Quantum Candy — Episode IV

Transition Doorway

 

Mathew, after eating a hearty breakfast, decided to head back down the adjoining avenue, on the opposite side of the diner. The cool morning air was fragrant, carrying  a multitude of foreign scents, very organic in quality. Walking along at a good pace he passed through the intersections, whose corners often had big lots filled with merchant stands, selling local produce and hand-crafted goods. He gingerly side-stepped the ground litter, left by the animals, and politely bypassed those who were chatting in the middle of the avenue, forming clusters of people, carts, wagons and animals. The paver stone, coursed pattern side-walks, were not width consistent on each side, but where they were wide enough for passage; he used them to avoid the slower moving people, and switched back, while avoiding other obstacles lining the exterior walls of the buildings. The majority of the dwellings, had brick-mortared, four-foot high walls with interesting geometric patterns, setting them off from the side-walks. Most of the structures he passed were made of white-washed limestone, as the main building material, with many types of wood used for doors and windows, which had clear pane, and individual colored designs.The buildings with second stories looked to be well constructed, with sturdy wooden balconies, filled with colorful plants and other assorted stuff. The front sections of the homes and businesses, lining the paved sandstone, avenue were clean, with only a mild amount of bagged trash, or other materials, stacked for disposal. Smoke was rising from the many shapes and types of roof-pipes and chimneys, and he noted the oil lamps in view through the glass windows, were of many sizes and types. The people of this city were opening up the shops and preparing meals, so the hustle-and-bustle was increasing as he walked along. When he came to the next major intersection, he just knew to head right.

The problem Mathew realized, was that he had no good idea of what he was looking for or even why. But he did know gut-wise where he was supposed to be heading. He also wondered if maybe Charlene was somewhere in this city? If not, was she in some other “reality” like himself, but if that was true he had no means of reaching her. He had no good answers to this dilemma of purpose,  and even guesses were of no real use. The downside to experimenting with unknown “substances” was not to be ignored. But how did one prep for such a journey? The robe he was wearing was like something he had seen in an old movie as a kid. His pants, shirt and sandals were comfortable, but he didn’t bring them with him. These things were provided, which while he was thankful, was still a sharp reminder he had very little control of the situation. Looking skyward, Mathew noted this world had quite a spectacular Jupiter twin rising along with the moon.

As Mathew continued moved along at a more leisurely pace, while listening to the various accents, he was not certain about the actual ethnic makeup of the people he was passing. While some people had a darker skin tone, eyes, or hair, there were those of a lighter-shade with blue-eyes. He also noted many of the females, in a wide variety of clothing styles, had shades of dark-browns and black fine-hair and green eyes. The styles of dress were quite varied for both sexes and ages, but the robe style he was wearing was quite common, on many of the men riding as passengers in the pulled carts. His pants were a darker shade of blue than most, but his white buttoned shirt looked fairly common material wise. Basically, he was not standing out as a total stranger, and so long as he did not try too hard to mix the “mind-language” duality, he was able to understand most of the spoken language of the people he passed. He was quite sure these people were not speaking the same Arabic sounding language, as spoken down at the Gate. He nodded in the appropriate courteous manner, when prompted, just as he noticed the men using between themselves, with a slight variation with the ladies. It was clear(from several arguments he took a moments glance of while passing by) that one did not just walk up to a mans wife and start up a friendly conversation. He studied the mannerisms of the men carefully, so he would not appear to be an uncivilized clod walking among them.

Having taken a rather circuitous route, mostly to the upper sloping eastern-side, [that is— if the sun (if it was indeed on such a earth similar rotation), now rising higher in the mid-morning skies along with the much closer Jupiter twin],  he had reached the end of this avenue. The sprawling city seemed to be comprised of large sections, so based on his observations, with clear distinctions from one to the next, but all of them still had a style of uniformity. Mathew glancing across the large intersection of five streets, was waiting for the traffic to clear. Here some modern street-lights would be helpful as three of these streets headed off in a diagonal. He had decided to head left and then switched over to the main cross-street. He was now headed down the next large block, of which began a more modern quality in the building styles. Along this wider avenue, the white-washed, and dark-polished granite buildings were over twelve stories high on average. These buildings were well fashioned, with lots of detailed metal embellishments around the doors, windows and hanging signs. Here too, was clear evidence of high-skill workmanship of machined goods. There was a notable difference in the use of painted wall colors, murals and other artistic embellishments, and plenty of skilled architectural engineering evident in every detail. This area was very clean with lots of plotted flowers in colorful containers and other ornamental bushes.

There was no question that this was a large, modern, sprawling city, but from his vantage point it was not clear if there were preplanned sections, or just a meandering quality to the over-all boundaries. He concluded it was not feasible to “walk” from one end to another in a single day. He stopped to allow, a set of large paired donkeys, hooked to a brightly colored, taxi-style, open-carriage to pass by, while wondering if perhaps, that these sections were different enclaves, each with their own unique attributes of people and culture. At the next block in a wide-open space with lots of trees and flowers, he came upon a thickly-clustered, open-style market. Being sold here were many different sorts of merchandise, and food products, but with lots more metal-crafted goods and tools on display. The hand-crafted items were of great diversity, ranging over the quite useful, to the more artistic clocks and general clothing. The colorful wooden, glass and metal booths, were drawing lots of buyers. Here too, were unmistakably boxed, manufactured goods, selling along-side well made hand-crafts. Most of the people he passed were well dressed and of good spirits. This was just another busy mid-morning, and so he meandered, in and around the crowds, checking out what was for sale, just like everybody else.

What really caught his eye, in a (well built) glass-display case, was a metallic octagon-shaped box of exceptional geometry. He knew right then that this was something that he needed. The gold-wire, geometric-mesh pattern seemed quite significant to him, but why, he was not certain. The merchant, a well groomed man of around forty-five with a stylish hat, clothes, a thick black-beard and dark-brown eyes, was taking notice of his attention to the gold box. With a big toothy smile, he promptly removed the gold-mesh box from under the glass display case and placed it on top, for him to look at more closely.

“How much are you asking for this item?” Asked Mathew, running his right fore-finger, along the top edge of the exceptionally well crafted, six-inch gold box. He could actually feel some kind of tension between his right finger-tips and the box itself.

“This is a genuine, prized Calanda, just arrived late last night. It is yours for twelve, gold Toba’s,” firmly replied, the smiling merchant.

Just as before when he reached inside that specific pocket of his robe he had the correct amount of the requested coin. He pulled the coins out and placed them in four stacks of three, next to the box. The gold coins were three-inches or so in diameter, of a fine engraving— including a royal looking man astride a large horse, with a mythical looking temple in the background and on the reverse side—a beautiful goddess, a  well detailed flowing-robed figure, with sun-rays around her crowned head.

“A man who knows what he wants and makes no quarrel with the price. You are now the proud owner of one of Calanda’s most unique inspirations of mystical contemplation. He only makes a limited number, of these finely-crafted art pieces every year, and you can be well assured, its value will rise well beyond the price paid today. If, there is anything else here, among my many, finely-crafted collections of merchandise which you might need—for you my good man, an additional discount will be applied.”

“Thanks, as a matter of fact, those tan boots with the silver conchos, on the back wall shelf— look to be about my size… and in this display case..,” Mathew pointed to the third one over, “that leather travel-satchel and with all of those custom travel-utility accessories, is just what I need.”

“Yes, my friend, you have a good-eye for well made goods for the traveling man.” The merchant snapped a finger and a younger boy, also well dressed and groomed, quickly fetched the boots off the wall display, while the merchant quickly set up the large satchel, naming the items, as he packed them, “On the exterior brass clasp of this well crafted satchel: a large silver-flask for water, or other liquids. On the inside, are many secured pockets, into which I am packing, a silver set of eating utensils for two, an ivory and gold shaving kit, complete with two kinds of scented and unscented shaving gel, a dozen extra grooming blades, five glass bottles with body cleansing oils, some hair and mustache creams in silver and gold metal jars, two kinds of hair combs, scissors 2 large and 1 small, 4 hand-bar soaps, several face-washing cloths of solid blue, plus, 4 folded-large silks, a tooth-cleaning tin, with 4 brushes and a clasp of tooth picks, a bottle of scented mouth-wash, 3-aromatic bottles of body oils, a large embossed tin of breath freshening candies, a small Pavero-style, bronze reading lamp, already full of the solid-pressed, scented light-gel, plus three more re-fills, another smaller silver flask for tea or coffee, 25 hand-rolled cigarettes, to each section of this embossed silver-carrier, and a custom set of inner-pouches for your coins, documents and other valuables.” He was very efficient in the packing and closed up the satchel with a large, stylish, brass-buckle which securely locked the bag. “All this is yours for one more gold Toba, with your discount of 35 percent,” stated the smiling merchant with a flourish of his hands over the resulting assembly.

“Sold,” said Mathew, feeling quite impressed, as he reached into the robe pocket, and placed an additional gold coin on the stack. After, placing the unique, gold-mesh box inside another pocket in his robe, he picked up the traveler’s satchel. He adjusted the leather straps so it was just the right length, slung it over his shoulder and snapped the brass buttons, so provided for the waist belt on his robe, and re-cinched the strap. The same boy, who fetched the boots, came out from behind the booth, with a stool for him to sit on— while he quickly removed his flat-style sandals and with the boy’s help eased on the boots. The boy had worked on a them as evident by their gleaming shine–heel to toe. The boy quickly laced them up correctly, and tightened them in turn just right. The boots fit quite well, with good arch support. He stood back up finding them to be quite comfortable. He tipped the young boy with a silver one-ounce coin from the same inner pocket, from where the gold coins arrived. More proof perhaps that this little adventure was not so random at all? The boy, perhaps the merchants nephew, so judging by his looks, thanked him, along with a hearty handshake and then zipped back around the corner.

The merchant thanked him again with a big smile for his business and then needed to attend to his other customers. Mathew politely nodded and went on down the lane feeling more confident he was more prepared than before, but for what purpose? A big puzzle with no clues except that he was prepared in a way that was rather uncanny. He continued onward.

By his sense of time he had been walking along for another two hours, when he came to a larger four-way intersection, quite different than the previous ones. This intersection, on all four corners, had ornate metal-made lamp posts and housed at the top, glass-enclosed electric lights. On the top of one them, the North side, was an artistic design of a gold winged-lion. While not quite the same as the one in the photo-ad it made him wonder just the same, had some of those “people” been here? So, he decided to take a left down this much wider street in the south direction, with well groomed, broad-leafed trees, well spaced in the center-section down this long street for miles in either direction. Here the side-walks were made of larger pavers of colored stones, perfectly flush in the joints and finished with a granite side curb. This street was finished of a finer style – Guilloche setts, than the previous cobblestone mortar/pitch jointed lanes, and the street sweepers, by the obvious cleanliness, did not allow the leavings of the donkeys, or horses, to gather and build up— as he had noticed in many previous cobbled streets. The buildings here were of a more sophisticated style of mixed architecture, with many unique window and door styles, of the shops and other business’s lining each side. There were lots of people of both ages and sexes, well dressed with some occasional moms, or dads with their small children in tow, as they went about their business.

As Mathew passed another side alley, much to his surprise, he heard a man speaking English. He came to a stop, casually peering down the clean, paved alley and saw this man, holding a kid by his right arm. Something about “stealing” toys and candy from a certain shop. He watched in great curiosity as the man, who was blonde-haired, around 5’11 casually dressed in jeans and a dark blue sweater, looking to be around thirty-seven or so, pulled the kid forcibly towards an odd, flat-looking door, with no step.

Mathew, quickly walking down the alley along the pale-yellow wall, watched as the guy opened the odd-looking entrance, with his hand flush to a blue-colored panel, and pulled the kid inside behind him. Mathew reached the same spot only to realize, this door was painted on the wall, with an odd-geometric pattern along the arched exterior edges. Inside the arched, painted out-line was a sophisticated, full-color anamorphic graphic. Directly across from this oddly, painted-entrance, was a large wall-mural of exceptional detail and graphic quality. Glancing upwards the over-head sky was quite the sight as well, as the moon joined the Jupiter twin and its moon. He looked both ways down the long alley, noting there was no one else around. Quite curious, he pushed against the blue-panel, with his right-hand, exactly as the man had done. His hand met a slight resistance at first, then passed right through the painted doorway. Quite astonished, he too went through this  odd door, that wasn’t there physically, and yet, was a normal looking door on the inside.

Mathew found himself, now standing inside a narrow hallway, which was lit by equally spaced, small oil-lamps along the walls top-section left-side. Looking down the hallway, he noted on each side, were rows upon rows of stuff, like a pack rat had been organized for awhile, and then one day– just gave it up altogether. More stuff was crammed into every nook of these shelves than his eyes could discern. Ignoring for the moment, the strangeness of it all, he quickly moved down the long hallway, as he could still hear the guy, in English, still chewing out the kid for stealing. Apparently, the boy was his nephew, and this was not the first time, he had been caught stealing from the local merchants. The uncle was clearly not happy with the nephew at all.

At the end of this long hallway, was a sharp right-turn. He turned the corner just in time to see them both, just walk right through a large mounted painting, just like a couple of damn ghosts, or something.

Mathew, rather perplexed by the implications, reached the same spot of the coursed brick-wall, where the hallway ended. In the center-section hung a large painting—landscape style, lots of people and kids in a green park, placed at eye-level. He reached out to touch the painting only to find here too, his hand passed right through the canvas, and wall itself. Mathew, cautiously stepped right on through the wall and found himself in a large, impressively decorated room, with numerous landscape themed paintings, hanging in the same ordered positions, all around the octagonal shaped-room. There were also numerous large, metal and wood storage-hangers, with even more paintings stuffed inside. Along the center-left-wall was a revolving style-door, which was wide open, leading into another large room, so stuffed with these rolling hangers, there was no space left to walk between them. He went down the four polished granite steps, walking across a remarkable design in the polished granite. The room had to be around thirty-five feet in diameter. He went up the steps on the opposite side. He then went out the door thinking he had better give this a guy a shout-out or something.

Mathew, stood there for a moment, studying the spacious, well decorated room so lit with electric lamps. The guy suddenly came at him from the other side of the doorway, where he had crouched behind a large cabinet.

“Who the hell are you!” He shouted slamming into him. Mathew found himself furiously grappling with this guy, duly noting the fury in the guys voice and blue eyes, and so decided he had better get the situation back under control quick—so he shoulder flipped the guy hard onto the floor and then roughly picked him back-up, then body tossed him, rather forcefully into the opposite wall. The blond-haired guy slumped to the floor and looked up at him quite dazed.

“Look pal, I heard you speaking English, in a city, which nobody else speaks period, so naturally— I followed you. Only I had no intentions, of causing you any harm. So if we can now speak to one another without any further violence, that would suit me just fine. How about you? ” Mathew stared him down like any other fool out-of-his-league.

“You really do speak English?”

“Indeed.”

“What the hell, man? You scared the crap out of me,” he emphasized, while rubbing his shoulder.So, where exactly, did you come from anyway to get here?”

“Well, that’s a rather tough question to answer. So I will just tell it straight. Originally I am from the United States, specifically, New Imperial City, the State of South California, year 2037, roughly Aug. 6th. Although, I can’t be entirely sure of the time factor—I had a rather, unique stop before arriving here directly at the Gate. A journey in itself, which I have absolutely no way of explaining. I wandered around for a time and I just happened to be going down the street, with the lion emblem, when I heard you yelling at the kid. In English, no less, so naturally, I had to check it out. You would do the same? Right?

“Yeah, your right… that’s what I would do as well.” He rose to his feet still wincing in pain from where his shoulder hit the wall. “My name is Alex R. Bell. This is my house. I am originally from the small town of Morrisville, located in the State of Iowa, United States of America, that is until roughly May 21st, 1949. We really do seem to have a lot to discuss…. Mr?…”

“Oh, Mathew Everette.” He thrust out his right-hand and the two of them firmly shook.”Sorry about the shoulder and wall throw. I trained in several styles of self-defense all through high school and college.”

“Nice moves all right, very effectivetoo.  So having come to a more peaceful mutual understanding, why don’t we go on out here to the terrace, where I have my cozy attached bar next the pool, and have ourselves a nice conversation, Mr. Everette. I have the distinct impression this is going to be a real barn burner… and boy, will I be needing a drink.”

“Yeah, I believe your right, about that,” dryly replied Mathew, while following Alex out through the french style-doors to the terrace/deck pool area. ” A real nice nice set-up you have here Alex.” He took off the satchel and the robe, placing them next to the chair, which Alex had pointed to beside a round table. He took a seat, still admiring the large pool and terrace.

“Thanks Mathew,”replied Alex, going behind his custom bar. “My dad and I built most of this ourselves, with some labor help from the locals. He was a materials engineer by training, but he dabbled in anything he wanted, or needed to understand. We came here by means most people would not only call unconventional, but impossible.  My Father was recruited right out of college by this secret-order called the Group. Your typical super-secret idle wealthy types, who were so paranoid, they caused more grief than any problem they claimed to solve. Back in the day, it was him and another buddy of his William Mathewson, that really put legs on this project, which another set of lab guys from overseas, had been working on for about a year or so with no success. A project to reverse engineer these very unusual, highly-advanced quantum devices, of uncanny design. Really way out there kind of deal. Another buddy of my Dad’s, from the same college, named Eliot Prescott, was recruited into the Group through my dad. Major genius while slightly eccentric. Anyway, after a time, they managed to eventually get their hands on the entire set of the fifty-two device cards. My dads team spent months doing all of these tests on each one. However, the main device card, was this kinda weird looking, Ace of Spades. My dad and Eliot, basically, figured out the card sequences necessary to make all of them operate, at the same time, on the mind, as a team.

Alex came back around the bar with a couple of fancy shot glasses, coasters, a small ice-bucket and a bottle of whiskey. He pulled up a seat across from Mathew, placing the shots on the coasters.”This is my wife’s favorite mahogany pool-side table, so we must use coasters or else, we both die.”  He dropped two cubes each in a shot glass then filled them in turn.

“Thank you,” said Mathew, after having stopped laughing. He took a slow slip of the whiskey, “smooth blend alright. Wait, did you say Ace of Spades?

“Yeah, all of these devices have the card deck designs we have back on Earth. Freaky really, because our so called modern designs developed from an older period out of China. There was some kind of connection to the past, that no one really paid much attention to specifically, except as a curiosity. Which was a huge mistake really, but yeah, the control card is the Ace of Spades.”

“Did your dad or Eliot, figure out why it looked so weird?

“Eliot was the one who managed to figure out, a few aspects, of the strange graphic thing going on in the background. He claimed it was some kind of 5-d, telemetric math-plot, which updated itself in 2-d. Beyond that theory, nobody else ever figured out anything, mainly due to the impossible math. The reverse image on all the cards, was the hyperbolic diagram, which they thought, was signifying a warping, of quantum space-time.”

“Did your dad and his teams figure out what these cards were made from?”

“No, not really… they knew after a whole lot of experiments, that the  cards were made out of some majorly advanced materials—get this; simultaneous ferroelectricity and ferromagnetism! Plus each “card” can store and process information in the same location—memcomputations— or something, anyway, the lab teams were unable to replicate the materials used– as the principle materials, they claimed, were optimized through a process of nano-structuring—basically, manipulations of the magnetic domains. Radical science for that time really. So Eliot figured out the key mental functions used to initiate the cards functions, and my dad and the research teams, tried to understand the principles behind the quantum functions, of these magnetic spirals. These lab guys realized these magnetically-stable entities, which were discovered by trial and error, behaved like particles, arranging themselves just like atoms, only in a two-dimensional lattice, and only in specific materials, based on one-atomic-layer of iron, on iridium. They were getting decent results, but never in the same ball-park as the cards themselves. The real problem, was most of that research was so secret, our guys never knew where their results went, or to whom. Eliot essentially, just out-smarted the control freaks and made all kinds of Ad Hoc discoveries on his own. Wild shit too, right out of spooks-ville central.”

“Was this guy, Eliot— by any chance, about five-ten or so...” Mathew was thinking old-bum, former scientific maverick, Ace card, yeah, might be a match. He watched as Alex, standing back up, went back behind the bar and picked up a framed picture from one the lower shelves. “Here take a look at this photo—You tell me?” He poured himself another shot of whiskey with no ice this time.

Mathew studied the young looking guy in the photo so pictured with nine others.”Yeah, this one here is the crazy old bum, alright. And he was stinking like hell warmed over mind you. There is no question that this is the younger version, of the older version, who approached me at a bus stop a little after midnight, a few weeks back. He had the Ace “Induction” card along with this crazy ad… for a pizza joint in 1947.”

You’re shitt’in me! Both the “Ace of Spades” and the pizza Emporium ad copy?”

“Indeed. Totally on the level. That old son-of-a-bitch by-the-way, vanished right before my eyes, while holding the receiver to the pay-phone.”

“Blue-field, did he look all blurred out…”

“Yeah, exactly… blurred out and then poof gone…”

“That’s how they retrieve the escapees.”

Escapees?

“Man you have no idea what you have gotten yourself into Mathew, seriously, what you saw was Eliot’s mindless, bi-location double. And somebody on the other-side finally retrieved its dumb-ass. Eliot had a dozen or so of these copies of himself running around, as a consequence, of the experiments he came up with in order to find out how these “transduction” devices were able to transfer matter, or people, into other Realities. The Group however, mainly had their pet guys perform hundreds of these “reward” tests, which were bad for the test subjects, while still helping our guys to eventually determine a working theory of what was behind the cause and effect. My dad and his team, engineered these safe-houses where they could perform the “tricks” and that pizza ad is an “Instance Image”  to guide the consciousness of the user to reinforce specific constructs, that is a framework upon which the “Quantagraph” is literally translating exotic matter into our physical plane. You did read the back of the ad, right?”

“Yeah, memorized it in fact, along with the scripts.”

“And obviously you were successful in obtaining “Rewards” from the other-side, or you wouldn’t be here at all. Well, you are either one lucky bastard or a set-up.”

A set-up?

“Yeah, that’s what the Group called people they used to see what these “Rewards” actually did to the human body and mind. The guys they used would go through a gimmick like a “Grifter” on some poor unsuspecting “Mark” and get them all wound up in the mystery, and all, then guide them to a safe-house, where they would film the activities. They did this to so many people— my dad told me it got way out of control. These other “guys” were just damn evil. My dad and the others on his team side, started having serious misgivings about where these other “guys” were going ethically, and otherwise, only to find out near the end, there was no escaping.”

“So this is when you came here?”

“Actually, that’s about the time my Dad and Eliot hatched a plan, with four other of the seven guys in that photo, to destroy all the original cards. But it was too late. So in an act of sheer desperation, they managed to replace the Ace of Spades, seven-of-Diamonds, King of-Clubs and the two of Hearts, with passable fakes, which the Group took elsewhere. You see the devices are meant to work together. Every lay-out produces like a base-line— a specific path— for the top-end of the result. By removing these cards the rest of them are significantly impaired, not enough power or something. Anyway, the Ace is the main controller card and is the most powerful of them all. There were lots of really unpleasant side-effects from that damn card, as in waking nightmares, full on too, out-of-this-world, bad shit, which killed the “Actuals” while leaving behind the “Bi-doubles,” which were mostly harmless. Not like the worst of a man, but more like his candy-ass version. No real will at all. Unsettling, in practice when you get right down to it. Made females into sex slaves which led to a whole other ethical disaster. These Group guys just did some real evil-shit during that time-period and my dad and Eliot wanted nothing more to do with them. Which didn’t go over very well. Once your in you stay in… or so they told my dad, while threatening to kill every one of us.”

Mathew, took another long sip of the high, quality whiskey. Then he explained everything that had happened since meeting the old duplicate version of Eliot. Alex made no interruptions while listening very carefully. His eyes got wider as Mathew explained the last leg before arriving on this world.

Holy fucking hell... you really are on a whole other level my friend. Sorry to hear about your gal too. I never heard anybody ever mention that kind of a high-level encounter, period. And the “rewards” unbelievable— our guys never received anything more than a shot or so of stuff, in any one time, very potent mind you, but really small amounts. Not gushers out the damn phone-booth slot returns… that is just wild crazy… and those knobbies, you are sitting on a fortune— if it plays out that way of course. But, I think you also realize, that there are some real down-falls to these amazing “quantum stuff” materials, which really cannot be ignored. We found out the hard way in 1949, nothing comes without a price.”

“So what about 1949?”

“Let’s see… how do I put this… a whole lot of very bad things sorta just converged into one steaming mass of major fuck-up. Basically, our world ended due to a Cascade-Time-failure. I was like ten or so and my dad roused me and my mom out of bed early in the morning scared out of his mind. Never saw him like that before ever. Anyway, we took off down the road and he drove like a damn mad-man to this underground facility. Once we were inside we high-tailed it to the lower levels, where all the staging processors were located and we, along with all these other families, went through the machines— and when we came out— we were here on this Earth variant.”

“So we are in the same galaxy like twin or something?”

“Sort of, but a whole different Manifold-Instance of space-time. Tonight you can look up at the stars and see for yourself. On this variant, as you no doubt noted the Jupiter twin, we are not in the same exact solar-system configuration, or the exact same Milky-way galaxy, but here it is called the Dragon Nebula Galaxy. Which is what the ancients named this one. You see here on this planet, other beings way more powerful than the human species has ever been period, are on the top-rung of the ladder-of-life. Here, they called the shots, and populated this world, with us lowly humans to labor for them… as in worship, to work for the gods…. they built civilizations all around this planet, just like they have on dozens of other planets. Right now we are in a lull of sorts. No one has seen any of their ships in several hundred years. Something about time-dilation.. and a war for a major worm-hole. Remember the ad copy…?”

“Yeah, the key to the Manifold… ”

“It may sound really out-there, but one look around the night-sky here and it all makes a tiny bit more sense. As it was explained to me by Eliot, in one of his more lucid talks, every galaxy is a Macro “Instance” in a grand Order of Manifold Creation. Everything is always under the “Big Laws” Simultaneous, Instantaneous and Spontaneous action. However, due to the effect of time-dilation, there is a specific beginning and an end… therefore, there is a defined middle. According to Eliot’s theory, this is where the real action takes place, not the start-and-end time-frames, which are the just the same impossible points— forever resolving into a “Möbius strip” of non-linear infinity.” 

“An infinity of no time or space?”

“Well, a no-time-no-points kind of non-referenced place on one side, and our self-referential point existence, on the other. Eliot described it as “Boundless Infinity” moving through a wave-function called Space-Time, but infinity itself never actually moves, only the coordinate-point-dimensions bound in Time, which of course describes everything else that does. Everything that moves can be described by four points in simultaneous correspondence, and the laws of physics, are the results, in every scale of the dimensions, in total resolutions. So on the micro-scale is energy potential resolving to its highest-state of expressed power, on the other end of the scale is the Mass-Macro resolving to its maximum conserved potential, but in counter-point to these two dynamics of torque Tension, are the at rest states—Quiescent, and that’s where the real magic takes place. Or so he claimed. Eliot was rather spun towards the end.”

“So what about these “instances” on a micro state level… the quantum?”

“Well, lets take a look at one of dads favorite “Q-Trick” boxes.” He quickly retrieved a three by three foot box, with its parts, including a wooden tripod stand, from under the bar. He slid each glass-pane into its slot and placed the cube on the stand, upon which it could turn freely. “Now, this is a cube with precise grids etched into each glass pane, of which it is enclosed. Every cube of space in this box, is so referenced, with every other. Any reference to these three-points in a cube of space, can be called an open Quantum-Reference-State, but the more interesting question is—in how many “other dimensions” can another point connect, back to a point in a closed QR-State? Entanglement theory gives us some interesting answers. So, if I take this ceramic sculpture of a white-cat, thereby, placing it into the box, upon closing the glass lid, you see the side panel lights are now green. Now, by placing these gold-metal-plates over each glass-side, the box is now in a specific, closed-state. Our consciousness is seemingly blocked by the closed-state. We cannot see into the box and no information is coming out-of-the box. Now think of a color…”

“Royal blue.”

“I now remove the gold plate…on this b-side. We now see a royal-blue cat. I now close the box yet again, and I am thinking of a red-cat. I remove your plate side-b and now the opposite side-a. Looking through your “instance” we see a royal-blue cat and when I turn the box, by rotation to the left, we see my red one. We cannot see the cat in both states simultaneously… as I turn the box to the right, it is already royal-blue by the time it comes into view. It was found that you cannot rotate the box fast enough to ever get ahead of the “Instant” it changes. Thus, every instance is in a time-dilation relationship to the conscious mind which decided the primary state. It is this unique function of consciousness which allows any of us to hold in time our own memories.”

“Now watch… as I place this funny looking sphere into the box.”

“I close the box with the gold covers and re-open the end side-f. Now the cat is gone. The cat is now in a 5-d state, which can be solved by quantum referencing, but not by our consciousness. The cat is literally in another state our minds cannot perceive. The limit of “Exclusion” allows us to be in our moment of “Inclusion” thus, balanced. When you take one of those “Rewards” you are turning yourself into an “Instance” which is following the time-dilation laws— 22.7 being a mathematical reference, to this connection of three-states finding equilibrium.”

“Now one more quick example. After closing and re-opening the box and removing the white-cat, but not the sphere, I re-close the box. I now flip the box on its other end side-e. I replace the gold-covers so the box is closed. Now I want you to think about one your favorite foods quite specifically. Imagine going around that meal and right through the center with every scent and texture. Hold that memory as intense as you can and then stare at the white-cat.”

“OK…  whoa it just turned royal-blue for just a second.”

“Exactly…. however, I saw a red-cat. Now I re-open the box—top-side-d and we have a large, deluxe-pastrami with all the fixings, my memory and a hot thick, sirloin steak, on the plate with big plank-style fries, which has to be yours.”

That is quite the trick alright.

“And so lunch is served.”

Mathew took the plate from Alex, still hot.”So this box pulled an “Instance” of memory from our consciousness?”

“Not exactly. We are entangled at all times, but not in the same period of time-dilation. What we really did was allow a quiescent space—the white-cat— to allow the magic to happen. Your memory referenced a q-state of the original—holographic in essence–conscious memory— and instantly replicated that q-moment, but with some help. Look at it this way. Our consciousness came from our God— the originator. The God consciousness came from its source The Creator. The consciousness of the Creator comes from, yet another origination, yet is forever referencing everything in future-past-tensions. Therefore, we are derived from that dynamic as well. We do have exceptional potential— if we ever reach that state of course. Most never even try.” Alex handed Mathew a fork and a steak knife, from a drawer on the other side of the custom bar. With another knife, he cut his sandwich in half and placed the other half on a separate plate. He opened a big bag of Henry’s spicy chips and poured out some on each plate. He also grabbed a couple of bottles of cold ice-tea.

“My nephew is going to be hungry as well. So how is that steak?” Alex cut his share of the sandwich, in half again, before taking a big bite. He washed down several more bites with his tea. He got back up and went back around the bar, picked up another photo from the lower shelf and came back out.

Mathew had been taking his time with his steak and fries before answering.

“Alex, this steak is perfect. Every plank fry is crisp with good flavor. It’s just as I remembered from when my dad and I ate at that very fancy restaurant, one Sat. night, just for the hell of it— cost him a small fortune. But he was one happy man. My dad and I had a good time no matter haw bad things were as a rule. He never sat around moping or feeling sorry for himself. He worked his ass off basically, but still managed to do the things he really liked, so we had a good balance between chores and adventures. He drove a big rig for a living. Him and all his brothers as well. It could be a very impressive assembly when they managed to be at the same place.”

“Check out this picture here,” said Alex, who then, continued eating the remainder of his sandwich and chips.

“What the hell is that?”

“Legend says it is our true source.”

“Where did this image come from?” Asked Mathew amazed at the image detail. He took a big swig from the ice-cold tea.

“That is a hi-res. copy of just one slice of a panoramic image obtained by a very— shall we say, well-connected group of Pferien, mostly translated as “pirates” who have access to some very high-level stuff. What that structure is technically speaking, nobody knows. What is known is simply what it is called— the Creator’s Nest. These are objects, or structures of some kind that are trillions of light years in diameter. This green-negative luminescent void is the real sub-space continuum… where a ship can travel both forward and backwards in time… speed being the key factor. Well, if you jumped into one of the top-of-line models and you were able to go a “million times a million” so faster than light— you might reach in a couple of million years, in the past or future, the outer-boundary zone, and then from there, maybe several million more years, to maybe reach the first-inner-boundary zone. The legend states all galaxies, are anchored by gravity, as a memory of time, to these Creator-Nest’s, in an Order so mind-boggling to our primitive brains, the Pferien claim it drives the mind to madness.  Eliot did the same thing basically to his own mind, but for a whole other reason.”

“So after all of these experiments on himself, he was balls to the wall nuts?”

“Yeah, pretty much…. Eliot had bi-located so many times, he had no idea which reality, he perceived, in any given moment, was actually real. Remember the warning, not to set the “Induction” card next to a TV or radio for any extended period?”

“Yes.”

“Well, Eliot is the reason they put that warning into the script. He discovered that by tuning a card, specifically the King of Clubs to the same frequency coming into a standard TV model, a resonate state developed. The card tuned the mind and thus, triggered a full on hyper dream-world, of whatever was playing on the screen. The King Club card, as a rule, computes the “reality Matrix,” but the consciousness makes the result hyper-real in unique ways. Like singular fluctuations which give rise to other parallel-synchronicity-states, but one of them would turn bizarrely different. Basically, it was like opium to the consciousness, in full, eye-ball-peeling glory. Now going into that state, say a couple times, over the course of a year was not a problem, but for Eliot and quite a few of the “Upper-levels” this was a week-end becoming a 24/7 play-ground, from which they never wanted to leave. But those “big” rules give no quarter to the rich and or fools alike.”

“They spun their brains.”

“Boy, did they ever—and they slowly became something else. When you initiate a transduction, it is a pretty good chance you get one of them. Not always though, there are other connections, bad ones, which you would know right now, if you got one of them. Cussing and dire threats is one thing, a waking nightmare, is a whole other ball-of-wax. One of the other guys Remero, inducted a call and was just sitting there all peaceful like on the monitor, even as he was chewing off his fingers like they were fish-sticks. When the security team went in— he killed half-of them with what was left of his bare-hands. He went full-on ape-shit nuts, while they tried to kill him, with everything they had on em… this guy just wouldn’t die. Something else was inhabiting his body and all they did was piss it the fuck off. That too, was a very bad week-end. After that, much stricter protocols and security measures.”

“How long was this before the world ended…. ’cause I am still not quite following you in that regard.”

“A bitter twisting story which has no real resolution. A cascade failure of damning results. Basically it boiled down to this… a foreign royal somebody from some other planet came here in 1947, with an advanced hyper-or FTL ship and crew looking to make a deal. What he wanted was classified, but the scuttle-butt was Cobalt, plus other enriched bomb-making material, oh, and Red-Mercury. The rumor is things went sour at some point and the deal went side-ways. Bad plan as always by these greedy fucks running the show behind the scenes. Well, what I learned over the many years was this “royal” guy had his ship out-of-phase to our manifold base-line, and his shipmates used some kind of time altering super-weapon… and as a result back in 1945 a time-stream fault occurred–the emergence of the cascade failure. Like a skip in a record–the two sides of that skip will never meet again, as they cascade into infinity–then collapse back to the same point moment. Rinse and repeat. The world I came from collapsed back into the past. It does not exist any longer. The world you came from took its place, instantly, only with some serious anomalies in the past cycles of matter to time conversion. Like taking two wholly separate flavors of ice-cream and mixing them with a super-blender. The out-come is smooth as silk, but the flavors are a new state neither occupied before. Time re-emerged into this impossible conglomerate of these two states— hell, maybe even more… but I think you are getting the picture.”

“So we have this mixed in and up past….? Dinosaurs and men walking in the same place in Texas and yet they never really met kind of deal?”

“Right! You got it. Things that cannot be in the same state at the same time converged violently. Lots of volcanic actions, as well, due to the big-ass energy signature.”

“And this was triggered by one ship?”

“A weapon aboard that ship, yeah, but here is the kicker… In your history who won the first world war?”

“We did… the allies.”

“Right… and America was settled when?”

“Early 15th century— after Columbus… Pilgrims..”

“Sure… in our original time stream America was not settled until after 1887. In 1913 the Germans kicked Frances ass, and then the English, and came across to the fledgling colony cities and took them over as well. In 1938— a simultaneous coup d’état occurred in the German and Spanish royal palaces, by Communist sympathizers; allowing the Russian Communists to violently take over both countries, soon followed by most of Europe. By 1945 America finally broke out of its cynical slumber, rallied troops and ships, finally joining with the English and French under-ground. We then kicked-ass across Europe under General Patton. On March 15th, 1947 we A-bombed the communists in the four remaining military strong-holds in Russia. Now around August of 1947 the military was approached by three chosen spoke-persons who had been contacted by the crew aboard that ship. High-level guys they had carefully selected from National broadcasts. They saw us using those bombs in March and wanted to trade with us advanced technological knowledge. However, our shit-for-brains-guys did the old double-cross move, taking the royal guy prisoner, plus, they kept all of the Induction Devices. So in retaliation these guys did something else as pay-back. They collapsed our time-wave like turning off a light switch. Only time-dilation threw in a curve-ball—this time the cascade collapse formed an island of time, just like a bubble existing long enough for us and many others to escape, but this bubble became something else.”

“And this saved the royal guy?”

“Not exactly as they planned. You have to keep in mind nobody really knows where they screwed up exactly. But they went into this sub-space and went back before they made the initial contact.

“They doubled-down on their own tracks, but in a bad way?”

“Real bad, as in total disregard for the consequences of their selfish actions. Basically, they attempted to rescue, their “leader” before he made the fateful contact, call that line segment-A only they screwed up. These cards are already out-side of normal time/space and so they inadvertently doubled them!”

“The originals were doubled in the past?”

“Not only were they doubled, they followed some bizarre unknown rule in which the re-materialization landed them in locations based on where they were they being used, when these nuts slipped past the original line segment-A. My dad called this vertical time-displacement and Eliot figured out the  basic corresponding locations of the duplicated cards.”

“Did the original set vanish, after they attempted rescue?”

“Well, not exactly, when they attacked us the second time, with a high-powered beam-weapon, they may have been trying to destroy the cards. However, they had already unleashed the cascade failure, the first time around and so they bounced. Essentially, they unintentionally, time-shifted for some reason back to 2019, and of course everything went bonkers in the early morning of 1949, on the other side of that echo.”

“And you know all of this for a fact?”

“Personally, no. However, my dad and Eliot argued about all this rather bitterly, up to the time they split apart. But I figure it like this: Spin-up and spin-down time-waves behave in reciprocals. A length of time was ruined essentially and had to be replaced. However, there was this bad spot…”

“A bad spot in the time wave?”

“A bad spot, that these nuts from somewhere else, were hell bent on using, with their Q-tech advantage, to hedge their bets, and so when they did the dirty-deed, the second time, they were literally trying to re-phase the Earth, so they could take over key points in time. They failed technically speaking, but may have started the Chinese people as a result. But the rinse and repeat cycle wasn’t finished yet.”

“So what are you saying… that the world has been reaching a point in the future and collapsing back into itself?”

“Pretty much… The consequences of this being, these fools royally screwed us good. But that is where the knot problem starts.”

Knot-problem?” He finished his meal and his whiskey. Alex poured him another.

“When they pulled their little time-wave stunt, they went back into the past, time-slipping to a new point,  and the previous state, entangled with the second producing a third out-come. Time theory was based on some monumental errors, and these other “non-terrains,” made lots of mistakes, they never considered the doubling aspect, so we already had the devices, which we lost no memory of and were discovered as “objects” lost in the recent past. We re-collected them, or I should say the Group did as IF this other origination never happened!

“My brain is looping a like noodle here… so we had the devices, before the second attack and the originals were still operating?”

“Bingo my friend! We were already in full use of them, but with some interesting oddities, due to the fact, that all of the projects were in full operation, and a good many of those people, who were in these “other” states of reality, as a consequence of the “Cascade Failure” were now trapped, like a bubble in a bubble. Including Eliot, whose docile-double was working along side my dad the entire time. When the second point was re-reached all the “bubble realities” re-stabilized back into our time-stream. We had been “transponding” with them, without knowing the full story.”

“Holy crap, you were calling your own guys!

“Yeah, is that crazy or what?  Our guys, really had no idea, how bad the time-streams were spun… Eliot started figuring this out real quick-like once he returned, but it was too late. Plus, he was already on the verge of an emotional collapse, after having had to dematerialize his own self.”

“Did these people who were “doubled” die and like come back again?”

“No… I think far worse actually. While in those bubbles, they cannot die normally, so they have been radically changed. It is a tough call because life is not real there either, but behaves within the rules so set in motion. You have to travel into one of these bubbles, to know what that is exactly, as I have no clue. Those phone calls however, they are due to them having some of the duplicated cards,which were fought over once the time-stream re-emerged normally after 1949. By coming here in a panic, we avoided the worst aspects of the entire tragedy. And that is another reason why there are so many gaps in what we know about the cards, prior to the Group re-collecting the majority of them.”

“I imagine there was quite a bit of fighting over the Ace cards?”

“As best I know the duplicated one ended back in our possession, but it was never of the same power level. Which also explains why your rewards are so much more prodigious. You my friend have the original… but like I said there is quite a bit of mystery here I have no way of solving.”

“So maybe they all got mixed up with each other, leading to yet more entangled time-consequences?”

“The cards can sense one another. So they do inhibit certain actions of destruction upon themselves. So yeah, the mind gets a little noodled trying to make sense of it all. But as best as I know—the island which survived the second collapse wave—is the anchor— of this other set of “realities” from the first— which in turn contributed to the skip— and produced a counter-reaction, which ended the cascade bounce in 2019. What that means specifically, I have no idea. You lived through that period, so maybe you can finally figure out what really happened. All I know for sure is that those that were trapped, they really want to control the rest of the cards, but they cannot leave that state.”

“So they send out bi-location doubles or something?”

“Maybe… I have no firm proof just the odd results to go by. All I know is they cannot escape without immediately, under-going a radical aging re-set. Bad too. Which is why I stayed here—safe and sound– to stay alive while  keeping out of the web of trouble, so to speak. You see of those remaining original cards, two of them are here—the King of Clubs and Seven of Diamonds. Two of the guys of my dad’s team, died in a bad deal,neither should have attempting. As a result, the ruling Caliph, got his hands on both cards. My dad and I tried to get them back, but the Caliph raised the price out of our reach, and considering, we were way out-numbered, for any kind of fight, we simply gave up.”

“So both of your parents are still here as well?”

“No not any longer. After a time my parents decided they really wanted to go back home. Or what they thought would be home. But things had really changed. Worse yet, they too, aged dramatically, after they returned. They made a rather futile attempt to salvage, the rest of the surviving group, but they died before they succeeded. They died of old-age in your time-line of 1998 or so. The time-dilation calculations are not precise, unless you have some serious computer power.”

“Do you ever go back?”

“Only twice early on before my parents went back. After the last time I stayed here for good. I get really sick physically from “translating” from this world to any other. I do fine with the translators here, but all travels are all in real time. If I go… like I did this morning, to collar my errant nephew from Mr. Kritchkins shop, I am right to the second— on both sides. It is a whole other story going from one world to another.

“So your parents, and this “Group” had equipment located, on different planets?

“Yes— but the Group was very limited in its scope. Only those who came here with us were a part of the later excursions. Of all the other Earth variants they visited, during this time, they found only this one is the most stable in every category. Most of these other “earths” were just savage worlds, with just a few areas that could be used for food production, or mineral extraction. But with no resources on that level for anything, it is just a huge, unwieldy complicated job to do anything substantial— including just to clear the land for building up a weather, animal, bug-proof settlement. Here on this world, there was already a fairly well advanced culture, not unlike our own, with just a few minor differences in the religious make-ups, and of course the high-technologies, of the space-gods or Aqroya, especially in the oldest city Avageen.”

“So this planet is well settled?”

“Not like the earth population wise, maybe a third.  The city you came from is actually on the opposite southern continent, from where we are located here, which is called Bursheda—mountain-mining people. Today, it is a mix of people with some interesting genetic parallels to the Persians, some India-ish, northern Europe, but with a very colorful Pantheon of Deities they all believe in or serve.  That walled-Gate you entered is where the transient-labor guys come in mostly. About four miles in the opposite direction of the avenue Brequippa, you walked, is a fairly sophisticated train station. They go from there westward to the rolling Puhwantcha Fields— a major grain growing region, just like the Mid-west, as far as the eye can see— where these guys make decent wages if they work hard. The land owners are real heavy-handed with anyone not of the four primary kin-groups, mostly petty stuff, but they have a real lock on the work-trades in that entire area. Once you come up the hill and passed into the Gesnetti District, it is a much more visitor friendly. I know of the guy where you bought your boots and satchel. He has a good reputation for quality merchandise, but his brother gets into some real trouble. Sort of like my nephew. That brother of his was in prison for awhile for looting a merchant-exchange bank. Quite the scandal too. One off the female heads of the loan department was his secret lover.”

“So basically, your dad and his team were able to build the technology themselves to transwarp into these other realities?”

“The early models of the “interface” were built by my dad and Eliot, once they realized how to manipulate the referencing function of the cards, when they had all of them together, to study on the first time-segment. They had all the best brains and money to build the technological systems, primarily for the upper-crusts to play around with initially, but after awhile, they received all the materials gratis to continue their own experiments. They built hundreds of these translators and interfaces, eliminating defects as they went along. Eventually, they had them compact enough, so they could be moved around by truck, or horses if need be, as the actual devices are only a few hundred pounds. It’s the need for electricity and super-conductive magnets, which has been the problem. Which is why I am here. That distant roar you hear is a water-fall of fairly impressive flow rates. A damn sits up-top which provides the water for the generators. We trained the men in how to operate the facility and they receive a share of the profits. After the second aspect of the “cascade collapse” all of that knowledge was lost, in most functional aspects, but well theorized in the correct circles. Secrecy being a real problem. So the divide kept others from following in the original discoveries. Which is the real reason your time is seemingly deficient in these areas of knowledge.”

“Well, that makes sense, as our time-line is rather deficient in these areas for a reason. Now do you have cities nearby?”

“A mere hundred miles down-stream is a very impressive, modern city named Kolvesso. It is where my wife is visiting her relatives, mostly her sister, Hajhi’s mom. They have all the modern stuff we have including radio and television services. I always liked the food over in the older city, where you came from, so I set up that spot to make it real easy to shop there at mine or the wife’s convenience. My nephew whom you saw me dragging back home, was stealing— yet again. I think he is more thief, than merely a thrill chaser, which my wife and her sister, do not care to admit.

“Do these people even know what is going on?”

“In some respects they are actually more advanced than we ever were. There are quite a few technologies, of rather profound capabilities, from the ancient past still in wide use here. They know all about space-ships, due to the fact, a big-ass one, well over nine-miles long, landed here about 1200 years ago. Peaceful race too, but tragic in the end. Wrong biology matrix for them basically. The city of Aguir-Kiea is basically attached to it profoundly to this day. A very interesting city, to say the least, lots of tourists and major money in constant circulation. Exceptional high-tech advancement going on there all the time, both in the schools and in private ventures. Aguir-Kiea was my second choice if this place was ever really compromised. We might have a chance here in a few weeks, to check it out, that’s if you are of course, going to be around for awhile. Obviously, you can stay here as long as needed. We have fourteen, extra-spacious rooms. All of the guys would meet here when necessary. Our central hub so to speak.”

“Honestly, I have no idea of how long I will be here, but I have the very funny feeling, I came here to retrieve those cards.”

“I was kind of afraid of that, too. That machine thingy seemed pretty damn explicit you had a quest to complete. Getting those cards is right in that hot-zone of trouble. Maybe the bubble people have been causing radical, trouble elsewhere, and you are the unfortunate soul, who gets to handle the ugly clean-up job. Which means I am also being recruited as well. Kind of makes sense all these damn cards being connected. So I am right in the thick of things once again—as well. ”

“Yeah, you and me both Alex. You roll the dice— you pay the price. Maybe, we can be real smart about it though, and avoid the excessive penalties.”

“I can agree to that… just one more thing though, I should mention— the real Eliot, in the end, went to the dark side. My dad was pretty sure he figured out how to take over the bubble known as “Stars End” which, was a well produced broadcast show, with a fairly-advanced science-theme, featuring a family, who were the first in their small town to have robots. It was a hoot actually, well acted, very funny and quite sophisticated, in the treatment of the robots, who were of course— as human looking as humans.  Eliot loved that damn show, and when he figured out the brain-warp thing, that’s where he went. It was the oldest and most stable of all of the “bubble realities” because he watched every two-hour-episode religiously. So he had a really strong connection emotionally, and with his level of genius, he advanced the population, well beyond the usual simplicities. Kids were graduating high school with PhD’s and other crazy stuff, like space-ship drives, using cooking oil for fuel. He loved it there where he was the God in charge. And it is where he went to escape the madness which came in like the cascading tide.”

“You and your dad I take it tried to stop him at some point?”

“Tried hell, we begged him on our knees to reconsider. He wasn’t evil he just… lost hope after the real world he knew was gone. He lost his parent’s and his sister, who loved him dearly, as he did them. Without them, he was just moody and angry. And we couldn’t move that big-ass, dark-cloud out of his mind. We had our hands full just trying to get set up and building everything we needed. So later on, he went back to the Earth, and methodically, knocked out all of the translator stations, except one. Which my dad and mom used to go back. They destroyed that one themselves. I discovered one more used by Rick Pearson, who was one of the two killed by the Caliph’s men. He had built a secret one, nobody else knew about except him. I found it referenced in his notes. I had to retrieve everything he and Bryson, the other guy, in the photo here, had squirreled away. I had to keep the Caliphs men from taking everything including the nails. Tough job truthfully, and year— that one. Once I had it here however, I set it back up just in case. An emergency kind of deal. I went back for medicines twice, my two trips, when a really bad flu-bug threatened to kill half the city population, and another out-break of a similar form of yellow-fever. That was 1991 and 1994. I was lost in Dallas Texas for about a week on the second trip. However, I brought along quite a few bars of gold. I did some serious shopping after getting the medicine back here to the physicians. I bought mostly manufacturing stuff for R and D labs, plus, some nice things for the wife and our kids.”

“How many kids?”

“Three girls so far.”

“Just out of general curiosity— Do you figure I too, have one of those bi-location doubles waltzing around?”

“Yeah, pretty much count on it. If you are here, your bi-double is at your local time-spot, keeping things in cosmic balance. Well, hopefully your other self keeps up your job and such. You came here a bit differently, so maybe a few rules get tweaked, but all I can do is speculate.”

“So you say this Caliph, is one hard bastard dealings wise?”

“Greedy old bastard really, but yeah, wise as a proverbial serpent. He knows the cards are quite powerful, but he has no use for them directly. What I fear is that somebody on the other side, has already shown him what those cards can do, and the records for the seven of diamonds indicated it was weather modification or so related. The King of Clubs a bit more radical. Living things— materialization— kind of stuff. But with the Ace card it could initiate higher-mental states where the lucid-dreams started having real world intrusions. Not pleasant either. That sub-conscious duality is a real tough one to deal with from what my dad told me of so many results. My mom did a lot of work analyzing the test results, on both sets of cards for my dad, and she felt, that the unconscious mind needed a dream-level, higher-awareness resolution to balance our waking minds, in a complete energy-cycle. If we had no negative-side our wills turn to feeble mush, but if we are too cerebral, our wills are too hard, so we need the balance of mental-states and Will, to keep ourselves in a productive phase of both. The cards sliced these mental/will states like a knife through a banana, and turned them into opposing pairs, just like north and south magnets. You slice one end and you get two more. There was no mono-pole quality to the state. So the dreams so unleashed, would have the positive pole sure, but it was the negative, more often than not, which was way stronger and therefore, materialized much more forcefully. The Monsters of the Id once unleashed, did not want to go back into the bottle.

“The whole of evolution in a nutshell… as my Dad said, to live something else has to die.”

“You got that right. Well, I need to get my nephew out of his room, throw some food into his belly and then if your up to it of course, come with me to drive his sorry little butt back home. My wife and girls will be expecting me in another two hours or so.  Our local roads are fully modern and my double-cab, pick-up truck is quite comfortable. Seats six adults no problem. It’s a real scenic drive of around an hour and a half, or so, depending on the traffic once we get into the city.”

“Sure… a good drive always gets my brain into high thinking gear.”

“Then we are all set. Let me go retrieve my future jail-bench warmer. I imagine he is in a real pissy-mood by now, but too hungry to do much, but scowl. His dad will have to decide the actual punishment. I will be back out in a few minutes.”

Mathew watched him head back inside with the plate. He wondered if Charlene had met someone who was able to look after her. He knew, until he had those damn cards in his hand, his ass wasn’t going anywhere. He took out the golden-mesh box to study it again. When he had the cards, were they both intended to go into this golden-mesh box? There were so many things to think about. He was still very worried about Charlene. So he had to succeed here, or she might never make it back home, or worse. That object spinning in the clouds was right there in his mind. Clear as day too. After all what is Reality when it all is just a Big Cosmic Dream?

A playground with rules to live by.

 

Flowergirls1a

 

When her vision finally cleared, Charlene, much to her profound shock, found herself in a very large meeting hall or something similar in purpose. She was quite relieved to find she was still wearing the same clothes she had on prior to her journey. As she shrunk against the wall, she realized there was no one in this room except herself. The high-ceilings and the room decor were unlike anything she had ever seen before, even in the most glitzy of magazines. She got back to her feet, realizing that golden candy had just teleported her right into another reality.

Only by herself this time.

She looked around the spacious, grandly furnished room with growing apprehension. Everything she saw was incredible, but quite alien by distinction. Her attention was drawn to across the room. In through the fancy looking, fourteen-foot-high, double-doors, marched in four, brightly-dressed females, whose garb looked right out of one the wildest movie scenes. All four of them were at least seven-feet tall. In their hands they were carrying silver and emerald-green pointed rods, which while very artsy by design, were clearly weapons by use. These females looked like they belonged in the marines, or something. They marched right up to her. Not really smiling either.

“Her Majesty,” began the taller of the four, and continued, in a firm tone of voice,”The Goddess of Turrein, demands most urgently, for you to account for your presence here immediately, in the receiving chamber. Come with us now.”

Charlene, was in no position to say anything. She meekly nodded in acquiescence, considering the weapon thingies looked fully charged by their glowing, razor sharp points. Truthfully, she was scared to death. As she marched behind one of them, with the other three behind her, all she could think of was Mathew. Where did he go this time? Was he too, in trouble like herself? The fem-warriors moved her right along at a quick pace back out the doors, down a grand hallway, out another set of doors, across an enormous courtyard, filled with things a Lord of Europe, would die for twice over, and then she was marched through another set of huge double-doors, led down a polished marble-floored hallway and finally up another short-flight of steps into a formal anteroom of good size. There were several other females waiting as well.

“Sit here on this bench until you are called into the receiving chamber. I would suggest that you compose yourself before you are called into Her audience.”

Charlene sat there on the bench quite astounded by it all. What kind of horror had she gotten herself into this time?  She briefly glanced around the room noting the other females were looking just as frightened as herself. The funny thing was none of them looked like they came from the Earth, and yet, that quality of human female form was still there just the same, with some minor differences. Most of them were quite pretty. Before she could really think more deeply about her observations, one of the fem-warriors came back out of the fancy double—gold and ivory– doors, of elaborate themed panels.

“It is time for you to be received. Come this way.”

Charlene followed her without hesitation. She felt numb from the shock of it all now weighing heavy upon her heart. She dutifully did as she was told, coming to a stop before an ornate golden podium, one of seven facing the raised Dias, upon which the Goddess, was about to be Seated. Charlene could hardly believe her own eyes as this twelve-foot plus very attractive female with small, golden horns on her fore-head, wearing a heavy-jeweled tiara, who had blue-skin and long, flowing blonde-hair, barely covered by an ultra-wispy material gown of sorts, took her elaborate golden-throne chair as gracefully as a cat. Her large eyes of intense-green surveyed the other females like herself standing at the speaking podiums. She looked back to the two fashionable female aids, standing beside the golden-throne chair. Each of them were holding sleek tablets, upon which they were writing. After a moment or two, the same fem-warrior, who led her in, on cue tapped her podium.

“Where are you from?” Finally, asked the Goddess in a tone of voice quite musical by quality.

“I am from the Earth,” replied Charlene, still rather astounded at the sheer size, of this blue-skinned Goddess.

“Earth?” Repeated the Goddess, more to her aids than Charlene. “Why do I not have any information about this one from the Earth?”

“It is not known why your Majesty. She is just here,” answered the well dressed aid, on the right, while looking pensively in Charlene’s direction.

The Goddess did not look too pleased upon hearing there was no information. She regarded Charlene with an intense, quizzical look and asked,”What is your name, female from Earth?”

“My name is Charlene.”

“Well, Charlene from Earth you seem to be our mystery guest for this afternoon. I have reams of data concerning the other arrivals for this day, and yet, as I skim through every documented arrival, I see nothing about you. In consideration of your answer I am now looking through the oldest, historical data-base. Interestingly enough, I find not a single guest has ever come here from the Earth, without an invitation. Especially in our currant time-period. A time period, which is over two-and half-thousand years long. I find this quite preposterous, as it means you did not arrive here by invitation, an official appointment, or any other category of work services, so arranged, from our sister worlds, where such formalities are common. So tell me Charlene from Earth, how exactly did you arrive here uninvited on my world?”

“Honestly, I have no idea. I mean— I took a unique substance, that the man I love, has discovered recently. Foolishly, I never thought for a moment that by taking the substance, which we call “Quantum Candy” would lead to this, intrusion on your world.”

Do you have more of this substance on your person?

“No… we only took a single piece each prior to my arriving here from our bedroom.”

Your bedroom?” Retorted the Goddess, too astounded, to be furious.

“Yes, we were in our bedroom. I thought it would be like the previous time. I never thought I would actually go anywhere else physically.”

“Of course. Such a surprise in expectations often leads to great discoveries. I hope to discover something more about you.  Please, step up to the platform now rising into position. I want to see something. Call it a hunch.”

Charlene promptly moved around the podium stepping up to the next level and then onto the platform. Several more aides had come from behind the throne chair with yet more hand-instruments, which looked to be technically quite sophisticated as they whirled and buzzed about her. She stood at the center of the platform, as so instructed, and the entire area around her body began pulsing in soft-blue waves. The read-out on the main large, translucent-screen, was in a language she did not recognize, while she did understand the biological output on her vitality, on a smaller screen to her right. She was quite astonished at how much information was derived from the momentary scans of her body.

“Now this is most interesting.” The Goddess was looking at the read-outs from the instruments, brought to her. Her aids were furiously taking additional notes, as the Goddess pointed out specific details in Charlene’s biological charts.

“She speaks the truth. Her blood type is unique, even in the old data bases… which I have not perused in quite some time, as that old world of Earth, ceased trade with us, a very long time ago…” She directed her aids to update a dozen entries of the old and started a new file directory tree, to which all data relating to Charlene was going to fill out.

The Goddess studied yet another set of results, from a more sublime sensory device, on a sleek viewing screen, one of her aids held before her in a stance, like flesh turned to stone.  “While I see nothing here by the physical scans of her body, that is, anything truly unique biologically speaking, there is something in the magnetic whirls surrounding her atoms of flesh….  something quite exotic in her Etheric-body spectrum. Whatever this substance is made from specifically, it is quite unknown to us in action.” She turned her fuller attention back to Charlene. “When you say ‘Quantum Candy’ are you telling me that it is a candy, or is this just a pet-name, that you and your mate have chosen for identifying purposes only?”

Charlene answered her quite honestly without hesitation. “The substances arrive in a very novel manner, using a device which is based on technology, quite unknown to us. The only information we have to go on is based on writings, describing this Cymatic device, which apparently uses these “Quantagraphs,” which seems to indicate a relationship to ordinary matter, while being created by the device in the quantum spaces perhaps… I really do not know the exact specifics of how it is made, only that the result is like candy, due to the smell and appearance. So we named these substances accordingly.The information we have calls the results a “Reward,” but we are still determining what that means.”

“I see… so your mate is the one who has this Cymatic device. Is he available for me to contact?”

“Not exactly. Actually, I do not know where he went specifically. You see last time, we tried the candy, we were together in this wonderful place. I thought that was how these substances worked. I never stopped to think we would be separated, elsewhere. The device is back in our apartment, along with the other substances, we have gathered by the process.”

“So he has gone elsewhere this time. This is quite fascinating. A novel substance of unique quantum powers. Would your mate be willing to share more information, as well as, specific trades for these remarkable substances?

“He is a very fair-minded man. I can think of no objection he might have, that’s if of course, we can go back to our own home… world.”

“Yes, of course, the trifle details still need to be resolved, but you can give me your word, you or he, can deliver as agreed?”

“Yes, I am quite positive any agreement made will be kept as promised.”

“Well, Charlene from Earth, this is most intriguing… a mystery arrival wrapped in a cosmic quantum riddle. I shall assign you to one of my top-level work groups with privileges. I expect once we have resolved this little mystery of “procedures so required and such” our trading purposes will be promptly accomplished. Bring Charlene from Earth, to Desu. She will be quite pleased to have a new worker for our prized Tepulia harvesting. You may now leave.”

“Thank you… ” Charlene stepped off the platform, and fell in right behind the assigned fem-warrior, who did not need to say anything. It was quite clear, that when— The Goddess Spoke— one listened, and when she was done, your ass was moving right along. Just as before she was led through a maze of hallways, outer-courtyards and eventually to a large, opulent building. Once inside, they continued up several flights of grand stairs, reaching the fourth level. When they arrived at her appointed room the fem-warrior handed her off to another female, who was dressed quite differently. Very business like Charlene was thinking, noticing her thick clip-board.

“My name is Averi, Charlene from Earth. I am here to show you all of the features of your appointed domicile.” She opened the seven-foot tall door and led Charlene into the spacious room. She continued very business like, in her manner of speaking,”as you can see you have a single, Forsenthian-style domicile. Quite the luxury for a newcomer. Fully furnished as you can see with all the finer pieces as well. All meals are in the eating halls, but you have a small kitchenette, a relaxing morning nook, another nook off the living room for your workspace station, a large, fully stocked bathroom, a mid-level wardrobe closet, a cleaning utilities closet, and down at the end of the hall is your sleeping room. Your laundry is picked up every morning, before the call to breakfast, be sure it is properly zipped on the valet cart. Here in the Versoucha Wing, there is a large library, which you can peruse here at the query terminal. Your choices will be brought to you and returned in the same manner. You have a private balcony, with your own gate, leading to a common stairwell, exiting to the the exterior park zone. Twice weekly a cleaner will come to perform the duties of which they are tasked to perform. Do not order them around, as they serve the Goddess, not you. For what it may mean to you, your status here is most unusual. Do not expect your privileges to afford you any other perks of which you have not earned. Our work duties are quite substantial, and we do not favor those who work slothfully, or with excess of false pride.”

“Any questions?

“No… I think I understand perfectly. ”

“Good. I will return in two-hours to personally escort you to your assigned work leader Desu. I suggest that you bathe and redress, in the clothing, so provided, in the wardrobe. While your casual attire is suitable for your own personal time we expect all new arrivals to wear the clothing assigned to them.”

“Thank you for your advice Averi. I will do my very best, to meet the expectations, so required of me.”

“I certainly hope so. Cultivating such a unique “privilege” with the Goddess, also means that if you displease her— your life won’t be worth a cup of left-over tea. If I were you— I would pray quite fervently, that whatever-force brought you here… so returns you, from whence you came. The sooner the better. The Goddess was in a good mood today. Tomorrow is a different question.” She smiled facetiously and left without slamming the door, but close.

Well, thought Charlene, after Averi had excited the room, isn’t she a ray of sunshine. She headed off to the bathroom. A good long soak in the tub was just what she needed.

Just as Avery said she was back two hours later. Charlene was ready as instructed and off they went.

Charlene soon enough found herself sitting in a booth, waiting for Desu to arrive. This restaurant/dining hall was very modern in most operational ways, but with material wealth which placed it into another category. This Goddess was apparently loaded. What she also noticed is that there were very few men, anywhere to be seen. The females however, did not act or look like lesbians. Far from it actually. If anything they looked very busy. As if their schedules left little room for idle chit-chat, or just hanging out for fun. A server brought her an exotic, smelling plate of what looked to be gourmet, hot and cold sweets, made from fruits and nuts, along with a pitcher of sweet iced-tea. Charlene, thanked the server, and immediately tried several of the bite-sized morsels finding each one to be quite good. The ice-tea had something else, other than sugar, which gave it some kick. After a short time had passed, Charlene then saw an older female, looking quite professional in her attire, coming over to her table. She was medium height and slender of build, with a tight bun-style of her dark-hair, festooned with tiny, gold-flowers and a Colchian-style hairpin.  She had a warm smile to compliment her graceful features.

“No need to get up Charlene, and yes, my short nick-name is Desu. I will be your assigned-work supervisor, until such time, any other arrangements, have been formalized by Her Majesty.” She sat down opposite to Charlene at the booth, getting herself arranged, before starting the interview.

“I have here a rather thick, packet of materials, which I had my staff print out for you, due to the unusual facts of your arrival.” She flipped through the stack of folders satisfied everything was in the correct order. She placed them on Charlene’s side of the table out-of-the-way for the moment. Another server arrived at the booth, with a tray. She quickly set up and filled two drinking glasses, then set out the dishes for both Desu and Charlene.

“Go ahead and try some of these wonderful dishes,” said Desu arranging a smaller plate to mix what she wanted to eat.

“I missed my lunch period today. We have been having some real problems with our Tepulia schedules. Nature cares not for paperwork or labor shortages. The Tepulia spice fruits, are the Goddesses most prized trading and export stock. They are enormous spices really, but each pod is filled with what looks like pudding, when ripe. The pods weigh close to three- hundred pounds when ready to harvest, and are quite the chore to handle correctly. We have machines which do the heavy lifting, but our crews still must prepare the fruiting bodies, which is very labor intensive. Great care must be taken, or bad spots will appear, ruining the exquisite taste, of the so effected inner-body. Despite the sheer number of woman here in our work-forces, we are actually suffering from severe labor shortages, in our many areas of specialized food productions. You will be training with us, starting tomorrow morning, quite early, so be sure to read the information packet and to be in bed by ten. Now, if you would be so kind, as to explain to me, how you arrived here? I need to know more about you, specifically, your former work experiences. I do not like mismatches, as a rule, as they cost time, and often significantly diminish, our raw preparation to finished production cycles.”

Charlene, after trying some more of the spicy, fish and rice dish, then told Desu(as she ate her meal), as she would any new boss, all of the highlights of her working career, including her specialty areas, which while not specifically job, or college related, were nonetheless, highly developed skills just the same. She also explained, as best she could, all of the relevant facts, which brought here to this world, and emphasized, how back on Earth, nobody had ever thought going to another planet, was even remotely possible, even with a space-ship.

Desu looked at her funny, and explained, “in our system of worlds, traveling by these ‘world-based system-teleportations’ are as routine as sweeping the floor. We do not need space-ships for personal travel.”

Charlene was flabbergasted earth-science was not only so woefully behind, but apparently headed in the complete opposite direction. After an hour or so of eating and talking with Desu, she became more relaxed. Desu had impressed her, as a conscientious, hard-working woman, with a considerable amount of responsibility.

“So, why are there no men here, to do, more of all of this difficult, labor intensive work?” Asked Charlene, confident in her feeling, that Desu was opening up to her.

“Well, the short answer is because they are off in a war. The ‘Gods’ of this ‘Greater System’ have been fighting a war with another group so named, for so long, I do not recall the last time, there was any mention of a period, when they were not at war. We are but small fish in a much larger indifferent pond. You see, our Goddess is essentially a very young one at that… who was assigned to this world by her Father. He had managed to carve out a modest system of planets, in a very difficult period of time, of which many planets, like this one, were ripe for mining materials and food productions. So you must understand that we are part of a much older grand system, where we are small, but essential suppliers, and so our contracts for food and other finished goods, which we produce, here and elsewhere, bring in a high-degree of wealth. However, we do not have first-line access to the male work forces. As a result, Her Majesty, from very early on in her career, specialized in female only work-forces, which could handle the work loads so required, and still be ultra-efficient in all other areas of business. Which we are thankfully, or we would be in a real heap of trouble very quickly. Our “standing” among the suppliers, is good mind you, and we do have some very amazing perks, living here as we do, but as a result, after all these many centuries, of being in the same rut essentially, is that we are a one-trick pony in a fancy costume.  We do one thing very well, thankfully, but everything else, has more or less, gone to the way-side, including the more pleasant factors of having husbands and families.”

“So all of the woman here have no children?”

“Oh, they have children all-right, just not in the traditional sense. You must keep in mind the exceptional differences between a world like your own, and one such as this— here must of us do choose at an early age, whether or not to come here to work in our respective professional careers. We know the game well before we arrive. There are plenty of opportunities, for the single females, to go over to the station Kervohn, where they can cavort with the men as they please. Others however, have opted to join the breeding program, where they are matched up with the very best males their own genetics permit. Not all that romantic, but it has its benefits, for those so inclined. I was not so thrilled with the idea of having children, I would only see once in a blue-moon, and in the case of boys, who go on to the military services, no contact at all. So I had a family the old-fashioned way, and raised them until, they were old enough to head off to higher schooling. I was trained professionally for this work, and so I was hired, many years ago now, to keep our operations in top form. Always a struggle, but well worth the effort. ”

“So these other ‘gods’ are mostly breeding men for fighting in this never-ending war?”

“That is the short of it yes. This other larger group has been around for a very long time. They are much more advanced than us lower beings, and they dominate their respective sectors of millions of worlds. But to keep up this kind of population counts is not easy. On their level it is a war without end, but it is a way of existence. The stronger get the best worlds, the most wealth, the highest living advancements, while the weaker fight over the scraps. The number of habitable manifolds is far less, than those that are too extreme, for our living envelope to endure. While the Gods proper are of a more substantial origination, than us mere biological creatures, they die just as we do, and often under circumstances just as foul. While the claim of immortality, is what sets them apart, it is an illusion of their own devices, which they exploit as they can. I know from my own personal knowledge, they are simply another quality of life-form, from a much different manifold period, from which they left to explore so many others. They discovered how to increase their life-spans, along with their ability to manipulate their forms. Our Goddess can  change her appearance at will, but she prefers to keep herself looking in the manner you see her today. Those “Golden Horns” are profoundly advanced devices, from the old days, which allow those of her kind, to do some very amazing things with matter, time and energy. But it is the super-powerful information processing of these devices that really sets them apart from ourselves. She is a good Goddess, for the most part, and she takes very good care of all of us, who keep our end of our agreements. I find her to be quite something—she is very funny when she wants to be, and she loves children, despite the fact she only allows them here under very special conditions. She just knows if woman start seeing children everywhere that is all that they will be thinking of and our schedules will go right back to the bottom.”

“So it really is bottom-line all about how much of the Tepulia can be produced?”

“Well, you have never had any, a situation which will change in a week or so… you arrived just at the start of a new season and we do not have any left-overs, as the Tepulia pods do not store very well. As a food it is better than any other, by a rather substantial margin. A three-ounce serving, especially when ripe, right off the tree, cleanses the body, at the genetic level. I mean specifically, it is as if your cells were back in the mother womb kind of clean, with substantial increases in all areas of brain functioning. Think a fifteen to twenty point difference of the intelligence quotient, right out of the starting gate, with greater increases, depending on your over-all genetic quality. Most of those from worlds, not unlike your own, will hit the genetic ceiling, mostly due to the fact your ancestors had damages, which you cannot fix in the present. We have lineages here, going back fifty, to a hundred thousand years, where physical and mental fitness, has never wavered from one generation, to the next. This is quite the advantage, of which there is no superior position. I can tell you are from good stock, but when you are seventy-five you look and feel your age, here,”she pointed to a woman fashionably dressed at another table,”see that woman, she looks to be around twenty-eight, or so right?”

“Right she does….”

“One-hundred and thirteen years old, and I am pretty sure she lies about her actual date of birth, as most woman like to keep others guessing. That is the difference in just one respect. The other being quality of life. Her quality of life is quite superb, by any standard, one might use for such a measure, even though she gripes about how she is often ignored by the gentlemen, in the establishments, she likes to frequent. It’s all relative when you get right down to it… well I hope I have helped you understand a few more things, about our world. There is so much to take in, and while we are in a tight time schedule, you will have time to study, and bring yourself up to speed, on our rules, and such. And do not pay, too much heed, to some here like Miss ‘stuffy pants’ Averi. I swear that woman can put a frown on a stone. Well, I must get going now, but I will see you bright and early, after the morning meal. Be in the eating hall on time too. That is the one thing, you must pay attention to while here, and that is the importance of being where you are expected. And they will be expecting you. The food here is simply fantastic, but the work can seem rather grueling at times. Just do your best tomorrow and  you will be just fine.” She eased up from the table, having gathered up her stuff, and then she was off across the room.

Charlene felt a whole lot better after talking with Desu, which the escort said was short for her entire name. A name so long, she had already forgotten most of it… having been escorted back to her fancy suit she sat down with the two-pounds of reading materials. She curled up in a comfy chair, with some hot-tea in her work nook, and began the task of reading the supplied information. By the end of the first section she realized the Earth, really was an ass-backward, throw-away planet from another era. A truth she found quite disheartening, on one hand, and yet she was rather hopeful that Earth people still had a future, quite unlike the one they were now currently living. She readied herself for bed, set her alarm for five-thirty a.m. and quickly fell asleep thinking of Mathew.

The morning was going better, than she had dreaded, after reading through the prep. materials.

She had spent all morning working side-by side with the three lead-crew-women, tasked with prepping an early Tepulia pod for pre-harvesting. She had never seen anything like these trees or such an odd fruit. The trees were roughly one-hundred and thirty to two-hundred and ten-feet tall. They had forty-foot trunks with enormous limbs from which the fruiting pods hung in profusion, nestled in the huge blankets of sea-colored broad-leaves. The deep, intense, hyper-vanilla scent from the pods filled the humid air— easily over-powering the hundreds of other scents just as appealing. The all female, crews quickly went to work with both specialized, power-hand-tools and many others, for doing the more delicate task of cleaning off the fuzz, which covered the pods, like out-of-control fur on a wooly lamb. The ultra-fine fuzz was a sneeze inducing irritant, so they all wore cloth masks, to keep from breathing it in, plus extra-thick work-gloves to protect their hands and arms, from both the biting, iridescent-ants and red-fuzzy spiders lurking under every green sheath, which they also had to remove, one huge-layer at a time. To get the pod ready for the last stage of ripening was no easy task, and by the time the lunch period was about to begin, the entire work crew of thirty-eight females was tired, covered in plant filth and hungry.The work clock read eleven-thirty. They had been hard at work since six-thirty a.m. so off they went to the field hut for a nice, hearty-lunch.

After lunch, Charlene, was assigned to a lighter, more fun duty, with eight other females, to do some tending and collecting of flowers, among other chores. This included gathering some very unusual substances from a giant war-robot, the Goddess had defeated in battle, brought back to this world and placed, literally into the hill-side to produce what she wanted. One of the younger of the eight, quite familiar with the required tasks, named Sova, scrambled up a wooden ladder, to check the batch processor, and the temps of the cooking materials, as seen through the lens monitor. She brought back down a big handful of a gooey, bright-colored substance which when ingested promoted exceptional physical agility and eyesight. It was one of hundreds, of specialty substances, so produced, by the converted battle-robot.

Charlene like the others took a button-sized piece.

The taste was quite unexpected, both in its intensity, and cherry similar sweetness. She went back to work feeling very good indeed. This area in general produced, a wide-variety of over-sized flowers, which were gathered for the Goddess to use as she pleased. As the woman worked, many of them wore very little, or just enough, to carry tools, or what they gathered. The area was so thick with plants, the shallow stream, could be heard, but not seen. She and the others cleared the plants from the streams banks, and in the shallows of the stream, until once more one could easily walk along through the stream bed itself, which in many sections, was coursed with water-proofed, sandstone bricks.  The water was controlled by several stations, both by powered pumps/gates, as well as, smaller hand activated hydraulic-pumps. Here in this amazon like environment, the plants grew so fast, the work crews could not keep up with all of the sections, but this small corner needed to be cleared, so heavier water flows could carry the mini-barges heaped with flowers, fruits and nuts, all the way back to the packing centers. In such thick, hilly, overgrowth these canals so engineered, were the fastest and most efficient method of moving bulk stuff.

While working on the section three young female visitors, whose parents were attending the Diplomatic Assembly, came to see the robot, as it was a minor tourist attraction all to itself. One of the crew supervisors took several photo’s of the girls to put in their scrapbooks and gave one of the pictures to Charlene, who was in the background, tidying up a rose-bed adjacent to the mini-water fall, barely visible in the thick undergrowth. After the girls departed to do some more sight-seeing by way of a fancy, twenty-five foot dirigible, the work crew moved further up-stream to another amazing area, where the largest flowers of all the flower specie, found on this planet, dominated the cliff-sides in a canopy of extraordinary multiple colors. The petals of these plants were eighteen-feet across and were totally edible. In addition, these flowers had nectar tubes three to four-feet long, which filled every-day with rain-water and after being heated by the hot, afternoon sun, the mixture fermented slightly, producing a potent, golden-liquid which flowed across the spoon like honey.

Charlene helped the seasoned workers with the tools, so required to trim the thick plants, while also learning how to properly roll up the enormous, brightly colored-petals, which could be eaten raw as a base for any salad, or cooked in as many ways as chefs could imagine. The taste was better than plain old-lettuce, plus the over-sized anthers tasted of cinnamon. Needless, to say the petals and anthers were quite popular and the production of them, over many areas, was quite significant. While not as pricy as the Tepulia pods, the Goddess made a steady profit margin from the sheer bulk so processed all year round. The number of unique plants and species was well beyond anything she could learn in a five years, much less just a single day. Having had a very productive first day, she had earned some much needed credibility, with the other workers.

As Charlene settled in for the night, the Goddess, was looking at an emergency message from her Father. A ship from the upper-tier of the Suenzia Class of battleships was practically on her proverbial door-step.  The transit signal of the earth female had indeed been traced by specialized equipment, so used as part of the armada. The Admiral of this ship wanted to know much more about this unusual appearance of such a transient signal, from well out-side of their manifold region. She was none too happy a prize like Charlene, was about to be snatched right back out of her hands. She was going to lodge a formal complaint, and stall the Admiral, from taking her guest, as a hostage to formality and military bureaucracy.

She decided in the morning her and Charlene would do some shopping… on some other planets, and in the process make the military, spend more time and money, than any investigation could possibly justify. Meanwhile, her Father would have to get out of his rut and make a stand for a change. This was his territory by every Law on the Books, and he needed to remind them of that fact. She ordered her personal ship to be readied on the lift-off deck. She was sick and tired of these old war-birds, stealing her best and brightest, and now, she had a way to gain some much needed leverage, where none had been before. She just hoped her Father saw it her way for a change. She would also need to trick that Admiral into finding the mate of Charlene, using the ships ultra-powerful technologies. And of course, the Admiral would never know why.

 

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