alteri.”

            “And how are we supposed to retrieve him?  It’s not like we have the constructs to pop into at will anymore.  They were destroyed.” Second said.

            “Brizon showed me how to create one temporarily without using the cryopod.  But as he said it is a draining process.  It is possible for me to get him.  I’m not sure how the trip here will affect him.  It may damage his brain cube.” Fourth said.

            “I think that is a risk we will have to take.” First said.

            “I’ll make a visit to Brizon first.” Fourth replied.

            “Obviously I was called to this meeting for a reason also.” Duke replied.  “I have been noting less souls coming into my care, and yet there are more deaths occurring.  There are two possibilities, something is killing refined souls or somehow the souls are being prevented from coming to me.  This may also be a piece of the puzzle.  I will see what I can find out.”