posted on 19-Sep-2002 4:29:08 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"
formerly titled: "Antarians Shed Tears Too" PG-13


“Children of the Universe” is the third book of the “Altered Time” trilogy or series (whichever it turns out to be). It can be read and enjoyed as a separate story from the others, but to fully understand all the characters and how they got there, it is recommended that the first two stories be read first. For those of you who choose to read this one first, anyway, here is a brief summary to bring you up to this point quickly while hopefully not spoiling any of the secrets or excitement of the first two. In “Altered Time-Destiny in the Stars,” Max and Michael are living on Antar. Kivar destroyed the Earth several years before, and Liz, Maria, Isabel, and all the others are gone. This, of course, just won’t do, and Max and Michael set out on a mission to change the past. Some wind up living on Antar, and the CrashDown is rebuilt on Antar. A couple of new characters from Antar become regulars, marrying into the group. Oh yeah, look for Alex, too! He saves the world! Then there is the awesome jah-ee! Ah, well, read the story for that!

In the second story, “Life in the Stars,” a long-held bombshell secret concerning Tess and Liz is uncovered. Then Max and group return to Earth to show their kids, who range from 5 to 9 years old now and have their own unique "abilities," where they grew up. On Earth, they encounter an old enemy in a former alien task force agent who holds a very big grudge, and the children’s lives are seriously endangered. There is some angst, (okay, a lot of angst! But my stories never end sadly! And there is also a lot of fun!) Diane Casey and Dan Klein become characters in "Life in the Stars." They were agents who joined the podsters and friends.

That brings us to this story, “Antarians Shed Tears Too.” The story begins 10-11 years after "Life in the Stars," and Max and friends are sad, depressed, and full of angst since a disaster of Antar-wide proportions 9 years before destroyed their lives, but don’t expect things to stay this way. Remember that “the darkest hour is right before the dawn.” There is lots of action, adventure, humor, romance, and sci-fi here, just as in the first two stories. And besides, have I ever let you down? Feedback is always appreciated!

The creators of Roswell, the TV series, deserve the credit for the characters from the TV show and for whatever mention, if any, there might be of any event that occurred on the TV show. All other characters and storylines are mine.




[ edited 5 time(s), last at 23-Nov-2002 5:32:34 AM ]
posted on 19-Sep-2002 4:30:10 AM by Gerry Carr
"Antarians Shed Tears Too"


"The Darkness”

Chapter 1

I


Liz answered the door in the palace; she was expecting Michael and Maria.

“Hi, Maria… Hi, Michael… Come on in. Dinner will be ready soon. Glad you could make it.”

Maria smiled. She looked older. Her face was drawn and had a sadness to it… not the sadness of something gone wrong today, but the sadness of a long, enduring pain… “Hi, Liz.”

Michael gave Liz a hug.

“Have you seen Izzie lately?” Michael asked. Liz nodded.

“She and Alex doing okay? I haven’t seen them for quite some time… I think since the end of last year.”

“Yeah,” Liz answered. They’re doing okay.”

“Kyle and Jeliya?”

Liz nodded again. “Yeah, they’re makin’ it.”

“Jim?”

Liz didn’t answer for a moment. Then she nodded.

“He’s hanging on. I saw him at the ranch last week.”

There was silence for several minutes, as though no one quite knew what to say.

“I always thought she was the strongest one of all of us…” Michael continued after a few minutes.

“Kathleen?” Liz asked.

“Yeah.”

“Well,” Liz said darkly, “I understand her perfectly. She was strong. But the strongest steel shatters if you hit it just right and hard enough. I’ve… I’ve felt like doing the same thing… You just don’t know… well… I guess you do.”

Maria hugged Liz, and both of them began to cry.

Michael sniffed, too, not meaning to. “The stoutest trees are the ones the wind blows over,” Michael said, “It’s the ones that nobody thought were strong… the ones that can bend… that somehow survive. How long has it been? Nine years?”

“Nine years, forty-four days, and…” Maria looked at her watch, “…what are we dwelling on it for! It’s not going to change anything!”

“Hey, all!” Max said, as he walked into the room. Max looked around and noticed that the mood had become somber, as it always tended to do when they got together anymore since the day of "The Darkness." Max, like the others, looked older, and like the others, his face showed far more sadness than it should. But he was determined to try to bring some happiness into this reunion.

“Come on, guys… Let’s watch some vision screen or something before dinner! Buffy’s starting her nineteenth season tonight!”

Michael grinned slightly. “Let’s see… She’s what? …knocking forty now?”

Even Liz smiled slightly. “Well, she still slays ‘em like she always did,” Liz said with a slight giggle. “She just complains about her back after she does it now.”

Maria smiled and giggled, too. “At least Angel doesn’t change. And he can give her back rubs!”

“I hear Steven Spielberg has chosen the cast for Star Wars, Episode 3,” Max said.

Everybody laughed. “That would be funny if it just weren’t true!” Michael said. “I don’t think he’ll live long enough to make another Star Wars movie after this one… not at the rate he’s putting them out!”

The four friends sat down on the oversized Antarian sofa and turned on the video screen. For a few minutes, no one said anything, as they watched the early evening news from Earth. Then Maria broke the silence…

“Why don’t we… you know, try going back to the past one more time?”

Michael hugged her. “Maria… you know we did that… Three times! It didn’t make any difference.”

“I know, I know,” Maria said softly. “I know… I just keep trying to think what we could do.”

“I think we tried everything that we know to try,” said Liz. “Maria, I’m hurting, too. So is Max, and so are the others. All of Antar is hurting. But some things apparently can’t be changed.”

“I know,” Maria said softly again. “But I just can’t help wanting to do something.”

“I know,” Liz said, hugging her. “I feel the same way. Sometimes I can’t stand it. But we have to remain strong… for each other. The scientists are still trying to find out what happened and how we can make sure it never happens again.”

“I don’t give a damn about ‘again’,” Maria almost yelled. “I care about…” Tears began to roll down her cheeks, as her voice broke up. “I care about what I lost… what we all lost.”

Liz hugged Maria, and Maria hugged Liz, as both cried quietly. It was hard on Max and Michael, just as much as it was on Liz and Maria… and every other Antarian. Max and Michael both longed to get back to some semblance of a normal life, but they hurt inside as deeply as Liz and Maria… in their own way. They didn’t get together often with the others or even with each other anymore, precisely because the visits always broke down into talk of how there should have been a way… they should have had some warning… they should never have come to Antar… maybe if they took the new granilith or used the Sphere of the Portal one more time to go back to the past… a hundred different things… it was all a lesson in futility and frustration.

Everything had been tried, most things several times. As to what had caused it -the “Day of Darkness,” as it was known on Antar- nine years later, the scientists were still “working on it” …the scientists in whom Michael had put so much confidence. Now he tended to get frustrated and short-tempered with them. He knew -they all did- that whatever the scientists found out, if they ever even did find out exactly what happened, it wasn’t going to change the past. It was too late for that.


----------------------End of Chapter 1





[ edited 2 time(s), last at 19-Oct-2002 6:14:42 PM ]
posted on 19-Sep-2002 4:34:58 AM by Gerry Carr
"Antarians Shed Tears Too"


"Diane’s Story”

Chapter 2

II


In Washington, D.C., former alien task force agents Diane Casey and Dan Klein were having dinner at their favorite Chinese restaurant. Diane still lived on Antar and had become integrated into society there thoroughly and quickly. She already spoke fluent Antarian and was very well versed in Antarian history and lore.

Diane made frequent use of the sphere of the portal to see Daniel Christopher Klein who had only really come to know her when she left to go to Antar with Max and Michael and their group on the new granilith. Shortly after that, on Earth, Dan had been made Head of the National Security Department that is in charge of “alien” matters, replacing Zeb Sikorski, who had “disappeared,” along with his new Sub-Director, Dumas Zwolinski, after numerous irregularities and embarrassments to the Department. Liz offered Diane the use of the sphere of the portal so that she might go to see Dan right after President George W. Bush appointed him to the new position. Since then, Diane had used the sphere at least a couple of times a week, possibly becoming the most well-traveled intergalactic visitor ever.

“Diane, when are you going to give in and marry me?”

Diane smiled and gave Dan a kiss.

“Don’t be in such a hurry, Dan.”

“A hurry? It’s been ten years since we met and over eight since I asked you to marry me! I don’t think of that as a ‘hurry.’”

“I know, Dan. I’m just… you know…”

“I know you’re afraid, Diane, but maybe it wouldn’t happen to us… I mean… now. That was nine years ago.”

Diane winced. “I was there, remember? I was there on Antar when the sky turned black in the middle of the day. I watched as all the Antarian children became ill. I watched Liz hold her children and try to save them as they died, one by one, each one of them, over a few hours after the sky turned black. I could never bear that. I’d rather never have children, Dan, than lose them like that…”

“I know, Diane… I know… but the darkness lasted less than six hours, and it’s never happened again. Antar has been okay since then.”

“No, Dan!” Diane shook her head. “Antar will never be the same… never again. Every child under fifteen died during “The Darkness” …about half of the fifteen-year-olds died, too. No Antarian has been able to have a child since then. Antar is a dead planet… a planet just waiting for its own extinction.”

Dan looked down for a moment and rubbed one eye with the knuckle of a finger. He nodded.

“I… I can’t imagine what it must be like for them… for you, too. I do understand, Diane. That’s why I’ve waited all these years. That, and because I love you.”

Diane wiped a few tears from her own eyes. “Geez, I love you, too, Dan! I do! I want to marry you! But I know I’m going to want to have children… and… I’m afraid… I don’t even know if I can have kids now… and if I can, I don’t want to lose them…”

Dan put his arm around her comfortingly and pulled her close to him.

“Your scientists up there still don’t know what caused it?”

Diane shook her head. “No. I don’t know if they ever will. God knows, they’ve given it their all! It’s just that no one has ever heard of anything like this before.”

“You said Max and Liz went back to the past to try to change what happened?”

“Yeah, three times. Michael and Maria went, too. I went once, too. The first and second times, they went through the portal. The third time, they programmed the new granilith to take them to the past the same way they saved Liz and Maria and everybody before on Earth.”

“But it didn’t work this time, you said.”

Diane shook her head again. “They weren’t there. When we went back to before ‘The Darkness,’ the children just weren’t there. It was like they never existed at all before ‘The Darkness.’ Dan… I never saw Liz so distressed before… or Maria either.”

“Max couldn’t heal them? I mean, he tried, didn’t he?”

“Yes. Oh yes! He tried and tried… It just didn’t have any effect at all. I felt so sorry for Max watching him try so hard and each one die in their arms. It was too much for me, Dan. You can understand, can’t you?”

Dan nodded and held Diane closer.

“After Max saw that he wasn’t going to be able to save Maya, they called Kryys in to try to save her as she was dying. He was awesome, turning into these streams of swirling lights and passing all through Maya. But he couldn’t save her. He said there was nothing to fix. Ten minutes later, she was dead. Thirty minutes after that, Kryys was dead. An hour after that, both of the other girls were dead.”

“Buried?”

“No. Antarians don’t get buried. Their bodies turn into a pile of dust after they’re dead… not always immediately, but very soon.”

“How about that guy that lived on the other planet that had the spheres before Liz? …that ‘Shag’ guy? Did Max and Liz ask him…?”

“…if he had ever seen anything like this or knew what could be done?” Diane finished Dan’s sentence for him. “Yeah! They contacted him immediately. He had never seen anything like it either… and Shag has been all over the universe.”

“Wow…” Dan said quietly. “Doesn’t leave much of any place to go does it?”

“No,” Diane shook her head. “It doesn’t.”



-------------------------End of Chapter 2





[ edited 2 time(s), last at 19-Oct-2002 7:24:18 PM ]
posted on 19-Sep-2002 11:05:33 PM by Gerry Carr
Ah, Snowdove! You are very perceptive! The fact that they couldn't find them in the past is important!
And Yeah, it did start on a sad note! Keep reading.
Thanks Snowdove and Roswellluver!

Chapter 3 is going up now.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 19-Sep-2002 11:11:33 PM ]
posted on 19-Sep-2002 11:06:52 PM by Gerry Carr
"Antareans Shed Tears Too"


"A Bright Anniversary”

Chapter 3

III


Every year, on the anniversary of the “Day of Darkness,” Antareans would begin crowding into the huge main square at the center of CoruzAntar at sundown carrying candles, symbolically chasing away the darkness that nine years before had robbed them of their happiness, their futures, and their lives. They were honoring the memory of the lost children. If light could have brought them back, the children would long ago have been back. As millions upon millions of Antareans squeezed into literally every square inch of CoruzAntar, the city was lit up like daytime by several million bright candles. It was a day of grief and sorrow, but no one could stay away. On Antar, there are no cemeteries… there are no bodies to bury. There is no place to go to share one’s grief and remember. But in a way, this was better. For here, each year, they could all come to light up the night and cry together… and remember… most of all, to remember.

Later, as the crowds were beginning to thin out somewhat, Liz made her way to the linked science lab where she often interned or simply assisted the Antarean scientists. She enjoyed learning about physics and the sciences. It was one of her great passions. She thought that she might rest her mind a bit by throwing herself into a little work and research during the night. As she opened the door and walked in, she found Varec still working.

“Varec, what are you doing here so late?”

“I should ask you the same question, your majesty.”

Liz looked at Varec with that particular look that she had.

“Okay… I mean, Liz,” Varec corrected.

Although Liz was indeed the queen, and a very beloved queen, she had always insisted that her friends, in particular, call her “Liz;” and she had always counted Varec as a friend… a very good friend. It actually embarrassed Liz to be called, “your majesty,” even after all this time. She accepted it from most people, because it was their way… and because it would have caused them embarrassment for her to ask them to refer to her so intimately or informally.

Liz looked around the room. There were several thousand small vials of dust on the walls. Each had a name and a number on it. Each corresponded to a child. These vials contained only a small sample of the dust left behind by the bodies of a few thousand children. The scientists had examined and studied the particles for years. To Liz, it almost seemed like a mausoleum, but she knew that the studies were important.

Varec fumbled with the dust particles from one of the vials and funneled them back into the vial, which he recapped and returned to its place on the wall.

“What is it, Varec?” Liz asked.

“It’s… it may be nothing, Liz. I don’t know…”

“What may be nothing, Varec?”

Varec knew that he was going to have to say it. Liz was very perceptive. She could see it in his face when he was hiding anything, and she certainly knew when he was being evasive.

“Well… I didn’t think much about it at first. It’s just that each of these samples is 99.99% what I would expect from an Antarean…”

“And the other .01%?” Liz pushed.

“Missing,” Varec said. “One small, almost unimportant element is missing. It wouldn’t mean much if it were one or two samples. It’s easy to understand how an element -even several elements- can be missing from such samples… not to mention that they can pick up additional elements and become contaminated. But what confounds me is that it isn’t just one sample that is missing this particular element. It is every single sample. Not one of the samples has HC020f in it.”

“That’s a trace element in Antarean bodies, isn’t it?”

“That’s right, Liz. We don’t even know if it’s important. No one would worry about not seeing it in a sample. We can live without it. We’ve never been concerned about the HC020f in our bodies. We normally don’t even check for it. We just know it’s there… in very tiny amounts.”

“And none of these samples has HC020f? Not even one?”

“Not even one.”

“Do you have any idea at all why this could have happened?”

“Well, maybe the darkness that caused their deaths somehow leeched this element out of all the bodies. Or…”

“Or what, Varec?”

“Well, there’s one other thing. I’m not sure about it. But I’ve been over these samples so many times that I already know what I’m going to see in each one without even looking at it. The strange thing is, the samples all seem normal… superficially.”

“Go on!”

“…but I would swear that the 99.99% of the elements that are right were synthesized, not natural.”

Liz gasped. “Is there any way to be sure?”

Varec shook his head. “I’ve done every kind of test. Normally, if the elements were not natural, it would be no problem for me to tell it and prove it. But… these samples are almost perfect.”

“But not perfect… you said ‘almost.’ That means not 100%…”

“That is my belief… but I can’t verify it. None of our tests are sophisticated enough to verify it. Call it just the experience of someone who has looked at a lot of samples. To me, there is something about these samples that makes my mind think ‘synthesized,’ and I don’t even know what it is!”

Varec pounded his fist down on the table in an uncharacteristic display of frustration, momentarily losing his usual carefully maintained self-control.

Liz thought for a moment. “Varec, I would put your experience and talent up against any test that exists in the universe. If you think these samples look synthesized, then I believe they are. But what does it mean?”

Varec was silent for a few moments. “It… it may mean nothing, Liz…”

“But you think it does!” Liz said with conviction.

Varec looked down at the floor then up toward the sky.

“Well, Liz, I don’t want to give anyone additional pain or any false… ideas. But it could mean…”

He paused again.

“What?” Liz asked, not allowing him the time to regret his decision to speak.

“It could mean that our children…”

A lump caught in his throat as he tried to say it…

“I think it might mean that our children may still be alive.”



------------------------End of Chapter 3





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 25-Sep-2002 2:45:41 AM ]
posted on 20-Sep-2002 5:22:43 PM by Gerry Carr
"Antareans Shed Tears Too"


"Escape”

Chapter 4

IV


Sirens were screaming, piercing the nighttime darkness of Gadyslar. Then the sirens were joined by the cacophony of the yarols clamoring in their high-pitched, screechy voices as they tracked the fugitives’ scents through the forest toward the river. The young couple ran fast and agilely through the forest holding hands to avoid getting separated. Soon they were at the river.

“We’ll swim upstream,” said the young man as he pulled the girl into the stream with him. “The yarols will follow our scents downstream with the current.”

For most, this would have been an impossible task. Although the river was not a “rapids,” it was swift enough that the average individual would have been swept downstream. But this young man and woman, who appeared to be about sixteen or seventeen years old, were in the peak of condition. Their bodies were toned and muscled from hard, constant work in extreme conditions.

Forty minutes later, the young man and his companion emerged from the river three miles upstream, breathing heavily but not exhausted. The young man pointed toward a far away line of trees and took the girl’s hand again. They ran together for the next hour till they had reached the distant woods.

“How far do you think we made it, Alyyx?”

“I’d say at least twenty nauts… I think we’ll be okay for a little while. The yarols went downstream following the water scent. You want to sit down, Jayyd?”

The young girl sat down and leaned her head on Alyyx Evans’ chest. She smiled and looked up into his eyes. Alyyx returned the smile and kissed her gently on the lips. “As long as we’re together, Jayyd… That’s what matters to me.”

“I couldn’t have gone on if you hadn’t got me out tonight, Alyyx. I don’t think I could live without you.”

Alyyx smiled and kissed her again. “I couldn’t let the Ghors turn you over to that freak creep from Derstuk that bought you.”

Jayyd hugged Alyyx and laid her head back on his chest again.

“Alyyx? How are we going to get off of this moon? The Ghors have it guarded. They watch from their planet down there all the time. They know everything that comes and goes…”

“I don’t know, Jayyd. I haven’t figured that out yet. But I will! Nobody’s selling you, Jayyd Guerin! Nobody!”

Jayyd smiled. She waved her hand over Alyyx then over herself, changing their colors to match the surrounding darkness and the trees.

----------

In the complex from which they had escaped, the Ghor commander was furious.

“I want those two Antareans back in this complex before morning! I don’t need to tell you the trouble it could bring us if they were to get off of this moon and escape.”

“You mean from the Derstukki that bought the female?” the guard asked.

“Him, too!” the Ghor commander said, “But he’s not the one I had in mind.”

“Who…”

“Never mind Rawgus! You don’t want to know! You just make sure those two are back here before daylight… or you will be punished most severely for this unfortunate occurrence. Do you understand that?”

“Yes, Hosk!”

“Commander,” said another guard, seeking Hosk’s attention.

“What is it Pussox? I’m busy!”

“Commander, you have not forgotten the Garg’s visit tomorrow, have you?”

Hosk’s skin, or whatever passed for skin on a Ghor, turned several shades of the splotchy grayish pallor his species was known for. Clearly, he had, in the confusion of the night’s events, forgotten that the supreme military leader of the Ghors’ planet was to make a visit in the morning to Gadyslar, the moon where the Ghors’ kept their captured victims to await their sale to other creatures in the universe as slaves, pets, or occasionally, as exotic foods.

“Just get those Antareans back!” Hosk screamed, as he turned to leave. “And I do mean tonight!”

----------

On the planet Ghorbidfael below, the Garg was preparing for his visit to Gadyslar in the morning. The facility on Gadyslar had been very profitable to the Ghors, and Garg Jerkov planned to see the facility for himself.

“I’ve heard of this newer system that Hosk is using to collect specimens now. The “Midnight Cloud,” he calls it. I don’t think I quite understand how it works. Where did he find this again?”

“He found it on Krolus, my Garg.”

“Krolus? Yes… that’s right. Stole it, you mean! That was the planet where he stole the ionic speed technology that got him back home in three months instead of fifteen years or whatever it would have taken after that Xarian king, what’s his name… Shaqor, sent him to that part of the galaxy.” The Garg smiled, allowing the pointed teeth that normally remained set into the Ghors’ lower lip to rise above the lip where their sharpness could be seen.

“I wonder what the Krolians would pay to get their technology back…”

“My Garg… you wouldn’t.”

“Don’t be an imbecile. Of course I wouldn’t give it back! But I might let them have Hosk… if the price was right. Then I’d kill them of course.”

“Of course, my Garg.”

“How does this ‘Midnight Cloud’ work, Grisnot?”

“Well, sir… when it is used from an area anywhere within forty parnaps of a planet, a dark ionizing cloud envelops the planet. The cloud causes systemic dysfunction in immature creatures… those creatures that are still maturing. This dysfunction makes them temporarily cease to function. The creatures are recovered by a transporter device once they have ceased to function. The device scans the creatures’ bodies as it transports them and leaves a synthesized material behind similar to what would have remained of the creatures if they had actually ceased to function… ceased to function permanently, I mean.”

“Of course! …Grisnot?”

“Yes?”

“Why would the Krolians develop such a device?”

“Well, sir, I understand that many generations ago the Krolians were involved in a war with another planet, and many young Krolians were captured and imprisoned on the other planet. The Krolians devised this technology not as a weapon but as a means of rescuing their children who were being held as prisoners.”

“Interesting… very interesting! Well, it has served Hosk very well indeed! Our planet has increased its profits seven hundred percent since he returned with the device. And since we don’t have to stop ships in space to find specimens, that annoying king from Xarius won’t know anything is going on and will leave us alone.”

----------

In the woods, twenty nauts away from the Ghors’ slave facility on the moon of Gadyslar, Jayyd slept peacefully under the stars with her head on Alyyx’s chest. For the first time in nine years, they slept free.



-------------------------End of Chapter 4





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 25-Sep-2002 2:46:56 AM ]
posted on 22-Sep-2002 12:08:16 AM by Gerry Carr
"Antareans Shed Tears Too"


"The Council of Xarius”

Chapter 5

V


King Shaqor and Queen MayaSabriena sat at one end of the table. Around the table sat King Zan and Queen Liz of Antar, Zan’s number one General, Michael Guerin, still known to some as Rath, his wife, Maria, Antar’s chief and preeminent scientist, Varec, and several of the best scientists and medical practitioners of Xarius.

“Honorable citizens of Antar… Honorable citizens of Xarius,” Shaqor said, opening the dialog, “We are here to examine new ideas that have recently come to light and to discuss our findings and opinions on the matter of the remains purported to be of children who perished on Antar during the great tragedy known as the ‘Day of Darkness.’ I would ask the honorable Varec, Antar’s preeminent scientist, to begin by telling this Council his theories regarding the remains that have been brought here today.”

“Thank you,” said Varec, “Nine years ago, when the great tragedy that we call the “Day of Darkness” occurred, the legitimacy of the remains seemed unquestionable. After all, we saw our children die before our eyes. We watched as they breathed their last breaths. Then we watched as they turned into dust. That is as it is with our people. Furthermore, examination of the remains of some of the children by medical personnel as well as by myself revealed nothing surprising or extraordinary. There was a lack of one element, HC020f, but this in itself seemed irrelevant. This element is merely a very tiny trace element in Antarean bodies, and its lack would not have led to the children’s deaths. What seemed strange was the fact that not merely some of the remains studied, but all of them, lacked this element. Still, as I said before, it is an element of no consequence and only found in the tiniest trace amounts in any Antarean.

It was several months after the Day of Darkness when I first began to notice that the remains seemed somehow different than I thought they should. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was looking at a synthetic -that is, a man made or machine produced as opposed to natural- set of elements. But this seemed ridiculous, so in the beginning I put it out of mind. There simply did not appear to be any reason that such a thing might be true. Still, after reexamining the remains many times, I decided to do a number of tests that should have determined with one hundred percent assurance and accuracy whether or not the remains were or were not natural. Every test gave the same result. The remains were natural in origin. Given this evidence, I forced myself to suppress any feelings to the contrary. It seemed that I had simply been wrong. The tests had proved it. But I never stopped thinking that something seemed not right.

Now, nine years after the Day of Darkness, I have brought this matter here at the urging of Queen Liz of Antar, who believes in me more strongly than in our ‘infallible’ tests.”

There were some smiles at the table, and some of those present quietly applauded.

“Thank you. I am honored by your praise and by the confidence that Her Majesty, Queen Liz of Antar has placed in me. I am not sure that it is well placed, however. You will understand that if I announce these suspicions and they turn out to be untrue, it will be a tragedy for Antar once again, opening wounds that should never be reopened. This is why I have requested this Council. It is my hope that the experience and eminence of those present in this room today will finally be able to either give credence to my suspicions or disprove them once and for all. Thank you.”

Shaqor stood and thanked Varec. “I open this Council to all debate and issues.” He sat down again.

Michael spoke first. “Sometimes, in military matters, when a trail seems to grow cold as we try to follow it one way, it makes sense to try to follow it backwards. What I’m saying is that it makes no sense for the remains to be anything but natural, on the surface of it. We don’t have a clue how it could have happened if it is true that they are synthetic. So perhaps we should ask the unthinkable questions. Who would have a reason to replace the remains with synthetic remains? Who would have the capability to do it? Who would want to do it? How would they do it? Because the obvious conclusion, if the remains are not natural, is that somebody, somewhere, somehow replaced them.”

Some of those at the table nodded.

Danar-Sol, the preeminent medical researcher and biologist of Xarius spoke next. “I have examined the remains brought here today, and I, too, have come up with only one result from every test available on Xarius. The remains are entirely natural, not synthetic…”

Varec’s face fell. He looked down at the floor and closed his eyes.

“But…” Danar-Sol continued, “I also came to the conclusion that something is not quite right… despite all the tests and the evidence. Because of this, I devised several new tests, four of them to be exact. Three of the new tests gave the expected results: ‘natural.’ However, the fourth test gave a different result: ‘biologically grown substitute.’”

Varec nearly jumped out of his seat.

Danar-Sol continued, “What this would mean, if it is true, is that the remains are indeed ‘natural,’ but not the natural remains of the children. In this respect, they are synthetic, but not man made or machine produced, so they would produce a ‘natural’ signature on any test that was not made to search specifically for a biologically produced substitute. I am still testing the other remains to form a more positive position on this matter.”

Maria looked at the ceiling and wiped tears from her eyes. Liz seemed momentarily unable to say anything. She rubbed her hand over Maria’s back.

Max spoke next. “I, for one, am prepared to accept this conclusion. I have always trusted Varec with my life, and he has never let me down. And Danar-Sol is known throughout the galaxies as the preeminent biologist. Even I heard of his name long before I ever knew of the planet Xarius. We must continue to do the testing in order to have all the evidence and information that we need and can get, but I am inclined to ask King Shaqor and all the honorable citizens at this table to consider the questions posed by General Michael Guerin. Number one, who would want to and who would be able to do this?”

“In my travels throughout the universe,” said Shaqor, “I know of only one culture that had that ability. That would be the Krolians. The Krolians fought a war millenia ago in which many of their young people were captured and imprisoned on a planet with which they were at war. I think it was Byagus. The children of Krolus were held as hostages on Byagus to force the surrender of the Krolians. But the Krolians developed a technology that would get their children back. Basically, it involved placing an ionic cloud around the planet that would disrupt the natural functions of the children in some way so as to make them appear dead. Then the device activated a sophisticated transporter system that scanned the body of each child and replaced it with a biological substance exactly like the child’s own at the same time as it transported the child to the Krolian ship stationed some ways away. The Byagians believed that the Krolian children had all died, and without hostages, they quickly surrendered.

But the Krolians, you must understand, are and always have been, a peaceful people. They would no more harm your children than I would. I can vouch for that. There is no possibility that the Krolians did this. The Krolians would not even develop weapons to fight the Byagians with. They chose instead to use trickery and illusion, of which the Krolians are masters.”

“Then,” said Michael, “the question that comes to my mind is, who could have got their hands on this technology and used it against Antar? And in order to answer this question, we must ask who would have a motive and what would that motive be?”

“I would say Hosk, the Ghor Captain who deals in slaves,” said Shaqor. But that would be unlikely. Where I sent him the last time we met, he would only be getting back about two years from now.”

“Where is Krolus?” asked Michael.

Shaqor answered, “It’s in Galaxy 41X.”

“Isn’t that where you sent Hosk?” asked Michael.

“Yes, but Krolus would be a three months trip in the opposite direction from the Ghors’ home planet. He would be going even further away from Ghorbidfael.”

“Maybe he knew Krolus was there,” Michael said. “Hosk is a creature of violence and war. It figures that he might be aware of a planet that had ever used such a technology.”

Shaqor nodded. “Quite possible. The Krolians have an ionic propulsion drive system in their ships that is many times more efficient and faster than any the Ghors have. With their propulsion drive, a Ghor ship could return to our galaxies in a matter of months instead of years…”

“I think we need to pay a visit to Ghorbidfael,” said Michael.



--------------------------End of Chapter 5




[ edited 1 time(s), last at 25-Sep-2002 2:48:38 AM ]
posted on 22-Sep-2002 12:10:45 AM by Gerry Carr
"Antareans Shed Tears Too"


"Ghorbidfael”

Chapter 6

VI


Three men stepped out of the portal and into the nighttime darkness of a back street on Ghorbidfael, home planet of the Ghors. Max and Michael had used their powers to increase the height of each of them to about nine feet and to give them something that looked like the clothes the Ghors had been wearing the only time they had seen them before.

“Max! …Hey, Max!”

“Yeah? What is it, Michael?”

“Maybe you ought to change our smell, too. The Ghors have an animal-like sense of smell. They might recognize us.”

“I won’t be able to stand being around you if you smell like a Ghor, Michael!”

Shaqor snickered.

“Yeah, well, you better do something with our smell,” Michael insisted.

“Alright, alright…” Max passed his hand over each of them.

Michael lifted his hand and sniffed his underarm. “Holy…! Yeah, I think that’ll do it!”

‘Shag’ suppressed a laugh as he lifted his shirt and smelled it. “I may not look like I’m ten thousand years old,” Shag said with a grin, “but now I damn well smell like it!”

Max grinned. “Glad you guys approve. Now let’s get going. Liz is never gonna sleep with me again!”

The three new “Ghors” walked down the street, sticking to the shadows. A few blocks down the road and around a corner, they came to a local drinking establishment. Shaqor motioned them in. Fortunately, it was dark inside, the way the Ghors liked it. Many of them carried out business in this type of place, and they liked to keep their identities private. The three friends sat in a corner and hid their faces. The secretiveness actually worked in their favor; they were acting exactly like most of the Ghors in the room.

“Ja-Grrr ah sli toh!”

“Huh?”

Max glanced up. Fortunately, his face was in the dark.

“Ja-grrr ah sli toh!” the Ghor intoned more insistently.

“Kor lis na glon jat,” Shag said without raising his head. “Fut nar tov grrr… Jya!”

The Ghor walked away.

“What was that all about?” Max whispered to Shag. “You guys get in a growling match?”

“He just said, ‘Order or get out!’” Shag snickered. “I told him to bring us the cheapest thing.”

“What… you hurtin’ for money, Shag? I didn’t know,” Max said with some friendly sarcasm in his voice.

“We don’t know what they drink, so I’m afraid that’s the best I could do,” Shag explained.

“You did fine!” Max grinned.

Two and a half hours later, the three left the “bar” and walked down the street into the shadows.

“Portal,” Shag said quietly. The portal appeared and the three stepped through it and back into the palace conference room.

“Alright, Shag,” said Max, “I know you were listening to the conversations around us back there, and you know I didn’t understand a word -or should I say, a ‘growl’- of it! So spill it! What’d you hear? Anything useful?”

“Maybe,” Shag said. “I know that Hosk is back and has been for at least five years.”

“That means he had to have used the Krolians’ ion drive in his ship,” Michael said. “That pretty much confirms that he was there.”

“I’d say so,” Shag agreed. “I also learned that the supreme Ghor commander, Garg Jerkov…”

Max and Michael both broke out laughing.

“What?” Shag asked. “Did I say something funny?”

“I really don’t see what’s so funny.”

“Go ahead, Shag… Finish,” Max said.

“The Ghor Commander, Garg Jerkov, is going to visit their main slave facility tomorrow.”

Max and Michael became sober again.

“Where is it?”

“They didn’t say,” Shag said. “They just said that Hosk runs the facility.”

“Figures,” Michael groaned. “He would!”

At that moment, Liz and Maria walked into the conference room with MayaSabriena. Liz let out an involuntary yelp, and Maria immediately assumed a defensive posture. Maya laughed,

“Don’t you girls recognize your husbands?”

Liz looked carefully at Max then sniffed,

“Oh, good Lord! Max, what have you done!”

Maria looked at Michael as though he had fallen into a sewer and just climbed out… which, to tell the truth, might actually have smelled better.

Max passed his hand over the three of them and removed the smell. Then he changed their clothes back. Michael reduced their size back down to around six feet instead of nine.

“I am soooo not going to be able to forget that,” Maria lamented! She sniffed Michael’s breath… “What did you have in your mouth?”

“Oh…” Michael snickered, “just some cheap Ghor beer or something.”

“I thought you guys couldn’t drink alcohol.”

“I told you it was cheap!” Michael laughed. Max began to laugh, too. “Probably Ghor tap water!”

“Mmmm… no, I think it had a little something in it,” Maria said. Liz nodded. “…the way you guys are acting. Not as bad as that time on Earth… The Ghors probably watered it down.”

Maya sniffed the air and sprayed a couple of puffs of air freshener into the room from a small bottle.

“You get used to it,” she said. “When your guys have traveled the universe as much as my Shag has, you’ll recognize them no matter how they look…”

"…Or smell, for that matter," she added with a giggle.

“What’s our next plan?” Michael asked.

Max looked at Shag.

“Well,” Shag said, “I think it’s time to go see Hosk again… as ourselves this time.”

----------

On Gadyslar, the screeching howls of the yarols could be heard in the night, as the Ghors searched for the two escaped Antareans. But for the moment, they were safe, twenty nauts away, in a small wood. The coming morning would be the first time in many years that they hadn't felt the sting of the Ghors' prod waking them up before the sun had even risen to begin their labors… and to wait… to wait to be sold to some perverse being or creature from another galaxy somewhere far, far away… a being or creature that would buy them perhaps as a pet… but more likely as a slave… or an exotic food.



-------------------------End of Chapter 6





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Sep-2002 3:01:30 AM ]
posted on 22-Sep-2002 12:20:23 AM by Gerry Carr
Okay, let's bump this back up there for a moment where I can find it to update it.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Sep-2002 10:28:24 PM ]
posted on 22-Sep-2002 7:24:40 AM by Gerry Carr
"Antareans Shed Tears Too"


"The Dragon Feast of Vyatu-Xi”

Chapter 7

VII


On the far side of Galaxy 56Y, as the Xarian map of the known universe showed it, the planet Drago was preparing for the yearly celebration of Vyatu-Xi. It was no small occasion for the inhabitants of Drago. The fact is it took their planet the equivalent of sixteen Earth years to revolve around their sun, so a “yearly” event on Drago only occurred once every sixteen Earth years.

The inhabitants of Drago celebrated the beginning of each New Year with a huge feast. Everyone turned out in the streets to celebrate… and to enjoy treats and exotic foods brought from all over the galaxies by the Dragon ship captains. It was an event that all Drago residents awaited eagerly each year.

The planet Drago was about 11 years from Antar if one had traveled there in the new granilith. The “Xarius Voyager” could have made it in a few weeks. The Ghors’ fastest ships would have taken about 63 years. But that did not include Hosk’s ship with the stolen Krolian ion drive in it. Hosk’s ship could have made it in about 8 months.

The inhabitants of Drago were fairly large. The average height of the males was about 6 feet 8 inches. The average height of females was slightly larger, about 7 feet… still fairly small compared to their distant relatives, the Ghors, which could top out at 9 feet, but larger than the average Antarean or Earthling. Their skin tended to be pallid gray, like that of the Ghors, when they were at rest or not excited, but when they were excited or active, their skin turned a classic “alien green.” That was probably the only thing about them that met the alien stereotype, though. The Dragons had teeth that would be envied by a piranha. In fact, Dragons had not one row of teeth but two distinct rows of teeth. The teeth in the forward row, the ones that showed, were long and pointed, and what one might call “snaggle-toothed.” The closest thing to the forward teeth of a Dragon would be the teeth of a mako shark or a sand tiger shark. The rear teeth, which sat just behind the forward row, were broad, triangular, and serrated, much like the upper row of teeth in a great white shark. The arrangement gave the Dragon a superior ability to eat even the toughest food items easily. The long, pointed front teeth were for grasping and holding struggling prey. The rear teeth were for sawing and tearing flesh.

The Dragons preferred their food live; and during the feast of Vyatu-Xi, numerous prey would be turned loose and chased down by all the Dragons then ripped apart and eaten while alive, sometimes by several Dragons at once if more than one caught the same one at the same time and there was any discrepancy… which there always was.

Near the center of the city, the Dragons had a large court that somewhat resembled a baseball field. It was the central point of their celebration. And it was the place where all the prey would be turned loose on the day of Vyatu-Xi. Normally, the prey would run toward the nearby forest to escape. The Dragons, however, were not in the habit of releasing prey that had any real chance of escape. The long legs of the Dragons gave them speed and surprising agility for creatures that were cold-blooded. Few, if indeed any, prey ever actually made it to the forest.

At the edge of the field, on one end, was a large building that looked like a storehouse. This is where the prey were being kept until the celebration. Inside the storehouse, already, there were 23 creatures or beings gathered from different parts of the universe… from several different galaxies. Nine had been bought from Hosk. Three were Antarean.

----------

A mere forty-three light years from Drago, in Galaxy 39A, was a planet called Yargish. The residents of Yargish were anything but like the Dragons or the Ghors in appearance. Both male and female Yargishis were reed thin and tall as a tree. To be more precise, they measured about 18-21 feet in height, on average, and had a girth of 17-19 inches, small enough that a large man might be able to put his hands completely around one. Their coloration was generally light purple. Their legs comprised about half of their total body height, and their arms were equally long. The light purplish skin of a Yargishi was more like rubber than anything else. They had no hair anywhere on their bodies. Unlike the Ghors or the Dragons, too, the Yargishis were meticulously clean and strictly vegetarian.

In the small country village of Duvarny on Yargish, a retired but still very active interplanetary ship captain lived with his small family. About eight years before, right after he had retired, he had returned from a trip, bringing with him a creature unlike any he had ever seen before. It had pained him greatly to take only the one, because it was one of three identical ones. It especially pained him to see the Dragons buy one of the other two. Narwha knew what the Dragons did with the creatures they bought. But Narwha was not a rich man, and Hosk demanded a large sum for his “pets.” Four years later, Narwha had actually gone back to Hosk to try to buy the third identical creature, but it had been sold. He ended up taking a male of the same species.

Narwha had hoped that they might mate and produce offspring, but that had not happened. He didn’t understand why. They seemed to like each other very much. But he had never been able to get them to mate. He had provided a wonderful habitat for them, a habitat like Hosk had said was the natural habitat of their own world, and he fed them well. But they still would not mate… Narwha knew this for a fact… he watched them day and night through the glass. Still, mating or not, Narwha loved his pets. They were different… unlike any creatures he had ever seen before, not rough and ugly and smelly like the Ghors, not vicious like the Dragons. These creatures could subsist on a properly balanced vegetarian diet, though Hosk had told him that they did eat meat, too.

Narwha smiled as he watched his pets through the glass. Sometimes he would reach over the glass partition, easy for a being of his height, and take one of the pets out. He would let it walk around the house or set it on his lap and stroke its hair. He never worried about his pets running away. As long as one of them was inside the habitat, the other always stayed nearby. Narwha loved his pets.

----------

On the Ghor moon of Gadyslar, Hosk looked up from his desk to see Max, Michael, and Shaqor step out of thin air into his office. It unnerved Hosk to see them do that. He had no idea how Shaqor was able to step out of thin air and find him wherever he was. But he pretended to welcome him.

“Shaqor! My old friend! What are you doing here in my office? How can I make you welcome?

“You cannot, Hosk!” Shag said. “I will never be ‘welcome’ in your presence nor you in mine, and we both know it. What you can do for me is tell me what you know about the children who disappeared from Antar nine years ago.”

“Shaqor! I wouldn’t… I mean… what would possibly make you think that I would know anything about that?” asked Hosk, trying to look sincere.

“Then you might tell me about another ‘acquisition’ that you made, Hosk… an ionic drive for your ship… a Krolian ionic drive.”

Hosk’s ‘skin’ fluctuated between grayish and splotchy red and grayish red, looking almost like a neon sign… a neon sign that plainly said “GUILTY” in capital letters. But he continued to insist he had nothing to do with any disappearance of Antarean children and knew nothing at all.

“Shaqor! The ion drive… I bought it from a traveler. I don’t know anything about Krolians.”

“Then tell me about the ‘Midnight Cloud’ Hosk.

Now Hosk’s skin was literally rippling with colors. He was a liar, but the biology of his species betrayed him. Shaqor knew it. So did Max and Michael. Somehow, Hosk didn’t seem to realize it, though, as he continued to play the innocent.

“I’ve never heard of anything called a ‘Midnight Cloud’ Shaqor. Why would I?”

“Because we both know that you deal in slaves and steal whenever you get the chance. And we both know what the ‘Midnight Cloud’ will do. And we both know that you were on Krolus.”

“I swear, Shaqor, I have never heard of this ‘Midnight Cloud’ that you speak of.”

“Then perhaps you would not mind if I examined your records, Hosk?”

“No! I mean… yes… I mean… you can’t just do that, Shaqor. You are a man who lives by laws and rules.”

“I could make an exception in your case, Hosk.”

Hosk touched a switch on the floor under his desk with his foot as he continued to protest his innocence. Outside in the halls of the facility, red lights were lighting up everywhere, the signal that Hosk had had put in to advise his guards that he was in danger. Within moments, six nine-foot tall Ghor guards burst into Hosk’s office. Hosk jumped up from his desk screaming,

“Kill him! Kill him! Don’t let him get away!”

Almost as a whisper, Shag said, “Portal.”

The three men stepped back into thin air. Trying to follow, the Ghors ran into the wall. Shaqor had escaped… so had Max and Michael. But they would be back. Of this, Hosk had no doubts at all. And he would be ready.



------------------------End of Chapter 7





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 25-Sep-2002 2:49:59 AM ]
posted on 24-Sep-2002 3:14:56 AM by Gerry Carr
"Antareans Shed Tears Too"


"The Ghors - Creators of the Universe
and Other 'Fairy' Tales”

Chapter 8

VIII


Alyyx Evans awoke and began to stretch. Then he noticed rays of sunlight starting to show over the horizon.

“Jayyd! Get up! Get up! The sun’s coming up!”

He looked around. Jayyd was already awake. She was sitting by a tree with her face in her hands. In the Ghor facility, they would have been stuck with the prods if they had slept this late. In fact, they would have been awakened with the prods long before the sun began to rise.

“What’s the matter, Jayyd?”

“You know… the same thing.”

“The visions?”

Jayyd nodded. “Alyyx, I don’t know what to feel… I… I always see that lady. She used to be crying most of the time.”

“And now?”

“Not crying… just sad, I think.”

“Who do you think she is?”

“I don’t know, Alyyx… I feel like…”

“What?”

“Oh, it’s crazy. You don’t want to know.”

“Yes I do! Tell me!”

“Well, it’s just that every time I see her in a vision, I feel like saying, ‘Mom, don’t cry.’”

“Huh…” Alyyx muttered, “Yeah, that’s strange. We never had a real Mom. The only Mom we had was with us here until the Ghors sold her when we were young. Does she look like Mom?”

“No… not at all. The lady I keep seeing has blonde hair like Mom, but she looks different.”

“Well, I can remember all the way back to the day the Ghors made us.”

“Oh, Alyyx, you cannot!”

“Yes, I can! I remember! We were in a spaceship. When we woke up, the Ghors told us that we had just been made. Hosk showed us the machine that made us. Me… and you… and a lot of others that look like us… Then they brought us here.”

Jayyd thought hard. “I think I remember, too, Alyyx… I’m just not sure…

Alyyx?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you think the Ghors made all the beings in the universe?”

“Hosk says they did.”

“But you don’t believe it, do you?”

“I… don’t know. I have doubts, Jayyd.”

“What do you think?”

“I don’t think the Ghors made all the beings in the universe.”

“Why?”

“Because… look how the Ghors treat them! And Hosk sells us to others. I don’t know, Jayyd… I just think that that doesn’t seem… normal.”

Jayyd smiled. “Since when have the Ghors been normal?”

“Alyyx grinned. “Yeah. You’re right. But that’s another thing. Would a being that creates other beings create other beings that are… you know… better… smarter… nicer than they are?”

“Well, they created us,” Jayyd said.

Alyyx thought for a long while. “Did they? I wonder.”

----------

In Galaxy 01B, on the planet Aklat, Ee-l'wee sat on a large round sofa that seemed to swallow her up. Ee-l'wee was an Aklatian; and like all Aklatians, she was small. Ee-l'wee measured a mere 15 inches in height. Also, like all Aklatians, Ee-l'wee had two pairs of wings, like a dragonfly. And like all Aklatians, Ee-l'wee was female.

It might seem to anyone who had never met an Aklatian that the Aklatians would be at a severe disadvantage in the universe, especially in dealing with nine-foot-tall, murdering, slaving giants like the Ghors. But the Aklatians had not survived by being the “butterflies” of the universe. Though small and pleasant to look at, Aklatians were anything but helpless. Hosk had found that out the hard way the first time he had met one. His first thought had been that she would bring him a lot of money as an exotic pet for some rich traveler. It had taken Hosk nearly two months in what passed for a Ghor hospital to recover from the burns he had suffered from the electrical charge he received when he touched one of the little “fairies.” Two of his four hearts had actually stopped and had to be restarted. It was not a mistake he wished to repeat. To Hosk, an Aklatian “fairy” was as formidable a trading “partner” as any Dragon from Drago. And besides, Aklatians had money. Lots of it. Hosk had never met one that didn’t.

Ee-l'wee had expanded her house in order to accommodate the two large creatures she had purchased from Hosk seven years before. She had only intended to buy one, the one that could talk to unintelligent creatures, but the other one had hovered over it so protectively that she had agreed to take them both, much to Hosk’s delight.

Ee-l'wee owned and ran what might be described as an interplanetary zoo on Aklat. She normally avoided purchasing “intelligent” creatures, as these two appeared to be, but she had not purchased them as “exhibits” for her zoo. She had purchased the boy specifically because he was able to communicate with and control all kinds of animals and lower beings. And Ee-l'wee had over three hundred different species of animals from all over the universe in her menagerie. Visitors came from all over the galaxy, sometimes even from other galaxies, to see the rare animals in her menagerie, and they paid well to see them. The boy would be a very big asset to her. As for the female creature that she bought with the boy, she would have a function, too. It was quite obvious to Ee-l'wee that the older creature was protecting the younger one. The younger one treated the older one as its mother. Ee-l'wee was quite sure that splitting them up would be a major mistake.

Ee-l'wee treated the two creatures well, gave them their own special rooms in her own house, and allowed them to roam freely for the most part. She treated them more as professional, live-in employees than as slaves; but in the end, both Ee-l'wee and the creatures she had bought from Hosk knew that "slaves" is what they were.



--------------------------End of Chapter 8





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Sep-2002 2:57:48 PM ]
posted on 24-Sep-2002 10:13:39 PM by Gerry Carr
Thanks for the feedback, Snowdove! Here is a "family tree" of the families here. Several people have asked for a who's who. I guess there are a lot of characters running around out there! LOL!

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Sep-2002 10:26:32 PM ]
posted on 24-Sep-2002 10:25:48 PM by Gerry Carr
Here is a list of our heroes and their families so far:

Max & Liz's Children...........Maya, Andya, JoLeesa, & Alyyx
Michael & Maria's Children...Zorel, Kryys, & Jayyd
Alex & Isabel's Children.......Mareeya & Ceelya
Kyle & Jeliya's Children........Rayyn & Taz
Jim & Kathleen's Children.....Danyy (and Kyle is Jim's)
Varec & Amy's Children.......Liz-Jolee (and Maria is Amy's)


Max (Zan) and Liz
Note: Max has numerous powers, including healing, power blasting, and creating force fields that we know of. Liz already has power bolts and premonition that we know of.

**Max & Liz's Children** Maya, Andya, JoLeesa, & Alyyx

1. Maya (MayaSabriena Claudia), girl, age 8
(would be 19 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: telepathic communication even from galaxies away, Birthdate: (Month 1) Cryystel 14, AY (Antar Year) 16,002

2. Andya (AnDasniya Nancy), girl, age 8
(would be 19 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: manipulates matter to create animals, Birthdate: (Month 1) Cryystel 14, AY (Antar Year) 16,002

3. JoLeesa or Leesa (JoLeesa Joyce), girl, age 8
(would be 19 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: can use molecular manipulation to dry and make clean something wet and dirty), birthdate: (Month 1) Cryystel 14, AY (Antar Year) 16,002

4. Alyyx (Alyyx Phillip), boy, age 6
(would be 17 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: not yet stated, Birthdate: ? one of 3 children with no zatiyor (second eyelid)



Michael (Rath) and Maria
Note: Michael has numerous powers, including power blasting, heating and cooking with his hand, causing someone to itch by touching them, melting a lock closed, etc. Maria none demostrated yet.

**Michael & Maria's Children** Zorel, Kryys, & Jayyd

1. Zorel (Zorel Michael), boy, age 8
(would be 19 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: power blasting, Birthdate: (Month 10) Decidre 12, AY (Antar Year) 16,002

2. Kryys (Kryys Anthony), boy, age 6
(would be 17 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: none known before trip to earth;
UPDATE! power to convert to molecular form and heal those even Max cannot heal... or to destroy an enemy by same means, Birthdate: ? (one of 3 children with no zatiyor)

3. Jayyd (Jayyd Alejandra), girl, age 5
(would be 16 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: color manipulation, Birthdate: ?


Alex and Isabel (Vilandra)
Note: Isabel has several powers incl. dreamwalking and heating cold food. Alex not yet known.

**Alex & Isabel's Children** Mareeya & Ceelya

1. Mareeya (Mareeya Joyce), girl, age 7
(would be 18 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: Can create a "Big Wind", Birthdate: (Month 2) Dayyese 18, AY (Antar Year) 16,003

2. Ceelya (Ceelya Michelle), girl, age 6
(would be 17 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: Small power bolts from fingertips, Birthdate: (Month 9) Sarvyk 3, AY (Antar Year) 16,004



Kyle and Jeliya
Kyle not yet known. Jeliya's powers not yet revealed.

**Kyle & Jeliya's Children** Rayyn & Taz

1. Rayyn (Kyle Rayyn), boy, age 7
(would be 18 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: not yet stated, Birthdate: (Month 2) Dayyese 26, AY (Antar Year) 16,003

2. Taz (Noel Trasves), boy, age 6
(would be 17 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: not yet stated, birthdate: ?



Jim and Kathleen Valenti
Note: Jim was once able to deflect a falling tree branch from a child with a power surge from his hand in "Altered Time." Kathleen none known yet, if any.

**Jim & Kathleen's Children** Danyy

1. Danyy (James Danyeel), boy, age 7
(would be 18 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: total communication with animals, Birthdate: ? (One of 3 children with no zatiyor)

Note: Kyle, of course, is Jim’s son, too, but you knew that!


Varec and Amy
Powers, if any, not revealed before trip to earth. (Except Varec's power to make Amy a very, very happy woman, as we saw! LOL!)
UPDATE! During trip to earth, it is revealed that Varec has power to transport objects, including living ones, over long distances, even from seven galaxies away, allowing him to bring the jah-ee and pawgor from Antar to earth in a time of need.

**Varec & Amy's Children** Liz-Jolee

1. Liz-JoLee (Elizabeth JoLee z’Varec), girl, age 6
(would be 17 at beginning of Antareans Shed Tears Too), Powers: not yet stated, Birthdate: ?


Tess and Rayylar
Tess has multiple powers, including mind warp and reconstructing broken pottery that we know of. Rayylar's have not yet been revealed.


Other Characters in these three fics:

From the TV show: Jeff and Nancy Parker, Philip and Diane Evans, The Whitmans, Brody (of the Museum)

Original Characters: Varec and Jeliya (married to Amy and Kyle), Rayylar (married to Tess), Shaqor (aka "Shag") and MayaSabriena, AnDasniya and JoLeesa, Diane Casey and Dan Klein (agents who befriended Max and company), Dumas Zwolinski and Zeb Sikorski (the bad agents), agents Nick Jenkins, Lon Benson, Rick Hughley, and Dan Christopher, Army Commander Groton on Vieques, various soldiers and guards, Hosk the Ghor Slaver, the Dragons of Drago, Narwha the Yargishi, Ee-l'wee the Atklatian, bridesmaids and friends of the grooms, and various others, including the thirteen children.

Guest Characters: Nina, Lisa, Sabrina, Andrea, Rachel, Tracie, April, Lauren, Krys, Trude, Denise, Roselle, and Andrew, as well as Diane Sawyer, Geraldo Rivera, Ted Koppel, Dan Rather, and George W. Bush... and me.




[ edited 1 time(s), last at 25-Sep-2002 2:40:40 AM ]
posted on 25-Sep-2002 8:26:14 AM by Gerry Carr
"Antareans Shed Tears Too"


"The Pursuit”

Chapter 9

IX


On Xarius, Max, Michael, and Shag met back in the palace with Liz, Maria, Maya, and Varec and set about to decide what their next course of action should be. Though they hadn’t seen any proof yet, there seemed little doubt in any of their minds that the Ghors were hiding something, and it had to do with the missing children.

“Max…” Liz said cautiously, “If there really is a chance that any of the children are still alive, we could use the Sphere of Searches to find them…”

Max was dumb-struck… “I must be an idiot! Why didn’t I think of that already?”

“Well, maybe,” Michael said, “because we all thought they were dead. Why would anyone ask where a dead person is?”

Shag nodded.

“But maybe some of them are not dead…” Maria continued, “and the sphere could locate them. I think we should try it!”

“Absolutely!” Max agreed, “Just remember, though, that when we went back to the past, the children weren’t there. We met our past “selves,” and our past “selves” told us that they had no children. Let’s hope that whatever is blocking us from finding any of the children in the past doesn’t block the spheres from finding them in the present… if any of them are alive. Liz?”

Liz nodded… “Sphere of Searches!”

“Ask.”

“Where is my daughter, Maya?”

There was a pause. Liz became pale and her skin clammy. Her stomach was tied up in knots. But she needed to know… She had to know, even though she feared more than death itself the possibility that the sphere would confirm that Maya was dead or that it would say that she could not be located.

“Your daughter, Maya, is on the planet Beshune in the city of Grazida in the house of Lorvo the Traveler.”

“Is she… okay?” Liz asked.

“I regret that it is not within my power to know that information.”

Liz nodded. “Sphere of Visions!”

“Ask.”

“I want to see my daughter, Maya.”

A mist appeared in the room, and inside the mist appeared a vision, which became clearer and clearer. Nineteen-year-old Maya was standing over a cradle, which she was rocking as she sang softly.

Liz gasped… “Does she have… Is she… Is that…”

“I don’t think so,” said Michael. Look close. That baby is not even part Antarean or Earthling.”

Liz let her breath go out in an audible sigh of relief. She hadn’t realized that she had been holding it and had stopped breathing.

“She’s okay,” said Max, excitedly. “She’s alive, and she’s okay!”

Maria could bear no more…

“Liz?”

Liz looked at Maria. If ever she had seen a pleading look, she was looking at it.

“Maria! Oh, Maria! Of course… You know it!”

“Jayyd. Ask about Jayyd… then the others…” said Maria.

“Sphere of Searches!”

“Ask.”

“Where is Jayyd Guerin?”

Maria had her hand over her mouth. She was biting on her lip without realizing it. The pause in getting an answer from the sphere was probably no more than five seconds, but it might as well have been a lifetime!

“Jayyd Guerin is on Gadyslar, a moon of Ghorbidfael.”

“I’ll kill Hosk!” Michael said with conviction. “I’ll kill that lizard-breathed S.O.B. with my bare hands! We were just there! We were right there in his office, and he denied…” Michael’s voice broke.

“Sphere of Visions,” Liz said.

“Ask.”

“I want to see Jayyd Guerin.”

The mist appeared, and in the mist there was a vision of a young girl, about sixteen years old, and a young man about the same age or just slightly older. The two youths were running through the woods… being chased by something… something that made screeching baying sounds like a bloodhound with something heavy standing on its tail. Quickly, the pursuers -Ghor guards with some kind of scent-tracing animals- came into sight. The two young people were outrunning their Ghor pursuers handily, in spite of the Ghors’ considerably longer legs… but they would not escape. What they could not see or know was that other Ghors were lying in wait ahead. Inevitably, within minutes, Jayyd and the young man would run right into the nets being prepared for their capture.

“Portal!” Liz exclaimed. “Take us to Jayyd Guerin on Gadyslar.”

Liz, Maria, Michael, and Max stepped through the portal onto the Moon of Gadyslar. Suddenly, the young couple was in front of them. The young man took Jayyd by the hand and started to run a different way, but Michael cried out to them…

“Jayyd!”

The young man had little time to think, but it didn’t require much thought to know that these new people were not Ghors. Who they might be could be determined later. He stopped.

“Jayyd…” said Maria, edging toward her daughter with her hands outstretched.

Jayyd looked at the blonde-haired lady approaching her with tear-filled eyes…

“You! Who are you?” Jayyd asked. “You’re the one in my visions!”

The young man looked at Jayyd and at the newcomers. Somehow, he knew… somehow his doubts disappeared. He needed to trust these people.

“The Ghors are coming,” the young man said. “How did you get here?”

“Portal!” Liz said.

“Come!” Maria said to Jayyd and to the young man, holding out her hands. “Please! Quickly!”

At that moment, the Ghor pursuers charged through the trees toward the young couple and the newcomers. The young man took Jayyd‘s hand, and the two of them took Maria and Michael’s hands. Together, they all stepped through the portal.



-------------------------End of Chapter 9





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 26-Sep-2002 6:26:12 AM ]
posted on 26-Sep-2002 6:24:48 AM by Gerry Carr
"Antareans Shed Tears Too"


"Two Down… 222,138 to Go”

Chapter 10

X


Michael stepped out of the portal back into the palace conference room on Xarius holding Jayyd and Alyyx by the hands. Right behind him were Liz, Maria, and Max. Maria rushed to Jayyd and threw her arms around her, as large tears ran down both of Maria’s cheeks. Unsure at first how to react, Jayyd slowly… inexplicably… moved her own arms around the sobbing lady who held her as though she might never let her go.

“Mm… mmm… Mom, Don’t cry!” Jayyd said. This brought more tears to Maria’s eyes and tears to Michael’s, too. Michael put his own arms around both Maria and Jayyd.

“Mom? …Dad?” Jayyd wasn’t sure if she was asking or stating a feeling that had just popped out of some deep recess of her mind.

“Yes!” Maria cried. “Yes! You’re home now! You’re home, Jayyd!”

“Home!” Jayyd mulled the word over in her mind. She didn’t remember ever hearing this word. Yet… somehow, she knew what it meant. “Home!” It meant family. It meant happiness. It meant security. It meant…

“Mama! Daddy!” Jayyd’s eyes filled with tears, and she hugged Maria and Michael both tightly as memories long ago forced into some deep recess of her mind by the Ghor’s machine began to flood back into her head again.

“Mama! Daddy!” She cried again, just to hear the magical words… the words she had forgotten existed.

Max turned to thank the young man who had helped Jayyd. As he looked into his eyes, recognition hit him like a sledgehammer…

“Alyyx? Alyyx! Oh my God! Liz! It’s Alyyx!”

Liz had, until this moment, not actually looked directly into the young man’s face. She had been so concerned with Maria’s getting Jayyd back. She had asked the Sphere of Searches to find Jayyd. That it had found Alyyx with her was a blessing she had not expected. Liz ran to Alyyx and threw her arms around him. When she had last seen him, he had been almost eight years old; now he was seventeen. Liz pulled back and looked at Alyyx’s face then smiled…

“You’ve become such a handsome young man! Oh my God, Alyyx! This is so wonderful!”

It was Alyyx’s turn now to feel the strange, yet somehow comfortable, feeling that these people were something… or someone… that he should remember. But where were these memories? Alyyx shook his head trying to remember. It seemed that a fog was lifting from his mind. He looked at Liz then at Max…

“Mama? Daddy?”

Liz and Max held Alyyx in their arms as tears ran inexorably down both of their faces.

“It’s okay, Alyyx… You’re home now!” Max said.

Alyyx nodded. He knew that it was true. The fog was still lifting from his brain, but already he knew… He was “home.” Alyyx did not remember this word, but he had no doubt of its meaning. He was home.

Varec stood with Shag and Maya. The three of them watched the reunions with a few tears in their own eyes. Turning to Shag, Varec smiled…

“Well, Shaqor… That’s two down… There are only 222,138 Antarean children left to find now…”

Shag nodded, still smiling. It seemed a daunting task, finding so many children, but Varec was right. It wasn’t only Max and Liz’s children or Michael and Maria’s children… or even his own precious little daughter, who still was out there somewhere… There were 222,138 more Antarean children to be found or to account for. And account for them or find them he would… all 222,138 of them… if it took him the rest of his life!



------------------------End of Chapter 10






posted on 26-Sep-2002 4:42:29 PM by Gerry Carr
Hmmmm... Good question KEmperor! I usually think of all the angles, and I didn't think of that one. You're right, of course. As it stands, we know that they couldn't find the children in the past, but maybe they could go back now and keep it from happening in the first place... I don't know, though. Maybe they wouldn't be able to do that until at least after the last one had been found and returned. At that point, I did have something similar (not exactly that though) in mind. Good food for thought! Thanks for the feedback! I hope you're enjoying it! You might want to read "Altered Time-Destiny in the Stars" and its sequel, "Life in the Stars," too. They come before this story. (Unless you've already read them, of course.) Hope to see ya again here! I'll post another chapter tonight or tomorrow.
posted on 28-Sep-2002 4:00:16 AM by Gerry Carr
"Antareans Shed Tears Too"


"Rumors and Dragons”

Chapter 11

XI


On Antar, Diane Casey and Dan Klein sat at a table in the CrashDown enjoying lunch together. From his table, Dan could see the beach across the street and the beautiful Golden Sea.

“It doesn’t seem right somehow, Diane. The beach is so beautiful… and it’s a weekend… but the beach is practically deserted…”

Diane nodded. “It wasn’t always that way, Dan. Before ‘the Darkness’ happened, that beach used to be crowded on weekends with children and their parents. I can still see them in my mind… still hear their cries of joy as they played…” Diane shook her head and looked down slightly. “It’s sad now.”

“I wish there was something I could do, Diane. I know Max and Michael and some of the others are on Xarius right now talking about the children. Did I hear right that they think some of them could have survived?”

“That’s supposed to be a secret for the time being… until they know if it’s true or not… but I’ve never seen anything spread so fast in my life as this rumor. I think all of Antar is on pins and needles. About half of the Antareans I know didn’t go to work today or leave their homes. They’re just glued to their vision screens looking for news… any kind of news. And the news reporters aren’t talking about anything else. All day it’s been the one and only topic. They don’t have a shred of news, but they’re expanding every word to fill every minute of the day with every latest rumor.”

“Just like they do on Earth,” Dan laughed. “I can understand, though. I just wish I could do something to help!”

Suddenly, Jeff Parker ran out of the back of the CrashDown accompanied by 24-year-old Korina, the only employee who had showed up today. Korina had been a 15-year-old when “The Darkness” happened. She was one of the youngest children not taken by the tragedy. Korina excitedly made an announcement in Antarean, and the three people in the café besides Diane and Dan left their food on their plates and ran from the restaurant. Dan saw that the few people on the beach also were running somewhere in a real hurry.

“They found two of the children!” Jeff said excitedly. “The news just came in!” Jeff turned to Korina, “Korina, you can go home if you want to,” Jeff said. “I can handle things here. I mean… there’s no one here anyway, right?”

Korina smiled and took off her apron. In an Antarean second, she was out the door.

“What’s this about, Jeff?” Diane asked.

“Come on,” Jeff said, motioning toward the back with his head. “We can watch on the vision screen in the back.”

Diane and Dan followed him into the back. On the screen, the reporter was talking fast in Antarean.

“They found two children. They’re alive and well,” said Diane. “They were on a moon of Ghorbidfael -That’s the Ghors’ planet!- Okay… they’re saying that the two children were being chased through the woods, and Max and Michael and Shag… and Liz and Maria… rescued them somehow from the Ghors.”

“The Ghors?” Dan queried.

“I told you about them once,” Diane said. They’re the ones that tried to take over our ship on the way here. It was the kids and the pawgor that saved us.”

“And they came back and took all the kids… Revenge maybe?” Dan surmised. …But how? Didn’t they all supposedly die?”

“They’re saying that they didn’t die… that they were transported to the Ghors’ ship and sold as slaves… or… oh!”

Dan didn’t press for more information.

“Can you get me in touch with Max, Diane?”

“I don’t know, Dan… I… maybe. I think I can. I could try. Why?”

“I want to offer my help if they need it to get any of the kids back. If they need to kick some Ghor butt, maybe I could help. I was a pretty decent tackle on the football team in college… and a damn good kicker!”

Diane smiled and touched Dan on the cheek with her hand.

“I’ll see what I can do. I’ve got a feeling that after this announcement, there isn’t going to be any shortage of Antareans wanting to join you. What about your job… on Earth, I mean?”

“I’ll have to split my time… you know, ‘It’s lunch time! Think I’ll have a hamburger and kick a few Ghor butts before going back to work!’”

Diane laughed.

“It can be managed with that portal you use,” Dan said.

“Dan, you’re a riot!” Diane laughed. “I guess that’s why I love you! I’ll tell Max you want to help however they can use you.”

Dan smiled.

----------


On Xarius, Liz and Maria were getting to know two of their children again.

“Varec?” Liz said, sniffing, with a smile, “It’s your turn… Sphere of Searches!”

“Ask.”

“Where is Liz-JoLee z’Varec?”

There was a brief pause. Varec understood more keenly now how Liz and Maria had felt while waiting for the answer from the sphere. The wait took perhaps five seconds… but it felt like eternity.

“Liz-JoLee z’Varec is on Drago… in the Dragon capitol,” said the sphere.

“Sphere of Visions,” Liz said.

“Ask.”

“Let us see Liz-JoLee z’Varec.”

In the mist appeared a young girl about 17. With her were a few dozen other young beings… most were not Antareans. But two other children in the group did appear to be Antarean. Liz looked closer. She and Max both gasped. One was JoLeesa, one of the triplets. The other was an Antarean child whom they did not recognize. The children appeared to be being corralled and “herded” from a building into an open field. Liz did not like the look of the creatures that were herding them… and she had a very bad feeling about the whole thing.

Suddenly, the Dragons released all the creatures they were herding. The children began to run. Then the Dragons ran after them.

“NO!” Shag yelled so loudly that everyone in the room froze. “NO! IT’S THE DRAGON FEAST! WE MUST GET THEM RIGHT NOW! IMMEDIATELY! The children will be ripped apart by their teeth and eaten alive as each one is caught! I’ve heard about this… I had never seen it before. LIZ, NOW!”

Liz stammered… “Sph… Sphere of… Portal! NOW!”

The portal appeared. Max, Michael, Varec, Shag, Liz and Maria leapt through the portal and directly into the center of the killing field of the Dragons of Drago.



------------------------End of Chapter 11




posted on 3-Oct-2002 2:21:25 AM by Gerry Carr
Antareans Shed Tears Too


“The Battle Of The Killing Arena”

Chapter 12

XII


Max, Michael, Shag, Varec, Liz, and Maria stepped through the portal directly into the center of the killing arena of the Dragons of Drago.

“I hope you’ve got a plan, Max!” Michael said as he saw the mob charging in their direction.

“I’ll think of one.”

“Well, you’d better think of it now, Max, because WE ARE out of time!”

The first few victims running from the Dragons were upon them.

“Liz! Open the portal!” Max yelled over the roar of the approaching Dragons.

“Portal!” Liz called out… “Take the children who enter to Xarius, but do not allow any Dragon to enter.”

Liz did her best, with Maria’s help, to “herd” the running children toward the portal. Six of them ran into the portal. Four more ran around it and continued on toward the forest. The remainder were just now arriving. Unfortunately, so were the Dragons.

Without mercy, two Dragons at once pounced on their first victim, a young creature from the planet Karis. The young Karisian screamed as the Dragons sank their teeth into a leg and an arm, preparing to rip him apart. Max and Michael, sharing the same thought, threw two fully charged power bolts at the two Dragons vying over the catch. The Dragons reared back and roared in pain, dropping their prey. Before the Dragons realized what had happened, Liz and Maria grabbed the young Karisian and ran him through the portal, each one holding an arm.

At the same moment, a second victim was grabbed in the teeth of a very large Dragon. Max and Michael threw two more power bolts, but this Dragon’s skin must have been thicker due to its size. The Dragon growled in pain but did not release the prey, a Vindulian child about twelve years old. Shag raised both of his hands and placed one over the top of the other. A beam shot forward, and the Dragon’s head exploded.

“Wow!” Michael said, “Remind me not to ever get Shag mad!”

Max nodded, his own eyes still pretty big. The Dragon lay on the ground with smoke pouring from where its head had once been. Varec had already grabbed the Vindulian child, and Liz and Maria had just reappeared through the portal. Varec handed Maria the rescued child, and Maria carried it through the portal.

Up to this point, the group from Xarius had only had to contend with a few of the faster victims and Dragons, who had arrived ahead of the main mob, but now many more were arriving. Max and Michael began throwing power bolts at random Dragons in an effort to stop them or slow them down. Shag, too, was firing off short beams of energy, but they seemed to become less and less powerful with each succeeding shot. Max and Michael, too, were tiring, and the Dragons were beginning to be less afraid of, even ignoring, the less powerful, semi-depleted power bolts.

The portal reappeared, and Liz and Maria stepped back through with reinforcements. Kyle Valenti and Dan Klein had shown up, asking to be allowed to help. Liz and Maria led them through the portal and directly onto the “battlefield.”

Dan and Kyle quickly sized up the situation.

“Kyle!” said Dan Klein… Kyle looked over at Dan. Dan made some circular motions with his fingers and traced an imaginary line through the circles. Kyle nodded.

“Go!” Dan yelled.

Kyle ran in one direction and Dan in the other, circling through the Dragons and their intended victims. Several Dragons were already upon various young victims. Kyle tackled the first Dragon hard, knocking it off its feet. As he did, he snatched up the Gredorian child and rushed her out past the Dragons. Three other Dragons were bearing down on Kyle and the child he held in his arms. Their long legs were impossible to outrun for long. As the three Dragons pounced, Kyle zigged suddenly and passed the child off to Dan, who had run through the mob from the other direction, so confusing the Dragons that they collided with each other. Dan rushed the Gredorian girl through the portal.

“Touchdown!” Kyle said to himself with a smile. Meanwhile, Kyle was not waiting for Dan to return to go after another Dragon. Rushing through the Dragon “line of offense,” Kyle bumped a Dragon that had just caught a Jyristi child about six years old. The Dragon dropped the child and Kyle grabbed her and ran zigging and zagging as the Dragons gave chase.

“Hey, you fumbled!” Kyle yelled back at his pursuers. “Get over it!”

Max took the Jyristi child from Kyle and rushed her through the portal as Dan reappeared from the other side. Dan and Kyle glanced at each other. Dan made some motions, and again, Kyle nodded. They both rushed straight down the middle through the mob of Dragons. Two Dragons had caught an older child by both arms, which they would have ripped off immediately.

Kyle hit the first Dragon hard with his shoulder. Dan hit the second equally hard with his shoulder. Both Dragons bellowed as they were spun around and forced to release their holds on their victim. Dan put the victim over his shoulder without stopping as Kyle threw himself sideways into the two Dragons, bringing them both crashing to the ground. Dan rushed the girl to Varec, who took her and gasped,

“Liz-JoLee!”

Varec rushed his daughter through the portal to the palace on Xarius. Max had already been forced to remain at the palace for the moment in order to heal the wounds of the many rescued victims. The Dragons’ teeth had made horrible injuries to legs, arms, shoulders… luckily, so far, none had been fatal, and Max had been able to save them and heal them all.

Varec laid Liz-JoLee down in front of Max. Max grimaced slightly as he looked at her wounds then placed both hands first on one of her torn arms then on the other as a greenish glow under his hands brought mending to torn tissues and new health to an injured body.

Meanwhile, on Drago, Dan and Kyle continued to go after the Dragons and deprive them of victims. Dan had rushed into the middle of a small group of Dragons and up to one that was hovering over a young boy from Nordos. Pausing just long enough to motion, Dan placed a finger over the Dragon’s head. Kyle grinned and rushed forward. As the Dragon turned to face Kyle, Kyle kicked. His boot went up, catching the Dragon in what was apparently a sensitive area. The Dragon let out a scream in a pitch much higher than it had been using before.

“And… It’s GOOD!” Dan yelled to Kyle, who smiled and gave Dan a thumbs up.

Although Kyle and Dan were having astonishing success rescuing the Dragons’ intended victims, the sheer volume of Dragons and victims on the field now made it a sure thing that some of the children would be killed before they could be rescued. Michael and Shag were still throwing power bolts and had had some success using Kyle’s tackle maneuver on a few Dragons, but it just was not enough.

Then Liz reappeared through the portal, bringing with her two new reinforcements.

“Liz! How? I mean… Where did you… How did you…?” a shocked Michael tried to ask.

“I used the spheres to find him and go get him. Then Varec brought the pawgor to us on Xarius. Then I used the portal to get us here.”

“Dang! I think that fellow gets bigger every time I see him!” Michael said, looking at the pawgor. “Does Danyy have his memory back?”

Liz nodded.

“Sorry to rescue you then throw you into a battle, Danny,” Michael said. “I guess these are desperate times… They certainly are for some of these children out here.”

Danyy looked at the pawgor, and the pawgor rushed into the melée, quickly sinking its own huge front “fangs” into the behind of a Dragon that had a ten-year-old Corshic girl in its mouth. The Dragon roared and dropped the girl as he spun around to see who or what had taken a bite out of him. He was totally unprepared for what he saw. His skin turned even brighter green than it already had been from the excitement of the hunt.

Apparently, the pawgor found Dragon meat less disgusting than Ghor meat. A good portion of rump was removed from the Dragon, which did its best to limp off. Other Dragons nearby dropped their victims and ran as they watched the pawgor make a meal out of the piece it had removed from the first Dragon. It seemed that the Dragons loved making meals out of other live creatures but had an aversion to being eaten themselves. Of course, this was probably the first time any Dragon had ever met anything that could make a meal out of a Dragon.

It appeared that now, with the arrival of the pawgor, the odds were at least even of rescuing most of the children on the field.

But there was to be one more unexpected surprise. Somehow, Danyy’s “owner,” Ee-l’wee, the little Aklatian, had followed Danyy and found him. She appeared now, flying with her four dragonflylike wings, in front of Michael and Shag, who sheltered Danyy. Ee-l’wee reached out for Danyy, and Michael reached his hand out to swat her away.

“NO!” Danny yelled. Surprised, Michael pulled his hand back.

“I’m not letting some little human dragonfly take you away, Danyy, now that we’ve got you back. Who is this little ‘fairy?’”

“She’s Ee-l’wee. She bought me from the Ghors. She… she treated me good. She has a zoo on her planet.”

“She put you in a zoo?” Michael said disgusted.

“No,” Danyy said. “I lived in her house. I controlled the animals for her. But you can’t hit her!”

“Why not?” Michael asked.

At that moment, a nearby Dragon decided to make a meal out of the little flying Aklatian. The Dragon reached out to snatch Ee-l’wee out of the air, but as it did so, its entire body lit up as though struck by lightning. The Dragon crumpled to the ground, smoke coming from every pore on its body.

“Oh!” Michael said… “That’s why, huh?”

Danyy turned to Ee-l’wee.

“Please Ee-l’wee. These are my people. And they need help. You told me that the Ghors disgust you and you don’t believe in selling intelligent children. But the Ghors sold all the children on this field to the Dragons to be killed and eaten for a holiday festival. Will you help?”

Ee-l’wee looked at Danyy mournfully then turned and flew through the mob of Dragons. It was too easy. No Dragon could seem to resist the little flying morsel. Many dropped the children they had already caught to go after Ee-l’wee. Each one that touched her suffered the same fate. It was cooked to well-done, smoke pouring out every pore and opening of its body. And yet… the Dragons simply could not understand that she was a threat. They could perceive the pawgor as a threat, and they ran from the pawgor, which already had saved a dozen children and gorged itself on Dragon flesh. But a little 15-inch high flying “fairy” was just impossible for the Dragons to perceive as a threat, even seeing it with their own eyes. One by one, the Dragons were struck by a lightning-like power they had never experienced before.

Kyle and Dan rescued the last two victims, whisking them away from under confused Dragons’ noses. Then the field was quiet.

The only bodies visible on the field were Dragons. Most were either missing chunks or smoking. The ones that could had run away. The children who were injured had all been whisked through the portal to Xarius. There were still four children to account for… the ones who had initially run around the portal and made it to the forest after Max and Michael and gang stopped their pursuers from catching them.

“We’d better see if we can find the missing kids quickly,” Michael said. “The Dragons will surely be back with weapons.”

Shag shook his head. “They’ll be back… and with reinforcements… but not weapons.”

“How do you know?” Michael asked.

“Because weapons are a ‘no-no’ in Dragon culture. It’s not that they’re pacifists, obviously. It’s just that it’s part of Dragon culture that any Dragon incapable of bringing down an enemy or victim with its teeth and claws is deemed unfit and eliminated from the gene pool.”

“As in…”

“As in ‘killed.’ Or if it is a very important Dragon… a technician or scientist or something, it may just be castrated.”

“Oh,” Michael said, “Is that all? ‘just’ castrated?”

Shag grinned. “Got to keep the gene pool strong and vicious.”

“Danyy,” Michael said, turning to the now 18-year-old boy. Can the pawgor find the missing children and bring them back?”

Danyy smiled and nodded. The pawgor rushed off into the forest. Within minutes, it returned with three of the children. One was an Antarean girl. She was sitting on the pawgor’s back. Behind her was a Dinuvian girl, who was holding tightly onto the Antarean girl. In the pawgor’s mouth, carefully restrained behind its two huge front teeth was a younger Kirishi boy, only about 6 years old. The boy was obviously less inclined to take the ride and still struggled to get free, but to no avail.

Liz ran to the Antarean girl and threw her arms around her crying as the girl slid off the pawgor’s back.

“JoLeesa! Oh, JoLeesa!”

JoLeesa smiled broadly and hugged Liz.

“You know who I am?” Liz asked. “You have your memory?”

“I do now,” JoLeesa answered. “When I saw the pawgor, it all started coming back. I thought about Danyy… then I remembered you and Daddy!”

“Oh, JoLeesa! …Let’s go home!” Liz cried.

JoLeesa turned to the Dinuvian girl. “Mom, this is Darja. She’s from Dinuvia. She’s been here since the same day I was brought here.

Liz smiled. “Come on, Darja! We’re all going home. We’ll be notifying your people where you are.” Liz looked at the boy in the pawgor’s mouth… “You, too!” She held out her hand to the boy, and the pawgor released him and rushed into the forest to find the other missing child. Liz took JoLeesa and the two that were with her, and the three passed through the portal.

Minutes later, the pawgor returned with a small Finisi girl carefully restrained in its mouth. Shag took the child as Danyy hugged and petted the pawgor. Then the three of them passed through the portal. The battle of the killing arena was over. Now each child had to be identified and his or her home planet notified.

The rescue had been remarkably successful –with a little unexpected help! Max had been able to heal all of the children’s injuries, and all the children held by the Dragons had been rescued. It would not go down in Dragon history as one of their better festivals. Antar and Xarius had undoubtedly made one enemy this day. But new alliances and strong bonds were about to be forged all over the galaxies with other planets… planets that would soon be getting back children they had all thought were dead.



-----------------------End of Chapter 12
_________________



posted on 3-Oct-2002 2:23:17 AM by Gerry Carr
Antareans Shed Tears Too


“Celebration”

Chapter 13

XIII


On Antar, everywhere, vision screens were flashing:

“URGENT NOTICE! JUST IN! MORE CHILDREN FOUND ALIVE - RESCUED FROM PLANET DRAGO !

It was impossible to describe the mood of jubilation and sheer joy that ran like a wildfire from one end of Antar to the other. The news reporters were breathless with the reports; and to top it off, they had VisionStream, the Antarean version of video, of some of the battle, filmed by an independent correspondent from a ship in space. The news anchors noted that all of the children, Antareans and non-Antareans, had been rescued and taken to Xarius where King Zan himself had healed each one’s wounds.

Antareans watched the news and the VisionStream then ran into the streets rejoicing, dancing, crying, and hugging each other. Such happiness had not been seen on Antar in many years. Real hope ran through every Antarean that they might actually again see the children they had lost – alive and well!

For one family in the Grelligo region of Antar’s south, the news was especially sweet. Though none of the children had yet been officially identified by the authorities, the family of GrelJorlis saw their child on the news VisionStream. They watched as Kyle and Dan rescued him from a Dragon… They watched as Liz and Maria took him through the portal. The family of GrelJorlis knew that BrenJonyyt was alive. So did many of their neighbors, who rushed to tell them that they had seen their son on the VisionStream. The house of GrelJorlis was a party all day. Everyone celebrated, and Grelligan jubish flowed like the waters of the nearby river.

----------

On Xarius, in the palace of King Shaqor and Queen MayaSabriena, Max, Michael, Liz, Maria, Varec, Shag, and Maya all worked tirelessly to try to identify the children and the planets that they had come from. Shag, with his 10,000 plus years of experience traveling the galaxies, was a huge help. He was able to communicate with most of the children and was familiar with many of their planets. Liz and Maria catalogued the information. They had rescued a total of 57 children from the Dragons; the children ranged in age from five to nineteen.

Another small problem was Ee-l’wee. The little Aklation had been allowed to return to the palace on Xarius with them. Ee-l’wee knew that Danyy was not going back to Aklat with her. Danyy was home… or almost home… except for one small detail. Ee-l’wee still had the older female… the one the Antarean children had called “Mother.” The one that had been so protective of Danyy that she had somehow been able to see the transporter beam that took Danyy away and had thrown herself into it and gone with him rather than let him go.

Ee-l’wee still had the female… and she knew what she had to do. Ee-l’wee held out her hand and intoned a word in Aklatian, “Bal’yeet.” A sphere appeared in her hand, and Ee-l’wee said, “Jemet… Aklat.” A portal opened, and the little Aklatian disappeared.

“She has a set of spheres!” Michael said in amazement. She has spheres, too!”

Shag smiled and nodded.

“I thought…” Michael started…

“…that ours were the only ones?” Shag said, finishing his sentence. “No. The spheres are very, very rare. There are only five sets in the entire universe… and they are priceless… but not unique.”

Suddenly, Ee-l’wee reappeared, and with her was the female.

Liz and Maria gasped… “Kathleen?”

“We thought you…” Michael started to say. “We thought you…”

“We thought you had jumped into the river after Danyy disappeared,” Max said for Michael. “Someone saw you running toward the river. They said you jumped. No one ever found your body.”

“I didn’t jump in the river,” Kathleen said. I saw the beam sweep over slowly and take Danyy, and something appeared in his place… something that looked like dust remains. Then I saw the beam move away, and I ran after it. I jumped into it as it reached the river. I guess it might have looked like I threw myself in the river at that… to anyone looking.”

“Oh my God!” Liz said. “Wait till Jim finds out! He’ll get both of you back! Jim’s going to be soooo happy!”

“You know what really broke my heart,” Maria said. Mom and I went over to the ranch one day, and Jim was sitting there on the porch petting the pawgor… and both of them looked like they had lost everything that they had ever lived for. Jim was rubbing the pawgor’s back and saying, You miss ‘em, too, don’t you, boy… The pawgor came around every day looking for Danyy.”

Liz hugged Kathleen then Maria and MayaSabriena hugged her.

Kathleen turned to Ee-l’wee, “I never thought I would ever see Jim again, and that broke my heart… but I am so thankful that you bought me, too, when you took Danyy from the Ghors. I don’t know how I could have made it if you had taken him away from me. And thank you for treating us kindly. I don’t condone selling or buying slaves either one, but… if you hadn’t taken us, someone or something else would have… and they would probably have split us up. And… we don’t know how they would have treated us.”

Ee-l’wee smiled, though somewhat sadly.

Dan Klein asked, “Ee-l’wee… do you have any animals from Earth in your zoo?”

Ee-l’wee shook her head.

“Liz?” Dan said. Liz knew what he wanted. She called the portal, and Dan stepped through it. Twenty minutes later, he was back, and he had by the hand a pair of young chimpanzees.

“They’re for you,” Dan said to Ee-l’wee.

Ee-l’wee flew around the chimpanzees, looking at them with amazement.

“Are they intelligent, Dan Klein?”

Dan smiled. “Compared to a Ghor… probably… but not as higher life forms.”

Ee-l’wee actually broke a smile. “I like you, Dan Klein! Thank you!”

Dan released the two chimpanzees, and Ee-l’wee took them by the hands. They seemed to like her.

“Bal’yeet,” Ee-l’wee said. A portal appeared. “Jemet… Aklat.”

“Ee-l’wee,” Max said.

Ee-l’wee looked back.

“Thanks for the help with the Dragons.”

Ee-l’wee smiled again… then she stepped through the portal with the two chimpanzees by the hand.

----------

On Antar, the news was still running without interruption, and the celebrations were still going on in the streets. Antareans were already talking about Kyle and Dan’s unconventional battle techniques and that marvelous pawgor. Somehow, seeing “their” pawgor rescuing Antarean and other children on a far away planet gave them a sense of great pride. The scenes of the pawgor taking a bite out of the first Dragon’s rear end and the scene where Kyle zigged and passed a child off to Dan, who came from the opposite direction then ran through the portal with the child as the confused Dragons collided with each other were played over and over. They were sure to become Antarean classic clips, as was the scene where a Dragon tried to grab Ee-l’wee and wound up on the ground smoking.

For Antareans, today was a good day… a day to rejoice… a day to be happy and celebrate. And Antar was not the only planet celebrating. The news was out… and spreading at the speed of light.

On Ghorbidfael, Hosk had gone into deep hiding. Already, his planet was surrounded by a ragtag fleet of ships from numerous different planets, all with one object for their visit… to kill Hosk.



------------------------End of Chapter 13





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 19-Oct-2002 5:31:10 AM ]
posted on 4-Oct-2002 11:26:51 PM by Gerry Carr
Yep! Thanks for the fb, KEmperor! Now I'm off to rescue some more kids!
posted on 4-Oct-2002 11:28:30 PM by Gerry Carr
Antareans Shed Tears Too


“Gifts and Powers”

Chapter 14

XIV


”Shag?” Michael said questioningly…

“Yes?”

“How is it, you think, that Kathleen was able to see the transporter beam that took Danyy? Nobody else saw it. Not one single Antarean saw it. I didn’t see it… Maria didn’t see it… Max and Liz didn’t see it… So how do you think Kathleen saw it?”

Shag raised his eyebrows slightly and shrugged. “I don’t know… but if I had to guess, I would say that she has developed a gift.”

“A gift? You mean, as in a power?”

“Call it what you want, Michael… it’s a gift. She saw something that others couldn’t see.”

Michael nodded… “Yeah… Jim deflected a falling branch from a kid once by putting his hand up… but Max healed Jim once, and we figured that’s how he got his power.”

“Didn’t he heal Kathleen, too, after that thing that happened on Earth… in the mountains?”

“Yeah, that’s right… he did… You know about that?”

“I heard. You know, Michael, their son, Danyy has a gift, too. He talks to animals. Yet both of his parents are from Earth.”

“Yeah… that’s true. My kids and Max’s have some special abilities; but then of course, we’re part Antarean to begin with.”

“Max! Michael!” Liz called… “I’m going to get Maya from that place where we saw her rocking a baby crib when we used the Sphere of Visions before.”

“Oh, yeah,” said Michael… “She looked okay, but that was one weird, furry baby! I’ll get her for you, Liz. Call the portal.”

“Thanks, Michael… Portal!

…Take Michael to my daughter, MayaSabriena.”

The portal appeared, and Michael stepped through it. In front of him, across the room, was Maya, rocking the baby crib and singing softly as before. Michael stepped forward toward Maya… but before he had taken his second step, something hit him hard, throwing him violently across the room. Michael had only got a glimpse of the huge hand coming at him from the side before it had connected with his head.

Lying crumpled against the wall in the corner of the room, Michael looked up in time to see it rushing at him. This time, he reacted, moving out of the way of the charging… whatever-it-was. It moved fast! Michael moved faster! “Whatever-it-was” stood about seven feet high; but it walked stooped over, so it was probably actually taller. It was covered with thick reddish-black fur. It’s face somewhat resembled a gorilla’s but was much longer and bigger. It had two very large lower teeth protruding upward about 12 inches out of the lower jaw. Its arms were huge, and its hands, if that’s what they could be called, were the size of car tires… in fact, as Michael thought about it, that’s pretty much how he felt… as though he had been hit by a car.

Michael put his right hand up and the palm began to glow green. The creature seemed to recognize the danger and backed off. Standing back up, Michael reached out to Maya with his left hand while keeping his right hand aimed at the creature…

“Maya! Come with me,” he coaxed.

Maya looked unsure and frightened. She had no idea who Michael was. For a moment, it seemed that she might not move. But after quick consideration, Maya decided that although she had no idea who Michael might be… she did know Grezhf… Grezhf worked her 20 hours a day with only 4 hours to sleep. Grezhf made her clean the house, take care of the baby, comb her fur for her and pick the bugs out of it… Grezhf made her cook the meals then threw her the left over fat and bones that she had chewed on for her meals… and Grezhf beat her mercilessly when she was tired or feeling ill. Maya held out her hand to Michael. Michael took it, and the two of them stepped quickly through the portal.

As they stepped into the palace of King Shaqor on Xarius, Liz rushed to Maya and hugged her, and tears began to brim up in her eyes all over again. Maya seemed confused and slightly flustered. She pulled back slightly and looked at Liz then at Max… then Michael… then Maria. She didn't understand why, but there was a comfortable feeling here… a comfortable feeling about these people. Maya put her arms around Liz, and Liz began to cry. As she did, the veil that had shrouded Maya's memory began to come down. Maya began to remember… and tears came to her eyes, too. She hugged Liz tighter…

"Mama! Mama! Mama! Where have I been? How could I have forgotten you? How could I have forgotten everything?"

She looked at Max, who was standing beside her now, wiping tears from his own eyes. She hugged Max as he wrapped her in his arms together with Liz.

"You know, Liz," Max said wiping another tear from his cheek, "This is so wonderful… I'm kind of glad we only have four children. I'm not sure how much happiness I could take!"

Liz smiled and hugged him closer. "You'd better get used to it, Honey! I've got a feeling that every child we return to a family is going to feel like our own child all over again. Your heart is just going to have to be strong."

Max nodded.

“Max, I want to find Andya. We got Alyyx from the Ghors, we got JoLeesa from Drago, and now we’ve got Maya back from whatever that was. Andya’s our last one missing.”

Max nodded. But he looked around the room. Varec had Liz-Jolee back, Michael and Maria had Jayyd back but were still missing Zorel and Kryys, Jim would be getting Danyy and Kathleen back now; but Kyle and Jeliya… Kyle stood there looking happy for all the others, but Max knew how he felt inside. Rayyn and Taz were still missing. So were lots of others.

“Liz, let’s find Rayyn next… okay?”

Liz looked at Kyle… She nodded.

“Sphere of Searches!”

“Ask.”

“Where is Rayyn Valenti?”

There was a pause of a few seconds then the sphere answered, “Rayyn Valenti is on Yargish in the house of Narwha the retired space captain.”

“Portal!”

“Uh… wait a minute,” Michael said… After that last one, I think we should take a look before we just go charging in.” Michael rubbed his jaw.

Liz nodded… “Sphere of Visions!”

“Ask!”

“Let us see Rayyn Valenti.”

A mist appeared in the room, and a vision appeared. It was Rayyn, and with him was a female, possibly Antarean. The two were inside some kind of clear enclosure. Outside the enclosure sat a very strange creature, but it did not appear to be anything like Grezhf. This creature was extremely tall, perhaps 20 feet, but thin as a reed. It looked fairly harmless, but Michael knew that looks could be deceiving. After all, Ee-l’wee had “looked” harmless, too. The Dragons sure found out otherwise.

“Portal!” Liz said.

Max, Michael, Liz, Kyle, Shag, and Maria all stepped through together. Narwha stood up as the intruders appeared. Suddenly, they were looking up at Narwha… way up… “treetop” up! It was disconcerting. Narwha bent down and looked at the intruders. Before he had bought the female from Hosk, Narwha had never seen any member of her species. Then he had bought the male. Now, here stood a whole handful of creatures of her species right in front of him.

It had never occurred to Narwha that the creatures he had bought from Hosk might actually be “higher life forms.” Oh, he knew they were intelligent… probably more so than the average animal… but not higher life forms. Now he was surprised by the appearance of these others through a portal. Narwha knew of the spheres. He was a well-traveled Yargishi. He had never seen one of the fabled spheres personally, but he knew that, without a shadow of a doubt, any creature that had the use of the spheres was a higher life form. Of this there could be no doubt.

Narwha easily reached over the enclosure with his long arms and picked up the boy. He placed him in front of the new arrivals. Then he reached in and took out the female. For the first time, Liz and Max saw her face. It was Andya. Max and Liz moved quickly to Andya’s side. Kyle was already at Rayyn’s side.

“I think you want these,” Narwha said in Yargishi.

“DarShela,” said Shag, which in Yargishi meant, “Thank You.”

Narwha repeated the phrase, “DarShela,” knowing that the intruders would be in their full right to take the “hostages” by force but had not resorted to violence unnecessarily. Narwha tried to explain that he had not realized they were higher intelligent life forms and had bought them from Hosk as pets… he had treated them well.

“We understand,” Shag said… “We blame Hosk for the most part… Hosk and all the Ghors, because they are slave traders by a matter of their culture.” Shag asked Narwha if he had any information on any of the other victims sold by Hosk. Narwha told him that he knew that some, including at least one Antarean girl who looked exactly like the one he had bought were sold to the Dragons of Drago.

Shag nodded…

“We know about that… They have already been rescued.”

Narwha seemed genuinely happy to know this. It had saddened him when he had learned that the other girl like the one he had bought was sold to the Dragons, because he knew what the Dragons did with them. Narwha had no love for the Dragons of Drago.

“Hosk keeps the pets in a subterranean area on the Ghor moon of Gadislar,” Narwha said. “It is a huge area, and there are hundreds… many hundreds… of ‘pets’ there at any given time. The subterranean holding area is very sophisticated. It has separate areas for different types of pets and all the information on each of them is kept there… what they eat, how they live, where they come from, everything.”

“This is very useful information!” said Shag. “We need to get a hold of those records. And, of course, we want to liberate all of Hosk’s ‘pets!’ Hosk only deals in higher intelligent life forms… slaves.”

“He told me they were pets,” Narwha said sorrowfully… apologetically.

“Hosk will say that they are vegetables if vegetables are what someone wants to buy and someone is willing to pay his price for the vegetables,” Shag said.

Narwha already knew this was true. Though he had treated his “pets” well and had indeed been told by Hosk that they were pets, somewhere in his heart and soul Narwha now realized that he had always suspected -perhaps known- that they were more than that. He had allowed himself to believe what he wanted to believe, and this made him guilty.

“I will help you in any way that you would like me to help to obtain the freedom of your young people whom Hosk has taken,” Narwha said.

Shag looked at Narwha and smiled slightly as he nodded… “DarShela, Narwha. We will let you know if we can use your services. For now, we thank you for the information you have given us and for the return of our children.”

“DarosYoviv,” said Narwha… “You’re welcome.”

Max, Michael, Liz, Maria, Shag, and Kyle stepped back through the portal with Andya and Rayyn. Once in the palace of King Shaqor, Liz threw her arms around Andya and began to kiss her face. Max hugged her, too.

“Andya, you’re home now!” Max said… “You’re home! I’m your Daddy; and this is your Mama.”

Andya, who had learned to understand some Yargishi over her years with Narwha, though she had never spoken, already understood that in some way she belonged with Liz and Max, but the fog that shrouded her mind was still there. She knew… but she had no memory.

Rayyn, too, had learned to understand Yargishi and knew that he belonged with Kyle. In some way, he was beginning to feel something. Kyle held him close to his chest and ran his hand up and down Rayyn’s back. He wiped tears from his eyes as he laid his head down on top of Rayyn’s and kissed him. Rayyn put his arms around Kyle. It just felt right somehow.

Shag came back into the room with Maya, JoLeesa, and Alyyx with him.

“Andya!”

Andya looked at Shag.

Shag pushed Maya, JoLeesa, and Alyyx in front of him.

“Andya,” said Alyyx, holding out his hand to his sister. Andya took Alyyx’s hand then Maya’s and JoLeesa’s, and tears began to roll down Andya's cheeks. She turned and grabbed Liz, pulling Liz to herself and hugging her tightly. Maya, JoLeesa, and Alyyx all joined in and put their arms around Liz, Max, and Andya together. In the center of the "hug," Liz was in Heaven.



------------------------End of Chapter 14




posted on 5-Oct-2002 9:53:31 PM by Gerry Carr
Antareans Shed Tears Too


“Return To Gadyslar”

Chapter 15

XV


”I think it’s time we paid Hosk another visit,” Shag said. “If Narwha the Yargishi is right, we may find more children there, and we should also try to find Hosk’s records of his slave sales.”

Michael and Max agreed.

“Sphere of Visions,” Shag called.

Being the original owner of the spheres, Shag was able to call on them at will.

“Ask!”

“Show us the subterranean slave chambers on Gadyslar.”

In the mist, they saw an underground chamber. It appeared to be large… and possibly abandoned.

“Sphere of Visions.”

“Ask!”

“Show us the children in the slave chambers.”

In the mist, children appeared. Shag, Max, and Michael saw children of numerous species locked in rooms off to the sides.

“Sphere of Visions.”

“Ask!”

“Show us any Antarean children in the slave chambers on Gadyslar,” said Shag.

In the mist, children appeared… Antarean without a doubt… They counted at least forty, but there were clearly many more. Unfortunately, they did not recognize any of the children they saw. This was not surprising, since over 200,000 children were missing from Antar alone.

“How are we going to do this?” Michael asked. “There may be hundreds of children down there who need to be rescued. We can’t just ‘portal’ them all back here.”

Shag and Max nodded their agreement.

“We need a plan,” Shag said.

A moment later, he chuckled, “…and I think I just thought of it!”

“Portal!” Shag called. “Take us to the bridge of my ship, the ‘Xarius Voyager.’”

Shag, Max, and Michael stepped through the portal onto the bridge of the huge ship.

“How far are we from Ghorbidfael?” Shag asked the Captain in charge.’’

“Eight minutes, sir,” the Captain answered.

“Set a course for the Ghor moon of Gadyslar.”

“Yes, sir!”

Eight minutes later, the Xarius Voyager dropped in over the moon of Gadyslar. Shag opened the lower bay of the ship, and the ship settled over the moon like a mother hen sitting on an egg. Gadyslar was not a small moon like “Michael’s Moon,” which had spent a few days in the bay of this same ship over 10,000 years before. With a circumference of over twenty miles, Gadyslar was easily four to five times the size of Michael’s Moon, and it was probably about as large an item as Shag could fit into his lower bay, but fit it did, with room to spare. Shag closed the bay doors, and the Moon of Gadyslar floated freely within the lower bay of the Xarius Voyager.

Hundreds of small vessels traveled back and forth inside the bay of the Xarius Voyager, following established “traffic lanes,” moving from one part of the huge ship to the other. So large was this ship that several thousand individuals actually considered it their full-time home. They worked here, raised their families here, enjoyed their free time here. It was everything needed and everything that any average-sized planet might have.

“Now let’s go see if Hosk is there,” said Shag.

“Portal! Take us to the subterranean slave chambers of Gadyslar.”

The three friends stepped through the portal. At first they saw nothing but empty space. Off to the sides, Max found several smaller chambers. The doors were locked, but this was no obstacle.

“You want to do the honors?” Max asked Michael.

“Sure,” Michael replied. Michael pressed his hand to the door, and the lock fell open easily.

The three opened the door and walked in. This chamber led to more chambers. It was like a honeycomb of passageways and chambers. The three walked through the first chamber and down one of the passageways. At the end of the first passageway, they came to another chamber.

"Do you get the idea that these chambers are more like some kind of waiting areas?" Shag asked.

Michael nodded. Suddenly, Max held up his hand. "Shhh. Listen."

There was a quiet whirring sound… and it seemed to be drawing nearer. Max waved his hand over himself then over Shag and Michael, changing them to look -and smell- like Ghors, as he had done when they were on Ghorbidfael once before. The three stood against the wall and waited, as the whirring sound grew closer. Then the source of the sound appeared. It was a hover train, a series of linked hover cars designed to shuttle large groups of people and individuals back and forth. Where it was going, they did not know, but they were about to find out.

The driver, a rough-looking Ghor with one good eye, pulled over and stopped.

"Get on! Hurry it up! I don't have all day!"

"Shut up!" Shag said gruffly in Ghorish, assuming the typical Ghor attitude. "Just drive! You're not paid to talk!"

"Stuff it, flower-ass! Hosk doesn't pay me enough to shut up. I'll say what I want! Hosk still hasn't paid me for this month… or last month."

"He probably never will," Shag said, attempting to stir up the driver and loosen his tongue, though it didn't appear to need much loosening.

"He will!" The driver said. "He will if he wants to live!"

"Ha! You think you can make Hosk do anything?" Shag agitated. "Hosk has weapons… and guards…"

"Hosk thinks he does," said the driver.

"What do you mean?" asked Shag.

"I mean that Hosk doesn't have the allegiance of his own guards… or his guards' weapons."

"And you do?"

"Naw… No one has their allegiance. They work for themselves, but Hosk doesn't realize it. If he keeps on not paying them, he's going to find out."

"I heard that profits had dropped because of some of the slaves getting away and those ships out there in space," Shag said. "Maybe he can't pay us."

"Not my problem if they want Hosk's mangy head," said the driver. "He'd still better pay me. He's sold plenty of slaves… and there are plenty of slaves here still waiting to be sold."

"Well," Shag said, "That's where we're headed… to get 150 Antarean slaves for the Dragons."

The driver looked back and raised the eyebrow of his good eye. "I didn't know the Dragons could afford 150 slaves… considering what Hosk asks for them… and what he got out of the Dragons already for the slaves they lost. Besides, I think there's only 121 Antarean slaves down there… not that that's a problem… We can convince the Dragons that some of the others are Antareans."

"Yeah, well, after that King from Antar ruined their festival," Shag said, "the Dragons must have scraped together enough to buy some more… They wanted Antareans specifically."

The driver laughed. "I can see why! Revenge! …for that Antarean King interfering in their festival. Maybe Hosk will pay us now!" The driver sped up. "I'll get you down there. I was supposed to go to the Karisian area, but this sounds more important."

"You don't care what the Dragons do to the Antarean slaves?" Shag asked.

"Of course I care!" said the driver… "We all care! I put my bets on the Dragon festival like all the other drivers and guards… which kids will run the fastest, which ones will scream the most when the Dragons catch 'em, which ones will be ripped into the most pieces, which ones…"

"Alright! I get it!" said Shag.

Michael's fists were tightening. The tendons were standing out. Shag touched his hand. "Cool it," he whispered. "We need this guy for now."

"That's the only reason he's still alive," Michael whispered back.

A couple of minutes later, the driver pulled the hover train into a cul de sac next to a large door. He got out and opened the door. Inside were children… Antarean children. Michael felt a strong urge to get the children out of there without further delay, but he kept his composure, attempting to act like a Ghor. Shag noticed the effort…

"Keep it cool," he urged Michael… "You won't regret it later."

Michael nodded.

The one-eyed driver pulled out a large stick and walked into the room with the children…

"Get out! Come on! Let's go! Get on the train! You're going for a ride!"

He struck several of the children across the back with the stick.

"He's mine!" Michael said, tears brimming into his eyes. "When they're out of here, he's mine!"

Shag patted Michael on the back lightly. "Don't… not yet." Noticing Max tensed up, too, Shag attempted to calm him also.

With all the Antarean children on the train, the driver started to climb back on. Then he noticed one child who had been missed. Climbing back off, he took the stick and walloped the child across the back, knocking her to the ground. Two green bolts of energy vaporized the driver where he stood.

"Sorry," Michael said. "I'm no good at taking orders."

Shag looked at Michael then at Max; he smiled and shrugged, "I was going to say go ahead. I guess you both read my mind."

Shag jumped into the driver's seat, and Max and Michael jumped in behind him, then they headed up the passageway.

“Michael… you can make us presentable again,” said Shag.

Michael moved his hand over them, and they all three returned to their former look… and smell.

"Portal!" Shag said… "Take this vehicle and everyone on it to Millennium Greenwood Park in the village of Duvtin on my ship, the Xarius Voyager."

The train disappeared into the portal and emerged on a paved lane that ran alongside a row of trees and a small lake. Shag drove on until he reached the local village center. There, he was met by a handful of ready and efficient Xarians who helped them take the children from the vehicle into the reception hall of the large building.

Max checked each one of the children over for injuries. Though numerous, most of the wounds were relatively minor… scratches, scrapes, and bruises. A few were more severe, including a few broken bones and one torn liver. Fortunately, Max was able to heal all of them relatively easily. Shag had a room set up with proper food and drinks for the children and ordered that rooms and beds be prepared for them until they could be returned to their parents.

"How many are there?" asked Shag.

"A hundred and twenty-one," said Michael, counting. "Old one-eye knew exactly how many there were."

With the Antarean children from the Ghor moon now safe, already Max, Michael, and Shag were planning the rescue of the non-Antarean children from the chambers inside the moon.

“Michael?” Shag asked, “Do you think you could get Kyle or Dan Klein to teach me those fantastic battle techniques they used on the Dragons. I never saw those techniques before. They’re… unusual, but I must say, very effective!”

Michael smiled. “I’m sure they’d be glad to teach you, Shag.”

“What do you call that maneuver where Dan put his finger over the Dragon’s head and Kyle rushed up and kicked it?”

“Oh! I think that was a ‘Field Goal,’ Michael said.

“How does that work?”

“Well, they’ve got these posts on each end of the field, and you’ve got these kickers who kick the balls. If the balls fly over the goal between the poles at the end of the field it’s good. That why Dan yelled, ‘AND… IT’S GOOD!’”

Shag’s eyes grew somewhat large. “Now I understand why that Dragon’s voice became higher. I never dreamed that was even possible."



-------------------------End of Chapter 15




posted on 10-Oct-2002 10:16:46 PM by Gerry Carr
Thanks, Snowdove! I can always depend on you to make my muse happy! Here's the next chapter. Hope you like it!
posted on 10-Oct-2002 10:18:30 PM by Gerry Carr
Antareans Shed Tears Too


“Children of the Universe ”

Chapter 16

XVI


To some cultures or individuals, it might have been tempting to simply abandon the rest of the children they had found on the Moon of Gadyslar. After all, they weren’t Antarean or Xarian. In fact, it was likely that neither Max nor Michael had ever even been to any of the planets these other children came from. Some of their planets were very far away, more than a year of travel in the new granilith.

Indeed, many of the other “children” weren’t even humanoid in appearance. Max had seen one that looked more like a little piglet standing on its hind legs. Another he had got a glimpse of looked like a bear cub more than a human. Another had been six feet tall and about as big around as a broomstick. Michael had surmised that it might be a Yargishi child.

Some of the “children” simply defied any description. Max and Michael had noticed one that was engulfed in vapors… its body could not be seen because of the vapors. In fact, as far as Max or Michael knew, maybe it didn’t even have a body… maybe it was just a mass of vapors.

One thing was certain… the decision to rescue these children would mean some very real difficulties for Max and for Shag. Who even knew if one could touch something that was simply a mass of vapors… would it be dangerous? Max and all Antareans had had enough trials and tribulations for a lifetime. But one other thing was equally certain… These were children, not necessarily humanoid, but children nevertheless… children of the universe… and they were in need of help.

“Let’s go rescue some more kids!” said Max.

Michael smiled, clearly indicating his total agreement.

“Let’s do it,” said Shag.

“You got a plan, Shag?” Max asked.

“Yeah… I don’t know if it’s a good one or not… but it’s a plan. I figure we take the hover train back through the portal to the holding cells, pretend to be Ghors again, and drive out with some more kids…”

“Hmmm…” Max thought about it. “It seems pretty simple… maybe too simple… but maybe that might just be why it’ll work. I’m willing to try it.”

Michael nodded then waved a hand over them turning them once again into Ghor look-alikes… and Ghor smell-alikes.

“I hope this is the last time I have to become a member of the Fraternal Order of Ghors,” Max said.

“Don’t you mean, ‘Infernal Order of Ghors?’” quipped Michael… “From what I’ve seen, there’s nothing fraternal about those s.o.b.’s. Hosk would sell his own mother if the price was right… Heck, he’d probably even sell her at a discount for age and wear!”

Shag snickered. “Naw… Hosk wouldn’t do that!”

“You don’t think so?”

“No! Hosk never discounts! He’d paint her up and pass her off as younger!”

Michael grinned and nodded. “You’re right! What was I thinking? He’d probably shave her bald and pass her off as some new exotic species! I mean… after all, who’d buy a Ghor? They’d make lousy pets, they stink, and even a pawgor won’t eat them!”

“Oh, God!” Max wrinkled up his nose when Michael mentioned Hosk shaving her bald. “I really didn’t need that image in my head! That’s worse than bald rats!”

Michael and Shag both laughed.

“I guess you’re right, though,” said Max. “Hosk doesn’t seem very interested in anything but the almighty monetary unit… and his own survival.”

“Portal!” Shag said… “Take us and this hover train back to the cells of the children.”

The portal appeared, and the hover train floated silently through it into the subterranean chambers, coming to a stop in front of the cells where they had seen some of the other children.

“Well, let’s work fast!” said Shag. “Michael, you want to open a couple of these doors?”

Michael pressed his hand to the first door and the lock snapped open. Then the door opened. Inside they found 47 children… and right away, a major problem.

“Holy! …What do we do now?” asked Michael.

The “children” in this cell had no legs and no arms. They actually looked like giant ferns… and they were “planted” in large “pots.” At first glance, Max wondered if they might perhaps actually be plants… but he knew that Hosk had not gone into the horticulture business. It was real work… and it would be honest. Besides, as Max looked at the “ferns,” it became clear to him, even in the semi-darkness of the cell, that they had eyes at the top of their bodies… or stalks… or whatever it was that they had. They also had mouths, several of them each… though the mouths were quite small. Max, Michael, and Shag realized that the “fern children” were, in fact, talking to them. It sounded like a soft, haunting melody or the wind blowing over the top of an open soft drink bottle.

“You want to translate, Shag?” asked Max.

“I’m afraid in all my 12,000 years of existence, this is the first time I’ve ever come across this race,” Shag said regretfully. “I don’t even have a clue where they come from.”

“Well,” Max said… “Let’s start putting pots in the cars.”

Max thought a moment… “On second thought… Shag, can the portal take them back straight from where they are?”

“Yeah… I’m sure it can,” Shag said.

“Portal!” Shag called out. The portal appeared. “Take these… What are they, Max?”

Max shrugged… “Fern children?”

“Take these ‘fern children’ to the grand reception room of the building where we took the Antarean children earlier.”

The portal moved forward through the cell, expanding as it went. Then it disappeared, and all the fern children were gone.

“Wow!” Max said… “That was amazing… the fern children, I mean… I wonder what else we’re going to find down here.”

Shag smiled… “If Hosk has even a small percentage of the ‘unusual’ beings of the universe here, we’re in for some real trials!”

Michael put his hand against the door of the next cell, and the lock popped open. He opened the door and went in. A moment later he came back out and looked at Max and Shag.

“Well?” Max queried.

Michael reached in and took something by the hand leading it out into the open. Behind it came several more.

“You up for Ewoks?” Michael grinned.

Max’s mouth fell open. He smiled and shook his head. “I see the resemblance, I guess… but these little fellows are so much cuter.” Max picked one up as it held out its arms to him. It was dark burnt sienna, except for its face hair, which was golden. Its legs were slightly longer than a bear cubs… or an “Ewoks” for that matter. Its eyes were large and mournful. Somehow, it reminded Max more of a cross between an Earth child and a bear cub than either an “Ewok” or a bear cub. Max surmised that this child was the equivalent of a three or four year old Earth child. Max wiped tears from his eyes with the back of his hand as the little ball of fur wrapped its arms around his neck and laid its head on his shoulder then stuck one thumb into its mouth.

“Can you imagine being this little guy’s mother and losing this?” Max asked, his voice breaking. Michael and Shag didn’t answer. Both wiped tears from their own eyes.

There were 12 of the little fur balls in the cell. Michael led them out and picked each one up and put it into the first hover car of the train.

“What are they, Shag? Do you know?” asked Max.

Shag nodded. “They’re Yerriks. They’re from the planet Yerrik, in sector T14. It’s about as far on the other side of Earth’s sun as Antar is from Earth on this side. These little fellows are just babies. A grown Yerrik is about the same height as you or me, maybe a bit taller, and definitely a bit stouter… and a lot harrier! What’s an Ewok?”

Max grinned… “Something from Earth movies. They’re not real. But these little fellows are… and they’re much cuter!”

Michael popped the lock on the third cell door and opened it. At first, he saw only eyes looking back at him… many sets of large eyes. As Michael’s own eyes became more accustomed to the darkness in the cell, he realized that… that was pretty much what they were… eyes! The creatures in this cell did not appear to have any bodies or legs at all. They floated in the air, moving around in the cell somehow at will. They did have arms. The arms were about twelve inches long and wing-like but were not being used to fly. The arms were attached to what could only be described as floating eyeballs.

As Michael led them out into the light, he noticed that they did indeed have heads… even a mouth and a nose of sorts, and a body, but they were all but invisible in the dark and only barely visible in the light. The eyes were about the size of pre-1960’s Earth silver dollars, before the dollars were reduced in size to the size of quarters. Michael counted 18 of the creatures in all.

“Shag? What are they?”

Shag thought a moment… “I’ve never seen these… but I’ve heard of them. They’re Droufas. Their planet is Droufenclar. It’s in sector… G somewhere… I don’t recall exactly where.”

“Are these children?” Max asked.

“Oh yes! From what I’ve heard about Droufas, I’d say these are children. Adult Droufas become totally invisible except for the eyes, which are the size of your hand I’ve heard.”

“Okay…” said Max. Shag helped Michael put them into the second hover car. They realized that the “eyeballs” did have bodies… and feet to stand on when they weren’t floating, but the bodies were almost invisible, and they had no legs. The feet were on the bottom of the body.

“You know what?” Michael said… “These ‘Droufas’ would probably look a lot like owls if you could see their bodies… although they don’t seem to fly… they just float or stand on their feet.”

In the next cell, Michael found 15 of the little creatures Max had thought resembled piglets. Now, as he looked at them closer, he realized that they were more humanoid than he had first thought. Their short legs, pinkish skin, and snout-like nostrils had made him think of piglets from a distance; but they did not have tails, and their hands and feet were quite human-like, not like hooves. They had dark hair on top of their heads, and they were capable of clear speech, though neither Michael nor Max understood their language.

Michael and Max each picked up one of the little creatures. In some way, they reminded them of the Yerriks… without hair. One thing they did have in common, though… they were all children… and like all children, they just wanted to be picked up… and loved. The little creatures smiled happily as they laid their chins on Max and Michael’s shoulders and put their arms around them. Max and Michael put them into the third hover car of the train.

“What are they, Shag?”

“They’re called Growahnits,” Shag said, “…from the planet Growahn. I’ve been there. As they grow, they become more and more humanoid in appearance. The adults look like humans with sunburns.”

In the next cell, Michael found five six or seven-foot tall creatures that were thin as a broomstick. As he looked closer at them, he was sure of what they were; they were Yargishi children. Michael led them out to the hover train.

“You know…” Michael said, “It wouldn’t surprise me if Hosk didn’t stop on some of these planets to drop off “pets” of a species unknown to them and just happen to leave with ten or fifteen of the children from the planet to sell to some other culture.”

Max nodded. “It would be poetic justice if it weren’t these children who have to suffer for what someone on their planet did, maybe not even knowing… I mean… Narwha didn’t even know that the Antareans he bought were intelligent higher life forms.”

“I think he kind of knew,” said Shag. “He said it himself, he wanted to believe what Hosk said about them. But if he hadn’t bought them, no telling what might have bought them. And for his little mistake, his planet lost at least five children that we know of… and he probably doesn’t even know that.”

Michael nodded then opened the last cell. Almost as quickly as he walked in he was back out.

“What?” Max asked looking at Michael, who stood with eyes wide.

“You were just talking about poetic justice? Look what’s in here!”

Max and Shag looked inside the cell. There were 22 Dragon children. They were small… but there was no mistaking them for anything but Dragons.

“What do you think we should do, Max?”

Max exhaled slowly and shook his head. “What can we do? Put ‘em in the train… in their own separate car.”

Michael started to go in… “Uh, Max? Shag? You guys going to help?”

“We wanted to see how you handled it, Michael! You’re so good at it!” Max said.

“Get in here, you two! I’m not doing this alone!”

Max and Shag walked into the cell with Michael and the Dragon children. The “children” were only three feet tall, but they were, in all appearances, perfect miniature Dragons. Michael took the “hand” of one Dragon “child” to lead it out, and the child took it as a sign that it was going to be picked up. Michael was totally unprepared for what happened next. Before he knew what had happened, the Dragon child was in his arms with its arms around him. Michael was flustered and caught by surprise. Finally, he did what seemed to come natural. He put his arms around the Dragon child and carried it out to the train. Max and Shag carried two more to the train as the others followed. These “children” were very, very young. In Earth terms, they were two or three year olds. What surprised all three of their rescuers was that these “children,” at this age, showed none of the viciousness of their culture. They just wanted to be held.

Max and Michael jumped into the train, Shag climbed into the lead car, and the train was on its way back up the corridor. Half way up the corridor, Shag called for the portal. The portal appeared. At the same moment, multiple explosives packed in the walls around the corridor exploded, reducing the corridor to rubble and bringing the walls and roof down on top of them. When the dust cleared, nothing could be seen but fifteen feet of rock and rubble piled on the floor where the corridor -and the hover train filled with the children- had just been.



-------------------------End of Chapter 16





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 12-Oct-2002 4:45:03 AM ]
posted on 10-Oct-2002 10:22:48 PM by Gerry Carr
*bounce*
posted on 11-Oct-2002 11:23:12 PM by Gerry Carr
Thanks KEmperor! Appreciate the fb!*happy*
posted on 11-Oct-2002 11:24:18 PM by Gerry Carr
Antareans Shed Tears Too


“I Hate To Spoil The Party, But…”

Chapter 17

XVII


Shag was half way up the corridor, piloting the hover train.

“PORTAL!”

The portal appeared. Suddenly, there was an explosion… then immediately another, this time much bigger. The roof and walls of the corridor began to collapse.

“HOLD ON!” Shag yelled.

The first car of the hover train, carrying Shag and the 12 furry Yerrik children, entered the portal. Just behind Shag, small to medium sized rocks pelted the top of the second car, carrying the 18 Droufa children, which the friends had called, “eyeballs.” The second car managed to float through the portal largely unscathed, if slightly battered. By the time the third car reached the portal, the hover cars were literally bouncing over boulders that had already fallen as others fell around them. The third and fourth cars, carrying 15 Growahnit children and 6 Yargishi children, were battered severely. Already, they were covered with boulders, able to move just enough to reach the portal before being crushed.

A huge boulder hit the fifth car carrying Max and Michael, riding with the 22 Dragon children, knocking it to the ground. The link popped, as the first four cars continued through the portal. The fifth car was stopped, trapped underneath a boulder larger than itself, its link to the other cars broken. It would not be going through the portal.

The Dragon children, like any children, were frightened. Tears rolled down their faces. Max and Michael both noticed this and were strangely moved by it. It seemed oddly incongruous… tears and Dragons… but there it was. Max picked up a couple of the children and patted them on the back, and Michael picked up a couple of others that climbed into his lap. As he picked those up, others took their places in his lap.

“It’s alright…” Michael soothed. “It’s alright…”

But he knew that it wasn’t. He didn’t know what else to say to the children. Both Max and Michael had seen enough miracles in their lives to know that hope is never gone as long as there is life… but things did seem desperate. Above them, they could hear more and more boulders tumbling to the ground. The huge boulder sitting directly on top of them was the only thing keeping them from being crushed by the others, which bounced off the large one over them and came to rest all around the car until the car and everyone in it were buried under 15 feet of boulders and debris. Then everything was quiet.

Max looked behind them. The three empty cars behind the fifth car were crushed flat beneath the boulders. That was all he could really see.

“Well, Michael?” Max said, “We could use power blasts to try to blast the boulders out of the way, but how do we get out of here then? This car’s going nowhere.”

Michael nodded. “I say we sit tight for a while, Max. I think Shag will be trying to find us and rescue us. Best we let him find us here where it seems to be safe for the moment.”

Max nodded, “Sounds like a plan to me.”

Suddenly, a portal opened inside the car. It was small. They would have to crawl through, but that was not a problem. Max pushed several Dragon children through the portal and into Shag’s waiting hands on the other side. Shag passed them off, as he got them, to other assistants. Michael then encouraged his protégés through the portal, and Shag picked them up and passed them to the assistants. Finally, Max and Michael appeared through the portal.

“Nice of you to come back for us, Shag,” Michael said grinning.

“I thought you might appreciate it, Michael.”

----------

In Hosk’s new office, hidden away deep within the caverns under the Moon of Gadyslar, several Ghor thugs, which Hosk called “guards,” were just returning from a mission… with very good news.

“It’s done! You won’t have to worry about that meddlesome Xarian King again! He’s buried under several jorns of boulders and rubble that even he couldn’t get out of!”

“You’re sure? That guy has more lives than a Dragon!”

“We’re sure! We set forty nargs of explosives in the walls of the corridor and exploded it ourselves at the moment he was going by.”

Hosk smiled slightly. “So the corridor will have to be repaired… Was there any other collateral damage?”

“Uh… just the loss of a hover train that Shaqor was driving… and…”

Hosk winced. Hover trains aren’t cheap, idiot! What else?”

“And… just a few slaves.”

Hosk stood up, and his eyes widened… “Slaves? How many of my slaves?”

The “guards” looked at each other, each hoping the other would speak first. Finally, Hosk pointed at one… “You! How many slaves?”

“A… all of them… from that cell block…”

“ALL OF THEM! EVERY SLAVE FROM BLOCK E! HOW?”

“Shaqor was transporting them in the hover train that was crushed by the collapsing corridor.”

Hosk turned several shades of bluish red and purple, and at first, it seemed that he might kill both of the guards outright.

“Do you idiots know how much those slaves were worth to me?”

Hosk sat back down, and for a moment he was quiet…

“Still… to get rid of Shaqor… it might be worth it. If I withhold your pay for the next two farrels, the slaves will be paid for… perhaps.”

“But… Hosk! Two farrels?”

“Aw, what the crayt-Farg does it matter,” said the second “guard” disgustedly. “Hosk hasn’t paid us in 42 orbits of Gadyslar anyway. I don’t see that this makes much difference.”

The first guard mumbled.

“Now get out of here!” Hosk said pointedly.

The guards left, mumbling curses under their breaths.

Hosk sat down again and leaned back in his chair, as a smile came over his hairy yet reptilian lips. Then he reached under his desk and brought out a bottle of Corvian brandy, much better than the scum water that the Ghors made and called “Hargoch,” the Ghors’ premium wine. Hosk popped the top off the Corvian brandy and took a swig then leaned back further as he relaxed and let the taste of the brandy excite his taste buds.

Without realizing it, Hosk had leaned his chair back almost into a reclining position. Now, as he looked up, he saw something standing behind him, towering over his head.

“I hate to spoil the party, Hosk,” said the previously silent intruder, “but you forgot to invite me.”

Hosk choked on his brandy, dropping the expensive bottle onto the ground and overturning his chair in an effort to get up.

“YOU! YOU CAN’T BE…! HOW?”

“Oh, come on, Hosk! You and I go way back! You didn’t think a few little rocks falling on my head were going to hurt me, did you?”

“But… But…”

Hosk never had been able to understand how it was that Shaqor could find him anywhere, any time, and just pop in out of thin air. He had often wondered if there wasn’t something, well… non-corporeal, something mystical or supernatural about Shaqor. Despite all his experience with creatures and beings of the universe, Hosk had never heard of the spheres, and Shaqor’s popping in on him wherever he was like this had given Hosk several Ghor ulcers. Now Hosk could already feel the expensive Corvian brandy he had expected to relax him eating into his guts, burning at the walls, churning in his three stomachs.

“Sorry to disappoint you, Hosk,” Shag said… “But I’m still here. And as long as I’m here, I would really like to get those records of your transactions over the last… oh, forty farrels or so.”

Hosk reached his toe under the desk, feeling for the panic button on the floor. He pressed it… Nothing happened. He pressed it again… Nothing.

“If that’s your alarm button you’re dancing on under there, Hosk, I don’t think it will do you any good. I just saw two guards come out of your office, and on their way out, they removed something from the alarm panel outside your door. Whatsamatter, Hosk? You forget to pay ‘em again?”

Hosk was fluctuating colors like a neon sign in Vegas. He had trouble speaking.

“Don’t bother, Hosk,” Shag said, “I’ll help myself to the records. I already know where they are.”

This was true. Before coming here, Shag had asked the Sphere of Searches where the records were, and he had used the Sphere of Visions to show him the records in Hosk’s office. Now he had only to walk over to the wall and strike it in three places, as he had seen Hosk do, and the door to the secret area behind the wall popped open. Shag reached in and took several large folders of records from a drawer…

“Zan… I could use your help,” Shag said.

Immediately, King Zan of Antar -Max- appeared in the room and took the records from Shag. Then without a word, Zan disappeared again as he had come.

“That’s it, Hosk,” Shag said, picking up the bottle on the floor. “Corvian brandy? A bit expensive for your tastes, isn’t it? I thought you liked that stuff that you Ghors make that tastes the same the second time you drink it as it did the first time!”

Hosk would have scowled, but it was all he could do at the moment to stand there and pretend that his legs weren’t shaking in front of what he was now pretty sure must be something more than a mere mortal. This was the confirmation of all Hosk’s nightmares… the realization of his greatest fears. He was now fairly sure that Shaqor was non-mortal.



-------------------------End of Chapter 17





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 12-Oct-2002 9:21:46 PM ]
posted on 15-Oct-2002 9:05:44 PM by Gerry Carr
Thanks so much, Snowdove! For the bump, too! A fic flies off the first page here before I can even get back to look at it! Anyway, here's a short new chapter. Maybe I can write another tonight. This one seemed to just want to end where it did. Enjoy!
posted on 15-Oct-2002 9:06:53 PM by Gerry Carr
Antareans Shed Tears Too


“Glad Tidings”

Chapter 18

XVIII


On Antar, word that 121 more Antarean children and numerous non-Antarean children had been found alive and rescued spread like a wildfire. VideoStream News ran non-stop, and Antarean newspapers put out special editions with headlines that screamed:



CHILDREN RESCUED!


121 MORE ANTAREAN CHILDREN RESCUED - SCORES OF NON-ANTAREAN CHILDREN RESCUED! BY KING ZAN AND KING SHAQOR OF XARIUS ON THE GHOR MOON OF GADYSLAR!

121 more Antarean children and at least as many non-Antarean children have been found and rescued from the Ghors who kept them sequestered in subterranean caverns on the Moon of Gadyslar!
Planets with children who have been rescued now include Antar, Karis, Vindule, Gredore, Jyris, Nordos, Corshic, Dinuvia, Kirish, Finisi, Yargish, Yerrik, Droufenclar, Growahn, and Drago. Additionally, there are 47 children whose planet is as yet unknown!

Sources close to the rescue efforts report, "This is just the beginning. We are more hopeful than ever before… Antar may once again know the sound of our children’s laughter and the joy of families reunited… Antar may live again!"

It was impossible for the newspapers to put out enough papers. As soon as a hovervan would make a delivery, the papers would be grabbed up, and the van would be sent back for more. There was jubilation in every nook and cranny of the planet. Antareans were already calling for a national holiday to be declared to commemorate the rescue of these first groups of children.

There were also more ominous rumblings. The number of Antareans who wanted the universe to be free of all Ghors was not only growing but becoming more and more vocal.

----------

Meanwhile, on Xarius, a new arrival had just stepped through the portal, courtesy of Liz, who had personally gone to find him and bring him here. As Jim Valenti stepped into the royal castle on Xarius, he was greeted by Max, Michael, Maria, Shag, and Maya. Without further delay, Max motioned toward the door off to his right. Jim turned and looked… the recognition was immediate. Jim’s mouth fell open, and he rushed to his son, Danyy, and hugged him tightly, unexpected tears of pure joy rolling down his cheeks.

Danyy, who had already got his memory back, put both arms around his father and smiled from ear to ear.

Jim sniffed and rubbed the back of his hand across one eye, wiping away a tear…

“This is so wonderful! Danyy! Oh, God, Danyy! This is so wonderful!”

Jim struggled to keep from crying, wiping the silent tears away…

“Only one thing would have made this perfect…” Jim said, slowly losing his battle to maintain his composure, as his eyes turned red and his voice broke.

Jim looked at Max… “Has anyone told Danyy… you know… about his mama…”

Max smiled. “No, but he may have something to tell you, Jim.”

Danyy took Jim’s hand and placed another hand in it, and Jim spun around. He would have known the feel of Kathleen’s hand even if both his eyes had been put out. There were no words he could think of at this moment; Jim lost his battle, as he took Kathleen into his arms and held her against his heart. Danyy smiled, and Jim and Kathleen wrapped Danyy in their arms together with them and cried.

“I think I’ll go out on the veranda for a while,” Max said, sniffing. “I could use some fresh air.” Michael nodded and excused himself, too. Liz and Maria followed them out onto the veranda. Shag and Maya excused themselves, too, leaving Jim, Kathleen, and Danyy to the privacy of this very special reunion.

----------

In the Grelligo region of Antar, another tearful reunion was taking place at this moment. The house of GrelJorlis was celebrating the return of their son, BrenJonyyt, the first Antarean child to be returned to Antar. The celebration was going in full force, and the number who came to see the returned boy was in the hundreds if not thousands. On top of that, every news reporting agency on Antar was there to report on the reunion, though for the most part, they kept somewhat discreetly out of the way and allowed the family to enjoy their reunion.

There was singing and dancing and joy to go around. At the home of GrelJorlis, no money was spared. They served up enough jubish and japo-mevanish for every neighbor… and on this day, everyone was a “neighbor,” even the reporters.


--------------------------End of Chapter 18





[ edited 3 time(s), last at 19-Oct-2002 5:29:32 AM ]
posted on 16-Oct-2002 8:22:47 PM by Gerry Carr
Thanks, Snowdove, and ASA, too! Glad to see you here, too! Here's some more mystery! Enjoy!

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 16-Oct-2002 8:26:34 PM ]
posted on 16-Oct-2002 8:23:53 PM by Gerry Carr
Antareans Shed Tears Too


“Taking Care of Business”

Chapter 19

XIX


After reuniting Jim Valenti and his family, Max, Michael, and Shag left the royal palace on Xarius and returned through the portal to the bridge of the “Xarius Voyager,” Shag’s ship, in order to finish business involving the Moon of Gadyslar. Though the Moon still floated inside the mammoth bay of Shag’s ship, Hosk as yet did not know this. The fact is, Hosk was lying low these days and staying out of sight. There were quite a few bounty hunters around Ghorbidfael these days looking for Hosk, and Hosk preferred the relative safety of his lair deep inside the subterranean chambers of Gadyslar. Except for Shag, who it seemed always knew exactly where he was, no being, bounty hunter or otherwise, had been able to find Hosk since it had gotten out that he had been selling as slaves… or worse… the children of the planets with which he had dealt.

Max and Michael sat down with Shag and his Captain in the Captain’s quarters of the “Xarius Voyager” and laid Hosk’s books out on a table.

“Well… where do we start?” Michael asked.

Max looked at the books. The writing was Ghorish, which neither Max nor Michael could read. Shag was able to read it, though not with total fluency. Max opened the first book, the one on top.

“What is this one, Shag?”

Shag looked the book over carefully; then he glanced at the others…

“They appear to be in order starting with the most recent transactions on top and the oldest at the bottom. The book you have contains the most recent transactions.”

Shag looked carefully at the Ghorish writing. “The last transaction he made was five days ago. He sold two slaves, Herlians, to a Captain from Velcos in sector F10. Here’s what he was paid for them… 17,000 Daras each.”

“How much is that?” Michael asked.

Shag shrugged. “The Dara is Velcos currency. Its base is platinum and gold, so it would be valuable to Ghors and most other civilizations. I think the Dara is equal to about three Antarean Coruns.”

Michael looked at Max. “That would make it about six Earth dollars per Dara. That’s… about 102,000 dollars… or 51,000 coruns per slave.”

Max nodded. “What about these ‘Herlians?’ Is there any information on them?”

Shag ran his finger over the page. “A boy and a girl, ages… 10 and 12… that’s Herlian years. They age about like Antareans, so they would be pre-adolescents. Hosk has notes here on their diets and so forth, what kind of foods they eat, you know. It says he got possession of the two during a trip to Herlos eight months ago to deliver two slaves to a wealthy Herlian woman.”

“Slaves from where?” asked Michael.

Shag ran his finger down the page.

“Antar!”

Max and Michael were both out of their seats and staring at the book instantly. They couldn’t read a word of what was written there, but something made them want to see it for themselves.

“What… who… Does it say anything about them… who they were?” Max asked.

Shag nodded. A boy age 19 and a girl age 17. Their names are Zorel and Ceelya.

At the mention of his son’s name, Michael went pale. Max put his hand on top of Michael’s.

“We’ll get them back, Michael. Count on it!

Shag?”

“Yeah?”

“Can you use that sphere… the visions one… to let us see Zorel? Then Alex’s little girl, Ceelya?”

Shag laid the book down carefully. “Sphere of Visions.”

“Ask.”

“Let us see Zorel, the son of Michael Guerin, on Herlos.”

In the mist, Michael, Max, and Shag saw a boy about 19 years of age working on a boat or raft of some kind in what appeared to be a river. The river was wild and full of boulders and tree trunks. It became clear that the goal of the boat’s crew was to clear the river for navigation or some other purpose. They watched as Zorel and several other young men wrestled with boulders and tree trunks, pulling them from the water where they could. And they watched as Zorel showed clearly why he had been worth so much money to the wealthy Herlian. Encountering a large boulder blocking the boat’s path, the four young men, all muscled from years of work, tried unsuccessfully to move it. As the other three stood back, Zorel raised his hand, and a green wave of energy blasted the boulder.

Zorel grinned and shrugged… “More pebbles for the river bottom.”

“Sphere of Visions!” Shag called again.

“Ask.”

“Show us the girl Ceelya, daughter of Alex and Isabel Whitman, on Herlos.”

In the mist appeared a girl about 17 years old. With her was a Herlian woman. The two stood on a sort of veranda or porch on the front of what might have been a lodge, or perhaps a cabin, on the riverbank… probably the base of operations for the work being done to clear the river.

“What do you think?” asked Max. “Developers?”

Michael shrugged. “Could be. I wonder what they wanted with Ceelya?”

As they watched, the Herlian woman motioned suddenly to Ceelya and pointed toward the woods. Half way between the woods and the cabin, a pack of animals that somewhat resembled hyenas was quietly approaching -stalking the two women on the porch. Ceelya whirled as the pack launched its attack, and bolts of energy flew from the tips of the fingers on both her hands. The hyena-like beasts, whatever they were, yelped and rushed back into the woods with their stubby tails flattened against their backsides.

“Oh,” said Michael. “I see!”

“Shag?” Max asked puzzled, “Why wouldn’t they use a gun to chase the predators away or heavy machinery to clear the river if that’s what they want to do? I mean… this operation seems primitive… I don’t see any machinery at all… even their boat is wood or something and… I don’t know, but it just isn’t logical.”

Shag rubbed his chin. “Yeah… well, I’ve been to Herlos a couple of times. It’s… well, an interesting planet. They have no machines. Using any kind of metal or ore is taboo to them. Everything is done by manual labor on Herlos. It’s part of their religion, but it’s more than that, too. Herlians are… I don’t know how to explain it… but they’re ‘allergic’ to metal ores of all kinds.”

“Allergic?” Michael queried.

“Yeah. If a Herlian comes into extended contact with any kind of metal ore, it has the same effect on them that, say, jalnda might have on an Antarean or uranium on an Earthling… radiation poisoning.”

“Oh!” both Max and Michael said together.

“Their spaceport is far away from any of their civilizations. It’s treated as a toxic site, and Herlians don’t go there. All ships landing there must have special clearance and a certified purpose for their visit, and they must leave in less than one tenth part of a day.”

“Wow…” Max said. “How is it, then, that this Herlian woman is so wealthy if they are so backward?”

“I didn’t say they were backward,” Shag corrected. “I said they use no machinery or metals. The fact is, though, Herlos is the universe’s biggest producer of point 1 - 0 bluefire diamonds.”

“Herlian diamonds!” Max said. “Of course! That’s where I’ve heard of them! They’re not allergic to diamonds?”

“I guess not,” Shag said.

“Well… I’m afraid she’s going to have to find another way to protect herself and get the river cleared,” Max said. “Zorel and Ceelya are coming home!”

Max looked at Michael, and Michael’s eyes lit up.

“Shag?”

Shag nodded. “Portal! Take us to the veranda with Ceelya and the Herlian woman.” Max, Michael, and Shag stepped through the portal. Both the Herlian woman and Ceelya, surprised by the unexpected intruders, spun around. Ceelya’s hands went up automatically, and green bolts immediately surged in Max and Michael’s direction. However, the bolts did not make contact. Max, Michael, and Shag held their palms up, and the small bolts of energy sent out by Ceelya were stopped in their path halfway to their intended objective.

“Who… who are you?” Ceelya asked, alarmed. The Herlian woman repeated the question.

Michael looked at Ceelya… “Ceelya… don’t I look familiar to you?”

Ceelya shook her head.

“Your father is Alex… Alex Whitman. Your mother is Isabel.”

Ceelya seemed to have something like a stab of pain in her temples for a moment.

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “I don’t have a father or a mother. I was made by the Ghors, the creators of all things.”

“Did the Ghors make her?” Michael said, indicating the Herlian woman.

Ceelya seemed unwilling to say it, believing it might be insulting to the woman, but clearly she believed that she had indeed been created by the Ghors, too.

“Was I created by the Ghors?” asked Michael.

“All beings and all things were created by the Ghors. That is what Hosk taught us,” said Ceelya. “It is so. I came out of their machine. Then Hosk gave me my name and a place to live here.”

“Hosk is a damned, perverted, sacrilegious lizard that’s going to burn in whatever Hell Ghors go to!” Michael said, agitated.

Max put his hand on Michael’s shoulder. “Michael… be careful… not around Ceelya.”

“I can’t help it, Max! I’m sorry… I… I shouldn’t… I’m sorry, Ceelya.”

“You don’t need to apologize to me,” said Ceelya. “You’ve done me no harm. You need to apologize to the Ghors… and the Supreme Ghor, Hosk, the creator.”

Michael turned red and pursed his lips tightly, biting his tongue. But it was hopeless.

“I’ll kick his supreme ass all the way to Kansas is what I’m gonna do!” Michael exclaimed. “When I get my hands on that lizard, he’s gonna wish he’d kept his stinky flesh on Ghorbidfael and never heard of Michael Guerin!”

Ceelya’s eyes opened wide. “Don’t say that! He’ll hear you!”

“Oh, I hope so!” Michael said. “I sure hope so!”

Turning to the Herlian woman, Michael said, “What do you have to say? Do you believe you were created by Hosk?”

The Herlian woman was silent.

“She doesn’t speak Antarean,” Max said.

“Yes, I do…” the Herlian woman said after a moment. “I do understand your language. And no, Hosk did not create me… or anything else.”

Ceelya looked at the Herlian woman as if she had just spoken a great heresy.

“Child…” the Herlian woman said, “That is a lie that the Ghors taught you. The Ghors took you from Antar… I don’t know how, but they did. That’s where you came from. They sold you to me.”

Ceelya looked at Michael then at Max and the pain seemed to stab at her memory again.

“NO!” Ceelya said, shaking her head. “NO! I don’t want to hear such things! I… I…”

Ceelya looked at Max and Michael again and tears began to well up into her eyes.

“You’re… you’re Uncle Zan… and Uncle Michael…” she half asked, half stated with certainty. Then she started to cry. “I want Mama… and Daddy! Are they here?”

Michael hugged Ceelya and rubbed his hand over her back soothingly.

“It’s okay, Ceelya. You’ll be with them soon! I promise you will!”

Turning to the Herlian woman, Michael said simply, “Why? Why would you buy slaves?”

The woman looked at Michael without flinching or dropping her gaze.

“That is our way,” she said. “We must use manual labor… a lot of it. And besides, if we didn’t buy the slaves, somebody else would, and they might treat them worse.”

“Or better,” Michael added.

“I don’t mistreat my slaves,” the Herlian woman said. “I treat them well. They are important to me. They are like my own children in a way. I… I used to have children, you know…”

Michael seemed to soften somewhat, as the Herlian woman’s eyes began to tear.

“What do you mean, ‘used to?’” Michael asked.

“I mean ‘used to.’ I don’t any more. A few months before I bought these two, my children both died. We never knew why. They just became sick and died.” The woman’s voice was breaking up as she tried to tell Michael about her children. “I had a girl, Ishtee, who was twelve years old and a boy, Drobos, who was ten. After they died, Hosk came to me and offered to sell me these two. I needed the workers, but I also… well, it’s not important now.”

Michael looked at Max and Shag. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

Both of them nodded. “I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“Shag,” Max asked, “Do you remember the names of those Herlian children that Hosk sold to the Velcos Captain?”

“Wait a minute,” Shag said. “Portal!” Shag stepped through the portal. In a moment, he was back with the book… “It’s Ishtee and Drobos.”



--------------------------End of Chapter 19




posted on 17-Oct-2002 11:04:18 PM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“An Affair With the River”

Chapter 20

XX


Returning through the portal with Hosk’s book of transactions, Shag showed Max and Michael the entry. The names were written in Ghorish, so the writing meant little to Max and Michael, but Shag’s word was all they needed… “It’s Ishtee and Drobos.”

“What?” The Herlian woman asked, hearing her children’s names.

Shag held up his hand to Max and Michael… “Wait…” Then to the Herlian woman he said, “I’m sure that you know that we are here to take back Ceelya and Zorel, who is working on the river now.”

The Herlian woman nodded. “I am a realistic and practical woman… When the sun goes down in the evening, though it costs me money and lost time, I must stop all the work, but I do not run after the sun and try to raise it back up… You may have your children. I cannot keep you from taking them. I paid a large sum for them… but… they are yours.”

Shag called to the portal, “Take us to Zorel in the river.”

Max, Michael, and Shag stepped through the portal… and directly into the river.

“Whoa! You could have told me I needed a bath, Shag!” Michael said sputtering as his head resurfaced.

“Must have been some of that Ghor smell still left on us, Michael,” Max said laughing, as he treaded water. “Michael could have added a little flower scent to us, Shag… we didn’t need a whole bath!”

Shag sputtered as he treaded water on the swift current. “Sorry, guys! Sometimes you have to be very specific with the sphere. Actually, it took us right where we said.”

Max and Michael looked over to their right, where Shag was pointing. Zorel and a couple of other boys were wading in the river about ten yards away. They had stopped to gaze at the new arrivals, who had seemed to just pop up out of the water. Zorel waded closer to the three men and held out his hand to them. Michael reached out to him, and Zorel pulled Michael up onto the sandbar with him. Max and Shag climbed out alongside them.

Michael looked at Zorel; and although he knew that Zorel would not know him, Michael reacted with his gut, throwing his arms around Zorel and hugging him. What surprised Michael -and the others- was that, instead of offering the expected resistance, Zorel put his arms around Michael, too.

“I knew you’d find us some day,” Zorel said in Michael’s ear.

“You know me? You actually know who I am?” Michael asked in shock.

“I’ve always known,” Zorel said. “When the others came through that transporter or whatever it was, they forgot everything… but I always remembered… and I always knew that you’d find us someday… somehow!”

Michael hugged his son tighter. “I’m sorry, Zorel! I’m sorry it took so long! We didn’t know that you were alive for years. The Ghor transporter made it look like you had all died.”

“I know,” Zorel said. “I saw some of the others ‘die’ before me, so I knew what happened.” He smiled and looked at Michael… “But I know my Dad! I knew that someday you’d find out the truth, and then nothing would keep you from finding us!”

Michael grinned, as he wiped the river water, and perhaps a tear, from his eyes… “Come on, son! Let’s go back and get Ceelya Whitman then go home!”

“Dad?”

“Yeah?”

“What about Kryys and Jayyd… Have you found them?”

“Jayyd’s home again,” said Michael. “Well find Kryys, too!”

Zorel smiled. “I know we will, Dad.”

Stepping through the portal onto the veranda again, Max, Michael, Shag, and Zorel found Ceelya with the Herlian woman where they had left them. Michael held out his hand to Ceelya, and the Herlian woman handed Ceelya a small bag.

“Here, child. Here are some things that are yours… and some things that I want you to have.”

She handed Zorel a small bag, too, and gave each one a kiss on the cheek then turned and went quickly back into the cabin, leaving them alone with Max, Michael, and Shag.

“Portal,” said Shag, “Take us to the palace on Xarius.”

The five stepped together through the portal and into the palace of Shaqor and MayaSabriena on Xarius.

“Shag…” Max said, as they walked into the room. “Don’t you think we should see if we can get Ishtee and Drobos back to their mother?”

Shag nodded. “Yeah! I do! But let’s see if we can find them first, and…”

“And what?”

“And… if they’re alive.”

Max and Michael felt a cold foreboding chill go up their spines. “You think they might not be alive, don’t you?”

Shag nodded sadly. “Herlians are allergic to metals of all kinds. Hosk locked Ishtee and Drobos in a cell behind metal doors, he transported them onboard a Ghor spacecraft made of metal, and who knows what else they’ve been exposed to. I would be surprised if they’re still alive. The radiation poisoning would almost certainly have killed them by now.”

“But we have to find out,” said Max.

“Yes,” Shag agreed, “We have to find out.”

“Sphere of Visions!” Shag called.

“Ask.”

Shag hesitated. He didn’t want to hear what he felt certain he would hear. But what had to be done had to be done. “Show us Ishtee and Drobos, the Herlian children who are on Velcos.”

There was a pause then the mist appeared in the room. In the mist, they saw two children, a boy and a girl, asleep -or perhaps dead- lying on separate beds in a large, stark-looking room.

“Portal!” Shag called, “Take us to Ishtee and Drobos!”

Max, Michael, and Shag stepped through the portal. Zorel stepped through behind them. Max walked quickly over to Ishtee and looked at her face. It was ashen. He touched the side of her neck. There was no pulse.

“Here…” said Shag, moving Max’s two fingers from the side of Ishtee’s neck to the front. “Herlians… they’re a little different.”

Max felt with two fingers against the carotid artery. There was a pulse… a very faint and irregular pulse. Max felt the artery in Drobos’ neck. At first, he felt nothing. Then there was a slow beat.

“They’re lying on metal gurneys!” Michael said. This is some kind of hospital… or maybe a death ward. We’ve got to get them out of here… NOW!”

“Portal!” Shag called. Max picked up Drobos, and Zorel picked up Ishtee, then the four of them stepped forward carrying the two children. “Take us to their mother on Herlos,” said Shag.

Max, Michael, Shag, and Zorel stepped through the portal and into the living room of the cabin. The Herlian woman ran to her children… “What’s wrong with them? Are they alive?”

“Barely,” Max said. Max laid Drobos down on a sofa and placed his hands over the boy. A green glow emanated from both his hands for about sixty seconds. Without saying a word, Max quickly moved to Ishtee and repeated the process. Then he fell back exhausted. Michael held him up until he had regained some of his strength.

“What did you do?” asked the Herlian woman.

“I removed the poisoning and repaired the damage to the children’s bodies and organs,” Max answered plainly. “They should… they should be okay now… I think.”

Ishtee began to stir, then Drobos. Moments later, Ishtee opened her eyes and looked around…

“Jahbyee?” “Jahbyee?” she called in Herlian… “Mama? Mama?”

Her mother scooped her up in her arms and rocked her, as tears began to roll down her face… tears that she had not allowed herself to cry until now… now that she knew that her children were going to live.

“How can you bring children back from the dead?” the Herlian woman asked Max. “What are you?”

“Me? I’m just, uh… what's your name?”

“Jyita,” said the Herlian woman.

“Jyita… Your children were not dead. Hosk used a transporter machine that he stole from a far away planet to steal your children and many others. The transporter is programmed to leave in their place a replica of their remains, whatever that might be, in order to make others believe that they died. Ishtee and Drobos were sick, because Hosk locked them in a metal cell on a metal spaceship, and then the Velcosian who bought them from Hosk probably exposed them to more metals. Neither one knew of the Herlians’ reaction to metal ores.”

“Hosk!” Jyita said, spitting the word out like a bad-taste. “Hosk stole my children?”

Shag nodded and showed her Hosk’s book with Ishtee and Drobos’ names in it.

“We’re going through Hosk’s records now to find all the stolen children that we can find,” said Shag. “After that, I… have a solution to Hosk’s adventures… a permanent solution.”

Drobos opened his eyes, and Jyita scooped him up, hugging him and Ishtee together.

“Find that Hosk, my friend! And be sure that he does not do this again!”

Shag nodded.

“You,” Jyita said to Max. “What is your name?”

“Max… but I am called Zan… of Antar.”

“King Zan?” asked Jyita.

Max smiled slightly. “Yes.”

“Thank you, Zan… for giving me back Ishtee and Drobos! I will not forget!”

Max nodded. Zorel walked over and kissed Jyita on the cheek as the four of them stepped through the portal, leaving one world -one family- with a brighter dawn and a happier future.



------------------------End of Chapter 20




posted on 19-Oct-2002 10:44:04 PM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Getting To Know You”

Chapter 21

XXI


Max, Michael, Shag, and Zorel stepped through the portal and back into the palace on Xarius, where several “special” people were eagerly awaiting their return.

“Mom!” Zorel yelled, rushing to hug Maria. Maria hugged him for several minutes and kissed his face repeatedly. Then she looked at him and smiled.

“Oh, my goodness, you’ve grown up! You are so handsome! Zorel, you look just like your father when he was your age!”

“What do you mean ‘when I was his age?’” Michael asked, feigning hurt. “I haven’t changed, have I?”

Maria gave Michael her “pouty” look and smiled, “Only for the better, Dear! Only for the better!”

Zorel noticed Jayyd standing behind Maria.

“Jayyd! All right! Did Hosk ever sell you?”

“Yeah, but Alyyx and I escaped, so the Derstukki never got to take me.”

“You escaped? From Hosk?” Zorel seemed impressed. “Gee, Jayyd, I want to hear all about how you guys pulled that off! I’ll bet Hosk was hopping! I can almost see him: ‘GET THOSE ANTARIANS BACK! I MEAN NOW! NOT TOMORROW!”

Jayyd laughed. “Yeah! That’s probably just what he said… and just how he said it!”

“So Alyyx is back?”

Jayyd nodded. Alyyx walked in behind Zorel. “Hi, guy! Good to see ya!”

Zorel turned and looked at Alyyx… with him were Maya, Andya, and JoLeesa.

“All right!” Zorel said with a huge grin, “You guys are all here! Leese! Oh my God, Leese! I haven’t seen you since Hosk sold you to the Dragons years ago! I thought you were a goner! That was so long ago!”

JoLeesa nodded. “Yeah, fortunately their big new years festival -the feast of Vyatu-Xi- only comes around every 16 Antarian years. Dad and Uncle Michael and Uncle Kyle… and some friends rescued me just in time! The chase had already started. Oh! And the pawgor took a bite out of several Dragons… and there was this little lady with them that had wings, and the Dragons kept trying to grab her, but she was electrified, and they just got zapped when they touched her. You should have been there!”

Zorel feigned shock.

“Oh, no! I didn’t mean that, Zorel! I just meant…”

Zorel laughed, “I know, Leese! I know what you meant! It’s cool! …so the pawgor was there? Does that mean that Danyy was there?”

“Yeah! Danyy’s home! So is Aunt Kathleen!”

“Kathleen!” Zorel said with a smile. “Yeah! She disappeared when Hosk sold Danyy to somebody.”

“He sold Danyy to the little lady with wings. She’s an Aklatian. She bought Aunt Kathleen, too, because she seemed so attached to him.”

“Yeah… Kathleen and I were the only two, as far as I know, who remembered everything. How did you get your memory back, Leese?”

“I think it was when I saw the pawgor… and Dad and Uncle Kyle and everybody. That’s when it started to come back. It hurt!”

“What do you mean?”

“Well… not exactly like pain, you know… more like sadness… really intense sadness. Then suddenly I knew who I was and who they were, and… everything changed to joy!”

“Yeah, Hosk kept telling us that he made us with that machine. Kathleen wanted to stick HIM in the machine,” said Zorel.

JoLeesa and Jayyd both laughed. “We thought Hosk was going to do something bad to you. You kept saying that he wasn’t the creator of all things, and… Hosk would get so mad at you!”

“I guess Kathleen saved my life… probably. She kept telling me to bide my time… the right time would come. She said Hosk had a problem with ‘rebels.’ Not to push him. But she wanted to do it several times… She was ready to punch his lights out herself.”

“It must have taken all her willpower not to… knowing Aunt Kathleen!” said Jayyd.

“She would have, I think,” said Zorel… “if it had just been her… but she was afraid for Danyy and the rest of us… especially for Danyy. She told me she wanted to punch Hosk’s lights out several times but if Hosk killed her she wouldn’t be there for Danyy, so she used meditation to try to calm herself whenever she was angry. She has a lot of willpower!”

Shag notified everyone that dinner would be served shortly. Zorel and all the others moved toward the dining room. As they walked through the atrium, several “somethings” brushed by them, floating in the air. Zorel looked close…

“What the… What is that… those… whatevers?”

Jayyd and JoLeesa laughed. So did Liz, Maria, and the others.

“That…” said Jayyd, “is a Leafvian… and hiding behind the Leafvian is a Droufa.”

“A what-fa?” Zorel asked, puzzled.

The girls giggled. Max explained,

“We rescued them from the Moon of Gadyslar after we found Jayyd and Alyyx there. We called the Droufas ‘eyeballs,’ because they’re almost invisible except for the eyes, and they float around in the air. We called the Leafvians ‘fern children,’ for obvious reasons… and because Hosk had them planted in pots!”

The girls giggled again.

“But then we found out what they were and that they aren’t supposed to be planted. On their planet, they float in the wind and sing with a thousand voices that sound like beautiful, sort of haunting music. So we took them out of the pots, and they’ve been floating around all over the palace, well… like a bunch of kids!”

“Cool! I love it!” Zorel snickered.

“Oh, and they’ve really made friends with the Droufa children! The Droufas hide behind the Leafvians and float around with them looking like two big eyeballs peeking through a tree! I think they’ve all become best buddies!”

Everybody laughed.

“What do they eat?” Zorel asked.

“The Droufas, the “eyeballs,” like salad items and small vegetables mostly,” Max said. “The Leafvian ‘fern children’ don’t usually eat as we know it. They absorb nutrients directly from sunlight.”

“But they will also gobble down flying insects!” Michael added, and they need water.

“Wouldn’t they like, be incompatible?” asked Zorel. “I mean… if the Droufas eat salads, and the Leafvians look like plants… and the Leafvians eat flying bugs, and the Droufas look like flying eyeballs…”

Michael snickered. “They seem to love each other’s company! That’s all we know! Obviously, they don’t look like food to each other!”

Everyone reached the dining room and took a seat. The table was huge. Zorel was quite impressed. There were a lot of creatures -or children- to feed lately, at least until they could be reunited with their families.

Zorel sat with his parents, Michael and Maria, his sister, Jayyd, and Ceelya Whitman. Maya, Andya, JoLeesa, and Alyyx sat with their parents, Max and Liz. King Shaqor and Queen MayaSabriena sat together, and then there were the other “guests.” As Zorel looked around the table, he saw other Antarian children, the Growahnit children, the Dragon children, and the Ewok-like Yerriks. He couldn’t help but notice the tall, thin Yargishi children. There were five of them, and none was bigger around than a soft drink can, yet all were at least six feet tall. He also noticed the many different children rescued from the Dragons on Drago. One of these, Darja, a Dinuvian girl, had been bought by the Dragons on the same day as JoLeesa, and she and JoLeesa had become good friends. Now, Darja sat at the table beside JoLeesa and her family. The Droufas sat at the far end of the table and ate salad fixings, small badas, and grelliats while the Leafvians floated around in circles under the sunlight in the atrium absorbing nutrients from the sunlight, as they pretty much did all day long. All in all, it was quite a dinner! …A dinner made for the children of the universe.



--------------------------End of Chapter 21




posted on 23-Oct-2002 3:27:14 AM by Gerry Carr
Thanks, Snowdove! I love that elaborate "Bump" you put together! Very cool! Here's the next chapter. I think it'll be a lot of fun!




[ edited 2 time(s), last at 23-Oct-2002 3:28:36 AM ]
posted on 23-Oct-2002 3:29:28 AM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Kathleen’s Revenge”

Chapter 22

XXII


In the easy room of the palace on Xarius, Max, Michael, Shag, Liz, and Maria discussed the ongoing rescue efforts…

“We’re still missing over 220,000 Antarian children,” said Michael, “including five of our own… Obviously, we simply can’t do this one child at a time… or even one small group at a time…”

“But what’s the choice, Michael?” asked Liz. “Hosk has spread them all over the universe. We simply don’t have any choice.”

“I know, I know…” Michael said sadly… “I just don’t see how we’re ever going to finish this way.”

Max nodded.

“We’re still missing Kyle and Jeliya’s youngest boy, Taz,” said Maria, “ and… and my Kryys…”

Michael winced at the mention of his own youngest son’s not being found yet.

“And we’re missing Mareeya Whitman…” Liz continued… “Has anyone found out where Alex and Isabel went yet?”

“No,” Michael said. “They left Antar before we started finding the children. They didn’t leave any ‘forwards’ as far as I know. They didn’t tell anyone when they would be back either.”

Liz nodded. “And we still haven’t found Jiba and Drel, Tess and Rayylar’s children… Has anyone heard from Rayylar or Tess at all?”

Michael shook his head. “Rayylar took Tess on an extended trip to the outlying planets over two years ago to try to ease the pain of their losing Jiba and Drel. They took it so hard.”

“We all did,” Max interjected.

Michael nodded, “Yeah… We all did.”

As Max talked, the phrase “cell block E” kept repeating in his head over and over. At first, he dismissed it, but the more he thought about it, the more it bothered him.

“Michael… ‘cell block E…’”

“What about it?”

“I don’t know… We did rescue ALL the children from the Moon of Gadyslar, didn’t we?”

“Yeah… Sure we did, Max. All the cells were at the end of that chamber, remember?”

“Yeah… but ‘Cell Block E’ keeps repeating over and over in my head, Michael. Do you think there were other ‘groups’ of cells down there somewhere?”

Michael thought a few moments… “I don’t see how… We went through all the chambers and tunnels, I’m pretty sure… No, no… I’m sure we did! I don’t see how there could be any more.”

Max drummed his fingers on the table beside him absent-mindedly. Michael noticed, and deep inside, he knew what it meant. Max wasn’t convinced. And if Max wasn’t convinced, that gave Michael an uneasy feeling. Max’s premonitions or feelings usually turned out to have some basis in reason.

“I’ll tell you what, Max… I’ll get Kathleen in here… Zorel, too. If anyone knows what’s down there, I’m sure they would.”

Max nodded. Michael went to the door and passed a message to a staff member. Within minutes, the staff member was back, and with him were Kathleen and Zorel.

“Kathleen… Do you remember ever hearing of any children being held anywhere on Gadyslar other than in the cells we found?” asked Michael… “or do you, Zorel?”

Zorel shook his head, but not convincingly. “I’m… I’m not sure,” he said finally. “Hosk and the guards never told us about any others, and they would have denied that there were any others even if there were… just because the Ghors are secretive that way… but… well, from time to time I would hear about someone being sold when I knew no one had disappeared from any of the cells in our chamber.”

“I think there are others,” Kathleen said.

Max and Michael looked surprised.

“Well, I didn’t spend as long as I did down there without listening to what those mangy lizards were saying every chance I could.”

“But we went through every chamber down there,” said Max, “and Shag had special guards go through there twice after we did. No one found any other cells or children. We even used a sonic reporter to try to find any other chambers. We didn’t find any.”

Kathleen ran her hands through her hair, pushing it back off of her face. “I heard some things, though, that might mean something, Max. I think I can show you where the other area is… I’m not sure, but I think I can.”

Max looked at Michael, and Michael looked at Shag. Shag shrugged his shoulders. “Let’s check it out. What can it hurt? She could be right. Hosk is a jerk and a thug… and he stinks, but he’s not stupid when it comes to protecting his resources.”

“Okay,” Max and Michael both said, as Liz and Maria emphatically nodded their agreement.

“Do we need the portal?” Liz asked. Max was about to say, “yes,” when there was a tap on the door. Michael opened the door. The staffperson was standing there, and beside him was none other that Obyal-Var, the number one VideoStream newsperson on Xarius.

“Sir, Obyal-Var wishes to know if you would allow her to VideoStream the tunnels under Gadyslar.”

“I’m sorry to impose on your meeting,” said Obyal-Var. “I do know how important it is. But since the Moon of Gadyslar now lies inside your ship, the ‘Xarius Voyager,’ if I am to go there, I will need your permission and assistance I am afraid.”

Shag nodded. “Well… your timing is amazing, Obyal-Var. We were just on our way there. I wouldn’t take most reporters with me, but… perhaps I may make an exception for you as a courtesy to your VideoStream output center, XSO. I owe them for several small favors along the way… Okay, you can come. Stay out of our way, though, and do not go off on your own, or we will not guarantee your safety or rescue. Do you understand?”

Obyal-Var nodded. She would have agreed to almost anything to have an opportunity to accompany King Shaqor and King Zan on a mission… whatever it might be.

Max and Shaqor looked at Liz. Liz nodded.

“Portal… Take us to the subterranean chambers of Gadyslar.”

Max stepped through the portal. Michael, Shag, Kathleen, and Obyal-Var followed.

Kathleen looked around to orient herself then led them down the shaft toward the cells that had already been found. But at the second “resting place,” a widened area of the tunnel where Ghors would congregate to wait for the hover train, she stopped and looked carefully at the walls.

“I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, Max… but some of what I heard led me to believe that at this resting place there was another chamber opening.”

Max and Michael both ran their hands over all the walls. They found nothing. Shag searched, too, but had no more luck than the others. Shag looked up at the ceiling. It appeared solid. Certainly there were no openings.

“I’m sorry, Kathleen…” Max said. “It looks like you were fed misinformation.”

“No… No, I don’t think so,” said Kathleen. “I’m sure they did not know that I was listening or understood.”

“Kathleen…” Max started apologetically.

Ignoring him, Kathleen bent over and looked under the solid rock bench at the side of the waiting area, feeling under the bench for anything that might be there. There was nothing. In frustration, she kicked the bench. It moved! …Ever so slightly, the bench moved backward. As it did, there was a sudden and definite sensation of dropping. Everyone grabbed at each other to steady themselves. When the motion stopped, almost a full minute later, they realized what had happened. The entire floor of the “hover train stop” was an elevator. They had dropped many levels beneath the main tunnel, possibly all the way to the core of the moon itself.

Dusting themselves off as they regained their footing, Max and Michael helped Obyal-Var back to her feet. She had fallen backward but had kept the VideoStream recorder cradled protectively in her arms, never releasing her hold on it even to stop her own fall. Fortunately, she was unhurt. Shag, too, was unhurt, though he had lost his footing due to his having been leaning over to see what Kathleen was looking for under the bench at the moment the floor dropped.

The “rest stop” now exactly matched up with a new corridor, and the group walked down the tunnel in the direction they had been going. A short distance later -perhaps a quarter of a mile- they came to a large double door. It was locked.

“I think locked doors are your specialty, aren’t they Michael?” said Max.

Michael grinned and pressed his hand to the lock, which fell instantly open. Max opened the doors and stepped through. Before he knew what had hit him, a large hand from the corner of his vision sent him reeling across the room.

Seeing Max down, Michael instantly rushed to his aid. Running through the doors, Michael dropped to the floor and did a backward roll to avoid the blow that he knew would be coming. Rolling deftly back into a standing position, this time facing his attacker, Michael raised his hand and prepared to dislodge a powerful blast, as a greenish glow appeared in the palm of his hand. Before he could release the blast, however, a mechanical bar swept across the floor from the other side of the room, knocking him off his feet and sending the power bolt flying errantly into the ceiling. Gouged by the blast, the ceiling rained rock and rubble down on both Michael and his attacker.

Before the attacker could strike another blow, Shag had him tightly by the scruff of the neck and the back, just behind the armpit. This elicited a howl from the attacker, as Shag pressed on sensitive paralyzing nerves. Michael pushed the rubble off his body and, brushing himself off quickly, held both of his palms up, aimed at the attacker. This time, there was no mechanical bar to knock him off his feet… the attacker quickly surrendered. Shag pushed him brusquely over against the wall.

“Hosk!” Max said.

“None other,” Michael nodded with a disgusted look.

Hosk spit a long stream of blackish spittle in Max’s direction in a defiant gesture. Max moved quickly and managed to avoid it. At this moment, Kathleen walked into the room. Walking up to Hosk, she looked directly into his eyes. Hosk smiled slightly, defiantly, recognizing his former prisoner. Without a word, Kathleen pulled back her arm and pressed her hand into a tight fist. She let fly at Hosk’s bulging stomach with all the force in her body, the force of a rage pent up from nine years of waiting for this chance to come… the force of memories of her son Danyy… and other innocent children… enslaved and sold across the galaxies… the force of a mother’s revenge.

Hosk realized what was coming and made the supremely worst decision he had ever made in his life. Hosk’s first thought was to bloat himself up into a formidable, defiant-looking foe. He straightened up, stretching to his full nine-foot height. Kathleen’s fist, aimed at Hosk’s blubbery stomach, fell low… Hosk howled once, collapsed slowly to his knees, then crashed to the floor face first. He did not get back up. Kathleen turned to Max and Michael. Both of them -and Shag- had tears in their eyes and running down their cheeks from laughing. Obyal-Var, consummate professional though she was, was having trouble holding her VideoStream recorder steady as she fought to avoid shaking from the laughter that blurred her eyes with tears.

“Shall I tie him up?” Michael asked, wiping his cheeks.

“I’m not sure it’s necessary any more, Michael,” Max said. “But tie him up anyway.”

Shag called for the portal, and the group returned to the palace with Hosk in tow. Shag turned Hosk over to his special palace guards for “safekeeping,” then Max, Michael, and Shag returned to the corridors under Gadyslar with Kathleen and Obyal-Var to search for the lost children.

The next day, on Antar, the VideoStream news showed one clip over and over throughout the day… a clip they had obtained from VideoStream Output XSO on Xarius. Every time it was shown, cheers went up all over Antar.

Sitting in the Crashdown, talking with Jeff Parker, Kyle grinned sheepishly and shook his head as it showed yet again…

“Dad’ll never live it down, Jeff. They’re the family that drives around with a pawgor hanging out their hovercar window, Danyy talks to animals, and this… They’re like Antar’s Addams family. People point up there at the ranch and say that’s where ‘they’ live… you know, the aliens!” Kyle spoke as though he regretted the supposed notoriety, but he couldn’t hide the pride he actually felt in his Dad and his Dad’s new family.

Jeff laughed. “They love ‘em, Kyle! They’re a very special family around here! I hear the talk! Take my word for it. After this, they’re gonna be the most beloved family on Antar!”

Kyle grinned. “I didn’t get this much attention when Dan and I booted that Dragon on Drago.”

“Maybe not…” Jeff agreed, “I mean, that was pretty popular stuff. They showed those clips for days; but what Kathleen did yesterday you could never match, Kyle. What she did was no less than to strike a blow for all Antarian motherhood.

Kyle knew Jeff was right… about Kathleen especially… She was going to be the most popular person on Antar for some time to come.



--------------------------End of Chapter 22





[ edited 2 time(s), last at 23-Oct-2002 8:35:05 PM ]
posted on 27-Oct-2002 2:25:23 AM by Gerry Carr
Thanks, Snowdove! Yeah, I think she gave him a good starting punishment! Shaqor has something else in mind for the Ghors. Here's the next chapter.




posted on 27-Oct-2002 2:29:24 AM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Shaqor Solves The Ghor Problem”

Chapter 23

XXIII


“How many Antarian children have we rescued from the Moon of Gadyslar since we found the seven deeper tunnels,” Max asked Michael as the two walked through the castle on Xarius toward the cell where Hosk had been taken two days before.

“156,395 Antarian and 789 alien children,” Michael responded knowledgeably.

Max smiled. “Finally, some real progress! We might have never found them and never known those chambers were down there if Kathleen hadn’t kept her eyes and ears open and learned to understand those growls the Ghors call a language while they had her down there… and if she hadn’t been so stubbornly determined that she was right when we all thought she was wrong!”

Michael nodded. “Her FBI training came in handy, I guess.”

“Yeah,” Max agreed, “but that’s just her, too. I guess that’s why she joined the FBI. Anyway, I’m just glad I wasn’t Hosk down there.”

Michael snickered.

The two rounded the corner of the hall and came to the detention area.

“We’re looking for Hosk,” Max told the guard.

“He’s still in the medical section of detention,” the guard answered. “Right down the hall through these doors.”

“Thanks,” Max and Michael both said as they walked through the doors.

At the end of the hall, they entered the medical section. Hosk was lying on a special bed made to accommodate his size. Seeing Max and Michael walk in, Hosk tried to stand, but he had trouble bringing his legs together and collapsed on the floor. He quickly pulled himself back up and sat back on the bed. An attendant greeted Max and Michael.

“Hosk still having trouble walking?” Max asked the attendant.

The attendant nodded. “He’s still got a lot of swelling. Nothing that won’t heal in time.”

“Probably wished he was dead for awhile, though,” Michael snickered.

Hosk growled then groaned as he tried to move again.

“You, uh… You treating him yourself?” Michael asked the attendant.

The attendant wrinkled his nose and shook his head. “We brought in a couple of Ghor doctors -or what passes for doctors on Ghorbidfael- to treat him. They’re a lot more experienced at slaving than doctoring, but fortunately for Hosk, it doesn’t take much expertise to rub a little anti-inflammation salve on a swollen… uh… whatever that is.”

Michael fought to keep from laughing. “Yeah, I can see why you would call the Ghor docs in… I don’t imagine anyone here much wanted that duty.”

At that moment, Shag walked in.

“Ah, just the guy we were waiting for!” Michael said. “I guess we’re all here now.”

Shag nodded. Hosk looked at Shag with something between a grimace and a scowl.

“Well, Hosk… I’ve had the best mathematicians and physics experts on Xarius working on the Ghor problem for a couple of weeks now, and what they found out is very interesting.”

“The only math I need is to count the money I get for my slaves,” Hosk said defiantly. “What do mathematics and physics have to do with Ghors, Xarian?”

“Actually, quite a lot, Hosk! Quite a lot! You see, every planet, every star, every celestial body exerts influences -gravitational and otherwise- on other planet and stars, and those in turn exert influences on still others. All the planets are delicately balanced. To eliminate one would normally cause gravitational fluxes and deviations in the physical fields that affect all the planets in that galaxy.”

“Yeah, so!”

“So…” Shag continued, “I asked my best physics experts and mathematicians, What would be the effect if Ghorbidfael were no longer there?”

Hosk sat up straight, momentarily almost forgetting the pain, but he was quickly reminded by a sharp stabbing pang and grimaced. “Shaqor! You would not destroy Ghorbidfael! It is as you said… all the planets push and pull on each other and… and whatever you said about math and physics.”

“True, true,” Shag agreed. “But we found out something about Ghorbidfael that amazed us. It seems that every field or effect generated by Ghorbidfael would be exactly offset by the weaker influences of more distant stars and planets if Ghorbidfael were no longer there. In other words, Ghorbidfael, from a cosmic point of view, seems to be a worthless planet. It just sits there. It adds nothing to the galaxy that wouldn’t be exactly balanced by the different influences that would be there if Ghorbidfael were gone.”

Hosk’s skin went from grayish to splotchy reddish gray and back, alternating colors, as it did whenever he was excited, irritated, or upset.

“You wouldn’t destroy Ghorbidfael!” Hosk said with conviction. “Think of all the Ghors who live there! Do you realize how many there are?”

“I am thinking,” said Shag. “Don’t tempt me.”

The fact is, Hosk had no real idea how many Ghors actually resided on Ghorbidfael. It could just as well have been thousands, hundreds of thousands, or hundreds of millions. He didn’t have a clue.

“As tempting as you make it, Hosk, destroying Ghorbidfael was not what I had in mind.”

Hosk relaxed somewhat, but he doubted he was going to like Shaqor’s solution much better, whatever it might be.

“No, after a great deal of study and research, Hosk, we have decided that Ghorbidfael could fit perfectly in sector Q97. We thought a new locale might be healthy for everyone concerned. I guess you’ve seen the bounty hunters out there. And they aren’t the only ones that want to see your mangy hide tacked up and sun-drying on a wall somewhere. I could let them have you, but that wouldn’t solve the Ghor problem, just the Hosk problem.”

Hosk snarled slightly.

“Q97… That is… That is far from any other planets or civilization, Shaqor! It would take me three lifetimes -even with the ionic drive- to reach any other inhabited system… in any direction!”

“I’m glad you mentioned that, Hosk! There is someone else here who wants to see you, too!”

Shag motioned outside the door, and two men and a woman walked into the ward.

“Krolians!” Hosk said sitting up. “What do they want?”

“I think they want their ionic drive back… and the device that you call the “Midnight Cloud.”

“They can’t have it!” Hosk spat… “It’s part of my ship! Both of them are!”

The Krolian woman took out a paper and read it, “In accordance with Krolian law, any technology, device, or other instrument illegally removed from Krolus and any device or equipment to which it might be attached are the property of Krolus. By the law of Krolus, the ship in which the ionic drive is located is property of the planet Krolus. We will be taking it with us.”

“You can’t!” Hosk said. “How will I get to other planets? How will I do my business?”

“Now you’re getting the idea, Hosk! I knew it would sink into that thick head of yours eventually!” said Shag. “You see, Ghors never go off of Ghorbidfael anyway except for the slavers.”

“But every industry on Ghorbidfael depends on the slaves,” Hosk pleaded. “They’re what you would call ‘support industries.’ All work done on Ghorbidfael supports the slave trade in one way or another. It is our only livelihood!”

“You’ll learn something new, Hosk… maybe even something honest!”

Hosk shuddered slightly.

“You could learn to farm or be a carpenter or a welder… or even a bus driver.”

Hosk would have said something, but he couldn’t get his mouth to work, as Max, Michael, Shaqor, and the Krolians walked out of the room.

“Once the Xarian search teams are absolutely positive that there are no more children to be found on Gadyslar, we will send Ghorbidfael and its moon through the portal to sector Q97,” Shaqor said to the Krolian woman. She nodded.

“That will be a satisfactory resolution, I think, in this case,” the woman said. “We are most appreciative of your help in returning our technologies to us, Shaqor… and Zan… and Michael, or is it Rath?”

“Michael is good. I don’t go by Rath anymore.”

The Krolian woman nodded and then smiled. “Krolus is indebted to you all for your assistance. Thank you!”

“You’re welcome,” Max said. Turning to Michael, he added, “Did the searches of Gadyslar turn up any evidence of Kryys, Taz, Mareeya, Jiba, or Drel?”

“No,” Michael said.

“Then before anything else, Michael, we’re getting them back.” Michael’s eyes lit up with a new life. He knew how important it was to get every child back, but Kryys was his. It was impossible not to feel a renewed joy at the thought of finding his own youngest son.

“Shag, would you call the Sphere of Searches for us?”

Shag smiled. “With pleasure, Max!”



-------------------------End of Chapter 23






[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Oct-2002 2:41:47 AM ]
posted on 28-Oct-2002 5:05:46 AM by Gerry Carr
Thanks for the fb ASA! Here are two chapters. The second is a shorty, but it works better that way, I think. Keep reading!
posted on 28-Oct-2002 5:07:19 AM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“The Mystery of Kryys, Mareeya, Taz, Jiba, and Drel”

Chapter 24

XXIV


Max asked Shaqor to call the Sphere of Searches so that they could locate the few children still missing from their own group… their own children… the children whose names they knew without having to go to Hosk’s books to find out who they were. The Sphere of Searches would provide a quicker answer than Hosk’s books would. The books were invaluable for finding the names of all the other Antarian children and finding out what happened to them, but that is because no one could be expected to know almost a quarter of a million Antarian children and their names. Without the books, those children would remain lost until their families provided information to ask for their return. This was not a problem in the case of Kryys Guerin, Mareeya Whitman, Taz Valenti, and Jiba and Drel. Shag immediately summoned the sphere.

“Sphere of Searches!”

“Ask!”

“Where is Mareeya Whitman?”

There was a brief silence, as there always was when the Sphere of Searches began its search. The silence was normally no more than five to ten seconds, but to anxious parents, it seemed like a lifetime. Max and Michael quickly realized that this time the pause was going well beyond ten seconds. They waited. The pause extended past thirty seconds, and still there was no answer.

“Sphere of Searches?” Shaqor said, puzzled by its failure to answer.

“Ask!”

“Where is Mareeya Whitman, daughter of Alex and Isabel Whitman of Antar?”

“There is no Mareeya Whitman,” the sphere answered.

Michael and Max both went pale and gasped audibly. Until now, every child sought had turned up alive, if not always in the best condition. The worst fears that Max or Michael had harbored before -that some child, maybe one of their own, would turn out to have died or to have been killed- had almost been forgotten in the joy and celebration of all the children who had been returned. Now, it seemed that their earlier fears would turn out to be true.

Michael’s voice shook… “ Shaqor, ask the sphere to look for Kyle and Jeliya’s little boy, Taz.”

Michael really wanted to find Kryys, his own little son, but for probably the first time in his whole life, Michael felt real fear… fear that swelled up in his chest and caused him to breathe in small gasps.

“Sphere of Searches!” Shaqor called.

“Ask!”

“Where is Taz Valenti, son of Kyle and Jeliya?”

“There is no Taz Valenti,” the sphere answered after a long pause.

Max wiped a tear from his eye, shaking noticeably.

Michael felt something that was approaching panic. Shaking almost uncontrollably, he asked Shag to ask about Kryys. Then he changed his mind as quickly as he had asked.

“No, no… ask for Jiba and Drel first,” Michael said.

“Sphere of Searches,” Shag called.

“Ask!”

“Where are Jiba and Drel, children of Tess and Rayylar of Antar?”

There was a long silence… then the answer nobody wanted to hear…

“There is no Jiba… There is no Drel, children of Tess and Rayylar of Antar.”

Everyone gasped. Shaqor looked at Michael. Michael put his hand on the back of a chair to steady himself. His eyes reflected a fear that he had never known before. His legs felt weak.

“Sphere of Searches,” Shaqor said.

“Ask!”

“Where is Kryys Guerin, son of Michael and Maria of Antar?”

There was a long silence, too long for Michael, then the answer…

“There is no Kryys Guerin, son of Michael and Maria of Antar.”

Michael collapsed to his knees. Looking up at the ceiling, he began to cry. It was only the second time in his entire life that he had cried. The first had been many years before, on Earth, on the day that he had come to call “Independence Day,” when he had climbed into Maria’s bedroom window after being beat up by his drunken foster father, Hank. Already emotionally distraught, Michael had been overcome with emotion at Maria’s understanding him without a word spoken between them. Maria had laid him down on the bed. She had curled up beside him and caressed him, letting him know that everything was going to be alright…

Maria! Oh God! Maria! How would he tell Maria? It would kill her. Michael began to sob.

Max got down on his knees beside Michael and put his arms around him. Then they both cried together.

----------

In the conference room of the royal palace on Xarius, Shaqor, Max, and Michael poured over Hosk’s books in an effort to find the names of Kryys, Taz, Mareeya, Jiba, and Drel and any information on what had become of them… who they had been sold to. If these children were dead, they wanted to know why. They wanted to know who was responsible… besides the obvious, Hosk. There would be no power under Heaven that could keep Michael from avenging his son’s death.

“There!” Max said, as he spotted Mareeya’s name half way down page 258.

The three looked at the Ghor writing. “What does it say, Shag?” Max asked. “I recognize her name, but I can’t make sense out of the rest.”

Shag read it in silence. Then he read it to Max and Michael. “Mareeya Whitman was sold three years ago to a someone named Jasp-Ard. I’m guessing Jasp-Ard is a man, but I really don’t know. The name is not familiar to me. Anyway, Jasp-Ard paid… well, that doesn’t matter… Let’s see… Jasp-Ard took her to a place called Alyendis (Hosk made a notation, *Grorjish) …to be a something in the fields. That could mean picking crops or something.”

“Grorjish?” Michael asked. “Is that a planet?”

Shag thought a moment. “It sounds familiar… but I can’t place it. I don’t remember any planet called Alyendis… or Grorjish.”

“Let’s look for the others,” Michael said. Shag nodded and turned the page. On page 341, near the bottom, they found Taz Valenti. It appeared that Hosk had been unsure how to transpose 'Taz' into Ghorish and had written it in his best imitation of Antarian. Michael spotted it immediately.

“What does it say, Shag,” Michael wanted to know without giving Shag a chance to say first.

“It says Taz Valenti was sold about a week after Mareeya to… Jasp-Ard on Alyendis!”

Michael sat up. The hairs on the back of his neck told him there was something more to this than any of them yet knew.

“What did they want him for,” Michael asked.

“Looks like… plotting of the fields… I really don’t quite know what that means.”

“Plotting of the fields? Maybe planting or plowing?” Max asked.

Shag shrugged. “I don’t know.”

Shag notated the page with Taz's name on it, as he had done the one with Mareeya’s name, then turned the page. On page 378, they found ‘Jiba and Drel.’

Shag read, “Jiba and Drel were sold together about five days after Taz…” He paused…

“To Jasp-Ard on Alyendis,” Max and Michael said together. By now, they knew quite well what those Ghorish symbols meant.

Shag turned the page. There, on page 379, was the name, "Kryys Guerin."

"Jasp-Ard of Alyendis again," Shag repeated. He didn't need to say it. The others could read it for themselves by now.

Shag notated the page and read the rest of the entry, “Something about opening the fields and something about keeping them open.” He shook his head. “It gets weirder each time. I have no idea what that means.”

Michael closed the book and stood up. “Let’s go see Hosk! I want some answers, Shag, and I’m going to get them!”



--------------------------End of Chapter 24






[ edited 4 time(s), last at 4-Nov-2002 9:11:36 PM ]
posted on 28-Oct-2002 5:08:21 AM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Michael Gets An Answer”

Chapter 25

XXV


Hosk yowled and climbed over the bed trying to hide on the other side. He didn’t know what hurt worse, the swelling Kathleen had given him or the smoking patch of singed hide on his side, where Michael’s power bolt had hit.

“I swear, Mike-eel, I don’t know this Jasp-Ard or anything about Alyendis.”

A bolt of energy brushed across Hosk’s chest, setting the patch of odd hairs on his otherwise lizardskin-like chest afire. Hosk howled and slapped at the small fire to extinguish it, turning his back to Michael to protect himself from further injury. As he turned, a bolt of green flame struck him squarely across the butt, leaving it smoking from one side to the other. Hosk leapt to the ceiling where he held on with the unusual suction palms and foot pads that Ghors have. Younger Ghors were apt to jump like this, but those Hosk’s age rarely did it. Today proved to be an exception.

“I want answers, Hosk! I want answers now!” Michael said. Hosk could see that Michael was in no mood for any argument and wasn’t going to just go away.

Another bolt struck, knocking Hosk off the ceiling. Fortunately for him, he fell into the bed.

“Okay! Okay!” Hosk yowled. “I’ll tell you anything you want to know. Please, just don’t do that again!” Hosk took a glass of water from the counter beside the bed and poured it over some of his wounds. They sizzled, and an acrid smoke rose into the air. Hosk whimpered. Fortunately for Hosk, Ghors have several full layers of skin, so the burns would not be serious from a real health standpoint. Unfortunately for Hosk, the outer layer of skin, particularly, is endowed with an abundance of sensory nerves. They give the Ghors an exceptional sense of feel. They also provide excruciating pain under the right circumstances.

“What is Grorjish?” Michael asked. What is Alyendis? And who is Jasp-Ard?”

Hosk whimpered. “Grorjish is an old Ghor name for Alyendis.”

“I should have known,” Michael said. “Sounds like your growling. What is Alyendis?”

Hosk was silent for a moment. Michael raised his hand…

“Okay! Okay! Alyendis… is… There is no such place…”

“What?” Michael exclaimed. “What do you mean no such place?”

“Well, not yet…” Hosk clarified. “Alyendis… is the name of a planet, but it's not called that yet.”

Michael was losing his patience. “Hosk, make sense or I swear I’ll fry you up and feed you to the Dragons!”

Hosk sensed that Michael was not bluffing…

“Jasp-Ard is a time traveler… from the future. The planet Alyendis is where he lives… in the future.”

Michael found himself unexpectedly at a loss for words. Finally regaining his train of thought he asked,

“Where is Alyendis, Hosk?”

“You should know!” Hosk said. “You call it ‘Earth.’”



-------------------------End of Chapter 25





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 29-Oct-2002 4:34:34 PM ]
posted on 30-Oct-2002 5:28:45 PM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Grorjish? Eluymer? Alyendis?”

Chapter 26

XXVI


Liz carefully placed the Sphere of Visions back into its case…

“I’m sorry, Max. It doesn’t look like it can see into the future.”

“But the spheres took us back 12,000 years into the past when we wanted to see Maya, JoLeesa, and AnDasniya…”

“Yeah, but when we tried to find the children in the past, that didn’t work out. It seems that the spheres can work sometimes going to the past and returning to the present but not at all for the future.”

“Alright… I’ll ask Varec how long it would take to get the new granilith ready for a trip to the future. …Alyendis! I wonder when they started calling Earth that!”

“Yeah, or why they changed its name, Max! Hosk’s records indicate that Jasp-Ard, the time traveler who bought the kids, came from the year 7,278 on Alyendis. So we know where in time we need to look for Taz, Kryys, Mareeya, Jiba, and Drel.”

Max nodded then smiled slightly. “Let’s just hope and pray that the fact that the kids were taken to the future and are not in our time anymore is the real reason the sphere said that they didn’t exist… and not that they… well… you know.”

Liz nodded.


----------

---------------------------- One week later ----------------------------




Max stood looking admiringly at the new granilith as it floated serenely on its anti-grav repulsor lock system inside the Jantoo-Bandy linked science lab. The fortunate finding of the spheres on Michael's Moon had all but put the new granilith out of business. It was so much quicker, easier, and -presumably- safer to just step through the portal to wherever one wanted to go in the universe. And time was always at a premium, even for Antarians! But still, the new granilith was a magnificent machine, everything a small city might have or desire. Max looked at it now with something akin to love, or perhaps the way a teenager might look at his newly built, souped-up, polished-to-a-mirror-sheen muscle car.

“Hey, Max! How’s it doin’ bro? Ready for the trip?”

“You seem pretty ready, Michael! In pretty good spirits are we?”

“Yeah, well, it keeps me from goin’ bonkers, you know? It’s just that I’m all… you know… kind of wound up tight inside. I’ve got to let it out somehow.”

Max smiled. “Yeah, I understand.

…Maria!”

“Hi, Max. I think we’d better get onboard or Michael will take off without us! He can’t wait to go!”

Max laughed. “I hear you!

Kyle! …You ready?”

Kyle nodded. Jeliya and I feel the same way Michael does. If there’s a chance Taz is there, nothing could keep me away, Max! You better drive fast, that’s all I can say!”

Jeliya smiled.

“Six hours, Kyle,” said Max.

“Huh?”

“Six hours. That’s how long Varec says it will take us to get there.”

“Six hours? It took like seventeen days to get to Earth before!”

“I know. Something about going to the future instead of the past… allowed him to use a much more efficient technology in the engine theoretics… Whatever! Talk to Varec if you want to understand it! I just drive the thing!”

Kyle laughed. “What about Alex and Isabel? Anyone find them yet? Or Tess and Rayylar?”

Max shook his head. “No, not yet…”

The sound of a familiar voice came from the hangar door as Max spoke.

“You weren’t planning on leaving without us were you, Max?”

“Alex! Isabel! Oh man, I am so glad you two are here! Talk about almost missing the plane!”

“Yeah, we were on Yxtiar. They have some really nice hot thermal springs there, and it’s a great place to go to… recuperate.”

Max understood.

“Is it true, Max?” Isabel asked, tears coming to her eyes. “You’ve actually found some of the children… alive!”

Max nodded, “Not just some, Izzie! Almost half of all the missing children from Antar have been found. And we’ve found hundreds of children from other planets.”

Alex pulled Isabel close and hugged her. “We’ll find Mareeya and Ceelya, too,” he said with conviction.

“Nobody told you?”

“Told me what, Max?”

“Just a minute.” Max walked to the door of the lab’s personnel lounge. He returned with a pretty girl who appeared to be about seventeen. Isabel took one look at the girl and went pale then quickly dropped the bag she was carrying and took her into her arms. “Ceelya! Oh God, Ceelya! Is that really you?”

Ceelya smiled and sniffed happily. “Yeah, it’s me, Mom!” She looked at Alex then hugged him, too. “Dad! I’m so, so glad to be back home! And I’m so glad you’re finally back! Nobody knew where you and Mom were. Now we can be a family again!”

Alex had to find his voice. His breathing seemed to have stopped without his realizing it.
He hugged Ceelya tightly in his arms and kissed her, burying his face in her hair. When he could speak again, he looked at his little girl; she was no longer a little girl…

“My God Ceelya! I’m so glad… I've missed you so much… I… I want to know everything… everything that’s happened to you! We're still family, Ceelya! We never stopped being! Mareeya, too… We need to find her!”

“I know, Dad. I want to come!”

Alex looked at Ceelya, but he realized that getting her away from Isabel now that Isabel had just found her would be harder than getting a pawgor to sit for a root canal, and he would probably rather attempt the root canal. He smiled and nodded. “Come on. Let’s go onboard!”

With Max, Liz, Michael, Maria, Alex, Isabel, Kyle, Jeliya, and Ceelya all onboard, they closed the doors. Max and Michael took their places and passed their hands over the console then Michael placed a crystal in a special recess in the panel and the ship began to rise. Varec opened the roof. The new granilith floated out of the lab and into the air, rotating 180 degrees to orient itself. As Max placed his hand over the handprint on the panel, he looked out the fore window. Two people were running toward them screaming and waving their hands wildly. Max pointed, and Michael looked, too.

“Somebody must have found them! Pick ‘em up, Max!”

Max moved the ship forward over the top of the couple and activated the transporter momentarily.

“Okay… Let’s go, Michael!”

The new granilith rose into the Antarian sky and, like a shooting star, passed quickly into the cosmos, as Tess and Rayylar walked into the control room to greet their fellow voyagers.



------------------------End of Chapter 26





posted on 30-Oct-2002 10:34:28 PM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Future Shock”

Chapter 27

XXVII


Roughly five hours and fifty minutes after leaving Antar, the small group of Antarian friends was in sight of Earth… or Alyendis, as Hosk had told them it was called in this future time.

“Michael?”

“Yeah, Max?”

“Do you feel 5,200 and some-odd years older?”

Michael grinned. “Sometimes I do lately.”

They had come forward in time to the year 7,278 AD, the year in which one Jasp-Ard, a time-traveler, was supposed to live. This is where they expected to find the missing children… if they were still alive.

“Looks the same to me, Max. It’s still blue!”

Max nodded. “I guess that means it hasn’t turned into ‘Dune’… all it’s water hasn’t been sucked away or something. The continents look the same. …You’re right, Michael. We could be approaching Earth in our own time as far as anyone could tell by the looks of… WHOA!”

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the new granilith was flanked by smaller space ships on each side. Looking behind those, Max and Michael saw that it wasn’t just a couple. It was a small fleet. They appeared to be sleek, fast, probably military-issue ships.

“I think we’re in trouble, Michael!”

Michael nodded. “They can see us… even with our invisibility shield. Yep. I’d say we’ve got trouble!”

Max and Michael strained to see who or what might be piloting the smaller crafts, but the forward windows were deeply tinted.

“What do we do now, Max?” asked Kyle, standing behind Michael. Liz and Maria decided to remain in their seats, expecting that at any time, the ride might get bumpy.

“We keep going,” said Max. “If they want something, I’ve got a feeling they won’t be shy about telling us!”

Four minutes later, as the group neared Earth orbit, the control room of the new granilith glowed brightly for a moment. Then the light disappeared, and in its place stood two men… or… something that might be men. They wore full military issue body suits and helmets that covered the entire head. The visor was deeply tinted. Of average height and build, the new arrivals might easily have been either men or women… or something else entirely.

Both Max and Michael were out of their seats immediately and facing the intruders with both palms out, prepared to defend themselves and the ship. Tess quickly took over the controls. Though the ship could easily fly itself on auto-pilot, she and Liz were the only other persons aboard to whom the controls would respond automatically, and Tess was, herself, an experienced pilot.

Max and Michael held their fire but remained standing in this defensive position facing their nemeses. The intruders stood totally still for almost a full minute. It was impossible to tell what was going on behind those smoked visors. Most likely, they were taking in their surroundings, preparing for… whatever. Then the first one moved.

The intruder reached up and unsnapped a lock on the side of the helmet then removed the helmet all in one smooth move. She shook her head slightly, and her hair fell down over her shoulders. The other intruder took off his helmet, too. He looked around the room. As he did, he happened to meet Maria’s glance. Maria gasped. She said nothing at all, but she began to shake noticeably.

The intruders looked at Max and then at Michael.

“You are from Antar?” the young man asked.

Max almost swallowed his tongue from the surprise as he tried to answer…

“Yes. We are.”

The young man nodded. “You will be our guests. You can put your hands down. We aren’t going to harm anyone.”

Slowly, Max and Michael put their hands down but remained prepared to put them back up on a moments notice if it became necessary.

Michael noticed Maria’s shaking, and her reaction confused him. He looked at the young man and his female companion. He had never seen them before. Of this he was one hundred percent certain. He could understand if the young man had been someone they knew or knew of… maybe Kivar… or maybe their own son, Kryys, perhaps, but this was not the case. Michael would recognize Kivar, and he would certainly recognize Kryys. For that matter, he would recognize Taz or Mareeya or even Jiba and Drel, whom he had seen less often. No, these people were complete strangers.

“You will please follow us,” the girl said. “We will lead you to a spaceport where you are already expected. We have been ordered to escort you to the White House.”

“The White House?” Michael queried… “as in… where the President of the United States lives?”

The girl seemed somewhat confused. The young man whispered to her, and she seemed to understand. “Oh! Yes… the President, yes… of Alyendis.”

Michael was silent for a moment… then he looked at Max. “The President of Alyendis! Oh! Is that all? President of the world… Okay.”

The young couple disappeared suddenly, as they had come. There was a bright light then they were gone.

Liz looked at Maria. Maria was shaking almost uncontrollably, and tears were silently running down her cheeks.

“Maria! What in the world is wrong with you?” Liz asked, reaching over to hold Maria to calm her.

“I noticed she started that when that young man looked at her,” Michael said. “What is it, Maria? What got you so upset?”

Maria shook her head “…not upset.”

“What then,” Michael asked, running his hand gently over Maria’s cheek, wiping away the tears. “I thought at first you had seen Kivar or maybe even Kryys, but that man… he was no one we know. I’ve never seen him before today, have you?”

“No,” Maria cried, shaking her head.

“Then what is it, Maria?” asked Liz, hugging her. “You can tell us, sweetie.”

Maria looked at Liz then at Michael; she appeared haunted.

“He had Michael’s eyes.”



-------------------------End of Chapter 27






[ edited 1 time(s), last at 31-Oct-2002 3:42:30 PM ]
posted on 31-Oct-2002 11:50:51 PM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Michael’s Eyes”

Chapter 28

XXVIII


Maria stared at Michael for a few moments then covered her face with her hands and shook her head slowly…

“He had Michael’s eyes!” she repeated with total conviction.

“Maybe it’s just a coincidence,” Liz said, shrugging. “I mean, sometimes people look like other people. I’ve seen people who looked so much like someone I knew that, for a moment, I thought it was them. It can be spooky.”

“No,” Maria shook her head. “No, that’s not it! It’s more than that, Liz. I don’t know how I know, but I just know.”

“Well,” Max interjected, “If there is anything to it, I suspect we are going to find out soon enough.” Max took the controls back from Tess, who already had brought the new granilith into a following pattern behind the escort ships headed back to Earth.

Six minutes later, the new granilith glided smoothly as a pelican with its wings outstretched on the wind in over the Atlantic Ocean then over the Potomac River, tracing a gentle arch back around Washington, DC… or what was once Washington, DC. The truth is, the group from Antar had no idea whether Washington, DC even existed anymore or not. They were following the sleek little escort corsairs. The corsairs swooped around the city and seemed to be heading directly to what was once known as Reagan International Airport near the Pentagon.

“Look out there!” Michael said, pointing. “The pentagon is still there! Would you believe it! So is the Washington Monument… and the Capitol… and the White House! They look the same as in our time.”

“Yeah,” Max agreed, “But the rest of the city has sure changed! There are no streets!”

Michael looked. He actually hadn’t noticed this. “Oh, geez! You’re right! No streets at all! How… Oh, I see!”

Michael, Max, Liz, Maria, and all those onboard watched through the forward window of the new granilith, as cars below them zipped back and forth everywhere… but there were no streets. The cars were anti-gravity, probably much like the ones on Antar, though on Antar there were streets. Max wondered how they controlled the traffic here or avoided collisions without streets. It appeared that the monuments, the White House, the Capitol, and the Pentagon were off the beaten path, so to speak. The cars stayed a good distance from them. And it was clear that there was some kind of pattern to the traffic. It ran in neat lines, not willy nilly everywhere.

“They must have got rid of all the cabbies in DC,” Kyle joked.

“That’s New York,” Michael corrected.

“You haven’t ridden with a DC cabbie!” Kyle said, grinning.

The military corsairs slowed their speed to slow forward as they passed over the airport and headed to a remote area of the field on the side nearest the pentagon. Here, they settled down on something resembling retractable airliner wheels arranged in a tripod configuration. Max sat the new granilith down on its anti-grav lock system. It remained firmly stationed about ten feet off the ground. The occupants of the new granilith transported to the tarmac below. They were met by the young man and woman whom they had already seen and several other young pilots and military crewmen who escorted them politely to a waiting anti-grav vehicle that resembled an extravagant, futuristic, black “Hummer-style” limo more than anything else they could think of.

“So…” Kyle joked, “Is this still Reagan International Airport?”

“Reagan Interstellar Spaceport,” the driver corrected, without looking back.

Kyle started to say something but, for a moment, he was tongue-tied. “Five thousand years!” was all he said at end.

Max and Michael chuckled.

The “limo” headed out of the Spaceport and directly across a field, over a hillside planted with lilies and crocuses, and straight across the Potomac! Max, Michael, and Kyle momentarily prepared themselves to get wet, as the vehicle sped smoothly, without even slowing, right out over the water and on to the other side as though the river weren’t even there.

“Cool!” Michael managed to say. “I kind of like this!”

“It takes a little getting used to,” Tess said, holding on to her seat. Rayylar and Liz agreed.

Within minutes, they had arrived at their destination. The anti-grav limo pulled directly under a covered entrance at the back of the White House then passed through two double-wide doors that opened automatically. It came to a stop inside a large room that was fully appointed with sofas, chairs, table, and other furniture. The fly-up doors of the limo, which resembled the gull-wing doors of a DeLorean, rose automatically, and Max and the others stepped out.

“Nice carpet!” Michael said, testing the plush, stylish carpeting under their feet. It wasn’t really that the carpeting was outlandishly extravagant; it was just the almost incomprehensible incongruity of a limo -even a hover-limo- parked in the living room… or whatever room this was.

The young couple who had appeared in the control room of the new granilith seemed to be taking charge of their new visitors. The girl motioned for them to have a seat.

“The, uh, President will be right out to speak with you. Please make yourselves comfortable.”

Michael sat back in one of the plush, overstuffed chairs and helped himself to some M&M’s, redhots, cinnamon sticks, and Jalapeño peppers from a dish on an end table.

“Now this is a combination I approve of! I could get used to this.”

Max smiled, but his face reflected a deeper concern. Michael felt it, too, but Michael was far more adept at putting his feelings on a back burner somewhere and going on with living life’s more pleasant realities. Perhaps he had Hank to thank for this, in some perverted way. It wasn’t that he had forgotten -or would ever forget- about the more unpleasant realities. He had just learned to survive by not dwelling on them until necessary.

As Michael chewed on a Jalapeño pepper, Max and the others suddenly stood up. Michael looked up to see two guards with white gloves step through the door into their room from a hall on the other side. One guard stood at attention on each side of the door. Michael hastily swallowed his Jalapeño pepper and opened his mouth slightly to breathe better. When the guards turned to face each other, he took three more Jalapeños from the dish and put them in his pocket for later.

Michael had barely straightened back up when an important-looking person entered the room. Both white-gloved guards stood at attention and saluted as he passed.

“At ease… You may leave,” the new arrival told the guards. The guards left quickly, as they had come.

The young man who had appeared on the new granilith earlier walked up to the President, who had just entered, and saluted him. The President saluted back then hugged him.

“Okay, now there’s something that wasn’t done in our time,” Michael said, snickering.

The President of Alyendis looked at his guests and smiled… “Welcome.”


----------



------------- Ten minutes later --------------



“Mmmmmmmmmmmmm,” Maria moaned. She remembered the room spinning… then everything had gone dark.

“Maria! Wake up, Maria!” Liz wiped a moist cloth over Maria’s forehead and shook her slightly. “Maria, wake up!”

Michael, still flushed, himself, lifted Maria up into a sitting position…

“Are you sure she’s alright, Max?”

Max nodded. Maria moaned slightly again then opened her eyes and tried to stand up suddenly.

“Whoa! Whoa! Careful, Maria,” Kyle cautioned. “You fell. You shouldn’t get up too fast.”

Maria pushed Kyle aside with a short attempt at politeness, “Sorry.” She figured she would apologize properly later. In a blink, she was on her feet.

The President smiled and held his hands out to her, and Maria took them. He hugged her.

“You missed the introductions, Maria,” said Michael, grinning from ear to ear. “It’s Kryys.”

Michael swallowed hard and turned to the young couple they had first met on the new granilith… “And this is his son, Avantar, and his son’s wife, Angelina. You were right, Maria. It was all in the eyes.”



-------------------------End of Chapter 28





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 31-Oct-2002 11:51:57 PM ]
posted on 2-Nov-2002 4:27:22 AM by Gerry Carr
Thanks for the great fb, KEmperor, Snowdove, and Asabetha! Here's some more!





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 2-Nov-2002 4:28:18 AM ]
posted on 2-Nov-2002 4:29:03 AM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Mister President”

Chapter 29

XXIX


Maria hugged the President of Alyendis as though he were her long-lost son. The interesting fact is… he was. Michael stood grinning from ear to ear as he watched, then he hugged Kryys again himself, patting him on the back. Kryys was taller than Michael now by over two inches. The whole thing seemed both odd and right at the same time… odd, because they were hugging the President of… well, the World! And right, because he was still their son… even if he had been the president of the whole universe… he was still Kryys, and he was still their son. He always would be.

“You’ve got a whole lot to tell us, I think,” Michael said. “I’d love to know how all this came about!”

Kryys smiled.

“And something else, too…” Kyle said. “We’re still looking for Taz, Mareeya, Jiba, and Drel.”

Tess nodded emphatically at the mention of her children.

Kryys sat down on the sofa. His face didn’t immediately betray any emotions or knowledge that he might have had regarding the other missing children, who would be approaching middle age by now.

“I should start at the beginning,” Kryys said quietly, motioning with his hands for emphasis. “It’s the only way you’ll understand…”

The room was quiet. A pin falling on the carpet probably would have been heard.

“Forty-seven years ago, when I was six, I was taken captive by the Ghors. I didn’t realize that then. Hosk told us that he created us. I believed that for a long time. Six years later, Hosk pulled me out of the cell I lived in and sold me to a Lieutenant Nick Jasper.”

“Jasp-Ard!” Liz half gasped.

Kryys nodded. “That’s how Hosk pronounced it.”

“Earth… was in a desperate situation. Earth had been dealing with visitors from other planets… other universes… for some time, and Lieutenant Jasper traded extensively with many alien cultures. One of the things he traded for or bought was a device for time traveling. He used it extensively, going back in time to change the past at will, making himself the inventor of technologies that had large money-making potential, by “inventing” them before the real inventors did. According to the history books on Earth forty years ago, Lieutenant Jasper invented the electric light, the phonograph, the Winchester rifle, the printing press… should I go on? Oh, and he bought up ninety percent of the shares of a fledgling company no one had heard of called ‘Microsoft’ for pennies. He owned all the stock in Bell South, General Electric, and any number of other large corporations.”

Michael whistled. “Busy guy!”

Kryys nodded. “Very! He was always off somewhere in time. He authored ‘Tom Sawyer’ and countless classics, wrote ‘White Christmas’ …signed the Beatles to a recording contract and wrote all their songs, which he collected royalties on. He wrote and copyrighted such immortal classics as ‘Star Wars,’ ‘E.T.,’ and ‘Roswell.’ “

“Wow!” Kyle said quietly, “Roswell!”

“And, of course, he always chose the right numbers in the lotto and the right horses at the races! The problem was that he was going back in time to a time when Earth didn’t have time travel and didn’t know how to defend itself against this kind of abuses. They didn’t even know what was happening. Then, once it was done, it became, well… history, as they say.”

“Lieutenant Jasper lived well and owned a very large estate near New York. He kept its former name, ‘Rhode Island,’ for sentimental reasons.”

“Everything seemed to be on Lieutenant Jasper’s cherry tree, as we used to say. He had the pick of anything he wanted and owned anything he wanted. Then one day in the late autumn of 7,237, it all started to come apart.”

Max leaned forward, totally absorbed in what Kryys was telling them. So did Michael.

“The date was October 12, 7,237. It’s history now. There was an explosion in space. Everyone watched the sky, as fire ran across the heavens in all directions at once, following the top of the ozone layer. Above the North Pole, there was a hole in the ozone layer, and the fire poured through like the flame out of a flame blaster. It didn’t take 24 hours for the ice in the northern ice fields to all melt. The seas rose drastically. Every coastal state was under water. So was Jasper’s estate. The sea rose as far inland as the Appalachians. That’s where it stopped. On the West Coast, it stopped at the Rockies.”

“I could go on and on about the consequences of the disaster, the heavy mist that remained in the air for over a year, the endless rain… but what is important here is the reason: Lieutenant Nick Jasper.”

“Jasper?” Max asked. “Jasper caused this?”

Kryys nodded. “Jasper had time traveled all over time. In itself, that was not a problem. But everywhere he went in time, he changed things. Think of time as a large tapestry. Now imagine that a small being of some kind takes one of the strings and unravels it, rushing off in another direction with it. Then it does the same thing again with another string… and then another and another. It moves the strings haphazardly all over the place in a random fashion with no respect for order or consequences. Eventually, the tapestry is destroyed. It is a messed up ball of fluff. Time is a tapestry… in a fashion. And Earth’s time was a mess. It finally reached a critical point, and there was an explosion on an atomic level… in a sense, the tapestry fell apart.”

“Wow!” several of the group said quietly at the same time.

“The scientists found out eventually what caused it, and overnight, Lieutenant Jasper went from being the most successful and richest man in the world to being the most wanted man in the world. Jasper never was the kind to just surrender and take his punishment or to give up, though. He began immediately to search for a way to save his own hide. What he found, quite by accident, he picked up in what might have otherwise been an unimportant conversation with an alien traveler on the planet Sarveth, where Jasper was hiding out and keeping a low profile. The alien spoke of a slave trader in the distant past named Hosk who had a boy who could convert himself into molecular form and alter molecular functions.”

“This interested Jasper immensely. He speculated that, if the boy could actually alter molecular functions, perhaps he could put back right what had happened on Earth. Jasper hoped that he would then be welcomed back as a hero and be able to recover his vast fortune and holdings. That this Hosk and the boy he was selling had lived 5,000 years in the past was not a concern. Jasper was a time traveler.”

“Amazing!” Kyle said quietly. The others nodded.

“So Jasper went back to the past and bought the boy… you,” Michael said.

“Yes… me. He brought me to the time in which he lived, the year 7,228, one year after the disaster. The world was still convulsing from the aftereffects. It rained three-fourths of every day… and not just little rains… booming thunderstorms that would wash things away. The air was heavy with humidity. In retrospect, it’s probably the only thing that saved the people here from being cooked alive by the supra-atmospheric fires that burned in the area just above the ozone layer for over a month after it first happened.”

“Geez!” Michael gasped. “Sounds like doomsday.”

“Some people thought it was,” Kryys said. “Lieutenant Jasper sneaked me back here to Earth -he couldn’t be seen without being arrested- and he ordered me to do whatever it was I did to try to fix the atmosphere.”

“And you knew what to do?” Max asked.

Kryys shrugged. “It’s not like I knew, it’s just… I don’t know, intuition. It sort of comes with the gift, like knowing how to rearrange all the molecules in Jayyd after she was shot. I’m not a doctor, I just… when I’m in molecular form, I just become one with the universe. The knowledge that is there is shared with me. I don’t know how else to say it.”

Max found himself opening his mouth, but no words came out.

Kryys continued, “I converted into molecules and floated up into the high atmosphere. There, I found that all the molecular threads were misaligned. Some were broken. Some were missing. So I took them one by one and replaced or repaired them. When I’m in molecular form, I seem to move very fast. It was a big job, because there was so much damage, but in under an hour, it was finished.”

“And did things return to normal?” Maria asked.

“After a few days, yes,” said Kryys. “The humidity lingering in the atmosphere had to rain itself out.”

“My God, Kryys,” Kyle said, “You were what… Twelve years old? Thirteen? I can't believe all that you went through! It's just… It's mind-boggling!”

“That was only the beginning,” Kryys said.



-------------------------End of Chapter 29





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Nov-2002 10:54:31 AM ]
posted on 4-Nov-2002 6:23:28 PM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Lessons in History”

Chapter 30

XXX


“So… is that why they made you president, Kryys,” Maria asked, “…because you saved the world from the disaster that Lieutenant Jasper created?”

“Oh, no! I was only twelve or barely thirteen at the time. But… the things I did… putting the threads all back in their original places… had consequences.”

“Consequences?” Liz queried.

Kryys nodded. For one thing, everything Lieutenant Jasper had done or owned reverted to what it had been before he ever traveled in time. He no longer was a rich man. Rhode Island wasn’t his personal estate, it was a small state. He never wrote any classic books or songs or invented anything. He didn’t own Microsoft, General Electric, and all the other major corporations… Everything he had done changed back to its original state the way it had been before he changed it.”

“Well, I would say that’s a good thing,” Michael said.

“Most of it… yeah,” Kryys agreed.

“Well, what wouldn’t be?” Tess asked. “I mean, the guy, like, screwed up the history of the world… its ecology, everything. You put it back right. That’s gotta be good, right?”

“Yeah, no question that it was what had to be done,” Kryys agreed. “But I… well, there’s something you need to know.”

Everyone in the group leaned forward slightly without actually realizing they were doing it.

“Before Lieutenant Jasper bought me, he was tricked into buying others.”

“Others?” Kyle asked.

“Yeah. Jasper made the mistake of telling Hosk the real reason he wanted the boy. This gave Hosk the edge he needed to cheat Jasper. Hosk told Jasper that it wasn’t a boy, it was a girl who could change into molecular form, and he sold him Mareeya.”

“Mareeya?” Alex and Isabel both gasped.

“Jasper brought Mareeya here and ordered her to fix the atmosphere, and she didn’t have a clue what he wanted. Mareeya had one gift. She was able to make the wind come up in a whirlwind, so she did that to see if it would do what Jasper wanted.”

“What did it do?” Rayylar asked.

“Nothing. Except make more wind. Jasper finally realized he had been duped. He went back to Hosk and threatened his life. Hosk pretended to be scared and regretful and said that he wanted to make amends, so he told Jasper he would sell him the “real” boy he wanted at a discount. He gave him Taz. Jasper didn’t even realize that Hosk’s ‘discount’ was ten percent higher than his normal price. He was too anxious to get back and get things fixed so he could enjoy the good life again.”

“Omigod!” Tess said, “And he gave him Taz? I don’t remember if Taz had any special gifts… Did he?”

“No,” Jeliya said.

“Well, he had one that no one knew about,” Kryys said. “He could make enough heat with his hand to melt metal. We only found this out after Hosk captured us. Taz escaped from his cell six times before Hosk figured out how he was doing it.”

“What happened to Taz?” Kyle wanted to know… “And Mareeya?”

“When Jasper realized he had been duped by Hosk for the second time, he was enraged. He immediately went back to Hosk and threatened to cut him apart if he didn’t get the boy he paid for. Hosk said he was so sorry… he pretended it was all a mix-up and a mistake and he had meant to give him the right one but had trouble telling humanoids apart. Jasper wasn’t one to be fooled with, but for someone not to be fooled with, he was easily fooled. Hosk gave him Drel and told him that he was going to throw in Jiba for free to ‘make up for his terrible mistake.’ Jasper told Hosk he didn’t want Jiba, but Hosk told him she could turn paper into gold. Jasper asked to see her do it. Hosk brought out a piece of paper and had Jiba change it.”

“She did it?” Tess asked. “We didn’t know she had any special gifts.”

Kryys nodded. “Well, Jiba is… or was… a bit of a special spirit. She turned all the paper Jasper gave her into gold, but not real gold, it was something more like fool’s gold, which is all she had ever made for Hosk, and that’s all Hosk thought she could make. Actually, she could change it to real gold, but she wouldn’t… not for Hosk and not for Jasper. She made it fool’s gold. When Jasper found out that Hosk had tricked him again and Drel couldn’t change into molecular form… and that Jiba was making fool’s gold, which he assumed was all she could make, he was so enraged that… that…”

“What?” Michael coaxed.

“He killed them.”

Everyone in the room gasped. Tess fell forward and put her face in her hands on her lap and sobbed. Rayylar tried to hug her, but he was crying, too.

“What… what about the others?” Michael asked… “Mareeya and Taz?”

“Them, too,” Kryys said quietly.

Jeliya buried her face in Kyle’s chest and Kyle held her as he wiped the tears from his own eyes. Alex and Isabel held each other and sobbed.

“But there’s more,” Kryys said.

“I don’t think anything else matters,” Kyle said, wiping a tear from his eye.

“This may… I don’t know,” Kryys said. “When Jasper went back to Hosk again, he took two thugs with him and some pretty nasty weapons. Jasper was not going to be deceived again, and Hosk realized that his larcenous life was actually in peril, so he finally gave me to Jasper. Jasper demanded that he see me turn into molecules before he would leave this time. Satisfied that he had the right one, he brought me back, and the rest you know… except for one thing. When I put all the threads of time back as they had been, everything reverted to its former state…”

Everyone in the room looked up at Kryys, suddenly aware of the implications of what he was saying.

“And… and the children?” Rayylar asked.

“I don’t know,” Kryys said. “I just don’t know. I know that where Jasper buried them, there are no graves now. But where they went, I just don’t know. Maybe back to Hosk.”



--------------------------End of Chapter 30





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Nov-2002 10:53:48 AM ]
posted on 7-Nov-2002 3:21:01 AM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Wha?”

Chapter 31

XXXI


On Xarius, the search for missing children did not stop when Max and Liz, Michael and Maria, Kyle and Jeliya, Alex and Isabel, and Tess and Rayylar left on the new granilith bound for Alyendis -formerly known as Earth- in the future year 7,278. Dan Klein and Diane Casey were working together with Shaqor, MayaSabriena and her sisters, and Jim and Kathleen Valenti several hours each day to try to locate additional children. Zorel, Ceelya, Jayyd, Alyyx, and several other rescued children were helping out, too, as often as they could. Zorel and Ceelya were on hand today.

“Shag, look at these symbols,” Dan said, as they poured over Hosk’s books. “I thought I was getting the hang of this Ghorish… hieroglyphic… chicken-scratched gobbledygook, but now I think I’m confused.”

“What’s the confusion?” Shag asked.

“Well, I thought Max and Michael and the others went into the future because their own children were all there… the ones still missing.”

“Yeah, that’s right,” Shag said.

“Well… They can’t all be there if I’m reading this right.”

Shag looked at the book. “Wha…? Taz, Mareeya, Jiba, and Drel… all listed as new acquisitions…?”

“So I’m not imagining it or misreading it?” Dan asked.

Shag shook his head. “That’s what this book says… But the book we just went through said they were all sold to Jasp-Ard of Alyendis… two months before he lists them here as new acquisitions.”

“What do you think that means?” Dan asked. “Do you think he took them back?”

Zorel, sitting across the table, chuckled. “Not a chance, Dan! Hosk’s taking a slave back after a sale has been made is about as likely as Hosk sticking a flower behind his ear and turning into one of those ‘flower children’ from Earth’s ‘60’s that they have on your cable TV sometimes!”

Diane grinned. So did Dan.

“I don’t want to even picture that, Zorel,” Diane said.

“Me either,” said Dan, laughing. “Still, here they are, listed as new acquisitions a whole two months after they were sold to Jasp-Ard. How would Hosk have got them back? Is that possible somehow?”

Zorel thought about it and shook his head. “I don’t know how…”

“Unless,” Ceelya interjected, “this Jasp-Ard, whoever he is, gave them back to Hosk and didn’t ask for a refund.”

“Why would he do that?” Zorel asked. “I mean… yeah, Hosk would be happy to have them to sell again, but he would never give anyone back a single grronch of their money once he had it.”

“What’s that?” asked Dan “…a grronch I mean.”

“It’s like a Ghorish penny. It’s made out of something like… dried shebble dung.”

Shag was snickering. “Not exactly, Zorel, but I see the resemblance… and after a few thousand Ghors have handled it, the smell is a given, too.”

Diane and Dan both grinned. Jim and Kathleen chuckled.

“Does Hosk even have an ear… you know… to stick a flower behind?” Dan asked. Diane looked at him. “Never mind,” Dan said, shaking his head.

“Let me see that entry again,” Shag said. He looked at the entry carefully. Then he began to turn the pages of the book.

“Okay, so Hosk wrote that he acquired Taz, Mareeya, Jiba, and Drel two months after he sold them. Let’s assume this is not a mistake. See if you spot any of their names in here saying that they’ve been sold again.”

Everybody pulled in close to the book and watched as the pages turned.

“There!” Diane yelled. Several others spotted it, too, but Diane was the quickest to point it out and yell. “Mareeya was sold six months later to Frebel-Ish on the planet Merchenskazky.”

Zorel and Ceelya both broke out laughing.

“What’s so funny?” Dan asked, looking perplexed.

“Frebel-Ish!” Zorel said.

“What?”

Kathleen explained, “Frebel-Ish is a very old, traditional Antarean fairy tale character. It’s like saying Mareeya was bought by ‘Mother Goose.’”

“Oh! Well… must be a coincidence,” Dan shrugged. “Different planet, different language… you know?”

Zorel and Ceelya both nodded.

“Weird coincidence, though!” Zorel said. “Really weird!’

As Shag turned the page, Dan gasped.

“There!” Dan exclaimed. “Taz Valenti! But I really do need to get a review on Ghor pronunciation!”

“What’s the problem?” Shag asked.

Dan turned the book around. Shag looked at it and shrugged. Dan turned it back toward Diane. Diane put her hand over her mouth, and her eyes opened wide. Shag realized there was something he was missing. He looked at the entry again but couldn’t see anything that looked odd at all.

“What?” Shag asked.

Diane read the entry, “Taz Valenti, sold to JekUnjeel…”

Shag shrugged. “So? Who is this JekUnjeel? Somebody you’ve heard of?”

“I’m sure it’s not,” Diane said. It’s got to be a coincidence.”

“Oh, oh!” Dan said suddenly.

“I don’t like the way you say that, Dan,” Diane said. “What is it?”

Dan pointed. Near the bottom of the page was another entry. “Drel, sold to ‘Doctor AyboLeet.’”

Diane looked at it. “Yeah… Okay… Why does that sound familiar?”

“You studied Russian at the Academy didn’t you, Diane?”

“Yeah, we all did… Omigod! Doktor Ayboleet!”

Shag was totally in the dark. “What? What have I missed?”

Ceelya, strangely enough, was the one who gave him the answer.

“I remember reading some Earth fairy tales and nursery rhymes, and JekUnjeel sounds a lot like ‘Jack and Jill.’ I don’t know the other one.”

Diane nodded emphatically. “I was sure that was a coincidence, but it’s getting too weird. In Russian fairy tales, Doktor Ayboleet is like our Doctor Doolittle. He talks to all the animals and heals all their ails. ‘Ay, Boleet’ means, ‘Ow, It hurts.’ ”

“Okay… that’s strange,” Shag said, the hairs on the back of his neck starting to tickle. “Let’s see if we can find Jiba.”

They didn’t have to look far. They found her on the very next page.

“Sold to Yaril-Yazan…” Shag said, turning slightly pale. The others looked at him questioningly.

“YarilyaXan,” Shag said, is a very important children’s storybook character on Xarius. YarilyaXan is a young girl who is very beautiful. But the vain wife of the king gives a large treasure to a wicked old woman who lives in a cave to kill YarilyaXan, because YarilyaXan is more beautiful and more popular in the village than she is. The wicked old crone uses her powers to put a spell on YarilyaXan and make YarilyaXan sleep forever. No one but the old crone can take the curse off, but she dies and never does, and the beautiful young girl lies sleeping hidden away deep inside the old crone’s cave. Eventually, a young hero comes along and finds a way to save her. He turns out to be the king’s son. The vain queen turns out to be an impostor who had paid the old woman years before to use the same spell on the real queen and to change her to look like the real queen so that she could take her place. The hero finds this out and proves it. Then he finds his real mother, the real queen, wakes her, and marries YarilyaXan, who eventually becomes the new queen, one whom everyone loves.”

“Okay…” Dan said. Both he and Diane were somewhere between being seriously amused and starting to get seriously concerned.

“YarilyaXan sounds an awful lot like ‘Sleeping Beauty’ …kind of,” Diane said. “There must be some universal themes anywhere you go! What is this planet? Land of the fairy tale characters?”

“It’s starting to sound like it,” Dan said. Mareeya was sold to someone on the planet Merchenskazky. When Taz was sold, Hosk wrote what looks like ‘Marsh-and-Scots-Key’ …I’d bet it’s the same planet, though. Look… here under Drel, he wrote ‘Merchen-Skazky,’ and under Jiba’s entry, he returned to writing it as ‘Merchenskazky.’ Can’t seem to make up his mind! Shag? What are the chances you could check it out with the spheres and maybe take us there?”

“Well…” Shag said slowly, thinking it over, “Zan and Michael would want to go, too, but… I think you’re right, Dan. We can’t wait. While they’re in the future, we should be saving these children here. I don’t think we should leave them in… wherever it is they are!”

Shag called for the Sphere of Visions.

“Let us see Mareeya Whitman on… Merchenskazky.”

In the mist that gathered, they saw a young girl sitting on a rock by the sea. She was looking longingly at the sky. It appeared to be Mareeya …except for one detail. In the room, not a word was spoken… probably, because no one knew what to say.



-------------------------End of Chapter 31





posted on 7-Nov-2002 5:21:20 PM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Merschenskazky”

Chapter 32

XXXII


As the individuals in the conference room of the royal palace on Xarius looked at the image of Mareeya in the mist created by the sphere, they were all speechless. It was probably a good five minutes before a word was spoken at all in the room…

“Chanad dro Agorna Sta!” Zorel exclaimed quietly, using an Antarean exclamation that has no equivalent in most other languages. “Oh, man! Wow! …if that’s for real!”

Ceelya sat with her mouth open and a look on her face that defied description as she stared at her older sister in the mist. Diane reached her hand out toward the image, for a moment forgetting that it wasn’t really there. She couldn’t resist the urge to try to touch it to see if it was for real. Even Shag and Maya were stunned. Despite all that they had experienced in 12,000 years of living, nothing had prepared them for this.

“Portal!” Shag said after a few more moments. “Take us to where Mareeya Whitman, daughter of Alex and Isabel, is right now…” Then he added, “But do not put us in the water.”

Shag stepped through the portal. Zorel quickly stepped through behind him, followed by Dan, Diane, Jim, Kathleen, and Ceelya. They found themselves on a beach beside the rocks. Due most likely to the roar of the surf, Mareeya did not hear them coming and had not yet seen them. Another wave broke on the rocks, spraying a mist of salty sea water over Mareeya and the newly arrived individuals fifteen or twenty feet behind her on the beach. Mareeya looked longingly up at the sky and smiled. Suddenly, a movement by Zorel caught her eye. In a flash, Mareeya was in the water. Within seconds, her head popped back to the surface… a hundred yards away. She looked at the new arrivals momentarily… then dove under the water again.

“Great, now what do we do?” Jim started to say, but before he could finish, Mareeya suddenly popped back out of the water, sliding gently and gracefully onto the rocks she had been on before. She smiled at her younger sister, Ceelya, then at the others but said nothing.

“Mareeya?” Ceelya half asked and half stated with awe in her voice. Reaching out her own hand hesitantly, she touched Mareeya on the arm then ran her hand down Mareeya’s side past her waist and gently, hesitantly, over the tail.

“Oh, Mareeya!” Ceelya shook her head and gasped slightly… “It is real!”

Diane reached out and touched the tail gently, convincing herself that it was real, too.

Ceelya hugged Mareeya, and Mareeya smiled but said nothing.

“Do you know me,” Ceelya asked. Mareeya nodded.

“Do you remember Kathleen and Jim and… and Shag… and Zorel?”

Mareeya nodded and smiled at them.

“Can you talk?” Ceelya asked her sister.

Mareeya looked up at the sky momentarily then strained visibly, making an effort to remember how to speak. She opened her mouth and then, after a moment, seemed to find her voice…

“Yes,” she answered softly.

Ceelya almost fell into the water with delight. She had been so afraid that Mareeya could not speak at all. She stopped and looked at Shaqor as a thought occurred to her…

“How are we going to take her back? Maybe she can’t survive out of the water here. Can she be changed back?”

Without giving Shag a chance to answer any of her questions, she turned back to Mareeya…

“How did this happen, Mareeya?”

Mareeya strained then spoke softly, “After Alyendis… I found myself back on Gadyslar. Hosk sold me to an old man who calls himself Frebel-Ish.”

“Like the story,” Ceelya offered. Mareeya nodded.

“Frebel-Ish, or whoever he really is, brought us here… to this planet.”

“Us? You mean Taz? And Jiba and Drel, too?” Ceelya asked. Mareeya nodded again.

“After we got here, he brought me to this beach. Then he waved his hand over me and changed me into this. Then he just walked away.”

“Oh, Mareeya! What did you do?”

“I waited for a wave to carry me into the water and swam away from the beach. Then… I just did what seemed to come naturally.”

“Do you know what he did with Taz or Jiba and Drel?”

Mareeya shook her head sadly.

“What are we going to do, Shag?” Ceelya asked.

Probably for the first time in at least a thousand years, Shag didn’t have a ready answer.

“I… I don’t know, Ceelya. We can’t take her back like this… We need to find this ‘Frebel-Ish.’ He should be able to change her back. Will you be okay here, Mareeya?”

Mareeya smiled and nodded. “I am fine. This is where I belong… for now…”

Then she added sadly, “But I look up at the sky and at the stars every day, and I wonder which one of them is Antar and if I will ever get to return home… I mean really home! I miss you all… and Mom and Dad…”

Mareeya’s eyes seemed to fill with tears as she spoke. “Find him if you can, Shaqor… please.”

Shag nodded and swallowed hard. “I will, Mareeya,” he promised. “I will.” Then he turned and called for the Sphere of Visions.

“Ask!” The voice said.

“Show us Taz Valenti, son of Kyle and Jeliya of Antar.”

A mist appeared on the beach, and in the mist they saw Taz. He appeared to be carrying a bucket of some kind filled with water down a hill. Shag turned to Mareeya again. “We’ll find them all, Mareeya… and Frebel-Ish, too! I swear it!”

Mareeya smiled. Ceelya thought the smile looked somehow different now. Before, it had been a sad smile. Now, there was the twinkle of real happiness in it.

“Portal!” Shag called. “Take us to Taz Valenti, son of Kyle and Jeliya of Antar.”

The portal appeared and Shag stepped through, followed by the others. They met Taz coming down the hill, carrying a bucket of water.

“Taz!” Jim said, stopping Taz where he was. “What in the World and Antar are you doing?”

“Can’t ye see he’s carrying a pail of water? That’s what he’s doing!” a voice said from behind the group. Jim spun around. A young girl was standing there.

“Don’t tell me…” Jim said. “You would be Jill, I suppose.”

“That’s right, and who would ye be?”

“I’m… nobody that matters to you. I suppose you think he’s Jack?” Jim said, pointing at Taz.

“My goodness, no! You are a most odd man! Jack fell down…”

“…and broke his crown,” Jim said. “Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard the story.”

“Then why did ye ask? I had to get him to take Jack’s place while Jack’s head is mending from the fall.”

Jim stood there for a few seconds. He wasn’t quite sure whether he should strangle the smart-alek little girl or have his head examined. He felt totally ridiculous even talking to her. This couldn’t be happening.

“Taz, come with us,” Jim said, turning to Taz and ignoring the girl.

“I can’t.”

“What do you mean, you can’t? Just put the bucket down…”

“Tis a pail,” the girl corrected sassily. Jim ignored the comment.

“Come with us, Taz. We’re going home… to Antar.”

“I have to carry it down the hill,” Taz said.

“And then what?” Jim asked.

“I go back up and do it again.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s what I do,” Taz answered simply.

Jim didn’t have much patience for this. He grabbed Taz under his arm, set the bucket on the ground, and told Shag to call the portal.

“We can’t take him back like this,” Shag said. Whatever this Frebel-Ish did to him, he needs to undo it.”

“Then let’s find this Frebel-Ish,” Jim said.

“Let’s find Jiba and Drel first,” Shag said.

Jim knew he was right. Wherever Jiba and Drel were, Frebel-Ish had probably done something to them, too. The reasonable thing to do would be to find them first then find this Frebel-Ish and make him change them all back as they belonged at once. If Frebel-Ish knew they were onto him, he might make himself harder to find or disappear completely.

“Okay,” Jim agreed, “But I’m taking him with me.”

Shag looked at Taz and nodded, then he called the portal.

“Take us to Jiba, daughter of Tess and Rayylar of Antar.”

The portal appeared, and Shag stepped through. Jim followed him with Taz in tow. The others followed behind them.

Stepping out of the portal, they found themselves inside a large, dark cave.

“What the!” Dan exclaimed. Everyone looked around. At the back of the cave there was something… it was difficult to see what in the dark. Dan lit the cave with a lighter he carried. Though he never smoked, he always carried the lighter, which was a memento from one of his special ops missions. After the mission had concluded successfully, everyone had been given one, engraved with their names and the code name of the mission. Dan held the small flame up to see what was in the large coffin-like box at the back of the cave. It appeared to be made of glass. As he raised the light over the lid, Kathleen gasped. Then the others looked and gasped, too. The glass coffin contained a body… it was Jiba’s.



------------------------End of Chapter 32





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 13-Nov-2002 10:00:07 PM ]
posted on 8-Nov-2002 4:54:13 AM by Gerry Carr
He he! Well, here's some more of this unusual planet!




posted on 8-Nov-2002 4:55:30 AM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“YarilyaXan and Frebel-Ish”

Chapter 33

XXXIII


Kathleen, Jim, Dan, Diane, Shag, Ceelya, Zorel, and Taz all gazed at the figure in the glass coffin. It was Jiba. She was only fifteen. Lying there in the glass coffin, she appeared perfect, beautiful, flawless in every way… in every exquisite detail.

“Is she… you know…” Zorel tried to ask.

Shag lifted the glass lid and placed the palm of his hand near her nose for several moments then removed his hand slowly and nodded.

“Yes, Zorel.”

Kathleen took Jim’s hand and held it.

“You’re sure, Shag?” Diane asked.

Shag nodded.

“Yes, she’s alive.”

Everyone relaxed. Jim let his breath out. He had been holding it but hadn’t realized it.

“She appears to be in some kind of deep sleep,” Shag said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with her. If I had to guess, of course, I would say that Frebel-Ish had something to do with it.”

“I’d say that Frebel-Ish had everything to do with it,” Jim interjected.

Shag nodded. “You’re probably right, Jim.”

“What do we do now,” Ceelya asked. Can we take her back like this?”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Shag said. “But I also don’t know how we can take her with us to find Frebel-Ish. We’ll have to leave her here till we find that troll and bring him back here to wake her up.”

Diane nodded somberly. Kathleen agreed. Finally, the others reluctantly added their agreement.

“Is this what Jiba is ‘supposed’ to do, Taz,” Jim asked, somewhat more gruffly than he intended to.

“Yes,” Taz said… “I think so…”

Taz winced slightly and seemed uncomfortable with his answer, but the answer remained in his mind all the same, probably due to the ‘changes’ brought about by Frebel-Ish.

“Why is Jiba supposed to sleep? Why are you supposed to carry water down the hill all day long day after day?”

Taz couldn’t answer. He shook his head. “I… I don’t know… we just are. It is what we were made for.”

Jim didn’t know how to answer that. He shook his head. “No, Taz, it’s not. You are Antarian. You were made to be free.”

Taz didn’t answer.

As they spoke, in the flicker of the light, Jim caught a glimpse of another presence in the cave with them… The others saw it, too.

Jim spun around quickly to face the newcomer. It turned out to be a very old and very small man. He looked a lot like a troll… or perhaps one of the seven dwarfs.

“Great!” Jim exclaimed. “Now Rumpelstiltskin’s here!”

The little man burst out laughing. “Rumpelstiltskin? I’m not Rumpelstiltskin! I’m Frebel-Ish!”

Shag put both his hands in front of himself with the palms out in a gesture fully intended to indicate threat to the little man. The little man laughed.

“You can put your hands down. I am not going to hurt you.”

“Like you didn’t hurt her?” Jim asked, indicating Jiba.

“Her?” She’s not hurt.”

“You placed her in a deep sleep for… who knows how long,” Jim said. “That’s ‘hurt!’”

Frebel-Ish seemed perplexed then laughed again. He walked across the floor eyeing the group in the cave. “What do you care about her?”

“She’s Antarian," Jim said… "She’s one of ours. And even if she weren’t…”

“AN-Tarian! What’s this AN-Tarian again?” Frebel-Ish asked seeming to lose his patience.

“It’s what we are,” Zorel said… and what she is.” He indicated Jiba.

The little man seemed confused. “You are biomass replications… all of you? Did Hosk release you on your own with no owner? …No! No! I don’t believe it! Biomass replications do not respond the way you do. They… they are compliant! They are happy and satisfied in my world.”

“Biomass… what?” Jim said, looking at Shag.

Shag thought for a moment… “Frebel-Ish… or whatever your real name is… I am guessing that Hosk sold you these children and told you that they were biomass replications.”

“They are biomass replications,” the little man said. I saw them created. He made them at my request, and I watched as they were made.”

“Hosk must have run them back through his machine,” Kathleen said.

Jim nodded.

“That would make sense for a lot of reasons,” Shag agreed. “Hosk would want them to not have memories of their past, and this… whatever Mr. Frebel-Ish is, wanted something newly-created from scratch with no past…”

“Biomass replications,” the little man repeated. “Very compliant, very happy to conform.”

“Conform to what?” Dan asked. “What is this crazy world?”

The little man laughed again. “Not crazy! Happy! This is MY world! You see this planet? It doesn’t exist.”

“He’s certified!” Jim whispered to Kathleen.

“I have good ears, too,” the little man said. “Go ahead! Try to find this world when you are not here! You will not!”

“We did,” Dan said smiling.

“Mmm… yes…” the little man’s smile disappeared. “How did you find this planet? It lies outside the plane of reality. A space ship would fly right through it but would never see it. It reflects no light in the real universe…”

“And yet we did find it,” Shag said.

The little man seemed agitated. He did not enjoy riddles that he did not initiate or to which he did not know the answers.

“This planet is the planet of the Hjity.”

“What are the Hjity?” Kathleen asked.

“Not are… is!” Frebel-Ish said. I am the Hjity!”

“You? Zorel questioned. “You can’t be a whole race all by yourself.”

“Oh, but I am!” said the little man. I am the Hjity. This is my planet. Just me. I travel throughout the universe cataloguing stories… what you call fairytales,” he said to Jim… “and you call Scostya-Voya,” he said to Shaqor… “and you call Djictyyae Frebel-Ish… Tales of Frebel-Ish,” he said to Zorel… “Yes, I know! I can pull them out of your minds! Then I obtain biomass replications and change them into the characters from your stories. I live among them. I enjoy their antics… their beauty… Everywhere I go my world is… what you would call a fairytale. I created it to be so!”

“Amazing,” Jim said, beginning to feel somewhat impressed in spite of himself.

“Why is your planet called ‘Merschenskazky if you are Hjity,” Jim asked.

The little man began to laugh. “Oh… oh… ho… ho… ho… ho…” He shook his head. “That is the name I gave Hosk. My planet is whatever I call it! But you should recognize that name! It's from your home planet,” he said looking Jim directly in the eyes.

“I’m afraid I don’t,” Jim said.

“Wait a minute,” Diane said… “Marchen… that’s German for fairytales. And Skazky is Russian for fairytales.”

“Yes! Yes!” The little man laughed. Sometimes I call my planet ‘Scostyadjictyyae’ or ‘Mothergooseskazky’ or some other such nonsense. It doesn’t matter. My planet will be here whatever I choose to call it. And I can call myself Frebel-Ish if I wish to, because he is the teller of all fairytales.”

“Well, there is one little problem with your planet,” Ceelya said, stepping forward to face the little man. The little man became silent. He was unaccustomed to anyone stepping forward into his space so boldly.

“What would that be?”

“You bought Antarians from Hosk… slaves! Not biomass replications!”

The little man shook his head. “No! No! That is impossible! I saw them created!”

“No,” Shag said, stepping forward, too. “You saw a trick. Hosk used the machine to steal the memories of these young people and sell them to you as replications.”

Frebel-Ish shook his head, but more slowly this time. He was beginning to understand what had happened.

"Can you prove that they are AN-Tarian, Xarian? If you can…"

Shag nodded. "Wake her up."

The little man gazed at Jiba lying in her glass coffin… "I enjoy watching YarilyaXan as she sleeps. She is so beautiful. I can look at her beautiful face… I can touch her…"

"Don't," Jim said threateningly as the little troll began to reach a hand into the glass box. The little man stopped for a moment, then, with a sigh, removed his hand. He waved his hand over the coffin, and Jiba began to stir. She yawned, then her eyes fluttered momentarily and opened. She looked around then sat up…

“Where am I?”

“You are in your cave, my dear YarilyaXan,” the little man said. “You are waiting for the prince to come and discover the secret to awaken you.”

Kathleen stepped forward and took Jiba’s hand in hers… “Jiba, do you remember me? Do you remember Ceelya or Zorel?”

Jiba seemed confused. She put her face into her hands momentarily. Then she lifted her head… “Aunt Kathleen? Jim? Ceelya?” She looked at each of them then smiled. “What am I doing here… dressed in this long gown?”

“It’s a long story,” Jim said with a chuckle. “We’ll help you remember, though.” He turned to the man calling himself Frebel-Ish… “Satisfied?” The little man looked crestfallen.

Jim pulled Taz to him. “You need to undo whatever you did to this one, too.”

The little troll looked at Taz… “My replacement Jack! …Ohhhh… Alright…” He waved a hand, and Taz felt his head clear.

“Do you know who you are now,” Jim asked him.

Taz nodded.

“Who are you?”

“Taz Valenti.”

“What are your parents’ names?”

“Kyle… and Jeliya. I have a brother, Rayyn.”

“Okay,” Jim said, letting him go. “I was getting tired of holding onto you to keep you from going back and climbing up that hill for another pail of water.”

Kathleen snickered.

“What?” Jim questioned.

“You’ve been fighting that… and calling it a bucket. Now you said pail.”

Jim reddened slightly… “Fairytales are never gonna be the same again,” he said.

“There are two more,” Shag said to Frebel-Ish.

“Which ones?”

“A young mermaid girl…”

“Ohhhh… Not my little mermaid!”

“…and a boy, Drel, who is with Doctor Aybolit.”

The little man nodded.

“Portal!” Shag called. “Take us to Mareeya Whitman, daughter of Alex and Isabel of Antar.”

They stepped through the portal… and, one by one, fell directly into the sea. Shag was the first to pop back up. Mareeya was sitting on her rock and laughing with her hand over her mouth. She reached her hand out to try to help them onto the rock with her.

“Shornyatscha sphere!” Shag exclaimed.

“What’s that, Shag?” Jim asked, pushing his wet hair back and climbing onto the rocks. Jim turned and helped Kathleen and the others onto the rock with him.

Shag shook his head… “The sphere of the portal… sometimes you have to be very specific with it. It has a sort of twisted sense of humor. Somewhere in there, it’s laughing at us swimming out here.”

“Would it hurt us, Shag?” Dan asked.

“Naw… it would never do anything that would hurt me. It’s favorite joke is to dunk me in the water. I can practically hear it chuckling to itself.”

“It likes you, Shag! Twelve thousand years of service! I guess it feels comfortable with that little joke. Ceelya can dry us all off… if she will.” Ceelya nodded and smiled.

Jim pulled the little man out of the water.

“Well, here she is,” Jim said. “Turn her back.”

The little man hesitated. “I want to hear her sing one more time,” he said… “She’s the best singer of all the mermaids I’ve ever had.”

Jim was about to insist, but the sound of a hauntingly beautiful melody stopped him. Mareeya was singing. It did not sound like a human voice at all. It was lovely, beautiful, almost angelic. The air all around them seemed to suddenly ring with the sound; and everything, even the surf, seemed to become quiet and listen.

When she was finished, Ceelya hugged her sister…

“That was so beautiful,” she said over and over and over again.

“Yes, it was,” Zorel said with genuine awe and absolute honesty in his voice. “Could you put that on a music ring?”

Kathleen hugged Mareeya. “Mareeya, if I had a voice like that…”

Mareeya smiled widely… “I’ll remember it… but I want to go home… as me.”

Kathleen nodded. Jim motioned to the little man. He waved a hand, and Mareeya’s legs returned. The little man apparently had the forethought to give her clothing, but it was a simple dress, too short, and tattered. Somehow, it seemed appropriate for a former mermaid.

Mareeya ran onto the beach, jumped up and down, wriggled her toes in the warm sand, and spun around and around, looking like a pixie as she spun in her tattered little dress. The others watched for a few minutes, as Mareeya celebrated the return of her legs and feet with a ballet in the sand. Then Shag called the portal.

“Take us to Drel, son of Tess and Rayylar of Antar… And sphere… Don’t put us out in the water if he’s anywhere near water!”

Jim and Dan both chuckled… then everyone stepped through the portal.



------------------------End of Chapter 33






[ edited 1 time(s), last at 13-Nov-2002 9:58:19 PM ]
posted on 10-Nov-2002 8:07:22 PM by Gerry Carr
Antarians Shed Tears Too


“Doktor Ayboleet”

Chapter 34

XXXIV


“Well, at least it’s dry land,” Shag said, as he stepped through the portal.

He may have spoken somewhat hastily; no sooner had they stepped out of the portal than a misty spray blew over the group.

“Are there geysers around here?” Jim asked.

Shag looked around. They appeared to be on a very small island in the middle of the sea. There was water all around them.

“I think this island’s sprung a leak,” Diane said, as another spray of water shot up into the air.

Shag pursed his lips tightly realizing the reality of their situation.

“Sphere! I don’t call this ‘dry land!’” he exclaimed, addressing his comment to nowhere in particular. Indeed, the group found itself on the back of a large whale that lay sunning on the surface of the sea. It only took a few moments for the others to realize this fact as well.

Diane sat down. “Oh…! My…! God! What do we do if he decides to dive?”

Mareeya smiled and patted the behemoth on the head. “I don’t think she’s going to do that. This old girl’s a friend of mine.”

“Oh, yeah…” Kathleen said. “You were a mermaid!”

“Well, I think it’s pretty cool,” Zorel exclaimed looking around him… “as long as she stays on the surface.”

“So where is Drel… and where is Doktor Ayboleet?” Jim asked.

-Jim had asked the million-dollar questions-

Shag nodded. “Yes, I would like to know that, too, SPHERE,” he said, emphasizing that last word. At that moment, the whale opened its mouth. It was gigantic. As they watched, a white-haired, elderly gentleman carrying an umbrella climbed out of the whale’s mouth and onto its back. He reached back and helped a much younger individual to climb up, too. The second individual appeared to be no more than ten to twelve years old.

“Drel! Are you alright?” Kathleen exclaimed at the sight of the boy.

Drel looked at Kathleen and smiled. “I’m fine. Who are you?”

“Da! That would be the question I would ask, too,” said the older man… “Kto vi… fcye?”

“What the blazes were you doing in a whale’s mouth,” Jim asked.

“Zoobnaya bol,” said Doktor Ayboleet. My assistant and I were taking care of our patient.”

“What? Soup bowl? What did he say?”

“I think he’s saying the whale had a toothache, Jim,” Diane said. "Zoob is Russian for tooth."

Jim bristled. “You’ve got to be kidding! What kind of crazy world…”

He was interrupted by the little man who called himself Frebel-Ish…

“My world!” The little man said with a very big smile.

“Yes, of course… I forgot! …Your world,” Jim said nodding.

Shag and Kathleen both laughed. Then Dan and the others began to laugh, too.

“My life is never going to be the same!” Jim exclaimed. Then, unable to help himself, he began to laugh, too.

With both himself and the boy safely on top of the whale’s back, Doktor Ayboleet turned his attention to the newcomers…

“Privyet! Ca’dyela?”

“Private cadillac…? huh?” Jim scratched his head.

Diane snickered. "No, Jim. He said, ‘Greetings, How’s it going?’”

Jim winced. “Oh! Cadillac’s… uh, just fine… I guess…”

“What am I saying; I’m losing my freakin’ mind!”

Diane laughed. “You’ll get used to it, Jim!”

"Losing my mind?"

"No… Russian! And this fairytale planet that Mister Frebel-Ish has created."

"I don't know, Diane! I'm sort of a reality based guy."

"Oh yeah! The guy who drives around with a pawgor hanging out the window of his car?"

Jim looked at Diane and started to smile again in spite of himself. "Okay, okay… so I've got my little eccentricities, too."

Jim turned to Drel… “Drel, do you remember who you are?”

“I’m Doktor Ayboleet’s assistant,” Drel answered. “We travel around making all the animals well…”

“But do you remember… No, I guess you don’t,” Jim said. “Frebel!”

The little man waved his hand over Drel, and Drel looked around him at his surroundings and at those present.

“Oh, wow!”

He smiled at his sister, Jiba, then looked at Zorel…

“Zorel! You’re here, too? Cool! You won’t believe what I’ve got to tell you about all the things we’ve done!”

“Yeah! Pretty cool!” Zorel agreed. “I want to hear all about it!”

“Did you guys come to take me home?”

Kathleen smiled and nodded. “That we did, Drel!

Drel grinned.

“Well, now I shall need a new assistant,” Doktor Ayboleet said to Frebel-Ish.

The little man nodded. “I will have to find someone new to provide biomass replications. And as for Hosk…” The little man didn’t finish this sentence.

“Can we send you somewhere through the portal?” Shag asked the little man.

Frebel-Ish sat down and put his arms around his knees.

“No, thank you. I will enjoy sitting here and thinking while Missy takes me home.” He rubbed his hand gently over the whale’s back and smiled.

Shag nodded. “Well, it has been… interesting! Thank you for your cooperation and… for showing us some of your wonderful and fantastic planet.”

Frebel-Ish smiled very broadly. The compliment seemed to strike a chord in him that he was unaccustomed to feeling, living alone as he did with only his biomass replications.

“Come back and visit! You must come back! You have not seen even the smallest part of what I have created here! I guarantee that you will enjoy it!”

“I have no doubt of that at all,” Shag said smiling.

Diane, Kathleen, and all the others nodded in agreement. Zorel was particularly enthusiastic.

Jim turned to Doktor Ayboleet… “How are you getting back? Do you intend to ride this whale, too?”

“Oh, no! I am traveling by air, as usual,” Doktor Ayboleet said.

Just then, a very large eagle flew over. Doktor Ayboleet called to it, and it settled on the back of the whale. Doktor Ayboleet climbed on…

“Da Svidanya, amigos!”

Jim grinned. “Amigos, now, is it?”

“I’m off to the Caribbean,” Doktor Ayboleet said. Someone has a problem with ze cucarachas in hees beard.”

Dan shook his head… “Don’t ask. I'm not.”



--------------------------End of Chapter 34






[ edited 1 time(s), last at 10-Nov-2002 8:15:33 PM ]
posted on 12-Nov-2002 8:42:50 PM by Gerry Carr
Children of the Universe


“The Rise to Power of President Kryys Guerin”

Chapter 35

XXXV


On the planet Alyendis, once known as Earth, it is the year 7,278, and Max, Liz, Michael, Maria, Alex, Isabel, Kyle, Jeliya, Tess, and Rayylar are there, in the future, searching for their missing children. Kryys Guerin, now 53 years old, is president -not of the USA… the USA, as such, doesn’t exist any more- but of the World, Alyendis. They have just learned that Lieutenant Jasper killed Mareeya, Taz, Jiba, and Drel forty years before, shortly after bringing them to Alyendis. Still in shock from this revelation, they learned that when Kryys replaced the threads of time around the planet, the deaths of their children were probably reversed; but Kryys has no idea what became of them after that. He knows that their graves are no longer there, and he suspects that they may have returned to Hosk’s hands.

After recovering somewhat from the shock of these revelations, the group had many questions for Kryys. If it seemed odd to Michael and Maria that Kryys was older than they were in this time, it didn’t seem to matter. Michael thought about it and realized that age was irrelevant. Kryys was -always would be- his cherished son. Nothing could change that, least of all age or years. Maria had already come to the same conclusion, not that either of them had considered even for a moment any other possibility. They simply realized that it was so.

“So… how did you become president, Kryys,” Maria asked, “…if it wasn’t because you saved the World from the disaster that Lieutenant Jasper created?”

Kryys raised his eyebrows slightly and opened his hands in an I’m-not-sure-I-really-know-myself gesture… “I was just twelve or thirteen when I put the threads of time back like they belonged, so I couldn’t be president. And putting the threads all back in their original places had consequences. Everything Lieutenant Jasper had done or owned reverted. He wasn’t rich anymore. Rhode Island wasn’t his personal estate. Everything he had done changed back to the way it had been before he changed it… and, of course, he didn’t kill Mareeya, Taz, Jiba, and Drel.”

Tess leaned over and kissed Kryys on the cheek. She whispered, “Thank you,” then gently wiped the tears she had left on his cheek off with her fingertips.

Kryys smiled back and nodded knowingly.

“Lieutenant Jasper, when he saw what had happened, ordered me to put the threads back the way they had been again.”

Maria gasped. “You didn’t… right?”

Kryys shook his head. “I escaped from Jasper and ran. Without money or connections, he had no resources to search for me. I decided not to reveal to anyone that I had been responsible for Alyendis being saved. It wouldn’t have mattered. Nobody remembered it being messed up except Jasper and me. Jasper left the planet while I did what I had to do. He didn’t want to be there if I destroyed the Earth with what I was doing. Since he wasn’t there, his memory somehow wasn’t affected by the changes that occurred when I fixed it, but all his riches and former actions on Alyendis were wiped out.”

“Where did you go,” Michael asked.

“I just ran at first. I got a little money doing odd jobs for people… raking leaves, shoveling snow, mowing grass… you know, whatever I could do and not look suspicious. I earned enough to eat. I slept where I could.

Maria gasped again. “Oh, Kryys!”

Kryys shrugged. “I survived. I did have a little bit of an advantage, though. There are some muggers who could vouch for that.” He grinned.

“I want to hear about it, Kryys,” Michael said. “What happened?”

“Well… I had been raking leaves and mowing grass all day, and I had seen these four thugs watching me. They knew that I didn’t have a home, and they followed me back to where I was staying. They surrounded me and started shoving me back and forth between them, demanding I give them my money and laughing. Then one of them pulled out a knife and plunged it into my heart.”

Maria’s eyes went wide, and she would have gasped again, but her breath caught in her throat.

“What happened,” Rayylar asked, leaning forward in his seat, his eyes almost as wide as Maria’s.

“I changed into molecules. Then I sort of took him apart molecule by molecule and released his molecules into the air. The others watched for a few moments then ran for their lives. I never saw them again.”

“They’re probably still running!” Kyle said. Alex grinned and nodded.

“Omigod, Kryys, that’s so scary!” Isabel said. “Weren’t you scared?”

“I guess not, really,” Kryys said. “It was more of an annoyance. I knew I could defend myself, but I was annoyed at being treated that way and didn’t like it.”

“Who would?” said Tess.

“Anyway, after that, I realized that I was going to need more than just the ability to survive, so I turned myself in at the police station and told them that I had been kidnapped from another planet and taken through time and didn’t know how to get home.”

“Did they believe you?” Jeliya asked.

Kryys nodded. “I guess so. Alyendis had been trading with other planets for over a thousand years already by then, so it wasn’t beyond the realm of believability. I told them about Lieutenant Jasper, where he was, and that he was the kidnapper. And they arrested him.”

“Did you tell them what he did to the Earth,” Maria asked, “…or what you did to save it?”

Kryys shook his head. “No. I kept that to myself, and Jasper never mentioned it, either, for obvious reasons. But it turned out he was wanted on a number of warrants already for other crimes, so the authorities were glad to get him. They just added kidnapping to his charges.”

“Good!” Maria said. “I hope he got put away forever!”

“Pretty much,” Kryys said nodding. “They had a lot on that guy.”

“What happened after that,” Alex asked.

“Well… I went into a government home for orphans for the next five years.”

Maria put her hands over her face, and tears welled up in her eyes. A huge lump caught in her throat.

“It wasn’t so bad, really. I studied, went to high school, got a scholarship to Harvard…”

“Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Just a minute!” Michael stopped him. “You got a scholarship to Harvard?”

Kryys nodded. Maria beamed. Michael seemed initially bemused… then he grinned. “Well, I guess you do take after your old man.”

Maria nudged Michael in the ribs with an elbow, smiling. “Get real, Michael! Roswell High may still remember you, but I’m sure it’s not for academic skill.”

“I was a pretty good artist,” Michael corrected.

Maria kissed him. “That you were… and are… And you were smart enough to marry me, so I’ll give you that.” She grinned.

“So you went to Harvard, huh?” Michael said to Kryys. “Did you… you know… do okay?”

Kryys shrugged. “I guess so… I was Valedictorian.”

Maria, already sitting on the edge of her seat, fell off with a thump onto the floor. Michael helped her up.

“What happened?”

“Sorry,” she said, turning slightly red.

“He was Valedictorian,” Michael repeated in case Maria had missed it.

“Do you even know what a Valedictorian is?” Maria asked.

“It’s the person who gives a speech at graduation… so?”

“And how does that person get chosen?”

“Everybody votes, I guess… like most popular…”

Maria nodded, “You made my point.”

Liz, always the studious one, the one who once said she wanted to be head of the molecular physics department at Harvard when she grew up, sat with her mouth open, unable to think of anything to say but, “Way to go, Kryys!”

“After graduation, I started my own law firm, got married, sold my law firm after a few years, then ran for Governor and after that for President…”

Maria stopped him this time. “I knew when I saw your son that he had to be… you know… he had Michael’s eyes.”

Kryys smiled and nodded. “I always said he had my Dad’s eyes.

“Where’s your wife?” Isabel asked.

Kryys smiled slightly, as though appreciating a memory. He looked down at the floor then up… “She died fifteen years ago.” Kryys stopped for a few moments to swallow a lump that had come into his throat. “The sad thing is, only two years after she died, we found a cure for the Vorian flu.”

“I’m so sorry,” Isabel said, “I didn’t know.”

Kryys shook his head. “It’s alright.”

“Vorian flu?” Liz questioned. “What is that? I never heard of it.”

“Way after your time,” Kryys said. “…in your future. It’s an insidious, virulent form of influenza that began on the planet Vorus about twenty-five years ago. It killed hundreds of thousands of Vorians and spread to several hundred other planets before we found the cure fifteen years ago. Now it’s no more serious than a mild cold. But the toll it took before the cure was found was terrible.”

Kryys wiped the corner of his eye with the back of his index finger.

“To tell you the truth, except for my son and his family, I would give everything up to get back the life I lost, the chance to grow up at home with my real parents, my brother and my sister. Those are the things that matter in life. The rest is just… I don’t know…”

For a couple of awkward minutes, no one spoke. No one quite knew what to say.

“Well,” Kryys said after some time had passed, “that’s pretty much the story of my life. There’s not much more to tell.”

“I’ll bet there’s a lot there that you could tell,” Alex said. “You’ve been through a lot, and you don’t even think of it as unusual.” Alex smiled at Kryys, seeming to understand what lay behind the dispassionate face across from him.

Kryys motioned toward the inside door… “I asked my staff to prepare a special dinner. I hope you’ll join me.”

Maria and Michael both nodded. They looked at the others; they nodded, too.

“I can’t think of anything we’d rather do,” Michael said with a smile.

Kryys led the group to the White House dining room. For the next two hours, they talked about Antar and about Kryys’ rise to the presidency. It wasn’t nearly long enough for Maria… or for Michael. But it filled both of their hearts with a joy that they had not imagined. It would have to do. They still had to find the other children. Kryys, perhaps more than anyone, understood that only too well.



--------------------------End of Chapter 35





posted on 14-Nov-2002 3:36:17 AM by Gerry Carr
Children of the Universe


“The Homecoming”

Chapter 36

XXXVI


As the new granilith glided smoothly back across time and seven galaxies toward Antar, leaving streaks of starlight along its path, the group talked about Kryys and the other children, unaware that Shaqor, Dan, Diane, Jim, Kathleen, Zorel, and Ceelya had found the others already and rescued them from the fairytale planet of the Hjity.

But it was Kryys who commanded their thoughts at this moment.

“You know…” Michael said pensively, “We went to the year 7,278, and we know now that that was a mistake, because Kryys actually got there 40 years earlier, in 7,238. But we could still go to 7,238 and rescue him and bring him home. He would be… what? Thirteen years old?”

No one answered immediately. Finally, Maria broke the silence…

“But do we have that right now, Michael? I mean… he has a son who is grown and married. Kryys was married himself, and his wife died. He’s the President of… of all of Earth. Can we rightfully change these things? I really want to bring him back, too. God, you don’t know how badly! But I don’t… I don’t know if it’s right. Can we just undo his whole life? …Pretend that it never happened?”

There was a long silence. No one had an answer for Maria’s question. At end, it was Liz who spoke…

“I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but there are different ways one can look at it. What if we had gone to 7,238 in the first place? We never would have known what was in Kryys’ future, and we would have brought him home. Would that have been wrong?”

“No, of course not,” Michael said.

Maria shook her head, too, but clearly, she was still bothered by the question.

“Another thought,” Liz said, “…if we did go to 7,238 and rescue Kryys now, the future that we just saw would never happen. Can it be wrong to change something if it never happened yet?”

Liz was grasping at straws, but more than that, she was exploring the puzzle that is “time” and its moral implications. She wasn’t sure what she actually believed. But she thought that the questions should be explored. It was a mental exercise… but it was for Kryys, too.

“Besides,” Liz continued, “Maybe Lieutenant Jasper screwed up Kryys’ future, and by going back and rescuing him, we might be correcting it. Maybe Kryys was intended to have a whole different future. Isn’t that why Michael and Max rescued us after Earth was destroyed?”

The others were listening, but there was no absolute answer… none that any of them could provide anyway. Certainly, Max and Michael had not debated the “right or wrong” of changing time when they saved the World and brought Liz and Maria and the others back to Antar; but then, the option was to leave them all dead, since Kivar had destroyed the Earth, and that option didn’t appeal to Max and Michael at all. The case of Kryys now seemed more complicated… excruciatingly complicated.

“Couldn’t there be a problem with changing time,” Kyle asked, “when it was positive? I mean Kryys’ being President and fixing the threads of time, Jasper’s getting arrested… Those were all good things.”

“But did it ever happen really?” Liz asked. “If you think about it, we’re on our way back to our own time now, so what we just experienced with Kryys and his whole life there has not happened yet. It’s in the future… from where we are now and from where we are going…”

”I’m getting a headache,” Maria said sadly.

Unfortunately, all the justification in the world wasn’t enough. The logic of Liz’s arguments was clear and undeniable, but so was the feeling that there was something more… time sometimes did not seem logical, at least once it had been manipulated. And Lieutenant Jasper had manipulated it.

Kryys existed in another time now -maybe even belonged there- precisely because he had repaired the threads of time there. That very act was an act that belonged in that future time. Kryys himself explained it at the table when they were dining earlier… If he had never existed in that future time, how could the threads of time have been repaired, since it was he who repaired them? Once he fixed the timeline, he should never have been there at all, since he was not of that time; but if he had never been there, the timeline could not have been fixed. It was a paradox. Any way one looked at it, Kryys got left behind in the future when he repaired the threads of time.

Maria sighed.

“Let’s find Taz… and Mareeya… and Jiba and Drel. Then we can think about what is right for Kryys. I guess he’s fine for now… he’s the president, he’s got a son and a daughter-in-law… We don’t know about the others… They may need our help.”

Everyone realized that Maria was right. There was nothing that could be accomplished by beating themselves up, at the moment, over something that didn’t seem to have a solution. They would return to it later. There were others to think about.


----------


A scant few hours later, the new granilith maneuvered itself gracefully into the Jantoo-Bandy laboratory through the open sliding roof and came to rest on its anti-gravity repulsor lock system. Michael passed his hand over the handprint on his side of the console, and the engines settled into silence. He looked at the others and smiled slightly. It was a tired smile, one that carried with it some joy but also an overbearing burden. The others returned the same smile, and everyone headed for the ascension chamber to disembark.

The group transported down together then hopped into a waiting, open-top, lab hover car. Once the car had cleared the new granilith, Max touched a symbol on his wristband, and the ship settled to its usual long-term resting height, about three feet off the floor. The car then proceeded to the other side of the lab, where Varec and several other scientists were waiting for them.

Alex thought to himself that Varec seemed terribly happy to see them; but he didn’t know why this should strike him as at all strange. After all, Varec was always glad to see them when they returned and always happy. But something struck Alex as being different this time. He just couldn’t say what.

“Welcome back, Zan! Michael! Alex! Isabel! Kyle! Maria! Liz! Jeliya…” Varec went down the line, welcoming each one back in his usual friendly and thorough way. Then he motioned to someone waiting out of sight. They watched as several individuals emerged from the darkness into the light. Isabel gasped as she recognized Mareeya walking toward them with Ceelya. From the very beginning, Isabel had tried to maintain a certain stoicism in the face of what she knew in her heart might be disaster. She did not wish to be destroyed emotionally if Mareeya was not found alive; indeed, she had not thought that she would be so affected when they finally found Mareeya -assuming they found her, of course- but suddenly, without the least warning, tears simply began to flow from her eyes, and she sobbed uncontrollably as both Mareeya and Ceelya put their arms around her and Alex, whose eyes were not very much dryer.

“Mareeya… How? Where? Omigod! Let me see you… No… just let me hold you!” Isabel cried through the tears. Isabel had built a dike to hold in her feelings. No longer needed, the dike had broken, and the flood came pouring out in a torrent.

Tess, like everyone else at the moment, was watching Mareeya and Isabel when she noticed two more children emerge from the dark. They were younger than the children of any of the others of the group. It had to be… It could only be… Drel! …and Jiba! Tess ran across the remaining distance between them and, dropping onto her knees, scooped them both up into her arms, burying her face in Jiba’s hair as her tears ran down Jiba’s face and shoulder. Rayylar was right behind her. Tess kissed Jiba then Drel and hugged them both to her, rocking them from side to side.

The only one still missing was Taz Valenti. Kyle and Jeliya looked around in anguish, waiting to see if Taz would be there, too. Then another boy walked out. It was Zorel Guerin. Kyle and Jeliya’s older boy, Rayyn, who had been found before they left, was with Zorel… and with them was Taz. Zorel smiled, and Taz ran into Kyle and Jeliya’s arms.

If anyone had walked into the lab at that moment, they would have thought that some major disaster had just occurred given all the tears that were flowing. There wasn’t a dry eye in the whole lab, even among the scientists who were watching.

It was homecoming.



---------------------------End of Chapter 36





posted on 15-Nov-2002 5:45:28 AM by Gerry Carr
Children of the Universe


“The Escapee”

Chapter 37

XXXVII


The homecoming of Mareeya, Taz, Jiba, and Drel meant that the last of the children of the royal family and friends had been found. That night, they spent the night in their own homes… on Antar… except for Kryys Guerin. Kryys was still on Alyendis in the future year 7,278. But Michael and Maria knew that he was safe, and they had ample reasons to be very proud of their son. It wasn’t the same as having him home, but perhaps it was the next best thing. They still had not given up totally on the idea of bringing him back. But for now… This was as close as they would get to the night that they had all wished and longed for these past nine years.

The next morning, Max, Michael, Alex, Liz, Maria, Jim, Kathleen, Dan, and Diane returned to Xarius through the portal. The royal palace on Xarius still looked like a royal interplanetary day care for the children of the universe. As Max, Michael and the others walked down the hallway, they were greeted by the lilting musical “hello’s” of the “fern children,” who floated by, accompanied by their little “eyeball” friends playfully peeking shyly through their fronds. Most of the other children were still there, too. It would take time for all the children to be picked up or to be returned through the portal once they knew where to return each one. For now, all Shag could do was hire a sort of substitute mother staff to help take care of his new and unique brood.

Max, Michael, and the other Antarians met Shag and Maya in the conservatory, where they all sat down to talk.

“We’ve got a small problem,” Shag began. “Nothing to worry too much about I don’t think, but a problem nevertheless.”

“What’s that?” Michael asked.

“Hosk escaped last night.”

Liz and Maria both gasped. Michael leaned forward instantly in his seat…

“How?”

“Seems his Ghor physician sneaked him out and off the planet on his personal ship while everyone was asleep.”

“Physician! You mean that perverted quack that was here to rub anti-swelling ointment on his…”

“Yeah, that’s the one,” Shag said quickly, cutting him off.

“Well… we should be able to find him again,” Max said plainly. “Where can he go? Pretty much the whole universe is his sworn enemy now. I don’t know where he can hide. And he knows you plan to send Ghorbidfael through the portal to nowhere land any day now, so I don’t think he’ll go back there.”

Shag nodded. “Good point! Besides, I think the Sphere of Searches can probably locate him.”

“Unless he’s in a different time,” Michael corrected.

“Can he do that?” Maria asked.

“No… I don’t think so,” Michael said. “The new granilith was specially designed by Varec. The ability to time travel doesn’t exist in our time as far as I know except in the new granilith… or with the spheres…”

Shag called for the Sphere of Searches.

“Ask!”

“Find Hosk, the slave trader from Ghorbidfael.”

There was a moment’s silence, then the sphere answered, “Hosk is in sector 13X at these coordinates.” A star map appeared in front of them with coordinates indicated by a small bright light.

“Is he on a ship?” Michael asked.

“I cannot answer that,” the sphere replied.

“Why not?”

“Insufficient data… confusing data.”

“Is he on a planet?”

“I cannot answer that,” the sphere repeated.

“Okay,” Michael said, as he pointed at the lighted spot on the star map… “We go here and find him… wherever ‘here’ may be.

Max nodded.

“Portal!” Shag called, “Take us to these coordinates to find Hosk, the slave trader from Ghorbidfael.”

As an afterthought, he added, “and if he’s near water, we do not wish to get wet!” Max and Michael both snickered.

The friends all stepped through the portal and into the middle of a field of grass and flowers.

“Well, this is bucolic,” Max said, mixing the English word in with his Antarian, as he frequently did when talking to Michael and others who understood both languages.

“Say what?” Michael looked at Max quizzically.

“You know… pastoral, peaceful… serene.”

“Oh… yeah, it is,” Michael agreed. “I thought you meant like the plague.”

“That’s bubonic,” Diane said.

“Oh, yeah… right!” Michael nodded.

The group gazed at the flowered fields and the nearby woods. As they looked around, a group of seven little dwarfs emerged from the woods about a hundred yards away and marched back into the woods again a little further across the field.

“Tell me they weren’t just singing, ‘Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho…?’” Michael asked incredulously.

Kathleen nodded and grinned.

Michael and Max turned around slowly, taking in their surroundings. On the other side of the field was a very large shoe… a shoe with a smoking chimney… and a porch… and an old woman sitting in a chair on the porch peeling a bowl of rather small, poor-looking potatoes… or trying to, anyway! Children of every age were crawling all over her.

Max looked at Michael imploringly.

Michael shook his head. “Don’t ask me! I haven’t a clue!”

“I do,” Jim said… “And I don’t believe it!”

“Believe it!” Diane said. “It’s for real!”

“Why would Hosk come here?” Liz asked.

“Because,” Dan said, “this planet is out of synch with… what did that little troll call it? …the plane of reality? Hosk probably figures we won’t be able to find him here.”

Shag nodded.

“Well, where do we start looking,” Max asked.

“Obviously not in this field,” Michael answered. “All I’ve seen here is seven dwarfs singing ‘Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho’ and something that looks like the old woman who lived in a shoe and all her kids…”

“You got it,” Diane said with a smile. “That’s who she is.”

Michael looked at Diane… “You’re joking, right?”

Diane shook her head.

What is this? …Disneyland of the universe?”

“Something like that,” Kathleen nodded. “…the really exclusive version.”

“Sheese! How many children…?” Michael didn’t finish his question.

Kathleen was counting. “I think the nursery rhyme said, ‘…so many children she didn’t know what to do’ is all I remember… I see thirty, no… thirty-two… maybe more.”

“Now that’s a full house! …or should I say shoe?" Max said with a grin.”

"They're all biomass replications," Kathleen said, "so they're supposed to be 'compliant and happy' according to Frebel-Ish.”

"She doesn't look happy," Michael grinned.

“I guess we need to find ‘Frebel-Ish,’ Jim said. “He might be able to help us find Hosk if Hosk really is on this planet.”

Suddenly getting that uneasy feeling, Max spun around…

“Where the galaxies did you come from?”

The little man standing behind him laughed. “This is my planet! I am everywhere… when I want to be there.”

“Well try not being behind me when I don’t know you’re there!” Max said, regaining his composure. “It could be dangerous for you!”

The little man laughed but did not seem concerned.

Diane grinned… “Max, Michael, Liz, Maria, and Alex… meet Frebel-Ish.”

Michael looked at the little man for a moment and smiled slightly as though someone were trying to pull something over on him…

“Frebel-Ish? …The teller of fairytales? You might as well tell me he’s… Mother Goose!”

“But here I am,” said the little man.

“He’s not really ‘the’ Frebel-Ish,” Jim said. “He just calls himself that.”

Jim suddenly realized what he had said. “I mean… not that there really is a ‘real’ Frebel-Ish, but, you know… I mean… He’s not him.”

“I got you,” Max said. “So who are you?” Max asked the little man.

“I am the Hjity. I am whoever I wish to be.”

“Apparenty, he’s the only representative of his race, called the Hjity,” Diane said. “This is his planet, and he has chosen to turn it into a cosmic Disneyland for his own amusement.”

“Amazing,” Max said, looking around and nodding. “Why not?”

“Yes! Why not, indeed!” the little man said with a grin. “My characters are my companions! They keep me company! And I am never bored!”

Max shook his head and smiled. “Okay… We came here to look for a Ghor slave trader named Hosk. I don’t suppose you would have seen him?”

The little man smiled. “Oh, that I have! That I have!”

Michael and Max both perked up instantly. “Where?” Max asked.

“Right there,” the little man said, motioning toward the shoe.

“I don’t see Hosk,” Max said. “I just see the old woman who lived in a shoe and all her children.”

The little man smiled.

Diane and Kathleen both looked at each other.

“You mean…” Kathleen said… “Hosk is her… I mean, she’s him… Hosk?”

The little man nodded… “Hosk didn’t know that I knew that he had sold me Antarians instead of biomass replications. He came here looking for a place to hide. I needed an old woman for my shoe. I already had the children, so I changed Hosk into the old woman.”

Max, Michael, and the others stood staring at the old woman.

“Can we just leave him like that,” Maria asked.

Liz grinned, and Kathleen nodded her agreement.

“But…” Alex said. “…Isn’t that like against some kind of convention or something?”

“I don’t know,” Michael said. “I could look it up when we get back to Antar. “It might take me some time, though.”

“I suppose I will have to give him to you,” the little man said. “But can I keep him for awhile… just until I can get a biomass replication to replace him?”

Max looked at Hosk. He looked absolutely miserable with more than thirty children to feed and most of them climbing all over him. Apparently, though, he was compelled by the little man’s magic to perform the role in which he had been placed.

“How long will you need him,” Max asked.

“A few months… I don’t know.”

”Well, we didn’t bring him here, after all,” Max said. “He did come of his own will…”

“And he did ask to be hidden,” Shag said. “I’d say he got what he asked for.”

Max nodded.

“Okay. Just until you find a replacement.”

“Don’t feel you have to hurry, though,” Michael added. “We’ll send him along to his planet whenever you’re finished with him.”

The little man smiled.

“Come on,” Max said to the others. “Let’s go home.”

“Come back and see the rest of my planet anytime!” the little man said. “You shall be my guests… and my friends!”

He smiled. Somehow, the little man liked that word. It was a word he didn’t remember ever using before… Yes, indeed! It was a good word! He would have to remember that word and use it more often. He looked forward to the day his “friends” would come back so that he could use it again.



-------------------------End of Chapter 37





posted on 16-Nov-2002 5:55:39 AM by Gerry Carr
Children of the Universe


“Shadows of the Unknown”

Chapter 38

XXXVIII


Back on Xarius, the group walked with Shag through the palace gardens and discussed, informally, the status of the rescue operations. Their own children had all been found, and of those, only Kryys was not home; but of the nearly quarter of a million other Antarian children, only a little more than half had thus far been found. Most of those had been reunited with their families in reunions that had brought tears of joy not only to the parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other relatives and friends of the children but also to those returning them. That had been largely Diane and Dan, though they had often had help from the others, especially Jeliya and Amy.

In the beginning, Kathleen had helped, too, but Kathleen had become such a celebrity on Antar in her own right since she put Hosk in the hospital that whenever she was with the others, she drew large crowds. It seemed that everyone wanted to touch her or kiss her or give her flowers. It was all very heartwarming, but she realized that it would take much longer to return all the children who needed to be returned if she was along.

As Max, Michael, and the others who had returned to Xarius this day walked through the gardens, Liz was surprised by a sudden whoosh of vapors and a flash on the path in front of them. She stopped suddenly.

“What was that?”

Shag grinned. That was another of the children we found on Gadyslar in the lower chambers. I think Max and Michael saw one the first day when they were down there looking for the Antarian children.”

“We did?” Michael asked.

“Oh, yeah!” Max said after a moment… “We saw something that looked like a ball of gasses… no telling what was under there. But we were looking for our kids the first time we were down there. You say you found this one in the lower chambers?”

“This one and six more like him…” Shag said… “or her… I haven’t a clue which one they are.”

Max and the others watched as the small ball of gasses expanded slightly, flashed, and emitted a bit of smoke. Then it stretched itself into a long thin funnel and arched over onto the grass beside the walk. From there, it flashed again and seemed to leap like an ember flying out of a fire, lighting on the branch of a nearby tree. There, it settled down and watched Max, Michael, Liz, and the others.

“Hi,” Michael said, waving at the little mass of vapors on the tree branch. As he looked, he thought he saw two small eyes… and below them, a smile. Michael smiled back.

“I hope they haven’t set anything on fire, Shag.”

“No… I think they’re either able to control that or their flashes are too brief. They haven’t been any problem except for trying to figure out what to feed them. For that, we had to search through Hosk’s books. He didn’t always get everything exactly right, though…”

“Yeah, I know!” Michael said grinning, “He planted the fern children in pots!”

“Exactly! …but somehow he managed to keep all the children alive until they could be sold,” Shag continued “…some of them for years.”

“So what did Hosk feed these… little gas puffs?”

“A soft form of a carbonized mineral.”

“So what you’re telling me is… you have a picnic and the others eat the food and these guys eat the charcoal?”

“Something like that.” Shag grinned. “But they like it powdered and mixed with a small amount of natural tar.”

“Gross!” Maria gagged, laughing. “I don’t guess they have much competition on the food chain!”

Shag laughed. “I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been to their planet. But we do know where their planet is now.”

“Well, that’s good at least,” Max said. “Any other species we haven’t been introduced to yet?”

“A couple… maybe three,” Shag said. “You’ll meet them.”

“That’s kind of what I was afraid of,” Max said joking. As they started to walk again, they heard a splash… then another. Michael pulled the tops of the bushes aside and peered over at the royal palace fountains on the other side, then he looked back at Shag and grinned…

“The dragon children have discovered the fountains. They’re diving off the second floor balcony.”

----------


While Shag and the present group of Antarians were on Xarius discussing the rescued children, another meeting was taking place on the planet Krolus, the planet where the now infamous midnight ray originated.

Premier Strojis of Krolus had summoned Admiral Borkelis, his highest ranking Admiral into his quarters to discuss the Antarians' situation…

“King Zan of Antar and Shaqor of Xarius have done an excellent job of finding the children kidnapped by that renegade Ghor, Admiral. How long do you think before they find them all?”

“You mean if they find them all, don’t you, sir…?”

“Yes, of course… I… I merely wished to be optimistic.”

“We all do. I would guess that, if they continue to find and rescue the Antarian children at the rate they have been… and if they are lucky… possibly in as little as a week… two at the most.”

The Krolian at the head of the table winced. “That could be a problem, Admiral Borkelis.”

“Sir…?" Admiral Borkelis exclaimed with a tone of surprise in his voice. "Then no one has told the Antarians about…?”

Premier Strojis of Krolus shook his head. “No! They do not know about the side effect from the ray.”

“Shouldn’t we tell them, sir… so they can prepare?”

“How? Were we prepared, Admiral? …No. They’ll find out… if they are successful in finding all the children and returning them to Antar. …If not, it won’t matter anyway.”



--------------------------End of Chapter 38






[ edited 1 time(s), last at 18-Nov-2002 5:25:27 AM ]
posted on 19-Nov-2002 6:35:13 AM by Gerry Carr
Thanks for the wonderful feedback, Snowdove! The side effect may not be altogether bad, depending on how you look at it. Anyway, it is necessary to solve a couple of problems. I won't say any more till it happens so as not to spoil the surprise. Here's the next chapter! Hope you like it!




posted on 19-Nov-2002 6:36:17 AM by Gerry Carr
Children of the Universe


“Danger from the Sky”

Chapter 39

XXXIX


Back in the royal palace on Xarius, Max and the others continued their discussion of the best ways to search for the Antarian children who were still missing.

“You know…” Diane said, “It seems to me that, since we have Hosk’s books listing all the children he stole, we might ought to try to find the others after we’ve found all the Antarian children.”

“We’ve found a lot of them already just while we were looking for ours,” Michael said. “I guess you’re right, though… We probably can’t just stop looking after all the Antarian children are found. As long as there are any children in the book who haven’t been found, we’re sort of morally bound to look for them at least.”

“Was Antar the only planet he used the ‘Midnight Cloud’ on?” Kathleen asked.

“I think so,” Shag said. “He would steal two children here, a dozen there, two dozen somewhere else whenever he had the opportunity, but it looks like he didn’t get a chance to use the ray on any other planets after Antar.”

“Lucky for them!” Diane said. “I hope they realize some day what we did for them.”

Kathleen nodded.

At that moment, Kyle burst into the conference room. He was sweating and his eyes spoke volumes before he ever opened his mouth. Max and Michael were already out of their seats…

“Max! You guys need to return to Antar immediately!”

“Why,” Michael asked. “What’s wrong, Kyle?”

“Dragons! Space Defense picked up eighteen Dragon warships heading toward Antar!”

“Warships?” Max seemed stunned. “I thought Dragons didn’t use weapons…”

“They don’t,” Shag said. “But they do invade their enemies on occasion and overrun them. It can be a bloody massacre.”

Max turned somewhat pale. “Liz! Call the portal!”

Liz complied, too stunned to ask any questions. Max, Liz, Kyle, Michael, Maria, Dan, Diane, Kathleen, and Shag all stepped through the portal into the strategic defense chambers at the spaceport on Antar. The young Antarian at the CosmicView port console, a sophisticated piece of technology that somewhat resembled a radar but had far more definition and range, stood immediately and reported to Max…

“Eighteen warships are on a direct intercept course with Antar, Zan. We have identified them as Dragon…”

“Thank you, Vessto. I see them. Have they made any attempt to communicate with us?”

“No, sir! And our communications have not been answered, either. Sir, we have already scrambled Antarian fighters to intercept the intruders once they reach our space.”

Max nodded. “Good. Have our fighters hold in our space. No one is to fire a shot unless I give the order.”

The young tech nodded and contacted the fighter squadron, relaying Zan’s orders.

Michael was looking closely at the digital readouts in Antarian in the margins of the CosmicView port screen…

“They’re out 2000 par-scors. They’ll reach our space in about twenty minutes at this rate.”

“Shag,” Max said, turning to look for Shaqor. “Call the portal, please.”

“Where are you going, Max?” Michael asked.

“The command bridge of the lead ship in the Dragon squadron.”

The young tech’s eyes widened. Michael shook his head. “No, Max, you can’t! We don’t know what they’ll do to you! I won’t allow it!”

“You can’t stop it, Michael…”

Max paused for a moment to look at his lifelong friend… “But, Michael… thanks for trying… if I don’t come back…”

“The Hell you’re not!” Michael said, “I’m coming with you!” Before Max could protest, Michael had stepped into the portal with him. Shaqor rushed in behind them as the portal vanished. On the bridge of the lead Dragon ship, the portal opened, and Max, Michael, and Shaqor stepped out. A score of Dragons surrounded them immediately.

“Maybe you should have thought about this awhile, Max,” Michael said, as all three men raised their hands in defensive postures.

The Dragons stood their ground, but none of them advanced any further on the three men. For a moment, it appeared to be a standoff. Then one Dragon, an impressive-looking six-foot-eight individual who appeared to be the likely captain or admiral or whatever was in charge of the Dragon fleet, stepped into the circle between the other Dragons and the three men. Max swallowed hard but didn’t flinch. All three men held their stances… waiting…

The Dragon captain took another step… then another, bringing himself within striking distance of the three men. Still, they held their stances and their fire. Michael used his shoulder to try to wipe off an annoying drop of sweat that was coursing down his right cheek. The Dragon captain appeared emotionless. It was impossible to know what he was thinking… or planning to do. Michael couldn’t help thinking, as strange as it seemed at this moment, what a great poker player this guy would make. Trying to read him was like trying to read a rock.

The Dragon captain finally decided to speak.

“You are King Zan… of Antar. And you are Michael, the General. And you… you are King Shaqor of Xarius.”

Max wasn’t sure from the intonation if the Dragon captain was asking or stating what he already knew to be facts.

“Yes.”

For a moment, there was no indication of the Dragon captain’s intentions. Then he spoke again…

“We received your message… you have found and rescued some children who disappeared from Drago. Is this true?”

“Yes, it is,” Max said, nodding. He still had not allowed himself to flinch.

“These children… were stolen by Hosk, the Ghor?”

“Yes,” Max said again. “That is correct.”

There was another moment of silence. Then the Dragon captain stretched out his hand to Zan in an open-handed gesture.

“I think he wants to shake your hand, Zan,” Shag said.

Max’s muscles began to relax somewhat. He reached his right hand out and touched the Dragon’s hand… or claw… or whatever it was. It seemed huge compared to Max’s hand. Max laid his hand on the Dragon’s hand, and the Dragon immediately slapped his other hand down on top of Max’s, holding Max’s hand down tightly. For a moment, Max was too surprised to react. Then he realized that the Dragon was smiling… or trying to. Well, it was a smile after all. Max placed his free hand instinctively on top of the Dragon captain’s other hand, and all the Dragons erupted in cheers simultaneously.

Max desperately wished that one of his hands were free right now to wipe the sweat off of his brow, but he held his position -not that at this point he really had a lot of options- and allowed the Dragon captain to make the first moves. The Dragon squeezed Max’s hand, and Max squeezed back. It didn’t quite seem equal, all things considered. The Dragon could easily have crushed Max’s hand with no effort. Max squeezed hard but seemed to have little effect on the Dragon. The Dragon was satisfied. Their friendship had been established.

“We have come to take our children home,” the Dragon captain said. “Please take us to them.”

“They are on Xarius,” Max said. “Shag? How long would it take them to get to Xarius in their ships?”

“Six months… maybe seven.”

Max shook his head. “No… They’re ten minutes away from Antar. We take them to Antar. Then we bring the Dragon children to Antar through the portal.”

Shag nodded. “Sounds good to me. Let’s do it.”

At about this moment, the Dragon ships entered Antarian space and were immediately flanked by Antarian slipstream fighter craft. Two fighters pulled up in front of the lead Dragon vessel in an effort to get a view through the forward window. What they saw almost sent them into a tailspin. Zan stood on the Dragon flagship’s bridge. Beside him stood Michael on one side and Shaqor on the other. Zan saluted the slipstream pilots. They saluted back then proceeded to escort the unlikely visitors to a field at the spaceport.

After all the warships had landed, the captain of the Dragon flagship, who was also the fleet admiral, relayed Zan’s permission to the other vessels for the Dragons to disembark. They were escorted to the conference hall of the strategic defense armory. Seeing the Dragons passing the room where he sat watching his monitor, the young tech stepped out to look. He got one look at the double rows of fangs and serrated teeth coming down the hall and turned pale, stepping back several steps into the room and almost falling over his console.

After all the Dragons were accounted for and officially “welcomed,” they were taken by hovercar to the palace, one of the few places on Antar large enough to accommodate them all comfortably.

The Dragons seemed immensely impressed with the palace, its gardens and architecture. They seemed to want to see everything. Max hoped everything would still be in one piece when the Dragons left, but he decided to give them free rein as a gesture of good will.

“Admiral Grada,” Max said, addressing the flagship captain, “If you would like to come with us, we will go to Xarius to bring the children back here.”

The admiral smiled. Well, it looked like a smile anyway. Max took that as an affirmative. Shaqor summoned the portal, and Max, Shaqor, and the Dragon admiral stepped through. They found themselves on a nicely flowered walk near the Xarian palace. Almost as soon as they had stepped out of the portal, they heard “splash,” then another “splash” and another. Michael pulled the flowering bushes aside, and the admiral watched as Dragon children did dives and “cannonballs” into the palace fountains from the second floor balcony of the palace. The admiral laughed. There was no denying it was a laugh. It came from the gut and shook the admiral from his head down to the small, stubby tail that was, perhaps, a vestigial reminder of his presumably reptilian heritage.

As they watched the Dragon children, the admiral was surprised by a flash and a spark that suddenly appeared beside him and then leapt into a tree. He eyed the little ball of spinning vapors curiously.

“That,” said Shaqor, “is another of the children we rescued from Hosk’s slave cells. Come! I’ll show you some more!”

Shag took them into the palace, and they walked down the hall and through the atrium where the leafvian children were floating around under the skylight absorbing nutrients from the sun. The leafvian children were accompanied, as they always were, by their little Droufa friends, the “eyeballs,” who floated along with them peering shyly through their fronds. A couple of leafvian children floated by Max, Shag, and the Dragon admiral and sang out, “hello” in their hauntingly melodic voices. Max and Shaqor smiled. The Dragon appeared to smile, too. They saw the Growahnit children, the furry little Yerrik children, and the Yargishi children.

The Yargishi children especially impressed the Dragon.

“I have never seen a smooth rope that walks standing up before!” the Dragon admiral said. “It is amazing!”

As the Dragon admiral watched, a good-sized stain suddenly appeared on the palace floor ahead of them. Max noticed it, too, and was surprised. But he was not nearly as surprised at the first sight of it as he was when it began to move across the floor. It stopped about twenty feet in front of them and suddenly rose from the floor into something that looked like a small dark-skinned child. After it had taken its new shape, it began to change colors, altering between dark and light, changing to green, then amber, and finally gold. It was hard to say whether Max or the Dragon admiral was more impressed.

“I told you that you would meet two or three other “special” children, Max,” Shaqor said with a smile. This is Jorvo, a Doradian child from the planet Dorad. His natural color is gold, but he can change to any of many colors and change his shape, even becoming nothing more than a stain on the floor. He’s quite hard to keep track of!”

Max nodded. “I can imagine!”

“That is an amazing talent!” the Dragon admiral said. “It must be immensely useful for his kind!”

“Come!” Shag said, motioning to Max and the Dragon admiral. There is another species I want you to see. Shaqor led them to the gardens again. He pulled the flowering bushes aside and smiled.

“I don’t see anything, Shag,” Max said. “…just your flowers.”

“Over there,” Shag said, motioning toward another fountain and a pond that lay further from the palace. In the water, they saw a small boy swimming. Then they noticed that it wasn’t just one. In fact, there were four small boys and five girls in the pond. They looked like children about 6 or 7 years of age, possibly even Antarian, until Max and the others reached the pond and got a good look.

“Shag!” Max said, “Are you sure this isn’t the work of that little guy that calls himself Frebel-Ish?”

“I’m sure,” Shag said. “They’re the real thing.”

“Mermaids?” Max asked incredulously. “I didn’t think they really existed!”

“Well, they’re not called ‘mermaids,’” Shag said. They’re Aquarians. Their planet is Aquarius. Their planet has no significant land masses… nothing bigger than a small island, so… this is what you get.”

Max caught himself staring with his mouth open and nothing to say. The Dragon admiral was quite impressed, however, not only with the little Aquarians but also with the efforts that Shaqor, Zan, Michael, and the others had gone to to rescue all these children and to protect them and make them happy until they could be returned to their homes.

“Let’s go find the Dragon children,” Shag said.

The three went back to the palace and took the grand staircase up to the second floor where the Dragon children were playing and jumping from the balcony. Shag opened the door, and the Dragon admiral walked in. The children turned to look at him and immediately ran to him. The admiral, unaccustomed to children himself, seemed somewhat bemused by the children’s attraction to him, but it was no surprise that they would be happy to see an adult -any adult- of their own kind.

Shag gathered all the Dragon children together and accounted for each one…

“This is what we have, Admiral. We rescued these 22 children from cells in the dark subterranean caverns of Gadyslar, the Ghor moon.”

Max and Shag were both surprised that this information seemed actually to move the admiral. He seemed to swallow hard and appeared emotionally affected, if only for a moment. He nodded, imitating the gesture he had seem the humans and Antarians use to indicate understanding.

The Dragon admiral told the children that their parents were waiting for them on Antar and they would all be going there to be with them so that they could go home to Drago. The Dragon children, never ones to seem unhappy and always good at finding ways to entertain themselves, were surprisingly ebullient at this information, jumping over each other, celebrating, and giggling.

Shag summoned the portal, and Max and the admiral escorted the children through. Shag followed behind them. The Dragon parents, waiting in the palace on Antar, recognized their children as each one stepped -or bounced, as was more the case- through the portal and into its parent’s waiting arms.

Max sniffed and looked at Michael who looked at Shag. Liz and Maria, who had joined them, were both wiping tears from their own eyes.

“I… I didn’t know Dragons could cry,” Michael said, his voice trailing off to a whisper.


----------


After all the Dragon children were reunited with their respective parents, the Dragons returned to their ships. The Dragon admiral squeezed Zan’s and Shaqor’s hands again in a gesture of Dragon friendship, then he squeezed Michael’s hands.

“You have given us much to think about, Zan …you, too, Shaqor. I cannot say what will come of our encounter, but I think that it is likely that our planet will never be quite the same. When the Dragon population on Drago hears of this meeting and what you have done… and of the amazing children that you have rescued and… well… it will give us much to think about.”

“You shall always be the Dragons’ allies, my friends! If there is anything that you need… we will be there for you.”

The Dragon admiral boarded his ship, and minutes later, all eighteen Dragon warships departed from the spaceport on Antar and headed out into the void of space. Twenty-two Dragon children -22 children of the universe- were on their way home… to Drago.



--------------------------End of Chapter 39





posted on 23-Nov-2002 5:30:36 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“The Krolian Challenge”

Chapter 40

XL



It was exactly nine days since the Dragons had left Antar with their children, and Max, Michael, Shag, Liz, Maria, and the others were celebrating a new milestone on Xarius. The occasion was a big one. The number of children -Antarian children at least- still missing had finally dropped below one thousand. To be precise, 989 Antarian children still had not been found; but this meant that 221,151 Antarian children had been found, and all of these had now been returned to their parents or relatives. Liz shook her head and grinned from ear to ear…

“Can you believe it, Max? All those children… and after nine years, none of their parents has died!”

Maria gasped and put her hand over her mouth. “Omigod! I never even thought of that! That would be so… so tragic, you know… if we got them back and they didn’t have anyone to go home to. I’m glad you didn’t say anything about that before, Liz! But now I’m going to worry about the ones that are still left!”

“You won’t need to,” said Michael. “I ran a list of families with children still missing this morning. No one was mentioned as having died.”

Max seemed troubled… “And no Antarian has had any more children.”

“What are you getting at, Max,” Michael asked.

Max shook his head and dismissed the comment with a wave of his hand. “I don’t know. Nothing I guess. Just a lot of coincidence.”

“Well, I’m counting the blessings,” Liz said, smiling broadly.

“Oh, me, too! You know I’m happy about it, Liz! I’m not complaining!” Max said.

Max smiled for a few moments. It was an honest, genuine smile, but it seemed to vanish quickly, as other thoughts inexorably crept back into his mind. Liz looked at Maria and shrugged slightly…

“He’s got a lot on his mind. He’s been thinking about the missing children a lot.”

Maria nodded. Max excused himself and walked off toward the palace media room, saying he had some research to do.


----------


Meanwhile, on Krolus, Admiral Borkelis was reporting to Premier Strojis on the progress of the Antarians’ search for the missing children.

“So… now it’s just 989 who are still missing…” Premier Strojis responded, drumming his fingertips on his desk without realizing he was doing it. His mind was on far more pressing problems than an idle nervous habit.

“Yes, Sir.”

“Do we know for sure that the ray will have the same effect on Antarians that it did on Krolians, Admiral?”

“It already seems that it probably has, Sir. Since the ray was used, no Antarian has had a child, and no Antarian has died.”

Premier Strojis nodded. “But we all know that that will change, don’t we, Admiral…”

“Yes, Sir.”

No one spoke for a couple of minutes. It seemed like an eternity to Admiral Borkelis.

“…Sir, maybe no Antarians actually would have died during those nine years…”

Premier Strojis shook his head… “And no Antarian women would have had children?” No, Admiral. Too much coincidence… Too unlikely… We both know it. It’s the Ionic Ray… the Midnight Cloud.”

“Yes, Sir. You’re right, of course, Sir.”

“I wish I weren’t, Admiral. This time I wish I weren’t. But when that last child is finally returned to Antar…”

Admiral Borkelis nodded… “The warp caused by the ray will disappear and everything will return to the way it was supposed to be. Many women will find themselves suddenly with child, and… and hundreds, maybe thousands, of Antarians will perish overnight.”

Premier Strojis balled his hand into a fist and pounded it on the desk in frustration…

“Dammit, Admiral! Isn’t there something we can do?”

“Short of telling the Antarians that they can never bring all the children home… No, Sir. Not that I know of, Sir.”

Premier Strojis shook his head and groaned, placing his face in his hands for a moment.

“That’s not the answer, either, Admiral. We aren’t sure what the long-term effect of maintaining the warp would be.”

“Maybe they would live forever, Sir!”

“Not likely, Admiral… Not likely. More likely it is a disaster of universal proportions just waiting to happen. Besides, they also would have no more children.”

“Well, Sir… It has been nine years!”

“I know, Admiral! I know! I would have thought something would go tragically wrong before now. Our scientists… believe that it’s long overdue, Admiral.”

“What is, Sir?”

Premier Strojis winced. “They believe that the fabric of the universe, the part that is sustaining the warp brought on by the ray, will eventually collapse, resulting in the sudden annihilation of the entire population of Antar… and possibly unknown repercussions throughout the galaxy, if not the universe.”

Admiral Borkelis was stunned. For a few moments, he didn’t seem to have anything to say.

It was Premier Strojis who finally spoke again, “When we used the Ionic Ray to rescue our own children who were being held hostage on Byagus, it was only a matter of a few days before we had them all back on Krolus, so the damage was very limited. But even after only a few short days, there were… unexpected changes on the planet.”

“I remember, Sir.”

“Admiral!”

“Yes, Sir?”

“Have Drayxanj Brex-Sanjor sent to my office immediately.”

“The molecular physics scientist?”

“That’s the one. We’re going to reopen our studies into the Ionic Ray warp. Maybe we may still have time to help the Antarians. After all, Admiral, it is because of Krolian technology that they’re in the trouble they’re in, isn’t it?”

“What do you think we can do, Sir?”

“I don’t know, Admiral… but there must be something!”

Admiral Borkelis nodded and left the office briskly.


----------


On Xarius, Max and Liz had just discovered that 400 Antarian children had been sold as a group package to someone named Huji-Bwi on a planet called Qravitor in System H19. Both Max and Liz, together with Michael, Maria, Shag, Kyle, and Jim Valenti had passed through the portal after checking the location using the Sphere of Visions.

Stepping out of the portal, the group looked around at their surroundings…

“Wow!” Michael exclaimed. “Well, let’s go get ‘em!”




-------------------------End of Chapter 40







posted on 24-Nov-2002 4:32:29 AM by Gerry Carr
Thanks so much for the feedback, Snowdove! Yep, you've got the idea! Kryys is their ace in the pocket, I would say. But the Krolians are also working on the nature of the warp and whether anything can be done or not to save Antarians who might have died during those nine years from dying as soon as the dimensional warp corrects itself. Don't count anyone dead yet! They're very resourceful! Here's the next chapter.




posted on 24-Nov-2002 4:33:36 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“The Army Of Huji Bwi”

Chapter 41

XLI



Stepping through the portal onto the planet Qravitor in sector H19 of the known universe, Max, Michael, Liz, Maria, Shag, Jim, and Kyle stared in momentary disbelief at the task before them.

“Well,” Michael said after a few moments, “Let’s go get ‘em!”

That seemed simplistic given the difficulties they appeared to face; but then again, one has to start somewhere. Everyone fell in behind Michael and followed him. No one knew what his plan was, but they knew that no one had a better one… no one else had one.

The friends were on the top of a small hill, and in the meadow below was a small army. Michael knew, though he wasn’t really sure how, that this was the 400 missing children from Antar. The others seemed to realize this, too.

The army of Antarian children -mostly teens- stood its ground and watched, as Max, Michael, and the others made their way down the hill, which took about ten minutes. Finally, Michael stood face to face with one teen who placed himself in front of the others. For a moment, they stared at each other. The teen looked confused…

“You’re not from here… from Qravitor.”

Michael shook his head. “No. We’re from Antar.”

For a moment, a light seemed to flicker in the teen’s eyes, as though he remembered something. Then it disappeared.

“Who are you?” the teen asked Michael, while holding some kind of weapon in front of himself. Michael wasn’t sure what the weapon was.

“I am Michael… General of the Armies of Antar.”

The teen winced as though he had suffered a sudden pang in his temples.

“Michael? General Michael… and… Zan…”

“Yes!” Michael said. “You remember Zan?”

“I… I think so… I… Antar?” The teen seemed to suffer another pang then collapsed forward. Michael caught him before he could hit the ground and laid him gently down on the ground. A couple of other teens ran forward to check on their “leader.”

“What did you do to him?” asked a girl who could not have been more than fourteen.

Several others approached with the same question obviously on their minds.

“I didn’t do anything to him,” Michael said. “He just collapsed. Zan!”

Max was already at his side and checking the boy out. He placed his hands over the boy’s temples, and a greenish light glowed for a few moments.

The boy opened his eyes and looked at the two newcomers and their companions…

“I know you! I saw you on the VideoView!”

Max wasn’t sure whether the youth was referring to him or to Michael. The boy pointed at Jim. “You’re one of the Eluymerians who lives on Antar. You’re a friend of King Zan.”

Suddenly, everything that Michael had told him seemed to register. The boy sat up quickly. “You’re King Zan! And you’re General Michael Guerin!”

“I think he’s got his memory back,” Michael said smiling. Max nodded.

The boy turned and looked at his ragtag army of Antarian children.

“Soldiers, we have new leaders! General Guerin and King Zan of Antar!”

The children looked around. Though obviously confused, they did not question their appointed leader’s authority regarding the sudden switch. The boy turned back to Michael…

“What would you like us to do?”

“Well,” Michael grinned… “We’re going to march back to Antar.”

The boy looked confused again.

Michael smiled. “What is your name?”

“I am Sarnys of the Aluzian region.”

“Ah! Where Aluzian golden eggs come from!”

The boy smiled. “The golden eggs are our specialty. No one else knows how they’re produced.”

“Yes, I know,” Michael said. “And they’re quite good, too! Well, Sarnys, what I want to know is, why are you and these other… young Antarians… out here in this meadow outfitted as a ragtag army?”

“Yes! That’s what I’m waiting to hear, too” Liz interjected.

The boy, who appeared to be perhaps seventeen, looked around for a moment.

“We… We belong to Huji Bwi.”

Now it was Michael’s turn to look confused.

“Who is Huji Bwi?”

Sarnys looked around again, as though he expected an unwelcome visitor at any moment.

“Huji Bwi is… well, more of a what than a who.”

Michael looked all the more confused.

“Huji Bwi is… I guess you could say, a tyrant… a wannabe usurper. He wants to rule all of Qravitor. He already rules the western quadrant.”

“I take it not everyone on Qravitor would welcome his rule,” Michael said.

“No one welcomes his rule,” Sarnys replied. “He’s a tyrant… a lot like Kivar was on our planet before you defeated him. He turned us into his army. We’re supposed to march on the northern quadrant tomorrow and capture it for him.”

“You?” Michael asked, incredulous. “A ragtag army of 400 youths? Some of these kids I see are barely ten!”

“You haven’t seen the Qravitorians,” Sarnys said plainly.

“What do you mean?”

“They are… well, small.”

“How small,” Max asked.

Sarnys used his thumb and first finger to indicate something about one inch in size. Michael and Max both seemed stunned.

“How… How did this Huji Bwi buy slaves?” Michael asked. “If he’s that little how could he even carry the money?”

“He’s very rich,” Sarnys quickly assured them. He doesn’t carry money, He pays with universal credits, and he has lots of them.”

“Oh, he has his own platinum card,” Kyle interjected drolly.

Sarnys looked confused.

“Never mind him,” Michael said, turning Sarnys back toward him again. “I take it that these Qravitorians that you were supposed to defeat are the same size as this Huji Bwi then?”

“Yeah.”

“Isn’t that sort of unsporting,” Max asked. “I mean… It would be like stepping on bugs.”

Sarnys shook his head. “No. Huji Bwi expects many of us to die in this attack.”

Michael and Max were stunned; Liz and Maria gasped.

“Die? What do you mean, ‘die?’ How?”

Sarnys turned suddenly pale. “I… I think you’re about to find out. Protect yourselves!”

Everyone ducked instinctively and spun around, looking for the danger. They saw nothing. Suddenly Jim yelled and collapsed onto the ground. Max ran to his side.

“What happened,” Michael asked, his voice showing some emotion.

Max shook his head. “I don’t know. His neck is swelling. I think it’s cutting off his breathing!”

Max placed his hands over Jim’s neck. For several moments, a greenish glow appeared. Soon Jim began to stir; then he groaned…

“Ooooh… That hurts! What the Hell happened!”

“I don’t know,” Max said.

Sarnys pointed to Jim’s shirt. There was something on it that looked like a big bee.

Suddenly, a loud voice boomed in everyone’s head, as though someone had turned on a loudspeaker. The message wasn’t coming through their ears; it was being delivered directly to the brain…

“I am Huji Bwi.”

Max looked closely at the bee-like creature. “Some kind of hornet. Must be extremely venomous.”

“All Qravitorians are,” said Sarnys. “That is why Huji Bwi expected a lot of casualties among our group, but he expected that we would win in the end.”

“And you will!” The voice boomed in their heads again. “Any creature that tries to stop my army will be dealt with like this one.”

Huji Bwi plunged his stinger again into Jim’s neck, and again, Jim lapsed almost immediately into unconsciousness, unable to breathe. Max ran to help Jim before it was too late, but Huji Bwi flew at Max. Max raised his hand. He didn’t have time to get off a power blast, but he was able to deflect Huji Bwi and swat him several feet away. When Huji Bwi regained control, he flew straight at Michael. Michael “swatted” him away, too. Next he flew at Liz, but at the last moment, as Liz raised her hand to swat him, he turned and landed on Maria’s neck. Maria gasped. She didn’t have time to prepare for this unexpected attack on her.

As Huji Bwi’s stinger arched over to plunge into Maria’s neck, a large hand smacked down on top of him. It was Kyle’s hand. Kyle removed his hand slowly, and everyone looked at Maria. She was okay. Max ran to Jim and placed his hands on Jim’s neck again. For a few moments, it glowed green. Jim gasped and coughed then opened his eyes.

“This is getting to be a habit, Jim,” Max said. “I’m afraid your neck’s going to be silver for awhile.” Jim just groaned. Kyle turned his hand over and looked at it then scrunched up his nose in a gesture of disgust.

“Guys, I really need something to wipe this mess off with.”

Liz began to laugh. She covered her mouth and tried not to, but she just couldn’t help it. Perhaps it was the relief.

Max and Michael laughed, too.

“I guess that’s the end of Huji Bee,” Michael said, making a pun on Huji Bwi’s name.

“You mean Huji Was, Maria said. Everyone laughed, even Kyle, for a moment. Then he turned more serious…

“Guys! Guys! Common!” Kyle said, “I don’t think we should be laughing… I mean… I just killed a sentient being or something…”

“Yeah, one that tried to kill us,” Max reminded him.

“And one that intended to sacrifice 400 Antarian children for his own vain glory and tyranny,” Michael added. “I wouldn’t forget that. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have a little trouble feeling sorry for Huji Bwi… or Bee… or Was… or whatever…”

The others all nodded. Michael was right. Whatever else Huji Bwi might have been, he was a cruel, despotic tyrant, every bit as murderous as Kivar ever was despite his small size. It seemed unlikely that any sleep would be lost this night over his demise.

“What do we do now,” Sarnys asked Michael.

Michael looked around for Liz.

“Liz, would you call the portal, please?”

“With pleasure!”

“Soldiers!” Michael harfed authoritatively… “Fall in line! Abooout face! March! Hup… Two… Three… Move it out!”

Michael smiled for the next ten minutes, as he watched 400 Antarian children march single-file through the portal to freedom.



------------------------End of Chapter 41







[ edited 1 time(s), last at 25-Nov-2002 6:16:47 PM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2002 11:04:37 PM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“Admiral Borkelis' Plan”

Chapter 42

XLII



Premier Strojis of Krolus was in the offices of Drayxanj Brex-Sanjor, the preeminent Krolian molecular biologist. With him was Admiral Borkelis. They were aware that the Antarians had rescued 400 more children the day before. On top of that, Zan and the others had found and rescued 26 more just that morning from the planet Croblylix, so there were now only 563 to be found. Drayxanj would have to speed up his work if they hoped to discover any kind of possible solution to the Ionic ray dimensional problem before it was too late.

“I have yet to find any way to directly counter the… side effects… of the ray,” said Drayxanj Brex-Sanjor. “But that is not surprising. You have to understand that what will happen is not in reality a side effect of the ray. In fact, the ‘real’ side effect of the ray is that people who would have died during these nine years are still alive today. That is the real side effect. That they might die when the warp disappears is… simply natural. The disappearance of the warp will simply return time to its normal position after having had it -well, a segment of it anyway- on hold for nine years.”

“I understand that, professor,” Premier Strojis replied. “But that will be a small comfort for the Antarians when they suddenly lose thousands of people and when children who have just been returned to their families after nine years in slavery suddenly, in some cases, lose a parent or other family member unexpectedly who seemed healthy until they returned. Can you imagine going from slavery to guilt, thinking that you are responsible for your loved one’s death… just because you returned?”

“But they wouldn’t be…” Draxanj started to say.

Premier Strojis held up his hand. “I know. And you know that, too. But how do you expect these children to feel?”

Draxanj nodded solumnly. “I understand, Sir. I’m still working on it. If there is a solution, I will find it.”

“I know you will, professor. That’s why I put all my confidence in you.”

“Sir,” Drayxanj continued after a moment. “Although I haven’t found a solution, I have found a couple of… options.”

“Options, professor?”

“Well… look at this…”

Premier Strojis looked at Drayxanj Brex-Sanjor’s notes. His eyes widened slightly, and he nodded.

“Interesting! Quite interesting! As you say, it is not a solution… but it is a very interesting option!”

Admiral Borkelis nodded in agreement, as he read the notes. “We should present this… option… to the Antarians to see if they agree.”

“No,” Premier Strojis said. “Unfortunately, we cannot do that. To begin with, they are still not aware that any problem exists. And I’m not sure that they should be told. I fear that it could throw their civilization into chaos.”

Admiral Borkelis nodded. “That is a possiblity.”

“There is a second option…” Drayxanj Brex-Sanjor continued, which might possibly turn out to be a solution.”

“I’m listening, professor,” Premier Strojis said.

“Look at this,” Drayxanj said, turning the page of his notebook and pushing the notebook toward Premier Strojis.

Premier Strojis read the notes and smiled. He showed the notes to Admiral Borkelis.

“Yes… Yes! That could work!” the Admiral said. “At least, perhaps, it is an option that we must consider before any others.”

“Then it is settled,” said Premier Strojis. “How do we find this person… both of these people?”

There was silence in the room.

“Well, Admiral,” Premier Strojis said. “That will be your next challenge… to find and bring here these two individuals. I don’t know how you will do it, but I am sure that you will find a way.”

“Yes, Sir,” Admiral Borkelis said. But he was not at all as confident as the Premier had been. This would test the limits of his resourcefulness to their fullest.


----------


Early that afternoon, Admiral Borkelis sent a special dispatch to Antar. In it, he urgently requested a meeting with King Zan and Queen Elizabeth as soon as conveniently possible for them to come to Krolus. Having them come to Krolus was necessary, because even with the Krolians’ ionic drive, their fastest ship would not be able to reach Antar for a very long time… much too long to be of any help. But Max and Liz could come to him by way of the portal immediately.

Within three hours time, as time would have been measured on Earth, Max and Liz stood before Admiral Borkelis in his office. Michael and Maria were with them. Michael usually insisted on being along on any off-planet excursions undertaken by Zan. He felt duty-bound. But it was more than that, too. Max wasn’t just the king to Michael; he was family… a brother in spirit. Michael would never willingly allow Max to put himself in any possible harms way without him being along to save him if needed.

“Zan… Thank you for coming,” Admiral Borkelis said, giving him his hand to shake.

“We’re happy to be here, Admiral,” Max said. “And, I must admit, we wondered what the urgency was.”

Admiral Borkelis nodded and tried to appear calm and nonchalant.

“Zan, I… I apologize to you for this request, but I find that, in order to do something that I must do, I need… something that you have and I do not.”

Max looked at the Admiral but didn’t speak.

The Admiral continued, “Not that I want it permanently, you understand… only to borrow it for a short time… perhaps a few days.”

“What is it that you wish to… borrow,” Michael asked, feeling the need for caution.

“Your ship… the new granilith.”

For a few moments, there was silence in the room. Then Max looked at Michael. Michael seemed at a loss for words. The request had caught them both off guard. It certainly was not the ordinary every-day request. It wasn’t like he was borrowing a ladder or a favorite book… or even all of Liz’s Buffy tapes. It was the new granilith that he wanted to borrow.

Max tried to think of a reason -any reason- that he should say no to the Admiral’s request. But in the end, he shrugged and motioned with his hands in a gesture that seemed like a surrender…

“I guess it would be okay, Admiral. This is a… an unusual request… and a big one, you understand. I will have to ask Varec if they can prepare the ship for a journey. When would you need it?”

“Today.”

Max’s jaw dropped. The only person in the room with his jaw wider open than Max was Michael. Michael started to object, but Max held up his hand as though to say, “No! Don’t… It’ll be alright.”

Michael gave Max that “Are-you-sure?” look. Max nodded, but he was not really sure. He knew this himself, of course, but he had no reason to deny the admiral’s request. There was nothing else to be done. It was important that they keep the Krolians as their allies; and besides, the Krolians had repeatedly proven to be their friends since the rescues had begun. Indeed, allowing this unusual request seemed the only diplomatically acceptable course of action.

Max nodded and shook Admiral Borkelis’ hand. He tried to get a feeling for the man as he held his hand. He wasn’t sure, but he felt… he just felt… that the admiral was sincere and that his request was based on their friendship, not on deceit or treachery. The admiral was hiding something. Max could see this without even touching him. But in the end, every feeling that he got from the admiral was one of sympathy and caring, not treachery.

“You may borrow the new granilith, Admiral, for the time that you say. Do you wish anyone to go with you… to help?”

“That will not be necessary,” said Admiral Borkelis. “I know that you and General Guerin are very busy these days. I would not ask you to abandon such important affairs of Antar to go with me. I will be taking a couple of my trusted officers with me. You or your scientists can inform us on the details of flying the ship, and I expect that they will need to program our DNA to be accepted by the ship’s controls.”

“That will be done,” Max said.

“Then, Zan, my friend… I will call my officers and have them meet us here immediately so that we can return to Antar with you through your portal if that is okay with you.”

Max nodded. Fifteen minutes later, Max, Michael, Liz, Maria, the Admiral, and four officers passed through the portal to Antar.

Max took them straight to the Jantoo-Bandy lab. Varec was there, busy on a project. Max explained the situation, and Varec reprogrammed the new granilith’s control panels to accept orders from Admiral Borkelis and one of his officers, plus a second officer as a backup.

Within an hour, the new granilith was gone. Max stood and watched it leave. He felt a great sense of urgency… an odd sense of urgency… He wasn’t sure where this came from. But the deep feeling of emptiness that he felt was less of a mystery. The new granilith was gone.



---------------------------End of Chapter 42





posted on 27-Nov-2002 11:09:13 PM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“The Alyendis Agenda and the Drax-ta-Kiya”

Chapter 43

XLIII



The new granilith glided across the Potomac River and into the spaceport at Alyendis accompanied by military escort corsairs, the same small, space-worthy jets that had accompanied Max and Michael and the other Antarians only a month before. It was the year 7,278. Admiral Borkelis had taken the ship into the future.

Before going to future Earth, however, more than 5,000 years beyond his own time, Admiral Borkelis had made one other stop, only about a year in his own future, on a distant planet called Jeroglasst. It was a planet known to the Krolians only by reputation and then more as a myth than a reality. But it did exist, and Admiral Borkelis found it.

By taking the new granilith a year into the future, he had been able to take advantage of the future warp technology that Varec had installed in the ship, which allowed it to arrive in only hours at a destination that would normally take months to reach. It was a quirky reality that only Varec really fully understood. He had tried explaining it to other scientists at the most recent science convention on Antar, but none of them fully grasped the concept’s theoretical aspects. Trying to explain it to Max and Michael had been a lost cause. They just knew that it worked, and that was all they cared. Ironically, the one person on all of Antar who seemed to understand it… almost… when he explained it was Liz.

Stopping briefly on Jeroglasst, Admiral Borkelis had sought out a man known only as “The Drax-ta-Kiya,” which roughly translated as “the blind one who sees.” The Jeroglasstians had pronounced it “Drax,” as in “tracks,” “tah Kee-ah,” with the “ah” stressed. It had taken the admiral almost a full day to find the Drax-ta-Kiya and another to reach his house, which was high in the mountains overlooking a beautifully scenic valley. From the house of the Drax-ta-Kiya, one almost had the impression of being in an eagle’s nest looking down. The admiral had been surprised at the small size of the house of one so mythologized throughout so many galaxies. And yet, it was neat and well kept, with many well-placed decorative features, all from nature. This surprised the admiral, too, given that the Drax-ta-Kiya was blind.

That he was truly blind, Admiral Borkelis had absolutely no doubt. The Drax-ta-Kiya had white eyes with no pupils whatsoever. The admiral found it disconcerting to look him directly in the eyes and had found himself looking away from the old man more than once. Somehow, the Drax-ta-Kiya seemed to know each time.

“Look at me,” he had said to the Admiral. “That my eyes do not see is not a crime.”

Admiral Borkelis had been surprised, but he had told himself that the old man was probably guessing. After all, human nature dictated that most individuals would feel uncomfortable looking him in the eyes and would probably look away occasionally without meaning to. He was a good judge of human nature undoubtedly.

“Sit,” the Drax-ta-Kiya said, motioning toward a comfortable-looking if simple chair. The admiral sat. There was a momentary silence, as the Drax-ta-Kiya seemed to check the admiral out.

“The answer is, yes,” the Drax-ta-Kiya said.

The Admiral was surprised. “I haven’t asked the question yet. Besides, I have more than one question.”

“The answer is still yes, my son,” the Drax-ta-Kiya answered somberly. “It is yes to all your questions.”

The Admiral felt uncomfortable. He didn’t wish to offend the Drax-ta-Kiya, but he needed to be sure that the old man really knew what he was saying “yes” to.

“You wish to know if I understand…” the old man said, smiling, not waiting for the admiral to speak. “It is okay. Everyone wants to see with the eyes and hear with the ears. …Such a shame.” He shook his head. “There is so much to see that cannot be seen with the eyes… and so much to hear that cannot be heard with the ears. I could teach you…”

Admiral Borkelis shook his head. “Uh… No, thanks… I appreciate it… It’s just that…”

“I know. Your mission. You feel that you must complete your mission, and you believe that time is short. You are like all the others… in a hurry. Where will it get you? Time will wait.”

Admiral Borkelis wasn’t sure what that meant. Time, he had always known, waits for no man.

“It does,” said the Drax-ta-Kiya, “if you are one with it.”

The admiral found the old man’s habit of answering his thoughts to be very disconcerting.

“You wish to know if Antarians will die, as you know death, when the dam you have placed in the river of time is removed,” said the Drax-ta-Kiya. “The answer is, yes.” You wish to know if there will be many who die. The answer is, yes, if you consider more than a thousand to be many. You wish to know if the boy you will seek can change these deaths or prevent them. The answer is, yes, if he is in tune with the universe. But so could you, my son. Let me teach you!”

The admiral shook his head, too stunned to answer.

“That is a shame. There is so much that you could learn. You wish to know if I will allow you to return another time with another person. The answer is, yes. You see, my son, the answer is always, yes… One must only know the question.”

“I might have asked you if the Antarians would all live… not if they would die… How did you know…” the admiral asked.

The Drax-ta-Kiya smiled. “It didn’t matter. The answer is always the same.”

Admiral Borkelis found this disconcerting. The answer couldn’t be yes to both questions. He didn’t understand that at all.

“You see,” the Drax-ta-Kiya said, “The answer is, yes. They will live, because there is no death. There is only time. And time is not our enemy, not if we live in tune with it and as one with it. But you will seek the boy now. The boy will alter the flow of the river for you, and the Antarians will live. So again, the answer is, yes. But they would live anyway… because there is no death.”

“Thank you,” Admiral Borkelis said.

The old man smiled. “I know… You must go now. Yes, you are impatient, my son. But remember this. The river can be dammed, and the river can be moved… but perfection is achieved in allowing it to flow and learning to become one with it.”

“And in a thousand people dying?” asked the admiral. “Is that perfection?”

“There is no death,” the old man repeated adamantly, smiling. “There is only time… if one becomes one with it. There is no death.”

The admiral smiled. He would never understand the old man’s reasoning, but he was convinced now that the Drax-ta-Kiya was genuine. Whatever it was that the old man saw, he had given the admiral the answers he needed. The admiral knew what he had to do.


----------


At the spaceport on Alyendis, Admiral Borkelis transported down to the ground and was met by two young pilots, a man and a woman. He asked to be taken to President Kryys Guerin, explaining that he had borrowed the new granilith for a mission that he could explain only to Kryys. After some quick calls, the admiral and two of his officers were escorted to the White House in a hover car. The route over land and across the river, with no roads, seemed to surprise the Krolian admiral as much as it had the Antarians before him. When the hovercar entered the White House through a special door in the back, everyone got out, and the hovercar left, leaving them in a well-appointed, comfortable room, the admiral was impressed.

“I’ve got to have something like this installed on Krolus,” he said to his officers.

They both nodded.

Within momemts, Kryys came into the room, a small contingent of guards at his side. They stood on each side by the door, as Kryys walked in and shook the admiral’s hand.

“Have a seat! What can I do for you, Admiral?”

The admiral looked at Kryys, for a brief moment wondering if he was doing the right thing. He decided that he was.

“Kryys,” the admiral began, “I know that you were brought here through time, and I know that you and many other Antarian children were enslaved by the Ghor slave seller, Hosk. On Antar, they have now found almost all of the children who were kidnapped. There are only 589 who are still missing. For all I know, by now, they may well have found those as well.

I am a Krolian. It was the technology of the Ionic Ray created on my planet that Hosk used to cause this… mess… and we feel, on Krolus, that we have a moral responsibility, as well as a duty of friendship with Antar, to do whatever we can do to prevent something from happening that is going to happen which we believe will be a tragedy for Antar.”

“I’m listening,” Kryys said.

The admiral continued. “You know that, on Antar, it has been nine years since the children disappeared. Imagine that in nine years, no one on Antar has died… no one on Antar has had a baby. Time seems to have been contained in a sort of pocket. The children and everyone on Antar continued to age normally, but the aging they did was isolated from… well, what someone I met recently called the “River of Time.” They weren’t part of time as it flows naturally, so they didn’t die and didn’t have more children, but within that separate pocket of time, they continued to age separately from the universe as a whole.”

Kryys stopped the admiral. “What you’re trying to tell me, Admiral, is that Antarians who didn’t die in those nine years will die when the flow of time is restored as it was before. That is what you are saying, isn’t it?”

The admiral nodded. “Yes, that is what I am trying to say. I have been told that over a thousand Antarians will perish overnight when the flow of time is restored.”

“Unless I change it, you mean.”

The admiral looked at Kryys. For a moment, he almost thought he was seeing the Drax-ta-Kiya. Kryys seemed to have the same disconcerting habit of knowing his thoughts before he expressed them.

“Yes… unless you change it.”

Kryys thought for a few moments then looked at the admiral.

“Okay. I’ll go with you.”

The admiral was taken by surprise. He expected more deliberation from Kryys at the least.

“That’s… that’s good! Aren’t you concerned about leaving?” the admiral waved his hand around the room.

Kryys understood. “The presidency? Time will wait.”

The admiral looked at Kryys. He was beginning to wonder if he actually was the Drax-ta-Kiya. He certainly was beginning to sound like him. But in the end, he had what he had come for. He saw no reason to sit around and debate philosophy.

“Can we leave soon then?” the admiral asked. “I fear that, for the Antarians, there is little time left.”

Kryys nodded. “Yes… but you knew that that would be my answer, didn’t you?”

A brief shiver coursed up the admiral’s spine. Again, Kryys reminded him just a little too much of the Drax-ta-Kiya. The admiral actually liked the old man, but he found the similarities in the two disconcerting. In some way, he knew, Kryys and the Drax-ta-Kiya were kindred spirits, and the admiral found this spooky.



----------------------------End of Chapter 43





posted on 28-Nov-2002 4:17:40 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“An Antarian Thanksgiving”

Chapter 44

XLIV



After bringing the ship in and resting it securely on its anti-grav repulsors, Admiral Borkelis transported down. He still wasn’t sure how he was going to explain everything to Zan and the others, but he would tackle that problem when he got to it.

Max had received word from the Antar Space Defense Corps that the new granilith was on its way in to Antar; and he was already waiting at the Jantoo-Bandy linked science lab when Admiral Borkelis arrived.

“Admiral! I’m glad to see you back! I trust your trip was a success.”

The admiral nodded. “It’s been… an adventure, Zan! …a real test! …but I’d say a success, yes!”

“A test?”

The admiral nodded. “Yes, Zan… a test. …of determination… and will.”

The admiral signaled for the others to transport down. Within moments, four Krolian officers and one decidedly non-Krolian stood beneath the ship. Max approached the five men but was unprepared for what he saw. For a moment, he thought that his eyes had deceived him, but he quickly realized this was not the case.

“Kryys!” Max exclaimed with a deep gasp, but it was hard to tell if it was a statement or a question. Max looked at Kryys again and rubbed his eyes. He was having a hard time accepting that Kryys Guerin was actually standing there.

“It really is you!” Max took Kryys’ hand in his and squeezed it then put his arm around him, pulling Kryys to him. “I am so glad to see you! What in the galaxies are you doing here, though? I thought you had to stay and, you know… take care of Earth!”

“I don’t think they’ll start missing me for about 5,000 years,” Kryys said with a wry grin.”

Max laughed and nodded. “Good point! Well, I know someone who’s going to want to see you! And this is really going to be a big surprise! It was for me! Let’s go.”

“Uh… Kryys,” the Admiral broke in, “There is something that you are going to need to do. I recommend it be sooner rather than later.”

Kryys nodded. Max looked lost. He had no idea what the admiral was talking about.

“Would you like to let me in on it, Admiral?” Max asked.

“No,” the admiral said plainly. “But I will. It’s not that I don’t want you to know. It’s just that, frankly, I don’t know quite how to tell you.”

“Just say it,” Max said. “I’m listening.”

The admiral nodded. “You must be wondering why I brought Kryys here… and why I wanted to borrow the new granilith.”

Max nodded. “I wondered. But I figured you would tell me… or Kryys would.”

“Yes, well, I needed the new granilith to go to the future to find Kryys.”

“I kind of figured that out,” Max said.

“I needed Kryys… or, I guess I should say, you need Kryys… to change some aspects of time.”

“Okay, Admiral, I guess I’m not really understanding that part. What aspects of time?”

“Zan, you are down to only 563 missing children or something like that…”

Max shook his head. “Wrong.”

“Wrong?”

“We found the last one last night… With Kryys here, all the children are home now!”

Max couldn’t help but smile, but the admiral turned pale.

“Zan, there is a problem. We were not sure at first, but I’ve confirmed it. Once all the children are back on Antar, every Antarian who would have died but didn’t in the last nine years will die. Think… think of time as a river, Zan. The ionic ray blocked it… dammed it… created a separate, alternate reality for Antar in which Antarians grew older but never died and had no children. With all the children back on Antar, the river will again flow normally. I have verified it. I know it is so!”

“I suspected something like this,” Max said. “I’ve been researching a lot of files in the library. I know that no one has died in the last nine years, and I know that no one has had a child. I had hoped the problem could be reversed… but without the deaths you’re talking about, of course. How many Antarians, Admiral?”

The admiral shrugged. “I don’t know. Over a thousand is what I was told.”

Max seemed stunned, but then he nodded. ”And you think Kryys can help?”

“If it’s not already too late… we hope so.”

“What can you do, Kryys?” Max asked.

“Well, I can redirect the flow of time slightly… maybe… just enough so that those nine years would basically be erased.”

“What do you mean… erased?”

“Erased… gone… never happened, at least for Antarians. Well, no, that’s not really true. They would have happened. Antarians just wouldn’t remember them, and I think, maybe, no one will have died…”

“Can you do this?” the admiral asked.

“I don’t know,” Kryys admitted. “I think so. I will know when I become one with the universe. All the knowledge of the universe will be in me then, and I will be part of it. But right now, I don’t know for certain.”

“You can turn yourself into streams of molecules or atoms, we’ve heard,” the admiral said.

Kryys nodded.

The admiral looked at Max, and Max looked at him. Neither was sure what should be done, but both knew what would happen if they did nothing, and that option did not appeal to them.

“Well,” max said, looking at Kryys. “I hate to ask you to ‘split’ when you just arrived, Kryys… but could you…? You know?”

Kryys smiled. Molecules began to stream from his body, and a pure white light engulfed him. It was beautiful. The molecules swirled around and around the room, and little by little, Kryys disappeared. Finally, he was gone. For a moment, the room swirled with brilliant molecules. Then the molecules simply passed through the ceiling and walls and into the sky above. Now, Max and the admiral could only wait… and hope.

Twenty minutes later, Kryys began to rematerialize in the laboratory. He looked a little tired but not as tired as when he converted to molecules when he was younger. Back then he had gone to sleep immediately after rematerializing.

“Well?” the admiral asked, anxious to know what Kryys had been able to accomplish.

Kryys smiled. When I got there, time had already begun to flow again, so things would have returned to normal soon, and they still will. However, ‘normal’ has been moved over slightly now.”

“What exactly does that mean?” Max asked.

“It means that Antar has rejoined the river of time that flows through the universe, but no one who is alive now will die suddenly simply as a result of not having died during those nine years. Of course, people will begin to die again now, as is normal in the river of time. But I moved that part of time that would have carried them with it over slightly… about nine years.”

“Will that cause any problems,” Max asked.

“No, it shouldn’t,” Kryys said. “I didn’t stop time or dam it or alter it other than to move a small part of it over slightly. It will continue to flow normally where I put it.”

“Amazing!” the admiral said shaking his head. “Simply amazing! Well… I guess my work here is done. My goal has been accomplished. I shall return to Krolus as soon as you will be kind enough to send me back through the portal, Zan.”

“Thank you, Admiral. If I didn’t say so before, I want you to hear it now! Thank you… for all of Antar!”

The admiral nodded and smiled. “It was necessary. The fault for what happened was ours. We will be much more careful in the future not to let the ionic ray be stolen. We may even dismantle it.”

Max motioned to the admiral and to Kryys to come with him. A hovercar from the palace had arrived and was waiting for them.

Back at the palace, Max asked the admiral and Kryys to wait in the foyer while he looked for Liz. He was back with her in a couple of minutes.

“This is the guest I told you about,” Max said, stepping out from in front of Liz. Liz started to hold her hand out to the “guest” then saw who it was. Without meaning to, she let out a cry. First, she put her hands over her mouth… then she grabbed Kryys in her arms. When she had held him for a couple of minutes, she looked at him…

“Kryys, what in a universe of strawberry Sundays are you doing here? I mean… I’m tickled to death for sure, but this was so not expected! Maria is going to freak when she finds out you’re here!”

“It’s kind of a long story,” Kryys said. “But I guess I’ve got 5,000 years to tell you, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

“What?”

“Well, I won’t become president until 5,000 years from now.”

Liz laughed.

“Oh! I so don’t want you to go back, Kryys! It would be so great if you could stay… I know Maria and Michael would love it if you would stay! But I guess you’d be an old man when you went back if we kept you here with us until we were ready to let you go.”

“Maybe I’ll just stay until I grow up. Would that be okay?”

Liz laughed again.

Kryys was smiling, but she noticed that he wasn’t laughing.

“What… What did you mean by that, Kryys?”

“Well, there’s a very good chance… a likelihood really… that what I did to the thread of time… the river of time… will have one other result.”

“What did you do, Kryys?” Liz asked.

Kryys explained everything.

“And what other side effect are you expecting?”

“Well, I am almost certain that once the river has resumed flowing for a while in its new position, reality here on Antar will adjust to match it. By that I mean that sometime… maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe in a month… those nine years that everyone on Antar aged while they were in the alternate time pool will reverse, and the children will be nine years younger again. So will you.”

Liz was stunned. Max was caught off guard by this one, too.

“Well,” Liz said, “I’m always up for being nine years younger again myself… and I would so love to be able to raise my children… Oh, God, Kryys! If I really could go back and raise my children over! …Raise them myself! You couldn’t imagine… I mean… it’s wonderful that I’ve got all of them back, don’t ever think otherwise! But I can’t help it…” Tears began to course down her cheeks. “I still think about those sweet, innocent, impressionable, vulnerable little children I lost nine years ago. They depended on me… on us… and we lost them. We let them down. They had to grow up with that Hosk on some foreign planet in cages. Now they’re almost grown… and… and look at you, Kryys! You’re 53 years old! Even if you lose nine years, you’ll still be 44.”

“Well… maybe not. I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I think the effect of restoring the flow of time from the alternate time pool to the universal river will cancel out all of the changes in us. We’ll start back where we were nine years ago when we were on Antar. All my aging was done in the future, and it all happened during that nine-year time span on Antar, so I think… maybe… I would be six again.”

Liz looked at Kryys. “Would you want that, Kryys?”

Kryys shrugged and smiled. “I don’t really care to be six again, but I would love to have the chance to grow up with my own real parents. And as for the presidency, well… time will wait. I could grow up here. Maybe they’ll accept a degree from the University of CoruzAntar on Alyendis. I can go back and run again for president when I’m older. Who knows? Anyway, there’s someone there I really want to see again someday.”

“Oh, Kryys…” Liz said. “I don’t know what to say.” Liz hugged Kryys again and kissed him on the cheek.

The admiral grinned broadly and tapped Max on the arm.

“Oh… Yes! Liz… Would you call the portal, please. The admiral would like to get home, too!”

Liz smiled. “Portal!”

“Goodbye,” the admiral said. “I’m sure we’ll see each other again. It’s been… a pleasure.”

Liz waved. “Bye,” Max and Kryys both said as the admiral disappeared.

“Well,” Liz said with a huge smile, “I want to call Maria! Wait till she sees you, Kryys! She is so going to freak!”

Liz suddenly gasped. “Omigod! Do you realize what today is on Earth?”

Max thought a minute.

“It’s Thanksgiving,” Kryys said. “We still celebrate it in 7,278.”

“Kryys, you’re staying here for dinner. I’m calling Maria and Michael to come over here.”

Liz got on the phone and asked Maria to bring Michael, Zorel, and Jayyd over for a real Thanksgiving dinner. It was still morning on Antar, so there was still some time, if she hurried, to prepare a big meal. She would have some help from the palace kitchen staff.

“Max, we’re going to need a turkey,” Liz said excitedly.

“Oh, yeah… Sure! Like we have turkeys on Antar! I could shoot a few long-tailed golden zerpia birds in the park.”

“Don’t be silly. You and Michael use the sphere and go to Earth. Take Jim with you. He can shoot a turkey. I’ll invite them over, too. I’ll invite everyone! Get a couple of turkeys! Get three!”

Max looked at Kryys, and Kryys smiled. “It’s so good to be home,” Kryys said, then he broke into a wide grin.


----------


By four PM, Earth time, the first guests had begun to arrive… except for the Valenti’s. At Liz’s request, Jim, Kathleen, and Danyy had come earlier, as had Michael. Varec and Amy showed up at four PM with their daughter, Liz-JoLee, and Liz escorted them to the entertainment room, where they “met” Kryys. Kryys and Varec played a game of Jaht-Roo-Antar, which kept the guests entertained, as the cookie “playing pieces” went “poof” one by one until none were left. During the game, Alex and Isabel showed up with their daughters, Mareeya and Ceelya, and Alex’s parents, the Whitman’s. Tess and Rayylar showed up right after them with Jiba and Drel. Jeff and Nancy Parker and Phillip and Diane Evans showed up next then Diane Casey and Dan Klein. Kyle and Jeliya showed up with Taz and Rayyn, and Maria showed up with Zorel and Jayyd.

Maria had offered to bring a special platter that she had always loved as a child, and Liz had agreed. Liz remembered Maria’s Grandmother cooking it on Earth and had loved it, too. But besides that, Liz wanted to have everything ready to spring her big surprise on Maria and Michael.

Michael, Max, and Jim were getting cleaned up in different rooms in the palace after their little trip to Earth in search of turkeys. They had returned with three turkeys, as Liz had requested. Liz had supervised the food preparation until it hit the ovens, then she had left the cooking up to the palace staff so that she could be with her guests.

After the food was placed on the table, the guests were all called, and everyone took their seats. There were a lot of “oohs” and “ahs,” as the staff carved the turkeys up and placed the portions in front of the guests…

“Liz…” Isabel asked, “However did you get these birds all plucked and cleaned up so fast? I’ve got to hand it to you, girl! You’re amazing!”

Liz smiled. “Thanks, Iz, but actually, the guys did it all for me.”

Max, Michael, and Jim grinned.

“Did they stuff it, too,” Ceelya asked, noticing that the turkeys were stuffed with giblet dressing.

Liz nodded. Isabel grinned and reached over and peeled off a small, folded-over oval sticker that was still sticking to a piece of one of the turkeys…

“Are the turkeys on Earth wearing a new fashion accessory this year, or do they all come with little stickers that say, “Butterball?”

The guys grinned.

“Max, I told you to remove those stickers!” Michael said. Max grinned sheepishly, and everyone started to laugh.

“Sorry girls,” Jim said. “We didn’t have time to find three turkeys in the wild, so we got ‘em in the aisle… Hope you don’t mind.”

Liz grinned. Actually, she had known it from the beginning.

“That’s okay, guys. These are just fine!”

Everyone held their glasses up and toasted their agreement.

“Here’s to Max, Michael, and Jim,” Alex said. “They didn’t return empty-handed!”

“Hear! Hear!” was heard around the table.

Liz had placed Kryys on the same side as Michael and Maria near the head of the table, and neither Michael nor Maria had noticed him sitting there, since he was not across from them.

“We have a very special guest today,” Liz said, asking for everyone’s attention. “He’s the reason I wanted us all to be here today. The other reason is that last night, we rescued the last missing Antarian child and brought her home.”

There was a sustained applause around the table at this news.

“I would like you to meet our guest of honor,” Liz said, looking directly at Michael and Maria. She motioned for Kryys to stand. “The honorable President of Alyendis, Kryys Guerin.”

If a ghost had wandered into the room at that moment, neither Maria nor Michael could have been more surprised. Both of them almost choked, and they hadn’t even begun to eat yet. Maria was out of her seat and had her arms around Kryys before anyone could speak another word, and Michael was right behind her. Zorel and Jayyd followed Maria and Michael. Kyle called for a toast, and everyone raised their glasses to Kryys and his reunited family. There wasn’t a dry eye at the table, but everyone was happy… happier than they could remember being at any time in their lives.

The first official Thanksgiving on Antar was the happiest day any Antarian could remember. It was the day the last child came home.



--------------------------End of Chapter 44




Have a great Thanksgiving! Remember the things you have to be thankful for! And I’ll see you here again. It’s not quite over yet! Gerry





posted on 1-Dec-2002 7:17:46 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“With Love from the Children of the Universe”

Chapter 45

XLV



It seemed that Liz had not been the only one on Antar to have the idea of celebrating “Thanksgiving” on this day. All over Antar, families were having big dinners and giving thanks for their reunited families. The newspapers and other media independently declared it a Day of Thanksgiving for the children of Antar. And there were a lot of calls for some kind of formal ceremony to honor Zan, Shaqor, Michael, Liz, Maria, and the others. Most Antarians wanted a special honor to go to Kathleen for putting Hosk in the hospital… It had been the “feel-good” moment of the last nine years, with the only happier moment being the day their children had actually come home. And today, they were celebrating that all over Antar.

Unknown to the Antarians, however, they were not alone in thinking that a formal ceremony for King Zan, King Shaqor and the others was in order. On quite a few other planets, kings, premiers, chieftains, and reunited families of children that Hosk had stolen had begun calling for the same thing.

No fewer than 24 planets, in addition to Antar, had already called for some kind of honor to be accorded to the heroes. These included Xarius and Krolus, Leafvia (the fern children’s planet), Droufenclar (the “eyeball” children’s planet), Yerrik (the “Ewok” children’s planet), Growahn (the piglet people’s planet), Yargish (the rope-like people’s planet), Aklat (Ee-l’wee’s planet), Orstos (the gas puff children’s planet), Dorad (the inkspot or golden children’s planet), Drago (the Dragon children’s planet), Herlos (Jyita, Ishtee, & Drobos’ planet), Aquarius, Finisi, Kirish, Dinuvia, Corshic, Nordos, Jyris, Gredore, Vindule, and Karis. Other requests were still coming in, mostly directed to the Krolians, whom everyone seemed to think had the best chance of successfully organizing such an affair… and perhaps a strong reason to want to.

Premier Strojis and Admiral Borkelis appointed a special committee on Krolus to look into it and to begin making plans. If it was feasible, they wanted it to happen very soon, in the hopes that it might take place before the Antarian children reverted to their younger ages again. No one was sure when that would happen.

Messages were dispatched to all the planets of the rescued children, informing them that Krolus would accept the request to organize the event and that details would be forthcoming.

Premier Strojis raised his eyebrows slightly in a look of half-surrender.

“Admiral, where on Krolus can such an event take place? How will we get everyone there from all the different planets? There are a lot of details. I fear that we have accepted what could be an impossible task, but… well, I think it’s a good idea, too.”

The admiral nodded. “I agree, Sir! It is a good idea… and I agree, too, it could be an impossible task. It will take weeks -maybe months for some- to get here. It seems likely that Krolus’ spaceport will be insufficient to accommodate all the spacecrafts. And there is another consideration, Sir.”

“What is that, Admiral?”

“The Antarians. We can’t just ask them to come to Krolus. Everyone on Antar is going to want to be there. They lost a quarter of a million children on Antar! And besides, if we're trying to make this a surprise for King Zan and the rescuers…”

Premier Strojis swallowed hard. “What do you suggest, Admiral?”

“The only reasonable place to have the ceremony would be on Antar, Sir, so that all Antarians could attend. As for how this might be accomplished, I’m not sure I know.”

“Well, Admiral,” Premier Strojis said, standing up, “I’m sure you will figure it out! I have a lot of confidence in you!”

“Thank you, Sir,” Admiral Borkelis said, wincing.

Sometimes being efficient and dependable had its drawbacks.


----------


Four days later, Max, Liz, Michael and all the others traveled to the Chanesio region of Antar’s south. Varec had told everyone that he was receiving a special honor there for his efforts to increase shebble longevity and that several eminent scientists from other planets would be attending. As the King and Queen of Antar, Max and Liz had agreed to go as a matter of state, but some of the others had tried to politely bow out. Varec, however, was not accepting no for an answer from anyone, and as the day arrived, everyone was there.

Michael looked around him then looked at Max with a sheepish grin.

“I remember this place.”

Max smiled. “Is this where you blew all the hair off the shebbles when you came out of hyperspace on that bike Varec and the other scientists gave you?”

Michael nodded. “The very place! It was right over there.” He pointed to a vast field full of shebbles on this side of the distant mountains.

Max noticed that Diane Casey and Dan Klein, who were standing beside him and Liz, seemed to have no idea what he and Michael were talking about.

“After we saved Antar from Kivar,” Max explained, “Michael made it his personal campaign to rebuild the linked science lab system on Antar and track down the scientists wherever they had been imprisoned by Kivar and free them. To thank him, they named him “Father of Antarian Science” and gave him that bike that can hit hyperspace. Michael used it on Earth to rescue Jeff Parker from the base.”

“You rode it on Earth once, too, Max.”

“They don’t need to know about that, Michael.”

Michael grinned.

The group of friends walked into the building where the ceremony was to take place. It was huge, probably the largest building on Antar, though hardly the most spectacular. Kivar had had it built before his reign of tyranny on Antar began. The building covered an area the size of two football fields and had been used to hide his ships and war equipment when he was laying plans to usurp the throne of Antar many years before. During that time, he had been pretending to be a friend of the royal family while he secretly tried to steal away Vilandra and stockpiled weapons and ships in this huge building in the isolated deep southern Chanesio region. Too late, King Zan had discovered the truth. He was overthrown and killed, along with Rath and many of his other loyal supporters, family, and staff. But that was all history now. Zan and Rath had been given new life on Earth as Max and Michael. Eventually, they had returned to Antar and, together with the populace and loyalists, had retaken the throne. The jah-ee had then taken care of Kivar’s banishment… permanently.

“Max,” Liz whispered as they walked in, “This place is so huge! And it’s packed! I had no idea that shebble longevity was so important… universally, I mean. I know it’s important here in the Chanesio region.”

Max looked around and then looked at Michael. Clearly, he found it a bit perplexing, too.

“Must be important to someone, Liz! I couldn’t begin to count all the people here! And they’re not all Antarian either.”

Michael looked around again. Somewhere, deep in his mind, he was beginning to feel just a little suspicious.

“I don’t know why, Max, but something here just doesn’t smell right…”

“I don’t see any Ghors,” Max joked; but he was starting to get the same feeling.

Michael didn’t have time to think about it any more. Varec had spotted them and was already whisking them into a hover tram to take them to a place he said was reserved for the “dignitaries and heads of state.”

Max, Liz, Michael, Maria, Alex, Isabel, Jim, Kathleen, Diane, Dan, Kyle, Jeliya, and their children were whisked to the back of the large building and onto a stage behind the curtain, which had yet to be opened. With them in the back were Varec and Amy. They also recognized a couple of the preeminent scientists from Xarius. King Shaqor was already there with Queen MayaSabriena and her sisters, JoLeesa and AnDasniya and their husbands. Shag seemed as perplexed as Max and Michael were.

Max noticed that the noise of the crowd on the other side of the curtain was becoming quieter… then someone began to speak. Michael looked at Max with a strange look…

“That sounds like Admiral Borkelis,” he whispered.

“That is Admiral Borkelis,” Max whipered back. “I’d bet on it! What in the name of cosmic science fairs is he interested in shebbles for?”

The curtain opened, and Admiral Borkelis motioned for Max, Michael, Shaqor, and the rest of the group to stand. There was immediate and thunderous applause, as the entire crowd, which must have easily numbered over a million, stood and cheered loudly. Max, Michael, Shag, and the others all looked at each other; and they suddenly realized what this was really all about. Maria put her hands over her face momentarily and blushed, but then she smiled. Liz blushed, too, but stood looking at the crowd as though she still didn’t quite believe it.

Admiral Borkelis called King Zan and Queen Liz to the front of the stage and proceeded to recount details of some of their “heroic” rescues. After he had finished, he motioned to the side, and many of the children they had rescued came out bringing flowers and gifts that they had made for them. The "children" ranged in age from about 4, in the case of a few non-Antarians who were kidnapped more recently than the Antarian children, to 22, which a 13-year-old Antarian would be now after nine years in slavery. Each one gave Max and Liz a kiss on the cheek, thanked them, and told them how proud they were to be Antarian or, if they were not Antarian, how proud they felt to have met and been rescued by the “heroic King Zan and Queen Liz of Antar.”

“Thank you,” Max said simply, his face turning slightly red. “I can truly say that whatever I did I would do it all over in a second for these children… and for the families who love them.” He turned and stepped back with the others. He was afraid to say any more for fear his voice might break.

“We have grown to love each one of these children as though they were our very own,” Liz added, stepping back with Max to the sound of thunderous applause.

Admiral Borkelis motioned to Shaqor and Maya, introducing them correctly as the Zasharn and Zashayn of Xarius and pointing out that King Shaqor and King Zan had conducted almost all of the rescue operations from the royal palace on Xarius and that Shaqor had hired “substitute mothers” to take care of the children on Xarius until they could be reunited with their loved ones. He also recounted details of some of Shaqor’s more memorable or heroic rescues. The crowd applauded thunderously again, and many of the children paraded by, one by one, to give them flowers, hand-made gifts, and a kiss on the cheek.

It might have been only the second or third time in his rather long life that Shaqor had found himself at a loss for words. He referred to what King Zan had said and agreed with him one hundred percent. Maya agreed, too.

“Our palace was very alive for a couple of months,” Maya said. “The children were a delight to have around. It has been 12,000 years since Shaqor and I have had children in the palace. I found it most… stimulating and wonderful.”

The crowd applauded again, and Admiral Borkelis motioned for Michael and Maria to come up. He recounted details of several memorable rescues that each of them had carried out and then motioned for the children to come in. The children paraded by, offering flowers, hand-made gifts, and a kiss on the cheek to each one… until the Dragon children appeared. One of the younger Dragon children recognized Michael as the one who had carried him out of the collapsed tunnels, and before anyone knew what was happening, he had bounded across the stage and into Michael’s arms. Michael smiled, and his face turned red. He patted the little Dragon on the back, as it wrapped its arms tightly around him and gave him what was undoubtedly a big “Dragon kiss” on the cheek. The crowd went wild with delight; and no one there was more delighted than the Dragons, all of whom took it as a sign of good things to come in their new relationship with Antar. Dragon Admiral Grada had a smile so big on his face that he could have swallowed a Ghor… if one had been present.

After Michael and Maria had expressed their thanks and love for the children, they returned to their previous places… with the little Dragon still holding onto Michael. In a moment, its mother came in from the back and removed it from Michael’s neck with a big smile. She gave Michael a totally unexpected kiss on the cheek that left him totally speechless.

Maria struggled to stifle a laugh. “You flirt! I’ve gotta watch you all the time!” she whispered to Michael.

If it seemed that Michael couldn’t get any redder, that would have been wrong. He did… and Maria and Liz were loving it!

Admiral Borkelis motioned for Kyle and Jeliya to come up. He recounted details of some of Kyle’s memorable rescues, especially the strange “football battle tactics” he and Dan had used. Admiral Borkelis was diplomatically careful not to offend the Dragons, since those rescues had been done on Drago when they were rescuing other children from the Dragons. The Dragons themselves nodded, however. It had not gone unnoticed among the Dragons that Kyle and Dan had used some pretty unusual… and exciting… battle tactics, and the Dragons were impressed by their innovativeness as well as their bravery and ferocity in battle. It was something they understood and respected.

A long line of children paraded by and gave flowers, gifts, and kisses to both Kyle and Jeliya. Jeliya had helped extensively from the palace on Xarius and from Antar, though she had not gone on any rescues other than the trip to future Earth, "Alyendis."

“Dan Klein and Diane Casey got to listen as the admiral recounted some of their amazing adventures on the fairytale planet, which the crowd found strangely interesting and appealing. Then the admiral motioned for someone to come in. It was the little man who called himself Frebel-Ish. Max and Michael looked at each other and wondered how in the universe the admiral had found him much less convinced him to come here. The admiral must be more resourceful, they decided, than even they had guessed. The crowd stood and applauded, which seemed to thrill the Hjity more than any words could describe.

"I am very happy I was able to return some of your children," the Hjity said. "I hope that you will someday come to see my planet. You will be welcome."

“'Frebel-Ish' is currently detaining Hosk for us," the admiral pointed out, "in a way, I might add, that Hosk finds most unpleasant… until we can send him away for good."

The crowd applauded again, and the little Hjity smiled broadly.

When the children paraded by and gave them flowers, hand-made gifts, and a kiss on the cheek, both Dan and Diane seemed to get misty-eyed.

"The opportunity to help Antar has been the highlight of my life… along with meeting Diane, of course," Dan said. "For my planet, Earth, perhaps it is a step toward the future… a better future in which we can be one with the universe and not set apart from it."

Diane gave Dan a quick kiss on the cheek and a smile, then she spoke…

"Ever since I was a little girl, I knew that I wanted to be here, out in the stars, but I never guessed how rewarding it would be. I just want to wish everyone, and all the reunited families especially, as much happiness as I've known since you welcomed me here on Antar. Being able to help find the missing children has made my life full and rewarding; and I want to say how proud I've been of Dan, too." Diane looked at Dan and smiled. "And Dan… the answer is, yes! If you ever want to ask the question again!"

Dan wasn't sure if he had heard right, but he wasn't taking any chances. He dropped to one knee right there… "Diane, will you marry me?" The crowd stood and applauded wildly, whistling and cheering.

Diane nodded, turning red. She hadn't actually expected this right here… right now… but she was clearly glowing, even if her glow was red enough now to stop traffic.

Admiral Borkelis called Alex and Isabel and Tess and Rayylar up and recounted some of the details of their trip to Future Earth, when they had gone to look for Kryys, Taz, Jiba, and Drel. Although the four of them had been away from Antar when the rescues began, they had worked on Antar since they returned, helping to coordinate the remaining searches.

Varec and Amy were the next to be called up.

"We had to ask Varec to help us plan this event," the admiral said, "so that it might be a surprise for King Zan and the others, but Varec and his wife Amy are also responsible for saving many children. Besides this, it is Varec who discovered that the children might still be alive, which led to the rescues happening at all. For this, we owe Varec a very special debt."

The crowd cheered and applauded then stood up and applauded some more, as children marched in with flowers, hand-made gifts, and kisses for Varec and for Amy. Both Varec and Amy were smiling broadly.

"This is what science is all about," Varec said… "Ultimately, it is about our children, for without them there is no future and no one to be concerned about the science anyway." Amy nodded.

Finally, the admiral was ready to call his last couple up. Craftily, he had saved this couple for last, because he knew the reaction he was going to get. He motioned to Jim and Kathleen. As they walked to the front, the crowd simply went wild. Everyone stood and applauded for what seemed like forever. Bouquets of flowers suddenly appeared throughout the crowd as if from nowhere and were thrown onto the stage to Kathleen, many landing at her feet, and a couple landing in her arms. The crowd continued to whistle as their emotions ran high. Finally, the thunderous applause and whistles began to quiet down, as people strained to hear what she and Jim would say.

Admiral Borkelis spoke first, recounting details of some of the rescues they had made. Nobody really needed to hear about the punch that put Hosk in the hospital. It was already well-established in Antarian lore. Jeff Parker had called it, “the blow for all Antarian motherhood,” and the media had picked that epithet up and run with it. Antarian mothers felt a special bond with Kathleen, Antarian fathers respected and admired her; and everyone admired and respected Jim.

Admiral Borkelis motioned to Danyy standing off at the side, and Danyy came in with the pawgor and joined his parents. There were gasps from the crowd, but no one left their seat. They all knew by now of Danyy and Jim’s relationship with the pawgor, and they were in awe of it. Spotting Jim driving with the pawgor hanging its head out the window was enough to make most Antarians’ whole day. Jim and Kathleen had true “star” status on Antar that many singers only wished for and dreamed of… and Jim and Kathleen never asked for it… They were just being themselves!

The children walked by and gave them more flowers, hand-made gifts, and kisses; and many of the children couldn’t resist patting the pawgor, too. The pawgor seemed to enjoy it.

Admiral Borkelis had the whole group come forward together then motioned to the side again. A number of people walked in. Some were parents of rescued children. They recognized Jyita, who came today with Ishtee and Drobos. She thanked them publicly for returning her children to her and for Max’s saving their lives.

Right behind Jyita was a tiny creature, not more than 15 inches high, who flew with dragonfly-like wings, evoking lots of "oohs" and "ahs" from the crowd. It was Ee-l’wee.

“In case you wondered,” the admiral said to Max and Michael, “how I got everyone here in time from the other planets, this fine little lady has a sphere like yours. And it was still no small feat!”

Max laughed. He knew that was true… and an understatement at the least.

As Ee-l’wee hovered in the air, the admiral motioned for the adult Leafvians and Droufas -the “ferns” and “eyeballs”- to come in. They floated in with their children, to the thrill and amazement of the crowd, most of whom had never seen a Leafvian or a Droufa before or even knew that they existed.

“The Leafvians and Droufas have prepared a special gift for all of you,” the admiral said. “They're going to sing a special song which they have composed in your honor.” Admiral Borkelis motioned, and the Leafvians began to vibrate, as a haunting, melodic tune filled the air. Their children joined in, and the hairs on the back of everyone’s neck stood up, as the haunting melody seemed to take over everything in the huge room. Then a new sound joined in. It sounded like an occasional drum roll with an occasional bass-like sound somewhat reminiscent of a bullfrog. Michael looked at Max, and both of them smiled. Liz and Maria and the others were smiling, too. None of them had ever heard the sound of the shy Droufas before. It somehow complimented the Leafvians' hauntingly beautiful melodies wonderfully.

The final part of the program was the official honors, which were bestowed on the rescuers, one by one, by the kings, premiers, chiefs, or other heads of the planets to which the children had been returned. First was the "Vashadis-liyar-shiyodo" of the Leafvians of Leafvia. The title, which roughly translates as "the one who floats above the others," is more of an honorary title than a literal one.

The Vashadis-liyar-shiyodo floated over to Zan and placed a light, almost translucent wreath over his head. He then placed similar wreaths on Liz, Maria, Michael, Shaqor, Varec, and the others. Then turning to the crowd, the head Leafvian said in a light, melodic tone…

"Our people have been touched by the caring that was shown for our children by your planet and by your King Zan and by the Xarian, Zasharn Shaqor and his people. We are giving you these shileis as tokens of our friendship. The shilei has several special abilities, which you will discover. It is highly valued on Leafvia for its beauty and for its powers. The shilei grows only in one place on Leafvia, and we give them only to our most special friends."

"Thank you," Zan said. Shaqor, Liz, Michael, Maria and the others repeated the thanks one by one.

The Droufa-bwoh of Droufenclar floated over to Max next, looking for all the world like nothing but two large eyeballs floating in the air. The Droufas, as Max and the others had discovered, do have bodies, including short arms and actual feet though no legs to speak of. However, their bodies do not reflect light, only the eyes do; thus, they look like floating eyeballs.

The Droufa-bwoh carefully placed a small medal on the shirt or blouse of each of the heroes then turned and spoke to the crowd in a deep, bullfrog-like voice.

"Droufenclar welcomes these new citizens. As they are one with this planet, they are one with us now also. Welcome King Zan, Queen Liz, Zasharn Shaqor, Zashayn MayaSabriena, Michael, Maria, Kyle, Jeliya, Jim, Kathleen, Dan, Diane, Alex, Isabel, Varec, and Amy. Welcome all citizens of Antar and Xarius."

The Droufa-bwoh floated over to the Leafvian Vashadis-liyar-shiyodo and proceded to place something on him, too. It was a different type of "medal," one that looked lighter, more like a flower.

"We also welcome these new friends, the Leafvians. Their children and ours have shown us that a special friendship and bond exists between us. The Leafvian reciprocated, placing a shilei over the Droufa-bwoh's head. The shilei settled on the Droufa's shoulders, which were invisible, and appeared to float in the air just below the eyes. Then the Droufa children joined their young Leafvian friends, seeming to hide behind them, with their eyeballs peering through the Leafvian children’s fronds as they floated together.

One by one, the other heads of state presented their gifts or medals to Zan and the others. Some of them looked fairly normal, at least for aliens, but others had never been seen before on Antar, and the Antarians in the crowd were amazed.

The King of Orstos floated in looking like a cloud of swirling gasses, much to the astonishment of the people in the crowd. But they were far more surprised when he suddenly seemed to explode, flashing and leaping the rest of the way across the stage. Behind him came seven little “gas puffs,” as Michael had called them on Xarius. Each one flashed and leapt across the stage, landing with great precision beside the larger one. It might have been great material for a circus act, only this was no circus. These were real creatures acting exactly as they were accustomed to acting on their own planet. The flash and leap was much easier and more time-saving than floating all the way there slowly. It was totally normal behavior for an Orstosian.

The crowd, and for that matter, Max and Michael, too, were surprised to learn that the “gas cloud” could speak. Its voice was about midrange, neither high nor low, but it had a crackling quality, like a burning fire. The crowd listened intently as it spoke…

“In the history of Orstos, no Orstosian ember had ever been stolen from our planet before these, and no Orstosian, whether fully grown or an ember, has ever left our planet for more than a very short time. It is understandable, perhaps, that the universe does not understand or welcome Orstosians. Perhaps they believe that we are dangerous… perhaps they believe we are too frightful to look at… but King Zan and Zasharn Shaqor have caused our planet to rethink our isolation. We now know that on Antar and on Xarius we have found friends… or perhaps I should say, friends have found us! What Orstosian would have ever believed that one of these little Orstosian embers, stolen from our planet and from its parents, would ever come home again… safe and unextinguished! This is truly a day our planet will remember!

Brulo, Kemada, Ceniza, Chispa, Humos, Yama, and Ascua, our seven stolen embers, are with me here today. They have told us of their experiences on Xarius and of the kind way that they were treated by Zasharn Shaqor, King Zan, and the others. They told us of the barbaric way the Ghor slave trader forced them to eat charcoal with no tar in it! Zasharn Shaqor learned that the embers needed tar with the charcoal and that the charcoal needs to be pulverized for these little ones. The Ghor did not care about these things!

They also told us of the barbaric treatment of the embers from other planets, including Antar, by the Ghor named Hosk.

King Zan… Zasharn Shaqor… and all those who helped our embers, we thank you from our ever-burning cores. We now know that, though the universe may be dangerous for Orstosians still, there are those like you out here who are special. My planet wishes each of you to have this gift, which we have been told is considered valuable to you. If we have been told wrong, please forgive us. We wanted to give you pure carbon, which is a delicacy, not these bluish-white by-products that are left after we have consumed the carbon… but that is what we were told.”

The Orstosian placed a large bluefire diamond, the most expensive and rarest variety of diamond in the known universe, in the hand of each person on the stage. Liz and Maria gasped. Diane and Kathleen were speechless. One of these diamonds would buy a house… and no small house at that! Two or three of them would almost buy the palace… if, of course, it were for sale.

“These are beautiful,” Max said. “These are very, very valuable in our cultures! Thank you!”

“Yes, thank you!” the others said. “These are simply… amazing!”

“They are everywhere on my planet. Sometimes we pay a contractor to clean them up and get rid of them.”

“Get rid of them?” Michael asked.

“They take them to a moon or asteroid somewhere and dump them. I am so sorry! I should not have told you this. Now you may not want the gifts.”

“Oh, no worry there!” Jim said. “One look at Kathleen’s eyes tells me she still appreciates it plenty!”

“We all do!” Liz said. “These are called ‘bluefire diamonds’ on our planet. They are several hundred thousand times more valuable than pure carbon.”

The Orstosian seemed stunned. “I cannot imagine why! It is like… preferring the pit of a fruit rather than the fruit!”

“I guess it’s been changed though,” Max said… “by some process.”

“Mmmm, yes,” the Orstosian nodded. “It’s what is left after we eat.” He still did not understand, but he was quite happy now, knowing that the gifts would be well-appreciated after all. “Perhaps,” he reasoned, “these carbon-based creatures, the Antarians, Xarians, and Earthlings, need to be fertilized occasionally.”

The event was long, but no one got bored this day. The 20-foot-tall Yargishis, who were slender enough for a man to put his hands around them, were a big hit, as were a number of other never-before-seen-on-Antar aliens. All the dignitaries recieved thunderous applause from the crowd, which was greatly enjoying this celebration… and it was a celebration!

And like any good celebration, there was a final act. For this occasion, Shaqor decided that it was time to follow through on his promise to the Ghors. Shaqor called the Sphere of the Portal and told the crowd that he was asking it to transport the Ghor planet, Ghorbidfael, and all the Ghors on it, to sector Q97 of the known universe. He quoted Hosk’s own words after he had told Hosk that Ghorbidfael would be moved. Hosk had said:

“Q97… That is… That is far from any other planets or civilization, Shaqor! It would take me three lifetimes -even with the ionic drive- to reach any other inhabited system… in any direction!”

“And that is precisely the idea!” Shaqor said. “Hosk is currently on the Hjity world. I will send him to join his planet as soon as Frebel-Ish changes him back.”

Shaqor noticed questioning looks in the crowd after he said this.

“You see,” he explained, “Frebel-Ish changed Hosk into an old woman with twenty or thirty children. He’s… well… pretty occupied at the moment.”

There was a lot of laughter in the crowd. Shaqor held the sphere up for everyone to see…

“Sphere, transport the planet Ghorbidfael… and its moon… to sector Q97.”

The area around the sphere began to glow. The glow became larger and larger then disappeared in the direction of Ghorbidfael. By now, every Antarian knew which star in the sky was Ghorbidfael. They watched… as one star disappeared from the Antarian sky. And they applauded.



-------------------------End of Chapter 45






[ edited 1 time(s), last at 1-Dec-2002 8:15:34 PM ]
posted on 4-Dec-2002 5:11:43 AM by Gerry Carr
Thanks, KEmperor, for the fb! Yeah, it's coming down to the wire! Two, maybe three more chapters and that's it. Here's the next. Enjoy!




posted on 4-Dec-2002 5:12:49 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“Oops”

Chapter 46

XLVI



It had been two days since the big honors ceremony for the rescuers on Antar, and Dan Klein was in his office in Washington, D.C., near the White House, doing what he seemed to always be doing when he was there… more paperwork. But today would be different in one way…

There was a knock on the door of Dan’s office. At first, he didn’t notice. Then they knocked again. This time he looked up from his work.

“Come in,” he said, shuffling the papers around on his desk. “The door’s not locked.”

The door opened, and two men in suits stepped into the room. They were followed by another man… the President. Dan suddenly noticed and stood up to greet his visitor.

“Sir! Good morning! I wasn’t expecting your visit.”

The President motioned to the two men that they could wait outside.

“Good morning, Dan. I just thought I’d stop by and see how you were getting’ along over here since I appointed you to the new position. I got your reports, but I like to kind of face off with folks sometimes… just see for myself how it’s all movin’ along… if they’re happy… whatever. So, Dan! Anything I can do for you over here? Need any aliens rounded up?” The President chuckled.

Dan smiled. “No, Sir… Everything’s just fine, Sir! I haven’t found any aliens that needed roundin’ up yet. We’re goin’ ahead full steam with your project of gathering information about life out there in the universe… so we can make friends with them if we ever do meet them. You know… keep ‘em on our side.”

“Good! Good! I know a lot of folks think this alien stuff is a bunch of hooey, Dan, but we’ve gotta move forward into the future and be prepared for whatever may come along. It's a big universe out there. I like the idea of us being their friends and keeping them on our side if there is intelligent life out there… And there is some evidence, as you know, Dan, that there is. Maybe you should write up some kind of protocol… you know, how we would handle it if we met them again… how we would make them our friends… and…”

As the President spoke, a bright light suddenly appeared in the room. Something that looked like a mirror surrounded by white light appeared for an instant, and Diane stepped into the room with a book in her hands. Without looking up, she began talking while looking at the open book.

“Dan! I’ve got a book here with places we could go on our honeymoon! There’s this planet called Yxtiar with all these hot springs and…” Diane looked up. “Oops!” She immediately said “Portal;” and before one could blink an eye, she was gone again.

The President sat in stunned silence for a few moments. Dan didn’t speak either. Nothing he could think of right now seemed like it would get him out of this. He would just wait and see if the President noticed.

“Dan,” the President said after a few moments.

“Yes, Sir?”

“What was that?”




-------------------------End of Chapter 46





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Dec-2002 6:09:39 AM ]
posted on 5-Dec-2002 4:44:28 AM by Gerry Carr
Thanks Asabetha and KEmperor! I love your feedback on any board, too! Makes the muse smile, and I love a smiling muse! Yep, the cat's out of the bag. Here's the next part of that. Hope you like it!




posted on 5-Dec-2002 4:45:31 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“Boom!”

Chapter 47

XLVII



The President sat in stunned silence for a few moments. Dan didn’t speak either. Nothing he could think of right now seemed like it would get him out of this. He would just wait and see if the President noticed.

“Dan,” the President said after a few moments.

“Yes, Sir?”

“What was that?”

“What was what, Sir?”

“Come on, Dan. I know what I saw! Well… maybe I don’t know what I saw, but… I know I saw something!”

“I don’t suppose I could convince you that you got ahold of some bad pretzels, Sir, and…”

The President was shaking his head.

“No… I didn’t think so… Aw, come on, Mister President! You’re a Texan, Sir! You know a lady when you see one!”

“Yes, indeed, I do, Dan… and I’ll grant you, that was a lady… and a fine-lookin’ one, too! But what was THAT?”

“Oh… You mean THAT, Sir.”

“Yes, THAT!”

“That light… thing… and that…”

“Right.”

Dan nodded. “Well, Sir… That was a portal.”

“A portal? Like a door or something? To where?”

Dan just shrugged and pointed up.

The President sat for another few moments in silence.

“Dan, you’re movin’ ahead on this project pretty fast, aren’t you! I think you’ve been holdin’ out on me! I know I asked you to find life out there and make friends with 'em, but… you're taking this thing pretty seriously, aren't you?”

“Well, Sir… I’ll invite you to the wedding if you’d like!”

“You’d better! Now show me what that was that I saw!”

Dan breathed out. “Oh well, by now she’ll be checking the Sphere of Visions to see if I’m alone again yet, so…” Dan looked up… “Come on back, Diane. We’re busted!”

The portal appeared after a moment, and Diane stepped through.

“Dan, I’m sorry! I should have checked first. I didn’t know…”

“Mister President, meet my fiancée, Miss Diane Casey.”

“It’s a real pleasure, Miss Casey,” the President said, taking her hand and kissing it.

“Miss Casey, I don’t normally start off meeting someone and asking them right off where they’re from, but that seems to be the question on my mind right now.”

“Texas,” Diane said.

“Well, now, I don’t remember us havin’ anything like that… uh, whatever it was you came in here through… in Texas, and I was the governor of that great state!”

“Oh… well, I was born in Texas, Sir, but I live somewhere else now.”

“I gather that would not be around these parts, would it, Miss Casey?”

“No, Sir. It’s Antar, Sir. It's… another planet.”

The President nodded. “Maybe I should have those pretzels checked, after all, Dan!”

Dan laughed.

“So, Dan, you’re planning to marry this pretty gal, huh? I guess congratulations are in order then!”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“I gather that all those times when I couldn’t find you here you were up there?”

“Oh… I didn’t know you had been by to see me before, Sir! Yeah, well… you see, we had a little Ghor problem up there.”

The President raised an eyebrow. “Up there, too?”

“There was this Ghor named Hosk,” Diane interjected.

“Well, I know Al, of course… and his Daddy. But Hosk Gore? No… I never heard of him. Send ‘im to Florida,” the President said with a wry smile. That state's been known to be fatal to Gores."

“I’m gonna ignore that comment, Sir,” Dan said.

“Which one?”

“Both of them, Sir,” Dan said, keeping a straight face. He was biting down on his tongue and fighting a smile that was pulling at the corners of his mouth, but he refused to surrender to the urge or give the satisfaction of a grin.

"Miss Casey," the President said, "Just what is that… 'portal' thing that you came in here through? I never saw anything like it. What can it do?"

Diane glanced at Dan. Dan nodded that it was okay.

"Well, Sir… That's just what it is… a portal. It makes a doorway between two different places… like Earth and Antar."

"And it can take you anywhere?"

"As far as I know."

"You see, Sir," Dan said, "This is just the kind of technology we wouldn't want to fall into the enemy's hands."

The President nodded. "You're right, Dan! I don’t even want to think about what the Democrats could do with something like this!"

"I meant Iraq and North Korea, Sir, " Dan said, "…countries that are unfriendly to us… and terrorists!"

"Yeah… them, too!" the President said with a wry smile.

The President had a way of joking about things and a self-deprecating wit, but Dan knew him well enough to see through it… usually. And besides, Dan wasn't above making a little joke himself…

"Your old friend Senator Jeffors might join a party on another planet if he had the portal," Dan said.

"Hmmm…" The President nodded. "No, I still don't think that's enough reason to let them have it."

Dan gave in and chuckled slightly.

"Well, Sir," Diane said, "I'm afraid it wouldn’t do anyone any good if they did have it, even you. This portal doesn’t answer to anyone but Liz, not even to the President. Just Liz… and Maya and Shaqor, of course. I'm only allowed to use it by Liz's special permission."

"Well, that's good to know, actually," the President said. "That means it couldn't fall into the wrong hands and be misused. And yes, Dan, I do mean Iraq and North Korea and terrorists and… Say, Miss Casey, didn't you or Dan say something awhile ago about a 'Sphere of Visions'?"

"I think I mentioned it," Dan said.

"What kind of ‘visions’?"

"Anything you ask it to ‘see’. Just like the Sphere of Searches can find anything or anyone."

"Anyone… even O s a m a b I n L a d e n?"

Dan looked at Diane, and Diane shrugged. "I guess."

"Do you have permission to use those spheres, too, Miss Casey?"

"Temporarily… yes."

"Can your sphere find O s a m a for me?"

Diane shrugged. "That… seems like a humanitarian request, I guess. I could try it."

Diane called for the Sphere of Searches. "Please locate O s a m a b I n L a d e n."

After a short wait, the sphere answered. "I regret that I cannot locate this person."

"Why not?" Diane asked.

"Millennia ago, most of the universe was mapped by systematic benthuric crystal quatrilation. This information is recreated in my memory so that I can locate anything I seek. This planet, however, was never mapped by systematic benthuric crystal quatrilation, so I cannot give you a location for the one you request."

"Maybe the Sphere of Visions can see him," Dan suggested.

Diane called for the Sphere of Visions. "Show us O s a m a b I n L a d e n?"

A misty apparition filled part of the room; and in it, they saw a tall, bearded man wearing a robe, sitting in a very comfortable, western-style chair, drinking Pepsi-Cola, watching TV, and reading Time magazines.

"Are you sure that's b I n L a d e n?" Dan asked.

"It looks like he's in a cave," Diane said. "It could be him."

The President opened the door and called his two secret service agents in. "Can either of you gentlemen tell where this is?"

They looked at the apparition intently.

"No, Sir," the first one said. "It's in a cave somewhere. And that's b I n L a d e n. What is this?" The agents walked around the apparition, touching the mist with their hands.

"The cave is deep, Sir," the second agent noted. "The walls are covered in places with a type of moss that grows only below 300 feet… and only in a few places in the Middle East. Afghanistan is one."

"That could be helpful. Okay. Miss Casey, could that portal take me to where O s a m a is even if Earth hasn't been qua… qua… quatri… whatever that mapping was called?"

"I don't know. Portal!"

"Sir, Don't!" Dan warned. "It could… it would be dangerous."

"My boys can go with me. One Texan against a bearded pervert with a dress on and a few assassins… That sounds like pretty good odds to me."

"Sir," the second agent said. "I have to agree with Mister Klein. "It would be dangerous… even with us along."

Diane looked at Dan. "There is another sphere, Dan. We've never used it, but it activated itself once without being asked to and saved all our lives on the ship. It's the Sphere of Protection."

"And you can use it?" Dan asked.

"Liz gave me permission to use the spheres temporarily. She didn't specify which ones."

“…Sphere of Protection!"

"Ask."

"Can you protect these men if they go somewhere where there might be danger… on Earth?"

"Yes. But their weapons will not work while they are protected."

"I guess the crystal quatrilation mapping isn't needed except for specifying location," Diane said. "Are you sure you want to do this?" she asked the President.

"Sure as rain!"

"Okay, then. Sphere of Protection, protect these men until they return. Portal, take these three men to the one they seek. And Liz! Please don't kill me!" Diane added.

The portal appeared.

"What do I do… just step through?"

Diane nodded. The first agent held his hand out in front of the President and stepped through before him. The second agent followed the first one. Then the President stepped through. O s a m a b I n L a d e n sat watching TV, looking the other way, and somehow didn't notice the new arrivals. The President walked up behind him and casually leaned over the back of his chair.

"BOO!"

B I n L a d e n jumped and spun around quickly then began calling excitedly. Within seconds, the room had filled with bearded terrorists carrying Soviet era AK-47's, all pointed at the three men. A look from their leader, and they began firing. Bullets came like rain from every part of the room toward the President and the two secret service agents; but as each bullet traveled through the air, it lost velocity, seemed to melt in mid-air, and dropped to the ground as a puddle of molten lead. The terrorists continued firing until their bullets ran out, but none reached the three intruders. O s a m a b I n L a d e n still sat in the chair, from which he had not moved since the intruders had first arrived.

After the bullets stopped flying, the President leaned over the chair again. "Did I say, 'BOO,' Sammy? I'm sorry! I misspoke. I do that a lot, it seems. I meant, 'BOOM!'" He smiled then stepped back through the portal into Dan's office with the two agents.

The terrorists were running every which way. Some of them decided it was a good time -as all times were- to lavish praise on their "leader."

"O s a m a, you have inspired us all! Songs will be written about how you faced down our enemy today and frightened them away. You never moved! You never ran! You are truly a leader of leaders!"

O s a m a smiled slightly then winced. "Okay! Bah-le, Bah-le, Bah-le! Get out now! I want to be left alone! …Not you, Ali. You stay."

The others all walked out, bowing and still lavishing their leader with praises.

"What do you need?" Ali asked. "Why didn't you stand up to face our enemy?"

O s a m a looked around. The others appeared to have gone. "Bring me a clean robe, and shut up."

Back in Dan’s office, the President was grinning like a cat that had just chewed the tail off of a mouse. The two secret service agents were a bit unnerved. The first agent leaned over to the other one and said in a hushed whisper…

“Are you going to report this, Jackson?”

“Report what?” Jackson asked. “They’ll think I was drinking on duty. Nothing happened… You going to file a report, Derrick?”

“About what? Nothing happened.”

Jackson looked back at him. “Right. That’s what I thought.”

“Dan,” the President said, “That was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I better get these boys back over to the White House. I think they’ve been in the sun too long. Congratulations on your engagement! You couldn’t have chosen a more delightful lady! Miss Casey, it’s been a real pleasure! I hope I’ll be seein’ you around from time to time. I’ll put you and Dan on the White House social list. Well, it doesn’t look like you need my help over here, Dan. Looks like you’ve got everything in hand… uh… under control…”

The President turned and motioned to the secret service agents, who escorted him back over to the White House. Dan was alone again with Diane.

“Well, Dan… Do you?”

“Do I what?” Dan asked.

“Have everything in hand?”

Dan put his arms around Diane and pulled her up to him as their lips slowly came together. A couple of minutes later, he answered, “Yeah, I do now.”



-------------------------End of Chapter 47



The preceding chapter was intended to be enjoyed as parody and humor and as a part of this story and does not intentionally either endorse or disparage any person… well, except for one specific infamous cave-dwelling troglodyte, but that is another story. All references to politics or political persons is intended to be neutral and enjoyable by persons of any political persuasion and should not be assumed to imply anything but good-natured humor. Smile! *happy*







[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Dec-2002 6:08:39 AM ]
posted on 7-Dec-2002 3:47:26 AM by Gerry Carr
Thanks, Snowdove! *happy**happy**happy**happy**happy*




posted on 7-Dec-2002 3:49:04 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“Don’t Make Me Hurt You!”

Chapter 48

XLVIII



Max and Michael were out making the rounds, as they often did, keeping morale up in the kingdom, checking to see what might be needed, making sure that the kingdom ran smoothly and everyone was happy. Liz and Maria were preparing lunch for Kyle, Jeliya, Dan, Diane, their children, and themselves in the palace, and Diane began to relate the details of what had happened to her and Dan on Earth. Liz stopped momentarily and put her hand over her mouth…

“Omigosh! You mean… you looked up and he was just right there… in front of you?”

“Yeah,” Diane said, her voice trembling. “The President! The President was in Dan’s office!”

“What did you do?”

“I didn’t have time to think. I made a hasty retreat. When I got back here, my legs were like jelly. You can imagine! I wasn’t sure I would be able to stand up. I thought, Omigod, Dan is just going to kill me when he sees me again… and how is he going to explain this to… you know, him?”

“Oh, Diane,” Liz said in a hushed tone. “What did he do? What did YOU do?”

“I used the Sphere of Visions to see what Dan would say.”

“Well don’t keep me in suspense!” Liz said.

“He handled it pretty well. He kind of tried to make a joke out of it, you know… then he just told the President that it was a portal, and when the President pushed for information about it, Dan told me to come on back. He knew I would be watching with the sphere.”

“You went back? Weren’t you scared?”

“I was jelly, Liz! I thought I would die! You can’t imagine. I didn’t know what was going to happen! But it was my own fault. I should have checked first. It’s just that nobody ever came to see Dan before when he was in his office.”

“Did he… Did he ask about the portal,” Liz wanted to know.

“Oh yeah! He was very persistent!”

“What did you tell him?”

“That it was like a doorway between two places… in this case, our planets.”

“Did he, like, freak? I mean… he didn’t call out the secret service or alien task force or something…?”

“No. That would be Dan. Dan’s in charge of all that now. I thought Dan would kill me, though. Well, not literally, but I thought I would probably wish that he had after he finished with me. You know what he said?”

Liz shook her head, her eyes opening wider than usual.

“He just said, “Mister President, meet my fiancée, Diane Casey.”

Liz was prepared for something -she didn’t know what- more traumatic. She fumbled the spoon she was stirring with and dropped it into the Grelligo soup. As she tried to fish it back out, she asked…

“What did the President say?”

“He just said, ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Casey…’ Then he told Dan that he was moving really fast on this project.”

“What project?”

“Something about seeking out other life in the universe and trying to make friends with them if they found any. He told Dan that he didn’t mean he had to marry them.”

Liz laughed. “What did Dan say?”

“He told the President he’d invite him to the wedding.”

“Ooh, well, Diane, maybe they’ll give you a nice wedding gift.”

“Yeah, well… I assure you that’s not what I had on my mind!”

Liz laughed again. “I’m sure it’s not.”

“Did the President ask how the portal worked or anything about Antar,” Maria wanted to know.

“No… Well, he asked a lot of questions, but mostly about what the spheres would do. And he asked me where I was from. I told him Texas.”

Maria and Liz both laughed. “Yeah, and he believed that?” Maria asked, “…after you came in through the portal? He probably thought you were an alien!”

“Oh, he did! He said they don’t have anything like that in Texas, and I told him I was born in Texas, but I don’t live there anymore… I live on Antar now.”

“And I suppose he knew where that was,” Kyle interjected with a laugh.

“No. And he didn’t ask me to point it out either… not that I could have… It’s too far away to be seen from Earth. He wanted to know if the Sphere of Searches could locate O s a m a b I n L a d e n for him.”

Liz fumbled the spoon again and dropped it back into the Grelligo soup.

“What did you do?” all three seemed to want to know at the same time.

“I… I thought you might kill me for misusing the spheres, but it seemed like it was a humanitarian gesture, you know… not like a terrible request, so I gave it a try, but it didn’t work.”

Liz looked concerned. “What do you mean it didn’t work?”

“Well, the sphere said that a long time ago… millennia ago… the universe was mapped by… what was it called? Crystal… quadrangle… systematic… something or other…”

“Systematic Crystal Benthuric Quatrilation,” Liz said. “SCBQ.”

“You know about it?” Diane asked, amazed.

“I read about it in the history books somewhere… or maybe it was one of Varec’s science books in the lab.”

“I wish I had your memory, Liz! Anyway, yeah, that’s exactly what it was. But the sphere said that Earth was never mapped that way, so it couldn’t pinpoint a location. Anyway, apparently, the other spheres don’t have that problem.”

“Oh?”

“We used the Sphere of Visions, and it showed us b I n L a d e n in a cave somewhere. Then the President wanted to use the portal to go there…”

For the third time, Liz found herself fishing the spoon out of the Grelligo soup, but she finally realized she had been stirring the soup the whole time they had been talking and it didn’t need to be stirred anymore. She rinsed the spoon and put it in a pot.

“My God, Diane, what did you do?”

“I sent him to b I n L a d e n .”

Fortunately, Liz had already put the spoon down.

“You didn’t!”

Diane nodded. “…him and his two secret service agents. And Liz, I hope you’ll forgive me, but… I used the Sphere of Protection to protect them.”

“Well, Diane… What else could you do? Why wouldn’t I want you to protect them?”

“Maybe you didn’t vote for him,” Kyle said wryly.

Liz threw a wet washcloth at Kyle, who didn’t duck quite fast enough in spite of his football-honed reflexes.

“Maybe I didn’t vote at all, Kyle. Maybe you didn’t either! We aren’t exactly registered to vote on Earth! And if we were, I wouldn’t tell you who I voted for!”

“Yeah, yeah! Don’t get testy about it!” Kyle laughed. “I know… he’s the President and all. I wouldn’t want old Ben Lardo to get him whether I voted for him or the other guy.”

Seeing her chance, Liz grinned, “and who would the ‘other guy’ be, Kyle?”

Kyle sat for a moment, thinking. “I don’t know… Janet Reno?”

“Oh, Kyle!” Liz exclaimed exasperated, “You’re worse than I thought!”

“Well, like you said, Liz, I don’t vote there now. I don’t really keep up with Earth politics. We’ve had our own problems.”

Liz nodded. “Okay… truce?”

Kyle tossed the washcloth back. “Truce.”

“So he actually went to where b I n L a d e n was?” Kyle asked.

Diane nodded.

“I’ll bet you would have given anything to be a fly on the wall of that cave and see what happened,” Kyle said.

“Are you kidding! The first thing I did was call the Sphere of Visions back so I could watch! You don’t think I would miss it, do you?”

Kyle laughed. “I’ll give you points for thinking fast. What happened?”

“The President sneaked up on O s a m a sitting in an easy chair watching TV and said ‘BOO!’”

Kyle choked and began to laugh. “You’re kidding me! That’s what he said?”

“I swear it Kyle… on all that’s holy to me! He did!”

“I wish I could have seen that,” Kyle said between fits of laughter.

Diane continued, “As soon as he said it, all Hell broke loose. O s a m a began screaming in Arabic or something, then all these bearded guys come running in shooting AK-47’s…”

“How do you know they were AK-47’s?” Kyle asked.

“I was in the FBI, remember Kyle? I know something about weapons!”

”Oh yeah, that’s right. You would.”

“How did they get away?” Liz asked.

“The Sphere of Protection,” Diane said. “The bullets the terrorists fired just slowed down, melted, and fell to the floor of the cave in little lead puddles… all over O s a m a ‘ s Persian rugs.”

“Oh, I’ll bet he loved that,” Kyle said.

“You could never imagine! Then the President leaned over his chair again and said, ‘You know what, Sammy?’ -He called him Sammy!- ‘I made a mistake when I said, BOO! I meant BOOM!”

Maria giggled. “Did the secret service agents arrest O s a m a ?”

Diane shook her head. “No, their weapons wouldn’t work either while they were under the sphere’s protection. After the President said BOOM, he and the secret service agents stepped back through the portal. I didn’t understand everything the terrorists said in Arabic after they left, but I caught enough to know that O s a m a said something about needing a clean robe.”

Kyle laughed until he had tears in his eyes.

“The President said that he was going to put Dan and me on the White House social list and he hoped to see me around again. And he said something about maybe coming here some time if he was invited.

“I’ll hide the pretzels,” Liz said.

Kyle looked at her and grinned. “Liz! You?”

Liz shook her head. “It… It was just a joke, Kyle! Forget I said it!” She turned somewhat red.

“I thought it was jellybeans he liked,” Kyle said.

“No, that was his father, the other George Bush,” Maria said.

“You mean there are two?” Kyle exclaimed. “I thought he got reelected.”

“Kyle, I’m gonna throw this washcloth at you again…” Liz threatened. “And Maria, that was Reagan who liked jellybeans.”

“Oh,” Maria said. “I knew it was someone. Well what did Clinton like?”

Kyle smiled. Liz passed the washcloth through the water and held it up while shooting a threatening look in Kyle’s direction. Kyle noticed…

“A good smoke, Maria. He liked a good smoke,” Kyle said, grinning.

“What’s a smoke?” JoLeesa asked, joining the conversation.

“You know,” Zorel said… “You remember when we were on Earth and there were some people with little paper sticks in their mouths that were on fire?”

“Oh, that. Yeah, I remember you pulling that big brown one out of some big guy’s mouth and stomping on it and telling him that his burrito was on fire.”

“Well, I thought it was,” Zorel said.

Kyle was laughing hysterically. “That was a cigar, Zorel… That’s what Clinton likes.”

“Kyle! Don’t make me hurt you!” Liz said. “I can see where you’re going!”

Kyle was grinning mischievously.

“Kids,” Liz said, “Why don’t you go over there and sit with your Uncle Kyle. If he says anything you need explained, he’ll be glad to explain it.”

Maya, Leesa, Andya, and the others all crowded around Kyle. Suddenly, he didn’t seem to have much to say. Liz smiled.

“Well, guys,” Maria said, “Lunch is ready! Anyone who wants to eat had better get to the table.

Everybody made their way to the dining room. Maria grinned and looked at Liz. “Sometimes you’re awesome, Liz!”



--------------------------End of Chapter 48





posted on 8-Dec-2002 6:52:17 PM by Gerry Carr
Thanks, Snowdove! He he! I love that! You're too cool! Thought you might like a little taste of Candy, Dreamin', etc... plus a few answers as we move on ahead. Here's the next chapter. Hope you like it!






[ edited 1 time(s), last at 8-Dec-2002 7:00:29 PM ]
posted on 8-Dec-2002 6:53:45 PM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“Acts Of Future Past”

Chapter 49

XLIX



It was about 1 jodari after mid second cycle on Antar, 2nd Cycle 51 or 2’51 as most on Antar would say, about an hour after sundown, and Maria and Michael were preparing for bed. Maria was gazing out the window into the early evening moonlight with a nostalgic, emotional look.

“What you lookin’ at?” Michael asked.

Maria shook her head and smiled. “Oh, I was just thinking about when the kids were younger and they would be playing out in the yard there catching flash bugs and asking to have campfire cookouts and stuff. I was thinkin’ about how much we missed out on during these last nine years.” Maria rubbed a couple of tears out of her eyes.

“Well, if the Krolians are right, sooner or later, we’re gonna get those years back again. We just don’t know when it’ll happen.”

“Or if it’ll happen,” Maria said. “The Krolians are going from a very limited experience after all. And it’s been almost two weeks already…”

“Yeah, I know, Hon, but I still think it could happen.”

Maria took one last look out the window and sighed deeply then climbed into bed.

“Look out there, Michael. Look out the window at the flash bugs lighting up the night and the moon shining and tell me you don’t remember.”

“Of course I remember, Maria! You know I do!” Michael pulled the covers off and stretched his body across Maria’s to look out the window. His well-toned abs and arms seemed to ripple in the moonlight as he stretched. Maria made a mental note to ask Michael to look out the window more often when she was in bed.

Michael looked at the flashing bugs, called jaras droosh, and the moon above the trees then returned to his place in the bed. Maria was smiling.

“You remembering something else, Maria?”

“Yeah… something not so long ago, though… something else I just realized I’m missing right now.”

Michael looked at her face and slowly began to grin. Slowly, but deliberately, his lips met hers. Maria put her arms around Michael and rolled him over on top of her as they kissed. Then she pulled the covers up over their heads…

“What you doin’?”

“Wrapping you in my cocoon with me,” Maria said seductively. “It’s just you and me, Spaceboy. Now turn me into a butterfly or something.”

The night suddenly seemed to sparkle with the brilliance of the flash bugs, as the gentle waves of the Golden Sea just beyond the trees moved in and out, in and out… caught up in their graceful, eternal ballet.


----------


In the palace, Liz was standing on the balcony watching the flash bugs and the same bright moon shining on the rippling waters of the Golden Sea not so far away. And she, too, was remembering. Max walked up behind her and put his arms around her.

“A kyrin for your thoughts.”

Liz smiled, but there was a sadness there, too. “Do you think the Krolians might have been wrong about everybody reverting, Max?”

“I guess we won’t really know until it happens,” Max said. “But give them credit. They’ve been pretty accurate about everything so far.”

“Do you think we’ll remember these last nine years, Max… or will we just forget everything? In some ways, I think it would be better to remember and in some ways, I think it wouldn’t. I mean… I don’t want to forget all the good that’s happened… how everyone has worked together to rescue the children and all the good it has done in bringing Antar closer to so many other planets. But then there are the kids. I wouldn’t want a six-year-old troubled by the memories of all the bad things that happened… in some cases, when they were older. Alyyx would be seven again, but right now he’s sixteen. He and Jayyd went through a lot together when they escaped and ran from Hosk on Gadyslar. They were inseparable. They may even be in love. The others went through a lot, too. I wonder if they’ll forget everything…”

Max nodded. “The Krolians promised us that there was someone who could explain it all to us when it happens. They seem to think it will all work out. I think we can only trust and pray that they’re right. Admiral Borkelis said that most people would have no memories of these nine years at all, at least at first, but some might remember some things, especially as time goes on. He seemed to think that the memories would return to the children as each one reached the same age they were when the event happened to them in the alternate time… and that adults might remember sooner.

Liz turned and looked again at the bright moon above and the flashing of the flash bugs. In spite of her concerns, she couldn’t help but smile. Max noticed and wrapped her in his arms. For a while, they stood there on the balcony, embraced, watching the lights of the night and the night reflections on the softly swaying Golden Sea nearby. Then Max picked Liz up in his arms and carried her to bed.

Across the city, on the other side of CoruzAntar, Alex and Isabel were sitting outside their home on a swing together watching the stars and the flash bugs light up the night. The stars had always belonged to Alex and Isabel. Isabel smiled and laid her head on Alex’s shoulder, and Alex put both arms around her, pulling her closer. As he did, he looked into her eyes and saw the stars shining back. Alex allowed his lips to touch hers, lightly at first, then more sensually. At some point, the swing ceased to swing, but neither one noticed.

It was a night of stars and moonlight and the twinkling brilliance of the jaras droosh all across Antar, a night like none in recent memory.


----------


Michael awoke to find Maria looking out the window again.

“Good morning, sleepyhead,” Maria said, smiling.

“What time is it, Maria?”

“It’s two hours in the first cycle.”

“Nine o’clock! Geez! I overslept!”

Michael and Maria frequently mixed Antarian and Earth times together in a way that only they could understand. Maria spread herself out over Michael.

“Now I’ll never be able to get up,” Michael said.

“Do you want to?”

Michael shook his head and smiled. “What were you looking at out the window?”

“Just the kids. Max and Liz brought Alyyx and the girls over early this morning to play with Zorel, Kryys, and Jayyd.”

Michael nodded and looked out the window. He lay back down with a confused look on his face.

“Maria… you remember when we were on our moon and Jim said that that rock he was sitting on made men want to kiss the girls?”

Maria laughed. “How could I forget?”

“Well, you remember how Alyyx Evans reacted after that every time Jayyd smiled at him or was near the rock?”

Maria laughed again. “He ran like a scared puppy!”

“Well, not anymore! I’m gonna have to speak to Max about that kid of his!”

Maria looked out the window. Maya, Andya, JoLeesa, Kryys, and Zorel were playing hide and seek in the trees, but seven-year-old Alyyx and six-year-old Jayyd were nowhere to be seen… at first. Maria looked further then spotted them… sitting on a log just inside the edge of the woods… arms around each other… kissing.

Maria looked at Michael and her mouth dropped open. “I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it myself. Where do you think he -both of them- got that idea?”

Michael shook his head. “You got me!”



--------------------------End of Chapter 49





posted on 10-Dec-2002 4:44:34 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“An Acquaintance in The River of Time”

Chapter 50

L



On Jeroglasst, the Drax-ta-Kiya knew that the time had arrived. The river of time told him so… Not with words, as we know them, but it spoke all the same. The Drax-ta-kiya had only to feel the eddies and currents at the edge of the river. Each one had its own special motion… its own particular dance in the stream. They were different today. Some time during the night they had changed. It was nothing that most beings would notice. Most beings were not even aware of the river of time, much less of some small change in an eddy or current. But the Drax-ta-kiya wasn’t most beings.

The old man stepped out onto the front porch of his house and stood with his face toward the beautiful valley below. His white, pupiless eyes saw nothing, but he saw everything. A smile appeared on his face, as the morning sun warmed him. Looking toward the sky, the Drax-ta-kiya spread his arms, and his body began to shimmer. At first, it looked as though his clothes were being whipped by the wind as the sunshine danced on them. But then the “sunshine” began to spread out, as streams of bright light -billions of tiny molecules- escaped from his body into the air then into the sky above, leaving the place where he had stood only moments before empty.

On Antar, there was another who felt the change. Though only six years old, he felt the knowledge of ages at times… times when he would allow himself to also join the stream, not as a mortal, but as an eternal. He had learned what few in the universe knew… how to transform his mortal body into a stream of immortal molecules and join the eternal river.

Kryys Guerin had changed during the night. He had somehow become six again as he slept. He no longer remembered being fifty-three. He no longer remembered being the President of Alyendis… or future Earth. He no longer remembered the events of his other childhood, growing up alone as an orphan, learning to live on his own, struggling to make a life for himself. He only knew that he wanted to play hide and seek with his best friends, Maya, Andya, JoLeesa, and Alyyx Evans and his sister, Jayyd and brother, Zorel.

During the night, they had changed, too. Instead of fourteen, fifteen, and nineteen, they were now five, six, and eight again. And they, too, wanted to play. In one way, Kryys was different though. Even at the age of six, he had been more than six. Now, as he played hide and seek, Kryys felt something… something in the stream… something in the wind. The feeling that he was being “called” grew stronger and stronger. Finally, Kryys answered the call. He didn’t think about it. He didn’t debate it. He didn’t wonder about it. He just answered it… as naturally as answering his mother’s call to come and eat. Kryys began to change. First, his hair and clothes seemed to wave in the wind, then the sunlight appeared to sparkle on him, then he seemed to come apart, as streams and streams of molecules made their way into the atmosphere above Antar to join the eternal river of time that flows through the universe.

To anyone seeing the streams of billions of atoms or molecules spreading out and making their way into the sky above, it would be difficult to fully comprehend that these disembodied, seemingly substanceless, particles of light comprised a single living soul, a being as eternal as the river itself. But that is exactly the case. As Kryys joined the river and flowed with it, “he” was met by the one who had called…

“Kryys. I am happy to see you. I knew that you would come.”

“Yes, Master. I have much to learn.”

“And I shall teach you. Your powers are great. There is no other in the universe with the potential that you possess. I have known this for a hundred years. You are the one.”

“I am only six, Master.”

“The river is time, Kryys. In it, there is no beginning… There is no ending… There just is. I have seen you here. Now it is time for you to learn and to fulfill the potential that was given to you.”

“I understand, Master. I wish to learn from you.”

“Yes… You are everything I believed you to be, Kryys! Your power is enormous… And your being is pure. You will use it well.”

“Thank you, Master. When shall I begin?”

“You already have, little sun drop. You are learning even as we speak.”

“Master, will I one day again become the President of Alyendis? Will I meet the girl who would become my wife again? Will my child be born?”

“You see, sun drop? You thought that you were only six, but you remember them. In the river, everything is revealed. You have only to open your eyes. Look! What do you see?”

Kryys smiled. It wasn’t a corporeal smile, for indeed he had no face, no body, no hands or feet, no mouth to speak with… but he was speaking… and he smiled.

“Do you see, sun drop?”

“Yes, Master, I see.”

“Excellent! Return home now, Kryys. I will call for you again. Each day, you must learn something.”

“Thank you, Master. It is a great honor to be taught by you.”

Kryys reappeared slowly behind the tree.

In the river, the caller drifted on, then he began to rematerialize, too. Soon, he was again standing on his porch overlooking the beautiful valley below. He held his face up to the sunlight…

“No, Kryys… It is I who am honored… to teach the one whom you will become.”



-------------------------End of Chapter 50





posted on 11-Dec-2002 6:13:24 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“The River of Time Revealed”

Chapter 51

LI



”Kryys! …Kryys! You can come out! We give up! …Look, Zorel, you call him. Maybe he doesn’t hear me,” Maya said.

“Kryys,” Zorel called, “you can come out. You win! We can’t find you anywhere.”

Kryys stepped out from behind the tree.

“I looked there!” Andya said. “I know I did! You had to have been hiding somewhere else. Where were you?”

Kryys smiled. “If I told you, it wouldn’t be a good hiding place any more, Andya.”

Kryys didn’t want to say where he had just been; but in all truth and honesty, he barely remembered himself. The knowledge that was imparted to him by the river of time while he was a part of it did not seem to remain with him when he was not in it. Right now, Kryys was again only six years old, and he had no memories except those of a six year old. Perhaps, as he grew older, he would remember more.

On Jeroglasst, the Drax-ta-kiya smiled. “Tomorrow I will call you again, sun drop. Today went very well… I am immensely pleased.

Several galaxies away, the Krolians were pleased, too. There was a knock on Premier Strojis’ door.

“Come in.”

The door opened, and Admiral Borkelis came in.

“Sir, I have news from the Xarian, Zasharn Shaqor-Niseel Vredis Davor, that it has happened.”

“The Xarian Zasharn? Then, the Antarians…?”

“Yes, Sir …Just as our scientists predicted. Their children have returned to the age they were when Antar was thrown out of time by our ionic ray. Apparently, they do not remember anything from these past nine years… nor do the adults.”

“That will change with time, Admiral. Some of the memories will return. How much returns will vary with the individual, I am told. Most adults will regain their memories within a short time; the children will remember different events when they are the same age as they were when the events happened to them in the false time line.”

“That’s what I am told, Sir.”

“Well, Admiral, I guess this means we have a job to do.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“I’ll contact the Antarian King Zan and ask him and his Queen to meet with us as early as possible so that we can prepare them for the memories that will be returning soon and explain what has happened.”

“Very good, Sir.”

It was two hours after sunrise when Max and Liz stepped through the portal into the offices of Premier Strojis on Krolus. Michael and Maria were with them, as often was the case when Max traveled off-planet. Max walked over to greet the Premier, and as he took his hand, he noticed that Shaqor was there, too.

“This must be important,” Max said. “I see we have representation from three corners of the universe.”

The premier smiled. “Well, not quite, but close, I guess. Zan, I have asked you here to explain some things before they happen… because we believe that it will be… easier that way.”

Max looked concerned. Michael leaned forward in his seat.

“What’s going to happen?” Michael asked.

“Perhaps I should have said, what already has happened,” Premier Strojis corrected. What is going to happen now is that you… well, Antarians -adults, at least- will begin to remember.”

Premier Strojis explained the events of the last nine years. When he finished, Liz and Maria were shaking, and Max and Michael were about two shades paler than they had been when they came in. Maria was the first to speak…

“Nine years? Nine years my children were away on some other planet as slaves of that perverted, foul-smelling, lizard-spawned Ghor named Hosk?”

Maria got louder with each word, as tears welled up in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. Michael put his arm around her to comfort her, but it wasn’t working.

“Where was I all this time? How did I just let this happen?” Maria cried. Beside her, Liz buried her face in her hands and appeared to be sobbing.

“Well, this isn’t going very well,” Premier Strojis said.

“Sir,” Admiral Borkelis reminded him, “Remember how we felt? And we were only out of time for eighteen days. They have to get over the feelings of guilt. They have to understand it wasn’t their fault.”

The Premier, the Admiral, and Shaqor spent some time going into detail about how the ray had made it appear that the children had all died and the heroic way Max, Liz, Michael, Maria, Shaqor, and many others had fought to find the children and reunite them all with their families. He reminded them that every child had been found and saved. This seemed to have a calming effect, but they were still extremely shaken.

“Your memories will begin to return, possibly in as little as a few days,” Premier Strojis explained. “Your children will not remember anything that happened to them until they are the same age as they were when each event happened. Eventually, they will remember everything, but it will not all come to them at once. It is important that you understand these facts…

The ionic ray displaces the flow of time for those who are affected by the ray. It does not send them back in time. It basically takes them out of time so that, as time continues to pass normally for the rest of the universe, the individuals affected by the ray are trapped in a time bubble and age falsely within this separate bubble. The effect of the ray disappears when the events that caused it are reversed; in this case, when all the children were returned to Antar. At that time, Antar rejoined the natural flow of time at the point where it had left it. The children -and the adults- were again the same age they were when they left the flow of time. The rest of the universe, however, had continued in normal time those nine years. The Ghors that Shaqor banished are still banished and won’t be coming back. The planets with which Antar forged friendships all remember what happened and remain your staunch allies. They were not thrown out of the flow of time. Their children were kidnapped, not taken by the ray as the Antarian children were.

This may not be a true or precise equivalent, but maybe the best way to try to understand the flow of time and how it was affected by the ionic ray is to imagine a linear-conveyance processional vehicle on a long track…”

“A what?” Maria asked.

“Like a train,” Michael said.

“The blast of the ray knocked the car with the Antarians in it off the track,” the premier continued, “…while the rest of the passengers and cars continued on for nine more exits. Then, the Antarians put their car back on the track and resumed their journey at the same place where they had been knocked off the track. They didn’t go backward, and they didn’t simply stop existing during that time, but they hadn’t gone forward at all either. Like I said, it’s not a good or true comparison with time, but…”

“I think I get it,” Liz said. The others nodded that they, too, understood, at least in a superficial sense.

“Shag? You remember all this?” Max asked.

“I wasn’t on Antar, so yeah, I remember.”

“You missed out on losing nine years off your age, huh?”

“Shag smiled. “Yeah, I’m all tore up about it. Let’s see, I’m 12,000 and some-odd years old. Since I don’t remember how much the some-odd is, I guess it doesn’t matter.”

“Can we go home?” Liz said. “I think I want to see my kids.”

Maria nodded. Max and Michael shook the Premier and the Admiral’s hands and thanked them then thanked Shag. Liz didn’t hesitate in calling for the portal.

By the end of five days, Max and Liz, and most other adult Antarians it seemed, had remembered most of what had happened. The children also remembered being transported by the ray onto Hosk’s ship and being told by Hosk that he had created them with his machine. But as yet, they did not remember much of anything else. And as children, they didn’t think much more of it. It was, for now at least, merely a curiosity.

Diane seemed quite happy this day, however.

“You seem to be in a happy-happy, joy-joy mood, Diane,” Liz said. “What’s your secret?”

“I lost nine years, but Dan was on Earth when the ray hit, and he didn’t.”

“Oh… is that good?”

“Well, he was seven years younger than me; but now I’m two years younger than him.”

“I didn’t know that, Diane.”

“Neither did anyone else. So let’s just not tell them, okay?”

Liz smiled and laughed. “Okay, It’ll be our little secret.”


----------


Somewhere above Antar, in the river of time, a voice spoke…

“Can you see the end of the universe, sun drop?”

“No Master. I cannot.”

“Why is that?”

“There must be no end.”

“There is not. The universe is infinite, as the river of time is immortal.”

“Master Drax?”

“Yes.”

“How do you know this if you have never been to the end? If there is no end, and we can never reach the end, how do we know that somewhere there is not an end?”

The Drax-ta-kiya smiled to himself. “You are thinking as a finite creature, sun drop. Open your mind… Think as an infinite, immortal being… Think as one with the stream… Open your immortal eyes. What do you see?”

“Ah! I see, Master! You are right. There is no end.”

“Sun drop, I should like to have an orange. Will you bring me an orange from Earth?”

Kryys allowed his atoms to stream into the river. Within a moment he was on Earth. The Drax-ta-kiya was right beside him. Kryys handed the Drax-ta-kiya an orange from a tree.

“Thank you, sun drop, but there is another way.”

“How is that, Master?”

“Take my hand.”

Without any warning, the two stood on Antar.

“How did we do that, Master?”

“We became one with the universe for a second.”

“Is that a better way, Master?”

“It is faster… but there is no 'better.' It is only 'another' way.”

“Shall I try it, Master?”

“Of course. Bring me a Betonian Vinis.”

Kryys allowed himself to become one with the universe for a flicker of a moment that would have gone unnoticed to any mortal creature. He seemed to merely reach out and obtain the item requested, a small fruit. The effect was instantaneous.

“Excellent, sun drop! I am pleased. I will see you here again tomorrow.”

“Yes, Master! Thank you!”

“Tomorrow,” the Drax-ta-kiya said to himself, as he reappeared on his porch overlooking the scenic valley on Jeroglasst, “I will speak with the boy’s parents. They should know that he will one day be the one that he is to become.”



--------------------------End of Chapter 51


>((((0>'·.¸.· >((((*>¸.·´¯'·.¸.· >((((o> '·.¸>((((0> ¸.·´¯'·.¸.· >((((o>






[ edited 2 time(s), last at 12-Dec-2002 9:35:24 AM ]
posted on 14-Dec-2002 12:39:44 AM by Gerry Carr
Thanks, Snowdove! Well, here's the next chapter! I had expected to have it all tied up by now, but my muse insisted on sidetracking to this Kryys adventure. I thought it was great at first, but it made it hard to tie it up. But now I think there is just one more chapter after this one, then a short epilogue... Then I'm shooting for a special Christmas add-on chapter, "Christmas With the Children of the Universe." Hope you like it!




posted on 14-Dec-2002 12:41:26 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“A Lot of Explaining”

Chapter 52

LII



”Did you want to see me Dad?”

Yes, I did… I do! Sit down, Alyyx.”

Max wasn’t used to this kind of talk. His son was, after all, only 7 years old. Granted, he had, until recently, been 16, but according to the Krolians, he should have no memory of that until he was 16 again… in the normal flow of time this time. Max’s concern was that his now 7-year-old son had 16-year-old desires. Max started to speak and coughed a bit…

Alyyx… I… uh… well, your Uncle Michael and Auntie Maria that is… saw you and Jayyd in the woods… uh…” Max breathed in slowly, deliberately… then out again.

“Kissing,” Alyyx said for him.

Max looked up with a stunned look. “Uh, yeah… kissing.”

Max couldn’t believe how much trouble he was having saying this simple, innocent little word. It’s not as though he hadn’t done it himself… and more… when he was younger, but he hadn’t been 7 years old, and Alyyx was his son. Alyyx was supposed to be… well, a little boy.

Max had all his memories back now, so he knew about Alyyx and Jayyd’s escape from Hosk on Gadyslar, and he understood their feelings for each other then… when she was 15 and he 16… but that wasn’t this Alyyx. The little boy sitting in front of him was only seven. Jayyd was only six.

“Alyyx, your Mom and I… and Jayyd’s Mom and Dad… well, we wondered why you wanted to kiss Jayyd now. We remember when you were on Michael’s Moon you ran from Jayyd. I was hoping you could explain it to me… What changed?”

“I guess my feelings changed,” Alyyx said. “I feel different now.”

“Do you have any idea why?”

Alyyx thought about it. “No… but… it’s just that me and Jayyd…”

“Jayyd and I,” Max corrected.

“Yeah… Jayyd and I… belong together now.”

“Belong together?” Max seemed troubled.

“Yeah, she’s my girlfriend.”

“Oh,” Max said, “…a girlfriend! Well, I… I guess that’s okay. Is that all?”

“Yeah… I’m not old enough to get married, Dad!”

“I’m glad you know that,” Max said. “That’s all, Alyyx. I just wanted to ask you about that.”

“Okay,” Alyyx said. He ran back outside to play with the others.

Max walked into the hallway. Liz was standing there, and she had a grin on her face.

“That was real smooth, Max,” she giggled.

“I thought so,” Max said. He wasn’t sure if he should say “thanks” or throw a pillow at Liz.

“I didn’t know you were listening,” Max said.

Liz giggled again.


----------


By some coincidence, Michael and Maria Guerin happened to be sharing a kiss themselves at that very moment, when suddenly the room began to brighten around them.

Maria tapped Michael on the shoulder.

“Uh, Michael! You make me see stars and lights, Galaxy lover, but something tells me this isn’t you…”

Michael opened his eyes and spun around, placing a hand in the air defensively, as he saw the swirling lights in the room around them. He wasn’t sure exactly where he should fire a blast if it were to become necessary to fire one. There was nothing solid there to fire at, just atoms spinning around in the air. It made him think of Kryys.

Kryys! No, Kryys would never invade their privacy in this way. Michael continued to hold his hand up. As the lights coalesced into a form, an old man stood before them. Michael noticed that the old man was blind. His eyes were all white; they had no pupils at all. Somehow, it seemed oddly disconcerting.

“Who are you?” Michael asked. “What do you want in my house?”

The old man smiled. Somehow, he did not seem threatening, but Michael was taking no chances.

“Who I am is unimportant; but since you wish to know, I am called the Drax-ta-kiya.”

Michael slowly began to put his hand down; but his muscles remained tensed, ready for action.

“Drax-ta-kiya? You’re that guy that the Krolian admiral, Admiral Borkelis, went to see.”

“Yes, Admiral Borkelis came to see me on Jeroglasst. Since then, I have also seen your son, Kryys.”

“You saw Kryys? Why?”

“That is why I have come,” the old man said… “to tell you why. But I think you will not understand if I tell you. I think that I must show you…”

The Drax-ta-kiya reached out and touched Michael and Maria. As he did, all three began to dissolve into billions of tiny bright molecules; and as they dissolved, Michael began to laugh.

“Michael…” Maria said as their atoms ascended toward the sky with the Drax-ta-kiya, “I don’t quite see what you think is so funny?”

“It tickles,” Michael said.

Moments later, the three stood next to the river of time.

“Open your eyes,” a voice said. It was the voice of the Drax-ta-kiya. “Look forward into the river of time… into the future. What is it that you see?”

“I see the river,” Maria said.

“And what do you see?” the old man asked Michael.

“I see the river, too.”

“Now look further down the river. What do you see?”

Michael and Maria both allowed their new forms to “look” into the future… down the river of time.

“I see… chaos,” Michael said.

“Chaos! Yes, that is a good description,” the old man agreed.

“The river seems to have exploded every which way,” Maria said. “It has no form, no boundaries, no destination. It looks like it just ruptured and flooded everything.”

“That, too, is a very good description,” the old man said. “…and quite accurate.”

“What does it mean?” Michael asked.

“It means,” the Drax-ta-kiya said, “the end of the universe.”

“Why are you telling… showing us this?” Maria asked.

“Because there is something that I have been able to see. If you look beyond the chaos, perhaps you may see it, too.”

“I just see eternal chaos,” Michael said.

“Yes!” the Drax-ta-kiya said. “…but that is from our perspective. Look again. There is a divergence.”

“Divergence?” Michael asked. He looked harder. “I think I see what you’re talking about. It’s… as though there are two possible futures. The chaos may continue after it begins… until all life -as we know it- is ended… or at some point, the chaos may be contained and the flow may be normalized again.”

“That is what I see,” the Drax-ta-kiya said.

“How can the chaos be changed,” Maria asked. “When will the chaos happen?”

“Ah, those are two very different questions,” the old man said. The answer to the first question is closer than you know. What I have seen is that there is only one… other than the Creator of the universe himself… who can repair the chaos and bring the universe back. That one is your son, Kryys. The answer to the second question is that there is no answer… none that I can see. The river is unreadable where it is destroyed. The time cannot be known… only the sureness that it will happen.”

“But… you mentioned the Creator… you mean God? Would God allow it… the universe… to be destroyed?” Maria asked.

“Perhaps that is not for us to know,” the old man said. “Perhaps it is our obligation to preserve what has been given us. If we are determined to destroy ourselves… our universe… the Creator can always start again… create something new. The answers have always been found in the river, child… if we look. The river is eternal, and it will continue after the chaos. The question is whether we, our physical beings that is, and our universe, will continue or not. And the river has told me that this universe, the one in which we live, and all life in it, will one day owe its continuation to your son… if it continues.”

That last part seemed ominous to Michael and Maria. “What can Kryys do? Can he change it by himself?” Maria asked.

“I do not know what,” the old man said, “and I do not know when. But I have seen that it is one of two possible futures. If the future includes us, it will be because he found a way. To help him… to give him every possible ‘tool’ he may need to do whatever it is he must do, I shall teach him all that I know. I must return to my planet now.”

Inside Michael and Maria’s house, lights swirled, as two forms, Michael and Maria, reappeared. The Drax-ta-kiya was gone.



-------------------------End of Chapter 52





posted on 18-Dec-2002 8:18:28 PM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“New Beginnings”

Chapter 53

LIII



Maria and Michael looked at each other as their atoms coalesced into two recognizable human forms again.

“Do you think the situation that Kryys will need to fix is the same one he fixed before… you know, when the Earth was in such bad shape because of Lieutenant Jasper,” Maria asked.

“I don’t know,” Michael said… “Maybe… but that was just the Earth. Sounds like this is a lot more serious… the whole universe… the whole river of time.”

“Yeah, I know,” Maria said. “It does… and it looks like we’re not going to know when it’s going to happen.”

“Well, one thing I picked up when we were looking,” Michael said… “The chaos doesn’t happen in our lifetimes. If Kryys is going to fix whatever happens, he’ll have to do it by going into the distant future, but I couldn’t see when… only that it was not in our lifetimes.”

“Could you tell if it was before he became president or after that,” Maria asked.

Michael shook his head. “No… I couldn’t tell.”


----------


Four weeks later, not far from Michael and Maria’s house. At the Valenti Ranch, a young pawgor emerged from the woods and crossed over the field to the front of the Valenti house, settling down on the porch to wait. It didn’t have to wait long. Within minutes, Danyy came bounding out of the house.

“Now there’s something that’s really nice to see,” Kathleen said.

“What’s that,” Jim asked.

“Danyy and the pawgor playing together again… I’m sure you noticed the change in the pawgor, too.”

“Yeah… the whole planet is nine years younger again.”

“Danyy’s pawgor was starting to act old and wasn’t getting around too well anymore… he had a kind of limp… and he always looked sad,” Kathleen said, “…but look at him now! He’s his old self again!”

“Pawgors can live 50 or 60 years,” Jim said. “He wasn’t really old… probably just getting a bit out of shape and maybe a little arthritis in the joints from moping around without Danyy to play with.”

“Whatever… he’s back to his old self now!”

“I can see that,” Jim said.

At that moment, Danyy came running into the house.

“Mom! Dad! Come out!”

Kathleen walked out onto the porch followed by Jim. She gasped, and her mouth fell open.

“Jim, we need to tell Max! He’ll want to know about this!”

On the porch was the pawgor, looking every bit the picture of health. At the bottom of the steps sat another pawgor… and three fuzzy little pawgors.

Kathleen approached them carefully, watching the young mama pawgor for any signs of aggression. But the young mama pawgor seemed to understand that these humans intended them no harm.

“Oh, they’re adorable!” Kathleen exclaimed, picking up one of the toothy little furballs.

Jim laughed. “You’re confirming the image of us, Kath! Who else on Antar would refer to pawgors as adorable!”

“Do you realize, Jim, these may be the first babies born on this planet in nine years,” Kathleen said, her eyes becoming misty.

The young mama pawgor edged over to Kathleen and smelled her hand then licked it. She then looked at Danyy’s pawgor, which in turn looked at Danyy.

“Mama… is it true?”

“Is what true, Danyy?”

“You’re going to have a baby, too?”

Kathleen gasped. She knew that the pawgor could tell things by smell and other senses, but this was information that Kathleen herself did not even know yet.

“Danyy… I… I don’t know. I have been feeling different, Jim. Maybe… it could be.”

Jim stood with his mouth open in stunned disbelief.

“Kath, maybe you should come in and lie down.”

“Oh Jim, if I am pregnant, I’ve still got nine months almost to go. I don’t move as fast as a pawgor.”

Jim smiled. “I don’t know, Kath, I’d say the pawgor’s got nothing on some of your moves.”

Kathleen smiled and flushed slightly… “Jim! Ixnay with anyyDay here!”

Jim grinned. “You’re talking pig Latin in front of someone who can read animals’ thoughts, Kath.”

Kathleen pursed her lips together. “If I didn’t think you were so adorable, Jim… Ooh!”

She smiled and kissed Jim, who put his arms around her and kissed her back passionately. The pawgors found their behavior amusing; Danyy explained that it was something humans did that sometimes seemed to cause babies.


----------


Back at Michael and Maria’s, Maria sat staring out the window at the sky above.

“Michael, there’s something I want to do.”

“What’s that?”

“I want to go back and see Kryys again… the older Kryys… and see if he became president.”

“In 7,278?”

“Yeah, do you think Max would let us take the new granilith?”

“He let Admiral Borkelis! I’d say he’d better let me,” Michael joked. “I’m sure that wouldn’t be a problem… I kinda wouldn’t mind seeing my 53-year-old son again, too. I guess that seems strange.”

“Not to me,” Maria said, giving him a kiss.

Four days later, the new granilth sailed into Alyendis’ territorial space and was promptly surrounded by escort crafts. Minutes later, as the group neared Earth orbit, the bridge of the new granilith glowed brightly for a moment. Then the light disappeared, and in its place stood two figures dressed in military issue body suits and helmets with deeply tinted visors.

The first intruder reached up and unsnapped a lock on the side of the helmet then removed the helmet all in one swift, smooth move. The intruder shook her head, and her hair fell down over her shoulders. Then the other intruder took off his helmet, too. He looked around the room, and Maria smiled as her eyes met his. He had Michael’s eyes.

Six minutes later, the new granilith glided smoothly as a pelican with its wings outstretched on the wind in over the Atlantic Ocean then over the Potomac River, tracing a gentle arch back around what was once Washington, DC, following the sleek little escort corsairs.

“Well,” Michael said, “The pentagon is still there… the Capitol… the White House!”

“Yeah, and there are still no streets!” Maria said.

Michael and Maria watched as anti-gravity cars below them zipped back and forth in neat, orderly patterns… but with no streets.

The military corsairs slowed their speed to slow forward as they passed over the airport and headed to the side nearest the pentagon. Michael sat the new granilith down on its anti-grav lock system about ten feet off the ground, and he and Maria transported to the tarmac below. There, they were met by the young man and woman whom they had already seen and several other young pilots and military crewmen who escorted them politely to a waiting anti-grav vehicle that resembled an extravagant, futuristic, black “Hummer-style” limo.

As it had before, the “limo” headed out of the Spaceport and directly across a field of grass and flowers, over a hillside planted with lilies and crocuses, and straight into the Potomac River! Michael and Maria still felt as though they should prepare to get wet, as the anti-gravity vehicle sped smoothly, without even slowing, right out over the water and on across to the other side as though the river weren’t even there.

“Cool!” Michael said again. “I could really get to like this!”

Within minutes, the anti-grav limo pulled under a covered entrance at the back of the White House then passed through two double-wide doors that opened automatically. It came to a stop inside a large room. The fly-up, gull-wing, DeLorean-style doors of the limo rose automatically, and Michael and Maria stepped out.

Michael sat down in one of the plush, overstuffed chairs in the room and helped himself to the mix of M&M’s, redhots, cinnamon sticks, and Jalapeño peppers in a dish on the end table.

“Kryys still has great taste,” he commented, stuffing a Jalapeño and several M&M’s into his mouth together.

Soon, two guards with white gloves stepped into the room from a hall on the other side.

“We have been asked to escort you to the dining room,” one of the guards said. “You are expected.”

Maria looked at Michael. “Expected?”

Michael shrugged.

As they entered the dining room, they noticed that the table was lavishly set. It was obvious that someone was expected here today and this was probably not an ordinary meal, even for the President of the World… if that’s what Kryys still was.

From a side door, a pleasant, nice-looking lady entered the room with several younger individuals. One of these was the girl who had appeared on the new granilith… and one was the young man who had Michael’s eyes. The two others with her appeared to be in their mid-teens.

The lady turned and looked as a man walked in. It was Kryys. He smiled at her and kissed her lightly on the lips; then the two of them walked together over to Maria and Michael.

“Mom… Dad… This is my wife, Lisa Renée. And these are our children…” He indicated the young man with ‘Michael’s eyes…’ “This is Michael Guerin II… and the young lady is his wife, Robin.” Kryys turned and motioned toward the older of the two teens, “This is our son, Noel Trasves, whom we named after my good friend Taz Valenti… and because he was born on Christmas Day, just as Taz was; and this, he said, motioning toward the younger teen, is our daughter, Crystal Jayyd. Crystal was named for my wife’s best friend and for Jayyd… as you can guess. We thought the names sounded good together and honored her best friend and my little sis, too.”

Michael said ‘hello’ to each one and shook his or her hand, and Maria hugged Lisa Renée then the others as they were introduced.

“Kryys, I have so many questions,” Michael said.

Kryys smiled broadly. “Let’s all have a seat. Then we can talk.”

Each one was directed to a place at the table.

“I knew you would have questions, Dad,” Kryys said. “Go ahead.”

“Where to start?” Michael said, wondering to himself out loud. “You seemed to know we were coming. I was curious about that…”

“I saw it in the river,” Kryys said, “…the river of time. It was no secret.”

“Can’t hide anything from you anymore can we, Kryys?” Michael said with a chuckle.

“Not much,” Kryys said, grinning.

“Did they find a cure for that Voracious flu thing?” Michael asked.

“Yes,” Maria wanted to know, too. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the two of you both together! That was such a wonderful surprise!”

“The ‘Vorian’ flu… Yeah,” Kryys said… “When the ‘Vorian’ flu epidemic started, I found a cure for it myself using techniques that the Drax-ta-kiya taught me in order to tap deeper into the knowledge of the river of time and time itself. Hundreds of thousands of Vorians may have been saved by finding an early cure… I like to think so anyway.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Vorians,” Michael said, “and hundreds of thousands from other planets… including your wife.”

Somehow Kryys and Lisa Renée didn’t seem as stunned by this revelation as Michael had thought they might be. Somewhere deep within his own subconscious, Kryys either knew or remembered something. And as for Lisa Renée, she seemed to know, too, that she had been given a second chance at life with Kryys. Lisa Renée was extremely intuitive, and Maria surmised that she might actually have picked it up from Kryys himself without ever having had to ask. Maria noted to herself, too, the coincidence of the name, Renée, which means “reborn” in French.

“So… you still President of the World?” Michael asked. “I see you’re still in the White House.”

Kryys shook his head.

“Oh,” Michael said. “Well, being President of the USA and having your wife with you is better than being President of the World! It’s a matter of perspective.”

“That’s true, Dad,” Kryys said. “I’d be a beggar if that’s what it took to have her with me. But actually, my title is, ‘President of Alyendis and the Allied Planets.’ Oh! That includes Antar, by the way.”

Michael almost choked on his drink.

“Antar? You mean… you’re like… over Zan?”

Kryys laughed. “No. In the first place, the King of Antar still rules Antar, and that is one of Zan’s descendants. It will probably always be so. Never in the history of the universe has there been such a reign of prosperity, loyalty, and satisfaction as there has been on Antar these past five thousand plus years. But Antar is a member of the Allied Planets, which I guess is kind of like what the United Nations was supposed to be in your day but maybe never quite achieved. I’m still the President of Alyendis, too… my title just got a little longer. It’s a real pain when I have to sign official documents, I assure you.”

Michael laughed. “I’ll bet! Darn! I couldn’t wait to tell Max that you were the President of his planet! I may tell him anyway!”

Michael and Max were much like close brothers. In many ways, they maintained a very competitive relationship. In reality, they were best of friends… life buddies. And besides that, Michael was Zan’s loyal number one General. But Michael was always happy to best Max at anything, not in order to replace him or topple him …not to belittle or denigrate him, but just to say, “Here I am… on the top! I’m King of the Mountain! I did it!” …but they always returned to the status quo. It was, after all, as it should be. If Max were not the good King that he was… If they were not the best of friends, as they were… If a lot of things… it might well be another story. But everything was, they both knew, as it belonged to be.

Michael and Maria spent the rest of the day at the White House talking, looking at baby photos and photos of their grandchildren’s childhood, watching a game of football on TV, eating popcorn liberally doused with Tabasco sauce, and just getting to know Kryys’ family and their own grandchildren… grandchildren whom they would always have to travel over five thousand years into the future now to see. Then they spent the night in the Lincoln bedroom.

Maria settled into the bed and looked at Michael. He was sniffing the sheets and pillow cover.

“Michael… What in the world are you doing?”

“Just seeing if it’s true that they smell like Barbara Streisand,” Michael said with a grin.

Maria hit him over the head with her pillow. “How… would… you… know…” she said as she whacked him repeatedly with the pillow, “what… she… smells like… anyway!”

“Well, I don’t… but I heard she spent a lot of nights in the Lincoln bedroom,” Michael laughed, as Maria’s pillow continued to rain down on his head. Finally, tired of whacking Michael senseless, Maria fell into his arms. Michael wrapped his arms around Maria and buried his face in her hair.

“Ever since I lost you when Kivar destroyed the Earth before,” Michael said, “There’s always been only one smell that I could never get out of my head… That was the smell of your hair and your skin. It’s like… some kind of aphrodisiac to me, Maria.”

Maria raised her head and looked at Michael and a smile came over her face.

In the vast expanse of time that knows no end, a voice said, “Mary Todd, I don’t think you’d better be a’ lookin’ in the bedroom tonight.”

“Why Abraham? Whatever shouldn’t I be seein’ in the bedroom?”

“It’s… uh… gonna be actively occupied, my Dear.”



--------------------------End of Chapter 53






[ edited 2 time(s), last at 18-Dec-2002 9:08:39 PM ]
posted on 20-Dec-2002 11:09:56 PM by Gerry Carr
Thanks, Snowdove! Well, here's the next to last part. This was going to be the epilogue then there was going to be a special Christmas add-on chapter, but I decided to make this a regular chapter so it wouldn't appear that the "epilogue" was out of place. The Christmas chapter (tomorrow or day after) will be the end. Enjoy!





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 20-Dec-2002 11:13:45 PM ]
posted on 20-Dec-2002 11:11:00 PM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“Change… The Only Constant”

Chapter 54

LIV



Somewhere in a galaxy far, far away (Imagine these words leaning and moving away from you if you wish)… Okay, to be precise, somewhere in sector Q97 of the known universe, an area of space that lies so far from any other planet that it would take several lifetimes in the fastest known ship to reach any other planet from it, a new planet has appeared from out of nowhere. Its name is Ghorbidfael. It has two moons, but one is considered small and relatively insignificant. The other moon, named Gadyslar, had, until recently, been the site of a very large, well funded, and efficiently run slave trading operation, with many underground chambers and cells on multiple levels that went all the way to the moon’s core.

The sordid history of the Moon of Gadyslar was now, however, just that… history. It seemed unlikely that it would ever see such activities again. In fact, life on the planet Ghorbidfael had taken a radical turn in recent months.

“Get back to work, Hosk! This road needs to be finished this month, not next year!”

“Aw, shut up, Krendahl! When did Ghorbidfael start needing new roads anyway?”

“When we started having to work for a living.”

“Ghors don’t work, Krendahl. Ghors sell slaves!”

“Not any more, Hosk, in case you haven’t noticed. We have to work now… and so do you if you expect to eat! We have laws now.”

“And that’s another thing, Krendahl… Ghorbidfael never had any laws before. That’s what was so great about our planet!”

“That’s ‘cause it never needed any laws, Hosk. You were always off the planet. Besides, Ghorbidfael was dependant on slave trade for profits before. Everything was accepted as okay then. Now we have to do… other things… things that require cooperation… and work!”

“You take this chain off my leg, Krendahl, I’ll show you some other things I can do!”

“Not a chance, Hosk! Dig! And talk less!”

“Who put you in charge, you mangy, gray scalawok?”

“The same council that put you out here, Hosk, with a chain on your leg, till you’re reformed.”

Krendahl burst out laughing as he said this.

“What’s so funny, scalawok?

“The idea of you… reformed! I figure you’ll be here for a long time, Hosk!”

“That’s what you get for figuring, Krendahl. I’ll be out of here and have my moon back. Then I’ll feed you to the Growligs!”

“Ooh, I’m scared, Hosk! Look around you! Look out there in the sky! What do you see? Do you see any stars? No! There aren’t any. They’re all too far away to see! Face it, Hosk… The rest of us have. Things have changed, and we have to change, too.”

“Never, Krendahl!”

Krendahl laughed. “That’s why you’ll be here forever, Hosk.”

Krendahl moved closer to Hosk, and Hosk instinctively started to pull himself up to his full height, but something in his memory made him quickly deflate again.

“You still thinkin’ about that female from Antar, Hosk… the one that clobbered you where you weren’t expecting it? Don’t think we don’t know about that here. The whole universe does.”

“Is nothing a secret anymore, scalawok? Is there no dignity?”

“Dignity? Dignity! Let’s see! I think I’ll look that word up, Hosk! Funny you should use it.”

“Yeah, well, I wouldn’t expect you to know it, Krendahl! You’re just a mangy scalawok! Dignity is earned… by ones like me who can crush ones like you until you show it to us… and like it!”

“That chain on your leg and this frodtak in my hands say that you’ve got that backwards, Hosk.”

“Only for now, scalawok!”

“Enough talk, Hosk!” Krendahl fired a shot from his frodtak into the ground at Hosk’s feet. “Get back to digging! We’ve got a road to build.”

Hosk picked up his yut and began to dig. Krendahl leaned back on a tree and watched him carefully.

“Yeah… there may be some advantages to this new life after all, Hosk… for some of us at least, those who can learn to change and adapt. You, on the other hand… I don’t know.”

In the infinite void of space, the planet Ghorbidfael floated on in its new place in the universe, far from any other planets or beings that it could enslave or harm. Krendahl was right, though. Ghorbidfael was changing. It had a long way to go before it would ever be considered a “civilized” planet, but change was happening. And nothing, not even Hosk, could stop change.



---------------------------End of Chapter 54





posted on 21-Dec-2002 11:51:17 PM by Gerry Carr
Okay, here it is! The final chapter, the Christmas special. I hope you enjoy it, and may you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or just peace, happiness, joy, and good will to all!





posted on 22-Dec-2002 12:02:22 AM by Gerry Carr
"Children of the Universe"



“Christmas With the Children of the Universe”

Chapter 55

LV



Three fuzzy little pawgors carefully pranced around on the snow, delighting in stalking something moving just beneath the surface. Every now and then one would pounce and trap the “snow-bogie” with a great flourish and show of delight. The mama pawgor, watching her three toothy little ones play, seemed to be satisfied to enjoy their “hunt” vicariously. She looked over nearby to watch Danyy come sliding down the snow-covered hill on his belly. Right behind him was his bosom buddy, the young male pawgor, her mate. A little further down the hill, a young Orstosian “ember,” seeing itself directly in the path of Danyy and the pawgor, flashed and leapt into the nearest tree, melting a large bowl-shaped depression in the snow where it had just been. As Danyy and the pawgor slid down into the hole and up and out again on the other side, they became airborne momentarily. The pawgor landed on the snow again backwards and spread-eagle with Danyy now draped across his back sideways. Odd as it might have seemed, the mama pawgor seemed to be laughing at them…

Max and Liz were thrilled. Everyone was having fun, and it was looking like the day was going to be a total success. There were Dragon children, Leafvian children, Droufa children, Growahnit children, Yargishi children, and children from over twenty other planets, including many Antarian children besides their own. There were also a good number of adults from each planet, and everyone seemed to be having the greatest time of their lives!

Maria and Liz were giggling and thoroughly enjoying the sight of Michael playing Santa, something he had done once before. In fact, Liz and Maria were reprising earlier roles themselves…

“Come on Candycane! Come on Snowflake! Let’s mingle! Hop to it! No standing around!”

Oh! Did I mention… Isabel was reprising her earlier role, too… the role of “Christmas Nazi,” as Michael had called her when Isabel had organized Roswell's Christmas festival. Michael had been Santa, and Liz and Maria had been his elves, “Snowflake” and “Candycane.” Today, they were playing those roles again. Isabel grinned, and "Snowflake" and "Candycane" grinned back. Today was all in fun. And today was different in one other very important way. Today, it was alright if the kids pulled “Santa’s” beard off or knew that Liz and Maria were not really elves. That’s because today, what everyone was really waiting for while Michael and the others entertained them was for the “real” Santa Claus and his real reindeers and elves to show up.

And today, everyone was a child again.

"This is so exciting!” Kathleen said to Diane and Dan standing beside her. “I can’t wait to see the reindeers actually flying overhead and Santa’s sleigh land."

“I want to see Rudolph!” Diane said.

Yep! You heard right! The real thing was coming. This was guaranteed, because, after all, they were at the North Pole at Santa’s own workshop. Mrs. Claus was there… She and several elves had passed out hot chocolate and lots of other “goodies,” and soon, Santa himself would be returning with presents and lots of good cheer for all.

“Santa’s on his way, Dears,” Mrs. Claus told the children. “He won’t be long now! I got word that he’s flying over Canada at this very moment.”

The fact is, Christmas, as a holiday, was unfamiliar to most of the planets represented here today, but the concept of goodwill to all and joy and peace on Earth -or on whatever planet each one was from- seemed to strike a chord that every individual could identify with and appreciate fully. And as for presents and lots of goodies, well… every child in the universe seems to be cut from one mold… They all get goose bumps and wide eyes just thinking about it.

“Can I please have another soft charcoal-tar candy cane?” a young Orstosian “ember” asked Mrs. Santa Claus.

Mrs. Claus, who it seemed was always prepared for everyone, handed the little Orstosian whirlwind of gas vapors another soft charcoal and tar candy cane with a smile, then she handed a candy cane made of light-as-air sugary cotton candy wisps to a Leafvian child.

Naturally, Mrs. Claus explained to the children that the spirit of giving was what made this part of Christmas special, not the getting… “We all love to receive, but remember that the joy of giving is far greater than the joy of getting,” she said, repeating this message each time she handed out a candy cane, a cookie, or some other “goodie” to a child.

As she spoke, suddenly, there was a commotion in the crowd. Everyone looked up in the sky. Santa was coming.

"I hear sleighbells," Mareeya and Ceelya Whitman exclaimed together, excited.

"There he is!" Taz shouted, pointing toward the horizon. Everyone looked up. Sure enough, there was Santa's sleigh gliding through the sky in the distance pulled by his team of flying reindeers.

Soon, they could hear Santa himself… “Ho! Ho! Ho! Meeeeerry Christmas!”

The sleigh and the reindeers passed right over their heads and made a wide arching turn around the landing area. Then Santa brought the sleigh smoothly in on its runners, sliding up beside the waiting crowd… and what an unusual crowd!

The children rushed to touch the reindeers and pet them. Diane patted Rudolph on the side and touched his nose, which began to glow brightly.

“I don’t believe it! It really glows! I don’t believe it!” Diane said over and over.

Santa handed candy canes out to all the children -young and old- then walked over and sat down in the chair that had been used earlier by Michael when he was pretending to be Santa. “Candycane” and “Snowflake” helped the real elves line the children up, and the elves brought sacks of presents over to Santa.

Liz-Jolee z’Varec was first in line, hopping into Santa’s lap.

"Is your beard real, Santa?"

Santa laughed and invited her to tug on it. Unlike Michael’s beard, Santa’s was clearly real, she decided. After talking with him, Santa gave her a present.

“Thank you,” Liz-JoLee said politely.

“You’re welcome, Liz! Merrrry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho!”

Next on Santa’s lap was a Leafvian child. The Leafvian, called a “fern child” by Max and the others when they originally found them, weighed nothing at all… literally. It actually floated just above Santa’s lap. Its voice was soft and melodic as it explained to Santa that it already had the greatest present it could ask for… It was back home again with its parents. It was also grateful for meeting special friends like the Droufas and especially grateful for the wonderful ones who had rescued them and showed them so much kindness. It wished there was something it could do to repay the rescuers, and it asked Santa to be good to them.

Santa smiled and handed the Leafvian child a gift. “Here is a gift that I know you will like, little one, but the greatest gift is one that you already have. For you have in you the real spirit of Christmas. Merrrry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!”

Santa’s eyes twinkled with delight as the Leafvian child floated off his lap and away to open her present. Suddenly, there was a flash, and an Orstosian “ember” leapt into Santa’s lap. Santa was prepared, however.

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” Santa said to the little whirlwind of gasses, “Have you been a good little girl?”

The Orstosian assured Santa that she had.

“Indeed you have!” Santa agreed. “And such a bright little ember at that! You want to grow up to be a flame-preserver and a civil protector, too! Those are big goals! …and good goals… a doctor and a civil protector!”

“How did you know that?” the little Orstosian asked Santa.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! I know!” Santa said… “I know!”

Santa gave her a gift, and she flashed from his lap back into the snow.

Next on Santa’s lap was a Droufa child.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! What have we here?” Santa laughed merrily. He knew that something was sitting on his lap, but all he could see were two big eyes looking at him.

“I am Ryobit, a Droufa,” the child said in a voice somewhat deeper than might be expected of a child, Droufa voices being deep “bass” in tone.

“Well, Ryobit, what would you like for Christmas,” Santa asked… but he already knew the answer.

“I would like something that I can give to my friend, Whist. Whist is a Leafvian, and he couldn’t come today. His family is all slightly sick from leaf wilt because they were in the sun too long at the beach. Now they must stay in the house with their feet in the water for two days until they are replenished.”

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” Santa laughed. “You shall have it! Here is a present for your friend Whist… and here is another present… for you!”

The little Droufa smiled. Normally, a Droufa’s mouth is invisible like the rest of its body, but sometimes if a Droufa opens its mouth wide enough, one can see it; and Ryobit’s mouth was one big smile. Even his eyes seemed to smile, but no more than Santa’s.

The next child on Santa’s lap had to lean over in a big arch to talk to Santa. It was a Yargishi child. He stood 12 feet tall, though on average, he was only about as big around as a soft drink can.

One by one, Santa saw each one of the children… the Droufas, the Dragons, the Yargishis, the Antarians, the Growahnits, the Douradians, and all the rest, and he gave each one a present. Each child went off to open his or her present and play with it. The little Orstosian ember got the Orstosian equivalent of a toy doctor kit, which contained real tars and warmer coils, and a glow badge that actually glowed and identified her as a protector of her planet. Another Orstosian girl ember got a doll… one that swirled like a mini twister and flash-jumped on command. One of the Dragon children was already learning to ride the sled he got from Santa, and others were chasing little flying bird-like toys or toys that hopped or scurried around in the snow. Some of the Leafvian children got glitter and gauzy ornaments to place on their multiple little branches and others got Leafvian storybooks made of a gauzy material that almost floated in the air. Santa seemed to have it all, and somehow he seemed to know just exactly what each child wanted or would like the most. It was magical.

After all the children… and a few of the adults… had sat on Santa's lap, some in the group sang songs and had punch or eggnog. Many of the songs were traditional songs of their own planets and not really Christmas songs, but the spirit of the effort was the same. “Snowflake” and “Candycane” tried bravely, with some slight success, to teach some of the adults and children of the many different cultures present “Jingle Bells,” “White Christmas,” and “Silent Night." Though the “carolers” understood little or nothing of the words they were “singing,” they were all anxious to get into the spirit of the day and gave it an outstanding effort, serenading the others with the carols they had learned.

“Merry Christmas!” Liz shouted.

“Merly Chrima,” the Dragons and others shouted with her.

“And Happy Hanukkah!” Kyle shouted.

Liz looked at him and smiled then repeated the greeting.

“Haply Hankah!” the Dragons and others all shouted back.

“Good one, Kyle!” Liz said, “Do you know any more?”

“Just that,” Kyle said. “I thought we should all be as one today… I mean we’ve got Dragons and… swirling embers… and Leafvians… and who knows what else… and in the end we’re all one big family.”

Liz, Maria, Michael, and Max all raised their glasses. “I’ll second that,” Max said.

“We’ll third and fourth it,” Liz and Maria said as one.

“Who wants to ride in my sleigh?” Santa asked.

All of the children and about half of the adults rushed over to the sleigh. Santa laughed, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Over the next hour, he gave everyone who wanted to ride a turn in the sleigh, carrying several at a time. Michael and Maria, Kyle and Jeliya, Alex and Isabel, and a few other couples got private rides together with Santa. Liz and Max did, too.

As they glided silently high above the North Pole, Liz leaned into Max’s arms. “It’s a little chilly up here.” Max put his arms around her. Liz looked into Max’s eyes and smiled. He put one hand behind her head and tilted his own head slightly until their lips touched. Liz put both arms around his neck and returned the kiss. Both of them just hoped Santa was a good driver who always kept his eyes “on the road.”

All too soon, the day drew to an end. Shaqor, Liz, and MayaSabriena worked together to send the guests back to their homes through the portal. A few were still enjoying the snow and the hills or the goodies in Santa’s workshop. All in all, it had been a wonderful day and a huge success.

Max looked at the little Hjiti. He was smiling from ear to ear. Max was, too.

“Well,” Max said, “You truly are Frebel-Ish, the maker of fairytales! This has been the most wondrous experience, my friend! How can I ever thank you?”

“You can come again and see the rest of my planet,” the little Hjity said. “Thanks to you, too, Zan. “This North Pole and workshop with the elves will be one of my favorite places to visit of all the creations on my planet! This was a wonderful idea.”

“You’re welcome,” Max said.

“Santa looked so real!” Liz said, still smiling.

Diane nodded, “Yeah! And the reindeers… Did you see Rudolph! He was adorable!”

“Now that I know what they look like,” the little Hjity said, “I will make them for my North Pole, too.”

Max looked at the little man. “What do you mean, ‘Now that you…’”

The little man smiled. “I didn’t make Santa and the reindeers yet. I wasn’t sure what they looked like when I created the North Pole, the workshop, the elves, and Mrs. Claus…”

“Well, if you didn’t…" Maria started to ask, "then what was…” She stopped and swallowed.

Diane looked up into the night sky. Far out in the distance, among the stars, she could just make out a tiny streak making its way through space. In front of it, every few seconds, there was a tiny reddish glow. Everyone stood, speechless, and watched, as it disappeared into the depths of space in the direction of Earth.

As they prepared to go home, too, a little Dragon child Michael had rescued from the caverns on Gadyslar bounded across the snow and jumped into Michael’s arms. It was his little friend, the one that seemed to have become so attached to him. The little Dragon pressed its mouth against the side of Michael’s face…

“Merly Chrima, Mike-el.”

Michael grinned. “Merly Chrima, Kiraugo.”


May you all have a very Merly Chrima!
...and the joy of the true Spirit of Christmas!


The End



kmichael


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 23-Dec-2002 5:42:56 AM ]
posted on 30-Dec-2002 6:00:55 AM by Gerry Carr
For everyone who told me that the list of characters in this trilogy was getting pretty long, you were right! So I thought I’d have them each stand up and take a bow, as it were. Here they are, though I'm sure I missed some.


(Characters introduced during the TV Series but manipulated by me to help the writers get it right)

Max Evans - Zan, Alien #1, King of Antar, half of Dreamer team
Liz Parker Evans - The true Queen of Antar, other half of Dreamer team
Michael Guerin - Rath, Alien #2, Zan’s #1 General, half of Candy team
Maria DeLuca Guerin - Michael’s wife, Liz’s best friend, other half of Candy team
Isabel Evans Whitman - Vilandra, Alien #3, Max’s sister, half of Stargazer team
Alex Whitman - Everybody’s favorite “never-should-have-been-killed-off-character.” So I-just-fixed-the-problem; other half of Stargazer team, married to Isabel
Tess Harding - Alien #4, hated in the show, but since I fixed the afore-mentioned “problem," turns out she’s good here.
Kyle Valenti - Son of Sheriff Valenti, football jock at Roswell High, quasi-friend of podsquad early on, later (in this trilogy) a good friend and ally, marries Jeliya an Antarian
Jim Valenti - Sheriff of Roswell, marries Kathleen Topolsky
Kathleen Topolsky - FBI agent, pretended to be teacher then guidance counselor to trap our favorite aliens in Roswell, but now married to Jim and one of the good guys
Amy DeLuca - Maria’s mom; Married Varec, an Antarian scientist.
Phillip and Diane Evans - Max and Isabel’s earth parents
Jeff and Nancy Parker - Liz’s parents
The Whitman’s - Alex Whitman’s parents
Brody - Owner of the UFO museum in Roswell, appears in “Life in the Stars.”
Hank (mentioned only) - Michael’s mean, drunken foster father
Kivar - Treacherous alien who usurped the Antarian throne and killed Zan and Rath before
The "skins" - Alien clique (probably Antarian) on earth, most of whom supported Kivar, though not all
Kathana (mentioned only) - King of another planet involved in the war with Kivar
Sero (mentioned only) - King of another planet involved in the war with Kivar
Hanar (mentioned only) - King of another planet involved in the war with Kivar
The "Dupes" (mentioned only) - Second set of Max, Michael, Isabel, and Tess living in New York. The Tess one (Ava) turned out to be not so bad.
Nasedo (Mentioned only) - Paranoid, shape-shifting alien (presumably Antarian) who raised Tess



(Original Characters in this trilogy; I.e., my own characters, not from the show)


Maya (MayaSabriena Claudia Evans) - Max & Liz’s first-born child, triplet
Andya (AnDasniya Nancy Evans) - Max & Liz’s second-born child, triplet
JoLee or Leesa (JoLeesa Joyce Evans) - Max & Liz’s third-born child, triplet
Alyyx Phillip Evans - Max and Liz’s fourth child and first son
Zorel Michael Guerin - Michael and Maria’s first child
Kryys Anthony Guerin - Michael and Maria’s second child
Jayyd Alejandra Guerin - Michael and Maria’s third child
Mareeya Joyce Whitman - Alex and Isabel’s first child
Ceelya Michelle Whitman - Alex and Isabel’s second child
Rayyn (Kyle Rayyn Valenti) - Kyle & Jeliya’s first child
Taz (Noel Trasves Valenti) - Kyle & Jeliya’s second child
Danyy (James Danyeel Valenti) - Jim & Kathleen’s first child
Liz-Jolee (Elizabeth JoLee z’Varec) - Amy and Varec’s first child
Jiba & Drel - Tess and Rayylar’s children (introduced in Book 3)
Varec - Preeminent scientist on Antar, marries Amy DeLuca
Jeliya - Marries Kyle Valenti
Rayylar - Marries Tess Harding
MayaSabriena, AnDasniya, and JoLeesa (the originals) - Antarian girls (triplets) whose parents took them to earth (Eluymer) 12,000 years before, Maya’s diary was found on Michael’s Moon.
Shaqor or “Shag” (Zasharn Shaqor-Niseel Vredis Davor) - Married the original MayaSabriena 12,000 years before, became Zasharn (king) of his planet, Xarius
Larjan-Vigil - Shaqor's father
Jistahl-Nisheel - Shaqor's grandfather who was Zasharn of Xarius when Maya was rescued
Davor-Nil - Shaqor's great-grandfather and Commander of the Xarius Voyager when Maya was rescued... called “Dave” by Maya
Des-Varis - husband of the original JoLeesa
Danar-Sol - Preeminent medical researcher and biologist on Xarius
Drayxanj Brex-Sanjor - Molecular physicist on Krolus
Admiral Borkelis - Admiral from planet Krolus where Midnight Ray originated, helped Antarians
Premier Strojis - Premier of planet Krolus, helped Antarians
General Kobel - Antarian, led the space battalion in the battle for Antar
Garandev - Antarian, made a general after the battle for Antar
Diane Casey - FBI agent who befriended Max and company, marries Dan Klein
Dan Klein - FBI agent who befriends Max and company, marries Diane Casey
Agent Smith - Assistant to the evil Zwolinski, but himself neither especially bad nor good
Agents Stone, Mitchell, & Sanders - Didn't want to work with Zwolinski, called him a looneytoon
Agents Nick Jenkins, Lon Benson, Rick Hughley, & Dan Christopher - Along with co-workers Diane Casey and Dan Klein, wound up taking part in the Smoky Mountain incident, though none of them wanted to work for Zwolinski. Finally turned on Zwolinski & Sikorski and helped the aliens and their group
Army Commander Groton on Vieques - Was holding Rayylar captive but denied it, cooperated with aliens only under duress
Various soldiers and guards on Vieques and at Area 51 in Roswell - Neither bad nor good
The Dragons of Drago - Fierce and savage, began as bad guys then became allies
Admiral Grada - The Dragon Admiral
Narwha the Yargishi - Bought two Antarian children from Hosk but not really a bad guy
Ee-l'wee the "Fairy" Atklatian - Bought Danyy from Hosk, but helped our heroes later
Jyita the Herlian - Bought Zorel and Mareeya from Hosk but also not bad.
Ishtee & Drobos - Jyita’s own kidnapped children rescued and saved by Max et. al.
Frebel-Ish - The Antarians’ mythical teller of fairytales (a sort of Mother Goose)
Frebel-Ish - The Hjity who called himself Frebel-Ish and occupied the planet Merschenskazky
Correspondent Obyal-Var of VideoOutput XSO on Xarius
The Drax-ta-Kiya - Blind seer and wise man of the planet Jeroglasst
Sarnys - Antarian boy leading Huji Bwi's "army" of 400 kidnapped children
Korina - A waitress at the Crashdown, the youngest child not affected by the Midnight Cloud
The Yerrik ("Ewok-like") children
The Droufa children ("Eyeballs")
The Droufa-bwoh (Chief Droufa)
Ryobit - a Droufa child
The Leafvian children ("Fern children")
The Vashadis-liyar-shiyodo (Chief Leafvian)
Whist - a Leafvian child
The Growahnit children ("piglet people")
The Yargishi children
The Dragon children
Kiraugo - the Dragon child that became attached to Michael after he rescued it
Jorvo - a Doradian child from Dorad
The Orstosian children ("gas puffs")
Brulo, Kemada, Ceniza, Chispa, Humos, Yama, and Ascua - The 7 kidnapped Orstosian "embers"
The Aquarian children of Aquarius
Vessto - the young Antarian CosmicView port tech
Zeenya, Welindee, VarCory, Teshji, Tredvya, Kwetee, Cathania, Jerilee, Yvee, & Letye - Bridesmaids
Xogar, Frev, Tendav, Hyrec, Lyrcar, Vrobin, Sashev, Anderyoo, and Jontan - friends of the grooms
The Jalesek of the Syykolyva - married our couples
The Seminole Indian airboat guide
The unidentified Indian Guide and the mysterious stranger with him in the Everglades
Luvain Soongo and the Gunji Boys -Vui Gunji Chombos- (a sort of Antarian "N'Synch")
Jarfelle Sereli (Antarian singer who sounds like Diana Ross)
Daneela Varel (Antarian singer who looks like Dido but sounds like Sheryl Crowe)
Vui Zoombor J'Koozzeen Chombos (Antarian group like the Beach Boys)
Var Juma (Antarian singers that sound like Ivy)
Terenlucit (Antarian singer who sounds like Coldplay or Ash)
Vui Chanesio ShebbleOnessinje -The Shebblegirls from Chanesio - (Antarian singers who sound like the Dixie Chicks)
The dock-keeper and the drunk in Roswell (Neither good nor bad per se)
The scarred man in the Berjalya Division - Became an object lesson for Mareeya and Ceelya
Veryd Jascek - Used by Alex as object lesson for Mareeya and Ceelya
The Jah-ee - Huge mythical but real Antarian bird of prey with poisonous talons, became good friends with Max
The pawgor - A dangerous, saber tooth tiger-like beast of the deep Nan-torel forest on Antar; especially, the young one rescued by Jim Valenti which became best pals with his son, Danyy, and later its mate and 3 kittens
YarilyaXan - a Xarian "fairytale" character not unlike Sleeping Beauty
The Antarian "slipstream" pilots
Krendahl - A Ghor guard who is guarding Hosk at the end
Ben Johnson - a bad "skin" on earth
IRS Agent Bernstein - Tried to collect taxes from Zwolinski for cable bill
Dumas Zwolinski - The evil agent obsessed with capturing and dissecting our heroes
Zebulon Sikorski - Zwolinski’s chief, equally evil
Hosk - the evil Ghor slave trader
Garg Jerkov - the Supreme Ghor
Rawgus, Pussox, and Grisnot - Ghor guards on the Moon of Gadyslar
Ghor bartender on Ghorbidfael - Sold cheap booze (Hargoch) to Shaqor, Max, and Michael in disguise
Grezhf - Hostile female creature holding Maya in slavery in the house of Lorvo the traveler on Beshune
Lorvo the Traveler - Owned the house in which Maya was being held as a slave in the city of Grazida on Beshune; Lorvo's relationship to Grezhf is not known.
Huji-Bwi - the treacherous Qravitorian, Bought 400 children from Hosk for an army
Lieutenant Jasper - (Jasp-Ard) of Alyendis (future earth, 7,238 A.D.), a time-traveler who bought Jiba, Drel, Taz, and Kryys from Hosk, killed the first three, and dangerously screwed up earth's ecology
The unflappable female cable TV clerk - Did a number on the evil Zwolinski, but just too annoying to be a “good guy.”
"Red Leader," "Pitbull," "Swordfish," and "Weasel" - fighter pilots out of Homestead AFB, neither good nor bad really
The Cuban MiG pilots - Pompous braggarts spooked by Max and Michael in the new Granilith as the MiGs patroled the Florida Straits looking for Brothers to the Rescue planes to shoot down

Other Characters:

Doctor Aybolit - Russian Fairytale character
JekUnjeel - Jack and Jill

Guest Appearances: Nina, Lisa, Sabrina, Andrea, Rachel, Tracie, April, Lauren, Krys, Trude, Denise, Roselle, and Andrew

Historical or Political people mentioned:

Diane Sawyer
Geraldo Rivera
Ted Koppel
Dan Rather
Skylab IV Commander, Gerry Carr
Abraham Lincoln
Mary Todd Lincoln
George W. Bush
O s a m a b I n L a d e n






[ edited 1 time(s), last at 30-Dec-2002 7:58:39 AM ]
posted on 31-Dec-2002 3:09:20 AM by Gerry Carr
Altered Time

A Dictionary of Alien (Antarian except where noted) to English Words and Terms Used in these Stories



Bal'yeet= (Aklatian) "Sphere of Portal" in Aklatian, used by Ee-l'wee
Bexeledersinoju=Overwhelmed
Caporetoz=Appreciate, be thankful
Caporji=Thank you
Caporsh=Thanks
Chohartelsh, chohartel=Citizens
Chombosh, chombos=Boys, guys
Crayt-farg= (Ghorish) A curse used by the Ghors; as in, "I don't care a crayt-farg."
Dara= (Velcosian) Platinum-gold currency equal to 3 Antarian Coruns or about 6 dollars.
DarosYoviv= (Yargishi) "You're welcome" in Yargishi
DarShela= (Yargishi) "Thank you" in Yargishi
Deretis=Said
Disto=Something
Djictyyae Frebel-Ish= Fairytales
Ej=Us
Eje=We
Eluy=Blue
Farrel= (Ghorish) A measure of time; about 3 years.
Frodtak=(Ghorish) A type of weapon like a rifle
Gar=Desire, Want to
Ger ("Ji" in modern slang)=To become
Gojugo=Sheriff
Grronch= (Ghorish) Ghor coin like a penny that seems to be made of dried shebble dung.
Hart=Good
Her=Is
Hri=Are
Iter=Was
Iterhri=Were
Iz=From
Jaht=Galaxy, Orb, or Kernel (as of popcorn)
Jalesek=Religious leader of the Syykolyva
Jereestel=Heart
Ji=You
Ji-Moja= Small Antarian sailboat like a Sunfish (Literally "Get-Wet")
Jemet-Aklat= (Aklatian) "Home-Aklat" in Aklatian
Jin=And
Jivo=Your
Jodarish= Time segments equivalent to one one-hundredths of a 27-hour day each
Jonder=Am
Jondo=I
Jolizee=Hospitality
Jorns= (Ghorish) A measure of weight (Think "tons"); used in, "several jorns of boulders."
Kyrin= Antarian coin like a penny
Meritelji=You’re welcome
Mer=Water
Min=Green
Moja= Wet
Nargs= (Ghorish) A measure of weight (Think "ten-pounds"); "40 nargs of explosives."
Ojala=Hope
Onessinjesh, onessinje=Girls, gals
Roo=Game board
Scalawok=(Ghorish) A no good
Scostya-Voya= (Xarian) Fairytales
Syykolyva= Cathedral, church
Syysscha= Antarian surf skimmer (smaller than a surfboard)
Uqawee=Remember
Verulnad, v'nad=Bottom
Vo=Will, shall
Vreenis Spheres= The spheres of protection, visions, searches, and of the portal... given to Maya by Shaqor
Vui=The
Vyatu-Xi= (Dragon)= "god" of the New Year on the planet Drago and a yearly day of celebration (The Dragon Feast of Vyatu-Xi)
YarilyaXan= (Xarian) Xarian fairytale character similar to Sleeping Beauty
Yaronin= Antarian coin similar to a quarter
Yed=He
Yelsik=All (people), everyone
Yu=Very
Yubo=Always
Yut=(Ghorish) A digging implement similar to a shovel
Yyed=She
Zasharn= (Xarian) "King" on Xarius
Zashayn= (Xarian) "Queen" on Xarius
Zoombor= Antarian surfboard




-Antarian Months-

01. Cryystel
02. Dayyese
03. Ryyzzel
04. Aryybor
05. Abretyar
06. Kelsvet
07. Terasix
08. Oyymstar
09. Sarvyk
10. Decidre
11. Elfyndar
12. Snyyvox

-Animals, Insects, etc.-

Flox= (Xarian) A harmless 50-foot-long, rope-like creature with 2,000 tiny feet but no legs, a large flat head, eyes on waist-high stalks, a wide mouth, and a huge tongue that can lick paint off a wall
Growlig= (Ghorish) A hyena-like wild animal of Ghorbidfael
Jah-ee= Huge bird of Antarian mythology
Jaras droosh= "Flash bugs"
Long-tail Golden Zerpia Birds= Antarian bird species
Lymrix= Trout-like fish of Antar's Starkeen River and other waters
Pawgor= A sabertooth tiger-like predator found in the Nan-torel
Rob-jeta= A vicious bat-like predator of the Nan-torel
Shebble= Long-haired animal resembling a cross between a longhorn steer and a yak
Vix= (Xarian) Similar to an Antarian pawgor
Wiffer= A large, inoffensive, turtle-like creature of the Nan-torel
Yarol= (Ghorish) A dog-like animal of the Ghor planet, Ghorbidfael
Yeg, also yegg= An animal resembling a buffalo
Yorith= A horse-like animal of Antar





-Planets-

Aklat= H.P. (Home Planet) of Ee-l'wee the Aklatian
Alenora= Planet Shaqor was on his way to when they rescued Maya and her sisters
Alyendis= Future earth, name used on earth itself in 7,278
Antar= Zan’s home planet (from the series)
Beshune= H.P. of Lorvo the Traveler and Grezhf who enslaved Maya
Betonia= Planet Kryys was sent to by the Drax-ta-Kiya to find a vinis
Boreis= Ancient Antarian name for Mars
Byagus= H.P. of the Byagians, who once held Krolian children hostage
Corshic= H.P. of 10-year-old Corshic girl rescued from the Dragon feast
Croblylix= Planet where 26 of the last 589 Antarian children were found
Deshrune= H.P. of Sero
Dinuvia= H.P. of Darva, Dinuvian girl friend of JoLeesa's; rescued from Dragon feast
Dorad= H.P. of the Doradians, the "inkspot" or "golden" children
Drago= H.P. of the Dragons and 22 babies rescued from the Ghor Moon of Gadyslar, related to the Ghors
Eluymer= Earth, in the 7th Galaxy, old Antarian name
Finisi= H.P. of small Finisi girl Dragon feast victim found in woods by pawgor
Ghorbidfael= H.P. of the Ghors and the Ghor slave trader, Hosk. Entire planet sent to sector Q97 by Shaqor
Gredore= H.P. of Gredorian girl rescued from the Dragon feast
Grorjish= Earth, old Ghorish name
Growahn= H.P. of 15 Growahnits ("piglet people") rescued from Gadyslar
Herlos= H.P. of Ishtee & Drobos and their mother, Jyita, the Herlian woman who bought Ceelya and Zorel from Hosk
Hjity= Merschenskazky
Hyrf= Home planet of Kivar
Jyris= H.P. of 6-year-old Jyristi girl rescued from the Dragon feast
Karis= H.P. of a young boy rescued from the Dragon feast
Kirish= H.P. of 6-year-old Kirishi boy Dragon feast victim found in woods by pawgor
Krolus= H.P. of the Krolians, peaceful, creators of illusion & the Midnight Cloud
Leafvia= H.P. of 47 "fern children" rescued from Gadyslar and of the Vashadis-liyar-shiyodo, the head Leafvian
Merschenskazky= Planet of the Hjity; the fairytale planet
Nordos= H.P. of young boy rescued from the Dragon feast
Orstos= H.P. of the 7 Orstosian stolen embers, Brulo, Kemada, Ceniza, Chispa, Humos, Yama, and Ascua
Qravitor= (Sector H19) H.P. of Huji Bwi, the Qravitorian "Kivar," (nicknamed "Huji Bee" by Michael and "Huji Was" by Maria after Kyle squished him). Bought 400 Antarian children from Hosk for an "army."
Teroggel= H.P. of Kathana
Velcos= Planet where Max and Michael found Ishtee and Drobos
Vindule= H.P. of 12-year-old Vindulian rescued from the Dragon feast of Vyatu-Xi on Drago
Xarius= H.P. of King Shaqor, the Zasharn of Xarius
Yargish= H.P. of Narwha the Yargishi and 5 children rescued from Gadyslar
Yerrik= (Sector T14) H.P. of 12 Yerriks ("Ewok-like children") rescued from Ghors on Gadyslar
Yxtiar= Planet with abundance of hot thermal springs and spas visited by A/I



-Cities, Moons, & other Places-

Aluzia= Region of Antar where golden eggs come from
Chanesio= Southern region of Antar, shebble herding region
CoruzAntar= Capitol city of Antar
Gadyslar=A moon of Ghorbidfael, site of Hosk's slave facility
Duvarny= A small village on Yargish, the home village of Narwha the Yargishi
Grazida= City on Beshune; home of Lorvo the traveler and Grezhf, Maya's enslavers
Grelligo= Region of Antar known for its specialty soup resembling French Onion
J’koozzeen= Beach
Jantoo-Bandy= One of the Linked Science Labs; where the new granilith stays
Kykks= Antar's oldest and preeminent Department store
Kykks' Luncheon Niche= Restaurant in Kykks
Nan-Torel= A very dangerous, deep forest on Antar; home of the pawgor
Starkeen River= A very nice fishing river near the Valenti estate on Antar





-Foods-

Ama= Tree or its leaves used extensively in salads, food wraps, crushed greens
Corvian brandy= An expensive premium brandy.
Een-Gelish Yyers= A vegetable most like corn
Farj= An Antarian soft drink that tastes like weak, stale root beer.
Guma= Poisonous (even to touch) fungus of the Nan-torel, detoxified & eaten
Hargoch= (Ghorish) The Ghors' "premium" wine, reputed to taste the same the second time it's drunk as it did the first time.
Jaht= Orb, also Galaxy or Kernel (as of popcorn)
Jaht Een-Gelish= Antarian “popcorn”
Japo-bala= Purée most like creamed spinach
Japo mevanish= Antarian flaming flan dessert popular at parties and dinners
Jarlagos-Droozeen= Golden Sea pink-ringed crustaceans most like shrimp
Jir-bada= A vegetable most like potatoes
Jir= Tubor
Jubish= Most popular Antarian wine
Kelit= A vegetable most like a tomato
Lymrix= A trout-like fish of Antar, particularly of the Starkeen River
Min-jaht-gojosh= A vegetable most like green peas (Min= Green)
Orange= (Earth) A small edible fruit from the planet Earth.
Pargi= A fish of the Golden Sea most like red snapper
Pashita= A bread made from a grain, like pumpernickel, wheat, or rye
Serelish-harlat= A vegetable most like asparagus spears
Serelish, sereli= Spears
Toro= A specialty salad dressing
Vinis= (Betonian) A small edible fruit from the planet Betonia. See Betonia.



Antarian Girls Names:

Vilandra (from the series)
Jarfelle
Daneela
Jorese
Zeenya
Kwetee
MayaSabriena, Maya or Briena (Sabrina)
Yvee
AnDasniya, Dasniya or Andya (Andrea)
VarCory
JoLeesa, JoLese, Leesa or JoLee (Lisa)
Welindee
Cathania
Mareeya (Antarianized Earth name)
Tredvya
Ceelya (Antarianized Earth name)
Teshji
Jayyd
Jerilee
Jiba
Jeliya
Letye
Korina


Antarian Boys’ names:

Zan (from the series)
Kathana (from the series)
Sero (from the series)
Kivar (from the series)
Hanar (from the series)
Nasedo (from the series)
Maryk
Anderyoo
Jontan
Hyrec
Lyrcar
Vrobin
Frev
Veryd
Kryys (Antarianized Earth name)
Alyyx (Antarianized Earth name)
Danyeel or Danyy (Antarianized Earth name)
Tendav
Zorel
Sashev
Trasves or Taz
Rayyn
Drel
Rayylar
Varec
Garandev
Sarnys
Kobel



Characters' Names from Other Planets:

Shaqor ( m. Xarian) (full name: Shaqor-Niseel Vredis Davor)
Davor-Nil ( m. Xarian)
Larjan-Vigil ( m. Xarian)
Jistahl-Nisheel ( m. Xarian)
Des-Varis ( m. Xarian)
Danar-Sol ( m. Xarian)
Hosk ( m. Ghorish)
Pussox ( m. Ghorish)
Rawgus ( m. Ghorish)
Grisnot ( m. Ghorish)
Drobos ( m. Herlian)
Ishtee ( f. Herlian)
Jyita ( f. Herlian)
Ee-l'wee ( f. Aklatian)
Drayxanj Brex-Sanjor ( m. Krolian)
Strojis ( m. Krolian)
Borkelis ( m. Krolian)
Huji Bwi ( m. Qravitorian)
Grezhf (f. Beshune)
Lorvo (m. Beshune)


Antarian Last names (most commonly used only by some entertainers, but exist):
Sereli
Varsno
Varel
Jascek
Note: In many cases, the prefix z' added to the father's first name is used as a last name, as in Liz-Jolee z'Varec; the regular last name may or may not be used with it.

*Antarian names consist of a first name, which is usually single but in ancient Antar -and still today in some regions- may be double with both parts capitalized, as in JoLeesa, AnDasniya, and MayaSabriena, (or, less commonly, hyphenated, as in Liz-Jolee), a patronymic (the father's first name with the prefix z' attached, as in z'Varec), and a last name. Commonly, only the first name is used, but any or all of the names may be used according to the wishes of the individual.


Granilith or Granolith= Space and time traveling machine (from the series)