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A strange ideaEditar

Sybil and Leone were having breakfast in the dinning facilities of the Temple. For a long time they just ate and looked at each other. Leone wondered if he was in telepathic contact with Sybil. Was it possible that two people could naturally share the same telepathic "wavelength"?

Bahney had learned form Frank that Sybil and Leone knew each other. Bahney entered the dinning room where Leone and Sybil were being served and watched them for a while. Since they seemed very quiet, Bahney felt free to stop by their table and said, "Good morning."

Sybil looked up, struggled to remember the robot's name and smiled, "Oh, Bahney. Good morning." Sybil had briefly met Bahney when she arrived at the Temple.

Leone still was not used to the color of the Temple robots. He was about to take a bite of a piece of coffee cake, but set it down again on his plate. He asked, "Will you join us?"

It was unusual for a non-meal-serving robot to be in the dinning room and other people were staring at Bahney where she towered over the table of Sybil and Leone. Bahney sat down and took a less conspicuous seated position with her face turned away from most of those in the room. "I'm sorry to interrupt your meal, but I understand from what Frank told me that you two know each other." Bahney said to Leone, "I wondered if Sybil knows where Kalid is," but Bahney hoped that Sybil would respond and say what she knew of Kalid.

Leone expected Sybil to reply, but she just pushed a large spoonful of chewy granola into her mouth and continued to look at Leone rather than the robot. Finally, after a long silence, Leone said, "Yes, Sybil and I are both from Sakkara. We actually met over thirty years ago, when we were still in school. It was very nice to discover that she is here....surely one of the strangest coincidences I might possibly imagine."

Sybil took a swig of orange juice and said to Leone, "I'm thrilled to find you here. I was trying to learn the local Temple rituals, but frankly, they are very foreign to me...nothing like what I have practiced all my life on Sakkara. I only wish I had known the minute you arrived day could have been better spent helping you explore Earth history."

Bahney realized that Sybil had avoided saying anything about Kalid, and from that silence the robot concluded that Sybil did know Kalid but did not want to say what she knew. Bahney reflected on her orders. She had been commanded to find out everything she could about Kalid, and there was much force behind that order. Still, Bahney knew from long experience that pushing humans for information was often not productive. It was often better to trick humans into revealing what they knew. The robot looked at Sybil and said, "Aristark was not interested in history, so he has gone to Mars. I wonder is Kalid is also more interested in government and current events rather than ancient history."

Leone thought that Bahney's comment was odd. He was familiar how to interact with robots who were functioning as servants. Sakkara had some robots who functioned as user-friendly interfaces for databases, and it was expected that robots would just provide information as required by humans. Leone was puzzled by the Temple robots who seemed to have taken on administrative roles that should be for humans. If what Leone had heard was true, all of Esclangon was full of such robots. Of course, besides the green skin which seemed mandatory for all Temple robots, the librarian robots had seemed normal and had efficiently provided Leone with the information he wanted about Earth history. Somehow it seemed that Bahney had changed since the previous day when the robot had seemed very skeptical about the existence of Kalid. Now the robot seemed to be actively interested in finding Kalid. Was the machine just trying to make itself useful to Leone? Somehow Leone felt otherwise. For the first time in his life, Leone realized that he had taken a personal dislike towards a robot. Leone was mildly amused at his emotional response to this green skinned machine. He looked at the robot's ridiculously exaggerated and inappropriately exposed cleavage. He looked around at the human diners and saw that none were exposing their breasts to their friends, so doing so was not some aspect of local custom.

The silence had grown uncomfortably long after Bahney's comment about Kalid's presumed interests. Still, Bahney felt compelled to keep trying to get information. Doubtless her masters from the Empire were listening to this conversation and they would be unhappy if she failed to make a good attempt to find what these two Sakkarans knew about Kalid. Bahney let her too-small silk robe fall even more open and tried to make her breasts sway and jiggle as she spoke to Leone. "I also learned from the librarians that you have an interest in ancient Egypt. You mentioned someone else to them, someone named 'Set'. In addition to Kalid, are you also trying to find this 'Set'?

Leone wondered if Bahney was actively spying on him. He tried to remember mentioning Set to the librarian robots, but could not. Possibly it had come up in conversation the previous day, but if so it was just an off hand comment in the context of discussing Egyptian history and the historical 'Set' or 'Seth'. In the past week, since Leone had first learned of the mythical 'Set' of ancient Egypt he had mentioned to many people who knew the modern 'Set' of Sakkara that there was a 'Set' in Egyptian legends. Leone had a hard time remembering who all he had told that to. "I suppose I did mention yesterday that I know someone named 'Set' on Sakkara. In fact, that is the reason why I am here. In other words, were it not for Set, I would never have had a reason to come to this out-of-the-way star system." Leone felt slightly silly for trying to insult the robot by calling this an 'out-of-the-way star system', but he was now honestly irritated by this impertinent machine.

Bahney asked, "Why would this 'Set of Sakkara' come to this star system?"

Leone was surprised by that question and had not previously thought about the possibility that Set might come to this end-of-nowhere system. He chuckled in surprise and glanced at Sybil. She did not seem amused by the idea that Set might come to such a desolate star system. What had Kalid said to Sybil? "Someone followed Leone to this system. I'll be back when I figure out what is going on." Now Leone wondered if Set might have been following him. What had Sybil said last night? "Kalid thinks Set is responsible for the attack on Flammis." If Set had murdered all of Kalid's family, was it also possible that Set might come to this system? How had the Temple here on Esclangon been described? "....the public face of the Osiris Order. We are the designated target for all persecution against the Order." Leone wondered, was Kalid even now off in space and engaged in a mortal confrontation with Set? As Leone looked at Sybil, he imagined that such a question was what she was thinking about at that very moment.

Again the silence had gone on too long. Leone looked back at the green machine and tried to think of something to say that would make it go away. Suddenly an idea from an ancient legend came to mind. Leone asked, "Maybe you can help me with a bit of ancient it not the case that legend says that Set created the Moon?"

Bahney was programmed to serve as an Empire spy within the Temple. Over the years Bahney had learned much about Temple lore. It was true that in some ancient legends Set created a moon by ripping out one eye of the sky god. In legend, Earth's sun was the other eye of the sky god. Bahney was having a hard time devising a logical response to Leone's question. According to legend Set did not create the moon...the moon pre-existed as an eye. But did the act of pulling out the eye transform the eye into a moon? Had a moon in fact existed before Set touched the eye? And clearly Leone was not actually asking about the legend....Leone was only making a metaphorical reference to the legend in the context of the 'Set of Sakkara'. So what was Leone trying to ask about the 'Set of Sakkara'? Bahney had been told by her human masters that Set was engaged in some kind of war against an important ally of the Empire, the Spaceship Guild. If the legendary 'Set' had fought the god of the sky and the 'Set of Sakkara' was at war with the Empire, then what was the modern equivalent of the moon? What would it mean for the 'Set of Sakkara' to rip out an eye of the Empire? Was the Spaceship Guild an eye of the Empire? Maybe the metaphorical equivalent of an eye was....

But Leone had asked the question of Sybil and did not expect the robot to reply. Leone now remembered his line of thought from just before falling asleep -for the second time- the night before. Sybil had come to his room and they had talked for hours. Finally Sybil fell asleep and Leone had picked her up and laid her on the sleep platform. He had then taken her chair and sat watching her sleep. She looked no different from the young woman he had first known thirty years before. Given medical technology, she could reasonably expect to retain the appearance of a young woman for another thirty years. Sitting there, watching Sybil sleep, his thoughts had drifted over many strange ideas as sleep approached again for himself. He thought of the fact that the fourth planet of this system was called 'Mars'. Some of the ancient legends said that the 'Mars' of Earth was not a star, but rather it was a planet that was seen from Earth by the naked eye as if it were a star. And Leone had thought about the fact that the third planet of this star system was a Green Planet. And there had been something else...just before he fell asleep...something else about the third planet...

When Sybil heard Leone's question about Set and the creation of the Moon she started thinking about the Temple ceremonies she had witnessed during the past three days. In one of those ceremonies there was a re-enactment of the creation of the Moon. The sky god was depicted as striking the Earth and the Moon was formed as a fragment of the Earth. The Earth remained as the Water World and the Moon became the lesser light of the sky. Suddenly Sybil realized that the third planet of this star system was Earth. Everything she knew from Earth history, all of the legends, fit this star system.

Leone was lost in thought and lost in Sybil's dark eyes. Suddenly her eyes grew very large just as he was thinking...something else about the third planet...a water world...suddenly Leone had a strange thought. Could the third planet of this system be Earth? Of course! It was exactly one astronomical unit from the star. That was the definition of an astronomical unit! And all the Earth legends said that Earth had a large airless Moon. Leone now recalled thinking about the moon of the third planet just before falling asleep.

Just then one of the dinning hall servant robots came to the table. All of the manual labor robots who had nothing to do with Temple business did not have green skin. The food-serving robot asked Leone and Sybil, "May I bring you anything else?"

Leone was still deep in thought, trying to remember what he had previously been thinking abut the Moon.

Sybil was elated by her realization that the third planet was Earth, but she dared say nothing about her thoughts.

Bahney was finally kicked out of her endless loop of trying to respond to Leone's metaphorical question. Bahney ordered the other robot, "Go away, you are interrupting our important conversation."

The food-serving robot was programmed to always defer to Bahney and Frank model robots. Without another word, the food-serving robot retreated to the kitchen.

Sybil was startled to see the Bahney robot dismiss the food-serving robot before either Leone or herself could state their needs. Sybil stood up and said to Leone, "I have nothing further to say to this robot except that I intend to file a complain about its rude behavior and call for it to be inactivated and scrapped."

Leone was amused by Sybil's outburst since it so closely matched his own irrational emotional response to the machine's odd behavior. Leone stood up and took hold of Sybil's hand. With no further words they walked out of the dinning room.


Kalid's spaceship was entering into orbit around Mars and negotiating a flight path for docking at one of the orbiting space stations connected to a space elevator that could take him to the surface. Since h32.4 had a relatively low gravity, it had long been served by space elevators.

Kalid monitored his ship's artificial intelligence and thought about the strange man who he now pursued. Kalid was certain that Set had murdered his family and nearly the entire population of Flammis. Only Kalid and a few others who happened to be off planet during the attack had survived. Now, Set had returned for a second time to this star system. Kalid had known what Set was doing when Set had followed Sybil from Sakkara to this star system three days previously. Kalid had made himself invisible. Set had come, followed Sybil to Esclangon, and then departed after Leone was attacked in the Akara system. At that time, Set had guessed that Kalid was with Leone and so Set had gone and confirmed that Kalid was not with Leone. Now Set was back and Kalid had tracked Set's spaceship to Mars.

Kalid had pressed himself and his ship to the tolerable limits of acceleration, but Set had reached h32.4 nearly twelve hours before Kalid. Kalid quietly cursed himself for having humored Sybil and for having taken her to the Osiris Order Temple on Esclangon. Everything at that Temple was totally bogus, just a show piece designed to confuse and distract the Emperor, but Kalid had not been able to tell Sybil that truth. Anyhow, she had quickly figured it out for herself and had even developed a kind of fascination for the very least Esclangon provided a safe place to leave Sybil while waiting for Leone to arrive.

Kalid wondered: was it truly safe? Besides the Imperial Capitol itself, no other star system in the galaxy had as many Empire spies and agents as this one. Of course, it was often sound policy to hide things right under the noses of people.

In any case, Kalid had been taken by surprise when Set returned. There was no point in trying to invent excuses for his failure to anticipate this. Kalid still half expected Sybil to call, but maybe she was trying not to draw attention to him...which was not entirely unreasonable. Kalid had traveled most of the way from Esclangon to Mars while completely shielded in order to prevent Set from knowing that he was on his way to Mars. But now he had to uncloak and negotiate with the authorities who seemed particularly irked that Kalid had been traveling in system without using a standard navigation beacon.

Still, Kalid was granted a landing birth for his ship and soon enough he was riding an elevator down to the planet. When Kalid stepped out of the elevator car he was met by a squad of robots and a member of the citizen militia. The militia member was a frail woman who called out. "Halt, Kalid. In the name of the people of Mars I place you under arrest."

Everyone within earshot stopped moving through the elevator terminal and looked at Kalid.

Kalid said, "What is the charge against me?"

"We will take you to your accuser so you can hear the charges from their source."

Two of the robots stepped forward and took hold of Kalid's arms. Kalid was quickly taken to a small office. All the robots remained outside. The human said, "Please sit down."

Kalid sat on the small stool that was in the middle of the room. "My name is Alfred. I happened to be on militia duty today when word came to me that you were coming down to planet and that you should be arrested. Don't bother to ask me what is going on. We'll both find out in a few minutes, or I'll let you go free."

The wall in front of Kalid came alive with a view of Set. Alfred said, "Are you Set? Do you have charges to issue against Kalid?"

Set replied, "I'm impressed. Less than a day after I turn to the Martian justice system and there sits the Great Master!"

Alfred turned to Kalid, I'm sorry to have wasted your time, you are free to go. There are apparently no charges-"

Set shouted, "Wait! I have charges!"

Alfred turned back to face Set. "Then state the charges without further delay."

Set said, "I've already read the charges into the record."

Alfred muttered under his breath and looked at a small data display. "I see that you are both from outside of this system. Let me explain what is going on. Kalid, about ten hours ago Set filed charges against you here on Mars. Set, you are now required to state the charges."

Set said, "The charge is conspiracy in the case of the attack on the space elevators of Sakkara, a case that includes multiple murders and other criminal subcharges."

Alfred said, "Thanks. Kalid, how do you respond to these charges?"

Kalid said, "I had nothing to do with the attack on the space elevators of Sakkara."

Alfred said, "Okay, the magistrate who heard these charges from Set entered into the record that he has seen written documents that set has entered into the judicial record as supporting evidence from these charges." He handed the small data display to Kalid. "These are the documents that Set submitted to the magistrate."

Kalid skimmed through the displayed documents. "Most of these documents have nothing to do with me. It looks like the few that do relate to me are false claims about where I have been and what I have done during the past several months."

Alfred asked, "So, Kalid, you dispute the validity of these charges?"

Kalid replied, "I do."

Alfred said, "Kalid, by our law, given the charge of murder that has been made, you must appear before the magistrate in order to dispute these charges. How long will it take you to read the evidence and prepare your response for the magistrate?"

Kalid replied, "I suppose it will take several hours."

Alfred took back the datapad from Kalid. "Okay, the magistrate has an open time slot in about 18 hours. I just reserved that time slot for this case. Kalid, you will remain in custody until the hearing and you will be transported to the magistrate for the hearing." Alfred looked at both Leone and Set. "Is there any other business for today?"

Set gave a snearing smile and mock salute to Kalid and his image faded. Kalid said, "This is absurd. I hope that I will be able to bring a counter suit against Set for false imprisonment."

Alfred shook his head. "Ug. I suggest you just focus on what you will say to the magistrate in your own defense. Now, I have no facilities here to hold you, so I suggest that we go directly to the Hall of Magistrates. Are you ready to go?"

Kalid stood up, "I'm at your disposal."


Alfred and Kalid walked side by side through the subsurface passageways with the robot guards following along behind. Alfred asked, "Have you visited here before?"

Kalid replied, "During my adult life it has been my practice to visit the Home World at least every ten years."

Alfred paused and looked around, particularly he looked back at the robots. "Over here." He led the way to the far side of the chamber they were in. They reached a row of small glass compartments that opened out onto a huge subsurface chamber. Leone was awe-struck by the view of such a huge subsurface space. Alfred ordered the robots into one glass compartment, closed the door and pushed a button. Their compartment started moving down the wall of the huge subsurface chamber and was soon out of sight. Alfred led Kalid into the next glass compartment that slid over into place next to them. "I've lived here all my life, but I'm told that almost nobody in other star systems around the galaxy knows that this is the Home Star System."

Kalid nodded, "That is true, very few indeed know the truth. I feel it is my duty to come back to Earth every ten years or helps remind me that I still have much to do in my life, particularly when I get too self-involved."

For a minute Alfred and Kalid enjoyed the view. Alfred looked at Kalid as if for the first time. "What are your self-involvements? Why did you come here today?"

Kalid replied, "I wanted to find Set. I figured he was up to no good. Little did I know that he had found a new way to attack me. I had incorrectly imagined that the worst he could do was to kill my family."

Alfred was shocked. "Set killed your family?"

Kalid nodded, "Set killed everyone on my world, Flammis."

Alfred asked, "Do you intend to make that a formal counter-charge when you go before the Magistrate?"

Kalid said, "I do not know. Is there some way I can get legal advice? I have no experience with the legal system here."

They had reached the end of their ride down the cliff face and their glass compartment dove into a tube. Alfred said, "We have very few professional legalists. By our law, ordinary citizens are called upon to run the legal system. If you want my advice, I'd say defend yourself against the charges from Set. If what you say is true, it should not be hard to get yourself released. Then, rather than involve yourself further with our legal system, go back to your home world and file charges against Set on your own world where you know the legal system better."

Kalid nodded, "That sounds like reasonable advice, except for the fact that Set has exterminated every last man, woman and child in my world."

Alfred said, "I'm sorry. Clearly I know nothing about your life and this case." After five more minutes they emerged from the transport tube and slid into a small debarkation chamber. They exited their glass compartment and the squad of robots fell in behind as they waked to the Magistarium.

Kalid soon found himself locked in a suite of comfortable rooms with a standard data terminal. He read through the "evidence" and confirmed that someone had tried to fabricate a case against him. He then tried to sleep.

Kalid did not sleep very long. Upon waking he called for food and wrote a short rebuttal of the charges that had been made against him. Another member of the militia arrived to lead him before the magistrate. Kalid was somewhat surprised to find himself in a room with over a hundred spectators. When he commented on the size of the audience, the militia woman said, "Many more are watching remotely. You case is rather sensational by our standards. Now, here's the magistrate."

The magistrate was also a woman. She came in and said hello to Kalid and then chatted for a minute with the militia woman. Apparently they knew each other from outside of court or had previously met during other court cases. She then looked around and then said, "I'm magistrate Felice. Is Set present? No? Okay, that does not really matter. Kalid, are you ready to defend yourself against Set's charges?"

Leone replied, "Yes. The charges are fabrications. I had nothing to do with the destruction of the space elevators on Sakkara." He spoke for twenty minutes and increasingly noticed that everyone in the room seemed bored. Finally he said, "Magistrate Felice, I am unfamiliar with your legal system. I'm open to any guidance you can provide to me. It seems like nobody here is particularly interested in what I am saying."

Felice said, "Well, that does not matter, I am obliged to listen even if I am bored."

The gallery erupted in laughter. Kalid's mood brightened considerably. "Well, I'd be happy to change topics if it is doing me no good to refute the 'evidence' page by page."

Felice said, "I think you've made your point about the quality of the evidence against you. Frankly, the fact that Set is not here to cross examine you speaks volumes. I might send a memo to the Department of Justice on Sakkara suggesting that they investigate Set and the charges he made against you."

Kalid said, "Set is a wanted man on Sakkara already. I suspect this 'case' will be of little interest to the Sakkaran authorities".

Felice explained, "One of our rules is that if anyone makes false charges against someone else then they are to be held accountable. If Set returns to this world, he could face murder charges because of the murder charges he made against you. However, I suspect that he will never return. It seems likely that he just wanted to draw you into the open. We are very concerned for your safety and we have taken great precautions to protect you from possible harm."

Kalid nodded. "That is wise. Set recently led an attack on my home world during which the entire planet's human population was exterminated. I suppose it is possible that Set would like to see the same fate for me."

Felice asked, "How did you escape the fate of everyone else on your planet?"

Kalid replied, "Myself and a very few others were off planet on routine business."

Felice said. "I see. Is there any other business you wish to bring to my attention?"

"I have no idea what is considered appropriate."

Felice shrugged. "We have set aside this time to listen to you and anything that is on your mind. For example, I personally wonder if you have any idea why Set would come here from a great distance in order to make these charges against you?"

Kalid said, "I cannot argue against the reason you bring me into the open, possibly for an attack on my life. When I learned that Set had returned to this system-"

Felice interrupted, "Eh? What is this? I had assumed that Set had never previously been to this star system."

Kalid shrugged, "He was also here a few days ago. I was interested to try to learn where he went between his earlier visit and his return to make charges against me. I've been told that he only visited the Akara star system during that time."

Felice asked, "What is the source of your information?"

Kalid replied, "I have been in contact with the Osiris Order's Temple on Azur. They reported to me that Set had a meeting with the President of Azur, Ketar."

Felice frowned. "You seem to be saying that Set was here, Set went to Azur and met with the President of Azur and then Set returned here and charged you with murder. That seems like a strange course of events. Can you make sense of any of this?"

Kalid shrugged. "Set first came to this star system while following a member of the Osiris Order who was fleeing from her home on Sakkara. I believe Set may intend to kill her, too."

Felice asked, "Is she traveling with you? Is she still in orbit?"

"No. She is visiting Esclangon."

Felice said, "I see. You are a bubbling source of much interesting information."

Kalid acknowledged her comment with a half bow. Kalid said, "It might also be relevant that Ketar has been politically active on Sakkara."

Felice snorted. "Indeed. I'm familiar with Ketar; he is politically active across much of the known galaxy. I must say, Ketar and Set seem to be strange bed partners." Again the gallery laughed. "Well, I'm speaking metaphorically. Ketar is rumored to have a long-standing financial agreement with the Spaceship Guild. Based on my research into Set and Sakkara, it seems well documented that Set is at war with the Spaceship Guild and holds them responsible for the attack on the Sakkaran space elevators. What could Ketar and Set have in common?"

Kalid was rather surprised to hear the magistrate speaking so honestly in such a public forum. Kalid decided to ask what might be an embarrassing question for Felice. "Since you know that Set is 'at war' with others on Sakkara, why did you arrest me and not Set?"

Felice replied, "When I got my information from Sakkara, I tried to find Set, but he seems to have disappeared. By that time, this court session had already been scheduled and so I decided that you should have a chance to publicly refute the charges Set had made against you."

Kalid decided he might as well take this opportunity to pitch in and contribute what he could to sorting out mysteries. He had his mouth open and was about to report what he had been told by the Grand Master of the Osiris Order Temple on Azur, but he noticed a familiar face in the gallery. A man was just now walking in and taking a seat on the end of one of the crowded benches. It was Aristark.


Upon seeing Aristark, Kalid started thinking about Osiris Order intelligence reports he had seen from Sakkara, particularly a report from Sybil about the days after the attack on the space elevators.

Felice asked, "Were you going to say something more?"

Kalid replied, "Yes, I would like to tell you what the Grand Master of the Osiris Order Temple on Azur told me." Kalid did so while still thinking about Aristark. "The Temple Master of Azur told me his theory about the 'strange bed partners' of Ketar and Set. That theory suggested that maybe Set and Ketar have a common interest in causing civil unrest and in trying to initiate a civil war that might lead to the destruction of the Empire. The Temple Master of Azur suggested that maybe Ketar and Set planned to use the destruction of the space elevators on Sakkara as justification for attacks against Empire officials and anyone else they could falsely implicate in the attack on the elevators, such as members of the Osiris Order."

Felice chuckled, "I take it there is no evidence to support the idea that Ketar and Set worked together to plan the destruction of the space elevators on Sakkara."

Kalid had never taken seriously the ideas of the Grand Master of the Osiris Order Temple on Azur. While talking, he had been thinking furiously about Aristark and the fact that Aristark had been in position to hide the identities of the true perpetrators of the attack on the space elevators. Further, Aristark had been in position to hear from Leone that Sybil had told Leone her belief that Kalid could be found on Flammis. Aristark had delayed their trip to Flammis for a day during which Set had learned of the existence of Flammis and sent an attack force to exterminate the population of Flammis. Why would Aristark, the head of the Sakkaran Department of Justice, do these things? Suddenly it all made sense to Kalid. Aristark was Ketar's key contact on Sakkara. It was true that the Osiris Order often acted to support the Empire in order to prevent war and destruction on a galactic scale. Ketar had recently learned of this and had ordered his secret war fleets to attack all Osiris Order ships. It made sense that Ketar would also order Aristark to help make use of Set to attack Osiris Order facilities like the secret base on Flammis.

Kalid said, "I agree that there is no available evidence to support the idea put forward by the Grand Master of the Osiris Order Temple on Azur. However, that is just an an example of an attempt to try to understand strange events such the recent attack on an Empire spaceship in the Akara star system and the murder of all inhabitants on the planet Flammis. The question is, who would have been in a position to order and to benefit from those attacks?"

Felice was profoundly disoriented and largely unfamiliar with the details of Sakkaran politics and the Osiris Order. "Well, if you can rule out the involvement of our "strange bed partners" Ketar and Set, then who can you suggest as a more likely perpetrator?"

Kalid replied, "A more compelling theory has been produced by the Master of the Osiris Order Temple on Sakkara. You can find a printed copy of that evidence report on my spaceship, in orbit. Figuring heavily in that report is a high official of Sakkara, Aristark."

A robot came forward and whispered in Felice's ear. She looked towards the gallery and said, "I'm told that by strange coincidence, the head of the Department of Justice on Sakkara, Aristark, is in this room."

Aristark rose to his feet. "I am here."

Felice nodded to the robot and it went into the gallery, took Aristark's arm and led Aristark to the front of the room where Felice and Kalid Stood. Felice said, "I assume that you are familiar with the details of the investigation into the destruction of the space elevators on Sakkara."

Aristark nodded. "Of course, I am in charge of that investigation."

Felice looked doubtfully towards Kalid. Kalid asked Aristark, "According to the Grand Master's report on your investigation, the Osiris Order provided you with the names and precise location of two of the people who destroyed the space elevators. Rather than take them into custody, you let them escape from Sakkara."

Aristark grew deep red. Felice asked Aristark, "Is this true?"

Aristark was trembling with rage and did not trust himself to speak. Kalid said, "The interesting question is why. Why would a trusted and high-ranking justice department official such as Aristark subvert the investigation into the destruction of the space elevators? The report of Master of the Osiris Order Temple on Sakkara includes the name of a powerful and famous person from off of Sakkara who arranged to pay Aristark handsomely to keep secret the identities of those who destroyed the space elevators. That famous person, the great traitor in this case, that person's name is-"

Aristark flung himself on Kalid. Blades of sharp composite extended from inside Aristark's hands and sliced into Kalid's neck. Quickly the robot pulled Aristark off of Kalid, but not before Kalid's blood showered Felice and the front row of the gallery of spectators. Five squads of human militia and robots quickly cleared the courtroom. Aristark was bound and placed in a locked room. Kalid was given emergency medical treatment on the floor of the courtroom. After Kalid was stabilized and taken away to the nearest hospital, Felice noticed that the courtroom cameras were still on. She said to a robot, "Please shut off the cameras."


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