Libris Cartash by S J MacDonald (Fourth Fleet Irregulars #10)
English | 2020 | Sci Fi | ePUB | 2.7 MB
S J MacDonald lives in Wales (UK) in a tiny house full of books, animals, rocks and fossils. She is a teacher who loves writing and adventure travel, exploring in reality and in imagination.
‘It’s been ages since they let us blow anything up.’A year ago, the Fourth Fleet Irregulars were taken to a distant planet they found was the legendary Libris Cartash, the Lost Library of Cartasay. There, they discovered a mysterious crystalline artefact buried deep underground, which they were unable to reach at the time.Now they’re back, setting up a base for a team to excavate the artefact. With the base established, though, they are re-tasked to a secondary mission. Sixships, a world colonised by six fanatical and mutally hostile groups, has been at war for nearly two centuries. Can the Fourth find a way to impose a ceasefire?To Commodore Alex von Strada’s delight, their efforts will require quite a lot of blowing things up, with the kind of spectacular destruction the Fourth always enjoys.It will be their return to Libris Cartash, though, which will truly challenge Alex and the Fourth, as the excavation of the Library reveals an extraordinary legacy.
Through his right eye, therefore, Jom could see the commodore talking to empty air, no sign of the Chethari through that eye at all. And that was what his implant would record, Alex talking to something which the sensors said just wasn’t there.
Through his left eye, though, he could see the spectral form, and his own memory would record having seen that. Since the implant and his memory were linked, this would cause the bizarre feeling people got sometimes when trying to figure out if something had really happened or if it had just been a realistic dream. When the contradictory input got too much, Jom had to look away or squint his right eye shut for a little while to let his brain make sense of what it was seeing.
But that ‘hi’, Jom knew, was all he was going to get from Trilopharus. Attempts to involve other people in conversation with him rarely lasted for more than a few seconds, as he just didn’t seem to be able to focus on them. This was what Trilopharus himself had described as person-to-person contact, ambassador to ambassador.
‘I know,’ Alex chuckled, fully aware of how mystifying Trilopharus had found their refusal to get off the ship, both in the whole of their first visit,and the eight days they’d been here so far. This planet, after all, had been chosen because it was a safe encounter zone, nothing here which could harm them. ‘Pro…’
‘…tocols!’ Trilopharus finished for him, interrupting as he usually did. It was unusual for Alex to be able to finish a sentence without the Chethari jumping in. ‘So, is it all right? What do you think?’
‘It’s big,’ Alex said. ‘I feel like I’m in one of those movies,’ he eyed the massive vegetation, ‘where people get shrunk to the size of an ant. And it is pretty smelly. But amazing.’ He grinned at the angelic figure, so bright to his eyes even out in the daylight. ‘I have to say it,’ he warned, half laughing, and went to speak.
‘Noooo!’ Trilopharus wailed a mixed protest and appeal. ‘Always with the thanks and the sorry!’ he complained, which made Alex laugh again.
‘I am allowed one a day,’ he said, and with an air of determination, ‘So thanks, Trilopharus. It is wonderful to be here.’
‘Sa, sa,’ Trilopharus waved that away, tolerantly. ‘No big deal!’
It was a very big deal to the League. When Trilopharus had brought the Fourth over here for a visit the year before, they had discovered an ancient artefact buried deep beneath the surface. Alex had made the decision not to attempt to excavate it at the time, since they had neither the expertise nor the necessary gear to do it properly.
But it had been hard, very hard, to leave that treasure unexplored. And all the more so because this system was so far beyond the reach of humanity’s explorations that it might be twenty years before the League could mount an expedition of their own to get back here. And even when they did, the system was surrounded by a Veil technology humans did not yet understand and could not get through.