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In The Name Of The Mother

Epilogue


Control Room, Artificial Satellite Zelan, In Algolian Orbit

Almost One Thousand Years Later

The last image faded away, the worldships disappeared into the depths of space and Wren's voice stopped.  Chaz heaved a sigh.  The lights came on, dimly, and he was suddenly aware of being in Zelan's control room.  He was also aware of the heavy weight against his shoulder.  He really couldn't blame Rika for falling asleep, he supposed.  The story was a vital part of his history, but not of hers.  Chaz's wife was like no other on this planet, for she was as much a genetic construct as Lune and Alair had been.  History meant little to Rika, created fully grown two years ago.

Knowing Rika, in fact, gave Chaz a whole lot more insight into the character of Laya's servants.  He appreciated the fact that their innocence, contained in adult bodies, had gone a long way towards causing some of the more horrible mistakes of those tragic times.

"That was amazing, Wren," he said softly, trying not to disturb Rika.  "Thank you for telling me the story."

The robot inclined his head gravely.  "I think it's important that you know this."

"I agree.  A whole chapter of our history, missing.  You might well be the only being left who remembers this time, you know."

"I know.  But more importantly, there are lessons to be learned here for you.  Bran buried those years for a good reason.  Most Parmanians do believe that it has been a mere thousand years since Mother Brain was destroyed.  But now our own struggle against Dark Force has brought those old systems back into the light of day.  Your society is rapidly reaching the point where anti-technology sentiments may arise.  Dark Forces may not trouble us anymore, but in the end, Dark Forces only ever took advantage of your people's penchant for destruction."

Chaz bowed his head.

"Knowledge of this satellite, Nurvus, Seed, and the rest is spreading through the populace.  As the hero of this time, Chaz, you stand in a position very similar to Bran's.  You can calm the fears and determine the course Parmanian culture will take."

"I agree with Bran, too.  Without technology, and the help of robots like yourself, Motavia wouldn't be where it is today.  I will do what I can to help people see that.  But also like Bran, I think we would be better off if the old technology faded away again."

"I think that is an excellent idea."

"Speaking of technology, you can't use techniques.  Why not?"

"Orakio only modified a few Wrens and Mieus, and all of the modified ones departed on the Alisas.  Cut off from the systems on Motavia, Orakio believed they would need the advantage the technique systems gave them."

"That energy thing is fascinating."

"Fascinating, but incorrect."

"What?"

Wren shrugged.  "Orakio is not at fault.  His theory was the only logical one, given his information.  But our contact with Rykros has revealed to us the truth about this energy."

"Go on."

"Algo's worlds are a dimensional seal.  All life on the worlds are also part of that seal.  The energy Orakio believed a natural part of life is in fact the power of that seal - dimensional energy.   When you allow your emotions to overwhelm you, you become more a part of the seal.  You are able to wield more of its energy."

"Megid."

"Just so.  And Mother Brain and her servants are not truly part of Algo."

"Which is why Dark Forces are always taking over machines."

Wren didn't say anything.

"I wonder where they are now.  The ships, I mean."

"No information.  No communications have ever been received from any of them.  The odds are high that they have been destroyed.  In close to a thousand years, there should have been some signal.  Still, for all we know, they may still be in space."

"But they are the reason why Motavia's gone from green to brown then, right?"

"You are correct.  As Orakio said.  The loss of the good soil was and is more than the systems can handle.  Motavia is destined to return to a desert state for some time, though now that the systems are fully under control the collapse can be slowed somewhat.  And eventually reversed.  Motavia will be green again."

Rika stirred against Chaz, mumbling something.  Chaz thought long and hard about what he had seen.  "I wonder if it's right for Motavia to be green."

"Parmanians are not suited for desert environments.  Nor are they suited for the cold of Dezolis.  The Espers, as you well know, are a special case.   You would be justified in considering them no longer Parmanian."

"It was desert before we got here.  The Motavian people are suited for desert.  I wonder how they feel about the changes."

Wren said nothing.

Chaz suddenly laughed.  "No, no.  I guess I'm falling back into the story.  Bran was right.  This may not have been the planet we came from, but it's ours now.  We've earned the right to live here, I think.  But I also think that maybe this is the best Motavia of all.  There are green places and brown places, and Parmanians can live in the green ones and Motavians in the brown."

"Perhaps you are right, Chaz.  Time will no doubt tell."

"And you have all the time, don't you?"

Silence.

"There's just one last thing, Wren."

"Yes?"

Chaz seemed to gather himself to ask his question.  "Where were you in all this?  All the Wrens look alike to me."

"I was there."

"But which one were you?  Were you the one who told Orakio that the Camineet had arrived?  Were you one of the ones who met Bran in the tunnel?  Did you help crown him?"

Nothing.

Chaz swallowed.

"Were you the one who told Orakio the Layans would have to die?"

There was a very long pause.

"I was there," said Wren softly.  "And I followed my orders as we all did.  I had a duty to serve Orakio."

"Of course you did," said Chaz in a rush.  "I didn't mean to imply anything.  We'd better be going down.  Rika's obviously tired."

"She seems tired.  And there are no living quarters on Zelan."

"Wake up, Rika.  It's time to go down now."

"Mmmmm." said Rika, sleepily.  "Why don't you carry me?"

Chaz laughed.

"Her weight would not be a burden to me," Wren offered.  "If you like I can..."

"No, no," Chaz said.  "She's just kidding.  Come on, Rika.  Let's go."

Wren remained seated at the console as Chaz and his wife left the room.  The lights, already dim, faded away into blackness.  Only the faint glow of the lights on the massive banks of computers lit the room, but it was more than enough light for Wren's sensors to bring his processors a clear and accurate picture of the room.  And lights off meant power saved.  It was just more efficient that way.

The android, the last of his kind, knew that Chaz had guessed his role in the war, and knew further that Chaz had guessed it all.  He had followed his orders, for that was all a robot was, in the end, capable of doing.  And he had had a duty to Orakio, but he had had a duty more important than that.

Like all artificial life, he served the Mother.

He had done what was necessary, in her name.