Serialized Science Fiction.

Strange Origins
Tom Haynes

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As the days drifted by, he finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. His "drill" was almost to the Yang Linking Meridian. He could actually feel the attraction between the two. He slowed down, taking a deep and smooth breath. The Yang Linking Meridian started to quiver - it knew its day had finally come - it would soon start its real job.

There, he had the first connection to the Yang Linking Meridian. He had to now fight it. Normally, you would start cycling Spiritual Qi between the Dantian and the connected Meridian, but as he was laying a wider tunnel, he had to struggle to avoid this cycle. He slowly pushed another thread to make a connection. And then he took his time to strengthen the walls of the tunnel. He needed a consistent structure.

Once he laid the final brick, his Dantian could no longer stand it, the packed Spiritual Qi started to flow down the pipe. Oh crap, he was supposed to start with the weaker Qi. Luckily the channel was wider and hence stronger. The walls held as the heavier Qi flowed down to the Yang Linking Meridian. But it groaned as the Qi hit it - it was like a new mother expecting an eight pound bundle of joy and getting a sixteen pound monster of love.

It held, barely, and only because it could feel the love. He watched it get washed by the Meridian, slowly changing, getting denser? It flowed back to the Dantian, under his control. Control! He finally had it.

He cycled the condensed Spiritual Qi for fifteen minutes and then created a program to do it. He wasn't lazy, but he wanted to leverage multitasking as much as possible. Once he got a feel for a cultivation process, it became very mechanical.

As that task kicked in, he restarted condensing the Spiritual Qi in the Dantian. Hmm, strange, why was the condensed Spiritual Qi level dropping? Where was the returned Spiritual Qi from the Yang Linking Meridian? He calmed down as he remembered the explanation in the Comprehensive Transmission of Auric Ether technique, the returned product would actually be expelled out of the Dantian. If the Dantian was thought of a liquid core, then the expelled Spiritual Qi became a gaseous atmosphere. It would stay attracted to the Dantian, but outside it.

Once the Dantian stopped expelling returned Spiritual Qi, the goal was to then condense that gaseous layer to a liquid layer. That would expand the Dantian. Damn it, the Comprehensive Transmission of Auric Ether technique never mentioned the Martial levels - it was strictly concerned with connecting the Prime Meridians and condensing the resultant layers. It never mentioned condensing the core.

He was doubling the work easily. He could see why people stopped connecting the Meridians, especially if they has to connect before they could advance in the Martial layer. He could try it the other way, but it felt right to connect the Meridian first.

He could also start the second tunnel, but that way felt like a mistake, he would be throwing away good Qi.

Finally, the Dantian stopped emitting the returned Qi. It didn't stop sending it - which meant it was storing the excess in the Dantian. Hmm, he could stop sending it, but wasn't denser Qi better? He would find out.

At this point, he was condensing the Spiritual Qi in his Dantian twice and also condensing the gaseous layer on the outside. He was constantly tweaking the processes, making sure that the outer layer condensation had the priority.

Once that layer finally condensed, he found out that the Yang Linking Meridian was finally fully refined, but as expected, his Dantian was

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