The Evaran Chronicles: The Arrival | The Awakening | The Fredorian Destiny | The Purification | The Time Refugee | The Evaran Origin | The Shadow Connection | The Human Factor | The Cosmic Parallel | The Unification | The Portal Effect | The Time Cube | The Evaran Impact | The Cosmic Artifact | The Cult Of Evaran | The Evaran Chronicles Box Set: Books 1-3 | The Evaran Chronicles Box Set: Books 4-6 | The Evaran Chronicles Box Set: Books 7-9 | The Evaran Chronicles Box Set: Books 10-12

The Cosmic Artifact Image

Title: The Cult Of Evaran

Series: The Evaran Chronicles

Book #: 14

Publisher: Quantum Edge Publishing

Published: 4/2/2022

Formats:

eBook
Paperback (Planned)
Audio (Planned)

THE CULT OF EVARAN

Book 14 Of The Evaran Chronicles

Faith in Evaran can take on many forms.

Evaran and the gang get a summons to find Sazrissa Mortalka in the year 26,491 AD on Earth and to aid her in her cause. Dravell Zhage, along with Syr, his AI companion, and CC, Dravell’s cosmic cloth, also get a summons to do the same, then bring Sazrissa back to his Torvatta. Unfortunately, neither group has met each other before

Another problem is that the Evaranites, a cult that follows Evaran, are hunting Sazrissa. They are a brutal organization that deals in illegal cloned digital consciousnesses and a variety of other trades. One concern is that the Evaranites were founded based on an event with a future Evaran, and Prime Arbiter Frenev, the Evaranites’ leader, says Evaran speaks through him. The Evaranites use faith in Evaran as a weapon.

Navigating the advanced era with a variety of factions is problematic, but doing so against a well-established cult with a presence on many worlds is challenging. Dravell Zhage, Sazrissa Mortalka, Syr, and CC join up with Evaran and the gang to take down the cult and to stop their advancement across the stars using Evaran’s name.


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Series Note

Evaran and the gang travel to Earth's future to deal with the ramifications of Evaran's influence on a civilization if left unchecked. This is a deep dive into the world of the Torvatta and its chosen. Dravell Zhage, Sazrissa Mortalka, Syr, and CC are introduced to the Evaranverse.


SAMPLE

Prologue

Dravell Zhage loved traveling to parallel Earths to resolve issues but not ones populated with fungal mutant humans. His trip to this Earth was to retrieve an artifact that hummed with cosmic energy, and he had done so and was now on his way out. As he flew over a street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, or what that would have been on his Earth, he surveyed the ground. It resembled a war zone, and mutants were everywhere. He appreciated that his cosmic cloth, or CC as he called it, allowed him to travel through the air.

He did not relish the thought of having to fight through hordes to get back to the Torvatta, a pocket dimension he called home. How it had come to choose him remained a mystery. His Earth had been invaded by strange aliens, and he had tried to hide, but instead he had run into a rectangular portal to a pocket dimension. An AI with a female persona known as Syr had greeted him, said he had been chosen, then asked for his acceptance. Dravell had just been happy at the time to be somewhere he could catch his breath. He had accepted, thinking it might be a joke, but going into a room and receiving cosmic energy had been life-changing.

Dravell had already had an exotic energy that gave him high regeneration, and Syr had called it Alkarin energy. Having a name for it had intrigued him. The Torvatta had also given him CC, a sentient rectangular cloth that could cover his whole body. Although CC had no gender, Dravell often referred to him as male.

CC did not speak, but Dravell could command him. CC usually wrapped around Dravell in the appearance of a trench coat, but sometimes it was in the form of a cloak or cape depending on the situation. CC was resilient—he could enter a camouflage mode of sorts, could change shape, and most importantly, he could fly. It made traversing dangerous environments much easier. CC could split out parts of himself to punch or push away others, and at times, he wrapped up opponents. As CC was impervious to stun, Dravell could fight without fear of damaging him.

Syr also had a small orb that flew next to him and provided tactical support. The orb was highly advanced and composed of tough materials. There was a large eye that allowed her to project or illuminate, and smaller holes let her nanoswarm create legs to land or anchor herself and arms to interact with things. Dravell had come to rely on her, and between himself, CC, and her, Dravell could handle almost anything.

He ran his fair-skinned hand through his spiky blond hair. He had semi-shaved sides but liked spiking his front up. It was just something he had never grown out of. He had been called handsome when he was a teenager due to his athletic build, chiseled chin and piercing green eyes, but that was over two hundred and fifty years ago. He still appeared like he was in his mid-thirties despite his advanced age. His suit was a formfitting black-and-blue tactical one with various gray pads.

His dual stun pistols were his pride and joy. With his cosmic energy, he had become a marksman, and he avoided close-quarters combat if possible. If it did come to melee, he was well versed in it. He used small, blunt crescent-shaped weapons that extended from his fists. They spawned on demand and could stun as needed. He avoided killing and preferred to stun or push away.

Dravell’s attention was drawn to a scuffle on the ground. A group of survivors were fighting for their lives against a swarm of mutants. Dravell altered his course and descended.

“Syr, I’m dropping down to help those people. I think they need a little Dravell in their life.”

“Why would they want bad cooking?” asked Syr.

“Oh, I didn’t realize you woke up on the wrong side of the motherboard this morning.”

“I… no, I didn’t,” said Syr.

Dravell laughed. “All right, just have the portal ready. I’mma bring ’em in.”

“Okay. I’ll prep the sanctuary Earth portal after you get here.”

“You got it,” he said.

He loved that although she was next to him in orb mode, she still existed in the Torvatta. That made coordinating portal openings much easier.

He landed behind the mutants and extended his arms to the side. “Hey, mushroom people, want a real snack?”

They turned and snarled, then rushed him.

The first one to arrive was knocked away by CC extending a strip. The second had its legs grasped by another strip, then tossed.

“It’s like you aren’t even trying!” roared Dravell.

A mutant barreled down on him.

He formed his fist weapons, then knocked the attacker back. Another launched at him, but he sidestepped it, then side-kicked it into a car. CC lifted him into the air when three mutants tried to tackle him. He landed on top of them when they collided and fell down, then picked each one up and threw them away.

The remaining two creatures charged.

He hit both in the face, causing them to fall forward legs first, then CC continued their motion by shooting them out the back and into the air.

Dravell faced the stunned survivors. “We need to get out of here, unless this was a social event I just crashed.”

A woman ran to a motionless downed man. “Charley! He’s infected!”

Although Dravell used humor often, these survivors were not in the mood for it. He scanned the man with his forearm device, then knelt next to him. He concentrated as he placed a hand on the man’s arm.

A moment later, the man sputtered and gasped for breath.

“What did you do?” asked the woman, staring at Dravell.

“Just offered a helping hand. He’s no longer infected.” Dravell examined the scared group. “Who speaks for you?”

A dark-skinned burly man in a flannel, jeans, and work boots stepped forward. “I do. I’m Malcolm Winters.”

“I’m Dravell Zhage, and I think it’s time we got your group to safety.”

Malcolm frowned. “There’s no place to go. We were actually headed out of the city, but we got cut off.”

Dravell rose and pointed down the street. “I can get us to safety, but I need you all to follow me. If anyone gets infected, I’ll heal them. If any mutants attack, they get a hand to the face.”

CC raised a strand of cloth, causing the group to stand back.

“Oh, don’t worry about CC. He was just saying they would get a cloth hand to the face.”

Malcolm’s eyes narrowed. “What are you?” He pointed at Syr. “And what’s that?”

“I’m many things, and the orb is Syr, my friend,” said Dravell. “However, for the moment, we’re your salvation if you accept it.”

Charley took some deep breaths. “Malcolm, trust him. Whatever he did, I’m not infected.”

Malcolm ran a hand over his mouth. “What have we got to lose?”

“Right? Follow me!” said Dravell.

Syr descended and landed on Dravell’s shoulder cradle for her orb, then shimmered out of view.

Dravell focused as he strode down the street. That allowed him to sense anything within a twenty-five-foot radius. The group took a minute or so to get moving, but once they did, they kept close behind. After a short ten-minute walk, Dravell grinned. The rectangular gold portal sat like a glowing beacon among the ruined environment.

Dravell stood in front and ushered the group in. “Go, go, go!”

The group wasted no time in rushing through.

A small band of mutants dashed to the portal, but Dravell stepped through into the featureless white room and the portal closed. They were now in the entry area to the Torvatta, and a sealed door on the other side of the room led off to what he called home. However, these survivors were going to a sanctuary Earth.

The portal reappeared, but this time, it led into a spacious veranda.

“What…what is this place?” asked Malcolm with wide eyes.

Dravell motioned at the portal. “Let’s discuss once we’re through.”

The group hesitated.

“Fine…we’re in my home, well, the staging area, and through the portal is another Earth, one without killer mushroom people,” said Dravell.

“What?” asked Malcolm.

“You’ve trusted me this far, just extend it a bit more.”

Malcolm chewed on his lip for a moment, then waved forward. “Let’s go.”

Dravell followed them through, and the portal closed. He liked coming to this Earth. He had initially saved some advanced humans from another Earth, then offered them this one as a place to go. All they had to do was create a sanctuary for the others Dravell saved while also not disrupting the environment more than necessary. The veranda they were on provided a good view of the nearby forest. Although it was sunlight, a filter above dimmed it some.

A man of Asian descent in a white two-piece suit stood before the survivors. “Welcome. I’m Director Oda Takishi. You’re safe here, and no harm will come to you.” He gestured at a side table packed with food and drinks. “I know you have many questions, but first, have some food and drink. Bathrooms are inside and to the left.”

Dravell motioned at Malcolm to stay as the rest of the group burst over to the table. One woman returned with a water bottle for Malcolm, then went back.

Oda glanced at Malcolm. “I take it you’re the leader of your group.”

“Not by choice,” said Malcolm after downing half the water bottle.

“I understand. This city you’re in is a sanctuary for those coming from damaged Earths.” Oda glanced at Dravell. “What was it this time?”

“Aggressive fungal spores. It seems they decided to partner with an enzyme that allowed the spores to creep in and turn people into mutants. I was on my way out when I saw Malcolm’s group.”

Oda nodded. “It sounds unpleasant.”

Malcolm scrunched his face. “What do you mean by other Earths?”

“There’s a lot to cover, but in short, your Earth is but one of many parallel ones.” Oda gestured at Dravell. “One of the things he does is visit these Earths, saves who he can, then brings them here. My group was saved from an Earth where a dimensional blob was eating the planet. Only several hundred of us made it out thanks to Dravell, and he brought us to this paradise of an Earth. Now we help those that we can.”

Malcolm surveyed the scene. “This place seems…advanced.”

Dravell chuckled. “This city is far more advanced than the technology from your Earth. You’ll get used to it, unless you want to go back to your Earth.”

“This is good,” said Malcolm, with raised hands and eyebrows.

“Awesome,” said Dravell. He tapped at his forearm device. “Syr, open ’er up.”

A golden portal opened.

Dravell gave Oda and Malcolm a handshake, then faced Malcolm. “I’ll be back to check up on your group.”

“What’s next on your list of many things to do?” asked Oda.

Dravell smiled. “I got a summons to rescue a Sazrissa Mortalka. You think the Torvatta is trying to get me a girlfriend?”

Oda laughed. “You never know.”

“Indeed. All right, catch you two later.” Dravell stepped through the portal.

Chapter One

Dr. Snowden appreciated that he would no longer be popped into another timeline when the current one changed. He had a dampener that blocked his temporal shielding, and it made him relax. It was Monday, October 28, 2013 and almost 7:00 p.m. His office hours were done, and he was ready to go home.

He glanced at a picture of Kess, his advanced human girlfriend from half a million years in the future. She had come down over the weekend, and her presence had washed away any concerns he had been dealing with. His niece, Emily, had visited with Jelton Stallryn, her boyfriend from a parallel timeline. Dr. Snowden smiled as he recalled the group watching a science fiction movie on Saturday night. Jelton and Kess had laughed nonstop. Given where they were from, that was to be expected.

Dr. Snowden stood and adjusted his bow tie and smoothed out his white button-up shirt. His brown slacks could use some ironing, but with the Torvatta in the backyard at home, it was easier to just replicate a new pair. It was not too chilly out, but he slipped on his brown jacket anyway. Normally he would wear his survival suit and a hologram over it, but now that he would not pop over into another timeline if the current one changed, there was no need to be ready to fight at a moment’s notice. If there was, he still had his PSD.

Knock! Knock!

His heart pumped furiously for a moment. He remembered being sent to the past by Ziekah, a rogue time traveler, before on a late-night encounter. He sensed a cosmic energy presence and an Outsider one. Only one being had that amount of cosmic energy: Inspector Dalton Kingston of the Earth Ward. Dr. Snowden was unsure of the other person.

“Come in, Dalton,” said Dr. Snowden.

He studied Dalton as he stepped in with the Greek goddess Aphrodite. She was immediately recognizable, and Dr. Snowden had just met her a few weeks ago at a cookout after Dalton’s last case. They were a good-looking pair, and although they only started hanging out recently, Dr. Snowden could sense Dalton’s energy fluctuations in her presence. Dalton wore a casual outfit, while Aphrodite had on a dress.

“Good to see you,” said Dalton, extending a hand.

Dr. Snowden walked past his desk, then gave his famous half handshake, half-hug greeting with Dalton and shook Aphrodite’s hand.

“Going to dinner?” asked Dr. Snowden.

Dalton nodded. “We were on our way but wanted to stop in since this is close by. Evot verified you were here.”

Dr. Snowden chuckled. “No surprise there. Where you two going?”

“A Japanese steakhouse,” said Aphrodite, smiling. “I think he just likes to see the onion volcanoes.”

“You got me,” said Dalton.

The group laughed.

Dalton gestured at Dr. Snowden. “All right. I just wanted to stop in and say hi, and to wish you luck on your summons. Lord Vygon said it is of particular interest to me, so I’m looking forward to hearing some details when you’re back.”

Dr. Snowden scrunched his face. “We have a summons?”

“Oh, you don’t know?” asked Dalton. His eyes narrowed. “I bet you’ll get it later. Lord Vygon never gives the time.”

“I guess we’re going on a summons, then,” said Dr. Snowden. “Whatever it is, you know I’ll tell you about it.”

“Sounds good. See you soon,” said Dalton.

Aphrodite waved goodbye, then they exited.

Dr. Snowden began to pack his side bag. Lord Vygon knew the future, but he was always cryptic. He only talked to a few concerning his knowledge of the future, and even then, his words were hard to decipher.

Thirty minutes later, he entered his house and plopped down on his favorite recliner. He had to be careful. If he napped, it would mess with his sleep cycle. Usually it took the Torvatta to correct that.

Emily bounced into the room. “Hey, you’re home!”

“Yep, sure am.” He eyed her. “You hear we have a summons?”

“Yeah. Evaran just got it a bit ago. He was waiting for you to come home to discuss it.”

Dr. Snowden chuckled. “Ah. Dalton and Aphrodite stopped by, and he wished me good luck on the summons. Said it was of particular interest to him.”

Emily sat on the couch. “Oh. Wait, Dalton was with Aphrodite?”

“Yeah.”

“Were they, like, holding hands or anything?”

He drew his head back. “I honestly don’t recall. I did sense his energy fluctuations.”

Emily smiled. “They’re such a power couple. I wonder how their relationship will fare with Zeus and Dalton having problems.”

“I don’t know,” said Dr. Snowden. “He seems happier than I’ve seen him in a while. At least since we saw his wife and kids in the dream layer.”

Evaran and V walked into the living room, then sat next to Emily on the couch.

“Summons time?” asked Dr. Snowden.

“Analysis. How did you know?”

“Lord Vygon told Dalton we had one, and that it would be of particular interest to him. He and Aphrodite stopped by to say hi and mentioned it to me. Then Emily verified it.”

Evaran raised a finger. “Lord Vygon is correct that there is a summons. However, its relation to Dalton in terms of interest is not known to us yet. It seems the nature of that interest will be known to us in the future as Lord Vygon has not been wrong yet on his knowledge.” He extended his hand, palm up, then projected a hologram. “We are going to 26,491 AD to rescue Sazrissa Mortalka and assist her in her cause.”

“Where at?” asked Emily.

“Earth,” said Evaran.

Dr. Snowden perked up. He was used to traveling to faraway places. This would be a local trip, relatively speaking. He was excited to see Earth in the future, but he was also tired.

“Any chance we go in the morning?” he asked.

“Analysis. Perhaps you can sleep on the Torvatta while we scan.”

Emily high-fived V. “Sounds like a plan to me.”

“If you wish, we can do that,” said Evaran.

Dr. Snowden nodded. “I’m game. Hopefully it doesn’t involve Gothlic lords or anything wild like the last outing.”

“Let us hope not,” said Evaran. “We can meet at 9:30 a.m. to go over what we scanned.”

Emily grinned. “Who’s up for pizza? Nothing against the Torvatta’s replicators, but Pizza Kingdom has the best thin-crust pizza ever.”

Dr. Snowden pointed at her. “Oh yeah, that works for me.”

After having traveled with Evaran on so many adventures, a new trip was still exciting, but it did not require dropping everything at the moment to go like it had been in the past. The summons would be there in the morning. After dinner, he would take care of a few professor things for college, then go to his room on the Torvatta. He was guaranteed a solid night’s sleep, and when he woke, he would be in the future. Just another day with Evaran.

Scene Break

Emily woke up at 8:00 a.m. and stretched. She was eager to see Earth in the future, but before anything, she wanted to get a workout in. The previous night had been fun with an impromptu pizza party. Dalton and Aphrodite’s recent issues with the Imperium, an organization of ancient gods and legendary characters such as the Greek pantheon, had been heavily discussed topics. Emily was glad to see him happy. He deserved it.

She hopped out of bed and slipped on her survival suit. An hour and a half later and she was back in her room after an invigorating workout. She had created Gothlic enemies from the previous adventure to fight. Fighting enemies from her past helped her grow in her combat abilities and use better tactics in future fights. She got cleaned up and went to the conference room.

Dr. Snowden greeted her. “Morning.”

“Hey,” she said, going to the matter replicator. After grabbing some orange juice and a steak-and-egg burrito, she sat opposite him.

“Ready for another adventure?” he asked.

She smiled. “Yep.”

“Think we’ll ever go back to a normal life?” he asked, grabbing a bite of his cereal.

“I dunno. I’m okay with how things are but might want to take a break down the road.”

Dr. Snowden chuckled. “I’m with you there.”

Evaran and V entered the room. Evaran always looked like he had stepped right out of a magazine. His spotless suit, never-moving hair, and emotionless face would make models jealous. V was in hologram mode, and she knew he liked appearing as a young man in his early twenties. Evaran sat at the head of the table while V plopped down next to Emily.

“I see you both have had a good rest,” said Evaran.

“Always do,” said Dr. Snowden. He eyed V. “I slept without a blanket but woke up with one on me, and the room temperature decreased.”

“Analysis. It was not me.”

“Nor I,” said Evaran.

Dr. Snowden adjusted his glasses. “Maybe Emily did it.”

“Wasn’t me!” she said. “You probably did it and don’t remember.”

“Probably,” he said. He gestured at Evaran. “I know we’re a bit early for our meeting, but I’m ready to hear our next summons.”

“Very well.” Evaran interacted with the table console and projected a hologram of Earth.

Emily studied the various data windows to the side. It showed 26,491 AD and 9:30 a.m. as the date and time. There were advanced ships and satellites in orbit, but Earth’s geography resembled the one she knew.

“While you two slept, V and I scanned Earth and the surrounding systems,” said Evaran. “Humanity inhabits thousands of systems, but there is no central power. There are multiple empires, and Earth appears to be a core world in one of them and also where our summons will take us.”

Dr. Snowden pointed at the red dot on the hologram. “Southern Idaho?”

“Idaho does not exist in this time period, but yes, that is where we are to go.”

Emily played with her ponytail. “So…what’s Earth like?”

Various images appeared. Earth was advanced, and the cities were a mix of forests and steel. Every building was sleek, and ships flew everywhere. What stuck out was the huge swaths of forest mixed with vast fields. There were buildings and machinery dotted across the landscape, and the lack of smoke billowing out anywhere was noticeable.

There were humans and aliens in several images. The city closest to where they were going showed humans with a variety of outfits, but they all were two-piece and light-colored, mainly white with golden or silver trim.

“Earth in this time period is called Praza, and humans are the dominant species. The Chellentin Empire consists of several hundred systems, and this is one of their core worlds, but not their seat of power,” said Evaran.

“Wow,” said Emily. “I wonder if they know this is where humanity came from.”

“Analysis. Their records indicate that humanity’s origin is unknown and is a source of debate.”

Dr. Snowden shrugged. “We could tell them.”

Evaran eyed him.

Dr. Snowden grinned. “Just saying is all. Besides, I would think with all the artifacts found, it wouldn’t be too hard to figure out.”

“Analysis. There are other planets with similar artifacts and humanoids.”

“I can see why it might be confusing, then,” said Dr. Snowden.

“If you both are ready, we can go to the summons site,” said Evaran.

Dr. Snowden stood. “Let’s not keep Praza waiting.”

They went to the command center, and the Torvatta descended.

Emily appreciated the Torvatta being in scan profile one and stealthed. Nothing would be able to detect it short of Dalton Kingston pointing it out. As they cruised through the atmosphere, the inner front wall highlighted various crafts. It surprised her that a majority had no life signs.

When they reached the summons spot, she surveyed the immediate surroundings. They were on the edge of a field near a forest. A large rock structure stood in the distance along with a tower of some type. Something with cosmic energy registered inside the forest. A drone of some type had also been registered.

“Uh-oh, what’s that?” asked Dr. Snowden.

Evaran’s eyes narrowed. “I do not know. It appears to be a being with cosmic energy and a drone.”

Emily’s heartbeat ramped up. The last time they had encountered a cosmic being, it had been Wardax, someone who still gave Dr. Snowden nightmares.

“Well, let’s see what this is all about,” she said.

Evaran laid a hand on Dr. Snowden’s shoulder. “Know that whatever this being is, I will not allow them to take you should they prove hostile.”

Dr. Snowden exhaled. “I know. I’m curious, but cautious.”

“A good state to be in,” said Evaran. He stood. “Let us go.”

They went to the ramp and paused before the Torvatta’s shielding.

Emily had her helmet closed and her energy shield out. Her PSD was morphed into a stun baton. Dr. Snowden had the same setup. V was using his orb form while Evaran had his hands behind his back.

“V, scout mode,” said Evaran.

“Acknowledged. Scout mode engaged,” said V as he shimmered out of view and flew out.

Emily followed Evaran and Dr. Snowden outside the shielding while watching the aerial view from V. The forest was serene, and V had already identified the cosmic energy being. Whoever it was stood on a branch and faced the group. The orb hovered off to the side.

Evaran marched on with no hint of fear. Emily felt reassured next to him. Dr. Snowden’s cosmic energy fluctuated, and he trailed a bit behind Evaran.

The cosmic being jumped down, then approached the group on foot.

They stopped and Evaran stepped forward. “I will talk to whoever this is.”

“Maybe we should have talked to him from inside the Torvatta’s shielding,” said Dr. Snowden.

“We are close enough that we can go back if need be, but this cosmic being has fifteen percent of my energy levels and is no match for me. That is half of what Dalton has, and only ten percent more than you both.”

“All right,” said Dr. Snowden, licking his lips.

Emily fixated on the man that emerged from the forest. He had spiky blond hair and a fair-skinned face that looked like it laughed a lot. The eyes were white and silver and appeared technical. His black-and-blue tactical outfit was advanced, and a black trench coat hung off him. She sensed the cosmic energy on him, but also Alkarin energy, a combination she had never seen before.

The man stopped before the group and studied them. The orb formed a holographic projection of a woman with metallic skin, green hair, and orange eyes. She wore an advanced two-piece outfit.

Evaran crossed his arms across his stomach and bowed slightly. “Hello. My name is Evaran, and with me are Dr. Albert Snowden and Emily Snowden. Above us is V, an AI that has tracked you.”

“Hello to you all!” said the man. He stepped back with one foot and into an elegant pose, then extended his hands off to the side. “I’m Dravell Zhage, and I think we have something in common, and it’s not just good looks. With me is Syr, my friend, and the fashionable coat hugging me is a cosmic cloth, or CC, but he doesn’t speak.”

“Hello,” said Syr, smiling.

Dravell gestured at Dr. Snowden. “I like your bow tie, even if it’s just a holographic projection over your suit. Watch what CC can do.” He changed his appearance.

Emily furrowed her brow. It was obvious he liked dark blue, silver, and white as a color theme. He now wore a sports jacket over a button-up shirt with a vest over it. His black pants and shoes completed the outfit. It was like a cross between an adventure suit and a business one. CC’s morphing ability was impressive.

“Well, that’s interesting,” said Dr. Snowden.

Dravell changed back to his original look, then he pointed at the Torvatta. “Much less than that. Nice ship.”

“You can see it?” asked Dr. Snowden.

“It’s stealthed, but I know it’s there.” Dravell tilted his head and gestured at Evaran. “You all have cosmic energy…but you’re almost a pure cosmic energy being.”

“Something like that,” said Evaran. “I am curious as to how you received yours.”

Dravell chuckled. “Long story, but in summary, I was chosen by something called the Torvatta.”

“And it created me,” said Syr.

“Sure did,” said Dravell. “We had to fly here from there, and let me tell ya, the drones here are aggressive.”

“But we just came from the Torvatta, and you pointed at it,” said Emily.

“Do you mean your ship?” asked Dravell.

Syr tilted her head at him. “Of course she means the ship.”

“Just checking.”

Emily nodded.

Dravell rubbed his chin. “I think there’s some confusion here.”

V landed and assumed hologram mode. “There are no others in the area.” He examined Syr. “You are like me.”

“I don’t have enough information to confirm that,” said Syr.

“Acknowledged.”

Evaran turned and motioned toward the Torvatta. “Then it may be best if we speak on our Torvatta. Although Dravell can sense it, I suspect that is due to what he is and not something this civilization can do.”

“Now I’m really curious. Lead on!” said Dravell.