BOOK TWO: CHAPTER 21 – Implosion

CHAPTER 21 – Implosion


It was a late summer day when The Golden Cat landed at the Elexa spaceport.  As Raphael disembarked, he noticed several strange ships present, parked near the headquarters building.  One of them was his father’s ship, The Golden Sparrow, which he thought odd.  He had no prior knowledge of what the meeting would consist of, just that he needed to report to Elexa and bring his main staff members, including Adario Kadish, Roméo VaCoupe, Lantrill, Sukio, Commander Monteras, and the Sirian Commander Tazo Gia, plus his usual Eagle escort.  Still, having the gift of prescience, he wasn’t surprised to see Commander Esturias VaCoupe standing alongside Commander Strabo Diaz as his party approached the front entrance. 

For the first time in over three decades Strabo Diaz couldn’t manage to look Raphael in the face or give him greeting. Instead, upon observing the landing of the Golden Cat, the commander immediately turned and entered the building, leaving Esturias alone to greet his adopted brother. The two men had seldom seen each other during the past several decades, each being preoccupied with their positions and work. Esturias stood there with his arms crossed and refused to come down the steps. His brother’s body language would be enough to inform Raphael that something was amiss, even if he had not previously experienced visions and dreams.

Knowing his brother, Raphael was aware that Esturias would eventually betray him in some fashion. He was still shocked when he realized the day had arrived when he would be finally confronted with a decision made by Esturias without his knowledge, input, or consent. Raphael halted at the foot of the steps and looked up at his brother the top commander, commenting, “So, the day has finally arrived when you’re going to take over the Starship Project, has it, Esturias?”

A stern looking Esturias simply nodded and replied, “You knew it would eventually come to this, Raphael. You’ve been trying to get me involved with the project for years, so now I’m here. Do you have a problem with that?”

“No, Esturias, but you could have at least consulted me on the matter – we’re supposed to be partners. You’re not my superior in this effort. Roméo, Adario and I have been working as partners on this endeavor for decades. You can’t just march in and take over the project without consulting us!” replied Raphael as he climbed the steps.

Esturias motioned his brother to be silent, “Come inside and I will tell you what is going to happen next.”

“No! Not until you tell me what this meeting is about, Esturias!” retorted Raphael.

“Calm down, Raphael, and come into the conference room. Father and some of the top commanders are waiting there for your arrival,” urged Esturias. He was concerned, sensing his brother’s hostility. Raphael had a right to be suspicious and Esturias understood his younger brother could read his intentions – still Esturias was convinced that not even his foreknowledge would help him now.

So, not being given any more options, Raphael and his other team members began to follow Esturias into the conference room. As Raphael and his men started to enter the conference room, they found the place already packed. Raphael’s Eagle escort were compelled to remain outside in the corridor as there was literally no more room to sit or stand. Surprised, Raphael looked around and saw few faces he recognized or who looked familiar from his past contacts with various commanders and their staff. None of the commanders he knew well and who had actively supported his efforts were among the men present. Raphael did recognize two men, Head Commander Roberto Juliani, and 2nd Level Commander Stannis Domingo. Both commanders had worked in the Communications Department when Raphael was a line commander. Raphael’s suspicions regarding the intentions of his brother were confirmed since he could not regard these men as having been supporters of his in the past. In fact, the two men could be considered as being active opponents of his having fully supported former 2nd Level Commander Hercules Kadish when he attempted to quash and suppress Raphael’s efforts in the past.

As Raphael stood there briefly in the doorway surveying the room, he began to feel a familiar jarring energy – several individuals present were possibly implanted! He saw several men glaring at him and felt a malevolent presence that was directed towards him. He gave an inner sigh and braced himself with his inner pillar of white light pushing outward as a barrier against the darkness. There was something going on here that was deeply unsettling. Briefly he scanned the individuals who were staring at him – they all looked like Morovians. Again, he sighed and knew some of the men involved were probably related in some fashion to the men caught up in the raids on the Morovian pedophile network decades ago. Apparently, the dark had waited patiently as these men infiltrated the ranks of the Command, contaminating it with their hatred of the light, creativity, and innovation. Raphael intuitively understood the insatiable desire of the dark to control, dominate, destroy, and corrupt. This wasn’t something he could handle on his own, not even with the aid of his team and Eagles; these were powerful men aligned against him and his team. Few of the other commanders present looked up at Raphael as he entered, which told him that everyone present, but himself already knew what was about to take place.

When Esturias pointed out a chair left for him, Raphael refused to be seated. He saluted his father, Lord Demetrius and simply asked, “Okay, what’s going on, Father? Obviously, since no one is looking at me, the news is bad?”

Lord Demetrius sighed, recognizing Raphael’s open hostility, “Raphael, Esturias just told me the committee he is working with have decided to close down the Starship Project for now.”

Raphael stared at his brother in shock. After a long moment he managed to speak, “What – all of it? Esturias, you haven’t even been a participant! We’ve been building for decades and all sudden you want to close this project – just like that, without consulting me or my team at all?” Then he turned to his father and asked: “And for how long have you known about this, Father? What committee? These men aren’t even top commanders! What’s going on here? Why wasn’t I consulted first?”

Esturias interrupted, his voice harsh, “Father just learned himself of my intentions. He warned me you wouldn’t take this very well, Raphael. Yes, the project, our family’s project is being shut down. The decision was made at the highest levels of the Command, including all the men present today and many others. The project is now considered a security risk.”

“Stop, Esturias! This is nonsense!” Raphael was shouting by now; he didn’t care that Esturias outranked him. “Why haven’t other commanders in the high command informed us of this decision? Father, have you heard of this committee to which my brother is referring?”

“Raphael, calm down – this is for the good of our people,” retorted Esturias, attempting to exert control over his younger brother.

I don’t believe you, Esturias,” replied Raphael, tempering his voice slightly. It didn’t make any difference; he could feel that his brother was now set in taking control. Meanwhile, Raphael signed “Danger! Enemy present! Get help!” behind his back in Morovian battle language to Commander Monteras. His cousin acknowledged his message with a curt nod and backed out of the doorway, disappearing down the hall towards the guards’ quarters.

The observant Commander Strabo had seen and understood the brief exchange between cousins and frowned. He knew there was something not right about some, if not all the participants at the meeting. For one thing, besides Esturias himself, not one of the other individuals present were actual top commanders. As an experienced commander in his own right, Strabo sensed the downright hostile reception Raphael was receiving from both his brother and the cabal supporting him. Considering the fact that Lord VaCoupe had not been previously advised of his eldest son’s plans, Strabo was gravely concerned that things might get out of hand. If he were correct in his own assessment of the situation, he would venture to say an attempted coup was in progress, designed to weaken or even take down Lord VaCoupe, to shut down Raphael’s work, and perhaps worse. He was in a weak strategic position himself, hemmed in by the men who packed the proceedings. Strabo sincerely hoped Monteras was successful in raising the alarm with the guard unit stationed at the headquarters.

Esturias ignored his brother’s upset and relentlessly continued to detail his plans to initially eviscerate the project: “In part, your team will be incorporated into the ranks of the already existing shipbuilding efforts ongoing in Elexa. You can remain here as a Special Consultant, keeping your current rank in the Command. I will be your immediate supervisor. Adario Kadish can decide whether he wants to stay or return to the University Ship as an instructor. Roméo VaCoupe can decide for himself if he wishes to remain here on Medina or return to Maia. Commanders Lantrill and Sukio will be invited to remain as aides for Commander Strabo Diaz. When the project is restarted, it will be under new management. I’m in control now, Raphael, whether you like it or not!”

“You mean you’re wrestling away total control of the project from me, breaking up our team and sending us in all directions? Well, at least you’re not having me arrested this time,” replied Raphael angrily. He abruptly turned to his father, Lord Demetrius, who was looking troubled. “So, you are just going to sit there and let this happen, Father? Why? Once many years ago, I accused you of not supporting my efforts to get this project started and now you are just going to hand it over to Esturias, who has done nothing, absolutely NOTHING to ever deserve full control? He was supposed to be a partner in this endeavor, Father! Don’t you trust me or Roméo, despite all our successes? What does it take, Father?”

Raphael paused, studying his elder brother’s set face, and observing the now open hostility displayed on the faces of those whom he was sure were implanted. He continued forcefully: “Numerous times I have looked to resign from the Command, only to be convinced my services were needed here. Well, since there will be no further need of those services you won’t require my presence here on Medina anymore. I’m sure my brother Commander Esturias and his ‘committee’ would like to see the last of me since it is obvious their real purpose is to steal the golden ship technology from the Pleiadian people.”

One of the Morovian commanders jumped up his face empurpled with rage, threatening Raphael with a fist, “That’s a lie; how dare you say that you dog of a slave!”

Raphael stood firm against the emotional barrage from the Morovian and his companions and replied calmly, “I’ve heard those words before from the mouth of an enemy agent. Esturias – you’ve been tricked! These men want the technology for their dark lords! There are at least four individuals – specifically all the Morovians present – who are implanted and acting as enemy agents!”

In seeing the confusion and sudden realization on his brother’s face, he nodded and repeated: “You’ve been tricked, Esturias! Father, he has betrayed us all! Esturias, you will pay for this, I promise you!”  Pausing for a moment to take a deep breath, he glanced towards the doorway; his cousin had returned. Standing behind him was the pair of massive BerWarian guards who were assigned to Lord VaCoupe. Monteras signed: Guard unit activated and present.

Raphael, you can’t mean this!” said his father, Lord Demetrius. 

Raphael just looked with pity at his adopted father, and replied, “I know how Esturias, and his secret cabal tricked you, Father. There is nothing more for me to say. I’m leaving Medina and the Command. Father, I suggest you leave this room now for your life is in danger. These men mean to kidnap us, to probably kill us! Esturias, you have no idea what you and your cabal have put into motion, but you will find out soon enough. I am done here, with all of you!” Then he turned and stormed out the door, followed closely by his other team members who at once responded to his hand signals.

Demetrius started to rise, but Esturias signed him to stay seated and said, “He’s in shock, Father – he’ll calm down if we give him a chance…”

“That didn’t sound like shock, Esturias,” replied Lord VaCoupe. “Raphael just accused you and your cabal of wanting to kill me. What have you done, my son?”

As he left the room, Raphael paused briefly to convey a message to Commander Samuél Montoya: “Get my Father out of there – several implanted individuals! Danger to us all! Take him out of conference room!” The tall BerWarian commander grimly nodded in acknowledgement. He and his equally tall, massive companion, Captain Longalis, didn’t hesitate but waded into the ensuing mayhem and extricated an overwhelmed Lord VaCoupe from the room. When several of the other commanders tried to leave the room, the Command guard unit blocked their exit.

Standing beside his trembling father, Raphael ordered the guards to take everyone else still in the conference room into custody, including his erstwhile brother, Esturias. Speaking on behalf of his father who was still in shock, he explained the situation to the base guard commander: “Captain Montoya, I believe? We met several years ago in Jolf; I was the young man with the golden ship, now Lord Raphael Kantor-VaCoupe. The men inside the conference room came here with the intent to kidnap my father, myself, and my team members. At least four to five of the men in the conference room are implanted with enemy devices; I suggest you have them all scanned and imprisoned by the authorities until they can explain exactly what they were trying to do here today. Remember me to Commander Contreras!

Raphael finished up his instructions to Captain Montoya: “My Father is quite upset at the clear betrayal of my brother and needs to be escorted home to Medina so he can rest. If you need him, please contact him there. Meanwhile, I’m going to return home to Jolf. Contact Lord Mathdis if you need me; he will let me know of any messages.” 

The guard captain saluted and ordered his men to carry out the young lord’s orders. Raphael was, after all, well known in Elexa after being involved in the shipbuilding projects for decades there. Reflecting on how Esturias had foolishly overplayed his hand and lost, he shook his head knowing there was far worse still to come… as matters were going to be taken even out of his own hands. 

Then, Raphael turned to the two BerWarian guards and asked Commander Samuél, “Are you related to Stephen Montoya, the captain here?

The tall BerWarian guard commander grinned and nodded, briefly replying, “Yes, sir! He is my cousin!”

Meanwhile, Commander Strabo, himself a giant of a man, managed to stumble his way out of the chaos and into the corridor where Raphael was still standing next to the BerWarian guards of Lord Demetrius. The guards were now holding Lord Demetrius upright, as he was still suffering from shock. Strabo glanced over his shoulder as he saw the guards begin to drag out struggling and yelling commanders and haul them off to the brig to await further examination and possible trial. The Research and Development commander shook his head in amazement and strode over to where Raphael and Lord Demetrius were standing. He asked: “How did you know, my lord, about this potential betrayal?”

Raphael replied, as he shrugged his shoulders, and replied: “Experience, Commander Diaz; painful experience. Plus, I have seen it played out during several of my recent visions. It was still a surprise to see it play out; visions don’t always come to past due to human choice. The timelines can shift, but the potentiality has existed for a long time. So, when I walked into that room, I was prepared to act.”

Esturias was dragged out by the guards and struggled, yelling to the guards, “I’m Esturias VaCoupe! I want to speak to my Father and brother!”

Demetrius looked alarmed; he was beginning to recover from his shock. As he straightened up, his guards released him. Lord Demetrius then gave Esturias a look of profound disappointment and replied: “I told you this wasn’t the way to break the news to Raphael and Roméo, but you wouldn’t listen to me. Now that you’ve been caught out with compromised individuals, Esturias, you are going to have to be scanned and your intent weighed by priestesses just like your brother Reynar. You’ve brought this on yourself, son, due to your own shortsightedness. What foolishness! Take him away, guards!”

“Father, you can’t mean it!” Esturias struggled, but the guards kept a tight grip on his arms.

Lord VaCoupe had finally recovered. He looked upon the anguished face of his eldest son and replied sternly, “Esturias, you foolishly allowed compromised individuals to stoke your fear, resentment, jealousy, and anger towards your brother. You fully deserve to be punished along with the rest of your co-conspirators. To what level that punishment goes will be decided by your intent towards your brothers and me. Your peers will decide your fate! Guards take him away. If he fights, knock him out!”

Lord VaCoupe turned back to his youngest son and said: “I’m sorry, Raphael; I did not realize the extent of the anger and resentment Esturias has carried inside all these years against you. I always wanted to believe he would eventually be able to work alongside you and your other team members as a full partner. I didn’t count on his ego

getting in his way yet again. I was hoping all the discipline he experienced in working his way back up through the ranks would be enough to correct that intransigent part of his nature.”

Raphael gave his father a wry smile, “Apparently it wasn’t, Father. I’m afraid, if he survives what comes next, Esturias will have to work hard to redeem himself. Having once been the brunt of his need to dominate others, I was prepared for anything to happen today, but still it was a shock to see those other creatures with him. I even recognized some of the former officers in the Line Communications Department from the Golden Lion. They were part of the clique who supported Hercule Kadish’s efforts to quash my reports and make my life generally as miserable as possible. Apparently, they haven’t moved beyond those desires but have hardened their hearts, not only against me, but what we have been trying to do for our people. Father – we are going to have to talk about this… development. There will be repercussions from unexpected sources. I have seen this.”

Commander Strabo spoke up, “Lord Raphael, you recognized the compromised individuals right away. Did your visions give you any sign of these compromised individuals being present here today?”

Raphael shook his head, replying carefully, “No, Commander; despite the fact I’m a seer doesn’t mean I see everything. Visions can be kind of a cosmic shorthand, usually as a kind of warning or heads up… or even a glimpse into some potential future event. There is no guarantee that what you see will happen as the timelines can shift according to choices made by you or others. Let’s just say, I was mentally prepared, brought all my Eagles today, and had even made plans to send my family members away to safety in case something drastic happened here.”

“Raphael – you said the men, the compromised ones, wanted to kidnap you and me, to possibly kill us. Why did you say that? They didn’t make any move against us today,” queried Lord VaCoupe, still puzzled by some of the things Raphael had said in the meeting.

Intent, my lord Father, intent; it is what I saw deep in their hearts. The malefic power of a dark lord was driving them even if those motives conflicted with their sense of loyalty towards you as their Lord. We would have been in danger had we stayed in that room much longer. All it takes is one knife to do a lot of damage. I should know that having been nearly killed by a knife in this life,” replied a sober Raphael. He was referring to his death as the camel boy and his near encounter with death as a child. “Now, Father, do you wish to go home or come back to Jolf with me? We can have a pilot return The Golden Sparrow to Medina if you wish. I know you need to rest, but I need to reassure Lord Mathdis, my Julia and all the rest of our families in Jolf. I warned them that something untoward might occur here today; I don’t want them to worry.”

Commander Strabo asked, “What is going to happen now with the Starship Project? Are you going to continue it? Or has it become a security risk like Esturias suggested?”

“Well, Commander Diaz – we are going to have to reassess the situation; where we go from here,” replied Raphael firmly. “Right now, I need to take care of my father who has suffered a grave emotional shock and head home to my loved ones. Father… I’ve made up my mind; you’re coming with me. We can fetch The Golden Sparrow later. I’ll take you to see your friend, Lord Mathdis – whom I also warned about this kind of thing happening. He will also be anxious, perhaps even hostile at first if he thinks you had a hand in betraying me and my team.”

Commander Strabo looked at his friend with admiration, “Lord Raphael, Lord Delos is now first and foremost within you, a commander and in charge. Take care of your family. I’ll be in touch later when things get sorted here. I will need to consult with Commander Contreras, and then, we’ll have to import some priestesses to perform the scans. Do you know of any?”

“We have eighteen chapels in Jolf, Commander!” Raphael laughed. “I think we can gather up a few healing priestesses for this emergency. I’m sure Lady Amethyst; the Shekinah at the Shemont would be interested to hear what occurred here, as well. You can request some Shays from Arconia or the University Ship to perform secondary scans to back up the priestesses discover whatever. Be sure all the information obtained from the prisoners is carefully noted and entered the base data banks. My personal assistant, Commander Bakken, can assist with the documentation. Then, report your findings to Top Commander Contreras. Until this is sorted, all the men who were in that conference room need to be kept under guard. Don’t let any of the officers convince you otherwise. I don’t care if they are head commanders or any other high rank; today they acted like traitors or near enough! Also, there’s been a slight change of plans; let the base commander know that Lord VaCoupe will be in Jolf for at least a day, if not longer. He will be staying with Lord Mathdis so if you need to speak with him, try there first. Thank you, Commander Strabo.”

Raphael noticed the two BerWarian warriors still hovering nearby. He patted the commander on the arm, “Well, thank you and your cousin for being here; without your help, I’m afraid we would have had quite a mess here, Commander Montoya. Now, could you kindly escort Lord VaCoupe to The Golden Cat? We’re going to temporarily leave the Sparrow here so Lord VaCoupe can recover; I don’t think he can fly tonight.”

Raphael then turned to his team members who were talking amongst themselves about the startling outcome of the meeting. He waved Roméo forward and asked him: “Well, what are your thought about all that…seditious activity, brother?”

Roméo’s reply was blunt: “Frankly, I’m not surprised; Esturias has always been bit of a bully since he became a commander. After Mother’s death, he completely shut down as an emotional being. Even all those years of intensive training under Commander Adrigus doesn’t seem to have knocked any common sense or empathy into the man. And for him to be taken in by dark agents; now that was foolish; he deserves everything he gets in terms of punishment from the Command.” Roméo shook his dark head and continued, “Thanks, brother, for giving us forewarning of what might happen today. I’m glad Father’s men got him out of that room in one piece. I’m not sure if I ever want to return to Elexa after this, but we need to if… if we decide to continue the Starship Project.”

“Exactly, Roméo – if we continue the program. That is questionable given the unwanted attention it is now receiving from elements within the Command – and to make things worse, it is quite apparent the Enemy is now aware of the project, which does potentially endanger everyone living on the planet of Medina, especially here on Elexa and in Jolf,” replied Raphael, giving his sober assessment of how things stood now.

While the golden ships were quite popular among the Command, after a few decades of building, Raphael had become aware that the general evolution of his people was, apparently, not compatible with the level of technology available from the Lion People. It was simply not the time for sentient technology to take over the ships of the Command. 

Yes, the commanders and crewmen who flew the golden ships loved and appreciated many of the newer innovations introduced into the fleet by the Starship Project, especially the golden aluminum hull which was practically indestructible and certain elements of partial sentience like the self-adjusting seats. However, the general command staff members, especially the higher-level commanders were not as open to the sentient technology. It was simply beyond their current understanding and appreciation. Frustrated and thwarted at every turn, Raphael was simply tired of the unending struggle to bring his grand vision into being here and now. The confrontation in Elexa was simply the trigger he needed to finally consider letting go of everything he had been working on for so long. Still, there were others involved; to be fair, their opinions and thoughts would have to be first taken into consideration.

Raphael’s next comments surprised his brother, “While I disapprove of Esturias attempting to seize control of the project, I must agree on his assessment that our project has now become a security issue. Our people are simply not ready for this advancement in technology. It is more complicated than just technology, but we’ll let the priestesses explain just how as things get sorted out here. Now, we need to get Father to Jolf, contact Lady Anna to assure her that he is safe, assure our own families who are waiting for our return and have a long talk with Lord Mathdis. I would also like to contact Lady Amethyst to see how she feels about today’s developments and what this means for our project and our people.” Watching his father’s BerWarian guards gently helping Lord VaCoupe to climb into The Golden Cat, Raphael looked around at the headquarters building. He was shaking a little, too, as an after-effect of having to deal with a tricky situation.

Seeing that Raphael was hesitating before boarding, Tomás came over to check on him, “How are you feeling, Cousin? You handled yourself well, but I know you’re not one to be comfortable with confrontational situations. Sir, you’re shaking – why don’t you allow Lantrill to pilot the Cat back to Jolf?”

Raphael gave one more glance towards the building and then addressed his cousin, Monteras: “Although I was aware of the possibility of this happening, it was still a shock to walk through it. When I entered the room, I knew there were several compromised individuals there. I haven’t had to confront such persons since I was under the command of Esturias, so it was extremely ironic for him to be in amongst them without his knowledge of this fact. How could he be so blind? Poor Lorenna, she’s going to be crushed to hear this news. If Esturias is allowed to live, he will be paying for this indiscretion for the rest of this life.”

Raphael grasped his cousin on the shoulder, “Thank you for being here with me, Tomás; without the Eagles, Father’s warriors, and the Command guardsmen, I doubt we would have made it out of the building in one piece. Although it didn’t appear like anything was going to happen on the surface, I could feel the intense malevolence pouring through those Morovians.”

“Let’s get going, Raphael… I sense that things are going to unravel rapidly once news of this attempted coup spreads through the Command. I know your Julia will be concerned…” Monteras pressed his cousin and then reached out to hold him upright as Raphael’s eyes rolled back and his body suddenly began to topple to the ground unconscious. Alarmed, he shouted: “Sukio! Help Lord Raphael to get on board. It’s time to go home!”

Sukio carefully secured Raphael’s limp body in his arms and carried him aboard The Golden Cat, while Lantrill (who had become an excellent pilot) took over the controls. When everyone was seated, the steps folded up and the doors closed. The golden ship gently levitated above the space port and then streaked off across the silver sea towards the coast of Maubene.

Raphael began to wake up shortly before arrival at Jolf. He groaned and wiped his brow, “What happened?”

Gareth spoke up, “My lord, you fainted; you’ll need to rest tonight. It was a stressful day for both you and your father. We’re just arriving home, my lord; do you think you’re up to walking?”

“I think so – well, so much for being Delos; I still faint like Raphael!” he replied. The Eagles grinned back; having been with him through the years, they totally understood. Raphael looked around and saw his father staring out the window at the many towers of Jolf which were rapidly growing larger as the ship drew closer to the space port. “How are you feeling, Father?”

“Foolish, very foolish, Raphael; why did I think Esturias was ready to work with your team? I should have had thoroughly vetted him first before having all of you turn up at a meeting, which turned out to be an ambush,” replied Lord VaCoupe. “If it weren’t for your Sight, Raphael, I doubt you and I would have gotten out of there without a fight. Esturias was caught off guard by your direct attack on his motives. He thought he had you cornered, but you outsmarted him… far too easily. Esturias will never be Supreme Head Commander of the Fleet, this I can tell you all. He has proven to me beyond a shadow of doubt that he cannot be trusted; he is too driven by his ego and baseless fears.”

Lantrill announced: “We’ve arrived in Jolf, my lords. Thanks for fainting, Raphael – I love flying this little ship!” He gave his old friend a toothy grin and was rewarded with an answering grin. Good, he thought, Rafe is recovering from the shock of meeting four or five implanted individuals within a close space; I know it is an excruciating experience for him.

As the men disembarked Julia, Astrig, and Bettina all ran up and hugged their respective mates tight. Julia had tears in her eyes. She breathlessly explained, “I could feel your distress, Raphael – are you… and your father, okay?”

 As Lord Demetrius came off the ship, she went up and gave him a hug, too. He returned the affectionate gesture with a kiss to her forehead.

What happened, Father Demetrius?” demanded Astrig.  “Ah, if I could get such receptions every day,” sighed Lord Demetrius, as he gave Lady Bettina a kiss on her forehead, too. “My dear ladies, we cannot discuss such matters here in the spaceport. I will be staying overnight with Lord Mathdis. Perhaps he will arrange a dinner so we can share what happened, although some things need to be kept confidential as it is Command business. Now, suddenly I’m feeling rather famished! I hope Aiden is preparing a repast for I fear he is going to have a few unexpected guests at his father’s house.”

Lord Mathdis’ assistant Alexei had been haunting the gate ever since he heard of the arrival of The Golden Cat in Jolf. When he heard the low rumble of several male voices approaching the gate, punctuated by higher soprano voices, Alexei ventured forth to see who was approaching. When he saw that Lord VaCoupe was with his sons and their friends and family, he excitedly ran into the courtyard where Lord Mathdis was drinking tea. “My lord, they’re all coming over here; they’re safe! I’ll let them in and then bring out some refreshments for everyone.”

“Be sure to have Alexander help you, Alexei!” Lord Mathdis waved his excitable servant away towards the gate. He thought: Well, I wonder what did happenRaphael was so concerned last night…

Having delivered the two lords safely to their destination, most of the Eagles headed over to the Jolf house, leaving the two BerWarian warriors on guard at the gate. The entire Starship Project team followed father and son into Lord Mathdis’ courtyard, where the lord stood up to greet his friends. “Welcome back, men – I see you’re all in one piece. Demetrius, you look a little pale…and so do you, Raphael. Sit down, I’ll pour you some tea – you’ll feel better.”

“My lord, I’ll take care of that – just listen to what our men have to say,” said Julia, taking the teapot from the lord’s hands. She carefully poured out and handed around some cups of the hot liquid. She smiled as she handed Raphael a cup. Adario gently secured the pot from her hands and bid her to sit down beside her mate. 

Roméo spoke up first, “Well, my lord Ricardo, like Raphael warned us, Esturias attempted to seize control of the entire Starship Project today. He wanted to break up our team and keep Raphael on as a ‘consultant’ – prisoner more like, in my opinion. What was much worse – according to Raphael, from a quick survey he noted there were at least four or five compromised individuals sitting in the conference room, without Esturias being aware? He was clearly being manipulated by them and their cabal, which was extremely hostile to Raphael… and Father. According to Commander Strabo, we later found out that Esturias also set up Father, by telling him at the last minute it was his intention to seize complete control of the project. Then, when Raphael walked in and demanded to know what was going on, Esturias finally told him that he and his committee – of which we have never heard before – wanted to shut down the project as a security risk.”

Adario took a sip of tea and added: “Then Raphael openly accused the Morovians present – they were the compromised individuals – of wanting to seize the sentient technology for their dark masters. One of the men couldn’t hold his temper. He leapt up and accused Raphael of being a dog of a slave! It was rather telling comment to make. Then, Raphael told Esturias he had been tricked by the Morovians and that he would pay for it.”

Lantrill took a turn adding: “Thanks to his quick thinking, Raphael warned Tomás to activate the Command guard unit at headquarters. The room was so full of officers – I don’t know where they all came from – that the Eagles and Monteras couldn’t even enter the room. Then, Raphael loudly announced he was leaving the Command and stormed out of the room. We followed close behind him. The guards and Father’s BerWarians blocked the other commanders and Esturias from leaving the conference room after us. Lord Raphael ordered the guards to take everyone, including his elder brother into custody. It was chaotic for quite a while as these high-level commanders struggled and yelled when the guards seized them. Somehow Commander Strabo extricated himself from the mayhem and conversed with us for a brief time. We’ll have to go back, I would imagine if only to give witness statements. Since there were compromised individuals involved, everyone, including Esturias will have to undergo complete scans from both priestesses and Shays for any implants and to assess their intent in coming to the meeting at all.”

“That’s a good assessment, men,” sighed Raphael as he put down his teacup for a moment. Then Alexei and his assistant showed up with a couple of trays filled with refreshments. Everyone remained quiet as the assistants arranged the food and refilled the tea pot. There were also some cooling fruit juices available, which Julia, Astrig, and Bettina poured out. When Alexei had bowed himself into a corner and quietly sat down, Raphael began to speak once again. “I also ordered Commander Montoya and his captain to get Father out of the melee. I don’t think it was safe for either of us to be there. Once everyone was safe – then I fainted! I woke up to find myself stretched out in a seat on The Golden Cat with Lantrill in the pilot seat! Some things never change for me!”

“My word, Demetrius; I’m relieved everyone got out of there safely. Now, Raphael will you tell your father now how you knew such a thing was going to happen?” Lord Mathdis’ had a serious expression on his finely boned face.

Raphael shook his head, replying: “I’ll let you take the lead, Lord Mathdis – you have been our patron and at times our savior here in Jolf. Please explain to my Father what I saw months ago…”

Lord Mathdis grimly nodded and started in: “You see, Demetrius, Raphael long knew this day was coming. After a couple of decades of demanding work, it was becoming clear to him and other members of his team that the Command wasn’t ready for the technology being built by the Starship Project. And Raphael once shared a vision he had… that when Esturias finally came to take over the project, it would be done. Raphael had already made his plans and prepared a bolt hole. If worse came to worse, he knew he might have to flee from Medina. He was tentatively planning to take refuge on BerWare with your daughter Claudine. He was even considering on leaving your family if you also proved false today, Demetrius. He had made plans to send his mate, along with Lady Bettina, Adario, the children, with Mistress Frida to safety with the Kadish Family. Roméo and Astrig would head to Maia to be with her family. Raphael was going to send his own Eagles to escort his kin to safety and then have them join up with him on BerWare. He was only going to take Lantrill, Sukio, and Tazo as companions on his flight. He had it all planned out, Demetrius, but I would venture to say you didn’t prove false after all.”

Demetrius looked with alarm towards Raphael who was studying the cup in his hand, listening to Lord Mathdis talk. “You thought me false, too, Raphael?”

“Father, visions aren’t always clear and as I’ve said before, the timelines can shift according to decisions and actions taken by those who are involved in any scenario,” replied a weary Raphael as he glanced towards his father. “I wasn’t sure when I walked in, but when you told me you had only just learned about Esturias’ real intentions, then I knew I had to trust you and get you out of that pit of vipers.”

The ever-practical Commander Lantrill finally spoke up, again: “So now, where does this development lead us? It seems we are going to have to have some strategy meetings with the top brass in the Command, including you, Lord Demetrius.”

“Men, I think the decision has been made for us,” replied Raphael rather cryptically.

What do you mean, Raphael? What have you seen?” Lord Demetrius looked anxious and tired.

Well, Father…given you appear to be rather exhausted right now, I would suggest you get some food and then rest,” replied Raphael, gently. “Lord Ricardo, could Alexei make up a tray for Father? He needs to get some rest right now. He’s still in shock over the betrayal of his eldest son, Esturias.”

“Indeed – Demetrius, let me help you to your room,” said a solicitous Lord Mathdis.

Lord Demetrius looked a little annoyed, but acquiesced: “Okay, I’m going, but I can manage on my own. I have much to think about tonight. Raphael, men – we will have to talk tomorrow, perhaps over at your house… or even the outpost, where it is more secure.” The tall dignified lord thanked his host and left the courtyard, entering the house.

Adario glanced over at his cousin who was gazing towards the door where his father had just disappeared into – Raphael felt the eyes upon him and gave his cousin a shrug. Adario was puzzled about Raphael’s earlier comment and persisted, “Raphael – what did you mean when you said things have been taken out of our hands?”

Raphael sat there for a long time considering the question and then gave a surprisingly terse reply, “The Door is shut!” Then, glancing around at the astonished looks upon his companion’s faces, Raphael sighed and then began to explain: “What I mean is that the dispensation, this gift of advanced technology is being withdrawn. This latest development has brought home to me the realization that I came too early – our people are simply not ready for this great leap in their soul evolution. I’m sure Lady Amethyst or Lady Anna could explain this better than I, but since I was the chosen instrument, I will try my best.”

Raphael took a deep breath and began: “My lives are divinely guided. In this one, my focus was to act as an instrument for Divine Will to see if our people were ready to accept a great step upward and forward along the path of their soul evolution. They were not. Certainly, there are individuals who are prepared to make a great leap in frequency, but most are not. As we saw today, there are individuals who refuse to move out of their limited understanding and seek to control others whom they regard as a threat to their power. Unfortunately, my elder brother is one of those individuals who is currently unable to visualize anything beyond his own fears and ignorance. It is rather telling for such an individual to be a member of the leading family of the Pleiades and the heir to the position of Lord. We are simply not ready for this. And now, with the eyes of the Enemy intent upon gaining access to this technology, we have a responsibility to our people to close the Starship Project. There, I said it – I agree with my brother, but not for the reasons he was sharing with us.”

“Shut-down the entire project, my lord?” Lord Mathdis was quite astonished. “It was going so well…”

“In some categories, yes, Lord Mathdis,” replied Raphael. “However, it would appear our own House needs cleaning before we tackle that of the Command, which must be confidential; this isn’t the right setting for that discussion. Right now, it is imperative that decisions are made as to the future trajectory of our Family’s inherited position as Lords of the Pleiades. I fear Commander Esturias will never become Lord after Father. And don’t look at me; I certainly don’t want the title, nor do I think Roméo wants it. Roméo, what is your opinion on this matter?”

Roméo looked absolutely astonished as everyone’s attention centered on him. He vehemently shook his head, “No, never… I’m a scholar, not a leader of men! While I have enjoyed working in the project, I do not have the necessary qualities or training to manage an entire Star Federation. Father studied under his father for decades; I haven’t even begun. More than that, I don’t want it!”

“I happen to agree with you, Roméo and Raphael – Esturias has proven, yet again, he is not fit to step into his father’s shoes,” replied Lord Mathdis. “Raphael… you would be a more suitable candidate given your past lives as a leader, a head commander, and even a king or two – and those are just a few of the lives of which we are presently aware. Yet, I understand your reluctance; after all you have played quite a different role in this life. While you have been the heart and soul of this project, you have never tried to claim it solely as your own, although we are all aware if it weren’t for you, none of this would have happened. And were you to take up the mantle of Lord of the Pleiades, there will always be those who whisper behind your back and question your right since you are not blood kin to the House of Coupe, although you certainly deserve to be in it due to your light frequency.”

Raphael looked thoughtful and said: “Interestingly enough, I’ve long held doubts whether I was worthy enough to be a VaCoupe. I was even considering leaving the Family altogether, especially if Father also proved false, but he didn’t. So, I need to remain to give him support through what may be a difficult transition, not only for our family, but also our people. And remember, men, Esturias has twin sons; surely one of the lads will prove to have sufficient leadership qualities so that with careful training and advice, he could assume the title when Father either retires or passes on.”

Sukio piped up, “What of the position of Supreme Head Commander of the Fleet; who will take on that role?”

“While Father has held both positions, Lord and Commander, the latter office isn’t necessarily an inherited position. It must be earned,” replied Raphael. “Once again, Esturias has proven he is not presently and probably never will be a suitable candidate for that position in this life, so it will have to be given to an experienced, highly trained, and well-respected Top Commander with decades of proven loyalty to both the Command and the Pleiadian people. It will be up to Father and the top commanders to make that choice and it better be a careful one for I sense our people are going to be faced with many challenges in the years to come. Even should one of Esturias’ sons assume Lordship, the young man won’t have the necessary experience level needed for the Head Commander position. That position demands someone who has the trust and respect of all levels of the Command, from the lowest rank to the highest and everyone in-between.”

“Indeed, I fully agree with you, Raphael – your insight into the Command and that of leadership positions is quite mature,” replied Lord Mathdis. “While I am not currently within the Command, I served for a couple of centuries.”

The dignified lord grinned as his remarks elicited some surprised looks from those sitting around the table, especially from the ladies who were listening with great interest to the discussion. “I served directly under Lord Demetrius when he was a top commander on one of our earlier motherships. I retired after my father passed, so I could take on the role of lordship of this town and region under Lord Demetrius. Now, I watch over my people and occasionally act as a local representative for Medina when attending High Council. So, given my experience, I do have some insight into what Raphael is sharing with us. And ladies, although this appears to be Command business we are currently discussing, it is also family business as it pertains to the future of the VaCoupe Family and by extension, the Lordship of the Pleiades. It would appear Demetrius needed to move his future hopes and expectations onto one of his grandchildren since there is no one else suitable in the present generation to take on the mantle of lordship after him. And now, my friends, I see Alexander bringing out our supper. Let us leave this serious topic and rest in each other’s company for now. I am grateful to have you all safe from harm and with me, once again.”

Morning found some of the men gathered in Lord Mathdis’ office. Lord VaCoupe had to contact several persons in the Command, as well as his mate, Lady Anna, who was probably wondering what had happened to him. Raphael and Roméo sat in on the discussions about the family issues. It was agreed that the family including Claudine, should have a say in the matter. Since the Howlings were coming soon, everyone agreed to meet in Medina during that short-lived season and to seriously discuss matters. 

Since Raphael had been so focused on his project, he wasn’t well acquainted with his two nephews, although he had met them periodically, especially during the Howlings, when the family generally met in Medina. Lady Anna and Lord VaCoupe had been responsible in acting as foster parents for Francis and Adarius while the boys were being educated with the boys living in Medina between classes. As was traditional in the VaCoupe Family, the lads attended university at Arconia, some at the school of Engineering and the University Ship. Francis was stationed in Engineering on one of the motherships and working towards being upgraded to a 3rd Level or Specialty Commander. Adarius was still a crewman in the Navigation Department but learning fast. So, their other relatives, especially Raphael and Roméo could meet the boys, Lord VaCoupe would be requesting the young men be granted family leave for a couple of weeks. It was time for the family to pull together and make some determinations that would affect their future and that of the Pleiadian people well into the coming years.

When most of the communications were completed, Lord VaCoupe connected with Top Commander Contreras at Elexa to see how he was progressing with his investigation of the possible attempted coup of the previous day. Since Elexa did not have any temples, Lord Mathdis agreed to send some of the healing priestesses to the base to perform the necessary scans on the incarcerated commanders. Contreras had already contacted Arconia to request the presence of a couple Shays, Crystalline healers, whose scans would back up (or not) that of the priestesses.

When Lady Anna heard about the situation, she volunteered to be one of the priestesses who performed the scans. While she wasn’t performing in any official capacity these days, she was an experienced priestess, extremely level-headed and capable of great detachment, even if one of the suspects was a close family member, Esturias. Lady Anna also recommended the services of the indefatigable Lady Arrina from the Shemont, a lady who was well-known by Raphael from earlier encounters. Ladies Robyn and Rachel from Jolf could fill out the number of needed priestesses to handle the substantial number of scans as sixteen men had been arrested. Lady Anna also told Raphael that the Shekinah had specifically requested his presence at the Shemont as soon as possible.

After running various scenarios through his mind, Raphael suggested to his father: “Let us go to Medina today. You can help Lady Anna to prepare for the trip to Jolf, while I visit the Shemont and have an audience with the Shekinah. I’ll then collect Lady Arrina from the Temple and meet you back at the spaceport. I may be with the Shekinah for a while; I’m not sure. There are things I need to share with her. After all of that is carried out, depending on what hour it is, we can either stay overnight in Medina or return to Jolf, then pick up the two healing Priestesses from Jolf and take everyone to Elexa for the scanning of the prisoners. I’ll have Commander Bakken with me to take any notes that Commander Contreras might need.”

Lord Mathdis looked at his young friend with admiration and directing his remark to Lord Demetrius, said: “You know your son has a good head for organizing things; he would make an excellent counselor if it is decided to tap one of your grandchildren to become Lord of the Pleiades after you, my lord.”

“You’re speaking about Francis and Adarius, I presume? Were you discussing them after I retired last night?” Lord VaCoupe looked a little disturbed, but it was something he would have to investigate for himself as it was quite plain Esturias wasn’t going to be suitable for the responsibilities of the hereditary position of Lord of the Pleiades. It was the duty of all male heirs to have a male heir and, fortunately, Esturias and Lorenna had supplied two for his family.

Father – due to this debacle of Esturias’, he will not be able to assume the lordship after you,” said Raphael, harshly. “Our brother needs to let go of his fears, arrogance, anger, and to forgive himself for his insecurities. The need to dominate or compete with others, like he has done in the past in his actions towards me, is evidence of his lack of faith in his own abilities. Esturias has not yet tapped into his own inner light and wisdom; instead, he looks outside of himself… and was easily hooked into by the dark infiltrators who used his jealousy of me against him to direct his thoughts and plans. I don’t feel he realized what he was getting into, Father, but Esturias will have to work hard now to redeem himself, if he is even allowed to live…”

Lord Demetrius looked stricken to hear Raphael’s harsh but truthful summation of his brother’s nature. 

Raphael continued, “If my words seem harsh, Father, just think how senior commanders within the Fleet will regard his actions. Esturias allowed himself to be persuaded by compromised individuals who wanted to access if not control over the sentient technology our Starship Project has introduced to the fleet. Can he ever be trusted again in a position of power and authority if he willingly goes up against his own father and brothers? I can’t see any experienced and loyal commander agreeing to that scenario. We must try to be practical and detached about any possible outcome for Esturias. I hope he will only be broken in rank and perhaps even imprisoned for a time, but ultimately, the determination of his sentence must be left to other senior commanders who do not have a personal tie to my brother. I know this is hard for you, Father, but it is what we are dealing with right now.”

Lord Mathdis looked with compassion upon his old friend, “I know as a father, you must be suffering greatly, wondering about the fate of your eldest son. Just be truthful when you give your evidence to the commanders. Report what you saw and experienced, your own impressions of what happened. Raphael, with his training and experience in line communications, was able to discern more of the motivations and intent of most of the occupants of the conference room than you were able to as you were momentarily overwhelmed by the realization your son tricked you. He convinced you to attend the meeting under false pretenses; in other words, he committed perjury; he lied to the Lord of the Pleiades and his Head Commander, which are two extremely grave offenses in my opinion.”

Raphael glanced outside; it was about midday. “Father, we should be heading to Medina now with our Eagles and warriors. You need to see your mate and I need to speak with the Shekinah. Thank you, Lord Ricardo, for lending your support and hospitality to my father through this challenging time. We will be back, whether later today or early tomorrow. I’m sure Commander Contreras wants to deal with the matter expeditiously.”

Lord Demetrius acquiesced to Raphael’s suggestion; he really wanted to speak to Lady Anna about what had happened. So, the two lords and their escorts climbed onto The Golden Cat and flew to Medina, arriving there in minutes. Raphael landed at the spaceport and obtained a viscar for his father. He chose to walk to the Shemont, which wasn’t far off. He was accompanied by Commander Monteras, Felipe, and Sukio, as witnesses to what had occurred the previous day.

For once, Tazo remained behind in Jolf. He wanted to contact his great grandfather Lord Chananda in Sirust. If the project was about to be shut down, then perhaps it was time for him to go home permanently. He had yet to get mated and to provide his family with an heir.

When Raphael reached the grounds of the Shemont, Lady Arrina stopped him. “My Lord Raphael, Lady Amethyst awaits your arrival. I will guide you and your men to her rooms. She has been expecting you most of the day…”

“I’m sorry I didn’t arrive here earlier, Lady Arrina. Some things needed to be cleared up first while we were still in Jolf,” replied Raphael. Lady Arrina looked sharply at him, but he just smiled in return. Then he addressed the priestess directly, “If the Lady grants you permission, I would appreciate if you and another healing priestess accompany our party back to Jolf and then Elexa. We have a large group of men who require a thorough scan done. If you are able, please go with us to the Shekinah so we can explain the situation more thoroughly.”

The tall slender priestess gave Raphael a penetrating glance, “If I were to venture a guess, my lord, I would say you finally had the long-awaited confrontation with your elder brother, Commander Esturias VaCoupe?”

“Precisely, my lady – we’ll save the rest for Lady Amethyst,” replied Raphael with another smile.

Having known Raphael for decades, Lady Arrina knew of his long-term struggles and conflict with his elder brother, which ebbed and flowed. There existed an intense sense of competition within Esturias, which wasn’t an issue with Raphael. From all reports, Raphael went out of his way to include his team members in decisions all the while as he guided the vision of developing a fleet of golden ships. If granted permission, she was extremely interested in attending the discussion. Although priestesses were supposed to be detached by training, she had followed this young man’s life and career closely from the time he arrived as a traumatized youngster in Medina to now, a proven and competent leader of a major family project for the VaCoupes.

Upon arriving at the main temple complex, Raphael and his small party were escorted through a gallery edging a large meditation courtyard, with offices and living quarters to one side. Due to the extremely scorching summer weather in Medina, much of the living and study quarters of the complex were either underground or inside thickly walled one-story buildings. The Shekinah had a study on the northern part of the complex, with deeply set windows overlooking the cacti-studded valley towards the distant rugged mountains. Raphael and his two companions waited outside the study while Lady Arrina announced their arrival. She returned quickly and signed the men to follow her inside.

Lady Amethyst stood up to greet Raphael. He kissed her beringed hand lightly. The other men bowed low. As the Lady settled back down onto her comfortable chair, the men sat down on pillows spread around the floor. A young priestess was waiting in a corner. Lady Amethyst pointedly called her forward, “My lord Raphael, this is young Rita. She was an acquaintance of your eldest son, Jychondria, as they grew up in Jolf. She has been in training here in Medina for many years and is doing well. We expect her to someday accede to the status of high priestess. Now, Rita, please see if some refreshments have been readied for our guests.”

The young priestess curtsied, glanced in Raphael’s direction, then turned and left the room. Lady Amethyst then turned to Raphael and asked: “Lady Anna mentioned a bit about some problems which arose yesterday in Elexa. Can you describe what happened, Lord Raphael?”

 “My lady, my elder brother Esturias told my father he wanted to join our team on the project. Only just minutes before I arrived at a meeting set up in Elexa, he told Father that he intended to take over the project and shut it down. If that wasn’t enough of a shock, he arrived at the meeting in the company of several compromised implanted individuals from Morova. He claimed that a committee within the Command had ordered the project to be shut down for now. I threw an accusation back into his face, letting him know he had brought enemy agents into a private meeting, putting our Father and my team members into danger. Esturias was shocked.”

“What did you do then, Raphael?” The Lady queried the commander searching his countenance and performing a brief scan on his auric field. She was pleased with what she sensed.

I announced I was leaving the Command – I would have left the Family, too, had Father also proved false. However, he informed me that Esturias had only told him of his real intentions just before I entered the room. Father was still in a state of shock when I got there. I told Esturias that the enemy wanted access to the modern technology and used him to approach our team. It was their intention to seize our persons and/or to get their hands on whatever records they could. My Lady, it would have been to no avail…”

“How so, Lord Raphael,” asked Lady Amethyst.

It was one of his visions, my lady,” interrupted Sukio. “He saw the whole thing months ahead…”

Lady Amethyst raised a delicately curved eyebrow as she gazed on the huge Feline warrior sitting across the room. He looked down at his large hands that rested in his lap, and apologized, “Sorry, my Lady; I didn’t mean to interrupt…”

The Lady’s attention moved back to Raphael, “Explain, Lord Raphael; just what did you see?”

Raphael cleared his throat and straightened up, “Well, Lady Amethyst, I’ve known of this coming betrayal for some months now. Like Sukio said, I did see it play out in a vision or at least a facsimile of what occurred the other day. Concerned about our work getting into the hands of the Enemy, I even discussed the matter with the Crystal Masters. They agreed on my plan: all the data we had collected from years of research, all the seed crystals found in the outpost, all the blueprints, everything that could be moved would be removed and returned to the outpost. And when the time came, I would close the outpost until the time, if ever, when the Pleiadian people were ready and willing to accept the great Gift offered up to them by Source/Creator God. So, quietly, we had the material removed to the outpost and stored away. Adario, Roméo, Tazo, Lantrill, and Sukio were apprised of my decision and agreed. Now was not the time to continue the struggle against the intransigent elements existing within Esturias and the Command. Perhaps another opportunity will be given when the Pleiadian people had evolved to the point when they can accept and master the amazing technology that had been reserved for their benefit to be shared with all the kingdoms of Humanity that are in balance with God. It wasn’t up to me alone; I was acting as an instrument of Source.”

As she heard what Raphael had done a tiny half smile worked its way onto her mouth. “I see you’ve exercised great care for the mission you were given. Are you ready to close it down now?”

“I AM, my Lady, if it is the Will of Source. Therefore, I have sought your counsel out today. I have not yet closed off the outpost, but I will if the dispensation has truly been withdrawn,” replied Raphael rather humbly. 

So, what you are telling me today is you and your team is willing to give up the work of a lifetime because you feel it is under threat and by extension your people?” Lady Amethyst searched the faces of Felipe, Sukio, Commander Monteras, and Raphael. They all nodded.

My Lady, if I had been Head Commander instead of my Father, perhaps things would have played out differently, but I am not; my word holds little weight with the high command. The Morovians who infiltrated the Command over many decades have long held intentions that were contrary to the wishes of the Pleiadian people. We have succeeded in part with our project, but now it is time to close it down – in that I agree with my short-sighted brother – the project has become a security risk. However, the risk has appeared from within the Command itself, a condition that needs to be corrected and quickly else our worlds are faced with greater perils.”

“I happen to agree with you, Lord Raphael,” replied Lady Amethyst. “Although I cannot compel any part of the Command to obey me, I can give counsel on occasion. Esturias was very foolish in overstepping his authority, something he has done in the past. He has allowed his fears and resentment of your team’s successes to overpower his reason, opening himself up to the highly questionable reasoning of the darkly tainted individuals who have penetrated the ranks of powerful commanders. I will speak to Lord VaCoupe about this – the Command needs to start the means to scan all personnel coming and going from their ships and facilities. This is wartime and excessive caution is needed, as we have seen in this incident and others which I have witnessed from afar.”

A discrete knock came on the door and two priestesses entered, carrying trays, one with tea and dishes and another with some light refreshments. “Thank you, Rita, Fiona – now, if I am in further need, I will ring for one of you.”

The priestesses curtsied and left the room, with Rita just meeting Raphael’s eyes in a brief glance as she walked by. The Lady smiled and asked, “Gentlemen, some tea?”

Tall Felipe stood up, “My Lady, let me help…” He bowed deeply to her and took the tray with the cups and plates and handed them out, following with the refreshments. Then he bowed once more and sat down quietly.

Lady Amethyst smiled, “Thank you… Felipe Diaz, is it?”

Lady Amethyst returned her attention to Raphael who had his eyes closed. “Lord Raphael – are you fatigued?”

“No, my Lady – it is just I can feel the presence of the Great Mother Crystal here. Her Presence is extraordinarily strong, my lady,” replied Raphael without the least bit of embarrassment; the Lady was aware of his gifts.

The Lady tilted her head and asked a question that brought Raphael’s attention back to the room: “Your brother Esturias was not aware that you and you alone were the one who activated all of the ships ever built by the Starship Project, was he?”

Raphael shook his head slightly, “No, my lady; my brother never bothered to learn more about the project. Apparently, he was too focused on rising through the ranks of being a commander. His sudden decision to join the work of the Starseed Project seemed to be totally out of character. After all, Esturias had only reached rank as a top commander a few months ago. The entire Command was hardly going to give in to the will of one lone and inexperienced top commander in making such a decision as to recommend or even order the shutdown of our project. As for his being part of such a committee, again, the mere thought that I would accept his statement that Esturias was any sort of authority figure speaking for the entire command structure was entirely preposterous. In short, my lady, I was quite aware of his real motivations and those of the ones who were using him.”

“And what were his true motivations, Lord Raphael?”

“My Lady, Esturias has always been jealous and confused by my gifts ever since we first met. I believe he had begun to believe that I would try to usurp his place as heir to our Father – the farthest thing from my mind. I was quite content to continue working on our various projects, although of late it seems the resistance was growing within the Command to our breaking out into developing more complex vessels. No, my Lady, I have begun to recognize that I have simply arrived too early – our people are not yet ready for this work. Esturias and the resistant forces within the Command, even the unwanted attention from enemy forces are all indications that the time for this step in our evolution has not yet arrived. I have failed, my Lady,” sighed Raphael.

“Lord Raphael – the Mother Crystal would disagree with your conclusion. You have not failed. You have been the instrument in presenting this opportunity for your people and you’ve done well. It is not your fault that the people were not ready for this great step in conscious evolution. And now, the Crystal has informed me that the dispensation is being withdrawn. You are, indeed, to close up the outpost, to put the sentient technology out of reach for the time being. In the fullness of the spirals of time, another opportunity will be given, and you will be there, once again, to function as the hands, mind, heart, and feet of Source. We foresee this as happening far into the future, my lord,” replied Lady Amethyst.

Raphael nodded, “It is as I have thought and felt. It is not yet time. Some of the technology will be carried forth into newer ships and the Fleet will be much expanded, but it won’t be fully sentient like the ships of the Feline Founder race, not yet.”

The Lady nodded, “The fleet should be thankful for what was given forth thanks to you and the efforts of your team. However, I fear there will be those who attempt to suppress all knowledge of what has happened here on Medina for many years hence. They will fear the righteous indignation of the people they have failed. There are many like your brother who has not been guided to go within and seek out his own gifts and then to courageously bring them forward into the world despite all opposition. No, my son… you have done well. Do not castigate yourself over the weakness of men. Our people have many lessons before them, harsh ones, and although they were unable to complete this one satisfactorily, they will survive. And you will there help in bringing the beginning of healing to their hearts and minds.”

The Lady paused to take a sip of the cooling tea, and continued, “Now, my lord, I understand you are staying overnight in Medina at your Father’s house? I would also like to speak to him because I feel he doesn’t quite fully understand the role you have played here thus far. And now, what future role do you wish to play, Lord Raphael? Your work on building golden ships is ending, is closed, and will soon be sealed away. What work do you see yourself doing in the future?”

“Well, my lady – I do not see myself as taking over as heir to my Father, no matter what Esturias has feared. However, I do not see that he is suitable for the role either, so I foresee that one of his sons will eventually succeed to that role. Therefore, I would like to offer my services as counselor and adviser to my nephew and to my Father, as well, until he leaves this world or retires from an active role. I have been told that I would make a good counselor in the past; why not try out that role? I have no personal ambitions to control or manipulate my Father or my nephew. If they are not open to having my services, then I will offer them to my adopted sister, Claudine,” replied Raphael.

You were well-prepared for this day, Lord Raphael. You are wise to pay attention to your visions and to your own heart for they do express the truth. Many are those who do not listen to the wisdom of the Heart. We are, indeed, fortunate to have you among us even if your mission has not been fully successful,” said Lady Amethyst.

The Lady stood up, “Now, I need to retire for a time, gentlemen,” she said, “Lord Raphael, please inform your father that I request his presence here either later today or early tomorrow after our meditation services. I thank you for coming, Lord Raphael; and thank you, Commander Monteras, Eagle Felipe, and Captain Sukio for supporting the efforts of your friend and in keeping him safe.”

Next, Lady Amethyst was intent on instructing Lord Demetrius about the real reason why his adopted son was present in the Pleiades. The Lady said: “If Lady Anna wishes to accompany her mate, I would encourage her; right now, I sense he is bewildered by the actions of his eldest son and requires some profound counseling.”

“I agree, my Lady; I will personally see that the two of them attend you. If I may use one of the Temple’s viscars, my Lady,” replied Raphael.

Yes, permission is granted. Now, Lady Arrina, you should go and pack. As I understand it, your services are needed in Elexa. I’m sure Lord Mathdis will give you lodging when you stay in Jolf. Elexa doesn’t have suitable quarters for females,” said Lady Amethyst, giving instruction to her most senior and highly respected priestess.

Now, I bid you and your men farewell, Lord Raphael; it was a pleasure to see you today despite the grim tidings.”

Raphael and his men drove a viscar to the VaCoupe Family compound, a place he had not visited for some time. As he entered the great golden gate, he harkened back to the first time he had come to live at the great sprawling house, when he was just weeks from having been rescued from slavery. So much had changed for him, and so much was the same. He was no longer a frightened traumatized teenager. Now he was a full-grown man, mate and father, a visionary whose lifetime project was being shut down and feeling a bit out of sorts. Still, he felt it was necessary to be there for his father who was profoundly shaken by the sheer degree of treachery shown by his eldest son in bringing compromised individuals into a meeting with the Head Commander of the Fleet. Esturias may have been unaware of what he was doing, but that lack of self-awareness was indicative of just how out of touch Esturias was with his own intuition and inner senses. He should have been capable of sensing the compromised individuals; after all, Esturias had been present when Raphael had met such persons in the past, including his own brother, Reynar. Raphael was not surprised, but his father hadn’t realized the extent to where Esturias had shut down his own gifts.

When the men entered the garden, Carlos greeted them the healer who was busy attending to the herbs planted there. Carlos informed them that Lord VaCoupe had gone straight to his own rooms upon reaching the house.

Lady Anna was there with him, probably giving her mate some needed counsel. Lady Anna was indeed amid listening to her mate as Demetrius related what had happened in Elexa the day before: “Esturias lied to me and had me come to Elexa to meet with him. Thinking he wanted to discuss joining Raphael’s team, instead I found myself confronted by Esturias and a cabal of angry commanders who opposed the continuance of the project. He told me of his true intent at the last minute that he was taking over the project, just before Raphael walked in. Next, he informed Raphael the Command decided the project should be shut down. I wasn’t prepared for that and did not stop what happened next,” replied Demetrius.  “I’m not trying to excuse my lack of action – to prevent Raphael from walking out; I was in a state of shock realizing my eldest son had just lied and betrayed me, Raphael… and everything for which the project stood. Raphael told me later he was prepared to leave our family and Medina had also proven false. Fortunately, he decided I had not betrayed him and was there to see that I also got out of the conference room safely. He was so fierce, facing off his brother Esturias as well as the compromised individuals present in amongst the other commanders – all of whom were extremely hostile towards Raphael. When we were safely out of the room and he had managed to convey instructions to the Command Guard commander, he finally fainted from sheer adrenal fatigue and reaction. Sukio had to carry Raphael onto The Golden Cat so we could return to Jolf for the night.”

“What happened to Esturias and the others?” inquired Lady Anna.

“Raphael ordered all the officers present except for Commander Strabo Diaz to be placed in the brig until every one of them could be properly scanned for implants and intent. Then, all the men, including Esturias will probably face court martial from Command authorities. I plan to be present for the trials, even if it takes a week, so pack accordingly, dear Anna. We can stay at Ricardo’s house in Jolf. Of course, all the compromised individuals – Morovians all – will be summarily executed for plotting what amounts as treason against the Command and the Pleiadian people. We’re going to be compelled to thoroughly cleanse the ranks of the Command because of this unfortunate episode which I did not foresee. Now that the Starship Project is being shut down that I may offer Raphael a place on my staff as counselor and advisor. His ability to ‘see’ into probable future events would be extraordinarily helpful in guiding our fleet in the future, for I sense that with the failure of this long-term plan of the enemy, they will start even more overt attacks on our Federation in revenge,” said a very sober Demetrius.

Anna smiled, realizing her mate was now moving beyond self-pity and self-castigation and showing just why he was not only Lord of the Pleiades but also the Supreme Head Commander of the Pleiadian Space Fleet. When she spoke, it was with all the authority given to her as a High Priestess, even a former one: “Well, Esturias and his cohorts have no idea what they just set in motion. I’m not sure Adario and Roméo realize it either, but Raphael does. Demetrius, don’t you realize your adopted son has been an instrument of Divine Will? This was never solely about a family business – this was about giving the Pleiadian people a dispensation in the form of extremely advanced technology so they might be able to resist what is about to befall them. He was sent here to help us and thanks to your profoundly misguided elder son, Raphael cannot complete his mission. Esturias might as well have blown Raphael and one of his golden ships out of the sky such was this treachery.”

As Lady Anna completed her speech to Lord Demetrius, a loud knock on the door came. The former priestess smiled and said: “Raphael is here. He’s speaking with your BerWarians.”

Demetrius went to open the door. Raphael was thanking the BerWarian guards for helping his father the day before. As he heard the door open behind him, Raphael swung around to greet his father: “My lord father, I deliver a message from Lady Amethyst; she would like to see you and Lady Anna today, as soon as possible. I have a viscar waiting out in front to convey you to the Shemont. I just finished speaking to the Lady myself. Lady Arrina will be going with our party to Jolf tomorrow. The Golden Cat is waiting at the spaceport to convey us all back to Jolf and then on to Elexa when Commander Contreras needs us,” said Raphael.

He paused a moment to survey his father’s face and smiled when he noted his father was appearing more centered and determined. Raphael realized there was much his father still did not understand, but Lady Amethyst would now have a chance to inform Demetrius about certain matters that had to be kept secret up until now. An hour later, Demetrius VaCoupe, accompanied by Lady Anna, arrived at the Shemont for their audience with Lady Amethyst, the Shekinah, representative of the Divine Mother. The pair were escorted into Lady Amethyst private chambers and seated in the waiting chairs. Lady Amethyst was not present, which confused Demetrius. Lady Anna simply sat quietly, going into meditation. After a few minutes, the Lady gracefully entered the room and sat upon a bench facing the Lord of the Pleiades and Lady Anna. Lady Amethyst tilted her head and addressed Lord Demetrius: “Demetrius – I sense you are still in a slight state of shock over what has occurred in the last couple of days. I am not.”

Demetrius had been staring at his tightly clasped hands, but at hearing her words, looked up, startled. He blurted, “What do you mean, my Lady; did you see this coming?”

Lady Amethyst calmly replied, “Not the particulars, Demetrius, but the potentialities.”

Raphael’s father looked confused, “I don’t understand, my Lady. Please explain it to me.”

“You really don’t realize what Raphael is do you, Demetrius?” replied Lady Amethyst, noting Lady Anna’s nod in affirmation.

He is my amazing, talented, and highly sensitive son… and I have failed him,” replied Demetrius, his sense of defeat and self-recrimination clear in the tone of his voice and the set of his shoulders.

Yes, he is all those things, Demetrius, but so much more. He is or was an instrument by which your people were tested for their readiness to step higher in their spiritual evolution. I regret having to inform you, your people, especially those in the Command who had knowledge of and opposed the efforts of this young man and his team, have made the decision for us all. The dispensation of the highly advanced technology that was to be delivered through the person of Lord Raphael has now been withdrawn. In the next few days, those members of the Command who are aware of the golden ships will see the consequence of this decision made by a darkly influenced Cabal. Did Esturias and his companions give any reason for their decision to shut down the Starship Project?”

“Esturias claimed the project was a security risk; at least that is what he told me. Was there another hidden motive behind my eldest son’s sudden decision to seize control of the Starship Project?” Demetrius was still in the dark as to the motivations of Esturias and the cabal that had supported his takeover.

Lady Amethyst searched the face of Lord VaCoupe for an indicator he understood what she was saying to him. “Demetrius, the project was always a secret; most people on our planets weren’t even aware of their existence yet, but the enemy was. I am sorry to deliver this news to you, but it would appear the Command has been infiltrated by our enemies’ influence. It is apparent some of your highest ranking officers – certainly, those involved in this attempted coup – have been compromised and need to be brought to justice. Your son, Esturias, was but a pawn of theirs and you were nearly so, Demetrius. Because of his part in this unfortunate incident, you can be assured that your eldest son will never be allowed to assume your position as Supreme Head Commander of the Pleiadian Fleet. He cannot be trusted due to his own insecurities, self-doubt, fear, and jealousy – all directed towards his younger adopted brother, Raphael. I see Esturias as being broken in rank, once again, possibly imprisoned for a time, and forced to keep a lower rank for the rest of his career, which is if he is allowed to remain in the Command. The decision may be out of his hands. Esturias may be forced out of the Command altogether. How he manages to redeem himself is, ultimately, up to Esturias.”

Lady Amethyst looked over at Lady Anna, who was sitting quietly absorbing the conversation. For a moment, Demetrius looked annoyed at his mate, “Aren’t you going to defend Esturias?”

Lady Anna calmly regarded her clearly upset and disturbed mate and quietly replied, “I am fully aligned with Lady Amethyst in all things. I have spent many years observing the inner workings of your family, the emotional chasms that existed between Esturias and your two remaining sons. You have done nothing to repair this by extending your love equally among all, by giving support to Raphael and Roméo, as well as encouraging Esturias in his growing skill and experience in acting as a commander. Somewhere along the way, Esturias became overly jealous and competitive towards his talented younger brother. I don’t feel Esturias ever tried to really discover that he held some of the same gifts that had manifested within Raphael due to the hardships he suffered as child while in the hands of the Dark. If he had just made the effort to fly one of Raphael’s golden ships for a time, he would have found those self-same gifts begin to bloom for him. Esturias and Raphael are soulmates; they were both the sons of King Lyonille, who ordered the outpost built and left for those people who came later – us, the Pleiadians. Within him, Esturias had every capability and potential to step into alignment with his higher nature, but, alas, he refused the opportunity given to him so generously by his younger adopted sibling.”

Demetrius still looked confused, “What are you saying, ladies – explain it to me. My head is feeling muddled right now.”

“Understandable, Demetrius,” replied Lady Amethyst. “What Lady Anna is trying to explain is that when men fly the golden ships that Raphael and his team, if they have any potential or what we call latent psychic abilities, they begin to manifest in the men, changing their outer personality as their inner awareness blossoms. An astrophysicist like your son Roméo would explain it in another fashion – simply, the quantum DNA of these individuals is activated and brought online by the symbiotic relationship they are experiencing with another kingdom, namely the Crystalline Kingdom. The Crystals are the foundation of our worlds, our bodies, everything we see around us as well as those things unseen. Another way to express this process experienced by the pilots, some of which Raphael has shared with me, is that the soul evolution of these individuals could be jump-started, move up rapidly through several stages. It would and has required great diligence on the part of these men to grow into these gifts; our priestesses and healers have helped many to overcome their fear as different gifts and awarenesses have come to them. These men are forever changed, as was Raphael because of his suffering as a child and his determination to survive. All the gifts he carried within his light body were activated by his will to live and his desire to serve if he was able to survive. And he has offered his gifts freely to your family and to our people and how have we treated him in return?”

Lady Amethyst took a sip of tea and asked Demetrius and Lady Anna whether they would like to stop for refreshment. Demetrius nodded in return, “Yes, thank you, my Lady; I’m feeling rather faint. It seems all this knowledge was staring me in the face, and I was unable to understand it. I feel like I have failed not only my sons, but also my people…”

Lady Amethyst did not reply at once. She rang a little bell. An attendant appeared, one of the younger priestesses, red-haired like the rest who served at the Shemont. “Rita – could you have some tea and refreshments brought here for Lord Demetrius and Lady Anna? I would appreciate it, my dear.”

As the young priestess left the room, Lady Amethyst briefly commented to Lady Anna, “I believe young Rita was raised and educated in Jolf, although she entered her training after you left your position, Anna.”

“Now, Demetrius, perhaps you begin to comprehend the opportunity given and now withdrawn from your people as a whole due to this discontinuance of the Starship Project?” Again, Lady Amethyst glanced over at Demetrius, who was clearly disturbed by what he had heard so far this afternoon. 

Not entirely, my Lady – am I given to understand that due to Raphael’s inventions, some of our people would begin to transform in a similar fashion as did our son? When I first learned of Raphael’s past life as Lord Delos, I looked to encourage the lad to enter the Command, not realizing that the size and sheer expansiveness of the boy’s gifts made it too difficult for him to thrive there. He has done better working on various projects like setting up the Alyona Line Communications Station and then this major project upon which he has spent over thirty years of his life – which has now been wrestled from his control. What will become of the men who have been changed by their interactions with the golden ships?”

“Well, Demetrius – what happens depends on the men themselves. Each person must take responsibility for their own soul evolution. If one consciously aligns with the power that exists within, the connection to higher Source energies, intelligence, love, and strength, then the individual will progress. If they resist responding to the opportunity to expand and shut down, due to their ego, fear, jealousy, or any other disquieting feeling, then they will not evolve further and may even be retarded in their growth. The men who convinced Esturias to act against you and Raphael clearly have chosen the latter path, the path of devolution,” replied Lady Amethyst. “We know that if our people focus by working on raising up their vibration and frequency, by attracting lighted souls to become their children, our people will survive through this great darkness that has descended upon our worlds. The path presented us by Raphael would have greatly hastened the evolution of an important part of our population, the highly educated and disciplined members of the Command… and would have spread in a natural fashion eventually throughout the population… or at least most – for there is always a certain percentage of souls who do not have the strength of will make the grade. Ascension of any individual takes a great deal of work, a willingness to be open to inner guidance, discipline, and faith. I am sorry to tell you both that the opportunity presented through the person of Raphael has now been withdrawn.”

Lady Anna suddenly understood and exclaimed, “It was the Crystals! What Raphael was doing was an act of co-creation between the Crystals and him, as an instrument of Divine Intent. Demetrius, don’t you realize that Raphael personally activated every single golden ship that was ever built within the last thirty years?”

Demetrius looked stunned, “He…he never told me. And I’m sure Esturias doesn’t know it, either.”

“Well, then ask yourself, Demetrius, why did you not ever visit the shipbuilding site of the Starship Project? Did you ever take the time to see your son at work during an act, several acts daily, of co-creation with the Crystalline Kingdom as he carefully and lovingly activated the ships?” queried Lady Amethyst.

Demetrius hung his head in shame, “No, my Lady; I’m not sure why. I guess if I really search my heart, I wasn’t any more prepared to learn more about this technology than was Esturias.”

Lady Amethyst then said something about Raphael that brought tears to his father’s eyes: “I understand, Demetrius, by some talks I have had with Lord Mathdis, that your youngest son regarded the ships as his children, nearly as much as those he created with his lovely mate, Lady Julia,” explained Lady Amethyst, unexpectedly looking rather severe. 

The Lady paused as there was a light knock on the outer door and Rita entered carrying a tray holding a pot of tea with cups and saucers, followed by another priestess who brought in some light fare, some fruit puddings, and light cookies, as well as cut fruit. “As you requested, my Lady,” said Rita after she had carefully set down the tray on the small table next to Lady Amethyst. 

The Lady smiled at the young woman, and asked, “Rita, could you kindly pour some tea for our guests? Have you ever met the Lord and Lady VaCoupe? They are the grandparents of Jychondria VaCoupe, a young man you once knew when you were youngsters in Jolf?”

Lady Anna was amused to see a blush infuse the young woman’s cheeks at the mention of Jychondria’s name, Raphael’s first son and the first grandchild of Demetrius. Jychondria was now serving on board one of the motherships as a Specialty Commander of Engineering. His grandparents and parents seldom saw him these days. Then Lady Anna smiled when the Shekinah glanced significantly at her. She nodded and sent a brief telepathic reply in private mode: “I will investigate this… relationship, my Lady. They are soul mates?”

Lady Amethyst simply smiled and addressed the young priestess when she had finished her task, “Thank you, Rita – now, we’ll resume our meeting. Could you close the door behind you, my dear?”

The young woman curtsied to the ladies and to Lord Demetrius, then turned and left the room, shutting the heavy door carefully behind her. Lady Amethyst explained, “Demetrius, your grandson, Jychondria, and Rita are soulmates. I would encourage you to request your faithful assistant, Francis Polaño, to investigate into her parentage and to see if they will give you permission to contract the two young people as future mates. You see, they have loved each other since childhood and have been soulmates in many lifetimes together. It could be a small seed of happiness to give your son and his family. Rita will be a high priestess some day and will serve here in Medina at the Shemont.”

Lady Amethyst took another sip of tea and then set her cup down. She sighed and said: “Now, I’m about to share something with you, Lord Demetrius, regarding your youngest son’s purpose in being here in the Pleiades at this time,” said Lady Amethyst. “Raphael is as you should know by now, Lord Demetrius, a highly evolved soul, who upon being given the choice of where he wanted to reincarnate after his death in space as a Ashkerian, decided to come to the Pleiades. He is one of those rare highly gifted individuals who act as a direct agent for Source. As you know, he is the soul fractal of an Archangelic Lady who overlights and protects his efforts during any one lifetime. When he made the choice to come to the Pleiades, certain events and potentialities were set in motion. Since he was the reincarnation of Lord Rigo, the ancient king of one of the oldest Races of this quadrant, he was in the perfect position to become the one to grant the Pleiadian people a great gift in a time of great need. And so eventually he was led to the town of Jolf where he learned about the ancient city that had existed from time immemorial. When he first entered the outpost, his personality began to alter. The culmination of this discovery of the ancient site was the complete transformation of Raphael into what he is today, a superb blending of three talented personalities, a king, a head commander, and the visionary, Raphael Kantor-VaCoupe. My lord, do you remember the day when Raphael was successful in completing a test set long ago by the founder of your great family? You adopted him soon after. Well, while he was completing the test put forth by your Founder, he received a major download of information from the Mother Crystal of Medina, of this planet. The great Crystal had been used as storage by the ancient Felines. The only means by which the information could and would be accessed was by being downloaded to an individual holding a particular frequency. Thus, Raphael became the instrument of a dispensation granted to the Pleiadian people by the intention that he himself had set long ago when Lord Rigo and his people originally built the outpost. Are you following my story, my lord?”

“Yes, I’ve known of some of these things, my Lady – but it is good to be reminded of them today, given the present situation,” replied Lord Demetrius. “Both you and Raphael have hinted about what is to happen but give no details. I admit to being rather confused by some of these developments.”

Lady Anna knew that her mate Demetrius, despite all the years he had known Raphael did not really understand the underlying motivations of his adopted son, with his deep devotion to his project, at all. And now, his adopted father was learning about the purpose for which Raphael came to be a Pleiadian…

The Lady continued her story: “Well, my lord, Source requires hands, minds, and feet to complete its tasks, so Raphael was acting independently but also in alignment with the intent which he carried with him into this quadrant. It was his fervent desire to protect his people. With the blessing and cooperation of his father, Lord Lyonille, he had set up the outpost in anticipation of a time of great need – which is certainly upon us now, my lord – and has done his utmost to carry out this great task, but now he has come to realize that he has come too early. He has not failed, but the people who should have been open and willing to accept the great gift he was handing them were not ready – they had not evolved to the point where they could even understand the possibility that a crystal, any crystal was a living sentient being, much less that an entire ship could be what we, as humans, understand as being fully conscious and alive or sentient. So, again events to stifle this endeavor were brought into play through the person of his stubborn elder brother, Commander Esturias VaCoupe. Raphael informed me that he was fully aware that one day he would be opposed by Esturias. Only he was shocked to see his commander brother accompanied by patently compromised individuals. He could only think of getting you out of there safely, my lord. He knew he could not fight the cabal by himself but with the help of his Eagles, your BerWarians, and the Command guards, he thwarted their purpose and intent to kidnap yourself, Raphael, and his team members, including your son Roméo. You came close to losing two sons that day, my lord, and perhaps your own life.”

The Lady took up a piece of fruit and chewed it carefully. Then she began to speak again: “Demetrius, you have a chance to redeem yourself for your mistake in trusting Esturias, in the eyes of your two other sons, if you go now and make sure Raphael still is safe. When things play out as they should, there will be those who blame Raphael and look to have him arrested. We must let Raphael know that he is safe and highly regarded by all those who love and respect him. He has ever been a man out of time; he came too early, but I promise you that once the next cycle of opportunity returns, there will be another chance for your people and many others to receive help from his presence here among us.”

Lord Demetrius looked confused and asked: “What will happen, my Lady, which will cause those others to condemn Raphael? He has done nothing but been threatened by his own brother. He is truly innocent.”“Well, my lord, it is the events that your eldest son and his cabal have unknowingly put into motion that may compel others to possibly turn against Raphael,” answered a sober Lady Amethyst. “And given what I have seen in the vision granted to me by the Mother Crystal, these men will be incredibly angry and try to coerce Raphael into giving them the secrets of the Feline people. Only thing, by then the Door will have truly closed on Raphael as well as upon the Pleiadian people.

“What will happen, my Lady; what did you see?” asked Demetrius.

“Well, Demetrius, you and your commanders will find out soon enough,” replied Lady Amethyst cryptically. “Do I have your promise, Demetrius, that you will cooperate, even to the point of taking your son Raphael once again into protective custody if necessary to protect him from the depredations of the misguided individuals within the cabal that is backing… actually using Esturias as a pawn; for it is really the dark forces who motivate our enemies that are behind this attack on his project.”

“Why, my Lady?”

“Even if you don’t recognize what Raphael is, the Dark forces do. They are forever aligned against all those who carry a high-light frequency. They know who and what he is. Not only that, but they want the technology that Raphael has brought forth, so they are highly motivated to get their hands on it and barring that, getting their collective hands-on Raphael. They don’t realize yet that he no longer has any access to the information. They will try to kill him when they discover that little detail,” replied Lady Amethyst.

Lord VaCoupe straightened up, “Thank you, my Lady – I see now I was deceived by my eldest son. Now, I must see that Raphael is protected and allowed to live out the rest of his life in peace. After finishing up in Elexa dealing with Esturias and his cabal that are incarcerated there, I intend to place Raphael on my personal staff. To keep him out of the reach of his enemies, we may have to keep Raphael and his mate, Julia, in protective custody within the environs of Alyona Castle. He won’t be safe until all members of the cabal are gathered up, punished, and removed from the Command. I can see that many upgrades in our security protocol will have to be implemented. Raphael has warned me in the past that it might be necessary to have all command personnel scanned periodically for implants and other dark influences. The events of the past few days has motivated me to order the adoption of these precautions at once.”

Lord VaCoupe stood up and drew Lady Anna to her feet. He bowed to the Shekinah and then kissed the hand of his mate, “My dearest Anna, we have a lot to carry out in a brief time. Thank you, again, my Lady…” 

With a curtsy and a bow, the two mates left the Shekinah’s rooms, leaving behind a Lady deep in thought. With that, Lord Demetrius and Lady Anna left from the Shemont returning to the family compound for the evening.

© All Rights Reserved, Eliza Ayres, videos and recordings of this material are not permitted, and


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