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 Brothers to the End: TimeSaga C9 (All 4)

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PostSubject: Brothers to the End: TimeSaga C9 (All 4)   July 24th 2017, 3:45 pm

Brothers to the End
TimeSaga:  The Society Story Nine

Chapter One

I stood in the large common room of our building on Mission, now called Confullate, watching a storm move in from the ocean.  It helped that alien buildings put their common room above some lower floors.  There were a number of suggestions for why that decision had been made, but the truth was that we did not know.  Maybe those advancing through the portals had learned something, especially with the benefit of some of the minds and capabilities of those moving on through the universe, but I stood feeling that I might have found some peace as I saw the majesty of the weather system moving toward my present home.

Charcoal had told his family that they would be moving.  On this alien world he had finally found acceptance and a job that would fit his mentality and skill set.  His knowledge of building terrible weapons of war and the ammunition for them were appreciated by the emigrants who feared for monsters, strange animals, and powerful aliens.  Charcoal found others coming to him promising him a home among them with a secure occupation, so had told his family to prepare to move.

His children had sent me a message speaking of finally having a home that I could live in with them.  They spoke of not having me in the garage, but of an actual bedroom.  I thought the words were sweet, but the message could not remove my fear of Hell being under my feet.

I had not heard the footsteps, and could not prevent myself from reacting in hearing a voice I had not become used to.  “Perry, could I speak with you?”

It shocked me that Dr. Beyonce had not gone back to Earth.  I had traveled with her through some portals, but there came a point where others more capable than an antiquated cyborg and an elderly lady continued the advance of mankind.  I had come back to Mission, and felt she had also gone to where she felt at home.

Feeling that she more than deserved my respect, I did what I could to bow while saying, “As long as you are not trying to again get me to look human.”

“Why not, Perry?  You are human.  You were human, and you are human.  You are not like my daughter, those built on what people learned of her, the forskins, and certainly not a robot.”  Before I could respond, she advanced to say, “Perry, I want to make a proposal to you.  I need you.  Please, listen.”

I turned back to the window to say, “I am watching the storm, Dr. Beyonce.”

“Mary needs you.”

Those words had me turn back to her to ask, “Mary?”

“Perry, my husband is dead.  I, my body, is wearing out.  It is strange, but I am now a woman, but I feel the years.  Women are supposed to live longer than men, but it is not feeling that way for me.  Mary needs someone.  Worse, she needs someone she can relate to.  You can be that person.  You can relate to her mechanical form.  I cannot give you your wife, your son, or even your dog, but I can give you my daughter.  Be there for her.”

“I believe Roy is sweet on her.”

“I believe Nicholas would like for you be with Roy as well.  In any event, Roy has the responsibility of the Solomon Foundation.  Mary has some authority with the Straw Sapien Corporation and RayWeight.  She needs someone she can trust, and she trusts you, Perry.”

Just wanting Dr. Beyonce to know that I had options, I said, “Charcoal’s family is wanting me here.”

“Is that what you want, Perry?  You want to be some clanking mass of metal?  I do not doubt that Charcoal’s family would be glad to have you around.  I however feel your metal parts will begin to look more obsolete than my aging body.”

“I don’t want to be some fake human.”

“You are human, Perry.  I am asking for you to be with my daughter, who is also human.  She will have to live as a little girl.  I am asking you to live as her companion.  I am asking you to help her be seen as human, and for you to be seen as human as well.”

Feeling that I would hear those words from Charcoal’s family after Dr. Beyonce made the pitch to them, I went ahead and asked, “Do you have a plan for me?”

I saw a smile on her face as she stepped up to put a hand on me, “No, Perry, I don’t.  Roy is on the Roland.  Mary is with Debra, but they both are listed with the Engendered.  Go to the Engendered, and speak with Mary.  Let her know what I offered.  I feel that you will accept her decision better than my own.  I also feel that working with her, and those who are responsible for FER-RON, a solution to your mechanical body can be found.”  I saw her put her other hand on me as she added, “FER-RON is a fabulously lovely robot.  We can build a body for you, Perry.”

It was as I thought to touch her in return that I found myself wanting to accept her offer.  My arms were not my own, and I felt they were unworthy of hugging this powerful lady.  I suddenly felt like a demolition derby vehicle everyone was cheering for even as they sought it to take even more damage.  I then thought of the children who would be coming to live here, and I did not want to hold them with these arms either.

“What do you want me to do?”

“Now, Perry,” she said stepping back, “I know that you can contact Mary.  Do that.  Speak with her.  If she talks you out of it, I will not speak on this again.”

I heard what she said, but found myself wondering about the source of that suggestion.  “Did she put you up to this?”

“No, Perry.  If you will remember, I mentioned something like this the first time we met.  This is me speaking to you.  The Pyramid program was a bad thing, and managed poorly from the beginning.  Charcoal deserves his respect, but you deserve more than respect.  I really do not want to see you like this.”

We both reacted to the sound of thunder, and I watched as Dr. Beyonce moved to the window to say, “One day there will be children thinking of this as their world.  They will believe this to be a human world.  We will all be relics.  I however have learned the skills of keeping my appearance looking good.  It is part of being a woman.  I want you to look good as well, Perry, and not as last year’s model.  When they call all of us that made this future possible back together, I want to stand on the stage with you and not have anyone think we made bad decisions.”

“You think of me as a bad decision?”

“As a wrong decision.  Honestly, Perry, would you have made this decision?”

“No, but I would be in Hell because I would have successfully killed myself.”  I could not help but admit, “Okay, Dr. Beyonce, you have convinced me.  Thank you.”

She again moved to touch me as she said, “Perry, the Pyramid program was wrong.  Thank you for somehow staying who you were.  Do not take what I am going to say wrong, but I am glad that you got selected for the Pyramid program.  Anyone else, and we might simply have another black mark in the history of the human race.  Because they picked you, they stained the cyborg industry in a way that will prevent that from ever happening again.  However, Perry, you have done your job.  The suffering can be put behind you.  Talk with Mary.  Talk with Debra and her team.  Let them build you a body that enables you to again blend into humanity.  I believe you need that, and the rest of humanity needs that.  We need to feel a closure to that crime, and as long as you stay as you are that will not happen.”

“I’m already convinced, Dr. Beyonce.  Still, thank you.”

“I know that they consider you part of their family here, Perry.  I however want you to know that I will always treat you as family as well.”

Those words had me ask the lady about her plans.  I listened hearing her speak of her pride in her daughter and her robot.  While she had a home, homes actually, on Earth, she was presently feeling a need to stay on Mission where she could track those she felt were a part of her life.  Those words only fueled my own thoughts about my plans for the future, and I ended up promising Dr. Beyonce that I would keep her informed with my own life.

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.


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PostSubject: Chapter Two   July 29th 2017, 11:53 am

Brothers to the End
TimeSaga: The Society Story Nine

Chapter Two

Actually knowing Mary, I went to our communication room. We kept arguing about what to do with the lower floors, although joined a lot of others in the city in hoping those advancing would find the secret to putting the elevator shafts into operation. The better view was on the upper floors, and most climbed the stairs claiming it kept them in health even as we all knew they would change to the elevator once the technology was discovered. Charcoal had his workrooms on one side of the main hallway on the seventh floor. He had been sleeping in one of the rooms on the other side, although admitted he would change to whatever floor his family choose for his personal life. The communication room was also across the hall, and I sat down in it while seeing if Mary was presently where I could speak to her.

After saying a hopeful greeting, I was relieved to hear the girlish voice say, “It is good to hear from you, Perry. We are in a large terminal right now. It seems that we are going to settle here, as we feel this is the place for a multitude of answers.”

I took the words as her saying that she had time to talk, so thought to see how much she had to talk about. “Mary, has your mother spoken with you about me?”

“Not really, Perry.”

“She told me to hang with you, protect you, and discuss getting me a new body.”

“I believe RayWeight could make you a good body, Perry. Why don’t you speak with them?”

I really hoped her response did not mean she did not want to have me around her, so I tried to sound more conversational as I said, “Because that would get me a new body. I want it to be right, Mary.”

“I don’t know about making mechanical bodies, Perry. Just because I have one that is mostly mechanical does not make me someone to talk to.”

“You did not hear me, Mary. Your mother wants me to hang around you and protect you. If I don’t, or you do not want me, I will be with Charcoal and his family. I went to hug your mother, and realized that I really do not have arms for that.”

She was quiet for a moment, then asked, “You don’t want to be a mercenary?”

“I never wanted to be a mercenary. I never wanted to go to Hell. Everyone keeps telling me that I do not have to go to Hell. Well, those of us in the Pyramid program went to Hell, and I guess one way of staying out is to no longer be a Pyramid.”

“Start packing, Perry. Roy is going to have the Roland go back for supplies, and I am going to tell him to pick you up. Expect him to contact you.”

Those words actually surprised me, but I did manage to say, “Thank you.”

“You’re a friend, Perry. You’re a friend of Roy’s as well. We would both like to have you around. If you don’t find a future with us, we know that Charcoal and his family will welcome you back. As for getting you a new body, I agree with Mommy that it needs to be done. We have Debra and her team out here on the Engendered, and they have access to the people that worked on the body for FER-RON. She is one wonderful robot, and we can design you a wonderful body as well.”

“Thank you again.”

“Listen, I am going to speak to Mommy and get the other side of your conversation.”

I had to say, “Don’t expect me to want to move fast, Mary. While your mother got me to agree to this, I still have reservations.”

“I told you, Perry, that we are in a large terminal with everyone studying everything. There is going to be down time. More than glad to have you with us.”

Charcoal seemed relieved when I spoke to him of going to Mary. He admitted that he had a job, but was worried about what might be found for me to do. He told me to get Mary or Roy to start paying me. I told Charcoal that I would see what all they wanted me to do, and he replied that I would always have a home with him if I no longer felt at home where I was.

When I mentioned getting a new body, he spoke about things with my present body. What I heard was that a new body of special alloys would be better, but that my nerve endings had merged well with the technology of the Pyramid program. He thus warned me that any change would be painful, but once things grew back I could end up a lot better than I was presently. When I told him that I would send any decision about a new body to him for his approval, he told me that he would show it to his wife and kids for their approval.

I was still with Charcoal when a signal from my phone activated, and when I put it on speaker I heard, “Hey, old man, you there?”

The young voice I quickly recognized, and replied, “Yes, Roy, I’m here.”

“I am told you are supposed to be packing.”

“Supposed to be. I guess you can say I was working on it, as I was discussing things with Charcoal.”

“Listen, I am coming for you. I am right now above Earth with my shuttles being used to transport supplies. Some supplies are for Confullate, so I will come down on a shuttle in order to drop off things before getting you and whatever else you might need. We will then head out to this new world where you can go to the Engendered, down to the planet, or even stay with me. Everyone right now is in the terminal, but there are speakers everywhere. Once FER-RON has removed all threats from the transforming signal, they will probably be walking around and exploring. After that they might get bored and return to their ship. Anyway, ETA is three hours. Get packed, old man.”

“Thank you.”

I had reached to end the transmission, but Roy went back to talking before I could do that. “For what, old man? Listen, the Solomon Foundation wants you to know how sorry they are the Pyramid program was ever done. We are taking care of the others that still have some signs of life. You might be the only success, but there is no reason for you to suffer for it. You have honored more than yourself with what you have done. I’m glad to know you, old man, and glad to have more time with you. Like I said, pack.”

When I did terminate the signal, Charcoal said, “I will let my family know that you no longer feel yourself walking over Hell. They will still pray for you, but maybe not cry for you.”

“They were crying for me?”

“They could tell that you were a good man, Perry.”

Just wanting Charcoal to know something of my thoughts, I said, “Tell them that I am wanting some arms that can safely hug them.”

“You never hurt them, Perry. They could tell you were careful around them. From the first day you arrived, they could tell that you would not hurt them. I know the RayWeight people will do their best to make a good body for you, but you send me the plans before they do any work. Get my family’s approval first. Okay?”

I assured him I would, then left for my room. As I walked through the building and down the stairs, I listened to the sounds of my mechanical body. I thought of how quiet Mary could move, and even FER-RON who was completely mechanical. Realizing the difference in my technology and the other machines, I could not help but agree that the Pyramid program had not done the best with the humans sacrificed to them. I however felt that I deserved the injustice, as I accepted the evil of having committed suicide. Entering my room, I could not help but move to get my Bible and seek a way of assuring that I had some forgiveness for my sins.

Charcoal had me speak to this family as we left to the landing area. They all spoke of wishing I would be with them, but understanding that I was going to do something right. It did not matter to them that I would be doing things for myself, but only that what I was doing would be something good. Arriving at the landing area, I had to agree that simply spending time with friends was a positive thing to do.

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Chapter Three   August 3rd 2017, 12:46 pm

Brothers to the End
TimeSaga: The Society Story Nine

Chapter Three

The Solomon Foundation was an agency from Iran and India, which was where the Pyramid program had primarily operated. In coming on board the Roland, there were a number who recognized me and wanted to speak their apology for what had been done for me or simply good wishes for continuing the good I had attempted. I knew some from previous visits to the Roland, and those I tried to spend a moment to chat with them about other things than the Pyramid program.

I went on the bridge of the Roland simply to spend a moment with the Annapolis series androids. I had a history with them as well as their prototype, Mary. It caught me by surprise to see one of the girls with long white hair. Mary kept her pink hair short with it barely touching her shoulders, and the Annapolis series I had rescued or spoken to tended to duplicate their first sister. It was number thirty-one and thirty-two at work on the bridge, but I had to stop seeing thirty-two with long hair.

When I mentioned what had me stop, thirty-two said, “Those on board the ship needed a way to tell us apart, so I decided to grow my hair thirty-two inches. Oh, I am called Fay. Thirty-one is called Ellen.”

“Thirty-two inches?” I replied. “You’re not that big.”

She twisted in a cute manner while saying, “Yes, it will be past my butt, but there are fashions to manage it.”

“I guess you can grow up.”

Both girls said in unison, “Thank you, Perry.”

Roy came on the bridge to say, “All right, old man, cannot have you lowering the efficiency of my personnel. You can go speak to Kara and Veronica who are not on duty.”

Thirty-one, Ellen, mumbled, “We would still listen in.”

I believe Roy intended to respond to the remark, but instead he grabbed his head while groaning. Considering the lad a friend, I went to him. It surprised me when a hand went from his head to grab one of my arms.

“You’re coming with me, old man. Al won’t be alone, so I won’t either.”

It surprised me to suddenly be surrounded in a red mist. Worried, I moved around. There did seem to be a floor, although it did not feel substantial. While I walked on it, I felt it give as if the surface below me was pliable. I however looked around the red environment and found myself coming to a conclusion.

Roy asked, “See anything?”

“We’re not in Hell,” I answered. “Don’t know where we are, but this isn’t hot.”

“I feel Al. While that should be a good thing, I believe he is going to try and make us feel like we are in Hell.”

I heard a higher pitched boyish voice say, “I can’t help it, Roy. I thought I was doing right, but things are not working out. Why did you bring that lumbering collection of bolts with you?”

“Because I knew I could, Al. We are not alone. Father told us that we were the answer, that we would have to become the soldiers to protect humanity from the threat. Well, we were not alone. Perry was affected by the new technology as well. So was Mary. Perry however has the experience that we lack. This lumbering collection of bolts knows how life should be, and knows what we all are going through. I brought him to let you know that we are not alone, Al. Come back.”

I felt an attack. Usually I took pride in how my body would identify the source of a threat and respond with an appropriate weapon. As a device for dealing with korlocks came to my hand, I however thought to pause in realizing that Al was the source of the attack.

“Roy, he’s your brother,” I said. “Do you want me to kill him or are you wanting to do the deed yourself?”

The lad pulled his pistols while saying, “I’ll handle him. Sorry to have brought you into this.”

“No, Roy, you’re right.” I turned to say, “Your brother brought me because I am a friend, Al. This isn’t the first time I have been in a trying situation with Roy. We have helped each other, and we trust each other.”

The lad with the white hair laughed for a moment, then asked, “Do you know about girls?”

“I was married. We had a boy, but I am now part of a family with girls.” I activated a part of my body, and a panel slid out from which I grabbed something. “They make me these. They’re for luck. Here, Al.” I tried to throw the little stuffed doll, but it was so light that it did not fly far. “Girls are sweet.”

He did not advance to pick up the doll, but said, “I never could understand them.”

“You don’t understand them. Honestly, I really cannot understand most men. Most people really are unable to understand themselves. All you can do is be kind. With girls you be loving. What I have found is that most people will be kind in return, and girls will love you.” I pointed to the doll I had tried to throw while adding, “They made that for me to let me know they would be praying for me. If that’s not love, I don’t know what it is.”

“There are more in that pocket.”

There were, but I did not try to pull them out. “They try and do something for their father along with Sandstorm and me before we leave on a mission. I don’t know what to do with them. I started stuffing them in.” I looked to my mechanical hands while saying, “It has started to take some strength to push them in. You would actually help me by taking some of these.”

Instead of speaking more about them, Al said, “Roy, why didn’t you bring Carnation with you?”

Roy replied, “She isn’t with me, Al. She really hasn’t been with me on any of the missions. I believe she stays with Father.”

“Yes, well, it seems that I am staying here.”

I looked around as the mist appeared to move off. I could not detect a wind, so wondered what made the redness around us flow away. It further mystified me to see that we were in a large room, as without windows or open doors there was really no way the mist could move. As I looked around all I could conclude was that it had only been an image put into our minds.

What must have also been a mental construct was our perception of Al. The boy now sat in a chair connected to a number of machines. His lower body had been set down into the seat of the piece of furniture, or simply removed. As horrible as the second thought might have been, a number of tubes appearing to pipe blood and other substances into and out of his body had me believe it was true. Hoping what I was now seeing would be a revealed as simply a mental image, I sought some information.

“Al, who did this to you?”

He smiled in a manner that had me believe he was fighting pain as he replied, “Don’t you understand? I, you, are traveling through paths created by these people. Father made us to contact them. I did, and felt he had done right as I found them to offer me the things I wanted. You were wrong to fight them, at least that is what I began to think. I trusted them. Things were good for a time, but… but – but Roy is right. I did not have the experience. He turned to those who had some experience. Experience from our limited world and our limited lives, but experience. I did not have that. I trusted these aliens. I let them do this to me. I felt they were going to make me better.”

“I’m not better after what was done to me.” I then thought of what might be Al’s salvation. “What the Pyramid program did offer me was a path away from Hell. I committed suicide, but they prevented me from actually dying. I was going to Hell, but they kept my soul from moving on. I now feel that God provided the guidance to save me from that place. Al, maybe you can find the path to keep yourself from that fate.”

“Hell?” I heard the maniacal laughter from the lad, but felt some relief that it was only softly done. “I’m not exactly worried about Hell at the moment. Still, what is your suggestion?”

I looked down. I would have pulled another of the simple creations from their slot, but saw the one I tried to throw earlier. Picking it up, I offered a suggestion.

“Don’t lose faith. That is what these things did. Made by girls, they let me know that others were doing what they could to provide hope. I kept these, Al. They’re worthless, simple, really of no value, but I kept them. I did not want to dash the hope of the girls, and somehow found myself having hope. That is what I want to pass on to you. We are advancing through the Nerisus Federation. Wherever this is, we will be coming for you. Keep the faith.”

Roy sounded out, “Yeah, Al! We will rescue you.”

He took the little doll from my hand, then advanced to give it to his brother. For a moment I thought Al would take it. He then grinned, and I heard the maniacal laugh before he let his brother know the desperateness of his situation.

“Rescue me, Roy? You can’t even rescue yourself.”

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
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PostSubject: Chapter Four   August 8th 2017, 12:38 pm

Brothers to the End
TimeSaga: The Society Story Nine

Chapter Four

I had seen what I thought were doors. Traveling through the portals I had seen a lot of alien architecture, so felt that I could recognize certain features. This room was some strange mix of cathedral and medical room. The equipment connected to Al gave the impression of a clinical setting, but there was a high curving ceiling supported by walls of colorful panels. For all I knew, what I thought were doors could have been more decorations, although I now saw them open.

With Al being physical, and the setting appearing physical, I actually expected to see physical korlocks. I had been with Debra when we found actual korlocks still living, and of the physical remains of others. I however had to change out my weapons, as what came through the doorway were the usual insubstantial aliens.

While Roy used pistols, alterations had been made in them that would enable him to affect immaterial monsters. What I used was more powerful, but we spoke to each other to either have him finish off an opponent I seriously wounded or for me to focus on one he did not believe his small arms were effectively damaging. As we felt we were gaining some success, Roy suddenly screamed in a manner I felt indicated one of the korlocks had managed to get to him.

It surprised me to see the lad spin to point a pistol at his brother while screaming, “AL, WHY?”

“Ah, brother, you and the old man seemed like you were having an easy time of it.”

Not wanting Roy to worry, I said, “Go ahead and deal with him. I will handle the remaining korlocks.”

There really were no group tactics in dealing with korlocks. Being able to pass through barriers prevented one from corralling them, and having their touch to be deadly prevented any close contact. The only real answer to fighting the monsters was to hit them at range with powerful weapons. Those of us that regularly fought korlocks worked to perfect our accuracy and not conceiving of any group tactics to gain an advantage.

Not having Roy in my line-of-sight allowed me to plan my attacks without worrying about him while listening to the exchange between the brothers. I felt sorry for Roy hearing Al simply laugh for a time. The condition of the twin I felt might have been me at some point in my transition from my near-death body to this mechanical form that made up most of what I now was. There were over twenty people selected for the Pyramid program with only twelve surviving to become cyborgs. Of those I was the only one still in operation, although two others held on to some semblance of life. I listened to the exchange between the brothers hoping Roy could get Al to see the flames of Hell beneath him and begin to change his life.

Al stopped giggling to say, “I thought I was doing what Father wanted, Roy. The fact he did not agree with me did not bother me, because I felt certain I was doing the right thing.”

Roy replied, “Al, you were killing people. You were killing girls. You killed Sally. How could you think you were doing the right thing?”

“But I was in contact with the alien mentality. I was doing what we were created to do.”

“We were created to bring peace. Father wanted us to make a future where there would not be killing.”

“But they weren’t dead. They told me that we would not die either.”

I alerted Roy to a korlock that was somehow surviving to pass to my right, and after taking some shots to end the threat I felt good that he had not lost his train of thought. “Al, surely you knew better.”

“Honestly, I thought they were right. I then became so obsessed with attempting to learn a remaining piece of what I felt was the puzzle. To know about girls I became convinced would supply me with the clue to rise so far above you, the korlocks, everything that I would be able to show all of you the way to a better future. Now look at me.”

“We can help you, Al.”

Now the giggling returned to the speech of the white-haired lad. “”No. What you see is not what I am. I did figure out how to move about the korlocks safely, but I still became transformed. Look at me, Roy.”

I had reduced the threat to where I could look as well. Al had raised a hand, and I realized that I could see through it. He had avoided becoming a mass of salt, but a transformation into a form like the korlocks had overcome him.

Roy simply said, “Al?”

The white-haired sibling replied, “You are on the right track, Roy. Shut the signal down. Destroy the korlocks. Still, you need to find a better future. Humans are not good creatures, Roy.”

“We’re trying.”

“Yes, Roy, that is what you are doing. You are showing yourselves as trying. Don’t stop!”

I spun hearing Roy scream. Al had somehow reached down to whatever was connected beneath him, and lifted his upper torso from the mechanisms. While strange liquids began pouring onto the floor, the body of Al dispersed into mist. While mentally feeling a sense of panic, I held enough focus to finish the remaining korlocks before moving to Roy.

“Come on,” I commanded. “Let us see if we can figure out how to leave this place.”

I heard another scream, then saw the form of Saprello come before us. She appeared as if rushing to our location. Roy was on his knees crying for his brother while Saprello also indicated feeling anguish.

Behind me I heard the voice of a girl say, “We will get you back.”

Saprello moved to Roy to hold him while saying, “Your brother is now with my girls. They are all in a bad place. Go there and set them free.”

Roy screamed, “I can’t hear my heart! We shared a heart!”

“Yes, he is physically dead, but spiritually he is not. We were evil. Free us. Set the spirits free. If you do that, you will set your brother’s spirit free as well.”

I said, “Roy, I know how it feels to be so close to Hell. It’s not good. Debra is going to the source. Let’s go with her.”

“Yes, Roy. Debra is going to the source, but not with the drive that I feel she will need. Join her.”

Roy stood while saying, “I will. Nick can take control of the Roland. I will join Debra.” He then looked to me say, “Old man, come with me.”

I thought for a moment, then said, “As long as Mary is going as well. I have already been asked to watch over her. I won’t mind watching over you as well.”

“Okay. It’s settled.”

The girl said, “History, I believe good came of this. It is not what Fascination expected. Let us get these men back before he devises something else.”

I suddenly felt myself floating, and realized I was on the Roland. People moved to secure us even as they asked about our appearance. Roy cried while speaking of the death of Al, and simply stayed quiet as I let those of the Roland who were used to dealing with the lad try and comfort him.

Nick did not speak against taking over authority of the Roland. I even gained the impression that he wanted the duty, as he enjoyed the presence of the two ladies who had watched over him and his brothers. With Al dead and Roy going off with others, I felt Nick had the hope of having his authority give him some command of Darlene and Barbara.

No one challenged my decision to stay with Roy. Mary was indeed staying with Debra, and all felt I would be a good guardian over the youngsters. I found a number speaking of assuring me some pay with a better body once I slowed down enough to decide what type it would be. It did not bother me that Roy had me room with him, as in my life I was used to having people in my presence.

It seemed that a number of ships had come to settle down into an orbit around a planet they were calling Lechinell. On the surface was large number of cities providing a number of benefits that had been lacking on Mission. Furniture was abundant along with other items and mementoes. Some finally felt able to learn about the regular life of those we only knew as monsters. To be with Debra, Roy and I transferred to the Engendered only to hear others laughing at us as we came on board the ship.

Roy spoke before me, “Wow! Gravity?”

Someone said, “We found a warehouse with a whole lot of plates. We are still figuring out how to manufacture them ourselves, but no sense in not making use of the ones we have.”

I asked, “What about elevators?”

Someone else said, “No warehouse of them, but we are studying the ones in the buildings. We hope to soon enough to be manufacturing those as well.”

Debra showed up with FER-RON to say, “But no sign of them having active robotic technology. We have encountered machines, but nothing like PASSIONs or DARLINGs. It seems that they did not do some of the things with the time-loop technology that we did. When we make you a new body, Perry, you will get the best available.”

Mary asked, “Will you then go back to being called Barney?”

I replied, “No. Barney had a wife, a son, and a dog. I do not have any of those, but I believe that I am gaining something good. However, I hope that you will agree with me that Barney is not in Hell, and even no longer walking over it.”

I saw a lot of smiles as she replied, “That is something I am glad to hear.”

Roy asked, “What is the plan?”

Debra replied, “Right now we are attempting to decipher a lot of information. The code for the portal technology is available, but there is a lot about it that we are unable to figure out. Their equations look nothing like ours. Dr. Beyonce and others are attempting to figure out their science in order to understand where they extrapolated to gain the time manipulating technology that we have. While we are opening portals, the evidence is very clear that we are not doing things they way the Nerisus Federation did. Before we can advance, we need to learn things. The portals we have here are manipulatable, but without understanding their operation we cannot understand where they will send us.”

I asked, “So we just wait?”

“Yes. If you care, things have reached a point where a number are making decisions. My team is breaking up, and I am having to decide on others. Clyde is finding himself being pulled into what everyone here is calling a UN unit, but none of the actual nations back on Earth will agree to that being what it is. Roy, it will be good to have you around and getting us used to your presence. Perry, we probably need your sanity. You kept yourself from going to Hell, and I am afraid that might be wisdom we could use.”

All I could say was, “I’m glad that I am still considered useful.”


And that concludes the third TimeSaga book. The fourth and final book will start next.

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