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FK 16 - Chapter 11

 
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Cord Hurn
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:43 am    Post subject: FK 16 - Chapter 11 Reply with quote

Nick has Captain's Fancy decelerate in hard gravity, braking then coasting in a series of four-hour cycles. He feels an extended period of deceleration makes the Amnion more willing to speak to them first before firing on them. In this manner of approach to Enablement Station in forbidden space, the g force experienced is less than Captain's Fancy used to escape Com-Mine Station. But, it's still powerful enough to be considered "hard g", and so it can be powerful enough to trigger Morn Hyland's gap-sickness.

Quote:
In that way, alternately braking and coasting, he took Morn Hyland toward her first meeting with the Amnion.

Because of her gap-sickness, she was virtually useless most of the time. While the ship slowed, she had to remain in her cabin, blanked out by her zone implant.

That made the hours hard to bear.

If she could have worked, she might have been less vulnerable to her growing apprehension. But as she drew closer to Enablement Station, her dread increased--a dread so visceral that it was almost cellular; her genes themselves might have been crying out in fear. Despite Nick's assurances, she was terrified of the Amnion. They were a threat to the integrity of her membership in the human species. They had the power to change the most fundamental thing she knew about herself.

The idea of submitting herself to them--of letting them take Davies from her and "force-grow" him in one of their labs--filled her with horror.
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Cord Hurn
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:08 am    Post subject: Forbidden Knowledge 16 - Chapter 11 Reply with quote

Though she has the option of setting her zone implant control for twenty-four hours' sleep, Morn doesn't choose to do this. Morn wants to remain able to know what's going on and hear what promises Nick and the Amnion make to each other. So she sets her zone implant for two hours of sleep right at the moment the ship fires the braking thrusters, and once awake heads to the bridge (with coffee and sandwiches from the galley to distribute as an excuse for being there) to stay appraised of any news. Working as much as she's able, she acts as relief for either Sib Mackern or Alba Parmute at the bridge data station. While doing this work, she starts to realize that she wants to depend less and less upon her zone implant. She has started to distrust the implant's effects. She knows now that she needs to have her son Davies in order to once again believe in herself. She's appalled to realize that this means needing the Amnion.

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Putting herself to sleep felt like a surrender to genetic terror. Each time she went back to her cabin, she had to exert a greater force of will to overcome her impulse to leave her zone implant control alone.


The dread of the coming encounter with the Amnion becomes more powerful for Morn as the waking hours go by. Nick waits until cutting two-thirds of the ship's velocity before transmitting standard identification information to the Amnion. In a return transmission, the Amnioni speaking at Enablement Station remark that Captain's Fancy is presumed hostile and demands further explanation. Nick has id information repeated to Enablement, and adds they are willing to pay for aid with "a medical difficulty". Morn can't resist asking why the ship came here before. Mikka, standing by on the bridge, answers that the previous visit was for the purpose of repairs for which they couldn't pay, and that they ended up getting paid by "both sides" (presumably meaning the UMCP and the Amnion). Mikka sourly concludes, "The Amnion may think we cheated them." Nick counters that's reason enough for the Amnion not to reject them now, but doesn't explain his comment.
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Cord Hurn
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:40 am    Post subject: Forbidden Knowledge 16 - Chapter 11 Reply with quote

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Enablement's answer came in.

"Enablement Station to encroaching human ship. You are in violation of treaty and presumed hostile. Identification transgresses acceptable norms. Previous arrival and departure of the ship Captain's Fancy is confirmed. The name 'Nick Succorso' is contrary to established reality and presumed false. Amnion defensive Tranquil Hegemony has orders to repel approach. Transmit acceptable identification."


Nick orders his DNA structural information to be transmitted to Enablement along with a repeat of the id information he has already sent. When the communications channel is muted, Morn continues to ask questions about what happened the last time Captain's Fancy was at Enablement. Nick at first bristles at being questioned, but then relents when Morn admits she's just asking questions to stave off panic. He tells her the Amnion want resources, ores and metals, as well as some human technologies. Nick states that the Amnion apparently are not nearly as good as humans at mass production, though they are skilled at genetic manipulation. Amnion want human beings most of all, Nick informs Morn, so they can do genetic experiments on them and their protoplasm. Their ultimate goal seems to be to learn ways to change humans into Amnion and thereby conquer the human race.

Nick assures Morn that a person could become very wealthy selling other humans to the Amnion, and that the Amnion always honor their trade deals so that they can get further trade. The previous visit to Enablement was when Nick offered to let the Amnion give him a mutagen in exchange for credit sufficient to get Captain's Fancy repaired. Nick states that the previous deal didn't work out the way the Amnion hoped, but is interrupted by a transmission from Enablement before he can further explain.

The transmission acknowledges that ship identification is valid, and that captain's identification is accurate, even if it "doesn't conform to known reality". In the transmission, the Amnioni speaking further declares that they require the discrepancy between presumed identification and known reality to be "brought into conformity", and help with a medical issue will be given as trade for fulfilling that requirement. The transmission concludes with instructions for approaching Enablement. Nick orders Mikka to secure for deceleration, and warns Morn to return to her cabin in three minutes and prepare for heavy g. Morn finds out the exact length of time the ship will be in the heavy g of deceleration, and heads to her cabin to set her zone implant for sleep at as close to the required time amount as possible.
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Cord Hurn
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:12 am    Post subject: Forbidden Knowledge 16 - Chapter 11 Reply with quote

Morn wakes up feeling sluggish, goes, to the galley for coffee and sandwiches to distribute to the bridge crew, then heads to the bridge to find out what's going on. She finds a tired crew, some of them grateful for the food and coffee she offers, others too tired to care about such things.

The Amnion of Enablement send another communication across forbidden space offering "unification" with them to resolve hazards and difficulties, and bring into conformity both presumed identification and known reality. In other words, the Amnion are offering to give the crew mutagens to relieve their stress by becoming Amnion.

Nick is his reply transmission tells Enablement they need rest after deceleration and will afterwards reply to that proposal. Then the second-tier crew under Mikka is ready to take over the bridge, and most of the first-tier crew leave the bridge, except Nick and Vector. Morn remains on the bridge as well, operating the data station.

Nick orders Vector to rig a self-destruct involving the thrust drive and other power sources that can produce brisance, as a threat to Enablement if the Amnion try to take the ship or its crew hostage. Vector leaves the bridge to begin this task. Nick then instructs Mikka to use her judgement as to when to inform the Amnion of the explosion thereat, such as when she thinks Nick and Morn have been gone too long. He wants her to relay this threat if she thinks it's necessary to get him and Morn back safely and gain a safe departure. Nick emphasizes that Mikka must make the Amnion of Enablement believe they're willing to blow up while docked if he and Morn aren't returned and the ship allowed to leave.

And now, Captain Succorso is ready to have a tight-beamed communication with Enablement.
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Cord Hurn
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:29 am    Post subject: Forbidden Knowledge 16 - Chapter 11 Reply with quote

Nick proposes to the Amnion to give them one deciliter sample of his blood for their analysis as to why their mutagen didn't work on him. In exchange for giving them that opportunity to perfect their mutagen, Nick states he and Morn be allowed to visit a medical facility on Enablement where Morn's son can be born and force-grown. Nick also asks to be paid credit enough to purchase a new gap drive.

He offers to donate his blood first, and tells the Amnion that he wishes for swift departure for himself, Morn, her matured offspring, and the ship once all requirements of the deal are satisfied. The radio voice of the Amnioni representative tells Captain's Fancy to "await decisive reply...continued approach is acceptable", and then goes quiet. Nick keeps himself and the bridge crew quiet until the Amnioni voice riding on a radio wave towards them through forbidden space informs them the proposal is acceptable and immediate reply is required. Nick quickly says he agrees, and shuts down the communications channel and gloats.

The ship's video screen now shows Enablement Station slowly looming larger. When Captain's Fancy is about half an hour away from docking with Enablement, Nick calls Alba Parmute to the bridge to relieve Morn at the bridge data station. Nick tells Morn to give her id tag to Mikka, so that the Amnion don't know they have a UMCP officer aboard and won't be tempted to demand her id tag as part of their payment. He then tells Morn to meet him at the suit lockers. He explains that while Amnion air is somewhat breathable, it's best to treat the visit within Enablement as EVA, for wearing the suits makes the Amnion unable to force mutagens into them. Then he walks off the bridge.
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Cord Hurn
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:51 am    Post subject: Forbidden Knowledge 16 - Chapter 11 Reply with quote

Walking toward the suit lockers alone, Morn thinks about hiding the zone implant control box within her EVA suit, and feels relief that she'll have the suit between her body and the Amnion surroundings. Then she feels dismay as she reflects she'll likely have to remove the suit for the Amnion to induce birth so that can take the fetus and biologically force it to maturity.

Quickly, she sets her zone implant control for button combinations to induce calmness enough to numb her dread while still permitting her to think and react. She picks out an EVA suit to don, and proceeds to put in on around her shipsuit with its pockets concealing the zone implant control box. Nick arrives soon, selects the EVA suit he wants, and is fiercely happy that stories will be told of the risks he and Morn are taking for a child Nick doesn't even want.

While he slips on his chosen EVA suit, Morn asks what the Amnion meant about "known reality and presumed identification must be brought into conformity". Nick reminds her he let the Amnion of Enablement inject him with a mutagen, but the mutagen obviously failed to transform him. And he's giving the Amnion the chance to study why their mutagen didn't work by donating a small sample of his blood. Morn then wants to know why the Amnion mutagen didn't work on Nick.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:12 am    Post subject: Forbidden Knowledge 16 - Chapter 11 Reply with quote

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His laugh was harsh enough to draw blood.

"I've got an immunity drug. Your precious Hashi Lebwohl gave it to me. Data Acquisition at its finest. The real reason I came here before was to test it for him."

That was the reply she'd dreaded. UMCP corruption. And a betrayal of humankind so profound that its implications shocked her out of her calm. Her zone implant might as well have been switched off. Abysms of treachery seemed to gape around her like the gaps between the stars.

Not Hashi Lebwohl's treason: not the UMCP's.

Nick's.

"And you're going to let them do it?"

His laugh sounded like a snarl. His tongue twisted inside his cheek: between his teeth, a gray capsule appeared.

"I haven't taken it yet."

He shifted the capsule back against his gum.

"It's not an organic immunity. It's more like a poison--or a binder. It ties up mutagens until they're inert. Then they get flushed out--along with the drug. The immunity is effective for about four hours.

"I'm not going to take it until after they sample my blood. That way they don't learn anything. The drug won't be in my system yet. And if we're lucky, we'll be long gone before they finish their tests."

He was planning to cheat the Amnion.


Nick has been staring straight at Morn while saying this, but now looks away. He tells her it's likely the Amnion will want a blood sample from her as needed DNA information for force-growing her fetus. Because of that possibility, he further explains to her that he cannot give her any of the mutagen-deactivating drug, to avoid the Amnion finding it in her blood and studying it. Morn now feels so anxious that it seems like the zone implant's calming influence isn't really taking effect on her mind. And no doubt she needs its effects before embarking on such a scary adventure.

A rather long, but entertaining, chapter.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nicely summised Cord Hurn Smile

And yes its a tad terrifying for Morn .. plus that whole debrief has shaken her, more than she expected.

Interesting plot device .. certainly lots of twists and jarring reveals. This is characteristic of Donaldson though isnt it?
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Cord Hurn
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Sky, and the jarring reveal that Nick is planning to cheat the Amnion makes what he and Morn are trying to do seem even more dangerous.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are making some progress in getting the second Gap book dissected. Slowly and steadily, we are getting it done. The chapter discussion process is now just a bit past the halfway point of

The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge

1. Angus [1]
2. Chapter 1
3. Chapter 2
4. Chapter 3
5. Ancillary Documentation/Datacores
6. Chapter 4
7. Chapter 5
8. Chapter 6
9. Ancillary Documentation/Intertech
10. Angus [2]
11. Chapter 7
12. Chapter 8
13. Chapter 9
14. Ancillary Documentation/The Amnion [1]
15. Chapter 10
16. Chapter 11
17. Chapter 12
18. Ancillary Documentation/The Amnion [2]
19. Chapter 13
20. Chapter 14
21. Chapter 15
22. Ancillary Documentation/Gap Drive
23. Angus [3]
24. Chapter 16
25. Chapter 17
26. Chapter 18
27. Ancillary Documentation/The Preempt Act
28. Chapter 19
29. Chapter 20
30. Chapter 21
31. Angus [4]
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