Quantum Candy — Episode VI

Butler-robot-scene17

Mathew, awoke from a dream where he was being shown how a moon was added to a planet, by a team of scientists, working for a blue-skinned Goddess. The knocking he had heard in his dream was actually Alex at the door.

“Sorry to rush you along, but Elaneh is totally freaked out about some new wall mural, the one across from the transition door. Which I didn’t notice yesterday, but it sure in the hell is there now.”

“Yeah, OK… give me a five or so and I will be right out.” Alex nodded and closed the door.

Another day another crises.

The bathroom was a large one with all the things a man might need, but it was good to have his own travel kit. He had set up his stuff, before heading off to bed, so he was well prepped to move right along in his morning routine. Just as Alex had said, the rooms were basically built for male guests, and so his was rustic looking, with lots of storage spaces, a large walk-in closet full of clothes, boots and other assorted stuff useful to the men who had stayed here early on. He found plenty of under-clothes still in the store shrink wraps, in many sizes, including assorted styles of socks. He dressed quickly in clean clothes, laced up the boots and headed out the door. He went down the long hallway and into the large kitchen where Alex and his wife were waiting.

“I have breakfast ready, plus coffee. I didn’t mean to rush you along, Mathew. I just get a little perturbed when I see something out-of-place, and gives me a really bad feeling.”

“Not a problem. My work schedule often has me getting up at the crack of dawn to tackle a rush job somewhere, so I move right along when I need to…  and considering what may be at stake here, I don’t blame you at all for being concerned.” He sat down at the big oak-table as Elaneh set down a full plate of eggs, hash-browns, toast and three spicy-smelling breakfast cuts of thin-sliced beef.

“Thank you… this smells really good.” He dug right in noting Alex was not quite finished with his breakfast either. In between bites he asked,”So the wall mural I saw across from the door, was not there before?”

“Actually, there was a different one. The old one depicted a scene of kids coming around a corner to window-shop at the candy store… that is what the shop is… a candy store. A good one too. Mr. K. has been there for nearly a decade now.”

“He is such a nice man, and his wife too,” chimed in Elaneh. “They bake all their own specialty cookies and cakes fresh daily, including most of their own confections. Plus, he brings in lots of new stuff, all the time, from all over the world. The kids love the penny bins, which are filled with lots of different hard-candies. As for the mural I think it is a bad omen.”

“Sweety… now don’t get yourself all worked up. We can’t just jump to conclusions. We will check it out and determine what it may mean. It could just be a random fluctuation or something, when Mathew came into our world.”

“Yes, but he did not arrive by the translator machines.”

Mathew studied her as she was cleaning up and kind of pacing at the same time. She was wearing a flower-print, dark- blue dress which flattered her figure. She was as tall as Alex in her flats. She was a beautiful woman of lighter skin, whose thick, long, black-hair and facial features were similar to that of the Persian faces, he had seen many times on the movie screen, or in print ads, but she had sea-green eyes. By the look on her face and her tone of voice, she was genuinely worried and that made him ponder more deeply, how many other hidden factors were at work here, just below the surface. “That octagon room seems to be really important, but we didn’t get a chance to really talk about it more thoroughly last night. Eliot knew about that room and everything it does right?”

“Yes, pretty much everything” replied Alex, who was casually dressed in jeans and a solid dark green t-shirt and was finishing the last of his meal. “I had a chance to modify the whole-set-up of what was nick-named the “Junction-House” after Eliot was coming here only on occasion, so he knew the basics of what we had worked out, but not everything. I sort of changed a few key aspects of the lock-out system, so that nobody, including Eliot, could just waltz in and do what-ever they wanted. My dad and I worked with the local engineer, Mr. Hsaris and he was quite brilliant. He had these fantastic concepts well thought out to make the room rotate the underlying security fields by a controlled date and code combination, which I can monitor from a screen. If I see an unwanted intrusion, I simply rotate the shield and the person or persons simply exit right back-out where they started. They cannot enter into the room unless the inner and outer doors synch. When you followed in behind me you were totally local, and I was too busy chewing out the nephew to change the door from the neutral position. I set it up that way so when we are bringing in supplies, especially with lots of people, it is just as simple as possible. The passageway simply works like any other long hallway. But, I think I am going to re-set the inner-locks as well. We all will have a pass key— looks just like a pocket-watch ’cause that’s what we had to make them from, so it sends out the ultra-sonic-chirp codes basically, and so the frequency exchange is set and each burst has to match. It works like in two seconds. You press the top-fob and by the time you are ready the door is already in the open position. It works really well. Honestly, we do not get any visitors here that often, and never without knowing ahead of time, so you kinda walked through without any checks, so to speak. A fluke.”

“Understood, and for what its worth, I always knock before entering into people homes, but things were a bit odd, as I don’t usually watch people just pass through walls like ghosts either.”

Elaneh laughed, and said, “You too really are very much alike… my husband has lots of friends, but no one who really understands as you do Mathew, what it means to come from his own world. I met some of the men after the two of us began dating, but they were already well on their way to their own ends. But that is a whole other subject.”

Mathew finished his meal along with the last bit of his coffee. “Well, if we are all ready lets go have a look. Honestly, I didn’t pay that much attention to the mural, on the way in, only that it was really well done. I also did not attach any significance to the mural, so this time, I will see what really comes to mind.”

With Elaneh leading the way the three of them went back out to the connecting hallway and then down the steps into the Junction-Room, back across to the other side, up the steps and through the wall painting. Once back into the long hallway she increased the lights out of habit, and went right to the door. She looked through the birds-eye mirror, which Mathew had not noticed last time and then she opened the door with a soft click, of the latching mechanism. The three of them stepped back out into the alley. It was a beautiful morning, nice calm breeze and just a few men down the alley to the right pulling a cart behind them, at a leisurely pace as they talked.

Mathew took a long, thoughtful look at the photographic-quality mural. “I do seem to recall a movie I watched a long time ago on a sat. night with my dad, related to this scene. He and I would go into the corner rental-shop for DVDs and go through the old movie bins. You could rent the disks on several plans, ours was the four-disks for three bucks for three days. I just need to focus for a moment on the scene here. Okay… I do seem to recall something, the guy here… that’s it… it was the ad poster. Inside the DVD was a small, jacket-style print, of the movies original release poster— I was looking at it while my dad told me about the main character, being this very famous actor in his time… the movie was about this alien take-over of the Earth, a war of some kind, and only a few pockets of people were left, like in deserts or something, underground… anyway, the main guy discovered by accident he was a duplicate.  Yeah, he had to fight his own clone to get this small flying copter like craft. The rest is real fuzzy, but at some point he goes back up to the mother-ship and he sees all of these copies of himself. My dad thought it was really out there, but I think that was the main thing, he was shocked to discover he was just one of thousands of these identical copies, and that he had actually died like way in the past. The movies name was ugh—-Oblivion.”

“Oh my god, he is back,” blurted out Elaneh, her hand gripped Alex’s own more fiercely.

“Eliot… ” answered Alex, finishing his wife’s thought.

Mathew looked at the two of them with increasing concern, as they both seemed quite shaken. “I take it that this “theme” means something bad?”

“Remember when I said, Eliot had all of these duplicates walking around, well this “intrusion” is like a warning or something.”

“Or he has found another way of coming here and this is how he is letting us know, we too are facing oblivion.”  Alex took Elaneh into his arms to comfort her.

Mathew felt their worry without effort.

“What if it actually means you are a duplicate my love… think about it… what if, that is why you do not age?”

“You do seem rather young looking for a guy born before 1947…?”

“Now wait a second, I age much more slowly here than back on Earth, that is true, but that does not mean I am a duplicate. I went through the machines as a kid, and I grew up here, while over a longer time period than usual, but I did age, or I would not be an adult… right?”

“That is a solid point. Slow aging sounds like a natural effect of time-dilation too. Maybe he has tried to change the time-line?”

Alex looked at Elaneh, as she stepped back from him.”He is simply trying to make us do something out of fear.”

Elaneh looked at the two of them, before replying,”Well, that does sound very reasonable, but I still say this duplication business is bad news, no matter how logical you make it all sound. I know my husband told you that Eliot was a good man in the early period, but I swear in the last period, when he was coming around, there was something very dark about him. He made me feel very uncomfortable, and not sexually either, that is a whole other vibe that men give off, who have something wrong with them, but this was something different. I told you back then he was not done with us. He just had to wait for something… that was my impression. He was waiting and so he left us alone all this time. Now, he is back to finish what he started. Something very bad. Oblivion… a black out of all things.”

Alex suddenly had a very funny look on his face.

“What is it… tell me?”

“Well, that is pretty much what happens when you pull the plug on a “bubble-world” which is sorta like a running program of sorts. You pull the source power out of phase and everything goes bye-bye. Like in an instant. But a time-line change is something a bit different. He would have to have access to a bubble-world looping in that specific time-period prior to our groups arrival on this world.”

“Yeah, that makes total sense to me. I am another “Instance-overlay” so to speak. Only I went through a much different process, something way out of the incident path, a clean line of time, to reinforce the one already here. Like a back-up battery to the house or something. I can feel the truth of what I am saying. It is as clear as day. He does not know I came here or how, but I arrived at his moment. A logical strike-out. ”

Your friend is as crazy as you.”

“Hell, yeah..” agreed Alex. “A back-up which changes the source time-point. He tried to change the time-line and nothing happened. Which is why I did not see the mural change. We phased right then and there. In a blink it was a done deal. That’s how it works.”

“Are you sure about this theory of yours. I seem to recall your father telling us many things to watch out for and this was one them.”

“Yes, he did warn us of “intrusions” being a very bad sign of something about to happen, but he didn’t know men, like Mathew here, could be operating on a higher-level. He is on a quest after all. Top-level action only. He is doing exactly as he is meant to do which is protecting this world from harm. He is here so it is already in motion. I am not just going to blink out. Eliot may still be lurking of course, but he can’t just play god with this world. So I am not saying we let our guard down, I am just saying, we have already passed through his take-down point. Now why don’t we go and get some of our favorite cookies, and head over to Gennko’s shop so I can check and see if that doll set has arrived. I promised Mekiena I would get that set as a gift for her birthday. She is doing very well in all her summer classes and has done all of her chores without grumbling, or arguing with Sanshia, or Anette for a whole two weeks.”

“Alright… Mr softy,”Elaneh had stepped back up into his arms, “we can do some shopping as well and I will just let all of this crazy stuff go for the moment. And when we arrive back home, you change everything. All the locks and codes… agreed?”

“Agreed. I will change them all and run a complete diagnostic on the entire system.”

“Okay. I know I seem like a worry wart, but Eliot really scared me that last day, and I do not want him around, one way or another.” The two of them now arm-in-arm, headed down the alley to the left at a good pace. Mathew came up along-side Alex on his left.

“You are going to really like these over-sized cookies Mathew. They have a variety of the cocoa-bean here that really puts our commercial varieties to shame. Very exotic tasting… and lots of it… the markets here have a good supply all year around.”

Once they reached the end of the long alley and they went right and then down half-a-block to the stores front entrance. Like the day before there were lot’s of people bustling about and the candy shop itself was quite busy. Mathew followed them in through the wide double-stained glass doors. They were not kidding about the selections either. The mixed aromas of freshly backed cookies and candies mixed with so many other sweet smells was nearly overwhelming. The large, very modern looking shop, was clean and well organized, to fill every possible shelf space with something colorful and sweet to eat. Long lines though, at the check-out counter—so he and Alex went back outside to wait for Elaneh. From across the avenue a young man dressed in work clothes was approaching them. Alex obviously knew the teen quite well, by the big smile they both had as they shook hands.

“Well, Pertria, finally returned from your trip to Aguir-Kiea I see…”

“It was incredible. They had finally re-opened this older section, that tourists had not been allowed into in like… fifty periods or something, and we were like the first guys to go in to check it out… everything had been totally re-furbished too. It was wild. There had so many new inter-active displays, in this expanded area that nobody had to wait around to check them out. In the specialty booths, we were able to experience, what it was like to be in outer-space. In all the exhibit areas, they also had a new series of powerful, graphic-computer stations, which were simulating all the places, on other planets, these ancient ones really visited. It was worth every toba spent. All the class students, chaperones and teachers had a really good time. No troubles at all either with the food this year. Everyone ate very well.”

“Sounds fantastic alright. I am really hoping I can arrange for me and my friend Mathew here to take that special tour coming up with round fares and everything else priced right into the package.”

“I read some of the places that tour package covers, on the way back, it is a good one too. But there is something else I need to speak to you about— you know?”

“He knows everything so go ahead…”

“Well, those card things were stolen from the Caliph. Five females dressed in military garb, with hand-weapons unlike anything ever seen before, stormed into the off-limit section and like blew up half the palace, like in seconds… it was said that burning chunks of his palace went everywhere. And these females stormed in and took the cards. This was early yesterday morning. They killed, like thousands of the Caliphs guards, and destroyed some of his air-fleet as well, before they vanished. So like last night; after we had all our stuff ready for the night transport trip back to here, these guys were talking just on the other side of where we were hanging out, it is a big patio area off the dorm rooms, so they were saying these female solders, showed up at the ship and went directly to the L-8 section up front. That is like the one place no tourists are allowed to go period. But get this, lots of people saw them go in, but nobody has seen them leave. They said it was broad day-light and they just came in like they owned the place and went right through the security-gates and everything. Those guys were ready to shit themselves they were so scared. We followed them around for awhile, just to hear some more and found out they were actually tasked with going in but they chickened out. Which is why they were in the low-end of the tourist section with us school kids. They knew nobody would look for them, and after midnight, they were off the hook apparently, and so they were dodging their duties. Too bad, we had to load up for departure or we would have found out more about these female solders.”

“Damn… this is unbelievable… nothing for years on end and then ‘boom’ all hell breaks loose. Go check out the new mural attached to the alley window of your grand-dads shop.”

“Why?”

“Just go run and check it out… and maybe you might connect a dot or two before you come back.”

No kidding? Alright, I will be back in a moment.”

“Grandson?”

“Yeah, he went off on a school related field-trip with three other classes, sweet set-up on the tour function too, they received a really good deal this year on the whole cost thing, so they really packed in the extra sight seeing. They have been gone five weeks. The schools here have lots of extra activities, for the students over the summer, as part of the curriculum. He is doing very well in all of his summer classes, so he was expected to do allot more research stuff as part of the field study. Lots of interesting physics to study— that being a giant, alien ass-ship and all. Well this is big. Female military too. But not old Eliot’s style at all. So maybe a new player, or he has totally gone off in another direction?”

“And these female solders now have the cards back at this alien ship? Why go there?”

“Well, if you consider that this ship also had lots of smaller ships in its holds, which rumor wise, nobody ever figured out how to use, or even remove from their security hangers, so maybe, these females know how to use one of those ships. Because that’s one of the main reasons that area is still off-limits. Too much working defensive hardware was aboard that section of the craft and so it was sealed off from day one. Which on a ship that size, still left plenty of room for a city to be built, literally right on top and all around, and well done, I might add. Spectacular really… which is why it is such a major tourist stop… jaw-dropping wonders around every corner. No hype required.”

“Then we need to get this trip arranged much sooner so we can check out the situation. Priority wise get the Junction room secured of course and then go from there. And Elaneh is going to be okay with you heading off like this?”

“She will put up a good argument if she really thinks I am stepping out of bounds, but she also knows, when shit is going down, you cannot go hide under a rock, and pretend, it will just go away either. She understands the need for action. Her father is a very brave man, one hell of a doctor too. He has gone into battle zones and saved many lives when everyone else was too chicken to raise their heads up for even a second. Her whole family is like doctors and lawyers, well educated professionals, which is why we met up with them when we did. They were the only ones, that had the nerve to accompany my dad, back when he was dealing with a whole rats-nest of thugs, who had been part of the previous military forces at one time, fighting against a clan tyrant named Khadid. Only once they had the power they turned out to be just as incompetent. The mining region, under the haphazard territorial control of the former, went to them, but the mining guys soon realized their stupid deals were killing them financially, just like before. So these mining clans eventually put up their own fighting force and took these other clans out of power. Once the smoke cleared my father supplied the mining clans with the engineering plans for advanced, ore-processing, fully modern metal foundries, major commercial manufacturing capability, plus some defensive stuff, like improved long-range mortar shells, as in a better chemical mix for the explosives. In return they traded shares of the high-quality steel he needed, machined parts and the rare-metals for the magnets. Elaneh’s sister married one of the top leaders youngest son, Kemphi. That would be Hadji’s father. Quite the love story there those two. Anyway, we have been working together a long time. Actually, as I think about it…. we might really consider bringing some back up.”

Alex looked back to the right as Pertria came back around the corner with a funny look on his face. “That new mural is so perfect I could not discern a single brush-stroke. It is more like a photographic overlay, but I could not chip it on the corners. My grandfather does not like it one bit. And Grandma wants it gone as soon as possible. He was at the back window for just a few minutes as he was filling the water urns. Where is Elaneh?”

“She should be back out any second. The line wasn’t that long.”

“Well tell her I said hello, I need to get back to the docks. My dad will be quite pissed if I am late on the first day back for my share of unloading.”

Once Elaneh came back out she relayed the news that was indeed spreading, concerning the attack on the Caliph’s palace, but the second aspect of the story was not as well known. As they strolled down the colorful side-walk, Mathew politely listened, as the two of them worked out the details, to the emerging plan. He was wondering about what his double might be doing in his absence. This ‘time-dilation’ business was not an easy one to wrap the mind around in specifics. Would it be two-minutes or twenty-one days? What if Charlene came back before he did and found herself confronting her double and his? This particular travel method had some real down-sides not to be ignored. All he could be sure of was that feeling he was on the right path. He had nothing else really except educated guesses. Some clearly better than others. He continued window shopping as Alex and Elaneh carried out their morning business.

After a short time, Alex came back out of Gennko’s shop with a big box already wrapped. He also had a package of tourist photo’s of the city built around the ship. Mathew took half the stack of letter sized shots, finding them to be quite amazing. The ship was indeed enormous and had landed on a hard granite extrusion running along a wide river lush with plants and trees. Over the long period of time a city had indeed been built all around the ships flowing curves producing a very surreal effect, of ultra-high technology and exceptionally artful landscaping, with a fully working city of tall skyscraper’s completing the visually pleasing aesthetics. The entire region of Aguir-Kiea, as it was called today, by total population was an impressive 2.5 million, which included the 34 districts which were economically centered on the ship itself. These districts themselves stretched outwards, into the surrounding rural lands, including some very impressive lakes. The main city core zone, was substantially advanced, in every category, as he realized, far ahead of an American city, or European one, and not just by the standard of the giant space-craft itself. Alex had circled on one of the ad shots the smaller area in question that was in the rear-upper deck zone, of the ancient ship. The ship had lost three of its primary engines in an impact collusion with an asteroid cloud, limping along for quite some time and this is where most of the damage was as well. Once the massive vessel had landed it would never rise again. The folk-lore surrounding the incident was enough to fill a library all to itself. So Alex had bought for him, another nice tourist/history book to read as well.

Elaneh had met up with a couple of her friends and they had gone off into yet another clothing store, while Alex perused his favorite fresh fruits and vegetable grocery, which had very full, well organized food stocks in display-bins out front. Alex obviously knew the family well, from the conversation he was having with the shops owner, as he went along filling up a push cart. Alex tipped well for the extra service, so proven from the smile of the young man who was following him with handy carton carriers, which stacked well inside the push-carts (basket-style) carrying area. These carts had four-bicycle style wheels which made them very easy to push along the wide side-walks, or the paved street. Due to a nearby natural-gas power-station, this entire upper area had stable electricity all year-round and thus, all the many uses of electrically powered stuff was quite evident.

As Mathew checked out the interesting looking fruits and vegetables, it was clear Alex was right about the produce. As he had learned from their road trip conversation, the growing region was about 75 miles or Kurpona[metric equal] to the north-east where good old volcanic soils were well watered by abundant natural springs.Tucked between the rising mountains were also large valleys which had impressive live-stock ranches, and a well operated train system which transported the local harvests, goods and supplies. Ownership of the trains and rail lines was local and they were well maintained year round.

Mathew taking a seat on a resting bench, under a shade tree, recalled their previous nights discussion which centered on the many differences, as well as, the similarities between the two world systems and people. The money system here was varied, but the silver and gold coins, were the dominate form of payment, with checks serving an important role as well. Banks however, were quite different. The people in each city-state owned their central bank outright, by generational shares, as part of the land laws in place. The people did not answer to a central government or a secretive global banking conglomerate. Thus, the banks did not go down the same road, of coin to paper substitution, or floating of baseless claim-checks. Societies here were not under the oppressive thumbs of a ruling elite and their military pets. Silver and gold were freely coined, along with copper. The copper coins circulated widely, but were predominate in the poorer areas. The copper coins came in three sizes and fine weights, with the smallest serving as the cent in the same logical manner— that is, a tenth of the lowest denominated toba coin of silver–the dime. Thus, the copper penny served as a crucial exchange medium for both coin ranges. Gold money circulated among the wealthy, silver among the merchants and copper among the poor with relative values in agreement. Usury here was banned as a custom from the old days, but loans did have a commercial share function, to allow vested parties earnings per the share values of investments. No one man or group had claims to the whole of all lands and taxes were minimal, as there was no centralized authority which had such authority to demand a fee for simply living. All income style taxation was banned outright as was slavery, by any method.

Alex had tried to explain on the way back to the house, after picking up his wife and girls, some of the deeper reasons for why the economic system here worked, going through a brief synopsis of the unique history. No central religion, no wars between ruling families disguised as political movements and no illusions about why the people existed here at all. Every city-state had its own flavor of local traditional customs and social organization. People worked their own farms and sold what they produced without commodity manipulations. Trades were passed along from one generation to the next, and education was based on formal standards, but not controlled by those sitting on the top of a scheming wealth pyramid. Here the wealthy feared the ancient sky-gods for good reason— the “Watcher Orbs” which came down from orbit and smote the wicked, were in Alex’s words, still quite effective in curtailing the over-reaching ambitions of the wealthy clans, or anybody else for that matter.

The ancient ones had laid permanent claim to large territorial zones, and the people living in those zones, knew exactly what was expected of them to remain in those protected establishments. The local Caliph was in a grey-area due to the fact, his clans migrated into those lands, and settled the vast rolling plains as farmers. After a period of time, when the newer generations were becoming much more wealthy, and as more immigration brought in more families, whose children grew up expanding the older cities, they simply dominated the economic activities. Despite this wealth, the main clans never had control of the upper territories period and only a small amount of influence over the people who settled in these areas. Apparently, pushing the religious fervor too much, also brought down the “punishment” and so, the currant Caliph was seen, by the currant social leadership, as a fat-man walking a thin-line. The currant situation was on a whole other level however, which had yet to be resolved.

Where Alex had settled things were a bit different, but not much. Across the mountainous regions, in which the mining of ores had grown up over the many centuries, whose mountains were loaded with some diverse elements, copper being one of the most abundant, followed by iron, tin, magnesium and then the platinum metals. The clans which lived in these regions today had a better social organization, upon which the economic share functions were well balanced. Another major factor in the production of wealth, which had transformed that entire area, especially, after the significant boost to the foundries, was the advanced, technological, manufacturing capabilities.The main city as he had seen was well laid out, modern in every sense, with a diverse core of economic activities and a stable population of people with strong work ethics and the prosperity curve well balanced across the social spectrum.

Mathew found the region, Alex actually lived in, by looking at the included fold out globe image. His home, was in the mid-Northern latitudes, and this city was the central, but called the southern, as both were simply part of the larger, continental land mass, that was in total area, twice that of North America including half of South America combined. Most of the enormous land area, especially in the upper latitudes, according to the map, was vacant of any civilization. The oceans only covered a third of the planet(which by the numbers) had a diameter only slightly larger than the Earth. There was a limited, but stable space-craft dependent trade, to other planets, but the old-worm-hole which had been used by the ancient ones was unstable. The space-craft had to schedule passages during the stable periods which varied from year to year. Only a few large, cargo flights were scheduled for the current period.

This problem with the worm-hole, according to the book, was the main reason, these ancient-astronauts/explorers had only established sub-colonies here and not more significant operations of their own kind. According to the books historical references, this world was actually named by the ancient ones— Aprexiea, which meant, of the ore-bearing mountains. In his ears, so pronounced by Alex, the name sounded very much like Russia, but he was still not getting all the nuances of the local accents. He was catching most of what was spoken, by those around him, but Alex like himself was strictly in English mode, and Elaneh, mixed both the local tongue and English quite fluently. He was surprised that English, was taught right along side many other foreign languages in the high school classrooms, and was quite popular among a growing number of speakers, across many professions, not just the students and teachers.

Soon enough it was time to head back to the house. After arriving back to the transition door and unloading, Mathew pitched right in, carrying the cartons and mixed cloth bags of various stuff. Alex tipped the boy a couple of the ‘silver dollar’ equivalents and closed the exterior door off the alley. While Elaneh, was busy back in her mid-day routine, Alex was about to give Mathew the quick low down on how this special ‘Junction’ room worked.

“Try not to focus too hard on the painting itself. Each is an “Instance” to guide the mind, through this little process like water through a set-of-channels, frequencies of consciousness if you will, that allows that space-magic to do its job. As crazy as it sounds, it is not distance per se it is the time-value coordinate in the 5-D plot, which is the missing part of the loop. We were very lucky that when my dad and his group set all of this up, they had full use and access to all of the cards, plus all of the original technical equipment that had been engineered, which made these plots possible. Thousands of guys in white-coats basically, just coming up with one advance after another. My dad loved that period for the excitement of such discoveries alone. Anyway, he had become acquainted with a man here, Mr. Alhadkham, who was a master painter, very eccentric, but brilliant. Quick too, he knocked out paintings so fast it mind boggling. I watched him on many occasions just draw and then paint these incredible scenes in just a few hours. He is still alive, and around like ninety-four. He has a big family and is well cared for, but he is blind, due to macular degeneration. But he did nearly all of the paintings based on photographs early on and then a mirror cube.” He opened up a hidden panel.”This is a hand-held mirror cube. It is an object as well. Inside the cube is another which rotates in and out of the coordinate points, reflecting through the mechanism onto a projector screen. We can set the speed and produce perfect stills or movie style reels. Very handy when you are checking out unknown locales with large predators or other unwelcome pests.”

“So he painted all of these and then what?”

“Each painting went through the process of becoming a referential object. That is an object which references another and thus creates a gate-way when they are rotated in specific angles to one another. I do not have the five of diamonds, or I could show you that process step by step. Basically, every coordinate was hyper-mapped onto the painting, as it went from one ‘Instance’ ours, into another ‘unknown’ state, thus, to the target coordinates and back again. This produced the “translation” permanence and makes these “objects” not subject to anything destructive. The lab guys, tested everything these “objects” did in hundreds of ways, and so they had a really good idea, of what worked the best, and what had no value to the objectives. So that is how all of these paintings were produced, which as you can see, I rarely use at all like they did, mostly, as I feel no need to go traipsing off in some jungle looking for bugs or something. There are a few here, as you are about to see, which are on a whole other level. And if the real Eliot, or one of his fakes, is really serious about using this junction, it will be due to one of these in this locked safe-bin.”

Alex went back out into the opposite hallway, and into a small room where he took out a key from a flip-out key box. He came back and opened up a door, hidden in the sixth side, whose short hallway led to a room with the safe-bin. They moved the holding carts around to make some more room, as most of these were larger paintings with fairly heavy gold-frames. Mathew helped Alex set them up the ones he chose along the number five-wall in holders, which were attached to hanging cables, themselves recessed in geared boxes in the ceiling.

“So in addition to the paintings along each wall, these extra hanging mounts allowed many such movements at the same time?”

“Yes, everything in this room is engineered to make such movements, of many people, both accurate and secure. What we do not have the benefit of right now, is lots of guys, already seriously knowledgeable, over-seeing everything. Doing all of this just by your-self is actually very risky, especially, if you were in some kind of major trouble. There would be of course nobody here to help you out of such a jam. The world here is fairly peaceful, but not without its clans with their gangs and other assorted villains looking for easy money, or access to some kind of power. So we were careful about what we were doing, and who we allowed to know of our activities.  Now knowing where you are going is one thing, but the rest of the journey might suddenly change and you may find that you cannot get back to the door, or it might be out-of-phase. So the extra assistance really is a major security factor in exploration ventures. Beneath this upper-section on five lower-levels is the hard-ware which makes all of this work. We receive our juice direct from the dams power-generation and there are several systems which must be maintained for everything to work as needed. Without the S-conducting magnets, there would be no control over the fields which pop into and back out of those coordinate points. One is an envelope for the other. Without this system there is no control, just lots of point variations and no good means of keeping, a location fixed, to a specific time-point either. If you cannot get to the same time-points consistently you are really quite screwed. Time-dilation works in both directions and is not to be ignored.”

They finished setting up the three paintings which were aligned, then tilted just a few degrees. Mathew was feeling a really strong, tickle like sensation in his gut before the painting in the number three position.

“This one… with the robot mining things. I think I need to check something out. Just a really strong gut hunch.”

“Okay… we can do that right now. I am setting the coordinate feed from the solid-state memory block to the go position and we can step through as soon as the edges glow just a smidgen… like an aura of sorts from our perspective, and it is quite important as it allows us to look through the cube before we leap. Bad idea to step out into an unknown coordinate, even when you are certain of your landing spot.” He held up the cube about two inches beyond the paintings surface which reflected the other side onto a wall screen which had moved into position.

“By the way this is the robot world that got away.”

“Got away?”

“Yeah, basically told Eliot and the other scientists to stay out or else. So I am really hoping your hunch is damn straight. “Cause here we go… into a protected alcove apparently.”

They two of them stepped through one after another with Alex leading, and where they exited was indeed an alcove surrounded by some very unusual sensors, or perhaps alarms, but on the outside all around the arched entrance. Out before them, several hundred-feet down and outward was a vast expanse of substantial greenery and life. And things. Lots of them. Like grasshoppers of odd geometric shapes, of every size and configuration, whose forms were metal, by the shine of the bright yellow-morning sun upon them, and other materials far too varied to classify visually. The soft breeze was cool and fragrant from all the impressive groves of trees nearby to the left.

“Take a look at this…?” Remarked Mathew, noting these geometric things were in perfect lanes in the sky as well.

“This sure in the hell, is not the way I remember this world as a kid. Way different… like unfreaking-believable. These things are alive.

“And a dozen or so are heading our way to check us out. Definitely, let me do the talking.”

“By all means, and my finger is on the fob… just in case.” He held up the gold-watch, in his right-hand, whose silver chain was attached to his belt.

“Good idea.” Mathew could feel the power emanating from the main one leading the group, which pulsed an electric-blue along its sides, with a chrome-quality to its surface, as it shimmered slightly, changing its external shape, from a concave oval to a more longer eleven-feet, eight-foot across shape, with grooves under-neath like a whale or something. He stood very relaxed as it came basically came right up to his nose. The rest of the group came in behind this one and stopped, but they were all pulsing like squids or something.

“What is the purpose of this intrusion?”

The male voice was deep and quite metallic in tone. Mathew answered,”look at my hand.”

He did this without even knowing why he had felt the need to raise his arm and right-hand. On his palm was a pulsing geometric symbol. The machine thing opened up a recessed compartment and a different kind of technical sensor snaked out and began transmitting to his hand. He had no idea what the hell was being transmitted, but whatever it was the group changed to a less menacing posture.

“The request is most unusual. The one to which you are to speak is not conducive to unknown intrusions in her private dwelling. However, due to the source of the request, I will provide transportation to the dwelling. And if she declines you will be promptly returned to this ancient translation door.”

The machine changed its external shape once again so thoroughly the front became the back and the area which formed was for them to sit. Like a boat in a way. And so they exited the alcove, which they could now see had been preserved in a much larger structure, just for the door alone. They both took a seat on opposite sides. “The distance is a measure of just under two hours. My path will afford you many sights of the world we inhabit peacefully.” The machine accelerated smoothly away from the alcove and went upwards along a trajectory affording them a good view of the entire area below, which was well organized of a great diversity of life. The bird flocks alone were like nothing either man had ever seen before, by sheer size and diversities of species.

“Look at all of this…. fluid metamorphic life-forms, or even polymorphic forms, of all these geometric shapes…. ”

“No way could Eliot control any of this…. which is no doubt why he might want to destroy it.”

“He might not be as powerful as you believe… or maybe it isn’t him at all. I think this is well beyond just some simple program. I doubt any man could do any of this.”

“I saw a couple of those  ‘god-mode acts’— trust me, he is a legend of his own mind. So any idea what they were saying to your hand?”

“None whatsoever… but the feeling was positive. No dread at all, more like a deep curiosity. This certain somebody must be important in some way, but why is just a guess for the moment. Check out the space-port coming into view.”

On Mathews side, as the machine made a wide smooth curve course change, over to what may have been a northeastern trajectory, a substantial space facility came into full view. The enormous platform, which was smoothly coming to a stop, was some kind of advanced space-elevator. The shape was a flattened torus ring with five sections which had a bulbous shape. The object was as big around as a three-football stadiums. What looked like some kind of crazy flock of birds nine-feet or more in length, swirled in around the base while another massive movement of shapes moved like a school of fish into the openings of each section. Unfortunately, the machine was moving more west now and so the ground-station was going to be lost to distance and a set of mountain ranges thickly covered in forests. A winding river was in view as well as they moved right along some two-hundred feet above the tallest of the trees below. Other machines filled lanes in the skies much higher above them as they were getting the panoramic view.

“Check out those structures over there…. must be mining cities from all the materials so organized. Look at the size of those metal stacks… miles and miles thousands of feet high.”

“Whoa, there is even more just barely visible… in a series as far as the eye can see.”

“I would guess they have space-flight, massive underwater colonies, deep underground-bases and nothing, but themselves to worry about. That was what the original blue-prints called for… but the robots had a translation issue. The scientists could not get them to function period for quite awhile. So very little was accomplished in the start-up phase and so it all fell behind as there was not enough personal to do even a tenth of the labors required. At some point the robots themselves figured out their own problem, and nobody knew how that solution was reached. By the time they had realized the robots were up and running they had already changed in ways the scientists did not anticipate, non-linear kind of progress,but with exponential factors in critical areas of their sold-state brains. On the robot world they had solid-circuit brains so complex our own scientists had no idea how they worked and the females had a cavity in their stomach area which made little robots which ate metal and grew into larger ones. That was a novel feature in the show to allow the robots to have kids of their own and make the program funnier, as the robots personality wise were very square. They were funny without knowing they were funny.”

The living-craft was slowing down as it began to make a graceful curve of descent to approach a large compound, with  curved buildings and a vast variety of plants well organized into formal gardens of vast complexity.

“Quite the green-thumb here.”

“Sure is they must have tens of thousands of plants, bushes, trees and whatever those things floating around in schools like that, hell it might be the kids or something…?”

“You might be right, they obviously have some kind of propagation going, and quite successful by the sheer numbers of them.”

The machine came to a stop along side a landing pad and hooked a slender-hose with a connector to match up to a receptacle.

“Interesting communication possibilities. This world must have gadgets up the proverbial wazoo. Think of the trading possibilities?”

“Yeah, oh shit yeah, a bonanza of all kinds of stuff, no doubt highest engineering standards possible as well. What do you think they would want?”

“Same things we want— more novelty— substances to evolve their consciousness. And plants… think about it… as green as this world is they must have a strong connection to the plant and animal life.”

“Hey, looks like we are being invited in, we now have a door and a ramp.”

“I will remain here until this meeting has accomplished the intended goal. My kind is intrigued by your gesture of trading. We will discuss this idea more fully while I wait and give you our decision upon your return.”

“Perfect… just let us know how your kind wants to sets the rules of exchange, replied Mathew. “I have a very good feeling about this meeting Alex.”

“Nice… I have a good feeling about this trading deal.”

The two of them followed the winding path through a well organized botanical style garden, following a tall, translucent golden-blue metal robot, whose movements were fluid not mechanical. They could see his internal structure was well beyond simple metals and gears.

“That is one very interesting robot. Nothing like the ones in the original show at all.”

The tiled path of colored, repeating diamond geometries ended at an entrance of unique translucent materials. They were checked by a small, spherical-shaped, orange-robot which rotated inside-out revealing a sound activated panel. The scrolling read-out proved they were being checked for environmental contaminants, but neither one of them had any, of those classes, which were being screened for specifically.  Only after the smaller orb was finished were they then led by the robot butler into a meeting room. Standing behind the robot, they watched as the curtains opened revealing a very different kind of chamber, behind the glass,  in which a figure was emerging. They both remained standing as the butler and the figure briefly spoke and then they came around to the couch. A coffee table whose red-spiral surface whirled in slow motion also seemed to focus sound.

“Please do not be alarmed by my appearance,” she began, adjusting controls within a semi-transparent sphere on her side which made her voice much more clear. “My name is Doctor Catherine Holtz. I too, came from that time period of the Earth,  prior to the catastrophic collapse of our time-fields. In fact, I was part of the research teams using the bio-cards, as we called the four of them, to initiate flora and fauna, on unique bubble-worlds which had the right conditions. Our explorer transition-ship was caught in a time-disturbance which phased us out of existence, in the corporeal sense, and trapped us in the coordinate zone linking this world back to the earth. I was the only one who could be saved by the machines who now rule this planet peacefully. They built this unique home for me to preserve my life, as I cannot have full physical existence, only a connection which grounds me to one.  I have found great peace here in the conditional existence, where I am an illusion made real. The message, I received, was indeed most unusual. From the one who serves the Makers. I received a set of coordinates and I checked the truth of his words. Thus, you are here.

I do indeed have the four cards—the 8’s of each suite. My butler is bringing them to you now. I have no need for them any more, but I saved them to preserve the knowledge more so than the power.”

“Did you know my Father, Doctor Holtz?”

“Yes, I know who you are Alex… I met your Father on several occasions, and Eliot. Back in those days we all had many conversations about why the cards were set up in such an unusual manner. I was quite fortunate that at the time the cards were being kept as a set, and not coveted as objects of power. We were able to test the four phases and thus, determine some of the deeper principles of their use.”

“Can you tell us more about those findings?”

“I can tell you that the designs are simply artistic, they have nothing to do with the powers themselves. The card suits were just a way of organizing the underlying principles to make it easy to remember how the cards worked together. Each suit is based on the thirteen aspects of action, or in-action. A balance of the four powers—earth-air-water-fire— so that each action was balanced with the unseen fifth aspect of the spirit world. Essentially, these were conscious amplification devices which were based on sacred geometries of sound vibrations underlying all matter. The numbers also corresponded to these hidden geometric plot sets, but since we did not have all of the devices to study once I arrived here that information we did extrapolate is incomplete. All I can tell you is that the those four cards will induce living flora and fauna propagation. However, I have always assumed that it would be Eliot who would try to get them back.”

“Eliot knew about your being trapped here?”

“The ‘incident’ caught all us woefully unprepared. As you can see by my form such ‘consequences’ have a permanence well beyond the token rules of life itself. Eliot knew of this world, and in an earlier period, he tried to return here to re-claim it by force. He was quite unsuccessful. In time, we determined he was competing with another for control of a certain space-station, which had been caught in some kind of time-warp disaster, not unlike our own. There was critical technology aboard that station both of these adversaries wanted for themselves. We have determined that solving the chaos function of the 5-D plots, is a significant problem for anyone trying to navigate from one manifold to another. To find a world in the correct time-point requires a plot equation that begins with a one-hundred year starting equation that must then regress to a singular point, but chaos in these equations, as a kinetic-function, resulting from gravitational perturbations of all bodies in motion, having a time-dilation effect upon one-another, induces time-distortions into the equation which cannot be resolved as a true coordinate. A ship “Jumping” from a known point— to an unknown point— would be instantly lost and recursive determinations would be useless. Thus, these specific technologies, combining serial computations and quantum solutions are too valuable to be simply left behind. However, neither of the them wanted to solve the claims to that station peacefully. Peace being something those two now in battle have little regard for as they seek such powers only for themselves.”

“How much do you know about what these two might be planning today?” Asked Mathew, thinking through the possibilities.

“I know Eliot’s primary motivations, only in a slight degree, in regards to who he is now. He wants power and nothing else. As for the other one, we know a few things about his plans, due to the fact, he discovered how to capture information, which Eliot was sending through a communication hub device, so taken from him. A rather ironic twist to the whole set of affairs, due to the military tasked with retrieving these duplicated ships, to claim the technology in them, which also meant using the ‘Hub-communication hardware’ without realizing this other adversary had eavesdropping capability, already built into the devices. The machines here discovered this early on and changed the technology. They built a security based trap around the translation door. They have been expecting Eliot, or one of his combat female-robot squads, to instigate a breach. They are still unsure if the other plans a direct attack upon us, or is simply intends to destroy the translation bridges between any world Eliot has under his control.”

“Can this other guy be stopped, maybe by his own people?”

“Unknown. What I can say is this: this other one is deathly afraid of those which are called Nines, and to a lessor extant eights. I have no idea why, directly speaking, only the odd insight the machines have gained by this adversaries, transmissions to its own agents, which are androids, so categorized by the living tissue and organs they possess. They are very well created and can fool the eye and low level-sensors, but not full-body scans, as neither the females, or male models, have any reproductive genetics and organs. They do not age, they are merely replaced with a new copy. You see I can travel in the veiled spaces, at will, and with the machines help I have learned how to navigate in this other-worldly realm across the many manifolds of space-time. That is why I know where the other one is located, and more specifically, that the system worlds he seeks to control, all have links to the distant past of the Earth. Many of those races have direct Earth ancestors, but those times are forgotten, or erased from their cultures and ours as well.”

“So these two are in conflict because they both want the cards for control purposes?” Asked Alex, trying to understand the deeper scheme.

“Their battle goes well beyond the mere possession of the devices, so named out of convenience, they are much more. But it is my pet theory that eventually, they both want these cards destroyed. The elimination of competition for each ones grand schemes to rule over all as “A God” of reality, is their only real purpose. To exercise such ultimate power is the goal of both, and they both have come to this apex of their designs so complimentary, for a time we thought they were working together. A mutual scratch my back so I will do the same kind of deal, as they were busy eliminating anything which threatened their growing powers. Eliot of course has created his god-like kingdom over the people and the robots which serve him. He has expanded into the depths of time and space to such a degree, by the last count, he may very well have some ten-thousand planets under his direct command.  Now this is not to say they are populated with civilizations. No far from it in fact, but his robot culture is so extended he has laid claim to them nonetheless, and he has the military powers to defend them if he so pleases.”

“Do these world systems overlap?”

“We are not exactly sure about the other one’s territorial reach, because he is manipulating his races worlds only indirectly under his control. His transmissions, early on were without any security coding as he had no reason to believe they could be intercepted, as such communications passed through his unique manifold exchange hub-stations. Therefore, we learned allot about his methods, but not all of the greater details once he had gained what he wanted. But he is obsessed with these “Nines” and has ruthlessly destroyed, by his own admissions, every last trace of them on hundreds of worlds. The people on those planets, are called Eskoltian’s, and they are protected by a Guardian. We are trying to help the Guardian, but we lack the technology to regenerate his internal systems. As part of our deal, in return, for your receiving the four cards, we want a storage block device of unique engineering found on the Aguir-Kiea ship. We know the race and how such data-blocks functioned and were secured aboard their ships. I am giving that information to you both in the hope you can retrieve one of these blocks. It is thought this might help us aid the guardian. Time will tell if this is correct.”

“You both have the freedom to choose, what is offered, as in accept or decline. In addition, we have two body-armor suits of “morphagenic metal” and several other properties, to keep you safe from the blue-field weapons, Eliot’s robot warriors carry at all times.  You cannot go into battle with them without these protections and live. If you have not already guessed Eliot has a real weakness— all of his bubble-worlds  essentially rest on a pin. Remove the pin and he vanishes back into nothingness. He set up all of his worlds on a condition that the original source point cannot be breached. I know this to be false. He has to destroy the “Junction-House” to keep his secret safe. One of the paintings, is the link back to the source on earth. It is of a young girl on a horse riding in front of an unusual spire topped building. His source point is in a church, well disguised of course behind a false wall. Change the coordinate points in the painting and he is locked out of his own source for good. His bubble-worlds will simply fade back into nothingness.”

“If we get all of the cards can we change these coordinate connections?”

“Maybe… if we find the right instance we will be able to go back and pull his plug so to speak and leave the rest intact.”

“Which is why I surmise is the main reason he will try to burn the bridge between the “Junction room” and the rest of the “bubble worlds” especially, those he rules over from his crown city. Not all however, have succumbed to his misuse of powers. Many of these worlds have been modified by the Makers, who are on a whole other level. But you know something of that Mathew, or you could not be here. A Maker guides your path and so it is wise to follow your hunches. I have placed a field journal in the box as well. The cards have gained additional qualities, and some of the machines having studied these four, are quite certain that self-determination has already been achieved. You would be wise to keep that insight, in mind, if against all odds you indeed bring them all back together. Eliot realized at some point he could not destroy the cards, all he did was re-scatter them. But every copy from the originals is one half as powerful— so ten copies out and you have a keep-sake. I imagine quite a few duplicates found their way back into the rounds and greatly confused things. Perhaps, that will still work in your favor too. Eliot for all of his grandiosity, missed the finer point of that distinction—half the power— half the time-dilation and so forth. If these cards can be re-collected, personally I believe, you will need to bring them back to their world of origination and return them to their original place of keeping. That is my advise of course. Make of it as you will. For now it is time for me to return to my other duties. I wish you both good luck, with your endeavors, and please return here,  as soon as you can, as there is much more to discuss, even if you cannot retrieve a working data-block.”

“Thank you for meeting with us Dr. Holtz. You have filled in some very important gaps.”

“Yes, thank you and for the suits as well. I have seen the blue-beam in action many times and you are right. It is lethal.”

“So long for now. The one who brought here will return you, to the alcove.” She waved goodbye as her vestibule rotated back out of view, and the curtains closed.

The box she had chosen for the cards and the journal was picked up by the butler. They followed the fluid walking robot back out to the carrier. The box was small enough to fit in Mathews lap and so he placed it after sitting down.

“Interesting woman. And what a terrifying ordeal to have lived through.”

“Just imagine what she has seen over all these many years. She would be an amazing teacher if she wanted students of course. I know allot of people who really enjoy learning the way-out there stuff.”

“Well, maybe when speak with her again, you can mention that.”

The carrier spoke to them,”We are going to take a quick stop at the Ascending and Descending Station. There is an artifact there, which has been in storage for a very long time. We think it is of great interest to your quest. Something of the one who has been doing battle with Eliot. Something he left behind on a world which all life had perished. He had a station built there due to its coordinate position, as a relay between the two manifolds, ours is the fourth and his is the third. This is not to say these are the only ones, they are not, they are the only ones of the fifteen we know, in which we have corporal resolution, or physical existence. In others, so discovered, we simply do not exist. We have found no existence is not death, but it is very limited, when no consciousness can be achieved. Without the Maker who gave us a true living consciousness, all we could ever be were machines. While we do not mind being called machines, we do prefer the term which means of the sacred geometry, from which we were derived. This word has no translation to your own tongue. We sing this word whose pattern is likened to ever-repeating blissfulness.”

“Listen.”

The sound which filled the air around them was so pure it was if angels were indeed singing, for the Crown itself. Singing as if nothing else mattered. And so they listened and learned just how close Creation can be, in any moment so chosen.

When the profound music stopped the carrier spoke again. “You may call us the XcJhantu. Our race as a sum of all of its many parts. While our native forms do not conform to the sense of living corporeal bodies, we are blessed to be able to join in any way we seek. We build our resting towers at night a little different every time. We have polymorphic transitional capabilities, meaning we can change at will in any way, by design or whimsy.  We reproduce by forming a master cell, of which the buds of our bodies produce only once a year. Our young grow together, and only separate when adulthood is reached. A time period of seven years. They then spend another three years in the waters, learning to command their bodies in free association. Like schools of fish they learn to re-combine movement until it is fluid. Only then do they return to the air and the lands. We trade knowledge, and the many things we enjoy making. We nurture life and take care of the worlds living things which Dr. Holtz brought to this world which was chosen for mining of ores. Living forms here were very basic and mostly in the seas. They are shallow in quadrant one, and much deeper in the other four quadrants.  The A-D Station, has five sections, which rest on a three-configuration of SC-magnetic pulsed rings, whose rotations are controlled on a cycle. The station always starts a new cycle in orbit. The down stroke is one of compression, and the up-cycle is release, and the orbit cycle is at rest. Five disks are in rotation and can carry loads of great diversity and purpose in any sequence needed. The Maker needs us to produce materials for his use elsewhere. His ship is like no other in the known manifolds. A large working model was built by us at our largest space-station for learning purposes. We feel it is appropriate for you both to have a simplified smaller copy as our gift.”

A compartment door opened and on a slide out tray were two ship models of stupendous detail about seven-feet long. The two of them picked up their respective gifts finding the models to be rather heavy. A good sixty-five pounds commented Alex as he turned it about noting the three sections were fully articulated.

“A proper set of material facts are part of the model design. A holographic projector will display these data-streams under your full control. These models are like a puzzle of sorts, to challenge the mind and to teach concepts. We hope you have children who would enjoy such challenges as well. We are arriving at the station. A delivery carrier will be here in moments with the artifact. It has been saved in a box so fashioned for its preservation. It is quite unusual. We studied it for many generations until it was decided he was trying to rid himself of something, which did not allow him to do evil upon his own kind. So he removed it surgically and left it in a sealed casket of sorts. However, he did not measure the tides very well and his station was flooded, and the casket, like everything else, was moved a great distance from the station. Where it remained stuck in the deep mud for countless cycles until a probe found it, by the metallic signature. So retrieved by Dr. Holtz and her explorer teams, it went to the station-house where a bio-lab was fashioned. Biological quarantines are routine for all organics coming into our world from elsewhere. In time we contacted the Guardian by this quantum communication device. That is how we know what we speak is the truth. It is too bad the Guardian is down to the last of his time-energy cells. In his fuller time he would have found and removed the infiltrator who has damaged so many of his internal communication nodes. We think we might have found a way to help repair the main hub-stations crystal cores. But we need one to be sure. These crystals have proven themselves to be very difficult to find. A variation of a diamond atomic structure produced by collapsing stars going into a super-nova, impacting a planet of the sufficient size and mass.  Galaxies are always producing matter for the Creators. The Makers work on a level above our own, with planets and life, but they do not create galaxies. The box is here.”

In the clear pane window was the artifact visible. It was a seven-inch long by five-wide chunk of a mans flesh. From the hip area per the data-notes. The oval area was a graphic of an owl like bird in a tree. “This was the area of the tattoo oval which contained the “glyph” which was once a part of the intruders body. The XcJhantu technicians had inserted a unique cell of nourishment to re-enable to the glyph to function. They then discovered by examination, its complex DNA coding scheme communicated to the body and enhanced specific neural pathways. Much time had been spent perfecting these potentials until the device began operating again, in a limited manner. To find the intruder or insider as he is also known, will require this glyph to be brought to a specific space-station, where a unique machine still operating can determine a specific time-path, based on the “entanglement” theory, that even though he removed the glyph he cannot remove the deep memories of the consciousness itself. Memories he has which no amount of cyber changes can erase. This we had concluded was the deeper secret. This one had changed itself so radically it could not go out into open society any longer. His glyph faithfully recorded the sub-conscious responses to his own thoughts, and those around him, the entire time. A log record of use this one did not know even existed. He purposely destroyed his own connection.

The return back to the door seemed shorter, as their attention was focused on the ships. As much as they would have liked to discuss more fully some of these implications, they knew they had things to attend to back home, and the XcJhantu, representative still had a full day ahead. By Alex’s’ watch they had been here for about six hours, but it was only now about noon as the sun was nearly over-head. Once back to the alcove they quickly unloaded the box, ships and artifact and thanked the carrier for his help and the gifts. Alex depressed the fob on his watch, and the door so initialized, was ready for entry. They hand passed the stuff through the door into the junction room, and then Mathew followed Alex back into the room.

Alex excitedly called out to his wife and the girls who were home now from school. They had been gone for about four hours their time. Once out in the living room with the ships, leaving the cards and artifact in a safe, off the main room, they figured out how to turn on the holographic player on both ships. Mathew quickly realized the ship was five times larger than Jupiter’s red-spot, or about 120,000 miles long, 80,000 miles across and 40,000 miles deep, through the irregular-octagonal center-section.  Two decks together would be as much space as twenty-two earths in geological measures, including oceans. Both of the ships decks had full terrains and oceans, which the still images allowed them to look at from multiple points of perspective and reference.

Then they realized the ships could hover, and move about by the control wand, which was in the rear-engine area, tucked into an engine thrust-tube. The ships lit up like Christmas trees, as the center sections rotated clock-wise, and the rims pulsed, in a multitude of colors, which was in fact a language of sorts for what was in motion, or in some way a signal function to ships either leaving, or joining the mother ship. The front half-sphere was sectioned in layers and had a massive scoop on three levels to convey the interstellar clouds of hydrogen, oxygen gases etc. This was where the massive navigational arrays were located as well. The antenna extended outwards and back into their respective slots.  One third of the rear was the massive engines for FTL travel, but another data-stream showed another even more powerful Drive—called the PQ-R resonate drive engine. A spinning disk of exotic-matter in the center of the ship, which not only controlled the gravity fields and inertia, but also allowed the ultra-massive space-ship to travel between galaxies, in the sub-space regions under its own gravitational bubble of hyper-space-time.

The girls floated them both outside to the deck where Elaneh was finishing up a big, barbeque dinner.

She had invited her family, to discuss the plans, and they were just about to arrive. Alex, more convinced then ever of the threat posed by Eliot, reset all of the security locks, even after finding no faults in the diagnostic review, and bolted a door shut, that he knew was the only one Eliot could use from any bubble-world. He simply removed the five-pound, power conduction-unit, out of the clever holder Mr. Hsaris had built, and with no power— there was no translation period. His only concern was if Eliot had built one elsewhere. Another funny thing about that poster mural was that it could be a coordinate clue.

Mathew agreed to go with him in the morning to check out his hunch.

 

cabin-interior-118

 

There was no question that the Admiral, was upset. She was counting on the obstinate, suspicious nature of this old Syraz, to make her plan fall right into place. This old bird was from the upper-ranks and was entrenched in his ways. He would assume she was hiding something, so he would task his analysts with re-checking every single, tiny detail, using specialized technology their ships depended on to extract coordinate plots. She also knew the he was staring at her specialized image. Another key fact these reptilians had never quite accepted, as basically “unscientific” was her kinds inherent ability to look right into their minds, so long as the consciousness bond was strong enough to hold a link. And nothing got their blood boiling like having to expend more time and expense to answer a few simple questions. The transient signal was a high-octane blip on their defense screens, but it also was proof that the energy reserves of the worm-hole gate had been used, without prior permissions. A thirteen-point-nine drop in the fuel-anti-matter cells meant the station was nearing the red-line yet again. Too little fuel meant the worm-hole was nearing the point where it would collapse, quite naturally, requiring another one-hundred thousand or so cycles to re-charge on its own, or a huge transfer of the ever more scarce fuel cells of artificially produced anti-matter.

Faced with either allowing the worm-hole gate to close, or expending ship resources to re-coup that missing quotient, the Admiral would confer with his superiors, and they would order him to do what was asked. He would have to take his ship along the long route into the Kaprexi (worm-hole) base-station, due to his ships size and weapons, and then to the main re-fueling station, anchored to one of their most powerful military bases. A base whose weapons the reptilians knew were beyond their technology, so they would play real nice while they visited. And once they had been reimbursed, with the anti-matter cells, plus a little extra, for the time and effort, their breech claims came to an abrupt end. She simply had to give the earth female a slight make-over, to alter her appearance to one of an appropriate distant relative.  Thus, she would be seen as a “special guest” fully protected by the higher-order diplomatic rules so enjoyed by family, which would stop any further inquiry before it had a chance to even begin.

She read the old reptilians mind like an open book. He was furious, of course, that his command officer was over-ruling his objections and ordering him to the fuel station, just as she planned. He was already ordering his officers to re-analyze the transmission records. When he did this he duplicated the original, which he had to send in order to prove the fuel amount used— he of course would not send the fuller report, only the short one. However, while the Syraz had the better technology to analyze the raw data, her kind had the better math to determine the second signal, the Admiral, along with his crew, had already missed. Science became its own prison when confronted by higher-order impossibilities. When she saw the report was well on its way through the process she pulled back and let the connection drop. Her contact at the station was well placed to demand the fuller record, for the cursory lawful obligation and would memorize the specific code pattern, he was trained to look for in the seemingly boring old data-dump. He would then process the data determining the second signal and thus, the hidden jump coordinates. Whomever, was really behind the movement of these two Earth people, was clearly playing a game of time strategy with an adversary. A plot was underway and she was quite determined to be well ahead of the curve.

She called in Variese.

“Yes your Majesty.”

“Please go and check on our guest from Earth. Make sure she is ready to meet with me in one hour in the forward lounge.”

“Yes, my Goddess.”

Charlene was still pondering her current situation. Here she was in a luxurious cabin, aboard a ship three times the size of a cruise ship, heading for a world of exceptional history and social prominence. She had never believed there was no life out there in the universe, but to suddenly be in the thick of things, was nearly overwhelming. She took a deep breath and focused on her surroundings. She could feel just a smidgen of movement, but not like a ship at sea. She had gone on several cruises as a child with her parents and grandparents. Fun cruises with no mishaps. This was just a different kind of cruise she reminded herself. Her focus was interrupted by a knock at the door. She recognized the female, through the screen monitor as Variese, who had greeted her when she came aboard. She was near enough to just open the door manually.

“The Goddess, has instructed me to inform you, she requests your presence in the forward lounge in one hour.”

“Yes, of course.”

“I also think you will be much more relaxed, for your visit, if you take a quick tour with me of our beautiful ship.”

“I agree, space travel is kinda new to me. And walking around is more relaxing.”

“Good. A positive attitude is quite essential when you are in the inner circle. She likes you Charlene. Her curiosity is quite intimidating at first, but it is when she is bored with you, that you realize the difference. To be in that special place of attention often makes other aides rather jealous, so be aware of that too. I hate to see such counter-productive moods spoiling the clarity of focus. So as we head up the stairs to the largest interior section, I will tell you about our ship, and some of the expectations of you as a guest. Now this vessel is a variation of the most favored class of ships. High speed, safety and exceptional accommodations for both crew and guests, and of course, her Majesties every need.”

Charlene followed along, as Variese showed her through the sectional doors and into the main physical environment. The interior was set up like an extended estate. An estate with an enormous backyard filled with every possible outdoor recreational possibility, plus, all of the luxuries. The entire area was as large as three city blocks. Perfect gardens of plants, especially flowers and ornamental trees graced the many spaces with a large main avenue going down the middle. Large archways with astounding statues gracing their tops and sides gave the interior a look so unlike a space-ship, she concluded that was the main effect. If you did not know you were hurtling through space, you would never assume such a conclusion by walking around the interior. Here there were more males than she had seen previously. Like the females they too were wearing a standard uniform, which made them look quite respectful and proper to their duties. Some of the higher ranking females like Variese, were wearing the more flowing style of silver and gold suits with jeweled accessories, complimenting the uniform and head-wear.

“We will head down the auto-pathway to the hologram, you now see on the deck viewer. This is a projection of the ship in real time. As you can see a ship of this class is always escorted by the royal military space-guard. Our ship is passing through the worm-hole gates, which all royal members have a Share of and therefore, help to maintain across the sectors in which they have major interests. We are traveling deep into their main nucleus, the core world of their kind, which is named Kheliopolis. It is a substantially advanced cosmopolitan world. There are thousands of sentient species, from all over the many manifold galaxies, which maintain their highest-level diplomatic centers in the capital city Agaveion— the city of peace— which is where we are heading. You are in for quite the treat. As our majesties guest you will be afforded some of our most gracious perks. Do not feel obligated to explain yourself to anyone for such privileges. As her Majesty will explain, you have given her a sense of purpose, in these trying times, to do something quite different. You do not need to explain these reasons to anyone. In fact, it is a breech of personal security and anyone, trying to force such a discussion, or admission, will be courting treason. Be firm, but do not give away such information, lightly.”

“Understood. I just hope I can live up to such high expectations. I am a long way from my normal routines and I tend to be a little nervous, in new situations.”

“I perfectly understand Charlene, and you have nothing to fear. This is a very big step for anyone to accomplish, and we do not expect you to do anything out of the sensible, or improbable, you just need to focus on my instructions. I am here to help you in every way possible. That is my job. I am well rewarded for this type of work, and I enjoy the many challenges of these types of assignments. My purpose is to help those that are brand new to Her Majesties inner-circle, do their very best. You will be surprised how easy it is to do exactly as she needs, so long as you are honest in your endeavors. She has no patience for laziness or idle gestures. In any moment of doubt just state as clearly as possible what you are thinking or feeling. She can read that posture as easy as she can hear every inflection in your tone of voice. She is a Goddess after all, and it is rather foolish, to waste ones time, trying to mentally diminish that essential truth, with useless baggage of personal religious beliefs, or scientific arguments, of which she has heard one too many times. My advice is to accept her just as she appears to be—even at around twelve-and half feet tall… there was a scientist who ruined his career by stating to her one evening at a dinner party, that her kind were using simplistic mental projections to fool our minds. At first he was vaguely funny, but as his tirade went on it became awkward and then quite embarrassing, to the rest of the guests. All she did was drop a fly into his soup. Thereby, stating dryly— test your mind now if you so dare.”

Charlene found herself laughing, “She has quite the sense of humor. His argument was the fly in his soup. And if he really thought they were simply projecting, he had nothing to worry about, but if he was wrong… he was about to eat his word.”

“Yes, she is quite funny. And you are right, he was being a boor. She was merely proving he could not be trusted to know himself well enough to be in the upper echelon. He did not eat his soup either. He left the table red-faced with shame. It is a wonderful thing to make her feel playful, and if so, be that moment for her. No one on her upper-staff will turn a blind-eye on her having such wonderful moments. When she relieves her tensions by laughter, we all feel the joy. Having that kind of rapport with her just makes the rest of us more confident of your standing and even that sour puss Averi, will find a way of keeping you essential to the daily schedules. We just become so busy that we are way too serious all the time. We forget how to be funny without trying too hard, to be funny.”

“I understand that completely. I had a boss not that long ago that was very difficult with everyone, but instead of hating on her one day I just shared a funny insight I had about this guy who was trying way too hard to impress one of our office receptionists, whom he had this big crush on. He was a bit off and brought her a hot soup mug set with action hero decals… it was an old movie he liked apparently, and of course this big box of soup, and not a good flavor or anything, just a plain old box of chicken-flavored powder soups.  She had no idea what to do with the soup, as she was a strict vegetarian, which he would have known if he had just asked her out normally, instead he had built up this elaborate fantasy. Well, on that fateful morning after she told him she gave away the soup to the local goodwill charity guys who she saw everyday at their spot, on her way home, he totally lost it and was screaming about how dumb she was to not look at these soup packets, so she had him thrown out by security. He apparently thought she would invite him over to have the soup and then he would surprise her with a ring in one of the packets, as if that was her idea of a major romantic moment, which it wasn’t. So my insight was basically that tragedy and humor were only one misunderstanding apart. And he never did find the ring, or so she heard from a mutual friend that knew his sister quite well, and he never knew that either. My boss had a good laugh about it all and after that, she seemed more friendly towards me.”

“Reminds me of a man who tried to woo me with power tools. For the life of me I could not understand why he thought I was looking for a guy with power tools. He was right in the looks department, but wrong everywhere else. I thought he was quite funny, but he hated that I thought he was being funny, when he was being oh so serious. I had to ask my older brother to explain a few things to him as he became rather too insistent on us dating. I think my older brother may have threatened to stuff one of those tools right up his nose. Because he quit calling me soon thereafter. My entire family thought he was hilarious, but not on purpose. Fortunately, I met up with the man I am currently with at a luncheon where we were both choosing the same foods. It became very romantic as he as quite the gentlemen, allowing me to go first, but it was the way he did it. We have been together ever since. He turned out to be a second-in-command aboard an express freight carrier, of the Brigton financial class. They carry financial payloads… major value, high-security kind of carrier. We do allot of traveling together, and in fact, since we are going directly into the major city hub, I will get to see him on all four nights, so long as the schedule remains firm of course.”

“So everyone really gets around here, by ships space-travel wise?”

“I would say the middle to upper classes have substantial business and travel support by ship travel in just about every system so connected. In the outer-zones, where there are space-station hubs with direct worm-hole gates, more so just the very upper classes. There are lots of travel packages even the most ordinary of people can enjoy, but within the primary t-zones most people use the teleportation hubs for routine trips. The expense is modest for all public transit zones and a bit steeper for the private stations, or unique locations such as vacation retreats and resorts. We have very large populations of people like ourselves on nearly twenty-two hundred worlds. The war however has been really doing a number on our male work forces, as they are expected to serve in the military hot zones. The military uses robotics to the extreme, but real live men need to be there in the support and repair facilities, and to run certain functions of the militaries, day to day needs. Robots can destroy one another endlessly, but somebody has to actually win. Honestly, we have no idea what is really going on anymore. Our Goddess is a rare voice asking the hard questions, nobody wants to hear or answer. She gets a rather cold shoulder at times from the upper-social crust, of which she is of course a royal member of, but her father does support her even if he is often out voted, on the main floor of their law making parliament. Her mother is a real fire-brand at times. She is quite fearless when it comes to her personal causes. But she is hemmed in right now by her older sisters. Family politics decides way more than anyone cares to admit. Our Goddess is part of a very large family, and she is often the target of their criticism, which stems from her work ethics. They think she should settle down with one of her many admirers and raise a family of her own.  Out of sight and out of trouble of course. As she says her mommy clock is around ten-thirty and when she hits noon she will be quite ready to have some children of her own. Until then she is a career Goddess.”

“So these mass-teleportation stations just allow people to go anywhere, or just to specific places?”

“Well, lets take a quick look on a pop-up screen.” She walked over to what looked like a meter for parking.”These are pop-up projectors. As you can see they are direct access points to the ships multiple computer systems. I am simply going right to a current schedule for the terminal station links starting here on Turrien and say going to an exit station, to where we are heading—Agaveion. In superluminal mode every transition potential looks like a fluid focal-point— you see how the blip travels as if every coordinate was stacking in sequence, one above the other. Essentially we are treating a non-dimensional space as a virtual bubble going through a real physical address-intersections. We like to think of hard dimensions as being— time-of-space coordinates only–and non-dimensions as pervasive— all at once. So the trick is to collapse these “blips” into a transporter “wave-guide” which will carry anything, including people, through the system. Keep in mind that people are not traveling through interstellar space mind you, but inner hyper-space.

Now within the wave-guide, which can be illustrated as a quantum lattice, using colored circles, as you see on the diagram, where the circles are connecting with one-another by four points, where every circle forms a curving diamond intersection, which is in hyper-spatial rotation, a movement is always taking the best route. Every connection point, the address reference, is hyper-connected to every other point on an infinite progression or regression of the optimized pattern. See— how the points are hyper-stacked—as a curled tube, and turned to a different perspective, they become tunnels of sorts— the blip travels within the wave-guide tunnels— with only a seven to nine second time-dilation interval, which then corresponds by this quantum-reference point, to each terminal address location. A really long trip will take several minutes in real time, but a short one is executed in exactly seven seconds. Each terminal has an address both physical and hyper-referential and the quantum system only allows one transfer to one station, as all others are excluded, so people only go to the specific terminal so computed. The safety factor is quite remarkable, not perfect 100 percent, but as a statistic we have only four records of a fault in over twenty-billion transits per year. Safer than sleeping in your own bed actually.”

“I just find all of this to be quite remarkable. I so wish we had this knowledge back on Earth, or at least the knowledge of other people and a sense we are part of something better. Our country is broken politically, but people are trying real hard to find something that will unite us again.”

“There are lots of worlds out there, that are for whatever reason, too difficult, to include in our systems. More than we care to admit really, perhaps millions from some research I have seen over the many years, and not just due to being physically different either, but a psychological difference so great that it cannot be overcome. There is a standard test that can be given to a sample of the populations, and the funny thing is the results of these the findings proved that scientists are the most incapable of accepting new knowledge. This hard core group is followed by the wealthiest, whose inflexibility stems from controlling so much they stand to lose the most. It was discovered by trial and error that on worlds, where less than one percent, owned all of the wealth functions of a society, they actually would go to full out war with our delegates to prevent any out-side contact, or kill off entire populations, rather than allow them to migrate elsewhere.”

“Sounds like Earth alright… our global over-lords own everything by proxy and let their bureaucrats play god with our lives and basically dare us to say one word otherwise.”

“Well, I think you might have a real opportunity to gain a sympathetic audience. There are some very interesting historical rumors about that world called Earth today, but Tiamien in the oldest of books. We should get a few copies of the better versions. I think you would find such historical records quite compelling. Back then it was a slave colony for an entire sector and not a good one either. Very sordid actually.”

“The truth of our world in a nutshell, sordid, even today. So I am not surprised.”

“Well, lets make our way back up to the receiving room. Lack of punctuality is one of her Majesties pet-peeves.”

The two of them continued on up a winding auto-pathway which was controlled by a slight pressure on the grip style control mechanism. They passed through several more levels until reaching the main lifting tubes. Charlene followed Variese into the lift tube. Up they went to the top level and back out into the posh antechamber. Here the seven-foot guards were stationed and so they took a seat on one of the plush couches until summoned. Another aide brought out a tea tray and served them with a light snack as well.

The Goddess was not all that concerned about formality as she was about Charlene understanding her plan. She explained everything in detail to her aids who then worked out the many possibilities which might go wrong. So as Charlene was led into the spacious upper-deck chamber with Variese, she felt confident all aspects of her plan had been fully addressed.

“Please have a seat Charlene. We have much to discuss. Peroiu have Leonia being in some more tea and some of our Telupia Brevius-style, chilled in those nice gold cups.

Thank you.

First of all, the reason why I had to change the plans, is due to our military allies, capturing the signal pass, when you and your mate came through the worm-hole. This passage was recorded by their instruments as a large energy-spike and of course, used a quotient of energy— so measured as well.  This was quite unusual, and so the Admiral of the Gurgienze, a destroyer-class ship, plotted the signal as far as they could and using their diplomatic status laws followed that plot to my world. Although the last segment was a guess on their part. If I had allowed them to seize you, under the old Treaty Laws, you would now be in an extraction tube, so used to obtain information, well below the conscious level. Highly unpleasant as well. It was my decision that this process is far too damaging and is quite inappropriate, as you are an innocent. You have zero interests in their war, and the charge of spying, in your case, is so parsimonious in application they could drag out for months each and every charge, while saying nothing in your defense. This is a reptilian race well known for cantankerous exchanges, drawn out for cycles on end for a single, minute point. As I said this was unacceptable. So I needed to change our plans to accommodate an action, which refutes their Treaty claims and resolves the situation to your best interests. That is to find where your mate went and how to return you both back to your proper time point and world. Which is in my best interests, due to the novelty substances you already possess. Our scientists have confirmed your results are quite extraordinary. So we need to complete our initial agreement.

Thus, the plan is this:

You are going to be momentarily changed— biologically speaking to look like one of my kind— a fifth cousin, which is a nice way of saying, they have certain genetic features of the main racial line, but are nearly identical to your race in most superficial comparisons. We will then announce you as a fifth, with all the proper diplomatic credentials so in place. I have already arranged for the payment of the passage, in energy-cells from my personal stocks, a mere percentage of my holdings, which your unique substances are worth far more in exchange. So much more in fact, I stand to lose nothing. Thus, you will be known in this manner, as a fifth cousin to protect your interests as well, due to the fact, that as a human from Earth, you have no legal standing, otherwise, to protect any interest period. While my plan, is a scheme of course, to by-pass the otherwise, unfortunate aspects of arriving on my world, with no lawful protections, it is quite acceptable by our house rules. I understand these rules perfectly, as do my own kind, but these reptilians have no such flexibility. Our respective races are too entwined to break Treaties, however useless, without serious repercussions, which is something we want to avoid at all costs. This cosmetic process is painless, and is only necessary for when you are on any system world, other than my own. It is like a suit, worn for business purposes only and nothing else. Do you understand?”

“Yes, your Majesty. I can do this so long as I am confident I can be this other person.”

“Oh, you have nothing to worry about Charlene. You will have the two Prosian horn-buds of gold implanted. These are communication and memory devices our kind have worn for untold ages. Everything you need to know will be right there for you to speak properly… plus we will have the entire entourage well staffed to control the interactions as smoothly as possible. Remember, it is not my kind you need to fool it is the appearance that the reptilians will focus upon, a scan or two which they will request, and the acceptance factor, being my fifth cousin, so posed they cannot challenge period. There are certain critical rules the Syraz cannot violate without serious repercussions well beyond what they can absorb politically. We defeated them in battle long ago and we have not allowed the relationship to tilt back in their favor since. They are in our territories as our diplomatic guests and their upper-statesmen know this and will not allow this stiff-necked Admiral one iota of extra demands beyond the law, to finalize his report.

He will do as he is told or he will be terminated from his command post.

Which I am quite certain is not his intentions. He is just being thorough in his old, reptilian habits. He will file the report as required of him, and we will then move on to the more exciting part of our adventure— finding out just exactly where you mate was sent. Our preliminary analysis of the trajectory-data indicates we are in the same manifold, which is good, but it is a rather remarkable distance. Anything beyond one-hundred light years is in most cases not doable except by a worm-hole connection passage. Time-dilation for those distances is very stressful on the body and mind. Your mate seemed to be sent in the general direction of the fourth quadrant sector of our galaxy. Almost three-thousand light years away.

All the more proof that the substances you took were of the highest quality and potency factors. That value pays for your trip several times over. If you had a pound of these remarkable ‘Quantum Candies’ I can guarantee you a life of sublime prosperity, sweetness of life, and such pleasures so realized, just by Trades alone. Trading is our mainstay of economic actions. Using formalized money has its merits, and is used extensively, but we like to trade more interesting factors of wealth.  Much more interesting. Your candies are in that unique qualification. This is about lifestyles and adventures. You and your mate will have much to discuss once we have you back together. And we will succeed in that regard. Your connection to him is so strong, that even now I can feel his presence. Your bond is beautiful.  We just need the other portion of the coordinates. You are going to enjoy this day Charlene and so Valiese will assist you in this endeavor while I take care of all the many diplomatic details of my long lost fifth. I am going to have so much fun today— my cheeks will be smarting from smiling. I love novelty, as you may have noticed, and you are bring it to my door like a big, cup of joy. Speaking of which, I believe our Telupia treat has arrived. Smell that aroma—- my kind love this wonderful food. It makes our atoms tingle from head to toe, as it will your own.

Let us enjoy our sumptuous treat… we have plenty for all. On my ship all enjoy the treats not just the few. My rules are different and thus I expect my people to exemplify that difference.” She placed the first large spoonful of the creamy-white Telupia to her lips. Her serene smile said it all. “Mmmm perfect.”

Everyone did the same as the Goddess. Charlene quickly realized why they made such a fuss about this Tepulia as the scent was so good her taste buds were percolating on high, before the spoon even touched her lips. Her body shivered from the joyful explosion of taste.  Her body tingles increased from head to toe.

The Goddess knew of what she spoke. Everyone enjoyed their Tepulia with quiet reverence.

Once finished Her entire raised platform rotated, along with an exterior wall section so she could see the panoramic view. The ship was passing a space-station of great size, in high-orbit of a golden ringed-planet below. The Goddess still had much to accomplish and her aides were to be quite busy after finishing their Tepulia.

After her amazing introduction to Tepulia, Charlene was headed back to her cabin while feeling fantastic, but still rather concerned she was going to such extremes. A full body change, even if it was only cosmetically for a time, was no small thing. Valiese had other guests, soon to be arriving onboard to help, and promised to return just before landing in the main city. However, when she went back into her cabin she could see there was someone in the upper-lounge room. She went up the carpeted steps and to her surprise, it was Averi, nearly passed out in a chair. She had also opened the exterior entrance, to the fully open position, normally only done after landing and the patio was extended. The ship at that moment was making a wide turn and in the distance was the primary palace of the royal family. This was where the guests were soon to be arriving from to join the ship. The frequency barrier made the scene look as if they were underwater.

Averi turned slightly and looked up at Charlene, through red, tired eyes.

“Why have you been crying?” asked Charlene, as she went up to the wide-doorway to get a better view.

“Self-pity actually,” replied Averi, who was too drunk to stand up.

There was no question that Averi looked miserable. And so Charlene asked her,”who broke your heart?”

“The military. They take our men and return them with a heart of stone. Now I have a rock where my heart used to be.”

“Do you have family Averi that you can talk to about this?”

“I used to have a happy family, but ever since I went to work for the Goddess, my Mother has ceased speaking to me. My Father died when I was young. He was killed in the ever-lasting war. A war that never ends so long as there are more men to die. I have fulfilled my Mothers dramatic warning that by working for the Goddess I would never have a husband or children. I have no friends and now the only man I have ever loved is never returning. I came here to die. But the frequency barrier is too smart for the likes of me.”

“Suicide…? You came into my cabin to commit suicide?

“Actually, I was going to take you with me. Clearly, my plans have changed.” She took out a hand weapon,”now I just want you to kill me instead. I have saved allot of money. Money for my wedding and children to be… but now they will never arrive, you see, once you pass the age of thirty-five, you are no longer seen as fit for having babies. A husband can over-ride the lawful restrictions, by simply signing a statement, male heirs and all, but a single female is basically out to pasture.   I have nothing. So either you kill me or I will kill you.” She clicked the unlocking switch.

Charlene kept her cool. This was not the first time she found herself staring down a barrel. “How do you know for sure he does not love you anymore?”

“He sent me a military telegram that our union was no longer serving his better interests and it was time for him to move on with his life without me holding him back.”

“And so you gave up, just like that?”

“Are you mocking me?

“So how can I kill you? Is there something else here that I can use?”

“Actually, I am counting on the ships security detection to alert the guards a death has occurred. Since you are the new “pet” of the Goddess, I will be put to death for my evil deed. Maybe, right on the spot. No trial needed. Its rather fool-proof when you think about it.”

“Do you really have to kill me right this very second? Why not try contacting this man of yours and see what he does?

“I cannot just contact him. He is on yet another mission into a quadrant far removed from this one. He is on a ship literally on the other side of the entire Empire. So no I just cannot contact him and plead for his attentions.”

“Well, at least give me the courtesy of trying to kill you. If I cannot kill you then you can shoot me. I have much to live for and I do not want to die so you can feel sorry for yourself. If you want my honest opinion, you need a friend.”

Averi turned the gun on herself.

“If you pull that trigger you will never know the joy of being wrong.”

“Wrong?”

“Yes, wrong. Maybe this man was not your only chance for true love, a possibility which you only know if you live.”

After a long silence Averi pulled the trigger. The gun however, malfunctioned. She pulled the trigger repeatedly to no avail.

One of the fem-warriors had silently come into the cabin and had swiftly moved directly into position. “Foolish woman. Do you really think we would allow a pulse weapon to be fired, for any unauthorized reason?” She plucked the hand weapon from a sluggish Averi without even blinking. “Do you wish to press charges Charlene from Earth?”

“No.”

“Very well then. I will leave her here so you can help her as a friend, to regain her senses. But I warn you Averi, this quality of action and behavior will not be tolerated in the inner-circle of the Goddess. Perhaps, you will avail yourself of a much needed vacation from your duties.” The fem-warrior gave Averi quite the look, turned gracefully on her heel, and left.

Soon after Veriese came back with two other females, Charlene did not recognize.  “Well, you have really done it this time Averi… I am sorry to hear your beloved has forsworn you, but I cannot allow you to jeopardize today’s schedule. This is far too important to the Goddess. Take her to the medical bay for some immediate “reconstitution” therapy. She has to be back on her feet in one hour. After she has completed her security breach interview she can return to her private quarters to contemplate her actions more fully. Charlene can speak with you later tonight if you so wish Averi, and she is right, you do need a friend.” The two aides helped Averi to her feet.

Charlene stepping forward gave Averi a long hug to reassure her she was not holding any grudges or harsh feelings. Averi softly whispered ‘thank you’ in her ear as they hugged and then she turned and allowed herself to be helped by the other two women, who needed to hold her up, as she was too drunk to walk properly.

“I am sorry about this Charlene. We do not allow the aides to carry around pulse weapons as a rule. However, Averi is quite clever. She must have previously memorized the three, very long, security-code entries to access the armory cabinet, while the guards were in shift-rotation. This will not happen again, of that I can assure you. ”

“She is really heart-broken.”

“I know… she loves him and yet, tragically, he did once love her too. Very deeply, if my memory serves me, but that is why this war continues to create victims far removed from the battle lines. With no war she would be happily married and with her own children by now. She does not drink at all by the way. She saved a birthday bottle of a relatively modest strength Pernoi, but for her it was clearly more than enough to get her past the hump of self-destruction. The Goddess will not tolerate her front-line aides to self-destruct. She will be replaced shortly. However, if she agrees and you feel comfortable with her around you, she can become your aid, as in executive secretary. She is quite good, if she can recover of course. If not, she will be returned to her home city and she has earned enough to live on well enough retirement wise. As for now we need to get you prepped and ready for your appointment with the cosmetic team. Afterwards, you are going to be smack in the middle of a major press conference, with me right beside you. The Goddess will be in another, setting up her plan so she will not be traveling with us directly. The royals go in one direction and we go in another. Where we meet is fluid by context, so you will need to be on your toes once we get underway. Later tonight you can visit with Averi, who hopefully, will have come back to her senses. Understand?”

“Yeah, I think I have the game plan ready for action.”

“Good… and don’t worry about being nervous. I will not be leaving your side until much later tonight. And of course the royal fem-guards will be right behind us every step of the way. ”

“You feel that nice whoosh—- we are now descending. It is time for us to go.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: