The Safest Place in the Universe

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#1  Edited By Scholes60

In the history of the Universe the ancient race of the Tolden achieved a level of advanced technology second only to the mighty Brell.    Like the Brell before them the Tolden exercised a benign hegemony across multiple Galaxies.     Also like the Brell the Tolden eventually on into history – or so it is generally believed.

The commander of the Bloord Starfleet did not hold to the general belief, nor did his superiors in the Bloord home systems.   Over 1,000 vessels strong the huge fleet continued to scour the star systems in this most remote part of what humankind calls the Greater Magellenic Cloud.   With no evidence to support the view the best mystically enhanced Bloord electronic/biological computers had predicted the continued existence of the Tolden.   Reclusive elements were thought to be still living in a near undetectable redoubt over a million years after their reported demise.    

The best Bloord computer modeling supported by mystical seer predictions had recommended the search of a number of volumes of space.   The current search area/volume had not been highest in terms of probable success but had been far from lowest.   After months of unsuccessful searching the Bloord fleet began to gather in preparation for return to the home systems.   The great starships began to gather speed in preparation for the jump into hyperspace.   Well before commencing the jump the 1,000 + vessels were inexplicably teleported a distance roughly corresponding to the diameter of a reasonable sized star system.

The Bloord fleet had no sense of being teleported or otherwise interfered with but somehow while still traveling at well below light speed they were instantly moved six thousand million kilometers.   The fleet came to a halt – and maneuvered around seeking to return to the coordinates where they had been teleported from.   Again without any sense or evidence of being interfered with, other than their coordinates in space, the Bloord fleet was instantly moved approximately 6,000 million kilometers whence they came.  

A less technically advanced might have chosen not to pursue the matter and simply to leave that area of space.   To the Bloord, however, this constituted the first tangible fragment of evidence of the existence of the Tolden.   Large numbers of Bloord interceptor fighters left their base ships and subjected themselves to the “teleportation phenomenon” enabling a “mapping” of the volume of space subject to the phenomenon.             

The Bloord fleet then dispersed taking up over 1,000 positions at different points on the computed periphery of the phenomenon.   Only moments thereafter a fusillade of energy projections issued forth from all starships present. Even the smallest of the starships was of planet busting capability.   Still with all this the streams of energy were themselves teleported distances ranging from as much as 7,000 million kilometers to as little as 4,000 million kilometers to the opposite side of wherever   they were projected against the phenomenon.   Needless to say this outcome had been considered as a possibility and the Bloord starships had been located in such a way as to avoid possible loss to “friendly fire”.

The energy fusillade ceased abruptly and if sound could travel in space, even then, the closest and most ably equipped listener would have heard nothing.   For long moments the Bloord did precisely that.   Then the Bloord starfleet   proceeded to use every method of detection known to their not inconsiderably advanced technology. From the starships themselves and from all manner of robotic craft sent forth from them – the Bloord attempted to probe the phenomenon.   After long hours they came up with precisely nothing.  

The Bloord could not physically move their starships into a volume of space roughly ovoid in shape and capable of containing an entire star system.   Light energy appeared to be entering and leaving this volume of space but no other forms of energy available to the Bloord could do so. The volume of space appeared to be devoid of any bodies of matter more significant than a small meteorite.      

At this point even a race as advanced as the Bloord might perhaps have decided not to persistence, but persistence was a quality with which the Bloord were well endowed.           .

With the fleet remaining on station – a near instantaneous communication was sent to the nearest of the Bloord home systems. The nature of the request was encoded beyond being decipherable but was “reinforcements” in the form of equipment and technologies and other resources not currently with the starfleet.

It was at this very moment that the Bloord were finally rewarded for their persistence as their starships began disappearing beyond detection, literally winking out of existence, by their hundreds.

When “reinforcements” from the Bloord home systems arrived in the vicinity they found no trace of the original Bloord fleet.   No debris, not even some kind of energy “signature” that the original Bloord fleet had been in the vicinity.   Each ship in the powerful Bloord reinforcement fleet carried a large source of artificial light - an illuminon sphere.   When disgorged and then set up as an array the grouped illuminon's were able to duplicate the light output of a star.   The illuminon array was placed near the volume of space subject to the teleportation phenomenon   and the light output allowed to flood it.   However this yielded the Bloord no more information than they already had.

The Bloord then unloaded huge anti-matter bombs placing them at various points near the boundary of the teleportation anomaly.   They then held these in place with extended specially adapted force shield projections at a great distance from their starships.   The Bloord doubted that an anti-matter explosion could be teleported but mere seconds into the Bloord countdown their anti-matter devices were teleported away without trace before they could be detonated.

In frustration starships of the Bloord reinforcement fleet launched volley after volley of high level energy projections into the teleportation anomaly.   To their surprise the energies were not teleported to the opposite side of the anomaly.   After a brief pause the entire Bloord reinforcement fleet was able to enter the anomaly area and began scouring every minor meteorite therein.   The search yielded nothing, though more than one Bloord commander felt they heard a very faint and distant laughing perhaps mocking their best efforts.   Eventually and reluctantly the Bloord reinforcement fleet left for the home systems.   An entire starfleet (not to mention valuable anti-matter devices) had been lost in this area of space without anything to show for it.   And now there was no longer any evidence of the teleportation   anomaly – as if whatever mystery that area of space had held had itself teleported away.

Humiliated by events the Bloord quarantined that area of space putting it off limits both to themselves and others, though the area was rarely traversed anyway.   Time passed and the quarantine became less and less enforced.   Finally and eventually a Bloord starship ventured near the teleportation anomaly and was duly teleported a distance of 6,000 million kilometers.   The Commander of the starship and his bridge crew swear to this day that after the teleportation they could hear a faint hint of laughter.

Although the quarantine was never again enforced no Bloord starship, or any other starship, ever came this way again.

As to the Tolden, with no natural enemies to disturb them in their great redoubt, it is whispered that they live on even now.


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#2  Edited By cbishop

(Note: I was kind of thinking this out as I typed, so I repeat some stuff, but it's because I'm going back-and-forth over some points.  Bear with me - I gave this review of your work some serious thought.  It's not at all intended to be bashing you, but strictly as constructive criticism.  Thanks. )  -cb
This needs some minor tweaks for missing words and slightly awkward wording, but is otherwise well-written (gramatically speaking).  A bit fast paced, perhaps.  It's hard to build suspense for an Internet audience, and keep them interested long enough to read the whole thing, but I think you should have dragged this out a bit longer, to really build in the reader the fleet's sense of frustration. 
At first, I would have said this story was kind of flat, with the Bloord fighting some vague, all-powerful threat, but it pays off at the end and made sense.  My only quibble with the story is once the teleportation stopped, and the fleet moved in to scan everything, still no trace of the Tolden was found?  While that leaves a mystery for your readers to ponder - whether the Tolden are still out there - from the writer's perspective, two things don't make sense about that: 
1) Of course the Tolden are still out there.  Otherwise, the story has no point.  So... 
2) If the Tolden had the ability to teleport themselves away, when they dropped the teleportation defense, or to somehow cloak themselves from all detection, then why would they bother with the teleportation defense?  Only two possibilities come to mind here: 
.....A) The mysterious laughing enemy just liked messing with the Bloord, and/or... 
.....B) They developed the teleportation defense for the express purpose of forcing a quarantine of their chosen area of space. 
My problem with "B" is: 
If they're powerful enough to teleport anything that comes their way out of their area, and to teleport themselves to an undetectable spot, then why would they bother to hide behind the teleportation defense, when clearly they are more powerful than any potential enemies?  The only reason I can think of for that is because they wish to live undisturbed. 
---That's a nice explanation for "B," except for "A."  The mysterious laughing enemy, taking delight in the Bloord's frustration, does not indicate a race that wishes to live undisturbed.  That being the case, I cannot believe they'd bother to hide behind the teleportation defense... which unfortunately brings the teleportation defense back to being a vague, all powerful threat that exists only for the sake of the plot.  The only thing that can fix that is a tweak on the Tolden characterization and either the disappearance of your mysterious laughing enemy, or the revelation that he is some aggressive rogue Tolden, like Krona to the Oans.  There has to be a reason for them to develop the teleportation defense, when they clearly didn't need it. 
Okay, one other quibble, and this is possibly minor, but doesn't seem like it: if the Tolden had a "benign hegemony" before their disappearance, why are the Bloord searching for them with a 1,000 strong fleet, as if they are some enemy to be uncovered and routed out?  Do they view the Tolden as something akin to lost gods, or do they see themselves as on a "search and rescue" for beloved monarchs?  The latter would make this quibble minor, but the story reads like the former. 
If it is the former, then the story is this: The Tolden had a "benign hegemony" that was apparently a sham.  With their disappearance, the Bloord launched an apparent "search and destroy" mission against the Tolden.  However, when they stumbled upon the Tolden's area of space, the "benign" Tolden teleported the Bloord great distances away, laughing at their frustration. 
...That doesn't really work - it needs some characterization tweaks.   Either the Bloord are on a search and rescue mission for a peaceful race that doesn't wish to be found, or they are on a search and destroy mission for what is really an evil empire pretending to be benign.  If the Tolden are evil though - or at least enemies of the Bloord - then hiding themselves away makes no sense, when they clearly had the advantage over anyone that would come against them.  So I'm back to thinking they should be a benign race not wishing to be found... which means the mysterious laughing enemy should be written out, explained as a rogue Tolden, or explained as a true figment of the Bloord captains' imaginations.