The Pellegrine

Soul Lark

Book IX
The Ambitious Magus

Chapter 1
The Magi Council

© The author reserves all rights to this work.


This story is of an adult nature. It is not intended for minors nor for those whose law in their land forbids them to read this material.
This story is entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental and unintentional.

NB: Words found between asterisks (*) refer to words exchanged in psychic or telepathic communication.

Date: 3 January 2676, Monday

“Mr. White,” informed Ryan White’s secretary over the intercom, “the Undersecretary of the Election Council has arrived.”

“Thanks Bea, send them in,” said White.

The doors opened and Charles Sommo, the Under-secretary and his aide walked in.

“Good morning,” said Sommo.

“Good morning,” replied White. “What can I do for you gentlemen? Do you need another campaign contribution?”

“No, Mr. White,” said Sommo. “The World Council has a more important proposal for you.”

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

Date: 7 January 2676, Friday

Jacques and Heath were cuddled together on the sofa watching the holonews. The technology was pretty dated but the concept was quite new. The news was projected to a small area in the living room in holographic form.

“It was reported today that the media mogul Ryan White had declined to stand for World Council Elections,” said a very scantily clad woman. She was the most popular newscaster in Uranus. “Sources on Earth revealed that the World Council had asked Mr. White to stand for President of the Council. Mr. White had taken a few days to decide. He said that his place was the media. Here’s an excerpt from the press conference he gave earlier today.”

The holographic image changed to Ryan White. He was addressing some thirty reporters at the lobby of his office building.

“I had just communicated with the World Council to inform them that I won’t be standing for election for the World Council President. I’m not dismissing the fact that I might be standing in the future. The situation, as it stands now, is not favourable for me to stand for election. The media is a very important independent source of information. I would need to train my successor to take over the reins of the media before I can leave. I believe in an independent media. If I were President of the World Council and of this Media Company, there would be a conflict of interest. In the best interest of this planet and of the solar system, I’ll not be in this Presidential race.”

Heath pressed a little button on a remote he had and the image disappeared.

“Very noble of him, don’t you think?” asked Jacques.

“I’ve no doubt that his successor would be himself,” smirked Heath.

“Well, at least he’s officially off the race,” said Jacques.

“He could still be the President in the 2680 race,” said Heath.

“True,” agreed Jacques. “I just hope that he won’t win the election then.”

Heath bowed his head and shook it, “It’s very hard to say.”

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

Date: 3 March 2676, Friday

“Thank you Ryan,” said Benedict. Benedict was the President of the Magi Council. “Your proposals will definitely be on my agenda with the council,” he said.

“You don’t like my ideas, do you?” asked Ryan White. He was talking to Benedict via a holographic communication link. Like the holonews, it was based on old technology but the Ryan Communications Company, through a very elaborate marketing strategy, made the technology popular again.

“Truthfully, no,” replied Benedict. He stared straight into the screen and said, “I know that it’d be very convenient to have the databases for human and magi joined as one. This would definitely make things easier. However, there’s an element of possible abuse in the future. At the turn of the next millennium, the information may be used to control the direction of human evolution, not just aid it. We may not be alive then and the original idea of joining the databases may be lost. Though we have magi powers, we’re still human and still susceptible to greed and the hunger for power.”

“That may be so,” said White, clearly not pleased. “However, I’m sure the Council would be able to come out with some form of legislation to counter any possible abuse. I trust that the Council would hear of my suggestions.”

“Of course Ryan,” replied Benedict. “My personal dislike of the plan wouldn’t prevent me of making sure that there’s a consensus in the Council decisions.”

“Of course,” said White quietly.

“It was a wise decision you made,” Benedict said, “I mean your refusal to run for World Council.”

Ryan softened his look. “It was a necessary decision, Benedict. You, of all people, should know and understand.”

Benedict replied politely, “Yes I do but there are so many magi who would look upon what you did as a lost opportunity.”

“I am not like many other magi,” came the curt reply.

“I’m well aware of that, Ryan. That is why we rely on you and your technology to help keep our records. Your proposal would change the way we do things here and the present council is quite resistant to change,” said Benedict.

“That is why I need your support on this matter. Won’t you change your opinion of the matter?”

“Everyone knows that I cannot influence the council. The President of the Council is only responsible for tabling proposals. The fact that I’m actually tabling your proposal means that I don’t find your proposal totally preposterous. It does have merit, I must admit.”

Ryan bowed, “Thank you, Benedict.”

Benedict returned the bow. “I will call you when the Council has made a decision.”

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

“So! Ryan White wants to integrate the human database with the magi database. I’m not so sure it is such a good idea,” declared Tsui.

“Please state the reason for your objection,” said Benedict.

“The two databases were kept separate for a very good reason. The first time this was brought up was when the magi council wanted to computerize the information in the late twentieth century. We’d written records until then. We’d records of all the magi and those humans that we’d helped. In all practical purposes, there were no human records per se. When the move was made to computerize the records, a suggestion was made to put the files on a network. We almost did so but the dangers of hackers were made known to us and we realised that the records could easily fall into human hands and our existence would be known. That’s why we’ve always resisted the move to put our databases on a network. Until we were able to develop magi-specific security measures, we never allowed the database to join a network. Now, this suggestion to combine the databases would be one step closer to revealing ourselves.”

Nkime, an African magus councillor, stood up and waited for Benedict’s signal to speak. When Benedict nodded his head, Nkime spoke up, “I’m a little confused. In White’s proposal, the databases wouldn’t be put in a public-assessible network. How could it be a danger to us?”

When Benedict gave the permission to speak, Tsui replied, “How do you think our databases would be updated? With just over one million magi, our databases could be updated within the Council offices. However, when we include the human database, the only practical way to update it is to link it to a network that extends outside the offices. If we don’t do so, we won’t be able to handle the updates on the human side. Without the updates, we’d be less effective than we already are now.”

Nkime seemed to accept Tsui’s explanations.

“We can’t forget that White is very ambitious. After all, we have evidence of his activities in space and how he had deceived the human government. Are we sure that his suggestion here is innocent. It could be a ploy to get more control of the magi side of things,” stated the councillor representing the Indigenous Americans.

The council went on for about another thirty minutes on the debate of Ryan White’s proposal. It was quite a lively debate. At the end of the thirty minutes, one of the councillors, Lucia, suggested that they discuss this at another meeting as there were many pertinent points to be discussed. The others readily agreed as there were many other things to discuss. The meeting ended another 90 minutes later with decisions made on every item on the agenda except Ryan White’s proposal.

After the meeting ended, Benedict became worried. He knew that the magi community was going into a crisis. It was a crisis that no magus had gone through before. It concerned the ambitions of one of the most powerful magi in the community. This individual had been asked to stand for elections for the next world council. There was no doubt he would not stand given the fact that it was against the community’s rules. However, he could be more dangerous because he would be guiding the human leaders. The magi community had a little more than twenty years to ensure that the threat he poses would be gone. This was because if he succeeds in coming into the magi council, then he could easily become the ruler of the whole solar system.

White, the magus in question, had visited a few times to try to get the present president of the magi council to support him in the next magi election. White had given him very negative feelings. White was certainly very powerful. At the moment, from the reports that Jorg had given him regarding White’s involvement in outer space was even more worrying.

Benedict was, in addition to president of the magi council, the Custodian. It was a burden he had to bear until he was going to die. The Custodian kept a box of relics that held clues to the origins of the magi. A few years before, the relics had acted up and had started a chain of events, of which only Benedict and the magus that was chosen to be involved in these events knew the beginning. He knew that if White had knowledge of the mission of the chosen one, more problems would surface. Benedict knew what he had to do. He summoned Helen, the magus in charge of managing the different assumed identities of magi.

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

Date: 11 March 2676, Saturday

“Dear passengers, this is your captain speaking. We’re now docked at Earth’s Moon Terminal. We’ll be here for the next few days. For those who have come from Uranus and Jupiter, and are disembarking here, we bid you farewell. We thank you for being with us for the past five days. For those of us who are here for the whole trip, please be reminded that you have to be at this terminal at 0800 GMT on Wednesday 15th March. Please contact our counter at the terminal if you’ve experienced any problems in reaching us before the time. Due to our schedule, we cannot wait for any latecomers. Neither Titan Tours nor the Pellegrine will be responsible for the extra cost incurred by any passenger as a result of arriving too late. There are three counters at the Moon Terminal. Please follow the signs if you wish to go to Earth or remain on the moon. Thank you.”

Jorg took a deep breath. He had done this speech so many times but each time, it was a chore. The words were already on the brochures, the electronic tags that the passengers had, and on the return pass keys that each passenger was provided. However, the law dictated that the captain had to make this announcement if the company and the ship wanted to be free of any legal headaches.

Jorg took off his cap and moved down from the bridge. The docking clamps were in place and the ribbon walkways were already fitted. The Chief Engineer would hand over her report to the Chief Dock Engineer and then the dock engineers would do maintenance work whilst the ship engineers would have a four-day break. They would return a day before departure to see that everything was in order. The rest of the crew would then clean up part of the ship before leaving and return a day earlier to clean up the rest of the ship. There were, of course, duty personnel on the ship at all times but during the stop on the moon, it was just a skeleton crew looking after the ship.

Jorg took a walk round the ship to supervise the last minute work before the crew disembarked. So far, he had very few problems with the crew. Jorg was a good leader and the crew respected him. He was strict regarding work but he never denied the crew any time off.

After his rounds, he went back to his cabin. It was already cleaned. He changed out of his uniform, picked up his carrier bag and got to the crew-disembarking platform. Kean was waiting for him. They proceeded out to the terminal.

*Jorg!* he heard a mental call.

*Yes,* he answered. He had recognised the voice of Helen. *Where are you?*

*At the shuttle bay for Earth.* replied Helen.

Kean and Jorg met Helen at the shuttle bay. Helen was a woman with red hair. She was quite tall and had put on a little weight since the last time Jorg saw her. She really did not look her four hundred and fifty-seven years. Kean wondered if she knew that Jorg was gay.

“Hi! Jorg!” she exclaimed as Jorg and Kean approached her.

“Good evening, Helen,” said Jorg plainly, giving Helen a hug.

“I’m here for the dinner you promised me,” said Helen.

“What dinner?” asked Jorg, looking surprised.

“Jorg! Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten. You made a mess of the interview…” said Hemen, wagging her finger at Jorg.

“Oh, that one,” said Jorg. “I’d hope you’ve forgotten by now,” teased Jorg.

Helen lifted her chin, looking a little faux aristocratic, “A woman’s memory is forever.”

“Can Kean come along?” Jorg asked.

“Kean Feehan, right?” Helen asked.

“Yes,” said Kean timidly.

“Your friend, Jorg here,” said Helen, pointing to Jorg, “had asked me for a special favour with regard to your first alternate identity. He’s quite demanding. Is he so in bed?”

Kean turned very red. Helen laughed but Jorg was not amused. “Helen, you know better than to spring a surprise like that. Look at how embarrassed he is. For your information, we haven’t done it yet.”

“No?” Helen said with her eyes wide open. “I find it very hard to believe,” she teased with a wide grin. She was about to tease them some more but stopped when she realised how serious Jorg was. She knew that Jorg was serious with Kean. If he were not, Jorg would not have made a special request to be together with Kean always. She put on a simple smile and said, “You must come with me to see how I’ve arranged for your lives to be intertwined.”

“I suppose you’re here to bring us to your work,” asked Jorg.

“Dinner first. Then we’ll pop down to my office.”

¤ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ¤

Helen’s office was very near to the magi council’s chambers. Jorg’s Mike Brown identity would have a short life before being born a few years before Kean’s second identity. It was all very simple and structured. Jorg wondered why Helen had brought him to the office. After explaining what her plans were with the couple, she said that she needed to get some things for Benedict’s approval. She asked Jorg if he would like to say hello to the council president. Jorg said he didn’t mind.

“Jorg! What a surprise!” said Benedict.

“Hello Benedict,” said Jorg cautiously. He had a strange feeling.

Kean also felt strange. There was a certain tenseness in the air. Helen smiled and asked Kean to step outside with her.

Once Kean was outside, he asked, “I’m sure you sensed something in the room, right?”

“Yes,” Helen replied. “I did but it isn’t our task to find out why right now. Let’s go and I’ll tell a little more about your Jorg. I’m sure you didn’t know he had a family and that he was related to the film producer Erik Letkens.”

Kean shook his head.

“Come with me. Let me fill you in on a little history of your mysterious lover and let the big guns talk in there, okay?” she said, putting her arms in Kean’s and leading him towards another part of the Council offices.

“I guess,” replied Kean. He was quite reluctant to leave Jorg with Benedict although he knew that Jorg could take care of himself.

Helen seemed to have sensed his worries. “Don’t worry. Jorg can take care of himself. This is, of course, the Magi Council Chambers. No one would think of harming anyone here.”

Meanwhile back in Benedict’s chambers, Benedict asked Jorg to sit down. He had a very serious look on his face. “Jorg. My days are numbered here.”

Jorg stared at Benedict in disbelief. “What do you mean? You’re still young and you’ve got another 25 years to go as President.”

Benedict sighed and said, “When you got your task, I knew that things were going to change. When your latest report on White came in, I was more convinced of this fact. The Council is now treading on a very thin wire. When he discovered we were distancing ourselves from him, each councillor had a visit from him. As none of them were level 18, they knew that they couldn’t hide anything from him. He’d have discovered that you’ve handed a report regarding the Aurelia and how he’s implicated in a deception against humanity. He knows that we’ve no way to stop him. From what Brin had told us, he was responsible for the kidnapping of General Evers. The relic that you requested for was not only able to create illusions, it also was able to capture psychic images. I discovered it when I was putting it back. I compared the images captured and realised that the magi guarding General Evers were all under the employ of White.”

Benedict went to his custodian safe and took out the box of relics. “Jorg, I promised to hold on to the relics until you needed them but I think I can’t hold on to them any longer.”

“Why?” asked Jorg. He was surprised that the Custodian would give up the very relics he was suppose to guard.

“White has visited twelve of the fifteen councillors. Only Ganesh, Tsui and I are left. When he comes to visit me, I won’t be able to hide from him the fact that you’re the Chosen One. Worse, he might be able to wrest the box of relics from me. I’ve made a copy of the box and I want you to take the original box and replace part of my memories. I don’t want him to know that you’ve the relics and that you’re the Chosen One. You’ll need to replace my memories. The memories that would take the place of the ones erased are written here.” Benedict handed a piece of paper. Jorg was surprised. Almost no one used paper anymore. It had become more of a prop for historical holomovies. After reading the instructions, Jorg nodded his head and obeyed his president.

About an hour later, Jorg popped his head into Helen’s office.

“I hope old Helen hasn’t been feeding you lies about me,” grinned Jorg.

“You know I don’t lie,” retorted Helen with a laugh. “I just provide the facts. I told him about your little adventure as a marine biologist that studied the whales. I’m sure Kean now appreciates why you’re such a patient fellow. Following a pregnant whale around till she gave birth and then until the calf left her. That was a long time, Jorg, even in human terms,” said Helen.

“Well, I wasn’t alone. We were a group of seven. I was just a driver and the others were scientists. I was four hundred and twenty I think …”

“Four hundred and twenty-three,” corrected Helen.

“Okay, four hundred and twenty-three. The scientists’ work helped to save the blue whale from extinction. The whale’s still-hunted for food but there’s moderation now so that the numbers don’t shrink. Any way, I need to train tomorrow morning. Can we go now, Kean?”

“Yes,” Kean answered. Turning his head, he said with a smile, “Helen, I’d a good time. Thanks for the info.”

“No problem,” said Helen.

When the two magi reached Jorg’s home in Micronesia, Kean noticed that Jorg was very tired.

“Are you okay?” Kean asked anxiously.

Jorg smiled, “I’m okay. I just need some rest.”

“What happened in there?” asked Kean, curious to know why Jorg would be suddenly so tired.

“Sorry, Kean,” Jorg apologized. “You know I can’t say.”

“I know. I really wish that this White guy would just quit being such a nuisance. He’s making everyone I know so…”

Kean said, showing his annoyance.

“He’ll say the same about me, you know,” countered Jorg with a smile. “All he wants is to do his thing.”

Kean responded, “He should be thinking about others before deciding to do his thing. You do.”

Jorg smiled. “I guess that’s the difference. I’m a little more considerate.”

Kean shook his head, “Why do you make yourself to be less than you really are? You should be true to yourself.”

Jorg gave a small laugh, “I’m being true to myself. I’m not indispensable. Self-importance comes from thinking that one’s indispensable. Please Kean, I’m really tired. Let’s go to bed.”

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

Date: 15 March 2676, Wednesday

Ryan White was very frustrated. He had found nothing much except that Jorg had found out about the kidnapped general and rescued him. His agents were nullified but he was relieved that Melissa Brandt did not identify him as the person behind the kidnapping and the attempt on Robinson’s life. He hit his fist on the table. Jorg managed to discover that he had stolen the Aurelia and built his own set of relays. White knew he would have to act fast if he wanted his plans to succeed. He needed to get the support of the council and then get rid of the man who was the thorn in his side, Jorg.

Benedict had called him to inform him of the result of the council’s meeting. He had personally visited Benedict the president to get the results and found out nothing more. White began to wonder if he had been too paranoid. His semi-magus son had been in contact with Jorg. There was no doubt in his mind that Jorg knew about his son. A simple genetic analysis would have revealed everything. Did Jorg know about who the mother was? White had seen the genetic records and he knew who the mother was. He’d thought he’d gotten rid of that tramp and the child in her womb. Apparently he was wrong. She must have asked a gynaecologist to transplant her child into the womb of that Keith woman. Jorg had not asked for a trace of the genetic records. Had Jorg given up? His gut told him that Jorg knew about the woman. If so, why did Jorg not report him? What did Jorg want?

His special communicator sounded.

“Yes!” he shouted.

His secretary was on the line. “Mr. White, the Pellegrine has left Earth port,” she reported.

“With all her crew?” asked White.

“Yes,” came the reply.

White had calmed down quite quickly. “Okay. Thank you.”

White walked over to the window. It was already noon where he was. He looked at the city that lay before him. There were a few birds flying in the distance. The buildings that surrounded his office were all lower than he was because the RCC building was the highest in this part of the city. He could just make out the people moving in the street below. He knew that all these and more would one day be his.

He looked far away. *Jade and Gold, I have need of your services.*

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