The Wonder Worlock: All's Fair, Part 1
Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
May 26, 2011 08:56 | Updated: 1 year 51 weeks Ago
May 26, 2011 08:56 | Updated: 1 year 51 weeks Ago
After learning the dilemma of their world-rings’ failure, the scientists of other-dimensional Threlkel worked hard to find a solution. Pleas to staunch allies were answered and experts from over 30 systems housed in think-cubes scattered among the volcanoes, laboring tirelessly to solve an unheard-of phenomenon.
“What do we know thus far?” asked Zavar, chief scientist and telepath of Threlkel, to an assemblage of local and allied experts connected in a psi-conversation. “We must solve things before the return of King Traven. I am determined to show His Majesty he is not alone in his love for – or dedication to – Threlkel.”
“Dedication? Love? Hah!” snorted Java Lyn of Olympia, verbally and right in front of Zavar in his own think-cube. “A worldwide, life-and-death catastrophe for his ember of a rock and the great ruler takes a powder? Leaving us think cube-huddled men of science holding the bag? Yes sir, that’s dedication!”
"Out of my cube, Java, now! Treason is not welcome, even if he is only your historic king and not by practice,” screamed Zavar. “I have telepathically known of your feelings for a time, but in deference of your scientific standing and many contributions to our way of life I have said nothing. I never dreamed you would. Out! OUT!!”
As Java exited the cube and beamed up to an orbiting craft from his home world, Olympia, the skies of Threlkel seemed to grow darker toward the east. The populace thought it to be another failing of their beloved rings. In truth, the attack – or “colonization” – of the volcanic world by Warfarin’s Light Brigade was only hours away.
And as his ship left Threlkel’s orbit, Java Lynn, Scientist Supreme of Olympia, smiled a sly, knowing smile.
As King Traven of Threlkel hacked at the air in the sweltering beams of the planet Za’s triple sun, those same rays penetrated the caverns below, bringing the desert dayheat swiftly to the caves of Underground Za. The worshippers, the scientists’ cadre, all those nearest the breach begin to turn – to ash!
As Traven’s mystic sword Memorell swang wildly overhead the muscular warlord, the nuclear bomb once worshipped by the malformed underground dwellers was blown -- harmlessly and safely -- by cosmic winds into a wormhole which abruptly closed.
Traven has been a master of controlling the properties of Memorell most of his life.
PART THE FIRST
It was on a fine and pleasant day as Java Lyn, man of science, trusted citizen of the Olympian Council, set out on his sailing rig – not a care in the world (this world, his world of Olympia) and little or no science about to cloud his mind.
He, one of the most accomplished scientists in his extra-dimensional realm, loved to put his aging body and its muscles to the tests of his forefathers. He was out to conquer this ocean, this wind, and he was going to do it or die.
The scientist’s rig features a larger-than-normal main sail and a smaller non-overlapping jib. This configuration optimized for up-wind sailing efficiency, he found. For downwind sailing, a larger jib is more desirable but in the case of many high-performance vessels such as this, the smaller jib is substituted by a spinnaker or gennaker. On many modern skiffs and race dinghies, the jib is relatively small compared to the size of the main and it is normally left in place when the spinnaker or gennaker is used due to this type of jib's minimal aerodynamic interference.
On this day, King Neptune was giving this Olympian all he could handle – and more. Those muscles he was seeking to test would be sore indeed come the eventide.
As the main sail jerks in the arrrogant gales of the Yandroth Ocean, Java reflects on recent times despite himself. His inability to hold his opinion on even the smallest of controversies, ever his enemy in political circles dating back decades, got him thrown out of the think-cubes of Threlkel at his Mother Land’s darkest hour. Not only had he spoken ill of his fellow gentlemen scientists, but had virtually denounced his king as a coward.
The attack of Warfarin, almighty ruler of Degaba, was a success and he sweats now as he thinks of what that could have meant for the free colonies of Olympia. He may be a traitor to Threlkel, but he was a patriot on his home world, a jewel in the system he loved very much.
If it had not been for the return of King Traven and his ally, the Wonder Worlock, the day might have been lost. And he wonders again, Olympiaaside, if that would have been a bad thing?
He is suddenly jostled from thought as his rig hits the back fin of a wild aquasaur, one of the true monsters left on this world. No science, he thinks, equals no hydro-warners, no sonar holographics. He is alone in this battle.
The aquasaur is incapable of raising anything more than its head, a few back fins and its deadly spiked tail above the surface water, and it is one of those fins the scientist’s craft has now “discovered.” The weight of its long neck places the center of gravity behind the front flippers. Thus the aquasaur is not a strong surface fighter for all its herculean size; but it is strong enough to crash a man’s boat in twain. The weight of its neck, the limited musculature and the limited movement between the vertebrae prevent an aquasaur from being a threat most on Olympia perceived them to be. It is a known slow swimmer and frequently stalks schools of arrowfish. The long neck allows the beast to conceal itself below the school of fish. It then moves its head slowly and approaches its prey from below. The eye of the animal has stereoscopic vision, which helps it find small prey.
But right now, those steroscopic eyes are staring at a scared scientist and his rig as the main sail flaps in uncontrollable winds. The great fin of the beast is, inadvertently or not, tearing the boat asunder!
Yes, Java Lyn brought with him sailing little or no science to cloud his mind. This day, he thinks, the emphasis is on “little.”
As the mighty aquasaur prepares itself for a gorging ritual, the captain of the sailing rig hits the left ear of his sun-shades, emitting an invisible barrage of “Lyn Locks” at the reptile -- subatomic particles discovered by Lyn but a cycle ago that enable mass to be shunted or gained from an alternate dimension, thereby changing the size of other objects … or beings!
The aquasaur shrinks as its mighty roar denotes its confusion. Slipped in the bait tank by Lyn for further study, he sees the outing as a win-win: he has a new speciman of rarity and he finds repairing his rig most relaxing.
Then, in the sky, a hint of silver!
It is one of the multitude of robot-spies once employed by Warfarin, now under the strict use of Zavar, chief scientist and telepath of Threlkel. As a communi-cable extends from the “bird,” entering connections in Java Lyn’s glasses, the message is told. Java learns that while he has not been found guilty of any treason or foreknowledge of Warfarin’s attack upon his Mother World, he has been permanently ousted from the Scientists of Threlkel.
What?! he thinks. Why, this will mean shame, rejection, even here on fair Olympia! How can I live with this? The monkey king and his mind-bender think to boot me out of an organization I helped found! I will not bow out so gracefully, that that idiot Zavar will soon discover.
A scream follows the thought then, and if it were still its original size the roar would’ve done the aquasaur proud.
Unbeknownst to any in Zavar’s labs on Threlkel, including the telepath himself, one robo-bird does not make it home that day. Or the next. Or the next.
In the Eagle Nebula of this dimension, for the past five hours, the Wonder Worlock has been weaving Kronostic null-time webs about. Through very special vents in those almost invisible strands, he plans to watch the birth of a new star he feels will soon come. His Kronostic webs merely let him see what will be in several bleems. The Eagle Nebula is a virtual stellar nursery, and this is not the first time the Wonder Worlock has attempted such a feat. To his star-kissed mind, it is the same as watching a gorgeous cosmic reality show on TV.
Stars are formed in nebulae, and these stellar nurseries are abundant in the arms of spiral galaxies such as this one, the celestial conjurer thinks. Dense parts of these clouds are about to undergo gravitational collapse and compress to form a rotating gas globule. The globule will cool by emitting radio waves and infrared radiation. It is compressed by gravitational forces and also by shock waves of pressure from supernova or the hot gas released from nearby bright stars. These forces will cause the roughly-spherical globule to collapse and rotate. The process of collapse would normally take from between 10,000 to 1,000,000 years, give or take a bleem.
Through his vent, the Wonder Worlock witnesses as the collapse proceeds, the temperature and pressure within the globule increasing as atoms align in closer proximity. Also, the globule rotates faster and faster. This spinning action causes an increase in centrifugal forces (a radial force on spinning objects) that causes the globule to have a central core and a surrounding flattened disk of dust, a protoplanetary disk. The central core becomes the star; the protoplanetary disk may eventually coalesce into orbiting planets or asteroids.
When a temperature of about 27,000,000°F is reached, nuclear fusion begins in the mage’s web. Ah, hydrogen is being converted to helium – plus all that energy! the mage thinks. This radiation will prevent further contraction of this star I miraculously now behold … a birth still centuries away!
The wizard floats outside his web, thanking his own Maker for the fact that he never ceases to marvel at such cosmic phenomena … or neglect or take for granted his unique ability to enjoy the wonders of space.
The wonder of it all, he thinks. Truly, it is what did inspire part of the only name I have ever known …
The skies of Threlkel are particularly orange this day, as a caravan slowly makes its way back from a shopping spree at the exclusive Vyronna Marketplace, across the volcano-covered landscape from the Palace Royale. In the ornate sedan chair rides Marlee, newest wife among dozens of King Traven; her feet has not touched ground since she became a queen, and she intends to see to it that it remains ever thus. Marlee does not take well to “sharing” her man, and she has made it a public spectacle, much to the barbarian king’s chagrin.
As she arrives home, Marlee does not mix with the other wives and children of Traven, instead heading immediately to her private lodgings with a team of serfs with exotic materials and jewelry in tow. Finally alone, Marlee frowns at a holo-image of the king and his harem on a nearby wall, and slowly approaches a glowing bobble in her top dresser drawer. To the touch, a life-size holographic image of Java Lyn, now-outcast scientist of Olympia, appears in the bedroom.
“Java, I have done as your mechanical bird asked,” Marlee says to the thin air of her chamber. “Since your robo-communicator returned expressly to me the other day, I have used my considerable wiles on the guard staff to discover the location of Warfarin’s remains … although after he met the hands of the otherworlder sorcerer and my beloved’s blade, Memorell, there is scant left of him.”
“’Tis enough; ‘twill serve,” says the holo-image. “Return the bird with the information and also that little device I asked you to procure from Zavar’s think-cube. Has that been taken care of?”
“Aye, though it wasn’t easy. And this will assure me the deaths of Traven’s trashy harem? This will help secure my place as the sole Queen of Threlkel, beside by beloved husband – alone?!”
“You will be quite alone, Your Highness,” the image answers, then fades from existence as the bobble goes cold.
You think me a young naïve fool,Marlee thinks. Well, Mr. Science Genius, we will see how many shed a tear on Olympiafor their greatest citizen after Memorell stabs you through the heart!
That evening, under the volcanic dusk of the planet, Marlee sends a lone robo-bird in flight to distant Olympia. It carries two of Threlkel’s greatest secrets, and even the new vain wife of this world’s ruler cannot help but shed a brief tear for the treason she may have committed, treason far greater at this point than that of Java Lyn.
In six weeks, King Traven must meet with his representatives on Degaba to make certain first rule and then colonization steps proceed smoothly. In the past, Marlee’s husband has had to do similar, but that was world-by-world. The Degaba Empire spans a string of planets and properties almost as vast as those of Threlkel. The title “His Most Royal Highness, Ruler True of Degaba, Protector of the Realm, Monarch of the Seven Sacred Moons, Most Esteemed Emperor of the Extemplar” does not seem to sit too well on Traven’s head.
But for her crown … for her crown, Marlee likes the sound of it just fine.
TO BE CONTINUED …