Those who know how to think need no teachers Ghandi by liaoqinmei

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									MIND GAMES                                       SUZIE MAGNESS




             „Those who know how to think,


                   need no teachers‟


                                       Ghandi.




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                                             Preface



         Within our Multiverse, there exist an infinite number of stars and infinite number

  of solar systems orbiting them. In an Alpha Creation, an experiment created by the Home

  planet, the Family watch over the planet Alpha with interest, comparing it to its twin

  planet Beta; mirrored planets separated by dimensions. Though Beta remained more

  peaceful the more aggressive Alpha, the planets had mirrored a similar course in their

  evolution. However, it became apparent that small but significant differences were

  appearing that threatened the whole survival of both planets. Changes, which could

  threaten the future of the entire Multiverse. One of those changes was about to become

  the catalyst for a whole string of events that was already unfolding; with the potential of

  dividing the two planets and the entire Multiverse to the point of destruction.




         Sarah and Mark, two Guiders from the Home planet, and part of a large team

  assigned to the Alpha Creation Experiment, stood silently watching a large flat screen TV

  in a Surrey home on Alpha. They were invisible from view, watching the screen from the

  „One Dimension‟. A dimension, which was super-impositioned onto all other dimensions




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  within the Multiverse. It could be used to observe everything within its particular space-

  time, although there could be no direct interaction with it.


         Sarah and Mark had never met this particular family, and the family in turn, were

  unaware of the uninvited company they had acquired that ominous evening. It was

  necessary for Sarah to watch the evening news that on the local TV that night. She had

  wanted to dispel a rumour she‟s heard recently, about a recent global influenza pandemic,

  and she wanted to find out why a rumour like this would have spread in the first place.

  Mark had suggested that travelling around Alpha in the One Dimension would be the

  quickest and simplest solution. So the family, oblivious of the extra company in their

  home that evening, were quietly watching the evening news while they sat and ate tea

  together.


         The newscaster had just announced that a recent flu outbreak had just been

  upgraded to a Level Six throughout the world, and that this flu was now categorised as a

  serious global health threat. In view of the seriousness of this sudden global health crisis,

  the Health Minister had agreed to be interviewed on the news at short notice, and she was

  urging everyone to remain calm and to follow the instructions which were being sent to

  every household and school over the next few days. The Health Minister assured the

  viewers.


         “Now although the latest flu outbreak has spread quickly throughout the world,

  no-one should be worried. We are prepared. The hospitals and surgeries have been

  briefed, and we‟ve organised a special twenty-four hours hotline for anyone who is

  worried. If you call that number, you will be able to find out more.”




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         “Thank you.” and the newscaster turned towards the audience, “I believe we‟ve

  now got that number below on your screen for you...” before returning to face the Health

  Minister, who continued with her ready-prepared statement.


         “Yes, good, and we already have a widespread vaccination programme

  organised. We have ordered stockpiles of the vaccines, which should be with your local

  surgeries by the end of the week and already, some of the major hospitals already have

  the vaccines on standby. And I am also happy to announce to the good people at home

  that it will freely available to the particularly vulnerable within our society. Um - the

  school children and the elderly population. They will be able to get it immediately and

  they will be given the utmost priority. However, I will say that if anyone else feels that

  they could have been exposed to this flu strain, then stockpiles of the drug would be

  reaching most health surgeries and hospitals within the next 72 hours so they needn‟t

  worry”.


         “Well, thank you very much for that update Health Minister, and we will keep you

  informed on this news as and when we get it. And now we turn to a report in the Middle

  East with our Middle East Reporter Richard....” and the story was unceremoniously

  swapped for another.


         The family were relaxing in front of the television as they watched the news and

  seemed indifferent to the announcement.        They listened nonchalantly, as their minds

  were distracted while they busied themselves with other distractions within the room.

  Sarah looked very concerned. She had heard the rumour about this outbreak, and was

  shocked to discover that the rumour was true; that indeed there did appear to be a sudden

  global health scare. But something didn‟t feel right about it. She turned to Mark,



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          “That‟s strange Mark... They already have stockpiles of vaccinations for this new

  strain of flu?”


          Mark looked at her; he wasn‟t following her.


          “Mark, firstly, how can they have possibly had time to find out what strain of flu

  it was, and then to find an anti-virus for it so quickly – it just doesn‟t make sense... A flu

  strain was only discovered a couple of weeks ago supposedly – and then, it was only a

  tiny outbreak in Turkey...” she fretted. “It would hardly have raised enough alarm bells

  for the World Health Organisation to get itself involved with at the time, and yet look –

  that small outbreak in Turkey just a few weeks ago has now been re-classified to a Level

  Six Pandemic now! And what‟s even more worrying is that they already have the

  vaccines ready. My God, but how can this flu have spread itself so fast across the globe

  Mark?!”


          “We‟d better get out of here and let Fritz know immediately...”


          “Yes, I think we need to warn him that something‟s wrong on Alpha.”




                                                  *   * *




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                                           Chapter 1



         “Hurry up Tayla – we‟re going to be late!”, but Tayla was already at the door.

  Christian looked at her and smiled.


         “You look lovely baby,” and he jumped up from the sofa towards her. She smiled

  at his approval. She had taken time to decide on a slim fitting pair of black trousers and a

  silky peach top. Her four inch platform stilettos peeked out from the bottom of the

  trousers, lengthening her tall and slender frame all the more. Her light brown tousled

  hair tumbled about her shoulders, and she was carrying her knee length black coat on her

  arm. She had a natural and carefree elegance about her with an alluring beauty, which

  had won her many admirers in the past, but she had an astute and sharp brain too. It was

  her intelligence and lust for life that had won the heart of Christian.


         Christian jumped up from the sofa in the lounge. He had been ready for what

  seemed like forever. It hadn‟t taken him long to decide on a pair of navy chino‟s and



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  sweater. His muscular features were still visible from the sweater and his dark hair had

  been casually swept back from his face. He was relieved to be finally heading out of the

  door. He hated being late, though it was something he had had to get used to with Tayla.


         They were going for dinner with Christian‟s parents and David and Rhea, who,

  alongside Mark and Sarah, were close work colleagues, dear friends and quite recently,

  new neighbours of theirs.


         “I‟m ready, what time did you tell everyone to meet us there?” Tayla smiled as

  Christian he approached her. He pecked her on the forehead, and took her hand as they

  walked towards the front door.


         “Twenty minutes ago... but they know about your timing, so we should be okay,”

  he smiled as he shook his head.


         It wasn‟t long before they were driving towards the restaurant in town. Tayla

  looked across to Christian as he drove.


         “Do you think we ought to look in on everyone back at „the other place‟ you

  know Alpha at some point? To visit everyone over there baby? It might be a good idea

  to show our faces again, you know, especially after the hoo-ha of your disappearance

  there – and we could put people‟s mind at rest about where I ran off to? I could just say I

  went back to the States, you know, I missed home or something. I know it‟s a bit of a

  fuzzy memory now, but it was part of what we are. I would love to go back and see what

  memories we might recall.”


         Christian shot a glance over to Tayla. That was over a year ago now. How fast

  time had flown since he had moved over to Beta - the Alter Earth to be with Anna, or

  Tayla as she was now. Christian had become as one with his super-positioned self from

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  Alpha, following in the footsteps when Anna had become one to become Tayla on Beta.

  They were able to remember imprints of experiences and emotions about themselves

  when they had lived in their super-positioned state. Being whole beings, and not super-

  positioned in two realities, they discovered that they were able to jump from one planet to

  the other. They had both become like Fritz and the team in that respect. They had now

  discovered that everyone else was in a state of suspended super-positioning within both

  realities of Alpha and Beta, Earth and the Anti or Alter Earth. In this state, people

  existed on both planets simultaneously, unaware of the super-symmetry of the other

  universe. On discovering the existence of their actual state of a super-positioned life,

  Anna and then Christian, had to make a choice of which reality they wanted to become,

  who they wanted to live as. They had to decide – It was time to open the box and

  discover their fate.


         Once the choice had been made, it hadn‟t taken long for Fritz and the team to be

  re-united with Christian and now Tayla on Beta. Once the memories of the team came

  back to them both, it hadn‟t taken long for Tayla and Christian to integrate the team

  discreetly into their new awakened life. Now as real beings, they were both hazily aware

  of their other existence on Alpha and the void they had both left by transferring to Beta.

  There had never been any regrets; they were never meant to stay on Alpha. That was now

  apparent. It was just a phase of their lives, a path they had to follow to bring them both

  to where they were now.


         “If you like... I‟ll speak to Fritz.”


         Tayla smiled. “It‟ll be good to meet up with Peter and Alex again... Mark told me

  that Alex really misses you...” she remembered and Christian nodded in agreement.



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         David and Rhea were already at the restaurant when Tayla and Christian arrived,

  and were quietly chatting to each other in a corner table, situated snugly towards the back

  of the aromatic dining area. „Ambrosia‟ was a favourite restaurant of Tayla‟s. Small and

  intimate, filled with lots of small round tables covered in clean crisp white table cloths

  and bistro chairs, it created a homely ambience, and it was always full, throbbing with the

  throng of chatter over bluesy jazz music in a dim candlelit setting. There was the

  indistinguishable smell of ingrained garlic and parmesan cheese that seemed to permeate

  discreetly from the floral wallpaper. It served mainly Italian food, and was owned and

  run by a passionate Italian chef, Massimo, who deliberated over every dish that was

  served in his restaurant. To him, food was a delicacy to be savoured and remembered,

  held in reverence to the ingredients that each mouth-watering dish included. There was

  no menu. You ate what Massimo had decided upon that day, so dining at „Ambrosia‟s‟

  was like going to dinner at a close friends. Tayla loved the informality of dining here,

  and after several years of loyally dining there, and introducing their friends to the

  experience, they were now on close terms with Massimo, who would often end his busy

  stints in the kitchen to sit and savour the conversation with Christian and Tayla and their

  guests whenever they dined there; chatting, and contemplating life until much too late

  into the early morning.


         The waitress smiled as she saw Christian and Tayla walk in. The chilled sound of

  Diego Sandrin was playing gently in the background, which immediately set a relaxed

  and informal air about the restaurant.


         “Hi you two!” she smiled amiably “I think you‟ll love the menu this evening.

  Massimo‟s managed to get hold of some rare wild venison today... he was quite excited

  this morning... he‟ll be out to see you guys later now doubt...”


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           Tayla looked up at Christian and smiled as the waitress carefully meandered them

  through the tight spaces, deliberating her way in between other diners, to the corner table

  where David and Rhea had spotted them coming and in doing so, David had quickly

  pushed out a chair for Tayla. Rhea stood up leaning across the table to plant a kiss on

  Christian‟s cheek as he approached. She looked pretty in a green ruffled dress, setting off

  her soft and delicate dark skin, and she had decided to gently French knot her hair

  tonight, demonstrating a casual elegance for this evening. David, on the other hand, true

  to his casual nature had opted for a pale blue „Superdry‟ polo shirt – but he had made

  sure he had the collar up around his neckline tonight – this was him being smart!


           “Hi peeps!” beamed David as everyone sat down.


           “Hi you two,” smiled Tayla back. “Rhea... You look wonderful as usual.” she

  added.


           “What can I get everyone to drink?” politely asked the waitress, who was

  standing patiently by the table.


           Everyone looked at each other briefly, but Christian decided he knew that

  everyone would agree to his decision, so he spoke up.


           “Can you just bring over a bottle of what Massimo recommends tonight Steph...

  we‟re still waiting for my parents to arrive. They should be here any moment now,”


           “Certainly, I‟ll bring some more hors d‟ouvres for you all as well while you wait

  then...” she offered and walked off in the direction of the kitchen.


           “Well isn‟t this kinda nice and cosy then neighbours...” It was apparent that

  David was pleased to see the two of them. “How‟s it all going with you two? Fritz sends


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  his regards. He wanted to come tonight, but he‟s got business to attend to back at Home.

  I assume it‟s important – he‟s worried about Debbie too...”


         Christian grinned crookedly and nodded his head. He understood exactly what

  David had meant. He was just about to make a comment, but the restaurant door had

  been opened and a rush of chilly air whooshed in and made its way surruptiously around

  the restaurant before dispersing itself. As he turned to look, he smiled broadly.


         Christian‟s parents had just arrived, fully aware that they were really late. After a

  fuss being made of them by Stephanie at the door, who was delighted to see them again,

  she promptly brought them to the waiting party. Mrs Morgan- Janet – looked particularly

  apologetic.   Smartly dressed in soft black slacks and a cream angora jumper, she

  exhibited just a hint of glamour through her subtle make-up and choice of gold jewellery.

  Her golden hair in her usual short one length page-boy cut – a style she had adopted

  years ago for its simplicity, was slightly more bouffanted for dinner tonight.


         “Hello everyone. We‟re so sorry we‟re late,” she began as she sat down in the

  chair that had been pulled out for her, gently shaking her head to re-adjust her hair back

  into place as she settled in place. “It‟s entirely my fault I‟m afraid, not Robert‟s at all.”

  She continued as she smiled warmly at her husband. He was sitting down himself as she

  spoke. Tall and broad and muscular, like Christian, it was clear to see where Christian

  had inherited his looks from. Even in his early sixties, Robert looked extraordinarily

  handsome, the same clean jaw line that he had passed down to Christian, with a healthy

  head of silver hair, parted cleanly to one side and swept back, with just a hint of

  sideburns - another classic look that he had maintained over the years, although clean

  shaven, he would have suited an „Errol Flynn‟ moustache if he had cared. Dressed



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  smartly in navy trousers and a pin-stripe shirt, he was fashioning a casual appeal, by

  leaving out a tie. He wasn‟t about to disagree, as he smiled back at her. Janet continued.


         “I was waiting for some results to some samples I had sent to the lab... Robert‟s

  been worried recently you see,”


         Everyone looked across to Robert in surprise, but he smiled and shook his head,

  anticipating what they might be thinking.


         “Nothing like that kids.” he interjected in his deep toned authorative voice.


         Janet stopped to look at the concern in everyone and she realised what they must

  had assumed. She tutted irritably to herself as she shook her head.


         “Umph – no... that‟s not what I meant at all. No - Robert‟s been worried about

  his patients – they seemed to be getting much iller recently, and it‟s not this flu bug that‟s

  doing the rounds that‟s behind it. It seems to be a worrying trend. He and other

  practitioners have seen a huge rise in their surgeries recently and we don‟t know why it‟s

  happened... He‟s not heard of anything out of the usual going on and neither have his

  colleagues.”


         Everyone raised an eyebrow and looked somewhat bemused.


         Rhea was the first to respond. “And what did the results show Janet – if I may

  ask”. Rhea was always polite.


         Janet just shook her head.


         “That‟s just it. They didn‟t.” She paused “Nothing at all.” And she frowned,

  perplexed.



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         Robert smiled gently “I don‟t know what she thought she was going to find, but I

  know Janet wasn‟t anticipating such a negative result to all the samples she submitted

  though,” he offered. “There were over two hundred samples...”


         Everyone looked blank.


         “It‟s got to be something, but I don‟t know what it is or why I got back such a

  negative response – it‟s so strange – something should have shown up, however minor.”

  She surmised. “Anyhow, that‟s for me to worry about tomorrow dears, I refuse to talk

  about work tonight, not with such lovely company,” and she looked round at the group

  and gave a huge smile, “How are you all?” And just like that, the subject had been

  changed.


         Shortly afterwards, Massimo appeared with a huge grin. Small in stature and

  size, his dark short wavy hair framed his huge hazel eyes and olive complexion. Dressed

  entirely in black, in trousers and snug T shirt, his strong tanned arms encompassed his

  two nearest guests, Janet and David.


         “Allo everee-bodee!” he grinned and he squeezed them both tightly, while

  glancing around the table. His teeth glistened with an unnatural whiteness, all the whiter

  against his dark clean shaven face. He had a cheeky look, handsome to some even, with

  charisma emanating out of every part of his being. He was why the restaurant was doing

  so well – food apart.


         “Ooh sorry Mrs Morgan – I think I may have touched your boobee by accident

  just now,” he grinned as he turned to her with a cheeky wink.




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         “Behave yourself Massimo, I‟ve got both my husband and son here tonight, so

  don‟t go getting any ideas young man!” Janet chided cheerily. “Or you‟ll be answering to

  them...”


         “May I say Missus Mor-gan, „ow bee-oot-i-ful you look tonight, you are a very

  lucky man Mister Mor-gan – such classic bee-ooti in a woman – so very rare indeed.”


         “Why thank you Massimo – so what are you recommending for us to eat

  tonight?” Janet continued changing back to the subject of food. The rest of the table eyed

  each other as they grinned – Massimo always flirted with the women and like an expert

  womaniser, he had picked upon the perfect match to pit his charm against. „Sammy‟s

  Farm‟ droned on quietly in the background. This was the cue for Massimo to talk about

  his passion in life, and he dived straight into a monologue of enticing starters and dishes

  he had prepared for them all. They were definitely in for a treat tonight.


         The evening continued on, food and drink being consumed amongst pleasant

  chatter. It had passed a little too quickly, and by the time they were all heading out of the

  door into the chilly night air, it was gone one o‟clock in the morning.           Rhea was

  shivering in her dress, she had only a wrap to cover herself and David was in short

  sleeves. Everyone hurriedly kissed each other good-bye promising to be in touch shortly,

  aware that Rhea looked as if she might get hyperthermia if she stood there any longer.

  Rhea was used to the warm Florida air. Winter in England would take some getting used

  to.


                                               *   *    *


         Christian had taken to lecturing these days. The business was doing well. Fritz

  and Tayla spent most of their time overseeing the enterprise here. Debbie had managed


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  to „recruit‟ a reliable and dependable workforce from the Home planet. The money from

  this enterprise was extremely lucrative. It had afforded everyone a very comfortable

  lifestyle and a portion of the profits was used to fund research projects considered

  important by the team. Beta was like Alpha in so many respects, but here, there were

  subtle differences, and up until recently, almost indistinguishable. Over the last few

  years however, (according to Fritz) the changes were now beginning to accelerate and

  clear changes were now apparent between both planets. Christian and Tayla had been

  given to opportunity (unintentionally) to discover the super positioning of the two planets

  and had both therefore had to make a choice on which planet they would settle. Tayla,

  for her own reasons decided it should be Beta and Christian followed, not wanting to be

  left without her. They had never regretted that decision, and it had actually worked out

  well for the team too. Fritz, Debbie David and Rhea were a team (of many) living on

  Earth or Alpha as they called it, although they were themselves „alien‟ to the Earth‟s

  Alpha and Beta. They were timeless beings, flitting in and out from one generation or

  century to another, assisting „key‟ people as and when they were required, directing

  humanity to discover the Knowledge. There had been many „helpers‟. There were still

  and it would continue. They were from the „Home‟ planet – a far superior and advanced

  race of humans, who had already discovered the truth to the Universe and had re-created

  their own version – an experiment to them, life as they knew it for everything and

  everyone else. They were so advanced however, that they had forgotten their own path

  to immortality, and it was partly for this reason that this universe had been re-created.

  What path had their own universe taken, how and what had made them into what they

  had become? Their experiment Creation consisted of two super-positioned universes,

  matter and anti-matter universes – Alpha – Earth and Beta the Anti or Alter Earth. One

  day these two planets were destined to become ONE, imprinted by the other but one only,

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  ultimately. One of the universes would be victorious and continue – the other sacrificed

  and terminated. Two universes currently existed – like „Schrödinger‟s Cat Experiment‟ –

  Would you open his box and find the cat dead? Or would you open his box and find the

  cat alive? You needed to open the box to find out. Until you did, the cat was both dead

  and alive simultaneously. And it was the same for the Creation Experiment. At present,

  they both existed and always had - and at the same time, neither existed and never had.


         The phone rang from the lounge in Christian and Tayla‟s home that morning.


         “Don‟t worry baby – I‟ve got it!” shouted Tayla as she hurried to the phone.


         “Hello, Tayla speaking.”


         “Hi Tayla its Rhea,”


         “Rhea... how are you?”


         “Fine thanks – look I‟ve got a message from Fritz – he‟s popping in to see you

  and Christian in about an hour – he‟s bringing something for you both – but that‟s not

  why he‟s coming to see you..” Rhea was hesitant and Tayla picked up on this.


         “Okay Rhea, no problem I‟m sure, but is everything okay? Why didn‟t Fritz call

  us himself?”


         There was a pause and Tayla could hear the phone being passed to someone else.

  To her surprise, it was Debbie. „What was she doing there with Rhea?‟


         “Tayla huns – it‟s me Debs; I‟m with Rhea. Rhea rang me - she‟s worried about

  something that‟s going on at the schools; Fritz is coming straight over to you. He‟ll fill

  you in on why. Cheers hun bye.” And she hung up.



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           Tayla was shocked by the abruptness of the call. She hadn‟t spoken to Debbie for

  months. Debbie had been engaged in work to do with „Home‟ recently, as was Fritz to a

  lesser extent. It was so unlike Debbie not to chat especially after the fact that they had

  spoken for so long. It must be serious.


           Christian wandered into the lounge smiling, with two large mugs of coffee in both

  hands.


           “Who was it?” he asked and saw that Tayla looked rattled.


           “Rhea and Debbie. Just to say Fritz is coming over in an hour – it was a bit

  strange.”


           Christian looked at her blankly and raised both his eyebrows and titled his head as

  he passed Tayla one of the mugs. She took it as she stared into Christian‟s eyes to see if

  he had any ideas as to the abruptness of the call.


           “Did they say why or anything babes?” He was trying to be helpful.


           “Only that something‟s happening at Rhea‟s old school I think... I wonder what it

  could be, to get Fritz to drop everything and come here so quickly... Oh he‟s bringing

  something for us too. I hope it‟s not another potted plant. I‟ve got nowhere to put it.” as

  she scanned the room quickly.


           Christian gently cupped Tayla‟s chin in his free hand and lifted her face so that he

  could plant a tender kiss on her lips.


           “Chill babes, he‟ll be shortly and he will tell us then,” before planting another kiss

  on her lips again, only this time his mouth lingered on hers for a bit longer. He looked

  deeply into her eyes and smiled at her as he pulled back.

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          “You‟re right.” Suddenly Tayla was distracted and had other thoughts on her

  mind. Christian could see an all too familiar look on her face and guessed what she had

  in mind.


          “We haven‟t got time!” he declared. Tayla frowned pouting her lips like a

  spoiled child, and had to be content with being able to snuggle up to him on the couch

  while they waited for Fritz. But she was fidgety.


          “Tayla – I told you, behave yourself! Fritz will be here soon. If you won‟t, then

  I‟m sitting on the chair over there and waiting for him from there. I haven‟t seen him for

  a while and I want to have a clear head missus Morgan!”


          “I bet he‟s won‟t be here for hours Christian, you‟re so trusting in people‟s timing

  – honestly, but oh-kaay, I‟ll be-have. Look, now let me cuddle up to you again...” and

  this was how the banter continued.


          It was less than twenty minutes before the doorbell rang, and as Christian went to

  answer the door, he turned to Tayla looking to her to as if to say „See I told you so...

  YOU would have so have had us in SUCH a predicament young lady! Listen to your

  husband more... he knows best!‟ Tayla just glared back at him and smiled coyly. „Okay –

  potential embarrassing scene averted‟ she conceded silently to him and stuck her tongue

  out to him in indignation.


          As soon as the door was opened, Fritz strode in and headed straight for the lounge

  nodding to Christian as he swept past him, forgoing the jollities of the usual meet and

  greet niceties at the door.


          “Sorry to drop in you at such short notice at the week-end Capitarn.” he said to

  Christian in his usual familiarity. He looked puzzled and slightly alarmed as he stopped

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  in the middle of the lounge. He was holding two small boxes in his hands and he was

  unsure of whether he wanted to sit down or remain standing. He was hovering in the

  middle of the floor looking at an armchair and petering on whether he would sit down.

  Christian followed him in after closing the door and made his mind up for him.


          “Sit down Fritz, I‟ll make us all a coffee and you can tell us what this is all about.

  Hi, by the way my friend.” But he was smiling. It was good to see Fritz.


          Fritz suddenly realised his rudeness and immediately looked embarrassed.


          “Hello you two lovebirds, hope I wasn‟t disturbing anything between you two...”

  he grinned. He knew them too well. This was Christian‟s cue to excuse himself as he

  shook his head and smiled, and headed in the direction of the kitchen. Fritz went over to

  offer a hug to Tayla. His pale blond hair perfectly in place, his glasses perched in the

  middle of his nose, his tan trousers, jumper and corduroy jacket, were a comforting sight

  to Tayla. It wasn‟t difficult to see his Norwegian origins, and he was still sporting his

  well trimmed goatee beard.      He hadn‟t seen Tayla in months and he was reminded of

  how good it was to see her again.


          “You look well Fritz,” Tayla remarked “How‟s Debbie these days?            I miss her

  loads,” Tayla smiled as she kissed his cheek and plonked herself back onto the sofa. “Sit

  down .” She was looking at the boxes in his hand when he realised he was still holding

  them.


          “Oh, look, these are for you and Chris.” he said seriously as he handed over the

  boxes to her and went to take a seat.


          “What are they?” Well at least it wasn‟t a potted plant.



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         “Orbs – from „Home.‟”


         “Oh my god Fritz, really?!”


         “I don‟t know why we didn‟t think to get you both one each earlier to be perfectly

  honest Tayla,” he apologised.


         “Why? I was never expecting to ever get one of those orbs of yours – and I‟m

  sure Christian never thought about it either...” She smiled as she looked at the box

  marked with her name on it. “Can I open it now?”


         Fritz looked at her excitement and smiled. He nodded.


         “Of course – it‟s for you.”


         “This is so exciting,” Tayla quickly tore the box open like a child ripping opening

  one of its Christmas presents. She pulled out a solid ball of white clouds, speckled with a

  kaleidoscope of rainbow colours encapsulated in a golf ball sized crystal. There was a

  section that had been sliced from its corner and a small indentation in the middle of it.

  The colours changed continuously. Tayla smiled, she certainly liked the design.


         “It‟s the one everyone‟s after at the moment Tayla – Debbie picked it out for you.

  She thought you would like it – it‟s the latest model – Debbie wants one now!” and he

  shook his head. He couldn‟t see what the fuss was about. The orbs all performed in the

  same way after all.


         “It‟s beautiful. I love it.”


         Christian came in shortly with a tray of hot mugs of coffee and biscuits, to see

  Tayla sitting crossed legged on the sofa and proudly holding out her new possession.



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           “Isn‟t quite gorgeous baby... hurry up and put the tray down – you‟ve got one too

  baby.”


           Christian looked surprised. He looked at Fritz as he carefully placed the tray on

  the coffee table. Fritz leaned forward and handed him the remaining box.


           “You know about „Us‟ now, you two. The Family decided that you may as well

  share our technologies – after all you are part of „my team‟ now.” he confided.


           Fritz had never referred to the team at belonging to anyone before. It was clear

  that Fritz was the mentor and natural leader of the group of six from Home, but it seemed

  strange to Christian and Tayla to hear him speak this way.


           “What do you mean „your team‟? And are you saying that now includes me and

  Tayla too? What does that mean?” asked Christian as he deftly pulled out the orb from its

  packaging. It was the same as Fritz‟s.


           “I picked you the same as mine – hope you don‟t mind – I like that style

  personally – it‟s what it can do that‟s important...” Fritz looked awkward.


           “Fritz – I‟m a guy – it‟s cool – Of course I like it- I was never ever expecting to

  get one...”


           Fritz looked pleased. “It will be so much easier with you both having orbs guys,

  you have no idea. I‟ll show you how they work later. But I‟ve a more pressing matter to

  discuss with you both.”       He leaned forward to pick up a mug, cleverly evading

  Christian‟s question for the time being and sat back to reveal the urgency of his call.


           “Rhea‟s worried.” He looked serious now. Tayla and Christian looked at each

  other puzzled.

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          “She keeps in touch with Louisa.       You know her replacement at „Retborne

  Junior‟s‟ in Dallas over in Alpha. “Well you‟ll recall Tayla, having been brought up over

  there, which before children can attend school over in the States; they need to be certified

  to say they‟ve had all of their jabs.” He took a sip of coffee and continued. Tayla nodded

  in agreement as she listened.


          “Well the schools are running compulsory booster jabs for a new disease related

  to some supposed new SV40D virus, apparently a sub strain of the old one - but no-one

  knows what it is, but it‟s definitely compulsory. All the kids have got to get jabbed with

  it. There‟s a huge national campaign running out there to inform the parents of the young

  kids about the disease and the reasons why they need to get this „new‟ vaccine. Thing is

  – I‟ve been around a long time and all over the place, and I‟ve never heard of this strain,

  or a single person who has ever contracted this so called disease, so godonlyknows why

  the American government seem concerned enough to invest what must be millions of

  dollars to produce a cure for something that has never existed before. It just doesn‟t

  make sense. Not to mention the money spent on campaigning the cure for it.” He paused

  to take another sip of coffee. Christian and Tayla listened quietly. They knew not to

  interrupt Fritz with the questions they were already thinking.


          “Well, that‟s not the point at the moment. My point – or Rhea‟s point was that

  the Retborne Junior in Dallas here in Beta isn‟t running any such campaign, which is

  really odd. Mark and Sarah checked it out for her. There‟s something strange going on.

  Things are beginning to go off kilter between the two planets and this another major

  change. It‟s a worrying trend and we can‟t understand what‟s going on, and why. I‟ve

  sent Mark and Sarah over to Alpha for the time being, to see if they can find anything

  out.”


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           There was a moment‟s silence.


           “AID‟s is a strain of the SV40 virus isn‟t it?” queried Tayla.


           “Amongst other diseases. SV40 was originally discovered during the fifties in

  live attenuated stains of the Polio vaccines – the 40 standing for the 40th virus discovered

  in the contaminated Rhesus monkeys they used back then.               It was all hushed up

  obviously. But in July 2002, the IOM – er that‟s the National Academy of Science

  Institute of Medicine - produced a study into SV40 and cancer which culminated in a

  Report „SV40, Contamination of the Polio Vaccine and Polio,‟ which concluded that

  SV40 exposure could lead to cancer in humans under natural conditions, and that SV40

  exposure from the polio vaccine was related to specific SV40 infection in humans, ie,

  cancers. Back in the late fifties and sixties during the initial rounds of the vaccine

  programme, thousands of people contracted brain tumours shortly after being vaccinated

  with the contaminated polio vaccines. They knew about it, but it was hushed up at the

  time.”


           There was another hushed silence.


           “I don‟t know what this new sub strain version of the SV40D virus is, or what it

  causes in people, but there‟s an inoculation programme for it now.” Fritz paused. “We

  need to find out what‟s going on with this new vaccine. Why are they so hell bent on

  making sure these young kids gets jabbed with it? What‟s going on?” He sighed and he

  looked at the silenced couple staring blankly at him.


           “The sad thing is that no-one‟s querying the necessity or side effects of this new

  vaccine, it‟s all very worrying. They are all just falling in line to get their little rag-rugs

  jabbed, thinking it‟s going to be good for them. I don‟t even know if or where they tested


                                              23
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  the drug. I‟ve never heard of any clinical field tests. It seems to have come out of

  nowhere.”


         “Well perhaps it is to protect the children from a real disease?” offered Tayla

  trying to be optimistic, but she wasn‟t convinced. She knew Rhea would only be so

  concerned like this for a reason.


         “How come no-one‟s ever heard of it before now? I agree that I think we

  definitely need to look into it. But how do you think we can help Fritz – I‟m good if you

  want to produce a jet propulsion engine which can travel at light speed and Tayla‟s a

  particle physicist specialising in antimatter annihilation, but were not really clued up on

  the world of medicine to be fair.”


         “Well your parents Christian for a start – we need to find out from your father if

  he‟s come across any recent new diseases in his surgery recently, and we may need to

  recruit your mothers expertise as well – after all she is a micro biologist.” he offered.

  Christian nodded in agreement.


         “I know dad was concerned about everyone becoming iller in general, but I don‟t

  know think he mentioned any new diseases though, but I can ask him.”


         “When I was at CERN, I did a stint into the PETSCAN project, which was being

  funded by Asclepius, probably the largest pharmaceutical organisation in the world –

  they‟re an American organisation, and I‟m sure one hundred percent that they will have

  something to do with this vaccine. One of their biotech labs must have worked on

  producing this vaccine for sure. I might be able to find something out if I could get back

  into the project.” suggested Tayla helpfully. “I know it‟s a bit of a long shot, but I could

  try to find something out from the „inside‟ so to speak.”


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         “One thing‟s for sure, we need to be able to travel back and forth between the two

  planets, and now you have the orbs, you can jump time and space now.”


         Tayla and Christian stared at each other stunned. Fritz looked at them and sighed.


         “Right, back to basics, let me tell you about the orbs, and how they work. I can

  see we are going to have a practice first...I‟m calling Debbie, I need back up here...” he

  decided.


         He pulled out his own orb and pressed it to his forehead and closed his eyes. The

  orb lit up and after a time it dimmed and Fritz opened his eyes smiling.


         “She‟ll be here in a minute...” he said smiling as he looked at two very bemused

  onlookers and shook his head. “We have so much to enlighten you two on!” and he

  laughed.


         And on cue, there was a knock at the door.




                                            25
MIND GAMES                                                             SUZIE MAGNESS




                                        Chapter 2



         Christian answered the door and Debbie beamed at him in the doorway.


         “Hiya Chrissee. Surprise!!” she beamed. She stood there waving up at him with

  a huge grin, her blonde bob, looking as sleek as ever and framing her pretty round face.

  Her bright red lips matched her heavy red knee length coat, which was tightly buttoned

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  up to her chin, serving to emphasise her curvy and full figure. She was clearly excited to

  be there, as there had been no contact between her and the team for months, apart from

  the very short conversation she had with Tayla earlier. Debbie had been working on a

  separate assignment, and had little or no contact with anyone. There was the occasional

  update with Fritz, who would keep everyone updated on how she was doing through

  David.


           Christian lent forward and kissed her on the cheek and welcomed her in with a

  huge grin.


           “Debs, great to see you again, but Fritz told us you were coming! He‟s inside.”


           “Bloody Fritz! He didn‟t say he was already here! I wanted to surprise you, I

  haven‟t seen you all in a while!” she groaned, deflated, though beaming with radiance,

  excited at seeing them again as she marched in searching to find where Tayla and Fritz

  might be. She glanced around the hallway in awe. Although she had visited the house

  several times before, the house never failed to impress her with its unique style.


           Alex, Christian‟s closest friend, had designed it. Alex was an architect, and as a

  wedding present for them both, he had drawn up the plans for this impressive house for

  them years ago, but it was only recently that they had been able to afford to build it. It

  was typical of Alex‟s style, a mixture of Deconstructionalism and Modernism. White

  dominated the interior design as well as the exterior facade, exhibiting huge flanks of

  glass to allow in plenty of natural daylight in order to preserve the open plan and airy

  interior. Doors were replaced with wide openings so that every room ran off from the

  spacious square hallway. This created interlinking rooms through airy opening from one

  room to the next. Even the furniture in the house performed a function in creating the


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  overall design. They had not been picked for comfort necessarily, and Alex had given

  clear directions on what he would and what he wouldn‟t allow in the house. Most of the

  furniture had been hand-picked by Alex, and mostly, save for a few pieces, tended to be

  design classics.   Huge brightly coloured abstract paintings by an up and coming

  Australian artist broke up the vast expanses of white on the walls.


          “Fritz... where the bloody hell are you, you spoiled my surprise visit you little

  pale Norwegian party-pooper?” she laughed, but it was clear to see that she was eager to

  see him again.


          “In here Debbie...” and then Tayla appeared with her arms outstretched.


          The next forty minutes or so was spent chatting, reminiscing and catching up on

  what everyone had been up to over the past few months, but it wasn‟t long before Debbie

  soon reminded them of the problem raised by Rhea and the real reason for the sudden and

  unexpected visit by Fritz and herself. She began to explain the situation, bringing them

  all up to date.


          “..So I ended up going to see Rhea last week, she‟s really worried you know. I

  think she feels personally responsible for little Raoul. ‘He‟ was her assignment originally

  you see...”

          Rhea‟s assignment „Little Raoul‟ was an ordinary little six and half year old,

  living in a modest small town on the outskirts of Dallas. He lived with his parents and

  his, two brothers and three sisters. But according to Home, he was destined to be of

  particular significance later in his life and that was why Rhea‟s assignment had been

  based at the local school to where he lived - Retborne Juniors - as a pre-school teacher.

  She was sent there for no other reason. David worked in England, while Rhea worked in


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  Dallas.     Raoul would probably reach adulthood before it would become apparent as to

  why there was so much interest in him from „Home‟, and that would be years away for

  now. For her part Rhea had been at Retborne‟ to keep a watchful eye on him and offer

  encouragement from time to time. Louisa had taken over from Rhea almost eighteen

  months ago, when Rhea had moved to England to be with David and join the team

  permanently.

            “Rhea got a call from Louisa to say that she was being asked to secretly check the

  medical records for the class. Apparently with this vaccine campaign – she had to check

  to see which of her class has a history of childhood illnesses, such Asthma or ADT or

  obesity, as well as any hereditary conditions that the immediate family suffered, such as

  heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, cancer, you know, that sort of thing.

  Then, when she had found this information out, she had to make two separate lists,

  putting each child into one or other list. Thus the class got segregated according to its

  medical condition - poor or good. Louisa then told Rhea that there were two versions of

  this vaccine they were giving, so the kids with a poorer medical history got a different

  version of the vaccine from the other set of healthier kids. No-one was ever made aware

  of this fact – certainly not the parents, and Louisa was instructed by the Principal that she

  was not allowed to discuss this procedure with anyone!” Debbie looked puzzled as she

  spoke, but Christian did not appear as sceptical as Debbie.

            “But Debbie, it could nothing more than the pharmaceutical companies are

  making sure that there aren‟t any nasty side effects, and they feel that any kid with a poor

  medical background or ailment might react badly, so they were offering a milder version

  to those kids. It doesn‟t sound that strange to me really... I think they may actually be

  acting quite responsibly actually.” He looked across to see what Tayla and Fritz thought.



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         “It is strange though baby... since when have you ever heard of segregating

  people to give vaccines, I certainly never have. And just say you were right and they

  were doing it out of a sense of responsibility for the welfare of the kids, then why

  wouldn‟t they announce it and make it public knowledge? What would be the problem if

  they did? Why be so secretive about it...?” Tayla mooted. While she couldn‟t think of a

  reason to be overly concerned, it did strike her as a little odd.

         “Look I‟ll check with dad, see what he has to say.           He might already know all

  about this vaccine - he might even be briefed on it himself. I mean none of us have

  kids... what do we know about kids vaccine programmes after all?” Christian reminded

  them. They agreed, though no-one was comforted.

         “They‟re not doing this vaccination campaign here on Beta though – Rhea

  checked with the same school here in Dallas. There‟s no such programme planned –

  that‟s what raised the alarm bells for her Chrissee. I would bet money that your dad

  knows nothing about the vaccine. I think this is a vaccination policy exclusive to Alpha.

  Your mum and dad are working in Africa on Alpha. They‟re probably unaware of this

  programme there. They‟re probably too busy tied up with their AID‟s patients there, they

  won‟t necessarily be aware about what‟s going on in the rest of the world.” Debbie

  pointed out, “That‟s why I was with Rhea last week – we can‟t find out anything here –

  this SV40D variant disease is exclusive to Alpha.” she finished.              Fritz had been

  deliberating and now he had made his mind up on what they should do next.

         “We need to go back to Alpha. Whatever is going on over there, we need to be

  there to find out. Christian, you may need to take a trip out to your parents in Africa.

  You‟re parents over there may be able to give us some advice. They probably know

  what the SV40 virus is and may be able to tell us what this variant SV40D could possibly

  be. Tayla, I‟m going to arrange for you to go the Geneva and get yourself involved in the

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  ACE or AD4 Project. I think you may be right, you might find something out there.

  Your knowledge in Antimatter annihilation will be a good cover for you on working on

  this project. I think I‟ll get Rhea and David to take a visit to back to Dallas and check up

  on Mark and Sarah – It‟ll be easy for them to show up there – they can do some

  investigations there without arousing any suspicions. Debbie, I need you to come with

  me...”

           “And where are you taking me?”

           “There‟s some business I‟m in the middle of right now, which means I am not

  going to be around for a little while. I can‟t get out of it – I‟m under obligation, so you

  can act as go-between for me...”

           “What bloody business hun?”

           “I‟ll talk to you later... privately”

           Suddenly, there was an awkward silence.       It was obvious that Fritz had no

  intentions of sharing what he was up to and was not even offering any clues. Instead he

  stood poker-faced, acting as if he hadn‟t realised he had said anything remotely strange.

  Debbie sensed not to push him on the matter and so she nodded her head in agreement

  and shrugged her shoulders. She was as clueless as Christian and Tayla.

           Christian broke the awkward silence. “Okay Fritz, I‟m sure Tayla and I are both

  up for it, if you need our help, we‟re here and ready.” He looked across to Tayla and she

  nodded quietly.

           “Baby, we going to be separated for a while if I‟m off to Switzerland soon... I‟m

  sure gonna miss you. How long do you see us being there Fritz?” she asked as she turned

  reluctantly away from looking at Christian to face Fritz.

           Fritz shrugged his shoulder. “I honestly don‟t know, but as we are going to be so

  dispersed, all the more for Debbie to act as go-between. It‟s going to be easier to do this

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  now you both have your orbs - you can use those to get around and communicate with...

  which reminds me, we need to show you how to use them.”

          “Can I be a bloody pain a sec and ask if some-one can put the kettle on first guys?

  I‟m parched and it‟s going to take a while to go through what the orb can do. I could do

  with a breather first!”

                                              *   *    *

          Debbie was right. It took a few hours to go through what the orb could do for

  Christian and Tayla. The orbs were a product from the Home planet and used the future

  technologies of understanding how to harness the dark energy to use them – or Big

  Daddy conscious energy as it was familiarly known. All orbs were connected, and they

  could be used for any application imaginable. It was the single most useful item that

  each member was given.        Everyone had them and they could be used to travel,

  communicate, educate, locate, refer to, input data, replicate and photograph holographic

  ally. It even served for other uses such as music and recording experiences. Tayla, as

  Anna had already seen and experienced the power of the orbs, so she quickly caught on

  to the concept. The orbs could transport you from one dimension to another, so space

  travel was simple. As Fritz had told them earlier, they would now be able to travel space

  and time, though it could never transport them to a past event. They couldn‟t travel

  backwards or forwards in a locked time space dimension. Time travel was linking into

  the locked space-time Dimensions and moving between locked time without losing time.

  Travelling between Dimensions meant that sometimes, you needed to pass through the

  Re-Positioning Base, set itself in its own Dimension. It was often a common meeting

  place for travellers. It was also used to re-frequence traveller‟s who were in a state of

  Super-positioning and prepare them for space travel. Sometimes Guiders would borrow

  people temporarily and to avoid trauma of the discovery of technologies and life-forms

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  which existed in the Multiverse, implants were injected into them, so they would forget

  everything afterwards. No matter how long they were borrowed, people never lost more

  than ten or so minutes of real time. Tayla, under her super-positioned personality Anna,

  had experienced these visits already and was familiar with the concept, having a hazy

  recollection of her experiences from time to time.

         Tayla and Christian were only a small handful of people who had become „real‟

  people, no longer in a state of suspended super-positioning through a series of events

  over a year earlier. This is what made them Special, and they had both settled on Beta.

  On Alpha where they had both existed, Christian was now classified as „missing‟, with an

  open file on him. When Anna had disappeared, it was presumed that she had probably

  either gone back to the States or back to Switzerland, where she once had worked. Fritz,

  Debbie, David, Rhea, Mark and Sarah had all transferred to Beta too, though their

  departure was far better planned, and they had frequently travelled between both planets

  without raising undue suspicion. David, Mark and Fritz had tried to dampen down a huge

  furore when Christian had left. They had admitted to hearing from him occasionally

  during his „soul searching journey‟ backpacking through the Himalayan Mountains.

  Alex, his closest friend had never been convinced. Having been assigned Christian‟s

  lucrative company and earnings, with no explanation or word from Christian, it had left

  him worried and suspicious.

         At last, and after several concentrated hours, Fritz felt confident enough that they

  could try and use their orbs. He had begun with a small jaunt to test Christian and Tayla.

  He wanted to make sure that they did understand what they were doing. So to begin

  with, they had all jumped to an easy location as practise, appearing outside the home of

  David and Rhea‟s just a few hundred metres away.



                                            33
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         “The co-ordinates are the key folks, always think about the co-ordinates.” Fritz

  reminded them cautiously.

         As they had safely arrived at the destination together, Tayla and Christian looked

  rather giddy and disorientated to begin with. As they stood in the back garden of the

  house, they slowly they realised where they were, but before they could collect

  themselves, Fritz was deciding where they would try next. It was obvious that Fritz was

  in an urgent mood. He knew that Christian and Tayla were extremely bright, and were

  more than capable of getting to grips with using the orbs, but he wanted to test them

  properly now.

         “Okay, now on your own you two, this time we‟re not going to be helping you,

  so remember these set of co-ordinates please. Meet us at A302101DL6. Now recite it

  back to me exactly...”

         “Um A-34120 – er- D1L6?”

         “No! A34 two one, 0 –D1L6 Tayla, now again...” Fritz frowned.       Debbie looked

  worried.

         “I think we still need to grab hold of them huns, God knows where they might

  well end up!”

         Fritz look flustered and shook his head.

         “My little ray of sunshine, I agree, but we haven‟t got time, they need to feel

  confident about travelling with these orbs, so it‟s got to be baptism by fire I‟m afraid –

  we‟ll find them if they get lost..” he assured her, but he was lying and she knew it. She

  grimaced and stared at him, hoping his harsh training regime would indeed work.

         Christian intervened. “Debbie, Fritz – we can do it okay? Just what do the letters

  and numbers mean, it might help us remember the sequence better?”



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         “Planet, sector, longitude and latitude and location – A is Alpha, 3 is South

  America, 42‟10‟is the area, and D1L6 is like a postcode, zip code, simple really Chris...

  does it make it easier?”

         “Yes, when you put it like that ... er A3-42, 10-D1L6 easy!”

         “A3, 42, 10, D1L6 – why didn‟t you explain before” repeated Tayla, the co-

  ordinates rolling off the tongue this time.

         “Good, sorry... okay, right hold your orbs and think hard about the co-ordinates,

  and Debbie and I will see you there in a sec.” And with that he grabbed Debbie‟s hand

  and they both disappeared in a flash of brilliant light.

         Christian and Tayla looked at each other blankly, partly in disbelief that Fritz and

  Debbie had gone.

         “Shall we hold hands baby? To be safe – at least if we go wrong, we‟ll be

  together at least,” offered Tayla, but Christian shook his head.

         “No, let‟s get this over with – we need to know how to use these orbs properly

  first, Fritz is right, but we can do it together,” he offered. Tayla nodded as they both

  gripped the orbs tightly and mentally recited the co-ordinates. And in a surge of two

  brilliant flashes of light, they were gone and were instantly re-located in another setting.

         As Tayla and Christian came round, they were aware of the soft salty tropical

  breeze wafting carelessly around them, and the sounds of gentle waves lapping back and

  forth around them. As they reeled at this new experience, they felt weak and slightly

  nauseas.

         “Where am I?! Christian are you there baby – oh honey you are, thank god. Ooh

  I feel quite ill now...” stammered Tayla breathlessly. Christian was standing in exactly

  the same spot as he left her, but he was bent over double, clinging hard to both his knees

  to catch his breath. Fritz and Debbie waited quietly.

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         “Well done Cap-itaarn, Tayla, you made it...” He sounded relieved and he shot a

  smile of relief to Debbie, who was pleasantly shocked.

         “Bloody fan-tastic you two. You‟ve done bloody well to get here.”

         “Where?” gasped Christian breathlessly. He looked up and around and could see

  they were on a beach.

         “The Bahamas folks – Peter Merha‟s island in fact... you‟ve been here before you

  may recall you little pair of lovebirds.”

         Christian stood up and breathed in deeply, he was beginning to regain his strength

  and it suddenly struck him that he felt that had indeed he had been there before. He

  struggled with a smirk as he looked at Fritz, who was beaming with his beach

  destination.

         “Yeh, I‟ve been here before... I‟m sure I have, - Tayla do you recognise where we

  are baby?” as he placed his arm around Tayla as she stared ahead at the clear turquoise

  waters around her and looked around.

         Tayla felt an immediate familiarity with the location. It looked so looked serene.

         “The Anna part of me does baby... yes ... I do...” Tayla was transfixed, reflecting

  on a host of memories which came flooding back to her, and suddenly she felt a little sad.

  But she had little time to reflect any further, Fritz was keen to leave and was giving them

  another set of co-ordinates to remember.

         “Okay, your trip down memory lane will have to be brief folks; we need to get

  back, before we get spotted. But „A stars‟ to the pair of you. By getting here, you„ve

  both had to travel to another Dimension, find this planet, and this particular location with

  a variance of just five square metres. How‟s that for exactness! I can proudly say that

  now, you are both formally proper „Multidimensional Space-travellers‟.” He beamed.



                                              36
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  “Now remember these set of co-ordinates. B13101S52D. Have you got that? We need

  to get back.”

          “B1-31,01 –S52D. Yes I do, Tayla have you got it babes?”

          “Um B13101 er S52D...”

          “Good see you at your place in a sec. Come on Debbie, let‟s get back.”

          And then, just as suddenly as they had arrived, the breeze and the aroma of the

  sea had gone. Tayla and Christian found themselves back in the familiar hallway of their

  home.

          Christian and Tayla shook their heads as they stood in the middle of the floor with

  Debbie and Fritz suddenly appearing in front of them. For them it was quite a nauseating

  experience, and they felt giddy as they stood in the hallway of their house.

          “I feel sick Christian baby – hold me please, I think I‟m going to faint.” muttered

  Tayla as she leaned up against Christian, who was trying hard to look as if it was the

  most natural way to travel, but his face was pale and she was unsteady on his feet. Fritz

  and Debbie on the other hand, had been travelling like this for all of their life. It felt

  completely natural to them. Debbie found it all very amusing.

          “Come on you two babies – it‟s not that bad!”

          “Debbie, how can you ever say that you get used to travelling like that? – it‟s

  absolutely horrendous – I feel really ill now.”

          “Tayla, I don‟t have any idea what you mean – honestly, I don‟t feel a thing...

  how about you Fritz huns?”

          “Me? Fine.”

          Debbie smiled. “You‟ll get used to it. Just think. You don‟t ever need to drive a

  car or take a plane ever again folks! The good news is that the more you use your orbs

  the easier it gets to travel. It will remember where you‟ve been, and after a bit, your

                                            37
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  brain will be so honed into them, that eventually your thoughts alone will be enough to

  get you to where you want to go.”

          Christian was moving himself to a nearby chair.

          “Thanks Debbie. Tayla baby, I need to take a seat for a sec, come and sit on my

  lap if you like.”

          “What a pair of wussies you two are!” laughed Debbie as Tayla climbed up and

  snuggled up to Christian, refusing to let go of him. Christian put one arm around Tayla to

  hold her steady as he clutched the arm of the chair with his other arm, as he tried to

  steady his giddiness.

          “Debbie...” said Fritz as he smiled unsympathetically at the pair “I think we

  should leave them for now,” and he turned to the ailing pair on the chair, “We‟ll be back

  tomorrow about lunchtime you pair of lovebirds...” and turning to Debbie, he smiled,

  trying hard not to laugh, “Come on let‟s go to Home. We‟ve got a lot to catch up on

  ourselves.” And grabbing her hand they instantly disappeared, leaving Christian and

  Tayla alone and together in their suffering.

                                                 *   *   *

          It was late the following day, when Fritz and Debbie finally knocked at the door.

  Christian and Tayla had been expecting them around lunch-time, but a text message

  arrived while they were preparing lunch:

                          ‘Will cu both around 4 instead. F’

          So they had waited. Tayla had seen them walking up the drive and had headed

  for the door to let them in.

          “Come in you two, the kettle‟s on,” smiled Tayla as she hugged Debbie at the

  door before giving a peck on the cheek to Fritz.




                                             38
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         “Sorry we‟re late you two, but it does have something to do with what we were

  discussing yesterday.” Fritz apologised as he settled himself on a barstool in the kitchen,

  which always amused Fritz. For, apart from a slight layout variance, it was almost

  identical to the kitchen Christian had designed for his former house on Alpha. Christian

  loved to relax by preparing food, and Tayla was happy to concede that he was a superior

  cook. She was the better musician by far anyway. „David Melillo‟ music was playing in

  the background through the hidden speakers throughout the house.

         “No probs, we were just chilling today anyway, as Christian poured out the

  freshly made cafetiere of coffee into mugs. Tayla was tiptoeing to grab a jar of biscuits

  from a wall cupboard, before placing it onto the shiny black granite surface.

         “I‟ve been asked to bring you to our „Home‟ planet before we do anything else

  you two.” Fritz had decided to be direct. The words he spoke sounded severe. Debbie

  remained quiet, as she leaned over to grab a biscuit from the jar. Tayla and Christian

  looked at each other and raised an eyebrow. Fritz continued,

         “I think I may have too quick to try and organise us all yesterday. It looks as if

  this is a bigger problem than we may have thought. We need to discuss it with „the

  Family‟. They want to meet you both as well as discuss this problem. That‟s why were

  so late. Well, we didn‟t want to interrupt you too early either.” he conceded as he

  accepted a mug from Christian.

         “Oh okay.” agreed Tayla lightly, although she was confused and intimidated by

  the idea of meeting The Family. She glanced across to Christian who looked a little more

  than curious. Debbie continued to say nothing. Instead she nibbled on the biscuit and

  focused her eyes on the jar in the middle of the kitchen island they had congregated

  around. She was carefully avoiding any eye contact.

         “You don‟t have to of course.” offered Fritz as she looked at them both.

                                            39
MIND GAMES                                                                 SUZIE MAGNESS



          “Or what?” asked Christian. Fritz looked at Christian with a serious look, before

  answering him in a mellow tone.

          “I‟m so used to us working together Cap-itarn... that I forgot that this is

  something that doesn‟t need to concern either of you two. I guess I kind of forgot that

  fact that‟s all,”

          “Well we‟re a team, course we‟ll come, if that‟s what you need us to do mate. Are

  you okay? Is there a problem?”

          Debbie bit on the biscuit hard, her eyes firmly on the jar.

          “The Family think it‟s a good idea if you two were to join 'my team.‟”

          Debbie cleared her throat and taking a mug from the island she took a huge gulp.

  Tayla walked up to Christian and put both her arms around him, nestling into his chest as

  they both looked at Fritz, who seemed relieved that he had actually said what he had said.

          Fritz shook his head briefly and looked directly at the pair of them.

          “This is a bit hard for me Chris – I‟ve worked for you for the past six or seven

  years now yeh? and I‟ve built up a very close working relationship as well as a deep

  friendship with you – both actually, during that time. For the past year you‟ve known

  what I am – what Debbie and the rest of your team are too – and to be honest, I‟ve liked

  the honesty of it all, but you don‟t know everything about me Chris...” and he faltered,

  thinking how to phrase himself.

          “We‟re listening,” and after gently kissing the top of Tayla‟s head, he looked

  back at Fritz, so that he may continue. Debbie jumped in.

          “Me, Sarah, Mark, David and Rhea – we are all bonded to Fritz. He brought us

  together an age ago. We‟ve always worked with Fritz – but he‟s really a Mediator. Like

  a Sage. A Mediator herald‟s a great deal of respect and leadership qualities back at



                                             40
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  „Home‟. He‟s actually very well thought of and respected where we‟re from.” Fritz

  jumped down from his barstool and ushered Debbie to stop.

         “Thanks Debbie my sweet, but that‟s enough.” he said and turned to Tayla and

  Christian.

         “It‟s not as grand as Debs makes out. But seeing as I cocked up a bit last year,

  and now here you are both „real‟, I do feel a bit responsible for you both!” and he

  smiled. “Technically, you‟re already part of The Family in a way, so you are welcome on

  „Home‟ in any case now, but „The Family‟ is right, you should be officially welcomed

  there. My only concern is that they may persuade you become part of „my family‟.”

         “And what would that mean?” asked Tayla curiously.

         “A lot of bloody hard work and a lot of planet hopping...” smiled Debbie “You‟d

  have to get your head around the travelling or you‟re going to be sick a lot.”

         “You should have been a saleswoman Debs!” Christian smiled.

         “To be honest folks, I think the decision may have taken out of all our hands, I

  have a feeling that it‟s more of an assumption than an invitation. That‟s why they‟ve

  given you both orbs. I should have realised sooner to be honest.”

         “When were you thinking of taking us there Fritz?”

         “Tomorrow morning,”

         “So quick, but we‟ve got work...”

         “You still haven‟t twigged about the locked space-time dimension element of

  travel yet have you... You won‟t lose any time Dimension hopping. Since Debbie and I

  left you yesterday, we‟ve been back „Home‟ for a week. There‟s been a lot to discuss

  and organise. Rhea‟s concerns may well link in with something I‟ve been involved in

  myself recently. Rhea was right to raise the alarm to Debbie, but I believe that it is

  something far more serious than I ever could have guessed. Raoul is just the tip of the

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  ice-berg if this is the case, and we may already too late for Raoul. We need to find out

  what he got injected with – what all the kids got injected with actually. I fear it‟s not

  good whatever it is. And on top of all this, The Family‟ want me to bring you „Home‟.

  I‟ve got a lot on at the moment. Something dark is in the wings I fear, and I worry about

  bringing you both into it. Think carefully before you make any decisions they may try

  and thrust upon you though.”

         “Gosh...”

         Fritz smiled and changed the subject.

         “Tayla, you know what I have really missed, and it would make Debbie and I

  really happy... would you play one of your compositions to us on your guitar. We were

  only discussing how much we miss hearing you play... if you don‟t mind that is?”

         “Oh Fritz honey, of course I don‟t mind, I‟d be really thrilled to play. Come

  through to the lounge, our guitars are in there.” She turned and tiptoes to kiss Christian

  on the cheek, and grabbing his hand, she pulled him alongside her beckoning Debbie and

  Fritz to follow.

         “Baby, will you play too?” she asked Christian, who nodded as he saw the

  excitement in the voice. She always loved to play her guitar. “I‟ve got a new song to

  play you two if you like, I wrote it with Christian a few weeks ago...”

         Debbie squeezed Fritz cheek in-between her fingers as they followed.

         “Clever move my Norwegian slice of magnificence! Take their minds off the trip

  for now.”




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                                          Chapter 3

          Tayla was tightly snuggled up to Christian in bed later that evening. Her hair was

  still damp from the shower they had just shared. He had his arm around her and his chin

  was resting on the top of her head. His mind was somewhere else and he was thinking

  hard. Tayla‟s head was resting gently on top of his chest; she was listening nonchalantly

  to his steady heartbeat; her head rising and falling slowly in tune with his breathing. She

  had her eyes shut and her arm clung snugly around his chest. After a while, she carefully

  turned her head towards him and tenderly kissed his bare chest. She knew he was deep in

  thought.


          “What are you thinking about baby?”


          Christian moved to look at her and gazing into her eyes he kissed the top of her

  nose.



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         “You. Me. Us baby... I think it was the trip to the Bahamas yesterday. It brought

  back memories I didn‟t know I had – I think I may have proposed to you there – yes – I

  think I did. It‟s so strange having this sort of double life. It‟s bringing back a lot of

  emotions in me tonight that I can‟t explain.”


         “Being there made me slightly sad for some reason, it made me feel like it might

  have been the last time I was ever happy again for a long time, or at least that‟s the

  impression I got.” Tayla reflected. “But whatever I felt, it‟s all worked out. I know our

  bond is strong. I‟m glad we have each other baby, I do love you.” and she wriggled

  herself round to face Christian. He looked at her and smiled. He had an urge to kiss her

  suddenly and without warning he leaned across to lock her lips with his own. He began

  to kiss her forcefully and with urgency, his tongue exploring her mouth with fervour, his

  hand stretching under the covers, caressing her soft body and feeling the gentleness and

  softness of her skin and after a while, his hand stopped exploring her body, instead

  stroking her gently and rhythmically causing a sensual excitement within her. Tayla

  quivered and her body pulsated in response to his gestures. She clasped his head in her

  hand in acknowledgement, kissing him back fervently and encouraging him on with her

  urgent lips. She stroked the contours of his firm and muscular frame delicately with her

  slender fingers, gently stroking him as she manoeuvred her hand expertly down along his

  firm, smooth and muscular frame. She smiled as she discovered that he was ready for

  her, and looking straight into his eyes, she pulled away from his lips and slowly, with her

  eyes firmly fixed on his, she slid slowly down and along his supple frame nipping,

  kissing and licking his body until her mouth was where she intended. Christian winced as

  the warmth of her moistened lips embraced him suddenly, breaking away from her gaze

  involuntarily as waves of ecstasy began to surge through his body. When he looked back



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  to her, he saw that she had been watching him all the while and as she had continued on,

  she watched as he responded involuntarily to her control over him. Unable to hold

  himself back any longer, he quickly pulled himself away from her, pushing her deftly

  onto her back in one quick movement, and before she could get her breath, he was inside

  her. Here they grappled in a surge of longing and urgency they had long forgotten, both

  yearning for the other in desperate clenches.        Tonight, they felt fierce and needy,

  exploring each other intimately with a thirsty intrigue, flailing each other around the bed,

  attempting to quench their longing, unsatisfied until they did. Finally, they lay amidst the

  dishevelled bed sheets glaring at each other naked and sweaty, drained and panting

  heavily, surveying each other‟s body as if for the first time.


         “Don‟t ever leave me Tayla...” Christian suddenly said.


         “Of course not baby, what made you say that?!”


         “I don‟t know, but don‟t – it would break my heart.”


                                     *    *   *


         The following morning, Fritz and Debbie arrived early. They looked relaxed as

  they waited for Tayla to get ready. Christian was in the kitchen offering toast and coffee

  to the pair as Kings of Leon droned quietly in background. Christian was singing along to

  the song „Revelry‟ as he strolled casually around the kitchen. He looked particularly

  perky and carefree this morning.


         “David, Mark, Rhea and Sarah will be coming with us Chrissee, and hopefully,

  David and Rhea should be here in mo huns” Debbie announced as she picked up a slice

  of toast and bit into it. She raised an eyebrow to Fritz and smiled.



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         “Mark and Sarah are meeting us on „Home‟ I believe. We‟ll see them when we

  get there Capi-tarn. I hope you two are ready for little trip here – I mean you don‟t look

  as if you‟re ready?” Fritz wanted to make sure Christian understood where they were

  going. But Christian smiled and nodded.


         And he smiled amiably at them both. “Want a refill Fritz?”


         Before long, David and Rhea arrived, and Tayla, on hearing them downstairs,

  appeared briefly at the top of the stairs to welcome them, as she was hurriedly adjusting

  an ear-ring.


         “Morning you two! Oh good - are you both coming with us too? Look I‟ll be

  down in just a sec!” she apologised to them and she disappeared back into the bedroom to

  finish getting ready.


         Fifteen minutes later Tayla appeared, neatly dressed in a simple black tailored

  suit, greeting everyone with a hug before accepting a mug of coffee from Christian.


         “Mark and Sarah are joining us there as well Tayla baby.       Hurry up and drink

  your coffee, we‟ve all been waiting for you. We need to get going.”


         Tayla nodded and smiled as she hurriedly sipped her coffee, trying to finish it as

  quickly as she could. She could see that everyone else had long finished theirs.


         “Of course,” she agreed as she looked at them over the rim of the mug, “So how

  do we get there Fritz, and how long are we going to be there?” she asked inquisitively, “I

  mean do we need to pack?”




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         “Using the orbs, and no you don‟t need to pack. As soon as you‟re ready Tayla,

  we can leave. Christian you might as well leave the music on; we‟ll only be gone for a

  few minutes as far as this house is concerned.”


         “I‟m ready Fritz, let‟s do it.”Tayla announced as she closed the door to the

  dishwasher. She had gulped down her coffee quickly and stacked her mug neatly away.


         “It‟ll be quicker if we hold hands, and I‟ll take us with my orb. Come on then,

  that‟s it, are we all holding on, I‟m sending us now.” And as everyone nodded he smiled

  and in a burst of brilliant light they were on their way.


         Tayla could feel a bustle of noises as she adjusted to her new surroundings.

  Giddiness and nausea were the most overwhelming sensation, and she lurched forward to

  seek out Christian, who would be feeling the same. They had found themselves the Re-

  positioning Base, in the centre of a vast and bustling arena. The vast and cavernous

  circular room was bursting with what appeared to be natural light, streaming in through a

  huge glass domed ceiling which was illuminated by the light. Strangely enough Tayla

  recognised this place, and she briefly remembered why. As she turned around, tightly

  clinging to Christian‟s arm, she could see that here seemed to be some kind of wall with

  small regular gaps which seemed to lead to some kind of a corridor which ran along the

  circumference of the building. The floor appeared to be giving of a gentle luminous glow,

  so it appeared that they were walking on air. Travellers walking and milling in the

  vastness of the building, seemed to shrink and look insignificance in its vastness.


         “Are we here? At„Home‟? Is this it?”


         “No, no, this is just the Re-positioning Base folks; we all need to prepare for the

  journey to Home before we can go any further. Now let me see make sure everything has


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  been prepared for us all to travel. Debbie, come with me... David, Rhea, take care of

  Christian and Tayla for a moment, er- I think they look a bit green. I‟d better sort us out

  refreshments for them as well in that case.”


           Christian and Tayla clung to each other for comfort as Fritz and Debbie strode

  off, heading for one of the gaps ahead and Rhea put a reassuring arm around Tayla

  studying her sympathetically, realising her state of physical sickness.


           Christian looked around at the new surroundings, once he had gathered his

  composure and the nausea had dissipated.


           “It sort of looks like a really busy airport terminal, doesn‟t it?” he remarked

  realising it was thronging with hundreds of busy travellers making their way around the

  arena.


           “Geez Christian, that‟s really kinda what is dude – cool man!” David smiled, “But

  man, you two look real awful, not used to travelling like this eh? You‟ll get used it dudes

  take my word for it...” but Tayla look horrified.


           “Never! I don‟t think I could ever get used to this.       I think I actually hate

  travelling this way, I really think I need to sit down somewhere,” and she looked around

  for seating. Spotting a row of seats a little way off, she pulled Christian along as she

  made her way over to the seats. David and Rhea followed behind and David shook his

  head in mild amusement.


           It didn‟t take long before Fritz and Debbie returned. Fritz handed round cups of

  refreshments for them all. David had been explaining where they were and where Fritz

  and Debbie had headed off to.



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         “Chris, Tayla, right I‟ve got everything we need organised for you two, so if

  you‟re both okay now, can we go to where I‟ve set everything up, once you‟ve had

  something to drink?”


          Shortly, Rhea collected the empty cups and squashed them down to a fine

  powder, and then brushing the powder from her hand, she watched as the fine particles

  floated up, as though being sucked away, towards the huge vast glass ceiling above.

  Without a word, Fritz began to walk away. Christian and Tayla nodded at the remaining

  three before standing up, to follow behind Fritz who had marched on ahead. Debbie put

  her arm though Tayla as they walked, while Rhea and David remained a few steps behind

  the group. Fritz led them through the vast hall and off into the considerable corridor

  which disappeared around the curve in the far distance on either side. The floor which

  was illuminated, clicked with every step made, echoing loudly in the immense space.

  Fritz appeared purposeful as he marched on; never glancing back to check on the

  progress of the group, as he headed for his destination. As they tried to keep up with him

  from behind, Christian glanced at the shiny marbled walls, catching the thin lines of

  luminous lilac light and geometric patterns and indentations with his eyes. He could see

  that they ran continuously at eye level around the outermost wall. People seemed to be

  mulling round at various points as he passed them, some even smiling at him with

  confidence, as he passed by. They assumed he was a regular traveller and user of the

  Base. At last Fritz slowed down and stopped and placing his hand on a bluish square on

  the wall, a door slid open and he walked on through.


         Tayla became curious and quickened her step to catch up with Christian who was

  a couple of steps in front of her and together they followed Fritz into a dark, cool and

  impersonal looking room. Fairly large, but no larger than it needed to be, it appeared neat


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  and functional, the ceiling feeling much lower than it really was,        but it was fully

  illuminated, to give light to this windowless interior space. The room was perfectly

  square in shape and covered entirely of a dark glossy stone of some kind, which made

  the room feel slightly claustrophobic, even though there was plenty of open space in

  which to move around. There were two large slabs in front of them and around the room

  were large upright rectangular glass chambers evenly spaced and backed up against three

  walls. The room felt clinical and dispassionate. Sitting on a stool, at the opposite end

  from them sat a strange looking man in a grey bodysuit. His head was bald and he

  appeared completely free of any facial hair. He looked slightly oriental in origin on first

  glance to Christian, but he couldn‟t quite decide as he studied him for moment longer.

  The man immediately jumped down from the stool as they entered, which revealed that

  he was barely over five feet tall. Christian towered over him as he approached, and he

  felt even larger suddenly due to the tiny frame of the man.


         “Razul, this is the two I‟ve just told you about – Christian and Tayla, we need you

  to prepare them for „Home‟.” Fritz was short and to the point. It was clear that this was

  not some-one that Fritz was particularly friendly with, although he was obviously

  familiar with him.


         The man, Razul, quickly looked at Christian and Tayla eyeing them up and down

  as if he was studying them. He didn‟t speak, but then turned to look at Fritz.


         “Yes. Let‟s do it. I have everything ready.” Without another word or

  acknowledgement, he beckoned Christian and Tayla to jump up and sit on one of the

  slabs, by waving them both to follow the direction of his hand, and pointing to the slab.

  Tayla followed, but she felt slightly anxious. She was clutching Christian‟s hand for



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  comfort, trusting that Fritz would never let this strange man do anything to them that

  would hurt them.


           As they shuffled themselves onto the solid slab of stone, Christian glanced over to

  Fritz.


           “So what is um Razul going to be doing then?” He tried to sound calm, but he

  was certainly more than a little un-nerved, partly because this Razul did not have the

  „bedside‟ manner, his own father showed to patients in his surgery. His father would

  have explained what was about to happen, happy to answer any questions raised by the

  patient beforehand. Razul, on the other hand, was a man of very few words.


           Fritz smiled “Preparing you both.” He was no help either.


           Razul briefly turned to look at Christian and Fritz as he overheard the

  conversation, while he picked up a small grey box and inserted something into it, before

  resuming his task after Fritz had spoken. He had no intentions of speaking himself.

  After a moment he walked towards Christian and Tayla with the small grey box. Without

  a word or warning, he twisted Christian round so that he could face Christian‟s back and

  pulling his shoulder down toward him, he prodded the back of Christian‟s neck with his

  skinny middle finger. He pulled his finger way as he silently pushed the box hard against

  the part of the neck that was close to the base of his skull. Christian didn‟t flinch. As

  Tayla watched, mesmerised with the speed and agility of his action, she realised he was

  now attempting to do the same with her. He twisted her round and roughly pulled her

  hair away to reveal her neck and then prodding the back of her neck until he was happy,

  he pushed the box hard into the area. Tayla lurched forward with the force, although she

  felt no other sensation. Razul then walked back to the corner of the room, and placed


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  dispatched the contents of the box into a hole in the wall, that had suddenly appeared.

  Christian could feel nothing and didn‟t feel anything particularly strange and glanced

  across to Tayla to see if she had experienced any reaction to the procedure they had both

  been exposed to. Tayla raised an eyebrow and looked bemused.


          “Is that it? What just happened to us – I didn‟t feel anything?” she asked

  generally, to see if anyone would enlighten them.


          “No.” Came a short reply from Razul as he approached them again. “You will

  need to change into the clothes in the chambers. All of you change now.” And he

  beckoned them to the glass chambers.


          “What‟s happening now?”


          “Change into the clothes in the chambers – leave the clothes you are in now with

  me.”


          “Sorry?”


          But there was no response. Razul looked impatient, but as Christian looked at

  Fritz, he saw that he, along with Debbie, David and Rhea were all too familiar with this

  procedure and had already made their way to one of the series of chambers and were

  beginning to undress. Fritz was slipping off his shoes, as he slipped his jacket of, letting

  it fall to the floor.


          “Are we supposed to undress here? – Now? In front of you?” Tayla asked as she

  stared in horror at Razul, but he looked detached. He had made himself clear in what he

  had asked and he stared back blankly, without responding.




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         “Er Tayla babes, I think we do...” and Christian nodded his head in the direction

  of Debbie, before averting his eyes back to Tayla. Tayla looked around her, and she

  spotted the four of them quietly disrobing themselves.


         “Oh my god, oh my god, this is embarrassing baby, I don‟t want to get undressed

  here, in front of everyone and „him‟” she muttered as she stared at Razul, who stood

  coldly waiting for them to change.


         “I don‟t think we have a choice Tayla, I think that this is how you „travel Home‟

  baby, come on, let‟s just get this over with.” he said reassuringly “You‟ll be fine baby,

  don‟t worry, come on...” he whispered.


         “Can I at least leave my under...” Tayla began to ask Razul, but as she looked

  over to him, but from the corner of her eye she spotted David‟s naked frame in the far

  corner of the room. She winced, embarrassed by the naked flesh, and surprised at how

  casually the four of them seemed to be at undressing like this.          They didn‟t seem

  concerned in the least bit. Tayla felt quite prudish suddenly. She had never thought of

  herself as being prudish before. She took a deep breath and decided to get on with

  changing into the bodysuit that was hanging up in the chamber in front of her, so as

  quickly as she could, she disrobed herself, grabbing at the bodysuit as soon as she was

  undressed, conscious of her nakedness, as she fumbled to put on the grey suit as

  gracefully as she could. She refused to think of anything while she changed, sighing with

  relief when she finally covered up the last bit of exposed flesh. In her haste, her own

  clothes were lying in a messy strewn pile all around her. When she was finished she bent

  down to brush the clothes together as she attempted to sort them out into a tidy pile.




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          As she collected herself, now fully dressed in the grey bodysuit, she spun round to

  see that everyone was dressed in the same simple grey bodysuits as herself. She flicked

  her hair to re-adjust it and smiled briefly at Christian relieved that she had accomplished

  the procedure and that it was over.


          “Now what happens?” asked Christian to Razul, who was looking dispassionately

  on. Seeing that everyone was re-dressed, Razul hurried over to the group. But it was

  Fritz who answered him this time.


          “Well, we all need to wait now, while these suits do their work.” he informed the

  pair matter of factly.


          “How do you mean? Suits do their work?” asked Tayla, suddenly looking down at

  herself to see if the material was about to do something strange.


          “We have to get into the chambers and wait. It‟ll take a few hours, so during this

  part we are put into a state of sleep.   You see, we can‟t move while the reaction takes

  place in any case. The inside‟s coated with tiny nano capsules, which will release a drug

  to re-regulate our bodies to the climate of Home‟. As we sweat, it activates the nanos and

  they enter the lymph system through the skin. It‟ll take a couple of hours at least, plus

  you two have been implanted with trillions of biological nanobots, which are going to

  change your genetic make-up internally. It will enable you to exist on our planet. You

  would die if you were to be exposed to our atmosphere otherwise. Razul has made sure

  that you remain the same externally though – haven‟t you Razul?” And Fritz cast a quick

  glance to Razul who was standing silently by impatiently. He nodded quickly.


          “Will this be temporary for us Fritz?”




                                            54
MIND GAMES                                                              SUZIE MAGNESS



          “Er – a while – but it means that you can adapt to any situation within minutes

  once the process is finished. We on the other hand are going to revert back to our selves

  – we‟re just re-adjusting back.”


          “Oh good, that‟s so re-assuring to know.”


          “You need to get in the chambers now!” snapped an impatient Razul. He wasn‟t

  particularly interested in letting Christian and Tayla know he had done with them, and

  prodded with his hand to persuade her to move towards the chamber where she had just

  stood in front to change.


          “Okay Raz-ool, I get the message, stop with the prodding!” Tayla protested. She

  wasn‟t warming to him at all, although she suspected that he wouldn‟t lose sleep on that

  fact.


          Rhea squeezed her arm reassuringly, seeing that Tayla was flustered.


          “No, Razul is right Tayla, we need to get into the chambers quickly now, you

  need to be resting while the nanobots enter your system. He‟s worried that‟s all. All of

  our bodies have to be completely at rest, and we‟re in the suits now, so the process will

  already be starting to take place.” she volunteered as she smiled briefly at Razul, who

  looked unthankfully back at her.


          “Come let‟s get into the chambers quickly, Razul, we‟re getting in now.” Fritz

  ushered everyone “See you all shortly.” And with that he stepped into one of the glass

  chambers, closing himself in. Razul walked over to the chamber and pressed the front of

  the glass panel. The base lit up and began to vibrate momentarily. A mist appeared as it

  surrounded Fritz, he began to float within the chamber. Fritz appeared to be unconscious

  as he floated. Razul checked him for a moment and then turned to the rest of the team.

                                           55
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



         “Hurry! Get into the chambers.” he chided, and quickly the rest followed Fritz‟

  example without another word. Tayla and Christian though confused, thought it better

  not to raise any objections, but before heading towards one of the chambers, Christian

  quickly pecked Tayla on her cheek.


         “See you soon baby, they know what they‟re doing, love you..” and with that he

  walked directly up to his chamber, got in, shut the door and waited for Razul to activate

  his chamber.


         It wasn‟t long before all six of them were unconscious, floating in their own mist

  filled chambers, dimly lit from the base. Razul had turned off all other lighting and

  walked out; leaving the glossy black room filled with an eerie setting of dimly lit cloudy

  glass chambers. Here they would remain in this state, until Razul returned. But that

  would not be for a few hours. Meanwhile, the six floated, the nanobots re-arranging and

  mutating the internal structure of Christian and Tayla, re-configuring a life-form within.

  The emollients releasing trillions of nano-capsules, which on entry into the bodies, would

  target its destination before releasing their payload. The nanobots worked fast imitating

  and altering patterns, altering the basic DNA patterns within the body. Nanobots were

  building and assembling new building blocks, replicating new patterns and re-wiring the

  neuron communication within the brain. Externally Christian and Tayla remained intact,

  but the workings and metabolism within their bodies were changing fast. Soon the

  changes would be complete.


         The lights in the room suddenly came on, and the mist in each of the chambers

  was being sucked out at speed, exposing the bodies within the chambers. A whoosh of

  another gas swept in replaced the existing gas and encompassed the chambers, lingering

  there for a few minutes, before dissipating itself. Now the chambers were clear and all

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  that remained in the chambers were the unconscious floating bodies. Shortly afterwards,

  Razul re-appeared. It was now that he gathered and sorted the clothes that had been

  discarded on the floor, and as he picked up the items, he threw them into a large bin that

  he had wheeled in behind him when he had arrived. After he had gathered all of the

  clothes from the floor, he stamped his foot, and a round indentation appeared in the floor

  in front of him. He pushed the bin and watched it slide onto the indentation. The bin

  vibrated and suddenly disappeared. Razul, stamped his foot again, and the indentation in

  the floor disappeared. Now he approached each of the glass chambers and placed his

  hand on each of the chambers as he marched around the room. Everyone inside appeared

  to re-gain consciousness, and slowly as they came round, they stopped floating until,

  fully conscious and aware of their surrounding, they found themselves standing on the

  base of the chamber, ready to be let out. Razul went round the room once more, now

  opening the doors with one swing, swiftly moving from chamber to the next until every

  chamber was open. There seemed to a moment of hesitation, but slowly each of them

  began to step out of the chambers and looking around the room for the others, until soon

  they had congregated together, the transformations complete. Rhea was the first to check

  on Christian and Tayla, knowing that they had undergone major changes in their genetic

  make-up.


         “What‟s happened to us? I feel different... I don‟t feel me anymore, but I can‟t say

  why,” queried a worried Tayla.


         “The membranes of these body suits are embedded with nanoparticles that

  contain magnetite, a mineral with natural magnetic properties. The chambers you - we -

  were all in, was a magnetic field. When the magnetic field was turned on inside the

  chamber, the nanoparticles were heated up, collapsing the gels in the membrane so that

                                           57
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  the drug could pass through the open pores in our skin. When the field was turned off, the

  cooling membrane caused the gels to re-expand, and cut off the drug.” she explained

  simply, "Plus you and Christian had trillions of Assemblers and Replicators pumped into

  your body by Razul, to alter your genetic make-up, so you can adapt to our planet when

  you arrive. You‟re different now Tayla – both and you and Christian.”


         Tayla began to focus her eyes. She saw differently now.              Everything was

  multicoloured, with a haze of light around everything and when she focused, she was

  convinced she could pick up on the minutest detail, even from across the room. It was as

  if she could see single dot on the far wall in perfect focus. She felt alarmed and looked

  at Rhea, or at least she thought it was Rhea. Certainly it sounded like Rhea, but now

  when she looked at the person standing before her, she saw a complete stranger. A tall

  female stranger was looking at her with a calm concerned look; tall, pale and

  breathtaking, stunningly beautiful in the most classical sense; a face of perfect

  mathematical symmetry and balance.         The large oval eyes were of pale lavender,

  surrounding the darkest pupil. Her eyes were mesmerising. Tayla thought this being to

  be the most alluring and charismatic being she had ever seen. She also smelt so

  wonderful too, like a scent of a tropical scented flower, soft, sweet, yet with a distinctive

  flowery musk. Her hair was the only familiar trait. It was Rhea‟s dark, wavy shoulder

  length style. But this certainly wasn‟t Rhea, who stood before her now.


         “Who... who are you?”


         “Tayla, it‟s me Rhea,” But before Tayla had time to react, she could hear

  Christian reacting to his new changes. She instantly empathised with what she realised

  he was experiencing, and she turned round to search for him.           As she focused her

  attention to him, she felt the room swarm round with her, only to stop when she had seen

                                             58
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  Christian. He was staring at his hand, studying the hallucinogenic effect he felt. She

  called out to him.


         “Baby, it‟s okay, we‟ve been genetically transformed, and that‟s what you‟re

  feeling – just like me.      They‟ve obviously used some kind of advanced genetic

  nanotechnology on us.”


         She looked at Rhea once more, and was captivated by her alluring shape and

  form. She looked away to search for Debbie, David and Fritz, who had met in the middle

  of the room and quietly conferring with each other. To her amazement, what she saw

  were three of the most beautiful figures she had ever seen in her life. Two very tall,

  broad and muscular male twins in bodysuits, their skins pale with perfectly proportioned

  strong masculine faces, perfected by their large and oval lavender eyes. One of the twins

  had dark tousled black hair, like David‟s and the other with the palest fine and straight

  blond hair, identical in colour to Fritz‟s. Both looked to be in their late twenties, so they

  couldn‟t be Fritz or David, but where had David and Fritz gone in that case. Were these

  two beautiful men really David and Fritz after all? Then Tayla looked at the sensational

  woman with a surprised look; for standing with them was certainly the identical woman

  to this woman standing with her now, but other woman standing with the men had

  Debbie‟s sleek blond bob! So beautiful and ephemeral and breathtaking. All of them

  were an inspiration to beauty itself. She was in awe of them all. Suddenly, as she looked

  over to Christian, he looked so ordinary by comparison to these fantastic creatures. She

  was silenced and confused. But she began to draw her own conclusions, by the time

  Christian had walked over to her, comforting her with his arm about her shoulders, as he

  too looked in amazement at the three eerily familiar strangers in the room.




                                             59
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          “Tayla, Christian, it‟s me Rhea, and that‟s David, Debbie and Fritz over there, it‟s

  just us. Can‟t you recognise us at all?” said a familiar tone, though the accent was

  different, a clipped French influence to it. “It‟s still us guys, but this is what we really

  are, this is our natural form – were transgenic clones and this is us back to our natural

  form now. Don‟t be alarmed, we‟re still the same people inside, only our outer shell has

  changed.” she argued in her delicate French style drawl.


          “You‟re so beautiful, all of you,” Tayla murmured in awe. Fritz had stopped

  what he was saying to David and Debbie, and turned to look at Rhea. He walked over to

  join her, beckoning the other two to follow him.


          “Chris, Tayla, how are you feeling?” asked the tall beautiful blond male twin, in a

  familiarity that felt peculiar to Christian and Tayla. They stared at this tall, broad male,

  recognising his hair, but nothing else. Like Rhea, he sounded strangely French. He

  glanced across at the two he had just been standing with as they approached and smiled at

  them.


          “I should have warned them first!” and turning back to Tayla who at five feet

  eight looked tiny in comparison to these giants who were all well over six and a half feet

  tall – even Christian at six foot three looked diminutive against the very masculine broad

  frames of the twin males. He was about to explain who they were, but Christian had

  guessed, surprised too, by their undeniable classic beauty, but he had guessed.


          “My god fella‟s, you don‟t‟ half scrub up well!” and hi- fived David, who reacted

  immediately with a huge grin.


          “You‟re looking at your future guys – this is the end result of millions of years of

  evolution. We‟ve become enhanced transgenic clones, modelled from a set of formulae


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  to create a universal epitome of the perfect set of human anatomical features. We all

  share the same chemical make-up. And as we never age, we‟ll continue to look this way

  forever.”


           “Well, you look absolutely fantastic – I‟ve never seen anything so beautiful or

  stunning in my life. You all look so - perfect – I‟m in shock!” gasped Tayla in

  admiration. “But you and David look identical, apart from your hair, and you Rhea and

  Debbie, right? – You look identical too apart from the way you‟ve done your hair... Are

  you saying that everyone looks like you, that well... everyone is identical to each other?”


           “It‟s equality in its purest sense... yes our race all look like us, quite boring when

  you think about it folks!” confirmed Fritz, “ You are so lucky to have such variety as you

  do, but evolution will change that for you over time. But, to be perfectly honest, I‟ll be

  glad to get back to looking how you‟re both used to seeing me, I much prefer myself like

  that.”


           Tayla looked surprised, but before she could comment Debbie spoke up.


           “As Rhea pointed out, we are all just transgenic clones now Tayla. We are

  manufactured – we‟ve been designed. Everything about us has been designed to create

  the ultimate living being. We haven‟t been born like you or Christian – we have no

  parents. We‟ve all been cloned. So we are all the same. Look, when you‟ve spent your

  whole life living amongst your kinsmen who are clones of yourself, identical in every

  respect, clones that will never age, and are genetically enhanced and proportionally and

  aesthetically perfect, its feels so refreshing to get the opportunity to alter your exterior

  shell for something that is quite different, even if it is only temporary. As clones we can

  only defined by small differences, defined by our own personal experiences and


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  memories, but even then, these small differences only manifest themselves in our own

  individual sense of personal style and decoration – or personality. It‟s now the only thing

  that sets us apart from one another.” It was strange to hear Debbie speak, the tone was

  clearly Debbie, but the accent was mildly French and soft. He character was so much

  gentler in this form; it was as if the other Debbie was a role she had been playing.


          Christian seemed to be mesmerised by them in this form and intrigued by what

  they were.


          “So tell me then, you say that you are all clones, and that you are all genetically

  enhanced, then in what way is your race enhanced from ours – I mean are you stronger or

  can you see at night or something?”


          “Sure man!” interjected David. He was still the same high spirited David as they

  knew.


          “Stronger, faster, our sight is perfected for all situations, brilliance, darkness,

  focus to microscopic precision, our bodies can adapt to any atmosphere, condition,

  temperature, we can even camouflage ourselves if we need to. We can fly as well man -if

  we needed to - but only short distances that is. Not like a bird can. We could live

  underwater if we had too... our bodies will adapt to everything. We really are like the

  most adaptable creatures now dude!” and he laughed the same familiar laugh that was so

  clearly David.


          “So what has Razul done to me and Tayla then, because I feel different, and my

  sight definitely feels strange? Everything is so sharp and I can see every detail in this

  room, even the minutest pattern on the walls if I look and concentrate,”




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          “You feel different, because you are – you‟ve both been genetically enhanced

  internally, so you will both have extra strength and ability, so you can adapt to the

  changes in the atmosphere that we need to take you to. Your eyesight is like ours now,

  you‟ll get used to it very quickly and then you will ever wonder how you ever managed

  with your limited capabilities that you had before. But Razul has done nothing with you

  externally. You remain human in that respect.”


          “Are we going to be like this forever now Fritz?”


          “Yes and no...”


          “What does that mean exactly?”


          “When we return to Beta, you feel like your own self again, but you have the

  nanobots inside you now, and they‟ve integrated themselves into your own DNA

  makeup. They are designed to adapt. The nanobots have been designed to react to the

  atmosphere around them, so once you return to Beta, they will re-configure themselves

  into a state that will allow you to exist on Beta in a state that will be familiar to you.”


          Razul had been sitting on his little stool, listening to the conversation. Suddenly

  jumped down from his stool and disappeared out of the room without a word. The team

  turned to watch as he scurried out of the room, his face as emotionless ever, before

  returning back to their previous conversation.


          “Er –So, you‟re really transhuman now folk‟s, but I‟m sure you‟ll get used to it.

  Er we really need to get going though ...”


          “What‟s happened to all of our clothes? Will we get them back once we get

  back?” asked Tayla as she realised that their clothes were missing.


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         “Well no, we‟ve traded our clothes for the ones we have one. Razul‟s probably

  recycled them by now anyway.”


         “But I liked the suit I was wearing, how dare he take it and re-cycle it without

  asking me first.” retorted Tayla indignantly, but Rhea came up to her and put her arm

  around her, trying to offer a comforting arm. “Tayla, it‟s what Razul does, he‟s given

  you the bodysuit your wearing, it belongs to you now. He‟ll make another bodysuit out

  of the clothes you left. Fair swap as he sees it.”


         “But I don‟t want this bodysuit particularly. It‟s hideous. I‟ll never wear it again

  after we get back. He can have it back with pleasure!”


         “Tayla, chill. It‟ made of a special fabric. You can re-programme it to become

  whatever garment you want. Honestly, take my word for it, you‟ve come out on top of

  this clothes swap deal, believe me. Poor old Razul has to break down the fibres of your

  clothes back to their molecular structure, before he can do anything with them.”


         Just then Razul returned, but he was not alone. Rushing in behind him was a

  bruised and rumpled Sarah. She was breathless and her hair was windswept, her floral

  blouse was hanging out from her jeans awkwardly, and there was a dirt stain on her

  elbow and knee. It was clear that she had been involved in some kind of raucous, and

  had struggled violently.


         “Fritz - everyone - Raoul‟s dead! And Louisa and Mark have gone missing.

  Some-one tried to grab me, but I managed to get away! Guy‟s I don‟t know what‟s going

  on, but I think the Vlorja‟s might be behind it. I think they may have infiltrated Alpha. I

  just hope to God I‟m wrong!”




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MIND GAMES                                                          SUZIE MAGNESS




                                       Chapter 4

         “Sarah!” cried Tayla as she rushed up to her and cradled her arm around her.

  Sarah was clearly distraught. “Where have you been? We thought you were at your home

  planet waiting for us?”



                                        65
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         Fritz broke away from the group and marched quickly up to Sarah. He looked

  alarmed, even in his majestic stance. He appeared to be reading her mind as he stared

  into her eyes for a moment. He turned away and shook his head.


         “Sarah‟s right, this looks bad.”


         Christian seemed concerned. He was worried about Mark. “Sarah what happened

  to you, tell us what happened, please.” he urged impatiently.


         “Yes Sarah, tell us what‟s happened to you,” seconded Tayla as she hugged the

  frail frame. “Where have you been?”


         Sarah was breathing hard and looked anxious.


         “Mark‟s been taken with Louisa, by the FBI, only they couldn‟t have been, or he

  would have managed to get away. Tayla, Fritz, I‟m so worried – they tried to grab me too

  – I walked in on them in the Staffroom at Retborne‟s. Mark was there because Louisa

  phoned him and asked him to come. I don‟t know what‟s happened; I can‟t get hold of

  him or Louisa now. Neither of them have heir orbs on them – they must have hidden

  them quickly when the men came in. I don‟t know where the men have taken them. I‟m

  so worried.” she gasped in-between breaths. It was obvious that she had just come from

  this incident just moments before.


         “I was only just able to fight them off me to get way and when I tried to go back

  to find Mark and Louisa again, they‟d already taken off with them. So I came here, to

  tell you all – I hoped you would still be here somewhere. I made an announcement just

  now, to find out where you were. Razul heard it, thank god.”


         “Who are the Velorshers?” asked Christian as he walked over to her.


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MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



          Sarah looked at Fritz. Her face looked shocked and alarmed. Fritz answered for

  her.


          “The Vlorja‟s are extremely bad news if Sarah‟s right, so I hope she‟s wrong,”

  and turning directly to her he quizzed her:


          “Why do you think the Vlorja‟s have something to do with this incident Sarah?”

  he asked her in his soft French drawl.


          “The men that took Laura and Mark were extremely strong Fritz, they couldn‟t

  fight them off. I mean, I only just managed to get way and look at the state of me. No

  human strength could inflict the kind of scuffle I have just been involved in Fritz, that‟s

  why.”


          “Mmm, and you say you can‟t get hold of Mark or Louisa either?”


          “No I can‟t.”


          “So, Mark and Louisa must have got rid of their orbs somehow. They obviously

  didn‟t want those men to find them.”


          “So what‟s going on Fritz, who are these men and what do they want with Louisa

  and Mark?”


          “Before we concern ourselves with that, we need to retrieve the orbs and quickly,

  before they get found. If those men are connected by the Vlorja‟s they might discover

  just who they‟ve got. Poor Mark, he has such a gently nature too.” he sympathised and

  then he made a decision, “Sarah, you must go back and search for those orbs – go into the

  „One Dimension‟ first, but whatever happens, you must retrieve those orbs. You had

  better remain on Alpha and try and find out what‟s going on. You can‟t come with us

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  now. Finding out what‟s happened to Mark and Louisa is more important than coming

  back with us.” Fritz decided, “You said Raoul is dead. How and when?”


         “He accidentally drowned in a neighbour‟s pool yesterday, that‟s why Louisa

  rang Mark. It was during a birthday party he was invited to. He went under the water,

  and no-one noticed, because there were about ten other kids in the pool at the time as

  well. It looks like it was just an unfortunate accident. That‟s what the parents have put

  his death down to anyway. They‟re devastated obviously, but they‟ve accepted the

  explanation. They seem at peace with it.”


         “Okay, but what did Louisa think?”


         “I don‟t know, but she phoned Mark and asked him to meet her at the School. I

  didn‟t go with Mark, I told him I would check up on the little Raoul on Beta, and follow

  on afterwards. It was when I caught up with Mark – that‟s when I saw them being taken.

  I tried to intervene, but they were too strong for me. I‟m so worried about them now. I

  don‟t know where they are.”


         Tayla felt sorry for the little boy, and she shuddered as she realised why Sarah

  might visit the other Raoul.


         “Is the other Raoul alright Sarah – I mean, nothing has happened to him has it?”

  she asked tentatively.


         “He wasn‟t at the School, and when I looked in on the house, he looked quite ill, I

  think it might have been a bad asthma attack.” she started and seeing the concern in

  Tayla‟s face she added, “Tayla, look, this Raoul will die too now. It‟s inevitable. It‟s

  just how it works. The fact that I found the little boy ill, just confirms Louisa‟s story to

  be true. The family will be devastated of course.” Sarah was so matter of fact, there was

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  no emotion in her voice. “I wanted to check to see if the story was true, that‟s all.” How

  cold! Tayla shuddered. Suddenly, she saw how much life and death the team must have

  seen and experienced over the years.


         “Sarah, we may have a big problem looming, you had better get back to Alpha

  quickly. Retrieve those orbs and see what you can find out... Inform the other Guiders

  too, warn them.” Fritz intervened and turning to Rhea and David, “You are required back

  at Home, or I would have sent you back with Sarah, but we will have to let the Family

  know what‟s happened immediately.” And turning back to Sarah. “Sarah, you‟d better

  get going. There‟s no time to waste. Be careful, and keep me updated.”


         With that, Sarah smiled at everyone, hugging Tayla and Christian briefly, “Good

  luck on your trip you two, you‟ll be fine. We‟ll catch up later.” And without another

  word, she was gone.


         Fritz looked over to Christian and Tayla. “Right first things first folks; let‟s take

  you to „Home‟. You‟re in for a treat!” he said putting the incident with Sarah to one side.

  But Christian looked worried.


         “Will Sarah be alright Fritz?”


         “Of course, she knows what‟s she‟s doing, and anyway, she will want to find

  Mark. He will be her focus. She knows what she may be up against now, so she will be

  careful. There‟s no need to worry about her.” But it was his look to Debbie, David and

  Rhea, which revealed a hint of concern his confident words had tried to hide. “Come on

  let‟s get going,” and turning to Razul, who had jumped back on his stool, and was sitting

  in the corner nonchalantly listening, “Razul, many thanks, and we‟ll see you here soon.”

  and he smiled. Razul nodded but showed little other interest.


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          “Now where are we headed?” asked Tayla as she realised that they were leaving

  the room. Fritz had bounded out of the room, followed by David, his long strides

  quickening his departure. Rhea waited for Christian and Tayla, and walked alongside

  them.


          “Now I know how short people feel!” murmured Tayla as she walked alongside

  Rhea, who now towered above her, and clasping hold of Christian‟s hand she gripped it

  tightly as they followed on behind.


          Fritz knew exactly where he was going, and he led them into a small white room.

  Here the walls and ceiling were illuminated like the floor. Once the door slid shut, he

  deposited his orb into a holographic box that appeared in the middle of the room. Another

  door slid open, Fritz retrieved his orb and he beckoned everyone to go through the door.

  Again this room was bathed in brilliant light, so it was difficult to determine the size of

  the room, as the light was so brilliant. Tayla and Christian found they could look into the

  light. Their first reaction was to shrink back and squint, but their eyesight immediately

  adjusted, and although they could see nothing but light in front of them, they weren‟t

  blinded by it as they thought they might be. As soon as they had all entered, the door slid

  shut and then immediately re-opened. This time, there was a gush of icy air which

  entered the room.


          “We are here folks! Tayla, Christian, welcome to the Home Planet!”


                                              *   *    *


          The air was icy cold, and though Tayla instinctively shivered at the sudden

  change in temperature, she didn‟t feel cold. She could feel the icy chill against her face,




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  but it didn‟t concern her. Christian had suddenly put his arm around her, and she briefly

  looked up at him. But he was looking beyond the door.


         “Tayla – look!” he gasped. And Tayla turned away from looking at him to see

  what he was looking at.


         For beyond the door, Christian had seen a landscape of clear fractured ice,

  mountainous on one side and flat and endless of the other. It appeared to be dusk,

  because there wasn‟t much light in the yellowy green sky around them. All around them

  an aurora was shimmering and dancing in every direction, illuminating and dispersing its

  magical dancing patterns continually. Every single colour shimmered; red, yellow, white,

  turquoise, pink, lilac, green; patterns playing swathing effortlessly across the whole of

  the sky, constantly changing directions and rhythms, streaming, flitting, swaying,

  floating, flickering in the far distance and directly above them. As they stepped out of

  the light box, they were encompassed by huge expanse and magnificence of this magical

  sky. What appeared to be glitter rained down upon them, sparkling with pure brilliance,

  before evaporating in mid air. The chilly breeze whistled as it swept past them, and as

  each breeze blew it blew a new tune. Further beyond the aurora, stars flickered faintly

  and six different and coloured moons floated all around them like decorations on a tree.

  The largest, a golden striped ball, dominated one portion of the sky, rising from the

  horizon majestically, while the other five moons hung suspended in mid air offering

  reverence to the largest moon.


         “Is this your planet? It‟s beautiful, but where are the cities, I thought it would

  have cities?” enquired Christian, overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape, but

  surprised by it barrenness.



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         “This is Home. But we are not finished yet. Come follow me.” Fritz said “We are

  going to walk for a while.”


         “But can‟t we just orb ourselves there?”


         “No, the walk is part of the journey we take. It won‟t take long. We won‟t be

  walking too far...” So without another word, the six of them began to walk across the

  infinite expanse of compacted ice; the dusky sky dancing with erratic patterns and

  colours around their heads ; their hair blowing in the icy melodic wind    ; the six moons

  watching over their every move . Christian decided that the temperature must have been

  close to -100 ̊. As cold he felt it must have been, he didn‟t feel cold, even his face and

  hands, seemed at ease with the chilly blasts across his body. He could feel Tayla‟s warm

  fingers tightly holding his, and he felt instantly comforted by the adventure they were on,

  just knowing he had Tayla there with him.


         They walked silently on, for perhaps a mile or so. As Christian looked back over

  his shoulder, he gazed at the huge moon dominating the horizon behind him, and he

  turned round to gaze at a bright green moon directly ahead of him, while the sky

  continued to entertain them by dancing with its many patterns against the yellowy blue

  dusk of the sky. He realised that the planet was perpetually set in this motionless semi-

  darkness. Without a sun nearby, the land would freeze, just as this planet had. There

  couldn‟t have been a sun to generate enough light and energy, which made the planet too

  inhospitable to live on its harsh and unrelenting surface. „They must be harnessing

  energy from other suns, in order to survive here‟ he thought to himself. He wondered

  what the atmosphere consisted of. Was it a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen?

  No matter, he was managing to breathe whatever it was. As he walked, aware for the first

  time of his relationship and relevance with the immeasurable cosmic infinity, he

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  suddenly felt humbled by it all. As much as he had learned, he realised just how little he

  really knew and understood, and how much more he needed to learn. He walked on in

  silence, Tayla by his side, the cosmos enveloping him with its mysteries.


         They walked on continuously, until they had reached the edge of the mountain

  range. These mountains had looked miles away when they had begun their journey, yet

  they had managed to reach them. The terrain became sharper and rockier, and Fritz and

  the others wound their way around the uneven ground until, what appeared to be by

  chance, but clearly not, Fritz happened upon a small opening in the mountains. It was a

  tiny opening on the mountain side and everyone had to scramble up to reach the opening,

  balancing on rugged ice blocks to reach it and pushing themselves through the dim

  translucent opening, but after about ten metres or so of crawling on all fours, it opened up

  into a large icy translucent cavern. As they stood on a precipice, Tayla could see that the

  cavern dropped down beneath them for at least fifty metres or so. But she gasped as she

  looked at the huge crystal like formations criss-crossing the cavernous space, like huge

  translucent spears jarring and crossing one another in all directions. Fritz checked to

  make sure everyone was there, and happy that they were together, he placed his orb onto

  a small ledge near the ground. The back of the cavern lit up brightly and Fritz on picking

  up his orb began to walk. Rhea, David and Debbie accompanied him, walking towards

  the brilliant light, following along one of the crystal like bridges that had formed over

  thousands of millions of years. David beckoned Christian and Tayla to follow them, and

  as they did so, they could see the full spectacle of the wonder of the crystal cavern all

  around them. As they reached the other side of the cavern some hundred metres or so, the

  wall of the cavern seemed to disappear. Suddenly they could see a long corridor before

  them; a corridor of clear crystal. It looked to be like a clear crystal-like tunnel, for as



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  they walked, Christian could see what appeared to be a calm sea blue far below. Stepping

  out of the dimness of the cavern, they now appeared to be in bright daylight, sunshine

  flooded the tunnel with spectacular views of the calm and endless blue seas and skies

  around them. For the first time, since they had left the light box, David made a comment

  to Fritz.


          “Fritz – man! Can‟t we change this scenery dude?”


          “No – I like this.”


          “Give them „Metropolis‟. Don‟t be a boring woos!”


          “No.”


          “Man this scenery is so lame dude!”


          “Fritz huns, David‟s right, let‟s have Metropolis for a change. It‟ll make for a

  much more interesting journey. Christian and Tayla have seen this type of scenery

  before.”


          “Or what about Ioxia, That‟s a new scene, I‟ve heard about the Ioxia

  environment, but I‟ve never seen it myself yet?” added Rhea “It‟s supposed be

  awesome.”


          “I came across on that the last time I was here. Rhea it‟s fantastic – it‟s a citrusy

  coloured world, and you‟ve got those floating pods everywhere. It‟s a bit like Naxara

  but not so gassy...”


          “Look folks I like the seascape okay... do you mind?!”




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         “Metropolis, man please, let Christian and Tayla see Metropolis - it‟ll be so cool

  for them. It will be something they can relate to more, and it‟s a damn site more

  interesting than walking above the sea man!”


         Fritz stopped. He turned round to David and Debbie, who were smiling at him.

  He looked across at Christian and Tayla, who had no idea what they were talking about.


         “Christian, Tayla, by popular demand we will continue this journey through

  Metropolis.” And placing his orb on the floor, the scenery immediately changed.


         “Ohmygod, where are we now? What‟s just happened?” exclaimed Tayla.


         As Christian looked around him, he could see huge columns of grey solemn

  buildings, swallowing up the skies above them and surrounding them everywhere he

  looked. They seemed to continue on as far as he could see. They were blocking out

  much of the sunlight, so it felt dark and shadowy. Christian looked up towards the sky.

  There, high up in the sky, he could see a matrix of overhead rail tracks as well as floating

  machines above their heads; flashing lights and commercial signs saturated the

  landscape; bland music reverberating through the air, swamped out by strange

  instructions. Not only could he hear a myriad of noisy pollution, he could smell it too,

  industrial smells, mixed with dank air and stale food. He leaned across and whispered in

  Tayla‟s ear,


         “I think you‟ll find this is most probably Metropolis baby. We must be walking

  through a kind of world of virtual reality.”


         Tayla nodded and then looked directly at Christian, “Oh okay. Do you think we

  might be close to where we need to get to yet?” Tayla whispered back to him in her

  understated manner. “Only I‟m a bit tired of all this walking to be honest baby.”

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                                                  *   * *


         They continued to walk for at least another hour in this Metropolis setting, until at

  last, Fritz took them into one of the gloomy and decaying empty concrete tower blocks,

  which must have been abandoned many years ago judging it by dilapidated condition.

  They walked through the aged and echoey desolate foyer and followed Fritz up and into a

  damp and dark stairwell. Its hollow centre looked as if it was reaching for the sky as the

  stark decaying concrete stairwell twisted awkwardly round the grimy chasm which

  encased it. As droplets of water fell sporadically from the ceiling high above, small

  pools had collected around the damp and stench filled floor. All around them were these

  gloomy pockets of repugnant water which had created random puddles of slimy gunge.

  Rhea and David were careful to avoid these tiny pools, but Fritz marched on through

  them regardless, climbing the austere stairs. He had other things on his mind. As the

  water dripped relentlessly from the tall ceiling above, Christian flicked off the droplets as

  they landed on him with irritation. „How much further?!” he thought, „We‟ve been

  walking for hours... I thought this planet was supposed to be more advanced!‟ Tayla had

  been thinking the same thing, and as she concentrated on trying to avoid the slimy

  puddles as the mounted the stairs, a huge droplet of water landed on the top of her head

  and dripped down along the side of her cheek. As she instinctively winced and brushed

  the water away from her face she let out a huge sigh.


         “Fritz, where are we going? I‟m getting really tired of all this walking now; I

  don‟t even walk this much when I decide to have a mega shopping day. Why couldn‟t

  we just orb?”




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          Fritz stopped momentarily and turned round to look at Tayla.           She looked

  flustered and her hair was dank with the damp of the atmosphere. She looked tired and

  sullen. He smiled at her sympathetically and glanced across to Christian.


          “Nearly there folks... but you can thank Debbie and David for the journey. They

  picked Metropolis for us all to walk through. If you remember, we were walking through

  a wonderful seascape. We could have been swimming in a large secluded rock pool cave

  at this point. Part of the journey necessitates this trek; I‟m sorry Tayla, if you can just

  bear with it for a few minutes longer. We just need to climb to the top of this building.”


          Christian looked up. He could just make out the top in the dark, inhospitable

  stairwell; echoing their every solid step; amplifying the consistent dripping; sickening

  them with the abrasive damp acrid smell. It looked as if they would be climbing for at

  least twenty more minutes; this tower block must have had at least one hundred floors,

  and they had only managed to climb about five of them. Well at least he knew that they

  would have to climb the whole of the stairwell. He hoped that they would be getting off

  at each floor they had reached, but as they continued on, he had hoped it would be the

  next.


          “Not a problem Fritz, let‟s keep going and just get to the top. This stairwell is

  grim, I just want to be out of here.” remarked Christian and he turned to Tayla, wiping a

  piece of fallen hair away from her face and carefully sweeping it to one side for her. “Not

  long now... here grab my hand again. We‟ll walk together.” And he held out his hand as

  he descended one step to stand beside her. Tayla smiled, and obediently placed her hand

  in Christian‟s and looked up to see how much further they would have to go. Without

  another word, she started to climb the stairs, carefully avoiding the slimy pools once

  more.

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         Silently and resolutely, they climbed, step by step, floor by floor, until at last they

  eventually reached the top of the building. Fritz threw open the fire exit doors at the top

  and the hazy sun shot through, instantly lighting up the party of six. A surge of fresh

  cool air whipped through them and they inhaled deeply, glad to be rid of the acrid air

  they had been breathing in. They must have been walking for at least five or six hours

  now, and although Tayla had complained earlier about how tired she was, she realised

  that she felt as fresh and relaxed as she had felt at the start of their journey. The long and

  arduous journey had not tired her out as she expected it would.


         As they stepped onto the roof terrace of the tower block, they realised that they

  must have climbed the tallest of all the tower blocks, because all they could around them

  now was a pure red sunset sky. They followed Fritz as he marched across the stony roof

  terrace to the edge of the building.      As they approached the edge of the building,

  Christian looked down. The ground below looked infinitesimally small. He could see the

  tops of the other tower blocks, and was now looking down on the matrix of midair rail

  tracks below. Small flying vehicles scuttled around like insects as they voyaged around

  the buildings. The cool wind hissed around them, now the only sound to be heard.


         “The journey is over, we are here you two,” said Fritz calmly as he turned to look

  at Christian and Tayla, who had now arrived at the edge of the tower block alongside

  him. Tayla looked up to Fritz, Rhea, and Debbie, before looking over to David who was

  standing with Christian a few metres away. She seemed baffled.


         “But where are we exactly?”


         “I‟ve bought you both to see the Family, they requested a meeting with you, and

  I‟m about to take you to meet them, as I say the journey is over now.”


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         “Okay, so what – are they meeting us up here then?”


         “No, they‟re waiting for you in there.” And Fritz pointed to the sky beyond.


         Tayla was confused. Christian and David had joined them by this time, and

  Christian looked to see where Fritz was pointing.


         “So what‟s happening guys? We‟ve come to the top of this building, and unless

  I‟m mistaken, we can‟t go anywhere else unless we parade around the circumference of

  this roof terrace...” Christian commented as he slipped his arm around Tayla‟s waist.

  Tayla leaned up against Christian, seeking comfort. Fritz was not making himself clear.


         “I was saying to Tayla, that we are going in there to meet the Family. They‟ve

  been expecting us.    They‟re waiting in there.” And again Fritz pointed to the sky.

  Christian raised an eyebrow.


         “Fritz, you know where you‟re taking us, so let‟s get there. Just lead the way my

  friend.”


         “I must follow you now Christian. You need to go first. Look hard ahead of you,

  look through the sky and you‟ll see the way across. Don‟t look down, it may put you

  off.” And with that Fritz jumped up onto the parapet. As he did so, Rhea, David and

  Debbie jumped up and turned to Tayla and Christian for them to jump up too.


         “Tayla, let‟s just do it – I think it has something to do with this kind of virtual

  reality we appear to be in. I don‟t think we are where we think we are somehow.” And

  offering her his arm, after he had jumped up, he helped Tayla to jump up on the parapet

  next to him.




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         “You‟re quite right Christian. Ignore what you see and look beyond. Step across

  to the opening. It‟s just ahead of you.”


          Fritz was calm. “Tayla and Christian, go on please, we will be following right

  behind you.”


         “Er, I don‟t think so fella‟s, it‟s a long drop, I am not stepping off this.” remarked

  Tayla, unconvinced. “Are you trying to kill us both now?!”


         “Baby, I thinks this is a virtual reality surrounding. I think it‟s okay for us to

  walk on ahead. I know it looks real, but I don‟t think it is. I think we have to ignore what

  we see, as Fritz say‟s. Anyway I trust him. Come on, hold onto me, and let‟s go

  together.” He grabbed Tayla‟s arm and pulled her with him as he lurched forward with a

  huge step. For a split second, he regretted what he had done. But as he stepped forward

  and away from the building, he could feel an explosion under his feet. He could see the

  city around him exploding into flames and crumbling around him. Flames flew up and

  engulfed him, but as the flamed licked up into the air next to him, they dissipated into

  thousands of colourful butterflies, which flew effortlessly up and into the sky above.

  Thousands and thousands of butterflies were littering the sky, enveloping him and Tayla.

  But his instincts had been correct, and as lurched forward, and they began to drop from

  the sky, he felt the soft compression of a carpet as they softly landed, and

  instantaneously, he found himself and Tayla in small white lobby, fluorescently glowing

  with blue light emanating from every edge. The strange inferno of the crumbling, flaming

  metropolis transforming into butterflies around him had gone.




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         “Knew it!” beamed Christian, just as Debbie and the rest appeared in the lobby

  one by one. Suddenly the lobby seemed crowded with the four giants. The ceiling which

  was quite low, served only to enhance the great height of the four.


         “Dude, you‟re too smart. My money was on you not moving back there man.”

  grinned David. Tayla was relieved, but was not about to show her anxieties of the last

  few seconds. Instead she commended Christian.


         “Christian sussed it all you guys. He guessed what was happening all along...”


         “Well done Christian. I‟m pleased that you placed your trust in me just now.

  That really was the final part of the journey. Now you‟re prepared and ready to meet The

  Family. Enough games, let me take you through.” beamed Fritz as he clasped both of

  Christian‟s arms in joy, and gently shook him. Letting go, and with a huge smile, he

  walked on and pushed the wall. The wall seemed to dissolve, exposing a large light filled

  room beyond. This was the meeting room and the room was filled with various people,

  relaxing on low level chairs, chatting pleasantly in a relaxed and informal manner. As

  the wall dissolved, the various members looked across to see Christian and Tayla, with

  Fritz, Debbie, David and Rhea standing just behind them.


         “Go on through Christian, Tayla, they‟ve been expecting you.” whispered Fritz

  from behind. “We‟ll be following you in don‟t worry.”


         Christian clasped Tayla‟s hand and walked in to the spacious room.         As he

  walked in he could see large ribbon windows all around, revealing a sunset landscape of

  ice beyond. He recognised the scene outside; it was the icescape they had trekked across

  at the beginning of their journey here. From inside the large golden stripy moon looked




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  splendid and regal it imposed itself and demanding to be recognised and respected, as it

  surged up from beyond the horizon in the far distance.


         Ambient lighting set a relaxed mood in the room, as casually arranged clusters of

  low level chairs punctuated the open spaces in the room, with small glass tables offering

  up bowls of various snacks and beverages. Various people had congregated in small

  gatherings, chatty, relaxed and cheerful. Just like Fritz and the team, these people were

  identical in physique and look. At first glance it looked strange to Christian, but as he

  focused on several members, he could see that their self adornment was personal and

  exclusive in the most part to each individual. Beautiful; alluring; magnificent; strong;

  these people were impressive and wonderful. He was fascinated by their charm and

  carefree spirit as he watched them interact. As he walked further into the room, Tayla,

  walking closely by his side, he felt his arm being pulled by Tayla as she urged him to

  follow Fritz. Fritz was making his way towards a small gathering of four, sitting on the

  far right hand side of the room. Christian looked across to Tayla and allowed himself be

  led to the awaiting group.


         “Daro, Kyoto, Elian, Capsulan, this is Christian and Tayla.” announced Fritz

  politely in his strange French drawl as they reached the party of four strangers.


         Christian looked at the four alluring strangers, identical in features as he had

  come to expect by now. The two females, accentuated their identical features by sporting

  identical flaming red hair, fashioned into a sleek, shoulder length bob. Their brilliant red

  painted lips in sharp contrast to their pale lavender coloured eyes. They were dressed

  identically too, one in a simple red shift dress; the other in an emerald green version of

  the same design. The two males had created their own individual style. The dark haired

  male, with long wavy shoulder length hair, was wearing a long cream jacket, which

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  reached the shins of his cream trousers, the other male, with light brown spiky hair, was

  in a black snug top and matching black trousers.


         “Hi Christian... Tayla. So pleasant to finally meet you both. I am Daro,” said the

  female in red. She spoke in the familiar gentle French drawl; “This is Kyoto” she went

  on, offering her hand in the direction of her twin in green. “Elian...” she waved in the

  direction of the spiky haired male, “And Capsulan.” finally waving towards the male in

  cream. All nodded gracefully to Christian and Tayla as they were introduced, while

  Christian and Tayla smiled at each of them in turn. “Please sit down with us.”


         Christian sat opposite Capsulan and David shuffled up next to Christian; Fritz

  offered a seat to Tayla, before sitting next to her and Debbie and Rhea, sat opposite Daro.

  Christian looked expectantly at Daro, waiting for her speak once more. He felt dwarfed

  by these magnificent people, who seemed very relaxed and composed.


         “So what do you think of our planet then Christian and Tayla? Is it what you

  expected to find?” Daro enquired, looking at them both for their response. Tayla shot a

  glance over to Christian before she spoke up,


         “It looks quite a hostile environment Daro, if your planet is the ice-scape we can

  see out there now. It certainly felt hostile as we walked across the plains to get to the

  mountain side. Or was that a virtual reality scape as well?”


         Elian and Kyoto laughed. Daro smiled at Tayla.


         “No indeed, you were originally walking through the terrain of this planet. And

  your right, it is hostile. But this planet has the natural ores and mineral we require to

  survive, as well as water of course. But we have no sun here. We‟ve had to arrange the

  moons to create stability and the gravity we require. But obviously we know how to

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  harness energy from other solars. We live here, and on the moons you see. But this is

  Home for us. Here in this large inner sanctuary, we can re-create any reality we like. The

  atmosphere here is mainly nitrogen and carbon dioxide, but there is a little oxygen too.

  But our bodies have adapted to it now and we are used to the air around us. But we lead a

  simple existence now. We have reached the point of singularity in the paradigm shifts.

  There is nothing more to explore; there are no more technologies that we need to

  discover. We have become the immortal super-race that your kind is striving to achieve.

  We‟re so more advanced than you would ever have imagined, though I dare say, some-

  one may perhaps.”


         Christian had been listening carefully. He was shocked that the future should be

  so ordinary; so simple: where was the hi-tech world he imagined, with gadgets, gismos,

  and past pace commercialism. Surely the future race didn‟t just sit around relaxing and

  chatting all day long?


         “Why did you want to see us – Tayla and me?” he asked directly.


         “Because you could be useful to us. You are both a real humans now. You know

  that we created your universe. Fritz has already told you this fact. In fact we‟ve created

  many universes. Temperature controls time, did you know that you two? It sets how

  time passes in the universe. Here in real space, we are timeless, time here passes so

  slowly. Information travels at such a slow speed to the universes, so we can see them

  develop so much faster than your experience it from within the universe. Here in this

  space, there is no time to speak of. Time just is. The temperature here in our space is -

  270̊. Almost every molecular structure is at rest , but not quite , but the particles move so

  slowly, so everything is slowed down . On your universe it‟s about -2.73̊, so time passes

  much quicker. Information is relayed faster than here. So specifically, our time passes so

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  slowly relative to your universe, that its birth and eventual death over billions of years, is

  something we can watch from here. Your universe will be extinguished in such a

  relatively short time for us. It‟s how it is and how we can create and observe you. We can

  create lots of universes and observe them – to see them being born, and seeing them die.”

  Daro paused for a moment. She hadn‟t explained the significance of Christian and Tayla

  being different, and why being different, should prompt an insight into this other world.


         “Christian, you didn‟t just exist on Alpha as well as Beta you know. You exist in

  many parallel dimensions. So do you Tayla.” as she turned to look at Tayla briefly, and

  then returning to Christian, “Everyone exists in many dimensions. But you two in

  particular in the Matter and Anti-matter universe, managed to merge into one. It changes

  events for you both. Your forms in the other worlds should disappear. But they haven‟t,

  yet. We need your lives in the other worlds to continue, so the outcomes correlate to

  what we know will happen. But it will alter events if you don‟t exist on Alpha Christian.

  The gap left from you not being on Alpha is creating a discord, and it is already

  beginning to impact on the other Dimensions. But if you become part of Fritz‟s team, we

  can keep the status quo. You need to spend time on Alpha too. You would benefit us by

  agreeing to this. You could help us at the same time you see.” she finished. “Spend time

  with us, and think about it.”




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                                        Chapter 5

         Sarah stood silently in the „One Dimension‟.      She had returned back to the

  location where she had witnessed Mark and Louisa being grabbed by the men who had

  claimed to be have been from the FBI just moments earlier. She was being careful as she

  scanned the room trying to see if she could spot anywhere where Mark may have

  deposited the orbs for safe keeping. She tried to imagine what must have happened

  during the time she was on Beta and away from Mark. It couldn‟t have been long –

  forty-five minutes – an hour tops! She had only separated from him to check up on Raoul

  in Dallas there, before getting back to Alpha. Why hadn‟t Mark guessed that these men

  weren‟t who they said they were? – Or Louisa for that matter... and what were they doing

  there? She shuddered as she thought where the two of them might be, and how they

  would be feeling right now. With that harrowing thought, she re-focused sharply on her


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  first directive. Find those orbs. Where could they be?   As she scanned the room, she

  realised that Mark or Louisa had to have realised that something was wrong. They would

  never have left their orbs behind otherwise. They would have had to hidden them

  somewhere fast, and somewhere where they thought she or Rhea might have guessed

  where they would be. She thought hard. „Damn it Mark, where did you put the orbs, I

  don‟t know where you thought I would guess!‟ As she scanned the room for the third

  time, she sighed loudly in utter frustration. She was wasting time. They weren‟t there.

  She would have sensed them by now.        Her mind was blank. She knew Mark was

  extremely bright. He would have sifted through many scenarios of what he expected to

  happen, once he was taken by those men. His analytical mind could have anticipated

  every particular outcome within minutes of realising something was wrong. But which

  scenario did you plump for Brains?‟ she thought, „...where did you hide them?‟ So she

  tried to get into the mind of Mark. „If I were Mark, what would I do?‟ and she thought

  hard. She closed her eyes to concentrate. She breathed slowly, concentrating hard,

  putting herself in Marks place, judging how he would have felt when he knew he and

  Louisa were in potential trouble; knowing that she was on her way, but perhaps not in

  time to see that they were gone. Perhaps unaware that they had been taken. How did he

  envisage her reaction to him being gone? She concentrated hard, her mind becoming as

  one with Mark‟s thoughts.


         “He assumed I wouldn‟t have got back in time!” she announced to herself, as her

  eyes opened in realisation. “He assumed that I would have no idea that he would be in

  any kind of danger. He assumed that I wouldn‟t be worried at all! Of course... I know

  where he‟s put them then!” she beamed as she guessed. Without a moment‟s thought,




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  she pulled her orb from her pocket and gripped it tightly. “Time to get out of here...” and

  she was gone.


                                              *   *    *


          On Home and in an entirely different dimension, Christian and Tayla sat facing

  each other as they relaxed in a large round tub, filled to the top with steaming hot and

  bubbling water. As rising steam infused the air with its rich and exotic smells, it

  circulated around them in the cosy and informal bathroom in Fritz‟s pod, re-invigorating

  their bodies once more.


          “Mmm, this feels so good...” sighed Tayla, as the bubbles relaxed her muscles, “I

  feel so clean now... I felt so grimy earlier. My hair was so windswept when we met Daro

  and the others. I wish I‟d had the chance to freshen up first before we met them,”


          “You looked fine baby, but this tub is good. I feel so relaxed now too.” Christian

  replied, and he glanced around the natural coloured stone bathroom.


          “Do you think this setting here is real baby, or do you think we are in yet another

  virtual reality setting?”


          Tayla looked at him before glancing around the room and shrugged.


          “It looks real enough to me. What makes you think it may not be?”


          “When we arrived; all the walls were made of some kind of clear composite.

  They were all dimly lit, but transparent; don‟t you remember? These walls look solid

  that‟s all.”




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         “Who knows, but I do know that I‟m ready to get out of the bath now.” She

  announced as she grabbed the sides of the bath to lift herself out. But Christian wasn‟t

  ready to let her go. He moved across the bath quickly and surrounded her.


         “And where do you think you‟re going Missus Morgan? I want you to stay right

  here with me. We‟ve been through so much over the past few hours Tayla... god knows

  what‟s happened to us internally. Fritz and Debbie and the team – well it turns out that

  they are some kind of exquisite giant godlike people –We‟re on this weird planet

  somewhere in space on who knows what Dimensional plane, so I could just do with

  being alone with you, for a little while. At least I know that you‟re real at least.”


         Tayla smiled tenderly at his face.


         “Yeah, it has been a crazy kinda day baby, and you‟re right, everyone here looks

  so striking and kinda magnificent don‟t they. So tall, yet so graceful. Who would have

  guessed that our sweet dependable little Fritz would turn out to look like some gorgeous

  Grecian god? I mean they can all obviously mutate their shapes when they want to.” She

  mused, “I wonder what it must be like to be them, perfect creatures, completely adaptable

  to any atmosphere, habitat, ageless.” And she was suddenly reminded of the changes they

  themselves had undergone. She stared at Christian, “It‟s amazing, but I‟ve already got

  used to my sight skills. It already feels so natural. Do you think our hearing and smell

  have been altered too? Do you think we have developed any heightened senses now?”

  she asked as Christian returned her smile.


         “I would think so, but I can think of a way to find out for sure...”


         “And what would that be?” she smiled wickedly, but before she had finished,

  Christian had pulled her under the water with him.


                                               89
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



                                              *    *   *


         Fritz and Debbie were relaxing in the lounge area. They lay on the floor facing

  each other, as they chatted on a soft fluffy rug close to the large central fire-place which

  dominated the room. The walls, which curved sinuously around them, created a spacious

  yet cosy feel. All around them, the curved wall flickered with a random pattern of blue

  and green lights against a navy blue luminous backdrop. It served to enhance the relaxed

  ambience. A low tan sofa and two blue armchairs seemed to be the only furniture in the

  room. Fritz was obviously a man of a retro minimal look. As Christian and Tayla

  walked in with the bathrobes Fritz had left out for them, he looked away from Debbie

  and towards his two houseguests.


         “Ah, at last the two lovebirds!” he smiled as he pushed himself up to a sitting

  position. “I take it you had a good bath? You were in there long enough,” he grinned

  cheekily.


         “You were certainly splashing around a lot in there!” remarked Debbie astutely.


         Christian smiled.


         “Oh, Rhea and David send their apologies, but they‟ve gone back to their own

  pod. They‟ve not been back for a while you see. I said it would be fine with you two.

  We‟ll see them tomorrow anyway.” Debbie added.


         “No of course, that‟s fine. I don‟t blame them. It must be good for them to get

  the chance to get back home for a change anyway.” nodded Tayla as she peeked from

  behind Christian.




                                            90
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



         “Come sit down and join us you two. We‟ve just been relaxing here and catching

  up.” offered Fritz. “We haven‟t had a chance to catch up with you since this morning.

  There must be a lot you want to ask us, I‟m sure. I‟ve prepared a special meal for us too.”


         Christian and Tayla went and joined Fritz and Debbie on the floor.


         “So this is your pod Fritz, is this where you hang out in your free time then?”

  Christian quipped as he sat himself next to Debbie on the floor. Fritz‟s appearance still

  took time to adjust to as Christian looked over to the elegant male sitting on the floor.

  Only his hair left a clue as to the man he had known for years.


         “When I get the chance, but recently yes, this is where I‟ve been my dear friend.”


         “So do you live alone Fritz? Or do you share it with... Debbie?” Tayla enquired as

  she sat down next to Debbie.


         Debbie smiled. “This is our pod. We share it together. When we do manage to

  get to spend time together, then we like to come here, but we haven‟t spent much time

  here recently as you know. We‟ve been on Alpha and now Beta for the most part - for

  you Christian huns.” she grinned as she looked at Christian, before glancing over to Fritz.

  “It‟s always good to spend time here, and with the Family too.”


         “So what is the set up here then guys? I mean I haven‟t seen a lot of activity or

  people for such and advanced race to be honest,” enquired Christian, who was relaying

  the thoughts of Tayla too.


         Fritz suddenly jumped up. “Food! You two must be starved. Let me get the meal

  I‟ve prepared and then we‟ll talk more.” And with that he walked off through a glassy




                                            91
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  partition. The mention of food reminded Christian that he hadn‟t eaten much that day,

  and he realised just how hungry he was.


          “You‟re right Fritz, now you mention food, I do feel rather hungry... how about

  you two? We haven‟t eaten since this morning.”


          Fritz returned almost immediately with a tray of assorted foods. It looked as if he

  had prepared a Meza for them all. As he placed the large tray down on to the floor where

  they were all seated, he sank down onto the floor cross-legged and grinned.


          “Tuck in... hope you like it folks!”


          As they began to eat the various assortments of cooked foods, Christian and Tayla

  were intrigued by the strange flavours, although they seemed to enjoy the new flavours

  they were trying.


          “I didn‟t know you could cook Fritz... You never struck me as a man who loved

  to cook, but honestly, this is wonderful. I‟ve never tasted anything quite like it, what are

  we eating exactly?” commented Tayla as took another mouthful of food.


          “You‟re right Tayla, I am no cook. I just picked a recipe and the „Nourisher‟ did

  the rest. So I don‟t know what it is exactly, but it looked good from the image I scanned

  earlier.”


          Debbie piped in. “Remember, technology has advanced. It‟s bio-nano food now.

  So much easier.”


          “Right, I should have realised. Well good choice of recipe Fritz.” Tayla conceded,

  and she tucked in to try another dish. As they ate, they chatted,




                                             92
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



         “So Fritz, tell me about the Family.” asked Christian. He was intrigued by them.

  “Who are they exactly? Was it Daro, Kyoto, Elian and Capsulan that we met earlier?

  Actually - there‟s so much I want to know about this place.”


         Fritz was very relaxed as he ate. He looked over to Christian to answer his

  question, after he swallowed down his mouthful of food.


         “The Family,” he began, “...consists of everyone you saw in the meeting place

  earlier. Daro, Kyoto, Elian and Capsulan, are especially interested in the progress of all

  the Alpha, Beta planets that exist throughout space. We‟re one of their many Guiders.

  That‟s why I introduced you to them. They were all interested in meeting you both.”


         “So who are they?”


         “They are Mediators, but they are no different than Debbie and me or Rhea,

  Sarah, David and Mark. The only difference is that they rarely travel. They choose to

  remain here. So, they mediate with all the Guiders, and organise us all.”


         “So how does it work? You say they don‟t travel, just organise you all. Is there

  like a hierarchy on your planet then?”


         Debbie smiled and answered “Yes and no really. The hierarchy is not as you are

  used to. No one is more important than the other. There‟s no Big Boss. We have no

  monetary system here. That set up disappeared millions of years ago. But we do have

  skills that we are programmed with at conception. It‟s those skills that set us apart, and

  we use them for the benefit of everyone. Being able to mediate and organise is important,

  but then so is guiding. So we share our skills and interact with each other in that way.

  There is mutual respect all round. Fritz is very well regarded here. He has proven to be

  an outstanding guider over the ages. The rest of us help Fritz. But there are so many

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  guiders on Alpha, many of them report to Daro or Kyoto or Elian or Capsulan – direct.

  That‟s why they mediate and organise us. They keep order and keep us on the right

  track.”


            “I meet regularly with the Family. We share what we know and decide what to

  do next. That‟s why I‟ve been away for a while, but recently they were dealing with

  Debbie because I was busy sorting out the move to Beta.” Fritz added. “But recently, I‟ve

  spent time here and away from you folks. Something has happened recently. Something

  that we didn‟t expect. It‟s singular to Alpha – it‟s getting out of kilter with the other

  equivalents in the other dimensions. If we don‟t sort it out, it will affect Beta adversely,

  perhaps destroy them both.”        For the first time, Fritz had opened up and looked

  concerned.


            “Do you think it had something to do with me finding out about super-positioning

  Fritz?” asked Tayla tentatively. She hoped she wasn‟t the cause and she suddenly felt

  strangely guilty. But Fritz grinned at her.


            “No of course not Tayla! It happens from time to time. There have been others.

  You‟re not the first. To be honest, I think it was inevitable and was meant to be.” he

  comforted. Tayla smiled greatly relieved, though she didn‟t show it. “No, I‟m referring

  to something much darker, and it‟s been slowly happening over the last few years. It‟s

  probably why I didn‟t pick up on it until now...” and suddenly the four of them felt heavy

  and sad. Debbie piped up.


            “Guys, what else do you want to know about us? Look ask us anything huns.”




                                                94
MIND GAMES                                                              SUZIE MAGNESS



         It was strange to hear Debbie‟s personality shine through as she spoke in this

  slightly French drawl, coming from the tall and alluring beauty in front of them. But the

  character of Debbie remained. She was still the Debbie they knew.


         “Tell us about Daro, and Kyoto and Elian and Capsulan then. If you‟re all

  guiders for them.” Tayla asked. She was intrigued by them and wanted to know more

  about them.


         “Do you want me to tell you about the story behind Daro and Kyoto Tayla.?”

  Debbie smiled intriguingly.


         “Why? What‟s the story behind Daro and Kyoto Debbie?”


         Debbie sat upright. It seemed to be some kind of minor scandal on the Home

  planet at some point. At least that was the way Debbie was portraying it to them.


         “Well, Daro and Kyoto are linked to each other now. But they‟ve only recently

  linked. They‟ve only been together for a relatively short age by our standards. Not long

  by your timescale perhaps. They‟ve all been alive for hundreds of thousands of years by

  your measurement of time you see...”


         “Oh, is that the reason why they choose to dress so alike then?” Tayla was

  strangely interested.


         “Well yes I suppose so. You see, Daro fell in love with Kyoto as soon as she met

  her. Before she met Kyoto, Daro had actually been with Capsulan since they were

  conceived. They were originally linked at their conception you see. Kyoto lived on one

  of the many planets we inhabit, and she‟d lived there for many ages, but something made

  he want to become a warrior recently. Xylem agreed to let her join her. Xylem mediates


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  as a warrior for the solar planet group around a magnetron sun – quite special really –

  absolutely fantastic race aren‟t they huns?” and she glanced over to Fritz who nodded

  quietly.


             “What the Polinian planets? Yes very interesting race cupcake.”


             “Anyway, on her very first visit to the Meeting Place – where we were earlier –

  Daro saw her and – well that was it! She became instantly infatuated. Kyoto only did a

  short stint for Xylem in the end. Capsulan was very gracious, and stood aside so that

  they could be together, because I think it was a mutual feeling on both sides to be honest.

  I think Capsulan still cares for Daro, but he sees the love between Daro and Kyoto and

  how strong their bond is. He had never shared that kind of bond with Daro when they

  were together as a pair. So he stepped aside for Kyoto, and she now mediates with them

  for the Alpha/Beta planets.”


             “So how did Xylem feel? Was Kyoto linked with him?”


             “Her. Oh no. Kyoto was produced in a batch and she had remained single. She

  lived with a small group of singles. Not everyone is linked. And even if you are linked,

  it only means that a male and female would have been created together in the same

  production process. Most often though, pairs do tend to stay together, like me and Fritz;

  David and Rhea; Sarah and Mark for instance, but lots don‟t. Kyoto was never linked

  with anyone and nor was Elian. It‟s just the way it is.”


             “Let‟s hope Capsulan meets his Kyoto equivalent at some stage.” Tayla mused.

  “Are there many of you?”


             “Not really.   Our race consists of about a million of us.        Very small, but

  remember, we live for eternity potentially. If something happens to us and we die –

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  which of course we could – we simply get rejuvenated again in a new body. If we had

  been linked, then we are definitely rejuvenated so to speak. But if we were single, a part

  of our brain patterns may be re-used and re-created into another single version, so that the

  singles may find some-one to pair with.”


         Christian intervened.


         “So tell us more about the people at the Meeting Place. Where do they live?” He

  was interested in the set up of their advanced race.


         “The Meeting place is based here on this planet – Home. Some of us live here.

  Certainly many of the guiders base themselves here. This particular planet is populated

  by a mere ten thousand of us in total, which is fairly dense by our standards. It is literally

  the centre of our world. Everyone is produced here certainly, but some may go off in

  groups and live on nearby planets and moons. Perhaps a few hundred on each planet.

  Those who decide to live a leisurely life will live on their own planet. If you live here on

  the Home planet, you‟ve devoted yourself to perform a function. The Meeting place is

  where the Mediators reside. Some organise our world and some organise the welfare of

  the Universes we create – your universes for example.”


         “It all looked very informal for such an important place?” remarked Tayla.


         “You have to remember that our race has reached the point of singularity Tayla.

  There are no advancements left to be made. We as individuals, are really self sufficient.

  We don‟t have the dependency on the structures and networks your world requires to

  exist. We have no monetary system to bind us and tie us together; to dictate our lifestyles.

  We are free from every constraint that inhibits yours. We only choose to congregate and

  work together because we need company. When you can produce absolutely everything


                                             97
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  you require to survive yourself, you realise that you still need each other, even if it‟s just

  for company. If you have people to share your life, then it is complete, but some of us

  want to do more.” he informed her, “Now, all that is left for us to do is to look back and

  see how our Race came to be. How it evolved. We originate from an Alpha planet

  ourselves you see. Hence our experiments of Creation.”


          “So you say you‟re all transgenic clones now. I take it then, genetically enhanced

  humans, with all the faults engineered out.” Christian considered.


          “Ageless, stronger and with improved agility, brains that can compute and retain

  information like a computer. Self repairing heightened sensors, telepathic, I won‟t go on

  Chris, you get the picture...” Fritz smiled.


          “Fritz, Debbie, can I ask a personal question please?” Tayla asked shyly. Fritz

  and Debbie looked over to her.


          “I just wondered, with you all looking so absolutely aesthetically beautiful here

  on this planet, which is how you are formed to become. I just wondered why you

  changed your looks to be in our universes - and who picked your look. Was it someone

  like Razul?”


          “I am really happy with the way I look on your universes. I picked the look from

  an image I saw and I rather liked it. Anyway Debbie loves me like that don‟t you my

  little precious.”


          “I do. You are my little Norwegian Adonis like that. It suits your personality. We

  pick our temporary physiques from an Imager at the Base. We can look like anyone we

  like. Also you must remember Tayla, we just want to blend in.”



                                                 98
MIND GAMES                                                                  SUZIE MAGNESS



         Christian rolled his neck around his head and shifted positions.


         “I feel quite tired now. I take it we‟re meeting with the Family in the morning, if

  there is such a thing here as morning here?”


         “We‟ll see them later, but for now you two should rest. Let me show you to our

  relaxation room. You can sleep and relax there. We‟ll wake you when it‟s time to go.”

  Fritz said as he un-crossed his legs and jumped up in one move.


         “You‟re right baby, I‟m feeling tired all of a sudden too,” agreed Tayla. It was

  that bath we had. It was so relaxing.


         “It didn‟t sound too relaxing from where we were sitting,” Debbie quipped, “All I

  could hear was a lot of splashing about in there. I don‟t want to know what you guys

  were up to...”


         “Relaxing!” retorted Christian as he stood up and stretched, offering his hand to

  Tayla, as she began to get up.


         “Love the fireplace by the way” admired Tayla “It doesn‟t give off too much heat,

  even though we were sitting so close to it.”


         “It‟s because it‟s a VR effect Tayla. That‟s all.” Debbie remarked casually.


         “Of course it is.”


         “Actually, would you two like a VR bedroom to relax in while you rest?” Fritz

  thought suddenly.


         “What – we can have any type of room we like to sleep in?”


         “Uh huh,”

                                            99
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



          “Well let‟s see then... how about a bedroom in a period French Renaissance

  chateaux style. With a huge soft bed?”


          “Nothing exotic then? You want a fairly standard period look from Beta?”


          “Well I can‟t think of anything off the top of my head. I just thought of a grand

  and romantic gesture I suppose.”


          “Okay.”


          “Baby, happy with that?”


          “Baby if it makes you happy, whatever. I just need to get some rest.”


          Fritz wandered off for a moment and brought in a small clear box, with an indent

  on the top. He placed his orb onto the indent, and then began gently patting one side of

  the box with is finger several times, and suddenly holographic images of bedrooms

  appeared within the box, and he gently rocked the box to change the images.


          “What about this one?” and he offered the image to Tayla to look at.


          “Perfect.”


          He tapped the orb and the image disappeared. He removed his orb and put the box

  down.


          “Okay, done. Come on then you two.” And he led them out of the lounge from

  where they were sitting and immediately through a large set of period wooden doors into

  the image they had just seen in miniature.




                                           100
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         “Your period bedroom folks. I‟ll leave you both to it, and I‟ll come and wake you

  when we need to go.” And with that he withdrew, shutting the huge set of ornate doors

  behind him, leaving them alone to their virtual reality experience.


         “Wow! It‟s so wonderful.” Tayla had got her wish. There was even a panoramic

  view of well tended gardens complete with fountains outside. Beyond, lawned gardens

  and cultivated topiaries, stretched on for miles. This splendid view, visible only from a

  huge set of extravagant French doors, opened impressively at the opposite end of the

  room, leading on to a stone balcony. The sun was setting in the far distance, turning the

  milky sky into a golden haze. Tayla looked at the enormous Rococo style bed, laden with

  a heavily embroidered silk bedspread. It could easily sleep six people. All around the

  room, the large walls covered in ornate paintings with period furniture placed exactly as

  she had seen in the Imager. Christian walked over to the luxurious bed, and pulled away

  the covers to reveal crisp white sheets. He slipped off his bathrobe and got in.


         “Hurry up and get in get in baby. It feels real enough to me.”


         “I think I want one of those Imager‟s for Christmas!” replied Tayla as her

  bathrobe fell to the floor and she climbed in after Christian. Within minutes they had

  fallen asleep wrapped up in each other‟s arms, warm and snug in that enormous and

  grand bed.


                                               *   * *


         Sarah arrived back at the home she and Mark shared with Rhea and David in Kent

  on Beta. She rushed straight into the kitchen and grabbed the storage jar marked „Tea‟.

  She held her breath as she opened it. And, as she had anticipated, there sitting on top of

  the teabags were the two missing orbs.


                                           101
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



         “Mark you are a genius!” she shouted out in joy. She had worked out that her

  instincts would have been to return home to wait for Mark to return too. And the first

  thing she always did whenever she got in was to make herself a cup of tea. Mark knew

  this characteristic habit she had. He knew that upon discovering the orbs in the teapot,

  she would have immediately realised that something must have happened to them. She

  picked up his orb to scan it for a message. He would have undoubtedly left one for her.

  And sure enough he had. It looked hurried as she watched as the orb projected a full

  sized holographic image of Mark delivering his whispered message in front of her.


         “We‟ve just seen four men going in to see the Principal‟s office. They look like

  FBI. Louisa was questioned by the Principal yesterday about her call to Rhea. Mr

  Patterson wanted to know why Louisa was so interested in Raoul. He obviously taped her

  call. If you‟re watching me now, I‟ve been taken by the FBI along with Louisa. Check

  out the Principal. He‟s involved in whatever‟s going on. He‟s working with the FBI. I

  think they‟ve come for her. I‟m staying here to protect her. I want to get to the bottom of

  this, so I‟ve obviously been taken away with her as I said. I don‟t think they know what

  we are, and I want to keep it that way. Let Fritz know. Louisa is right; this vaccine

  programme is bogus. Oh I can hear them coming this way now...”


         Sarah watched Mark whispering while he delivered his message. He looked

  worried and afraid. Her heart sank.


         “Oh Mark sweetie, you were trying to be so brave for Louisa. You‟re such a

  hero, but you didn‟t know that they weren‟t normal FBI you‟re dealing with. I just pray

  you‟re both okay.” she cried desperately to herself. “Well I found the orbs sweetie;

  they‟re safe thanks to your genius mind.”



                                           102
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         Immediately she forwarded on the message to Fritz along with her own.


         “Fritz I‟m off the get Mark and Louisa back. I‟ll be in touch soon.”


         She knew she would need to be careful. She had only just managed to escape

  these men earlier, and shuddered when she thought of the Vlorja. Without a moment‟s

  hesitation, she transported herself the Re-positioning base. Once there she ran as fast

  across the vast hallway and through one of the exits into the large round corridor. She

  turned left and ran as fast as she could, carefully dodging past dawdling travellers, and

  rushed to find Razul. Hastily she pressed the blue square to his room, and as the door

  slid open, she rushed in.


         “Razul, I need you to help me!” and she looked round for him. She scanned the

  room panicking that he was not there, but then she spotted him sitting silently on his

  stool. Relieved at seeing him there, she rushed up to him.


         “Razul, you have to help me. I need most of my strength‟s back, but I need to

  remain looking like this.”


         “Are you joining your colleagues, they‟ve left already?”


         “No, I‟m going back to Alpha. But I need my strengths back quickly.”


         “I can do that.”


         “Oh Razul, you are wonderful!”


         “I will need to prepare a bodysuit for you. It will take me a little while.”


         “Razul that‟s fine, I‟ll wait here if that‟s okay.”


         “That‟s entirely up to you.”

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                                               *   * *


         Three hours later, and prepared, Sarah decided to pay a visit to the Principal at

  Retborne‟s on Alpha. She looked down at the bodysuit she was wearing. „I can‟t go

  looking like this...‟ She pressed her orb against her stomach and imagined the clothes she

  wanted to be in.


         “Sorry Razul, but I need a new look.” But Razul shrugged his shoulders.


         The fabric began to change and move. After another five minutes, the bodysuit

  had changed itself to a pair of grey skinny fit jeans, a jacket over a sweat top, and a pair

  of black pumps moulded itself around her feet.


         “That‟s better.” She decided, “Look thanks Razul. See you soon okay.” And with

  that she pressed the blue square on the wall and ran out into the corridor as soon as the

  door slid open.


         She ran along the corridor to a familiar point, and checking for details, she placed

  her orb into an indent in the wall and she was gone.


         She found herself by the side wall of the School‟s main entrance. Once she

  orientated herself, she bounded at tremendous speed in the direction of the front entrance.

  Once inside she headed straight for the Principal office and burst into his office. She

  didn‟t want to give him any notice she was there, in case he raised the alarm.


         “What the...!” was his response as he stared at the stranger standing in the

  doorway. “How dare you burst in like that?” He leaned forward to pick up his phone.

  But Sarah was too quick. She was already behind him. Her arm was around his neck,

  choking him.


                                            104
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         “Where are they? Where did those men take Louisa and Mark?!” she screamed at

  him.


         “Help!” he choked “Who are you?!”


         “Never mind who I am, where are they!” she repeated hissing into his ear.


         “I don‟t know I swear.” He was choking.


         She let go of his neck and grabbed his arm as she deftly whacked his shoulder. It

  cracked and he screamed out in pain, terrified of the mad girl. She swung him round to

  face him and grabbed his throat. She was in no mood for games with him. She leaned

  into him, her face an inch away from his, glowering at him while he looked at her in

  horror; screaming in pain at his broken collar bone; choking again.


         “Where are they!” she hollered at him for the third time.


         “The Metal Yard – 215 Westside... whoo...oo are you?”


         “You‟re a disgrace to society you worm!” she screamed at him. He flinched,

  expecting more violence from her. “I‟ll deal with you later. But you are coming with me

  you piece of scum!” and grabbing her orb from her pocket, she transported them both to

  the Re-positioning Base. The principal was screaming; in agony and in fear of what was

  happening to him. He was shocked at what Sarah had just done, and even more shocked

  that he was no longer in his office, and sitting on luminous floor of a huge building he

  had never seen before. Instinctively, he turned and tried to crawl away from her. But

  Sarah had spotted him, and without a care, she caught him and pushed him to the floor.

  She swung him round and grabbing him by one ankle, she squeezed onto it tightly,

  dragging him screaming and kicking to be free, across the vast hall, through to an exit


                                           105
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  and along the corridor. She dragged him like this for several minutes, ignoring surprised

  onlookers. Her face was menacing and determined. She pressed the blue square to

  Razul‟s chamber and waited for the door to slide open. As it opened, she pulled him in to

  dimly lit room. Razul looked surprised.


            “Hi Razul – I‟m back again... only this time I‟ve brought someone with me.

  Meet Mr Patterson here. I need you to hibernate him for me until I get back.” she said

  abruptly as she swung him round and towards Razul, in one easy flick. “Don‟t bother

  with the soother, he doesn‟t deserve it! I‟ll be back to collect him later!” Patterson, who

  was curled up on the floor, was shaking with fear and pain. He was overwhelmed with

  what had just happened to him since Sarah had burst into his office less than fifteen

  minutes ago.


            “Is this why you needed your strengths back?” Razul enquired coldly.


            “No, but I‟m glad I had them Razul.” And she turned to walk away. Patterson

  started to cry out in panic.


            “What are you going to do with me? Don‟t leave me here with „him‟! please.” he

  cried pitifully as Sarah was leaving. Sarah was unmoved and without turning round,


            “Razul, hibernate him, and I want him to have real bad nightmares while he‟s

  under. I mean it!” She could her him screaming and pleading in fear as she left. She

  smiled.


                                                  *   * *


            Sarah stood outside the front of a pile of scrap metal. In the far corner of the scrap

  yard, she could read „Mercers Metal Yard above the door to a grey single story building.


                                              106
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



  She breathed deeply. She wasn‟t sure what she would find here. So on closing her eyes,

  she concentrated hard. She tried to get into Mark or Louisa‟s head. If they were here,

  they would be close enough to contact telepathically. Relieved when she momentarily

  sensed Louisa, but only for a second, for she quickly realised that Louisa was now

  unconscious. „Oh my god! What‟s happened to them?! What have they done to them?‟

  and concentrating hard, Sarah tried to focus her mind on Mark.


         „Sarah?‟


         „Mark sweetie, it‟s me. I‟m right outside. I‟m coming in to get you...‟


         „NO!!‟


         „It‟s okay, I‟m stronger. How many of them are there?‟


         „Two now, they‟ve drugged us Sarah, be careful!‟


         “Oh my god” cried Sarah and shook her head in despair. For a moment, she

  wished she had broken both of Patterson‟s collar-bones, as she thought of what Mark and

  Louisa might have been put through by the thugs. She gritted her teeth and looked at the

  building. It looked easy enough to open. They obviously weren‟t expecting anyone. In a

  single leapfrog, she was by the entrance. She listened by the door for a moment. Mark

  was trying to communicate with her, but she was too busy concentrating on getting in, so

  she blocked him out of her thoughts. She could hear a man breathing about a metre from

  the door, and there was another deep within the yard. She prayed they weren‟t armed, but

  she would have to assume they were. She could sense that Louisa and Mark were in the

  far right left hand corner. She thought about what she needed to do to coax the men

  outside.



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         She decided to deal with the two men separately and deal with them one at a time.

  She looked innocent enough she thought to herself and hopefully, they wouldn‟t

  recognise her.


         She knocked loudly on the door. “Hiya – hello is anyone there?” she said clearly,

  and dashed to one side. She could chatter before one of the men opened the door to see.

  She remained hidden, hoping he would come out. He did. He was very cautious, but his

  mistake was to walk clear of the doorway and out of sight from anyone within. She

  jumped up and pulled herself onto his back, pulling her arm around his neck. She

  clasped his mouth with her other hand, twisting his neck hard in one swift motion. It

  cracked and he fell to the floor without a sound. She dragged him quickly out of site in

  between two scrapped cars and waited.


         “Reynolds! Who was it?” came a voice from the inside.


         “Get off me! Help, help me someone!” shouted Sarah calmly as she shuffled her

  feet to create some noise, trying to pretend a disturbance was happening in order to lure

  the second man out. It didn‟t take long.


         “Reynolds what the fuck are you doing ma...” as he stepped into the yard. But

  Sarah was waiting for him, and with a single swing of her arm to his back, she clouted

  him and sent him flying into a pile of scrap cars straight ahead of him. Before he could

  grab his gun, she had jumped upon his back and punched the side of his head with one

  swift blow which broke his neck instantly. He slumped to the floor immediately.

  Adrenalin fuelled, she pulled the dead man and dragged him effortlessly behind a pile of

  cars and dragged him to the crusher. She took a sample of his bloodied mouth with a

  tissue she had before she hauled him up and threw him in quickly. He fell in with a


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  metallic thud. She ran back to where she had hidden the other dead man. She ripped part

  of his shirt away, and stuffed it into his mouth, wiping the inside of his mouth to obtain a

  sample from him too. She carefully folded the torn material, and hurriedly shoved it into

  her trouser pocket along with the tissue that was there. She then hurriedly dragged him

  by one of his arms all the way to the crusher, and with a quick intake of breath, she lifted

  him up and lunged him into the crusher to join his colleague. He must have fallen on top

  of his colleague, as the thud was denser and not as metallic. She felt no remorse at what

  she had just done. She felt that they would have treated her with as much contempt, if

  they realised who she was. Whatever, they hadn‟t shown any sympathy for any of them

  in the earlier scuffle, when they tried to take her, Louisa and Mark by force. She

  immediately turned back to the yard door and ran in to look for Louisa and Mark.


         “Mark, Mark where are you?” she cried, instinctively heading to the far left of the

  building as she ran in.


         “Sarah, we‟re here,” called a fragile voice. It was Mark, though he sounded weak

  and sedated. Sarah saw them in the dark corner, bound with chains and chained to a

  support beam.


         “Mark, Louisa, what they have done to you?” she cried in horror as she saw the

  bruised and bloody face of Mark. Louisa was bruised and bloody too, and she was

  slumped next to Mark unconscious. She could feel a surge of fury for the men that had

  done this to two gentle-hearted people, and she pulled the chains from them, as if they

  had been bound with paper string. Mark looked at her as he watched Sarah work round

  him.   He was in pain and he had been drugged with a chemical that was making

  everything look like it was happening in slow motion. He didn‟t have any energy to help

  Sarah. He gazed blankly as he saw her running about the yard, bending down, obviously

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  looking for something, but he was too hazy to see her clearly. He knew Louisa was

  unconscious. She had stopped communicating with him. Mark watched as he saw Sarah

  run back towards him again. As soon as Sarah had made sure she had freed them of their

  chains, she pulled her orb from her pocket, and holding on tightly to them both, she

  transported them back to their home on Beta. As battered as they were, at least they were

  now safe from any more harm.




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                                          Chapter 6

         “Wake up Cap-itarn! Wake up.” Christian felt his body being gently shaken, and

  slowly he realised that the voice was not from his dream, but from Fritz, who was bent

  over him, gently trying to wake him up. As he came round and opened his eyes, he

  looked startled at the strange face looking down at him, but then the memories of the

  previous day came flooding back and he relaxed.


         “Fritz, cheers I‟m awake – what time is it?”


         “Time to get up my friend. A very grand room I must say. I hope the bed was

  comfortable.” he smiled. “Oh David and Rhea are here. I‟ll leave you to wake Tayla up

  and we‟ll see you both shortly. The bathroom is through that door there.” And he pointed

  to a door adjacent to the bed. “Oh, put your jumpsuits on when you‟re ready. I‟ll show

  you a neat trick shortly.” And with that he smiled at Christian and left the room.


         Christian stared up at the ornate ceiling way above his head, before turning to see

  Tayla sleeping peacefully next to him. He glanced over to the open French doors, the

  soft voiles blowing delicately with the breeze. The sun was up, and he could see a clear



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  and sunny day.    He stroked the smooth sheets, cool and soft against his hand. He

  instinctively knew that none of what he could see and touch was real, but it was very

  convincing all the same.


         “Baby, wake up, it‟s time to get up. I‟ll be in the bathroom through that door on

  your left...” he whispered gently as he leaned over towards her, and after planting a kiss

  on the side of her face, he turned round and jumped down from the enormous bed.


         Tayla and Christian emerged from the bedroom forty minutes after Fritz had been

  in to wake Christian. Bathed and dressed in the jumpsuit from the day before, they

  smiled like awkward house-guests as they walked in on the group, sitting and chatting

  amongst themselves while waiting patiently for them. Debbie jumped up as soon as they

  arrived.


         “Hello you two! How was your Rococo experience like huns? Slept well? I‟ll

  get you both some coffee.” She grinned and disappeared for a moment, before re-

  appearing with a tray of coffee and croissants for everyone.


         “Home from home „continental style breakfast,‟ I thought would be apt,” she

  smiled as she placed it on a table that hadn‟t been there before. It seemed to have

  replaced the open fireplace which had suddenly disappeared. Tayla realised that the

  room had changed. Instead of the cosy relaxed style lounge, there was instead, walls of

  glass, from floor to ceiling, exposing a panoramic view of clear citrus coloured sky; the

  ground outside, traded for the top of some kind of gaseous cloud base far below them. It

  appeared that they were floating high in the atmosphere of a gas rich planet. Floating

  effortlessly around them were thousands of large translucent and colourful shimmering




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  objects, moving slowly and deliberately all about them. The interior of the pod was now

  white and light-filled, and looked plain by comparison to the hypnotising world outside.


         “Er interesting view guys. We flying?” Christian asked as he spotted the view

  outside.


         Debbie looked round as she drew away from the table and grinned.


         “Of course not, but it‟s very visual don‟t you think. It‟s David‟s idea.”


         “Welcome to the world of Ioxa dudes! It‟s the newest VR from there. Like it?”


         Christian smiled at David. Despite seeing this new David in the room, it was still

  the David he instinctively knew. He walked over to hi-five him. It still felt as if they

  were all newly discovered friends. Getting used to their natural state, would take some

  time for Christian.


         “Debs, the coffee over on the table where you are – is it real?” he asked, as he

  turned away from David and spotted the large cafetiere.


         “Of course!”


         “Then I‟d love a cup please...”


                                              *   * *


         A little time later, Tayla and Christian found themselves huddled up with Fritz

  and the team in a compact clear composite bubble like structure. It had been stored

  underneath the pod. Fritz‟s and Debbie‟s pod turned out to be a sphere of approximately

  30 metres in diameter, set on thin stilts about 5 metres from the ground of impacted ice.

  The upper half had been designated to be lived in; the lower half, set aside for storage of


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  the bubble and housing for a fairly large, but silent generator. The pod was made entirely

  from a glossy dark composite. It looked peculiar as it stood in isolation; a single dark

  sphere resting inside a thin metallic ring, balancing on just three stilts. This dark object,

  anomalous against the same dusky flat barren ice-scape they had seen upon their arrival;

  the magnificent aurora with sheer swathes of colourful voiles dancing magically around

  their heads, were captured and reflected against its dark glossy shell.


         “So what‟s this we‟re in then?” questioned Christian as he strapped himself in to

  what appeared to be a clear ball. “It‟s very intimate,” he remarked as they all sat facing

  each other, their knees barely touching, and with very little spare space between them all.


         “The Carrier. It‟s the only way to travel my friend!” grinned Fritz as he placed

  his orb into a holographic box in the centre of the bubble. He tapped the image and

  suddenly they were off.


         The ball shot along the barren ice-scape at great speed, rolling as if someone had

  kicked it hard. It skimmed along the ice in a single direction.


         “We‟re being gyroscopically held upright.” observed Tayla as she looked at the

  moons moving very slowly as they shot across the ice.


         “Why didn‟t we just orb to the Meeting place? Wouldn‟t it have been quicker?”

  asked Christian, though he was enjoying the experience.


         “No way man. This is far more fun!” grinned David as he looked ahead at the

  scenery whizzing past.


         “What? Is this some sort of fun buggy for you guys?”




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          “Kinda. But it‟s a much more social way to travel too, don‟t you think? Look we

  can chat in here. Plus it can fly. Why orb, when you can have this much fun?” remarked

  David. “Hey, I thought you two hated transporting by orb anyways.”


          “That‟s very true.”


          They scuttled along the icy landscape like this for about twenty more minutes.

  The auroras entertaining them with their unpredictable dance; random coloured voiles

  darting all around the twilight sky. This supernatural landscape remained impassive as

  they shot across the flat plain. The moons moved slowly across the sky as they travelled;

  a clue to the distances they were travelling. It soon became clear they were headed for

  the glacial mountain range in the far distance. Slowly, the mountains became larger until

  after a while, they were all that could be seen ahead. These stark blue white giant forms

  ascending menacingly in front of them. As they approached the rockier terrain, the

  bubble unexpectedly took flight, flying high towards the structures, until it had reached a

  large ledge set on the one of the formations. It rolled slowly into a cavern behind it, until

  finally it came to rest.


          “We‟re here.” announced Fritz, as he unbuckled himself. Christian looked around

  him, it looked like a glacial cave to him, but he unbuckled himself and helped Tayla

  while the others jumped out. The icy cold chill whistled around them and although he

  didn‟t feel the chill, Christian wondered what would happen next. He had no idea. Fritz

  was thinking for a moment.


          “Right, let‟s change these suits before we go in. Tayla what would like to wear?”


          “What do you suggest?”




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         “Well, whatever you like, whatever you feel comfortable in, although not too

  informal.”


         “Rhea, Debbie, what are you wearing then?”


         “We normally go for something comfortable huns.”


         “Well I‟ll go with what you two are wearing then.”


         “Right, just hold my hand then Tayla and I‟ll pick something for you.”


         “Okay.”


         Rhea took Tayla hand and placed her orb on the side of her stomach.


         “Don‟t let go of my hand until you‟re dressed Tayla.”


         “I won‟t.”


         Fritz turned to Christian. “Put your orb to your stomach just there, can you see –

  your bodysuit, has a patch there. Think about what you want to wear and press your orb

  onto it firmly and hold it there.”


         “Okay, but it‟s a dark sweater and trousers for me fella‟s.”


         Tayla and Christian watched in amazement, as the bodysuits transformed

  themselves into different cloths and outfits.


         “Very advanced nano technology no doubt – what interacting with light and

  neuron messages within our brains to correspond with the fabrication of the material via

  the orb?”




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         “Something like that.” Fritz conceded as he smiled. “The material is actually

  technically „alive‟. It‟s made out of Naxa. It‟s a metal produced as a by-product from the

  Naxara life-forms. Hemasta‟s just adapted it.” He shook his head while waving at them

  with his hand. “I‟ll explain some other time guys. All you need to know is that the

  material you‟re wearing is very special stuff.”


         “It‟s even made me a pair of sling backs!” announced Tayla, as she stepped into

  them. “I feel like Cinderella going to the ball!” she smiled. “So where are we going?”


         David and Fritz, like Christian were all in light sweaters and trousers, while Rhea,

  Debbie and Tayla wore simple v-neck empire line voile covered knee length dresses,

  with simple three quarter length sleeves. Debbie chose red, Rhea wore blue and Tayla

  was swathed in soft gold.


         “Through here,” and Fritz led the way. As the cavern wall dissolved, they were

  entering the Meeting Place from a different entrance to the day before.


         The dusky icy landscape could be seen though the large ribbon window running

  along two sides of the large room. Once again, small parties of the beautiful people sat

  and relaxed, chatting happily amongst themselves. Tayla felt elegant and pretty on this

  visit, and as she looked round, she saw that clothes seemed individual to each person.

  There didn‟t appear to be a popular style. Everything went. It reminded Tayla of a

  demure fancy dress party. As she scanned the room, she spotted Daro and Kyoto, with

  Capsulan and Elian sitting with their backs to her. She smiled at them and Kyoto nodded

  an acknowledgement to them, before whispering to Daro that she had spotted them all.


         As they approached, Tayla could see that once again, Kyoto and Daro were

  identically dressed, but this time they were dressed like middle-eastern princesses in


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  large silky pantaloons with pointed pumps and cropped short sleeved tops. Daro wore

  royal blue with a gold trim, while Kyoto was dressed in a brilliant orange version. Their

  hair was swept back away from their faces today, with gold jewellery adorning the top of

  their hair and forehead. They certainly made a stunning pair. Elian dressed as he did

  before, but now he was in navy blue, while Capsulan had dressed in a long purple velvet

  coat with fuchsia coloured trousers. Capsulan seemed to favour a more flamboyant

  choice of clothes.


         By time everyone had sat down, they had formed quite a crowd. Ten of them sat

  together on four comfortable sofa‟s around a table with an assortment of foods and

  beverages. Capsulan was the first to speak as they all settled.


         “So Christian, Tayla, are you rested?” he enquired politely.


         “Thank you – yes.” Tayla was suddenly shy.


         “And have you given any thought to what we spoke of earlier?”


         Tayla and Christian glanced at each other. Capsulan was certainly direct.


         “About joining Fritz and becoming part of his team?” Christian summarised.


         “Of course.”


         Christian took a deep breath and looked over at a bewildered Tayla. He hadn‟t.

  But he felt bad about that. He was meant to chat it through with Tayla, but they‟d

  forgotten. He didn‟t want to appear rude, so he side-stepped the question instead.


         “Capsulan, it‟s a difficult decision to answer. I mean, we have our own lives on

  Beta – we er – both work, and have really busy lives really. I mean, how you see this



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  „joining Fritz‟s team bit‟ working so to speak?” and he cleared his throat. He glanced

  across to Tayla again, who looked blankly at him, and gently shrugged her shoulders.


         Elian spoke. “You are special Christian. I am sure Fritz must have told you by

  now. You have been instrumental in progressing space travel. Because of your original

  dream and tenacity to make your dream a reality, your world can fly safely into space at

  such a tremendous speed; they can reach other stars and discover other extra solar

  systems other than your own.”


         “Of course, you were integral to his dream too Tayla.” Kyoto chipped in. “Your

  input with your perception for fuelling the craft was integral to that dream becoming

  possible.”


         “For us though Christian, your task is now complete. You will bask in your own

  success, and will continue to do so from now on.           But there will be no further

  advancements that you will contribute to your race.          Others will take on your

  achievements to move the dream on.”


         “Well no-one can say you‟re not direct.” Christian observed. He felt shocked at

  Elian‟s bluntness, but he knew Elian was probably right.


         “There is an imbalance with your lives at the moment Christian that we need to

  address. You need to maintain the natural order of your dimensionalities by spending

  time back on Alpha. It will resolve the current imbalance caused by your permanent

  presence on Beta alone.”


         Christian looked surprised, and Elian could see he didn‟t understand.




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         “You live within a multi-dimensional set of universes Christian in different

  frequencies. All of these existences correspond to each other on a conscious level. Some

  special people need to have the awareness of all of the dimensionalities to maintain the

  harmony of the Multiverse. You Christian are one of those people. You cannot live on

  Beta alone. You must exist on Alpha too, or the harmony is disturbed.” he explained.

  Christian looked surprised.


         Daro shook her head and raised her arms demonstratively.


         “We don‟t fully understand why it affects some people and not others. All we

  know is that you are one of those people who can cause this imbalance. We have seen it

  already, and now we need to resolve it and restore the harmony and balance.”


          “Help Fritz Christian; you and Tayla - help us. Join the Family. You have the

  ability to affect the consciousness of the Multiverse. You are useful to us with your

  ability.” urged Elian suddenly.


         Christian looked slightly puzzled. “Why do you think we can help Elian?”


         “Fritz speaks highly of you. His team respects you. They respect your vision and

  leadership. With the work Fritz does for us, you could help him by leading the team, as

  you did on your „lightspeed project‟.”


         Christian was surprised, and he looked at Fritz. Turning back to Elian, he asked

  “You‟re asking me to lead Fritz‟s team – what does Fritz say about this, what do the

  others say?” and turning to Fritz, “Fritz my friend, what do you say. It‟s you‟re team?”


         Daro spoke up. “Christian, we have spoken at length to Fritz about this, and I

  know this is what he wants too, but he would never ask you to take on such a


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  responsibility. He realises what sacrifices you may have to make. He will never ask this

  of you or Tayla, because if you do agree, it will involve Tayla too. You are linked to

  each other. You would need her. And this is why Fritz would never ask. But we will ask

  this of you - both.”


         “Fritz is this true?” he asked, turning to face Fritz again.


         Fritz looked awkward, but he nodded quietly. “It would be perfect. It would be

  like working on your project again. The team would be back together again. I‟m used to

  working with you at the head. You may not recall the years we spent together on Alpha

  Christian. You had to get to know me on Beta, but look at us now – very close.        The

  team would be complete with you back at the helm, and Tayla would just be the icing on

  the cake. We‟ve discovered that you are extremely special Chris. There‟s something

  about you that seems to have affected the harmony of the Multiverse by your

  disappearance on Alpha. Whatever you decide, your fate is to spend time on both planets

  now anyway. You would certainly be an advantage to us if you did join the Family.

  Elian is right. We do need you it appears.”


         Tayla was listening quietly, but she felt she needed to speak up.


         “Christian – baby- I don‟t think you have a choice. I think you must, and I will be

  there right by your side. I think we need to. You trust Fritz implicitly. Now that Fritz

  wants you onboard, then I feel you and I should say yes.”


         “So what does it mean for us, if we say yes?” Christian asked.


         “Helping Fritz on his assignments and a lot of space hopping by orb!” quipped

  Debbie.



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         “Well, when you put it like that, how can we refuse?!” Christian smirked, and

  turning to Elian, he nodded. “Okay, we will become part of your Family. We will do

  whatever it is you need of us Elian.”


         Elian smiled and glanced around at the others. The all looked very triumphant.

  “We are pleased that you are joining us Christian and Tayla. It will be wonderful for us

  to get to know you Fritz and his family know you.”


         Kyoto and Daro smiled too. “This is great. An excellent addition to our Family.”


         Capsulan jumped up, and grasped Christian by the shoulders. “Welcome aboard

  Christian!” he smiled broadly, and leaned across to Tayla and clasping her hand, he

  kissed it. “Welcome aboard Tayla!” and he smiled graciously at her. “There is lot‟s to

  discuss, and many to introduce you too.”


         Fritz was delighted, though he stayed quiet. Debbie and Rhea and David grinned

  eagerly. They were obviously pleased. The discussion continued on, and later Daro and

  Kyoto led the party introducing them to the other Family member‟s in the Meeting Place.

  It was much later, as they were chatting informally, that Fritz felt his orb suddenly

  vibrate. Realising that it had to be a message from Sarah, he checked his orb. He was

  right. He turned to the group.


         “Sarah‟s just sent me this message. I‟ll play it now.”


         Suddenly the mood turned sombre. They watched in chilled silence as they

  watched Sarah relay her short message to them and then witnessed Mark‟s whispered

  monologue. He stood in front of them, holographically projected in full size just a metre

  away from them, and they could see at first hand, how afraid he looked through his brave



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  announcement. When the message ended and he disappeared, there was silence for a

  while.


            After a while, Fritz turned to Christian. “Are you sure about heading up this team

  of mine my friend?”


            “No question Fritz. We‟re a team. Let‟s just hope Sarah finds Mark and Louisa.

  We need to get to the bottom of this bogus vaccine programme then I take it?”


            “Something is definitely wrong. I just hope Sarah is okay herself.”


            Kyoto had a thought. “I think you should speak with Rocco and her team. Xylem

  may be especially helpful. She specialises in bio-technological matters.”


            “Are they here?”


            “No. I would need to take you to see Rocco first. Let me know when, and I will

  arrange it.”


            “Sarah was worried about some Voorgers‟- Lorjas. She thought the FBI men

  might be them?” Tayla remembered, “Who are they; Sarah was quite worried about it.”


            Elian froze. Daro and Kyoto‟s faces stiffened as Tayla mentioned the name.


            “The V-lorja‟s.” corrected Capsulan seriously. “Fritz, do you think Sarah is

  right?”


            “I‟m not sure. I don‟t know how they could have managed to get into that

  dimension, let alone the planet Capsulan. I need to find out more before I commit to that

  answer. Anyway, what would they be doing there, even if they did?”




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           “Sarah needs to get some DNA from these men immediately. Let‟s try and rule

  this out.”


           “Sarah is smart; she‟ll know what to do.”


           Kyoto looked serious and concerned. She thought for a moment and then

  deliberated.


           “Rocco is an Overlord of the Multiverse. She is the leader of the Warrior team.

  They ensure that harmony and balance ensue within the dimensionalities of the

  Multiverse. She and her team keep order and peace with the life-forms that exist. She

  knows of the Vlorja and their capability, so will have an insight into this matter. Rocco

  will need to be told of this news, even if it is just a suspicion for now. The Vlorja are

  extremely dangerous and Sarah would not have suspected their presence lightly; she is no

  fool.”


           “Rhea, David, you need to get back to Sarah immediately. Tayla and I are fine

  with Fritz and Debbie here. You‟d be better off helping Sarah find Mark.” Christian

  realised. Sarah would need assistance.


           “Christian‟s right. I agree. You should get to see what you can do. Go back and

  help Sarah.     Also, find out what as much as you can about this bogus vaccine

  programme. We still need to be here, we haven‟t finished our business here yet. We‟ll

  see you back on Beta later. Keep in touch if you find out anything.”


           David and Rhea stood up.         They said their goodbyes and for speed, they

  disappeared in front of them all in a brilliant flash of light.




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           “You‟re going to have to get used to doing that a lot, you two.” Debbie warned

  with smile, leaning past Elian to see Tayla. She knew how much Tayla in particular,

  hated the orbing experience.


           Tayla sighed. She was worried after seeing the messages from Mark and Sarah.


           “I hope Mark and Louisa will be fine. Let‟s hope Sarah finds them both safe and

  well.”




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                                          Chapter 7

         “Mark, sweetie, you‟re safe now. You‟re back at home.” Sarah was holding

  Mark‟s head in her lap. Louisa lay on one of the sofas in their lounge. She was still

  unconscious. After gently placing Louisa on a sofa, she had rushed over to Mark, who

  had suddenly slumped forward on the floor, while she had been carefully settling the

  unconscious Louisa. Mark was barely conscious himself now, and Sarah could see with

  her own eyes, how quickly the drug was taking effect on him.


         “What did they pump into you my sweet?!” Sarah was very concerned. She

  brushed his ruffled hair back into place with her fingers, as she stared at his bruised and

  bloody face. He had a cut on his cheek, where he had obviously been struck hard. This

  had led to his eye being so swollen and bruised. His lower lip was swollen too, and there

  was dried blood around his mouth and chin, where he had bled. His hands were bruised

  too, smeared with the blood from his face. She grimaced at the ferocity of the attack that

  he must have endured. But why? Louisa too; she had been beaten. Her face and arms

  too were badly bruised, bloodied by the severity of the beatings and Sarah could see that

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  her arms appeared to be covered with thin razor like cuts as well. Sarah having spotted

  the severity of the attack upon her had been extra careful as she had carried Louisa to the

  sofa. As she had carefully laid Louisa upon the sofa, Louisa‟s head had flopped back into

  an awkward position in her limp and lifeless state. To Sarah‟s horror, it revealed large

  and gruesome purple staining around her throat. The men had obviously tried to strangle

  her, as her neck showed the evidence of a rope burn of some sort. Her stockings were

  ripped and torn. She had clearly tried to fight them off. She shuddered as she tried to

  imagine what she would have had to endure. She looked at Mark now, wincing at what

  he must have suffered at the hands of these men too.


         “Mark, Mark, sweetie, did they inject you with something or did they do

  something else to you? You must tell me, it‟s important that I know...” she pleaded as

  she watched in horror as his eyes flickered dimly, and his body became limper. She saw

  him slowly turn his eyes towards her; his energy sapping away. He was still lucid, but

  only just. It seemed to take every last ounce of effort for him to answer her and as he

  stared into her face, it was as if it would be his final vision and memory.


         “In... In...jj.e...” and his eyes rolled back and his body went limp and soft.


         “Ohmygod! Mark, Mark!” she cried as uncontrollable tears flowed from her

  eyes. She cradled the unconscious and limp Mark in her arms, clutching him closely to

  her body. “Hang on in there please. I‟ll make sure you get better. Please if you can hear

  me, hang on!” she cried desperately. She rocked and cradled him for a few moments,

  fearing for his safety, confused as to why the attack should have been so ferocious.

  „What would cause them to treat you two like this?‟ she pondered as she rocked him in

  her arms, his limp body beneath her on the floor. Some of her tears had fallen onto his

  face and were mixing with his bloodied face, leaving new fresh red trails. She collected

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  her thoughts and concentrated on what to do next. She carefully picked him up and

  placed him onto another sofa, close to Louisa, gently pecking him on his forehead as she

  pulled her arms away from him. She checked on Louisa again, but saw that she remained

  in the same unconscious state.


         „Sleep peacefully you two, you‟ve been through enough today,‟ and dashing at

  speed up the stairs, she located two blankets in one of the spare bedrooms, and was back

  down to the unconscious pair in seconds. She carefully placed the blankets over them.


         „What did they inject you both with?‟ she wondered as she looked helplessly on.

  Now at least she knew for sure, the needle case she had retrieved must have been used on

  either Mark or Louisa. She had also found a tiny, used and discarded tube containing

  some kind of clear lubricant.


         “I‟ll be back in a minute or so you two, I need to go and get some answers. Hang

  on you two, I won‟t be long. I promise. I‟m just popping to see Razul and Tarway. I

  need their help.” she announced as she grabbed her orb form her pocket. „I hope you can

  hear me. I just hope you understand that I have to leave you for the moment, but only

  because I‟m trying to save you both. Hang on please, I‟ll be back soon.‟


                                              *   * *


         Sarah wanted to see Tarway. He had a laboratory at the Re-Positioning Base.

  She knew that he would be able to analyse the samples she had managed to get. There

  just wasn‟t time to use Janet, Christian‟s mother. Sarah also wanted to get the DNA

  results from the dead man. She had her suspicions about him, and if she was correct,

  Janet would be alarmed at what she might find. Easier to use Tarway.




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          Tarway was a rather tiny and spindly looking man, always smartly dressed in a

  conventional dark suit, with short dark hair and sharp features, and was sitting in his

  laboratory, when she ran in. His room was semi-circular in shape, with a single block in

  the middle of the room. All around him were soft waves of colourful beams of lights

  washing the plain luminous walls. He was facing the door, perched by the block,

  humming cheerfully to himself to a background of classical arias. Today it was „Lakeme‟

  by Delibes, as he concentrated on examining a hologram in front of him. He saw Sarah

  run in, and dismissed the hologram with a wave of his hand as she approached.


          “Sarah?” he sounded surprised. He rarely saw her these days, but he knew her

  well.


          Sarah was pulling out the objects from her pockets as she ran in, and she dumped

  them on his block.


          “Tarway hi! I need to find out what is in these things here,” as she pointed to the

  hypodermic needle and tube. “And who is this? Or rather what is this? I took a swab

  from a man who I think might have something to do with the Vlorja. I‟m not sure – don‟t

  ask me why, I just need you to find out for me as soon as you can.” she blurted. “And I

  mean as soon as!”


          “No problem Sarah, I can see you look a bit be-draggled. That‟s why you need to

  know so quickly I take it?” he responded as he gave her a wry look.


          Sarah looked down at herself. She was still dirty from the yard. She looked back

  over to Tarway and nodded.


          “I need them in an hour? I‟ll be with Razul. Can you bring me the results?”



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          “I‟ll do what I can. If there‟s a problem, I‟ll let you know.”


          Sarah smiled and in an instant, she had darted back out through the door, and in

  the direction of Razul.


          “Razul – hello I‟m back again.” she smiled briefly as Razul turned round on

  hearing the door open.


          “Your man is hibernating. I put him in a negative sleep-scape as you asked.” he

  replied dispassionately. “Did he upset you?”


          “I‟m getting some samples tested by Tarway. He‟s going to bring the results to

  me in here Razul.”


          “Are they connected to your man over there?”


          Sarah looked over to see Patterson, unconscious in one of the chambers.


          “Yes, sort of... Is he suffering right now Razul? Is he having the worst kind of

  nightmare?”


          “That‟s what you requested. His dreamscape won‟t be a pleasurable experience,

  that‟s for sure.”


          “Then that‟s good. Leave him there. He deserves to really suffer.”


          “As you wish, but be aware Sarah, prolonged time in a negative dreamscape may

  affect him permanently - after he comes out of it - that is.”


          “Like it bothers me Razul!”


          “It makes no difference to me.”



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         “Razul, I need to take two bodysuits back with me. For Mark and Louisa.

  They‟re unconscious after being issued with a drug.”


         But Razul was shaking his head.


         “No! Bring them to me, and I will deal with them both here.”


         Sarah sighed heavily. “I just knew you would say that. Okay I‟ll be straight back

  with them if that‟s the case. Can you at least meet me in the Great Hall by the arrivals,

  with two trolleys then?”


         “I‟ll be waiting for you.”


         “Great. See you in a minute. Two trolley‟s okay?!” and with that she turned

  round, and ran towards the door, slapping the blue square impatiently. She darted out as

  soon as she was able.


         She ran back into the corridor looking for her departure point.


         Razul was waiting for her where they‟d agreed, with two trolleys, when she

  arrived back minutes later with her two unconscious additions. He held on to Louisa,

  while Sarah deftly lifted Mark carefully onto the trolley. He then let go of Louisa, so that

  Sarah could lift her onto the trolley. Razul could see the full extent of the conditions of

  both limp bodies, but he remained unmoved. Sarah and Razul followed behind the two

  trolleys as they wheeled themselves along and into Razul‟s room without assistance.


         To Sarah‟s surprise Razul had arranged a tray of food and a hot cup of coffee for

  her. It was waiting for her on one of the two slabs as she walked in.




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         “Razul, how sweet you are, thank you so much, that‟s so thoughtful of you!” she

  exclaimed, and looked over to Razul affectionately. But he remained inexpressive and

  detached.


         “You looked a bit tired.” was all he would say on the matter.


         A little while later, Sarah and Razul had prepared the two figures, and now Mark

  and Louisa were peacefully floating in their individual chambers.


         As Sarah sat and ate quietly, Tarway appeared in the doorway.


         “Sarah, I‟ve got your results. I think you need to let „the Family‟ know about

  these results. It‟s not good.”


                                              *   * *


         “I want to know more about this planet... Is this where you live permanently?”

  asked Tayla to Daro, Kyoto, Elian and Capsulan. Capsulan answered for them.


         “We do, and we spend our time here mostly, with the other members you see. We

  can make decisions much easier that way.”


         “We may come and pay a visit to you two now – on Beta. Would you like that?”

  asked Daro beguilingly, and Kyoto nodded. She seemed intrigued by the idea.


         “That would be lovely,” replied Tayla.             She wondered what kind of

  transformation they would decide upon if they came to Beta.


         “That brings me onto a subject matter we need to discuss.” Elian interjected.


         Tayla looked over to him and smiled quizzically.




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           “How would you feel, if your home became the contact point for the team?”


           “What? Where we all meet and discuss things you mean.” asked Christian.


           “It would seem appropriate.”


           “I don‟t have a problem with that – Tayla?”


           “I don‟t have a problem with it either – I think?”


           “Then it is decided. You home is now our Contact Point.” Elian made it sound so

  official. Christian smiled hesitantly at Tayla. Had they just signed away their home

  suddenly?


           “Well that‟s super news huns. Rhea and David and Sarah and Mark only live a

  few hundred metres away anyway. That‟s perfect.” Debbie seemed happy with this news

  at least.


           “We need to discuss Fritz‟s present assignment. I think now would be the right

  time.”


           “Okay.”


           “Fritz has agreed to become a mediator with us here on „Home‟. Soon he will sit

  with us. Now that you have agreed to become part of the team, it makes his transition

  easier.”


           Debbie gasped. Tayla looked at her. She could see the shocked look on her face,

  and didn‟t know if she was happy or sad by the news. Fritz looked at Debbie blankly. It

  was obvious that he would like to have told Debbie in private himself, but Elian had

  announced it early. It appeared that the decision was final.


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           “It won‟t be for a few months yet... especially now we have this crisis on our

  hands. I don‟t know how long this will take to sort out,” Fritz offered casually, intended

  solely for Debbie‟s benefit.


           There was silence for a moment. Debbie looked at Fritz and Tayla was guessing

  that she was communication with Fritz for answers. She seemed satisfied with what she

  found, as she smiled warmly at him after a while, nodding gently with approval.


           “Speaking of which, we need to deal with this new crisis. But we must induct

  Tayla and Christian into our Family first. We need them to know about us all. Debbie

  and Fritz, as David and Rhea will be dealing with the crisis for now; we will leave it to

  you to show them our hospitality and planets.” Capsulan invited. He rose from his chair.

  “I am off to speak with Rocco. I promised her a visit, and now would seem like a good

  time. I can discuss this new matter of the Vlorja with her.” He kissed the hands of Tayla,

  Debbie, Kyoto and Daro. Kyoto smiled at him with a slight smirk.


           “If you will excuse me. I will see you all here later. Enjoy the banquet.” And

  with that he walked off towards a passageway.


           “I sense he likes Rocco.” smiled Kyoto as she glanced towards Daro. Daro was

  watching Capsulan disappear as he walked down the passageway. She looked thoughtful.


           “You may be right Kyoto.” she agreed, as she continued to watch Capsulan

  leave.


           Tayla glanced at Christian. They stared at each other as if they wanted to say so

  much to each other, but couldn‟t. They would have to wait for later.




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         The diminished party of just seven that had begun as ten, began to chat pleasantly

  about how the time on Home would be best organised. Daro suggested various trips, and

  other equipment they would need. She chatted for a good while to Christian and Tayla,

  who listened, bewitched by her soft foreign drawl. Much later and more informed on the

  lifestyles of Home, Kyoto had organised a banquet to end their session. She had arranged

  a huge array of foods for everyone with various speciality foods and beverages, with

  musicians to serenade the party with a variety of musical styles. It was to officially

  welcome Christian and Tayla to The Family, and introduce them into this new culture

  they had agreed to become part of. Many hours passed by pleasantly. Christian was

  surprised at how relaxed The Family appeared when they interacted with each other, even

  when they discussed matters of great importance around them. The mere mention of

  Vlorja had raised concerns for everyone. But he saw how they interacted and swapped

  important information on what was happening everywhere with such a casual attitude.

  Eventually, Christian and Tayla were introduced to everyone in the Meeting Place, and

  visits to some of them were organised then and there. Daro and Kyoto were certainly

  capable and expert socialisers. They were inseparable.         And in a room of identical

  people, they still managed to stand out above everyone else.


                                              *   * *


         Much later and back at Debbie and Fritz‟s pod, Christian and Tayla, were

  relaxing in another new setting for their rest time. This time Debbie had surprised them

  with one of her personal favourite locations. They seemed to have been transported to a

  tropical forest somewhere. There was a sweet fragrance from the huge brightly coloured

  exotic flowers and blue and green leaves. They were lying in a vast square hammock

  made of soft voiles, the edges of which were blowing gently in the soft warm breeze. All


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  around them were large plants and on one side, a large blue pool, edged with soft

  camomile like plants. A dusky orangey pink sunset could just be seen through the tree-

  tops high above as the sweet and tangy aroma wafted around them on waves of soft

  ribbons of warm air.


         As tired as they felt, they managed to take in the scenic setting, enjoying the cool

  fresh water as they swam through its calm, clear, revitalising and life replenishing

  composition. They relaxed, sampling many unusual fruits which grew wild around them.

  The hammock swung gently as they snuggled up together, as large thin colourful petals

  which acting as sheets were hiding their nakedness. Soon, after being lost in each other‟s

  needs, they fell into a deep and peaceful sleep, content in each other‟s arms.


         Time on Home was counted in terms of „nights‟ for Christian and Tayla.           On

  Home, eternal dusk reigned. Here everyone had adapted to it; cloned transgenic bodies

  had altered to require only an hour to recoup after many hours of activity; it was

  sufficient to maintain perfect health. Time just was; clocks redundant for regulating life.

  For Christian and Tayla, they still required the routine of regular sleep, so their hosts

  patiently conceded to this temporary change of pace. Night‟s, created by imaginary

  virtual reality settings, consisted of several fantastical settings, some involving new

  planetary experiences, the like of which were enthralling for Christian and Tayla beyond

  comprehension. From hinterlands existing purely from gaseous atmospheres to

  topographies affected and deeply chiselled by dark thick fluids they could never have

  imagined. When they arose from these darkened wonderlands, Debbie and Fritz would

  explore with them, the many moons and planets, this ultra-race inhabited. It was strange

  to see that natural sunlight was no longer a pre-requisite for life. It would be re-captured

  in its many guises only through infinite virtual reality settings now. Energy was


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  harnessed by stars light years away, the radiant heat dispersed by distance to these moon

  and planets which, like parasites, drew upon the vast energy stored within these brilliant

  life-giving nuclear furnaces. So during awake time, Tayla and Christian experienced and

  saw for themselves the vastness of space, and how life had evolved in impossible

  environments. But they were witnesses to the reality that it was possible.


           So was the future of mankind to find itself a self replicated super version of an

  epitomised vision of purity and perfection? To exist entirely, in a dusky barren moon or

  planet; harnessing its energy source from faraway stars to keep this elite race safe and

  free from extinction. A race which now chose to look backwards, to search for its

  parentage, now the goal was achieved. A life of self sufficiency, existing in colonies

  purely for its own pleasure and leisure. Their goal? To recreate itself all over again from

  scratch. Had the price for perfection inevitably been too costly? Had they lost something

  along the way that they were yearning to re-claim?


           “It‟s time for you all to head back now. This trip for now is finished.”


           “I know. It was good to meet you Elian, and you three. I trust we‟ll meet again

  soon.”


           “Indeed.”


                                                *   * *


           Rhea and David had found Sarah in Razul‟s room. Tarway stood awkwardly,

  staring at the unconscious bodies of Mark and Louisa, floating unconsciously in a haze of

  dimly lit gas. He could make out their bloody and bruised bodies. The opposite end of

  the room held the glass chamber in which Patterson, floating in his own cloud of gases,

  cacophonously lit this space. He could hear Sarah explaining how she came to be at the

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  re-positioning Base with the three bodies floating in chambers. Rhea and David listened

  in silence, David has arm comforting Sarah as she ranted on, breathlessly, her concern for

  Mark clear. Tarway, waited patiently for Sarah to invite him to speak. He knew she

  would. Razul sat coldly on his stool, listening on impassively, as the story revealed

  Patterson‟s role.


         Tarway suddenly heard his name, and though he had been waiting for Sarah to

  call him, he still jumped. He had been staring at the wretched figure of Mark, and had

  his back to the group, and he turned round abruptly.


         “...Tarway? Tell us what you discovered...”


         Tarway looked solemn. He took in a deep breath, as walked towards the group,

  congregated around one of the slabs.


         “Mark and Louisa were injected with an immuno-suppressant anti-coagulant drug

  called SVC2. It was originally created as a bio chemical drug for use in chemical

  warfare on Alpha, but it was later withdrawn. It causes horrific hallucinogenic effects,

  alongside spasms of pain throughout the body, by interfering with the neurons to the

  hippocampus part of the brain – the processor if you like. It triggers cognitive reflexes

  within the temporal lobes – horrible and painful hallucinations.      Victims have been

  known to try and rip their own skins off with the pain it can cause. The body shuts down

  after a while. I think the men that injected them both were hoping for the two of them to

  attack each other and try to kill each other in their hallucinogenic state, but what they

  didn‟t realise was that Mark and Louisa aren‟t strictly human. The effect upon them was

  to simply shut the body down. But they would have endured the same experience in a

  paralysed state. Must have been a bit of a letdown for those men...” he conjected. He


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  glanced briefly over to Mark and Louisa. “I don‟t know if they are suffering any

  horrendous mind games in those chambers, but whatever they‟re going through in there,

  I know that the drug is slowly killing them.” he deliberated.


          “No way man!” cried out David in horror, as he stared hideously at Tarway. “It

  can‟t be!”


          Rhea gasped in shock, and looked over to see Sarah‟s reaction. At hearing the

  news for the second time, a tear involuntarily escaped and rolled down her cheek.


          “I think they are going to die.” Sarah confirmed soberly. “Tarway doesn‟t know

  how to stop the drug.     It had already taken over their body by time they became

  unconscious. I was too late.”


          “I‟ve had Razul put them both into a state of suspended hibernation. Their body

  temperature is at 1̊ at the moment. At that temperature, the drug has been stopped from

  interacting any further with their bodies, but their current state won‟t stop the drug from

  completing the process once their temperature goes up. We can‟t keep them like that

  forever.” Tarway added gravely.


          “Is the drug the reason why they didn‟t heal from those horrific wounds?” asked

  David


          “Perhaps. It may have hindered their body‟s healing process. I noticed that when I

  saw them.”


          “Who are these people? Why would they want to do this to Mark and Louisa? Do

  you think they knew who they were?”




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         Sarah piped up, shaking her head. “I wondered that, but Patterson was genuinely

  scared out of his mind when I brought him here. He was genuinely horrified. If he or

  those men I killed knew about what they were, then Patterson would have been aware of

  this place at least. He might have been a bit shocked at being brought here, but that piece

  of shit was really scared.”


         “But why the violence then? What on earth is so important about this vaccine

  programme, that it prompted such violence when Louisa questioned it?” Rhea puzzled.


         They all looked blank.


         “That‟s not all I found out...” Tarway interrupted. Sarah suddenly realised that he

  more to say.


         “Of course, tell them what you found out about the men Tarway.”


         “Sarah managed to get a sample of DNA of one of the men for me. It‟s a

  genetically modified form of the human form of DNA.            Normally, the polymerase

  enzymes within the DNA are able to synthesise nuclei gusset strands, but only in the 5

  primed to 3 primed directions. They hook the 5 primed phosphate group of an incoming

  nucleotide onto the 3 primed hydroxyl group you see. But what I noticed in these samples

  is that these particular polymerase enzymes have actually synthesised in 5 primed strands

  only. The point I‟m trying to make is that this DNA will have limited capabilities.

  Something has interfered with the DNA replication procedure, I would suggest bio-

  nanobots.      These ones have negated the need for a ligase to complete the process

  normally required for DNA replication. This is real clever bio-nano technics. These men

  have been genetically modified for some reason. Sarah may be right. I think the Vlorja

  might be at work here, but why, and more importantly how did they get onto Alpha?


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  And if they are there, then everything and every universe on every dimension is at risk.

  It is impossible for them to have got there. I have no idea, how they have managed to

  infiltrate themselves there. They must have mutated and metamorphosed far more than

  we have realised!”


         “So what are you saying these men are – Vlorja men?”


         “I think the Vlorja have managed to interfere with the pathology of humans. It is

  yet another armament to their collective abilities as miniature nanobots.”


         “My god. They destroy everything without mercy. They are deadly. How could

  they have learned to interact with different dimensions? How did they know about a

  multi dimension paradox?”


         “Just thank God Sarah killed those men. At least the Vlorja in those men will

  have died too, but that‟s cold comfort for what others may be on Alpha.”


         “Do you think he might have Vlorja in him too?” asked Rhea as she stared at the

  lonely lit chamber on the other side of the room.


         “Perhaps, I‟ll get a sample from him. But, Sarah was right to bring him here. We

  can find out more from him, however limited.”


         “Just leave him there for a bit longer though. He‟s not suffered enough for what‟s

  happened to Mark and Louisa.” Sarah sniped as she focused on the chamber. “I wish I

  had broken both his legs too...”


         “Sarah! That‟s not like you?!”


         “It‟s how I feel right now.”



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         David intervened. He could see the defiance in Sarah‟s eyes.


         “Well, there‟s nothing more we can do here. We need to get back to Alpha and

  find out more about this vaccine programme. Sarah, we have to change back, so we‟ll

  meet you where?”


         “Our home on Beta, I‟ll just clear up while I wait for you, but you may want to

  keep your abilities. It would be much easier for you if you did – I‟ve got mine back.”


         “Sensible Sarah. Okay, see you back there shortly then.”


         “Should I come with you too?” Tarway asked suddenly. Sarah looked over to

  him.


         He hesitated. “If it‟s the Vlorja, you may need me that‟s all.”


         “Yeh man, that‟s cool.”


         “Come back with me then Tarway,” Sarah offered kindly.


         “Sure thing! Just let me run to my lab and pick up some bits I need.”


         “I‟ll come with you.”


         “Sure, let‟s go then.”




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                                         Chapter 8



         Fritz was sitting with Debbie as Christian and Tayla rested after a final hectic day

  on the Home planets. They were contemplating their time spent with Tayla and Christian

  on the Home planet. They were pleased Christian and Tayla had agreed to join them, and

  that Christian had accepted the offer to head the team. Christian was a natural leader. It

  had appeared that the timing was significant. Fritz would be moving to the Home planet

  shortly himself. He had been asked to act as mediator, and therefore he would be

  spending much more time away from the team in the future. In the near future, he would

  be sitting in Counsel alongside Daro, Kyoto, Elian and Capsulan. It was why he had

  been spending so much time on the Home planet recently. He was discussing his new

  role and evaluating what specific role he should play in the future.        This trip had

  progressed successfully for Fritz and things were moving forward well. He trusted

  Christian, and the bond between the team was strong. He was pleased Christian had

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  agreed to join forces with The Family, though he wondered if both Christian and Tayla

  knew just what they had accepted. Tayla was important to the team. Christian needed

  her. She seemed to act as a catalyst for his ideas. Fritz had made the mistake of splitting

  the two of them up before - to his cost. He would never make that mistake again. But he

  knew their life would change. Already, their bodies had been changed. It had to have

  been done - in order to make the trip to the Home planet; those changes within their

  bodies were irrevocable now. Internally, they had been changed. They would never be

  the same again. In time, Christian and Tayla would learn and understand. For now it

  was best that they didn‟t.


         Capsulan had been spending a considerable amount of time with Rocco recently.

  Daro and Kyoto had suspected his visits were more than courtesy calls. Rocco was a

  „Warrior Mediator‟. With long, thick straight black hair, she dressed in brown leather

  like cat suit at all times. Her bright red lips were a personal trademark of hers, alongside

  a large and heavy gold coloured choker around her neck.           She led a team of four,

  keeping order within the Multiverses; defeating small uprisings that tried to infiltrate

  other universes and planets. She would traverse dimensions and put an end to any

  potential invasions. Xylem was part of her team. Mystar, Flisha and Ox, were the other

  members of her all female team.       Kyoto had joined Xylem for a short time, but had

  fallen in love with Daro and with Capsulan's agreement, had joined their team instead.

  Ox had taken her place when she left. It was during this time, that Capsulan had got to

  know Xylem and had become friendly with Rocco. Over recent times he began to take

  an interest in her crusades across the dimensions. She was well respected for her strategy

  and quick thinking. Her team were revered for their strength and agility. It was Capsulan

  who had recommended Fritz to the Home planet to take up his place as a mediator.



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  Capsulan had been quietly making plans of his own. He had confided in Elian, but for

  the time being he decided to remain silent on the matter to everyone else.


                                    *   * *


         “You shouldn‟t worry about me being based here Debbie, we shall be in regular

  touch always. You may as well stay with me when you‟re free. I think the house on Beta

  would be a bit overcrowded for us both anyway. I‟ve already told them, that I plan to

  access the universes from time to time. It won‟t do any harm to visit occasionally. I

  don‟t want to sit on Home permanently. You never know, Daro and Kyoto may do the

  same, if they see it works.”


         “I‟ve already decided to come and stay here with you when I can huns. I‟ve been

  back and forth here for the past few months anyhow, so I‟m used to it at least. For the

  time being, I‟ll just see how thing go, and decide what my role will be within the team

  after that. I think it‟s good that you will be based here. You‟ll still be part of our team,

  and we‟re all very used to Chrissee anyhow. We love him.”


         “I‟m keen to find out what‟s happened with Sarah. David contacted me. He is

  keen for us to get back. I‟ve asked Capsulan to speak to Xylem about what she knows of

  the Vlorja. Sarah is right about her concerns it appears, but we still don‟t know for sure.

  I don‟t think how it can be the Vlorja Debbie. They can‟t cross dimensions for a start.

  They don‟t know how to.”


         “Or maybe you don‟t want it to be, perhaps?”


         “Mmm...”




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         “Well, we‟ll get straight back when the two sleeping beauties wake up. What VR

  setting did you arrange for them this time huns?”


         “On one of Christian‟s trips on our Light Jet around the Oort Cloud back on their

  own universe. I want them see how the super rich travel in space back on Alpha/Beta.

  We charge a hundred million pounds for people to do the round trip normally. Christian

  and Tayla can get the opportunity to experience the flight for themselves for a change.

  This way, they don‟t need to take time to enjoy this trip either.”


         “Are you sure that was such a good idea – I mean, knowing our dear Chrissee,

  he‟ll only make criticisms about it and expect us to make changes to our service. In fact

  I‟ll be very surprised if he doesn‟t.”


         “That‟s exactly why I did it cupcake... Look we still are trying to help the

  Capitarn help him run this business venture of his my little sweet. Maybe we can make

  improvements to the sleeping arrangements for instance. After all, the passengers are

  paying a fortune for the experience. Plus, it won‟t hurt Chris and Tayla to mix this trip

  with a bit of normal work while they‟re here.”


         Debbie looked at him with a glint in her eye. She pinched both his cheeks with

  her fingers affectionately,


         “And that‟s why I love you so much my Norwegian smorgasbord! Always one

  step ahead of everyone else.”


                                     *     * *


         Later, and as expected, Christian had several comments to make about his

  nocturnal flying trip experience. They made notes to be implemented later, but for now


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  with discussions regarding work over, they found themselves back at the Re-positioning

  Base. By the time they had found Razul‟s room, Sarah, David, Rhea and Tarway had

  already left. They were shocked to see Mark and Louisa and the stranger in the room.

  But Razul, his usual pan faced expression revealing nothing, suggested that they needed

  to catch up with Sarah for an explanation. She was meeting David and Rhea at home on

  Beta. This just made the four of them more impatient to get back. They were anxious

  and edgy as Razul prepared them for their time in the chambers. Razul, in his usual aloof

  demeanour was unphased and was disclosing nothing.


         “Fritz, Debbie, I will leave you with your strengths, and I will do nothing to

  change Christian and Tayla apart from minor re-acclimatisation. David has requested

  this for you all as a precaution.” was all he would say.


         David would never have suggested this without a very good reason, and the four

  of them knew something serious must have happened. So without further questioning,

  they agreed to David‟s suggestion.


         Fritz suddenly had a thought, “We‟re going to be spending quite a bit of time on

  Alpha when we get back,” and he looked across to Christian and Tayla cautiously, “It

  might be a good idea if Razul restores your super-positioned memories and merges them

  together so that you have complete recollections of your other lives on Alpha, you two.

  After all Christian, you need to spend time there now too.” He looked awkward, as he

  wasn‟t sure if this was such a good idea now that he had suggested it. Christian looked at

  Tayla. He realised there would be painful memories too, but he knew Fritz was right.




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          “That‟s a good idea Fritz actually. At least if we‟re on Alpha, we will know about

  our lives there. It won‟t be so confusing for us I suppose,” he agreed as he turned to

  Tayla. Tayla was less certain, but nodded in agreement anyway.


          “If you think it‟s for the best you two, but I thought you said we may never get

  those memories back?”


          “Razul can re-arrange your brain patterns and re-arrange the memory patterns

  from your Alpha experiences back into your memory cortex.               You wouldn‟t do it

  naturally necessarily. It‟s your brain‟s way of coping with events.”


          Tayla nodded, accepting that she would know everything about her life as Anna

  soon.


          “Tayla, remember – they are only memories, nothing more. You are Tayla now,

  and Christian will still remain as the Christian he is now. Treat it as a past life if it makes

  you feel better.”


          Christian walked over to Tayla, and gently taking both her hands, he looked

  deeply into her eyes. “I love you baby and I always will. It doesn‟t matter what we may

  discover.   We need to do this – it‟s for the best.” And turning to Fritz he quietly

  confirmed their acceptance of the procedure.


          “Okay, good - Razul, you know what else you need to do for Christian and Tayla

  then...” Fritz motioned to Razul, who stood with his usual expressionless composure.


          “As you wish, but come on then everyone, get into the chambers now. Start

  undressing please!”




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         “Oh joy!” recollected Tayla, “I suppose I‟d better start getting used to this as well

  I suppose too!” and she sighed.


         Hours later, they emerged from the chambers Razul had placed them in. Fritz and

  Debbie appearing once more, the more familiar characters Christian and Tayla knew so

  well. Fresh memories had been unfurled from the minds of Christian and Tayla now.

  They knew they had many to consider, but those memories would have to wait and be

  contemplated some other time; past memories which had led them to where they were

  today. Christian looked momentarily at Tayla. In that brief gaze, they managed to

  express a lifetime of understanding and acceptance of what had happened to them.

  Hurriedly they fled back to Beta. But before they did, they stopped momentarily to look

  sadly at Mark and Louisa, floating lifelessly in their gas filled chambers. No-one knew if

  they were suffering inside their minds, experiencing some kind of unbearable ordeal; too

  terrible to comprehend. Instead, their battered faces portrayed an artificial and peaceful

  countenance. Troubled and distressed by their condition, they re-focused on the crisis

  they had left behind temporarily, heading straight for the departure point to find out

  exactly what had happened during their time on Home.


                                    *   * *


         “Sarah! David! Rhea! Where are you?” shouted Fritz as the four of them appeared

  in the hallway of David‟s, Rhea‟s, Sarah‟s and Mark‟s home. Again, Tayla and Christian

  lurched forward, nauseas and weak. They clutched hold of each other; partly as comfort;

  partly for support.


         Sarah appeared from the kitchen doorway.




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           “Fritz, over here. God are we glad to see you fella‟s. A lot‟s happened that I

  need to tell you about.”


           As she was speaking, Tarway appeared by her side, and Fritz and Debbie looked

  surprised.


           “Good day Fritz, Debbie, I thought I‟d better come along too.”


           Christian and Tayla turned round quickly to see who was behind the unfamiliar

  voice.


           “Tarway?” Debbie questioned, “Bloody hell – this must be bad.”


           Tarway smiled at the two of them sardonically. He nodded in the direction of a

  breathless Christian and Tayla. He wanted to be introduced. He had never met them

  before. Debbie realised, and quickly introduced them to each other:


           “Tarway, this is Christian and Tayla, they‟re linked to each other, and they live

  just up the road from here. You can tell you‟re not from Beta huns, because if you did,

  you‟d easily recognise Christian. He‟s a bit of a Celebrity Scientist around this place.

  He‟s the one who‟s pioneered the Lightspeed jet craft? Why space travel has begun in

  earnest?” and looking over to the wretched looking pair:


           “Chrissee, Tayla - Tarway - Planetary Bio-chemist and general whizz, from the

  Re-positioning Base, which is normally where he stays put?!”


           But Fritz was impatient.


           “Tarway? Sarah? Is David and Rhea through there too?” and as they nodded, he

  walked toward the kitchen, Sarah and Tarway making way for him to pass. Debbie



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  quickly followed suit, planting a quick kiss on the cheeks of Sarah and Tarway as she

  passed them. Christian and Tayla followed Sarah and Tarway into the kitchen.


         Sarah was the only person to speak. She calmly informed them of the morning‟s

  event. Much had happened. Little Raoul was dead; Mark and Louisa were brutally

  attacked and injected with a vicious drug, in order for them to attack and kill each other;

  now fighting to stay alive in their temporary state of suspended hibernation; Sarah had

  killed two men; Patterson the Principal of Retborne Junior School was at the Re-

  Positioning Base, placed into a negative sleepscape; a national vaccine programme for

  junior children discovered to nothing but a sham. What was going on? Rhea had alerted

  Fritz about her fears a week earlier.     What was unfolding on Alpha but not being

  replicated on Beta? There was a peculiar and unnatural discord between the two planets;

  another in a string of recent discords between what was normally two harmonised

  planets. Strange discrepancies had begun to unravel over the past eight years or so, small

  and insignificant at first, but now at an alarming rate. Rhea was right to be worried. That

  was obvious now. Louisa was right to have been anxious about the irregularity of the

  procedures surrounding this latest national vaccine programme, which had started a week

  earlier, and would inevitably spread throughout the continents in time. They always did.


         “What I can‟t understand is why did they take Louisa and Mark and treat them so

  abominably. It seems to be such an over-reaction to her phone-call to Rhea.” worried

  Tayla, as she mulled over the events that had taken place over in Alpha‟s Dallas.


         “At least they wouldn‟t have been able to trace the call. Louisa was always

  careful. So they wouldn‟t have known who she was calling.” Rhea pointed out.




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         “Then why did they drag Mark into it too. Why didn‟t they just take Louisa?”

  Christian thought hard, “I think the Principal got scared for some reason. He panicked

  obviously, and had them both picked up as a precaution probably.”


         “Maybe he thought Louisa knew what was going on and was confiding in Mark –

  which Patterson was heavily involved in whatever‟s going on. How long has he been

  principal there? Rhea - was Patterson Principal when you were there?”


         “Uh huh – he‟s been there for about five years I guess.”


         “Then we need to do a background check on this guy. And we need to find out

  who those men really worked for.”


         “We need to find out what is in these vaccines too. There are two strains as well.

  Why would they do that?”


         “We need to find out who is really behind this vaccine programme. It‟s obviously

  at the centre of everything. There is something tied up with this programme, though I

  think it is just the tip of the ice-berg. The way they manhandled Mark and Louisa. They

  were going to cold bloodedly kill them both over this. What is so important, that killing

  these two would justify that kind of brutality?


         Tarway had been listening intently, and he tentatively raised a question of his

  own.


         “You say, this is definitely not happening here on Beta, so why is it happening on

  Alpha alone then. What could possibly cause the discord of the super symmetry of these

  two worlds?”


         They looked at him blankly.

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         “You see, I think Sarah must be right everyone. Though I hate to say it, but it

  could well be due to an infestation and colonisation of the Vlorja. However they‟ve

  managed to get there, they must have found a way to cross dimensional planes. My only

  concern with that is – what will they do after they destroy Alpha – they seemed to have

  learned about the other parallel dimensions and how to cross them – by what means, I

  couldn‟t even hazard a guess.”


         “Tarway, what do you mean „after they destroy Alpha...‟ What are you saying?”

  Christian asked suddenly, his face looking horrified.


         Tarway looked hard at Christian. “The Vlorja are a self replicated race of bio-

  nanobotic technology. They serve no-one and have no other purpose than to mutate and

  invade and destroy all life that they find. They exist wherever there is life.     We

  understood that we had managed to confine the Vlorja within a dimension of its own,

  hundreds of thousands of years ago now. Somewhere Rocco has confined them for

  eternity; a dimension where no life forms exists. We assumed that over time, they would

  die out naturally within their own separate dimension. It would appear that we were

  mistaken.”


         “Now hang on a moment guys‟ I‟m somewhat confused. Right – I thought we

  were talking about some jumped up bogus vaccine programme that is being administered

  to children in the States.” She paused, turning to Tarway, “Tarway you‟re now talking

  about some super advanced mutating type of invading bio-nanobotic machine, that‟s

  landed on Alpha and set to destroy it. What are we talking about here? That Rhea‟s just

  hit the jackpot and uncovered a double whammy of a crisis in Dallas?”


         Tarway looked perturbed, “I think I do.”


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         There was silence.


         “We need to let the Family know immediately.” Fritz announced finally. Tarway

  intervened.


         “I‟ve already let Capsulan know. He will go to seek the advice from Rocco and

  her team. They will know what to do.” Tarway advised solemnly. “After all, they were

  the ones who dealt with the Vlorja before. They understood how to control them back

  then. I hope they will discover what‟s happened since.”


         Fritz sighed “Yes, I hope so too. But they will need to be careful.”


         “So what shall we do here?” Tayla asked uneasily.


         Christian had been thinking hard.


         “We tackle what we can. Let‟s leave the Vlorja to the Home team for now.

  Capsulan and Rocco can discuss what it is they need to do.        Let‟s concentrate on this

  vaccine programme. It‟s at the root of all of this. It‟s a starting point for us anyway.”


         “You‟re right,” agreed Fritz and turned to Tayla, “Tayla. You seem to think that

  Asclepius would be involved somehow.”


         “Most certainly. They produce over 80% of the world‟s pharmaceutical products.

  Their various subsidiaries and research labs would definitely be involved. Especially if

  it‟s a national campaign.”


         “You need to find out more about Asclepius‟s involvement Tayla. We need to get

  you into the inside of Asclepius, don‟t you agree Chris? I mean I said I may be able to get

  you onto the AD4 Project at CERN?”



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         Christian was thinking hard. Although he didn‟t like the idea of being separated

  from Tayla, he had to agree.


         “Yeh Fritz, we need to find out more about this vaccine.         If Asclepius are

  involved, then it‟s a way of finding out why.” and turning to Tayla “Baby, look I think

  you are the best person to infiltrate the company.       You worked in the PETSCAN

  programme a couple of years ago. You need to get yourself back on this new Project

  back on Alpha. You need to go back to CERN for the time being baby.”


         “Of course, anything I can do to help.”


         “Rhea, David, as we said before, you need to get back to Dallas. Get hold of the

  files at the school. See who got what vaccine. Maybe we can find a link.”


         Rhea and David nodded in agreement.


         “We‟ll be careful. Patterson‟s missing. They won‟t have noticed yet, but we‟ll

  have to create a story of where he might have gone. At least we know what we‟re up

  against now, and we have or strengths.” David said confidently.


         “Fritz, find out what you can about Patterson‟s role in all this. Speak to this

  Patterson guy and find out what you can. He might give us a name of who is behind it, or

  at least a link to who might be.”


         “Fine Cap-itarn. I think I‟ll take Sarah with me then.”


         “Good idea. – Sarah are you up for that?”


         Sarah had been quiet. She was agitated, and she nodded firmly.




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         “I‟ll be happy to talk to him. He‟s nothing but a filthy piece of scum!” she sniped.

  Everyone looked at her solemn face.


         She looked back at each of them, looking at their shocked reaction to what she

  had just said. But she was resolute.


         “He is low-life scum! What else could he possibly be? Compliant in a mass

  bogus vaccine programme. On children for god sake! Parents putting their trust in him,

  while he allowed whatever are in those drugs to be administered to those poor innocent

  kids. He must have known what danger he was putting poor Louisa in when he rang

  those men, whoever they really work for.” She breathed hard. She was thinking of Mark

  and she became momentarily distressed and upset.


         “And poor sweet Mark. He had no idea what he was getting himself involved

  with. He just wanted to be a hero and protect Louisa, by trying to be the perfect

  gentleman,” she considered, “Oh my poor sweet, gentle Mark. He wouldn‟t hurt a fly.

  He never stood a chance against those men. I saw them for myself. He was far too kind

  for his own good. And look where it‟s got him!”


         Christian walked over to her and put his arms around her, and hugged her softly.

  He kissed the top of her head. He realised, that she had been through a lot that morning.

  For him, it had been a week. For Sarah, it had literally just happened, and her feelings

  were still raw.


         “You‟re right about Mark. We all love him dearly too Sarah. And we need to do

  this for him too.”


         Sarah looked up at Christian.



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          “I looked after Mark you know. We were linked to each other. He was such a

  gentle soul. Brilliant mind, but such a big softie really... I‟m the tough one you see. I

  should have gone to see Louisa first and let Mark check on little Raoul here, but he

  insisted he would be okay. And I believed him.”


          “Mark would never have let you put yourself in danger. Even if he knew what

  those men were like, it wouldn‟t have changed anything Sarah. He would have still gone.

  He would never have let you go. Now stop beating yourself up about what‟s happened

  Sarah, it‟s not your fault man.” said David gently. He was particularly fond of Sarah.

  She was like a little sister to him. She, together with Mark, had kept him company when

  he was alone and away from Rhea. Sarah smiled at David. He meant a lot to her too.

  David was Mark‟s best friend and he knew Mark almost as well as she did.


          “David, he didn‟t heal either. When they beat him up, the wounds didn‟t heal. On

  both him and Louisa. They should have done. It was those drugs. He and Louisa would

  have felt every blow. I can‟t bear to think of them in so much pain. Poor Louisa. They

  were awful to her. I actually think they actually tried to strangle her. They definitely had

  her strung up by her neck for a while. It‟s horrendous what they did to her. Mark might

  have been next! I never knew I could harbour so much hatred David, but after I saw what

  those men had inflicted upon Mark and Louisa, I was glad I killed those men. I just

  regret making it so quick and painless. They wouldn‟t have known what happened to

  them. You know I made Razul put that scumbag Patterson into a negative sleepscape?”

  she said bitterly.


          “Sarah, but that‟s really bad!” Rhea was shocked, but Sarah stared defiantly at

  her.



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         “I don‟t care. I hope he never recovers from it Rhea. He didn‟t give a thought to

  Louisa, when he rang those men, and she suffered, believe me. She‟s still suffering now

  poor thing. She was such a gentle natured person too. It‟s just not fair!”


         “How are they?” asked Debbie quietly.


         Tarway answered, “Not good I‟m afraid. I gave them both an ozone transfusion,

  but the drug had already spread too far. It had already severely affected the neural system

  to their brains. I put them into hibernation to stop the effects from the drug continuing,

  but it‟s only temporary. As soon as their body temperature goes up, the drug will re-

  activate.”


         “Okay, but they will recover won‟t they?”


         Tarway shrugged his shoulders. He didn‟t know, and he didn‟t have an antidote

  to give them either. The news looked bleak.


         “There‟s a possibility they may die.”


         There was silence as the shock of the news hit them hard. Tarway could see their

  distress. He felt he wanted to do something to help.


         “I will go with Tayla. I will be of more use with her I feel.” he announced,

  evading Debbie‟s stare.


         “It makes sense. Okay you go with Tayla then Tarway.”


         “I‟ll organise for you both to get a placement back at the AD4 Project at CERN.

  You will probably need to leave within the next couple of days when I do arrange it for

  you both however. You‟ll need to be ready quickly.” warned Fritz.



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         “What are you going to do baby?” asked Tayla as she looked at Christian, “Your

  face is a bit too well known for you to get involved in this without raising huge alarm

  bells everywhere.”


         “I know how it could be useful actually, I think I can actually find a way of

  making the fact that I‟m well known work for us in this case, so leave that to me. It‟s

  something we have to accept anyway. But I think I‟ll to go back to Alpha and set about

  re-integrating myself back into Alpha somehow. I may start with a visit to Peter Mehra

  and Alex. They won‟t have seen me in over a year, and I think it‟s about time I got back

  in touch with them anyway. Peter Mehra knows just about everyone. He could prove

  useful to us anyway.” he replied mysteriously. “I don‟t think visiting my parent in Africa

  will be of as much use. They‟re too tied up with the AID‟s patients there. I don‟t think

  they will be able to help with this vaccine scam after all. No. My energies will be best

  served elsewhere.”


         “We all need to keep in touch with what‟s happening. Our home is the new Base

  Centre everyone. So that‟s where we meet up from now on. We should meet there every

  Sunday morning for a catch up, unless we have something else pre-arranged. We have

  our orbs, we‟ve got our strengths. If anyone gets into trouble, get a message to the Base

  Centre somehow. One of us will pick it up. Now do we all know what we are doing?”


         “Me? What do I do fella‟s?” piped up Debbie meekly. Had she been forgotten?


         “Liaise with us all Debbie. You can house-sit for us and make sure everyone

  calls you twice a day. I‟ll come back daily to get the feedback from you.”


         “Sound fine by me huns!”




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                                        Chapter 9

         Tayla stood patiently with Tarway, at the arrivals lounge in Geneva Airport in

  Switzerland. They were waiting for a representative from CERN to meet them and take

  them to the accommodation Fritz had arranged for them. Fritz had managed to get

  everything arranged in double quick time. He had managed to register them both online.

  As well, he had organised a letter of Employment from the team leader of the AD4 /ACE

  Project, Martin Heidelberg, who had agreed to allow her a temporary placement on the

  project. The Administration Officer was meeting them both that afternoon and to book

  them into an onsite Hostel for temporary staff placements. Her secondment to the Project

  was for a month, and so the accommodation seemed ideal. It was situated to the West of

  the Complex, close to the BA1 entrance of the Super Proton Synchrotron, where she

  would be working. Tayla had been welcomed as a particle Physicist specialising once

  more, for her knowledge in antimatter. She would be assisting on the Project which was

  headed as „Relative Biological Effectiveness and Peripheral Damage of Antiproton


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  Annihilation‟. This particular project involved several of the Member States onto this

  specialist field of medical research. Tarway was accompanying her as her assistant. Fritz

  had been quick to set up the placement, choosing this particular project due the rather

  large and additional funding it received by the Asclepius consortium.


           Jurgen Brunner was a familiar face for Tayla, and she recognised him as he

  approached them immediately, though Jurgen was familiar to her persona as Anna.


           “Anna, Anna my dear, how the devil are you? We still talk about your work on

  your „Antimatter Annihilation Injected Fuel System‟. Such inspired work!” he beamed.


           He looked just as Tayla had remembered him. Smartly dressed in his trademark

  turtleneck sweater and tweed jacket; his broad physique suiting his bearded face and

  mass of golden brown hair.


           “Jurgen, how‟s it all going? I bet this place keeps you busy with all the thousands

  of scientists like me coming back and forth for secondments here.” She smiled and she

  shook his hand firmly. “Look let me introduce you to my assistant Julian Tarway. He

  specialises in bio-nanotechnology, and he‟s been helping me out recently. I thought he

  might have some useful input as well.”


           They smiled and shook hands. He looked across at their luggage, just two large

  holdalls and her trusty guitar. He looked surprised. “Anna, is that the entire luggage you

  have?”


           Tayla looked down at their combined luggage and nodded. “Yep Jurgen, that‟s

  it.”




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         “Look I don‟t know what Fritz has told you about where you are staying, but I‟ve

  arranged for you both to stay in Building 39 in one of the apartments there. It‟s fully

  furnished and it‟s got 2 bedrooms. It‟s fairly basic of course, but it‟s close to where

  you‟ll be working. You can use the number nine bus. It‟ll take you directly to BA1. In

  fact, we‟ve got to catch the fifty six route now to the central depot, and swap to the

  number nine to get to your Hostel. But why am I explaining all of this to you Anna, you

  know all of this already.”


         “It‟s already bringing back lots of memories.”


         “Come on then, if you‟re both ready, let‟s go. It‟s this way. Do you need a hand

  with that luggage at all?”


         Tarway stared at the huge complex as they bussed their way from the Airport and

  long a network of roads and buildings. Inside the complex were restaurants, clubs,

  hostels as well as the main control centre, a library, fire station and car parks spread over

  several kilometres. They were passing though the Meyrin Site, the West Area, built in

  Switzerland, alongside the French border. The colliders themselves were buried deep

  underground on French farmland and away from the main site, but with surface sites

  located around them through various tunnel entrances in both Switzerland and France.


         “Look Tarway, there are the shops... They bring back memories.” Tayla pointed

  out as they passed a small complex of restaurants and shops. “We‟re based towards the

  North Area Tarway, over there; it‟s where the SPS is.” Tarway looked on, taking in the

  surroundings.


         The journey took about thirty minutes. Jurgen chatted with Tayla, reminiscing on

  the changes since she had left CERN over two years ago. Tarway sat and listened


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  quietly, until Jurgen dropped them off to their new temporary home. He handed Tayla

  the keys.


         “Well here we are Anna. Your apartment is number 381 up there on the third

  floor,” he informed them as he pointed upwards at the tall unimpressive grey building.

  “I‟ll leave you both to settle yourselves in now. Er, Professor Heidelberg is expecting

  you, so just present yourselves at his lab in the morning. You know how to reach me if

  there‟s anything else you want.” And turning to face Tarway he smiled politely “Very

  nice to meet you Mister Tarway. I hope you have a pleasant stay.” And with that he took

  his leave of them.


         It was sometime later, after Tayla and Tarway had settled into their apartment on

  the third floor. The panoramic view of the complex gave a clear view to the north,

  presenting buildings and flat open fields stretching on for miles, supporting a sprawling

  urban scape of speckled patches of small edifices all around them.


         Tayla was busy studying the members of the team they would be working with.


         “There‟s eleven members on the team, all bringing their own speciality to the

  project.” she instructed Tarway, who was sitting on a chair opposite her. “Mostly

  European, you know: Denmark, Switzerland, Italy France, UK, Greece, Germany, Serbia,

  Montenegro and two from the US. Now we need to find out which of the top Asclepius

  giants are actually funding this project. If we can find out who they are, it should be

  fairly easy to make enquiries into them, and try and track it back to this vaccine

  programme. We might even find a link with similar vaccine programmes in Europe that

  are running concurrently that these companies might be funding. There could be a link,




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  you never know.” she mumbled as she scanned the sheets, flicking over the pages

  impatiently.


         “Are you up together on this project Tayla? Only we need to look as if we are

  interested in the work here.”


         “Yes of course, look - over there on the top of my holdall. I‟ve got the latest

  Status Report, showing what they‟ve been doing along with their results. Fritz got hold

  of the documents before we left. If we read through those before tomorrow, we should be

  up to speed.” And she briefly looked up from the sheets and looked quizzically at

  Tarway. “And you better start calling me Anna from now on, or you‟ll trip up.”


         Tarway nodded, “Of course, you‟re Anna here aren‟t you?”


         “Uh huh...    so remember that name Tarway. What we are looking into is

  dangerous. If we get discovered looking into things we shouldn‟t be involved in, we‟re

  in trouble. Just look at what‟s happened to Mark and Louisa.”


         “Then you need to call me Julian for the same reason Anna.”


         “Touché Jules. That‟s what I‟ll call you I think.”


         “It makes no difference to me.”


         “Then Jules is what you‟ll be my friend!”


         Just then Tayla‟s mobile phone rang. Tayla jumped as it rang and vibrated on a

  breakfast table in the corner. She jumped up quickly to pick up the phone.


         “Oh it‟s Christian!” she beamed as she saw his name on the screen, and snatched

  the phone to her ear, “Baby, how are you, I‟ve missed you...” she began, and nodded as


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  Tarway decided to discreetly retire to his room, in order to let Tayla speak in private.

  Tayla spoke with Christian for a few minutes, and shortly after she had hung up, Tarway

  re-appeared.


          “Good call?” he asked politely.


          “It was just social, but nice to hear from him. I‟ve never spent time apart from

  him since we got married Tarway. This feels kinda strange, knowing I won‟t see him for

  a while. Sounds silly I know, but it‟s going to be hardest part.”


          “You could do what Fritz and Debbie do, when they work apart...”


          “Which is?”


          “Jump dimensions for a short break and jump back in. You won‟t lose time here

  by doing so.”


          “Oh!”


          “It‟s just an idea.”


          “Well, I‟ll think about it perhaps.” „Is that what they get up to then?‟ she smiled

  to herself.


          “As you like.”


          “Actually, what about you Jules. Don‟t you have anyone special? I mean back at

  the RPB?”


          Tarway chuckled. “Tayla, Anna I‟m a Transbot my dear. Didn‟t you know? I

  work for the Family. One of them created me. Did you meet Hemasta by any chance?




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  I‟m sure you must have? He created me. I was created as a bio-chemist. Hemasta

  programmed me to work at the RPB. I am programmed to provide a service. No more.”


         “Oh my word Jules. But you look so human! Um I don‟t know if I met Hemasta

  actually. Would he have resided at the Meeting Place?” Tayla was clearly taken aback.


         “Yes, he would have had long wavy white hair. Loves to wear green...” Tarway

  said, trying to remind her. He sounded so human to her. She thought hard. Everyone

  who was at the Meeting Place was flamboyant. A long haired beautiful man wearing

  green wasn‟t actually that helpful on this occasion.


         “Probably then, Jules. Is that what Hemasta does?” she couldn‟t remember him,

  but she didn‟t want to offend Tarway, who seemed keen for her to recollect him.


         “Yes, he‟s so extremely creative and imaginative. He has a very original and

  unique skill. There is no-one else like him. He will have designed almost everything on

  Home. He‟s the Creator now. He creates everything on the Home planet.”


         “So are you part human? Or are you totally mechanical?


         “I‟m produced as human, but built with nanobotic parts. Even my blood is

  nanobotic.   While it looks like yours, it‟s much more efficient. It deals with the

  oxygenation to the body far more efficiently. I require less rest. I could be called a

  transhuman, but Hemasta has produced me for a particular function, so he has left parts

  that exist within you out from me. That‟s why I am a Transbot Anna.”


         “My word, this world has a lot to catch up on. The future has already happened.”


         “No Anna, yours is still unfolding. There‟s a difference.”




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            Tayla pondered on his statement. She didn‟t understand him, but she could see he

  would not explain. She suddenly felt quite hungry.


            “Tarway, feeling hungry at all?”


            “A little I suppose, now you mention it, and it‟s Jules – remember?!”


            “Well then Jules,” she began as she searched round for her handbag, “We should

  go and eat. I know a good restaurant around here. It‟ll be my treat.” And she grabbed his

  arm and led him towards the door.


                                                 *   * *


            “It‟s a real pleasure to have you on the team Anna. I‟ just a little curious about

  what your interest is with this Project?” Martin Heidelberg, one of the Project Leaders

  and chief Spokesman for the project asked. He typified the character of a scientist,

  weathered and fractious by nature, with ill matching clothes. None of his apparel had

  been thoughtfully put together, although he managed to look extremely smart. He had

  just finished introducing her and Tarway to the team and familiarising them with the

  work so far. They were in the Laboratory in the Antiproton Decelerator site, standing

  next to a clear box no larger than a fish tank, investigating the use of antimatter to treat

  cancer.


            “Oh Martin, I‟ve always been interested in your work, even when I was working

  on the PETSCAN Project a few years ago. Back then, using Positron Emission

  Tomography was at the forefront of cancer treatment. Now what you guys are doing, is

  leading the way for an improved form of radiotherapy. Tell me, am I right in

  understanding that your results showed that the damage to cells inflicted at the end of the

  beam path was four times higher using the beam of antiprotons.” she asked.

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          “Yes that‟s quite right Anna, to achieve the same level of damage to cells at the

  target area; one needs four times fewer antiprotons than protons. If augmented near the

  end of range, the additional energy deposited locally when antiprotons annihilate, kills

  more cancer cells with less antiprotons than protons. It‟s far more effective and less

  traumatic on the cell tissue of the patient.   Have you had a chance to read our latest

  Status Report on our work by any chance?”

         “I did, but I see there‟s still a fair amount of research to be done yet. Since

  antiproton annihilation also yields a significant component of medium and high-energy

  secondary particles, which will leave the annihilation vertex, you still need to study the

  biological effect of this background on cells outside the direct target area.” she smiled

  “As you know our business Light Jets Enterprises also incorporates the requirement for a

  percentage of the profits to be directed at to fund important scientific projects. The

  profits from our Space-flights are huge, given the five hundred million pound fuel bill per

  trip. With the optimisation of space within the internal design of our craft, we are able to

  make over two hundred million pounds gross profit per trip. We couldn‟t have done it

  without the hundreds of scientists and teams supporting us with our research over the

  years. In fact, we couldn‟t have done it without the assistance of CERN and the LHC.

  That‟s why we‟re keen to assist where we can. Venture capital to fund scientific research

  is always hard. We could potentially donate five million pounds to this project. The AD-

  4 Project is something that I would like us to be associated with. I think it could be a

  major breakthrough in tackling oncogenisis in patients.     But I understand you already

  have other external funding.”

          “PIAT -Particle Irradiation Antiproton Therapy might sound like science fiction

  Anna, but in fact, antiproton therapy may well be clinically beneficial for selected cases.

  We have a lot of interest from the Medical agencies.”

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         “Is Asclepius one of your funding streams?”

         “Why?”

         “Oh, it‟s just that I don‟t want to tread on their toes, that‟s all. They may not be

  happy with our input. You know what they‟re like. They normally only fund these types

  of projects if they obtain one hundred percent marketing rights to the end product. They

  may withdraw funding from you if they knew we were investing in this research too,

  that‟s all Martin.” she pointed out. Martin shrugged. He wasn‟t convinced, but he was

  pleased to have her on the team, even if it were for a short time. He looked across to

  Tarway.

         “Julian, I am sure you will do much to assist us too. You will understand the

  effects of cell degeneration. Look we are about to start a new experiment now, you can

  stay here and watch.”

         The day went smoothly, Tayla and Tarway fitting in easily and eager to assist the

  team. Tayla was enjoying the experience of being back in a laboratory. It was a world

  away of where her previous research on antimatter annihilation for fuel had led her just a

  couple of years ago. But she was well aware of the reason she had become a participant

  in the Project. She needed to find out more about Asclepius, and what else they were

  involved with. Here, she would have access to the Asclepius files, and having full access

  to the CERN intranet, she could easily infiltrate the Asclepius system, to find out what

  they were funding and manufacturing. She wanted to see if they had any involvement

  with the SV40R vaccine. She was convinced they would. But she would have to be

  careful. So for the next few days, she and Tarway attended work, waiting for a good

  opportunity to access the CERN intranet.

         It had been nearly a week now, and Tayla was becoming impatient. She had

  decided that she had to get into the CERN Control Centre. Here she could access

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  administration files, which may give an insight to the history of Asclepius‟s research into

  project both at CERN and elsewhere.

          “Julesee, I think we need to get into the Administration Office in the CCC, but we

  need a good excuse.”

          “That‟s easy Anna tee. Speak to the DPO Officer, Pedro Diaz. He organises

  budget allocations. You can speak to him about your funding proposals. That‟ll get you

  in there. You can simply ask to use one of the rooms for a while, once you‟re in there.”

          “Tomorrow afternoon then.”

          It was easy to explain to Martin why she would be away that afternoon, and

  Pedro, a fairly short and slim man with dark features, was more than happy to see her.

  Tayla spoke to him for an hour or so, genuinely making the donation for the Project.

  Afterwards, she asked if she could make several calls and access her emails and Pedro

  led her to a side office.

          “It‟s private in here Anna; you shouldn‟t be disturbed in here.”

          Once Tayla was convinced she was alone, she logged in and searched for

  information of Asclepius. There were thousands of entries, and Tayla sighed. This was

  going to take longer than she realised. As she ploughed through the entries, she scanned

  the documents as they appeared in screen. Lots of information, but not what she was

  looking for. She decided to narrow the search.

          It had been a few hours, but the time had flown. She was engrossed in what she

  was doing, and jumped when there was a gentle knock at the door. She turned round

  quickly closing down the page as she turned, but to her relief it was Tarway. He looked

  solemn.

          “Tarway, my god but you made me jump just then. What time is it? Is it late?”

          He acknowledged her with a nod, and walked into the small office.

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           “How are you faring? Have you managed to find anything of use to us yet

  Annatee?” as he called her. He had given her this nick-name, for fear of not getting used

  to calling her Tayla, once they were away from CERN. He hadn‟t known her that long

  after all.

           “Jules! I must remember to call you Jules!” she admonished herself quickly, “Yes

  and no. There‟s far too much information about Asclepius. I never realised there would

  be that much, but I‟m narrowing the search to see if that helps,” she explained as she

  brought up the page onto the computer screen again.

           “I hope you don‟t mind, but Fritz sent you a message on the orb. I‟ve just played

  it back. Do you want to see it for yourself? I think you need to.” And he pulled the orb

  from his pocket, and held it out for her to take.

           “What? Play it here? Don‟t you think that might be a bit dangerous?”

           “I‟ve seen it, so I can wait outside the door, while you play it. I‟ll knock if

  someone comes.” he offered, “Let me back in, when you‟re ready.”

           Tayla looked at Tarway carefully. He was obviously keen for her to see Fritz‟s

  message, but gave no clue as to its content. She nodded and spun round to accept the

  orb.

           “Okay, I‟ll play it back. Was it just to me, or did he send it to us all?”

           “To everyone.”

           “Okay.”

           Tarway turned and walked back out, closing the door behind him. Tayla looked at

  the orb and remembered the lessons she had been given on how to use its many

  applications. As she pressed the small indent on the base of the orb, Fritz suddenly

  appeared before her, full size in holographic form. He was sitting on a slab. From the



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  hazy background, she could make out he was in Razul‟s room when he sent the message.

  He looked grave.

           “Sarah and I have spoken with Patterson. I‟ll er - fill you in on him later. The

  reason for this message is brief. Razul tried to stop the drug from doing any more

  damage to Mark and Louisa, but he was unable to. I‟m afraid to tell you that er- I‟ve got

  to tell you – Mark and Louisa died. They are dead.” There was a pause, as he looked to

  the floor, re-composing himself. After a moment, he looked back up, he was clearly

  moved.

           “They must have died in hibernation. The drug must have been killing them before

  we managed to cool them down sufficiently to slow down its effects .No-one knew it was

  already too late for them both. Um, Sarah has decided she needs some time back on

  „Home‟... She is- er, um - understandably upset. She‟s in a chamber now, preparing to

  go back.” And he appeared to look over to somewhere in the room. He must have been

  looking over to Sarah in one of the chambers. “She‟s going to take them back with her.”

  and he cleared his throat. He looked back at Tayla directly. “So I just thought you all

  ought to know. Sorry to bring you such bad news, but I thought it best. Look I need to

  go, so I‟ll see you all soon okay.” The message was over and Fritz had disappeared as

  quickly as he had appeared in the room.

           Tayla was shocked. Memories of Mark flooded her mind and tears ran down her

  face.

           “Ohmygod! Mark and Louisa dead! What must Sarah be going through?” she

  shuddered in horror. A she wiped the tears way, she headed for the door and opened it to

  let Tarway back in.

           Tarway looked at her directly, waiting for her reaction. He could see that she had

  been crying, but right now she looked composed.

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            “Come back in Tarway, I‟ve just seen Fritz‟s message.”

            “Are you okay Tayla?” Tarway asked. This was no time for coded names. It felt

  inappropriate suddenly.

            “Those men killed them over this vaccine Tarway. My god, but who would go to

  those lengths. Why?”

            Tarway shook his head. He had no idea. There was a short silence as both let the

  news sink in. Tarway spoke first.

            “Tayla, look we need to find out what this vaccine programme is. You said you

  had narrowed the search. I think we need to look for the facts now. We have no time to

  waste.”

            Tayla nodded, as sullen and sad as she felt, she agreed they needed to carry on.

            She sighed “I wish Christian were here right now, I really need him right now,”

  and looking at Tarway, “It‟s not you Tarway, I just suddenly really miss my husband.”

  she smiled warmly. “Poor poor Sarah, how will she cope? I hope she‟s gonna be okay

  Tarway?”

            He nodded sadly, but he knew they were running out of time. Tayla had been in

  the office for hours, and he was concerned that someone may come to ask them to leave.

            “Pedro has left his office for the day. While you search the net, I will look in

  Pedro‟s office. See if I can find out anything there?” he suggested.

            “But you might get caught? Aren‟t you taking a risk, some may see you?”

            But Tarway smiled. “I can camouflage myself silly. I‟ll be as good as invisible.”

            Tayla looked surprised, and then realised that nothing should surprise her about

  him.

            “Our skin adapts, and you already know about the material I‟m wearing!” he

  winked. He headed for the door.

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         “I‟ll be back shortly, and then we really must get out of here, before we arouse

  suspicion.” And he was gone.

         Tayla shook her head and looked back to the screen. She recollected what she

  had been doing and re-focused her attentions.

         She punched in „SV40R Vaccine programme and Asclepius’ and pressed search.

         Just four links appeared.

         “Bingo!” she smiled and began to open the links one by onto the computer. As

  each link appeared, she began to download them onto her memory stick. As the

  information was being copied, the stick began to flash. As each link appeared she

  downloaded it onto the stick. Soon, she had got the information she had wanted. She

  would read it later at length, having scoured over the contents briefly, but not enough to

  take in its contents properly. She saved the files and took out the stick and dropped it

  back into her handbag. She quickly closed down the computer, and looked around the

  room briefly. „Now where‟s Tarway?” she thought impatiently. She was now ready to

  go. She sat on the chair, holding her handbag in her knees, looking at the door, waiting

  patiently for Tarway to re-appear. She didn‟t have to wait long. After a few minutes, he

  quietly popped his head around the door. Seeing that she had finished, he smiled.

         “Good Annatee, let‟s go.”

         Tayla jumped up from the chair and headed towards him.

         “Fancy grabbing a bit to eat at that restaurant Martin told us about yesterday

  Julesee?”

         “Manora? The restaurant on the Blandonnet bus route? Next to the Carrefour

  market?”

         “Yes that one, it‟ll do us good I think.”

         “Then lead the way Annatee. Let‟s get out of here.”

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                                               *   * *

         Tayla was sleeping, when she began to feel someone gently kissing the side of her

  face. As she slowly came round, she froze with fear as she realised that she hadn‟t been

  dreaming and that there was actually somebody in the room kissing her. But before she

  could turn round, she felt a finger press her lips tightly shut and she turned to see who she

  had just realised it must be.      She recognised the kiss and she had recognised the

  unmistakable aroma of Christian.

         As she looked at the familiar face she grinned and began to shout out his name,

  but Christian, was sitting by the side if the bed and he was shaking his head.

         “Ssh...” he whispered. “This has to be a short visit baby, but I really wanted to

  see you.”

         “Chris, baby,” she whispered back quietly, “I really missed you today. Mark‟s

  dead, did you know?”

         “I know. That‟s why I‟m here now.” And without another word he kissed her

  tenderly. As she kissed him, she began pulling him into bed with him, pulling him down

  close to her and pulling up his sweater in a motion to pull it off. Briefly he pulled away

  from her and smiled. He quickly undressed and jumped into the warm sheets alongside

  her.

         “I orbed here just to be with you...” he whispered gently, “But I‟ve got to go back

  in the morning baby.”

         She pulled him over to him, pulling him on top of her. “Then we have the rest of

  the night,” she murmured and kissed him hard.

         “I‟ll need to get some sleep baby,” he implored, but he knew Tayla too well. He

  smiled at her as he shook his head, before giving in to her.



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          “It‟s so good that you‟re here... god I‟ve missed you Chrissee baby,” and she went

  on to demonstrate just how much over the next few hours.

          Later, exhausted but satisfied, Christian stroked Tayla‟s hair gently away from

  her face, as he lay on his front gazing at her, with her facing him on her back.

          “It‟s sad about Mark isn‟t it?” he said looking at her deeply, contemplating how

  he would feel if something should happen to Tayla.

          Tayla thought hard, and nodded sullenly. She had tried not to think too much

  about Mark and Louisa.       The memory of them both floating unconsciously in the

  chambers, was too terrible to recall.

          “So, Fritz thinks they were probably dead when we saw them on the RPB?”

          Christian nodded, stoking her hair gently, seeing the pain in her eyes. Tayla

  closed her eyes for a moment, trying to shake the gruesome sight from her mind. She

  wanted to remember Mark as the gentleman he was, young, handsome, particular and

  generous. She opened her eyes and gazed into Christian‟s eyes.

          “Sarah must be feeling awful. She really loved him you know. They were linked

  from conception.    She has never known a life without him.            She will be lost and

  devastated I‟m sure, the poor thing.”

          “It‟ll be a shock to them all baby, remember they live eternally – potentially. It‟s

  rare to die for them... For us, it‟s something we accept. It must be worse for them in a

  way.”

          “But they understand all about death. I remember how coolly Sarah handled the

  death of little Raoul. It affected me more, and I‟ve never met him.”

          Christian thought for a moment,

          “Yeah, but remember, we are all supposed to die at some point. They are not.

  They were made to live forever. When they pair, they pair forever. They never give

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  mortality a thought where they are concerned. I think it will hit them much harder. After

  all, they‟ve realised they aren‟t immortal after all. Even with all the ways of dying have

  been enhanced out, it can still happen.”

          “What do you think Sarah will do now?”

          “I honestly don‟t know. I don‟t think we can guess either. I don‟t think even

  Sarah will know just yet. I think she will need time,” and he kissed Tayla tenderly on her

  lips, “That‟s what I think baby.”

          They were silent for a moment, and then Tayla had a thought.

          “Actually, as you are here, it might be a good idea if you take my memory stick

  back with you. Just in case anything happens here. Whatever, we‟re dealing with, it

  seems dangerous. I‟ll get Tarway‟s stick as well. There might be something interesting

  on there about what they‟re funding and why.” And giving Christian a quick peck, she

  jumped up and out of bed. Rummaging round the floor for a dressing gown, she looked

  round at Christian briefly. “Now don‟t go anywhere, I‟m not finished with you yet,” she

  smiled wickedly. She ran to her handbag perched on the very plain dressing table, and

  dug out the memory stick. She tossed it Christian, before heading towards the bedroom

  door.   Christian lifted his arm and caught it easily in his hand and nodded as she

  disappeared. She was back within a couple of minutes, tossing the object at him to catch

  as she ran in, closing the door firmly behind her. As Christian caught the second object,

  she slipped the dressing gown off and leaped into bed and under the covers in one swift

  move. Christian shuddered as she placed her cold hands around his chest and wrapped

  her feet around his.

          “I‟ll let you sleep soon,” she promised as she nuzzled up to him, ready to resume

  their antics, and feeling his body tightly against hers, she smiled. Christian didn‟t have

  sleep on his mind either.

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          When Tayla finally woke in the morning, the alarm gently beeping in her ear, she

  opened her eyes expecting to see Christian, but he had already gone. She might have

  thought it was a dream, but there was a note on the pillow next her. She smiled with

  pleasure as she reached over for it.

                           “Love you baby... taken your sticks! C. Xx”

          Tayla kissed the note affectionately. What a memorable night, and so unexpected.

  She beamed as she jumped out of bed. She just hoped they hadn‟t disturbed Tarway in

  the other room.


                                             *   * *


          Tayla was fairly cheerful that day. She mourned the loss of Mark of course, but

  she felt comforted by Christian‟s unexpected liaison with her the night before. She was

  pleased that Christian had taken the information she had gathered away with him too. It

  brought home just how merciless this group were. They would stop at nothing to protect

  their intentions.


          As the day wore on, Tayla became engrossed in the experiment Martin and Brad

  were conducting. Late into the afternoon, as she stood in the room, with Nathan, Brad,

  Martin, Jorgen and Tarway, standing over the glass tank filled with gelatine, the door to

  the laboratory opened unexpectedly and a small, slim mousey looking administrative

  assistant walked in. She stood by the open doorway waiting for a response. As they all

  turned to see the unexpected visitor, Tayla looked across to Tarway anxiously. The red

  light had been on outside the door. It was to warn anyone against entering.           An

  experiment was in progress. What could have caused this woman to have ignored this

  protocol?


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         “Er - sorry to interrupt you Martin, but I need Doctor Westwood to come with

  me.”


         Tayla froze, trying hard to keep a calm composure. She looked across to Tarway

  again, who looked back furtively at her. Martin shook his head in frustration at the

  young woman.


         “Really, this is quite unnecessary. Doctor Westwood is busy at the moment. It

  will have to wait. We are not to be disturbed. We are trying to conduct an experiment

  here. Didn‟t you see the red light on outside?” He was irritated by the distraction. “We

  are trying to determine the exact radiation field and what secondary particles are

  produced here. How am I expected to do this with these interruptions?!”


         The young girl looked awkward, but she was not about to leave.


         “I‟m sorry Professor Heidelberg, but I must insist. I need Doctor Westwood to

  come with me now.”


         Martin looked at the girl sharply. He took his glasses off as he studied her,

  wiping them to clear the lenses with his hands.


         “And I have said later!”


         Tayla could see the tension. “Who wants to see me exactly?” she asked. She

  wanted to know herself.


         “It‟s the Swiss Police. There was a break-in to building thirty-nine earlier today.

  We understand some-one broke into your apartment, and they just want to go through

  what you think might be missing.” she stated matter of factly.




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           Tayla froze. She glanced over to Tarway and glared at him. Tarway too, was

  alarmed. Both knew that it would not be in Tayla‟s interest to go with the girl. Tayla

  remained calm.


           “Oh how awful, but really there‟s nothing of value in the apartment that they

  could have taken, honestly. Professor Heidelberg is right; we need to get this experiment

  underway. I‟ll come over to see the Swiss Police later. This is far too important to

  miss.”


           But this time, it was the Professor who insisted she go.


           “Oh my word Doctor, Of course you must go. How terrible that you‟ve been

  broken into.” and turning to the girl; “How come security could have been breached so

  easily. It‟s an absolute disgrace!” he sniped. “Doctor Westwood, you must go along

  with her now. You might be able to help them catch the thief.”


           Nathan spoke up just then, “Did anyone else get broken into?”


           “No, just the Doctor.”


           “No there‟s a surprise!” thought Tayla unsurprised.


           “Then all the more reason you need to go with the young girl my dear.” insisted

  Martin adamantly.


           “But I really don‟t think...”


           “Please - just do as the girl asks. She is quite right. You need to go with her right

  away.” And Martin grabbed her arm in a supportive manner. “We‟ll be fine.”




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         So that was that. She had no choice but to go with the girl. Tayla looked for ideas

  from Tarway.


         “Then I should come along with you, Doctor. After all, it‟s my apartment as

  well.” he volunteered, but the girl was already shaking her head.


         “They only want to see Doctor Westwood. You can remain here.”


         Tarway looked at Tayla. He knew it would be a mistake if she left with the girl.

  Both of them had realised that something was wrong. Tayla suddenly realised that they

  must have been tracking her searches on-line.        They probably knew that she had

  downloaded information onto a memory stick as well. That‟s why they had broken into

  the apartment. They were looking for it. She was shocked at how fast they had acted.

  Thank god Christian had taken the sticks. She froze as she tried to remember what she

  did with Christian‟s note. If they found that, they would know Christian had been there.

  Suddenly she realised that they may try to question Christian as well. Her heart sank.

  Who were these people?!


         “Tarway, be a dear and look after MY COAT for me. It looks as if the young lady

  needs me urgently, and I‟ve left it upstairs in the office. It will be with my bag!” Tayla

  had left the orb in her coat pocket, along with Christian‟s note. At least they wouldn‟t

  know Christian had the memory sticks. As they didn‟t want to see Tarway, she assumed

  that they probably thought she had trespassed in Pedro‟s office too.


         “Will this take long?”


         “No.”




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         “Okay, I‟m coming.” And she walked towards the girl. She had no choice. As

  she passed Tarway she glared at him.


         “If you can mind read Tarway, then get help! And get out of here as soon as you

  can!” He looked at her solemnly. Tayla had no idea if he had read her mind or not.


         “This way Doctor Westwood, I have a car waiting outside.”


         “How helpful of you.”


         And they were gone.


         Martin turned to the others, oblivious that anything should be wrong. He was

  simply frustrated at the interruption and was keen to get on, with or without Tayla.


         “Right back to work. Can someone make sure the red light is on please? I don‟t

  want any more interruptions. Let‟s do it again! Is everyone wearing their safety glasses,

  I‟m about to switch the beam on.”




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                                        Chapter 10




         Fritz had arranged to meet up with Christian on Alpha. He had important news to

  share with him. Sarah had headed back to the Home planet to seek counsel from Rocco,

  taking back Mark and Louisa with her. Whatever was happening on Alpha, she felt sure

  that it involved the Vlorja. Rocco would be able to confirm it; after all, it was she who

  had confined the Vlorja within their own dimension over a hundred thousand years ago.


         She was transporting all three of them back in the „Carrier‟, the same bubble

  shaped object that Christian and the team had travelled across the terrain of Home. It

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  would be quicker this way, and she needed to get to the Meeting Place as fast as she

  could. David had urged her to let him go with her, but she refused. It was something she

  needed to do alone. Mark had been linked to her at their conception. She felt obliged to

  bring him back to Home alone. She felt it more important for David to stay close to Rhea

  and take care of her. Whatever, they had all inadvertently got involved with, it was

  dangerous, and who knew where it might end. No-one was safe now. Everyone needed to

  be extra vigilant. No; she was heading to Home with the bodies of Mark and Louisa.

  Hemasta might be able to discover what Tarway could have missed. Anyway, Rocco

  could tell her more about the Vlorja. They must have discovered how to jump

  dimensions, but how? Only Rocco would know the answer to this, and time was against

  them.   Something had been happening to Alpha, over the years.         Only no-one had

  noticed, or taken it seriously.   Now, it seemed, changes were taking place at an

  exponential rate, and Sarah worried that they needed to stop it, before it was too late.

  Whatever it was, she knew instinctively, that it would end badly for everyone. And if she

  was correct in assuming the Vlorja were involved? She recoiled at the very thought of

  what that outcome would be if it were the case.


          She arrived promptly at the Home planet, and quickly made her way to the

  Meeting Place. Hemasta was there to meet her and recover the two bodies of Mark and

  Louisa. He was taking them from her so that he could perform a post mortem on them

  both. Firstly, to find out what they had died from, and secondly and more importantly for

  Sarah; to see if Mark‟s brains could be saved and re-harvested. It was so very rare that

  anyone from their race ever died now. Genetic experimentation had been perfected to

  eradicate all imperfections of combating disease and ageing. Nanobotic antibodies could

  mutate and deal with any viruses that tried to invade the body. Even parts of the body



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  could re-grow themselves should an accident occur, and the bodies were so strong now,

  they could withstand enormous pressures. They could even heal serious wounds in hours,

  rather than weeks or months. Sarah was insistent that she be present during the post

  mortem on Mark. He watched with intrigue as she watched Hemasta draw blood from

  his body. She coldly watched Hemasta remove his brain, placing it carefully into a

  luminous blue solution, before placing it onto a glass block. Light illuminated the area

  surrounding the brain and on a holographic screen, she watched as Hemasta interpreted

  the readings of neural impulses and coloured patterns that were beginning to appear

  before them. He overlaid them over other three dimensional patterns, deciding what to

  do with each procedure he performed. Sarah never wavered from Hemasta‟s side as he

  worked quietly and diligently. The room in which he was carefully working was simple.

  A halo of random patterns and colours radiated all around the room, in dark neon colours,

  pulsating one moment, before changing to whimsical and dancing punches. Mesmerised

  by the setting around her, Hemasta seem unphased by his surroundings, obviously

  comfortable with the distraction it created. Apart from her and Hemasta, there was only

  Louisa on a glass block covered by a gas surrounding her body, and Mark on the glass

  block to the side of them. He had been dissected carefully by Hemasta in order to find

  out more about his death. She looked into the cold and lifeless face of Mark‟s dissected

  head, knowing that she would never see him again, hoping that somehow Hemasta might

  find enough brain patterns and memory within Marks brain to use and re-programme his

  brain patterns into a new clone. Of course it would never be Mark, but she hoped at least

  this might give her a second opportunity of being linked to a new version of her Mark. It

  was a big hope on Sarah‟s part, but it was the only thing that was holding her together.

  She waited patiently while Hemasta worked, watching; waiting; hoping; serious and



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  silently. Hemasta worked on, performing test after test, comparing results against results.

  More tests, more results. At last Hemasta spoke, but he hadn‟t finished.


         “Sarah, I need to find out why he died so quickly after the drug was administered

  to him. Mark and Louisa should have been able to fight off whatever it was they pumped

  into them. I know you are waiting for answers from me now, but I can‟t give them to

  you. You would be better served to seek out Rocco. Get Capsulan to take you to see her.

  You need to find out all you can about the Vlorja. Do this first, and by then, I might have

  some answers for you.”


         Sarah nodded and smiled briefly at Hemasta. He understood her pain. He was

  feeling her pain too. He understood that it would be unlikely that she would pair again,

  unless he could recover Marks brain patterns. He smiled at her, knowing that she was

  entrusting him with Marks body. She left quietly to seek out Capsulan.


         Capsulan was seated with Kyoto and Daro in the Meeting Place when she arrived

  to see him. Elian was absent from the group.


         “Sit Sarah,” gestured Daro as she approached them.           There was an air of

  solemnity about them. Sarah silently sat down opposite Capsulan. Daro and Kyoto sat

  next to each other; one dressed in white; the other in black, both in long fitted one piece

  tunics which silhouetted their lithe feminine frames perfectly. They had both arranged

  their brilliant auburn hair into long straight locks, falling down around their waists,

  parted sleekly to one side. Capsulan wore his long tunic in rich harlequin colours of red,

  green and blue, accompanied with contrasting gold trousers. Sarah herself, back in her

  natural and beautiful form, looked identical to Daro and Kyoto in physical features,

  except that she was sporting her familiar short mousy brown hair. She was dressed


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  entirely in a dark purple cat-suit, complimenting her large lavender eyes. In any other

  world, these figures would have looked dramatic and spectacular, but here amongst the

  other members in the Meeting Place; they blended effortlessly into the groups around

  them.


          “We‟re sorry about Louisa and Mark, Sarah.” Daro offered quietly.           Kyoto

  nodded in agreement. Sarah acknowledged her sympathies with a gentle nod, but

  remained silent.


          “Fritz mentioned that you think the Vlorja may be on Alpha? Capsulan began, “I

  have spoken with Rocco already, and she wishes to see you. I know you wanted to seek

  her counsel too. She too, believes that they could have broken through the dimensional

  barrier that ensnared them once. She believes that they have probably entered the One

  Dimension, and have been hiding there in suspended hibernation for many hundreds of

  thousands of years, waiting to be re-awakened.” He paused, his face was grave. This

  news came with a calamitous and disastrous significance, and Sarah, along with all who

  understood, felt a ruinous destiny looming. If this was true, then Alpha was just a sign of

  future events to come.


          “What do the other members here think Capsulan?” asked Sarah. “This news had

  implications for everyone.”


          “They understand the severity of the matter. They will leave it to Rocco to deal

  with Sarah. She leads the Warrior team. But I worry if there will be enough of them to

  deal with this problem.” He looked concerned.


          “When can we see Rocco then?”




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         “Now, if you are ready. Elian is already with her. I have stayed behind and

  waited for you.”


         Sarah glanced around the Meeting Place, looking at the other members. They

  looked relaxed and comfortable, socialising and chatting effortlessly. It felt strange

  knowing that they were aware of the seriousness of the news she had brought to them. It

  was evident that they trusted Rocco and her warriors. Rocco had never failed yet. There

  was no reason to believe she would fail now. Rocco had managed to outwit and ensnare

  the Vlorja previously, when they first appeared, and they were a most powerful adversary

  then. There was no reason to doubt why she could not do the same now. The only

  problem now was that it was clear that they must have managed to mutate yet again. Into

  what though? This was the question they needed to know.


         Sarah jumped up and nodded to Kyoto and Daro.


         “What will you do now Sarah?” Kyoto asked unexpectedly.             Sarah knew

  instinctively what she meant.


         “I honestly don‟t know Kyoto. Everything has changed for me. I just hope

  Hemasta can retrieve the brain patterns from Mark. It gives me a glimmer of hope. It‟s

  selfish I know, but it‟s all I have to hang onto right now. His death is something I‟ve

  never had to contemplate before.”


         “And if Hemasta cannot? This drug – it‟s managed to destroy our immune

  system so easily. It may have destroyed his brain as well Sarah?” Daro reminded her.


         Sarah looked across to Daro, and saw that she was holding onto Kyoto‟s hand.

  Daro knew the devastation Sarah must be feeling by losing someone she had loved for

  many years. It must have aroused in her the fear of how she might feel in losing Kyoto,

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  and she had instinctively looked to hold Kyoto‟s hand, to know she was still there with

  her. Sarah shook her head.


         “As I said Daro, I honestly don‟t know. All I do know is that I want to find out

  all about the Vlorja and how to stop them.” She turned to Capsulan, who had stood up

  and was now standing by her side, “Shall we go Capsulan?” and turning back to Daro

  and Kyoto, she smiled affectionately at them both before turning away with Capsulan

  towards the exit point.


                                      *   * *


         Rocco was on her own planet, a moon close to the Home planet. She had called it

  Psi. Her pod, the same in design as everyone else and like Fritz‟s, was a black glossy

  sphere, balanced on the same thin wire band and tripod. Rocco‟s planet was much

  smaller, and gravity here was much less pronounced. The gaseous atmosphere created a

  misty turquoise and lilac environment; visibility on this planet was so limited; perhaps

  fifty or sixty metres could be seen before the view became enveloped in the mist. Here

  there was an artificial light generated by deflected sunrays from suns millions of light

  years away. Even at these distances it produced a soft glow, like a constant sunrise or

  sunset. Lighter than on Home, this planet did not have the obstruction of the huge moon.

  Perhaps this was why it could receive more light. Sarah had never really understood this.


         Inside the pod, Rocco sat with Elian, Mystar, Flisha and Ox. Xylem surprisingly

  for Sarah was absent.


         “Where‟s Xylem?” she quizzed.


         Rocco looked at Elian awkwardly and glanced across to Capsulan, before

  returning her gaze back to Sarah.

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            “Xylem is on an errand for me. She will be back later.” But Sarah was persistent.

  This was a serious crisis. What could be more important than being at the meeting?

  What errand could be more important, especially as they were all waiting for Sarah to

  arrive?


            “What kind of errand Rocco?”


            “It does not need concern you Sarah. We have other concerns too. Xylem will be

  back shortly.” Rocco was firm and resolute. She was not going to give Sarah her reasons

  for Xylem‟s absence. Capsulan knew and he felt sudden warmth for Rocco. Rocco was

  protecting Xylem‟s feelings of guilt for introducing Kyoto to Daro. Xylem understood

  what a sacrifice it was for Capsulan to simply let Daro be with Kyoto, after years of

  being linked with her. Before Kyoto had come along, Daro had been perfectly happy

  with Capsulan. Xylem had never forgiven herself for what she had done to Capsulan,

  even though Capsulan had never blamed Xylem for what had happened. Rocco glanced

  briefly at Capsulan, wondering if he had guessed. From his smile she guessed he had.


            “Look Sarah, Rocco knows what she is doing. Let us concentrate on why we are

  here. Xylem will return when she is ready.” Capsulan consoled. Sarah looked at him for

  a moment, and decided he was right.


            “Of course...” she agreed, and turning to Rocco, “Rocco, I think the Vlorja might

  be on Alpha. We need your help. Let me tell you why.” and Sarah began her tale.


            When she had finished, Rocco had some news for Sarah too.


            “Sarah, I think you are right. As sad and appalled at the very idea of it, I believe

  you are right. I believe that they are there and that they have been there for perhaps six

  or seven years already. If you hadn‟t alerted us now, who knows what we might have

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  had to have dealt with. Already, it is very serious, perhaps too late for Alpha, who

  knows, but at least we can make sure we stop them from invading other life sources

  within our dimensionalities.” Rocco paused for a moment, “We think we know how they

  escaped the dimension I had prepared for them originally Sarah,” she continued with

  some hope in her voice. Sarah was intrigued.


         “But the news of how they crossed dimension is worrying.             I believe they

  managed to tunnel through to the One Dimension. The One Dimension would seem the

  most obvious, as it sits over all dimensions. I think it was inevitable, but I believe that

  just a few of the Vlorja managed to tunnel into the One Dimension and they stayed there,

  floating there in suspended hibernation for many hundreds of thousands of years, waiting

  to latch onto a life-form. I believe that one of us must have carried it to the Alpha

  creation, perhaps six or seven years ago, without realising it.”


         Sarah suddenly felt a pang of guilt. “Do you think it could have been me?” She

  needed to ask. How ironic that would be if it were so. She looked around the room at the

  faces. Rocco grabbed her shoulder, comforting her, smiling gently at her.


         “Sarah, we think we know who it could have been. Of course it wasn‟t you.

  Think about it Sarah, if the Vlorja had hijacked you, what would be the first thing they

  would have done to you, given their nature? And anyway Sarah, most of us only visit the

  One Dimension for short periods. The Vlorja wouldn‟t have enough time to suspect that

  a life-form was there. No it would need to be someone who may have spent months in

  the One Dimension perhaps. The Vlorja would sense that life-form.” Sarah thought for a

  moment and then nodded.




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         “Rocco of course. They would need time to even detect a life-form. Vlorja are

  only programmed to destroy. They have no other function. Whoever it was that they

  found would be dead now.” Sarah said resolutely. But Rocco was shaking her head.


         “Sarah, the Vlorja are extremely clever.        They are constantly learning from

  previous hosts and learning new techniques of invasion and survival. They‟ve had a

  hundred thousand years to mutate. These Vlorja are a new generation of Super Vlorja.

  They have changed their patterns of invasion and destruction. They are smart. Instead of

  killing the host once inside them this time, they have kept it alive.”


         Sarah looked horrified. She understood what Rocco was saying.


         “You believe that these Super Vlorja's have somehow integrated themselves into

  the host and done what to them?”


         “Found its weakness. By understanding how the host thinks and behaves; how it

  interacts with its race. They can destroy them by finding their weakness and using it

  against them. Its how an aggressor is taught to deal with its enemy. By acting as a

  parasite within its host and in that way, changing the way they destroy life-forms, it

  would make it harder for us to detect their presence. They hoped to destroy the life-force

  there without raising suspicion. They know I will be looking for them. They have

  infiltrated the human form, only because one of Us introduced the Vlorja to them.

  Undoubtedly, they will progress to all the other life-forms there too eventually. That‟s

  what they would be programmed to do. They would certainly be intent of destroying

  everything on the planet, before floating off into space looking for other living planets

  that are within that dimension. And who knows, once in space, and with the information

  gained from the destruction of Alpha, they would certainly have remembered how to


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  tunnel again. Some of the Vlorja would seek to tunnel through to another dimension, and

  wreak destruction there.” Rocco sighed. Mystar looked hopeful as she interrupted.


         “Even if they have been on Alpha for seven or so years, there is still time. The

  Vlorja work slowly. It may take them a thousand years to destroy a whole planet. They

  will still be mutating to overpower the human condition. They‟ve changed tactics this

  time. They are not killing them off directly. Now they have become cunning and

  calculating. They are aware that Rocco will be looking out for them, so they are in

  disguise. It was very fortunate that you spotted the signs Sarah. I don‟t know if the

  Vlorja are aware that we know about them now. Let‟s hope they don‟t.”


         But Sarah looked serious. “They don‟t know yet, but the Vlorja are an intelligent

  machine. If they have mutated to this level already, who knows what would be a trigger

  to set off suspicion that we know. And then what. Knowing them from how they destroy

  historically, they will quickly mutate again. Their game- plan will change.”


         Capsulan looked sad. “These Vlorja‟s were the naive work of the Vortans from

  Vorta. They wanted a genetically intelligent machine dedicated to warfare, without

  emotion or conscience, fixated purely on the thrill of the kill, without thought for

  anything else or consequence.      The Vortans have damned us all for eternity for

  developing those damn combat machines to fight the very first human life-form on the

  earliest known Creation, trillions of millions of year ago. What a nemesis they created for

  us all way back then. We have lived with their damned nemesis ever since. And just

  look how the Vlorja have changed since those times. Those early primitive forms of

  android machines with humanised computerised parts.          They copied and translated

  humanlike behaviours, until they created themselves into what they have become...”



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         “– becoming – they‟re still evolving as we speak.” interrupted Flisha, her

  eyebrow raised in quiet admiration for their capabilities.


         “Yes, are becoming,” agreed Mystar correcting herself, “From small fighting

  machines, to tiny microscopic parts then, able to re-assemble or create new machines.”


         “Yes, but now it appears that they are nanobotic now. This is what I believe they

  have achieved. They have mutated themselves down to the nanoscopic level to created

  new ways to destroy. Now they have entered a new era of self creation. The tactics have

  changed too. Now they can now take over the life-form from within and manipulate it to

  destroy each other. How ingenious!” Rocco corrected both of them. “They have become

  invisible in order to protect themselves from detection. They certainly know how to

  survive.”


         “So who do you think it was Rocco? Do you have some idea?” asked Sarah keen

  to know who it might have been. Perhaps she knew them.


         Rocco looked at her. She looked confident when she spoke.


         “I do, I‟m fairly sure anyway.” She began, “I think it was probably Julian.”


         “Julian? Who is he? I don‟t think I know him Rocco...” Sarah was struggling to

  remember any such Julian.


         “I don‟t know if you know him Sarah. But Julian was sent to Alpha on a mission

  about a hundred and seventy years ago, and he‟s been working there anonymously for

  years. Recently, he was sent to guide an important American politician during the early

  years of the 1950‟s. But I think Julian was infected with the Vlorja during an incident in

  the One Dimension about seven or eight years ago. We know that he spent quite some


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  time in the One Dimension. I think that‟s when he became infected. I think they have

  altered his mind into corruption and greed. He has since recruited others on their behalf

  and we believe we know who they could be – Things are beginning to make sense to us

  now. I believe he told others humans too, - about us and the technologies we possess.

  Instead of guiding this politician, I believe he traded secrets with him, for power. None

  of our guiders have ever digressed what they were for such a futile gain. It‟s absurd...

  unless you have been infected that is.” explained Rocco simply. She looked at Sarah to

  see if she understood.


         “When we look back over the changes between Alpha and Beta, we can see where

  there are incremental changes. It would appear that the changes started to happen around

  this time, and that this appears to be the earliest major difference between the two

  planets.” she added. Sarah nodded. This would make sense. “Of course, we never

  suspected Julian of divulging any information at the time. It is only now that you have

  raised the matter of the Vlorja that we have begun to investigate. It would appear that

  Julian may have studied his student before his assignment. He must have used the One

  Dimension and remained in there for several months. It was there that he was infected by

  the Vlorja. They had mutated into this new form, and this time they are taking over the

  consciences of their hosts, manipulating their minds. As nanobotic organisms, they could

  easily penetrate the human skin.” Again Rocco paused. “Tarway suggested that infection

  from one human to another could be achieved in many ways. It relates to the tube of gel

  you recovered Sarah. It caused Tarway a headache for a while. He consulted with

  Hemasta in the end. The gel is a sealant – like a liquid coating, but Tarway had no idea

  why they would use it. If you were to spread it over the body, it would cause instant

  suffocation. The molecules were so densely packed together. He couldn‟t understand



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  what it could have been used for. It was Hemasta who suggested it might have been used

  for protection of a kind. Tarway realised that it must have been to protect the humans,

  and that‟s why we believe the Vlorja have developed a way of transferring themselves

  between humans through physical contact of some kind. But what we can‟t understand is

  - if the Vlorja are looking to infect themselves amongst the human population, then why

  produce a sealant to stop them infecting people. It doesn‟t make much sense to us. ”


         “They are producing this sealant under another use – they‟ve called it an

  antibacterial gel. Anyone will be able to purchase this gel shortly. They even plan to

  market it and make money from it too. They are truly incredulous.” Elian sighed.


         Sarah nodded. “So those two men, they must have covered their hands in the gel,

  to protect them from Mark and Louisa, in case they were infected already?”


         “Or they had been dealing with others who were infected already, who knows?

  The Vlorja might even be selective over who gets infected by them. They could have

  been trying to prevent Mark and Louisa from being infected by them. That‟s something

  to think about.” Flisha contemplated.


         “All we know is that the gel prevented some from being infected by the Vlorja.”

  agreed Mystar.


         Sarah pondered this idea for a moment. The Vlorja were infecting people with

  their virus, yet they were allowing some to be protected from them. What kind of game

  were they playing? Then she had a thought.


         “Ohmygod!” she exclaimed suddenly looking at the faces around her. She looked

  at them incredulously. They hadn‟t realised. She stared at Capsulan, before looking

  directly at Rocco.

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         “Don‟t you see what they are doing? They are playing with their hosts. They are

  trying to persuade them that only the elite are worthy of being infected by them. They

  have actually found a way of infecting people willingly. They have made sure that they

  infect the strongest of the population. The most influential. They are using them to

  manipulate the race to turn against each other. They are making their infection elitist!

  The bloody cheek of it as Debbie would say!” she exclaimed in shock at her revelation.


         “The Vlorja must have persuaded these people that being infected by them is

  good for them, and those who are infected are „special‟ in some way. So they are

  producing a gel for everyday use by millions to ensure that only the most select get

  infected. They‟ve got the humans believing that it is somehow advantageous for them to

  have the Vlorja inside them as hosts. It‟s been done so covertly, because they don‟t want

  it getting back to Rocco that they escaped their imprisonment. But the Vlorja inside their

  hosts are manipulating them to destroy the rest of the population by other means. Little

  do those people know that that the Vlorja are just using them? They are destined to die

  just like everyone else. The Vlorja don‟t need life-forms to survive. They are purely

  programmed to seek out life-forms and destroy them by any means. How calculating is

  that! By doing it like this, they avoid being discovered as being the cause of the mass

  annihilation of the planet. By having the population kill each other, no-one would ever

  think that the destruction of the planet would be the work of the Vlorja. It would be

  blamed on the human‟s psychopathic desire for control over everything. It would leave

  the Vlorja free to massacre freely elsewhere. My god but they really have mutated

  Rocco!”




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          “How ingenious.     They must have re-programmed themselves against being

  caught again.” Rocco pondered. “It was excellent work that you discovered their

  presence Sarah. Now at least we know what we are up against.”


          “At least Fritz, Debbie, David and Rhea have retained their strengths. It will go

  some way to protect them against the Vlorja.         Christian and Tayla are genetically

  enhanced now as well. I wonder if they know to what extent?” Sarah considered. “They

  are very fortunate though, even if they don‟t know it yet.”


          “Sarah, I will be training the team to deal with the Vlorja on Alpha. At some

  point we need to meet up with Fritz and Christian. We will inform them of what we

  know. I will get Hemasta to investigate what he needs to produce for us, in order that we

  can fight the Vlorja, and defeat them. Sarah, do you want to stay here for the time being.

  Let us sort this out this time. You may be better served to work with Hemasta while he

  studies the disease in detail. Whatever happens, we will all need protection from the

  Vlorja. They have developed ways of overwhelming our antibodies too. No-one is safe

  from them.” Rocco determined as she spoke to Sarah.


          “It‟s up to you Rocco. I will serve us in whatever way is most beneficial to us all.

  I‟m not afraid of the Vlorja though.” she answered resolutely.


          “That is my desire Sarah. How do you feel Capsulan? She is part of your team

  after all?”


          Capsulan nodded in agreement, “She stays here and assists Hemasta for now.”


          “Then it is settled, I will stay here on Home. Will you send my regards to Fritz

  and the rest of the team when you see them please?” And after a pause “David – send my



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  special regards to David.     He will be feeling very sad at the moment.      Mark was

  especially close to him.”


          “Of course. Then we should be going shortly. We need to see Hemasta first.”

  Rocco said finally.


          “I think Xylem will be required to join us Capsulan.” Ox suddenly realised. She

  had been quiet up until now. She understood Xylem‟s awkwardness around Capsulan.

  Capsulan smiled at Ox. He looked at her with her short spiky red hair. It was cut in such

  a boyish fashion, so much like Ox‟s own character. Quiet in crowds, but she was known

  to be a fearless and brave warrior.


          “I know you are close to Xylem Ox, I look forward to working alongside her.

  Why don‟t you let her know? She need not feel uncomfortable around me. The incident

  has passed a long while ago now. We must all move on.” He smiled. “I know you care

  for Xylem Ox. What happened between Kyoto and Daro was inevitability. It has little to

  do with Xylem. She has you now, so you see how it was meant to be.” Capsulan grabbed

  Ox‟s shoulders and squeezed her sympathetically. Ox seemed reassured by his words.

  She smiled broadly.


          “I will go and seek her now. Rocco, if it is okay with you, may I go and seek out

  Xylem? We will join you at the Re-positioning Base and wait for you all there?”


          Rocco smiled and nodded kindly at Ox before turning to Capsulan with a wry

  look.


          “What do you think of my team then Capsulan?”




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            “I like them very much Rocco. Very much indeed!” he replied mysteriously.

  Rocco smiled, satisfied by his response.


            “Then I‟m off to find Xylem now everyone. I will see you all soon.” And with

  that Ox pulled out her orb and was gone in a flash of brilliant light.


            “We all need to get going. We have no time to lose.” reminded Capsulan. He

  took hold of Rocco‟s hand. “Shall we travel together?” and Rocco smiled coyly at him as

  she glanced into his eyes.


                                    *   * *


            “Did you manage to save anything of Mark, Hemasta?” Sarah was looking hard at

  Hemasta now. She had been sitting with him for the past hour. She was too afraid to ask,

  but she could sense that something was wrong. Hemasta was avoiding the subject of

  Mark deliberately, and he must have known that it would have been uppermost in Sarah‟s

  mind when she walked in to him earlier. Instead he had told her that he had begun the

  process of re-cloning two new beings. He looked uncomfortable as he looked at her

  warily.


            “Only a very little Sarah,” he conceded finally, and her heart sank, but he

  continued, “I could try and re-clone Mark with what I had managed to retrieve from his

  brain, but it will only produce an imitation of Mark. I‟m not able to rejuvenate Mark as

  he was. I just don‟t have enough of his brain patterns to do that. The drug affected parts

  of his brain severely. Much of his memory was taken away. I could only retract his

  personality traits. I don‟t know if that will be enough for you Sarah?” he looked her

  forlornly. He wanted to give her better news. He knew this was not was she was hoping




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  for, but it was all he could offer her. He saw her eyes fill and a single tear drop onto her

  cheek, as she tried to remain strong.


         “No memories at all?” she almost whispered, as she tried to hold back the tears.

  She had been strong up until now. Up until now, there had been hope. Now hope had

  gone. The realisation that Mark was really irretrievably dead had just hit her.


         “I could re-create a new version. He would have the same personality.”


         “What? A new Mark?”


         “In a way I suppose. It‟s the best I can offer you Sarah.”


         Sarah looked deep into Hemasta‟s eyes, searching in them for answers; she was

  confused; she knew what she wanted to say, but she wasn‟t sure if it was the right one. It

  was right for her, but would it be right for the new Mark. She closed her eyes and turned

  away. Emotions ran through her body like huge waves against resistant rocks. After a

  moment, she turned around to face Hemasta once more.


         “And what about Louisa? What are you planning to do about Louisa?” Perhaps

  knowing what Hemasta had planned for Louisa would help her come to a decision about

  Mark, but his answer cut right into her, painfully exposing her gentler nature.


         “I cannot save Louisa. I will start again with the clone. I may give it the same

  hair colour perhaps, but it will be a new clone. There will be nothing of Louisa in it.” He

  sounded so cold, but perhaps he was doing this deliberately for her sake. She inhaled

  deeply and let out a long breath after he spoke.


         “I‟m not as strong as I thought I was Hemasta, I cannot let you do that where

  Mark is concerned. He meant too much to me.” she began, “No, I want you to adapt the

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  new clone brain with as much of Mark‟s patterns as you can. At least it will have his

  personality.” She decided, and then she faltered, “You say, that you cannot retrieve any

  of Mark‟s memories?” She had to be certain.


          Hemasta sighed “Some, but I don‟t know what they will be Sarah, or how many,

  but I can try – if that‟s what you want me to do. But I can‟t promise they will be of value.

  His memory patterns were severely affected by the drug as I said, but there were still

  some – a few...”


          Sarah looked earnestly into Hemasta‟s eyes. She wanted him to see the honesty

  and sincerity in her words.


          “Then put them into the new clone too Hemasta – for me. I will take care of the

  new clone when you have made him, I need to.”


          Hemasta looked at Sarah carefully, “If that is what you want me to do Sarah, then

  I will, but remember it won‟t be Mark.” he reminded her, and she nodded agreeing with

  him,


          “But he will have the same personality Hemasta, those little quirks that are Mark.

  This new clone will have those attributes, and if I‟m lucky he might have some memories

  of Mark too. That is enough for me.” And she smiled warmly at Hemasta.


          “I will do this for you Sarah, but Louisa‟s replacement will be completely new. I

  will not use anything from Louisa... no actually, I think I will give her Louisa‟s hair – as

  a tribute to her. Shall I give Mark‟s replacement clone some of Marks hair too, I could

  do that for you if you like me to?” offered Hemasta thoughtfully, but Sarah shook her

  head.



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          “No. As you said „he‟ will not really be Mark. I want him to look like his own

  person. It‟s only fair, and Hemasta, - there is something else I want from you.” and she

  hesitated as Hemasta looked at her quizzically. “I want him to be linked with me.” she

  said finally, “So perhaps a totally different type of hair would be more appropriate for

  this new clone don‟t you think?”


          Hemasta nodded and thought. After a moment, he offered a suggestion;


          “I will colour them both with Louisa‟s hair colour – pale blonde and wavy.”


          Sarah nodded. Mark‟ hair had been golden and thick. Not the same, but similar.


          “Pale blonde it is then Hemasta. That sounds good, and it will always remind me

  of how Mark tried to protect Louisa. It will connect the two of them, now they are dead.”

  She was happy with this suggestion.


          “Let me know, when they are ready to emerge, I want to be present with you. I

  want to welcome them into the world.” she said finally, before she left Hemasta to create

  them.




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                                           Chapter 11



          “David and Rhea will be here shortly Fritz.” Christian was at his computer as

  Fritz popped on the switch to the kettle.


          “So I take it our new HQ is going to be your kitchen right Cap-itarn!” Fritz smiled

  as he looked over to Christian. But Christian was absorbed in his laptop on the kitchen

  island in the middle of the room. He looked up briefly to see Fritz beaming at him, and

  looked at him quizzically. He hadn‟t been listening.


          “Sorry Fritz what was that again?” he sounded apologetic as he focused upon

  Fritz, standing by the kettle.


          “I said...” he stated clearly, seeing he had Christian‟s attention, “I take it that your

  kitchen is going to be our new HQ?” and he smiled, as he saw Christian look awkwardly

  at him. Fritz shook his head and laughed.




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         “Nice HQ Cap-itarn – that‟s all. I‟ve put the kettle on, and there‟s enough water

  in it for everyone, when they get here.”


         Christian smiled as he glanced around the bright red kitchen. He understood what

  Fritz meant. Not the traditional swanky, severe, high tech room filled with gadgetry

  grounded by a huge long table in the middle. Still some of his kitchen appliances were

  state of the art he thought as he looked round, and the breakfast island he was sitting

  against, constituted some kind of symbolic table.


         “Well, it‟s convenient here, and I get a good Wi-Fi reception from this room.” he

  pointed out helpfully.


         “What are you looking at Chris; you seemed fascinated by whatever it is?”


         “Umm yeah, I saw Tayla last night...” and he nodded while Fritz raised an

  eyebrow, “Yeh, well if you can orb, why not I say,” he commented briefly, “No but, the

  point of that was, that she and Tarway managed to download some information on these

  two sticks,” he said as he held up one of them to show Fritz quickly, and placing it back

  onto the granite worktop, “And she asked me to take them back with me, which I did, and

  I‟m just going through what Tayla managed to download on hers.” he finished as he

  turned back to look at the screen on his laptop. Fritz walked over to him and stood

  behind him looking at the screen. He bent forward slightly. He wanted to see the screen

  more clearly over Christian‟ shoulder.


         At first glance, it appeared to be just a list of contributions made by Asclepius,

  with dates against particular projects. It didn‟t seem to be particularly interesting. As

  Christian and Fritz scanned the page, they frowned. Nothing particularly out of the

  ordinary. Still Tayla thought it important enough to copy it, so she obviously thought so.


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          “What else did she copy Chris?”


          Christian closed the file and opened up another one. More lists of contributions

  and dates. This time a different set of projects.


          “Okay, what else?”


          Christian opened up several more files showing similar entries. Just then the

  kettle whistled and the switch clicked itself off. Fritz turned around to look at the kettle.

  It had just finished boiling.


          “Shall I do the honours?” Fritz asked politely.


          Christian sat upright and stretched himself. “No matey, I can do it. Just keep

  opening the files, and tell me what you see.” he offered, as he swivelled on the barstool,

  before jumping off to make them both a hot drink.


          Fritz continued to open the files. Most of them were similar.


          “More of the same Cap –itarn, nothing exciting yet...”


          “Keep going, she must have had a good reason for copying those files.”


          As Christian walked over to Fritz with a mug of coffee for him, Fritz decided to

  try the other memory stick which was lying by the side of the laptop. He picked it up and

  pushed it into the slot at the side of the computer.


          “Let‟s see what Tarway‟s managed to download for us...” Fritz murmured as he

  waited for the stick to activate.


          As they waited for the first file to open, they stared at the screen in anticipation,

  waiting to see what Tarway had found. But once again, Tarway had downloaded files of

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  contributions made to various medical research projects; only this time contributions

  made specifically for CERN by Asclepius, over the previous few years. Fritz shook his

  head; he was confused as to the relevance of what he was looking at.


         “More of the same Chris, but Tarway‟s are specific to CERN‟s research funding

  by Asclepius.” He paused for a moment before adding, “I must say though, they are huge

  contributions. I bet the team leaders of these projects were relieved to get this kind of

  backing for their research projects. Must have made their research easier to justify,” was

  the only comment that Fritz could think of to say about what he was looking at. “I mean

  look at that one for instance...” and he turned round to see if Christian was looking at the

  screen, before turning back to the screen to point at one particular entry made three years

  earlier for what appeared to be a small project on „Antiprotons and Cell Damage‟.”


         “Yeh, does seem a huge amount, but isn‟t that what Tayla‟s sort of involved with

  for this project she‟s working on now?” he queried.


         “Yes, I think you are right. Perhaps it something they are keen to see work in the

  future. Would have been quite a radical project to fund back then though,” Fritz

  pondered.


         Christian nodded and shrugged his shoulders. Weren‟t all projects radical?


         Fritz opened up another file.


         “Yes Chris look. Tarway had downloaded the current contributors for the AD4

  Project here, and look - quite a few funding it this time.     And there‟s Asclepius just

  there. But they‟re still the major contributor to the project. They obviously believe in the

  work they are doing.”



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         “Yep.” Christian agreed resolutely, as he stood up straight to stretch his back.

  „Nothing out of the ordinary so far,‟ he thought. “When are David and Rhea due here?”

  he suddenly asked and looked at his watch.


         “About now dude!” smiled David as he walked into the kitchen, with Rhea right

  behind him. David was happy to see Christian and Fritz, but it was clear to Christian and

  Fritz that David looked sad.


         Christian smiled widely as he walked up to David and gave him a bear hug,

  before releasing him to gently plant a kiss on the left cheek of Rhea.


         “Rhea, how are you both?” Christian asked politely to both of them. He waited

  while David and Fritz hugged each other, and Rhea kissed Fritz as he hugged her. David

  turned round and managed a big smile.


         “Great to see you man, that‟s for sure.” he began, “though it‟s been hard taking in

  the news about Mark. - And Louisa.”


         There was a moments silence as they all remembered the tragedy that had

  befallen both Mark and Louisa. David was the one to break the silence.


         “Of course, it‟s been toughest on Sarah. She‟s taken them both back to Home.

  She was the last to speak to him.” And once again there was silence.


         Christian walked back over to the kettle. He clicked it back on and waited for it

  to boil again in silence. Whatever Rhea and Louisa had discovered inadvertently, it was

  worth killing for to protect whatever it was from being exposed. He shuddered as he

  thought of the naivety of Mark and Louisa.


                                               *   * *

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         “This way Doctor Westwood.” said the cold voice of the woman who had come

  to collect Tayla on behalf of the Swiss Police. Tayla‟s brain was racing with fear and

  how she could escape the woman, without raising the alarm. They must have guessed

  her motives of the night before. She looked at the woman, who was gripping her arm

  tightly as they were walking down the corridor towards the exit. Fairly average height;

  early twenties probably; smart suit, but not what she would wear normally. This woman

  looked strangely out of place in a suit. Tayla didn‟t know why, she had never met her

  before. As she looked more closely, she realised why. The clothes hung badly from her

  small frame. These clothes were obviously borrowed. That‟s why she looked strange in

  her suit. Panic surged through Tayla. She remembered what had happened to Mark and

  Louisa, and now she felt a looming doom approaching her. She looked around, searching

  for escape routes. She walked besides with the woman in a daze. She was walking, but

  she was unaware of how. She felt strangely nauseas.


         “You‟re not with the Swiss Police are you?” Tayla stuttered to her as they

  walked. She felt the grip tighten briefly, but the woman continued to look straight ahead.


         “No.” was her only reply.


         “So where are you taking me then?” Tayla was clearly afraid. The woman must

  have sensed the fear in her voice, and looked across to her briefly.


         “We are not going to hurt you, if that‟s what you‟re thinking.” she replied as she

  turned her face back to see where she was going, her grip on Tayla as tight as ever.


         “So who are you? What do you want from me? Where are you taking me?”




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          “Quiet! There‟s the car now.” She pointed as she quickened her pace and pulled

  Tayla who had to run to keep up. Before Tayla could react, she had been shoved into the

  back seat of a black BMW saloon, and the woman had hopped in beside her.


          “Go!” she demanded to the driver as she slammed the door shut. “Let‟s get out of

  here now!” and the car sped off expertly. The woman turned to face Tayla, their faces

  barely a foot apart.


          “You‟re involved with that Doctor Morgan guy aren‟t you?” she blasted at Tayla,

  who reeled back in horror at her expression. Hurriedly, she remembered that here on

  Alpha, they weren‟t married, but ex lovers she seemed to recall. She did work for him,

  although, she wasn‟t quite sure what the latest news was about them now. She knew that

  Light Jet Enterprises was well publicised and that Christian was known globally for his

  contribution to interstellar space travel. How she fitted into his life now, she was unsure.

  She wasn‟t expecting to have to charade to this extent.


          “Well!” demanded the woman curtly. Tayla nodded limply, not knowing how

  best to reply.


          “Good, then you are the one we are after!”


          Tayla was even more confused.


          They drove in silence for about an hour. They had crossed over the French

  border, so Tayla knew she was now in France. After a while, the car left the main route,

  and began to drive along a series of minor roads. Tayla was trying to take in landmarks.

  She had every intention of escaping just as soon as she had an opportunity. She was

  relieved that she was still alive. No-one had drugged her – yet. It was beginning to get

  dark now; the sky was a pinky-orange. She could make it out through breaks in the tree

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  covers. Large pines dominated both sides of the road and their height seemed to drain

  the last bit of light left in the sky. As Tayla looked across to the silhouette of the woman

  sitting next to her, she noticed how serious and focused she looked as she stared out of

  the window. She had not spoken since the beginning of the journey. The driver in front

  seemed confident as he sped along the darkened roads; front beams illuminating the road

  ahead. He looked about thirty or so to Tayla. He didn‟t look particularly menacing, but

  then she had never met any menacing kidnappers before. She didn‟t know what a

  kidnapper should look like when she thought about it hard enough. Certainly she didn‟t

  believe them to look like the caricatures depicted in low budget films. But this man

  looked fairly ordinary. Not particularly burly either. He had short brown hair, worn like

  hundred of men she‟d seen. He could pass unnoticed in a crowd easily. He looked like

  so many people. As she watched him drive, she could see he was wearing a blue shirt;

  but that‟s all she could see of him.


         Although every part of her body was telling her to create a scene somehow; to

  escape; the words the woman had told her earlier, replayed itself constantly in her mind

  „We‟re not going to hurt you... we‟re not going to hurt you...‟ Strangely, these words

  were a comfort to Tayla. Why? She had no idea. She had no reason to believe this

  woman was telling Tayla the truth, but as she looked at the pair in the dark just now, they

  seemed totally uninterested in her. They were keen to reach their destination. For now at

  least, Tayla felt safe. She would seek an opportunity to escape soon though.


         The driver had turned off the tarmac road and was driving slowly up a dirt track.

  Tayla could hear the pine twigs snapping beneath the wheels, as they drove over them.

  The air was silent around them. As she looked ahead, she could see a small wooden

  shack up ahead. She froze. She knew the journey was over. Now what?


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         As the car stopped, the woman jumped out of the car and beckoned Tayla to

  follow. Suddenly the woman had resumed her interest in Tayla. As Tayla hesitated, the

  driver and jumped out of the car and had swung round to her side of the door and had

  opened it. He grabbed her arm, sensing she might try and run, and pulled her roughly

  from the car. Tayla scrambled to her feet as he began marching her to the Austrian

  looking building. As she fumbled to stand up as she scampered along, trying to keep up

  with the man, she realised that it was too late for her to attempt an escape from them.

  Adrenalin surged through her body as she stood upright looking straight ahead at the

  lodge. It reminded Tayla of a cuckoo clock. In the dark and amongst the backdrop of

  huge pines, she thought of how pretty the scene looked to her. She felt time stand still as

  she walked effortlessly towards the lodge. Everything had slowed down; the driver

  walking beside her seemed to moving so slowly next to her; she had become devoid of

  sound or emotion, everything had left her. Now all she could feel was a warm feeling of

  calmness about her, ready, as if she were floating to her death. But then she was

  suddenly brought back to reality by the heat of a roaring fire as the door to the wooden

  chalet opened up before her. She was brought back to reality when she realised that she

  was now inside the chalet lodge. She could feel the full heat of a log fire which was

  radiating from the corner of the room. The plethora of noises; music; chatter; crackling

  from the fire all flooded her ear-drums instantly and she stared at a room full of strangers

  who were staring straight back at her. Behind her, the woman who had taken her from the

  laboratory, walked in and shut the door. Tayla could hear them greet each other as she

  tried to make out how many people were in the lodge with her. She counted six other

  people aside from the driver and the woman.




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         “Sit down over there Doctor Westwood.” The woman insisted, and without

  question, Tayla walked over to an armchair near the fire and sat down. What did they

  want with her?


         As she settled in the chair she studied the people around her more carefully. Still

  afraid, but not as afraid as she thought she would feel surrounded by strangers. As she

  looked at them, they seemed momentarily caught up celebrating their success in

  kidnapping her. They seemed fairly young, in their twenties or early thirties. While their

  attention was away from her she studied them in more detail.


         The first man she looked at was in jeans and sweatshirt, fairly tousled brown hair

  and a young styled beard; twenty five, twenty eight-ish, she guessed.        The woman

  standing next to him, who appeared more vocal, was slightly older, thirty perhaps; long

  brown wavy hair; again in jeans with a long sweater covering a tee-shirt. She glanced

  across to the man she was talking to; this man was small and chubby, in cargo trousers

  and sweater.     His hair was clean cut and he was clean shaven.       He seemed to be

  disagreeing with the woman. The woman who had kidnapped her was pulling off her suit

  while she spoke, and was being handed some fresh clothes from the chubby man, who

  was nonchalantly handing her the pile as he concentrated on listening to the long haired

  woman. Tayla quickly glanced over to a tall black figure standing to one side. He

  looked reflective and was listening to them without interacting in any way. He was

  smartly dressed in dark trousers and a checked shirt, his hair cropped close to his head.

  He had a smartly shaved beard around his chin defining his features. His attention was

  suddenly directed towards a blonde woman just then, and Tayla‟s eyes darted over to

  look at this woman more carefully. Small, with a short stylish blonde haircut, she was in

  skinny fit jeans and a chequered fleecy jacket coat covering a lacy top. She looked to be


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  in her late twenties too. Standing next to her was an older figure; a male, slightly

  overweight with a paunch, but intelligent looking; short black hair and glasses; perhaps in

  his early forties. He was interacting with the first man she had looked at. She glanced

  round to see if there were any other faces she hadn‟t taken in. The driver was there,

  standing by the door, looking serious. She was right, he wasn‟t particularly tall and he

  was wearing blue cords to match his blue shirt. She glanced over to the other side of the

  room as she spotted another male in the far corner, who was seated and concentrating

  intensely at a laptop he had. He hadn‟t got up when Tayla had arrived. As he was seated

  behind a large pine table, all she could make out from him was that he was about thirty,

  fairly handsome in a student kind of way, with blond waves peeking out from a grey

  beanie hat on top of his head. He had a stylishly casual moustache and beard which

  suited him, and from what she could make out, he was wearing a grey hoody. As she

  quickly scrutinised them all, she felt less afraid. Her instincts suggested that they were

  not a threat to her, although her reflexes were telling her differently as she shook

  nervously, waiting for them to speak to her. When the woman who had kidnapped Tayla

  had changed into a jean skirt and jumper, and having discarded the uncomfortable

  looking suit, she headed straight towards Tayla, looking serious and impatient.


         “Okay, Miss Westwood, do you want to know why you are here then?” she tried

  to look relaxed, but Tayla could sense she was tense. Tayla felt nervous, but she was in a

  defiant mood, now that she had been able to ground herself with her surroundings.


         “The Police will be out looking for me you know. You won‟t get way with

  whatever you‟re trying to do with me!” Tayla paused, “You might have fooled the

  Professor in getting him to make me leave with you earlier, but my assistant will be

  raising the alarm by now.” she said insolently looking the woman straight in the eyes.


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          “We haven‟t kidnapped you!” the woman retorted “We just need you to listen to

  us, then you‟re free to go – though good luck trying to find you way back if you leave

  now.”


          The man who had been sitting at the laptop suddenly looked up and sensing the

  tension, he rose from his chair and walked over to Tayla. He smiled casually, trying to

  allay her fears.


          “Hi Doctor Westwood. Look we‟re sorry to have used such harsh measures to

  bring you here, but it was the only way, trust me. You‟d never have come otherwise.”

  He began smiling at her. He turned round and summoned one of the crowd to pass him a

  chair. The short haired blonde woman passed him a pine dining chair to sit on. He took it

  and deftly swivelled it round and sat opposite Tayla.


          “What is this, the old good cop, bad cop routine? You won‟t get away this,

  whatever it is you‟re planning to do with me” retorted Tayla defiantly, but he laughed at

  her and looked round at the group behind him, who too were smiling at her remark.


          “Look we‟re not going to harm you Doctor.” And turning to her kidnapper,

  “Ingrid, you did tell her that didn‟t you?” and Ingrid nodded angrily. He turned back to

  Tayla. “We‟re not planning to do anything with you. We just need to talk to you that‟s

  all – relax!”


          Tayla sat upright, infuriated by his remark.


          “RE-LAX     you say, after my apartment‟s been ransacked you tell me, and then

  you drag me all the way out here - against my will - to who knows where - across the

  border as well!” she remembered. “Just who the hell are you?!”



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          “You‟re shaking...” he remarked and turned round to the crowd. “ Derek, you‟re

  the closest, get the Doctor a hot cup of tea from the pot” and turning back to Tayla, “Do

  you take milk and sugar or would you prefer something stronger, I think we have some

  whisky here somewhere?” he asked out of the blue. Tayla looked surprised, but realised

  that he was right; she was shaking.


          “Whisky – please. Actually, a whisky sounds good.”


          “Some-one get her a whisky now, she‟s shaking!”


          Tayla watched as the blonde woman bolted to a cupboard and grabbed a bottle.

  She rummaged in the cupboard for a glass and poured a generous amount into the glass,

  before returning back and handing it to the blonde male. He handed it to Tayla, but

  Tayla was wary and refused to take it at first.


          “What you think we might have tampered with it or something Doctor?” he asked

  and she shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. He smiled “You‟re so mistrustful...” he

  added before taking a gulp from the glass before re-offering the glass to Tayla. “See,

  perfectly safe Doctor...” he said as he held the glass to her. Reluctantly Tayla took the

  glass from his hand and took a swig of the whisky he had offered to her. It stung her

  throat as she swallowed it, but instantly heated her up inside. She took another smaller

  gulp.   It was definitely helping with the shakes.        She looked at the blonde man

  quizzically, as she clutched the glass with both hands.


          “So who exactly are you?”


          “Well, I‟m Jake, and these are my friends.” He smiled as he waved his arm to the

  crowd behind him.



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         “So Jake, if that‟s your name, what I meant is - who are you? What do you want

  with me?”


         “For a start, we want to know why you‟re now working on the AD4 Project

  Doctor. You‟re supposed to be part of Light Jets Enterprises? What‟s your sudden

  interest that Project?”


         Tayla was taken aback. “Why, what‟s it to you?”


         “Er, sorry Doctor, but we are asking the questions please.”


         “What was the question again then?


         “Why are so interested in the AD4 Project. We know you invested heavily into it

  recently – on behalf of your company Light Jets Enterprises. Ingrid found out for us.”


         Tayla‟s head began to swim. She was really confused. She sat forward and

  looked at everyone.


         “Look, just what is going on here? I mean, how did you find out that we invested

  in the AD4 Project so soon? I only made the contribution yesterday!”


         “But why?” Jake was insistent.


         “How did you know so soon?” Tayla repeated back, just as insistently. “Is this

  what all this is about? Me giving a donation to the AD4 Project. There‟s nothing wrong

  in that. It‟s a very important medical research project. What the hell has it got to do with

  you lot what Light Jet decides to invest their money in?”


         Just then the little chubby man stepped forward and approached Tayla. He looked

  impatient.


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          “Are you intending to market the end product like you did with the Space Jet

  project you were originally involved with?” he asked cynically, staring at her

  belligerently.


          “What? No, no that wasn‟t the intention at all...” she answered confused and

  uncomfortable. „Where was all this leading?‟


          “Well that‟s the only reason the Asclepius group are investing so heavily into this

  project. The AD4 project is particularly thirsty when it comes to funding. You should

  know, it requires the production of antimatter, and you of all people Doctor Westwood,

  should know about the cost of producing antimatter!”


          “Look, you‟re confusing me... what‟s your point, what are you trying to suggest?”


          “Perhaps, you and Asclepius have found a common ground, and perhaps it suits

  both of you to invest in this project. Your sudden injection certainly helps Asclepius out

  financially,”


          “Like they need assistance!” smirked the older man bitterly.


          “And it‟s going to be extremely lucrative eventually. You‟ll both certainly get

  your return on the investment I dare say!” sneered the chubby man.


          Tayla jumped up suddenly. They had got it all wrong. So wrong!


          “Now look here, I don‟t know how you managed to find out, but you‟ve got it all

  wrong!”


          “So how have we got it wrong Doctor?” asked Jake quietly. Tayla looked down

  at Jake in front of her.



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         “Yes, we made a contribution to the funding of the Project. And you‟re right, I

  am a specialist when it comes to antimatter, and I do know how much it costs to produce,

  although arguably, it‟s less expensive now, but I see your point. But that‟s all you are

  right about. The rest, the rest of it is total rubbish!” she exclaimed defiantly. “You all

  need a lesson in maths – two and two make four not five!” and she sat down and took

  another gulp of whisky from the glass.


         Jake looked at Tayla, who was taking deep breaths. She was angry and confused.

  She had no idea what they were after. She certainly wasn‟t expecting this when she was

  being whisked into the car. She had been afraid that it could be something to do with

  Asclepius. The mention if their name came as no surprise, but who were these people?


         “Okay Doctor, you say you‟re not involved with Asclepius. You are not working

  with them on this project. Are you connected to them in any other way then? Perhaps

  they asked you to add your input into the project, as you are one of the leading experts on

  antimatter annihilation after all?


         Tayla looked at Jake incredulously.       “Why do you keep insisting that I‟m

  involved with Asclepius? Where did you get that idea from? They‟ve probably never

  heard of me for your information!”


         “What, are you saying that you‟re not?”


         “Hell no!”


         Jake turned round to face the rest of the group. He wanted to see their reaction.

  Like him they looked slightly bewildered and looked round at each other confused. Jake

  turned back to Tayla, almost apologetically.



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         “Doctor Westwood,” he began slowly and deliberately, “Are you honestly stating

  to us that you have no connection to, or are involved in any way, to the Asclepius group

  of companies?” he chose his words carefully. Tayla nodded.


         “Jake that‟s exactly what I am trying to tell you all. I don‟t know where you got

  that idea from. Is that why you‟ve dragged me all the way out here? To interrogate me

  about Asclepius?” she laughed suddenly. „How ironic!‟ she thought to herself.


         “So why are you suddenly interested in the AD4 project then Doctor Westwood?

  I mean, it‟s been going for a few years now, and why the investment into it?”


         Tayla shook her head in dismay, “Look for a start, let me state for the record, the

  money is a contribution, not an investment, and my sudden interest in the AD4 Project

  is” and she paused, “is none of your damned business!”


         “Why can‟t you tell us?”


         “Why do you need to know?”


         “Why is it so important that we don‟t know?”


         “Because who the hell do you lot think you are!”


         Stale mate! Tayla was not going to budge. She had no intention of confiding in

  these people. They had just kidnapped her, brought her to a lodge in the middle of

  nowhere in France. She thought for a second and asked;


         “Was my apartment really broken into?”


         “Yes.”


         “By you lot?”

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        “No.”


        “Then who?”


        “That‟s what we wanted to know.”


        “Huh?” Tayla was confused and so were the group.


        “So who are you guys then? And again, what did you want from me?” Tayla

  needed to know.




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                                         Chapter 12



         “I think you deserve an explanation Doctor Westwood.” Jake said apologetically.

  “We‟ll drive you back to your apartment later of course, but we do still want to talk to

  you, though you may not be interested.” he said mysteriously. “As we told you earlier,

  we‟ve no intention of hurting you, so please relax.”


         “I agree that you owe me some kind of explanation.” Tayla answered firmly, but

  she was no longer angry with them anymore. Her fear had dissipated, and now she was

  just curious about them all. “But, I need to call my assistant first. Tell him where I am

  and that I‟m okay.” And she looked at them all, “I told you, my assistant will be raising

  the alarm, when he discovers I‟m not at the Swiss Police Station.”


         Jake nodded. He pointed to a phone on a dresser in the far corner. “You can call

  him from that phone over there Doctor. Tell him you‟ll be back by morning too. We‟ll

  drive you back.”


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            While Tayla was making the call, the group were busy setting the dining table

  with plates and a buffet selection of meats, cheeses and breads, with large schooners of

  beers. By the time she had finished talking with Tarway and allaying his fears, everyone

  had settled themselves around the table, and had begun eating and drinking. The chubby

  man had left a seat by his side for Tayla to join them. Tayla saw the spare seat and sat

  herself down amongst her kidnappers. They seemed relaxed as Ingrid poured out a glass

  of beer and passed it across to her, beckoning her to take it. As Tayla picked up the glass

  of beer, she looked at everyone at the table.


            “So, tell me who are you all exactly, and why did you want with me. What were

  you hoping to achieve by bringing me here?”


            The chubby man sitting next to her began speaking first. “Well I think we should

  introduce ourselves first,” he began and the others nodded, “I‟m Dylan and I work for a

  large corporate Insurance company.”


            Then the woman with the shirt blond hair spoke; “My name is Claudette and I‟m

  a GP, and that‟s Ingrid over there, she‟s an administrator for CERN – er that‟s how we

  got hold of what you were doing so quickly.         Ingrid deals predominantly with the

  Asclepius account, don‟t you Ingrid?” Tayla looked across to the woman who had

  brought her here and nodded.


            “So that‟s why you knew about what I was doing so quickly.”


            “Now you know.” she admitted. Jake spoke up next. He was sitting next to

  Ingrid.


            “Well I‟ve already told you that I‟m Jake, I‟m a Pharmacist, Bridget there is a

  Nurse...” and Tayla turned to see the woman with the long way hair, “And Joshua is a GP

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  too.” Tayla turned her head the other way to see the young man with the brown hair and

  beard nodding at her in acknowledgement. Jake continued with the introductions;


         “Derek here is in finance as is Arturo.” he said and paused.


         “Hi,” they both acknowledged quietly as Tayla looked at the older man with

  glasses and the smartly dressed black figure. She smiled at them both. She was surprised

  at how easily she was registering their names. Introductions like this would normally go

  straight over her head.


         “I‟m actually a stockbroker Doctor Westwood, but it is finance I suppose,” Derek

  corrected, “But Arturo is a Banker, He‟s        actually Vice President of one of the

  Investment Banks here in Switzerland.” and Arturo smiled politely at Tayla.


         “So you...” Tayla looked across to the driver, “Who are you then?”


         “Yeh, Hi – I‟m Liam and I‟m in Insurance too, I work with Dylan actually.” he

  replied shyly.


         “Okay then, that‟s the introduction done with, but it still doesn‟t explain who you

  are, and what you all wanted with me.” Tayla finished as she glanced around the table.

  She leaned forward and took a chunk of buttered bread and placed it onto her plate and

  looked up at them all once again. No-one knew who should speak, and for a moment

  there was silence. Tayla leaned forward again, and took a slice of meat and placed it

  onto her plate as well. She waited for some-one to begin. She had taken a bite from the

  chunk of bread before Jake spoke up. But it was loaded with yet another question.


         “Doctor Westwood, Ingrid knows you downloaded files relating specifically to

  Asclepius. Some of the files you downloaded were taken from her own computer. She


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  knew immediately that her computer had been tampered with when she switched it on.

  Why?”


          „Shit!‟ thought Tayla quickly.    She realised they were the files Tarway had

  downloaded. They were from Ingrid‟s computer. Hacking still left trails! If Ingrid had

  discovered that she had been hacked into, who else did she tell at the time?


          “Who else did you inform about this breach, Ingrid? According to you, my

  apartment got broken into, and you say it wasn‟t you.”


          “No-one. But if you hacked into Asclepius‟s system, you would have been

  discovered. Connecting into them like that would have alerted their security network. I

  just assumed as you were so stupid in hacking into my computer and leaving a trail, I

  assumed you couldn‟t have been very bright. Asclepius‟s security must have behind the

  break-in. They were looking for their files, or looking for you to explain yourself to them.

  Because I thought you were linked in with them, I thought it was some kind of mix up.

  You‟re certainly no expert at espionage if I may say so Doctor Westwood!” Ingrid was

  quite resentful of her as she spoke and Tayla was slightly taken aback.


          “No, as I said I am nothing to do with Asclepius... but okay, you discovered that I

  downloaded some files relating to Asclepius, but what has that got to do with you and me

  being here now?”


          Ingrid answered. “Doctor Westwood, the reason I brought you here, is precisely

  because you downloaded those files. What is your interest in Asclepius? You say you

  are nothing to do with them, so why your interest in them?”


          Tayla looked at her. Ingrid was right. It did appear odd. But Tayla was looking

  into them for completely different reasons to what they were assuming. But she was not

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  about to divulge anything to them. She still didn‟t know what they wanted with her.

  Tayla looked at Ingrid.


         “Why are you so interested in protecting Asclepius yourself? Are you part of

  their look-out team or something?” she challenged. She heard everyone break out into

  laughter, and she looked around the table. Had she said anything funny?


         “Did I say something to amuse you all just now?”


         Arturo jumped in. “Certainly not Doctor Westwood, certainly not! But we are

  interested in what they are up to however.”


         “In what way?”


         Jake spoke up. “I think you ought to know who we are Doctor. Once you know

  who we are it may make more sense. You‟ll realise why we brought you here then.” He

  paused for a moment before continuing.        “Have you ever heard of the Freilassen

  Movement?”


         Tayla shook her head. She hadn‟t.


         “We‟re part of a global movement, which was set up about two years ago now.

  Actually Derek here, me and a guy called Philippe Lacroix actually started it. We have a

  website – we have a blog and we literally let the world know what conspiracies they are

  being duped with. As you can see, we come from various backgrounds and we became

  fed up with the duplicity of the corporate organisations brainwashing the public. We‟ve

  called ourselves the „Freilassen Movement‟. We here, are just one cell now. It began

  here, but now, we have other cells which have been set up by volunteers across the globe.

  We communicate via the web and swap information. We hold regular seminars and


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  gatherings from time to time, and from those, we have gained millions of followers now.

  Our followers keep us informed on what‟s happening in their part of the world or in their

  corporations. We investigate anything that looks suspicious or duplicitous, and if it‟s in

  the public‟s interest to know, then we put it up on our website for people to read. Our

  movement has really taken off. There is a groundswell of dissatisfaction with what‟s

  going on in the world and our movement is growing larger – daily.”


         “So how come I‟ve never heard of you then, if you have such a following?”


         “Because it‟s run by word of mouth, we don‟t advertise ourselves at all. If you

  search for us though, you will find us. We‟re not a secret organisation. We're not intent

  on keeping what we do, secretive. But every day, we find more and more people

  becoming aware of us, logging onto our website, reading the facts of what‟s going on.

  It‟s really quite amazing. If you are searching for answers, then you will find us.”


         “So what‟s this got to do with bringing me here today and Asclepius?”


         “They control the global pharmaceutical market. They not only control what gets

  researched, but all medical treatments in hospital, as well as the drugs. We have reason

  to believe that they even control the health of the population now Doctor. The files you

  downloaded are files we already have, and more besides. What you took, is merely the

  tip of the iceberg. It goes far deeper than you think.”


         Tayla‟s opened widely. Just what had Louisa unearthed when she made that

  initial call to Rhea? The call that had initiated her death, and the death of Mark. The call

  that had got everyone involved in seeking out the truth behind the vaccine programme in

  Retborne Juniors and across the United States. Tayla was right. It must have involved

  Asclepius. Her instincts had been right all along. Who exactly were Asclepius? They


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  were obviously more than a network of corporate pharmaceutical companies, tied

  together through purchasing power and marketing rights.


           Jake continued as Tayla listened intently. “We‟re interested in why you are so

  interested in Asclepius. What do you want this information for?”


           Tayla was still wary of them, but she realised that they had the information she

  would need. She remained silent. Perhaps he was being rhetorical just now.


           Ingrid leaned forward. She looked seriously at Tayla.


           “Doctor Westwood, listen hard. Think yourself as fortunate that it was us that

  took you this afternoon. It‟s obvious that your amateur attempt at espionage yesterday

  has aroused more interest in you than just us. If the break-in to your apartment was

  related to Asclepius‟s security network, then you are in a lot of danger. Mark my words.

  You won‟t be able to stay in your apartment now; they will be looking for you.”


           Tayla looked horrified. „Tarway!‟     she suddenly thought. “Ohmygod Ingrid!

  What about Tarway – my assistant. He was on his way back to the apartment to wait for

  me...”


           “Is he staying with you in the same apartment then?” asked Derek quickly. Tayla

  looked round to him, fear in her face.


           “Er yes, I‟m only on a temporary secondment to the SD4 Project; it seemed easier

  to share an apartment with Tarway. He‟ll only be there for as long as I am.”


           “He needs to get out of the apartment then. They‟ll be watching it for sure. And

  they‟ve probably got whatever you downloaded by now – if you left it in the apartment.”


           “Er no – no I didn‟t...”

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            “So what? Do you have it on you then?” Arturo asked uneasily.


            Tayla glanced across to Arturo, shaking her head. “No, I managed to pass it

  on...”


            “To who?” Dylan piped up. “When?” he added.


            “It doesn‟t matter. But whoever was at the apartment, they wouldn‟t have found

  anything untoward. But I do need to warn Tarway. Let him know to get of there.”


            Jake pointed to the phone on the dresser again.


            “Phone him quickly then Doctor Westwood.” And Tayla jumped up and rushed to

  the phone.


            “Tell him to abandon his mobile afterwards. They‟ll use it as a tracker. It‟ll have

  GPRS on it.” And then he looked at Ingrid quickly. “Did you check Doctor Westwood

  for mobiles?”


            Ingrid looked agitated. She shook her head in frustration. She realised that she

  had forgotten to follow the basic safety checks before getting Tayla into the car. “Damn

  no!” she admitted regretfully.


            Everybody looked momentarily alarmed, but Tayla put their minds at rest as she

  held the phone in her hand. She had heard the brief conversation between Jake and

  Ingrid.


            “No I don‟t have it on me. I left my mobile in the office at the AD point. I was in

  the middle of an experiment when Ingrid turned up. I didn‟t have time to recover any of

  my things actually. Not even my handbag or coat, don‟t you remember Ingrid?” Tayla

  reminded her. But by doing this, she realised she could have found an excuse to get her

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  things when Ingrid had turned up. If she had managed to think more cleverly, she could

  have been able to avoid being taken. She could have orbed herself out of danger. Tayla

  realised that she had a lot to learn about undercover espionage, having realised how

  desperately unprepared she was for this assignment.


         “Ingrid!” declared Derek angrily, “You could have endangered us all by your

  slackness and oversight!”


         But Ingrid was already aware. “I know. I‟m sorry. I was nervous too I guess.”

  Tayla looked across to Ingrid. Her hard edge was gone and she looked vulnerable. It was

  in that moment that Tayla realised that these people around her were just ordinary people.

  They weren‟t a militant faction looking for attention and glory. These people were

  ordinary folk, passionate about a belief in a non aggressive manner. Just what had

  brought about this movement in the first place was of interest to Tayla. She wanted to

  know what would drive a cross section of people to join together in wanting to create

  awareness of what they believed was corrupt in the world. But first, she needed to warn

  Tarway.


         “Can‟t this call be traced? It‟s a landline. I thought that landline calls would be

  easily traceable?” Tayla raised the question before she began to dial.


         “No. We‟ve already made sure the line is untraceable Doctor! We won‟t bore

  you with how, but thanks for your concern anyway.” came back Liam sarcastically.


         Tayla shrugged off the comment and quickly made the call. She discovered that

  Tarway was already one step ahead of Tayla. He had already managed to transport all if

  their belongings back to the Re-positioning Base, and was now waiting in their apartment

  in the One Dimension. He had set a trap himself. He wanted to grab one of the intruders


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  for questioning himself.    He was still in possession of the mobile; it was his only

  connection to Tayla, and he knew it might lure some-one into the apartment. But in the

  One Dimension, he would be untraceable.


         “Don‟t worry about me Annatee; I‟m far more advanced than you could ever

  guess. Hemasta has given me many competences, and I have programmes that I can

  absorb if I need to. Just take care of yourself. Do you have any idea of where you are,

  because I could rescue you from there, before they could blink?”


         “Actually Tarway, I think I‟m perfectly safe with these people. I want to get to

  know them a bit more, so I‟ll be fine, but look, find out as much as you can about the

  „Freilassen Movement‟. That‟s who they say they are. We are going to have to get out of

  Switzerland Tarway; we‟re not safe here anymore. We‟ll have to think of some excuse to

  leave the Project so abruptly. Leave the orb for me at the Train station in Lost Property.

  I can retrieve it from there. Um, put it in a fluffy pink rabbit or something, so that it‟s

  hidden. I know it only looks like a small paperweight, but I don‟t want to take any

  chances with anyone seeing it.” she suggested.


         “A pink rabbit Annatee, where will I get hold of one of those?”


         “Tarway! You of all people can find something like that. Make one if you have

  to. Look I‟ve gotta go, but stay safe, and meet me back at HQ. Let Christian know I‟m

  okay. Tell him not to worry. I‟m perfectly fine.”


         “Pink rabbit you say?”


         “Pink rabbit – not too big and leave it in the Lost Property department at the Train

  Station.”



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         “Got that. I‟ll set the orb to default to HQ for you too. In that way, you won‟t get

  lost in space!”


         “You think of everything Tarway! Oh and get rid of that mobile now, please, just

  in case. These people are very dangerous. I don‟t want you to come to any harm.”


         “Yes Annatee! But as I don‟t know where you are right now, once I get rid of this

  mobile, you‟ll be on your own until you retrieve your orb. You won‟t be able to get hold

  of me. And don‟t try and phone any of the others either. Wait until you get your orb

  back. You are obviously being watched now, and they‟ll be trying to find out who you

  are talking to. At the moment, they‟ve probably already linked you with Light Jets

  Enterprises, but they may think you are working independently. Remember you did a bit

  of a disappearing act for a while. I heard Nils talk about you today.” he suddenly added.

  “They won‟t be sure about you just now, so be careful.”


         As Tayla put down the phone, she suddenly felt alone. But she felt happy that

  Tarway was more than capable of looking after himself. He was coping just fine. She

  almost felt that he was enjoying the experience. Surely not? Still he had everything

  under control.


         She walked back to the table, her worries for Tarway allayed for now.


         “He‟s fine.” She assured them, “He‟ll be okay. But I‟ve told him to leave

  Switzerland immediately.” she added finally.


         “That‟s probably very sensible. In fact by getting yourself onto the radar of the

  Asclepius boys, it would be sensible for you to get out of Switzerland altogether as well.

  If your assistant is leaving, then there is really nothing for you return for. You‟re already



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  out of Switzerland. Perhaps we could take you somewhere safer for the time being?”

  Derek suggested.


         “I could get hold of your things from the apartment.    I can arrange things with

  Brunner to get your belongings sent on, and I can give Professor Heidelberg a plausible

  excuse of why you suddenly had to leave, if you like?” added Ingrid. Tayla looked at

  Ingrid with interest.    Of course, Ingrid worked at CERN in the Administrative

  Department.


         “Apparently‟ I appear have quite a habit of doing disappearing acts here...” mused

  Tayla quietly, and as she looked at the puzzled faces, she shook her head nonchalantly.

  “No, it was nothing, take no notice of me.” she assured them, but suddenly realised that

  Tarway had already moved their belongings.


         “Ingrid, it‟s okay, I think Tarway was seeing to that for us, and so there is no

  need. But you can let Jurgen know that we‟ve left, if you wouldn‟t mind, and I would be

  grateful if you could let Martin and the team know we won‟t be returning. But...” she

  paused for a second as she thought, “assure them that the funding was sincere. We are

  still going to put up the money for them.”


         “You may as well stay here tonight then Doctor – with us.” offered Bridget. “You

  probably can‟t go back to your apartment now, and there is nowhere else for us to take

  you. We never meant to harm you when we brought you here. You‟ll be perfectly safe

  with us.”


         “Yes, that‟s true,” agreed Derek, “We have plenty of room here. You can share a

  room with Ingrid, Bridget and Claudette tonight.”




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         Tayla thought for a moment and then smiled. “Yes, I‟d like to, if you don‟t mind.

  Besides, I want to know more about you all. I want to know more about this „Freilassen

  Movement‟ of yours.”


                                             *   * *


         Fritz was studying Tayla‟s files once again. He felt sure that he was missing

  something. Everything appeared uneventful – just a list of entries relating to Asclepius

  and their various subsidiaries. He sighed. Nothing was giving him inspiration yet. He

  turned to look at the others.


         “So David, Rhea. What have you managed to find out in Dallas then? Anymore

  on the news of Raoul?”


         Rhea nodded, but she wanted to know more about what Fritz and Sarah had

  discovered from Patterson first.


         “Yeh, but what did you find out from Patterson Fritz. David and I are keen to

  know. He seemed fairly innocuous when I worked at Retborne‟s. I had no idea how

  awful he really was? Did he know what he was doing when he made the phone call and

  got Louisa and Mark killed?”


         Fritz breathed deeply as his mind recounted his time at the Re-positioning Base

  with Sarah. It was a very poignant and sad experience; that was the outstanding memory

  for him.


         “Yes Patterson. Him.” He thought carefully before continuing. “Sarah was clever

  when she thought to take him to the RPB. It was an inspired move on her part actually.

  She thinks quickly – much quicker than me. But I don‟t know if she was being quite as


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  inspired for putting him into a negative sleepscape though.” As he looked at Christian,

  David and Rhea carefully;


         “You see; he was a bit of a nut job for a few hours. We couldn‟t get anything out

  of him at all to begin with you see.” And he smiled wryly. “Still, Sarah seemed pleased

  by that.” he remembered.


         “Did you know about Mark and Louisa by then?” David asked.


         “Yes, yes we did.” Fritz looked directly at David. “We took Patterson over to see

  them on the block. Sarah wanted him to see what he‟d done. I don‟t think Patterson had

  gotton over his sleepscape experience though. I don‟t think it really registered at the

  time. I think his lack of horror actually antagonised Sarah more.” he recalled. “Sarah

  decided to interrogate him after that. He was certainly terrified of her.”


         “Dude, what that guy did to Mark and Louisa, no wonder Sarah was mad at him.

  Remember, if she hadn‟t managed to get away herself, it could have been her too. We

  shouldn‟t forget that.”


         Christian intervened, “So what did you discover about Patterson Fritz?”


         “He was being paid by Zenith Mac Laboratories. They produce and test most of

  the vaccines available today.       They market their products through a network of

  companies; but through Silverman Bright in the United States,” and after a pause, “I

  believe they‟re the ninth largest pharmaceutical company globally. Anyway, he‟s been

  allowing Zenith to carry out some of their tests of various vaccines in children‟s homes in

  Dallas. He‟s well connected to several Governors, who turn a blind eye for donations to

  their campaigns. They rely on his connections.” Fritz drew breath before continuing on.

  “Many of those tests are blind and double blind tests; all with new drugs which the side

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  effects are unknown. People trust good old Patterson – the trusty Principal and regular

  church goer. He lets the kids get vaccinated – some as young as eighteen month‟s old!”

  Fritz shook his head in despair, before looking directly at the faces of Christian, David

  and Rhea, who listened on silently. “You see, the very people who should have been

  looking out for these kids are the actual Governors who receive the donations for

  allowing the vaccine testing on them. Those poor kids have no rights or chance! Many of

  them are in care because they‟re orphans or come from deprived and broken or

  dysfunctional families. It‟s disgusting! Those kids have no voice. They‟re being used as

  human guinea pigs for these corporations. And do you know what else?” he asked as

  they shook their heads in disbelief, “Patterson didn‟t even know if the carers understood

  what was going on or not. I don‟t think he gave it much thought. He just took the money

  and enjoyed the status.” Fritz sounded sickened by the man.


         “Did you find out why he segregated pupils into groups for the recent compulsory

  children‟s vaccine programme? Were all the schools told to do this?”


         “Ah yes, the SV40D vaccine Programme... He was asked to segregate pupils.

  Only a selection of schools was asked to do this. Most of them in the bible bashing

  middle class suburbs. The reason for this and you‟re going to balk at this one,” he

  warned them. “Sarah got this out of him in the end – he wouldn‟t admit it for hours.”

  Fritz added, “This is the most sickening thing I have heard, but basically, he spilt the kids

  into two groups; those with current medical problems like Asthma, obesity, ADT or with

  a family history of medical conditions like heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure,

  depression, you know – and those with none. Now – and this is what is so diabolical and

  just surprises me of how low a person can get. He allowed those kids with the medical

  problems to be vaccinated with a contaminated vaccine, which included things like


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  mercuric and aluminium trace elements along with other untested oncogenetic viruses.

  These vaccines contain attenuated forms of a pathogen which are able to revert to a

  dangerous form, and which therefore have the ability to cause serious disease in such

  immuno-compromised people. Basically, it‟s Russian roulette for those kids who were

  vaccinated with this variant in later life, whether they manage to fight off the pathogen or

  not. They would cause sterility too and possible neurological problems. Quite a cocktail

  for those poor kids to tackle.”


         Christian and Rhea looked at Fritz in disbelief.


         “What kind of sicko could let that happen to other humans, let alone innocent

  children!” gasped Christian incredulously. Rhea looked sick;


         “I worked with that low-life for eighteen months! I just can‟t believe he was like

  that. What a monster!”


         David grimaced. “I‟m glad Sarah put him into a negative sleepscape man. He‟s

  nothing but scum! So what the other kids get – more brain cells?!”


         Fritz raised an eyebrow. “Not far off the truth David.” he offered, “No, they were

  vaccinated with a third generation vaccine, an advanced programme which contained

  genetically engineered plasmids to produce antigens. Only these antigens manipulate the

  human body. They convert the DNA by reading and triggering a range of immune

  responses, until new DNA is made, replacing the old DNA.” Fritz informed them.


         David was quick to realise. “What! I was right in a way. They are vaccinating

  these kids to enhance them genetically. Why though?”


         Christian guessed first;


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         “To produce a future race of superior humans – a eugenics programme for the

  future. Wipe out the inferior and create a new race of super humans. My god, but its

  Fascism all over again.”


         “You‟re right. The Nazi‟s tried to create an Arian society in the Second World

  War. They might have succeeded if they had won.”


         “And now it‟s happening all over again. It‟s sick. But let‟s not forget eugenics

  has been a topic of interest since Darwin, and his cousin Galton back in the 1863.    He

  theorized that if talented people only married other talented people, the result would be

  measurably better offspring. The idea of eugenics really began with him. Hitler only did

  what others were too afraid of doing back then.” Fritz reminded them all gravely.


         “You‟re absolutely right. But it‟s naive scientists too.      In their search for

  Serendipity, they create tools that can be marketed and sold by elitist psychopaths to

  greedy corporations in order increase their own status and control of the marketplace.”

  David corrected.


         “David, what did you discover about the fate of Raoul?” Christian asked,

  changing the subject suddenly. David breathed in and shook his head.


         “I dunno bro‟s but it looks as if Raoul‟s death was a genuine accident after all.

  He attended a class mate‟s birthday party. The mother‟s were all there too, but no-one

  was paying close attention to the pool, and it appears that Raoul probably had cramp

  while he was swimming in it. There were too many kids in the pool at the time and no-

  one saw him struggle. It wasn‟t until most of them got out, that they saw Raoul lying at

  the bottom. They tried to resuscitate him, but by the time the paramedics turned up he

  was already dead.”


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         Rhea looked puzzled as she nodded in agreement with David. “I do think it was a

  genuine accident Christian. I don‟t think his death is related to the vaccine programme at

  all. But what I don‟t understand is why he‟s dead. My assignment – and Louisa‟s – was

  to watch and guide him through school. Why would we be assigned to him if he was just

  an ordinary kid? I mean, it doesn‟t make sense to me.”


         Fritz had an idea. He saw the pain in Rhea‟s face.


         “Home believed that he would become a cartoonist and comic book writer one

  day. He was very imaginative and a good artist, even at his young age...”


         “Yeah, you‟re right Fritz. I remember now, he was kinda good at drawing. He

  loved to draw things. I remember him bringing in a drawing of his pet cat one day. It

  was real clever. You know the perspective of the cat, not flat, like the other kids at his

  age drew.” Rhea suddenly remembered, “But I didn‟t give it a whole lotta thought

  though.” She seemed embarrassed by this admission.


         “Why would that be so important to Home Fritz? Christian probed.


         “I know...” answered David quietly. Christian turned to look at him.


         “Tell me if I‟m wrong Fritz, but doesn‟t he go onto to inspire Tetsuya Hirani to

  create us?”


         “Who?”


         Fritz nodded and looked at Christian.


         “Tetsuya Hirani is our creator. In other carnations of this universes history, he

  produced the blueprints for the way we look now. We look like this because Tetsuya



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  Hirani was a world renowned artist, who was commissioned to come up with the perfect

  male and female form.”


           Christian looked amazed.


           “And he came up with the male and female form you‟ve seen on Home. It‟s a

  long story Chris, but for now, that‟s why Raoul was so special to us.”


           “But he‟s died. So how can that be?”


           “I don‟t have the answer to that. I can only say that we have been created; that

  Tetsuya Hirano created our form. We understood that he grew up having been inspired

  by the comic book cartoon stories that Raoul D‟Angeles created. It was supposed to have

  inspired him to go onto do choose the same career path. Only now, we must have all

  been mistaken in that matter I suppose.” he shrugged. He was as confused too. He

  looked at Christian carefully.


           “You must understand Chris, that Imagination and Creativity is as essential to life

  as Science. They are vital to each other. They are Yin and Yan. They arouse each other.”

  he stated profoundly. “Imagination and Creativity is Art. Ultimately there is only Art and

  Science. In humankind, we create emotion. Everything else is merely an illusion of the

  mind.”


           Christian nodded. He hadn‟t thought of life like in such purist terms before.


           “I can only assume Chris my friend that Heisenberg is proving to be right yet

  again. One can never predict anything accurately. There is always uncertainty with

  every prediction.” And he patted Christian on the arm as he smiled.


           “I think I could do with another coffee my dear friend.”

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                                         Chapter 13

          “Sarah? - Sarah, Hemasta informed me that you wished to meet with me.” Rocco

  responded solemnly. Sarah had had her back turned to Rocco, and she had now turned

  round in surprise to see the tall leather clad Warrior Leader, standing in the middle of

  Hemasta‟s room. Sarah had been deep in thought. Hemasta was busily dealing with the

  creation and naissance of the two new clones, in the next room, and Sarah had wanted to

  be present at their awakening. She smiled seriously at Rocco, thankful that she had

  come.


          “Yes Rocco. I have something to ask.” she said wistfully.


          “And what is it that you wish to ask of me Sarah. Is it to do the Vlorja?”


          “In a way. Perhaps it is,” she paused, “The Vlorja have escaped their captivity,

  and they pose the biggest threat to everything. There is nothing more dangerous than the

  Vlorja, and now that they are roaming free, your work has become much busier and more

  dangerous. I think you are going to need more warriors Rocco.”

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          “This had occurred to me too Sarah. But I have been looking for a solution to

  help us all.”


          “Oh?”


          “You sound surprised?”


          “Well, I had a favour to ask of you Rocco.”


          Rocco looked at Sarah carefully. “So you are asking a favour of me now?”


          Sarah had been thinking hard about what she wanted to say to Rocco. She had

  made her mind up after speaking to Hemasta about it.


          “Rocco, I want to become a warrior. I want to help you in your quest on waging

  war against the Vlorja. I am ready for the new challenge I am asking of you Rocco.

  Please, I am sincere when I say I wish to join you and your warrior team.”


          Rocco looked surprised. Sarah had never struck her as a warrior type. Being a

  warrior was a vocation. It was normally pre-planned and pre-programmed into a new

  being beforehand. A naissance of a new clone would be aware of their intended life to be.

  She smiled whimsically for a moment, but she could see the steely cold eyes of Sarah.

  There was an honesty and sincerity in her request. Rocco looked at Sarah curiously.


          “Is this because of Mark? This is a very serious request you ask of me Sarah.

  One that should never be taken lightly. My work is relentless, and we all depend on each

  other for our very being.    It‟s not at all like being a Guider. A Guider is full of

  compassion, while their work is to nurture and teach. That is what you are programmed

  to be like Sarah. My warriors are tough and steely. They are programmed to seek out




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  and destroy. There is rarely the opportunity for compassion in what we do. We spend our

  lives in battle situations.”


          “But the battle is always to protect the good Rocco. Destruction is never for

  pleasure.”


          “What about the others, what do they say?”


          “I‟ve not spoken to them Rocco. There is no need. What I choose to do is to

  channel my skills into what would bring the greatest benefit to others. I am no longer

  suitable to Guide. You must trust me in this matter.”


          “And what makes you think like this so suddenly Sarah?”


          “Because I have committed murder. Three times now. My heart if filled with

  anger. I need to channel that anger into something constructive. If I don‟t, it will eat

  away at me inside. I know it. The anger is already eating away at me. I need to

  relinquish this anger deep inside of me. I hate feeling this way, but it‟s what I‟ve become

  – since Mark died.”


          Rocco looked sorrowfully at Sarah.


          “I can feel your pain Sarah. I can see it in your eyes too. But you say you have

  committed murder? Just who did you kill Sarah? And when?”


          “Two men on Alpha. They took Mark and Louisa for questioning. But those men

  had tortured them too, and caused their deaths, so I am not sorry for what I did Rocco.”

  She looked defiantly at her. She would never find it in her heart to feel remorse for what

  she had done, and she was not in the mood for a lecture on morality from Rocco just

  now.

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         “I killed them just for knowing that they were harming Mark and Louisa. I didn‟t

  know at the time, how badly Mark and Louisa were, but I still killed them anyway. Just

  because I could sense the fear they had caused in Mark and Louisa.” And she looked

  searchingly into Rocco‟s eyes. “Can you not see the dark anger in my heart Rocco?

  How can I go back to acting as a Guider again after this? It‟s too late for me now. I have

  changed. I can never go back to being the way I used to be.”


         “But you said you committed three murders Sarah? You have told me about just

  two. What was the third?”


         Sarah‟s eyes flashed brightly and she felt flush. A twinge of remorse flooded

  through her as she remembered, but it was too late to change what she had done.


         “I killed a man I brought for questioning at the RPB.”


         “Wasn‟t Fritz with you at the RPB though? Are you saying that you and Fritz

  both killed him?”


         Sarah shook her head as she bowed her head. “No.” she replied, as she lifted her

  head back up and focused her eyes on Rocco‟s, “Fritz had already left by then. I had

  already put the man into a negative sleepscape for longer than was recommended by

  Razul.” She sighed and confessed, “I put him back into the negative sleepscape after his

  interrogation. After I found out what he knew. Even when I knew he would be too weak

  to face another negative sleepscape, but I demanded it of Razul anyway. And now he‟s

  dead – too.” she concluded sadly.


         “But why would Fritz agree to this though, if Razul warned against this procedure

  Sarah? It‟s not like Fritz to act in this way?”



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          “Fritz didn‟t agree to it Rocco. He‟d already left when I demanded that Razul

  place him back into his negative sleepscape. Fritz knows nothing of what I did. He told

  me to take the man back to his hometown in Dallas and dump him in a sidewalk.”


          “So you disobeyed his request?”


          “I‟m not sorry Rocco. That scum deserved to die!”


          “Silence that attitude Sarah! It is unworthy of you.”


          There was silence for a moment as Rocco thought. She studied Sarah for a long

  time in silence. Then she spoke.


          “Sarah, there is still good in you.       You were probably only acting out of

  protectiveness from what I can conclude. But you are right. You cannot return to Fritz

  and the team. It is too late for that. But I do believe you to be loyal and trustworthy still.

  I have made a decision.” She paused and breathed in deeply. “You can become part of

  the Warrior Team. You will be trained and programmed to be like us. I see great

  strength and tenacity in your spirit Sarah. I believe it can be developed and channelled to

  help you become a good warrior. I will speak with Capsulan, Elian, Daro and Kyoto

  about you. You will be transferred into my team.”


          Sarah smiled. It was done. She would become a warrior too. She felt a sense of

  relief, but she hadn‟t finished.


          “Thank you Rocco, I feel unworthy of your acceptance, but I will strive to make

  you glad you agreed to this request of mine. But there is one more favour I must ask of

  you.”


          Rocco looked curious, “Now what can this be Sarah?”

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         “I have agreed to nurture Hemasta‟s new clones. They are the replacements for

  Louisa and Mark. While Mark can be partially re-programmed into the new male clone,

  the female clone has no pre-existing brain patterns or memories being programmed into

  her. Hemasta is creating the new female to be the twin to the new male.”


         Sarah paused.    She felt she was rambling and Rocco was trying hard to

  understand what she was trying to say.


         “I will be taking care of them both once they‟ve been created. I want the female

  to be programmed to become a warrior too. To help with the war against the Vlorja –

  like me. To honour Louisa. It would be a tribute to Louisa, if we programmed the clone

  in this way. We could work together for you on your team. I am asking you to accept

  the new clone as a new warrior for your team Rocco?”


         Rocco thought momentarily about it. “What does Hemasta say?”


         “It was Hemasta‟s idea Rocco.”


         “Then it is agreed. Hemasta can go ahead and programme the new female clone

  to be part of my team. I approve. And you will both be trained together. But what of the

  new male?”


         “Hemasta has agreed to take on a student and teach him his skills. The Vlorja

  crisis has made him aware of how mortal we really are. Hemasta is currently singular in

  his skills. Razul and Tarway are only partially programmed. He is unable to upgrade

  their capabilities. He has only ever visualised immortality. His knowledge has never

  been an issue. He is placing his brain patterns and knowledge into the new male clone

  too. The new clone will share the brain patterns of both Mark and Hemasta.”



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          “I suspect this idea was mainly yours?” Rocco looked at Sarah carefully.


          Sarah nodded. “I know I‟ve lost Mark for good Rocco, but I will take what I can

  of him and see it integrated into the new male. But I am well aware that it will not

  replace Mark. He will be his own person mostly. He will inherit Marks‟s personality

  though,” Sarah suddenly looked elevated, “So I will still be able to see glimpses of the

  old Mark, and Hemasta is trying to implant some of Marks memories into him. You see I

  want to be linked with the new clone. I want him to know about Mark in some way.”

  She looked hopefully at Rocco, “But this new clone. He must be allowed to be his own

  person too. So he will be programmed to become a Creator. A Second - to Hemasta. I

  mean, Hemasta should have a student don‟t you think” she asked, and Rocco nodded

  silently. “He will be blonde like the female. Hemasta has used Louisa hair for the new

  clones. They will be twins on this occasion – not linked this time.”


          “You have it all worked out don‟t you?” Rocco smiled at her. “You will make an

  excellent warrior Sarah. You have true spirit. And you have still retained your nurturing

  instinct too I see.”


          Sarah looked doubtfully at her, but Rocco shook her head as she placed her hands

  on Sarah‟s shoulders. “It‟s still there. It‟s innate in you Sarah. You will never lose that

  compassion for others – even if you cannot see it yourself.”


          Hemasta walked through and stood by the divider.


          “Sarah it is time.”


          Rocco turned to see Hemasta and they nodded in acknowledgement to each other.




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           “Programme the female to become a warrior Hemasta. She will be joining my

  team.” Rocco requested, but she already sensed that the request had already been carried

  out. Still, she didn‟t mind. She had just agreed to take on two new warriors. They would

  need to be trained. Mystar would train them. And she needed to speak to Capsulan now

  – urgently.


           “Has Sarah spoken to you then Rocco?” Hemasta asked and Rocco nodded.


           “Everything has been agreed Hemasta, and I think it will be good for you to have

  a student too.”


           “Mark‟s brain was an excellent brain to harvest patterns from Rocco, so the new

  clone will make a particularly fine student. It may all work out well for us all after all.”


           Rocco nodded, but she could see that Hemasta looked slightly impatient. She

  turned to leave, but as she turned to say goodbye to Sarah for the moment, she asked her

  a question.


           “What will you name him?”


           Sarah looked ponderously at Rocco.


           “Apollo.” she replied simply, “And the female will be called Artemis. They were

  twin gods in Greek mythology you know.” Rocco nodded and smiled, as she turned to

  leave.


           “Take good care of them Sarah, I will arrange for Mystar to visit you shortly.”

  And with that Rocco was gone.




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         “Sarah, please come with me now, it is time for their awakening.” reminded

  Hemasta. “When did you decide their names?” he asked curiously as Sarah walked

  towards him.


         “Just now.” she replied casually, “It seemed appropriate somehow. I hope you

  don‟t mind Hemasta.”


         “As good as any name I would have picked Sarah.” he replied as he led her into

  the room next door.


                                              *   * *


         Rocco was looking for Capsulan as she walked into the Meeting Place. It was rare

  that she visited this place. Most of the time, she was away on crusades against revolts

  from other life-forms, or negotiating treaties and trade agreements between opposing

  planetary inhabitants. She smiled at the crowds relaxing around her, stopping briefly to

  chat to some, but her mind was on business and it was Capsulan she was looking for.


         Daro spotted Rocco approaching and leaned over to nudge Capsulan, whose back

  was turned against the approaching Warrior leader. He sat up quickly and turned as she

  approached.


         “Daro, Kyoto, Elian.” Rocco smiled and turned to look down at Capsulan.

  “Capsulan.” She acknowledged last of all, but her eyes lingered on him for a little longer.

  Kyoto was quick to pick up on the subtlety of her look and knocked her knee gently

  against Daro‟s to see if she had noticed it too. Daro was admiring Rocco‟s tight fitting

  leather cat suit, when she felt Kyoto gently nudge her. She glanced across to Kyoto who

  looked directly at her. „Do you sense it Daro?‟ But Daro chose to ignore her.



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          “Rocco, how good to see you.” Daro smiled, “I take it you are here to speak with

  Capsulan?”


          Rocco smiled at her as she acknowledged that she was right.


          “Daro, it is good to see you all too, and you are right – I am here to see

  Capsulan.” She glanced over to Kyoto and smiled.


          “Kyoto, I hope that you are well. I am sure that Xylem will be sure in sending you

  her regards, if she knew I was here right now.”


          “Oh, so she doesn‟t know you‟re here?” queried Kyoto curiously.


          “No she‟s been off on an errand for me. I believe Ox has just joined her there.

  I‟m about to meet up with them with shortly actually.”


          Kyoto bit her lip, but smiled. „I know why you‟re here Rocco! You can‟t fool me.‟


          „Perhaps you could be right Kyoto, but we‟ll see won‟t we. Anyway, why should

  you care? You have Daro!‟


          “Rocco, it‟s good to see you again.” Capsulan smiled and held out his hand for

  her to sit next to him.


          She smiled at him as she sat down.


          “You‟ve heard about Mark and Louisa Rocco?” Elian asked of her and she

  nodded.


          “I‟ve just come from seeing Sarah Elian. I probably know more than you do

  now,” she nodded.




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         “How so?” He was curious. So she explained the meeting she had just had with

  Sarah. When she had finished she turned to Capsulan.


         “I need to speak to you privately Capsulan. It‟s about Sarah. It may affect you.”


         “I understand Rocco, but it doesn‟t change anything for me, I assure you.”


         “Are you certain of that?”


         “Quite sure Rocco.”


         Daro was listening with interest. She glanced across to Elian, who looked blankly

  at her, and turned to Kyoto, who raised an eyebrow.


         ‟Are you a little jealous Daro?‟


         Daro stared at Kyoto hard, „No! Of course not Kyoto!‟ But Kyoto looked a little

  unsure of her reaction. She turned round to Capsulan with a wicked look in her eyes.


         “Why are you two talking in riddles? Are we excluded from this conversation?

  Don‟t you want us to know what you two are up to Capsulan? Rocco?”


         Rocco leaned forward after glancing at Capsulan. She shook her head.


         “There is change in the air Kyoto. Many changes are taking places, everywhere.

  Not least with me. There are changes that will affect you too.” And turning to Capsulan

  she smiled. As she got up from her seat, Capsulan followed suit and rose to his feet,

  standing side by side with Rocco.


         “I have need of Capsulan, and we need to go.” Rocco explained. Elian looked up

  at them both and smiled.




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         “Of course, I understand. I am happy about Sarah joining you too Rocco. You

  have my accord on the matter. She was an excellent Guider for us. I am sure she will

  serve you very well too.” And he reflected briefly as Daro and Kyoto listened on. “It‟s

  funny, we lose Mark and Sarah, but we have Christian and Tayla who have agreed to join

  us. You‟re right about changes being afoot Rocco. But changes are necessary I suppose.

  It must be seen as a positive step.”


         “Change can be hard to deal with, but inevitable.” Rocco commented, and she

  glanced over to Kyoto. She turned to Capsulan, “Shall we go, everyone is waiting for

  us?”


         “Did you wish to speak to me in private first Rocco?”


         “You‟ve already told me your answer Capsulan. It is settled. I have no need to

  speak further on the matter to you now.”


         “Then it‟s settled.” And Capsulan‟s face lit up. He turned round to Daro, Kyoto

  and Elian.


         “If you will all excuse us?” and he strode off quickly, with Rocco right beside

  him.


         Daro watched them until they disappeared.       Her face was cheerless as she

  watched them chatter and laugh as they walked away. She knew Capsulan deserved

  happiness, but she couldn‟t help feeling just a little bit miserable about seeing him

  looking happy in the company of another female.


                                               * * *




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          Sarah stared at the fully matured naked figures in the chambers. The gas had just

  dissipated and she saw the two newest creations. They were still unconscious, unaware

  that they even existed yet. Their hair was like Louisa‟s; pale, blonde and wavy. Hemasta

  had styled Artemis‟s in shoulder length locks; just as Louisa had recently styled it

  herself. Apollo‟s hair was styled in a way to resemble an outgrown haircut, casually

  smart, but too long for most men. Tousled and wavy, it had a relaxed appeal. Sarah rather

  liked it that way too.


          “They look good Hemasta. They definitely look like twins with their hair don‟t

  you think. Kyoto and Daro will love them looking so identical. Have you programmed

  them already?”


          “Yes Sarah, they are ready for their awakening. Apollo is already programmed to

  be aware that he will be linked to you.”


          “Then do it Hemasta, let‟s awaken them.”


          Hemasta had two tunics for them to wear. They could design more interesting

  attire from the Imager‟s he had organised for them. On a plinth by the side of each

  chamber, were their gifts. An orb; an Imager; a small replicator with a small container

  holding a gluey grey mud-like substance inside of it; food and drink, and the long white

  tunic. They would be living with Sarah. She had everything else they could need. He

  pressed his hand on the glass lids and after a moment they burst open. Sarah stared

  pensively looking at the figures as they opened their eyes. She focused on Apollo and

  saw that he look disorientated at first, unsure of his surroundings, but he caught sight of

  Sarah and smiled. He leaned forward to step out first. Sarah smiled back; she leaned




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  forward and picked up the long white tunic for him to put on. He took it, keeping his

  eyes on Sarah.


         “Put it on Apollo,” she suggested gently, and he nodded to her as he unfolded the

  cloth. Sarah looked over to Artemis. She looked just like Louisa with her hairstyle.

  Hemasta had styled the hair identically, and Sarah was interested to find out what kind of

  personality she would have.


         “Hello Artemis,” she said gently to the female, who smiled back. She looked

  round and Hemasta handed her the folded tunic.


         “You should put that on Artemis, and then eat the food on the plinth. It will give

  you energy.” Hemasta suggested casually to her.


         Hemasta began by explaining what the items were for. The both seemed to

  understand very easily. They ate the food that Hemasta had prepared for them and drank

  the beverage down when Hemasta told them to. Sarah watched silently, standing next to

  Hemasta. Hemasta was used to this procedure, and he chatted away to them as he

  explained who they were, and where they were. They both seemed comfortable with

  what they were being told. As Sarah listened on, she realised that she couldn‟t remember

  her own awakening and this induction procedure Hemasta was conducting so efficiently.

  It must have happened to her, but she had no recollection of it at all.


         Hours later, when Hemasta was finished and had finally officially introduced

  them both to Sarah with the announcement that she would be taking them home with her,

  as they would be living with her for now.


         But before Sarah left to take them home with her, she pulled Hemasta to one side

  quickly.

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         “This induction must have happened to me and Mark too, but how come I have no

  memory of it at all Hemasta?”


         “I programme all memories to begin after the first seventy two hours of being

  awakened. No-one ever remembers the first three days of their life Sarah. It‟s not a

  memory I thought anyone needed to retain.” he replied simply.


         “Oh I see – I suppose not.” she agreed calmly. Perhaps Hemasta was right. The

  awakening was an unnatural way to begin life, but it was the way everyone began life on

  Home. Somewhere along the way, natural childbirth had disappeared, giving way to the

  transgenic cloning process Hemasta performed. Everyone awoke fully matured and

  programmed, ready to begin life immediately.




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                                         Chapter 14

         Sarah was sitting down in her lounging space. She had just shown Artemis and

  Apollo their relaxation spaces. They could retire to their own space to spend time on

  their own if they felt the need. During the first seventy two hours, they would need the

  rest. Hemasta had given them further .programmes to enhance them and they would need

  to absorb them while they slept. Sarah realised that for the next seventy hours, they

  would probably sleep for at least sixty hours of it. After that, they would need barely ten

  hours for every hundred hours or so, depending on how they were. Artemis already

  knew she was being programmed to be a warrior and Apollo too, was aware of his

  intended vocation. She had left them to sleep, and she was listening to ambient music

  softly playing in the background. She was reflecting on the meeting with Rocco earlier.



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  She felt pleased that Rocco had agreed to accept her and Artemis for her team of

  Warriors. It meant that she would be leaving her previous life behind. She hoped that

  everyone would understand her reasons. She knew Fritz would at least. She would

  always keep in touch with them. But for her, her life must follow a new path; her life had

  changed and she needed to follow the changes.


         Artemis would become her new work companion, and Apollo would be her new

  partner. She wondered how she would handle Apollo. Would he have any memories of

  her at all? She would just have to wait and see. She closed her eyes and listened to the

  soothing music, the memories of the past few days washing over her. She would take

  this time to sleep too. There was nothing she could do for the moment. She was looking

  forward to Apollo and Artemis being awake. She had so much to tell them and share

  with them. She smiled to herself as the desire for sleep ebbed through her, and before

  she knew it, she had fallen into a deep and restful repose.


                                               *   * *


         Rocco had arranged to meet Xylem, Mystar, Flisha and Ox at the Re-positioning

  Base. She was with Capsulan. He had wanted to join her at the Base. The invasion of

  the Vlorja on Alpha was also a threat to his Experiment and he was perhaps a little

  keener than he should have been to actively get involved. But Rocco seemed happy

  about his interest. In fact, she had actively sought him out just now. He had suspected

  that she had used the excuse to see Sarah before she left for the Base as an excuse to

  leave without him, but he was wrong. As they walked toward the exit point at the

  Meeting Room, he glanced at her properly as he nonchalantly chatted. She was strong

  and wilful; focused on her agenda. But he could see a warmer side within her, one that

  gave him hope. She walked fast, like him, and her long black hair blew gracefully

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  around her as she strode. She didn‟t notice him watching her as she replied to him and

  when they stopped, she looked into his searching eyes.


         “You asked me earlier if we should travel together Capsulan?” she teased “It

  would make me happy to arrive at the RPB with you.” she smiled and took his hand in

  both of hers.


         “Is this your way of saying yes to me Rocco?” his eyes wide open as he stared

  into her eyes.


         And she nodded gently. “It is what I want too, Capsulan. I‟ve thought hard about

  it for long while now as you know, but I think it was inevitable in the end.”


         He leaned over to her and tenderly kissed her. She responded to his kiss and for a

  moment they were lost in a passionate embrace. He pulled away from her briefly to study

  her face. He wanted to be sure, but as he looked at her she was smiling back at him.


         “Now do you see Capsulan, I am sincere.” He looked deep into her eyes and she

  looked happy and peaceful.


         “I have waited for you to agree Rocco; I cannot say how happy I am right at this

  moment.” And he kissed her again longingly. They stood motionless in their own world

  for a short time, communicating with their minds and hearts, but they knew they had to

  get going. Rocco had delayed her meeting with Mystar, Flisha, Xylem and Ox for long

  enough now. She grasped Capsulan‟s hand and pulled it up to her lips.


         “This is forever Capsulan, you understand that don‟t you?” she asked and he

  grabbed both her hands in his and nodded with a warm smile. They understood each

  other and the commitment they had just made to each other.


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            “Then let us go. The others will be waiting for us. We are already late.”


            She held onto his hand as he released his hold on her to retrieve the orb in his

  tunic, and gripping it firmly in his hand, they were gone.


            They arrived at the Re-positioning Base and strode together hand in hand across

  the vast central hall. They knew where they were going, and they hurried to meet the

  others.


            As the sliding door slid open, Ox and Xylem turned round to see them enter.

  They had been sitting there with Mystar and Flisha, relaxing with a tall jug of an

  energising drink, which was now half empty. Mystar stood up as they entered and she

  smiled at Capsulan. She could see that they were holding hands.


            “It is good to see you Capsulan. I do hope this is good news for us.” She posed as

  her eyes glanced down at their entwined hands, before returning her gaze to their faces.


            Rocco immediately released her hand from Capsulan and she strode into the

  middle of the group. She looked back at Capsulan as he followed behind her and smiled

  warmly at him.


            She turned to Mystar and nodded. “It is arranged. Capsulan and I will be linked.

  I have agreed. He will join us in our team, and I must join him in his, though with the

  Vlorja crisis upon us, I cannot see us spending much time at the Meeting Place for a good

  while.” she announced gravely.


            Ox and Xylem smiled at each other and looked up at Capsulan, who was now

  standing by the side of them.




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          “Sit Capsulan friend,” offered Xylem and she patted the seat next to her. Xylem

  particularly, was pleased to hear the news. As he sat next to her, she leaned across and

  lightly kissed his cheek.


          “Welcome to the team. Rocco is an excellent match for you Capsulan. I am

  pleased that she has realised this at last.” And she gave him a large genuine smile. He

  smiled back at her. In that moment he knew that the awkwardness that had pervaded

  their relationship had ended. Xylem had forgiven herself for the sorrow she believed

  Capsulan must have felt. She had taken his sorrow and had borne the guilt for a long

  while now.     That Capsulan and Rocco were now together, she felt vindicated and

  Capsulan had sensed this in her eyes.


          “I never held you responsible for what happened between Kyoto and Daro

  Xylem, why did you go on punishing yourself for me?” he whispered to her gently. She

  looked at him soulfully. She spoke as if she were making a confession to him,


          “I had a premonition that Kyoto would bring me pain when I agreed to pair with

  her Capsulan. I was never meant to be with her.        I should have guessed what would

  happen. I never intended my misjudgement to affect you too. But now when I look at

  how well suited you are to Rocco, I am pleased with what I did. It was meant to be after

  all.”


          Capsulan smiled at her.      He knew that she would be loyal to him.               Her

  apprehension of him was finally over.


          “Kyoto is a good person Xylem. I like her a great deal you know.”                  He

  volunteered, “It is of no surprise to me that you were infatuated with her for a while.”




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           “I have more news to give you all.” Rocco suddenly announced and she had the

  immediate attention of the whole room. Capsulan knew and he remained quiet while she

  spoke.


           “Sarah and the new clone Artemis are joining our team. Our team has expanded

  at a good time, but Mystar,” and she looked across to her, “I leave them in your care to

  train them up.”


           Mystar nodded silently. She showed little reaction to this request from Rocco.


           “You will need to train them in our ways as quickly as you can. Hemasta has

  already prepared and programmed Artemis, so it won‟t take long for you to teach her, but

  Sarah will need to be re-programmed and trained. It will take longer, although we have

  no extra time. But I see in her a deep strength and willpower. I know she will be an

  excellent warrior.”


           Ox clapped her hands in excitement as she looked at Xylem.


           “This is really good news! Our family is growing so quickly. I am no longer the

  baby!”


           “What weapons will they be associated with Rocco?” Flisha enquired curiously,

  “Have you given it any thought yet?”


           Rocco shook her head, “Why have you a suggestion Flisha?”


           “Well with a name like Artemis, surely she should be given the bow and arrow?”


           “No, a small crossbow and poisonous darts,” suggested Capsulan. Rocco and

  Flisha turned to look at him. He shrugged his shoulder, it was only a suggestion. But

  Rocco thought for a moment and agreed with him.

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             “That will be her weapon. It will be very effective against the Vlorja too. Good

  idea.”


             Capsulan smiled, pleased that she agreed with him. He had as suggestion for

  Sarah too.


             “Sarah has shown great courage lately. She is quick and agile. What about

  giving Sarah a net and dagger set?”


             “I like that a lot Capsulan.” nodded Ox as she leaned forward to see him more

  clearly.


             “Then a net and dagger it is.” Rocco agreed. I will let Hemasta know to produce

  them for them. He will know how to incorporate the best technologies of weaponry

  within those items for Sarah and Artemis. He will probably add some extra properties to

  them, but I will leave that to his creative mind. We have more urgent issues to attend

  here. Is Razul in his laboratory?”


             Mystar nodded. “He waits for us. He has much to tell us. We should go.”


             “Good, but Mystar, afterwards, you will need to go back to Home and stay with

  Sarah and Artemis for a short while. Teach them what they need to know and then re-

  join us with them.”


             Mystar nodded.


             Rocco strode toward the door. “Let‟s find Razul then!” and as the door slid open,

  she strode off, leaving the others to follow along behind her.


             “Razul?!” Rocco exclaimed as the door to Razul‟s laboratory slid open. She

  rushed in impatiently, as Razul spotted her from his stool in the corner.

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          “Rocco.” Razul acknowledged her and she turned her head sharply round to see

  him.


          “Ah, there you are Razul, we need to speak.” and as Razul jumped from his stool,

  the others strode in behind her. The door slid shut on the dark shiny room. The glass

  chambers flat and dark against the oppressive dark walls. The overhead lighting was

  bright but placid, and it bounced subtle reflections from the glossy finishes around the

  room.


          There was much to discuss. Razul had been waiting patiently for Rocco to come.

  He had been present when Tarway had brought the test results concerning Mark and

  Louisa. He had been present at the interrogation of Patterson. He had prepared the

  negative sleepscape and disposed of the body of Patterson. He had the phials Rocco was

  after. They would hopefully give Rocco a clue to the Vlorja. Razul spent the next few

  hours answering Rocco‟s question‟s explaining every detail to her that he knew. Finally,

  he answered the question that they had all been holding back. What was the drug used

  which finally killed Mark and Louisa? How come they couldn‟t fight off its effects?

  Tarway had analysed the drugs used against Louisa and Mark. It turned out to be nothing

  technologically advanced in the end.


          “It was nothing too extraordinary Rocco. But it was aimed to kill. A highly toxic

  and radioactive psychotropic drug which contained excessive levels of Uranium 239 as

  well as lethal levels of Lysergic acid diethylamide mixed with heavy traces of mercury.

  It would have induced a hallucinatory trance and feeling of euphoria. The mercury

  would have caused much suffering of excruciating pain after a short period of time.

  Their bodies would have been going through all manner of experiences and sensations

  while these chemicals and metals destroyed their brain cells. They would never have

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  recovered from it. It was meant to kill them slowly.” Razul recited as he remembered

  Tarway‟s words to Sarah.


         Capsulan looked sickened by what he had just heard. “Those poor individuals.

  What did they do to deserve that kind of end?” he grimaced.


         “They had been badly abused beforehand too Capsulan.           The drugs were

  administered during their beatings probably. What they endured was extremely tortuous

  and cruel it appears. Especially Louisa for some reason; they treated her appallingly.

  That‟s what Tarway believed.” Razul added flatly.


         “Oh no!” groaned Ox as she stared at Razul after listening to him. “Did Sarah

  know this Razul?” He nodded and Ox shook her head in sorrow.


         Rocco turned to Capsulan and held his hand. “I understand Sarah better now.”

  She said to him quietly. “It must have been horrific for her to hear the suffering they

  endured.” And she looked deeply into Capsulan‟s eyes for a brief but searching moment.

  As Capsulan nodded to her, he understood what she meant.


         “Razul?” Rocco asked as she kept her eyes for a little longer on Capsulan, and

  then she turned to look at Razul face on, “What more have you on the Vlorja. I need to

  know as much on what you have managed to find out on the Vlorja. I need Tarway to

  come and speak with me when he is back. Will you send him to me the moment he

  returns?”


         “He‟s with the woman called Tayla Morgan at the moment. He has gone with her

  to find out more on the Vlorja himself. I think he‟s trying to bring someone back who

  may know more Rocco.”



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          Capsulan explained. He realised that although Rocco might have known, the

  warrior team would have unaware of the latest changes to have taken place. “The

  Morgan‟s are working with our Family now. They‟ve become real people recently.

  They are a useful aid to us all.” And Rocco nodded her head.


          “I have no issue with this Capsulan. I find it quite interesting that Tarway has

  become so involved. But it‟s good.” And turning to Razul, “We must leave now, but

  send Tarway to me as soon as he returns with his information. Let him interrogate this

  person with you. You will no doubt know how to deal with them.” And Razul agreed.


          “Of course Rocco. We are here to be of service to you all. Tarway will come and

  see you when he has returned. I will tell him.”


          “Good, then we need to leave.      Thank you Razul.      I‟ll take these phials to

  Hemasta to study. He will analyse them further for us.” And with a handshake to Razul,

  she turned to leave, waiting for Capsulan to lead the way. Capsulan grabbed her hand

  and pulled her along as the other four pecked Razul on the top of his bald head. He was a

  useful person to them, and he had come to their aid many times over the years. He

  acknowledged them as they left and then resumed his place on his stool as the door slid

  shut.


                                               *    * *


          Mystar was sitting opposite Sarah as she awoke. She had decided to let Sarah

  rest, and poured her a cup of a hot energising beverage as Sarah sat up.


          “I used your Nourisher to make a pot of mana for myself, hope you don‟t mind?”

  she grinned, as she passed her the cup. Sarah leaned forward and took it, taking a small



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  sip as she remembered that Mystar would be coming to see her. Mystar re-filled her own

  cup before sitting back on the seat.


          “Rocco told me what you‟ve decided you want to do, we‟re all happy to have you

  with us Sarah. You‟ll work very well with us I‟m sure.”


          “Good.” Sarah was pleased that she wouldn‟t have to explain herself. “Do you

  know about Artemis – the new clone assigned to you too?”


          Mystar nodded and looked over her shoulder, “Is she resting? I suppose she must

  be, if she‟s new...” and she turned back round to look at Sarah. “We‟ve assigned to her

  the crossbow and poisonous dart, given the name you‟ve chosen for her.” Sarah nodded.

  She hadn‟t really given the association with a weapon any real thought, but it was would

  become an important icon to Artemis as a warrior, and one in which she would be trained

  to use with completed efficiency.


          “So what about me then, you must have assigned me with a weapon as well?” she

  asked curiously.


          Mystar nodded, “Yes we did. We‟ve assigned you the net and dagger Sarah.”

  Sarah looked puzzled. “The net and dagger? That‟s a sort of odd icon to be associated

  with?


          Mystar. Is that what you all see me with then?”


          Mystar smiled. She could see that Sarah looked baffled. “To use a net and dagger

  effectively as an offensive weapon against your adversary, you need to be fearless and

  brave. You need to show intelligence and quick wit, not to mention speed and agility.




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  You have all these traits Sarah, so that‟s why we‟ve assigned it to you. You should feel

  pleased with our decision.”


         Sarah thought about it for a moment and then nodded. “I‟m fine with that decision

  I suppose,” she replied after a moment, and took a sip from her cup.


         “I‟m looking forward to meeting Artemis when she awakes. What is she like?”


         Sarah thought about the impressions she had formed in the short space of time,

  she had spent with her.


         “Very sharp... and confident. That would be my first comment about her Mystar.

  She‟s not shy at all. Quite sultry too, even Hemasta was quite taken with her charm. He‟s

  so pleased with her. He says its how his combatant programmes and her own natural

  brain patterns have interacted. He thinks she will be quite a femme fatale in battle.” And

  she nodded, pleased with her own summary of Artemis.


         “She sounds very interesting, and is she linked with the other one?”


         “No. He‟s linked to me Mystar.”


         Mystar raised an eyebrow, a little surprised by Sarah. “So what will be their

  relationship? I only wondered because you have brought them both back here. Surely

  they will bond?”


         “They‟re in separate relaxation spaces. Hemasta‟s twinned them. They share the

  same hair DNA. I want them to have some kind of bond, only more platonic .I‟ve already

  requested that Artemis and I work together as a pair too. I want to look out for her. Mind

  you, when you meet her, it may well turn out to be the other way around!”


         “And Rocco agreed to this?”

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         “Yes, she did.”


         Mystar shrugged. She had no opinion on the arrangement. She was unfussed.


         “Well, when Artemis awakens, we will begin. I would also like to meet ...” and

  she paused.


         “Apollo.    His name‟s Apollo. – Of course.           He‟s going to be Hemasta‟s

  understudy, so you‟ll get to know him well. I think he will be very useful to us all, as

  well as a student for Hemasta. I think he‟s looking forward to having Apollo around

  actually. Hemasta‟s asked me to send him to him when he awakens, so I think that

  means Hemasta‟s pleased.”


         “Apollo?” and she nodded “Did you name them both then?” and Sarah nodded in

  confirmation.


         “So this Apollo, he can‟t be Mark rejuvenated, or you wouldn‟t have re-named

  him, so why did you wish to be linked to him?”


         Sarah explained, and they chatted on for a while. Mystar had asked Sarah to

  think of an item that she would always wear, which would disguise her weapons. Mystar

  explained that her whip was currently in the guise of the prominent gold ring with held a

  large black stone, which she chose to wear on her right forefinger. By pulling it off, the

  ring would revert back to her long whip. It returned back into the guise of a ring, when

  she laid it on the floor. She demonstrated it for Sarah with quiet efficiency. Sarah

  seemed impressed. Mystar was entrusting Sarah with many warrior secrets. She felt

  humbled at Mystar‟s instant friendship and trust with her.




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         “Ox has those small rubber balls that change in mid-air when she fires them out.

  She‟s quite an expert with the spinning wheels. She has never missed. She can send

  twenty out and hit twenty targets simultaneously Sarah. She‟s good to have with you,

  though Xylem is linked with her now, so they normally work together. It‟s rare that they

  don‟t. Xylem has the long sword as you know, and her sword is guised in her head clip,

  which covers her band. You see there is a good reason why Xylem has her hair tied in a

  pony tail from the top of her head. She can grab the head clip and she is ready poised for

  attack as her sword appears.”


         “And they all change back when you lay them on the floor I take it...”


         “So think about how you wish to disguise your weapon. But it must be in a form

  that will be quick for you to use immediately.       If you cannot think, Hemasta will

  normally have a good idea of his own. After all, he makes them for us.”


         “And Flisha and Rocco. I would assume then, that the jewellery they wear, it‟s

  really their weapon then?”


         “You catch on quick Sarah. Now you‟re part of the warrior team, you can know

  this, but this is something we keep entrust only within our group. Our weapons give us

  other powers too. They‟re much more than they appear at first glance. These weapons

  you will be given have the ability to adapt to any given situation, so they will act

  differently each time. They may even change size or material. But they will always

  protect you. With them, you will be invincible against anything – and that includes the

  Vlorja, but you must have them with you at all times. No-one but us should know where

  your weapon is hidden. Hemasta is the only person outside of the warrior team that

  knows and he never makes a second. Without them, you become vulnerable. So think


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  carefully. Flisha wears the cuff on her left arm, so she can reach it and pull it off and be

  ready to throw her javelin, and Rocco has her choker which she can pull off - even if she

  is running - and the double headed axe is ready in her hand for combat.”


         “I‟m not much of a jewellery person Mystar, but I think I‟m going to go for

  fingerless gloves. What do you think? I need two items, so one can be the net and the

  other the dagger. That way, I can choose which weapon to use or both if I need to.”


         “Rocco was right about you. You do think very quickly Sarah. How did you

  come up with that idea so fast. But I like it, and I think it would well too. You could

  integrate it into your look. Let Hemasta know you have already chosen the new guise for

  your weapon. Perhaps Apollo can let him know, if he‟s going to see him soon. Hemasta

  will need to know, he‟s got to decide how you and Artemis will dress as warriors. You

  know he‟s the one who decided our look. He based all of our outfits to reflect our

  personalities. He‟s probably already hard at work thinking how he‟s going to dress you

  and Artemis right now. I‟m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with!”


         Sarah looked at Mystar and smiled broadly. “Oh-kay, so he thinks your

  personality is best reflected in a patent black and bright blue leather cat suit then. - With

  killer heel boots too! With your long blonde hair Mystar, you look like a playful

  dominatrix Mistress!” and she began to laugh. “I, I thought you picked it!”


         “I like my look though, whatever Hemasta was thinking about me at the time!”

  and she began to laugh too, “I do think it‟s very me though Sar...” and they both looked

  at each other and burst into raucous laughter, and as they mentioned the other warriors,

  they laughed even more, laughing hard as tears rolled down their faces. Suddenly they




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  saw Hemasta in a whole new light. It was the first time Sarah had laughed in a week.

  She couldn‟t stop laughing now, and she didn‟t want to.


                                               *   * *


         It was much later when Mystar heard movement from the other end of Sarah‟s

  pod.


         “Someone‟s awake Sarah,” she commented as she turned her head round to see if

  anyone was approaching. Sarah looked over, to see Artemis wander through to them.

  She was still wearing the tunic Hemasta had given her earlier.


         “Oh you must be Artemis.” Mystar smiled as she jumped up to greet her. “Let me

  make another pot of Mana. You‟re going to need it after your rest.” She suggested and

  picked up the cold pot by the side of her. “Nice to meet you, I‟m Mystar. I‟m here to

  train you when you are ready.” She smiled as passed her on the way to get to the

  Nourisher. Artemis smiled at her. “Hi, yeah, I feel quite hungry I think, or at least I need

  something to drink perhaps.” As she nodded to Mystar. She headed towards Sarah who

  had remained seated, and took a seat besides her.


         “How are you feeling Artemis?” Sarah asked as Artemis sat down. “Fine, I feel

  really good, thank you. Apollo is obviously still resting then?” Artemis asked and Sarah

  nodded. “He should be waking up shortly though, you‟ve both been resting for a good

  sixty hours. It should be enough time for your bodies to take in the programmes Hemasta

  injected into your bodies.”


         Mystar came back with a fresh pot of hot Mana. “I‟ve made enough for all of us,

  including Apollo, I think I heard some movement coming from his space, so it won‟t be

  long until he wakes up.” She smiled and placed the pot on the little table by the seating

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  area. She looked at the tunic Artemis was wearing and frowned, “Artemis, go get your

  Imager and orb. I need to show you what else you can wear. You can‟t wander round in

  that awful looking tunic forever.”


         Artemis looked down at her tunic and shrugged, but she jumped up and went to

  retrieve the items Mystar had asked her to. She came back in with Apollo.


         “Look, Apollo‟s awake too now, you were right Mystar.” Artemis announced as

  she walked in with him.     Apollo looked slightly nervous and shy, and Sarah could see

  the same sensitivity and nervousness around strangers as Mark had. ‟Perhaps he will be

  like Mark‟ she thought hopefully.


         “Hello Apollo, are you well rested?” Sarah asked as she smiled at him. “Come sit

  down with us, Artemis has only just awakened too. This is Mystar...” she offered as she

  glanced across to her. Mystar stood up and smiled.


         “Sit here, next to Sarah,” as she offered her seat to Apollo, “Nice to meet you

  Apollo, you‟ll see a lot of me, if you‟re working with Hemasta.”


         Apollo smiled and walked with Artemis to where Sarah and Mystar were sitting

  and sat down next to Sarah. He gave her a shy smile as he sat down. “Hello Sarah.” She

  smiled as he sat down next to her and looked over to Mystar, “Nice to meet you Mystar,

  we were expecting you, weren‟t we Sarah?” and he glanced back over to her.


         Mystar poured out four cups of hot Mana and offered them round. “Drink you

  two, it will do you both good. It‟s an energiser.”




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         Artemis put down her Imager and orb, to accept the cup and slowly drank the

  Mana. She placed the empty cup back on the table. She turned to Mystar and picked up

  the Imager.


         “So Mystar, show me what I can wear instead of this tunic.”


         Mystar proceeded to show both Artemis and Apollo the wonders of the Imager

  and many of the images it kept.


         “Of course, it has every image contained within it, so its uses are infinite. You

  can discover them at your leisure. Apollo, you‟ll probably go on to input more ideas in

  to it, it‟s normally Hemasta who updates them with new images usually...” and she

  continued on. They chatted generally for a few more hours with Apollo and Artemis

  absorbing more about life on Home, learning more about the surrounding moons and

  planets around them.


         Sarah glanced occasionally at Apollo. She felt strangely shy around him, looking

  away quickly if she felt he had noticed. Occasionally, she saw him glance across to her,

  when he thought she wasn‟t looking; only she had noticed, though she pretended that she

  hadn‟t. Sarah wondered how Apollo felt about her. He knew he was linked to her. Did

  he feel the same shyness towards her too? Was this how she and Mark had been when

  they were conceived together?      She just couldn‟t remember now.        All she could

  remember was she knew her and Mark were one, and she had always felt that way. She

  would just have to wait and see how this relationship panned out. Perhaps it would work,

  perhaps it wouldn‟t. She couldn‟t force it of Apollo. She didn‟t want to either. Only she

  knew he carried part of Mark within him, and that would always keep her closely bonded




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  to Apollo. She would always feel the connection to Apollo. She would just have to wait

  and see if Apollo felt the same way too.


         “Apollo, I need to start training Sarah and Artemis in our ways of combat. I

  understand Hemasta has requested you see him once you were awake. I think now is the

  time. There is a Vlorja crisis upon us and it‟s extremely grave. We need to help where

  we can to eliminate them from Alpha.” Mystar suddenly announced. She realised they

  had spent enough time getting to know each other, and time was slipping.


         Apollo nodded and Sarah had an idea. “Let me go with you Apollo, I‟ll take you.

  I need to see Hemasta anyway.” And she turned to Mystar who shrugged. “I leave that

  to you Sarah. There is plenty I can teach Artemis while you‟re gone.”


         It was decided then. Sarah would take Apollo to see Hemasta. She wanted to see

  him anyway, and it would be an opportunity to spend a little while with Apollo on her

  own. Artemis seemed happy to spend time with Mystar. Mystar fascinated her. Her

  hypnotic allure captivated her and she seemed fascinated by her personality.


         “You can teach me more than you think Mystar,” she speculated, copying her

  seductive style. Sarah looked surprised for a moment then turned to Mystar.


         “I can see Artemis is picking up on your personality Mystar. She likes your style.

  I said she wasn‟t shy. I think she‟s going to be quite the seductress. Hemasta will be

  pleased no doubt. Another combination from his mix of brain patterns and programmes.

  I‟ll let him know.”


         Artemis looked over to Sarah and smiled. “Believe me Sarah, it will be an extra

  weapon for us. Mystar understands this already don‟t you?” and turning to Mystar she

  looked for her confirmation.

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         “You are an astute person already Artemis. You are going to compliment our

  team extremely well. Come, let‟s get started, there‟s much to teach you.” she nodded.

  Mystar then turned quickly to Sarah and Apollo. “It was good to meet you Apollo, we‟ll

  speak later no doubt.” She paused momentarily and then suddenly announced, “Sarah is a

  good woman Apollo. You‟re lucky to be linked to her you know. She will take good care

  of you.”


         Sarah blushed and looked awkwardly at Apollo. She didn‟t know what to say or

  do. Apollo looked surprisingly calm and smiled warmly at Mystar.


         “I know.”


         “Look, we need to go Apollo, I would take you in the Carrier, because you

  haven‟t seen it yet, and you can use it while I‟m away, but we need to see Hemasta now,

  so we‟ll orb there on this occasion, but I will show you how to use it soon I promise.”

  Sarah was eager to get going. She felt Mystar was trying to push Apollo and herself

  together too quickly. But she realised that Apollo didn‟t seem to react or be concerned

  by Mystar‟s opinion as she had. „Perhaps he does feel the connection too?” she thought.


         Apollo turned to Sarah and nodded. “Let‟s go then Sarah. Do you like the outfit I

  picked to wear? I was drawn to this look for some reason.” He had picked quite a

  conservative classic look from Alpha. It would have been an outfit Mark would have

  chosen.


         “It looks good on you.     Funny enough your hairstyle seems to fit the look

  perfectly Apollo. I like it very much but we do really need to go now.” And turning to

  Mystar and Artemis she smiled warmly.




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         “I‟ll be back later. I‟ll pass on our icons to Hemasta so he can begin work on

  them, and I‟ll let you know what look he decides for us Artemis.” she smiled.


         “Tell him something original please. I want to be memorable when I approach

  the enemy!”


         “I‟ll be sure to tell him Artemis. See you later you two.” And turning to Apollo

  “Grab my hand Apollo, I‟ll orb us on mine, it will be quicker this time.” And holding out

  her hand Apollo grabbed it and in an instance they were gone.


         Mystar turned to Artemis. “Now let‟s change the setting Artemis, something less

  homely looking.” And grabbing the Imager, she began flicking scenes within the box

  until she was happy.


         “This will do...” she smiled and placed her orb on top of the small box.


         “Mystar! What an ideal setting for combatant training. I approve of your choice.

  So what do you intend to teach me first?”


         “Let‟s begin Artemis. I‟ve a feeling you are going to be very easy to train...”


                                               *   * *


         “Good you are here at last Apollo, how are you feeling my dear student?”

  Hemasta looked pleased when he saw Apollo arrive and put down two phials he was

  holding. He walked towards Apollo with his arms outstretched to welcome him. He

  suddenly spotted Sarah behind him. “Oh Sarah, how good to see you too?” He looked

  slightly surprised to see her there, but he was happy to see her anyway. Sarah quickly

  explained her presence.




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           “I decided to bring Apollo to you Hemasta. I have questions I need to ask of you.

  There‟s also information you need to know, concerning decisions Rocco has made

  regarding Artemis and I. It was quicker for me to come, than to pass the message on

  through Apollo. I hope you don‟t mind.”


           “Of course, then it was just as well you came along too then Sarah.”


           “So how are you all getting along?”


           “Fine Hemasta, just fine... I left Artemis with Mystar. They‟re training now.”


           “Good, good, and you Apollo, are you feeling well? How do you feel? Do you

  have any memories yet? I have given you some you see, they will start to come to you

  soon.”


           Apollo shrugged his shoulder and shook his head, “No, Hemasta, only new ones.

  I can remember awakening a few hours ago, and they are the only memories currently in

  my head right now, there is nothing else – yet.”


           Hemasta nodded. He didn‟t seem concerned. He glanced briefly over to Sarah to

  study her reaction, before turning his attention back to Apollo.


           “They will come. You have some of my knowledge stored within your memory

  Apollo. You must tell me when you start to remember anything. They will start to come

  to you shortly. It may be too early yet.” He patted Apollo warmly on both his shoulders

  and gave him a quick hug.


           “I am going to like having a student to work with. Two brains will always be

  better than one. I‟m looking forward to seeing what creative idea‟s we can come up with

  as a team.” he smiled warmly. He turned to look at Sarah quizzically.

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         “I injected programmes into you too Sarah, are you feeling any differently yet.

  Did you rest a while too?”


         “I did, but I don‟t know how long for, but I certainly rested.”


         “Good then the programme should have latched on and integrated with your

  neural system by now. You should have exactly the same capabilities as the rest of the

  warriors. Mystar is probably showing Artemis those differences now, if she is training

  her. How is Artemis by the way? I am very pleased with her you know. She‟s very

  engaging don‟t you two find?”


         Sarah glanced over to Apollo to see his reaction. He smiled broadly.


         “She seemed taken by Mystar when we left. She‟s very confident that‟s for sure

  Hemasta. She certainly likes Mystar‟s style of personality. She made that obvious to

  us.”


         “That‟s because she‟s a warrior. She will think like one. She will want an edge

  on every one she encounters, and that looks like it includes her team member too it would

  appear!” and Hemasta laughed approvingly. “Oh I think she is going to be very effective

  you know. A different type of warrior I think! She‟s already learning so fast.”


         “Which bring me to why I‟m here actually Hemasta? Rocco‟s decided upon our

  icons. She wants to you incorporate them into our look.”


         Hemasta looked pleased. “Ah, so what are they?”


         Sarah began her explanation as Hemasta nodded and thought. He looked at

  Apollo many times during Sarah‟s explanation. He would let Apollo assist him on this

  task. It would test Apollo and his capabilities. Hemasta approved of the weapons. He

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  was already forming ideas in his mind. Finally when Sarah had finished speaking he

  turned to Apollo.


         “Any thoughts yet Apollo. You must have some idea of how you see Sarah and

  Artemis. We must come up with appropriate looks for them. Their style will symbolise

  their personalities. We need to get it right Apollo. Sarah thought back to Mystar and

  their earlier conversation and smirked. She wondered what Hemasta would come up

  with for Artemis and herself. Sarah considered herself to be fairly modest and quiet in

  personality.   She wondered if Hemasta saw her that way.       She wondered how her

  personality might have been affected by the new programme he injected into her. She

  knew she was originally programmed to become a Guider. What look would Hemasta

  give to a Guider turned Warrior? A Girl Guide with a Mohican perhaps? She shuddered

  at the thought.


         “I imagine Artemis as some kind of seductive huntress myself. She‟s very

  captivating that‟s one thing I‟ve picked up on for sure.” Apollo announced casually.

  Hemasta and Sarah looked at him in surprise. Sarah felt a sudden twinge of jealousy

  sweep through her at his words. Is this how he saw Artemis too? She couldn‟t disagree

  with him. Even Mystar had been taken with her. But discovering Apollo had picked up

  on her allure too had only filled her with self doubts about herself. Was Mystar right,

  would he naturally bond with Artemis instead? She tried hard not to look hurt as Hemasta

  clapped his hands in glee.


         “Oh, she sounds quite amazing Apollo. Do you really see her like that?” he asked

  excitedly, and Apollo nodded glad that Hemasta looked so approvingly at him.




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         “I do Hemasta. I think she will captivate everyone she meets, male or female.

  And she does it quite naturally too. I mean, she doesn‟t even try, it just happens.”


         “Well I wasn‟t quite as captivated by her as you and Mystar so obviously were

  Apollo,” and turning to Hemasta, “but Apollo‟s correct, he has summed her up very well

  in fact.” she admitted begrudgingly. The truth was that she had been captivated by

  Artemis. Artemis did have a strange and mysterious air about her, and Sarah did find her

  fascinating; only now she was suddenly feeling threatened by her. She felt afraid that

  Apollo was bonding with Artemis and not her. Sarah knew that she was no seductress

  herself, and for the first time, she felt totally inadequate. Hemasta was only interested in

  his new creation. He seemed excited by the new personality he‟d created.


         “Apollo, we will give her totally different look to the others, something special

  and unique. Something to exemplify this personality of hers. Rocco was right, the

  crossbow and dart is an ideal weapon for her. How clever she is!” He looked across to

  Sarah, who was standing there silently, as Hemasta reeled with excitement. He stopped

  suddenly and gave Sarah a quizzical look.


         “Now what look should we give you Sarah hey? A woman whom Rocco had

  decided personifies the net and dagger?”


         Apollo jumped in, “I would like to create Sarah‟s look Hemasta,” he stated

  quietly as he looked at Sarah, and quickly turning to Hemasta, “If that is okay with you?”

  and turning once more to Sarah, “I feel I already know her really well. I want to pick the

  look for Sarah please,” he said more insistently as he gazed at Sarah again. Sarah felt

  mesmerised by Apollo in that moment. Warmth spread over her as he gazed at her in that

  way. She suddenly felt safe in his care, and she knew in his look, that he was feeling the


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  same connection that she felt for him. Hemasta looked at the two of them briefly, and

  smiled to himself. He knew his plans had worked again. He was quietly very pleased

  with himself. Two successes in two creations.


          He looked at Apollo and smiled broadly, “Of course Apollo, of course you

  should, but don‟t discuss it with Sarah, let it be a surprise for her.” he insisted and Apollo

  nodded. He was still gazing at Sarah. Apollo slowly approached Sarah and touched her

  arm gently, caressing it tenderly with his fingers as he spoke. “You‟ve no need to worry

  where my affections lie Sarah, they are where they are meant to be, please be assured of

  that.” Sarah looked at him for a moment, puzzled by his words. „Had he sensed her pang

  of jealousy earlier then? Was that connection between them really there after all?‟ she

  thought and she looked even more surprised when he nodded. „I can read your mind

  Sarah, I feel what you do, isn‟t that what you want from me?‟ and he looked deeply into

  her eyes. Sarah searched back into his for a moment. He really did feel connected to her.

  She felt elated and relieved at the same time. Would he ever have any memories of her?

  She hoped he would. One day, when the time was right, she would tell him all about

  Mark.


          Hemasta interrupted them. He wanted to examine Sarah. He wanted to make

  sure his programme had worked properly. It wouldn‟t be obvious physically. He needed

  to make sure.


          “Come sit over here Sarah. We have much to discuss,” he asked as he took her

  arm, and began leading her towards a side table and chairs. He looked briefly at Apollo,

  “You too Apollo, come,” he nodded approvingly at him, “Both of you come over here

  please.”



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         As they sat down, he poured out three cups of hot mana for them all to drink.


         “You need to make sure you both drink plenty of mana. You both need this

  energising drink. It will help your minds become strong.” he explained as he handed

  them both a hot cup of the energising drink. “I want to explain what I‟ve done to your

  body Sarah. What I‟ve done to you and Artemis.” he began, “You‟re very different now

  to how you were you see, and you need to know how different you actually are.”


         She listened as Hemasta began. She noticed that Hemasta held one of her hands

  as he spoke to her earnestly, and that Apollo had gently searched for her other hand and

  was now holding it tentatively in his own.


         After a while, Hemasta felt pleased with his explanation. “So sum up what I‟ve

  just told you Sarah, just quickly, so I know you took it all in,” he asked. Sarah thought

  for a moment. She had listened. In fact, she was fascinated by it all. She took a deep

  breath and turned to face Hemasta,


         “Right, well the first thing is that with my outfit, it can create invisibility for me

  whenever I require; that my skin has been adapted to secrete poisons whenever I feel

  threatened; that it has electrical charges throughout the skin to protect me, and will send

  out light signals in the dark if I wish. Mystar will teach me the signals I need to know.”

  She paused as Hemasta nodded vigorously. “Um, well obviously I already have the

  ability to camouflage myself to any background, with night vision as well supersensitive

  vision abilities – but we all possess those traits. But I can communicate sonically as well

  as telepathically now. Mystar will teach how to hypnotise others with these abilities. My

  voice will now vibrate at such low frequencies, that if I wish, I can shatter any material,

  no matter how strong it may be. I can also throw out an electrical field around myself, to


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  throw off any opponent or object if I concentrate hard – and again, Mystar will teach me

  how to do that. And I can kinetically move objects with the power of my mind and

  Mystar will show me this too. Is that everything you told me Hemasta, I can‟t think of

  anything else?”


         “You forgot that you have antigravity abilities built into your outfit. It‟s why your

  outfit is so important.” Hemasta added and nodded happily. “You‟ve listened well Sarah.

  Good. You know you also won‟t feel pain now Sarah, you‟ve been de-sensitised to pain.

  I forgot to say. You‟ll have to be careful though, you can still damage yourself, but

  luckily you‟ll heal much faster too. Just remember not to be too reckless.” he smiled

  warmly, “You are already strong and can withstand severe temperature changes without

  any effect, you just need to be trained in the ways of warrior combat Sarah. Once you

  learn those skills, you will be invincible. But you‟re life will be one filled with danger

  every day. It‟s the life you have chosen. I hope you don‟t ever regret the decision. It

  will mean that you will be apart from Apollo for long periods at times. You must realise

  that Sarah.” Hemasta looked carefully at her. But she already knew and she nodded with

  a smile.


         “But he will be with you Hemasta; he will be safe here – with you - won‟t he?”


         “Is that why you chose this path for Apollo Sarah, so he would be safe from

  danger or harm?”


         Sarah paused for a moment, “Partly, but also company for you too Hemasta, and

  some-one to hand your skills onto - but yes, that too I suppose. His temperament is best

  suited to this kind of work Hemasta. He will be an excellent assistant to you, and you

  know I‟m right when I say that.”


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         Hemasta smiled and placed his hand on Sarah‟s face tenderly. “You have such a

  caring heart Sarah. You will never lose it, nor should you wish too. It‟s a trait you alone

  will carry within the warrior team.” And he took he hand. “It‟s time for you to leave

  Sarah, there is much I need to go through with Apollo, and Mystar will be waiting for

  you, but I‟ll leave you two together for a moment to say goodbye for now.” And with

  that, he let go of her hand and stood up to leave. He looked at Apollo for a moment, “I‟ll

  be back shortly Apollo, there is much to go through with you, and we need to decide the

  looks for Artemis and Sarah.” before he walked away, leaving them to speak in private.


         Apollo inched himself closer to Sarah and took her hand.


         “It was thoughtful of you to want to keep me safe Sarah, but I will be thinking of

  you while you are away. I‟m going to choose a look for you that will reflect your

  personality. It‟ll be one that I like too. I am happy to be linked to you. I hope you realise

  that Sarah. I already feel a connection to you, I feel drawn to you somehow.” Sarah

  smiled as he spoke.


         “I‟m glad to hear that Apollo, because you mean a great deal to me. I will always

  look after you and I will always care about you.”


         “I know we will come to love each other Sarah, it‟s inevitable. I know it‟s too

  soon to say it now, but in time you‟ll see I‟m right.”


         “I hope so Apollo, it‟s what I want more than anything else, but at the moment I

  do feel shy around you for some reason, isn‟t it strange?”


         “Perhaps it‟s how we‟re supposed to feel – our relationship is pre-arranged after

  all. The shyness will go I‟m sure of it. I really hope that I will have some memories of

  you, I really do Sarah, but even if I don‟t, I don‟t care. I want to be linked to you

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  anyhow.” He leaned over to her and tentatively kissed her. “I still feel shy around you

  Sarah, but it‟s what attracts me to you more,” he said as he pulled away. “But I will

  always be here waiting for you and you alone. That‟s all you need to know for now.”


         Sarah looked at Apollo tenderly and clasped his face in her hands.


         “I already love you Apollo, and that‟s all you need to know from me. Only one

  day, I hope you will remember how you loved me once.”




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                                  Chapter 15

         Tayla helped clear the table with Bridget and Liam. Claudette took charge of

  making a large pot of hot chocolate for those who wanted it and soon they were all sitting

  around the cleared table. Jake had been viewing their website and reading the comments

  quietly to himself. Arturo quickly brought the conversation around to Tayla‟ earlier

  question. Who were they exactly?


         “So Tayla, you want to know about us then?”


         Tayla looked around the table at each of them. They had already introduced

  themselves to her and she wanted to find out what had brought them all together.


         “Well you‟ve told me that you‟re all part of this „Freilassen Movement‟ which

  you Derek and you Jake,” she started looking at both individuals as she spoke their

  names, “and this other guy what‟s his name again?”


         “Philippe Lacroix.” The two of them recited together.

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          “Yes and this Philippe Lacroix began a few years ago. And now it appears, you

  have quite a following. Only not many people have ever heard of you or what you do.”


          “Well, it all depends on if you are looking for the truth Tayla. If you‟re looking

  for answers to what‟s going on around the world, then you will have heard of us. As I

  said earlier, we are not some kind of secret society. We just don‟t advertise ourselves

  that‟s all. We don‟t need to – people find us in fact. It‟s really kind of weird. You see

  there‟s an under-swell of discontent and concern about what‟s going on around the world,

  and we just help give those people answers to what‟s going on. We‟re a peaceful

  movement Tayla; I just want to make that perfectly clear to you. We never intend to

  harm anyone in any way. That would just be giving in to what they want us to do. We

  just want people to know what‟s going on right under their noses. If enough people

  understand the real truth, then together we can say No to it all. It‟s all about people

  power. They can‟t fight us all. But most people don‟t know what‟ going on and they

  should. It‟s as simple as that Tayla.” Jake said quietly and sincerely.


          Tayla looked at Jake and the honesty in which he spoke. Now that she had spent

  a little time with them, they looked decent people, not treacherous as she first assumed.


          “I believe you Jake, it was just the way you brought me here. I admit I was quite

  concerned about my safety with you guys.” she admitted, “Why didn‟t you just come and

  see me and ask to speak to me. I still don‟t understand why it is you feel that you want to

  speak to me though, now I think about it.”


          Ingrid answered her. “It‟s because of you interest in the Asclepius account Tayla.

  It‟s my account, so I knew you were looking into them. We just wanted to know why

  that‟s all really.”


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         Tayla sighed, “You seem to answer my questions with question of your own, and

  it‟s getting quite frustrating guys. As I‟ve already said to you all, it‟s really none of your

  business, but I do have a very good reason for doing so. That‟s all I‟m prepared to say

  for the moment. So without being rude Ingrid, tell me why you‟re so interested in

  Asclepius then?”


         “Do you know that Asclepius is a consortium of the top ten Pharmaceutical

  Research Companies and Manufacturers of drugs globally? They control all of the

  medical research that is going on around the world, and they control all of the

  pharmaceutical medications and drugs too. It has bases in the States, the UK, France,

  Switzerland, across the western world - you get the message. Everything concerned in

  the medical world is controlled in some way by one of its consortium Companies.” Jake

  informed Tayla, and he turned to his computer and pulled up a listing for her to see.


         “There you go Tayla, take a look at this for a moment. It‟s a Cartel at the very

  least.” and he beckoned Tayla to come nearer and look at the screen. Tayla got up from

  where she was sitting and wandered around to Jakes chair, and standing directly behind

  him, she looked at the screen. She could see the list clearly. Jakes moved to one side so

  that she could get a better look.


         “Zenith Mac Laboratories; US; forty-eight point three million dollars turnover;

  eight point four million dollars, gross profit; employs eighty two thousand, three hundred

  people; ranked third globally. Er next one; Orion; United Kingdom; thirty two point two

  million dollars equivalent turnover; six point eleven million dollars equivalent gross

  profit; sixty three thousand workforce; ranked eighth globally. Whose second then?” she

  enquired as she scanned the document, “Ah, another American company; Reismann

  Bloom: sixty five point three million dollars turnover; thirty one point two million dollars

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  turnover with a workforce of one hundred and fifteen thousand, nine hundred – nearly a

  hundred and sixteen thousand employees actually.” She looked surprised at the numbers

  and turnover. She looked at everyone. “Its big money I grant you.”


         “You can see the rest there can‟t you Tayla. And they all come under the

  Asclepius umbrella. It‟s really quite huge in fact. It means that they have immense

  influence globally on the state of the health of every individual. Don‟t you see how they

  control the majority of all medical research as well as drug manufacturing and

  marketing?” he stated emphatically.


         Derek spoke up. “They say that they are there to encourage the discovery of life-

  saving and life-enhancing new medicines for a patient by pharmaceutical and

  biotechnological research companies, but what that really means is that they control it.

  They invested fifty billion dollars alone last year into biotechnology research, and when

  Bridget saw you put in such a large contribution to the AD4 project yesterday, and the

  fact you were looking into the account of Asclepius, she naturally assumed that you were

  partnered with them in this particular project. The amount you gave was substantial

  Tayla. Not many companies can offer such a large sum to one project, without it being

  an investment for a later return on the original capital outlay.”


         “But we can. Our business is built on giving back monies to help further research

  on important projects. That‟s part of the ethos of Light Jet Enterprises. We do re- invest

  this kind of money into scientific research. You should have looked at our company

  more carefully guys, before jumping to conclusions so quickly. We are in no way

  connected to them at all.” Tayla reiterated firmly.




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         “So you have no business interest with any of the group of the Asclepius

  consortium then Tayla. We just want to know for sure?” Derek asked again.


         Tayla felt agitated. “How many more times, No! Why are you so interested

  anyway?”


         Ingrid butted in quickly. “Because if you were going to get involved with them,

  we just wanted to fill you in on what they actually get up to, before you decide to go any

  further with them Tayla.”


         Tayla stared blankly at Ingrid and shrugged her shoulders. “Are you saying that

  all this is about wanting to warn me about Asclepius – about what they do – as far as you

  can tell?”


         “Do you know how powerful they are Doctor Westwood?”


         “Well I think you‟ve just shown me how powerful they are Arturo.”


         “I don‟t think you do to be honest Doctor Westwood, or you wouldn‟t be so blasé

  with us?”


         Tayla shook her head. She certainly did know how dangerous asking questions

  about pharmaceutical projects could be. Louisa and Mark had been killed over it. So she

  was well aware of the dangers posed for interfering in such matters. In fact, she knew

  that she faced possible danger when she had downloaded information on Asclepius:

  that‟s why she was so afraid when Ingrid had taken her earlier. Something similar had

  happened to Louisa and Mark, just for raising concerns about the practises of

  administering the vaccine programme in Dallas. The question was; did she trust these




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  people enough to let them know the real reason she had come to Switzerland and why she

  was investigating Asclepius there?


         “Can I just say, that I think you are once again jumping to conclusions about me

  that are wrong?     You seem to be making quite a habit of jumping to the wrong

  conclusions where I‟m concerned guys.” Tayla asserted confidently.


         “In what way are we jumping to conclusions about you, Doctor?” Liam asked.

  He was curious to know Tayla‟s reasons.


         “That I don‟t know how dangerous these pharmaceutical companies can be if you

  get in their way”


         “Then why were you so stupid as to be so obvious in looking up their records on

  their business dealings then Doctor Westwood!” Dylan snapped suddenly, “Surely you

  must have known, you were putting yourself on their radar. Their security network will

  be after you now. They won‟t stop. They‟ll keep looking until they find you.”


         Tayla had already realised how unprepared she was. Dylan was right. She had

  made herself a target now.      But why were they so secretive about their company

  operations? She conceded with a nod of the head. She felt that she should come clean.


         “Okay Dylan, you are right. It was a bit dumb of me to do what I did, when you

  put it like that, but honestly, I have good reason to believe you when you say that

  interfering with them can be dangerous,” she began, “Two colleagues of mine were

  recently murdered by person or persons concerning the recent National School

  Programme for the SV40D Vaccine in the States. Have you heard about that campaign at

  all? I was trying to find out if any of the Asclepius companies were involved with it.”



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         Jake and Derek looked surprised. Ingrid looked around the group. They look

  confused.


         “But Doctor Westwood, what has an American School vaccine Programme got to

  do with the AD4 Project at CERN, which is an Antiproton Cell Experiment – research

  into an alternative and more effective treatment of current radiotherapy methods?”


         “Well, nothing to be perfectly honest. It was the only way I could think of to

  integrate myself into medical research without raising suspicion.      You see I‟m an

  Antimatter Specialist. That‟s why I thought I could use the AD4 Project to look into

  Asclepius.” And she paused briefly as she looked around at the group, “Although I was

  really interested in the work they are carrying out and with the experience I have in

  Antimatter and Annihilation, I thought I could be of use temporarily. I mean that‟s why I

  decided to invest in the project. Professor Heidelberg is doing some fantastic work at

  CERN. I just wanted to make sure that they were decently funded. I know from personal

  experience the problems you can face with financing your research.”


         The group all looked at each other. They looked bewildered with her confession.

  Jake turned to look at Tayla.


         “It seems a most bizarre way to investigate the Asclepius group if I may say so

  Doctor Westwood?” he questioned. But Tayla was telling them the truth.


         “But that‟s all I could come up with at the time. A dear friend and associate of

  Light Jets managed inadvertently to be in the wrong place with a colleague of his who

  was worried about the current SV40D campaign being advocated at her high School

  where she was a teacher. She was being asked to segregate the children according to

  their medical records, something she found very strange. I believe she and my friend


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  were killed over her inquisitiveness as to why on the programme. But I have no proof of

  this fact at all. In fact I still don‟t know if the SV40D vaccine programme was the reason

  behind their deaths. But I don‟t know why else. I had nowhere else to start. I am trying

  to find out who was behind their deaths to be perfectly honest. I wondered if there could

  be a connection with the pharmaceutical companies behind the programme. I wanted to

  find out if Asclepius were in any way involved in that particular vaccine campaign at all.

  And if so - to what extent? And furthermore, what would be so important to defend that it

  could advocate killing people to keep its secrets hidden?”


         Derek looked across to Jake. “Now that‟s something I think we should look into

  right now Jake don‟t you think?” Derek looked worried as he turned to Tayla.


         “This may be part of something much bigger than you realise Doctor Westwood.

  Even killing is crucially beyond the realms of Asclepius to be honest with you. But if it

  was involved in a much bigger project, then keeping the secret of that Project may be

  important enough to consider death a price high enough to pay to keep the secret safe.

  Perhaps your friends inadvertently stumbled across something much bigger than they

  realised. They may have got killed over that perhaps, and obviously, it would have been

  connected to this SV40D Vaccine Programme. But isn‟t it part of a national campaign

  being run throughout the States at the moment?”


         “Yeh, it is. It was heavily advertised beforehand. Parents had been advised about

  it for months. Until my friend died, we would never have given it a thought. There‟s so

  many new vaccine Programmes going on. It didn‟t appear particularly strange to be

  honest. It was supposed to be a cure for a strain of the SV40 virus that causes cancer. As

  I say, we know there was a heavy advertising campaign to promote the benefits of giving

  it to children beforehand.”

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         Jake was busy scouring the internet for information on the vaccine programme,

  and he beamed when he came across the advertising campaign.


         “Yes! Derek. Here it is, look. This is the campaign blurb for it, and look here,”

  as he clicked onto a new tab, “Questions and answers. How good of them” he praised

  sarcastically and he began to read the page.


         “All seems to make sense, as you would expect.” And he turned to Tayla, “Like

  you say, it doesn‟t appear to be anything particularly unusual; they‟re trying to promote

  their antigens to kill tumourous cells within the body at an early age, to prevent cancers

  in young adults. It all appears to be above board, given the dramatic rise in cancer over

  the years.” he mused aloud.


         “So you say your friend was told to segregate the children depending on their

  medical records?”


         “Well yes, but it was actually a colleague of my friend.” Tayla corrected him.


         “Okay, this colleague had to what? Separate them into two categories, those who

  received the vaccine and those who didn‟t?”


         “But I remember that happening to me at School with the BSG vaccine Derek.

  We had the six needles shot in the lower arm first, and a week later those of us who

  reacted, got the vaccine, and those of us who didn‟t react didn‟t have to. Unfortunately I

  reacted, so I had to have it, damn it, because it hurt!         There‟s nothing new in

  segregation.” Liam offered.


         Tayla shook her head in dismay, “No you‟re wrong, all the kids got vaccinated.

  But they got vaccinated with two different variants. But even that wasn‟t the reason why


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  my friend‟s colleague was concerned. She was concerned because she was told to say

  nothing to anyone about checking into the medical backgrounds of the kids, least of all

  the parents. And secondly; because this procedure was never advertised anywhere at all.

  She found it all very strange – it was the secrecy of segregating the kids into two

  categories that concerned her. Unfortunately for her – and my friend, she was discovered

  querying this procedure, and it was her uncertainty about what she was being asked to do,

  that I firmly believe killed her.”


          “Why did they kill your friend? He obviously had nothing to do with this?”


          “Good question, he was there with her though, when some men came to take her

  in for questioning. They took him as well, when he tried to stop them. And now they‟re

  both dead.”


          “Oh my god, that‟s awful Doctor Westwood, I‟m so sorry to hear that.” Joshua

  said sympathetically. “I‟m a GP myself. I know a lot about vaccine programmes. I used

  to administer them regularly. It was partly my distrust in their effectiveness that drove

  me to join the Freilassen Movement and give my support for what they‟re trying to

  achieve.”


          Tayla looked over to Joshua. “Really Joshua, what did you distrust about them?”


          “How long have you got Tayla is the short answer, but what you say, makes me

  very sad indeed.”


          “And me too Doctor.” agreed Claudette suddenly.


          “I just didn‟t like administering drugs day in and day out to people who were

  generally becoming sicker from a younger and younger age. Also the pharmaceutical


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  companies, they really try and coerce you into offering these new drugs to your patients.

  I‟ve been offered luxury holidays in the past to offer a new drug, when there was already

  a perfectly suitable drug already widely available. I got sick of it all to be honest. My

  patients were becoming more and more dependent on drugs for relief for some fairly

  minor ailments. Now I speak out against these pharmaceutical giants. As a GP, I hope

  that people will listen. It‟s why I‟ve joined this movement Doctor. I believe in what it‟s

  trying to achieve. I think the public have a right to know what is really going on.”


          Tayla looked surprised. “I feel like I‟ve opened a Pandora‟s Box.”


          Jake was taking a sip of his hot chocolate as he scanned through his own

  information about the vaccine history.


          “I think you just may have Doctor Westwood, I think I may have found

  something of interest to us all.” he smiled. “Look what I‟ve just uncovered everyone.”

  And he began to read a report he‟d just found;


          “...That Riesman Bloom, the world's second largest biotechnology company, has

  been ghost-writing industry-favourable speech content for Congressmen to recite during

  promotion       for      the      recent         SV40D     child      vaccine      oratory.



  Nineteen Republicans and twenty-four Democrats were found to have included some or

  all of Riesman Bloom's pro-biotechnology rhetoric during their speeches. Hearers began

  to notice identical, word-for-word statements being made by various Congressmen, all of

  which    was   traced   back    to   Washington lobbyists hired    by    Riesman       Bloom.



  It was discovered that Riesman Bloom contrived two versions of its talking points, one


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  for Republicans and one for Democrats. The company approached Congress and urged

  them to make supporting statements about biotechnology for inclusion into the

  Congressional Record. All statements were designed in support of the support for the yet

  untested SV40D child vaccine programme and its provisions for bolstering the

  biotechnology industry.” he read slowly from the screen, “... and that was a report

  unveiled by the New York Times over eighteen months ago. Now how strange is that!

  Riesman Bloom is the biotechnology company who developed the SV40D vaccine and

  have lobbied Washington to push through its national implementation through Congress

  no less. They lobbied both the Republicans and Democrats alike to ensure it was passed

  through Congress.”


            “And Riesman Bloom are part of the Asclepius group aren‟t they... so that‟s the

  connection right there.” realised Tayla slowly, “Oh my god, but that means Riesman

  Bloom bulldozed their very own vaccine programme through without objections being

  raised.    And once Congress approved it, manufacturing and implementation of the

  vaccine was a done deal. There would never be any questions raised.”


            “And guess who the CEO of Asclepius just happens to be everyone?”


            “Who?”


            Jake looked smug as he announced “Congressman Robert Eckhart no less. He

  stands to make millions personally from this programme alone.”


            Tayla looked shocked, “But the report. It said the drug was untested? Surely

  they don‟t know what the side effects of drug this will be?”




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           “They would have tested it on lab rats to be fair. If you ask me, those kids were

  segregated into two groups, because one sector received the untested drug, and the other

  sector received something quite different.”


           Tayla looked horrified “No! Surely not? They wouldn‟t inject kids with an

  untested vaccine. Why for god‟s sake? And what would they inject the other kids with

  then?”


           “Doctor Westwood, get real. This kind of thing happens more often than you

  think.” Jake announced vehemently. “Why do you think we‟ve started up this damn

  movement for in the first place!” he scorned bitterly.


           “Doctor Westwood, it‟s about making big bucks. Nothing more. Just think about

  the money this campaign would generate for the Riesman Bloom. And by making it

  compulsory through schools, it guarantees a ready marketplace for its product. It like

  printing your own money.”


           “But it‟s wicked and amorale.”


           “But it‟s business Doctor Westwood!”


           “I feel quite sick!”


           “Well I think I may have just uncovered why your friend and his colleague may

  have stumbled across Doctor Westwood. If you came all the way to Switzerland to find

  out, then you succeeded. Perhaps not in the way you planned, but it may have worked

  out well for all of us. We will certainly be investigating this further and when we have

  enough evidence, we will publish our result for the world to see.”


           “But what could the other drug be?”

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         “Perhaps a panacea Doctor, who knows if we will ever discover that.”


         “We could if I can get hold of the drugs.” Tayla announced dramatically.


         The group looked at her in stunned silence. She turned to them with a determined

  look in her face. “I‟m going to get hold of the drugs they‟re using on those poor kids and

  I‟m going to find out exactly what‟s in them.”


         “Well Doctor, we‟d be interested in helping you in any way we can.” Arturo

  announced. “If there‟s any information you require, we can find it for you – better than

  you ever could. We have contacts everywhere now, in every type of corporation. We‟d

  be glad to help. You‟ve brought a major scandal to our attention.”


         Tayla looked at them all. “Yes I do think we may be of service to each other. I

  think our meeting was very useful to us both in the end, but I need to get back in the

  morning. I wonder if you could drop me off at the Train Station back in Geneva

  tomorrow? I need to get back to England fast!”


         Ingrid thought hard and shook her head. “I don‟t think it‟s a good idea Doctor. I

  think you‟ve already aroused interest in yourself from Asclepius. They will be on the

  lookout for you now. They will want to know why you were looking into them.”


         “Not to mention the fact that they may have connected you to the death of those

  two people in Dallas.” agreed Liam


         “No we should drop you off somewhere where they won‟t suspect you will be,

  and you can catch a flight from there. But you‟ll need to get hold of your passport.”


         Tayla shook her head. She didn‟t need a passport. “Look I need to pick up

  something from the Train Station at Geneva. It‟s been left for me in the Lost Property

                                           299
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  department. In case of an emergency you understand. And I guess this is.” she tried to

  think carefully.


          “What is it? We can get some-one to pick it up for you in the morning and bring

  it you here if you like. It would be much safer that way.


          “What if you dropped me off in a cafe somewhere her in France and brought it to

  me there?”


          “Yes alright, but what is it that we need to pick up for you?”


          “A small pink rabbit.”


          “A pink rabbit?”


          “Er I told you it was a back-up plan. Honestly I need it. There is something

  inside it that I require.”


          “Gee you really did have a back-up plan Doctor. We can arrange to get that

  picked up for you. In the meantime, you need to get some rest now, and be ready to

  leave in the morning. We will do all we can to help you.”


          “I appreciate that. I think you might very well be able to help in fact.”


          “Ingrid, you have a sister, can you ask her to take her daughter to pick up the pink

  rabbit and bring it round to you. Liam can take it from you and drop it off to Doctor

  Westwood.”


          “Of course.      Doctor Westwood, you are sure that it will be there in Lost

  Property?”


          “I‟m sure.”

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          “Then I‟ll call my sister now and arrange it. I‟ll meet her at the school before she

  drops her daughter off and collect the rabbit from her there. Liam can drop me off back

  at home, so I can drive into work as usual and he can bring the rabbit to you.”


          “They‟ll be looking for your Doctor Westwood, not a mother and a daughter

  going to school. I think we will have covered our tracks well enough. After all, they

  don‟t even know she‟s with us.”


          “Let‟s hope not.” Was the only comment Derek made, “Make that call Ingrid –

  now?”


          “Now Doctor Westwood, let‟s just think of where we can drop you in the

  morning. Any idea‟s anyone?”


                                               *   * *


          “You‟ll be perfectly safe here Doctor. Pascal will look after you. He knows

  absolutely everyone here. If he suspects you have been spotted, he will take care of you

  until you get your package from Liam. Liam will give it to Pascal and he will have the

  waitress come and ask you to get it.”


          They were standing in a small French village close to the Swiss border. It was

  fairly small with a central high street with two storey, sandy coloured building on each

  side of the narrow street. Blue and white Venetian shutters framed the quaint little

  windows. The cobbled street meandered uphill to open countryside in the far distance.

  Pascal owned the pretty little family Patisserie, which is where Jake was dropping her

  off.




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          “Thank you Jake, You‟ve all been very helpful. It‟s actually been great getting to

  know you all. I‟ll certainly study your website when I get back home for sure.”


          “It‟s been a real pleasure to meet you too Doctor Westwood. I can only apologise

  for scaring you when we picked you up. It wasn‟t our intention at all. I hope you can see

  that now.”


          “Sure, I‟m actually glad we‟ve met each other. I think you may come in useful

  for me and my team back home too.”


          “As Arturo said last night. We would be more than happy to help you with any

  information you may need. Please just get in touch with us.”


          “Actually Jake, just how do I get in touch?”


          “Through our website Freilassen Movement.com, Doctor. It has a comments

  section, just email us through it. We‟ll get straight back to you. As we said, you‟ve

  helped uncover a serious potential scandal, and we are determined to find out what

  exactly is going on. We have a lot of contacts now. We can find out the truth. We‟ll

  keep you informed I promise.”


          “Likewise Jake. Please send on my regards and thanks to Ingrid for helping me

  out like this.”


          “Our pleasure Doctor. Just have a safe journey home and let us know that you

  did.”


          “I will and thank you for everything again.”


          “So long Doctor, I expect we will meet again.”



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            “You never know Jake. Goodbye for now anyway.”


            Jake walked back to his car after leaving Tayla in the care of Pascal, a good friend

  of his.


            Tayla walked inside of the little cafe on the outskirts of a little border town in

  France and ordered a hot chocolate while she sat and waited for Liam to arrive with her

  package. She was full of information that she was keen to tell Christian and the others.

  It wouldn‟t be long until she back home now. She wondered what the other had managed

  to find out.


            It wasn‟t long before Liam arrived. He spotted her sitting in the corner of the

  quaint little French Patisserie with a small array of red chequered covered tables for those

  wishing to eat their pastries with various hot beverages on offer. The beverages were

  priced neatly on a blackboard high on the wall behind the counter. He ignored her as she

  looked up to see him, instead heading straight for the counter and handing over a small

  candy pink toy over the counter. He bought himself something from the display; shared a

  few words with Pascal before turning and walking out from the Patisserie and heading

  back to his car. Tayla silently watched him start the car and tootle on up the little street

  and away. As Tayla sipped the last remnants of her hot chocolate, a small French girl

  smiled at her as she walked towards her from behind the counter. She was holding a box

  of what appeared to be a selection of patisseries from the shop and put it down onto the

  table with a shy smile. Tayla guessed she was probably the teenage daughter of Pascal.

  She spoke entirely in French to Tayla as she placed the box on the table.


            “Cest les patisserie‟s pour vous mademoiselle.”


            “Merci beaucoup.”


                                              303
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



         “Je vous en prie mademoiselle.”


         The girl smiled and walked away. Tayla picked up the box and headed for the

  door. Pascal smiled to her as she left.


         “Au revoir mademoiselle, bon chance!”


         “Au revoir Pascal, merci beaucoup pour le chocolat. Cest tres bon!” And she

  stepped out into the quiet French street scene. She walked briskly up the street until she

  left the buildings behind and was walking along a country lane edged on both sides by

  hedges and the occasional birch tree. When she felt she was truly alone, she opened the

  box to find the little candy pink bunny lying uncomfortably in the pretty patisserie box.

  She pulled the rabbit out and felt around its body for her orb and sure enough, snuggled

  within the tummy of the rabbit, she could feel the round hard object. She pulled at the

  seams, which came away easily and retrieved her orb.


         Throwing the dishevelled rabbit back in the box, she tucked it under her arm and

  with one last look at the beautiful countryside, she set her mind for home and was gone.




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                                         Chapter 16



         “There you are Tarway?” Rocco looked pleased to see him. Tarway was sitting

  with Elian, Daro and Kyoto, discussing the Vlorja, when Rocco found him. “Capsulan

  said you would be here.”


         Tarway stood up and offered her his seat as she arrived, before sitting back down

  in a spare chair opposite her.


         “I‟ve just been discussing what I‟ve discovered about the Vlorja, Rocco.

  Annatee, oh I‟m so sorry, Tayla, the created woman.” And he smiled. He explained

  quickly, “We‟ve been under cover on Alpha so to speak, and she had to resume her name

  from that planet – Anna Westwood. I called her Annatee – don‟t ask me why, I just did.

  She called me Julesee.” He looked at blank faces around him while he was having his

  little reverie. He realised how much he liked her. She had been good fun to work with.

  He continued on. “There were a very unfavourable man looking for her, and he broke

  into her apartment last evening. It was most fortunate that she wasn‟t there. I lay in wait

                                           305
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  for him and grabbed him and took him back to the RPB, where I took some DNA

  samples from him as well scanning his brain patterns. I also took some tissue samples

  from his body from various locations. Just in case...” he added incidentally.


         Rocco was most interested. “So who was he then? Vlorja?”


         “Razul found out that he worked for a company called Solange – they‟re a

  biotechnology research company. Nothing to do with anything we were involved in at

  CERN and the AD4 Project. But the company he worked for was part of a consortium

  called Asclepius. Now we had been looking into what Asclepius was up to. I still don‟t

  know what this company wanted with Tayla. I need to get back and let her know.” He

  paused and looked carefully at Rocco.


         “But he had tiny remnants of the same type of lubricant Sarah had found by Mark

  and Louisa on his hands. He also had the same lethal drug in a capsule in his jacket

  pocket. I don‟t know if he intended to administer it to Tayla or not.”


         “I am convinced this man has some connection to the Vlorja too. There is a

  similarity between this incident and the tragic incident in Dallas, thousands of miles

  away. Tayla was right all along. Somehow the Vlorja and Asclepius are connected in

  some way. But how?”


         “I‟ve given over your other phials to Hemasta, give me your samples now and I

  will give them to him as well. He needs to find us a poison to combat the Vlorja

  urgently. We need to get hold of someone infected with the Vlorja and take samples

  from them.”


         “That would definitely be Julian then Rocco.” Kyoto informed her, and Elian

  nodded in agreement.

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           “Julian and three others have drifted away from us, preferring the materialism and

  status they have found on Alpha. We knew about this for some time now, but of course,

  we never suspected the Vlorja. We just hoped they would come to their senses. We sent

  Debbie and Fritz to see them over the years, to try and talk them round. But now we

  suspect they have been infected by the Vlorja.”


           “Then we need samples from Julian quickly, so we can find a way to destroy

  these Vlorja. We have no time to lose. They are becoming ever more intelligent now.

  They have invaded the humans and are currently using them as hosts. It won‟t be long

  until they outgrow them and mutate into something far more dangerous. We need to stop

  them while they are still happy to use the humans.” Rocco sounded impatient. But

  Tarway was quick to warn her about acting too hastily.


           “Rocco, get the samples from Julian, but don‟t alert him that you are doing so.

  Let‟s keep what we know to ourselves. Let‟s not give the Vlorja any reason to know

  we‟ve discovered their presence on Alpha, or they will begin a fresh mutation process

  and we may never destroy them.” he suggested wisely.


           “Tarway‟s right. They are already jumpy about whatever they‟ve got the humans

  doing for them.”


           “I‟ll send Xylem to get some samples from him then. He will never know we‟ve

  been. Capsulan can fill her in on where he can be found.” Rocco decided and stood up.

  She smiled at them all before leaving, but Elian spoke to her just as she was about to

  leave.


           “I am very happy for you both Rocco. You are a worthy match for each other.”




                                            307
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          She looked hard at Elian for a moment before accepting his approval. She then

  turned to look down at Daro and Kyoto sitting together. Daro nodded her head at her.

  Rocco could sense that it would take time for her to adjust to the situation, but then again,

  Capsulan had been gracious in accepting Kyoto. She knew Daro would do the same for

  him. Kyoto however, smiled wryly at her.


          „I knew what you were up to long ago Rocco, and I was right!‟


          „Then you will be glad for us I take it!


          Rocco stared at Kyoto for a moment, and Kyoto laughed out loud. “You have our

  blessing Rocco!” and Rocco bowed her head graciously and smiled.


          “Perhaps, when we have time, we can talk more on the matter, but I need to

  organise the team immediately, and seek advice from Hemasta. Good to see you Tarway.

  You need to tell Tayla what you have just told us. The information may be useful to

  her.”


          “I am just on my way now Rocco. I wanted to speak to you all first.” And he

  jumped up alongside her.


          “Let‟s get going, there‟s much work to do Tarway, we need to take our leave

  now.”


                                                *    * *


          Tayla stumbled as she appeared in her own hallway. The feeling of nausea was

  hitting her and she stumbled for the chair to steady herself. She realised that she would

  never really get used to travel by orb. It was just too disconcerting for her body.


          “Hello? Is anyone here? I‟m back...” and she tried to listen for sounds.

                                             308
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          Christian had already heard her arrive and he rushed out into the hallway, excited

  to see her.


          “Baby, you‟re back. Thank god. Tarway‟s here. He‟s just arrived himself.” And

  seeing her looking pale and sickly, he rushed to put his arms around her. She sank

  straight into them, relieved to see him, and pleased to smell his familiar aroma.


          “I‟ve missed you. We‟ve all been so worried about you. Tarway told us you‟ve

  been on a little adventure yesterday. We‟ve only just found out.”


          Tayla breathed in deeply, trying hard to feel better, and looked up at Christian

  affectionately. She could hear others coming to see her and she glanced round to see the

  concerned faces of Fritz, Debbie, David and Rhea.


          “Hi everyone!” she beamed. It was wonderful to see their familiar faces again.

  “I‟m back!”


          “Annatee, you‟ve made it back safely. I did as you instructed me to.” Tayla

  peered round further, stretching herself to an almost full circle to spot Tarway, standing

  shyly beside the kitchen door.


          “Julesee!” she beamed. “I‟m so glad you‟re safe too.” And she let go of Christian

  to give him a welcoming hug.


          “The bunny was perfect, look see... I still have it with me...” and she passed him

  the box. “It‟s inside.”


          Fritz looked puzzled, “Annatee? Julesee? Whatever are you two like?” Tayla

  glanced at Tarway and winked at him, before she turned round to Fritz.




                                            309
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         “It‟s our new pet names for each other – isn‟t it Jules!” she laughed and then

  turned to the others, “I‟ve got so much to tell you guys about who I was with and what I

  discovered.”


         “And Tarway has something you may find of interest Tayla. Plus we‟ve been

  busy while you‟ve been away and come up with a few discoveries of our own. We need

  to pool our information and see what we‟ve got. We may see a link somewhere.” Fritz

  suggested. “Let‟s go back into the kitchen, the laptop is in there, and I‟ve been compiling

  the information we‟ve managed to gather on to a file...”


         Tayla looked interested to find out what they had managed to find. She was keen

  to tell them what she had been up to and she wanted to know if Tarway had managed to

  find out who had been in their apartment.


         They all walked back into the kitchen, Tayla waited for Christian and gave him a

  long awaited kiss before they both followed the others.


         “Who wants to start?” Christian asked.             “We all have different bits of

  information, so we should start from scratch and discuss what we‟ve found individually –

  for the sake of those who haven‟t heard it before.”


         “Sounds good dude. So do you want me and Rhea to update you all with what we

  discovered in Dallas?”


         “Why not?" Fritz, if you make notes in a brainstorm kind of format perhaps. We

  could try piecing links together afterwards?” Christian rummaged around in a drawer and

  withdrew a large A4 pad and felt pen. He pushed the drawer shut and shoved the pad

  across the work top towards Fritz and threw the pen for him to catch. Fritz grabbed the



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  pen in midair with one hand, nodding as he grabbed the pad, which had stopped a few

  inches away from him.


         “Well for Tayla‟s benefit, it transpires that Patterson was being paid by Zenith

  Mac Laboratories, who we discovered had developed the SV40D antigen and were

  distributing the drug through Reisman Bloom for the United States...” began David, but

  he was interrupted.


         “Who is part of the Asclepius Consortium? Zenith Mac Laboratories, the third

  largest biotechnology research company in the world; the largest in the States, with an

  annual turnover of around forty-eight point three billion dollars and employing some

  eighty two thousand, three hundred people.” Tayla suddenly announced to the group in

  amazement. She looked at them excitedly.


         “I‟ve gotton to know quite a lot of interesting stuff about Asclepius group” she

  clarified. Christian shook his head.


         “Tayla, that‟s great, but let David speak, or we‟ll all get confused baby, please.”

  And turning to David he smiled apologetically, “Sorry David, carry on please,”


         David smiled, “its cool man, it doesn‟t matter, look Tayla, its fine if you do that,

  honest.” Tayla continued.


         “So we‟ve already got a connection you see guys. Patterson linked to Zenith

  Mac;SV40D vaccine; part of Asclepius, whose CEO just happens to be Congressman

  Robert Eckhart, part of the committee who helped lobby the SV40D vaccine at Congress.

  It was sanctioned for national administration at the highest level. And guess who ghost

  wrote the speech content for Congressmen to recite during the promotion for SV40D



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  child vaccine oratory – none other than Reisman Bloom” she beamed, “I‟m one jump

  ahead of you guys you see.”


         Fritz looked at Tayla. “Tayla say that again?”


         Tayla repeated herself. Fritz stared at Christian.


         “Well, I‟ve got some news for everyone, which worries me greatly.” he began.


         “Julian Bellamy the current Dallas Governor happens to be a non Executive

  Director for Reisman Bloom, and it was rumoured that it was Robert Eckhart who

  recommended his appointment to the Board.”


         “Okay, but why does that worry you Fritz?” asked Christian quizzically.


         “I know why.” Debbie announced sternly, and David and Rhea nodded too.


         “We do too.” Rhea announced gravely.


         “Julian Bellamy was a Guider who dropped out oh – about eight years ago now -

  from his position at Congress, and became personally involved in the work he was

  supposed to be overseeing. He started to accept the credit and sought out posts and

  financial rewards that he really ought not to have done.” cited Debbie. “Fritz recently

  visited him about five or six months or so ago, just to see how he was, but he had decided

  it was the life he wanted. On a much earlier visit, Fritz had taken all communication

  methods to Home away from him. It was his choice in the end.”


         “But thanks to Sarah‟s quick observations, we now realise that Julian was likely

  to have been infected by the Vlorja around the time of his change, so he must definitely

  be hosting the Vlorja within him. They‟ve transmuted into a more intelligent machine by

  scaling down to the size of nanobots and thriving within the bodies of life-forms. I mean

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  it is their only mission to find life forms to destroy; only now they have also discovered

  how to become undetectable now.”


         “Or so they thought.”


         “Yes, thanks to Sarah, she highlighted the problem. I‟m amazed. She picked up

  on it immediately, and she was right.”


         “Well Xylem has been tasked to get samples from him surruptiously. Hemasta

  and I will then get to work on finding poisons to destroy them as soon as Xylem gets

  those samples from him. She may even bring him to the RPB for questioning. But he‟ll

  need to be quarantined around anyone else.”


         “So, you think there‟s a connection with Asclepius and the Vlorja then?”

  Christian asked.


         “Absolutely no doubt about it now Chris." There are just too many coincidences

  happening here.”


         “Huns are you getting this down on your pad yet. Get these points down on

  paper.” Debbie urged as she tapped the pad lightly to remind Fritz.


         “Well Louisa definitely did stumble onto something deep then!” Tayla surmised.


         “Tayla, I got hold of the man who was in the apartment. He worked for Solange

  – another biotechnology research company under the Asclepius Group, and he had the

  same drug on him. The same lethal drug used that killed Louisa and Mark. I think he

  may have used it on you if he had taken you away.” Tarway suddenly remembered. “It‟s

  another link to Asclepius I mean.” He looked at the horrified faces at his announcement.




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         “My God, but you had a narrow escape Tayla!” Christian gasped and pulled her

  towards him and put his arms around her protectively.


         “Well at least I‟m okay. It might have been you too Tarway, if you hadn‟t used

  your wits like you did,” Tayla reminded Tarway, who suddenly realised how true that

  was.


         “I guess you‟re right Annatee, ooh Tayla sorry! I keep forgetting.”


         “But luckily I got taken by some really nice people as it turned out. Has anyone

  ever heard of the Freilassen Movement?”


         “No, but Tarway asked us to look them up for you when he got here. We haven‟t

  managed to get round to it yet. He arrived literally minutes before you did.” Rhea

  confessed apologetically.


         “Well they helped me get out of Switzerland, and they told me all about what they

  do. It transpired that they‟ve got concerns about the true motives of the practices of the

  Asclepius group themselves. I told them about the irregularities concerning the SV40D

  vaccine programme, so they‟re helping us look into it. Apparently their movement have

  campaigners throughout the world, and some of them in very influential positions. I

  think they may be of use to us for getting sensitive information. They told me all about

  Asclepius for instance.” Tayla added.


         “Did they say why they took you in the first place Tayla?”


         Tayla looked slightly embarrassed. “Well it appears that I should stick to my day

  job if I wanted to take up espionage as a career. Apparently I‟m fairly useless. Ingrid,

  who only works at CERN managed to find out what I had done. So I had a lucky escape


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  when she picked me up. She realised that Asclepius would be looking to question me

  over what I was doing.”


         “Still you had the good sense to give me your memory sticks that night baby,” as

  he squeezed her affectionately and kissed the top of head.


         “Thank you! Thank the lord you came to see me the other night.” she added as

  she looked up to him. She was reminiscing on their illicit night together.


         “Which reminds me, where are they? Did you find anything of importance on

  either of them?”


         “Both of you downloaded data on payments to various projects and the financial

  reports on the various companies associated with them Tayla. To be perfectly honest,

  there was nothing there that we could see that looked suspicious or out of the ordinary,

  but perhaps you can tell us why you think this information is important.” Fritz admitted.


         “Well it must be. Again, someone was willing to kill to protect whatever they

  thought Tayla was up to.” reminded Rhea.


         “That‟s true. But one thing I discussed with Derek – one of the Freilassen guys –

  was related to the SV40D vaccine. I need to point this out before I forget. I think it could

  be a link. He thinks that because the antigens in the drug have never been field tested

  properly, they probably segregated the kids to use some of them as guinea pigs more or

  less. You know, test the kids with a poor medical history with the antigen, because if

  something does go wrong, they can blame the problem on some other medical issue

  they‟ve got.   I know what I‟m suggesting sounds really horrific to suggest though...”

  Tayla looked around at the group, waiting to see their reaction.



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         Christian looked down at Tayla for a moment and shook his head sadly.


         “It does sound horrific Tayla, but we may have come up with another suggestion

  as to why they segregated the kids before deciding who got what variant. And our

  suggestion isn‟t very palatable either baby,”


         “What‟s your suggestion then?”


         “How about the creation of a genetically enhanced race. We need to get hold of

  the vaccines somehow and get Tarway to analyse them first. We will only know what is

  going on for certain, when we know what the two strains of the vaccines really contain.

  Until then everything is mere speculation. We can keep guessing and guessing, but we‟ll

  never know the truth unless we get hold of those vaccines.


         “Well I can probably get hold of those.” Rhea volunteered.       We know that

  Reisman Bloom is producing these vaccines. I just need to find one of their distribution

  centres in Dallas and take a couple of samples from there.” Rhea made it sound so

  simple. Christian nodded,


         “You know Dallas well anyway, it‟s a good idea. Take David with you Rhea.

  From what we have found from our work into this matter so far, is that we need to be

  vigilant. Be very careful. Remember there will be cameras keeping a watch on those

  depots no doubt.”


         “We‟ll camouflage ourselves, won‟t we David? It‟s no big deal Christian. We‟ve

  got most of our abilities now. We‟ll be fine.”


         “That‟s right kiddo; I‟ll make sure we stay safe.”




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           “Okay, then when we‟re done here, you two can organise for Tarway to get the

  samples of these vaccines to analyse.”


           “I think I might look in on Kent on Alpha. I want to see if the rise in illness here

  bears any relationship to something happening to the super positioned equivalents over

  on Alpha.” Christian announced. He was suddenly reminded of his mother‟s comment

  about the negative results from samples she took from his father‟s surgery recently.

  Tayla looked up at him and realised what he was thinking.


           “Do you think there could be something else going on too?”


           Christian shrugged his shoulders. “Baby, I really don‟t know, but dad said people

  here were generally becoming sicker and sicker recently for no apparent reason, and

  when mum tried to find a cause, the results showed up as negative. It just occurred to me

  that mum could be right. Something strange is going on. It could be linked to something

  going on in Kent over on Alpha. It‟s worth investigating, even just to put my mind at

  rest.”


           Fritz agreed. “It‟s worth taking a look Chris. There may be more than just the

  SV40D vaccine that‟s strange. But that would mean that the problem is located to more

  than just one continent in that case. We might have inadvertently uncovered something

  global.” There was a moment‟s pause, while they absorbed the full gravity of what they

  could have stumbled upon.


           Tayla pulled herself away from Christian and confronted him.


           “If you‟re going over there, then I‟m coming with you.”




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         “Aren‟t you two forgetting one small factor here fella‟s?” Debbie hinted with a

  raised eyebrow. Christian and Tayla looked puzzled.


         “Well for a start Chrissee huns, you‟re a face in the big wide world. You‟ll get

  noticed immediately. You‟ll have the papers sniffing around you, not to mention your

  hoard of female fans over there because, if you forgot, - you‟re kind of um, split up from

  each other. No, Chrissee, you‟ll need to stay right here and keep a low profile. I‟ll go

  with Fritz instead,” She turned her attention to Tayla and chided her.


         “You madam, have got Asclepius searching everywhere for you now. They‟ll

  have contacts everywhere.           The minute you show your face, they‟ll lynch you

  straightaway silly. You definitely can‟t go!”


         “Of course... I forgot for a moment.” Tayla remembered. “No you‟re right, I can‟t

  go can I? Well I‟ll stay here with Christian then. We can be going through my files,

  while you‟re all away. I know what I‟m looking for in those files I downloaded.”


         “Okay, what else do we need to discuss?” and Christian looked at everyone.

  They all shook their heads.


         “Then we all know what we need to do. Let‟s meet back here in two days. That

  should give us enough time. Rhea, take the vaccines directly to Tarway at the RPB. It

  will save time. Tarway can you let us know as soon as you find out anything. We‟re

  pretty much stuck until we know what those vaccines actually contain. At the moment

  we are all just speculating. We need hard facts.”


         “I‟ll be waiting back at the RPB. You know where to find me. As soon as I have

  anything for you, I will return.”



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       “Good, then let‟s get going folks.”


       “Just like old times Cap-itarn. You‟re back cracking the whip!”




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                                         Chapter 17

         Tayla was nonchalantly trying to dry her hair by rubbing a towel against her

  freshly washed hair, as she walked into the bedroom. Her untied bathrobe revealed

  glimpses of her nakedness beneath the robe as she moved. Christian was sitting on the

  bed waiting patiently for her, concentrating intensely, on a page he was reading on the

  laptop he had perched upon his knee.


         “I needed that shower!” Tayla confessed, “It‟s so good to be back home again.”


         Christian looked up from his laptop and smiled at her. “It‟s good to have you

  home baby, I‟ve really missed you. Oh - Fritz taught me a trick with the orb and the

  laptop while you were gone. You‟ll be impressed...” he hinted teasingly.


         “Oh yeh? So what did Fritz show you then?” as Tayla walked closer to him

  looking curious.



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         “I‟ve set it up to tune into Alpha. It saves me having to orb there so much. You

  know how much we hate orbing everywhere don‟t you baby?”


         Tayla nodded. She was vigorously trying to dry her long hair with the towel. She

  could see how engrossed Christian appeared to be and stopped what she was doing and

  wandered over to him. Tayla nosily looked at the laptop, “So what are you looking at

  baby? You look really engrossed...”


         “Oh, I just thought I‟d look up the Freilassen Movement, while you were

  showering. We never got round to doing it earlier. It‟s actually quite an interesting

  website baby.”


         Tayla looked interested. She hadn‟t seen the website, even though she had met

  two of the founder members of the group. She put the damp towel on a nearby chair and

  flicked her head to re-arrange her hair, so that it tumbled naturally about her shoulders,

  before jumping onto the bed next to Christian.


         “Let me see...”


         “Oh Tayla, your hair is still soaking wet, you‟re dripping water all over me!”

  Christian winced as he wiped droplets of cold water from his shoulder. Tayla ignored

  him, shoving him sideways, so that she could see the screen. Quickly she grabbed the

  laptop and moved it closer to her. She scrolled the pages, scrutinising their topics.


         “There‟s a lot interesting topics here,” she finally commented as she conceded

  back the laptop to Christian.




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         “They‟ve a lot to say about the pharmaceutical industry,” Christian observed

  critically, “They seem to have a few criticisms about Asclepius that‟s very clear from

  reading what they have to say.”


         “They know a great deal about them, I know that for one thing. They were able to

  tell me more about them than I ever knew. I was right about their connection to the

  SV40S vaccine for instance. Jake and Derek told me how they appear to be linked with

  most of the biotechnological research going on as well as the manufacture and market of

  the end product.”


         “Reading between the lines here Tayla, I think they‟re trying to hint that they are

  causing some of illnesses they strive to cure.”      Christian concluded seriously after

  scanning the page.


         “Then that‟s some pretty heavy stuff they‟re suggesting baby. But I‟ve met some

  of them, and from what I‟ve seen of them, they all seem decent people. Certainly

  passionate about what they believe in. I think it all started from a few of them who had

  found out some disturbing facts, to what‟s become a huge following across the globe.”


         “So who were the founder members then baby, you say you met them?” Christian

  seemed suddenly intrigued.


         “Well, I met two of them at least, Derek and Jake. Jake told me a Philippe

  Lacroix was the other founder member, but he wasn‟t there.”


         Christian decided to „Search‟ him. A listing came up with features relating to his

  name immediately. He clicked open the first listing and began to read. He clicked

  another listing and opened the page. Tayla was trying to read the articles herself, and

  chided Christian for closing down an article before she had chance to read it through.

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         “Baby! I was reading that...”


         But Christian was busy reading the new article and ignored her.


         “Read this report from the News 24 Report baby.” he mumbled as he read, but

  Tayla had already begun to scan the article herself and nodded silently. There was

  silence until they had both read the article. Christian looked at Tayla with a raised

  eyebrow and clicked to another article, and again they read the articles on the page. After

  a while, it was clear that they were reading several accounts of the same information, and

  Christian sat up to stretch his back. He relaxed down again, and gently kissed the top of

  Tayla‟s wet head.


         “Well that was interesting...”


         “Mmm, what do you make of that?”


         Tayla had idea. “Baby, „Search‟ Philippe Lacroix here on Beta. See if it‟s the

  same. That might tell us something?” she suggested. Christian nodded, and stretched his

  long body over to the side table by the bed stretching out with his hand to grab his orb.

  He pressed the indentation on the base of the orb and placed the orb on to the laptop. The

  orb flashed once, and Christian removed it. He closed down the computer and re-booted

  it.


         “Now let me start again...” he said when the laptop was up and running again. He

  typed in the name once again and waited. Sure enough the name of Philippe Lacroix

  came up with several listings again.


         As they read a couple of articles, it was clear that the information differed.




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         “Now that‟s strange baby isn‟t it. Something is wrong.” Tayla concluded and

  looked up to Christian who looked perturbed.


         “So,” remarked Christian as he looked at Tayla, “The Philippe Lacroix here on

  Beta is the President of Santé Piquant, France‟s largest pharmaceutical company. On

  Alpha, he was head of Sales and Marketing there, but he seems to have been involved in

  some kind of what appears to be fraudulent nepotism scandal with a cleaning contract at

  Santé Piquant; and also involved in a sex scandal with some underage girl. I presume that

  was the reason why he left France. It probably has something to do with why he set up

  this Freilassen Group with this Derek and Jake of yours.”


         “He lives in somewhere in Staffordshire now doesn‟t he? I remember reading that

  in one of those articles anyway.” asked Tayla


         “Yes I think he does. It appears that he now seems to conduct quite a few

  Seminars for the Freilassen Movement around the country.” And then he paused for a

  moment. “Actually,” started Christian as he thought hard for a moment, “I think we

  should go see him. I mean you‟ve met his co-founders. I‟d like to know what exactly

  happened to him. Something‟s not right about him. Here on Beta, he‟s managed to get

  to the top of the corporate ladder with Santé Piquant, yet over on Alpha; he had to leave

  under a bit of a cloud. He‟s certainly been tarred with a lot of bad scandal around him.”


         “We should do that;       he might be able to help us out on what he knows -

  especially if he must be so knowledgeable about the pharmaceutical industry.”


         “Tomorrow then?”


         “Yes if you like. We‟ll arrange to see him tomorrow if we can baby.”



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         Christian sighed and turned to Tayla. “The world is a complex place. It has

  double standards everywhere it appears, not least the pharmaceutical industry it would

  seem.” He sighed heavily as he switched off the laptop. He turned to Tayla and swept a

  piece of damp hair away to expose her cheek, and kissed it gently. “Let‟s wait to see

  what Rhea and Debbie come back with, before we make any judgements baby,” he

  pondered and closed its lid. He leaned past Tayla and with a steady hand, placed the

  laptop neatly onto the side table, before sitting back up next to Tayla.


         “Do you need a hand in drying your hair?” he enquired tenderly, picking up a

  loosened strand of Tayla damp hair. Tayla clasped his hand as felt the damp hair

  between his fingers and she gazed into his eyes.


         “Afterwards...” she murmured, pulling him ever closer to her, “There‟s something

  else I want you to do first.”


         “Mmn - now let me guess?!”


                                                *    * *


         “We brought you a couple of bottles of each of the two vaccines Tarway. We

  made sure we were as quick as we could be.” Rhea announced breathlessly, “ How long

  before you know what‟s in them?” as she ran up to Tarway in his laboratory. David was

  following closely behind her and had just arrived as Tarway was taking the four small

  bottles from her hand.


         “Tarway bro! How‟s thing man. We tried to be as quick as we could.” David

  repeated and he walked up to them both.


         Tarway looked happy to see them.


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         “Well you‟re quicker than I thought you would be. I‟m waiting for Xylem as well.

  She‟s with Razul at the moment. She has Julian with him. They‟re taking samples from

  him now. He‟s been entranced for the whole kidnapping. He thinks he‟s dictating his

  postal replies to his secretary. I left her there with Julian and Razul. She said she would

  come and see me when she was finished with him. Xylem is having some fun with him

  too I fear. She resents that he turned his back on his vocation, even though she knows

  it‟s the Vlorja within him that has played with his mind.” he informed them casually.


         “Quite a busy time for you at the moment then Tarway? Oh - before I forget,

  Debbie and Fritz will be paying you a visit shortly too. They want you to have a look at

  some samples they‟ll be bringing in from the United Kingdom on Alpha. Christian

  thinks that something may be happening there too. I don‟t know how long they‟ll be

  though. Not very long hopefully.”


         Tarway nodded as he placed the four glass bottles carefully onto his workbench.

  His dark blue panorama with its colourful light display of random patterns and colours,

  were accompanied this time by some soft instrumental guitar music.


         “Nice music man... Tayla‟s?” David asked, but he already knew the answer.


         “It is as a matter of fact. I recorded her playing this piece on her guitar when we

  were in Switzerland. She‟s very talented isn‟t she?” as he tilted his head to and fro

  whimsically, as he listened to the gentle strums of the guitar which was melodiously

  floating all around the room.


         “She sure is. You should record both Tayla and Christian when you get the

  chance. Now when you hear the two of them play their guitars – well that really is a cool

  sound man...”


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         “Then perhaps you would ask them for me when you see them next. I would very

  much like to have a recording of their music, so that I might listen to it,” he responded

  sincerely. Rhea smiled at him.


         “For a transrobot Tarway, you are very human.”


         “Well thank you kind Rhea, for a transgenic clone, you‟re very human too!”


         “Minus the bad points though I hope!”


         “Of course Rhea, that was a given...” he smiled wryly.


         “Tarway, you say Xylem is here?” David changed the subject. Tarway directed

  his attention over to David and nodded.


         “Why yes. She is currently in Razul‟s chamber room. She‟s taking some body

  samples from Julian right now. I‟m waiting to see her before she takes the samples back

  to Hemasta.”


         “How long has she been here?”


         “Not long... but it won‟t take Razul long to get the samples from him.”


         David looked across to Rhea, “Shall we go and see her. We can find out if she‟s

  managed to find out anything from Julian?”


         “Good idea, let‟s go,”


         David glanced over to Tarway, “Do you want to come with us at all?”


         “No, no, you two run along. I‟ve got work to do. Xylem will be here shortly. I

  can speak with her then.”



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           “Then we best hurry, before she disappears with Julian.” David announced and

  nodding to Tarway he turned and headed for the door.


           “See you T.” Rhea smiled and pecked him on the cheek before she ran after

  David.


           “See you R!” he mimicked, chuckling to himself, as he watched her run out after

  David.


           Xylem turned round in surprise when the door to Razul‟s room slid open. She

  hadn‟t been expecting anyone. She looked startled to see David and Rhea walking in to

  see her.


           “David, Rhea, Did Tarway inform you I was here?” she asked quizzically.


           David glanced around the dark glossy room, with its array of vacant glass

  chambers. He was very familiar with this room. He nodded at Razul, who was standing

  next to Xylem.


           “He said you brought Julian here. Where is he?” David asked.


           Razul pointed to a chamber behind him. David turned his head to see. He hadn‟t

  noticed the dimly lit chamber as he had walked in.


           “Oh yes, I see him. Have you put him into a sleepscape Razul?” and Razul

  nodded,


           “I‟ve taken the body samples we need from him. Xylem should be taking him

  back to Alpha shortly. We were just talking about him.”




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         “The Vlorja has greatly changed his character David. It‟s really quite sad. I don‟t

  think he suspects what‟s happened to him either.” Xylem sighed as she looked at the

  unconscious figure floating in a chamber of blue-white gases. Then she thought,


         “I entranced him before I took him. I don‟t want the Vlorja inside him to know

  he‟s been taken. He was dictating letters to me while Razul took some body samples. I

  think he saw me as his secretary...” she assumed, “He was asking me to organise some

  Meeting for later on this year. He wanted me to send out details to the other members?”

  she shrugged as she remembered the entrancement. “But what caught my attention was

  that he mentioned some names we all know. I was just telling Razul. I‟m certainly

  letting Capsulan and the others know as soon as I get back to Home.”


         David and Rhea wondered who she could mean and looked at her quizzically.


         “Millie, Chad and Zachary.” she began and then continued “He said „Make sure

  to invite Chad, Zach and Millie. Remind me of those names later, so I can give you their

  contact details.‟” she recalled slightly confused. “You might want to look into what he

  means you two.”


         David nodded nonchalantly. “Okay, but did he say anything else?”


         Xylem thought for a moment, before shaking her head. “No, I don‟t think so...”


         “Did he say what the Meeting was about Xylem?” Rhea probed but Xylem shook

  her head.


         Razul interrupted. “Do you want us to get him out of the sleepscape and

  interrogate him further for you Rhea?”


         But Xylem shook her head violently to the suggestion.

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          “NO! It would most certainly alert the Vlorja that something was wrong. The

  entrancement means that his neural senses have made no extraordinary signals to suggest

  he is under any kind of stress as yet. Interrogation would certainly affect his adrenalin

  levels, causing fluctuations in his heart rate, his perspiration, not to mention his

  breathing. No, you have to accept what information I‟ve just given you. You cannot find

  out anymore from him. That is the only information I have got that I can give you,” but

  then she thought for a moment.


          “However, I don‟t know if this might help, but on his desk, he had a book on the

  Spanish architect Gaudi. He was looking at it when I arrived. Could that be something of

  significance at all?” she offered.


          “Perhaps, perhaps not.” Rhea mused casually. “But you have given us something

  to consider Xylem. It may be of some important to us.” And Xylem smiled.


          “Look,” she said quickly “I must take my leave and get Julian back behind his

  desk. Hemasta needs those samples, and I need to stop by and speak with Tarway first.”

  It had reminded her of what else she had to do.


          “Xylem, could you possibly try and find where Julian might keep his contacts

  within his office when you take him back at all?” Rhea asked politely.


          “His mobile might have those details,” David suggested. “Did he have it on

  him?”


          Razul nodded and scuttled away to look for Julian‟s personal belongings. They

  watched briefly as he shuffled objects round in a tray and came back with his phone.




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           David took one look at it and beamed. “Great stuff Razul. Copy the contents of

  his SIM and phone memory into my orb please. We can look at what he‟s put on his

  phone. It‟s the latest Blackberry. He‟ll probably have his business life in this little

  object.”


           Razul held out his hand for David‟s orb and walked over to a corner of the room

  with both objects. He placed them into a holographic box that he simply produced by

  touching an indentation on the wall. He then proceeded to place both objects within it.

  The holographic box lit up for a moment, and when the light had dissipated, Razul took

  both objects back out and flicked the holographic image with his hand. The holographic

  box then disappeared as quickly as it had appeared a moment ago.


           He walked back over and handed back David‟s orb to him, and resumed his place

  next to Xylem.


           “Cheers Razul!” David beamed. “Let‟s hope we find something of interest in

  here.”


           Xylem smiled. She was pleased that she able to be of assistance to David and

  Rhea, but she looked impatient to be on her way. But David wanted to ask her something

  else, something more personal to him.


           “How‟s Sarah Xylem. Have you seen her at all?”


           Xylem scrutinized David‟s face, “You don‟t know do you?” she concluded,


           David looked worried, “Is something wrong with Sarah?” but Xylem was shaking

  her head.




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         “No, no, nothing like that.” she began, “Do you know that Hemasta has produced

  two more clones to replace Mark and Louisa?” David and Rhea looked surprised, but

  then realised that was the way their population maintained its numbers.


         “I suppose Hemasta must have needed to replace them. He couldn‟t rejuvenate

  them then?” he asked solemnly and Xylem shook her head sadly.


         “No. The poison ruined their brains beyond repair. Hemasta was unable to. But

  he tried to take some of Mark‟s brain patterns and memories and programme them into

  Apollo.”


         “Apollo?” Rhea asked, “Is that the new Mark?” and she looked sorrowfully at

  David. David looked sad. Mark had been his closest friend for years, and he missed him

  deeply. Almost as much as Sarah, though he was not conceived at the same time as both

  Sarah and Mark.


         “So Sarah, how has she been about Apollo? Is she cool about the whole thing?”


         Xylem sighed, “Sarah asked for as much of Mark to be programmed into Apollo.

  Hemasta has created him as his student and understudy. This whole Vlorja crisis has

  given us reason to think about our own mortality you see.”


         “Gee, I guess it must have. Still at least some good may have come out of it

  perhaps,” David conceded sadly.


         “Sarah asked to be linked to Apollo.”


         David looked at Xylem in surprise.


         “Dude that‟s pretty heavy man.”



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         “She has also decided to move away and become a warrior like us. Artemis the

  new clone has already been programmed to be part of our team.”


         “Sarah must have come up with those names.” Rhea guessed, “They‟re so very

  Sarah kinds of names aren‟t they David?” and David smiled whimsically as he nodded in

  agreement.


         “Yeh Rhea, I think you‟re right. But it‟s kinda neat of Hemasta to let her do that.

  She‟ll want to take care of them now you know?” he added, “Mark would have done the

  same thing – if it had been Sarah.” he mused. Then he took on a serious look and turned

  to Xylem, “Xylem, Mark was kinda my best friend. He meant a lot to me. I kinda feel a

  connection with this new dude Apollo, with him having part of Mark with him. I‟d really

  like to meet him and get to know him.” And he turned to Rhea hopefully “He might even

  have some memories of me?” and turning back to Xylem. “I‟m gonna send a message to

  him and Sarah I think. I might suggest it to Christian and Tayla too. I think it would be

  kinda cool to send a message to Sarah and Apollo from us all – you know the team – and

  say hi and we‟re looking out for them both. What do you think?” He looked animated

  and looked keenly at Rhea and Xylem for their response.


         Xylem smiled. “I think it is a fine idea my friend. It will be good for Apollo to

  know that Mark had such a good friend.”


         “Then I‟m organising that just as soon as we all get back.” he announced happily.


         “Look I really must take my leave of you both my friends, but I have much to

  do.” Xylem apologised as she looked towards the door.


         “We‟re off too Xylem. Be sure to get those samples to Hemasta fast. We need to

  know what the Vlorja have transmutated into this time.” reminded Rhea. She could see

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  how eager Xylem was to leave. She turned to Razul. “Thanks Razul, we‟ll see you soon

  no doubt.” And then turning to Xylem, she nodded and looked at David to follow her out.


           “I‟m coming too actually. I need to speak to Tarway before I take Julian back...”

  Xylem announced and nodding at Razul, she took her leave of him and headed out just a

  few steps behind Rhea and David. Razul walked over to his stool to sit down and wait

  for Xylem to return.


           As the door slid shut behind them, Xylem waved goodbye to David and Rhea, as

  she headed off in the direction of Tarway‟s Laboratory, leaving David and Rhea to head

  back in the opposite direction. They headed off to find their destination point for Alpha.


                                               *   * *


           Debbie and Fritz had been given the sample details from Janet Morgan,

  Christian‟s mother. They were in possession of medical details of a little over two

  hundred patients. Armed with this, they had gone over to Alpha and were sitting in a

  small car park outside of the super positioned surgery, waiting for the last patient to

  leave.


           “We need to get in there before they shut the computer system down Fritz. Let‟s

  just camouflage ourselves and sit inside. I‟d feel a whole lot better if we could do that

  huns...”


           Fritz nodded. She was right. “Okay let‟s do it my little cupcake,”


           The both casually got out of the hire car, and began to walk towards the surgery.

  As they walked, their bodies and clothes began to dissolve against the background, until

  they were invisible to the naked eye. They pushed open the door and headed for the


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  waiting area just to the left of them. The receptionist looked away from her computer

  screen to see the door open and close, and without concern, turned her attention back to

  her computer. Debbie and Fritz waited silently until the last patient left the surgery and

  the last of the GP‟s walked out waving the receptionist goodbye. Fritz jumped up and

  headed straight for the receptionist. She had her turned away from him as he approached

  her, but he was becoming visible with every step he took towards her. By the time he

  reached the reception desk, he had become solid and visible. The receptionist was deep

  in concentration and still hadn‟t noticed him. He coughed and waited for a response.

  She looked up quickly and jumped back in shock.


         “Oh sorry,” she began as she frowned, “But the surgery is closed. All the doctors

  have gone ...” but she had stopped speaking. Fritz was entrancing her with his eyes.


         “Now I want you to get your coat and bag and go home. You‟ll be thinking that

  you‟re closing down the computer system and locking up. But I‟ll do that for you okay.”


         “Thank you. I really must get home now,” she repeated and got up. Debbie

  walked over to join Fritz, losing her camouflage cover as she walked. She knew the

  receptionist could not see her. Fritz helped her with her bag and coat and walked her

  graciously to the door.


         “Bye,” he said as he waved her off, and quickly walked to the front of the

  building.


         He concentrated hard with this orb in his hand, and then happy, he walked back

  into the surgery.


         “I‟ve put a camouflaged seal over the front of the building. No-one will see us in

  here. They won‟t see us moving around in here.”

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         “Do you think we might be ages then huns?”


         “Hours anyway. I know we can see without light, but computers will light up like

  a beacon in the dark sweetie.”


         “Of course. That‟s why I adore you so much, you think of everything...”


         “Right let‟s get started. Have you got the list Janet gave us? I‟ll look it up on the

  system and see what we find cupcake.” Fritz pulled chair closer to the screen and waited

  for Debbie to start giving him the names.


         Slowly and meticulously, Fritz and Debbie went through the names Janet Morgan

  had given them, comparing notes on ailments and illness, trying to find irregularities. As

  they began to compare notes, there appeared to be no probable reason to doubt that there

  was anything untoward.      The usual coughs and colds, a few referrals for clinical

  checkups on cancer scares; some unfortunate cases, but it would be as expected.

  Undeterred they ploughed on through the list. It was taking much longer than they

  anticipated. When Fritz stopped for a moment to stretch, he could see that they were

  submerged in a room of pitch blackness.


         “I think we need to come back tomorrow night and carry on. We‟ve only done

  about sixty or so. This is taking us much longer than I thought sweetie. Let‟s make sure

  we get through half of the list tonight at least. What do you say?”


         “It‟s up to you huns, but you‟re right, this is taking us bloody ages. Even if we

  get through half of this, we are going to be her till at least five in the morning. The

  cleaners will be arriving early in the morning, so we need to have left by then.”




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         “We can take the day to look over what we already have and see if we can spot

  anything else. You never know we may be able to spot something we‟re currently

  missing at the moment.”


         “Yes my little blonde angel, you may well be right. Look let‟s get this lot dealt

  with and then we should leave.” she offered as she drew a line with a marker pen

  dividing the names between Murphy and Nabb.


         “Great, so let‟s get going again. I‟m ready. So whose next then cupcake” he

  asked as he settled down in front of the screen.


         The following night, the same procedure was repeated. No-one had suspected

  anything from the evening before, so once again they settled down for a second long

  night of trawling through the remainder of the medical records they had. They had seen a

  clue from what they had gathered the night before, but it was too early to say for sure. If

  tonight‟s records showed the same pattern emerging, then they would know for certain.

  Before they left, Debbie decided to take a couple of samples of the vaccine which seemed

  to be linking the cases. They both felt pleased with what they‟d achieved over the last

  couple of days, and as dawn broke, they hurried out of the surgery, and were gone;

  impatient get the vaccines over to Tarway to analyse.




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                                         Chapter 18



         “Thank you Mr Lacroix, we‟ll be over to see you later this afternoon, no, no that‟s

  fine, we can find your address easily. Look we really appreciate you seeing us at such

  short notice. – Yes, yes, see you later then, Bye.”


         Tayla smiled over to Christian as she put the phone down. They were sitting in a

  small country pub on the outskirts of Cannock, just past Birmingham, in the small town

  of Shareshill. Just a mile from the M6, they settled down for a light snack. Christian and

  Tayla were back on Alpha, and had hired a small car for the trip. As Christian was

  considered a minor celebrity since the announcement of lightspeed travel, he wanted to

  avoid the larger towns and cities. There had been quite a scandal over his disappearance

  a little over a year ago now. Although the news of his disappearance had died down, he

  was still only too well aware of being spotted by someone who might still remember the

  scandal. Tayla on the other hand was trying to keep a low profile because she knew she

  had Asclepius looking out for her. Shareshill was small and very rural and both Tayla

  and Christian felt safe in stopping off there for something to eat. They had only been

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  driving for about thirty minutes, and weren‟t even sure that Philippe Lacroix would see

  them that day. They had taken a chance, due to the urgency of trying to uncover vital

  information.


         “He‟s happy to see us this afternoon. I‟ve written down his address here...” Tayla

  announced as she passed the scribbled napkin over to Christian. “It‟s just outside of

  Longnor - Leek Road, just past the Saw mill on the right.” she described, “I said we‟d

  find it. He told us to stay on the M6 until Junction fifteen, then head for Newcastle upon

  Lyme, and then follow the A53 to Buxton. Apparently the A53 goes straight through

  Longnor. Should be easy enough.”


         Christian looked up from the scribbled directions. He didn‟t sound too convinced.

  “Always does baby. The damn hire car doesn‟t have sat-nav, which is a nuisance.” He

  folded the napkin and handed it back to Tayla. “Well it‟s great news that he‟ll see us

  later. We‟d better eat up here quickly and be on our way. I would say that we are

  probably an hour or so away from him.”


         Tayla turned out to be right.      The journey to Philippe Lacroix‟s house was

  relatively simple and they soon found themselves parking up alongside the detached

  house corresponding to the address. The house was set back about forty or so metres

  from the peaceful country lane in the middle of the Staffordshire countryside. The only

  traffic this road was used to were likely to be of the farming variety. Philippe Lacroix

  had certainly wanted to find somewhere quiet to retreat to. There couldn‟t be too many

  spots in England that were as quiet as this location.


         It happened to be quite a bright and sunny day, and the faded white-washed house

  shone brilliantly against the sun. A neatly trimmed hedge surrounded the house, and its


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  country styled garden looked casually neat for the time of the year. Christian knocked at

  the flaking emerald green door when he reached it and waited. Tayla was right behind

  him. After a moment or two they could see a twitching of net curtains from the left

  window, before the door was opened.


         “Doctor‟s Westwood and Morgan?”


         “Mr Lacroix?”


         “Yes that‟s me. Please come in, I‟ve been expecting you.”


         Philippe Lacroix looked to be in his late forties, tall, slim and smartly dressed

  with dark hair scattered with greying hairs throughout. He spoke in an eloquent French

  accent, but he had a haunted look in his eyes. As Tayla and Christian followed him

  through the dimly lit hallway and into his living room, Tayla noticed how his frame

  looked slightly hunched in comparison to Christian‟s confident stance. As he led them

  into a light and airy room, Tayla noticed how stark it seemed. The dark green three piece

  suite lacked cushions while the simple oak coffee table looked too bare. In the corner of

  the room was a cluttered desk, filled with books and notes, almost hiding an old

  computer screen and keyboard? The hard drive, was sitting on the floor by the side of the

  desk, next to an extension lead packed full of leads and sockets. Books spilled messily

  out on the floor and all about the shelves above the desk. It seemed strange to Tayla, that

  this tiny corner of the room seemed so overly cluttered, while the rest of the room

  appeared sparse and forlorn.


         “Please, take a seat Doctor‟s, I will go and make us all a pot of tea.” Lacroix

  beckoned, and bowing his head, he let himself out and disappeared.




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         Lacroix wasn‟t gone long, and he appeared with a neat tray of assorted teacup‟s

  and saucers, alongside a bone china teapot and a saucer with sliced lemons. He had

  brought the storage jar of sugar and a gravy boat of milk on the tray as well. It was clear

  that he was unused to entertaining.”


         “Look, help yourselves you two. I wasn‟t sure if you took milk and sugar. I take

  it with lemon myself.” he confessed as he picked up a teacup and poured himself some

  tea, plonking a slice of lemon into the cup before grabbing a non matching saucer to

  place the teacup upon. He then walked over to one of the two armchairs and sat down.


         Christian decided to pour the teas for himself and Tayla, as Lacroix spoke.


         “So Doctor Westwood, I‟ve spoken with Derek after your call to me earlier. I

  passed on your regards to them as well by the way...” and Tayla nodded gratefully. “I‟m

  intrigued as to why you wanted to meet me in particular though? Do you want to find out

  more about what the Freilassen Movement is trying to achieve?”


         Christian handed her a filled cup and saucer and she concentrated momentarily on

  making sure she had it securely in her hand, before she looked across to Lacroix to

  answer him.


         “I do Mr Lacroix, but I wanted to ask you a fairly personal question first. I‟m not

  sure if you want to answer it however?” she warned. But Lacroix had already guessed

  what the question might be, and he looked warily at her.


         “You want to ask me about what happened to make me leave France aren‟t you?

  Everyone does – so why should you be any different?” He sat and stared impassively at

  Tayla, though his face appeared troubled and angry.



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         “Would you mind telling us please? But before you do, let me tell you the reason

  why I‟m asking you.” Tayla had already met Jake and the others; his compatriots and she

  instinctively felt safe enough to confide in him. She explained to him how a phone call

  from Louisa about an irregularity with regard to administering a schoolchild‟s vaccine

  had resulted in two deaths; how she had been chased by security simply for looking into

  some of Asclepius‟s accounts. She mentioned her theories about what she thought the

  irregularities might mean, as well as Christian‟s interpretation, though she was careful

  not to mention the Vlorja invasion theory however. Somehow, this might be hard for

  Lacroix to comprehend. She also tentatively mentioned Christian‟s concern over his as

  yet unsubstantiated reports of rises in illnesses in the United Kingdom, though she was

  clear to ensure that it was only Christian‟s suspicion for now.”


         Lacroix sat quietly and listened. His faced remained impassive and inscrutable.

  He occasionally sipped at his tea. He even briefly glanced over to Christian while Tayla

  spoke, but Tayla couldn‟t make out what he was thinking as she disclosed her concerns.

  When she had finished speaking, she looked hopefully at Lacroix. She was hoping that

  he may have some knowledge. Something that could help her to understand what was

  happening. He looked at her thoughtfully, before answering.


         “What I will say to you both is that the pharmaceutical industry spreads much

  farther than you think. It filters into all manner of corporate industry and political

  ideology. You are most likely dealing with much more than you could ever have

  imagined.” he warned cautiously. “I have worked at the highest levels within the

  industry. I understand its exploitative machinations only too well.”


         Tayla could see he looked troubled now.



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         “So Mr Lacroix, do you understand why I‟m asking you what happened to make

  you leave France. You were Head of Sales and Marketing at Santé Piquant at the time.

  What made you want to give all of that up?”


         Lacroix raised his eyebrow cynically at her, “You must have read the reports

  Doctor?”


         “But I want to hear what really happened from you. We both understand what the

  papers can be like, don‟t we Christian?”


         Christian knew only too well, he nodded solemnly.


         Lacroix looked relieved and smiled apologetically. “I‟ll tell you the truth of what

  really happened. Whether you wish to accept it is entirely up to you.” he began, glancing

  over to Christian to gauge his expression. Christian looked curious. He was keen to hear

  Lacroix‟s version.


         “Well, whatever you read in the papers about me is just lies – obviously – though

  they make it sound very convincing of course. But you must remember, I became a

  whistleblower, and one man against a mighty corporation is likely to be vanquished by

  such a beast. I understood that at the time, of course, but the backlash even took me by

  surprise.”


         “What made you want to become a whistleblower Mr Lacroix? I understand that

  at your level, you would have been privy to the highest levels of information. Why would

  you want to bite the hand that fed you so to speak?” Christian enquired.


         “What you think I took the decision lightly Doctor Morgan?”


         “Well no, I didn‟t say that exactly... “

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         “No-one sets out to become a whistleblower; I can assure you of that Doctor

  Morgan. But sometimes, your conscience gets the better of you. I‟ve never regretted

  what I did. I‟d do the same again - even if I knew what I know now.”


         “Well no, I‟m not suggesting that you did.”


         Lacroix seemed a little frustrated, but he continued to speak.


         “We supplied most of Eastern Europe with any pharmaceutical products these

  countries required.   There was obviously a great deal of competition with local

  companies, but Santé Piquant was by far one of the most powerful pharmaceutical

  companies in Europe, totalling over forty million U S dollars and employing just under a

  hundred thousand people. With it being under the umbrella of the Asclepius group, we

  had complete control of all the drugs throughout Europe. The United Kingdom was our

  nearest rival, but they‟re part of the Asclepius group as well, so we had a kind of

  agreement on what kind of pharmaceutical products we supplied. Basically, we never

  doubled up, or if we did, we conceded one type of drug for another to maintain our

  strongholds in the market. Either way we all won.” Lacroix looked at them both to see if

  they were following him.


         “All products have a shelf life. Normally a few years, but they become unstable

  and ineffective after a while, so if they haven‟t been sold, they have to be scrapped.

  Now, that means a loss of big bucks to the pharmaceutical industries. It was my job to

  make sure this never happened, and it didn‟t.” He paused for a moment to put his empty

  teacup down back onto the tray, before sitting back and continuing on.


         “Now normally this isn‟t a problem, products get researched, tested and

  advertised and then sold. But sometimes, products get made for protective measures


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  against bio-chemical warfare for instance. There‟s wars going on all over the world;

  terrorism is a daily threat to the world, and bio-chemical warfare is a real and present

  danger. So we get to find out what potential germ warfare is likely to happen, and stocks

  of antidotes get made. But all this takes up a lot of expensive resources, which equates to

  big chunks of capital lock-up for Asclepius. They have potentially millions of US dollars

  tied up and sitting on dusty shelves – unusable drugs unless germ warfare breaks out.

  Now these products, may be sitting on my spreadsheet as potential lost revenue if the

  shelf life expires. We can‟t claim back the money spent to produce them not to mention

  the loss on revenue and potential profits back on some insurance claim. No the money

  gets lost. The profit margin goes down.        The shares drop, there‟s potential loss of

  confidence in the company. Basically people start to lose money, you get the idea okay,”

  He looked carefully at Tayla and Christian, and they nodded; they were listening.


         “Right this is the point where I got to become a whistle blower.” He paused again,

  “We bought in supplies of a vaccine against a SARS outbreak. Um, there was, and I

  suppose still is – a daily threat to Europe from the Middle East. Apparently, there was a

  leaked report from the heads of state at the time, that a SARS attack might hit the UK, so

  supplies for the antidote were needed everywhere. The UK company Orion brought in

  their own stocks of vaccines from its sister company Jones Lewis White, who had

  produced its own version of the antidote. Santé Piquant was advised to buy up the

  version Zenith Mac Laboratories had produced. All this must have happened about ten

  years ago now I suppose. As you know, there wasn‟t a SARS outbreak in the UK. It

  never materialised. But four years later, just three months before the expiry date of the

  SARS vaccines we had in stock, there was a minor explosion in a small research

  laboratory in one of the Eastern Block states. The explosion contained SARS micro-



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  organisms, and it leaked out and into the general population. There was a big panic there

  at the time. But it was later put down as being purely accidental. The lab was studying

  the SARS spores at the time of the explosion you see,” he looked at Tayla and Christian

  cynically, “If that‟s what you want to believe,” he digressed momentarily, before getting

  back to his story. “Now all available stocks of the SARS vaccine were ordered by the

  Eastern Block state, both stocks held by Santé Piquant and Orion in the UK, in order to

  inoculate all their people in the immediate danger zone. Now I had chance to read the test

  reports on these vaccines – as I normally do for all products we supply of course – only

  these SARS vaccines we had bought in were reported as being dangerous.               They

  contained pathogens which caused heart attacks to people with respiratory or heart

  problems or those suffering with high blood pressure. We were warned not to administer

  it after two and a half years, which didn‟t really cause us any problems at the time. I had

  already written off the profits and spread the loss over its shelf life. So, when the order

  was placed for our whole stock of these vaccines, I of course brought up the fact that the

  product had a health warning attached to them; that they were dangerous. I suggested

  that we should let the UK supply all of the antidotes on this occasion. There‟s was

  perfectly safe you see. Anyway, as I saw it at the time, we could recoup any losses we

  made on this sale, against gains on a future deal. But greed took over. No-one listened.”

  He said shaking his head. “As I‟d already written off the loss, the profit we showed when

  the deal went through made us look very favourable in the eyes of the shareholders. We

  made millions of dollars suddenly. Our shares went up for a time. A lot of people made

  a lot of money, not least Asclepius, who got rid of all their faulty supplies in one go.”

  And he shook his head sorrowfully, “I have reason to believe over five and a half

  thousand people died directly as a consequence of taking that vaccine. Do you know

  how many people died from SARS?” Lacroix asked rhetorically, “Just ten – those who

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  were in the lab at the time. None of the town‟s folk – not a single person. They later

  discovered that they managed to contain the SARS spores within the lab in the end,

  despite an explosion.” Tayla and Christian sat silently, listening intently.


         “I blew the whistle on the whole damned incident. I leaked out the damaging

  report to a journalist, who ran the story. They traced the leak to me, and I spoke out

  against what had gone on. The fact that we knowingly supplied faulty vaccines with the

  potential to kill; without ever warning anyone. And we knew all about it. I had the

  backing of several investigative journalists on my side and the story was beginning to

  grow legs. All manner of pharmaceutical practises were being investigated, not least the

  stranglehold Asclepius seemed to have on the global supply of pharmaceutical products.

  They couldn‟t deny anything. So they tried to discredit me instead, and that‟s exactly

  what they did. I was accused of having an affair with a fifteen year old girl. The mother

  told the papers that her daughter confessed to it. But it was all lies. The worst of it was

  that I knew the young girl. She was my daughter‟s best friend. She used to come and

  stay with us quite a bit. I suppose it wasn‟t difficult to fabricate. I mean, the girl was at

  our house regularly, and I often chatted to her or gave her lifts if she needed one.” He

  shrugged his shoulders, feeling the shame all over again. “But it was an absolute

  fabrication. But the papers ran with it, and tried to blacken my name. It never got as far

  as court however; the girl retracted her accusation after two weeks. I asked for a public

  apology from the papers, which I got – in four lines on page twenty nine of their paper.”

  he laughed bitterly. “But Santé Piquant couldn‟t sack me and I refused to leave, so they

  accused me of nepotism and fraud, by saying that I was secretly being paid for appointing

  my brother in law for all the cleaning contracts for our offices throughout France. Lies

  again, but that‟s how they got rid of me in the end.” he sighed. “Trouble was, my wife



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  was very proud. She couldn‟t handle the scandals surrounding me at the time. I don‟t

  think she ever believed any of them, but it was the embarrassment of it all. So I left, and

  came here to England. But I set up the Freilassen Movement with Derek and Jake during

  this time. It‟s my life‟s work now. I have dedicated my life to uncovering the lies and

  deceit and exploitation made by these huge corporations. They are endangering lives of

  innocent people for profit. So many people know what‟s going on, but they‟re being paid

  huge sums of money to keep their mouths shut. I don‟t blame them. They have families

  to look after I suppose. I don‟t have that burden anymore. I‟m lucky in that respect.”


         “But you‟ve lost so much Mr Lacroix,” Tayla reminded him.


         “Sometimes you have to lose something for the greater good Doctor Morgan. My

  family are doing fine over in France without me. My wife has remarried now and my

  children are grown up. What has happened to me, gave me the opportunity to help

  expose the truth. If I can make people see what is really going on, then it will have all

  been worth it. I have a lot of support for my cause and that‟s what keeps me strong and

  able to fight on.” he finished.


         Christian thought hard. It made sense why there was such a big discrepancy

  between his life here on Alpha, and his life back on Beta.


         “So this Freilassen Movement means a great deal to you then?”


         “I just want people to know what is really going on. But we only report the truth,

  not hearsay. Look over there, I‟ve piles and piles of information that people send me.

  Some of it will go onto the site, once we verify the facts. We have many people who

  contribute their experience to our movement. People like me who need people to wake

  up and see what is really going on.”


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         “So do you have thoughts on what‟s I‟ve told you Mr Lacroix.?”


         “I think your thoughts on a eugenics programme aren‟t so far-fetched if I may say

  so Doctor Morgan.” hinted Lacroix, “Though obviously I can‟t say for sure, but have you

  ever heard of the Bloomsbury Alliance for instance?”


         Tayla and Christian shook their heads as they looked at each other and turned

  back to Lacroix.


         “Why? Who are they?”


         Lacroix laughed sardonically. What is the Bloomsbury Alliance? Well to be

  honest, I would say if I were to ask one hundred people that same question, I would

  probably get seventy five don‟t knows, so you‟re not alone. Yet they happen to be the

  most powerful group of people in the whole of the western hemisphere.” And he smiled

  at them both.

         “The Bloomsbury Alliance happens to be an unofficial, annual, invitation-only

  conference of around a hundred or so guests. It was started about eight years ago now, by

  a founder group of around thirteen people. Most of the guests who are invited wield

  great influence in the fields of politics, business, banking, and the media.” he explained

  “Usually, each conference is held under intense secrecy and security. I mean it‟s heavily

  guarded by police, the security services, alongside military helicopters. I‟ve even heard

  that fighter jets have been used on at least two cases. The Bloomsbury Alliance usually

  meets annually at a select hotel somewhere in the western world. Usually in Europe but

  every so often it get‟s held in the United States. I already have inside information to say

  that this year, it‟s going to be held in May somewhere in Barcelona. You might want to

  look into this group. Part of their hidden agenda is a eugenics programme.”


                                           349
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



         Christian raised an eyebrow. “Really, alongside what else?”

         Lacroix looked deeply disturbed. “Now I don‟t have any hard evidence. They‟re

  much too secretive. They don‟t take official minutes of their meetings. Some of the

  guests that turn up aren‟t even mentioned in the Guest lists we manage to get hold of.

  These meetings are never reported, even though heads of states regularly attend. It‟s all

  very bizarre. I have some excellent investigative journalists who are trying to get some

  more information on what is really going on at these meetings, but they hit brick walls all

  the way. One of my friends Bill, got punched to the ground simply by being too close to

  a security guard. Now that‟s one group I would love to expose to the public. I could give

  you what I have if you like?”

         “What kinds of things do you think they talk about then? Is the subject matter too

  delicate and secretive?” Tayla asked curiously, but Lacroix just threw his hands in the air.

         “Now that‟s the million dollar question Doctor. There are rumours of a Master

  Plan. Whatever it is, I‟d like to know, but what I have is hearsay at best. I‟ve been told

  everything from a world depopulation plan to alien interaction and shared technologies.”

  he laughed “But as I said to you both earlier, I only deal in the truth. Hearsay can be

  misleading.   I do know that the Bloomsbury Alliance exists however, and I could

  probably get hold of a preliminary guest list, though many of the important people who

  will be going will have no traceable record of them ever attending.”

         Tayla nodded. The word alien had suddenly raised her interest in this group.

  “Yes please Mr Lacroix. I would like to investigate them further. If I get any hard facts

  for you I will let you know of course.”

         “Well you‟d be the first in a long line I warn you Doctor, but I‟m more than

  happy to let you have what I‟ve got.” Seeing that Tayla was interested made him smile.

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  He got up out of the armchair and strolled over to his office in the corner of the room.

  He found what he was looking for immediately, and walked back over with an orange

  folder with „Bloomsbury G‟ written in large capitals on the front.

          “There you go; I‟ll let Derek know I‟ve given it you. He may well be in touch.

  He‟s the main guy to speak to regarding the Bloomsbury Alliance, he knows far more

  about it than I do Doctor Morgan. I‟m more involved with any pharmaceutical issues.”

          “Thank you Mr Lacroix. Do tell Derek to call me or email me. I gave them my

  details, so he already knows how to get in touch. I‟m definitely going to look into this

  group.”

          “I hope you find some answers. I‟ll think about what you‟ve told me, and I‟ll get

  hold some of my contacts to find out what they know. If you‟re already intending to

  speak to Derek, then may I suggest that it might be easier if you deal through Derek from

  now on? But only because I‟ve got some seminars coming up around the country, so I‟m

  going to be living out of hotel room for the next couple of months. I might be quite hard

  to get hold of – that‟s all.”

          Look it‟s been very good to meet you Mr Lacroix. You‟ve given us a lot of food

  for thought. We really appreciate you seeing us both at such short notice like this.” Tayla

  shook his hand as she stood up. It was time for them to leave. They had taken up enough

  of Lacroix‟s time.

          “Yes. Good to meet you sir,” Christian added and shook his hand after he stood

  up. “We need to go; we‟ve got quite a long journey back.”

          “We might be able to help each other, who knows?” Tayla added optimistically.




                                           351
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          Philippe Lacroix showed them to the front door and waved them off as Tayla and

  Christian left. By the time they had reached his gate, they could hear the front door slam

  shut behind them.

          “Interesting meeting baby don‟t you think?”

          “He‟s pointed us in the right direction for sure, and given quite a bit to think

  about. But let‟s get home baby. We‟ve still got to get this car back to the Hire Company

  first, before we can even think about getting back to Beta.”

          “You‟ve got to admit, that orbing is a lot quicker...”

          “..And a damn sight easier baby and I never thought you would ever hear me say

  that!” Tayla smiled and lifted herself on her tiptoes to quickly give Christian a kiss before

  she got into the car.

          “Drive me home Parker!”

          “Yes me lady! At once.”




                                            352
MIND GAMES                                                              SUZIE MAGNESS




                                        Chapter 19

         Rhea and David had arrived back.       They were pleased with what they had

  managed to achieve and were keen to let the others know how they had got on. When

  they saw an empty house, they realised that Tayla and Christian must have gone off to do

  some investigating on their own, and decided to leave a note that they would be in their

  own house, ready for them when they called.


         When Tayla and Christian arrived home, they read the note and smiled.


         “Look baby, Rhea left s a note. They want us to call them when we know that

  Debbie and Fritz are back. I wonder how they‟ve got on?” Tayla wondered, “Shall I give

  them a call to come on over?”


         “Let them have some time. We‟ve all been so busy. Let‟s wait for Fritz and

  Debbie to get back; we can share the facts then. Fritz and Debbie shouldn‟t be too long.”

  Christian decided.




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         “I didn‟t feel quite as bad for me this time. How about you? Did this orbing trip

  feel slightly easier to cope with? Do you think we may be getting used to orbing at last?”

  Tayla asked as Christian nodded his head, as he realised that he didn‟t want to be sick.


         “Let‟s hope so baby. Look I‟ll put the kettle on, and we‟ll read that file Lacroix

  gave us okay?”


                                               *   * *


         David was sitting on the floor by the fireplace. He was deep in thought. Rhea

  had just made them both something to eat, and watched him as she carried over two

  plates of pasta for them to eat. Rhea could see that he was so deep in thought, that he

  hadn‟t even noticed her walk in and her heart went out to him. David was usually so

  upbeat and positive. But just now, sitting there on the floor, he had transported himself

  somewhere in his mind which was causing him great sadness. Rhea knew only too well

  where he might have gone in his mindscape. As she reached him, she bent down to hand

  him a plate,


         “David honey, I‟ve brought you something to eat. Here take it before it starts to

  get cold.”


         David was instantly transported back to the room, and seeing the plate under his

  face, he automatically took hold of it and stared up to see Rhea smiling sympathetically

  back at him. She sat down next to him, snuggling her body close to his, as she began to

  eat.


         “Were you thinking about Mark?”




                                           354
MIND GAMES                                                              SUZIE MAGNESS



         David looked across to with a sad smile. His eyes looked sad and faraway. He

  couldn‟t bring himself to speak and he nodded his head softly up and down. Rhea leaned

  into him and kissed his cheek tenderly.


         “He was lucky to have such a good friend as you, Sarah knows that too. She

  understands your pain too. Mark meant a great deal to both of you.”


         David stabbed the pasta with his fork and took a mouthful of food. When he

  finished, he smiled,


         “I‟d love to meet this Apollo dude you know Rhea, so I can see if there is

  anything of Mark within him. It would be cool if he did have the personality of Mark.”


         Rhea nodded, “Well you wanted all of us to send a message to Apollo and Sarah,

  but what about you sending one to Apollo – just you – a message to Apollo from you.

  He might like that?” she suggested helpfully, and David thought for a moment, before

  agreeing with her.


         “Yeh Rhea, that‟s cool. I am gonna do just that you know. I want Apollo to

  know that I‟m his friend as well, even if I haven‟t met him yet.” And he put his plate

  down and wrapped his arms around Rhea, hugging her tightly, before planting a large

  kiss on her forehead. Rhea winced, but she was happy too.


         “David let go of me, you‟re hurting me, and I‟m gonna drop my plate dumbass!”

  she cried. David kissed her again, this time on her cheek before letting go of her. He

  picked up his fork and plate and began to eat vigorously.


         “I‟m gonna do it in a minute Rhea” he announced proudly with a huge grin and a

  mouth full of food. “I‟m gonna send Apollo a message from me.”


                                            355
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



                                               *   * *


         Christian was sitting on the couch reading through the orange file; Tayla was

  sitting on an armchair next to him, carefully re-tuning her guitar.


         “You should put that guitar down baby and come and read this file with me. It‟s

  really quite interesting,” Christian commented as he glanced sideways at her. Tayla had

  been re-tuning the guitar for about ten minutes or so, and she was being particularly

  pedantic on getting the tuning right. For Christian, it was becoming slightly irritating. It

  was certainly taking away his concentration; intermittent twanging sounds were

  beginning to pierce his eardrums like sharp needles. Tayla was engrossed in what she

  was doing and looked over briefly to hear Christian speak.


         “Nearly finished,” „twong! Twoo-oang! “That‟s better. All done.” she smiled, and

  then began to softly strum a familiar tune. “What‟s so interesting in that file?” she asked

  strumming away at the guitar with her hands, as she concentrated on speaking to

  Christian.


         “I‟m glad you said you wanted to read up on the Bloomsbury Alliance actually

  baby. It makes for interesting reading. Like whom the official members happen to be for

  instance...” and he raised his eyebrow with interest, “...and what their agenda appears to

  be.” And he rubbed his forehead as he continued to read. “Fritz will know about some of

  these people no doubt. We can ask him about what he knows when he gets back. He left

  a message to say they would be here tomorrow, so I‟ve arranged for us to regroup at six

  tomorrow evening.”


         “Fine, so tell me what you‟ve read then.”




                                            356
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         “How about this for starters. The Master Plan...” he began grandly and with a hint

  of sarcasm in his voice, “...Propagation of a New World Order,”


         “Now there‟s a surprise!” sneered Tayla as she strummed a new tune.


         “No baby, they‟re serious!, there‟s more – let me continue,” and he tried to find

  the Master Plan listing on the sheet, “Eighty year plan to depopulate the globe down to

  one billion from its current six billion population; Eugenics Programme to create a sub

  breed and super breed; a single monetary system; Control over global resources and food

  distribution; Control of the sub breed population; immortality and here‟s the best bit

  Tayla– alien technology.” Then he looked over to Tayla seriously “Can you believe that

  Tayla – sounds like mumbo jumbo ravings doesn‟t it, until you see who is a member.

  Then it‟s not so funny. It becomes quite frightening.”


         Tayla looked curious, “Who?”


         “Julian Bellamy, the Governor of Dallas and advisor to the Health and Human

  Services secretary in the US; Katie Noon, President of Macintyre Moore International

  Bank, Lloyd Stephenson, CEO of SEARCH, Colin Delany, Master General of the World

  Broadcasting Network for starters, and then there‟s Special Envoy‟s, Special Advisor to

  the Secretary of State, Prime Ministers, Royalty, a former US Health Secretary; a former

  Prime Ministers; the Chairman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board,” and he

  looked up shaking his head.

         “The list goes on baby, and there are many more names. Lacroix was right. This

  group involves most of the heads of State and the most influential heads of corporations,

  banking and the media. It puts what we have been looking into as small fry! I think we

  may have just opened the Pandora‟s Box itself.”


                                           357
MIND GAMES                                                                 SUZIE MAGNESS



          Tayla hadn‟t realised it, but she had stopped strumming and the two of them were

  left staring at each other in silence.

          “Do you think there could be a tie with this Bloomsbury Alliance and what we‟ve

  got ourselves involved with then?”

          “The connection seems to be Dallas Tayla. Think about it! I think they are

  connected – In fact, I‟m sure they are!”

          She put down her guitar on the floor beside her and leaned across the Christian.

          “Hand me that file. I want to read it for myself.” she demanded grimly.

                                               *   * *

          The meeting the following evening was sombre. David and Rhea had important

  news to give, as did Fritz and Debbie. Tayla and Christian themselves, had news of their

  own to impart to the group. It seemed that the strings were starting to weave themselves

  into a tapestry.

          Fritz decided to begin.

          “Well, we got through Janet‟s list and I think we might have a link.” he

  announced, “We know that every single person on that list were administered with the

  latest H1N13 influenza vaccine. There‟s currently a pandemic alert for Turkish Flu.

  There‟s a national campaign to get inoculated.             Children and Pensioner‟s were

  prioritized, and it‟s these types of patients which were highlighted on Janet‟s list as being

  sickly here on Beta.       Here, these patients were becoming sick with no apparent

  symptoms. On Alpha, these same patients had been recently administered with the

  HIN13 vaccine. There‟s got to be a link. So we‟ve got hold of the vaccine for Tarway to

  analyse what‟s in it. He‟s doing that right now for us.”

          “Whatever it is, is making them sicker, not better, which is the real concern.”

  Debbie concluded solemnly.

                                             358
MIND GAMES                                                              SUZIE MAGNESS



         “So who is producing the vaccine?” queried Tayla.

         “Zenith Mac Laboratories.” replied Fritz

         Tayla glanced across to Christian and shook her head.

         “We need to know exactly what is in that vaccine.”

         “That vaccine is being distributed across the globe as we speak. As I say there is

  a pandemic alert throughout the world. Every surgery is clamouring for stockpiles of it.

  Zenith Mac Laboratories can‟t produce enough.”

         “Now that‟s worrying.”

         “Well you were right to be concerned Christian it appears.” Fritz conceded.

         “So why do I feel bad about that I wonder?” Christian replied wryly. He turned

  his attention to David and Rhea,

         “So what did you two uncover for us? Did you get hold of the vaccines for

  Tarway to analyse?”

         David nodded, “Yeh man, both variants. Tarway is checking them out for us

  now. He should have the results back for us shortly.” he began. “We also met Xylem at

  the RPB.”

         Christian looked surprised, “Yeh? What was Xylem doing there?”

         “Well it was in connection to the Vlorja invasion mostly. Hemasta sent her. He

  wanted to get more body tissue samples. The samples taken from Patterson and the

  security guy, could only tell him so much. He needed a sample of someone who was

  actually infected with the Vlorja. We know that it was likely that the guider Julian who

  was the person who brought the Vlorja to Alpha, so Xylem was tasked to get some body

  tissue samples from him.”

         Tayla froze for a moment. She had heard that name.

         “Julian? Was this guy called Julian Bellamy by any chance?”

                                          359
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



         David looked blankly at Tayla.

         “Yes, but how did you know his surname?”

         Tayla looked stunned.

         “But you said he was a Guider. My Julian Bellamy is the Governor of Dallas and

  Advisor to the Health and Human Services Secretary over in the US.”

         Rhea explained. “It‟s the one and the same guy Tayla. Julian Bellamy is one of

  Us. He got infected about eight years ago we believe – only because about eight years

  ago he changed and traded in his position to take up a job at the Senate working for

  Robert Eckhart as a lobbyist. We had no idea he‟d been infected. Obviously we now

  realise why he changed.”

         “And that‟s about the time the Bloomsbury Alliance was set up too.” muttered

  Christian gravely.

         “Sorry?” queried Fritz, but Tayla had already picked up the orange folder and was

  passing it to him.

         “It‟s all in there. I‟ve put a call into Derek at the Freilassen Movement. I had lots

  of questions to ask him.     Apparently he knows quite a lot about the Bloomsbury

  Alliance.”

         “Well Xylem actually took him back to the RPB by entrancing him. She had

  Razul take the tissue samples for Hemasta. He will be able to see how they‟ve mutated

  and produce a poison to stop them. But we know from experience, they will discover

  how to overcome it after a while, and will mutate again. But for now, it‟s all we can do.”

  Rhea continued as she looked at everyone, “According to Xylem, he was ranting about

  arranging a Meeting later in the year. The interesting fact she picked up on was that he

  was keen to make sure three other ex guiders attend.” And turning to Debbie, “You know

  them, Home sent you to talk to them didn‟t they?”

                                           360
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         Debbie looked surprised at first, then after a moment she had the realisation that

  they had probably become infected as well.

         “Are you talking about Millie, Chad and Zachary?” and Rhea nodded.

         “That would explain everything then.” Debbie frowned. “You probably don‟t

  know that‟s what I was doing for Home recently.” And turning to Fritz “And you too

  Fritz.” She admitted. “Home knew that four Guiders had stepped down in favour of the

  material gains of high ranking positions on Alpha. It‟s never happened before. They

  abused their knowledge and used it to gain status and wealth for themselves. It sounded

  so ludicrous to us. We already know these things are unnecessary for us. We can have

  whatever kind of lifestyle we want on Home. There‟s no limits like here. So Fritz and I

  were tasked to see if we could talk them out of their stupidity. But we couldn‟t and now I

  bloody well know why. They‟ve all been infected by the Vlorja. It makes complete

  sense now.”

         “But that means the Vlorja have probably been on Alpha for eight years now?”

         “God only knows what they‟ve managed to do in that time.               There only

  programme is to destroy all forms of life. So whatever they are up to, that will be their

  ultimate goal.    But we already know they are very manipulative.         They‟ve already

  managed to tunnel through Dimensionalities. They‟ve already transmutated thousands of

  times to their current form of nanobots. They know Rocco searches for them relentlessly,

  and they‟ve managed to re-programme their mutation process to take this into account.

  They‟ve downscaled and are now acting as parasites to avoid detection.”

         “So are you saying that this Julian Bellamy, who is currently the Governor of

  Dallas, is actually one of you guys?”

         “He‟s a transgenic clone from the Home planet. Yes, he‟s an alien if you like.”

  Rhea confirmed.

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         “Who happens to be infected by the Vlorja? He is a host for the most deadly

  form of nanobotic technology. There is no killing them. Only to stop them temporarily.”

  Fritz conceded, “But it would seem that we have three others besides Julian too. The

  situation doesn‟t look good.”

         “I know that Millie changed her identity nearly three years ago now. She‟s

  changed her name to Kate Noon, and she is now the ...”

         “President of the Macintyre Moor International Bank.” finished Christian

  deliberately and glanced over to Tayla. Tayla sighed heavily. She knew what was

  coming next.

         “So let me guess, Zachary changed his name too? To Lloyd Stephenson or Colin

  Delany?”

         “Colin Delany. Chad changed his name to Lloyd Stephenson two and a half years

  ago. How did you guess?”

         I read their names on a list linked to the Bloomsbury Alliance. Well they‟ve

  certainly all done very well for themselves.” Christian thought for a moment. He didn‟t

  like what they were uncovering. The Master Plan seemed all too real all of a sudden. The

  agendas seemed horrific and plausible now.

         “I think it‟s Julian who may have been one of the founder members of the

  Bloomsbury Alliance.” Christian determined slowly. He suddenly felt very concerned.

  It would appear that through Julian and the other three fallen guiders, the Vlorja appeared

  more than ever, to be tied up with the formation of this group. The Vlorja must have set

  up the Master Plan for a reason.

         “Well the good news is that I just happen to have the contents of Julian‟s

  Blackberry downloaded into my orb. If this Meeting is tied to the Bloomsbury Alliance,



                                           362
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



  then I might just have the information in this little beauty.” smiled David wickedly, as he

  held out his orb.

         “You bloody treasure David! Let‟s see what you‟ve managed to find.”

         “Let‟s find out,” he agreed. “Chris, can you pass me your laptop so I can

  download it.”

         Christian picked up the laptop by him and passed it via Debbie to David. David

  pressed the indentation with his finger and placed it on to the lid of the closed laptop.

  The orb flashed once and David removed it. He lifted up the lid and proceeded to find the

  location of the download file. He smiled as he found it.

         “Here it is man!” he smiled and uploaded the contact details on to the screen. As

  everyone crowded around the screen, David scrolled down the list.

         “He‟s very organised isn‟t he – look he‟s got everything about a person noted

  down...” observed Tayla as she saw details scrolling up the screen.

         “Probably got his secretary to do it,” David muttered, “He was ordering Xylem

  about while he was entranced. Xylem thought it was funny.”

         “Bingo!” exclaimed David excitedly, “Look Bloomsbury Member under this

  name, bold as you like. Donald Green. Look how he‟s written his occupation Former

  Media Mogul!” David sneered, “Oh look another one under Bloomsbury Member –

  Maria Holmes, California Governor.”

         “Well it looks as if we actually have the list of Bloomsbury Members then.”

  Tayla smiled. “This is fantastic news. No-one has ever been able to find out who‟s a

  member or not. It‟s that secretive.”

         “And Fritz and I know four of them already!” announced Debbie emphatically.

         “You know we‟ll have his emails listed down as well. That can tell us loads.”

  reminded David.

                                           363
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            Christian stepped back from the screen. He was thinking.

            “David, can you hack into his files at all. You‟re an expert on computers.”

            “But baby that‟s illegal. You can‟t go hacking into people‟s computers,” cried

  Tayla.

            David ignored Tayla‟s objections and nodded. “Silly question dude. What did

  you want to find out man?”

            “Get hold of his files concerning anything to do with The Bloomsbury Alliance,

  and Asclepius.”

            “Yes! I remember where I heard that name Robert Eckhart now. Robert Eckhart

  happens to be a Congressman and CEO of Asclepius, who knows Julian Bellamy because

  he had hired him as his lobbyist. You know he recently supported Julian Bellamy‟s

  appointment to be a non Executive Director for Reisman Bloom. Oh my god.”

            “You never mentioned this before Tayla?” Christian looked puzzled. Tayla stared

  at him.

            “Only because they were just names. It didn‟t mean anything to me at the time.

  Now everything is falling into place.”

            “I‟m going to get the guys from the Freilassen Movement to help us out. They

  have information and sources which could be beneficial to us.” Tayla decided. They had

  already disclosed most of the information they had needed after all.

            “Lacroix seemed to believe that there is another Meeting to be held in May some

  time in Barcelona. We need to confirm that somehow and get the list of attendees.”

  Christian pondered. Rhea gasped. “Xylem mentioned that Julian was looking at a book

  on Barcelona – Gaudi – or something. That‟s probably why he was looking at the book

  then. He was planning the Meeting to be in Spain.”



                                             364
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         “We need to find out which Hotel they intend to use in that case.” said Christian

  and he turned to Tayla, “Tayla baby, you need to try and book us all rooms for a week in

  Barcelona in May, but before that you need to see if one of those Hotels has been

  completely booked up. If they plan to hold their Meeting in one of them, they will have

  already booked out the entire hotel. Do you remember what Lacroix told us about

  security measures? They won‟t risk tourists being booked in at the same time as their

  meeting.”

         “Do you intend for us to go to Barcelona at the same time baby?”

         “Of course. We need to hear what this Bloomsbury Alliance are secretly planning

  for the world. Now, if Lacroix is correct, that Meeting is currently four months away.

  We have just four months in which to solve this riddle and prepare ourselves. So yes

  baby, we are going to be there. We need to get in to that meeting somehow and find out

  what they are up to. Remember, we know of four Vlorja infected aliens who are going to

  be at this Meeting. We need to know what the Vlorja are planning. They‟ve already got

  a head start on us of eight years. We need to find put a stop to it, before it‟s the end of all

  humankind in the future.”

         “We desperately need to discover what is in those vaccines Tarway‟s got.” Rhea

  fretted uncomfortably.

         “I have a feeling we aren‟t going to like what we find out Rhea. Not now we

  know that it‟s probably linked into the Bloomsbury Alliance and their Master Plan.” Fritz

  sounded worried. Christian nodded. There wasn‟t much time, and there was much to do.

         “We need to get hold of this Master Plan and fast. Find out what the Vlorja are

  planning.    David, can I leave that to you. This Bellamy will no doubt have all this

  information somewhere.”



                                             365
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         “I can make a start right now. It won‟t take me long. The orb will be able to

  disable all the security codes in seconds. I‟ll be in to his system in a matter of minutes.”

         “Rocco needs to know. I think one of us needs to return back to Home and alert

  everyone on what we‟ve just uncovered.” suggested Tayla.

         Christian turned to Fritz, “Fritz, perhaps you would go. But you‟ll need to go

  now, and find out what Tarway and Hemasta may have discovered.”

         Fritz nodded silently, looking over to Debbie as if to say farewell once more.

         Christian pondered for a moment, while the others watched him.

         “I think it‟s time for me to come out of hiding on Alpha as well. I think my

  trekking days in the Himalaya‟s has just about to come to an end. If what we fear is true,

  then we need to help the Freilassen Movement in creating public awareness. Perhaps I

  could put my fame to good use. I think it‟s time to pay Alex a visit and let him know I‟m

  alive. I‟m going to open up the house in Kent. We can be based out of there while we‟re

  dealing with this crisis. It‟ll be a whole lot easier. If you fear danger, then transport

  yourselves back here.”

         “What about me?” Tayla enquired, “I ran away didn‟t I?”

         “You need to keep a low profile, so I wouldn‟t say anything about you for now.

  You have Asclepius out searching for you anyway. You can‟t afford to be visible. You

  can base yourself at the house as co-ordinator if you like, but stay undetectable. Their

  men would only come snooping round the house if they heard that we were back together

  again silly.” Christian advised but he saw Tayla look disappointed.

         “You‟ll still be there with us baby. I haven‟t told you to remain here have I? You

  can come to Alpha with us, but stay discreet, that‟s all Tayla. I don‟t want anything to

  happen to you that‟s all.” Tayla knew Christian was right and so she grudgingly accepted

  the advice.

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                                               *   * *

          The following few days were going to be busy. Fritz had left to visit Tarway and

  Hemasta back on Home; Christian had returned to Alpha alone; Rhea and David had

  returned to Dallas over on Alpha using the One dimension; Debbie had gone to find out

  what she could on Millie, Zach and Chad without raising suspicion. Tayla found herself

  alone on Beta to go through all the files they had collated in more detail. David had

  managed to uncover many useful documents from Julian Bellamy‟s computer system and

  had left them for Tayla to go through. Tayla had enough paperwork to plough through.

  It would keep her mind off the fact that she was alone. She slowly and meticulously

  compiled a fact sheet on the laptop, extracting information from various documents to

  piece each fact together. Christian would let everyone know when it would be possible

  for everyone to move to his house on Alpha. He assured them that it would only be a

  matter of days.

                                               *   * *

          “Hi Alex...”

          Alex looked shocked and dumbfounded as he stood aghast at his front door. He

  stared at Christian in disbelief.

          “I‟m sorry I‟ve not been in touch.” was all Christian offered.

          Suddenly Alex grabbed him and gave him a huge bear hug, slapping his back as

  he beamed with both sheer relief and delight.

          “Chris my friend. I can‟t believe it‟s you. Where have you been?!”

          “Travelling mate, you know how it is.”

          “What for a whole bloody year! – without a word – not even to me you bastard!”

  But Alex was just relieved and overjoyed to have his friend back again.



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         “Come in, come in!” he beckoned quickly, “You were lucky I was in you bloody

  idiot! You know I‟m normally out on the pull!”

         “You haven‟t changed then!”

         “You have though mate! You look different somehow.”

         They reminisced for the following couple of hours. Christian kept to the story

  that Anna was out of his life, and had to go away to get over her, away from the glare of

  the paparazzi. Alex brought him up to date with the running of Light Jet Enterprises.

         “You‟re welcome to come back and take over the helm again Chris mate. It‟s

  your business after all...” Alex had offered, but Christian shook his head.

         “No mate, I gave it to you. It‟s still yours. Anyway, chances are I may shoot off

  again. I‟ve kind of got the bug now – not being tied down anymore.” he insisted.

         They chatted on, reflecting on past times and their many adventures together.

  They also laughed at the conspiracy theories that had been spread about his

  disappearance. As Alex and Christian laughed, he was pleased he had come to see Alex.

  He realised that Alex had never stopped searching for him. After today, Alex could be at

  peace about Christian.

         “I‟m moving back to the old house for the time being, till I decide what to do

  Alex, so I wondered if you‟ve still got a spare key to the place?” Christian asked finally,

  shortly before he was about to leave.

         “Yes, somewhere here. I‟ll go get it for you.” And after he went away to search

  for the key, he returned with a sympathetic look on his face,

         “Look – I‟m pleased to see that you‟re starting to move on with your life mate.

  Moving back here will do you good. You just need to forget Anna now. She‟s gone.”

  And Christian nodded. He hated to lie, but he had to protect Tayla.



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          “Here you go. I kept it up together for you too - you bugger. I knew you‟d come

  back some day. It‟s practically as you left it. You‟ll have to stop off at the supermarket

  for some shopping though. I‟m not that good a mate!”

          Christian laughed and stood up, ready to leave,

          “Cheers mate and it‟s great to see you again Alex.” he said with great sincerity.

          “Don‟t ever do a disappearing act without telling me again Chris my friend or I‟ll

  bloody well kill you next time - right!”

          “Deal!”

                                                   *   *   *

          “Fritz!” smiled Tarway, as he turned around to see who had opened the door to

  his laboratory. “Are you here for the results of those vaccines you all gave me to

  investigate?”

          “How did you get on?”

          “It‟s not good news, but you knew that didn‟t you.”

          Fritz walked over to Tarway‟s table and perched himself on a stool. He looked

  over at the test tubes sitting on the table.

          “Well, we‟ve found out quite a bit more since we last saw you Tarway, so I‟m

  under no illusions, if that‟s what you meant.”

          “Hemasta‟s got the results for the body tissues too. He‟s called a meeting with

  Rocco and Capsulan. But Rocco fears that the Vlorja may have already invaded another

  solar planet on the Alpha universe.”

          Fritz grimaced, “Is Rocco sure?”

          “Not yet, but the Naxara planet could be infected with the Vlorja too. Flisha has

  gone to find out for Rocco. If this is the case, then the Vlorja are also floating in space

  and within other galaxies in that universe.”

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         “Damn! Naxara is almost twelve billion lights years from Alpha!”

         “We‟ll know soon enough Fritz.”

         Fritz shook his head. This news was grave indeed. He turned his attention to his

  own needs.

         “So what have you managed to find out about what is contained in those vaccines

  Tarway?”

         “I‟ll start with the SV4O D vaccine.” he began, “Now this one is a DNA vaccine.

  What this vaccine does is to produce DNA proteins derived from the structural proteins

  of a genetically enhanced DNA. These proteins can self-assemble into particles that

  resemble the DNA from which they were derived, while replacing the original DNA.

  Because of their highly repetitive, multivalent structure, DNA like particles are typically

  more immunogenic than the original DNA it looks to replace. This vaccine has been

  made to improve the immune system, while strengthening particular traits within the

  DNA profile of the individual.” He explained, “It‟s not a vaccine at all. What it is in my

  opinion is a drug to produce a highly evolved human immune system and also to enhance

  the performance levels of the individual by permanently changing their DNA. I would

  produce something like this myself if I was asked to create a genetically enhanced

  human. A superior being so to speak.” Tarway summarised flatly.

         “So it‟s not dangerous then?”

         “Not this one.”

         “So what of the variant version? What did that vaccine contain? That version

  was the strain they used on the kids with a poor medical history.”

         “It‟s the same as the N1N13 vaccine you brought me. Just under a different trade

  name.” Tarway replied and explained what he meant.



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         “The vaccine you gave me was identical to the variant sample David gave me.

  But it was marketed under a different name. I‟m not sure why. Neither description of

  this malevolent drug in any way cures what it said it should. The H1N13 vaccine you

  gave me, contain particles you would expect to see. For instance it contains traceable

  amounts of various types of preservatives and stabilisers, which I would expect to see.

  But the levels of some of these so called preservatives are much higher than I would have

  envisaged. Over eighty times the necessary levels of aluminium and mercury for

  instance, which makes these solutions highly toxic to the body. Also, I would have

  expected to see at least a couple of adjuvants in this vaccine in order to boost the immune

  system against the H1N13 virus in your sample Fritz, after all, that‟s what it is being

  marketed to do.      However, and what surprised me was that instead of having

  immunogens or antigens in the vaccine, there were instead, traces of the SV40 oncogenes

  in the form of its DNA proteins. There were no H1N13 virus capsid proteins present at

  all. This vaccine was not produced to protect against the Turkish flu virus at all. It was

  produced to implant potential cancer causing cells into the body. SV40 cells are known to

  cause various types of cancer in patients injected with these cells. As I said, the vaccine

  sample David gave me was an identical vaccine sample to the one you gave me. I

  believe both vaccines were originally produced as one product batch originally.”

         Fritz looked surprised. “Well I wasn‟t expecting that. So basically what you are

  telling me is that in Dallas, when the kids were being segregated, the vaccines they were

  given were completely different drugs from each other. The fitter kids were being

  injected with genetically enhancing DNA proteins, while the potentially sicker kids were

  being injected with cancer causing cells?”

         “That‟s a very good summary Fritz. but with the addition of these dangerously

  high trace amounts of aluminium and mercury in this vaccine type I analysed for you and

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  David, even with this one single inoculation, there is the added potential of causing

  neurological, and osteopathic symptoms as well as sterility in the body too. The high

  amounts of mercuric Thiomersil, could cause certain neurological effects such as autism

  or dementure in a patient, certainly depression or low self esteem at the very least. This

  concoction is a nasty mixture all round Fritz. If you had asked me what I thought these

  had been developed for, I would have suggested biological warfare. These two samples

  here cause cancer, infertility and irrevocable neurological diseases.           They are killer

  vaccines Fritz, pure and simple. ”

          “The sample I gave you is identical to the sample David and Rhea gave you?

  And they contain cancer causing cells within the vaccine, so anyone injected with this

  vaccine is likely to contract a cancer at some stage of their life?”

          “It would certainly be a probable synopsis that you would be more likely to

  contract cancer as a result of being injected with this drug. There is a good chance of

  infertility too in some cases or early dementure at any rate. Your sample certainly has

  nothing to do with flu whatsoever.” Tarway summarised, “But I don‟t understand why

  they were trying to associate it as a cure against this strain of flu Fritz?”

          “Because there is no flu pandemic Tarway. It‟s a rouse to inoculate people with

  this vaccine.” Fritz explained gravely, “My God it‟s worse than I first thought Tarway. I

  need to get back and let Christian know. This is the work of the Vlorja. They‟ve got the

  humans doing this to each other! It‟s completely sick.” And he laughed bitterly as he

  thought of something else. “And do you know what else is even worse when you think

  about it Tarway?”

          “You‟ve lost me?”

          “Asclepius is funding research into cures for the damned diseases they are

  themselves creating. They are actually making money out of the suffering they are

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  causing and looking like benefactors to humankind by finding cures for those same

  diseases they‟ve inflicted upon the population. They are playing God with people‟s

  health, while lining their pockets.”




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                                         Chapter 20



         Rocco had sent Ox to find out what Hemasta had found. She had sent Flisha to

  Naxara, a planet within the Alpha Universe     , a solar planet which orbited a around a

  neutron star on an elliptical galaxy . It was a planet made up of hot gases of temperatures

  of 1000 ̊̊ c, and it‟s strange and floating life-forms were large existed solely in the

  gaseous mist of its environment. These floating life-forms were a peaceful and highly

  evolved and intelligent life-form, and able to exist in this hostile and unforgiving

  environment. One of it‟s by products from breathing in the highly toxic and hot gases,

  was to produce a rare and exotic metal called Naxa which was unique to this planet.

  Rocco protected this peaceful planet from invaders trying to rob the planet for this rare

  and unique resource. In exchange, the Naxarian‟s would supply the Home Planet with

  some its precious metal. Naxa had properties of being a super malleable and intelligent

  material. It could interact with thought waves and transform itself into any manner of

  material. It could be used for any application, and when mixed with other elements could


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  produce all manner of lightweight and impenetrable cover which would interact with

  thought patterns. Hemasta had used one application to make the metal appear invisible on

  command of a thought wave. It became a perfect material for camouflage as well as

  clothing. It was used primarily to create invisibility capabilities for the warriors as well

  as being the metal used to create their weapons.             The Naxarian‟s themselves,

  communicated to each other through telepathic wave formations and light patterns which

  could travel through dimensions. Rocco and her team protected this peaceful and

  vulnerable life-form and had learned to communicate with them. Just recently Rocco had

  been alerted by the Naxarian‟s that many of the life-forms were suddenly dying and were

  looking to Rocco for help. Fearing it could be the Vlorja, she had sent Flisha to visit the

  planet. The threat of the Vlorja appeared to be a danger to the whole of the Alpha

  Universe now. Rocco was greatly concerned and had sent Ox to find out what Hemasta

  had learned from the samples he had been given from Alpha as well as to alert him to this

  new danger.


         Ox had just informed Hemasta and Apollo of this latest turn of events, when

  Tarway arrived. Hemasta smiled as Tarway appeared.              He wanted to share this

  information with him and to find out what Tarway had discovered. Tarway having

  analysed the SV40D vaccine and the H1N13 variant specifically, had come to share his

  findings with Hemasta. Hemasta himself had been busy studying and analysing the

  samples Tarway had taken from the captors earlier, as well as the recent samples Xylem

  had taken from Julian recently. Julian possibly held the key, as it was known that he was

  infected with the Vlorja already. Ox was now waiting to take news of the results back to

  Rocco and Capsulan, who were impatiently waiting for these results.




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          “I know how the Vlorja have managed to inhabit the bodies of the humans

  without being detected Tarway,” Hemasta said confidently. “Normally it‟s the body's

  cells which recognize substances or germs that do not come from within the body. The

  recognition triggers the immune system's attempt to eliminate the invader. It

  discriminates between things that are dangerous and things that are not. And it does this

  by defining anything that does damage to the body as dangerous. Through this selectivity

  process, the immune system does not respond to things that don't do damage and as the

  Vlorja are attaching themselves within the neural networks of the body, but not seeking

  to destroy them, the body may detect the presence of the Vlorja, but it does not treat it as

  dangerous. Therefore the Vlorja are free from being eliminated by the immune system,

  and able to take over the human body to use it as its host.”


         Tarway nodded in agreement and then went on to explain what he had discussed

  with Fritz about what appeared to be happening on Alpha regarding the SV40D vaccine

  programme that had sparked the initial concerns. Between Fritz and Tarway, they had

  uncovered a sinister plot to create a genetically enhanced generation, and a sicker weaker

  set; a plot which had been instigated by the Vlorja. He explained to Hemasta his findings

  in a way that they usually communicated to each other..


         “SV40 binds with tumour suppressor genes. These genes and their proteins are

  needed to drive a damaged cell towards apoptosis – programmed cell death. Apoptosis is

  a critical cellular function that stops the growth of tumours in man, but it appears the

  SV40 causes tumours in many cases. It‟s a polyomavirus that can cause various types of

  tumours. You see natural SV40 isolates from simian organ tissues typically have an

  archetypal RR arrangement with a single 72-basepair enhancer element. A rare simpler,

  shorter SV40 RR exists - the proto-archetypal -that lacks a duplicated sequence in the

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  G/C-rich region. These variants replicate faster and to higher tiers in tissue culture. I

  think that it was these faster-growing variants which were selected as it is these SV40

  strains with proto-archetypal RRs which I have found in small quantities within the

  variant drug. I believe that the Vlorja may be deliberately infecting people with this

  polyomavirus, knowing what it could do within the human body. It will bind with the p53

  and RB gene, which suppress the growth of tumours within the human body, leaving the

  body vulnerable to the tumour cells within the organs. It may manifest in cancers from

  brain, bone, lymphomas and mesothelioma‟s. It would never be traced back to the

  vaccine programme, because the incubation periods vary for each tumour type.” he

  studied Hemasta‟s face for his reaction to his findings. But Hemasta looked grave and he

  pondered for a moment before replying. He was confused. He too, had found these same

  pathogens in the samples he had been given.


         “How could a simian virus infect humans in the first place? It must have been

  implanted artificially. Is the virus a passenger in these tumours or is it important in their

  pathogenesis? I found SV40 DNA in four of the twenty samples I was given to analyse.

  I believe that the Vlorja is deliberately infecting the mass population with this virus, and

  is now seeking to protect just a small sector of its future generations with the SV40 D

  latest vaccine programme. The Vlorja are seeking to create two levels of their utopian

  society. A Master race of super transhumans and a secondary race dedicated to the

  servitude of the super transhuman population, with themselves inhabiting these super

  transhumans. By shortening the lifespan through disease and causing sterility amongst

  the sub human race, they can be sure that the Sub-race will eventually be phased out

  entirely out over time, leaving the Super-race free to inhabit the planet and enjoy all of its

  resources.   This is the plan that the Vlorja have indoctrinated into these elitist


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  psychopaths and shown them a way to do so effectively. What these greedy selfish idiots

  cannot see, is that ultimately, it is an illusion. The Vlorja are using the human race to kill

  its own kind on a quest for perfection. But once they have control of the Super-race, they

  will feed off their genetic material to mutate and become ever stronger. They will mutate

  searching for a new host, and annihilate all other life forms that exist on the planet. It is

  all they are programmed to do. They will begin by decimating the very food and

  resources the Super-race will come to depend on, and then finally, killing the Super-race

  with a swan-song of their own making. The Vlorja will make one final mutation, using

  its host in which to incubate before taking on its new host by creating a lethal and

  incurable virus within them during their transmutation. As the Vlorja undergo their final

  mutation within the human form, the last of the human race will die as a final blow.

  They have seen the weakness in the human species and are using their egotistic

  insaneness against them.” Hemasta said gravely. “Ox, you must tell Rocco, and Tarway

  you must get word to Christian immediately. There is a link with the Vlorja and the

  Bloomsbury Alliance. They need to investigate these group members more carefully. I

  fear that this group is really the Vlorja in disguise and they must be stopped before it is

  too late. Go now Ox, go quickly and let Christian and the others know.” he urged her

  impatiently, and turning to Apollo, “Tell Sarah too. She must let Rocco know that

  Christian and the team urgently need her help.” he ordered, “But we must create a poison

  for Rocco and her team. They can use it against the Vlorja population. One strong

  enough to decimate the Vlorja within their hosts entirely and irrevocably. My only

  concern is that it may already be too late to stop what‟s happening. The Vlorja have

  managed to outsmart us up until now. They had already outsmarted their own creators,

  turning against them and destroying them completely and mercilessly. I fear that they

  may soon become unstoppable. If they have already learned how to tunnel through

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  dimensions, I can only assume that the entire Multiverses are themselves at risk as we

  speak. It could mean the death of everything if we don‟t stop them. They have no other

  mission than to destroy all life forms. There is no appendage to their programme.”

  Hemasta warned with great concern.


         “I also found aluminium traces within each vaccine I analysed Hemasta.” Tarway

  remembered suddenly, “I think it may be being used as a brain suppressant. With a dulled

  brain, the population would be easier to manipulate. It would follow what you are

  suggesting anyway.”


         Hemasta shook his head. “We must act now. And Christian must warn the whole

  of Alpha to what is happening on the planet. The fight against the Vlorja cannot be won

  alone. It will take the knowledge and will of the population to stop them from being

  destroyed.” And he sighed deeply, saddened by his revelation. He turned to Ox, Tarway

  and Apollo and ushered them to leave impatiently.


         “Go, go, - go and let everyone know. It may already be too late!”


                                             *   * *


         Christian sent a message to Tayla and the others as soon as he had finished

  opening up his house in Kent on Alpha. As he wandered round letting light back into the

  airy rooms, memories began to flood back of his life spent in this large family home. It

  felt strange to be walking around the house again, and mixed with many happy years of

  living there, there were sad memories too. As he entered his old master bedroom, all the

  memories of Anna drifted reluctantly into his mind, and a sore dull pain began in his

  stomach and chest. This had been the room Anna had decorated. This was the house


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  where he had shared a short life with Anna here on Alpha. This was the room where he

  had discovered that Anna had run away from him unexpectedly, choosing instead, to

  give up her life on Alpha for good in order that she could continue her life as Tayla on

  Beta. But his sudden sadness soon passed, reminding himself that he they were re-united,

  and he suddenly felt a great urgency to see Tayla. He missed her with a great aching, so

  he sat on the bed and sent her a holographic message. It was short.


         „Tayla. I‟m at home. I need you here with me now. I can‟t bear it here without

  you. Hurry baby!‟


         He knew Tayla would understand when she saw the message, and he sat on the

  bed and waited for her. He must have drifted off to sleep, because he was gently

  awakened by a soft and familiar kiss to his lips. He opened his eyes to see Tayla looking

  down at him smiling tenderly at him.


         “I got your message...”


         In a reflex type manoeuvre, as if he had rehearsed this moment a thousand times

  before, he beamed as he swung Tayla round and pulled her effortlessly down and onto

  the bed next to him.


         “Come here baby, let‟s get into bed, I‟ve missed you so much...”


         And for the next few hours, they ensured that any sad memories of their life

  together on Alpha were finally vanquished for good, re-scripting a fresh reverie.


                                              *   *   *




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          “Hello you two lovebirds. Got your message guys, so here I am. Are the others

  here yet?”


          “Fritz good man you‟re here.” Christian beamed as he let Fritz in. “Come on in,”

  he beckoned cheerfully and proudly announced “Welcome to our new HQ. We‟ve all

  been waiting for you. The others are in the kitchen, having breakfast. We‟ve already had

  ours. Go through, you know your way around here.” He finished as Fritz walked in. He

  spotted Tayla sitting on the sofa in the lounge and popped his head in to say hello. Tayla

  beamed as Fritz stood at the door. She was sat snuggled up in the corner of the large sofa

  with Christian‟s laptop perched upon her knee, and she was studying the screen carefully.


          “Fritz!” she beamed, “We‟ve been waiting for you,” and she put the laptop down

  onto the sofa and jumped up from the sofa, and grabbing Christian‟s hand, she followed

  Fritz into the kitchen.


          After giving everyone a chance to finish breakfast, Christian asked Fritz to

  explain what he had found out from Tarway.


          “Well you were right for us to check what was happening here in the UK

  Christian,” he began, and then unfolded Tarway‟s findings.


          Tayla was sickened by what Fritz had just recited.


          “It looks as if the Master Plan might actually be true then,” she grimaced.


          “Well we‟ve got the date and place of the next Bloomsbury Meeting, and we‟ve

  got a guest list.” David announced, “So we should organise ourselves around that.”


          “When and where?”

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         “May thirteen to fifteen, at the Palace Hotel, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes,

  Barcelona.”


         “Then we need to be there too. We need to get find out exactly what they are

  going to discuss and we‟re going to share this information with the Freilassen Movement.

  David you say you also have the guest list. Can I see it?”


         “It‟s the official guest list Christian. There will be others attending that can‟t

  afford to be associated directly, but I‟ve managed to get hold of a recording between

  Julian and his secretary outlining those people who will be attending secretly.” Rhea

  informed him and held up her orb as evidence.


         David pulled a stapled set of sheet from his satchel and handed it to him.

  Christian glanced over the sheets, and turned to the group, “This is serious folks. We

  need to let Home know what we‟ve got now.”


         Rhea looked troubled and spoke up. “I found out some-one who attended as an

  invited guest last year Christian,”


         “Who?”


         “Peter Mehra – because he‟s head of one of the world‟s largest corporate giants.

  But he‟s not on the Bloomsbury Alliance Listings. He‟s not been invited this year

  though, and he‟s wasn‟t mentioned as going secretly either.”


         “Peter!” exclaimed Tayla, “I can‟t believe it. He‟s actually sat and listened to

  everything the Bloomsbury Alliance has planned. Do you think he‟s infected now too?”




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            Christian look flummoxed, and he shrugged his shoulders, “I honestly don‟t know

  Tayla.”


            Fritz looked less surprised.   “If the heads of state attend and the giants of

  Banking, Media and corporations attend, it would stand to reason that some-one like

  Mehra would have been invited. They would want to use the influence he has.”


            David nodded, “Dude you‟re right. We heard Julian discussing two meetings –

  well three if you include an evening Dinner and Dance. What if they invited guests to the

  first meeting to go through global issues as a kind of think tank session, and those who

  were open to getting involved, get invited to the Dinner and Dance and are secretly

  invited to the meeting on the final day, when they really get down to their true agenda.

  The Vlorja could have infected these people by then or something like that?”


            “Mmm, sounds like a plausible idea, but we need to find out how what the Vlorja

  are doing.” he pondered, “Look how long have we got until May thirteenth?”


            “About two and a half months Chris,”


            “Right, I think we are going to have to create a think tank of our own. I think we

  are going to have to enlist the help of the Freilassen Movement, they‟ve got contacts

  everywhere, and I‟m sure they would be keen to expose this group for what they are. I

  also think we need Rocco to attend our meetings. After all she needs to know what the

  Vlorja are doing. We can‟t do this alone. It‟s too big for just us six to deal with.” He

  turned to Tayla.


            “Tayla baby you need to get us booked in somewhere.”



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          “Can‟t we just orb back and forth?”


          “No, we might miss something. We need to be based close by so we cover

  everything.”


          “Then I‟m on it. I‟ve got date to go on now.”


          “What about having Hemasta or Tarway attend our meeting too?”


          Fritz shook his head, “Hemasta never leaves the Home planet. He‟s far too

  valuable to us all. But he‟ll agree to us using Tarway I‟m sure.”


          “Man I forgot to let you know... Apollo, he‟s Hemasta‟s student and apprentice.

  This Vlorja crisis has got everyone worried – even Hemasta.           He‟s imparted his

  knowledge to Apollo.”


          Tayla, Christian and Debbie looked blank, but Fritz had guessed.


          “So Hemasta couldn‟t rejuvenate Mark in the end I take it. I‟d forgotten to ask,

  given this blasted crisis.”


          “Only a bit apparently. Sarah‟s linked herself to Apollo.” David informed them,

  “I er, sent this Apollo a message last night. Just in case he remembers Mark.”


          Fritz smiled warmly at David and patted his shoulder gently. “You‟re a good man

  David. Sarah should be proud of you.”


          “Do we know how Sarah is?” Tayla enquired.




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MIND GAMES                                                              SUZIE MAGNESS



         “Yes, she‟s become a warrior for Rocco. She‟s left our group for good Tayla.

  You won‟t see her again I expect. She‟s been re-programmed and re-trained.”


         “My god, that‟s pretty drastic.”


         “I think the death of Mark changed her. It‟s her way of coping.”


         “I suppose so. She‟s such a strong character too. You say she‟s linked to Apollo?

  What does that mean exactly?”


         “Like being married I suppose, though there‟s no ceremonies or anything like

  that. Mostly Hemasta will link couples at conception. Sometimes people agree to be

  linked with each other.”


         “Like Capsulan and Rocco.” announced Fritz to everyone‟s surprise.


         “No! Bloody hell Fritz, Why didn‟t you tell me?” Debbie chided as she glared at

  him. She had been working closely with him recently. He had plenty of opportunity to

  confide in her.


         “I literally only found out a few hours ago. Razul told me.”


         “Bloody hell! Who would have thought?” And Debbie suddenly had a thought,

  “Ooh, how did Daro take the news?”


         Fritz frowned at Debbie, “Debbie my little cupcake, Razul has only just told me.

  He doesn‟t gossip now does he sweetie. He wouldn‟t be interested anyway. He only

  mentioned it because he was there when it was announced.” And she shook his head at

  her. Debbie smiled but looked defiant.


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MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



         “Oh-Kaay!”


         Christian was more concerned with organising the trip to Barcelona.


         “If we set a meeting for a fortnight from today, do you think we could get

  Tarway, Rocco, and some representatives from the Freilassen Movement to be present?”


         “Don‟t see why not!”


         “I‟m sure I could get some representation from the Freilassen Movement.”


         “Then let‟s do that. Meeting adjourned until two weeks from today.”


                                               *   * *


         It was Ten o‟clock in the morning, exactly two weeks from the last official

  meeting Christian had called. Debbie, Fritz, David and Rhea had been at the house since

  the night before, and were sitting in the lounge. Tarway was there; he had arrived a

  couple of hours ago. Tayla had gone to Gatwick Airport to pick up Jake, Derek and

  Arturo. She was due back shortly. Christian was patiently waiting for the arrival of

  Rocco and Capsulan. He wasn‟t sure how when they would arrive. He was starting to

  panic, partly because he didn‟t want them to appear magically in the house. It might be

  difficult to explain to Derek and the other members of the Freilassen Movement if they

  happened to see them appear in a flash of bright light. It was getting to be a close call as

  to who would turn up first. Christian prayed it would be Rocco and Capsulan.


         “Rocco and Capsulan have arrived.” Fritz announced as he walked through to the

  hallway to answer the door. “They‟ve just let me know telepathically Christian. They

  appeared round the side of the house.” he explained as Christian looked surprised.

                                           386
MIND GAMES                                                                 SUZIE MAGNESS



         As Fritz opened the door, Christian could see that Capsulan and Rocco had

  chosen to dress in formal business suits. Like twins, they were both dressed in black

  three piece pinstriped tailored suits.    The only difference in their outfits was that

  Capsulan was wearing a dark blue shirt and tie under his waistcoat. Rocco wore her

  familiar thick gold coloured choker around her neck. At over six and half feet each, and

  with pale lilac eyes, they looked breathtakingly stunning and out of place, as they stood

  at the door. Suddenly Christian felt very ordinary. They strode in confidently.


         “You never changed your form?” Christian grappled, shocked at their beauty.


         “We are not staying here for long. It hardly seemed necessary to take on a form

  for this visit Christian.” They seemed oblivious that here on Alpha, they stood out.


         “Where is everyone?” asked Rocco.


         “Through there,” and he pointed to the lounge. Rocco nodded and walked on

  through. Capsulan stopped to speak to Christian.


         “It‟s good to see you Christian. But I am saddened that the matter is so grave that

  it has warranted my presence her on Alpha. Rocco is aware of the severity of the matter.

  She brings worse news with her too.”


         Christian and Fritz followed behind.


         “I still can‟t get over that you really look like him too.” Christian realised looking

  at Fritz‟s short and very ordinary stature; the form Fritz had chosen for himself. Fritz

  shrugged his shoulders. He seemed unimpressed. As they walked into the lounge, Rocco

  was warning David, Rhea and Debbie.


                                            387
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



         “Flisha has returned from Naxara. The Naxarian‟s are dying. She‟s confirmed it.

  They‟ve asked for our help. Flisha thinks it looks like the work of the Vlorja. An earlier

  mutation to the Vlorja here on Alpha. The two invasions are unconnected. We don‟t

  know how they have escaped into this particular Universe. But it means that they could

  be anywhere. Hemasta fears for the Multiverses.”


         Christian was lost, but Rocco was in no mood to explain herself to him.


         “This is my concern Christian. You must be concerned only for the matter

  concerning Alpha. Where is Tayla?”


         “She‟ll be here shortly.    She‟s bringing in three members of the Freilassen

  Movement Rocco. Tayla‟s become good friends with them over the past few months.

  She trusts them and I agree with her that they share the same concerns as us. They can be

  very useful, as they have many connections.”


         “Are they aware that Capsulan and I were attending this meeting?”


         “Yes, but obviously not where you‟re from. I don‟t anticipate that it would go

  down too well to let them know that apart from Tayla and me, everyone else at the

  meeting would be aliens.”


         “Strictly speaking man, so are you Chris! Well half alien now. You live on Beta

  normally - in the alter universe to this one.” corrected David grinning smugly, but

  Capsulan was in a sombre mood.


         “When will they be here? There is much to discuss.” Capsulan demanded.




                                           388
MIND GAMES                                                                  SUZIE MAGNESS



            Just then, Christian could hear soft scrunching from the chippings outside as a car

  pulled up onto the drive.


            “They‟re here now.”


            Tayla brought in three men, who she introduced to everyone. They could see that

  Jake, the first man Tayla introduced, was about thirty, fairly handsome in a student kind

  of way, with blond waves peeking out from his grey beanie hat with a stylishly casual

  moustache and beard. He dressed casually in skinny jeans and a hooded fleece checked

  shirt, covering a grey tee-shirt underneath. He had the strap to his laptop bag slung over

  his chest.


            “Jakes a pharmacist and knows a great deal about Asclepius and what they do.

  And this is Derek everyone,” as she introduced him. Derek was an older Male being in

  his early forties, and was wearing a smart brown jacket and cords with a navy polo

  jumper covering his slightly overweight paunch. But he looked highly intelligent with

  short black hair and glasses.


            “He‟s a stockbroker. He knows how sales can be manipulated to increase share

  prices.    He‟s speaking out over it now. And finally everyone, this is Arturo.” She

  announced as she introduced the tall black man with a smartly shaved beard, which

  defined his chiselled features. He was smartly dressed in a dark designer suit and navy

  checked shirt, his hair cropped close to his head and he nodded politely to the unfamiliar

  crowd.


            “Arturo is in finance. He‟s actually Vice President of one of the Investment

  Banks in Switzerland.” she finished.



                                             389
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



         Fritz reciprocated by introducing everyone to Jake, Derek and Arturo in turn. All

  three were slightly astounded by the physical beauty of both Rocco and Capsulan, not

  least because of their matching lilac eyes and black hair, but mostly because of their

  incredible height. Even Christian and Arturo, who were both tall men, seemed dwarfed

  by this pair. However they were much too polite to comment.


         Everyone was keen for the meeting to get underway. They had all had two weeks

  to prepare for the meeting and they all had contributions to make. Only Capsulan and

  Rocco were there to listen.


         Christian soon got the meeting underway. He summarised why he had asked

  them to the meeting.


         “I believe that the members of the Bloomsbury Alliance have in some way been

  infected by an invading race of alien nanorobotic machines. Their bodies have been

  taken over and their minds manipulated to cause the ultimate destruction of humankind.

  They‟ve already begun the process by manipulating the members of the Bloomsbury

  Alliance who happen to be the most powerful and influential people on the globe today.

  They have manipulated them into coming up with a Master Plan. By acting in this way,

  they have avoided detection by Rocco for the past eight years, long enough to sow the

  seeds of this evil plan. They have adapted well to the human mind and found it‟s

  weakness, the quest for control, and have thus pandered to these psychopathic elitists, by

  coming up with the Master Plan, so that they can kill each other off.” He turned to Jake,

  Arturo and Derek quickly.


         “I know this sounds ludicrous, but I just ask you to bear with me and indulge me

  with the concept of alien attack. I can assure that this is a real scenario, and unless you


                                           390
MIND GAMES                                                                 SUZIE MAGNESS



  can buy into this idea, then you will fail to see the ultimate picture. It‟s far worse than

  you could ever have imagined.”


         To his surprise, Jake, Derek and Arturo were not as shocked by the revelation as

  Christian had supposed. Instead, Arturo agreed with him.


         “We‟re not so blind to the fact that with the billions of galaxies out there in space,

  we could be the only form of life within the universe Christian. I‟ve personally read a lot

  of classified files indicating that there are aliens working amongst us. Even reports that

  there are deep underground cities holding them. So what you are saying seems plausible.

  I assume that you have proof of what you are saying though?”


         Christian looked relieved at his open-minded approach and nodded.


         “I have strong reason to believe that four of the Bloomsbury members are indeed

  alien from this planet Arturo. I am convinced without a shadow of a doubt that Julian

  Bellamy, one of the founder members of the Bloomsbury Alliance is one of them. He

  also happens to be the Governor of Dallas and advisor to the Health and Human Services

  Secretary in the States.”


         “Not to mention a newly appointed non-Executive Director to Reismann Bloom,

  the second largest pharmaceutical supplier in the world and part of the Asclepius

  consortium,” interrupted Jake.


         “And good friend to Robert Eckhart, Congressman and CEO of Asclepius itself.”

  Derek reminded everyone.


         “Our investigation started in Dallas, with the deaths of Louisa and Mark over

  what we now realise was the segregation of children to begin the implementation of a


                                           391
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



  future two-tier society of a Super-human race and a Sub-human race. I can only imagine

  that this would be so that the Sub-human race would be used in servitude to the Super-

  human race. Eventually, the Sub human race would die out eventually through illness

  and sterility, but long enough to achieve the lifestyle required by the Super-human race.

  When that was created, the sub-humans would die off, leaving the food and resources in

  plentiful supply for the super-humans.” And Christian paused for a moment and Tarway

  jumped in.


          “The Vlorja,” and he turned to Jake, Derek and Arturo, “For this is who they are.

  Christian didn‟t name them for you, but I will,” he insisted, “The Vlorja are doing this by

  subversion of the mind by drugs; aluminium traces large enough to affect the brain

  function to make it more malleable to perform behavioural modifications on the mass

  population by a series of methods. The Media through neurolinguistic language and

  programming, the state, by legislation and fear; the drug companies through widespread

  vaccination policies to inject the mass population with mind altering chemicals amongst

  other   adjuvants and viruses in order to keep the population under control and in

  servitude.”


          “When we were looking into the various vaccines, we had no idea what we had

  got ourselves involved with. We assumed that it may have been Asclepius‟s insatiable

  need to control the health of the world for their greedy quest for supremacy in the

  Pharmaceutical market. We could never have known that this would be just a part of the

  overall Master Plan, and that Asclepius was merely a part of this outrageous Agenda.”

  Christian walked over to a low dark sideboard and pulled open a drawer solemnly. He

  took out a large thickly paged document, and walked into the middle of the room and

  dropped it onto the coffee table for everyone to see.


                                            392
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



           “I spoke with Peter Mehra last week. Told him I‟m back...” he began as he

  waved his hand in the air offhandedly, “You know and all of that stuff, but I asked him

  about his attendance at the Bloomsbury Meeting in Austria last year.”


           Jake and Derek stared at each other. This was the first time they had ever seen

  actual evidence from a Bloomsbury Meeting. Derek stooped down to pick up the thick

  document. Jake leaned over to look over his shoulder at it as Christian continued to

  speak.


           “He sent me that document you‟re holding Derek. Peter also told me about his

  particular participation. He couldn‟t tell me anything else because everything is so

  secretive. He sent me that document because he was surprised at the Agenda. He didn‟t

  want to get involved in the Group. He told me that he just wanted to make the world a

  better place for his kids. He didn‟t want to do it at anyone else‟s expense. He‟s got a

  different moral outlook on life. So he sent me the document and said I could let you guys

  have it to post onto your website.”


           “Are you sure? I mean this is fantastic. It‟s just what we need to prove what we

  are trying to say.” remarked Derek, astounded that they could take the document away

  with them.


           “Just don‟t tell anyone the source. Peter‟s kept quiet because he knows how

  powerful these people are. Even as large and as rich as he is, these people are powerful

  enough to bring him down easily. He‟s looking out for his own future too.” Christian

  warned. “But you can see that on page 47, it starts to mention the agenda for a Master

  Plan.”




                                           393
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



         Derek looked over to Christian and then began to flick to the relevant page. He

  began to scan the page. He already had an idea of what this document was proposing,

  but now he knew for sure. He began read out the headings over the next few pages,


         “...Control of: the armed forces; the government; the money supply; the health

  programme; the food chain.” he began and looked up, “Wow now this is what I call a

  Master Plan,”


         “There is a very large agenda attached to the Bloomsbury Alliance as I stated.

  The pharmaceutical industry is just one part of a very big picture.” sighed Christian

  sadly. “We have opened Pandora‟s box for sure.”


         Derek laughed bitterly as he began to read something from the document, and

  looked up at the group.


         “Let me read you what I‟ve found under the Health Programme,” he sneered, “In

  order to create a more socio economic and biologically superior race, we need to

  provide a Global Health Programme whereby the population accepts its validity without

  question. With this in place, we can control the food chain as well as the population

  numbers through a series of globally motivated Health Programmes and thereby pave the

  way for a new and unequivocal Eugenics Programme. Here we will be free to subtract

  from the population all emancipated Negroes, immigrants, and generally all dark

  skinned populations such as Asians, Indians, Hispanics, East Europeans, Jewish peoples,

  as well as the infirm and anyone classified outside the gentrified genetic lines drawn up

  by our raceologists. We can achieve this by identifying "defective" family trees and

  subjecting them to lifelong segregation and sterilization programs to kill their bloodlines.




                                           394
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



  This programme is intended to neutralize the viability of 20 percent of the population at a

  single sweep.”


         There was silence for a moment.


         “Well that definitely ties in with what Louisa had discovered at Retborne Junior

  School.” Rhea concluded,


         “There‟s more,” Derek announced, “Do you want me to read out what else it goes

  on to say?”


         Christian shook his head in dismay “I think we get the picture Derek, and anyway

  I‟ve already read it. Every heading is as controversial as that to be honest. There‟s a

  section which goes on to explain how they intend to implement these schemes without

  creating public outcry and that‟s really frightening.     It describes their format for a

  Behavioural Modification programme by means of neurolingusitic programming on a

  mass level – starting in Schools with a new Common Human Principles Programme. It‟s

  simply brainwashing on a mass scale.”


         “Helped by administration of small amounts of aluminium into the body to

  suppress the brain function. People are less likely to object f they have no will to think

  for themselves.” remarked Tarway.


         “We have a large scale global problem that is already underway. The Vlorja have

  devised a plan that have pandered to the narcissist nature of these elitist psychopathic

  leaders, into believing that this will somehow be beneficial to the future of humankind.

  It‟s quite horrific. They don‟t know that they are being manipulated. They have

  manipulated the alien guiders into positions of status through their own stupidity. Julian

  must be offering information on advanced technologies to keep him in such a position of

                                           395
MIND GAMES                                                                     SUZIE MAGNESS



  strength. He‟s probably offered them immortality – the fools! The Vlorja plan to kill

  them all eventually. They are just using them to do the job for them in an elitist fashion.

  Like a virus, it seeks to infect the sickest first before gaining in strength to kill off the fit.

  This is what the Vlorja are doing. There aren‟t enough of them to kill of humankind by

  themselves, so they are using humankind to do the job for them instead. When they

  dwindle down to numbers that the Vlorja can deal with by themselves, they will kill them

  too. It is what they are programmed to do.” Capsulan held, echoing the warnings of

  Hemasta.


          “We need to be there. Tayla where have you booked us in Barcelona?” quizzed

  Christian solemnly,


          “Um, it‟s the Majestic Hotel, Passeig de Gracia, in Eixample, not far from the

  Palace Hotel Christian, I‟ve booked a Junior suite and the Prestige Rooms for us all, from

  the tenth to the fifteenth of May, so we have time to settle in.”


          “Good, that gives a little time to start letting people know what is going on.

  Derek, you need to upload that document on to your website as soon as you can, and I

  suggest you arrange some Seminars that I will attend with you to create a wider

  awareness of what the peoples politicians are planning in our behalf. I know Lacroix told

  us that this meeting is held in the utmost secrecy. Well I think we are going to make that

  meeting very public, while it is going on. If we can‟t expose this group between us then

  the world is doomed.”


          “I will send Sarah and Artemis to take out the fallen guiders at the meeting.

  Hemasta had produced a temporary poison to kill the Vlorja in the individuals. But we

  need to know how the Vlorja are spreading themselves amongst the humans. They are


                                              396
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



  being selective. The security men were not infected by the Vlorja, although they had

  obviously been in contact with some that were.” Rocco announced after a moment‟s

  pause. Tayla looked at her,


         “How do you mean take out the fallen Guiders? What kill them?”


         “If one gets killed it will alert the Vlorja that I have found them. They can be

  killed or they can be injected and the Vlorja inside them eliminated from their bodies. If

  they remain alive, they will be sent back and rejuvenated.”


         “You mean Julian, Millie, Chad and Zachary?” assumed Debbie and Rocco

  nodded.


         “What of the others?”


         “We need to inject them with the poison Hemasta‟s produced, but it can be done

  through an emollient which can pass through the skin. They need not know they‟ve been

  injected.”


         “So we just need to know how the infection is passed on.”


         “Well it might be that the Vlorja through seeking the most powerful and

  influential people have found a way to infect them. They would certainly get access to

  them at this Meeting. They are letting the members choose who they want to be a part of

  this highly elitist group. Perhaps the Vlorja had used their narcissim again?” suggested

  David after a moment. “I‟ve been trying to work out how the Vlorja managed to recruit

  the members for the Bloomsbury Alliance in the first place. Remember Julian is not

  himself anymore. You can‟t credit this mad ideology to him.”


         “What you think the Vlorja are using the infestation as a kind of elitist infection?”

                                           397
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



         “No, but what if Julian convinced them, that this infestation would cause

  immortality or something. The idiots might go for that, don‟t you think? They‟re all a

  bit psychotic after all. It would definitely play into their elitist supremacy or power and

  immortality. What better way of infecting the best people?” David argued.


         “It makes sense. I think you‟re right. That‟s exactly what the Vlorja have done.

  They got them to believe that having the Vlorja inside of them gives them immortality.

  If that is not the most elitist club to belong to then I don‟t know what would top that!”

  exclaimed Christian. “It makes perfect sense!”


         “It sounds like the Vlorja too.” Capsulan agreed.


         “Well I don‟t think Peter got infected, so they must do something either at the

  Dinner or the final Meeting. They must do some kind of exclusive ritual, where the

  Vlorja get passed on from one person to another.” Tayla observed wisely.


         “Well, body fluids normally transfer germs; they could cough on each other I

  suppose?” David joked, but Christian gave David a black look. This was not an occasion

  for jokes.


         “No, it would be ritually transferred. Remember passing on what they believe to

  be immortality would be a big deal.” Christian contemplated “I guess we have to be there

  to find the answer to that question.” he finally decided. There were too many options to

  really know.


         “We can do that from the One Dimension.”


         “I would suggest all of you stay in the One Dimension during the meetings.

  Julian, Millie, Colin and Zachary will recognise you immediately. Anyway, four sets of


                                           398
MIND GAMES                                                                 SUZIE MAGNESS



  eyes are better than one.” Christian suggested and the four of them nodded. He was

  right.


           “Tayla and I will create a stir I think. I‟m going to use by celebrity status while

  we are there to highlight the Meeting at the appropriate time. Security may not suspect

  me as a threat because they already know who I am.” And he turned to Tayla, “We can

  have some fun baby, I think we might just go public with an Press Conference or

  something? What do you think? ”


           “Yes baby, but remember I‟m Anna silly!” she glared at him.


           “Of course you are...”


           “When the time is right, we can expose this meeting to the world. They won‟t

  have time to stop or manipulate the press. We‟ll expose everyone who attends. Rocco

  you will need to handle the security for us.”


           Rocco sneered “You think security pose a threat to me and my team Christian?”

  she snarled, insulted at the insinuation. “Sarah alone is already capable of dealing with

  the whole of their security methods in one action. Do not concern yourself with security

  Christian. Just find out how the Vlorja are infecting the humans.”


           Arturo broke the awkward silence. “Well we can do our bit, by contacting

  independent journalists and Media people who are not reliant or afraid of the Media

  moguls Christian. We can get you all the publicity you need. You can leave that to us.”


           “That‟s great, and then between us, I think we have most of the bases covered

  then.”




                                            399
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



             “If it helps, I‟m a high profile name. I can help with your campaign after

  Barcelona. I would be more than happy to attend the Seminars you arrange. I‟ll come to

  them and speak at them if you like. If more people are willing to stand up and speak out,

  the more people you‟ll get who won‟t be afraid to. This can be done peacefully. But it

  will take the will of everyone to put a stop to it. But the people need to wake up as to

  what‟s going on right under their noses.”


         Derek smiled. It would be good to get you on board. We can do with all the help

  we can. To some we are just another crazy outfit spouting off conspiracy theories, and

  getting bagged in with the nutters of this world. But we are only trying to point out the

  truth. ”


         “Be warned Christian. Once we expose what is going on, the Vlorja will wage an

  all out attack on Alpha. You need to be prepared for that. Do not under estimate the

  intelligence of the Vlorja for any moment. They have evaded destruction throughout

  time. You cannot think that you alone will defeat them. You won‟t.” Capsulan warned

  soberly.


         “But we have to try Capsulan; we can‟t sit back and do nothing. It‟s time for

  action. The Vlorja must be eradicated along with their Master Plan for this world.”


         “Then I will tell Sarah and Artemis to prepare themselves immediately to take out

  the Four. You need not concern yourselves with our interaction. We will be invisible to

  you all. It is the way we work.”


         “So we won‟t see Sarah then?”


         “She is a warrior now.”



                                              400
MIND GAMES                                                              SUZIE MAGNESS



          “Then we all need to prepare ourselves too. There is going to be danger ahead for

  all of us.”




                                          401
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS




                                        Chapter 21



         Sarah was sitting on the floor with her knees hunched up to her body. She was

  looking at the view outside of the pod. She had deactivated the virtual realities from the

  pod, and was gazing out to the real scene outside. It was the scenery of the Home planet.

  Its twilight sky, surrounded by the various and different sized moons, were suspended

  effortlessly in their fixed positions in the sky. The largest moon, which sat directly in

  front of her, seemed to be sinking behind the horizon now. Sarah had never envisaged the

  moon this way before. She had previously regarded it as a rather majestic rising moon,

  intent on declaring its regality within their planetary system. Its gold stripes dazzled

  against the deep bluey-purple of the entire sky, challenging the magical aurora for

  magnificence and supremacy amongst the skies. Sarah had seen this view so many times

  before, but now she was looking at it with fresh new eyes. Could Hemasta really be

  correct in what he warned? Were all the Multiverses at risk from destruction by the

                                           402
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



  Vlorja? Had the Vlorja become so invincible now? Suddenly everything had mortality.

  Everything she had previously taken for granted was gone; wiped out forever. The Vlorja

  were the nemesis of all life itself. For the moment, they had found sanctuary in the

  humans on Alpha. They had deceived them with the illusion of fulfilling the humans

  own greatest desire – ultimate supremacy of its race. The very same destructive agenda

  of the Vlorja – ultimate supremacy of the Multiverses at the expense of every imaginable

  life form. She sat there on the verge of leaving the Home planet to begin the attack on

  the Vlorja. Rocco had just left her to go and speak to Artemis. They were being asked to

  seek out the four guiders who had strayed from their roles and to deal with them

  efficiently. It needed to be swift and merciless given the nature of the Vlorja within their

  bodies. This was going to be her first assignment and it was going to be the first

  assignment for Artemis too. The responsibility lay heavily on her heart, but Mystar had

  taught them well and she knew instinctively she was ready for the task ahead.


         As Sarah quietly surveyed the view outside, Apollo arrived back at the pod. He

  had a need to see Sarah. She would be leaving soon to join the rest of the warriors; to

  begin the assault on the Vlorja; it was time. He didn‟t know when he might see her again.

  It could be a while. He wasn‟t sure if Sarah would come and see him before she left. He

  stood silently for a while, watching her gazing into space, watching her with a choking

  need for her.


         “Sarah...” he spoke quietly to her, careful to retain the space between them. Sarah

  had already sensed his presence, knowing he was there, watching her. A single tear had

  rolled from her eye as she had stared out on the landscape. She was afraid, afraid she

  might lose Apollo too. She had tried to keep him safe, by entrusting him to Hemasta on

  Home. But even Home was no longer safe from invasion now it seemed. Was she


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  destined to be alone? she agonized. She quickly wiped the tear from her eye and turned

  her head to see him. She had been sitting in shadow and Apollo‟s tall frame was

  silhouetted against the backdrop of the lunar setting behind him. She sensed that Mark

  was part of Apollo, and that perhaps one day, Apollo would realise that part of him.

  Sarah held on to that hope. She had felt guilty for her own selfishness of wanting Apollo

  for herself. She knew she already loved Apollo unconditionally from the moment she

  handed him his tunic at his wakening. She was prepared to wait forever in the hope that

  one day Apollo would feel her deep connection to him.


         “Apollo,” she smiled, “Why are you standing so far away from me?”


         Apollo looked awkward. There was so much he wanted to say to her just now,

  but he couldn‟t find the words. Instead he made up an excuse.


         “You looked so peaceful sitting there Sarah, I didn‟t want to disturb you.”


         “But you already have Apollo,” she answered softly, as she gazed over to him.


         “Would you like to me to leave Sarah?” but Sarah shook her head and unravelled

  herself from her ball-like position and got up.


         “No Apollo, I‟m glad you disturbed me actually. Did Hemasta send you?” Now it

  was Apollo‟s turn to shake his head.


         “No, I wanted to see you – I know you‟re leaving soon, and I just needed to see

  you before you left.”


         “I would have come to see you first Apollo,” but they both knew she was lying,

  and he looked at her quizzically.




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         “Apollo, this is difficult for me you know. I‟ve linked us together, and I just feel

  awkward about making that decision for you. I might have been too caught up in my

  own desires. I didn‟t think about the consequences fo...” but before she could finish, he

  had already reached her; taking her in his arms and kissing her with an arduous

  obsession.


         “I‟ve already told you Sarah, I want to be linked to you, and I need you as much

  as you need me – don‟t you understand?” and he looked deeply into her confused eyes.

  She studied his eyes carefully, searching to see if he was being sincere, and she could see

  that he was.


         “I know you Sarah, do you understand what I‟m trying to say. Something inside

  me knows you, is familiar with you. You and I – we are linked – we always will be. One

  day the memories will start to come back, but the feeling of how I feel about you – it‟s

  innate in me. I love you Sarah, I always have – and I always will. I just needed you to

  know this. I couldn‟t let you go off without you knowing. I would have come and found

  you Sarah. If I hadn‟t seen you now, I would have come looking for you. I want you

  Sarah. You belong with me now and I belong to you.” He kissed her again and then led

  her willingly, to the dimly lit relaxation space.


         “This is our time now Sarah, yours and mine. I love you Sarah and I want to show

  you.” And he began to carefully unzip the front of the lilac cat suit from her body. Sarah

  stood motionless, giving herself to him; allowing him to take charge of her for once. This

  felt so right, and just then, all her cares seemed to melt away. She felt lost in the

  abandonment of being with Apollo, feverish to consummate their life-long bond.


                                                *     * *


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         It was hot and sunny in Barcelona. The town was as busy as it usually was for the

  time of year, but there was a hint of tension in the air. Security had been tight for the

  week leading up the Summit Meeting. No one knew just how many powerful and

  influential people were going be centred in this town. There was no announcements that

  most of the Heads of State would be spending two days here in Barcelona, even the King

  was making an appearance at the meeting this year, though no-one in Barcelona were

  aware that their King would be in their city. There would be no streets lined with his

  loyal subjects.


         By the time Christian and Tayla had arrived, security at the airports and hotels

  was visual. Again there was no explanation for the extra security checks, but Christian

  and Tayla knew why. They were there for that very reason. As Christian had guessed,

  they had found it relatively simple to get through the security checks. Christian was a

  revered celebrity scientist, the founder of lightspeed travel into space. He had appeared

  on the cover of practically every newspaper and magazine throughout the world, not to

  mention headlining the news stations for months. There had even been a sudden uptake

  in Science in colleges and universities since his exposure. Even his sudden disappearance

  had caused a furore for a while. Just recently, Christian had been in the newspapers,

  spotted in London after almost fourteen months of being hailed as missing. But Christian

  had planned the exposure. It was no accident that he had been photographed. He was

  now free to interact with society once again. So by the time, he had arrived in Barcelona,

  everyone knew who he was. He was even signing autographs for the locals. Tayla

  walked slightly behind him in a large hat and dark glasses, careful not to be noticed

  herself. There was no suspicion that they had happened to plan a trip to this beautiful

  city other than a city break. The fact that this city break coincided with the arrival of the



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  world‟s most powerful heads in the world, went unnoticed. They had even walked

  straight into the Palace Hotel to take a coffee in the cafe the day before. The day before

  the Meeting was due to start. His face was not seen as any kind of threat and he was

  allowed through without incident; where others who tried, were questioned and refused

  entry. Although security there was noticeable, Christian was a popular figure and many

  of them openly acknowledged him. He was able to walk through to the little coffee bar

  with Tayla in tow, without raising any alarms.


         “Our plan might just work Tayla baby!” Christian whispered in Tayla‟s ear as

  they walked away from the tight security of the Palace Hotel later that afternoon. He had

  his arm slung casually around her shoulder and he held up his hand in acknowledgement

  to the security man who had nodded to him as he opened the door to let them pass

  through.


         “We‟ll hold a press conference here the day after tomorrow. It‟ll take them by

  surprise. Come on let‟s go and take a look at Gaudi‟s La Pedera, it‟s not too far from

  here.” he said as they walked out onto the busy traffic of the Gran Via de Les Corts,

  “There‟s nothing for us to do until the day after tomorrow now.”


         The following morning, the roads leading to the Palace Hotel were closed off.

  There were no warning given, but suddenly road blocks were put in place with military

  police guarding each block. Helicopters circled up above in the sky, while smartly

  dressed officials walked along both sides of the large tree lined boulevard, ejecting

  people from small coffee shops and offices. These citizens were given no reason, but it

  was made clear to them that they wouldn‟t be asked twice. Groups of people scuttled

  along the Gran Via de Les Corts uttering in outrage to each other; strangers the day



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  before, now finding friendship in each other with all the confusion of being herded out

  of the area so brusquely.


         Meanwhile, one by one, dark, blacked out saloon cars began to drive down the

  empty boulevard, approaching from every direction; stopping briefly as armed security

  guards jumped out, despatching the important traveller effortlessly from the car. The

  armed security guard, scanning the immediate area all the while. They would glance up

  at high buildings to check that other armed guards were on alert, ready to shoot should

  any security breach take place. The important individual would be escorted by yet

  another armed guard across the short walk along the pavement until they were safely in

  the protection of the member of staff within the Palace Hotel. This scene was re-enacted

  for the next two or so hours; a car swooping down the boulevard; stopping to drop off its

  passenger; security scrambling to protect them; the car driving off ; pause; another car;

  another passenger; another repeat performance.


         Without notice the road blocks were suddenly cleared, traffic was allowed back

  through, and within twenty minutes of the road blocks being cleared, the Gran Via de Les

  Corts Catalanes was as busy as any other day, with no record that there had ever been a

  disturbance. But there was big difference now - the overwhelming presence of armed

  security, military police and helicopters patrolling the sky.


         Debbie and Fritz were watching the whole event take place as they stood by the

  entrance to the Palace Hotel. They had a prime view of who was entering the hotel.

  They couldn‟t be seen by anyone, as they were watching everything from the safety and

  cover of being in the One Dimension. The guests to the secretive event were all greeted

  by the Hotel Manager, who had not been informed of any of the names of the individuals

  expected to attend, and was so as each individual showed up, he gasped in awe of the

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  dignitaries he was shaking hands with. But he already knew he had to be discreet. He

  realised he could not go home to speak about this peculiar day to his family. The guests

  were then handed over to members of staff inside the hotel who had arranged the

  Meeting.


          Julian Bellamy was the first to arrive that morning.      He had organised the

  Meeting this year. He was closely followed by Kate Noon (Millie), President of the

  Macintyre Mac International Bank. Others soon began to arrive in quick succession;

  Maria Holmes, the California Governor; Colin Delany (Zachary), now Vice President of

  World Broadcasting; Dianne Small, Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan; Edward

  Redman, Special Advisor to the State on the Gulf region and Southwest Asia; Paul

  Niemen, Treasury Secretary; Charles Summerville, National Economic Council Director;

  Laurie McKendrie, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Board; Donald Green, a former

  Media Mogul, Eddie Northam, a former US Secretary of State, The King of Spain

  himself, along with several other former US Presidents and British Prime Ministers.

  Finally, Lloyd Stephenson - or Chad as he was known to Debbie - the new CEO of

  SEARCH, second largest website search engine, arrived. He ran past Fritz and Debbie

  unaware that they were watching him.


          “I only saw him four months ago. No wonder he wouldn‟t listen to me when I

  tried to make him see sense.” remarked Debbie sadly as he rushed straight past her.


          “Well I believe he was the last of all the official members due here sweetie. I

  take it the other guests will be here later.”


          “Who will be what? Some notable corporate leaders and private citizens‟ huns?”




                                              409
MIND GAMES                                                                  SUZIE MAGNESS



         “Uh-ha. Along with invited members from the Media, those who help to keep this

  sort of thing out and away from the public‟s ears.” he acknowledged, and then explained,

  “There are a lot of important people desperate to belong to this highly influential Group.

  But they don‟t want it to be publicly known. Some will be recruiting during this visit

  too. We just need to find out who and how they do it Debbie.” Then he thought, “Where

  are David and Rhea?”

         “Inside the Banqueting Hall. It‟s been booked for this event. They‟ve been in

  there all morning. We might as well go and join them in there now huns, the Meeting is

  due to start in an hour.”

         Fritz spotted David and Rhea over in the far corner of the vast traditionally styled

  Banqueting Room. They were standing by one of six symmetrically placed marble

  columns, which were solemnly holding up its lofty decorative ceilings. He motioned

  Debbie to follow him. They could see that the room had been set out with rows of seats

  which faced a raised platform and podium. Behind the podium was a large screen which

  was already projecting the simple logo of the Bloomsbury Alliance ready for the Meeting

  which was due to take place shortly.

         “How‟s it going?” Fritz asked as he reached them.

         “Boring man! We‟ve been here all day so far and we can‟t see how they‟re going

  to recruit anyone yet. There‟s no clue in the Agenda. This Meeting is just a series of

  speeches by members of the Group.” David yawned, “But the topics are electric! Rhea

  and I have just been sitting through Julian‟s rehearsal a little while ago.”

         “It‟s quite frightening you two. He talks about their Eugenics Mission. The

  language he uses,” and Rhea began to mimic Julian, “it‟s our responsibility, to provide a

  humanitarian eugenics programme, in order to leave a genuine legacy of improvements

  to the innate quality of humankind‟. Yuk!” she finished.

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         “Well it appears that they‟re all starting to come in now, look here they come,”

  pointed out David as he glanced over to the large set of double doors on the other side of

  the vast room. The others turned round and watched as the guests slowly meandered in,

  looking for a seat. “You can hear it all for yourselves.”

         For the next four hours, they stood patiently and watched as Julian began by

  welcoming everyone before introducing the Meeting and its various speakers.             The

  message appeared simple enough – A New One World Government or NOW as it was

  referred to. It droned on for hours, swapping different speakers from time to time,

  suggesting how their particular subject matter and perspective would facilitate in the

  achievement toward the goal. David looked at the Agenda. He took a copy to pass on to

  the Freilassen Movement. They could post this up on their website.




                       THE BLOOMSBURY ALLIANCE



                    NOW – A New One World Government
                              A Vision for the Future

         De-population Programme over 80 years

         Eugenics Mission for a Stronger Transgenic Race

         Food and Resource Control

         One Monetary system

         Control over population by

            Mind control – Behavioural Modification through neurolingusitic programmes

            Health – WHO and Asclepius



                                            411
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            Debt – through Central Banking systems

            Tracking devices – implants

         Immortality for the Elite

         Alien technology




         “Derek will love this!” he smiled “Proof for them at last.”

         He began to take photographs as he wandered about the Meeting.

         “Smile please Senator, now look in the camera...”, „click‟, “Thanks dude. You‟re

  gonna love the way I caught the light in your hair when you see it on the web!” he

  laughed and we moved around the room capturing snapshots of various dignitaries in the

  room. Finally when he was happy that he had taken enough photographs, he jumped up

  onto the Stage and took several group shots of the meeting. “Thanks everyone, you‟ve

  all be so great!” he smiled as he stuffed the camera back into his pocket. He jumped off

  the stage and resumed his place next to Rhea, Fritz and Debbie.

         “I‟m just going to pop over to see Derek right now. He can post the Agenda and

  photos on his website. Once Christian holds his press conference here tomorrow man,

  this secretive group will finally be exposed for what it is. Derek‟s website should have

  the Agenda and photos online, proving the existence of this Group and that this Meeting

  is taking place under everybody‟s noses. I‟ll be back later.” David grinned wickedly as he

  held his orb, ready to leave.

         “You shoot huns; Derek will be pleased with what you‟ve got so far. We‟ll see

  you later!” Debbie smiled and patted his shoulder, “We are going to bloody well expose

  this bunch of egotistical supremists for what they are.”

         David smiled at her and then disappeared.


                                           412
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         “We‟ll see him later.” And Debbie leaned against the large marble column and

  continued to listen to the remainder of the Seminar.

         Finally, hours after the Meeting began, Julian began his ending speech of the

  seminar towards early evening.      He appeared to be updating the Group about his

  encounters with Alien races.

         Debbie looked across to Fritz and Rhea with a raised eyebrow,

         “Is he bloody talking about you Fritz huns?” she asked sarcastically, “You saw

  him a few months back didn‟t you? she joked, but she was surprised at how undaunted he

  appeared to be. He blithely discussed the subject of alien encounters with such ease in

  front of such a powerful group of people. She meandered around the room glancing at

  the faces of the high ranking politician‟s, some of whom included an ex President and

  Prime Ministers. To her amazement, they appeared to be listening to him with fanatical

  intrigue. There wasn‟t a hint of derision in their faces as they listened with interest to

  Julian ravings about reverse engineering traded alien technologies in the future, through

  peaceful negotiations with them.

         “...And I know we are ever closer to achieving the Groups‟ ultimate achievement.

  That of immortality for the selected few who will govern, as well as their future

  bloodline...” she heard him finish, as if he were giving them a weather forecast of further

  sunshine for the next few days.

         “What is Julian up to the fool? I wonder if they know that he‟s actually one of the

  aliens he refers to?” she snarled, shaking her head at what Julian had become.

         “Debbie it‟s the Vlorja manipulating him,” Fritz reminded her.

         Debbie shrugged her shoulder, “Perhaps, but he‟s become rather too fanatical

  with his power.” she observed worryingly.



                                           413
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         “Well no hints so far as to how they‟ll pass the infection on,” Rhea realised,

  “We‟ll have to watch them at the dinner tonight. The Meeting for tomorrow will be for

  the Members they intend to recruit. This meeting is just to gauge a reaction from some of

  these guests. Did you hear the language they used?” she asked quickly, “They used the

  same neurolingusitic garble they talked about in one of their speeches. They obviously

  had a Psychology Economist help write these speeches. They are making everything

  sound so sane, but it‟s all madness!”

         “Come on you two; let‟s get ourselves into the Restaurant Diane. It‟s where

  they‟ll be eating later. We can see if they do anything special there. We‟re running out

  of time to find out how they intend to infect others.” Fritz began to look concerned. He

  was afraid that he‟s missed something. He was reminded of what David had mentioned a

  couple of month‟s back. „Like a virus, spreading itself through body fluids‟. He knew that

  David was right, but how would they achieve this?

                                              *   * *

         Christian had just put the phone down to Jake over in France. He smiled as he

  walked over to Tayla lounging on a chair by the pool on the hotels rooftop terrace. She

  was gazing out over the sea as the sun was beginning to set.

         He kissed her briefly on the lips and sat down next to her.

         “That was Jake,” he began with a large grin on his face, “David‟s just been and

  gone, but he dropped off the current Agenda and some photo‟s he took of the Meeting

  this afternoon, which will prove the fact that these meetings exist and actually take

  place.” Casually, he leaned over to pick up two tall glasses from a small low wooden

  table by the side of them. He handed one to Tayla and took a sip from his own.

  “Apparently there‟s some wonderful pictures placing a couple of British politicians

  including a previous Prime Minster and an ex Defence Secretary in some of the shots.

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MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



  Everyone who attended is going to be making an appearance on the Freilassen Movement

  website as we speak. We‟ll have a look later. Derek has just emailed the pictures along

  with the Agenda to journalists in every newspaper in Europe and in the States. There are

  a few Editors he knows who already want to run the story tonight and they‟re going to be

  sending their journalists here for tomorrow‟s final meeting. It looks as if a few of them

  are trying to get the scoop first.” he smiled, “ And we‟ll be there too, holding our own

  little press conference and exposing this Group to the world.” he smiled. “People need to

  know what‟s going on.”

         Tayla smiled at him. He seemed exultant. She suddenly remembered the heavy

  security surrounding the event.

         “I take it between Sarah and Artemis, they‟ll be – what word did Debbie use?”

         “Entrancement.”

         “Yes that‟s the word. I assume we won‟t have any problems with security when

  we get there, because Sarah and Artemis will have entranced them.”

         “Sarah is supposed to programme all the security guys to think that they‟re

  watching the King of Spain recording a speech to his people, when we show up

  tomorrow with the photographers and journalists. They won‟t see it as me. Ironically, all

  the security people will end up protecting me, thinking I‟m the King, - to make sure I get

  to say my piece.” he crookedly smiled, “Oh and I think you‟re supposed to be the Queen

  of Spain at our little press conference outside the Palace Hotel tomorrow.

         “Bit like hypnotism then?”

         “I guess so,” he nodded, “I can‟t wait to see the confused looks on everyone‟s

  face tomorrow.” Christian smiled and clinked glasses with Tayla before taking another

  sip from his glass.

         “Roll on tomorrow. It‟s going to be a huge day!”

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                                              *   * *

         Fritz was edgy and concerned the following day. Despite carefully watching the

  Dinner the evening before, nothing untoward appeared to take place. There was no ritual

  ceremony that he was counting on seeing; no secret meetings taking place clandestinely

  in ante chambers while the official Dinner took place.        In reality, there was little

  interaction during the dinner at all apart from polite chatter amongst the guests at their

  individual tables. It was all very well behaved and businesslike.

         David had arrived back, pleased with what had been achieved from the day

  before. As people were waking up, they were discovering that the headlines news for

  that morning had centred on the leak on the secret Meeting with all the main Heads of

  State which was taking place in Barcelona. The local Spanish station had announced the

  Meeting that was being held in its own city, exhibiting the photographs David had taken,

  and old footage of the Palace Hotel and the Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes displaying

  it‟s pretty tree lined boulevard. The phone lines in the hotel were ringing continuously.

  Security had been increased to let no-one near the hotel. People, who were trying to get

  in, were being pushed away. Visible and heavily armed security guards were now

  enveloping the streets, and military marksmen were visible on every roof top within a

  half kilometre radius of the hotel. Helicopters swooped around in the skies, much lower

  today than they had the previous day. There was dark tension setting in and around

  Eixample in the centre of Barcelona.

         The Meeting was scheduled to continue on, despite the uproar outside. There was

  confidence in the security measures that had quickly been re-arranged for that day. Fritz

  stood by Julian‟s side at the set of doors, where he was personally shaking hands with

  everyone who was making their way into smaller Conference room that had been booked



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  for this meeting. This time, just eight tables set with six chairs each, all set out neatly

  with glasses of water and notepaper.

         David wandered over to Fritz. He could see that he was concerned.

         “Damn it David, how are the Vlorja infecting these people? They have to do it

  soon, or these egotistic and psychopathic ideas that are going to be detailed today, would

  be declared as monstrous and megalomaniacal by any sane person.”

         But David wasn‟t listening to Fritz. He was studying Julian. He watched Julian

  as he interacted with ten or so people before they entered the room.

         “Fritz, look at the way he‟s shaking hands with people.” he informed Fritz, “He

  shakes hands with people with just his right hand normally and sometimes, like just now

  – look he‟s just done it again Fritz – did you see that?” he exclaimed.

         “What do you mean?”

         But David was watching Julian carefully as he explained, making a mental note in

  his head of the people he thought Julian might be infecting.

         “I think I know how the infection is spread.” he declared emphatically as he

  concentrated on Julian‟s conduct with everyone.

         “You do?”

         “It‟s Julian himself who‟s infecting people. He‟s the one spreading the infection

  for the Vlorja. The Vlorja are using his brain to analyse who can be utilised to propagate

  their Master Plan; who is influential enough to effect global changes Fritz. The people

  being picked may not even know they‟re being infected. But once they are, their minds

  are manipulated into compliance to implement the Master Plan. Julian has been taken

  over by the Vlorja inside his head. They‟re using him to work out who should be picked

  to infect.” he explained.



                                            417
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         “Julian is the one – he‟s picking the new Elite for the Vlorja. It‟s easy for him to

  select candidates as they are already here at this meeting. Look‟ he‟s just done it again

  with Bill Richards, the CEO of the News Corporation.” And he looked at Fritz in

  astonishment. “It‟s in the handshake Fritz, don‟t you see. He shakes hands with his right

  hand to those either already infected or those he‟s not interested in infecting, and he‟s

  using both hands on those he wishes to infect. He clasps their hands as he shakes it and

  he chat‟s to them for just a bit longer. He‟s transferring the Vlorja though his hand onto

  their skin. The Vlorja get absorbed into the skin and enter the body that way.” he

  explained in wonder as he watched carefully. Fritz began to concentrate on the way

  Julian interacted with those he chatted to. He could see what David had so cleverly

  spotted.

         “I think you‟re right David. But it just shows how manipulative these Vlorja are.

  They‟ve used a common and accepted worldwide use of introduction and greeting, as a

  way to infect those they wish to, without them evening knowing what‟s going on. They

  probably get excreted in the sweat glands in the palms of the hands and get transferred

  into the new host with the sweat that get left on the other person‟s skin. As the sweat

  evaporates, they are able to be absorbed into the skin of their new host and thereby into

  the system. My word David, but you are brilliant my friend for spotting that so quickly!”

         “I‟ll go and let Christian know and get word to Tarway. You don‟t need me for

  the time being now do you? I think I ought to let everyone back at Home know that

  we‟ve discovered how the Vlorja are infecting people Fritz.”

         “Oh absolutely David, let Tarway know first though before you return to Home.

  Christian will be here shortly. I can get word to him. Well done David I didn‟t spot it!

  We know how the Vlorja are spreading themselves now. They‟ve helped us too. By

  keeping their infection to a select few, we can track the Vlorja much more easily now.

                                           418
MIND GAMES                                                                   SUZIE MAGNESS



  They‟ve even created the gel to act as protection against infection for much of the

  population for the time being. We can use that to our advantage. They‟ve actually

  helped us to fight them. Rocco needs to know this urgently. This will be useful in her

  fight against them.”

         “I‟ll make sure I let everyone know and I‟ll see you later back at our hotel man. I

  think Sarah‟s here somewhere too. I can sense her presence. Can you feel it too?”

         Fritz nodded, “Rocco‟s sent her and Artemis to deal with Julian, Millie, Zach and

  Chad. Yes, I can sense her presence. She‟s around here somewhere I expect.”

         “One day we‟ll get to see her yeah Fritz?” and Fritz nodded,

         “Of course, one day soon I hope.” And David smiled. He leaned over to search in

  his pocket for his and after pulling it out, he was gone.

                                                *   * *

         Christian was striding purposefully towards the Palace Hotel with an entourage of

  photographers and journalists surrounding him. Two cameraman had been sent to cover

  the Press Release Christian had organised. Despite heavy security, Christian and his

  entourage managed to get to the front door of the Place Hotel effortlessly and without

  incident, much to the surprise of the members of the press he‟s invited.

         He began to make his announcement declaring what was happening inside the

  Palace Hotel, explaining the formation of the Bloomsbury Alliance and their plans for the

  future of the world with a Master Plan for its future under their governance. He read out

  the Agenda and topic headings.           Flashes from the cameras flared as he read

  uncompromisingly from his pre-prepared speech. Tayla stood alongside him handing out

  photographs taken the day before. He answered questions from the press and journalists

  for a further ten minutes, while the security guards stood by, before entering the hotel

  itself in order to interrupt the Meeting itself and expose the Meeting to the members of

                                            419
MIND GAMES                                                                SUZIE MAGNESS



  the Press he had brought along. In this way, he could not be later accused of spreading

  lies and exacerbating conspiracy theories regarding this secretive meeting. The press and

  the public would see for themselves that he was telling the truth.

         Christian pushed the door to the hotel open and walked inside unhindered. He

  was full of admiration for Sarah in the way she had managed to entrance the whole of the

  security forces surrounding the hotel, in order that he could hold his live press

  conference.

         He already knew where the Conference room was, and striding through the

  marble filled lobby and its classical features, he reached the other end of the lobby in no

  time and walked down the carpeted corridor until he reached the set of double doors he

  was looking for.

         “They are in here gentlemen, see for yourself,” and he pushed open the doors with

  one heavy movement, to reveal a room full of shocked faces who had turned round to

  see what had caused the interruption.

         As the journalists, photographers and cameramen were spotted entering the room,

  panic struck within the Bloomsbury Meeting, and its members instinctively dived to the

  floor for cover, some even crawling under tables for extra safety. It was as if they

  assumed they were under attack, but Christian shouted out to calm them down.

         “You‟re perfectly safe ladies and gentlemen. I‟ve just brought a few members of

  the Press who would like to know a bit more about what you all are doing here. I hope

  you don‟t mind.”

         After a few moments, when some of the faces seemed to recognise Christian and

  who he was, they nervously crept up from the floor, eventually standing upright and

  somewhat surprised by him - and deeply unhappy about what he had done.



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         After a few more moments, when everyone had got to their feet, and realised that

  security had been breached, a few of them became very angry.

         “What the hell do you think you are doing? Where the hell is Security? Security!

  This is none of your business Morgan! Get the hell out of here NOW!              Security!

  SECURITY!” one member shouted.

         Some sought to cover their faces, picking up notebooks to cover their identities,

  trying to make it to the door to leave. Others stood by, looked angry and defiant. Julian

  himself became infuriated.

         But the calamity only served to produce better photographs for the journalists

  who were snapping away feverishly at the dispersing crowd. Journalists began to shout

  out questions, running up to individuals they had spotted with microphones ready to

  record any comments.

         There was pandemonium in the room now and Christian and Tayla stood by the

  door watching all that was going on in front of them.

         “Now we‟ll see how secretive this group remains. They can‟t deny any of this

  anymore!”

         Kate Noon, seeing that their sensitive information was emblazoned on the screen

  in full view of everyone, was busy trying to switch the projector off, but it was too late.

  The photographs had already taken a permanent record of what it was displaying. David

  had also hooked up one of the cameras that a cameraman was using to film the events,

  directly to the Freilassen Movement website; so that it could broadcast the events live.

  Even if security managed at some point to confiscate any of the equipment, it would be

  futile. There were too many ravenous journalists covering this event.

         Julian had tried to calm the room, but it was no use. A mixture of outrage,

  embarrassment and fear of exposure of being associated with the Group spun around the

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  room, and Julian found himself unable to bring the chaotic room under control. He

  finally gave up and pushing a camera fiercely out of his face in anger as a journalist

  began to ask him questions about the legitimacy of their Master Plan, he strode past

  Christian, pushing Tayla aside in a rough act, as he tried to get past her quickly. As

  Tayla swerved to regain her balance, she turned to see him disappear down the corridor

  on his way back to his room.

         “What a nasty man he is!” Tayla concluded with his fierce and angry glare fresh

  in her memory.

         “We‟ve exposed them baby, but this is just the start. We‟ve now associated

  ourselves as being part of a kind of resistance group. We‟re going to be in for a rocky

  ride from now on. These people will not forget this.” he warned her dangerously.

         Tayla looked up at him,

         “I‟ve never been so proud of you Christian. We‟re in this together now. I‟m with

  you all the way. I‟m not afraid of them.”

         They looked on at the scattered party and the disassembled meeting;

  photographers, journalists and cameramen recording every detail.

         “Let‟s hope the world wakes up before it‟s too late baby,” he said as he took her

  hand. “I just hope this will be enough to let the world know what is going on right under

  their noses. And I hope it‟s not too late.”

         “It‟s never too late baby, not anymore.” she assured him as she glanced around

  the room once more.




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                                       Chapter 22



         “Is this his room Sarah?”


         “Yeh, I checked downstairs with reception. He‟s on his way up now.”


         Artemis looked round. She was standing in the middle of the Executive Suites

  where Julian Bellamy had booked himself into. It was in the same hotel where he had

  organised the Meeting for that year. It was large and luxurious, decorated ornately in

  period features in lush colours of deep blue and gold. The separate bedroom was through

  a set of double doors to the left. She and Sarah were standing in the spacious drawing

  room, with Regency styled furniture arranged neatly around the room. Artemis headed

  for the large Juliette Balcony and stood discreetly besides the heavy embroidered

  curtains, which were pulled back magnificently on each side of the balcony, held there by




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  large brass tie backs. She glanced out of the window taking in the view of the Gran Via

  de Les Corts Catalanes, in the Eixample area of central Barcelona below.


         “Security‟s tight everywhere around the hotel from what I can make out Sarah,”

  as she looked sideways out of the windows and up the tree-lined boulevard to see the

  armed police heavily populating the streets below. She could see the marksmen on

  building tops, and helicopters circling the sky above, trying ineptly to look as

  inconspicuous as they could. It was clear that the security measures weren‟t even trying

  to be discreet today.     The Hotel had been booked solely for the purposes of the

  Bloomsbury Alliance Meeting that week, and one of the armed security guards, standing

  at the main entrance to the Hotel, was acting quite aggressively to an elderly couple who

  were trying to get into the Hotel.


         “I bet that old couple down there come to this hotel everyday for their afternoon

  coffee in the hotels cafe downstairs Sarah. And look how they‟re being treated. Look!”

  she gasped suddenly. “That arsehole has just shoved that poor old man over. What a

  dick!” Artemis looked over to Sarah, who was rummaging through the closets looking at

  Julian Bellamy‟s personal belongings.


         “Sorry Artie, what were you saying?” Sarah looked from around from behind the

  closet door to see the alarmed face of Artemis by the large French windows.


         Artemis shook her head. “Nothing Sarah, just a dick downstairs!” and she walked

  away and further studied the room.


         “Nice joint this Bellamy‟s got himself booked into eh?” as she turned full circle

  taking in the view. “Our little turncoat is making the most of his scam isn‟t he?” she

  smiled wryly.


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         “I can‟t wait to see his face when he spots you Artie. The fact you are in your

  natural form will unsettle him too!” she laughed. “This meeting is worth selling tickets

  for. Believe me!”


         “Well I know what I‟m here to do Sarah, so I won‟t let you all down, but why

  don‟t you stay then, if it does gonna be that good?”


         “No, you need to do this alone. I‟ll be around, just let me know when it‟s over.

  Look I‟d better disappear; he‟ll be here in a sec.” And as she spoke she could hear a set

  of muffled footsteps walking along the carpeted corridor. “He‟s here now!” she

  whispered and hurriedly rushed into the bedroom to orb herself out of the room. She

  didn‟t want to be spotted. Her lilac cat suit, visible under a knee length high collared

  jacket had been designed for her by Apollo, and she felt good wearing it. Even the flat

  ankle boots were more her style than the high heeled shoes the other‟s wore. „Lilac

  matches the colour with your eyes‟ he told her. As she entered the bedroom, she could

  hear the door begin to open, and in a moment she had gone, leaving Artemis alone to deal

  with Julian.


         Artemis quickly thought of how she wanted to be spotted and plonked herself

  casually onto a Louis chair and put her feet folded together up and on to the coffee table

  in front of her. She looked down at herself quickly; seeing her red figure hugging

  sleeveless dress and extremely high red pointed stiletto shoes. She was wearing her

  trademark pair of dark sunglasses to cover her eyes. Her soft wavy blonde hair was

  casually draped across her shoulders. It was in this relaxed poise that she waited for the

  door to open.




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           The door knob turned and the door swung open and Julian Bellamy strode in, his

  mind occupied with a phone call he had just taken. He nonchalantly swung the door shut

  behind him before turning and looking properly into his room. As he looked across the

  room, he stopped abruptly and looked in shock at the reclining figure in front of him.


           “Ohmygod!” he stammered, peering intensely at Artemis as she slowly edged

  himself towards her. He quickly scoured the room for other intruders, and satisfied that

  this red figure was alone, he stopped himself about two yards ways form the seated

  beauty. Artemis was smiling broadly up at him, looking at the broad and tall handsome

  man.     Articulately dressed in an expensive dark suit, she noticed that his hair was

  perfectly brushed and combed into position. He certainly cared about his appearance she

  thought to herself. His transient form for Alpha epitomised a charismatic beauty to appeal

  to both men and women alike. „How vain‟ she thought, and mistrusted him immediately.

  She knew instinctively too, what he was about to say and was waiting for him to speak

  first.


           He stared at Artemis in a mixture of shock and horror, his mouth gaping slightly

  open as he gazed at her up and down. Artemis smiled, waiting for him to speak, teasing

  him behind dark glasses with a wicked smile from her bright red lips.


           “Louisa?”


           Artemis smiled, but she remained silent, studying his posture as he peered at her.

  She waited.


           “Is that really you Louisa? It must be...” he gasped, as he leaned forward towards

  her more. “But I thought you were...” he couldn‟t bring himself to say the words.


           “DEAD?” and Artemis smiled mischievously at him.

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           Julian suddenly looked afraid of her and his eyes opened widely. Artemis could

  see that he was thinking hard as he moved slightly closer towards her.


           “Did you think I was dead Julian?” She slowly removed her sunglasses to reveal

  her large lilac eyes and placed them neatly on top of her head.


           “Louisa, you‟re back in your natural form? Did you go back to Home then?” He

  sounded afraid.


           “Jules, you look like you‟ve seen a ghost. Look, touch me, I‟m alive. I‟m not

  dead at all.” And she held out her pale hand for him to touch. “See, I‟m perfectly alive.

  Why do you look so surprised Julian? I know you haven‟t seen your Louisa in years?”


           Julian composed himself. He was thinking hard. He smiled at her and looked

  around the room quickly.


           “Of course not Louisa, it‟s because of that. It‟s been such a long time since I last

  saw you. It‟s just a bit of a shock to see you again, so suddenly like this. Anyway how

  did you know where to find me and er – how did you manage to get in here?”


           “Aren‟t you going to offer me a drink Jules honey? Where are your manners these

  days?”


           “Of course, um, what would you like – your usual? I think I need a drink too

  actually.” And he wandered over to the drinks cabinet and opened the set of yew doors.

  He pulled out two glasses and poured out two drinks, and quickly walked back to

  Artemis who unfolded her legs and removed them elegantly from the coffee table as she

  sat up to accept the glass Julian was offering her.




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         “Cheers Jules!” she exclaimed as she knocked back the drink in one go and

  slammed the empty glass tumbler firmly down onto the coffee table. Julian watched her

  in amazement as he took a gulp from his own tumbler.


         “God you‟ve changed Louisa.        You barely drank when we were together.

  Working in that Senates Office has certainly matured you.” Artemis declined to respond,

  but she had a comment of her own to make.


         “I see you‟ve become Senator yourself now Julian. Of Dallas no less. Fairly

  grand title you‟ve got yourself these days. And judging by your seniority at The

  Bloomsbury Alliance Meeting, quite an influential figure too it appears. You‟ve done

  very well for yourself Julian. I must congratulate you. I mean as you being an alien to

  this planet and all. ” she smirked shrewdly. Julian studied Artemis for a moment. He

  walked over to a two seater sofa opposite her and sat down.


         “Tell me Louisa, is that why you‟ve come. Have you come here to lecture me?

  Is this what your visit is all about?” and he took another gulp from the glass, and seeing

  that it was now empty, he leaned forward and gently placed it down on to the coffee table

  dividing them and looked over to the bewitching figure opposite him.


         “I asked you to join me eight years ago. You wouldn‟t listen to me back then.

  You could have had a fantastic life if you had of stayed with me Louisa. Kate, Lloyd and

  Zachary listened to me, and look at them now...”


         Artemis nodded as she recalled their fate;


         “Let me see now Jules honey. Millie, President of Macintyre Moore Bank, one of

  the world‟s most influential fractional banking corporations. Then there‟s Chad.         I

  wonder how he‟s doing these days. Yes of course – he‟s now the CEO of SEARCH, one

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MIND GAMES                                                                 SUZIE MAGNESS



  of the largest internet search engines.” she recited whimsically, “and of course, dear old

  Zach. Although he‟s calling himself Colin Delany these days isn‟t he? What - now Vice

  President of World Broadcasting Incorporated.” she smiled, “Yes you‟ve all done very

  nicely for yourselves haven‟t you, with your insight into future technologies?”


         Julian sneered. He was unashamed. “It happens honey! I mean look at Fritz.

  Isn‟t he on the board of that new company- Light Jet Enterprises these days? Actually

  come to think of it haven‟t five other aliens jumped on board of that little money spinner

  that our dear little protégé Christian Morgan came up with? Didn‟t alien technology help

  make him and the rest of them all huge wealthy.            We‟re not doing anything any

  differently to what other Guiders do when the opportunity arises! So don‟t sit there with

  your superior attitude talking down to me like this. Or are they next on your little hit list

  of visits Louisa?”


         Artemis stared at him hard and shook her head. He was not worth arguing with.

  The Vlorja were inside of him and had corrupted his mind completely.


         “So Jules, was this your idea then, setting up all of this?” Artemis asked as she

  raised both her hands in the air. “This Bloomsbury Alliance I mean?”


         He smiled and raised his left eyebrow. “I‟m certainly behind the Bloomsbury

  Alliance - yes, but I did jump on the back of another similar ideological group to be

  strictly honest. So I can‟t take all the credit for all of it. But I did offer them improved

  goals and rewards though.” he grinned deviously. “Alien interaction and technologies.

  They couldn‟t get enough of it.” Julian jumped up. He appeared relaxed now, and he

  wandered back over to the drinks cabinet, loosening his tie as he walked. He ripped his




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  tie off and threw it onto a small console table and unbuttoned his top button. “Another

  drink?” he asked as he poured himself a drink.


         Artemis looked at him. He was looking relaxed and too self assured. She

  wondered what he had been like before he had been infected by the Vlorja. What he was

  like when Louisa knew him properly. He‟d been on Alpha working diligently for years

  now. It was only in the last eight years that he had changed so dramatically.


         “Is it right that you called the Group after your first meeting place Jules? There‟s

  so much secrecy surrounding your little group, that it‟s hard to know what the truth is and

  what‟s not these days?”


         “You didn‟t say if you wanted another drink?” he reminded her.


         “Oh yes, please... er so?”


         “Yeh it true, we had our first meeting in Central London eight years ago, in the

  Bloomsbury Street Hotel, and so we named the Group after the Hotel. We‟ve been

  hosting these meetings all over the globe since then. This year it‟s Barcelona as you

  see.” he answered her as he poured the drinks out. He walked back and handed her

  another tumbler, only this time it was full. Artemis raised an eyebrow.


         “Are you trying to get me drunk Julian?”


         “Are you trying to find out more about this Meeting of mine?”


         “How do you know I don‟t already know what you were planning to discuss

  already?”


         Julian squinted at Artemis. “Maybe you do...” he mused as he sat down again. He

  leaned forward as he took a gulp from his glass.

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         “So what are you really doing here Louisa? I mean, I haven‟t seen or heard from

  you in over eight years now, and today, here in central Barcelona, you show up. In my

  hotel suite, when I‟m participating in one of the most secretive and powerful meetings of

  the year. I can only imagine at how you managed to get past the tight security here.

  What did you orb here or something?” and Artemis nodded as she gave a churlish smile.

  “But why?” he asked curiously.


         “I want to understand why you turned your back on Home Julian. You know you

  don‟t need any of this material stuff.”


         Julian laughed at her. “It‟s funny Louisa honey, listening to you. So er – what are

  you doing here on Alpha these days? Looking after some upstart who is supposed to

  achieve great things, while you wipe their ass for them? Who is it now? Some

  peacemaker or philosopher? What? Perhaps some kind of righteous politician for a

  change eh? You take a back seat while they achieve whatever it they‟re supposed to do

  and then you go back and get told about someone else and off you tootle and do the same

  thing all over again. Where‟s your reward for it all eh Louisa? What do you get out of it

  then? Don‟t you get fed up with all that crap after a while?” He sneered as he took

  another gulp, and he looked at her closely, “I certainly did, I wanted some of the credit

  for myself for a change. And that‟s exactly what I did honey.” And he smiled as he

  reclined into the seat, looking proudly at her. He looked at Artemis more carefully, and

  Artemis could sense that he felt relaxed with her; that he was beginning to open up to her.

  “It‟s good to see you again by the way Louisa. As I said, it‟s been such a long time –

  eight years now. I‟m beginning to remember how I used to feel about you again.” He

  smiled and he took another gulp from his tumbler. Artemis smiled seductively.


         “You are?” she asked coyly.

                                            431
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          “We were paired at conception after all Louisa, you can‟t ever forget that. We

  were always meant for each other. That‟s what Hemasta planned. You and me, together

  forever... but you had to go and run off like the virtuous thing you were back then. You

  ran off and left me behind.”


          “But only because you‟d changed. You became greedy Julian.”


          “But look at me now? Look at what you could have become. You could have

  been like Millie. Look at her now. Not running behind some upstart, picking up after

  them, letting them take the credit for her efforts. She listened to me back then - and now

  look at her! She happens to control one of the most powerful banks in the western world

  Louisa. That could have been you – don‟t you see! You just left me, and threw all that

  away. I‟d have done that for you if you had stayed with me.” and he shook his head

  frustrated at her all over again.


          “But Julian, that‟s not why we were sent here.       We aren‟t supposed to get

  involved at all. But you‟ve changed all of that now. You‟ve got yourself and Us

  involved. You‟ve spoilt the natural course of evolution Julian. Don‟t you understand?

  What you‟ve done has changed everything. It was never supposed to be like this. Don‟t

  you see what you‟ve started now?”


          Julian laughed. “You make me sound like a monster Louisa! I haven‟t done

  anything that someone else wasn‟t going to do eventually. I‟ve only made it a reality as

  opposed to an idea, that‟s all. Look, I know it‟s been eight years, but we do have a bond

  you and me. I can still forgive you for leaving me like that eight years ago. I would take

  you back, if that‟s what you want. Is that why you‟re here now? Do you regret leaving

  me back then?”


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         Artemis put her glass down on the table. She hadn‟t taken a drink from it and it

  was still full. Julian watched her as she put the full glass down.


         She studied Julian for a moment.


         “You know it‟s the Vlorja corrupting your mind don‟t you Jules? They‟ve taken

  over your mind. It‟s the way they work this time. They‟re just using you all. They

  intend on destroying this whole planet eventually. Don‟t you understand? It‟s their only

  programme and agenda. Destruction of all life-forms. There is nothing else, whatever

  they have you believing.      You are just a puppet for the Vlorja inside your minds.

  Whatever great Master Plan you‟ve concocted; whatever way you‟ve agreed to apportion

  this planet for your own selfish gains; it‟s all bull Julian. It‟s the Vlorja playing with

  your minds and tricking you. The Vlorja will destroy everything and then destroy you

  too. Why can‟t you see that?” and she looked at his blank face. “No, I can see that it‟s

  already too late for you Julian. The infection has taken over your body completely. Yet

  you still believe that you are one of the lucky ones don‟t you. It‟s what they‟ve got you

  believing honey. You‟re nothing but a stupid fool!”


         “So why exactly are you here then Louisa? Have you come all this way just here

  to hurl some stupid insults at me? Like I care about what you have to say.” He looked at

  her with contempt. “Who the hell are you anyway? What have you really achieved for

  yourself? What have you got to show for all your hard work? Hey? Well I can tell you

  what honey dear! A big fat nothing that‟s what! At least Millie saw sense and has got

  something to show for herself. You were always such a kind and sweet person. And

  where has that got you Louisa. Absolutely nowhere that‟s where.”




                                            433
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         Artemis sat up in her chair. She looked over to Julian, at his contemptuous glare,

  and she smiled at him.


         “Only I‟m not Louisa Julian. You‟re quite wrong about who you think I am.”


         Julian scrunched his face up in disbelief and looked at her stupefied.


         “What do you mean you‟re not Louisa? Then who the hell are you. Her twin or

  something?”


         “Now now, you know you were the only one to be paired with her. It was just the

  two of you at that conception. You should have looked out for her Julian shouldn‟t you?

  That‟s what you were supposed to do.”


         Julian looked confused and he looked at Artemis distrustfully. “Are you trying to

  play mind games with me now Louisa?”


         “I‟m not Louisa Julian, I‟ve already told you. But I will answer your earlier

  question now if you like. Louisa was assigned to a little boy Raoul, who ironically died

  accidentally. But he was under her care for a while. Louisa grew concerned about the

  national vaccination programme, when she was told to segregate the children‟s medical

  files. She made a phone-call one day over that concern about the very same vaccination

  programme you had sanctioned in Dallas. Simply because Raoul was being vaccinated

  as part of it. What she didn‟t know was that it was you who had agreed and further

  sanctioned a covert Segregation Programme and switched vaccinations to the two variant

  types. Wasn‟t this all part of the overall Master plan the Bloomsbury Alliance had

  agreed upon? - that you were behind!    She never realised that you were behind it Julian.

  But you knew it was Louisa when you got the call from Patterson didn‟t you? You

  recognised her name when Patterson told you who it was, and you knew she was one of

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  Us. You got scared. You thought she was onto you. But the sad thing Julian, is that you

  were right about poor little Louisa. She was just a kind and sweet person. The only

  reason she made that call was because she was worried about protecting a little boy,

  nothing more. And you ordered her death over it! Didn‟t you Julian?” Artemis spoke

  very calmly and softly. Her tone was even. She looked hollowly at Julian trying not to

  show signs that she was making any kind of judgements about him.


         “You told those men who she was and what she was, so they had a little fun with

  her before they killed her. Did you know another one of Us was with her when they took

  her. He tried to protect her from being taken by those horrible men, so they grabbed him

  as well. I‟m not sure that those men realised what he was though. " she paused as Julian

  listened uncomfortably. “They knew Louisa was an alien of course – because you told

  them - and those men got quite a kick out of finding out how much pain she could take –

  you know her being an alien and all that! You and I know that she would have been as

  vulnerable as any human; that she would feel pain every bit as sensitively as anyone else.

  But they didn‟t know that did they Jules honey?    I know they trussed Louisa up by her

  throat while they tortured her, just because she was an alien and they thought she was

  immune to pain. They certainly picked her out for some gruesome fun Julian - you ought

  to know that. In fact, I understand they probably both died a very slow and excruciatingly

  painful death in the end.”


         “Stop it! Stop it for god sake.” he demanded suddenly. The thought of what he

  had done repulsed him.


         “I never heard what happened to her. I wasn‟t even sure if she was dead.”




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         “Of course you did Julian. You looked shocked to see me earlier. You knew you

  sent a hit out on her. Whether you bothered to find out if it was carried out or not just

  shows me how little you cared for her in the end. You certainly lost no sleep over what

  you did.”


         “So who are you then if Louisa is really dead? And why are you here?” Julian

  was suddenly confused.


         “Oh yes, Louisa is really dead... So who am I?” Artemis mused. She stood up and

  pulled the sunglasses from her head. By the time Julian realised, Artemis was holding a

  small dark cross bow in her hand. It had been disguised up until now. She pointed it at

  Julian, for a moment, before putting it back down by her side. Julian froze in his chair,

  horrified at the sight of the weapon.


         “What are you doing? You can‟t kill me whoever you are, it won‟t change

  anything. I know you‟re not here to get avenge Louisa, she wasn‟t important enough for

  you to kill me over. It‟s because of what I‟ve achieved isn‟t it? But you‟re wrong!

  Whatever you think you are trying to stop by killing me won‟t work. My Master plan has

  already started. If you kill me you won‟t know what‟s already been put in place. I, I

  could tell you everything you need to know. Killing me is not the answer. You‟re too

  late to stop things now if that‟s what you‟re trying to do.” he laughed hysterically.


         “Oh I haven‟t come here to kill you Julian honey. You‟re quite wrong there.” she

  corrected him as she pulled one of her stud earrings from her lobe, and deftly loaded the

  dart that appeared from it, into the cross bow. “I‟m the replacement clone for Louisa,

  probably why I look like her.” she smiled “Only I‟m part of the Warrior team and I‟ve

  been sent here to kill the Vlorja.” And she aimed the crossbow at Julian‟s head. “Only the


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  ones I‟m after happen to be inside of you!” And she fired the dart, hitting him directly on

  his forehead. He hurled back in his seat, his eyes fixated on Artemis. He wasn‟t quite

  dead yet as he lay stretched back against the sofa, a dart sticking out from his forehead,

  blood trickling from the wound. Artemis knew that by striking the dart into his brain, it

  would take him slightly longer to die than with a shot to the heart. That was a deliberate

  decision on her part. Artemis coldly walked over to him and stood over him watching

  while the dart took effect upon his body. As she stood over him she bent down to get

  closer to his face. She softly spoke to him as he stared helplessly at her, with the final

  moments of his life silently ebbing away. “You asked me who I was Julian. Well I can

  tell you who I am now! I am your comeuppance!” and she watched as his eyes rolled

  over, the blood oozing slowly from the wound and down along his pallid face. He was

  dead. She stood upright for a moment and then grabbed the dart from his forehead and

  pulled it effortlessly out of his limp body before carefully stepping away from him.

  Then she turned and grabbed a tissue from the coffee table and cleanly wiped away the

  remnants of blood and body tissues from the empty dart. The contents had been delivered

  into his body and would be killing the Vlorja inside of him already. It wouldn‟t be long

  before they would be destroyed. As she placed the dart and crossbow onto the floor, she

  watched while they quickly reverted back into her diamond stud earring and dark

  sunglasses. She quickly picked both objects up and placed the earring back onto her

  lobe. Then, with a flick of her head, she nonchalantly placed the sunglasses over her eyes

  and smiled. She took one last look at the shocked face of Julian, bearing the mark of her

  dart to his head, and then headed straight for the door. She would leave him there in that

  position to be discovered. It would send out a warning to the others. The War on the

  Vlorja had begun. Xylem and Ox were already set to deal with Kate, Zach and Lloyd.

  She smiled wryly at the thought. Four people stopped by the end of the day. What

                                           437
MIND GAMES                                                               SUZIE MAGNESS



  would the world say to that? People would have to sit up and take notice after today. She

  felt glad for her part in aiding Christian and his team. She pulled out her orb and called

  Sarah.


           “Sarah, it‟s done. Julian is dead. I did it for Mark and Louisa in the end.” she

  suddenly confessed. “I didn‟t know them, but I did it for them anyway. I just wanted you

  to know that Sarah for some reason.”


           “Thank you for that. It really means a lot to me. But we still have a lot to do.

  You need to get out of there fast. This is just the beginning. Now the Vlorja will know

  Rocco is after them. The War is on Artemis! It‟s started. Everything is about to change.”




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