We sat there for a long time without speaking, our heartbeats merging and making us one. Soon the sun would be rising and a new day would be upon us.
A delicate point I should not mention, but it is a bit funny, in a way. When Sharipya is projecting as a man, he always wears clothes and I believe he would even be embarrassed to be seen without anything on. And yet, when he is with us as an Elipian, there is no sense of modesty. None of us girls, not even Lucy, would be rude enough to stare at what can be seen of his Elipian penis and so on, so hopefully the subject will never be mentioned.
Our horses become skittish, rolling their eyes and retreating in fear when he comes close to them. When he takes on the form of man, they still will not let him approach them. The only aliens they’ve always ignored are the Sparklers, while the Gillians were soon loved by them. Of all of us, they’ve responded the best to Tina. To see her galloping past us with her wild hair streaming, her slim body an extension of the horse, riding without saddle or reins, is like being transported to some other epoch when nature and man were both still wild. Sharipya admitted that when she rides, he often gallops alongside, but out of view of the horse, and instead of reaching to share the sensations of the horse, he reaches for Tina. He said that her wild enjoyment of the power beneath her, the speed and wind in her face, are the closest to his.
Sharipya comes to the dome whenever we are there, but he will also spend many hours by himself, or with just Lucy, watching the star systems passing by, and he never ceases to be amazed at the speed with which we travel. Since we are aiming for his world in the present time, Robbie is able to take large jumps, which means that the trip will only take us a bit more than five weeks. We did not tell him that as we had been there previously we could have jumped there much faster - Robbie wants to give him and us time to get to know each other better.
“When you have your family Shari, will you still want me to visit you?”
“Of course I will Lucy. Not that you will be able to visit us often, the journey takes a long time.”
“Oh no it won’t, I’ll just jump there!”
Robbie went pale around his lips. “Lucy, you can’t jump that far.”
“Why? All I have to do is think of where I want to be.”
“You will not try it!” He was still pale, his face drawn with fear at the thought of her trying it. “It is not the same as jumping to another Earth.”
Robbie sat there helpless, not knowing how to answer her, but determined to forbid it. He could feel it would be fatal, but does not have enough knowledge to explain his fear. Since he has always encouraged us to fight him or anyone who tries to limit our freedom, he was in a quandary. To order her not to, will cause further problems that will ripple out to change his dream. The protector appeared, but only to take a seat and listen.
Relieved, Robbie asked, “Protector, can you explain to Lucy why she must not?”
He nodded. “I am more interested in how you will solve your own problem.”
Robbie did not appreciate the seemingly flippant answer, but he did not make an issue of it. Lucy ignored what is going on between them, concentrating only on her determination to do as she wants.
“Lucy, do you trust me, the protector part of my love for you? I’m telling you now, I can feel that if you try to jump there, you will be killed. I cannot give you scientific reasons, just what I feel.”
She does have total faith in him, but she can also be stubborn at times. “You can find out Robbie. If you know I must not and why, I’ll listen to you.”
“Something tells me I do know, but I can’t explain my feelings right now. Okay love, I’ll get you the proof you need.”
Now it was Cherine who blanched. Her fear infected all of us, even though we did not understand what she had realised. Her words were like ice dropped down our backs. “You will not try to jump Robert!”
“I can’t let her be the one to try Cherine.”
The protector put his hand on her shoulder and she turned to look at him. We felt her calm down as she stared into his eyes. He smiled and looked at Robbie. “So, the only way you can stop her is by committing suicide? You know you cannot jump that far.”
“I am but thought, an idea. You are a soul with flesh.”
“Nonsense, Tina says you have a soul.”
“That will happen if you allow it and do not reabsorb me periodically. I am but a part of your mind, this body a physical manifestation of thought. I do not belong to the physical world of matter, not yet, if I ever do. As for jumping to other planets, as the void you can transfer your point of reference instantly, but not as Robert from Earth - not at this time.”
“As you said, you know. Lucy is not about to jump, you have months to reflect on it. Find your own answer Robert.”
Robbie did not answer, his thoughts on the conversation. The protector just sat waiting.
“What do you mean, if I allow it? Why shouldn’t I?”
The protector stood up with a smile. “That is for the future Robert. You will find your own answer to that also.” His fingers lightly touched Lucy’s cheek. “There is little point in rebelling Lucy, Robert does not speak as a father. Trust in his instincts.” He glanced at me, sensing my thoughts and smiled before abruptly fading away.
I’d guessed at what he meant, Robbie still needs to feel he can reabsorb the protector so that he remains in control. Was he predicting that Robbie will change someday? I had an intriguing puzzle to work on, but I could not concentrate on my thoughts as I was annoyed with Lucy. We have a number of aliens sitting with us and they had all been watching, their interest solely in how Robbie will handle Lucy. It may or may not be good that they learn about Robbie from watching him interact with his loved ones, but her stubbornness in front of them feels like a betrayal to me. I was not the only one who felt irritated about it and she had sensed our feelings and withdrawn into herself, but she was still smouldering, the words of the protector not allowed to reach the reasoning part of her mind. I suppose it is true of all of us - being or becoming a Cherinian does not entirely rid us of all childishness. Bernie changed the topic of discussion.
“Sharipya, can you tell us a bit about your world? Did you have houses?”
“Not as you do. We are closer to the animals of your world in our acceptance of nature since we do not need clothing, but the truth is that it is more comfortable having shelter when the season is cold and it rains. We have also various rainproof capes that we wear on the head and the part of our body that slightly resembles yours, as the skin is more sensitive over those parts. During the summer we tend to sleep outdoors and if it rains, we enjoy the freshness of it.”
“What about factories, schools, shops.”
“Our centres of learning are partly within buildings, but most of the learning is done outdoors. We tend to spend a large part of our day eating, so it would not be possible for our students to sit in classrooms for hours as your people do. Our people love jewellery, decorative bands and belts. We also love music and dancing, using musical instruments that are in many ways similar to yours in sound, so those factories are prevalent. I used the word factories, for it is the kind of place you understand, but our ways of working differ greatly from yours. We do not specialise as narrowly as your people do, the boredom would kill us. We will go to work, leave when we wish to eat or take a stroll in the sun and when we return to work, we’ll choose whichever job we can do, according to where we are needed. We also have factories that make drinks to intoxicate.” He grinned at me. “Your whiskey would be considered a mild drink. We had also just discovered a new brew, a kind of drug, deadly unless taken in a very diluted form, that has helped many leave their bodies and visit the void. It brought about our most intense scientific effort - not that we are scientists like the Anadir, but we were determined to find a way to bring our bodies to the void.”
“That sounds like a pointless exercise.”
“Not if we could take our bodies to a World such as you created in your void. We believe the body would live forever there.”
“Did you succeed?”
“Our first partially successful experiment was at the time when the fire-world arrived. That was how I saw you. My body followed me to the void, but before it could take form it was destroyed and I was not aware for a very long time after the explosion. I am certain we would have found a way to protect the body.”
Lucy stared at Robbie, her emotions intense.
“You may be asking the impossible love. Even as the void I cannot prevent the void from destroying his body. If they took his body to the void, how long would I have, a fraction of a second? I do not think the body would have lasted anything as long as that.”
“Can you explain what you said, Robert?”
“What? About the void? You must have realised that the void is not part of normal space? It may be more correct to think of normal space, the suns, planets and the vacuum of space as part of the void, though they are not tolerant of each other. We call it the void because of the way we perceived it when we first went there. It was a place where souls go when they die, or so we thought. It is actually a place, what we call a dimension, filled with energies that exceed by far those of all the suns in normal space. There is some crossover of certain energies, which explains why suns can be seen from the void. Certain of the energies of the void can have an effect on normal space. For example, I sent some of the energies I felt would be beneficial to our own planet and they have had a positive effect - at least on one person, and maybe on the entire planet…I don’t know enough yet for me to make any definitive statement.
I think that suns can be seen or felt by and in the void because of the vast energy they output, but mainly because they strain normal space with their gravity, which perhaps affects the interface between normal space and the void. Perhaps the weaker gravity of smaller planets is why many of them cannot be seen. You may have noticed that although the Sparklers are ‘close’ to Earth, the Anadir and our Worlds too, you could not see our planet from the void. All you could see were the pinpricks of energy from souls that exist on our planet.
Everybody expects me to understand the void because I discovered how to become the void so that the void becomes conscious, or else I become a conscious part of it. The truth is I am still ignorant. We speak of being in the void. We, the Sparklers, our Worlds, are actually floating on the void, in a similar manner to matter in normal space. When I become the void, then I am in the void. For the normal soul to exist within the void is not possible, it would be torn apart instantly by the fierce energies that pulsate throughout it. Many of you have been there with me and seen the streams of energy and perhaps thought that the areas in between had no energies. You are very wrong! Those areas that look as if they are calm, without energy, they would have the same effect on your soul as diving into the sun would. I have not felt any spot within the void empty of all types of energy. The truth is, I am like a small child that has been handed an enormous source of power and I have to be very careful I do not use it in some way that could destroy all life.
Why is that a danger? The void resists any infringement of itself. I have described it before by saying it is as if the void is irritated by souls and tries to get rid of them by sending them back to planets. That is not a true definition or description of what happens, we still do not understand what laws govern the void, though we are taking our first steps - for instance, we now understand that only souls that are not attached to a body are sent back. Why it is we can go there while our bodies are alive without being rejected we do not know, though we do know that certain energies in our souls change when our body dies.
There are exceptions though. The Sparklers for instance. The Anadir and other races we have been releasing from the Sparklers are not being attacked. Perhaps it is only when…no, I cannot even theorise as to why they are not attacked. I like to think it is our own awareness when we arrive there that protects us, but I have been attacked when my body died after having achieved the ability to become the void. Perhaps the answer will be found one day.
As to your body, we think we understand why it was destroyed. Our scientists describe matter as cold energy. We experimented, taking a small amount of matter into the void and I released it from the protection of an energy shield. It instantly was torn into subatomic particles and re-converted to energy. That is what happened to your body. Lucy is asking that I find a way to save your body. Sharipya, I do not think I can do it. I cannot act fast enough to save you.”
“How is it my soul can exist in the void?”
“I don’t know. Perhaps you would have been sent to be reborn if you had not attached yourself to our spaceship-world. With time you seem to have gained a certain immunity or acceptance by the void, same as the Anadir and Eminixx.”
“Then I will not be able to return to my planet? I will however be able to see from here that my people live again?”
“I will create a body for you Sharipya. It will be created out of cells of your own body. I can go to your body instants before you bring it to the void. Same as I will do for all your people. Your people had a grand dream, but I think you should know enough about the void by now to realise that it is impractical and totally unnecessary. If your souls and self-awareness can be immortal, if you can return to a new Elipian body as often as you wish, surely you have achieved what you wished?”
Lucy forgot her sulk. “But daddy, if they become Cherinians they can keep their bodies young for as long as they want to.”
Sharipya looked thoughtful, but did not speak. Lucy seemed upset though. Robbie sent her a question mark.
“I think I feel in Shari something sad. He thinks he will not live long, but he is happy his people will.”
Robbie turned to him. “Is that true?”
“Lucy should not be looking so deeply into me, I did not wish to speak of this.”
“You are correct. Lucy, he did not invite you?”
“He never told me to stop being a part of him!”
“That does not give you the right to look into his thoughts.”
“I did not Robbie. I only felt how he feels.”
“Then respect his privacy. What he does not wish to talk to us about is private.” He looked at Sharipya. “Irrespective of how we have learnt of this, we have knowledge of your feelings now. Will you explain why you do not expect to live long?”
“I should not, you will try to interfere.”
“You do not want me to?” Robbie did not take long to understand. “Is it for reasons of honour?”
Everybody kept quiet, even Lucy. Robbie looked off into the distance, closed his eyes and the spaceship-world jumped. He opened his eyes and we felt in him that he thinks he knows what the problem is. “Sharipya, for your people, I will be the giver of life? Then I ask, what am I to you?”
“The same Robert.”
“That is not a full answer. What am I to you?”
He understood that Robbie was asking him to name him friend. His shape wavered a moment, as if he wanted to take his true shape and escape. He firmed himself and sat straight as he looked into Robbie’s eyes. “I am the one who tried to kill you and all your people.”
“Are you condemning yourself or do you expect your people to?”
Robbie sighed, lit a cigarette and stopped talking. There was an uncomfortable silence, none of us understanding why he is not trying to make Sharipya understand he is wrong. He turned to Alki. “Soon as we return and Cherine has been returned to her full age, I have to find Allan. I have a feeling I made a mistake in not returning him immediately.”
“Why, what troubles you?”
“I have a feeling his death is a message, a very important one. I think it affects Arthur.”
“We will be back within days of leaving.”
“Not for Arthur. I had not thought of this before. Whatever the ratio is between his world and ours, it does not exclude the time we spend elsewhere. If I am not correct, how is it he can communicate with us when we are travelling in our spaceship-world?”
“That makes sense dad, he must be linked to our own real-time! I feel so stupid, we had all the information, but I did not think of it.”
“That’s alright love. Sam, I do not expect you to think of everything, just as you do not expect it of me.” His eyes had a sudden evil look to them and I knew something had amused him. “In his time, since he began writing, how long? Two years? In our time? About eighteen to twenty? Sam, how would you like to drive him crazy?” I did not dignify his question by responding; I knew it would not be something I would do. “What if you wrote a page every day?”
“He would have to write eighteen or more!” I grinned at him. “Thanks, I had been feeling a little guilty about being so lazy. Now I’m glad I am.”
Don’t go yet Arthur, give us at least some clues. Arthur?
He is just as stubborn as Robbie, he refuses to answer. Well, I’m just as stubborn, we will find you!!
As I was saying before Arthur cut in, we all know Robbie well enough to guess his mention of Arthur and Allan was his way of changing the subject - though he does not usually use a problem that worries us to do so. We were all willing to let it go until we are alone, but Lucy was too caught up in her own worry and nearly spoke out. Theresa sharply rebuked her directly in her mind and she stayed silent, her mutinous feelings still evident though. Hoping to defuse the situation I asked him, Are you going to let him die? but he did not answer, just his eyes showing me he was annoyed by my question. While other things were discussed I thought about it, wondering what had got into him. Luckily Aganthi took pity on me.
*He is upset you asked that, Sam. How could you imagine he would allow anyone to die?*
*Oh, he is upset that I asked, not…I’m sorry, it was stupid of me.*
Now I was pissed off. I was determined to work out what he intends doing. Robbie got up and putting his hand on my shoulder, he asked me to join him for a walk. When we were alone he stopped.
“I told you to consider yourself on holiday until I tell you otherwise. Stop worrying and trying to prove how clever you are.”
I felt hurt. “I can’t. If I’m leader I have to worry about everything. Even if you say I’m not anymore, I can’t do what you want. You want me to suddenly start being a normal little girl and that is not me. I am the way I am because of me, not you. Dad, you never made me do anything I don’t want to, I love being as I am - even if it drives me crazy sometimes.”
He did not respond to my attempt at humour and I felt him quickly hide his sudden sadness. “Can’t you just relax and enjoy yourself?”
“Of course I can and I do. Just like you. There are times I play or act silly because we are having fun, but I can’t be like that because you ordered me to.”
“You tempt me baby.”
“What do you mean?”
“To go back to before you were born and stop myself handing you responsibilities. Even if it means I will be creating an alternate reality. At least I could then console myself that you are growing up with some of your childhood in some world.”
“No dad, it would not happen. I am who I am. If I was like other babies, would you have asked me to take over when we fought the Sparklers? Whatever you are blaming yourself for, happened because of me being as I am, not because of you doing anything.”
He rested on his thighs, picking up a stick and scratching a doodle in the sand. He looked up at me with a smile. “I guess I’m asking you to be stupid and you can’t. Where did you get your brains from love, it certainly wasn’t from me.”
“Perhaps…” I hesitated on purpose to give him the wrong idea, “you ought to take a more honest look at yourself.”
He shook his head and began to stand up. The spaceship-world shook and he fell over. I also stumbled and there were cries from the others. Robbie immediately left his body.
I stood over him, my eyes glued to the ceiling over us, looking for signs of water breaking through. Nothing happened and finally he opened his eyes. He got to his feet and brushed the sand off him.
“We better go back, the others must be worried.”
“The others? I’m worried! What happened?”
He spoke to them, “There is no cause for alarm. We were not attacked and there is no damage. I have stopped us. I will be going back to see what happened from the outside. Carry on as normal and I’ll tell you what I’ve found when I return.”
“I’m coming with.”
“Cherine love, if you must. There is no danger though.”
“Stop this Roberto! None of us are stupid, not even the little ones. For something to affect the whole spaceship-world it must have been powerful. How do you know it was not an attack? Take those you think could help you if there is trouble.”
“Alright Alki, I’ll take Sharipya, if he will come.”
We did not know whether to be angry, insulted or happy that he chose Sharipya, so we kept quiet. Thinking about it, once they were gone, I realised he had done exactly as Alki told him, Sharipya does have powers we don’t. As for him trusting him - well, that is so typical of Robbie we hardly give it a thought anymore.
I was able to sense him until he became the void. Much later I went inside to get myself a cold drink and saw the Cypriot couple hard at work preparing our supper. I stood staring at them, amazed that even now he can keep them going. I suppose, now that I think about it, it is not that remarkable, not if he can keep our whole spaceship-world functioning.
We were eating when they returned. He strode up to Meli, his face stretching in a huge grin. He stood before her. “Look in my mind.”
She did and returned, her face white with shock.
“I’m right? It is them?” he asked.
“Damn!” He was ecstatic. “You know what this means?”
“It is real. The Sparklers…”
“Bugger the Sparklers! Sorry Sol, no offence meant. This is much more important love.”
He picked up a half full glass of beer, stopped a second in surprise as he realised it belonged to Aganthi and then held it up.
“A toast. Sam, you write it exactly as I say it. Bugger you Arthur, we are going to find you now.”
We sat there stunned; no shouting or screaming. He stood there stupidly grinning at us while we all stared at him. Jonathan’s precise voice broke the spell. “Would you mind explaining to the rest of us Robert?”
He gave the glass back to Aganthi, stroked her hair and pulled up a seat.
“You may recall Sharipya telling us that on his way to finding us he came across a discontinuity in space/time. He told us he found a planet inside there. It is a world that belongs inside the mind of Meli.”
“How does that help us find Arthur?” Jodine asked.
“I’m jumping to conclusions, but I think I’m right. If the worlds Meli creates come into existence within such pockets, would it be unreasonable of us to believe that our realities are within such a pocket of his time/space reality? All we have to do is find where the opening to his reality is.”
Claudia was shaken by the idea. “Robert, how can we find it! Our worlds include so many realities and galaxies. Even the parallel galaxy of the old Inguel. If we are in a pocket it must be huge!”
Themi nodded. “Another problem Roberto. Every time you discover another reality you may be making the pocket grow larger and the opening becomes more distant!”
Something did not make sense, so I asked him, “Robbie, why is the pocket in this reality? Meli does not belong here. Could it be that the pocket reaches across all realities?”
“We are in our own reality Sam! I promised Sharipya we will take him to his world first, but I wanted to travel spatially within our reality. I don’t know whether Sharipya stumbled across Meli’s world before he split or not so I can’t say whether her worlds exist in other realities also. We know how to find this singularity again - is that the right word? We will return with scientists from every species and learn all we can about it. There may be laws about the way such pockets form and join to normal space/time outside them. Once we learn those laws we will find our own opening to his reality. We’ll check in other realities too Sam.”
Arthur, since that happened I have had two days to think on it. I have a feeling it will be far more complex than Robbie thinks. Please don’t get your hopes up just yet.
Say something damn it!
That’s a promise, soon as we can. Arthur, we have a different worry, which is extremely serious and it is also sickening us, reducing our effectiveness since we learnt about the ugliness in our set of realities. You said there is nothing as ugly as in your reality, but, unless you have the same problem, I think ours are far worse than yours. May we discuss this with you?
Yes, what we wrote about previously gave us cause to search in all the other realities we have visited, including ours. Arthur, we do not know what we will find if we search in another hundred realities, but in all those we have searched, the local Cabal have set in motion almost exactly the same plans, except that they vary in the lengths they are willing to go to – many are planning to collapse our populations to less than ten percent of what it is – and some to as low as one percent. One thing is the same, they all are planning for a world government, with all police and armies belonging to that government. Since their excuse for wanting a single world government is that all the pointless wars will stop, why do they need such an enormous army?! Are we, the citizens, the ones they will be needed for? Why, if such a government is so good for us?
Anyway, what I wanted to ask is this – did you deliberately write them into our lives, or did they just happen?
I hope you enjoy reading this story of fantasy, adventure and love - and should some of it be true for our reality, I hope you will love our Cherine.
Αλέξανδρος Ζήνον Ευσταθίου(Alexander Zenon Eustace)
13th November, 2019
- posted: 13th November, 2019
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