Revelation (Demons Of The Past 01) – Chapter 27

Chapter 27.


Dr. Sooovickalassa gave a hiss combined with a chiming rattle as that fantastic golden crest rippled; this was, I’d come to learn, an R’Thann’s equivalent of an exclamation of awe. “Stable your abilities two weeks have been,” he said. You appear to have reached your peak — and an impressive peak it is. On a sideband which he probably didn’t mean me to see, I could also hear Possibly as strong as one of the Masters of the Dawning Light. [untranslatable curse] That he have such power while I am crippled! Still… I must suffer my Testing and prove my own worth.

“Impressive is an excellent understatement, Doctor,” Kerlamin said, studying the graphs. “Congratulations on this achievement, Doctor. You have exceeded any expectations I might have had.”

It had taken six months to reach this point. I’d found after three months that Shagrath was holding back when we sparred; a month later, I sensed he wasn’t holding back much. Last month, I’d beaten him. I couldn’t deny the occasional sense of pride and superiority any more, and to be honest why should I? There was certainly superiority present. I was approaching ultrapsi, and not just with one talent; like Shagrath, I had several high-level talents, and there wasn’t a single known psi power I couldn’t handle decently. I now existed on an entirely different level than normal human, or even most alien, beings could imagine. Shagrath and, presumably, our alien opposite numbers were the only others who could understand what it was that I now had. “So now what?”

“Time, I think, to try you against some threats that you will encounter in the field. You’ve practiced a great deal against me psionically, but you need to hone your reaction against the kind of dangers that even ordinary people can present to you.”

“What in all the Seven could any of them — even one of the Five Families — manage against us? Be serious.”

Shagrath smiled tolerantly. “Don’t get carried away, Sasham. True, when prepared and warned there’s little on a small scale that can harm us, but that ‘little’ can be enough. Once again you will fight against me, but this time I will play the part of an extremely competent Monitor without my psi abilities, but with all the resources of a moderate-sized base at my command. Your mission is to reach me and incapacitate the base.”

“Oh,” I said. “That’s what you and Doctor Sooovickalassa have been working on over at the weapons testing range.”

“Indeed, indeed, Commander. Modifying one of the standard assault force scenario models. You get to play the part of the entire assault force.”

That was a bit daunting, I had to admit. Assault forces against a moderate sized base would have full powered armor, heavy weapons, and significant numbers. The base itself would be armed, monitored, staffed by hundreds of trained personnel. “Do I have at least the advantage of enough surprise to get inside?” I was having the uncomfortable vision of trying to reach the base against real heavy weapons fire and either Longshot Barrier or Gradient Shields, either one of which would be a sinking big problem to get around.

“Not quite so confident now, eh?” Shagrath chuckled. “But yes, I assume that with reasonably clever approaches you will have managed to enter the outer area of the base before the alarm is sounded. A rather standard assault scenario.”

“Umm, what about the people involved? You can’t play them all.”

“They believe they are in training simulations to deal with psi assaults. From their point of view, you are just a simulation being given apparent psi abilities through some extremely complex equipment that’s been installed throughout the training base.”

There was an implied problem with that. “Shagrath, that means that they’ll really be firing live ammunition at me and trying to kill me.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Yes. Would training ammunition be a worthy test? I of course am standing by to stop the exercise if you go down, but you should, I hope, acquit yourself better than that.”

I nodded. I was now no longer feeling that moment of superiority; maybe it was better that way. Overconfidence breeds failure. “And after this…?”

“Assuming you do well, only a few more training missions and then I think it may be time to advance my timetable. As I said, the project appears to have succeeded beyond my original expectations.”

Finally! Getting to do something REAL!  I saluted with real enthusiasm. “Then let’s get to it, Sir!”