Downfall Era/Era I
The Sorendaal/Pirate novels
“End the suspense already,” Garen said, reaching as if he would take the box from Niall’s hands.
The other four laughed, mostly because Garen was usually the one who tormented the others by making them wait for news or to find out the latest rumors or which professor was taking interns and apprentices.
“All right.” Niall pulled out the multi-tool his professor of field service had given all the graduates. In a moment, he had slit the outer sealed skin. The box was held shut with straps that he cut in a moment.
Inside were small translucent green cubes.
“Old-style video cubes,” Garen said, picking one out of the box. He turned it over between his hands. “I think I know where you can find a player.”
By the time Niall, Amber and Garen tracked down a machine that would play the cubes, they had lost the other two friends, who professed sleep interested them more than video cubes. The trio ended up in one of the machinery archives. They were just as amazed as the archives keeper that there were more than a dozen of the obsolete display and playback units in storage. One cube was marked, “play this first,” so they did.
“Hello, son.” Gaellon Encardi smiled from the screen, looking even more battered and worn and browned from thin ship shielding than he had the last time Niall saw him -- when he was twelve Standard years old. His Exploration Corps uniform looked new enough for all his badges and insignias and honor citations to be crisp and clean and bright. That meant he was heading out for another long-range mission. The elder Encardi specialized in finding habitable planets and clearing them for colonization. If there were any conditions that would threaten the security and success of a colony, especially the health and reproductive ability of the colonists, he could identify it faster and with more accuracy than most others. It made him a valuable asset to the CAW’s colonization efforts. If the truth were ever admitted within the Niallon household, it gave him an excuse to stay away from Sorendaal and his wife’s family, the dynastic leaders of the colony.