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 Awakening: TimeSaga 10 (All 9 Chapters)

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PostSubject: Awakening: TimeSaga 10 (All 9 Chapters)   November 29th 2014, 12:37 pm

Awakening
TimeSaga Story Ten

Chapter One

Debra stepped out of the small plane and smiled seeing Jimmy on the dock.  While his face beamed pleasure, he stayed standing with a few other people.  When her brother stepped out, shock showed on Jimmy’s face with him advancing with measured steps.

“Clyde, I really was not expecting you, but welcome.”

Debra tried to hold a cheerful expression as the two men met with her brother saying, “Yes, well, it took some convincing to keep our father at home, even with his job keeping him as tied up as it does.  I will be honest and say that our government is responsible for me being here, but having me and our father present would be too much for your little island.”

“Well, it’s really not my island.  It’s Dr. Beyonce’s island, although she does allow me to have control over a portion of it.  Of course, I am watched over by Dr. Kellans, Sionara, and Morgans.  You can thus trust that your sister will have her chaperones.”

Debra saw each wave as they were named, but looked to Jimmy when none of them moved forward.  She did feel the heat of the island being near the equator.  While there had been talk of her getting a tan, Debra had taken comfort in Jimmy mentioning that the buildings on the island had excellent cooling systems.

Clyde said, “Yes, I was briefed on them as well.  The concern however is that my sister will be working with a weapon.”

“The hope is to have FER-RON as much more useful than as a weapon, although we are not hiding its primary focus.  With the Solomon Foundation seriously working toward sending people through the portal created by the Zonon, it is felt that a robot like FER-RON will be necessary.  After all, there is the potential of the threat of the Korlocks returning.”

“Of course.  If you don’t mind, I would like to be quite the shadow as you show my sister around.”

Debra wondered just how long the two would continue to talk.  They were closer to the same age with Clyde definitely being considered an adult.   Debra found herself feeling like a child as she waited for the two to finish their conversation.

Jimmy said, “Dr. Beyonce was most understanding of Debra needing an initial chaperone, although expects any fear of her security to quickly dissolve.”

“If you put my mind to rest, Jimmy, then I will assure you that my family’s concern over my sister will return to the usual level of wanting regular updates.”

Jimmy smiled, then turned to her with his hand out.  Not wanting there to be any doubt about her own feelings, she rushed to hug him.  Debra accepted that Jimmy felt slightly uneasy with Clyde present, so kept a smile on her face as she heard an attempted joke.

“I hope you don’t program FER-RON to do that, as Dr. Beyonce’s engines have made her quite powerful.”

Understanding that she was present to be introduced to her place of employment, Debra let go of Jimmy to simply stand and smile as she asked, “Am I really going to be allowed to program it?”

“Well, of course, Debra.  What you have sent is much more clever than my code.  My command structure is crude compared to your insightful routines.  Dr. Morgans has some issues with your code, but I will let you and he argue it out.”  Jimmy motioned for her to join him in walking to the others waiting as he said, “We need you, Debra.  FER-RON really cannot be developed further without you.”

It almost overwhelmed her to hear the other three, all three established professionals in their field, compliment her on the routines she had sent to be incorporated into the robot.  When she admitted her youth, having only completed her sophomore year in college, they mentioned that Jimmy had also not yet gained his doctorate.  They however assured her that they recognized competence even in the young, although requested that she in turn recognize their own qualifications.  Debra then found herself overwhelmed as she became immersed in discussion of FER-RON, although since she had come for that purpose she gladly kept her focus on the conversation.

Having conversed with Jimmy about the robot, Debra did have some knowledge.  It also boosted her ego to hear praise about her programming routines she had sent to Jimmy.  She found herself feeling to have something to offer to the conversation, so soaked up what knowledge the others presented in order to continue to be worthy of associating with such people.

It surprised her to suddenly see the robot after stepping off an elevator.  Something about the female form made it seem alive even though as still as a mannequin.  The lengthy sky-blue hair shimmered as if recently washed and conditioned by expensive salon purchased chemicals.  The face showed minimum cosmetics with Debra having to touch it to accept that her whole ‘skin’ had to be painted.  The clothes were of a plastic material that showed signs of metallic thread making it a part of the robot even though could be removed and changed.  Debra wanted to talk to it, but looked back to see the others approaching accepting that she had not written any routines for that.

Jimmy said, “FER-RON is quite something.  We took her out to show her to you, but most of the time she is in a special containment device.  Since most of her features are stored in TCCs, Time Containment Capsules, it takes special circuitry and ingenious nanorobots,” Debra saw a couple of the adults give a thumbs-up sign as if taking credit for such, “to actually work on parts of her.”

She said, “She looks very – human.”

“That’s your job, Debra.  You are supposed to make her very human.”

Dr. Kellans added, “In a good way.  If she is not able to get along with people, she will be relegated to a closet quickly.  She needs to be allowed to be active when trouble starts.”

Jimmy picked back up control of the conversation as he said, “There is an automatic start-up mode, but we are far from making that active.  Still, she is to be a help and not a danger –“

Dr. Sionara interjected, “And there are other ways of helping than just fighting aliens.”

“Right, and in that capacity there will be others present to help, so FER-RON should be able to understand that not every problem will be hers to resolve.  Not just other people, but it seems artificial people.  There has been an attempt to create cyborgs.  The Solomon Foundation is testing some artificially created people, our reports are calling them forskins.  There is also a rumor of a prototype android, which is actually where we would hope FER-RON gets classified, although we only speak of her as being a robot.  Those others might prove to be more helpful than a robot, but in giving them weapons they also have the potential to be more dangerous in what could be human, or human-like, thought processes.  While FER-RON is to interact with others, she is still a weapon, so needs certain constraints on her actions.”

Debra energetically said, “Well, I guess that I need to get to work.”

“Whoa, little lady,” Dr. Morgans said, “you are just here on a work-study program.  I am not saying that you will not provide a few more routines for us, but right now we simply need you to learn about FER-RON.  Your routines need to operate her completely, and you far from have that amount of knowledge.  It might end up feeling like a boring summer to you, but we need you to spend the time gaining the depth you will actually need to be a benefit to us.”

“Oh, of course.”

There were some chuckles, but it helped that Debra was given practical things to do and not told to just watch from a wall.  They also undressed FER-RON to stress certain things about its body.  While definitely made to appear as a lovely lady, most of the features beneath the skin had nothing in common with the tissues of a living organism.  Almost everything about the robot dealt with the futuristic time-accessing technology of Dr. Leanna Beyonce and not the gears, motors, and electronic components of a normal machine.  Even the actual computer mind of FER-RON worked as a strange multi-level interface of different processing chips and not as a single logic structure.  Debra again heard chuckles around the end of the day as she leaned against a wall feeling the mental fatigue of the time she had been around the robot.

She actually felt some comfort seeing Clyde in the common dining area.  Debra easily moved to take a seat near him while listening to the others discuss what they would be having for supper.  She had to admit that her posture was not the best as an arm came around her, although she was glad that the whispered words from her brother were not about how she should sit at the table.

“This place is in the tropics, so there is little need for special growing techniques.  Dr. Beyonce also treats the people well.  Most food is not from farms that use chemicals or hormones.”

She straightened her posture as she whispered back, “I really do not care about stuff like that, Clyde.”

“I know, but stuff like that will help me truly have my feelings behind my words of support for your safety here.”

Debra felt that her brother needed to say things that sounded like they applied to her situation and not about some stuff that only someone like her brother could care about.  “Tell father that I have a lot to learn, so will have little time to get into trouble.”

“Ah, but Debra, you are once again getting into trouble around Jimmy.  That will concern him.”

“He has never said anything bad about Jimmy.”

“No, not bad, but he is much older than you.”

Again Debra felt that her brother was speaking of his own ideas.  Their father knew about Jimmy.  It was Clyde, who was seldom ever home, that really did not know the young man.  Debra thus spoke to let her brother know about her situation with Jimmy.

“He is no more older than me now than he was back when we first met.”

“You however are very much more a woman now than back when the two of you first met.”

One of the female specialists said, “I assure you that your sister will be safe here.  We will make it a point to watch over any situation between Debra and Jimmy.”

Dr. Kellans spoke to support those words.  “Our king and queen of this project are both quite young, so will be ever chaperoned not just to assure proper behavior, but to hopefully have them present where we can pass on further wisdom to them.  I am sure that most of us at the table believe the two have a lot to learn.”

Debra really did not appreciate the words, but stayed quiet knowing that her parent would want to hear such things from Clyde.  Truthfully, she felt herself that there was a lot she needed to know about Jimmy before allowing their relationship to develop.  She however felt this summer of working with him would be more than enough time to settle matters in her mind and the mind of her father.  Debra thus stayed silent feeling that her time to speak would come later.

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Last edited by TerishD on January 8th 2015, 11:44 am; edited 7 times in total
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PostSubject: Chapter Two   December 4th 2014, 12:08 pm

Awakening
TimeSaga Story Ten

Chapter Two

Watching episode four of the “Star Wars” movies Debra found fascinating, because Jimmy brought out things about the robots in the movie that she felt was important to her present position. She stayed up late discussing differences in previous theories and plans to build machines that would interact with humans, and what was being designed both by them and others. She agreed with Jimmy that forskins were closer to being androids than robots, but that their connection to humanity made them better in dealing with people while also presenting problems. While she and the others could rule out the problems with FER-RON, in the end their product would just be a machine. Debra then stayed up even later writing down the fascinating things she had learned and hoped to accomplish.

She never considered math one of her enjoyable subjects, but in dealing with computer code she had learned more than enough to make high marks in her school. The others working with Jimmy however pushed her to understand even more about the manipulation of equations. It took her accepting that the mass of symbols related to the operation of FER-RON for Debra to find the drive to advance her mathematic skills. Finding some manipulation of equations to actually present methods of improving the logic of her code had her begin to enjoy working with the math.

Debra found herself overwhelmed just by the scope of her project. So many processes were being incorporated into FER-RON that the program code would be expansive enough without adding in routines for interacting with humans. She finally put herself to bed by telling herself that no one was expecting much out of her this summer.

It became funny as she developed her plans for the AI of FER-RON only to see what Jimmy had done. His routines were quite basic. Where she was constructing intricate conditionals with various responses, he had simply wrote in direct code to make certain things happen. Where there were some mathematical development and specifications, Debra usually found a remark inserted giving acknowledgement as to its source. While she found that she was not the only one beside Jimmy to write code for FER-RON, she was the only one providing new formulas with the others simply gained from other robots. Feeling it funny that what feminine actions the robot would display would come from the only female programmer, Debra set herself to see what more she could do.

By the end of the summer she felt her mind was about to explode with all the new information she had to process. The equations of time manipulation extrapolated by Dr. Beyonce, then further expanded by Jimmy almost overwhelmed Debra. She had not put her focus on physics, but had actually reduced her science classes to a bare minimum, and then the easiest subjects, as she felt that branch of her education would have the least application. In returning home she however spent time on the computer adjusting her classes to enable her to understand some of the basics behind the operations that FER-RON would be taking advantage of. Feeling her head was already about to explode, Debra wondered how she would handle even more knowledge.

While she really had little time before the start of classes, she did feel some relief in returning to the house she had grown up in with her father and brother. During her early years she felt stressed at times being the only girl. The fact that her father was often working did not help, as her brother often had his own interests as well basically leaving her alone. Still, those periods of solitude had her build what she almost considered a friendship with her computer. Wanting some control of her life, she sought to learn how to improve things about her electronic companion. The interactions with Jimmy had only fueled her desire to know about computer logic, as she felt able to correct things about her computer’s performance while men seemed completely hopeless to her. While she still felt her father and brother would never change, just being home provided a comfort that she had managed to affect things in her own life.

Her father was a doctor. While he had a strong attitude of not bringing his work home, it worked against him in that he did not leave work until all matters were resolved. Debra remembered many days of not hearing her father return to the house until she was preparing for bed. As her thoughts of men increased, she had wondered if her father had stayed late spending time with another woman. There had never been any evidence of that, but at what parties and socials her father had taken her he had always huddled with other doctors to discuss their private topics without any sign of closeness even with the females of his profession.

About the only knowledge Debra had of the death of her mother was of her friendship with Jimmy. She had visited her mother in the hospital, but only on rare occasions. Her father brought her just because at that time he would not leave her at home alone. Hospitals were however boring places to a very young youth with Debra feeling that they let her work in the flower bed simply because it did keep her occupied and out of trouble. The fact that she first met Jimmy there, and he allowed himself to be an outlet for her emotions at the sickness and death of her mother she felt marked him as someone who would be ever be a faithful friend.

The one time she usually had regular contact with her father was early in the morning. He usually spent the start of the day in the kitchen primarily to assure that the day began well. He put off making his morning rounds at the hospital until the house was empty. While she would not start classes until the following Monday, she got up early just to assure her father started his day properly.

“Good morning, Debra.”

Her jaw dropped, but she said no words. The sight of her father was comforting, but the usual greeting from him connected with her own work. Instead of returning the words, she explained her shock at hearing what he said.

“I need the robot to say that. It would be a much better opening statement than a simple ‘Hello’ or ‘I am ready and able to serve.’”

She felt he would have made the connection anyway, but felt her imitation of usual robotic speech to have helped clue him in, so was pleased with his response. “You are speaking of your work with Jimmy?”

In keeping with his philosophy of not bringing work home, her father did not usually promote her or Clyde speaking of their school activities. The rule had helped her brother, as his relationship with the military usually did not allow him to speak of his absences. Debra understood that her work was private as well, but Dr. Beyonce was just too well known not to be fully secretive. She hoped her father would allow her to share what she could of her business, as she did want something for the two of them to be able to talk about.

“Yes. FER-RON is supposed to be able to work with people, so I need things that will make her easily accepted by people. The usual robotic phrases just will not have people feel comfortable around her.”

“Well, you might want to have the robot check the time of day before saying that.”

Debra could not help but smile hearing her father willing to talk on the subject. “Well, not when she is turned on, as she will be effectively waking up. I might have her check the time afterward, but her first words should be ‘Good morning.’”

“Will the robot have face recognition? I found that my patient’s like hearing me say their name, as many wonder if I even care about them personally.”

She found her jaw to drop again. Hearing her father mention even the slightest detail of his work astounded her. Debra wanted to go thank her father for speaking as she did, but hoping not to break the mood she simply smiled.

“Yes, Father, FER-RON will have facial recognition. While it will help her relate to people, basically we need her to just recognize objects. The same processes enabling her to see things and know what they are and how to use them will allow her recognize faces. Jimmy had those working with him take pictures of me so FER-RON would know who I was. He did not want the robot attacking me.”

“Why would it want to attack you?”

Debra considered that an odd question, although found herself comfortably responding with the answer Jimmy had explained to her. “Well, because it could see me as able to disable it. I mean, I am not a physical threat. FER-RON will be quite powerful. I however do have the knowledge in how to turn her off and override certain logic paths, and that could have her rate me as someone that needs to be eliminated.”

She now saw her father with his jaw down and mouth open, so continued to smile while waiting for him to speak. “Eliminated? Surely you are not going to have her able to kill people.”

“No, she shouldn’t, but she is to work with those going through the portal. She thus is being given weapons to protect the people from the korlocks. Just to have her functional at a more local level, she is also being given some ability to work as a local law enforcer.”

“Police do not have the authority to go around killed people, Debra.”

She had to admit that such was true, although spoke to work out her thoughts along the lines of her discussion with those working with Jimmy. “No, but we do have discussions about at what level FER-RON should operate. She is a serious weapon in our defense of those going through the portal. We want her to work around people, but also have her as a more versatile presence than just a korlock killer. I mean, hopefully we can build a relationship with the aliens. There will however then be a threat of humans destroying any peace by not accepting the korlocks, just as history shows other forms of prejudice being hard to eradicate.”

“Sounds to me like you are over-thinking the potential of this robot of yours, Debra. It should have a purpose, and should stick to that purpose. Machines go obsolete all the time. If the need for your robot goes away, it probably is time for a new design anyway.”

“We need a good prototype, Father. It needs to be able to show off present and future capabilities. Some things might not prove to be feasible, but we cannot have FER-RON being seen as a one-use robot.”

Debra saw her father move his head as she ate. She smiled knowing that he was debating points with himself about their conversation. She thus ate wondering what conclusions he would arrive at.

“Okay, Debra, I have to admit that you do have a point there. Still, it would be best if you keep the deadliness of your robot at an extreme low level of protocol. I am not saying that they should not be a part of your robot, but they should not be the primary purpose of your robot. Work more on her people skills than her weapon skills.”

“That is my purpose, Father. I am supposed to be giving FER-RON a personality for operating around people that will have them accept her. I am not supposed to be supplying her with targeting instructions.”

“If you can manage that, Debra, then you will have something new and unique. Honestly, machines that do a purpose, even destructive purposes, are not that unusual. Ones that can just be just a part of society however has never been managed.” He laughed, then said, “Honestly, I know a lot of doctors that are about as cold as a robot in dealing with patients. No robot could replace them. Create a robot that could, and it could shake up the medical profession in a good way.”

Debra laughed as well, then said, “That is not the purpose of FER-RON, but who knows what I might work on next.”

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PostSubject: Chapter 3   December 9th 2014, 11:39 am

Awakening
TimeSaga Story Ten

Chapter Three

The actual initial phone call came from my brother. It was usual to get an email from him, so I was really amazed to hear the voice of my brother when I responded to the tone. I had not looked at the face of my device to see who had called, as I was expecting class members that I really did not know to set up a study session. Hearing my brother’s voice, my first thought was to yell for our father, but then I realized that he had reached my phone instead of the one for the house.

He did exchange a basic greeting before saying, “You need to watch the news, Debra. Might even help to see it on an internet site where it is not edited down to fit between commercials.”

Thinking about who I expected to call me, I replied, “I have a major test coming up, Clyde. Could this wait?”

“Maybe, maybe not – it all depends on your present relationship with Jimmy.”

“Jimmy? Is he in trouble?”

“No, but his robot might be.”

That got me interested. I thus brought up another internet page. A quick search however did not show any recent information, which I had to relay to my brother.

He said, “Your robot is supposed to protect those going through the portal. Well, the Flags of Freedom are announcing that they have an agreement with the Solomon Foundation to launch a manned craft through what they are calling the Rothman Tube.”

I replied, “FER-RON is far from ready, Clyde. I have developed some new routines, but I have yet to submit them to Jimmy. He is speaking of some success with the robot, so is going to fly me out after finals. It is nothing but Spring Break, but he feels that he needs me present to have me understand some changes. He says that we can check my new routines while there as well.”

“Well, you can probably expect him to mention these developments. I know Dr. Beyonce has connections with the Solomon Foundation. Just giving you a heads up, Debra.”

I could not deny what he was saying, so replied, “Yes, thanks, Clyde.”

“You’re welcome, Debra. Listen, I have not heard or seen anything bad about you, FER-RON, Jimmy, or anything about anything you are doing. Thus, this is a friendly call, Debra. I hope everything continues to go well for you.”

I thanked him. Since he called me, I felt free to ask questions of him. He did not get specific, but supplied more of an answer than I was used to. Feeling that he had been alerted to the situation with the Solomon Foundation because he was stationed in that part of the world, I made a note to actually catch up on the topic since it could actually create issues with my own project. After again thanking Clyde before closing the connection, I began to watch reports on the Flags of Freedom.

Not being able to understand Arabic or Hindi, I had to stick with edited reports from news agencies of countries whose language I did know – basically English. I found myself questioning the report, because I did not believe that we had enough information on the planet through the Rothman Tube. Before I opened a link, the news reporter mentioned with his source verifying that only speculation could be made from the information from the probes sent to the planet, as the Rothman Tube did not stay open for long. The chemical analyses however spoke of the atmosphere being able to sustain life as we knew it, so the Flags of Freedom felt that mankind could indeed expand out to this other planet. They however stressed that God had blessed the countries of Iran and India in that they would be ones going to this new world instead of the capitalist demons that spoke English.

A tone sounded, and this time I did check the panel for who was calling. Seeing that it was Dr. Beyonce, I quickly activated the phone. After a simple greeting, she asked if I had heard of the Flags of Freedom. Telling her that I was coming up to speed at the very moment had her speak of being relieved before saying more.

“I am under pressure to somehow get permission for an American vessel to fly through. Of course, my background is that of discovering the science of how the Rothman Tubes are created and not international diplomacy. I in fact believe that us finding out how to create our own Rothman Tubes is what those contacting me actually want. I do have international contacts, even with those of the Solomon Foundation, but actually the way things are presently going does not allow me to have any control. Those I have contact I consider friends, and I do not want to lose that trust.”

Having not heard a certain piece of information, I decided to ask, “How are they going to fight the korlocks?”

“They have been working on developing sonic weapons. It is actually old technology. Our military found it to have uses, but very limited and requiring some bulky hardware. I have been working with Jimmy in creating another method for FER-RON. I am now looking at the equations hoping to see the connection that will enable me to create, or have Rudy create for me, a Rothman Tube.”

“But FER-RON is far from complete.”

“Yes, well, that is the purpose for my call, Debra. You are supposed to fly out to my island after your finals to exchange some information. I want you to pack to stay. You can finish your schooling by taking on-line courses.”

Those words hit me hard. Jimmy had mentioned me going ahead and moving out to the island after I finished a certain level of my education. I knew that he was taking his classes in what spare time he had. Suddenly being confronted with needing to make a life changing decision made it hard for me to find any words to say.

Dr. Beyonce said, “FER-RON needs to be put into operation as soon as possible. Mankind isn’t waiting for us to build the soldiers that will protect their advance. People are going to die, Debra, but maybe with you active with the others we can get FER-RON to a point where we can at least begin testing her.”

“Well, the time manipulations are bringing about a number of concerns with the circuitry. I am concerned as well because the logic driving those circuits has to adjust. Some of the manipulations also affect the AI routines for relating to people, and that concerns me.”

“Glad to hear all that, Debra, but it only drives my desire to have you permanently join Jimmy and the others working on FER-RON.”

I had to accept that instead of buying myself time, I sealed my fate. Honestly, working with Jimmy was something I wanted. My mind however leapt to thinking about furthering my relationship with him. Wondering if my life would be a good one, I accepted my fate.

I traded information with Dr. Beyonce about my schedule. She mentioned speaking to the college about working with me to finish my degree in a less formal manner. By the time I ended the phone call, I realized that I had more to do than just study for finals.

Father came in through the door as I carried a large suitcase up to my room. Of course he asked about what I was doing. My simple explanation was not accepted, but father had me say more. We sat down and spoke of my future. Father always had his own life, and I often felt that he put his work ahead of his own family. He however had some applicable advice to me, as basically that was what I would be doing as well. In my case I had no husband and children, but he mentioned that such would happen should I get serious with Jimmy. I could not say that everything father warned me about had merit, but he did mostly say things I considered to help me make my decision. I thanked him and kissed him after he set the suitcase in my room.

There was no rush to packing, but my mind had been put along that line of thought. Attempting to refocus in order to return to my studies, I saw the time. Making a quick adjustment, I knew Jimmy’s regular work day would be over. While he probably was still active with FER-RON, during this period he would bother to check his phone to see who was calling.

“Debra!” Jimmy cheerfully said. “Dr. Beyonce said that you would be calling. She however did not say what about, although I suspected she was just leaving a piece of news for you to relate yourself.”

“Actually, Jimmy, I asked her not to tell you. I was uncertain about things. I have now looked up some information and spoken with my father. I can thus say that I will be coming to be a permanent part of your project once I finish my finals.”

“Good! Listen, Debra, FER-RON needs you. Mechanically she is checking out. We are going to hire a couple more programmers, but you seem to understand the troubles necessary in programming FER-RON. Your routines are also adding a personality to her that I like. It is strange, but she seems to come alive when we hit a test that actually has your code determining her actions. You were saying that you had more.”

“Yes, Jimmy.” I really could not say more, as I was very pleased with what he said. “Ah, well, I need to finish this semester.”

“Listen, things are being stepped up here. I might need to secure a line, then have you send me what you have.”

That was not an unusual request, although I stressed some facts. “What you are doing switches out internals, Jimmy. I will need to check my code against where it will be placed in FER-RON. I will probably need to change certain parameters and re-section where the code is to be divided.”

“Dr. Morgans will look over your code and do his best with it. There are a number of changes in FER-RON, so we do need you, Debra. However, your education is important as well. While the Flags of Freedom are making all sorts of claims, they are not ready yet. We thus have time. Finish your studies, then we can get you here and working full time on FER-RON.”

“Sounds good, Jimmy. I would like to actually work with her, as I would like to be there to see her actually respond. Starting my day with her telling me ‘Good morning’ I think would be nice.”

“Her telling you ‘Good morning?’ How about me?”

It really was hard for me to contain myself. While father had mentioned the possibility of my relationship with Jimmy improving, upon hearing those words I found myself realizing that such would indeed be a result of moving to the island. Instead of buoyantly responding, I however sunk into a realistic appraisal of our feelings for each other. Not really knowing if I should allow myself to further my relationship with Jimmy, I feel back to an old topic between us.

“Jimmy, do you have flowers?”

“Why? I can’t grow them, Debra. I need you. Really, not just with FER-RON, but with me. I need flowers in my life, but I cannot have them without you.”

Honestly, from what I knew of Jimmy he was very correct. That thought made me smile. Seeing his face suddenly beam only reinforced my own feelings. I thus had to admit that our relationship would grow.

“It would be nice to hear you say ‘Good morning’ as well, Jimmy.”

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PostSubject: Chapter Four   December 14th 2014, 3:28 pm

Awakening
TimeSaga Story Ten

Chapter Four

I really did not focus on the statements from Nick. It would not help to turn off the sound, as the words still resonated in my head. While speaking with Nick, I however wanted the sensations of contact with the other brother. A feeling of a second heartbeat could be detected, but other than that I had no knowledge of Al. With no other option, the statements from Nick were focused upon.

“The korlocks have not really appeared in the water, Roy. Now, that does not say that it is harmful to them, but it does indicate that a settlement near a large body of water could be without any korlocks nearby.”

I looked to Dr. Beyoncé, saw what she wrote, and accepting that she had been paying attention to the discussion I dutifully replied, “The korlocks are in the Rothman Tube, Nick. We really do not have even a good set of satellite pictures of this other planet. In the time it will take the people to find an appropriate body of water, they could be completely wiped out by korlocks.”

“That is why we need you to return, Roy.”

Those words struck me in a rather unpleasant manner, as I felt I was not the problem. Another needed to return and admit to his actions. It hurt to feel that Al would stay separated from us because of his crimes, but I really wished that my twin would return to deal with the problems that he caused.

Hoping that my emotion would transmit to Nick and not just my words, I said, “We cannot be effective without Al, Nick. We need to him to set things right.”

“We have lost Al, Roy. Still, we – you and I – were created to deal with the korlocks. You are also the focus, Roy. I cannot do it alone. I need you.”

I sent my hands to the keyboard and typed back to Dr. Beyoncé, ‘He is right.’

She typed back for me not to go back without her. That forced me to consider whether I really wanted to return to Nick. I did care for him. I also thought the cause responsible for our creation was a good one. I thus accepted to make the offer.

“I have been working with Dr. Leanna Beyoncé, Nick. If I return, I would like her to come with me.”

There was a pause with the sound cut off, although I could not help but wonder why they bothered. I had a psychic connection with my brothers. The explanation for my powers was a combination of special scientific breeding along with me and Nick (and Al) being identical in genetics. The latter was questionable, as me and Nick (and Al) did not look the same. I however could not help but accept that Al and I looked different, and we were identical co-joined twins. Father would however admit that there was some tweaking of the process that produced us three boys, which helped to explain our slightly different abilities (although Al and me were co-joined twins, so should have been exactly the same). I simply waited out the pause while sensing the conversation that they tried to hide from him.

Nick finally said, “Dr. Beyoncé surely has her own projects, Roy. Why would she waste her time to babysit you?”

“She is worried about the korlocks. She has helped Dr. Kuliak in their initial attacks, and she has evidence that an even greater eruption of korlocks is coming.”

“If we would do our job, Roy, we could handle the korlocks.”

Not only hearing the words, but the psychic signals of conviction, concerned me. I thought back to those wonderful days when Nick, Al, and me played together. Dr. Pathulma, who we called Father, taught us that we were weapons, but accepted that we were boys as well. Those were good days. If I could return to those days, I would. I still had my conviction to help people, and I accepted that Nick did as well, although he needed me.

I replied, “We are supposed to connect with the mentality of the korlocks, Nick. The evidence of Dr. Beyoncé says that there is no mentality there.”

“We have contacted something, Roy. Surely you sensed that.”

He was correct. We had contacted something. I had however discussed that with Dr. Beyoncé, and felt that she provided a better perspective than Father.

“I am willing to return, Nick, but I want my babysitter with me.”

I smiled sensing the reply from my brother before he said it. “Father says that he is sorry for what happened to Dr. Beyoncé’s daughter. He will appreciate a chance to apologize in person. He however is worried that the visit will not be friendly.”

“No, Nick, but she is a very nice lady. I have talked a lot with her, and have even been helping her. There is a lot I don’t know, and my interests are not exactly the same as hers, but it has been wonderful being here with her. She is coming as a friend, a concerned friend.”

“Then she will be welcomed, Roy. Look forward to meeting you both.”

There was more that was needed to be said. Nick and I both turned over the conversation to the elders. Neither acted surprised that the other was in the room. Of course I could sense his presence through Nick. He suspected her influence over me, which I never denied. I thus allowed her to take over the conversation without any fear of my brother feeling betrayal. Both adults were polite, but said little more than was necessary to arrange the future meeting.

As they were preparing to close the conversation, I heard Father ask, “Leanna, is Roy still present?”

“Of course, Nicholas.”

He did not wait for me to approach the screen, but just said, “Roy, do you sense anything from Al?”

“No, Father, except for a faint detection of another heartbeat.”

“His presence would help.”

I believed that as well, so wanted to supply information to Father to help him restore any feelings of his loss. “He has gone. He is not working with the korlocks, but I felt him to believe such. Dr. Beyoncé has tried to get me to sense the complexities of the alien thoughts. Our conclusion is that Al went insane, but exactly the type of insanity we are unsure.”

I saw him nod, then his eyes move to speak to another. “Leanna, it seems that you have been a friend to Roy. He is in a lot better condition than I felt he would be.”

She replied, “You forget that Roy was in contact with my daughter, so I knew of Roy. It has been a joy to actually spend time with him. While I accept that his absence from your life left a hole, his presence in mine helped me deal with my own loss. I thank you, Nicholas, for giving me time to spend with Roy.”

“Yes, well, I have information about another hole in your life. When you arrive, I would think it would help all of us, I include the two boys, in speaking of holes in our lives.”

“I have a yacht, Nicholas. I expect to set sail tomorrow, the next day at worst, and will send you updates about our travel so you will know when to expect us.”

The two adults had already discussed certain details, so it did not surprise me to have father speak some parting words before ending the conversation. I thought about what had been provided for me in my stay with Dr. Beyoncé. Realizing that packing would not be a problem, set myself to assure her that I would not present any difficulties before leaving to go to Father.

For me the prospect of returning to Father and Nick was a joyous situation. Dr. Beyoncé politely smiled at me, but I could tell that she had a number of concerns to trouble her mind. None were barriers to our travel, but things that could present trouble if she did not resolve them before leaving. I thus kept a cheerful demeanor even as I helped where I could to hasten our departure to see Father and Nick.

“Oh, Roy B2, are you acting as a happy puppy.”

Even though completely in my mind, I could hear the voice clearly. The tones that seemed to register in my ears were those of my missing brother. Not wanting to be disturbed, I rushed to my room so I could freely respond. While I could speak with just my mind, I used my voice as well to assure that my brother heard me.

“Al, Nick and I were just saying how we could use your help.”

“Oh, Father does not know what he was playing with. What makes it interesting is that the human race can probably actually meet this challenge and win. You won’t do it, Roy. You and Nick might learn with what you are dealing, but I suspect not.” I could clearly sense giggles as Al added, “I suspect the human race has a lot to learn before it can face this challenge adequately.”

Thoughts of getting my brother to return to normal focused in my mind, but what I said came from my desire to redeem the past actions of Al. “Come back and at least explain things. Al, you killed Sally. She was a friend.”

“I am going to kill more, Roy. There are things that I need to learn, and only death will supply the answers. Not your death though, Roy – or Nick’s. No, I cannot learn anything by killing either of you. I do miss you Roy, and Nick. Tell him that I miss him – will you?”

“Sure, Al, but are you certain that you do not want to tell him yourself?”

“Oh, I don’t have the feelings for him that I have for you, Roy. You still feel me in your heart?”

I had hoped for a positive response. Not getting it concerned me, but Dr. Beyoncé and her staff had helped give me some instruction in dealing with people. With the hope of restoring the presence of my lost twin, I kept my own words positive.

“Yes, Al, I do.”

“It’s not your strength, Roy, but your weakness. Still, it does connect us. It also gives you hope. Sorry to dash them, Roy, but I must follow my own path.”

Desperate, I asked, “Al, where are you going?”

“Where am I going, Roy? Why not ask where I am at? The answer to either is the same: someplace you cannot reach, at least not yet. Goodbye, Roy.”

I felt like crying unable to sense my brother any more, except in the faint feeling of an additional heartbeat. Father had however taught us boys that we were not supposed to cry. Dr. Beyoncé had admitted such to be true, although warned me that I needed to find moments to release emotions. She however admitted that actions other than crying were usually more helpful in dealing with the situation causing the stress.

The sense that Dr. Beyoncé had been worried about me registered in her glance to me before I said, “Al just contacted me. He said that he would need to kill more.”

“That’s not good, Roy. Anything we can do to stop him?”

Shaking my head, I admitted, “No. He said that we could not reach him.”

“It would still help us know where he expected to reach to kill others.”

“Yes, but I have no idea. He also said that Nick and I would fail, although the human race might actually figure out how to succeed. I think Nick and I could possibly find some answers toward helping humanity.”

“I believe that we can speak with your father about that, and possibly come up with some directions to guide you and Nick in doing what you are supposed to do.”

“Yeah!” The words were something I considered positive. “We can beat this.”

“You and Nick were made for a reason. Al too, but he has set himself along another path. Let’s not lose you or Nick. Keep coming to me, or your father, and hopefully we can keep you being a good thing.”

Actually liking what I heard, I said, “I am glad to have spent time with you, Dr. Beyoncé. I am sorry about Sally. I would like to stop Al, but I really do not know how to do that.”

“Don’t let his problems be your demons, Roy. You stay true to your own path. Maybe the fates will give you the opportunities to restore your brother, but don’t lose yourself in the desire to make your own fate.”

“I think father would tell me the same. How long until we make it there?”

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PostSubject: Chapter Five   December 19th 2014, 11:41 am

Awakening
TimeSaga Story Ten

Chapter Five

I looked up as Jimmy rose from his seat. We had been working together on FER-RON. He knew the various layers of existence of the robot, so I needed him to work me through the design in order to assure that my code would not be disrupted by some transition. Jimmy had been distracted by a phone call. I heard enough to know that it was from Dr. Beyoncé, so let him talk while I continued my work. When he rose however instead of simply commenting to me about the discussion, I looked to see what he had been instructed to do.

“Dr. Kellans,” Jimmy called out, “Dr. Beyoncé said that she sent you a message of a number of new hires.”

Dr. Pedro Kellans was the mechanical specialist. He was the one responsible for assuring that FER-RON’s joints and construction could take the stresses that would be incurred. He was actually the person pushing to have FER-RON female in appearance, because he felt that type of body would be better accepted by people, be better at handling certain requirements, and would be better at gaining understanding should it actually have to act in its capacity as a protective weapon. While I did initially consider him to be slightly perverted, after hearing his lectures on the design of the robot I felt Dr. Kellans was just very opinionated on certain topics.

He replied, “Yes, four – two for me and two for Matthew. Natasha is enough for physics, although actually is responsible for teaching our newbies.”

Dr. Matthew Morgans worked the most with me, as he was the head programmer. His training however was with industrial robots, and not with computer AI. He chose the computer chips for FER-RON, and set up the interface enabling all the processors to work together. Dr. Morgans also wrote the basic code that enabled each mechanical system to operate. Jimmy would work out how he wanted each action of FER-RON to happen, then pull in the code sections that would do as desired. While the instructions did enable the robot to be put through tests, it did not give her any personality other than as a functional toaster. I actually liked Dr. Morgans, although he and I would argue about the merits of how I wrote code.

Dr. Nastasha Sionara was the physicist that assured the robot would function according to the laws established by Dr. Beyoncé. Dr. Sionara felt she had created her own applications of time manipulation, although both Dr. Beyoncé and Jimmy would challenge her on actual originality. Neither doubted Dr. Sionara’s ability, so kept her constrained on corporate contracts to assure that what FER-RON did would not be claimed by another company other than RayWeight.

It was Dr. Morgans who rolled his chair next to me and said, “We both got a male and female. Piella, the female for our group, is actually some design specialist who tried to make a kitchen that gave a man a feeling that he had a lady in the house. You might like her, but I felt that Leanna was just trying to assure that if did not allow you to make FER-RON girly enough, that Piella would take up the slack. Leonard Banning however comes from the world of competitive robot competitions. I am told that he is a nerd, but can write some tight, clean code.”

As stated, I liked Dr. Morgans, so easily replied, “They might help to improve some of Jimmy’s code.”

“Listen, Miss Queen of our little domain, Jimmy’s code is my code.”

“It does not have any personality however. There is a lot here. Once I get some things worked out, it would be nice having others to go through and make FER-RON’s personality complete throughout her various systems.”

“Well, I will be here watching you as well as those two others.”

Our feud always got the two of us discussing code. Dr. Morgans always put his focus on efficiency. Every logic decision to him was time. I concentrated on personality with every choice FER-RON faced resulting in her appearing human or creepy. As I accepted the real threat of endless loops resulting from some odd combination of functions from FER-RON, I did not mind our discussions of code as they helped assure that no bugs would result.

I felt a hand on my back, and turned from Dr. Morgans to look at Jimmy who said, “Might as well join us to welcome the newbies.”

Dr. Morgans asked, “You want us to get FER-RON out of her pod like you did with Debra?”

“No, as I am not bringing them down here. Plus, there are some nanobot processes at work with FER-RON right now. Anyway, we go up, say hello, then Dr. Sionara can show them to their rooms, tell them to get acclimated, and inform them that supper is at seven hundred – our time.”

I looked to see that it was already past six as Dr. Morgans commented, “You’re a slave driver, King Jimmy. Still, we are paid to work.”

“And Dr. Beyoncé is afraid that we could need to get FER-RON active pretty quick. She is not a simple machine however with nothing like her ever being attempted before. I really do not know where these newbies can fit in, but I believe we will end up being glad to have them around.”

“Oh, we will find work for them. You want me to have something for them to do starting tomorrow?”

“Yes, for your two, and the same for Dr. Kellans. If you do not have anything, Dr. Sionara said she could use them.”

Those words had me curious about who had been chosen to join us. Jimmy spoke to us, while having an arm around me, about the candidates actually being from a list originally compiled by Dr. Beyoncé’s husband, Dr. Worsheim. I knew the man from Jimmy’s own tale about how he came to work on FER-RON, but also had heard about his death. Curious about just what type of stories these new people might tell, I found myself eagerly waiting to come from the depths of the private laboratory.

There were two men and two women. It did not help me get to know them when Dr. Kellans introduced Jimmy and me as the King and Queen of the robot design team. While we did not hide our relationship from anyone, neither Jimmy nor I had pressed to do more with each other than some basic petting. We knew that we were watched, and honestly this was the first time we could truly take time to test our compatibility. While I believe Jimmy was as eager to do more as I was, it helped our work to not have advanced our relationship much further than a professional association. From what I saw of the men and women, they did not come with any knowledge of each other allowing them to be introduced as a pair.

As the new people were directed to their rooms, I turned to head back down to the main laboratory only to hear Jimmy say, “Might as well get something to eat, Debra. Both of our trains of thought were broken, and FER-RON is being worked on by nanobots. Let’s take a break.”

Jimmy and I had not eaten with the others, but stayed busy answering questions. I believe it helped the attitude of everyone just to hear some old complaints spoken by new faces. We all smiled as the standard answers were given. While I had enjoyed my time with the others, I still knew my reason for being employed by Dr. Beyoncé.

I replied to Jimmy, “I would like to finish my code so it is able to be placed in FER-RON. I feel that it would be a start to being able to test her personality.”

Dr. Morgans said, “Debra, it will require my signature before replacing my code. Before I sign off, I need to get with Pedro and check the work done while FER-RON was in her chamber. Thus, you have time. Take a break.”

“Dr. Morgans, right now FER-RON is functional, but she is not FER-RON.”

“Right now she is a very dangerous prototype. In my opinion women are dangerous – period. Thus, I am not going to be quick to give this robot a female personality.” He was smiling, so I did not get angry as he added, “Now, go spend time with your boyfriend.”

I walked to the kitchen while mostly turned due to seeing Dr. Morgans move off to his room. Bumping into a table, I turned to see Jimmy smiling at me. He actually offered me a beer, but I directed him to only get me some juice. As he walked to the table, I guess that he also noticed that we were left alone.

“Does it bother you that we are actually able to see if we can become boyfriend and girlfriend?”

“No. I always wanted that.” That was true enough, and Jimmy should have known that, so I added some words that I had yet to tell him. “Before I left to move here, my father told me that he knew something would develop between us. He just told me to go slow.”

“It has been a number of years that we have known each other, Debra.”

“Yes, but there was such an age difference between us.” I was almost embarrassed to say, “Most of those years I was just a girl.”

“A girl that could lecture me into submission.”

That got me laughing. I worked with Jimmy to cook while we retold our stories of encountering each other. A lot he had told me, and I felt he had heard my side of the events, but we laughed as we again spoke of our knowledge of each other over the years.

We had gone outside to continue our conversation in private. The island was lovely, although being near the equator it could get rather hot during the day. There were enough lights on the island to make it still pleasant in appearance at night, and without the glaring presence of the sun it could be comfortable as well. The sand and salt air would make food gritty, but Jimmy and I took our drinks with us as we continued our conversation.

The sensations of having him kiss me were quite pleasant. I did find his presence very invigorating. I wanted to get close to him, to have him very close. While I agreed that at present we needed to keep our relationship to just kissing, I very much wanted to allow him as much time doing such with me.

I believe we both reacted to a change in the lighting. I know that I turned wondering if someone was approaching, and Jimmy did not ask me what I was doing. He in fact made a comment about what concerning the lights had caused us to react.

“The main house suddenly does not look right. The outer lights have turned red, and something has happened to the windows.”

We both spun to see the outer lights on our own facility turn red with the voice of Dr. Sionara announcing, “We have just received word from Dr. Leanna Beyoncé that the Solomon Foundation has again activated the Zonon. She however is warning us that something is happening even beyond the experiences they have so far dealt with. Everyone, come inside!”

I wondered if everyone meant just Jimmy and me. I thus listened to comments or movements of others. Jimmy probably paused as well, as I had a few moments of silence before he spoke a command.

“Come on, Debra. I’ll get our glasses. I believe that is all we brought out. Maybe in a few days we will need to pick up our clothes as well.”

That last sentence caused me look at him with a combination of hope and shock. He was smiling, and I could not help but grin in return. The thought of finally being able to advance my relationship with him I found quite appealing. Wondering about what might be the problem disrupting our time together, I looked up into the sky.

Something was disrupting the presence of the stars. Clouds were not uncommon, but I felt that I should be able to recognize them even in the tropics. As I tried to see what was disrupting the celestial lights, Jimmy reminded me that we needed to get back inside.

Suddenly hearing Dr. Morgans cry, “No, no, no, no!” caused us both to stop with wonder at whether we were safer outside than inside.

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Six   December 24th 2014, 11:30 am

Awakening
TimeSaga Story Ten

Chapter Six

I cannot say that I was frightened. The red lights surrounding the buildings did proclaim a sense of danger. The exclamations of one of the head authorities, the one I personally had as my supervisor, also informed me that something bad was happening. I however was on a tropical island, which could not be a more pleasant setting away from any troubles. Jimmy was also with me, and I did feel safe with him. I thus had no feeling of being frightened even as I sought to identify the reason for the troubles.

Jimmy voiced the identification of one threat. “Debra, those are korlocks!”

My eyes finally managed to focus on one form that appeared to swim overhead. The translucent creature did not appear as a fish or bird, but more as a type of insect with tassels instead of legs or fins. I then saw others coming from the direction of the beach. These had a more humanoid appearance, although much bigger. The forms did frighten me, although I turned to the building wondering why Jimmy had not started pushing me toward it.

Dr. Morgans continued to make exclamations of something being wrong. I again noticed that Jimmy did not head to the building for safety. He instead began moving about as if looking for another hiding place beneath tables or chairs. Dr. Morgans went quiet, and wondering if what had been wrong was now corrected, I turned back to the building.

FER-RON stepped out through the door. She was a wonderful form, and created to handle the threat of korlocks, but I did not consider her to be at the point to be active. As she approached, I heard Jimmy yell as he picked up a chair.

“FER-RON, protect Debra!”

As he charged an advancing korlock, I saw a hand of FER-RON shift from one reality to another that had her armed with a rather dangerous weapon. She looked at me, then took a step sideways. The then pointed the gun and fired.

The path of the blast from FER-RON’s weapon was safely at a distance from me. It however went right through Jimmy. Part of his body became a spray of fine meat, organs, and blood. The korlock seemed to ripple as water, then disperse. Shock did pass through me in seeing what was left of Jimmy’s body fall lifeless, but I took out my emotions on FER-RON.

“YOU DON’T DO THAT!” I moved up to point a finger at the robot while saying, “You are to help people! Don’t you understand? Me, Jimmy, whoever – we are the reason you exist! Your name stands for Full Emoting Robot! You are supposed to care! DON’T YOU DO THAT AGAIN!”

In a voice I really had not heard before, she said, “Excuse me, Queen Debra. I must remove the presence of korlocks.”

She took off. Within seconds I heard her weapon fire again. As the moments overcame me, I could not help but fall to the ground as FER-RON took off to battle more of the aliens.

Dr. Morgans came up saying, “I am so sorry, Debra. I wrote the code myself. I wrote the code myself. I wrote the code myself. I WROTE THE CODE MYSELF!”

I found some sanity return to me seeing the elder also drop to the ground crying. He kept mumbling that he was responsible for the way that FER-RON was acting. Feeling a need to do something more than cry, I found the strength to stand back up.

Hoping to gain some sense of what had happened, I asked, “Did she kill anyone else?”

It helped that Dr. Morgans proved he heard me, as after mumbling, “I wrote the code myself,” one more time he answered my question. “No, but she should not have even activated. I however had written the activation routines, as it was very conceivable she would be put into storage until something happened.”

Feeling that both of us needed to face reality, I said, “She fired right through Jimmy.”

“Remember, every logic decision took time? I only allowed for one check. Jimmy made it you, as you would need to interact with FER-RON to check her personality. Presently, she doesn’t give a damn about anyone else.”

Wondering about the extent of what ‘doesn’t give a damn’ might mean, I asked, “But she will only kill korlocks, right?”

“Yes, or anything or anyone you direct her to kill. Again, you would need to check her routines and run her through various simulations. I did not want to get too detailed about what type of threat she might need to be tested against.”

“So, do I need to go get her?”

“No. Once the korlock threat is removed, she should return.”

Dr. Morgans was supplying information. I thus felt a need to keep him talking. I however also feared him ending up like Jimmy. I helped up Dr. Morgans, but instead of staying with him to hear more information I decided to assure no more tragedy occurred.

“Go on to your room, Dr. Morgans. I will wait out here for FER-RON, then assure that she returns to her chamber.”

“When you get her there, put her in programming mode. It dismantles her logic routines to enable you to make changes and such. Basically, she is turned off with no way to turn back on.”

He looked to the body of Jimmy, again apologized with him adding words about what he would do about it. “I will call Dr. Beyoncé. Don’t you worry about anything, except attending… the… funeral.”

That last word was barely recognized as the man again started crying. I wanted to cry as well, but accepted that I had things to do. I worried about those newly hired who would have these memories as their first day here. I actually thanked Dr. Morgans for handling the formalities, then found a place to sit recognizing that I needed to be visible to assure that FER-RON saw me first upon her return.

It was hard to gain a place where I was clearly visible, yet the body of Jimmy was not. Once I had done my best, I did cry. I was still weeping when I heard the sounds of someone approaching, and I wiped my eyes seeing FER-RON become visible.

She said, “Queen Debra, the alien threat has been negated. I made circuits of the island’s perimeter until I could no longer detect their presence even at a distance. If needed further, I will activate again.”

The voice was definitely female. Not high or low in pitch, but a comfortable middle tone. No emotion to the words. It was not flat, as computerized voices are known to be, but neither did it conjure any subtle thoughts to what had been said.

I replied, “Thank you, FER-RON. If you do not mind, return to your chamber. As this is the first time you had been activated, we will need to make some evaluations of what you did.”

“Of course, Queen Debra. Glad to have been a help.”

I followed her down to the lower laboratory. I heard no clank of her mostly metallic body walking on the tiles. There was a slight hum of her body being operated by various engines and gears, but with them being extremely small the sounds of their operations were not very noticeable. Without any hesitation she lied down in her pod, then had the top close on her. I raced to a computer, and once it showed that I had access to the robot I put her down in programming mode as Dr. Morgans had told me.

As I tried to deal with my emotions, I heard the voice of Dr. Kellans ask, “Your code will fix that, right?”

“Yes,” I managed to say between sobs. Full Emoting Robot – FER-RON will care about people.”

“The second part of her name is Reactive Offensive Neighbor. She was reactive, and offensive, but not a neighbor.”

“No, but she will be.” I was still crying. “She will be, I promise.”

“I am going to hold you to that.”

I looked to him wondering what he meant by that. Seeing him put down a goblet, then fill it with wine did not comfort me. I however wiped my eyes and calmed my crying to assure that heard him speak.

“To our queen. We need, FER-RON needs, for you to stay strong.”

I could think of nothing to say. The wine really did not appeal to me either, but I felt that I needed to do something. Not wanting Dr. Kellans to feel bad, I did take a sip. Honestly, the liquid did seem to help. Not having anything to say, I took a further drink of the wine.

As if pleased with my actions, Dr. Kellans said, “Listen, I know that you will need time. I will keep things going here. FER-RON will need her body checked for stress and other factors. There are recording devices in her, and those need to be checked. What weapons she used, their effectiveness, all that will keep us busy here. When you come back, we can then get to work on FER-RON’s personality.”

The wine actually began to calm my mind enough for me to say, “We need to contact Jimmy’s parents.”

“Trust me, all that is being handled. What you need to do is not give up. I don’t know where Jimmy found you, but I do believe that he found the right person.”

I came close to again sobbing as I said, “He found me on the outside of a hospital tending a flower bed.”

“Do you want us to start a flower garden around here? Dr. Beyoncé really does not have any flowers around her house, but would probably support you.”

“My mother was dying, and I was too young to go visit. I tended the flowers for my mother. I like flowers, but when I tend to them I think of death.”

“Okay, so no flower gardens, at least none for you to tend to. Anything you however might suggest that we add or change around here?”

I accepted that he was trying to help. I felt that there was another motive, but simply attempting some communication I felt was a good thing. While I mostly worked with Dr. Morgans, Dr. Kellans had also been active around me. He was also the man that Jimmy usually dealt with. I thus accepted that he probably needed help dealing with Jimmy’s death, so thought about what he said.

Attempting to come up with something, I suggested, “How about some rabbits? I like rabbits, and they will eat the vegetables that we don’t.”

“I’ll look into it.” He started to say some words, and finally did figure out what he felt were the right words. “Listen, you’re our queen. Go, get some sleep. Put your focus on getting your life back in shape. When you’re ready, come back and get back to work. FER-RON needs you. Honestly, my job is done. She performed wonderfully according to my requirements. She however failed miserably on yours. Thus, you need to get back to work.”

I finished my goblet of wine, then stood as I said, “She did not tell me ‘Good morning.’”

“No, but she did listen to you. I want you to know that I will listen to you as well. Go, get some rest. Good night, Queen Debra.”

“Good night, Dr. Kellans.”

“Pedro.” I looked at him, and that caused him to say, “I am just your subject, Queen Debra. You may call me by my first name.”

“I have not finished my education. I do not have any credentials.”

“I believe you have more than proven yourself. Now, stay strong. As I said, FER-RON needs you.”

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PostSubject: Chapter Seven   December 29th 2014, 11:46 am

Awakening
TimeSaga Story Ten

Chapter Seven

Travel by boat would seem fast, except that the scenery did not change. There are also no cops to call you down and tell you that you were driving fast. You basically set your destination, assure that you have enough fuel to reach your destination, then set off to your destination hoping to have something to do in the interim. My boat was so sophisticated that I really did not need a pilot, except that life even on the open sea could suddenly change.

Roy stayed a bundle of energy the entire journey. He however did not simply run around as a foolish lad, but focused his body on activities that would develop certain skills. He fired his pistols too much for me, but he set the targets where nothing would be hurt should he miss and only fired at those targets. Roy did not have the mental faculty to understand my equations, but did spend time studying math to learn some basics of solving problems. He looked through my exercise programs and found one of the most difficult to actually help him expend his energy.

As a lad, he was most polite. In dealing with him I found a maturity level in his thought that most youths did not possess. Memories of my daughter also being polite had me believing that such a trait could just be the result of situation and training, but the controlled thoughts I felt had to be the result of something else.

Roy would speak of his father and his life there. I spoke of recognizing that he had not been locked in a room. I also mentioned how he interrupted Nicholas once, so there was not a sense of Roy and his brothers not having any barriers to their movements. He mentioned being confined to the corporate grounds, but that it was a rather large, nice place. I considered the conversations entertaining in hearing Roy speak of the things he and his brothers would do to the man they called their father.

I did feel a need to press the lad about his experiences in planning and actually dealing with the alien mentality. The fact that such conversations usually digressed with Roy simply speaking about the personalities of his brothers caused me to have to consider various methods of presenting the topic. Luckily, Roy did not get upset with me, so I was able to occasionally turn the conversation toward his experiences in attempting to contact the alien mentality.

I was glad to hear him say, “The problem with father was that he did not know anything about what we might contact. That was what had me contact Sally. For all I knew she could have been the alien intellect. Of course I quickly learned that she was not, but it was nice to actually meet someone. I mean, until then I had no idea about my training actually having any real application.”

To keep him talking, I said, “I knew that there was something odd about my daughter, but I could not determine why or what it was. All I could think of was that because of the unique method of her birth and your creation, Roy, some connection was possible.”

“Al wanted to speak to Sally. Father never could figure out why not, as Al and I should have been exactly alike. He however never could detect other minds like I could. He could not contact Sally, or even Nick. Something, however, something seemed to bother him, as if he was contacting something.”

“If it was something complete alien, maybe he simply did not know how to process it.”

“Yes, but – but I should have been able to recognize it. If not directly then through Al. I could detect Al, so I should have been able to read Al. I didn’t however. Whatever might have been affecting Al, I could not detect it.”

I could tell that I had finally gotten Roy to touch the memories he had been trying to avoid. While I was curious, and believing that it would be better for him to face his past, I also sought to protect him. I thus chose my words carefully to properly guide Roy in confronting his memories.

“Surely Al spoke to you about what he felt were issues in his own life.”

“He just – well, he wanted to know about girls.”

“Girls?” That response did surprise me, as Roy was not yet at an age for physically maturing, but I did not allow the change in topic to keep me from seeking further knowledge. “What about girls did he want to know?”

“I don’t know. Basically, everything. When I contacted Sally, that really fueled his questions.”

Allowing that I needed to demonstrate my own willingness to face painful memories, I said, “Al killed Sally, Roy. I don’t see how committing murder will teach one anything.”

“I think he just wanted to know that they could be killed. At the moment it seemed that he felt death to be so false of an outcome of life.” He seemed to gain some confidence in his speech as he said, “Whatever happened, I have not been able to duplicate it. I never thought I could teleport, and never have since. Al however was not surprised by what happened. I did sense that. He was not surprised, although there was a sense of pleasure in arriving here and making the kill. It was as if he was achieving some purpose to his life.”

Speaking quickly to have me voice a conclusion, I replied, “You want to join with Nick in order to see if you can hopefully go through those moments again.”

“Yes. Not only to see if I can, but also to possibly detect Al.”

“That might not be a bad thing, but could also be a good thing. I am glad that I am going to be there with you, Roy.”

I let the matter drop, as I did not want to stress the lad. He had been a pleasant companion. I also found him to help me deal with the sorrow at the loss of my daughter. While I was glad to hear some personal information of the mentality of the one that killed Sally, I let the matter drop with the satisfaction that a wall had been removed.

While I was a recognized consultant for the Solomon Foundation, I found myself feeling that it was the presence of Roy that prevented me from being held up in coming to the coast of India. I usually had to hand over certain papers, but this time the military vessels simply sent me a message to continue to my destination. Seeing Nicholas with a group of people supported my feelings that everyone wanted the return of Roy.

I could not fault the lad for jumping off my yacht. He had surely missed a number of the people. I instructed my crew about assuring the condition of my vessel, then jumped off to the dock as well.

Nicholas approached me to say, “Leanna, thank you for taking care of my boy.”

I could not help but reply, “Why didn’t you bring Nick with you?”

“Just so I can assure certain things are handled. The boys tend to focus on each other. If I brought Nick, separating him and Roy for certain matters would be difficult.”

“I hope that I can learn that for myself.”

“Of course, Leanna. Consider yourself my guest.” As he directed me away from the dock, he asked, “You are aware that the Solomon Foundation is going to activate the Zonon, and that a manned craft is going to launch itself to the planet?”

“Yes, and yes. I believe the second is foolish, as there is no coming back for those men.”

“Allah will provide, but that is why we need Roy. He is a possible mediator between the human race and the korlocks, and possibly other alien species out there.”

I looked to see the location of Roy before saying, “I know that I am recognized consultant for the Solomon Foundation, but where exactly do I stand with you, Nicholas?”

“I am beholden to you, Leanna. You were a friend to Roy. You had a daughter killed by one of my sons. Do not think that I will not be gracious to you. Also, I know that your late husband researched into the same technology that resulted in my boys. His was actually more mechanical, while mine was mostly genetic, but we both sought to produce a special offspring.”

Grateful to hear a certain topic mentioned, I decided to test Nicholas on the extent of his graciousness. “I have been conducting a private research, actually spurred on by interested parties, to find Mary.”

“It is said that Joseph actually gained success. I believe we would both be interested in how his success compares to my success. Yes, Leanna, I will pass along any information that I gain concerning Mary.”

“Then I am honored by you, Nicholas. May our children spur on our friendship.”

“The blessings of Allah are not to be denied. Come, Leanna, and be welcomed into my home.”

As in my own case, Nicholas has built his home away from the main population. Where I had my home and business separate, he had a large estate where both aspects of his lives operated together. Armed guards walked along the thick walls surrounding the property. I saw towers for both lights and dishes for gaining and transmitting various signals. While I did not attempt to bring attention to myself, Nicholas made certain that everyone who looked in his direction knew to keep their distance.

Stepping out of the car, I saw another lad waiting. While Roy had red hair, Nick’s was clearly black. He did look more like Roy than what I remembered of Al, although had much more reserved nature.

After being introduced, Nick bowed to me while saying, “Roy was ever praising you. I am glad that he returned, although often felt envious that he was the one that stayed with you.”

“I believe fate has treated all of us cruelly. Roy helped me with my loss, and I tried to help him with his. I hope that you managed to come to terms with certain events, Nick.”

“I am hoping to speak further with Roy about that, Dr. Beyoncé.”

“I understand. I would like to speak with you as well, Nick, so if you have time later feel free to seek me out.”

He acted nervously, then looked at Roy. Having spent time with him, I recognized the serious countenance as the lad communicated with his brother. Suddenly, both boys smiled as they turned to the man they considered their father.

Roy moved to my bags as Nick asked, “Could we show Dr. Beyoncé to her room?”

Nicholas appeared perplexed, but after glancing at his staff he seemed relieved to say, “Yes, of course. Leanna, we can speak after supper.”

I had not packed for an extended stay, but I still worried about the lads as neither Nick nor Roy were that large. One of the staff had however had brought out a luggage cart. The lads were able to move my bags enough to get them on the transport. They then worked together to move the cart while directing me to follow them. Thinking that it could be an interesting stay, I walked behind the cart.

The lads did not take me directly to my room, but rolled the cart over various surfaces as they gave me a tour. I was pleased not just to see that they knew their home, but indeed showed familiarity with the surroundings. I feared that Joseph kept his creation locked away in her room, so had to silently compliment Nicholas for raising his lads while providing them the freedom children needed for a proper education.

Going inside the mansion, I began to wonder about the history of the building. While the look from the outside had been that of a private estate, the doors had numbers on them as if this had once been a hotel. The one that the lads stopped at had the name ‘Isis Room.’ Nick pulled a key out of his pocket and opened the door. Going inside the room, I could not help but smile at what Nick said.

“You don’t have to tip us.”

“And what would you use the money for if I did?”

Nick looked perplexed, then looked to his brother to ask, “Did you get a chance to use money?”

Roy answered, “Uh, no. Dr. Beyoncé had almost everything I could want.”

Nick looked back to me before admitting, “I guess that I would just save it.”

I replied, “That is a talent that I believe children should learn.” I opened my purse and pulled out a bill for both boys while saying, “I am sorry, but the cash is from Australia. I cannot say how much it is actually worth here in India.”

“If you needed to buy something, how would you do it with Australian money?”

“I wouldn’t. I have plastic, and it will do the conversion for me.”

“Oh, I believe that is how father buys things. You do like father, don’t you, Dr. Beyoncé?”

That question took me by surprise, so it took me a moment to figure out a reply. “Like your father? Nicholas and I do not really know each other. He has not done anything to make me upset with him, so I hope that we can have a pleasant time speaking with each other.”

“Well, he created us for a purpose. He however does not know that Al is back with us, but we need him if we are to succeed.”

That news did not make me feel good, but I tried to keep my voice calm as I said, “And do you believe that you can trust him?”

“No, and father will trust him even less. Roy says we don’t need him, but Al says that we do. I think we are thus going to need you, Dr. Beyoncé, because Roy and I need to know the truth.”

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PostSubject: Chapter Eight   January 3rd 2015, 11:28 am

Awakening
TimeSaga Story Ten

Chapter Eight


The conversation that evening was a lot more informative than I expected. It did help that Nicholas had word that the Solomon Foundation was preparing to make their launch, so he needed to bring me up to speed. Not only did I learn plans for the activating of the Zonon, but the style of training for the boys. He did not drill them with lectures. He did not train them with strict routines. I listened to the presentation finding it rich with supporting evidence and history, then watched as he directed the lads through his desire for how things would go. I sought to interrupt the conversation at times, and found my questions and comments warmly received, then used to provide information to the lad in a different manner than they were used to hearing.

It helped to hear Nicholas’ presentation of what he knew was going to happen along with what he hoped to accomplish. A special craft had been moved down into the water where it could ascend through the Rothman Tube upon the activation of the Zonon. Four men were in the craft, and they were not just chancing encounters with korlocks, but with a planet that surely developed for a species other than human. While we had some success in dealing with the aliens, it helped my attitude to hear Nicholas stress that he hoped for the lads to accomplish some sort of dialogue with the other life forms.

Further knowledge of Nicholas’ method was gained the next day as I watched Roy and Nick go through lessons to direct them in their powers. While not intense, the system did actually stress their mental powers. I thus could understand how the instructions caused Roy to push his abilities enough to actually make contact with my daughter. After the lesson, Nicholas allowed the lads to go play stressing for them to work their bodies instead of their minds.

No longer having to deal with the youths, Nicholas asked me, “What is your honest opinion of things, Leanna?”

“Roy did not speak about you, Nicholas. What I have seen has only supported his words of being more involved with his brothers. It however troubles me that Al turned in the direction that he did.”

“How much did you know of your husband’s research?”

I really did not consider that question on topic, although I respected Nicholas enough to explain why. “I gained his notes after his death, and I did look them over. It was a very brute force application of my technology. While I believe that he did gain a viable result, his methods were crude.”

“But they can be duplicated. I believe that the way we find Mary is through the development of technology to create other androids like her. I really cannot say that my methods can be duplicated. I did have clear goals and objectives, but a rather obscure hit-and-miss style of making advances. Even if the boys manage to achieve success, I doubt anyone is going to be interested in duplicating what I have done.”

I did not attempt to hide my displeasure with what I heard. “Honestly, I hope no one does. There is death in both of your methods. I am actually grateful that it was you and Joseph that did this, as I feel that both of you had the best of motives. I however do not approve of this application of my technology.”

“What is always hoped to gain is a better way. Instead of needing live vaccines, we found that we can use dead ones, which is safer. Instead of needing to grow rare plants, we simply find the chemical that is doing the miracle cure, then develop a method to concoct it ourselves. With proven success, others seek to duplicate it in a cheaper and safer method. I feel that such is possible with what Joseph did, but not with what I did.”

“I don’t know, Nicholas. In both cases real children are being created after a multitude of deaths. There are probably psychic scars that can only be revealed later.”

“If you study the development of a fetus, there are plenty of hardships in just a baby coming to term. Still, I cannot presently speak of not having problems. Al is a large mystery.”

Wondering how much Nicholas knew, I spoke of what the lads had mentioned to me in confidence. “Roy and Nick both believe that Al will make an appearance.”

“In what manner, Leanna?” I sensed a growl in his voice declaring that I had hit a nerve with him. “Surely he is not just a simplistic monster. Surely there is a motivation in his actions. If he is acting on instructions from this alien intellect, then his presence could be good. Just to say that his development has warped his mind makes a mockery of Roy and Nick. No, I cannot say that the return of Al will be unwelcomed by me.”

“I can accept those words both as someone who has devoted her life to a technology and as a parent. I however had people who worked with me and were able to bluntly voice their beliefs and suggestions. Do you have that, Nicholas?”

I believe that he wanted to say that he did. I however did not find even half the qualified people on staff with Nicholas that I had working with me. Most on the estate were contract people not directly employed by him. What he did say I felt was as honest as he could be.

“Well, let me say that I am glad to have your presence, Leanna.”

“I have a team working with my robot, but I trust them to do their job. I thus can afford to stick my nose into your business, Nicholas. I hope that I do not trouble you.”

He did not just tell me that he was glad to have me, but gave me free license to snoop wherever I wanted. What I really wanted to see, of course, was his machines that acted on the principles of which I held the patents. Nicholas did not stop me, but in fact escorted me to the laboratory assuring me that should he begin showing a profit that he would pay me for the use of my technology. I was actually glad to have him present to discuss things, but had to stop upon hearing the strident voice of a girl and opened a door to snoop.

Nicholas came around me to introduce the young female. “Leanna, this is Carnation C1. She is a female version of the boys. I don’t know if she is a proof that females are really less inclined to psychic powers than males, or something else, but not what I call a success. I started her process just as a check on the boys, then stopped it with the actions of Al. She is a young lady, so I am raising her, but will probably find a foster home for her.”

While Roy appeared to be a lad of about ten, Carnation gave me the impression of being only eight years at best. She did not have the red hair of Roy, but her brown locks were far from the black of Nick. She had lovely blue eyes. She approached to shake my hand in a very confident manner. I was polite with the girl, but thought not to advance the meeting. Nicholas however changed my impression of Carnation by telling me about a plan for her.

“I am thinking of having her take part in the procedure with the boys. She might display her own talent when put under the circumstances.”

“Have the boys met her?”

“No, but it is about time.”

Considering what I had been told of Al, I wondered about the safety of Carnation. Being a product of Nicholas’ process, I worried about any family gaining her only to later learn of certain latent mental capabilities. Knowing that Nicholas did plan to have safety procedures in place when the Zonon went into operation, I found myself accepting that it was probably best to go ahead and learn what we could of Carnation.

The boys were introduced to her at lunch. Having been with Nicholas, I thus also knew of the phone call informing him of the activation of the Zonon in a few hours. The children were thus encouraged to eat as much as they desired, then rest before the coming test of their abilities.

While Carnation had not been introduced to the lads, she had been instructed in their procedures. She went through the lessons displaying a good understanding of what was to be done, but also a hesitation from the knowledge of not previously having been found to have necessary skills. Nicholas however assured her that the lads would not be affected by her presence, and possibly aided should she be able to present some connection with their procedures.

Problems with the depth of the Zonon prevented its activation until late. The time was spent assuring the children of what would be desired of them, then allowing them free time. When they were finally called back together, the boys showed an acceptance of Carnation and helped to have her feel at ease as they prepared to activate their powers.

I became stressed dealing with information from a number of sources. Calls from my various facilities troubled me along with the information from around the Zonon and the children. Hearing of the death of Jimmy caused me stress, although the presence of someone that I also feared might result in someone dying had me really anxious.

The hand of Al stretched forth from somewhere to join with the other children as he said, “Oh, you cannot do this without me.”

I saw the faces of Roy and Nick show stress as if affected by some power, but as Al stepped through he met the gaze of Carnation. “Oh, a lady is of our number. I did not know about her. How sweet. I might have to stay after all.”

“AL!” Nicholas screamed.

“Stay away, old man! I am doing what you wanted. You want to know about the mentality of the aliens? Well, I am allowing Roy and Nick to meet Urnaquay.”

Seeing the bodies of the other children tense up, I had to ask, “Is it friendly?”

“What? Oh, father has a lady friend as well. Are we becoming a happy family?”

Not wanting to lose another person, I stepped toward Al determined to maintain some control. “I don’t think so. You should know me, Al, as you killed my daughter.”

“What? Oh, yes, the one I did not play with. Cannot learn anything by just killing them. Must play with them first. Maybe I will have time with this one.”

It was Nicholas who said, “Stay away from Carnation, Al!”

“Oh, she’ll come to me. She is presently meeting Urnaquay as well. She will come to me with my brothers. You made us that way, father.”

I would have acted had Al shown a weapon or made a sudden move to the girl. He however smiled as if quite pleased with himself as he calmly stepped to rejoin the psychic efforts of his siblings. Instead of Al, it was Roy who suddenly reacted.

His voice rang out, “AH! NO!” He broke the connection between him and the others, then declared, “I will not be a part of that!”

I had to ask, “What, Roy?”

He ignored me to yell out the names of Nick and Carnation, but then noticed who else was in the room. “Al! He’s not that powerful Al! You can resist him.”

“No, Roy, as he gives me the connection that you kept to yourself. Don’t you see, I want to be like you. My dear twin, we are not alike at all, and I want to be like you. Urnaquay allows me to be like you. I will thus stay with him.”

“Al, please.”

“Urnaquay wants me to teach him about girls, but I do not know about them either. He is mystified by us, but I am too young to supply him with answers, and not being a girl I cannot tell him everything.”

I said, “There are other ways than killing.”

Al had a very unpleasant grin on his face as he replied, “Oh, yes, but I need to feel the connection. Only through death can I sense the connection, and that has been much too short. I must learn how to prolong the moment of death. Urnaquay is going to let you live, so he can learn. The korlocks are monsters now, and Urnaquay is not pleased with them. He is hoping that he becomes pleased with you.”

After that statement, Al disappeared. I saw Nick and Carnation collapse to the floor. Roy just stood panting. I felt that we all needed to discuss things, although was glad to hear a statement from Nicholas for everyone to stop and rest.

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Nine   January 8th 2015, 11:45 am

Awakening
TimeSaga Story Ten

Chapter Nine

It surprised me when Clyde showed up on the military frigate to take me and the body of Jimmy to the closest large airport. Our relationship had really not become serious, and I really did not know his family that well, so was surprised when no one challenged my plans to return home with what was left of the body. Dr. Beyoncé apologized for not taking me herself, although spoke of her own sorrows at what had occurred with the arrival of so many korlocks. The news tried to connect their invasion to the Solomon Foundation using the Zonon, but what had occurred this time was definitely different than earlier encounters with the aliens. Dr. Beyoncé was on record warning the Solomon Foundation, but all the particulars I could easily imagine troubling her mind at least as much as mine was troubled. How that related to my own requests being approved I did not know. Seeing Clyde step off the boat however let me know that something more than the death of Jimmy had not been told to me.

As soldiers moved to take on board the coffin, my brother came close to me and said, “I need you to come with me, Debra.”

“What?”

I watched as he moved down the pier wondering where he was going. He had been to the island before, but could not be said to know it. He just stepped onto the beach and walked away enough to separate himself from others. Wondering what he was doing, I moved to follow.

“Debra, I am probably going to have to apologize for waiting until now to tell you. However, I was out of pocket as well, and as the oldest everyone tried to contact me first. Trust me when I say that I have not known this for that long.”

I knew to be worried as I asked, “What is it, Clyde?”

“Our father is dead. As you know, he works almost constantly. When the korlocks attacked, he stayed at the hospital to handle patients. He was attacked and killed. Some say possibly by people out trying to fight the korlocks themselves. I promise you to look at the reports once we get back home.”

It was hard to talk as I tried to cry at the same time. “I thought it was hard enough losing Jimmy.”

My brother held me as I wept. I believe that he cried as well. As we both tried to composed ourselves, I thanked him for coming. My brother simply held me as we walked together to the boat.

Neither one of us tended to dress in black. Jimmy had never been one to dress flamboyantly, but he also was not one to be morbid. My brother and I thus both shopped for proper clothes of mourning while waiting for our plane to depart.

Clyde did keep me informed of the plans being made. Not being of the same family, Jimmy’s funeral and my father’s funeral would be separate, although I heard many who said that they would attend both. There were also arrangements with lawyers to have the house and other assets of my father transferred to either my brother or me. I spoke with Clyde about certain plans, and appreciated that we did not fight over what little our family had.

As father died while at the hospital, his body was prepared upon our arrival. I had a pleasant visit with Jimmy’s family, and promised them that I would attend their funeral. They spoke of their concern for my own loss, and I listened as they mentioned seeing the korlocks invade their neighborhood. Before they left to concern themselves with preparing Jimmy’s body, Mr. Belgard spoke of his worry about those of us on the island.

I replied, “FER-RON worked. She activated and killed the korlocks.” I really did not want to accuse FER-RON, because she was more Jimmy’s creation than mine. “Jimmy had just programmed FER-RON to protect me, as I would need to interact with her in designing her personality. She thus stepped to avoid having her weapon strike me, but did not bother with Jimmy.”

“We were told, but it helps hearing the same from you.”

I came close to crying again as I said, “I was there, and saw it happen.”

Mrs. Belgard moved to hug me as she said, “Darling, it’s okay. He spoke a lot about you. I believe he would have preferred it being him than you.”

“But – but – but it was a stupid decision why he died. He should have had FER-RON check for everyone on the island, especially him.”

“You make certain that robot knows what to do. If it can protect us from korlocks, that is good. That is what Jimmy wanted. Just make certain that it knows how to do it properly.”

Not really having anything else to say, I promised the lady that I would. The words seemed to touch the couple deeply, and over the next few days I found myself not just meeting those of my family, but Jimmy’s as well. It did make me feel good to know how much Jimmy had spoken of me, but with him dead I did not really know how much to relate to this other family.

“Now, dear,” Mrs. Belgard said, “don’t you worry none about us. Just note that we are here for you. Without Jimmy, we only have his memory, and you fall into that category. Thus, we will be tracking your career, and we will help you if we can. It also won’t hurt us none should you fall in love with another man, but make certain that he is at least as good of a man as our Jimmy.”

I felt that an easy promise to make. “Uh, yes, I will.”

“Good. Now here.”

She reached into a pocket to remove a small case. Opening it revealed a silver necklace with a transparent bluish gem. I could not help but gasp seeing the brilliance in the way the light moved inside the crystal. I did want to closely look at it, but held myself back not wanting to take anything so precious.

“It’s yours,” Mrs. Belgard said. “I have no one else to give it to. This is not supposed to go to a daughter, but to the wife of your oldest son. I only had one son, and you are what I feel would have been his wife. Remember, this is to go to the wife of your oldest son.”

Unsure of what had been said, I asked, “Can I wear it.”

“Of course, dear, until your oldest son starts dating women. You should know when to put it up. Men have their ways, but we women have our traditions as well. Don’t you ever forget Jimmy.”

“Oh, no! He and I – he and I…”

Before I could start crying, Mrs. Belgard said, “He told your robot to protect you instead of him. That means a lot. You make it where I can meet this robot one day.”

“It’s supposed to be able to relate to people. That is what I am supposed to have it do.”

Those words came back to haunt me later that evening when I opened the door to find Dr. Beyoncé and Dr. Rudy – I almost called him Dr. Ryans, but remembered what Jimmy had told me about him – there to meet with me. They mentioned that with Jimmy being an employee they felt obligated to attend his funeral, although in the meantime wanted to check up with their queen of a special project. I felt a little embarrassed to have them know about a word used to state my position on the island.

“I didn’t think you knew about that title.”

“Oh, honey,” Dr. Rudy replied, “we track all the rumors, especially the positive ones.”

Dr. Beyoncé interrupted to soften the information. “I knew about you almost from the first day of learning about Jimmy. Since that time your progress has been most exceptional, which continued to have Jimmy brag about you. I actually believe that he was the one that started referring to the both of you as the king and queen of the FER-RON project.”

I could not help but say, “Well, queen is not exactly a proper title.”

Dr. Rudy replied, “You are your own little division, so you can have whatever titles you want.”

Still not exactly certain I wanted to be called queen, I said, “Well, I am not even in charge of the division.”

“Nope, sorry, but you are.”

Again it was Dr. Beyoncé that provided the background information. “Dr. Morgans stepped down claiming responsibility for the death of Jimmy, and saying that your code would have prevented the death. He gave your work a glowing recommendation. Dr. Kellans said that his work was mostly to keep FER-RON running, but that you needed to take charge to get her thinking properly. Dr. Sionara supported him. Thus, Debra – Queen Debra, you are in charge. I need you to get back to work as soon as possible.”

I found myself stunned, but I quickly forced my mind into action and replied, “Uh, yes, of course. My father had his affairs in order, and Clyde seemed to know what to do. I was thinking of returning a few days after the funeral. Clyde does not want us to sell the house, so I can leave most of my stuff here.”

Dr. Beyoncé handed me a credit card and said, “Charter a plane or boat to get you to the island. Meals are on me as well.”

“Thank you. I will make certain to get it back to you.”

“No, Queen Debra, keep it.” I noticed that it did have my name on it as Dr. Beyoncé continued to talk. “Other expenses might come up. Send me reports. You make FER-RON the lady you want her to be, and I will probably feel that I got much more than my money out of you.”

I did spend some time visiting with Dr. Beyoncé and Dr. Rudy. They were very friendly. Clyde did come in and join the conversation. The topic of korlocks did come up with all of us concerned for just how widespread the invasion had been. I listened as the actions of FER-RON were compared to what others did to fight against the aliens, and found myself wondering with Clyde as he asked a question of our two distinguished guests.

“Since we seem able to fight the korlocks, why do we need something like FER-RON?”

“Because,” Dr. Beyoncé answered, “we are going out to them. This is our planet, so it should be foolish for anything to think they can attack us here. On these other worlds however, we will not be so secure. FER-RON should be able to stay alert and at her best to operate in the alien environments and keep the humans safe.”

Dr. Rudy added, “Life on these other planets could be harsh. Those humans struggling to survive do not need another threat, and FER-RON should be able to assure that they can focus on their survival.”

Clyde then asked, “Okay, so how many of these FER-RONs do you expect to make?”

Dr. Beyoncé answered, “As many as we can get orders for. Of course, the FER-RON your sister is working on will be the prototype, and I am spending a lot of money to make it better than the best. Once the technology is proven, and your sister’s programming has FER-RON interacting successfully with people, we can then decide on just what is necessary for a retail model.”

“Uh, you do know that my sister can get a little feisty?”

“I have heard about her arguing over flowers with Jimmy a number of times. Honestly, I think it would be charming to have my robot perform such a feat.”

Those words managed to silence my brother. The rest of the conversation with Dr. Beyoncé and Dr. Rudy were about the plans of my brother and me. We both already had occupations, so simply spoke of returning to our lives. With neither of us actually having a home, but me living on Dr. Beyoncé’s island and Clyde living wherever the military assigned him, we both felt that keeping the house provided us with security should our lives become disrupted. Neither Dr. Beyoncé nor Dr. Rudy spoke words against what they heard, and eventually left speaking of being glad to share some of our time.

As I went to my room, Clyde had to say, “Queen Debra?”

Turning with a smile on my face I tried to sound innocent as I asked, “The military does not have such a rank?”

“No.”

“Seems to me that you chose the wrong profession.”

_________________
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