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Ka'i: The Second First
An Excerpt

“I don’t like it. It puts our eggs in one basket. Suppose we drop the basket: No breakfast. There must be a way to confront the Entity without putting both ships, all three ships, and the extended crew at risk. That and fighting on the surface of Earth will put people in danger.

“Collateral damage may be in the millions. We need to get the Entity out into the open without pulling down everything around it.”

Sitting back, sipping his coffee, NT waits.

Mari, who deliberately sat at the opposite end of the table to avoid her need to grab and hug Josh, decided to speak.

“Someone controlled the Entity before. By whom, and how, was the Entity controlled and put in… stasis?”

NT continues to question from the negative.

“If we figure out how to get it out in the open, what do we do with it? Are we sure we know the core of the Entity is a mist form? We are missing some important information.”

Nick sits up.

“Missing information is our motto. Where do we get the data? Cass has been searching for decades. She won’t have the data we need. Hundreds of people have been over the inventory from the data pods. None have found any reference to the Entity.”

Stopping, thinking, Nick eventually continues.

“I know. Someone purged all references to the Entity. Landry?”

The AI’s avatar appears in its old position, hovering over the sidebar. The location forces half the people seated to turn their chairs to see the avatar.

Nick looks up, across the table, between Josh and Corb, at the avatar. He waits. Everyone senses the moment and slowly turns their heads or chairs to the AI’s image. When everyone is focused, Landry speaks.

“Yes, Nick?”

“Do you want to tell us how you purged all references to the Entity from the data pods? Oh, and while you are at it, there must have been references to it in cultures across the galaxy. How did you turn the evil into myth?”

The tension is trickling through the crew. Aalborinn’s aura mildly increases in anticipation of the answer from the AI.

“I will provide the history you request. However, Beth, there is an interdimensional portal opening 20,000 kilometers dead-ahead.”

The crew jumps and rushes to the bridge.

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