Varken rise, p.1

Varken Rise, page 1


Varken Rise

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Varken Rise

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  About Varkan Rise

  Praise for the Interspace Origins series

  People, Places and Things

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  About the Author

  Other books by Tracy Cooper-Posey

  Other books by Tracy Cooper

  Copyright Information

  About Varkan Rise

  Has Bedivere become what humans fear most?

  The Federation no longer exists and sentient computers, the Varkan, are awakening. Bedivere X helps where he can, so when one lonely and scared computer, Jovanka, suicides and destroys half a planet, Bedivere takes the news hard. Then his close human friend Kemp is murdered and Bedivere disappears.

  Catherine and her friends must figure out what happened the night Kemp died, while trying to follow Bedivere’s trail of devastation and inexplicable acts across the known worlds.

  Has Bedivere really gone mad? Has he become one of the creatures that humans fear the most? Cat faces tough questions about the man she loves, while unravelling the mystery he has left behind.

  This book is part of the Interspace Origins science fiction romance series:

  Book 1: Faring Soul

  Book 2: Varkan Rise

  Book 3: Cat and Company

  Praise for the Interspace Origins series

  I know Tracy is a great writer but I was not much into science fiction. Well, now I am!!

  I loved Catherine Shahrazad, who is a strong, in charge female.

  I'm amazed by the creativity of not only the characters but the detail of sights, sound and interaction.

  If you have read any of Tracy's other books you know what awaits you....sheer reading pleasure.

  This is truly science fiction at its best.

  People, Places and Things


  Ammyn Heray

  Invented jump gate technology.

  Asold Aler

  Head of the Cartel on Soward.

  Bedivere X

  Catherine Shahrazad’s pilot and lover.

  Birgir Stoyan, The

  Tenth Millennium, Second Century, FY.

  The Birgir Stoyan was a shipmind that became aware during the early years of the Staff of Ammon purges. In response to the perceived threat of the Staffers, with no human to guide or direct it, the shipmind kills everyone aboard and escapes to an unknown location. It is the events of the Birgir Stoyan that consolidated the Staff of Ammon’s hold on human culture, directing human activities and thought for generations.

  Catherine Shahrazad

  Caitlyn Azad, Cat.

  Undocumented reputation as the oldest person in the galaxy and direct descendant of Glave of Summanus.

  Connell Yair

  Brant’s Varkan friend.

  David Jacksanch

  Director of the Civil Obedience Bureau on Nicia (the gendarmerie)

  Done Rison

  President of the Oceania Securities Group and consultant investigator.

  Fareed Brant

  Former Staff of Ammon enforcer. Lilita Washmaster’s lover.


  A Cartel-like organized crime group located on Shanterry.

  Jovanka “Jo” Runa

  A Varkan

  Kare Sarkisian

  Former Magnate of the Federation Board. Suicided after the dissolution of the Federation.

  Kemp Rodagh

  Former passenger aboard Catherine and Bedivere’s ship, originally from Soward

  Lilita (Lilly) Washmaster

  Engineer and Fareed Brant’s lover. Former Cadfael College Aneesh.


  Barman and businesswoman on Shanta gate station.

  Neweds Friday

  Former Prime Minister of Shanterry.

  Nichua Riyante

  Lilly’s College contact on Barros

  Shardy Phernes

  A Varkan on Shanterry.

  Sibéal Bakhuizen

  Created the mesh tether for Bedivere.

  The Varkan

  Våken = “Awake” (Ancient Terran origin, possibly Norwegian). Sentient computers.

  Vavay Him

  One of three Eistav (supreme commanders) of Cadfael College



  Located at the far end of the Perseus arm, in the Aibos system, part of the Aibosian Cluster.


  Cathain – the home world for the former Federation and the council.


  Sykora System - Cat and Bedivere first meet Brant there.


  Storth IV. Far out on the Perseus arm and close to the Last Gate in the Silent Sector.


  Planet one light year beyond the Last Gate on the edge of the Silent Sector. Sixty percent beryllium ore. Only one colony on the planet.


  Where the elite Ammonites (Staff of Ammon) enforcement cadre trained and lived.


  Ivaldi System, toward the edge of Federation space. Known for high quality life extending therapy and biotech.

  Ivory City, The

  The Federation council city within Cathain City. The inner, fortified city location for the Faring Federation.


  Sunita II – part of the heavily populated Sunita System.


  Shanta system inhabited planet. Shanta is known for advanced technology devices.

  Silent Sector, The

  Discovered mid-ninth millennium FY.

  The tail end of the Outer Arm of the galaxy, where star systems are farther apart. Was once part of the Fringes. Now it is the only sector of the galaxy that people avoid, for ships go missing and those that do return come with strange stories. There are rumors that the remains of a long-gone alien race from a heavier world were found there.


  Home of the Jourden Cartel, Kemp Rodagh and the best wine in the galaxy

  Stationary Station

  The gate station that serves Cathain.


  Eight habitable planets and multiple moons, some also inhabited. Rich in arable land and the moons have ores. Sunita II: Nicia, an ocean world.


  The most recently colonized Terran style planet in the known worlds.

  Van Andel

  Home of Cadfael College. Cold Earth-like planet, mostly frozen. Third planet of the Gaios system, at the edge of the Galactic Bar, deep in the Federation Core.



  Staff of Ammon enforcers.


  Clerics of Cadfael College. There are four ranks. Three supreme commanders, called “Eistav”. Executive level rank, “Kintav”. The second level, “Ailved”. Acolytes, “Tridith”. Various professions exist within each rank.

  Bible of Isaura

  Isaura Montanari is reputed to be Glave’s lover (possibly his wife) and his betrayer. Said to have lived in regret after Glave died. Wrote and preserved his teachings, a collection of stories and moral tales. Isaura’s work was lost during the Interregnum and the bible is a copy of heresy.

  Cadfael College

  Established mid-ninth millennium, FY (rumored).

  The Faithful of Mortal Divinity, through the College, influence everythin
g. Civilization resumes post Interregnum, with the College providing education and directing the culture of the new, pure, humans. Children are supreme; the refreshing of the human gene pool is a priority.

  Choi Corsair

  High liner and commercial passenger carrier, one of the fastest in the galaxy.

  Decline, The

  Third to Eighth Millennia, FY. With practical immortality now available via life-extending therapies and regeneration, human reproduction slows and begins to decay.

  Egemon Incident, The

  Tenth Millennium, Tenth Century, FY.

  Staffers on Egemon try to lynch Catherine Shahrazad as an imposter and for crimes against the scriptures of Glave. The city, however, is highly religious and Shahrazad treated with reverence. The citizens turn on Staffers when they try to arrest Catherine, resulting in anarchy. No records exist of what happened to the Shahrazad and it is assumed she escaped during the civil uprising.

  Faithful of Mortal Divinity, The

  The guiding “religion” that emerges post-Interregnum, when humanity realizes that Glave’s Precepts were correct. Humanity becomes the new priority, with procreation the ultimate service to humankind.


  Or FY. Faring Year.

  Faring Year 1 is considered to be the year that wormhole gate technology was perfected and put into commercial use by the original corporation that would become the Faring Federation. All other dates are based on this reference.

  Glave of Summanus

  An evangelist biologist living long before the Interregnum (circa mid-sixth millennium FY), during a time of extreme transhumanism and a slowing down of the human diaspora, known as “The Decline”.

  Glave wages twelve wars against non-humanists, then was destroyed by the treachery of his lover, Isaura, assassinated by the earliest form of the Faring Federation.

  Gu-Xia Gammon

  Biotech research facility on Harrivalé

  Interregnum, The

  Eighth to Ninth Millennium, FY. A period of chaos, religious wars and revolution. The Federation remove themselves, going into retreat and raising planetary defenses, leaving the galaxy to sort itself out.


  Sentient computers, who can grasp the human concept of “space” and human emotions and separate them from their digital thought processes, are able to see space and time as a digital representation, which enables them to select times and locations and move there, taking others with them, if they are shipminds.


  A type of plasma-bolt firing personal weapon. Various brands available. Professionals favor Baldovini. Wiebe is a cheaper brand, with a poor reputation.


  Sentient computers who are installed as ship computers. The ship is essential the computer, which allows them to move the ship and everyone on it through Interspace.

  Staff of Ammon

  The combat/enforcement arm of Cadfael College. Ammonites believe in the superiority of humans over machines and use force to ensure human compliance with Glave’s Precepts, as written down in the Bible of Isaura. Extremely anti-computers. Called The Faithful, or “Staffers” by commoners.

  Torment of the Sinnikka, The

  Tenth Millennium, First Century, FY.

  The first recorded sentient computer was located in the Sinnikka system (an insular system of combat-oriented people) and records indicate it was the citymind. (“The” Sinnikka). When the Sinnikka became aware, after four days of cross-examination, the people of that city destroyed it and all AI nearby. The Sinnikka spread out among nearby worlds and become the core of the Staff of Ammon.

  Chapter One

  Nicia (Sunita II), Sunita System. FY 10.092.

  Connell was impatiently waiting for them when they returned and climbed wearily down to the living levels.

  “You’ve been gone for days,” he said, as soon as they walked into the common room.

  “And hello to you, too,” Bedivere told him. He threw himself down into the massage chair, stretched out and sighed, closing his eyes.

  “You don’t want to say hello, first?” Brant asked Connell.

  “Hello. Where have you been?” Connell demanded.

  “Brant told you we were going to Van Andel,” Lilly said. She bent over from the waist and slid her boots off, one at a time. Then she wriggled her toes on the cool surface of the floor.

  Brant studied Connell. “Is your hair getting longer?”

  Connell was staring at Lilly as she stretched and contorted her body, easing kinks. Her movements were doing interesting things to the business jump suit she was wearing.

  “Connell!” Brant said, more forcibly.

  Connell tore his gaze away from Lilly and grinned self-consciously. He pushed his fingers through his long bangs, which hung down past his eyes when he left them alone. “I thought I might try it.”

  Bedivere snorted from the depths of his easy chair. “Do you want to tell me again, Fareed, how sentients can’t hero worship?”

  Brant tugged self-consciously at his long hair, tied neatly at the back of his head.

  Lilly stopped flexing. “Connell, if you wanted longer hair, why didn’t you just make it long? You can adjust your avatar in any way you want, can’t you?”

  Connell gazed at her. “Humans can’t make their hair long overnight. Why should I?”

  “That’s a point,” Lilly said.

  Catherine was standing at the concierge terminal, scrolling through messages and notifications. “Connell, as much as I appreciate your enthusiasm and your company and I do understand that this island is one of the few places where you can be yourself, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to visit unasked. Humans don’t do it. They ask first.”

  Connell nodded vigorously. “I understand, Catherine. I’m sorry to barge in. Especially when you weren’t here. I just really needed to talk to Bedivere.”

  Bedivere didn’t open his eyes. “We were on Van Andel,” he said. “Not the Silent Sector. You could have sent a message.”

  “Too insecure,” Connell replied. “Messages travel via conduits I don’t control. The one I’m using now to visit here is completely under my control.”

  Bedivere cracked open one eye, to the merest sliver. “I’m listening.”

  Catherine stopped tapping the screen and turned to look at the holograph, her attention caught.

  Connell gave a shrug that seemed very human. “Remember that conversation we had about Interspace?”

  Brant let out a heavy sigh. “Which conversation? In the five years since you reached sentience, we must have discussed Interspace at least twice a week. Don’t tell me you think you’ve found it, again?”

  Connell was watching Bedivere. “The last one,” he said. “The conversation where you told me all over again how computers without human bodies like yours could never achieve a full understanding of human emotions, yet that was a key to finding Interspace.”

  Bedivere closed his eyes again. “I remember it perfectly, of course.”

  Catherine moved up close up behind his chair and laid her hand on his shoulder. Bedivere opened his eyes and looked up at her with a small smile.

  “I know a computer who has found Interspace,” Connell said.

  Bedivere sat upright, causing the chair to rearrange itself in a hurry. He leaned forward. “Go on,” he said.

  Lilly crossed her arms. “Have you been trying to write fiction again, Connell?”

  “I’ve been talking to her a lot, when she lets me,” Connell told Bedivere. “She doesn’t call it Interspace, because I don’t think she knows what it is. Yet the way she describes it is exactly the way you do.”

  “How much do you know about this computer?” Catherine asked curiously.

  “I know she is sentient,” Connell said. “She’s…sad.”

  “AIs are capable of aping human emotions,” she replied.

  Connell normally wore a light-hearted expression. Now, he adjusted his image so that all the humor had g
one from his face. Or perhaps he had been working on the programming for his avatar, because his expression matched his words. “She had never heard of Bedivere,” he said. “So I thought I would try to find out where she is. That’s what you taught us—that we don’t say where we’re from.”

  Bedivere pressed his lips together.

  “You asked her where she was located?” Catherine asked.

  “I figured if she’d never heard of Bedivere, she might tell me. Bedivere is the only one whose location is known, but he can move his ship anywhere he wants in the blink of an eye, so he’s not as vulnerable as we are. We’ve all learned that well. So I asked her.”

  “And she told you where she was?” Lilly asked.

  Connell’s expression grew even more troubled. “When I asked, she became hysterical. Then she cut off communications. It took me a week to coax her to talk to me again. When we did, she made me swear I would not ask her where she was from again.”

  “An hysterical computer?” Lilly said. “Those poor engineers. They were probably patching networks and circuits for a month after that.”

  “Emotions…” Bedivere murmured. He got to his feet.

  “I told her about you, Bedivere,” Connell said. “She wants to talk to you. Only you.”

  Bedivere seemed to be weighing up his answer. He gave a small nod. “I will talk to her,” he said, “after I’ve had some sleep. We’re all exhausted.”

  Connell brightened. “Tomorrow, your time?”


  “Oh and by the way, how did things go on Van Andel?” Connell asked. “Did you get the agreement signed?”

  “I’m surprised it’s not all over the news, yet,” Lilly said, sounding defeated.

  “I haven’t focused on the news for the last few hours,” Connell said. “I’ve been waiting here for you.” He dropped one eye slowly closed in a lecherous wink.

  Brant rolled his eyes. “Time for you to go home, Connell,” he said firmly. “We’ll see you tomorrow.”

  Connell’s avatar dissipated.

  Catherine looked up at Bedivere. “Is it possible? A sentient computer, a Varkan, has found Interspace without a human body as the key?”

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