Listen To Article

The sudden surge from the Neural Feed instantly shattered Makandal’s sleep.

I’m late for work Makandal panicked as he jumped out of bed. Most people on Kingu would kill to be in my position working for the Kingu Central Government after the Juluka Conquest, he thought as he hastily put on his Gear in his home in Hive 6960.

After ingesting 2 Meal Capsules, Breakfast was done and he was ready to go.

He kissed Sikatele his Wife goodbye as she rolled over in bed, and after tiptoeing to his daughter Runya’s room, he gently kissed her on the forehead.

She acknowledged the gesture with a sleepy dimpled smile.

Tall, with a slightly athletic build, and a face that belied his age, Makandal prepared to Teleport to the Citadel, and after accessing the Kingu Citadel Grid, his Neural Implant was loaded with a Teleportation Sequence purchased with his few remaining Citadel Credits.

Shit, I’m running low he cursed as his Credit balance came through on the Neural feed. Thankfully, his account would be Credited again soon by the Kingu Central Government.

Makandal’s home Planet Kingu was part of the Bulawayo Star System in the Constellation of Zwide located in the Galaxy of Atum.

Kingu’s main Star was Meroe which it Orbited once every 500 Mbire Cycles and each cycle was called a Mwedzi.

According to Citadel Records, Planet Kingu was about 10 Billion Mwedzi’s Old, and had been settled by his people, the Akan for about 100 000 Mwedzis.

The Akan had evolved on Planet Kingu with the Flora and Fauna that filled the Planet. They were a copper hue skinned people who now found themselves incorporated into a 10 Planet Federation ruled over by their Juluka conquerors.

The Juluka had reportedly landed on Kingu about 20 000 Mwedzi’s ago during a Space Exploration mission in which they discovered Planet Kingu, and after finding its environment hospitable, they decided to found a settlement.

Initially starting out as a Space refreshment Post for other Juluka Ships on various exploratory missions, the Kingu Station gradually became more important to the Juluka.

Over time, trade relations had developed between the Akan and the Juluka who had relied on the Akan to supply them with the goods needed for the Juluka refreshment Station to supply incoming Juluka Ships.

However, after the Juluka discovered massive Zig Ore deposits on Kingu and the surrounding Planets, they decided to make their presence on Kingu more permanent, and a decision was made to develop Kingu and make it the Capital of a Juluka Federation Colony in which 9 other surrounding Planets would be integrated.

The scheme required that the Juluka provide the Akan and the other peoples of the Federation Colony with the knowledge and skills needed to build and administer the Federation Colony so that the Juluka would be able to mine the Zig Ore deposits which they used to generate Wave Pulse Energy which the Juluka needed to provide power both to their Home Planet and its expanding range of territorries.

Since establishing the Juluka Federation Colony, the Juluka had built Wave Pulse Generation facilities across the Kingu Federation Colony all of which were operated and maintained by the Akan and other Colony Citizens under the supervision of the Juluka.

As part of the Federation Colony’s Savant Skills Programme, the Juluka requested that the Ruling Mambo Class choose 10 Nobles from amongst the inhabitants of the Federation Capital who were the Akan of Kingu to receive training at the Juluka Base Station.

After 5 Mwedzis, the selected Nobles emerged as a group of Akan Savants equipped to administer the Juluka Colonies and to teach the other Akan and Federation Citizens the skills and knowledge required to build and sustain the Kingu Federation Colony.

The Juluka Colony project had proved successful, and for the past 10 000 Mwedzis, the fate of the Akan had been tied to the Juluka who now controlled the Kingu Federation through the Savants and other Noble Families on the Federation Planets who mediated between the Federation Colony Citizens and the Juluka in the Colony’s Ruling Council based on Planet Kingu.

Each of the remaining 10 Planetary States that made up the Kingu Colony Federation was ruled by its own Noble representative who held a seat on the Federation’s Ruling Council on Kingu.

Makandal was in the service of the Mambo Dynasty at the Federation Capital on Planet Kingu where he was stationed at the Kingu Citadel Complex.

Time to go he thought, as he drew a deep breath initiating the Teleportation sequence that would transport him to the Kingu Citadel Complex via the Neural feed.

Goooood moooooorniiiiiing Maaaajor”.

Like a slur, Dimpo’s words slowly registered as Makandal stepped out of the Teleportation capsule.

Morning to you too. I see you’ve been holding down the fort. Its only a matter of time before the Savants realise I’m not needed” he teased.

The Citadel Complex Control Room was a bright kaleidoscope lit mainly by the Main Display Control Screen which dominated the room. They were three workstations in the control room for Makandal, and his two assistants, Dimpo and Juju each with its separate Display Monitor.

You’re too kind Major” Dimpo coyly replied.

Dimpo was a tall, perky but authoritative skinny, fair skinned female Immigrant with bright green eyes from Eya, one of the Planets of the Kingu Confederation and she was one of Makandal’s most reliable Team Members.

Despite the regimental system of the Savants, Makandal tried as best as he could to maintain a cheerful but productive atmosphere in his Team.

I thought I should you bring you up to speed on the latest figures from the Zig Ore Mines, Extraction Reactors and Citizen Neural Feed Reports.”

Dimpo went straight to business as usual.

Sure”, he replied trying to sound authoritative and only slightly impressed.

They headed over to the Citadel Network where the Control Screen showed the latest figures from the Zig Ore Mines, Output from the Extraction Reactors and a list of flagged Kingu Confederation Citizens whose Neural Feed Connections were showing an unfamiliar error pattern.

The data showed that there was a decrease in the Zig Ore output across all the 10 Planets of the Kingu Federation. This was also accompanied by a corresponding increase in the unidentified Neural Feed error pattern.

Nothing too unusual”, Makandal observed with a feigned air of indifference that only managed to barely hide his concern.

But there’s been an increase in Neural Feed errors coupled with lower output on the Zig Mines”. Dimpo fiercely interjected.

He’d observed this trend too, but did not want to appear alarmed to Dimpo.

The issue would surely be coming up as part of the scheduled Status Report Meeting he would be having with the Savants later today which would also be attended by the Temple Engineers and representatives of the Mambo’s Court. He decided to change the subject.

Any word yet on our Elevation applications to join the league of Savants?”

A cynical voice retorted, “I doubt that will be going anywhere.

They’ll never accept that we deserve to be Savants despite the fact that we practically run this place”.

It was Juju, in typical cynical fashion. Juju was a Kingu Citizen with a round handsome face punctuated with beady observant eyes and a short, stocky build.

For now, Makandal chose to be optimistic and confidently dismissed Juju’s pessimisstic assessment despite his own wariness.

Look, this is the first time ordinary Kingu Citizens who do not come from any one of the Noble Families have even been considered for elevation.

Its never happened before so it’ll probably take some time. They could have just refused to even consider our applications if they were so convinced we would never qualify to be Savants.”

Its just a charade to keep us in check if you ask me. Anyway, its not over till the Supernova explodes I suppose, but I’m not keeping my hopes up” was Juju’s frank assessment.

I’ve uploaded the latest Status Report to your Neural Feed.Can I send our report to the Savants now?” Dimpo intervened vigorously reminding him of the business at hand once again.

No point in holding back. I’ll see what they have to say about the reduced Zig Ore output and increased Neural Feed error patterns. Hopefully they don’t try the lay the blame on us. You know how the Temple Engineers are always trying to blame everything on us if there’s something wrong with the Neural Feeds.”

Despite his outward demeanour, inwardly Makandal was concerned about the relationship between the reduced Zig Ore Output and the unfamiliar Neural Feed error pattern. For a while now they’d been reports of unrest and dissatisfaction amongst the workers in the various Zig Ore Mines and Extraction Reactor facilities across the 10 Planets of the Kingu Federation.

The Temple Engineers had also recently asked them to update the Citizen Neural Feed Protocols, and he wondered whether this change had anything to do with the increase in the unidentified error pattern.

Maybe some answers would come out of the Status Report Meeting with the Savants.

Secretly he hoped that the acceptance of an ordinary Kingu Federation Citizen into the League of Savants would finally result in the lifting of Juluka Laws that prevented ordinary Akan and all other Citizens of the Federation Planets who did not come from Noble Families from becoming Savants or joining the juluka controlled Federation Colony’s Ruling Council.

Makandal’s Citadel Team continued with the standard tasks for the day until it was time for Makandal to make his way to the Status Report Meeting with the Savants where he hoped to get some answers.

Chapter 2: The Citadel available here