Chapter One
The Admiral’s Arrogance


Containment Vessel Pod Three
December 28th, 3549
4:16 PM


Holding the admiral’s gaze, Danbury’s head held steady under the waterfall of electric current as he hung from the rack with his comrades. His skin blistered from the torture; his face was a bloody, broken mess.

“The Watchers are here, Admiral, and the time has come to reveal ourselves!” Danbury scolded the admiral, each word a bitter task, as he was gasping from the pain. He felt his eyes popping from the sockets.

 “THE PROPHET HAS ARRIVED AS FORESEEN!” Danbury shouted at his nemesis. “HE WILL DESTROY ALL ENEMIES!”

The admiral watched the condemned man scream in terror as the seconds ticked off, ten, eleven, twelve, and then the room went dark.

 
On Board Space Station Hildas Seven
December 31st, 3549


The sacred knocking pattern on the door announced their emissary. The guard opened the small viewing window of the bulkhead passage and waited for the password, his right hand lowered to his sidearm.

“I seek a seat at the king’s table,” offered the young man standing outside the portico.

            “Our table is round. It’s ruled by no king; we are all equals,” answered the guard, his tone stern. “Only family is allowed at our table.”

            “So true; I am one of Arthur’s family,” the voice answered from outside the door. The guard released the lock and allowed his brother entrance. Derrick Singer made his way to a secluded section of the bio waste processing facility to meet the oracle. The guard remained vigilant at the door.

            The stench of the facility was enough to gag Derrick, and he suppressed the urge to vomit. He vowed to be strong the first time he met the oracle. Very few met the man in person, limiting the risk of exposing the oracle to the Administration.

The Watchers Guild’s most gifted clairvoyant was assigned to process shit in the waste facility of the space station. It was a stark reminder of how the Titan Administration had devolved over the centuries from a society of scientists and engineers to a tyrannical regime. Family ties and political alliances superseded talent and ability under the Administration’s observant eye.

            The Watchers Guild’s talents remained a mystery to the Administration’s vigilant appraisals. They were a hidden society of telepathic, telekinetic, and clairvoyant men and women, blessed individuals whose goals included destroying the omnipotent and intrusive rule of the Titan Administration’s grip on the inhabitants of the solar system. They remained a secret since the beginning, over fifteen hundred years ago.

As a waste barge systems engineer, Derrick had every reason to be at the transfer station. The bio scanner embedded in his spine wouldn’t betray him to the Administration’s scrutinizing agenda. The Guild used many agents to transfer messages when telepathic options were ineffective; talents varied, they weren’t perfect, and it was imperative to keep the Administration blind to their ambitions.

His quest ended as he approached the giant waste oven and caught the eye of its operator. An average looking middle aged man shot him a small wink and wandered over to an undersized office. Derrick followed the man’s lead into the confined hovel of the work area.

            “So, what’s the news from our operatives on the front lines?” the man asked Derrick, his voice low and scrambled by the sounds of the local machinery.

Derrick assessed the man. He wasn’t much to look at; nothing stood out as exceptional. No one in the Administration paid him any mind, and that was perfect. Regardless of the Titan Administration’s lack of interest, he was considered in the top five, possibly top three, of the Watchers Guild’s talent among the various groups they’d infiltrated: the Titan Administration, the Free Citizens of the Belt, or the Asteroid Pirates, the Watchers’ militant wing.

            It was his visions of events to come that had signaled the onset of the prophet’s arrival, setting in motion their ambitious plan. Six of Arthur’s most talented family members had been clandestinely assigned to confirm the existence of the prophet and contact that same entity with the combined purpose of smashing the Titan Administration’s totalitarian grip on the solar system’s inhabitants and reuniting the splintered enclaves of Arthur’s learned offspring.

“The good news is that our latest communiqué from Saber Team Leader confirmed that the attack on the Containment Vessel is underway,” Derrick revealed with caution as his gaze swept the surrounding area. “According to her report, it appears that the seizure of the target and terminate platforms pleased the prophet.”

            “Excellent news!” the oracle exclaimed, but overtones of suspicion suppressed his delight.

“I can only assume by your choice of words that there is bad news?” the oracle asked with a crestfallen tone and a face framed with concern.

            “The news of the attack is three days old.” Derrick paused, and a tear ran down his cheek. “Saber Team has gone silent since that last message.” He sucked in a deep breath and wiped his face with the sleeve of his shirt. His puffy eyes still watered with trepidation. His vow of strength was collapsing.

            A wave of sadness washed over the oracle as he eyed the boy. He was barely twenty. His mother had accepted a very dangerous mission. She’d known what needed to be done. Sacrifices needed to be made.

She was strong! The oracle reflected. He pushed away the negative thoughts and cleared his mind to concentrate on Saber Team.

The oracle’s eyes rolled back in his head, and his body slowly rocked to and fro. He reached out to the future with his mind, shunning the here and now. “Fear not, Derrick. Your mother’s team is very talented. She alone is of great strength and ability!”

These short-term trances were the least effective method of accessing the unknown. Long-term meditation in dark solitude provided the perfect medium for divination; consistently delivering more accurate assessments of potential futures.

“There could be good reason for the silence,” the oracle muttered as his slack figure swung left and right and his limbs gently flailed about.

A vision was beginning to form in the oracle’s mind: Diana Singer lay sprawled face down on the floor with a pool of blood spreading out from her. The oracle was horrified by the apparition, and he cursed himself for attempting to foresee the future in such a reckless manner. Only proper mediation could reveal the truth. He judged the vision too unpredictable to disclose. The boy needed reassurance, so he’d keep the horrid vision to himself for now and would revisit the trance when his mind was clear and cognitive for long-term discovery.

“My intuition tells me that they are alive,” the oracle lied to the young man from his semi-trance state, “and fulfilling their destiny.” His voice was soft and slightly slurred. His body hung loosely by the threads of mental discovery. As the bindings of the unconscious and subconscious released control to the conscious, his awareness of the here and now revived his posture. 

“Revel in their glory, Derrick. They will succeed,” the Oracle affirmed with the façade of a confident grin. “I have seen it, and so it will be.

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