We’re Puttin’ the Band Back Together

“Val, Darien,” said Selenalore as the two of them walked into the Ralpha Dogs’ office.  “It’s good to see you again.”

“Same here,” said Valorna Edgeworth.  “We were enjoying our vacation in the Mesokel system when we got the alert message.  I arranged for us to get back right away.”

“She insisted,” said Darien Dresden, nodding.  “Plucked me right off the beach and told me to start packing.”

Erbo chuckled.  “Well, it seems someone’s anxious to get back to work.  Of course, we probably won’t mount full-scale mining operations for awhile, due to other events.”  He handed Val and Darien copies of a recent pilot information bulletin.  “So perhaps we–”

He was cut off by an insistent chiming from Mother’s main console.  “That’s odd,” he said.  “Hang on a minute.”  He stepped over and touched a control, silencing the chime.  “What’s the story, Mother?”

“Command priority channel establishment, Level Ultraviolet,” responded the tones of the computer.  “Please give musical authentication key for verification.”

Erbo grinned; the Abbots of the Ralpha Dogs had set up high-level authentication codes that were, not merely passphrases, but musical segments that required the correct tonality and voiceprint to authenticate.  Taking a deep breath, he sang out the ancient words:

Master! Apprentice!
Heartborne, seventh seeker!
Warrior! Disciple!
In me, the Wishmaster!

“Authentication code verified,” came Mother’s digital voice.  “Replaying authentication code of originator prior to establishing link.”

The next voice that came out of Mother’s console speaker was all too familiar, even if the language they sang was one that predated New Eden itself:

Zankoku na tenshi no you ni,
Shounen yo shinwa ni nare!

One word escaped Erbo’s lips, under his breath…”Lexxi.”

“Link established,” continued Mother.  This was followed quickly by another voice….the one that had sung those lines, the unmistakable voice of LexxEva, head of the Ralpha Dogs.

“Yo, Erbo! Sel! You still alive in there?”

“Lexxi!” responded Erbo, his words picked up by Mother and transmitted to Lexx’s ship.  “Good to have us all back here!”

“Yeah, I got your message and stopped off by the Khanid stations to install a couple jump clones,” said Lexx. “I’m heading in to the barn now.  Three jumps out, estimated arrival three-zero minutes.”

“I’ll have food ready by the time you get here,” said Selena, turning to head for the kitchen.

“I’ll help,” said Val, following Selena.

“I guarantee you a warm reception,” said Erbo.

“Thanks, bro,” said Lexx.  “See ya in a few.  Lexx out.”

“Channel closed,” reported Mother.

Erbo leaned against the console, expelling his breath in a happy sigh.  With the core leadership back in place, he was hopeful that activity would pick up shortly.


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