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The Psychic Knights are finally all back together and they have freed Helin 3 from the grip of the TechPsychers. Now they head for their ultimate goal. Earth!
Their fleet is assembled and their plan is set. One stop before their final destination. Unknown to them it’s one stop that jeopardises their plans. What will this mean for their final assault and their long awaited destiny?
The Third book in the Psychic Knights series and the secret and power of the mysterious Amuel is revealed. It and four others like it become forever entwined in the Psychic Knights future.
Book four in the Psychic Knights series
The pain was excruciating. The mind could be a fragile thing at the best of times, but during a mind probe interrogation there was a good chance it would snap completely.
“You are not just a visitor to Earth! You are part of the Psychic Knights network! What are their plans?” The frustration was starting to creep into Inquisitor Marston’s voice. It was getting hot in the small cell he had chosen to interrogate his prisoner. Beads of sweat were starting to form on the dark skin on his forehead. He had removed his tunic twenty minutes ago revealing a gangly skinny frame that was the result of spending too many hours perfecting his art of torture. He removed the small scarf from his neck and mopped his brow.
“No you didn’t! You are one of many who have infiltrated Earth in preparation for an attack by the Psychic Knights. When are they due? How big is their force?”
Suddenly the door to the cell opened and in walked an average height man. The bald head with a deep scar was partially covered by a metallic headband that connected to neural points secured through his skull. He wore an all in one suit of gold and blue suede that clung to his slightly rotund figure. His hardened, alabaster features revealed stories of betrayal and deceit.
“Your eminence,” Inquisitor Marston said as he bowed in front of Conrad Preest, shocked to see the Leader of Earth in the depths of the torture rooms.
“Have you made any progress,” said Preest staring at the prisoner.
Inquisitor Marston hesitated in his reply. “I…I believe we are very close to breaking the Natural.”
Conrad Preest shot a look at Inquisitor Marston that made the man cower away slightly. “That’s all I’ve been hearing for the last week. It seems that you have no idea about how to get answers from these Naturals. Disengage your equipment from the prisoner. Let me show you the old fashioned way.”
As the equipment was removed from the prisoners head Conrad Preest produced a laser knife from his breast pocket. “Bring him round. I want him conscious before I begin.”
A hiss from the pressure syringe in the prisoners neck and he began to stir.
“You seem to be able to resist my Inquisitors mind probes. You’re not like the other Naturals. You have something in your mind…protecting you.”
The prisoner looked up still a little groggy, but kept his eyes on Preest.
“I’ve come to show him another way to get the information we want.” Preest grabbed the prisoner’s clamped left hand and drew the laser knife slowly across the prisoners little finger, maximising the pain inflicted.
The man screamed in agony as the finger fell to the ground and blood pumped from the open wound. Preest turned to Inquisitor Marston and handed him the knife.
“Now work your way across the fingers and then toes until he tells us what we want to know. Conrad Preest glared at the Inquisitor before leaving the room to the sound of the screaming prisoner.
The giant fleet of fighting craft dropped out of Hyperspace into the Delta galaxy. At the head of the fleet a work worn waste transporter, fifty times the size of the next largest craft, plotted the course to the first stop off point on the way to Earth. It had been just over three weeks since they had entered Hyperspace and there was another two months of travel before they all reached Earth.
On board the Shafian the Captain was relaying his orders to his crew. He had travelled these galaxies before, moving waste from one place to another, and knew all of the best planets for replenishing supplies. He had enough supplies to last a year, but that couldn’t feed the entire fleet and the next biggest ship could hold only enough rations for a month. A short stay at Kersun 5 and they would be on their way. He knew how eager his passengers were to get to Earth, but he also knew that when they got there it could be the last place they saw.
Enyar requested reports on the Shafian’s status. He was dressed in a black and red robe with glittering jewels lining the hem. His fingers glittered like stars from the numerous diamond rings he wore.
“As you will see, Sir, just some minor damage to the secondary engines that can quickly be fixed on our stop off,” said Enyar’s second in command as he handed over the report on a data crystal.
“The old girl’s not as sturdy as she used to be. I suppose you can’t get to one hundred and eighty two without your body needing a bit of attention once in a while. I want to reach Earth without the need for more repairs so double check anything that could lead to any failures no matter how minor.”
As the second in command saluted and left, Enyar plugged the crystal into his viewer and began to scan the report as he made his way off of the busy bridge. He didn’t need to see where he was going as he read the report. He’d walked the corridors of his ship so many times over the years he could make his way blindfolded.
It was fifteen minutes before he reached his intended destination; the door to one of the storage holds at the edge of the underbelly of the Shafian. As he approached it he spoke a code and the door silently slid open. Inside was a vast chamber big enough to hold one of the small fighters of the fleet. It had been empty of its normal cargo for some time now and had been decontaminated to accommodate his guests who he now called friends; the Psychic Knights.
The hold had been turned into a training room. The five men were in the middle of a training session that looked to an outsider like a mini war. The smell of sweat was ever present and the noise of fists and legs thumping against arms as the attacks were blocked lightly echoed around the chamber.
As Enyar stood in the doorway, amazed at the viciousness of the combat, Thorn saw him out of the corner of his eye and stopped. A leg sped towards him as Yilnar tried to land a roundhouse kick to his head, but Thorn immediately put a barrier up with his mind to protect himself as he welcomed Enyar.
“Hay! That’s cheating. I thought we weren’t supposed to use our minds.” Yilnar saw Thorn looking at the entrance and turned to see Enyar standing there with the viewer in his hand. The rest of the Knights stopped and all greeted Enyar with broad smiles.
“Enyar!” said Thorn. “What brings you down here? Is there something wrong?”
Enyar looked at each of his friends with a smile that showed his yellow teeth. Four of the men were dressed in a skin tight body glove that defined their body shape. Thorn, the leader, around six foot two had a slender, solid build. He had shaved his head and the chiselled, pale features of his face betrayed the stress his mind had been through over the last year while he sought out his friends; a stress that he had not fully recovered from.
Yilnar was an inch shorter than Thorn. His dusky Mediterranean features gave him an air of mystique that intrigued the female of the human species. Something that Enyar found baffling.
Akarn was the giant of the group. At six feet eight inches tall and skin as dark as coal, not only did he tower over everyone Enyar had ever known, but he was almost twice the width of the rest of his team. His bulging muscles had been honed to a firmness resembling rock while he was a captive of Ludo Maruda on Krakol. Almost thirty years of being forced to fight against all forms of life had made him stronger.
A legacy from those dark times was the scars on his bald head. A mind control band had been fixed to his skull preventing him from escaping at the time. This had now been removed, but the desire for revenge burned deep in Akarn’s soul.
Enyar and Thorn had found Ifor working as a mercenary in the Gamma system. He was the same height and build as Thorn with tanned skin. His hair was receding and kept short and Enyar felt he had an air of selfishness about him.
Roman was physically different from the others. Although his mind was as sharp and strong as his friends his body was as weak as an Earth child. He had been kept in a liquid for at least twenty five years, trapped while his mind was used to run a whole planet. During this time his body and muscle mass had wasted down and he now used an exoskeleton that he had created, to get around.
He had managed to start growing his afro again and meticulously groomed himself, something he hadn’t done for over thirty years.
When he first came aboard the Shafian his mind joined with the ships systems, a dependency he needed to fulfil when he was rescued, and he had kept that presence ever since, although that dependency had declined gradually.
All in all, Enyar viewed this collection of human beings as probably the most dangerous weapons in the known universe and because of the TechPsychers their force would soon be unleashed on their own home world.
“No, no! I’ve been making arrangements for our stop. I’ve set course for Kersun 5 and we should be there in a couple of days. I’ve relayed the course details to the rest of the fleet. We shouldn’t need more than a couple of days to replenish the stock. May I suggest some time be spent on the planet? In my experience long periods travelling through space tends to make the traveller weary if there’s no chance of taking in fresh air.” Enyar stopped in front of Thorn and handed him the viewer. “I’ve located an ideal spot for such a large fleet and the inhabitants, in my experience are very friendly. I could tell you some stories of my time spent down there, but I’ll save them for our next dinner together.”
Enyar was fond of telling story’s of his travels and often regaled the Knights during their frequent meals taken in Enyar’s private quarters.
Thorn studied the viewer with Yilnar looking over his shoulder.
“I can sense a little weariness in their minds. I think it will be good for them. Even if it’s just for a day,” said Yilnar.
Thorn was a little reluctant. He wanted to get to Earth as soon as possible to end the TechPsychers dominance, but he also felt what Yilnar felt from the rest of the fleet and their chances of freeing Earth would be greatly reduced with tired fighters.
“Your choice looks a good one, Enyar. Make the arrangements and inform the rest of the fleet. I’m sure Roman can look after the fighters while they are away.”
Roman gave a broad smile at the thought of linking up with so many ships and expanding his mind, even if it was only babysitting.
“Very good, Thorn. Perhaps you would all like to join me for dinner at some point during our stay. I know a great little restaurant not far from where the crews will be. I know the owner personally and their food is exceptional.”
“Sounds good. Contact your friend to let him know we’re coming.” Thorn looked at the rest of the Knights. “I’m sure we’ll have built up a healthy appetite by then.” Everyone smiled.
“I’ll leave you to your training then,” and with that Enyar disappeared through the door as it closed behind him.
“Looks like you have a bit longer to try and beat me, Yilnar,” said Thorn as he started bouncing up and down. All of a sudden and explosion of fists and footwork erupted and the mini war continued.
The smell of spilt blood now filled the cell as the confession of the prisoner had just been recorded. The floor was sticky with the red liquid and seven digits lay in the pool at the prisoner’s feet. The information wasn’t everything Inquisitor Marston had hoped for, but important details about the invading fleet would be of interest to Lord Preest. The prisoner had lapsed into unconsciousness through loss of blood. Once the wounds had been sealed and the blood replaced he would try again. In the meantime he needed to get the information to Lord Preest.
Time seemed to go by quickly during the trip to the Beta System, the final stop off point. It was one more week of travelling to Earth, but Thorn felt a final relaxation stop was needed.
Roman had completed his mechanical team from the extra supplies they had picked up from Kersun 5 and Thorn was impressed. He’d always had a skill for creating mechanical allies that he could control during battle for as long as Thorn had known him, but now they seemed to have a bit more…sophistication, he thought. So much so that Thorn questioned Roman on how he was going to control them as previously his creations hadn’t been as technically complicated. The display of lethal force during one of the team’s training sessions answered Thorn’s question.
Thorn’s concern over Akarn’s lust for revenge against the man who had incarcerated him increased a little in an incident one night. During Akarn’s recovery, after his rescue, apparitions appeared all over the ship of terrifying creatures. These were projections from Akarn’s mind during his sleep periods which he was eventually able to control, but there were reports during this one night of a man being killed in a graphically horrifying way. The scene just kept re-running over and over again like a faulty full size holo-image. Akarn confirmed, from the descriptions, that it was Ludo Maruda. There were no more reports after that night.
Thorn had almost forgotten the Amuel stored away deep in the bowls of the Shafian. His focus was completely on the battle ahead and it wasn’t until a dream he had one night that brought back images of the vicious creatures that had protected it, did it enter his mind for the first time on the trip. He sought out Torst the next day to talk about it again. Torst’s knowledge of things in the universe seemed inexhaustible to Thorn, but, however, not in this case. Torst had never heard of such an artefact before or of the creatures that Thorn had encountered. He was tempted to go down to the Amuel. To hold it and see if he could probe its depths with his mind, but quickly dismissed the idea feeling sure that the only outcome of such a task would be madness.
The communicator in Thorn’s quarters broke into his thoughts.
“Thorn, we’ve arrived in the Beta System. Course has been set for Albin as discussed and we should arrive in a day and a half.”
“Thanks, Enyar,” replied Thorn. “Let the fleet know it will be the same arrangements as last time. A day to collect supplies and a day for relaxation.”
“I will do that right away.”
The communicator went dead and Thorn rose from his bunk. He was getting close to his time for regeneration; the first of his three. In fact all of the Psychic Knights were due about the same time. His body was starting to feel its one hundred and thirty three year age. It will be good to have the body from a hundred years ago. He’d heard that the stress on the mind is quite difficult so until his own mind had fully recovered, that moment would have to wait. For now he just had to keep it in shape. Which reminded him; it was time for his next training session.
Albin was an old army outpost before the TechPsychers took control of Earth. It catered for an influx of tens of thousands of men at a time providing standard accommodation and refreshment. Once Earth’s military had been disbanded and replaced with the TechPsychers, Albin became redundant. It was eventually left to heal its wounds from the weapons testing that was all too frequent and finally blossomed into a lush green paradise. Slow moving streams meandered their way through fields and valleys. Green meadows covered the once barren landscape and the local insect and animal wildlife exploded in the successful ecosystem.
Small communities grew along the banks of the large rivers providing a peaceful resting place for space travellers. Technology was sparse allowing the visitor to experience a simpler way of life.
Enyar had pinpointed a town that was capable of taking a sudden influx of a hundreds of crews into their community. It grew alongside the third longest river on the planet and was surrounded on three sides by a jagged mountain range that provided perfect skiing conditions. On the flats between the town and the mountain range crops grew in the fertile soil that got washed down during the rainy season. Fortunately, for the new visitors, that season was months away and the town was now basking in the warmth of the single sun that glowed its reddish light onto the planet’s surface.
Three quarters of the fleet were now in the process of collecting food supplies. Once this task had been completed the rest of the fleet would join them on the surface.
Thorn stood on the outskirts of the town looking across the fields to the mountain range. He had been joined by Ifor and Yilnar.
“Spectacular, aren’t they?” said Ifor. “There were a few ranges on Jornaer, but nothing like this. I can almost feel the draw to the slopes. Maybe when this is all over we can come back and try ’em out.”
Thorn and Yilnar nodded not breaking from their gaze.
“I look forward to seeing you plunge head first into the snow,” said Thorn with a wry smile.
“The only thing you’ll be seeing is the spray from the back of my skis as I leave you behind.”
“Come and try some of this bread. It’s the most delicious taste I’ve ever experienced.” The three of them turned to see Akarn walking up to them with half a loaf in one hand. “They’re just preparing for their monthly festival. Seems we’ve come at the right time.”
“Lead the way, big man,” said Ifor. “I could eat a horse right now.”
As they all walked back towards the buildings Thorn felt something. Something in his mind. It made him turn back to the mountains and stare a little longer. He wasn’t sure what to make of the feeling. He couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. He closed his eyes and let his mind soar to the mountain tops, scanning the peaks, but not sure what he was looking for. After a minutes fruitless searching he returned to his body.
“Thorn, what’s up?” asked Ifor.
Thorn turned to face him. “I don’t know. I thought I felt something. From the mountains. I had a quick look, but couldn’t find anything.”
“You’re just feeling a bit jumpy. It’s not surprising. Let’s go and find out from the locals if they’ve had any visitors over the last few days. Perhaps that’ll set your mind to rest.”
A nod of agreement from Thorn and they all continued on to the buildings leaving the desolate mountains behind them.