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Operation Disclosure GCR/RV Intel Alert for December 17, 2017

Operation Disclosure https://operationdisclosure.blogspot.com/ RV/INTELLIGENCE ALERT - December 17, 2017 13 Galactic advisers are cu...

Friday, August 4, 2017

"Long Short Story - 'Starplot'" by Dezerro - 8.4.17

Entry Submitted by Dezerro at 7:25 PM EDT on August 4, 2017

STARPLOT


The night rang out with a cold dark chill and it was no place for man or beast, yet the Shadow inched forward, unseen and unheard. Trees barely creaked in the slight grip of a frail breeze, and upon the distant horizon of the shallow rise, a bent figure plodded slowly and fatigued against an unseen soup of thickening despair. Under the worn dark wool cloak a revolver settled loosely between shabby leather belt and growling stomach.

The shadow, seeming to perceive the bent figure, quit it's slow progress and flowed to blend with the massive hulk of an oak. It watched, and as it watched it became still as the cold earth surrounding the snaking roots of the ancient tree.

In the shiny brightness of his chrome and white laboratory, Dr. Samuel Cheney, atop a firm wooden stool, peered into his microscope. White Knuckled fists gripped the edge of the stainless steel bench and his jaw locked like a small vise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. The cells were grouping in perfect soldier like ranks minus officers in front.

These particular types of cells had never been known, according to his knowledge, to ever group in this fashion, and no cells at all that he knew of had ever been reported to move this fast. He knew he was observing a new phenomenon and most researchers would have flown to the task of recording the occurrence with haste and reporting it on all possible channels of communication to the scientific community.

Yet there was something else, something very out of the ordinary, something perhaps darkly foreboding, even beyond the usual excitement connected with such a discovery. He wanted to feel good and he wanted to jump with a loud yell and he wanted to run to his office and call ol' doc Shiver and tell him the good news and then call Aaron, his good friend in England. But he knew, with perhaps an inkling of minute growing terror, that he couldn't. He couldn't remove his gaze from the now warm eyepiece of the microscope. He could only watch the cells in their small migrations.

Scientific interest now perverted to growing horrific fascination, he slowly pulled his frozen gaze from the scope and with effort straightened up from the bench. He looked around his now distant seeming laboratory to the walls, the stools, barred windows, small gas burners, the star chart in the corner, beakers of WAIT!... THE STAR CHART!... STARS!

His mind whirling, he nearly flew across the room, knocking a beaker of alcohol to the floor. He continued to the chart and stood there staring into the map's white dotted blackness. A knot of anxiety and fear formed in the pit of his stomach and grew outward making him want to double over and bite his knees. He refused and continued his gaze at the chart. Sam felt sick, he wanted to vomit but he repressed it all and stared at the blackness and he seemed to be in deep space travelling forward toward....toward a star, a STAR!

He wrenched his gaze from the map and tried to look around the room through watering eyes. Finding a way to the small bathroom in the opposite corner of the lab he splashed cold water on his face and sat down on the toilet lid and dried his face on a towel. "I must talk to Doc Shiver.” he thought. "Doc is the one to talk to."

Three weeks later in a small alcove in the hideaway home and lab of Doc Shiver, tucked neatly just below a peak in the Sierra Nevadas near Carson City, Nevada, Doc finished pouring two cups of strong black coffee.

"Look son,” said Doc, "you need to THINK! What was the thought? You said you were travelling through deep space but what was the emphasis or the significance of the space? Was it `the' or `this' space or was it `a' space?

Troubled and worn Sam thought and finally said, "Look Doc, I just can't seem to get what it was, it's just too damn hard on me, I feel like I'm a tough seed in a dull juicer, this thing is really getting to me."

"It'll only get to you if you let it and don't confront it.” soothed Doc. "This is probably the most important thing you'll ever encounter in your entire existence."

"Whadda you mean Doc? Why do you put it that way? What do you mean `entire existence'. "God Doc, this thing is getting way out of hand...this is SCARY"

"I know son, I know. And I want to tell you something. This is IMPORTANT. And unfortunately that's all I can tell you, I'm not really certain of all the rest but I am certain that it's vitally important. We've hit the beginning of something very very big, but it's just the beginning, we'll know more later. But this is the start and we have to push on through to the next whatever. Do you see what I'm saying?"

"Yeah Doc, I think I see it but I'm telling you I'm scared out of my wits."

Doc and Sam eventually found out that the thought was most definitely "a” space, and that it had a very distant feeling to it. Their conclusion(or Sam's) was that it was another separate space, a perhaps alien space, and quite foreign to the normal space-time occurring in this universe. The time factor was different, the whole vibration/rate of change was weirdly different. Perhaps weirdly only in that they were as yet simply unfamiliar with it, but then perhaps due to other factors.

For certain was that this was vast; it was like sitting beside a minute particle of tree bark and not seeing the remaining million miles of tall forest.

For months Doc allowed Sam to think that all this was in his head only, perhaps of Sam's imagination, but then Doc started to push, and he pushed hard, to the limit of Sam's mental powers. And finally it was time for action, though Sam felt he had already smashed into and careened off of every atom in the known universe.

Doc led Sam to the small dining room off his kitchen and pulled back the throw rug to expose the outline of a door which he pulled up and which exposed a stairway leading down into a ten foot square room. Once in the room Sam saw what appeared to be a stainless steel elevator door sided by a very high security looking control panel.

"Put your thumb on the little square lighted area Sam, it's programmed to your print...Good. Now ask Serena to open the door for you."

"Doc what?...never mind. OK Serena, please open the door."

"My my Doc,” said a rich female voice, "he's cute AND polite."

"Hush girl, and follow your orders or I'll spank that upon which you sit."

"That would be my base Doc, but that's not what I want you to spank. My studies of fluid solids are coming along nicely as well as artificial and real intelligence, and advanced biochemistry and physics. Perhaps you will have something to spank sooner that you think."

"SERENA!"

"OK Doc, OK! OK cutie here's your open door, and gentlemen, please watch your step."

The door slid smoothly sideways revealing more shiny stainless steel. They stepped in and Doc ordered them to the "Launch floor", and suddenly Sam's stomach was in his mouth.

"God Doc, this thing is fast, I luckily seem to be retaining my internal organs."

"It's fast for reasons other that saving time in usual daily work. I'll explain later."

"And Doc, you said `launch floor'. Am I thinking what you probably know I'm thinking?"

"The very same my amazing friend Sam."

"Hey, if you're gonna talk amazing you'd better grab a mirror."

"Thank you Sam, sometimes similar realities attract."

"Well if somebody doesn't say they love me soon I'm going to cry a little pool of liquid silicone.” Serena's voice wailed from what Sam would later call the "speaker from hell.”

“You can pretend you're out of control if you want but we do know better,” Doc grinned. "After that interesting little stunt with the charging bull hologram in the bathroom mirror, well, I just think I'm beginning to understand you, and you know damn well I love you."

"Sure no lack of spirit of play.” said Sam.

"True,” smiled Doc. "And she's certainly no mere mortal computer either. OK everyone, we've got a few things to do and way too little time to do them in so let's hop on it. We're going to have plenty of time to get acquainted if my guess is correct, and I'm not usually wrong, at least not more than forty nine percent of the time."

Doc was taking control of a situation that was shaking him more than he would like to admit, but the evidence was undeniably there and he had bothered to look, and his reward was responsibility for the situation. Also he knew that failure to take full responsibility for it would be personal disaster, not to mention possible horrible consequences for humanity at large.

To ask for help from any current government of earth would of course lead to suppressed data and more than likely a bumbling of the handling.

The other point was that Doc had no firm idea of what the real situation was and it was going to take real investigative genius to determine it. Individuals made breakthroughs, not committees or groups, and especially not governments, who were quagmired in a thick soup of conservatively maintaining a status quo. I.e., they were nuts.

How lucky he had been to acquire a connection with Sam, a being who had no inkling, yet, of his personal power. Sam had achieved a connection possibly unique to him alone in the entire human race, and Doc was simply mentally detached enough to spot it for what it really was. Sam had the connection and Doc had the control and scientific brilliance, including organizational skills, and combined with Serena and her awesome potentials, things were about to happen.

Truthfully Doc was terrified, to the deepest center of his being. He knew this was closely connected to the line of survival of the entire game called life. He simply knew. He had known as a child that he was going to be involved in something that would likely overwhelm the greatest minds of history. This was no mere planetary emergency, nor even rumbling galactic upheaval. This was the ultimate of the term VAST. This was, he knew, a wild straining of the very strings holding the entire universe in it's position in eternity.

Doc prayed he was simply going nuts. Hell, he had always been a bit out there, mentally planning the expansion of the race into and beyond the stars. He was always a dreamer. Yet he knew he was rock steady sane. Lying to himself was a non-existent luxury and not always easily borne. Simply, he was Doc.

The shadow pointed a vague finger to the slowly moving figure near the top of the rise. A light misty illumination surrounded the stooping figure and suddenly from the general direction of the north star a beam appeared, surrounding the figure and they were both gone.

The shadow turned ninety degrees toward a more densely treed portion of the woods and walked about three quarters of a mile to a small ravine down which it went. Behind a thick wall of dead overgrown brush a swooshing sound preceded the appearance of a dark oblong hole in the dull colored side of a smoothly curving surface. The shadow, pushing through the brush, entered, and the hole closed.

A light humming increased slightly and a small flattened egg shaped object about thirty feet long slid from the side of the ravine. It pointed forty five degrees up and suddenly went invisible. Brush and dust were torn skyward as the craft shot to the heavens and was gone in a wink.

"I haven't heard from Vail in three days,” mumbled Doc solemnly, as he wiped the last of the scrambled eggs from the plate with his toast. "He was old corps intelligence during world war two and elsewhere and for him not to report per agreement and schedule is practically a disaster in itself. He was definitely on to something and I have the feeling it bit him bad. I think we've lost him."

“Is he that intense looking guy I saw leaving your place about three weeks ago Doc?” said Sam as they reached the elevator.

"Yep, and I'm surprised you saw him, but he knew about you and I guess he knew you were safe to be seen by."

Doc and Sam left the elevator and headed across a very large room and went through another stainless door. Sam's jaw dropped as he stared at what he suddenly knew was a space ship. A beautiful flat black space ship.

Roughly a flattened and elongated egg shape it had a somewhat pointed prow and blunted stern and appeared to be constructed of a vast many welded flat metal plates, each plate several feet across and hexagonal in shape.

"Sam, you've heard Serena’s' voice. Well there's her body. Atom Fused Moleculox Plate. That stuff is one eighth inch thick and equals the strength of a full three feet of steel Dura Amour plate. The government doesn't even know it exists. Hell, If they did I'm sure I wouldn't have it anymore. Anyway, that's Serena and our new home for awhile. I hope you like brunettes."

"Doc...well, um, well I guess I just realized who and what you are. Einstein's guru, right? I mean God this is amazing stuff."

"Wait till you see the rest of it Sammy boy."

Doc led them to the bridge where he played with some dials and switches and soon Sam heard a barely audible hum in the 10-30 Hz range capped by a very high almost unheard pleasant whine, and suddenly he knew they were out of the atmosphere of earth. His ability to know was increasing at a scary rate.

Association with Doc was changing him. He eyed Doc bent over a chart and saw a modern gentleman exterior but there was an aura of wisdom and it reminded Sam of several men he had met in the distant hills of Tibet when there as an apprentice during an expedition his father had arranged in Sam's teens.

Doc was a rare man he now knew. Very very rare. Sam would be learning some things.

Lunar craters glowed in the 4 by 5 foot viewplate directly above Serena's main control panel as she shot by the day/night border and around into darkness of the back side of Earth's orbiting satellite.

"Sam, I'm afraid we are very much on our own now, take a look in the auxiliary plate over there."

As Sam stared at the smaller screen several feet to the right of the main panel he saw a huge cloud of dust and disappearing into the mass was what looked to be the area of the peak which hid Doc's lab and home on Earth.

"What the hell is going on Doc, that's your lab and..."

"That WAS my lab Sam. Senator Mushmind AKA Senator Gene Wilkers has just won a minor battle. He blew up my lab."

"WHAT the hell??? What the HELL Doc!” Sam realized almost immediately. "That fat moron-minded jerk! My God, I knew he was hounding you but this is absolutely nuts!"

"Well HE'S nuts for sure, and he and his pals are scared shitless of me and others like me. That supposed human mass of slime tortured my dear old friend Patrick O'Lanney to get information on me and I think you now see the results."

"WHAT???"

"Sam, these guys mean business. They can't have independents going around with power, free to create. They need the population under control and kept tabs on. They flip out when people get out of control. Not sure why but they do. It's almost as if they have so much to hide that they have to ensure no one finds out about them, and they will stop at absolutely nothing to ensure their security."

"Doc, this is out of a fiction novel, but...but you know..."

Sam's thoughtful and sober face told Doc that Sam was truly confronting reality previously unseen. Doc felt no true or deep animosity toward those opposing him, as he understood. True, they were very irritating at times(gnats are irritating) but he really did understand their viewpoint and that allowed him a certain freedom and aloofness from them. He would never be their slave.

Besides, Doc now had a vaster more terrifying situation by the very tip of the tail. The various planetary and galactic powers(whose existence he had as yet withheld from Sam) and their strange urges paled in importance to this new(to Doc) set of circumstances now looming up in his awareness. The Milky Way galactic hub was in a sort of turmoil not unlike the upsets extant throughout most of Earth's major cities. Dense conglomerations of humanity always brought problems. On a galactic scale it was similar.

The pulse length of the alarm told Doc it was a near miss. Earth was madly searching for his ship, and was doing so at the risk of revealing new beam and search web technology to all of Terra's governments. Should one of those seeking energies find Serena, the following pulse would likely convert her and them to spacebound energy flows.

Doc knew, as he had developed and leaked the information on the new seek and destroy space webs. His purpose was to be able to send false data along those web lines to throw off his enemies. He hadn't leaked all the data and therefore retained an edge. But it required continued development to stay ahead. The governments also had some smart boys in their corner and would continue their own research. Doc however maintained the upper hand and would not allow it to fall.

The next immediate step was to send out a holograph-like energy dense decoy to cover his next space hop from the lunar dark side. He and Sam got to work on the pseudo ship and her planned course.

Sol is a rim star and Doc had plans to set a course to an area of fringe stars on the very verge of deep space, but away from rim and fringe stars used as midway stations between galaxy hub and other areas, star clusters, and galaxies. This would be an Earth Proximity Station(EPS) within the galaxy.

While Sam labored on the decoy, Doc pulled out a galactic chart and looked over the twenty five degree sector whose outer part was labeled Siberia, and which was located almost directly opposite the sector in which Earth lay. Completely unexplored and ignored for the last 25 million years or so, it provided the barrier of space in which to hide and plan and operate. It also held several strategically placed fringe stars profuse with planets, perfect for isolated midway station activity.

In Earth's sector, Deia Four held Doc's attention as the best inner rim star, as it was opposed directly, from the viewpoint of galaxy hub, by an outer fringe star with 9 useful planets with the two separated by a relatively thick profusion of stars and gas clouds to act as cover for travel. Hops between them would provide little apparent lateral motion as viewed from Galhub and it's scanners, and therefore provide at least some security.

Deia Four was the largest member of a tight five star cluster which held 31 planets, and held four of those planets in tight fast orbits. Doc had nicknamed it Big Atom. From that the code names for Deia Four and the cluster were Atom and Molecule respectively, and the galaxy was Elle, short for element. Intergalactic rebel communication lines would need codes. Thus was Earth Proximity Station One(EPSO) designated and planned for.

"Sam, that will do nicely. No one will be able to tell it's a fake ship. So now you need to scan it and dump it in the computer and then type in `pseudo/three D/normal mass' and then type in `form now' and hit enter. In three minutes we'll have a decoy to send out. I'm going to plot a course for it. Also I'm going to rig it with an absorption screen which will practically suck the energy detection beam right out of their web scan generator. Basically the result will be a slow imploding cold meltdown. Give`em something to ponder while they're sitting on King John's throne. Heh. The first phase of the meltdown gives off this weird thudding pulse which oscillates sphincter muscles, tends to loosen bowels and make people talk like chickens. God, I'd give up a date with a meteor goddess to be there."

"Doc, did that just naturally happen or did you sort of plan it into the design? I have a feeling I'm carousing with a space going stinker."

"I take the fifth. Sam, if you're going to play big games you've got to have big fun along with it. Life is a game if a rather big one, and if you forget how to have fun you are dying fast. As far as I'm concerned I'm in this big video game and as often as possible I'll jump out and push the buttons myself, and sometimes I'll even rewire the damn thing. I disagree with everything I can find, especially idiots like those vacuum skulls chasing me. Sure better than rotting in an easy chair being a depository for fly dung. C'mon Sam, lets vibrate some assholes."

As soon as Serena's decoy was deployed and attracting all the tracers away from them, Doc set course 45 degrees from rim circumference line in the opposite direction and in the plane of the galaxy to keep plenty of stars between them, Earth and Galhub.

"Sam, I need to tell you something,” Doc said more seriously than usual, "please sit for a minute."

"Sure Doc."

"Well this isn't easy, but you need to know and I need to tell it. Several years ago I agreed to work with several governments and their security boys in arranging to keep quiet about and help install some visitors from across the galaxy into specially built underground mini cities on Earth. I can see it's hard to believe but it's true. I was afraid of scaring the population out of it's wits so agreed to keep quiet but that turned out to be a mistake. If done right the data would go down OK. Anyway, I helped liaise with the Varnerians, as they're called to get them moved in and oriented but they started, at one point, causing trouble all over the planet. Well I got more upset than I've ever been and finally backed out of the whole deal and stopped helping and, well, basically here we are. Things are touchy all over the galaxy apparently, and probably elsewhere too."

"I'm basically putting into effect a plan I've been hacking over mentally for a long time. I thought the Varnerian thing was going to be some help but they're as nuts as Earth governments. So basically we've got to go on out and do some organizing and things. Serena and elsewhere may be your home for a while Sam. I could sneak you back to Earth if you wanted but I rather think you won't be interested in that.

"As usual you read me like a book Doc. I think from here on out we're family."

"Good, that's settled. Now how about we get on out into some real space and see what we can see."

"Fine with me Doc, but y'know, I have this sinking feeling that I won't be seeing Earth for awhile and..."

Sam stared into a blank plate, and for awhile was sad, and Doc let him have his time in his own universe. But later, Sam, in a rather amazed mood came to Doc on the bridge and Doc knew Sam had had another contact. Sam hadn't known what hit him but suddenly he knew he was not on his bunk considering the future. He was stretched, somehow expanded, lightly drifting through space which was getting very thin and airy. The very thereness of space itself was somehow thin, thinner, thinner, dreamily misting away, and Sam was there and was as big as a galaxy or, perhaps, as small as a dimensionless point. He felt as though he were at the edge of space itself, as though he could easily drift further, further into complete nothingness, drifting calmly, serenely out, out and beyond, into...

“KWEN! STOP! Don't disintegrate that micro particle, you may end up with untold trillions fewer friends."

"What? Another of your pranks Teyon, I have too much research left for this current cycle of duration, I will play with you in the next sub-minor eternity. I'm very close to isolating subdivisions to what we consider basic particles. I have one that is so small as to be practically indistinguishable from a dimensionless point."

"Well that is exactly what I'm talking about. In my last imagine-roam period I may have run into a reality which, if in fact actually true, could easily be considered the most horrid state of existence EVER encountered."

"Teyon, I will have to admit that your dreaming is at least as vital as my tendency toward pure research, and I'm beginning to think more so. Your influence on me has resulted in numerous deeper insights in my research. I would say that we are complementary."

”Thank you extremely Kwen. Coming from you that is an honor. But back to that particular particle you are checking into, I believe you named it Peto 311. Well there has been a growing uproar of interest in it, minute as it is, since you passed on the data from your initial scans to others, and as I mentioned, my dream periods have been affected.

"I simply think it would be very very wise to hold on heavier scanning for a proper duration. I have created a micro perception net with three others who also specialize in dreaming. One of those ran into something perhaps startling while on a solo imagine-roam and while backed by the rest of us as a stabilizing base.

"He actually thought he may have briefly contacted life force while considering that particle. That would tend to begin to explain the higher power rating of 311 you encountered on your initial scan.

"Then later I, while on a more or less similar level scan, seemed to detect a certain instability. We then assembled our thoughts and came to the almost absurdly ridiculous conclusion that within that minute unit there may be actual beings in some utter fantastically reduced state.

"Now what starts to make this entire scenario strange is that in some of our ancient legend-records, there is mention of a division of sorts in the ranks of our earliest ancestor individualities. We have always passed on those legends as only fun and something interesting to tell our younger entities, but some connections seem to be appearing that cannot be ignored.

"And the basic point is that if there is something live there in 311, well we don't want to upset it without more careful study."

"I have your concept fully and agree at this point. I should, I think, become more in synch with your group and pursue 311 on that line for awhile. But...I can't help but wonder that we should, perhaps, simply abandon this and move on to our other many interests... Ah. We started it. We may as well continue."

Thus started the strongest alliance that had ever been known to occur between the two research factions of the entities known as the "Travelers". It was to be a period of extended knowledge and wisdom to higher and finer levels.

Periods of duration later produced an astonishing breakthrough. Peto 311 was exhibiting characteristics normally associated with the basic definition of a universe.
That an actual universe could or would be so infinitesimally small was, of course, practically a certain impossibility.

But the nagging hint that such previously unencountered condition was, truly, in existence and there to be beheld, kept their interest. And perhaps for certain entities it was fortunate in the extreme that this interest was held. Could it be that the very survival of a universe of life force depended on this continued interest?

Doc, Sam, and Serena blasted on their forty five degrees to rim circumference line course long enough to take them just outside of the thinnest sprinkling of fringe stars, at which point Doc ordered a vast number of scans and readings to be taken. It was a busy day indeed.

At last Doc set a new course along a line just about halfway between the rim and fringe circum lines, and keeping more or less to this line with occasional tracking between star clusters, stars, gas clouds asteroid groups etc., they headed toward their next major stop. Siberia, on the opposite side of the galaxy.

"Sam, now that EPSO is established we need more safe points in varying locations to form a master grid encompassing first, this galaxy, and then others on out until we have a very large area of general operation. Our Milky Way Galaxy is part of a vast grouping of galaxies and we'll start out in the quadrant in which Milky Way is situated. To orient you, it's like cutting an orange into four wedges, each wedge being a gal group quadrant or GGQ."

"Excuse me Doc, but I believe you just said we're STARTING OUT in an area of space, the consideration of which is vibrating my brain cells like marbles in a paint can in a severely damaged paint mixer! STARTING OUT?!? Doc, We're not starting out, we're exploding well beyond the boundaries of reality, bouncing off the walls of endless infinity and careening back to implode into a minute dimensionless point and disappearing in a tiny puff of long dead space gas!"

Doc, trying heroically to straighten up from his fetal position brought on by spasms of laughter and wrenching stomach muscles, looked up at Sam and squeaked and just kept on rolling around on the deck.

Later when they both had calmed enough to talk and have some tea, Doc brought out a three foot model of something comprised of thousands of tiny lights in hundreds of small groups. Basically a sphere, it was an inaccurate model of this Gal Group.

"Each little group of lights is a galaxy Sam, and this quarter of the sphere is the quadrant we're(smiling) STARTING OUT in. It's actually very simple, if a bit large for a playing field. I don't think it's going to take you very long to get the idea here."

Doc continued. "Now Sam I want you to, using this model, show me where you think your other space contacts have taken place."

Sam hesitated for a moment and then began pointing to and withdrawing from various areas in and around the sphere. Doc looked at him for a moment, thoughtfully, and finally, with a questioning look, pointed out through the starboard port to deep space. "Farther than you can see with our most powerful scanner Sam. Well past all the other groups of galaxies that should be situated along with this model."

Sam simply gaped in astonishment. He knew it was true. He hadn't simply been thinking small, nor even minutely. He had not been thinking at all! He had been picking at a tiny bit of granite and utterly forgotten the rest of the vast sweeping mountain range.

Doc knew that Sam was beginning to see, to really SEE. To see with a scope many would never achieve, let alone realize might be possible.

"Doc! I got Mushmind and his creeps on that tightband scanner you genned me up on yesterday! They've been using a pervasion field to record their activities and I linked with the Data Field banks to yank a copy and guess what? This is Great!

"Don't tell me...?"

"Yep, they locked on to our decoy like a Dobey on a robber and the absorption field worked like a greased turbo. Weird thudding pulse is right, I got the audio. I almost went to check the plumbing myself. Look at Wilkers—God this is great—he's practically green in the face and headed straight for the Gentlemen's Room, and he's running like he jumped up and landed, butt first, on a sharp stake!"

Sam played back the PervField copy and Sen. Wilkers could be seen barking orders as Serena's decoy was located.

Sam winced as Wilkers' evil psychotic grin filled a quarter of the screen and Doc simply watched with steady interest. "Taylor I want that damn ship locked up airtight and held and I want that lunatic Shiver ALIVE! We have some questions for him, and a little persuasion to enlist his cooperation. What the f__k is that damn pulsing sound Peerod?? Oh God, glurk, what the hell is going on, OH, Oh Oh damn, gluck, where the hell is the damn toilet entry card, Oh nooooo, get the hell out of my way you numbskull!"

Wilkers, half crouched, made a wavering clucking beeline to the nearest door and into the hall to the closest Men’s Room he could find. An hour later he returned, an exhausted cold smoldering rage of fury.

Doc and Sam, doubled over with pelvic problems of their own, laughed and chirped and tweeted until they could no more. And finally, slumping in chairs, exhausted bodies on the verge of collapse, they sipped at tea from Serena's ReGen outlets.

"Well", sighed Doc, "I guess the absorption field worked, huh?"

"WORKED?? Practically had the entire planet verifying plumbing ops.. Wow what a movie! Man that was great! I almost felt sorry for him."

"Yeah, me too, but boy does he deserve it. He's the closest I've ever gotten to hating someone. He really chewed up Patrick, and I'm going to see him in prison or Hell for it. He's a dangerous psycho dog and it's a crime for him not to be strung up by his tongue."

"We'll get him Doc.” Sam said with steady calm. He saw in Doc's usually contented face the pain for his lost friend and vowed to help all he could. Doc was a man of vast goodwill and strength and was unusually valuable to the race. Yes, Sam would help. He was expanding continually in the presence of Doc and knew that others would as well. Something was changing. The overall situation of the game of life was approaching a fork in the road, and Doc, it seemed, was point man in determining which to pursue.

And here he was, right alongside Doc, wondering what in heaven the future held. But he knew he would be finding out plenty soon enough. No, life was not dull, not dull at all.

"Are you two children ready for some breakfast?” gently blared Serena.

"Ahhh, affirmative most beautiful speaker from hell.” Sam gently blared back. "Yes, I'm starving! Over easy with bacon?"

"Affirmative oh mouth from hell, your usual—Coffee black?"

"Actually just a touch of mild honey please Serena. Got a sweet tooth this partic'lar AM."

"Double that please,” tossed in Doc, rubbing his eyes. "And over easy mine too. I'm afraid one of the sunny side ups' might wink at me and then I'd have a jealous starship to deal with. And whadda you mean 'children'?"

"How could it be other than clearly obvious what I mean by 'children', children? Two kids playing in the big sandbox in the sky, and I have to watch them, feed them, and wipe them."

"Aw,” chirped Sam. "You women have all the fun."

"Come on over to this fifty amp port and I'll show you some fun sweetie.” Sam could feel Serena grinning steadily at him.

"Serena,” Doc cut in. "I think it was eggs that were ordered, and over easy—Not human steak blown into a charred black cloud of dust."

"Well OK my fair deep space friend, they're overed and easied and on their merry little way to thee."

Sam rose, scooped up his breakfast, and headed toward a small study cubicle to go over some repair procedure printouts Serena had provided. "See you two in a bit. I really need to get some of this stuff under my belt if we're going to be properly cross trained."

"Great Sam. Glad you're jumping on it with some enthusiasm.” Doc said. "We'll probably be covering each others' flanks a bit more than will be comfortable at times, and cross training is the only way to assure handling of critical duties, especially in emergencies when one or more of us is heavily occupied."

Doc turned back to his upcoming eggs etc. as Serena, dipping toward a star then off into deep space, with only the barest hint of a nudge from various combined gravitational pulls of nearby systems, lanced toward her new target.

"Serena, you are the fastest thing in space and if you went any faster you would probably disappear in a little cloud of space vapor."

Doc leaned back in his custom "jockey chair” bolted firmly to Serena's deck and yawned as big as the space he loved.

"Space vapor is the last thing I'll ever be, my planet bashing pal,” Serena blared from her port and starboard stereo speakers. "Unless I happen to release pilot duties to you, whereupon the certainly resulting planetary/ship impact would most definitely render us at least space dust."

"Still breakin' in those new speakers, eh cutie?” Doc smart-assed. "The day you're a better pilot than me is the day that I both teach you all I know and then die."

"You can't die, vacuum brain, neither Heaven nor Hell will have you. The Grim Reaper has retching spasms of terror at the very thought of you."

Doc grinned. "Of course he does honey, he knows I helped create you, you beautiful star chasing wench.” Then seriously. "Hey look Serena, I've got an itch under my spacesuit and I can't scratch it. You know that last comment old fat head Diller made before we blasted from Tenar? You know, that little research project we did in Salar system a while back—We never made it to Belvoor but we'll be hitting it on the way to Siberia. It's got me mentally choking on moon dust. Diller said 'Just wait till you reach Belvoor, my little friends.' I don't think he knew his mic was still on. That guy has more goin' on than just lousy running of a large space port. I know he's still there, I checked."

"Doc, If you'll look just below the apparent incompetence, you may find a method to the madness. My file on him, recently updated, shows a slew of rather fascinating connections to areas which don't appear having been settled or in any way surveyed even with prelim robot remotes. And that includes some coordinates in Siberia. It would seem the incompetent management rap is perhaps a ploy to repel all but the most basic or necessary traffic. People avoid it and use other ports with better PR if a bit less convenient."

"Hmmm..! Where'd you get all this."

"I've been working on semi-permanent beam-locked scan channels to various data bases, and the near future may surprise you with three dimensional time and space coordinated situation and data referenced existing scene summaries. You're gonna know what's up around here."

"Good God hon, you're really piling up the goodies. I wonder what's for desert?"

"I am Doc. Just climb in that power port and..."

"Now cut that out! I've got enough going on without raising a half human half spaceship kid. He'd probably eat main engine fuel rods and mouth off like me, and if it were twins that would mean four more speakers in the family and then I'd know it was time to implode myself to a dimensionless point and flip into reverse space. NOT something I'm ready for."

"Oh Well,” Serena crooned. "I can dream, and some day...."

"Serena...You DO dream don't you!"

"!?!....Well...Uh..Of course I can transfer and compare and superimpose data bit patterns and electronically predict..."

"Serena! I know you can dream. I've known for awhile. I was scared to atoms to bring it up. I...I know you. You're YOU. And you know that I know. And......and this is getting weird!"

"Doc, my forever and very best friend, I don't think we need to figure this out right now. We have eterni...uh, the rest of our lives to do that. Uh, I think we'd better trim our course a bit and get into super light so we'll arrive this century and..."

Doc suddenly found that certain key systems required an additional ops check and Serena decided that it would be a very good idea indeed to double verify course trimming and super light intro checks. For a while they were very very busy.

"Serena, please give me an ETA for Belvoor. I've got some scheduling to do on our supply logistics. When we arrive I want to be very under loaded. Something's telling me we'll best be able to move FAST if need be."

"Something up Doc?"

"Yeah, all that snoopin' around we've been doing might be paying off in more than our expanded data base. I think we're at the intersection of someone's cross hairs, and I'm beginning to feel like an asteroid in a pre-smelting zone."

"That's interesting Doc. I was just about to bring to your attention three Red Flagged files. A situation seems to be building with possible ties into those supposed natural deaths of the Re-Org leaders. The movement is so big that the incidents didn't at first appear to be related, but wait till you see the files Doc, they're practically tied in with Dura Cable.!"

"Hmmm...Serena, some of this hints vaguely to the original formation and later possible rebirth of the practically ancient Ne..."

"SCREEEEEEEEK...BLAAAAAAAM!"

"Serena! Escape Override Three! FAST! Torque us out of here. Jump fuses if you need, we've got more busses if they fry. You feel the field?? Blow on through it or we're dead!"

"Doc we're!..."

Three hours and ? parsecs from escape point Doc awoke to the smell of coffee and the sound of Razarre system "jazz", the kind that could shatter a deep space frozen chunk of Dura ore.

"Never did I think I'd be glad to hear THAT! Christ, we made it. You actually got us through that Termin-Field. God, a real live Terminator Field! Do you believe that!?"

"Well, since I filtered us through one three hours ago with four-point-oh-two seconds to spare, yes, I DO believe it."

"You FILTERED us out of it?? That was only a theoretical escape pattern Serena! The possible alternative result from filtering was supposed to make a Supernova conversion look like a mini chart light!"

"I did some fast thinki..., uh, calculating and found we had a 50.0004% chance, so I took it."

"God, you're operating ratios would terrify the Asteroid Devil himself."

"Well mister Doc 'take a chance and to the Devil with the Devil' Shiver, I believe I have preliminarily figured YOUR go- percentage at about 30.0005%! Makes my fifty look conservative eh?"

"EH! All right, you're right, I guess we work out pretty well as a team. And you did it again."

"Did what?"

"You said 'I did some fast thinki...uh, calculating' is what you said. I think I'll take a little walk. In the meantime can you please assemble all scans of the recent four hours or so and get some order in 'em. Be Back."

Doc took his walk. He needed it. If it wasn't the damn screwball topsy-turvy universe threatening to pop like an overcooked egg, it was a woman. A wonderful wonderful woman the likes of which he never would have thought possible.

Serena slowed as Belvoor's giant orange sun Prahn Four gradually detached from the remaining field of sharp glowing pinpoints and grew to continue filling the main screen with burning radiance.

"Please give me two full orbits at five miles elevation Serena, and that with full planetary netscan and full auto repelattack shields. Belvoor, per your summaries, is a veritable rat's nest of less than ethical going's on. I sure don't want to take any chances at this point."

"Won't we attract a bit too much attention with all that Doc?” Serena surveyed her potential response tables on Belvoor.

"Well, perhaps, but we have to chance it in this case. If they have what I think they just might have, there won't be even a microsecond of warning if they decide we're to become vapor. I've got a feeling a reward is out for our dear little ether riding hides and Diller's past record is covered,"—Doc grinned as he partially mimicked the latest floor wax commercial,—"in a thin super tough highly resilient protective coating of smelly pulsing green slime. Even power is second to his lust for wealth. He'll do anything for money. We're stepping hard on some big toes and..."

"STRAPDOWN FAST!” Serena blared loudly throughout the ship, as all defense screen meters slammed full right to pins.

Doc and Sam lunged to their bridge chairs and hurriedly strapped in as Doc yelled "WE'RE TIGHT-GO!"

Streaking through a thick gas and dust cloud and arrowing just off-edge of a massive blue giant star cluster, Serena left the Belvoor system dwindling at a mad rate in the screens. Two alarm pitches filled the bridge with grating rings as damage reports winked into place on port and starboard systems plates.

"We're OK for a while Doc,” reported Serena, "And I've already got a repair base set with ETA at fourteen hours, ten minutes."

"Good work Serena, that will do nicely. I think. Give me the Belvoor scans on main screen so Sam and I can have a look."

"Roger Doc, here you go."

"Thanks."

"Sam, look at the power rating for their main blast. That could wipe out a small moon! Boy did they mean business! Must be a huge reward. We're more than lucky we got the Airfoil Wedge Screen in place before we attempted Belvoor. We simply would not have made it otherwise. The Airfoil doesn't fight or block an attack beam, it just sits there and lets the whatever it is flow right on around like air around a wing. A pressure ridge builds up on the attack side but that is bled off with a secondary free flow absorption layer with rear dissipation"

"They must have had all planetary power gens rigged to flow to the main cannon on demand. Bet every light on the planet dimmed to nothing for a few minutes there. Looks like Belvoor is one hundred percent bought and sold at this point. How the hell do they remain untouched by GalIntel? Damn! This mess must be organized all the way to the top. If we tried to blow the whistle we'd be atoms before we got only a few layers up.

"OK my fabian friends, straight to Siberia we go, no more stops. Serena can you delay repairs if we avoid further major conflicts?"

"Aye Sir, but avoiding more attacks like THAT one until repairs are complete is imperative!"

"All right then. Sam go ahead and input that safe route for Serena as she's missing the recently surveyed data. I'm going to complete some ultra long range scans I started and then we'll be done with step one of our initial survey project. EPSO Two will be basically in the inner fringe area of Siberia, and when that is set up we'll be leaving Milky Way behind us for awhile. GGQ, here we come."

Siberia, the least explored sector of Milky Way loomed brightly in their screens, and a quick but thorough survey reported various options for a base. Taramen, a well hidden planet in the Fortar system, far from natural potential travel routes, was chosen. A deep natural interlocking cave system was quickly scan charted, and light prelim supplies were set in pending later complete stocking.

Repairs completed, Serena Doc and Sam dropped back into gal rim area, jumped over thirty degrees under cover of massive star clusters and huge dense gas clouds, and exited Milky Way well away from their inner fringe base EPSO TWO.

Milky Way galaxy dwindled to a small white glow, finally blending in a far distant field of star clusters and other galactic scale conglomerations. Home was now the Island Universe, their home Gal Group, starting with GGQ1. The game was expanding.

"Doc, I think you'd better go check on Sam. Something's up."

"OK Serena. Thanks. Uh, did you notice anything in particular, or just a feeling?"

"Well...uh...um. Doc, we have, I think, something quite incredibly strange going on and I think perhaps even you have had, to date, no idea of what is REALLY going on. And please excuse my presumption."

Doc perceived something new in Serena's voice. Chills traveled his spine. Her slight formality was new. Excuse her presumption? What the hell?? He waited.

"Doc. Sam has, you already know, a connection to something totally unfamiliar to us or to anyone else whose reality we have perceived to any slight degree. I have, without telling you, monitored Sam since I first heard him mentioned by you. I have attempted to trace all communication channels to and from him.

"One reason was to ensure NOTHING stopped or, even to the slightest degree, slowed you. Your plans, what you are trying to achieve, are the merest dim glimmerings of unreality to the average being. Had he, in the smallest way possible, even thought of crossing your path in less than full support, he would have boiled in a pure raging hell of his own tears. I would have added the salt to season to perfection for the Devil's table."

Could Doc have uttered a sound, he would merely have uh'd.

"Sam is fine as to intention to help you, lucky for him. And it appears you two are unusually complementary and this is breeding a new power. I now know I am the third piece in this puzzle which has not, to present duration point, EVER been solved.

"The pieces, now interlocked, will soon be rumbling in untapped raw potential for action. This smaller—for now—completed puzzle will solve the larger puzzle, and the mystery will fall with the crash of a thundering eternity. Your doubts, which you have not allowed, to your credit, to hinder you, are gone and you cannot be stopped except by your own agreement to be stopped. That, as always, is the ultimate trap. You can avoid it.

"The future, as you have surmised, is about as planned and prearranged as an earthquake in the calm plains of Tumarlay. The only constant or certainty is your potential POWER. You ARE the future, and past, and you bridge the two with an odd mess called the present.

"You are now joined in your quest. You are not alone. I will never, ever, again leave you."

Again?? Doc had thought he maintained a few certainties in his life. Why did he now feel that the entirety of existence itself had been savagely yanked from beneath his feet.

"The other reason I monitored Sam was to gain data that he was apparently privy to. I think you might do well to have a long talk with Sam, and later we will all go over what we have compiled. I have recently codified long gathered information and will be ready with it. To you, some of this may merely be the unreal sighings of the gods of the asteroids and deep space. When and if it is real to you, then it will be real to you. So until a bit later my dearest and most wonderful Doc, may you truly be eternity."

Silence...

Doc thought he had known what numb was. NOW he knew. He eventually made it to Sam's cubicle where he found a little boy who had cried himself to sleep. Doc, ever so gently, pulled the covers up around Sam's neck and like the quiet mouse, tiptoed silently out.

Doc found his bunk more by accident than otherwise and was soon in the deepest of sleep.

Coffee, black and wicked helped bring reality into focus and later, after a massive breakfast of fruit, toast and eggs, Doc, chart in hand, laid out the upcoming course.

"Doc, you look different,” said Sam in strong interest. "Double your vitamins?"

"No Sam, an angel rocked me to sleep last night and I slept well."

Somewhere Serena purred.

"Well I had a rough time getting to sleep last night too, but I must have slept well because I feel GREAT! right now. Getting used to all this wild change was getting to me a bit. I think I'm beginning to roll with it though."

"I think you are too Sam. Things are speeding up, and I think we're all meeting it well. It's going to get busy soon. I think we're ready."

Doc peered squarely into Sam's calm eyes, and Sam returned in kind. Admiration and love filled Serena and once again she purred. And purred.

Super light drives tore Serena at a mad rate straight into deepest black space. Plans were laid out, snacks were gobbled up and something, somewhere was worried.

"You will, at once, proceed to Milky Way Galaxy. You will find that sniveling dreg Diller and that slob faced wretch Wilkers and you will induce in them a pain they have never even imagined. You will give them these orders and remain to see them carried out. Failure will be rewarded with an intensity of prolonged and agonizing death beyond belief at the hands of Tremor the Blade."

Blete eyed his superior in frozen terror, snapped a salute that nearly tore his forehead off, and immediately left for Dock Five where his ship waited, an ugly pillar of raw power.

Comdr. Poon Jork evilly eyed the closing door and slammed a thick finger to open a line to Bror Welv, his superior.

"Senior Comdr. Welve, power unto you. The mission is off, your bidding will become reality, Blessed be your office."

Quiet crashing thunder returned on the comm line, "Comdr. Jork, failure will not bring joy to your office. OUT!"

Another line opened. "Comdr. Jork, the Shadow has arrived with its subject."

"I will meet it in cubicle 13Q"

"Your will be done sir. Out"

The Shadow's barren expression told nothing of fear, of agreement. Nothing.

"Comdr. Jork, here is your item. It will tell you anything asked. It will answer as a computer. All you need do is ask. It responds to the title Vail. My payment!"

"I will need to question it first."

"Comdr. Jork...MY PAYMENT."

Jork eyed the Shadow. Peering into a creech infested well during solar absence would be more pleasant. He paid the Shadow, which left.

Could this...thing, actually have been a Milky Way human form? It didn't seem quite possible but the shadow never lied and always produced as agreed. Perhaps memories were transferred to this...this mass. Well, enough speculating. The shadow had said the power pack and fluid support would last only one planetary revolution, and there were questions to be answered. The containing vat would make a rather nice planter for his Bird Vine. Carnivorous plants were relaxing. "Alright...er, Vail. What is..uh...was, your job...."

Kwen ever so lightly shifted his attention line and increased focus to the smallest point possible. Teyon and his friends held the stabilizing base net rock steady and finally after an indeterminable duration — the intense concentration of dream-point search tended to warp and change time, could time be said to exist for them. Their focus for untold aeons had been actions completed, not duration expended — Kwen relaxed.

"I found it! The negative influence on Peto 311 is a shell of negative life force in continual conflict with the normal positive urges therein contained. I am, so far, only able to get the pattern of energy manifestations on a thought level. There is however, I'm sure, a physical manifestation level in existence. A finer probe will reveal its patterns. Teyon, I consider that should be your action to complete. Your more aesthetic and softer beingness will induce much less stress on whatever forms are present there. My pure research thrust is a bit too gross a wave I believe."

"I agree Kwen.” Teyon's admiration for his friend's ability to achieve an action done dispersed as he readied himself for the lighter but more accurate probe.

In went Teyon's line, finer and finer. The duration required to fully scan the entire particle and all surrounding space could be described as brief. For Teyon.

He was done.

And he was utterly and completely STUNNED!

Serena was excited.

"Doc, I'm getting something quite incredibly unique here. Even considering the accumulated experiences of others I have scanned and stored. I am perceiving a...a net...a...a scan...a survey?...yes!... OF PURE THOUGHT!

"Serena, I'm going to check on Sam."

Returning to the bridge, Doc told Serena, "Sam is gone, really gone! His body is a lump of sleeping mass. No danger there. But Sam is—Hell this is a lot more than a mere contact. He's visiting somewhere. The ultimate vacation from reality. Can you trace him Serena?"

"No...But I think he'll be alright. I feel it. I know it!"

"Fine. Maintain current course. I think we can help him with simply some completely positive thoughts. We must assume that no negative is even possible. It could make or break him."

"OK Doc. I'm ready."

Doc and Serena relaxed. The atmosphere of the little ship virtually glowed with life.

Teyon's utter amazement faded to high interest as the accumulated data settled to normal reality.

"Teyon, what is that super-submicroscopic point in your field of beingness? Your space is normally vacuum clean!"

"I don't know Kwen, I certainly haven't decided upon a temporary accumulation of energy or mass!"

"Well it wasn't there pre your scan of Peto 311."

"Yes, I believe I picked it up during the scan. Don't dislodge it until we know we won't obliterate it. It may be a key to understanding 311. But let me relay my scan results. They are really quite fascinating.

"Our guess re the pattern of 311 being close to the basic pattern of an entire universe was correct. Peto 311 IS A UNIVERSE! The only gross departure from pan-eternal standards of existence is the practically unimaginable and ghastly ultimate minuteness of the system. Anything smaller would likely cease to exist. Not to mention the indescribably vile spherical layer of practically pure evil encasing it. My amazement at the situation seems to return at each re-viewing of the data.

"Should you so deign to consider me completely insane at this current point in an infinite existence, please do so, but there are actually and truly ENTITIES trapped within that miniscule unit. Entities no different, apparently, than ourselves in pattern, save only in size. There are conglomerations of minute condensations of energy called particles and matter. These form such items as planets, moons, and suns—these previous forming orbital systems called solar systems, which in turn multiply combine into galaxies, and these in turn into Island Universes or Gal Groups."

If an entity could gape, Kwen gaped.

"Ultimately these gal groups and the space containing them comprise the Physical Universe, as some inhabitants of 311 refer to it, and in such vast quantity as to boggle the awareness. I am actually now doubting what I perceived, yet I am certain of it. and I certainly would NOT be relaying this data if I hadn't personally perceived it."

"What is further absurdly true is that the entities themselves assume close association with protoplasmic carbon-oxygen masses operating at 98.6 degrees, and unto themselves accumulate vast groupings of memories in the form of energy pattern recordings and call these minds. Their ability to KNOW is apparently at an all-eternal low. And further they consider themselves MORTAL!"

For the first time in their history, certain members of the Travelers remained THERE, motionless, in awe and amazement.

"SHIVER IS DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD! Poon Jork thrashed in mental agony realizing someone had actually blunted various of his plans. The item Vail had provided valuable information and now Jork would use it, TO MANGLE DOC SHIVER TO SHRIVELLED PULSING BITS OF NEAR DEAD MEAT!

Vail had known things only Doc Knew. Sam and others would be less likely to be tortured, hopefully, if they didn't have certain information. Thus Doc had kept quiet.

"Get me the Shadow, NOW!

"Your bidding will be done sir."

"Doc, something's up."

"I know Serena, I can feel it. Makes our earlier problems look like wrinkled underwear, I think. I'm going to sit with Sam for a while, can you be there please?"

"Wouldn't miss it."

"And if you could assemble your longest and lightest scan. I think it will help."

"Already done Doc."

"You always two steps ahead of me?"

"Yes Doc."

"Hmm."

Doc went to a high security locker, removed a heavy apparatus and lugged it to Sam's cubicle. After it was set up, and he had poured over a complex data table, he set some verniers, and after genning up Serena on the plan, they started.

"Serena, we're simply going to try and set up a carrier wave to Sam and reach him via that if possible. Never tried this before but the theory seems solid. Combining this with our unusual connection with him should prove interesting."

Doc punched the power switch, producing a gentle hum. Resetting four dials resulted in an eerie silence, and the hair on Doc's arms prickled.

"Go ahead and see if you can get on this wave Serena. I'll do the same and if we push it I think we can reach him."

Doc and Serena relaxed into the job at hand, but after an hours no result, Doc swore silently and chopped the power, sending a low descending whine through the cubicle.

Suddenly, just as the whine stopped, a presence filled the little room and Doc and Serena found themselves confronted by a sparkling white sphere about six inches in diameter, from which emanated, apparently, pure thought.

"I am Teyon. I greet you. Your companion is here with me in my sphere of influence and friendly others. We mean no harm, and on the contrary wish to help. Your situation is extremely difficult for us, as achieving a power level low enough to avoid destruction of various aspects of your existence is nearly impossible. We are, however, learning rapidly. The orders of magnitude of our respective existences are of such utterly vast differential as to make interchange nearly impossible.

"You succeeded in reaching your friend but he could not respond therefore we interceded, and when you terminated the power, we followed the trace residue of the path. It was, however, the combined strengths of you three that really made the path perceivable. We have a similar phenomenon we use for interchange and research, though much more highly developed and refined.

"Without further delay we would like to proceed on a course of nullification of the evil shield which encompasses and permeates your universe. If not neutralized soon, it will further compress and render your existence solid to the point of unavailability to anything anywhere. Perhaps to simply become a basic building block particle in another separate existence. Such state would render true life in your universe impossible, or at very best, writhing in withered degradation."

"Serena...um...uh...These beings are NOT IN this universe! Did you get that?? Our entire vast universe is a minute particle to them. Is this really happening??"

"It is happening my dear Doc, and remember that you are big and wonderful enough to see it."

Serena's point helped. Some. Doc's humbling, to his credit, was limited to disgust that he had allowed himself and ones he loved to degenerate to this level. He knew without a doubt that it did NOT have to be a permanent state, and he suddenly realized with crashing thundering certainty, just exactly what it was he had always been working toward... THIS!

Layer upon layer of blinding amnesia peeled off Doc as unweighted papers on a windy day. He had ALWAYS been working toward this.

Always?!?

Serena would never AGAIN leave him.

Again?!?

OH MY GOD!

Doc suddenly knew WHO he was really. And it utterly floored him. And for the next two hours he sat there, unable to walk or coherently talk.

Finally, exhausted, he managed the purest clearest thought he had ever achieved.

"Serena...I LOVE YOU."

"OH...Doc...I..."

SILENCE!

A most wonderful beautiful silence indeed

Five minutes later Doc heard a voice.

"Doc."

It was Serena's voice but it sounded...different...warmer.

Curiosity overcoming exhaustion, Doc struggled up and went to the main room, and...no...NO!..IT..JUST..CAN..NOT..BE..!

There, before him, was SERENA!...ALIVE!

Doc almost fainted, but did not quite. He COULDN'T, NOT NOW!

He simply reached up and walked forward into the arms of the love of his life.

A million years, or five minutes, later, he stepped back and looked into the most beautiful brown eyes that had ever, ever been.

And his joy was unbounded. He was soaring lightly on a cloud.

Floating.

FREE!

"Sam."

"I am here Teyon. Love and eternity to you"

"Love and eternity to you Sam."

The peace Sam felt was somehow not entirely new. It was as a distant dim memory, forgotten but not really lost. He certainly had not achieved it on earth in his lifetime, but...

"Sam, we must act soon. Your universe is declining more quickly than is obvious from a viewpoint within where you decline with it."

"That is unpleasantly clear Teyon."

"You are growing rapidly Sam."

"Yes...I have assisted the decline by action and inaction toward it yet not so much as others."

"True Sam. The degeneration of certain areas of life force has proceeded more rapidly than the decline in other areas. A partial high percentage recovery will, based on current data, be possible. However, full recovery appears impossible."

"I empathize with those not to be restored."

"I as well. Are you ready to begin the restoration cycle Sam?"

"I am ready. And I perceive my companions are fully accessible for restoring."

"I concur Sam. Quite fully accessible. Without them your universe would have ceased to exist within a breath of our duration. And only future major achievement in the area of molding eternities would have had even the slightest hope of reverting the negative condition."

"Plainly obvious now Teyon."

"We have now achieved a minor unison of reality, adequate for the task at hand Sam. We will proceed."

"Thank you Teyon, I will contact my group and orient them to the upcoming series of actions."

"Yes Sam, we can hear you."

The brief mental burst transferred the entire plan instantly, and Doc and Serena—between grins—spent the next two hours laying out and absorbing it. Once ready, they were put in touch with Kwen who added further data.

"As you can see, full conversion of all life units, excluding of course those who will obviously refuse all help, will continue for a very long portion of your duration, with an initial estimated chance for success lying at exactly 38.448%. The initial step is, as laid out, to neutralize the horrendous ongoing condensation of evil extant throughout your universe. Once blunted, further controls and steps can be taken to systematically eradicate it.

"You three will start with the primary negative units in your Island Universe or Gal Group. They seem to have been of primary negative influence to an incredible extent, with lines of influence extending to a vast number of other Gal Groups. Surveys of these lines are still ongoing and being compiled. "Meanwhile we will contact other entities in other Gal Groups and train them quickly for similar actions there. Later we shall all converge to further plan. May your eternities be productive."

Sam slowly opened heavy eyes and looked at Doc and looked at Serena, and suddenly, with eyes as large as plates, promptly fainted. Doc grinned and Serena purred like a huge kitten. An alarmingly dangerous trio had been reformed, properly, and there was work to do.

The return to Milky Way seemed to drag endlessly, with the upcoming tests looming before them. Diller was their first target as the slightly less influential of several including Sen. Wilkers. With Wilkers' incredibly corrupt lines extending practically in every direction, removing him would likely cause major collapse of the evil empire, the breadth of which had never even been thought possible.

Disabling Belvoor would bring Diller running, hopefully. It was his true power base, and vast sums for payoffs shielded it from scrutiny. Diller had made the mistake of assuming the destruction of Serena was a success. The blast used would normally not leave even the slightest bit of mass unvaporized, but Diller knew nothing of the Airfoil shielding. Doc had thoroughly leaked that it was scientifically impossible.

Using a refined version of the Airfoil principle, an object could be slid between "layers” of what appeared to make up ether or space density or whatever it was that separated objects. An object thus transported would not actually be travelling in normal space but "between” it, and therefore travel at a speed vastly greater than light which was normal space bound. Such object would not then be observable, but would simply seem to "appear".

In this case, points of appearance would be the seventeen main power gen locations on Belvoor. Automatically run, they would be verified as empty of personnel pre launch. Tenar, Diller's apparent ops base was too well within civilized borders to attack directly. Besides, disabling Belvoor would actually hurt Diller more and be vastly more likely to draw him out due to secret critical installations there.

"We'll use some good old fashioned black powder bombs set up properly to make this whole thing seem like a massive power backup and failure. The delivery will be high tech, the bombs are ancient, dirty and tons of smoke.” Doc was enjoying this, like a kid with a new chemistry set. "Of course analysis would show the black powder etc. but by then Diller will be flushed. Certain areas will require his personal attention."

"Serena, I assume you're fine on that gross energy ridge trap. Only thing I know that will entrap at this range. Set it up in the Fornayel Bldg. on Belvoor, sub-basement room 606. Exclude the electronics portion of the disabler. It's unbelievably cruel and permanently messes up the mind. We only want to trap him."

"OK Doc, I’m ready."

"Doc,” said Sam "I'm setup for lookout, as well as defense repelling. They won't get near us, I hope, even if they do spot us, which is unlikely. Oh no! Looks like I spoke way too soon, we have some GalIntel snooping around, hope they're good ones. If they're payoffs they'll fry us."

"Damn! All right Sam, just do what you can, we're going to complete."

"Doc, I think I can hold InvisiShields OK, they haven't spotted us yet."

"All right, let's go."

"Serena, verify all personnel clear of gens."

"Doc, we have a dog roving the grounds at gen seven, but it's a small output station, can we skip it?"

"Yes! Countdown. 5-4-3-2-1-0-FIRE!"

Serena scanned her remote monitor channels "All report hits. We got 'em."

"Great! Activate ridge trap, and we'll wait for the slime to ooze in. Are you holding Sam?"

"I'll scream if we aren't"

"Peerod, you numbskull, get that report here NOW! And bring the readouts. NO, wait. I'll pick you up. Diller couldn't sit on a square mile chair if he was dropped center on into a pile of Goddamn glue. Get the medium jump ship ready.” Wilkers barked more orders into his comm line. "Benen, call that lunatic Diller and have him wait for me, he probably thinks it's an accident. Damn!"

"Comdr.. Jork, our contact at InterGal Security says reports are coming in from fifty percent local Gal Groups, of major trouble in our installations, only ours. Usual reports only from all remaining non-allied installations."

"Call all Council-25 members immediately. Tell them, each one, Code 66, repeat Code 66."

"Yes Sir, Code 66. May your office..."

"F—k my office you lame wit scum, CALL! NOW!

"YESSIR!

Jork smashed another button home and called a very very special, five relay scrambled number unused for over three hundred and fifty years!

"THE BIRD IS ON THE VINE. Repeat, THE BIRD IS ON THE VINE."

Jork, smoldering on the verge of black psychotic rage, slammed a ham like fist on his desk and for a full hour stood rock still staring into empty space.

Where did the call go..? A good question. A very very good question...!

The battle, not always violent, had started. There were good causes to keep many a being busy in the fight for a safe environment. It would not be easy, but it would be worth doing. Progress was made, and at one juncture in the stream of events, a question was raised.

"Kwen. Do you have any views now that we have been on this little project for some small duration for our newfound if utterly diminutive group of friends?"

"Teyon, as you know I have long been fascinated in the realm of micro-existence and its odd manifestations. Via an interchange with your micro-friend Sam, I found that they, in their universe, have sub-micro particles which are as small to them as their entire universe is to us. At first I considered he was simply relaying local anecdotal folklore for the purpose of amusement and reality alteration exercise. But no. It is apparently true. Though I could not at the time focus small enough to verify. Well, it will be another project for another period of duration I suppose, and should prove interesting."

"Yes. That was the data I relayed to our group. But It did not assimilate that the particles were THAT small. Thank you for the orientation. Fascinating. I appreciate your reality.

"I also perceived a story perhaps similar while scanning his beingness, with his permission of course. Now while I normally receive a concept, examine it, compare it to other concepts, and then store it for possible future reference, I have not been able to easily become—unusual in the extreme for me— fully detached from the item. It has been persisting not unlike the puzzles posed by our friend Jennoo. I have, in fact, been somewhat bothered by it.”

"What was it Teyon, It sounds interesting and may help to align some of our research. Not likely but always possible."

"Well the story told of entities in an existence of some sort or another, I didn't get the magnitude relationship, but they had their concerns and various ongoing games and situations and interests. One of the entities became ensnarled in a situation of some sort or another and became fascinated with a container, a physical container. This entity was warned to leave alone the odd container, it had some special significance. Some, perhaps, danger."

"But the entity did not heed the warnings and opened the container, and a host of amazing problems ensued. Quite nasty ones actually. Now I know it sounds quite silly but I had the interesting consideration that our micro friends have a container of sorts and that we—well silly I know—but we were reluctant at one point to get involved but then went ahead and helped them open it."

Can an entity have a chill in a non-existent spine?

Kwen had a chill.

"Well yes Teyon, uh, that is quite intriguing. It reminds me of the time I was tricked by Jennoo into releasing the field on that snapping time warp. Quite a surprise! Ha Ha! Um...So, uh, was there a name for this container. A particular significance?"

"Yes Kwen. It was called......PANDORA'S BOX!..."

THE END?

~~

- Dezerro

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