Sunday 25 September 2016
* * * Special Presentation * * *
Spiritual Science Fiction
Short Story by Jim Lantern
Includes Alternate History, Ancient Aliens, a Hotel for Aliens, Religion, Space Travel, Time Travel, and a Top Secret Government Project
Mercatorian Calendar Year 756, Citra Day 221 – Paumday, 08:05 LTZ
Capital Planet Citra, Capital City Thrae, Amicus Castle Hotel
The time traveler from another world entered the lobby of the Amicus Castle Hotel, the largest and most occupied hotel in the City of Thrae. He did not blend in well with the normal space travelers passing through there, so he was immediately noticed. Citra was the first and nearest of inhabitable colony planets jointly colonized by the Aquari of planet Aquamar, Aviacaels of planet Skylor, and Landors of planet Langenth. Together they are known as Mercatorians of the Interstar trading Worlds in the Mercatorian Empire, an empire of merchants engaging in peaceful trade. Their home planets are only about 1 light-year from each other, and Citra is only about 3 light-years from Langenth. Citra became the capital planet of the empire, and Thrae became the capital city. Some of the people in the hotel lobby assumed the stranger to be a mutant from one of the other colony planets. A few thought he might be an alien from a more distant world.
Most noticeable were his eyes of horizontal ovals, unlike the vertical oval eyes of all Mercatorians. He appeared to be most like a Landor from planet Langenth, rather than like an Aquari from planet Aquamar or an Aviacael from planet Skylor. The time traveler had only one opposing thumb and four fingers on both of his hands, unlike the hands of Landors who have three long fingers between two opposing thumbs on both hands. Also unlike Landors, he did not have a tail. He didn’t have any scales like an Aquari, or any wings like an Aviacael. He dressed like a Landor in a popular tan colored explorer style clothing, including hat and boots, but no one in the lobby recognized the brands or material. A small brown travel bag hung at his left side on a single strap from his right shoulder, and he rested his left hand on the top of it. Most unusual, being different from anyone else there, he wore a small air filter mask, which barely covered his mouth and nose.
After pausing to give him a glance, most hotel guests passing through the lobby went on with whatever they were doing. A few of them were conversing about rumors of a recently discovered distant planet. Rumors claim it to be inhabitable by Mercatorian standards, possibly already inhabited by people more similar to Landors than Aquari or Aviacaels, but at a very primitive level of civilization.
The time traveler held a holographic photo in his right hand, which he glanced at. Then he turned his head from side to side, searching the lobby for the face and unusual body that matched the person in the photo, which was given to him by an associate. He could see the entire body in the photo, and rotate it to see the front and back of the person.
In the photo, the light blue-green hair of Vox Liberta Antiqu appeared attractively long, from her head down to about midway of her height. Certainly unusual for Aquari or Aviacaels to have any hair at all, so that was evidence that one of her parents must have been part Landor. She displayed full back wings, which were partly extended. No leg wings, so obviously she could not maintain flight, but perhaps could glide down from high places. No tail. She wore a thong swimsuit, exposing her very well-shaped yellow-orange bottom. Part of her hair hung down over her shoulders in front, covering her apparently bare breasts. Part of her body was covered with Aquari scales, blue-green, and she had gills in addition to lungs. Apparently, she was also part Aviacael and part Aquari. She only had one thumb on each hand, with slightly webbed fingers. Her feet were bare in the holographic photo, and appeared to be more like the talons of a bird. Her eyes had the look of someone who had seen many worlds, perhaps unusual for such a young adult. Age 18 in Mercatorian Calendar years during MC Year 756, which is equal to about age 23 on the time traveler’s home planet.
The time traveler really didn’t need the holographic photo to find Vox. A physical description would have been good enough.
From the perspective of the time traveler, Vox Liberta Antiqu lived about 40 thousand years ago. The holographic photo was found in one of the recovered Mercatorian time capsules left behind on planet Mirandus during the failed Bracatus Mirandus Expedition.
Vox is not on the list of Mercatorians who went on the expedition to the new world the Mercatorians named Mirandus. The holographic photo was found with the personal belongings of one of the Mercatorians who did go on the expedition and helped to bury the time capsules all around planet Mirandus. There was no information with the holographic photo regarding her fate.
The hotel personnel had just started the second hour of the morning shift—first shift on a three shifts schedule. One of them, in a security uniform, remained focused on the stranger, while recognizing him to be a time traveler from another world. It was the second time traveler he had encountered. After watching the stranger for about a minute, he walked over to the man and introduced himself. “Welcome to Amicus Castle Hotel. I’m Servare Bene Aequor, Chief of Security. Is there something I can help you with?”
The time traveler already knew everything about Servare. Landor, male. Born on planet Langenth during MC Year 723. He moved to the City of Thrae on colony planet Citra [now capital planet Citra] during MC Year 746 at age 23, and then he became Chief of Security at the Amicus Castle Hotel. Age 23 in MC years is nearly equal to age 30 in years on planet Mirandus. Servare was not known to use a fin, a frontier initial name, which was a kind of popular nickname fad on Citra. Translated meaning of the Landor name of Servare Bene Aequor is “It is well to keep the sea.” He did not go on the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition.
The Mirandian translation for “Bracatus Mirandus Expedition” is “Alien wonder campaign.”
Bracatus is the name of the star—the sun of the planet named Mirandus, named for the astronomers who discovered them. A couple of Landor brothers on planet Langenth, named Mirandus Novum Astrus and Bracatus Terram Astrus.
The time traveler was able to understand the Mercatorian Standard Language, spoken by Servare, because of its similarity to a language on Mirandus. That old language probably came from historic and educational documents found in recovered time capsules, which were written and spoken in the Mercatorian Standard Language.
“I’m known as Viator Tempus Acta. I’m a timepiece merchant. I just arrived from planet Langenth.” he replied. Not entirely the truth of course.
“You don’t look like a Landor.” Servare bluntly observed. He estimated the stranger’s age to be about the same as his age of 33 during MC Year 756. Viator had just recently turned age 43, equal to 33 MC years.
A year on the Mercatorian Calendar was based on a Citra year of 456 days of 25 hours each, after Citra became the capital planet of the Mercatorian Empire of Interstar Trading Worlds. The Mercatorian Calendar was used by most of the Interstar Trading Worlds.
“Why the filter mask?” Servare asked.
“I have difficulty breathing the high chlorine content in the air here on Citra. Also, I have concerns about other things in the air, which I might not be immune to. Even so, I can take off the filter mask for brief periods of time, especially while inside a location where the air is fairly well controlled and filtered as it is here.” He then removed the mask, exposing his mouth and nose. Viator went on to explain, “I was adopted by the Acta family of Langenth. Of course I was born on another planet, known as Arcanum. I became an orphan when my family there was killed during a natural disaster. I barely survived. I was rescued by Venator Siderus Acta when he was on an expedition to Arcanum.”
“I’ve not heard of that planet.” Servare lied. He knew about Arcanum, and he knew the time traveler just lied about that planet being his home world. Even so, he did not give the impression he knew where the time traveler was really from. The art of telling such blatant lies and accepting them as truth was a kind of friendly handshake with a bit of humor in the local culture.
The time traveler didn’t know Arcanum was old news, but was a hot topic on the Interstar Trading News Network about 30 MC years ago when it was discovered. A massive gas giant planet. It’s moons orbit so close to the gas giant that they are actually within its upper atmosphere that is breathable by Mercatorian standards. Each of its 24 moons is equal in size to normal small rocky planets found nearer to their suns than gas giants. Most unusual, each island world became flattened out to be like continents on planets like Langenth. Oceans of gas between them. Inhabited by the Volari people on the top side, similar to winged Aviacaels of planet Skylor. The time traveler didn’t have wings, so he could not be a Volari from Arcanum.
“I’m not surprised you’ve not heard of Arcanum. It’s far beyond the Mercatorian Empire and it’s not yet one of the Interstar Trading Worlds. It’s about 30 light-years from Langenth, 10 times the distance between Langenth and Citra.” Viator replied. “If not for buffer-space making faster than light travel possible, we would not yet know anything about it.”
“What brings you to Citra? Selling time pieces?” Servare inquired with some attitude.
“I spent the last of my money coming here. I brought some unique time pieces to sell, and I’m going to have to sell at least one to get a meal, and maybe a room at this hotel if I decide to stay longer than planned. I didn’t have breakfast this morning. I don’t like traveling on a full stomach. I hope I’m not too late to get a breakfast meal here.” Viator answered.
“The hotel restaurant has a 25-hour menu.” Servare replied. “You can get any item on the menu you want at any time.”
“Perhaps you might be interested in buying a timepiece?” Viator asked. “Or maybe you know someone who might be interested in buying a timepiece? Most are made from gold.”
“Perhaps.” Servare replied. “I noticed you appear to be looking for someone. Are you expecting to meet someone here?”
“Yes.” Viator confirmed. “Perhaps you know her.” He showed Servare the holographic photo, then said, “Her name is Vox.”
“Vox Liberta Antiqu.” Servare said her full name as he easily recognized her image in the holographic photo held by Viator. “She is the daughter of Veritas Noctua Antiqu, Chief of Interstar Trading Security here on Citra. I know her. I especially know her father. I know Veritas very well.”
“I know who she is. I’ve not met her father.” Viator replied. “I was expecting to meet Vox here in this hotel lobby about mid-morning. I’m about an hour early. I’ve not met her face-to-face before. One of my associates, who has met her face-to-face, asked me to meet with her here in his place this morning because he could not meet with her this time. He provided me with this holographic photo of her. Considering her obviously unusual appearance, I’m sure I could find her without the holographic photo, just by physical description.”
“No doubt. There is nothing normal about Vox.” Servare agreed.
The time traveler recalled the profile for Vox Liberta Antiqu. Mercatorian. Mixed species of 25% Aquari, 50% Aviacael, and 25% Landor. Female. Born MC Year 738 while aboard an interstar trading ship traveling between planet Aquamar and planet Skylor. Daughter of Veritas Noctua Antiqu. Her father became divorced from his Aquari wife. Natia was the Aquari mother of Vox. Gemma was the half-sister of Vox, 2 years younger, of a different father. Gemma lives with her mother. Aquari have singular names. Veritas took Vox to colony planet Citra during MC Year 746. She was not known to use a fin, a frontier initial name. The profession of Vox was to arrange or provide various special services for colonists, merchants, and tourists in the City of Thrae there on Citra, which mainly involves entertainment at conventions for merchants and at the famous Looking Glass Theater. She did that while sometimes secretly engaged in some special investigations for Interstar Trading Security, usually under the direction of her father, sometimes as a so-called honey trap. Most of her work for ITS was not secret and involved producing transcripts of interviews during investigations. Translated meaning of the Landor name of Vox Liberta Antiqu is “Ancient voice of freedom.” The time traveler knew Vox did not go on the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition mainly because she did not want to give up her way of life on planet Citra.
The time traveler also recalled the profile for Veritas Noctua Antiqu. Mercatorian. Aviacael. Male. Born on planet Langenth during MC Year 715, which is why he was given a Landor name. Divorced from his Aquari wife, Natia. Father of Vox Liberta Antiqu. Gemma, an Aquari, is his stepdaughter. He became the Chief of Interstar Trading Security on colony planet Citra during MC Year 740. He was not known to use a fin, a frontier initial name. Translated meaning of the Landor name of Veritas Noctua Antiqu is “The truth of the ancient owl.” He did not go on the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition because of his job at ITS on Citra.
Then Servare asked, “So, you’re not traveling alone? Is your associate another timepiece merchant?” More attitude. Viator noticed it this time.
“No, I’m not traveling alone, and he is not another timepiece merchant.” Viator answered. Then he explained. “His interest is in a different kind of time. He is an archeologist and a geologist, currently exploring a cavern where the Virgo River crosses the Valley of the Caves. I just came from there. About 10 miles west of here, then 3 miles north from the lamivor riding station. I rented a shucar at the station to come here.” He considered a lamivor to be similar to a horse, and a shucar to be similar to a golf cart made to carry 4 people.The normal top speed of a lamivor is about the same as a shucar, which is only about 20 miles per hour, but both means of transportation have been known to reach about 30 miles per hour.
“I know the place. Location of the Palatium Caverns.” Servare replied. Then he returned to the subject of Vox. “You were to meet Vox about mid-morning?” He sounded surprised. Then he went on to explain. “Vox is mainly a night person. She usually sleeps from about midway of the third shift to about midway of the first shift. Are you sure you understood the meeting time correctly?”
“Perhaps there was a miscommunication about that. The meeting was arranged by my associate, not by me.” Viator replied. “I’m sure he said 09:00 LTZ, for Thrae’s local time zone. Hopefully that’s correct, and what Vox understood.”
“I recommend you wait in the hotel dining room.” Servare said. “I happen to know a man interested in collecting rare items, including timepieces. I’ll send him to the dining room to see what you have to sell. If he buys a timepiece, then you’ll have at least enough money to pay for your breakfast.”
“Who is he? What does he look like?” Viator asked.
“Saltus Amicus Exsequor, the owner of this hotel. You’ll know it’s him when you see him. A wide body for a Landor, but not overweight.” Servare answered.
The time traveler recalled the profile of Saltus Amicus Exsequor. Landor, male. Born on planet Langenth during MC Year 707. Brother of the last king of the last royal monarchy on planet Langenth. Patres Naturum Exsequor was killed along with the queen, Vetustissima Materna Exsequor, during the historic Teznite raid on the capital City of Plerusque during Hour 9 of Day 11, MC Year 746. Uncle of Marea Amor Exsequor, the last living princess. Amicus took his niece and moved to the City of Thrae on colony planet Citra later during MC Year 746. Then he became the owner of the Castle Hotel, renamed the Amicus Castle Hotel, located in Thrae. He became the Founder and Commanding General of the special private offensive military force known as the Desarites. He was not known to use a frontier initial name while living on Citra. His middle name, Amicus, was given to him by his mother, as it was the custom of Landors for mothers to give middle names and fathers to give first names at birth. It is known that he preferred to be called Amicus. Translated meaning of the Landor name of Saltus Amicus Exsequor is “A friend of the forest enforcer.” Although he wanted to, he did not go on the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition mainly because he knew he needed to command the Desarites from their home base on Citra.
“Yes. Amicus. I’ve seen a holographic photo of General Exsequor.” Viator said.
“I’ll watch for Vox and send her to you in the dining room if I see her. Maybe she was expecting to be up later than usual and planned to have her dinner here when breakfast is served to normal people.” He looked Viator up and down. “Most normal people.”
“Where is the dining room?” Viator asked.
“You may go the long way around via hallways, or exit the lobby through those doors over there.” Servare pointed, and then continued. “Cross the courtyard field between the four towers to the other side where it is located.”
“I’ll do that. Thanks for your help.” Viator replied. Then he exited the hotel lobby through the doors to the field of the central courtyard.
The Amicus Castle Hotel became the largest and most occupied hotel in Thrae, as well as the largest and most occupied hotel on planet Citra. The hotel was known to have guests from all three home planets of the Interstar Trading Worlds; Aquamar, Langenth, and Skylor. Also, guests from all over Citra, mainly traveling merchants. It was designed to accommodate the different needs of Aquari, Aviacaels, and Landors, as well as mixed species of those three. It was also known to have occasional alien visitors from distant planets, and other kinds of worlds, beyond the Mercatorian Empire.
The property of the hotel was laid out on a square, a thousand feet on each side. It included four towers of twelve levels each at the four corners of the square. The four towers were built on rectangular foundations, one hundred feet east to west, and three hundred feet north to south. The towers contained the suites of the hotel. They were connected by four buildings of three levels each, between the towers, resulting in an open square in the center. From the outside of the connecting buildings, toward the inside square, the depth was about fifty feet.
The open inner square is the location of the landing and liftoff pads for small air and space vehicles, which arrive and depart vertically. Most were personal vehicles, or landing bells from Space Station Aureola and various interstar trading ships in orbit. Larger aircraft and spacecraft would arrive and depart at the Thrae Spaceport.
The Castle Hotel was constructed MC Year 721, at which time the property was a short distance outside of the city limits of Thrae. Since then, the city has grown and expanded beyond that point. During MC Year 746, the Castle Hotel was purchased by Saltus Amicus Exsequor, then renamed Amicus Castle Hotel.
Servare walked from near the center of the hotel lobby over to the security office, next to the front desk where guests check in and out. He scanned the lobby with his eyes one more time, and then walked into the office. To the left of the door, facing out toward the lobby, he looked through a large picture window. Then he turned to his left to look at security camera video screens covering the wall to the left of the lobby window wall. On one of the security camera video screens, he watched Viator Tempus Acta cross the central courtyard field between the four towers of the hotel.
During MC Year 756 [Mercatorian Calendar], the City of Thrae was the largest city on colony planet Citra, with a population of about 420,000 Mercatorians. It was also the primary land-based trading port, with Space Station Aureola usually in geosynchronous orbit above the city. It was always thought of as the capital city of Citra, where the merchant government local branch agencies are located, such as Interstar Trading Security. Thrae officially became the capital city of Citra on the first day of MC Year 756, when Citra officially became the capital planet of the Mercatorian Empire.
The original city was built within a circular area that had a diameter of about six miles. From the spaceport, located at the city’s center, streets extended like the spokes of a wheel—north, northeast, east, southeast, south, southwest, west, and northwest—about 3 miles each—to the first highway circling the city. After the city grew, the next highway circling Thrae was built 6 miles from the spaceport, expanding the limits of the city to a diameter of about 12 miles.
By MC Year 756, a third highway circling the city was built about 9 miles from the center, resulting in the diameter of Thrae becoming about 18 miles. Even so, some commercial, industrial, and residential projects were in the process of building outside of the outer highway ring for further expansion of the city.
All commercial property existed for about 2 miles north and south along the spoke street running east and west. All industrial property existed for about 2 miles east and west along the spoke street running north and south. Residential areas existed in each quarter of Thrae in the remaining space on either side of the northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest spoke streets. Landors from planet Langenth were mainly located in the northwest quarter. The northeast quarter was designed to fit the special needs of the Aquari from planet Aquamar. The southeast quarter was designed for the particular needs of the Aviacaels from planet Skylor. The remaining southwest quarter was designed for multi-species and mixed species, as well as for short-term residents, students, tourists, and various other visitors including traveling merchants.
Thrae was built on a flat plain, about 6 miles south of a curve in the Virgo River, which flows to the fertile plains a thousand miles to the west and down into the rocky lowlands about 200 miles to the east-northeast of the city.
During MC Year 756 approximately 90 million Mercatorians were on record as permanent residents on Citra. Plus about 10 million on record as visitors, tourists, students, other short-term residents, and visitors.
Servare turned away from the security camera video screen as Viator Tempus Acta entered the hotel dining room and found a table to sit at. He left the security office and crossed the lobby over to the shift manager’s office. It was not the office of the general manager or the owner of the hotel, but Servare knew he would find Amicus there at that hour. Upon entering he said to Amicus, “I just encountered an interesting stranger in the lobby. I’ve sent him to the dining room, where he is now waiting to meet with Vox Liberta Antiqu. He claims to be a timepiece merchant. He wants to sell a timepiece so he can have money to pay for a meal, and perhaps get a room here for a day or night.”
Amicus looked up from a pile of apparently irritating papers on the desk he sat at. He gave Servare a kind of look that appeared to reply, So what? Then he actually said, “All kinds of strangers are known to meet Vox here. What’s so special about this one?”
“He claims to be an orphan from planet Arcanum, adopted by the Acta family on Langenth.” Servare managed to say that with barely a hint of a knowing smile, and the sound of his own odd kind of humor in his voice.
“Arcanum.” Amicus said more to himself than to Servare, as he recalled the name of that distant world. Then he remarked, “Another molestum alien.”
“Not just another molestum alien.” Servare said. He showed Amicus a photo of the alien, which was taken with one of the lobby security cameras.
“No.” Amicus agreed. “And what a blatant lie.”
“Using the name Arcanum instead of the name of his real home world?” Servare asked.
“Yes.” Amicus confirmed. He paused a moment in thought, then said, “So, he claims to be a timepiece merchant with timepieces for sale. That is kind of funny, if he is a time traveler selling timepieces.”
“He must be a time traveler. The people on his planet presently live in caves. They will not be able to reach for the stars until about forty thousand years from now. As you know, his world would be a good location for a military base on the other side of the Teznite Empire. We could then attack them from both sides, front and rear.” Servare said. “Turn this useless defensive war into an effective offensive war. I’d certainly like to offend some Teznites.”
Their name comes from a mineral on planet Langenth known to Landors as teznite, which is a black-colored rock. The body of a Teznite is black and hard as rock. They may further be described as being part ape or monkey and part spider-like blood-sucking vampire. On their home world they live beneath the surface of their planet, dark creatures in darkness, and hidden in shadows by day when visiting the surface. There they mainly live off of a white monkey-like surface creature as a kind of cattle for them. They are mainly carnivores in the competition for food on most inhabitable planets. As far as Mercatorians are concerned, Teznites have no concept of trade, so they take what they want or at least try to. The Teznites have a superior form of star ship propulsion known as WakeDrive, which gives them a slight advantage over Mercatorians.
“You’re an excellent security officer.” Amicus complimented him. Then he added, “I wish I could convince you to join the Desarites.”
“I learned from two of the best. Veritas Noctua Antiqu, as you know, and you of course.” Servare replied. “My place is here, protecting your home. You can always count on me for that.”
“I know.” Amicus said. Servare saved his life, and that of his niece, during the historic Teznite raid on planet Langenth. Marea Amor Exsequor came with Amicus and Servare to colony planet Citra about 3 months after the raid in MC Year 746. After pausing in thought, he said, “The discovery of the new world has not yet been officially announced.”
“I expect Common Faith leaders will be talking about it in the chapels and temples during morning services this Holy Day.” Servare remarked.
Chapels were located in buildings usually shared by businesses. There was a chapel in the hotel. Temples were in free-standing buildings. Temple services were sometimes broadcasted to the nearest chapels, where members watch the services on wall-size video screens. That’s how it was usually done at the Amicus Castle Hotel, receiving temple service broadcasts every Holy Day from the Bene Ecclesia Animas Temple, located about 10 miles southwest of the City of Thrae.
“Your uncle, Admiral Servare Morum Aquarum, speaking for the Mercatorian Space Authority, and as a top astrophysicist at the Mercatorian Science Authority, is expected to make a special announcement sometime today via the Interstar Trading News Network.” Amicus said.
“This is an important day in our history. Not surprising another time traveler would show up. Considering the fact he wants to meet with Vox, he’s probably not just an observer.” Servare figured.
Amicus stood up from the chair at the desk, and said, “I should go to the dining room and get some breakfast. Perhaps I’ll buy a timepiece from the time traveler. But unless he brought a timepiece made for 25 hours on Citra, what will I do with a timepiece made for a day of 24 hours on his home planet?”
“Perhaps it will be useful if you go on the expedition to the new world. Or, if you don’t go, then you could present it as a gift to someone who is going there.” Servare suggested. “Buy one made from gold. At least then…”
“I’m not going on the expedition to the new world.” Amicus replied. “Like you, my place is here on Citra. I’ve not yet decided who to put in command of the military mission to establish a base on that planet. I’ll have to do that soon.”
“The expedition planners will let you do that?” Servare asked.
“Yes, mainly because it will be an offensive mission, not a defensive mission.” Amicus answered. “Also, I have become one of the expedition planners.”
“Any candidates in mind?” Servare inquired.
“Bene Tangere Animarum.” Amicus replied.
“A member of the Animarum spiritual family?” Servare sounded surprised.
“Bene wasn’t always an Animarum of the Common Faith.” Amicus explained, “He was originally born MC Year 735 on Langenth into the Excubius family. Bene Tangere Excubius. He moved to colony planet Citra during MC Year 746. Then he joined the Animarum spiritual family, assigned to the Bene Ecclesia Animus Temple as its soternal spiritual leader, the So Vates Praecelsus, a High Seer. He became a special agent, almost like a soldier, trained like a soldier, for the Common Faith. It has its own version of a military, and security force, as you know.”
“Yes. Common Faith Security, which is a branch of Common Faith Authority.” Servare replied. “Is he qualified to command the military mission to the new world? What about the religious mission? Wouldn’t he be working for them, if he were to go on the expedition to the new world?”
“I want someone who can handle both missions. Bene Tangere is known to be a centrist independent between the political realms of the conservative-minded Common Faith and the liberal-minded Mercatorian Military Defense Forces.” Amicus explained.
“Interesting.” Servare remarked. “But he’s not a Desarite.” Then he asked, “What’s he doing now? Where is he?”
“Bene was assigned to the Bene Ecclesia Animas Temple. No relation to Bene Ecclesia Animas, who that temple was named for. He’s presently away on a secret mission for the Common Faith.” Amicus answered. “Not so secret for me. I know all about it.”
Bene Ecclesia Animas Temple was a religious temple established by Bene Ecclesia Animas and the Common Faith Authority on colony planet Citra. Designated on maps as CFT-149. The Bene Ecclesia Animas Temple was originally intended to be like a “religious retreat” mainly for leaders of the Common Faith on colony planet Citra, instead of a normal temple for members to attend, which is why it was located 10 miles southwest of the City of Thrae. It was built during MC Year 740. Then during MC Year 746 it was turned over to Vocatus Novalis Animarum of the Animarum spiritual family to be turned into normal temple.
“A bit young, isn’t he, for commanding a mission on an expedition to such a distant planet?” Servare said it more than he asked it.
“Surviving on the new world will require a strong young leader.” Amicus replied. “Also, even though he is young, he’s received more training and gained more experience than most Landors his age.”
“You’ve already had access to all the data from the reports?” Servare asked.
“Yes.” Amicus confirmed. “I’ve read the data and seen the videos from the SlipField TeleProbes sent to the new world.”
“What’s it like there?” Servare wanted to know.
“Upon landing, the explorers will immediately be in danger from all kinds of bacteria and viruses.” Amicus reported. “Even the pollen there will be deadly for Mercatorians, especially Landors from Langenth. Without proper filter masks, it will clog their lungs and kill them.”
“What about the time traveler?” Servare suddenly sounded concerned about him. “Are we in danger here from any viruses he could be carrying?”
“I’ve been informed viruses can’t survive the method of travel used to cross the vast distance to this planet from his planet, and to travel back in time about 40 thousand years.” Amicus answered. “Also, the kind of viruses on his world today are significantly more deadly than are the viruses 40 thousand years into the future on that planet. Except of course for viruses created in labs of the time he comes from.”
“Sounds like Mirandus isn’t a very friendly place.” Servare commented.
“It will be rough, but at least the environment of Mirandus is not as hostile as the environments of colony planets Fornax, Glacialis, and Portus. More like a few million years ago here on Citra.” Amicus reported. “Even so, we must establish a military base there so we can win the war against the Teznites. What I really need from the time traveler is usable information. Perhaps I’ll get some while buying a timepiece from him. I’ll probably have to buy breakfast for him too.”
“I wonder why another time traveler from Mirandus would want to meet with Vox. I know she reported the previous meeting with the other time traveler to her father and to you.” Servare said.
“The people on Mirandus, about 40 thousand years into our future, don’t yet know how to build a ship that can travel between star systems. They don’t even have the ability to easily reach the other planets within their own solar system. That’s what they want from us. The knowledge for how to build a star ship.” Amicus reported.
“I don’t understand.” Servare replied. “He got here, traveling the vast distance across space as well as across time. So why would they need a star ship?”
“Only a few people and supplies can be sent by the method he is using. Also, it is very dangerous. He’s using a SlipField ArchPad with a TimeArch in addition to a SpaceArch, both of which are illegal here under Interstar Trading Authority law as you should know.”
“Yes. I know about those. How did they acquire SlipField technology?” Servare wondered. “How did they find our worlds?”
“According to Vox, the previous time traveler she met with said his people acquired the knowledge from time capsules buried on Mirandus during the Mercatorian expedition, some of which have been recovered by their archaeologists. Enough information to build a SlipField ArchPad, but not yet a star ship or even an interstar trading ship. They don’t yet have a space station in orbit from which ships can be built in orbit.”
“Time capsules.” Servare said, and thought about that. “I wonder why…”
Amicus walked from his desk over to the office door with Servare a couple of steps behind him and to his right. He paused in the doorway, turned to Servare, and said, “According to the other time traveler, who Vox talked to, the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition failed. Soon after arriving, there was a mutiny. Apparently a conflict broke out between liberal-minded members of the military mission and conservative-minded members of the religious mission. It caused the star ship to fall from orbit and be destroyed. A few of our people survived at a land base for about a year. Apparently a rescue mission was never sent. They were unable to survive off of the land. Most of them died from viruses that could not be defended against by Mercatorian immune systems and medicine. They had the means to bury time capsules all over that world before their supplies became depleted and they died there. Most of the time capsules contain information about our people, our history, our home worlds and their locations. A few time capsules contain information about the SlipField ArchPads. The master time capsule contains a list of contents in the other time capsules. One has detailed information on how to build a star ship, but they haven’t found that time capsule yet. Anyway, with the right kind of knowledge provided by the time traveler, we might be able to change history.”
“Prevent the mutiny from happening.” Servare said. “That’s why you want to send the BAT.” Servare used the fin, the frontier initial name, of Bene Tangere Animarum. The family name is always the middle initial of the nickname fad started on colony planet Citra. Many of the colonists on Citra use fins, mainly just for the fun of it. “You hope he can bridge the growing gap between the religious conservatives and the military liberals so that the expedition will be successful.”
“Yes.” Amicus confirmed, as he and Servare walked into the lobby area. “Even if he does not become the military mission commander, or the religious mission commander, I’m hoping I can put him in an effective position to prevent the mutiny. He’s not qualified to be on the science mission. Maybe the diplomatic mission. Especially since Bene is a centrist independent. Don’t misunderstand. He’s not a diplomatic dove. More like a diplomatic hawk.” Amicus smiled as he added, “Diplomacy with the business end of a sword.”
“I understand that part of it now.” Servare said. “But why does the time traveler want to meet with Vox? What can she do for him? I mean, other than…”
“I’ll go meet this new time traveler and find out.” Amicus replied. “I’ll buy breakfast for him. After all, it’s been about 40 thousand years since he had his previous meal in the future. And I’ll help him out with some money, buying a timepiece from him.”
Servare returned to his office. Amicus walked through the doorway into the courtyard between the four towers, and headed toward the dining room on the other side. He was briefly intercepted by a small group of new guests, who asked him the kind of questions usually asked by tourists. A bit irritating to him at that moment, but he was happy to answer their questions anyway.
In the dining room of the Amicus Castle Hotel, the time traveler from another world impatiently looked at his wristwatch. Then he looked up at a clock hanging on a nearby wall. Not a good match. His watch counted a day of 24 hours. The clock on wall counted a day of 25 hours. Either way, he began to feel he had been waiting too long. “Damn aliens.” he quietly remarked to himself. At least they have the courtesy to provide free coffee while he waited, he thought to himself. Water is free there too. All other beverages and food on the menu appeared to be reasonably priced, but he did not carry what the people on Citra used for money. The coffee tasted good to him, even better than any he ever drank on his home planet. He had to put his air filter mask back on briefly between cups of coffee.
Viator Tempus Acta further thought to himself… Well, it looks and tastes like coffee, anyway. And who can say for sure? Maybe the Mercatorians brought coffee plants to Mirandus about 40 thousand years ago during the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition, and included coffee beans—seeds in one of their buried time capsules. That was during Mirandian year 37,988 BCE when they arrived on Mirandus, after a voyage of nearly 4 MC years. Mercatorian Calendar Year 760 was when the expedition departed colony planet Citra.Perhaps a time capsule, in which coffee seeds were found, was recovered by people digging in the ground at the right place on Mirandus around the middle of the fifteenth century CE.
Then he briefly thought to himself about the true origin of an old language on Mirandus, being the Mercatorian Standard Language, the language of the merchants, especially for the personal names of the Landors from planet Langenth.
Viator got up from his chair and walked around in the dining room while he waited for Amicus, or Vox, whoever would show up first.
He noticed one of the differences between that hotel restaurant and those found on Mirandus . . . the different design of chairs and tables for the three different species of Mercatorians. Most of the chairs were designed to accommodate the tails of Landors. Apparently the Aviacaels preferred tables with benches, like picnic tables. Aquari used the same kind of basic tables and chairs as is commonly found on Mirandus, a small square table with armless chairs.
He paused over by one of the dining room walls, on which hung large picture posters of the three Mercatorian home planets. Also colony planet Citra, now the capital planet. Each one included information about those worlds. He had no trouble reading the Mercatorian Standard Language. Even so, it was necessary for him to translate some of the words into Common Anglicus, which is the language spoken by the majority of Mirandians on planet Mirandus.
First, he read the information on the poster about Aquamar, and the information about the Aquari people. Then planet Citra. Then the planet named Langenth, pronounced “LAN-genth” . . . where the “LAN-dors” come from. Finally, he read the last poster about Skylor, and the people there known as Aviacaels…
The planet Aquamar orbits one of the three stars of the Great Triangle Constellation, as viewed from colony planet Citra. It’s one of the three home planets of the Mercatorians in the Mercatorian Empire, an empire of merchants including the colony planets of the Interstar Trading Worlds. It’s the home planet of the Aquari.
Second planet from its sun, at a distance of about 98.75 million miles, there are 388.29 days in each of its years. Equatorial diameter is about 7,324 miles, with a rotation of about 22 hours per day.
Two thirds of its surface is ocean water. Hundreds of thousands of small islands are scattered around its mainly blue-green surface, as viewed from space. There are no continents.
Atmosphere is 70% nitrogen, 26% oxygen, about 3% chlorine gas, and 1% of other gases. The extra chlorine gas in the atmosphere is needed to support the immune system of the Aquari. This is also true of the Landors of planet Langenth, and the Aviacaels of planet Skylor. They are highly allergic to air pollens, and the extra chlorine in the air helps to counteract the impact of the air pollens. This is not as serious for the Aquari as it is for the Landors and Aviacaels, because the Aquari spend much of their time underwater, and the majority of their cities are located on the ocean floors in the shallow regions near islands.
Aquamar has one small moon, named Aurum, which has no atmosphere or surface water, but is rich in minerals. The Aquari have an Interstar Trading Worlds agreement with the Landors of planet Langenth to mine the minerals for them.
A native person of the planet Aquamar.
Aquari [singular and plural] may be described as being part fish and part sape. They have gills and lungs. They mainly live underwater in cities along the shallow regions near land. They can walk on land. They have singular names, unlike other Mercatorians with first, second, and family names. The average size of an adult Aquari is 5 feet height, 150 pounds. All of their food is grown underwater. They eat two meals per day, usually at sunrise and sunset.
They are able to travel into outer space, but it is the Landors of planet Langenth who brought the ability for space travel to their planet when making first contact.
Aquari are one of the three species together known as the Mercatorians of the Mercatorian Empire, an interstellar empire of merchants, which includes the Interstar Trading Worlds.
They are sexually compatible with Aviacaels of planet Skylor and Landors of planet Langenth for reproduction, resulting in mixed species.
Like all Mercatorians, they have Caeruli souls in the spectrum of blue light.
Citra was the heart of the Mercatorian Empire, and by MC Year 756 became the official capital planet of the empire, with the City of Thrae becoming the capital city of that planet.
Citra is the name of an inhabitable planet that orbits the star located at the center of the Cross Constellation as viewed from the planet named Langenth. Citra became the first inhabitable colony planet of the Mercatorians. It has been jointly colonized by the Aquari from planet Aquamar, the Aviacaels from planet Skylor, and the Landors from planet Langenth. The Landors of Langenth were the first of the Mercatorians to venture into space, and to then make contact with the Aquari and the Aviacaels. Many colonists from Langenth have referred to Citra as “Yesterworld” because Citra—geologically—is what Langenth was like about a hundred million years in its past. It’s also known as the “World of the Geysers” as a tourist attraction. It’s an agriculture and minerals paradise.
Fourth planet from its sun, at a distance of 120.53 million miles. With an equatorial diameter of 7703 miles, the planet’s rotation is 25 hours per day. The measurement of hours. minutes, and seconds is the same on Aquamar, Langenth, and Skylor, as Mercatorian Standards. Three fourths of the surface of Citra is land. Like Langenth, all land on Citra is connected. There is a vast network of long, narrow streams and wide rivers, connecting millions of small and large lakes around the planet. None being large enough to be called a sea, and certainly no oceans. Thousands of active volcanoes appear on the surface. There are millions of underground rivers and bodies of water heated by geothermal activity, creating millions of geysers and hot springs. Atmosphere is 70% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 4% chlorine, 1% argon, 2% carbon dioxide, and about 2% other gasses. Viewed from orbit, the surface of Citra appears to be a mixture of mainly greens and yellows, with occasional reds in spots, and a vein-like network of blues.
40% of people on Citra are Landors, 30% Aviacaels, 20% Aquari, and 10% a mixture of those species—being reproductively compatible. Interstar Trading Customs and Interstar Trading Security determined 60% of Mercatorians on Citra are long term or permanent residents, a figure expected to increase as new colonists arrive every week, as it was during MC Year 756. 10% are short term residents, usually there to complete a job of some kind within a year. 20% are merchants or other people staying in hotels. 7% are tourists. 3% are students on field trips from their home worlds, attached to scientific expeditions for three weeks to three months.
There are 456 days in each of its years. A year is 12 months, 38 days each, 4.77 weeks in each month, 57 weeks in each year. A week on Citra is 8 days in the following order: Paumday, Maraday, Tresday, Jallday, Authday, Dromday, Raleday, Granday.
A Citra day is 25 hours. The measurement of the hour was created in ancient times on Langenth, and accepted by the Aquari of Aquamar and the Aviacaels of Skylor when the Mercatorian Empire of the Interstar Trading Worlds was established. An hour is 60 minutes, 60 seconds per minute…
[At this point while reading the poster about Citra, Viator Tempus Acta thought to himself about how the measurement and use of the hour was transferred to the primitive people on planet Mirandus, which was from one of the Mercatorian time capsules left on Mirandus during the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition, and recovered during the first century BCE—Before Common Era.]
…Citra has three moons. The large moon is named Monstrum. The first of small twin moons is named Ausluma. The second is named Geminum. They have no atmospheres.
The planet known as Langenth orbits one of the three stars of the Great Triangle Constellation, as viewed from colony planet Citra. It is one of the three home planets of the Mercatorians in the Mercatorian Empire, an empire of merchants including the colony planets of the Interstar Trading Worlds. It’s the home planet of Landors.
Third planet from its sun, at a distance of about 97.53 million miles, there are 383.52 days in each of its years. It has a diameter at its equator of about 7,643 miles. Rotation is 25 hours, just like planet Citra, where Landors established their first permanent, open-air colony, as a joint venture with the Aquari and Aviacaels.
About two thirds of its surface is land. Surface water exist in small seas—being more than lakes and less than oceans, as well as a number of small lakes with a vast network of rivers that are long and wide. There are no actual oceans on the surface. It’s a mainly red-orange planet, as viewed from orbit.
Atmosphere is 70% nitrogen, 23% oxygen, 5% chlorine, and about 2% other gasses. The extra chlorine gas in the atmosphere is needed to support the immune system of the Landors. This is also true of the Aquari of planet Aquamar, and the Aviacaels of planet Skylor. They are highly allergic to air pollens, and the extra chlorine in the air helps to counteract the impact of the air pollens.
Langenth has two moons. Magnus, the largest, has a thin but breathable atmosphere—with limited exposure. Parvus, the smaller, has no atmosphere. Parvus is occupied by the Mercatorian Military Defense Forces, having bases there for manufacturing the most dangerous ammunition and weapons, and for training of special military forces.
A Landor is a native person of the planet Langenth.
During their modern times, before space travel, they referred to themselves as sapes. In ancient times they were known as wolf people. They may be described as being part wolf and part ape, but with hair instead of fur. The Aquari of planet Aquamar began referring to sapes from planet Langenth as Landors, meaning people of the land. The Aquari are people of the water. The Aviacaels of planet Skylor are people of the sky. The explorers from Langenth accepted the Aquari term, and then after they returned to Langenth the people there began referring to themselves as Landors.
Of the Aquari, Aviacaels, and Landors, the Landors were the first to venture into space and to make first contact with the others.
They have tails of various lengths, to some extent relating to age. They have hands with two opposing thumbs on each, between which are three long fingers. They have six toes on each foot. Like Aquari and Aviacaels, they have eyes of vertical ovals. Average adult height is 6 feet, and average adult weight is 200 pounds.
Landors are one of the three species together known as the Mercatorians of the Mercatorian Empire, an interstellar empire of merchants, which includes the Interstar Trading Worlds.
They are sexually compatible with Aquari and Aviacaels and for reproduction resulting in mixed species.
Like all Mercatorians, they have Caeruli souls in the spectrum of blue light.
The planet named Skylor orbits one of the three stars of the Great Triangle Constellation, as viewed from colony planet Citra. It is one of the three home planets of the Mercatorians in the Mercatorian Empire, an empire of merchants including the colony planets of the Interstar Trading Worlds. It’s the home planet of the Aviacaels.
Fourth planet from its sun, at a distance of about 131.01 million miles, there are 515.17 days in each of its years. It has an equatorial diameter of 9,930 miles, with a rotation of 30 hours per day.
Half of its surface is land, in the formation of sixteen continents, most of which are covered by high mountain peaks averaging 58,000 feet. Its troposphere extends up to an average of 21,75 miles, which is about three times higher than the troposphere on Aquamar or Langenth. Skylor has multi-colored bands of clouds circling the planet from east to west in the upper third of its troposphere, making it appear to be like the planets known as “gas giants,” but on a smaller scale.
Fluctuations in the haze of the uppermost layer of its atmosphere, at an altitude of about three hundred miles, where nitrogen is almost nonexistent, the thin remains of atmosphere appears to touch the rings of asteroids and smaller rocks, in orbit. The rings were formed from three large moons, which broke apart long ago. Those ancient moons had atmospheres, absorbed by the planet when they broke apart, contributing to the upper third of the troposphere, instead of being lost to space.
The lower two thirds of the troposphere is about 70% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, 5% chlorine, and 5% other gases. The extra chlorine gas in the atmosphere is needed to support the immune system of Aviacaels, its native people. This is also true of the Aquari of planet Skylor and the Landors of planet Langenth. They are highly allergic to air pollens, and the extra chlorine gas in the atmosphere helps to counteract the impact of the air pollens.
Skylor is one of the three home planets of the Mercatorians in the Mercatorian Empire, an empire of merchants including the colony planets of the Interstar Trading Worlds.
A native person of planet Skylor.
Aviacaels have back wings and wings on their legs. They are able to fly at high altitudes, even into the middle third of the troposphere. The average height of an adult is 7 feet, and average weight is 200 pounds.
When Landors came to planet Skylor and made first contact, some Landors at first believed they found the angelic beings of an ancient religion on planet Langenth. They actually appear to be a cross between birds and sapes.
Aviacaels are known for their honesty and integrity. They are trustworthy and reliable.
Most of their cities are built into the sides of high mountain peaks, such as caves and caverns therein.
Aviacaels are one of the three species together known as the Mercatorians of the Mercatorian Empire, an interstellar empire of merchants, which includes the Interstar Trading Worlds.
The Aquari of planet Aquamar, Landors of planet Langenth, and Aviacaels of planet Skylor are sexually compatible, resulting in mixed species.
Like all Mercatorians, they have Caeruli souls in the spectrum of blue light.
…After a few minutes, the time traveler from planet Mirandus turned away from the posters hanging on a wall in the Amicus Castle Hotel dining room. He returned to the table he was previously sitting at.
The waitress, serving him coffee, appeared to be about age 14 in MC years, age 18 in Mirandian years. She made him think of his daughter, age 18, attending her first year of college. Then he thought about the niece of Amicus.
Marea Amor Exsequor. Landor, female. Born MC Year 742 on planet Langenth, turning age 14 during MC Year 756. Daughter of King Patres Naturum Exsequor and Queen Vetustissima Materna Exsequor, the last of the Landor royal monarchies on planet Langenth. Her parents were killed during the historic Teznite raid on planet Langenth early during year 746. Nautus Draco Exsequor, her brother, missing since the raid, presumed dead. One witness claims he was taken prisoner by the Teznites, although Teznites are not known to take prisoners. Marea is the niece of Saltus Amicus Exsequor. She was taken by her uncle to colony planet Citra during MC Year 746. Upon becoming an adult at age 14, she became an air traffic controller at Amicus Castle Hotel for guests arriving and departing via small aircraft and spacecraft. While on colony planet Citra, before she became married, she was known by the frontier initial name [fin] of MEA. The meaning of her name Marea Amor Exsequor is “Sea of Love Enforcer.” Recovered records from a Mercatorian time capsule report that she signed up and was accepted to go on the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition. She became married to Mutarus Tempus Omnia on Citra Day 248 of MC Year 760, who went on the expedition to the new world with her. Marea and Mutarus boarded Star Ship Providence on Citra Day 348, and then departed on the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition on Citra Day 356 of MC year 760. She became a communications officer aboard Star Ship Providence during the voyage to planet Mirandus when she was not in cold sleep hibernation. She was part of the diplomatic mission after arriving at planet Mirandus. She died a few months later on planet Mirandus after being exposed to a virus she was not immune to.
The time traveler came to Citra with a special plan for Mutarus Tempus Omnia. He thought about using Marea Amor Exsequor in the plan, but decided to use Vox Liberta Antiqu instead.
Viator Tempus Acta, who is really John Peter Robinson from the planet the Mercatorians named Mirandus, stared down into the darkness of the beverage in the cup. All that caffeine helped the time traveler to adjust to the local time. Jet travel lag is nothing compared to the horrible impact of time machine travel lag. Space traveling Mercatorians regularly experience something similar, traveling between planets, with the difference between departure time, ship time during the voyage, and time at destination upon arrival. He thought about that, and other things, as he focused on the cup. It could easily have been a cup made on Mirandus. The waitress had just refilled it with more coffee for him. No cream. No sugar. Right then, he would have preferred a carbonated soft drink beverage with caffeine and sugar in it, but the Mercatorians did not have any beverages of that kind. Perhaps I’ll change that, he thought to himself.
John Peter hadn’t noticed the background music being played over mounted speakers in the corners of the restaurant until Amicus arrived. As Amicus walked into the dining room, and John Peter happened to look in the direction of the entrance, he heard strangely familiar music. He had just finished another cup of coffee, and had put his air filter mask back on. Aside from John Peter having seen his holographic photo, Amicus would certainly get noticed in any room, and probably be recognized by most of the colonists in the City of Thrae and others on planet Citra. Of course, Amicus had no trouble spotting the time traveler from Mirandus. He walked over to his table, pulled out a chair, and sat across from him. John Peter’s horizontal oval shaped eyes stared into the vertical oval shaped eyes of Amicus.
He looks more like a cross between a wolf and an ape than anything else, John Peter thought to himself about the physical description of Amicus, a Landor from Langenth.
Without any introductions, Amicus asked, “Why do you want to meet with Vox?”
“General Exsequor.” Victor greeted. “Before I answer that question, I must ask you about the restaurant background music I’m hearing right now. What is it?”
“It’s called Puer et Lupus.” Amicus answered, speaking the title in an ancient Landor language of which the Mercatorian Standard Language is based on. “The theme music of a story from long ago on my home planet, Langenth.”
“The boy and the wolf.” John Peter translated from the ancient language. “Oh! Peter and the Wolf.”
“So, you know our languages.” Amicus said. Then he asked, “You know of that song and story?”
“Yes. We have something like that from long ago in our history.” John Peter replied, and briefly thought about it.
“Perhaps it is the same story, or a similar story with slight differences in species, which was eventually passed on to Mirandians from Mercatorians in a time capsule.” Amicus said.
“Perhaps.” John Peter agreed. Then he said, “To answer your question, I know about Vox from records found in one of the recovered Mercatorian time capsules. She will know all of the people who will be constructing Star Ship Providence in orbit of this planet during the next four Mercatorian calendar years. She will be in charge of providing them with entertainment during their free hours. Including certain beverages with a special ingredient to be added by her. I want her to pass all requested information on to me and my associates.” Victor answered.
“That’s between you and Vox. I will not interfere with that. I might even be able to help. I too have many contacts, many sources of information.” Amicus said. “I do wonder . . . why representatives of your world are not openly contacting representatives of the Mercatorian Empire. Why the secrecy and using Vox as a contact to acquire information?”
“Scientists of Project Timeglass have concluded it is best to not inform members of the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition about their fate, as history on the current timeline has recorded it to be. They should only be given advice to be prepared for what might happen to them after arriving at planet Mirandus. Also, Clockwork mission specialists have concluded it is best for our existence to not be recorded into your present history, as contact between present Mercatorians and future Mirandians. It’s not just a problem with paradoxes in time, in history, but also concern about Teznites discovering our attempt to save our people in our time by saving Mercatorians in their time.” John Peter explained. “I know you will not be going on the expedition, so it is acceptable for you to be contacted and to know about our plans. Perhaps you too can provide us with information.”
“If I provide you with information, it will not be free.” Amicus told the time traveler, then clarified, “I don’t mean money.”
“I can provide you with gold as payment for usable information. You can use it to pay for expanding your private military organization, the Desarites.” John Peter offered, even though he understood Amicus had declined the offer of money.
“Of course that would be appreciated.” Amicus replied, “Even so, I propose to trade information for information. Knowledge is power and it has value, as I’m sure you know or you wouldn’t be here now. That’s what I mean when I say any information I provide will not be for free.”
“I’m willing to trade information for information, and I’m sure my associates will also agree to provide you with some gold for your Desarites.” John Peter expanded his offer. “Just let me know what you want to know, and I’ll at least try to get the information for you.”
“Excellent.” Amicus accepted the terms. “So . . . a new star ship will be built in orbit of this planet for the expedition to the new world, and it will be named Providence.”
“Yes.” John Peter confirmed. Then he reached for and opened his small brown travel bag to remove a small device. He pressed buttons on it, and then it displayed a document on a small screen. He read it to Amicus. “This is what we know of it from time capsule records…” He showed the displayed document to Amicus.
Providence – Star Ship
Primary construction of Star Ship Providence was completed without ceremony on Citra Day 197 of Mercatorian Calendar Year 760. Even so, it would take 159 Citra days to complete preparations, which included loading cargo, crew and passengers, as well as 12 interstar trading ships.
Star Ship Providence departed Citra Day 356 of MC Year 760 on the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition.
A mammoth cylinder, it measured 20 miles [32.1868 km] in length, 2 miles [3.21868 km] in diameter, on the outside. Internally, it was like a city in space that could travel between planets. The tunnel core of the cylinder, open from one end to the other, measured 6336 feet [1931.212 m] in diameter. The cylinder rotated on its center axis to create the artificial gravity by centrifugal force, so the inside of the outer hul became the bottom floor of the internal pressurized environment. From the bottom to top was equal to 2112 feet [643.737 m], which was exactly 176 levels. Just one Mercatorian standard gravity on the lowest or outermost level when the ship was in full rotation. Level 177 was the roof, or the inner hul on the inside of the tunnel core of the ship. The only exterior viewports were on the bow and stern rings of the ship. There were interior viewports next to docking hatches along the inside of the tunnel core. The curved exterior of the cylinder was a gun grey color, and had no features or markings of any kind.
“That’s significantly larger than any star ship we have ever built.” Amicus commented.
John Peter responded to that by reading the next part of the document. “Star Ship Providence was a carrier of 12 interstar trading ships. Each of those were carried in the tunnel core of the star ship. Each trading ship was rectangular, with a length of 0.9 miles or 4752 feet [1448.409 m], a width of 0.4 miles or 2112 feet [643.737 m], and a depth of 0.1 miles or 528 feet [160.934 m].”
“All of our interstar trading ships are in the precise ratios of 1 by 4 by 9, the squares of the first three integers.” Amicus said.
John Peter continued reading the document. “The sides of the interstar trading ships are gun grey in color, nearly black, and completely without features or markings of any kind. Hatches and viewports are located on the 0.1 x 0.4 rectangular bow and stern ends. Normally, interstar trading ships of this design would not rotate on their axis to create artificial gravity, but could do so when necessary for any special cargo, people, and other life forms. Therefore, the width of 0.4 miles or 2112 feet [643.737 m] resulted in there being exactly 176 levels. The names of the 12 interstar trading ships carried aboard Star Ship Providence are: Adventure, Beacon, Destiny, Fortune, Independence, Liberty, Opportunity, Prosperity, Quest, Success, Triumph, and Unity.”
“How many Mercatorians went on the expedition?” Amicus asked.
“Star Ship Providence carried officers and crew totaling 300, and passengers totaling 12,000. Plus one unexpected addition to the list of passengers, apparently a stowaway. There’s no specific information about that individual.” Victor paused again, and then continued reading. “That’s a grand total of 12,301 Mercatorians on the expedition. Star Ship Providence was to become a space station in orbit of the new world, with a crew of 300. Each of the 12 interstar trading ships were to have a crew of 100, and 900 mission specialists. Some of them were sent to explore the other planets of the solar system. One of them still exists in my time. We’ve located it in orbit of the sixth planet of our solar system. We don’t have the ability to reach it yet. We don’t know what happened to its crew. Apparently it has been stranded in orbit there for about the past 40 thousand years. At least two of the interstar trading ships landed on Mirandus instead of using what Mercatorians referred to as landing bells. We don’t know what happened to the other 9 interstar trading ships, but we believe they were not aboard the star ship when it fell from orbit.” John Peter switched off the hand-held device displaying the document. Then he said, “Black monoliths.”
“What?” Amicus asked, not sure he understood Viator Tempus Acta correctly because of his odd accent and way of speaking the Mercatorian Standard Language.
“The stuff of science fiction.” John Peter answered. “Your interstar trading ships are nearly identical in appearance to the black monoliths described in a science fiction book that was written by one of our famous authors.”
“So, you’re not from a planet named Arcanum.” Amicus remarked. It was said to let Viator Tempus Acta know Amicus knew about the lie Viator told to Servare.
“No, I’m not from Arcanum.” John Peter confirmed. “As you know, my home world was named Mirandus by Mercatorians, and the sun of my home planet was named Bracatus. We discovered those names in a time capsule recovered 2,012 years ago. I came here from the year 2012 CE—Common Era. Ever since the discovery we have referred to our planet by the name Mirandus.” He paused a moment, then explained, “I wasn’t sure yet if I could trust Servare, so I gave him the planned cover story.”
“Other than wanting to talk to Vox, why…” Amicus began the question.
John Peter began his answer before Amicus could complete his question. “This is an historic date. MC Year 756, local Citra Day 221, what you refer to as Paumday of your week of 8 days, 25 hours per day here on capital planet Citra. An official announcement will be made later today to all of the Interstar Trading Worlds via the Interstar Trading News Network. The announcement will be about a new inhabitable planet having been discovered by two astronomers. Brothers named Bracatus Terram Astrus and Mirandus Novum Astrus. The inhabitable planet will be named Mirandus, and its sun named Bracatus. The expedition to the new world will become known as the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition. It will include five missions. The Diplomatic Mission will attempt to establish trade relations with the primitive native Mirandians there during the year Mirandians refer to as 37,998 BCE—Before Common Era. That mission ties in with the merchant mission to acquire goods to bring back and sell. The military mission will attempt to establish a military base there from which to attack the Teznite Empire, which is located between planet Mirandus and the Mercatorian Empire. The religious mission will attempt to educate the native Mirandians and try to get them to join the Mercatorian Common Faith. The science mission will be involved in many different experiments. It will attempt to help Mercatorians adapt to life on Mirandus, and among other interests find out what kinds of Mercatorian crops can be grown on Mirandus.”
“All of that will fail if the mutiny is not prevented, if history can’t be changed.” Amicus said. Then he explained, “One of your associates, during a previous visit, informed Vox about the failed expedition, caused by a mutiny aboard the star ship, resulting in it falling from orbit and being destroyed. So I already know a few Mercatorians survived at a land base for up to a year. That base was to become a city named Hortum City, named for Basius Hortum Astrus, a very rich Landor on Langenth who paid for the merchant mission.”
“The name Hortum translates to mean Garden. And the name Basius Hortum Astrus translates to mean The garden at the base of the stars.” John Peter reported.
“The few survivors of the mutiny and crash of the star ship eventually ran out of supplies. Then they died from a variety of causes.” Amicus said. “I know they had the means to travel all around Mirandus to bury a number of time capsules.”
“We know from records found in a recovered time capsule that most of them died from viruses their immune systems could not protect them from on Mirandus.” John Peter reported. “It is like the ending of a book written by another of our science fiction authors, which was about a war between worlds. The invading aliens died from viruses. Their alien immune systems could not protect them from Mirandian viruses.”
“Did any of your science fiction authors ever write about time travelers?” Amicus asked, but it wasn’t a serious question. More of a joke. His kind of humor.
“Several.” John Peter answered. Then he repeated, as if to confirm events, “My associates and I have recovered most of the time capsules by 2012 CE—Common Era, the year I came here from, about 40 thousand years after the Mercatorian expedition.”
“What is Common Era?” Amicus asked, then remarked, “Sounds like it might be similar to an event in Mercatorian Common Faith history, known as Confirmation Day.”
“The answer to that question is a bit complicated.” John Peter said.
“No doubt, especially if the history of your world is full of time paradoxes, now that your people have discovered how to travel across time.” Amicus replied.
“Yes. I’ve directly experienced a few time paradoxes myself after being sent on Clockwork missions.” Victor confirmed. “I remember a slightly different timeline than normal people living outside of the Timeglass project of the government I work for. Also, some kinds of time paradoxes might be impossible for me to remember. Anyway, the use of Common Era for dates does have a connection to religious history, as well as the discovery of the first recovered time capsule. Overall, it has to do with when science began to overcome superstition. I do know of the Mercatorian Common Faith and its history including Confirmation Day, when Mercatorians were contacted by Trinity Angels from the Realm of Heaven in the spiritual universe.”
“Yes. The arrival of the Trinity Angel Ambassadors . . . and Trinity Angel Navigators assigned to our interstar trading ships and star ships while traveling through the realm known as buffer-space, the Shield of Heaven.” Amicus said.
“We’ve named it the Hellfield.” John Peter told him.
“It separates the physical universe from the spiritual universe.” Amicus continued, “Therein, our ships can travel 666 times faster than their normal maximum speed of about one tenth of the speed of light in physical space.”
“You had to cross the hellfield to get to Mirandus in a few years instead of thousands of years.” John Peter paused a moment, then added, “I know it is the dwelling place of demon Teznites, the spirits of dead Teznites, who like to terrify voyagers with images of eternal death in fire. Of course, the reality is that all unshielded organic matter is burned up by SlipField waves in that realm, preventing physical beings from entering the spiritual universe and entering the Realm of Heaven. Two ways to cross the hellfield. SlipField ArchPads with travelers shielded by FireEmeralds. Or, aboard a shielded ship with the help of a Trinity Angel Navigator.”
“We seek to use Mirandus as a military base from which we can attack Teznites. The planets of their empire are located between the Mercatorian Empire and your planet Mirandus. Perhaps you know that they are an intelligent life form that has become a threat to our worlds in the competition for food. Like us they are carnivores, but unlike us they are also blood suckers.” Amicus reported. “They have no concept of trade. They take what they want, or at least they try to take what they want.”
“It is my understanding they appear to be partly of what you refer to as a sape, and partly blood-sucking spiders.” John Peter paused, then added, “Vampires, known as lamia in your ancient language . . . what Mirandians refer to as the Latinum language. Capitalize lamia to Lamia, then the translation into Common Anglicus, the language now spoken by most Mirandians, is the personal name Lilith. In our ancient history, she was a demon, about the same time in history as the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition.”
“Perhaps Lilith was a demon Teznite who took possession of a Mercatorian on the expedition. A female name.” Amicus paused a moment, then said, “Teznites are like insects who have a queen. If we fail to turn our defensive war with them into an offensive war, then they might conquer the Interstar Trading Worlds.”
“You also seek to expand your empire in your time.” John Peter replied. “We seek to restore your empire in our time in order to save our future, which I’ve seen. We know about the threat of the Teznites. No rescue mission was sent by your worlds to Mirandus, because the Teznites launched a massive attack against your worlds, and won the war. Eventually, they will reach our planet and destroy us too. One of the possible history timelines. Just as I’ve traveled about 40 thousand years into the past from my perspective, I’ve also been able to travel into the future of Mirandus. It will become a Teznite colony planet, with only a few surviving Mirandians treated like cattle living on the surface while Teznites live underground.” John Peter paused in thought, then continued. “You know how long it takes for light to travel between your worlds and Mirandus. You use a year of 456 days, 25 hours per day, on Citra, for your measurement of light-years. We use a year of 356 days, 24 hours per day, on Mirandus, for our measurement of light-years. Even so, your measurement of hours, minutes, and seconds is the same on Mirandus. We probably long ago learned about those measurements from documents in a recovered Mercatorian time capsule. Anyway, what we see in our telescopes is the past, not the present. There might be a way for your Mercatorian Empire to span time as well as space. By saving your past we will save our future. Help me and you will be saving the Interstar Trading Worlds of the Mercatorian Empire.” John Peter paused again, then added, “For time travelers, of a kind, answers can come before questions.”
Amicus stood up, then said, “I’ll see if I can locate Vox and have her meet you here, if you would like to wait for her here.”
“I can wait for a while.” John Peter replied. “I will need to return by noon—solar zenith to a cavern where the Virgo River crosses the Valley of the Caves. That’s where one of my associates is working. It is also our arrival and departure location.”
“Why there?” Amicus asked.
“One of your former associates, a former Desarite, whose name we do not yet know, has with other Landors been involved with the construction of illegal SlipField ArchPads. Travelers can be sent between ArchPads, or from an ArchPad to a portable target pad plate from which the traveler can return.” John Peter explained. “They’ve been using the Palatium Caverns as a location to conduct experiments. A target pad plate was left in one of the cavern caves. On Mirandus, in the year 2012 CE, we finished building a SlipField ArchPad with a TimeArch in addition to a SpaceArch, from detailed plans found in a recovered time capsule. When we switched it on, an internal scanner located a target pad plate across space and time in the cavern cave. There’s an opening, a tunnel, on the side of the mountain, going into the cavern. From there, at the far side of the cavern is an opening into a cave. We traveled to the target pad plate there.”
“The name of the former Desarite is Spinus Rimorus Impetum.” Amicus said. “Several Desarites broke away with him and formed their own underground private military group during the first week of this year. They are known as the Oppugnare Griffins. A few of them are somewhere here on Citra. I know they refer to their leader by his fin, his frontier initial name, which is SIR. No doubt Spinus Rimorus of the Impetum family from Langenth. I know they intend to use illegal SlipField ArchPads as means to get aboard and attack Teznite star ships, and possibly even planets in the Teznite Empire.”
“How can they accomplish that?” John Peter inquired.
“Bait.” Amicus answered. “They plan to allow Teznites to detect and intercept a shipment of FireEmeralds. Within the shipping boxes will be hidden target pad plates.”
“Brilliant plan.” John Peter commented. “I like it.”
“Of course, I can’t officially and openly be involved in such an activity that would be considered illegal by the Mercatorian Military Defense Forces as well as Interstar Trading Authority and Interstar Trading Security. Use of SlipField ArchPads is illegal because they are too dangerous.” Amicus explained. “I’m not opposed to Spinus Rimorus Impetum and the Oppugnare Griffins, but I can’t openly support them.”
“So . . . find a way to make them safe.” John Peter suggested. “Then they need not be illegal anymore.”
“Possible.” Amicus replied. “But I have reason to believe there is much more to it than that. Another reason for making them illegal. I suspect Trinity Angels have not authorized their use, because it does involve travelers passing through the buffer-space. Without their permission, we really can’t do anything within that realm. They don’t like SlipField ArchPads. They want to supervise every trip with the use of their navigators aboard every ship, which makes us dependent on them. The use of SlipField ArchPads bypasses them, and makes us a bit more independent.”
“I understand.” John Peter replied. “We know about the Trinity Angels, but they’ve not yet appeared openly for all Mirandians to know about them. We have a variation of the Common Faith on Mirandus in 2012 CE, which is known as Spiritual Universalists. Anyway, perhaps Trinity Angels are concerned about the possibility of physical beings attempting to cross over from the physical universe into the spiritual universe.”
“Perhaps.” Amicus replied. “Some of us Landors from planet Langenth believe that the physical universe was created by the Trinity Angels of the spiritual universe, that the physical universe is a kind of playground for them.”
“Like what virtual reality is to the physical universe?” John Peter asked.
“Yes, if I understand your meaning correctly.” Amicus answered. “We have computers, which we are able to use to create artificial worlds in which we can interact. A user can die in the artificial world, get killed in battle, while living on here unharmed in the real physical world. The comparison has to do with people dying in the physical universe, while their souls live on unharmed in the spiritual universe from where they came before physical incarnation here. So they come here to live out their spiritual fantasies in physical form, without resulting in any real harm to their souls.”
“Interesting possibility.” John Peter remarked. “By the way, regarding my physical life here and now, I am getting a bit hungry for breakfast. What do you recommend?”
“Well, Viator Tempus Acta, best if you start out with the mint leaves.” Amicus replied.
“Like a salad.” John Peter commented.
“Of course you must try the orange juice, which comes from nearby orange tree orchards. It’s the most popular fruit and fruit juice on planet Citra.” Amicus informed the time traveler.
“We have orange trees and orange juice on Mirandus, probably brought to my planet during the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition.” John Peter replied. “I do see your restaurant menu lacks a kind of beverage we have on Mirandus, known as carbonated soft drinks.”
“I’m not familiar with those.” Amicus said.
“Perhaps I can get the formula and bring some samples during my next trip here. Shouldn’t do any harm to the timeline.” John Peter replied. “My favorite is known as Doctor Pepper.”
“The name makes it sound like a medicine.” Amicus commented with a sour look on his face.
“It does make me feel better.” John Peter said. “It has caffeine in it. I like to put it in a glass with crushed ice. Then put a shot of orange juice on top, not mixed in or shaken. I’ve named that variation a Doctor Sunrise.”
“Bring a sample on your next visit and I’ll give it a try. Of course you’ll need money to pay for breakfast today. Servare told me. You have a timepiece you would like to sell to me?” Amicus inquired.
John Peter removed a gold watch from his small travel bag and handed it to Amicus. “Try this. You wear it on a wrist. See if it fits.”
“Novel idea, wearing a timepiece on a wrist.” Amicus commented as he put it on his right wrist. “Yes, it fits, but it might take some time for me to get used to it. Perhaps I could have it modified. Put a chain on it. Keep it in a pocket.”
“I can get a really nice gold pocket watch for you.” John Peter offered. “With a chain on it.”
“Then we have a deal. The obvious quality of the gold this timepiece is made from will be enough compensation in the meantime. Good of you to plan ahead by making it a timepiece that counts 25 hours instead of 24.” Amicus said. “Welcome to the Mercatorian Empire. I’ll get a money card for you and have some credit put on it.” Amicus got the attention of the dining room manager, and used a few hand signals to communicate with him. Then he said, “A waitress will come to your table to get your breakfast order. I’ve paid for it.”
“Thanks.” John Peter replied.
“Perhaps we’ll talk again later today.” Amicus said. He turned and started to walk away. Then he turned around and asked, “What is your name in your Common Anglicus language?”
“John Peter Robinson.” he answered.
Amicus considered the name for a moment. Then he said, “Enjoy your meal.” After that, he turned away and left the dining room through the courtyard exit.
After crossing the courtyard field, Amicus entered the hotel lobby. Servare was waiting for him. Servare was using the security cameras to watch for Amicus to leave the dining room and return to the hotel lobby.
“There’s been a surprising development.” Servare told Amicus.
“Oh? What’s happened?” Amicus asked.
“You recall the new security scanners I had installed?” Servare replied with the question.
“Yes. One at each entrance to the hotel. Expensive, but worth it.” Amicus recalled. “Has one of the scanners detected a Mercatorian possessed by a demon Teznite?”
“Not yet.” Servare answered. “However, the time traveler was scanned when he entered the lobby earlier this morning.”
“He’s not been possessed by a demon Teznite has he?” Amicus asked with some concern. “He did have to pass through the realm of buffer-space to get here. The dwelling place of demon Teznites.”
“No.” Servare reported. “The time traveler is one of us.”
“What do you mean, one of us?” Amicus asked.
“We scanned the previous time traveler who came here, one of his associates. People from Mirandus have Viridi souls, which are souls in the spectrum of green light. The time traveler sitting over there in your dining room has a Caeruli soul, a soul in the spectrum of blue light. Only Mercatorians—Aquari of Aquamar, Aviacaels of Skylor, and Landors of Langenth—have Caeruli souls.” Servare explained. “We were created by the Great Maternal Spirit and the Great Paternal Spirit at the same time and in the same area of space. According to Trinity Angel Navigators, our souls were color-coded the same, because it was the intention of the Creator Daughters and the Creator Sons, as well as the Most Highs in the Realm of Heaven, for there to be a Mercatorian Empire, as the Interstar Trading Worlds. They had a different plan for Mirandians, and so their souls were given a different color-coding for their area of space and their time in galactic history.”
“What does the time traveler having a Caeruli soul mean?” Amicus asked.
“I believe it means he was a Mercatorian during a previous life. That a Mercatorian died on Mirandus, and then his soul was reincarnated on Mirandus into that Mirandian born there.” Servare paused, then added, “Further, I believe I’ve identified him. I mean, who he was when he was a Mercatorian.”
“So, who was he, or is he?” Amicus asked.
“Viator Tempus Acta. I mean the soul of Viator Tempus Acta. So there really is a Mercatorian who has that name. The time traveler didn’t just make up that name to blend in here. He was Viator Tempus Acta.” Servare paused again, then added, “I found Venator Siderus Acta, living on Langenth. I checked records. He did go on an expedition to a distant planet. Yes. The records show it to have been named Arcanum. Of course, Arcanum is not Mirandus.”
“Where is the real Viator Tempus Acta now? Can the same soul be in two different bodies at the same time?” Amicus wondered.
“Apparently so. A kind of spiritual paradox, like a time paradox.” Servare answered. “However, I’ve not been able to find out the current location of Viator Tempus Acta. He is a Landor born on Langenth, not Arcanum. He is the biological son of Venator Siderus Acta, not adopted. So that part of the time traveler’s story, to explain his physical differences, is of course not true.”
“Imagine that.” Amicus replied. “We don’t know where the Landor version of Viator Tempus Acta is right now, but I can guess where he will be in 4 years. We will send our people on an expedition to Mirandus. He will be one of them. He will die on Mirandus. His soul will be reincarnated into primitive Mirandian life on that world instead of ascending into the spiritual realm. Somehow, his soul was trapped on that planet in a series of reincarnations spanning about 40 thousand years. Now he has returned home, in Mirandian form.”
“Almost like . . . soul travel.” Servare said.
“Yes. I’ve heard of that.” Amicus replied.
Servare went on to describe it anyway. “Soul travel between inhabited planets. Imagine the possibility! You leave your physical body on your home planet. Your soul gets sent instantly across the universe to another inhabited planet, where it is born into the life of that world. After completing your visit there, such as for a whole lifetime ending in physical death, your soul returns to its home world. There it is returned to its original physical body that was saved in cold sleep hibernation, or you are born into a new body on your home world. Solves the time and distance problem.”
“It would solve the immunity problem.” Amicus said.
“And language differences.” Servare mentioned.
“Social differences too.” Amicus added. “What is acceptable in the culture of one world might not be acceptable in the culture of another world. Consider the differences between the cultures on our home world. Just look at what is exposed at night under the light of the two full moons as they go around planet Langenth.”
“We have found the aliens, and they are us. We are all just visiting this or any planet. That which we truly are is spiritual. The body we live in is like a land vehicle, and the driver is a Caeruli soul. We come to this physical life in spiritual form from the spiritual universe. We use a body, which has been designed to be able to live in the environment of this world, while visiting this world. When we are finished, the physical body is no longer needed and we spiritually return to where we came from.” Servare said.
“You sound like a High Seer of the Common Faith.” Amicus replied.
“Imagine the possibility of not needing a star ship to travel between inhabited planets. What if it is possible to remove the soul without causing the death of the physical body? The body is placed into a long term cold sleep hibernation chamber. The soul is removed and instantly sent to a distant inhabited planet, like sending a message on a beam of light but much faster through buffer-space. The soul is received there, and then placed into a physical body native to that world. It could be a fully developed adult body, or it might be necessary for the soul to be born into an baby – to then grow up on the alien planet – to naturally learn the language and culture of that world. You then have the right kind of physical body to be able to function in the environment and culture of the alien world. The next step is to restore your memories. You can’t bring physical cargo with you for trade, but you can bring knowledge with you for trade. Knowledge is power and has great value worth trading for. They learn from you, and you learn from them. Finally, after a lifetime there, your soul is returned to your home world, where you are placed back into your original body after it is removed from hibernation. Or you are born into a new body. You have brought back to your home world with you in the memories of your soul the knowledge you gained while living on the alien world. That is soul travel.” Servare finally finished, having repeated some of it as if he liked the sound of it all.
“If the Trinity Angels were to permit it.” Amicus pointed out.
“Apparently they have allowed a time traveler from another world to come here, so why not allow soul travel?” Servare asked.
“Well, don’t ask me to volunteer for soul travel.” Amicus replied. “I’ll be satisfied with living out my life here, once upon a time.”
The time traveler was still in the dining room of the Amicus Castle Hotel waiting for Vox Liberta Antiqu. While he waited, he used his hand held document viewer to review the Mercatorian History Timeline…
MC Year = Mercatorian Calendar. The Mercatorian Calendar began with the First Convention of Mercatorians, which included Aquari from plant Aquamar, Aviacaels from planet Skylor, and Landors of planet Langenth. It took place on planet Langenth in its world-wide capital City of Plerusque. The Mercatorian Empire of the Interstar Trading Worlds began with that convention. It lasted a full year, so it’s conclusion was dated MC Year 1, which originally was based on the length of a year on planet Langenth. Eventually, the Mercatorian Calendar became based on a year on planet Citra, where the first colony was established by Aquari, Aviacaels, and Landors, as Mercatorians, during MC Year 60.
OC Year = Old Calendar of the Landors on planet Langenth. The Old Calendar began when Landors started keeping written records, which coincided with the impact of a massive comet. It was named the Mors-Astrum comet. Before the comet hit, there were ape-like creatures, Mirandian-like creatures [humans], and a third branch considered to be a link between those two known as sapes. The Mirandian-like creatures had the beginning of a world-wide civilization when the Mors-Astrum comet hit. The ape-like creatures roamed free in areas not yet occupied by the Mirandian-like creatures and lived in trees, while the Mirandian-like creatures built structures made from stone and wood to live in. They became extinct as result of the exposure to the comet impact. The sapes lived in caves and caverns, so they survived the comet impact, then eventually became the one dominant intelligent species on Langenth.
OC Year 1: One year after the Mors-Astrum comet hit planet Langenth.
OC Year 600: Landors began building their first structures to live in as they stopped living in caves.
OC Year 2560: First space ship built by Landors that was able to maintain orbit around planet Langenth.
OC Year 2570: First space station built in orbit of planet Langenth.
OC Year 2580: First landings on the two moons of Langenth. Magnus, the largest, has a thin but breathable atmosphere—with limited exposure. Parvus, the smaller, has no atmosphere.
OC Year 2600: First landing on the nearest planet, Vetus, fourth planet from its sun. Langenth is third planet from its sun.
OC Year 2700: First interstellar voyage of an interstellar space ship reached planet Skylor. Landors have first contact with Aviacaels. The voyage to planet Skylor took about 10 years as years were measured on plant Langenth. Skylor is 1 light-year from Langenth. The maximum speed of Landor space ships is about one tenth of the speed of light.
OC Year 2740: First space ship from planet Langenth reached planet Aquamar. First contact with the Aquari. The voyage to planet Aquamar took about 10 years as years were measured on plant Langenth. The suns of Aquamar, Langenth, and Skylor form an equilateral triangle of about 1 light-year on each side.
OC Year 3000: First Convention of Mercatorians on planet Langenth, which lasted 1 year. Then began the Mercatorian Calendar dated as Year 1.
MC Year 1: Beginning of the Mercatorian Empire with the first worldwide and interstellar “merchant government” on Langenth and with Aquamar and Skylor. Beginning of the Interstar Trading Worlds, and Interstar Trading Authority. The University for Alien Environment Research is built on planet Langenth.
MC Year 60: First colony established by Mercatorians on planet Citra, which was the first inhabitable planet to be discovered by Mercatorians other than their own home planets of Aquamar, Langenth, and Skylor. Construction of the first city on Citra began from the location of the first colony base. It was named the City of Thrae.
MC Year 66: Mercatorians discovered an alien base located on colony planet Citra, about 10 miles west-southwest of the City of Thrae. Mercatorians named the aliens Teznites. They were unable to communicate with them. Their base was first used as a location from which to hunt wild animals. The Teznites have no concept of trade. They considered the Mercatorians to be unacceptable competition for food, mainly sources of meat. Teznites turned their primary hunting base on Citra into a military base from which to attack the intruding colonists. The Mercatorians won the first battle with Teznites, and destroyed their base. After that, the ruins of the Teznite base were known as the Haunted Rocks.
MC Year 72: Teznites began a long series of raids on planet Citra. They used significantly faster star ships with WakeDrive propulsion to travel to Citra from the planets of their empire, which Mercatorians refer to as the Teznite Empire.
MC Year 560: First Convention to establish the Common Faith of Mercatorians took place on colony planet Citra.
MC Year 746: The year of the historic raid on the City of Plerusque on planet Langenth by Teznites. It took place on Day 11 and began at 09:00 LTZ. That same year, soon after the Teznite raid, during the next Holy Day, the event known as Confirmation Day took place. It was when angelic beings known as Trinity Angel Ambassadors, who came from the Realm of Heaven in the spiritual universe, had first contact with Mercatorians. Then the Trinity Angels allowed Mercatorians to have access to the realm known as buffer-space, where their space ships could travel 666 times faster than in normal space. It is the realm that separates the physical universe from the spiritual universe. The Mercatorian voyagers were provided with Trinity Angel Navigators to help them travel through buffer-space. It is also the realm of demon Teznites, the spirits of dead Teznites. After that, there was a significant increase in the number of colonists on planet Citra. The Mercatorians began building a fleet of interstar trading ships for buffer-space travel between their home worlds and colony planets.
MC Year 756: Astronomers on planet Langenth witnessed the dissipation of the AterMare Cloud. New stars and planets were then discovered as result of the cloud no longer blocking their view, including the star they named Bracatus and its third planet they named Mirandus. Then construction of a new kind of star ship began for sending an expedition to planet Mirandus. The use of SlipField TeleProbes determined Mirandus to be an inhabitable planet, and inhabited by people similar to Landors but very primitive and still living in caves.
MC Year 760: Citra Day 356. Star Ship Providence departed on the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition.
…John Peter finished reading the document.
Vox Liberta Antiqu slowly walked into the dining room of the Amicus Castle Hotel restaurant as John Peter Robinson was about to give up waiting for her and leave. She did not recognize that Mirandian, but did recognize him to be a Mirandian from Mirandus. She was expecting to meet a different Mirandian.
Vox was dressed a bit more conservatively than the thong swimsuit she was seen wearing in the holographic photo of her carried by the time traveler. Black leather with brown leather seams as a kind of western flare covered her legs, arms, and as a halter top covering her chest. Her back was exposed for her wings, and sides exposed for her gills although she was then breathing air with her lungs. No gloves for her webbed hands. No boots or shoes, so her talon-like feet were exposed, as usual. John Peter thought that if an angel were turned into a dominatrix or a biker chick then Vox is what she would look like. Even so, that style of clothing was fairly common for male and female Aviacaels from planet Skylor. Leather products were their primary export. John Peter knew Vox to be part-Aviacael, part-Aquari, and part-Landor.
“You’re late . . . but I was a bit early.” John Peter said without any greeting or introduction.
“You’re not Fodere Mons Aurum.” Vox said, referring to the other time traveler.
“I’m Viator Tempus Acta.” he replied.
“That’s your cover name. What’s you real name?” she asked.
“John Peter Robinson.” he answered. “However, I do have the Caeruli soul of Viator Tempus Acta. I was him during my ancient Mercatorian life. My memory is not complete about those times. If I recall correctly, he—I was still living on Langenth, have not yet moved to Citra for the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition.”
“What about Fodere Mons Aurum?” Vox inquired.
“Just a cover name for Mark Jacob West.” John Peter answered. “He does not have a Caeruli soul in the spectrum of blue light. He has a Viridi soul in the spectrum of green light like most Mirandians. We’ve referred to ourselves as Mirandians and our planet as Mirandus ever since the first Mercatorian time capsule was recovered . . . which was left on our planet during the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition 40 thousand years before the year I came here from.”
“I understand.” Vox replied.
“Some of the things I need to know now, I don’t remember from my past life on Langenth and Citra. Information not yet recovered from the Mercatorian time capsules left on planet Mirandus during the expedition.” John Peter told her.
“I know.” Vox said. “You’re seeking the time capsule containing the detailed plans for the construction of a star ship. The master time capsule has not yet been found. It contains a map for the locations of the other 24 time capsules, including the one which contains the detailed plans for the construction of a star ship. Possibly someone else has already recovered the master time capsule and the the time capsule containing the star ship construction plans. Meantime, because you have found the time capsule containing the detailed construction plans for a SlipField ArchPad, with a Time Arch in addition to a SpaceArch, you now have the means to send a few people across time and space.”
“Mark has told you more than I thought he did.” John Peter commented.
“Where is he now?” Vox wanted to know.
“Making preparations in the cavern cave of the Palatium Caverns where you previously talked with him.” he told her. “He will still meet you there today at solar zenith as planned. He was going to first meet with you here this morning, but instead sent me.”
“He wanted me to introduce him to my father, and to Amicus, before what he plans to do during the afternoon today.” Vox said.
“Yes, I know. I just met and talked with Amicus during the previous hour. Were you able to get the list that my associate wanted you to get for him?” John Peter asked.
“No. Of course not.” Vox answered. “I’ll tell you the same thing I told him when he requested it. Apparently he didn’t understand me. That list of everyone going on the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition does not yet exist. You, John Robinson, and your time traveling associate, are lost in time. You have arrived at last three years too soon. A complete list will not be available until MC Year 759 at the soonest. I expect changes will be made to the list up to the final day before departure. There should be a list in one of the time capsules. Perhaps I can arrange to have that done. Departure date is Citra Day 356 of MC Year 760. Length of voyage will be about 3.76 MC years through buffer-space, which if I understand correctly is about 4.89 Mirandian years. The maximum speed of our interstar trading ships and star ships is about one tenth the speed of light while in normal space. In buffer-space our ships can travel 666 times faster than that speed.”
“You’re as intelligent as you are beautiful.” he complimented her.
“Thanks, but I still don’t understand why you want to interrogate Mutarus Tempus Omnia, or how you can do that without him knowing about it.” Vox said.
“Mutarus Tempus Omnia is known to us from recovered time capsule records, but not from a list of everyone who went on the expedition.” John Peter began his answer. “We know his Caeruli soul has been reincarnated on present day Mirandus, and the approximate location, but not his Mirandian name. We’re still looking for him during the year I came from, which is early in 2012 CE—Common Era. Right now, during your MC Year 756, he is planning to attend a university in Thrae to become an architect. We want you to encourage him to also get into electronics repair work, and especially to get a job as an apprentice in security work with Interstar Trading Security.”
“I can do that.” Vox replied. “Today is MOT’s birthday. MOT is his fin—his frontier initial name, a kind of neckname fad here on Citra. He turns age 14 today, and in the Holy Water and Fire Ceremony will become recognized as an adult Landor.”
“That’s about equal to age 18 in Mirandian years.” John Peter figured.
“So what’s your plan?” Vox asked him.
“After you get him to come to the cavern to go swimming with you at the natural pool there, find a way to get him to enter the center cave beyond the cavern. Perhaps a kind of birthday game, which would result in him allowing you to blindfold him. We don’t want him to see us there.” John Peter told Vox. “People going on the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition must not know about us. Also, you must not tell anyone about us, unless it is someone who we have approved, like your father and Amicus. There must not be any historical records in your time on any of your planets that we ever visited here.”
“I understand. I can get MOT to enter the cave blindfolded. I have an idea for that.” Vox told the time traveler.
“Then, with your help, we will give a special drug to him. It will be inhaled as a kind of mist. The drug will make it possible for us to question him without him remembering we did so after he returns to normal consciousness.” John Peter reported. “We’ll be able to program some information into his brain, information he will be able to recover at the right time to make use of. We know Mutarus was aboard a small aircraft used for scouting the planet, and shuttling supplies and people. It was to carry the master time capsule to a location near the northern shore of a landmass near the north pole of Mirandus. We do know from where the aircraft departed, so we know its approximate flight path. We know it crashed, but we don’t know where it crashed. We believe it is at the bottom of a large bay, at a depth of about 7 thousand feet. Probably somewhere near the southwest coast of a large landmass, most of which was covered with ice for the past 10.5 million years, until the summer of the year 2016 CE. I came here from the year 2012 CE, and have traveled to the near future of 2016 and 2017.”
“What caused the ice to melt?” Vox inquired.
“Mirandians did. Not intentionally. We polluted our atmosphere in such a way that it triggered global warming.” John Peter answered. “The northern ice cap has completely melted on my planet, as has about 50% of the southern ice cap. It suddenly happened much sooner than previously predicted. The melted ice has caused the level of our oceans to rise, in turn causing some land to now be underwater, including a major city that was a major trading port. A former state governor has just been elected the new president of our country because of how he handled other natural disasters during the past 4 years while he was a state governor.”
“What can he do?” Vox asked.
“Help the survivors to adapt to what is becoming a very different world. Significant changes are taking place on Mirandus during 2017 CE. The most powerful country on the planet is still united at the national level, but has created three regional governments to function between the national level and the level of the states. One for the conservative-minded states, one for the liberal-minded states, and one for the states where the majority of citizens consider themselves to be centrist independents. A new high-speed train on an overhead monorail route is being constructed from the city furthest north on a northern continent to a city furthest south on the connected southern continent. The resulting new businesses and jobs along its route is helping to bring the countries along its route out of a major recession. The governments on Mirandus don’t have any money to invest in exploration of space, and it’s not a high priority for private businesses.” John Peter answered. Then getting back to the primary subject of interest, he continued, saying, “Anyway, It’s almost impossible to search such a large area of water, especially that deep, and to find something as small as that aircraft and time capsule. Especially because about 40 thousand years have passed since it crashed, so it is not likely any of it has survived. If there is any remaining wreckage, then it is probably covered by several feet of sand and soil. The time capsule is designed to survive about a million years of such adverse conditions. Even so . . . well . . . my people have an old saying about finding a needle in a haystack. Nearly impossible. Deep sea diving experts will be needed to locate and recover it. We know of two who can do that, one of whom located an ocean liner that hit an iceberg and sank during Mirandian year 1912 CE.”
“So how does Mutarus fit into all that?” Vox wanted to know.
“We know he will become involved in some kind of an accident, involving a SlipField ArchPad with a TimeArch in addition to a SpaceArch. The accident will cause him to be sent on a kind of space and time traveling odyssey. We don’t know why he will end up at specific locations and points in history, each place for only a few minutes, before being returned to his departure place and time. One of those places will be on Mirandus during the year 1958 CE. We know Mutarus carried a pocket timepiece, and that it will be left behind. We believe it will end up in the hands of the Mirandian into whom the Caeruli soul of Mutarus has been reincarnated.” John Peter told Vox. “I’m going to put a special kind of tracking device into his pocket timepiece. Then back on Mirandus in my time I’ll see if I can find it, and find the Mirandian who has the soul of Mutarus. If we can restore his Mercatorian memories, then maybe he can tell us exactly where the aircraft carrying the master time capsule crashed.”
“You need a second tracking device.” Vox said. “Something that can survive 40 thousand years at the bottom of that bay. Put it in a second pocket timepiece. When Mutarus returns from that accidental trip across the shores of space and time, without his old pocket timepiece, I’ll give the new pocket timepiece to him as a special going away present when he departs on the expedition. He’ll have it with him when the aircraft he is on crashes into the bay. If underwater currents don’t carry his bones too far, and the pocket timepiece, from where the master time capsule will be…”
“Yes. Good idea.” John Peter agreed. “We do have more than one plan. Project Timeglass involves several differentClockwork missions.”
“Mutarus will not be harmed by the drug?” Vox asked.
“I can promise you Mutarus will not be harmed by us or by the drug.” John Peter assured her. “It’s the same kind of drug presently being used by the Oppugnare Griffins at the University for Alien Environment Research on Langenth. They are using some students and a few professors like slave labor, but better than that. The drug makes it possible to program them to do complicated tasks, and then have no memory of the work the following morning when they awaken. Excellent for security. The work is done only at night. They go to bed to sleep, and then they engage in something similar to sleepwalking. They only work half of a shift, every other night, three nights each week, so they do get some sleep.”
“What are they doing?” Vox asked.
“They’re constructing and experimenting with illegal SlipField ArchPads.” John Peter reported. “We believe one of their experiments will tie in with the accident that will send Mutarus on his odyssey.”
“Did you tell Amicus?” Vox asked.
“He knows about the Oppugnare Griffins planning to use SlipField ArchPads as a means to attack Teznite ships and land bases.” he answered. “I’ve not yet told him about them using university professors and students for labor.”
“My father will be very interested in that.” Vox said.
“Yes.” John Peter agreed. “We’ve been planning to inform Veritas Noctua Antiqu, Chief of Interstar Trading Security here on Citra. He wasn’t in his office here in Thrae when I stopped by there on my way to this hotel.”
“I will tell him about it for you.” Vox offered. “Meantime, I’m spending some time this morning with Marea Amor Exsequor, niece of Amicus.” Vox informed John Peter. “We are good friends, and she is like a little sister. This is an important day for her, too. Same age as MOT, she will participate in the Holy Water and Fire Ceremony tonight to be recognized as an adult.”
“Will you be attending that ceremony?” he asked.
“No.” she answered. “I’ll be involved with activities of the Three Moons Festival being celebrated in Thrae tonight.”
“I can tell you it’s an important day for Marea Amor Exsequor for another reason. She is about to become the richest person in the Mercatorian Empire.” he said.
“That can only mean one thing.” Vox concluded. “The recovery of the Exsequor jewels. The jewels were taken by the Teznites during the historic attack on the City of Plerusque on Langenth 10 years ago, when Marea’s parents were killed and her brother was taken away by the Teznites. Why the Teznites like jewels is not known, but their attraction to FireEmeralds is understandable.”
“Yes. The jewels will be recovered. An heroic soldier in the Mercatorian Military Defense Forces will shoot down a Teznite ship and then find the jewels aboard its wreckage. Well, that’s already happened. Today he will deliver the jewels to Marea. Most of them Marea will give to Amicus so he can raise more money for the Desarites.” he informed Vox. “I can tell you one additional thing about Marea, and about Mutarus. They will become married in MC Year 760 and then go on the Bracatus Mirandus Expedition together.”
“That is good to know.” Vox said. “MOT and MEA have been very good friends for many years.”
“What you are going to do to MOT will not put his relationship with MEA in any jeopardy.” John Peter mentioned. “Where I come from, what you will be doing is similar to what is referred to as a honey trap.”
“What I have in mind might help to improve their relationship.” Vox told him.
“All is well that ends well.” John Peter said.
“Easy for you to say, time traveler.” Vox replied. “Now I have to go see MEA. I’ll see you at the cavern at about solar zenith. I’ll try to get there about a half hour before MOT does.”
“Good.” John Peter said, and then followed Vox out of the dining room and into the central courtyard of the hotel. “Where is the chapel?” he asked her.
“As she was facing the doors to the lobby, she looked to her left and pointed. “Through those doors over there. Then across the hallway. Felling religious?”
“Thanks. No. Just an interest in history. I really don’t need to travel hundreds of light-years and thousands of years into the past to find and watch a television evangelist.” he replied, then turned and began walking toward the chapel.
Vox walked over to the lobby to go to an elevator, to then go up to the private suite belonging to Amicus and Marea. The hotel was their home.
The time traveler, who has the soul of a Mercatorian, was sent by the government he works for on a Clockwork mission for the top secret project named Timeglass, during Mirandian year 2012 CE. By saving Mercatorians from an enemy in their time, the time traveler hopes to be able to save his world from what he believes to be the same enemy in his time. There can be unforeseen consequences for altering history. Moments after he departed from the SlipField ArchPad, built with a TimeArch in addition to a SpaceArch, the planet he knew as Earth ceased to exist, and became known as Mirandus.
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