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  Tales of the Vuduri: Year Five

  Michael Brachman

  Copyright 2018 by Michael Brachman

  Smashwords Edition

  Smashwords Edition, License Notes

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  TALES OF THE VUDURI: YEAR FIVE

  All rights reserved

  Copyright © 2018 by Michael Brachman

  Cover art copyright © 2018 by Bruce Brachman

  V5.01.0002

  Also by Michael Brachman

  The Rome’s Revolution Series

  Rome’s Revolution

  The Ark Lords

  Rome’s Evolution

  The Vuduri Knights Series

  The Milk Run

  *The Vuduri Knight

  (*not yet in publication)

  The Vuduri Universe Series

  Tales of the Vuduri: Year One

  Tales of the Vuduri: Year Two

  Tales of the Vuduri: Year Three

  Tales of the Vuduri: Year Four

  Tales of the Vuduri: Year Five

  The Vuduri Companion

  Dedication

  If you are reading this, then you have probably read the first four volumes of Tales of the Vuduri and you are already well aware of the people helping me produce this epic series. As always, I need to thank my immeasurably talented brother Bruce. He is my go-to guy when it comes to the world of the Vuduri. Not only is he my editor and artist and the inspiration behind MINIMCOM, but he is also fiercely protective of the Vuduri culture and characters. He is always receptive to me bouncing ideas off his head, even when he doesn’t have the time. In addition, Bruce creates the amazing covers, the astounding book trailers and makes my writing so much better. Bruce, none of this would exist without you so thank you.

  My wife Denise also deserves a special thank you for understanding my goals and giving me the time to write this massive number of posts. Her patience continues to be boundless as is her moral support. Thank you, Denise.

  In the end, the people who are most responsible for making this series a success are you, my loyal readers. It’s been a long, long journey and I thank you for taking the trip with me. This book is for you.

  Introduction

  Tales of the Vuduri is a daily blog published on Goodreads.com. When I first started posting articles in 2012, I had no idea how long I could keep it up or where it would take me. I find it amusing and perhaps fitting that the series ended up being a five year labor of love, just like the original Star Trek with its five year mission. And as everyone knows, with any trip, much of the appeal is the journey itself not necessarily the destination. While the bulk of these articles are about the fascinating 35th century world of Rome’s Revolution, there is a great deal of attention paid to current events, new avenues of research in science and technology and predictions about the near future. The rest of the articles provide critical commentary about my Rome’s Revolution series, with this volume focusing on The Ark Lords, Rome’s Evolution and touching upon The Milk Run.

  As I mentioned last year, committing to writing one blog article a day created a monster with a voracious appetite that had to be fed continuously. With the publication of this book, I have now written over 1830 articles, more than 750,000 words. That is a lot of words! Luckily for me, the pace of discoveries in the world of science and technology has not slowed down at all. In fact, I could write an entire book focusing just on Elon Musk who continues to amaze with his solar energy ventures, SpaceX, the Boring Company and now Neuralink. I had to exercise some restraint so Mr. Musk comprises just a small portion of the articles you will find in these pages. As a teaser, here is a partial list of what you’ll find among these entries about science and life:

  The Fermi Paradox or where is everybody?

  A recap of exoplanets discovered to date including TRAPPIST-1

  Helium-filled Hard Drives

  Life on Enceladus, one of the moons of Saturn

  StoreDot's Insta-charge Battery

  A discussion of Unruh Radiation and The Cannae Drive

  The discovery of a potential vaccine against PTSD

  Real life teleportation

  A graphic exploration on how my brother Bruce designed The Hand of Deucado

  CRISPR as a tool for curing genetic diseases

  The invention of a new kind of poker

  Where is Voyager now?

  Does anybody miss Pluto as one of the nine planets?

  The EcoSphere and its implications for space travel

  How Elon Musk will save Puerto Rico

  A real life Rama

  How to make gunpowder

  Hyper-fusion

  Tesla’s new semi and how it will revolutionize trucking

  The health benefits of bananas

  A discussion of cyanoglobin

  As you aware from previous years, to produce so many blog entries, I had to follow the discipline of writing seven or more articles every weekend and then posting one each day over the course of the next week. As with the previous volumes, you will find occasional hypertext links but of course they are not functional within an ebook or paperback. When the sole purpose of a link was to take you somewhere else, I added an underline. Likewise with the prior volumes of Tales of the Vuduri, the entries are exactly as they appeared on Goodreads although I do fix typos when I find them.

  Feel free to jump in anywhere. You don’t need to read the articles in any particular order although the general flow of the literary analysis follows the aforementioned novels The Ark Lords and Rome’s Evolution. It is not necessary that you have read those books but it couldn’t hurt. I hope you enjoy this fifth and final volume of Tales of the Vuduri as much I enjoyed writing it.

  Entry 5-001: January 1, 2017

  Out of room

  How many times have you tried to take a picture with your phone or downloaded a movie, only to discover you were out of room on your memory card or thumb drive or whatever? It's happened to me plenty of times. So I decided to employ this decidedly human experience and tie it in to the future world of Rome’s Revolution as well. Here is a little scene where Ursay has to deal with this exact problem, just using whammy-jammy science fiction terms:

  Rome stood up. “Perhaps you should allow me. As you know, I was very skilled at data archiving. I think I can formulate the proper search terms in such a way as they are oblique to our main area of research.”

  Ursay stood up and switched places with Rome. As she settled in her seat, Ursay remarked, “You were more than skilled. You were literally the best on the planet. Your mosdurece heritage made you the perfect candidate. I specifically requested you for our mission. I was just too blind to acknowledge the wisdom of my own opinion.”

  Rome looked at Ursay and placed her hand on top of his. “That is very kind of you to say so,” she said. “Thank you.”

  “It is not kind,” Ursay replied. “It is simply an acknowledgement of a fact. Rome, you are very special. It was clear, even back then. It was just beyond my capability, and I suspect yours, to recognize the truth.”

  Rome blushed slightly.

  “I recognized it,” Rei piped in. “She was awesome.”

  Rome turned back to look at her husband and laughed. “Men,” she muttered. She returned her attention to the workstation in front of her. “I will activate a data conduit to t
he local storage before we offload it to a data-cube,” she said. “Let me check the capacity.” Her hands flew over the keyboard and produce a bar chart of processor and storage capabilities. “Hmm,” she observed. “There is not as much room as I would like. Do you have a data-cube handy?”

  “I do not,” Ursay said. “I keep them all off-site.”

  Rome looked back at the graphical display of the local storage allocation. “Is there anything stored here that you absolutely must preserve?”

  “Erase it all,” Ursay said. “It is just images and recipes. I have everything backed up that I care about. I can restore it at any time. Do what you need to.”

  “Very well.” Rome pressed icon after icon, erasing large chunks of local data until the bar chart in front of her indicated nearly empty local resources.

  She stared down at the input interface.

  “What is it, sweetheart?” Rei asked.

  Rome sighed. “It is times like these that I miss my bloco and stilo.” She exhaled strongly. “No matter, I can do this.” Her hands flew over the interface, pressing keys and icons. She glanced up at the screen as her query took form. At last, she said, “I am ready. My query will request a time line of the events concerning the Erklirte in bulk form with two levels of hyperlink spidering. I will start with the arrival of the Erklirte and I have put a stop after their defeat. We can analyze it afterwards.”

  Every time I get a new phone or new card for my camera, I always boost up the memory because I know I will run out of room at some point. You too? Tomorrow, the light bulb goes off.

  Entry 5-002: January 2, 2017

  Helen Henry dies 1

  We learned about Jack Henry's origins in the middle portion of The Ark Lords. Jack Henry's father, Jim Henry, was one of the last remaining good Cavaliers, the futuristic police force which was a combination of Canadian Mounties, British Bobbies, roving judges and so on. Jack's mother Helen helped Jack track down what happened to Jack's father. He was killed by the Ark Lords who had descended to the Earth some 600 years earlier than the main story. At the end of their discovery, Helen Henry was kidnapped and Jack thought he would never see her again. However, ten years later, after Jack had formed a pretty serious army of rebels, Helen appeared suddenly and unexpectedly:

  Jack raced out of the tent and saw a group of men coming toward him carrying a stretcher. He cocked his head and stood where he was as they brought the stretcher to him. What he saw made him go weak in the knees.

  “Mom!” he said, bending over and grabbing the frail woman. “What? How?” he stammered. “Take her into my tent,” he commanded.

  The group hustled their way in and set her stretcher on top of Jack’s sleeping bag. Jack followed them in then knelt by her side. He was crying. “Mom,” he said, “I’ve missed you so much.” He bent over and hugged her. The battered woman could barely lift her arms but she managed to drape them over her son. Even though he knew her to be only fifty, the woman before him looked like she was eighty years old.

  “Oh Jackie,” she whispered. “I never gave up hope. I’m so sorry I left you.”

  “It wasn’t your fault,” Jack said angrily. “It was those monsters. What happened?”

  “I need some water first,” his mother said.

  “Red!” Jack shouted to his lieutenant.

  “On it, boss,” Red said. He quickly returned with a wooden canteen which he handed to Jack. Jack held the canteen to Helen’s lips as she took a few sips.

  “Jackie, you have to listen to me. I don’t have much time.” Helen’s voice was barely louder than a whisper. Her breath was foul with the stench of urea.

  “Why, Mom?” Jack’s face was contorted with heartbreak.

  “I’m septic. My kidneys have failed. I haven’t peed in three days. I’m not going to make it much longer.”

  “No, Mom,” Jack said. He reached forward and put his hand on her forehead. His mother was burning up.

  “What happened, Mom? What did they do to you? Why are you here?”

  Helen took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She opened them but they looked rheumy, almost like there was a thin cloudy film covering them.

  “Jackie, just listen and say nothing. I have to tell you what is important.”

  Tomorrow, Helen's story.

  Entry 5-003: January 3, 2017

  Helen Henry dies 2

  We learned about Jack Henry's origins in the middle portion of The Ark Lords. Jack Henry's father, Jim Henry, was one of the last remaining good Cavaliers, the futuristic police force which was a combination of Canadian Mounties, British Bobbies, roving judges and so on. Jack's mother Helen helped Jack track down what happened to Jack's father. He was killed by the Ark Lords who had descended to the Earth some 600 years earlier than the main story. At the end of their discovery, Helen Henry was kidnapped and Jack thought he would never see her again. However, ten years later, after Jack had formed a pretty serious army of rebels, Helen appeared suddenly and unexpectedly:

  “Your father was dead by the time we got to their camp. They didn’t capture him. They just plain killed him.”

  Jack rocked back on his legs. It had been so long, he had buried his feelings. He wasn’t sure how to get in touch with what he already knew deep down inside.

  “When they got me, they took me to a shelter. They tied me down. They beat me and they raped me.”

  “What!?” Jack exclaimed. He started to rise. His mother reached out and grabbed his arm.

  “Jackie, listen to me!” she ordered.

  Jack closed his eyes fighting his instinct to strike someone. He took a deep breath and settled down. “All right,” he said.

  “I got pregnant. Once they knew that, they put me in a different place, like a dormitory. And the beatings stopped. I gave birth to a girl. After I was done nursing her, they took her away and it started all over again.”

  Jack pounded his clenched fist into his palm but remained silent.

  “Jackie, forgive me. But every time I got pregnant, the beatings stopped so I let them use me. I am so sorry. But I had given up.”

  “Oh, Mom,” Jack said.

  Helen sighed and closed her eyes. “I had five children and then got toxemia with the sixth. I had a miscarriage but they didn’t treat me. They put me in a field hospital or something but basically they were just waiting for me to die.”

  Jack covered his eyes with his hand. The tears seeped out on both sides. The image of his loving mother being so mistreated was almost too horrible to consider. He wiped his face so he could continue listening.

  “They’re in the process of moving their camp to the East. They are setting up a fortified city. They were so busy with the move that they didn’t pay any attention to us in the hospital. I escaped and walked as far as I could. Do you remember Bill Franklin?”

  “Yes,” Jack replied quietly.

  “He found me wandering and he brought me here. Bill and all of them, they all know about the Resistance and they want to help but not if it means suicide.”

  “I know, Mom,” Jack said. “We’re trying. It’s just so hard. We don’t have the weapons to stand up to them.”

  Helen tried to rise up from the stretcher. Jack helped her sit up. She reached inside her clothing, mere rags that may have once been a dress, and pulled out a pile of papers. She handed them to Jack.

  Jack took them from her and opened up the largest one. It was a detailed map with names and places that he did not recognize.

  “What is this?” he asked.

  Helen coughed. Her lungs spasmed and she went into a coughing fit. Jack reached forward and enveloped her in his arms. He could not believe how thin his mother was. All he felt were bones. When the coughing subsided, he gently laid her back down.

  “Jackie, whatever you are doing. It is making them so angry. They are going to unleash a weapon that is going to kill everyone.”

  Tomorrow, Helen's end.

  Entry 5-004: January 4, 2017

  Helen Henry dies 3
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br />   We learned about Jack Henry's origins in the middle portion of The Ark Lords. Jack Henry's father, Jim Henry, was one of the last remaining good Cavaliers, the futuristic police force which was a combination of Canadian Mounties, British Bobbies, roving judges and so on. Jack's mother Helen helped Jack track down what happened to Jack's father. He was killed by the Ark Lords who had descended to the Earth some 600 years earlier than the main story. At the end of their discovery, Helen Henry was kidnapped and Jack thought he would never see her again. However, ten years later, after Jack had formed a pretty serious army of rebels, Helen appeared suddenly and unexpectedly:

  “No!” Helen said forcefully. “You don’t understand. “They are going to unleash a disease. It will kill every man, woman and child on the Earth. When they are done, they will be the only people left alive.”

  “How can they do that?” Jack asked. “How do they unleash a disease?”

 
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