Defector

Excerpt from Chapter 2: "Samantha's Dream"

     Samantha Harris tossed and turned.  It wasn’t that her bed in the women’s dormitory was uncomfortable, but her thoughts were troubling her over several things.  The Cybrius attacks were foremost on her engineer’s brain.  Of the former, she felt a strange, inescapable dread.  The Cybrius were so inhuman, so horrid and unnatural.  The very idea of losing one’s self-control to a supercomputer terrified Samantha.  Of the latter, mysteries swirled in her head.  Unanswered questions plagued her about the Voices, the assassin…everything.  She felt this riddle was far from over—perhaps not even solvable in her lifetime.

     “You and I are not so unalike,” Vogul taunted.

     “For ones so talented, you know so little of this galaxy!” mocked the Shadow’s hollow, weird voice.

     “You have no conception of what has begun!” The Voices screamed, across her memory.

     Samantha sat bolt upright.  Cold droplets of sweat ran down her spine, and she brushed a hand through her

bouncy, brown hair.  She was breathing hard.  What a horrible nightmare!  The Prophetess was about to heave a sigh of relief when she realized she wasn’t where she ought to be.  A creeping feeling settled over her.  Her dormitory was gone!  She was instead in a strange courtyard, a garden really, surrounded by four walls.  She had awoken on some sort of alien daybed.  Her heart pounded as she wondered if aliens had once again abducted her.  Could it be the Cybrius…or something worse?

     Rising, she padded softly over grass that felt wet and cool to her bare feet.  Her nightgown trailed behind her as she walked toward a large, shadowy opening in one of the walls.  She entered to find herself in a strange library.  The sky outside was a dark, menacing red.  The walls inside were tinged in dark violet, whether from lights or the sky, she couldn’t tell.  It appeared to be night, wherever she was, and not a soul stirred.  The silent stacks were packed with volumes that appeared at once tangible and digitized.  She reached out her hand for a book, and heard someone behind her.

     Whirling, Samantha nearly had a heart attack as she beheld a man in a cloak surveying her.  The aged man’s beard was neatly-trimmed, his cloak was without hood, and his blue garments were edged in gold.  Diagonal patterns crisscrossed his alien but traditional-looking outfit.

     “Fear not,” the librarian told her.  His authoritative voice was hardly soothing. “You are seeing this realm but in a dream.  One day you shall arrive here, but for now, you view a shadow of the future.”

     “Is this a prophecy?” Samantha questioned.

     “Perhaps.” The man smiled slightly. “Take care which book you peruse, Miss Harris.  Only one may be chosen in the Library of the Infinite, and it is not that volume which you will seek.”

     “Why am I here?” Samantha asked, bewildered.

     “Because the Lord has seen fit to show you a glimpse of the future,” the librarian explained. “You are a Prophetess, yes?  One day you will come to me and my brothers, seeking the help that knowledge gives.  Many greater beings have found wisdom in the hallways of this Library.  There is one word I must impart to you, before you awaken from your dream.  Or is it in sleep that we truly awaken?”

     “Speak plainly,” Samantha demanded. “I’m tired of riddles from the Servant of the Lord!”

     “Ah yes, that one,” the Librarian said, a funny look crossing his face.

     “You know him?” Samantha was shocked. “Does everyone in this freaking galaxy know each other?”

     “In a way, everything is connected,” the librarian answered mysteriously. “For now, simply know that one of your own shall betray you.  A Starganaut will turn against his fellow orb-bearers.  When you face him, it will be the end of the Starganauts.  Yet face him you must.”

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