The following is an excerpt from William Alan Rieser's new book, "Nadir":
Chapter 1: A Surprising Quest
By William Alan Rieser
Ancient Prail who prided they knew
All of mystery and puzzles askew
Admit one omission in the halls of heirs
And taxed poor Langford to make it theirs
Langford Joh sat passively on the fabulous Prail throne, reflecting pleasant memories of his son, Iron Feather, and the boy's numerous exploits. He allowed himself such a diversion when scanning the galaxy proved inconsequential enough to tax his authority. This seldom occurred and Langford enjoyed the respite, glancing about the wide throne-room filled with the artifacts of his life as an Ambassador and some favored artworks. For the first time in more than six months, using Earth's old temporal rationale, the green indicator in the throne's central display alerted him that a familiar entity was about to intrude on his thoughts. It could only be Nadirian. His predecessor had never interrupted Langford's precious reveries in the past.
"Welcome, Nadirian. It must be quite important or you would not have come. I am at your service."
"Not me this time, Langford, the Prail. It is a direct request."
"How may I be of assistance?"
"They have kept to themselves for private reasons and used me to interface with you. But now, something has occurred which requires your direct participation."
"You have heard me refer to the Prail as pure energy beings. That is not quite the entire truth. Each entity retains a single molecule of their former selves, to maintain contact, however slight, with physical reality."
"It is more than that, Langford. The desire that compels them to revere that molecule is to trace their origins. Most species in your sphere of influence are reasonably assured of where they came from. Not so the Prail. They have been searching for eons, without
results. I have brought with me a model of that molecule for you to examine. There, you can see on your plasma scroll how enormously complex it is."
"The Prail have never before found a trace of it anywhere, other than themselves. They are of the opinion that should the molecule exist somewhere, it might very well signify their roots."
"Certainly that is reasonable. Are you saying they have detected a source?"
"On the far side of the galaxy, almost diametrically opposed to Manic if one can imagine a diameter line."
"That is too far to fall within the purview of this throne's influence. You know that."
"True, but well within the capabilities of a dimensional probe, especially if commanded by ..."
"No. Not my son. He has too many other things to do. Allow me some leeway, Nadirian. Let me program an artificial."
"That is acceptable if you transfer yourself in echo stages if needed."
"I am willing to comply. Why do you not go? For that matter, why not they?"
"I have other tasks. Also, it is an emotional issue for me. As for the Prail, they have concluded that their impatience imperils the quest."
"I do not understand."
"I was named for the place, though neither I nor the Prail realized this until recently. It seems my sires either came from there or visited at one time. Now, of course, they are long gone and cannot be questioned. The Prail actually fear to go themselves. This quest intimidates them."
"It is known in that faraway quadrant by a secret, mysterious title. The indigenous, that is, those of star systems who have also sought it for ages as a magical site, call it Nadir."
"Nadir? I see ... your name."
Nadirian did not respond. He simply vanished like he always did when his message was completed. Langford, made somewhat uncomfortable by the unexpected request, glanced at the floor and was immediately disturbed by another new reality. He no longer
possessed feet as of that moment. Instead, his lower legs had been transformed by the Prail throne into thick tendrils, bonded bio-metallically into the seat's lower structure. Langford could not help but think that the always mysterious Prail deliberately conditioned
him for an onerous task. Then he felt, rather than saw, the dual fluorescent tubes extending from the throne's side into his neck where the carotid arteries were supposed to be. Other body sites, often considered unmentionables by human beings, were definitely altered. This could only be interpreted as some sort of magnanimous reward. He was no longer a human being.
Excerpt from "Nadir" © 2003 by William Alan Rieser firstname.lastname@example.org
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