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Knapp 32. Synthetic adventures.

Written by Alfredo Juillet Frascara From the 24 September 2012. Finished the 8 October.(13 days). Typed: From the 16 October to 03 November 2012. Revision 1.: Words 19214 Date of the narration 4.364 E.C. Places: Spoon 6.2, Erina, Ultor, Knapp. Personages: Parker Oberion, technical operator at Easy People Co.; Judefo, antiquary; Dr. AB 631; Median AB 397 ; Gretchen AB 730; Manuses the crook; Lamarque (Technical operator); Shumoi, owner of Parasymbolic Co.; Gobod (Lamarques assistant); Gudria the old; Rafren Technical operator); Drigua (daughter to Rafren). And others. 18 October 2012 3:19:52 AM 18 October 2012 10:00:54 PM 19 October 2012 1:00:14 AM 20 October 2012 24 October 2012 26 October 2012 28 October 2012 29 October 2012 30 October 2012 3 November 2012 Chapters: 1.- The old synthetic brains. Chapter 1: The old synthetic brains. The antiquary finished the attendance of a client to attend the recently arrived man, a person he had seen looking at the showcase before, asking for prices and looking at objects without buying. Now the vendor believes, in his inner self, that the same performance was going to happen, so he barely salutes the client. Good afternoon, Sir. Did you find s omething that interests you the most? The man, in his forties, signaled to the showcase and said: Those hard drives you have in there do you main if I take a look at them- closer? Judefo the vendor sighed briefly and opening the showcase, he puts the objects on top of a table and said: These are old cybernetic brains of old. They were brought by someone not two weeks ago. The man observed those three metallic boxes and handling them he realize they weight no more than half a kilogram each. The dimensions were 25 centimeters long, 20 centimeters wide and three centimeters thick. He asked: And how much do you ask for the three of them? Judefo looks at the positron brains and said. 250 Sopes for the lot. All right, I take it.- The client said, much to the surprise of the Vendor, who takes the money, thinking he could had asked for more money The client was Mr. Parker Oberion, one of the technicians at the Easy People Company 2 2592 words 6299 8957 10113 11385 13989 15296 15479 16644 19218

Oberion walks to his office at the Easy People Co., at the Oredloro city north side. His working hours were from eight to sixteen hours, six days a week. Of course, he can change the hour of arrival, only if he goes out finishing his eight hours period, so he had the routine to arrive at eleven hours and leaving at nineteen hours. In this day, he was going in at fourteen hours, so he was obliged to abandon work at 22.00 hours; the work was already on his bench, and he begin working immediately, placing the synthetic brains on a drawer. Later in the day, he checked the circuits on those old machines, finding they were in working order, but somewhat obsoletes for this day and age. When his shift was over, he went downstairs, where he knew there were old damaged synthetic bodies to repair- or dump. He inserted those brains , in turn, on one of the best preserved bodies and he realize they could open eyes, move limbs and legs and in general, gives sign of life, whatever that meant. The first tested memory brain was the serial number AB 730, and when talking, the synthetic person said it could hear, see and feel with ease. The other two synthetic brains, serial number #631 and # 397 did also worked fine. At the end of his shift, Mr. Parker takes those three brains on a bag and carried them to his apartment, and placed them on his work bench. Next to it he has the only synthetic body he own, a repaired model ready to work and that he uses to test artifacts when needed. Now he inserted the serial number 631 Artificial brain (AB), and waits to the mechanism to gain control of that body. Soon it moves, opens the eyes and said: Where am I? At my laboratory.- Parker replied, with a smile. Really? Im astounded! What happened to meIm recalling to have seen you not so long agoin another place.- The synthetic brain was remembering the test Mr. Parker did at the Easy People Company cellar Yes, I tested you not two hours ago. But relax and tell me more about you.- Mr. Parker asked of him I am recalling scenes of violence from naturals the annihilation of my group is my body lost?- Model # 631 asked. I presume so. I found your only remains at an antique shop. Nothing but your positron brain is what was left of your body.- Parker said, with a yawn. Are you bored or sleepy, master?- Model # 631 asked. Bot bored at all! Im talking with a sentient being a hundred and eighty years old! But really, Ill be getting some sleep, now. I get to work in some more hours.- Parker said. Dont bother about me! Ill be as silent as a rat.- Model # 631 said, hoping the man didnt disconnect him. Well I guess I can trust you for a night!- Parker said, not without some apprehensive second thought He went to bed, and model #631 waits until he hear snoring. Then, he searches at the laboratory for interesting things, finding the other two cybernetic brains and looked at them for a while. He was sure the technician was only testing the brains and that afterwards he was going to dump them on a drawer or sell them to earn some money 5 They can go the way they came- to a storage cellar? AB # 631 decided it was as good a time as any to run out. He uses some of Parkers clothes to put it on- because if he waits for misericord he was lost: he was now only a small obsolete object brought from a pawn shop! With the other two brains in a bag, he stepped out of that apartment, and using the pneumotube, he went as far as it was possible from Parkerss whereabouts without leaving town.

Again at the street, he notices he was now in a rather filthy side of Oredloro, while he was forever hearing news and gossip through the in-built radio. He was also penniless, and in need of lots of things, if he wants to fulfill his desires: to give the other cybernetic entities some suitable bodies where to live. At another pawn shop he saw several rundown synthetic bodies for sell- they were not fancy (outmodeled, really) and the value of each one was a hundred thousand sopes. 8 He stands there for a quarter of an hour, thinking in what to do next, so the owner of the shop went out. He was a yellow skinned man, of small height, decided to shoo him out of there. Sir! Are you interested in something, or just idling there? Yes, I am interested in a couple of synthetic models, but I Come inside to talk! I took you for a drug addict! So many people drugged each day that you cannot count them all!- The little man said with a chuckle. Model AB 631 went inside- fortunately for him, the sense of smell was failing in that borrowed body, so he didnt feel the stench of the place, with all those desiccated animals standing on the corners It was a stench that only routine could make it bearable for his owner The bodies lack their batteries, of course! Thats why Im selling them cheap!- The vendor explained. What a shame! I have two cybernetic brains right here to use, but without batteries there is no way they could handle those bodies._ AB 631 said, losing interest and walking out the door 9 At the street, he saw two men fighting each other: one of them was thin but brave- the other was beating him big time, as he was a bull of a man. Without hesitation, AB 631 takes advantage of to be a complete foreigner to both of them, and swings a leg unto the big brute, sending him to the floor. What the heck?- The big man said, while the smaller guy thanks the newcomer by saying:_ Thanks you, friend! Did somebody sent you here to help me? Nobody! I just detest fights- injures could occur.- AB 631 said. The big man grabs the AB 631s neck with one paw , trying to choke him out of conscience, but the doctor didnt breath at all, and instead of it, he sent a 350 volt discharge unto the mans hand, that returns to the floor , this time passing out. What did you do to him? Do you kill him?- The thin man asked, very concerned. No! Hell be all right in a couple of minutes! So, why dont we go somewhere else, before this man returns to his evil senses?- AB 631 suggested. 10 The thin looking man accented with a nod, and they take the nearer pneumotube - while they were traveling, AB 361 said:- I am Doctor Abelard, new in town. The man looks at him scornfully and said: I am just a plain and simple Yellobin! And I debt you one, doc!- And he blinks an eye. I am penniless in the city. I was robbed.- Dr. Abelard explains. Sorry to hear that! But you are a doctor! Where did you work, doc?- The man asked. Really I am not from this city. Lets say I must start anew.- Dr. Abelard said. Yellobin leads the way to a Bar, and inside he signaled to a table, saying:- Seat at that table, doc! And ask for anything you want to drink or eat. I will be saying you are my uncle. All right, nephew!. Dr. Abelard said, collaborating with what Mr. Yellobin was saying. He looks how Yellobin walks and went inside another room, and when asked by a waiter about what was going to drink, he said: Bring me a beer, please! 11

Of course, he could pretend to eat or drink, and that was because he was not going to do it but only pretends. When the glass was in front of him, he pretends to drink but didnt, and half an hour later, Yellobin returns, saying: O.K. , pops! Lets get out of here! He was certainly looking very troubled. Once in the street, he said: Well be going to some other place! Take this!- And he produced a parcel. The doctor takes it and pocketed it without any question- he was sure it was something illegal, most certainly drugs. They used the pneumotube, and descended in a very exclusive environ: every house has a lawn in front, and turbo Fliers were parked in every corner. See that cream colored house over there, pops? I see it, son.- Doctor Abelard replied. Well, you just go there and ask for Valentin! You give the parcel just to him: nobody else serves, you dig it? Yes, Sir. Mr. Valentin or Ill come back with the packet. Right! Ill be looking at you. Dont fail me on this, or else. Stay calm! Or some of your eyes will pop out with so much pressure!- Dr. Abelard recommended, and starts walking. He looks around, and there were no guys peeking on him except Yellobin but above the cream colored house there were two Fliers at high altitudepossibly spying on the owners- so he decided he was not going to deliver any parcel there. When in front of the house, he keeps on walking, and fast- to the corner, and from then on, running blocks after blocks, zigzagging until he was sure no natural could had been following him no matter how strong a runner he could be. He opened the parcel and yes! It was a strong drug known as Crocodile- dangerous and evil as the animal he was portraying. At the least, a million sopes could be earned, dealing with that drug Instead of to sell it, he walks into a Police Station and explained, to an open eyed policeman, what was trying to deliver there. Do you have drug on that parcel? And you dont know who was the producer?13 I know only the mail man! And where he gets it- and where he was told to deliver it!- The doctor Abelard said. After a few minutes, he was talking with the Chief of police, at that station. As you are an old fashioned synthetic man, I am sure you are acting honestly- if I may use that word on a machine.- The Chief of Police said, rubbing his chin. The doctor gives much information , so the policemen soon were arresting not only Mr. Yellobin, but also his boss, Guloj Sanjan. The news media shows the Police during the operation, and ended by interviewing the strange synthetic that spill the beans. And tell us, once again: why did you give away that drug dealer at the first occasion? Did you now wanted the drug for yourself? A woman reporter asked him. Of course not! Have you seen a Synthetic in high?- The doctor replied. Hours later, the Chief of police said: You made a great contribution to the community, and I thanks you for that! All right! I assume you did not need me anymore around here? Because I must get going.- The doctor said, very aware he had two other synthetic wanting new bodies. Sorry, but you are in a big mess. A person called Parker recognized you as his property: so I get to let him takes you in his custody.- The Chief of police said. What? He doesnt own me!- The doctor said, feeling he was going to be again the the hands of the technician.

He presents the proof: that body you are using was bought by Mr. Parker for technical research. And your own brain was also purchased by him at a store.- The policeman said. Soon Mr. Parker was in the same office, saying: This is it! I recognize my synthetic body! and the brains were three: I assume this entity has the other two brains in his bag! Searched, the other two brains were found, and handled to Mr. Parker, who said: sorry not, but I will not risk my properties for a second time!- And he removed the brain of Dr. Abelard from that body. 15 Manuses the Crook. In a Flier taxi he carried the body and the three synthetic brains. It was on working hours, so he just closes the door and went back to work, leaving the objects at his workbench. He was feeling happy- his lost pertinences were again at home. A crook was searching for cheap ways to earn money, so he was searching what to rob- Finding an easy lock to open was his goal, and Mr. Parkers apartment had the standard lock he knows how to open. Manuses , looking at both sides of that corridor, produces his tools and opens the lock in half a minute. He gets inside the place and begins searching for valuables without wasting time. He search on drawers, and takes pieces of equipment inside a bag- in a closet there was a full plastic looking body- so he wrap it on a blanket, grabs the bag with items and walked out of the apartment in just twenty minutes time. As usual, he uses only the moving ways, and where not present, he just walks to the next section. In that way, he arrives to his shack, near one of the bridges that supports the pneumotube locomotion system. 16 He had no electricity, so he looks the objects under a flashlight while the rasping of rats was heard- he said: Damned rats, go away! The rats kept silence for half a minute, but then they started anew. Manuses has no great knowledge on cybernetic parts, but he knows when a machine was old or new. So he was happy with his last foraging. He takes his cellphone and called Mr. Vinegre, who was a black looking guy, a meter with eighty centimeters in height, and with a bad temper. Vinegre? Yeah, whats this? Im Manuses! I have something for you to see. Right now I cannot go there! Why dont you come to my office? Ill be there for the rest of the afternoon.- Vinegre said. All right! I will carry the small stuff.- Manuses said, but Mr. Vinegre had hanged on already. Manuses was not going to wait, so he takes the bag- and leaving the body at his bedroom, he went out to the street. 17 He walked eight blocks , third floor on a small shop building, and enters the crammed place of Mr. Zarihuen, who uses to be there all day long , there he was, talking with a man. Mr. Manuses!- Zarihuen said, stopping his talk with his client. Hello, Zarihuen! How are you?- Manuses said, knowing that to talk business with an unknown person wasnt wise. He pretends to look something around the items in display and walked, almost out of the shop- to give time to both persons to finish their deal- if any. Some five minutes later, the man went out the shop, and Manuses walks in, saying: and how are you, friend? Nice and cool. What are you carrying in that bag, buddy?

Oh, a couple of things!- Manuses said, and placed the twenty two items on the glass top of that table Mr. Zarihuen uses as his workbench. Wow! What a lot of items that you have here! All related with cybernetics.- Zarihuen said, glancing briefly to Manuses. Oh, yes! I stumbled on this on my way to church- Manuses joked. Right! Well, here we have this three old cyber-brains- hardly working, I suppose?- And he handled it, as if weighing the objects. Manuses was now very excited- when Zarihuen saw cheap items, he said that and offers small quantities of money, but now he was having his time with the items Oh! A pair of eye sockets a transformer, possibly for temperature purposes not cheap, I tell you. So you had it on your way to Church!- Zarihuen said, smiling: as a buyer, he was very agreeable not as Mr. Vinegre, who always seemed to be in a terrible hurry. And the rest.. I dont know but I will give you seventy five sopes in all. I dont know if you are going to sell it somewhere else if so desired, I will be here if you dont find someone who pays you more.- Zarihuen said. Please, buddy! You know that you are my best option! We are like brothers, now. But seventy five sopes are terrible low payment for this electronic devises: make it a hundred sopes!Manuses said. 19 Zarihuen looks again at the items, and said: Because you consider me as a brother, I will give you a hundred sopes! And he takes the bag, poured the items inside and walked to a corner, where he has a chest. He puts it inside, produced a hundred sopes bill and pay. Thanks! Well be going.- Manuses said, walking out the door, but then he remembered the synthetic body and returns to say:- Oh, I forgot! I have a full cybernetic body you could be interested in!Zarihuen laughed and said: Please! I buy things but now whole bodies! I have no clients interested in them! All right! At last I try to interest you.- Manuses said, returning to the street. He uses his earned money eating at a cheap restaurant, whit a couple of red wine at the side. At twenty hours, he was at home, showing Mr. Vinegre the body. Brand new and not a scratch! I am sure youll be making a good buy.- He said. Vinegre growled something and touched the body. Then he said: Seems its in working order. Old but in order- a new one costs seventy eight thousand sopes- this could cost forty five thousand sopes. Oh, good to hear!But I will give you twenty five thousands! Not a sopes more. You really? Well! I cannot pretend to earn forty five thousand, but certainly twenty five thousand its too small a quantity!- Manuses was trying to bargain. Take it or leave it, pal! I cannot waste any more time here! Do you want the twenty five thousand sopes or not?- Vinegre said, looking fierce. I will think it over twenty five thousands! Too little amount.- Manuses repeats, while Vinegre was walking out the door and slammed it afterwards. Really!- Manuses said, seating in a run-down sofa. He has no more buyers in his list. He will be offering himself on a flea market near his place dangerous of the original owner pops up there That night he roamed by the streets, trying to find a gain- new laws forbid to be idling places far from the proper address ,except if with some plausible explanation (like going or coming from some relatives home or friend acquaintance.)

He found a small boat near the entrance of a building, with nobody in sight; he takes the cord, and pushed the boat, that was of the gravitational kind that begin following him like a dog- no natter it weights at least four hundred and fifty kilograms! Four blocks away, he saw a Police car parked on a corner. He stop as if beaten by a spider, and leaves the boat where he stands; then he went inside the nearest building, and climbs to the top through the elevator- as usual, there was cold up there, the wind blows, and he then waits on a corner for the light of the new day. He awakes, hours later, and descends to the ground floor- at the street, the cops were gone and with them, the boat. Damn it!- Manuses said, walking to Mr. Vinegres abiding place. He rings the bell, and the owner appears, dressed in a black coat. 21 What do you want? My mother had died! Sorry to hear that! I come to say yes!- Manuses said. Oh, the old woman was so sick that shes better off! Come back tomorrow!- Vinegre said, closing the door. Manuses was now looking at the wood grain of that door- half enraged with Vinegre and half enraged with himself for not to grab whatever money they offer. He turns around and went home. He looks unto that body- it was as if was alive- but lacking batteries and synthetic brain, it was just a pile of junk. At his place, Parker was very upset; again eh was robbed of his possessions. He was confiding in the Police again By his part, Zarihuen already had sold the stuff to Shumoi, one of the owners of Parasimbolic Synthetics Company, who was forever searching for cheap spare parts, one of his ways to compete with powerful industries. Shumoi of course, has people that bought those spare parts for him. At his desk, the following day, he was saying: Old cybernetic brains! What is the use of those things?- Mr. Shumoi said, looking at the flat black boxes Lamarque, his counselor, said: You dont know this AB brains? One of them seems to be an advanced prototype! We could learn something from it! Lamarque twisted his moustache, looking at the black box. Oh, do you think those are worthwhile a couple of sopes?- Shumoi asked, looking dubious. Of course, Shumoi! Let me work with these for a week, and well see.- Lamarque said. All right! I confide in your skills. I get to bang on the table once in a while hope this could do the trick. Shumoi said. At his laboratory, Lamarque has every kind of new appliances the industry produces- soon the three synthetic brains were inserted on new bodies. 24 The seven assistants Lamarque had in his laboratory , were amazed to see those creatures opening their eyes and taking possession of their new bodies. Like witchcraft, eh? It chills the bones.- Lamarque remarked, for the benefit of his Assistants that nodded in approval. Welcome to life! You had been revived by the Parasymbolic synthetic Co.! I am Lamarque, a technician, and these are my collaborators. Which planet?- Gretchen asked. Knapp. The city is Oredloro. We were made here by the Easy People Co., and our owner is dead.- She said. How do you feel in that body?- Lamarque asked her.

It itchs! And the rest of you? Its fine.- The doctor AB 631 replied. I havent moved yet.- Median said. That will be possible now I see you can talk. I will let you use your bodies right now. Follow me. Lamarque said, guiding them to a testing ground near the building: all sorts of simulated terrains in a hundred meters long site: ditches, horizontal beams, wires, nets, mounds and a pond. The three new bodies were seeing now running; now climbing, jumping and swimming. They return with mud dripping from their legs (they were using standard clothes and sandals). I see you passing the test in two minutes! Now to the showers- they are over there!- Lamarque indicated to an entrance on the building. While they were bathing, the doctor said: I was awakening before! I escape with your brains, but I get caught! Now this fellow bought us, I dont know to whom. No matter that! This is a factory! I am pretty sure they will study us, takes what is worth and dumped the rest.- Gretchen said. Why so a darker picture? Perhaps they could improve us and sold the product with a profit.Median said. They return to that patio, where Mr. Lamarque was waiting to ask: Now we will talk about yourselves. Follow me. 43 At a new place a room with armchairs, a holographic set, a table- Lamarque seats and said: Please be seated. No matter the Synthetic beings needs not to seat, they did as told for sociability purposes. Gretchen said: I wonder what are you going to do with us. Lamarque lit a cigarette and expelling the smoke, said: By the time being, nothing but study your memories, see how you react to situations. Physically, I already see of what you are capable of. And did we pass the exam?- Median asked with a grin on her face. With honors! Hope you pass the psychological and behavioral too! If you lack skills, we will provide. Of course, to some extent. We make skilled persons here, but cannot make miracles!Lamarque said, and called his assistants, saying to them: See these three persons are examined in full. I want their memories and personal capacities in detail. Come with us, please! One of the assistants said to Gretchen, median and the Doctor, whom followed suit. During that day and the next, the technicians worked pumping out as much as they could from the three synthetic brains. At the third day, the reports come to Lamarques desk- he reads it. There were the personal information (what they had done and witnessed in their lives) , people they had met, inventions, lectures, procedures, landscapes, etc.) Then, Lamarque reads the technical data- what makes them tick. Of the three, one was a prototype- with new enhancements and discoveries make to work. Pitifully, all of this was now old history. Lamarque sighed. Once again, the wonders of old looks like pitiful attempts to reach an excellence that never arrives. He calls on Gobod, the best of his assistants, and asked him: What do you make about the three old brains recently studied? Old stuff, chief! Not serviceable nowadays. And what do you recommend to do with those antiques?- Lamarque asked, with a wave of his hand.

Albeit old, they still are capable of to be of service- as a second or third brain power in machines . Just taking care of a section of the job. Really. Well, lets put them for good use! Take them out of those humanoid bodies and make the necessary arrangements to get them inside complicated machinery.- Lamarque remarked. Gobod sighed- Lamarque noticed it and asked: What troubles your mind? To think they are like people, and now they will be switching orders without feeling , seeing or hearing! Its awful , dont you think?- Gobod asked. You are a sentimental man! Not good for our Company!- Lamarque growled out. I know. Its my heritage- too many artists in my family.- Gobod said, retiring from his presence. Lamarque was human, and he also resented this shielding of conscience he was promoting- but it was that or to lose money. And money was moving the world. Gobod went to the place where the three entities were washing artifacts (one of the jobs given to them when not in the examination chamber) and said: Good news! You are not to be disassembled! My boss just told me to assign you new posts! Follow me!- Gobod said, showing himself assertive and joyful- both things he wasnt really feeling. When arriving to the plant where big machines were being made, Gretchen radioed: This si where we are going to lose our independence! Well be a part of a machine, just to keep an eye on a couple of things! Oh, no! A simple gadget!- Median said, horrified- because she knew of machines governed by several synthetic brains, screwed in place like switches. We get to escape!- Doctor AB 631 said, that forever was the most independent, perhaps because she was assembled not in Earth but in Ronule. Saying this, the doctor hits Mr. Gobord, sending him to the floor; Gretchen tied it ripping his old clothes. Median begins to run by the corridors, followed by Gretchen, and the doctor- soon they were out of the building and climbing on a busy pneumotube. What next?- Median asked. We must take us into the air! A vessel of any kind will serve.- Gretchen said. They descended from the pneumotube , and walked by a street , searching for a private Flier. They are not more common than in the old times! Now the collective locomotion has improved and people could do their bidding in a cheap and secure way. Look! Theres a Flier!- Gretchen said, pointing to a recently landed vehicle- its owner was opening a gate to enter; Median sprinted there, going inside the apparatus and moving it towards Gretchen and the doctor. They climb inside, while the owner runs to and fro, trying to stop them. The vehicle soared over the city roofs and to the south side, and soon they were in open country. Well be disposing this vehicle at the first opportunity; there are gadgets into it that are able to signal its position. Gretchen said, while Median was flying the vehicle closer to the mountains that appeared after 20 minutes of flight. The marshes stretch at their feet, extending their green surface up to the horizon. No towns in here! But theres a city close to a river. Soon we will be finding both things. Median informed- later, a silvery streak shines ahead, and it was a wide river , with lots of vegetation at each side. They found the city but they landed far from it; Gretchen said: Well walk to the city without this stolen property. Lets assume we are farmers. The first road they find was almost desolate-. Only one land vehicle passed when they were walking by it, and later on, nothing. The ten kilometers to the city was walked in just one hour; the first building was a warehouse of indefinite color- old by the time and bad weather. Other houses

were lined up to the left and right. In one of those they find a man, who was staring at them while seating on a porch. Gretchen approaches him, saying: We are new in town and searching to be of help. Have you any idea of to where our services could be of help? The man, eighty years old, chuckled a little and said: I guess that you are runaway synthetics trying to find a hideout! But dont worry by me! Here on Dirno city, populace eight thousand, nobody will open the mouth to help the law! All right with it! That gives us a respite._ Doctor AB 631 said. Me, I dont mind to give you shelter! There are plenty of rooms in my cottage! Perhaps you could repair the roof- there are some tools on the cellar to work with.- The old man said Well see to it.- Gretchen said, and went upstairs- the old man had tools and tiles, gloves and dusty overalls to use, so they climb the roof and replaced broken beams and tiles with new ones. At dusk, they seat on the porch, with the old man to see the stars in an open sky. I wonder what is on other planets! I had spent my whole life at the mills, not going anyplace.-. the old man said. We had visited other planets- there are wonders out there, but this planet is one of the most interesting.- Dr. AB 631 said. Yes. I knew you were from very far! Not originally far- except the Doctor! I and she were made here on Knapp.- Gretchen revealed. Hope you dont get caught!- The old man said. We were threatening to be inserted in a big machine as third class computers!- The Dr. AB 631 said. Worse than death, I suppose.- The old guy said. Worst if you previously were travelling through the stars.- Median said, adding: We were more there were more of us. Who knows where they are now, if ever. A person approaches and she was a woman. Good evening, Mr. Gudria! I see you have visitors.- Said she. Yes, they are my nephews.- He said, smiling. Well, nice to meet you.- Drigua said, looking at those men in overalls: her eyes looks like slots by a couple of seconds She is Drigua, the daughter o f my neighbor Rafren! She also looks at the stars.- Mr. Gudria said. Gretchen gives their names, politely. My father wants your cooperation, Mr. Gudria. He sent me to ask your preference for tomorrow at eight. I know you wake up early.- Miss Drigua said. Tell your father Ill be going with these people here! Perhaps some extra hand could do the job in less time.- Mr. Gudria said, coughing. Soon afterwards, lady Drigua departed, and Mr. Gudria said:- His father is an old man like me! And he has a crazy project! But, tomorrow you will see with your own eyes. That night, old Mr. Gudria slept better than he had been doing in a lot of time-. He felt more secure with those people around. At the second floor, in a bedroom, Gretchen and the doctor AB 631 were listening to Media, who said: Well see what they want of us tomorrow; if minor work is on Mr. Rafrens mind for us, I suggest developing a better plan of activities. I am very uncomfortable of this mans envelope Im wearing! They look at me as a man!Gretchen said. I suppose I feel like you did: I am missing my female body, also.- Median said. Well, I have nothing to complain myself! This body is exactly what I was requiring.- Dr. AB 631 said, smiling to them.

At the next day, they went to Mr. Rafrens house- that was part of a warehouse. Thanks for coming! I am stuck on some circuits I must to repair! I thought you could be of help.Mr. Rafren said. My skills are limited! But I brought with me some persons that surely could be of more help.Mr. Gudria said. Gretchen was looking at the machine in question: it was a Beamer, one of the now not so new way to travel des- integrator system. Model BB III! A nice example of efficiency!- Mr. Rafren announced. Twenty four years old! Not in the general use by now.- Gretchen said, fully up to-date by the Synthetic radio communication system. Well, yes! But some private organizations still uses it! This belongs to Upper Mail, one of the leaders of this community.- Mr. Rafren said, knitting his brow. Mr. Gudria coughed- in Dirno city the Upper Mail was the only mailing system available I will show you wheres the problem.- Mr. Rafren said to the newcomers, and for two hours Gretchen and Median were rearranging items and replacing others. Ready! Test it- it has a range of forty three Astronomical Units related distance.- Median announced, realizing that the male body she was using has more possibilities and it was quicker than the one she misses so much 37 Mr. Rafren smiled and said: I cannot test it in here! I will call the Mail Company to take his repaired machine, to start working again! I am sure you had done a really good job. Thanks for your confidence! We are sure this machine is working fine.- Gretchen said. At the near warehouse, Gretchen finds several broken artifacts, pieces of mining equipment, disabled weapons, and asked Mr. Rafren about it. Oh, there are from some travels I had donned in the past! Now theres no commercial value for them. Or do you find some? He asked. Not much. If you want try to repair them! And if you do, we sell it and split the earnings.- Mr. Rafren offers. I will think about it.- Gretchen replied, but she wasnt a bit interested in garbage. They return to Mr. Gudrias home, and then at the porch the man said: Mr. Rafren gives you an option- to repair some of his stuff. But I tell you: nobody in this town is going to buy a thing! 38 I see no use repairing obsolete things.- Gretchen commented. You choose a bad spot here, lady! There is no future at all in here.- Mr. Gudria sadly said. That night Gretchen talk with the others: We cannot stay here forever! But if we stick out our noses too soon, its possibly we get caught. And what do you suggest?- Dr. AB 631 asked her. We must leave poverty. We must acquire new clothes, and especially new bodies: I personally dont want to look like a man.- Gretchen replied, thinking how similar was her life to some Naturals in the city. Next stop: Rixiaberg?- Median asked, mildly. Yes, Rixiaberg will be fine. But we need a vehicle or tickets for the ride on an aerial vehicle.Gretchen said, and at the next day she went to see what the citizens uses when needing to travel far. At a building, she finds advertisements. A governmental passenger airplane makes trips to Oredloro once a week. 39 The cost of each ticket was of a hundred sopes- three hundred sopes were needed.

Later, she asked the old man for a loan, but the poor fellow has only seventy five sopes in all. You know , I live on the welfare- a hundred and twenty sopes a month! I really never economize for the old times, so now I am in the open. But I will give you fifty sopes! Just because you mended my roof.- Gudria said. Gretchen accepted it, saying: We will come back to refund your loan! Im sure we will. Never mind! I am old and in any day I will stretch the leg, for sure.- Mr. Gudria said, laughing. Miss Drigua knew of the problem and visited them to say:- Good news! I have permission from my father to work at Rixiaberg! Want to join me in your trip? Gretchen smiled and replied: We are short of funds! But somehow we will accompany you in spirits!Oh, no! You wont. I will be lending money for you all! I have a thousand sopes my father gives me! More than enough to start my career on Rixiaberg!- Drigua said. 40 CHAPTER IN RIXIABERG Drigua rented a flat on Rixiaberg, and the three Synthetics works with her at a Restaurant. In the first months, the money was scant, because they were just beginning, but with the passing of time, Gretchen gets a job at a Flier constructing plant, and soon she was the manager at the Assembly plant, with a nice salary. Same thing happens with Dr. AB 631, who was now a doctor at the Privilege Clinic Inc.-, a place for the very rich people- worthless is to say that his wages were ridiculously high. Media worked at an office, at the Brondix lawyers, earning a fortune each time a case was won by the company. Seems we can switch to female bodies- we are rich enough now.- Gretchen said, one night at the dining table. One problem bothers me! The jobs we have our chiefs knows us as men. When appearing as females, possibly will get fired.- Median said. Drigua eats a piece of roasted Coelophysis with some peas, and said:- You could use your new bodies at home- and in weekends! I say not to forget how different a woman moves around. Gretchen believed that was the best way to postpone the solution of the problem.. And she accepted the suggestion. Very well, I assume we must buy first and way to change personalities later. There are four different qualities.- Gretchen said. We deserve the best!- Median said, adamantly. I pass. I am accustomed to this body.- Dr. AB 631 said, and nobody contradicts him. He was (originally) made to be a man; he was using a mans body. The models were bought- two fine specimens of women bodies-, they had the possibility to change of appearance, weight, light, color among other interesting things. Gretchen and Median use it the next time they have duty free- they smiled, happy to be in command of those fine machines. 42 I can see, hear, feel, smell a lot more than with the other envelope.- Gretchen said. Me, too! This is very gratifying! Guess I will quit at the office and start all over again- as the cousin of Mr. Justo Median !- Median announced, mockingly. Those two days passed very quickly and they did resign, saying their cousins will apply for their jobs Their chiefs proved the new elements and find them as good as the precedent members of their staffs so they keep on working for the next seven years.

In those seven years, Drigua became the owner of a small but sophisticated Restaurant. We have a good life in here! But we had responsibilities- far from here. I had been looking for a suitable spaceship, able to take us to Erina.- Gretchen announced. Drigua was puzzled. She had never heard that name before, so she asked: And where is Erina? What is in there? 42 Erina is very far from here, and it has dinosaurs in it they were brought from here by our former boss, Ultor.- Gretchen said. I cannot believe it! Was his ship enormous?- Drigua asked, while polishing her finger nails. Not so enormous! We carried them as eggs and newborns.- Median said, remembering the works they went through. The best starship costs as much as the budget of a nation, so I ruled that out. Nethe cargoshipsand then he private space yachts. Every one of those costs more than we could earn in twenty years. 43 We could wait that long: clients will never stop coming at the lawyers office- Median said. For you twenty years is just a blink of an eye! You almost live forever!- Drigua said, not without some envy. We could search for used spaceships-! Must be someone who could be bought.- Doctor AB 631 said. I already did that; I stumbled on a relic: a Sphere. Have you heard of those kinds of spaceships?Gretchen asked of Drigua. Never. Well, they were the best of the best in the far past. Possibly this is one of the few remaining. Gretchen said. Lets take a look at it!- Dr. AB 631 said, walking to the holographic set- they studied it, finding several modifications from past owners. Look! It has fins! Certainly that wasnt the original intention!- Median said. We should go where the spaceship is located- and see it in real.2- Dr. AB 631 said. Ill go with you!- Drigua said. They end the dinner reunion, and at the next day, they all went to see the artifact. It was at a local spaceport , in a site where old models were resting- some of them possibly forever! The Vendor was a Synthetic lady, very useful to learn about the spaceship. Good morning! We have this sphere model for sell in two million sopes! First things first: the engines are not in proper state: must be made adequate with some repairs. Why? They were failing for space travels, and the last owner just reduce its functions to travel between cities.- The attendant explained. Inside there were wraps, sacs, grains spilled everywhere, the hammock were ragged, instruments cracked. This spaceship is a mess!- Median said, seeing that one of her shoes was smeared with some glue. its a junk!2- Dr. AB 631 said. We are in a hurry to buy a spaceship, but this is no spaceship: its a cane of dung.- Gretchen said. The Vendor didnt change her smile, and said: A million and a half sopes could do. Half a million sopes is what is worth! And Im offering that.- Gretchen said, adding: To repair this spaceship, a person must expend more than a million and a half sopes!-

She said so, because she has being taking note of the visible damages, and she knows that there could be more bad surprises when really working at the vehicle. I will talk with the owner. Which is your offer?- The Vendor asked. Half a million sopes.- Gretchen replied. Calling. Wait for a minute.- And the Vendor was talking with the owner by radio. Afterwards, she said: The owner said seven thousand and fifty hundred sopes is the least he could accept for this vehicle. He adds that he could send some spare parts and stuff he had at his place that belongs to the vehicle. All right, seven thousand and five hundred sopes it is! But until we dont see that stuff, we arent paying.- Gretchen said. Of course. Return tomorrow, same time of the day, or later. I will see that the other objects will be here for you. The Vendor said. Gretchen went to work at the Flier Factory, the Doctor to the hospital and median to the Attorneys office At the next day, only Gretchen went to the private spaceport, where the vendor shows her the new objects- that roughly offer the possibility of to economize some reduced quantity of money in repairs. I assume we must to move this sphere from here, to make repairs. Do you have a crane or a truck to do that? better than that! We have a super Het- 30, that is a wagon flier capable of to lift this vehicle as a feather - The Vendor said. Very well, lets legalize our transaction right away.- Gretchen said, and in scant minutes the documents were storage electronically on the National Register of Properties. You dont need to show anything: with only the serial number they will know to whom belongs this sphere. In this case, to Gretchen De Ultor!- The vendor said. And Gretchen was very proud of her (newly invented) second name Now, every second after working hours were spend on repairs. Gretchen and Media were using the male bodies to do the job, more to the laugh of the Doctor, who said. And you were the ones complaining of male bodies! To change of bodies, the method was very easy: just to insert the electronic brain in the interior of the chests- of course. Someone get to do the manipulation: in this case, the Doctor did it. First, they clean the rooms and corridors of garbage, then they scrub stairs and handrails, later begins the replacement of instruments, machines, hoses, cables, and at last the engines: there were two different kinds: a Warp drive engine to attain up to warp 4.0 , and another engine capable of to make Brana jumps. We get to pay rent! The place where this vehicle stands belongs to the Spark Spaceport, entity that is asking a hundred sopes per week to stay. And this is the third month already.- Dr. AB 631 said. Really! I assume this vehicle will be standing on the ground for more than six months more.Median said. When disassembling the Brana engine, they found it fused beyond repair. That a thing! Good bye to Brana jumps in this vehicle!- Doctor AB 631 said, in sad tones. Why? Were you willing to travel to Vulcan or Earth?- Median asked him. Of course! To see the cradle of Federation lore! But, never mind! We dont need Brana jump when going to Erina.- He said, moving his head on the affirmative. The warp engine has a very small amount of energy, and Gretchen said:-Fortunately, we could buy energy for this mechanism, but its going to cost us dearly. A year putting half our wages in the Bank, and well be having enough for a round trip to Erina.

49 Are you planning to come back?- Dr. AB 631 asked. Of course! We need gold to fix this spaceship anew- or buy another. I wonder where they have our special Fliers and the NB 4419!- Median said. Its going to be esy to know. But we are working hard on the Sphere! One thing or the other!Gretchen said. Median didnt think like that, and from that day on, she was asking permission at her work, to went out early: just to visit every space field on town and also junkyards and private sites as well. At last, on a trip to a retired place, twenty kilometers from the nearest house of the city of Rixiaberg, he found the NB 4419 next to a barn. As he was using a personal Flier, she just descends and walked around. It looks older, dustier but in one piece. There was nobody around. To get inside, she had to pull a ladder next to the door, and opened it easily, knowing how to do it from memory. The interior was dark and smelling to oil. The cabin and the seats with a lot of dust: nobody was using them, since at least a couple of months. She opens the circuits, and revised the fuel- as the Sphere, just a little amount of energy was left. Median started the engines and hovering over the place, tested the rest of the indicators. Then, she flew where the Orb was being repaired. That night they all revised the instruments and Gretchen said: We had not sold this machine. It was stolen from us in Oredloro! Somebody taks it from there! A thief!- Median said. Right! Now is ours! Thanks for your work!- Gretchen said. I was searching for the Fliers Gusoff as well. We understand you! Now we must camouflage this spaceship! A new coat of mineral paint! That will do the trick.- Doctor AB 631 said, but believing that they were going to need some more luck They clean the NB 4419 the same way they had donned with the Sphere: six months later, they bought fuel for both spaceships, and again more fuel six months later. We are ready to depart. Gretchen said, after all of that time. Our bosses will surely miss us.- Median said. The Hospital will lose his best medic. Doctor AB 631 said. And I cannot lose my three best friends! I will sell the Restaurant!- Drigua said. Gretchen embraces the natural woman, saying- Think it over, friend of us! The voyage will take thirty or more years- and the same amount of time , if we come back here some day! There are hibernating chambers at both vessels! Surely I will be safe from the passing of the years inside one of them!3- Drigua stated out. Of course, and we are not a suitable couple for you- at Erina there are men- but they are thirty years in the future!- Gretchen remembered her. I am not horny!- Drigua said, laughing. Very well, I see you are very decided to accompany us. I will help you sell the Restaurant. Median said, embracing the noble young woman. Four weeks later, the Restaurant was already sold and the money on Driguas hands. She said: As its very possible that I will not return here to find things as they look today, I will use my money right away! And she bought more food, wine, clothes and shoes for her and the rest.

A lovable morning they departed, with the Sphere inside the NB 4419. From one of the Orbital Stations they ask identification, and Gretchen told the officer the old designation of that spaceship. And they was no problem I wonder if the sphere could depart so easily!- Dr. AB 631 said. Of course! It has the documentation they require! Pity its an old model! Now well be traveling at Warp 6. The sphere cannot run past the Warp 4.- Median said. They worked their way out of the populated lines. The traffic was heavy at the kingdom of Knapp. This is pure beauty! I am glad to be doing this marvelous trip!- Drigua exclaimed, while looking at the planets and the unlinking stars. One week later, she was cryiogenized for the rest of the trip. Gretchen was missing the cleverness of the original main NB 4419 computer- it was severely damaged- somebody hast taken important pieces from it, leaving only the essentials. Pity of burglars and common people! They see the little picture! How they dare to take so important pieces of equipment from this spaceships brain?- One day Gretchen complained loudly. Pity we dont replace those parts when at Rixiaberg! We were in such a hurry to depart!2Median said. At least we recovered the NB 4419! Pity on the Gusoff Fliers But with the Sphere we will replace them, by scouting at the planets.- Dr. AB 631, conciliatory. The thirty years gets them to Ultor planetary System- balls of gas and balls of rocks, and the blue shiny gloss of Ultor III receiving them as always, with clouds of pale blue color. They landed where the old cavern was dug The old gate opens at their command, and young Drigua was happy to see their friends were showing her their most cherished secrets. It was in this cave that we had several Gusoff fliers, almost a century ago!- Median said, and her voice resounds hollowly in that empty place. Its nice! Outside the wind blows, but here only the cloud could enter. She said. Pity we cannot show you more. Mankind was very cruel to us, robbing us in Oredloro, years ago. Median explains her. From there to the spaceship. The temperature was roughly minus twenty Centigrade and Drigua was using thermo clothes- that means she had some twenty degrees inside them, but the face was not protected, so they let her go outdoors just for scant minutes at a time. Sorry! We have o helmets for that kind of garment! But you could use a spatial suit- I tell you its very cumbersome.- Gretchen said (they had just three older versions of them.) No, thanks you! Im very comfortable with this thermo- clothes!- She replied, handsomely. The views were great; the sandy shore had lots of shells from mollusks; some of them fifty centimeters long: and there was nobody who could collect then, or study, because Ultor planet has no people. 55 Ultor V. The ice covered huge portions of the planet- snow was falling everywhere, and icebergs were everywhere. The animals were mainly seals, huge fishes and mollusk. In the land, mammals of small size. A little blue planet! Guess people accustomed to ice and the cold would love this planet. Drigua said. Your father wishes no people arriving here to stay. Median remembered. Oh? Perhaps an hotel for choosy tourists? Probably they could be indoors due to the climate. She said, smiling.

Yes, now that scant people wants to colonize, tourism is the next thing. Dr. AB 631 said, grinning. You should think about how to bring here and back there in less than sixty years elapsing time Median pointed out. Yes, I guess its not the dream of a tourist! When returning, they could find half of their friends are already passed away. Gudria said, and then she remembered about his father (87) but she was sure he could live past his three hundred birthdays, if only attending the Clinic where all old timers must go once a couple of months, to be revised and medicine if necessary. Are you reminding your father? I am sure he will be nice threated by the medical institution he must be attached with.- Median said. Yes! By law, every person with more than seventy years must be signed to a clinic, or hospital net to their address. Father is already taken care of by the Perennial Clinic. Guess he chooses it by the name. >Perennial means Drigua was saying. Eternal.- Gretchen interrupted her. Yes! Of course, the life of a person in our kingdom is of three hundred years, roughly. Guess at Earth is five hundred years.- Drigua indicates. A thousand and five hundred, actually. Dr. AB 31 said, who was on top of those information . A thousand and five hundred years! Well, I guess we are living in a cave, at Knapp!- Drigua said. Yes, but everyone could go to the solar system to beguine living for centuries on end the problem is that the non-solar born needs to pay for the treatment. And its highly prohibitive just the very rich could go there with a smile.- Doctor AB 631 said. 57 Guess 300 years for a common person its more than enough!- Drigua said. From there, they visit the poles, where terrible winds were blowing with force. Evidently, a very hostile place for mammals. Frigid and windy! No animals in sight!_ Drigua said. Gretchen piloted the big spaceship up and away. Now, we met search for the wormhole!- Median said. Oh, and its too far from here?Very close! In hours well be looking at it. Gretchen informed her. Drigua was now tierd, and went to rest at a cabin. Hours later, the Doctor knocks in her door. Yes doctor? She said, opening the door. We are in full view of the wormhole! We think youll be interested in to see it before we attempt to go through it!- The doctor AB 631 said. They walked by the corridors and she asked: and is it not dangerous to go by it? 58 Everything we do outside a planet is dangerous! And this traversing has its dangers. Not always the electromagnetic waves act exactly in unison._ He said. Drigua was not too confident in her near future now, and said to Gretchen, who was at the controls: Where is the wormhole? Right ahead, Drigua! Do you sleep well?- She answered. Yes, thanks you! Oh, but it looks rather small!!- - She said. Gretchen smiled and replied:- Wormholes comes in a lot of sized! I would say that this is a medium sized one!- And noticing the young female was jumpy, she added:- Hope you are not afraid? Oh, no! But what are the chances we could bump on a wall, once traveling through it?- She asked.

A very remote possibility! You know, those walls of pure energy rejects solid matter. In principle, we cannot bump on a wall, even if we try!- Gretchen informs her. Drigua looks at the doctor, who just rise his shoulders 59 Approaching the multicolored veil of electromagnetic matter, the NB 4419 was put in position by Gretchens dexterous hands; soon it was speeding up, approaching the rays that soon enveloped the craft. Wow! This is wonderful! How much time are we spending here? The enough time to traverse it in full.- Median said, sensing the tremor in Driguas voice. Hours later, they were out and away of the wormhole, that was like a rainbow of colors with the form (or design) of an infundibulum. That was great! Driguas said, half of his afraid of wormholes already gone. That star is our destination!- Gretchen indicates with his hand pointing to the main screen. Erina.- Median said, like a summon. 60 They descended in the Sierra continent, at the oriental hemisphere; at the same spot they were ninety years ago. There is scant oxygen at this planet, youll get accustomed in time, with the help of an oxygen tank. But the weather is fine.- Gretchen told to Drigua. So, when they went out, the woman was using a small plastic mask, attached to a cylinder at her back with a transparent hose. Its really beautiful! - She said, enchanted to see forest everywhere. The light of the principal star, Erina, was brilliant, the breeze moving the leaves and a sweet perfume to vegetation coming in gusts of wind. Yes, its a nice spot. In fact, almost this entire planet is a beautiful garden- there is also fruit trees.- Median said to her. Gretchen and the Doctor begin revising systems at the Sphere, and in the afternoon they take it out of the NB 4419 for a test. You better stay here with Median! We dont know how it will function in here!- Gretchen said, so she and the doctor were soon traveling on the Sphere, testing the repairs they had donned while in transit from one star to the other. Twice they landed to perform repairs, and eight hours later they were back at the side of the NB 4419. And how it was your test flight?- Drigua asked the couple. Just fine! A few adjustments and now its as reliable as it could be! Tomorrow we will take you in it: did you want to see herbivores or carnivores first?- Dr. AB 631 asked her. Both! They are both so much interesting!- Drigua said. Very well, but one thing at a time! So well go to see herbivores first! Some other day and well travel where the others are!- Gretchen said, quenching her interest into see it all at once. In the Sphere they went to the West. They traveled at a slow pace, in low altitude, in fact for to let Drigua see the forests, rivers, lagoons of the Sierra continent. Large herds of deer were seen moving by the sides of the mountains. Hippopotamus were seen on lagoons, flocks of cranes flying above rivers. Then they traverse above the sea; the Girardot Island was seen to the south the ocean of Elocutrix and their great expanse. At last, the continent of Jarena. On the plains, several >Licorinos were grazing under the star rays. Those were green in color, with streaks of coffee color running over their loins.

Gretchen keeps on searching, and near a river they saw Hepstasteornio, Ammosaurus and Criocophosaurus in peaceful harmony. We brought many species here, with our chief Ultor. There are lots of other animals that must be scattered throughout this land to see.- Gretchen said. 63 Im proud of you! Your work has transcended time and space!- Drigua said, absorbed in the contemplation of those giants. They landed near a group of Kotasaurs; Drigua walks out of the _Sphere, accompanied by Median. They found some Avalonias eggs, and Median said: Those eggs are very resistant! You can seta on one of them, and it didnt crack! And the mother?- Drigua asked, looking around. Must be at the river! This animal needs lots of water to survive.- Median said, knowingly. Drigua takes a deep breath of oxygen, and said: Pity theres not much oxygen here! I would be better without the oxygen tank. Bear with it! Its your life support.- Median remembered her. Two hours later, they returned to the Sphere, and Gretchen said: I receive a radio transmission from the Sierra Continent: the Glockians wants to meet us. Of course. We help them before, against some miners from outer space.- Median explains to Drigua, who was ignorant of it. 64 They landed at the open space in front of the rocky wall of the center of the city. Hundreds of people were running and yelling of anxiety and emotion- to see again a big aerial ship was, for them, the best hoped event in their lives. When the Sphere was landed, Gretchen appears on the threshold of the gate, and the multitude yelled and applauded. We are back! We are back!- Gretchen said, using double volume. A hastened group of surprised functionaries appears, and after some struggle, welcomed her and the crew, inviting them to descend. Gretchen, seeing no guards around to make way, replied: You are invited to our spaceship to talk! Please come inside, that later well descend! The group climbs by the ladder, and once inside, the lock was closed. Welcome to Glocke city! I am Tyren Burr, the Major; this are Councilors from the Municipality! Sorry we have no preparations to receive you in a proper form! We saw your flying vehicle in the sky, and that was all the time we had for preparations!- The Major said. I am Gretchen, she is Median, and there the doctor! And one more person, Miss Drigua, who is happy to be here! Gretchen said, while guiding the visitors to the dining table. Once seated, Median serves soft drinks, while the Major said: We werent expecting you! Some of us believe you were not to return again! But here you are , to show the people with lack of faith how they were wrong! Thanks for your honesty! Things had happened in our worlds, that were preventing to come, but we overcame all odds, and here we are! I thanks you for that! We lack of a number of things you could provide.- A man on the group said. Of course. We will see how to help as much as we could.- Median said. All your people are very excited with your presence. Albeit that, I think not advisable that you go outside right now! We must prepare! A security area for your spaceship, a guard of honor must be set!- The Major said, hastily.

I accept your suggestion. We will give you some presents, and you will disembark. Tomorrow well return; pay attention to the radio: well advice when nearing the city.- Gretchen said. One of the men said:- I wish I could go with you! I had always wanted to be in one of these ships. Herrera! How do you dare molest our visitors like this! What a shame! The Major said, blushing. Never mind, Major Burr! It will be of interest for us to take him aboard.- Gretchen said, and gives the visitors sonic shavers, cellphone radios to communicate, perennial jackets, and lanterns. We remember small vehicles and a big one. Do you arrive here in this one, or there are others?The Major asked. This is our scout ship, the Sphere. The bigger one is on another place at the present.- Median replied. When going out, the people cheered again; Gretchen close the lock gate and afterwards they get back by another aerial route, to the Sierra Continent mountain ridge. A nice trip! Very amusing!- Drigua said, yawning. You better go to sleep! Tomorrow well visit the Glockians again.- Drigua said. very well, but not until late!- Gretchen said, and guided them to the hall of the stargazer, where they seat while looking at some recorded scenes taken while approaching the planet, so Mr. Herrera was able to see his own world from the distance. Median come to the room, and seats next to Drigua, saying:- probably we had lots of questions to make Mr. Herrera, but he had asked to be with us to make his own questions, so why dont you ask first, Mr. Herrera? Later, well question you in which interest us. 68 Herrera, 45 years, married to Janet Rubon, two sons (eight and twelve) was especially interested on life span, and said so. Life span- Median replied- its different on the different planets and societies. Earth of Sun, its a thousand five hundred and three years. In planet Knapp, roughly three hundred years, while at Nulcan its three thousand two hundred and two years. I can enumerate other life spans, like the Oladorians, that lives thirty Earth years and die. Here the life span seems to be seventy years.- Mr. Herrera confided. As well as the science develops, life keeps on for more years. Naturally, a body could live a hundred years, but with serious hindrances and lack of mental efficiency. Gadgets, by the other hand, improves efficiency.- Median said. I understand. We lack the technology.- Mr. Herrera said. But that is remediable! In the long run, we all will achieve the goal: a person able to live as many years as he likes.- Drigua said. Possibly so.- Median said, making some calculus with the limited information that she has. Where were you, while not in our planet?- Mr. Herrera asked. 69 From here we went to the Ultor planetary system, to Aurea VI- 2, to Knapp planetary system, where we were robbed and stripped over. Some of us may have ceased to exist. Pity on them.Media remembered. And who administrate your city? Rastrasse. He is a man in his fifties, related the late Kinaber, the old Administrator. He was at the fields at your arrival- thats why the Major and us takes the responsibility of to come to you in the first place!- Mr. Herrera said. And which post do you have in the government?- Drigua asked him. Councilor. How many people has your city?

Three hundred thousand people. But there had been some splitting: people that prefers to live at the beach. People that prefer to live on the woods. In any case, they are the minority.- Herrera said. And your coinage, whats the name of it? Sopes: in your memory we called it when we decided the monetary system was the only way out to have a sound society.- Herrera said, looking at Median. Good to know it! Perhaps in the future people from Knapp could come here to visit , and using the same coinage will help things go smooth.- Drigua stated. 70 Median said: And what kind of help do you need the most? Energy! We cling to electricity, but the means to obtain it are difficult to maintain. Perhaps you could help us find something else apart than burning oil to spin the electromagnets.- Herrera said. Of course. There are so many other ways, but some of them needs technology of a certain kind, plus lots of work. Median said, looking at Drigua and adding:- Any more questions? Drigua smiled to both of them and said: Yes, I had a few more, but those can wait until the morning. All right, then! I will show you where to sleep, Mr. Herrera! Come with me.- Median said, leading the man to a cabin. Drigia looked at the night sky for another minute and she , also, went to sleep at a nice chamber. Gretchen reminds at the NB 4419 spaceship while Median did the same at the Orb; only Dr. AB 631 could rummage around the place. They talked by radio This Herrera is a fine man. He asks nothing for himself.- Median said. How do you know? Perhaps tomorrow hell ask something. Ill give some gadgets. Doctor! Go check his AND, the state of his health, teeth, you name it. The Doctor , who was now at the pope of the NB 4419, replied:- Could I sedate him first? Not too polite to awake him now he barely takes his sleep. Do as necessary not to raise comments on our behavior! And give me results!- Gretchen asks. All right- Dr. AB 631 said, while he walks to the Infirmary. He looks at the shelves, and decided for a shot of gas- no marks to show after its use. He enters at Herreras cabin and closed the door, sprayed the place with the solution and seconds later, Mr. Herrera was inconscient for at least the next two hours. But the doctor needs less than that. He takes the body with care and transported to the Infirmary, where he puts on the stretcher and produces several syringes, taking samples from that body and inserting the liquids into ampules, in order to study them later. He also takes samples of his hair, nails, while a machine takes record of his pumping heart and breathing lungs. He also takes samples of the lungs, kidneys and reproductive organs, storing them into small vials. The electroencephalographic examination takes only ten minutes, and then he carried Mr. Herrera back to his bed, closing the door after him- at his laboratory he examined the samples and hours later, he said to Gretchen:- We need a dentist! Also, the man has seven infections, most of them in a latent state- perhaps the medicines in his society arent properly identifying the source of their illnesses. I assume we are here to help them fix those problems, Doctor! I can work as a dentist, if needed be.- Gretchen declares, by radio transmission. They kept talking until the problems were coped, albeit in theory. At the next day, Gretchen puts the orb inside a chamber on the NB 4419 and departed to the Glocke city, after call the Major by radio, announcing their arrival.

When they arrive to the site, there was ample room for the landing of the medium sized cargo vessel. After the landing, Gretchen opened the gate and descended with Mr. Herrera, who was already treated of his teeth. Drigua , in a soft pink dress, followed them, while the Doctor walks at her side. The lock was shut, and Median stays inside- for precaution. The governor, Mr. Rastrasse, was there to welcome them, with some of his assistants and their spouses. The crowd was then meters away from them, restrained to approach more by some low barriers made of wood, and guards. As Mr. Herrera had told them that same morning, the Guards were here the Police as well at the Military, in one unique organization, and the commander in chief was the Governor himself. Welcome to Glocke city! How nice to meet you all! The man said, handshaking them one by one. Thanks you! Here we are, after so many years! We came to help and be of guidance to your people.- Gretchen said, and her voice boomed by the loudspeakers. Mr. Rastrasse has a paper in his hands, so he reads it for all to hear: Ninety two years ago, Mr. Ultors assistants , who are here with me, found us living in huts, and help us build a stone place where we lived and thrive, and in the process we expand over the terrain ending by having a nice city, that we call Glocke. You, my valuable visitors, brought us technology and science. You helped us against a race of miners that were threatening our future with their excavations. You left us aerial vehicles able to fly and explore this and other continents, expanding our knowledge of this planet. In the years of your absence, we had tried hard to advance in sciences and architecture. We had tried to develop medicines. We are eager to show you our advances, and learn from your experience. During your stay here with us, that we expect to be long, we will try to lean as much as we are able to. Welcome, brothers and sisters from the space! They all applauded and cheered them. A woman approaches the visitors, saying>: our governor expects you to visit the seat of government! A vehicle is provided.- And they climb on a bus, that has wide windows to see and be seen. After the vehicle was rolling the governors car, with him and his wife, plus some relatives. The Government House was located some eight blocks away from the landing site. By the street, the people were acclaiming them as heroes: they were taught to do so- from childhood. Inside a nice hall of reunion, they received more applause and some speeches from people in the Administrative sector. Gretchen was sure they really were needing advice to fasten the pace in sciences, for their collective welfare, so he told Median, who was at the NB 4419:- We are receiving much attention . How are things going at your place? The people hasnt moved and are singing and expecting for me to show out. Show yourself but with precautions! Remember our bad experience at Knapp! I guess theres no danger to be friendly- from some distance.- Gretchen recommended her. I had been showing myself before! But all right, Ill show myself once more- from the door.Median said. Gretchen, the Doctor, and Drigua were invited to a lunch party; the only person eating from the visitors were Drigua, who said. Its very cumbersome to breath by a tube and then to eat! I wonder how this people, that are human like me, could breath this thin atmosphere! Look at their chests! They are wider than the common people youhad seen at your world! And I assume their red globules are more per square inch than the ones you have.- Doctor AB 631 said. After the ceremony, the governor Rastrasse said:- Perhaps our reunions must continue. There are many questions to debate.

I understand! Well be coming to see what is the more urgent situation where to help.- Gretchen replied. In the next days, they begin to visit >Hospitals and electric plants, where they introduce new engines, providing power to machines and lamps. Half of the city has no electric light! Well see to it, how to give them the opportunity to live with comfort!- Median said, and they enlarged the electric emissions to forty kilometers around the pole where the electricity was irradiated. Several camps with metallic wires were capturing energy from the upper atmosphere. 76 Every building has an antenna to grab the electric current- no wires were needed. Many manual labors are now being replaced by machines.- Gretchen said to the governor Rastrasse. We work in the fields, in the mines, in the sea as fishers. Our city will increase its power in the future, but for now we are few people to think about it happening soon.- Rastrasse said. We could build an army of workers! A synthetic army.- Gretchen said, and Rastrasse was amazed by the projection of her words, so he said: For that matter to be accomplished we will be needing a factory, laboratories, high-tech! Well provide! Give me a hundred workers, and Ill work with them to provide indefatigable workers who will improve the quality of life in this community.- Gretchen said. I will give you the workers, that will need tools and nourishment. Ill provide both. Also medicines if necessary, and lessons to use the tools Ill give them.Gretchen announced. Drigua was courted by Loman, a technician who was working at the new plant- soon they were in love, much to the surprise of the Doctor. But how did this happen? She was so shy and obedient, and now she laugh and stand her points as best as a lawyer could do! Love changes everything!- Median said, remembering Ultor in his best moments. As times goes by, a child was born from them, and Drigua said: Well call her Astria! Because I want you to take her away from here- to the stars! Perhaps she becomes some famous spaceship captain. Ill teach her Astrometrics!- Median said, immediately : the baby was white and with green eyes. The first electromagnetic plant begins working a year and a half later, and it gives light and heat to five hundred homes and two factories. Then, a flier vehicle factory was started to be built- the first vehicle was produced two years after the electric plant, and at the first month, thirty units were built. This show how dearly were needed more skillful workers, and Gretchen said to the governor Rastrasse:- As we are way behind the necessary technology, a mechanical assistant could be built. But could he comply with the basic requirements? Exactly. He will obey orders, and stand to reason- when out of its depth, he will ask for more information. If that is not available, he either stop or keep on with another order.- Gretchen explains. Very well! Metal will be required. And technological equipment Ill built with the aid of Media and the Doctor. Sorry! We cannot give you Model AB for now. Gretchen excuses herself. The construction of metallic workers takes half a year. Three hundred prototypes were built in that period, with a big sized one was produced first, thinking in the work at the mines.

In five months they have produced the equivalent of two years using natural miners! This shows we re in the correct path! The industrialization of our country is a must!- Rastrasse assured everyone that nears him. Certainly an increase in population would boost the colonization of Erina! But really we cannot be thinking in the missing of the races!- Gretchen said. The mixing of the races produces a people who dont know wheres north!- Dr. AB 631 said. In Earth and in other places the mixing of races had induced fight and violence.- Median said. Its not the external appearance that only changes! Its also the brain! Different attitudes finds face to face and the person dont know what to do in that inner battle! One minutes hes accepting something ,a and t the next moment hes rejecting it- a race like that its split in two and have real problems to find their way. Gretchen assured them both. As I calculate with the data we have, there are eleven thousand men and fourteen thousand women. The rate of birth its 3.4 per year.- Doctor AB 631 said. We should increase that rate, by propaganda! The government has a holographic channel running eight hours a day. We should ask Rastrasse to promote births. The state must provide medicines, medical care, clothes to those who born. A plus could be half price in _Fliers and houses. Gretchen said. 80 And perhaps a pinch of hormones in the water supply. The doctor express. I Know you are unsurpassable in those matters, doctor .Perhaps Ill ask the governor to promote you to the post of Minister of Health. In that way, you will have the means and toe control to make things to our way.- Gretchen said, and implicit in her words were the idea they know best than the rest of the people at Erina planet. That is for their own benefit.- Median pointed out. I assume it is .- Doctor AB 631 said. We could take the government in our hands. Median said. I guess the naturals must govern themselves. Of course, we must get into the scheme we must not be something remote and untouchable. We must have force. We must be feared- in a sense, we must show ourselves transcending their scale of values.- Gretchen said. And how do you think that could be achieved?- The doctor asks her. By control of the Army! We must have the key: the Army is the key.- Gretchen said. So you think you must have the Ministry of the Army Forces on your lap?- Median asked her. 81 I guess we must be in charge of the Army Forces. Today, the Glocke Army forces is a joke; ten Fliers using LASER cannons, forty soldiers and two officers!- Gretchen said. The governor has a hundred and fifty personal guards! Surely he has his personal guard for his own sake, because they take no orders from anyone in the Army but him!- Doctor AB 631 explains. We must leave his little Army intact! In that way, hell be not feeling theres a threat for him occupying the principal post in the city. And I assume hell give me the Ministry of the _Army Forces because there are only forty men in there.- Gretchen said. And you are thinking to increase their number.- Median said. Of course. Ill increase it with natural who volunteered and with synthetics specially made.Gretchen said. One thing is obvious: Rastrasse will be your Chief: a Ministry could be deposed.- Dr. AB 631 said. That is where I will expect some changes! I will cat in an independent way, Ill answer to nobody! But I get to start slow.- Gretchen said. Do your own way! Well support you.- Median said, immediately.

82 Gretchen presents herself with the Doctor and Median at the Governors office, after asking for an audience, that was immediately given. Good morning, Miss Gretchen, Miss Media, Doctor! Nice day, eh? Please, take a seat!- Rastrasse said. Thanks you, governor.- And she and her companions seats, for social intercourse matters. I had a reunion today with several school Directors! I had that job, because I dont want to create another Ministry money trickles in, and swooshed out.- Rastrasse said. Pity to hear that! But the economy must keep on having money to interchange goods! In the high civilized societies, money is only used to buy what the government didnt provide! But in here, starting from a fruit up, this coinage must keep on.- Gretchen teaches him Oh, I wonder how those civilizations out there could provide so much to the people!- Rastrasse said. High economics and lots of Synthetic people doing their jobs!- Median said. But we are here to ask you for something very important: lets talk about your Army forces, governor.- Gretchen said. 83 You frighten me! You know how many men are in the Army? Forty two? Exactly! Armed with LASER rifles and single LASER cannon!. Very feeble Army Forces that you have here.- Median interceded. Air Force? Marine? Spatial Force?- The doctor AB 631 asked. Please! We have eighteen Fliers, counting the last the Flier Factory had delivered to us recently! None of them its armed.- Rastrasse said, moving his eyes from one to the other. I come here to ask the ministry of the War! All Army Forces in one hand: mine. That means I will see that the Army grows and gets strong as it must be.- Gretchen said. Rastrasse paled a little, and said: I see not a problem! The Ministry of the War is my cousin Palerm. I know hell understand that you could do a better job than him. I know Ill do a good job there! Of course, well be using technological advanced means to achieve our goal: an Army capable to fight against aliens if they show their spaceships in this planet once again.- Gretchen said. 84 The governor made a ceremony to change the former Ministry and appoint the new one. Everyone were very surprised to see that Gretchen, who assumedly was very superior than everyone in the government, takes only a title of Minister, but said nothing publicly. In the days after the nomination, Gretchen visited the garrison, to know the personnel, the place where they had the offices, the warehouse, the vehicles, the weapons. He finds that all kind of run-down with the soldiers using worn shoes, patched clothes and suffering cold at their barrack. She makes them attend her, while in position, saying: I am the new Ministry of the Army Forces! Well modernize everything! Ill bring synthetic people to clean and repair everything! I will repair Fliers and weaponize them in full! Well make more land vehicles. They heard and just a few believed her. She replied her performance at the Naval quarters, near the sea- just two boats, armed with cannons that uses gunpowder was all the navel ofrc of the city : perhaps the long distance between the city and the garrison at the coast was responsible for that. Gretchen calls the fifteen Marines to attend her speech, and when they were at attention, in a log cabin that was barrack and office in unison, she said:

Good day, men! I am the new commander of the Naval Forces! We have nothing sort of a fleet! We have no Marines, no guns, nothing! But Ill make submarines, boats and Ill rise an Army of Synthetic metallic people, and every one of you will be in command, of a ship, a submarine or a platoon! Just obey orders, stay in place and I assure youll be proud to serve in the new Navy! They cheered her, half believing what she was saying was true. Gretchen makes a time lapse diagram, showing it to the _doctor and Media. It looks like this: 2 boats Armored Fliers Half size battle ship Hunter crafts Cruisers Present In 4 years. In six years. In ten years. In 30 years. A good scheme! Well need scientists , engineers, lots of materials and most of all, the will of the Naturals to make this project a solid reality to endure through time.- Median said. 86 Well be needing the educational control! To instill in them the need to represent a powerful country, then a kingdom and lately, an Empire. You did know what I really think of Democracy. Gretchen said. That stinks.- Media said, smiling knowingly. Monarchy also stinks if the person replacing an able governor took the reins! For that reason, well be teaching the nobility! Well choose who to reign: the most efficient.- Gretchen said. The Doctor said: You are absolutely right. Well be the power behind the crown. To think there are so many worlds awaiting Homo Sapiens to be colonized, blurred my mind. Here we are, in a planetary system that the speed of light takes ten hours to get across, when there is Condor Nebula with millions of stars waiting at nine a half light years away or the Ark Nebula at ten thousand light years away! All of those spheres are waiting for them- if we help! Please, doctor! Your scope of things its really too big for our feeble forces!- Median said. I congratulate you, Doctor! You really know how to think big. Gretchen said, smiling. They increase the metallic Synthesis production, and they start to produce LASER cannons, missile throwers and large distance radars. The new Fliers were armored, the wages for young soldiers doubled and tripled. Lessons at school were based in Mathematics instead of in letters. The effort was visible in ten short years: a real Army was in place, with five hundred natural soldiers and twenty five hundred synthetic warriors. Median was looking at them while they were training in warfare, and said to Gretchen: This new effort we did in favor of the Glockians is tantalizing! The last time we were with them, we also provided with mechanical men! Yes! They just close factories when their learned men grew old and die. We need a University or two, where knowledge didnt die.- Gretchen replied. I remember Mr. Eik Duk! It was a genius, as the dictator Mr. Kinaber called him. I knew about the mechanical Synthetic persons made by him all destroyed by misuse. Pity they forget to build them.- Gretchen said. When Eik Duk died, two years after our 88 Departure, their Assistants werent able to cope with the work! Several fires burnt scientific instruments and notes, , and in the end, a revolt broke against Yola Burena( Kinabers wife) ends with her and the Dictator.He wasnt a bad administrator.- Gretchen remembered. But his wife puts him on the open! The temple of Artemisa was ransacked and its treasures stolen.- Median said.

People just dont understand poetry turn into stone! But now we are here to amend things!2Gretchen said. Do you pretend to repair that temple?- Median raise an eyebrow in disbelief. Of course not! It represents a dead entity nobody fully understand ! I mean, we must teach them how to spent money creating universities! The only way to root sciences in this community.Gretchen said. The doctor AB 631 said, by radio:- Gretchen :I hope you could reconsider that decision! That building could represent some anchor or nexus between this colony and their forgotten past! If they come from Earth, that temple links them to the history of that planet. Gretchen said: Well, if you think so, well be repairing the temple and have new offices there. Of the Army Forces?- Median jumped up. Of the Education Ministry! And youll be appointed as the person in charge! I know you can cope with that.- Gretchen said. Median smiled and replied:- You know that I can! In my data banks there are hundreds of examples on how the teaching must be administered! I guess you are thinking in me as the real founder of a University? Exactly right. Perhaps taking the best example from outer wordly communities!- Gretchen indicates. Very well! Now all we get to do is asking our Governor Rastrasse about it.-. Median said. But certainly not with empty hands! Well give him a highly decorated Flier, with 90 Gold knobs, gold bathtub, gold armchairs and lots of gold framed mirrors! I want to satisfy his ego as much as he could resist.- Gretchen said. I guess its a gambit we get to take!- Dr. AB 631 radioed out. A brand new Flier was taken from the factory line of production. The appliances were molded in a small factory Gretchen built near the gold mine, three hundred kilometers from Glocke city. The place was so isolated that nobody knew of the gift until it landed, one sunny morning, in front of the Government House. Gretchen takes Rastrasse out of his office by some minutes, saying: Theres a gift we have brought to you, Mr. Governor! Please come with me to receive it! Rastrasse was puzzled and signaled some guards to accompany him to the front of the three stories building. Here it is: now you can travel in a very comfortable vehicle! It has radio transmitters in case you want to give orders to your Assistants while you travel in it!- Gretchen indicates. Lets take a look at the interior! It looks very shiny!- The man said.

Inside the craft, he was very amazed to see the yellow metal in such profusion certainly gold has its value in the community, so he understand he was receiving a lot of money by the side All its very nce! I like it! And I appreciate your efforts!- Rastrasse said, seating at the main cabin on a cushioned armchair. We appreciate your work and we want you to remain in place for many years to come- Median said.

But also, we are thinking we could be of use on the Education Ministry! To create a University and teach people how to become a teacher, so the Glocke community never again loose its technical pace again.- Gretchen said. I remember my uncle, Kinaber, speaking about the robot factory and how much your presence here was required, especially when the engineer died. The famous genius, Mr. Eik Duck.Rastrasse said. Eik Duk, who was creating nice ED robots by the dozen!- Median remembered. Exactly! He died in an electrical accident two years after you were gone. It was a big blow for us all. Rastrasse said, standing up from the chair. Median will be a good Education Ministry. She knows about it. Your acceptance will be appreciated by us all.- Gretchen said. Of course. Ill appoint her in this same week. Hope shell succeed!- Rastrasse said, and the Synthetics went out, leaving him at his new Flier, to search and see the marvels within it. Median was appointed the Ministry of Education, and she visits her new offices, met her new assistants and revise the themes to deploy. Most of it wasnt mathematical: art was too wide in those areas as Music, drawing, dance and theatre (or scenic performance). With too many hours devoted to these areas, theres no way mathematic could be grasped at all by the students! They must be preoccupied by mathematics and sciences, instead of art!- Median said to Gretchen. Minimize them! Top priority to sciences!93 Gretchen recommended her. Yes and physical activities are also being minimized on the present program! I will see that in every day of school attendance, physical training gets at least two hours!- Median said. What she finds afterwards was worrying: there were few mathematical teachers: she calls for several dozen synthetic mechanical persons to become teachers! Special software became the curiosity on every school. The old music, religion, art teachers went on strike, but they were just ignored by the Governor, who was already in the know of the whys and whens. We need science to improve our society! We cannot waste more time!- Was his motto. Gretchen was also designing secret places where to storage airships and ammunition. The Huinkerios were badly hit, but as the years passes, those societies will eventually grow and recover. Enough to make us a target! I am for every looking at the sky. Dr. AB 631 said, three months later. They were

Seated at the dining room (or mess hall) of the big NB 4419 spaceship, that was parked near a mountain, three hundred kilometers from Glocke city: again its generators were being use at a mine, where people and robots were mining for cooper. We had deployed several spy satellites in orbit! The minute they show up there, those mechanisms will advise us of the danger.- Median said.

A trip to Fourth planet must be accomplished. Perhaps a Base there could serves us.- Gretchen said. With one of us in the crew?- Median asked, thinking her presence at the Ministry of Education ws too important now she was changing directives. I was thinking in new personnel for this mission: mechanical Synthetics! We had improved the calculation procedures on our latest mechanic models: the EDs. (Name chosen in memory of Eik Duk, the genius). Let us say this is the ED-03.- Gretchen explains. I have no objection.- Median said. Nor I! Personally, I prefer to stay here, helping at the Hospital.- Dr. AB 631 said. CHAPTER THE TRIP TO THE FOURTH PLANET. The crew was of three Synthetic metallic persons per Flier, and they were fifteen Fliers. They departed in a rainy day, from the spaceport of Glocke city. Commanding the expedition was ED 03 004, that has a fine positron brain, twice the standard size: as the Synthetic brains were located at the chest, no difference was noticeable when looking at that model and the rest. Not as the AB models, the EDs spoke but very little in a verbal form, so their speech was mainly by radio and using computer language. The fifteen Fliers escaped gravity in scant minutes, and in V formation takes the ellipse that will conduct them to find planet IV in space, that at the time was at perihelion with Erina III. Maintain course! Pay attention to the long range radar! Meteorites are common in this area! ED 03 004 commanded by radio. They traveled for 97 hours; using the seventy five per cent of the standard velocity those Fliers could cope with-. The warp system werent used at all.

Maps of that world were provided by the NB4419 databank, and when nearing they directed the V formation to the equator where a large cannon was in sight. The radars show a place, at the bottom, where it was plain and free of boulders. Follow me and landed choosing the best position to take off!!- ED 03 004, and the logical position was facing the south. Fifteen minutes later, the Fliers were posted on the soft sand and the reports shows no damages in them. Fliers One to Five, permission for the personnel to walk on the surface is granted. The rest wait for further information.- ED 03 004 said. He also went out, looking to all sides: the 97 Walls of the cannon crept up for more than a kilometer, and the stars were seen in the middle, like fiery grains of molten lava.

Search for minerals!- ED 03 004 ordered and the team separated in the two possible directions: forward and rearwards of the cannon. The information was given as well as the minerals were spotted on the terrain. Copper, iron was present. The amount of it was not known- possibly miners were going to find out the hard way. They walked four kilometers either way, and there were rocks blocking the easy passing through. ED 03 004 was sure they had to return to the Fliers to pass over those by above. When he and the group was retracing their steps, they sensed a strange tremor on the floor,m and saw some Fliers abandoning the cannon at high speed- almost on their tails, three black vessels were on the follow, firing LASER huge beams.

When arriving to where the fifteen Fliers landed, they found four of them almost broke in two and no smoke or flames, due to the absence of atmosphere on the planet IV. Search for a super radio right now!- ED 03 004 said, and they presented him several pieces of what were radio equipment before the raid. Very well, we havent a way to call on them! Our small powered radios cannot reach them! But surely they will come back for us.- ED 03 004 said. The possibility that those remaining vessels could be in one piece was a top winner in his set of possible scenarios. Well spread , in case the enemy returns!- ED 03 004 said, and saw how his men run and disappear among the rocks. He waits there, looking at the stars above him. Four days later, a Flier zoomed down and the side door opens. A metallic head appears, so ED 03 004 said: Hello! Nice landing. Were on a hurry! They have been searching for us all of the time! Soon theyll be here!- ED 03 005 replied. (He was the skipper of that Flier.) ED 03 004 calls on all the bands for his people to return to the site. We must wait a couple of minutes! I gave orders to seek shelter, and they surely they will be here in seconds!. ED 04 004 explains. We lost two other Fliers. We have only nine Fliers left.- ED 03 005 said. All right, it was an uneven fight. Who is our enemy?- ED 03 004 asked him. Their vessels have a red sun over a white circle! Not in our files.- ED 03 005 replied. Five of the metallic persons appear at a run and ED 003 004 asked:- Where are the others? They are coming, Sir.- One of them replied. In that moment, a shadow come from above and they jumped inside of the Flier, seconds before a fiery LASER beam scorched the stones just where it was posed. Well get to have a lot of skill for to escape! This people are good at steering!- ED 03 005 assured them, while he was guiding the Flier by the bottom- in the open space, the Flier was no match for the engines of the black armored spaceship that was chasing them.

While traversing the cannon, ED 04 saw holes on walls and then he said: Perhaps we could lose them getting the Flier inside of one of those holes. Perhaps! Grab to something! Well get inside the next one!- ED05 said, and what was three seconds later. The Flier advances a hundred meters and then stopped: the hole turns to the right, but the Flier couldnt pass through because of its larger dimension. It was too long and the sides could get stuck there forever. They went on foot to the curve, a LASER blast come in from the spaceship of their pursuers, making a big hole on the Flier. The lights went out of power. What a bad luck!- AB 05 said. Lets see where this hole ends!- ED 04 said, and the nine Synthetic beings walked by the tunnel that went down for sixty meters, ending in a wall of solid rock. End of the tunnel! If they come for us, well fight.- ED 05 said.

And they were returning to the Flier when a big blast shake the walls, and down come the roof, filling the cavity with hundreds of tons of stones- same to the robots and same for the Flier. Outside, the enemy saw what happened by their scanners and they went away in a triumphal flight. The rest of the Fliers were already traveling at Warp velocity towards Erina III. Their leader now was ED 20, who was in the same Flier as ED 21 and ED 22. We will advise of the Intruders to our Commanding officer! Pity on the ones of us that gives their life at Erina IV!- He said, looking at the console in front of him: Warp 4 was engaged. Days later, they appear in the vicinity of Erina 3. They give the password to the spy satellites, which sent the news to the monitors on the surface of that planet. The expedition is returning.- Median said to Gretchen. Something evil happens out there.- Gretchen said, and in instants , they begin receiving the whole report by radio transmission; ED 20 ends the communication by saying:- And we lost four Fliers and their crew: thirteen members , including our leader, ED 04.

Gretchen saw them landing near Glocke City and said._ A shelter is needed. We will make tunnels on the mountains. Must be the Huinkerios.- Median said. Perhaps a scout team, with modern spaceships and powerful artillery. Pity, we didnt interest governments to help us here. With our crude technology were sitting Coelophysis now.Gretchen pondered. The governor Rastrasse wa very worried with this news and said: As they attacked our Fliers, could come here and attaci us on the spot. I urge you to put all your efforts deploying a ring of

protection around the planet: Orbital Stations, spy satellites, Hunter vessels I know we cannot have Cruisers yet, but think in bigger vessels than the Fliers! Gretchen replied:- We need to buy what you are mentioning! A carload of gold in five cargo space vessels could do the trick. And about the money? Gold. I know now its not so valuable as before, but still is a higly priced oxide. We could dig for gold and sent the vessels to Aurea II: I know we could buy armored vessels there.- Gretchen said. Do it! Of course, youll be delaying the proper defense by a lot of years.Sixty five years.-Gretchen calculates. A lot! But I hope well be still here by that time. What do you think?- Rastrasse asked. Possibly yes.- Replied Gretchen, with inner doubts. Then, sent someone you trust in that trip! For my part, I will sent some natural people too, because if they didnt sell to Synthetics, surely they will sell to Naturals.- Rastrasse said. Gretchen calls for a meeting, and said:- The Governor asked for heavy armored vessels! I will be buying them at Aurea 2. They will not sell to civilian people.- Median said. I know it! Ill give documents for them to show they will believe we are at Ultor planetary system. Gretchen said. Possibly they will believe our tale.- Dr. AB 631 remarked. Ill be going with them. Median said, not too happy. Im sorry to say yes! Or else, the mechanical EDs will produce a bad impression when dealing 104 With Authorities. Well train thirty naturals, apart from those the Governor could contribute. We have a lot of years in which they can study; also, women must be had in this trip. Men cannot live without them! They will get plenty of room on those vessels.- Dr. AB 631 said. You must provide some nurses and medican assistants! - Median asked of him, thinking in ahead on her role of the commander. Of course, with one Ed fully prepared as a medic, will be enough to teach the others.- Dr. AB 631 said. By four months the synthetic people were collecting the gold- the entire team of EDs were at work- finally, the gold was storage in full capacity on the NB 4419 and ten Fliers. Governor Rastrasse saw them leave the surface of Erina 3 , together with the city people. When the vessels were not able to be seen because of the distance, Gretchen returns to her job at the Fliers factory and Dr. AB 631 to the General Hospital.

Rastrasse appoints professor Quimin as the new Minister of Education. Gretchen and a team of learned Eds keeps on producing Fliers; the LASER cannons were improved to a stronger capacity in energy discharge.

Missiles were also produced, and each new Flier has a missile thrower and a LASER cannon mounted at the sides of the fuselage. At the same time, Naturals were taught how t drive and fire LASER beams from the Fliers in flight, and to throw missiles into the testing grounds. Rastrasse visits the Army factories three months after Median departure to the Aurea Planetary system- he was gladly impressed to see several squadrons of Fliers, ready to deploy if necessary. I see we are improving, Minister! But, did you have Fliers in orbit?- Rastrasse asked. Yes, governor. We have fourteen Fliers up there, orbiting at different paths and distances! We have thirty nine satellites in high orbit. Here there is not what some planets have: Van Allen rings, so theres nothing to harm our personnel and equipment.- Gretchen said. Oh, well! Perhaps we over reacted. Perhaps those enemy vessels were just defending the IV planet for intrusions.- Rastrasse said. Pity we dont know much about it- except they were very belligerent. Not a word of alert from them- just an attack!- Gretchen said, remembering the records given by those crews at their return home. Exactly! They are people without any desire of being civilized towards us!- Rastrasse said, whispering. At his return to the administration building, he calls on the Minister of the Interior, saying: Seat down, Mr. Caberen! I have to talk to you. I am here to serve, Sir.- Caberen said- he was a man in his seventies. The Ministry of Defense is working as fast as she could, in order to provide us with cannons and vessels capable of to defend our city.- Rastrasse said, to introduce the theme he was interesting to debate. I am well aware of her capacities 107 I dont doubt shell make us strong. But also, Mr. Governor that will require time. And new technologies. Yes, thats why we sent a team to buy what we lack: new and powerful machines that, for now, we are not able to produce. Rastrasse said. And you call me.. just to talk about it? Or do you have something else in mind? Anti aerial canons? Shelter to the people? Programs to move some of the people out of the city?- Mr. Caberen asked him. Yes, that measure must be implemented! I was thinking in underground facilities! Large tunnels where to hide.- Rastrasse said. A nice and powerful Force Field could save the effort! Perhaps to create a Force Field around Glocken city could serves us well.- Caberen said, eyes sparkling. Gretchen was asked to provide that, and she said: The elements to produce a Force Field are already in our reach, Governor! Then, see to it!- Rastrasse said. But we lack the necessary force! 108 We need a strong electric generator! And we are very far back to be able to produce an nuclear device to do that! At the least, eight full years of work! Start now! By the moment, Ill dig tunnels for the people, as shelters if the enemy appears.Rastrasse said. Very well, Governor! Eight years it is!- Gretchen said, smiling to the troubled man.

That night, Dr. AB 631 seats with her in front of the old table on the locked Flier they used for their secret meetings, and he said:- I knew Rastrasse asks for an atomic generator to you. I will work on it. Ill produce the force field- but also, atomic bombs! Well be the terror of the Huinkerios empire!- Gretchen acknowledged. 1 Without that incident, we could be without much help for our plans by the governor.- Dr. AB 631 said. Gretchen looks pensive, and said:Its a pity to ignore, still now, who were those attackers! No wonder they could had been Huinkerios. After so many incursions on their planets, we cannot expect to be loved.- Dr. AB 631 explains. Hope the reinforcements come before its too late! Median is a good element. But the hazards of her mission are too many to feel very confident.- Gretchen remarked. Our own safety must be considered. A fast and weaponized spaceship could be ready for us to flee, if necessary.- Dr. AB 631 said. Pity we dont have the old Fliers! The Orb was dismantled to provide energy for our Fliers factory- no way we can retrace our steps now!- Gretchen remembered. The Orb was never thought as an armored vessel- they were for to scout and discover.- Doctor AB 631 said. Yes, you are right. I have some new designs . Care to see them on the holographic set?Gretchen asked. Lets see it.- The Doctor said. At the Holographic set, she inserted a memory pill and the vessels were shown there from all angles. This one is a light Cruiser! Capable of to advance at Warp Five. By the way, we cannot think in more than that velocity! Our technology is still rude.- Gretchen said, raising her shoulders, in a very humane gesture. 3 Some other designs shows bigger than standard Fliers, disc shaped craft, bell-like craft and others with different figures. For every one of those we only have three types of engines; when more power is needed, we put two, three or more engines in a row- plus the nacelles for Warp speed, that as you know, are useless in the field of battle- one impulse power and you are way too far to engage in any battle.Gretchen said. I understand. But for us, we can use a small craft with two or three engines plus a fine warp engine.- Doctor AB 631 , who was not happy when thinking about escape in a small standard Flier. Very well, doctor! Ill prepare our fast way of escape! And this is our little secret.- Gretchen said, smiling. THE END. 8.10.2012. Alfredo Juillet Frascara. EM RM CH

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