P6

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P6 - LEVERAGE

The Seraph Ithuriel gathered his family and Yomyael together with the crew of Exiler in a section that Yomyael neglected to show the crew the previous day, and there everyone could see the completed "FTL pod" that Ithuriel claimed could allow a vessel to skim through the universe at a rate that effectively cheated the universal limit of c. The Seraph said, It was twenty-five years ago that I led the attack on the Temple of Binah, and at that time I did not believe Binah would leave the fold-door open to allow me to seize this place, and when he did, I suspected a trap. But until a few days ago, the fold-door remained open, and I have thought it could only be explained by Binah wanting me to be here all along.

Suriel said, Sir, I believe you are correct. We who are devoted to Chokhmah hold the Scroll of Lael to be one of our sacred scripture, and within that scroll Binah revealed that Belial is engaged in a struggle against the other four elohim to prevent them from making contact with a much larger community of elohim, that his deeds may never come to light. When you developed the matter-flipper, and also now this device, you opened the way for humans and nephilim to fling ourselves across the universe. Ophan Lahatiel reports this has already begun. Seraph Ithuriel, sir, I believe you have been a servant of Binah all this time and never fully realized it.

Ithuriel acknowledged har comment and turned to Lahatiel. If I do this thing and you do not return to Palato to obey your orders from the emperor, hy will know I have betrayed hym. Hy would not retaliate immediately, since the tunnel to Menkal is closed and we are about three light-months from Toliman, but in a year I could expect to see a warship here. My wife, son, and aide would be put to torment before my eyes. Not to mention me.

Sir, my crew has been appraised of a bargain I made with Yeshua Bat-El. He offers sanctuary in the Land We Know for all of our dependents, which will allow us to focus on working against the emperor without fear or distractions. We have been waiting for an opportunity to avail ourselves of that offer. I believe the time has now come, and I will ask Yeshua to extend the offer to you and yours, sir. Belial will find an empty station.

Then let it be as you said. Yomyael will help Ravmalak Kushiel to configure the Exiler with this apparatus, and we will come with you.

Sir, if I may intrude, Barakiel said. Why the telescope? A hobby?

The telescope already existed when we moved to occupy this system, Ithuriel replied, and I believe I know the reason why. Elohim speak to each other through direct superluminal links. They neither know, nor care, where they are in relation to each other in real space. But suppose your ophan ordered you to fly to Sol. How would you carry out that order?

Sol is the brightest star in the Four Triangles, Sir. Point and go.

As yes, Erel, but you only see where Sol was four years ago. When you arrive, it will have displaced a great distance, due to Sol's own motion relative to Proxima. Then you would need to accelerate again in a different direction to correct the error, a needless waste of propellant. But using the telescope here at Proxima and comparing our images to those of a sister telescope at Rigilkent, we can pin down the location and true motion of Sol to a very high degree of precision, as well as many other stars in our vicinity. I will make this catalog available to you.

Now I am thinking of our living arrangements aboard ship, Lahatiel said. I propose to turn my stateroom over to the Seraph and hyz wife. But who will accept the others? I do not wish to force the assignments.

Kushiel offered to let Yomyael bunk with hym. Barakiel took the boy.

And you can sleep in my stateroom, sir, Adnarel said with an evil grin.

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