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                                                                                      Chapter 2

                                                                                     *The Citadel*

“Goooood moooooorniiiiiing Maaaajor”.

Sounding like a slur, Dimpo’s words slowly registered to Tindo as he slowly 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” Tindo teased.

The Citadel Complex Administration Control Room was a brightly lit kaleidoscope of colours coming mainly from the giant Mainframe Hologram display screen which dominated the room. They were three workstations in the control room, one for him, and the other for his two assistants, Dimpo and Juju each with its separate Hologram 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 main Planets of the Kingu Confederation, and she was one of his most reliable Team Members.

Despite the regimental system of the Savants, Tindo tried as best he could to maintain an informal but productive work atmosphere in his Citadel Team.

“I thought I should you bring you up to speed on the latest figures from the Zig Ore Mines, Extraction Reactors and 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 Mainframe where the giant 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 Feeds 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 an unseen error pattern in the Neural Feeds.

“Nothing too unusual”, Tindo observed with a feigned air of indifference concealing concern.

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

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He’d observed this trend too, but did not want to openly acknowledge it 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 applications to be elevated to Temple Engineers so we can join the league of Savants?”

A cynical voice retorted, “I doubt that will be going anywhere. They’ll never accept us and believe we’re capable despite the fact that this place would practically fall apart without us”.

It was Juju, who despite his cynical attitude was vital to the Citadel Team.

He was a Kingu Citizen with a round handsome face punctuated with beady observant eyes and a short, stocky build. For now, Tindo chose to be optimistic and confidently dismissed Juju’s assessment despite his own concerns.

“Look, this is the first time Kingu Citizens have even been considered for elevation. Its never happened before so it’ll probably take some time. They could have just ruled us out by refusing to even consider us as candidates.”

“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 Implant. Can I send our report to the Savants now?” Dimpo intervened reminding him of the business at hand once again.

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“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 to 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 Tindo 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 Federation Citizens working in the various Zig Ore Mines and at the Extraction Reactor facilities across the 10 Planets of the Kingu Federation.

The Temple Engineers had also recently asked them to update the Neural Feed Algorithm, and he wondered whether this change had anything to do with the increase in unknown error patterns.  Maybe some answers would come out of the Status Report Meeting with the Savants.

Secretly he hoped that the acceptance of a Kingu Federation Citizen into the League of Savants would finally enable the Akan and all other people of the Federation Planets to be recognised as equals by the Juluka.

The team continued with the standard tasks for the day until it was time for Tindo to make his way to the Status Report Meeting with the Savants where he hoped to get some answers.

Image credit: Men Of Color in Fantasy Art and Deviant Art.


Next Chapter 3: The Savants