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 All Problems Have a Cause - Part 2 (7 - 12)

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TerishD


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PostSubject: All Problems Have a Cause - Part 2 (7 - 12)   May 25th 2018, 7:53 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Seven
(Greg)

There was a feeling of relief when a connection was made and an almost joyful voice said, “Well, if it isn’t my most interesting nephew.  How can I help you, Greg?”

It did help Greg’s mind to see that the dumonistat male was in an office, and had not gone to some dark, private place to take the call.  “Once again I am hoping not to find you as culpable in some crime, Uncle Wenelsa.”

“And where should I be making money?”

“Space beyond Kanorphell.”

“You mean where the Offlantians are wanting to expand.”

The ease of the admission continued to bring relief to Greg.  “There has to be a reason they want to expand in that direction.”

“Not really.  Dominating a sector of space is wealth in itself.  That in itself is not going to make anyone rich as you or I would define it.  Doing so with the allowance of the central government however opens up trade where people can make money.”

“They are not going to get any allowance.”

“Yes, that is what I concluded as well.”  Greg watched as the head of the man move as a sign he was thinking.  “You are right however, and let me say that you are not the only one wondering why they chose that section of space.  It might help if a certain blue entity decided to make a pass.”

“I have no idea what I would be looking for.”

“If you don’t look, you won’t see.  I would bet that you would recognize it if you saw it.”  The eyes of the dumonistat focused on him as he said, “And since you made this call, I would like to be informed on what you think you found.”

“Okay, so pass along another piece of advice.  Do I make my pass covertly, or overtly?”

The response to that question came quicker than Greg expected.  “How soon will the delegation arrive?”

“They are not that far away.”

“Do it covertly, but make no secret about you having done it.”

The answer did not only sound like the usual type of advice his Uncle Wenelsa would give, but Greg actually wondered why he had not thought of that.  After some pleasant closing remarks, he turned surprised that his wife had not been present.  He thus left the office to let her know that he would be acting on the advice her uncle gave him.

He saw Vefillaya with Feding, one of the female ambassadors on board the Apostle.  While he had a job to relate to those who actually had the training to be employed on the vessel, it still pleased him to see his wife socializing with the other ladies.  There were a number of differences between the reason for her presence and that of most other females.  Vefillaya however worked at maintaining her status just as he did, and moved to the ladies glad that his wife was also having success.

No sooner did basic greetings pass between them than Greg said, “Feding, inform those that should know that I am going to check out the volume of space the Offlantians are wanting to expand into.”

He had to wonder just how much influence Labonchy had on establishing feminine norms in seeing Feding having none of the traits he enjoyed with Vefillaya.  The female ambassador had a heavy physique covered in scales.  Unlike his wife, nothing about Feding said she would be comfortable to touch.  She did have a husband on board, and socialized with other mothers.  That let Greg know that there were relations between Feding and her man, although did not attempt to wonder about their private time.

She replied, “Some had been wondering why you had not already done so.”

He admitted, “Sometimes my decisions are not the best.  I however do seek advice, and believe that I just gained some wonderful wisdom.  If you don’t look, you cannot see.  The one that said that spoke of the belief that I would recognize what I felt was important if I saw it.”

“Don’t take too long, Greg.  The Offlantians should be here soon enough.”

Instead of acting insulted in being told something he knew well, Greg simply replied, “Well, if I take a while then something else came up as well.  We should have enough experience with each other to handle things.”

“I agree, but the Offlantians made it known they were coming to see you.”

“Yes, well we all know that the reason someone wants to come to us is not always the reason we allow them to come.  Their presence will require us to do our jobs, and we cannot do it without information.  I had felt we could squeeze the information from them, but what I was just told let me know that it would help us to know where to apply the pressure.”

Feding made a sign of acceptance before saying, “I will inform Hubrinostry of your actions.  Greg, I was telling Vefillaya that my husband and I were thinking of getting the two of you for a period of dancing.  It is felt we could do some steps together.”

Greg had to admit, “That would force my wife and me to treat our movements a little more seriously.”

“No.  My husband and I feel that it would help us share some fun.  We do enjoy dancing.”

Vefillaya admitted, “Most of our steps are rather broad.  While they seem to be accepted, we are not ones to get involved in the details of our movements.”

“We can see how the time goes.  The two of you do need to relate to more of us here, and we feel this might be one method.”

Greg had to say, “The thought is appreciated.  Vefillaya, you know I won’t be against it, although other factors might spoil our time.”

His wife replied, “I will see about it, Greg.  At the moment we however have Offlantians coming, so I will accept that we need to put our focus there.”

Heading out the door, Greg said, “I will see you ladies later.”

Moving through an elevator door, he zipped through a passage in space to Peace.  Coming into the large spherical chamber, he stopped to consider where he needed to go.  It was possible to leave to any place in the universe.  Usually one had the location dictated by a call or where one considered home.  Greg however had had his position long enough to know some of the special uses the portal at Peace could be made to work.

He came out in the darkness of space, although he found his alternate personality recognizing his location.  Greg always found his persona able to provide information.  Being the representation of life, there was a lot of information necessary for his job that a regular person just could not know.  While he never could actually converse with the Blue Flame, he always considered the manner of providing facts as having a separate mentality.  Gaining the facts of being where he wanted to be, Greg rushed off to do the inspection of this section of space.

The Suderling Union had never been an overbearing government within Greg’s memory.  There were stories of some forceful expansions in the history of the various races coming together.  What all agreed was that the government grew to the point where it provided enough benefits where worlds wanted to become a part of the larger community.  While disputes would occasionally erupt into hostile situations, one of which was responsible for catching his attention, for the most part the Suderling Union was a peaceful organization.

As with an earlier discovery of a nearby race of beings with which Greg had been involved, there was no military might asserted to get any newly discovered beings to join.  The Suderling Union did provide benefits.  Most of the worlds enjoyed the expansive trade options, although there were other advantages to being a member of the large government.  There were taxes as well, but actually a minor expense considering what was gained.  Greg flew around looking for undiscovered races as he wondered what had the Offlantians seek to claim this volume of space.

He had done computer searches, but it did not surprise him when nothing came up.  The call to his wife’s uncle was an act of desperation hoping that there was an obvious reason for the actions of the Offlantians.  With all the simple search options done, Greg found himself still perplexed about the motives behind the desire to expand in this direction.

With no alternate space-faring society to be overrun the way the Offlantians had tried to overcome the Suderling Union, Greg could only admit that his original intent in how to handle the meetings was all that was left for him.  Thinking back on his notes, he had to ask himself the question he had asked others.  Being in the volume of space and stretching his expanded senses, he could not determine any value to this section of the galaxy.  Not being able to find any reason for the Offlantians to want to claim what was here, Greg could only admit that he had at least come to look for himself.

Returning to Peace, he paused to assure himself that he had considered all possibilities in his search of the volume of space.  Having now served a few years in the capacity of an important ambassador, he thought about all the treaties and agreements he had helped to establish or renew.  Still not finding an answer, he set his mind on returning to his home.  In advancing to the portal his mind continuing to seek an answer to his dilemma registered something different.  He grinned upon realizing what he detected, as he considered the answer obvious.  Hoping the same would end up being true with the Offlantians, Greg left Peace.

Arriving back on board the Apostle, he found himself met by Tertha.  In a move only possible from his long relationship with the lady, he put his arm around her trisectioned body and started her walking back down the corridor.  When Tertha asked him where they were going, he softly answered the question.

“To your apartment, assuming Jirdan is there.”

“He should be,” she answered, “as someone has to keep a watch over the children.”

“I’m going to need him, Tertha, not you.”

“I would hope that means you will be staying for the meetings with the Offlantians.”

“We both know I have no control over when I might be summoned, but hopefully I can assure that we have the upper hand.”

Her voice` dropped in volume to the point that he barely heard, “Did you find something?”

“No, and that bothers me.  I however was thinking about all the discussions and entertainment we have had.  I don’t trust the Offlantians, but your husband did provide a benefit at times.  There are at times things said that I don’t fully grasp the understanding of.”

Tertha admitted, “I doubt anyone actually does.”

“Well, your husband has the skills I believe we will need, so I am having us go to him.”

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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 June 19th 2018, 7:38 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Chapter Eight   May 30th 2018, 7:51 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Eight
(Vefillaya)

Vefillaya stopped with surprise in hearing the voice of Jirdan say, “A Dumonistat, why should that trouble us?”

She turned not to see the male cladastian that worked with her husband, but a group of three Offlantians. The race had an odd appearance even for the exotic collection of races in the Suderling Union. They had fibrous skeletal system where their muscles could actually solidify to act as bones. They could not completely rearrange their muscle tissue, so kept five thick appendages around their central torso, although could manipulate their bodies in odd ways. They usually walked on three legs, but one Offlantian in the group had four appendages on the ground.

While they made pleasant gestures, the voice of Jirdan translated what she heard with rather unappealing words. “The ambassador’s whore.”

She definitely did not consider herself a prostitute. While she had come to Greg willing to allow him to play with her body, she did not perform her service to him for money. The original claim had been for someone to act as his wife. Everyone accepted that no child would be produced, but the lady had to allow the man to do the things that would normally cause reproduction. Having her own womb destroyed, she could not bless her husband with a baby, but she was Greg’s wife and not someone solely bought for access to her body.

More than willing to prove her own abilities, Vefillaya smiled while asking, “Is there any way that I can help you gentlemen?”

One of those on three legs, she knew him to be General Velicku, replied, “We were actually seeking the bridge, sweet lady.”

“This is a diplomatic ship, General. While the captain and his crew can be seen moving about, they serve for your benefit. If you want to make a change to your destination, speak to my husband, even me, or one of the other ambassadors. They are the ones in charge.”

The one on four legs, only introduced as Sage Cardwoll, said something she heard the voice of Jirdan translate, “Bitch trash.”

Vefillaya felt the need to keep talking. “If you want a view of wonders around us, there are many rooms with large clear sections. I cannot say that we are passing by any grand scenes, but some find the distant stars to be amazing enough. The lights of civilization do drown out the celestial radiance, so few actually have seen what is out here.”

General Velicku said, “We saw your husband leave, sweet lady. We were seeking some instructions on what will be happening now.”

“My husband is the prime ambassador, but is definitely not the senior ambassador. There are those on board this vessel much more experienced. If you need their presence, I can certainly direct you.”

In the pause of the man attempting to consider his reply, Vefillaya heard the voice of Jirdan say, “They have been alerted, as well as the military company we do have on board. We are allowing you to handle things, Vefillaya, but do not feel that you are alone.”

The general said, “I’m sorry, but we are not a diplomatic group. We did not come seeking a truce, but merely guidance on gaining a license. There are benefits we Offlantians can offer the Suderling Union, and hope to gain advice on how to best direst our virtues.”

Another man, introduced as Counselor Amorzi, commented, “We have a phrase, nulorme agrivill, which means blessed action, or with the strength of God. That is what we hope to offer.”

Jirdan said, “That is not the meaning of that phrase. It actually means ‘jump into Hell.’ I believe mistranslations like that are why Greg put me into service.”

Vefillaya sought to hide any fact she was hearing the alternate information by saying, “The Apostle might be a diplomatic vessel, but it has a history of being very involved in politics. The past emperor and even Emperor Abrogrund consider what goes on in this vessel as highly important. I can assure you that what agreement you gain with the officials on this vessel, whether my husband or not, will have weight as a policy of the Suderling Union.”

The general asked, “Well, with your husband being absent, what would you suggest, sweet lady.”

The phrase ‘sweet lady’ was growing old with Vefillaya, but she calmly replied, “Meals are considered social occasions. I believe you were given leave until the next meal. Feel free to present your issues to the ambassadors then, as many a serious topic has added spice to what is served.”

Counselor Amorzi asked, “What were you about, sweet lady?”

“Assuring my apartment would be a pleasant retreat for socializing. While my husband has gone, he does not stay away. When he returns, I am sure you will still wish to speak to him. I was about assuring that my home would have refreshments desired by your kind.”

Sage Cardwoll mumbled something that Jirdan translated as, “Brothel, I believe. The exact translation was toilet of whores.”

The general asked, “Mrs. Sanders, could we have the company of Captain Negallin?”

Hearing Jirdan state a negative, Vefillaya replied, “The presence of the captain depends on a number of factors just as does the presence of my husband. Again, let me say that this is a diplomatic vessel. Those of importance will be at the meals.” She decided to present her own dignity by adding, “I look forward to seeing you men at that time.”

She heard other comments that did not translate into pleasant expressions even as the men acted as if they were graciously giving her leave. Vefillaya saw them leave in the direction of their rooms, and hoped they would not cause any trouble. As she turned the corner to head to the food storage area, it surprised her to see Ambassador Feding leaning against a wall.

She asked, “Vefillaya, do you want to speak about some of the things said?”

Vefillaya answered, “No. It is not like I have not heard most of that said before in words I could understand. My status was certainly not helped by the reports of all of us ladies who came to Greg being lectured that our bodies would be considered to be sexual toys for the man.”

“The purpose of bringing you here was to give Greg a reason to stay.”

“I understand. Still, those who did not gain Greg, and some who simply seek to find fault with my husband, bring out things of my status in his life. While I have the title of his wife, I still hear people speak of what my place with him requires, as if every other lady in the universe does not get used sexually.”

Feding smiled as she said, “Many without the benefit of marriage. We, I mean us ladies, are here for you, Vefillaya.”

“I don’t doubt that. I however am married to someone from another galaxy. I am also in a marriage where a lack of children is understood. The sexual interaction with my husband is just sex. I am not in a normal relationship, so I accept my inability to relate to you in a normal relationship.” Hoping to put the lady at ease, Vefillaya said, “I have the support of my family. There is also the fact that Greg does love me. I am complete with him. I can take the vulgar remarks.”

“Well, your family is back on Dumonistat and Greg is often called away to his other life. If you feel alone, Vefillaya, we will do what we can to provide a place where you can relate to others.”

“Honestly, I don’t feel alone. I just don’t feel that I will feel at ease with you other ladies. You have normal relationships. I actually feel better able to relate to some of the more exotic persons on board the ship, and those who interact with Greg in his other persona.”

“Excuse us if we normal ladies in normal relationships attempt to pull you into our lives, Vefillaya. You have proven yourself to us, and we feel incomplete not having the wife of our prime ambassador in our group. We will be making the effort to reach out to you.”

Actually wanting to show herself as pleased with the words, Vefillaya said, “Thank you, and I will not treat you unkindly. Let me however stress that I know why I am with Greg. Not just the reason I was provided to him, but the reason I sought to become attached to him. I am in a better place with Greg. More than that, I am his wife and I am loved. I could not be in a better place. I will treasure my life with him, and will not consider you helping me if you keep me from him.”

“They say a married couple begins to appear like each other. I actually see the same conviction Greg will display in you, Vefillaya. Still, that makes my own conviction just as strong. I am going to be here for you. Trust in that.” She then asked, “Any reason why you are making this run yourself? You could simply put in the order and have one of the ship’s personnel bring it to you.”

Vefillaya replied, “Greg has brought a good amount of Earth food. It is just in a container, so no one here would really be able to understand what to get.”

“So, your statement about getting some refreshments for the Offlantians was just a cover?”

“Not really. The Offlantians do not eat things that are really compatible with Greg or me. It helps getting refreshments that are similar. While there were pictures, I was going to see exactly what type of items were available for the Offlantians before deciding what I would get for Greg and me.”

“Can I help?”

There really was not any conversation during the walk to the storage locker. Considering that Feding was on staff a few years before Vefillaya, she thought it strange that the lady did not act familiar with this part of the vessel. Greg considered it normal to fetch things for himself, and usually came back speaking with pleasure about those he met along the way. Vefillaya also enjoyed getting out of the apartment, and thought it nice to have some interaction with various crew members or guests. She however moved to the storage locker not believing the conversation with Feding had actually ended.

To prove her assumption, once in the cold chamber the female ambassador asked, “What have you thought about Earth? I know you have been a couple of times.”

“The people are interesting. His mother is very nice. I am very different, and they are not used to people very different, but they are not mean.”

“So, you could not make a life with Greg on his planet?”

Vefillaya felt that a strange question, especially after a promise of attempting to include her in the lives of those here, but went ahead and answered the question. “Not really. There is also the fact that we have a job here that can adjust to momentary situations.”

“I ask, because some are interested in what options Greg has. We see him as such a powerful entity that everyone wonders about him actually staying with us.”

“He has friends and a life here. He will not promise the future, but he accepts his life is set for the moment. He has no plans to leave.” To assure a point, Vefillaya added, “I am doing my job.”

“We don’t doubt that. Honestly, there is no doubt that if he leaves, he will take you with him.”

“And I will go.”

“We need to go there in our conversations, Vefillaya. Not just the freedom to make comments with you, but to assure ourselves of your mental condition. We worry about you. While we want you to socialize with us, we want the freedom to be your friends.”

Vefillaya did not know how to respond to that, but carefully considered her words. “I once was where you were. I was showing off to some lads when I did the thing that resulted in my accident. I’m not there anymore, and it doesn’t help me to go there. I have a good life with a man that loves me. I have respect. I will protect my life with Greg. Whatever you think of what I do in my private time with him, I am happy doing it.”

“Then maybe we will find that it is not you that needs us, but us that needs you.”

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PostSubject: Chapter Nine   June 4th 2018, 7:36 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Nine
(Calliope)

Calliope arrived barely being able to perceive the world around her. She could tell that stone surrounded her. The rock did appear rough with her possibly being in a cave. While there was no light, her status gave her the senses to perceive things.

She saw the man lying near some loose stones that possibly dropped recently. There was some dried blood, although the man appeared to have done some first aid. Calliope easily gained the impression that the man was not going to survive.

A light suddenly shown from a device on his helmet, then he exclaimed, “My God! I did not believe you existed.”

Calliope recognized she was in a form similar to the man, and replied, “Yet you called for me.”

“Well, I was praying for death. You know, death. I’m not going to make it.”

“I see that you did try to tend to your wounds.”

“Yes, as I was determined to get out. My leg hurt, but I did not realize it was broke. I believe I have internal damage as well. When I tried to stand, everything went wrong. Why am I talking to you?”

Calliope chuckled, then said, “Some who see me in a situation like this get motivated to go on living.”

“You’re not just going to kill me?”

“I have not caused you to pass from this life. It is still your decision.”

“You’re a woman?”

Calliope did not check herself for gender differences in this race of creatures, but simply replied, “Yes.”

“So I get the kiss of Death?”

“If you like. My touch will cause you to pass from this life, but I can make it pleasant.”

He nodded as if about to tell her to do her job, but then asked, “Is there a Life?”

“Yes, but he will not provide restoration. He might heal your leg, or any internal wounds, but the task will then be before you to get out from here.”

“Well then, I guess you’ll do. There are some tight spots, and a climb. If I am not at full strength, I won’t make it. I’ll die of starvation before I get out.”

She saw him pucker up. Without any resistance, she moved up to kiss him. Seeing his body slump to the ground, Calliope moved on to the next call.

The voice of someone she knew, Shetaile, asked, “Calliope, what are you doing here?” The lady that appeared as a floating type of man-o-war seemed to look at her, then around the nearby ground before saying, “Those are creatures? That makes this even worse.”

Calliope could tell she was in a form almost more plant than animal. Unlike the last call, those she felt led to release were not speaking. Instead of feeling led to say something, she noticed a strong pull to simply act on her duty. After reaching to caress an appendage that stretched out to her she saw the being simply collapse into dust causing her to ask a question of the other immortal present.

“Shetaile, what happened here?”

“Something wrong. Not nuclear, and I don’t sense chemicals. Something just devastated this place. It’s wrong, Calliope. It is like everything just lost the will to live.”

Shetaile was Drought, or death to the land. Usually she acted to prepare the ground for things that could follow. While things would happen that would cause the death of one set of organisms, she could work to set things in motion for others to flourish. Shetaile however moved about not really appearing to do anything to the land.

Calliope allowed a few more creatures to pass, then realized that she was not seeing Greg. In a situation of devastation, there tended to be those that sought to live. She and Greg had met and developed their relationship in places like this. She however moved to another creature realizing that none here desired to live.

She turned hearing Shetaile say, “YOU! I assume you are the new eternity. Well, glad you arrived. Let me inform you that this is wrong. I don’t know what to do here.”

Looking to see the floating spider-like being, Calliope called out, “His name is Lexostat!”

“Well, I hope you can make sense of this.”

Lexostat said, “I have actually been here a while. You are right about this being wrong. What bothers me is that I can see this happening again.”

“What? Well, can you at least tell me what happened here?”

“Death.”

While Shetaile made an exclamation, Calliope felt she understood the reference. “Lexostat, are you saying Kestay caused this?”

“Yes, Calliope. You gave him the realization of something more than what he knew, and he came to act on that knowledge. My assumption would be that such a terrible act would remove one from their status among us, but that has not happened.”

Shetaile asked, “Calliope, who are we talking about?”

Calliope answered, “Energy. There is a new Energy.”

“Energy? The non-physicals never associate with us, and definitely not in our work.”

Lexostat replied, “You are now interacting. There is even a desire to increase the contact between you. It seems that had resulted in a shared interest in what abilities might aid the others.”

“This was not aid.”

“I would hope this was a learning experience.”

Shetaile spun from Lexostat as she demanded, “Calliope, how do I make my own contact with the non-physical personas?”

Calliope gave release to another creature, then said, “Go outside. They tend to relax out there. While they enter and leave from the same portal we do, they usually are not noticed by us.”

“Lexostat, do you go out there? Chisel was usually in the parlor with us, but I don’t see you there.”

The floating spider-like being replied, “I tend to stay out here. I do not find Peace, any part of it, comfortable.”

Calliope moved about to finish releasing those that called to her. Seeing her touch reduce the beings to dust concerned her, although there was comfort in still feeling a relief of something passing. Her people had a mixture of beliefs from the variety of Hinduism, the lessons of Buddhism, to the strength of Christianity. What she actually believe she could not say, although as she moved about Calliope had to admit that she was certain living creatures had a soul.

Leaving Shetaile to deal with Lexostat, Calliope finished her work then moved on to another call. It did not please her to see another area of destruction. The land did appear affected, but not in the manner that would summon Shetaile, although the number of bodies were great.

The voice of Greg sounded, “Well, there you are. Medical and military forces have shown up, so some are turning from a desire for you to me. I suspect some are however not wanting to suffer through what life might be returned to them.”

Calliope recognized him even in the form of a native. He had an aura she could detect, although appeared to be a regular person just doing beneficial things. She however knew that even in the form of a native she would be recognized as Death.

As she moved to someone to release them, she said, “Well, at least this appears normal.”

Greg replied, “Normal? I would rather not think of this in that fashion.”

“Kestay, the new Energy, caused a problem. I left Shetaile lecturing Lexostat on what she thought about the deed. Next time we have time together, I need to tell you about it.”

“Normal?” She watched as he rose from helping a person, then said, “Of course. I’m stupid. Hubrinostry is stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. This is not normal, Calliope, but I thank you for the word. Oh, I know how to appear at the other portal.”

“Once we find ourselves able to share time in Peace, we need to talk about that as well.”

“You’re not interested?”

“No, Greg. As busy as I am, what I need are near the normal portal. I like what I have done to my room. I don’t mind going there.”

Their work separated them. While Calliope enjoyed visiting with Greg, they both felt interacting with the natives to be the proper way of performing their jobs. She listened to him speak to people even as she shared some private conversations with those wanting to die. Accepting that they both were considered good at their jobs, Calliope saved any desire to speak to Greg for when their work was not keeping them busy.

She looked up feeling another call and accepting that things here had turned in a manner no longer requiring her presence. The actions of the local people tended to have people look to them. They no longer focused on desires to live or die, but only for the ways of their world to go on. Few had the depth of spirit to actually consider immortal agents, but most had been raised to depend on certain agencies to handle the affairs of life. Once those who were part of their lives began asserting themselves, few would have the ability to call on those unseen for aid.

After a number of what she considered regular calls, she found herself in a small house. It surprised her to see the bed empty. Looking about she saw someone at a window who turned as she approached.

“Ah, Death,” he said. “At least you I can recognize. That’s good, as I am ready for this life to be over. However, if you can, will you tell me who is it out there?”

Not wanting to touch the man, she moved to where she could look out the window, and with a surprised tone she answered the question. “His actual name is Prastus. He represents Storm.”

“Storm. Yes. I came here to die, but I believe I sense the storm as well. Life just hasn’t passed like it should. My body is failing, but life just wants to remain. Something about a tragedy that makes people interested in watching.”

“You are alone.”

“I would hope my death is not a tragedy. Oh, mind if set some things in order? I would like for those that find me to feel that I died without any pain. I am in pain, but no need to trouble people.”

Calliope allowed the man to do what he could. He did not rush to perform the actions, but often paused to gasp for air in a clear sign of him suffering. He spoke of his children, and of wives that passed before him, but nothing of what he had done. No works of art or literature cluttered up the tables. Finally, the man plopped into a chair and told her that she could do what she would.

Not wanting the man to suffer from his condition, or from the stress of what he did, Calliope moved to softly touch him. She then went outside. Prastus did not turn. He did appear close to being human, although had what looked like blue callouses in places on his body and horizontal slits in his green eyes. Not wanting to disturb the man, Calliope simply moved to stand beside him before speaking his name.

He said, “I usually know when trouble is coming, Calliope. I generally know that you, Shetaile, and Greg are going to have a busy time. Nothing new about a really terrible storm. Some I however can tell are going to be really different, and those are usually worth witnessing. Can’t really tell when this one is going to get here however.”

She saw some areas of darkness, but nothing that spoke of a great display of foul weather. While some clouds might produce some rain, Calliope felt that night would first hide any sign of coming trouble. Wondering about what Prastus might see, she spoke to him hoping to get him to talk.

“How much control do you have over changes in weather?”

“As much as I feel I need.” She saw him look to her and smile before saying more. “Storms have to come, so I tend to let them. I however can sense certain calls, and work to have the worst of a storm move one way or another.”

“How much interaction do you have with the non-physical entities?”

“Some. I can be called in to handle things with some really exotic storms. Outer space has weather too.” She felt an arm go around her as Prastus asked, “What brings you here, Calliope?”

With the arm around her, she could not point. “That house over there had a man who was dying. He saw you, Prastus. Knew you were here.”

“Strange, huh? Well, glad you came out to speak. You and me don’t see that much of each other.”

“Lexostat says that our interactions with the non-physical immortals is setting up some rather unusual circumstances. The new immortal representing Energy we believe caused the death of a large area. When I gave the people release, they crumbled into dust.”

He let her go with his arm, but she felt his stare keep her from moving. “You think this might be a sign of that? I work with the non-physical at times.” He turn spun to look in the distance, then declared, “You’re right, Calliope!” He then looked back to her to ask, “Does that trouble you?”

“You’re Storm, Prastus. Does it scare you? You were out here looking without moving.”

“I’ll take care of things here. Listen, things will work out. Whatever is going down, it will end up just being another event in our lives.”

Calliope replied, “One I feel we will talk about for a long time.”

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PostSubject: Chapter Ten   June 9th 2018, 7:44 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Ten
(Greg)

Greg reentered the Apostle to find Tertha moving to him. He quickly strode to her and put an arm around her. Worried that her presence meant things were not going well, he steered her to a panel that he knew would only open to certain members of the crew. Being the person actually in charge of the ship, he gained access and directed Tertha inside.

She had enough experience with him to wait for what he would say. “Listen, I believe there is nothing in that section of space. The problem is that there are things in other sections of space, but once the Offlantians gain license it will be hard to stop them.”

Tertha replied, “That is something Hubrinostry must have been thinking as well. He has put out the stops on the proceedings. Of course his excuse was your absence.”

“Then get me in a meeting with Hubrinostry. Either arrange it with him, or get me where I need to be.”

There was a sign of agreement, but then Tertha spoke of another problem she felt he needed to work on. “Greg, the Offlantians have been bad-mouthing Vefillaya all this time. I don’t believe that was what you expected when you put Jirdan on his assignment.”

“No, but I did expect them to be deceptive in their speech. When I researched the Offlantians it was apparent how they manipulated things by mixing phrases in their own language with their regular speech. While I do my best to be polite and kind, I can be mean and nasty too. What I would like to do is rather difficult with me, as my gift of language is not exactly something I can easily dismiss. Let me talk to Vefillaya. Tell me I can go to my apartment, Tertha, or how you feel I need to handle things.”

Tertha thought for a moment, then said, “Your apartment should be good, Greg. The cameras are not public in there, so we can keep things private even if the Offlantians do barge in.”

“Okay. I hope that I am not called out, but at least we can hopefully get ourselves thinking right.”

“I believe with you and Hubrinostry agreeing on a tactic that things can proceed.”

Glad that Tertha was not presenting him with any problems, he opened the panel signaling for her to leave. He saw her suddenly stop, but gracefully squeezed around her. Seeing a couple of Offlantians moving toward them, Greg whispered to Tertha for her to go to Hubrinostry.

“Yes, Gentlemen, how may I help you?” Greg smoothly asked.

The one in the rear said, “It is about time you returned to your whore.”

“I’m sorry. You really have to inform the staff that you dress in that manner. I assume panties can be acquired for you.”

The one in the front asked, “What?”

Greg smiled while saying, “I can understand all languages. While you might be attempting to embarrass us in what those of the media see, assuming someone out there does know your language, let me assure you that we keep things on this vessel confidential. That is necessary for a number of reasons. What will get reported is only what we agree to with all statements checked.” To assure that the insult was rubbed in, he added, “With the panties I can have some other delicate things delivered for you boys to try on.”

“That is not what he said.”

“Oh, I must apologize.” Greg looked at the one who had made the vulgar statement and asked, “How about repeating what you said. Clearly. And note that we will compare the two phrases to help us calibrate our microphones.”

The one in the front said, “You know what he said.”

“Yes, but that is not your problem. Your problem is what I will say. I am the prime ambassador. I am the one you need to convince to gain some approval. Now, I am being nice. What is wrong with you boys?”

“Well, we’re leaving, Ambassador.”

Greg felt a desire to smile broadly, but professionally maintained a calm expression. “Expect Offlanir to get a bill for our services.”

“Your services?”

“You came to us. We did not call for you. The emperor did not send you. The cause is a legal one, not a diplomatic one. There is no justification for our services to be assumed as part of your involvement with the Suderling Union.”

The one speaking kept himself calm as well. “You can take that up with our government.”

“Of course, but with those matters being part of the public forum certain statements will be revealed.”

The other Offlantian present said in what Greg could clearly tell was not the language of the Suderling Union, “You think you are pretty smart, don’t you.”

“We are highly competent. The panties will be sent to your room. Feel free to take them with you, as you will be charged for them either way.”

Greg kept a smile on his face as the two men moved away. Only after they passed a distance did he chance looking for what cameras could have captured the scene. Not hearing the voice of the captain or anyone else, Greg began moving to his apartment.

Stepping through the doorway he found Vefillaya not to rush upon him, but simply say, “Received a call from Jirdan. He said that the panties would be delivered.”

He replied, “Tertha told me something about what the Offlantians were saying to you. They however said similar stuff about you to me. That is not inflammatory, but stupid.”

“Bold and stupid, Greg. What I heard Jirdan translate was childish. If they expected a response from me, they really needed to get better with their insults.”

The chime for the door sounded, and Greg simply reached to the button to have it open. He smiled seeing Hubrinostry and Tertha, and gladly invited both in. They both were very familiar with the room and those who lived within, so Greg was not surprised when the senior ambassador began talking as soon as the door closed.

“Cannot fault you for what you did. You were doing your best, and they knew what they were doing.”

“No, they didn’t. They were expecting us to be fools. There is a difference in cunning and just playing something for drama. The problem is that they didn’t need to involve us at all. Because they did, we get to decide how to handle things.” He set his gaze on his employee as he told her, “I know what I told you, Tertha, but that does not apply anymore.”

Hubrinostry said, “I told her it did not apply when she came to me.”

“Yes. The emperor could have just granted the concession, tabled it to the magistrates, or denied it. We did not need to be involved.”

Tertha said, “But you were the one that took the Offlantians out last time.”

“The previous emperor sent you and Jirdan to get me. I am here because it took someone of my power to stop the Offlantians. I have my status on the Apostle because the previous emperor installed me in this position. The present emperor can give license to the Offlantians and remove me from my office."

"He wouldn’t dare.”

Hubrinostry said, “The point Greg is making, Tertha, is that the Offlantians came here to put on a show. Whatever they are doing should not involve us. Yes, Greg is still as powerful as he was, but the Suderling Union should be aware of what the Offlantians are capable of. The fact that they are being given some leash means there is a change of attitude concerning them.”

Vefillaya commented, “Well, my attitude is not good concerning them.”

Greg replied, “But you did not react. I responded in a slightly undignified way, but not in a way they could broadcast to make them appear favorably. I definitely hope my sending panties to the Offlantian delegation will be seen by the public as silly, and nothing in comparison to the crude statements we can show them making.”

Tertha admitted, “Jirdan felt the panties idea was wonderful.” In her usual manner of trying to stay dignified, she added, “Yes, he does have the recordings of what was said to Vefillaya.”

Greg’s wife confessed, “Including those said in this room. While there is no feed from this room, there are active cameras in here. I allowed Jirdan access to pull out the conversations in here.”

Hubrinostry said, “I believe that gives us our ammunition, but hopefully we will not need to use it.”

Greg replied, “No. We are going to need to use it. The Offlantians are up to something. I had to stop them once before, and I feel I will be needed again. What we need to decide is how we are going to react. I’m here. This is now my home. I’m not some visiting alien anymore. That was my wife they were insulting, and she is a native of the Suderling Union. I can take this personally. The problem we need to decide is just how aggressive we are going to be in this matter.”

“Caution, Greg. You are a diplomat. We do not discuss war, but how to stop it.”

“You are my senior diplomat, Hubrinostry. I am open to your council on this matter.”

There was a pause, then Hubrinostry asked, “There was nothing there?”

“Nothing. Seven stars. Nothing I would consider a viable planet. Certainly none containing life. No signs of another civilization further on.”

“I’m going to do some research. I have done some, but with what you said I am going to look at things again. Probably make a couple of contacts. It will take time for the Offlantians to return. Give me a day or two, Greg.”

Greg felt a need to confess, “There are problems developing in my immortal life, Hubrinostry. You could end up having time, but we need to be ready. You are the senior ambassador, so I expect you to take charge if you deem it necessary. You should have enough confidence in our relationship that you trust I will agree and support your actions.”

“It would help me to hear about your problems, Greg.”

“Give me time with my wife, Hubrinostry. If you want, we can have dinner together later.”

“Sounds good, Greg. I will inform my wife.”

After seeing Hubrinostry and Tertha to the door and closing it, Vefillaya now came upon Greg. He did not refuse the smothering of kisses that she began. She did not prevent him from picking her up. It helped his attitude not to hear her speak of the words said by the Offlantians or attempt to justify her actions. Having Vefillaya simply display strong signs of affection freely had Greg carry his wife through the doorway to their bedroom.

He did what he could to return certain actions to her. She however moved in a manner stating her desire to have control. Only at a certain time did he truly have any chance to perform any affection with her even then feeling compelled to maintain a strong rhythm.

Once it was over, Vefillaya demanded, “Don’t you ever leave me.”

“Leave you?” Greg had to ask. “What makes you think I will leave you?”

“That is the benefit of a whore. You can have your pleasure with a woman, but any attachment is temporary. The affair is also private. Our relationship is public, and everyone knows that I am having sex with you. If you ever leave me, Greg, you turn me into a whore.”

“I will accept that, Mrs. Greg Sanders. Now, how about we check for a message from Hubrinostry or his wife about a dinner engagement?”

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PostSubject: Chapter Eleven   June 14th 2018, 7:30 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Eleven
(Calliope)

It caught her by surprise to turn from releasing a person to see the glowing feather-like form of Kestay. Not feeling another call, she simply looked at him. It did not bother her that she was still in the residence with others now mourning the loss of a loved one. With her work done, she was no longer a part of the world and could deal with Kestay.

He said, “The body remains. You do not release the body.”

Calliope replied, “Most believe that what I release is what the person truly was. The body was just a shell. Each society has its own method of dealing with the remains.”

“I release the body. Do those of my kind have no inner substance?”

“I would say it does, but what does your religion say?”

“Religion? Why should I care about stories?”

Calliope could not say she was religious either, but pointed out what she felt were obvious facts. “How much of this life you now have did you know existed? What you are seeing, and those of us you are interacting with, how much did you realize was out here in the universe? Religion does get presented as stories, but they are tales speaking of something beyond the normal. We are beyond the normal. If there is something my life as Death has made evident to me, it is that there is something more.”

“But my life would say that my kind do not have what your kind has.”

“So? What does your religion speak about? My religion supports the existence of those beyond the normal, but less than the gods. I grew up fulling believing there was an entity acting as Death. I can accept that your kind exists. My religion prepared me for your existence. They might have been stories, but I am finding them to have some substance. It is the religion of people that have them accepting my persona as providing a benefit, and not being a force of destruction. I would say that your religion has some wisdom for you.”

She felt a jolt of electricity as Kestay sent out a tendril to her before saying, “There is something to you that is not present in us.”

Not understanding what Kestay did, Calliope stayed calm. “I have to say that we are all equal. The gods or God are the same for all. While this entire universe is blessed with diversity, in the end we will be all held to the same standard.”

More tendrils came toward Calliope. She had the feeling of being attacked. Her thoughts however went to memories of Greg speaking of his battles with Bo Drell, the one who had temporarily replaced her as Death. Greg spoke of feeling the impacts of the blows sent upon him, and the satisfaction of connecting with his own acts of aggression, but of neither truly harming the other. While Calliope felt the jolts from the tendrils, she stood to proudly display that no damage was being inflicted.

Kestay said, “Attacking you is no different, I mean feels no different, than what I do with others. Why is that?”

Calliope really did not know what to say, but considering how he was acting she replied, “Maybe you are not allowing yourself to feel something.” Sensing a tingle had her add, “I would say you are here ignoring a call. Excuse me, Kestay, but I have work to do.”

She tried to consider what motivated Kestay as she moved about performing her duties. There was actually nothing religious about her life among the immortals. While the evidence was strong for there being more to life, Calliope felt the fact of that was there in regular life as well. She had no more idea which religion was correct than those who had no concept of an existence beyond them. When her duties were done, she would see that her family worshipped whatever her husband felt was best for his soul.

There was the fact that she did not discuss beliefs with those she came to. With a strong percentage there were objects that appeared to be of a religious nature. Some would say something that referenced what Calliope could only believe to be a belief in a God or gods. Calliope had to admit she knew nothing of what truly existed on the other side of life, although knew to believe in something when she faced her own life coming to an end.

She stepped into a scene of devastation, then stopped seeing someone she did not expect. There were horses and dogs surrounded a mounted figure in armor. She knew Vabrey, the persona of War, had such creatures, but had only seen them a limited number of times. None appeared as the stocky, powerful forms she knew them, but she knew what they were even as the one mounted turned from looking over the devastation to speak to her.

“Ah, Calliope, strange that we don’t see each other more often.”

She replied, “I have learned war is not something that calls me. Those that survive are wanting to return to their loved ones. It is only days later that some realize they were left behind and seek the release I can give.”

“Yes, well, they got ahead of me. I felt the fuel to flame the fires of war, but missiles and craft carrying bombs came ahead of me. They then dropped a really terrible bomb. This really isn’t good.”

“Well, at least it is normal. We have one of the non-physical personas, Energy, working his power on physical creatures.”

“This is normal, Calliope?”

She had to look at him for a moment before asking, “Haven’t you seen scenes like this before?”

“Yeah, but I still don’t think of it as normal.”

“My people would have done this, if they had the technology. I actually believe that they would now, and they have the technology.”

“You must come from a dark place.”

Calliope felt a need to simply talk about things, so resisted the urge to move on. “Yes, Vabrey. I felt Death was a good thing. I sought him out. I really cannot say I wanted to become Death, but actually enjoyed having these powers.”

“Yeah, I actually like being War. Sometimes I get overwhelmed like this, and I see the carnage. Sometimes I however get to see people step back and realize what they are about to do. Oh, sorry about causing you work.”

“It’s all right. It wasn’t you. I can say with confidence that it was the mentality of the people. If it was you, you and I would see more of each other. Drink one for me, Vabrey, as I believe I will be here a while.”

“Will do, Calliope.”

As he turned his team of the hunt back to where they usually stayed, she moved forward. It did not surprise her to take on the appearance of the natives in a strange costume with a type of reaping tool coming to her hand. Seeing people do what they could to turn to her and lift hands pleading for her to come to them, Calliope set to work.

Finding no other call, she was glad to sense it was time for her lessons. She felt a need to simply spend time in a different fashion. After looking around one more time, she fled the scene of death although knowing she could not escape being Death.

The man must have sensed the chill, as he suddenly turned from the desk to drop to a kneeling position on the ground. She made no comment, but quietly took her seat in the chair. It was amusing to see him suddenly have to turn back to the desk to retrieve some papers before starting the lesson.

“We speak in English.”

She calmly replied, “We speak in English.”

The lesson was on current events. That was what she learned was common. English would be current events, Chinese would be history, and Mongolian would be common topics. Almost never did they get intermingled. Current events almost never included China. Affairs of China seldom were considered to influence the common affairs of the people, although she gained the impression that those of China did intend to have their policies concern those locally. Calliope went through the lesson glad to learn things of the world she hoped to return to, even if the knowledge would be old news by the time she actually restarted her life.

She reached to gain a cookie while saying, “I am looking forward to learning to fix these.”

The man replied, “Would it help if I supplied you with the recipe, dear lady?”

“No. You are my family. I should learn with you.”

His hands went in front of his face as if to protect himself from her wrath as he admitted, “Well, my wife is rather worried about allowing you into the house proper.”

Calliope however found fault with those words. “Why? Her family checked on me before allowing the engagement.”

“True, but she still is uncomfortable.”

“Then I will wait for your son’s wife.”

He shot up from the floor to head out the door. Calliope listened as the man called his wife in a demanding tone. As if understanding his intentions, she spoke against obeying. He however stressed that the lady in his office was his employer, the one who enabled them to afford food for their table. It was not long after that Calliope saw the lady pushed through the doorway.

The man said, “Dame Calliope, this is Asamea, my wife.”

Calliope rose to curtsey while saying, “It is a pleasure to finally meet.” The eyes of the lady did not look to her, so Calliope turned to realize she was studying her picture. “When my time is over, that is how I will appear.”

The lady knelt while saying, “I’m sorry. I… I really did not expect you to look as you do.”

“Then Pethuana is doubly proper to have forced this meeting. You needed to face the truth.”

“I know Sire Ichaule was glad to have you come to him. He died pleasantly. He was in so much agony, screaming and convulsing, then he calmed and spoke to you. I still thought of you as Death.”

Calliope felt the need to curtsey again while saying, “I am Death, but I consider it an occupation and not a condemnation.”

“And what will you consider your occupation when you are no longer Death?”

“Life. I want to live life. I want to have a man, have children, and have a life.”

“There is more to life than that.”

Calliope had to pause for a moment, but then said, “No. There are things to fill one’s day, including occupations to help the family pay for things. Still, those aren’t life. I feel certain those aren’t life. When I speak to those who are passing from this life, they do not speak of continuing their work. They speak of those that passed before them and those that will follow. I know for a fact that at the end of life, that is life.”

The face of the lady appeared to want to argue with what was said, but then she was the one to curtsey. “I will do what I can to make myself available.” She started to turn to leave, but then asked, “Dame Calliope, what did you say that had Pethuana come get me?”

It was the man that answered, “She told me that she would wait for our son’s wife to teach her.”

“Oh.” The lady fell to her knees before saying, “My husband does benefit from serving you. It is an honor to gain such a benefit as well.”

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PostSubject: Chapter Twelve   June 19th 2018, 7:43 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Twelve
(Greg)

The sounding of alarms had Greg at the door. Seeing a sight on his monitor of a squat centaur-like being riding a sturdy animal appearing as a bulky flat horse had him punch in the code to silence the alarms. He then opened the door to welcome his guest.

“Vabrey! This is a strange visit, but glad to see you.”

The one known as War dismounted, then asked, “Can I leave the steed out here?”

“You tell me. As you can see, the ship was designed to accommodate a number of life forms. I believe my door is large enough to allow you to bring the animal inside.”

“No. I’ll leave it here. I need to talk, Greg.”

“Come on in.” In stepping back to allow his guest to pass, Greg saw another. “Vabrey, this is Veflillaya, my wife.”

“Sorry she is here, Greg. I need to talk about Calliope.”

The lady said, “Calliope and I get along very well. If there is a problem with Calliope, I would certainly like to hear about it.”

Greg assured that Vabrey entered his apartment, then closed the door. Vefillaya was cheerfully assuring the man of a comfortable seat, but then moved off when Greg directed her to obtain certain refreshments. He then took a seat himself with the attitude of spending whatever time was necessary with Vabrey.

“Listen, Greg,” the persona of War said, “I’ve known Calliope a long time, longer than you.”

Greg replied, “I certainly cannot argue with that.”

“Yes, well, she was just another one of us. Nothing wrong with her, but our jobs are so different. I mean, we all are different. There really is not overlap in our positions. Some of us see others more than others, but that is just the nature of what we do. I don’t see Calliope that often, except when she comes to Peace.”

“About the only place I see you as well. We generally have to look each other up, which I guess is what you just did.”

“Yeah. Felt it important enough to drop in on you. Just had a meeting with Calliope. I caused a war, but instead of being a skirmish it turned into a war with missiles and bombs. Wiped out a large area. Everyone could tell life was not possible, so they called for Death. She, Calliope, told me that her people would react in such a manner. You and her are of the same people.”

Greg saw his wife take a seat after serving the refreshments, which he took to be a good sign, so kept a smile on his face as he said, “We are both human, but not of the same people. Basically come from separate sides of the globe.”

“She comes from a dark place.”

“She comes from a dark place and a dark time in their history.”

“I’ve never really seen that in her.”

Vefillaya replied, “She clearly presents the message that good people are usually affected by bad events. Calliope is a very good lady.”

Vabrey put his attention on Vefillaya and said, “She does not complain about you. Women, you can complain. Calliope does not complain about you. That’s good.”

“I do consider her a friend.”

“I just told you that I believe you.” Vabrey then turned to put his attention back on the other man. “Greg, I like Calliope, a lot. Listen, there is no way we can become something else when our time ends? No way I could become human?”

Greg had to think, then said, “I highly doubt it, Vabrey. Let me say that I have not heard Calliope speak that way about you.”

“Yes, well, that is a part of who I am. I am War. Things of women are not part of what I am. What she, Calliope, has said recently however has gotten me to see her differently. I want to help her. I however don’t know how.”

“Listen, becoming human is not the answer. Say you could, it would still require you and Calliope ending your service at the same time. Otherwise one would be growing old while the other continued.”

“Yeah. I can see that.”

Greg felt that was a good concession, so moved the conversation along. “Listen, I love Calliope. I would do everything I could to see her happy. I do support her every way I can.”

“So, you know what is going on with her right now?”

“Do you know what is going on right now?”

Vabrey has his eyes move around in an expression of uncertainty, then put his focus back on Greg to say, “Okay, what is going on right now?”

“We have the persona of Energy going around killing people. What he does is certainly not what Calliope does. She has to come along and provide release, but they are then crumbling to dust.”

“Oh. And this Energy is not being removed from his position.”

“Right.”

Vabrey put down his mug, then lifted it to guzzle the contents. He then set it down in front of Vefillaya in a clear signal of having her get a refill. When she left to do so, Vabrey make a cold statement to the other man.

“I will handle this, Greg. You said, Energy.”

Greg replied, “Yes. His name is Kestay.”

“I’m on it. Been around enough to handle things like this.”

Vefillaya came out with a full mug. Vabrey stood to take it from her, then guzzled the contents. As he handed the mug back to the lady, Greg knew to say something.

“Don’t get yourself in trouble, Vabrey.”

“I told you I have been around enough to know how to handle this. My problem is Calliope. I really like her. That’s not right. I mean, it is, but not for War. I might have to handle that. Let me first do this.”

Vefillaya said, “It was nice to meet you, Vabrey.”

“Nice to meet you too. It’s right for someone representing Life to have someone in their life. You keep Greg happy. Calliope and I have to face other issues. Don’t know what will happen, but right now I am having to face issues as well.”

Greg felt the need to say, “If you are going to involve yourself with Calliope, you will be involving yourself with me. Not as competition, but Calliope is our friend.”

“That’s why I came here. Thank you both.”

Having his wife with him helped Greg make the parting pleasant. He had no idea what Vabrey would do, or could do, but accepted the man as knowing his abilities. After seeing the man ride off, Greg stopped his wife after closing the door.

“You know others will be coming.”

She simply giggled, then put her lips to his. Greg would not turn down any affection from Vefillaya, so pleasantly spent some time with her at the door. She broke from him when a tone sounded, although giggled when she saw who was at the door.

Both Hubrinostry and Captain Negallin entered as Greg said, “That was Vabrey, the persona of War.”

The large amoeba-like form of the ship’s captain had an outer section stretch to form a vibrating membrane allowing him to say, “His presence did alarm us. Let me say that it bothered me that the others in the ship saw him. Should we be concerned?”

“No. We did not discuss events of a local nature.”

Hubrinostry said, “Even considering what is happening with the Offlantians.”

“Even what is happening with the Offlantians. We actually discussed Calliope, and a situation going on with us immortals. What is our concern is something with the non-physical beings.”

“Well, war in the immortal realms is not good.”

“Let me say that I consider it my job to prevent war. The fact that Vabrey came to me I felt was a good thing. We ended the discussion with him saying that he could handle things, but personal confrontations I do not consider to be war, at least not as I tend to fear it.”

Vefillaya said, “It was an interesting conversation, because Vabrey spoke of really liking Calliope. He is not human, but spoke as if wishing he was.”

Greg found the words of his wife to reduce the tension in the visiting men. The discussion changed to simply them trading notes on various races and how compatible they were. Of course it did require Greg speaking about his relationship with Vefillaya, but he enjoyed saying words of support for her.

With the captain and senior ambassador present, the discussion turned to other matters that did have importance in their lives. Upcoming appointments to keep the peace between certain races, personnel matters, and other official concerns were handled. When Greg felt a call from his other life, he felt more than able to leave any final business with the captain and Hubrinostry.

Greg came out over what appeared to be a disaster from a flood. Seeing the escaping waves of a large body of water, possibly an ocean, he allowed that what he saw could be the result of a tidal wave. What however caught his attention was the form of what appeared to be a white dragon. Having actually spent time with the creature, in fact having been once carried by the winged form, had Greg want to speak to him. Calls to him from those affected by the disaster kept him from immediately checking out the persona of Comfort, but Greg had a lot of practice in picking those who sought him to include those he wanted to speak with.

It helped that he saw a method of resolving a number of problems. One person had a limb caught beneath a piece of debris. Greg took on a local form and began working with others while speaking of needing help lifting the constraint. It brought him pleasure to see those around him listening, and felt joyful having those who still felt the pain of their own problems helping to free the one trapped.

As the people worked to support each other in returning to their lives, Greg shifted to no longer being visible to say, “You do not appear to be doing much, Kamadrell.”

The one that appeared as a huge winged white reptile softly replied, “I really never do much. Usually the most I do is sit down and talk to someone. Glad to see you, Greg, as we need to talk.”

“I am busy.”

“It actually comforts me to see you at work. I have heard others speak about how you go about your duties, but it is comforting seeing it for myself. There is a cheerfulness in your interactions. I hear the same from those that speak of Calliope.”

Greg did want to speak about the lady, although concern for her had him seek what he felt would be the right words. “Her job is dark enough, and people really are not helped by seeing the darkness.” Needing to check on the next one he felt call, he quickly added, “I’m glad not to see her here.”

“This is not a tragedy of death. Those here did not come to die, and when disaster struck they sought to live. Their lives however are disrupted, so I was called. I might not work like you, Greg, but I am working.”

Greg did have more to do. He went to those who sought some blessing to enable them to go on living. As usually occurred, after a time the people rallied with those who usually worked to maintain life making their presence known. Greg did what he felt was something more applicable to his powers than the usual medical treatments before heading back to Kamadrell.

He was unsure if the white dragon was still active, so calmly said as he approached, “I don’t feel another call, so we can talk.”

“Of course,” Kamadrell replied, “although it was you that mentioned darkness. What if I said that the word applied to another?”

“If you refer to Kestay, I will ignore another call to stay and talk with you.”

“Yes, Greg, the matter is that important. Sit down, get comfortable.”

_________________
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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