Ipsissima Verba

S. Yahtahei

Initiation Date 2048.6.22

Copyright 2016

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This novel is a work of fiction. The characters and their names are the creation of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Places and events are either the creation of the author’s imagination, used for literary effect or they are used entirely fictitiously.

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Protected by all international copyright laws

Ipsissima verba

An ancient Latin phrase meaning "the very words"
In religious terms it refers to the sacred words spoken by a deity.

In legal terms it refers to quotes from an established authority.

In political terms it refers to the claims of populist demagogues.
In human terms it refers to your spoken promise.

--To The Reader


Chapter 01-Born To Be Wild
Chapter 02-Dazed And Confused

Chapter 03-Thanks For The Memories

Chapter 04-Can I Get A Witness

Chapter 05-Who's That Lady
Chapter 06-Working 9 to 5
Chapter 07-Tak'n The Time
Chapter 08-Mind Over Matters

Chapter 09-Sonata Number 17

Chapter 10-Whisper Shifting
Chapter 11-Medium Monopoly

Chapter 12-Under My Thumb

Chapter 13-Catch Your Breath

Chapter 14-Born Again, Again

Chapter 15-Rollin On The River

Chapter 16-Bad Moon Rising
Chapter 17-Even Gods Have Enemies

Chapter 18-Deadly Double Talkin'

Chapter 19-Flip Flop and Fly
Chapter 20-Theta Get Your Grove On

Chapter 21-The Mule Sings
Chapter 22-Attune To The Tune

Chapter 23-Sweet Dreams Baby

Chapter 24-Somewhere From There

Chapter 25-What's Goin' On

Chapter 26-What' Cha Got Cookin'

Chapter 27-Eyes Open No Fear

Chapter 28-Doppler Shifting

Chapter 29-Tribute To The Ghost

Chapter 30-Them's Fightn' Words

Chapter 31-Five By Five -

Chapter 32- -Side By Side

Chapter 33-Music For The Mind

Chapter 34-The Power Of Dreams

Chapter 35-Wind Beneath My Wings

Chapter 36-Rumor And Rapture

Chapter 37-What A wonderful World

Chapter 38-The Wicked Or The Divine

Chapter 39-Incubi Can Be Deadly

Chapter 40-Mind Guerrilla Waltz

Chapter 41-Call Of The Nous

Chapter 42-Kindness Of Friends

Chapter 43- Me and Thee and Theta Makes Three

Chapter 44- Madness Of Strangers

Chapter 45- The Bad Seed Blues

Chapter 46- Haunts of Ancient Peace

Chapter 47- Black Swan Event

Chapter 48- Eight Tomorrows

Chapter 49- Wrath Before Dying

Chapter 50- Follow Me Home

For my Great Grand Uncle who once wrote:

“Everything in the universe, all actions by the beings within, follow from prior events and ultimately can only be understood in terms of the movement of time. So if you ignore any reality of time, it is at your own risk.”

-To The Reader
I once imagined, most likely as many of you have, that time travel

is impossible. Do you fully understand time?

Time is purely a human construct. It is simply the comparison of one moment with another.

We humans “invented” our time using observation of the Earth as it traveled around our star, the positions of stars, along with the behavior of animals. Then we manipulated this ocean of knowledge viewed through our human eye into calculated references for our clock and calendar, molding our minds to associate natural cycles with our construct of time.

Humans began using these instruments of time to track events or dates and synchronize our activities, such as classifying seasons to determine the optimum period to plant or harvest crops. We needed those calculations as a way to both make sense of our place on this planet and to organize societies and our individual lives.

As humans advanced they no longer possessed the capacity to imagine living outside the culture of time etched in our calendars and clocks. Human time is an illusion that gives us a false sense of reality.

We know time is flowing and we perceive time to be linear, but time is not linear. A wise human must consider the fact there are millions of planets in our universe that have the potential for life. Maybe not life as we know it, but life nonetheless. Who are we, as mere humans, to say that our understanding of both time and space are absolute?

Who are we to say that traveling through time is absolutely impossible?

It is very possible the understanding of time for inhabitants of different planets might either be faster or slower depending on the prevailing gravitational field and velocity of their planet. Without such movement any understanding of time would not exist.

Is there a grand clock that accurately measures the flow of time for every moment of every planet in the universe? A universal time.

Obviously reality is what we perceive it to be, but please do not trap the cosmos inside your Earthly view of time and space.

Think about how long it took to read this, did you notice time passing? Did you just travel through time?


The history of the universe is filled with abundant examples of the struggle for power and those who would strip empirical liberty from others.

Earth Standard Year 3124:

It was early morning on a late August day. The weather outside was brisk, brought on by the icy winds blowing off the glacier four hundred fifty miles north. Inside their cabin on Yellowstone Lake’s Molly Island, CW and Vienna lay naked cuddled in each other arms. The heat of their bodies warmed the king-sized waterbed and kept them cozy. The roaring fire in the fireplace, last stoked the night before, had burned itself down to red-hot coals. The heat from the coals kept the upstairs bedroom comfortable but not toasty hot.

“Shall we do it again?” CW asked.

“Are you up for it?” Vienna asked. Her crooked smile playfully giving her words more than one meaning.

“Nah, I’m pretty comfortable here on Earth.” CW said jokingly.

“That’s not what I mean and you know it. Anyway, we can be comfortable anywhere.” Vienna willingly explains.

“Yeah, but Earth is our home. I’m tired of saving manic-depressive aliens from other crazed aliens.”

“You know that Mule the tyrant is still out there.” Vienna noted.

“But that's out there not here.” CW proclaims. “And I’m tired of having to eat their strange food. Give me a hunk of dead cow and potato root any day.”

“That’s not very healthy.” Vienna instructs. With a sly grin she says, “You have to eat right cause you’re not getting any younger.”

“Maybe not, but it’s better than the tasteless green or purple guano served on other planets.”

“Well then, how should we start the day?” Vienna flirts.

“I guess we should start with you doing the final edit of my tome for the U.O.H., and I need to learn more about the powers of our bracelets and rings.”

“Work, work, work, is that all you think about?” Vienna asks, looking at CW coyly.

“No,” CW says as he rolls over on top of her, “I can think of other things to do.”

Her voice almost musical Vienna asks, “Then shouldn’t we do them first,” as she arches her back.

CW gazed into Vienna green eyes. Her natural scent kindled a fire deep within him as they tenderly kiss. Wrapping her legs around his waist, she returns his kiss with aroused emotions. When CW slowly tastes her neck and breasts Vienna reacted with loving moans.

Starting the day off right is important no matter which time you are in or what planet you are on.

Chapter 1 - Born To Be Wild...

Sanduval Mule was born of no real standing in life. His father was unknown. His mother died in childbirth. His upbringing was that of a self- taught vagabond traveling the universe of populated worlds. His name was given to himself, by himself, and signified his immense cerebral psychogenic strength and stubbornness of purpose...

It was midway between dusk and dark. The optimum conditions for a final assault. The ammonia-laden wind blew across the surface plains of planet Tuewat like it was alive. Ripping through everything in its path it battered and cut away all vegetation to ground level, then spewed the remains like vomit from the mouth of a mammoth Ehecati wind spirit.

Sand, gravel, and fist-sized fragmented plant shards continuously battered Sanduval’s helmet. The constant bombardment caused his head to vibrate like it was inside a bass drum. The thick clouds of flying dust and debris were so dense his suits scanners were unable to detect where the enemy ground forces had escaped. He crouched low hoping to get the slightest relief from the pounding noise and bruising impacts. Even through his armored spacesuit he could feel each strike of the flying rubble.

Sanduval tapped the activate code into his suits controller on his left arm. Instantly the image on his visor display identified his first destination directly ahead. The dark blue object on the screen signified a large boulder unmoved by the fierce gale. Crawling on his belly he muscled his way along until finally reaching the base of the huge rock. Inching his way to the downwind side he got a moment of relief just as the command sounded in his ear. “Arm and attack.”

Dutifully Sanduval unfastened the locking mechanism on the sheath holding his cobalt crystal saber. The saber was one of two standard issue weapons for a Washu warrior. His other weapon was a Kyln rifle. Charged by the Lutetium crystal within, it fired repeated short bursts of three exploding projectiles equipped with adjustable seeking properties.

Although Sanduval was one of the smaller Washu warriors at six-foot five inches tall and weighing 220 pounds, he was considered a superior warrior. After surviving three previous battles he had proven himself proficient at close combat with the saber and an expert marksman.

Earning a leadership position for a Washu warriors came through combat, and Sanduval's combat proficiency had propelled him to the honorable rank of Merag’don. At the age of one hundred eighteen life-cycles he was the youngest Washu warrior ever to reach such high status.

“Ready” he spoke into the helmet's communication mic. His helmet scanned the area nearby hoping to get a mark on the other members of his team, Commando Force 3. Nothing, the electrical static produced by the winds was interfering with their position signal.

“CF 3, on me,” he barked.

Within a split second he was fired upon from high within the winds. Laser blasts struck the ground around him and ricocheted off the rock where he crouched. One impact caused a splinter of rock to puncture the right shoulder of his space suit. Acting quickly, he reached inside his thigh pocket and retrieved a patch. Within seconds he had placed the self- cementing patch on the leaking hole. His suit rapidly regained pressure.Wheeling to his left he scanned skyward and saw the shooter soaring within the blowing dust.

The attacker’s menacing green eyes beamed brightly through the clear shield of his dull black helmet. It was a Tuewat Sky Warrior riding atop his wind sled preparing to fire another volley.

The fierce Tuewat Sky Warriors were known for their potent fighting capability. Numerous intelligence reports described them as vengeful fighters who slaughtered every enemy they had faced, leaving none alive to retaliate. Typically their strategy was to fill the sky with hordes of warriors then ruthlessly pummel their enemy with unrelenting attacks until victory was achieved.

Sanduval raised his rifle and fired a burst of projectiles directly into the flight path of the enemy, dropping him instantly. Uncontrolled, the warrior’s wind sled swirled and tumbled away, hurled haphazardly by the howling wind. Keeping the rifle high he scanned the hazy sky looking for his next target.

Sanduval heard multiple laser blasts repeatedly being fired just West of his location. In his ear he heard an unintelligible garbled sound as if someone was drowning, then nothing. Dropping to one knee he took aim and fired two more quick bursts at the enemy soaring overhead. Again, two enemies fell to their death.

Confident that nothing could survive their onslaught the Sky Warriors began to randomly dive toward the surface. Their eerie shouts and flashing laser blasts echoed within the wind-swept

fighting of the front lines. He heard mixed sounds of laser blasts, the howling of the wind and the piercing victory yells from the Sky Warriors. The noise from their high- pitch screech sounded like an angry horde of killer insects were swarming within the wind. Suddenly a torrent of laser blasts were being fired at him. Acting quickly he reactivated his spacesuit’s anti-leaser jamming frequency. It was the only thing that might keep him from scores of strikes.

A moment later the attack slowed. They must be regrouping Sanduval thought. Just then three members of CF 3 arrived, crawling on their hands and knees like frightened puppies.

Sanduval shouted, “Where are the rest?” “All dead,” Psaki nervously whimpered.

Crouched behind the boulder and under heavy fire Sanduval, Psaki, Tasos and Gival were the only remaining members of the original twelve that made up CF 3. At that moment out of sky came blistering laser blasts from hundreds of Sky Warriors furiously bombarding their position.

“Open fire,” Sanduval orders.

The CF 3 team, each an expert marksman began firing repeated bursts at the throng of attacking fighters. As they fired each warrior hit would topple off their sled, their dead body snatched up and swept away by the wind.

Gival, the newest member of CF 3, suddenly rolled from behind the boulder, jumped up and shouted, “Die sky gunge,” as he randomly fired into the dust filled sky. Immediately dozens of laser blasts struck the ground around him. He let out a howling grunt when one shot ripped through his suit, grazing his right thigh. He kept firing but the injury forced him to squat down on one knee.

Sanduval leaped from behind the boulder and grabbed him by his suit’s backpack. Spinning him around he slung him to the ground, then ducked back behind the large rock.

Tasos, second in command, grabbed Gival by one of his flailing arms and was able to drag him back behind the boulder. Placing a patch on the ruptures in Gival's spacesuit, he quickly injected him with a painkiller and told him, "Sit tight you mook; here, keep the pressure on."

Sanduval announced into his mic, ”Captain Nailo, enemy in position, fire the EMC. CF 3 deploy shelters.”

The EMC - Effect Metric Corona - is a biological disintegration ray. Typically launched from a hovering space ship, the device would rapidly dive toward the surface until it reached the predetermined altitude. When it detonated it projected a circular ray of proton particles that quickly expanding to a range of four kilometers. The ray would annihilate everything organic within its range.

The Washu battleship Aavial was in stationary orbit twelve thousand miles above the battle field. On board Captain Nailo turned to his weapons officer, “Pin the target on their signal.”

“Confirm Captain” the weapons officer responded.

"On its way," Captain Nailo advised CF 3.

The onslaught of laser blasts continued as the CF 3 team huddled within their EMC shelters and waited. While they waited their shelter’s leaser jamming emitters were the only thing keeping them alive. While useful, the life saving jammers would devourer battery energy at an alarming rate. Just before their shelter’s jammers died Sanduval heard the crackle of the EMC discharge. He first felt the explosive jolt then the vibration as the atmospheric wave passed.

Instantly the laser blasts from above fell silent. There was a rare moment of stillness as the blowing fury of plant shards evaporated. Within seconds the constant pummeling of debris returned. Unmanned sleds flew randomly within the wind, breaking into pieces as they smashed against one another. The deluge of fragmented sled chunks ultimately became part of Ehecati’s projectile vomiting.

With the push of a button on his suits controller his shelter collapsed back into his backpack and immediately Sanduval gave the order, “Psaki, Tasos, spot me, Gival, rear guard.”

Psaki told Gival, “Don’t do anything stupid,” as he and Tasos brought their rifles to their shoulders and gave the ready sign to Sanduval.

Sanduval tapped a code into his spacesuit’s control pad then checked his helmet display. Shades of violet highlighted the cave entrance in the side of a knoll to the north, the portal to the Tuewat command post. Crimson digits tracked the distance to the entrance, exactly 45.328 meters from his location. Slate gray shadows on his display revealed two TaL-5 combat droids standing guard.

The wind was blinding, visibility was less than half of a meter. Fighting the howling gale was going to be difficult but not impossible. He had fought variations of the TaL-5 combat droids before. If their security routines hadn't been reprogrammed his expanded abilities should insure he could advance undetected as hostile.

With intense concentration Sanduval shifted his appearance into a Tuewat Warrior. He hadn’t yet perfected his shape-shifting abilities to their full extent so he could only sustain it for short periods. He estimated it would take him four minutes to get to the entrance, so he had to move quickly. Stooping low and hidden by the dust and flying debris, he silently worked his way toward the entryway . The disguise kept him from being recognized long enough for him to creep within a few steps of the droids.

When he was within striking distance he quickly unsheathed his saber and executed his attacked. Moving at blurringly fast speed his first blow beheaded the droid on the right. Instantly the droid’s body turned limp, its head fell backward, bouncing several times on the ground. Swirling, he quickly side stepped to his left, bent low and with maximum force thrust his saber waist-high into the second droid. The force of the strike completely penetrated the it’s torso. Following his blow with an upward motion he sliced the droid in half, waist to head. It emitted a dull mechanical wail as it ceased to exist.

"Droids down," Sanduval bluntly reported.

With the guards immobilized Sanduval made his way through the flying debris and collected the severed head of the first droid. Using his saber he hastily sheared off it’s left arm just below the elbow.

Making his way to the entrance he stepped inside the mouth of the cave and approached a thick steel door. Holding the droid’s head in front of an orange light in the center of the door he heard a momentary hum then a dull beep. Using the droid's severed hand he touched a flat panel on the door and detected the sound of a latch releasing. Forcefully pushing the door open he dropped the droid’s hand and retrieved a mobile EMC device from his utility belt. He then threw it, along with the droid's head, into the cave and stepped back. When the door automatically slammed shut he quickly deployed his shelter just as he heard the EMC detonate.

“Duty complete,” he said into his mic.

“Well done,” came the reply, “return to retrieval position.”

Sanduval fought his way through the flying rubble until finally making his way back to the team’s defensive position at the boulder. Once there, he and Tasos helped Gival to his feet. “We got-’em didn’t we Merag’don?” Gival asked.

“Yes,” Sanduval replied, “I think we got them all.”

It took another twenty minutes of fighting the crosswinds before the remnants of CF 3 were able to make their way to the extraction point for transport back to the Aavial.

Once at the departure area the sight was staggering. Row after row of Washu corpses were stacked three high. Cyclone force dust devils haphazardly swirled through the rows of bodies like random coiling serpents. Multiple detachments of worker androids dodged the scrap filled spirals as they shrink-wrapped the corpses, preparing them for the voyage. Another group of androids wrestled their freight through the winds and loaded the bodies of the dead into the cargo holes. Dozens of transport vessels were landing and taking off caring their ghoulish freight back to the Aavial for disposal.

In space no resources could be wasted. All available material is useful to some degree and the bodies of dead warriors were no exception. Their wearables would be reused or repurposed. Their organic remains would be recycled as bio-fuel or nutrients for plants grown as foodstuffs in botanic modules. Maintaining an army of millions required forward thinking and access to enormous amounts of useable materials.

Gival received the needed attention as the medical transport lifted off and left the turbulent atmosphere. The rest of the team tried to relax after being in embroiled in heavy combat. The fighting had been fierce and the number of Washu dead was massive, but the battle was won.

When they arrived on the Aavial the crew was celebrating their victory. As the CF 3 survivors disembarked Captain Nailo along with several members of his staff were waiting. They stood at proud attention in their stiff maroon and gray uniforms saluting the triumphant fighters.

Captain Nailo was normally a pitiful, faded-looking being. His sorrowful face highlighted by his narrow oval head sparsely thatched with kinky gray hair made him look sadly fierce. The nappy hair ran down his forehead ending just above his eyes. Presently he wore a beaming smile of jagged yellowed teeth in anticipation of the triumph and glory that will come with defeating the Tuewat.

Outwardly Sanduval was pleased with their success, but intuitively he felt an uneasy sensation. That instinctive gnawing he got when some minuscule detail he couldn't really describe didn't seem right. He had been honing his unique extrasensory abilities for some time now and had grown accustom to listening to that inner feeling. He didn’t know why, but he felt it now.

As the crew's celebration continued Sanduval remained vigilant. He still had that nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. He tried to ignore it, tried to convince himself it was just anxiety caused by the recent combat, but he couldn't suppress it. Fortunately for him his suppression efforts failed.

The haunting sense persisted for several minutes until it began to grow stronger. At that moment he noticed a moving image on a nearby security surveillance monitor. On the screen was an undetected Tuewat battle cruiser rising out of the dust cloud below.

"Enemy attack," yelled Sanduval, pointing to the monitor.

Suddenly round after round from the battle cruiser’s photon cannons started to rapidly bombard the Aavial. Warning buzzers squealed and flashing lights ignited as Aavial’s crew jumped into action.

Instantly racing to a communication stations Captain Nailo yelled, “Navigator, evasive action.”

Too late. One blast hit the command bridge creating shock waves throughout the ship. Defensive screens of the Aavial radiated violet, flickered and faltered just as two more photon beams impact it amidship. The force of the collisions caused the ship to reverberate and lurch violently. Multiple explosions were felt as different deck levels cracked, exploded and burst apart. Two more blasts struck the engine room causing it to flare like a supernova. As the Aavial’s power levels fall she rolled starboard and pitched forward. The sudden attack had caused massive damage. Any protective actions by the crew were too late, the ship was crippled beyond repair. Without shields or power, it was doomed.

His voice raising to a shriek Captain Nailo ordered, “Vacate the Aavial.”

The devastating onslaught continued in never-lessening intensity. Both crew and combat teams alike scrambled frantically to make their way to the evacuation hatchways and the escape pods.

Sanduval watched as Captain Nailo and two crew members were struck by a falling kinetic coil. Blood and intestines gushed in all directions as Captain Nailo was instantly gutted by the rapidly

moving coil. The impact happened so fast it froze a stunned look on his face.

Thrown off balance Sanduval struggled and dodged falling rubble. When another blast hit, the force caused him to stumble, roll forward and begin to float. Still clad in his spacesuit his weightless body twitched and strained against the sudden change in gravity.

Quickly regaining his sense of balance he used his legs to propel himself away from a wall. Thrashing like a fish toward the escape pods he guided himself past the floundering injured, those struggling for life and the floating dead.

Through his spacesuit he could feel the heat coming from the intense violent eruptions. Muffled cries for help and screams of the dying could be heard from somewhere deep within the ship. The sick stench of burning flesh mixed with chemical vapors filled the air. Inhaling the fumes burned Sanduval’s chest causing him to hold his breath.

Grabbing anything he could he heaved himself along until finally making his way to the portal of an escape pod. Diving through the pod’s hatch he quickly closed the access door and immediately hit the eject switch. Blowing out his breath he gulped new air while hastily strapping himself into the pilot seat.

With a loud crack another blast struck the ship just as the pod’s locking mechanisms releases causing it to jerk erratically. Instantly the pod’s rockets fire and the propulsion accelerated it toward higher altitude.

Rocketing away Sanduval watched out the pod’s porthole when the Aavial’s oval shaped fuselage fractured. Nose down it gradually descended until ferociously exploding into clouds of bright crimson flames as it hit the turbulence of the atmosphere.

He had escaped just in time.

Chapter 2 - Dazed And Confused...

My eyes snap open.

Blackness, nothing visible but blackness...

Gradually my eyes become accustomed to the veiling gray shadows. As the fluid in my eyes increase I sense a lone tear creeping from my left eye on its way toward my cheek. A quick blink keeps it from going any further.

With my consciousness slowly improving I take a deep breath, filling my lungs and moving more oxygen-filled blood to my brain. The surge of life- giving gases sharpen my awareness. My first conscious thought; “Ah, another day in the life of C. W. Comstock. Another day, another time.”

Through the grayness my eyes notice a dim glow of white light looming overhead. Little by little my sight clears and the object becomes recognizable. It’s the moon of Earth in three-quarter cycle. Behind it is a familiar sight - the deep blackness of space sprinkled with millions of shimmering points of light of Earth’s starscape, the Milky Way.

I lay unmoving for several seconds letting my physical awareness spread. Compelling another deep breath the cool air I inhale reminds me how the air on Earth always tasted sweet. Straining to awaken my stiff muscles I straighten and stretch my back. My body quivers as the nerves tingle in response. Gradually the warm pulsing sensation of life grows and moves from inside my head until completely embracing my torso. At the same time I struggle to gather my lone wit.

With my body finally coming to life I instinctively reach to confirm that my bracelet and ring are still firmly attached.

“Good,” I say aloud in a painfully dry raspy voice.

Widening my vision I focus on distant mountains and the slate colored storm clouds rolling over them, slowly moving this way.

With my senses improving I center my hearing on the splashing sound of fluid. Turning my head, squinting slightly, I can just make out the blurry image of a flowing stream. The splashing of the stream against it's rocky shoreline caused a bluish mist to rise into the air. An occasional breeze would blew the cool mist across my face.

Like a spotlight through the mist a beam of moonlight directed my attention to my Jyotti spacesuit. It was casually thrown over a large rock a few yards away. The spacesuit appeared to be intact and, I hope, still working. Next to it lay my iJotter emitting its soft hue of activation.

With considerable effort I painfully force my stiff body into a sitting position, pause to gain equilibrium, then struggle to roll onto my hands and knees. I hesitate for another moment before unsteadily pushing myself to a standing position. Another cool breeze wafts across my unclothed six- foot four-inch frame. As it drifts by damp dust rises from the ground and fills the air, the familiar smell flows into my nostrils.

Balancing on the tips of my toes I stretch both arms straight up as if to touch the sky. Every muscle in my body is pulled tight against the gravity, opening my joints. The strain on my muscles causes a surge of vitality to course through me, making me feel stronger. With my body needing every fraction of time to recover I hold that position for several seconds before relaxing.

The approaching storm clouds arrive and a light drizzle begins to fall on my naked body. Little by little it turns into larger drops until an ever- increasing cascade of hard pouring rain washes down.

“Ah, I need a good shower,” I snigger to myself.

The pouring rain feels cool and refreshing as it steadily washes my body clean - Earth clean. Opening my mouth wide the rainwater quickly fills it and I swallow several gulps of the much-needed liquid. Combing my fingers through my wet brown hair, it feels longer than I remember. When I touch my chin I feel the stubble of new beard growth.

The storm moves on and the last of the deluge again turn to sprinkles. Still unsteady, I force my limp body to stagger through the trickling rain to the large rock. Finally plopping down on the hard surface. Reaching out with my right hand I pick up the iJotter.

At that exact moment the familiar sting of data input from my Craft abruptly enters my mind. The sudden surge causes my facial muscles to tighten and contort into a grimace. With intense concentration I force my mind to push back the mounting feeling of sensory overload.

Subconsciously I can sense the Craft’s exact location. It’s floating silently eighteen thousand miles straight up.

As the Craft’s data floods my mind the input grows stronger, forcing its way into my memories. The data stream grows even more intense until it feels like a railroad spike is being plunged deep into my skull, making my entire body jerk and spasm.

“That’s enough,” I yell hoarsely, and the data flow stops.

Focusing my thoughts I mentally gain control and moderate the intensity of the incoming data stream. “There,” I growl and the information begins to flow smoothly. As the Craft continues feeding me more and more details I must accept the fact that my mind's sanctuary has ended.

The memories were returning more rapidly now. Yes, it was all coming back. It seems like only yesterday.

Chapter 3 - Thanks For The Memories...

It was Earth year 3124. Just six months ago Vienna and I had returned to Earth. We were living an uneventful life in our log cabin on Molly Island on the southern tip of the southeast arm of Yellowstone Lake.

Following our most recent spacetime journey to the planet Kr’galmaan in the Earth Standard year 2746 we gladly welcomed the change. Spacetime travel could be stimulating, but so could being together in quiet solitude.

That trip had taken several months of analyzing metadata alterations of the Kr'galmaan's archived history. We had poured over individual data records from implanted memory chips as well as millions of recorded tomes and media transcripts. Our findings resulted in both of us fighting in a merciless war.

Using the spacetime traveling abilities of the bracelet and ring I had personally experienced various planetary societies. While on those trips I had acquired knowledge of the structural influences of history on a culture and the socio-psychological perspectives that drove societal behaviors.

That knowledge, along with Vienna’s excellent computer skills, had enabled us to untangle the chronological murkiness of the historical records of Kr’galmaan devilishly fabricated by Sanduval Mule. After the facts were made public it caused major societal unrest and ultimately a cultural rebellion. This led the Kr’galmaan beings, and us, into mortal combat against the tyranny of Sanduval Mule's puppet O'czardaa and his well-armed minions.

Partnered with TicTic R’gneraq and his brave warriors from the planet Otos assisting Pu-illeo and her Kr’galmaan army, we had taken the battle directly to O'czardaa’s forces. We mercilessly eliminated them with the vengeance that comes from the necessity of continued existence. Side-by- side we fought many battles and killed many beings. This meant the death or capture of most of O'czardaa’s ignorant pawns.

Not only did we defeat O'czardaa, we terminated Sanduval Mule’s scheme of manipulating their historic past and restored order to the matrices of their society. Our victory insured the Kr’galmaan beings a brighter future and the freedom and individual liberty they craved and rightfully deserved.

After that excursion Vienna and I swiftly returned to Earth. Deciding to take a sabbatical from war and spacetime travel we spent most of our days at the cabin. Treasuring the quiet and our time together. Only the occasional visit to civilization broke up this pleasant existence.

Once a month we would board my Craft and floating like an invisible feather on a gentle wind the Craft glided south. The leisurely two-hour trip followed the rugged slopes of the winding Yellowstone River, along the twisting path of the raging waters of Trappers Creek, finally ending at the small cloister of humanity called Colter City.

I landed my Craft in a secluded grassy clearing just beyond the populated area of the city. After commanding it to stay veiled until our return we unhurriedly left the meadow and descended the sloping ground the remaining two miles. Strolling hand in hand we followed the winding trappers path through the dense woods with its thick canopy of colored leaves. We would then pass though a small clearing with wildflowers and buzzing insects.

When we arrived at Colter City we mingled with other human inhabitants and purchased needed supplies. Typically, we stocked up on freshly grown vegetables, newly caught fish and the meat of small animals. After our shopping spree we returned to the Craft, stored our goods and made the relaxing trip back to the cabin.

As I remember, it was four-fifteen in the afternoon on this typical August day. Because of Earth’s ongoing glacial period the weather outside was cool but pleasant. Out the large windows the gray sky was beginning it’s ritual change to dusk. The towering trees would sway rhythmically as the crisp breeze blew through their bare branches. I had just placed a few logs on the fire to keep the room warm. The crackling sound as the logs flamed into action was somehow soothing. Vienna lay comfortably stretched out on the leather couch with a wool blanket thrown across her legs. She was engrossed in the final editing of my most recent tome for the U.O.H.. She would rotate between taking a sip from a cup of hot chocolate to chewing on the back-end of her dreaded red stylus.

I sat at my Oak roll-top desk continuing my quest of deciphering the ring’s intricate markings. Over the last few days I had used the spacetime travel ability of the bracelet and taken a few brief trips that I thought were clues... they weren’t.

Unexpectedly, I vanished.

All of a sudden I was standing in the middle of the now familiar breathing chamber with those intense bright lights shining down.

“Welcome C.W. Comstock”, came the sharp telepathic communication. “I was hoping not to hear from you for a while.” I replied aloud.

“It is pleasant to view you again as well,” Oojavan sent.

Oojavan was the only being of the board of the U.O.H. I had ever communicated with. If you can call the feeling of being repeatedly hit in the head with a hammer a form of communication. He, or she, I’m not sure which, had told me before that he was whispering. I’m just glad I’d never felt him shout. Had he screamed my head would most certainly have exploded.

“That’s not exactly what I meant. What do you want?” I asked harshly, as the brain-pain grew.

“To the point as usual. You wish to know the inspiration for this visit. We require your chronicle."

“You'll have it soon." This is strange. They had never pushed me for my story before. I wonder what these weasels are really up to?

"Excellent. It is with pleasure we also require your valued assistance."

I knew it. "For what purpose?" I say with disdain.

"There is a potential for severe verity disruption of the quantal ora’ that must be rectified.” Oojavan sent plainly.

In a defiant tone I replied, “I’ve told you before, I will not be at your beck and call to fix your problems. I will submit my chronicles as required, but that is all.”

“The potential disruption is verified as instigated by Sanduval Mule. Naturally, we theorized with your acknowledged expertise in such matters you would be interested in assisting us toward the solution.”

“Sanduval Mule huh? That devil is at it again? What and where is it this time?” I asked.

“If we have satisfactory concurrence, the U.O.H. will deliver all that you require.”

“Yeah, right. I’ve heard that before,” the brain-pain becoming almost unbearable.

“Rest assured it is a certainty.”

“Right... Hey, can you tone down the pain a notch or two?”

“Please forgive me. I neglect consideration of your cerebral infancy. Is this more pleasant for you?

“Thank you, that’s a little better, yes,” I replied, as the brain-pain eased slightly.

“Then you agree to assist us?”

“No... I do not. I need more information. I need details. Either tell me the whole story, or send me back and solve the problem yourself.”

“We can inform you that within this time parameter innocent beings are in the medial construct of societal manipulation. Their civilization is in peril. If this linear baseline continues, cultural disruption will surely be inevitable and the beings will suffer for many generations.”

Experience has taught me that the U.O.H. does nothing without an objective. Their strict rules for shielding the compositions of the past and their complex nexus for the future was not something I wanted to be involved with, again.

Yeah, they had given me the bracelet and ring time devices to help me write my stories. Their only requirement was that I chronicle my travels. The bracelet and ring have become invaluable tools for both my writings and my life. By turning the dials on the bracelet to the desired time, then touching the green gemstone, I could travel to any time in the past or future. Touching the red gemstone instantly brought me back to the time where I had started. Touching the blue gemstone on the ornately inscribed ring stopped time for a little over a minute. I’m fairly sure there was one fact they did not know. I had deciphered some of the inscriptions on the ring and gained additional abilities.

Anyway, my latest story for them was complete. Vienna was editing it now. The next documented chronicle would be much less dangerous for us both. Even though they had supplied the bracelet and ring time devices, they did not own me. I travel and write for my pleasure, not theirs.

“I'm sure you can make the necessary changes yourself. You have informed and shown me your powers. Why do you need me?”

This requires a more personal form of participation by someone dependable. Someone who will not take undue advantage of the circumstances.”

“I’m sure you know others who have the time devices that you could coerce into helping you. Why not them?”

“You have proven yourself a most reliable asset for such conditions.”

“Do you think I will just solve your problem then go away? Are you offering me a choice?”

“Yes, it is your choice to assist us. Unlike Sanduval Mule, we believe you will do everything in your power to oblige those threatened and return to your life on Earth. You have proven both your abilities and your trustworthiness.”

Do these scoundrels think I will fall for their compliments? That just shows how senseless they think I am. Although, the least I can do is hear what they have to say. “Okay, I’ll listen, but I will not commit to anything until I hear the whole story, all the details. If you are not going to tell me everything, forget it.”

I could hear, or rather feel, a mixture of murmuring conversations with other U.O.H. members, although none of it made any sense. It was just unintelligible prattle bouncing around in my head.

Finally Oojavan sent, “It is customary for this body to eternally express reality. Accordingly on this issue you have a modest advantage. As you wish, we will be candid.

For the sake of the sequential chronology of acquired knowledge and to preserve the sustainability of the chronostream of the quantal ora’, we must correct this potential for disruption as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, we must equally exercise the secure operation of chronal continuity exclusive to preordained galactic beings such as yourself.

In keeping with the regulations accompanying the acceptance of the traversing instruments, specifically directive 14b.8.j.9c... if you do not assist us, the instruments and their possessor as well as all those with knowledge of their existence, will be terminated.”

“Let me get this straight, if I don’t help you, you will kill me. Is that it?”

“You are indeed highly perceptive. A trait not commonly found in all beings. If you desire absolute bluntness, yes! You and Vienna Pitts as well, as she too has ownership and knowledge of the existence of the

traversing instruments.”

I had become fiercely protective of that feisty beauty I’d saved so long ago. Vienna had filled my meager existence with a passion more precious than my own life. I couldn’t let these alien bastards harm her.

I knew these arrogant weasels would do anything to get what they want. “Well then,” I say, loathing dripping from my words, “if that is my only choice, tell me what you want me to do.”

“Then we are in agreement, you will willingly assist us.

“Willingly? I guess I have too if I want to live.”

“Your answer is affirmative?”

I hesitated. These slimy scumbags will do whatever it takes to get their way. Sarcastically I answered, “Yes, I will help you.”

“Excellent decision.” Oojavan sent, sounding almost euphoric, “The first phase will be your cognitive preparation.”

“What kind of preparation? I thought you said I had all the experience and expertise that was needed.”

“Your known abilities are numerous and welcome, yet the requirements for this solution are not typical for your many strengths and additional preparation is a necessity to insure your chance of survival,” Oojavan explained.

“Oh, my chance of survival, eh?” You deceitful scoundrels. If I don’t do what they want they will kill me and Vienna. If I do as they ask I’ll probably get killed anyway. Some choice these degenerate scumbags have given me. “Okay then, what kind of preparation, and where do I have to go to get it?”

“You must be prepared to resist cerebral harmonic resonance vibrations. This preparation will not be trouble-free for your limited psyche, although we are optimistic you possess adequate inner cerebral strength. You must travel to the planet Q’nine in the Earth year 3178. Once there, Noiiz Ringwattanajiinga will contact you for the preparation process. After you complete the sequence further instructions will be available.”

“Cerebral what? You mean I have to suffer more brain-pain while some alien creature probes around in my head?I complained. Maybe I shouldn’t have agreed to this. Death may have been a better choice. But then Vienna would also be dead. I can’t let that happen.

I think I’m going to need a larger bottle of painkillers for this trip.

“The instruction is essential for your success. Here are the coordinates for Q’nine.”

With that, I felt a sharp pointed sting deep in my head. “Ouch.” I yelp. I’ll never get used to that.

Allowing some alien creature to play psychological Ping-Pong inside my head is not something I looked forward to. My mental capacity and thought processes are fine the way they are. But if it keeps Vienna safe, I’ll have to go through with it. I knew these wretched vermin wouldn't leave us alone.

“I have to return and inform Vienna of the situation before leaving,” I explained.

“Do as you must. You are required to begin your journey to Q’nine within 24 of your hours in the pre-stated Earth year. Noiiz Ringwattanajiinga must not be kept waiting.” Oojavan demanded.

“Got it,” I agreed.

Damn those contemptible bastards...

Chapter 4 - Can I Get A Witness...

When I reappeared in the cabin Vienna was still snugly sprawled on the leather couch engrossed in her editing, never noticing I’d been gone. Of course for her it was merely a fraction of a second.

Turning to face her I abruptly interrupted the silence, “Guess what,” I said in an irritated tone of voice.

Vienna paused from her work and looked up. “What?” she asked somewhat surprised by my sudden attitude.

“I’ve just had a visit with the U.O.H.,” continuing my irritated tone.

“Just now? I didn’t even notice.” she grumbled.

“Yeah, they sent me back just a second ago.” I growled.

Narrowing her eyes in a curious expression she asked, “What did they want?”

“They asked for my help and I have reluctantly agreed.”

“Why you? Aren’t there others they could get to help them?”

“To be totally honest, they gave me no choice. Rather, they gave me a clear ultimatum. Do what they want or we both die.”

“Die? Both of us, why?” Vienna blurted out, raising both eyebrows in shock.

“Yes, both of us. Because we both have our bracelets and rings and, as Oojavan put it, ‘have knowledge of their existence’.”

“Should I talk to them?” Vienna queried. “They’ve always been nice to me.”

“If you think you can change their minds, be my guest. Just remember, Oojavan has the personality of a used coffin and we’ve been deceived by him before.”

She paused for a second recalling their last encounter with the U.O.H, then asked, “Wait a minute, exactly what do they want you to do?”

“They think Sanduval Mule is tinkering with the society of some planet again, or waging another war, or something even worse. I don’t know for sure.”

“I thought we had taken care of him for good the last time,” Vienna said sounding irritated.

“Apparently not.”

“What exactly are you suppose to do? Where do they want you to go? Did they say how long it would take? I hope it’s not as long as it took on Kr’galmaan. That took us months and we almost got killed several times.”

“So many question, so few answers.” I muttered in disgust.

“What do you mean? They must have told you something. Didn’t they explain anything?”

“Unfortunately not a drop of factual information. Just that I have go or else. Believe me, I tried to convince them of other options. But there’s no way I could refuse.”

“Well then, when do we go?” Vienna added excitedly.

“Ah... I have to go alone. They said I have to go through some kind of mental preparation first, then wait for further instructions. And if I didn’t go though with this training, I could be mentally harmed.”

“I don’t like it. It’s all very mysterious even for them. And why can’t I go? Remember my training with Pu-illeo, I’m much stronger mentally. The Mule’s mental attacks had no affect on me.”

“As I recall, we both fired at Mr. Mule. Wait a minute, are you saying I have a weak mind?” I said smirking.

“I didn’t mean that at all, your mind is as strong as ever.” She teased. Her voice was playful, but her eyes held a malicious sparkle as she smiled that crooked smile of hers, “I simply have some... insight that could be helpful.” she explained in her special cozy tone.

“Believe me, I wish you could come. I don’t like leaving you alone.”

“Hey, I’m a big girl and I can take care of myself.” She said proudly.

“I know you can. I just like being with you.”

Vienna tilted her head to one side, smiled, then stepped close, opened her arms and gave me a long hug. Burying her head in my shoulder she lovingly stroked the muscles of my back. Understandably, she was bothered about me leaving without her. I’m sure she hadn’t planned on being secluded in the cabin for any length of time. But, as usual, she was very understanding.

She was tougher than her appearance would have you believe. Life’s lessons had taught her to keep her iron fisted ambiance well hidden inside a velvet glove of beauty and logic. If necessary she could convey a facade of hardness towards life, but it was always tempered by a deep pool of softness in her heart.

Anyway, if she really wanted or needed too, she could use her bracelet to travel.

Vienna bit her lip and pouted, “Well, I guess that’s it then.” Her face looking momentarily hurt. “Just be careful, and make sure you come back to me in one piece,” she pleaded, her eyes turning moist, “and don’t forget, that Mule guy is an expert deceptionist.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be careful.” I said with a smile.

We made small talk about supplies, the weather, and nothing important as I slipped into my Jyotti suit and gathered a few things for the trip, including a large bottle of pain killers. We then became quiet. No words were necessary because we each knew what the other was thinking. The air between us was clear and loving. Finally, we walked out towards the landing pad and my Craft, letting our hands softly touch as we walked.

The Craft shimmered in the sunlight like a 80 foot long floating teardrop of quicksilver. When we said our good-byes I caressed her gently, hugging and kissing her several times before turning and stepping into the spaceship. Stopping at the entrance I turned and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be back in no time.”

Vienna composed herself. A wide smile spread across her face as she gave an affirming wave. For her, C.W.’s promise was like another loving caress.

Once inside I turned left, walked down the hall into the control area and sat down in the command seat located just off-center. The seat was made of the same material as the rest of the Craft. When I sat down the soothing warmth was relaxing as it gently molded itself to the curves of my body. Placing both arms on the armrests, my hands disappear from view, sinking wrists deep into the flowing silverish

material. The familiar feeling surrounding my hands was like a pair of warm gloves.

Dr. Jyotti Rabbet, with assistance from Kr’galmaan scientists, had designed and constructed my Craft in the Earth year 2746. As he explained it to me, the Craft’s core structure was a genetic variation of my own DNA. Somehow my DNA had been integrated into a nucleoplasm made of multi-walled carbon nanotubes interwoven with graphene carbon nanofibers. Amazingly, the material was super strong. It had withstood attacks from various advanced weapons from particle beams and lasers to ion plasma cannons. The Craft also had light absorbing and shape-altering capabilities. My connection to the Craft was my hands immersed in the armrests of the seat. My mind had total control. Whatever I thought, the neurons from my brain pulsed into the Craft, instantly converting brainwaves into commands. This electrical interaction was the same pathway that the Craft’s sensors and subsystems integrated with my mind. Jyotti called it the Conscious Cortex Looping system. On my last trip, I had taken a small piece of the Craft’s material and placed it inside my iJotter. This allowed me, with a simple touch to the iJotter, to have immediate cerebral communication with the Craft from almost any distance.

Jyotti had also designed the Craft’s propulsion system. He told me it was an electromagnetic converging ionized gluon plasmic drive. I have no idea what all that means but according to Jyotti, the Craft was capable of varying and equalizing the frequency oscillations of magnetic fields. He called it the MagNIP drive. Basically Jyotti had been able to harness and allow my Craft, and me, to control the magnetic energy of gravity.

The Craft was mine and mine alone. Without my DNA no one else could control it, and its speed and precision were incredible. It would do anything I could dream up -- hover at any altitude from inches above ground to billions of miles in outer space. It could dive under water, change its shape, and even become virtually invisible by duplicating and reflecting its surroundings. The MagNIP drive enabled the Craft to travel at quantum light speed. It was a fantastic machine. I loved it.

Dr. Jyotti Rabbet was not merely a brilliant scientist he was also a friend. He had not only designed the Craft and its propulsion system, he had also designed my spacesuit, which I had affectionately dubbed the Jyotti suit. The hooded suit clung to my body head to toes like a second skin. Pulling the hood over my head immediately transformed it into an all- encompassing helmet, including a face-covering visor with a heads-up display. At the same time the suit completely sealed and pressurized. It has proven to be impervious too most weapons, saving my life many times.

After getting comfortable, I gave a quick thought and the Craft immediately shot twenty-four thousand miles straight up and stopped. I sat for a long moment using the Craft’s visual sensors to observe the Earth. In this time-space its northern glaciers extended down to the border between the U.S. and Canada. To the south, there were glaciers covering the southern tip of the South American continent. Even in this global glacial period, Earth was a beautiful planet. Without a second thought I dial my bracelet to the year 3178, took a deep breath and touched the green stone.

Instantly the Earth looked different. The spacetime change was obvious. The slow moving northern and southern glaciers had begun to recede from their push toward the equator. With the coordinates Oojavan had painfully stamped into my memory, I set the Craft’s course for the planet Q’nine. I was in a hurry to get started, and finished.

According to the Craft’s stats, the fastest I had ever traveled was 2,946 times faster than light speed. That was during my last trip with Vienna. But Jyotti had told me that because the Craft uses the gravitational energy of even distant objects in space, he didn’t know the limit of it’s speed. Although he had told me that according to his quantum photon experiments he estimated the Craft could cruise at superluminal speeds. When I ask the Craft to calculate the total travel time to Q’nine at my last speed, it indicated exactly 2.26 parsecs. That was unacceptable, much too long to be away from Vienna. I directed the Craft to recalculate using its fastest possible velocity through every magnitude of gravitational field attraction and propulsion it could. This reduced the travel time to just 51.465 hours.

“Now that’s Star Speed.” I said with a smile, “Yes, much better.”

Commanding the Craft onward toward Q’nine I snarled, “I mustn’t keep this Noisy Ringajinga being waiting.”

Chapter 5 - Who's That Lady...

Vienna lay sprawled across the king-sized waterbed in the master bedroom on the second floor of the cabin. Her emerald green eyes softly blinked open. Outside the tall east-facing windows the sun was slowly rising. The beaming radiance caused the tint of the windows to darken against the golden glare. It was 6:24 in the morning of another long day alone.

Gently turning her head, she snuggled deeper into the soft pillow and gazed out the windows. For a long while she lay looking at the radiant blue sky listening to the chirping birds. The clean gray sheets felt smooth and warm against her nude body. Occasionally the birds would flit past the windows as they busied themselves with their morning ritual of searching for food. Their fleeting shadows sporadically danced across her face. Her short auburn hair was mussed from sleeping. With a lazy gesture she brushed a stray strand back from her forehead. Rolling onto her back the bed shifted, making a slow motion wave. Raising her arms over her head she arched her back and stretched, letting out a deep sigh in the process.

Her body lay quietly but her mind was busy. It was obvious that she was getting restless. She had enjoyed the solitude for a few days but now she was tired of being alone, especially in bed. She pushed that thought to the back of her consciousness. Using her left hand she threw the bed coverings to one side. Swinging her legs off the bed she stood and rubbed the sleep from her eyes then slowly strolled to the bathroom.

After relieving herself of nature’s call she started the water and moments later stepped into the stone-walled shower. In no hurry to start the day she took a long hot shower. The steam rolled from the shower filling the room and fogging the clear glass of the shower enclosure. Emerging from the shower she casually dried herself with a large soft towel. After vigorously towel-drying her hair she shook her head from side-to-side so her hair flew freely to let nature do the final drying process.

Casually walking into the cedar-lined closet she scanned the hanging cloths trying to decide what to wear. Finally making her choice she threw on a pair of faded denim jeans and an old gray t-shirt with the face of a Ba'cho wolf stenciled on the front. Taking her time she strolled down the wooden staircase, turned left and entered the kitchen. She filled a teapot and placed it on the stove to heat up then cut two slices of raw grain bread from a full loaf and placed them into the toaster.

Moments later the bread popped up from the toaster just as the teapot sang it’s whistling song of readiness. Mechanically she spread homemade cinnamon flavored cream cheese on the toasted bread. Showing no evidence of emotion she ate the toast and nibbled on slices of a Red Delicious apple. Washing it all down with a fragrant mouthful of hot ginger green tea.

Occasionally she would glance across the living area at CW’s most recent tome for the U.O.H.. I should be editing, she thought to herself. No, that would be her third editing process. No part of her wanted to do it again. There was no need, the book was accurate, excellently written and did not need any revisions. Actually, she thought to herself, the story was no longer so very remarkable. She had lived it.

When she had finished her last mouthful she got up and tossed her trash into the waste bin, placed her used cup in the sink and stared out the window above the sink. I should be doing something more productive, she brooded, continuing her pensive state. She had certain capabilities she knew would be needed wherever CW was. Unsuccessfully she tried to push the thought of CW away, which was difficult. They went together like peanut butter and chocolate, she chuckled to herself.

Moving to the kitchen island she sat on one of the stools. For ten long minutes she sat looking around the inside of the cabin, wondering what to do next. Since meeting CW she had suffered with an increasingly dangerous case of curiosity and impetuousness. Those traits had always been within her but it had taken CW to bring them to the surface.

“Exercise” she almost shouted. Exercise, be it yoga, aerobics or gatka, was her form of stress relief and escape from the mundane. Most of the time, she practiced her own mixture of yoga and gatka.

As she went through her exercise routines her thoughts roamed then anchored themselves on her experience during her visit to Colter City two day’s before. The memory had teased the back of her mind ever since. She again reviewed what had happened. Was what she saw and felt an illusion? Positioning herself in Sarugu Dhyana Mudra, she closed her eyes tightly as her mind traveled through her memories, examining the tiniest details of the moment...

While sitting at one of the outdoor restaurants enjoying a cup of black tea, a pattern of unusual disturbance nearby caught her eye.

The distraction she noticed was the haphazardness of time stopping and restarting. Because she wore her bracelet and ring the time stoppage had not affect her. Even so, she stayed motionless when it occurred so as not to draw attention to herself. She had also felt an unusual murmur of thought so strong it made the hair on her arms

stand tall. She felt it, lost her connection for a split second, regained it almost immediately, then lost it again. Frustrated, she had looked around the area at the people close by, then widened her search to survey the surrounding locale. But there was no trace of where the thought could have come from.

That incident continued to haunt her. Maybe she should go back to the market today. Yes she should, she thought, suddenly determined to solve this new mystery. Anyway, she needed something to do.

She transformed into the meditative Jalandhara Bandha position holding it for several moments as her mind continued to wonder. Altering her position to the plank pose she held it for several moments then began her daily fifty push-ups. She continued her routine with the Bakasana, slowly converting into Balasana, and resting in that pose for several minutes.

“That’s enough,” she thought to herself. Time is wasting.

Taking long strides she went back upstairs, again striped to bare skin and slipped into her Jyotti suit. Over her suit she put on a pair of jeans, a warm shirt with a hoodie attached and her favorite western boots, grabbed her overcoat and went downstairs. Standing in the center of the room, Vienna turned the dials of her bracelet to the exact latitude and longitude of the clearing where she and CW usually landed the Craft and three minutes into the future. She touched the blue stone on the ring to the green stone of the bracelet and stepped into the floating blue nothingness between time zones.

Stepping out she began the two mile walk to town. As she strolled through the wooded grove she again thought of CW. During their combat on Kr’galmaan he had always reminded her that she must keep her situational awareness at a high level no matter the time or place. To always stay ready to confront the unknown with authority even if she didn’t fell threatened with imminent physical or mental danger. What was surprising for her is that she felt relaxed in this time-space. No sweaty palms and no suffocating fears. For the first time in centuries there was no fighting or wars anywhere on the planet. The people of Earth were in mutual survival mode due to the continued glacial period. Sadly billions of unprepared Earthlings had died of starvation or frozen to death during the change. Now they helped each other more than at anytime in history. Species survival was more important than territorial and tribal disputes.

After her short walk through the forest she arrived in town, strolled around for a while then sat down at an empty table in the outside seating area of one of the cafés. Several tables were occupied by customers of various classes, determined by their clothing. A few waitresses sliced their way around the tables and chairs delivering their orders to and from the kitchen.

The air was thick with the smell of baking bread and grilled meats. She watched with interest as the human traffic moved around the village streets. The main street was somewhat busier today than her previous visits. Moving along the walkway she watched couples strolling by hand in hand, as well as single men and women. In a grassy yard down the street children laughed and chattered as they played. Her eyes continued to survey her surroundings, down the aisles of tables and chairs sitting outside the various eating establishments and along the spacious rows of brick building. She tried to convince herself that whatever she had seen and felt before was only an illusion, that it was nothing she should concern herself with.

Stopping at an outside cafe she sat for a while enjoying being among others. Soon a waitress came by and asked if she wanted anything.

“Yes, I’ll have a cup of green quince tea please.”

“Is that all?”

“Thank you, yes that’s all.”

Moments later the waitress returned with the warm mug of tea. Vienna paid her in coin and continued her observations. After two cups of tea she tired of sitting and started her stroll around the town, stopping on occasion to window shop. She leisurely walked first down one side of the long street then crossed and did the same up the other side.

She repeated her trip down the street then back up the other side several times during the day. Occasionally she would get a slight murmur of thought but was never able to pin point the source. By the end of the day she had discovered nothing that would help her unravel the mysterious feeling of mind-to-mind communication. Returning to the clearing, she dialed her bracelet to the cabin’s location and three minutes into the future and again touched the blue stone of her ring to the green stone on her bracelet

All that evening her mind raced as she pondered those strange thought occurrences. Something was going on and she knew it.