“Ambros, for each species you wish to join, first ask their permission, since your entity or entities would have to live among them. Take your time to think it out properly before you do anything.”
Solomon quietly warned us that Ambros (in his energy body) is showing signs of over-excitement and he feared it could harm him. Robbie nodded. “Ambros, for each species you wish to join, first ask their permission, since your entity or entities would have to live among them. Take your time to think it out properly before you do anything.”
Stupid me just had to open my mouth. “Solomon, are the Sparklers already doing what Ambros plans?”
He looked stunned and Sparklers swirled in a mad dance above us. “We will ask permission Samantha.”
Dommi spoke. “Solomon, as you will create bodies for yourselves, you will help Ambros? I’d like to make a suggestion for both of you. Ensure that the bodies cannot procreate unless both of you decide to take that step and have permission from each species. The other suggestion I have is that neither of you allow the bodies to age and die. You are all Cherinians so instead of death, choose the amount of time each body will live and then…un-create it?”
We could sense that for all species, the furthest thought from their minds was refusing either the Sparklers or Ambros. They were all emoting great excitement at the idea of having them live among them.
SB waited a moment and then asked, “Could a part pass through the shield without being in a shield?”
It took me a moment to recollect the previous discussion. “I don’t think so. Robbie, if the shield dissolves on the other side, when the Ambros part wishes to return, can you create another shield from this side?”
“I don’t see why not.”
“We don’t know what the laws of energy are on that side Robert.”
“Give me a moment to think. Are you saying I’m creating the shield according to some natural laws that I’m not aware of and not just by willing it to exist?”
“You must be willing energies that have certain properties to become a stasis shield. Oh…I’m sorry, you can do it.” He tilted his head, waiting. “If the Sparklers could, so should you. Dad, the big shield also exists within the inner side - whatever the laws are on that side.”
Ambros was willing so we waited for the scientists. The Sparklers created a stunning buffet for all the species and we had cold drinks, beer and wine of the finest vintages (since it became so according to the tastes of the drinker). I ate and then lay down on the lawn, happy to relax for a while. The truth is that I also had butterflies smashing their wings into my tummy at the thought we’d soon know more about the impossible reality the scientists have created. The Sparkler World has become a much friendlier place since they created the galaxy for Ambros. I watched the Sparklers and various species floating by and for some reason my thoughts returned to that moment I used a sock to experiment with the stasis shield. Even as the thought followed the natural law of progression, I sensed Robbie jerk around to stare at me with shock. That alerted everyone else, so I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep - a not very effective trick when surrounded by telepaths. Patiently they waited for me to stop trying to avoid the responsibility for my new idea. I gave up and sat up.
“Solomon, is it possible for you to alter the time ratio of the shield?” He nodded, his eyes already wary. “Could you speed time in there by a million times or more?”
“Neither us nor Robert have tested what the limits are. We presume so.”
“By a billion times? A hundred billion? If you can, one hour here would be about 482,000 years there. Ambros, if the part you send there can survive, would that amount of time give your part the chance to grow big enough for it to send back a part of itself? I don’t think you’ll be able to share thoughts across the shield, but at least you’ll know there is a part of you living and experiencing things that cannot be experienced on this side.” I grinned. “Actually, you could share thoughts, now and then. The Sparklers could create a stasis bubble within a stasis bubble. The outer one would dissolve, exposing the thought energies for the other Ambros to absorb. If your thought energies can be willed to enter the bubble then it could send back its thoughts for you to experience and hopefully share with us.”
“Samantha, if Ambros can survive there, then Sparklers should also be able to. They could create stasis bubbles for sending back to us.”
I laughed, drunk by my vision. “But then Sparklers could move to and fro, sharing their impressions and experiences. Perhaps they can also create bodies for themselves to perform experiments? Solomon…oh Solomon…” I could not speak and Cherine ran over to me and wrapped her arms around me to stop my body from shaking so violently. Her emoting helped calm me. “Solomon, could the Sparklers also create a Sparkler World in there?”
Arthur, I’m not in Freddie. Robbie had to get me out of there and he took me to Goldi’s Planet to be on my own with Aganthi for a while. It was getting too emotional for me back there. I have my computer with and I can see that you are typing/changing my words so I know that you are with me. Would you like to chat with me? [chat deleted]
This is Michael. I’ve been asked to briefly write for Samantha about the above events mentioned by her. As she said, there was not one species not overwhelmed by her ideas (‘crazy ideas’ as she calls them). Even SB showed that Ambros was affected by standing frozen for a long time. Her ideas are not only exciting because of the mentioned reality (I cannot imagine wanting to live there), but because it opens doors to many other possibilities. My father is over the moon because he instantly saw that her ideas increase the safety of all Cherinian and non-Cherinian humans. My mother is so delighted by Robert’s emoting that it filled her with love for Samantha. When it comes to loving each other, there is no competition or envy between my mothers, apart from one detail. Cherine is adored by all of them (even though they do argue with her when they disagree) and when Cherine shows more love for one of them (temporary family-within-family) it is as winning a medal or a trophy is for others. It is accepted by all that there is a special and permanent relationship between Cherine and Dommi because that relationship already existed when they were brought or born into the family. The truth is, Dommi is special by anyone’s standards and deeply loved by all, all the time, so it makes it easier for them to value or ignore what they sense between those two.
All the family and close friends know how deep Cherine’s love is for my father and it could even be part of the reason they all revere her. However, the girls, over the last few decades, have had to accept that there is a permanent special relationship growing between Cherine and Samantha. Samantha is amazingly loveable, but the fact that she has taken over most of the onerous duties that made our father miserable and her ever-vigilant determination to protect Robert’s dream have increased the reasons for Cherine loving her so much. Samantha also comes up with ideas or sees truths that most of us ignore and they invariably are to the benefit of all Cherinians. She has affected all the species and is perhaps loved as much as Cherine is by many of them. Cherine is in awe of her (as she is with Dommi) so I guess she will remain her family-within-family forever.
I’m just as prejudiced in favour of Samantha, so it shocked me also when I sensed Campbell in the Sparklers World. Samantha did not remain there long enough to grow to understand, because Robert instantly grabbed her and Aganthi and jumped them to Goldi’s Planet.
None of us understood what had caused Campbell to flare up with such hate and the fact that it did not last for long confused us. Our way of life forbids us from showing him we sensed him or that we are curious, but, for a while, it did lessen the liking felt for him.
The morning after Samantha's departure, just after our breakfast, Campbell asked whether he could sit with Robert. He was welcomed and Maria poured him a coffee.
“Robert, you felt me yesterday?”
“I’d say everyone in the Sparkler World did. Arthur, you do not have to explain yourself, your feelings are private.”
“Then allow me to attempt to place them within context. I’ll start off by mentioning that for years I accepted that Samantha is clever and is quick to find the words that make her beliefs or attitude palatable to all, even those who oppose her. However, I suspected that you were using your telepathic abilities to remain connected with her and that you prompted her so that she always promoted your interests. Since coming to Freddie I’ve had to revise my ideas and had softened my hostile attitude. To be frank, she has amazed me and forced me to reconsider much of what I considered true. In other words, I have grown to respect her.
Yesterday…how can I put it, her performance stunned me. I watched and listened as she talked with scientists who come from civilisations far ahead of ours and acknowledged as being geniuses in their fields. They started off by acknowledging that their latest success was due to her. Secretly I wondered why they were buttering her up.
Then she begins to pull apart their amazing concepts and success and then she makes suggestions that stun every single mind, even Ambros and Solomon. I suddenly realised that Samantha has been hiding her true abilities, that she is a genius and is also that rarest kind of genius, she is stunningly creative. For a moment I saw the past and our conflicts and was convinced she’d been contemptuously toying with me. That caused the anger and hatred you sensed. It was foolish and luckily short-lived. I hope that the emoting by everyone else prevented Samantha from sensing me.”
“I regret she did and it worried her. She could not understand what she’d done to provoke you.”
“I can only explain and apologise and hope she remains as understanding as she has in the past. Robert, I cannot ask this of Samantha, so I must ask you. Would you be willing to go through my memories and examine the reasons I turned against you? I’d like you to explain them to me and help me correct my thinking wherever I misunderstood.”
We could all sense him. He has become a devoted admirer of Samantha and was asking so that she will think better of him. Curious as to how my father would respond, I kept my thoughts hidden.
“If you insist, I will do so. I admit to a reluctance, I have a feeling that this is not the time. As you know, Arthur has told Sam that you will ally yourself with us in the future. Perhaps closer to that time will be more suitable. I should also point out that Sam has set great store on your accepting her suggestion of you acting as our good conscience. Please give it more thought and if you do not change your mind, I’ll do as you asked.”
Campbell has decided that with her superior intellect, Samantha has seen some truth he cannot and has agreed to assume the role she asks of him. I have a feeling that should he ever grow disenchanted of her, he’ll turn into a vicious enemy. I hope Samantha has seen correctly.
I’m back. Robbie read what I’d written and collected me, leaving Wendy on planet. We waited until she called to be collected. Arthur, we arrived to find her huddled on the sofa, her heart weeping. She clung to Robbie, crying that it is too beautiful, that it hurt her. Now we are all terrified of hearing her new song.
I shared with my family and read the above written by Michael. It made me feel very strange. The idea of Campbell idealising me and believing that I’m a genius was very unsettling. From what Michael said, it seems I dare not even try to disabuse him of his conclusions. In a way I feel trapped. At least Dad had the good sense to refuse him.
The day after I arrived, we returned to the Sparkler World to learn about Embros, the ‘son’ of Ambros. I’m told Solomon slowed the difference in time to the minimum after two hours. Apparently the scientists are both dismayed and excited because the thoughts/memories/visualisations Embros sent back showed that I had guessed right. Water flows downhill once the viewer is within the mini reality while it still flows uphill if viewed from outside. I’m certain that puzzle is going to keep the scientists scratching their heads for many years.
I was grateful for the way everyone tried to treat me as usual, but they were trying so hard that it had me chuckling in my mind. From Robbie’s amused glances I knew he had sensed me. The only one who is not even attempting to pretend are Cherine and Tseri. Their constant inundating me with their love makes it very difficult for me to think. Oh wow! Imagine if the emoting gift of Cherinians grows more and more powerful, generating the ‘more you are loved the more you want to love’ evolution until we are mindless creatures, flooding the entire universe with our stupefying emoting and all souls give up on trying to reach their potential - or would they consider they have achieved it already? No, it was fun imagining it, but I’ll leave that sort of thing to the kind of author who thinks up creatures like the gobbies.
Dommi: We thought Sam was taking a dig at Arthur, but when we sensed Cherine and Tseri dampen themselves we threw pillows at Sam and collapsed from our laughter because of the look on the faces of Cherine and Tseri. Just in case anyone is wondering, what was said about Campbell will not be divulged in our tellings. It does not come under censorship, just under empathy. We would only hurt his feelings and wound his ego.
Now wasn’t that nice of Dommi to explain things to you Arthur? (giggle) she threw a big pillow at me.
Robbie took a jump back to Kiris and returned in a platform with Sebura and Birshima. At my questioning look, he explained that Samuel asked to stay another two years. Apparently Samuel is teaching again, but he also spends a lot of time helping Kiris organise his tourism business so as to ensure that all the species who visit enjoy themselves.
We told Sebura and Birshima to walk around Freddie for a day to become accustomed to being back in their own forms. After Birshima had a hug from Fiera, they left. We did wonder why they spent the day without more than a few sentences exchanged between them.
The next day Sebura took a seat by me. “I am confused Samantha. Why did you choose Kiris for me? What I saw was that all the qualities you accused me of and demanded I change, Kiris possesses and yet you approve of him.”
“Those characteristics you speak of, do they impel him to act in his own interests or does he use them to improve the lives of all the people?”
“Both. He is obsessed with becoming the wealthiest person on his planet - surely that is the equivalent of wishing to become the most powerful?”
“He became the most powerful of all the Kabetu on the day he became their Robert. I understand what you are saying, for him wealth is equivalent to power. What do you think the answer to your question is?”
“I do not know, that is why I ask.”
“If you cannot see the answer, it is because you are either not seeing him or yourself honestly. Which of the two do you think it is?”
“You would have me say, myself?”
I smiled. “I’d have you say, both. Take your time Sebura, we’re not going to your planet for a while.”
That evening Sebura drank four beers with his meal and he seemed in a bad mood. Who told who, so that the story came to Sebura I do not know, but he had heard of what happened with Campbell and watched with distaste as Campbell tried to be nice to me. I could not blame him, as I did not feel comfortable either. Haven passed by Sebura on her way to the kitchen carrying plates. He leant over so she stopped.
“I thought the training with you was difficult, that you are hard.” She just stared at him. “Samantha is worse than you.”
“In what way?”
“With her it never finishes!” She gave a surprised laugh and a couple of plates slipped and fell. Sebura caught one and the other shattered.
She knelt to pick up the pieces and looked up at him. “I see you need further training, you should have caught both.” He did not laugh, thinking she was being serious. (Haven: I was being serious.)
I’d left Birshima alone so that she could be with her mother. It was obvious Fiera was trying to adjust to her daughter suddenly being so much older and mature in ways she had not expected. The next day I took Birshima with me when I went to visit Shorayne. We were both excited when we were told that three females have quickened. We will have infant Elipians in Freddie! Lucy was the first to arrive, followed by all my loves. Shorayne hugged Lucy and repeated her news and then Cherine hugged her. Robbie just stood with a delighted look on his face. Asimi and Sharipya arrived and everyone hugged everyone. As usual, once I’ve had enough of feelings that are too good, I want to be alone, so I walked off. Reluctantly Birshima decided she should follow me. I sat on the top of a small hill and gazed off into the distance.
Birshima saw the tears on my cheeks, but she could see my happiness so she kept quiet. I spoke without turning to look at her, “So many years!”
“Kiris told us about the time Samkin brought Sharipya and Asimi to his world and how angry Cherine was. He told me that he found them very beautiful. Why is it that all the species do?”
“For some they should be ugly?” She nodded. “Could it be because they themselves are so convinced they are beautiful?”
She grinned, aware of my motives. “It is also said that all species find Samantha beautiful. Is it for the same reason?”
I laughed. “You’ve grown sharper. Nobody finds me beautiful Birshima, they just love the way I come up with crazy ideas.”
She stared at me with wide open eyes. “You have just proven that what you said about the Elipians is not true - or else nobody would think you are beautiful.”
“Did you feel beautiful as a Kabetu?”
She grinned. “Kiris told me that I was too thin and tall.”
“When we project, unless we give specific orders, our healer tries to maintain our self-image. I love the way you look, sometimes I also wish I was taller. Birshima, when you don’t have that haughty look of yours, when your face softens with love, as it does for Bobby and your mother, you are truly beautiful. I wonder if you have any Red Indian blood in you.”
“Red Indian? What is that?” I promised to guide her to the relevant pages on the internet.
“Do you feel you learnt anything from the Kabetu?”
“A lot. If I did not miss being as I am, I would stay there for many years. They are still closer to the way my people lived, but are starting to become as your people. Those who are not very poor or wealthy are nice people.”
“Did you learn anything from Sebura?”
“Sebura!” She thought about it. “Sometimes he made me change my mind about how I saw the Kabetu because he thought the same way I did. Sometimes he was right and I was wrong. I had not thought of it, but you are right, I learnt a lot from him.”
I grinned. “Did you learn anything from my friend Samkin?” I saw the sudden flush of her cheeks and the glow in her eyes. “You can’t be serious! He is an old man as a Kabetu and you hardly had any time with him as a man of our species.”
“I…I liked him. He is very interesting.”
I laughed. “That is obvious my little fire woman.” I hope he does not break her heart, but I’ll have to manoeuvre his presence in Freddie so that she has the chance to either recover from her crush or for the two of them to grow towards each other. I’d love to see my friend open his heart to love.
If the planet of Orgg did not have any strains of germs we have, it is too late to worry about it now, since so many Normals have visited. We decided to go to the land we call Australia for a swim and a long look at the barrier reef. We had a lovely day with Iona and her parents running off into the interior. I suspect it was Iona’s idea as she wants her mother to experience everything she has. Unfortunately her mother is not used to being out in the open and suffered. Luckily her stay in Freddie has rid her of the worst of her agoraphobia.
Diana did not stay with us when we swam so Robbie concentrated on her, worried because she was swimming to great depths. What she was doing is so unlike her that we all kept an eye on her. She was past all the corals and there was little to see when she sank to the seabed and began to wave her hands over the sand. A knob stuck out and she grew excited. Quickly we made our way to her, arriving in time to share in the discovery of what she’d found. It was a seashell, but of enormous proportions. It is pitted and has lost most of its colour, but a shell that is over a metre in length is a real find, whatever its condition. Tests conducted by the Unation indicate that it is over six hundred thousand years since its inhabitant died. Though it is ugly, Dommi did not protest when Diana wanted it displayed in our home.
King Meesartus was enjoying the grand meal his kitchen had prepared for us. He spoke to Robbie. “The teachers are puzzled. From what they learnt at the school on your planet, it seems that on all Earths the Neans were not the final species, man was. Why is it that no signs of man have been found here?”
“When Vincent when into the past to find out why the Neans were dying, he did see the world covered in ash from the large amount of volcanic activity. Could it be that what sickened the Neans killed off whatever there was of mankind?”
King Illafayéd was sitting between Jade and I, so I gave him a grin. “How many children have you got now?”
“Just the one. Why are you smiling?”
“I was listening to what King Meesartus and Robert were talking about.” I repeated what they’d said.
“What amused you?”
“You can’t guess?” He gave it some thought and told me he did not understand what was supposed to be amusing. I gave a wide grin. “What happened here surely must have happened on other Earths? That didn’t prevent our species from surviving and taking over.” He nodded. “I smiled because I guessed where they are.”
My loves really do spend too much time listening in to my conversations and sometimes they spoil the fun I’d hoped to experience. They all clamoured to know where they are and I sensed that Robbie and the king were also waiting so I could not take my time teasing the old king. “They’ll be here tomorrow. Robbie was thinking whether we should return in time to find out why they died out. We’ll decide to save them and bring them here. I bet that if we jump to South Africa tomorrow, we’ll find them there. Maybe we should show them the caves where they are supposed to draw?”
Robbie laughed. “Should we prove Samantha wrong and not go?”
“The fact that they are not here today proves me right Robert.”
He had a long laughing fit. “I guess we’ll have to go after all.”
I turned to King Illafayéd once everyone was concentrating on the discussion about the upcoming trip. “How do you feel about suddenly having to share the planet with another species?”
“Another species? Are they not as us?”
“No, they aren’t. Just as you are not as our people. It will be like having people from my world settle here. When your forefathers were abducted, they were altered so as to be less aggressive. Those we bring tomorrow will not have been altered.”
“This is their world Samantha, it is not up to us to deny them the right to be here.”
“Yes, but what if we appoint Sebura as their leader? Within two hundred years they will be at your borders with an army of riders to take over your country.” Sebura frowned until he saw that I was teasing the old man.
Last time we ended up about four thousand years in their past. According to Vincent he’d returned about three hundred odd thousand years. We jumped to fifty years after his previous visit. It looked as if Earth were wrapped in a dirty sulphurous shroud. Solomon confirmed the air and smoke would not harm the Sparklers so they left by the hundreds of millions to search out mankind.
After scouring the entire planet they only reported finding a few hundred in South Africa and about fifty thousand scattered throughout what would be Somalia and Sudan in our world. As far as they could tell, the Neans and Roulans had not made contact.
Robbie made a platform and taking only Claudia with him they went to visit a village. Within minutes they returned. Claudia gave me a tight grin.
“Orgg, I’m surprised any of your people survived! We could hardly breathe. Sam, you were right, the people are suffering and if we had not found Neans damaged by the pollution I’d grab them also.”
Sparklers revisited the areas they’d found Roulans and imprinted the surrounding areas and going to their World ‘created’ exactly the same environment without the pollution. Robbie asked for volunteers (most of those chosen were Roulan Cherinians). He explained that he did not want to frighten the locals so they should use their healers to put them to sleep before the Sparklers take them to their World.
It only took two days. During this time, those of us not involved, watched the Neans. We saw that though they were suffering, the pollution was not directly killing any of them, but because their food supply was fast dwindling, they’d die out from starvation. Now came the question, would we be causing a paradox if we supplied them with food?
Tina insisted, “We will be causing a paradox if we don’t as none of them will survive. We have to help them.” Most of us, the family and all the others, decided that we had to help, that our own ethics demand we do. The problem was how to help without disrupting their culture. It was decided that Neans and Roulans projecting as Neans would do all the work.
Robbie jumped to a virginal Earth where there are no humans of any kind and we gathered food and left a team to continue gathering food while we returned and the Neans were supplied with food. The important question was, for how long do we have to continue providing them with food? Freddie jumped ahead by five hundred years and we saw the Neans were surviving on their own. We jumped back a hundred years. The same. Another hundred and the same again. The next jump showed them suffering from the pollution, but they were feeding themselves. One more jump and the Neans only totalled half the earlier population. Freddie returned by fifty years and we saw there were more Neans but they were starving and sickly. By jumping to within fifty years of our first arrival in the past it meant we could not help them beyond that as we had not been present so we jumped to collect more food and returned to our original visit.
“If we bring them food once every two weeks and they learn to forage and eat what is available, they should survive. Volunteers must go live with them to teach them what can be eaten. When Samantha was abducted into the past on Sebura’s world, she realised that by healing the people of that time she would be strengthening them for generations. I suggest we do the same. By the end of the fifty years their remaining population should be hardier than those we see now.”
“Robbie, I’m going to have to sound cruel, but we can’t help them for fifty years. We saw that fifty years from now their population decreased significantly and they were sickly. That won’t happen unless we stop at least ten years earlier.”
Campbell asked, “How important is it that conditions are exactly as we saw them fifty years from now?”
“We don’t know for certain, but it is possible that all we’ll succeed in doing is forcing a split in this reality.”
“Then stop five years before, but take half their population to the Sparklers world. They can be returned five hundred years later when the pollution is not as bad and the ecology is recovering.”
I nodded my agreement. “We must first check their DNA to be certain they have been damaged.”
“It might not show up yet Samantha,” a Unation scientist warned me.
Arthur, I’m not going to write for the next four years, it would be boring for you and time will pass for you for no reason. See you later.
It’s over and done with and we’ve returned the Neans we took. Just as well we listened to Campbell as those left behind would not have survived if we had not. We’ve used our healers, but with strict instructions not to rid their bodies of the poisoning that will cause the drop in fertility later on. We’re on our way back to the present of Orgg and Jeskine.
A feast such as none of them have enjoyed before was prepared, all the locals eager to celebrate. We used our food machines to swell the variety of food and drinks and Neans were brought by the thousands and those from the neighbouring kingdom also arrived in their thousands. Screens were put up so that everyone could see and the party began. First King Meesartus gave a speech in which, among others, he praised Campbell for convincing us to save the dwindling Neans. After the screening, the Nean leaders, who were slightly tipsy, demanded to speak and they embarrassed all of us with their praise. After that we ate, drank and danced until morning.
This planet is what we call a healing world. We do not have any enemies here and apart from problems we think up for ourselves, the people are friendly and kind. After a week we sensed that the new Cherine and her family and new friends have drawn closer to each other and are eager to return to their own world to begin helping the Normals and grow their group. Their biggest problem is the same everyone suffers from: they fear that by leaving they’ll miss out on some new adventure or wonder.
I had said we would not be going to Sebura’s world yet, even if I did miss Efineh, but we have to ask Samuel whether he’ll split for a Samantha (twice). The obvious answer was to visit him at his home.
Ataxia was the first to arrive. She flung her arms around me and squeezed. Breathless, I managed, “You missed me so much?” and she giggled, as she nodded.
They all know we love going to Kefalari for coffee, but there are too many of us and we’d make an impression that could cause them problems. We jumped to South Africa for coffee in Sandton Square. Samuel had sensed I wanted to talk to him, so he sat next to me. I explained and the whole group fell silent.
“But…why me? Are you certain I can?”
“Her biggest problem will be that she has your memories as a male, otherwise, there is no problem. Samuel, I want her from you because you are the nicest and most patient of all Samanthas. They don’t need someone like me.”
“Will her memories of being male affect her?”
“Do yours of being female affect you?”
Aleka spoke, “I think they do. I think they are partly responsible for him having the qualities you spoke of.”
I grinned. “Males also have many good qualities Aleka, and I’d say Samuel has all of them, even if others would dare to claim I am prejudiced.” His family laughed and enthusiastically agreed with me.
“How should we do it?”
“The Sacred 42.” Their faces showed they did not understand. “Why don’t we let Meli think up an adventure for you and your loves with you as a female.”
Samuel’s face lit up. “And she splits off from me? I like that.” His girls agreed. I could not stop myself from chuckling as I sensed the family and friends of their Cherine. “You all want to be in it?” Free to say so now, they all clamoured to convince me they do. I glanced at Meli with a tiny smile.
“I’ll need some time to think about it.” I think Meli and I got kissed by each one of them.
Once we were alone Robbie asked me, “I thought we said we’d never do it again.”
“Only Samuel will have a new personality imposed on him, the rest will be as we were for Candy’s world.” I gave a grin. “How about Fiera, Birshima, Sebura, Lusalith, if we can, and Campbell taking part?”
“What do you mean if Lusalith can?”
“How do we block off the memories of a god?”
Meli gave a groan. “You could have let me know earlier - now I’ll have to scrap all I’ve already created in my mind!” I felt just ‘that’ small, but as I apologised she sent me a ‘gotcha’ and I pummelled her with a pillow and then hugged her. I was delighted to have her tease me.
At breakfast we told them and only Campbell worried about it and asked questions. Lusalith was worried that the experience might change her, but then she agreed. When Lusalith did, Campbell also agreed. I’m waiting for Meli to give me a clue so that I can give the adventure a title. It was suggested that it happens in the Sparkler World (sorry, the Spartan World) and Leonidas immediately agreed. I warned him there could be some violence, but he reassured us it will not affect them.
These are the persons taking part, their real names with the names assumed for their adventure:
None of them have gifts or powers apart from healers. Vincent will remain a protector, but not Kirsten.
As comments are needed, I’ll add them in my chat font, but using italics.
There are screens everywhere, grouped in threes. The first one, the camera concentrates on all of them and the area surrounding them in general. The second records the space outside the spaceship. The third can follow any person or part of the group that go off on their own. All taking part have been blocked so that they do not see/notice the cameras.
Capel frowned with puzzlement and then with a growing angry glint in his eyes. He recognised the self-contained pod he’d been put to sleep in and guessed the other awakening people were passengers, but he could sense that the pod was not stationary and he should have only been awoken once they’d landed at their destination.
“Ship, why have I been awakened?” The other passengers heard him and looked up at the center of the ceiling where the nodule of the ship AI computer glowed.
“The host ship has been attacked, this is an emergency. Under Clause 67 of human -AI interaction, the AI is not permitted to decide the fate of humans without their consent. You signed your consent for independent action during extreme emergencies should there not be time to awaken you for your consent. The emergency continues, but I had time to awaken you so I have complied with the law.”
Sarcastically Capel answered, “If this is an emergency you could have saved us your long-winded reply that only repeated what we all know and given us pertinent information for us to make decisions. What is the emergency? Who is attacking and what are our obverses?”
“Correction, host ship has been destroyed. Taking evasive action until confirmation that attackers are not following?”
Samantha fearfully asked, “Everyone else is dead? My family?”
“Pods from sections A-E and sections Q-U are confirmed as having successfully launched and at last contact were taking evasive action. Until further information your family are assumed to have survived Samantha Teller.”
Capel was still angry. “Wonderful, we have an empathic model! I’ll probably be begging to die before it drives me crazy.”
Koris spoke placatingly, “It has been proven that AI models with an empathic bias are more successful at saving humans.”
“Spare me the lectures. Computer, what are our alternatives and how far are we from the closest inhabited planet or station?”
“For evasive action to have enhanced possibilities of success it is necessary that we travel at random, but away from all known centres of human presence. At present we are travelling towards the closest galaxy. Expectation of finding known species of humans are 0.0003 percent. Each day spent on present course increases the return by an equal period and with medical resources on board we can only travel approximately seventy eight days before turning for the closest human planet. At present the closest human planet that have signed the Co-existence treaty are the Spifpafk.
Sionis sounded just as angry as Capel, “They must be the most disgusting and obnoxious species known to us. Hasn’t anything gone right on this trip?”
Lafisa laughed, her laughter like gentling music. “Of course something has; we are alive aren’t we?” her gentle reminder of how many had died quieted them.
Kirea asked, “What is your name computer?”
“Did you choose the name?”
“It was given to me.”
Kirea spoke to her fellow passengers, “Perhaps we should introduce ourselves? Unless anyone objects, since we are to remain this close to each other until the end of our trip I suggest we call each other by our first names. I am Kirea.” They all introduced themselves.