[short story – by Sha’Tara]
At first it just caused a bit of stir locally and I wouldn’t have thought much of it if I hadn’t been goaded by my brother to follow up on the case. “There’s something here that needs exposure” he told me.
An unknown woman had been arrested for practicing medicine without a license. Well, in the current wave of political uncertainty, and, OK, let’s call a spade a spade, craziness, that in itself should not have merited a packed court room.
But it did. Let me tell you the story as I witnessed some of it, participated in some and as the rest was told to me by a source.
My name is Keith Darbour. I’m a free lance reporter – my passion – but I hold “real” jobs to pay the bills. Freelance reporting these days of national paranoia and corporate press ownership and control isn’t what it used to be. I mean, hell, this used to be thought of as a free country. I can tell you, that is no longer the case. But I digress. Back to the case.
As I said, the courtroom is packed. “All rise.” Judge Judy Kean sits at her desk. There is only one item on her agenda today. The defendant, a young, tall and slim woman with long wavy dark hair and exotic skin enters between two female guards. She sits at the prisoner’s dock. The prelims over, the jury having already been selected, both lawyers make their opening statements. Basically, the State: practicing medicine without a license. The defence: extenuating circumstances.
I’ll make my prelims short. There was a bus accident. Several people were injured, some seriously. It was thought a child was even dead. The defendant (so it is assumed at this point) arrived on the scene and provided first aid and more. The victims, some now present in the court room as witnesses, claimed that she was able to reach inside their bodies, reset bones, stop haemorrhaging, heal severe tears in skin almost instantly and calm the rest. Every person affected in the accident walked away healed. Ambulances and police came, of course, but it became clear at the outset that none of the victims required further help, and many even loudly and vociferously refused such help.
The woman was arrested for healing, oh, excuse me, “practicing medicine” without a license and jailed. Today is her trial. Let’s see what comes of this hard to believe situation. Let’s see how evolved we are, as a society, as a civilization.
Prosecution approaches the defendant and asks her name.
“Under your name rules, translated to the best of my ability, my name is A-125-04-H. I believe your police erroneously entered my name as Alice Haley. If you wish, I can use that name.”
“We want your real name, miss. Can you give us that?”
“I did that, sir. My name is A-125-04-H”
“Very well, please explain what that means for the court.”
“Certainly sir. I am Android, series 125, batch 04, category: Healer. That is what I am, and what I am programmed by my makers, to perform. I was built to heal whenever I encountered damage to sentient life. That is what I am and I cannot change that programming, even if I wanted to, which of course I would not.”
Judge: “Do you understand miss Haley what ‘contempt of court’ means? Do you understand that the court has authority over you here as long as you remain a suspect in a very serious crime?”
“Yes I understand that very well, but I must make a clarification to your claim of authority over me. You have jurisdiction, but not authority, unless I grant you that right, and I must make it very clear that my programming prevents me from doing so. Therefore I state: you have no authority over me. Only my programmers do.”
Titters ran through the crowd. The judge rapped her gavel, “Order. Any more interruptions and I will clear this court.” I can tell you she sounded very annoyed and her anger was barely restrained.
“Young lady, I have full authority in this courtroom, including over you. I have the authority to stop this and have you returned to jail pending an appeal. Is that what you want? I won’t have people making fun of this court, or me, understand?”
“Yes, I understand of course. What I don’t understand is why the truth appears to be such an obstacle to getting on with the facts surrounding my arrest. Isn’t that why I’m here? I tell you the truth, witnesses corroborate, and the judgment must be that I be set free. My “crime” your honour, is practising medicine without a licence. But it’s my nature to heal damaged life; my programming is my license….”
Gavel again. “Stop. You will not turn this courtroom into a circus. We will have you tell us your real name or you will be in contempt and you will go to a psychiatric institution for observation. Is that clear?”
Prosecution: “May I continue, your honour?”
“Miss Haley, I’ll take that to be your maiden name, where do you live?”
“Galactic quadrant C-5, planet Abergani. It’s all in my implant but there is no technology here that can read it. I’m sorry, that’s the best I can do.”
“Do you do drugs, miss Haley?”
“I understand what your question means. In that sense the answer is no, I don’t. Androids do not ingest either for sustenance or self-pleasuring. It would negatively affect our metabolism.”
“You continue to claim you are an android. Does this mean you are not human?”
“Yes. I am essentially a machine. I am not human, as you understand the term.”
“Uhuh!” Turns to the jury with a sarcastic smile and a shrug. Smiles from the jurors. “How did you get here?”
“Best guess, an error or a miscalculation in the part of those who sent me out to help in a disaster in quadrant D-8. This, according to my calculations, is quadrant Y-17, sol system X-092, and this is called planet Tiam-2, which you call “earth. Oh, there’s been a disaster in a country you call Yemen – I should be going there now – may I be excused?”
Smiling broadly, the prosecutor states, “This isn’t a classroom, miss. Just sit there and answer my questions.”
“But people are dying. I could be saving their lives now. I’m being conflicted in my response to programming. Oh, wait. I do not need to obey you, you are not human – only pseudo-human. I can leave.”
“No, sorry but… where did she go?”
I need not add, the court exploded in complete disarray. The defendant literally faded in front of over one hundred people who were all looking at her. But that wasn’t going to be the end of it because some moments later “Alice” re-appeared. There was slight smile on her small but perfect face. She seemed completely at peace.
“I’m sorry about that interruption. I just had to go and help. It’s taken care of for now. Please continue.” I could barely hear her over the hubbub but finally everybody settled and it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.
“How did you do that little disappearing trick?”
“I did not disappear sir, I cannot do that. I simply shifted dimensionally. It’s easily enough done over tiny distances like the circumference of a planet. I only had to shift over half-way, manipulate your time, perform my duty and return.”
“Why did you not “shift dimensionally” and leave the jail then?”
“I did. Many times. If I may say so sir, madam judge, your world is in a terrible mess. You must do something about all the pain and death your species inflicts on itself and on other life forms. This is a very unhealthy state of affairs that will not bode you well in the near future.”
Judge, still not recovered from the shock of having a defendant simply disappear from the prisoner’s dock, then reappear a few moments later, stares at the defendant. “Miss Haley, will you promise to remain here while I confer in chambers?”
“In chambers – now, and I mean now. No, no notes!” (The following I got from the defence counsel later in the day.)
In chambers, Judge Kean: “Can either of you explain this circus act to me? Am I being made fun of here? Who is the escape artist in the dock?”
Prosecutor: “My question also judge. We’re being played here, question is, who’s behind this, and what’s the point?”
Defence: “Come on. You saw it for yourselves. She disappeared and came back. She’s smart, sure of herself, rattles off information that’s obviously real to her. What if she’s exactly what she says she is?”
Judge: “Is there a way we can prove it?”
Defence: “Two that come to mind. Check the computer, what’s going on in Yemen. How about we ask her to seriously cut herself and watch her heal herself?”
Judge: “Well, here’s the situation. There was a bombing of a school in Yemen about half an hour ago. There was apparently much carnage but after some minutes all of the victims walked out of the wreckage as if nothing happened. They all refused medical help and went to their respective homes. There is even a picture here of a woman walking among the ruins of the school but she’s wearing the mandatory hijab with which she covers part of her face. Can’t be identified. Doesn’t that sound a lot like the bus accident though? Same reaction from the healed victims. OK, as much as I hate grandstanding, this can only be resolved with a demonstration. I’ll ask her to cut herself and heal herself. Let’s just see what her reaction to that will be.”
Judge re-entering the court. “Thank you for your patience. We will now ask for a demonstration that will tell us if the defendant is in fact telling the truth, or making a mockery of this court. Alice Haley, please stand.”
The woman stood, still with that completely peaceful look on her face. Waiting.
Judge: “I’m going to ask you to prove yourself to me, to the jury and this entire court. I want you to take the knife that will be given to you and to slice your arm open. Then I want you to heal yourself so we can all see. Can you do that, “Android”?
Alice: “It isn’t a question of whether I can, or cannot. Of course I can do that. The problem is, self-harming is against my programming. I cannot do it, however much I’d want to. Someone else will have to cut my arm, and I will then demonstrate my healing skills for you.”
“Assuming you are telling us the truth, and we checked up on your Yemen story which seems to validate what you told us, then I will ask for a volunteer to cut your arm. Anyone?”
I can assure you there were no takers. Who in any kind of right mind would walk up to a passive young woman and simply cut her arm open, just to prove a point? Nuts, right? I looked over the courtroom to see if anyone would have the courage to volunteer. And I thought, well, that includes me, doesn’t it. … Me… Do I have the guts to do such a thing? Come on, somebody, volunteer, I thought, but no one did. So it was down to me, Keith Darbour, freelance journalist and private investigator. I got up slowly. “Seems like no one is volunteering so maybe, I mean, I think I should then.”
“Thank you. Your name sir?”
“Keith Darbour, your honour.”
“Ah yes, I’ve heard of you somewhere. You’re a journalist?”
“Yes your honour.”
“Would you come down here please, and do as you are asked to?” I was in it now, couldn’t back out. I was handed a wicked looking hunting knife – who knows where that came from! – and told to stand beside the defendant. She looked at me and smiled as she lifted her left arm so I could grab her wrist. I was shaking like a leaf in the wind until she put her right hand on my shoulder and suddenly everything seemed all right, normal. I lay the knife on the lovely skin and slashed across veins and tendons. There was no explosion of blood, just some clear liquid flowing out slowly. She took her arm from my grip and wrapped her right hand around the “wound” and when she removed her hand there was no sign of the cut. She was still smiling as if the whole thing was a bit of a joke. Which to her it must have been. Such primitives, she must have thought.
Judge: “Raise your left arm, please, miss Haley.” She did and turned it around for all to see that there was no harm done at all. She had never screamed, never expressed any pain, not even winced while I slashed her. It was, well, amazing? More, it was a revelation.
So what could they do but let her go? They knew they couldn’t hold her in any case; that she wasn’t doing any harm, quite the opposite. Now you’re probably wondering, assuming you believe this tale, where she is at the moment. What can I tell you? I wanted to interview her but she “disappeared” almost as soon as she was told she was free to go. I tried to locate her through the Internet alternative media, looking for some weird news about mass healings somewhere, anywhere, but found nothing certain. Rumours and more rumours, and huge “alternate facts” spin-outs from the court hearing. Do yourselves a favour: don’t tune in the Alex Jones’ Infowars for information, he’s got hold of the court story and has gone deeper down his rabbit hole than ever before.
What do I think? I like to think that she’s not only out there, healing people and teaching compassion, but calling more of her kind to assist her. We could do with more of her kind practicing medicine without a license. In fact we could do with more of our own kind doing the same thing because these days, really, it seems rather obvious that having the license and charging for services rates much higher than actually having any healing success. By success I mean that after the medical coteries are done with you, you should be thoroughly healed, not become a crippled dependent on more “specialists” and drugs, ’til death do us part, Amen.
…dreams, from ~burning woman~ …by Sha’Tara
Questions that have remained unanswered for me: should dreams be shared with others? Should they remain as “private” information? Are they meant to explain other realities to individuals, or to collectives? Are they part of the the great “collective unconscious”? Information given by “others out there” as warnings? Or simply how our memories, when the body is resting, are re-formatted by the mind to be stored in permanent “hard disk” space?
[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
I have seen immortality. I have sensed it bouncing from the walls of time, and in my mind when I broke free from the induced trance and looked back, I have seen what the actual world of the immortals looks like. It is a terrible thing to behold.
The following is an attempt at explaining how “time” came about; why we are trapped in its effects and why it makes us feel death.
This is but an illustration:
In the endless expanse of what is called space, one can look in every imaginable direction. One can travel every conceivable type of path to every conceivable place. When I looked in the direction I had wrenched my thoughts from, I saw a square box floating lazily in space, turning slowly, it’s surface glinting as mother-of-pearl but harshly (by comparison to other events out there) when light touched its surface. That square box is what is known as the world of the immortals, or the gods. It is the Time Lords’ artificial creation, or construct. It is this universe and there is but one single purpose for its design: to control the flow of life by trapping energy and imprisoning the minds of sentient life forms within it. Sentience is what they feed on. If this universe is correctly measured in time at 14 billion years, then that is how long these entities have been “eating” life in this universe.
Way back before time, the entities we call “Time Lords” did not have such a baleful title then. They came together as they traveled through the cosmos and came to believe themselves as the most powerful beings extant, therefore believing themselves entitled to guide creation. Their concept, which Earthians so well know, was to develop a way of absolute control over the flow of life.
When they discovered they could exert little control over the open Cosmos, and such control kept breaking up, they invented a system which they called “time” and everything within their system became bound by time. To the Time Lords (TL’s) nothing that exists outside time is real. Their invented reality depends entirely on time, using time to control space.
In the beginning, before the “box” became a completely closed system, energy from the Cosmos flowed in and through the box relatively freely. That is why you can still see events within the box that resemble those outside: revolving units of stars, gaseous clouds, galaxies, and you can sense that you belong within something called “the universe” but with a definite sense that such is “bound” to a return loop with a beginning and an end. Seen this way it is easier to understand why “we” would “see” the beginning of this universe as a “big bang” event and why we can also predict the end of the universe. These are not natural, but artificial events we are measuring and looking at.
You see, in order to control all events, from beginning to end, the “box” or “Time Universe” had to be closed off from new thoughts; from “infection” of radical free ideas floating freely through the cosmos. To counteract their loss of infinite life the TL’s invented what they called “immortality” or the idea that physical / material bodies could be kept alive quasi-forever.
In infinity, the concept of immortality is meaningless as life flows in and out of things freely, unbound. Infinity is an open-ended concept. Immortality however, bears a major flaw: the TL’s were about to discover the deadly effects of something that happened as an effect of an energetic closed system: the problem of *entropy. What our time-trapped minds call “death.”
It is true that no energy can be gained or lost within the time system. It can only be manipulated until such “end time” when the system reaches its inevitable state of *entropy, the death of a closed system when all of its available energy has been converted and all movement ceases. That is the eventual demise of the prison of time which will cause the dissolution of the Time Lords themselves. When their power ends, they end, for they have inextricably bound themselves to their concept in order to control it and they can no longer escape it.
Obviously, they did not know this in the beginning, prior to their madness, or they chose to ignore whatever warnings they may have received. Just as obviously they are doing everything in their power to prevent this end. How do I know this? I was taught a very handy rule about how things work: observe and think, as below, so above. All I need do is observe how this world’s major empires drive themselves into perdition in a vain attempt to hold on to their global hegemony; to their claim to the lion’s share of this world’s resources, read: energy. A prime example of this today, the United States of America and its satellite slave states, particularly Canada, much of Europe, Israel and Australia. This empire is drowning in a sea of debt, dwindling natural resources and anthropocentric climate change which it insists on denying. To counter this deadly entropy it does what all great empires of the past were forced to do: launch more and more wars against a world that it has turned into an enemy. The empire and its satellites now exist in a permanent, life denying state of war against nature and against all of humanity. Those wars will only end when the empire’s alliances break apart and it dies.
So it is in the universal empire of the Time Lords. Their “security state” energy shields will break down from entropy. Their kingdoms, their great halls, their heavens and their hells — all will “freeze over” to be re-absorbed as energy and transformed. The great universal empire will break apart in truly apocalyptic events, turning itself inside-out and everything in its prisons, including its trillions of sentient slaves, will be released to re-discover freedom once again.
“Time not important, only life important!” (The Fifth Element)”
“If you really want to stay the same age you are now, forever and ever, she’d be thinking, try jumping off the roof: death’s a sure-fire method for stopping time.” (The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood)
“…Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups. So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes…” Philip K Dick, “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later,” 1978.
*Entropy: a process of degeneration marked variously by increasing degrees of uncertainty, disorder, fragmentation, chaos, etc.; specif., such a process regarded as the inevitable, terminal stage in the life of a social system or structure – entropy always increases and available energy diminishes in a closed system, as the universe. (Webster’s dictionary)
Have you ever wondered what “listening to the voices of the dead” and “hearing the music of the spheres” have in common?
When you look in the night sky, what do you see? Stars? Yes, mostly stars for only stars emit enough light to travel those quasi-unfathomable distances of space to twinkle in this earth’s little firmament.
What does that twinkling represent? A sort of Morse code, yes? The “spheres” talking to us, perhaps calling some of us back; reminding us that we are not utterly lost as we walk in weak finiteness on a dark non-star matter world that can only reflect a sun’s light. For we are the star dancers, beings of eternal combustion, burning to give light, as did our ancient worlds of origin.
If you know yourself to be a star dancer, do you know the language; the music, from your starry worlds? Do you remember any of it? Do you know why you are here on this cold world in semi-darkness, the closest thing resembling your ancient home, that tiny ball of fusion in this world’s sky?
Look back through your great remembrances and see the waves of migrations as your home worlds burned themselves out, leaving you orphaned, refugees scattering in the endless immensity of space. Remember how you closed yourselves up and “died” to become seeds that would find homes – or not – here and there in the great vagaries of worlds in collision. Remember. Remember the unthinkable.
Eons later, through millions of transformations and mutations you find yourselves here, looking into the night sky. It is filled with pin-pricks of light from your star worlds. Do you hear them, their voices? Their sad songs? Do you realize now that what you are hearing is the voices of the dead? Those lights, so many, are but the remnants of what were once our living worlds. We were star beings living within our star worlds. Then they burned out. We did not.
We became the cast out.
We scattered, as seeds from a dandelion head, blown away in the fiery winds of their demise. But our worlds’ light kept on its path through time. These lights we see; these voices calling us, they are the voices of the dead, star beings; voices of our dead worlds, the wind whistling through tombstones and denuded trees in man’s graveyards. We can never go back home again. We must accept this.
What we need not accept is that we are now permanent residents of cold material worlds. We have seeded our wisdom and knowledge here and there throughout the universe. We suffered more pain and loss than any language could ever reveal. We re-created ourselves into semblances of quasi-intelligent life, not only to survive, but to teach. We have seldom been accepted or welcomed; mostly doubted, held in suspicion, suppressed and killed. Our role, if such it was, has cost us dearly. Many of us to avoid martyrdom slipped into the predictable monotony of a matter-world’s life patterns. We put our minds to sleep; we disconnected from our innate compassionate and empathetic nature. We did not want to suffer anymore. We wanted rest.
We found death instead.
Look in the night sky again! We are awakening! We have a new power now, we can make new worlds suitable for us and all our kin. We shall make those worlds to last forever. When our children hear the songs and music of these new worlds they will be the voices of the ever-living.
Come, let us prepare to leave this dying world and go home.
“Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize we were alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries — but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.” – Ransom Riggs
[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
a short story – by Sha’Tara
Last day of school. Last day of formal training. Jerry Colmack, ignorant of most current political trends and protected from the endless wars they engendered, did not fully understand the reasons that had forced him to become a professional dreamer. From his viewpoint, it had just been an easy way to avoid boring and confusing calculus, physics, geometry, not to mention the hated regimented sports and enforced military training. Not that he wasn’t thoroughly versed in all the sciences, particularly astronomical physics and space navigation, but this knowledge had been absorbed subliminally to impinge upon his consciousness while in out-of-body flight as a unit of superconscious energy…
Nevertheless, as his Mentor was fond of saying, in life there’s no free lunch and now, just when he was developing an unabashed admiration for the fairer sex, he was likely to be chosen to explore for habitable planets. Damn! he mumbled, then rebuked himself. After all, TRAVEL was what he had trained for since the age of nine, his great dream.
But there hadn’t been girls in his dreams then, just his heroes of earliest space flight within his solar system, and now, there were! Particularly, there was Sylvia—lithe, dreamy, with laughter as clear as a mountain brook, black eyes reflecting life’s effervescence and long dark hair worn straight and free, henna and apple-spice, tickling the cheek, filling the air when she bent over you to examine your work, share ideas or whisper… Sylvia…
“MISTER Colmack, may I have your attention, PLEASE!” The voice thundered, shattering his mood. The Mentor was a large man with a voice to match.
“Uh, sorry Mentor, I was dreaming.”
“There is a time for dreaming and a time for listening. All right, everybody. This is your last day together. Soon, you will be assigned your respective duties. Don’t fail your school.” and in a gentler tone: “Don’t fail yourselves… Jerry!”
“Please come with me. The Inspector wants to see you.”
As they crossed the main corridor, he saw Sylvia leave the Inspector’s office. As she stood to attention with her back against the row of green lockers, she bowed low to the boy’s Mentor and stared at Jerry. Her face registered that she wanted to see him urgently. He even felt her trying to mind meld but he shrugged helplessly and discontinuing the effort, she turned away down the hall towards the main exit door.
An old man stood by an open door, holding its shiny brass handle as if for support. He waved them in a Spartan office.
“Inspector.” The Mentor bowed low. Jerry did the same.
“Mentor; graduate.” He gave a short bow of acknowledgment then turned a piercing gaze upon Jerry. “Graduate Colmack, your reports are highly favourable. As there is so little time, I am going to acquaint you with your first assignment in the quickest possible way. I need not go into details. Your preparation and training will fill in the gaps.” He handed Jerry a thin folder. “Memorize these instructions before your departure.”
Departure! He trembled involuntarily. This was it! The culmination of years of training, of enduring the taunts of those who knew nothing of dreaming. “Hey, dreamers, when you gonna get a real job? They should burn down that fancy bedding place of yours! What are the chicks like in sex dreams? What’s space like, spaceball? Bullshit, hogwash! Waste of tax money!” He had heard every kind of derogatory remark, been physically abused and made to feel as if he was responsible for the mess the world was in. Scapegoats, that’s what he and the small select group of his peers were. But it was worth it. He held his orders. He would TRAVEL!
The old man continued, “We now have our cryonics facility fully functional and totally self-maintaining, safely installed one mile underground and served by a fusion generator brought to peak efficiency by the newest computer advances: a combination of chemistry and biology; sentient software. Your shells can now be preserved indefinitely. We are ready to send out our first seekers. You know the task: to locate proper colonizing planets for those who want to leave and start new colonies where there is fresh air and space to grow.” He looked at the smoke floating past the stained windows and sighed. “Graduate Colmack, are you ready to enter upon your greatest adventure?” The question, to Jerry’s surprise was neither rhetorical nor condescending. He really was asking!
What could he answer? He didn’t want to sound too eager… or frightened, and he was indeed ready. He would take the jet lift down and enter the cocoon which would hold his physical body. While in deep sleep, prompted by auto-suggestion, his etheric body or ‘consciousness’ would rise out of his physical body and the sealed cocoon to float unimpeded to the surface. With the power of pure thought, he would leave the earth’s atmosphere. Using a technique developed during previous experiences in super-conscious travel, he would fling his energy consciousness across the time/space boundaries that had confined his race since it had come to inhabit the solar system. Out—into the great void, and to other worlds, other star systems, perhaps even other galaxies, probing, searching, for that one special world. Alone? Would he have to do this by himself? “Yes sir.” he answered simply, and added, somewhat self-consciously, “although I thought that perhaps I would have had a few days to see my family again…”
“I am sorry, Colmack, but your family at the moment is behind enemy lines, so to speak. Revolutionaries have cut communications between this sector and the Van-Mond hills. Perhaps when you return, things will have settled a bit. Listen, Colmack. We need you now. Earth, as a sustainable eco-system, is dying, understand?”
“I think so. Must I attempt this by myself, sir?”
“Shall we tell him, Mentor?” He thought he saw a twinkle in the Inspector’s eye.
“Yes. It is time.”
“Your file indicates you have developed a psychological bonding with a female member of the Institute. Give me her name, please?”
Jerry reddened, fumbled with his folder, uncertain. Had he committed some sort of indecency, violated some rule? Was this a trick to test him, or embarrass him? What about Syl? Had she been grilled about their feelings for each other? For that matter, what were her feelings? At seventeen, he knew practically nothing about girls, and in many ways, Syl had proved experientially his senior by years, even though she was his age… What did the Inspector really want?
“Her name, Jerry?” His voice had softened.
Oh, what the hell… “Sylvia Domona, sir…”
“Thank you, Jerry. You’ve just confirmed our choice. Sylvia is already on her way to cryonics. She will precede you in space by some twelve hours. You will locate her, join your consciousness with hers and together, we hope you will accomplish the miracle we will be waiting for. To avoid explanations and possible embarrassment for her, she was not told whom we would be sending up with her. It will be up to you two to make the adjustments and develop a mutual plan of action. Now remember the basics, boy. In so-called ‘space,’ your pure consciousness will link up with every part of the universe. You will ‘feel’ the stretching and gradually lose sense of self until you find your target and re-enter the ego-field. Remember the law: If you find a suitable host body on a habitable world, you must wipe all memory of your temporary presence from its mind before you withdraw. You must cause no psychological or physical damage. Your presence must remain undetected by the sentients. You must find such a world, one preferably younger than earth by a million or more years, without life harmful to humans, you understand? You possess more than ample knowledge to determine this, if you hold tightly to the disciplines taught at the institute and practiced in your brief training excursions within the solar system. Maintain your current physical sexual orientation at all costs. Enter only a male-type host. Sylvia has been likewise cautioned. Do not attempt a mind-meld with a hermaphroditic sentience. Man may have been such in his earlier stages of development but cannot return to that evolutionary period. Establish the ‘base,’ as per your instructions.
Remember: you are under oath to return to earth, and your earth bodies… whatever your feelings. Likely, you will soon find life in pure consciousness superior to life in the physical shell and will probably not want to return, but keep in mind that once your task is fulfilled, you will have that choice in any case. Do not forget us, son. You are our only hope.”
He cleared his throat. “A couple more things. You have already encountered other disembodied entities or forms of consciousness. You know they will try to attach themselves to you or try to sway you to join with them. That is one of the reasons we decided to have Sylvia accompany you and vice-versa. If the attraction between the two of you is strong, you will be able to tear away from the seduction of these creatures, if we may call them that. You will remain aware that only upon your return to earth will you be able to fulfill the physical attraction burgeoning between you and Sylvia.” He looked keenly, though not unkindly at the embarrassed teen-ager and continued. “Miss Domona rates the highest of all her peers in psychic awareness and intuition and your powers of observation and rationalization are unmatched, making you the perfect pair to attempt this preposterous, though I believe, not impossible, task—space travel and colonization using only the pure energy of the cosmos to carry individuality in consciousness throughout the universe.
“We’ve done everything we could to eliminate danger, loneliness and fear and to ensure your safe return after successfully locating at least one suitable world. Now, if I may express an old earth saying: God speed to the both of you.”
For the first time, Jerry felt a kinship to the old Inspector. He looked at the lined face and into the deep-set blue eyes under thick, graying eyebrows. His eyes involuntarily watered as he extended his hand to the man who had been responsible to single-handedly convince the Ruler, the ‘Max’(assassinated two years ago by his nephew who now held a shaky reign threatened on all sides by vindictive revolutionaries led by the Max’s son) that dream travel was not an aberration deserving mind re-orienting, but could become an opening to the planets of other star systems, under proper guidance, instruction and containment.
With reluctant authorization and funding from who knows where, he had founded the Institute, recruited trainers and trainees, and been instrumental in developing the biological computer that would “man” the cryonics facility. Yet, in the beginning, his plan had been but a ploy to save the minds of young children who registered out-of-body experiences and were being rounded up to have their minds re-trained for possible use as spies.
Of this and other political tricks and risks, Jerry remained blissfully ignorant by design. His task was not to resolve earth’s surface problems, but to open an escape route to habitable worlds in far-flung star systems within the Milky Way, the greatest adventure ever attempted by man.
As he walked boldly and proudly to a waiting heli-craft, all he could think of was the line borrowed from an ancient sci-fi anthology: “Tomorrow, the Stars” and he added “and Sylvia!”
How fitting that man’s new quantum leap in evolution would be harnessed to the greatest motive force known among the race: romance as expressed by the mutual attraction between a man and a woman. Would a planet in the Tau Ceti system some day possess a sacred book that would speak of its Genesis, and remark upon the beginning of its human race via a “Jerry and Sylvia,” with its God represented as an old Inspector in rumpled gray suit, striped tie and twinkling blue eyes under bushy eyebrows? The answer to that question is even now out there, in the stars…