What Happened In Molt Brother: Lifewave Book #1
The sprawling galactic civilization of the Hundred Planets was
electrified by a new concept, popular historical novels based on actual
archeological research financed by the sale of the novels.
company behind this scheme was Lantern Tours, making fortunes by selling
packaged tours to galactic travelers.
Everyone thought that
Lantern had merely found a new gimmick to generate tourism, for the
company made additional fortunes by packaging tours to the archeological
finds made with the money from their Lantern Novels. Few people knew that the entity controlling
Lantern conglomerate was not interested in making money. She was
interested in unearthing a particular artifact dating from the First
Lifewave, the original population of the galaxy. That artifact,
the Mazeheart Object, would allow her to gain absolute control of the
entire civilization of the Second Lifewave, the Hundred
Nobody but she, herself, knew that the Group Mind, the aklal,
formed among the readers of those novels would be her major tool in consolidating
her power, not even her chief operative, Balachandran.
On the planet Camiat, two young readers become deeply impressed
with the Lantern novels, the
human boy Zref Ortenau MorZdersh'n, and -- on the other side of the
planet from Zref's home -- the kren female Arshel Holtethor
Lakely. Both responded to
the novels by dedicating their lives to finding The City of a Million
Legends, and thus the Mazeheart Object.
Arshel, whose major talent is archeovisualization, a form of
psichometry mixed with karmic past-life reading, took a human male,
Dennis Lakely, to be her bhirhir.
To the kren, the bhirhir is a
life-partnership relationship which excludes sex. The bhirhir is
responsible for expressing excess venom raised during the course of the
day, so that the kren does not accidentally strike and kill. The
bhirhir is also responsible for protecting the helpless kren during
mating and molt. Thus bhirhir is translated molt-brother,
molt-sister, or molt-sibling.
As bhirhir to Arshel, Dennis Lakely, the son of famous archeologists who
worked under Lantern grants, became inflamed with the limitless ambition
infusing the Lantern group mind. He attempted to use his power
over Arshel to gain glory and recognition for himself.
Against Arshel's will, Dennis took her to the school run by the Mautri
Priesthood to have her psychic talents trained by the best.
when they arrived at the temple-school to apply she was taken inside
alone and told that the old Head Priest, a "White Priest," had
left a message before he died saying that she would come and must be admitted
to their training. He said that he himself would be incarnated as a human
at that time, and must not
be admitted to the Mautri Priesthood because his destiny lay with the
Arshel who would seek admittance. Arshel assumes this human is
Dennis, her bhirhir, and she reluctantly accepts the training.
With the whole galaxy in ferment, each planet and special interest
group searching desperately for the Mazeheart Object, some to gain power
and some to prevent "evil people" from gaining power, Dennis
plans to use Arshel's newly trained talents to locate the City of a Million Legends.
He pushes her relentlessly to speed up her training.
At the time that Arshel was just taking Dennis to be her bhirhir, Zref had
already been bhirhir to Sudeen MorZdersh'n for some time. During
the time Arshel was being trained for the Mautri Priesthood, Zref and
Sudeen were trying to earn the money they need to go to school offworld
by working as Cranston Security Guards.
Zref and Sudeen were planning
to find the City of a Million Legends by becoming experts in
communications. They had adopted the theory propounded in one of
the Lantern novels that the standing stone circles (called Crowns) found on many worlds
were telepathic amplifiers used as the communications network of the
First Lifewave. They believed they could bring that technology
into the current civilization and cure many ills.
Zref's parents were famous archeotranslators specializing in First
Lifewave languages while teaching at Camiat University in Firestrip. Lantern
gave them a huge grant to translate documents found on Vrashin
Island. The professors Ortenau hired Cranston Security to guard
their proprietary secrets and an Interface to help
with their work.
An Interface is a person whose brain has been altered so that he
or she can use the vast interstellar computer network, the comnet, as if
it were their unconscious mind. And Interface can think with the comnet the
same way a an ordinary person might create using the unconscious as a source of
inspiration. The Interface can also program the comnet, enter and
manipulate data, and look up facts, all much more rapidly than anyone
working at a terminal access.
Believing that the Oretenaus had found the location of the City of
a Million Legends with its Mazeheart Object, and in an attempt to divert
suspicion from Lantern Enterprises, the mastermind behind Lantern sent a
Wild Interface, an Interface she had made using modern technology
crossed with First Lifewave technology, an Interface not bound by the rigid
codes of the Interface Guild, to raid the Ortenaus' Interface's
private files for the location of the Mazeheart Object. She also
sent a raiding party to kill the Ortenaus' Interface, and to kidnap the
Zref and his bhirhir, Sudeen, working as Cranston Corporation
Security Guards, foiled that attempt -- almost. Zref saved the Interface's
life, and eventually that Interface led the raid which destroyed the
facility for making Wild Interfaces.
Meanwhile, though, the Wild
Interface had stolen vast sums of money via the comnet accounting banks,
and had ruined public confidence in the confidentiality of the comnet,
bringing interstellar business to a near standstill. The mastermind had almost
won her bid for supremacy without any help.
During the raid on the Ortenau residence, both the professors
Ortenau were killed, as was Zref's bhirhir Sudeen MorZdersh'n. The girl Zref had wanted to
marry if Sudeen would accept her was also killed.
Zref spent the following winter in paralyzed desolation at the
MorZdersh'n residence, under the care of Sudeen's relative, Khelin and Khelin's
Ley. Khelin was a Blue Priest at the Mautri School, and Arshel was
his student, and later he mates with her.
Then Zref found out that the Interface Guild, in response to the
death of the Professors Ortenau, was adopting a
policy of not working for anyone doing research into the First Lifewave,
in order to slow the rediscovery of First Lifewave technology. So
Zref decided to become an Interface.
He volunteered for an experimental
program using technology the guild had recovered from the computers at
the Wild Interface facility. With this new technique, the guild
hoped to be able to make Interfaces out of kren - a feat never before
accomplished. The Guild is skeptical of their ability to turn
Zref into an Interface because he has been a bhirhir - but they are
willing to experiment.
Five years later, Zref is as recovered as he will ever be from the
surgery, and still he cannot open Interface to join his mind to the
comnet in a normal fashion. After a short interval, he is thrown
out of rapport by the memory-echo of Sudeen's deathscream.
Crippled as an Interface, he fights for and wins the right to go to the
capitol of the Hundred Planets to follow leads to the self-declared
emperor calling himself "Ossminid" - a name made legendary by
the Lantern novels of the First Lifewave. Many criminal acts are
traced to "Ossminid."
Zref enters the capitol's society using contacts made by his
"brother" Khelin MorZdersh'n, who had left the Mautri School
and was using his training as a
Blue Priest to help diplomats relate smoothly to
Through Khelin, Zref located Arshel and her bhirhir Dennis Lakely
who were working for Balachandran. Zref began to suspect that
Balachandran was also "Ossminid" and had a new Wild
Interface working for him.
Khelin still had a desire to mate with Arshel (which is oddly
uncharacteristic of kren -- one mating is all they usually want), a
desire Zref perceived as love but knows can't be love because kren
do not experience romantic love.
Zref talked the Interface Guild into letting him take the
assignment to work as Interface for Balachandran, who was in charge of
the hundred Planets Explorer Corps and thus entitled to hire
Interfaces. But Balachandran wasn't satisfied with simply hiring
Zref. He kidnapped Khelin and Ley, and forced Zref to cooperate
with him by showing Zref video of Khelin in molt, and Ley held in an
adjacent cell, unable to reach and help his bhirhir. Though Zref
was an Interface, and should have no family loyalties left, Zref felt
During the showdown scene between Dennis, Arshel, and Balachandran,
Zref overcame the drug Balachandran used on him and told Arshel that
Dennis and Balachandran are holding Khelin and Ley hostage, apart from
each other, while Khelin is in molt.
Arshel's new training causes her to remember one of her lives during the First Lifewave
and she understood clearly what Dennis had become. In that
long-ago incarnation, she remembered that
Dennis had killed her to prevent her from blocking the construction of
the Mazeheart Object, and now he was working for Balachandran/Ossminid
and cares nothing for her.
Arshel, actively in molt herself, and neglected by her bhirhir
Dennis, raises hate-venom and strikes and kills both Dennis and
Balachandran. She then dashes for her quarters, intending to
suicide, but Zref intervenes and - without benefit of immunity to her
venom that her bhirhir would have - nurses her through a difficult
She didn't kill Zref and suicide only because she becomes
convinced that Zref, not Dennis, is the reincarnation of the White
Priest who had left orders that she be admitted to the Mautri
School. Her regard for the priests at the White level of
accomplishment is so great that she accepts Zref willingly.
This is the first time Zref had attended a molt since Sudeen was
killed. In the process, Zref relives Sudeen's death which
unlocks the trauma that has been blocking his unconscious.
As a result, Zref becomes a fully-functional Interface, but
discovers that he also has full access to his own personal unconscious
as well as to the comnet. He is thus unique in all of Guild
Arshel found the City of a Million Legends, and even though the
only trace they found of the Mazeheart Object was an engraving saying it
has been hidden where nobody will ever find it, the Guild agreed to
allow Zref to accompany Arshel back to Firestrip on Camiat, and to serve
her as if he were bhirhir to her while she and Khelin completes their
mating, after which he will help her complete her training at the Mautri
school and become a White Priest -- never needing a bhirhir again, not
even during molt.
Zref cannot "Pledge Bhirhir" with Arshel - a ceremony
which includes immunization to each others' venom - until the mating is
complete because to the kren, it is chemically impossible to have a
fertile mating within a family. Zref, because of his bhirhir with
Sudeen, is considered a member of Sudeen's (and Khelin's) family.
to take bhirhir now, Zref must immunize the new bhirhir to the MorZdersh'n
venom. Since Zref is human, and has no venom, Khelin - his nearest
relative in MorZdersh'n - will provide venom for the pledge. But
if Arshel is immunized to Khelin's venom, she cannot possibly be fertile
to Khelin. So Zref and Arshel can not pledge bhirhir until after
Therefore, Zref served Arshel during this mating as bhirhir
without being immunized to her venom, as a bhirhir would be. This is not
very dangerous because during mating, kren can hardly raise any
venom. Thus a mating couple needs their bhirhir'n to stand guard
while they are physically and psychologically defenseless.
By this point, Zref understood how he and Arshel acted during the
First Lifewave to create the situation they find themselves
Arshel had been a great artist during the First Lifewave,
commissioned by the Emperor of Crowns (the standing stone circles used
as instantaneous interstellar communicators) to immortalize their
civilization - which she had done by creating the solid gold
"Sphere of Ossminid" representing the largest artifact ever
created by intelligence: A globe of artificially created suns each with
a single habitable planet. Each planet was an integral part of the
government of the galaxy, and the City of a Million Legends, the Capitol
city of the First Lifewave, was on one of those planets.
Zref had been commissioned by the Emperor of Crowns to create a
housing for that gold sphere. He had created the Crystal Crown, a
work of art which brought him enough fame that he was able to convince
the Emperor of Crowns to let him build the Persuader's Maze next to the
Emperor's Crown and to make the Persuaders an arm of the
Arshel led the opposition to this plan, and fought Zref until he
swore a mighty oath that rang to the ends of time that he would prove
They have spent lifetimes tied by that oath. Now, Zref feels
no compulsion to prove anything to Arshel. He merely feels
responsible for her, and he's bemused by his satisfaction at standing
bhirhir to her.
No longer sure that this karmic story has any hold over him, he
sees their future clearly: he will pledge bhirhir to her and stand by
her as long as it takes her to rise through the ranks at Mautri from the
Green level to the White where she will no longer need a bhirhir.
Then, painful as it may be, he will keep his promise to her and let
their bhirhir dissolve. Thereafter, he will serve the Guild of
Interfaces wherever they may send him.
But, unknown to Zref, the mastermind of Lantern Enterprises has
not given up. The Mazeheart Object exists somewhere and she
intends to find it -- and gain the legendary power it can
Read Chapter 1 or Chapter 2 or Chapter
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