We live among you

     In the span of a hundred years our community grew. In hindsight the years slipped by, and who would have believed so many others from so many different places would be stranded here too. For thousands of years many different peoples have been coming here, and sometimes some helped the different civilizations. Sometimes some crashed here and were never able to return. Since about a hundred years ago though, there have been a series of mishaps, accidents, and crash landings leaving people here unable to leave, nor to make contact with their people. In that span many have discovered each other, some have even inter married and become family with the creatures here. They went native, but you can’t blame them because after all we’re all human beings. Some of the natives here are so damned attractive, handsome and just outright gorgeous. Indeed people all over are really just the same, it’s just a matter of evolution, and believe it or not some here have great potential to evolve. After all evolution is but a simple spiritual development. But sometimes simple things are the hardest to understand. Some early Christians discovered this simplicity and were called saints. So as simple as it is, it is also the most difficult to achieve. At any rate, realizing there were others, many went forth to find like souls. The result has been a thriving community, working together to find ways back home. We do what we do with as much secrecy as is possible, without alerting the people. So they don’t know for certain. Oh there are rumors, notions, some say superstitions, others say foolishness. Many believe those people are drug addicts hallucinating, and you can’t trust what they say about what they think they’ve seen. If not junkies then rummies or for sure dependent on medications. We don’t really care. What ever works to keep the truth out of the light is just fine with us. So here we are stuck on this blue pebble orbiting a yellow sun, blessed with water, protein and flora. Back home most of us lost these gifts long ago. We’ve created artificial replacements, though not as beautiful or esthetic, they are functional and our lives continue. It saddens us to see it happening here too. All of us came from different places, yet we long to return home, but the technology here is so dreadful…primitive. Every time somebody made an attempt to return, or contact home, to send a message, it resulted in some kind of calamity. Tunguska, Roswell, and various blackouts we’ve managed to keep quiet with our people in the various national governments. When we tried to advance science here, horrible events took place…just terrible. We almost ended life here with two world wars.. Then there’s the element of greed. When Tez tried to give this world free energy, like we have back home, the entrepreneurs stopped him. They couldn’t figure out how to make a profit, so they isolated him. He died of a broken heart waiting for help that was never to come. But we’re lucky nobody knows we exist.

They do not even suspect we’re here. So the events as we have come to call them have been blamed on the sun, the weather or an accident blamed on some poor laborer. In a hundred years we’ve changed, no, that’s not a good word…we’ve evolved their science so that we can reach our people. But the real problem, as many of us have come to realize, is there are so many of us from so many different worlds. We believe everyone will claim this world, and war may result, no it indeed will come. It’s only a matter of time. Splitting the atom was easy, but little did we realize how these primitive minds would misuse its power. Fusion will help us move forward, but past experience has taught us to avoid letting this world learn about it. So we secretly continue to build our reactor, and then all of our different projects will one day enable us to rebuild ships or to create primitive communicators to reach into the void and contact our people. When that time comes they will come for us, and when they realize what a paradise we’ve stumbled upon they will war for it.

     Our inter-galactic community is one of common interest, and our people live through out the globe. Many have high profile positions in the different governments, social strata, universities, military even entertainment. To keep things balanced, and to avoid creating any more events that will alarm the population, we’ve established laws to govern ourselves. We don’t want anybody to jump the gun, pilot a ship into the atmosphere, crash and expose us. We also don’t want people sending messages into the void. The people here are at the edge of great discovery…they’ve come a long way. Still though they’re far from understanding things, they can detect great power outages. Any device capable of reaching any of our home worlds will have an intense power outage. The Alpha governments here will notice. We hate to think of the trouble that will cause. Certainly it would expose us, and our presence will create a great disturbance. So we’ve established a police force to make sure our laws work. Enabling us to co-operate, and keep our more enthusiastic people from causing unintended trouble. 

     Our common goals are to reach our people and go home, and as quietly and secretly as we can. So we keep in constant touch through social media, meetings, phone, and even once in a while festivities. We like to have a party on occasion. They’re an opportunity to more intimately connect, share information, and keep abreast of our developments.

     It was at an afternoon soiree that I learned of a secret group on the verge of polishing off a sort of primitive IGT…an inter galactic texting device. They’re getting ready to transmit, but at the moment there’s seems to be a struggle among them as to where the first message will go. The group is composed of several bright minds from a few different galaxies, and they all want to contact their own world first. They also have a bigger problem in that their primitive gizmo can only transmit one message. Then it will take a month to re-energize. At the moment it’s a big secret. But if it got out that we had such a device, everybody would want to reach out to their home. That could indeed start violence within the community, violence that could certainly spread through to the world at large. Just like during the great wars of this world in the past century. At that time some of our people took sides in petty squabbles that led to war, hoping to get an edge and build a ship to go home. Some in high positions in Germany confided to their superiors, and the Nazis conned them. They learned to build rockets, to split t the atom, and build weapons, jets, and almost destroyed this world. That forced many of us to join the other side of the struggle to put end to the ongoing catastrophe. Funny though some people believe Adolph and his forces were able to build a small ship, and escape this world. But no one knows for sure, or where he went or how many he was able to take with him. It’s all speculation, but it was highly probable, and indeed very possible. He had the technology. He may still be out there because our ships travel through time, it’s a part of space travel. If we couldn’t travel through time, we wouldn’t be able to visit other worlds and return home to our families. So he may well be out there waiting for an opportunity to return and start anew.

     Anyway, now because of the IGT conspiracy, it seems that the whole thing may start all over again. We have to stop the group before they create a horrible situation that will destroy everything we’ve done. These civilizations now have hydrogen and even neutron bombs. There are some of them who won’t hesitate to use these weapons, and it could bring an end to all life here.

      We’re all from different worlds, different galaxies, and so different things affect each of us differently. Some of us like my people get intoxicated drinking fresh water. Others on sea water, still others on fruits or their juices. Several different groups get a buzz on salt, garlic or the different spices. Some people become intoxicated with carbonated drinks, and others still are just like the people here, and enjoy their assorted alcoholic beverages. There’s so much damned booze here. Indeed this place is like the proverbial horn of good and plenty, and none of us really knows how anything is going to affect us until we try it.

     At our parties folks lounge about inebriating themselves with the different refreshments with great abandon. The parties are off world at our home away from home on the other side of the moon. It’s the only place where we can have a gathering without worrying about being discovered. But after the moon landing in 1969 we became some what circumspect. Thank goodness their technology has not allowed them to venture too far out. Indeed they haven’t been able to take a trip and explore the dark side. So until they do we’re pretty safe. If they do, or when they do, we can always go to Mars. But it will be a long time before they actually go there.

     We have small ships that allow us to travel about this solar system, and we do to study it, and to remind ourselves that we aren’t from this world. Sometimes we tend to forget that we’re not from here. You start enjoying this paradise and you forget. It’s easy. Our problem is that we’ve not yet been able to build a vessel that can take us out into the void, so that we can go home. The governments of this world have stolen our wrecks, and so the ships we’ve been able to build have been built from scratch. The wrecks contain what we need to build a ship that can take us home. But getting them back is almost impossible because every major government has an area fifty one. The Chinese, the Russians, and the Brits all have one. These areas are heavily guarded and it’s almost impossible to get our property back. But we can travel about around here. We also have stealth technology that allows us to travel back and forth at will without fear of being discovered. Over the years we’ve collaborated and built a very large underground moon complex. It’s where we can relax and discuss the progress of our different projects. If you wonder how we finance all of this, well…there are many valuable minerals here. There are so many for us to mine without being discovered. But we get what we need to exist, to finance our projects, and to build our ships. We hope to one day, soon, build a ship that will take us to a location where we can all contact our different peoples; a place where they can have a conclave, and reach an amicable understanding about this world. Most of us want this world to stay as it is and
let the people here evolve at the pace providence has set in place. It is not our desire to upset those parameters. But the renegade group has done the unthinkable, the forbidden. They’ve gone on their on their own have and built an IGT without telling the rest of us. They may want to make contact with their people with the hope of colonizing this world. We don’t know for certain, but we can’t take that chance.

     After dinner that night we put the kids to bed, then my wife and I got comfortable and went over the situation. My wife is from this world, she knows all about me, but the kids do not. Even though she knew that I will outlive her for many years, she still married me. When she crosses over to the other side, I will be the one who suffers. I’ll be all alone. I’m the one who fell for her first, though I knew what would one day happen. Still her beauty and marvelous soul rocked my feet from under me. As for the kids we do not know how that will turn out, some may turn out like me and have my longevity, and some may not. We have three, two boys and a girl in the middle. Methinks they all look like her, but she believes they look like me. It has always been our hope to take them to my world when and if it happens in her lifetime. I will definitely get a going over for marrying her, if it happens, but we will be able to extend her life there.

     Water is like wine to me, and so we sat on the porch looking at the stars in the night sky with a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem. She loves sweet wines. Unfortunately I find wine, sweet or dry, quite tasteless. So as I drank my bottle of cold water, she sat silently close to me enjoying her vino. For a long time we silently contemplated the stars in the night, as we enjoyed a cricket’s symphony. She has a hard time trying to see where my world is, and I refuse to look because my heart aches for it. Being able to see my home and not being able to go back…it’s difficult to explain. But her presence comforts me, the pain dissipates, and vanishes.

     “So what do you propose to do about this group,” she asked.

      “I haven’t the faintest,” I replied.

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Doobiz

      “You must stop them, you do know that,” she replied as the lines on her forehead became like furrows in a farmers field, exposing her concern. I nodded in agreement, but I had no answer for her.

      “You need to form a group of your own and bring them to reason.”

      “I know, I know. I keep trying to see who to I let in on this. It’s difficult! For sure some of
them may be close to us. If I let the wrong people know it can get dangerous for us,” I said as I put my arms around her shoulders, and continued, “For us, our family! I would rather die than let anything happen to you and the kids.”

      “But we must think of the greater need, the world needs to be protected,” she exclaimed, “Think of the kid’s future!”

      “I know and I’m working on it, tomorrow I will feel some people out.”

      “How about Yanis? Your bud!”

      “Yes but whom else and how do we know he’s not a part of the group?”

      “Never mind who else, start with one, him, then build from there. You should call him
tonight, but don’t blurt it out. Feel him out to see if knows something, see if he is in the group, and if he will try to bring you into it?”

      Those same thoughts had been floating around in my mind since the party, and it was great to hear her articulate them. It made up my mind to do just that. So before turning in, I called him.

      “Garboozle Yanis!” I blurted out when he picked up the phone, “Haven’t heard from you in a while. How are you?”

      Garboozle me pal,” he responded. We’re homeboys, as the kids like to say here. We come from the same world and came here on the same ship. We’re more than friends, we’re family. He tried to dissuade me from marrying Gloria. But when he realized how much I loved her, he embraced her too, and became my best man. So I greeted him in our tongue, which we very seldom get to use anymore since we’re always using local dialects.

      “Say, we haven’t seen you in a while…how bout we get together for breakfast or tea in the morning? We love tea, for us it’s an energy drink, it animates us.”

      “Ahhhhhhh, man…I would love to but I have an important meeting then.”

      “How about lunch?”

      “Oh Orniz…this is really agonizing, this meeting could go on all day, but if you like we can meet for a snack in the afternoon…late afternoon.”

       “So how about a drink at Hogan’s around…

       “Six,” he interjected.

       “Okay, see you then,” I responded and hung up.

      Boy, he called me Orniz! Nobody calls me that except my brothers back home. It made me
feel good, he’s like my brother here, no he is my brother. But it made me wonder what kind of business had him busy all day long. After that business with Adolf in the last century, we made it against our laws to get involved in all business affairs here. I wondered if he was a part of the secret group, or was involved in some kind of project. No, no I thought better of that. He would have told me if he was in any kind of business. He always runs things by me. I couldn’t understand why he hadn’t run anything by me lately. Maybe he just learned of the secret group and wondered if I was a part of it too. I was restless, couldn’t sleep, and was up at four. I slipped out of bed without waking Gloria, she looked like an angel. So I sneaked out into the living room. I did some stretches then went for a jog in the woods. It was a good run, I returned home, and took a long hot shower. At home we can’t do that, water being such a precious resource. Back there our hygiene consists of a topical light cleansing. Its warm rays are quick and kill all bacteria on our skin. But here I can take my time and enjoy the soothing, massaging, gentle force of the water for as long I want. Afterwards I got dressed. It was six o’clock, tempus fugit, damn time does fly. It’s the same back home, for that matter it’s the same all over the cosmos. It’s the same everywhere, tempus fugit indeed. It was time to re-energize the body, and I sat down for breakfast, tea
toast, and some sweet pears.

     “Good morning my love,” she smiled. It was sweet music to my ears. But then, she followed that with, “What time are you meeting Yanis?”

     She heard my stomach growl, and saw the frown on my face. It was time to face reality and the day ahead. I had to find out what was going on with Yanis, the group, and who ever was a part of what ever was going down. Too much was at stake.

      “What’s the matter?”

      “We’ll be meeting later this evening, but this whole…this is…”

      “Don’t let it get to you, you need to stay focused,” she was going on when,

      “Daddy, daddy,” the kids were up, and it was the best time of the day for me as the hugs and kisses made my troubles disappear. Truly love is the best medicine for everything.     The kids had their colored doodle cereals, and after one had a breakfast treat, and the other a doughnut. It was a healing half hour hanging with them. But alas, tempus fugit, suddenly the yellow bus was in front of the house. They were off to school and Gloria was off to look after Tad, our little guy who was still asleep. It was time for me to get down to business.  I
got comfortable in my den, my office…my man cave, and started to call some people.

     “Hi Evelyn, how are you?”

     “Hello Mr. Ornious,” she responded, as my mind wandered trying to find words to start our chat. She was the go to for information. She coordinated all projects, making sure there weren’t any overlapping details, and that all information was shared where it was needed. She knew who needed to know and who didn’t.

      “It’s been a while, how are you? Anything new?”

      “Funny, I was going to ask you the same…any knew projects in the works?”

      “No not that I’m aware! As far as I know, everything’s the same as when we last spoke.

      “So it’s the same old, uh.”

      “Alright then, I was just checking in, I don’t want to be out of the loop.”

      “Oh no, not you Mr. Ornious, you know everything I do.”

 There was no way to broach the subject, if she wasn’t part of the group, she wouldn’t know anything, and if she was she would know who was in and who was out. At this point it was obvious I was out. So I said goodbye and hung up. Oh what the hell was I suppose to do now. That was a pretty feeble attempt at being a Sherlock. Over the next few hours I was truly on pins and needles. The thought of devastating this paradise made me restless. I was in great pain, Gloria knew it and she was wise beyond her years to know enough to give me the space I needed.

     I called a bunch of people, and couldn’t get anything out of anybody. Though I’m no Sherlock of course, I don’t know if even he could have done any better. Mostly the chats went like it had with Eve, dancing around the issue, and not getting anywhere. It was late in the afternoon and I was thinking of a snack, when I got a strange call.

      “Orniz!”

     “Yeash,” I jokingly responded, thinking it was Yanis, and continued, “We’re still on right?”

Nobody else in this world calls me Orniz, not even Gloria.

      “On…you obviously think I’m somebody else.”

       He threw me for a loop, it wasn’t Yanis. So I asked:

      “Who is this?”

      “We need to talk, it’s urgent. Can we meet around six this evening? It’s important, very important! You name the place.”

      He sounded ominous, and strange. He knew my real name, my nick name and nobody knows that except Yanis. If he was playing a prank on me he deserved an Oscar.

      “Look Yanis, cut the crap.”

      “Orniz, Orniz. I’m not Yanis, and you know me. So where can we meet?”

      The guy had me going good, I wanted to meet him, but he wanted to meet at the same time as my meet with Yanis.

      “I have a meeting at that time. Can we make it tomorrow?”

      “No, and this is too important, why don’t you cancel your date and meet me. You won’t regret it.”

       In light of what was going on, I decided to call Yanis, and cancel our date.

      “Okay then, but this better be important, pal. So where do you want to meet?”

      “How about that Taco place…across the street from Hogan’s bar?”

      “See you then,” I responded and hung up.

      The guy, I’m sure it was a guy, but am not sure, wanted to meet me badly. Unfortunately it was at the same time as my meet with Yanis. So I called him and cancelled.

      “Hey Yanis, I’m really sorry but something came up. I hope we can do this another time, real soon.”

       He wasn’t answering his cell, so I left him a voice mail. I changed my mind about a snack. It was almost five o’clock, and by the time I got ready and drove over it would be six. Gloria would be with the kids, and I was getting anxious about this character. I thought about taking Yanis with me, but he wasn’t answering his phone. So I got the next best thing. My magun. It fits in my pocket, and in case of danger, one click of a button makes me invisible. In that state I can do anything to my adversary if I need to, or I can just leave, no harm done. It manipulates the magnetic field, rearranges the light around me and I literally vanish.

      I was racking my mind trying to remember who else could possibly know me by Orniz. Then I remembered Doobiz, a crew member from our ship. It had to be him. Although I had not seen him in a long time, we once shared a meal with Yanis. Yes, yes, it was him. It had to be him. When our ship crashed in that dessert, we were the only ones who survived. Damn, it was such an unnecessary…a silly excursion, we just wanted to see how these primitive peoples lived. To see what kind of technology they had, then Nancis screwed up. She had never, ever made an error, then…we still don’t know what the hell she did, but she crashed, and died. Poor Yorbiz died with her and only Yaniz, Doobiz and myself managed to crawl out. Then we walked for days and made it out of the wilderness. Thank Aba for our maguns, we were able to walk right through their silly military efforts. But they got our ship, and the remains of our pals. Somehow we escaped with a few gadgets, but mostly we walked off with the clothes on our backs. Damn, that was almost seventy years ago. A few days later we came upon some Mexicans, who welcomed us with open arms, and shared what they had with us. We might have died if not for them. They probably thought we were sneaking in too. Doobiz had the only translator and he told them we were being chased by the military. 

     “See see…it’s La Migra!” They said.

     It wasn’t until much later that we learned they were illegal immigrants. La Migra was
Mexican speak for ICE, the American law enforcement agency that deals with them.
Anyway they were dining on cold burritos, tacos, tortillas, and Mexican water. During the meal Yanis happened to slip and called me Orniz. It must have been the water, it inebriated us, and he slipped. I guess Doobiz never forgot it. It had to be him, who else could it be, and what had he been doing all this time? Last I knew he was working at the moon office, and he wasn’t at the last party, or any of the others either. I started going nuts trying to figure out what he had been up to all this time. Why and how did he ever find me now? Did he know anything about the conspiracy? Was he involved? Did he want me to be a part of it? Or did he want to warm me? So many  damned questions were floating in my head. The only way to get any answers was to meet him. So I got into my old jalopy, old cars don’t attract attention, and went off to see him. Funny he wanted to meet at a taco joint, maybe he wanted to relive our escape.

    We live in a small community in the mountains it’s a small town right off the interstate. It
has all the restaurant chains, and a few bars. In the winter people come here to ski, we have some really cool slopes, and the place comes alive. The remainder of the year it’s a really cool, sleepy, quiet place. You can write or enjoy the peace and quiet away from the city. If you wanted to disappear this would be an ideal place to do it. People here mind their own business, and nobody knows what anybody else does. I love it here.

      Juanito’s Taco Joint looks out of place amongst the chains. It looks like it belongs in one of those Tex/Mex border towns. It’s small and has a white and blue store front with a white door. The signage on the windows is a Spanish menu, promoting their specials in big black
letters on a yellow background. Man they have it all, tamales, enchiladas, tortillas, refried beans, and their specialty tacos. They have beef, chicken, fish and some narrow minded ass holes here believe even dog or cat. They keep saying the dogs and cats disappeared when the Mexes came. But we know better.

       I was a few minutes early, and decided to get a table close to the door. I wanted to see who would show up. The place was starting to fill up, it seems everybody is into Mexican food now a days. It’s great finger food, like pizza, and you don’t need a knife and fork to enjoy it. The minute I stepped in I realize there weren’t any tables to be had. I was looking around, when someone grabbed me from behind with a huge bear hug.

      “Orniz! How are you?” Doobiz joyfully screamed as he let go and stood back to look at me.

      I smiled, relieved it was him, and hugged him back.

      “Where have you been, pal? I thought it might be you.”

      “Really!” He smiled.

      “Yea, nobody calls me Orniz, only Yanis calls me that, and just once in a blue moon. I was racking my brain trying to figure out who it was.”

      “No kidding!”

      “Yea and you sounded so strange…and so ominous!”

      He looked around, and realized we weren’t going to get a table anytime soon, so he called a waitress over.

      “Como para la maysa?” He muttered.

      “Oh, joo mean how long joo has to wait for a tabla,” she responded.

      “Yea!”

      “Oh mebbe twenny, tirty meenootoes,” came her reply.

      Turning to me he asked: “Orniz can we take it out, eat in the car?”

      “Sure,” I said, “it’s better that way, you know more privacy.

     “For sure,” then he looked at her and asked: “Can we get take out oh, and how longo will it take?”

     “Shore joo can, only a few meenootoes. Wat joo want?”

     “I want a coupla of tacos…wat kind?

     “We gots shee cant, veef, fishy” she responded.

     “Chicken, also enchiladas…you got tamales?”

     “See!”

     “Gimme chicken and a soda.”

     “What kind of soda?”

     “Ginger ale okay?”

     “Okay,” she smiled and turned to me.

     “Oh heck gimme the same, and make it a cola.”

     “Okay, joo wait maybe ten meenootoes, okay.”

     “Okay!” Doobiz responded. We moved out of the way and waited by the wall close to the register.

      “So Doobiz, what’s been happening with you?”

      “A lot of things, I want to let you in on some things, but not here. I heard you married and went native, uh.”

      “It gets lonely here, besides she looks like Moiva, man.”

      “Ah…like the ancient mythological love goddess, uh.”

      I smiled, “Like I said it gets lonely here pal. But I truly love her, and we have three kids.”

     “No biggie dude, me too, I did the same, no kids though. She can’t have any. We live in a place much like this too, but on the west coast.

      Truly time flies, as we were catching up on things, the waitress showed up, and before I could do or say anything Doobiz grabbed our order and paid for it.

      “Lets go Orniz,” he smiled and out the door we went. He led me to his car, a brand new T bird punked out with all the latest toys.

      “It’s comfy, man. The seat feels like the one on our ship.” He apologized for it as he opened the door, and added, “It’s a rental!”

      We got comfortable and as we started unwrapping our humble feast, Doobiz exclaimed:

      “Orniz!”

      Before he took bite one, he said, “You aren’t going to believe this, but I promise you it’s the truth. So, please don’t interrupt me until I’m finished. Then I’ll answer any question you have.   Okay!”

      “So go on then, I’m all ears.”

     “Damn!” He exclaimed, gulped, swallowed some air, suddenly he was visibly nervous. Then he continued, “This is really hard Orniz, I really don’t know how to start or to say this, but…well here goes, man. There’s a group that has managed to come together. They come from different parts of the expanse, the Cosmos, they aren’t from any one world in particular nor galaxy for that matter. They started to come together sometime ago after the last festivities on the moon. Others met randomly down here, and introduced their acquaintances to one another. They’re brilliant souls, coming together slowly after realizing they had common scientific interest, and grew in number. We have no idea how big they are or who is in it. This has been going on for a long time. Their activities aren’t part of our common interest. We have rules that govern our projects to prevent us from working on things that may expose us to the world. But they don’t care. All they want is to contact their home worlds at any expense. We, well a few of us have become aware of their activities. We know they exist! They’re a danger to this world, and as a result to
all of us. We know for sure, and I hate to tell you this pal, but Yanis is one of them.”

     “Whaaaa..

     “Please wait till I’m finished, man.”

     “Okay, okay.” I nervously responded.

      “Alright then, I know how close you two are, and it’s why our little group picked me to let you in on this.”

     We never took a bite out of our meal, and I forgot how hungry I was. I was all ears. He took a sip of his soda, to clear his throat, and I did the same, then he continued.

      “They’re working on a cosmic transmitter, and when and if they use it, it will create a huge power surge. It will be so big that it will be observed through out the world. Make no mistake everybody in this world will become aware of it. We think they’re ready to go with it, and the only thing keeping them from going ahead with it is a struggle within. They’re fighting amongst themselves. All of them want their world to be contacted first. That is their one weakness, and the only thing we’ve got going for us. Our community’s leaders don’t know yet, and if they do they haven’t let on because at this point we don’t know whom to trust. What we do know is that we have to stop them.”

      He stopped took a pen out of his pocket, and nervously wrote a number on a napkin,

     “Look if anything happens to me call Jokid at this number. He’ll know I’ve made contact with you. I can’t tell you how desperately we need to stop them. At this moment there are about six guys in our group, maybe seven. I’m taking a chance here, because we don’t know where you stand on this. But, I believe you aren’t part of them. We’ve been observing them for a while now, and we haven’t seen you in contact with any of them. As a matter of fact you haven’t even been in touch with Yanis in some time. Right?”

      Before I could answer there was a sizzling sound, followed by a bright flash. It was so quick my first thought was that it was the head lights of an eighteen wheeler or a speeding car. It momentarily blinded me, and it was followed by a malodorous stench of burning meat. I opened my eyes to see Doobiz slumped over the steering wheel. Smoke was rising from a neat hole between his eyes. It was a laser gun. Somebody followed him and smoked him. Instinctively I crouched in the well below the passenger seat. My heart was pounding, and I was breathing quickly. I was scared. Hell, they just took him out right in front of me. Who ever it was may well have had me in their sights too. I sat there for what seemed like for ever. Then I felt my right hand reach for the door handle. I opened it, slid out on to the
ground, got up into a crouch and ran like hell.

       I ran between cars out of the parking lot and into the bushes. While hiding I nervously put my hands in my pockets and felt my magun. I had forgotten that I had it with me. I smiled as I clicked it and stood up. Hell, now I was invisible and who ever those butt holes were couldn’t see me. I walked back to his car to see three guys dragging him away. Two others were scouting the area, obviously they knew he was meeting somebody, and they were looking for me. I only hoped they hadn’t seen me. I feared for my family, and immediately the thought flashed an image of Gloria and the kids through my mind. But, for now though, I was invisible and they couldn’t see me.

Standard

Jokid

     Watching them throw Doobiz into a van, I felt really bad for him, he didn’t deserve that.
Suddenly I felt a sudden rage and wanted to exterminate these creeps, but I realized I needed to consider the bigger picture. I wanted to find out who they were, and taking them
out wouldn’t have accomplish that. So I walked around and watched them, noted the plate
on their van, which was probably stolen, and memorize their faces.

      They couldn’t afford to leave him there and expose our presence here. That would be a nightmare for all of us. Though our DNA is similar, and we are genetically compatible there
are startling differences between us. Our insides are perfect, we have no imperfections, and by our hair they can determine our age. It would astound them since we can live several
hundred years, yet look like a healthy thirty something. I shuddered at the thought of
national security people swarming all over this. Never mind the local cops, and the media.
For sure those kooks with their flying saucer stories would bring all the nuts into the area. It
would be another Roswell circus, and I remember well how that was like. I have a
photographic memory it’s one of my people’s abilities, and I stared into each one of their
faces. Though I didn’t recognize any of them, I would never forget them. They were now in my cross hairs, and I was going to take them out one by one. Walking around the car to the driver’s side I got the shock of my life. Sitting there behind the steering wheel, directing the
operation was my pal…Yanis. I went numb, my knees buckled, and suddenly I knew why he
was too busy to meet with me.

     As I looked at him he looked straight at me and smiled, I almost blew it. Then I realized there was no possible way he could know I was standing there, looking at him. A moment
went by and as I walked away,  I and saw one of his guys. He was by himself looking in the
bushes. I was overwhelmed with rage,  went over, pick up a heavy rock and smashed him
over the head. He was out cold, and maybe dead, I don’t know. When I went through his pockets, looking for his wallet, my mag made him invisible too. So I took my time. I found his wallet, but there was no identification in it, just a few business cards. I wanted to know who he was. But no such luck, so I ran back to my car, looked through it again, and found a few hundred bucks in a secret pocket. It was useless, so I threw it out the window. With tears that couldn’t drop, sadly I sat there and watched the van pull away with poor Doobiz. I wanted to contact his people, his wife, but I didn’t know how. So not realizing I was still invisible, I pull out of the parking lot and started to go home.

      “Wheeeeeeeee!”

      Damn, it was a squad car. I slowed down, pulled over and waited for the cop to come to me. Suddenly I realized my mag was still on, so I clicked it, and as the trooper came over to the window I became visible again. I panicked, but so do did he…I saw his knees wobble. He turned as pale as the moon above, and

     “Aba ba ba!”

      “I beg your pardon officer!”

      “I’m sa sa sorry, pal!” He smiled and walked away shaking his head, muttering something about doughnuts, and too much damned sugar. It was Halloween and the incident must have freaked him out. For a second there, I wanted to laugh but the fact that Doobiz had just died stopped me.

      My mind was all over the place, and I wondered if they had seen me. It was dark, and Doobiz was just briefly in the restaurant. So maybe they just waited for him to come out, perhaps they just waited until he returned to his car. It was dark and perhaps they didn’t see me. I was worried about Gloria and the kids. I called home but no one picked up the damned phone. So since the trooper was out of sight I dialed up the radius on my mag to include the car. Being invisible has its advantages sometimes. With the trooper out of sight I put the pedal to the medal and hurried over. I was relieved to see our wagon in the drive way. As I walked up I saw the kids running around through the window, and I felt the angst fade from my chest. Everything was fine, but I still didn’t know who was involved in this thing, and my heart was heavy with grief for Doobiz. Suddenly it dawned on me that I was the only one from back home in this world. Doobiz was dead, and Yanis as far as I knew was a part of this malevolent group that was so intent on bringing doom to all of us. I took a few deep breaths before I opened the door, and

     “Daddy daddy!”

      They saw me walking up, opened the door and jumped on me with their precious hugs. I was overjoyed again. Then my smile faded as I saw Yanis seated on the couch, enjoying a glass of water, and yapping away with Gloria. My heart sank, but my poker face automatically showed up. I’m not good at it, but this was a life or death game. I was anxious to see what he had to say. But before I could get over to him, he stood up and gave me a big bear hug, and

     “What happened guy, where have you been?”

      “Oh man, it’s a long story and where to begin, uh.”

      “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, man.”

      He didn’t know how right he was, him being there like that, and after I saw what he and his goons did. Somehow I kept up my poker face, even Gloria couldn’t tell how I really felt. She got a cold bottle of water from the fridge,

      “Here hon, relax a bit!”

      “Yea dude sit and breath, relax, man.”

      “Yanis what have you been up to?”

      “Oh we’re still trying to figure out a way to transmit without a power surge.”

      “So how goes it really?”

     “Same old man, but we keep trying there must be a way.”

      “Yanis, you’re staying for dinner?” Gloria interjected.

      “No, no I just wanted to come by and see that everything’s okay with you guys. You’re the only family I have, you know. Orniz has never cancelled a date with me, so I wanted to be sure you were all okay. Now that I see you are, I have to run. We’ll get together real soon dude, and then you can tell me all about it.”

      He got up, hugged Gloria, patted me on the shoulder, and practically ran out of the
door.

     “Gotta go man,” he smiled as he closed the door behind him.

     I started up the stairs to our bedroom with Gloria behind me,

      “Orn, what’s going on?”

      I was quiet until we were are the top of the stairs, then I asked her,

      “How long has Yanis been here?

      “Oh about a half hour…why?”

      “What did you guys talk about?”

      “Oh nothing really, simple chit chat. He wanted to know where you were. He was concerned about you. Why?”

      “It’s a long, long story,” I responded. I didn’t say another word until we were in our bedroom. After what I had seen, I didn’t trust Yanis, and didn’t want to take a chance on him having placed a bug in our living room.”

      Once she was sitting on the bed next to me I told her everything. Except for the part about having seen Yanis leading the whole thing. But I did tell her about the cop, and his response about the doughnuts and sugar. She almost laughed, but quickly stifled it, and just looked at me with a tear in her eye.

      “Oh poor Doobiz,” she moaned.

      She had never met him, but the fact that he was a pal of mine, and that I saw him die made her very sad. Then after a while her eyes opened wide, she looked at me as if she had seen a ghost, and she was afraid.

      “Don’t worry they never saw me,” I reassured her, and continued. “They have no idea I know anything. I have the number Doobiz gave me, and tomorrow morning I’m going to call Jokid. We’ll see what he and Doobiz were into and how much he and his people know. I want to know how many of them there are, and you know see what’s going on. Right now I just want to relax with you, and I’m not going to worry about anything. We’re safe here.”

      Our home is fortified with a system that can keep an army out. If anybody comes within even a few yards with evil intentions, I get an instant warning. With my magun I can handle anything. Also, under our pool we have a small ship that can take us to the moon. We can enter it from the basement, and take off at a moment’s notice. If I’m not home and something happens, Gloria and the kids can hide in it until I get home. So I wasn’t worried. All I needed was a good night’s sleep. I wasn’t hungry either, I lost my appetite, and I had a nice buzz from the water. We put the kids to bed, I followed and went to sleep. Tomorrow would come soon enough.

     At breakfast I scoured the papers and of course there was no mention about last night. There was an item about a scuffle at Juanito’s but that was all. It didn’t even make the local news. For sure those goons picked up the guy I laid out. I’m sure that cop didn’t say anything about ghostr doughnuts either. I suppose I knew nothing would come up. After all they used lasers, not guns. So there wasn’t any noise, nobody heard anything.

      After breakfast I dialed Jokid’s number but nobody answered, and I didn’t leave a message. I wanted it to be one on one the first time and not one on a machine. So I after the fourth ringy dingy I ended the call. It was still early and I didn’t a have clue on what to do next. So I went down to the basement. I looked around and figured I might as well check out the ship. I opened the secret door behind the bar, and went down the stairs. They led down under the pool, and to our ship. I wanted to make sure everything was up to snuff. I thought of a short shake down cruise, especially since we hadn’t used it in a while. But there wasn’t any time. I checked the console to be sure all dials, buttons and systems were working. Especially the magun stealth controls, all buttons, and switches; laser cannons, and the pool door controls. I really didn’t know what was going on, what might happen…what to expect, but I wanted to be ready for anything.

      “Orn, Orn!”

        Gloria was hollering into the basement, I could hear her voice echoing from the basement walls into the ship’s audio system. She sounded worried, so I climbed out and ran
up the stairs.

      “It’s that guy Ja Ja …

      “Jokid?”

      “Yea, him!”

      “I wonder how he got my number I never got to talked to him.”

      “So maybe he has caller ID, talk to him now, he’s on hold.”

      “Jokid,” I answered the phone.

      “Yes!”

      “Ornious here.”

      “Yea, I just found out about Doobiz, and I hate that we have talk under these circumstances.”

     “Yea, he died right in front of me.”

      “Really!”

      “How did you get my number and how did you find out about him.”

      “Well he told me that if anything should ever happen to him, that I should call you. He was supposed to meet with you last night.”

      “That’s when he died. He gave me your number, and told me to call you if anything happened. He never finished his sentenced…he was zapped. We were sitting in his car and for sure I thought I was going to be next, so I ran out of there as fast as I could.”

      “So why didn’t you call me?”

      “It was late, I though it would be better to I call you in the morning.”

      “Too bad his wife had to find out like that.”

      “Howzat again?”

      “Well if you had called me, I would’ve told her in a more compassionate manner.”

      “I wanted to tell someone, but I didn’t know who or where to call. I hadn’t heard from him in a long time.”

      “So how did she find out?”

       “It was on our community’s online news letter. It said he was mugged, and shot with a revolver.”

       “A revolver!”

       “Yes, it’s so bogus, and she just knows something terrible happened. She knew what he was doing. He told her everything.”

      “So what now?”

      “We have to meet.”

      “Do you think it’s safe?”

      “I really don’t know, but we need to meet. We have to act, we need to do something.”

      “I agree.” There was a long pause, silence, and I thought of telling him that Yaniz was

involved, but I didn’t know if I could trust him. If he was the one who set Doobiz up? Then again Doobiz did give me his number. Then he responded,

      “How about we meet at a public place? Make it look like an accident, you know like we
haven’t seen each other in a long time.”

     “Ummm…yea, that could work.”

     “Yea they, whom ever they are, don’t even know we know each other.”

     “So when and where?”

     “It has to been soon, man, real soon. I have a lot tell you.”

     “Me too,” but I wasn’t going to tell him anything until I found out who he was, what he knew, and who else was in on it with him. Also, I hoped it wasn’t just him and Doobiz.”

      “Do you like art?”

      “Come again?”

      “There’s a new art gallery opening in the city, down in SOHO. We could sort of run into one another, make a big deal out of it.”

      “A spectacle!”

      “Yea, but it would have to be convincing. We don’t know if anybody’s following me or you.”

      “Sounds good to me, we can share a meal and talk.”

      “We have a plan!”

      “When does the gallery open?”

      “Tomorrow just happens to be their grand opening.”

      “There will be a lot of people there, uh.”

      “Perfect.”

      “So…how about two?

      “Great.”

      “But hey, I’ve never met you, how will I recognize you?”

      “Okay, I’m 6’ about 175 lbs. I rather look kind of Italian, I have a large nose. I’ll wear a

brown beret with a brown turtleneck and my black leather coat.”

 

     “Look why don’t we just call each other on our cell when we get there, and tell each other where we are.”

     “Works for me, see you then.” He hung up, and I went back to my ship.

      There was nothing I could do about what he knew, didn’t know or who was with him. All I could do was carry my magun. I knew none of our cosmic expatriates had any thing like it. They didn’t even suspect we had one. So far we never had any reason to use them, except for when we first crashed. If not for them we would have been caught. At any rate only my people as far as I knew had them. Now there were only two of us who had them, Yanis and I, and he was in the enemy camp. The only thing I could do was carry it with me twenty four seven.

      I didn’t have any information to make any kind of preparation for any kind of situation.
Gloria and I were playing it on the fly, she was ready to pack the kids into the ship, and I had my magun. If we had to leave we were going to the moon, we would be safe there. Jokid was concerned about what to wear, but I didn’t give a damn. All I wanted was to be informed, to prepare for battle. It would take me about 2 hours to get into the city so at eleven in the morning I headed out. I knew we were supposed to meet at two, but you never know what kind of conditions you’ll meet on the road, so I left with plenty of time.

      It’s expensive parking in the city, but it’s worth it, it’s better than being towed. I never found out if he lived in the city or where for that matter. I arrived with a half hour to spare, found a garage close by, and played the tourist. I lived there for a while and blended right in with the hippies a long time ago. Damn, it seems like yesterday. They were an amusing dumb bunch with some really nitwit ideas about what we looked liked. We laughed at and right along with them, and the movies at the time were truly hilarious. Outright asinine! It’s amazing because one of this world’s religion’s books says the Creator made them in HIS image. So why would HE not make all intelligent creatures in his image. Why would HE make some like ants, lizards or some other monstrous being? It belies their intelligence. Also, the idea that people who have harnessed the magnetic field, and travel among the stars, would have some kind of ancient barbaric duel. That is truly rich…hilarious. They projected their primitive notions on us, and had no idea we’re all alike, and pretty much want the same things. The one thing that made us nervous, even now, was the constant wars, and uncontrolled passions, especially lust. It seems to us they live in a
constant rut. The drugs didn’t bother us, at least not my people. But we have at least several dozen different cosmic ethnicities here. We come from different Galaxies through out the cosmos. Perhaps some of them do get a reaction from their drugs. But I know we didn’t. It was indeed a most entertaining time. The place had changed, the clothes had changed, the stores had changed, but considering all things, everything really remained the same. These creatures are people, just like us, going about their different concerns. They have no clue we walk amongst them. I only hoped it stayed that way. But if Yanis and his cohorts pulled off their selfish stunt, the jig would be up, and everybody everywhere would know we are here.

      It was almost two o’clock when I noticed the bunting on a rather large store front on
Broadway. It was celebrating a grand opening. Overhead I noticed, “We R Galleries,” in large gold letters on a green back ground. In the window were paintings of scenes from some science fiction movies of the last fifty years. I smiled as I wondered if this was the place, when my cell started to vibrate.

      “Ornis!”

      “Yanis! How are you?”

      “Where are you?”

      “Oh, I’m out of town, looking at a piece of land.” It was Yanis, and not wanting to sound
alarmed I told him I was out of town.

     “Looking at real estate!” He blurted out, and continued, “I though you were happy where you are?”

      “Oh we are, it’s just that the kids like horses. So I’m looking for a place close by, where we can move, and they can get ponies.”

      “Oh okay, I just thought it might be a good time to meet and catch up.”

      “That’s a great idea, how’s tomorrow?’

      “Great I’ll call you in the morning.”

      “Looking forward to it.”

       He hung up, and the vibrations started again.

      “Mr. Ornious, it’s Jokid, where are you?”

      “Yea, where are you?”

      “Right across the street from the gallery,” he responded.

      “You said SOHO, and since you never told me the name of the gallery, I came down to the village.”

      “Yea, all night long I felt there was something amiss, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. So now we know, uh…it’s called, “We R Gallaries.”

      “Well pal, I’m right in front of it.”

      “Really!”

      “Yes, I’m staring right through the front window.”

      “As I said I would, I’m wearing a brown beret and a brown turtle neck. I’m looking over there right now and I think I see you. Why don’t you lift your left hand and scratch the back of your neck. I want to be sure it’s you, okay.”

      Instinctively I turned around. I didn’t want to join Doobiz in the here after as I scratched the back of my neck.

Standard

Ghosts, Thugs and Gays

      “Gotcha,” He responded, and continued, “Go back to looking at the window, I’m gonna walk over and bump into you. You start yelling at me, and then smile.”

     Boy this dude belonged in Hollywood, a real Cecil B. De Mille making a big production. I
didn’t pay him any mind and started across the street. What if he was one of the bad guys who set Doobiz up. I walked right up to him, and he played it straight up like an old ham. He made it a big deal. It was a spectacle as he screamed, and hugged me,

     “Why you old hound dog you, I haven’t seen you in ages, where you been?”

      Then he stood back to look at me, and continued, “What have you been doing? What are you doing now,” he didn’t let me get a word in, not one.  He continued, “We should have lunch, man.”

 

     “When,” I interrupted.

      He stopped talking and looked like the proverbial doe staring into the headlights. So I looked at my watch, and added, “Why not now?”

       “He hee heee…why not,” he responded.

     Then he put his arm around my shoulders and led me across the street to a Mexican restaurant. “I know how much you guys like Mex, so let’s go in there and do some.”

     I looked at the ground, gave him a half hearted smiled, told him how Doobiz had bought us some last night and we never got a chance to enjoy any of it. So instead we walked to a nouveau cuisine place a few doors down. Boy it’s one of my favorite things in this city. There’s cuisine from all over the planet just next door to one another. If you don’t like one place, you can just schlep a few doors down. There are numerous options all around you. His people came from a Galaxy diametrically opposite to mine and they enjoyed the wines here. It was a balmy afternoon so we decided to sit outside.

     “Garson!” He smiled as he waved his hand up in the air.

      But a lovely lass who looked a lot like Brigitte Bardot sashayed her derriere over to our table, smiled, and with a noticeable Bronx accent, greeted us,

      “Bon Jour!”

     “Ah…listay de vin s’il vous plait,” He responded.

      “Gimme a bottle of Perrier,” I smiled.

      She left to get my Perrier, and moment later she was back with the wine list and my water.
Jokid ordered a glass of red French Vin, and both of us enjoyed a mild buzz at a corner table as people walked by.

      “So what did Doobiz tell you,” he asked after his first sip.

      “Not much, like I told you last night, he gave me your number. He said I should call you, if anything happened to him. Then just as he finished writing down your number…he was zapped.”

      “That’s all?”

      “Yea, I never got to talk to him. He called me the day before and we set up the meet. When we met we reminisced a bit, I hadn’t seen him in almost 70 years, not since the crash. Damn! He still looked the same. But he was very anxious about letting me in on something, something big, unbelievable. So we got our take out, and sat in the car. Before he took one bite, before opening the bags, anything, he started writing. He told me to call you if anything happened to him, then he got zapped. He never let me in on what ever it was he was so anxious about. You know the rest. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.”

      I never let him in on our magun, and hoped that Doobiz had never told him about it. We were supposed to keep that a secret. Nobody except him, Yanis and I would ever know, unless we ran into another Aranjaynion. We never have. He looked disappointed that Doobiz never told me anything.

      “Doobiz told me that he wanted to talk you first, before letting me in on something he had recently discovered. He wanted to run it by you first. But we did know that there’s a terrible danger threatening us all, not just our community. This world is in danger.”

      I played stupid, and acted the part for him. I didn’t know any more today than I did yesterday.

      “Not a thing, uh…ummmm!”

      He was quiet for a while, sipped his wine, looked around, then he cleared his throat,

      “Ahem!”

      “Well,” I said, “What is it you guys want me to know? What’s the danger?”

      “There’s a group of people, not from any one area in particular, working on a forbidden
project that could upset the natural balance here. We have an idea who some of them are, and where they may be working. But we need to infiltrate them. Soon! Find out what they’re doing. We need to know how far along they are into what ever it is.”

      Jokid and his people knew who some of the people in the group were, and that was more than I knew.

      “Do you at least know where they’re located? They need a place to work, a lab at an out of the way place.”

       “They’re in the Antarctic. Below the permafrost, an old base we had there. We know exactly where they are, but they can spot anybody from miles away. They also have laser cannons that can erase anything out of the sky without a trace.  They’re pretty far from any earthly explorers. But then if even they came close, they wouldn’t hesitate to take them out either.”

      “Does the council know about this?”

      “We suspect some may, but many in the council don’t believe any of us would be so foolish.”

      “So how many people are working with you?”

      “We’re about a dozen, not counting Doobiz. The only reason I’m telling you this is because Doobiz trusted you. If not, you would never know. As a matter of fact we’re taking a chance. To be honest if you turn out to be otherwise, we’re not going to hesitate to take you out.”

       He was looking straight at me, dead serious, and I have no doubt he would have had me
taken out right there. I have no idea if he had a crony nearby, but for sure this was my audition to join the group.

     “A few weeks ago at the last lunar festivity, I overhead a group talking about a cosmic texting transmitter. From what they said I gathered that it wasn’t one of our projects. Before I could learn more, I was interrupted. I didn’t get a chance to find out much, only that such a foolish outlaw group exists. I realized that if this is what’s going on, it’s a well organized danger facing us. I had hoped Doobiz would have had more information. These people need to be stopped, no matter the sacrifice.”

      “So we’re on the same page.”

      “Indeed, the sooner the better, yesterday would have been fantastic.”

      ”So, Ornious…what do you hope to do about it.”

      “I want to do what ever it takes, to convince the council, they need to be awakened. I’ll join a raid party, if there’s one. You tell me what you want to do. I’m one guy, you seem to have a small organization, so you must have some kind of a plan.”

      “Well I’m satisfied. There’s nothing like an eyeball to eyeball meet to size people up. Now that I know you first hand, I’ll talk to the group. Once our plans are in place, I’ll get back to you. Don’t worry you’ll hear from us by the end of the week. So be ready.”

      He stood up, finished his wine, shook my hand and left me to pay the tab. I had a small buzz from the water, and didn’t want to drive up the mountains right then. I decided to walk it off, and meandered around looking at the different art galleries, shops, and people walking around. The poor souls didn’t have a freaking clue.

      It was all Hallows Eve and people were walking around in their silly ghost costumes. I was walking down 8th Avenue when four thugs approached me. From a few feet away I could see they meant me harm. They were going to lay a heavy smack down on me. But the minute they started running towards me, I hit my mag and vanished before their eyes. They freaked into a state of shock and froze on the spot.

      “Di di di youses see dat!” One blurted out.

      “I don tol youse diz acid was strong, dint I?”

      “Wuzn’t no acid! Youses saw it too dint ya?

      “It wuzn’t no ghost yo! Ain’t no sech thang, man.”

      “It wasn’t real man!”

      I was really amused, standing right next to them. So when the dummy said I wasn’t real, I
reappeared in front of him and admonished,

     “Youses shouldn’t be mean to strangers yo,” and vanished again.

     “Holy shit!”

     The first one to see me screamed, and took off. The one next to him turned as white as an
albino, and ran after his pal. It took a second longer for the other one to realize what happened. These dummies don’t tie their shoe laces, and when he saw me, he actually jumped out of his shoes. He ran off leaving one of his expensive sneakers on the sidewalk. I’ve never seen anybody run so fast in my life. It seemed as if the heels of their shoes were kicking them in their asses as they ran. I reappeared and shouted,

      “See y’all next time, mofoes!”

      That boosted my spirits and as I walked back to the garage, I noticed a gay club on West Fourth and Eighth Avenue. I vanished again and went inside. It was really crowded, there was an open mike, and there was a transvestite, (a tranny), on stage. She, he it was dressed like Marilyn Monroe, and there was a fan on the floor blowing smoke up her, his skirt. I went right behind it, him, and picked her up as if she were a bride.

      “Ayeeeeee!”

      She he it screamed, dropped the mic, and I dropped her. He was lying on the floor
whimpering like a sad puppy, and like the thugs he was also in a state of shock. I grabbed the mic, and slowly raised it up to my lips, as I modulated my mag a few times. It made me appear, vanish and diaphanously reappear, as if I were an ethereal being, or some kind of phantasm. At first the crowd thought it was part of her his gimmick, the act. So appearing like as a specter I smiled into the mic and in a  deep bass tone, my notion of a ghostly voice, I slowly announced,

      “Sodomiiieeeee E is EVIL!”  Then I vanished.

      With tears streaming down his mascara, he got up crying, and scrammed through the crowd, and out of the club. All the while I was loudly laughing like the Crypt Keeper into
the mic.

     “He hee heee!”

     I know that was mean but it helped me forget my troubles. Still invisible I took a drink from the bar,

    “Thank You,” I ghoulishly laughed. Then I raised it up in the air and walked out of the place. It was pandemonium, everybody madly scattered out of the door. I laughed so hard I lost my buzz, and happily walked back to the garage. Once on my way home, I put on a little jazz to soothe my spirit. Donald Byrd and his trumpet accompanied by gospel voices was just what I needed. I remembered our out post in the Antarctic. It‘s been there for the longest the time. It was a place much like we have on the moon today. It’s where we experimented with the elements, to try and find what we need to build a ship and go home. But with the primitive technology existent, any ship built to cross the void would be much like a raft to cross the Pacific. Then in the late nineteenth century the Russians went to the Antarctic. We were filled with apprehension, and were afraid we would be discovered. When the nations of this world signed a treaty to deal with that lost land, we abandoned it and went off world to the moon. I had forgotten all about that facility until now. Damn, that is a big site, at least a mile below the surface. It’s about three foot ball fields long and almost as wide. Even by today’s supposedly high tech, cutting edge standards, that place is still way beyond anything here. Indeed it would be hard to crack. The best bet would be a nuke, but that would start another world war.

     My mind was going around in circles. I called Gloria and brought her up to speed. I realized I needed to talk with Yanis before deciding anything. Before the end of the week Jokid had said, that was at least two more days, because this one was gone. So I had two more days to go, and I still didn’t have a clue, I had no idea which way to go either, because for all I knew Jokid could be lying.

      We’re all spiritual beings, and not long after our childhood we forget what we are. It takes a long time before we remember what we are. Off world people are no different than other people, except for our longevity. We live long enough to evolve and remember who and what we are. There are two dimensions to spirituality, the light and the dark. Unlike saints, martial artist gravitate to the dark. They rationalize that it is for defensive purposes. So they use the spiritual forces for destructive ends. But even they are split, because they too have what they believe is a dark side. We know it’s just a darker side. Saints have it right, but those are special souls. We too have souls who gravitate to the darkness. Passion can and does cause souls to slide into the dark for whatever cause they champion. The light is the only place where souls are nourished, but it can take a long, long lifetime to grasp that. It seemed to me that these souls in their impassioned desire to go home slid into the darkness.

      Still situations, conditions can act like a catalyst and force us to do things we may not want to do. Stranded away from home, family and friends can lead to gloom. It can be such a catalyst. These poor souls want to go home. Being here secretly and not doing anything is really an involuntary sacrifice. I supposed some of them just snapped, met similarly desperate souls, and now we have a dangerous group that can destroy everything. The trick is to put them down before they put us all down. If we knew who they were, we could take them out one by one. But we don’t have a clue. We’re in the dark with no direction waiting for a sign.

      It was sometime after eight in the evening as I headed home. Once out of the city, with the overhead pollution gone, I could see the stars. I could see my home, and the cosmos so teeming with life. If not for Gloria and the kids I too would have snapped a long time ago. I guess it’s why so many of us have gone native, and taken a mate, but still we want to go home. As for those who have snapped, we have places for them where we can treat their psychosis. We can bring them back to reality, and teach them to cope with it. Surely these poor wretched souls must be recent arrivals, living lonely lives. Souls need constant contact with a loving mate, otherwise they snap. Still there are times a mate can cause you to snap too. Truly it is a blessed soul who has a loving mate who has his or her back.

      “Ah…you missed their trick or treat adventure, they were really miffed with you.” Gloria
lamented. I got home in time to kiss the sleeping tots goodnight, and to enjoy a glass of water with Gloria while she enjoyed her vino. I recounted all that had happened, and went to bed. Tomorrow and Yanis would be another matter.

 

      Nookodubididy is a recent citizen to our community, being that he’s been here for only about forty years. His ship crashed in the Andes with two survivors. They zapped it immediately leaving no trace behind. Back home on Dubidizes he left a wife and four kids. It too was supposed to be a short observation trip. But, alas like so many things in life something that wasn’t supposed to go wrong did, and they were stuck here. He longed for his family and worked tirelessly for a way to build a ship. Finally after years of trying, and realizing how primitive the technology is here, he gave up. Ever since he’s been concentrating for years on building a gizmo to send a message back home. Every time he shows up anywhere his chatter has always been the same. Cosmic transmitters. All of us can in some small way empathize with Robinson Crusoe but there’s no way to build a raft to cross the expanse. Like the rest of us he established a long record of one failure after another. He was embraced by the community. But he and his pal Zoutious were loners, and didn’t much care for it, except when it suited them. They constantly searched for like minded disgruntled souls. So that’s where my mind went. You have to start somewhere. The problem is there’s no record of them anywhere. There’s no way of making contact with them. They usually make the move, and then disappeared until the next time. I went to bed with the intent to bring them up to Yanis. Hell, it would make for a great conversation opener. If they were the ones behind this thing, it would certainly rattle him. Like myself, Yanis, is not a good poker player. I would know if I was on the right track. However if it didn’t rattle him, then it would create a lot of questions. I also thought of bringing it up to Jokid, to see if it rattled him or not. But for now it would be my lead with Yanis in the morning. Gloria liked the idea, so I went to bed with that notion. Perhaps there was a light at the end of this damned tunnel. It made perfect sense.

      Moiva floated in her splendiferous silver light in the lavender sky. To the left not far behind her was Gorsh, her lover in his dazzling golden light. They floated above shedding their light on the beach below as the clear waters ebbed upon the golden shore. Beyond them was a clear night sky dotted by the countless sparkling stars of the cosmos. There I lay next to Gloria, as we sipped a rainbow of cool Aranjaynian water. The breeze was soothing and I was at peace. I had not felt like that since I sat on my mother’s knee as she caressed my hair. All the while telling me how smart and handsome I was, and how much she loved me.

     “Hey look!” Gloria blurted out.

     “Where?”

     “To the left of Gorsh,” she sweetly answered.

      It was a shooting star, and it seemed to be slowly descending towards us.

      “Wow, isn’t this just beyond words…it’s breath taking,” I responded as I gently tightened my  grip on her hand.  Suddenly the shooting star increased speed and turned towards us. It was coming fast. There wasn’t time to move, we were frozen to the spot, and it was going to crash on top of us.

      “Ayiiiiiiiieeeeee E!” We screamed in terror, and I woke up soaked to the bone and shaking.

      “Orn, Orn…what’s the matter are you alright?” She tried to comfort me, as she caressed my back, and kissed my face.

      “Oh my, it was so, so real.”

      “It was just a dream my sweet.”

      “No, no it was more than a dream…it was a terrible nightmare.”

      “What was so terrible?”

      “We, you and me, were relaxing on my favorite beach, enjoying a bright starry night back home on Aranjaynion. Moiva and Gorsh were shinning in the lavender night sky. It was so peaceful, and the ebb on the beach sang to us. Then a shooting star appeared above, and in a flash it turned and started towards our beach. It was going to crash upon us, we started screaming and I woke up.”

      “Tee he hee,” she laughed like a child, and

      “Oh it was just a silly dream Orn.”

      “I haven’t had such a vivid colorful one in a very long time. It was so damned real,
and the way it ended. It’s an omen!”

 

     “Oh don’t be silly, you have a lot of stress on you right now, especially with this treacherous alliance…

     “I’ve had dreams like this before,” I interjected, and continued, “They’ve always had a
meaning. I’m being warned to be careful.”

      “That is all you can do Orn, stay on your toes,” she responded. Then she gave me a long wet, loving kiss to stir up my blood pressure,

      “He hee heee…get up silly,” she laughed and got out of bed. She ran off to wake up the kids, and I went for a run. When I returned I had enough time to get a kiss, a hug, and the see the kids off to school. Time was flying this morning, and right after breakfast the phone rang, it was Yanis.

      “Hey pal can you make it today?”

      “Where and when?

      “Why not lunch at that Mex place you like so much?”

       “Juanito’s?’

      “Yea, that’s it!”

        I really didn’t want to go there, but I didn’t want Yanis to suspect anything so I agreed.

      “Okay, what time?”

      It was only eight, and it wouldn’t take me more than twenty minutes to get there. But I had things to do. So, I responded, “Okay how about 11:30, that way we get there before the place gets mobbed by the lunch crowd?

      “All right then 11:30 it is, see you then,” he responded and hung up.

      He really sounded cheerful though, and that rattled me. I had to wait and see how things went, and how Yanis reacted to my questions about Jokid, Doobiz, and those two bozos from Dubidizes. I had plenty to talk about with Yanis and looked forward to lunch. But, after seeing him involved in Doobizes murder, I had a lot of doubt, and fear for my family as well. After all, Yanis knew everything about us. Everything! If they wanted to take us out, he was the man. He knew about our magun, our ship, our security, hell there wasn’t a thing he didn’t know. So I was threading on egg shells.

      When I got to the parking lot he was sitting on his car, smiling and waving at me. There was a spot right next to his, and as I parked he rushed to my window. I got out, we hugged, he smiled and,

     “How is it going, man?”

      “Oh everything’s okay, man.”

      “So how did that horse farm go?”

      “It’s cool, but they want too much, and we can’t afford it. At least not that one, there will be others.”

      “For sure, man.”

      “Why don’t we get take out, and eat on that bench over there?”

      When he said take out my heart skipped a beat, but then it was midday, the sun was out, and it was a really bright day.

      “Cool lets do it!”

 

     When we went inside the waitress recognized me,

      “Hey how joo dooning?”

     I smiled and got real nervous, but just then Yanis excused himself,

      “Orn get what ever you want and get me the same, okay!”

      What a life saver. I smiled, and

      “I got you man.”

      “Hey how joo pal Doo doo bi…do?

      “Doobiz!”

      “Jess.”

      “Oh he moved on.”

      “So wadda joo want today?”

      “I’ll have a couple of chicken tacos, a couple of tamales, an order of refried beans and tortillas. Oh, yea and get me an enchilada with an orange soda.”

      “How bout joo pal?”

      “Gimme a double order, he’ll have the same.” She ran off to the back and as she disappeared,

      “Is it ready yet, man? I’m starving.”

      It was Yanis, he was looking cheerful and perky.

      “What’s got you so animated?”

      “Dude I haven’t seen you in a long time, and we have so much to catch up on, man.”

      Just as the lunch crowd started to fill up the place, she was back with our order. Yanis
grabbed it, and before I could say anything, paid for it. There was a small triangular park across the street where people played chess or checkers. We went for it, spread our feast out on a table, and dug in into it.

      “Orn, you’re one lucky soul, everything is great with you. You got your health, your wife, and your kids are okay. You’re on top of the world, man.

      Was he playing with me? I couldn’t tell, so I asked,

      “Have you heard from Doobiz?”

      “What brought that on?”

      “Oh I haven’t heard from him in a long time, and here we are eating Mex.”

      “Oh yea,” he smiled, and continued, “I remember that first time too from time to time. It was just the three of us. Then he disappeared, and we never heard from him again. I’ve always wondered about him.”

      Was he playing stupid, maybe he was trying to see if I knew anything or maybe he didn’t recognize him. It had been a long time. So I asked him,

      “Have you ever heard of a guy named Jokid?”

      “Jokid! Is he a native or one of us?” Either he learned to play poker or he really didn’t know.

      “I don’t know?” I responded and asked,

      “Well how about Nookodubididy?”

      “Yea, him I know, isn’t he a pal of that kook Zo Zoo…Zookious?”

      “Yea, but it’s Zootious.”

      “Hey dude it’s all the same they’re both nuts. Trying to do so something we haven’t been able to do in a short a time. They’re always asking the same damned stupid questions. Then they disappear, and you don’t see them again until they want something. Damn bro, why are you asking all of these questions about nuts. What’s up?”

     Suddenly it occurred to me that in the Gamboozian Galaxy there are several worlds with
intelligent souls. They have a federation there to prevent wars of expansion, and they’ve been at peace for eons. On one of those worlds, they perfected cloning technology. All they need is a hair sample or a swab of saliva to produce a perfect clone. The federation outlawed it, but their people still possess the knowledge.

      “What do you know about Gamboozians?”

      “What are we playing 20 questions now?”

      “No, no I’m just curious…are any of them among us.”

      “Well, okay. You know they’re a federation in the…oh hell, I forget the quadrant, but they’re composed of several planets. I believe the people there have perfected cloning technology to a fine art, but the federation outlawed it.”

      “Umm…are you aware of any of them among us?”

      “Dude, I don’t know everybody here. There are so many of us, and from so many different worlds. And that Galaxy is so damned far from here…it’s probably the furthest. But hey you never know. I think every intelligent soul in the cosmos has been here at one time or another. It’s possible some of them may have been stranded here too.”

      Suddenly I didn’t feel any fear, danger or threatened. From the way he was acting I began to realize, to feel that he was my pal, my brother. This dude before was, is Yanis.

      “It’s funny man, I thought I saw you around here the other day. But before I could reach you, him, the dude moved too fast, he jumped into his car and left.”

      “Sooo, you thinking the Gamboozians made a clone of me…he hee heee.”

      “No, no you know there are people all over who resemble somebody somewhere. Hell, in
China
there’s a million people who look just like each other.”

     “Well it certainly wasn’t me, man. I just came back yesterday morning. You were the first
soul I called. I was on the other side of the planet, in the south pacific. I was investigation the possibility of an element that resembles jouniquiem.”

     “Really!”

    “Yea, it has possibilities, but it’s a lot of work to extract it.”

     “Wow!”

     “Yea man, you can say that again. If we can work it out or find the real stuff there, we can
create the metal we need for our ships. It’s almost too much to hope for isn’t it?”

     “Wow, after all these years!”

     This was heart stopping news, so that Yanis was not my pal. I had to check this out before going any further.

      “That’s funny I called Eve a few days ago and asked her if there were any new projects, and she flat out said no.”

      “Oh, she wouldn’t have known, this was top, top secret man. The premier doesn’t want to create a panic, have all these people rushing over there, and creating a spectacle. And possibly exposing our presence.”

      “True, true!”

      “So why were you calling Evelyn?”

      “I wanted to get some information on Doobiz, and see if she knew where I might find him, but she didn’t know anything. It’s like he fell off this world.”

      “Yea, I haven’t seen him in a very long time.”

      “I pass by this place all the time, and the other day it reminded me of our escape.”

      “You think something may have happened to him.”

      “I don’t know, I was just thinking of our pal.”

      “You know, I take that back, I did see him after we parted. I don’t know how I could have
forgotten it. I went to his wedding, he married a local girl. Like you, he went native too. But, I haven’t seen him since. He was disappointed that you weren’t there, but we couldn’t find you anywhere.”

       “When I take the family camping up into the mountains, I turn off my communicator. It had to be then, because I never turn it off.”

       “That would explain that, but I haven’t seen him since then, and that was a long time ago. As a matter of fact you only had one kid at the time.”

      “Then that was at least six years ago, because Bobby is seven going on eight, and Kate is five going on six. I think that was the trip when she was conceived.”

      “Okay that explains that, I always wondered what happened.”

      “So what did you want with him.”

      “Whenever I come here I always remember you guys, and I was here a few days ago. So I called Eve to, to you know see if she knew anything.”

      “Did she?”

      “No man, she was a dud.”

      “So what else is new?”

      “Dude, I had this dream last night, it was so real. I was at my favorite beach back home with Gloria. Moiva and Gorsh were overhead on a clear starry night, and everything was so peaceful. Then a shooting star appeared, and she was so excited when she pointed it out to me. Suddenly the freaking thing seemed to turn towards us. It increased speed and it was going to land on top of us. We started shrieking and I woke up screaming. I was soaking wet and trembling, man.”

      “Damn!”

     “I think it was an omen.”

     “Lots of people believe them to be omens back home. But mostly they’re caused by anxiety. You got any pressure on you?”

      “Maybe because I was disappointed about the way that horse farm turned out.”

      “Dude, there are others, I’ll keep my eye out for you. I have a local pal who is into real estate. But right now I have to take off. I have to go over stuff with the premier’s people. Let’s stay close, after all we’re family, man. You’re the only family I got, dude. Don’t worry about your dreams divo, they’re just that…dreams, man.  We finished, hugged and he started for his car. Then he turned around, and

      “Oh man, I almost forgot,” he reached into his coat pocket, and my heart skipped a beat. I feared he was going to zap me, but then he pulled a small purple rock from his coat pocket.

      “This is for you!” He grinned as he flipped it to me.

      “What is it?”

      “A souvenir, pal!”

      “A rock!”

      “It could be…jouniquiem,” He smiled, turned around and left.

      Damn, that would be something if it was. It’s one of the elements we’ve looking for so long. We need it to make our ships, and to make the things we need…like fuel. If it is, it’s a dream come true. We can all go home at last. Wow! It was all I could think about. For a moment I forgot all about Jokid, the conspiracy, and Doobiz. I was speechless. I wanted to check things out, and look into the possibility that that wasn’t Doobiz or Yanis. If all things squared out, I would clue Yanis in, and apologize. But I had to be sure. I needed to know if there were any Gamboozians among us. If so, were they close to Jokid? Was he from one of its worlds? I had a lot of work to do, and I needed to trust somebody. Maybe Yanis was my best bet.

Standard

Spies and clones everywhere

      On the way home I thought of the Merday, a world in the Gamboozian federation. I know
there are several Merday in our community. But I had never connected the dots. Then I
remembered it was the Merday who perfected cloning technology, and spread it to the rest of the federation. There were perhaps six of them here, and they had been here for a very long time, they were almost ancient. I was slightly acquainted with two of them, Teebit and Dorbik, whom I met at one of our Lunar festivities. But I hadn’t seen them in a long time, nor did I know how to find either of them. They were close, and if I found one, the other would not be far behind. That was now one of my goals. If they knew or were pals of Nookodubididy and Zootious, then I could connect some dots. When I got home I talked it over with Gloria, and we decided it was a good idea to check with Evelyn. The Merday were probably the closest to nobility in our community, they were almost above suspicion. Looking for one would not raise any eyebrows. Evelyn was the go to for finding Teebit or Dorbik.

      I spent the next few hours making calls, trying to find a connection to any of them. But it was a waste. Killing time is not easy when you’re anxious, and more so when danger rears its ugly head. The dream made me nervous and my skin felt tingly. There was nothing I could do and so I was on edge all afternoon. It’s unnerving to be aware of imminent danger and not be able to do anything about it. When the kids came home from school they removed all of that from my mind. We played ball in the backyard for a while, and afterwards we watched cartoons together. Those silly animations made me laugh and drew the menace even further from my mind. That swashbuckling captain Sam, the stuttering porker, that smart ass bunny and that damned drooling loser duck had me in stitches all the way into dinner. After dinner and a few bottles of water I was ready for bed.

       In the morning after breakfast I called Evelyn and she told me Dorbik lived out on the west coast. She was happy to give me his number. I called him, but he was out on the golf course. He had a passion for the links I was told, and would be back by three that afternoon. Of course doughnuts to dollars Teebit being with him was an inside bet.

      Right after that I got a call from Jokid. He informed me that he was making progress, what ever that meant, and he would get back to me the next day. Perhaps they were voting on whether to let me in or not. If not I wondered if they planned to take me out. I really needed to connect some dots. He was going to call me the next day, and I desperately wanted to know if his other pals included Zootious, Dorbik, Teebit, Nookodubididy and or any other Merday. It was early, I was alone, and all I had was time on my hands. I thought of calling the premier, but I needed a pretext, I didn’t have one, and I couldn’t think of one. Life is full of surprises, and about a half hour later the phone rang.

      “Is this Mr. Ornious,” A sweet polished feminine voice asked.

      “Who wants to know?”

      “I’m Cho Cha, Mr. Bullocks’ personal assistant, and he would like to speak with you.”

      “The premier,” I gasped, I was blown away.

      “The one and only, please hold,” she responded.

      The pause seemed like an eternity, and I wondered what he wanted. I met him twice. Yanis introduced me to him both times. The second time he remembered me by name.

      “Ah yes, Ornious, Yanis’ bff, uh,” his deep joyful voice rang out as he extended a friendly hand.

      He’s a kind, genteel soul with a contagious, mirthful laugh. A real gregarious personality, but when it comes to our community he’s as serious as a Jihad. His people coordinate everything and he knows everyone and everything that’s happening. I wouldn’t be surprised if he knew everyone in the community by name. Most of us don’t have any special powers in this world, like great strength or the ability to read minds or control them. We’re all alike, the same, the only difference being we live longer, and are more spiritually evolved. So our mental faculties are more in tune with our spirit. Our intuition is sharper, our perception is more accurate. We’ve learned to control our passions, most especially lust. We don’t react like the lower species and give into a continual rut. We’re more aware of the Creator’s presence in the universe. We find it amusing that some people here think the universe has any control over things. It is just a place, like Paris or London, New York or the moon are places. The universe is our dimension, it’s where we all live however distant from one another. It’s our home. Besides our higher evolution, our science is more advance, so we have more advanced gadgets. While waiting for him, I was trying to remember our last conversation when…

      “Mr. Ornious, are you there,” his voice shattered my thoughts.

      “Yes sir, I responded.

      “So how have you been?”

      Here was my opportunity to start connecting some dots, to find out who the players were, and what my part in all of this could be. I wanted to spill everything, my mind was overflowing with all kinds of thoughts like a water fall. But I was aware my phone could be bugged. After all I still didn’t know if Yanis was a good guy or a bad guy. So I responded,

      “To what do I owe this surprise?”

      “I’m having a little get together in the city this evening, and since Yanis is my guest of honor, I thought having his bff here, would be fitting. Wouldn’t you agree?”

      “Sir it would be my honor indeed,” I responded.

      “Fine, Cho Cha will give you the details, and I will see you then.”

      There was a short pause then, “Mr. Onious, are you still there?”

      “Yes ma’am,” I responded.

      “Oh I’m not that old, please don’t ma’am me. Cho Cha is just fine!”

      “Okay then.”

      She proceeded to give me the details. He was in the city, at the Waldorf and the gathering would be at seven in the evening. Casual wear would be fine, and dinner would be served. I was looking forward to it, since the following day I had to either meet with or hear from Jokid. I had to have some kind of game plan for him and his group, and I didn’t know yet if he was a bad guy or a good guy.

      It was almost three, so I called Teebit again

      “Hello, My name is Ornious, I called before is Teebit in yet.”

      “Yes, I remember you. Mr. Teebit is not in yet, but his associate Mr. Dorbik just walked in, would you like to talk with him?”

      “Can I help you,” Dorbik answred before I could respond.

      “Hi, I’m Ornious, I…”

      “Oh yea, how are you,” he interjected before I could continue.

      “You remember me?”

      “Of course I do, we were discussing the various buzz makers, err…intoxicants in this world.”

      “Oh that’s right, Teebit told me you’re fond of sea water.”

      “Yes we do get a nice buzz from it. But you didn’t call me to discuss buzzes did you?”

      “No I was wondering if you know Zoutious or his pal Nookodubididy?”

      “No and I’m sure Teebit doesn’t either. To be sure we don’t think anybody really know those bozos”

      “How about Jokid?”

      “Not really…but hey, I remember that Teebit told me that he believed that…well, he called them the three stooges.”

      “Really!”

      “He hee heee…I think he saw them together at a coffee shop in Buenos Aires sometime ago.”

      “Do you know what they may have been up to?”

      “Well he said they looked like they were planning something, but he never got close enough to find out.”

      “How‘s that?”

      “Well he said he went to their table, but when he approached them, they clamed up. He told me he knows when to get a clue, so he wish them well and moved on.”

      “Buenos Aires, uh.”

     “We like to go clubbing there from time to time. The ladies are fabulous and the Tango is
fantastic. You should go sometime. What do you want with the bozos?”

     “I’ve been trying to contact them for sometime. I’m longing to go home, and am wondering how they’re coming along with their experiments.”

     I didn’t know how or if any of these people were in cahoots so I didn’t let him in on anything.

     “Oh yea, I see. Well, we all want to go home. But I wouldn’t be betting my farm on stooges.”

     “I understand, but you never know, even stooges get lucky some time. Anyway, I’m just
curious. But, hey give Dorbik my regards, okay.”

     “I’ll do, and if you ever find out what they’re up to and if we can go home, please don’t forget us. The Tango is cool, but you know there is no place like home, right.

      “Yea, I won’t…it’s been great yapping with you.”

      At last I now I knew that the three of them knew each other, and were maybe even working together. I decided not to bring Gloria, because it was too late to find a bay sitter. I told her I was leaving early to avoid the rush hour. She was a little miffed, because she had never met the premier. She wanted to and would have loved to, but this was really a last minute thing. I also felt this was more than just a small gathering to honor anybody, especially with the premier being there. His appearances anywhere usually imply something grave. So with the present danger, and with Yanis having discovered jouniquiem here, I was sure there was something amiss. I was in the dark, and hoped they were going to bring me in out of the cold. I took my time and left sometime after three in the afternoon. I really didn’t know what to expect, and I kept trying not to think of the what ifs. You should never let your mind cloud you with darkness, especially in troubling times.

      I was right to leave when I did, there were several bottlenecks on the way, and a trip that
usually takes a couple of hours took the better part of three. I parked the car, and it was six
fifteen when I walked into the Waldorf. It’s a New York art deco landmark where many
dignitaries, politicians, and celebrities stay while in the city. The lobby has a very somber
atmosphere, and the young clerk at the front desk just happened to be British.

     “Mr. Bullocks’ room please,” I politely asked. She immediately lost her composure, and
instantly cracked up in an uproarious guffaw.

     “Har har har…haw haw haw!”

     Bullocks’ is an exclamation among the Brits, used in moments of anguish, and obviously she thought it was hilarious. Funny I had never connected the dots, and for a brief moment I wanted to laugh too, but didn’t. She obviously thought it was hilarious, and lost it. Finally she regained her cool, looked straight at me, somehow managed to smile, and asked,

      “Are you serious sir?”

      As startled guest turned to stare at her spectacle, some smiling while others just curious,  I responded:

      “Of course I am madam!”

       She turned to her console, and in a nanosecond, smiled again, and

      “You are?”

      “Orb… Orb Ornious,” I responded.

      She tittered and almost lost it again on account of my name being Orb. But she was resolute, and inhaled deeply.

      “Ahhhh!”

      She grabbed a tissue and dabbed at the tear dangling from her right eye, then continued.

      “Yes sir, you’re on the guest list, and Mr. Bullocks,” she tried very hard to stifle a giggle

again, “He hee heeee!” But, she just couldn’t help herself, and it took her a long moment, before she continued, “He’s in suite 007 he hee heee…”

      I smiled and wanted laugh with her, but I was in control and didn’t.

      “Ahem!” She loudly cleared her throat and continued, “You need to call and be announced before going up.”

      Before I could thank her, she continued,

      “Sir, I apologize for my lack of decorum, but…”

      “Don’t worry I know all about it,” I winked at her, turned around and headed for the elevators. For a second I wondered if she peed herself, then I realized I needed to call first, so I did and was told to come right up. The door was ajar, and a guard closed it behind me.

      Right away I noticed the premier on a sofa talking with Yanis, and several guest whom I
didn’t know. Behind them against the wall was a small open bar. It was really supposed to be a small gathering. There were a few people and other than Yanis and the premier I didn’t
recognize anybody.

      “Ornious,” The premier stood up as he waved me over.

      “I smiled, and as I walked over, he met me half way and shook my hand,

      “Glad you could make it son.” He smiled, put his arm around my shoulders and continued,

      “It’s an open bar, help yourself, relax we’ll be having dinner in a short while. We’re just
waiting for a few more people. You’re really early it’s not even seven yet. Get yourself a drink and join us.”

      I waved to Yanis and went to the bar. I was looking over the treats for my favorite water, really they’re all the same, but I felt a certain one tasted a lot like Aranjaynion water. Perhaps it was my imagination, and I made a mental note to ask Yanis if he thought so too. Then as I was reaching for it, I felt an arm on my shoulders,

      “Damn, Orniz! Long time no see amigo.”

       I turned around and suddenly felt weak at the knees.

     “Are you feeling alright…you look like you’ve seen a daimon, man.”

     “You, you…you,” I responded.

     “Of course it’s me, who the hell do you think I am?”

     It was Doobiz in the flesh. He looked the same as the last time we saw each other, he was
there smiling and obviously just glad to see me. I was dumbfounded and didn’t know how to respond, when Yanis came over looking overly concerned.

          “Orniz, Orniz, are you okay, man,” he asked as he shook me by the shoulders.

      It took me more than a moment to recompose myself. Then I stared at Doobiz, and
stammered:

     “Aye, aye, aye I saw ya die!”

     “It must have been some dream, man.”

     By this time the premier had joined them and he too was looking concerned,

     “Take him over to that sofa,” he pointed to a corner, and continued, “Let him relax a bit. He  looks like he’s seen a corpus anima. His hands are so cold.”

      The three of them hustled me to the corner over my protestations. I couldn’t get a word in as they blabbered on about what was wrong with me. Finally at the sofa, I sat down, and was given a cup of warm tea to reenergize. I looked at the three of them, stared is more like it then I stammered:

      “I don’t know where to begin!”

      “Whet ever do you mean, man,” the premier asked.

      “Two days ago I met with Doobiz, and,” before I could continue, Doobiz protested that he hadn’t been around this part of the world in years.

      “The last time I saw you Orniz was when we parted company after the crash.”

      “That’s right Orniz,” Yanis added, “He hasn’t been around here in a long time, and the
last time I saw him was at his wedding.”

     “Which you missed, and we were quite upset with you too,” Doobiz added.

     “Well, I saw you die, man. You were zapped!”

     “Oh my, what a terrible way to go,” Doobiz rolled his eyes and smiled.

     “Honest Doobiz, I was sitting right next to you in your car. We were as close to one another as we are now. Then the laser hit you between the eyes. I ran out of the car before they could zap me too, and hid. I watched them take your body away, and I swear the guy orchestrating the whole thing was Yanis. I saw him, but he didn’t see me. I was out of sight, hiding behind some bushes. When they left I went straight home. I’ve been scared ever since, and hoped I could connect some dots here.”

      Yanis looked hurt. His eyes were moist with a tear dangling from his left eye refusing to drop.

     “Why didn’t you say something to me the other day, don’t you trust me.”

      “Brother I’ve been scared for my family, that mofoe looked just like you man, and I was
confused.”

     “You didn’t know me…You really hurt me Orniz!”

     “This is serious man, if that guy was you, then who the hell are you, and if he wasn’t you, then who the hell was he,” I pleaded.”

     The three of them shook their heads as they looked at one another.

     “Who ever this soul was, he called me Orniz. You two are the only ones, besides Gloria, who call me that, nobody else does!”

      “Guys this sounds serious,’ Doobiz wondered out loud, and continued. “A week ago I was out on the coast, LA to be exact, and I swear I saw you Yanis. You were crossing the street, I yelled and ran after you. I guess you didn’t hear me. Before I could get across, you jumped into a snappy European make, and burnt rubber on the way out. I didn’t have my cell with me at the time, so I couldn’t call you. But I swear by all that is holy in Aranjaynion it was you.”

       “I promise you Orniz, and Mr. Bullocks’ here can confirm, a week ago I was in the South
Pacific. I didn’t get back here until the other day, and the first soul I contacted was you.”

      “That’s true we had Mex for lunch in your honor Doobiz,” I confirmed.

      “What the hell is it with you Aranjaynions and Mexican food? That shit makes me sick!”

     “Har har har…ho ho ho…he hee heee!”

      Everybody looked our way and assumed all was well and we were telling jokes. We looked at each other and laughed some more. Then Yanis explained to him that we ate it once in a while to remember our ordeal when we first arrived.

      “Me too,” Doobiz, added, “I get some every year to remember the day.”

      “Fellas this is serious business, there’s only one group in our community capable of this,” Bullocks exclaimed.

      “It’s them feckers from Merday, sir.” Yanis responded, and added, “I apologize, sir for my profanity.”

      “No, no you’re quite right they’re the only ones with that kind of technology here. The local creatures are barely beginning to understand how to use a microscope.”

      “But to what end, and how do we know who is whom, and who do we trust sir,”  Doobiz asked.

      “We need to be able to see the larger picture here. I can assure you that Yanis is who he is, and so is Doobiz. As a matter of fact on account of Doobiz’s research I sent him over there to investigate. So, Doobiz is also whom he is, and they both know you. Only the three of you could possibly know about the Mexicans. So, that leaves me, and my staff is with me twenty four  seven. As for this bogus Doobiz calling you Orniz…well obviously who ever he is, is going to a lot of trouble to pull off what ever it is they, and I say they, because this sounds like is really organized. They must have spies, and it’s very possible they overheard Yanis calling you Orniz somewhere.”

      At that point I clued them into what I had been up to the last week. I began with the last Lunar festivity, and ended with Jokid’s meeting in the city the day before.

      “Ton Cul!”

      “I beg your pardon,” the premier looked at Doobiz.

      “Ton Cul, he’s from Merday, he’s a most capable scientist, and any scientist from there is capable of cloning technology. They study it in their universities in order, they believe, to better understand life. I believe there are at least five of them here. But for the most part they’re all for maintaining our secrecy and leaving this world to its destiny. They won’t interfere.

     “Will he be here today,” I asked.

      “Unfortunately not,” the premier responded.

      “How about Jokid, or Zootius and his nut job of a pal… Nookodubididy,” I added.

      “No these people you mention are under our radar, those last two seldom appear at our lunar festivities. Those bozos only show up when they want something. We believe all three of them are extremely disgruntled.

      “How in the hell did you manage to spew all that out Orniz? Hell, my tongue is still hurting just from the sound of it.”

      “I remember more than I want to sometimes, Doobiz.”

      “I hope just one of them shows up here,” Yanis added with a clenched fist.

      If it’s as you say, we have a lot of work to do, and we need to do it fast. You should call your people and inform them that you won’t be coming home tonight. We’ll send a security detail to watch over them Orniz. So don’t worry, right now we have to deal with this or none of us will be safe.

      “Antarctica!” I exclaimed.

      “Come again.” Bullocks responded.

      “It’s where they’re holed up.”

      “How do you know?”

      “Jokid told me when we met. He said they have laser canons and would erase anything in the sky.”

      “Damn! That must be our old base. It will indeed be a task getting them out of there. After dinner, we’ll assemble a few people and put our heads together.”

      Within the next forty minutes people from Dubidizes, Merday, Pigu, Kak, Khaneeth, Toi
Noun, Whanker,
Stronzo, Dummbatz, Tae, Shmenah, Pendejo, Maa-cho, Kree Ka, and Aho, all Worlds from the Gamboozian Galaxy, slowly appeared without much fan fare. For sure one thing was certain, since they had all been here for a long time, and their worlds had long been members of their federation, they knew one another. They were highly evolved souls, but grief can make even the most evolved soul do horrible things. So, we felt they were all suspect since the jokers we doubted were all from one of those worlds, and most especially the two from Merday. One of them was a cloning artiste and the other seemed to be his flunky. Of course there were folks from various other galaxies through out the Cosmos. All of their worlds and galaxies as far from one another as they were from this world. But in our minds none of them stood out as much as the Gamboozians. It was our task to vet them all and not give ourselves away in the process. These idiots were dangerous they had already killed. The Khaneethians were like dogs, big bark no bite. Still all of them wanted to go home or to contact their loved ones. They were no different than the rest of us. But to be safe the premier decided to not to include any of them in our strategizing.

      “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” he whispered to us on the couch.

      We nodded our heads in agreement, and he continued, “When they’re all gone we’ll remain, stay all night if need be, and make certain our course. Right now let’s get out there, mingle, and keep our ears open.”

      He stood up and joined members of his staff. Doobiz, Yanis and I remained. We needed
to figure out whom to approach and what to say and how to say it. We had been here over seventy years, but some of these people had been here for centuries. Others were descended from people who died long ago, but had left them with a love for a world they had never seen.

     “Hell any of them could be longing enough to be a part of this nightmare,” Doobiz
whispered.”

     “True,” Yanis and I agreed at the same time.

     “But,” Yanis continued, “We can’t just exclude none Gamboozians from being vetted.”

     “We need to be careful, let’s concentrate on the Gamboozians, and see where it takes us. These assholes are bound to make a mistake,” I added.

     “They already made a mistake by not being here,” Doobiz assured us.

     “It seems that way, but we don’t know if they weren’t invited, after all, the premier was
clueless until a moment ago,” Yanis noted.

     “Then we must ask Evelyn, she would know for sure.”

     “Hey what if she’s in on it with them, working on the inside for them. If she is, she may
become suspicious, and we’re done for before we start.”

     “Okay I’ll ask Bullocks,” Yanis interjected, and continued, “But he leaves details like that to her. He might not know.”

     “True but it would be far better for him to ask her than for one of us, he wouldn’t arouse
suspicion…we would.”

     So as Yanis stepped over to the premier, Doobiz and I continued to reason out whom to
approach. After all even if Evelyn wasn’t a spy, any body else present could be.

     “They weren’t!”

     “What was that,” Doobiz asked.

     “They weren’t invited,” Yanis responded.

     “Where’s Evelyn from,” Doobiz asked.

     “She’s not from any of the Gamboozian worlds. Her people crashed here long ago, she was born here as a matter of fact. Born in the U.S.A. Bullocks knew her parents, they came from Guanos. Her father was very close to Bullocks, he was his mentor as a matter of fact. Bullocks comes from Nextousia, and when her dad passed he adopted her when she was still a pre teen. She’s fiercely loyal to him.”

      “Where is next usa?”

      “It’s Nex too si ah, Nextousia! It’s a world in the Klatu Nextoos galaxy which is parallel to the Knousian galaxy. That galaxy is diametrically opposite to the Gamboosian’s. There are but a few intelligent worlds in that system, and as far as she knows her people were the only ones who ever came here. They were able to read minds, her parents could, but they were the only survivors. After a long time her mother had her here. Though she didn’t inherit their ability, she does posses a most impressive mind, she can remember the most unbelievable minutia.”

      At the moment it occurred to me that the bogus Doobiz had not only called me Orniz but that he had my home number.

      “You know Yanis that bogus mofo not only called me Orniz, he called me at home. So
how in hell did he get my number? Does Evelyn keep a database and does she just arbitrarily give out that info?”

     “Yea, if she can remember everything, then she should remember me, or who ever it was that asked for Orniz’s number you know. I should ask her,” Doobiz interjected.

      “No, no let me do that and I’ll get right back to you. She and I have a rapport and she’ll tell me just about any thing.”

      “Since when,” Doobiz asked.

      “A few moments ago, she practically told me her life’s story, man.” He grinned.

      “Yanis if there was a bogus Doobiz, there was also a bogus you,” I interrupted, and continued. “Those mofoes screwed with our friendship. I’m really pissed at them right now Yanis. They invaded my life and screwed with my family. You guys are my family, we are the
only Aranjayions here. What they did is unforgivable.”

     “I feel your pain bro, and I really want to get them too, man.” Doobiz added.

     “You guys are right!”

     “So what do we do?”

     “I’ll ask her anyway. If she says I did, and I don’t remember ever doing that, then we’ll know for sure there are copies of us running around. My mind isn’t as spectacular as hers, but I know what I damn well know. Doobiz already saw a dumb ass with my looks out on the coast. So we have to assume there’s an Orniz running around out there too.”

      The three of us nodded our heads in agreement, as Yanis stepped away and headed towards her. They hugged and walked over to the bar as they chatted away. They looked more than chummy and it made me wonder if there was something going on with them. She seemed to glow around him, and they seemed a little more than friendly. Were they involved I mused. He had never said anything, but they sure looked tight to me.

      “Doobiz! Do you have your mag with you,” I asked.

      “Pal, I never leave home with out it. Do you,” he responded with a grin.

      “Why,” I padded my side pocked with a smile.

      “Dude we should go out on the balcony; do our thing, walk back in here, and listen
in on all of them. They’ll never know.”

     “That is really way cool Doob, but let’s see if Yanis has his too,” I responded.

     “Yea, the more the merrier, let’s hope he does.”

 We went back to the bar, and as we got our drinks Yanis joined us.

      “Man, this is really getting sticky. She says I asked her for your number a few days ago. The mofo said he forgot. Since it was me, she didn’t hesitate. She doesn’t give out information just like that. With her mind she doesn’t need nor want a staff, she says it’s safer that way. She knows everybody here by name.”

      “Weren’t you out on the other side of the planet at the time,” I asked.

      “Yea, but I was on my way back. I did talk to her on route, and it’s possible the asshole
could’ve called her right after I did.”

     “Yea, and the next day the mofo calls me.”

     “That does add up,” Doobiz agreed.

     “Yanis, do you have your mag,” I asked.

     “Orniz you know I never leave home without it.”

     “We want to go stealth here, check every body out,” Doobiz blurted out.

     “Great idea, because at this moment Evelyn can’t help us, and for sure there are spies here. Anyone of these peeps could be bogus.”

     We agreed and slipped out to the balcony. There we smiled at one another, and vanished. When we went back inside, Yanis strolled over to the right, Doobiz to the left and I went down the middle. We had all night to find, discover, something anything. I was a little concerned because I still hadn’t said anything about Jokid calling me in the morning. I was hoping we could get something to strategize with before then. Anyway, at least I now had allies and the head man in charge knew all about it.

      At these gatherings we all spoke English, because there were just too many different
languages. Not only each one’s native tongue, but many here lived in different countries and spoke their dialect. Though once in a while there was the sound of an alien utterance whispered here and there. People everywhere are like birds, we flock amongst our own. So although every one mingled about, there were groups here and there of people who either came from the same world or at the least the same galaxy. I always find it amazing, especially finding inter galactic couples. Damn, I’m sure one to notice such things. After all I’m in an inter-galactic union myself. Truly the Creator made us all in the same image. If it weren’t so, such unions would be impossible. Everyone speaking English made our task so much easier, but those alien utterances made for an enigmatic moment. The look on their faces sometimes helped to understand that perhaps they were just being a little homesick. They were just whispering some endearing phrase, and nothing more…nothing threatening. Thank goodness there was no need for bulky translators. For the most part they were just wondering what Bullocks had to say. I wandered about, keeping my eyes and ears open. There was nothing unusual to see or hear. There was no indication of or any awareness of conspiracy or danger. They were like guests at an Antebellum Era ball unaware of the approaching Sherman. I couldn’t fathom or see any danger here at all, and hoped Yanis and Doobiz had better luck.

       Then suddenly as I was walking back to the balcony, I heard two guys from Govno and another from Conyo, whispering about some kind of conspiracy. They
were fishing because both of them were clueless, neither knew anything. But for
all I knew any of them could have been a spy. I walked a little further and another group of people from Putana, Whanker, Pigu, Khaneeth and Merday were doing the same. Again none of them knew anything they were just exploring a rumor. Perhaps one of them was a spy and may have been trying to stir up trouble. But honestly none of them seemed to have a clue. They all came from worlds so far apart, that only here in this unknown cosmic melting pot could they have come together. I felt that none of them had any knowledge of what was happening. But somehow a rumor was afloat. Maybe someone like myself, had also heard those nuts up on the moon, and was going around playing Sherlock. No
doubt everyone had heard about it, and all of them were trying to find out the real deal. There was smoke everywhere, and we were all trying to find the fire. We needed to put it out. One thing was for certain there were spies amongst us. Perhaps one or more of the guest was also a clone. I continued strolling back to the balcony. As I slowly walked back, I over heard more people jawing about the rumor. It sounded at times like the yada yada in a movie, all gobbledygook. They came from every known Galaxy and world. Suddenly I started to connect some dots, and realized there were quite a few Gamboozians. Perhaps because that Galaxy was closer to us, and there were so many intelligent worlds in it. There were Whankers and Putanas, Conyos and Pendehoes, Toi Nouns and Merday, some
Dummbatz, and Shmenahs too. I’m sure the guys felt like I did, the Merday had to be a part of it. After all they were the only ones capable of producing such perfect clones. The Whankers were expansionist and at one time they were
in league with the Merday, so maybe they were in cahoots. Oh, the Toi Nouns were a part of that evil axis too. So they also had to be suspects. We could rule out the Dummbats, because they had experienced first hand the horrors of  Whanker expansionism. The Pigu also shared that experience. The Conyos and Pendehoes abhorred the slaughter they caused at one time so they too were out. The Shmenah were indebted to the Whankers so they could also be in on it. The Govnos held them to a stalemate at one time, and they along with the Kaks, and Khaneeths once held them at bay until peace was established…after a long bloody truce. If anybody wanted to colonize this world it had to be the Whankers. So the Whankers, Merdays, Toi Noun, and Shmenahs were the ones to avoid during in our investigation. The odds were they were the culprits. That left everybody else out, and surely some of them had stumbled on to  something. Perhaps like us, they too were trying to figure out whom to trust.
I reappeared on the balcony mulling over the situation when Yanis put his arm around my shoulders, and asked:

      “What have you got bro?”

     He looked troubled as he looked out unto Fifth Avenue below. It was lit up with holiday lights, and at night it resembled a famous boulevard back on Aranjaynion.

      “I want to go home too you know,” I whispered.

      He nodded his head, smiled, and I continued,

      “I think we can rule out most of them, except for the Merday, Toi Noun, Whankers and

Shmenahs.”

     “Why is that,” Doobiz asked as he reappeared.

     “Well, the Merday are the only ones that can make the damned clones.”

      “How about the others,” Doobiz asked.

      “Well the Whankers were, not too long ago, expansionist. Since this world is not within their federation’s parameters, they may believe it’s legal game. I think they would love to colonize it. The Merday were their allies once and so were the Toi Noun. They may be in league with them.”

      “And the Shmenahs?”

      “They were once and may still be indebted to them, so I wouldn’t rule them out.”

      “So Doobiz, what did you come up with…anything?”

      “I pretty much came to the same conclusions as you. They’re all out there jawing about something, though none of them seems have a clue about anything. But they do feel something’s amiss.”

     “We’re all on the same page,” Yanis added, and continued, “So what do we say to Bullocks?”

      “We need to talk to all of them and see if any of them knows anything. It’s possible that
someone out there, hell maybe more than one person overheard that conversation on the moon. They could be out there looking for some one to trust.”

      “True and the damned mofoes responsible could be out there looking to find anybody who overheard them. They probably want to take them out, and they won’t be missed because they’ll just replace them.”

      “No doubt they intend to take them out. We have to be careful Orniz,” Yanis added.

Standard

Party

     “I know, I know, but what do I do. In the morning that asshole Jokid is calling me. He no
doubt will tell me if they believe me or not. They will also want to know what happened here this evening.”

      “They may also believe you overheard them, and want to take you out. Why else would that bogus me have met you?”

      “True Doobiz that is true, so what do I do? And why did they take him out in front of me?”

      “To establish trust!”

      “Howzat again?”

      “Well Jokid obviously intended to make me out to be a bad guy.”

      “Why not let him believe that?”

      “Because we may have been seen here together already,” I blurted out.

      “Unfortunately we may have to take that chance.”

      “If only there was a way to tell the bogus peeps apart.”

      “Look the federation outlawed that technology, and it’s possible there may be someone here who knows how to do that.”

      “So we vet them all?”

      “Yea! All of them, except the Merday, Whanker, Toi Noun and the Shmenahs.”

      “Okay, but we don’t have the time to do that before my meet with Jokid.”

      “Divo, he’s just going to call you, he’s not meeting you. So when he calls play dumb like you did in the city. See what he wants, in the meantime Bullocks…we’ll vet these peeps, man. We’ll find how to weed out the clones, find them and take them out. You may have to take Gloria and the kids to the moon.”

      “Can we agree on that,” Doobiz pleaded.

      “Babagomazaga,” I blurted out as I extended my hand, and they each put their hands on top of mine, and together, we exclaimed, “Babagomazaga!”

      We walked back inside one by one and as I entered the room again, I heard:

      “Ding ding ding!”

      The servers in their white coats were entering the suite as the head waiter was ringing his little silver bell. Dinner was being served, it was time to eat. As far as I knew it was supposed to be a small gathering. That’s what Bullocks said, but the place was packed and it wasn’t in any particular order. It resembled a wedding reception. There were forty round tables sitting nine each. There were people from worlds and galaxies sitting next to people from other worlds and galaxies. It’s funny how friendships are formed without regard to where people come from. As a matter of fact people from the same nabe can hate eachother, even if they should find themselves together in some far distant and strange place. Doobiz,Yanis and I sat together by choice, we’re family, and wanted to sit together, keeping our eyes and ears open.

      When Bullocks entered the room, everyone tinkled their glasses as he approached his seat. We were all anxious to hear what he had to say. For sure many were worried about the rumors and hoped he would shed some light on it. The ass hole from Sheeba couldn’t wait for him to address us, and asked,

      “Mr. Bullocks, sir, what do you have to say about these rumors going around?”

      He was drowned out by the roar of the crowd, and Bullocks either never heard him, or chose to ignore him. Sheebas are stubborn, and he continued to raise his hand hoping to get Bullocks attention. Sheeba is in the Gaysian Galaxy, and there are a few intelligent worlds there. Three of them were here now. The Sheeba like the Pigu, live in a society controlled by the state. It provides everything for its citizens, but dissent isn’t tolerated, they’re very cruel to dissenters. For such enlightened souls they behave like barbarians towards their own people. Their women are delightful creatures, and their society has all kinds of amenities for them. But for all the good things they have, there are many awful things. There’s no freedom. It’s funny though because the Ketsunoana, who are so polite it hurts, also come from the same galaxy. Yet unlike the other two people, they govern themselves. In the other two worlds everyone lives by the graces of the state and its officials, who are by the most part corrupt, and sometimes evil. The crews who man their space ships are state officials of the highest order, chosen from the ranks of their military. Here in this world they are dumbfounded by the way people live. They cannot believe that many of the off world people they’ve met here, have similar societies. These are people who cherish freedom and rule themselves. At that very moment it occurred to me, it was worth noting to keep these ass holes in mind too. Perhaps they were part of the conspiracy, and I decided to add the Sheeba and Pigu to the list. As my mind refocused on the present, I noticed his neighbors were quite upset with his disrespect. Some told him to put his hand down. But he continued, and as the crowd settled down he was left standing alone with his hand still up in the air.

     “Mr. Sek si,” The Premier finally gave in, recognize him, and asked: “What can I do for you sir?”

              “Mr. Bullocks, sir. We need to know if you have any information about these disturbing rumors.”

      “Rumors, sir!” He responded, and continued, “Pray tell!”

    “I don’t know. I was hoping you would tell us.”

      “Sir if you don’t know what you’re talking about, how am I supposed to know? I can’t read minds. Do we have any mind readers here?”

       “Haww haw haw haw…ha, ha ha, ha ha ha…he hee heee,” the crowd erupted intoguffaws, including the three of us.

      “Sir, he continued, there’s a story going around that someone here may have perfected an IGT, and we want to know if it’s true. If it is, then who’s the first one to be contacted?”

      “Sir, with all due respect, this is the first I’ve heard of it. As for who should be contactedfirst…well, shouldn’t that honor go to whom ever has been here the longest?”

      “I suppose so sir,” Then as he was about to sit down, he stood up again and continued, “Well is it true…Do we have an IGT?”

      “Sir, I will appoint a few people to look into it.” Finally the Sheeba reluctantly sat down.

      “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know anything about what Mr. Mr. Sek si has brought up. It would indeed be welcomed if such a thing did exist. We all want to go home right. The crowd responded with a short round of applause to agree. Then he continued, we’re here to celebrate two things. He paused, and continued, first, Doobiz here, please stand Doobiz. He stood up, and Bullocks continued. Doobiz came to me someime ago with a notion that jouniquiem exists here.

      “Ahaaaaaa,” the crowd gasped in unison.

      “Yes we all understand what that means. He found what promises to be a wonderful discovery. But before anything could be set in motion, I sent Yanis with a team to examine Doobizez’s find, and he has just confirmed that it.”

      “Applause,” filled the room.

      “Hold on, hold on…please! He was silent until they were finally quiet. Then he continued.

      “It’s just a promising situation. It’s an almost impossible task, requiring a lot of hard work to extract it, and the quantities to be extracted are uncertain. We are at this very moment conducting a study. It’s where we stand at the moment folks- a study! So we’re here to inform you and to honor Doobiz and Yanis for this promising work.

      “Applause!” It was a standing ovation with a few hell yeas thrown in for good measure.

      Everybody stood up, shook hands, and smiled at one another. I proudly applauded along with them, and Bullocks continued.

      “I don’t know anything about an IGT, that as you said Mr. Sek si, is a rumor. But we have a moral responsibility not to interfere with any society here nor with the fate of its people. We’ve long held that when ever the time comes to contact anybody or to send anybody home, the one contacted or sent home will be the one whose been here the longest. Then followed by the next and so on. Those are our only rules. So if any body has an IGT we would be more than happy to honor them, and look over their plans. Such a device must not expose us. If there’s any possibility that it will, then you must know that it will not be allowed to be used.”

      There was a roar among the guest as they all agreed. The Pigu and Sheeba were seated far from one another. I looked at both of them to see if there was any kind of eye contact between them. But I didn’t notice any. Libations were being poured and everyone enjoyed the occasion. I was grateful for the libations, in any society they relax inhibitions and people tend to let their guard down. It was a good time for us to mingle and probe their brains, because Freudian slips often occur with the help of a good stiff drink or two orthree.

      Meanwhile we spread out, and as I headed for Sek si,

      “Where you headed Orniz?” It was Yanis.

      “To that asshole Sek si,” I whispered.

      “Why?”

      “While Bullocks was going on with him, it dawned on me that the Sheeba and Pigu have very evil societies that oppress people. And both of them are recent arrivals here. Also, their peoples  have been whining for years about putting together a quick IGT or ship. They say they want everyone to contact their people. But I believe they want to be the first to make contact with their own. The Gamboozians may well be in league with them, so I think we should add the Pigu and Sheeba to the list.”

      “And you want to pick Sek si’s brain, uh.” Doobiz whispered.

      “It’s a good idea Orniz,” Yanis added, then continued, “But you shouldn’t be the one to do it.”

      “Ugh?”

      “It’s obvious bro, you’ve been talking with that sucker Jokid. If they’re in it together, then they will be on to you. The whole thing will fall apart, man. It’s better if Yanis and I do it.”

      “Doobiz is right, let him do the Pigu, and I’ll do the Sheeba. You can vanish again and see if anybody here slips and lets something out. And stay away from the water.”

      “Okay, okay,” I grudgingly agreed. They were right of course, but I responded, “I’m just drinking cola, I’m not about to screw up you know.”

      “Nobody is saying you are, we’re on the same side remember,” Yanis added as they headed off to mix it in with them.  I went to the restrooms and into an empty stall. When the place was quiet, I vanished and walked out into the crowd. I didn’t take but a couple of steps when I heard a Pigu cursing out Sek si.

      “That dumb ass hole has about as much diplomacy as a mad cow,” he was saying to a Whanker and a Merday.

      “True I thought he was going to screw everything up,” a Toi Noun added.

      “We better be cool and not arouse suspicion,” the Whanker whispered, and they dispersed.

      So I was right the Gamboozians were a part of what ever was going on and the Gaysians were in on it too. This was good news but it was also dismaying, I hoped Yanis and Doobis could get some corroborating details. But as far as I was concerned we now knew who was in on this. The next step would be to find friendly Gamboozians to help us deal with the damned clones. If we could do that, then we could lay down a plan to neutralize them.

     The Merday, and Toi Noun were out, along with the Whankers, and Shmenah. That left the Kak, Khaneeth, Putana, Dummbatz, Conyo, and Govno, six worlds. Surely someone from one of those worlds should know something. Evelyn had to know how many people from each of them was here. Yanis needed to get that information and between the three of us we should be able to find somebody by the end of the evening. I went back to the restroom, and reappeared.  When I came out I was startled by Yanis whispering:

      “What did you find out?”

       I smiled.

      “Well!”

      “The Pigu, Merday, Toi Noun, and Whanker are definitely up to something.”

      “Really!”

      “Yea I heard a Pigu cursing out Sek si to a Whanker, Toi Noun and a Merday.”

      “Cool, what happened?”

       “He, they were worried the Pigu was going to blow their hand. They were very upset. So I think we should vet the Garboozians. It’s only six worlds, but we don’t know how many of them are here.”

       “I think it’s more than six,” Doobiz added.

      “Yes there are about ten of them but four of them are definitely suspect, so we leave them out of it. We need to know how many people are here from each of them.”

      “I’ll ask Evelyn, it’s possible they’ll know!”

      “That would be fantastic, man.”

      “Yea that makes sense since they would be on guard for bogus peeps.”

      “You’re right about one thing. The Pigu, and Sheeba were definitely upset with Sik se. But they were tight lipped and I couldn’t get anything else.”

      “I couldn’t get anything out of anybody either, but at least now we know how to go about this. Let me go ask Evelyn, I’ll be right back”

      “Orniz there could be a bunch of people here from those six worlds.”

      “I know, I know but let’s wait and see what Yanis finds out.”

      “Another thing, how do we tell them apart?”

      “Wish we had some kind of gizmo to do that.”

      “Maybe they do or maybe Bullocks knows something.”

      “Yea he’s been here a long time and should be able to tell them apart, or he may have people who can. As soon as Yanis gets back, let’s just talk to Bullocks.”

       “Forty!”

      We turned our heads to see Yanis saying, “Forty,” again, “There are forty of them here.” Then he continued, “You’re right, we need to get Bullocks in on this, he may know the best way to go about it. If we can get this done by the end of the night, when Jokid calls, we’ll be ready for him, we’ll have a plan.”

     He went back to Bullocks’ table, leaned over him, and whispered in his ear. They both smiled at the same time, then he stood up and came back.

      “Oh man, there’s a very simple way to tell them apart.”

      “Really!” Doobiz and I blurted out.

      “Yea, it seems clones suffer dyslexia.”

      “So how does that help us?”

      “Those bogus mofoes read everything backwards, man.”

      “So!”

        “We wear our names backwards. Evelyn is working on it now. There are forty people here from various Gamboozian planets.”

      “Yea, yea I get you, but those forty people may not all be bogus. We just need to find the fake ones, which may be from any or all of the different worlds here. Only a few of the forty here are responsible for this, and they aren’t all bogus.”

      “So the bogus ones may be in key positions for what they want to do. We need to think this out, see who they may need where. Then check those out. The dyslexia will help to make sure they’re the real deal.”

      A moment later Evelyn approached us, she smile with the most gorgeous lavender eyes, and her natural silver hair was as stunning as ever. A lot of guys tried to get next to her, but she claimed a blissful innocence of the flesh. Though it seemed to me there was bit of lust in her eye when she looked at or talked with Yanis. If she was a virgin, then it was certain that at 200 plus years, she was the oldest virgin on the planet.

      “Here you go Yanis,” for a moment there I thought she was going to nibble on his ear. “I hope this helps,” she whispered as she handed him our name cards. She turned around and slowly walked back to her table.  She gave him three name cards with our names spelled backwards.

      “Now what,” I asked.

      “Now we go and talk to everybody, If they ask about our name, we simply say Evelyn’s people made an error. It’s too late to fix it, so we’re wearing it as a joke. But, if they read it out loud correctly, or rightly call you by your name…we have a suspect.”

      “Yea, that makes sense.”

      “So let’s go on out there and see how many suspects we can get.”

      “So like before, Doobiz, you go around to the right side, Orniz, you do the left side. I’ll do the middle.”

      “What do we do with them?”

      “We’re going to let Bullocks and his people interview them.”

      “Before this night is over we’re going to have a battle plan, me pal.”

      It didn’t take me long. I went straight for those three dummies from the Gabboozian Federation. I tapped my chest to make my name tag a little askew. It would make them notice for sure, and perhaps make them read it. They would either pronounce my name correctly or say it was spelled backwards. It was like fishing I guess, but these were big, important freaking fish. They were by the bar enjoying their choice of spirits.

      “Ahhh Sek si,” I said as I extended my hand out to greet the Merday.

       “Hi, I’m…” I never finished, as the Toi Noun responded with “Screw that asshole Orniz.” Then he continued with, “I’m Cul, from Toi Noun, and this…

      “Dan Che,” from from Pigu, said as he extended his hand.

      I smiled and as he was about to continue the introductions, the Whanker interjected.

      “Hi, I’m Bond from Whanker.” Then he added, “Ah your name tag is crooked Mr. souinrO.” 

      Bingo I got a fish. I smiled, looked at my tag, and said, “Ah so it is, uh.”

      “Ya dummy his name is Ornious, can’t you read,” Cul chided him.

      There upon, Dan Che  added. “Oh don’t mind him, he’s been drinking a lot of cola. He’s a lil oscillated and he’s practically blind. When he gets like that he reads stuff backwards,” Dan Che explained and started to laugh.

      “He hee heee, ya dumb mofo,” Cul added, as he joined Dan Che. They thought it was funny a little bit too much I thought. So I gave them a couple of he hees, smiled, and shook their hands.

     “You guys, (I wanted to say bozos, but I didn’t), are having a grand time I see. Don’t let me stop you,” I smiled and kept moving. I went back to the men’s room, it was empty so I tapped my mag and went back to find them.

      “You  asshole!” Dan Che  was scolding him, “You could’ve given us away.”

      “Don’t worry Cul, Ornious never caught on. It was obviously a computer error, and he never noticed.”

      That confirmed it, at first I thought it was just Bond who was the bogus one, but it seems all three of them were fake, copies. Dan Che and Cul were in control. But Bond screwed up, and now this chat between the three of them, confirmed they were bogus and dangerous.

      I walked around the room a bit more but either they were dummies or they were real faced people. For they all pointed out that my name was misspelled on my tag. So we all laughed, and I continued fishing. I went back by Bullocks table and stood behind Evelyn. She kept moving her head as her eyes followed Yanis around the room. Perhaps she was trying to see if he was flirting with some of the other gorgeous ladies in the room. They all flirted with him, but he was all business, smiling and walking off from one table to another.

       “That table over there with Pigu,” I turned my head, it was Doobiz, “They’re all in it, there’s about five of them there.” He explained, and continued, “They were all scolding him for being a big dummy. It seems they can’t drink cola. They get a buzz and he’s been drinking a lot of it. Man, they were all over his arse for being stupid. But they believe no harms been done, and they’re confident nobody here is unto them.”

      “That’s good Doob, the more confident they are the better it is for us.”

      “Yea, we need to use that,” he agreed.

      “No luck guys.” Yanis whispered, “How about you,” he continued.

      “Really!” Doob blurted out.

     “Not a freaking one. Either they’re in control or they’re the real deal guys.”

     “Well, Orniz found those bozos and it seems they’re all fakes.”

     “Yea,” he looked at us wide eyed.

     “As fake as a gaybloom at a ball, man.”

     “He he hee!”

     “What’s so funny guys,” Bullocks asked as he turned around.

     “It’s hard to explain sir, you’d have to be an Aranjaynion.”

      He stood up, moved in close to us, and, “Oh come on give it a shot,” he pleaded.

     “Well sir, Doob tried to give it his best, and continued, “Gayblooms are guys who think they’re females. Many times they fool real guys…and well, sir, it’s kind of really funny. Especially when they pull it off and the victim becomes aware of it in front of his pals.”

     “He hee heee, yea we have the same thing back home, we call them Gayamalas. I Believe every world has them. They’re universal. So who is a, a gaybloom, you said, right.”

      “Yes sir,” we replied together with a big smile.

      “So who is the gaybloom here?”

      “None that we know, sir.”

      “Come again!”

      “Sir, it’s like gayblooms are fake females, and well…there’s a table here full of clones.”

     “Yes sir,” I added, “As fake as a Gayamala, uh.”

      “Oh I get it…he hee heee, so your fishing expedition was fruitful, uh.”

      “Yes sir, those three bozos I told you about earlier are gayblooms, er…I mean clones,” I responded.

     “And that table with Pigus is also a bunch of gayblooms too, sir.”

      His eye brows raised and his eyes narrowed as he stopped laughing. Then he looked across the room and motioned for his security people to come over.

      “We got this covered fellas, before this night is over we’ll have a battle plan. You guys need to relax, and enjoy yourselves. Let my people round these dummies up. But stick around because in the morning we’re going to put on our battle gear.”

      There was a band, and it was playing a slow waltz. Classical music is so soothing, and
sometimes, romantic. For a moment I missed not having brought Gloria, she would have loved it. As Bullocks walked away, Yanis grabbed Evelyn’s hand and led her out to the dance floor. Doobiz looked at me, and smiled.

     “Methinks you were right Orn, there is something going on with them, uh.”

      They were dancing cheek to cheek, swaying with the music, and they were in seventh heaven. I smiled back at Doobiz and winked at him. Then we headed back to the bar. Bullock’s was a very brilliant soul. He’d known all along about the shenanigans going on, but had kept a tight lip on it. The affair about honoring Yanis, and Doob was all bogus. It was a well laid out trap to catch a bunch of stinky fish. They were bogus, empty flesh and blood automatons. Later I found out that from what Bullocks knew about it, he believed they were soulless. They were either vacuous or had some intelligence. They weren’t very smart, just enough to follow simple directions. They also seemed to be dyslexic.

      Back on his world, Nextousia they had long ago outlawed the technology. They had also developed a technique to probe their empty skulls to see what was inside. So Bullocks upon learning of the threat to the community, set up this bogus event. He had his security people on alert. They all knew as much as they needed to know to deal with the situation. Some knew more than others, and they were organized to handle the interviews which were going to take place. Bullocks had separate suites on the same floor of the event, and his people were going to interview all the candidates. The very same Yanis, Doob and I found.

      Bullocks had a few gorgeous gals assigned to bring them to the interview, on the pretext of being privately honored. Evelyn of course selected her personal contacts to do the escorting. Nobody not even a vacuous clone, especially an oscillated one, can resist the sweet whisperings of a drop dead female specimen of any world. So one by one, Bullock’s angels brought him the candidates. That kept suspicion out of the equation as the ladies went back and forth, getting them one by one. Bullocks had it down to a science. They started with Bond from Whanker who was the first soul to enjoy Fusima’s sweet coaxing voice. That gal would make any top pop twit jealous of her utterances. Her oval eyes would make any inebriated fool swoon. She channeled Mae West and sashayed her lovely derriere over to the Whanker, and  

     “Mr. Bond,” she sweetly sang as she extended her lovely hand. The dummy almost slid
out of his chair, and

     “A ba ba ba, er…excuse me! Of course, I am he.” He responded as he composed himself and straightened his back.

      She smiled and responded,

      “I’m Fusima…” Before she could finish her sentence, he interjected,

      “Of course yar are my dear,” and started to stand.

      She smiled, and as he was half way up, she leaned in close to him, and softly whispered in his ear.

      “I’m Mr. Bullocks’ assistant, and he would like to meet you.”

      “Of course, of course,” he responded, and continued, “After you, please.”

      His pals were bewildered, wondering what such a divine creature could possible want with such a clumsy drunken lamebrain.

      “Maybe she has a thing for drunken dudes, man.” Ton Cul exclaimed, loud enough for Bond to hear. To which he gave Toi Noun a gleeful smirk, as they watched him trail her. He followed her as if he were a happy puppy following his mama.

      “That bastard has always been lucky, always comes out smelling like a rose everytime.”

      “Well this time the rose got him….let’s hope she pricks him real good.”

      “He hee heee…haw haw haw,” came his response.

      “Yea she could well be a gammama!”

       They both cracked up and soon the whole table was up in loud guffaws. Then Ton Cul
stopped laughing and realized she was no gammama.

      “If that’s a gammama, I’m Adonis, man.”

      “What’s an Adonis,” Dan Che asked.

      “He’s a mythical character in this world who personifies what is a handsome man.”

      “Haw haw haw…ya  freaking fat ass, in your dreams.”

      “Then for sure she’s no gammama, uh”

     They continued to argue about Bond’s prowess with the ladies as they watched him walk out the door behind her. Little did they suspect, the fate awaiting their clumsy pal. He was first because he was the one who correctly read my backward name tag. He was most definitely a clone candidate, not only for the dyslexia but also for his mental acuity.
Meanwhile Yanis, Doob and I kept our fingers crossed.

     When Bond entered the room, it was aglow in a bluish haze emanating from the four
corners in the ceiling. It was Bullocks’ interrogating device, a mind scanner. Long ago he
used his technology to build one in case the need ever came up. This was as good as any.
Fusima gently guided Bond to a sofa, where Bullocks was seated smiling, and enjoying a drink.

    “Please, Mr. Bond, join me!”

     The light worked through the optic nerve and disarmed the subject, making him relax. Bullocks smiled, and extended his hand in friendship. Bond sat next to him, and leaned back, as Fusima handed him another cola. In the back Bullocks’ people read the data extracted from Bond’s mind as it streamed from his brain.

      “Are you having a good time?”

      “Oh, yes Sir, it’s a really smashing affair you’re having,” he smiled.

      “Thank you, by the by…do you know Mr. Jokid?”

      “Oh yes sir, he’s a really great guy, we run into each other once in a while.”

       “How about Zoutious?”

       “Z! Yea, he’s my pal.”

      “So you guys hang together?”

      “Yea, sometimes.”

      “How about  Nook…Noko duby?”

      “Oh you mean Nookodubididy?

      “Yes.”

      “No offense Mr. Bullocks, but what’s with the interrogation, sir?”

      “None taken Bond, we just want to extend them the same courtesy, and meet with
them in person too. After all we appreciate the work you do for us. So, just like you, we want to honor them too. Wouldn’t you agree they do a good job?”

     “Oh, absolutely, sir.”

     “Do you guys ever get together as a group?”

     “All the time!”

    “They must be a great bunch, uh”

     “No doubt,” he smiled.

     He was as relaxed as if he was at his therapist, and his mind opened up to the light. He was feeling good and felt honored to be shooting the bull with Bullocks. As their chatter continued, the guys in the back discovered that this divo was an empty shell. There wasn’t anything useful in his mind. He was most definitely a clone of the real Bond, who was obviously being held somewhere. The real Bond, a brilliant magnetic field physicist, had been missing for a while. Then one day this dummy showed up to take his place. The real Bond was probably being forced to work on their project. The only thing the team in the back could do was to reprogram his mind. They gave him a feeling of euphoria, and of having experienced a wonderful time with Fusima. Bullocks kept him talking for fifteen minutes, until his technician emerged from behind a curtain and shook his head.

      “Nothing there sir,” he whispered.

      “Ah Mr. Bond, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. Keep up the good work,” he said as he rose from his seat, and continued, “Fusima will see you back to your table.”

      It was obvious Bond was being held against his will, he was dedicated to the community’s interest. This dude didn’t have a clue about physics, and all he wanted to do was have a good time. Magentia was as sweet as a child, and as curvaceous as a healthy young nubile teenager. She emerged from behind the curtain as Fusima left, and smiled at Bullocks.

      “Which one do we get now, sir?”

      “Ummm, can we do two at a time?”

      “No problem, sir!” The response came from the back.

      “So then, Magentia, get Domina and bring Dan Che and Ton Cul. By now they must be thinking that Bond got lucky with Fusima, and will believe they will enjoy the same.”

      “Tee he heee,” was her response, and the room erupted with guffaws.

      “Indeed, but let us hope these two morons will be more productive than that lummox.”

      So she smiled, and left to find Dominia. Together they waltzed over to Bond’s table who was bragging about what a wonderful time he had with Fusima. Domina went to Ton Cul and whispered in his ear, at the same time as Magentia did to Dan Che. They invited them to join Bullocks. They glanced at one another, smiled and marveled at how lucky they were, and stood up at the same time. Then they followed the ladies to Bullocks’ suite. Since they too were clones, the light affected them in the same way. Again Bullocks engaged them in mindless chatter, and in the back, the team found a little different result. They were clones alright. Dan Che was the same as Bond, but Ton Cul was different. He was engineered to direct and carry out assignments. He was the Alfa clone, if there could be such a thing, and was the leader of the other two. Since they were under the light’s influence, they kept drinking more cola. This gave Bullocks’ more time to play mind games, as the guys kept extracting more information from them. After twenty minutes, Dolian signaled Bullocks that it was enough. They had all they could get out of them. One had nothing, and the other had a little more. So Bullocks stood up, smiled and shook Dan Che’s hand, then Ton Cul’s.

      “Gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure! Please keep up the good work,” and bid them adieu.

      They were blissfully unaware of what had happened, as the girls let them out of the room.

      “That’s only three of them sir.”

      “I know, I know, we have forty of them. How many can the MDE handle at the same time?”

      “It’s never been tested, but it right away eliminates the blanks, and zooms in on the data.”

      “So, how many data extractors are there?”

      “Three!”

      “Ummm, what if there were six people in the room?

      “Well, it would ignore the blanks, and zoom into the data.”

      “Can you jump from one to the other?”

       “Oh no sir, but if we had six, and we can reasonably assume that most of them are blanks, it’s an acceptable calculation…it’s a fifty-fifty proposition.”

      “Forty of them, uh!”

      “Minus those three bozos, sir.”

      “Then that’s thirty seven!”

      “Correct, sir.”

      “So then, it’s six at a time, or we’ll never get this done.”

     All was going according to plan, and Cho Cha was the next angel, a lovely carrot top with sparkling green eyes. She was followed by Minxia, a delightful soul who looked as though she were a native Scandinavian. They were joined by Devouria, who though she looked like a coquette, was as serious as a migraine. They were all as different from one another as apples and peaches. But they looked as if they had been cast in the same Barbie mold. These three lovely ladies joined Dominia, Fusima, and Magentia. Every 5 minutes they went to one table after another and coaxed another three dummies to Bullocks’ snare. Every ten minutes, there were six of them being scanned. The first time everybody was a little nervous when another three came into the room. Everybody, except the techies in the back, they theorized the dummies wouldn’t even recognize each other in the haze. They were right. They were also right about their fifty-fifty proposition. The MDE ignored the empty brains and went straight for the alphas. Bullocks made the right call, and so every five minutes he sent his angels out again. He gave the dummies time to relax and let their guard down. Within ninety minutes we had interviewed thirty-six of them, but there wasn’t any real meat in the data. The only guy feeling left out of the party at the table was Sek si. When he saw Evelyn personally come to escort him back to Bullocks, he almost exploded with delight. He thought he had been saved for last to receive the best. He almost jumped out of his seat to greet her. She smiled at him, didn’t say a word as she turned around, and he followed her like a mouse following the piper. The minute he entered the room, he realized what was going on. He tried to bold out the door, but Bullocks’ security was ready for such an outcome. He was aware that only a real human being, and one who understood cloning technology would know what was happening. Sek si did and tried to bolt. He also made a jerky move to reach into his pocket, but Dolian was quick to grab his arm and stopped him. At same time Conyo reached into his pocked and seized his zapper. Sek si struggled but it was all in vain, he was snared by two souls any wrestling federation would be proud to sign. He was quickly strapped into a chair, and the MDE’s settings were set for humanoid. Bullocks smiled, and

     “Well Sek si, so now we know why you were so agitated before, uh.”

      His lips were closed so tight they turned a pale pink, almost white, and they seemed to be fused. At the same time his eyes were nearly bulging out of their sockets.

      “This is no mouse we have here sir,” Conyo exclaimed with a big grin.

      “No, you’re right Conyo, this here is a rat,” Bullocks responded.

      “A big freaking rat, sir,” I added.

      “It will be interesting to see what we find in this lame ass,” Doobiz blurted out.

       The lights returned to normal, Evelyn yanked a hair from his head, and gave it to Dolian. He quickly took it to the back. There the staff reprogrammed the machine for Sek si’ DNA and the lights instantly became a hot pink. Then it softly hummed as it swiftly scanned his mind. Sek si slowly closed his eyes, and smiled as his mind danced into a swirl of his thoughts. He was in a fantasy world full of sweet dreams, his home, his people and his loved ones. It revealed his plans to contact them, and travel back home through the cosmos. His mind reviewed his plans, and the MDE recorded it all for us to study.

     Afterwards as Evelyn led him back to his table, he had a big smile on his face.

      “Oh, that was so cool, Eve. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to meet with Bullocks, too. He’s a great guy!”

       “Yes, everybody say’s that.”

      He walked away never the wiser that he’d been scanned. When she returned she started to help with the intel, but Bullocks asked her,

       “Would you please thank our guest for coming, and inform them that the party is over.”

      “Yes sir,” she responded and left. There was a lot of work to do, and we turned our attention to the intel. The techs deciphered it, and we planned our next move. Sek si was one of Jokid’s lieutenants, but Jokid himself was not the leader. It was possible that it was one of those two disgruntled late arrivals. Either Zoutious or Nookodubididy’s or both of them were leading this threat. We needed to clarify that. But for now at least we knew who they were and where they were. Their home base was as Jokid had told me, our abandoned quarters below Antarctica.

     “That is a huge place, but thankfully we have the lay out,” Bullocks declared.

      “Sir they could have hundreds of clones down there,” Conyo observed.

      “Indeed we’re going to have to send in a small team. We need to reconnoiter the conditions before we do anything.”

      “I’ll get right on it sir.”

      There is little that Bullocks doesn’t know, he called me, then asked Yanis and Doobis to join us.

      “Gentlemen,” He greeted us, “Nobody else knows, but I know of your stealth gadgets. I spent some time on Aranjaynion, a long time ago. Nobody else in our community has anything that even comes close to it either. So…”

      “You want us to do this job, right.” I blurted out.

      “Yes Ornious I do, you’re the only ones that can pull this off and come back safely. Obviously you must know we just can’t go in there and zap everybody. The energy out put would expose us. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. But if we know what we’re up against, we can do something without being exposed or getting anybody harmed.

Standard

Babagomazaga

      “What do we do with those two clowns?” Yanis asked with a smile.

      “Let’s just see what we’re up against down there, sabotage their device if you can. Don’t harm anybody. Let us know what you’re up against and do what you can so we can raid the place.”

      “What about Jokid?” I asked.

       “At this very moment we have people meeting him in the city. They’re bringing him here. We’re going to program him, and send him to Zoutious and Nookodubididy. You can follow him.”

      “How? He may have a craft or he may have a transporter. If it’s a transporter we’re out of luck.” I responded.

      “Those are good points, but right now our people are in his apartment. If he has a transporter,  we’ll soon know. So if he does, well program him to bring you up for a drink. He’ll believe you’re a part of his group, and you can go with him down there. If he has a ship, we’ll program him to fly there, and you can follow him. Meanwhile you just need to be ready to go. One way or the other we’re going down there today.”

       “Sounds good!” Doobiz exclaimed.

      “So we have a plan at last,” Yanis added.

      “Yea,” I nodded my head in agreement, and gave them a thumps up.

     “Yes we do guys, yes we do,” Bullocks smiled.

      “That dumb ass Jokid played me, and he even told me where his group was. I guess he was fishing. He wanted to know what I knew about Doob. Perhaps he was suspicious of the jouniquiem, maybe he thought Yanis told me about it. It’s all moot now, but at the time I didn’t know anything. Good thing I played stupid. Now we got him and know exactly where his people are, and what they’re planning.”

      At that moment Bullocks was called to the back, a few seconds later he returned with a frown on his face.

      “What’s up, sir,” I asked.

      “We have another problem guys.”

      “What’s that sir,” Yanis asked.

      “We just found out there’s a super solar storm on the way, it will be here in three days. Well, actually…two days because this one’s already gone. They must be planning to use the storm to power their IGT.”

      “Yes, it will generate the power they need, and perhaps mask its out put too.”

      “That damned Jokid,” I muttered out loud.

      “Yea, well at least he won’t be calling you this morning. In a short while he’ll be strapped in that chair, and we’re going to have a lot more information. Trust me!” He replied, and continued,  “Right now we need to study the base’s lay out. We need to know what you’ll be up against.”

      At that very moment Alca Pooh Ria, Dolian and Conyo were outside Jokid’s door.

      “Remember guys we just want to stun him, okay.” Conyo whispered with a nod as he looked at his guys. Then he pointed his laser at the key hole and zapped the door lock. The beam surgically entered the keyhole and melted away the mechanism. They looked around to be sure the hallway was clear, then Dolian and Alca Poo Ria pushed in the door. It silently opened and they quickly and quietly entered the room. They looked around, and Conyo motioned towards the bedroom. Jokid was getting ready to enter his transporter when Alca Pooh Ria fired his laser and stunned him. He never knew what hit him, he froze in mid motion. Conyo grabbed his cell and called, Bullocks.

      “Cho Cha tell Bullocks we got him,” he smiled into the phone when Bullocks answered,

“Great!” There was a short pause then, he added: “Let Alky stay there and wait for me to call him back. You and Dolian can bring him over.”

      “No problem he’ll be right over, we’re going to use his transporter, so be ready for him.”

      When the transporter lit up, Koinus was there waiting to catch Jokid as he appeared. A few seconds later Dolian and Conyo followed him. Together they carried him over to the MDE, he was still in dream land when they strapped him into the chair. The light turned hot pink again, and Jokid continued to dream.

    “Here we go sir, Jokid’s strapped in the chair,” Koinus announced as he entered the room waving the layout in the air.

     “Okay we’re in business,” Doobiz responded.

     Bullocks had several suites on the floor, and we went next door. It was set up like a war room. There was a large long table in the middle, and Koinus spread the lay out on it. The base was huge, more than three football fields long, almost  as wide, and just as high as it was wide. There were several entrances. One of them, on the western hemisphere, was a huge hanger, where they could fly in and out.

      “For sure this is where they would have their top surveillance.” Yanis pointed it out.

      “Ummm…yea, yea!” We all agreed.

      “There are also exists or entrances scattered around it,” Koinus pointed out.

      “These are minor and they may not have anything there,” Doob added as his hand went around the map.”

      “For sure Jokid knows the lay of the land,” Yanis exclaimed.

      “Don’t worry guys, when Bullocks is finished with him we’re going to be in on it too.” Koinus smiled.

      We continued to study the lay out, and in the center there were several areas that could house just about anything.

      “These are living quarters,” Koinus explained as he pointed them out, and continued, “This area behind it is agricultural.”

      “Really!”

      “Yes the temperature below is almost tropical, and you can grow just about anything down there. There may be some animals roaming around too. When we departed we left quite a few of them, goats, sheep, some horses, steers, ducks and chickens. All domesticated animals. They could have survived, and have probably multiplied by now. There’s a creek running through on the eastern side, and for sure the corn would have survived too. It surrounds the patch as it runs from the creek to irrigate it. It’s a really big area.”

      “Damn the place could be full of clones too,” Yanis observed.

      “Indeed it may be,” Doobiz somberly added as he rubbed his chin.

      “These units here, between the hangers and the living units are where the labs are. The device can’t be far from it.” Conyo explained.

      “Where’s the power source, do you know?”

      “Oh sure it’s right here,” he pointed to the opposite end, and continued, “It uses a form of jouniquiem. It’s an engine we rescued from the Russians, during Catherine II’s Polish wars. The Poles kept them busy and we lucked out, they gave us the opportunity we needed. It’s been there since we built the base.”

      “It’s possibly unguarded- they don’t know we’re coming.” I observed.

      “Way to go Orniz, surprise is our ally here. We should zap it up the minute we get there.” Doobiz added.

      “Good thinking guys but we need Bullocks’ okay. Once we get more details from Jokid’s probe, we’ll be in a better position to make decisions.”

      “Sounds good to me,” Yanis agreed.

      “Yea we need to know how many clones they have, and exactly where the device is located. They must have a zouineer pole wired to it. They need solar mags,” Conyo remarked.

      “If we take it down first, they’ll be alerted, they’ll know something’s amiss.”

      “Yea, one of us will have to take it down,”

      “Oh I’ll be more than happy to take that out.” Doobiz smiled.

      “We need to know where everybody will be Doob. Besides the temps out there will take you out. Our thermo suits will only protect us for a few hours out there. Once you take it out, you’ll need to get back in quick. We need to know exactly where it is.” Yanis observed.

      “That’s true, we know where it could possibly be, but we don’t know for sure. Besides I don’t see any entrances any where near it on the outside.” Conyo observed.

     “Yea, and we don’t know if they created one,” Yanis responded.

      “That’s something Jokid may know.” I added.

      “Let us hope so,” Doobiz responded.

      “Gentlemen all we can do now is wait for Bullocks,” Conyo smiled.

     As all of this was going on Nookodubididy continued his preparations. He was anxious to hear from Jokid. He hadn’t heard from him in a few days and he wanted to know what happened at Bullocks’ affair. He also wanted an update on me, was I going to be a new member of the team or did they need to take me out.

 

      Nookobidididy was a recent member of the community, and the last thirty years had been hard on him. He missed his wife, and his sons. He wanted to be there for them as they grew up. She had begged him not come here, but he assured her it was just going to be an observation. He wanted to see how these primitive peoples lived. Then his ship crashed and only he and Zoutious survived. The local authorities were quick on the scene, and they had to destroy the ship before they found it. They escaped into a near by forest, and the only things they were able to bring along were their universal translators. It was years before they met other off world people. Then they found there was a very large community here from all over the cosmos. But it seemed to them that we weren’t in any hurry to contact our home worlds. Some had been here for centuries, and many gone native, taking local
mates. Many had families here. Others found the governments here freer, more tolerant and
liberal than the totalitarian worlds from whence they came. The one reason they used for
not trying to contact their home, was that they didn’t want expose themselves to the
primitives. They didn’t want to upset the natural balance. At this point in time the locals
had evolved enough to detect energy outburst anywhere on the globe. So they were
waiting until they could build an undetectable device. Meanwhile time was running out. His eldest kid would soon be a grown man by now. He didn’t want to waste anymore time. The
hell with the locals was his attitude. He and Zoutious had talked about it many times, andz
they agreed. Then one day by chance or fate, they met Jokid at a science convention. At
once they realized they had met a kindred soul. So together they worked hard to find like
minded souls. People who just wanted to go home, to civilization. When they heard about the abandoned Antarctic base they couldn’t wait to go there. Eventually they found a map, and then they worked hard to build a small ship. After months of working in secrecy they built a prototype. Then they took a chance and flew it there. When they arrived, they were flabbergasted. After the initial shock, they explored it, and immediately began to plan their next move. They were able to win over a few converts, people who also had families back home, and who dearly longed to go back. They found it easy since there were so many who were getting old. They had been here a long time, and they didn’t see any forthcoming solutions to their dilemma. They didn’t want to die in a primitive alien world, they wanted to go home now. So they saw   Nookodubididy and Zoutious as saviours. Jokid had a daughter who was engaged to marry when he left.

 

     “Hell, I may be a grandfather by now, of course I’ll join you,” he responded to Zoutious’
jesting inquiry. They had been zipping colas, but then he realized Zoutious wasn’t joking.

     “You’re serious, man, aren’t you?”

     Nookodubididy smiled, and responded, “Yea man, as serious as a hungry bear! So are you with us?”

      He didn’t hesitate, he smiled, and…“When do we leave?”

      “We just discovered the abandoned base at the south pole. Now we need people who are just as committed as we are- brilliant people.”

      “So how do you propose to…or what do you want to do?”

      “We would love to build a ship, but if that’s not possible then we must build a transmitter to contact home.”

      “From what I’ve learned, the primitive science here doesn’t have what we need to build a ship. Even worse they don’t even have the elements…err, they haven’t yet discovered the elements we need.”

      “True all elements are universal, so we have to find them.”

      “They’ve been trying for centuries.”

      “Not hard enough, many of them have fallen in love with creatures here.”

      “Indeed many have.”

      “So what do you propose?”

      “Zout and I have been thinking and planning for a long time.”

      “And what have you come up with?”

      “We need to create clones!”

      “What good will they do?”

      “Well if some of these brilliant minds won’t come willingly, we’ll just have to force them and replace them with our clones. Nobody will be the wiser.”

      “Once we have them…how will you get them to work for us?”

      “Some of them have loved ones here, and the fear of what we’ll do to them will make them do anything. They will work, man.”

 

     “True, a man will do anything for those he loves.”

      “So, do you have any ideas?”

      “No not at the moment, but give me a few days.”

      “Remember the sooner we get something done, the sooner we can get back home.”

      “Do you know anybody capable of cloning?”

      “There are quite a few Merday here, lets talk to some of them.”

      So they did and within a short time they had a cloning team. Soon they had a small thriving group at the base. They cleaned it up and restored it. They revived the farm, and its animals, and nobody knew they were there. They found the hanger, brought their ship inside, and together built others. One day Jouniten, a loner from a distant galaxy, approached Zoutious with his ideas for a transmitter.

      “This is brilliant!” He responded.

      “But it will require a lot of energy.”

     Soon the others all agreed and they began to look for ways to energize their device. Not long after Zotious noticed that in a year there would be a super solar storm.

      “Look here, Nook!” He showed him a solar chart, and pointed out the event.

      “Oh man, this is fantastic, Z! This baby will power our IGT, and if it’s really as big as I
believe it will be it will mask our energy output.”

 

     “He hee heee!” He responded as he gleefully rubbed his hands together, and continued. “Oh baby! It’s going to be big alright…beeeeee  ig!”

      From that time on they worked tirelessly to make their plans bear fruit. Finally with only three days left to the solar storm, they were close to making their plans a reality. They were going to contact home, like ET they were going to call home. But all plans great and small have a degree of uncertainty in them. Providence has a way of complicating things for us all the time. It doesn’t matter what world you come from, we don’t know everything. Nobody does! So from time to time, providence makes its presence felt.

       “Z have you heard from Jokid?”

       “No he should have called. It’s getting close and we need to know what’s going on up there. I’m starting to get worried, man.”

      “Me too, Bullocks had a gathering last night and we need to know what happened. Have you called him?”

      “A bunch of times, man, but he doesn’t answer.”

      “Oh hell, I hope he hasn’t been out celebrating.”

      “Yea this thing isn’t over, and the fat lady ain’t even ready yet.”

      “What fat lady?”

      “It’s an American saying!”

      “What does it mean…fat lady?”

      “You like opera, right.”

      “So!”

      “Well you know that when the fat lady sings at the end…it’s over right.”

      “Well, that’s true but only in some…”

      Before he could finish Nookodubididy interjected, “Okay but it comes from that. In American sports they say that the game isn’t over until the fat lady sings.”

      “Oh okay I get. So, our plan’s not finished yet.”

      “Right we have a lot to do, and it’s possible they may know what we’re doing. If they do we need to be on alert Z.”

      “Oh, I got that covered man. I got security patrolling the area, and they’re posted at all the entrances. They were programmed to zap anybody on sight, man. If any of those bozos shows their face around here, they’re going to go home first, man.”

      “Go home, uh…he hee heee!” They embraced one another, smiled, and did their happy,
boochie dance as they gleefully pranced around the room.

     “Soon my friend soon, our people will know we’re here, soon we’ll be home, man.”

     “Can you believe some of them have been here for centuries, all because they’re afraid to
upset the natural balance here?”

     “Yea, what the hell is that all about?”

     “It’s a moralistic principle dreamed up by Bullocks and some of his people. They believe that these simpletons need to be left alone to evolve.”

      “Hell man, some of these worlds would never have evolved, if other civilizations hadn’t
helped them along. In Gamboozia all of those worlds fought wars with one another, and if some hadn’t invaded others, they never would left the stone age.”

      “Bro, I don’t need a history lesson.”

      “I know, man, but that damned Bullocks sure does.”

      “I can dig that divo, he really needs to wake up.”

      “Yea, if it weren’t for him we wouldn’t be here fighting one another.”

      “Do you think they’re dumb enough to attack us?”

      “I don’t know, anything’s possible, so we need to be on guard.”

      “Oh but we are, man we so are. Let em come!”

      Meanwhile, Bullocks and his team had Jokid dreaming of his family back home. He was in a fantasy all of his own. He was enjoying the festivities of his daughters wedding. Everyone was having a grand time, and his son in law was smiling as he danced with his bride. He was a man on the move and had a bright future. Jokid was happy for his daughter, she was set for life with a loving soul. Jokid was never happier.

      “Oh daddy I’m so happy you’re here!”

      “Muffin I wouldn’t have missed this for all the world.” He whispered in her ear as he hugged her. Then the vision began to fade and he found himself sitting on a sofa next to Bullocks having a cola.

     “Mr. Jokid, are you alright?” Bullocks exclaimed.

     “Ugh!” He exclaimed as his eyes almost popped out of his head.

     “Are you alright, man?”

     He looked around and was noticeably dismayed, disturbed. The reality shocked him a bit, and realizing that he must have dozed off, he excused himself.

      “Oh, my goodness, I must have dozed off a bit, uh.”

      “That’s okay man it’s been a long night.”

      “Yea, but I’ve never done that before.”

      “Perhaps you’ve been working too hard.”

      “Oh you don’t know the half of it, sir.”

      “Oh I can only guess,” Bullocks smiled.

      “I don’t even remember coming here.”

      “Oh you came here a while ago, don’t you remember having dinner?”

      “Really I don’t”

      “Then what ever were you drinking?”

      “I really don’t know.”

      “You know that we have to be careful here, we don’t know how some things will affect us.”

      “I know, I know all about that. But, I’ve never had a problem with that. Not in all the years I’ve been here.”

      “Pal, all it takes is one time,” I smiled.

      “True, one time I had a cup of coffee and I felt as if I were medicated, man.” Doobiz blurted out.

      “Yea, I remember that,” I smiled.

      “Oh yea, with the Mexicans,” Doobiz remembered.

      “You Aranjaynions and your damned Mexicans!”

      “Haw haw haw…he hee heee!”

       The guffaws filled the room and even Jokid was laughing.

      “I don’t know maybe I ate something that medicated me. But, damn it was so damned real, man.”

      “What was?”

      “It was a dream, so real too, I was back home at my daughter’s wedding.”

      “Really!”

      “Oh yea, and everybody was having a grand time. My son in law was a handsome up and comer. The festivities were awesome, and there were so many people. Important people too! Then all of a sudden, here I am sitting here, and not knowing how I got here.”

      “I can assure you, you’ve been here for quite a while, right through dinner. Drinks! How many did you have?”

       “That’s the strangest thing, I hardly ever drink.”

       “Do you know what you were drinking?”

       “Heavens no!”

       “I think I came here to meet Ornious.”

      “You did, pal. Then we sat here and enjoyed dinner. I think you had bit of rabbit stew, some rice, carrots, and you polished it off with a pear juice.”

      “Oh that can’t be, I never eat starches, and the veggies here tend to sedate me.”

      “Well you were drinking a lot of pear juice.”

      “Damn! Everybody was having such a grand time…I just decided to have a couple. Juices affect me like water does you.”

      “But when we met in the city, you were drinking wine. How is that?”

      “Wine doesn’t intoxicate me, it just taste good. Good wine does.”

      “But juices do, they give you a buzz?”

      “Yes they do.”

      “So why did you indulge?”

      “I was just going to have a couple.”

      “You sure did, man. But we didn’t know how they would affect you.”

      “Wow!

      “When the menu came, you just ordered, man.”

       “But starches!”

       “It was really very well presented.”

       “Damn, I had no idea what I was eating. It looked good, it tasted like it…it was out of this world, man.”

      “Haw haw haw…he hee heee!”

      They all had a laugh, including Jokid.

      “Ah you’re a comedian too, uh.”

      “No sir the pun wasn’t intended, I just didn’t know how else to describe it.

      “Well it seems either the rabbit or the veggies did you in friend.”

      “It seems that way.”

      “You passed out, and we brought you here. You were out for like a half hour. You really had us worried there, pal.” I exclaimed.

      “I apologize for the inconvenience, I, I, I’m really sorry.”

      “You’re okay, that’s all that matters.”

      “Thanks! Ummm…then that explains my fantasy, my dream. You know I never ever dream like that. It was so freaking real, though.”

       “It happens to all of us some time, pal.”

      “You must excuse me,” he explained as he stood up.”

      “Are you alright,” Bullocks asked.

      “Oh, I’m okay, I’m feeling rather great, sir. Never felt better as a matter of fact.” He smiled as he stretched his arms out.

     “Good to hear.”

     “What time is it?

     “Oh the sun is almost up. It’s early in the morning.”

     “Then you must excuse me, I need to go home.”

     “By all means, glad you came,” Bullocks smiled as he extended his hand. Jokid took it and gave a firm shake, then headed out the door.

      “Well, that went rather well I must say,” Bullocks, smiled and raised a glass, “Cheers
gentlemen.”

     “He hee heee…haw haw haw,” guffaws all around the room! We shook hands, and smiled at one another.

      Bullocks stuck his head into the next room and yelled,

     “Cho Cha…call Alky and tell him to sabotage Jokids’s transporter and get back here. Tell
him that bozo is on his way over there.”

     “Guys we need to get it together, this is just the beginning we have a lot do. We need to study this data,” Dolian explained as he held a long sheet up in the air. “Please,” he continued, “Come into the war room.”

     “How appropriate…war room!” Bullocks exclaimed.

     “Well, we’re in a war, sir.”

     “It is indeed, guys,” I agreed.

     The data revealed that they had almost two hundred clones armed with zappers. They were stationed at all the entrances and at the hanger. There was also a group around the mag pole.

      “Ummm…this is going to be a major battle here, and it could very well expose us to the
people here,” Bullocks muttered.

     “Sir, do we stun them or zap them out?”

     “Just take them out,” Doobiz smiled.

     “That’s okay with me.”

     “But they’re souls, we just can’t exterminate them.”

     “I assure you they have no souls, son.” Bullocks smiled.

     “I have to disagree, sir. Science cannot create life, only the creator can. Though science may be able to create an environment conducive to life, only the Creator can allow it. So these creatures do have souls. They’re simpletons because their souls aren’t evolved. They came into existence, our reality, quickly and developed extremely fast. But they’re souls just the same.” I protested.

      “So what are you suggesting?”

      “I don’t know, we can stun and re-program them. Maybe we can use them on the moon as servants. Anything!”

      “It won’t bother you to see a half dozen Doobs or Yanises running around?” Bullocks
smiled.

     “If I don’t have to see them, it won’t, not as long as I know who the real ones are.”

     “Oooo…that would give me the creeps, if I went into a room, and saw a half dozen of me
running around in it.” Yanis responded.

      “Euuu! Me too,” Doob agreed.

     “So why not leave them down there, let them run the farm. We’ll send some one to check on them from time to time. Neuter them too so they won’t reproduce. Let them work out their fate down there in peace. They don’t really have a long life span.”

      “How long is it, sir?” Yanis asked.

      “We approximate about sixty years,” Conyo responded.

      “So you propose we go down there and just stun everybody,” Yanis asked.

      “Pretty much!”

      “There’s almost two hundred of them down there.”

      “So!”

      “It’s mind boggling.”

       “That’s better than having that evil aureole around my soul for the rest of my existence, man. All those deaths! I don’t like it one bit.”

      “Okay how about this, you stun whomever you want, anybody you come across. They won’t be a weight on you, and you won’t have to carry that on your conscience. The rest of you can do as you see fit, you can stun them or take them out. I won’t hold it against you.” Bullocks compromised.

      “If that’s the best you can do, then I have no choice. Stunning them or zapping them all takes the same effort. But I don’t want that to carry that negativity with me for the rest of my life.”

      “Okay guys, do as your conscience allows.”

      “Okay…yea, alright with me…what ever you say boss.”

      “They all agreed.”

      “So what else were you able to get out of that dummy,” Bullocks asked.

      “Well, we have little time, that solar storm is due in one more day, time’s getting short.”

      “We know that, but what else do we have to worry about down there.”

      “The device is here,” Koinus pointed on the map, and continued, “It’s right here pretty much where we suspected, in this lab. It’s a huge black and stainless device with huge cables leading out to the top. They run along the creek, up the wall and through a hole they zapped out to the surface. On top, the mag pole is disguised as a mound of ice. If you cut the cables it will give us time. They will have to find them and repair them. But that will alert them! If you take out the unit, that would be much better. It’s preferable to take it out at the same time you take the out mag pole. That would pretty much put them out of business. We also need…we have to take Zook and Nook! We need to program those kooks, they can’t be trusted. They’re impassioned with the idea of going home. If they escape, they will do it again, and maybe next time we won’t be so lucky.”

      “I see!” I exclaimed.

      “See what?” Bullocks responded.

      “We can’t take out the kooks, but we can take out the clones.”

      “It’s different, man.”

      “The kooks are evolved souls, man.” Doobiz added.

      “Not from where I stand.”

      “Haw haw haw!” Bullocks responded as he ran his fingers through his white hair.

      “Okay, okay! Passion can and does blind us and we all can act with darkness in our hearts.”

      “Just stun the dummies, it’s a lot of work, but we’ll find something to do with them. Also, just disable the device. We want to study it. Maybe a close examination will help us to re-engineer it. Please by all means, make capturing the kooks a top priority. Jokid has a small transporter in his apartment. It can only take one person at a time. Since we don’t know what’s on the other side, I had Alka Pooh Ria disable it. Jokid won’t be able to use it. We’re watching him, he’ll have to fly down there. We put a bug on him, and when he takes off, you can follow him. So be ready. Once you’re there let us know what the situation is as soon as possible. We’re going to replace his transporter with a larger one so we can get there faster. Guys, we have our jobs cut out for us.”

 

     “Babagomazaga!” Doob exclaimed as he extended his hand out. So Yanis I put ours on top of  his and together we again loudly exclaimed: “Babagomazaga!”

      “What is that sir,” Koinus asked.

      “Oh, it’s an Aranjaynion thing. It means together as one,” Doobiz explained.

      “Oh, so wait a minute there pal, we’re all in on this. You are not alone, man.” Bullocks
smiled, so he extended his hand out and exclaimed, “Booga mooga zaga, uh”

      “Hee hee heee…we laughed, and I explained, “It’s babagomazaga, sir…baba goh ma zaga.”

      “So put her there,” he said as he put his hand out again, and continued, “And say it again.”

      I put my hand on top of Bullocks, Doobiz and Koinus followed, and as Yanis put his on top of theirs, he loudly exclaimed, “Babagomazaga!”

      “Ahhhh…so it’s Ba ba goh ma zaga,” he exclaimed as everybody loudly joined him,

      “Babagomazagaaaga!”

      “Truly we’re all in this together. May the Creator bless our efforts,” Bullocks exclaimed.

      “So be it,” I added. Then as Yanis, Doobiz and I left the room, Koinus exclaimed: “Aba be with you!”

      As soon as Jokid entered his apartment his phone was ringing.

      “Hello,” he yelled into it.

      “Jokid, where have you been, man,” Zoutious demanded.

      “I was at Bullocks’ affair. I went there to check on Ornious. I think he’s with us.”

      “You can’t think, man. You need to be sure about this.”

      “So what’s going?”

      “Tomorrow’s it, man. The storm is almost on top of us, we’re beginning to feel its effects. We have to decide where to make our call. You need to be here yesterday.”

       “I’m leaving right now,” he shouted.

        He entered his transporter, but it just hummed, vibrated, the lights blinked on and off, and he went no where. He checked everything, and all seem to be where it should be, so he tried again, and again. After the third attempt he called Zoutioous back.

      “Z!”

      “Please don’t call me that, I hate it. So what’s up now?”

      “My transporter won’t work. I’ll have to fly down.”

      “So you’ll be here in like what, five, six hours,” he asked.

      “No, no, no! Three or four tops, I’m leaving right now,” he responded and hung up. He
grabbed a few items from his fridge, threw them into a gym bag, and was out the door. A
moment later he was airborne and on his way. He was smiling as he realized the moment had
come, his dreams of going home would soon come to be.

      As they walked down the hallway, Bullocks and Koinus returned to the war room. They went over the map, and together they went over and over the data again. If they missed anything, they would soon find it.

      “It’s at least three hours to my ship guys.” I proclaimed as we walked out of Bullocks’ war room.

      “Not to worry bro, I have mine on top of the hotel.” Yanis responded.

      “Really,” Doobiz smiled.

      “I had no idea what was coming, man, and I knew Orn’s ship is at home. At least three hours away. Yours is out on the coast, right.”

      “Yea!”

      “So since we don’t have any transporters near by, and if we have to follow that schmuck, we need to be quick…I brought mine,” he smiled.

      “Way cool Yanis!” I smiled.

      “He must have a ship near by, he lives here. He may even have his on top of his building. So I brought mine, and it sits four comfortably.”

      “It’s a long way south guys let’s get some water, some munchies.”

      “Good idea.”

      Just then Yanis’ cell started to vibrate, and

      “Yes sir!” He responded.

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