Quantum Candy — Episode IX

Capture-c-223

 

Mathew awoke from another troubling dream. Why was he dreaming that Charlene, was some kind of blue-skinned, alien? He glanced over at the clock which read 4:25 a.m. There was no question something strong was tugging at his will, not unlike a finger, to his chest. He sat up, flipped on the night-light and rose from the nice, warm bed. After showering, he opened up the closet selecting a black-pair of jeans, thick grey-socks and a solid, navy-blue, oxford style shirt and proceeded to get dressed. After lacing up the boots, he cinched up his robe with his satchel. He headed out the sliding-glass door to the deck.

The night air was clean, fragrant from the pine trees surrounding the complex and cool. The vista was very impressive. The stars above were quite spectacular, as this world was higher above the galactic ecliptic-plane. The stars seemed so much closer in this other “Instance” of the Milky Way model. He was then surprised to see that his ship-model had grown another twenty-five feet long or so. The ship silently moved into position so the starboard side of the octagon-side was flush with the deck. This center-section had changed in its configuration to allow him to sit inside, centered towards the front. The canopy opened up. He swung his right leg, then left, over the wooden railing. He stepped from the ledge onto the ramp, so provided for him, finding the ships stability was rock solid. He sat down in the deep, cushioned seat, and belted up. When he was done a communication linking bud, in a tray, extended out to his right-hand. He picked it up and placed into his left-ear. The canopy closed with a soft click, as the ship moved smoothly back from the deck, while rising upwards.

The ship did a slow turn and accelerated with tremendous power on a north-west trajectory.

A synthetic female voice came over the ear-bud and explained,”My name is Evonnea. I am the assigned interceding-communication avatar— tasked with providing you the information you will be receiving regarding this mission. Events on your primary Earth-instance, require substantial changes which cannot be sustained, so long as exterior forces continue waging war upon the many Earth-instances, of which economic slavery is the primary result. A solution to the greater problem was found and you are part of that solution. This mission specifically, is to reclaim one of the Series-7 devices, so named “ace of clubs”  and secondly, to rescue a unique man from the consequences of his own vices. This man, by all records reviewed, is exceptionally knowledgeable of all things of those forces attributed to q-sorcery and magic. You will need him to help determine the true working properties behind the substances you have been obtaining. This is quite critical as you move closer to discovering whom is behind the activities which have ruptured, and corrupted, the natural progress of the primary Earth, consciousness matrix. This corruption of purpose has gone on too long without proper resolution.”

“Do you understand?”

“I understand…,” replied Mathew, as he settled back into the gel-cushioned seat which wrapped around him. The multiphase, polymorp-metals, of a near-fluid, nano-crystalline phase-change—was being expressed in three-dimensions of engineered purpose—as well as, metamorphic conduction of material properties, which allowed such fluid, symmetrical and asymmetrical changes(external/internal), of an otherwise solid material-form. Simply put: the cockpit fully materialized, before his eyes, both instrumentation’s and all interior required materials, with form measurements to fit him in specific, ergonomic comfort. He watched as the pop-up screen conveyed detailed graphics of essential facts of this mission in conjunction with the verbal information from Evonnea. A mind-link was established and he received in a eyes-blink an astonishing amount of information he would be needing in the near future. A Q-agent, he mused, was indeed intriguing.

“Your information transfer assimilation was good,” affirmed Evonnea. “We are about to enter a much different kind of transition portal. One which does not duplicate you in the process. A ignorant misuse of such technology, so exemplified by the Series-7 devices, is one of the main factors in the currant debacle. An entire bubble-world had to be collapsed, in order to protect this one, from immediate invasion. An action of exceptional destruction to prevent an even greater tragedy. Another Instance of that world has already been formed, of a proper quality, and foundational purpose. All living things were restored to the proper living equations of Life.  All consciousness has been preserved according to the Laws. Everything else foul has been discarded, as have all illusionary beings, who had no souls essence to preserve. No soul means no divine center is present. That which has no such connection cannot by proper Law remain on any world that does. Grace was extended to those which are called bio-toons. As for all others— they were removed. The world we are heading to by the transit path, was derived from an Earth-instance, and was notated by the iteration graph, as used by Eliot, as 8-A4[on the screen he was shown a graph– a square with a diamond, which corresponded to a three-axis plot. Three on the positive-horizontal axis, five on the negative-vertical axis and four on the diagonal axis, with the iteration-instance of A4. the sum of these is 8-A4], and was exceptionally modified for human settlement, by the Series -7 devices. This planet also has substantial metallic elements critical for this seedling-ships necessary growth advancements. The fourth orbital zone of that system has even more elements, plus gases, of the required elemental mass, which will be utilized as well.”

“This ship is going is to become even larger?”

“Yes… This ship is based on a quantum-crystal pattern which will continue growing its atomic physical-structures in specific stages, coinciding with time-framed, holographic-instance-replication. Systems are generated and allowed to evolve in wave-guidance. When the ship has reached the one-hundredth and forty-fourth such iteration of growth-stage it will be ready for the greater purpose. Even now another man from one of the Earth-instances—designated 1-2c, is reaching the final levels of the nine-path. He will in time assume full command this final stage of the ship, as he is destined to do, as he is under the Makers tutoring. You are the critical bridge, which allows the movement of higher purpose, to complete its task to the greater objective, between you both and your respective Earth-instances. Which is the movement of people from all Earth-instances, which have been corrupted, to new worlds of proper foundations of living consciousness. To dwell in the dual-negative, realms of the dead, is not conducive to proper soul growth. The Old Ones of the Earth, have lost their honor, thus purpose. They have allowed spiritual parasites that infest the lower-level consciousness, like germs infesting the greater body, to run rampant upon the worlds once under their direction. These parasites must be removed for the healing of those worlds to be complete.”

“We have reached the transference portal. The blue-field you see around the ship is an envelope. We will be moving at a speed— if so referenced by a light-speed standard: equaling 512 light-years per minute. We will be in the warp-envelope for five-minutes and thirty-five consecutive seconds, so measured, by your internal time-frame interval.”

Out ahead of the ship, a large, shimmering oval of energy was glowing, with intense bursts of yellow to white rays of light. The ship passed through the oval as smooth as silk. The ship had entered into another quality of space. There were no stars here to be seen—only an inky blackness which extended as far out as his eyes could discern. He could feel the tremendous power of the ship, as an extension of himself. It was a unique feeling.

“The Instance-world we are approaching was cut off from the early period. The world matrix modification was applied to this planet successfully and in a more sophisticated manner, than in later attempts, due to the fact that all the Series-7 devices had been used under full power. This success was the primary reason the secretive Group, so established to over-see these projects, was able to modify so many worlds during this critical time period. This power curve dropped significantly after 1947. As on many other worlds so created, a transit corridor was built and it was a vital link for a time, between the robot worlds, and those which were created in secrecy, by the Group Order to which Eliot once belonged. The war for ultimate power over these worlds between them all, placed this one in a critical pivotal relationship, during that time. The forces led by Eliot lost the war, only because those to whom he had placed his trust, made a better deal with his enemies. His over-reaction to the double-cross, led to him successfully severing this one from the Group, and as a consequence from himself. An action which actually preserved the world in a better state than before, while under his indirect influence and theirs.”

“I am assuming the Junction-House no longer connects this world as it once did?”

“Correct. The transition exits from the Junction-House are all closely monitored, many of them compromised and not just by those forces which answer to Eliot. The entanglements are so thickly interwoven that Instance bleed-over is far more common, than the fools reigning over these worlds have ever bothered to contemplate more fully. Their collective indiscretions, are far more dangerous than they are by a conventional criteria. Sloppy, indiscriminate bungling over-reaches of power demonstrate the inadequacies of their primitive emotional goals. It is like giving a dog the keys to a nuclear power-station. Instinct over reason is not the answer to every dangerous situation one must face.”

“We are approaching our next portal connecting to our destination.”

“How long will I be gone?”

“Your absence from the previous time-interval position will be minimal. In regards to the time-interval marker, when we left via the transition portal a time-differential cycle began. Observed Time is conserved by this action on the origination side. Time will be experienced normally on the destination side. The interval time difference between the observed time-frames is controlled in your favor. You will have plenty of time to do what is required, but do not get lost in unnecessary activities. The females of this world are quite compelling to a mans senses. They have an exceptional biological vitality which you will find over-whelming at times. Your love mate is making good choices and so will you need to do the same. Let these females help you, but maintain a proper distance emotionally, or you will make your objectives far more difficult to reach successfully. While you are accomplishing the mission objectives this ship has to go to an under-ground base. There is a substantial amount of elements located in those mountains which was being mined by advanced methods. The out-puts were stored there and the base was also a depository for other technological equipment brought in from elsewhere. When the ship has completed its mission at the base, it will transmit specialized data-factors to the twin ship. That one will act as a model for advanced teaching, and sophisticated transport and communication functions locally, on many levels of purpose, to bypass the compromised Junction-House. That multipurpose function is quite vital. This ship will then head to the asteroid section already chosen and will under-go the next transitional phase of growth advancements. A set of advanced sentient-probes will follow you in stealth mode and provide the communication links between us. Our communication will be continuous as needed. You will be provided many tools and q-equipment as required for your mission success on demand.”

“So I will be tracking down the Series -7 card first and then the pick-up of the man in question?

“There are several concurrent factors you are being tasked with which will lead to the Series-7 device. The information being acted on was easily obtained by the sentient probes so used to determine this worlds purpose. The card was brought here inside a case, used as a wave-guide trap for its powers. Specifically, this allowed for the engineering of the enormous machines, which in turn engineered and machine produced, yet more machines for mining operations, productions of space-stations, space-ships, lifting platforms, hydro-electric power-stations, dams and other large buildings as needed.  The people here were brought from many Earth-instances in great numbers. Wars can hide the removal of people in a very ugly, but clever manner. Human duplication was also used, resulting in people who had Instance entanglements of varying intensities. When the mind cannot resolve properly the doubled-reality, both versions of the same individual are severely compromised. Many of those whose doubles, who were left on the many Earth-instances, suffered degrading conditions, while being labeled and subsequently treated as mentally disturbed or incompetent. The successful doubles as a class are easily controlled by the repetitions of daily-life schedules and especially those routines, which require conformity. They are ready made slaves.”

“What about those who were brought to this world?”

“The vast majority of the people simply had their minds wiped clean, and rematrixed, especially for the technological work required of so many men. The females were given a domestic imperative which enforced modesty and social tranquility. Only those at the top level of society were allowed to keep their previous memories. Some, but not all, knew of the unique powers called “q-magics” knowledge which was kept to a secretive inner-circle. The one you seek was responsible for many such positive and novel uses of the “q-magic” actions. He was a natural adept and the knowledge he gained as a result of his natural abilities served him well early in his life. Later in his life he became quite the skirt chaser and he was bitten by his own largess so to speak. Today, that same man is a chronic drunk, under a forgetting spell, so cast by one of his disgruntled, former lovers.”

The ship had entered the world as silently, as a falling feather, around five-hundred feet or so above the terrain. It was early morning here, so evident as the sun was barely rising over the peaks, in the eastern chains. The terrain was originally high-desert, but was now gridded, perfected patchworks of green and yellow hues interspersed with canals. The broad valley was ringed by thick forests along the higher-elevations of the surrounding mountains. The city looked quite modern from a distance and was slowly coming to life for another day. They were directly heading for the parking lot surrounding the large shopping mall complex. There was a bus depot located here as well already busy with activity. The sleek modern buses looked to be of better quality than the many outfits still operating back in the states. He saw clear evidence of substantial industrial wealth in the cities infrastructure of buildings, houses, wide streets, trams, trains, long avenues, busy freeways and other commerce orientated activities.

“Everything you need is packed in your carry bag and your robes instance-pockets. You have a Q-agent clearance, to hide your true non-existent background and a robust back-story that you are a diamond and opal trader. I will continue updates as you make progress.”

The ship landed silently and unseen in the large parking lot. His seat turned to the starboard-side, the canopy lifted and he exited the ship via the extended ramp. In two blinks the ship was back off into the morning skies and gone from view. As he walked along he recalled the previous evening. It was a good night all around. Elena’s family were good natured, intelligent people and boisterous. The kids were having a blast playing in the pool, with the ships hovering around them, beeping and flashing lights, sounds and amazing pictures of stunning panoramic landscapes of amazing qualities.  After dinner they studied the information so provided in a near state of stunned silence at times. The full-sized ship was a wonder on another level of the impossible. The space-station for the immense super-ship, which was nearing completion, was itself a wonder at eighty-thousand miles long and oval in shape. Great rings surrounded the station of which the ship was parked under and being serviced. The records did not explain the problem the ship was having or why.

He walked across the empty parking-lot noting the large sign pointing to the cab-pick up section for bus passengers. The bus station was clean by design and the morning employees were hard at work prepping and loading couches for the morning departures. He went around to the front. A few people were waiting with suitcases for the airport express bus and he found the section for the local, business loop, cab pick-ups. He was the only person waiting under the courtesy enclosure. He noticed the green box for signaling a cab and pressed the button. A minute later or so, the LED-screen/scrolling message told him a cab was en-route to the stop and its arrival time was seven minutes.

While waiting, he continued thinking about some of the numbers they had seen in conjunction with the images. The ship had interior terrains, whose cell-shapes, were the same irregular-octagons of the main center section. These were two-thousand miles across. The middle-section was like a bee-hive in many ways, where one cell reinforced the rest. The interior had forty of these cells across and twenty down. The enormous, interior regions were described as unique fourth-dimensional manifolds essential for the PQ-R drive.

The two A & B decks were fully expressed global-terrains–about twenty-two earths in approximate square-mile comparison–with salt-oceans, seas, fresh-water lakes, abundant rivers across the landscapes, of a multitude of tropical to desert mountain regions and vast expanses of groomed landscapes for plant and animals to thrive. An artificial sun orbited this massive ship, along with a moon, both in perfect cycles to the center section, which was on a thirty-two hour rotation schedule counter-clockwise. The sun and moon went from the back to the front on a complex, diagonal-orbit cycle. The interior terrains had artificial light-systems in synch with the orbiting sun and moon. Inside the interior-cell terrains, one looked up at the hologram projected sun or stars, on the sky-roof, as if you were standing on that correlating position on the decks, looking into space.

The cubic-step-layered sides of the octagonal center-section were multipurpose in scope but primarily on two sides, massive ship hangers, both military and commercial. Millions of spacecraft were well organized in the thousands of miles long specialized, hangers by both purpose and use. In the lower sections were both cities and the stations housing all of the engineering/manufacturing facilities for the creation and maintenance of the space-craft, various stations, probes etc. The largest of these ships were the destroyers, roughly, two-thousand, two-hundred and twenty-five miles long as converted measures indicated. The commercial carriers of this same class were slightly shorter, due to them not carrying the coil-gun weapons of the latter.

The ship itself was fully protected by weapons, both in front and in the rear, so powerful a million ships would be nothing, but space-dust in a heart-beat to twelve A.U. The rims of the decks were also highly specialized for a variety of tasks, relating to the defense shields which enveloped the ship at all times. Over-sized rim-trains, moving along at twenty-five times the speed of sound, on electromagnetic-Superconductive tube paths, connected the various sections of the ship, with other transportation lines. Jump ships in great numbers and sizes, were used throughout both decks, along with more types of fixed wing and non-fixed aircraft they had ever seen. The ships front-section was semi-spherical (from the side view)and was of a different axial gravitational-field perpendicular to the rotating, middle section.

The forward section had all of the navigation duties, the warp-field generation and envelope duties, so indicated with the massive retractable warp-tubes, antenna arrays, plus the elevated, scoop openings, in addition to the carrier-spheres docking bays, which rotated inside the primary rings. The ship plowed through space and collected interstellar mass in volumes larger than the earth itself. Mass so collected was conducted to the entire ship by the interior routes, just as a body conducts all of what it needs by its interior structures. The ship was essentially self-intelligent and self-regulating. The rear-section was devoted to the massive thrust engines, located behind a push plate, and a complex series of rotational disks relating to the spin-drives. The moon-circumference sized ports connecting to the rear spin-engines were in sets of twenty-four in balanced pairs, in the conical shaped structure. The FTL-drive engines used both Neutron-repulsion-fusion technology and negative-anti-matter exchangers to achieved FTL capability. In this section, were also substantial power productions for common ship uses, and other purposes relating to the military, which were classified. Same with the internal, system called the PQ-R Resonate Drive engine. A system which powered the ship across the vast distances, between galactic manifolds, often in an entirely different realm of non-stellar space. The very same negative green-space continuum the “Creators Nests” were said to be located in physically just as Eliot had told Alex.

This mysterious PQ-R Drive also maintained the equilibrium of the many forces, of which gravity and inertia were essentially micro-controlled for its successful operations. Like a giant whale it cruised the galactic spaces of the great-deep in majestic purpose. On board were some two-hundred billion crew-members and passengers of many races.  The commercial, carrier-ships alone, were the basically size of the old California by length, and somewhat by width, around seven-hundred and twenty-five miles by conversion measures. The interiors of these ships, were so natural looking by environment design— the images of them— were just astonishing. The main ship was called the Celestial-Ark, and was specified as Nine, but was one of an entire fleet, so dedicated to the One above all. The Maker designation was one of authority and purpose. This ship was capable of producing not only food and water for itself–but dozens of planets— And anything else as needed to carry out its Divine, orientated purposes. A life ark which was seeding other worlds and knew where to find those in need.

They had barely skimmed the surface of such purposes, as they watched the presentations. What bent his mind, at the moment, was the fact the new seedling-ship was going to be commanded by a man he was going to be helping in the near future. A nine? He wondered what that meant exactly. A brightly, colored cab of blue-white and yellow-green pulled up to the curb. Star Express was its logo. Six-minutes and thirty-five seconds.

“Where to sir?” asked the friendly looking, middle-aged man in a crisp looking company suit.

“The Lions head hotel,” he replied climbing into the rear-seat.  The cab was spotlessly clean with nice upholstery and some unique amenities built right into the shelf in front of him. He took out from the robe pocket, the required card, which he passed through the reader.

“Look’s like we have a deal,” acknowledged the cabby, looking at the big green-light, on his banking communication-screen showing him the fare was already in the bucket. “We are about forty-minutes out from down-town. Just relax my friend and enjoy the early morning scenery. A courtesy cup of fresh-brewed coffee and a danish is in the hot-box if you so desire.”

“Thanks.” He opened up the sliding metal-door and plucked the metal and ceramic cup from the magnetic holder. He then chose a sweet smelling, berry-danish still nice and hot, from the stack.  He grabbed up a napkin as well. He sipped the coffee, and tried the danish. The cab made a smooth turn-around and headed back out onto the express-way from which it had arrived.

“This danish is fantastic and the coffee is just right.”

“Glad to hear that… our company has been in service for many decades and we do pride ourselves on having the best amenities for our fares. We like to provide the extra so we stand out from our competitors. A solid fare like yourself from out of town is the kind of business we like to repeat.”

“That is a fundamental I can agree with whole-heartily. I see here you can reserve a cab with a preferred driver for extended excursions. I need to use that service tomorrow.”

“Absolutely… just be sure, if you want me again, to get the reserve in by noon. I have nothing for tomorrow until a five p.m. pick-up for a wedding. Not the groom or bride, but some of the out-of-town male relatives. Not a long trip, just a well paying short hop to the top of the mountain to the reception. Very nice hotel up there. One of these days they will get around to widening out the highway to get there, but for now it is one crazy section, after another of windy, narrow cut-backs up to the flat-top. Beautiful scenery all the way though and great air— those Sugar Pine trees are so aromatic it is worth the trip alone. I am assuming you know ahead of time where you want to go?”

“That is what I will be determining a bit later this morning. I will know for sure by noon. I think I may have to take an excursion to a small town about twenty miles down the road from the main junction. I won’t be there for long, maybe about half an hour at most. Then a couple of hops back along the way and then over to a business called the Ray Cutting Corp. That’s the one I am iffy about as the appointment times are not firmed up yet. Having one cab would be quite the time saver for all the little trips I might need to make. My company arranges deals between buyers and prospectors for gemstones and diamonds from mines, especially the older ones, many think are tapped out. These old guys know the best spots and from time to time make some real nice finds, as they have just recently. The very reason I came all the way out here, from Scottborough, is to cinch up a few deals.”

“I have heard nice things about that city. Not a real big one though population wise?”

“No, we are fairly small in size, but we have a gem trade which is growing bigger every year. We have plenty of action. Our latest big news is that the independents have opened up another site of substantial quality opal stones. I am also here to arrange the buying terms for several dealers in rough cut diamonds. We expect some real excitement once the news starts to get out another big carat collection is headed for the open markets.”

“That’s what I love about my job. Always picking up the big news— before it’s the big news. And I will definitely be interested in providing you with a block service-period. So call it in and use that priority number on the card which just printed out, as it has my cab number as well. We have a large fleet, but it is good to be ahead of the demand, especially with the week-end coming up. Our tourist season here is in full swing. The upper-King’s lake is the fishing magnet for sport fishers, and the lower for just about everybody else. That damn highway coming back down is bumper to bumper all summer long. County road services is back-logged almost fours-years running. This whole stretch, were on now, is only two years old. Run times in the peak-hours are slowly dropping, but truck-traffic will be heading back to the main, east-west corridor soon. That will be a real relief. Go ahead and turn on the news viewer. Lots of good information on the channel-five station for new arrivals. Well worth watching.”

“OK.” He depressed the on switch and the flat-screen came to life. He adjusted the sound. The morning team was in a fancy looking studio with lots of smooth-looking graphics, as they high-lighted the top-tens for the day, both for travelers and home-towners alike. The dress-codes were modest, with the female broadcaster, wearing a smart-looking dress of greens and her male counter-part, in a sporty-looking jacket and dark-blue slacks. The women, which were being interviewed for the last few-seconds of the current segment, were of above average-looks, and physically, looked very healthy. The kids playing behind them, looked real happy around the moms, and dads in the park, where the interview was taking place. The park itself was big and well groomed, with very colorful flora and large trees throughout. The camera focus went back to the studio, as the morning team joked about a few things, and went on to the next segment— starting the list of the top-ten restaurants for tourists, both by the pocket expense and local gourmet treats.

What he was really thinking about was how he was going to pull off getting the card from the old millionaire. A set of circumstances were in motion to aid him, but he was going to have to do some fancy foot-work to pull it all off. His background story was just strong enough to keep him off the radar, but he was real thin on specifics beyond the immediate gambit itself. A diamond and opal trader from a small, but old city well known for having a real robust trade in all gems, mostly due to its favorable location at the lower valley of highly productive mines for gemstones, especially the opals and diamonds. The city stayed small due to all of the surrounding land being owned by only a few very wealthy families. Farms and timber lands made up the rest so the town stayed around 25,000 or so local population wise, and three times that during the summer months.

His back-story blended right into the local, big push as several old diamond-mines had hit a very, productive level, producing 150,000 carats over the winter months. Now here in early spring, those stones were ready to be sold to the major players, who cut them for the private and commercial markets. He had 25 stones, over 250 carats each, available for private sale in the rough stage.  They were coming in by secured delivery to the safe-house at the Lions Hotel. A well known and high-security service which was a fundamental part of the hotels long and colorful history.

The avatar was delivering some very interesting historical facts which reminded him of stories his dad told him about Virginia City from the real old days. He had seen some old pictures his dad kept in an album, but he never did get a chance to visit. This big city was once of that early quality as a silver and gold rush town. Only this one had never run out of the other metals, mostly tin and iron which kept up the mining industries long after the gold and silver had been removed.

The immediate surrounding areas were farms for a variety of livestock and fruit orchards. Further along in the south, rural zone, four prime varieties of Hemp, was grown in substantial amounts. The versatile plant was a major stock-material source for hundreds of industries. The water supply, like the weather was much better than average year around for all uses, and was the primary reason so many diversified economic activities thrived across the state. The city reflected this prosperity and had a good sized population of around one-million and half, and was considered; one of the best places for the young, and old alike, to live, when compared to many other cities, further west along the coast. Old money was here as well—the elderly man whom he had to deal with was in his late ninety’s. He was rather ruthless, by all accessible accounts in his early days, and was known to be quite cantankerous, in his older ones. This man, however, knew all the insider stuff as well, which is why he had been able to keep the card. A period of time had passed, so this circle of knowledge, was getting smaller every year, as the old-timers passed away.

This world time-clock here was not synched back to the Earth, in a logical sense. Instances were not serial. The people had been settled here for around a hundred and forty-seven years or so by the conversion charts. The racial mix was diverse across the many continents, including Asian, but the mind reset meant the vast majority lived in a homogenous social relationship. English was the main language, in this country, while French and German were the other two main languages, on the opposite continents, with some smaller regions speaking northern Europe tongues as well. The Asian tongues had all been converted to English. The local dialects, across this country had diversified, but he would do fine here with only a minimal amount of help— from the same unique ability he had already acquired to understand both spoken and written speech with minimal effort. The avatar would fill in the rough spots accordingly.

The real interesting tidbit was that the people here had no idea they came from somewhere else. The mighty El— as in Eliot—  had did a real fine job of making himself the mysterious god of the past, who had placed the chosen people upon this world named New Hebrion. Rather biblical when he thought about the name Hebron itself. Here in the city of Castle Peaks the people were known as fair minded socially and professionally productive in a diversity of economic fields. The rugged individualists who came here set down the laws which were still in effect today. The old city was a gambling mecca, but the city today, had let go of most of that early period, with only a few remaining casino’s still operating with limited gambling, mostly slots, cards and horse racing. The big-time gamblers went off the coast to the warm south-side resorts of New Britannia, which catered to the wealthy elite and the larger isle was primarily for the mass-tourists. Sport-betting was controlled by National Law, to only a few locations outside of the major Britannia resorts, and so here, such betting, was only allowed in the summer play-off seasons. A large number of tourists came here for the big mountain-lakes up the hill and the local gambling, of which the up-coming spring play-offs was drawing them in substantially.

In the dead of winter he would be much more conspicuous to the sharp-eyed locals, but over the next few weeks he was just one more stranger in a crowd. The cab pulled into the hotel parking lot and went on up into the business lane for well-heeled guests. He tipped the driver generously, who thanked him for his business and off he went for his next fare.

Mathew casually strolled through the big glass and gold lobby-doors making his way across the busy lower casino-floor which had plenty of action going with the slots and rows of tables for cards. He went up the main desk and checked in under his actual name, as there was no reason to use another. The arrangements were already in place. He was given the passkey for room two-four-eight on the 26th floor. His account showed him as being wealthy enough to afford the top-level accommodations and any other hotel-service he might need. He headed over to the posh elevators. The operator dialed in his key number confirming his guest status, and up they went. He arrived at his room, opened the door and went inside to find the suite very classy. Nice big rooms and a spacious bed in both bed-rooms. He opened up the closet in the master bed-room to see his wardrobe was in place, nice general business suits and ties. He changed real quick to a sporty looking suit and picked out a pair of dress shoes appropriate to his business look. His drawer was filled with new packages of under-clothes and socks.

Once re-dressed he went back out into the large main room. Good decor all around and the suite was very clean, with fresh flowers in the vase’s. On the large marble counter in the dining/kitchen combo room was a nice selection of gourmet sweets, nuts and fruit in a large, glass bowl of very artistic qualities. A full mini-bar and a small fridge with popular nonalcoholic beverages and other quick meals for the large, micro-wave.  The deluxe room-rates included all of these amenities, plus services, at only a nominal extra price. All in all it was a good deal. He could see why the hotel was considered one of the friendlier places for the family or single, business man. He was lucky to get such a suite so late in the season.

His morning schedule was a busy one. He had to pick up his special suitcase from the high-security truck delivery and get it into the house safe. He looked at his watch. He had twenty-five minutes. He set up his satchel in the bathroom, which was very good sized and ultra-modern. Everything a man needed was included in the room package and so the appropriate stuff of the right size was already set up. He hung the satchel on a big hook next to the over-sized towels.  He snapped in a new blade and re-shaved with the electric-razor provided. He found it to be of high quality. After finishing up in the bathroom he went back out and sat down at the heavy table. He made out a short list of the things he might need plus, a few more which might come in handy. He would use the cab service as it left a small paper-trail, and not much else. He took what he was going to need from the robe pockets and hung it up in the dining room closet. He put on the multipurpose watch device. The rest of his gadgets, he placed in his jacket pockets, along with his bill-fold with his money, ID cards and his notes.  His first stop was at the security check-in for the diamonds and so off he went.

Going through the procedure for the secured case was quick, but thorough. After opening the case with a unique cylinder key, he had transferred from his robe pocket, he displayed the twenty-five, rough-cut diamonds, each in their own velvet holder. A unique, optical-gemstone machine, verified the diamonds were exactly, as claimed, and his insurance clause, was stamped as paid in full. He was escorted into the main, secured vault and his case was re-locked and secured in the space so provided. The big door was shut and he was done with this part of the plan. He had high-end photo’s in another brief-case, along with his fictitious, company paper-work, which he carried with him back out. He secured this brief-case at the front desks, security-vault and headed over to the restaurant for a good breakfast.

The waitress, who showed him to a table, was pretty in a nice looking outfit. He ordered up the big morning combo, of eggs, potatoes, ham, toast and coffee. While he was waiting a nice looking, young woman around age twenty-five asked if she could join him. He stood up and went around the table to pull out a seat for her to join him.

“I hate eating alone,” she explained, brushing away a long strand of very blonde-hair, well styled and lengthwise nearly to the small of her back. She was blue-eyed and had that kind of youthful face which did well in photo-ads for cosmetics. She was about six-feet tall, gave new meaning to the word buxom, wearing a patterned, yellow-dress with very stylish contours.  “So are you here for the gambling play-offs or one of the business conventions?” She also seemed quite nervous as she glanced around the room.

“Neither actually. I trade in pre-cut diamonds and rare black-opals for private sale. I have several key-deals to make this week. The nature of this business is always confidential and usually only in person.”

She smiled easily, showing off her perfect pearly-whites. “That is a more interesting line of business than what I usually hear about… I work as a travel-agent at the front-desk of the local airlines-hub, C-Destiny West. This is my day off. I was supposed to meet my two girlfriends here for breakfast, but they cancelled on me at the last minute. I had a real, ugly fight with my now ex-fiancee, earlier this week and things are still just messed up. This casino always cheers me up.”

“Sorry to hear that. Are you still talking with each other at all, or just fuming at one another from a distance?”

“A very, cold distance actually. He left with another female, he supposedly met, while hiking at the local upper-falls. However, he neglected to tell me of his new acquaintance, until after, I found them together by accident, at a party he never mentioned to me. I had arrived with some friends, who were invited by the owners room-mate. It was very awkward to say the least. He and I haven’t had a civil word to each other sense. This was supposed to be a happy outing to make me feel better.” She fiddled with the napkin still looking anxious.

“Well, all things considered, if you haven’t ordered please do so. My treat. No strings either. Sometimes you just need a break from the hard-hand of disappointment.”

“You’re really kind. Thank you.” The waitress for the section had come back to the table to take her order. And so she, told the waitress.”I would like the number-three, omelet-combo, with the side of fruit and tea… Damosuile if you have any.”

“On my tab,” added Mathew, when the waitress looked back to him. She nodded smiling and went back to the station.

“My name is Jenn Briskoll,” she said, offering her hand.

“Mathew Everette,” he responded, in turn, with a light touch to her hand.

From the corner of his eye he noted two burly looking guys, dressed in brash, brown suits, had come into the restaurant floor area. Jenn followed his look and gasped.

“Oh no,” she blurted out self-consciously, suddenly looking as if she just wanted to melt into the wall to hide.

Mathew immediately stood up as they approached like a couple of goons looking for a spoil. “Can I help you two with something?” He was quickly taking into account the size of the guys, the space between the table to the rear wall and the seated people around them.

“We just want a few minutes with the young lady outside,” replied the rougher looking of the two. His crew-cut, hair style looked like old marines, no facial hair, dark-brown eyes and a square jaw. He was physically big, but over-all looked more menacing than smart. The other guy looked more like an over-built, weasel kind of guy, one never turned their back on period. He had sandy hair and a mustache. He was the taller of the two at six-three or so, and had a gold tooth where the previous one may have been lost in a fight.

“She isn’t going anywhere and you two clowns are being exceptionally rude from where I am standing.” He knew right then the bigger guy was going to pull a typical, but dumb, tough-guy move. As the guy moved in he side-stepped him and delivered three hard-blows to his kidneys, doubling him over and then slammed him into the rear-wall away from the tables and people. The second guy quit smiling as he came in and Mathew dodged his slow, moving left-punch and double-tagged his jaw, sending him unconscious to the floor. He picked the goon up by his suit collar and drug him over to the other one, who was barely moving. He pulled out the ID card all gem-traders were lawfully required to carry. “You see this numb-nuts? This double-star means I make one signal to the guys now heading in and you go right to a jail cell for assault. Which is a felony. So either you move your sorry-asses back out the door, free-men or under cuffs. You decide that right now tough guy.”

The burly security-agent took one look at the I.D. card and apologized for the rude interruption to their meal. “This will not happen again Mr. Everette. These two ignoramuses are out the door and they will not be coming back in anytime soon.” Several more big security-guys came in and they roughly hoisted the two thugs up to their feet, and both security guys stuck a rod-device under their ribs. A pain-induction rod so one of the kids watching, from the nearest table, said to his younger wide-eyed brother. The lead security-agent reassured the other shocked patrons there would be no more trouble.

He sat back down at the table. “While we are enjoying our meal— I want you to explain to me why those two thugs are following you around.” He reassured her with a big smile she had nothing to worry about. She returned his smile looking relieved.

“It is a long story, but I will just cover the high-lights.”

“Fair enough,” he replied, as their food was on its way. The smiling waitress was smooth and efficient as she finished setting up the table, for them to enjoy their meals. She refilled his coffee, set up the service tray with the tea, Jenn had asked for specifically, and gave her a curious look. He reassured the waitress everything was good and Jenn agreed.

“Let me know if you would like anything else sir, ” she said, and she went off to another one of her tables.

“You really know how to handle yourself,” Jenn commented, after getting started with the meal. The serving sizes were meant to please the eye and the belly.

“In my line of work, you never know what might happen. Being prepared is a major factor in keeping alive. Thugs are always looking for an easy buck. And those guys looked like they were collecting perhaps?” He found the food to be quite good.

In between bites she explained the situation. “My ex-fiancee owes their boss like fifteen-thousand. That’s the major reason why we were having problems. He told me he was getting a big monthly allowance from his father, who is quite well to do. But, he was lying to me. I mean, I was really enjoying all the things we were doing, but I didn’t know he was getting in over his head, with some loan sharks. I think he was waiting for some money to be coming from his grandfathers will, but something is holding it up. He does have a really big family on the fathers side and the relatives on the mothers side are probably contesting the previous one. So as a result, he missed the initial payment just about the time he ran off with this new female. Now those guys want to shake me down–which is rather comical— considering I make half of that per year. To make matters even worse my parents, especially hated him, and I like a fool, played right into it all, and right now, they are barely speaking to me.” She sipped her tea.

“Loan sharks rarely roll over on a debt for any reason. Just out of curiosity, how well did you know this young man before the two of you began dating seriously? He continued eating as she answered his questions.

“I had seen him around at several social events, previously, but I really didn’t know who he was until we met again through mutual friends at a dinner-party at the start of the winter holiday. We started dating more or less seriously soon thereafter. We would be coming up on our eight-month together.”

“The reason why I am asking is because I have seen many examples of when a young woman like yourself is drawn into a debt-con, a scam of sorts, where the female is left holding the bag for a sum of money by the former boyfriend, and the deal becomes she has to become an escort in order to pay off the debt. Usually the females are socially isolated in such circumstances on purpose, so they cannot get out from under the obligations. The thugs, aka loan sharks, really up the pressure, escalations of violence usually, until the female does what they want. It always starts with the introduction of a better life-style, or at least the appearance of having a better time—the fun stuff, which easily masks the actual intentions.”

“So you think my ex purposely led me into a debt-con trap?” She looked bewildered, more so than surprised. She was eating the red fruit pieces first and lining up the the rest.

“You said the money owed was twice what you make in a year. The fiancee was spending money like water, getting you both in over your heads, but all in the name of having a good time. Now that the party is over, the loan sharks want their money back and you don’t have that kind of cash flow. The interest on that fifteen-grand is going to be getting steeper by the day and the two thugs, which are following you around, are not going to give up. You see they play on the emotions involved– embarrassment, guilt, anger or the risk of greater humiliation, especially at work and with close friends. They trap you successfully, because they know all about your life from the fiancee, who may… well be… already compromised. He trapped you to save himself. Or he is in on the entire deal trapping innocent woman like yourself, and that’s how he makes his actual money.”

She looked genuinely shocked, as she played with her food.

“Allow me to help you snip this debt-noose. Call the boss guy and tell him you have the money. I will cut him a cashiers check, direct deposit or cash, whatever floats his boat. Snip the cord now and they lose the actual goal, which is most likely, to turn you into another escort, under their control.”

And what do you want for paying my debt off?” She asked, her blue-eyes showing great passion of feelings.

“My act is one of generosity only. Fifteen-grand is not chump change, but the deals I have just this week alone, are in the hundreds of thousands, and my commissions, are thirty-five percent of each sale, payed in advance. I am not hurting for money, and I can spend every dime of it without a single repercussion, upon future holdings. This is your lucky day to get out from under a bad deal. Make the phone call and get these people out of your life while it is still easy.”

“I was getting suspicious of who he was talking to secretly, late at night— so I did a reverse charge back on the number. I have it in my electronic call-saver. I really don’t know what to say. You are very unusual man Mr. Everette.”

“I have been around the block a few times in situations like this one. I know how badly these deals can end. Take your time and lets finish this nice meal. And after we are done here, we can both go over to the booths and I will see to it everything is handled.”

The biological scan of her proved she was feeling quite ashamed of her predicament. Mathew realized he was in a very advantageous position with such “extra-information” ready at a moments notice. According to the records she was from a modest background and by all extrapolations, with her natural, good looks had been able to play the field a bit longer then usual. Like so many females trying to find the best guy for future security she had gone for the one who played that card better than the previous suitors. She was back to eating her meal and smiling. With the right man around her age, he thought, and with the legitimate social-standing she would do just fine. She was just a bit naive was all, and so she had been taken advantage of by one of these slick players, flashing all the right signs, but without any real substance. He figured, she would have dumped this guy, irregardless of the money he was throwing around, just to impress her. That fiancee phony just missed his timing exit, when he decided to chase after yet, another prospect, too soon.

After finishing their breakfast, he left a good tip for the waitress, and they headed over to the courtesy phone-booths. While she waited, he spoke to a hotel, financial liaison-agent, who was all to happy to arrange the payment. Nice little fee involved for the transaction service, but that was to be expected. Jenn stepped into the booth and made the phone call. She waited a few minutes on hold before speaking to the boss-man. After a terse few minutes of heated conversation, he wanted to speak to Mathew. Jenn handed him the sleek gold and black receiver. Her cheeks were red with anger.

The guy started in on him right away. Only he was getting information from the probe. Very interesting stealth-weapons were under his control as well. He already knew how to shut this guy down quick.

“So who the fuck are you anyway?” The man on the other end shouted out.

“Somebody you really shouldn’t be fucking with period— Mr. Crimshaw. Take a nice, long look, at that expensive painting, hanging on the wall, right behind that big, fancy, desk of yours. Now take note of the fact the frame of that painting is smoking-hot. If you ever cross paths with this young lady ever again, I will burn down your fucking-house in a heart-beat. How’s that gold, damn pen of yours looking now?”

The guy was watching the pen in his hand melting onto the desk. “What the fuck?”

“My advice is to take the money, right now and be done with the deal. Take payment CCheck, cash or by direct house account… whatever, just make a decision Mr. Crimshaw, while your legs, are still attached to your ass.”

“I get the point. I–I’m sending in one of my guys— to pick up the cash. Say, ten-minutes from now in the south lobby?”

“Good choice. I will be there with the cash in a secured brief-case. Be real snappy about it as I have a very, busy day planned, and I have no patience for bullshit. Understand me?”

“Yeah, understood.”

Mathew promptly, hung up the phone.

Jenn looked at him as if she had never seen anyone be so blunt and to the point. “You sure do seem to be more like a military Q-agent than just a diamond Trader. Remind me not to piss you off on a sunny day.” She was practically standing on his toes.

“Men like that bring out the worst in me Jenn. I have learned to never give them an inch, unless I plan to hang them. Violence is the only language they seem to respect. And if they do not respect you— they will never cease looking for a way to play or kill you. It’s the nature of the game these guys spend their lives perfecting. The slow learners don’t last too long.” She nodded in agreement, still looking a bit confused, but she was content with his answer. He gave her a long hug to sooth her feelings. She was so strong, he realized, she could probably throw Charlene across the floor. The avatar was right these women—they were intensely captivating. Her eyes, like her smile, were hypnotic, as she pulled back away. He needed to get back to business before those, very blue-eyes made him forget, why he was here at all.

She took his arm as they went off to the cashiers desk to pick up the money.

At the window, a brief-case was vetted with the cash, fresh from the vault, and he paid the fee for the service, plus they added a big guy to carry it out to the lobby for him. The other guy for the loan shark, looked a bit nervous as he approached. There was no question this loan-shark, had stepped over one of those invisible lines, by sending his goons over to seize Jenn, or at least put the fear in her. The big guy said something to the other guy, after opening up the brief-case, which the pick-up guy reacted to with a nervous twitch. The case was closed and the pick-up man, walked back out looking like one of his nine-lives, had just expired on the spot.

Mathew tipped the big guy, after thanking him, knowing courtesy went a long way when it was respectful.  His cash escort left with a smile and he and Jenn continued out the doors.

“I am on my way over to the exhibit— he pulled out his note– Gibbson Hall— there is a machine there I want to check out— an old mining rig which some say is still more advanced then anything being used today. You are more than welcome to join me Jenn, unless you have other plans of course.”

Jenn smiled brightly,”I am not leaving your side until you push me away.”

“Well, that in case we are about to check out some very interesting old stuff.”

She laughed and off they went.

Q-silvercandies-24The Gibbson Building was quite impressive all the way around. The main exhibit which Mathew and Jenn were checking out was a large one with hundreds of pieces from the earliest periods. The crowds were big, with lots of families having a good time. The exhibit he was interested in was due to the fact the machine was off-planet technology, which Eliot had brought in from somewhere else. He was going to be scanning it with his multipurpose watch, and if possible take direct metallic samples with a resonator device to help determine where it had come from prior to Eliot sending it to this world.

There were lots of mysteries going on here which had barely been scratched on the surface. Jenn seemed to grasp at this point he was not just another business guy visiting, but she was not quite ready to make the leap he was from another planet. He was not surprised these people did not believe in space-travel, or aliens, but rather their insistence, this world was no more than three-thousand years old. The God of EL, so the legends stated, had created this world, to serve him. The religion was light on details, but specific on laws and rules to live by, which became the accepted norms for society.

The old books did not say these people, were that important in the grand scheme of things— only that their lives had purpose and meaning—to be cognitive of the fact all men faced their last moment just as the first one. They did not embrace the concepts of Heaven or Hell specifically, while holding fast to the cycle of re-birth. So what a man had done unto others so he would face in his next incarnate. His after-life quotient was his blessing or his grief. A life of good works meant another one of greater challenges along the same arc of progress. To live the life of a back-stabbing rat was to decline along the arc to a life of deeper misery. As Mathew and Jenn talked he also realized that they knew a secret organization was operating in the deep background— the mysterious Q-agents— who were much like the men-in-black his dad had joked about on many occasions. The agents of all things spooky. When your a kid and still seeing shadows, of bad intent under your bed, such tales made sense. Funny how that shadow was never noticed until you felt something staring at you from the distance. Too much imagination, or a sense that was dulled by the time a kid reached adult-hood?

The crowd around the big machine which he had come to see had thinned out to just a few men. The massive, tungsten-carbide screw heads—which looked like pine-cones— were attached by enormous hydraulically-operated arms, to a two-story multi-operational platform which rotated on the enormously heavy base. On the opposite side of the dual-screw heads was a variation of the “shearer loader” used in coal mining. This massive cutting piece also had exceptional axis movement. The two-story tall remnant had once been attached to an ever bigger machine, which housed the powerful diesel engines, whose electrical source of power was a set of mysterious crystals(and by the description a sound amplification driver of some kind). He pulled from out of his jacket pocket the small instrument, much like a tuning fork, which was called an amplification-resonator. All he had to do was tap on one of those cutting blades and the device would do the rest.

While Jenn was waiting for the snack vender to fill two large cups, of the popular smoothie-combo, he saw his chance to step past the ropes keeping the public from getting too close, as a safety precaution. He tapped a spot on the big screw-head and let the device do its job. He did the same for several other spots which looked like they would yield a good reading. While stepping around the back of the huge machine housing he noticed a small door. He opened it up and was able to step inside the main housing, with a ladder going up into the interior. He climbed up the metal-steps and was in a small operations-room, or nest, and began looking over the many dials and control panels. At the very top of one such section he noted a panel was slightly bent. He pulled out a slide-out tubed step which allowed him to climb up to the top-shelf level. He tapped the resonator to the panel and it sequenced and popped the lock. Inside the secret cubby-hole the space was big enough to hold a set of note-books and a small tool-box, which he took out. He climbed back down and proceeded to quickly go through the note-books. Each page was filled with notes on operating the machine with diagrams and very specific instructions. The tool-box opened with a bit more power from the resonator. Inside was a set of tools of the likes he had never seen before, with translucent middle sections, with precise markers for taking readings or possible slide-ruler style calculations by how the sections moved. The watch scan determined the fluid was of some unknown molecular substance and was storing electrical charge thousands of times more efficiently than a lithium battery. Other instruments inside the box had equally astonishing properties of unknown purpose.

His watch finished another longer scan of the machine and found another hidden compartment. He had to reach into one of the lower metal-drawers which had a pin-sized knob he could depress at the top-right corner. This released the inset drawer which pushed all the way out. Inside this one was yet more hand-books with more personal items. As he rifled through the stuff he found a photograph. A six-by nine color print of several couples in front of a large unusual looking space-craft. The craft was at least three-stories tall and maybe sixty-feet round. The ramp was down and the couples were posing mid-way on the wide ramp. The crafts black-fins reminded him of a motor-cycle, but these were huge and comprised the side of the craft. One of the men looked allot like Alex—different eye-color and dark-brown hair, but the face had the same cut of the jaw and the fore-head was the same. The blond-haired woman was in his arms and was very young looking, compared to the guy.  There was no markings on the back. He also noted the picture had the same feel as the pizza ad sheet. He tried to tear a corner and found it was impossible. He slipped the picture into his jacket pocket. Perhaps, another opportunity in the future would allow deeper examination of the material contents inside this room. For now he had to go. He picked up the tool-box and went back down the ladder and then back out the small door. The box and tools it carried were made elsewhere. His avatar informed him they were not even meant for human hands to operate. A robot hand conducting electrical energy continuously through the handles, or something else, of a similar conductive-exchange potential. He felt slightly guilty for taking the box, but the hard facts were nobody on this planet could use such tools, much less identify where they had actually come from and why.

Jenn however, was giving him a real funny look when he came back around the exhibit. “I thought maybe you might have been up to something, when I saw you duck around the corner. I don’t suppose it is a good idea to ask why you are absconding with the property of the machines owner?” She handed him his smoothie which was slightly melted.

“This box is made of a metal which is not on the periodic chart, or from this world. It is a piece of a bigger mystery I am investigating. As for this machine… it just so happens I have a tentative meeting with the share owner who holds the biggest piece of the pie, of which this machine is a key part. That owner is a widow whose husband actually worked with this machine just before it was taken apart. He was given this section as part of a deal much later on, which was stipulated that the unit here was made part of a traveling show. He kept his word and here we are today.”

She took a big slurp of her smoothie still looking at him quite intensely. “If I didn’t know better I would swear, you are a traveler from another world. It certainly would explain why you are so different. Who else would know such things with only a couple of hand gadgets right out of the movies or something. Don’t worry, I have no intentions of betraying your confidence. I just hope when we head out the door we don’t get hooked by the plainclothes who watch the exits with their fancy security camera’s. I can only deal with so much excitement in one day. And you are running that red-line as if its the only speed you know.” She gave him a big smile and went back to him having his arm around her. “I don’t know who your girl is but I am real curious if she has any idea how far from home you really are.”

“She knows… and it is a question of trust.” He carried the tool-box in his left-hand while they went back down the big, wide steps leading to the lower concourse. He found the smoothie to be a bit sweet but nice and cold. Down below where they were heading, at a leisurely pace, was a huge three-story machine, which was demonstrating the dual lifting-arms for ultra-heavy items. Right now it was smoking like a bastard from the over-sized rear engines. The smoke was pouring out so thick the big doors, which allowed such over-sized machinery to be brought into the showrooms, had reopened so the crowd could go out into the parking lot until the smoke cleared. They walked right along with the crowd without so much as a second glance from anybody.

“You are one very charmed man Mr. Everette. On one-hand I really want to make a major play for you, and on the other, I am afraid I might get more than what I bargained for— when you suddenly go off into the midnight-skies without me.”

“I need to make a phone-call as it is just a few minutes before my noon dead-line for reserving a cab for tomorrow. That booth right over there will be just fine. Your very perceptive Jenn. Honestly, I have no idea if I could take you back to where I am going. That is part of the mystery. I am on a long tangent which has to yet to resolve. All I can say, or promise, is that so long as I am here you are more than welcome to come along for the adventure.” He stepped into the booth with her pressed against him and dialed up the cab company to make the arrangements. Now he knew for sure there was a deeper reason to speak with the widow, but how much she might know, was just a guess. A few questions later with the dispatcher and the deal for the cab was set up. They came back out with him wondering if the Ace card would work with these phones, just the same as on Earth. Now that would be a test worth trying.

Jenn knew she had him square to rights under her ever charming ways. “I need to go back to my apartment. Just for a few minutes to pick up some mail which has to go out today.” She nonchalantly slurped from her cup.

“Not a problem. We can go grab a cab right now. There are plenty in the queuing line. I have but one more errand to run for this afternoon and after that we can do something you like… if so inclined of course.”

“Be careful, I might run us by the court-house just to see just how serious your will power is under pressure.”

“And what would your parents say to marrying a man so much older than yourself?” He took in big mouthful of the sweet berries, too big for the over-sized straw.

“Are you kidding me?” She laughed wholeheartedly. “They wanted me to marry this older guy who my dad does business with— who of course was—and still is quite wealthy. I however, turned down that plan dead-cold and went off to college for four years, just to be a travel-agent. My mother was not pleased by my decision at all. They both believed I was sleeping with my ex-fiancee, but that was a false assumption. He however, delighted in insinuating that I was and that led to my Father hating him of course, and like a fool, I played right along just to be ornery. Not all girls lose their maiden purity at the drop of a well dressed hat. I can please a man just fine—if I choose to— besides your perceptive assumption does carry some weight, as I have heard from risque rumors of sorts, that virgin call girls do earn a higher premium. I have no intentions of being one, debt obligations or otherwise, but I do admit, I saw the signs and just didn’t care. Living dangerously defeats the doldrums and I was enjoying the chase. Men are funny that way. Please don’t think bad of me, I just want to be on the level with you. It’s not every day a single woman meets a Q-man from outer-space.”

He just smiled and opened up the cab door for her. As the cab sped along she highlighted the key parts of her childhood, such as her parents moving to a farm just before her starting high school and her many responsibilities as the oldest. By the time they had reached her apartment, he had a brief sketch of her general past and knew she was being straight with him. She had lots of good qualities which under any other circumstances would be very difficult to ignore. He waited outside of the cab while she made a quick run inside to fetch her out-going mail.

The women of this country, explained the avatar, were not locked into a foul social-economic battle with the men. The balance between them, which may have see-sawed from time to time, remained within that critical balance of family interests, more so than any false pretension of woman’s liberation’s from home drudgery could destroy. According to the government records, which had been analyzed, the vast majority of married woman did not need to work outside the home. The population was economically self-sufficient and meaningful work for men across all social classes was abundant. While there were some substantial differences between the city and the rural qualities of each sex, in regards to whom earned the income, men and women did not go down that burning road of hatred arising from financial inequality. Divorce rates here were minimal, as were taxation’s on either class of married or single. Wealth was still on the major axis upswing and the middle-class was robust across the country.

This Nation was named Alexandria, and was comprised of thirty states whose land mass was four times greater than North America. Most of the upper stretches were sparsely inhabited, cold, heavy-snow bound winters, in extremely rugged terrain, made those zones too harsh for all, but the hardiest of men and women. This state was twice the size of Nevada, covering a complex diversity of environments, with substantial mountains and valleys along a rough south to north-east trajectory along three-thousand miles long. The city was the second largest over-all, by population and fifth by land held in public trust. He finished off the smoothie and tossed the cup into a trash bin. He picked up a newspaper from the rack and noticed the full color ad for the local scooter rental. He quickly decided to rent one and not have the cabby wondering why they were heading over to an abandoned building on private property. Condemned at that.

Jenn came back out wearing more comfortable shoes for walking around and a fashionable, silk head-scarf. After getting back in she asked the cabby to take them down a few blocks to the express drop-off postal box. Afterwards, Mathew told the cabby to take them over to the scooter rental shop. He paid the fare and they went inside the busy rental office. Service was quick and he picked out a sporty looking, 300cc, Deluxe-Touring Scooter for them to use. Such models for two were quite popular with tourists and locals alike, and these had all of the extras needed, for carrying stuff. Soon they were off again to the location he had been directed to investigate. After a fun ride he pulled up to the nondescript, older building and parked. They took off the sleek helmets, and he secured them, in the scooters rear-compartment so made for them.

“So what in the world are you up to now?” She looked around the abandoned building, which was once part of the older, core-section of the city, serving as the depot for the underground station, whose branches led off to mining sites.

“A piece of forgotten history is down there in a hidden vault-room. We can reach it from the ground-level by a semi-working hydraulic-lift. Don’t worry, I have all that I need to get us down, and back out, without getting our hands dirty.”

“Oh, I should hope so. Even a Q-man needs to warn his adventurous date when he expects her to do some major knee-scraping.” She gave him a big smile and followed right behind him through the door he opened with the very handy resonator.

“I sure could use one of those gadgets when visiting my aunts farm. My uncle is a security nut and made the entire lower levels of their sprawling ranch house, nearly impassable to walk through, due to all of the locks he never remembered which key opened. He drove my poor aunt crazy at times, as she never knew where he stashed things. Her youngest daughter is two years younger than me and coming to visit in a few weeks. I usually visit with them over the winter vacations. They have a gorgeous ranch along the coast where they grow citrus fruits. Mostly oranges, but they have acres of limes and lemon trees too. My crazy father dated my aunt first— then realized my mom was much better suited to his sensibilities.  My aunt met my future uncle soon after. They were a much better couple from day one. My uncle is older than she is by fifteen years, and was already quite prosperous with his orchard business. He in turn helped my dad start his own orchard business and he has done real well over the years with lots of apple and pear trees, with some almonds as well. My mom loves her big green-house gardens and has quite a few regulars to help her with all of the work. Another reason she and dad are not so happy with me, as I missed one opportunity after another for a young husband, who could help on our farm, only to turn down the older prospect who owns a major, farming-equipment franchise in five states. He married soon after he knew I had no interest in him, and my mother, bless her heart, has never let me forget what an immature  decision that was— never mind the fact, I didn’t love him at all. He was a handsome man, but not my type period.”

“Not enough adventure?” They had reached the inner set of rooms which once housed the offices and lifts.

“Not even close— honestly, I just didn’t want settle down so soon. I wanted something different. I do like the idea of having lots of children— a family life, but I wanted to see more of the world than just what was on the TV screen. That’s not wrong is it?”

“I don’t think so. If you do not follow your heart you will never be happy with what you have, or whom you are with. I learned that the old fashioned way by getting married young without knowing even why. I just saw my wife as this very attractive woman who seemed to have all the right social connections I thought really mattered. She turned out to be someone I never even knew at all. It is amazing how long you can live with someone and never really know each other.  My current somebody special— I have known a long time. We have a good connection where it matters most. At the end of the day if you cannot trust each other hearts you have nothing, but an illusion of love. The lifting platform is right over there.”

As he fiddled with the mechanism which was being analyzed by the probe under the guidance of the avatar he realized maybe she was on to something and so he asked her, “have you ever considered becoming a Q-agent yourself?”

Are you serious? She replied in genuine amazement.” She looked at him with a much different intensity. “Imagine that… me an actual Q-agent.”She twirled a long strand of her hair. “Do I need to attend a specialized university or is it something else?”

The probe finally found the right power circuits on the box and powered up the platforms hydraulic-systems. “Actually, it will be a rather intense training period, with me doing some of that training, but mostly from another source. Mind transference of knowledge. Lots of knowledge in fact, but well organized by purpose. Exceptional pay too, and all the perks, as well, in one clean package, kind of deal.” He lifted up the handrail and locked it back into the correct position. “Hold on to me and the rail as we go down. There is a bit of damage in the lower-levels and we might bounce a bit over the rough spots.  Bad gear-trains from not getting greased over the last thirty-years or so.” He also pressed a fob on the watch which caused a bright light to form in a sphere above them. The lift clanked a bit and slowly began to descend.

“You have the coolest gadgets I have ever seen period. I am really loving this idea of being a Q-agent Mathew. I am so happy that my heart is fluttering.” She turned and hugged him fiercely. “A lot of men have mistresses you know. You could just think about it.”

“Time will tell soon enough what the answers must be Jenn. Right now, we have a small mystery to solve. The better part of the job is solving problems, nobody else can, or in many cases, even knows there is a problem to solve. The life of a Q-agent is not always easy. You need to consider that aspect as well.” Her honest face was indeed flush.

“I will. I know hard work is the key to success. And I would never disappoint you.” She held onto his arm and the rail as they went downward through the floors, mostly busted up old-remnants, of the once highly-functional depot.

After a few minutes of clanging and some sharp bumps and bounces, he knew by the change in light focus they had arrived at the right floor. He playfully turned Jenn about as she laughed and helped her navigate across the busted up section where water had eroded the ground from beneath. The light increased for them to see in all directions a good twenty-feet. There was lots of water damage, leaving big gaping holes in the concrete floors and around the granite stonework pillars to avoid. They went right where the stone wall met the section they were walking along. They continued down the smoother concrete ledge another fifty-yards or so until he found the door. The exterior door was not obvious to the naked eye. A clever design hide the manner in which it popped outwards before sliding to the left. The door had long since rusted and the probe had to force the door by vibrating it rather intensely. The inner-door was also quite clever in that it was held in place by a hydraulic spring-loaded mechanism. The probe had to manipulate the mechanism causing the gears to grind and a lower section to shear as the door was forced along the inner, grooved steel-tracks.

“Whatever they were hiding in here must have been something important. They shielded this entire enclosure so well not even the probe could scan its interior. However, that is what gave it away. A single pass which was following the old-tunnel system is what alerted the probes recursive analyzer. Just a fancy circuit meaning go back and check this black-data-loss spot one more time. But that is why we are here.” They walked down the narrow, concrete hallway to the last inner-door which was in good shape. He pulled out the resonator.”This works by vibrating both metal and air inside any type of lock mechanism. The data is sent to the watch, which is in synch with a large sentient-probe in stealth mode above the building. A 3-d image is produced and the device refines the actions as needed under that probes control.” The door opened inward. “That probe also uses an RF bridge to deliver electricity to where it is needed. Damn handy when your not an electrical engineer by trade.”

“So I can tell. So are we looking for something specific, or just a general curiosity kind of search?” The lights came on as she entered into the room with Mathew right behind her.

“I would say a bit of both.” The interior was perhaps twenty-by twenty with large metal-cabinets, back to back in three rows on thick glass/wood insulation feet. The back wall was all inset drawers from the floor to the ten-foot ceiling. Every cabinet door was locked, so he went down the lines, opening them up on both sides, and then opened all the drawers as well. Inside the cabinets were lots of tools. “I have never seen tools exactly like these before… obvious expert craftsmanship, and made from advanced alloys of unknown elements. You take the other side.”

They both looked through the interiors noting there was a considerable amount of electrical equipment neatly organized in each one. “Each of these cabinets on my side has different tools and equipment, but all made from the same metals and machined materials. I don’t recognize anything either. I have taken a few tours through the machine shops at the airport maintenance bays, so I do know what our advanced tools look like and none of these have any brands or company logo’s.”

“You’re right. No serials either. All custom made with military-grade specifications. Let’s go through these drawers. You can start that side while I start on this one. We can work back to the middle and then we can look up top.” The top drawer on his side was filled with diagram books. Well organized by type. Schematic drawings for tunnel machines and lots of metal production units. “Its looks like they were making very sophisticated tunneling machines which fed these ore-carriers right to the underground smelting and refinement chambers. Then right to these massive, production-assembly floors. A whole lot of military stuff, and underwater technologies.”

“Mine are detailed engineering books on all things relating to bridges, dams, cause-ways, rail-lines and lots of hydraulic machinery. My dad loves this kind of stuff. He is a real sucker for any salesman touting the latest and greatest tools and machines to get more out of the farm. He has twenty-thousand acres and one third of them sit on a natural swamp. A real bargain, if you can drain, all that water out of the way for planting. Luckily for him, he was good friends with all these guys he had known since grade-school who went into construction, engineering and such, and they solved the water drainage issues in the second year. They have really stuck together over the many decades right to today. All of our families moved here around the same time period. They had these big pow-wows and all the wives would be in one room and us kids in another while they power drank their way to what-ever next big idea they had for making things bigger and better. They actually accomplished some major projects, every year, but I think they just liked getting sauced and having a good time. I on the other hand hated the fact I was the only girl my own age, but with lots of younger girls four through nine, including my sisters. On most occasions, I babysat the girls, while all those boys ran around the fifty-acres of Mr. Dawsons farm, doing whatever they wanted. I was a very jealous of all that freedom, in my early high-school years. I gave all of them such a bad time, most of them barely spoke to me when we entered our senior year.”

“Well that explains everything,” he jokingly told her in reply.

“Very funny Mr. smartypants. Needless to say, my teen dating years were a colossal disappointment.  Now here is something of interest.” She held out a two-foot long, by one-foot wide, ten-inches deep gold and silver box. “Sure is beautifully made too. Look at all the symbols and these inter-locking, Borromean-ring patterns.” She held the box out and he held the resonator to the lock for over sixty-seconds, before the box whooshed just a bit and opened up. Inside were two rows, four each, of perfect spheres of an unknown crystalline, five-inches in circumference, plus, three smaller cats-eye spheres of unknown composition, of two-inch circumference. There was also set of various gold-instruments and a large, heavy brass-base.

“I have seen a similar sphere to these three cats-eyes used in a very interesting trick q-box.” She set the box atop one of the open drawers. They each picked up one of the two-inch diameter cats-eye spheres and one of the larger, clear ones.

“The small ones are surprisingly much heavier than the larger ones,” Jenn commented while comparing them, one in each hand.

“It looks like the larger spheres go into this gimbal-rig, which attaches to the base, along with a cats-eye on each of these side mounts, with these attachment stems, which curve back into the base with the coils near the bottom. However, we seem to be missing whatever goes into this thicker ring-device, which apparently attaches to the top.” He looked through the other compartments in the box, finding only dozens more of the one-inch, diameter rings. Some of the quarter-inch-thick rings had a raised, tiny flanged-nub, topped by a red-lens, at the centered top-position. Others had a larger nub of orange in the same position. The ring was a device for perhaps a disk-shaped something which was not obvious. The watch-scan was inconclusive as well.

“These larger spheres remind me of the divining stones you used to see in some of the old magic-shops.” Jenn set both back in their respective holders. “By the time I was seven or so most of the good shops had gone out of business. All of the old supply manufactures were closed down by the government on the grounds that the “magic products” were not safe for the general public. It was horse-pucky of course, but the scientists played on the fears so created, claiming people were dying all around the world from material defects only science can prevent. Of course no scientists ever fixed the defects, so claimed, and hence, all of the good stuff vanished over-night. The tacky crap however, was manufactured like nails and milk, so naturally, the crap replaced what did work and then all of the good magic stuff was gone. My grandfather, on my mothers side was very entertaining with those old magic-tricks.” She continued looking through the drawers.

“That tactic sure sounds familiar. Using fear to drive out the good for the crap which of course makes corporations lots of money. We will take this box with us and see if we can’t figure out what this apparatus does.” He just placed the assembly back into the box without breaking it down. In the next drawer he found a thick set of folders with photographs. Very interesting color photographs, as every one of them had the lions-head symbol with the ace of spades motif. The dates really caught  his eye. All in the year 1947. “Look at these for just a moment. These are called “Instance photo’s” due to the fact they cannot be destroyed.” He showed her that it was impossible to rip or even wrinkle the glossy, paper.

“Are all of these of your world?”

“No… in fact, they look to be the different worlds these guys had set up their connections on. They used these to induce the “translation” which is a way of moving things and people, across the natural force barriers that separate all of these worlds from one another in space-time. A long story in itself.”

An inter-dimensional connection? That is so wild. And from the looks of it these guys really got around too.” She put them back in the folder and continued searching the last three drawers. They didn’t find anything of greater significance, so they pulled out the ladder and up he went to the top-level. Each drawer was filled with various things, like drinking flasks and other assorted personal items, perhaps for camping in a limited way, but nothing all that interesting. Until he came to the last one. Buried under a massive folder file which he handed down to Jenn to rifle through, he found another ornate box. He came back down the ladder. The box was eighteen-inches long by twelve-inches wide. Pure silver by the scan and with the flower of life symbol etched onto the otherwise, smooth surface. He opened it up with the resonator. Inside were cards. Seven of them.”

“What are these?”

“They look like duplicates of the originals I have been investigating. They are quantum devices of a very sophisticated purpose.” He unlatched the front panel which opened outwards, so the cards could be removed by pressing on a release button, like a pen fob, which he pushed for each one. They were all spades four through ten.”I have no idea why these cards are together like this or what they were used for here on your world—another mystery to solve if possible.”

“This last section of this folder has twenty-pages of these nearly translucent sheets covered with a metallic-ink code.” She held out the sheets for him to see. The numerical looking characters were densely spaced and took up the entire sheet from the very top to the bottom and also on the reverse. Jenn took out several of the sheets and they both flipped and turned them in the light looking for something which might indicate a clue to their purpose. The pages could be bent and rolled, but no wrinkles. “Roll that one up again I just noticed something about the larger characters on the edge column and near the middle of the second.” She rolled up the sheet length-wise into a tight tube and held it up to the light. The three typed numerals when aligned formed a complete pattern.”What does this mean?”

He looked over to the still assembled gimbal-rig sitting in the box. “I wonder…” She handed him the rolled-sheet and he placed it easily into the top ring. He then placed the assembled rig on the sturdy slide-out board which was above the middle drawer. He then placed one of the cats-eye spheres, on either side, in their respective cup-shaped holders. As he did so the paper vibrated, and then it began to spin counter-clockwise. As the horizontal rotation reached full speed, a banded, yellow-orange torus-bubble began forming above the spinning-rings top nub. The sheet was performing an impossible topological trick to transform into the sphere.

“Now what in the world is this thing doing?” He asked out-loud. The gel-looking fluid, was filled with brilliant colored-tendrils swirling around the center of pulsing, brightly-colored, curving-lines. The sphere was spinning smoothly, even as the sheet itself contracted into a thin-disk, perfectly flush with the rings thickness.

The avatar informed him of the initial scan results, and he told Jenn. “Apparently, the top-sphere is full of encoded information inside those tendrils. Now this is some very interesting technology. The gel-morphic fluid is similar to something we call Nitinol– a type of memory-metal. Nitinol was secretly tested to see if it responded to the energy generated by get this—intelligent mental control–the best results were never made public of course. This class of matter might very well, trace back to some very old, deep-military secrets.” The sphere in the gimbal, was now spinning as well. The sphere was going through a phase-transition and soon matched the same pulsing, swirling state as the one above. “I have no idea what this device is doing specifically, but think of the possibilities for data-storage and processing.”

“These things would be worth a fortune alright— if you knew what they did and why.” Jenn like Mathew was transfixed by the unusual sight before them.

“An entire industry waiting to happen,” he said, thinking of the possibilities. “The gel itself is an unknown substance, according to the probe. However, the information inside both spheres is organized similar to a DNA data-base, in these tendrils… so each of these spheres are maybe holding 200 petabytes of information. Both of the cats-eye spheres, are also unknown instance-states of matter. Each of them are doing something as well with the information, but the scans cannot determine what is being calculated, or perhaps exchanged?

“So how exactly do we turn this thing off?” She asked, curiously noting there was no off-switch. “Considering, we have no idea, what it is doing?

“Good question.” He picked up one the smaller rings with a different colored, flanged top-nub. He realized some of them were magnetic. He thought about it for a moment— and he simply dropped the magnetic-ring into the top-sphere. They watched as it dropped down into the gel-fluid, slowly rotated inside the swirling inner-stuff and then stuck to the lower one. The top-sphere quickly collapsed back into the torus-bubble-state, and the sheet expanded back outward, as the rotation came to a stop. The lower-sphere slowly stopped spinning as well, returning to a clear state. They saw no differences in the cats-eye spheres— and no heat from any sphere. They were instead cool to the touch.

“Your intuitive deductions are rather impressive.” Jenn held up a cats-eye, but found nothing different as well. She helped him start putting all of the rig components back into the box, as he dis-assembled the device.

“I do alright with these kinds of puzzles. But we are still missing key pieces: what did they do with all of this stuff? Well, lets get all of the rest of the good stuff back into their proper boxes. We actually need to get back up top-side. The probe will be analyzing this room and its contents for quite awhile. We need to tinker around with these things back at the hotel room, and see what kind of over-all system is at work here with some better instruments.” They left all of the drawers out and the cabinets open. The exterior door was modified by the probe and a specialized unit was assigned to the task of deep-scanning everything in the room.

Mathew carried the heavy-boxes and Jenn carried all the folders. Once back outside they secured the boxes to the deluxe scooters, rear adjustable rack, with cords so provided, and placed the folders inside the carrier. They headed back to her apartment, to unload all of the items so acquired, and then they went back to the rental-shop. The scooter had to be back before six. They came through the doors at 5:40 p.m. He paid for the rental, while Jenn grabbed another cab.

Jenn decided on a place to eat which did not require reservations. They arrived at the restaurant just in time to get the last table out on the upper-deck, which afforded the dining guests a spectacular view of the entire southern expanse of the city, and as far as the eye could see to the distant mountains. The restaurant was on the twelfth-floor of a fourteen-story building, which was itself, part of a cluster of buildings of a much newer development, taking advantage of a half-mile moon shaped flat-section on the lower slope. Behind this section rose the mountain whose flanks were prized for the scenic and privacy qualities. The arrangement of the tables, plus the sectionals— featuring elaborate graphic artworks— afforded the guests that balance of privacy without sacrificing service. Halfway through the two-course meal Mathew realized Jenn was his perfect compliment in a whole other way that did not diminish the relationship he had with Charlene.

As much as he was afraid to admit, Jenn was in most ways superior to Charlene. He had never been in this position before where his gut instinct was balanced on a pin-head of consequence. It was as if Jenn had already deduced Charlene’s weaknesses. Where the fiancee had gone wrong was his motivations were in direct conflict with her instincts and innate female smarts. He had learned from his father not to compare woman to men, only to each other. Men and woman were meant to see the world differently and to find the harmony between them both. That was the internal struggle whose dynamic made couples stronger that either one was alone. She already knew they were going to be together, and being Q-agents was just icing on the cake. As they slow danced on the level above the dining deck his will power to push her away simply diminished with every passing moment.

The avatar was unbiased. She flashed through his thoughts a quick synopsis of their biological compatibility: their children would be of exceptional intelligence and physical stature. He knew Charlene couldn’t have children and Jenn was a veritable baby making machine according to her physical strengths. The female physiology here was untouched by the perils of earth living. These females had progressed well beyond the genetic defects visited on earth generations by copious industrial contamination’s, wastes and dozens of other negatives polluting the masses and slowly destroying the human body. No atomic power, no lead gas, no war industries, no manipulations of food stocks of any kind.

Jenn had no substances in her body which could be marked, as damaging to her health, and had no diseases of any kind lurking in her genetic make-up. The males here like the females were just as clean biologically and of great vitality. His body, having gone through the unique changes was so modified to give him the edge, no matter what world he was on. Jenn was simply reacting naturally to that female biological imperative to seek out the most vital mate. His energy center was well above the bell curve for men, even on this world. At the end of the day biology ruled the night. He had enough internal discipline to keep his priorities straight, but she was quite overwhelming indeed.

The next morning was a busy one. While Jenn attended to her immediate schedule, one of which was taking an extended absence from work, which was not going over very well, but as she told him on the phone shortly before meeting with a buyer, they could take it or leave it. The buyer was a thin man of reticent manners, who knew exactly what he wanted and had little to say otherwise. Mathew allowed him full access to the stones of the desired carat without any sales pitches. Not that he had any. The buyer finally decided on three, rough stones of the twenty-five and paid for them in full.

Mathew completed the required paper-work, so that the funds went to the right buckets, as the law, and his contract status demanded. Back at the firm his sales were going through the pipe-line just as any other Trader in the independent class. While his past was fictitious he had been blended into the one business which allowed such artful manipulations without any nosy questions. The sales went through without a single hitch and the buyer had legitimate ownership of what he purchased. Back at the firm the desk-secretary made the proper notations upon the vetted, photo-faxed copies and cleared the sell order, so that his account was credited with his correct commission. No income tax on his net either. Such a tax was outlawed here along with any other form of confiscatory taxes. There was no federal ownership of lands or money. People here in this state called Jefferson, were especially, well known for defending the right of individual property, and the county of Madison, was a leader in state banking-assets. Here the counties controlled the flow of funds not a bunch of political FED-animals lording over the money spigot. And in this county when they failed their financial responsibilities they were ordered before a grand jury, and charges were decided by a public quorum. If found guilty the punishment was death. This harsh penalty kept the public coffer from being pilfered, and bankers had no authority to create credit.

He met Jenn outside the hotel lobby just a few minutes before noon. His reserved cabby pulled up right on time and they were soon off to visit unannounced at the home estate of one Mrs. E. G. Fuller. The widow who held the dominate shares of ownership of the drilling rigs which toured the world. Her estate was quite something to behold. The cab parked in the guest lot under the colorful canvas and brass awning. They walked up the winding, white walkway through well manicured flower beds whose scents tickled the nose. He used the courtesy bell to ring of their arrival. A housemaid answered the door. She was an older woman with clear green-eyes and a sharp look about her. He showed her the photograph of the space-ship and the youngish couples on its ramp. She gave him and Jenn a very funny look, as she took the photo he handed her to show Mrs. Fuller.

“How do you think she will react?”

“She can’t ignore the memory, but she might not be all that thrilled we are uninvited guests. Lets hops she is more curious than insulted or something.” The woman came back to the door and showed them into the foyer.

“Mrs Fuller will be in the receiving room shortly. Normally she does not allow uninvited guests to interrupt her noon schedule, but she has made an exception for the two of you.  And you are?” She asked looking at them both in turn.

He held up his I.D. badge. “Q-agent, Mathew Everette and my assistant Miss Briskoll.” He replied.

“Follow me…” She led them through a set of french doors, down a marble floor hallway, framed by expensive tastes and into a luxurious room of old wealth decor. She made the introductions and they were seated in a plush sofa. Mrs. Fuller looked to be around eighty or so, very well taken care of physically, richly dressed and looking very surprised by the manner she clutched the photo to he chest and sighed audibly.

“Where did you obtain this photo?” She asked her attention sharply focused on Mathew.

“From inside a drawer where it would not likely ever be found. Except by sheer luck. That is you, the second couple from the left?”

“Am I under investigation? I have rights even a Q-agent such as yourselves, so I assume, must respect in this free State.”

“You are not under any investigation Mrs Fuller. The ship is the reason for our being here. I know that ship was built elsewhere, but the records are missing. That ship is part of a greater puzzle and any information you could provide us will be held in the strictest confidence. It is suspected that Eliot is trying to return here. And I need to now why, so this world can be properly defended against an attack.”

“I always knew that man was not going to give up so easily. Eliot was quite the character in his day. That young woman standing next to Peter Bell, is his sister Gweneth. She and Peter were having an affair. This photo is of me and my first husband Arthur. The other couple we did not know prior to the trip. I simply knew them as Mr and Mrs Ferganson. He was a structural engineer who had worked on this craft and many others. This was our fist time aboard such a vessel. The craft was spacious as such craft are usually not, and was very smooth in all phases of travel. You barely knew you were in space or even in normal airspace. We only made the one trip aboard this one specifically, which is why we even agreed to be in the photo. This however, is not our copy. This is one of those “other” kinds of images. I am sorry I cannot be of more help to you, but at the time this was taken we were part of something so big, we were like two leaves lost on the beach.” She handed the picture back to her housekeeper, who in turn, gave it back to Mathew.

“Can you remember a date perhaps? Just a small detail that may help to pinpoint when this ship was in operation?”

“The time conversions were rudiment at best. My best guess is fifty-four years ago our local time. I was thirty-two when the image was taken. I am eighty-six today.” She turned to her housekeeper, Agnes could you please go and retrieve the pearl-white box from the storage closet in Charles second room. I have something else Mr. Everette, which you might find helpful. May I ask why the agency, has not bothered to maintain a proper working relationship, with those like myself, over the last twenty-years?”

“Unfortunately, the agency was divided into four separate sections. All of which were compartmentalized according to the specific functions and goals of each branch. There was a significant break-down of communication and work sharing and the agency has failed over the years to amend the growing problem. I belong to a small branch which has managed to recoup the original intentions of the core goals— that is to investigate threats to the world at large and I am one of the few which has managed to put back together certain critical events leading to today. The agency knows Eliot has breached our space on several occasions, but until I began my investigation we did not know the extant of those intrusions. I am attempting to track down any information which will help us determine his intentions.”

“Thank you for your informative response Mr. Everette. You do seem a cut above the ones I have met in the past and you miss are quite attractive for a female agent. I do not remember them being so youthful and fashionable. Most of them were hard-boiled, single-woman, whose manners left much to be desired.” Her knowing look at them both spoke volumes of her keen insights. Agnes returned with the pearl-white case with the brilliant image of a peacock on its top. Another maid brought in a tray with tea. Agnes set up the case on a stand which was strong enough to hold up the weight of the case. She opened it up revealing that it was filled with many objects of curious designs and a neat stack of photographs. She picked up the stack and handed them to Mathew. “Those are the ones my first husband Aurthur collected during the period he worked with the group. I did not like touching these unusual photographs as a rule, and I paid little heed to them after his death.”

Mathew quickly thumbed through the sheets which were exactly the same size of the pizza ad. “I have one of these in my possession. The Ace pizza ad.”

Her look was more than just surprise. “Then you know what these images are designed to do. As I said I never cared for such things. I found much of that work, the group did in those days to be most distasteful. I distanced myself from such activities and encouraged my Arthur to do the same. He did not like Eliot, or Peter that much. He was deeply troubled by the shenanigans those two were often preoccupied with in regards to those cards, so many fought over. We were supposed to be doing something extraordinary, and wonderful for the advancement of our entire species, and instead, it all degenerated into a mad, power scheme which ended in profound tragedy. Those here today know nothing of the circumstances which brought us all to this new world of hope. Our efforts here were often sabotaged by reckless ambitions and greed. The very evils we sought to distance ourselves from nearly destroyed us just as we were about to bring the success of this project to the mass public. We found people were quite capable of making the transition so long as they accepted the matrix-transitional change of consciousness. That power was soon misused to do other things. Thankfully, our forces stopped those of Eliot, and the others, and he severed the connection back to our previous world. His punishment for our lack of obedience turned out to be a blessing. His overt obsession with all things robot was rather unhealthy, if you want my honest opinion. Robot people indeed. The only downside, was the back history had been corrupted by Eliot, who of course, inserted himself into the religious foundations. That ploy on his part was successful and thus, to this day we have an El religion, which has slowly turned to a more traditional sense of the principles, despite his overshadowing of the rules.”

“Eliot, apparently, has never given up his grand goals, which is why he has to be stopped. As more information is recovered from that time period the better off we are to guard the world,” said Mathew still looking quickly through the images. He was handed them over to Jenn so she could see them as well. “I think what you have shared with us today will be very helpful to that goal.”

“Well, I am pleased to hear that. You may keep the case, and the contents, as my contribution to keeping that robotic madman out of our lives. I have additional documents not stored here at the house which you might find of interest as well.”

“That would be most welcome Mrs. Fuller. Any such documents can be sent to my hotel and all arrangements and expenses will be paid for by the agency. A single phone call will be all that is required after you release them by signature.”

“I will have my attorney make the preliminary arrangements. I see no reason for this to take more than day or two at the most. They are under lock and key in a secured warehouse for such things once used by our central office. We moved here twenty-five years ago from New Hanford. My second late husband Jack, liked the area so much after a visit to the lakes he purchased the land here and had this estate built. He died last year after a brief illness.  He knew very little of those previous times and that was one of the reasons why I married him at age forty-two. He was kind and thoughtful and quite the ballroom dancer.” She pointed up to the wall mounted photograph in an ornate gold frame. “We won a room full of trophies over the years. I so enjoyed the times we had together. My first one hated to dance. He was a scientist and had little time for what he called unnecessary, extravagances of material indulgence. And yet his fishing boat and gear filled an entire garage.”

Jenn smiled noting the photo was of the two of them on a stage surrounded by well-dressed couples in evening gowns and tuxedos. She placed her empty tea-cup back on the silver-platter. “Thank you for your time and the tea Mrs Fuller.”

“Your welcome dear. Well, I must return to my afternoon Bridge Club. The ladies will be wondering what is taking me so long. The two of you make a wonderful couple. Ring me up if you have anything more to speak about.” She gracefully exited the room through the other set of doors.

Mathew placed the first photo back with the others and closed up the case. The weight was such he felt like he was carrying a bag with a bowling ball or two. He gave the housekeeper his card which he wrote his private number on. His services level included the use of an answering service which would ring through to the avatar secretary. She had that corner already covered. They followed the housekeeper Agnes back out to the front door.

“I think that went really well.” commented Jenn.

“I agree. She has given us a genuine Q-box full of clues for us to follow up on. Those photographs are locations this group set up for transitions I think… one of those grey areas we will need to study very carefully. This case is an object in itself. When we get back to the hotel we are going to be performing quite a few interesting experiments. As a Q-agent you are going to be doing some very interesting travels.”

“I am so excited by all of this mystery. I can hardly wait to see what new wonders you have waiting for me to explore next.”

Once the case was secured in the trunk it was time to head off to the next stop, Ray Cutting Corp, which his avatar had set up to allow him to meet another old gentlemen, who had knowledge of the early days as well. He didn’t expect anything so dramatic as an entire box of translation photo’s and objects, but this man was one of the last of such men, who had direct contact with the early pioneers of this project. Along the way back Jenn continued telling him about her life and the many quirky factors to her family. Upon arriving at their next stop he checked with the avatar to ensure there was somebody here as the parking lot was deserted. Him and Jenn circled around out front to a spiral staircase which led up to the second story and then through a long hallway with lots of offices of different departments. There was nobody around on what was a normal work day.

He knocked on the door. “Is it odd all of these offices would be empty?

“It is unusual, but you must keep in mind it is summer vacation time. Geological surveys and such may not be all that tourist driven, if you think about it.”

“That is true. And I think I see some movement in the back there.”

“Your right. Oh, my goodness, he looks totally plastered.” She and Mathew watched as the elder man staggered towards the door. When he opened up his breath was so strong of whiskey she knew right away which brand he had been drinking. An expensive one at that.

“If this is a bad time Mr. Kowlisjki, we can come back on Monday. ” The elder man was wearing a conservative suit of dark green, which was unbuttoned down the front and the tie removed. He looked old, but still of a solid build. His grey-eyes were sodden from drinking and his wispy-white hair was disheveled in a comical manner. He waved them into the office reception room.

“No… I am fine. Just give me a momet to orientate myself  to a proper chair. I had a heela of a morning. Lost forty grand on a bad horse.. excuse my wind…  last night. Damn it a—ll to hell it was so close. He was nose to nose… this close…. photo finish my ass.. He had that other one by his lip… I seen it clear as day… his lip was out… so wha exactly can I do for you young couple?” As he steadied himself in a tall, black-leather chair Mathew, noticed a ten by nine photo, in a frame on the wall. A picture which instantly reminded him of the one described by Dr. Holtz.

“The photograph of the church— can I take a look at it out of the frame?”

“Sure you can… how about a drink young lady? I have a full bar just ar-ound the corner. A fine young couple like yourselves… surely has some-thing to celegrate?”

“No thank you. We are fine as we are… can I get you some coffee or something?”

“Cof-ffee… oh certainy not… I am nuring— my loss just fine thank—  you veery much.” He nearly fell over.

Mathew plucked the photo off the wall. He brought it back to show to Jenn. “This church is somehow connected back to Eliot. What can you tell me about this photo Mr. Kowlisjki? ”

“Well, I can tell you I didn’t take—take that picture. I have kept it all these many years ’cause I know the secret. It is another world. A world we came from long long ago. Another liftime now gone for good. Yes, I was a young geo-logical engineer, with an advanced degree, which that Group needed for lots of projekts. I was so busy— those many years, I often never knew, where I was g-oing next. We built all kinds of struktures big and small…. I was especially good at mining infra-strukture. I designed all kinds of sol-utions to tough under-ground problems. Water being one of many. We had a huge crew back in those days, thous-ands of young men and women, hard workers all of them.  We were quite the daring people… facing the dangers we did- with nobody telling us— what the limits were— or expecting us to do anything, b’neath our abilities. We were a force to be reckoned with— I tell you… army core guys had not’ing on us. We built the best and the biggest… that’s what we did.” He slumped to the side of the chair.

“Mr. Kowlisjki?” Mathew tried propping him back up,but he was out like a light. “I think he has been drinking all night long.”

“He sure smells like it too. And he is drinking the good stuff. I know that brand.”

“Well, lets take a look around. Maybe there is a cot in back or something we can lay him down on. I don’t think he is going to last long in that chair.” The two of them began searching through the rooms so connected, but aside from the working stuff, one would expect to find of such a profession, there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. However, in Mr. Kowlisjki’s office he had a trophy style glass-case with five shelves holding an impressive collection of model ships. Each was a work of art right down to the smallest of details. One in particular caught his eye, an Egyptian style ship carrying an amber colored block. Inside the block was a metallic cylinder an inch long. Jenn following his gaze began to study the golden ship.

“This one is quite beautiful,” she said, looking at every perfect detail. One of the miniature god statues was wearing an elaborate crown which had a colored, glass crescent-moon between the silver horns. The tiny moon was red on one side and blue on the other.

“Those who have unique secrets often enjoy keeping the secret right in plain site. They feel secure the secret cannot be known even as they play around with the clues to its solution.” She again watched his gaze as he looked back at the big oak desk piled up with decades of stuff just right for the man of life-long habits.

He pointed over to the desk, “A ordinary pen in a stand, of no particular design, on a desk filled with specific things, used over and over again. Other stuff, circulating in and out of the folder boxes, plus things which do not fit the daily pattern, stacked up for when one has time to really check them out.”

Jenn had walked over to the desk. She picked up the pen from the grey stand.”A pen which has no sleeve clasp or a ball point, yet the plunger makes an audible click.” She began looking around the desk following his gaze.”And you are always a step ahead of me.” She went over to the half-height book shelf, specifically, to the thick, leather-bound one which had a dusty foot-print. She picked it up, with the pen in her mouth, and walked over to the glass case. She carefully looked at the enclosure and realized, one of them at the very top, had a screw-mount hole deeper than the rest. She plopped the thick, leather-bound book down and stepped onto it and placed the pen into the hole. When she clicked the pen the middle-section, of the glass-case, silently moved to the right.  When she pulled the pen back out she saw that the end was glowing faintly. She went over to the model and pointed it at the glass crescent. After some experimenting she realized the sequence was two clicks on the left and one on the right, by which an eye lit up— on the other two god figures. A mechanism inside the model made a slight whirring noise as the cube was released. She picked up the cube. “OK… now that I know the cube has a secret purpose— he has a habit of doing what next?”

“Of leaving the door open…” He pointed to the the rear closet-door,”and since he was plastered he spilled some booze on the way out.”

“Of course.. I smelled the odor thinking he was in here sitting as his desk drinking, but he came out of the closet?” She walked over to the closet opening up the door completely. She flipped on the light switch and could see a sliver of shadow along the curved back wall. She followed the smell finding when she reached through the many coats another switch was hidden. She pushed it up and the rear-panel slid open revealing a cubed-space. One might look at it as a recessed plug that was never installed. She experimentally fit the cube in several different ways until a pulse-pattern lit up inside and the silver cylinder glowed with a blue-light at the center. Mathew stepped in right behind her as the entire closet rotated into another position and then dropped downwards. “He was drinking down below where the secret is located and only came back up when he was about to run out of booze. He spilled the last of his bottle when he fell against the door.”The elevator came to a stop and rotated again. They stepped out into a circular shaft. Around them in their frame-holders were robots over fifteen-feet tall.

“Quite the secret alright… look at the size of them. “Jenn continued around the metal catwalk noting the discarded, empty bottles. “He certainly comes down here a lot. Long term habits indeed.”

“These are still functional, if they had any energy-crystals. He must have built the entire closure at a time when nobody was around. This is one single structure of which that elevator is the only way in or out. This was a carrier pod. All of these are heavy-duty mechanical’s, which you can deduce by all of the machined, tool-rig slots where the hands are missing. Look further below lining all the shelves.” He increased the light output to make it easier to see what the avatar was telling him. The lower sections were full of all kinds of mechanical apparatuses and over-sized tools.

“When do I get a set of all these fancy gadgets you carry around?”

“Actually, your gear is on the way. All ordered up this morning. By the end of next week, you too, will be well on your way to mastering the mysterious Q-tools of the trade.”

“Nice. So what are we going to do with these robots?”

“Nothing actually. A scan of the entire contents of this enclosure will take awhile, but as for us we are done here. Mr. Kowlisjki isn’t hurting anybody, except maybe himself, with excessive drinking, but we are just gathering information. He can keep his secrets without worry. Maybe some day this collection of the past age will also be in the open for the public to see.”

“And quite the attraction too. These are very impressive all around. I would love to see them in action.”

“Yeah, that would be something to see alright. I have no idea how those energy-crystals worked, which would need to be solved, as I doubt anything else would power those big bastards.”

“Another day another mystery.” She stated as they both stepped back into the elevator. Once back up in the office Jenn put everything back exactly as before. They went back out to find Mr. Kowlisjki had indeed slumped to the floor and was sound asleep. Jenn turned down the lights. Mathew took the photograph and left a note with his number. He locked the door behind them. The cabby was watching a sports show and was glad to see they were ready to go. After a quick discussion they decided on an outdoor eatery so the cabby could grab a bite as well.

The three of them had a good time just chatting about various stuff and enjoying the meal of french-dipped, roast-beef sandwiches, fries and a salad. The eatery was busy and there was lots of patrons like themselves sitting under the bushy shade-trees, at the wooden tables. After lunch they were off to one of the two last stops on the itinerary. The first stop was at an older bookstore which carried some rather rare publications.  He just had to get a certain book, which was quite old, which had been published some fifty years prior. The fictional book was all about the many adventures of a group of men who explored the amazing parallel worlds, of multiple-ages— so discovered by the lead characters scientific knowledge. The title was “KEEPERS” which was a play on the acronym—QPIRS–quantum-parallel-instance-replication-states. The reason why the book was so important, was due to the fact that in addition to the real details in the story, the book also had in its colorful illustrations, specific details of the machines so used. These real technical-details were cleverly inter-mixed with the stories fictional aspects. Only the insiders would of course understand such clues, and the avatar had already cross-referenced,,, the authors many connections, to the actual men, who served as the sources for the many adventures. He paid a grand for the book. His copy had an autograph— a C. R. Chaplan.

The next location was a gift store which once had a vast collection of the “magic q-toys” Jenn remembered so well from her childhood. The store was very busy as they took a tour of the aisles which were well stocked with an impressive collection of items from the inexpensive to very expensive jewelry sets in the custom, glass-display cases. Mathew asked to see the older, general manager who was up in the office. They didn’t mind waiting as he and Jenn perused the merchandise.

The general manager was a short, stocky man with a friendly smile. He was well dressed in a grey, pinstripe suit and shook Mathews hand. “What can I do for you today?” he asked.

“I have some unusual information, concerning some very old merchandise, which was purchased some sixty-eight years ago by your father Mr. Ward. Merchandise which came from the InstaGoals corporation. The objects which were sold back then are quite valuable today not only as keepsakes, but as some of the few examples of a certain material which is rarely found in any other manufactured objects, from that period. My information is quite specific and I am prepared to pay your asking price for the three-boxes of merchandise still stored in your basement. As a Q-agent I have the resources to do detailed examinations of these objects under very tight security.” He showed the perplexed man his Q-card which had the correct hologram, plus the government symbols along with his picture.

“I have no idea how you guys can know such things? I myself have no idea, what you are exactly after, but to make you happy, we can take a trip down to the basement, and if I have these boxes you claim are there— I will make the proper sale of them to you.”

“Fair enough Mr. Ward. These older objects are rather mysterious even to us Q-agents, hence our excitement when we manage to find some information to check up on, such as today. I doubt very few people even knew of these things even back then, except as merchandise perfectly legal to buy, own and sell. The paper-work was in good order. That’s how I know the information is legit.”He pulled out the folded up documents, then showed the manager the old invoices he had received that morning.

“I’ll be damned…. just when I thought I had seen it all. You guys are good alright. My father built this business from scratch and he was quite the merchandiser, always looking for that next big thing and the quality products people like to buy for those nicer occasions.” He was leading the three of them down the back stairwell to the basement. This lower-level was crammed full of stuff, but it was organized to a degree.

The scan had indicated the boxes in question were under a pile of stuff, behind an even bigger, pile of stuff. Mathew took out of his jacket pocket another gadget with three thin-prongs which extended. “This locator tells me, by the round screen here, that the boxes we are looking for are behind that pile.”

“Well, we will have to move these other boxes and such then…” Mr. Ward replied, rolling up his sleeves. The three of them started moving and re-stacking the many items until they reached the three wooden boxes in question. “We each can carry one of these up-stairs.” He picked up the first one on the stack. “These are real sturdy boxes, but they are light.” He handed one to Jenn and then Mathew. The boxes only weighed ten pounds or so and were two-feet long by and one and half-foot wide by one-foot deep. “My stock guys can come down here and re-arrange the rest of this, so lets head back up to my office.”

Once back to to Mr. Wards spacious office he had one of his assistants bring in some coffee. He had lots of interesting pictures on the walls, of the family, especially the elder Mr. Ward with lots of businessmen and other  people. On the south wall was a case full of collectable miniatures of crystal and fine porcelain animals, figures from the movies and lots of other interesting things such as cars and trains, which were high-quality metal casts.  Mr. Ward was going through some older books to see what the original asking price was for the items in question. “Well, it appears these shipments were supposed to be picked up by another outfit, which in fact, payed for the shipping and never actually took possession of them. This is damn strange actually, considering these are worth some two-thousand per box. The current value is just a guess really. Maybe at a private auction they might go for a few thousand more, but I see no real interest in them, unless, the buyer like yourself, has a keen interest in that time-period, and knows what these objects did, or at least were used for in some way. I have no use for the merchandise in general—so and I will gladly take our original price, plus a modest twelve percent on the top for the stores, profit margin.”

“I will make out a Bankers premium check for the sum in question.” He took out his raised-seal check and made out the amount in question. He handed Mr. Ward the check.

“I don’t see many of these except from high-flyers. Out of curiosity, any idea of what these objects were meant to do?”

“I am real curious myself what we are going to be finding. If possible, I can send you a written synopsis of any unclassified findings. Might make for some interesting reading. Another mysterious piece of history for the dinner table and such to discuss.”

“That sounds quite intriguing Mr. Everette. This is already going to be an interesting conversation with my wife and family. They love to hear about such things, as mysteries go. Well, I think we have everything in order and I do thank you both for this very interesting bit of business. I have a young guy here who can carry out two of these boxes.” He switched on his intercom,”send up Parker will you Betty— thanks.”

After shaking hands again the three of them headed back down to the main floor as the assistant went up and fetched the other two boxes. He then brought them out to the cab and loaded them into the trunk, along side the third. The cabby closed up the trunk and it was time to head back to the hotel. Mathew paid for the extended fare and gave the driver a hundred dollar tip for all of his patience and help. A courtesy clerk took the boxes and placed them in a valet carrier and took them up to the room.

After getting some glasses, Jen poured them both a popular, nonalcoholic drink, from one of the bottles in the fridge. He set about opening the boxes which were so well constructed, a crow-bar would have been useless. ‘There was no way for these boxes to be opened without the specialized tool. The metal which is used to secure the box itself is not from this world either. These were part of a secret shipment, which if not for the war, would have been long since gone. They were the very last of this manufactures run. The corp. itself went of business right afterwards and the men behind this operation, left this world by one of those ships in that picture. The probe is having a hell of time cracking the code which operates the inner-lock mechanism. As they watched the lid on one of them finally released. Mathew lifted up the lid, revealing small gold-trays, holding tiny, white and black jacks. “What in the hell?” He took out half a dozen and handed half to Jenn.

“These are the most expensive kids, playing jacks, I have ever seen. Do we have a nice red, rubber-ball in there somewhere?”

“Ha ha very funny.” He sipped his drink wondering why kids toys cost thousands of dollars.

“So did we get skunked or what?”

“We still have two boxes to go. Maybe one of these other two have the really good stuff. The scanner comes up with nothing, but they are made of a compound of extreme strength. Maybe that was the reason for the secrecy. Super high-dense material in a very easy to test form.”

Jenn laughed as she watched him spin a few too hard and they flew off the table with some real kinetic force. She then tried spinning one so it spun on the lip of the glass. “Just as good as a gyroscope. These are really precise and there is more energy than a twist can explain. Look how fast it is spinning. One of yours went clear across the room.” There attention came back to the other two boxes which finally opened. She opened up one of the lids and Mathew the other. “Oh, my look at this. These are tiny models of men and woman. In explicit detail.”

“Good grief… anatomically perfect and bendable. How weird too. Look at these… four dozen flat, grey-disks and featureless. Nothing else in this box, but stuffing. Damn strange really.”

“You want to hear something even stranger yet, I think these figurines are robot-people models. Look I can open the belly of the female— she has a perfectly tiny, little baby in her— and I mean perfect.” She held up the figurine of four-inches tall.”

“This is some strange stuff alright. Get this— the scan of the interior areas of the heads reveal the same kind of gel—we found in the other box— its full of information.”

“Like operating instructions?”

“Perhaps, or maybe how to make them replicate. These might be miniature models for the full-grown, robot people used in Eliot’s worlds. We are sitting on some very mysterious, ultra-high technology. We have a lot of work to do. But we need the instruments to analyze these things properly. So for now we can put this aside, as what we need will be here in a few days. For the moment we are about to have a look at one Mr. Lockmeiyer. He is having dinner in an hour at the Black-Swan lounge. A real ritzy place. I do believe we are about to have some reservations confirmed. Interested?”

“Oh, I am in for the long haul. I will sweeten up and we can be on our way. The food in that place is said to be some of the very best gourmet meals in the entire country. I do hope you have a deep, checking-account ’cause you are going to need it.”

He was finding being a Q-agent was much to his liking. He picked up all of the jacks which had spun off the table top and starting putting all of the items back into their respective boxes. As he looked one more time at the amazing detail of the female models he realized they had little indentations, on both feet— the big-toes— and on the top of the bald-head. He placed one of the females,without the baby,  on top of  a grey-disk and set it on the coffee table. He then carefully tried to spin up a jack in each of the three spots. When he finally managed to get all three going at the same time the figurine lit up.

“Jenn… you might want to see this…” he stepped back from the coffee table as the figurine, now brightly glowing, increased in size. The three, spinning jacks increased in size momentarily and then vanished into her body.

“Oh my god,” Jenn exclaimed, coming to his side from the bathroom.

They both watched in stupefied amazement as the figurine reached a height of five-feet three inches. The figurines body was so perfect anatomically, she would pass for a human female without issue. Then her green-eyes blinked three times and her lip and hands began to twitch. Her dark-brown hair increased in length soon reaching her waist. The figurine moved her arms and then her legs in a manner much like a self-testing procedure. When the figurine had completed these tests she stepped off the coffee table.

“My internal testing is complete. I am the Andrea model. I am ready for receiving my instructions. Which of you is the Master?”

Jenn looked at Mathew whose mouth was still hanging open. “Maybe I should get miss anatomically perfect a robe.”

“Good idea,” he said even as Jenn gave him that look. In his ear the avatar spoke up.

“I will take control of this robot female. I will only need a moment.”

He watched as the eyes closed and the body twitched again. Jenn came back out of the bathroom with one of the thick terry-cloth robes. She handed it to Mathew, who then approached the robot feeling rather apprehensive. When the robot opened its eyes once more he could tell there was a difference. He handed her the robe which she put it on without hesitation.

“I have successfully taken over the this robot female. Its mind was quite primitive and had no deeper personality. This will allow me to better communicate with you both. I will of course be teaching you Jenn, how to be a Q-agent. I will now be able to perform a much deeper range of activities, in regards to this missions, ultimate purpose. I will need some time to adjust to my new form. This body is made for pleasuring men and all domestic activities. While the two of you are attempting to engage the man who has the Series -7 device, I will be here studying this robotic form and testing all of its capabilities. You two need to get going if you are to be on time.”

“Of course Evonnea. Jenn are you nearly ready?”

“Just a few more minutes. I need to stop by the apartment for the dress I want to wear.”

“I will get a cab for us.” He watched as the avatar robot went into the second bedroom. He dialed up room service for a cab dispatch. Jenn came back out still looking a bit perturbed. This was going to be an interesting evening.

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