On Saturday, the 16th of May, 2014, I came home to find that the data for the latest chapter of Duke Forever was missing from my in-tray. I searched the house, and happened to discover the printed pages in the kitchen bin. Burnt.
Perhaps I was careless and allowed the papers to be mixed up with the junk mail, when we threw it away. I don’t know how something like this could happen, but I'm not trying to suggest that someone threw it away deliberately. However I'm also not suggesting that someone wouldn't do that either . . .
I was going to skip the chapter, but since the last chapter involved leaving Earth and the one after this involves returning to Earth, I couldn't justify leaving out this portion of the record. However, a great deal of the information I had has been lost. So, my only recourse is to compile what raw data I have to recreate the story for you, although perhaps without the bells and whistles of narrative that I've been adding to give some life to these stories. I apologize for the lack of artistic flair, but I want to retain the tenacity of this record, as best I can.
The Duke’s timeship is sitting just beyond a stargate, which is inside of some kind of art gallery. Within, the Duke is looking over the console.
[1The data reveals this planet to have a mass slightly greater than Earth; breathable air although with a slightly high oxygen content and fertile soil.]He takes note of a large number of life-forms living in a settlement several hundred kilometres away, closer to the equator of the planet.
[2Data is lacking as to the name but several people identify the planet’s inhabitants as Gravitens, so it will be referred to as “Gravitas”.]There’s also a large planet on the sensor, which is orbiting like a moon. The Duke exits the timeship and observes it for himself. The moon is revealed to be larger than any moon, and in fact larger than the planet Earth. The Duke explains this to Anise & Edison.
[3Gravitas is a part of a double planet system (See Fig.1) with a primary planet more than three times the size of Earth, referred to as “Temeritas”. Due to the sheer size of Temeritas, there is a gravitational anomaly upon the planet-facing side of Gravitas which makes the relative gravity approximately 0.12 g at the equator (or 1/8th Earth Gravity).]The low gravity allows the timeship crew to “moon-jump” several metres high in the air. The Duke vainly attempts to explain the science while his companions test to see how high they can jump [approx. 5 metres.], before he observes the stargate itself and is mildly intrigued by the alien design.
[4The stargate is a standard 39-symbol Milky Way Stargate; the Point of Origin symbol has a design similar to two capital ‘i’s (See Fig.2). This stargate’s dialling computer is absent, for unknown reasons.]The Duke then insists they seek to find the denizens of this world, . They leave the art gallery enter the outskirts of the town [town name unknown.] and find it deserted. The Duke discovers a wheel-less, dark-silver tram trolley, hovering a foot off the ground.
[5The maglev trolley works via low-energy, repelling electromagnet on the base of the trolley, over a track of magnets placed in a Halbrach array.]After commenting on the design, the Duke boards the tram, with Anise and Edison right behind him. The Duke activates the trolley with his laser spanner and it automatically takes them to the centre of town, where the Gravitan base station for the space elevator is located. The trio see several Temeritans patrolling the area.
[6No visual data is available, however Temeritans are mentioned as tall, with thick, grey skin (like an elephant), a split plate of armour-like bone on their foreheads, four digits on each hand and three toes on each foot.]The Duke believes them to be natives, so they enter the elevator dock and the Duke approaches one of the creatures, kindly asking for help. Edison attempts to explain to the Duke that the creatures do not look like the portraits in the art gallery, when the creature roars to alert its compatriots. It then advances on the three, aggressively asking them what they are doing in the facility. Edison tells the creature they’re not looking for trouble, but two more Temeritans join the first, looking ready to fight.
Edison takes the baton out of his belt [a police-issue Monadnock® AutoLock Expandable Baton.] and prepares to defend himself. With one blow, Edison is sent flying across the room, and while Anise races over to tend to him, the Duke holds the other three at bay, punching and dodging under the creature’s relatively slow attacks. Edison regains his feet and helps the Duke, utilizing the low gravity to jump, kick and evade the creatures.
[7Due to the fact that the Inspector was legally on duty during the assault and the degree of battery, aggression and non-standard arrest-and-control techniques Edison utilized to defend himself, the Inspector’s actions technically constitute police brutality.]After almost a minute, the pair manage to incapacitate one of the creatures, but the others roar for more backup and they are both exhausted so Anise, Duke & Edison decide to retreat. The Duke runs towards the hovering tram, however there are two Graviten soldiers waiting for them.
[8Gravitens look human, but for their generally thin physique. It is unknown at this stage whether or not they are an evolutionary coincidence or exo-migrated humans. The soldiers are wearing a reinforced, plasticized suit of grey armour.]The Duke decides to follow them, and so the five of them run deeper into the buildings into a Phandibhan-style restaurant [cuisine native to the nearby continent of Phandibh, known for using subtle spices and offal.], where several Graviten soldiers [approx. 30.] are holding up in the underground stockroom. When they discover who the Duke is, the two soldiers that helped them, named Sir Ghedda Musth & Sir Javaji Hastin, explain the situation:
- Six days ago, a group of Temeritan terrorists came through the space elevator. They declared Graviten citizens inferior and began attacking everyone on site [23 were killed and more than 80 were injured.] with their brute strength as well as weapons stolen from the base station security.
- The group kidnapped several hostages, numbers unknown, [many of them students on a field trip, from the Mabhoudat Mathematics School for Girls.] Then contacted local media, identified themselves as Groko Falem [a group of xenophobic terrorists, whose name translates to 'Fallen Moon'.] they declared war on all Gravitan citizens, in the name of "Lakwa", demanding servitude or death.
- Five days ago, Gravitas representatives sent a deep-space communiqué to Temeritas, asking for help.
- The group, using explosives, destroyed over 3000 G-HAC suits [Gravitas(?) - Heavy Atmosphere Containment suits allow for Gravitens to survive Termeritas surface-gravity for extended periods of time.] held within the space elevator base station.
- The government of Mabhoudan continent moved in their defense forces, but ceased fire when the Temeritans began killing hostages. They were held at a standstill, as the Temeritans have threatened to destroy the space elevator if the army intervened, as a result the army retreated to a perimeter beyond the city limits.
- Three days ago, Gravitas recieved the Temeritans' reply, which stated that they were preparing to launch a series of interplanetary rockets to help, however it could take seven days before the first rocket could land on Gravitan soil.
- Ever since, the Gravitan army have been providing negotations for the hostages, and those trapped in the city limits, as well as covert guerrilla operations.
The Duke is confused, but he tells the Graviten soldiers that he will do what he can to help them, as he once did.
Anise & Edison are confused, but the Duke explains that the that he will most likely travel to the past and help these people, some day later in his lifetime, which makes him somewhat uncomfortable.
[9I am still attempting to recover the information relevant to the date of this "earlier" arrival, but many of the references in this data seem to imply that it will occur after the encounter with the 88.]Edison asks how he could help them, and the Duke explains that the only way to deal with terrorists such as these is with force, and since he's not a warrior anymore it would be unwise to enter the fight. However, he does have the timeship, and with Sir Javaji's help devises a plan to materialize within the base station, via the timeship, to rescue the kidnapped citizens and schoolgirls. The Duke, Anise, Edison and a fireteam [a group of four soldiers, with a junior officer in command.] sneak out of the restaurant and travel on foot to the art gallery, where the Duke's timeship is waiting for them.
[10(Much of the data in the second half of this record was destroyed with the burnt notes) -- When the group arrives at the Art Gallery, two of the soldiers are absent. It is assumed that the group encountered some Temeritans en route and lost some members in the ensuing crossfire; however, the details of this encounter cannot be recovered.]The group are within the console room, and the Duke is spending a few minutes adjusting the co-ordinates, to aim for the location where the kidnapped citizens are said to be held [Within The space elevator unit itself, is a vessel the size of a skyscraper, with a mixture of Temeritan and Gravitan architecture (See Fig.3), which is capable of travelling between the planets in just a few hours.]. With several minute adjustments, the Duke pulls the ignition lever and the ship dematerializes. After an unsteady flight, the ship rematerializes and the soldiers shake themselves off. Then, standing at the ready by the exit, the Duke opens the doors and the soldiers all take point. They discover that the ship has missed its target, and is sitting on the roof of the base station. The Duke apologizes for miscalculating the co-ordinates, but not wanting to risk another trip, the soldiers enter the building from the roof, and head deeper into the facility. The base station is uncommonly empty and the group attempt to board the space elevator, but the air lock is sealed. The Duke manages to get through with his laser spanner, however the elevator begins to move. The six of them quickly climb aboard as the elevator accelerates into the air, leaving the timeship behind. The Duke struggles to get the air lock closed again, before they enter the stratosphere.
[11It is assumed that the soldiers went ahead, while Anise & Edison separated from the Duke (either to find safety, or for some other strategic advantage). It is also assumed that access to the motor coils of the space elevator is either dangerous or precarious, as the Duke is next seen in the engine room, alone.]The soldiers are seen moving up through the facility, slowly incapacitating or killing Groko Falem terrorists as they encounter them in each room [the interior of the space elevator is like a cruise ship or a hotel, with open space and different activity centres to entertain passengers.], however a firefight breaks out in the drinking lounge, with many terrorists joining the fight, leading to a standoff.
Anise and Edison are slowly heading up the facility through crew access corridors [The relative gravity aboard the elevator is approximately 0.9 g, to best facilitate all species of passenger.], and the pair enter the top level of the Gravitas-oriented portion of the space elevator.
[12At the mid-way level of the space elevator, the artificial gravity plating (as well as architecture, furniture arrangements and design) is inverted, to allow passengers to stand upright when they leave the elevator on either planet. To accommodate the transition between upright and upside-down, passengers can use either the gravity walk or a re-orienting cabinet - which my notes label a "regravitator" - (See Fig.4).]A lot of the terrorists have congregated within the mid-section of the ship, so Anise and Edison retreat to one of the "crew access only" areas of the ship, using their pilfered master key [Which must have been acquired during the missing scene.] and enter a large, unusually oriented generator room. Within the mess of generators and computer monitors, Anise recognizes a gravity engine [This device is identical to the gravity engine from Warehouse 88 (See Ref#: b02.0-216-L(X)-m01), it is as yet uncertain if it is the same device.].
The Duke is within the engine room, working on the motor coils with his laser spanner, [it is implied that he was attempting to repolarize the coils to reverse the elevator and return it to Gravitan soil.] when a Temeritan assaults the Duke, drags him off his feet and slams him into a wall and interrogates him about his intention.
[*EDIT: Although the visual data of this scene has been compromised, a portion of the dialogue from this exchange was recorded in a separate file, for reference purposes:The Duke is next seen quickly vacating the engine room, to head further up the space elevator vessel. After his encounter with the Temeritan, the Duke has come to learn that the ultimate goal of the Groko Falem is to overload the gravity engine, destroy the space elevator, and ultimately pull each planet out of their dual orbit, such that they will collide with one another, and it is his goal to stop that from happening.
DUKE: (indecipherable murmuring)
THUG: (snarls) Looks like there's a spanner in these works.
(yelling and grunting from both parties follows by a loud thud)
DUKE: If your desire is to kill me, then I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.
THUG: I don't desire any harm to come to you, Duke. My desires are less forthcoming.
DUKE: Your manner implies otherwise (grunt). How do you know who I am?
THUG: I merely want a moment of your time (pause) to talk.
DUKE: You have enforced my captivated and undivided attention.
THUG: I wish to understand your choice.
DUKE: (grunt) What choice?
THUG: What you're doin' now.
DUKE: I'm going to reverse the elevator.
THUG: (inhales sharply) that's a poor choice.
THUG: Because it would undoubtedly destroy everything on that planet. The Temeritans are planning on overclockin' the gravity engine of this ship, destroyin' the space elevator.
DUKE: (pause) Why would you tell me this? (grunt) I don't understand, don't you want the Graviten people dead?
THUG: The Groko Falem want that. My desire is much simpler.
DUKE: You're not a member of the Groko Falem?
DUKE: (pause) Then what are you?
THUG: Bawon Lakwa.
DUKE: I don't understand. What does that mean?
THUG: It means I'm someone that wants you to make the right choice.
DUKE: And what is that?
THUG: I am merely a signpost on this crossroad. You must choose what path you take.
DUKE: (pause) You don't sound very much like a Temeritan.
THUG: You don't sound like a time lord. A time lord would know how to bide their (pause) time.
DUKE: What for?
THUG: (pause) Good things come to those who wait.
DUKE: But we're heading for Temeritas. How does that benefit us?
THUG: (pause) Invaders! (snarls)
(there's grunting, groaning and a series of blows before a heavy thump)
DUKE: That was a poor choice . . .
Within the gravity generator room, Anise manages to convince Edison that she not only knows how to turn off the gravity engine, but also that it would be beneficial to do so, since Gravitens are used to low gravity, and Temeritans are not. Edison uses his radio to contact the remaining fireteam, who are still in the drinking lounge, and warns them that they are going to attempt to disengage the gravity engine. The soldier thanks them for the information, and tells his men to hold steady. Anise then approaches the gravity engine, and climbs up [The circuit connecting the gravity engine to the gravity plating results in a feedback loop which creates an outward force around the device; such that, when activated, the gravity engine is relatively "up" within the two-metre area around the device.] to adjust it, via a form of gear shift on the device. Anise's first attempt accidentally reverses the gravity across the entire ship.
[13The Temeritans all fall heavily to the roof, and many are dazzled and confused; although Edison braced himself against a support beam, he was flipped over and landed on his knees, but he was unharmed; The Graviten soldiers fell, but their helmets protected their heads, but they were ready for the event, so they recovered quickly, and took advantage of the Temeritan terrorist's confusion; several Graviten hostages, particularly older women, suffered bruises from the fall, but they were otherwise safe & the Duke himself was running at the time of the gravity event, and the adrenaline allowed him to react quickly and covered his head as he fell onto his back.]Anise tries again, with another lever, but but only manages to make the strength of the reversed gravity fluctuate. Finally, Edison joins her and attempts to cancel the engine himself.
The Duke, unharmed but very cranky, accesses the communications section of the elevator, and first uses the intercom to contact Edison [through his police radio.]. The Duke asks, rather bluntly, for an explanation as to why the gravity is such a mess. The pair explain themselves, and although the Duke warns them that their actions were very dangerous, he talks them through how to deactivate a gravity engine.
[14The method used to annul the gravity engine was explained in detail in the conversation which was recorded by the space elevator's communications systems, and is included below, the relevant details are underlined:The Duke then hails the Temeritan vessel and relays to them the details of their encounter thus far. They organize to rendevous in twenty minutes.
EDISON: I can't find a way to disconnect it.
DUKE: Don't disconnect, disable. To detach it would take time we don't have, but it's a precise and delicate mechanism, Inspector. You need only overload the power mechanism or engage the transmission with a misaligned gravitational matrix and it will stall.
ANISE: We already tried messin' with it Duke, we tried to adjust it and all it did was reverse.
DUKE: You were the one that inverted the gravity?
EDISON: Yeah, sorry about that.
DUKE: It must be automatic . . . leave the constant in reverse, then boost the power, there should be a regulator for the power flow nearby.
EDISON: (pause) This looks like power. It's got a lightning bolt on it.
DUKE: That sounds about right.
EDISON: Can't I just shut off the power?
DUKE: No. the focal point of a gravity engine is self-sustaining, you won't cancel it. I need to you boost the power to maximum.
DUKE: That's enough. Now, shift the gravitational constant of nine metres per second per second, and reduce power at the same time, nice and quickly.
ANISE: This is amazing!
DUKE: Very well done, both of you.
[15During the missing fifteen minutes, it is known that Anise and Edison joined up with the fireteam and the hostages. in the gymnasium of the vessel, the Duke returned to the boarding centre & several members of Groko Falem, upon discovering that the "Duke of Rathea" was on board, decided to hunt him down, destroying much as they threw their weight around in zero gravity.]The Duke stands at the control console of the boarding centre, behind the greeting desk, and quickly realizes that the boarding chamber is not fitted with an airlock. Several of the Temeritan terrorists enter the room, looking furious [due to the low gravity, the Temeritans would be suffering from higher blood-pressure in their skulls. However, it is assumed that their aggression mostly stems from the Duke, himself.]
One of the leading terrorists [Whose name is recoded as, Brohl Musth.] monologues about the Duke's weakness, and they attack, the Duke dodges them easily [It is unknown at this time whether or not time lords are naturally adept at manoeuvring in zero gravity, or if the Duke has learned to master the feat himself.], and tells the Groko Falem that they're nothing more than a group of thugs, no better or worse than any pathetic mutineer he has come across in his time. The Temeritan leader insults the Duke's status, the Duke then refutes his claim, closes the bulkhead door behind him & opens the outer hull door. The Duke holds on tight as the vacuum of space vacates the room of air, and the Temeritans are blown out into space.
[16Although many believe that a vacuum "sucks", it is the rapid dispersal of air in the presence of a vacuum which causes the force; and thus it is this displaced air which pushed the contents into space, rather than the vacuum "pulling".]Duke holds his breath as the Temeritan military ship intercepts the vessel [time lords can survive for extended periods in the cold vacuum of space due to their physiological tenacity and a respiratory bypass system.]. The Temeritan soldiers repressurize the boarding centre and flooded the space elevator with their squads. They swiftly took control [the Groko Falem refused to harm fellow Temeritans, allowing the soldiers to arrest them.], began treating the hostages and reversed the vessel to return to Gravitas.
[17The Temeritan soldiers manage to turn over the gravity engine again and the ship returns to Gravitan soil. The majority of the records about the return trip have been lost. However, it is assumed that Edison received some form of medical treatment, as his nose is no longer broken, as it was after his encounter with the Traveller (See Ref#: b07.0-216-L(X)-m01).]Back on Gravitan soil, there was a lot of commotion with the returning hostages, celebration and incarceration of the remaining Groko Falem and the news reporters declare it a miraculous resolution to the conflict. However, without much fuss, the Duke, Anise & Edison slip away to the timeship, and together they quietly vanish.
The preceding information is everything that I could present (or extrapolate) from the remains of the burnt document and my ancillary notes on this subject. I apologize for this incomplete record, but I will endeavour to take greater care of such precious information in the future. I wouldn't want something like this to happen again.
There was some amazing information lost in this piece. It is, after all, the first time I've seen the Duke deliberately kill someone, but I've got more data on the nature of vacuums than I do that act of murder. I don’t know if it was in the heat of the moment, or if he’d planned for them to die before he entered that room. It makes me question his motivations, and wonder whether this is hinting at the truth behind what would cause such a powerful leader to fall from grace.
However, as I said, this is all that I can offer of this lost chapter, and I hope you've found what you were looking for.
However, as I said, this is all that I can offer of this lost chapter, and I hope you've found what you were looking for.