The Third Clue: A Pacha'ka Adventure

by Geron Kees

Chapter 1

© 2022 Geron Kees. All rights reserved.

This is a work of fiction. All characters and situations are imaginary. No real people were harmed in the creation of this presentation.

"I wish we had a Kifta alarm clock of some sort," Mike Branner said, shaking his head slowly. "We're almost to the coordinates Ilia laid out, and we need Pacha awake for that."

His boyfriend, Bobby Felsen, looked anxiously at the sleeping figure on the pillow before them. The Kifta didn't use chairs, preferring large pillows and soft pallets on the floor for resting and performing daily tasks, and this even extended to the way they ran their starships. Pacha, a polymorph, was in his favorite form, that of an Australian Koala, and it was hard to do anything but smile at how peaceful the small, fuzzy figure looked sprawled comfortably upon the pillow. The two tall pylons on either side of the little Kift glowed and shimmered as they displayed quantities of information in his native language; but otherwise the lights were down in the command center of the ship, and there was an almost mystical quality to the scene that made one want to whisper.

But the soft glow was also relaxing, and conveyed a feeling of quiet competence that was always reassuring. Illia was running the ship, the artificial mind always seeming to know just what to do no matter the situation. It was enough to give even a guy who had been kidnapped by a flying saucer in 1957 a serious feeling of awe. These galactic folk sure knew how to run an airline!

"We could all pick up the pillow and shake him a little," Bobby offered quietly, allowing just a hint of mischief to creep into his reverence. He took a breath and eased it back out, allowing his anxiety to seep away now in favor of something lighter. Flying about the universe was still a thrilling novelty to him, and he only wished he could handle it with Mike's confident calm. His boyfriend's slowness to become excited was a trait that Bobby admired greatly, and tried to emulate as much as possible. But it sure wasn't easy!

Like now. Here they were; almost to their destination, and the only one of them that knew what was happening was sound asleep! They had endured Pacha's long naps before, and the little Kift always seemed to awaken in the nick of time, no matter the situation. But what if that didn't happen this time?

"Or maybe even toss him in the air a little?" Bobby finished, trying to push his doubts away.

Across from the guys, on the other side of the sleeping figure, the tall form of Kontus 3Rowf offered a grunt. The Trichani gave a gentle shake of his ursine head, and leaned closer to examine the small form before him. "I do not think shaking him will help. Nor tossing him into the air. He very nearly slept through our last ship being destroyed. Had not he awakened at the very last moment, we would all be a smear beneath several million tons of glacier."

Mike gave a soft whistle at the memory of that event. It was the first time in his life he had really expected to die. And, had not Charlie Boone and his friends worked some of their magic to rescue them, they would all be dead, too. He smiled, briefly wondering what his friends were up to just now. Charlie had talked to Pacha only the other day, telling the Kift that they were off on some new adventure. Pacha had offered to cut their mission short if they were needed, but Charlie had told them to go on and keep looking for the Tower of Nabakeah, that they would be fine. Briefly, Mike wondered how that affair had worked out. Those guys sure knew how to find trouble!

A soft sigh from below captured his attention then. "There surely must be something more entertaining for the three of you to be doing than to watch me sleep," Pacha suddenly said, rolling over and looking up at them.

Bobby breathed a quick sigh of relief, and Mike patted his boyfriend's arm before turning his smile downward. "Wakey, wakey, Pach. Illia says we'll be at the coordinates you gave her in another hour or so of relative time."

At that the Kift sat up, stretched his arms, and then climbed to his feet. "Why are the lights down in here?"

Mike shrugged at that. "Who wants to sleep with all the lights on? I had Illia turn them down."

"It really makes the room look amazing," Bobby put in, finding a smile to offer. "Your status displays winking and twinking are almost mesmerizing in the dark."

Mike let out a brief laugh, and patted his boyfriend's arm again. "Um, that's twinkling, love." Bobby had finally embraced his gayness, and was happily exploring its dimensions. He had absorbed a whole new vocabulary since joining Mike in his travels, and his Freudian slips now and then had charmed Mike right down to his socks.

Bobby's eyes shone. "Oh, yeah."

Kontus cleared his throat noisily. "Now that you are awake, perhaps we can go over the new details you said you had?" The question was directed at Pacha, who turned to stare up at the Trichani with a well-practiced - if still slightly crooked - smile of his own. The shape of a koala's face made a smile difficult, but Pacha had managed it, nonetheless.

"Such impatience!"

Mike and Bobby laughed, knowing well by now their Trichani friend's fascination with the lost civilizations of the galaxy. The stellar empires of today were built upon the memories of those that had come before, all of which had risen into prominence, flourished for some thousands of years, and then vanished into the dusts of time. The unexpectedly short lifetime of these civilizations was a subject of debate among scholars within the five current major stellar empires, the unsettling fact seemingly apparent that no previous civilization seemed to have been endowed with the longevity needed to continue into the present day. Even the great Madracorn, currently considered to have been the most technologically advanced species in the known history of the galaxy, had not managed to hold onto what they had attained.The question now seemed clear: why had some races, in possession of technology even more advanced than that which existed in the galaxy today, failed to imbue their civilizations with a lasting quality that would test the limits of time? The question had become a matter of some concern among those in high places. The futures of their own empires were at stake, and the reason why such empires failed when they had every reason to go on was a puzzle that had yet to be solved.

Pacha was the historian among them, and most of the quests he chose to pursue were inspired by events in history that had some element of mystery about them that had never been adequately explained. Kontus shared a great deal of the Kift's passion for the past, and while Mike and Bobby, both, found their historical investigations massively exciting and fascinating, it was the actual going to and exploring these long-lost places that filled their dreams at night. Solving mysteries was one thing; standing before them, face-to-face, another altogether!

But the four of them worked well as a group, their shared interests blending more than enough that each excursion into unknown realms was an exciting quest for them all.

Kontus looked slightly embarrassed then, and managed to rework his features into an expression containing at least a shadow of patience. "Well...we are nearly there."

Pacha stood upon his pillow and extended his arms upwards towards Mike, a plea to be picked up that had the boy smiling. That the Kift seemed to enjoy the view from within the crook of Mike's arm much better than the one obtained from standing on his own two feet was the subject of playful jokes among their friends. Mike's affection for the little Kift - and Pacha's for Mike - had been forged over time and throughout many shared adventures. Pacha's practical nature seemed to appreciate the added height and lengthier stride that went along with being carried. It was hard for someone with very short legs to keep up with these taller and faster species!

Mike cradled his friend, and absently stroked his fur. "It is time to let us in on more of this, Pach. It's not fair to keep us guessing."

"Yeah," Bobby agreed. "Have you found the Tower of Nabakeah, or not?"

Pacha's brown eyes looked around at his watchers. "Well...I actually don't know. Or, I won't until we arrive at the place indicated by the first clue."

Mike emitted an exasperated sound. "Well, it might help if we all understood the first clue!"

The Kift stared up at him. "I don't mean to be enigmatic. I haven't explained the first clue because I won't know if I have interpreted it correctly until we arrive at our destination. If I am wrong, no explanation will be necessary, and we will have to start over. If I am correct, then I will explain what I have found, and we will move onward from that point."

"That actually sounds fair," Bobby said quietly, patting Mike's arm.

"Yeah." The Aussie boy smiled at his boyfriend. "It does. Can't tell people what you don't know, can ya?"

Pacha offered his tiny laugh, tchk-tchk-tchk. "Thank you."

Kontus made another sound that came across as faintly annoyed, but with that emotion directed towards himself. "I always considered myself very good with ancient languages, but Hartonin has me at a loss."

Pacha laughed again. "It's not just you, my friend. The inscrutability of that language is exactly why I am not certain of my own facts. The xenolinguistics people among my own kind have argued for many years over the meanings of great portions of the Hartonin language, without ever arriving at a consensus."

"What's so difficult about it?" Bobby asked. "Your little ear translators have mastered all the known languages in the galaxy today. Why not this ancient one?"

The Kift put on a thoughtful expression. "It is thought that the Hartonin physiology was exotic in the extreme, and yielded a language based on a two-part vocal pattern not similar to any language extant in the galaxy today."

Bobby blinked in surprise at that, and Mike smiled at his little friend's precise phrasing. When Pacha got all academic inside his head, his conversations could get pretty heavy with the big words.

"What does that mean, in English?"

The Kift blinked up at him, and then laughed. Tchk-tchk-tchk. "Sorry. I forget sometimes who I am dealing with." But the humor in his gaze was apparent.

Mike enjoyed playing with his friend, and smiled. "Now say that again, in smaller words us normal people can get a handle on."

Pacha offered a well-practiced nod of his head. "The Hartonin talked funny, because they were made funny."

Bobby chuckled, and Mike grinned.

But Kontus rolled his eyes at the overhead. "I'm happy it's just the four of us here. Were we in public, I'd be embarrassed to be a part of this conversation."

"There's five of us here," Illia reminded. "And I'm embarrassed, anyway!"

The others laughed, and the big Trichani finally smiled. But the moment did serve to relax them all.

"So, you're serious?" Mike asked, looking down at his friend. "The Hartonin tongue is strange because of the way they were made?"

"Just so. Early records indicate that the Hartonin had two mouths, and thus two separate methods of producing speech. The first mouth was purely primal, and originally placed by nature to provide sustenance - for eating. It was with this primal mouth that the original base language of the Hartonin race began, though the structure of this first mouth was not nimble enough to handle more than simple sounds. The second mouth apparently evolved over time from a nasal cavity, and was used only to produce sounds for speech. And complex speech at that, for it proved to have every bit of the nuanced sound reproduction facility lacking in the primal mouth. The Hartonin seemed to revel in this newfound expression, and the language quickly developed into something quite ponderous."

"Complicated is the word," Kontus injected, his annoyance still plain. "Impossibly complicated."

Pacha bobbed his small head. "Exactly. For instance, they developed lengthy, compound words for even simple things like shades of colors. Their descriptive language employed much more depth than we use in our own tongues. While a human might say, 'as blue as the sky', to describe a color, the Hartonin had a single compound word that described that exact shade of blue, and differentiated it from all others, each of which had its own word to describe it. This diversity in sound led to an amazingly large vocabulary, far in excess of any other known language, with some word sounds being so minutely at variance with others that separating meanings becomes difficult for the non-Hartonin ear."

Bobby whistled. "I'll bet poetry was a real pain in that language!"

Tchk-tchk-tchk. "It has made for very complex records, which even our best artificial minds have not been able to translate with complete accuracy."

Kontus held out a large hand, looking enthralled. "Would not a second mouth require a drastic change in brain function? They must have surely had to adapt to this new ability to express themselves."

"Agreed. Yet evolution is an amazing process. Nearly anything is possible, given enough time. The Hartonin records indicate that these changes occurred over a long span of time in their early history. By the time they had started to develop a settled civilization on their homeworld, the change was complete. In fact, their growing ability to produce more complex speech seems to have hastened their climb towards a technological culture. The records from that period onward quickly grow more complex as their language evolved. The last records found would seem to indicate that their brains had evolved to a point where even their view of the universe was different from our own."

"Just from having two mouths?" Bobby asked, sounding amazed.

"It would seem to have made a significant difference in their thinking," Pacha agreed.

Mike frowned at that. "So...what? They could talk to themselves? I can do that with just one mouth."

Pacha pointed a tiny finger at him. "You make light of this, but there is some truth to your words. The primal mouth remained, and had a part in every conversation. The primal mouth might suggest the subject of each change in conversation, while the conversational mouth elaborated in great detail on the points. Or, the primal mouth was used to impart emotion to a conversation by the conversational mouth. And at some times, it seems that the two mouths could even disagree, lending doubt to an information flow still expounded upon in minute detail. This dual output was a part of their thinking, and their written records. It is easy to see why Hartonin is considered the most frustrating alien tongue to even investigate, let alone to learn."

"Can't think like a native, can't talk like a native," Mike offered. "Makes sense to me."

Bobby whistled. "Can you imagine what they sounded like when they sang in a group?"

Mike turned the idea of such a language over in his mind, and had to agree. "Makes sense it would be hard to understand a language written for people with more than one method of making sounds. So how did you arrive at the information you used to have Illia bring us way out here?"

The Kift stared at him a moment, and then a note of humor crept into his gaze. "Well...I made an educated guess."

Mike's eyes widened at that. "You guessed?"

"Certainly. It's how many scientific discoveries are made. You take the information you have, put it in a bowl, stir it thoroughly, and see what arises."

Bobby laughed, and clapped a hand on Mike's arm. "Lunch time!"

Pacha smiled his crooked smile at that, and nodded. "As a matter of fact, it has been a number of days since I've eaten, and I'm hungry. Perhaps we can continue this conversation over lunch?"

Kontus ground out a laugh, and patted his own stomach fondly. "Despite my desire to pursue this ancient puzzle, I could do with a bite to eat, myself."

Mike and Bobby exchanged quick grins at that. Their large, furry friend had mastered the daily usage of English nicely, though he had acquired a definite American spin to it from Charlie Boone and his friends. "We're well into the arvo now," Mike offered. "Perhaps an early dinner?"

The big Trichani was eager now. "Would you like to cook, or shall I?"

Mike put a hand on Bobby's shoulder and drew him nearer. They had both developed some fondness for the Trichani dishes that their friend produced with great expertise. Apparently, being a bachelor was much the same everywhere in the galaxy. You cooked, or you starved!

Bobby rubbed his hands together happily. "Maybe some baked rrretachuf? With woluf garnishes, and a side of guroof?"

"Aw, man!" Mike agreed, smiling. "Would that hit the spot!"

Kontus beamed at them. "Done! Shall we adjourn to the feasting area?"

"We don't have one of those," Pacha reminded, his eyes smiling.

The Trichani sighed. "The food preparation area, then?" A faint note of faux disdain appeared in his expression. "Really, Pacha'ka, your people need to place more gusto into your meals! Food is to be savored, treasured and argued over, not merely consumed!"

"I will try to remember that," the Kift assured. He turned his eyes up to Mike. "Shall we?"

"Sure. Ilia said it was still about an hour until we arrived. Plenty of time for a snack!"

Mike swallowed the last of his rrretachuf and sat back with a pleased sigh."Kontus, the girl that gets you will be a lucky sister, you know that?"

The Trichani paused to stare at him over the width of the table. "Sister? My kind do not go in for that sort of thing."

Bobby barked out a startled laugh, and then brought a hand up to cover his mouth. "Sorry."

Mike rolled his eyes at the Trichani. "A figure of speech, my furry friend. I just meant the girl you hook up with someday will be happy to get you."

"Oh." Kontus smiled at that. "If I am not too old to mate by the time I get tired of chasing down lost empires. If I ever get tired of chasing down lost empires at all!"

"Most admirable," Pacha said. "Spoken like a true academic!"

Mike smiled fondly at Bobby, who returned the smile with equal affection. "It helps if your true love shares your liking for adventure," Mike said. "And can go everywhere with you."

Bobby sighed happily. "It sure does!"

Kontus shook his head. "I would find a female a distraction from my duties as an investigator."

Mike laughed at that. "Well, buddy, you just have to pick the times you let that distraction take hold."

Bobby nodded. "I can go with that."

Mike's eyes twinkled in response. "You sure can!"

Pacha sighed. "Can we reserve time later for the mating rituals? We should be close to re-entering normal space. Illia?"

"Yes, Pacha?" There was a hint of laughter in the artificial mind's voice, as if she had been listening to the conversation. Which, she had been. Illia didn't miss much of what happened aboard ship.

"How long until we arrive at the coordinates I supplied?"

"Approximately four relative minutes."

"Anything showing on the sensory array yet?"

"A somewhat unusual clutter of subspace gravitational signatures, indicating the possibility of a great many large stars in the vicinity. We won't know for certain until we re-emerge into normal space."

The Kift looked briefly excited by that news.

"Is that good?" Mike asked.

"Indeed. If my guess is correct, a concentration of large stars in the area would be indicated." Pacha waved a hand at them. "Come closer and we'll do a quick teleport back to the command center"

They rematerialized in that darkened room, and Pacha pointed at one of the pylons, and the lights came up. The air behind Kontus clouded, and a picture of absolute darkness appeared before them. The Trichani turned to look, and then came around the pylon to stand behind Mike and Bobby, where he could easily see the display over their heads.

They watched the dark picture as Illia counted down the last minute, and then the display blossomed into a sea of light.

They had emerged into an area of space bright with the light of suns, what looked like a group concentrated in a fairly small area of space.

"Wow!" Bobby breathed. "They look close!"

"They are," Pacha agreed, scanning the information displayed on one pylon. "They average a distance of about four light years apart. Walking distance, as stars go. Illia?"

"A mixture of A- and B-Class stars, ranging from approximately two Earth-sun solar masses to nearly ten masses. This was evidently a nursery cloud at one time, with the resulting star group adhering to a narrow set of parameters. I count ninety-three suns in this cluster."

"Are you detecting planetary systems associated with any of the nearby stars?"

"A number of them."

The little Kift looked satisfied. "Enlarge the scanning area. We're looking for free planets, traveling on their own. Let me know if you find any."

"It will be easier to survey this cluster if I move about with short transitions into the Cooee." The word that Mike had come up with for the dark nullspace through which starships traveled had been adopted by everyone on board, even the artificial mind.

"That's fine. Please do so as needed."

"Okay. We're off!"

Mike smiled at that. "Do I detect some excitement in your voice, Illia?"

"Of course! You think I'm immune to the fascination you all display at these sorts of discoveries?"

Mike's smile broadened. "Just wondering."

Illia responded with a very delighted, very feminine laugh. "Then be quiet and let me do my job!"

At one time Mike and Illia had not gotten along, but they had since become friends. Mike grinned at the response, but just nodded his head.

"You don't want to get in her way," Bobby whispered, his tone only partly serious.

"I won't," Mike replied, in a very large theatrical whisper. "She can be sweet, but she has a mean bite if you get her riled."

"I heard that!"

"Oops!" Mike smiled, and Bobby sighed. He was used to his boyfriend teasing back and forth with the Kift artificial mind.

The image on the display blinked several times as the ship performed micro-transitions through the Cooee.

"I am already detecting planets on free courses, Pacha."

The little Kift looked delighted. "How many?"

"There look to be a surprising number of them."

Pacha placed his hands together and closed his eyes a moment. "I think we have come to the correct place." He opened his eyes. "And if I have correctly interpreted the first clue, the remaining clues should conform to the same reasoning."

"Then you can tell us the first clue?"

Pacha's face twitched a moment, and then he slowly nodded his head. "We are not looking for a tower."

Kontus released a soft growl, and Mike and Bobby looked at each other questioningly.

"Isn't it called the Tower of Nabakeah?" Mike asked.

Pacha opened his eyes. "Yes. But only by reason of a poor translation. Apparently, what has long been considered one of the compound expressions used in Hartonin to describe the concept of a tower, isn't that at all. Or, at least, it has a more general meaning, and is not solely used to describe a tower on the ground."

Bobby whistled, and Mike nodded in agreement with his boyfriend. "That makes a big difference. So are we looking for a planet here, or what?"

Pacha settled back into the crook of Mike's arm and made himself comfortable. "One of several things that have always bothered me about the recounting of the story of the Tower of Nabkeah has been the nature of the object conveyed in the description. Long-held translations have considered the Hartonin compound term, Eshefateriamatrapotowinicah, to embody the concepts of cylindrical and sky-piercing. The resemblance of this word to several others known to actually describe Hartonin ruins that once were very tall and cylindrical caused early scholars to infer that this word also made reference to a tower, by simple comparison. But my own studies indicate that very small differences in the pronunciation of Hartonin compound words can convey a considerable difference in the end meaning. The important distinction here being that the term used to describe Nabakeah as a tower is similar to such known terms, but not an exact match."

Mike squinted at that. Alien languages could be tricky! "So how did you get us to this particular place?"

"I came upon a reference to the Tower of Nabakeah that included some rather mystifying words not seen before. Rather than being their standard compound structures, these words were all short, and struck me as being that way because they described something basic and immutable. One of the complexities of the Hartonin tongue is the inclusion of a time passage in every compound word as a reference, a short sequence that implies the past, the present, or the future of the object or concept in discussion. These short sequences are one of the few things clearly understood in Hartonin studies."

"Their mathematical symbols being the other," Illia put in. "While the Hartonin language is often inscrutable, their mathematical symbols are mostly well-understood, and not in question."

"Mathematics is a more universal language," Kontus agreed. "Easier to decipher symbols that can be compared to mathematical operations."

"Yes," Pacha agreed. "But back to these new words I discovered. The lack of time references in these short words convinced me that they named something not affected by time."

"You figured them out?" Bobby asked, his eyes wide.

Tchk-tchk-tchk. "Illia did. And it took her some time, which says a lot for what we don't know about Hartonin."

"What do these words mean?" Kontus asked. The hushed tone of his voice made Mike smile. Even the big Trichani was not immune to the awesome nature of discovering the past!

"They were the names of numbers." Illia put in then.

Kontus drew back in amazement. "Numbers! But I thought Hartonin mathematical symbols were well-understood already!"

"Indeed, they are," Pacha agreed. He brought his small hands up before his chest and tapped his fingertips together contemplatively. "Let's conduct a thought experiment. Suppose for a moment that, rather than the Hartonin language, we are discussing a human one." He smiled up at Mike. "Your English language, for instance. Your race vanished thousands of years ago, and all that is left is your language. One thing that is now understood is your mathematics. The symbols, that is. We know that a symbol for one indicates a quantity of one, a symbol for two indicates a quantity of two, and three, and four, and so on. We have also figured out the operational symbols, the plus sign, division, even the more complex operations. Knowing the meaning of these symbols is one thing. It allows us to follow your mathematics."

"And?" Mike asked. "What's the catch?"

The Kift made a tiny sound of glee. "Knowing the meaning of symbols is not the same as knowing the names of them."

No one spoke for a moment, and Pacha's eyes glowed happily as he looked from one face to the next. "Don't you see? Our mathematicians had solved the meaning of the Hartonin mathematical symbols, in that they understood what each one referred to quantitatively or operationally. But no one had ever found the names of these symbols...until now."

Kontus grunted. "I think I see. You are saying that, while your xenolinguistics people knew that the Hartonin symbol for the number one indicated a quantity of one, they did not know that the name of the symbol, itself, was one."

"Exactly. Consider our English example. You find an ancient bit of human script, that contains the sequence, '1+3+6=10'. Knowing the quantities and operations indicated by the symbols involved, you can understand the meaning. Now, suppose you found another bit of ancient human script, that said, 'one plus three plus six equals ten'. You do not know the names of numbers or operations, so the script has no meaning for you at all!"

"And Illia figured them out," Mike said. He smiled at the overhead. "That's our brainy girl!"

"All part of the package," Illia replied. The artificial intellect's voice sounded slightly embarrassed, though pleased at Mike's praise.

"So this means something," Bobby said, patting Mike's arm. He turned to Pacha. "It has to do with the new information on Nabakeah you discovered?"

"Yes. This new information comes from an old file on the subject, which had been put aside for several centuries because no one could figure out the meanings of the shorter Hartonin words. Once Illia identified the meanings of the words, the rest fell into place. In this particular reference to Nabakeah, I discovered several passages that apparently contained numerical sequences, but written out in spoken language terms rather than mathematical terms. The first clue - the first sequence of numbers - was a galactic reference for a location in space - the place we have arrived at now."

Kontus gave a quick look at the display, blazing with suns, and nodded. "And this place has a meaning? What is it?"

The Kift blew out a tiny puff of air. "I believe that this place was the source of the building materials for Nabakeah."

Mike gave a whistle, and joined the others now in gazing at the display. "You mean these free roving planets?"

"No." Pacha's eyes held a distinct twinkle of merriment now. "These free roving planets are what is left over. I believe that the Hartonin removed a substantial quantity of solar matter from this cluster of stars."

Kontus gave another growl then. "Are you suggesting the Hartonin removed stars from this cluster?"

"Between ten and twenty," Pacha agreed, looking delighted.

"What for?" Bobby asked, his voice sounding hushed at the very idea of such a task.

"To build something," Mike said flatly. He turned to stare at the Kift. "Right?"

"Yes. They used the mass of between ten and twenty stars to build Nabakeah. Of that fact, I am now certain."

Mike shook his head. "Then it can't be a tower on some planet! What the hell is Nabakeah?"

Pacha sighed, but his eyes seemed comfortable now with the concept of wonder. "That, now, is the question. Too much of the Hartonin language is still guesswork. But until this point, one term we are fairly sure we understand that has been used to describe the Tower has always been thought to mean grand. This has led many to assume that the tower was an opulent structure, something of wealth. I have guessed recently that this term, once thought to refer to wealth of nature has, in fact, been intended in this case to describe a wealth of size."

Bobby shook his head. "So we're looking for something big?"

"Just so." Pacha waved a hand at the stars in the display. "Something made of stars would have to be very, very big, indeed."

"Do we know where to go next?" Mike asked.

"That would be the second clue?" Kontus guessed..

"Yes." Pacha agreed. He tapped his button nose with a small finger. "The first clue provided the location from which the building blocks of Nabakeah were obtained. The second clue, I believe now, designates a place where Nabakeah was constructed."

The Trichani nodded, his eyes intent. "And the third clue?"

The Kift gave a small laugh. "Why, the third clue, of course, will tell us where Nabakeah is now."

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