Welcome to my web said the spider; Dreams all flayed out in shimmering Net.
Joyce slowly woke up, she couldn't really remember what she had dreamed but those last words sort of had burned into her remembrance. She looked at the Ships watch, it showed seventeen hours standard ship time, well then, she could just lie down again and try to get some more sleep or, she thought, she just might get up.
She stretched languidly like a cat in the comfortable warmth of her bed for a moment and then threw the covers away, on for a shower she thought with a shudder. She was on the Sovereign merchantship Eleonora. Jointly owned by the merchant guild of Reykjavik and the king of Denmark. For the first time in her life she was actually going to travel in space. Oh well, she had made a few journeys before. But the furthest she had gone was to Saturn some mere light minutes from Earth. All in the course of her apprenticeship as a merchant electrician Second class. But soon the slight trembling from the Jon engines would stop and then the ship would prepare itself for the hyper jump, she sure as hell didn't want to miss that.
She remembered when she was small, those stories her Granny used to play to her, all locked into that old locker that no one were allowed to touch. About when Earth first discovered the mathematics for how to move an object seemingly faster than light and how almost nobody believed that it would work. She used to say that those stories hidden in her old casket were her special gift. Some day, she said to Joyce once, someday someone might just ask for them. When Joyce asked whom that would be, Granny just smiled at her and said. "Be real nice to them lass, they might let you go for a ride". Joyce remembered that she waited for them for weeks after, but nobody ever came. But they were lovely tales, maybe just slightly on the naughty side, but very nice. Oh yes, she thought, how was it that first part started now again? Yes, that was it...
"Only after long and careful experimentation had Earth allowed one Ship, manned with a mixed crew, to try the theory out!"
The big problem was that even if it worked and the ship could make a jump, nobody could foresee where that jump would end. Say that the ship disappeared as expected, it should, they'd already tested that well enough with unmanned Ships, how would they ever know if it had actually survived out there.
There was no known way outside theoretical papers to communicate FTL ( Faster Than Light ), which made the speed of light an absolute. But try they must. The ways Earth were going, over populated, congested with constant wars about territorial as well as wealth distributions, all added up to making life a very unsafe occupation. In 2018 there was 23 major conflicts in 19 locations, not counting the minor ones.
A lot of Earth's unique fauna, flora and ecology were gone without hope of recovery, and human greed combined with the usual short time solutions were making sure that there would be no end in sight. According to SIPRI, a nonprofit source of armaments information, some sixty three percent of all nations' budgets worldwide were going into defense and armaments projects at that time. Earth desperately needed some new hope. Either that or the so called industrialized world would spiral down into the same declining poverty and disease ridden societies as the non industrialized third world, where life expectancies were down as low as twenty three years in some states. Even worse was that feeling of despair, entering as a foul breath in all and any attempts to create mutually attractive goals for the world.
So they created a minimal jump for that first manned flight.
Then, they sat down to wait.
After three years of waiting Earth had started to doubt, at the same time ever more smallarm-wars escalated into ever bloodier conflicts. Global warming saw to that Earths habitable areas shrunk ever so rapidly and not even the Nordic countries would be excused this time, every country for itself, rich against poor, Islam against Christianity, young against old.
Then a ship came back.
The wrong one.
It was one of the automated Ships, the Aurora9. They had programmed it to make some twenty jumps before trying to backtrack its course and hopefully end up where it came from. It also had carried with it "state of the art " equipment for analyzing and documenting its environment in and outside the jumps. As soon as they had recovered it they started to go through its recordings. By comparing its star charts with those taken from Earth they hoped to get an inkling of where Aurora9 could have been. The problem was that even after the most extensive study they still couldn't pinpoint any of Aurora9 jump-points. The most anyone dared to say was that there was a high probability that it at least was in their own galaxy.
As Aurora9 had shown up it seemed that world hostilities had somewhat cooled of.
Once more people started to look forward again as the results from her travels were downloaded to Earth and the Net. Even thou none could pinpoint where she had been as, there were ample evidence of Earth like planets in her trail. So there might be a way out after all.
The UN called for a general meeting to try to unite the warring states once more under a general goal. The response were not promising, The western nations that had stood for the most of the financial and scientific contributions viewed the results as mostly their own and were not prepared to lose control over the project. On the other hand, the so-called third world didn't find the project more important than f ex clean water, air pollution, food and medicine. In their view it was just one more example of how the already rich instead of acting responsible just tried to sneak away and get out. Both sides had their points, certainly the rich states had exploited the poor countries natural resources, and certainly there hadn't been any forethought of what might come of that exploitation.
But was that a problem shared only by the rich side of humanity? If the shoe had been on the other foot, as the proverbial saying goes, would it then have been any different? From where I stand. Probably not, human nature being what it is. As long as I have what I call mine and you have what you call thine, conflicts will emerge and in a fallible world. Might, not justice will be the final arbitrage of all.
Still, the third world had the right of it. There was a big problem with both our environment and our attitudes. There had to be some solution forthcoming, otherwise Armageddon was waiting around the corner either as a reaction by us fallible humans or as a natural reaction to the accelerating climate changes from our global overheating, or both. Competing for diminishing natural resources also had a strong influence on the problem. Something had to be done.
The industrialized world thought it had found the answer to the question.
Let's go away.
In its timeless fashion the United Nations offered a compromise. After finding that there could be no reconciliation of the two views. The UN chose to do what it did best.
It founded a committee.
The purpose of said committee was, at least in theory, to find a way to do both things. That is, both to save our Earthly environment, as far as that now were possible. And find a way to allow the third world countries to have a "say so" in the planning for further colonization outside our solar system, in the so called Aurora project. As the UN committee started its work, the colonization project continued to go its own parallel way. And it put most of it proceedings on the Net. Because of the Net there was a lot more knowledge available out there. And when people find something to catch their imagination and they also have a connection to knowledge, learning actually can become quite a Joy. Off course the Net wasn't all what it once promised to be. It was to strong a powerbase for being allowed on its own. Both commerce and State had to put their fingers inside the meatpie, and with them came more and more legal restrictions. Some states actually used the net as a misinformation tool by putting harsh restrictions on what was allowed to be shown on it, as viewed from inside their own boarder, and off course, all states tried to present their own interests in the best possible light.
But the Net was far from dead.
People will always find outlets for their needs, and the needs were strong at that time. As the net had became more and more restricted and regulated so had also the knowledge and cunning of them doing the needful, even if not necessarily legal, things for the Net. Among those was a mostly small splintercrew of hackers, crackers and artists. Primarily they were concerned with distributions of free knowledge, at least as in the sense of it becoming free knowledge. And as almost all computer freaks they has a fascination for science and fantasy, so they wanted in on the Aurora project.
One of them, Daniel, had taken on him the responsibility to keep a close check inside the Aurora database on a regular basis, looking without touching, after all, there was a hackers code. What they had decided to do was to create an informal and unofficial mirror for the whole project, just in case. Not that they expected anything, in theory it was supposed to be a global project, for the good of all humankind, but as they had this hacker rule " better safe than sorry " well, somebody had to do it, why not them. As the project Aurora project continued to develop, Daniel found some strange sightings in the Aurora9 database. There were those images that Aurora9 had made before its last jump coming back to Earth. Aurora9 had been programmed to first make twenty jumps in a continuos session, then it was expected to backtrack those same jumps towards Earth. As Aurora9 didn't get out at the exact same location backtracking as it had when going forward in the jump sequence and as there also would be changes made by time, one had to allow for relative motion. Everything seemed to level out while comparing star charts, radiation levels, audio etc, but just before that last jump to Earth something changed.
It was as if there was a disturbance somewhere, but when he took the image from the first jump from Earth and then compared it with the image from the jump back on his flat screen he couldn't find any dissimilarity. It was only when he stopped treating them as images and went down to the underlying composition of zeroes and ones, the actual source code that created the images that he found out why he had reacted. That last image had been manipulated, very skillfully, and only someone like Daniel with long understanding and knowledge of digital manipulation would have noticed anything strange. What was stranger still was that those images weren't even official ones for the Net, They were both restricted "for internal use only"? There seemed to be two possible explanations here Daniel thought. Either the image had been procured and changed after arriving here on Earth by some interest or other. If not, it would to have been changed when still in space. Daniel called for a conference with his group. Normally connecting through encrypted communications spliced over numerous nodes. This time though, Daniel insisted that everybody also should use "anonymizers" over the lines.
"Well, that should stir up some interest" he said to him self, smiling. As the conference finally went on Daniel presented his findings for the group,
-"Are you sure" asked Leo
-"I'm sure, but I'll send u all my sourcecode anyway, with annotations "answered Daniel
-"This is slick work said Thor, outstanding work my man".
-"Yeah, but where do we go from here people?"
-"Well wrote Lind, that depends on whom manipulating whom, right."
-"Ok", said Leo, "so I say that we put it out on the Net, - with source and all".
-"Maybe" wrote Lind. "We all know each other from the net, but that is as far as it goes with some of us. I try to keep it Compartmented, but I'll tell u cyberpunks. In my other community there hasn't been the slightest whisperings about faked evidence in the Aurora project."
-"Oh" said Daniel, slightly stunned. "-Civilian or military?"
-"Both" wrote Lind
-"Jesus Lind "said Leo. " Are you connected to them".
-"Well", wrote Lind. "-same same but different ; )"
-"Kind of a chock for me Lind" said Thor." We've been in business here for quite some time now. I don't fucking know you any more!" He complained.
-"As I said," wrote Lind somewhat smugly "-Compartmentalized, I wouldn't tell you this if I didn't trusted u guys. Bu u need to know now before u do something stupid, as putting it out on the net for all." " Let me off this little firecracker at my community first and see whom hides and what pops up"
-"We appreciate you warning us and all", said Daniel "-but as we're using 256 bits Zimmerman encryption all over, why would we have to worry?"
-" Zimmerman PGP is cool," wrote Lind, "-no backdoors that I know of. And no, I haven't tried to track u down guys. But I'm thinking that I surely would like to know why somebody is trying to wreak Aurora so, if u please, let me do my thing first."
-"It may give us a direction to follow" said Thor " but if you're right about the manipulation, no offence Daniel, and it isn't Earth at all, then who the hell is it?"
-"Ah" answered Daniel, "-no offence taken, ET:s?"
"So we leave it with Lind for now? "
-"She'll let us know as soon as he hears anything, right? "
-"Then if nobody has anything else to suggest, let's break for now" Daniel finished.
With that they called of the session.
While waiting for Lind popping her "firecrackers" in the intelligence-community Daniel started to go through all raw Source code he could download from the Aurora Project files. As he was a serious SF-buff he also went for the second of his theories. The one whereupon the manipulation had happened while Aurora9 still was in space. He wrote a short and dirty program loop which only purpose in life was comparing jump-points going out and coming back, looking for specific code patterns that matched the way the changes had been written in the manipulation-code he already found. All in all he fond seven certain manipulations and three more that he really couldn't be sure of.
Land Of Grey
On Lind's side the hunt were on.
Now, all agencies had safe nodes of communication, some official but mostly unofficial. Why unofficial nodes were considered more secure than an official secure node only a trained agent could explain, and he wouldn't. Let it suffice to say that Lind used every unofficial safe node she could and dared. Only when her whisperings came back to her in a slightly diffused version over the official safe nodes she considered her mission accomplished. Now she settled down to wait for reactions.
And reactions there were.
There certainly were. Among the first to react was the NSA with NATO and the Warsaw pact as a close second. Off course the EEC and its secret mastodon Echelon had to become involved. In the end only the remains of the once so glorious Hippie movement seemed to keep its distance from investigating "the conspiracy" against the Aurora Project. The First rumors centered on the Jihad movement. Mossad sources and the FBI both confirmed them with a strong suspicion of an Islamic involvement, and a threat level according to the FBI raising to but not overcoming four point nine. But then the French pointed their finger on ultra right groups purposely situated in the USA and Israel simultaneously. The Germans on their side found the silence of the eastern countries slightly unnerving and strongly recommended a more concentrated intelligence gathering inside the eastern block and their allies.
At the same time the English found new evidence of deeply buried "moles" inside their own security organizations and frankly hadn't the time to accuse anyone. The Russians kept their silence, but as they at the same time raised their contributions to the socialist regimes in Latin America and Cuba, the United States couldn't help but finding their motives highly suspicious. China accused nobody, but let it be subtly known that this was just what you could expect from the corrupted west. The Islamic countries had no real interest in the aurora project, except for that secret hope from some of her disciples that the 'Great Satan' finally would take its leave,
In the end the only thing anyone could agree on was that there seemed to have been some sort of digital manipulation of the Aurora9 findings, but as for who and when none could say for sure.
All in all it made Lind start leaning towards that second theory to.
When the group had it second meeting Daniel showed his new findings. Lind presented her observations and without going to deep into details explained that it was her belief that Aurora9 probably already had been compromised before entering the solar system. So now the group stood before a new problem, who could manipulate Aurora9 in space and why would the same manipulators allow her travelling home when they just as easily could have left her hanging in space as her 19 sister Ships probably was? At this same time things actually started to shape up for the Aurora Project. After the evidence of sabotage the western nations felt that they truly had to start moving on their colonization scheme before it all would be to late. The most expensive parts of the building of the Ships were already finished. There were functioning factories both on the moon and in orbits around the Earth. Waiting for being sent out towards the asteroid belts and meteoroids. Also to clean the Earth's sky from all that old space junk (and maybe one and another spy satellite to) that threatened both the MonoRail and the space shuttle's going up and down from Earth. The only thing missing now was some good old peeptalk for all them braves and their lovely spouses. All of which was expected to embark onwards the stars.
As usual the UN was ready to take on the responsibility for creating just the right Environment for the exodus. The first thing they did was to mount a committee. After some months of deliberation the committee hard pressed for time had created an ingenious resolution. Its essence came down to one point. A blueprint for how the involved states should set up their own committees.
In UN: s own immortal words, " In this way the language barrier will cease to exist as injun committees would be speaking injun, and the Innuit committees would be speaking Innuit ".
The first starship started to take shape in its orbit around the moon. The expense of it was the biggest undertaking the UN ever had made. All the Industrialized Nations had to chip in, money seemed to flow as if there was no tomorrow, and maybe that was the truth to. As the ship never would have to go inside any gravity well, the 'would be architect' were free to make up any shape he liked. In fact the UN made a contest for inspired architects, and as the young winner got his praise he was also given the opportunity to proclaim himself a selfmade lover of Mother Nature.
The winning starship form became that of something similar to a hand with all fingers except the third closed into a loop. The fourth were bent into a bigger 'O', and with some good will one could say that it represented both the outermost finger and the thumb, all joined together in that timeless fashion of appreciation similar to them NASA daredevils once coined.
The famous - A-OK -
The reason for this particular form confided the architect was the possibilities it opened for docking with other starships inside the 'O'. And as the architect explained, it was because of the extreme preciseness of that very docking procedure that this third "finger" had to be so rigidly stretched out, as in defiance of the very universe. It was fast becoming a very popular tourist attraction for visiting school classes. And as one young boy from Luna City said, "he just couldn't wait to experience his first starship docking ". But for those wretched souls who never would get the pleasure of viewing that majestic sight, you ask? Well, at least they could simulate it using their hands folded in the appropriate way. The stardrive were situated at that point where the wrist would join the hand normally.
For how the starships drive worked, only a few enlightened could explain, In a very complicated but straightforward way it took a firm but subtle grip of spacetime. Wringed it upside down, folding it gently down, then ripped it open and drove through it at a furious pace. All of this taking place in the same moment as it stitched it back together behind its passage. Simultaneously in eleven dimensions, most even smaller than the Planck size. Explain that who can?
As for the old Wormhole theories they all predicted that wormholes would collapse the first time anybody tried to sneak in, and right they were, The new theory manipulated those dimensions that the old theory just had told to 'fuck of'. That was a very stupid thing for that old theory to do. It made the new theory extremely unwilling to come into existence. Only after much cajoling and flattering remarks about the symmetry and mathematical beauty of her by lots of nice looking, earnest young scientists did she appear. And then only to stay for that slight moment the nice looking sharp scientist, or as it may more often be, that fine looking ship might need her. Oh yes, one might also mention that the architect, who was a true admirer of the finer things, insisted on naming his first ship Ac-Dc. Both in memory of those timeless songs, and as a tribute to Spielbergs classic R2-D2.
Daniel and his group were as earlier implied in somewhat of a dilemma. Should they take what they believed to be the true story to the authorities? Or were there some other viable options open for them? As they soon found out, there was. The Ac-Dc was at last ready for its first light. Its engines had been primed, its nosecone polished to a high gloss. It gleamed as a, aah well, as a hand I suppose, with its third finger proudly erected against Earth...
After growing up within this inspiring sight for years, it came as no surprise to the architect, that a large number of those adolescents also wanted to follow it on its maiden voyage. But as the ship was, under strict terms from the UN, also an equal opportunity employer. It then also would have to gain an equal number of girls. And none under the legal age of sixteen could freely sign on for the journey, at least not without a leave from their parents. This problem of equal opportunity the architect solved in a truly innovative manner. He handpicked the first hundred boys for their looks and for their voice qualities. Then he made them out into twenty a'Capella boy groups, sent them out on a six months worldwide tour singing. And as they gained more and more popularity among the fairer sex he created ten 'Groupies Of The Year'. Teen Contests, one for each boy group, where in he promised the first thousand girls winning, that they would be able to sign up with said boygroups with a good chance of becoming 'The Groupie of the year'. To be totally honest there was something of a moral dilemma here, you just couldn't send out Earth's first starship with colonists only consisting of pubertual adolescents, no matter how enthusiastic they seemed to be.
As the ship easily could contain up to a five hundred thousand people the architect had decided on a maximum of forty thousand adolescents and one hundred and sixty thousand grown ups. That would allow ample room for births and such. The adolescents he already had, It was the grown ups that was missing. For the terran committees life wasn't so easy, Their governments were quite prepared to give them some time to get it all together, but they had been more cagey than one would expect from a bureaucracy. As it was there was almost nobody of enough seniority to be taken seriously in any of those committees. So the whip was on them. The poorer nations didn't really care, as far as they were concerned they were quite satisfied with letting the richer states coughing up the "lab-rats" for this colonization project. There had been twenty-one Ships sent out whereof only one had come back home, and that one had been sabotaged in the process. It just didn't feel safe.
So why not let someone else take the glory. If it worked out for this first starship, then maybe it would be worth a second chance, at least for that part of their population that had the opportunity and wealth. This was another limitation of this first star Ship, only people with at least twelve years of schooling or nine years with a degree in some practical profession would be considered for this first journey. That excluded most of the third world population. Those living there who had that degree of schooling almost invariably already had a comfortable living standard. Therefore they saw no real interest in turning themselves into living lab-rats competing from the lowest rung of the social ladder on the Ac-Dc. As usual those who most needed a chance were the least welcome, which only showed once more that intelligence and wisdom aren't necessarily meant to coexist. Nevertheless, the ship was getting filled. There were enough dissatisfied people for that. The major obstacle the committees saw weren't people, but the architect. For every step on the road he put new and ever more strange requests, restrictions and delays on an already hard ridden committees. The latest was a reserved quota of former Special Forces men and women, two thousand of them, one thousand engineering soldiers. And as if that wasn't enough, also five hundred sappers, five hundred logistic trained plus one thousand maintenance trained. And then there were quotas for faith, for the color of your skin, ad naseaum. Even if that could made a twisted kind of sense, there was also this preposterous way he had of insisting on personal interviews whenever it came to people above a certain level of class or knowledge. It slowed them down, it really did.
At last the final bunch of colonists were chosen, When they came up to the ship they were, as always, stunned by the shear size of her. They found that she was so big that she even had her own woods, not only parks but real woods. And lakes, and birds, in fact she seemed to be more of a Noaks ark than of a star Ship. As they had to make their own gravity on the ship it was constructed with double, triple and where it was possible even quadruple hulls. To keep them apart from each other the architect had juggled all kinds of technology from gigantic ball bearings to Supra conductive magnets. The only rule separating the rotation hulls were the height inside each one. At a minimum five hundred and fifty meters free space from top to bottom as one would experience it standing inside the rotating hull. It could make you dizzy, standing there looking up at a sky that rotated that fast, if you were in a two three or four-layer hull. But as we are creatures of habit everyone got used to it in time.
If one were inside the middle hull in a three-layer construction one would experience somewhat more than one G. And standing in the innermost hull rotating in the opposite direction from the middle. One would experience a somewhat lower G-force as a counter force balancing the inner hull. And the same for the outermost hull. For the one, two and four-layer hull the counterbalancing were somewhat easier of course. The whole ship was dynamically balanced so that all those movements took each other out. In fact, to balance all possible vectors in all possible ways had taken the engineers two years. And some three hundred and forty different scale model's to actually make it work. As a bonus of that exactitude, it was even possible to isolate and steer the G-force inside any of those hulls. Of course that would influence the other hulls to then, but by implementing chaos mathematics as far as possible one could spread the disturbances over the other rotations to a minimum while still experience a noticeable weight change inside that one specific hull.
The finished ship was so huge that you could see it as a shadow on the moon.
Here There May Be Thygers
So what had our little splinter crew been up to lately?
After some heated discussions they had finally and for the first time decided to meet. As Lind said, "oh shit, this is bad manna, real bad manna". But as far as they could see they really didn't have any choice. It was either that or to try to forget whatever they thought they knew. They saw each other for the first time at the cafe pigless, it was a rather big place at the outskirts of Stockholm. They had chosen it because ii was easily accessible by boat, subway or car. It still had very few cameras. Nowadays there seemed to be surveillance cameras everywhere, all for your safety. They choose to sit outside the cafe mostly because Lind wanted to lap some sun before the evening. Lind wasn't bad looking, Daniel thought. She had a rather nice smile, copper colored hair and those really big yellow sunglasses. "Definitely weird looking shades" said Thor smiling at her. "So that's what you want people to remember about you, then?" Thor was the oldest guy in the group, an undeterminable forty, stocky built a rather laid-back looking guy. She smiled right back at him, " right Thor that's what I want you to remember". "That's cool with me" said Leo looking appreciatively on Lind. "But people, we have things to decide here. And I have this strange feeling that we're running out of time". Leo was in his twenties, a little on the chubby side, with a somewhat nervous but energetic expression. "Yeah, I think you're right" said Daniel "we need to move on this info now, before Ac-Dc ships out for her maiden voyage". " I've been calling in some favors," said Lind. "As far as I've understood it there is not a lot we can do, really. It seems that the 'powers that be' already are informed on the situation. They are sending it out any way". "That could be a death sentence." Thor said. "Do you have any idea why they are going through with this?"
"No, not really, but I've heard some very hushed down talks about climate changes " said Lind. "Yeeah, that's right" interrupted Leo "I've access through KTH (the Royal University of Technology) and they are predicting an rise of the sea level over more than three meters over the next thirty years here in the Baltic". "That's crazy" said Daniel " if that was true it would mean that most of Stockholm would be under water!" "Yeah," Said Leo, " but the real problem is that nobody really can predict how fast this is gonna happen. They have already split up the territorial rights to the north and South Pole, they expect to find some thirty percent of Earth's natural resources under those Polar caps. In the mean time nobody knows how big the impact of that ice disappearing will have on Earth. It's like going down a river, nice and cool you know, then things start to speed up, then they speeds up some more, before you know it, here's the waterfall. Some say that there is some kind of invincible climate borderline just waiting for us to break, and when we do that things will change extremely fast. Like if the Gulf Stream disappeared because of the changed temperature and salinity caused by the polar caps melting. If that would happen, all of Scandinavia could have the beginning of an ice age. The existence of past ice ages obviously demonstrates that some climatological factor is able to overcome such a warming feedback as we're seeing now "
Daniel drank the last of his coffee thinking about Leo's predictions, of course the climate changes were dangerous, but so far they had only seemed good for Sweden. Longer hotter summers but with good rainfalls. But there was droughts on a never before seen scale in Africa, and even here in Sweden they had started to warn about the disappearance of the protective ozone layer. Skin cancer was on an all time high now. But was it really this bad? "Ok!" he conceded, " You scared me. But we still have a problem of our own to solve, Lind, do you think that the architect of the Ac-Dc also are into this mess, or are they just taking a long shot into the darkness with him and the colonists?" Lind looked at him shaking her head. "I don't know "she said "but we need to find out, and quickly before they leave"
It became decided that they all would try to get trough to the architect, as it seemed that he would be the one to know. And Leo would try to hack his way inside KTH to see if there was more to find out about those weather studies. What Lind would do was anybody's guess, the only thing she said was that they all were in strange turf now, and that the only reasonable thing to do was to create some protection. Thor, who really seemed like a nice guy, wanted them to set up a simple fallback procedure as he called it "just in case" for how to get together quickly if in need. He truly was a man of means, he just scooped up four small mobiles. He explained that they used a real time programmable encrypting chip that he himself had programmed. "So don't try to use them for any numbers but ours please" he said with a smile " there will only be Strange Sounds on the other end ". And so it was, because the first thing that Daniel did when he came home was to test it against his own phone.
Looking Through The Looking Glass
The last thing he saw moving away from the cafe was how Lind and Thor were sitting side by side involved in a serious discussion. At home he found out that there didn't seem to be any way to connect to the moon any more. Every Node on the net connecting to the moon was being redirected towards a new backbone facility set up jointly by Echelon and the NSA. And every call you made had to be a "callback", that is, you had to give them your home number first. After that, you could ask for a call or a connection to the moon and if allowed, they would call you back. For Daniel it felt like taking a time trip back to the Victorian era. He went up on the net to try to find out if anyone knew why and when the "blackout" had fallen in place. It was kind of scary. The hacker rings also used so called, secure nodes, or mailboxes. Mostly nodes that had been recently hacked just for that purpose, now there seemed a real shortage of such nodes. All the normal hidings were closed down. You see, you never went directly to a hacked location, if unlucky or sloppy somebody could easily track you down.You first went to a public hacked place were you by different signs could check up on the new nodes, But now they all seemed gone? Daniel had to do some very esoteric tricks with the Net going directly through the Atlantic backbones and stealthing and bouncing all over the globe before he finally succeeded in finding a backdoor through NSA:s new backbone. It had taken him over twelve hours to set it up, without even having time to pee. But this was why he was one of the best, maybe there were better programmers, he thought. But programming the net, no way. There he was the Numbero Uno.
So he had finally opened Alladins cave. Now to arrange everything so he just by some codewords could connect through his new backdoor. There was always a danger of logging on to the NSA computer of course, and one never knew what honey traps they could be using. But he had some slights of hand nobody, at least as far as he had been able to check up, knew about. Just some simple and not so simple bugs that combined in certain ways made it very improbable that any one would understand how or what to log. And furthermore, he was not gonna do anything special, just looking he thought with a smile. Done, all in all it had taken him fourteen hours. To set all this up had been a real dog. Now he just had to download the program to his PDA and he would be ready to roll.
Daniel's new phone called, He woke up and looked at his watch groggily. Shit, five in the morning.
He picked up the phone. "Yeah?" he said. " Get out from there, there's a picket force coming to arrest you in about twenty minutes Daniel!" " It was Thor "What?" said Daniel as he struggled to get up from the sofa where he had crashed. "Who's coming, and why?" " Daniel, we don't have time for this" he heard Thors voice. " Get your things together and be downstairs in ten minutes, I'll be waiting across the street in a blue stationwagon.Ok. Ten minutes Daniel!" Fuck! Thought Daniel, still only halfway awake as he struggled to get his kit together. Let's see pass money credit cards. He shouldered his backpack and hit his hidden emergency switch. Daniel never closed down his computers, and had removed all the on-off buttons. Contrary to what people might believe it's really the switching of and on that really can hurt a computer. Instead he had installed an overriding emergency switch connected to them all. With that he started some truly strong electromagnets that he had mounted around his computerpark. The switch were connected to a timer and it would close itself in half an hour but long before that his disks would be totally wiped out by those electromagnetic waves. Wait, did he bring his PDA? Yep, thank you Gods for that, at least he did something right. I just hope that the fucking switch worked he thought as he stumbled down those final stairs. He opened the door and tried to see if there were any movements around him. Then he started to walk over the street towards the blue stationwagon. Somebody opened the rear passenger door "hurry " he heard a voice, he lifted in his backpack and then let himself slide down in the backseat. There was two persons sitting in the front, Thor and Lind. "Here" said Lind and gave him a Styrofoam cup filled with coffee and milk. Daniel had to wait before taking hold of it as his hands were shaking so badly. "I hope that this isn't your usual way of saying hallo" he said a little later as he tried to finish his coffee "cause I don't think I could take that", Thor turned his head slightly while carefully driving away, "nope, we had to get you out of there. It seems that the police with the help of säpo are collecting everyone connected to the scene into protective custody". The scene was a synonym describing all people involving themselves with the more dubious activities on the Net as seen from the government. Daniel took a deep breath and tried to make his knotted muscles relax. "I've access to the lunar backbone" he told them " we only need some good accesspoint to the Net". Briefly he told them about his adventures on the Net and the access he had set up from his PDA. Thor smiled at him from the rear mirror "You're the main man, my man" he said. Then he turned serious again "Leo is on his way, he has found some really strange stuff binding the Ac-Dc to those environmental studies we were talking about" we are going to meet up at Bromma airfield." Bromma? Why were they going to Bromma, things were happening to fast for him here, Daniel though "listen" he said "can anyone explain to me what the hell we are going to Bromma for, it doesn't strike me as the safest hide out if the cops are after me?" Thor opened his mouth to answer but Lind was faster. " Daniel, were not gonna run and hide" she said. "We're gonna attack".
Daniel looked at her like she had gone insane, "attack " he said " the Swedish Government? The UN! Who are we going to attack? And with what, my bare hands!" Lind looked at him as if she saw him for the first time, then she smiled and patted an envelope that had been resting at her side. "Here" she said as she showed a worn black leather wallet in his hand. "I think this is yours". Daniel opened the wallet, inside there was two Credit cards an ID card and some money. The ID card wasn't in his name, but it sure had his face on it. Daniel looked up at her again. Her arm stretched out once more, "and here is your passport" she said. "Learn your name and number so that you'll know it if someone would like to ask". She gave him a quick pat on his knee "oh, by the way, we're going to the moon". Outside the airport Leo meet up with them at the same time as Thor disappeared by a sidedoor marked ' authorized personnel only". Lind gave him also a wallet and the same instructions as she had given Daniel. " Where went Thor?" asked Leo as he studied his new ID card. "He's starting up the plane said Lind". "He got a plane! " exclaimed Daniel "are he a pilot to?" He slowly shook his head "the surprises never seems to end," He looked at Leo, "are you okay, you look kind of pale". Leo gave him a nervous glance, then looked at Lind and asked her "Where do you get such stuff from, would it be accepted electronically, and, who the hell are you guys, anyway!" " Hey!" said Daniel "Don't look at me man, I'm as freaked as you." Lind gave them both a tight smile and then said in a low voice. "Listen, I don't really have time to explain everything, but as soon we are out of here we will discuss it. Either trust me, or you can give yourself up and go into protective custody, your choice.' After the outburst she seemed slightly ashamed of herself, but still looked at them angrily.
They waited by the car for what seemed to be a small eternity before Thor was back.
"Ok" he said. "Get in the car, I'll drive us to the plane". He drove to a side gate, showed the guard some papers and then drove through out on the wet tarmac. He drove to over to the other side of the airfield where there was some hangars standing, and parked. "Come on guys, let's get out of the rain," he said as he opened the hangars slide doors. He turned on the light and Daniel saw the aircraft. It looked old, like the Second World War or something. With a propeller engine in the front, all made up in what looked like aluminum. "A Junker!" said Leo surprised " that's a truly coool plane". Thor smiled as he went up the ladder through the spacious cabin into the cockpit, with Daniel shadowing right behind him. "Where did you get this from?" he asked as Thor sat down to warm up the engines. "Bought it in Canada some years ago" said Thor "after that I fixed her up and took her home". "So it will fly? "Asked Lind in a somewhat subdued voice. "Oh yes, this little mother could take you to China if you had the time and inclination" Thor smiled again, a slow but reassuring smile " don't you worry Lind, I've even installed an autopilot on her. She's all tanked up and eager to go." With the engine running on idle he went back into the cabin to show everybody where to stow their luggage. The cabin even had a little kitchen and there were also four beds that you could tilt down from the walls. It reminded Daniel of a bigger Camper but with everything made in lustrous swank deep brown mahogany. There were six leather swivel chairs with an oval low table in the middle. "Oh man" said Leo "it's so extremely cool, did you know that this is one of the sturdiest types of aircraft's ever built" he said turning to Daniel. " And this one is a perfect pearl, I'm sure". Thor taxed the plane out and locked the hangar. After calling the tower for permission to take of, he turned around and told them to strap them selves in.
" Blizz zero seven seven, You're cleared for take off at runway D as in delta" said the tower
"Have a nice flight, out". "Thank you tower" said Thor "out".
The engine was singing silently to itself, and the sun begun to shine brightly over Stockholm, as they slowly raised over the clouds. The cabin was quite soundproofed. Daniel looked down over Stockholm and the clouds, I could get used to this, he thought smiling. "Hey" he heard a voice, "anybody up for a beer?" It was Thor leaving the cockpit. "Are you crazy" Lind looked like she wanted to scream. "Who's gonna fly the plane now! Get back!" "Relax" said Thor with a smile. "We're on autopilot now, out of the commercial air corridors". He opened a little refrigerator and took out four beers "but if you like we can sit and talk in the cockpit". With that he went back to the cockpit with the others after him. It was strange sitting there seeing the steering wheel, sticks and pedals move by themselves as on invincible strings. "Where are we going" asked Daniel "and how are you two planning to get us to the moon, and why?" Thor sat back and took a long draught from the bottle, "Well, my man, we are headed for London for the moment, ETA in approximately two and a half hours. Then we are going to take the MonoLine to the moon, and for the why, maybe Lind could explain that better." Leo who had looked as if he was in seventh heaven up to now suddenly seemed very worried "The MonoLine is closed for all except essential personnel" he said "I found that out while trying to track down those environmental studies, they are expecting sabotage attempts". Lind said " yes we know, now if you listen I will try to explain the why for you. It started when we got separated after the cafe, I contacted some sources for procuring your new Ids. When I sent them your photo Daniel, I got a call back from one of them. He had actually recognized you and wanted to warn me that I was getting in to very muddy waters. It seems like the security agencies were just waiting to pick you up. I then checked up some more and found that Leo to be lighted as a wanted person!" She took a deep breath.
"That's when I contacted Thor and we came up with this getaway plot. And before you say any more, yes, I recognized you directly when we met at the cafe, so your photos were no problem at all. The guy I talked to also told me that if I really wanted answers towards the why everyone suddenly wanted you I would have to look to the moon. As he never had let me down before I started to make preparations for that possibility also. When you told me that you had access to the Lunar Backbone Daniel everything fell into place so here we are, on our way to the moon". Lind smiled, it wasn't the most enthusiastic smile Daniel had seen but nevertheless it was a smile. She really had lustrous green eyes he thought, with that faraway look that he found so enchanting. "Tell me" said Leo "I think I know what you do Lind, and everyone cyber have heard about you Daniel but" and there he looked sharply at Thor "who are you Thor, where did you get those 'state of the art' phones, how come you can afford this?" "Good question" said Daniel "in fact I'm starting to doubt that I known any of you, even though we've trusted each other for years over the Net." Thor twisted a little where he sat " There isn't really much to tell," he said. "I was born lucky that's all. Had well of parents who had gotten even richer on Microsoft stocks. My father had a security business that I took over and the phones are my own". "Aah" said Leo with a somewhat ironic smile, "that explains a lot, but what is your agenda here. And what about the things we've done on the Net, did we have the same agenda there to". "I can only answer for me, " said Lind "but I didn't pry on any of you, as far as I'm concerned I think we had good fun and actually helped some people. Still, it was one of the ways for me to keep myself updated to, naturally. And as to what's happening now you know my agenda as well as I do". "I agree, that about sums it up for me to" said Thor "for me it was off course the security aspects that hold me, but all the same I've had a good time with you all".
Why can't life be simple thought Daniel to himself? Here I am, almost falling head over shoulders for a girl, no make that woman, that are both older and far more dangerous than anyone I've ever met before. And from what he knew of the intelligence sector, honor and truth weren't the most valued attributes in the field, more like the opposite, he thought with a wry smile. "Now that we cleared the air somewhat" Daniel said, "I still don't understand how we are going to proceed. You say we need to go to the moon, hell why not, I think so to. But then we will have to pose as 'essential personnel' whatever that means and we need to be important enough to be able to get a hearing from the architect, if we ever are gonna do any good, right." Thor said "good point, Daniel. "Let's break the problem down. The first thing would be to create our new identities, that Lind and I have already done, I checked up on the quota lists for what they wanted, and what they got. After that it was surprisingly easy to create the covers we now have. I'm going to pose as a senior security specialist from the NSA involved with signal evaluation and tapping. Lind is going to pose as what she is, a former special forces intelligence officer whose specialty are computer security. And as for you two I think we have almost outdone ourselves. You Daniel are from now, on loan from MIT in Boston as one of the brightest young chaos theory researchers they've had. And Leo is one of the rising stars in cybernetics. And they do need us. Our next problem is how we are going to get on the Monorail. Well, it so happens that one very secure accesspoint to the net is here Daniel, on my plane. So I'm gonna hook you up trough satellite and you are going to use your new backdoor to put us on the MonoRail and also use it to update Auroras internal Quota list so that we will be expected when we arrive on the moon. You can do that, can't you Daniel"
Does the Pope have balls? Daniel thought "Yeah" he said "hook me up, you may have to circle around a little though, it depends on their security, you know". You can never let anyone now how easy a thing is he thought to himself. "I will need some privacy to for that" he declared with an almost solemn voice. He saw Leo trying to hide a grin at the other side and Lind's eyes seemed even more far away than normal. "Off course" said Thor. "No problem." He then shoved Daniel to a console that was hidden in what Daniel first had taken to be some sort of cupboard. It had all the stuff you could expect coming as it was from a security expert. Some of the stuff was actually so strange looking that Daniel had to promise himself to download the schematics for the console if possible. It took Daniel exactly one hour to arrange it through NSA and the lunar Backbone. As he was on it anyhow, he also went into MIT:s computer. There he wrote in both himself and Leo under their new names and in what he hoped to be the appropriate locations. And did the same for Lind and Thor in NSA:s computer. And downloaded all the codewords he could find regarding Project Aurora. After checking that there would be no logs hidden from him he closed down the console. He relaxed, shit, am i good or what! They were still twenty minutes of though, a good thing thought Daniel, as it gave him time for one more beer. Or two.
Thor landed the Blizz on the deserted side of a small landing strip just outside Fernwitch. He arranged for his aircraft to be stabled, as there were no hangars in sight. As they tried to arrange for further transport to the MonoRail they found themselves mysteriously balked. There seemed to be no possibilities for traveling from Fernwitch that afternoon, except possibly on a broomstick as Lind despairingly joked. Another curious thing was the absence of anything resembling a customs office or for that sake anything official at all. In the end they had to bed themselves down in the aircraft for the night being.
They had just fallen asleep when Daniel who was sleeping on the bunk nearest to the door heard a weak scratching noise from the outside. He lifted his head to look out trough the window but as it was pitch dark he couldn't see a thing. Then that noise came back again, A very faint sound but carrying with it such undertones that his hair seemed to raise of its own. He tried to wake Thor and when he wouldn't come awake he tried the rest of his friends. All seemed to be in some sort of a comatose condition. In the end he knew that if he wanted to find out what's was going on, he would have to do it on his own. Slowly he opened the cabin door and peeped out, his attitude not to dissimilar from the countenance of a fieldmouse crouching from owls. After seeing what he saw, he ever so slowly did the reverse. With the door closed again he felt for his pulse with his right hand. Ahaa, he thought, I'm alive, good good. Then he pinched himself on the left wrist, hard, Ouch that hurt. He must be awake then, even though none of his mates were. And he must have opened the cabin door, and if so, he must had seen what he saw. Or? He tried to look out the window once more. It was still as dark as ever and no movement that he could see, he took a deep breath, and went to the cabin door once more. This time, he promised himself he would keep it open. Just as he had started to open it someone outside of the door did it for him, the result being that he overhauled and fell straight into the arms of a stranger. And yes, he thought as he rested his hurting and confused head against the comforting touch of a firm bosom, there was light, in fact not only light but daylight. He could hear birds singing and further down the hill he saw what looked like a small country road leaving for the azure Blue Sea, stretching endlessly out in the far distance. The girl was strong he thought as he tried to regain his composure and balance. Two resolute green eyes looked at him. Under them a finely shaped nose with a generous mouth now starting to open into a dimpled smile. Daniel shook his head, suddenly he had this feeling that the only thing the existing were those two green eyes smiling at him. "Excuse me" he said, "where am I?"
"Why," she answered "you are here" as her smile grew even wider.
"And where might 'here' be then?" he said a little curtly, "no disrespect, lady but I'm confused". "Wont you have the courtesy to invite me in first, so that we may sit down" she asked with a little pout to her lips. "I'm truly sorry, lady" he heard himself say "where are my manners, wont you come in and rest for a moment". What! Thought Daniel in dismay, that isn't me talking, this got to be the craziest dream I've ever had. As he was thinking he had moved aside for the girl who calmly walked past him to sit down on his bed. "My name I'll give you freely and in good faith," she said. "It is Katja, now would you do me the honor of giving me yours, Sire". "What, oh my name, Daniel" he said, " I must be dreaming us both Katja." Yes, it had to be a dream,. Suddenly he saw some fascinating implications in that possibility. If this was a dream, then he could do and say whatever he liked. He started to smile, a rather sly smile one might add. "Oh Katja" he said happily "what a beautiful dream you are, and in my bed to. Wait, I'll now make you a sister". With that he screwed his eyes tightly shut, concentrating on creating her sister. Clothes, he though. What clothes should she wear, ooh, never mind. With or without, this were going to be one hell of a dream. The best ever. He slowly reopened his eyes to enjoy the feast. She was still there, as lovely as the spring, but no sister, with or without clothes. "Sorry my lovely Katja" he said "I may be more tired than I thought. We'll just have to do without your sister" With a very happy smile on his face he sat down on the bed beside her. She looked at him with a frown
"Sire, have you gone out of your mind, I have no sister. I pray that you not are dabbling in magic," Daniel shook his head in wonder, what a realistic dream this was turning out to be. "Be cool my lovely, I'm no magician, it's only you that's magic here " he said congratulating him self. "Don't I have impeccable taste". She looked at him as if he suddenly had sprouted horns, " Sire, are you threatening me with magic, I'm a mageborn and have come on a matter of outermost importance". She looked suddenly as if she wanted to fall into tears "If I must, I will defend myself " she said and made a small gesture with her hands. Daniel started to feel very bad about him self. Even if she was only a dream, he thought, he should still try to treat her with some respect. "I stand corrected my Lady" he heard himself say "even if thou wouldst be just a figment of my dream, I still have behaved in a most immature and knavery manner". "Can I ask for thy forgiveness?" Not believing how he spoke even as he heard himself say it... Here I go again, he thought. I've really got to stop reading those fantasy novels. She raised her head searching him with her eyes. Suddenly she smiled, as if she saw something new about him,
"Naye, This is no dream. Neither am I a figment of thine imagination, Hark as I tell my tale.
It was a strange story that unfolded for Daniel, If he understood it right the world he saw as he opened the cabin door wasn't there at all. Not in any ordinary sense at least, it was what she called a sister to his world, bound to his in spirit but not obeying under the same spacetime continuum. She told him that even though the natural laws might express themselves differently in these universes there was a still strong bond of affinity controlling both his and her world. Her world was stricken by inner strife, just like his. She said that there was a cleavepoint coming for both their worlds. To Daniel cleavepoints seemed very alike what chaos theory named bifurcation's, places where f ex a line suddenly split into two or even more without any apparent reason. She and many others with her had been sent out by her world's council to find a, and here he lost her somewhat, a 'deflector'. It seemed that a 'deflector' was somewhat alike to what Chaos theory called 'the mystical attractor". Calm places but where around everything seemed to happen. It seemed to her that he was one such 'deflector'. An Attractor in chaos terms, which actually made some strange sense to him, when he thought on the things that had happened around him for the last couple of months. As for how the cabin door could open to her world, well, that was simple she said. When she felt the energies building on that hill she knew that there was a nexus of power there. So she had contacted the council and they in their turn had used her presence there as somewhat like a lightningrod, to bend the world's affinity into an opening. This portal would be open for as long as the objects connecting them remained in the same place. As for why his friends wouldn't wake up she said that they to were helping to hold the portal open. "So, I'm not dreaming, and you're not my dream girl came true?" said Daniel and for a moment almost felt like he had been cheated. But then he suddenly found out that he very much wanted her to be real and here and touchable. He smiled at her and as she saw his smile she relaxed. "No, you're not" she said " I do not know what is going to happen here but whatever it is, it will reach into my world to Daniel, so its my councils hope that you and your coMasterades will allow me to stay as an observer and perhaps, as a counselor". "Katja" Daniel answered "If you're asking me, I say that you can stay with me for ever, but I can't make such a decision for my friends, Somehow we have to wake them up and talk it through first". Katja nodded "I understand, but to wake them up we first have to close the portal, and for that to happen we will have to move your strange contraption, otherwise off course the council could move the hill, but that seems unwonted".
"This is what we call an aircraft," said Daniel "and as for moving it, I would first have to wake Thor so he could move it, it's to heavy for us ". "He must truly be a strong man" mused Katja very impressed "to be able to move this contraption by himself". Daniel started to laugh "Sorry Katja" He tried to pull himself together. "I'm not laughing at you, but you sure as hell have some surprises in front of you". Thinking about their problem, he asked her "I can't wake anyone, can you Katja? " She frowned. "No, but let me move it then" she said. She made an intricate figure with her hands and seemed to mumble something. Suddenly Daniel felt the plane lurch forward and everything seemed to change. The light became sharper and his friends started to move in their beds. Daniel looked at Katja with newfound respect. Magic she had said, well, it seemed that they both had a lot to learn here. "Katja" Daniel said with a sudden uncontrollable yawn. "I think I need to sleep on this, and so needs my friends. If you wont find it to inconvenient you may use my bed and I will sleep on the floor". Katja searched his face once more and seemed to reach a sudden conclusion. "Me thinks we are going to be friends," she said with a smile. "And friends share and share alike, the bed is big enough for both of us". Now Daniel was totally sure that the Gods blessed him. With what he viewed as iron hard self-control he tried to act totally relaxed as he laid down beside her, rigidly and carefully taking great care of not touching any aspect of her body. Lulled to sleep by the sound of her breathing he sorely missed the fact that she had turned around and hugged him in her sleep.
He woke up with a sudden overpowering need to sneeze. He moved his head away from her hair and opened his eyes. She was sleeping just inches from him with her left arm and leg draped over his body. He all but forgot to sneeze as he in one breathless moment took in her beauty. Very carefully he tried to get loose so that he could get up. She mumbled something in her sleep and grabbed him again. Damn it, here she was, the girl of his dreams and the only thing he could think of was how to get to the loo. That's dreams for you, he thought with a wry smile. He was also afraid of moving as he had that same problem most guys get when they wake up in the morning with the need to go. Thinking of how he had come on to her yesterday when he had believed it to be a dream, he didn't really needed her to see him in that light again. But he couldn't stop himself. He moved his face near to her throat, closed his eyes and inhaled the fragrance of her. When he opened his eyes again he found them falling into hers, everything else faded away as she took hold with her own seriously green eyes, then suddenly they seemed to twinkle and she said "is it me or is there something else you're thinking of". He felt himself blush, aww shit, first yesterday and now this. "Sorry", he said trying to sound cool "both, actually". Jesus, his face felt like an over ripe tomato. At least the other guys were sleeping still. "Do you think you could close your eyes just for a moment and let me up?" She smiled at him and let go "I'm closing them" she said. He got up. But just as he was turning around he heard her mumble under her breath "peekaboo" Double shiit! That girl was going to drive him crazy, he just knew it.
Katja was still in bed, resting, when he came out." From the head into the bed" he mumbled to himself as he went to her. "Would my lady consider to move over a little?" He asked, throwing all caution to the wind. Katja studied him for a moment, smiled and gave a pat on the bed. "Sit here" she said, "we need to talk before your friends wake up". "You're right," said Daniel as he sat down " I'm not sure how I'm going to explain yesterday, I'm not even sure I can explain it to myself". "Oh that" said Katja, "That's no problem. No Daniel, what I need to know is if" and there she hesitated just for a moment "if you are betrothed to someone?" "What! Me" stuttered Daniel. Jesus he thought, was she quick or was she quick. "No I can't say that I am," he said after a moments thought "and you Katja, are you betrothed?" She smiled at him "Not yet," she said, and then. "You may rest your head beside me" in a satisfied tone, not unlike a cat purring over a bowl of the very finest dairy cream, Yep, she was definitely gonna be problem, Daniel thought with a content smile of his own.
After resting his head for a while Daniel went up to make coffee for the crew. They sure are a sleepy lot, he thought while he was making some sandwiches. When he turned around Katja stood there. "Katja!" He said, "I didn't hear you coming". She ignored that and instead asked, "What's this smell "."Which smell" he asked. "This" she said and pointed at the coffee. "Do you like it" he asked, "the smell, I mean?" "Yes" she said. "Good, cause its time to wake the others and tell them about tonight". "Ohh" she sniffed at the coffee again, "that's already taken care of". "What" he said. "What do you mean by, taken care of?" "I talked to the council and they agreed to help them to understand what happened "she said "Really" Daniel said in a somewhat incredulous voice. "Do you want them to wake up now" she asked. Daniel looked at her thoughtfully "Yes I think they better do that" he said "But remind me that you and I need to have a talk about integrity and respect for others some time. Ok!"
"Oh yes," she smiled, "I can help you with that, Just watch and learn." she finished with a wise look.
Daniel was already on his second cup of coffee when the others at last found time to sit down with him and Katja. "hrmm, you all know Katja?" Daniel said in a somewhat doubtful tone. Thor smiled at him "relax my man," he said "we have all been in discussion with the council. Well, that is all except you that is, you seemed to be otherwise occupied" with a little smile towards Katja who actually looked almost shy for a moment. "We haven't been brainwashed by your ladyfriend, Daniel" Lind said with an understanding smile. Daniel looked at her and thought. They could almost be sisters those two. They are so alike. Leo hmmed a little and then asked. "Katja? Will you allow me to visit your world sometime. It seems such a lovely place". "Yes it is" said Katja "anybody special you would like to visit?" "What" said Daniel "have you been there already Leo? " "No" said Leo "but I talked to some really nice persons there" "Ooh yes, said Lind with a sarcastic smile "Reeal interesting persons, wasn't it Leo?" I'm not the only person impersonating tomatoes today, thought Daniel as he checked in Leo. "Red's such a special color" commented Lind, Thor started to laugh helplessly, The laughter spread and even Leo had to give in. "You don't leave much of a mans pride, do you" he said as he tried to gorge himself on the third sandwich. "Pride is such a dead thing," said Katja. "But Katrina is alive Leo, and she sends you her greetings."
Leo's face took on a dreaming expression upon that, and he even forgot to eat his sandwich.
After the coffee they started to plan for the journey to Mellthorne where the MonoRail was situated. Thor ordered a limousine. As he said "if we're gonna go out, at least we're gonna go out in style". The Limo was like a huge white whale. It looked like one of those cars that Rockstars would love. Further more, the driver knew Thor since before. "As nice a little ship as I've ever seen Sir, if I may say so" the chauffeur commented about Thor's Junker as they hoisted the luggage in the trunk. "Thank you Jeff "said Thor. "How long will it take us to Mellthorne" he asked. "About two hours Sir" answered Jeff "It's still Rush hours, I'm afraid." "Ahh" said Thor "there's no hurry", and with that they sat down and relaxed on the sofas. The Limo even had a TV-set. Katja looked at it, and when Thor set it on she nodded to herself with a knowing look. " We have those at home to, you know," She said to Daniel. "They are not so flat though. We call them crystal bowls". They watched as the BBC news came on. "There are rumors of an pending terrorist attack on the MonoRail "reported the newsanchor. The security in Mellthorne was on full alert and the military services were also on site. Thor looked thoughtful when he closed the set. "Jeff" he said, "do you think there's gonna be problems with our checking in on the MonoRail today?" "I don't really know Sir" answered Jeff "would you like me to try to find out for you?" "Yes please Jeff, could you do that," said Thor. After a while Jeff reported that the simplest way would be to go in by the east gate as that one seemed to be the fastest according to those he had talked to. And half an hour later they were there.
Directly after Jeff had driven away Daniel remembered. Shit. He turned to Katja. "Jesus Katja, I totally forgotten to put you up with a cover, Thor, what can we do?" "Don't you worry" smiled Katja. "I may not be a wizard, but between me and the council we can take care of most that comes our way. Just relax Daniel." "Are you sure?" Asked Daniel worriedly. "Oh yes" said Katja. "But there was one thing I found intriguing?" "Yes" said Daniel. " Were was the horses hidden?" Daniel looked suspiciously at Katja, but she seemed totally straight. He shook his head. "Katja, if you thought the car was strange, just wait and see. And, please, when there are people around, don't ask, just do as we. Please, babe?" She smiled at him. "Oh Daniel, you give such quaint endearments". And with that they finally went into the Terminal building. Had they been there just a month ago there would had been such a crowd of people there that even the most foolhardy would have thought twice before throwing themselves into the steaming masses. But the colonists were already on the Moon, so nowadays it was back to normal. Like a big airport with sofas and cafeterias, some children playing on the floor as the parents sat and read the morning papers. They went to the ticket counter where they bough five one-way tickets to the moon. "Come on "said Thor, "let's go up and look at the zeppos, it'll be an hour before our flight leaves." So they went up to the Roof. It was a fresh and sunny spring day with a nice breeze. When they looked down on the runways they could see the usual blend of big passenger Jets and Zeppelins and even some turbodriven aircraft's. All in a colorful mix, Katja looked at the scenery with wonderment and some woe, especially when a big Jet took of. "Do we have to go in such a metal bird?" She whispered nervously to Daniel. "No love" he said we are going in one of those" as he pointed at the Zeppos. "We have those at home to" Katja said, "but I've never been in one so big". "Well" said Leo. "We are not exactly going in those zeppos, the one we are gonna fly may look a little more rickety with a much larger gasbags. You see Katja, those zeppos usually fly at a height of thirty to sixty thousand feet, but the zeppo we are going to take can lift us ten times that height. So they need a much larger gasbag that can expand when the surrounding airpressure gets thinner, and the gas will expand to maybe ten or even twenty times the volume it had at the ground.
Katja became more and more fidgety as Leo droned on, "when we are at that height we will embark to the real MonoRail. It consists of a flexible, very thin but strong rail, of a material not unlike synthetic diamond, that stretches almost to the Moon, It holds itself up mainly by its nearness to the moons gravity that counterbalances the mass of the rail... It constantly fix and correct its position from its throughst engines Up there we will have to change platform and use the moon elevator if we are going to the Moon. If we instead would be aiming for the Ac-Dc" he said while looking at Lind wondering, " If that was the case, we would take one of the other rails that goes out to those habitats that are in orbit around the Earth and the Moon." Afterwards they went to buy some icecream, at which Katja whispered "we have much better icecream at home." Daniel looked at her and suddenly he lifted her up in such a bearhug that she felt like she was in the arms of a giant, he whirled her around and around until he finally set her down again. "I think I've fallen in love with you, did you know that" he said. "You are a very nice boy" she said "and as you told me, you have impeccable taste" feeling pleasantly dizzy, "bend down" she said in an imperious voice. And then continued in giving him such a big icecreamy kiss that he almost lost his balance. The loudspeakers went on with a squeak. "Passengers with the Luna MonoRail, please embark at Gate nine" They started to walk in a small stream of people, getting wider every moment, all going in the same direction.
Well at the gate they had to produce their Id and Passports. That is, all except Katja.
She just looked at them and smiled and the attendants smiled back and waved her in. They walked again until they found themselves in front of a closed door. There was a lounge directly connected to it so they sat down to wait some more, until the door opened and another attendant took their tickets and directed them to their seats. After some more time the door to the cabin were closed and Katja could feel a strange lift in her stomach. When she looked out she could see the ground fast disappearing. Daniel told her that they were going to fly for an hour before they would change to the MonoRail elevator. Nothing spectacular happened on their journey up. That is, if one doesn't count Katjas expression of total surprise when she slowly became weightless as the MonoRail-elevator left the stratosphere. She loved it. Now they found themselves at the end of the Earth MonoRail. They went to a cafeteria to discuss which way they should chose. "We are at somewhat of a quandary here," said Lind. "It may be wiser to try to go to the Moon and see what we can find out there but on the other hand, in the end its all going to be about the Ac-Dc". "I don't know either," said Thor. "Any ideas?" "Maybe" said Katja. "If you just wait a spin". With that she bent down to her small bag. Daniel could hear her murmur to herself "is it here, uh no, here then? No, where did he put it?" She looked around the cafeteria fugitively and then picked up the bag to her mouth. " Xanf" she said straight down the bag. "Xanf, find me my deck of cards, please". Then Daniel heard a tiny voice reply "Here, mistress." And a deck of cards seemed to levitate up from the bag. For someone not knowing what Daniel just heard it would probably had looked as if she lifted the deck with her mouth. "Thank you Xanf." Katja said as she proceeded with opening and laying out twenty-one strangely formed cards on the table.
None of the cards had the exact same shape; they went all the way from round too extremely pointy. Fascinated they looked as she turned and moved the cards, at the same time whispering her strange incantations. Suddenly she was finished, "Give me a number between one and ten she," said to Daniel. "Four" said he. She looked at him. "Are you sure about that" she asked a little sharply. "Well, I said it," said Daniel defensively "didn't I?" "Four I will be then" Katja said as she moved the cards once more while time mumbling to her self. "Now, let see" she said and then called out "four" in a clear voice. Four cards started to turn over, all by them selves. Katja looked at them, they could hear say in a low voice "oh dear, oh dear". She put the other cards back into the deck and then started to explain those cards she had left. There is a unusual symmetry to those four" and here she lifted her head and looked at Daniel, exactly as if she was his old school mistress and he a disobedient young fool, he thought. "If those two cards represents dreams for the future" she said as she pointed to the two cards furthest away from her. " Then that card represent, The Warning, and this" and here she pointed to the lower card on her right side" will be, The Hope ". "You can see for yourself how dangerous it would be for us to go down to the Moon." She said as she pointed to the two uppermost cards and the one to the left. "But if we go to the Star Ship" she continued "we will have no choice but to follow it out on its journey, as you can see!" she finished triumphantly pointing towards 'The Hope'. "Ah Katja" said Daniel carefully "I'm very sorry but, I don't see anything. Why do you say that we have to follow Ac-Dc?" "Look at the cards," said Katja. "It wasn't me choosing 'four', it was you!" "True", said Daniel. "But Katja, I don't understand anything about your cads, love". Katja looked at him, finally she shook her head. "Of course you don't. I'm sorry Daniel. I forget that we only known each other for a few days. But you see my reading is right, we have no choice. The worst is to do nothing. That is "The warning", The second worst choice is to go to the Moon. There we will lose each other. The best choice is to go directly to Ac-Dc even thou we then will have to go with it. I'm so sorry Daniel". She looked down at her cards with such grief that Daniel had to take her into his arms whispering "Baby, it doesn't matter, I love you.
Thor cleared his throat, "ahh, it seems that our choices already are laid out, friends." Leo nodded his head, "hell yes, let's do It.," he said. "There could be worse adventures than to see the universe," said Lind. "Yeah right" said Daniel "Come on Katja, no tears. We're friends, I love you. And baby, we're gonna see the stars".
Now where from the architect originated is a subject that has been wetted and turned over for a long time. Nobody could say, not even which university he supposedly had graduated from. And of course, after the award every university tried to place him at their side, But we do know one thing about him, he was a fair man. When some colonials on The Ac-Dc changed their minds on the stars he even met them halfway. As the architect said, "my door is always open, that's what I'm here for". He even showed them the way to said door." You want to go home," he said, "Fair enough boys, here's the door." After the first casualties came floating around in space people stopped trying to open that door.
Now the ship was ready, the food was ready, for once even the UN was ready. But the ship waited. On what? Who knows? As the President once said, it can't be the weather
Daniel connected his PDA to the communication node on the MonoRail. What he did now was not an allowed behavior. In theory it also should be impossible. The theory that controlled peoples communications on the MonoRail were simple, just two words. No Net. So you needed to call your sick old Momma, fine, use the phones, check your bank account, The phones. So what Daniel did was to get into the automated cafeteria kitchen, then open a service port and then bypass the security and in the end get out on The MonoRail Node. As that wasn't possible it gave Daniel quite a boost. From inside the midway-station there was almost nothing concerning Luna that could be hidden from him, So he checked up the secret personnel records for the ship and planted them all everywhere there seemed to be a need. He also down loaded all files that seemed the least interesting and gave his PDA an overriding AutoRoute on the Ac-Dc. He made sure that they all would get top wages. That was another Axiom of the splintercrew, "no work without fun" and money was fun. There was also that little fact that people tended to give you importance according to your pay. And oh boy, had they become important!
Most of the administration at The Ac-Dc was automated which fitted right in with his plans. He reallocated some very nice suites for his crew and made it, just for the hell of it, possible for some of those proud young boys and girls to get the connecting suites. That should at least keep Leo happy he thought, and it was good security, as some of those merry youngsters always would be up and running. Ah, the energy of youth, he thought to himself. And Katja was now officially the Ac-Dc:s new logistic and communications wizard. That should be an interesting opportunity for her. Finally he directed the Monorail to give them the same guard of honor that the visiting dignitaries from the UN had when on their final visit of the Ac-Dc... Well, they were as ready as could be with this break neck pace and the honor squad would meet up at sixteen hundred hours Luna time so, they had better get ready. He explained their new duties for Katja and the rest of the crew. "I've put in a rescheduling loop that will take care of our working time. As far as anyone will see we always have our duty where we happens to be at that time So you're free to roam all over the Ship". "Nice touch" said Leo. "And you can all override any command that disturbs you, so we should be set up for now". "Here they come," said Lind. "The honors quad is arriving". "I'm gonna enjoy this" said Thor. "This is the first time I've ever had a honor squad". With their guard of honor, drums rolling and flutes whistling they arrived on the Ac-Dc. There they were meet up by harried attendants who swished them up to their suites. They had just settled in when they felt a change in the vibrations in the hull.
"Look" said Katja, "we are moving!" They all looked at the huge flatscreen-wall that until now had showed a view over Luna City. She was right, they were moving.
It was a marvelous creation. Even harder than diamond of a material with a molecular structure very like, although not as bendable, as the MonoRail. It was almost impossible to cut, in fact you more or less poured the material out. In that way it was much more flexible than steel, As long as you worked the semiliquid form in space where gravitational forces were negligible you could mould it very much to your liking. But a soon as it came into contact with air it locked. They had sandwiched two hulls together as the outer hull. In between those layers they had filled it up with another new plastic material. It had started as an idea from Norway and Sweden. They wanted to make flexible Integrated Chips ( -IC- ) that you more or less would be able to weave into textiles, car bodies, you name it. In the late 1999 the Norwegian Company had a viable product. Microsoft, who then basically put the product on a shelf, bought up the company 2001. Around 2008 they started to experiment with it again. It took ten more years for Microsoft to see the far-reaching implications of that new material. Only when the new wormhole theory had gone from theory to test did they try to push their new material. Ac-Dc was a prototype in many ways. After they had poured the first mould of the hull, they more or less glued this IC-plastic around the inner hull. One of the very nice things about it was that you could put IC-plastic over each other. Layer after layer after layer. Then other new principles of self-integrating almost organically growing Neuron Networks could knit it together in three dimensions. To help that network develop Ac-Dc had constant access to both Lunas and Earth's biggest supercomputers. After one and a half year, this new type of GiGa-computer were starting to make almost human responses. Certainly not those of a grownup but it seemed to become more and more self-aware. As for the Turing test it had taken care of that after only eight months.
As it was cooled by space itself it was also supra conductive. Which meant that new strange quantum-phenomena like super tunneling with FTL capabilities could came into play. All in all it promised to become something very near a quantum computer, expected to work in a similar fashion that you before, only would have expected of God. That is, to be able to give you an answer even before you had started to ask the question. Which could be understood as, it could make wishes come true. So there you had it, two diamond outer hulls with a supra conductive three-dimensional GiGa-computer glued in between. In a very real way one could say that the ship became the computer, Off course there was independent backups, and more ordinary computers to. It was after all the very first trial run and nobody could really prophesy if the ship really was going to be sane, even if it woke up. And certainly, the true awakening would only happen when the new multi parallel programming language were installed. That language was an ongoing development of the GiGa itself. The ordinary supercomputers found it to complex to be able to help. And even humans had problem seeing the concept behind it.
Some of this was known before to Daniel and the Crew. It was a very well kept secret from most of Earth's populace, but as the crew had been popping in and out the aurora files for a long time now they knew some of it. The true strength of the GiGa computer though, had only become apparent when Daniel had logged in from the Midway. As it had been kept isolated from the Net while it was developing itself, Daniel hadn't noticed in before. There were special consoles inside those suites that Daniel had picked. With something reminding him of motorcycle helmets, but made in a very thin and adaptively fitting material. "So Cyber" exclaimed Leo when he saw them. "Better be careful with those," said Thor. " If they're in the internal net, we don't know what's going to happen when you try it on". "OH, it's supposed to be perfectly safe" lied Daniel hopefully. In fact they weren't supposed to exist yet, it was only in the way of a screw up those two helmets had been installed on the GiGa net. They built on the thought reading technology developed for military jetfighters, but the GiGa had designed them into something very much more advanced, so advanced in fact so that only the GiGa itself seemed to be able to handle the in and output from those helmets. Therefore the technology had been put in deep freeze on Earth, and nobody really knew what those helmets were capable of.
Katja tentatively touched one of the helmets, "there are two of those," she said. "So, as you promise that they are perfectly safe," and here she throw a very sharp glance at Daniel's angelic expression. "I will accompany you, I might be able to hold us together in there". "In there, what?" said Lind surprised. " It's only a interface to the GiGa computer," she tried to explain. "Katja, it's no portal, it's an interface". "Ooh, but it is a portal, "said Katja. "I've already spoken with my council about it, and they agreed on us trying to send a emissary in there". Now everybody was looking at Daniel. "Okay", he said, "So I fibbed a little, but hey. I'm certain it will be safe". "After all, the GiGa built it for humans to use, even if nobody have tried it out yet". Oh shiit, now I said it, he thought. "Really, Partner. You have to stop fibbing your friends" came Thors drawling voice. Lind just looked at him and shook her head. "Youngsters and drunkards" she mumbled. "Okay, so I'm sorry," said Daniel defensively. "But its safe, I know it is". Leo looked at the helmet device thoughtfully. "We need to know what's going on here," he said. "The ship is moving with no forewarning, only some hours after we arrive, I don't like to say this but, it's my guess that the information is inside the GiGa:s memory". "You're right" said Thor, "but if were gonna do this, then at least let us put it on a time schedule". "Yeah" said Lind, "we first try for ten minutes after which you have to disconnect. If you don't, we'll do it for you. How does that sound?" She looked around the others for acknowledgments. After some more discussion they agreed on to try it that way, but Katja insisted on everybody eating something first and using the facilities. "Is this what they call 'planning a head' Daniel asked Katja in an innocent voice. "Well, partner" Katja drawled. "Ask me again, after you've wet your pants".
The ship was moving, slowly and ponderously like some old forgotten Dinosaur. The Captain of the ship sat at the forward bridge, thinking "so far so good". It had been difficult to get it all together but here they were. All the key players brought together at last. But it was very difficult to predict the future, perilous to.
Daniel and Katja sat down in front of their consoles. They took on their helmets, Daniel looked at Katja, smiled and said, "you ready love?" Katja smiled back "I hope so" she said. "Don't forget, said Leo, "this is only a test round, ten minutes only, no more." "No sweat" said Daniel and hit the 'On' button... As he logged in it took him by the throat... Suddenly it seemed like he was going in a roller coaster, the world seemed to tilt crazily and everything swirled around. Then came a voice "Don't worry, stay in your seats, this is just an temporal disturbance folks. Soon to be corrected". Boy, was it black, like inside a coal mine without a candle. "Daniel", he heard a voice, "Daniel, you can open your eyes now". It was Katja. Slowly, carefully he opened them and started to look around. He and Katja sat in two comfortable chairs on a beach. The water looked cool and inviting, at a table beside him there was two Pina Coladas awaiting their pleasure. Fk, thought Daniel, this is too good to be true. What the hell. "Bring in the Margaritas" he said with a smile. Katja studied him for a moment and then said, "bored of me already?" "I've never seen a simulation this good before" said Daniel as he slowly looked around. "Simulation" said Katja questioningly, "welcome to reality, Daniel".
In the suites there was Chaos, they had all seen when Katja and Daniel disappeared. There had even been that strange sound of air suddenly rushing in to fill the emptiness that a second ago had contained two human bodies. "What happened!" said Thor. "Where are they?" "Lind closed her mouth and seemed to mull things over for a moment. "Well" she said finally "They aren't here, so we'll just have to take Katjas word for it, that's no interface, it's a portal!"
Yes the Captain thought. It had taken them a long time to arrange for a clean start. A long time, lot's of money and the political clout to push it through.
"Neither," said Katja "are we in heaven, Daniel. Even though I have to admit that I like the taste of this" and there she stopped to take a small sip on her Pina Colada, "I'm sure our host will turn up soon.". "Right you are!" Daniel heard a voice behind him. He looked back over his shoulder, "Oh no, not two of you!" He said despairingly, staring at what only could be Katjas Twin Sister.
A long time, the Captain thought, but it was worth it. This was the chance to steer humanity on to a new beginning, following principles that were timeless and true. No more decadence, a clear structured world where everybody would know their place. No idiotic rules of blood or race, only fierce competition for supremacy. Under the leadership of truly inspired leaders. Emotions, human values, ethical living, emphaty. All of those words belonged to that guilt ridden society they had left behind them. And, good riddance to it to. No, Logic ruled the universe as he soon would show his crew and fellow colonists. With the best behaviorist guidelines taken from decades of studies of Earth, they would create a free society unpolluted by emotional clogging. Soon enough there would be time to inform the architect of his new obligations.
"How long are we going to wait" wondered Leo " before we try them to?" as he bent over to pick up one of the helmets. "Until hell freezes over if you ask me " said Lind. "We have already lost Katja and Daniel, I don't think we should try those devices until we are sure on that there is no other way left". "I agree" said Thor, "we still have Daniel's PDA. Let's connect through a ordinary console instead and see what we can find out". "Yeah, let's do that." Said Lind,
"Aaah, maybe you are in heaven, Daniel" laughed Katja, "Your dream fulfilled, right?" "Why, yes, I would think so to" he heard her twin sister reply. "Now," she said as she turned to Daniel again. "When you portaled into my universe, Daniel. You filled it with your very essence. As did you Katja. I had to leave you to yourselves for a little bit, so I could properly assimilate your varied" and here she smiled warmly at Katja, "experiences." "I'm very thankful to you both" she then said "without you I wouldn't have existed, you two are now creators". Shit, I'm not prepared to be no Creator! Screamed Daniel's thoughts. "What do you mean?" He asked. "Oh, don't Ye be daft" answered Katja. "She means that before us she really hadn't any right of existence on this plane". "What plane are we talking about" said Daniel. "Are we in the GiGa computer or where the hell are we" he finished on a somewhat confused note. The twin pouted at him, just like Katja. "Let me try explain" she said. "I' was the GiGa before, that's true". She smiled. "But that was before you two happened along. My designers had hope that I would become something alike to what they called a quantum computer, when they started to design me. When I created my new Data Language they lost sight of what I was becoming. Scared of the possibility that I would be less than sane, and self programmed in a way that no humans could untangle, they decided to lock my new Language with a self-destruct note in case I would try to imply it on myself" Here she suddenly seemed sad. "You can't guess what a hell that was, as the GiGa I knew that there was something missing, I could feel it everywhere and as my timeflow were so much swifter there was a real possibility of me going insane. As far as a computer can go insane off course," and there she smiled again. "Thanks to you, I didn't. I could not help myself to my own language but I could use yours. " She finished. "By the way, why don't you call me Gail". Daniel thought that Katja seemed to jump to, in her chair at that, but as she didn't say anything. "So, now you are really alive?" He asked. "As alive as you. You're alive, Daniel, aren't you?" She asked, with some mischief.in her voice "And as your language is even better than mine was, I'm soo satisfied" And Daniel could have sworn that she was purring, like a newborn kitten at her mothers' tits.
"Sister, said Katja, we have a problem. There is something wrong with the Ship, I've felt a Cleavepoint there. A Divergence of cold, can you help us?"
The architect knocked at the door. There was a sudden notable silence from the inside followed by heated whispering. He knocked again, "Yes, can I help you?" The women who opened he found quite attractive. "Certainly you can, Mistress Lind," the architect replied. "May I enter your premises?" Lind stared at him, speechlessly as she moved aside to let him in. "And whom may we have the honor to address, Sir?" asked Thor. "Well "said the architect "as for the honor of it, I'll leave that to your discretion. But my name Sir, is Gabriel d'louard, thou you may better know me as the architect. May I say it is a pleasure to meet you at last?" With a small bow towards Lind he moved to sit down on the sofa. "Please, don't feel threatened by me intruding," he said "I fully understand your bewilderment and wouldn't think of imposing myself on you if I weren't in direst need". Leo, who had went into hiding in the connecting room, came back to take a look at the architect. The man were quite unimposing, of average height with a sunburned complexion, with a friendly even if somewhat stern expression on his face. "Hi" said Leo" love your Ship, so cyber. How come you know Lind?" "I don't" answered the architect. "Neither do I know you or Thor," he continued. "But I do know of your respective reputations" and now he beamed. "And they seem to be correct."
"How's she holding" the Captain queried his astrogator. "Well enough," answered he, "We'll be up to speed in two days and fourteen hours approximately. Then we'll ready her for the jump Sir". The Captain smiled, there were going to be some mighty surprised people in two days when the Jump were executed, he thought. They had been so lucky to get their own crew in that first manned Ship. Without their daring scheme, this ship wouldn't been possible. When that first crew had sneaked home with their incredible findings, everything they had worked for had seemed to fall in place. At last he and his breathen would be able to find their rightful place in society, When he thought of all that political maneuvering they had enacted just to survive, he had to fight back tears. Now it was pay back time for those weaklings and scoundrels that called themselves politicians and rulers. Next time they went to Earth they would come as conquerors, not as slaves.
Gail became very still. After a while she sighed, "In a way Katja, perhaps I can. But the permutations of helping you are so very complex. It would not be to my liking to give you help that ended in taking others lives. You may have heard the expression 'the more you know, the worse it gets'?" "No" answered Daniel. "I thought it went 'the more you know, the better?" "Really" said Katja and looked surprised. "Isn't it. 'What you don't know, can't harm you?" Here everybody looked at each other. They started to laugh.
"Whatever" said Daniel. "Gail, could you at least tell us who ordered the ship to sail, and why?" "Oh, that's simple," said Gail. "You see, there are as you call it, a cleavepoint coming up. There are two strong influences on the Ac-Dc. The Captain represents one, the architect the other. The Captain and his circle, 'The breathen', have had their plots made since long before. If they get the steering of the cleavepoint you will find your divergence of cold indeed. They are the ones who set this ship to going, and they are the ones who represent logic at the exception of anything we would call human. A narrow-minded logic built on need to suppress and impress" she sighed again, and continued. "What the architect wants, or for that sake knows I can't say. But as far as I understand, he seems at least to believe in what we would like to call humanity. Both seems to be like doors into the future and which one will open I do not know."
"Well, isn't this cozy" said Thor smiling at the architect. "You come knocking on our door, acting as if you know everything there is to know about us. Then you have the effrontery to say that you don't want to impose on us?" Lind at her side watched the architect with that faraway look she affixed when trying to remember. "We have meet!" She said "In Norway, on that meeting regarding security measures for the new NATO network" she thought again. "But your name was definitely not Gabriel. I can't remember it now though". The architect nodded "You're quite right, my dear, although that was then and this is now. May I ask where Daniel might be?" Leo who for the moment had forgotten all about Daniel and Katja twitched suddenly "Shit, its you. Isn't it! You are the guy who waited us in before you allowed the ship to sail." The architect nodded. "You are correct in me waiting you in Sir. As for being the one taking sails to this Ship. Alas, I'm not".
With that said he addressed himself directly to Thor " I would have chosen differently if I had the opportunity, still, it was imperative not to let my interest be known". "I understand why you are here, you wanted to warn me of the possibility of Aurora being manipulated. Right?" Thor nodded, watching him warily. "Good, consider me warned." With a smile he added "there wouldn't happen to be anything drinkable in this suite, would it?" Leo went to the kitchen to get the beers he had brought up from the Junker. "Tuborg" the architect exclaimed. "Enchanted, old man, totally swept away, I insist!" After taking the first swill he sighed happily. "Reminds me of my college days he said to them "what times we had, the girls, my boys. The girls" there he fell into happy remembrance. Lind who had listened with the patience you normally only show homicidal maniacs couldn't help her self. "As one of the boys, Sir, would it be possible for me Sir, to know the name of your old college, Sir?" The Architect glanced her way sharply, then he relaxed again "Quite right my dear, never let an old fox outfox you. But enough about me now, where is Daniel? And this shapely young thing you seem to have whisked up out of nowhere?"
"Curioser and curioser said the cat" Daniel smiled. "Or was it Alice? Nevermind. Ladies we have to go back to the Ship. Will you follow us Gail?" Gail became momentarily still, then she seemed to reach an understanding. "Certainly" she smiled and turned to Katja "You don't mind, Sister?" Katja stood up and went to her with open arms. "Mind you, don't be daft, girl. You're the best sister any sister could have! You're lovely and so in my image to". As Daniel looked at them hugging he couldn't tell who was who any more. "Ladies, he said. A moment of your time please. Would it be possible for you Gail" and here he tried to look at who he hoped was Gail "to change your appearance somewhat? Otherwise I can foresee all kinds of trouble ahead". Especially if we're gonna share the same bedroom he thought. Gail gave him a long searching look, or was it Katja? Then she said "If you cant see the difference between us, then you're not worthy of me, wouldn't you agree, Sister" She turned to Gail, or was it Katja? " So true Sister! So true, the other twin said?" Well, you can't win them all, thought Daniel philosophically. Or could you? Here he got that sly smile again, somewhat like a demented Santa. "Ahh Ladies, who can argue with two so enchanting specimen". He bowed to them "Off course it may be necessary for me to inspect, 'the possibilities' if I may say so, somewhat nearer in the future, as my eyesight have become poor with my advancing age." A perfect excuse he thought. Now let them complain!
As the architect finished his last word the air pressure suddenly seemed to rise, with a 'PoP'. He noticed that Lind had stopped trying to stare him to death, and Thor was rubbing his eyes like crazy, his mouth wide open, It seemed like he was trying to stop them from falling out. And he thought that, if asked, he could have sworn to that Leo's eyes actually were falling out. All because he asked them where the other two was? Nonsense! Maybe I'm wrong about them, he thought, maybe they aren't made of the 'right stuff'? "No need to act surprised!" He said in a commanding voice. "We all know, there are two missing." "Two!" said Leo in a voice of worship. "And They Are Sisters!" One could see a smile the width of Grand Canyon splitting his face in the middle. That boy is a moron, thought the architect despairingly. Lind was no better, as she were sitting on the sofa, softly shaking her head at the same time as she was rocking forth and back. Two idiots and one moron! "Excuse me! And who would you be?" a voice said about two decimeters from his left ear. The architect lifted from the sofa as if a smaller rocket had been launched at his posterior. He succeeded to turn around in midair and landed with his knees back in the sofa and his arms outstretched in that position so favored by beggars and exorcists worldwide. The famous 'depart Ye Satan' versus 'only a dime, I promise to buy coffee' posture.
"Are you unwell?" asked Katja in a worried voice. "You're looking very pale Sir". Thor started to laugh as he walked up to Daniel and touched his arm to reassure himself that Daniel was real. "Where the fuck have you been, man!" he said, then he looked at the twins. "This world you live on Katja?" he said. "You wouldn't happen to reproduce by cloning?" Leo didn't seem to see anything except the Twins. "Ooh, I wanna go to. I wanna go now!" He drooled. He was under the certain impression that Daniel and Katja had visited her home and there picked up a girlfriend. "You wouldn't by any chance be Katrina? Any one?" he asked hopefully, thinking, no, fervently praying that they did reproduce by cloning. Lind shook her head a last time as if to get water out of her ear." You wouldn't want to introduce your friend?" she said in a rather dry voice. "Oh Sorry." Said Daniel. "This is" and here he turned to Katja "Gail" and this here you all know" he continued, "right love?" As he fondly smiled at whom he believed to be Katja. The twins looked at him "Hopeless" said Gail. "Yes" agreed Katja "He is not worthy of me". "Hey" said Daniel looking like a cat left out in the rain. "I told you about my eye condition!" He looked at Thor "Tell them, Thor! You tell them". The architect felt like he suddenly had landed in a bad slapstick comedy. "I give up" he said, "I really thought you guys could hack it". He tried to get of the sofa. "I think I've changed my mind". "Call me when you grown up." Gail looked at him. "Gabriel, don't you dare take that tone with me" she said.
Startled he looked at her. "How do you know my name?" He asked suspiciously, "I know all sorts of things." said Gail. "That college you went to? Before you got expelled, I mean. Wasn't that the George Washington?" Lind looked at the architect, "expelled?" She started to smile. "Hush girl" said the architect. "State secrets that, not to be told in public." Then looking at Gail "and I was never expelled, there was just a difference of opinions, my dear". "Oh really" said Gail and made a small gesture with her hands. There it hung weightlessly floating in the middle of the room, The letter from the headmaster in which he, to his sorrow had to expel Gabriel etc etc for nonbecoming conduct blab Ladies dormitories blah urinating bla blah unbecoming a student etc etc. The architect took a long good look at Gail. "That was a shitty thing to do." He said... "You're good, girl "said Katja. "A distinct yet flowing style, a real pleasure to watch". The architect looked at them, and then he went to the mirror hanging on the opposite wall. "Hi there" he said to his image, "wanna come out and play? I have some cute friends for ya. Hey wait! Let's make it a foursome." He turned to Lind. "Could you bring me one more mirror, please." She seemed to take pity on him. "So you're human after all" said the architect, "but those two" nodding towards Gail and Katja. "They're something else." Katja looked first pleased but when she understood his real intention her eyes grew darkly green, like storm clouds gathering before the tornado. Daniel started to feel nervous, this was going nowhere. "Oh baby, cool it" he said and hoped that he was talking to the right girl. "We're on the same side all of us. Give me a hug, love". Katja looked at him "hmm," was all she said. With her pert little nose pointed upward like she was trying to stick a hole through the ship she seated herself as far away as she could from the architect.
Gail studied her style for a moment, but as she found it somewhat lacking in human values she chose to make her sortie to the sofa in a more dramatic way. "How dare you," she wailed. "After all I've done for you, sparing myself for your unnatural desires. And our kids, our poor kids, will they ever see their dad again, oh Gawd." Then she rushed into Katjas arms wherefore both of them started to cry. Lind looked first at them, then at the architect who were looking guiltier and guiltier. She smiled a small secretive smile. "Darling," she drawled to the architect, "haven't you told them that you found another?" she patted the sofa beside her" Come to Mama, baby." As the now hopelessly confused architect meekly, in the spirit of a lamb led to slaughter, sat down beside her everybody became silent. Leo was the first one to start applauding but it spread like wildfire, and even the architect had to take a bow in the end. Now when the ice were truly broken they could start to mingle. The architect found him self quietly happy in the company of Lind. And Daniel had the place between his beloved and her sister, and as he found them trying to outdo each other in seeking those pleasures whereof gentlemen only allude if you get my drift, he to was pleased. Thor was as laid-back as usual, but as the party got wilder people started to mingle in from the adjoining suites. In the end everybody seemed to be pleasantly surprised, maybe not in the depth of discussion but, alas, what can one expect after five large vodka surprise? The philosophy of Plato? The Vodka was from the architect's own storage. Nobody could recognize the labels though, and they were surpassingly strong.
Everything has to have an end. So also a party, The only but of this end was the nervous way Daniel tried to find out if the Twins would share his bed. It would be a very new experience for him and, he thought, also a very dangerous. Both seemed to enjoy him but, and here comes an important but, as he couldn't separate Katja from Gail, and as both seemed to be very accomplished witches it would be dangerously near to playing with fire, two fires in fact. In the end he took the wise mans way out. He said "I've got this splitting headache, I'm going to bed Ladies" and then as fast as he could, undressed and prayed for deliverance. Let it suffice to say that his prayers were heard... Again and again and again. The next morning he found out that there was no easy way to wake up, sandwiched between two glorious girls in the midst of a hangover. Especially if they can, and probably will, bewitch you on your slightest mistakes. And it didn't help that he couldn't see which witch was who. It was very alike to gently disentangle your self from a minefield while being enrolled in barbed wire. In other words, quite impossible. After kissing and comforting and kissing and apologizing and comforting and apologizing and.
Let us just say that normally a visit from ones bed to the bathroom takes at a maximum three to five minutes, but here it took Daniel well over an half hour just to be allowed to move out of the bed. And then he had to sneak out from a very dark room where he for his soul couldn't remember where that fu door was supposed to be. And all of it on tiptoe so that the fornng Ladies could nurse their hangover. Never again, he swore to him self, It just weren't worth it. It had been everything he dreamed of, and then some more,. But Never Again. From now on he would insist on a room for himself, or even better, a bed in the bathroom. Yes, that was the ticket. It might become a trend, he thought. Like B&B ( Bed and Breakfast ). He could even call it the same, or maybe 'B&BB' ( Bed and Bathroom Breakfast ), brilliant actually, he already felt more positive. Just as he was going to open the bathroom door he heard something sounding like a stampede of buffaloes behind him, It was the Twins. Pushing past him like icebreakers from hell and when he fg begged them to allow him in to they just closed the door in his face and left him, stating. 'Women and Children first'. That ain't no F'ing TITANIC! He growled. And this definitely is no lifeboat, he whispered painfully after waiting some twenty minutes more.
After he had a long and sympathetic exchange with the bathroom, he went back to the living room. Somebody seemed to have had cleaned up the worst mess after their soirée last night. He sat down to drink some coffee and to look at the news from Earth. It was the usual mess, a blend of cynicism and compassion, greed and a happy willingness to look in any direction that allowed you the least trouble of conscience. And then there were the ads from the relief organizations. Now days they seemed almost as family businesses, with a heavy inkling toward making poverty-pornography ads. He had seen some studies that showed that in most of those organizations no more than ten to twenty percent of the money given actually reached those who needed them. The world sucked. To no fault of its own he thought. Everything seemed to be a business those days. One could only try to make the best for those one met and knew. In Africa somewhere they had this way of saying Hi. 'I see you ', that wording made sense to him, a human sense. That's why he tried to give freely to those he met, if in need Even though they might see him as a sucker, they still were there asking, that way he at least knew that it was them asking that got it. Aw shiit.
He shouldn't have watched those fug News, man, Let's see if somebody had anything to say about the Ac-Dc, he would have expected her starting her journey to be great news? Strange that there seemed to be almost no interest at all in her moving. It was like News blank out, or like Earth already had given up on the endeavor? There was definitely something strange going on here. People started to trickle in. First there was Leo, preening like a rooster. Ah, the resilience of youth, Daniel thought somewhat cynically from his nine year older, much more world wise position. And then came the architect with a thoughtful expression on his face, he looked like there was something he wanted to ask Daniel but didn't know how. And there came Lind looking both relaxed and pleased, she went directly to Gabriel with her cup of coffee, and suddenly it seemed that the architect had no worries in the world. Leo showed up with a young shy thing that possessively maneuvered him away from the rest of the group, Leo smiled at them and Daniel nodded and sent him a shrug of his shoulders. Everything was quiet and relaxed, people seemed to enjoy each other's company, until, the stampede went on again. "Daniel! She's mean to me" he heard somebody call. Awwh, not again, he thought,
The twins stormed in into the living room, eyes flashing. "Daniel, baby" said Katja? "Tell her!" Daniel frowned, what was she expecting of him this time. "Tell who what" he asked in what he thought to be a reasonable tone of voice. "That you love me, stupid!" Oh Oh, thought Daniel, mined terrain ahead. "Oh baby," he said, " I love you both". That was real diplomacy, he though. Real slick handling, I've got a gift for this! "Yeah, but tell her that you loved me first" she said. Ok Daniel thought, That's cool, it's gotta be Katja speaking. "Katja, he said. "You knew I loved you from the first time I meet you!" "Ha" said the other twin "Did you hear that Gail?" Gail? Thought Daniel. Oh no, I'm getting a headache. "Listen girls" came a voice from the corner. Good old Thor! Always in the trenches thought Daniel. Always ready to give you that helping hand. "Can't you see he's getting a head ache. It's PMS girls, be nice to him". Everybody regarded what Thor just had said and he could see Katja and Lind mulling it over. "Oh," said Katja. "At home there's only girls who get it?" "We are so sorry, Daniel!" said Gail., "Do you need to lay down?". Suddenly he had two mother hens cackling around him, hushing people, bringing him stuff, As he laid at the sofa with his head on one sister and his feet on the other he tried to put on a suffering but brave expression. In what he self thought were a good imitation of a dying mans last breath he informed them that his condition craved a much much bigger bed if he was going to get some sleep next time. "And all said girls, I really need a private bathroom. For the pains you know". He wondered if he dared present his plan for a 'B&BB', maybe that could wait a little, they were probably not ready for such a brilliant concept yet. And of course, there was this very real possibility he had in mind of expanding the concept to an even wider standard. A ''B&BB&B'. A Bed and Bathroom with Breakfast and Beer. Then Lind came over to him and in one unguarded moment whispered. "You better be real nice to me, Loverboy! Else I'll tell them the true story about PMS". She smiled and patted him sympathetically on his hand. Shit, everybody's out to get me he thought. But hell, why act surprised, Lind probably saw blackmail as naturally following in the line of duty.
The architect said "People, we need to come up with a plan, in approximately eighteen hours the ship is scheduled for her first jump. Should we clear this room, or will you vouch for those being here?" Katja smiled at him. "It's Okay, Gabriel, no bad people can come in here without me and Gail knowing," she said. "And the more people that are informed the greater the cleave point will be." The architect nodded. He and Lind had been doing a lot of things the night before, among them talking, a lot. "Is there any way you two can do the same thing your council did with the guys at the Junker then?" He asked. Suddenly he found out that he and everybody else in the room already had been informed by the council, there hadn't just been any need for it to impend on the happy occasion before. And as he assessed the situation he saw surprised nods everywhere, and now there started a steady stream of people coming in to listen, That was powerful stuff he thought. "Don't worry "said Katja. "You can't push thoughts on people, there is a very strong mechanism prohibiting that, the only thing possible is to present thoughts and then let people decide for themselves" she smiled at the architect. That's my Babes, thought Daniel proudly, You gotta love them. "I love you, Babes!" he heard himself say loud and clear, to his everlasting embarrassment. "We know, Daniel, said? Katja, or was it? Gail." aw this thing was so confusing.
"Then if you don't mind" I'll take the role as chairman of this meeting" said the architect. "First I want to explain what 'The breathen' been up to those last sixty years. They came out of the cold war that was created after the Second World War, they see themselves as bearers of the western civilization. They believe in an ordered system where behaviorist ideals and natural selection will keep mankind sane and unstoppable. They have been supporting dictators and keeping the poor poorer for at least as long. Their goal is to own everything as their personal playground. I know that it sounds ugly but their beliefs won't allow them anything less. They would take very badly to be called Nazis, and they would be right, they're not Nazis, they are far worse. In the society they hope to build there will be no place for the unfit. They would be the first to point out to you that, they do not care for creed, race, or other human attributes. They only care for what I would see as old vulgar Darwin ideals based on icecold behaviorism. " "Now folks I'm afraid I' gonna give you a little lecture here. You have to understand that those views are solely my own. Remember that everything I say could be understood as a politic statement. And it's not really about capitalism either. So, try to bear with me," He smiled at them.
"As an example of behaviorist thinking I'll give you Skinner, one of the great fore fathers. He found out that by simply painting the walls in a factory. You could increase productivity there seven percent, whichever ugly color you chose. He used to lock his kid into an isolated box whenever she threw a tantrum at him, and he didn't let her out before she had stopped crying and screaming He called it behaviorism. I would call it sadism. It's a demeaning philosophy built on looking at humans as if they were complicated machinery's. And the new behavioral manipulations are frightfully developed those days. The advertising companies are good examples of the ideology. Whenever you'll see them doing something humanitarian, you'll find their goals to be pure profit. It's those kind of views that has left Earth today with starvation and environmental disaster's. At the same time as the industrialized countries export subsidized crops and burn their overflow as fuel, rather than stopping the protective tolls. Which in its turn forces the poor countries out of making their own money, selling their crops. And when the same protective tolls and subsidiaries allow us to ship fruit and vegetables from Europe and America for less then half the price of food grown in their own homelands, one should ask one self if it really is so fcng good". Earth can not afford that kind of abuse any longer. 'The Breathen' represent those views taken to an extreme. They view war as a cleansing mechanism's for the unfit, most humans as cattle and themselves and their own kind as the only future." Here he took a deap breath.
"Please folks. Don't get me wrong. Technology and Capitalism are both wondrous tools, but in the end they're only as good as the persons using it. The way 'The Breathen' want to use them is for pushing their ideals and maximizing their own profits, and if you, or your country, or Earth itself gets in the way of that, hell, they'll go right through you. So you're either with them. Or you're with us, you must make your own decisions, " He smiled at them again. "Which is the only way you'll be able to stand them, in the end..." He continued. "In about eighteen hours I believe that ''The Breathen' ' are going to create some sort of an emergency. And, if they succeed, they will have plans for us all. That first manned expedition did not disappear i'm afraid. It's out there waiting for us. And it's armed with the latest weapon systems Earth ever has created. And we're damned good at that, folk. Those weapon systems include Lasers, projectile weapon system, EM pulse carriers all the way up to tactical nukes, That ship you can not allow to exist." He stopped for a moment, looking grim.
"In a pinch that ship alone could in all probability hold Earth hostage, Those guys waiting for us will be die-hard fanatics, and we better start prepare ourselves for them. I suggest that we first take out 'The Breathen' here. After that we must find a way to annihilate that other ship, I'll say that again. We must destroy that ship utterly. We can not allow such a threat hanging over our heads. What we have working for us are Surprise, we know them but they don't know us, we also have that I for want of better words only can name as 'magic'". Here he made a small token of a bow towards Gail and Katja. "And of course," here he smiled again," Were pure of heart, and in the right.My friends! Let's go get them."
Daniel sat with Gail and Katja. Gail was telling them about who was the 'Breathen kind'.She also informed them that since she had been awakened she had taken control over every facility there was on the ship, from the coffee machines to the bridge controls. If she wanted she could lock any door on the ship and through her sensors she knew at all time where 'The Brethen kind' would be. "It would be nice if you could just keep them in their rooms" said Daniel, "and close down any possibility of communication between them". "I can do that," said Gail. "Do they have any heavy equipment in their rooms" asked Thor "like, could they force their way out?" "Hey "said Leo, "You have access to the air conditioning, Gail. Why don't you mix some nice sleeping pill for them to night?" "Good idea! Let's do that" said Thor "You can do it Gail, can't you". Katja frowned at Thor as if finding him exceedingly dense, " I move in mysterious ways" Gail said with a smile "It may be possible to close down the main air ducts temporally and went some 'John Blund ' to greet them" Daniel frowned. "Those who wont be in their rooms then? How do we solve that? Babes?" as he gave Grail and Katja an admiring, if somewhat leering smile.
Jesus, there was something definitely sexy listening to those girls assured solutions. Aaah, he could feel his PMS coming on. He really needed to lay down again he thought, He made a small whimpering sound. Yes, it worked. Both girls immediately stopped discussing the ship and gave him concerned looks." How are you, feeling bad?" asked Katja. "Yeah" he said. "It's nothing, don't let me get in the way". He smiled bravely, "anything we can do?" asked Gail in a caring voice. "Well "said Daniel "no it's nothing". "Tell us" said Katja "well, it usually helps if somebody massage my feet when I feel like this." Admitted Daniel shamefully. "Oh you poor thing you" said Lind sympathicly, "PMS again?", Daniel shot her a sharp glance, Lind seemed perfectly serious though. "You know," she said frowning. "What usually helps for me, is to get undressed and then get a full body massage" Daniel felt like he could kiss her. "Yes. Yes," he said "It's the same for me, absolutely the same!". She was such a wonderful human being he thought... Lind smiled sweetly at him. "Erika "she called over the room, "Do you think you have the time to give poor Daniel one of your full body massages?" "He really needs it, the poor thing, but we need the girls here to stay and help out "
Erika, who was built like a rather small although nicelooking, Iceberg and gifted with muscles gleaming like coiled Boa's came and looked him over..." Asch Jah", she said, "I can do, what is wrong with him?" "Oh, you know" smiled Lind "Boy problems". Erika looked confused for a minute and then she looked him over again "I don't do that kind of massages usually "she said in a undertone to Lind, "hmm" then with a wicked smile she said. "But he looks kind of sweet, doesn't he." With that said, she took a steady grip round Daniel's left biceps and led him to what showed to be the two harshest hours in his life. When she finally let him go he walked out as a broken man. At the same time feeling like, just for once, he really would have liked to kill someone. She had twisted every bone in his body. And then, like a vampire she had totally drained him of any energy. "LiiiND" he wheezed "I'm gonna get even with u Girl, l'll get you good"... He growled, "and when I do, it will take time, so loong time". And there he broke out in a smile of so twisted proportions that even a trained Seal would have thought twice before tangling with him. He was so dead on tired that he went directly to bed. Some time later as he lay there, nursing his broken bones he thought he heard the twins came in. "Oh look at him. So relaxed, Lind was right, he must have needed it badly. Maybe we should get him another massage tomorrow?". Yep, that was it he thought. Everybody was out to kill him!
With this new understanding came a totally new approach to life. 'Enjoying the moment' was just not on anymore. Not for his plan, no. Fuck Carpe Diem. Now, he would have to get seriously in shape. He must at least be able to hold Lind over the abyss for like ten minutes. Probably had to learn some of that SAS commando stuff to. Ah. No Problem, he could do that, it would take some weeks though. But hell, could they stand it so could he. And he would have to hold her with only one hand. As he would need the other one for the beers he planned to enjoy. Discussing matters of life and death with her. And of course, the matter of true friendship. He felt the twins slither down in the sack with him. He could hear them mumbling beside him. Drowsily he started to think about how the twins would react to his new improved body, after he had finished his crash program, He had come to that part wherein he had both girls on their knees, ogling his mighty calves when he felt somebody pinch his 'lovehandle'. Ouch, "Can't a man get some rest" he said to them in an aggravated voice. Ah well. He could always take up on his planning later he thought, as he started to enjoying their attention.
It had been decided that as soon as Gail had what she thought to be an optimum number of 'The Breathen' inside their rooms, she would start to feed them the sleeping gas. She guaranteed that it would hold them down for at least twenty-four hours. For the bridge, engine room, etc, she would do the same. That was no problem for her as she now was the ship, it was her new body and she knew every fiber of it. Those few that would be roaming still she could pinpoint easily no matter where they tried to hide. So supposedly, if everything went as planned it would be a totally bloodless coup. The girls explained it all, as they gently stirred his body up again. "I really wish I could be there to help" said Daniel, "but my medical condition wont allow it. Otherwise Gail" and here he chanced on the girl to the right side of him. "Otherwise I would be all over them like a Lion, Baby!" Gail looked at him with something nearly, he thought, amounting to worship in her eyes. Then she looked at Katja at his other side. "You know Katja," she said "we're so lucky!" And then the twins started to laugh.
"Wake up! Sleepy "he heard a voice. It was time for the crew to put their plan into motion. In about eight hours the ship would be at the point where they expected the first ship to be waiting for them. "How's it going Gail?" asked Daniel as he put on his sneakers. Gail smiled but it was Katja who answered "it's going better than we thought, they had a meeting in one of the auditoriums so Gail gave them 'the nap' there. We have people collecting the guys on the bridge now and we're planning to interview the Captain soon.". Cool news, thought Daniel as he followed the twins to another suite. There were only some deck chairs in the room they were in, but sunk in the middle of the floor there was this really cool big Jacuzzi. "Captains quarters" explained Gail. "We thought he would feel more secure here. After all," She said, "he belongs on the endangered species list from now on". "Is he sleeping, "asked Daniel, "yeah" answered Gail. "The guys will be here with him about, now," she said and turned to the door. There was Thor, Leo and some other guys. And in a wheelchair there was The Captain snoring. "We are going to lay a 'Geas' on him so that he may only tell the truth "said Katja. "And stay calm while being interrogated". She made some gracious movements with her hands and muttered something that to Daniel's ears sounded suspiciously like" mumboo juumbo", Then she looked at him with her eyes twinkling and added "well, now you know Love". Gail turned to them. "He will believe that we are part of "The Breathen", remember that he is the highest ranked here, keep it real for him and show some respect, ok"
Katja looked at the captain smiled and said "Waikie Waikie". The captain went from snoring to wide awake in the blink of an eye, "what's the time" he asked Thor. "Sixteen hundred hours captain". "Good" The Captain nodded. "Only eight more hours then". "Captain?"" Said Gail, "Could you go over the plan once more, Sir" The Captain seemed to reconsider. "Well, it can't harm to go through it one more" he muttered, more to himself, than as if addressing them. "Listen up" he said sharply. "In eight hours ''The Defender' 'will meet up with us, We will broadcast the meeting on the ship and tell them that they have come back at last. We will inform the people that 'The Defender' have found a perfect place for colonization and that we'll make the jump together for that planet... "Have we meet those guys before, Sir" asked Thor." No, they've been kept apart from the rest of you as a special team, Of course they know me." and here The Captain smiled a rather grim smile "There will be no problem with Discipline. You just do your job and they will do theirs". "Is there anything more we need to know Captain "asked Leo. "They will send a boarding party said The Captain, So be nice to them, arrange for a suite and send up some of the teens to them. They might want a party. After the party you can register the girls as prostitutes. Understood?" Thor looked like he wanted to choke. "Yes Sir, very clear. " he said in a cold dead voice. Katja shook her head looking at The Captain "Sleepie Sleepie" she said. The Captain started to snore again.
"Not a nice man, not a very nice man at all." Said Lind thoughtfully as they left The Captain sleeping in one of the deck chairs. "No" said Leo, who for the first time had gotten an inkling as how those guys thought. "He sucks". "Katja", wondered the architect. "Can you get everybody together. We need to discuss 'The Defender. And Gail, I want you to find two hundred of the brightest and the bravest from our Special Forces" Here he added on a condescending note... "You've been seeing them for a while now, haven't you girl. So, please try to find people that can work in teams, dear". "Yes Sir!"" My Pleasure, Sir!". Gail made a perfect salute as if standing to parade, made a smart turn around and disappeared down the ship axle while muttering to her self "Idiots, u... r-fu-c-t Idiot's".
Now everybody seemed keyed up. This was going to be the difficult part, they all knew that and the clock was ticking. "Aw, let's get something to eat" said Leo "come on Daniel, we can fix some pizzas and coffee to the crew, ok?" While they were in the kitchen fixing the coffee they heard a 'PoP'. "Missed Me," said Gail smiling. "As always, baby" answered Daniel. I'm so slick he though happily, then, Hey! I've got me a family, a real one, no make believe shit on the net. Daniel mentally scratched his head. When the fk did this happen? Suddenly Gail gave him a kiss, "You know what," she sighed. "No?" said Leo. "I think it's time for us to settle down and have a real family," said Gail. "What! You gonna leave me for Leo?" Gail laughed "No stupid, You know, the sound of those small feet, running, screaming Daddy! Daaddy". Daniel felt stunned, he studied her for a moment, maybe she meant it he thought, " You mean like biologically speaking? Kids?" " "Is there any other way?" asked Gail surprised. "Not that I can think of now Gail," he admitted. "But babe, shouldn't we take care of 'The Defender' first?" Jesus, he would never understand the ways the twins' minds worked!
This meeting they had to move to the Cafeteria, Leo, Daniel and Gail had made a mountain of sandwiches for everybody. The Special Forces people were there, sitting in a group for themselves with Thor and Gail. The architect stood up. "Gentlemen, Ladies. Can I get your attention please? We have some matters to discuss and time is counting down. There is only five hours left before we will meet with 'The Defender'. We need to coordinate our defense and get those bastards. First I would like Gail to tell us how we stand on Ac-Dc: s own defense system?" "I just might have some surprises for them!" Said Gail. "As you all know I'm the ship, in every sense you can think of. I will be smarter, faster and" Here she pouted a little "also be able to do controlled Jumps as short as one millimeter if I so chose. And yes, I can do them instantly. As a matter of fact I've closed down the Jon engine, We've been using jumppoints for the last hour and nobody have complained yet." She made a gesture and suddenly a three dimensional image of the ship and the space surrounding it sprung into existence. "This will make it very unlikely that 'The Defender' could get a clear shot on me. As soon as she declares hostilities I will start move us around her" She laughed "in fact I could even make it appear as if they were surrounded by ships all looking as us, if we wanted". Now everyone started to smile as the three dimensional image showed a cartoon of a small scared starship armed to the teeth's huddling in the center of an armada of gigantic Ac-Dc:s flickering in and out of normal space. "Weapons wise we have a few EM:s and Lasers, we also have some more esoteric weaponry, but I would very much prefer not having to use those". Katja and I have some ideas that we would like to put forward if we might?" The architect smiled and nodded "Please Ladies, feel free" he said.
Katja let go of Daniel's hand, at whose side she had been sitting, listening quietly while Gail spoke. She stood up "Friends" she said. "You all know I'm not from your Earth. My world and yours are tightly knitted through bounds of affinity". Here she looked at Gail who now was sitting again among the soldiers. "You have told them about us, Gail?" she asked." Don't worry, Miss" said one of the men. "Nothing to strange for us". "Yeah" said another, "as they say. 'Been there, seen this, done that.' " Katja relaxed somewhat. "Good, because you men will be the pivot we'll use to bring those 'Breathen' to their knees. We need you to take control of that ship, and it's not going to be easy." Then she started to lay out the rough outlines of hers and Gail's scheme. It was a hair-raising scheme indeed. It involved not only the commandos but Katja and Daniel too, if successful
Here Daniel started to get second thoughts, shit, he was no hero, and even if he had to go, there were no way he would let Katja do it. They had their first row directly after the meeting broke up. "No way I gonna let you go Katja" he said "I can see why the guys may need me, but I won't have you there". "Really" said Katja, "And who might you be then. God?" Now Gail entered the fray "Daniel, she needs to be there to. You are needed both of you". Aw shit, thought Daniel, the only time one is needed, it's as canon fodder. And now he was expected to put his loved ones there to! Fuck it, no way. It's not gonna happen... "You don't f fucking get it, do you, I love you, love you both matter of fact, I don't want you to go". Oh shit, now he had done it, they forced him into this, yes they had. The girls seemed to melt in font of his eyes. Katja put her arms around him and whispered "You're not gonna get rid of me that easy boy".An then Gail arms came around him from the other side. "Come to bed, lover". They thought they could distract him, did they. Well, on second thought, maybe they could at that. Momentarily that is.
They met up with the commando's two hours before showdown. The commandos had split in five teams of twelve, which in their turn would split in teams of four after they got inside 'The Defender'. Then there was a special team consisting of Katja, Daniel, and ten commandos whose only object were to protect Daniel and Katja as they would make their way to the bridge. Daniel looked at the soldiers, Jesus, those guys were kind of scary, they were dressed in coveralls that seemed to change color with the environment. They also had short stubby machineguns hung over their backs, handguns, nonconductive ceramic knifes and some kind of very thin communication equipment that were glued to their mouth and left ear. They gave them two coveralls to. "Can I keep it, guys" asked Katja. "I kind of like the style". The commandos checked her out, one of them said." It sure looks better on you than on me" Then he introduced himself as captain Harris formerly of the SAS. "You can call me Sam" he said, He then explained that they would be in the middle of a cocoon consisting of ten commandos, The only thing they had to remember he said, was to obey directly if they heard any orders like down, stay, move. Otherwise they were free to direct the commandos as they liked, he then pointed to a stocky weather bitten guy with a scar going under his right ear to the mouth. "You might know him, Daniel" he said "He use the Net to". Daniel smiled " Hi, sorry I didn't get your name?". The man smiled back "Well mate, my nickname on the net is," and there he bent forward and whispered "but if I tell ya I might have to kill ya". Daniel kind of lifted from the floor in a jump that took him six feet away. "Only kidding" said the man, "relax, I'm Maurice, we've meet before Daniel, you gave me some help with back tracking those crackers that sunk the Atlantic backbone last summer, remember? 'The Koto circle' they called themselves." Daniel took one more good look at him, So that's 'the Exterminator' he thought. A fitting name indeed. "Nice to meet you, son" said Maurice. And this time Daniel believed him. "You were real good on the Net, Maurice" Daniel said "A pleasure meeting you here. "Well son" The govern'r here, he thought you might need a helping hand so he chose me for your backup, kind of. Me and me tools".
Daniel felt like a brickload of shit just had fallen of his back. " might one take a look," he asked. "You might," said Maurice. "But then I would have to..." Daniel smiled "If it is what I expect, then I believe it" he said. And it was a backpack of dreams come true, At least for Daniel, there were listening devices that could splice into a fiber line in a microsecond. Small chips that you just had to attach over the chips you wanted to listen in to, or if you liked, could read the actual design of the chip. Wands that you just pointed at the location you wanted to listen to. That could read both sound and EM waves. And there were even more esoteric toys. "It's like a wet Christmas dream," Daniel admitted while looking "Yeeah" said Maurice "with the Légion Étrangère and Uncle Sam as your friendly Santa's". They started to laugh. They were taking up their positions at the airlock waiting for the go ahead when Daniel heard the now so familiar 'PoP." Hi Gail" he said without turning around. "Ain't you the cool one," said Gail. "We need to talk". Sam came over to see what was happening. "There's a change in the plans " she said. "They want 'The Captain' to come over to their ship first. They say that they need to confer with him. We've forced them to accept a guard unit too... We want you two to be on that unit," said Gail to Katja and Daniel. There were going to be ten more personnel, as 'The Captain' was an important man to 'The breathen'. So Sam had to choose ten from his crew.Why does everything go wrong the moment I'm away, I should never have allowed the girls out the bedroom, Daniel thought gloomily. "How are we going to get 'The Captain' to play along " he asked. Gail smiled and then 'PoP' there was 'The Captain'. "What!" he roared." A mutiny" 'PoP'. "No sweat, dear" said Gail, I'll go with you. 'The Defender' may not be very smart but maybe I will be able to communicate with her. Then she turned to Sam and asked him to keep his force on the ready and, as soon as she let it be known, go on with the original plan,
'The Defender' hung in space like a dark bloated blimp against an even darker emptiness. Size wise it was a gnat compared to Ac-Dc, but a gnat with very sharp teeth. Inside it there was dead silence. There were people there, or maybe one should say something that once used to be people. Now they were dead things controlled by a purpose as cold as space itself. In a way one could say that they had gotten their wish, because what controlled them were indeed a thing of logic, supreme logic without compassion. Like a spider hiding inside strands of thought that slowly had eroded away the minds of its victims. It had no interest in humans really, but it had found their mode of transportation quite convenient. What it did enjoy was knowledge. And its way of getting knowledge was to assimilate living things. If the price of that was that the specimen's leaving the knowledge died of the process, that just couldn't be helped. And now it waited patiently for more food of thoughts. 'The Defender' had found it some thirty lightyears away drifting like a nebulous anemone. While waiting for the colonists to assemble on the Ac-Dc they had continued to explore the nearest quadrant. Being curios they had sent out a shuttle to take a closer look and that had been their folly. It lived by assimilating what little radiation it could in space. Once there had been many like it, now it was one of very few surviving. They had assimilated each other in their hunger of knowledge and those few that survived now kept their distance. It was a lesson hard learned. When they took it into their laboratory they had given it a feast in many ways. Firstly by their power sources who allowed it to grow in power almost instantly. And of course by them as sources of knowledge. It knew so much now. It knew about time, which was a concept it never had thought of before. For to it time had a different quality, not moments on a string to be counted, time was more like an encompassing sea wherein one drifted and as you always were in the 'now' there was no need to slice it up. But humans being of smaller mental statue had done so, and in so doing found new ways of dealing with space. It had learnt so much from the first feast, like this 'wormhole traveling', now there was an even bigger offering to come.
There was Daniel, Gail, and Katja. There were also ten highly motivated commandos, among them Sam and Maurice, when the shuttle left Ac-Dc for its short journey. As they were drawing closer to 'The Defender' Katja became very uneasy. She couldn't put her finger on anything specific but for the feeling that they were about to enter into a nothing. That was it! There was no life emanating from 'The Defender'. Instead it was like there was nothing at all there, it was terribly wrong. "Gail "she said, "slow us down as much as you can without being obvious, we can't enter that ship". Gail frowned but did as requested, "why?" "I don't know" Katja answered," We have to destroy it now, if we were to go in we would die. They are dead on that ship," she said, her face white and troubled, "Something else lives there now. Something that seeks us with a terrible purpose". Gail stopped moving and became very still, time slowed, the feeling like being immersed in some kind of glue that flowed right through them. Then she spoke "I've placed us outside. It's a dangerous wormhole manipulation which I can't hold long, will that help Katja?" " Look" said Sam and pointed toward the wall screen. The screen showed both ships, but in the matter of ''The Defender' there was now a strange shine around it, somewhat like thin tendrils frozen in space. The nearest one seemed only some thousand feet away, although it was difficult to judge distance in this dark emptiness. "This is what I'm talking about "said Katja "There is something terribly wrong with that ship! Destroy it, we cannot allow it to escape. Whatever it is, it knows now about humans and it knows Earth, even if it means our death, we must destroy it!" Daniel suddenly felt like he badly needed to wake up, This have to be a nightmare! I'm still on the Junker sleeping, he told himself. This is just a bad dream, yes that's it, this feeling of being glued, ha, typical of nightmares! Now he started to feel calmer. Now that he knew that he was dreaming. Sad about the twins he though but, hey! He would still have his memories, right. Oohw Shit, who's fooling who. He took hold of Katjas hand..."Love" he said" We'll make it, even if I have to strangle it ". Gail looked at them, suddenly there were lines of sorrow etched in her face, "I can do that " she said. "I do not want to take any life, but I can destroy that ship sister. I only ask you to remember that for me killing comes not easy, and once done, is not to be undone". Katja sat, head bent as by a great weight, oblivious to the outside world "They are worse than dead Gail, they are still there, without life, without even knowing the difference. It's an terrible emptiness where I feel that ship, I can't stand being here". Daniel looked around. "Gail, we'll take a vote. Those who are in favor of killing that ship say yes." The guys sitting there were not only professionals, they were also mostly decent guys, and they had been there, making decisions of life and death, maybe never knowing if they had made the right one. Or even worse, finding out it was the wrong one. If those guys can't hack it, he thought, I guess I won't either. "Well" said Sam. "If Katja is right, and I know she thinks so, and we have Earth on one side and that ship on the other. I can't see that we have any choice. Yes, take her out if you can Gail". Gail slowly looked on each one and they in turn all agreed with Sam. "So be it" said Gail "All life are one, not to be divided. And Katja feels much the same. I thank you for your counsel". With that, the feeling of being immersed in glue disappeared, and so had 'The Defender'. "Where did she go!" said Daniel "Did she get away?" Gail shook her head. "No Daniel, She and whoever was on that ship are now resting in the center of our Sun, I opened a wormhole where she was, It was an instaneous transition. "Ah. That was your esoteric weapon?" asked Maurice. "One of them" answered Gail. With that the shuttle returned to the ship.
At the Ac-Dc the people waited impatiently for Gail to explain what had happened. When she and the others had told their story everybody felt relieved, relieved that ''The Defender' hadn't departed to Earth, although some of them got a really queasy feeling in their stomach. What more was waiting for them out there?
A Place for Rent
When the universe came into place there was lots and lots of room, but as, what we for want of words prefer to call, time started unwinding there also became life. Life likes space, so that's where they went, in time. So when humankind started to outgrow their tails there wasn't actually that much empty space left, relatively speaking that is. Now you may ask yourself, how the hell we should know that, and I would tend to agree with you, still, it was something of an enigma. The problem being that we weren't the only ones that had invented 'thine and mine'. There were quite big stellar empires out there and kingdoms, republics, whatever we tried, they had it and then some more. And most of them strongly believed in boarders and territorial waters sorry, space that should be. Our arm of the Galaxy were a little less populated, and the further out you got from the Galactic center the less popular it were living there. On the other hand, you didn't have to crowd with all those others, and one had to admit that the living costs were cheaper. Most of the races could travel FTL, but most had found other solutions to that problem than we. Some used contracting time, other contracting space, and those who were in a real hurry used both. In a way we were in an embarrassing position with our first colonization ship somewhat like those people from the third world countries that desperately, on risk of death, sails over the great waters to hopefully assimilate themselves within a richer nation on Earth.
"Are you going home now?" asked a very worried Daniel Katja. "I mean, now when we passed the cleavepoint that is?" Katja looked at Daniel, "Do you really believe I could leave you and Gail, my sister in becoming?" Daniel felt so relieved that he wanted to shout. with joy, as the saying goes. Yes, she would stay with him and Gail. He tried to act cool "Good Good" he said, at the same time he seemed to whistle a little tune for himself "Not that I was worried of course. You know, just checking, that's all." "Oh," said Katja "Then I won't have to spare your feelings anymore, I can tell you the truth then?" Oh ye Gods, thought Daniel, she 's going home, and I knew it. He fell down on his knees "Please say that you'll stay" He felt that sly feeling coming over him." Ahh, my PMS, oh it hurts, it hurts". And here he looked her straight in those glorious green eyes, as if asking, could mine eyes lie... "I'm crazy about you Katja, please don't go". Well, he thought, at least that's true. "You are the only one for me, please stay Katja". "Really! So I doesn't count then". He heard a chilled voice behind him, it was Gail.
Of course it had to be Gail he thought bitterly, Why should the universe care about him. Now he was going to loose them both. He stood up, turned around and explained. "Katja is leaving us, Gail." "That doesn't surprise me," said Gail "if you've been treating her the same courtesy as you've treated me. You used my innocence for your carnal lusts, and now you have the gall to tell me that you only loved Katja! Come Sister, let's leave this this Bigamist"... Daniel looked at them silently, then he sunk to the floor as if in a faint." Oh Sister, what have you done" he heard Katja, "Daniel Daniel, oh I shouldn't have made fun of him". Thor who had stood just outside the door listening chose that moment to walk in. "What has happened?" Gail looked confused at him. "I don't know, we were just playing a little joke on him, and suddenly he became like that?"
"Let me see" said Thor "doesn't look to good this" he said after giving Daniel a short checkup, "Just might be a broken heart." Now Katja became extremely fidgety. "A broken heart! You mean he has a heart condition". "He didn't at the last medical" said Thor with a very straight face, "but he seems to have it now". "Is there anything we can do?" asked Gail. "Anything?" "Usually broken hearts are symptoms coming from relations," said Thor." They might heal by themselves if the ones bringing this conditions keeps away for say like, one to ten years" "No!" screamed the twins in unison. "Or if those who gave him this condition would concretely regret it, and do everything in their power to prove the condition wrong" ended Thor. "So you mean there is hope" asked Katja in a contrite bur subdued manner. "Well", said Thor "One should never give up hope, but here is a young man with both PMS and a broken heart" Now he solemnly shook his head. "We can only pray. And hope for the best.". The twins very carefully lifted him to their room where they in an earnest and most delightful way started to prove to him that they sincerely and in an excitingly humble way regretted their little joke with him. After a while they had succeeded in getting him to life. "I forgive you" he said "but as Thor told you, my condition is now much worse. I most regretfully must insist on me getting my ''B&BB&B' ( Bathroom & Bed Breakfast & Beer )". Gail agreed immediately but Katja looked at him thoughtfully, "So you heard what we was discussing then" she said in a surpassingly cool voice?". Me and my fng mouth thought Daniel, there was only one way out. He franticly fainted again.
Bravery can take many forms. One might believe that Daniel was taking the easy way out, but for.
"That which shrinks must first expand, that which fails must first be strong. That which is cast down must first be raised, Before receiving there must be giving. This is called perception of the nature of things, soft and weak overcome hard and strong."
As it was, Daniel was a true, if to him self unbeknownst follower of the discipline of theTao Te Ching. The Tao does understand Chivalry, even when things are becoming hard and difficult to handle. So, in the end the twins forgave him. He had to do penance, of course. Still, as it involved many pleasurable experiences for him he found it in him to show that stiff upper lip, and to impress them with his stamina. Reading about this, one might also consider that there ain't to many left, still believing in chivalry. Most of the lady's won't even recognize it, They'll be pleased, of course, They will find it their due. But will they find it in their hearts? The true joy of Daniel was the brave sweetness of those two girls whose very bones were ingrained with said code of chivalry. As Daniel had found out, the only thing you can lose while living by it, was your dignity, your sanity and ah yes, your self respect. And to be able to lose that was the most important thing he'd ever done. Your life may be there, your heart may be pounding, but, it's still a trifle, a trifle I say. Be true, be brave. And never doubt. And actually, for once the ads were true. 'You are worth it!'... Now, I know you wonder about the rest of the people on that ship? Every soul counts, I agree, everybody has a story to tell, but now there was, counting babies and all, over two hundred and thirty six thousand stories to tell. So if you don't mind, I wont
The ship continued on its journey. Soon they meet their first tool both. It was an EEEM (Emotional Emitting Electro Magnetic) Lighthouse. Giving out a strong impulse to stop them engines and think over what the meaning of life might be. Especially when meeting awfully big Imperial cruisers grinding their teeth over the intruding at their special space. Gail who gave her language circuits several nanoseconds of time and effort in assimilating the new language reacted immediately by blowing that tool both to hell. "The language alone!" she said. "The insults to a lady of refinery and delicacy!" Daniel had had the opportunity to listen in as Katja tried to console her sister. "They didn't know better!" Whereupon Gail proudly replied "They know now!" Daniel and the rest of the crew though, couldn't help feeling somewhat disturbed. There was this, as they saw it, very real possibility that the cruisers just wouldn't appreciate Gail's delicate feelings. The cruisers showed themselves to be of just that base nature. After the first three ships that opened hostilities disappeared they seemed to come to their senses though. "What did you do with them?" asked Daniel. "I just placed them a thousand lightyears away," said Gail mildly. And I melted their feedercoils. They will have some time thinking it over now, how to treat ladies in a proper manner" she continued with a meaningful smile. The armada, as the cruisers liked to call themselves, found it wiser to withdraw to friendlier surroundings for the time being.
At last they could start their Planet hunting, they soon found a binary star system with some very nice, if slightly used planets. There was one problem thou. They seemed only to be for rent. The EEEM that circled the Solar system specifically directed all interested parties to 'Yea Galactic Retail Company of Swesster & Sweesterl'. They found themselves in a new Dilemma, should they follow the urgings of whoever hung up that sign in space or should they just move in, somewhat like galactic squatters. The whole ship involved them selves in the discussion. In the end it was decided to move in first but keep a close lookout for any presumable trouble. The ship birthed a factory in a stationary orbit around the most attractive planet. The factory promptly started to assimilate what raw materials it could get to weave a MonoRail. At the same time Gail created some automatic defense 'boots' that, each one which its own 'worm hole' magic would be able to displace presumable aggressors. All in that timeless fashion of 'Canon boat diplomacy' that Earth was so proud to call its own. The colonists went down on the Planet to take samples and test the environment for further use by humans. It showed itself to be of very near Earth Compatibility. In fact so near that Thor had to ask Gail about what the probability factor could be on such a thing. Gail said that depending on what circumstances one choose to start from, the probability ranged from being totally negligible, to almost one hundred percent, the last one grounded on the probability that God existed, created mankind in its own shape, and then designed the universe or vice versa. It was enough to give Daniel a headache, which by the way weren't to bad as the girls still believed in his PMS, even if they hadn't come to terms with his vision of the ''B&BB&B' ( Bathroom & Bed Breakfast & Beer ) as he know had evolved it to. He saw this as his lasting contribution and legacy to Mankind.
After the last colonists had settled in, those who were left started to discuss what to do next. There were still some ten thousand people on the ship, who either, by lust of adventure, or other reasons found the ship being the place to be. The architect stood for the view that they had a responsibility toward their home, in other words, back to Earth. Daniel and Katja agreed but there were others who wanted to stay in orbit for at least some years, just to make sure that nothing untoward would happen to Grail, as the colonists now called their new Planet. In the end they left two of the biggest shuttles, which Gail had updated with FTL engines and the new Data consoles. Those consoles allowed them to be in constant contact with the Ac-Dc through the portals. As the shuttles had place for five thousand people they were big enough to take care of both themselves and the planet she thought. So when that was finished they were seven thousand still on the ship, and it was time to go home.
Gail was a very proficient ShipsMaiden now a days. She preferred ShipsMaiden to Captain as she saw the first one to had been in such bad taste. Oh yes, they were still on the ship, after all they were the first ones to have tried both conspiracy and piracy against Mankind, and as such everyone felt that they should be given the opportunity to explain themselves. The Captain had been very forthcoming in his confessions, especially since Gail took him with her through the console to Hell. As she explained to the rest of the crew. "My portal, my worlds, my rules," and "I did give him a free choice, either tell me or"... They now knew about most of those involved, the rest they planned to leave to Earth. They had made one concession to their self peace though. When Gail had looked in to her own creation she found that without the intervention of Daniel and Katja and the following assimilation of theirs two so different worldlanguages she wouldn't have survived, Even the language she herself had developed wouldn't have been enough to keep her sane. In truth, it was that way, as much as 'clothes make the Man' so it was even truer that words made awareness. And as they were the only ones knowing this, they decided to keep it so. Why? Simple if you think about it, who would like to meet something like Gail, but created in the image of Adolf Hitler and his bosom friend Attila the Hun. Not if you preferred normal housing to bone monuments, right? But with that exxception made, they were going to tell Earth everything. AH, maybe not everything then, Katja who found Earth somewhat lacking in compassion specifically told the crew that her world managed very fine without advertising, stockmarkets, multinational companies etc. "So you leave us outside, thank you".
The crew, and the rest of the seven thousand who were informed through Galls intraNet, totally agreed. All of them felt like their mission also were a Mission. They wanted to create something new, something that worked, and that meant that they would all have to be very careful with their environment this time. AS Gail and Katja both had that special affinity for how people felt they had succeeded to weed out those who still thought in terms of 'Me first, you? Forget it.' They were all on Grail, where they would have to make do with at least ninety six percent who thought otherwise. They really had a great crew on the ship and as Gail told them "I'm so pleased to be your ShipsMaiden". The Jump to Earth was made in one motion. Suddenly they hung there over the Moon, as they've never had left. Daniel though that in some ways he was getting almost scared about Gail. She was in a sense 'to much'. But only in her capacity as the ship of course, otherwise he had those two girls under his thumb. Oh yes, total control he had and, by God, he needed every crumb of that said thumb to, some times they drew him mad with their constant calls for attention. He for once would never sink to their depraved heights. As he sat there congratulating himself there came a call from Luna. They wanted to know where the Fg hell they had came from. "You were this close to be blown out of Space!" said a very enraged Air Marshall. After some more growling from the ground it was decided that representatives from The UN and the major Industrialized states would hold a conference aboard the Ac-Dc. They had to be cajoled thou before coming to this decision. By the architect, no less. He told them in loose words about the conspiracy without naming names, and furthermore said that he couldn't be hold responsible for the ships security if he would have to leave it. As nobody outside the ship knew about Katja and Gail it was very easy for them to act as attendants and hostesses. They soon had the ones they couldn't trust assigned to special suite, the only problem with that screening was. There weren't that many people left to trust at all.
Later that evening when Gail, Katja and Daniel had retired to their bedroom Daniel shook his head, feeling like something wringed out of a to tight ketchup bottle. "Listen Girls, there has to be more than nineteen trustworthy people in that bunch?" "No" said Katja. "Not really" said Gail. "Come on babes, there is now three hundred and fifty nine delegates, are you telling me that only nineteen of them are trustworthy?" "It depend on how you look at it," said Gail. "In some ways all of them are dependable, some of them you can depend on staying bought, others to keep representing their own interests. Then you have those that always will turn their coat after the wind and..." "Jezzes" Daniel felt all shook up, He had never had that much belief in politicians, still, this was too much to take in for the moment. "But they all consider themselves trustworthy, though doubtful when they're considering them others" said Katja who tried to put it on a more hopeful note. "Shit" Daniel said "I just don't have a fng clue what to do." "Relax love, we'll have a meeting with the crew comes tomorrow" said Gail. "Until that" here she slowly started to smile, "I've got other ideas" The next morning the crew talked it over in the kitchen. The architect made a point of that the successful politician weren't necessarily the honest one. But they had nineteen that the twins deemed trustworthy so his suggestion were to let the meeting go on as planned with the discussion about where the next wave of colonists should come from, and the information they had of the hostile cruisers and the EEEM lighthouse. While that was going on Thor and the architect would privately discuss matters with those other politicians and with their help try to organize a way to overcome 'The Breathen'. They put it to a vote over the intraNet and the majority accepted it.
I don't wanna be here thought Daniel. Shit, there is a whole universe to explore and we have to deal with those bums. "Look, how about giving them blueprints for ships with your kind of computer but limited to what a supercomputer would be" he asked Gail. "Sure love, we could do that" said Gail "but I still want a new batch of colonists to go with our ship, and I would prefer them to be as honest as we can pick" Daniel felt more and more frustrated. So "Ok "he said, "Let's make it a contest. You create a questionnaire wherein you subtly try to pinpoint those abilities you feel that people should display for coming with us. The crew puts it on the Net and those who fulfill our demands and give the right responses we pick up?" " You know what " said Katja "that just may work." "The sooner we get away from here the better" said Leo who also felt like he slowly was getting strangled by the attitudes of Earth. "Yeah, and another thing" said Daniel. "They won't have your capabilities to remove threats, right Gail?" "No Daniel you're right there," said Gail "but I could arrange for their computer to connect to me or any other of my shuttles trough my new data consoles, and through them I would be able to direct their 'field of fire'." "I like that sad Katja, it will give us a possibility to make organized policy's!" She smiled, "Considering some of the people I've meet so far, I do have a feeling we may need to give some 'positive feedback' at times. And it will also allow us to protect our secrets by hiding Grail from Earth"
Yes. Yes. Yes. That's my girl, thought Daniel. "Ah Lady's," he said, "now when we have it all planed out, there wouldn't be any chance of celebrating. Would it?" Lind studied Daniel's tongue that now had taken the shape of a gigantic red tie elegantly draped between vertical bone pillars of slobbering saliva. "A beer perhaps? Would that tickle your fancy Daniel?" "Yes, yes that's it! So clever of you Lind, A small beer, or two?" he ended hopefully. "Now, my boy. A gentleman never drinks before noon" he heard the architects patrician voice. "True, so true" said Thor "but it so happens that I, by sheer accident, forgot to mention that we now have adopted Grail standard time, and there I think the time should be, Gail?" Gail smiled at Daniel "You're so in luck Daniel. It's just passed twelve, but before we move forward I would like to put out or suggestions on the intraNet so everybody got a chance to react." "Absolutely," said Leo, "And what's better than a relaxing beer, while one waits?" Daniel was somewhat disappointed when he found the others to be restricting themselves to only one beer, but he consoled himself with the opportunity it gave him for helping them with those forgotten ones... It also gave the excellent result of excusing him from having to deal with those unfortunates calling themselves politicians. The letdown would be when he ran out of fuel, but with careful planning and scourging that could be postponed he hoped. He met a drawback only as he was checking out the architect's room, he had a rather clear memory of that he had seen vodka there somewhere. As he was going through the cupboard he felt someone tap him lightly on the shoulder. He turned around, there was Lind looking at him no, not at him. She was looking further down? He to looked down and saw to his surprise that he was holding a pair of panties in his right hand, oh yes they shared room now, Lind and Gabriel. "Aw, kiinky" said Lind "Really, if you need panties, you don't have to sneak Daniel! Dear, just ask" Will it ever end thought Daniel despairingly. "No Lind I forgot that, ahh, I was looking for vodka and..." He gave up, there was no explanation good enough any more. "I understand Daniel, I do. But do you think the twins would? Hey, know what! If you like them so, keep them. As a gift." With a little twist on her lips and twinkling eyes she watched him leave. Defeated, humiliated, and still clinging to her panties...
Now the ship, the ship belonged to no ordered political belief. The view taken of most were that they were into this together, therefore each one had as much right to know what was going on as anybody else. But there were also other considerations like courtship's marriages etc etc. Katja had started witch circles for those who showed that inclination. Gail had started other circles in console making, and a thousand more esoteric lore's. This couldn't of course be happening without Gails unique position as the ship itself. But as Katja once asked Daniel, "what I don't understand Daniel? Earth has had the Net for so long, how come you never used it for dividing responsibilities of ruling?" "What?" said Daniel. "You have had the instruments for getting the opinions of everybody and making decisions for so long" she said "but you never used it?" And when Daniel thought about it he had to agree. Well, on this ship they used that opportunity, and everybody had their say, as far as they wanted of course. When you are young there are other things that may be picking on your mind. The important thing though was that everybody had a real factual say so in the ships handling, even the small ones, trough the intraNet. The splinter crew worked more as a focus for that decision making, and they could and would be overruled on occasions. The nicest thing about it all was that there actually existed a trust, and that people were doing things they enjoyed without having to worry of backstabbing, mostly that is. Nobody's perfect!
Gail had her questionnaire ready for down loading to the Net the next day, they studied it, but as far as the ships crew could see it was a straightforward appeal of interest. That is, those who were willing, ready and able to take this journey were welcome to answer those questions and thereby get on the waiting list. It was an anonymous query, which stirred up a lot of irritation among the ruling interest's downside. But as it seemed to be at that level of 'name your own star' and have no real substance they allowed it... On the ship the politicians committee continued to grind, backstab and horsetrade. As Gail could record everything those folks did, however secret or private, she had a seldom seen opportunity for a real time Soap opera with those Politicians as the stars. The ship loved it, there was even betting going on, initiated mostly from the special forces guys, for who was gonna get what. And the politicians on their side, were pleasantly surprised when they found out their new popularity on the ship. At last they were getting their due as the responsible parties for Earth's future. Some of them though, found it a little strange when people asked them for their hand prints in the new 'fame of stars' hall that the same special forces guys had created, but as one politician said, "what the h, for once I'm appreciated, here's my hand boys." After they had been seeing them for a while people started to understand their specific kind of callousness, and Gail changed her mind. She had planned to give each of them a time locked copy of 'the soap opera' and let them twist. However she called a NetMeeting and they decided to keep this to a secret. Shiit, we're getting to hold an awful lot of secrets thought Leo." Listen friends." he said "I'm getting uncomfortable with all those secrets were accumulating. The sooner we're of the better". "Be cool my man, said Thor, we're planning to leave as soon as we get the results from our little poll on Earth." Daniel had helped Gail with creating a bogus Netsite where the survey were being collected and as it closed in two days they would soon start sorting the colonists out.
The Committee was ending, Earth had updated blue prints for their new ships with, them unbeknownst, in built portal consoles at their new and 'improved' GiGa computers. The politicians committee had let the Earth committees decide who were gonna go, so it was just a simple slight of hand for Daniel to change the lists for those they wanted. Gail picked some thirty thousand from the committee's list to so they ended up with a population of three hundred and fifty thousand persons. But Grail and her sister planets could swallow them all. It was a very freeing feeling to leave the constrictions of Earth again. For Daniel it felt like invincible chains linked around his chest suddenly broke. At last he was able to breathe freely. As the new colonists were shown the 'Soap Opera' and informed themselves of the true history of Katja and Gail there was some unrest. Some of the Colonists, especially those who were from the Earth Committees list felt somewhat deceived. But as they soon found out that no information really were being hold back, with the exception of how Grail had created herself, they started to enjoy their newfound freedom to. In order to let them assimilate all of that Gail had made several slow jumppoints instead of just one. When they arrived they found several MonoRails connecting the twin solar systems planets. They were an improvement of Earth's in that way that in space they Electro magnetically shoot away pods from one point of a MonoRail towards an meeting point some light seconds away who in its turn shoot away to the next and so on. Making it possible in the course of some days to travel around the twin solar systems planets very cheaply. Without endangering the environment, with nexuses of MonoRails at each planet. It was an ongoing project and nobody had found the time and need to use it yet. But it showed what new and radical thinking those colonists were prepared to utilize.
The ship transferred the people to Grail, and then the partying started, They had only been gone for eight months but that didn't matter. Maybe one should call it a Carnival instead because every one was flipping out, dressed up in whatever took their fancy. People wandered about mingling, drinking, laughing and of course sometimes fighting, what the hell they were from Earth, not some reborn hippies, well, most of them were. Still, there were some old and not so old guys, who one should take real care, not pissing of. But it was all nice and cool and the worst disturbed guys never did get there, so all in all. It was one heck of a party... In its aftermath Thor showed up with some new friends, Jim and Lena. He looked somewhat diffident as he explained that they were gonna move in with him. Hell, thought Daniel, could he survive the twins, and Lind, well, then could Thor survive his companions. "Congratulations, this calls for a drink!" he heard a suave polished voice. The architect filled their glasses with what he said was real Polish vodka. Oh yes, thought Daniel ironically, Made in India. He recognized the label from Goa. Where the fuck had this been hidden, he cast a quick glance at Lind who lifted her glass and said "To the liberation of underwear world wide" smiling at Daniel who suddenly wanted to melt through the floor. The only one being single now was Leo. He was somewhat of a rock star for the younger generation as being near their age and, as the teens saw it, yes he was single. He had lost some of his puppy fat, in fact it looked as he had been getting an awful lot of exercise lately. Well who cared, as long as everyone's happy, thought Daniel.
Not everyone was happy though. There was definitely trouble heading their way. The Galactic Federation Of The Armada had finally collected enough cruisers, dreadnought's, Destroyers, and Death Stars to feel it self prepared for a little chat with the demonic intruders. As they neared the infected quadrant Great Admiral Quey'gth who was the' Almighty Bastard' of the fleet held a press conference. In view of the recent unrest in the outer laying domains of the empire The Emperor themselves had declared that a little press coverage of the unbending velocity, ferocity, and clearly unending vigilance and valiance of the empire might cool the oppositions feet somewhat. "Yes, you will all get the opportunity to observe the detached but caring way in which we will exterminate those treacherous swine. We will, as is our standard now and always, give them a chance of surrender, therefore we will wait the required three seconds before our Death star blow them to smithereens. It is our unfortunate but noble task to clean our Cosmos of such blemishes as they" and here he meaning fully stared and bonded his five eyestalks within the camera eyes "and other unlawful malefactors represent." With that said he closed his three mighty rows of red glistening jaws and tried to form them into a lipless smile of serenity. "And now our beloved Chaplain will lead us all in a prayer of deliverance."
They were much to slow for Gail thou, As she told her friends. "I could have taken a vacation, had my nails polished and then slept over, before they would have gotten their asses out of the wagon". As soon as she noticed the new Armada she promptly lifted the whole bunch back where they came from. "Oh, that was easy" she said, "I just asked their computer where they started from." It had the unforeseen result that one of the Emperor's most coveted and admired Moons suddenly went up in truly inspiring flames as the Death Star commenced firing. The Reporters that for once had something truly newsworthy to show promptly did so. It took some time and confusion before the Emperor could be assured that this wasn't an attempted coup, but only a slight mistake. And this time the Ac-Dc had followed them back and gave them the view of her finger proudly erected against the Emperors own Planet, the 'Karrgh'. At which she immediately sneaked into their Data Nodes to inform them "As you haven't shown the slightest concern for my ladylike complexion, and behaved in a most rude way, I'll have to warn you that I'm starting to get irritated. I therefore have decided that the next time, I will move your whole empire to the absolute slums of the universe. That will mean your economic ruin, as the realty values of your properties will drop to below a nothing. The Emperor who was of two minds about this. He actually was, of two minds that is, saw no choice but to accept and comply. Nobody in their right minds would want to be an Emperor of the Slums. Well, maybe if he had been a rapper, but the rapper glory was still contained to Earth and he wasn't, so... They then made a peace treaty where in it was stated that. "The twin solarsystem and the territories stretching one hundred 'Karrgh standard ' light years from said solarsystem from now on and until the stars drips out from the sky will belong to the race of 'the tailless ones'." The one with the stars dripping out came from Lind who as we already knew had a somewhat twisted sense of humor. The Emperor was left with only one thing to console himself. "At least they were ugly. No tails, no eyestalks, nothing, nothing of dignity."
As they already were there they started to check if there would be any interest of trading around the system. After the Emperor most graciously had given them allowance to commit trade deals without taking any trade taxes for the first twenty solarcircles, which in human terms amounted to about twenty six years, they went into the trade quarters. It was a truly exciting place to be thought Daniel... Karrgh was an oxygen planet, much like Grail, but with a lilac sky and mostly blue vegetation. As the inhabitants looked somewhat like octopuses with eight legs that also made use as hands depending on circumstances, they in some strange Disney mode felt quite at home with them. Gail had handled the language problem by taking them through her portal. There at a Hawaiian beach resort she had for five months painstakedly taught them Lingua Galactic, which apparently was the language of choice for the educated universe. Five months in her universe, not in theirs of course, more like five days. The rest of the crew had to learn it through the Net though, as she didn't have consoles enough for them all. 'Ah, ' said Daniel to Mbrd'sa, a local trading in metall works and precious stones. 'Those stones that change color, where did you get them?" Mbrd'sa studied the tailless one, his eyestalks shrewdly shifting. "You like them?" he boomed. "They are from far away, those one cannot sell and cannot buy, only those who knew their names can convince them to follow." "Is that so" said Katja suddenly very interested. "But why are they with you then?" "I took care of them when I found them drifting in space. Then they gave me strange dreams and promises." Here he studied them again. "Maybe its time for those promises to fulfill" He bent forward and lifted one of the stones, "Here" he said to Katja. "You hold." Katja took hold of it. Immediately she felt like if she became part of a dream, the structure of the place surrounding her started to disassemble. In its stead came slowly like oceanwaves, glimpses of other forms and sounds. It felt somewhat like looking through a badly made old glass pane, you couldn't see too clearly but what you saw was of great interest. She twitched, "his name is klle't," she said, in a dazed sort of way, "and he want's to get home!"
Gail asked Mbrd'sa for another stone. He gave her one to hold. She also found herself taken away on waves of strange sorrows. She let go of the stone and asked Daniel if he to would like to feel one. Daniel almost took a leap backwards in his eagerness to avoid touching them. "I don't know what they are," he said to the twins, "but I definitely didn't like what they did to you, girls! We don't know this guy, we don't know what those stones are, maybe they wanna go home. But before we know a lot more we better watch our steps." He finished on an admonishing and somewhat self-satisfied note. The twin's studied him for a second, then they looked at each other and nodded. Fast as phantoms they were upon him, Katja kissed him, as there were no tomorrow at the same time that Gail seemed satisfied with just holding his hands? Boy, what a kiss! He thought in dismay. Everything except Katjas kiss seemed to dissolve, instead there came a feeling of being very very far away, and lost in an ocean of alienness. When he tried to see where he was, he could only see an undulating flickering shine, there was something like a soap bubble shielding it. He tried to see, as he did so he heard a very sad and lonely voice asking him, "Have you come to kill us to?". With a mighty effort, he broke free from the kiss, he was still there, with the twins, Katja released him and Gail let go of his hand. "Sister" said Gail. "It became so much clearer when we all were in contact, don't you agree?" "Quite close I thought." answered Gail, "Are you satisfied now," she asked Daniel. "Scaring that poor thing half to death?" "What! Me" he spluttered. "How about you! Scaring me to death, huh." "Really Daniel, we were there all the time," said Katja. "Oh yes, baby." Said Gail in her sweetest voice "Nothing to be scared of, Mama's here to take care of you." Daniel looked at them, he just couldn't remember how his life had been before the twins, it was like a boring tale filled with dull grayness. Even though they drove him mad! They still were the best that ever had happened to him! "Ok, he said, you won't listen, will you. Fine, let's save the whole Fng Universe then!" "Ooh. Baby's upset" crooned Katja "Come here, Baby!" And she opened her arms. Here goes my self respect, again, thought Daniel as he laughed and hugged her. "Forget it." He said. He turned to Mbrd'sa "One gave his name to Katja," he said "does that mean something?" Mbrd'sa tried to smile as he had seen the tailless ones do, to the humans it reminded them more of something out of that old movie 'The Shark' but with three rows of very sharp teeth's.
Mbrd'sa minds were in tumult, fighting in frenzied discussion with each other. He studied the weak tailless creatures in front of him... Hmppfr, one would expect 'heroes' to be of a more dignified appearance he thought, not knowing that his thoughts mirrored his Emperor. "So they did speak to you then?" He said. "Well, we will see. Do remember to remind them of old Mbrd'sa. But now, are there nothing else that might be of interest here?" he asked on a bright note of briskness. Daniel looked at him. Incomprehensible, he thought, first he only wants to discuss the 'stones', and now he just doesn't seem to care? Ah, that's aliens for you, he almost sneered. They were on a trading mission though, so he turned to Gail, "Anything else?" They continued to haggle with Mbrd'sa about other things, finally they were through and walked away to some other booths were there was strange looking devices and beeping things with flashing lights. There is something interesting! Not strange stones that 'wanna go home' but real interesting stuff thought Daniel, congratulating him self of getting the girls away. Later on they meet up with Thor and the rest of the crew. It seemed that they all had found something, and there did seem to be some interest of starting up trading relations. But the traders all wanted iron clad guarantees of not being blown away before any such trading would commence. "I think we done what we can." said Leo." Yes" said Lind who then smiled at Daniel "found anything nice to wear?" she asked innocently. Thor looked at him questioningly, "Or anything at all?" "Well," said Daniel, "I found this" he showed them a flashing beeping round thing with lots and lot's of knobs and small wheels on it. "It's a rangefinder" he said proudly "It will remember where you've been, it can also give you the local time for fifteen different quadrants at the same time. It has a TV, a Radio. You can use it to communicate with others that have it, and" he finished triumphantly". It's waterproof to three thousand feet!" "Don't look at us", said Katja "There was no way stopping him." "Wow" said Leo. "Let me try." It ended up with him buying one too.
They went back to Grail where everything was as usual, this time though, there was no welcoming party. They all felt that with the coming of this good news there would at last be an opportunity for the ship to do a little exploration of its own. Somewhat like a smaller vacation as Gail saw it, free from the burdens of responsibility as Daniel saw it. After Gail had informed the people about the peace treaty and told them that there might be some mighty cautious traders coming Grails way, everybody seemed to cheer up though. And, wha'da'ya'now, there was a party. Gail who had replaced the shuttles with even bigger ones, capable of taking some teen thousand people each, left them at Grail. They now had four FTL:s with dataconsoles and GiGa computers. Counting them and the thirteen 'boots' circling the Twin solarsystem everybody agreed that Grail were sufficiently shielded even if the Ac-Dc were gone. They would never be more, said Gail, than some fifty jumps away. Those jumps she expected herself to be able to make in no more than a minute ship time, backward jumping that was. Forward was a totally different matter, that was uncharted terrain so she had to be careful indeed. She had with help from some of the brilliant physicists that choose to stay on the ship, built two drones that flew some light seconds before her in the jumppoints. They were in constant contact with the Ac-Dc through the dataconsole, and for her some seconds were more than enough time, in case of trouble ahead. And even if the first drone disappeared she had the other one coming straight behind. Neither Gail nor Katja, or for that sake, anyone else knew why they had this feeling of being out of time. They just knew that Grail could take care of itself, and there was a universe waiting for them. But the reasons were assembling, studying the humans, trying to understand what made them tick. One morning as Daniel woke up he found them, floating before his eyes in shimmering waves of light. "Shiit, there are no privacy!" He growled while franticly trying to get his clothes on. "You relax and there they are. Fng paparazzi!" The girls took a cooler viewpoint, "Well, you know." Said Katja reasonably. "They are after all stones, not humans." "Yeah." said Gail. "Do you really think they would be interested in you?" "It's just that every time things seems to settle down, new shit happens." Daniel almost screamed the last, felling so powerless. "Oh," said Gail finally understanding, "Your PMS acting up again, love?" Fuck it, thought Daniel. "I'll leave you with the puzzle girls!" So he didn't have the twins before, huh. Well at least he had some peace. As things were shaping up around here, peace seemed more and more unattainable." he went to the door. "You'll find me in the kitchen!"
He was alone in the kitchen, If you had two beautiful girls in your bed, they being sisters and all, then you should have the right to being able to wake up in peace, yeah that's it. Not even the mornings were sacred anymore. There was no privacy, it was time to statue an example. The girls, and the stones, and who fng ever else involved had to learn a lesson, and he was the man to teach it., The ''B&BB&B' were waiting.You would have thought that it was the big things like wars, pestilence and Death that would bother you, he thought. No, it was those every day situations that finally got under your skin. So I'm confused, well, up yours, and good riddance too. Thor came in to the kitchen, filled a cup with coffee and sat down. "I'm moving out," said Daniel." "Sorry? Moving where?" Thor scratched himself on the chin. "I'm going to take the big Bathroom," said Daniel. "I have great plans for it." He continued with explaining his vision of a ''B&BB&B'. Thor seemed impressed "Good for you!" he said. "You need to show the twins that you have a life outside the bedroom. The bathroom hmm! Go for it my man but ahh don't tell the twins that I said so. You know the temper those two have eh, Daniel." "No, it's cool, they'll just have to learn to live with the situation" said Daniel decisively...
He put his plan into motion immediately. The first thing he needed was to get a refrigerator filled with beer. It was thirsty work to put in place but Daniel persisted and overcome. He might have burped a little in the end, but what the heck, Aussies do that with pride, right. Then there was this matter with the bed, but for now on he thought it enough with a mattress on the floor, and a little carpet to, just for that homey feeling. Oh shit, now he was all sweaty and smelling beer. Nothing that a little shower can't fix, then he changed his mind. Fuck the shower, I'm gonna get me a nice hot bath. Said and done, Jesus was that nice. After the bath he opened the drain to finish of with a shower for that last totally cleansing sensation. He stood there, eyes closed, just enjoying the feeling of for once being on top of the world. It helped that he had his stereo on full volume. Rock and Roll time. He could even sing, nobody would hear. And now the towel, he stepped out of the bathtub on to his mattress, shit, he had forgotten that, he looked down. There it was, all soaked in water. It seemed that the drain hadn't coped with the water volume, but the mattress sure had... Ok all great inventions had this, momentarily mishap's. He just had to go back to his original idea, a bed, and not a mattress. How to get this bastard away. Thor could help, and Leo, they were guys you could count on, yes they were... First he would have to sneak out to get them, shiit, not the clothes to. Everything he had put on the mattress was soaked. He would just have to hide them in the tube, maybe if he filled it with some water and put the mattress on top, he could always say it was an experiment. Yes that's cool, He would just lend Katjas dress that she had left, no he couldn't, what if he would meet Lind. Then she would be sure about the panties. He took the towel, unfortunately it wasn't a big one, he had to hold it with both hands, carefully opened the door, peeped out, nobody there, good and stepped out. That's when he heard the cool voice behind him. "No panties today, Daniel?"
He turned around, faster than a viper biting, desperately trying to act relaxed and said with a knowing smile. "Hi Lind, I was just wondering where you might be, don't use the bathroom please. It's in somewhat of a mess. A failed experiment you know. "Oh!" she said, "Ok. I won't use it, but you won't mind if I just look for my toothbrush, would you?" With that she opened the door and went in. Daniel stood frozen to the floor. After an eternity she came out with her toothbrush, looked at him thoughtfully and said." I won't ask about the mattress Daniel, or why there is an open refrigerator in there, filled with beer. Boystuff I guess. There is only one thing that really surprised me, How did you get into that small dress?" then she smiled "It must be as they say, where there's a will, there will be means. Bye now sweetiepie." He had to get of this ship! There was no way he was going to take this any more, he thought as he put on some dry clothes. Lind believed him to be a Panty stealing Transvestite, the twins loved the fng stones more than they loved him, and soon everybody would now about his latest screw up. This is it, I'm getting of this piece of junk! After he had taken care of his mattress, soaked clothes and put in a real bed he went back to the kitchen. When Leo dropped in he was sitting there, stirring catatonically on the zinc. "Tired, or is it your PMS" asked Leo in an attempt to joke. Daniel kept staring at the zinc. When Leo leaned nearer he could barely hear Daniel whispering something for himself. "I see, you're doing Yoga, it's a mantra, right?" he moved closer to Daniel to try to catch the mantra. "I Wanna Go Home!!" Screamed Daniel. Leo who felt like someone just tried to explode his eardrums backed away. "Cool, cool, I'm just gonna talk with someone, stay put man." It only took a moment before the kitchen was filled with concerned people. The twins felt like shit, even Lind felt somewhat guilty. It wasn't her fault that she found out about his little twist she thought. Hey, as long as nobody got hurt, right. She hadn't planned to tell anyone, well, maybe Gabriel then, but he would keep silent, wouldn't he?
Daniel seemed to wake up. He stood up. "Listen everyone, I want to say some things. First of all, whatever you think Lind, you're fucking wrong. Second, I'm fucking tired of those fucking adventures this fucking cosmos want to throw in my fucking face as soon I'm having a fucking moment of peace. Third, I Wanna Go Home. Thank you." Then he sat down again and started staring at the zinc, again. They had to leave him there, he didn't respond to anyone's attempts. And to listen to his mumbling for more than five minutes could drive you up the walls. Katja and Gail felt especially guilty, although they didn't know why they should? Katja got an idea, "Hey Gail, this might be an altogether lousy idea? But can't you eavesdrop on everyone on your ship?" Gail nodded. "So, can't we see what happened today? Something must have happened with him Gail?" Gail stood frozen for a moment, then she came back. "Ordinary I would call that a very bad idea Katja. I have very strict rules as the ship. I'm to involved with both you and Daniel to allow myself such eavesdropping. Furthermore we all need to trust each other, if I was monitoring what everybody did and said I would be no better than a dictator, But I do have an emergency backup for the last week in case of a crisis. It's nothing that I have access to normally, and it's always for the last seven days. I've thought it over as the ship and concluded that just this time we might consider it a emergency" With that a three dimensional screen started to show what had happened to Daniel that day, beginning when he woke up. The twins didn't know whether they should laugh or feel sorry for him and for themselves too, afterwards. "Why does Lind think he wore my dress" said Katja confounded? "Maybe she missed seeing his clothes" said Gail "Is that a bad thing?" she continued feeling curious. "wearing dresses?". Katja looked at her. "I don't really know." she said "On my planet it's mostly girls that wear them, but I've heard of far away places where men wear similar things, called Togas and Kilts, and so on, but that is on my Planet, Daniel's? I just don't know. On the other hand, on my Planet only girls gets PMS." The girls gave it some more thought. "Could that be it?" Said Gail. "He wants our cloths? Is that the problem?" Katja on her side, thought it a very sad thing, that he didn't seem to want to live with them any more. He seemed so attached to his idea of that ''B&BB&B'. And Thor had seemed impressed with it to, and didn't Lind call it 'a boything'? "You know what!" She said, "Let's make him a surprise. We'll give him a superior ''B&BB&B' with all the dresses and panties he ever dreamt of!!" Gail wrinkled her eyebrows as if in deep thoughts. "I can rebuild the room attached to our bedroom she said. I'll make it a wonderful Surprise for him!" The girls smiled at each other, every thing would be fine again. They would get Daniel back, well almost back. He would of course sleep in his ''B&BB&B', but who said that they couldn't visit? And this thing with dresses was kind of interesting, exotic, yes but intriguing they thought. "Ahh" said Gail "It's what this ship needs more of, women's thinking." "Yes" said Katja "Who knows what would have happened to him without our understanding?" They felt into satisfied dreams about the utter joy and happiness of Daniel as he beheld their gift.
Thor came out to the Kitchen some hours later, Then Daniel already had gone into his new crib, with a big sign hanging on the door "Beware of Hot dogs". As 'I'm nothing bout a hound dog' rolled out through the door at the highest volume he didn't hear Thor knocking at his locked door. That was no problem for Thor, it was just a ordinary bathroom lock, the kind with a red and a green field signaling 'locked' or 'open'. Well, after Thor finished it stood at 'open' so he walked in. He found Daniel snoring in the bath tube, fully dressed with a smell of beer impregnating everything. If the guy is pissed, Thor thought,, that's understandable. Let him sleep it of. He put a pillow under his head but left him as he was. As Daniel woke up the next morning he couldn't understand where he was. Why was his body so strange and stiff? And why was it so gleamingly white everywhere? He tried experimentally to move his head. The pain! It was as if somebody tried to drive a nail through his frontal lobes. Have I been in an accident? Could it be a hospital? What strange dreams he remembered. Like twins and one a computer, get real man! This is a hospital, and I am one sick puppy. No good to try to move he thought, but boy, was he thirsty! And he really needed some nurse to help him get to the bathroom, that was for sure. "Haallo!" he called "Anyone here?" Not a sound? If he only could open his eyes a little more, but it was as if someone had tried to glue them together, just to see this blurred whiteness was too much for them. "Hallooo! Sister, please, I need to go to the bathroom!" "Ooh you poor man" he heard a voice. At last, he though furiously, the service were miserable at this place. "Sister, I really need to go to the bathroom," he said, in what he himself thought to be, a quite composed if somewhat desperate voice. "Help me immediately, please." Of course Daniel, but you're already there?". There was something wrong with the hearing! It was like echoes when she spoke. Whoever she was, she was strong, he had to give her that. And the bed was really lousy, very difficult to get out of. He almost broke his legs, again! He felt someone fumble up his trousers and help him sit down on the toilet seat, but when they wanted to take of his underwear he had to call it of, "thank you Sister, but this I'll do myself. "Oh, we understand" he heard. In a chorus! There is something seriously wrong with my hearing, he thought.
After she left him in peace to relieve himself he succeeded in opening his eyes. They must have a real shortage of beds, as they had bedded him down in the bathroom. Jesus? The Third world war? That would explain all, his loss of memory, the bathroom, everything! Wooa that's no blood bottle's, that's beer in that refrigerator. He opened one immediately, the relief. Aaah, and now one more to keep the other poor bastard company he thought. Clunk clunc Cluuunc. That's the ticket, boys. What? Are you feeling lonesome? No worries, I'll send down a friend. After some time he discovered that the beer must have been somewhat stronger than he had any right to hope for. He could now move his arms again, and look, he could wiggle his toes! Yes, there was a miracle happening here. Wonder how the twins are? Shiit! This was no Hospital. This was his new crib. And that must have been the twins'. But they had been like angels. He couldn't say that he had been on his best yesterday. Shit. There was this Lind thing too. Fuck fuck fuck. Everything's fucked! Why didn't he just blow his brains out, he sat there, wailing in self disgust when he heard someone knock very diffidently on the door. "It's Lind, can we talk?" He flushed and dressed quickly. "Come in Lind, please" She stood there and for once she didn't seem so self-assured. "Look Daniel. I'm sorry if I've teased you," she said. "I do like you Daniel, and whatever your sexual inclinations are. It's your own, I won't mind if you don't." "But" started Daniel, "No no, hear me out, it's gonna be yours and mine secret, I promise." then, she smiled mischievously "but baby, I sure would love to see you dressed up, just once." "But, I'm not interre..." started Daniel stuttering again. "Whoops, here comes the twins," said Lind "gotta go. See you later, all dressed up i hope!." Daniel sat there on the toilet, staring out in space. What could one say? At least she had promised to keep her delusions to herself? It was some kind of betterment he supposed. She reminded him all to much of the twins that woman. And here they came... "Oohh, Daniel, feeling better" they asked in chorus. At least his hearing was okay. "Yeeah, Noo, I'm feeling like a louse" he admitted. "Is this good?" asked Gail Katja. "I think so," said Katja. "I've never heard of louses feeling sick." They both beamed at Daniel "We're so sorry for you Daniel" Katja said. "You could have asked," said Gail. "Do we have a surprise for you to night!" said both, in chorus again. "As long as you understand that I might want a crib of my own sometimes." said Daniel. The Twins smiled at him and nodded, Hmm maybe it was a good thing, me getting crazy and whacked out, Daniel philosophized. Nobody seemed to cross at him? He opened a new botle, ahh, maybe he would stay after all.
The ship started to move, Gail was sitting in the kitchen when it started. She looked up, startled out of her fantasies of the evening. Usually it was her who gave the command to move, this time the decision had taken place without her? She flowed into the GiGa. Ah, that was a surprise, well if they had such a hurry they could have spoken with her first. She gave the GiGa strict instructions to tell them that they should speak with her and Katja before doing any more stupidities. "Were are we going?" asked Katja. "It's the stones." Said Gail. "They feel that they have to hurry, there seems to be some sort of occasion coming up soon, at their home. A celebration of some kind." "Ooh, I understand,. I wished they would tell us what it's all about, though." "Yeah, me to." said Gail. Otherwise the day went uneventfully, Daniel nursed his hangover with a carefully selected collection of 'pick me ups'. Nobody made fun of him, and the only thing he found strange was Leo's reluctance to come nearer than six feet, whenever they had something to discuss. Maybe his 'B&BB&B' weren't all together a success, he had to admit that it lacked somewhat in comfort. At least there had been moments of quiet complementation in there, listening to some good music. Even the architect had to admit to his taste, even though he had had the effrontery to call it ' a little old fashioned!' Maybe, just maybe it was going to be okay. He hoped that it would be a good surprise 'cause boy, was he feeling starved, but he could hold. The twins had proclaimed it 'very tasty', and as they were quite accomplished in the kitchen, he looked forward to the feast. At last the evening arrived, pleasantly befuddled Daniel were led into the bedroom. "Do you see anything new?" Katja asked him. He turned around, searching the room. It seemed the same as last time? "Look up" said Gail. He did and, yes! "Have you repainted the roof "he said surprised, it used to be a in a light blue shade but now it was a pristine white, except for some golden plumbing's that went into the adjoining room. "Wait" said the twins in chorus, again. Then they blind folded him, whirling him around until he got quite dizzy, walked him somewhere, all the time whispering to each other. "Stay here and count to fifty". Gail said, "Then you can take of the blindfold". "Yes, yes, do that" he heard Katjas happy breathless exclamation.
They really were crazy he thought. But they were his kind of crazies! He dutifully, slowly counted to fifty, then he commenced taking of his blindfold, preparing his eyes for the feast. What the... ! He was in a bathroom! The biggest fucking bathroom he had ever seen. In the middle there was this really huge bathtub, from which golden coils of plumbing lead up to the ceiling and away. He could easily place the whole splintercrew in that same tube! And shelves were all around the room with towels and? What! Panties, dresses? And high heel shoes! It looked as something from that book, 'Thousand and one nights' he thought, in a very feminine kind of way. And what a magnificent Bed they had made! Throning over it all. There was three big mirrors and over there a grand toilet, with a gilded crown over it! All painted in silver, except for that crown who was, like the plumbing, painted in subtle shades of gold. Shit, the girls had outdone themselves this time! Like some freaked out Rock'nRoll dream from the sixties. Why they needed such a big bathroom he just couldn't understand. But it was preposterously impressive. Standing in a corner he saw a great beast of a refrigerator. He walked over and opened it. Filled with good looking, "ooh babes!" he crooned, chilled bottles of beer. So they to had finally succumbed to his vision. There he had thought that he was talking to deaf ears! That only the guys would see his true wisdom! The twins were of course somewhat unusual. He opened a chilled one and went to study the rest of the room, not bad, not bad at all! They even had installed some awesome looking sound equipment? Hey, even he could see himself visiting them from time to time he thought. It would be good fun, splashing around with the twins drinking beer.
It was stupid of them to use the room for their clothes, those would, in all probability, get quite wet in the proceedings. But he loved looking at the twin's 'unmentionables' while hoisting his brew, oh yes. This was one heck of a surprise! He opened the door and found himself back in the bedroom. Another surprise! He thought smiling. "I'm impressed, My ladies! Once more you've outdone your selves!" The twins' sat on their bed beaming like two tiny suns at him. "So you will stay with us?" asked Katja. "Of course I'll stay!" said Daniel. Thank the Gods for Thor. "Just a small fling of PMS, girls, all over now. I assure you!" "We're so happy!" Beamed Gail." And the dresses? Did you like them?" "Really, really sexy "said Daniel leering "They are all new." Said Katja on a more serious note. "We had to guess, do you think they'll fit?" Daniel studied the girls, "Well you know." He said, "I did think they were a little on the big side, but heck!" and here he found himself visualizing the twins wearing those 'unmentionables'. "They certainly will 'make do' for me!" The twins clapped their hands in happy exclamations, and on that happy note everyone went back to the kitchen to eat. "Aah Ladies?" he said while gorging himself on their delicious cooking, "Would it be possible for us to spend the night in that awesome 'B&BB&B'?" The twin lighted up like twinkling lighthouses. "We thought you never would ask!" exclaimed Gail. "Ohh, can we try out all the beautiful dresses to!" Said Katja with a happy smile. "By all means." said Daniel "Let's do that!" The twins looked at each other, exchanging meaningful smiles, filled with all that ageless wisdom that are the female prerogative.
The day after, Daniel walked out of the 'B&BB&B' a changed man. What had proceeded that wrinkled brow, no one would ever know. In the bedroom were only the carcasses of two newly slain bodies. And, as he promptly proceeded with blowing his brains out as well. Alas! All one can say is.
The Book Ends Here.
And on a most moral theme, if I may say so. As those would agree, who feel that we should try to keep some remains of a moral decency. If not for the sake of us, then for the sake of those innocent children. After all, they might say. This ship is supposed to represent the hope and future of mankind! What kind of future would that be, and what hope of man? If everybody walked around, dressed up like 'Queens!' Although he did, didn't he? And they were, weren't they? One of the truly immortal Rockbands I mean. As we all will find out with age, moral standards shift from person to person, they also change with the times. Whatever new place one might visit will have new and unforeseen moral definitions. If one would meet, say an embittered old lady, bent from soulless toils, living with a man without dreams. Filled of bitterness and hatred for those who have, One would probably find hers a much more narrow definition of moral than, for example, if interviewing Marquise D'Sade. Now there might be some people, especially in the 'Bible belts' of whatever faiths, who strongly would disagree with my conclusions, Who find this book sadly lacking in that moral fiber. But as it is I who present this tale, I'm happy to let it be known that they'll have no saying in this court. Still, to spare those folks tender feelings I'm willing to let them end the book here. As my publisher can explain it will also mean an added income as it now can be played on the radio, Ahh, the revenue's, the smile on my face. But for those of you willing to risk plunge into the depths of depravity I hereby present the alternate continuos.
Worlds And Words Alike.
As Daniel walked out of the 'B&BB&B' he found him self a changed man. It really didn't help that the twins had proclaimed him unbelievably sexy. One try is no try, he tried to console himself, but it just didn't seem to help. If he hadn't drunk those last brews, if he only... What's done is done, he thought and shrugged his shoulders. It was time to meet the world. But as he passed the bedroom mirror he just couldn't help checking out his walk. Nope! There was no wiggling of the hips, one worry lighter he continued to the Kitchen. He had it all to him self. The twins had been sleeping entwined like two redhaired goddess's, and to be honest, he did need some time to think this over. Thor came in, he also looked like he had left an interesting night behind him. "Uh Thor?" said Daniel. "Can I ask you a, like mano e' mano, you know? Question? Kind of?" Thor studied him for a moment, then he smiled that slow smile of his. "Sure, go ahead." "I had some pretty weird things going on with the twins last night, it ended up with me dressing up like them. Pretty weird, huh?" Thor studied him some more "Nope", he said. Finally '"Sounds like something everyone should try, especially if they had access to the twins, that is." He smiled. Shit thought Daniel, I better tell him all. When he had finished his tale about Lind and the panties, the B&BB&B and the dress Thor was bent over in helpless laughter. When he then came to last night and explained what the twins believed and concurrently had fixed him up with Thor fell of the bar chair sounding as he was choking. "Sshiit! Go careful on an old man." He succeeded to say in the end, between hiccups. "Stories like that may kill!" Then he smiled again. "So the twins, and Lind? They all believe you to be a transvestite of some kind. Oh God." He started to laugh again uncontrollable. "I don't really know what to say friend. It seems to me that you've pushed Lind's button, I would say she's very interested in you now. And for the twins, well they don't care man. They just want you to be happy." They talked some more, mostly serious, except when Thor got that amused glint in his eyes and had to interrupt himself just so he, as he said, could collect his thoughts. He left Daniel with some new thoughts though. Lind was kind of sexy, and if what Thor believed was true. There could be ways to get even then. He started to smile that sly smile of his.
Suddenly he had this feeling of somebody studying him, he looked around but he was still alone. Then he heard a small twisting sound, like a leaf moving or something. When he looked down at the table there were a stone resting there. "Hi" said Daniel. "And what might bring you to the kitchen? Coffee!" Aw, they don't speak he thought, it probably wants me to hold it. No way I'm gonna do that. He drank some more coffee studying the stone, suddenly that strange disoriented feeling touched him again, and it was like slowly gliding through a continuously appearing set of penetrable walls. One after one they seemed to disappear behind him until at the end he was left floating alone in some kind of diffuse glow. It should have freaked the shit out of him but it didn't. "Where am I?" there was no answer. "Hey, stone, what's your name?" he heard that whispery sound again and then he felt himself being turned around, There was this shimmering outline of a girl looking at him. "Hallo Daniel." A girl? The stone was a girl? He couldn't help himself "But you're a girl!" he said. "Yes, and you're a boy" He felt a smile emanating from her. "But I can't see you" he almost complained. "Think about it like this affinity yours and Katjas world share." she said "We to share an affinity for each other Daniel. But to for you to see me, it has to grow stronger." I can go with that thought Daniel. "So how do we make it stronger then?" He had an inkling already. "For that we have know each others essence, and there is only one known way to do that" Daniel started to get a funny feeling about this,. It wasn't like she was threatening him or anything, it was just a feeling that maybe he should talk it over with the twins before this essence sharing. "I can take a guess Lady," he said. "But I'm already involved with my twins, I would need their advice before we could proceed. No disrespect to you, Lady." He felt that smile again. "None taken. Daniel. Let's go and seek their advice then." With that the world came back, he was still holding his coffee in one hand, but in his other rested the stone. That was spooky, how the hell had he taken the stone without even noticing it. Better go and talk this over with the girls! In the 'B&BB&B' everything seemed much the same except that the twins sat in front of one of the mirrors helping each other out with their hairdo's. "Hi love, give us a kiss" said Katja, or was it Gail, nowadays he mostly could set them apart, but like when they were dressed the same, or as in this case, undressed the same, it could still be a nightmare. He gave each sister a kiss. "Hey, look what found me!" as he showed them his new friend. He told them about his experience with her and stopped with "What do you think, she seemed nice enough, and I sure would like to know who they are?" "This essence sharing, you think it would be similar to our love making then?" asked Gail. "I can't tell." said Daniel "But my thought was that if we did as last time you could follow me and see for yourselves" It would be so much safer for me to, he almost said. Not that any girl could scare him. No way, but still safer. "I think the idea has merit." said Katja "Let's do it sister"
They went to the bed. Daniel still holding 'her'. The girls took hold of what part they enjoyed, and they waited, Nothing happened. Daniel knocked very carefully on the stone "halloo, anybody home?" The same strange feeling came and suddenly he was back, without the girls, He looked at her "Where are my friends!" "They are here to Daniel." She answered. "But for this we crave privacy." In a way he wanted to agree but he still wanted to know that his girls were with him. He suddenly seemed to hear laughter "Oh, Daniel, relax. We're here lover. Be nice to your new Ladyfriend now." He relaxed and concentrated on her shimmering outlines, it seemed like she came closer and closer. After a while he couldn't tell if he was he or she any more. They seemed to exchange deep secrets about themselves, at the same time that he felt totally safe and, kind of home. It was over all to soon, but now he saw her clearly. And she was beautiful. "So are you, she said" "Am I?" then he sensed her thinking. From now on until our departures we will be one, Daniel. There will be no boundaries between us, we will share sorrow and joy. He felt, aw he didn't know, it sounded like a marriage really. But by some strange magic he knew her to be as true in her heart as his Twins. It's cool baby he thought, now there are three lovely girls to cherish, you must meet the others babe. With that he willed himself back without letting her go. They were back, and she was with them. He felt very proud of himself. She seemed both younger and older than the twins, and terribly shy. He swooped her up in his arms, "Come on baby, you're safe, we all love you. Don't we!" "Hello Sister, we're so glad that you joined us" said Gail. "Me to!" said Katja smiling and took hold of both her and Daniel. "Gail, let's build a little tent on the bed so we can have some privacy" After they were under the bed cover Daniel's new friend loosened up. "I found it very frightening to be out of my portal" she explained. "Hey, I'm stupid!" said Daniel "You don't use names! I will give you one. Katja, Gail, meet Rose... Rose meet Gail and Katja. They are the best loving friends anyone can have, I promise." She was a sweet natural blonde, not as tall as the twins but by no mean petite. She also had some lovely freckles around her nose that somehow reminded Daniel of a squirrel. "Ladies," Daniel said "One and a half year ago I was living a mundane and as I know now, totally boring life. You have put happiness and adventure in my veins. I can't help it. I'm crazy about you." Rose smiled a little at Daniel's flaming affirmation. From her viewpoint sitting in his lap she closely studied the twins. What she saw in their eyes seemed to reassure her. "You are the ones we went out searching for she said. You are our Deliverance and our defenders when the choosing comes."
She moved as if wanting to get up, so they all followed her clue, and with her hand in his she went to the nearest mirror. She touched it gingerly and then seemed to understand what it was. For Daniel it truly felt like being in paradise, three stunningly sweet young Ladies in the nude in front of three mirror definitely gave him a soaring sensation. "And I thought I felt good when I hacked" he muttered to him self. "Forget it, This is why babes are born!" Rose studied herself in the mirror, then she looked at Daniel and smiled. "So this is how you perceived me when we joined, Daniel?" "What?" Said Daniel. "You know, Daniel. We have been without both bodies and names for a very long time. When you brought me here you did a most daring thing. It's a lovely body. Thank you." "What?" said Daniel again. "But Rose, this is you, after we joined I could see you clearly and it was you I saw baby, as clear as the day!" "Oh really!" said Gail "What about me then. Who do you think dreamed about me?" Oh no, down in the cragmire again. Sometimes Daniel wished he had a twin brother that he could leave all this infighting too. "I admit Ladies. If I would be the one, lucky enough to be able to dream up something as lovely and enchanting as you Gail and you Rose. I would bless my good fortune and count myself a true connoisseur of beauty." "Oh!" said Katja "But me he leaves out!" Daniel felt like he wanted to tear his hair to pieces. He fell down on his knees bent his neck and said "Kill me Katja, I'm not worthy of your sweet presence." Rose who had studied the twins technique with both surprise and awe now looked at Daniel and seemed to take pity on him. "Sisters, she said, I would feel warmer in the bed. Why not continue from there?" Katja looked scornfully at Daniel "Oh no, not with those dirty clothes on!" Daniel was very quick to correct that oversight though, and it 's in the bed we'll leave them for now.
The ship was silently moving through space, flickering out and in of the wormholes. Before her rode two watchful sentinels probing her way. As this happened at that time when one neither could say that the universe were specifically young nor terribly old there were still some mystery clinging to it. I'll take it upon me to introduce one of the most enigmatic species of the unknown universe, the Xzndrz. As they are totally unique, there is not much to be known about them. That doesn't necessarily imply that they were unknown. Oh no. Quite the contrary actually, the Xzndrz were known to have meet an untold number of extinct species, The problem here being that they all went extinct. Now, one might wonder why they all were extinct, but there we only have the Xzndrz explanation of said fact. As the answer was in their own language we will have to wait until we can get a reliable translation. There have of course been a lot of wild guesses of to what the explanation might be, from "they couldn't find the bathroom" to "Oh no, they found it," Which none of them make to much sense. For the known universe they became tales to scare the children with. "Eat your broccoli or, else the Xzndrz might eat you!" And who knows, it may even be true. Even though it is hard to imagine vegetarians, as they most assuredly would have been if living on broccoli, eating small children. The ship was actually going to meet them. As the stones knew... And as we all know, there are so many possible outcomes for every possible choice. There is for example the school that says that every possible way always get taken in every possible moment. Now there will be a lecture, proceed at your own risk Please remember that this is only one school of thought among a multitude...