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 Truth of History and Self: TimeSaga D4 (All of 6)

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TerishD


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PostSubject: Truth of History and Self: TimeSaga D4 (All of 6)   October 27th 2017, 12:42 pm

Truth of History and Self
TimeSaga:  The Source Story Four

Chapter One

The party was not the boring affair I had warned it might become.  The new arrivals for RayWeight did not have the workload of my group.  My team had a new robot to test along with having to deal with the realities of new worlds and the harsh travel required to reach them.  Those now working for my company had quality machines, knowledge of the strange environments, and travel that was becoming efficient and profitable in moving people.  Those that came to my building did not know about the harsh reality of achieving what was around them, but knew how to have fun, and I left the party to allow them the freedom to enjoy themselves.

I turned hearing a voice say, “Hey, Queen, I’ll come with you.”

Seeing Lenny did not bother me.  He was someone from my original team, and I turned to face him feeling that he had earned his promotion.  The man had come from a life of competition with battling robots.  What had impressed Dr. Beyonce was that he was not a mechanic, but managed to achieve victories in programming some rather brilliant strategies for some simple machines.  I had indeed found him capable of putting some flair in some rather mundane steps, and gave him credit for some of the dainty actions of FER-RON as well the gracefulness of her combat moves.  Considering Lenny a friend, I told him to come as I turned back to where I was going.

“If you don’t want me, Queen, I’ll understand.”

I turned back to say, “I told you to come, Lenny.  I’m going, but you don’t have to.”

“What?  I mean, yeah, I’d love to.  Where are you going, Queen?”

“We’re not at work, Lenny.  You can call me Debra.”

“Yes, well, you still outrank me.”

Already not interested in socializing, I sternly said, “This is not work, Lenny.  This is my home.  This building does not belong to RayWeight, but to Mary and me.  I invited you into my home, so you can call me by my name.”

“Uh, sure, Que – where are you going?”

His response did not please me, so I still had a dry tone to my voice as I said, “Up a few flights of stairs to a room Mary and I are discussing doing something to.”

“Up stairs?  Why not use the elevator?”

“I have guests.  I’ll let them use the elevator.  I got used to not having them working, so tend to take the stairs.”

He did not come to my side, but stepped behind me in a way of letting me know he would follow while saying, “Yes, and Chu picked his room way up at the top.  He did the same thing in the company building here, although here we have elevators.”

Chu was present at the party with him and my brother allowing their ladies to become more familiar with them and those they would hang out with.  Linda, the female mechanic that had helped me complete FER-RON, was also present helping train those who purchased the combat version of the production robot.  The only one of my original team not present was Li, the female programmer.  I calmly spoke with Lenny as a way of getting him to understand that I had no problem hanging out with him.

All rooms of the buildings left by the Nerisus Federation were large, as they had members of their society much larger than humans.  The ceilings tended to be at least twelve feet tall with the smallest passages still eight to ten feet wide.  No one felt confined on these alien worlds, but I entered a room very spacious as it filled almost a quarter of our eighth floor.

As I approached a grand set of clear panels giving a view of the surrounding city, I said, “Mary and I are thinking of removing the glass and making this a balcony.  We really want to make it happen, but how do deal with the weather is what has stopped us.”

“Hire some contractors.”

“We can do it, Lenny.  We were thinking of getting you guys over there at the RayWeight building to do some of the heavy lifting.  Mary and I have enough clout to give you guys a break from your usual work to come over here and do actual work.”

“Honestly, Que –“  I spun to look at him, and Lenny quickly said, “Debra, I wouldn’t mind.  Anything you ask of me, I’ll do.”

I smiled while saying, “I’ll give you a heads up before we actually decide to do it.”

He acted nervous as he broke his gaze upon me to walk to the windows.  “Why make a balcony?  The view is good.”

“We want some plants, and just some – weather.  This world was once highly populated.  It once thrived with life.  I liked the tropical island, and wanted some of the natural wonder here that we had there.”

“It got really hot there.  Could only go outside at night.”

“Yes, but it was natural.  It really does not get that hot here, but whatever it is like I can come here and just not feel inside anymore.”

“Yes.  Makes sense.”  He lifted a hand to point up as he said, “They are saying that they are figuring that out.  We really knew nothing of where the Rothman Tubes were taking us.  Dr. Beyonce and Dr. Rudy figured some things out and gave us our own methods of creating portals, but we still needed the portals of the Nerisus Federation to send us anywhere.  She however claims to have figured out the coordinate system, and they are now identifying the stars we are around.  We don’t just move lightyears, but places where the light to Earth is not the same as the light to here.  I mean just because it takes light twelve years to reach Earth does not mean it took twelve years to reach here.  Might have taken only two, or two dozen.  More than just position of the stars due to a different perspective changes in coming here, but with what Dr. Beyonce discovered they are beginning to correlate what we see with what they thought we should see.”

I felt it was a good topic.  It definitely had nothing to do with work.  I thus spent time discussing the topic of the stars with Lenny.

Hearing him speak of work, I turned the conversation to what Mary and I were planning with the room.  I spoke of what type of plants we wanted.  Lenny and I were discussing things about the light from this sun that was different from our own when Clyde walked into the room with Mary and a few others clearly wearing military uniforms.

One man stepped up to say, “Queen Debra, I am Major Okkison of the Swedish Air Force.  We were assigned the project of rescuing an independent vessel of Shell Oil, which is a corporation based in our country.  Well, Dr. Beyonce has come up with a method of achieving our objective, but she spoke of not agreeing to our request to come with us unless you, Dame Mary, and FER-RON join her.”

I looked to my brother as I sternly asked, “You cannot even allow me to have a party?”

Major Okkison replied, “We are at your convenience, Queen Debra.”

“I’ll talk to Dr. Beyonce tomorrow.  At the earliest we can leave the next day.”

As the men left, my brother remained behind to say, “They just arrived, Debra.  I had no warning of them coming, and certainly was not responsible for them coming.”

“You wouldn’t have told me anyway.”

“No, probably not, but this time you cannot blame things on me, at least with it having any merit.”  My brother then surprised me by saying, “Hello, Lenny.”

Sheepishly, the man replied, “Hello, Major Washington.”

“Debra, I am sorry I interrupted you.”

As my brother left, Lenny said, “I probably should be going too.”

I replied, “If you must.”

“Yes, as I do have work.  Not really, but I am the chief of my department, so need to assure that the others partying don’t try and take too much time recuperating.”

I smiled having to agree with what he said.  “I guess it is a responsibility to take seriously.  I enjoyed the time, Lenny.”

“I enjoyed it as well, Debra.  I mean, I was there that night Jimmy died.  I didn’t really know you then, but I knew I was coming to work with two great people.  They called you even then the queen of the robot project.  I came to admire you, and thoroughly loved working under you.  If you don’t mind, I would like to come back and spend time with you.”

“It seems that you are going to have to grab the opportunities when they present themselves.”

“Yes, well, I understand if you have other plans.”

I again used a serious tone as I replied, “I do; I have to go with Dr. Beyonce.  Who knows what I will be taken to do next.  If you let an opportunity pass, that is your decision.”

“What?  I mean… really?”

I allowed a smile to return to my face as I said, “Let’s go rejoin the party.  It is my house, so I probably should check on the guests.”

While I needed time away, I returned to the common room glad to again be surrounded by people.  It helped that I knew them all.  Mankind was beginning to spread into the vacuum left by the Nerisus Federation, but those who could survive by living off the grace of others had yet to take a chance in the unknown.  All those in attendance had a purpose, and I met all as someone I worked with in some fashion or respected.  I was glad to speak to most, as my time away had allowed most to think of something else to ask me or discuss with me.  I also had some new things to say to most and cheerfully remained until all the guests had left.

As I returned to the common area after seeing the last guests out the building, I heard Mary say, “Go on to bed, Debra.  I will start cleaning up.”

I replied, “Do you think we should buy a DARLING?”

“It is a big building.  Mother is coming, so we can see how well her DARLING keeps up our building.”

“Your mother?”

“Clyde did not tell you, because it involves something he did with my mother.  I’m telling you because she is bringing her robots with her, but is going to leave them here while you, me, and FER-RON go with her.”

I appreciated the information, but did not want the girl to feel she had to do the work.  “You can put off doing the work until I am awake and can help.”

“I might, but I am actually glad to have something to do.  All this information comes into my head, but my body really does not do much.  I need the exercise.  Go to bed, Debra.  I’ll be all right.”

Actually feeling Mary was responsible, I spoke to give her a safe opening to confess a sin.  “I assume you’re the reason the others knew about Lenny and I going up to our proposed balcony?”

“Give Lenny a chance, Debra.  He really wants a chance at you, feels he deserves a chance at you, but is too awed by you to come on strong.  I don’t believe he would have gone with you except that a number of the other men at RayWeight, including Chu, are giving him a hard time.”

I did not hear what I suspected Mary would tell me, and could not help but respond defensively.  “Those are not my combat moves FER-RON does.  Lenny was the one with a history of battling robots, and it shows in the way my robot moves.”  I was drunk enough to go through a few routines I saw FER-RON use in her fights, then said, “He had me move through them.  Even though Li did some and Linda others, Lenny would always request that I put on the dots and add my data to assure a graceful routine.  That did get me to thinking that he liked me.”

“Well, he does, Debra.”

“Well then, you let him know to keep going slow with me.  He did well tonight, but I am not looking to rush into someone’s arms.  One day I will tire of this.  One day FER-RON might be an obsolete walking doll and I will realize that my time is passing, then I will look to see who is around.  If he is still there, and still has my respect, he might find me willing to relax with him.”

“I hope one day we might have the technology to fix me.”

I had to move close, as I did not want anyone hearing me as I said, “You’ll cry, Mary.  Right now you are the girl your father wanted you to be.  On the day you have yourself made into something close to normal, you will realize that you are not the girl you were supposed to be.  The one thing you know that no one else knows, is your purpose in life.  When FER-RON becomes an obsolete walking doll, they are going to put her on display.  When you become an obsolete no-longer-walking doll, you are going to be buried with honors as someone that lived up to her potential.  Stay as you are, and you can die as a normal person.  Become normal, and you will die being displayed next to FER-RON.”

I felt Mary was going to cry, but she instead simply said, “Go to bed, Debra.  I can tell you’re drunk.”  As I turned, I felt good hearing her add, “I can also tell that you’re a friend.”

_________________
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.


Last edited by TerishD on November 21st 2017, 12:21 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Chapter Two   November 1st 2017, 4:09 pm

Truth of History and Self
TimeSaga: The Source Story Four

Chapter Two

I had a strong pot of coffee brewing in our common area while I started doing some cleaning. Mary had picked up the major items, so I set myself to handling all the detail work. One thing I really wanted to figure out was how to clean our carpets. The Nerisus Federation had their own substances for flooring. Considering that they had some really large members, it did not surprise me that they had sought a perfect fiber that would not wear down from constant heavy traffic. It had a strange, almost slimy but still comfortable, feel to it, but kept it appearance. It however had the same problems with collecting dirt as any carpet made on Earth, although our cleaning substances did not seem to get a release of the grit causing us to try different methods of sustaining our alien floor covering. As I went to get a pot of coffee after moving the furniture to enable me to work the floor I heard the voice of Mary.

“You can wait and have Mommy’s DARLING do that. Get some better clothes on and let’s go meet her.”

I looked for the time as I said, “Already? I didn’t sleep that long.”

“Mommy has been working on a way to save the Kayla. Considering the boat was lost on a strange object in space, others want to save the Kayla just so they can study the site. By the time the robots arrived, everyone thought they had an answer and were ready to get back into action. They however want FER-RON and me as well, so Mommy is already arriving.”

We already had some PASSIONs and DARLINGs in the city. RayWeight had sent in some people to operate a technical site for any necessary repairs, upgrades, or other needs for the robots. I earned some of my pay by looking over suggestions for future models and adding routines to the present products. Most of the reason for my paycheck was FER-RON, as every time she went out and performed successfully the integrity of the robots built on her design were promoted. Feeling that the arrival of Dr. Beyonce with her own PASSIONs and DARLING would be another media event, I went back to my room to improve my appearance and check on my own robot.

As expected, there were reporters present as a shuttle from the Engendered landed. They did have me take a moment to speak about the reason for Dr. Beyonce’s arrival. Mary was with me, but she only smiled as it always tended to be me that the reporters wanted to speak to with both Mary and me believing they really wanted to speak to FER-RON.

In the usual routine with the landing of a group with robots, the PASSIONs came out first. Mary told me that her mother had named her PASSIONs Unsa and Dosa with the DARLING named Trisha. Along with Dr. Beyonce came Dr. Rudy off the shuttle with me seeing my brother present to greet them. It was then some men came off the vehicle carrying luggage. As Clyde went on board I supposed to speak to the crew, Dr. Rudy, Dr. Beyonce, and her robots came over to her daughter and me.

After a simple greeting, Dr. Beyonce said, “We don’t have long. Mostly what we are doing is publicity. You would think exchanging three robots for FER-RON would speak against our product, but RayWeight wants it known that the robots are capable of so much more.”

I added, “For a lot more money.”

“And some want to pay it. We however simply get them to specify what they want, and usually what they speak of desiring is not like your robot at all. Mostly, however, what we are doing is showing everyone else a level of quality that no competitor is presently willing or able to match.”

I asked, “How much time do we have?”

Dr. Rudy replied, “Not much. Allow us drop off our things, then we can chat for only a short while before returning.”

I looked to the shuttle while saying, “As usual, Clyde did not tell me anything.”

Dr. Beyonce said, “He doesn’t know. I mean he knows a lot, but not what your purpose for coming actually is. There are PASSIONs on board the Achilles, so one would think they would be used for the rescue mission. We, I mean RayWeight, are again promoting FER-RON, but there are things your robot can do that the others cannot.”

“What would that be exactly?”

“Oversight. FER-RON was built as a prototype, so she has a lot more sensors and cameras than any of our production robots. You needed to know a lot of particulars in her design, so can access almost every part of her. That is what makes FER-RON uniquely qualified for this mission. I am sorry, Debra, but you might lose her.”

“I cannot believe you would allow that to happen.”

Dr. Rudy said, “What no one believes is that you would allow that to happen, Debra. Leanna and I are the old people here. You are the one they consider in charge, and you are the one who is responsible for FER-RON. They have seen your devotion to the robot, and know that you own the robot, so do not believe that you will give up on your robot. While they are saying that they trust you to rescue the Kayla and give us this asteroid, what they are trusting is that you will do all you can to prevent further loss of your robot.”

I had to sternly reply, “Putting me and FER-RON in this situation without informing me of the situation will cause me not to participate.”

“Yes, which is why Leanna and I are here. They believe your loyalty to us will have you go along.”

Dr, Beyonce said, “Let’s get to your house, Debra, and we will tell you everything there is possible to tell.”

I looked to Mary and asked, “How much do you know?”

She replied, “I believe they are hiding information even from me.”

Dr. Beyonce said, “Probably, as this has everyone mystified. I don’t like mysteries however, so kept working on reasonable hypotheses. I think we have a plan, and it has gotten approval, but I am probably the only one that truly understands what we hope to do. Let me talk to you, Debra.”

Accepting that I really had no other option, I replied, “Okay, let’s go talk.”

I did like Dr. Beyonce and Dr. Rudy, so quickly started chatting with them. The cheerful conversation continued as Mary and showed them through our building. The DARLING was put to work cleaning up our common room. The PASSIONs were given assignments in the building. With us then running out of things to chat about, we sat down and began to discuss the reason for Dr. Beyonce and Dr. Rudy to come.

Knowing the crew of the Kayla, I definitely felt a desire to rescue them. Seeing the events surrounding their loss however puzzled me about what could be done. Luckily, I had worked with Dr. Beyonce and Dr. Rudy, so knew their science. I could follow the equations she wrote down or showed me on her computer, and I could understand the technology he proposed from her science. While I wanted to rescue the crew of the Kayla, I let my two elders know a requirement about my participation in their scheme.

“I want Roy with us.”

Dr. Beyonce said, “No can do. He is part of the Solomon Foundation, and we want involvement with this very limited.”

“He has some psychic abili –“

“You cannot prove it.”

The retort from Dr. Beyonce did not silence me. “I say I can, and I am saying I want him with me.”

“Mary will be with us.”

I was glad to hear the girl say, “Roy can sense things I cannot.”

“Mary, we are wanting to keep this has as silent as possible.”

“Bull,” I replied. “We come back successful and you are going to publicize every aspect of this.”

“Debra, there is possibly something there we do not want to make public. Remember, these coordinates are not one of the portals, but something I discovered when I made sense of the coordinate system used by the portal technology.”

I was about to return another accusation when Mary put a hand on my leg. It was not a normal reaction from her. I would fuss at any man that did that, but I trusted Mary enough to just look at her. She smiled, although stayed quiet as her mother and Dr. Rudy asked her about what she was sensing. I was about to ask as well when I heard a set of footsteps out in the hallway.

The door opened with a red-headed boy looking in to ask, “Were you talking about me?”

I rose smiling with the feeling that one of my points had been proven. “Yes, Roy, we were.”

Mary said, “Mommy and Dr. Rudy were saying that you could not be trusted.”

Roy replied, “Well, you ladies trust me enough to let me stay in this building with you.”

I said, “Yes, and you would do all you could to save those of the Kayla.”

“The Kayla? Yeah! I heard they were lost.”

“Dr. Beyonce and Dr. Rudy are going to have us rescue them. Come sit down.”

“You want me to get Perry?”

I knew Roy would ask, so was quick to reply, “No. From what I hear his talents will not be needed at all.”

Dr. Beyonce said, “And you cannot tell him.”

“Just tell him that you are going with Clyde, and he is claiming the usual top secret excuse.”

Roy took a seat as he said, “Yeah, I can do that. Perry will understand, as he often worked covertly as well.”

While physically a lad, the process that created Roy provided him with a little more mental development than the usual youngster. As I went through the explanation of what we would be doing, he quietly sat and listened while asking very good questions. When I finally gave him the opportunity to inquire about other things, Roy skipped over topics other lads might ask to get to an important issue.

“How soon do we leave?”

Dr. Rudy said, “It would help if you were already packed.”

“Ah, that’s no problem. My room is on the second floor. By the time Debra and Mary get their stuff outside, I will be waiting on them.”

Just to lighten the mood, I said, “We do have elevators.”

He looked to Mary, then turned his head to smile at me. “Neither one of you are completely packed. I’ll be outside waiting on you.”

After he left, Dr. Beyonce asked, “Debra, is Roy’s abilities getting stronger?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “My belief is that with the death of Al he is reaching out for some sign of the missing heartbeat. Still, he can detect things, and I feel that might be the edge in succeeding at this mission.”

“Well, the luggage we brought is actually things for the robots. Rudy and I left our actual luggage on the shuttle. Get your things, then we can see if the lad is actually waiting for us outside.”

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Three   November 6th 2017, 5:24 pm

Truth of History and Self
TimeSaga: The Source Story Four

Chapter Three

Roy was indeed waiting for us when we stepped outside our building. He mentioned having a vehicle, but we told him he would ride with us. Before he could ask us about our vehicle, my brother drove up and stopped before our building.

As the lad threw his satchel inside, Clyde said, “This is one time I am actually not glad to see you, Roy.”

“You’re sending people into the unknown, Major Clyde. You need those that can possibly make sense of what is found, and since there are people to find you need someone like me.”

I tossed in my satchel while saying, “Argue with that, Clyde.”

My brother instead turned to the back seat where Roy was settling to say, “Debra and I already had our argument about you. I should have hushed realizing that she had already convinced Dr. Beyonce.” Clyde reached a hand back to say, “Welcome to the mission, Roy.”

The lad shook his hand while saying, “The Solomon Foundation knows that I am going with you, but they also know the top secret matter. They also trust your sister. If she says to keep this secret, I will keep this secret.”

“Sorry, but those words will probably have me continuing to argue with my sister. Still, I am hoping rescuing the Kayla will answer a lot of our questions, and with that knowledge we should be able to come to an agreement about how to handle it.”

“Yeah, I am waiting to see what those of the Kayla say about keeping things secret.”

“Rescuing those men are the priority. We will however talk about everything on the backside.”

I could not argue with that, so simply climbed in without saying anything more than a greeting to my brother. Dr. Beyonce and Dr. Rudy asked about the various cities about this planet, wondering about architectural style differences like would be found in various communities on Earth. Saying a negative, we wondered if our success would be gained by our desire to retain our own identity and not succumbing to some unified train of thought.

As I expected, upon coming on board the Achilles we were brought to a large room where everything was again explained. It seemed that the main weapon on board the Iliad that Mary and I fired very early in our travels from Earth had been improved and installed in other military craft. Considering that it had worked, I could not complain about that. Roy spoke of having such a weapon on the Roland, and Dr. Beyonce admitted the Engendered had such a weapon as well. I was then informed that the energy output of the energy cannons on board the Iliad and the Engendered were being altered by the instructions from Dr. Beyonce that would hopefully disrupt the strange barrier that formed around the planetary mass that had been found.

After all the technical talk about why she felt the altered energy pattern would work, she then said, “Debra, the hope is that the Kayla can escape. However, we want to know about that piece of land. Even if the Kayla escapes, we want you, Mary, and Roy to go down. FER-RON is for protection. Clyde and his men will also be for protection, but they will probably run their own mission.”

My brother explained, “If the Kayla can get out, we should expect to be able to get out after a four hour window. If not, we will consider why not before committing. Assuming we do go down, the mass is about seventy miles in diameter. That gives more than enough area for our two teams to explore without duplication.”

I had to ask, “What are you looking for, Clyde? I will have Mary and Roy with me. I accept we are looking for something unknown. I however have to believe you know what you are going after, and just aren’t telling me.”

He replied, “Honestly, Debra, I do not know either. From what other things have been found, we expected to find another installation looking for ways to combat the okagaki. That is not what we found. Let me stress that there was no installation. We saw the area covered with plants. Whatever is there, does not seem to be militaristic at all. It could have simply been a private resort. Could have been a wild life refuge. Could have been someone’s private hunting grounds. Honestly, we do not know. However, it is believed that what might gain my attention will probably not gain yours, and vice-versa.”

Over the speaker we heard, “Major, the okagaki are letting us know they are present.”

Clyde asked, “Is that all?”

“No, Major, they would like to speak to you.”

“Open the line.”

Instead of my brother, it was my superior that said, “Hello, okagaki, this is Dr. Leanna Beyonce. How can we help you?”

From over the speaker we heard the translated voice, “Ah, so you return. Tell me, Dr. Beyonce, why did you return?”

My brother now spoke to supply the answer, “We lost a ship and people. The ship is one thing, but the people are another. There is also the matter of what this place is.”

“Yes, although that troubles us as well.”

“If our curiosity is going to trouble you, you might as well start the war now. We are a curious people.”

“You would lose, humans.”

While the words indicated a threat, I had to agree with the calm words from Clyde. “No one wins a war, okagaki. One side might claim a victory, but all that does is give the ability to write the history books. Any lasting peace, any lasting easing of one’s conscious is never achieved.”

“Do you actually believe you can overcome the defense of this mass?”

“Dr. Beyonce is saying we can. She brought with her Dr. Rudy, who is the person responsible for making her earlier theories into practical machines. He is right now assuring certain changes to our primary weapon. I also have me my sister, Debra, responsible for our robot technology. There is Dr. Beyonce’s daughter, Mary, who is a very good detector of signals. Also, Roy, who has his own talents. I have gathered what I feel is the perfect team for making the rescue and learning what we can.”

“We would like to join you, but our environmental requirements do not make it practical. We are however watching.”

I saw my brother put his focus on Mary, who said, “They terminated the conversation. I can pick up transmissions, but they already let you know that they are relatively nearby.”

“Can you understand them?”

“Yes. A lot is about stuff that I don’t know what it is. However, they are wagering on whether or not we can actually break through the shield. They cannot.”

Clyde punched some buttons on a communicator, then said, “Dr. Rudy, Mary says that we can score points with the okagaki if we can punch a hole in that barrier, as they cannot. What is your status?”

It was the voice of a soldier that replied, “He says to tell you that his status is ‘Hold your horses,’ Major.”

“Then tell him we are taking it easy. We will return to work when he tells us to return to work.”

“He says to have a bottle of wine ready when this thing works, as he will then be the one taking it easy.”

While the others found places to relax, I moved to confront my brother to say, “Don’t you tell me that you do not have a military objective, Clyde.”

He replied, “Look at what I showed you, Debra, and tell me what military objective I have. The source of the gravity is something we would like to have, but I suspect it is only an advancement of the gravity plates already being developed. It surely has a powerful energy source to drive it, but Dr. Beyonce has already released methods of assuring us of plenty of energy. This place is not industrial. That shield technology is nice, but we are about to show the flaws in it. All I can say is that this place is important. Let me however add that we did not come here due to the military, but due to Dr. Beyonce.”

I heard the lady say, “He is right, Debra. In realizing the importance of a static coordinate system, I understood some references in what information we were gaining from the Nerisus Federation. I was the one interested in this place. I had Clyde with me only because the threat of korlocks is real when we activate portals. You really should be nicer to your brother.”

I had to reply, “It is the only way to get him to talk at times.”

Clyde admitted, “I was not the best brother. Still, I am glad Debra will challenge me, as I would rather her speak to me than just ignore me.”

Dr. Beyonce replied, “The two of you do seem to have a positive relationship, but that just makes your confrontations seem improper.”

“As different as we are, I sometimes wonder if we should get along better or not get along at all.”

I had to say, “You were never home, Clyde.”

“And yet while I was gone you put yourself to work making yourself into the lady that now stands before me. I wish I had known Jimmy better.”

“I argued with him. Well, lectured as he never replied, except in a calm, friendly manner. I mostly saw him just smile.” I had to turn to my robot and admit, “It surprises me at times that FER-RON does not argue or lecture with people.”

“I believe you programmed her to know not to. That makes her extremely wise.”

“There are people requesting a more conversational robot.”

Dr. Beyonce asked, “Are you working on that?”

I had to nod, as the task had been assigned to me by my company. “The problem is that I am not one for simple small talk. People however grow up assuming a certain style of conversation, so the task is rather difficult to figure out all the intricacies of various styles of maintaining a conversation in order to satisfy whoever orders the robot.”

The voice of Dr. Rudy came over the speaker. “Leanna, I need you to verify the wave pattern.”

She replied, “It should be just like what was done with the Engendered.”

“I believe we needed two ships because there was to be phase difference in the signal. Come and check things.”

“I’m coming.”

Rising, Dr. Beyonce said, “Get yourselves ready. If it checks out, there is no reason not to go ahead with our plans.”

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PostSubject: Chapter Four   November 11th 2017, 11:21 am

Truth of History and Self
TimeSaga: The Source Story Four

Chapter Four

We all gathered on a shuttle once Dr. Beyonce verified the two weapons would fire as she felt they were needed. The strength of the weapons were rather great. I remembered the power released when we fired the prototype weapon on board the Iliad, and in the usual manner of the military the strength was improved after seeing a successful demonstration. We did not look out the window, but gathered in front of a main monitor to watch what occurred as it could give a magnified image while we kept a safe distance.

There were okagaki craft in the area. The grand vessel had appeared, then a number of the humanoid appearing personal craft had come out. Mary had said that they could not disrupt the shield, and having them watch displayed some evidence of that claim. We had warned the okagaki from getting too close, and they had moved away a safe distance I could only assume also to watch a magnified image.

The Engendered and Achilles fired their main guns accurately. The two beams did not meet in the same place, but I heard Dr. Beyonce over a speaker verifying the distance between them was proper. There were cheers when through the chatter between the two ships to accurately maintain the status of their guns we heard another set of voices.

“Whoever that is, we are in need of rescue.”

“This is Captain Iwasaki of the Engendered. Captain Burbank, is that you?”

“Yes, and it is good to hear from you. We have completely – wait, our time-loop generators are back to functioning.”

Dr. Beyonce could now be heard to ask, “Captain Burbank, are you saying that your time-loop generators ceased to operate?”

“That is correct, Dr. Beyonce. Used our chemical fuel to give us a safe landing.”

“Shuttle, what is your fuel status?”

The pilot assigned to our boat replied, “Full.”

Captain Iwasaki said, “It will be easier to send fuel to your shuttle than to the Kayla. You have a go, unless there is any reservation.”

Clyde did not allow us to vote. We did not argue about descending, but spoke of an acceptance that whatever problems we might face would be resolved. As Clyde gave the command to our pilot to proceed with the mission, I asked my own question of our missing crew.

“Captain Burbank, this is Queen Debra. Can you give us any advice?”

From the speaker came the response, “I cannot tell you anything, Queen Debra. I don’t even remember seeing anything mountainous before that shield came up. We however came down in rocky hills. There is something strange about this place.”

Dr. Beyonce was the one that replied, “Which is why we want to study it. Sit tight, Kayla. We have not forgotten you.”

Mary then softly said, “There was something not right about that signal.”

Clyde asked, “Are you saying it was not them?”

“No, but there was a time distortion.” She turned to the window then said, “Although that probably should be expected.”

I had to ask, “Any reason to stop our descent?”

We held a vote this time. We all however again spoke in favor of making the rescue. I had to admit that with Dr. Beyonce and Dr. Rudy available to assure a rescue, I did not feel any trouble would prevent us from leaving. A message from the Engendered however seemed to indicate that others were holding votes as well.

“Shuttle, are you certain you want to continue?” After hearing Clyde speak a confirmation, Captain Iwasaki said, “You have a four hour window. We will be hoping for good news.”

It was scary passing between the mighty beams from the two vessels. The pilot however assured us that the boat was well shielded from most types of radiation. Once beneath the area disrupted by the energy of the weapons the pilot spoke of registering other forces, although it was not until already using regular thrust for our landing the pilot warned us of losing power. I trusted him to get us down safely, although acted with alarm as FER-RON shut down and Mary slumped over as if passing out.

Going to her, I heard her mumble, “This is holy ground. We are sorry, but this is holy ground.”

Roy asked, “Can we help her?”

I ignored him as I said, “Mary, I am going to make you comfortable. Rest while we find out what we can.”

We all felt some relief hearing her say, “I have battery power for my head, but my body runs on time loop engines.”

Clyde helped me get Mary resting in a bunk. Her metal frame made her heavier than a normal girl her size. While she did have some muscle tissue, it mostly worked to assure the quality of her movements. The actual strength of her natural body was not sufficient to work her mechanical superstructure. After we did what we could for her, Clyde felt a need to ask a question.

“What if the instruments in her head shuts down?”

I replied, “She might have peace for a time. Still, I believe the same components that enable the transfer of information from her nerves to the instruments in her body also helps keep some charge to her batteries. She should be all right.”

The girl mumbled, “Yes. Also, if you have a question about something, I should be able to check on it.”

Clyde said, “All right, Mary. The straps are there just in case the pilot has to do something with the shuttle. They should be loose enough to get free if necessary.”

“I don’t have the strength to move my arms that much. Leave the straps on, as you are right about the pilot maybe needing to move.”

I saw Clyde then look to me while asking, “That is two of your team down, Debra. Do you still want to go separate from me?”

Before I answered him, I looked to my equipment then said, “Everything I have is powered by the time-loop technology. Give me a weapon, then I guess I will go with you.”

Roy said, “Hope we don’t meet korlocks.”

Clyde replied, “Well, I feel confident that something is here, but that does not mean we should attack. Let’s go find it.”

We exited the shuttle to see thick growth. I recognized the trees as those with the scaly bark that felt like grabbing a very rusty pipe. I could not identify the plants, although found their green color comforting in that they were healthy. One reason humanity were not challenged by the presence of other alien races was that they were not comfortable in our environments. The okagaki needed higher atmosphere pressures and a mixture of oxygen with other chemicals to survive. The verakiy could survive on our worlds, but they did not find it pleasant and their mechanical bodies suffered from the weather. Those of the Nerisus Federation had systems that preferred things like we humans desired, and I breathed the air giving credit to the thick growth around us for its quality.

Clyde had his men split up to find any path through the plants. We had not seen any sign of a road, but my brother mentioned possible animals making trails if not the actual builders of this place. Considering how much time had passed since any evidence of the Nerisus Federation existing, I felt certain any paths had been grown over. I however went to look as well accepting that there could be animal life.

One soldier did yell out that he had found a route through the growth. I moved with the others to see a well worn trail through the plants. It clearly was not an animal path, but wide with a high clearing that gave evidence of it being a maintained road. While Clyde spoke his pleasure in not having to hack through the growth, I could tell that it troubled him to see the evidence of there being an active presence on the land mass.

Moving along the path, we did notice signs of more than plants. There were insects, and we saw a snake. Nothing we saw indicated a threat or trouble, but Clyde spoke to his men of staying alert as we continued to advance along the path.

I noticed Roy move back as a hand of a soldier in the lead signaled for the rest of us to stop. I moved with my brother and could make out some of the rather large people I only knew as monsters. These were alive, and had weapons trained on one of their own who was obviously hurt as he knelt on the ground. I noticed Clyde take out a communicator, then move back to softly ask a question.

“Greg, can you route this communication to Mary and see if she can translate it?”

With an affirmation, Clyde then came back up to hold his communicator out. Hearing a mumbled response, he brought the device back to his head while asking for Mary to repeat what she said. I could not hear, but Clyde did inform us of the rough translation.

“The others are accusing the one of some type of sacrilege. It has something to do with aliens and the shield being present around this place.”

One of the soldiers asked, “Those are living korlocks.”

“Yes, Freckles. Debra, do you want to take charge?” That question caught me by surprise, and I assume seeing my expression had my brother explain, “We are not going to stay unknown. Personally, I am surprised they did not notice our boat come down.”

I had to agree with that. Asking for his communicator, I spoke to assure that Mary was still listening. Hearing her voice, I then told the men to support me. They agreed with that, so I advanced.

The creatures really did not have to point weapons at me. They were at least twice my size and surely multiples of my weight. I was not a threat to them. I knew some of the language of the Nerisus Federation, although hearing it from native speakers did not have me easily understanding. I had Mary assure me of the sounds for not being an okagaki, and as I repeated them the weapons continued to stay pointed at me.

Mary said, “They want to know what you are.”

I asked her what was the word for friend even as I pointed to myself and said, “Human.”

No sooner did I hear her say that she did not know than I heard another girl scream out, “FRIEND!” I guess the same ability that enabled me to understand Shame worked to have those before me also recognize her words, although I suspected she actually spoke their language. “They come in peace! They are moving through our absent civilization making friends with the other creatures. They are putting us to shame. We accomplished so much, but failed to gain compassion. We were so diverse, but could not accept those completely alien to us. You should accept these, because they can be among us. You should have welcomed those the others could not, but we shamed ourselves.”

One of those pointing weapons at us said something that must have been a question, because Shame provided an answer. “I am Shame. I am one of you, or I was. I AM SHAME! I would now rather appear as this than as one of you!”

The one kneeling said something. While the one who had spoken before said something that sounded caustic, I saw as the one on the ground speak that he was barely maintaining his position. I moved to him to examine the wound. I did hear weapons readied, but as I did a quick examination I was glad to hear Shame say something to stop anyone from firing at me.

“SHE GOING TO HELP HIM! I am ashamed of who I was! Why do you want me to stay ashamed of who I was?”

I guess the man asked for an explanation, as Shame now said, “More than just you need to hear. I do not know how the humans found this place, but they are studying everything they can of us. I remember this. I remember this well. The humans do not mean harm, but I believe they are not the only ones that need to hear some things.”

This time I heard Mary translate saying the man asked my name, although again it was Shame that provided the answer. “She is Queen Debra.” I smiled understanding what the man said simply by what Shame said next. “No, that is not her past, but I believe she will be remembered as deserving the title. She was the first one of her kind I contacted, and I have been glad that I did. That one is her brother, Major Clyde. That one is Roy B2, a special lad in his own right. There is another special girl back on their shuttle along with a robot that Queen Debra is responsible for making something wonderful. The other two men are just soldiers, but they understand the status of those they serve under.”

Something else was asked, but this time Shame spoke to me. “Debra, can you help him?”

I replied, “I am just trying to stop the bleeding. Is there someplace we can bring him?”

“This is a holy place, so you would think there is a place where someone can get people to care for them. I am sorry that those present are unable to do that.”

As if the words of Shame were finally sinking into his head, the man barked something that had the weapons lowered. I then noticed a couple of massive forms come near me. Large almost spherical palms with almost tentacles for fingers that I had seen turn people to salt now touched where I had been working. One of those hands now lightly touched me on my back, and I understood the words to let them take over the work.

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PostSubject: Chapter Five   November 16th 2017, 12:41 pm

Truth of History and Self
TimeSaga: The Source Story Four

Chapter Five

I had to agree with Clyde when he spoke in wonder of not seeing this place from our observations from above. The clearing was rather large with another obvious path leaving it. There was a garden, and even what appeared as a type of vehicle. The building was of stone, but rectangular with stained-glass windows. The roof was slanted to meet at a peak in the middle, although at the front there was a structure rising higher with a prominent star present at its top. I approached describing the place to Mary and hearing her also speak of wondering why we had not seen this place before landing.

Being brought inside the building, I heard my brother gasp before saying, “I recognize this place.”

Shame said, “Yes, Clyde. This is where History and I had you come. It is present in our database, as our people tried to speak of being holy even though we had dropped all considerations for our religion. I once did visit this place, but we used it for you simply because it was an available setting that we felt would provide the right context for the occasion.”

“So, the programmer is not here.”

“No; he and History are with Abel. I hope to do some good here, and I am hoping they can do some good with him.”

We advanced between rows of pews. The seats did have odd curves that I knew we found in the furniture. While in our churches the pews were just flat boards, often padded, these were not as simple in design. As we advanced Clyde pointed ahead to a lifted section with rails in front as he asked another question.

“You and History appeared up there, but would that be sacrilege?”

Shame replied, “We were not priests, so some might think of us being there in such a way.”

Whatever more might have been said was cut off by a number of voices. I gained the impression that one person, possibly a priest, was asking about us. As those we had met tried to explain, another person began speaking of the one being carried. Mary translated something saying that the louder people declared we had to be a threat, as the shield would not have activated otherwise. While one wanted to hurry the hurt person to where he could be treated, others held him as if wanting to incriminate him along with us. Attempting to assure facts, I asked Shame about the truth of something I heard. The others seemed to also want to know, as they all cut off what they were saying before she replied.

“I am not a programmer, Debra. I do not know.” Seeing she had their attention, Shame asked, “Is that how the shield is programmed? Will it only activate should it encounter a threat?”

The one caring for the wounded man replied with something Mary translated as simply being that the shield would activate when anyone not of the Nerisus Federation arrived. Considering that our name for the dead civilization was from their own sources, I found it good that I could make out those syllables. I also considered it a positive sign that those who did not leave to take the wounded man back in the building spoke words that sounded kindly.

Hearing Mary translate that they wanted to know what to do with us, I replied, “If you can drop the shield, we will leave. We can accept that this is a holy place. We have holy places as well. We will honor your religion.”

Expecting Shame to translate for me, I was surprised to hear her say, “They won’t honor their own religion.”

That brought on a discussion with the aliens. I could make out from the responses by Shame that they were challenging her statement of their poor worship of their God. She pointed out their weapons and other things about their actions that were against the teachings of their religion. I then heard a question come to me, and with Mary translating that I had been asked if I believe in God, I did my best to have my reply not disturb the discussion.

“I have done so much. I have seen so much more. I can accept that there is something greater. I cannot say that I follow any religion, but at times I feel a desire to pray.”

The one that had been arguing against helping the hurt person replied, “That is a good start.” It surprised me to hear those words clearly without the need of anyone to translate. “It wasn’t our religion that killed us however. You need to know something of what you are facing. Go to the city.”

I looked about and saw the church appear misty. Finding those around me become translucent had me worry about confronting korlocks. I guess the men thought the same, as I saw them ready their weapons. Shame however stayed calmly with us, as did the form of the one who had earlier appeared to be antagonistic. Wondering about the reality around me, I asked about the church.

“Does this place really exist?”

“Like all ancient places, it has suffered as the belief of the people went through periods of apostasy. Belief in religion and government are opposite. Strong faith in religion is a blessing. Strong faith in government is a curse. Preach that to those of your people. Always challenge your government leaders, as they are just men.”

I thought about a few things to say in response, although was actually pleased with the question my brother asked. “Will you fault us for studying this place, or should we mark it as off limits?”

“That is between you and God. Right now however I hope to do the will of God by showing you the truth.”

I actually considered that a good thing. It did not trouble me to now see the interior of the building old and dirty with it being illuminated only by the glow of the surrounding shield. What was not good thing however was feeling the floor give way beneath us.

Feeling the material of the flooring buckle then drop had us all scream out some exclamations then scramble for some secure position. Grips on tiles and rocks did not help, as they came loose upon us putting our weight on them or were already found to be falling with us. It surprised me when I began dancing attempting to avoid the debris coming down, as I realized that I had safely reached a place of security.

I saw my brother, Roy, and the two soldiers, but not Shame or the one that had spoken to me. I felt a desire to call out to them, but decided against it. I felt a need to check on the status of someone I truly cared about.

“Mary, are you still there?”

While the girl still mumbled, I felt her voice was strong as she said, “Yes, Debra. I sensed something, but it was really minor.”

“Well, it wasn’t minor here. It however seems that we are involved in another simulation. Are you picking up any indications of a strong time manipulation?”

“No, Debra, at least not anything beside the shield. I wish I could be there with you.”

“Honestly, at present you are a big help just letting us know we still have a base place of security.” The men with me voiced an agreement, which I hoped Mary heard as I made my next statement, “Hopefully, we can keep each other posted. We are supposedly to be shown a city along with something dealing with an objective.”

“City? There was no city.”

“Now I hope you understand our situation. Continue to keep you posted.”

I had seen the soldier advance indicating with a hand signal that there was a passage. As I moved to him, I found my brother moving up to my side. It could have been him simply wanting to advance with me, but from my knowledge of him I expected some reason and soon enough he indicated that he had something private to say.

“Stay alert, Debra. This won’t be an abandoned city. There will be those of the Nerisus Federation there, and it is my opinion that they will not welcome us.”

I actually was thinking roughly the same thoughts, so my retort to Clyde came out calmly spoken. “We just went through a situation with those of the Nerisus Federation. While there was some resistance, it handled itself easily enough.”

“We still don’t know the language.”

“The previous simulations we experienced had us able to converse. The evidence however is that we are now under the influence of another process. Maybe those of the Nerisus Federation could get immersive with their computer games. We might find a store somewhere on the worlds we visit with a stock of devices enabling what we are experiencing.”

We paused our conversation seeing the soldiers and Roy conversing about something ahead of us. Stepping up, I saw a large crystal display. I had to admit the sight was lovely, but hearing Roy say something had my mind switch to more practical matters.

He said, “Some really exotic crystals.”

“There are no exotic crystals,” I replied. “I don’t care where we are, the periodic table still exists and the rules for chemical combinations still apply.”

“These are big, Queen.”

“And they might be due to a compound that is not common on Earth. Within minutes back on the shuttle I would be able to tell you its chemical composition.”

Probably to support the lad, a soldier said, “They are still big.”

I nodded even as I admitted, “We are immersed in a simulation. What we are seeing could all be the products of an overactive imagination. Enjoy the sights, but don’t drop your guard.”

The lad and men assured me that they understood. With the acknowledgement, I allowed myself to converse on things we saw around us. I honestly did not want to sound strict and all business, but I was worried about things, which completely spoiled any thoughts of relaxing or having fun. I tried to support the lad and the men as they made comments on things, but found my stern attitude to have set the right mood when they quickly hushed and prepared for trouble upon seeing some of the large people ahead of us.

Being in an underground passage, there really was not any option about which direction to travel. Hiding was also an act of futility, unless one was simply hoping the other group would move away. I saw one person moving among a few others who were all on the ground. Coming to the conclusion that we did not have an option, I gave a command to the others.

“Stay alert, but I’m going ahead.”

Clyde replied, “Are you certain, Debra?”

“I believe we have another situation where there is someone hurt. I am going to check it out.”

“Why you?”

“Because I am a girl.”

I was going, and used my gender simply because it was the only thing that truly separated me from the others in my group. I felt Clyde was going to argue with me, but his response let me know that he did not consider my going to be a minor action.

“If you need to fall back, we men will be shooting to provide cover.”

My brother surely knew that I did not want anyone hurt, and I did take his words seriously. I again looked over the situation ahead of me. Having gone through a multitude of various simulations with my robot, I considered the actions that would possibly bring about the best response. Realizing that the one I expected to encounter was dealing with those hurt, I probably did the one thing my brother did not expect me to do.

I rushed ahead. The one moving scrambled for a weapon. I quickly came to a stop while putting up my hands and asking a question.

“What is your situation?”

Instead of firing, the person asked, “What are you?”

I was glad to be able to understand him, so easily replied, “Human. Name is Debra. Now, what is your situation?”

“Human?”

“What is your situation, soldier?”

He heard my stern question, accepted I was not a threat, so did what I felt he should have. “I have wounded. The miners are putting up resistance to the new installation of speakers. We were sent in to help the workers. The miners however are using their tools to work the rock against us, and we were sent in without authorization to use deadly force. We are suffering casualties.”

“Putting in speakers?”

“Yes. Silly, huh? I mean the central government is paying for all these new speakers, really good speakers, and some people don’t want them. What’s wrong with new speakers?”

It suddenly came to me the reason for this simulation. We were going to be shown the events leading up to the transformation of the Nerisus Federation. These people, this very soldier, was going to become one of the mindless monsters we were having to fight in our expansion into their dead civilization. Wanting to learn as much as I could from this simulation, I asked what I hoped would be considered a sensible question.

“What reason are the miners giving for not wanting the speakers?”

“They are claiming that the speakers have the ability to generate a wave that disturbs the ground, possibly causing a cave-in. There are some other concerns, but the cave-in is the only one that I consider to make sense. I have been assured that the speakers will not do that however.”

I signaled the men with me, then said, “Well, my team has been sent in to look over the situation. Hopefully seeing new faces will get the miners to negotiate.”

“You guys are new faces all right. Okay, but be careful. Seriously, tools that can cut rock can easily hurt or kill a person.”

I let the man know that I understood. I then asked him if he needed any supplies. He stated that he had things under control. As the men came to join me we let him know that we had no orders to escalate the situation, and he simply warned us again to be careful. Assuring the man that we understood, we moved on through the passage.

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Six   November 21st 2017, 12:27 pm

Truth of History and Self
TimeSaga: The Source Story Four

Chapter Six

Moving past the soldier working with those wounded, I softly explained to those with me what I felt the situation was we were in. They were all fully aware of the threat of the speakers, and the complete collapse of the Nerisus Federation. My explanation did not need to stress the reason for the simulation, but the reality of it.

Freckles asked, “If we are to witness the transformation of the people, does that put us at risk of also being transformed?”

“I would hope not,” I replied. “Slightly silly to try and teach us this history only to have us affected by it. I will however be as worried about that should this simulation go up to that point as the rest of you. What decisions we make then might not be the best, but I understand the reality of that concern.”

Roy asked, “But this really is not the past. Whatever we do should only be part of the simulation.”

“Yes, but I am trusting that this is to truly be a learning experience. We therefore should be working to accept what we see as a version of the actual past.”

Clyde added, “However factual this simulation is, we need to learn what we can from it. Let those in the future determine the complete validity of what we report, but at the moment we cannot deny anything presented to us. We do not know anything of this, so we need to accept our job to at least bring back something to tell others.”

Hearing the men agree helped calm me. Feeling that we could come away from this experience with something positive to report, I allowed my anxiety to fade even as I continued to try and stay alert to things around me. Hearing Roy speak of things he was sensing I allowed myself to comment without lecturing, and I believe that helped the mood of all of us.

Encountering a regular military group did cause us concern, but they appeared relieved to see us. While they did not recognize us, they accepted that we were not the enemy. It relieved me to hear that they also did not think of the miners as being the enemy, but only a group of local ignorant fools that needed to be taught a lesson. The military group did not put up any resistance to us traveling on ahead, although warned us about the set mentalities of those we would face.

As we moved around a curve in the passage, we were challenged by people not wearing similar uniforms or using identical weapons. While they did have on outfits that proclaimed a certain type of work, the way they wore the clothes and carried things did not reflect a common training. Those ahead of us also did not show any knowledge of rules of engagement, as one of them fired a weapon over our heads.

“HEY!” I exclaimed, “What was that for?”

The man said, “You too stupid to know that we are pointing weapons at you?”

“Are you too dense to recognize that we are not part of the military?”

“We don’t need anyone to install or repair our speakers either.”

“Is that how we are equipped?”

Weapons were lowered, although I still felt some tension as the man asked, “Okay, so why are you here?”

“Honestly, we were told that we needed to head to the city. Why they sent us this way, I don’t know. From what I heard from the military, there was probably a hope that we could speak to you and maybe negotiate some terms.”

“Sounds like something they would do. The government’s all about not telling people things so they will do things the wrong way.”

Another man declared, “But there won’t be any negotiations!”

Hearing affirmations from others, I decided to move the encounter along. “Okay, I can accept that your minds are made up. Actually, I agree with you.”

Weapons suddenly became raised, so I felt Clyde was attempting to put everyone back at ease as he asked, “If you don’t mind, we would just like to pass.”

We all however also grabbed our weapons as Roy yelled out, “KORLOCKS!”

As with an earlier immersion experience, the korlocks that appeared did not appear the same as those we usually fought. Something in moving from reality to this artificial setting did not translate well for the semi-substantial monsters. It relieved me that the miners viewed the invaders as a threat, and did not simply revert to a general combat mentality. Not having to fear for any non-participating observers, I freely used the weapon provided by my brother and fought glad to see the korlocks affected.

When the last monster faded, I responded to a number of the miners asking what type of creature they had fought. “Those are what you fear. Honestly, dying to the military is preferable to being transformed into those.”

“What are you saying?”

I noticed something in the appearance of the one that asked that question, so tried to give a response that I felt would be better handled by the program running the simulation. “I am saying that your cause is just. Keep the faith.”

“Keep the – but there are a lot of soldiers, and the government will send more.”

I could not help but laugh. It started as just a giggle, but soon I had to lift a hand to my face to keep from bursting out in laughter. I guess the humor in the situation was appreciated, as I saw the images around me flicker before finding us surrounded by metal walls with the remains of the church above. I could not help but wonder how much of the experience of us falling was real, although felt glad to see that we were unharmed.

One section of the wall around us slid as a panel, and one of the large members of the Nerisus Federation moved before us. “Sorry about that. The monsters are prevalent, and our shield does not react to them. We occasionally have to deal with them. I suspect these were present when the shield went up.”

I replied, “In the actual history the miners conceded to the government negotiation?”

“Yes. The compliance was system wide, which I suspect you have found.”

“We have found some pockets of people, but no one has challenged our advance.”

“Really? Praise God! If you can tell me where they are at.”

Clyde replied, “Well, we still have the original problem to deal with. We were told there was a source.”

“Yes, which is the purpose of this simulation. Shame says you need to be shown. If you don’t mind, I would like to restart it.”

“First, we have a boat and its personnel we would like to check on. Also, could you drop the shield? It might help if this simulation could be shown on a larger scale.”

I saw Shame appear and say, “Priest, you should be satisfied that these do not wish us any harm.”

The one Shame called Priest nodded, then said, “It would also help give me time to possibly fix some things with the simulation. I will bring down the shield. It should enable you to contact those missing.”

Roy asked, “Is that how you taught people? It is cool.”

“Well, we were hoping to use it for such purposes. It was new technology for us, but what we did not know was that others had other purposes for it. In accepting this technology, we allowed for the transformation signal to affect us. Let me warn you to be careful in learning this technology.”

I said, “We really could use the information you are trying to provide us. Please, allow us to continue the simulation.”

“I am going to be working. Hopefully, I will have things ready when you again come here.”

We were allowed to exit the room with Priest. He explained that this was part of the original world of his people. They had taken the art of war to an extreme, and destroyed the place of their birth. This particular fragment had been the location of a holy site with the church built to commemorate the history. Originally it was a very rough piece of the planet, but an early use of shield technology to protect it gave the bottom the rounded appearance. Priest asked us about our religion, and we found ourselves amazed at the things that were similar and different.

A lot happened when he went to a panel and operated some commands. Suddenly, we heard a number of communications. Mary let me know that her body was restored, and spoke of FER-RON telling her good morning. The crew of the Kayla let everyone know that they were still waiting to be rescued, although also spoke of their batteries again being charged by their time-loop generators. Those of the Engendered and Achilles complimented those of us that went down for a job well done. As I spoke to those that contacted me, I let them know that we had an opportunity to learn a lot about the collapse of the Nerisus Federation.

I did need to spend time verifying things about my robot. There were routines for an in-field restart, but they had not been tested. I put FER-RON through some tests, but felt relief seeing the results verify that she had no problems.

While I was in the mood, I made Mary also submit to tests. She did not complain, but I believe did not like the experience of learning just how much of her body was artificial. It was not like she did not know, but I sensed that she preferred the illusion of being a regular member of humanity. She was my friend, so I tried to speak in a manner of keeping her with a good mood while I performed the tests.

As she reached for her clothes, Mary asked, “Debra, do you think I could trade my body for one like Fran?”

The question took me by surprise, and I guess I expressed shock when I made a connection. “Fran? You mean the sexbot?”

She giggled before admitting, “Yes. I mean being put in a mature body.”

“Mary, do you know how often you came close to being raped as you are?”

“Debra, I know there are sick individuals. I can access the crime reports. Still, I think about things, and I know Fran and other ladies do not complain about sex.”

“No, but you do want a man to treat you right. Fran has to accept a man. One of the first thing we learned was that Fran has almost no way to defend herself. If you can read the crime reports, how about the reports that are fueling the lawsuits against the Straw Sapien Corporation?”

She looked at me for a moment, and I waited for her to find the words she wanted to say. “I believe my thoughts will not get better when you find a man.”

“Mary, if my only reason for gaining a man is for the sex then I should not. I have wonderful experiences with a number of people. Sex can be a limitation to what can be done. Like who you are, Mary. Your life, any life, can be a blessing or a curse. Make it a blessing. You are a wonderful person, even with your ability to know about the worst of humanity. Stay who you are, and be grateful to be who you are. I am grateful to have you for a friend.”

“I am just realizing there are things I will never learn.”

“Don’t tell me that you cannot access porn.”

I meant that as a jest, but her response was very somber. “Yes, I can access porn. All those things the women are showing off, that people access porn to see, I will never have.”

“I have those things, and I can say that they can present their own problems. Really, Mary, be glad for your blessings.”

“Perry is thinking of getting a new body.”

Sensing the source of her thoughts, I felt she also offered a solution. “Ask Perry about his own thoughts on the topic. He no longer has what he had. He might be a man, but I feel he could give you more substantial thoughts than I could.”

“I like Perry. I could do that.” She then asked, “Debra, should I get him to return to being called Barney? I am the one responsible for giving him his present name.”

“No,” I answered. “The name Barney will only have him recall the things he had. I want him to be happy with himself as well, and I feel having him continue with the name of Perry will enable him to do that.”

“Okay. Thank you, Debra. I’m glad to have you as a friend.”

“Same here. Now, we have more people to be friends with. How about getting back out?”

_________________
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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