The Pellegrine

Soul Lark

Book VII

Chapter 8
What Really Happened to the Aurelia

© 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: 1 December 2674, Tuesday

It was one week after the tests for the Pellegrine was completed. This time, there were no guests on board, only the consultants and the crew essential for the tests. Jorg had just finished the debrief in the planet-office. Noticeably absent was Brin. The magi crew had not asked because they knew what had happened. The humans had not seen him during the test and had just assumed that he was no longer involved in the ship.

Although the tests were done with the military bearing the costs, Titan Tours was still affected by the delay. They had wanted to announce two tours before the end of the year. As a result, they could only afford one. It would be a short cruise around Christmas. Jorg made used of the extra time after the debrief to announce the first cruise.

The debriefing ended late. Everyone had left, leaving Jorg, Kean, Jacques and Heath to lock up the office. Jorg suggested that they go back to his place for dinner. They took the human way because both couples had used their vehicles. After half an hour, they were seated and Kean served sushi and sashimi for dinner.

“I presume that you prepared these, Kean?” asked Jacques.

“Yes. I hope that you do eat these. If not, I could prepare some cooked stuff …”

“No, we’re fine,” answered Jacques.

Jorg looked questioningly at Jacques and realised that he was still wondering about Kean, and that Heath had not revealed much.

“Heath,” Jorg addressed Heath.

“Yes, Master Jorg,” answered Heath. Heath had been very respectful since the he and Jacques started training under him. He would only drop the title Master when the situation necessarily required it. Jacques would call Jorg Master during training but was on a first name basis with Jorg at other times.

“You haven’t told Jacques much about Kean, have you?”

“I’ve told him that he was under training just like we are. I’ve told him all that was told to me,” said Heath quietly.

Jorg raised his eyebrows. “You haven’t told him anything else?”

“It’s not my place to tell him,” replied Heath in the same demeanour as before.

Jorg sighed. Heath had great integrity though sometimes his fidelity to principles made things difficult.

Jacques heard the sigh and said, “Jorg, don’t worry too much. I’ve kinda figured out that you two are an item.”

Kean almost choked on a piece of raw fish.

Heath just smiled. His partner had a keen sense of things like that.

“I wouldn’t call ourselves an item yet, Jacques,” said Jorg.

“Well, the way the two look at each other tells me that you’ve got the hots for each other.” Jacques gave a wicked grin and added, “It’s no use trying to deny it, okay? I’m quite good at these things.”

It was Heath’s turn to sigh. Jacques had a very direct way of putting things.

Jacques heard the sigh and turned sharply. “What did I say wrong?”

“Nothing,” replied Heath.

“Why the sigh?” Jacques asked.

“Because he finds the way you put things very awkward but he’s accepted it,” replied Jorg.

“So, am I right? The two of you are together?” Jacques asked.

“Yes,” Kean said.

“But not like the way you think,” Jorg answered. “My magi training into the higher levels are very taxing and I need optimal concentration from Kean. For that reason, we’ve refrained from going further than just holding each other and kissing.”

“You never said that abstinence was essential for training,” Heath said.

“When you have someone at a higher level training you, you don’t need that level of concentration. Kean is essentially a level five. He is merely my guide and he needs to be focused. This is more so when I’m trying to reach fifteen as soon as possible. Most of the time, my training drains him. Sex would make one of us weaker the next morning and that would be detrimental to my training.”

Jacques was about to protest when he was interrupted by Heath. Jacques was not an advocate of abstinence. *Jacques, remember what you said about not having anal sex anymore?* Jacques remembered what he had said when he discovered that Heath found receiving anal intercourse very uncomfortable. Jacques just closed his mouth without uttering a sound.

“My purpose of inviting you to dinner wasn’t to discuss my sex life. I wanted to tell you what I discovered when I was with Professor Robinson,” Jorg said.

“Oooh! That’ll be interesting. My father was clearly excited a few days after his trip but he never said anything. My mother said his eyes looked as if he was going to start another project. He visited General Evers a few days after that and then things started going back to normal.”

“Yes, Mama … I mean Jacques’ mother … was so afraid that he might just abandon his university work and then they’d all have to move back to Earth,” added Heath.

“It might not be such a bad idea seeing how Mark had been so uncomfortable about having Stephanie so near on the ship,” remarked Kean. “And Heath, it sounds to me that you’re really part of Jacques’ family now,” he teased.

Heath blushed. “Well, his mother insisted that I call her that …” he said pointing to Jacques.

Jacques became impatient. “Let’s get back to the Aurelia,” pleaded Jacques. “Jorg, please tell us what you discovered.”

“I discovered that there were two sets of relays. The relays built by the humans led in one direction. The relays that I found led in another direction and were hidden using electronic means.”

“Electronic means?!” Jacques exclaimed. Then he jerked his head erect and asked “Aren’t you afraid of someone eavesdropping?”

“The shield’s secure and Heath isn’t showing me anything so far,” said Jorg.

“Me?” asked Heath. “Is that how you found out who our enemies were on the ship?”

“Yes,” replied Jorg. “When I found out that the general accused Jacques father of being a saboteur, my suspicions were instantly aroused. I’d purposely got Jacques’ father on the inspection team to see if I could bait the general. When he took the bait, I immediately set my plan to work. The impostor wasn’t going to fool a magus. If he was a magus himself, he could shield himself from the rest of the magi but not indefinitely. If he was a human, he would be shielded by another magus or magi. The thing was that at least another magus needed to be nearby or else the shield could be weakened by distance. I also knew that whoever the accomplice or accomplices were, they would be very highly skilled and would be able to shield themselves from me. I needed Heath and his passive power but I couldn’t go to Heath personally, or else the impostor and his accomplice would know that I was on to them immediately.”

“So that’s why Kean came into our rooms several times and got us to help him do some magi work. He was using Heath as a detector.”

“Yes,” said Kean with a rather red face.

“Why are you blushing?” asked Heath.

Jorg smiled and said to Kean, “I’ll tell them.” Turning to Jacques and Heath he explained, “As an added precaution, we placed a mirage shield whenever he went into your rooms.”

“A mirage shield?” asked Jacques.

“Yes. It isn’t just a shield against eavesdroppers. It is a shield that pretends to be broken into and leads the eavesdropper to see whatever we want him or her to see. In the case of Kean using Heath, you would notice that he wanted you to sit and lie in certain positions. Actually he could have done what he did with you in any position. He made you sit and lie in certain positions because the mirage was the three of you having sex.”

“A three-way,” laughed Heath, understanding.

“Yes. If the mirage was pierced, the images would not be clearly seen, only shadows. The position would give the impression that there was no mirage at all.”

“And when you reported to Jorg?” asked Jacques.

“You’ve guessed it,” said Kean blushing. “I was the whore of the Pellegrine, sleeping with the captain and two other guys.”

“We discovered that there was only one accomplice. The more magi there were in the operation, the harder it is to keep things secret from other magi,” Jorg continued. “Well, later, the accomplice grew bolder and made a mistake. She wanted to make sure that what she saw was really happening. She knew that using electronic means to detect anything was impossible when dealing with magi, and her powers were showing what our mirage shields were showing her. So she asked the impostor to peep through our window. The impostor physically came to my window to see if what was seen in the mirage was what was happening.”

“Wow! What happened?” asked Jacques.

“I had Kean’s dick in my mouth,” said Jorg matter-of-factly.

Kean was really red by then and Jacques was warned by Heath not to ask any further.

“I had my own computers monitoring the ship and discovered the impostor outside the ship. Once he fled, I tuned in to Heath. Fortunately he was asleep and so the accomplice didn’t pay any attention to him. It was then that I discovered who the accomplice was and her identity. Once that was established, I got Kean to send a message to the Magi Council and asked them for help. I took the risk of sending the message because no one could guarantee that that the message wouldn’t be monitored. At the same time, Brin was rescuing the real general.”

“How is Brin? We know that he was wounded but not how bad. We didn’t see him at the briefing,” said Jacques.

“He’s fine. He’d sustained a very terrible wound to his shoulder and he needs a long recovery. Fortunately, his nerves were not severed, only his muscles were destroyed.”

Jacques cringed, “He’s maimed.”

“No, except for nervous tissue, magi can reconstruct any part of the body,” said Jorg.

“Like cloning?” asked Heath.

“No. The reconstruction and regeneration takes place in the body of the patient. It takes quite a while, sometimes up to ten years. I had a chat with the magi physician the other day. The regeneration would take about two years for Brin’s case.”

“You know the rest of what happened when Brin appeared with the General, right?”

“Yes,” replied Jacques.

“What you don’t know is that Brin took the shot that was meant for me. I owe him my life,” said Jorg. “He pushed me down and the laser shot hit him instead. I was glad when the council answered our call. They managed to get enough level fifteens and sixteens together to nullify the impostor and his accomplice. However Melissa Brandt, the accomplice, and the imposter swallowed cyanide pills rather than submit to the council.”

“So ends our contact with our hidden eavesdropper,” said Jacques.

“Not quite,” said Jorg.


“Melissa Brandt isn’t the mastermind. The imposter was the shadow that we detected at my birthday last year. His name is not important anymore. Melissa was just an agent of someone else. Who we’re up against is very cunning. I discovered who he could be when I was helping your father in his readings, Jacques.”

“You said he. You’re pretty certain, aren’t you?” asked Heath.

Jorg nodded solemnly. “I did a scan with my mind and discovered something near enough for me to transport to. Whilst Professor Robinson was busy scanning the immediate region, I took a risk and went to see what this thing was. I came to a relay station linked to the last station set up by the Aurelia before it was supposedly destroyed. I had taken a look at some of the notes with Professor Robinson and understood that the probe reaches a predetermined distance and then sets up a small relay station that would be used to transport robots and material to build a proper relay station. Then, a new relay packaged would be attached to the probe to continue its journey to set up the next relay. The first and smaller relay device was never destroyed. It was to be used as a backup. I found the smaller relay device with a logo of the Aurelia on it. The larger relay was definitely made using non-military material. I found a logo on one of the steel beams. We see it almost every day when we log into the communications net.” Jorg took out a comptab (computer tablet) and brought out a familiar logo.

“Wow! You mean this company is involved?” Jacques asked.

“Yes. The company is owned by a magus. He always co-ordinates his magus and human affairs so that he would always become the heir of his business empire.”

“Uh?” Jacques and Heath looked puzzled.

“Magi live longer than humans and so there is a need, if we are to remain visible to the human community, to look as if we died and then were born again. The magi council has a large group of magi working on this. My current identity is Mike Brown, nephew of Charles Brown, whom you know as Brin. This is despite the fact that I’m at least two and a half centuries older than Brin. There is an elaborate way in which our supposed births, growth and deaths are recorded. Each magus who is older than a normal human being actually has two identities concurrently. One is the identity we assume as adults and the other is the growing identity. Right now, there is a record of a child growing up somewhere, going to school perhaps, that I will assume when my Mike Brown character grows too old and has to die.”

“This sounds very complicated,” remarked Jacques.

“It is,” said Jorg. “We try to keep ahead of everything. One of our aiding agencies is this company,” said Jorg pointing to the logo he had just brought up.”

“Are you saying that our eavesdropper is a respected person of our community?” asked Kean.

“That and more. He controls a lot of information regarding the magi community. He could hold the community in ransom. It looks like he is trying to do more than just communication. By taking control of the relays that goes out of the solar system, he may become the most powerful person on the planet.”

“Does the magi council know anything about his activities?” Kean asked.

“They do now. I handed in my report the day after the ship went back to Earth for inspection. They don’t doubt my report and are now genuinely wary of this magus. I heard one of the councillors say that he could be seeking to be president of the council when the present group of councillors end their term.”

“That would be dangerous,” remarked Jacques.

“Yes. When I mentioned the rescue of the general, the council agreed that this was something that the magi couldn’t ignore. After we rescued the general and Melissa Brandt was identified, the council agreed that the incident was really big. They commissioned me to carry on to find out who was behind all of this.”

“And you did …” added Jacques.

“Yes, I did. The council was very shaken. They’d trusted this magus for a very long time. This time, he has gone too far,” said Jorg seriously.

“What level magus is he?” asked Heath.

“He’s level eighteen and is an extremely powerful magus. He’s not as old as me, in his five hundred and twenties, but he’d been a level thirteen rescuer and he trained under your father, Kean. He continued for a few more years in the rescue corps after level sixteen. Then he bid farewell and took some of the best rescuers with him. No doubt they were the ones who helped him to reach the level he’s at now.”

“Isn’t the council going to do something about him?” asked Kean.

“They are. However, things aren’t as simple as they seem. The council would need proof to nullify him. At this moment, all we have is that the materials that were used to build the relay were from his company. It doesn’t say anything concrete. At level eighteen he can hide many things from the council,” said Jorg. “Furthermore, the magi that were guarding the general disappeared the moment Brin succeeded in rescuing him. They were well shielded and so Brin couldn’t identify them completely. So, neither can we pin the kidnapping to him.”

“If he’s that powerful, what makes you think he doesn’t already knows about us?” asked Heath.

“To look for a needle in a haystack, you know what to look for. If you don’t even know that there is a needle in there, you’ll never find anything. There are many things in the haystack that are not hay. Soil particles … that’s a whole group of stuff, seeds, droppings, and so on. One can’t just say find something different in the haystack. What would you start to look at?”

Jorg looked at the three people in front of him. “Look. Considering the situation, we’d better lie low. I don’t think he knows about Jacques’ and Heath’s change into magi. Not even the council knows that. The only people who know for sure are in this room. I haven’t told any of the council nor any of the crew. I think Brin suspects but he has kept quiet. There’re too many loose ends now that we cannot afford to reveal everything to the people around us. By not using your magi powers, no magus would be able to detect you, Heath and Jacques. All you’ve got to do is to come regularly for your training.”

“I guess so. What about if we have an emergency?” asked Jacques.

“We’ll cross the bridge when it comes. Right now, as you’ve probably guessed, there’s a mirage shield about us. No one has tried to enter it. It means that our encounter with Melissa was seen more as a problem regarding the Aurelia project but that doesn’t mean that we can become complacent. So far, we’ve ascertained the identities of all known magi on Uranus, except for the both of you. Iris and her people are monitoring the rescue corps here on Uranus and all new magi coming onto the planet. Usually magi from outside come here for holiday. If there are any other reasons, Iris and her people would know of it. If our level eighteen friend has some in his payroll, they’ll be the ones to look out for.”

Jacques looked at Heath for a while and then said, “We understand what you’re saying, but I’m curious, what really happened to the Aurelia?”

“From the evidence that I’ve seen. Our adversary and his friends took over the controls of the Aurelia and fooled the human military into thinking that the probe was destroyed. The probe actually went on ahead and is creating a path to Alpha Centuari. When the analysis of the crash site was made, it was discovered that there was a glitch in their plan. They hadn’t counted on Professor Robinson and the general adding some gold to the probe. I suspect that the resignation of Professor Robinson provided a way out of the situation. General Evers was kidnapped and held for almost two years and his impostor started to make things difficult for any investigations to be carried out. When our adversaries found out that I was going to captain a ship carrying Professor Robinson, they deduced that I was going to help him investigate the Aurelia. So they acted to try to silence the professor.”

“You mean that my father’s life was in danger?” Jacques asked anxiously.

“Yes,” said Jorg.

“Is he still in danger?”

“I don’t know. I’ve a suspicion that that my entry into the hidden station alerted someone. I was very careful to render my presence hidden but our adversary’s a smart magus. He may’ve developed some devices that even my powers cannot negate. My people tell me that your father’s being monitored by magi means. The magi monitoring your father are known to Iris and her people. We don’t want to alert our adversary that we’re on to him. Furthermore they’re just in level six or so. So, until we’re sure that they would attempt anything, we should keep a low profile. I would advise that you don’t to go near your father without shielding yourselves. Tomorrow, I’ll teach you how to mirage shield yourselves. Right now get yourselves some rest. We’ll have to start our training tomorrow.”

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