“Creator Balbus,” he stated flatly.
“Mentor Pilate,” she replied by rote.
“You know why you have been recalled?”
“Negative,” she replied. Though it had been several revolutions since her retirement, she had not forgotten how uneasy one could feel in the presence of a Mentor. Aged to an extent that affectation was minimal if at all detectable, one could be easily confused without the guide of inflection of body language.
“Do you recall the Pre-Narrative of the ELY’JaH?” he inquired dryly?
“Do you mean the Tale of the First Mirkle?” she responded habitually. She could feel her pulse increasing – she knew he knew – but decorum required focus. That which was source true could not be uncovered by emotion’s warp. She also knew he knew her breakthrough in organic transmutation had been intuitively discerned following the vagaries of myth, as much as the rubric of science. But what the ritual required was performed.
Drawing breath, she summarised the Elder’s Tale of the ELY’JaH:
Following the Avatars’ arrival, when the Mirkle first began the Chant, we walked. From here to there we wondered. From wonder to wonder, world to world, we took to flight from the Nest. In the First Mirkle, much was gleaned, much was learned, more was done that could not be undone and into the midst of the ELY’JaH our first sequence was acquired.
From the First Mirkle, the pale blue dot was revealed. Dressed in flowing hydrogen it greeted. And in this place, the wingless were found. In ignorance they walked and enlightenment conveyed. Initially, there was harmony, collaboration and learning. As is time’s vagary, hubris detracted and from collaborators to defilers the wingless accused. Finally, as violence’s dance unfolded, the First Mirkle drew to an end with the liberation of the ELY’JaH.
“Do you know why I ask of this?” Mentor Pilate continued.
“I speculate my work with the First Sequence of ELY’JaH?” she replied tentatively.
“None of us is irreplaceable, Creator Balbus,” he began. For a moment – perhaps she saw what she wanted – his affectless feathered brow emoted. “But your work – though replicable and repeatable – has not been as nuanced as required.”
“Acknowledged,” she replied in the custom of receiving a compliment.
“You have been recalled, therefore, Creator Balbus. You have been restored to full privileges by an act of Section 31. Creator Balbus, the organic material of ELY’JaH has been acquired. You shall be debriefed by Architect Octavius in a sun’s rotation. Is there anything further you require?” he concluded with finality.
For a moment, the old training restrained her, the routine and ritual halted her, the tradition and convention silenced her. But … she could hear Rachel Whispering: warning and encouraging … for the moment she could not be replaced, need alone Transitioned.
“Mentor Pilate,” she began, as she measured her tone lest she reveal her fear. “The only reason my work would be further required would be that a Third Mirkle had begun. As it is my understanding that the Convention has not been modified with consensus, I must ask: has Section 31 begun another breach?”
They looked at one another. Only their interior lids shuttered. It was the protocol that any retired non-transitioned Creator’s work was not only paused, but halted for an entire Brood-cycle. The only caveat was another Mirkle Breach. And – considering the ill-effects and still lingering instability from the Second Mirkle – the Convention had established no breaches were to be attempted without a consensus of the Nest. As they looked at one another, they both knew that had not happened.
“Creator Balbus, you have been personally recalled by Architect Octavius of Section 31. When you meet with him in a sun’s rotation, you are more than entitled to explore that with him as your full privileges have just been reinstated. As we both know – Creator Balbus – it is only those who possess full privileges who are permitted to question a superior,” he replied flatly. The ensuing silence was then answered by his office doors which slid open marking their time complete.