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Λητι Doωικια

D. T. H A N N A H

© D. T. Hannah, 1997
D. T. Hannah

Domickias ruled the known universe. He was not a politician, elected by the most
people, he was not a military leader of the biggest army, he did not own the most star
systems. Domickias was God. Or so the universe thought. Domickias could have been a
sideshow attraction, a freak, normally resigned to telling the future in some border-convoy
travelling from one isolated planet colony to another. But Domickias was more gifted
than the majority of genetically engineered psyche babies of the "Repo-Revolution". Most
babies died in the first few weeks with massive brain damage. A few lucky ones became
what was known in primitive times as "idiot savants", extraordinarily gifted in one thing,
predicting the future, and almost incapable of everything else, some even had to be
sustained on life support, communicating through brain scan. And then there were
Domickias' kind. Having survived the psychic tidal wave of information as babies they
grew as intelligent young children, but on the outside, showing no sign of psychic ability
whatsoever. In fact they were disguising their abilities. Not from their kind and gentle
doctor/parents, not from the public which they knew to be waiting eagerly for successful
psychics, they hid in fear for their own abilities foretold them of death to all known
psychics from one man, the very best of their own kind. That man was Domickias.
Some of the young psychics were very clever and Domickias didn't find them well
into their puberty, by then at the tender age of nine he had successfully wiped out all
possible competition and had sealed his destiny. To rule all men.
Domickias did not take control of the billions of minds in the known universe,
although he may have been able to. He simply predicted the future. He knew of impending
disasters, he could direct the colonies to the path of greatest growth and he averted wars.
Slowly Domickias united the galaxy using his predictions and growing influence. He
predicted that greater strength would eventuate from unity, which it would. He predicted
that soon the universe would be using one language, one currency system, one
measurement system and one communication system, which was correct because people
changed to his chosen systems. His influence was wide and deep. He predicted the laws
that would hold the universe of man together, and the leaders all set up a framework for
those laws. A cult worshipped Domickias, his accuracy, his wisdom and his growing
influence on billions of people gave him the qualities of a god. The cult grew into a
religion that spread like wildfire among the isolated colonies and grew from a solid base
on the more established planets. Entire planets that completely worshipped Domickias
grew in number and every other planet knew of his role in uniting the universe and his
legendary interest in the common good. Whatever action Domickias requested was
fulfilled without question because he was a good and kind man who used his gift for all.
Even the groups opposed to his unaccountable rule did not oppose him because they knew
what kind of man he was, and Domickias did not harass these fringe groups because, after
all he knew that they would pose no threat to him.
Domickias was 99.999980 % correct. This number was estimated because out of
the hundred or so thousand publicly released predictions, Domickias was wrong only
twice. On April 23rd 3187, Domickias predicted that the yellow dragon tongue plant
strain 34f, a source of food and clothing material for many colonies would be the most
beneficial strain to plant for the coming seasons. Six months later, a new disease wiped
out 67 % of the universal yellow dragon tongue crop causing a loss of billions of credits
and the need to ship in emergency supplies to the stricken colonies. This was not a major
setback for the united federation, nor was there any notable loss of life. But this was the
first clearly incorrect prediction that Domickias had ever made.
Whispers of the onset of senility became open discussion. Domickias was old,
two-hundred and seventy eight years old, well past the average lifespan of two-hundred
and fifty one. He was according to his contacts, staff and friends, full of life and vigour.
They found that the mistake was a simple interpretation error caused by stress over
territorial disputes that Domickias was helping resolve. They assured the people that there
would be no more mistakes.
On January 31, 3188. Domickias made the second mistake. He failed to foretell his
own assassination.

Shay was awake, dressed and sitting up straight when Doctor Mannie Bay came
in. Nobody had told her that Mannie was coming. She had put on her favourite dress, the
one with the buttons to the side and the teddy embroidery. Soon the dress would be burnt
in places eventually and she wouldn't be able to wear it but for now it was her favourite.
Doctor Mannie entered with a man who was going to try and stop her from getting hurt by
bad people.
'Hello Shay,' Mannie greeted her, actually her name was Shayonaira-Pay but that
was too hard to say. 'This is Daemar. He's here to help you around and lift things until you
get better with your legs.'
Shay politely extended her hand and said: 'Hello Dae, pleased to meet you.' He
had never been called Dae before but he would grow to like the new nickname. Shay
extended her new metal legs, unused to their movement and very unstable because she
had only learned to walk.
Dae looked surprised at something, maybe at her instant shortening of his name,
maybe at seeing her shiny new legs, maybe at the adult way in which she greeted him,
(she was only seven). She would like to know what he was thinking since they were going
to spend some time together but she was not a mind reader, unfortunately. Dae took her
extended hand and shook it gently, Shay noticed a glint of metal from beneath his sleeve,
an inhibitor. That explained his confused look, all homicidal criminals were fitted with an
inhibitor which disrupted certain brain messages. These devices were slow however and
the result is a slow witted but nice person with a perpetual look of confusion. Shay's own
legs did not interrupt her brain patterns, she had been worried earlier that it would but was
too excited at the prospect of being able to walk after a lifetime of confinement to a
motion-chair. Shay wondered why Mannie would get such a slow person to look after her
but she knew that he was a good choice. She knew.
Dae was sent outside Shay's room so that she and Mannie could have a 'private
'Where did you find him?' Shay demanded. She was better with the future than
'On the planet Sauburn.' Mannie answered truthfully, she would never lie to her
charge, Shay had known that for years.
'What was he doing?' Shay didn't want to know what planet he had been on, she
wanted to know what kind of person he was. Soon she would be surprised, she had known
this for a long time, something personal would turn out not to be as she thought it was.
She needed to know everything about everyone, because she knew that this surprise will
put her life in danger. Telling the future is not something that comes to her, it does not
buzz into her mind. The future is not set, choices determine what will happen. To tell the
future, Shay has to apply herself, she has to set up the scenario in her mind and run
through all of the possible events in between now and the future she is trying to imagine.
She is only learning and still misses a lot, soon the surprise, something she did not
anticipate, will put her life in danger. There will be a surprise, she knows that, it can't be
helped but by imagining all of the outcomes and investigating all of the people involved,
she may minimise the surprise and the danger.
'He was learning to be a good assistant.' Mannie answered evasively.
'No! I mean what did he do to get locked up?' Shay knew that Doctor Mannie knew
what she was asking (even though she didn't have the gift). She was just trying to teach
Shay to be more concise with her questions. “Use your gift to anticipate what question
would get the most helpful answer, either that or learn mind reading” Mannie used to say.
'Oh!' Mannie exclaimed pretending to only just understand. 'I see, he... he blew up
some buildings.' she said with a regretful tone.
'With people inside?' Shay asked.
Mannie frowned with annoyance. Shay knew the answer already. Only killers were
fitted with inhibitors. She didn't want Mannie to have to say the answer, she just wanted
her to know that Shay was learning to anticipate answers, or at least the emotional
response that accompanies the answers. That was easier to predict.
'There's nothing to worry about.' Mannie assured her young student. 'No one has
ever escaped an inhibitor.'
Shay didn't know that. She did know that Dae would not escape, his future was
easier to predict since inhibited people made few choices and went nowhere in life. He
would not escape his inhibitor, he would serve for the rest of his life, one event would
effect the rest of his life, but more in where he lives, than what he does.
'I know he won't hurt me on purpose, but...' Shay tried to frame her fears in words
but couldn't.
Mannie reached over to her and hugged her tightly. Mannie loved her
tremendously. She was the head doctor in charge of caring for the growing Shayonaira-
Pay, she was a medical doctor with teaching experience who had conducted a study in
psyche effects on young brains. While Shay was one of the subjects of the ongoing study,
she was really the reason Mannie had invested so much of her time. Mannie belonged to
the religious order that worshipped Domickias as a god, the same order that had founded
the institute that Shay had been “engineered” in. Mannie loved Domickias as her parents
and their parents had and she loved Shay, not because they had spent nearly seven years
together, not because Shay considered Mannie her surrogate mother, but for what Shay
was to become. Shay was a gifted psychic, she could foretell the near and far future, with
training she could be as good as her predecessor.
Shayonaira-pay was to succeed Domickias.

Mannie held Shay in her arms and they reminisced. It was not as easy as it used to
be, Shay had put on a lot of weight with the addition of metal legs. 'I used to be scared all
the time didn't I?' Shay asked.
'Yes dear.' Mannie stared at the wall ahead.
'Why was I so scared?' She had asked the question a hundred times but Mannie
didn't mind.
'You were very young...'
'I am very young!'
'You were even younger.'
'..and my visions...'
'Your visions and your other talents scared you very much-'
'But they're still scary. I see bad things now, still.'
'Yes but you are older, you can control them better, and you are braver too.'
Mannie growled like a bear and hugged her tighter.
Shay giggled although she wasn't feeling better. She was braver, but Mannie had
omitted “smarter” because with intelligence came greater understanding. Some of the
horrors she had seen up late at night and asleep in her dreams, she would not have
understood when she was younger. She was braver though. Very brave, and now she could
move about better, the motion-chair took ages to ascend stairs, she was already faster
now. When she grows accustomed to the legs she would run everywhere just because she
could, she would take the stairs two or three or four at a time! And when she stops
growing they will give her some permanent legs, so real that she would forget that they
weren't her own and she would run even faster. That thought might make her feel better
but she still had not come up with the proper scenario and set of decisions that would put
her still at the institute at that time. Maybe she was working at Domickias' old job, maybe
something else, but whatever it was she had been wracking her brains to find out where
she could be when she turned thirty and none of her answers were at the institute and
without being at the institute she would not get new legs.
'Do you want to know your future?' Shay broke the momentary silence, she knew
that Mannie would say yes to their old game but Shay didn't know why there was a feeling
of fear that accompanied the answer.
Mannie paused for a second. 'Uh... yes, yes of course Honey.' She looked scared.
Why? Did she know about her own future in some other way. Shay hoped that it wasn't
Shay kneeled on the long seat next to Mannie, something she had not been able to
do a year ago, and gracefully took the woman's hand in her own. Pretending to study
Mannie's palm carefully she looked into the future.
'Hmmmmm..' Shay set up the present in her mind. Mannie would return to her
living quarters for a while. 'Your favourite song would come on the audio.' Shay
predicted, small futures like this didn't matter too much but they were easy to predict and
fun for the recipient as they came true. Shay and Mannie had played this game for years.
'You go to town and there you will meet a tall dark and handsome.... friend!'
Mannie laughed. 'I think I know who you mean.'
'Ooooh!' Shay cooed. 'Is he your boyfriend?'
'No!' Mannie denied. 'We work together.'
'Oh.' Shay said slightly disappointed. Mannie could use a boyfriend. She was
nearly one hundred and seventy, still young enough. 'He sounds bossy anyway.'
'What gave you that idea Hon?' Mannie asked, the note of fear was evident again.
Shay didn't know, she knew that saying something about what type of man he was
would cause Mannie to be scared. She wanted to say something else but nothing she could
think of would continue Mannie on the path that was causing her concern. No questions
Shay could think of would bring out the information that she was trying to get. She
shrugged her shoulders, passing the idea of the bossy man as a random impression she
sometimes got that had no real base and rarely turned true.
Mannie was thinking. After an uncomfortable pause she said:
'When you think of what happens a long time in the future, what do you see?'
'To you?' This was harder than short term prediction, Shay thought hard-
'No no no, to everyone.' Mannie surprised Shay with this question, she had really
just decided to ask it. Mannie rarely asked such wide ranging questions because Shay was
not trained very well at all and such a big subject matter was difficult to imagine in all it's
entirety, vital bits could be missed and interpretation was easy to get wrong.
Shay sighed. 'Whenever I try to imagine the future of the universe I get scared.'
She stated a well known fact between them. 'It always seems so bad. That method you told
me about of imagining one person that I don't know on some planet always seems to end
bad. Sometimes there is fighting, but over land not whole planets. Sometimes they starve
because no one sends help. Once I tried to think of a planet leader and what his future was
and he was trying to kill everyone on another planet before that planet killed his people.'
Mannie sighed. 'Civil War.'
That term was not new to Shay, history class was full of it. 'But nowadays we are
all the same country now..' She stopped. Once she had imagined the unknown people of
her imagination, a family, fighting so they could stop being part of the one country, the
one country that Mannie had said so many times was a good thing. 'Why would people
want to get out of being one country, Mannie?'
She looked sad, but she looked upon Shay with love. 'One country is a good thing
as long as the leader of the country tries their best to do a good job. They need to look
after everyone and that's a hard thing to do.' She seemed to be trying to convince herself
more than inform Shay.
Shay knew what was expected of her, to take over Domickias' post. Domickias
was so good at his job that he nearly ruled the universe. He was a good leader. 'No matter
what I try to imagine I can't see myself ruling the universe as much as Domickias had.'
She didn't know if that was a good thing because the terrible things that happened
wouldn't be all her own fault or if it was a bad thing because she did not have as much
influence, or too much.
'Shay,' Mannie had braced herself for a difficult question, even though Shay
already knew it was coming. 'Have you imagined anything in the future of the universe
that is good?'
Shay knew that her answer should cause her surrogate mother to be upset but her
gift told her that the answer would give a certain amount of relief. She didn't know why
Mannie would be relieved but it made the answer easier to say:
No one was as happy as they were now. Civil war had caused everyone grief in
one way or another. Mannie did look relieved for some reason, Shay could not think of a
question that would bring out why. Shay wished she could use her gift better, she wanted
to make Mannie proud.
Mannie readied herself for another question but Shay could not determine what it
would be because Mannie decided not to ask it.

That night, as Dae dreamed innocently in the next room, Shay imagined horror.
The odd conversation she had had with Doctor Mannie Bay had started her thinking of the
future for the rest of the known universe, a future in which by birth she had been
inextricably entwined.
Domickias had slain all other able psychics so that he alone would rule. This was
the only sign of cruelty he ever was involved in, theologically justified thousands of times
by his worshippers as "destroying false deities". He also prevented anymore psychics
being engineered through the DNA science. Fear of being subverted by a younger and
more powerful person such as Shayonaira-Pay perhaps. It was his wisdom and guidance
that held the universe together, many thought, not, his future telling abilities. The far
majority of the planets however, believed that to live without some sort of early warning
system of the psychic variety would be a foolish waste of a long developed technology.
Six months after Domickias' assassination, Shay was designed and conceived. She
was the only one of one hundred so designed embryos that survived to birth. She avoided
the traumatic information overload of infancy with the help of drugs developed after
Domickias' time. With the help of experts such as Mannie, she grew up at the institute
with one life goal: To predict the future of the universe.
Domickias was very wise. Perhaps there was another reason behind him
destroying all the other psychics. Had he known about her? Did he order her not to be
made? Was she the famed Anti-Domickia? The one who's lack of skills and intelligence
causes the fracturing of the universe and the beginning of war?
Shay knew that unless she was as smart and kind as the former “God” she may
have the potential to do as much damage as this fabled enemy.
Suddenly the scenarios in her mind slid into place. Soon, very soon, she would
make a decision that would effect the future of the universe and it's people. Too soon
perhaps, would she be ready to make the correct decision? She was only seven,
chemically accelerated but was it enough? That decision would have so much affect on
the future that all general predictions she tried to make beyond that, were fragments of
baseless visions and information. It would be a hard decision and Shay would have no
really sound predictions to guide her.
She didn't know when the decision would be necessary, or even what it would
involve. She, as a child had little control over even small events in her life and she
doubted the fate of the universe and billions of people would be affected by which dress
she chose. She did know one thing as a surety. No matter what scenario she imagined,
what choices she fancied, whatever she could imagine doing, the fragments of information
were all the same.
And they were all bad.

Men were coming. They had guns.

Shay awoke. The assassins had already entered the institute grounds. They were
coming to kill her. They must have met and decided to come after her while she slept or
she would have known through her gift. Now their coming was inevitable and she knew.
Soon. They had somehow gotten past the institute security measures and now approached
on foot.
'Dae!' she screamed to her new assistant. 'Help!' She pulled herself to the edge of
the bed and reached towards the stand where her metal legs hung, charging.
Dae burst into the room.
'We have to get out of here.' Shay yelled. 'Someone's coming to kill me.'
Dae did not ask how she knew this even though he was slow of thought, his place
was to do as instructed and if necessary protect his charge. He helped her pull on the
electrode seat and connected it to the legs. The legs came alive and he attached them to
the seat. Helping Shay to her feet he then picked her dress from the floor where she had
left it for him to pick up and helped her put it on. She was glad he understood the need for
Within a minute of her waking they were out of her three room living quarters and
into the hall.
This wing of the building was where the institute staff lived while on call,
originally Shay had lived in the west wing where the psychic experiments took place but
with the staff was a nicer place to live. The staff were like family to her. The hallway went
straight down the centre of the east wing with doors to living quarters on each side, it was
a plain, satisfactorily lit hall with a hard floor. The building was a single story as was all
the buildings at the institute. You could descend to the service tunnels beneath where
activities necessary to the running of a city were located such as power, water and long
distance transport. Most preferred to take a stroll through the planet's native vegetation
when moving between buildings at the institute.
If Shay was to go outside to try and escape she would be caught straight away, so
they must be coming across that way. If she hid she would be found immediately. If she
ran she would be caught eventually.
'Which way?' Dae asked her, obviously wondering what was going on.
Shay considered the alternatives. If she ran towards the experiment chambers
where she could lock herself in she would be caught before getting there. If she ran in the
opposite direction overland she would be caught and killed before getting to the next
building. If she ran to the service tunnels she would be loose for longer but still caught
before she made it to the transport tubes.
'Downstairs.' She decided. The longer she evaded them the better the chance of
discovering an option that would allow her escape.
They started towards the nearest stairs. With her legs, Shay ran ungainly and far
too slow. At this rate they would be caught and killed the fastest.
'Pick me up.' She ordered. Dae complied. He was strong and carried her and her
legs without any loss of balance or speed. Together they hurtled down the flight of stairs
and into the service section of the institute.
The Service room was a large hall with pipes and machines and mindless delivery
robots roaming around. It was stark and easily cleanable, not any palaces to hide.
'Where?' Dae asked.
'Left. To the transport tubes.' Shay hadn't found an option that would get them to
the tubes in time but if she did she wanted to be close. Normally to travel between
buildings, you would jump atop the delivery robots, but Dae's run was faster than them.
So without hesitation he ran into the narrow corridor, with Shay on his back.
As far as she could tell the assassins would catch her in about a minute unless she
thought of another plan. But what? Hiding? Air vents? The robots somehow? Laying a
trap for the attackers? Fighting back? No situation yielded an answer where she would not
get caught, and now they were thirty seconds away.
The service tunnel had a slight curve which prevented seeing anything more than a
hundred metres away, that was good because if they were caught in this narrow tunnel
they could be shot from it's entrance. They were about to be spotted and shot at. They
reached the other end, this was the service entrance to the institute, beyond were the
supply shafts and the transport tube.
They rounded the corner as a shout was heard from behind. A wicked buzz zipped
past as the super heated projectile of a tracker rifle was fired at them. It came so close to
Shay's head that she felt it's heat. They ran amongst storage containers, set up in even
rows. If they could lose the attackers amongst these boxes, split them up and surprise one
of them they may hold them off with enough time to get to a transport tube. It was the
only chance that Shay saw.
'We have to split them up. We have to get lost in these boxes.' She told Dae. The
sound of many feet running out from the service tunnel told them that the assassins were
close, but not as clear as Shay's visions told her.
Left, right, right, left, they ran from aisle to aisle following Shay's directions, she
tried to avoid the attackers. Left? no, two men would appear behind that container, right.
Right again? yes, clear for the next ten seconds. Straight ahead? No, someone would
appear behind and shoot them dead with the same shot, Left again.
The options became fewer as the attackers closed in. They were missing each other
by less time. Left. Right. Shay was trying to keep tabs on where each one was and how
many there were, three, no four. One was running along the next aisle parallel to them,
another was following their path exactly, two were circling around to where they were
headed. They were closing in. Left and the one parallel was further away. Dae was tiring.
Right again, they would pass across the field of vision of one too fast for him to
shoot them. They ran past a gap between containers and a shot was fired. It missed.
Left, right. The options dried up. They would get caught no matter which way they
took. Could they overpower one? The possibility was so slim that the prediction was
sketchy in Shay's mind. Right, she directed, and they would only meet one.
A dark clad figure rounded the container just as they reached the end. Dae ran
harder, straight at the attacker, before he could aim his rifle, Dae slammed into him.
Knocking the unknown to the ground, he grabbed at the rifle and snatched it up. He would
not keep it. Dae was running too fast and he tripped, righted himself in time not to fall but
fumbled the weapon. The others had heard the collision and were almost rounding the
boxes behind them. Dae snatched at the weapon as it fell but he lost it. A shout from
behind stopped him from trying to pick it up. He ran harder. The other assassins had a
clear shot.
They aimed.
Dae was going to get shot in the back with an expanding tip fillonite projectile.
The trigger was pulled. Dae would take it in the back. The shot would blow his
chest and wound Shay. The tiny missile traced a straight path.
Shay twisted around.
The fillonite punched through and into Shay's metal leg. It was contained by the
leg exoskeleton but expanded within and blew the child size leg off.
The force spun the fleeing pair around and they fell heavily to the ground. Dae
landed on top of Shay. The attackers ran to them, covering them with their assorted
weapons. They did not shoot immediately. Shay was going to die. Dae was not.
The first man pulled the stunned Dae from the cowering seven year old. Dae
couldn't breathe properly. All weapons were aimed at Shay. She was going to die. The
men aimed their guns.
'No!' Dae yelled as he attacked rushing the three men. The prime directive of the
inhibitor compelling him even as wounded as he was to protect the girl.
'Daemar, No!' One of the assassins cried. Another raised his aim and dropped the
butt of his rifle into Dae's stomach, hard. Dae dropped momentarily and the others pinned
him down. The one who spoke reached into his backpack and pulled out a small ring
shaped device. Shay considered using the distraction to run but any attempt at fleeing,
would simply bring about a hail of bullets. She would last seconds longer staying still, but
the countdown of her life still ticked.
A trickle of blood emerged from the man's nostril as he pulled at Dae's sleeve. The
inhibitor control plate was revealed. The man fitted the ring device around the raised
plate. Dae stopped struggling.
'Daemar?' the man asked.
Dae stared.
'We fitted a device to stop the inhibitor.' He continued, he had an accent from
another planet. Dae stared although slow recognition showed on his face. 'The inhibitor's
still slowing you down but you can do what you want.'
Dae coughed. 'Thank-you. Why?'
'We'll get the inhibitor removed when we get back to Sauburn.' The man
continued. 'Daemar? Do you remember us?'
Dae looked at the three. Slow recognition showed in his eyes. 'Oh, hello. I've
worked with you.'
Shay's surprise.
The man looked surprised too. 'Daemar, we we're best friends.'
Dae was confused. 'I'm sorry.'
The speaker said: 'No, No, it's the inhibitor. When it's removed your memory will
return, hopefully.'
Dae thought hard. 'Why are you here?'
The man hefted his weapon, a brand new "Bug Smasher" 349 Warrick-Case. 'We
came to kill the Anti-Domickia.'
Shay had ten seconds left to live.
'You will remember....' The speaker said to Dae, '...when we get back to Sauburn.'
He aimed the smasher at Shay.
Seven seconds.
A slight whine indicated the sound of a bleeder charging. The bleeder would melt
the edges of the fillonite projectile so that it could not be linked to the weapon, it was an
assassin's weapon.
Five seconds.
Dae slowly looked at his exposed arm. His former shackle and the instrument by
which he had gained freedom. He fingered the ring shaped device. It had given him
freedom of thought. The inhibitor had allowed him, no, forced him to push his body to the
limit, even to death to save Shay.
Four seconds.
The images flew through her mind too fast to grasp. The picture of Domickias in
the dining hall. Future people starving. Mannie's warm hug. The fillonite exploding her
chest. The planet leader ordering the virus on the enemy planet. Her shiny new legs.
People fighting over a few acres. A mass grave. Her killer's face. A little girl her own age,
beaten, raped and left to die by an attacking army. The saddened Dae, he was never
supposed to escape his inhibitor. Left to die, trodden into the dust.
Three seconds.
The killer smiled. The others stood resolutely tensed. Dae still stared at the ring
device. Suddenly he yanked it free. The inhibitor regained control. With almost inhuman
speed Dae leapt at the killer. Smashed his fist into the man's face and grabbing the
smasher in one motion. The others raised their weapons but too slow. Dae pulled the bug
smasher to his shoulder and let three shots loose. The smasher's circuits adjusted the aim
automatically to find the kill. The three went down with tiny holes in the dead centre of
their foreheads and gaping holes in the back of their skulls.
Dae turned on the former owner of the bug smasher.
'Daemar, No, wait-'
Dae shot him dead.
The future had changed. Dae had made a decision to return to the shackles of the
inhibitor. Why? Perhaps he remembered something about those men and their beliefs.
Perhaps he thought that shooting a child was wrong. Whatever reason it was, Dae had
saved her life in exchange for freedom of thought.
Dae dropped the ring shaped device and the gun. He fell to his knees and
collapsed. Shay had seen this before, artificial intelligence conflict. Two directives of the
inhibitor had clashed. He must not kill but to protect the child he had to kill. The inhibitor
chose to act in a random fashion, this time it had killed to protect the child, another time it
could as easily chose to not kill, stand back and do nothing.
Now the inhibitor was conducting it's shutdown procedures. After a directive has
been somehow violated, the inhibitor puts the wearer into a coma for the police. It was a
safety measure in case of inhibitor malfunction.
Shay needed Dae awake. She pulled herself over. while only one of her legs had
been blown off, the control mechanism had been damaged and she couldn't get the other
leg to move either. The damaged leg now only consisted of a hollow upper leg which hung
loosely but she could not pull off completely. Dae lay motionless, face down. Shay picked
up the ring shaped device and fitted it around the inhibitor control plate. She hoped that it
would still work.
Dae did not wake up. He would though, it would just take a few seconds.
Shay pulled herself to the dead assassin. He had no identification, caps were on his
fingertips to cover fingerprints and he probably had taken the drugs that foiled DNA
identification and had his retina pattern altered. They all did. There was a great deal of
money behind this hit. The man did have a small photon pulse pistol, a stun gun. He was
also carrying ammunition for the bug smasher. there was nothing else on his person.
Dae stirred, good, they had to get out of there before the police arrived. Shay knew
where she was going but wasn't sure why she would choose to go there yet. She pulled her
self to Dae's side.
'We have to go.' She told him.
'To the power station.'

The geothermal power station was seven hundred kilometres away so the trip by
surface tube took more than three quarters of an hour. Shay had plenty of time to figure
out why she would choose to travel there. The inside of the private tube was spacious for
the two of them, being able to accommodate ten. It consisted of two rooms, a tiny
bathroom and the seat filled travelling room. The main room had a large interface panel
where the tube destination had been entered in and if requested, A.V. entertainment
material could be viewed to pass the time. Dae had raided the first-aid kit on the wall and
under Shay's guidance, had relieved the dark bruises and knitted the deeper cuts that they
had both experienced, fighting for their lives. Now all was quiet, Dae had fallen asleep,
laying across three or four seats, mumbling to himself groggily. He would never escape
the inhibitor, that alone would make life difficult and because of her, he had killed while
under its control. That crime only earned death because there wasn't any other way to
keep him under control. He would spend the rest of his life in hiding.
Why had she been attacked? The assassin who did all of the speaking said that she
was the Anti-Domickia. Was she? Did she have the power to cause all of the pain and
suffering that she had seen in her fragmented visions of the future? Was it all true or was
it some misguided belief held by religious extremists?
Nothing her gift could tell her would answer any questions. She tried to construct
the fragments of future into a meaningful whole, something with reason, not just tears and
blood and mindless fighting. As if a coherent reason for the war would make it less
terrible. All that came up was the vision of a little girl, Shay's age.
The whisper of the tube changing to higher speed tunnels lulled the exhausted
child to sleep.
In her dreams she dreamed of other people, people she did not know, far into the
future. Shay was a little girl of seven. She was a colonist on an isolated planet. A planet
under contention. Lost and alone, she stumbles into the centre of town, an attacking army
is setting everything on fire. She is grabbed from behind. Dragged into a deserted
alleyway by three soldiers, and beaten, and raped alternately until life gratefully slips
away. The naked, broken body ground into the dust by advancing tanks.
She was dead.

Dead. Shay was dead. She awoke and she was Shay again. She rubbed her eyes.
She now knew why she was going to the geothermal power station. She was going to the
lower lookout, deep below the surface of the planetary crust, where the molten rock that
powered the station seethed and bubbled.
She was going to jump into the lava. She was going to die.
Shay closed her eyes. She applied her gift. She imagined the universe as well as
she could, everything was the same, except for one change. A change that she had never
thought to place in her mind scenarios: Shayonaira-Pay was dead. A hundred images
came to her. A laughing family. A United Universe council. Thousands of ships, ships to
new worlds. Increasing trade ships. Joyous world leaders. People living in peace over their
own patch of land. Freedom from fear. Freedom from war. No guns. No bullets. No "crust-
buster" torpedoes. No chemical weapons. No nuclear, nutronic or ionic holocaust. No
hate. No death. A tear slid down Shay's cheek. No misplaced reliance on a psychic.
Shay saw a little seven year old girl, walking through her home town, she is caught
up by her father and placed on his shoulders. She does not die that day, nor any other day
in her childhood, she has not yet learned the meaning of war, and when she does it will be
in the classroom. She lives a happy life.
Shayonaira-Pay was the Anti-Domickia.
She didn't feel evil, she didn't know she could be that theological figure that she
herself had feared. But she was.
Shay knew what she had to do. All her life she had been plagued by terrible
visions of death and destruction. Her waking predictions and her dreams knew no other.
For the first time in her life she had witnessed good tidings in the distant future and it was
all because she was dead. She was scared, but she knew that this way the in future of the
universe it was good.
But could she fix it? Could Shay commit suicide for people she didn't even know?
Even in their billions, they were hard to imagine, to humanize as families that needed her
to make this incredible sacrifice. Was it true? Yes, Shay had no doubt about her
predictions as anything other than the absolute truth, she may misinterpret difficult
visions occasionally but this was as clear as anything that she had ever seen from the
fractured future. Alive she would cause the death and destruction of the universe. Dead it
would be saved.
She was just a seven year old child, she had been created to do a service to society.
But her technology given gift told her that all she would bring was civil war. She was no
use to society, it would not mourn the loss of such a person, in fact if society knew of the
potential harm she would cause by being alive it would rejoice in her death. She was
worth nothing. The unknown girl on the isolated settlement was worth everything, her
innocence and goodness was what was important. Shay couldn't have the death of such a
person on her conscience. It was a fair swap, one seven year old for another.
So very fair.
Shay had worked out the facts of life so logically, so plainly that there was no
doubt about what she had to do. But she was afraid. So afraid of dying.
Suddenly a high pitched buzz, which awoke Dae, warned them that their
destination was thirty seconds away. Shay had been so engaged in the choice she had to
make, she didn't even notice the tube begin the five minute deceleration period. The buzz
matched similar alarm bells in her head, tightening around her chest. Fear.
She was afraid that she was wrong;
She was afraid that she was right;
She was afraid of dying; and
She was afraid that she may not be able to do what she knew she had to do.

The tube had carried them under an ocean line to the top of the geothermal power
station, located seven hundred metres below the water. This was where the planetary crust
was thin. The entrance complex where the tube stopped was a small dome, outside the
floodlit marine life appeared periodically before vanishing into the darkness. Nothing
much could live close to the station as so much heat was being released.
Dae carried Shay from the tube to the elevator. The power station complex was
not architecturally designed for aesthetics, there were no windows to the outside, bare
metal structures and pipes predominated. The lower lookout was for public access but
interest in the natural subterranean beauty of the lava pits had waned so much that the
chance of meeting anyone down there was remote. Shay knew for a fact that no tourist
would disturb them. It was an uncomfortable place to go, near full body protection was
necessary and even then one could only stand it for a few minutes. It remained, a curiosity
but nothing more.
The elevator was for general use, it was very large so that it could move the sub-
mantle crafts and robots to do the exploring and constant monitoring of the underground
site but still operable by tourists. It was dark and eerie, the only overhead light was the
one just above the interface panel. Shay requested the lower lookout and loud clanging
and pinging heralded the elevators descent.
'Why are we here?' Dae asked.
Shay realized that he knew nothing about her decision, he had protected her from
death, killing his friends and forfeiting his life of freedom to have it come to just this. His
inhibitor was still nullified by the ring fit over the top but would the real Dae allow her to
She needed his help. Without legs she couldn't do it herself. She needed him to
throw her into the lava.
'Dae, it's something that we have to do.'
The elevator stopped with a shudder and the metal grating doors opened. The air
was hot and dry, it pulled at the skin and pecked the eyes until they teared. The elevator
started back up. Avoiding the automated worker robots, they followed signs to the lower
First they came to a room filled with heat suits, coveralls with attached gloves and
boots, and helmets with clear goggles and hoods that fit loosely over the shoulders of the
coveralls. There were even child size suits.
Before they put the protective clothing on Shay asked Dae to put her down and
they sat on the hard seats together.
'Dae, have you heard of the Anti-Domickia?' Shay felt like an adult speaking to a
child, not the other way around.
'Uh, yeah, he's going to come and destroy everything Domickias has worked for.'
'That's right and civil war breaks out..' She stated. '..and the united universe is
broken up into smaller states who fight each other. Thousands of people are going to die.'
He looked confused. He did not appear to understand the relevance of what she
was saying.
'Dae, I am the Anti-Domickia.'
He looked stunned, then horrified, then angry. 'No!'
'Yes, Dae.'
'No, you aren't!' He stood up.
'Dae, I am.'
'No No No!' He shouted, pacing the room.
'Dae.' She felt tears come to her eyes but not from the heat. 'Dae, I don't know why,
I am, but I am.'
He said nothing. He didn't look at her.
'I looked at the future. I...I...You can't imagine the terrible things I see. I see wars
over nothing. I see thousands of dead bodies, children, Dae, they died in the fighting. I
'NO!' He ran to her side. 'You are good and kind and don't want to see all this
happen, how can that make you the Anti-Domickia?' He was pleading, trying to convince
her that she was not the enemy he had been brought up to hate.
'Please Dae-'
'No.' He strode away.
'Please, you have to understand-'
'Dae.... I have to die.'
He stopped dead. Stunned.
'NO!' He turned around.
'Dae, I've seen it in the future...' She explained.
He began to walk towards her. Menacingly.
'...I...I...I...D...Die and the universe is alright again.' He was beginning to scare her.
He walked to her and stood over her.
She cringed.
He reached down and roughly grabbed her by the upper arms. 'We must leave this
place.' He picked her up.
'No,' She yelled. 'I have to do this.' She grabbed at the hanging clothes above her
head. He pulled at her and the clothes rack the suits were hanging from broke, bringing
down the entire row of helmets and coveralls down on the pair. Shay fell amongst suits.
Dae nearly tripped on rolling helmets, he picked them up and threw one at the ground in
pure frustration, he kicked another across the room, it bounced and stopped. He kicked
another one but with less anger. Finally he sank to the ground, on his knees facing away,
shoulders shaking.
He made no answer.
Shay pulled herself from the pile of coveralls. One beneath her made it easier to
slide along the ground. 'Dae, All I know is that I have to do this-'
'Get away!' He yelled, swinging blindly. His hand connected with a helmet which
skittered across the floor.
She pulled herself all the way across the floor to him. She wanted to put her hand
on his shoulder in consolation but could only reach to his back.
He sagged under her touch. He turned to her and hugged her fiercely.
'You're the only thing I have left in the whole universe.' He said brokenly. 'I can't
let you die.'
Shay realized that he was only young, thirty, a boy, his crime was probably being
the fall guy for people he thought were his friends. As a result he had been taken to a
planet away from his family, inhibited into doing menial chores, committed to a life of
stupidity and clamped thoughts. He had nothing. He had her to look after and now she
wanted to die. In three hours he would walk into a police station, they would find him
guilty of killing four, three unknown soldiers and the successor to the Domickias station,
being under the control of an inhibitor they would have no choice but to execute him. It
was not just her sacrifice, it was his too.
'It's not fair. It's not fair.' He whispered almost to himself.
They sat there in silence. There was no hurry but it was going to happen.
Shay looked up. 'Dae..... please.'
He looked at her. Slowly he moved his head, he nodded. He was ready.
Silently they put on the protective clothing. He put on coveralls, and helped Shay
into her own. The material was a smooth shiny plastic that thickened out seamlessly to
where the boots and gloves started. The helmet fitted over the head loosely, it would stop
direct heat but hot draughts would make being outside uncomfortable over an extended
Dae bent over to pick up a helmet that seemed the right size from the floor, he
straightened and stared at something Shay could not see, at the entrance. Suddenly,
something hit his right shoulder and he spun to the ground. A figure walked in, it held a
small gun.
It was Doctor Mannie Bay.
The middle aged woman had found them, and she had a gun.
Dae clutched his shoulder, blood flowed freely from between his fingers. In his fall
the ring around the inhibitor had been knocked off and slowly he was slipping into the
induced coma.
Mannie looked to Shay. 'Hello Shayonaira-Pay.'
Shay looked at the woman that raised her. She did not fear the gun. 'How did you
know I would be here?'
'You told me. You used to tell me all about your nightmares when you were
younger. I knew that they were true.'
'Are you from the sect that believes that I am the Anti-Domickia?'
'How did you come to realize this?' They wouldn't have the benefit of knowing the
'Something the real Domickias told us.' (Perhaps they did). 'He spoke of the
coming of an enemy, one who would destroy his “carefully woven fabric”, his universe.
We thought it would be some natural born psychic and after his death we felt we needed a
new psychic to guide us, so we made you. We had better control drugs so the chance of
you surviving unscathed was assured once you survived the embryo stage.' She sighed.
'The “Sect that believes that you are the Anti-Domickia” are the ones who assassinated
Domickias in the first place. He made a simple error in his prediction and terrible things
happened. The sect believes that the universe is relying too heavily on psychics and one
day it would be our undoing. They killed Domickias and tried to stop you from being
born. I was against them at that time of course but as you grew, you only gave terrible
visions of the future and.. and...'
Mannie stopped for a second.
'..and I started to agree with the sect.' She finished.
Shay was having trouble breathing. 'Why am I the Anti-Domickia?'
'I know Honey, you're not evil. It's just that the whole universe mourned the death
of Domickias, they somehow expected him to live forever, when we announced your
“coming” it seemed to them that he would live on, in you. They were all ready to treat you
as Domickias himself, in every way. You were destined to rule the universe.'
'But Domickias was an incredible man, we may never see someone like him ever
again. Back before we had the infancy drugs that saved you, there was nothing. Domickias
had to survive a test that only one in thousands passed. He could predict the future with
perfect accuracy, while you could only guess from fragments of the future. He needed his
heightened intelligence to get through infancy but you didn't have to pass that test. You
were a “fairly good” psychic with good brains, being put to ruling the universe. A job only
held by a man with incredible talent and staggering intellect.' She looked at Shay sadly.
'I'm sorry Hon, but you can't fill his shoes and you can't walk away.'
Mannie was right. What if Shay disappeared? They would hunt her down, she was
the chosen one and nothing would stop them from putting her into her rightful place. Not
even her. She would refuse and they would strap her down to a mind scan and extract the
psychic information themselves. Whether she co-operated or not, her being alive would
cause the universe to rely on incorrect psychic information. The outcome was the same.
The people thought that Shayonaira-Pay was their only chance for the future but in
reality she was their destruction. They would never let her go. Even if she pretended to
throw herself into the lava, the search would continue. Sub-mantle craft and droids would
scan the fiery molten rock for any trace of her, they would not give up in the search until
they believed her truly dead. Even if Shay was never found they would continue to believe
in her being alive, pretenders and charlatans would destroy the universe faster that Shay
herself could. There would have to be proof.
No human remains would ever be found, but implants could. Shay's legs, while
mostly metal, had several parts made from ceramics and carbides. These parts could be
found by the searchers. But Shay could not simply throw her metal legs into the pit, for
they still would not give up, the only irrefutable proof of Shay's death would be from
finding the carbide lock valve located in Shay's replacement bionic kidney.
But there was a better way, Mannie had a gun. Shay's body would be easy to find
and undoubtable. She had all the answers to her questions. She was ready to go.
'Mannie. I understand what you have to do.' She said 'I came here to do it myself
but this way is better. Please look after Dae.'
Mannie looked at her sadly. 'I love you.'
Mannie raised the gun. Pointed it at Shay's head. Shay squeezed her eyes shut. It
would not hurt.

Nothing. Shay opened her eyes. Mannie still held the gun ready to fire. She
couldn't do it.
'I...I can't.' She faltered.
'You must. She urged her teacher. If you don't, millions will die.' Mannie didn't
move. 'I am just one person!' Shay yelled. 'I don't matter next to millions of innocent
Mannie did not move.
'If you don't shoot me then you kill millions.' Shay hated herself for making her
teacher do this, but it was the only way.
'I can't.' Mannie sank to the ground.
'Fine.' Shay plonked on the helmet. This was going to get resolved one way or
another. She was going out. Revert to plan one.
'No, wait.' Mannie called but Shay was making her way to the door, pulling with
one hand after the other. 'I can't kill you're my daughter.'
Shay stopped. She turned on her back to face Mannie. 'I was grown in an artificial
'Yes, but it was my egg that we altered to make you.' She came over.
Shay didn't understand. 'There were hundreds of eggs, how could you know I was
from yours?'
Mannie sagged. 'That's right. It was just that when you were finally born, I, thought
of you as mine, even though you had no legs and no kidneys I was proud of you for being
born, you had made it where a hundred others failed.'
Shay looked at the woman, getting old, she never would find a “boyfriend”, she
never had children of her own. Shay was the closest she had ever got.
'You cared for me when all the other doctors said I should be put down and start
again.' Shay stated facts she had known all her life. 'You gave me one of your bionic
kidneys because there was no money to buy a new one. You stood by me when I was deep
in my nightmares. You taught me how to deal with my gift. You were my doctor. You
were my teacher.'
Shay pulled the helmet off.
'You are my mother.' She stated another fact and kissed her mum on the cheek. 'I
have to go.'
Shay pulled the helmet back over her head and rolled to face the door. The top of
the door had a sign saying "Cavern of Dreams". When first exploring these subterranean
caverns, the explorers had tagged this cave as the one that would be used for the
geothermal power station. Later on it was found this cavern unsuitable due to the unusual
currents and eddies in the molten pool. The plant was moved two hundred metres to the
next cavern and the cavern of dreams was made a curiosity. With the filter goggles on
each helmet, everyone could see the beautiful swirls and bubble formations that gave the
cavern it's name. It was beautiful and terrifying.
The outer door opened automatically.
A blast of hot wind hit the tiny crawling figure. Fingers of pure heat crept up
through chinks between the helmet hood and the suit, it was better suited for standing in.
Still she continued on, the suit was smooth and slid easily while the gloves had excellent
traction. She could make it there on her own, crawl to the stone wall, pull herself to the
top and fall...
And it was worth it too. All Shay needed to do was think of the unknown girl, she
would live her life for Shay. The girl would not know it but Shay would live on in her. It
was a life of happiness, she would never know fear, her nightmares would only be make
believe, she would not spend every waking hour brooding over a dark future, to her, the
future would be bright. She would grow into a beautiful young woman, she would take up
medicine, meet a handsome man and marry. She would start a family. Her life would be
It wasn't for the millions who died or the billions who suffered that Shayonaira-
pay did this. It was for the little girl who would never know torture as a child now, who
would never know suffering like that of war and who would be remembered by her family
as she passes, revered and respected, not ground into the dust beneath the harsh tracks of a
war tank. In this Shay knew that she was doing the right thing, and this alone got her to
the stone wall.
Shay knew that the carbide parts of the damaged legs and her kidney would be
found. The sub-mantle robots were very good. The universe would mourn the passing of
Domickias' successor and then learn to live without psychic rulers. Everything would be
The stone wall was higher than she expected. She pulled herself right to the wall.
through the helmet she could feel the heat of the wall. She reached up one arm, the fingers
of the glove extended past the top of the wall. They were bathed in a orange light and
intense heat. She pulled but her grip on the weathered wall was not good enough to heave
herself up and over the wall. The visions of a happy universe began to gradually fade in
her mind. She felt tired, the heat was sapping her strength. Any longer and she may fall
Suddenly she felt hands grab her underneath her arms. Lifting her up. onto the
ledge. Shay saw the bubbling and swirling mass of heat below. She turned around.
It was her mother.
Mannie had put on a suit and helmet. She had come out here. 'I want to help.'

A figure poised at the edge of the lava pit. It hung there almost magically and then
it released its grip on the world. Shay lost consciousness as the increasing temperature
pulled her away. Now she was a girl, a colonist, growing up in a happy life, she grew to a
beautiful young woman and took up medicine instead of farming as her parents hoped.
She wanted to please them but medicine was her passion and slowly they grew apart, the
only sadness in a happy life.
One day she receives a visit from members of a travelling circus, the fortune teller,
Madame Mannibay and her slow but kind husband. The young doctor fits artificial legs to
the fortune teller who without prompt advises her to go and talk to her parents. She tells
the surprised doctor a story about a great sacrifice.
The sacrifice a mother would make for a daughter.