A woman, a colleague of the narrator for more than 15 years, seeks protection from the misdeeds of her abusive husband toward herself and, later, their two daughters.
The story gives the background to the marriage, details and range of abusive behaviour and, eventually, the steps taken by all concerned. The basic facts and the outcome are true, more or less. And I do have to accept some of the blame when it happened. I plead guilty.
I often wondered whether people would have acted differently, had the powers of Heavy Matter and competent, compassionate help been available. This is my take. Writing the story, however, did nothing to lift my overall depression!
It's imperative you have read at least the first few chapters of 'MasterBuilder', also published on SOL, to understand the concepts of Heavy Matter, the programme MasterBuilder, and their properties. Mentioned or implied these are: physics and metaphysics; metallurgy; nano technology; molecular biology; DNA modification; bio-feedback; mind control; a lot of ESP; with levitation and time shifts added to the mix.
I don't like long-winded repetitions! So if you don't want to read 'MasterBuilder', or didn't like it, don't bother with this tale either.
Here, too, there is 'talk over thin air' as it were, and those sentences will be in italics to set them apart from normal speech.
The mother Karla – a not unattractive woman in her early forties, who used to be fairly competent in lower management but is unable to stand up to her powerful and brutish husband.
Helmut – her husband, a high achiever in a very competitive environment, who appears to enjoy relieving stress by ill-treating his family.
Elvira – their eldest daughter at fifteen years of age, quite pretty and well formed already but very shy. She is the first in line for her father's ill-conceived attentions when her mother is at odds with her mate.
Charlotte – at thirteen is starting to develop in such rapid and spectacular form that her father already seems to dream about her future usefulness to him.
Jake and Alfred – the inventors of Heavy Matter and MasterBuilder respectively. They and their wives Sabreena and Lexa are close friends with
Berthold (Bert) – the reluctant caregiver and narrator of this story, and
Elise – his wife.