Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 10


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10


Chapter 10: Trapped, Escaped, and Pirates (again) 

“And now, so must you!” Annie mimicked. “That’s overdramatic and a little clichéd.” She’d met the Technomancer a few times before. He’d always come off as a nerdy goof. That wasn’t the air he was projecting today though. 

“Don’t mock me child.” The man looked frustrated.

“So… what’s your plan? Are you going to rip us apart atom by atom?” Seren seemed annoyed and more curious than frightened.

“No. Absolutely not. I will turn off this section of the repository and you can die when the sun implodes. It’ll be a little over a day.” With those words he stepped back and the door closed. Annie ran for the door but couldn’t get out. The lights and computer terminal went dark.

The only light was from their headlamps and portable computers. 

“So what are you two planning?” Jan asked. When Seren and Annie didn’t say anything Jan scoffed and said, “I’ve known both of you since we were kids. There’s no way you sat through that without thinking of a plan.”

“Well…” Seren said. “Maybe if we can connect with another part of the repository with our computers we can reroute power.”

“I was going to use the battery in my computer to try and power the door,” Annie replied.

“Great, both of you get to work and I’ll take a nap,” Jan said, stretching out on the floor.

It was a few hours before Jan heard a pair of curses. Neither method had worked. 

Seren said, “There’s some sort of interference, every time I think I’ve connected, something cuts me off.”

Annie said, “I can power the door but it’s locked somehow and I can’t power it and disable the lock.”

“What if we asked for help?” Jan’s question seemed to surprise the other two. They swung their heads around to stare at them.

“Um… Who are we going to ask?” Annie questioned. 

“Isn’t there anyway to ask the repository or Hoku?”

It looked like Annie was going to argue but then she just smiled and said, “Yes. That’s brilliant. You’re brilliant. All we have to do is connect to the repository not the systems.”

“Wouldn’t the Technomancer have thought of that?” asked Annie skeptically.

“That arrogant gas planet wouldn’t think of talking to the repository like it was a person. He still refers to her as an it like the Mother-of-All-Stars was only some sort of computer instead of the spirit of an entire civilization.” Jan started calmly but as they spoke, they became angrier at the thoughtlessness of the Technomancers and their ancestors. 

“Okay let’s give it a try,” Seren tapped away at her computer. After what felt like too long a time the same black screen with green text appeared on Seren’s computer.

“Hello again. Why have you disabled terminal 13?”

“We didn’t. The technomancer did.”

“Designation not recognized.” 

Seren looked around and wondered how to explain that they were not the same. “There were four of us in this room. Now there are three. The other isn’t our friend, he wants to destroy the mother-of-stars.”

“That is illogical. Can you stop him?”

The three friends looked at each other and shrugged. “I don’t know, but we have to try.”

It must have been the right answer, the doors opened and the floor showed arrows. Jan smilled and said, “Lets follow. Seren, can you keep the link on your computer?”

“I think so. Why?” 

As they ran following the arrows, Jan said, “If the Technomancers learned everything from the repository than we, and your Dad, are going to need to study quickly to beat him.”

Laughing, Annie said, “And you say we’re the ones that always have a plan.”

The arrows didn’t lead them back to the transportation room they’d been in. Instead it brought them to a larger but almost identical room. Again, nothing was in the room but a raised circular platform and that’s where the arrows ended.

Shrugging, the three of them stood on the platform and waited. The first time they teleported there was no sound or feeling but this time there was a bright flash of light and a slight feeling of nausea. 

When Seren’s eyes adjusted she was in her father’s lab. Her father was looking at her like she’d just appeared out of thin air, which she had. “Matter teleportation is supposed to be impossible. How, where…” he trailed off as he pulled her in for a hug. 

“It’s a lot to explain. We need to stop the Technomancer from destroying the planet and the station.” She shoved the computer at him and started to explain. When she was done she looked around and said, “Where are the others?”

“You’re the only one that teleported here.”

Just as she was reaching for her communicator, Jan’s voice came over the intercom, “Seren and Annie, are you there?”

“I’m here but I don’t know where Annie went. I’ve filled my Dad in on what’s happening.” She saw that her Dad was already talking with the repository.

“Great. I’m with the Captain. Apparently teleporting into his office was enough to convince him. Whatever the Technomancer did, his ship is already gone. The captain has no idea what he did.”

Mr. Plentyn interrupted with, “I’m trying to get a more direct link between us, the station’s sun, and the repository. I think the station’s sun is like a toddler and if I can get the repository to help it, it can run a diagnostic.”

The alarms went off and another voice came over the intercom, “Pirates have been spotted. All pilots to fighters, everyone else to your stations.”

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While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 9


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10


Chapter 9: Research, Reveals, and Reactions.

The screen sat there blinking, “Hello.” 

The three of them looked at each other and eventually it was Seren who said, “Hello.” They all watched the screen waiting for something to happen.

Nothing did and Jan asked, “How does it know our language?” The others shrugged and they added, “It even has the same configuration as our keyboards.” They point to the old-fashioned looking keyboard in front of the screen.

Feeling silly, Seren said, “Maybe it’s not voice activated?” She typed in, “Hello”.

They once again looked at the screen, this time their text appeared under the first hello and the screen replied with, “It has been 3,920,002 planetary rotations since your last session. Welcome back.”

“Assuming the same amount of days in a year that’s just shy of ten thousand seven hundred and forty years.” Annie thought that number sounded familiar as she said it, but couldn’t place it.

“Would you like to continue with your last session?” The screen’s green text blinked.

Seren looked at the other two and typed, “Yes.”

What appeared next was an interactive, multimedia document that showed the creation of a micro-star. It was absolutely fascinating. Seren had always assumed that the stars were created by compressing the planet or moon until it was so dense it self-combusted. She was completely wrong. The process involved taking a small piece of a micro-stars plasma and introducing it into the planet. Over the next year the piece grew and expanded, eating the planet from the inside and finally bursting through the crust to become a viable micro-star for space travel.

“Ten thousand years. The Great Techo-Mage! This is where they got all their information.”

“That means that this is the birth place of our civilisation,” Jan sat back and rubbed their face absently.

“Do you know anything about the Children of the Stars?” Seren typed.

“Each micro-star is a unique part of the parent and therefore equivalent to a child.” 

“That’s not helpful,” quipped Annie.

Seren tried something different, “What are you?”

“I am the Mother of Stars. Born from the collective of my people.” The screen changed again to a long text with images and information about the original inhabitants of this planet. They’d been very similar to Seren and the other Children but instead of taking to space they discovered a way to save their minds into a giant supercomputer. They developed alloys that could self-heal and an army of sentient robots to protect it. They hollowed out their own planet and installed a micro-star.

When they uploaded themselves, they discovered that the micro-star was sentient. All suns were sentient. Over time and interfacing they learned from each other and in the end the consciousness of the people merged with that of the star becoming something else completely.

This new entity made it it’s goal to teach others how to speak with and become stars.

“But what happened? Why did it stop?” Jan asked.

“According to this it got stuck in the void between galaxies. Something to do with a gravity well,” Seren did some more typing. 

“So Hokulua was just coming home to tell mum what was going on?” Annie sounded sad.

The screen flicked and moved quickly as Seren typed question after question. Finally she said, “Oh Mother… We did this.”

“What?” the other two said at once.

“The Great Techno-Mage did this. They trapped the Mother so she couldn’t tell anyone else and then took all the information and a plasma sample. All the technology our civilization is built on is from here and we hid it.” Seren felt sick at the idea.

“But why did the micro-stars not come back before Hokulua?” Annie asked.

From behind them someone cleared their throat. The man was tall and thin, his dark cloak and robe sparkled like the stars. His eyes were cold and distant, his sneer and disgust weren’t. “Because the Mother wants to teach everyone to be like her. We can’t let the other tribes and the pirates have the same technology as us.”

“Why not?” Annie stood defiantly in front of their ship’s Techno-Mage.

“We were almost wiped out. There were less than a thousand of us on half a dozen crumbling stations. We were the first to escape our dying planet but we were not meant for space. We were dying and if the others had the same technology, we’d be no better than we were. Our first mission as Techno-Mages was to protect the Children.”

“That was ten thousand years ago. We’re spread out over the entire universe. There are billions of us with powerful stations and… surely we can let the Mother go.” Seren felt disgusted. Her love of archeology was born from a civilization that used it to enslave. Their whole way of life was based on stealing and exploiting.

“We’ve spent ten thousand years trying to make sure the micro-stars stay quiet, subdued, and controllable. We hadn’t anticipated that the new AI would allow the stars to communicate. Once the Mother analyzes the data from the station it will know what we’ve done and it will be furious. It must be contained or destroyed. And now… so must you.”

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While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 8


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10


Chapter 8: Split the party, translate the ruins, and take a nap.

It was dark. Annie couldn’t see anything. It was the kind of darkness that sent people into a panic, but not Annie. She’d spent most of her teenage years in a small ship in space or crawling through maintenance vents. She took a deep breath and reached for her flashlight. She didn’t want to reach too quickly in case there was something in there with her or the area was unstable. 

Her flashlight was attached to a headband and she put it on her head and flicked the switch. She’d expected ancient ruins with pictographs on the walls. Something like an temple or pyramid. This wasn’t anything like that. She was in a small room with grey walls and a door with no handle. There was a large black rectangle next to the door that she assumed was a control panel. She moved towards it and noticed that the floors were made of metal.   

“I’ve been watching too many vids and reading too many fics,” she chastised herself. Although there was an improbable amount of crumbling trapped temples in the universe, they still were the minority.

The panel next to the door didn’t activate when she touched it and the rest of the room seemed pretty barren except for the spot she appeared in. That was exactly the same as the spot where she’d disappeared. The same markings that must have been a teleportation device or really smooth trap door.

She decided the best thing to do was wait. Annie knew that Seren would rush in and join her quickly unless Jan stopped her. Jan was both cautious and reasonable. It would make exploration longer but safer and Annie was okay with that.

It was just a matter of time. The room was secure; there was nothing for her to do but pry open the door so she decided to take a nap.

***

The hardest part about deciphering the symbols where Annie had disappeared was how long it took. Seren wasn’t a fan of waiting around and after they’d cleared the jungle growth from the square it was all about patience and decoding. It was a puzzle that should have excited her but she was worried about her friend.

They’d tried to reach her through coms but either she couldn’t answer or something was blocking the signal.

The symbols were trinary code. Similar to computer code but with a little more nuance. The markings quickly and efficiently described that the square was a teleportation device.

“Let’s go!” she said once they had the translation.

“This thing predates our civilization. How do we know it still works? Maybe it just transported her into space or underwater or into magma?” Jan was much too reasonable.

“Do you want to stay here?” Seren asked. She knew it was a mean question. No one wanted to be left behind.

They stood in the right place and everything went black. They waited and when there was no change in temperature or pressure they turned on their head lights.

The room was non-descript and there was a body in the corner. Seren threw herself at Annie saying, “Annie. Oh Annie.”

Groggily Annie responded with, “Nice to see you too. Took you long enough.”

“You’re a real jerk, you know that?” Jan said laughing. “You know it’s a two way teleporter?”

“I guessed but didn’t want to risk it being one of those sequential things where it sends me further away.”

The three of them did a much more thorough look around and found that the place had little to offer. 

“I don’t get it,” Seren exclaimed. “All we needed to do was walk into the right place and we were transported but the plants and vines weren’t.”

Annie nodded and added, “Also why aren’t there any animals in here? I can’t believe that a bird or small creature didn’t scurry across it.”

There was nothing in the room and nothing to indicate anything special. Finally, they decided to force open the door. It slipped gently into the wall, very similar to the design used by their own ships. It wasn’t hard to move, and on the other side of the door was a long corridor.

“No signage at all. How did these people find their way?” Jan asked.

“They might have been less dependant on sight and more dependant on smells or sounds?” Annie suggested. 

“Or whatever powers this place is shut down or dead and all the signage was projected or on screens.” Seren pointed at more black rectangles that looked like control panels. But the idea of smells and sounds made her wonder. “Have you noticed something about the air?”

“It’s clean. Not musty or shut in, but completely fresh. No outdoor smells either.” Jan looked surprised. “That means there’s something purifying the air.”

“So if something is keeping up life support but not signage or doors that means?” Annie asked and the other two shrugged.

They walked down a few more corridors without trying any of the doors. They were hoping to come across a control room or better, a library.

“This place is starting to feel familiar.” Seren couldn’t place why.

Annie, however, said, “It’s the same layout as the engineering floors of the Hokulua station.”

Taking the lead, Jan said, “That means there’s a control room just over this way.”

They ran towards the control room and opened the door. Inside, they expected a lot of computer equipment, but instead there was one screen attached to a small grey cube.

The screen turned on as they came inside and flashed several distorted images before simply showing green letters on black that said, “Hello.”

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