Chapter 28



“Jenny, can you hear me now?” A faraway voice. “Jenny, wake up, please.” Light filtered through her closed eyelids. Yet she wasn’t dreaming. And she wasn’t standing. Her body lay horizontal, on some sort of cushion.

Jenny opened her eyes. Trenae’s long, wavy golden-brown locks flowed around her shoulders and her beautiful hazel eyes searched worriedly. There must be need for concern.

“You were unconscious for awhile,” Trenae said. “Ra’am placed a leaf of tse makh yerape on your forehead. And it worked.” She gave Jenny a smile.

Ra’am? Ra’am placed a leaf?

Confused. Disoriented. And her body acted weak and limp. Even so Jenny had to figure this out. She began to lean up. As she did, her hands felt a strange soft material, a material she had never felt before, a cross between soft plastic and metal. Weird. And then she looked up, beyond Trenae’s head. No…no, this can’t be! Silvery, light green colored the ceiling and wall, just as Trenae had described Ha-Ta.

“Don’t get up. You’re not ready to yet,” Trenae said. She pressed her hand on Jenny’s left shoulder, gently pushing her back down.

Trenae turned her head away, her body shifting, allowing a better view. Now Jenny could see what, see whom Trenae looked for. “She really should stay overnight with us.”

Jenny saw him, farther down the bed, sitting near her knees. She blinked her eyes several times, trying to make sure her vision worked all right.

A large being, in a black outfit sat quietly. Three golden circles, with strange, otherworldly symbols written above them covered his chest. Silver lines circled his uniform at the joints, shoulders, ribs, and waist.

The being’s face overflowed with dynamic, electrifying strength. Lines of blue, dark blue, nearly black stretched under his facial skin, giving the impression of enormous power, as though nothing could penetrate his flesh nor little energy was needed to have his muscles move like lightning, withstand extraordinary pressure. Yet his face had a youthful, though masculine appearance. His bone structure didn’t look deformed or unnatural, as Jenny imagined Ra’am all along. No, his face, head, and neck just appeared to fit right, to be proportional for his size, his body. Perfect.

Now Jenny could see why Trenae explained Ra’am lifted the boulders by the cliff like Styrofoam chunks. You just KNEW this being was very, very strong. A neck as broad as a tree trunk, shoulders wide as refrigerator!

But his eyes. Jenny squinted more. No white in them, only darkness. He looked at Trenae. But then he stared at her. Searching frantically for the dark, aqua in his eyes, to decipher at least an iris, she saw none. Only blackness. Was it like Trenae said before, the dim lighting? Nothing, absolutely nothing, had ever whipped Jenny’s composure, whipped it like it was a lump of soft foam into complete annihilation, like this face. And this face leaned closer to her. And closer. True, he appeared human. And oddly, he looked handsome too. Thick, rugged hair strands, like dark plastic or a metallic rods lay around his head. This couldn’t be.

Trenae was right. At first sight, he couldn’t possible be biological alone. He appeared robotic, or part android. Or even computer animated, a three dimensional game character that escaped the digital realm and now sat within her and Trenae’s reality.

Jenny wanted to run, instinct taking over. She started to get up. Panting. Swallowing. Meeting an alien being face to face was no walk in the park. Her breaths came quicker and closer together. A fast breath. A faster breath. Her brain felt like it was spinning in circles. Using her elbows, she lifted herself more. Out of the left corner of her eye she saw Trenae turn back and look down at her. But Jenny’s eyes stayed on Ra’am. “No, this can’t be happening,” Jenny said, lifting her body some more.

Ra’am leaned forward and placed his hand on her stomach. As he did so she caught a quick glimpse of his strange black fingernails and the silver, shimmering reflective power of the koaksekhel on his other arm, resting in his lap.

“You need to lie down now,” Ra’am said.

She felt something, something warm and unusual, like mild electricity circulate into her stomach from Ra’am’s hand. It flowed down to her back. She quickly began to feel her breathing decrease. Weakness followed. She had to lie back down.

Before long her breathing became normal. Her fearful thoughts, her desire to flee evaporated. Like in the grasp of a hallucinatory drug, she could only view Ra’am as a picture, a photo, or as a distant character on a movie screen. No longer was he real or animate.

However she could hear his words.

“Do not be afraid of me,” Ra’am said gently. His voice WAS really deep. “I will not hurt you.”

“I know,” Jenny said.

“Better now?” Trenae asked. She beamed at Jenny. Both beings looked at her.

“I think so. I feel like I’m hallucinating here,” she said slowly, her voice weak. She looked in Trenae’s face. She glanced at Ra’am’s hand on her stomach. Just as Trenae had wanted to do, she had to touch the hand that comforted her. “Can I, can I touch your hand, Ra’am?” she asked.

“Yes, of course you can,” Trenae said. She carefully lifted Jenny’s right hand and placed it on top of Ra’am’ hand. “Go ahead, feel his hand. You’ll definitely notice the geed’aso.” Trenae turned and look at Ra’am. “Sorry, I should have asked you. It’s okay, right?”

“Yes, sure,” he answered.

Ra’am smiled at Trenae. Now Jenny knew he did have a heart. A further sense of ease, combined with Ra’am’s  relaxing touch comforted her. And now she also knew there was no turning back. Everything she had been taught to believe, by herself or others would have to be changed. Nothing would ever be the same again.

She touched Ra’am’s hand. All the descriptions Trenae had given her were right on target. Ra’am’s skin, his geed’aso, the strength of his muscles, felt exactly as she recorded them. She stared at Ra’am’s hand, feeling it. Even the colors looked accurate. And yes, she determined, Ra’am felt biological. The warmth of his hand and the texture of his flesh and tendons, though incredibly strong did not feel mechanical. One could just tell.

She looked up at Ra’am. She looked at Trenae, and then looked back at Ra’am. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t really believe any of this. My co-worker and I just thought this was Trenae’s way of coping, with the terrible tragedy from Willson and Stiles, and her father’s death.”

“You do not have to apologize,” Ra’am said. “I understand.”  

“I’m just glad he caught you!” Trenae said. “ Did you know you fell?”

“Really? The last thing I remember, was when you told me to look at you. I was just totally in shock, honestly! And then the next thing I knew, I heard you say my name. It sounded so far away, like I was dreaming. I’ve never fainted before.” She closed her eyes for a moment. She opened them again. “Am I okay, did my body get hurt in anyway?” she asked Ra’am.

“No, you were not injured,” he answered. “You were only unconscious. But we healed your condition with tse makh yerape.”

Jenny became silent, staring at both Ra’am and Trenae, looking from one to the other. Trenae kept smiling; she really was a sweet, caring person. And Ra’am seemed calm and content. Everything felt peaceful.

Feeling more relaxed, Jenny felt Ra’am’s hand again, for some time.

Yikes! Maybe this is too intimate, too inappropriate for Trenae! She looked at Trenae. But Trenae appeared undisturbed by her husband’s hand on Jenny’s stomach. Either way, it was time to get up. Enough of this lazy behavior. Besides, there was too much to see.

“I’m okay now, Ra’am,” Jenny said. “You can take your hand away. I really need to get up, move around.”

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Well…do you think I should? Will I be all right?”

“You are completely healed. We only wanted you to lay down to rest, because of the stress involved. But yes, you--”

“Hey, I’m a reporter, you guys. I’m used to this.” Jenny began sitting up. Really, she needed to act in control of herself. Heck, she had to be ready for anything!  Ra’am released his hand and Trenae softly grasped Jenny’s shoulders and arms, helping her up.

Jenny sat on the seat’s side. She looked up, all around her. Ra’am and Trenae stood up. “Oh my gosh,” she said slowly, “this is amazing.” Again, every detail Trenae had explained became alive before her.

With Trenae’s help once more, Jenny stood up. Her jacket was still on, zippered. Trenae explained that all her belongings, like the recorder and note pad were on Ha-Ta as well.

“Hand me the recorder,” Jenny said. Trenae did.

She turned the recorder on. Slowly, with Trenae and Ra’am’s help, either holding her hands or shoulders, Jenny began a tour of Ha-Ta. She saw the removable greenhouse, storage, and bathroom galeel khayeem. She saw the shleetah maksheer and the khalon. And soon, with Ra’am explaining the details she visited each one of the four rooms. Even the ma’argahar, the central energy unit for a Memadshakor, Ra’am revealed, after commanding Ha-Ta to stretch itself. And she noticed the floor and its texture, and the walls, ceiling, the fascinating doors and their textures and structures too. Ra’am also showed and described his koaksekhel.

But most fascinating of all was Ha-Ta’s motion under ground. After Ra’am had carried her from The Examiner building’s roof and placed her on Ha-Ta, he programmed Ha-Ta to take them underground, after they had found a suitable unpopulated and open area to enter the soil. Ra’am explained they now needed to move to another location, more on the outskirts of Boise.

She sat by Trenae on the evesmol. Suddenly a bold idea came. “Trenae, can you guys take me with you, back to Andromeda?”

Trenae stared at Jenny, her eyes smiling and amused. She seemed pleased. “Ra’am, is that possible?”

Ra’am turned his seat left, facing both of them. Amazing, Jenny thought, how Ha-Ta functioned without Ra’am’s manual intervention. “Yes,” he said, “we could. Penakh Ayef has a small settlement, of mineralogists and their families. There are schools, stores, complete computer activation. And the gravity and atmosphere is similar to earth’s, so adjustment would be easy.”

“Well, I don’t know if I’d want to live there, for a long time, but I, I sure would love to investigate it, do a story on the place. Imagine,” Jenny said, longing in her tone, her gaze focused upward, “how famous I would become, how much notoriety!” She smiled.

“You may come, Jenny, and stay as long or as short as you like,” Ra’am said. “I am certain there is suitable lodging for you.”

Jenny studied Ra’am. Though sitting stoically, his arms crossed, happiness flowed around him. “Thank you, thank you, really,” Jenny said. She looked to her right, back at Trenae. Trenae smiled, yet appeared a little puzzled.

Jenny wondered about her for a moment, but then remembered something else. “You two- this is important.”

“What is?” Trenae asked.

“You two must come to The Examiner tomorrow, at 9:00 am. Come to my floor, the sixth floor. They have to meet with you, Bartell and Emter. And once they do, I’m totally certain, we can publish your story.”

“That would be very helpful,” Ra’am said.

“Shoot, yeah!” Trenae said. “That’s what we’ve always wanted, since we came back!”

“Now, make sure it’s 9:00 am, and no sooner. I’m gonna need some time, to prepare my bosses and co-workers. After all, this is a TREMENDOUS story for them to believe. In fact, I think they’re gonna be flipping, calling me a nut, a basket case until you show up. But, I’ll have to live with that.”

“That will be no problem,” Ra’am said, “since we will simply wait underground, near The Examiner building, after we allow you to leave Ha-Ta.”

“Leave Ha-Ta? You mean, in the morning?” Jenny asked. She felt a little worried.

Ra’am uncrossed his arms and placed them on his seat’s sides. “Yes. Although it is normally forbidden for ometvaheem to view females, even alien females, in their homes, I had to make an exception in this case, in your interview with my wife. However I did not listen to your interviews. But tonight, I could sense danger and therefore listened, when you two approached your vehicle. I found no problem with the vehicle, or I would have arrived instantly to stop both of you. Trenae explained your fear, after meeting with her brother, and his possible involvement with Stiles and Wilson.”

“So, you’re suggesting, that I stay here overnight?” Jenny looked at Trenae.

“Sure, you can sleep in my room,” Trenae said. “I never really use it anymore. I have some blankets, some clothes.” Trenae smiled again.

“Everything you’ve said, about Willson, his involvement with organized crime,” Jenny said, “it’s all been true, hasn’t it?”

“Yes, everything. I didn’t lie about a thing. But…I might have forgotten some details, or messed with time a bit, but--”

“You told the truth, as best you could.” Jenny smiled at Trenae and then looked back at Ra’am. “You’re wife, she’s very special, you realize.”

Ra’am smiled proudly, sitting like a king and oozing dignity. “I am well aware,” he said.

Jenny looked back at Trenae. Trenae glanced down, behaving a little embarrassed. Yet she seemed happy.

“Will this be all right, for you to stay here tonight?” Trenae asked, lifting her head.

“Sure, it will, as long as I can get to work by 8:00 am. I’m gonna need plenty of time to convince the crew.”

Trenae giggled.

“But do you think my car will be all right?” Jenny asked Ra’am.

“If you like, I can monitor your vehicle the rest of the morning. But, I suspect it will be fine.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right. Heck, its right near the building. I might get an overnight parking ticket, but, oh well, this is worth it!”

Ra’am then searched and found a suitable site to park Ha-Ta underground. Once he was done, Trenae helped Jenny get comfortable in her former room. Trenae found some pj’s and some slippers, along with several blankets and pillows, items uncovered in the storage compartment of one of the galeel khayeem. Though Jenny wanted more than anything to see and learn more of Ha-Ta and Ra’am, Trenae convinced her they both needed sleep now. It was late!

Soon, Jenny sat alone, in the same room Trenae had spent her first, terrifying night on Ha-Ta. Though the door remained open, lighting was dim. Jenny could understand, how utterly overwhelming Trenae’s first night must have felt, to be alone, in a room aboard an alien spacecraft that originated trillions and trillions of miles from earth, by a civilization populated with fierce, powerful beings. Yes. A highly unusual and troubling thought, especially when all one’s life, those considered the wisest and most learned had reassured that extra terrestrials could not possibly exist.

Once that thought dissipated, Jenny thought of other things, especially her other motives. True, she had told Ra’am she wanted to come along with them. Yet she had not been completely honest with her reason. Sure, she could record and investigate a distant planet. But she wanted more. Jenny desired what Trenae had with Ra’am and hoped that she would discover such a relationship, for herself, amongst her own ometvah friend. The thought made her cringe, at first. But with something this magical, as Ra’am and Trenae’s relationship troubling details could be compromised.

Other thoughts conflicted; at the same time, she found herself concerned for Trenae’s welfare. Even after all the marvelous things Ra’am had said and done for Trenae, doubt still lingered within Jenny’s mind. Maybe she would have to search, by any means possible, to make certain Ra’am absolutely meant no future harm for Trenae. It would have to be done soon, before they all left. And if there were a doubt, she would then have to save Trenae, also by any means possible.
















                                                       Chapter 29



Warren, you’re not going to believe this, but remember that woman who came in a week ago?, no, not that,” Jenny said. She squeezed her chin. Looking up at the floor numbers of the elevator car, the 4th floor whizzed by. Almost to the 6th. She looked down at her clothes again. “Oh goody, a flower knit shirt, straight from the 70’s, and flair jeans. Yeah, wonderful for work.” She looked farther down. “And my dirty white sneakers- perfect.”

She crossed her arms and thought some more. “Remember Trenae Lafayette, who had an alleged affair with Governor Willson? Well, I continued to interview her, for my book…‘Your book, the one about aliens?’ Well, yes, Warren, because…right, THAT will work…no, no, think, think.”

Time was short. She placed her hands on her hips. “No, I am just going to say whatever comes to my mind.”

She looked at her watch. 8:35 am. Very late. I should have been there at 8:00! She couldn’t get up and Trenae failed to wake her on time. Ra’am arose early, but he didn’t want to enter her room. Unbelievable though this could be to her benefit. For no matter how she worded it, once she mentioned ‘alien being’, she would be laughed at, poked fun at, and in great possibility of losing her reputation and, or her job. Of course, only at first. That’s why 8:35 was good. Less than 25 minutes of ridicule or verbal torture would transpire. “Because once 9:00 am arrives, I…will be vindicated!” she said gleefully.

The elevator stopped. Surprisingly she had traveled alone. No one got in along the way. The doors slid opened.

Tara stood near the front desk, looking for something. Jenny walked to her. “Hey, what’s going on?” she asked quietly.

Ohhh, you’re in trouble,” Tara said.

Jenny leaned on the desk. “Why, what’s wrong?”

“You’re late, and Emter and Bartell wanted to talk to you this morning. I’m not sure why, but I’d be on guard.”

“Wonderful.” Jenny looked around the office. Neither Warren nor Claire were in sight. “I suppose I’ll find out.”

She started walking away.

“Jen, what’s with the outfit?” Tara asked, a little too loud.

Shhh,” Jenny said, placing a finger over her mouth, hustling back to the desk.

“Sorry,” Tara said. “But why?”

“I’ll explain in a minute. Believe me, you’ll find out.”

As Jenny walked away, searching out Warren and Claire, it occurred to her how unfortunate her timing was. Just the past few days, even before the weekend, her co-workers had eased-up on the alien jokes. And now this.

She headed toward the northeast corner of the 6th floor, not far from her and Phil’s desk, where Warren had his current office. Strolling by Phil’s desk, she noticed Phil wasn’t there. Where was he?

She walked down the long stretch toward Warren’s office and found the door open. She peeked inside. Claire and Susan Thomas, the Special Editions editor were discussing something with Warren and Phil. For some reason, she sensed it had to do with Trenae, with her story about Willson. Something wasn’t right.

“Excuse me, may I have a word with all of you?” Jenny asked.

Their backs yet faced her, their bodies huddling in a circle in the middle of Warren’s office.

“Excuse me,” Jenny said loudly. “Mrs. Bartell, may I interrupt?”

Claire and Susan spun around, both standing closest to the door. “Jen, there you are!” Claire said. “And, young lady, what is the meaning of those clothes?”

Warren began walking toward her. “You’re here,” he said. “We’ve been trying to call you. Is your phone off the hook? We just got a busy signal, minutes ago.”

“My phone? No, I didn’t leave it off the hook,” Jenny said. Worry claimed her. It must show, since Claire looked at her funny. “Are you sure?” Jenny asked Warren.

“Yes, Jen, I know your number,” Warren said. “So does Phil.”

“Jen, is everything okay?” Claire asked.

“No, it’s not.”

“It’s because of yesterday, that encounter with Trenae Lafayette’s brother,” Phil said, stepping forward between Claire, Warren, and Susan. “I told them about it. They needed to know, because we got a complaint this morning, from Wyatt’s Welding and Machine.”

“What?” Jenny asked. That’s bizarre. She took a furtive glance at her raised wrist. It was now 8:40.

“They said you harassed one of their workers and acted insane,” Claire said. “Is that true?”

Jenny huffed a sigh. This was becoming far worse than she anticipated.

“I told them what happened, how you got really shook up and how Trenae’s brother actually harassed you,” Phil said.

No time left. “Okay, listen,” Jenny said urgently. “There’s something big, really, really important, that I have to tell everyone.” She clasped her hands together. They felt sweaty.

“About this accusation?” Claire asked.

Jenny checked her watch again. “No! Please. We all have to hear this, and now. We’re running out of time. They’ll be here at 9:00, and I don’t want anyone--”

“Hold on,” Claire interrupted. “You never answered my question. Did you harass that worker at Wyatt’s?”

Jenny sighed. “No, I did not. The guy’s a wacko, trust me. Phil’s correct, he harassed me.” She grasped her hands together again and stared at Warren. “Warren, please, help me with this.”

Warren stepped close to her. “What, Jen? I’ve never seen you like this. You look pale. Are you all right?”

“The reason I’m wearing these clothes, is because I never went home last night. I was somewhere else.”

“Where were you?” Claire asked.

“I…I can’t say, yet,” Jenny said, looking at Claire. She looked back at Warren. “Please, I have to tell everyone this, and now. Is there a room, a place we can all gather?”

“Everyone on the news floor?” Warren asked.

“Yes, everyone. Because everyone will know, soon.”

“Jen, you’re scaring me,” Claire said, giving a sideways glance.

Warren shot his gaze at Claire, but then looked back at Jenny. “Are we in any danger?” he asked.

Jenny smiled. A tear formed in one of her eyes. “No,” she said, shaking her head, “we’re not in any danger. But be prepared, to have everything you’ve ever known, changed forever.”

“Oh my God,” Phil said softly. Jenny looked at him. The others didn’t seem to notice his tone of voice. He stood behind Warren. His eyes widened. But then he slid some quick, secret glances at Claire. Jenny knew; he wasn’t going to ruin her surprise.

Claire, Susan, and Warren finally turned and looked at Phil. Phil looked down at the floor, studying his shoe.

“Please, Warren, let me do this,” Jenny said. Warren turned back and looked at her.

Then Warren looked at Claire. “Claire, I believe her,” he said. “I’ve never seen her like this. As long as we’re not in danger, I don’t see the--”

“I have never seen you like this too,” Claire said. She gave Jenny a concerned glance. “All right. We’ll do this. But I hope, young lady, you have a very good reason.”

“Oh, believe me, it’s very good,” Jenny said.

“I think we can fit everyone on the floor in the lounge area. Some can stand in the hallway,” Warren said. “I’d say downstairs, but the circulation department is having a meeting this morning.”

“Okay. That sounds fair. Let’s go,” Claire said. She exited the room, walking past Jenny. “You’re reputation is on the line, I hate to say,” she told Jenny.

“I know,” Jenny said, following her.

Claire led the way to the lounge, toward the west side of the 6th floor.

Warren, Phil, and Susan followed behind them, in silence.

Once by the lounge, Claire removed the cell phone from her skirt’s pocket and pressed a button. Jenny noticed, looking down at the front desk that Tara was already wondering what the fuss was, lifting her arms in a questioning manner. “Can I have everyone’s attention please,” Claire said, speaking into her phone. Her voice rattled loud over the intercom.  “All personnel from the 6th floor need to report to the 6th floor lounge room immediately. I repeat, all personnel from the 6th floor need to report to the lounge room immediately. There will be a short meeting.”

Warren then escorted Jenny toward the western side of the lounge room, near the sofa. She figured the room took up about 30 feet lengthwise by 15 feet wide, with a wide entrance from the newsroom, thus probably allowing enough room for everyone. Besides, with the other two sofas, at the northern and southern walls of the room, plus the sofa she walked toward, the room had plenty of sitting space too.

As Susan and Phil walked with Jenny, Warren rushed ahead and began removing some decorative items from the coffee table’s surface, placing them on the lamp stand near the sofa’s end. He pushed the sturdy wooden table against the sofa. Soon the coffee table sat opposite the entrance to the lounge, by about 12 feet.

“Here, stand on this,” Warren said. “It’ll make you taller, so everyone can see you.”

Complying, Jenny stepped up on the table. She turned around and looked toward the room’s entrance. Claire entered the room more, with Tara following her. And then little by little, the room began filling up with the others. Jenny suddenly felt awkward and self-conscious.

“Are you okay, Jen?” Warren asked.

She looked down at him, on her right. “Yes, I’ll be fine…I hope.” I can do this, she told herself. I did well in public speaking in college- this is a piece of cake- it’s just the crazy subject matter!

The room filled. “Okay, Jen,” Claire said loudly. She stood in the corner to Jenny’s left, near the entrance. “It looks like everyone is here, that we know of.”

Jenny looked at all the curious faces, of women, men. Some appeared eager to hear, while others appeared disgruntled, as though they had been rudely interrupted from their morning coffee. About 30 people stood around her, she estimated, about the usual staff on the 6th floor.

She looked to her left, at Phil and Susan. Susan stared with an emotionless face, typical for her. But Phil smiled. He gave her a slow nod, making her feel things were ready to go.

Jenny relaxed her arms by her sides and drew a quick breath. “Last week,” she said, “Tuesday the 20th, some of you may be aware that a woman came in wanting to tell her story. She claimed she had an affair with Governor Willson, when he was a candidate. I took the interview, but it was soon determined, by Mrs. Bartell and Mr. Emter, that her story had no actual legal proof. So, we apologized, thanked her for coming, wished her luck.” Jenny paused, feeling sweat on her palms. She swallowed quickly. One heavy reporter she knew appeared very annoyed. Probably can’t stand very long, she figured. She mustered some more courage and continued. “But before she left, she told me some more details. Disturbing details. But not about Governor Willson. About someone else. About some-THING else.”

“What? What’s this about Jenny?” said some voices. “Are you on meds? It’s your book, right?” 

But she had to continue. “Last night, I didn’t sleep at home. I slept…underground, in a very comfortable vessel.”

“Jen, where’s this going now?” Claire asked, agitation wrinkling her face.

“Please, wait, Claire,” Jenny said. She gave her co-workers a desperate look. “What I am about to tell you, is not…you may not believe it. But it IS the truth. And there is proof, absolute proof. And it will be here, in,” she said, checking her watch, “about 14 minutes.

“Two...people,” Jenny continued, not able to find the exact word, “will be arriving then. And one of them is the woman, Trenae Lafayette, who claimed the affair with Willson. And the other…the other…” This is too hard! But she forced herself anyway. “The other, is not human. He is…from another planet.”

When her words caught the air and drifted across the room, little pockets of giggles and snickers, and subdued, hidden bursts of laughter, kept within by covered mouths, started popping around the room.

“Is this some kind of practical joke?” Claire asked, her arms crossed. “You know we don’t have time for this. I hope this isn’t an attempt to cover up what happened yesterday, at--”

“No, Claire! This is not about Wyatt’s!” Jenny felt her resolve deteriorating. “Please, listen,” she said to Claire. Then she scanned around everyone. “I know this sounds insane, and believe me, I didn’t believe…ask Phil.” She looked at Phil. “We thought this was just Trenae’s dealing with PTSD.”

“PTSD?” asked Mike. As usual, his voice blasted gruff, rude. “What’s that?”

Jenny looked at Mike. A white buttoned shirt and blue pants covered his tall, strong frame. He stood above the rest. “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Trenae, she seemed, she seemed…it seemed impossible, what she was saying. We figured it couldn’t be true, so--”

“So she drew you in, your subconscious, and made you believe,” Mike said. “Sometimes it happens to us, when we get too involved.” He turned around and looked at Claire. She still crossed her arms, now leaning against the wall too. “No offense, but I have a deadline to meet. I don’t mean to be rude, but…”

“But what?” Jenny asked. Mike spun around. “This is NOT a joke. They WILL BE HERE!”

 “And then what?” Mike asked. “We print that we saw a so-called ‘alien’ from another planet?” A few more snickers popped from around the group. “Come on, Jen, you know that’s for the tabloids, not for a regular newspaper!”

“No, this is different,” Jenny said. “There are so many details I can prove!”

“But Jen,” Claire said calmly, “you know Mike is right. You know better than to report something sensational. We’re all aware of your book, and that’s wonderful for you, but you cannot go incorporating themes from your book into the office environment! We just can’t do that!”

“But you’re not giving me a chance!” Jenny said, raising her voice. Her balance then toppled. She nearly fell. Warren took held of her right hand. “I’m not finished yet!” she said to Claire. Jenny began digging in her jeans’ pocket, removing the mini recorder. “I have proof, here too, and you can listen--”

“No, I disagree,” Claire said, crossing her arms tighter. “You are finished.” Claire glanced across the room at everyone. “Okay, you can all go back to work. I’m sorry about this interruption.”

Deep breaths. Feeling desperate. Jenny stared first at Claire, while plunging the recorder back in her pocket, and then at her co-workers leaving. Tears began trickling from her eyes. She ignored them. “No, don’t go yet! I need to tell you more. You’ll be unprepared!” Susan was already leaving. Jenny looked down at Phil and Tara. “Okay, I tried to warn them.”

Claire walked over. “Jenny, please,” she said quietly, “I feel embarrassed to see you embarrassed. This is pitiful. Please step down from there, and act more professional.”

Jenny shrugged and looked at Claire. “Because you don’t believe me. I’m not embarrassed.”

“Is Trenae Lafayette really coming here?” Claire asked.

Jenny stepped off the table. “Yes, she will be here, any minute. But…you’ll just have to see, for yourself.”

Claire seemed concerned, yet distracted. “Well, let me know when she’s here. Maybe she went to the police and we can print her story now. But, if you’ll excuse me, I have some important things to do.” Claire turned and walked away.

So that’s it, Jenny thought, I’ve been dissed by my boss. Wonderful.

  Catching Warren coming closer, she looked at him.

“Is this character, this alien character, dangerous?” Warren asked. For the first time since she came in this morning, it seemed someone believed her, besides Phil.

Jenny wiped her eyes and walked toward the lounge’s entrance. She could see her many of her co-workers just sitting down in the office cubicles in the newsroom.

“Jen, wait,” Warren said. “Come over here and sit down.”

“Good idea,” said Phil. “She should.”

Jenny turned back. Feeling exhausted and trembling a little, their idea sounded right. She walked to the sofa by the west wall and sat down. Warren sat next to her, on her right, and Tara sat on her left.

“I’ll be over here. I want to watch when they come,” Phil said. Jenny’s gaze followed him walking toward the lounge’s entrance. He stood outside, near some of the office cubicles.

It was only the three of them now left in the room.

“You have to understand,” Warren said. “Claire needs to be in control of the office. I think she didn’t want to alarm everyone.”

“I know, you’re right,” Jenny said, looking at him. “I don’t feel embarrassed, just labeled a liar, or really humiliated.”

“Why don’t you tell us, exactly what happened,” he asked.


Jenny began telling Warren and Tara, from the very beginning, just what occurred. She explained the troubling details about Clark Willson, which ultimately led to how Trenae met the alien being, by River Cliffs. And then she described the alien’s demeanor and physique, explaining in detail who he was and what he wanted. Phil came in from time to time to listen, but then he went out in the newsroom. She also recounted the mammoth scene and Ra’am’s knowledge of God. And finally she explained how Trenae and Ra’am had married, leading therefore to the promise he desired to keep, for earth. She also told them how she had just met Ra’am last night, and had actually slept aboard his spacecraft. She stressed how he was friendly, yet very powerful.

“So he definitely won’t hurt us?” Tara asked.

“No, he seemed okay to me,” Jenny said.

“You’re telling me,” Warren said, “that the main reason that woman came in, trying to get us to run her story for them, was for a witness to the alien’s religious beliefs?”

“Yes, basically. But she also wanted to expose Willson too.”

“Of course, it goes without saying,” Warren said. “I find this incredibly hard to believe. I feel like I’m on an episode of the X-files.” Tara laughed a little. Jenny simply stared at Warren. “But, I --”

Phil and Yvette Juarez, the woman from the letter to the editor department, had just bolted into the room, now standing in front of them.

“Excuse us, but I think…you’re uh, people are here,” Yvette said, her voice shocked and squeaky. Jenny shot her gaze up, staring. Yvette looked pale. Phil’s eyes were all whites.

“She saw them first, when the elevator door opened,” Phil said, sounding a little frightened. “She was by the front desk. Trenae…Trenae is asking for you, Jen.”

Once standing, Jenny hurried out of the lounge, with Phil, Tara, Yvette, and Warren tagging behind.

She entered the news room area and turned right. There, down the long stretch of the hall between office cubicles and the wall, leading toward the elevator, walked Ra’am and Trenae. Good, Ra’am has his skin disguised. He held Trenae’s hand. But his black and silver outfit, along with his silver koaksekhel stood out like a ketchup stain on a white shirt. Towering over Trenae by about a foot and a half, and walking toward them, Ra’am’s motion seemed fluid, yet unusually quick, mechanical, formidable.

“Well, he looks human!” Phil said.

“Wait,” Jenny said.

The others said nothing.

Trenae walked to Ra’am’s left side. She was wearing a reddish-brown skirt, with a diagonal band of ruffles near its bottom, ending near the tops of her knees. Even though she still had her black leather jacket on, an orange shirt, with a V neckline could be seen beneath it slightly. Short, near-the-ankle brown boots covered her feet. Her wavy blond hair contrasted nicely against the outfit.

Jenny felt uncomfortable, remembering her own outfit. Why didn’t Trenae wear jeans too? Yet she realized Trenae was probably trying to make a good impression.

They arrived within 4 or 5 feet of Jenny and her other curious onlookers. After Ra’am released her hand, Trenae stepped forward.

“Hey, Jenny,” Trenae said, smiling. “Well, we’re here. I hope you told everyone.” She looked at Warren. “Hello, Mr. Emter. You remember me?”

Jenny glanced at Warren, on her right. “Yes, I most certainly do,” Warren said.

“Only these few, standing near me, were really willing to listen,” Jenny said, crossing her arms. 

Out of her left eye’s corner, Jenny could see Claire returning. Word traveled quickly in the office. Jenny turned a bit and could see others popping up from around the office cubicles, both near them and near the front desk. Their eyes were wide and curious. But they couldn’t seem to approach too closely. They took small, inefficient steps.

Jenny turned back to Trenae. Trenae, worry in her eyes, now scanned Phil, Tara, and Yvette. She looked back at Jenny. “Ra’am is in disguise,” Trenae said.

“I know,” Jenny said.

“Should he take it off now?”

Instead of answering, Jenny turned left, seeing the footsteps she heard. Claire was drawing closer.

“Well, he is unusually tall, Jen, and he has an unusual outfit,” Claire said. She stepped past Jenny, walking closer to Ra’am and held out her hand. “Hello, I’m Claire Bartell, Editor in Chief for The Examiner.”

Ra’am walked forward and swallowed up Claire’s hand with a gentle grasp. “I am Ra’ammahkar Meenyan.”

Bewilderment molded Claire’s face, probably from the handshake. She eyed his hand and then looked back up at him. “Jenny tells us you’re an alien being, an extra-terrestrial from another planet. Is that true?”

Ra’am made a quick, inhuman motion, glancing down at Trenae. Claire stepped back a little and Jenny heard Tara take a short, sudden breath. Ra’am looked back at Claire. “Yes, it is true,” he said.

“You…” Claire said, forming a trembling smile on her face, “you don’t appear alien.”

“That is because I am in hemoom prodoh disguise. I did not want to alarm anyone, on the way up here.” His eyes, even in disguise, pierced, stared powerfully as he spoke. Claire could barely look up at him without blinking a lot.

“A disguise,” Claire said. “Would you…would you like to take it off now, although, I don’t see how it’s possible, since--”

Ra’am had already lifted his right arm, at the point Claire said ‘would you’.  His koaksekhel glistened. Everyone stared at it, Jenny noticed, glancing around. Their stares followed his forearm, until Ra’am rested his koaksekhel forearm in front of his lower chest. The spiral circle on his koaksekhel opened. Instantly the human-like ‘skin’ upon Ra’am’s  face, neck, and hands, became a lighted, sparkling silver sheet, hovering for a split second above his exposed flesh, and then racing away to form a clear, sparkling, floating ball above the koaksekhel. Then the ball dove into the koaksekhel and vanished.

Claire gasped. Tara muffled a near scream with her hand.

“Oh my God!” Claire said.

“No, that can’t…” Warren said.

Motion stirred, from behind Jenny’s right side. She turned. Tara, her mouth still covered and her eyes bulging, began kneeling to the floor, as though fainting. Jenny lunged and picked her up. Quickly Jenny spoke words of reassurance, reminding Tara that she had slept on his spacecraft last night and that Ra’am was harmless. Tara swallowed and seemed okay.

Jenny looked up at Ra’am.

Ra’am’s eyes scanned all of them. “Please. It is all right. Do not be afraid of me. I will not hurt you.”

But his words had little effect. Jenny could see why. Under the stark, bright office lighting, Ra’am’s geed’aso stood out even more than on Ha-Ta. His skin appeared transparent, non-existent, revealing dark blue, even silver tendons striating in muscular sections on his face, neck and hands. His thick hair strands bulged from the sides of his head, tied back behind his head. Black, ridged fingernails darkened his fingertips, contrasting greatly from human fingernails. But of course, most astonishing of all, were his black, intimidating eyes. However Jenny felt a little relief, seeing dark aqua sclera, giving his eyes some normalcy.

Despite that her relief was short-lived. From the corner of her eyes she noticed many of her co-workers, those who had stared curiously when Ra’am first arrived, now were backing away. Yet Claire, Warren, Phil, Tara, and Yvette remained.

She looked up at Ra’am’s face. He still gazed around, lowering his right forearm.

“My species is called ometvaheem, or ometvah in singular form. And the primary planet we inhabit is called Harkoav, located in the Andromeda galaxy,” Ra’am said. “And again,  I will not harm you.”

Jenny looked behind Ra’am and Trenae. Farther down the corridor, a few especially cowardly co-workers began sneaking through the doors to the stairwell.

Warren sprung into action, moving toward Ra’am and past Jenny. He seemed overwhelmed, a few drops of sweat dotting his forehead. He walked between Ra’am and the others and grabbed an office chair with wheels from someone’s office cubicle.

Holding the chair, Warren looked up at Ra’am. “Here…why, why don’t…you have a seat…here, right here,” he said. He set the chair against the wall near the lounge’s entrance, on its left side, near Trenae. He looked back at the others. “Someone else, get a chair for the young lady here.”

Warren, wait,” Claire said suddenly. “Why don’t we just have them sit in the lounge, on one of the couches?” She walked in front of Ra’am, looking up, giving Ra’am a sheepish smile.

Maybe she’s thinking what I’m thinking, Jenny thought- that chair may not hold Ra’am’s weight!

Warren looked back at Claire. Then up at Ra’am. Then at Trenae. “Well sure,” Warren said. “Trenae, Ra’am, why don’t we go in the lounge, since it’s…right here.”

Ra’am quickly shifted his gaze away from Warren, looking instead at Trenae and gently taking her hand. Together they headed into the lounge and toward the sofa.

Jenny hurried behind them, not even aware of Phil, Warren, Claire, or the other’s presence. All she could do was watch Ra’am. After all, he was her total responsibility- she invited them here!

Ra’am moved his tall, powerful body, bringing Trenae with him and approached the sofa on the western wall, near the coffee table. Warren rushed ahead and moved the coffee table to the north end, near one of the other sofas.

Arriving at the left end of the sofa, Ra’am requested Trenae to sit down first, motioning his hand toward the middle of the sofa. Trenae smiled and sat down there, her expression cheerful. Jenny continued walking toward them, across the dark rose carpet that colored the entire expanse of the 6th floor. Trenae looked pretty against the tan and rose sofa, contrasting softly against the light tan and white striped walls behind the sofa. Hopefully Ra’am’s visit wouldn’t spoil the pleasant atmosphere.

Ra’am sat on the sofa. Right away a creaking, broken-spring noise sounded. Trenae looked down and smiled shyly. Ra’am stared at everyone. “It is bad enough,” he said,  “that you wanted me in here, instead of on the desk chairs, so I would not crush them, and now…” He glanced down at the cushion under his legs and touched it with his hands. “…I might be breaking this.”

Warren and Phil laughed a little. But Jenny noticed Claire seemed spooked. Was it true, did he read minds? Nonetheless Ra’am’s quip seemed to break some of the tension. 

“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Warren said, smiling. “We have two more.”  He turned to see Phil. “Phil, go get those chairs anyway.”

Jenny spun around. Tara had gone to get another chair, apparently for Trenae, before she heard Claire cancel the idea. Now both Phil and Tara wheeled in the seats. More of Jenny’s curious co-workers started entering the lounge too. Turning back toward Ra’am and Trenae, Jenny could see that both of them sat upright and leaned forward, obviously ready to speak and be heard. Ra’am rested his elbows on his knees, just like a man.

Both Claire and Warren took the seats from Phil and Tara. They positioned the chairs about three feet from Ra’am and Trenae, and then sat down on them, nearly simultaneously. A strange cracking or wobbling sound came from Claire’s chair.

“Forgive me,” Claire said, leaning forward a little, “but what we have seen so far, could be manufactured, like a magic trick. Your face…does look very unusual.”

Jenny glanced at Phil and Tara. Phil stood to her right, Tara to her left. And Jenny herself stood in the middle, about one foot back, from both Warren and Claire’s seats. She had a good view of Ra’am.

“Why not feel my face for yourself?” Ra’am told Claire.

“Go ahead, Claire,” Jenny said. “Maybe it will convince you.”

First glancing up at Jenny, Claire then began raising her right hand from her lap.  In the fleeting moment she saw Claire’s face, Jenny saw true fear. But she realized her boss had to appear stalwart and in control.

Gradually Claire leaned forward, to her right more, and touched Ra’am’s cheek and the flesh around it. Jenny stared at Claire’s face. “Oh my God,” Claire said softly, paleness brushing across her skin. Ra’am stared mercilessly into Claire’s eyes. She blinked several times, yet kept her fingers in place on his skin, focusing her eyes on his skin and avoiding the alien’s stare. “Your skin, it’s human-like, except more leathery or tight, but those…” She swallowed, blatantly- everyone could tell. “…those lines, those--”

“They are similar to tendons and called geed’aso,” Ra’am said.

“Yes,” Claire said. She gave a quick look into Ra’am’s eyes. But then she focused her eyes on her fingers, touching his skin, her expression turning to surprise. “There is no way, like you said, that this could be faked. They’re as strong as steel!” Claire turned to her right and looked at Warren. “Warren, this can’t be!” She shook her head slightly.

Warren leaned forward, his brows furrowed together. He brought a hand forth. “May I touch…your hand, Ra’am?” he asked.

“Yes, go right ahead,” Ra’am said calmly. Claire continued to touch his face. But Ra’am now stared at Warren.

Warren gently lifted Ra’am’s left hand. “Oh my God…” he said. He looked up at Phil. “Look! At his nails! They’re black, with ridges! Well, I know, I’ve never seen this before.”

But Phil wasn’t looking at Ra’am’s hands. Instead Phil gawked at the top of the alien’s head. “Never mind his nails, look at his,” he said, pausing to swallow, “at his…hair. Is that…hair?” Phil’s eyes bulged from beneath his glasses.

Ra’am shot a glance up at him. “You may touch my hair strands. They are thick, yet pliable hair strands, containing keratin and collagen- type proteins, combined with certain metalloproteins.”

Phil gave Jenny a quick, nervous glimpse.

“Go ahead,” Jenny said, “I’m sure he won’t mind.”

“No, I do not,” Ra’am said.

As Phil crept his hand toward Ra’am’s head, Jenny noticed Claire had ceased touching Ra’am’s face and now alternatively stared near Ra’am’s mouth. “Your teeth, they look light blue, or light aqua,” Claire said, her voice tremulous.

“Yes. Similar to my sclera. Ometvah males have a large percentage of copper containing metalloproteins, which give our geed’aso, hair, nails, and teeth varying shades of blue or aqua.”

Phil, confusion on his face, stopped touching Ra’am’s head.

“May I touch you too?” Tara asked. This surprised Jenny. Tara seemed the most frightened.

Ra’am darted his head toward Tara, her position behind and to the left of Claire. Everyone nearby uttered a soft gasp. The alien’s quick motion was not humanly possible!

Jenny turned back, for a gander. Many of those who had chickened-out and ran to the stairs or elevator had returned. Ah, the typical reporter. They just can’t let a story opportunity go, even if they sense true danger!

She turned forward. Tara seemed to be finished touching Ra’am’s face, just taking her hand away. That was quick. Tara moved herself backwards, stepping between Claire’s right and Jenny’s left.

Claire sat upright and crossed her arms, seeming unconvinced. “Yes, my eyes tell me, my senses tell me, that you’re very different,” she said, leaning back in her chair, “but I need further--”

Crack! Claire plummeted backwards, the upper back portion of the chair going with her. A blur of black and silver streaks exploded toward her. Then it stopped. Everyone in the room could see what had happened; Ra’am had caught Claire, before she fell to the floor. Pink tweed material of Claire’s suit jacket wrinkled where his hands secured her. Claire stared awe-struck in Ra’am’s face, he slowly bringing her to a standing position.

Trenae stood up. “Are you okay?” she asked Claire.

Warren shot up too and asked Claire if she was fine.

At the same time, Phil rushed around Ra’am and Claire to the broken chair. He leaned down next to it and gave it a quick, thorough examination. “Those darn screws, underneath these seats,” Phil said. “They can really get loosened, especially when people use these things as leg rests.”

Ra’am gently released Claire.

Jenny knelt down to see it too. Phil was right. The large, circular screw knob had loosened. Phil proceeded to fix it. Seeing enough, Jenny stood up and looked at Claire and Ra’am.

“Thank you, Ra’am,” Claire said.

“Are you convinced now, that he’s for real?” Jenny asked her.

Claire eyed Jenny. Then she looked up at Ra’am. “That was, unusual.”

“Ometvaheem are much quicker than humans,” Ra’am said. “One reason is because of our geed’aso. It not only gives added protection and strength, but extra speed that humans do not possess. It is one of the most noticeable differences between us, physically, which I studied thoroughly in my early research.”

Phil stood up, having finished tightening the chair. “Mrs. Bartell,” Phil said, “excuse me, but nobody on earth could move like that. I didn’t even see him move. The next thing I knew, he was holding you.” He looked up at Ra’am. The alien’s height towered about a foot above Phil. “I, for one, am convinced you’re real. Besides,” Phil said, looking at Claire and Warren, “my sister and I saw something in the sky one time, my sister and her friend. We were out in farm country, and there it was, up in the sky…something stationary, and it had no noise, and then dropped some sparks from it. It wasn’t from earth, I’m sure. Needless to say, we left real fast!”

“How come you never told me?” Jenny asked.

“Okay, hold on,” Claire said, looking down and holding her hands up. She then stared up at Ra’am, Trenae standing near him. “I know, you can’t be explained, at least not be me. Would you be willing, to have an expert, a scientist examine you for proof?”

A buzz circulated among the workers. Jenny looked around. She heard “No, no, that won’t work…The government will find out!” and other words to that effect. 

“They’re right, Claire,” Jenny said.

Ra’am hung his arms by his sides and gazed down at Claire. “As your co-workers say, your government has been denying the existence of intelligent alien beings for years. Unless you know have a scientist friend, who you know and trust, and this particular scientist can come within an hour or two, then yes, that would do. But I believe I can give you more proof from simply downloading information onto your computer.”

“You can do that?” Warren asked.

“Yes,” Ra’am answered.

“But I thought aliens,” Claire said, “which most people mention, are small, have big dark eyes, skinny little bodies--”

“No,” Jenny said. “Sorry, to interrupt, Claire, but I’ve researched this. There are many different kinds which have been sighted, but they all seem to be human-like.”

“Human like?” Warren asked, skeptical.

“Yes, you know,” Jenny said, giving glances at Claire, Warren, Ra’am, and Trenae. “They stand upright, have heads similar to ours, with faces, eyes, nose…have arms and legs.”

“She did, she told me too,” said Phil.

“But Jenny told me you believe in God, and that we did not evolve,” Warren said. “That violates everything.”

Excitement began filling the air.

Ra’am explained to all in the room that he would now show them the reason he came to earth. Right away, Jenny knew- he would show the mammoth scene! Before he started, many of the reporters sensed the urgency of the situation, even Mike, the man with the deadline, and scurried to gather cameras, recorders, chairs, and note pads.

When they returned, Ra’am designated an area within the room to display the image, telling them he would produce a flat hemoom prodoh screen so they could all view the scene. He told Trenae to stand near him and then quickly emitted from his koaksekhel a flat, clear, and silvery surface, about 5 by 6 feet in dimension, in front of the sofa near the western wall. It floated above the floor and didn’t touch anything. Jenny quickly scanned around the room to observe everyone’s demeanor. Some shuffled toward it, mouths agape, eyes wide open, while others slowly backed away in fear. Oohs and ahhs could be heard, even some swear words, some ‘Oh my Gods’, and other strange utterances, as Jenny assumed many were finally convinced.

Once everyone seemed satisfied that the screen was harmless and only displayed a moving image, they hovered near it, even those who backed away initially. Ra’am began a detailed explanation. Photos snapped. Mini recorders whizzed away. Pencils scribbled words. Everyone was actively recording Ra’am’s explanation and visual proof.

Time flew by quickly. Soon Ra’am finished. He had explained in detail everything he could about the mammoth scene. Yet before Ra’am would download information to their computers, he first warned them that few people would be ready to accept his information. It was better absorbed a little at a time, gradually, to prevent a panic from too much alien evidence and too much conflict with science and evolution.

All the same, Warren and Claire obliged Ra’am to do so. Jenny led Ra’am and Trenae to her computer and Ra’am accomplished another amazing spectacle. With most everyone on the 6th floor watching, Ra’am spiked a flow of blue light, similar to what Trenae had described in Dr. Stein’s office room, which paralyzed the electricity, into Jenny’s computer from his opened koaksekhel. The light entered the CD drive.

Afterwards, while everyone watched, Jenny sat down and opened a document from an icon on the computer’s desktop. There, in a document window on the monitor, a beautiful three dimensional English-written page appeared, easy to read, with a black background and white and silver letters that floated, producing many layers in different geometric shapes. Its other pages and layers became accessible by the mouse control or keyboard, also easy to understand in concept and magnitude. Ra’am explained even though the document occupied many megabytes of information, its entirety would reside on only several bytes of space on the hard drive.

“It will be listed under your programs, as ‘Harkoav information’,” Ra’am said to everyone listening.

Ra’am leading, everyone then began walking back to the lounge.

During the walk, Claire wanted to know why Ra’am and Trenae hadn’t gone to a TV station or placed a page on the World Wide Web. Trenae quickly answered the first question, explaining to Claire that Ra’am would probably have been laughed at or ridiculed, or worse seen as a being of unstoppable danger, causing panic and instant police contact. Ra’am answered the other question, stating that an Internet page would have been easy for him to produce, but most likely would not have been believed. Only Trenae’s idea, of an in-person interview, with Ra’am keeping close surveillance of her appeared most workable.

No, just when we mentioned police! As the growing group began walking into the lounge room, Jenny eyed two policemen, Josh Sharwood, and two co-workers, co-workers she knew little about, all come toward them.

Claire noticed them too and hurried away, leaving Warren, Trenae, and Ra’am near the lounge’s entrance. But Claire didn’t have far to go, since the two officers hurried up to her, Josh and the two co-workers directly behind them.

Jenny looked at Trenae. Worry covered Trenae’s face. Ra’am wrapped his right arm around his wife, holding her closely. Oh wait! Jenny remembered. Trenae’s probably more concerned of being arrested, through either cops sympathetic with Willson or from her car theft action, than because of Ra’am’s presence around the cops.

“Can we help you two officers?” Claire asked.

Jenny eyed Claire.

“We had a call, of a slight disturbance,” the taller, bald-headed officer said. “A man in a strange disguise with an unusual device.” He looked at Ra’am and Trenae, standing by the left side of the lounge’s entrance. “Is that the man…” His words trailed off.“…with the black outfit?” One look at the cop’s face and anyone could see he didn’t believe his eyes.

Claire turned around and gave Ra’am a glimpse. She looked back at the officers. “Yes, he’s the one. But, we’re having no problems here.”

“Are you sure?” asked the other, shorter cop. “These two employees of yours, Donna Jones and Ed Salinger claim that this man says he’s an alien, and performed a strange feat, taking a layer of his skin off, so he…” The shorter cop looked at Ra’am. “So he, umm, has that strange, blue…tattooed appearance.”

Claire sighed a quick breath. “Yes, that is correct,” she said. “He did perform such a feat. We don’t know how, exactly, but again, I assure you, there is no threat, no problem here. He is calm and docile. And if you don’t mind, we are interviewing this, uh, person, and are not finished yet.”

Josh stepped forward, in front of the cops and near Claire. “Donna and Ed were pretty upset,” Josh said. “They told me to call.”

“Look, umm, why don’t we just talk to him quickly,” said the shorter cop. He walked toward Ra’am. The other cop lifted his walkie-talkie near his mouth.

A quick flash of bright blue light shot through the area. Jenny saw it come from Ra’am’s koaksekhel, her eyes just glimpsing his arm. But most everyone else, except Trenae, seemed clueless as to its origination, some not even noticing it at all. Jenny slowly looked down, away from Ra’am’s koaksekhel, trying to conceal the evidence.

“What was that?” many asked, including the cops.

“Just the fluorescent lights,” Claire said. Jenny felt relieved.

But the shorter cop seemed unimpressed, only concerned with walking toward his target, Ra’am. “So, what’s your name, big guy?” he asked.

Jenny looked at them.

            Ra’am locked eyes with the cop, giving a steely, though non-threatening stare.  “Ra’ammahkar Meenyan.”

At the same, the other cop, the bald one, started to slap his walkie-talkie against his palm. Jenny had heard him try, several times, to reach someone. “That’s strange,” he said quietly. Now she knew what the blue flash accomplished.

The shorter cop turned around. “What’s wrong?” he asked calmly.

“Uh, look. I have an idea!” Claire said excitedly, before the bald cop could answer. “Let’s just all of us, you two officers, Josh, and Donna and Ed, and the rest of us, go into the lounge. Let Ra’am and Trenae sit down, and we can all ask Ra’am questions. That way, you won’t take up much more of our time, as we can interview altogether.”

“If you don’t mind, I’d like to interview him right here,” said the shorter cop. He turned and glared suspiciously up at Ra’am.

Warren stepped forward, near Claire, the shorter cop, Ra’am, and Trenae. “That’s good, Claire,” Warren said, his voice a little nervous. “We can just mingle around, not too close though, and take notes, ask questions, record.” He looked at the shorter cop. “Would that be all right?”

“Well…sure,” the shorter cop said, watching as more and more reporters, note pads, recorders, and cameras in hand, came closer and closer to Ra’am and himself. “Let me just, uh, get most of my questions first, if you don’t mind.”

“Sure, that is fine,” Claire said.

As the shorter cop noticed the lack of fear from the reporters, he seemed to ease up. Ah, but I know, Jenny thought- he’s really just overwhelmed, from too many reporters. A cop’s worse nightmare.

“Hey Jim, before you get going there, can you give me your horn?” the bald cop asked. “I think mine just went.”

“Yeah, here,” Jim, the shorter cop said. He walked away a little and tossed his walkie-talkie to the bald cop. Jim turned back and moved closer to Ra’am.

Jim began asking Ra’am some questions. Reporters listened, jotting notes, taking photos, or clicking on their recorders. Jenny noticed, with Jim continuing his questions, that Jim seemed a little confused and disconcerted, since Donna and Ed, the two who had obviously called the cops in the first place, had joined in fearlessly with the other reporters. As Jim asked Ra’am questions, such as where he lived and where he was from, and Ra’am answered them honestly, even stating his outer space origins with dead seriousness, Donna and Ed scribbled eagerly. Jim also asked questions about Trenae, but was given short, brief answers, by both Ra’am and Trenae, their words directing the subject back to Ra’am.

With more and more alien answers given, Jim and Josh snickered occasionally. Yet both snickermongers soon became rather uncomfortable, noticing everyone else took Ra’am’s words quite seriously.

“Excuse me,” said the bald cop, calling out to Claire. “Do you mind if I use your phone?”

Claire glanced at him. “Sure, go ahead.”

“I still can’t get this thing to work,” he told her, holding up his walkie-talkie.

But Claire didn’t look at him. She now stared at Ra’am.

Yet Jenny watched the other cop. Once finished trying the phone by the front desk, he slammed it down a bit hard. He walked back to Claire. “Are you aware your phone isn’t working?” he asked.

Claire looked at him. But then she slowly gazed up at Ra’am. “Ra’am?” she said, interrupting Jim.

“Yes, Claire?”

“Are you responsible, for their walkie-talkies, and now, the phone?”

Everyone became quiet. Jenny saw Trenae press her body just a little closer to Ra’am and he embrace her tightly.

“Yes,” Ra’am said, his tone calm. He looked at the two cops. “You do not have to fear me. I will not harm anyone.” Disturbingly, Jim, while staring up at Ra’am, began slinking his hand toward the revolver in his belt. Jenny cringed inside. “However, neither can you harm me. Your bullets are now rendered useless.”

Jim halted his hand, right near the gun. He stared at Ra’am’s face. “You…you couldn’t…”

“Why not both of you, you and the other police officer, simply listen now, without speaking,” Ra’am said. “You will not be disappointed.”

The other cop stepped forward. He appeared ready for action. So did Josh.

“Please,” Claire said, holding up her hands. She looked at the cops and Josh. “Let’s not get out of hand. Yes, he’s an alien, from another planet. He’s already proven it.” She looked up at Ra’am. “Look, do you know anyone on earth, both present and past history, who looks like that?” She glanced back at the them. “Ask yourself, guys. Just believe your eyes!”

Jenny felt vindication, hearing Claire’s words of wisdom.

Nevertheless the bald cop began removing handcuffs from his belt and proceeded toward Ra’am. “Everyone, please back away from Ra’am and Trenae, now!” the bald cop said.

“What? No, please,” pleaded Claire. Even so she followed his orders and backed away.

“Please, guys, he’s harmless!” Warren said.

Others backed away too.

“I’m sorry, I’m making this an official problem,” said the bald cop, walking closer to Ra’am. “You obviously need medication. Sir, you’re under arrest. Please--”

He never finished his words. A clear, silvery substance shot forth from Ra’am’s koaksekhel and covered the cop from shoulders to feet. He was frozen in place. And Ra’am didn’t even move his arm! It became apparent to Jenny; hemoom prodoh and his koaksekhel had varied positions from which to work, and even more varied accomplishments.

“What the…” said the bald cop, shocked. He looked down at himself.

Jim swung into action, pulling out his gun. Jenny closed her eyes. Some people screamed. “Hold it!” Jim said. “Slowly put your arms--”

She heard it happen again, a slight ‘woosh’ sound. She opened her eyes. Hemoom prodoh now covered Jim from his shoulders to feet too. His arm was out, gun pointed at Ra’am, now a living, glass sculpture.

Josh move forward, acting heroic. Jenny had to warn him. “Josh! No! He’s not gonna hurt us!”

Claire turned to her left. “Josh, she’s right. Just stop, listen.”

“Josh…” Ra’am said, looking at him, “stay for a while. I cannot talk much longer, for these police officers’ commanders will be searching for them soon, and I do not want to cause further disturbances. So please, be calm. There is nothing to fear. And besides, there is nothing you can do to overpower me.”

“Yes, he’s right, believe me,” Trenae said.

His eyes staring at Ra’am, Josh slowly walked near Claire. Josh was speechless.

At the same time Claire moved closer to Ra’am. “Uh, Ra’am,” she said, “ I don’t like the sound of that.” She looked at the utterly bewildered and trapped officers. They spoke certain expletives, their heads showing their struggle to break free. Yet they couldn’t budge one molecule. “And what about them?” Claire asked. “Will they be okay? Are you really so powerful?”

“Do you believe an intelligent being, who traveled 2.2 million light years would not have such ability?” Ra’am asked. “Even intelligent beings who traveled to earth from trillions of miles within your own galaxy- even their technology exceeds that of your planet’s.”

“But will they be okay?” Claire asked again.

Ra’am bowed his head slightly. “I will not harm anyone, unless there is a very good reason.”

 Jenny found it hard to hear, since the officers vocal oppositions increased louder and louder.

Ra’am walked toward them, Trenae staying behind, standing by the lounge entrance.

Only about 4 feet of space existed from each cop. After Ra’am neared them, he eyed and placed his hands on each one. “I can release both of you, right now.” Both cops became quiet. They looked at Ra’am and listened. “But, only if you agree not to arrest me. I am sure, you must be aware now, how impossible that will be. I only want you to listen to me. You can ask questions, learn a few things. Why destroy this opportunity, based solely on an assumption that my presence is a threat?”

Each cop looked at the other. While they did so, Jenny scanned around the 6th floor, without turning. Everyone’s faces contained both intense wonder and intense trepidation. In spite of this her co-workers were drawing increasingly closer to Ra’am and Trenae.

Finally the cops agreed they would cooperate with Ra’am. Jenny stared back at the cops.

At last, a quiet, understood truce settled within the room. Ra’am released the hemoom prodoh from the officers. The clear, silvery substance formed magical spheres, right near each officer’s side, and then zoomed into Ra’am’s koaksekhel. Immediately afterwards the cops searched over their bodies. Reporters hurried over to see them too. Reassuring everyone, the officers said they were fine and started moving normally, swinging their arms, shaking their legs. Like busy bees many of the reporters wrote down words, the cops speaking rapidly.

“Why don’t we go back into the lounge, sit down?” Warren asked.

Ra’am agreed, as did most everyone else.

Stepping near them, Ra’am gently placed his hands on the officers’ shoulders. “Can you trust me?” he asked.

They looked at each other again, and then looked up at Ra’am. “Is it all right if we don’t trust you, but still listen?” asked the bald cop. “It’s obvious, we can’t arrest you.”

“Yes, that is fine,” Ra’am said.

He began leading them into the lounge. Even Josh came. Claire asked if Josh could stay, because of his job, but Josh seemed non-responsive, as in a trance, his eyes following Ra’am’s movement. He just couldn’t answer.

Soon Ra’am sat on the same sofa again, with Trenae lovingly by his side. Jenny felt impressed and touched within, to see their love. Yet she still couldn’t completely trust Ra’am, at least not with Trenae. Just as Trenae told her many times, his kindly, considerate behavior crossed at odds with his massive physical appearance; Jenny simply couldn’t fathom how he could be so loving. Was it because they were two different species, and Ra’am was infinitely smarter and stronger than Trenae? Or was it because she needed more proof, especially since she wanted the same relationship, for herself?

The group within the lounge began asking numerous and intensive questions of Ra’am. A few reporters brought in more chairs, especially so the two cops and Josh could sit down. So the three men did. They behaved themselves and sat motionless, awe-struck by the alien before them and the words the alien spoke. Others sat down, others stood. It made no difference. Everything from the conspicuous differences of Ra’am’s body, to the inconspicuous, like his internal organs and bone structure was asked. And the comparisons between Ra’yonah and Hebrew, as well as the differences, were asked likewise. History questions came up too, from Harkoav’s beginning to its present.

This opened the door for Harkoav’s religion and their belief in one God, with Ra’am stating that teachings in Harkoav’s bible coincided with similar teachings in earth’s Bible. After these similarities became revealed, Jenny observed many people glow, as though a huge obstacle or burdened had been lifted. They smiled and breathed easier.

Talk arose of Yekomekhd and Ensofyafah, and their significance for the entire universe’s future and its inhabitants. Ra’am explained how earth’s Bible had been misinterpreted, that a heaven existed, but only as a government. There was no hell. He also explained what happened when an intelligent physical being dies. Many then started asking detailed, complicated questions.

Tara had been quiet, only standing near Warren and Claire. But then she came closer to Ra’am, appearing eager to speak. Jenny readied her ears.

“There’s something I have to know,” Tara said. “You often hear of someone who has seen or contacted a love one, after they have died. You know, like a ghost, something like that.”

“Yes,” Ra’am said. “This has occurred on Harkoav as well. Although, as I have told you already…even we do not have all the answers. But, we believe there are two possible causes. The first, that somehow a dimensional rift occurred in the universe, causing the future, in Ensofyafah, to collide with the past. Possibly God allows such an occurrence, to give hope, to build faith.

“And secondly, especially in cases where these dead beings are dangerous or disruptive, possibly it is a phenomenon caused by Afelot, those spiritual beings which turned from God and desire to annoy and negatively influence his creations. Yet again, we do not have all the answers.”

“Oh, I see,” Tara said quietly, appearing satisfied and confused at the same time. She stepped back and stood relaxed, eager to listen again.

Jenny’s coworkers took more photos, placing their recorders near Ra’am as he spoke. More questions came. Josh and the two cops asked their share as well. Many asked more Bible and religious questions, but soon the subject changed to science and technology questions.

Warren wanted to know about Harkoav’s solar system. Phil asked if everyone could see Ha-Ta, as Ra’am had explained many of its details. Ra’am told them no, not today, since they were time limited. He wanted to leave shortly to retrieve his pet dog and visit a friend. A few questions were then asked about L.B., which both Ra’am and Trenae answered. However not Ra’am nor Trenae mentioned Dod’s name or his whereabouts. Jenny remembered earlier that morning how they both decided to keep his name and location anonymous, until Dod gave his ‘okay’. But the subject quickly changed back to science and technology, thus fortunately negating talk of Dod.

Phil appeared blown away that a Memadshakor could travel underground, even through the earth’s core. Many agreed it seemed impossible. In fact Jenny had heard numerous people in the room judge most of Ra’am’s scientific explanations as unbelievable.

Questions about Harkoav and its relationship with earth gathered the highest attention. Ra’am explained that in the local group of galaxies, Harkoav existed as the most powerful, yet friendly system. No other system could overtake them, though some had tried, and thus their system remained the peacemaker, the system all turned to in times of trouble. Normally when encountering a new planet of intelligent beings, Harkoav intended to establish friendship, as it would with earth, so that a certain form of commerce could be established. Yet Harkoav would not interfere with earth’s many governments. Not interfere, that is, unless earth appeared on the brink of destroying itself. Harkoav would then intervene.

And if dangerous alien invasions occurred, either from another intelligent alien species or even from wayward factions of Harkoav, like Makhtah, then Harkoav would intervene likewise. However Ra’am assured everyone that Makhtah recently established a peace treaty, whereby the leaders of that planet promised to stay clear of earth. Nevertheless a threat still existed. Trenae affirmed this too, explaining how she had been to Harkoav and heard this stated.

Many in the room, especially Mike and the other men, likened Harkoav to the U.S., becoming earth’s ‘big brother’. It sounded like a good relationship. Yet Ra’am hesitated, and then explained much was needed to establish this relationship, especially further gatherings between government officials from both planets. Ra’am’s study of earth was only preliminary.

But maybe, Jenny worried, Ra’am felt much was needed to establish a Harkoav-earth relationship because he had his own doubts. She immediately recalled Sheveetah’s words, how rumors avowed Harkoav initiated the war with the Jardackians. And then, worse of all, that Harkoav possibly allowed Ra’am to commit such brutality in that war. Was Ra’am, in a way, calming their fears, or trying to forewarn them? Leery doubt scarred Jenny’s conscience. 

The subject soon changed, altering Jenny’s mind frame, and more questions were asked of science, space travel, and the galaxies, especially galaxies containing both Harkoav and earth planets. Then the topic gradually shifted to Trenae. In particular, the women in the room became fascinated that Ra’am and Trenae had fallen in love, that they had married. Even more, many people desired to know how Trenae felt when she experienced space travel and visited another world.

Although Trenae seemed at ease answering most questions, Jenny noticed Ra’am became increasingly uncomfortable. Often he would abruptly take the question asked of Trenae, not allowing her to fully answer or answer at all. Puzzling. Was it due to Ra’am’s protective nature, or was he trying to quiet her, lest she speak something he didn’t want the others to hear? Trenae seemed very comfortable with Ra’am, even when he interrupted her. Besides, when he interrupted her, his manner appeared obliging. Yet Jenny still felt concern for Trenae’s well being. And she still felt determined to find the complete truth.

Before long Ra’am seemed ready to leave. He stood up. Kindly, gently he helped Trenae arise from the sofa. “We must conclude this interview,” he said, his deep voice filling the room, his words abrupt, precise. “I thank you for listening.” He bowed his head. 

All who were seated then stood up too.

Claire thrust her hand out, near Ra’am. “I want to thank you, for everything.” She looked down at her hand, but then focused her eyes up at Ra’am. “This is our form of greeting, or a way of saying thanks.”   

Ra’am gently took her hand. “I know,” he said. “I have been here many years. I know everything about your world. In fact, I know more than you, far more.” He smiled at her, exposing his blue-tinted teeth.

“Yes, I’m sure you do,” she said, smiling. “I’m...still confused, though.” She continued shaking his hand. “How is it, that most alien encounters we hear of are so evil and violent, and yet you, are so good?” She released her hand.

Ra’am wrapped his right arm around Trenae. “Not all encounters, whose information I have accessed, were negative. However, to understand, simply know this- each intelligent species…each intelligent individual, chooses its own path. It is no more complicated than those words.”

“Yes, I understand. And,” Claire said, with a brisk chuckle, “at least you’re one of the good guys.”

“Yes, I am.”

As Ra’am tried to leave with Trenae, many people begged him to stay, to answer more questions. Warren wanted to shake Ra’am’s hand. And so did some other men. Women too. The two police officers, who had behaved nicely, also requested a handshake. Josh did likewise. Ra’am politely complied. Unfortunately his friendly demeanor seemed to ignite their desires even more. They lost even more fear of him. After a short time it became overwhelming.

Warren intervened. “Okay, okay. Let’s ease up, people. You know Ra’am and Trenae need to leave.”

“Yes, your boss is right,” said the bald cop, motioning his hands in the air, conveying quiet and calm. “There’s a little too much crowding in here. We need to spread out a little, give them some room.”

Hearing the officer’s words, all in the room started backing away and silencing their numerous questions and wants. Jenny, along with Warren, Claire, Josh, and the two cops, followed Ra’am and Trenae to the elevator entrance, while the others stayed behind and talked amongst themselves, a low mumbling buzz filling the 6th floor.

The two officers walked along, giving apologies to Ra’am for trying to arrest him. Ra’am said not to worry, that he understood their job and their aspiration to protect others. Trenae, ignoring the two cops, talked with Claire more.

Eventually their conversations seemed to dwindle a bit and the two officers and Josh became rather quiet. The three men then entered the elevator, after saying many heart-felt goodbyes, many words of thanks for the incredible experience. Once the elevator doors closed, only Jenny, Trenae, Ra’am, Warren, and Claire remained.

“Phew, I’m glad they’re not here anymore!” Trenae said, placing a hand on her chest.

“Why?” Claire asked.

“You know, because of Willson, and his mob connections, and how they were involved with the police and local governments.”

“Oh,” Claire said, looking up at Ra’am and smiling, “you don’t have to worry about that now, with this big guy!”

Trenae looked up at Ra’am and smiled too. Ra’am wrapped his arm around her again and held her close. “I know,” Trenae said. She looked at both Warren and Claire. “Still, do you think you guys could print an article now, about what they did to me, both Willson and his mob? And all those poor other girls? Because it is all the truth. Just like Ra’am is the truth.”

Claire sighed and touched her face. “Ooh, that’s a tough one.”

Jenny figured Claire felt obligated to Ra’am, after the incredible interview he just gave them. But Jenny also knew The Examiner’s parent company, a larger, nationwide firm, couldn’t take the risk.

“I have to say,” Claire said, “even now, that unless you can give me some concrete evidence, like a police report or court document, that the answer is, well…still no. I’m sorry, especially after all you two did this morning.”

“No, it’s all right,” Trenae said.

“Those cops, who were here, they seemed…” Claire said. “ Possibly you could talk to them.”

“No, no,” Trenae said, lowering her head, shaking it slowly. “I can’t trust any of them.”

“Phil’s been helping me, to access information over the Internet and other sources,” Jenny said. “We do have more evidence, but you’ll have to look at it.” She eyed both Warren and Claire “And see if it will work.”

“Yes, sure,” said Warren. “I assume you’ll have to go home, get your materials together, besides what you have here on the computer.”

“That would probably be best,” Jenny said. “However,” she said, looking up at Ra’am, “right now, I want to get a camera, and go with Ra’am and Trenae, if that’s all right with you.”

“Yes, you may come,” Ra’am answered.

“Is that okay with you?” Jenny asked Claire.

Claire was quiet for a moment. She checked her watch. “It’s 11:05,” she said. “It will be all right, as long as you come back soon. We need all your information, to publish an article on Ra’am, and what his message is. We’ll have you write most of it, do some editing.”

“Then you’ll publish what Ra’am wants to say, to our planet?” Trenae asked, beaming.

Warren and Claire laughed.

“Well, normally, we wouldn’t,” said Claire. “But, since there were so many witnesses, especially the two police officers, who, by the way…” She looked at Jenny. “Signed releases, to use their names and absolutely verify they saw Ra’am and what he did.”

“Really? I didn’t see,” Jenny said.

“Yes. Mike interviewed what they thought, what they saw, before they left. And did you know we had some people from circulation and classified here too?”

“Really?” Jenny asked.

“Also printing,” said Warren. “So, this can’t be considered an inside deal on the 6th floor, like we all went crazy-nutso!”

A few laughed. Ra’am smiled.

Claire looked back at Trenae. “So, yes, with all the information we have and proof, we can publish the article. The public has an absolute right to know this.”

“I agree,” said Ra’am.

After a few more exchanges of words between them, Jenny left with Ra’am and Trenae, equipped with a good digital camera.

She knew what she had to do. Once on Ha-Ta, she would take numerous photos of the spacecraft’s interior. And once at Dod’s, with his permission, she would take more photos. And once all three of them relaxed, she needed to question Ra’am, about Trenae.















                                                                      Chapter 30



Full of curiosity, the camera in her hand, Jenny traveled around the greenhouse and storage galeel khayeh, studying Trenae and Ra’am’s various belongings and snapping photos. While she did this and Ra’am sat by the shleetah maksheer, navigating their course to Dod’s house in Spokane, Trenae became quiet, thinking.

She felt relieved. It had been hard appearing calm and happy around all those people. If it hadn’t been for Ra’am’s protective presence she would have been a nervous mess. Not only did the police officers’ presence unravel her, especially when they attempted to arrest Ra’am, but the initial fear and shock on everyone’s faces did a number on her too. Somehow she felt what they felt. Their questioning, of their own eyes and ears, that overwhelming and odd combination of terror and disbelief was a feeling she understood completely. After all, they were her people, her species.

Luckily not one person mentioned Fontel’s and her past experience as a stripper. It mattered little if Harkoav knew her past. But here, on earth, it definitely mattered. I need that image of my past, she thought, before my father died, when I was an innocent, sweet girl, who most people liked and befriended. No longer did she want the image of being the slut, the stripper, someone most people, especially women, despised.

And to upset her image further now she was married to an alien. Yet, of course, what others thought of Ra’am mattered insignificantly. It was just that her past, before Ra’am and after her father died- if only she could erase that time. Forever.

“So this is the rock?” Jenny asked. Trenae’s thoughts crumbled away.

 “Yes, here.” Trenae lifted and placed the dark, twisted object into Jenny’s hand. “Watch out, it’s really heavy.”

Jenny’s arms sunk down. “Whoa! This is heavy!” Finding some extra strength, Jenny lifted it back up and held it near her body. Her fingertips felt across the rock’s surface. “Wow, and strange too.”

“Would you like to see my father’s box?” Trenae didn’t much care to be around that rock.

“Sure, but let me take a few photos. Here, you take it now.” Jenny handed the rock back to her. As Trenae stood with it and smiled, Jenny clicked a few pictures.

Trenae searched briefly and found the metal box. Several pieces of sticky black tape remained on the surface, yet it opened with ease.

Jenny drew close to the box, once the lid was removed.

“There’s your father’s urn,” Jenny said softly. No. Tears watered Trenae’s eyes. She loved her father so much. Jenny lightly brushed her fingers across its surface, just like Trenae had done in intergalactic space. “Those are pretty raised flowers. It’s a nice design.”

“Thanks.” Trenae wiped her eyes quickly. Though she gazed at the urn, she could see Jenny looking at her for a moment.

“And that’s his Marine Corps medallion.” With gentle clasps, Jenny lifted the medallion and looked at it.

“And there’s the letters, the watch,” Trenae said, feeling each object.

“Yes, I see.”

Trenae glance away, toward the floor. She caught Jenny staring at her again, out of her eyes’ corners. Trenae lifted her head. “What is it, Jenny?”

“Are you certain, you know what you’re doing?”

“What do you mean?”

“With Ra’am, with everything.”

 A choke tightened Trenae’s throat. “Well, no, I’m not absolutely certain, if that’s what you mean.” She drew in air through her nose. “But I know, I love Ra’am.”

Jenny moved closer and wrapped her arm around Trenae’s shoulders. “Hey, don’t mind me. I just know you’ve had a hard life. And I’m sorry about your dad. That’s why, I hope your future is much better. Okay?” Jenny hugged her tightly for a moment.

Trenae looked in her face. “Yes, I’m okay now.”

After their close moment, Trenae put her father’s box away. Jenny asked if she could take a picture, of Trenae holding the box closed. She agreed.

Soon they were walking back toward the shleetah maksheer. Arriving near Ha-Ta’s front, they walked to the evesmol. Jenny placed her camera on the evesmol, next to her purse.

“Do you mind if I sit by Ra’am?” Jenny asked quietly.

This felt odd. Trenae looked at her. An expression of boldness and curiosity covered Jenny’s face. Oh well. Trenae figured she herself could just stand and lean against the wall, behind the shleetah maksheer, to be near both of them. “Yeah, that’s okay. But why?”

“I want to ask him a few more questions.”

Trenae shrugged. “I guess he won’t mind.”

And here she thought Jenny had finished. The reporter with the pretty auburn hair had taken many photos in Ha-Ta, of all the four rooms, the three galeel khayeem, even the one with the bathroom. She had taken individual pictures of certain objects and items, like in the eyzkher tagleet, and had also snapped photos of different Harkoav food items in the eyzkher mazon. Ra’am had even stretched Ha-Ta again, so Jenny could snap photos of the ma’argahar. As Ra’am displayed different scenes from both above ground and below ground, Jenny also took pictures of the khalon. Yes, she figured, Jenny had covered everything. And the interviews between her and Jenny all along, plus the interview this morning at The Examiner office, certainly should have covered it all.

Trenae walked to the shleetah maksheer, following Jenny.

“Do you mind if I sit here Ra’am?” Jenny asked.

Ra’am turned and looked up at her.

From behind them, standing, Trenae could see Ra’am’s eyes stare daggers at Jenny. Did he know something about Jenny that she didn’t?

“Yes, you may,” Ra’am said calmly, his voice masking his inner feelings.

His stare seemed to frazzle Jenny a bit. It didn’t matter; Jenny sat in Trenae’s usual seat, next to Ra’am. “How much longer do we have, before arriving at Dod’s?” Jenny asked him.

“Approximately 5 minutes.”

“Have time for a few more questions?”

“I believe so. What interests you?”

“How is your species at repartee? I know you’re so superior in technology, intelligence, and strength, but what of that?”

Slowly Ra’am turned his seat until he faced Jenny. He rested his arms on the chair’s sides. “Do you desire a debate? For if you do, than I can tell you that humans and ometvaheem are nearly matched in this area, since it is often a matter of luck which determines the outcome.”

“So, you’re saying,” Jenny said, “that even though you could overpower us with your technology, intelligence, and strength, we probably have a 50/50 chance with repartee?”

Ra’am folded his arms across his massive chest. “Possibly more like 70/30 or 60/40 in our favor, due to our, as you say ‘superior’ intelligence.”

“Okay, I can deal with that.” She looked at him sideways, since she hadn’t moved her seat. “But, would you be prepared to lose an argument, lose a war of words?”

Where was Jenny going with this? Curiosity got Trenae.

Ra’am remained steadfast. Of course. It took a lot to discomfort him, at least, now, at this point in his life.

“It is not important whether one is to win or lose an argument…or, a battle,” Ra’am said. “For it is often impossible to determine the outcome. Therefore, it is far more important to be prepared for the challenge, and be willing to accept its outcome, whether its outcome is positive or negative. This is the true victory in any battle.”

“So, you’re prepared for a challenge,” Jenny said, firing away her words, “a war of wits?”  She turned her chair to face Ra’am, curling her legs tightly underneath the seat, keeping them from Ra’am’s tall legs.

Ra’am kept his arms stoically crossed. “I am always prepared for a challenge. It is my training and my nature. But are you ready?”

“Yeah, I’m ready. Why wouldn’t I be?” Jenny said. Trenae noticed she seemed nervous, yet bound to persist. “So, why did you come to earth, really? Tell me the truth.”

“I have told the truth.”

“No, I don’t think so. Something’s missing. Come on, Ra’am, God doesn’t want us to lie.”

Ouch! That stabbed. “Jenny, what’s the matter?” Trenae asked. She stepped closer to them, struggling her steps a little with the high heels on her boots.

But Jenny ignored Trenae.

Ra’am placed his arms back on his chair’s sides. “What do you think is missing?”

“I think, it’s not just Makhtah that wants earth’s women,” Jenny said. “I believe, it’s the Harkoavians too. But I think you want more, much more, too.”

“Spoken with true reporter determination,” Ra’am said, giving a brief, assured smile.

“Yeah, thanks, but don’t change the subject. Answer me please.”

“After viewing my wife, there are possibly a few lonely ometvaheem on Harkoav who would love to meet human females.”

“Oh, so that’s it. You took Trenae out of loneliness?”

“Jenny, come on! What are you doing?” Trenae asked. She now stood near both of them.

“Are you one who hears, but does not listen?” Ra’am asked. “Trenae has told you everything about us and yet you still question my motives?”

Jenny looked up at Trenae. “Are you sure this is what you want, to be with this alien being?”

“What do you mean?” Trenae asked, narrowing her eyes, shaking her head. “Of course I want him. You know how much I love him, how much he loves me!”

Jenny looked back at Ra’am. “Is that true, do you love her?”

Ra’am leaned forward, staring unwaveringly at Jenny. “The same love we share, is what you search for your future.”

Jenny blinked many times, her eyes shocked. Not for long, though. “Never mind me,” she said. “Answer my question! Do you love Trenae?”

Ra’am sat upright, yet seemed relaxed. “Yes I love Trenae, very much. But you need to stop this questioning before you speak words you live to regret. You do not have enough knowledge or authority to judge our situation.”

“Oh, I don’t?” Jenny said, anger in her voice. “You come to me, through Trenae, and profess your belief in God, which therefore makes you morally accountable--”

“Why is that?” Ra’am asked.

“Why is what?”

“That I am morally accountable.”

Confusion blanketed Jenny’s face. “But do you really love her?”

Ra’am looked at Trenae. “My love for Trenae is my life now, because I cannot live without her.”

Even with Ra’am’s beautiful, touching words, Trenae felt some anger. Jenny was yanking out some personal stuff from both of them. But she also sensed Jenny was acting out of concern too. “Jenny,” Trenae said, crossing her arms, staring at Jenny. “I feel like you’re being my mother here. Can you stop it, please?”

“You have no mother, not a real one anyway.” Jenny looked at Trenae. “That’s just it, Trenae. You have no relatives now, who will look out for you! Don’t you see?”

“No, don’t YOU see!” Trenae said. “You’re right, I don’t have anyone. Not my mother, my brother, no relatives. Ra’am is all I have.”

“But that just leaves you vulnerable.” Jenny stood up from the chair.

“Vulnerable?” Trenae asked softly, though slightly agitated. “Then why do you want Ra’am to take you back with us, if you’re so worried about him?”

Ra’am swirled his seat so he faced them both. “I believe,” he said, “Jenny is testing me.” He looked at Trenae. “She is searching for truth, before both you and she leave earth. But the truth has already been shown.”

Jenny shot a glare at Ra’am. “Oh, has it? From what I know, you have a bad temper. Sure, it’s normally from physical confrontations, but what if…” She moved closer, standing in front of Trenae, yet looking at Ra’am. “What if it’s simply words that anger you. How do you handle it then?”

Wow, her courage is amazing. For Ra’am glared up at Jenny with intense black eyes. It would have been enough to make most everyone on The Examiner’s 6th floor cringe and melt.

“Are you still determined to wrestle me with your thoughts and words?” Ra’am asked. “Because, I will warn you, Jenny, I can crush you with my words. You do not want to attempt this with me.”

“Oh, I see,” Jenny said, “my question has been answered. You do have a temper when words get to you.”

Ra’am leaned back and sat upright. “We have an aphorism on Harkoav, for those in the military. One should be careful what one speaks and does to those in their khayaleem alliance. For when in a life or death battle, fighting against the other side, will their soul truly discern who is the real enemy?”

Jenny crossed her arms. “I take that as a thinly veiled threat! Are you threatening harm to me?”

Ra’am heaved a sigh, looked down briefly, and then rested his arms on the chair. “No, I am not.” He stared at Jenny. “What I am trying to say, is if you come back with us, to Harkoav…where is your comfort, as you travel through a dimensional portal in intergalactic space, and then visit a solar system alien and unfamiliar from your own? Where is your comfort, when you did not seek to befriend the only lifeline and guide to your precarious journey, but endeavored, instead…to only anger and test him?”

Trenae watched quietly as Jenny backed away a little and developed a perplexed expression on her face. Though she tried to stare back at Ra’am, as he stared at her, she lost; Jenny lowered her head. “I’m sorry…I need to sit over there now,” she said. She walked toward the evesmol.

Not saying a word, Ra’am simply turned his seat toward the shleetah maksheer. Cold, heavy air infused the space between both battling opponents. Great, Trenae thought, and it’s because of me. Since she cared for both of them it was difficult.

She walked to the evesmol and gently sat by Jenny. “Jenny, what’s wrong?”

Jenny behaved confused, withdrawn. “I’m all right. Look, just sit by Ra’am now, okay? I need to be alone, get myself together.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.” Jenny looked down at her legs and crossed them. She turned her body away. A wall surrounded, separated. And Trenae wasn’t invited within, not now.

Releasing a quiet sigh, Trenae stood up and walked back by Ra’am.

She sat down. Ra’am gazed at her, his eyes concerned. He held out his right hand. She promptly grasped his hand.

Still caressing her hand, Ra’am looked at the khalon. His other hand pressed a button and produced an image on the khalon, of many leaf-less trees, pine trees and a large yard, covered with tan, dry grass just beyond the trees. At the farther edge of the yard, on an incline, rested a huge, three story modern brick home.

“Dod’s house!” Trenae said excitedly. “We’re here already?”

“We are here?” Jenny asked softly, from across Ha-Ta’s expanse.

Ra’am turned left, viewing Jenny. “Yes, we are,” he said. He stood up, still holding Trenae’s hand, allowing her to stand up likewise.

Before moving any further, Ra’am released Trenae’s hand and applied a hemoom prodoh camouflage to his viewable skin.

He and Trenae then walked over near Jenny. Trenae kept her gaze toward the floor; she just couldn’t look at Jenny now. She heard Jenny stand up though.

“We are going to visit Dod now,” Ra’am said. “His family will not be here now, fortunately--”

“Why?” Jenny asked, her tone far more subdued than before. “Where are they?”

Trenae lifted her head.

 “Dod’s wife and younger child are visiting relatives, while the kids are in school…That is beside my point now. I would appreciate it, if you treated Dod with great respect. Dod has been there for me, whenever I needed anything over the years.”

“Yes, I understand,” Jenny said. “I’m sorry, I’ll try to do better.”

“No. You WILL do better,” Ra’am said firmly.

Ra’am led the way onto the hemoom prodoh disk. During the time they traveled to the surface, Trenae stood between Jenny and Ra’am, hoping to quell any possible discord between them, giving Jenny a smile now and then.

All three soon arrived above ground. Ra’am pressed and widened a path with his feet and body through the small amount of woods, taking them onto Dod’s lawn. They began walking across the property’s breadth, to the large home.

“Nice place,” Jenny said.

Trenae walked on Jenny’s right, both of them behind Ra’am. “Yeah, it is. Has 3 floors, 4 bedrooms and 4 baths.”

Jenny didn’t respond. She became quiet, their steps drawing them closer to Dod’s. 

“I can’t believe it,” Jenny finally said, glancing around. “So this is Spokane.”

“Well, actually more to the east and north of Spokane, near Trentwood, but pretty close. Near some hills,” Trenae said.

“Hey, by the way,” Jenny said quietly. “I thought Dod didn’t want you to come here, because of Willson. Isn’t this very risky for him?”

“Well, don’t forget, I’ve been here before, when we first left earth. But each time, like now too, Dod hasn’t had his family around. I’ve never met his wife and kids, and neither has Ra’am. I guess he felt its better that way. Ra’am got in touch with Dod over the Internet last night, while we were up on The Examiner roof. Dod wrote back right away, told us to come before noon.”

“So he’s kept his family away, but still let you come?”


“I still think that’s risky.”

“Why? No one knows Dod and I are connected, except if they saw us at the mall that time…but…”

“You see? It’s possible then.”

“Yeah, maybe.” Trenae started to worry a little.

Jenny became quiet again, as they neared Dod’s back door.

“How come you never just came to my house like this, instead of taking a taxi?” Jenny asked, breaking her silence.

“Well, it was my idea. I wanted to appear normal, at least, for the beginning of our interviews. Ra’am would just call a taxi, give them an address, and I would wait there. Ra’am was always watching me though. And then, after they picked me up, I came to your house. Simple.”

“Sure, I see, trying to trick me, so I wouldn’t suspect,” Jenny said, smiling. Trenae smiled back at her.

Maybe the normal Jenny had returned.

“When does Ra’am want to leave?” Jenny asked.

“I’m not sure. Do you want me to ask?”

“No, just leave him be now. We can ask later.”

A white marble patio, jutting outward from the back door loomed before them. It nestled itself between the large three-car garage on the left and a protruding rectangular portion of the home’s lower level on the right

Dod exited from the back door. As he closed the door behind him, Trenae could see a sliding glass door coming off the right side of the patio. Hmm, hadn’t noticed that on my last visit here. She scanned forward. Near the patio’s center was a white umbrella covered table, with several white plastic chairs. Except for a few toys here and there, everything looked very clean and neat.

Something else caught her eye, on the far right. She turned her head. An enormous wood-constructed jungle gym, complete with swings, a tree house, and a slide took up space on the brown grass. If only I had been so lucky as a kid, to have such luxuries.

“Ra’am, it’s so good to see you, guy!” Trenae turned forward. Dod had his arms outstretched toward Ra’am’s shoulders. Ra’am leaned over and gave Dod a warm hug.

Trenae looked to her left, at Jenny. Jenny blinked her eyes again, either in disbelief or comforting relief. You see, he’s not that bad. She looked back at Ra’am.

Their hug lasted only a moment, typical of males. After Dod patted Ra’am’s back a few times, they stared in each other's faces.

“Did you have a good journey?” Dod asked.

“Yes, it went well,” Ra’am answered. “I wish you could have come.”

“Ahh, maybe someday. I bet you’re very eager to see L.B.!”

“Very much so. Is he inside?”

“Sure is!” Dod said gleefully.

Ra’am turned around and faced Trenae and Jenny. “Dod, this is Jenny Zarrett,” he said, eyeing Jenny.

Dod walked forward and held out his hand. His expression seemed a little different- mistrustful, maybe? “From The Examiner?” Dod asked, taking Jenny’s hand.

“Yes,” Jenny said. They shook hands. “How did you know?”

Dod released her hand. “Ra’am and I were communicating, last night. He told me about your interview with Trenae. Good job!” He gave a quick smile.

Crossing his arms, Dod stared at Jenny for a moment. Jenny smiled, yet stiffened a little. “Are you going to run their story?” Dod asked.

“We are working on it today, to print for tomorrow morning. I’m just here to gather more details, take pictures.” She glanced down at the camera and note pad in her hands. She lifted her gaze, looking at Dod again. “Do you think it would be all right, if I ask you some questions, take some pictures?”

“I think,” Dod said. “It depends. You know, of course, about Trenae’s situation.”

“Oh yes. We were just talking about it. I know it’s risky, for your family.”

“It is.”

“You can just tell me at any point, if you do or don’t want a picture taken, or have something off record, not printed,” Jenny said. “And I’ll make sure I ask. Is that okay?”

Dod looked up at Ra’am. “What’d you think, big brother?”

Ra’am smiled at him. “I think her advice is good. Simply let Jenny know.”

Dod brought his hands together. “Okay,” he said cheerfully, “Let’s go inside!”

Along with Ra’am and Jenny, Trenae followed Dod toward his back door. Dod began entering his doorway.

SCREECH! Tires burning pavement came from the home’s front. Trenae turned around- she felt confused- the sound echoed through the backyard.

“Who’s that?” Jenny asked. Trenae turned back to Dod.

Dod smiled and shook his head. “Oh, there he goes again.”

“Who?” Jenny asked.

Dod looked at her. “This 17-year-old, in his red and silver 70’ GTO hardtop, racing up and down the street. We, the neighbors and I, have been dealing with it awhile. Maybe it’s time for another talk with the parents, or another call to the police.”

Jenny snickered and huffed. “Kids!”

“I know, tell me!” said Dod.

“Shouldn’t he be in school?” Trenae asked.

Dod laughed. “If I was his father, he’d be somewhere all right!”

Ra’am chuckled a little too.

“Come on, let’s go in,” Dod said, leading them through the door.

Ra’am reached down and took Trenae’s hand. Jenny followed behind them.

Shortly they entered a large room and Dod then became stationary, causing the others to pause too. I’ve never seen this room, Trenae thought. Her last visit occurred primarily on the main or first floor. Scanning around, she figured this floor as some sort of finished basement. The room was large, with hunter green carpet and lots of children’s toys. And a large ornamental fish pond. With a stone wall around the base and a tall, rocky waterfall behind it, the fish pond was tucked away into the far right corner of the room. A vertical chain link fence, of about 1½  feet in height covered the top front perimeter of the pond, imbedded in the concrete rim. Probably for the children’s’ protection, she figured.

“This is my kids’ playroom,” Dod said. “Sorry if it’s a little messy.” Trenae kept her eyes on the pond. Out of her eye’s corner, she could see Dod gaze at her. “That’s my oldest son’s idea. He loves gold fish, wanted a natural-like setting for them.”

“Well, hey, if you have the money,” Jenny said. Trenae turned left, looking beyond Ra’am. Jenny was giving a nonchalant once over of the room. “Then sure, that’s great.”

Dod chuckled a bit, yet seemed a little uneasy. He began walking forward, to a door on the left wall, opposite a stairway heading up to the main floor. Everyone followed him.

“I’ve been keeping Buffy and her puppies in the garage,” Dod said. “My wife and I built an enclosed area so the pups and their mom would stay out of trouble, you know, not doing any specials on the carpet.” Dod laughed. Ra’am smiled. “We just keep one car in the garage, usually the Lincoln Navigator, so the other garage stalls are unused.” Dod placed his hand on the doorknob and began twisting it. “L.B. wanted to play in there with them, so that’s where he is now.” He opened the door.

Warmth and light from the garage flowed on Trenae. Scents of dog food and motor oil  accosted her, along with yelps and scampering paw steps, echoing in the garage, striking her ear. She looked ahead. Inside an enclosed chain linked area, about 3 or 4 feet high from the concrete floor, scurried adorable, golden bundles of energy. Ra’am and Dod led her toward them, Jenny following behind now. Getting closer, she now saw L.B. playing with the puppies. The pup’s mother, Buffy was in the area too, yet stood farther away and merely barked a few times.

Trenae looked up at Ra’am. He had removed his camouflage, appearing his normal ometvah self. But his eyes stared toward L.B.

She turned her gaze too. Not hesitating, L.B. left the realm of the playful pups, jumped over the far left side of the fence, ran around the enclosure’s sides, and charged straight for Ra’am. Ra’am leaned down on his knees. An onslaught of tongue laps greeted his face and hands.

“L.B., L.B., I missed you too,” Ra’am said. “But wait, slow down.” He laughed, trying to embraced his dog.

Trenae smiled and turned left, at Jenny. Her eyes also noticed Dod’s black Navigator, beyond Jenny parked by the farthest wall.

Jenny lifted the camera to her eye, distracting Trenae from Dod’s SUV. Focusing toward Ra’am and L.B., Jenny snapped some pictures. Softened features replaced Jenny’s former hardened antagonistic attitude. That’s good.

Jenny turned toward Dod, on Trenae’s right. “Is that okay, the photos with Ra’am, with your garage background?” she asked, her words weighed with sadness.

Could I be wrong? Trenae watched and listened, waiting for Jenny to speak again.

Dod stared at Jenny, and then he took a gander around. “Sure, that should be all right.” He looked at Ra’am. “That okay with you, big guy?”

Ra’am yet struggled to calm L.B., though appearing to enjoy the dog’s attention thoroughly. “Yes, I am the subject of the day anyway,” he said, between L.B.’s licks and paw grabs.

Cute, yelping dog voices and pattering paws took Trenae’s attention again. She gazed down at the fence. Then she looked at Dod. “How did you set up this fence? It’s nice.”

“It just comes in sections, you link it together, and place it on the floor,” Dod said. “It’s great for little ones, but as you can see, does no good for adult dogs.”

“Yeah, that’s for sure.” Trenae grinned and stepped closer to the fence. She walked inside. “Come here, you silly ones,” she said, her voice soft, high-pitched. Sure enough the little furry shrimps came running over and jumped up, vocalizing adorable growls and barks. They even licked and gently bit her, typical of puppies. She laughed. “You silly little pups.”

For a while, Trenae occupied herself with the puppies. They were such fun! Time, place, and people vanished from her presence.

“I…I need to go outside,” Jenny said. Trenae’s daydreaming crumbled. Again Jenny sounded depressed. “Let me know, if you need me.”

Carefully removing herself from the puppies, Trenae stood up.

“Is there something wrong?” Ra’am asked Jenny. He too arose from the floor. L.B. hopped and pranced around Ra’am’s legs.

White gloom colored Jenny’s face. “I just…I need some air, that’s all.”

“Jenny?” Trenae asked. “You want me to come with you?”

But Jenny was already walking out the garage’s doorway. “No, you stay here,” she said, not even turning to glance back. She left the garage.

Trenae walked over by Ra’am and softly petted L.B. on the head once near her husband. Dod stepped near them too. She looked up at Ra’am.

“What do you think is wrong?” Ra’am asked Trenae.

“Maybe she feels guilty,” Dod answered quickly. She looked at Dod. He was staring up at Ra’am. “For what she did.”

“What did she do?” Trenae asked, puzzled.

“She called Dod, and disguised her voice as your voice, Trenae,” Ra’am answered. She looked at Ra’am. “Initially Dod did think it was you. But then the call ended, hastily, as though she hung up. Afterwards, Dod checked the number, with caller ID. It came from The Examiner. After writing to each other last night, on the Internet, we were able to ascertain it was most certainly not you.”

“But you’re not absolutely certain it was Jenny?” Trenae asked.

“Well, no,” Dod said, “but, then, who else?”

“But why then?” she asked.

“She was probably confirming information you gave her,” Ra’am said. “However, I do not feel it was an appropriate tactic.”

Trenae sighed. “Shoot…I should go see if she’s all right.”

“Yes, but come right back,” Ra’am said.

“Actually,” Dod said, “I want Ra’am to come upstairs, to my computer. He needs to download some information--”

“Like what you gave to The Examiner?” she asked.

“Yes,” Ra’am said.

“Okay, let me go see her. You guys go up, I’ll find you.”

“No, I will wait here,” Ra’am said. “Go see her. Let us know.”

Ra’am nodded in approval and Trenae left the garage, with Dod, L.B., and Ra’am following her. Dod clicked the door closed behind her. She continued walking to the right, while Ra’am and Dod stood by the door, talking. But once arriving at the outside door and looking back, she saw Dod now lead Ra’am toward the corner fish pond. L.B., still hopping around Ra’am’s legs, followed them.

Trenae opened the door and stepped outside. She decided she wouldn’t ask Jenny about the mysterious phone call. Even if it was Jenny, she understood the necessity of confirming such an unusual story, of her and Ra’am. It was, after all, highly unbelievable.

Soft rustling sounds came from the right. She turned that direction. Leaning her back against the garage’s wall, Jenny had one hand covering her eyes, her head hung sorrowfully.

 Trenae took cautious, slow steps over to her.

“Jenny? Are…are you all right?” She tenderly placed her hand on Jenny’s shoulder.  “Jenny, what’s wrong?”  A tear stream flowed down one of Jenny’s cheeks. But still, no response. “Jenny?”

A long, quiet moment past. Jenny removed her hand from her eyes and looked at Trenae. But she said nothing. No doubt now that Jenny had been crying; but judging from the redness and tears swamping her eyes, it appeared beyond crying, as though Jenny had been really bawling, like a baby.

“Can… we go for a walk?” Jenny asked, her voice shaky.

Remembering Ra’am’s words, Trenae couldn’t give a direct answer. “Sure, uh, just one minute, though. I need to tell Ra’am.” She began running to the door, turning back a second. “Just wait.”

Trenae hurried inside. Once there, she explained to Ra’am and Dod just how upset Jenny appeared. Then she explained how Jenny needed to go for a walk. Ra’am said he and Dod would be upstairs for a short time, by Dod’s computer, but would eventually come downstairs, by the fish pond. The reason- one of the kid’s toys, an extremely favorite toy, had fallen into the pond. As the pond was quite deep at this particular spot where the toy lay, Dod had asked if Ra’am could find and remove the toy for him. Ra’am agreed. So they would most likely be there, upon her return.

But before going outside, Ra’am asked her to please just stay in the back yard, not far from the house. Dod reassured them, however, that his neighborhood was a quiet, low-crime area, except for the occasional teenager in a fast car.

Either way, Ra’am still requested for Trenae to stay close. She said she would.

Before she started walking toward the door, L.B. bumped into her. She turned and knelt down, trying to hold him still while petting his head. Energy and excitability bounded over within the silly dog.

Ra’am called L.B. back. Trenae released him and the happy dog ran to his master. She stood up and headed toward the outside door.

She walked outside. Immediately smelling the fresh air, she breathed in a lung-filling gulp of the cool, woodsy scents. She needed it.

Finished with her breath, she didn’t hesitate, taking quick, yet gently steps over to Jenny. Jenny could use some comforting. “Do you need a hug?”

“Yes, I do,” Jenny said sadly. She wrapped her arms around Trenae.

They embraced for a short time.

Trenae looked in Jenny’s face. “Can you tell me now, what’s wrong?”

“I’m just overwhelmed. And angry at myself.” Jenny swept her tears away. “I was so rude and mean to Ra’am, because he is different and because I don’t trust him. But…when I saw him with Dod, and with L.B….and…” Her voice wavered, her eyes dampening again. “I know I was unfair. Maybe he once was bad, but he changed. He is good, inside, just like you said. His heart is truly good. I can see.”

“Yes, deep down.”

“Then what’s wrong with me?” Jenny wiped tears away again. For a moment, Trenae experienced that same reversal feeling between them, like she felt on the Examiner’s roof, when Jenny felt terrified of Ra’am.

“You are like you said, overwhelmed,” Trenae said. “I mean, gosh, it took me months to adjust to an alien being and all his new ideas and things. You’ve only had one day, if that!”

“You know, you’re right.” Jenny wiped her eyes some more, her nose too, and inhaled deeply. “Say, can we walk now?”

“Yes, it should be okay.”

 Jenny led the way, off the patio and toward the right, near the garage doors.

“But,” Trenae said, “Ra’am said not to go too far.”

“Oh, we won’t. Believe me, I want to get back in there, finish my pictures and interview. I just need some thinking time. Is that all right?”

“Yes, that’s fine.”

They walked together. As Trenae had noticed already, the outside air felt cool and refreshing, though a little damp. Off in the distance sounds of moving cars, on a highway, touched her ears.

“I’m sorry the way I acted,” Jenny said. “Do you think Ra’am will forgive me?”

“Yes, I’m sure. He believes in forgiveness.”

“Yeah, probably true.” Jenny eyed Trenae. “Hey, you want to walk in the front? I’d love to see this whole house. It’s nice.”

Trenae turned around. They were already nearing the end of the garage doors. She could see the large yard, all the way back to the woods. The day was rather dreary and overcast, making the pine-filled woods seem dark and ominous. Yes, maybe going to the front, near people, homes, and cars would be better. “Sure, that’s fine.”

They began strolling up the driveway, toward the sidewalk in front of Dod’s home.

“It must be great, to have money like this,” Jenny said.

Trenae looked at her again. Calm, serene auras surrounded Jenny, even cheerfulness. Good. I need the normal, resilient Jenny back.

“Yes, it sure must,” Jenny said, answering her own words. “But they probably have a high mortgage, taxes…and car payments. And other bills.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t know.” Trenae huffed a sniff through her nose. “Growing up poor, on and off welfare.”

“I’m sorry,” Jenny said seriously.

Trenae smiled at her. “No, it’s okay. I’m pretty happy now.”

“But really, do you ever think about your mom and Darin, want to see them again?”

“Well…yeah, I guess I do. But it would be risky. I would only go with Ra’am. He could disguise himself, and I could introduce him…although, after you print that article, I think that won’t matter.”

“Hmm, true. After meeting your brother, I would be scared to go back.” Jenny looked at her. “But why are they that way? Your brother, sure, it’s understandable, but your mom…it’s not. Was she always that way? Always had a problem with you?”

Trenae smiled, trying to hide the sadness of her family’s problems. But it wasn’t just that. No one had ever really asked her such a question, not even Ra’am. “All I know, was that from the time I can remember, like when I was 3 or 4 years old, my mother was always upset with me. She thought I was too shy, too cowardly. She was always telling me to act tougher, more aggressive…”

“Like her?”

“Yes, exactly. My father, he didn’t care. He saw the good in me. My mother always saw the negative. But you see, Darin WAS like her. He was bold, mean, aggressive. Everything I wasn’t. And so, all I ever heard was ‘how come you can’t be like Darin’? Or, ‘Darin’s my child, but you, you must have been left at my doorstep’. She even told me she hated me a couple times, and other mean stuff.”

A soft touch pressed Trenae’s shoulder. “Oh my God, that’s so terrible Trenae. It’s amazing you didn’t end up worse, like in prison or addicted to drugs or something.” Trenae looked at her. Jenny eyed her but then glanced to her right, at Dod’s front porch, and removed her hand from Trenae. “Do you think you were adopted? Or a baby from an affair your father had?”

“Yeah, I did think that, a few times.” Trenae made a quick snicker. “But there’s too many features, from both my dad and mom, that leave that…not possible.”

“Well, that makes sense. And only you would know, for sure.” Jenny gasped quietly. “Oh my gosh!” she said, surprise in her words. “That porch! It’s just like mine almost.”

Trenae turned, observing it too. First she saw several large trees bordering the porch and front of the house, obstructing the view a little, but not enough to prevent a good gander. Judging from their thick trunks the trees remained from the original woods, before contractors cleared smaller trees and built the upper class development. Even though the house appeared quite new looking, the porch emanated a turn-of-century style, and held a large bench-rocking chair and a couple of other chairs placed aesthetically, comfortably in certain spots. Wooden rail posts surrounded the porch, along with wooden beams holding up the porch’s roof, adding to the home’s antique, inviting appearance. Warmly inviting. And yes, it did resemble Jenny’s porch.

They walked over to the few concrete steps leading up to the porch.

Trenae stopped and looked at Jenny. “I guess, the thing that bothers me the most, is not whether my mom and Darin like me, but why, why something had to happen to my Aunt Heather. That’s the most painful.”

“Yeah, I’m sure. I should have never brought this up. I know it’s…terrible. But I just couldn’t understand.”

“I know, how a mother could treat her own daughter like that. And believe me, I’ve wanted to ask her, many a time, but she’s always been so unapproachable, very much so.” Trenae pinched her fingers together, holding them for Jenny to see. “She would only let you in, just a little, when she chose. She’s very secretive.”

A green car drove by, catching Trenae’s attention away from the porch. She turned to view it better. Now she could see that the sidewalk took a delightful, arcked turn right by Dod’s house, as did the road it bordered. If the turn were a wide U, Dod’s house existed near the U’s bottom. She looked down the road, to the left. The street continued to turn along the U until it vanished behind thick leafless trees and pine trees, and several large, affluent homes, similar to Dod’s house, yet unique. The woods’ thickness and other obstacles made that part of the neighborhood behave dreary, like the woods behind Dod’s house. Maybe it was just the lack of sun light.

“I’m sorry, Trenae, truly sorry she’s that way.”

Trenae hike up her shoulders and turned right. “It’s okay, Jenny.” She wistfully stared up ahead, watching the street become far more inviting. The green car, a sports car that had just sailed past headed right, toward the street’s end. Along the side of the street, on Dod’s side, the sidewalk passed under a thickly wooded front yard, courtesy of the next home up. Even so, though a little dark, it seemed far more inviting than the street and woods the other way. 

“You wanta walk on the sidewalk?” Jenny asked.

“What?” Trenae’s short peaceful trance disappeared.

“I just want to walk to the light, see some of the homes. The other way, well, looks kinda creepy.”

Trenae looked at Jenny. “You know, I was just thinking the same thing!”

“You think Ra’am will mind?”

Trenae thought quickly. “No, I don’t think so. Besides, he can always see what’s happening to me, through his koaksekhel and those proodat t’notat teesatkhepah.”

“Those what?” 

 “Sorry.” Trenae smiled. “Those micro robots.”

“No, I remember. Just kidding.”

They began strolling down Dod’s short walkway, under the few trees. Soon they stepped on the sidewalk and headed right. Jenny was right. Dod’s street, after taking an uphill climb and straightening away from the U quite a bit, did have a traffic light at the street’s end. She hadn’t noticed before, her troubled thoughts blocking the truth.

“A quiet street, but near the main road,” Jenny said. “Good location.”

Jenny gazed at the house next to Dod’s, next up in their walking direction. And then Jenny turned everywhere, taking in the view. Trenae strolled on the outside edge of the sidewalk, near the road. Jenny walked closer to the homes’ yard borders.

“Sort of like where your home is,” Trenae said.

“Yes, you could say that, minus the richy-rich stuff, of course.”

Trenae smiled.

Continuing their walk, a few cars, from both directions raced by them, sending noise and gushes of wind their way.

“Stupid people,” Jenny said. She looked angrily at one car. “The speed limit’s 25!”

“Nah, they think they’re at Nascar,” Trenae quipped, her mind more cheerful now.


For a short time, they became quiet, simply looking around, yet giving each other an occasional reassuring glance. Sounds from cars and trucks stopping and starting grew louder and louder. Trenae looked toward the traffic light at the street’s end, up ahead by about 600-700 feet away, and watched the busy road running perpendicular to Dod’s street.

They began passing by the large stately home, next up the line from Dod’s house. Trenae began giving it some close scrutiny, studying its similarity and difference to Dod’s home.


Her gaze left the home, now looking at Jenny. “Yes?”

“I want to ask you something, but it’s a little hard for me.”

“Well, don’t worry. I’m pretty easy to talk to.”

“I know. But this is personal.”

 “Personal? I’ve told you plenty of personal stuff anyway, already.”

Jenny drew in a deep breath, continuing their stroll. “Yes, that’s true. But, anyway...When you and Ra’am make love, do you, like, suddenly realize, that hey, this guy is not human, and here I am, next to him, and--”

“Yes, most of the time, even now.”

Jenny stared in Trenae’s gaze, giving an eye-widening, funny expression. “Really? Then how, well…?”

“I’ve told Ra’am that.” Trenae looked down. “Every time we start…to make love, it can bother me. And I told Ra’am, asked him if he thinks about it too. But he told me he thought about it some, before we told each other we loved one another. But then that was it, he got over it. It wasn’t even an issue for him, or the reason, when we tried to abstain from each other, after Tsaroof suggested we should. He told me now he only sees my heart, my beauty, and nothing more. He doesn’t think at all what species I am, or where I’m from.”

“That’s very sweet. The more I learn, the more he does sound good.”

Trenae smiled and looked in Jenny’s eyes. “Yeah, you see?”

 Their amble was drawing them closer to the traffic light. Trenae gazed straight ahead.

A red and silver muscle car turned from the main, heavily trafficked road onto Dod’s street. It started picking up more and more speed, approaching them, on the street’s opposite side, their left.

“Oh shoot,” Jenny said. “That must by the teenager Dod mentioned.”

“Yeah. And I was thinking this was a calm street now.”

Noise from the powerful engine and its exhaust grew louder, closer, making it difficult to hear. Closer, closer. Then it growled past them.

“HEY! Get some better mufflers!” Jenny yelled, turning back toward the passing car.

Trenae turned too. She had seen a young guy in the driver’s seat. But it was only a glimpse. Maybe he could be older. Either way the muscle car headed in their opposite direction, until it had vanished beyond the bend of Dod’s street, the vanishing upper U arm, beyond where all the dark trees resided. Yet the growling noise lingered, until eventually it sounded as though the teenager brought his car to a screeching halt.

“Must be where he lives, down there,” Jenny said.

They both turned and faced ahead.

“Probably,” Trenae said.

“And so…if you’re freaking out, because of this thought, you know, with Ra’am,” Jenny said gently, looking at Trenae, “what do you do?”

Trenae sighed peacefully. “Ra’am sees I’m scared, or troubled, and he’ll usually hold me closer, kiss me more.”

Jenny sighed too. “Mmm, that’s so romantic.”

SCREEECH! VROOOMMM! A racing, thundering, straining motor exploded the air. The muscle car was rushing back, toward them!

Without looking back, Jenny shot her gaze at Trenae. “Shit! He heard me!”  She gave a quick smile, as though happy to have stirred some trouble.

 Trenae turned back, curious.

NO! Her mind shrieked a silent, heart-bursting scream. Not only was Jenny wrong, but they both were. Something black, terrible, and shooting like a bullet was coming right at them.
















                                                        Chapter 31



“What the…” Trenae whispered, her chest tightening. She felt Jenny’s hands squeeze into her shoulders, tugging her back. Yet Trenae couldn’t move her eyes from the black bullet, the black vehicle, burning toward them.

Black grew, seized most of the view, becoming a black windowed rectangle that erased the street. Tires screeched to an abrupt halt. The force of the stop caused the vehicle’s bumper to lurch forward, far beyond its wheels. Dark tinted windows prevented any possible view of the occupants.

 Doors whipped open. Sure, a Suburban, that’s what it is. Trenae’s mind needed reassurance. But just as the word ‘Suburban’ appeared in her mind, her head and body were yanked backwards again.

“Run, RUN!” Jenny yelled. “Come on!”

Trenae’s feet hit hard concrete, trying to move. Yet they wouldn’t move fast enough. Her eyes facing toward Dod’s house and down the street, another black vehicle, a black car, zoomed toward them. It screeched to a halt, like the suburban. More doors whipped open. Two large men jumped out.

Charging bulls, dressed in suits and black leather exploded toward them. Trenae gasped. It was Stiles and Mr. Finley. Mr. Finley’s face smoldered white and red, his bulging blue eyes shooting daggers. Stile’s dark eyes shot black tentacles, reaching, grasping from a distance. His white teeth gnarled like a grizzly’s.

Trenae’s feet went limp. She struggled, screeching them to a weak halt. She turned left, to run though the trees in front of the neighbor’s yard. Come on, Trenae, move! An image of Jenny crossed her vision, for an instant.

Something punch her stomach and tossed her backwards, darkening her eyesight. “Guuugh!” Air burst through her mouth.

She felt movement backwards. Her vision returned. A familiar fragrance, of cologne, entered her senses. But it held no comfort, her body being yanked off the ground, swung around and thrown, savagely. The inside of the Suburban, the back of the driver’s seat raced toward her face.

Exposed skin scraped, burned against synthetic fibers. Crack! Hard plastic pummeled Trenae’s forehead and nose. “Ahhh!” she cried, her head, neck, and nose blasting with pain. Her teeth hurt, having clanged hard together in her mouth, from the fast impact. Her stomach throbbed.

Adrenaline ripped through her body. Her heart jumped out of her chest. Her worse fear, since the night in Willson’s basement had come true. Though her mind felt in a stunned haze, she hustled up, sat on the seat, and turned to her right. Someone was forcing Jenny in, telling her quietly yet firmly to get in the back seat, behind Trenae. Sure, do it broad daylight. Someone would have to see. Especially Ra’am.

Working on instinct, she lunged her left hand for a door handle, pain searing in her head. She grabbed her head with the other hand, trying to quell the pain’s intensity.

Two doors slammed. She jumped. Her left hand couldn’t find something to grasp. Jenny’s loud cursing rattled her ears. 


Trenae turned right, toward the sickening sound. A large black handgun, looming like a cannon, captured her stare. She followed its lines, to a hand, a hand to an arm, an arm to…Stiles. A cruel smile lighted his dark face.

Her eyes widened.

“Don’t worry,” Stiles said. “I’m not gonna kill you…yet.”

He and another man laughed, malicious vibes whittling their throats. Trenae darted her frightened gaze to the Suburban’s front, toward the passenger seat. Mr. Finley faced backwards, the other man who laughed.

Engine roar. Gears scraping, fuming. They were moving, then speeding. She looked ahead. Her body lurched left. They had just screeched around the traffic light corner.

No, no! her mind screamed. Tears drenched her eyes, her whole being now knowing what lay ahead. Pain. Torture. Death. But no, Ra’am would come. She turned a slight bit left and glanced down at the door. No door handle. Judiciously lifting her stare, turning her paining head, she eyed Stiles. The black, sleek cylinder still loomed towards her, its end staring her down. “What d-do you want from me?” she said, crying.

“You always were such a big baby, a total fucking winner,” Stiles said, his voice grating her heart. He’s a monster, she thought. He stared with dark, lifeless eyes. “It’s amazing you were a stripper. Just don’t get any stupid fucking ideas, or I’ll blast your shit for brains all over that window. Got it?”

Trembling seized Trenae’s body. She looked down. Her shaking hands weren’t her hands anymore.

“You leave her alone, you stupid guinea!” Jenny blurted, from behind the seat.

“HEY!” Stiles yelled. He turned around. Her head kept down, Trenae spied between her dangling hair strands, so that Stiles wouldn’t notice. Now Stiles pointed the gun toward the back of the vehicle. “Hey, stupid bitch. Shut the fuck up, how bout’ that. JOHNBOY, SHUT HER UP!” Stiles roared, his sudden outburst shaking Trenae even more.

“Oh yeah? WHO’S GONNA BE STUPID WHEN HER HUSBAND GETS YOU!” Jenny said, nearly screaming her words.

“John, I’m warning you!” Stiles said loudly.

A sickening hollow, thud noise.

“AHHH, ouch!” Jenny wailed.

Air raced up and down Trenae’s throat. Earthquake shudders rattled her body, shaking the seat. She looked at Stiles. His gun whipped back toward her face again. Tell him, her mind ordered, tell him! “She’s right. You shouldn’t do this.”

“Oh, and why is that?” Stiles asked. “We’ve only been fucking searching for you since the end of October.” He spoke quietly now, though seemed concealing a boiling, volcanic caldron. “Hid out pretty good, huh? But it’s all over now, baby.”

Even though her body rattled the seat and the gun stared her down, she had to try again. “The man…who helped me…” Odd whimpers bellowed from her throat. She swallowed. Her mouth and throat felt parched. “He will come for me…and he won’t be happy. He- he’s very dangerous.”

Stiles leaned closer with his furious mug, peering into her face. “Do you know who we are? Do you have any fucking idea, even the tiniest inkling in that pea brain of yours, of who you’re dealing with?” His voice thundered her brain. “Do you know how many are in our organization?”

Frozen. Unable to answer. She just stared at Stiles’ mean eyes.

“HUH? DO YOU?” he yelled, his face scowling. His eyes widened, showing insane fury. In blurring speed, his other hand slipped under her open leather jacket. He plunged it up, grabbing her right breast, piercing and pinching his fingers into fragile flesh.

“OOOOWWWCH!” Trenae screamed in pain. Jenny screamed. Trenae thrust her hands on Stiles’ arm, trying to yank it away. But his strength hardened, his arm solid steel. He didn’t budge.

His claws produced excruciating pain in her breast.

A dark tube sped toward her face, Stiles pile-driving the gun into her mouth. Lips exploded blood, teeth crackled, crunched. Her head shot backwards, hard, against the seat’s back. “DON’T tempt me!” Stiles yelled. He stared in her face. Black eyes shot burning darts. “You let me squeeze your fucking tit, or I’ll blow your head off, now.” His words hissed with anger. His face became blurred, tears watering Trenae’s vision. “I’ve had enough shitting trouble trying to find you for these past 4 months, so I don’t need much excuse.”

Piercing, burning pain. His fingers blunt ice picks, stabbing mercilessly. Her breast felt punctured. Liquid oozed down her right rib cage.

But the fright from the gun’s cold metal barrel, scrapping her teeth, flattening her tongue, took complete control. Stiles pushed it farther down her throat, nearly jamming her windpipe close. She gagged, choked. “Please, stop,” she gargled, her words inaudible.

“What? What’s that,” Stiles asked tauntingly. “Sorry, can’t hear you. Why don’t you just shut up!”

Please, please, don’t hurt me anymore. No words came. She began leaving her body, but the pain and fear yanked her back.

“Oh, shut the fuck up!” Stiles said, his voice loud and cruel. He tore the gun from her mouth, scraping, grinding her teeth painfully.

Without warning the barrel’s round tip slammed against her upper right jaw, a huge, battering nail. Her head snapped left, smashing into the window. White stars circled in her eyes. Pain exploded through her head. She felt ready to explode vomit from her throat. Some of her teeth broke loose, blood squirting into her mouth.

In extreme pain, she leaned her head down and began spitting out blood, onto her skirt. Then she swallowed, forcing the nauseousness down her throat, fearing more torture from Stiles if she vomited. Stiles continued piercing his fingers and nails, stabbing her breast. But her jaw hurt more. She grabbed her face and moaned.

“Quit spitting on the seat, ya stupid bitch!” Stiles said.

“What the fuck, Stiles. Willson and Garafalo want to question her. Don’t knock her out.” The voice sounded African American and came from the driver’s seat.

“I’m cool, Malcolm,” Stiles said. He jerked his claws free from her breast and whipped his hand up. But his cruel hand didn’t rest on his lap. 

Fingernails scraped her head, then fingers grasped clumps of her hair. Stiles yanked her head back against the seat.

“OWWW!” Trenae wailed, her whole body experiencing convulsive waves of shock and pain.

“TRENAE!” Jenny yelled. “Please, stop hurting her!”

 Scuffling sounds. Stiles grip on her hair getting misplaced, prodded.

“She’s grabbing me!” Stiles said.

Uughh,” Jenny sounded, air punched out of her.

Trenae’s pain and horror blocked much of what she heard from registering correctly in her brain. Sounds and images began running as in a dream.

SWAT! Pain exploded under her chin, her head whipping back farther, crackling her neck bones. She moaned a scream. She knew. Cold metal from Stile’s gun tip jabbed into tender flesh under her chin. Her entire front neck was exposed. Pain as though her body was burning alive. Trenae felt certain her neck was about to be sliced. She moaned, cried more.

“Don’t FUCK with me, bitch!” Stiles yelled. He grasped her hair tighter, tugging her head back even farther, causing her injured jaw and teeth to sear with torture. “Just shut up, and when we get there, tell them everything you know, YOU HEAR ME?”

Yesss,” she said, barely able to move her jaw. Deep within, Trenae knew her life was over. She had to force herself to stop crying, cooperate, to grasp some chance of hope.

Stiles jerked his hand from her hair, the gun from her chin. The force whipped her head forward, causing even more pain. But anything was better than having her neck so vulnerable.

Pain controlled. She looked down. But think, think! Ra’am must know, he will come. Sounds of leather clothing being adjusted. Stiles’ vile body brushing against her. She heard his gun being placed somewhere, nearby.

She wrapped her arms around her lower abdomen and knelt over, feeling close to death. Not one part on her body felt free of burning, throbbing aches. Pain reigned cruelly. Blood flooded her mouth; she closed her lips. She swallowed the irony liquid, dreading more retaliation if she spit it out. Her jaw and mouth ached, felt twisted out of place as she swallowed. Her stomach bubbled again. Horrible thoughts invaded her head. They had finally found her, and they were going to kill her, unless, somehow, Ra’am quickly intervened. But they were not going to kill her easy. They would torture her until she finally begged mercifully for death. Trenae knew this, she just knew this.

A vision of the black man driving the Suburban, plus another man, someone she had never seen before, with thick dark hair and black eyes, possibly Hispanic or Italian, flashed through her pain soaked mind. She had seen the new man, the driver too, in split seconds standing near the Suburban, just before her body had been thrown into the vehicle. Traferro must definitely have Jenny. Was Jenny badly hurt?

But now she could look at no one. Keep your head down, and don’t say a word! Her mouth, head, neck, and breast tortured her, burned her. Her heart raced so fast, her fluttering beats now fragile and light, a shuddering, terrified mouse. If she could just pass out now and not feel anything. Yet she could feel adrenaline surging through her bloodstream; her body would not shut down. Sweat leaked everywhere.

“Well, look what we got.” The voice sounded like Mr. Finley’s voice, from the front passenger seat.

Stile’s disgusting, vile body move forward, grazing against her. “What do you have?” he asked.

“We have a digital camera, a mini disk recorder, some money, ID’s…paper, other personals.”

They must be digging through Jenny’s purse. Trenae had nothing on her when they left Dod’s house, save her clothing. Why didn’t he read Jenny’s name on the ID?  She listened toward the back seat, for Jenny’s voice. But there was only quiet. Traferro said nothing.

“Garafalo will want them,” Stiles said. “Keep ‘em.”

The Suburban started making a series of sharp turns, tossing Trenae’s body back and forth, making her torture worsen. But she stayed quiet. Faintly over the noise from the vehicle’s motor and motion, and her rattling body, sounds of large ventilators or heaters, like those from large buildings entered her ears. Were they near a mall, a large store, a factory, or something else?

“Hey, Johnboy,” Stiles said. “Ask the reporter if show knows where this bitch has been for the past 4 months.”

Jenny exploded a gasp, the wind getting knocked out of her.

“You heard him!” Traferro said.  “What’d you know?”

“I know…everything,” Jenny hissed angrily.

“Wrong answer,” Traferro said calmly. “Specifics, the details. Like where did she go, after she left the motel in Idaho City?”

“Not only did someone help her, but this someone is one guy you should not be fucking with now!”

“A threat? Oooh, we’re scared,” Traferro said. Finley and Stiles laughed. “Problem is, we’re the ones who scare and who fuck with others, not the other way around.”

“She’s a tough and sassy chick, just the way I like ‘em,” Stiles said. Trenae could hear and feel Stiles move and turn, reaching. “You got some nice hair, too.”

“Get your hands off me!” Jenny said.

Remarkably Stiles seemed to do as told.

“What’s the matter with you?” Stiles asked. “You’re not the one we have a problem with. It’s just a shame, you’re involved. You should pick your friends better.”

“Look, I don’t care about me,” Jenny said. “Just…please, leave Trenae alone. I know all of it.”

“Get it out of her then, Johnboy,” Stiles said.

“Tell us more. Who helped you?” Traferro demanded.

 “I’m warning you,” Jenny said, “you don’t know who you’re messing with. He’s not from here.”

“The ‘he’ you’re referring to- her husband?”


“And he’s not from here?” Traferro’s voice tinkled sarcasm. “You mean Europe? Mexico? The Virgin Islands?” It sounded like he leaned forward, in his seat. “Man, I love those islands. Finley, what ‘bout you?”

“You know that, man. Love ‘em.”

Trenae kept her head down. Pain made her. Blood collected in her mouth. Some blood escaped and dripped down- it hurt too much to swallow. She begged Stiles wouldn’t see.

“Look at me!” Traferro said loudly. Trenae listened. “Where is he from?”

“You don’t want to know,” Jenny said, pronouncing each word crisply, anger seething.

“Oh, believe me, we do,” Stiles said. Trenae heard the gun’s trigger or chamber being clicked. “Tell me, or I’ll put a bullet in your gut.”

“Okay, you big jerk!” Jenny said. “You asked for it. He’s from another planet, okay? And when he finds you, he’s gonna fuck all of you up!”

“Is that up the asses?” Stiles asked mockingly.

Deadly quiet entered the Suburban’s interior. Trenae worried for Jenny.

But soon, nearly simultaneously each man in the Suburban let out a loud, hysterical laugh. Even the driver, Malcolm, chuckled. Their laughter came riddled with buzzing, quivering  vibrations hard to explain. Chills ravaged Trenae’s pain-ridden body.

Finally their laughter diminished.

“Okay…okay,” Traferro said, between chuckling hoots. “So, the guy’s an alien. I guess that would explain…why we couldn’t find Trenae. That’s good! That’s a good one! Are you sure…you don’t mean illegal alien, the cross-the-border kind?”

“No, I don’t,” Jenny answered curtly. “DON’T believe me. I don’t care. You’ll find out.”

It suddenly occurred to Trenae that Jenny had more faith in Ra’am, at this point, than she did. Something was very wrong. Ra’am should have been here by now.

Stiles moved. His arm shoved against Trenae, thrusting behind the seat.

“Ouch!” Jenny cried out.

Maybe he grabbed her? Trenae raised her head a little.

“Listen, bitch,” Stiles said, “you need to show a little respect for the company you’re in. We may not have your credentials, have a college degree, but we have something far greater. We hold your life in our hands. I’d definitely have more respect. Who knows, maybe our superiors will have some compassion, make your death less painful. I’d think about that.” Stiles jerked his arm forward.

“Oh yeah, fatso, well I got a question for you!” Jenny’s courage felt comforting. “You sure seem to know a lot about me. How did you find out?”

Jenny grunted. Traferro must have punched or hit her again. “Shut up!” Traferro said. “We ask the questions!”

Stiles turned around again, bumping against Trenae. Trenae moaned quietly. “You value your life less than I thought,” Stiles said. “And you weren’t paying attention.”

“Never mind her,” said Malcolm. “We’re here.”

The Suburban jolted forward. Trenae’s body went with it, causing every injured part of her head and body to reel in pain. Being mostly unaware, immersed in suffering, she nevertheless felt surprised to stop so soon. Only 3 to 5 minutes had past.

Finley and Malcolm flung their doors open. She lifted her head. It hurt so much. Almost in an instant, her door clicked and whipped open, cool air rushing her, stinging her wounds.

“Get out!” Stiles ordered, elbowing her side.

Trying to be quick, yet struggling from pain, she curved her legs out and onto the surface, avoiding the Suburban’s running boards. Her left foot landed first. Moving her right foot, she saw a tear in her boot. Blood exited from the tear. No! She knew what would happen. But she had to. She slid her right foot along, planting the boots’ heel into the ground. Her right leg collapsed, pain shooting up her leg. Those men’s violent throw of her body. They did it.

She lunged for the door, clipping her fingers around its edges. She looked up. Mr. Finley and the black man who drove, Malcolm, glared down at her. Yet Mr. Finley smiled, while Malcolm’s face twisted in anger. Now she knew. Malcolm had been there before, at Willson’s ranch.

“Come on, come on!” Stiles said, banging into her from exiting the Suburban. Malcolm and Mr. Finely rushed aside. Stiles snatched her left elbow, dragging her across the pavement. “WALK, BITCH!”

Her feet scraped gravel, tore up dust. Hopping on her left foot to gain balance, trying to walk, she failed. Her right booted foot twisted and grated along the pavement. The cut burned. Bones within her ankle cracked and snapped.

“AHHHCH!” Trenae yelled. “Stop, please!”

“SHUT UP!” Stiles yelled.

“Stiles, either silence her or quit yanking her!” said one of the men. “Someone might hear!”

Stiles stopped, turned, and plunged his face into her face. “You suck it up and shut up, or I’ll rip your tit off.” His quiet voice oozed evil. She blinked. She tried standing straight.

 Take long, deep breaths, and quell the pain. She did. Yet it hurt so much.

Stiles yanked her forward again, moving her to the right, away from the door and toward the front of the Suburban. She forced herself to lift her aching head and look around. Because they worried someone would hear her, people must be nearby. Stiles yanked her in front of a large, tall building, white vertical seamed siding covering its surface. Two enormous green garage doors, enough to swallow tractor-trailers, lay before them. To the left of both garage doors was a large, matching green door.

She forced her head to turn right. Pain shredded, ground her neck, her jaw and mouth, but she had to do this. There must be a way to escape. Or maybe Ra’am was just behind them. Blinking to clear the tears, she saw other vehicles to the left of the Suburban, like the black car that screeched to a halt behind the Suburban on Dod’s street. And other cars.

She forced her eyes to see beyond the vehicles. But just while getting a glimpse, Stiles tugged her hard, springing her head forward again. Yet she did get a quick image. And it wasn’t good. A huge expansive parking lot, with no other vehicles, spread outward. Beyond the parking lot, about 700 or 800 feet away lay  brown, dusty ground where other large buildings stood, possibly factories. Though a few cars and trucks were parked near those buildings, the vehicles resembled bugs, as the distance was so great. No visible signs of motion or people existed, there or anywhere else. They were alone.

Why did they need her quiet then? Could other people be in the building they were now entering?

“What did you do to her!”

 Trenae glanced right. Jenny’s fingers covered her mouth, her eyes staring, horrified. Traferro pulled Jenny along by her other arm. A stinging red welt blemished the right side of Jenny’s face, matching the redness and wetness of her eyes. She looked terrible. But do I look even worse?

“Johnboy, shut her up!” It sounded like Malcolm.

Trenae lowered her head and swallowed. It hurt so much. Blood leaked down her throat. She opened her mouth to breathe better. Some blood dripped out, red droplets pummeling the brown, dusty gravel. Severe pain was her existence now. She couldn’t even consider what would happen next, though she wished for a quick death, if only to stop the pain.

She felt cold; darkness encircled her.  She lifted her head. Stiles had brought her into the building. Trembling rattled her body, far more than previous. Smells of diesel fuel and fine dusty powder, like cement, fouled the air. She struggled to walk, Stiles yet forcing her along. If she fell, he would drag her, hurting her further. Her right foot screamed in pain.

Someone opened another door. It sounded large and metallic. Stiles dragged her through the doorway. She limped along, fighting the torture.

Jenny said some words, begging and pleading with the men not to hurt Trenae anymore. It appeared to fall on cold, heartless ears. No one responded.

Another room. This one had better lighting. As footsteps walked across the room’s floor, a quiet echo pattered the air. Trenae lifted her head, causing some blood to trickle from her mouth. Inching her right hand up, trying to do so in secret, she brushed away tears, to see better.

Stiles black leather, hulking body yanked her toward the center of a large room, where some people stood. She looked to the left, toward the same direction as the Suburban and other vehicle parked outside. She noticed no windows- just a concrete wall with a large metal table and some small machinery equipment. Secretly she then scanned her eyes right, observing a few more large, long table structures butted against the walls, along with a massive, tall machinery contraption, maybe used for packaging materials, near the far right corner. She didn’t get a good look at the contraption- it left her forward view. Stiles yanked her again.

Trenae focused toward the people. Near a metal chair in the room’s center stood several men, along with a trembling, scared woman. One of the men looked familiar. Shock hit her. It was Willson.

“You scumbag!” Jenny said. “The governor of Idaho, involved in this. I don’t believe it!”

No one tried to quiet Jenny, which was odd. Judging from her voice, Jenny couldn’t be too far behind.

“Have Trenae sit down here, Stiles,” said a man with brown hair. An expensive-looking dark suit attired his body and matching shiny black shoes glistened his feet. He reeked of money. “Mr. Willson and I need to talk to her.”

Trenae eyed Willson. He wouldn’t look at her. He was dressed in a tan leather coat, trimmed by white wool, appearing to cover a white business shirt. Dressy, blue pants covered his legs. Sure, the rustic coat was an attempt to conceal his so-called ‘honest’ political persona.

They neared the chairs. “Sit down!” Stiles ordered. He tugged her arm. Cold metal  slammed against her back and rear. Pain stabbed her foot, breast, neck, jaw, and head, strangling her breathing. She wheezed, yet tried staying quiet. Her rattling body clickety-clanged against the chair, the chair’s legs grinding the concrete floor.

They had her faced away from the doorway. Sly. Convenient.

Stomping, clicking steps sounded on her right. Keeping her head still and rolling her eyes right, she saw Traferro bringing Jenny toward one of the long tables. He told her to stand by him.

“Search her please, John,” said the brown-haired man. She looked ahead. The man stared toward Traferro.

“Sure, Mr. Garafalo,” Traferro answered.

Trenae sleeked her eyes right again, not turning her throbbing, burning head. Traferro groped all over Jenny’s body. But Jenny seemed unconcerned, her stared locked on Trenae. Jenny trembled, just as Trenae did. I can’t take this, she thought. I have to look away. Jenny’s condition was too hard to bear.

A women sniffled, whimpered quietly. Trenae’s eyes focused toward the sound. Over on the left side of the room stood the trembling woman, near the large table and diagonally behind Willson and Mr. Garafalo. A tall, stocky man, draped in black leather, a reddish brown beard and long hair, hair pulled back in a ponytail, stood next to her, digging his grip into the woman’s arm. Though malevolence scarred and disfigured the man’s face, the woman he held, appearing around 18 years old was terror-struck. What the heck was going on here? Eerie light-headedness ballooned inside Trenae’s head, making her feel ready to lose consciousness. She swallowed more blood.

She had to lower her head. She did, fighting to scream in pain. Stiles had walked away with the other men. Struggling to listen between the pain and her shaking body, low murmuring traveled between various groups of men in the room. Broken sentences and words about blood, DNA, followed by words about new Russian technology, a white bottle, chemicals, capable of hiding or eliminating crime scene evidence polluted the air. Her fluttering heart rate increased. Yet she also heard Mr. Garafalo speak angry words of disapproval, at Stiles’ brutal treatment of her. Some hope existed, maybe. But her speeding heart didn’t care. 

Behind her, near the door, Mr. Finley, Malcolm, and another man talked to one another, handling their guns. The three guards by the door, sure. No one was entering and no one was leaving. Trenae thought of Ra’am again, where he could be. He should have been here long ago.

“Tie her hands.” Trenae hiked her head up. Mr. Garafalo and Stiles stood before her. “Check her first.”

Stiles seized her jacket’s right sleeve, tugging it. She moaned, squirming her body, accommodating him with his goal. She had no choice. Though wanting to scream from the pain, she clenched her teeth. Mercifully the jacket soon slipped off. It grazed her injured breast. Fire burned her breast’s skin. She shuddered more.

Stiles handed her jacket to Mr. Garafalo. Stiles next turned and kneeled down, first grasping her ankles, then gliding his hands up her legs to the rest of her body. She looked in his eyes. Disgust crumpled his face- he hated this. He tightened his fingers around her other areas, feeling, groping. He hit her breast, on purpose, she was certain. She cried out. Jenny mouthed something inaudible. Trenae looked down. On the right side of her shirt, by her breast, dark red stained her orange sweater. Trenae moaned.

“Enough, enough,” Mr. Garafalo said. “Did you find anything?”

Stiles stood up. “No, none.”

“Good, tie her hands.”

Stiles stepped behind her chair and looped his arms around to her front. He plunged his fingertips into Trenae’s wrists, grasping them, and then jerked her wrists backwards, behind the chair. He held her wrists together. The chair rattled even more, her body bursting with tremors. Crinkling, ruffling noises sounded, Stiles hands possibly searching in his pocket. He clamped her wrists tighter. Then thin, pin-pricking nylon rope cut into her wrists, wrapping, twisting, looping. Tying the prickling loops, he made once last hard yank, sealing his knot. It hurt, only adding mercilessly to her pain. She clenched her teeth. I can’t yell out.

 Mr. Garafalo knelt in front of her. She looked at his face. His brown eyes seemed calm, yet masked a frightening, evil interior. Like Stiles. “Hello, Trenae. I’m Sal Garafalo. I don’t think we ever met.”

 “No…” Her jaw wouldn’t open right. “I…don’t…” Pain stabbed over and over into her right jaw.

“That’s all right. What we need here is how much information you know, about the Governor and my associates. Just tell us the truth, and we’ll be easier on you.”

Her boot heels crackled and vibrated the concrete. The chair rattled and clanged, from her shuddering body. “A bu-bu-bout what?” Blood spilled from her mouth, open just a slit.

“The night you were in Governor Willson’s basement…what did you hear?”

Trenae heard a repeating whoosh, clap, whoosh, clap. She rolled her eyes left, keeping her head still. Stiles stood nearby, tossing a red metal bat back and forth between his hands. Breaths puffed faster, faster through her mouth and nose. Her speeding heart floated up to her brain.

She stared into Mr. Garafalo’s eyes. “No…no…thing,” she said, pleading with her eyes. “I…I was…j-just…getting some wine.” She started to wail, but struggled to keep it quiet.

“Trenae, now look, we are not in the mood to play games. Tell us the truth, that’s all we want.” His mannerism now leaked a bit of the explosive time bomb just beneath the surface. He was trying the persuasive approach first.

“Sal, can I say something here?” It was Wilson’s voice.

Mr. Garafalo stood up. Trenae lifted her head a little.

“I think we’re just wasting time here,” Willson said, his tone cautious, polite. “She obviously heard the whole conversation, or she wouldn’t have run away. I never had trouble with her before, either than minor problems. I say we just finish her now.”

Trenae’s heart jumped. Her pain began lifting, diving into the pit of her belly, and then diminishing. Something worse was coming.

“I agree,” Stiles said. “The bitch has been far more trouble than she’s worth, or anything that she knows.”

Soft cries, wails streamed from Trenae’s throat, her face swamped in wetness. She stared at Mr. Garafalo. The chair continued rattling from her tremors. Mr. Garafalo pulled out his own large handgun and started to caress it, fondle it. He looked down at the it, contemplating his associates’ suggestions.

Mr. Garafalo raised his gaze and eyed Trenae. “Problem is, who else has she told?” he said. “She’s been gone a long time. We know the reporter knows, and her so-called husband.”

Pain was nearly gone around her head. Trenae lifted her chin more and scanned all three male faces. So much evil. As they stood there, deciding her fate, of whether she dies sooner or later, humanely or inhumanely, Ra’am’s words, about the Afelot, seeped into her frightened mind.

More blood pooled in her mouth. She had to lower her head. She could barely see anyway, tears blurring her vision. Even some red washed across her eyes, giving objects and faces had a reddish tint. She dripped, spit out blood onto her skirt.

Mr. Garafalo’s crisp, new-shoed footsteps clicked nearer. PLUNK! Pain, noise hollowed around her brain. Fingers clawed her chin, forcing her head up. She saw now. His gun’s round tip embedded her forehead’s scant flesh, pressing into bone. She blinked many times, pain searing again. “Owww,” she moaned.

“Such a pretty face…too bad.”

Staring in his angry eyes, a second wind, or some type of recovery circulated through her body, lessening her pain further. Though rattling fiercely, a calming presence arrived for Trenae, an acceptance of her fate. But, far, far back, in the very corners of her mind, the strong chance that Ra’am would come and save them still existed. It just seemed so uncertain now, as the aura of power, invincibility, and iniquity, which these men possessed, dominated the room.

Mr. Garafalo plucked the gun from her forehead, whipping it around. He shoved it under chin. He hiked her head up and back. Torture screamed under her chin, Stiles prior gun jab resurfacing.

“AHHH!” Trenae yelled. “No, please. IT HURTS!” Her voice broke in pieces.

The trembling woman cried out.

“No, stop!” Jenny said, crying. “Look, leave her alone! I’ll tell you what you need to know!”

Through blurring tears, she saw Mr. Garafalo shift his eyes toward Jenny. “Shut her up, John!”

Motion passed by her right eye’s corner. John Traferro slapped Jenny in the face.

“Ow, shit!” Jenny said.

“You heard him, shut your suck!” Traferro said angrily.

Her chin and neck piercing in pain, she stared at Mr. Garafalo’s heartless face. Her legs lost their feeling for some reason, yet their trembling shook her body.

“I don’t have a lot of time here,” Mr. Garafalo said calmly, his eyes enraged. “Where have you been for the past 4 months, that we couldn’t find you? Except for a couple of guys in New York, no one saw you. There doing a little night clubbing?”

Thess,” she answered. A small volcano of blood burst from her mouth.

“Good,” he said, keeping the gun under her chin, forcing her head back. “Nice to get out, have some fun. So, I’ll ask you again…where were you?”

Scenes from Idaho, with Ra’am, began flowing before her eyes. No longer was she present in the concrete room, nor was she within her body. She was with Ra’am, walking through the woods. But her subconscious made her answer. “With a friend.”

“A friend. His name?”


“The big guy we saw leaving the woods, with you and the reporter, behind Dod’s house. What is that, Russian, Yugoslavian?”

“No,” she said, swallowing lumps of iron liquid. Cold steel felt as though it was piercing through her chin, coming into her mouth. Tears and nose drips streamed and dropped off the sides of her face.  “…he is…he is from Harkoav.”

“And where is that?”


“Okay, okay. We’re getting somewhere I see.” Some of the other men in the room began laughing. Mr. Garafalo rolled his eyes toward them, but didn’t seem amused. He stared back down at her. “And…where is Andromeda? I know, you don’t mean the galaxy.”

His eyes dared her to deny his question. She hesitated to answer.

He clenched his teeth. “I’m waaaaiiiitting!” he said loudly, jamming the gun’s tip deeper into soft chin flesh.

“Yes!” she said. It took all the strength she had left.

“So, you’re telling me, telling us here, that you’ve been with a friend, or as I heard, your new husband, in the Andromeda galaxy?”

Desperate. Vulnerable. She had to plea, between crying sobs. “Please…please let us go. I won’t tell anyone. No one cares…anyway.” She swallowed more blood. Sweat poured from every pour on her body.

Mr. Garafalo yanked the gun from her chin. She lowered her head and stared ahead. Still grasping his gun, Mr. Garafalo grabbed his hips. Chuckles started bellowing forth from his throat. Some of the other men joined in.

“I cannot….believe, you’re serious,” he said, between chuckles. His face lightened in amusement, for some time. But then darkness shadowed his demeanor. His eyes turned black and cold. His chuckling evaporated. “You’re sitting here, in front of some of the most powerful men in the entire world, and you’re gonna tell me some COCKA BULLSHIT STORY?”

Dead silence.

Her mind raced, searching. Trenae had to do something. “But it’s the truth. I…I went…to the woods…I fell off a cliff, and then, this…this guy, caught me. He kept me…underground, in a space ship…and then--”


Her head exploded right, the blow striking her left temple and cheekbone, almost knocking her to the floor were it not for her tied wrists. Stinging torture fired from every nerve fiber on the left side of her face. “Ahhhhhhh! Ahuh, ahuh,” she wailed.

Cries and screams shrieked from the trembling woman. The man next to the woman yelled.

“NOOO!” Jenny yelled. “Please, don’t do this. Please, Mr. Garafalo. I know everything! Ask me to tell you, please!”

Desiring intensely to grab her face with her hands, to numb the pain, Trenae could not. Nylon fibers pierced and tightened her wrists.

 “Just kill her, Sal. Kill them both.” Willson’s voice. From a faraway distance. You have to listen, to everything they say! Wake up! Listen! “I think we’re wasting time here,” Willson said. “If no one has leaked information, and we know no one has since Lafayette has been missing, then it is very likely no one was told. And even if the reporter has told the editor, this will serve as a very effective deterrent to stop any possible articles from being printed. And Trenae cannot testify, if she’s dead.”

Silence again.

“No, you think?” Mr. Garafalo said. “If she’s dead, she can’t testify,” he mocked. “Darn, why didn’t I think of that?”

“Well, yes, of course,” Willson said, his voice wavering. His steps sounded backing away a bit at the same time.

“You should stick to politics and leave the difficult problems to us. Yes, we’ll take care of Ms. Zarrett. But it will look like an accident, in her car. That would solve a lot of, well, inconveniences. Right?”

“Ah, yes, you’re right, like always,” Willson said, groveling.

“Johnboy, bring the reporter over, and the other chair by the packing machine.”

She heard some commotion.

“Quit dragging me!” Jenny said. Some shuffling noise, the screeching of metal legs against concrete. 

Struggling with every imaginable body suffering, Trenae fought to roll her eyes right. And she did. Traferro had placed another metal chair, similar to the one she sat on, about three or four feet away.

“Sit down,” Traferro said. He shoved Jenny into the chair.

“Tie her hands,” Mr. Garafalo ordered, beginning to strut back and forth before them. 

Jenny looked at Trenae. Traferro yanked Jenny’s hands back, tying them. “Trenae…Trenae…I’m so sorry,” Jenny said, crying.

“Hey, look at me!” Mr. Garafalo barked. “Never mind her!”

Trenae looked down, to protect Jenny. Out of her eye’s corner she saw Jenny look up at Mr. Garafalo.

“Why are you doing this?” Jenny asked, her voice crying, quivering. “I don’t understand. I thought she was Clark’s girlfriend, originally.”

Some of the men laughed.

“Oh, that’s good,” Mr. Garafalo said. “Play stupid, and get some questions answered. Good strategy.”

Jenny swallowed and coughed. “She never hurt anyone. She’s harmless. At least tell me- why, why is this happening? I don’t understand?”

“I don’t understand, I don’t understand,” Mr. Garafalo mocked. When near Jenny, he dropped down suddenly, kneeling in front of her. “YES…you do.” Jenny jolted back a little. “But,” he said slyly, “I will do this. You tell me what you know, and I’ll tell you a little of what I know.” He stood up, still eyeing her. “If I like what I hear, well…we’ll consider your options.”

“No, wait, Sal. Don’t,” Willson said. He stepped closer to Mr. Garafalo. “What if this information gets out?”

“Clark, what the hell are you talking about? Everyone in here knows what we do!”

Trenae slowly lifted her head. Her chin pain had lessened a little.

“What about that woman, with Yegor?” Willson asked.

Mr. Garafalo turned around. “Hey, Yegor, com’mere a minute. And bring that gal too.”

Slowly turning right, Trenae looked at Jenny again. I must look absolutely gruesome. Jenny was crying, shaking her head, and mouthing how sorry she was.

“Pa zhah lusta, pa zhah lusta!” 

Trenae carefully looked forward. The man with the reddish beard and pony tail, obviously Yegor, walked toward them, tugging the trembling woman. Her small, thin frame dwarfed greatly by the bulk of her possessor.

Yegor had her stand near Mr. Garafalo. Willson and Stiles stood nearby, watching.

Mr. Garafalo stared at her, his demeanor now calm. “You speak English?” he asked.

Nynyet,” she answered, her voice quavering.

“Ang-lis-ky! Gavarit!” Yegor commanded. He removed his hand from her arm and shoved it into her shoulder.

“I…I speak…a leetle,” she said.

“Well, good then, we’re communicating here. At least a bit,” Mr. Garafalo said.

Tears drenched the woman’s face. “Don’t hurt me…pleeze,” she begged.

“Oh no, no, you have that wrong,” Mr. Garafalo said. His fingertips gently touched her face for a moment. “I don’t want to hurt you.” He turned and looked at Trenae and Jenny. “I want to hurt these two, right here.” Then he stared back at the scared woman. “You’re just here to witness it. And, to remember.” He caressed her left cheek. “It will be a reminder to you, if you choose to escape, if you choose to talk about it to anyone outside this organization. However, you can mention it to the other girls, remind them too.”

“Sal, what do you mean?” Willson asked.

“Clark, Clark, Clark. You need to relax!” Mr. Garafalo eyed the woman closely, his gaze ignoring Willson. “She needs to see, first hand, what can happen to those who disobey us. And, what will happen…if they run away. Believe me, I’ve been doing this for years. It’s a very effective preventive measure.”

Trenae felt like an animal, a lone cow in some farmer’s herd.

Yegor spoke to the frightened woman in his native language for a moment. He must be conveying what Mr. Garafalo just said.

“Italian Mafia…Russian Mafia,” Jenny said, pressing forth between sobs, “why would you want to be in Idaho, or Spokane?”

Mr. Garafalo laughed and stepped in front of Jenny. He knelt down. “A typical reporter, aren’t we?”

“We…we have to make a living,” she answered. Trenae noticed Jenny’s body rattled just like her body.

“Tell you what,” Mr. Garafalo said. “I’ll give you an answer, after you tell me what happened to Trenae. It’s been eating us alive, I’ll tell ya!”

“All right, okay,” Jenny said. “She went in the woods, by that cliff. She was hallucinating. Some big guy, the guy you saw…he’s Native American…see, he has a house underground. He brought her there, to save her.”

“We never found a hole anywhere. Don’t lie,” he said in sing-song, moving a finger back and forth.

“No, you never found it, because its entrance was below the cliff. You had to,”- quick breathing stumbled Jenny’s word- “you had to take a rope down, like rock climbing, and enter that way…that’s…that’s all I know. But yeah, she’s imagined the other stuff, thought he was an alien. Her mind is losing it.”

Mr. Garafalo slowly nodded, a smile curling his lips. He stood up. “That explains it,” he said, scanning around the room. “Did you guys hear that?”

Most of the men said ‘yes’.

“We’ll have to check it out, after we’re done here. Interesting, a house underground, with an entrance under the cliff. Whata ya know.” He started pacing the floor, holding his chin. “Those crazy Indians. Always cooking something up.” He looked at Jenny. “This, Jenny,” he said, holding out his arms, moving them in a half circle, “is the new world, where everything is becoming global. The Internet, trade between European countries, the fall of communism. Mingling, mingling. Or, what the crime specialists on the Internet call Organized Systemic crime, where alliances are forming between organized crime families all over the world.”  He began heading near Yegor. “Take Yegor here, Yegor Vodzimir.” He smiled at Yegor. The big man smiled back, showing numerous sharp, gold teeth. Terror ran down Trenae’s back. “He’s a member of the Iagushko crime family in Russia. A great help to us in money laundering.”

“Sal!” Willson blurted.

 Mr. Garafalo turned toward Willson. “Shut up, Clark, before we make an example out of you.”

Willson shut his mouth, tightly.

“And Malcolm and Sandro over there.” Mr. Garafalo pointed to the men behind Trenae. “From the Turaurez family in Mexico. Suppliers of drugs and other important necessities for us.” He looked down at Jenny. “They know the ropes, or should I say, techniques, for providing safe transport of goods to Canada and elsewhere, via the lonely, desolate Rockies, like in the State of Idaho. You know, scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Again he knelt in front of Jenny. “While the rest of the world worries about terrorism, and which country is right or wrong, which religion is good or bad, which race is good or bad…” He stood up, spreading his arms out. “…we, get along just fine.”

Some of the men chuckled.

“We’re everywhere,” he said. “We have connections all over the world and in nearly every governmental and law office in the United States. We handle all the usual things, like drugs, gambling, prostitution, porno industries, money, guns…and, even more, like nuclear weapons. One big happy family! We even have connections in Japan.” He walked in front of Trenae and looked in her face. “In fact, Trenae was getting primed to be sent to Japan, enlisted in our services.”

“You mean…as a slave,” Jenny said.

“Well, sure, as a sex slave, I assume you could say,” he said, smiling. “You see…” He grabbed a handful of Trenae’s hair. She lowered her head. Please don’t pull it, please don’t pull it. “Some Japanese men have this thing for blond, white women. So rare and unique there. They’re willing to pay top price, and I mean top price, to have one.” He paused a bit. “Like her.” Trenae lifted her head, his hold on her hair relaxed. Mr. Garafalo was now staring at the frightened woman by Yegor. For the first time she noticed the woman did have blond hair. In fact, she and the woman almost looked like sisters.

Mr. Garafalo turned back and stared in Trenae’s face. “Such a waste. Such a tragedy.” He jolted his grasp from her hair. It hurt. “But, such is life. Okay, enough talk. Stiles, get this done.”

“What!” Jenny said. “What are you going to do?”

Trenae’s heart zipped faster, floating into her head again. Her painful demise was now coming. She stared up at Mr. Garafalo. He walked in front of Jenny and looked down at her. “Relax,” he said, “you’ll have a choice. We won’t use a bat or gun on your head, until your brains splatter the wall. We’ll be more discreet, so the medical examiner can’t determine a cause of death, other than the car accident you stupidly got yourself into. Or may…be…we’ll have another accident cooked up, one just for you.” He looked back at Trenae. His vicious countenance alone crushed her soul. She started wailing. “Either way, you’ll both be dead soon.”

“No, wait!” Jenny said. Mr. Garafalo looked back at her. So did Trenae. Sheer desperation flushed Jenny’s face. “I…I can give you more information, much more, from many sources. Just please,” she begged, her voice docile, accommodating, “please, let us both go. Please.”

“Too late!” He raised his arms. “Enough talk! Johnboy, get the reporter out of here.” 

Mr. Garafalo backed away, along with Yegor, the frightened woman, and Willson. Traferro started dragging Jenny, still in the chair, away from Trenae.

Stiles stepped closer. The metal bat tossed back and forth in his hands, his eyes staring white-hot pokers. For the first time, since Stiles and the others had abducted both of them, Trenae thought of God.

She closed her eyes. “Oh Lord, please help me.”

“SHUT UP!” Stiles roared. She sprung open her eyes. A shot of red motion. The bat’s widest end stabbing toward her. Blunt, cold metal plunged into her left cheekbone, the same cheekbone Garafalo struck with his gun. No, my head’s exploding! A scream burst forth from her throat, a blood-curdling screech of pain. Again, she yanked, wrestled to free her hands, to grab her face, to stop the pain. But nylon pins cruelly pricked and tightened her wrists, their vicious pierces ripping, shredding into her skin.

Jenny and the woman screamed and cried hysterically.

“RA…AM!” Trenae yelled. She hoped to pass out, hoped for the searing, wrenching pain in her head to disappear. Dizziness and double vision overtook her mind. My brain must be injured!

Someone kicked her legs. “No one’s getting in here! No one can find us, and if they do, they’ll be met with a barrage of bullets! Stiles, get this done, quickly! Knock her out, dead!”

Smat-ryet, zhehn-shchi-na!” Yegor said.

“Eh-ta u-zhahs-na!” the frightened woman cried. She screamed again.

Zatk-nis, shut up!” Yegor said.

“Make her watch, damn it!” Mr. Garafalo hollered. “I don’t care if you have to cut her eyelids off!”

Don’t lift your head, don’t lift your head! But she had to. Trenae had to see it coming. In horrible pain, she looked up at Stiles. Two Stiles appeared, tinted with red. Yet both evil creatures slowly lifted their bats, far back, beyond their heads, ready for a mighty, powerful blow, a batter ready for a home run. Time began to slow down. Suddenly she knew why Ra’am wasn’t coming. Like an angel arriving to her rescue, a beautiful memory, of their peaceful evening on Zotarhar hill, viewing the stunning opposition, flowed into her view. “I would die for you,” she said…Yes, this was for the best. She had ruined Ra’am’s life. He was even turning from God, due to her. This was right. God would help her, he would knock her out quickly, make this painless. And she would die peacefully. And then, her dearly beloved husband would be free…he would be free…
















                                                         Chapter 32



“So that’s it, it’s all done?” Dod asked. He stared at his computer’s monitor. L.B. would not stop pawing Dod’s legs and climbing up on him. “Hey, you silly dog!”

“Yes, that is all,” Ra’am said calmly. “L.B., stop that.” He gently wrapped his arms around L.B.’s abdomen and moved him to the floor, off Dod’s lap.

Ra’am stood up again.

“The information on tse makh yerape, how it’s biogenetically engineered, and even the mammoth files, all here?” Dod asked again, looking up at Ra’am.

Ra’am smiled. Dod smiled back at him.

“You should know by now, how advanced we are.” Ra’am kneeled down and looked at Dod’s monitor. “Simply go to programs, and you will find it, labeled as Harkoav Information. And once you or anyone in The Examiner building accesses the Internet, it will be released to every computer with Internet access. Each computer will receive the information, downloaded instantly once someone accesses the Internet, containing the same document I gave you. I want it to be free, for everyone.”

“You don’t have any advanced military technology though, that could cause our planet to blow itself up?”

“No. Only information pertaining to tse makh yerape and the mammoths, along with some religious information from Harkoav. Our military is far too concerned to allow volatile information to be leaked. Not good.”

“Let me connect now, get it going.”

Ra’am stood up. He accessed an image of Trenae and Jenny in his mind from the koaksekhel. They were walking around Dod’s house, nearing the garage. “No, not now. I must be leaving.” Turning, he began stepping out of home Dod’s office.

“Wait, Ra’am.”

L.B. trotted after Ra’am, soon taking the lead.

Ra’am turned around. Dod grinned, though seemed cheerless.

“Hey, I wish you could stay longer,” Dod said.

“And I wish you and your family could come with me, to Harkoav’s system.”

Ohhhh, you know I would love that,” Dod said, patting Ra’am on the shoulder. “But, my business, my wife’s mother, her family, the kid’s school…”

“I understand. We should now remove the toy from your son’s pond.”

“Yeah, like I said, none of us have been able to get it. He’ll just stand there and cry for it, you know how kids get. I was thinking, with your long arm, or maybe some hemoom prodoh, you could seize the darn thing, end my suffering for the last few night. Do you think you can do it, be a big brother?”

Ra’am laughed. “You will always be my little brother.” He turned and placed his right hand on Dod’s shoulder. “I will be back, someday. You have not seen the last of me.”

Dod smiled. Water glistened in his eyes, but he blinked, forcing it away. “You promise?”

“Yes…And I am sure I can get the toy.”

“Good. Let’s go.”

They left Dod’s office room. Walking down the stairs, Ra’am accessed his koaksekhel again. Jenny appeared to be leading Trenae toward the front yard. Anxiety tugged a little. The two women were speaking of Trenae’s family. Instructing proodat t’notat teesatkhepah to take a quick glimpse of the surrounding area, he reassuringly saw nothing unusual. His mind felt more at ease, though he felt upset with Jenny’s disobedience of his request, to stay in Dod’s back yard.

Before long he and Dod stood in front of the rock-bordered pond. L.B. began barking, jumping around.

“It’s because he missed you,” Dod said, reaching down and gently roughing up L.B.’s fur. “You’re such a good boy, such a good boy.”

L.B. gobbled up the attention, calming down a little.

Ra’am looked at the pond. “It appears there is 8 1/2 foot front perimeter, from one wall to the other and18 ½ total perimeter. Approximately 3 feet of height to the perimeter.”

“Yeah, good measuring. We figured it would work best, if we built it into the corner. Jesse and Stephen, the two oldest, found the rocks in the woods. This contractor I know jack hammered the floor some, to allow room for a drain and give some more depth to the pond. Actually, we should have built it up more, made the wall higher.  Tanner, who’s almost 3 now and Rebecca, you know, she’s 6 now, found they could climb the wall.”

“They are curious.”

Dod snickered. “You see what I mean. So, got out my masonry bit and hammer drill, put in some holes, and fenced it higher. Jesse wasn’t too happy, but I told him it was either that or take the pond down. And, here we are…”

Barks in silly chirps sounded from L.B. Wagging his tail profusely, L.B. then jumped on Ra’am’s leg and licked his hand.

Ra’am glanced down and petted his head. “You rambunctious dog, calm down now. Sit, L.B., sit!”

L.B. got down, on all fours, but didn’t sit.

“Well, at least he’s not on you now,” Dod said.


Drawing closer to the pond, Ra’am stared over into the water. The tower of rocks in the room’s corner, the pond’s corner water fall, stood tall, nearly as tall as Dod. A small tube expelled a gush of bubbling water, at the top of the rocks, and produced a pleasant, rippling waterfall, sounding as the stream by Trenae’s River Cliffs. Its flowing water created a flurry of more bubbles, gurgling noises on the pond’s surface. The pond itself was nearly circular, though its rocky perimeter had a triangular shape. Below the surface, in the clear blue water, as Dod had painted the lining of the pond light blue, tiny gold fish of varying sizes and shapes, even several large ones, scurried around. “So many Carassius auratus.”

“So, that’s their scientific name.” Dod looked in the water too. “Yeah, as you can tell, two of the large females recently had babies. How many you think, altogether?”

With his koaksekhel producing and counting several layers of 3-dimensional quadrants, and adding the quadrants together, Ra’am had a number. “323, including the adults.”

“That many?”


Ra’am rested his hands on the top edge of the fence and searched below. There, in the farthest corner, where the two walls met and the waterfall rocks grew from the pond was the drain. Right next to the drain a small plastic figure toy wavered beneath the water, the fish. He had his koaksekhel measure the depth, via proodat t’notat teesatkhepah. “It appears the toy is approximately 4 feet, 11 3/4 inches down.”

“And so…what’d you think? Can you get it?”

The small fish darted around in circles, or lengthy streaks of motion. Too many, in too confined a space. “I could use hemoom prodoh, but there is a risk, that some fish could die. They are too numerous. I could encase them all in hemoom prodoh, since the internal hemoom prodoh layer would be safe, and lift everything, but then I would have to use my left arm, while balancing my right, and--”

“Why don’t you just encase your koaksekhel with hemoom prodoh, like they do in your military, so it doesn’t get wet, and use your arm?”

“No, again, the surface layer of hemoom prodoh could possibly harm the fish.”

“Hey, look,” Dod said, touching Ra’am’s left arm. “Just forget it. It’s not that important…But, maybe you could just lift me, put me in the water, and I could lean down. It’s just hard to get out, so, with your help…”

No more hesitation. Ra’am decided to do it. This was taking too long. He missed his wife. “I will have to use both arms, given the depth.” Trenae, my sweet, loving Trenae. Even a short time away from her felt agonizing. Using the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah again, he saw that Trenae and Jenny now stood near the road, in front of Dod’s house. But the area still appeared calm. He instructed the koaksekhel’s invisible securing seam to separate.

L.B. made odd, cute barks again.

“L.B., sit,” Dod said. “You silly dog.”

The koaksekhel freed its grip. “Here, please hold this for me,” Ra’am said, passing the valuable instrument to his friend. Ra’am trusted Dod completely, even with his life. Dod held out his hands. With great care, Ra’am transferred the koaksekhel into Dod’s grasp.

“My word, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the underside of this.” Dod gaped at the meekpa bahmee. “Remember that time, when we were by the stream, and you were--”

“No, wait.” Ra’am needed to concentrate. A latent image, still being transferred to his brain from the now removed koaksekhel jangled his thoughts. He saw Jenny and Trenae walking on the sidewalk, while a red and silver car, as Dod described earlier, entered the street and sped toward them.

“NO! L.B.!”

Ra’am’s attention jumped back into the room. But it was too late. L.B. had jumped up, knocking into Dod. Dod had lost his balance, falling by the pond, instantly launching the koaksekhel into the air. Ra’am sprung for it. Yet it was already diving, splashing into the pond.

Ra’am leaned across the pond’s fence. Not floating a moment, the koaksekhel sunk to the bottom, like a rock. The fish frantically scattered away from it.

Ra’am plunged his arms and upper body in the water, retrieving it instantly.

“L.B., now look what you have done!” Dod scolded the playful animal. “Now sit! SIT!”

Ra’am looked back, bringing his arms and body out of the water, dripping wet, both himself and the koaksekhel. L.B. was now subdued by Dod’s harsh tone. L.B. was sitting, finally.

“Here, let me have it,” Dod said, holding his hands out, “before L.B. decides to knock it in again. I’m sorry, Ra’am, extremely sorry it fell.”

But Ra’am didn’t respond. Instead the sound of tires screeching pierced his ears, capturing his attention. He startled and looked in Dod’s face.

“Oh, don’t worry,” Dod said, shaking his head and smiling. “It’s just that kid and his speed demon.”

“Yes, I know. But Trenae, Jenny.” Trepidation rushed through Ra’am. Without faltering he placed the koaksekhel securely in Dod’s hands.

“No, don’t worry. I’m sure they’re fine. He might race around, but he wouldn’t hurt anyone. At least, he hasn’t yet.”

But the moment felt terribly wrong. Ra’am turned back toward the pond and dove his arms and upper body down into the pond and grabbed the toy. He shot up, drenching wet again and holding the action figure.

“Exchange, now!” he commanded Dod, holding the toy in front of Dod’s hands.

Dod looked up at him, worry on his face. “What’s wrong?” He thrust Ra’am the koaksekhel and took the toy.

Again Ra’am couldn’t answer. He raced toward the door. He grasped the koaksekhel securely in his hands. Something felt wrong, wrong! But now, with his arm wet and the koaksekhel wet, he could merely wonder. If only the advanced koaksekhel technicians on Harkoav had perfected the internally worn koaksekhel, this would never have happened. It was the Vootsahat avar’s fault! They were constantly influencing the military and government to stop progressing technology.

It was insignificant now. I must find Trenae and Jenny, get on Ha-Ta, and allow the shleetah maksheer to dry my koaksekhel.

“Ra’am, I’ll help you,” Dod called out. He was running behind.

After opening the door, Ra’am shot through. L.B. tore ahead. No, L.B.! Though he felt concern and love for L.B., his love for Trenae far exceeded anyone and anything else.

Ra’am still grasped the koaksekhel and ran off the patio. He sped around the house, by the garage and toward the street, in the same direction he last saw the two women. He heard Dod following him, huffing straining breaths, stomping weak, ineffective steps, to keep up. Although he had not yet obtained an accelerated speed beyond a human’s capability, he was getting close.

Shortly he reached the street. He looked far up to the right. No sign of them. Scanning his eyes down, still facing in the right direction, he searched across the street, at the other homes. His gaze moved left, scanning rapidly, until his eyes searched far down to the left, where the road curved. Again, no sign of them.

“Which way…did you last see them?”

Ra’am turned around. Dod huffed shallow breaths, his running steps nearing his yard’s border, by the sidewalk. L.B. whisked by, running into the street.

Ra’am turned to his right. “Heading up the hill, toward that traffic light,” he said quickly. He turned his stare left again. Something told him she was gone, and that he needed to get on Ha-Ta.

“There!” Dod said. “I just saw her!”

Ra’am looked down at him. “Where?”

Dod pointed up, near the traffic light. “She’s…she’s wearing a black leather jacket, right?”

Ra’am looked up by the light. “I see no one.” With all the great physical advances ometvaheem had over humans, eyesight was not one of them.

“No, she just walked by…on the left, just a glimpse, of her jacket.” Dod started running. He turned his head back for a moment. “Come on, hurry! It must be her!” He ran faster. “TRENAE, JENNY!” Dod yelled.

No, this is wrong! Trenae would not walk so far away from me! Unless she felt the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah would look out for her. Panic squeezed around his heart. He wanted to go to the woods, get on Ha-Ta, but his mind told him to rush ahead and check out Dod’s sighting.

Like a projectile, Ra’am charged pass Dod, even L.B. He looked back for a second, to see their whereabouts. L.B. was entering the street again, no fear. For a brief instant Ra’am realized that for all the years he had L.B., the dog never once had been exposed to outdoor city or suburban life, except for now. L.B.’s safety now lived at great risk.

Ra’am covered the distance from Dod’s front yard to the end of the street in seconds of time.  He now stood on the right corner of the intersection, still grasping the koaksekhel tightly in his hands. Turning northwest, in the direction Dod saw Trenae, Ra’am caught sight of a woman walking on the busy street. Although she wore a black leather jacket, short denim skirt, and had blond hair, her hair was short. It was not Trenae. And no other woman walked nearby, thus no Jenny. Ra’am’s heart sunk to his feet.

“WAS IT HER?” Dod called out, from down the street.

Ra’am turned and looked at him. Ra’am felt his inhaling, exhaling burn faster.

Yet his mind became suddenly distracted, by a screeching sound. Spinning toward the sound, at the intersection’s left corner, he saw a small red Porsche cutting its way from the main road onto Dod’s street. It began racing.

That car is not my concern. Go to Ha-Ta, he told himself. GO TO HA-TA! The shleetah maksheer will find Trenae! Running toward Dod’s house, he kept his eyes on the view ahead. Only one thought held his mind now.

SSSSCREEEEECCHHH! THUD! “Yowlp, yowlp!”         

“Oh my God! L.B.!” Dod hollered.

NO! Ra’am turned right. L.B. lay on the ground, in front of the red Porsche. Dragging his hind legs, L.B. tried approaching Ra’am. He yelped in horrible pain. But he was alive. Yet there was no time!

Ra’am had to help his animal friend. He ran toward him, the red Porsche backing away, slowly. A woman sat behind the driver’s seat. It appeared she wanted to back up more, to allow more space, and to park her vehicle. She looked at Ra’am. Though her window remained closed, he could hear her scream. Of course, I am not in disguise.

No time! It was not important. In lightning flash, Ra’am charged to Dod and handed him his koaksekhel. “Be very careful!” he said desperately.

He raced back to L.B. The woman in the red Porsche, her face disfigured in fear, had backed up the street, away from L.B.  Ra’am swooped down and gently, yet swiftly, picked up L.B. With wounded L.B. in his arms, he started sprinting toward Ha-Ta. Yet he could not travel as fast, since the extreme motion would harm L.B.’s injury. Yet Trenae was in trouble. I need the shleetah maksheer!

“Dod, hurry, but please, please, be careful!” Ra’am called out, turning back toward his friend.

Ra’am ran onto the sidewalk, out of the way from any more vehicles. He looked down at L.B., in his arms. The beautiful Golden Retriever yelped, winced in pain. Suddenly the image changed- instead of L.B., he saw Trenae. She wrenched and squirmed in excruciating pain. “No…no…” he cried.

But he had to keep running. He had to get on Ha-Ta.

He arrived by Dod’s house. He stopped, looked to his left. Holding the koaksekhel like a precious newborn, Dod was jogging, carefully. Dod knew its great importance. And Dod also knew, without it, they were both far more vulnerable.

“Hurry, but be careful…please,” Ra’am said.

L.B. twisted and yelped, trying to remove himself from Ra’am’s arms. I am causing L.B. more pain by holding him, he thought. But he had no choice. He grasped him gently but firmly. Then he looked back at Dod. Anguish molded his friend’s face. Ra’am had never seen his positive, happy friend so distraught. It burdened him even more.

“Ra’am, I should hold L.B.!” Dod said. “Let me have him, you go!”

Dod was right. Immediately Ra’am lowered L.B. to the ground. Once Dod arrived in front of him, Ra’am took the koaksekhel.

“Go! I’ll take care of L.B.!” Dod said quickly.

Not waiting a moment Ra’am charged down the hill, on Dod’s driveway. But just as he passed the driveway, he heard Dod’s voice.

“L.B.! NOOO!”

He turned back. Amazingly L.B. raced toward him, using only three legs. Only one must be injured. But, Ha-Ta! Ra’am spun forward and charged toward the woods. As he charged he could hear Dod and L.B. stomping, pattering the ground after him.

Woods came in close view. It was only a short distance now. Ra’am carefully zigzagged around the trees, cutting toward Ha-Ta’s entrance.

But then a heart-piercing, ghastly thought entered his mind- without the koaksekhel, he could not enter Ha-Ta! Why had I not thought of this sooner? My mind is crashing, from the stress! He dropped to his knees on the pine needle, leaf covered soil, near his best remembrance of the ground entrance in the small clearing. “Oh Lo Zmarh, please help me,” he said. He placed the koaksekhel on his arm. The meekpa bahmee wasn’t dry enough, stabs of searching sensors piercing around his right forearm. He moaned in pain, yet opened the koaksekhel’s delet with a side external control button and began pressing the appropriate buttons. Nothing happened.

L.B. thumped through the trees, crushing leaves and pine needles, finally bumping up against Ra’am’s left arm. He licked Ra’am’s face, whimpering from his injury at the same time.

“Dod, hurry, please!” Ra’am called out. Dod began running with all his might, looping himself around the trees. L.B. had to stay out of the way, in order for this to be accomplished. Ra’am moved L.B. slightly to the side.

Dod arrived.

“Please, get L.B.! Hold him!”

“L.B., come, stay by me,” Dod said, his voice quivering. He grasped L.B. and pulled him away.

“Lo Zmarh, please…let this work,” Ra’am said. He pressed the buttons again, trying for a second attempt to activate the hemoom prodoh opening. Again, no success. His body shook terribly now. The sensors still pierced and pained his skin, but it had to occur. He ignored the pain.

He felt Dod’s hand touch his left shoulder. “Lord, please help Ra’am, please allow the koaksekhel to work,” Dod prayed. “Please, Lord.” His prayer came awkwardly, Dod holding back whimpering, bumping L.B. with his other arm.

Ra’am’s frantic mind searched. Will the meekpa bahmee need further air drying? Quickly, with care, he removed the koaksekhel from his arm and gently passed it through the air, attempting a drying effect. Even if 40% dry, the meekpa bahmee should allow some basic functions to work, at least opening the entrance to a Memadshakor because of a built in defense mechanism.

“Here, take my shirt!” Dod said. He shot up and practically tore off his tee shirt. He gave it to Ra’am. “Go ahead, use it to dry.”

“No, Dod. Only air can dry meekpa bahmee.” And Dod knew that. They both were panicking deliriously now. Again Ra’am passed it through the air. And again, Ra’am prayed, in his mind, asking Lo Zmarh to please, please allow it to work. L.B. began nudging and licking Ra’am’s face again, but Dod pulled L.B. back.

A few more seconds passed. Ra’am decided to try again.

He wrapped the koaksekhel around his arm. Success! Right away, the instrument’s correct sensor attached to the khoot gotahey koaksekhel nerve fiber within his arm. He stood up.

“Back away, Dod. The entrance is here, as I suspected.”

Dod did as asked, moving himself and L.B. backwards.

Ra’am commanded the hole to form. A miracle from Lo Zmarh, the ground opened. Hemoom prodoh from Ha-Ta swiftly circled the hole, holding the tunnel securely in place. Trenae, my love. She is my life. He tried to access the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah, but was unsuccessful. Possibly the meekpa bahmee was not completely dry. Only the shleetah maksheer would have Trenae’s moving image now. “I am jumping, now!”

“No! Wait!” Dod pleaded. Ra’am spun his head toward him. “Let me come too. You need me. Please.”

Desperation swamped Dod’s face and words. Not giving a second thought, Ra’am commanded the hemoom prodoh entrance to enlarge its diameter. He lifted both Dod and L.B., one under each arm, and jumped down the hole.

They landed. “Uugh!” Air burst from Dod’s mouth. My grip is too tight around Dod’s abdomen. Ra’am flung his arm off Dod, allowing him to stand, to breathe better. He placed L.B., whimpering, on the floor.

“Are you okay?” Ra’am asked.

Dod leaned over a little, holding his stomach. “Yes,” he said. “Yes, go!”

Ra’am flew toward the shleetah maksheer. Once sitting, he plunged his koaksekhel on the shleetah maksheer’s vacant area. Just like the night Trenae first slept with him, on the evesmol, and the wall engulfed his koaksekhel, the shleetah maksheer did the same. Sweet memories of that moment brushed through his mind, lightening his mood for a millisecond.

But those memories vanished. Now the faithful, ever serving images of the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah materialized in his mind.

Their images tore his heart out of his chest, shredding it, crushing it. “Lok! LOK!” Ra’am yelled.

He ripped his forearm from the shleetah maksheer. A sudden convulsive wave shot forth, rippling Ha-Ta, nearly knocking Dod on the floor. Ra’am shot up and spun toward Dod. “Eykh hem paga betsoorah norah?” His words zoomed, thundered.

Dod began to cry and tremble. “Is she…is she…no, please…” Dod said softly.

Raging anger boiled through every cell in Ra’am’s body. Leaning over and forming tight fists, he forced his body straight, staring toward the ceiling, throwing his arms up. “HEM BEN MAAAVEEETT!” he roared, his words, motion releasing some of the scorching rage.

Breathing at first like a sprinter, air racing up and down his throat, keeping his fist-yielding arms by his sides, Ra’am realized he had to gain some control. He stared at Dod. But his friend was backing away, cowering. L.B. barked, struggling to walk toward Ra’am.

Ra’am spun away from them, sat down, and raced his fingers all over the shleetah maksheer, programming Ha-Ta to take the quickest and most direct route to Trenae’s location.

More acceleration, more acceleration!

Ha-Ta is not traveling fast enough! A tight fist balled Ra’am’s hand. He slammed his fist against the shleetah maksheer. “CANNOT THIS MEMADSHAKOR GO ANY FASTER!” he yelled. Again surging, rippling waves besieged Ha-Ta.

Footsteps sounded, on his left. Ra’am spun his head in that direction. Dod jolted back. Ra’am knew why; he knew it frightened humans to their very core, to see such impossible physical motion.

              “Please,” Dod cried, his body shaking, “tell me what’s wrong. I can’t understand…Ra’yonah…not now…Please, is Trenae okay? Is she…is she …?”

Ra’am slowly turned his head toward the khalon and stared. “No…not yet. But they are working on it.” I need serenity. He inhaled a filling breath. He looked back at his friend. “Come, sit down here, and you can see for yourself.”

Dod sped ran around Ra’am and sat in Trenae’s seat. Dod watched the khalon. From the moment Trenae and Jenny heard the passing red and silver GTO and were violently greeted by Stiles and his men, to the room of blood and horror at the factory building, Dod viewed it all, just as Ra’am did within his brain.

“What…” Dod said breathlessly. Ra’am turned his head and looked at him. “What…are you going…” Dod swallowed. “…to do?”

Ra’am’s mind now locked within a terrible place. Even though he looked at Dod and heard Dod’s words, his mind could not function normally. Cruel, bloodthirsty visions slashed through his brain. Many units of time passed by. Soon he realized his blank, distant stare and speechless behavior had become a penetrating knife, silently wounding Dod, as it had done many times to his precious Trenae. Dod cringed in fear.

Slowly Ra’am moved his gaze off Dod and stared toward the khalon. In less than a minute they would be there, at the factory. But he did not forget his friend’s question. He responded with a different answer, though. “My koaksekhel,” he said slowly, holding out his right arm, near Dod’s frightened face, “is completely functional again.” He gazed in Dod’s face, giving a quick smile, and then laid his right arm peacefully upon his lap.

 Images from the factory building came fast now and so did other images and information, ascertaining the reason all of this evil had occurred. Ra’am immediately commenced appropriate procedures to fix what he could, especially at Dod’s house.

 Stiles’ men had taken Trenae and Jenny to a large building in the Spokane Industrial Park. The building loomed in close view.

 It was time. Ra’am arose from his seat.

“Where…where are you going?” Dod asked.

“I am going beneath the delet tekrah,” he said. Ra’am stood there for a moment, staring at Dod. “To ready myself. After approximately 20 seconds has passed, once I leave Ha-Ta, I want you to press this button, to obtain a ladder.” Ra’am pointed to a button near the shleetah maksheer’s middle. “I will need you to attend to Trenae, as I attend with her abductors.” L.B. walked toward Ra’am. Ra’am knelt down and petted him briefly. Then he stood up again and looked at Dod. “Make sure L.B. is safe too.”

Ra’am turned away.

“Yes, anything,” Dod said, slowly standing.

Prepare yourself, Ra’am thought. Men stood outside the building, but none in the truck garage, the large room just outside the room that held Trenae.

He pinpointed the positions of Sal Garafalo and Stiles, along with what they did and were going to do. There was little time. His only plan of action was to jump up, through the ceiling tunnel, and become both a battering ram and tumbling ball. He would first have to force and break the steel door down with his head, body, and hemoom prodoh force. Then he would roll to Stiles, Ra’am’s body clenched into a tight ball. All the while he would be protected by an invisible hemoom prodoh shield, only as an added protective measure, since the men’s guns would soon be disabled.

Fortunately an ometvah’s vestibular system, like an ometvah’s muscular and skeletal systems, far surpassed a human’s, able to withstand incredible disruptions of balance and coordination. This would seem impossible to any human witnesses.

Ra’am tightened his powerful fists.

The moment arrived. Ra’am looked up. The delet tekrah instantly materialized and opened. Bending and lowering his legs and raising his arms straight up, ready to dive, Ra’am launched up.

Just as planned, his feet slammed upon the concrete floor of the truck garage. Ra’am leapt forward, holding his arms outward and mentally commanding hemoom prodoh to shoot forward with him. The combined force of his solid head, clenched fists, and hemoom prodoh blew the huge metal door down with an explosion. But he didn’t stop. He rolled forward, impossibly fast, his motion a blur that wouldn’t even exist to the humans in the room. As Ra’am instructed his body to do, so it did. And he suffered neither harm nor disorientation from the motion.

He shot up. He stood next to Stiles, glaring down at him.

Stiles couldn’t react. He continued pulling the bat backwards, farther, farther, obviously to acquire a more painful and damaging blow.

In less than a blink Ra’am grasped hold of the bat with his left hand. Stiles still tried to yank it forward, unaware of Ra’am’s presence.

Massive information stormed Ra’am’s brain. He heard and saw motion within the room. Every human’s position, along with his or her identity he now knew. His precious Trenae was alive, but injured. But first those who did this had to be dealt with.

“FUCKING BITCH!” Malcolm yelled. He pulled his handgun up, out and thrust it toward Ra’am.

Mr. Finley was pulling out his gun too. But Mr. Finley also stared toward the floor, where the door had landed. Pools of blood and other human tissue chunks flowed from beneath. Ra’am knew who it was; Sandro had been in front of the huge door, when it exploded downward. Oh well, he thought, such is life.

The two men, both guns extended forward attempted to fire. But they never had a chance. Ra’am whipped a long strand of hemoom prodoh from his koaksekhel, capturing and encasing both men at once. With a slight, quick motion, he tugged them forward and behind himself, slamming their bodies against the wall directly behind his position and close to where Willson stood.

Both Mr. Finley and Malcolm now had hemoom prodoh covering from neck to toe, only their heads exposed, and their bodies placed high, their feet approximately 85 kehtey omom from the floor.

Not even a millisecond’s rest, Ra’am released or mateel from his koaksekhel. The blue light at once disabled all explosives in the room.

All time events and sequences were happening beyond human comprehension. Ra’am could still sense that Stiles had not yet understood his disheveled surroundings, had not yet understand why the bat was immobilized.

As expected, the two men from outside rushed into the room, wielding their guns. Again they had no chance. Ra’am seized the two men with hemoom prodoh and slammed them against the wall, just above the tables, on the opposite side of the room, across the room from the encased Mr. Finley and Malcolm. Four men now captured. Each was still alive, though injured.

While Traferro, Garafalo, and Yegor Vodzimir drew their now useless weapons, Ra’am focused his attention on Stiles. None of those men would be leaving, including Willson, to distract Ra’am.

Ra’am glared down at Stiles. He ripped the bat from Stiles grip, whipping it with tremendous force toward the far right corner of the room, making certain to avoid Trenae and Jenny. The bat zoomed across the room, a red lightning streak, vibrating zipping hits back and forth between both walls, shattering into hundreds of pieces, creating a shredded, crumbling gouge in the concrete block walls, just missing a large packing machine. Its ear-piercing shattering sound crackled, echoed throughout the room.

He looked in Stiles’ eyes, eyes staring dumbfounded, shocked.

Finding their weapons wouldn’t work, the three gun toting men ran toward the door. Even Willson attempted to follow them, a little. In two blurring streaks, Ra’am seized the three men with hemoom prodoh and then nailed them to the far wall opposite the door.

Ra’am turned slightly left, Willson’s direction. He dove his hand down and clutched the Governor by his clothing, just beneath his neck, yanking him off his feet.

Still holding Willson and not wasting a second, Ra’am thrust his other hand down, slamming, squeezing his fingers around Stiles’ neck. His fingers, his palm felt intense pleasure, lifting, squeezing the large, clammy, muscular neck.

Now, he had both of them.

A rush of insane gratification deluged Ra’am. He lifted both men high in the air, above his head. He glared at them, a gleeful smile curling his face. Their legs dangled or kicked, their throats gasped for air, their hands grabbed at Ra’am’s grip.

A woman’s crying wails entered his ears. Of course, the third woman in the room.

He lowered both men a little, Stiles thrashing about, his fingers digging into Ra’am’s wrists and his feet attempting brusque kicks. But it was pointless; the shield surrounding Ra’am was still activated. Though Ra’am enabled grasps of hands to touch, any strong thrusts, like Stiles’ kicks, only came within 5 kehtey omom, 21/2 inches of Ra’am’s clothing surface. Willson, in difference, merely grabbed Ra’am’s hand. The rest of Willson’s body and face hung spellbound, locked in a near paralyzed state, though Willson remained fully conscious.

“Pa zhah lusta,” said the woman. Ra’am looked down at her. His heart felt further injury, noticing the terrified female resembled his wife. “Yah ni panimahyu!” she cried.

“It-ti, it-ti,” Ra’am told her gently.

She obeyed his words and ran toward the door.

Ra’am’s head made a rapid turn left, to watch her leave, observing Dod entering at the same time. In that same moment Ra’am commanded a long rope shot of hemoom prodoh from his koaksekhel to find the rough cords on Trenae and Jenny’s wrists, cutting the cords and releasing their hands. Done, the hemoom prodoh rope zipped back to him, into the koaksekhel on his right arm, the arm holding up Stiles. My anger must be clouding my thoughts, he thought. I should have released Trenae and Jenny long ago. But the raging anger would not flee.

Other matters needed attending. Ra’am stared up at both men’s faces again. “RA HASH HA RAGZANAT!” he yelled, grasping them tighter. A deep, bone-crushing laugh rumbled from his body’s pit, slowly rupturing out his throat. Stiles grimaced and fought violently, throwing punches at Ra’am. Willson simply hung white and motionless, entombed in terror.

He brought both men down, at eye level, sneering viciously at them. Whom do I destroy first? He stared from one to the other.

Willson needed removal. With one quick heave, Ra’am splattered Willson against the concrete wall, the man’s back taking the crushing blow. Air burst from his mouth. His body then slumped down to the floor, to the right and not far from the encased Finley and Malcolm.  But Ra’am knew he didn’t need to encase Willson; the governor’s intense fear and new back injury would keep him immobile.  

Ra’am looked back at Stiles. Closer and closer he brought Stile’s face, so their eyes stared, nearly touching each other’s darkness. He held Stiles flailing body steady. Yet even as Stiles’ facial skin reddened and grew purple from the eye-popping grip around his neck, the man who tortured and almost killed Trenae continued to appear infuriated, agitated. Even as he wheezed for precious gulps of air, dug his nails into Ra’am’s wrists, and thrust, bashed his legs as an insane sprinter, Stiles yet seemed wanting to finish his job, to complete his hateful undertaking.

“Eyes of death,” Ra’am said, feeling a familiar emotion surge through his blood, “you have not seen eyes of death, until you have looked in my eyes.” His words sizzled with rage. “You have not seen eyes of torture, until you have looked in my eyes…”

Even as he stared in the cruel human’s eyes, unwanted memories began to flood Ra’am’s brain. Long, scene-drenched portions of time began appearing in quick increments.

Hovering above Bamah, the satellite terraformed moon of Te’al, Ra’am sat at the command control of Klee Em, one of the largest space vessels in the entire Harkoav system. Before him, on the khalon, a battlefield raged between Jardackian and Harkoavian soldiers, on Te’al’s surface. A thousand khayaleem again were under his command, this 46th day of the Jardac War. 

As typical, several soldiers in lower command stood nearby, discussing ramifications of Ra’am’s proposed strategic move. Ra’am had a plan. Since the Jardackians had disabled their taktselekh tactical system, Ra’am had to use his own brilliant strategy.  He believed his plan would produce sufficient distraction to the Jardackian soldiers, thereby allowing his khayaleem to win an important battle. Yet those standing nearby argued against it, feeling his strategic move would prove dangerous and lethal. Ra’am’s impatience with their bickering grew.

“Cowards!” Ra’am finally said. “You will do as I order, or face government execution!” Cold, mean, and arrogant described his personality back then. Heartless likewise. They cowered before him, typical of many who ever encountered his fierce demeanor; Ra’am knew he would have his way.

But his ‘way’ turned out to be a living nightmare. Following their instructions, the two who cowered rounded up each of their specific group of soldiers and traveled to Te’al. They positioned themselves as planned. Yet somehow the Jardackians discovered their covert position, slaughtering and butchering his soldiers like defenseless wild game.

When the dust and activity had settled a little, Ra’am quickly traveled there himself, with some of his other khayaleem.

He remembered how he felt, inside, at first. War is brutal, I can deal with this, he told himself, viewing the hundreds of gory body limbs and decapitated, mutilated, half-dead soldiers. Red, thick liquid pumped on the ground, from split- open skulls. Bodies, still alive, cut in half, spilled internal organs onto the soil. And others suffered severe burns. Some struggled to apply tse makh yerape to their wounds, wounds that could be healed. But most had injuries too far gone for recovery. All their cries, wails, and screams of pain filled the air. So many. But Ra’am had no heart. It was nothing to him. This is war!

But then, as he came upon seren Ne’an, one of the two ometvaheem he had called a coward, something within him changed. Ne’an’s legs and a portion of his lower hip were gone. Blood surged out from the ghoulish openings, as the dusty, foul air sprinkled Ne’an’s exposed hipbone, producing extreme suffering. Ra’am knelt down next to him. Ne’an’s hands lunged forth and grasped Ra’am’ hands. Ne’an’s mouth began forming words. Before he spoke Ra’am expected to be reprimanded and cursed for his destructive war maneuver.

Turning deathly pale, losing great quantities of blood and suffering excruciating pain, Ne’an finally spoke. “I apologize, for failing,” he said. “I know…you only wanted to save more lives. I…I am sorry.” Then, mercifully, he died.

No, Ra’am thought. He closed his eyes and lowered his head. That was not my reason! I only wanted to glorify myself, to prove to others how brilliant and invincible I was! He lifted his head and opened his eyes. For the first time in his short life, watching Ne’an’s dead body, Ra’am felt his heart beating.

But unfortunately his newfound heart then became ugly. He stood up and vowed thereafter to protect his living soldiers, but most importantly, to revenge the horrid and torturous deaths of the ones on the battlefield. Their suffering became his suffering.

By changing his frame of mind, and concentrating on saving Harkoavian lives, like Ne’an had said, and protecting his soldiers, instead of for selfish adoration, Ra’am’s talent for strategic maneuvers increased by many times. He even developed a brilliant method to disable most Jardac weapon systems. Opinions changed. Instead of only fear, Ra’am’s soldiers developed both fear and love for him.

Yet one by one, day by day, and battle by battle, he constantly remembered his vow of vengeance. He cruelly tortured and killed hundreds and hundreds of Jardackians, just as Sheveetah had described. Before and as he did so, a pleasurable sensation accompanied his brutality, even as the poor, weak Jardackians, who were nothing physically without their technology or mind control cried in pain and begged for mercy. Even as their eyes and faces became pathetic lumps of terror and wretchedness, he continued, pressed onward by that pleasurable sensation, fueled by and attributed to the memory and suffering of his soldiers. This was THEIR payback to them.

And now, as he held Stiles, that same sadistic, pleasurable sensation boiled within him.

Desiring to inflict pain, but not kill yet, Ra’am thrust his left hand up and crumpled, seized the clothing under Stiles’ neck, for better support. His right hand squeezed Stiles’ neck tighter. Pop! Pop! Pop! Three fingers plunged into the flesh around Stiles’ neck, forcing blood, fat, muscle tissue bursting outward. But Ra’am carefully avoided any large, major arteries or veins, thereby only painfully wounding Stiles. Warm liquid soaked Ra’am’s fingers tips, driving the insane pleasure sensation even wilder within him. Stiles attempted to cry out, yet only produced odd animal sounds, struggling to grimace, punch, and kick angrily.

In mere seconds, Stiles became quiet, merely trembling involuntarily. Death was near.

Ra’am closed his eyes for a moment. Doing so, the aftermath of the war came before him. Harkoav hailed Ra’am a hero, pouring mountains and mountains of recognition and praise upon him. Celebrations went on for days.

But at night, lying in bed and as he slept, his mind and dreams forced him to face the horror of what he had done. Without that pleasurable sensation, all the scenes and all the views of the Jardackians, the brutality he committed upon them revealed their truth. Hemoom prodoh wrapping, disguising a deformed animal, had been released. An ugly creature lay before him. Hideously ugly.

Ra’am squirmed from the memory. He opened his eyes.

But then he remembered what Stiles had done to Trenae.

Pop! Pop! A fourth and fifth finger pierced Stiles neck. Stiles’ eyes began bulging out of his skull. Blood trickled all over Ra’am’s powerful hand. Stiles’ clothes now made ripping sounds, the material struggling to hold the man’s large weight.

Another memory came. A different memory. Far away, back in recent time on Harkoav, he stood arguing with Sheveetah, in front of Trenae. Trenae stood up. He remembered her words: “My father believed, that God’s love could change anyone.” No…no...

“ATAT TA’AHHOTT!” Ra’am roared, forcing the man across the room, his fingers slipping freely from the punctured neck. Stiles’ body soared the great distance, exploding into the room’s far concrete corner, his back and head taking the crushing blow. He squashed down to the floor, his legs spread opened. But Stiles remained slightly conscious. He lifted his head, but only for a moment. His head dropped again. Red liquid gushed from his mouth, dribbled streams around his neck.

So greatly did Ra’am desire Trenae. But unrelieved feelings snared him. He turned slightly to his left and spotted Willson, quivering. He stepped to the Governor. Thrusting down his right arm, Ra’am clutched the clothing under Willson’s neck and lugged him up. Blood that yet remained on Ra’am’s hand stained Willson’s clothing and swelled the air with irony vapor.

Ra’am slammed Willson’s back against the concrete wall. Air burst from Willson’s mouth, Ra’am’s bloody, clothing-clenched fist punching hard into scrawny bones just below the man’s neck.

Even so the Governor attempted to gain some composure. “Wh- what…are you?” Willson’s eyes popped out in terror.

“No, Governor Willson, what…are…YOU?” Ra’am struggled valiantly to control the cruel, bloodthirsty urges within him. His entire body trembled with rage. His breathing raced. “What kind of a governor, what kind of a human being, pretends to care for his people, when in reality, destroys their very existence through association with criminals? Do you realize,” he said, firing his gaze at Garafalo and Yegor, but then staring back on Willson, “that you are worse than they? At least, they do not pretend to be something they are not.” A broad, sly smile carved across Ra’am’s face. “But, at the same time, I must thank you. I know a few ometvaheem, who would love to meet and marry a human female. Because of the treatment you and your associates have done upon human females, these females will run, with open arms, into the embrace of a male ometvah, desirous of their companionship. And these ometvaheem will treat them like the few, precious, beautiful beings that they are.”

“Ra’am,” someone said.

Ra’am looked down, to his left. Dod looked up at him. “Yes, Dod, what is it?”       

“We, umm, should--”

“Maybe…” Willson said. Ra’am shot his gaze back. Remarkably Willson appeared to have accessed some inner audacity. “…on your planet, females are few and precious. But here, on earth, they’re a dime a dozen. And they’re dogs.”

For all the reasons that Trenae had suffered, from the time Willson first discovered her, to the torture she had now endured from Stiles and Garafalo, and for all her emotional and physical suffering in between, Ra’am blamed Willson. And now, hearing Willson’s smart-aleck words, that pleasurable sensation, of all Ra’am’s vengeance and anger, erupted with unforgiving power.

“MAAVETT!” Ra’am thundered. He plunged his left hand upon Willson’s head, completely engulfing the blond-haired orb within his palm and fingers.

Small increment by small increment Ra’am began pressing his fingers into the hair, skin, flesh surrounding Willson’s skull.

“What are you doing, what are you doing?” Willson said quickly. His eyes widened even more. Panic fouled Willson’s breath.

Ra’am glared into his eyes. The outcome drove Ra’am wild with anticipation, of when he succeeded in slowly, torturously crushing Willson’s skull, finally being able to squeeze and mash the governor’s brain, muscles, blood, and hair altogether, until a lump of red mush. He couldn’t wait. He pressed his fingers further, until he felt the skull beginning to compress.

“AHHHH! STOP! HELP ME!” Willson yelled. He screamed. He tried kicking his feet, grabbing Ra’am’s arms. But Ra’am’s hemoom prodoh shield thwarted him. Willson’s pain must be severe, Ra’am thought.

“You are feeling it…” Ra’am said. He clenched his teeth together, sneered wickedly, and pressed his fingers harder. Delirium from that pleasurable sensation had saturated his mind.

“Ra’am! What are you doing?” said someone’s voice.

Ra’am shot his head left, down. Dod stood below, terror covering his face. But Dod’s face couldn’t distract him. Ra’am turned back at Willson and pressed his fingers harder.

“HELP MMMEEEE!” Willson screamed.


Ra’am looked at Dod again. What does he want? Entrapped in his vicious cause, Ra’am couldn’t speak.

“Remember who you are now!” Dod said.

Remember who you are now? Who was I, now? Think. Yet he couldn’t.

But gradually Ra’am ceased from pressing his fingers. He shut his eyes. Scenes from his past haunted him once more.

He stood before a cliff, near the wonderful mountain range by Nagaris. Wind whistled, blew fiercely, from so high an altitude. Ra’am looked down, over the cliff. A 1560 omom unit drop went straight down to a sharp, rocky ledge. It was more than enough height to accomplish a quick death.

He had come there that morning, after a particularly bad night of gruesome scenes and memories from the Jardac War. Especially disturbing where the memories of his mutilated, suffering soldiers, the time after the Bamah battle, which he caused, he selfishly, ignorantly ordered. Even worse he had recently learned, through rumors, that Harkoav had affected the war in the first place, not the Jardackians, and all the horrible deaths of his soldiers, and all the torturing and murdering he subsequently accomplished had even less merit. The war hero could take no more. This was the right thing to do.

But just as he neared the edge, he remembered a distant, fleeting memory from Harkoav’s bible that he read when a child. Overwhelmed by the awful war memories and new revelations, Ra’am had recently turned to Lo Zmarh. Certain biblical teachings gradually found their way back to his present state of discomfort, periodically guiding his soul. A particular bible passage stated this: one should not take their own life, because loved ones left behind would be emotionally wounded. Suicide is wrong. Suicide…is a selfish act.

Ra’am stepped away from the cliff’s edge. And as he looked out across the grand, wondrous beauty of Zotarhar mountain range, he vowed never to participate in military combat again. He would become a scientist, and study the universe. There, he would find peace.

But the peace did not come easy. That is, until he saw Trenae. She changed his life, over time, forevermore. And when he saw her that October night, standing by the cliff, contemplating suicide, he realized how their two lives had become so intertwined, in so many ways.

Yes, he had changed.

He looked at Willson. A slight calm began settling within. In one coordinated movement, he plucked both hands away, from both Willson’s clothing and Willson’s head. The governor dropped, a sack of ketoomahgas to the hard concrete floor.

Air burst from Willson’s mouth. “Ughh!” 

Ra’am stared down at him. As the governor began to cry, cower, and edge away to the right, negative thoughts still invaded Ra’am’s mind. This lump of sniveling fecal matter does not deserve to live! BUT…Lo Zmarh says, revenge is my undertaking.

Release, I need release from this anger!

“MESAYEM KA’ET!” Ra’am roared, punching his left fist through the concrete wall. His arm crashed all the way in, up to his upper arm. An enormous hole emerged, buckets of concrete rock falling to the floor and dust debris clouding the air.

Ra’am turned his head left. Fortunately through the dusty air, he could see Dod had already backed away. Then he looked at Willson. Through settling dust the governor inched his way up to a standing position and moved closer to Stiles.

Cool outdoor air encircled Ra’am’s left hand. He pulled his arm from the wall, outdoor light shining through the huge hole.

Now he needed to see Trenae. Yet he also had to make certain Stiles and Willson did not escape, that something was done to punish the cruel acts these humans had committed. He remembered his father’s words, after the High Counsel meeting: “There is always a middle ground.” He developed a plan.

A streak of motion, Ra’am grabbed Willson and Stiles with hemoom prodoh encasement, lifting them and smacking them against the wall, like the others. Their heads remained exposed, so they could hear and breathe, for now. Ra’am noticed that Stiles was near death. Even as the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah downloaded the physical condition of Stiles and the others in the room, Ra’am ignored the information.

He turned around. Trenae. Dod knelt by her, as did Jenny. Ra’am ran to her and knelt too.

She was leaning over, trying to hide her face while sitting in the chair. Time, how long has it been? With the help of the certain proodat t’notah systems, Ra’am discovered the time occurrence and extent of each injury. Trenae now suffered mild neurogenic and psychogenic shock. Both her left and right zygomatic bones had open fractures, as did a portion of her right mandible, though it was a closed fracture. Two of her molars, both upper and lower, on her right side, had been dislodged, and a crack in the 1st metatarsal of her right foot occurred, as well as a torn anterior talofibular ligament of her right ankle. The last blow to her cheek, from Stiles, produced a concussion. Some other minor injuries had occurred, to her face, nose, wrists, and neck. Even more enraging, a portion of Trenae’s Gland lobules and fat tissue, within her right breast, had been damaged. She was in pain.

Quickly Ra’am slipped his hand into a hidden pocket of his upper tsekehoot shakor and removed an areegah refoo’eh. He rapidly wiped the cloth all around both his hands, removing both blood and harmful microorganisms from his skin and nearby clothing, all the areas which were contaminated by Stiles’ or Willson’s vile body fluids. Finished, he looked at Dod. Not saying a word, Dod took the now white areegah refoo’eh from Ra’am’s hand, the cloth’s proodat t’notah systems having absorbed the harmful fluids, rendering them neutral. 

Ra’am took held of both Trenae’s hands with his left hand, while lifting himself up a bit, and placed his right hand on her shoulder. Blood dripped on his left hand.

“She’s in shock,” Dod said.

“Yes, I know. We need to get her on Ha-Ta, quickly.”

“What…what took you…” Ra’am turned left. He looked up. Jenny stood there, leaning over, beaten from stress, several welts on her face. “Where the hell were you?” she asked.

Ra’am stared at her for a brief moment.

“A series of mishaps,” Dod said. “It was my fault. First Ra’am’s koaksekhel got wet, then L.B. got hit by a car, and--”


Gently releasing his hands from Trenae, Ra’am stood up and turned around. Garafalo was agitated.

“Let us go now!” Garafalo said. “You got your bitch back.”

The stupidity of that man was incredible. Yet Ra’am’s main concern now was Trenae. Nonetheless within his brain he accessed the public phone system of Spokane. After dialing 911, he gave a digital message containing the address, names of all the criminals present, and a detailed description of the building.

He walked away from Trenae, Dod, and Jenny, desiring to finish with the men, and planted himself in a central area, to view all the hemoom prodoh encased men. “I have called the police,” Ra’am said, looking at each of their faces.

“The police?” It was Jenny.

Stepping from behind, she looked up at him, welts staining her face. “Ra’am, what are you doing?” She turned around and pointed a finger at each man. “They need to die, and now!” She looked back up at him. “Do you have any idea how bad our court systems are? With a good lawyer, they’ll be out in months, ready to do it all again! And not only that, but the police could be involved!”

“Even if there are some corrupt police officers, there will also be those who are not corrupt,” Ra’am said calmly. “I believe the honest police will prevail.”

“But you don’t know for sure! These assholes were going to kill us Ra’am!”

If she only knew, what I knew. He stared down at her.

“Hey, don’t listen to her,” Mr. Garafalo said. “Just let us go. You have your women. What do you need us for?”

Ra’am looked at Mr. Garafalo. And then he looked back at Jenny. Though he understood her vengeful thoughts, this was his war now. He gave her a penetrating glare, without saying a word. She stared up at him. His eyes would accomplish his desire.

Jenny stared a little longer, but then appeared to understand, quietly, that she could never make him do anything unless he wanted it to occur. Lowering her head, she walked back behind him.

“I have decided to give the police 8 minutes,” Ra’am said, eyeing each man. “During that time, your head will be completely covered by hemoom prodoh. However, there will be some empty space between your face and the hemoom prodoh. I will supply exactly 8 minutes worth of your atmosphere in this empty space. If the police do not arrive before or when the 8 minutes expires, you will die. You will suffocate to death.” He gave all of them a quick, malicious grin. “I have enabled a special destruct system, so that once someone touches the outside, and only the outside, of your hemoom prodoh encasement, the whole encasement will crumble and dissolve. If I were you, I would call out, make all the vocal noise you can, when the police arrive. They will hear you, but only if you call out…loudly.”

Ra’am raised his right arm and turned, until his body faced Malcolm and Finley. With a quick thrust, he stroked his arm around the room, spurts of hemoom prodoh landing on each man’s head. Soon each man’s face and head could only be seen beneath a clear, silvery shield.

Each man began hollering for help, speaking loud, angry expletives. 

“You will only use further oxygen, if you call out now,” Ra’am said, turning to face each one. “You are very fortunate my wife is not dead, or your time limit would have been much less. Never mind that…a far worse demise would have overtaken you.”

Ra’am turned and walked to Trenae. Without hesitating he carefully slid his arms around her body and lifted her from the chair. She was finally in his embrace.

“Ra’am, don’t do this,” Dod said, walking in front of them.

“Don’t do what?” Ra’am wanted to leave, and now!

“They will die…the police, they always come late.”

Jenny walked near Dod. “No! Let him do this!” she said.

“Did you honestly think that someone like me could make it to Ensofyafah?” Ra’am asked. Dod could only stare up, speechless. “I have spent enough time in this torture room.” Anger powered Ra’am’s words, his actions. He rushed past both of them and toward the door, carrying his beloved wife.

Arriving at the hemoom prodoh entrance tunnel, Ra’am quickly formed a disk. He heard running footsteps. He turned back, seeing Dod and Jenny running through the room. They both gave stunned, stomach-turning glances as they approached the fallen door. Blood and other human tissue parts still oozed from beneath it. But then they hopped on and over the door and rushed toward Ra’am. He waited.

 They all soon arrived below, on Ha-Ta. Ra’am immediately, carefully sat down on the evesmol seat, cradling Trenae in his arms. He tried to elevated her legs, keep her head up a little. “Dod, quickly, go get me a whole plant of tse makh yerape and a blanket!”

Dod bolted away and ran toward the greenhouse and storage galeel khayeh, on the opposite of Ha-Ta, near the eyzkher tagleet and Trenae’s old bedroom. L.B. began whimpering, walking on three legs and approaching Ra’am.

Yet Ra’am ignored L.B. He cautiously slipped his fingers in Trenae’s mouth, careful of her punctured lips, and removed the two dislodged molar teeth. Bringing the teeth out, blood covering his fingers, he noticed Trenae’s incisors had been chipped. No, this cannot be. Tears began soaking his eyes. But tse makh yerape could grow those small chipped areas, heal the teeth. He dove his free hand into the hidden pocket again and pulled out another areegah refoo’eh. After gently dabbing around Trenae’s mouth, he wiped his hands and placed the two teeth within the areegah refoo’eh. The small medicinal cloth instantly absorbed the blood. Jenny exclaimed softly in surprise.

He lifted his head and looked at Jenny. She stood right in front of them. “Jenny, sit down, in my seat by the shleetah maksheer.”

“No, I’m fine,” she said firmly. She began lowering her body, arms outstretched toward Trenae.

“NO!” Ra’am said. “Do not touch her.”

Jenny halted her motion, confusion on her face. “But…why?”

Ra’am turned away, staring down at Trenae. Removing Trenae’s long, blood plastered hair from around her face, he saw clearly for the first time, with his own eyes, the extent of her injuries. Severe swelling marred both sides of her face, and red, purple bruising surrounded her eyes. Blood oozed from the wounds over her cheek, and further blood trickled from her eyes, nose, and mouth. More tears flooded Ra’am eyes. “No…no…” he cried. He thrust up his free hand, quickly wiping his eyes.

“Ra’am, let me help,” Jenny said, kneeling before him. “Is there something I can do?”

Quick footsteps came closer. Ra’am looked up. Dod arrived, holding the tse makh yerape.

“Here,” Dod said, darting the large, round healing plant near Ra’am. He held out the blanket too.

“No, sit down, on my right,” Ra’am said. “Carefully peel some leaves off for me. Then give several to Jenny too, and help her apply them to her facial wounds.”

Dod did as asked. After sitting down he peeled three leaves from the plant and handed them to Ra’am. Dod sheltered the plant with his hands, from L.B.’s curious sniffing.

Once Ra’am had the leaves in his hands, Dod stood up and helped Jenny.

Ra’am gently removed his right arm from Trenae’s left side. Her head and upper body nestled within his left arm. Taking great caution not to move her too much, he took one leaf and softly lay it over to the left side of her face, where the worse injuries took place. She had been keeping her eyes closed, breathing shallow and rapid. But now she began opening them a little. Even though he had allowed negee’ah ragoo’a to penetrate her body while carrying her, she needed more. Her eyes appeared dull and lifeless. Her skin looked white, felt cold and moist.

Dod sat down again.

“Carefully spread the blanket over her body,” Ra’am said. Dod lifted the blanket from off the seat.

Ra’am raised his right arm up and Dod placed the soft, plush blanket, the blanket Trenae loved so much, over her body.

“This will produce some pain,” Ra’am said softly to Trenae. He leaned close to her face, gently laying the healing leaf on the swollen red and purple bruise. The leaf disappeared into her skin.

Owww,” she said weakly. She opened her eyes wider. More negee’ah ragoo’a flowed from Ra’am’s left hand into her body. Her high pulse rate began to subside.

“What’s happening?” Dod asked. Jenny began sobbing quietly to herself.

“Tse makh yerape, when encountering a severe injury, will work even faster, realizing the necessity of the situation. Because her zygomatic bone, or cheekbone, is fractured and splintered a minor amount, tse makh yerape will quickly attempt to pull the broken bone pieces back together. This will cause some pain, but it will be a complete healing.”

“It’s not really hurting me,” Jenny said.

“That is because you only have a contusion, or bruise, not a fracture,” Ra’am said.

“What about Trenae’s shock, her concussion?” Dod asked.

“Tse makh yerape is healing her concussion now, as the healing biochemicals from the cheekbone enter further into her skull. Her shock is due mainly to psychological factors, namely extreme stress and the pain of her head injuries. Once the injuries are healed, including the concussion, and the pain is gone, we need only deal with the psychogenic shock, which I can treat with my calming touch…I am amazed she was conscious, when we found her. She appears to be falling in and out of consciousness now.”

Ra’am took another leaf from Dod and placed it on her right cheek. Again Trenae moaned softly in pain. Ra’am gently stroked her head and body, holding her firmly though delicately near his chest, to warm her body. From his eye’s outer corner, he observed Dod look at his watch.

“Ra’am…I know, you’re taking care of Trenae, but the time…those men, will die.”

“Relax,” he said. He turned and gazed at Dod’s worried face. “I just wanted to have them suffer, to know what it is like to be near death, from someone else’s hands. I want the police to have them. It has only been 6 minutes. The police will arrive shortly.”

“What?” Jenny said. She shot up and looked down at Ra’am. “I thought…You said they would die, in 8 minutes!”

“Yes, if the police did not arrive by then.”

“But the police are coming!” Jenny said. “They still could be late!”

“Even if they were, I was going to release the hemoom prodoh encasement around their heads. I want the police to have them,” Ra’am said calmly. He needed his voice low in front of Trenae.

“No!” Jenny burst out.

“Jenny!” Dod said.

L.B. whimpered a little, lying on the floor.

“Yes, Dod is right,” Ra’am said. “Lower your voice. Remember Trenae.”

Jenny leaned over a bit, approaching Ra’am’s eye level. “That is EXACTLY why I’m upset!” Her finger pointed at Ra’am and other directions, in anger. “You need to kill them, now! The police will do nothing! Our courts will do nothing!”

“Jenny, please!” Dod said.

Ra’am exhaled a deep, slow breath. “I have killed before, many times. You know this. And trust me, there is no glory in it…at least, not for me.” He lowered his head and began placing another leaf on Trenae’s face, this time by her broken right mandible. She trembled and whined softly. He again released more negee’ah ragoo’a.

“So that’s it?” Jenny asked. “You’re doing this for yourself? What about all the women who are going to be tortured and killed, once those bastards are released from prison, if they ever make it there!?”

Ra’am lifted his head. He tried to remain calm. “Willson and his associates’ fate are in God’s hands now. I am not God’s judge and executioner.”

Jenny kneeled on the floor. “But you’ve killed before, like you said,” she said, crying. “What’s a few more gonna do to you?”

Ra’am glared into Jenny’s eyes. Irritation entered his mind, not only because of Jenny’s obstinate behavior, but because of the few facts he had discovered earlier. “This was your doing,” he said. “If you had not made that call on Monday morning, to Payette Technologies, Dod’s place of business, this never would have happened. Should I kill you too?”

“What?” Jenny stood up and started backing away. “No, no, please, don’t say that.”

“It is time for you to go,” Ra’am said to her. “The police are nearly here, and you will need to supply your eye witness to the crime, as well as take your information to The Examiner and finish our story. Ha-Ta has downloaded the entire audio conversation into your digital recorder, from the moment you two were abducted until I entered the room. It is all there.”

“But how can you say I did this? I…I care for Trenae, a lot!” Jenny’s sobbing increased.

“Possibly because one of Willson or Stiles’ associates had seen Dod driving away from Gospel Hump Wilderness or obtaining fuel in a nearby town, they accessed Dod’s phones at Payette Technologies and in his home.”

“Come again?” Dod said, startled.

Ra’am slowly turned and faced Dod. “Yes. And not only were your phone calls accessed, but they placed several hidden, miniaturized video camcorders in your home. As I never suspected any danger in your home, I never had the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah search for this. But after the abduction occurred, and we were back on Ha-Ta, I commenced a thorough examination of your home. For some unknown reason, the video camcorders inside your home were not working. Only the one outside facing the back yard worked, which viewed me in disguise. I suspect if they had seen me, as I truly appear, they may have thought twice. Then again,” Ra’am said, sneering, “with their mindless gall, possibly not.”

“But,” Dod said, “what do I do, to get rid--”

“I have already destroyed every one.”

“But will Trenae be okay?” Jenny asked. “Will she recover?” 

Though Ra’am knew she honestly cared for Trenae, Jenny’s own self-seeking goals had become dangerous for his wife. Forgiveness, I must seek. He looked at her, this time with a milder expression. “She will be like new, when you see her again.” He raised his right arm. But he noticed L.B. laying on the floor beneath the delet tekrah. “Dod, could you--”

Dod must have been watching. He lunged toward L.B. and encircled his arms around the dog, sliding him out of the way.

Once L.B. lay near Dod, on the right end of the evesmol seat, Ra’am produced a hemoom prodoh disk for Jenny. She carefully stepped on.

“I’m sorry,” Jenny said.

“I know,” Ra’am said. “Now, go. Tell the police everything you know. That is your revenge.”

The disk floated smoothly to the top. Her body rising away from him, Ra’am could see sadness on Jenny’s face. And then, Jenny was gone.

Ra’am caressed Trenae by her head, smoothing his fingers over her beautiful hair. He lifted her head a little. Both sides of her fragile face were healing perfectly.

“That is amazing,” Dod said. He leaned over, by Ra’am’s right, and stared at her more closely.

Trenae began opening her eyes more. But she remained far from completely healed. Her injured breast and foot needed attention, as did other minor injuries. Ra’am looked at Dod. “Do you think you could leave us now?”

“Well,” Dod said, a little hurt, “of course, but, where should I go?”

“To the eyzkher tagleet. See if you can get L.B. to follow, and get some fresh tse makh yerape, apply it to his injuries.”

“I thought it only worked on humans and ometvaheem?”

“No, I have genetically engineered specific traits to accommodate L.B.’s biochemistry as well. If only he will follow you.”

Dod stood up. Kneeling next to L.B., he gently, cheerfully coaxed the friendly animal to follow him. L.B. wouldn’t go. Ra’am wanted to smile, watching Dod’s playful antics, but could not. L.B.’s injuries were not as traumatic as he previously thought, before he accessed his koaksekhel. L.B. too, would be fine.

However now Dod was failing to bring L.B. to the lab room.

“Oh, that does it,” Dod said. “I’m just lifting him. You think it's all right?”

“Yes, sure. I lifted him before.”

“True. I forgot. Too much happening.”

“Exactly,” Ra’am said. “Just please seal the door when you are in there too, so L.B. does not get out.”

Dod lowered himself and wobbled his arms under L.B., careful not to aggravate the dog’s injuries, and finally lifted him. Dod walked away, carrying the squiggly Golden Retriever.

They were alone. Ra’am remembered Trenae’s favorite song. Closing his eyes for a few moments, he accessed the taktselekh and found ‘Sara’. The song’s sweet music whispered through Ha-Ta’s interior.

“Trenae, I found your favorite song,” he said.

He gently adjusted her body and moved aside her black leather jacket to the right side of her body. His eyes widened. Large blood masses stained the right side of her orange shirt. Tears watered his eyes, dripping on Trenae. He swiped them away from his face.

With light, soft tugs, he began peeling her shirt up, from under the skirt by her waist, until he exposed her bra. She moved a little and opened her eyes more.

“You’re not going to rip another one of my shirts, are you?” she asked weakly.

“No, my love, but I will have to rip your bra a little. I will try not to hurt you.”

A horrid view scarred his eyes. Unfortunately, when Stiles had punctured her breast, he did so with his fingers, a blunt instrument. As his finger pressed through two layers of material, both the shirt and the cotton fabric of Trenae’s bra, it produced more of a squeezing action than a piercing action. Now lumps of her fat and Gland lobule breast tissue, along with blood had burst through the bra. Although it was a small quantity, only some would be recoverable. Tse makh yerape could not bring back all that had been extracted.

Anger began simmering within him again, at how any male could harm such a beautiful female body part. It was only hours ago, in the morning after Jenny left, that he had tenderly caressed each of Trenae’s breasts, while she was dressing.

But his anger would have to wait. Right now he would first have to remove her bra, along with some breast tissue imbedded in the bra and some that still leaked forth. It would cause her pain, yet it had to be done. Negee’ah ragoo’a would help.

Ra’am stared into Trenae’s beautiful eyes. “Do you hear your song?”

She gazed at him lovingly. “Yes, I do...”

He deftly snapped her bra, at the elastic between her breasts. “And it will play over and over, for you,” he said, adverting her attention. He began peeling back the right side bra cup, in gradual amounts.

Huhh!” Trenae gasped. She thrust her hand up and clasped his right wrist. Her eyes widened. “Ra’am, no, it hurts!”  More negee’ah ragoo’a plunged into her body, from his other hand, in the hope to calm her pain.

Ra’am leaned closer to her face. “I know it does,” he said. He wanted to wail, to cry like he never did before, but his sorrow had to be contained. Forcing his emotion away, he continued peeling the bra fabric away from her skin. “But I have to remove your bra, in order for tse makh yerape to work.”

“No…stop,” she whined, closing her eyes, “please.” Her tight grip on his wrist interfered some. But he could not proceed quickly, fearing he would draw out more breast tissue.

“Trenae, look at me.”

She opened her frightened eyes.

“I will just pull a little at a time, and then place a leaf on skin that is exposed. That way, the leaf will begin to close the punctured skin. But…it will still hurt some. Try to breathe deeply and grab my wrist tightly, if you must.”

He folded back that portion of the blood-drenched bra material he had already removed and grasped for a tse makh yerape leaf. I could have use Dod’s help now, he thought. Yet this was just too intimate for Dod to observe. Nevertheless he finally rested the leaf on the exposed injured area. Without delay the leaf began absorbing into Trenae’s skin. She whimpered softly, begging him to stop. But he could not. He could only hold her closer, whisper kind, loving words, and release more negee’ah ragoo’a into her weary body.

As Ra’am watched his beloved wife suffering, it occurred to him that this was his fault, ultimately. He should have gone with his first instinct; he never wanted her to conduct the interview. He never wanted her to be from his side, not even for one milliunit of time. From hence forth, she would never leave his sight again…for as much as he could help it.

















                                                          Chapter 33



“NO!” Trenae screamed. She jolted up from bed, swung her legs around, and sat on the bed’s side. The room was dark. Her pulse raced, her breathing huffed without rest.

But then Ra’am’s large, warm hands caressed her shoulders. His hands’ soothing touch compelled her to feel them. She placed her hands on his hands. His presence was the most comforting thing she had ever felt in her entire life.

“Trenae, are you all right?” 

“Ra’am,” she said. She looked down at Ha-Ta’s floor. Something felt wrong. Her stomach knotted, excess saliva formed in her mouth and throat. No, I have to throw up! “Ahh…I…uh-oh…” Ra’am released his hands.

Her legs a springboard, she launched up. She rushed from Ra’am’s room as fast as she could go. Luckily the bathroom galeel khayeh existed right across the way from Ra’am’s room. She dodged to her right, turned left and got in front of the cylinder, and then blurred through the bathroom’s doorway, screeching to a halt at the toilet. She dropped down, not a moment to spare, and threw up, safely hitting the target.

She vomited a few more times. Almost complete from her stomach’s fury, she started wondering where day and night had gone. What time was it now? She pushed up from the toilet, but was hindered; strong, massive arms wrapped around her stomach and upper chest. Ra’am was kneeling behind her.

“Ra’am, honey, I’m still spitting here.” She carefully bent her head down and coughed up a little more. “You should go…I’ll be back, soon.”

But he didn’t answer. She noticed trembling in his arms, emphasized and felt more when she softly rested her hand on his hand, by her right shoulder. Yes, Ra’am was trembling. She leaned over and spitted a little more. Then she gently leaned backed against his body. “What’s wrong baby?” she asked quietly.

“This is all my fault,” he said, crying.

No, she thought. “Ra’am, please, let me sit. I want to face you.”

Ra’am slowly released her. She carefully stood up, Ra’am’s shivering hands taking her hands and guiding her upright. He released her and she walked toward the seat on the opposite side of the bathroom. She glanced down,  noticing she wore her long, soft blue nightgown. When did I put that on? Struggles within her mind rampaged, trying to remember the last time she was awake. The last scene she could remember was their visit to The Examiner building, when she wore that ruffled maroon skirt, her orange sweater, and black leather jacket. So how…and when…did she get in her nightgown?

Her stomach yet aching a little, she sat down. Ra’am walked toward her, wearing only a takhlahav, as he had been doing nightly since their return to earth. His chest was bare.

Once near her, he slowly dropped down to his knees, landing by her feet. He leaned forward and laid his head on her lap, sliding his hands across her outer thighs.  She could feel him cry and tremble, his eyes wetting her nightgown. She began gently stroking his head, feeling his thick hair strands. Her heart bled with sadness to see him like this.

“Ra’am, can you look at me?”

Gradually Ra’am lifted his head. Sorrow, troubling despair poured forth from him. And even more confusing, he seemed to be looking to her for help. How paradoxical this situation, an alien as powerful and dangerous as Ra’am, simply being held within the palms of her fragile hands, a small bird with a broken wing. Logic was defied. She felt very confused.

“Please, forgive me,” he said.

“For what?” she asked. She placed her hands on his shoulders. “Ra’am, I’m scared. What happened to me?”

He gently removed her hands. He lifted himself, moving around until he sat by her right side. He wrapped his left arm around her small shoulders, embracing her warmly. “What is the last thing you remember?” he asked quietly.

“When we were at The Examiner building.”

“Yes, we were there. Then we left.” His words spoke gently. “We went to Dod’s house. While you and Jenny were walking outside, Stiles and some other men abducted the two of you. They took you away, injured you.”

“What? How?”

“Never mind now. I have you back. The important thing…you are alive.” He sighed, his sigh flowing depressed. “But I feel this was my entire fault…It was I, who allowed you to go, to leave my side, to do the interview.”

She turned and looked in his face. So much sadness darkened him. She wanted to ask him a thousand questions, about what had happened, but his appearance made her stop. Instead she smiled a little. “No it wasn’t, silly. I wanted to do this interview. It was my decision, not yours.”

“Regardless, I should have known.”

Trenae looked away for a moment, out the doorway. L.B. was sleeping on the floor, near the evesmol. But next to L.B., lay a puppy, a sleeping Golden Retriever puppy.

“Where? How did--”

“I have named her Keltseerah,” he said. “Dod gave me her, when I brought Dod home.” She looked in his face. “I want to breed Golden Retrievers, on Penakh Ayef.”

 “That’s great, baby.” His last comment before mentioning the dogs needed a response. “Ra’am,” she said, feeling much tenderness, “you can’t protect me from everything, all the time. It’s just impossible.”

Ra’am wiped his eyes, wiping away his grief too. His stern, determined glare returned. “Just watch me,” he said.

She looked down. Her stomach still ached. “Why did I throw up?” She smoothed her right hand across her upper abdomen, below her breasts.

“Stress. And the after effects of shock and a concussion. It would have been worse, if not for the tse makh yerape I gave you earlier.”

She looked at him again. How could all this have happened? With great effort, she tried to bring back some memories, of being at Dod’s house at least. Slowly some came. “I was in shock, and had a concussion?” she asked worriedly.

“Yes. Do you remember?” He began stroking her arm and shoulder with his warm hand, his touch soft and tender.

Trenae drew a quick, short breath. Unexpectedly some frightening memories, some terrifying scenes materialized a little, refusing to create all their details completely. Some were of Stiles face or Mr. Finley’s face, some of men’s faces she didn’t know. She shook her head a little. “No, I really, I shouldn’t.”

Ra’am expanded his chest, air staggering, inhaling within him. “You have been crying, sweating, and yelling out troubling words, all night long, in your sleep. Do you remember?”

“I…I was?”

“Yes. My heart hurts so greatly…from seeing this”

She felt her right breast. She remembered being hurt, by Ra’am, as he placed tse makh yerape leaves on her breast. But now, there was no pain, though her breast felt a little different, a little smaller.

A terrible scene crash-landed in her mind. “Huh!” she gasped, grabbing her mouth.

“What’s wrong?”

She swallowed. “I remember, now, what I saw before I just woke up. It was…Stiles…my Aunt Heather and I. We were in a room, trapped…and…then…” She started shaking. Ra’am held her closer. “He…he hit my Aunt Heather, with a bat, while she was tied to a chair.” Heavy breathing, tearing eyes. “No…no, he, splattered her head, everywhere, all over the walls, and--”

“Trenae stop! This is not good.”

“No…and then...” She stared into Ra’am’s eyes. “…he came after me. He raised the bat, and then…and then…I woke up.” She started crying. “Oh Ra’am, what am I going to do?” She fell forward.

Ra’am caught her in his arms and lifted her to a sitting position again. He turned her body, wrapping her into his chest, embracing her warmly, tightly. She collapsed her weary head and body against him and inhaled the faint, soothing coppery scent of his body. She took hold of his body. She needed him so desperately now. And as she continued to cry, she noticed he cried with her.

“It is in God’s hands now,” he said, through tearful sobs. “I have been praying and praying. He will take care of you. And he will take vengeance upon those…who have harmed you.”

They held each other a long, long time, Ra’am stroking and embracing her warmly, tenderly. Even L.B. must have sensed their cherished need for quiet and serenity. When Trenae sleeked her gaze toward the bathroom’s doorway, careful not to disturb Ra’am, she noticed L.B. kept stationary, sleeping, along with Keltseerah. Sometimes L.B. would awaken them in the night. But not now. She needed this time, this moment, to erase the frightening dream of Aunt Heather from her mind.

And eventually, the memory left.

Ra’am moved a little. Trenae sensed they both were mended, for the time being. She noticed something else- a nasty taste in her mouth. She gently turned her head up and looked into his eyes. “Ra’am, do you mind if I brush my teeth?”

“No, of course not. I will leave you, if you want me to.”

“Yes, that’s fine. Go back to bed. I’ll be there soon.”

Releasing her slowly, his hands lingering, not wanting to leave her body, Ra’am stood up. He turned and walked from the small room.

Trenae arose and stepped toward the mirror above the sink. She peered in carefully at her image. Everything looked normal. Though something within blocked her complete memory, she began to remember walking with Jenny near Dod’s house. Then she saw a black vehicle. Details beyond that point wouldn’t cooperate. But studying her face further, she remembered pain burning her cheeks, while Ra’am held her and placed tse makh yerape on her face. His face appeared blurry, distant, so distraught. Never had those leaves caused her so much pain, and never had she seen Ra’am so frightened. Some fear circled her presence.

Even so, when her fingertips gently touched both sides of her cheeks, her face now appeared whole. And pretty, as always. She looked into her eyes. Her eyes cheered her up, as usual, in their friendly, kind sparkle. Thank God she still had them.

She brushed her teeth, discovering two molars missing. Again a little more of her memories resurfaced. She remembered scenes from a Suburban, Mr. Finley in the front, and then…she heard Stiles’ evil voice. She arrested, crushed the memory. So what if two teeth were missing? She was alive.

But she still felt increasingly fearful. Once finished with her teeth, she couldn’t wait to get back under the covers with Ra’am. Quietly she walked into his room, noticing the room’s lighting had increased, allowing her eyes more perception. She softly stepped heel to toe on the many geometric floor shapes. For some reason she thought her right foot should be hurting. She looked down, beneath the hem of her light blue nightgown and watched her right foot move. Her foot seemed normal and without injury.

She crawled under the covers. Ra’am lay near the wall, probably to allow her room to arise, if needed. He quickly circled his arms around her and pulled her very close.

In the room’s dim lighting she looked into her husband’s face. She searched his inner feelings. Calm now rested within him.

But not within her.


“Yes, my love?”

“You know, I failed.”

“What?” he asked, perplexed. “Failed at what?”

“I failed…at helping you get your message out, about God.”

“No, that is not true. Jenny and The Examiner have published the article. It came over the U.S. national news, the Internet, just this past evening. You were sleeping.”


“Yes, so tomorrow, we can leave and go back to Harkoav, then Penakh Ayef.”

“Go back?”

“Yes. That is what you want, right?”

Trenae turned her head away from Ra’am’s handsome, overpowering presence. She thought for a moment. She turned her gaze back into his eyes. “Can we bring Jenny still? I mean, I know you have problems with her, but she really wants--”

“I have forgiven her. She can come. But I hope she can stay out of trouble.”

“Trouble?” Another memory resurfaced. “Yeah, that’s right.  I was so surprised, the way she went at you, after we left The Examiner building.”

More frightening memories crept into her mind, recalling later, when she and Jenny walked by Dod’s house. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to make them disappear. Darkness. Fear.

She felt Ra’am’s mouth touch her lips, softly, briefly. “Is something wrong?” he asked. His kiss felt so comforting. She opened her eyes.

“Yes, but…I remember that song, I really like. Did you play that for me earlier?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Can you play it now?”

Though not wearing his koaksekhel, she knew it hid within the wall. Ra’am turned himself carefully, trying not to hurt her, and placed his right forearm in the wall. Without removing the koaksekhel from the wall but simply placing his arm in it for a moment, the song softly filled the rooms.

“Thank you,” she said.

Ra’am maneuvered himself around to his original position. His gaze pierced into her eyes, seeming to decipher her emotional state. “You are welcome, my love,” he whispered.

She smiled weakly at him.

The melody of her favorite song distracted negative feelings. But looking into Ra’am’s caring, yet formidable face, she felt troubled. I’m just so inferior, so incapable in his presence. A nuisance. “Why are you with me?” she asked.

“Now what are you talking about?” He smiled, though worry leaked through.

“I’m not a fighter. I’m not like you. I don’t remember a lot of what happened, when Jenny and I…were…well, what happened. But I do know this.” She looked deeply in his piercing eyes. “Jenny fought, she tried to save me. I couldn’t, I --”

“Trenae, can I tell you something?” He leaned closer to her face.


“The last thing I need, is someone to agitate that part of me which I try so hard to control. Exactly who you are, is exactly who I love.”

“But…I feel so inferior to you.”

“Many have, many do. Some advice- get over it.”

She closed her eyes and laughed a little. Those words sounded so human.

Disturbing thoughts prodded again, spoiling her brief joy. She opened her eyes. “But, it’s not just that. I’ve destroyed your life, with your military science career, your family…with God. Maybe I SHOULD have died.”

“Trenae! How could you say that, when you know I need you so desperately?” His words broke so sad. He was crushed. “You cannot believe the intense, excruciating agony I went through, when I knew what had happened to you, and before I had you in my arms again.” He closed his eyes and trembled a little. Then he opened his eyes, gazing at her as if beseeching understanding. “I arrived late to save you.”

“You…you did?” she asked softly. She felt puzzled.

 Ra’am then described the details before he arrived to rescue her and Jenny, recounting the wet koaksekhel and L.B.’s accident. She listened and watched carefully, a devastating countenance surrounding her husband.

When he finished she embraced him warmly in her arms, trying to ease his pain. She held him close for some time, until Ra’am raised his head and looked at her. She relaxed her arms. She gazed at him through inner turmoil, still feeling responsible for giving him such horrible pain, even after his heart bled for her.

“I’m sorry, to hurt you,” she said quietly, “but I feel it’s my fault. I…I just feel all wrong for you.”

Ra’am’s stare dove deep, intense into her eyes. His stare made her uncomfortable. She shut her eyes. Within the darkness of her closed eyelids, Trenae knew; she had inadvertently defiled him. His words, his decisions had to be taken with seriousness.

“There is something I have learned, especially in the military,” he said, speaking kindly and gently. She opened her eyes. “Being part of a team, and working together as a whole, is far better than individual triumph.”

“I’m not sure I…I understand,” she whispered. His eyes still pierced, though shone caring too.

“A team, or a union is a puzzle. Whatever missing pieces we lack, we find within each other. The puzzle becomes complete. I believe marriage is not what we are as individuals, but what we are as one whole unit…One.”



She smiled a little. “Funny you say that. I have felt that before, with us.”

“Then there is no need for you to doubt. In fact, your doubts only hurt us, undermine what we both intuitively know.”

“And what is that?” she asked gently.

“That we were born to be with each other.”

“That’s really,” she said, stroking his face, “really sweet.”

Ra’am closed his eyes and moaned quietly. Her touch transformed him, magically.

Even with his mellowed demeanor, negative thoughts still invaded Trenae’s mind. “Ra’am?” She lowered her hand from his face.

He opened his eyes. “What is it?” His voice flowed soft, breathless, as in a dream.

“Why can’t my mother, my brother, and others, like…” She swallowed. “…like Stiles, see something good in me?”

Ra’am became alert, and didn’t hesitate. “Stiles is a criminal. His mind is corrupt,” he said quickly. “However, I have thought about your mother and brother.” He now spoke slower and direct. “Possibly, they see something within you that they secretly abhor within themselves, or try to hide from others. What they consider cowardliness or inferiority, is merely your kindness, for you are strong, in so many ways. They have confused you. They attempt to destroy that part of you they perceive as bad, but in reality, is very good. Because of their own inner disgust of themselves, when you do not change or conform to their standards, they attempt to destroy you or banish you from their presence. That way, they can feel their own sense of inner harmony. Do you understand?”

“So…I’ll probably never get along with them?”

“Anything is possible. I do not know. But you are with me now. My opinion of you is all that matters.” Ra’am closed his eyes, leaned closer to her face, and placed a gentle, moist kiss on her lips. His kiss quickly grew more passionate. She closed her eyes and wrapped her hands around his head and neck, pressing him closer. Gradually, though, he ceased from kissing her and raised his head. She relaxed her arms a little.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

The pleasant melody of Trenae’s favorite song chimed all around them. She gazed lovingly into her husband’s face. No longer did she notice his blue lines, his thick, strange hair strands, or his dark eyes. Only what flowed beneath his skin, the truth of who he really was could be seen by her eyes now. “Yes, I’m okay,” she said.

“Do you want me to stop?”

“No…actually, I need you.”

“Need me?”

She closed her eyes half way and stared at his lips. “I need you to make love to me now.”  She gazed into his eyes. “Is that okay? I mean, since I was hurt?”

“Yes,” he said, desire heating his voice.

“I need to forget.”

Ra’am smoothed his hands around her head and lifted her face closer, nearing her cheek with his lips, kissing her cheek lightly. He left her cheek, slowly moving toward the side of her head. “I’ll make you forget,” he whispered in her ear. He placed his mouth on her lips again, giving soft, sweet kisses, but soon pressing his mouth closer against her mouth, his kisses growing torrid, passionate. Trenae kissed him back with the same intensity and started to feel the enchantment that occurred when they were close.

It was true. They were becoming one, more and more.  

















                                                           Chapter 34



“Are you sure we’re not too early?” Trenae asked. She turned her gaze away from the shleetah maksheer and looked at Ra’am. Eyeing him she unthinkingly began studying some of the details on his tsekehoot shakor. The outfit glimmered so otherworldly and amazing. And it nearly matched her own outfit now. She glanced down. As on her first visit to Jenny’s house, she decided to wear jeans and that black long sleeve flannel top. She had felt cold early in the morning, for some reason, and thus needed warm clothing.

“It is 6:55,” Ra’am answered. She looked at him. “And, as I now receive details…Yes, Jenny is awake. But, we cannot enter through the front or back yard.”

“Why not?”

“There are many TV and other news reporters everywhere.”

“You don’t want them to see you? They already know.”

He gazed at her. “No, I just want to acquire Jenny and leave. Sorry, but I have had enough of AR3, especially since yesterday.”

“AR3? What happened to earth…and your promise?”

Ra’am smiled. “I care. But, one thing at a time. ”

She looked at the khalon. It still remained covered.

L.B. bounded near her, on her right, and nudged her leg. Keltseerah followed him. Trenae leaned down and petted both their heads. Miraculously L.B. was healed, just as she was. Ra’am said Dod did a fine job of applying the tse makh yerape leaves to L.B.’s injuries. “Hey, you crazy dogs,” she said, “you’re both going back to Harkoav, and Penakh Ayef today. What do you think of that?” She ruffled L.B.’s head a bit, something he enjoyed.

She looked at Ra’am. He smiled at her. She smiled back. “So, where are we coming up at?” she asked, sitting up again.

“Since Jenny does not have a basement, I am positioning Ha-Ta directly below her living room, near the entrance to her kitchen. She is standing in front of the TV now.” Ra’am pressed several buttons on the control panel. At the same moment, Trenae heard the delet tekrah gush open, a twist of hemoom prodoh weaving, circling itself up the tunnel entrance.

L.B. barked. Ra’am told Trenae to leave her seat.

They hurried beneath the tunnel, after Ra’am made certain the two dogs didn’t follow closely. Once producing the hemoom prodoh disk tunnel, they quickly arose into Jenny’s house.

Geeze, you guys!” Jenny said. She stood where Ra’am had said, by her TV. She was clutching the neckline of her blue shirt. “You scared the shit out of me!”

Toasted bread scented the air. TV talking quietly murmured. Trenae walked off the disk, as did Ra’am. “I’m sorry, Jenny,” Trenae said.

A swish of air sounded. Looking back, Trenae noticed that Ra’am had shut the floor entrance, returning Jenny’s wooden floor to the exact normal texture and size as previous. But she’d dwell on this marvel another time. She turned and faced Jenny.

Jenny stepped forward, blinking and bringing a bright, enormous smile. “You…you look wonderful.”

“I do?” Trenae walked toward Jenny.

“Yes. You’re completely healed, like Ra’am said.”

Slight embarrassment settled upon Trenae. She glanced down at the wooden floor.

“Can I…can I hug you?” Jenny asked.

“Yes, you may,” Ra’am said.

Trenae lifted her head. Had Jenny looked to him for approval?

Hearing his answer, Jenny stepped closer and wrapped her arms around Trenae. Trenae melted into her embrace, holding her close. A short time passed. Jenny backed away a little. “I’m so, so sorry, so sorry” she said, crying. “Ra’am told me it was my fault.”

“No…you didn’t mean it,” Trenae said. Jenny held her gently by the shoulders. About a half hour earlier in the morning, Ra’am had given Trenae the further details, about Jenny’s seemingly innocent call and how the call was monitored, ultimately leading Stiles to find them. Though recognizing it was unintentional, it wounded Trenae a little nonetheless. But now, with Jenny’s tearful apology, she felt better.

“So,” Trenae spoke cheerfully, “are you coming with us still?”

Jenny wiped her tears away. “You want me to?” Her words came quiet, her tone doubtful. She gradually lowered her hands from Trenae’s shoulders.

“Yes, I do. It’s what you want, right?”

“Oh yes, more than anything.” Jenny looked up at Ra’am. “If that’s okay?”

“Yes, I forgive you. You may come.” Ra’am spoke firmly, his deep, commanding voice filling the small room.

Jenny smiled and looked back at Trenae. “That’s, that’s excellent,” Jenny said. Something captured her attention, her eyes shifting toward the TV. She turned up the TV’s volume. “Hey, they’re gonna say our story again.” She stared back at both of them with widened her eyes. “It’s the top story, nationwide!”

Trenae stepped closer, with Ra’am and Jenny, approaching the TV on the wooden entertainment center. “Good morning to everyone, this Thursday, March 1st, 2007…” the cable news reporter said. “…Here are the further details on our top story this morning, an incident involving recently elected Idaho Governor Clark Willson.

“A 911 call, placed by an unknown source, brought police to a concrete manufacturing building in Spokane, Washington.” Scenes from the factory building, both inside and out appeared. However the factory’s inside walls showed no visible hemoom prodoh. Trenae shuddered, suddenly remembering some details. “There, not only was the Idaho governor found pinned to a wall, by some mysterious ‘glue’ or adhesive substance, but also eight other men were pinned to the walls by the same substance. Paramedics were called immediately. Several of these ‘pinned’ men are on the FBI most wanted list for organized crime activity, especially drug trafficking. A ninth man was found crushed to death beneath a large door.

“But the most interesting aspect of this story is the account given by a woman reporter, also found at the 911 scene.” Views of Jenny being escorted away by police then appeared. Jenny jumped a little and pointed at herself. “The reporter, Jenny Zarrett, who works for The Examiner newspaper in Boise, Idaho, claims she and another woman, Trenae Lafayette, were abducted by several of those FBI most wanted men, forced into a vehicle, and then brought to the factory building. There, they were physically abused by the men. Additionally there was another woman present there, who left the scene before police arrived. However, all three women were rescued by a tall, dark haired man.

“And this is where it gets a little strange, folks. The tall, dark haired man is claimed to be…an alien being, from a planet in the Andromeda galaxy. The reporter, Zarrett, describes this man in an article printed this morning in the Boise Examiner. Our sources tell us that not only does Zarrett confirm this strange story, backed by some photos of an unusual-looking vehicle, but the entire news staff at The Examiner also claim eyewitness to the man and some unusual artifacts he carried. Let’s go live, now, to Ed Pinelli, who’s at The Examiner building in Boise, attempting to interview a police officer who also witnessed the strange man…”

“And that’s not all,” Jenny said quickly, as scenes from her workplace appeared on screen. “They’ve been showing scenes from all over the place.”

“Yeah, hi Jake,” said Ed Pinelli. “As you can see, the sun’s not up here yet. There are some members of The Examiner staff present, but they are declining to speak to the news media now. They’re planning a press conference, at an undisclosed time, later this morning. We’ll let our audience know, as soon as we know. But from what our sources are saying, members of The Examiner staff are sticking to their original story.”

“What about the police officer?” asked Jake.

“Yes, Jake. We’re expecting him in about 3 minutes.”

“Okay,” said Jake. “I’ll come back to you in a few minutes.” The scene changed back to Jake’s newsroom. “Now, let’s go live to Laura Vedok, who’s in front of St. Mary’s hospital in Spokane.” The scene changed to a dark, early morning view of the hospital, with a pretty brunette woman standing in its presence. “Laura, any new developments?”

“Good morning, Jake,” said Laura. “Currently, Governor Clark Willson remains in stable condition, suffering from some odd bruises to the head, and some back and neck injuries.”

“Odd bruises?” Jake asked.

“Yes. Doctors are puzzled as to how they occurred. As Willson is sedated right now, they’re waiting to question him.”

“He’s in pain?” asked Jake.

“Apparently. And the other men…” She looked down at a paper in her hands. “Police haven’t released all the names yet, but we do know most of the men are in stable, yet serious condition. All are under police guard.” She lifted her head. “From an earlier hospital press conference, most have back injuries, some of which have paralyzed them from the neck or waist down. Some are more severe. One man’s name has been released. He’s in the worst condition. His name is Frank Stilleto. Doctors say Stilleto is in a coma, that his condition is critical. Actually, the doctors don’t believe he will survive his injuries. He has massive neck and head injuries, has lost great quantities of blood…” She glanced at her paper again. “He has a severe subdural hemotoma, or pooling of blood in the brain, parts of his skull are fractured, and he’s paralyzed from the neck down.” She looked up. “But most perplexing to doctors, are the presence of odd puncture wounds around his neck. They’re not sure how they got there, or what caused them.”

Trenae looked up at Ra’am. His eyes stared unemotional, his arms tightly crossed. She looked back at the TV screen.

“Really,” Jake said. “Have forensic specialists from the crime scene made any positive conclusions, as to how all this occurred?”

Laura gave an odd expression. “I have to admit, this is the most unusual story I’ve ever covered. Uh, police are interviewing the hospitalized men involved in this incident, those awake and non-sedated who are coherent. And from the little information we have from the police, those men…they’re backing Jenny Zarrett’s story. That a powerful, tall man, who had strange blue lines or tattoos covering his body, odd dark contact lenses, blue teeth, and a black rope like wig, came in and basically whipped these men into submission, covered them with a strange substance, and rescued the women. Police who arrived first, on the scene, found that the strange substance mysteriously disappeared upon touching it, and the men were then released into police custody. Later, when they had forensic scientists try to obtain a sample, they were unsuccessful.”

“So, The Examiner story appears to hold water?” Jake asked.

Laura smiled. “Okay. I’ll tell you what we know. Most in the news industry and other specialists believe this was some sort of elaborate hoax, some kind of magic trick, if you will, designed to involve Clark Willson with organized crime figures. Why go through this much trouble? We don’t know. Some members of Willson’s political party believe this was caused by opposite party members, another Democrat verses Republican melee, in an attempt to discredit Willson. But that seems highly unlikely.

“And as far as the alien encounter goes…well, we and other news media personnel have interviewed scientists, especially astro-physicists, and other planetary and astronomy experts, even well known NASA extra-terrestrial and astro-biologist expert Tom Brown, and…they all agree that it’s just absolutely impossible, for any intelligent being to travel from the Andromeda galaxy, never mind even a few light years from earth. Andromeda is approximately 2.2 million light years away, Jake.

“So, there are no conclusive answers as to the true identity of the tall man, although he has a name in Zarrett’s article,” Laura said, glancing at her paper, “Ra’ammahkar Meenyan.” She looked up again. “But as far as Willson…all police know so far, until further details are obtained from the hospitalized men, that he was present in the same factory room with criminals wanted on the FBI most wanted list. However, in Zarrett’s story, Trenae Lafayette claims these same alleged criminals forced her into some type of sexual slavery ring. Lafayette also alleges they murdered her Aunt, uhh…” Laura looked down at the paper again briefly. “…named Heather Devorak, in a contrived car accident, which they instigated. Yet police claim Devorak’s accident was truly just an accident. But, until further conclusive details are available, that’s what we can verify right now, Jake.”

Jake shook his head a bit, and then spoke. “Laura, have there been any other witnesses to  the concrete building crime scene, who could substantiate the information police have obtained?”

“Well, other than the missing woman present in the concrete building, who no one has been able to identify or locate yet, police and reporters only have Jenny Zarrett and Trenae Lafayette, as well as Ra’ammahkar Meenyan. However, and this is important- a few of the hospitalized men claim there was another man, who arrived shortly after Meenyan. Possibly a friend of Meenyan, this man only came and helped Lafayette and Zarrett. But Zarrett never mentioned this man. Also, Zarrett’s recorder, which she secretly left on in her purse while at the factory, is being analyzed for verification. It possibly contains incriminating vocal evidence, of what the men talked about while Zarrett and Lafayette were held captive there.

“Police are also searching through several vehicles left at the factory, for evidence. Yet, police and reporters have been unable to locate Lafayette and Meenyan, though Zarrett claims they live on Meenyan’s vessel, some type of underground spacecraft…”

The view showed Jake bowing his head and laughing a little.

Trenae noticed Ra’am look at Jenny. “You never mentioned Dod,” Ra’am said.

Jenny stared up at him. “No. I felt he had been through enough.”

“Thank you,” Ra’am said.

Trenae looked back at the TV. “Police and reporters,” Laura said, “are also attempting to question two men, one a paleontologist at Berkeley University, and the other a…”

A yell erupted from outside the house, near the front yard, breaking concentration. Trenae looked up at Ra’am.

“It is only the reporters,” he said calmly.

“Yeah, he’s right,” Jenny said. “They’ve been irritating me all morning.”

But Trenae felt curious. “Can I go look out the window?” she asked Ra’am.

He kept his eyes on the TV screen. “Yes.” Then he looked at her. “Do not go out. If you do, the moment you open that door, I will seal you in hemoom prodoh. Do you understand?”

Trenae blinked her eyes. “Well, sure,” she said, smiling. But Ra’am pierced with his eyes. “I won’t, I promise,” she said.

Ra’am turned back toward the television.

Trenae and Jenny stepped toward the home’s front porch window, near the kitchen side of the house. The curtains were closed. It was dark in the room, save for the light from the TV and kitchen.

Trenae peeled the curtain back, carefully peering out the right side of the window. Numerous TV and other news people lined Jenny’s front sidewalk, Trenae’s view capturing them beyond, around, and through the trees lining Jenny’s walkway. Lights from their vehicles or equipment, and street lamps, even Jenny’s porch light, gave some illumination in the still dusky morning. “Oh my gosh,” Trenae said slowly.

“They’ve been knocking, a few times, since like 6:00 this morning,” Jenny said quietly

Trenae turned to face her. “That’s rude.”

“I know. I answered once, to this tall, blond guy, but the minute a saw his camera man, I slammed the door. A few more knocked, but I haven’t answered.”

“You didn’t go to work.”

“No,” Jenny said, worry furrowing her brow. “Phil called me around 5:45 in the morning. He told me not to come in, that there were too many reporters there, asking for me, especially some strange-looking FBI type people. I was trying to sleep. I just got back like 5:00 this morning.”


“Yes. Oh gosh, I spent hours at the police station, getting brain scanned by them, then the FBI--”

“Oh no!”

Jenny nodded. “That’s right. The FBI. They seemed more concerned about Ra’am then Willson and his crime bitches.”

“Well, that figures. MIB, you think?”

“I don’t know. I couldn’t wait to get out. I told them I had to publish my story, that everyone at The Examiner was waiting for me. The cops knew that too. So, incredibly, they let me go. But they really wanted to speak to you, and to Ra’am.” A faraway glimmer shone in Jenny’s eyes.

“Ra’am would have saved you, if the FBI kept you, you know, illegally.”

“I know, I know…” Jenny became quiet and wistful. “I’m…I am trying…not to think about yesterday, what happened to you…and me.” She sniffed her nose. “But seeing that building again, on the news. And remembering you…and, the way you--”

“No, Jenny. Don’t.” But Trenae saw tears water Jenny’s eyes. “Don’t think about it. We both shouldn’t. Okay?” She touched Jenny’s shoulder and smiled at her. Trenae didn’t even want to try to remember yesterday; they both needed trillions of miles from yesterday.

“Yes, you’re right.” Jenny brushed her tears away. She sighed a positive grunt. Tenacity, stubborn tenacity now swathed Jenny’s face, returning her usual assured demeanor.

“So, the FBI let you go?” Trenae asked, releasing Jenny’s shoulder.

“Yes. But it was still nerve-racking. After I left, I had to go to Spokane’s daily paper, to access their computers and all. The same national company that owns The Examiner, owns the Spokane Herald.”

“You went there, because of the long travel time.”

“Yeah, that’s true. Boise’s like 8 hours from Spokane. So, in a mad rush, especially to compete against other media, since they came to the factory too after Ra’am placed the 911 call, I had to get my things from here. AND, fortunately,” Jenny emphasized, yet said quietly, “I had left my computer on and connected to the Internet, the night we left for The Examiner’s roof. I have one of those services, that won’t disconnect automatically. I kept wondering why Phil said my line was busy when they tried to call here…And so, this computer whiz guy there- he was able to access all my document and digital recording files, from my computer.”

“About our interview?”

“Yes. I had been typing it up already. I had to work like crazy to condense it all. Finally did and got the article out.”

“So how’d you get home?”

“The same computer whiz guy got me an overnight small plane charter. He came with me and even got us a ride home, here in Boise, came with me.”

“Wow, 5:00 in the morning.”

“Yeah, the story was already breaking before I even finished my article. Everyone basically laughed at it, refused to believe it. They just wouldn’t believe it. Once I finished, and it got on the Web, I heard worse, worse negative things.”

“What do you mean?”

“On the Internet, like chat rooms and message boards, talking about TV and cable shows, like news shows and The Tonight Show- saying negative things. Making fun.”

“No, what exactly?” Trenae asked sadly. For some reason, she turned and looked out the window again. Was she searching for the reporters’ reactions, seeing if they were laughing? She didn’t know. Her gaze wandered over Jenny’s front yard.

“There was a joke,” Jenny whispered, drawing closer to Trenae, “that…they were like, oh great, our first contact with an alien, and the guy’s a Jesus freak…a religious nut case. Maybe I emphasized the church part too much in my article, when he knelt by the cross.”

Through the trees indistinctly, Trenae noticed three people enter Jenny’s walkway, two men and a woman, dressed in crisp, dark-colored suits. A fourth man then followed them, resembling a local sheriff, with a possible brown leather jacket over a half-dressed cop uniform. And all four had no cameras.

“Others said or wrote,” Jenny said, “from those neo-Nazi groups, that it’s a Jewish hoax or some Jewish deal, since Ra’am’s language is similar to Hebrew. There were some people, especially those into ufology, who did believe, called Ra’am a hero, but…And then others, especially so-called Christians, called your and Ra’am’s marriage, between an alien and a human an abomination.”

Trenae jolted and looked at Jenny.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that,” Jenny said.

“No…I expected that. It’s, it’s something else. There’s four people here, coming up your steps, and--”


Forceful knocks, with meaning.

Trenae moved aside. Jenny took a quick glimpse out the window. “Oh my God. What do they want?” Jenny whispered.

Trenae looked at Ra’am. He turned his head, toward the door, but then looked back at the TV, behaving unconcerned. Trenae quietly rushed toward him, maneuvering between the red sofa chair and larger blue sofa. She gently grabbed his left arm and looked up at his face. “Ra’am, those people at the door, a sheriff too.”

“Yeah, she’s right, I think,” Jenny said, approaching from Trenae’s left side. “Maybe some more FBI. I have to tell you guys, I’m scared. They spooked me yesterday.”

“We are leaving, now,” Ra’am said.


Knocks with more enthusiasm. Trenae glanced at the door, but then cast her stare back up at Ra’am.

Ra’am looked at Jenny. “Are you ready to leave at this moment,” he asked, “for the Andromeda galaxy?”

“Yes, definitely,” Jenny answered.

“Are you packed?” Trenae asked. “What about your house, this place?”

“There is no time now,” Ra’am said. He lifted his koaksekhel and produced the hemoom prodoh tunnel in the floor once more.

“You mean, those people at the door are up to no good?” Trenae asked, following him.

Ra’am turned. “No. I have no interest in them. We must leave, to help Dr. Stein and Pastor Crenshaw.”

The hemoom prodoh disk appeared, ready to take them below to Ha-Ta. “Come,” Ra’am said, motioning them to step on with him. Trenae did, with Jenny following right after her.

As the disk began lowering them, Trenae heard forceful knocks on the door yet again. She ignored their troubling nature.

She looked at Jenny. “You’re in for a surprise.”

“How’s that?” Jenny asked.

“You’ll see.”

















                                                                      Chapter 35



“What are you talking about, with the pastor and Dr. Stein?” Trenae asked. She turned in her seat and looked at Ra’am.

Waiting for his answer, her gaze wandered left, to see Jenny. Jenny had appeared surprised, at finding the cute puppy. She sat on the evesmol, petting and playing with both frisky canines.

“They are being bothered by reporters, and it is my doing,” Ra’am finally answered. “I must fix this.”

Trenae looked back at her husband. “But why, Ra’am? They’re just reporters.”

“But they did not ask for it.”

Jenny began walking over near them, L.B. and Keltseerah prancing behind.

“I pressured them into this,” he said. “Now, I must help them.”

“But, maybe, not really,” Trenae said.

“It’s my fault,” Jenny said. “I shouldn’t have mentioned their names.” She continued walking until stationing herself between Ra’am and Trenae. Trenae glanced up at her.

“But you had to,” Ra’am said, pressing some buttons on the control panel. “How else would there be verification, of our trip to the moon?”

“True,” Jenny said.

“Yeah, but, won’t they be okay now?” Trenae asked.

“He’s right Trenae, to want to help them,” Jenny said. “After all the negative and non-believing opinions out there about us, they could be harassed. Or, what about those FBI guys?”

“Shoot, yeah,” Trenae said. She looked up at Jenny. Then she looked at Ra’am. He was just leaning back in his seat, watching her. “It looks like…no one wants to believe our story.”

“I know,” Ra’am said, staring deeply into her eyes. “I listened to your conversation, as I watched the TV.”

“You could hear, from over there?” Jenny asked, surprised.

“No, the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah gave me access to your conversation. Trenae is not leaving my sight, nor my cognition, ever again.” His words barked determination. He folded his arms across his chest and stared at his wife. Trenae felt a little embarrassed; she looked down.

Jenny said nothing.

Ra’am touched a few buttons on the control panel. “We are below Pastor Crenshaw’s home.” With a barrage of bright colors, a holographic image appeared above the memadgeemel. The khalon still remained covered, like earlier in the morning.

“What is that?” Jenny asked.

“Jeff Crenshaw’s house,” Ra’am answered.

Trenae turned and studied the image. Every room and floor looked transparent, yet vividly displayed the contents and colors of each room. The pastor’s house appeared a ranch home, with one floor, though a finished basement lay below. And rather disquietingly, Pastor Crenshaw huddled down in the basement, sitting on a sofa chair in a corner. He appeared distraught. Above ground, on the street in front of his home and the alley way by the home’s back yard, an onslaught of reporters meandered about, recalling the same scenery as around  Jenny’s home. Reporters were everywhere.

“The poor guy,” Jenny said. She leaned closer, between Ra’am and Trenae.

“Yeah, he seems so upset,” Trenae said. “I think he’s trying to hide.”

“He does appear frightened,” Ra’am said, flying his hands over the control panel again. “There is a phone in that room. I will call him first.”

“You can do that?” Jenny asked excitedly.

“Yes. He needs to know where we will enter his basement. I see an unobstructed clearance by a side wall, near where he is sitting.”

“Will it damage his basement?” Jenny asked.

“No, not at all.”

Ring! Ring! A phone had come alive, on a small table not far from where Pastor Crenshaw sat. At first, Pastor Crenshaw didn’t budge.

“He probably thinks it’s those damn reporters,” Jenny said.

Trenae looked up at her. “Hey, you’re dissing your own kind?”

“Ha ha, very funny,” Jenny answered. She gave Trenae a comical smirk. Trenae smiled. “After what they put ME through this morning, yeah, I’ve kinda had it with ‘em.”

Ra’am allowed the rings to persist. Finally they noticed Pastor Crenshaw begrudgingly arise from his seat and pick up the phone.

“Hello?” The sad voice instantly came over Ha-Ta. L.B. began to bark and jump around, right near them. Jenny leaned down and held L.B., quelling his barks.

“Pastor Crenshaw, this is Ra’ammahkar. I see you are in trouble. I have come to help.”

“I can hear you have L.B. with you!” the pastor said, his voice more cheerful.

“Yes,” Ra’am said. “I am positioned below your basement. I will be producing a long, approximately 45-degree angle tunnel, due to many underground sewer lines and other utility impediments, not to mention Ha-Ta’s large size. But we will enter on the wall to your right, where you are standing. Stay where you are.”

“Well, okay. But why? Why do--”

Apparently Ra’am cut the connection. The pastor’s words ended.

Ra’am stood up. “Trenae, you are coming with me. Stand up please.”

Gazing up at his powerful, determined presence, she began rising from her seat. The words he spoke, last night in the bathroom were now galvanized in steel.

“Should I stay here?” Jenny asked.

“No, you may come,” Ra’am said.

He gently, yet firmly grasped Trenae’s hand and led her toward the delet yahmon. She could hear Jenny following. Even pattering footsteps of the two Golden Retrievers followed after them.

After opening the delet yahmon, a long, inclined hemoom prodoh tunnel presented itself, with built in stairs. Ra’am proceeded to climb the stairs, gently tugging Trenae along with him. They had to duck quite a bit, especially Ra’am, for only about 51/2 feet diameter existed in all directions. Trenae looked down. The steps were clear, though textured. Jenny’s footsteps followed behind still, and all the while, L.B. and Keltseerah maneuvered between everyone’s legs, eager to find the tunnel’s end, galloping far ahead of Ra’am.

            “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness.” Trenae heard Pastor Crenshaw’s voice. The two playful dogs had made it out first.

Sure enough, as they entered the finished basement, Pastor Crenshaw was abounding hugs and affection on L.B. and Keltseerah, the two dogs licking and jumping on the friendly man.

“I am sorry for causing you this discomfort,” Ra’am said. He stood before the kneeling pastor.

Trenae quickly scanned around the large, finished basement room. Cozy, like Jenny’s house. Light tan walls and plush beige carpet held soft, comfortable-looking brown and white patterned sofas and sofa chairs.

Pastor Crenshaw stood up. Trenae looked at him. He gave Ra’am a puzzled look. “Discomfort?” the pastor said. “What, these dogs? They’re cute.”

Jenny giggled a little. Trenae noticed the pastor look at Jenny.

“No,” Ra’am said, “from the harassment of reporters. Have any police contacted you as well?”

“Actually, yes,” Pastor Crenshaw said. “They called me earlier, asked if I could either come down to their station in about an hour, or allow them to come by. And of course, I have had reporters knock and call.” He turned toward Jenny, staring. “I know you. I think you left a message on my voice mail. Didn’t we meet before?”

Jenny stepped closer and held out her hand. “Yes, we did. I’m Jenny Zarrett. I interviewed you, well…a sad time for you, when your--”

“Yes, I know, I remember,” Pastor Crenshaw said, shaking Jenny’s hand for a moment. He didn’t seem like he wanted to remember. Trenae understood.

Finished with Jenny, Pastor Crenshaw crossed his arms and looked up at Ra’am again. “I see you kept your promise. Well done.” He looked at Trenae. “However, I wish you hadn’t used Trenae to accomplish your goal.”

“I completely agree,” Ra’am said.

“No, Pastor Jeff,” Trenae said, walking closer to him. The two dogs jumped around her legs. She moved carefully, and smiled. “It was my idea, not his. But yeah, he really regrets it now. I don’t…really, but…”

“Of course,” the pastor said, “after what happened to you. Are you all right?”

Trenae gave him a serious glance. “Yes. Ra’am saved me, and healed me with tse makh yerape. But actually, I don’t remember much of what happened, which is for the best.”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

Everyone became quiet for a moment. Trenae gazed down.

“I want you to come with us,” Ra’am said, ending the silence. “We are leaving today. I want you to see, why the universe has brought me closer to God.”

Trenae lifted her gaze.

“What, and lose my few minutes of fame and publicity?” Pastor Crenshaw smiled. “How could I let that go? Now, come on!”

Ra’am smiled a little, yet soon became serious, staring down determinedly at the pastor. “It is up to you. But how many can say they have seen the largest portion of God’s creation? This is an opportunity I would not pass up.”

Pastor Crenshaw lowered his head and plunged his hands in his denim jean pockets. Typical for the rustic pastor, a warm blue and gold plaid shirt, tucked comfortably into the jeans covered his body. He stood quietly for a few seconds. All that could be heard was Jenny’s low voice, as she knelt down and played with L.B. and Keltseerah.

“But I have my commitments,” he said slowly, raising his head. “My church, my youth group. People depend on me.”

“They can wait,” Ra’am said. “You can stay for as long as you like, or as short as you like. It is a very expeditious trip to the Andromeda galaxy.”

Pastor Crenshaw glanced at Ra’am. Then he began walking in front of the sofa chair, the same chair he slumped in when they first arrived. L.B. and Keltseerah followed him. He leaned over and petted Keltseerah.

“Cute puppy,” he said. He looked up at Ra’am.

“Yes, she is,” Ra’am said. “I plan on breeding Golden Retrievers, on Penakh Ayef.”

“Penakh Ayef?”

“The planet for my next scientific research assignment. It is a beautiful planet, with an earth-like gravity. There are plenty of available dwellings, for all of us to occupy, due to the lower number of mineralogists present. We and approximately 110 Harkoavians, along with some other intelligent alien beings, will be the only ones present, since Penakh Ayef is uninhabited by any native intelligent beings.”

“Cool,” Jenny said.

Pastor Crenshaw appeared to ignore Ra’am’s comments, looking down at Keltseerah and ruffling her fur. The adorable puppy yelped affectionately. After spending a little more time with the playful pup, the pastor raised his head and looked at Ra’am. “You know, you’re a hero of sorts. Those men you helped apprehend…they were quite evil. And I had no idea the Governor was so corrupt.”

“Ha,” Jenny said, huffing a bit, “you’re not the only one.”

Trenae nodded at Jenny, agreeing.

“Please, Jeff,” Ra’am said. “I need an answer, now.”

“That’s true…umm,” Trenae said, “we still need to help Dr. Stein. The reporters are hounding him too.”

Pastor Crenshaw placed his hands on his hips, staring down at the beige carpet.  For a moment, he was a living statue. Finally he raised his head. “Well, just give me a few minutes. I need to go upstairs.”

“Okay,” Trenae said.

The pastor hurried from their presence, eventually skipping up the stairs at the far end of the long room, opposite from where they entered from Ha-Ta.

Trenae felt drained for some reason. She looked up at Ra’am. She needed a hug, his warmth. Stepping closer, she wrapped her arms around him, feeling the odd, smooth material of his tsekehoot shakor against her face. Ra’am responded in kind, tightening his arms around her, pulling her close, and softly stroking her back. She shut her eyes, melding into his warm body, rejuvenating herself from his security. Time and trouble disappeared.

“You’re lucky, you two,” Jenny said.

Trenae opened her eyes and searched around. Jenny stood close by. A smile brightened Jenny’s face.

“What you two have,” Jenny said, “most of us may never find in our life.”

“And there is no guarantee that you will find it in another galaxy,” Ra’am said, holding Trenae even tighter. “I hope you realize that.”

Jenny’s smile broke and faded away, her expression becoming one of shame, as though Ra’am had read her mind. Trenae felt her emotions.

“Oh, she just wants to write a story, about alien planets and alien life,” Trenae said. “Right Jenny?”

“Yeah, right,” Jenny said solemnly, glancing down at Keltseerah. Once again, could Ra’am be right?

Silence pervaded the room for some time.

“Okay, it’s okay,” said Pastor Crenshaw.

Trenae looked toward the stairs, where she heard his voice. Pastor Crenshaw struggled happily between steps and L.B., hurdling both. Ra’am gradually released his warm embrace from her.

“L.B., come here,” Ra’am said.

Turning toward Ra’am, L.B. gave a friendly dog smile and jumped down several steps.

Soon the pastor made it into their presence. A small, brown shoulder-strapped suitcase slung around his right side.

“You have decided to come,” Ra’am said.

“Believe it or not. I called my sister and asked her to keep watch of my house, you know, the heat, electricity, the bills. I have a savings account. It will help for awhile, but not too long.”

“What about your church?” Jenny asked.

“I have a young college grad. He’s been sort of apprenticing under me. He can run the show for a while,” the pastor said, looking at Jenny. He glanced up at Ra’am. “But you’re right. I want to see what you have seen. Who wouldn’t, really? The Lord’s glory is everywhere. It all needs to shine.”

“Yes, you understand,” Ra’am said, smiling.

“I totally agree too,” Trenae said. She smiled too.

“Are ready now?” Ra’am asked.

Pastor Crenshaw stared up at Ra’am’s face. “Yes…I think so. Don’t ask me again, there’s so much I’m leaving behind. I have to jump, now!”

“Well, then we shall jump, now,” Ra’am said, mild humor in his voice. Jenny giggled a little.

After gathering L.B. and Keltseerah together and managing to persuade the two Golden Retrievers to run down the hemoom prodoh tunnel, Ra’am led Trenae, Jenny, and Pastor Crenshaw down into Ha-Ta. Ra’am reabsorbed the hemoom prodoh tunnel within Ha-Ta and then sealed the delet yahmon, while Trenae directed Pastor Crenshaw to the evesmol, to sit with Jenny. Trenae returned to her normal seat, with Ra’am already in his seat. L.B. and Keltseerah began playing on the floor near the pastor and Jenny.

“Now, I need to find Dr. Stein,” Ra’am said.

“Oh, that old cat, huh?” Pastor Crenshaw said.

Leaning back, Trenae gazed at Jenny and the pastor.

Jenny flung her wrist up, checking her watch. “It’s close to 8:00 although it’s 7:00 in Berkeley.”

“I don’t think it matters too much,” the pastor said. “He probably never made it to work, because of all the reporters. He’s probably at home, like I was.”

Jenny’s eyes widen. “You know, what Pastor Crenshaw said before, about his sister…watching his house. I wonder what my landlord’s going to do with all my stuff, and the money I’ll owe him?”

“Sure. You need to take care of that,” Pastor Crenshaw said to Jenny.

I should help, Trenae thought. She arose from her seat and walked over to Jenny. “Can you call a friend, or someone to remove your things, maybe put them in storage or at your parent’s house? And your car too?”

“Oh, my gosh,” Jenny said, grabbing her mouth. “My car! I’m leaving my car! Not only that, but the beginning pages of my book, on my computer! My computer!”

“Do you know where your keys are?” Ra’am asked. Trenae turned toward him. Evidently Ra’am had entered the coordinates for Berkeley, for he now relaxed in his seat, facing the three of them.

“You know, I never got it out of the parking area by The Examiner. But, my keys…” Jenny looked down, quiet for a moment. “My keys…” She lifted her head. “Yeah, they’re in my purse, at home.”

“Can someone get in your home?” Ra’am asked.

“Yes, I think.”

Ra’am proceeded to help. He enabled a system upon Ha-Ta that instantly grouped the phone numbers Jenny required, once she recited all of them. Using her normal volume of speaking voice, similar when Ra’am spoke to the pastor in his home, Jenny then made a series of phone calls. She called friends and relatives, eventually collecting a group of helpers who could gather her belongings from her home and place them in her parent’s house or a storage unit. Specific directions on how to find her car keys, find the car, were most important. The people Jenny talked with wanted desperately to know her location, what on earth was happening to her, but she skillfully redirected their attention to what needed to be done at the moment. And soon, after instructing them to let her parents know her plans, and then giving sincere farewells, she finished.

Trenae walked back to her seat and sat down. She looked at Ra’am. He appeared a little perplexed.

“That is odd,” Ra’am said.

“What, baby?”

“Dr. Stein is not at his office, in the Valley Life Sciences building. And he is also not at his home address.”

“Yeah, that is odd.”

“Maybe he’s at a friend’s house,” Pastor Crenshaw said.

“I will just have to search,” Ra’am said. “Hopefully he is near San Francisco.”

Some time elapsed, Ra’am becoming quiet. But soon, to Trenae’s relief, and she assumed everyone else’s, he announced the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah had located Dr. Stein.

“He is in the men’s room, of a convenience store,” Ra’am said.

“A convenience store?” Pastor Crenshaw asked, his voice a bit loud. Jenny and Trenae laughed at him. “That’s a good one!”

Yet Ra’am remained serious. “He is in a town called Moraga, approximately 14 miles from Berkeley. This will be difficult…And we are now drawing close to the particular convenience store.”

“What do you mean, difficult?” Trenae asked.

“There are too many underground obstacles, to produce a hemoom prodoh connection to the bathroom.”

Out of her eye’s corner, Trenae noticed Jenny and Pastor Crenshaw approaching she and Ra’am.

“Will you have to go above ground?” the pastor asked.

“Yes, it appears so,” Ra’am said. He enabled a holographic image of the convenience store’s bathroom above the memadgeemel.

“Just disguise yourself, walk to the bathroom,” Trenae said. “It looks like one of those bathrooms with several stalls anyway, so the main door in shouldn’t be locked.”

“But who’s that other man in the bathroom, with Dr. Stein?” Jenny asked. Searching the image too, Trenae noticed Jenny was right.

“I will find out,” Ra’am said. “They appear to be conversing with one another.”

During the time Trenae, Jenny, and Pastor Crenshaw studied the image, Ra’am began maneuvering Ha-Ta, obviously finding a successful above ground exit.

“I do not want to be too conspicuous,” Ra’am said, finally satisfied with a certain location.

That accomplished, Ra’am stood up. He looked at Pastor Crenshaw. “I will be right back. All of you stay here, especially,” he said, turning back, “Trenae.” He looked at the pastor again. “She is not to leave, under any circumstances.”

“Yes, I’ll keep her here,” the pastor said.

I’m starting to feel more and more like a prisoner, Trenae thought. Yet it felt comforting at the same time.

“You can watch me on the khalon,” Ra’am said. An image of Ra’am, surrounded by the rest of them, quickly materialized on the khalon. Clear and 3-dimensional, it appeared each person’s exact human double stood in a room next to Ha-Ta, accomplished better than a mirror. Jenny and Pastor Crenshaw gasped in surprise, their faces amazed. Trenae gasped too. She had never seen this marvel before. Another amazing feat from Ra’am.

Ra’am walked to the delet tekrah, established a hemoom prodoh tunnel to the ground above, and quickly exited Ha-Ta. Pastor Crenshaw kept the two dogs under control.

Trenae watched Ra’am on the khalon. She noticed not only had he camouflaged his skin and hair, but he had also disguised his black military uniform, now wearing what seemed to be jeans and a black tee shirt. He had exited the ground on a grass-covered area, just behind a small asphalt parking area that bordered the back of the convenience store. A large, dark blue dumpster loomed nearby too.

“Shoot, I never saw him disguise his clothes before,” Trenae said.

“We took photos of him in that black uniform, at the paper,” Jenny said.

“Oh yeah, that’s right.”

Jenny stepped by Trenae’s right side and wrapped her arm around Trenae’s shoulder. Trenae looked up at her. “I am so happy, you came to me,” Jenny said. “This would never have happened, my trip to another planet, the universe, if not for you.”

“Well, thank you,” Trenae said, smiling. Nevertheless she felt a little undeserving, a little uncomfortable with such a compliment. Ra’am hadn’t been the nicest to Jenny. “And I hope it goes great. I’m sure you won’t regret it.”

Jenny was joyful, but confused. “I hope so, I really do.”

“Me too,” Pastor Crenshaw said, leaning down slightly between the two seats. Trenae looked at him. “We’re both taking a big risk.”

“I think, it will go fine, with no problems,” Trenae said. She needed to reassure both of them.

Their attentions became distracted; Ra’am entered the convenience store. Staring intently at his image, Trenae watched people entering and leaving the store with their normal morning ritual of donuts and coffee, or other items. Some appeared only there for gas. Either way, Ra’am continued, walking past the checkout counter.

Racks and rows of colorful candy, magazines, and other products passed by in the image, as the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah gave a view of Ra’am’s back, yet far enough away to display the surroundings. He headed right for the rest rooms, soon arriving at the men’s room door. The doorknob disappeared within his large grasp. He turned it and walked inside.

Ra’am shut the door. He instantly dissolved his disguise, allowing his normal skin exterior and black uniform to appear. His steps proceeding pass a few sinks, Trenae quickly observed Dr. Stein with another man, a short, thin African American man with thick glasses. Both men wore dressy dark pants and loose-fitted light polo shirts. And both stood at the far end of the bathroom. Dr. Stein’s back faced Ra’am, oblivious to Ra’am’s arrival.

“Oh my God! It’s him!” said the other man, peering around Dr. Stein. Trenae laughed. So did Jenny and Pastor Crenshaw. “I think it’s him,” the man said again, sounding confused.

Dr. Stein spun around. He stared straight ahead, at his eye level. Then he shot his stare up at Ra’am’s face. “Ra’am! It is you! You came back, I knew you would!” His words announced joyous, though hushed.

“Are you all right?” Ra’am asked quickly.

“Yes, yes, we’re fine here,” Dr. Stein said. “But the media is going crazy! We’re just hiding out, trying to figure out what to do.”

“I know,” Ra’am said. “I observed everything on television. I had to visit Pastor Crenshaw as well. He is on my Memadshakor right now.”

The other man began drawing closer to Ra’am, staring curiously. “So it’s true, really true! Everything David has told me!”

Dr. Stein turned and faced his friend. “Oh, Ra’am, I’m sorry. How rude of me! This is my friend, Arthur Tidewater. He is an astrophysicist at Berkeley.” Dr. Stein looked back up at Ra’am. “I’ve told him everything. He’s the only one who really, who would really listen to me. Everyone else, uh, my colleagues…I didn’t get very far.” Dejection tainted his voice.

“Do not worry. I have an idea,” Ra’am said. “But, I need to know…Do you want to come with me, back to Andromeda galaxy?”

“Can I come?” Arthur asked, before Dr. Stein uttered a word. Arthur behaved as a little boy about to get the whole candy store, for free.

Trenae laughed again. So did Jenny.

“You can’t be serious?” Dr. Stein asked Ra’am.

“I am very serious. There is so much to see. I can take you back to earth, whenever you desire. Or you may live there, on Penakh Ayef, the planet of my next assignment to conduct scientific research. The planet’s gravity is similar to earth, and for now, it is a relatively safe, peaceful place. The decision is for you to make.”

Dr. Stein glanced back at Arthur, and then back up at Ra’am again. “Can my friend come too?”

“Oh please,” Arthur pleaded. “Like David said, I’m an astro-physicist. This is my field. And David said how much you know about unifying the 4 forces, quantum physics, undetected subatomic particles--”

“Yes,” Ra’am said. “Both of you may come. But will you?”

“I will,” Arthur said eagerly. “I’m not married, have no kids!” He looked at Dr. Stein.

“Yes, I’m divorced,” Dr. Stein said. “And my kids our grown…with no real ties. But…our jobs!”

“Heck with Berkeley, David!” Arthur said. “This is a once in a lifetime, no, once in a HISTORY opportunity. How could we not!”

Dr. Stein smiled an enormous smile. “You’re right,” he told Arthur. Again he looked up at Ra’am. “We’ll go! I’ll go! We’ll both go!”

Arthur laughed, as did Trenae. Jenny and Pastor Crenshaw chuckled too.

Ra’am smiled briefly, but remained serious. “We should leave right now.” He pressed a few buttons on his koaksekhel. Arthur stared like a hawk at the silver arm piece.

The camouflage reappeared over Ra’am again. Dr. Stein briefly explained its details to Arthur.

They began to leave the bathroom. As they walked, Trenae heard Dr. Stein and Arthur speak a little more.

“We’re sure lucky no one bothered us, while we were in there,” Arthur said quietly. “Not one person came in!”

“Yes, really! How true!” Dr. Stein whispered.

They left the store, without incident.

Before long, Ra’am had escorted the two men onto the hemoom prodoh disk and then down on Ha-Ta.

Pastor Crenshaw hurried over to the three arrivers. “David, it’s so good to see you again,” he said to Dr. Stein. “How have you been?”

Dr. Stein walked to Pastor Crenshaw and gave him a hug. Their behavior warmed Trenae’s heart. While they embraced a moment, she candescently studied each human’s face. Every one of them showed intense levels of emotion.

Finally, after they ceased their embrace, Dr. Stein and Arthur asked if Trenae and Jenny were all right, since they suffered through the horrible kidnapping and physical abuse by Wilson’s men. Both she and Jenny told them they were okay now.

Once everyone received introductions or became reacquainted with each other, Ra’am enabled another seat to emerge from almost directly behind the two seats by the control panel. Arthur, in particular, hung his jaw open in shocked surprise, as the seat, about eight feet long by three feet deep, grew from nothing, out of the wall. It resembled the evesmol. And it also behaved the same way as Ra’am’s bed, or the evesmol, enlarging or decreasing in width or length at Ra’am’s command.

Ra’am asked Dr. Stein and Arthur to sit on the new seat, while Jenny and Pastor Crenshaw returned to the evesmol.

Ra’am again programmed the shleetah maksheer. Trenae sat next to him, in her usual seat.

“Would you like to try visiting your mother, to tell her you are leaving earth?” Ra’am suddenly asked. She looked at him.

“But…how?” she asked. “And won’t this take time, I mean, aren’t we leaving?”

“I want to take us back into Idaho, either way.” He looked at her. “I have a plan, which I will tell everyone soon, but we still have some time. We can travel beneath Idaho City. Possibly, you will see your mother and brother.”

“From a safe distance, I hope,” she said, her tone disheartened.

“Yes, you know how I feel now.”

“Well, okay.”

Ra’am turned to his left and stood up from his seat.

“Amazing!” Arthur blurted loudly. “Controlled by only the computer, or, or his koaksekhel!”

Trenae turned around and smiled at Arthur. He was rather funny. Ra’am looked down at him, while Dr. Stein spoke with Arthur, explaining further details about Ha-Ta’s many functions and systems. Ra’am also mentioned that the kleeproodah systems were self-repairing, negating worry of any malfunctions.

Ra’am began walking toward the bathroom galeel khayeh and eyzkher mazon.

“Where are you going?” Trenae asked him.

“To get something for you,” he said, turning and giving her a glance.

Hmm, what’s this about? She leaned forward and looked at the khalon. She found its now blank screen uninviting, and so busied herself with observing the shleetah maksheer, while Dr. Stein and Arthur spoke with each other. Jenny and Pastor Crenshaw talked with one another too, on the evesmol. But she didn’t feel lonely, not at all.

“Here, Trenae.”

She looked up, on her left. A pad of magenta paper, with borders of small, pretty yellow and blue flowers was grasped within Ra’am’s hand, along with a pen. “Dod gave me this, quite a while ago,” Ra’am said, placing the pad and pen in her hand. “All you have to do is write a message, and certain kleeproodah systems, via the shleetah maksheer, will break down the paper into small, transportable particles, and reassemble it where ever you wish to place it.”

Ra’am sat down in his seat.

“That’s amazing!” someone said.

Trenae turned around.

Arthur was stepping forward, closer to them. “I have a million questions!” he said, finally positioning himself between Ra’am and Trenae.

Ra’am looked up at him. “And we will have plenty of time to answer them.” Ra’am looked back at Trenae. “Write something, Trenae. Leave a message for your mother.”

“Okay,” she said quietly.

She gazed down, placed the pad on her lap, and began thinking. What could I say, that conveys my feelings, yet is positive? And helpful?

As she started putting words together in her mind, Arthur became more excited, asking more questions. Even so, she wanted to please Ra’am. Her eyes remained on the paper, visualizing her message, all the while hearing Arthur and Ra’am’s conversation simultaneously.

“For a long time, I have studied alien abductions, alien encounters, and other alien events,” said Arthur. “And so, I am puzzled- none ever sounded quite like your version. Why is that?”

“I was the first Harkoavian to visit earth,” Ra’am said. “There have been other Harkoavian visitors since then, but they came only to visit with me. They made no human contact.”

“But why?” Arthur asked. “Why not just come right out and expose yourself, promptly?”

“A good question, Arthur. Time was needed, so we could ascertain all we were possibly dealing with.”

“Is that the explanation, as to why the other alien species are dragging their feet?”

“Possibly. I never took much notice of them, since they were not within my parameters of scientific study.”

“But I’m sure you must have heard,” Arthur said, “about the 3 different types of gray aliens. And the other types, which are humanoid in appearance, like yourself. Or others that have lizard-traits or wings.”

“Yes, I’m writing a book on it,” Jenny said quickly.

Trenae lifted her head and looked toward the evesmol seat. Jenny had already stood up, and now walked toward Arthur and Ra’am.

Before long, as Trenae tried concentrating on her letter, strange words like Zeta Reticuli, Bellatrax, Orion grays, Pleiadeans, and Mothmen dispersed through the air. Ah, Jenny and her book. And now this new guy, Arthur. Trenae giggled to herself a little, not letting anyone be aware. Ra’am appeared to be listening more than speaking, with Jenny and Arthur doing most of the talking.

Then Arthur directed his questions back towards Ra’am.

“But are these other aliens a threat to our world, and yours?” Arthur asked.

“They are no threat to us,” Ra’am answered calmly. “But yes, some are a threat to earth. But we can help.”

“But you don’t have extrasensory powers, mind control?” Arthur asked.

“Yes, we do, through our technology, namely our kleeproodah, our form of nanotechnology. But as is our religious nature, we prefer not use it, or only on a limited, last means basis. However, we can block or destroy attempts at mind control on ourselves, through hemoom prodoh and other kleeproodah systems.”

“Yes! David told me,” Arthur said excitedly. “Hemoom prodoh is a combination of kleeproodah and other molecular and atomic elements. Is that true?”


“So if those grays and other aliens are no threat to your planet, are we?” Arthur asked.

“No, you are not a threat, but an answer.”

“An answer?”

“Another piece to the grand comic puzzle, of the universe,” Ra’am said. “But do not fear the other intelligent alien beings. As I said, we can help, as long as the governments of this planet allow our intervention. Unfortunately, your government and religious authorities have done a great disservice. The intelligent alien beings who you fear, all those with cruel intentions, sense your fear and use it to their advantage.”

Trenae lifted her head and looked at Ra’am. He had turned his seat around from the shleetah maksheer and now faced everyone. Feeling curious, she turned her seat too. Dr. Stein and Pastor Crenshaw had stepped over too. They stood nearby, as L.B. and Keltseerah quietly played near them.

“I don’t completely understand,” said Dr. Stein. Some of the others nodded in agreement.

“Where there is knowledge,” Ra’am said, “there is strength. And from strength, there is less fear. And less fear helps all those in negative confrontations, to better handle the negative confrontation. Do you understand?”

Dr. Stein, Arthur, and Jenny said “yes”, almost simultaneously.

“That sounds vaguely familiar,” Pastor Crenshaw said.

“From earth’s Bible?” Ra’am asked.


“Those words were taken from Harkoav’s bible,” Ra’am said. “We have many similarities.”

“You know,” Arthur said, crossing his arms and acquiring a serious expression, “I remember reading accounts on the Internet, of how there was a comparison between the Dead Sea Scrolls, found in 1947, and also text from a supposed alien spacecraft in New Mexico, also found in 1947. They eventually found the text was a very ancient form of Hebrew, and then kept it within a secret government UFO investigative group, MJ-12. It’s something those investigators had never seen before. Like your own language, I would gather.”

“Yes, I know of this,” Ra’am said. “And I will tell you more, later.” He turned his seat around and touched some buttons on the shleetah maksheer. “But right now, I want all of us to be quiet, so my wife can finish writing a letter. We are nearly in Idaho.”

“No, that’s okay,” Trenae said. She smiled at everyone.

“No, no, we understand,” said Dr. Stein. He grasped the eager Arthur by his shoulders and tugged him back to their seat.

“Yeah, we’re yakking away here,” said Pastor Crenshaw. He and Jenny walked back toward their seat too.

Trenae turned her seat around. L.B. and Keltseerah romped over by Ra’am and her and started licking and pawing at them. Ra’am petted his friendly puppy, and then turned back toward his passengers again. “I want Trenae to leave a letter to her mother,” he said, “to let both her mother and brother know our intentions, or our plans.”

Everyone then stated how that was a good idea. Jenny and Pastor Crenshaw, both mentioning the times they had dealings with Trenae’s family members, explained to Dr. Stein and Arthur how Trenae could not deal closely with her mother and brother. Between concentrating on her letter, Trenae herself also supplied a few bits of information, though not very much. Anything to do with her mom and brother was just too disturbing and embarrassing.

Thankfully the subject soon changed.

After a few minutes passed, Trenae finished her short letter. And just in time. They began entering Idaho City. Ra’am enabled a view on the khalon of the surrounding Idaho City scenery, displaying a small town surrounded by mountains and pine forests, just as she always remembered. And then he presented a broad landscape view of her town’s Main Street, displaying the scene on the khalonot hekef, alarming Arthur, his voice blurting surprise at the new, expansive scene.

Main Street seemed a quiet street at the moment. Not much activity was occurring, since few cars traveled or parked on the road, though a few people walked on the sidewalks.

“Like an old western town,” Dr. Stein said.

“Looks harmless enough, at least, the people and things I see now,” Arthur said.

Little by little Trenae noticed they were heading toward her address. Suddenly she saw it. “There it is, that red house. That’s my house.” She studied it objectively for the first time, trying to place her mind in Jenny or Dr. Stein’s body, and view the place as though she’d never seen it before. An old, small house it was, probably built during the early 1900’s, with one main floor and just one room upstairs, where she had her bedroom, an attic bedroom.

As the khalonot hekef’s view began moving from the front of the house to the back yard, in a 360-degree manner, Trenae noticed the small window upstairs, the window she had always used to view the outside. Her dreams and thoughts would bloom when she gazed from there. Yet one time, they didn’t. She remembered that sad moment, after her dad had died, when she stared down from the small window, toward the neighbor’s front yard near Main Street. If only someone could help me, she had thought, if only someone could rescue me from the abuse I suffer at home, of all places. But no, no one did. Not then.

The khalonot hekef continued scanning the home. My old house has such a small yard.  And damn, how close the neighbor’s yards are to my yard.  “Yeah, it’s small,” she said, sighing.

“No, it’s a cute place,” Jenny said.

Yeah, right, Trenae thought. That little red house is smaller than Jenny’s house.

Ra’am ceased the scanning motion and positioned the view toward the back yard, facing the home’s back door. Again, Jenny, Pastor Crenshaw, Dr. Stein, and Arthur left their seats and walked near Trenae and Ra’am. A view of the small driveway, leading to a one car, ramshackle garage, on the left side of the property, could now be seen. Within the garage sat an old, light blue Caprice. But behind the blue car parked a new black Mustang.

“The blue car is my mom’s. But, I think…maybe, I recognize the other car,” Trenae said to everyone. “It’s obvious, someone is there. But I don’t think it’s a reporter. Wouldn’t they park in the front?”

“I can’t say for sure,” Jenny said.

“Definitely possibly,” said Pastor Crenshaw. “They had me surrounded.”

Dr. Stein laughed.

With a quick thrust, the home’s inner back door flung backwards, opening. Trenae leaned forward, focusing her eyes better. Ra’am leaned forward too, pressing some buttons, obtaining a closer view of the door. A man emerged, with brown hair and a dark blue and white plaid jacket, stepping onto the concrete landing just below the door. He stepped out so his back faced them. His face couldn’t be seen.

He closed the screen door and turned, looking in the home’s interior. A woman approached, her silhouette gradually filling with color, soon defining body features, clothes. Trenae knew.  It was her mom. Eerie quiet clutched Ha-Ta’s interior. Her mom smiled, though the smile did nothing to diminish a grim, forbidding appearance, framed by shoulder-length reddish brown hair, accented by a stout, strong body. Trenae could feel the others cringing inside. While Mom puffed a cigarette, her small, piercing blue eyes refused to be ignored.

“She looks like someone you don’t want to anger, if you don’t mind me saying,” Arthur said.

Trenae looked up, at Arthur. He stared curiously at the khalon. She was right. People could sense her mom’s evil demeanor.

“And, unfortunately for Trenae, like I said, her brother’s no angel too,” Jenny said sadly.

The man turned around, exposing his face. A bomb dropped on Trenae. She knew him. The same night she had been in Willson’s basement, and Stiles had glared down at her, she had glanced nervously around the room for a quick moment. His face had been there, this same man! Oh certainly, she could be mistaking this man for another. But no, he was there, at Hegemony Hovel many times before, especially when more drugs were needed for Willson’s parties. Yes, that must be his specialty. Drugs. And now, also, a hand in attempted murder.

“Oh gosh…I…I always sus- suspected my mom,” Trenae said slowly. She began rising from her seat. “My mom sold drugs, but now…” It was too much to bear. Shameful or not, she had to leave, get away. She turned right, where no one stood, and ran, dropping the pen and completed letter.

She ran between the lab room on her right, and the greenhouse galeel khayeh on her left, finally entering her old room. Once inside, she pressed her body against the flat wall, separating her room and the lab room. Sadness flooded her soul. She squeezed her eyes shut. But they wouldn’t stop, the tears wouldn’t stop. That awful ache clenched her throat, the ache always preceding an intense crying spell. “Nooo,” she whispered, and quickly covered her mouth with one hand. She opened her eyes and looked up at Ha-Ta’s ceiling, staring blankly, trying to stop her crying and justify her mother’s cruel behavior. But she could do neither.

Tears poured from her eyes and onto her hand. She heard Ra’am approaching. “Oh, shoot,” she said. She spun herself to the right, toward the curved wall by the ma’argahar, yet kept standing against the wall. An attempt to hide. But it didn’t work well.

Ra’am placed his hands on her shoulders and upper arms. Warm. Comforting.

Even so anger fumed within her. She turned around and pressed her face and body against Ra’am’s chest, feeling like punching him. He embarrassed me, by taking me to my mother’s house! And he could have prevented this years ago, when he first knew of me, by taking me away, but didn’t! She wanted to slam him hard, many times.

But instead she just hit him once with her fist, on his massive chest. Bad idea. Although the very top area of his skin held softness, beneath it felt like hitting a wall of thick, woven wire. She closed her eyes and pressed her face closer to him. Her hand hurt, and she became angrier.

“Why did you take me here?” she asked, resentment in her voice. She looked up into his face. He was surprised.

“Because, you agreed to my suggestion,” he said softly. “This is for the best, Trenae, believe me. I do not know how long you and I will be away from earth, and all you can do is try, try to show your feelings…let your mother know. But I am sorry, that you found this out.”

She placed both her hands above, on his chest and shoulders, and rested her face against the smooth tsekehoot shakor material covering his chest. Take a deep, staggered breath, and let it out slowly, expelling the horrible image of Mom and that man from your mind. Expel too, that Ra’am could have saved you years ago- it just wasn’t time then. It never would have worked then.

But she already knew, as would everyone else, that her mother probably had something to do with her attempted murder. And Aunt Heather’s murder. Trenae had…no mother.

“He’s right, Trenae.” A hand touched her upper back. Gradually she turned to her right. Jenny was standing in the room. “All you can do,” Jenny said, “is say you tried. You tried to get along with her, made an attempt.”

“But how…how could she be like that?” Trenae whispered, molding next to Ra’am. Ra’am wrapped his arms around her back and held her close.

“I don’t know,” Jenny said. “We’ll probably never know. Just let it go. It doesn’t matter anymore.” Jenny looked up at Ra’am. “Ra’am is your family now. He is everything you need.”

Trenae wondered. She stared at Jenny and wiped her eyes and nose. Wasn’t Jenny the one who doubted Ra’am’s motives? Then for Jenny to think this, it had to be true. Never mind, Trenae just knew it was true.

She rested her head against Ra’am, keeping her eyes on Jenny. “The others, they saw me?” she asked Jenny.

“Well, yeah, we all did,” Jenny answered. “But don’t worry. I told them a little more about your family, just basic things. I think Pastor Crenshaw is surprised, about your mom, but we all understand.” She gave Trenae a smile. “Don’t worry. They’re all too excited to be sidetracked by your mom.”  

“We really need to get going,” Ra’am said. His voice vibrated soothingly within Trenae. “I want to announce my plan.”

Trenae looked up at him. “What plan?”

Ra’am smiled warmly at her. “You must come back, and sit down. Then, I will tell you. But I also still want you to give the letter to your mom. I found an area, on the kitchen table, where we can place it.”

“Really?” She lowered her head. That round, small white table, near the kitchen’s window. She remembered. Some good memories, when Dad was alive, often centered around that kitchen table. She looked back up at him. “Yeah, that’s okay.”

“Here,” Ra’am said. He released his arm, leaned down, lifted a tissue from a pink box on the bed, and placed it in her hands.

She wiped her eyes and nose.

And then all three of them walked back to the control panel. Fortunately no one was staring at her. Pastor Crenshaw, now sitting on the evesmol, played with L.B. and Keltseerah, while Arthur and Dr. Stein sat and discussed astro-physics and aliens, sitting on their seat. Yet they all looked at Trenae when she walked toward her chair.

They all immediately offered their sincerest apologies about her mother. Gosh, they’re nice, she thought. Pastor Crenshaw even reiterated what Jenny had stated, that Ra’am was her loved one now and her most cherished and loving moments should be with him. Tenderness in his words, Ra’am stated to everyone that such was already the case. Trenae smiled, especially at Ra’am. And she thanked all of them. She then sat down.

Jenny approached Trenae, handing the pen and paper.  

“Thank you,” Trenae said.

She looked down at the letter. It was short, but concise. But now, it needed to travel. She handed the letter to Ra’am. Right after he received it in his hands, he placed the letter above the memadgeemel. Instantly the letter floated. It also started twirling a little. And then, very quickly, it began shrinking in size, still spinning, until it finally disappeared.

“Now look, on the khalon,” Ra’am told everyone. Though the khalon and khalonot hekef were covered, probably to banish the former unhappy scene, Ra’am uncovered only the khalon. Her old home’s kitchen appeared. And slowly, the scene focused toward the small white table. A few plates, containing scrambled eggs and toast were on its surface, along with a few cups of coffee. A small, tin ashtray, a smoldering cigarette butt placed within, clouded the table with smoke. Obviously her mom would be coming back soon.

But then, miraculously, the letter materialized, on a vacant area of the table.

Everyone gasped. Ra’am explained how each particular kleeproodah system particle had each transported a large molecule of the letter, and through a series of spatial and mathematical commands, reassembled the letter in its entirety.

Jenny asked if she could read the letter. She and the others huddled by Ra’am and Trenae. Though a little embarrassed, Trenae said it would be all right. 

“Dear Mom,” Jenny began, “I love you and Darin, even though you have treated me negatively in the past. I forgive you. But the main reason we came by is I have married Ra’am. Watch the news, you will understand. We are leaving for Harkoav, in the Andromeda galaxy. Maybe we will be back again. I don’t know.”

Jenny continued reading the final sentences. “And Mom, there is no evolution. There is only God, and you need to find Him, soon. Love, Trenae.”

Trenae studied Jenny’s profile, searching for meaning. Jenny turned, looking at her. “That was really nice,” Jenny said. “A lot nicer than I would have done. You really have a good heart.”

“Thanks,” Trenae said shyly, lowering her head.

The others gave her some gentle compliments likewise. And in that moment, Trenae really didn’t feel like a loser anymore. She felt special. And loved.

Ra’am asked everyone to return to their seats. He vanished the khalon’s image, turned around, and faced everyone. Trenae turned her seat around too.

“I have decided to enter the air space above your country,” Ra’am said. “They need proof. They shall have proof.”

“You’re gonna let them see us?” Arthur blurted.

“Yes, exactly,” Ra’am said.

“I have a question,” Pastor Crenshaw said. Trenae looked at him. The dogs were playing on the floor near him again; he seemed to attract their attention.

“Yes, what is it?” Ra’am asked.

“Not to bring up, well, Trenae’s problem with her mother and that man again, but…that friend of yours, Dod. Jenny told me he was involved yesterday, with those men. After seeing how brazen they are, for instance that man visiting Trenae’s mother, Rudy…are you worried about Dod and his family being harassed by them, or worse?”

“Yeah, I wondered that too,” Jenny said.

“Yes, me too,” Trenae said.

“When I brought Dod back to his home, yesterday,” Ra’am said, “he told me he was keeping his wife and kids away, in a secret location, another home or relative’s place. I requested many times that he and his wife, and their kids, come with me, as all of you are now. But, he repeatedly said his wife could never do that, since she is very close to her mother, father, and other family members, unlike, I suspect, many of you here. Her mother is also not in good health, though Dod will administer tse makh yerape to her, to heal her. Yet most importantly, Dod did not want to leave his business. He said many people, his employees, depended on his business for their incomes. He just has too much at stake, and felt it was worth the risk on his life, if they would bother him at all.”

“But his family should be safe?” Dr. Stein asked.

“Dod believes he can keep them safe.”

“That’s why I wanted you to kill those bastards,” Jenny said. She crossed her arms, disgust traversing her face.

“Yes, I know,” Ra’am said, looking at her. “But now, in hindsight, what if I had killed all of them? If they are as large an organization as Garafalo acknowledged, then retribution would have been far more severe, than anything they might plan now. Dod would be more at risk.”

“He’s at risk now,” Jenny said.

“Yes, possibly,” Ra’am said. “But, he made a decision. He said he could not allow them to destroy his life completely. And I agree. I wanted him and his family to come, but he declined. However, I have been monitoring his home and place of business every minute. And so far, nothing negative has occurred. He is, after all, an innocent victim in all of this.”

“So was I,” Jenny said. “And they were ready to wipe me out.”

“Yes, I understand.” Ra’am lowered his gaze a little. He lifted his head and looked at everyone. “I have been on earth for almost nine earth years. And for seven of those years, I knew Dod. He was my trusted, dear friend, my social contact with earth. We shared many times together. And so, you must believe me, when I tell you, I tried my very best to have him and his family come with me. I tried for several hours. We discussed many factors, many choices. Even years ago, before this situation occurred, I had asked him to leave with me, and he declined then as well. He has his life, and he must live it his way, as do we all.” Keltseerah trotted near Ra’am’s legs. Ra’am looked down at the puppy. “I believe he finally gave me Keltseerah, to shut my mouth.” He smiled.

A few smiled too.

After some more comments about Dod, comments that were fortunately more positive, Ra’am explained they should be leaving Idaho City.

Trenae thought further about Dod, that energetic, happy man. She really liked him. And she felt shortchanged, at not saying a warm, formal good-bye to Dod, and wanted to ask Ra’am if he could let her see him, one last time. But Ra’am appeared urgent at carrying out his plan to expose Ha-Ta. And she also remembered Dod’s tight schedule with his computer business. She decided to let it go. Besides, she figured, I’m certain we’ll see him again. Within her mind, she prayed to God, that he would protect Dod and his family. And she prayed too for her mother and brother, that they would find God’s goodness and love, and forgiveness. It was all she could do.

“We will enter the earth’s atmosphere above ground in the southeast corner of Ada County, a mostly unpopulated area,” Ra’am said. He raced his hand over the control panel.

“I thought you wanted to be seen?” Pastor Crenshaw asked.

“We will begin our journey there,” Ra’am answered. “And yes, although it is unpopulated, we will be seen.”

Everyone became quiet.

“Ra’am, you sly dog, you!” Jenny said, breaking the silence. Trenae leaned back and looked at her. “Isn’t that the general area of Mountain Home Air Force Base?”

“Yes,” Ra’am answered.

“Oh…my…gosh,” Jenny said dramatically, “those guys will FREAK OUT!”

“We will see,” Ra’am said calmly. He turned his seat around, to face everyone. “But I want all of you to know, we are completely safe on Ha-Ta. Do not worry.”

No one said anything. Yet Trenae could feel a slight breeze of trepidation pass through the air.

Ra’am turned back toward the shleetah maksheer. He enabled the clear, khalonot hekef on Ha-Ta again. Arthur seemed shocked again. He cried out a few expletives, as the perimeter window displayed strange white lights and brown and black particles of color, the particles typical with traveling underground.

But in a few seconds the view suddenly changed. Like switching TV channels they went from the somber, disturbing scene of Trenae’s former home and the worrisome concerns of Dod, to a beautiful, breath-taking blue sky. A glorious, bright sunny March day welcomed them from beneath the ground.

“Not a cloud in the sky!” Pastor Crenshaw said.

Ra’am had Ha-Ta glide to the upper atmosphere, in a smooth as silk flow. Trenae stood up, along with Dr. Stein and Arthur, and walked near the sides of the perimeter window. Ra’am explained they were flying over Idaho’s Ada, Elmore, and Owyhee counties. From so high up, the landscape was a mixture of some white glistening blotches, from lingering snow cover, and dry rocky brown areas. Some winding lines marked the surface, that Ra’am explained were the Snake River and some mountain and plateau strings.

“About how high in altitude are we?” Dr. Stein asked, looking down. He stood to Trenae’s right, not far from the delet yahmon.

“Approximately 9000 feet, and heading south east,” Ra’am answered.

Jenny asked if she could walk around, at the back of Ha-Ta, to see what was behind them. Ra’am explained it was okay, but warned her she would probably see a large group of US Air Force jet fighters, even a bomber plane slowly approach their direction.

“What?” Jenny asked excitedly, “already?”

“Yes,” Ra’am said, turning around.

Trenae looked to her left. Arthur was standing to the left of Ra’am’s seat, his body all nerves. “We are probably in a military training area!” Arthur said. “This is not good, not good at all.”

“Yes, actually, we are in a military training area,” Ra’am said calmly. “We should listen to their radio transmissions.”

Trenae stayed put, frozen in curiosity, as did Arthur and Dr. Stein. Pastor Crenshaw sat on the evesmol seat, while Jenny began walking toward the back, on the eyzkher mazon side. L.B. and Keltseerah romped wherever.

Slowly sounds of military aircraft radio transmissions filled Ha-Ta.
















                                                          Chapter 36



Lieutenant Colonel Rich Quicklen, call sign Hark, tried to keep his mind on the B-1B Lancer’s instrument panel before him. That argument he had with his wife earlier, before coming to the base, now clouded his thinking a little, something he could not afford, not even for one second. His thoughts needed to stay focused on the their destination target area, and the QF-4 drone coming into range, never mind that he was also mission commander of the two F-15C Eagles and two F-16C Fighting Falcons, all of them, he included, on a training mission. They flew in a tight, composite wing formation, with the two F-15s flying about 50 feet in front, the two F-16s flying about 50 feet behind of Hark’s B-1B. He already had a full plate. No room for irritations from other thoughts.

His stomach knotted. There was even more. Today he and his wingmen were to practice using live ammunition, besides just basic composite wing maneuvering, with the drone as the target for the jet fighters.

If only she wouldn’t have her mother visit so often, Hark thought quickly. The visions wouldn’t let him be. Our marriage is deteriorating, and I can’t think about this now!

Sweat forming on his brow, a radio transmission snatched his full attention.

“WHOA! Meteor One, Bogey left, eleven low! Just appeared out of nowhere!”

“Cruise, was that A.K.?” Hark asked his co-pilot, Major Doug ‘Cruise’ Tyler.

“Affirmative, not very …” Cruise said. “Bogey padlocked. Look! Ahead, left ten low!”

Hark stared, searching.

Far away, out their window, in the vast, clear blue sky, beyond and below Eagle One, he saw its color and shape, its motion. Silver. Oval. Motion smooth as silk. So small from their point of view, it resembled a tiny silver beetle

“Iron Scepter, this is Titan One,” Hark said, speaking over his radio. “Request alpha check.”

“Titan One, this is Iron Scepter,” said a female voice, “bearing 007, range 5 miles.”

“Iron Scepter,” Hark said. “Titan One, roger.”

Hark scrutinized the object a little more. He wanted to excuse the strange aircraft as a sudden mirage, or trick from the sun on this awesomely clear and bright day. But the strange aircraft appeared to grow in size and detail, as they gained miles between each other. His other pilots now chimed in over the radio, especially the two F-15 pilots, Eagle One and Eagle Two, stating their position and observance of the object too. Contact control base again, he thought. He checked his computerized instrument readings. “Iron Scepter,” Hark said, “uh, this is Titan One, request radar confirmation on 005 magnetic.”

“Titan, this is Iron Scepter…affirmative. Unidentified bogey left ten low, niner thousand, moving rapidly, no transponder.”

Alarm hit his soul. “Iron Scepter, Titan One here. What the hell is that? No transponder?”

“Affirmative, Titan, no transponder.”

They needed to figure this out. All normal aircraft have transponders, even drones. “Iron Scepter, Titan One request to shadow.”

Silence ensued from Iron Scepter, while Hark continued gawking in fearful amazement at what lay before his eyes in the distance. The strange object continued soaring smoothly, effortlessly. And he knew all the other pilots could see its liquid, impossible flight.

“Titan One,” said the female voice, breaking the quiet, “cleared.”

“Roger, Iron Scepter.”

So much for arriving near the drone and their target area now. Knowing only the jet fighters had agile maneuverability, able to achieve speeds between 2-2.5 Mach, Hark decided to use Kodak and Viner, both in the two F-15s flying ahead of him. Hark’s B-1B and the two F-16s would just have to be left behind in flight.

He told Cruise to use his own radio and contact the drone commander, to relay their new situation. Hark then focused his attention. “Eagle One and Eagle Two,” he said over his radio. “Break left, follow bogey, left ten, 5 miles.” The two F-15Cs immediately cut away and burned ahead.

Silence followed. Then he heard the men speak.

“Titan? This is Eagle One, tally…Hark…what the…?”

“Titan, Eagle Two…tally…hey, Kodak…is that a…you know?”

Hark needed to keep them focused. “Eagle One and Eagle Two, close in, identify visual.”

“Titan? Eagle One, wilco.”

“Eagle Two, wilco.”

Still having good visual of the silver UFO, Hark watched the magnificent metal birds soar through the air and head directly toward the silver object. They gained air space in mere seconds, until it appeared they flew about 30 or 40 feet from their intended target.

“Titan One, this is Eagle One…uh, Hark? We have a silver, large, about 20 meters wide, maybe 6 or 7 meters tall, appears oval, sharp side edges.”

“Roger, Eagle One,” Hark said. “Eagle Two, do you concur?”

“Affirmative, Titan. Eagle One’s correct…we have a flying saucer…and that’s no joke, heading 090 magnetic, bearing 12, niner thousand five hundred, speed Mach one point two four and increasing.”

Not good, not good, Hark thought. Memories of reading and talking about UFO sightings enlightened his thoughts. “Eagle One and Two, are you experiencing any sort of electrical problems…radar or avionics?”

“Eagle One here, that’s a negative, all systems go.”

“Eagle Two, all systems go.”

Hark paused for a moment, thinking. Another radio transmission broke his concentration.

“Titan One, this is Iron Scepter,” said the female voice. “Local weather radar has also picked up UFO, as well as Salt Lake City Center and MH airport.”

“Iron Scepter, Titan One,” said Hark, “roger that…continue pursuit?”

“Affirmative Titan One,” said the female voice. “Also, attempt radio contact and demand craft to land with your escort, or our orders here are to have you fire upon, since this is Restricted Airspace. Command center believes this is some type of civilian hoax, judging from slow speed of craft, over.”

Hark drew in a quick breath. “Iron Scepter, Titan One, wilco, out.”

Staring forward, he saw both F-15Cs, far ahead and barely visible, straddling either side of the silver object. “Eagle One and Eagle Two,” Hark said, “continue to flank UFO and attempt radio contact. Try all freqs. If contact made, demand craft to land. Ground command believes this is civilian hoax.”

He looked at Cruise. Angst flooded his copilot’s face.

“Titan One, this is Eagle One. I believe that’s a negative on the hoax, from what I observe. But will comply.”

“Eagle Two, roger Titan One, wilco.”

Time went by. Hark strained his eyes, trying to watch the scene unfold ahead, while constantly maintaining control of his aircraft. He noticed the UFO seemed to be taking the same general flight path as they were, heading toward the drone and bombing target. Banana and Fuel, his other two crewmen, his offensive systems officer and defensive systems officer, seemed just as baffled by the strange object as he and Cruise, though the two men couldn’t get much of a window view from behind he and Cruise’s seats, in their elevated seats. They said little.

Soon Kodak and Viner began exchanging back and forth. 

“Hey Kodak? Viner here, I’m confused man…what the heck is this thing? Don’t tell me it’s civilian.”

“Viner? Kodak. Stay calm, though. Attempt radio contact.”

A pause descended between their communications. Then it began again.

“Kodak? Viner again. What if bogey is nordo?”

“Viner,” Kodak said, “just try. Attempt radio contact, regardless, out.”

Trying different frequencies on their radios, Kodak and Viner’s voices saturated the airwaves, as attempt after attempt tried contacting the strange aircraft. Fear settled within Hark. Each attempt proved more and more useless.

Kodak tried yet again. “This is 2nd lieutenant Scondel, of the United States Air Force.” A sudden difference in the UFO’s motion could be seen. “If you are receiving this transmission, you are now to depart from this air space and land immediately. This is Restricted Airspace. You should have Salt Lake City Center ARTCC clearance, over.”

“Kodak, he appears to be slowing,” Viner said. “I have Mach point niner five.”

“Copy, Viner,” said Kodak. “What’s this thing doing?”

“I don’t know,” Viner said. “But why is there no noise? Bogey seems silent, man, silent. I don’t like this!”

“Viner! Kodak here, just make more attempts, out.”

Hark readied himself to hear more worthless attempts at communicating with the UFO.

“Ach-em,” a voice said, someone clearing his throat. Hark startled. Finally, contact. “Hello, this is Arthur Tidewater, a civilian. I don’t know exactly what phraseology you guys use, but I--”

“Mr. Tidewater, 2nd Lieutenant Scondel here,” Kodak said, anger trimming his words. “You are to land your aircraft immediately! You are in a Restricted Airspace area and in our flight path!”

“Well,” Mr. Tidewater said, “…that’s not up to me. You see, I am not the pilot, just an astro-physicist along for one helluva ride!”

“Mr. Tidewater, 2nd lieutenant Scondel,” Kodak said. “Let me speak to the pilot, now!”

“Well, sure. Okay,” said Mr. Tidewater.

Silence. And then sounds of motion, similar to people walking or changing seats.

“This is Ra’ammahkar Meenyan, pilot of this Memadshakor,” said a new voice. “And just where would you have me land, 2nd lieutenant Scondel, since we are approximately 50 miles from Mountain Home Airport?”

The new voice brought more fear into Hark’s soul. A voice powerful, deep, of the likes he had never heard before.

“Pilot, Scondel here, Mountain Home is fine, we will escort you there,” Kodak said, his voice calmer.

“Ra’ammahkar here. Not necessary, 2nd lieutenant Scondel. We are headed south east, approximately one zero zero magnetic.”

“Pilot, you are to reverse your course and head for Mountain Home immediately!” Kodak said forcefully. “This is not a negotiation.”

Worry seized Hark over Kodak’s heated emotions. Maybe he needed to intervene. “Pilot Ra’ammahkar, this is Lieutenant Colonel Rich Quicklen, Titan One. I don’t know how you obtained this frequency, but my orders are to have you land at once, escorted by the jet fighters, or you will be fired upon, over.”

Nothing. Silence. Possibly the pilot needed some time to talk with his civilian passenger.

Another radio transmission. “Hark? Eagle Two here,” Viner said. “I know who we’re talking to.”

“Go ahead, Eagle Two,” Hark said.

“Okay, but you’re not gonna like it…heck, I don’t…the guy in the news, with Governor Willson.”

“Say again, Eagle Two?” Hark said.

“Ra’ammahkar Meenyan, an alien from another planet…blasted all over the news this morning. Willson arrested with mafia, alien supposedly saved this girl from being killed by mafia.”

“Viner, you know I never watch the news!” Hark said. “This is insane!”

“Hark, Eagle One here, Viner is correct,” said Kodak. “I heard it too.”

Hark turned and looked at Cruise. Cruise nodded in affirmation, giving even more added proof to the new disturbing revelation.

Not even for one second could Hark fathom what was happening. Sure, there had been pilots, from all over the world, who had seen unidentified flying objects, experienced some problems from them. But never before had the pilot of one of these incredible crafts been the subject of the morning news. Or, even more wacky, never had one of these pilots been involved with civilians, organized crime, or been labeled openly as an alien! No way!

“Titan One, Eagle One or Eagle Two.” Hark’s heart jumped. It was him again! “You could fire your air to air missiles, but they will have no effect. Possibly, it is best if we simply leave this airspace.”

Hark could only repeat his instructions from ground control. “Pilot, this is Titan One. You are to proceed to land your craft now, or risk being fired upon, over.”

Silence again. Hark waited.

“Hark, Eagle Two here. UFO is gaining Mach, losing altitude, over.”

“Eagle One and Two,” Hark said, “press, demand craft to land.”

“Eagle Two here, UFO bearing 2, heading 1-2-0, approaching Mach two point five…he’s picking up speed, fast!”

The transmissions began coming rapidly.

“Hark, Eagle One, UFO is now at 2 miles, Mach two point eight.”

Kodak and Viner continued exchanging with each other, their words conveying trouble keeping up with the UFO.

“Kodak, this is Viner, he’s nearly gone!”

They became quiet.

“Eagle One here, bogey is a dot, request orders.” Kodak’s voice again.

Hark felt his heart sink. Things had come to the inevitable. Iron Scepter’s orders were to fire upon, if they couldn’t escort the craft and have it land. Yet a civilian was on board! Despite the consequences, he knew through his years of training that ground control had at its access more information than those airborne. Sure, this could be a matter of National Security. He didn’t have all the details. And though he wanted to contact Iron Scepter again, and ask for a second opinion, they would just reiterate what had already been stated.

He looked at Cruise. Without saying a word, Cruise’s demeanor expounded volumes. The ball was in Hark’s court now, and he, only he had to decide.

With much dread in his conscience, Hark gave the order. “Eagle One, Eagle Two, go Fox 3.”

“Hark, Eagle Two here, there’s a civilian on board!”

Even Meteor One, A.K., and Meteor Two, his two F-16 pilots, responded, stating their adamant disagreement.

Hark ignored their words, deciding to repeat the order again, only more firmly. “Eagle One and Eagle Two, you have your orders, engage!”

“Hark, Eagle Two, maybe he’s just landing.”

“Eagle Two, do you have a problem?” Hark asked angrily. Their doubts only reinforced his own, made this mess even more cumbersome.

Some seconds passed.

“Eagle One, Fox 3.”

“Eagle Two, Fox 3.”

They were launched. The AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles from both the F-15Cs now headed toward the UFO. Hark prepared himself, staring out the window in front of him and watching for the explosion. But something else occurred. Instead of brilliant, huge orange flashes, as anticipated, he noticed first odd, small red flashes, then small green flashes. And next, the UFO appeared to back up, toward the two jet fighters. Cruise, Banana, and Fuel exclaimed words of amazement, describing the colors and scene he had just observed; his eyes hadn’t lied.

Now Hark knew for sure. A lot of truth lay in the morning news today.

“Eagle One here. Hark, this is very weird. UFO is unharmed and has backed up within 6 meters of us.”

“Eagle One?” Hark said. “Titan One. Confirmed hit?”

“Affirmative, Titan. Strange, though. Fox 3 apparently disappeared not far from UFO in a red then green glow.”

“Titan One? Eagle Two, that’s an affirmative on my visual too.”

“Understood, Eagle Two,” said Hark. All he could do now was try the whole procedure again. “Eagle One, Eagle Two, attempt comm again with pilot, demand craft to land.”

“Roger, Titan One, wilco,” said Kodak.

“Roger Titan, wilco,” said Viner.

Hark listened.

“Pilot Ra’ammahkar, this is 2nd Lieutenant Scondel. You are to proceed to land your craft immediately, by order of the United States Air Force, or will be fired upon again, over.”

“2nd Lieutenant Scondel, greetings again.” That voice once more! “Obviously, you can see I told the truth. Your weapons will have no effect on my craft. Actually, I should thank you. Your radar guided missiles have increased the fuel supply on my Memadshakor.”

If he’s who he says he is, an alien, then how does he speak English so well?  Hark was full of wonder.

“KODAK! This is crazy!” Viner yelled.

“Chill, Viner,” Kodak said. “Don’t get beaded up.”

Quiet seconds passed by.

“Pilot, this is Eagle One,” Kodak said, trying again. “You are to proceed to land immediately! We will escort you, over.”

“Lieutenant Scondel,” Ra’ammahkar said, “we cannot land, as I have told you. However we will leave this Restricted Airspace shortly. We are on a specific flight path and time schedule.”

“Pilot Ra’ammahkar, I have my orders,” Kodak said forcefully. “You have been warned. Now proceed to land immediately!”

Extended silence came again. The pilot of the UFO was not responding.

Hark needed some information. “Eagle One, request status.”

“Eagle One here, heading one two zero magnetic, Mach two point one five, seven thousand five hundred and descending. Bearing 12, UFO still about 6 meters from us.”

Maybe a few bullets would work, get the UFO to land. “Eagle One and Eagle Two,” Hark said, “fire guns at bogey.”

Far ahead in the distance, he could observe them use their guns. As with the missile, numerous red, then green glows appeared around the UFO.

Some time passed.

“Titan One? This is Eagle Two. Hark, I think we have a force field. Our ammo is doing zero damage. UFO appears completely unharmed. I think…”

“Continue Eagle Two,” Hark said.

“I think, we should bug out, Hark.”

“Titan, this is Eagle One,” Viner said urgently, “bogey is now descending rapidly! We are at 5 thousand…4 thousand...”

“Eagle One, attempt comm with pilot again and shadow,” Hark said quickly.

Something felt very wrong. Why would the UFO suddenly dive toward the ground? Perhaps it wasn’t indestructible!

“This is Ra’ammahkar,” the voice said calmly. “That will not be necessary. I have heard your words.”

Hark had to try his best. “Pilot, this is Titan One, Lieutenant Colonel Quicklen. You are demanded to land your craft immediately! Flying in Restricted Airspace is a federal offense! You will be arrested by civilian law enforcement officials and turned over to the FBI once you land your craft.”

“That will not happen, Lieutenant Colonel Quicklen,” Ra’ammahkar said. “Besides, what would you do with me anyhow, an intelligent alien being from another planet? I understand my spacecraft has to leave this Restricted MOA, and so, I will comply.”

I can’t believe I’m hearing this! Nevertheless Hark stuck with his determination. “This is Titan One. No, you are demanded to land, by orders from United States Air Force base command, immediately, over.”

Silence ensued for some time.

A transmission began. “Do not attempt to follow, Eagle One and Eagle Two,” Ra’ammahkar said. “You cannot.”

“Oh, I suppose you’ll enter outer space,” Viner said. Like before, he seemed to be losing his cool. “We can do a lot more than you think!” His words came tainted with attitude.

“Please,” Ra’ammahkar said. “I do not want anyone to get hurt. Trust me, you cannot follow. Goodbye and out.”

Without warning, the faint silvery object, so far now, shot toward the ground.

“WHOA!” Kodak called out, shock in his voice. “UFO bearing 8 o’clock, direct descent toward ground!”

They had to follow him. “Eagle One and Two, break left, down and shadow!” Hark said quickly.

Squinting to see better, Hark watched the two metal birds make sudden 180-degree turns. Hopefully, he thought, their G-suits are working well, tightening around their legs, forcing the blood back up to their brains. Neither man needed to be unconscious now! Seven G’s of force were common in routine quick maneuvers, but with this UFO’s incredibly rate of speed and agility, the G’s could get far worse.

“Titan One? Eagle One here. Bogey is heading 2-9-0 magnetic, 3 thousand five hundred and descending very rapidly.”

“Hark!” Viner said. “UFO about to become a smoking hole!”

“Titan, Eagle One,” Kodak said quickly, “UFO heading for a flat surface area, not far from a small river canyon, and too fast to land!”

Dejection settled within Hark. “Well, we warned him,” Hark said. “Eagle One and Eagle Two, attempt to establish point of crash, over.”

“Eagle One, wilco.”

“Eagle Two, wilco.”

“Hark!” Viner suddenly called out. “Oh my God…UFO just disappeared…into, into the ground!”

“Hark, Eagle One, that’s an affirmative on Viner…I think, observed some sort of bright light prior to disappearance, but observe no remains, over.”

This was far too bizarre! With no unidentified flying object in their airspace now, Hark did the only thing left. “Eagle One and Eagle Two, return to formation, out.”

Well, I hope they’re happy, he thought, I hope ground control base is happy. He contacted them. “Iron Scepter, this is Titan One. Have you copied last transmission?”

“Affirmative, Titan,” said the female voice. “Abort training mission and return to base immediately. We’re sending some helos to check out observed crash site.”

“Titan One. Roger, Iron Scepter. Romeo Tango Bravo, out.”

















                                                                      Chapter 37



“That was incredible! That was amazing! There’s no way,” Arthur said loudly, his voice full of excitement, “no way…we never felt much of anything, yet were traveling through positive G forces, negative G forces, many times what we should have withstood!”

“And to have entered solid ground so quickly!” Dr. Stein said. “That’s tremendous, Ra’am!” 

Jenny and Pastor Crenshaw laughed a little, though they still appeared in shock. Trenae just smiled and leaned back in her seat, watching everyone. And everyone was now seated. Once Ra’am had determined they would have to return underground, he told his passengers to sit down, in their former seats. Even with a Memadshakor’s incredible abilities with controlling gravity forces and holding its occupants in place, Ra’am explained they still needed to remain seated, with such a great speed and abrupt entry into the earth. And he also had disabled the khalonot hekef, so only Ha-Ta’s normal interior walls could be seen.

“Yes, we were traveling approximately 2000 miles per hour when we entered the earth,” Ra’am told them.

“Amazing!” Arthur said.

“I never thought it could happen!” Dr. Stein said. Pastor Crenshaw laughed again.

“Never mind that,” Jenny said excitedly. “What about those missiles, and the way Ha-Ta handled them?”

“Yes, can you explain that again?” asked Arthur.

“Yes, sure,” Ra’am said, looking at the shleetah maksheer and pressing some buttons. “Simple. The invisible hemoom prodoh shield instantaneously miniaturized the missiles and disabled their destructive parts, near light speed. That process produced the red glow, while during the green glow, molecular and atomic size particles from the denatured missiles were rapidly absorbed for fuel and stored within ma’argahar.”

“But we felt absolutely nothing!” Dr. Stein said.

“Yes, because the shield actually acquired the missiles much farther out than it appeared and because the miniaturization process is so quick,” Ra’am said. “It is as though the missiles entered another dimension.”

“Amazing!” Arthur said. “Amazing!”

Trenae heard Arthur speak quietly to Dr. Stein for a moment, behind her.

“How come you just didn’t disable their weapons, allow them not to fire or work at all?” Dr. Stein asked.

“Yes, Harkoav’s technology can accomplish both,” Ra’am said. “But sometimes, it is better to allow unbelievers or opponents to see their mechanisms in full power, working at their very best, and yet be defeated, than to simply have their weapons malfunction. After all, they may have thought it was their fault, a technical error within their computer or some other component.”

“That’s true, that’s true,” Arthur said. He became quiet a moment. “Ra’am, I want to thank you for letting me speak to those pilots. That was incredibly exciting! I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun!”

Everyone laughed. Arthur was just too jubilant. Trenae looked at Ra’am. Even he smiled, though he wasn’t laughing.

“Excuse me for inquiring, but,” Dr. Stein said, stepping toward Ra’am, “where exactly are we going now?”

“To see the President, the President of the United States,” Ra’am said.

“What?” nearly everyone said in unison.

“He will be giving a speech,” Ra’am said, slowly turning his seat around and facing everyone. “A speech about his State Sponsored Public School Initiatives in the Rose Garden of the White House, at 2:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. I want to confront him at that time.”

“The President?” Pastor Crenshaw said, in disbelief.

“We’re going to see the Pres, the Chief Executive?” Jenny said. “I’m not dressed for it!”

Trenae turned her seat around too. Arthur’s eyes, under his glasses were two times larger than before.

“This day just gets better and better!” Arthur said jubilantly.

“No,” Ra’am said. “You will not be meeting the President. It is far too dangerous. He will be protected by the Secret Service, and it will even by difficult and a matter of perfect timing for me to meet successfully with him. And after our encounter with Mountain Home Air Force base, and all the sightings which will subsequently occur because of Ha-Ta, there is a good chance National Security personnel will advise against the President even having his 2:00 pm speech. I will prevent satellite or other space located imaging from detecting us, with an invisible barrier over Ha-Ta. But nevertheless, there is a chance the speech will be prevented, though I doubt it ultimately.”

“I doubt it too,” Arthur said. “The President will be more inclined than ever to appear unafraid, undeterred in the face of possibly ridiculous threat of aliens landing. He’d appear the fool! Or worse, start a national panic.”

 “Yes, I agree,” Ra’am said. “However, I expect more than the usual number of protective aircraft in the airspace above the White House. When we arrive, I will--”

“Wait!” Trenae said. No, what is he doing? She stared at him. “You’re gonna put yourself at risk? It’s not worth it.”

Arthur chuckled a little. “Oh, Trenae,” he said, “after what we just went through- how could you doubt he’ll be safe?”

Ra’am ignored Arthur’s words and turned toward Trenae. He appeared pleased. “No, Trenae,” he said, caressing her right hand, “I will be fine. But you can watch me, safely from Ha-Ta.” Still holding her hand, Ra’am stared back at the others. “I want to give the President a gift, and a few words, but the rest of you will be very safe. But first, we will try again to fly through the atmosphere. Since I understand the FAA airspace requirements of the United States, I think we can achieve this.”

“You mean the Federal Aviation Administration, when you say FAA?” Jenny asked.

“Yes,” Ra’am answered. “We will only be airborne for approximately 2 hours, but during this time, many people will witness us. This should have been my first attempt, instead of agitating Mountain Home Air Force base, but I was hoping that--”

“Yeah, but how many of us have ever seen such an exciting match!” Arthur blurted. Trenae looked at him. With his thick glasses and several pencils jutting out of his tan sweater pocket, he exuded the typical nerd. But Trenae liked nerds. They were always nice to her in school. She smiled at Arthur. She looked at Ra’am. He seemed patient with Arthur’s enthusiasm.

“Truly!” Dr. Stein said. “An alien spacecraft, and two F-15s dog- fighting it out, high above earth!”

“Yes,” Ra’am said. His voice toned solemn. “But I feel I risked their lives. It was foolish of me.”

“Ah, don’t feel bad,” Pastor Crenshaw said. Trenae turned to her right, to see him. Pastor’s arms were crossed. “Don’t forget, those people were willing to destroy us, for only passing in front of them. I am ashamed of my government.”     

Ra’am looked at Pastor Crenshaw. “Ground command knew this was an alien spacecraft,” Ra’am said. “Either their ultimatum was accepted, to have us land with them and supposedly seize me, or simply destroy all of us, civilians included. If that had occurred, I am sure they would have lied to cover up the murder of innocent civilians.” Ra’am looked at everyone. “Nevertheless, I should have used more foresight.” He inhaled deeply. “In a few moments, we will be entering the earth’s atmosphere through one of the mountains in the Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming. Once in the air, I will try to maintain an altitude of no greater than 700- 1200 feet a-g-l, meaning above ground level, and remain clear of most clouds, while transmitting a transponder code of 1200 for VFR, meaning Visual Flight Rules.”

“Transponder…transponder…” Dr. Stein said, his expression puzzled. “I heard the pilots and ground control say that word.”

“Yes, that is right,” Ra’am said.

“Hold on, Ra’am,” Arthur said. “I can tell him.”

“Yes, go ahead.”

Arthur looked at Dr. Stein. “A transponder works with a secondary radar system. The primary radar system scans for objects, aircraft, buildings, towers, etc., whereas the secondary radar system has a ground-based transmitter-receiver, referred to as an interrogator.” Arthur paused a little. Trenae noticed all eyes were on him. “The interrogator, uh, interrogates each operating transponder on a plane and receives a signal. Both the primary and secondary signals are then incorporated on the radar screen, so ground controllers can tell what type of aircraft, what type of flight, altitude, etc., the plane has.”

Dr. Stein, looking at Ra’am, pointed at Arthur and smiled. “My friend, he’s quite smart, you know!”

“I’ll say,” Jenny said.

“Thank you, thank you,” Arthur said, bowing his head a bit. “I have always had an interest in aviation and space flight, so…” He looked at Dr. Stein. “But you’re very smart too, David!”

Everyone laughed a little or smiled. Trenae looked at Ra’am. His patience and calm manner with these passengers, alien to his own species was remarkable. And it made her feel he could be a leader and friend to them too, regardless of how formidable his appearance would suggest.

“Arthur is correct,” Ra’am said. “And the 1200 VFR code I will use will tell any tower controller, approach or departure controller, or Air Route Traffic Control Center, that we are flying with Visual Flight Rules, which is generally used by most private small planes. And so we will seem less suspicious. However, when we accelerate rapidly, as we will at times, this will cause a problem.”

“What problem?” Dr. Stein asked.

“Small planes,” Ra’am said, “cannot achieve such speeds. Additionally the many visual sightings from the surface will draw attention to local police and possibly federal officials. I am hoping we can make it to at least the state of Ohio with as many people observing us from the ground as possibly, yet avoiding any military Air Force situations, or encountering any MOA’s, or Military Operation Areas, before we must enter the subterranean level once again, and head toward Washington, D.C.”

“So you don’t cause another dogfight, like the one we went through?” Arthur asked.

“Yes,” Ra’am said.

“You say accelerate rapidly,” Arthur said. “Past the speed of sound? What about a sonic boom?”

Ra’am smiled at Arthur. “A sonic boom will not occur. A Memadshakor can eliminate this. I will explain more of this later to you. But now,” he said, turning his seat around and facing the khalon and shleetah maksheer, “you will soon witness the state of Wyoming.”

Trenae turned her seat around too and readied herself. Ra’am enabled both the khalon and khalonot hekef, supplying Ha-Ta’s exterior view. She saw flashes of white, seeming to be areas of snow. Quickly the white vanished and blue took over, the same blue, bright sunny sky, as in Idaho, though a few oddly placed clouds blemished the perfect sky.

Because of the snow, and their entry angle into the sky, it was true- they did arrive from out of a mountain! Incredible. Arthur, Dr. Stein, and Jenny exclaimed some words in awe and surprise.

Before Trenae realized it, they headed toward the ground.

A lake appeared.

“There’s a lake there!” Arthur said. He raced over and stood to Ra’am’s left side.

“Yes, that is Jackson Lake,” Ra’am told him.

Ra’am leveled Ha-Ta. “I want to position Ha-Ta at an appropriate flight altitude and speed, not too far from the earth’s surface and Jackson Lake.”

“Well, I’m sure there will be plenty of people gawking at us now, being that we just blew out of a mountain by a ski resort!” Pastor Crenshaw said.

“You’re kidding, we’re by a ski resort?” Dr. Stein asked.

“Yes, Pastor Crenshaw is correct,” Ra’am answered.

“Did we hit anyone, like on the mountain, skiing?” Arthur asked, glancing down at Ra’am.

“No. Ha-Ta’s computer gave the best location to exit the mountain with the least destruction to any biological life forms,” Ra’am said. “Besides, the mountain we exited is too steep for skiing.”

“Wow, it’s beautiful up here…down there too!” Jenny said. Trenae looked at her. She had turned around on the evesmol, like Pastor Crenshaw, and gazed at the scenery. Trenae watched them for a moment, and then faced forward.

She caught motion, on her right. Dr. Stein now stood near her, along with L.B. and Keltseerah romping, wagging tails nearby.

“We will be encountering many high mountains at first, as we head east,” Ra’am said. “I will use this opportunity to increase our speed significantly, since there is little chance many people will see us.”

Trenae watched excitedly as they began gliding, shooting over the beautiful forested mountain ranges of Wyoming. Chirps of astonishment and wonderment came from everyone now and then.

“Excuse me, Ra’am,” Dr. Stein said. “But aren’t we exceeding 1200 feet here?”

Trenae turned to see Dr. Stein.

“Yes,” Ra’am answered. “But the Class G air space limit is for 1200 feet above ground level, not the actual mean sea level elevation. Do you understand?”

“Oh, yes,” Dr. Stein said, redness coloring his face a little. “Of course, silly me.”

Ha-Ta’s acceleration increased dramatically. Wyoming wilderness scenery below, mountains, hills, and valleys, proceeded by as a blur, a fast forwarded movie taken from a plane. Yet Ha-Ta floated brilliantly, gliding like a rocket or speeding bullet, cutting through the clear mountain air with nothing to hinder it, nothing to cause it any friction. And not once did Ha-Ta travel too close to a land mass, even with its incredible speed. Trenae imagined a smooth disk of sparkling crystal and silver, which hung from nothing, supported beneath by nothing, yet had at its command the complete control of all the air on earth. Eyes below, observing this disk would be amazed, thrilled. And quite frightened.

Soon the mountains began decreasing in their plenitude. Instead wide-open dry land became more prominent.

“I will try to maintain a lower altitude and slower speed now,” Ra’am said, “as long as we can still remain within the Class G airspace and away from any military bases or airports which require radio contact. And therefore, hopefully, many on the ground can observe Ha-Ta.”

Trenae noticed the new lower altitude allowed more of the ground and distant horizon to be seen, instead of more of the upper atmosphere, as they had seen with the accelerated trip over the mountains.

“How low are we now?” Dr. Stein asked.

“Approximately 300- 500 feet,” Ra’am answered.

“That’s low all right!” Arthur said.

“Just don’t hit any buildings or anything else,” Jenny said.

Leaning back in her seat, Trenae looked to her left, at Jenny.

“We will be fine,” Ra’am said, reassuring Jenny. He stared forward and pressed some buttons on the shleetah maksheer.

“But Ra’am,” Dr. Stein said. Trenae looked up at the professor. “As an after thought, to your decision to stay clear of airports, then won’t we be missing a lot of highly populated areas, where there are people who could see us?”

“Yes, true,” Ra’am answered. “But I cannot take that risk again, of a military encounter. If I see one developing for any reason, we will enter the subterranean level immediately.”

Trenae saw Pastor Crenshaw turn around on the evesmol and looked toward Ra’am. “Ra’am, I must say,” he said, leaning his elbows on his knees. “I can see more and more…that your intentions are good.”

Ra’am turned to see the pastor. “Actions are more important than any words. They speak with a clarity few can ignore, yet all can understand, even the lower life forms, the animals.”

Many of the others spoke words of agreement to Ra’am’s statement. Warmth surrounded Trenae’s heart, her feelings again reaffirming that Ra’am could be their leader and friend.

The surface below developed a uniform appearance, the ground becoming consistently more level, with far fewer hills and mountains, and less populated areas. Anytime a small town materialized in the distance, Trenae would immediately point out its existence to Ra’am, as did Jenny, Pastor Crenshaw, Dr. Stein, or Arthur. They had to do so quickly, since with Ha-Ta’s lightning speed objects on the surface had to be noticed in the blink of an eye. Each time, Ra’am would assure them he knew of the town well in advance, and had already begun a deceleration of speed. Nonetheless, Trenae’s enthusiasm, and everyone else’s enthusiasm triggered her and the others to forewarn Ra’am again and again, every time.

“We are now entering Nebraska,” Ra’am said. “As in Wyoming, there is little population in this state, at least on its western side. We are still in Class G airspace, far enough away from lower class airspaces, such as Class E, D, or C, which necessitate radio contact.”

“Those airspaces require radio contact, huh?” Pastor Crenshaw asked.

“Yes,” Ra’am answered. “Class E, D, and C.”

“Great Scott, this is a learning experience,” Pastor Crenshaw said.

Many of the others agreed, though Arthur again expressed familiarity with the subject.

“Class B airspace, which is the airspace of the major airports of the US, and Class A airspace, which covers airspace above 18,000 feet mean sea level, will not be a concern to us also,” Ra’am said. “Class A and B airspace are typically for the large passenger airline jets, which need constant radio supervision from the various ground controllers.”

“What’d ya know,” Pastor Crenshaw said.

Trenae decided to stand by the perimeter window, like the others. Dr. Stein politely stepped aside a little, allowing her to stand by his left side, so she stood near the control panel and Ra’am. She directed her gaze toward the ground below and straight ahead, near the horizon.

Before long, Ra’am announced they had passed from the Mountain Time zone into the Central Time zone, near the middle of Nebraska. Just after he said this, Trenae suddenly noticed many more populated areas, especially lengthy highways dotted with moving vehicles.

“Now I’m sure many more people will see us,” Trenae said. She looked at Ra’am. “What do you think?”

“I agree,” he answered. “If they will only look up at us.”

“Oh trust me, guys,” Arthur said, “as an alien investigator myself, plenty of people will be looking and watching! You’ll be amazed how many!”

Trenae caught Ra’am staring ahead. “The body of water approaching is the Missouri River, which acts as part of the border between Nebraska and Iowa,” Ra’am said.

Everyone looked at the river. With the continuing bright sunshine, for lack of cloud cover locally, the watery surface reflected the sun’s rays, temporarily blinding. Trenae saw many of the others cover their eyes. She did too.

Ra’am slowed Ha-Ta’s speed and began to fly low over the water’s surface.

“This is going to get someone’s attention!” Dr. Stein said cheerfully.

“Hey, I see a boat!” Jenny said. “No, there’s another one. Two boats!”

“We are approximately 50 feet above the water,” Ra’am said.

Trenae watched, observing the awe-struck faces upon a man and woman staring up at them, from their boat.

“They look petrified!” Arthur said.

Trenae laughed a little, and so did Jenny and Dr. Stein, at Arthur’s funny behavior. But the shocked expressions of the people below began disturbing Trenae, weakening her joy.

All the commotion obviously agitated L.B. and Keltseerah, the two dogs barking, romping around. Ra’am tried to calm them, calling them over and petting the frisky dogs, though it proved difficult.

Ra’am soon maneuvered Ha-Ta away from the river, saying he felt the two people had enough excitement for the moment. Within minutes, more and more populated areas, and greater numbers of vehicles on highways emerged below them. In Trenae’s eyes Iowa appeared a state dominated by squares and rectangles of large open farming fields. And farm buildings. As Ha-Ta darted along, with floating ease, the squares and rectangles appeared as rows of short, flattened diamond shapes, from a distant angle, gradually growing in size vertically, until they appeared as fields. Wow, dizzying! She often glanced away, toward Ra’am.

“There seems to be more snow on the ground here,” Pastor Crenshaw said.

Yes, it was true. Blotches of snow scattered the areas below, something they hadn’t seen much of, if any, in the previous states.

“It appears Iowa has not been experiencing the warmer weather occurring in the western states,” Ra’am said.

Many exciting minutes passed by.

 Eventually, Ra’am decreased Ha-Ta’s speed substantially.

“Why are we decelerating so much?” Arthur asked.

“We are approximately 1/3 across Iowa now, and I am also lowering our altitude to 100 feet,” Ra’am answered. “This will be the lowest altitude we have traveled so far. As there is a rather large population below, and not many Class B, C, and D airports or military bases to cause interference, I believe this is a good time to expose Ha-Ta further.”

“Oh, I see,” Arthur said.

Ra’am then announced they were traveling just south of Fort Dodge, Iowa, while Ha-Ta continued to decrease speed, along with altitude. Trenae watched eagerly. She could see the tops of homes and buildings.

Pastor Crenshaw and Jenny exclaimed often, saying they even noticed some people staring up at them. Things were growing more intense.

Soon they started approaching another town. “We are nearing Webster City,” Ra’am said. “However, Ha-Ta’s computer will not allow us any closer, since we are close to the border of a Class E airport.”

“Darn, unfortunate!” Dr. Stein said.

Arthur looked down at Ra’am. “Do you know the current longitude and latitude?”

“Yes,” Ra’am answered. “We are approximately 42 degrees 18 minutes 25 seconds north latitude, and 93 degrees 49 minutes 6 seconds west longitude, and heading southeast.”

“That’s amazing!” Arthur said. “Are you receiving these coordinates all the time?”

Ra’am looked up at him. “Yes. I receive massive amounts of data all the time from the computer, through my koaksekhel, but sort through and use only what is necessary at the moment.”

Arthur exhaled a grand sigh, crossed his arms, and looked down at the surface. “Incredible, just incredible.”

Something unusual captured Trenae’s attention. She focused her eyes better. No, that couldn’t be! “Hey, guys, look at that! Doesn’t that look kind of small, the church I mean, and the other buildings? They look way smaller than the other buildings we’ve seen!”

Everyone else looked down, saying a few words of confusion. Ra’am leaned forward a little too, but behaved unsurprised.

“What we are looking at, is a small replica type historical town, obviously used for information and entertainment,” Ra’am said. “The buildings appear to be about ½ to 2/3 the size of normal buildings.”

Trenae smiled.

“That’s original,” Dr. Stein said. “What town does it represent?”

“I am not certain, exactly,” Ra’am answered. “But we are near the town of Stanhope, Iowa. Possibly it is a representation of that town.”

Below them a few people who were precariously riding bikes on the partially snow and ice-laced road stopped abruptly. They stared up, their jaws dropped. Trenae felt a chill snake up her back, feeling the bike riders’ terror, at viewing Ha-Ta for the first time.

Ra’am almost came to a complete stop. “No, I better not,” he said. “They will panic further. It is better for them just to have a quick glimpse.”

Ha-Ta proceeded to move away.

“Yeah, that’s advisable,” Pastor Crenshaw said. “I bet many people are calling the police about now.”

Dr. Stein, Jenny, and Arthur all agreed. Trenae simply stared in awe.

“I can allow some further minutes for observers on the ground to view us,” Ra’am said. “But we cannot fly over too many more towns. We will be entering Illinois soon.”

Following his own suggestion, Ra’am allowed Ha-Ta to pass over a few more small towns and cities of Iowa.

Yet shortly Ra’am announced they entered Illinois.

“I will now raise our altitude to approximately 1000 feet above ground level, and travel at several Mach,” Ra’am said.

“Over the speed of sound,” Arthur said. “One Mach is about 700 miles per hour.”

“Yes,” Ra’am answered, pressing buttons on the control panel. “We will probably appear as nothing more than a silver streak in the sky for most ground observers, but they will still most certainly know something unusual has occurred. I also want to stay clear of the military bases and airports in Illinois.”

They began soaring across Illinois.

It was a rather short trip, however. Ra’am soon announced they had arrived in Indiana. Again he stressed how he wanted to avoid the airports and MOA’s in Illinois, likewise in Ohio. Their destination was West Virginia, he explained, where Ha-Ta would again take an underground route.

Trenae watched in sheer joy and suspense, watching the ground blur past them, in first Indiana and then Ohio. Even more exciting, Ra’am decided to allow Ha-Ta to pass by a few civilian planes and passenger jet planes. Trenae searched eagerly each time for faces in the planes’ windows, though Ha-Ta traveled too fast and too far away to get a good gander. One could only imagine the shocked faces of the passengers on board. She hoped they could handle it, yet felt very giddy nonetheless.

After the exciting plane episodes, everyone became quiet for some time.

“Oh no,” Ra’am said, ending the silence. He laughed, his deep, thundering voice filling Ha-Ta.

Trenae looked at everyone. Few of the others had seen Ra’am truly laugh. Everyone smiled, including herself.

“What is it? What is it?” Arthur asked happily.

“It just occurred to me,” Ra’am said, through a smile and a few lingering deep chuckles, “how surprised and confused many of the airport ground, departure, and approach controllers must be. Here they are, watching a VFR 1200 radar signal, a signal for most single engine Cessna planes, race across their radar screens at a speed not even military jet fighters could achieve!”

Jenny started laughing. So did many of the others. Trenae giggled. Ra’am was right. It was funny!

“And not only that,” Ra’am said. “But without a sonic boom…those knowledgeable enough to detect its absence from an aircraft at such great speeds…Well, many more eyebrows will raise!”

Everyone laughed again, even Ra’am.

Time passed. With careful maneuvering by Ha-Ta, avoiding certain airports or air spaces, Ra’am announced they were 20 miles southeast beyond the southern edge of the Ohio and West Virginia border. He slowed Ha-Ta significantly. Trenae began noticing wooded hills and mountains, which Ra’am explained as typical of the local northern West Virginia landscape.

“Now,” Ra’am said, touching buttons on the shleetah maksheer, “I am instructing Ha-Ta’s computer to find the best location to enter the earth again. But, only temporarily. For soon, we will exit the ground through the Potomac River, right near Washington, D.C., and then position ourselves at the Rose Garden.”

Everyone started to find their former seats again, once Ra’am finished speaking. They must figure the scenery will be boring once underground, Trenae thought. She sat in her usual seat, next to Ra’am.

“You’re taking a big chance, you know,” Dr. Stein said. Trenae turned her seat around to see him. “There’s an Air Force Base right near there, uh…I think, it is…”

Arthur looked at Dr. Stein. “Andrews, Andrews Air Force Base,” Arthur said. “They may have the possibility to stop us.”

Ra’am smiled. “No, not even your nuclear weapons could cause damage to a Memadshakor.”

“No way!” Arthur said.

“Yes, I mean that,” Ra’am said. He leaned back and then turned his seat around. Trenae looked at him. “Hemoom prodoh shield would merely miniaturize the weapon, just as the missiles earlier today, and render them completely useless. I know that may worry some of you.” He looked at each of their faces. “But remember, though Harkoav is the most powerful system in the Local Group of galaxies, our main goal is to be friends and allies, and establish trade relations with your planet. And once you are under our wing, so to speak, we offer protection likewise.”

“But aren’t you going to upset this arrangement a bit, by startling Washington?” Pastor Crenshaw asked.

“This is a much needed wake-up call to earth,” Ra’am said. “I will harm no one, to the very best of my ability. If I do not attempt this today, the truth, both of God and the universe, will probably never be fully realized. Does that make sense to all of you?”

Trenae glanced around, in an unobtrusive manner, and noticed all of their passengers look at one another. After a few moments, they either nodded their heads in agreement, or verbally acknowledged and agreed with Ra’am’s goal.

Ra’am looked at everyone again. “West Virginia has a hilly, forest-covered terrain, at least in the general area compiling Marshall, Doddridge, and Wetzel counties,” he said. “But Ha-Ta’s computer has found an open field, in a farming area, where we can enter the ground with least harm to biological life forms.”

Turning his seat around, Ra’am manipulated the control panel, producing the khalonot hekef once more.

Trenae watched from all sides, observing West Virginia’s landscape, a landscape blanketed with abundant, prickly trees, their prickly lushness resembling short, dry ground shrubs rolling over hilly countryside from such a great height. Most of the trees were non-pine and thus now leafless, though a few green pine trees dotted the hills here and there.

“West Virginia is pretty,” Jenny said. “I’ve never been here.”

“I have,” Pastor Crenshaw said. Trenae leaned back to see him. “I did some humanitarian work here one time, for a Baptist church in a small town. Yes, it is a pretty state.”

“Not a lot of fields, though,” Arthur said.

“You will see,” Ra’am said. Trenae looked at him. He gazed straight ahead and pointed toward the khalon. She looked too. Ahead of them, an open land area appeared, covered by tan grasses and a few snow patches. It looks about 2 acres in size, Trenae guessed. A border of thick woods surrounded two sides of the field, while rows of trees lined its other sides. The fields’ other sides were numerous, as it was a many sided, odd-shaped land parcel. “I detect little life,” Ra’am said. “But Ha-Ta will destroy the vegetation at its entry.”

“Will plants grow again in that soil, in the future?” asked Dr. Stein.

“Yes, eventually,” Ra’am said. He pressed a few buttons. “We are over it now.”

Like earlier in Idaho, only at a much slower speed, Ra’am eased Ha-Ta’s nose down toward its new destination. Words of surprise and awe filled Ha-Ta, describing Ha-Ta’s unique ability to tip forward yet have all its passengers feel no downward gravity. Everyone still felt at a normal horizontal flight cruise. And everyone could now watch little by little, the process by which Ha-Ta entered the solid subterranean soil. Trenae’s eyes widened. White light beams touched the ground and grass, a light that next appeared to sink into the ground, as though an underground sinkhole had just given way and fallen in. Then soon, all remnants of the grass and soil vanished. And before she could contemplate the entire process, the subterranean earth engulfed them.

A few quiet minutes passed by. Everyone was most likely silently absorbing what just happened.

“Well, my friends,” Ra’am said, facing the khalon. “Our last stop is soon to be here, before we leave this planet.”

“You mean, to visit with the President?” Arthur asked.

Trenae turned around. Arthur and Dr. Stein looked so cute and curious sitting next to each other.

“Yes,” Ra’am answered.

“How exactly are you going to accomplish this?” Dr. Stein asked.

“Let me explain in detail,” Ra’am said, seeming a little distracted, racing his hand over the control panel, “when we stop shortly.”

Trenae turned and faced the khalon again.

Some time passed. Finally Ra’am appeared settled and finished. He turned around and faced everyone. Trenae did too.

“We are now below the Potomac River, between the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge and the Arlington Bridge,” Ra’am said.

“By D.C.?” Arthur asked excitedly.

“Yes,” Ra’am said, his voice calm. “By Washington D.C. And it is now 1:50 pm Eastern standard time.”

“Gosh, already?” Pastor Crenshaw stated.

Trenae glanced at both the pastor and Jenny. Jenny smiled warmly at her. Trenae smiled back.

Ra’am looked at Pastor Crenshaw. “Yes, that is the correct time.”

“Wow, time really flew by, and that’s no joke!” Jenny said, laughing a little.

Dr. Stein and Arthur laughed a bit too.

“And now, to answer your question, Dr. Stein. I plan to arrive very, very quickly by the Rose Garden,” Ra’am said. “Although it will not be apparent to those in charge at first, we will be invading White House Prohibited airspace. Once they are aware, a massive undertaking will begin, to both apprehend me, as I exit Ha-Ta, and to destroy or capture Ha-Ta. It will most certainly not initiate as a friendly encounter, to say the least. The Secret Service, their job, their only job, is to protect the President, and so they will.”

“Well, what will you do then?” Dr. Stein asked.

“As I mentioned, Ha-Ta will be arriving in the blink of a human eye. No one will see us arriving, but then suddenly Ha-Ta will be there, hovering above ground by approximately 20 or 30 feet. And at the same microsecond we are there, a hemoom prodoh impenetrable shield will be produced by Ha-Ta, which will extend out to the President, enclosing behind him and the podium, and then extending left and right from the podium, and back toward Ha-Ta. This will produce a roughly square or oval enclosure, which will encompass any people who are in front of the President and podium, most likely reporters, but certainly Secret Service personnel as well.”

“Great Scott!” Pastor Crenshaw said. “That’s a tall order!”

“Yes, absolutely,” said Dr. Stein. “What will happen next?”

“The Secret Service personnel will try to lead the President out of the enclosed area, but they cannot. However, both radio and TV transmissions will be able to work as usual, for the reporters, so the world will have proof. As I leave Ha-Ta and proceed toward the ground, through a hemoom prodoh stairway, I assume they will try to kill me. But…they cannot. And Air Force aircraft, jet fighters, helicopters, may attempt to destroy Ha-Ta, but to no avail. All of you will be perfectly safe, the same as when we had the confrontation with the jet fighters earlier today.” He looked at Trenae. “That is, of course, only if you remain inside Ha-Ta.”

Ra’am’s eyes burned with seriousness. She felt again the evidence that damage from yesterday’s horrible event had not left her husband’s mind. And again she felt more like his prisoner than his wife. But if a prisoner anywhere, I’d rather be Ra’am’s than anyone else’s. Any day, anywhere. Anytime.

Nevertheless his concern matched her own concern.  “But…are you sure,” she asked quietly, boldly staring into his intense eyes, “are you sure they can’t hurt you?”

He softened his stare a little and placed his hand on her shoulder, still gazing into her eyes. “Do not worry about me,” he said. “Worry more about keeping yourself out of harm.”

She grasped his hand, pressing his skin. She felt worried. After all, this was Washington D.C., the President, the Pentagon, the FBI, CIA, and the US military that Ra’am was about to confront! Suppose they had a few secret weapons, acquired from other alien species, which they could use against him?

Yet as Ra’am looked at her, with power and confidence, she could sense his mastery over the situation. And she knew too, that Ra’am really only wanted to help earth. No harm did he wish on any earthling. Because of this, she felt his true motives would eventually be sensed by those in Washington, D.C. They would understand.

Shoot! I shouldn’t be letting the others see my doubt. I’ll frighten them too. She smiled. Ra’am smiled back, though he still gazed urgently into her eyes.

“I don’t know about everyone else,” Arthur said, “but I’m feeling giddy!”

“Yeah, my stomach’s in a knot!” Jenny said.

“Ha!” Pastor Crenshaw blurted. “I’ve been to Washington before, but never under these circumstances!”

Ra’am wrapped his fingers around Trenae’s hand, softly bringing down and releasing her hand. She felt sadness at letting him go. Then Ra’am looked around at the others. “Radio transmissions,” he said, surprise arching his brows. “I have been monitoring them all morning, for witnesses of Ha-Ta.” He lowered his head, listening and concentrating. “Various stations, are reporting UFO sightings…here, listen…”

“…There are many unconfirmed reports from the Midwest of an unexplained aircraft sighting,” said a radio voice. “A number of people, as well as various airport ground control facilities in several states, including Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, have witnessed a silver, oval disk in the sky. In some cases, the disk has been close to the ground, traveling slowly, and in other cases, has been traveling at great speed and higher in the atmosphere. Swarms of calls have been received by local police stations and radio stations, wherever these sightings have occurred. There have also been unconfirmed reports of people witnessing a possible dogfight between military aircraft and a silver, oval craft over the sky in southern Idaho. In light of this morning’s news report about an alien being who made contact with Idaho’s Governor Willson, there is fear among many government officials that wide spread panic could ensue across the US…”

Ra’am ended the transmission. He looked at everyone, including Trenae. He smiled. “This just gives me even more initiative to meet the President, and calm all fears.”

“Yeah,” Arthur said. “Evidently many did see us!”

Pastor Crenshaw, Dr. Stein, and Jenny spoke words of agreement. L.B. and Keltseerah began barking and wrestling, becoming rowdy, crazy dogs. Trenae leaned over and held out her hands. Keltseerah charged up to her, licking, pawing, and gently nibbling at her hands.

Ra’am stood up. “We have less than 10 minutes, until the President appears in the Rose Garden. If any of you wish to eat, or use the bathroom, Trenae or Jenny can help you. I will be in the laboratory room, if you need me.” He began walking toward the eyzkher tagleet.

Watching him leave, Trenae began lifting herself from her seat. What was he up to? 

“If you want to be by him, I’ll help out here,” Jenny said. Trenae looked up. Jenny stood above her, beaming happiness. “I got the official tour, remember?”

“Yeah, okay,” Trenae said. “I’ll leave.”

She glanced at the other passengers and then focused her eyes toward Ha-Ta’s right curved hallway.

She quickened her steps, soon arriving in the eyzkher tagleet. Ra’am was holding a see-through, sphere-like object near the lab’s counter. “What is that, baby?” she asked sweetly.

He approached her, holding the object. “It is called a d’yokmot tnoo’at.”

Her eyes widened. She looked up at him. “Gosh, that’s a mouthful.” He smiled at her. She began raising her hands toward the object.

Lowering her gaze to his hand’s level, Trenae studied the object. Though nearly sphere-shaped, and about 5 inches in diameter, what captured her eye most was all the five-pointed star windows, displaying the object’s interior. Each star was formed from five clear, glass-like triangles, though each triangle actually had six sides, two for the triangle’s main sides, four sides at one of the triangle’s tip! Within the object’s interior, a silver, five-sided pyramid rotated slowly, suspended in air, attached to nothing.

“A d’yokmot tnoo’at is an older form of Harkoav’s holographic imaging technology. I have produced this for your President, so he can observe the mammoth scene I showed you.”

“Oh, of why you came here in the first place?”

“Yes, correct,” Ra’am said. He moved the object toward her outstretched hands. “Would you like to hold it?”

She had no doubt. “Yes!” He placed it within her hands. Although she figured it must be very durable, given it came from Harkoav, the object nonetheless felt light, maybe even fragile. Her fingers could slip through the star windows, almost touching the rotating object within. “It’s beautiful, Ra’am,” she said, cautiously turning the sphere, admiring its perfect design.

“Like you.”

Trenae hiked her chin up and looked into his face. Intense, dark eyes stared down at her. Lustful eyes.

Discomfort settled within her. She looked down at the d’yokmot tnoo’at again.

“The correct terminology in your language for these two 3-dimensional shapes would be a particular stellation of icosahedron for the shape’s exterior,” he said. “The interior is a rotating pentagonal dipyramid. Actually, the pentagonal dipyramid we call khaltezoot, the actual originator of any images produced from the d’yokmot tnoo’at.”

Ra’am turned and walked back to the lab’s counter. Trenae lifted her gaze and saw him pick up another object, similar to the one she held. He approached again and held the new object near her eyes. Still holding the d’yokmot tnoo’at, she studied the new object closely too. Clear emerald green, like green glass. Shaped more like a half sphere, almost resembling some type of alien spacecraft, with some young, small tse makh yerape plants flourishing in a small quantity of soil on the object’s bottom, within the object’s interior.

“I am giving the President this as well,” he said. “Immature tse makh yerape plants.”

She looked up at him. “That’s wonderful, Ra’am.”

“On Harkoav, this is called a bayotsah tseemkhey, which means an embryonic life- altering receptacle for young plants. It will contain them in their particular young state for many years, until they are ready to be planted.” 

Ra’am removed the d’yokmot tnoo’at from her hands, replacing instead the new object in her grasp. She looked down. She then lifted the bayotsah tseemkhey close to her face, turning it, observing an object with pentagon shapes, surrounded by triangles, which formed a dome or half sphere on top. Hmm, pentagons, she thought. How appropriate for Washington. The object’s bottom was flatter in dimension, constructed of triangles, squares, and one pentagon.

“What shape is this?” she asked.

“Another polyhedron, like the two shapes of the d’yokmot tnoo’at. In English, it would be called a pentagonal orthocupolarontunda.”

She glanced up at him. “A what?” she asked, giggling.

But Ra’am didn’t smile. He stared with lust, longing again for her. Memories of last night, the warmth of their bodies touching, love encircling them so close to one another, and what they did together, for hours, filled her mind. She closed her eyes and exhaled a surrendering breath. 

She felt Ra’am gently remove the bayotsah tseemkhey from her hands. She opened her eyes. He obviously had refocused his thoughts.

Holding both objects, Ra’am walked away and placed the President’s gifts upon the counter’s surface. She stepped over to him. She leaned her arms on the counter and gazed up at his face. “You’re so smart, baby,” she said dreamily.

He stared down into her eyes. She continued gazing at him, her heart overflowing with pride to be married to him.

But he appeared a little concerned. “Do you remember what I told you last night?”

“Of what?” she asked quietly.

“Marriage, and what it means to me.”

Her memory of last night flowed clearly. She knew. “Yes, I remember. I am just, proud, to be with you.”

Ra’am leaned down and wrapped his hands around her back, pulling her closer. His mouth touched her lips, wetting a soft, sweet kiss on her mouth. She closed her eyes and embraced her arms around him, gently tugging him toward her too.  He pressed his mouth harder against her, kissing intensely, then tenderly, for some time. Then he stopped, his mouth drawing away from her in lingering motion. She felt his hair strands graze her left cheek, his mouth nearing her ear. He sealed his warm hands around her shoulders, holding her securely. “Good,” he whispered in her ear. “I’m glad you have no doubt of us now. But just remember. You are mine, and I will never leave you.”

She clutched his forearms, feeling a little woozy from his love. He started backing away from her, though he yet held her shoulders, and eventually stood upright. She gazed up into his eyes. “Then don’t let anything happen to you now,” she said.

“Like I just said.” A slight smile warmed his face. “I will never leave you.”

She stared quietly at him, peaceful solitude reining between them. Time began disappearing.

Ra’am removed his hands from her, breaking their spell. He lifted the d’yokmot tnoo’at and bayotsah tseemkhey from the counter.

She stared at him. A scary thought entered her mind. “Are we traitors?” she asked.

Ra’am turned, his eyes curious. “Traitors?”

“To our species,” she said softly.

“No, we are not,” he said. “We are simply two intelligent beings who fell in love, and are trying to do right, for God. Can we be wrong?”

Trenae smiled a little and lowered her head.

Ra’am stepped near her again. “Follow me now, so we can return to the shleetah maksheer.” 

She did, walking beside him. She asked him if he was hungry or thirsty, but Ra’am told her he was fine. Actually, he seemed preoccupied, probably with what he was about to accomplish. She sighed, and tried not to worry.

Once she was seated, Ra’am placed both the President’s gifts in her hands. But Ra’am didn’t sit down too. Instead he left the shleetah maksheer and quickly rounded up L.B. and Keltseerah, at the same time telling everyone he needed to place the two dogs in his room, for their safety. 

Soon Ra’am returned to his seat and began manipulating the control panel. Dr. Stein, Arthur, Pastor Crenshaw, and Jenny came over and huddled by Trenae. They were curious of the two strange objects. She held them up higher, so everyone could view them, and Ra’am explained what they were. Arthur asked why the President should only have such valuable information. But Ra’am explained to him, and to the others that all the information contained on both objects had been entered into The Examiner’s computers and Dod’s computer, and as soon as either computer connected to the Internet, the information would be sent forth, received and downloaded on all computers with Internet connections, once those computers connected to the Internet. Probably, Ra’am explained, many would not be aware of the file’s presence on their PC at first, since it would arrive instantly and simply become a new program file, undetected by a virus detector or firewall block. Therefore it could be many hours or days before the whole world became aware. Yet Ra’am felt certain they all would know soon.

“It is nearly 2:00 pm,” Ra’am said. “The President will be approaching the podium soon.”

“Where is the president now?” Dr. Stein asked, walking with everyone back to their seats.

Ra’am enabled the khalonot hekef again. Shocking Trenae at its suddenness and view, the scenery displayed a view high above the White House, as from a plane. The view grew closer, closer to the ground, in gradual increments.

“This part of the White House is considered the West Wing, or west side,” Ra’am said.  The scenery focused more toward an open grassy area. The whole White House complex seemed to extend lengthwise to the east and west, surrounded by trees and an elliptical driveway to the south.

“This is amazing, this view!” Pastor Crenshaw said. Trenae turned left, noticing the pastor staring at the scene.

“No one, I bet, except government people, is ever allowed to see this,” Arthur said.

As the view drew closer to the open, grassy area, Trenae could see many people, maybe 50 or more. “Are those the reporters?” she asked Ra’am.


Reporters stood or scrambled about, surrounded by their equipment, their video cameras, ladders, and other contraptions, such as lighting fixtures. They all faced toward the west, at a covered walkway with strong, white pillar columns, accentuated by a wide six or seven concrete step stairway descending down from the walkway.

“The Colonnade, right?” Dr. Stein asked. “Isn’t that the Colonnade?”

“Yes, those pillars, and the walkway,” Pastor Crenshaw answered, before Ra’am could respond.

Trenae looked at Ra’am. He nodded too, reaffirming the pastor’s answer.

She searched further, and could see the concrete steps were bordered by many sphere-shaped bushes. Several men were carefully setting a brown and gray lectern or podium upon the steps. The podium boasted the circular presidential seal on its front side, the side facing the reporters.

“The Oval office, the Cabinet Room,” Ra’am said. “Both rooms are behind the steps and the podium. The President is in the Oval Office now, waiting and talking.”

Trenae remembered seeing an oval-shaped roof area before their view drew closer to the podium. “Was that the Oval Office, that oval thing I saw on the roof?”

“Yeah, I saw it too,” Jenny said.

“Yes,” answered Ra’am. “That was its ceiling.”

“Who is the President talking with?” Arthur asked.

Trenae wondered why Ra’am hadn’t allowed the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah to enter the Oval Office. “Can’t we just see him now?” she asked Ra’am.

Ra’am stared at the control panel, in deep concentration. “The President is speaking with the CEO of Kalleron Corporation, a computer company,” he answered.

“Oh yes, I’ve heard of them,” Arthur said. “They love to make the biggest and baddest gaming computers, with huge hard drives, excellent amounts of RAM, great video cards.”

“Yes, and maybe that explains their interest in public schools,” Ra’am said. He looked at Trenae for a moment. “But I cannot enter the Oval Office now, because I must study every nuance and corner in the Rose Garden, the grass covered area we all see. Timing must be perfect.”

“Are we bothering you?” Dr. Stein asked.

“No,” Ra’am said. “I am used to handling great quantities of differing information…the President and CEO will speak briefly, and afterwards, allow a photo opportunity for the press, as well as questions and answers. Typical procedure. These Rose Garden talks usually take around 10 minutes, but not today.”

“What do you mean?” Dr. Stein asked.

“I will be interrupting, and very suddenly,” Ra’am answered, pressing some buttons. A holographic image appeared above the memadgeemel. Trenae stared at the image. So did everyone else, leaving their seats and gathering closely around the control panel. The image displayed the White House and the surrounding buildings and parks. “This area here,” Ra’am said, pointing to a long grassy rectangle, “is the Mall area.”

“And there’s the Washington Monument,” Arthur said excitedly. He pointed to a tall structure.

A red blinking object darted above, flying over the Mall. “A US Park Police twin-engine 412SP Bell helicopter,” Ra’am said. He inhaled a deep breath. “As I expected, those in charge have increased the number and presence of military aircraft and other protective measures. This will be difficult, but can be done.”

Trenae heard Pastor Crenshaw walk toward Ha-Ta’s side. “So where is he?” he asked. “Isn’t it past 2:00 now?”

“Yes. It is 2:02 now,” Ra’am answered. “But I have detected the President’s motion. He is leaving the Oval Office. It appears he is still giving the speech, despite our nationwide disruption.” Ra’am cancelled the holographic image. “Everyone needs to be seated now. As with the accelerated entry into the subterranean, in Idaho, this motion will produce extreme G forces and inertia, which Ha-Ta will struggle to manage, but will manage better if everyone is seated.”

The President appeared at the podium, along with another man.

“I must wait. There are some boats in the way, on the Potomac River,” Ra’am said, speaking quickly. “No one will even hear us coming. We will suddenly appear above the Rose Garden. The hemoom prodoh will encircle the Rose Garden area, near the Colonnade, as I said. It will even penetrate into the ground. No one will be able to leave.”

A chill weaved through Trenae’s body. Ra’am’s words disturbed her.

“Good afternoon,” the President said. He stood in front of the podium. “James Conetta, CEO of Kalleron Corporation, and I, talked this afternoon about a wonderful…”

“Ha-Ta is calculating,” Ra’am said, drowning out the President’s voice. He thrust his fingers on more buttons. “Finding the perfect opportunity to acquire the least amount of Secret Service personnel, both covert and Uniformed division, and yet surround the reporters, President, and CEO most effectively.” Again he spoke quickly. “Two people could be talking, near its border. But suddenly, approximately 1 inch of hemoom prodoh will separate their faces.”

Voices of reporters could be heard, interrupting the President, shooting forth like gun fire. “Mr. President! Mr. President! What about that dog fight over Idaho, between two F-15s and a UFO?...Mr. President! We have unconfirmed reports of UFO sightings all across the US!...Mr. President! What’s your opinion of Governor Clark Willson, and his alleged involvement in organized crime activity?”

“Will the hemoom prodoh hurt them, I mean, with the miniaturization process, for explosions?” Dr. Stein asked.

“No. Only bullets, missiles, or other explosives will acquire that effect. Anyone touching the hemoom prodoh will be unharmed.” Ra’am seemed on edge, still pressing buttons. Finally he sat back. “All right, the river is clear, only three Secret Service personnel will be contained…Be prepared everyone.”

Trenae closed her eyes.

















                                                                     Chapter 38



“Zor- hek!” Ra’am said. Trenae heard his finger push just one button.

A strange rippling sensation, a quick wave, shot through her body. And time and motion felt wrong.  She opened her eyes.

“What the heck was that, Ra’am?” Jenny asked.

“I’ll say,” said Pastor Crenshaw.

Trenae spun around. Dr. Stein and Arthur looked a little stunned, both staring down at their outstretched arms.

“The scene before us now, through the khalonot hekef, is right outside Ha-Ta,” Ra’am said. “You may stand now and observe. And the sensation you felt was harmless, and will pass.”

Trenae turned back and  lifted herself up, careful with the two gifts she held, and stared out the khalon. They were here, at the White House! Yet the scene appeared both spectacular and horrific.

Hemoom prodoh bordered the scene. Studying it closer, she could tell Ha-Ta now floated in a southeast corner of the grass-covered Rose Garden, with hemoom prodoh extending from what appeared to be the top and bottom of Ha-Ta. From those points, the top portion extended way out across the Rose Garden, like a ceiling, and then dropped straight down, by the White House west colonnade, an L-shaped colonnade, in the northwest corner of the western side of the White House complex. The bottom portion arrived under Ha-Ta’s belly, gathering up hemoom prodoh flow from the cube’s wall, producing a giant, rounded-edge hemoom prodoh cube. Even parts of some bordering trees of the large, rectangular Rose Garden lawn were included within the silvery clear cube.

Though mystifying and enchanting, the enormous glass-like cube had started a screaming, sod-kicking panic. More and more reporters bolted, yelling, equipment dragging behind, searching for an exit. What appeared to be a Secret Service man tugged the President and CEO James Conetta, scampering the two men everywhere, the Secret Service man’s head turning like a spinning top, searching, diving bodies forward then stopping, behaving disoriented. Making matters so much worse, those people left outside the giant cube seemed even more shocked and confused, some sprinting from the cube, others boldly pounded it with tightened fists.

Their screams and hollers filled Ha-Ta.

Beneath the outside pandemonium’s loud volume, Trenae heard her four passenger’s talking, getting excited. She turned left and right. Though she noticed the others, she also noticed that Ra’am had supplied three different views of the scene below them. While the khalon presented the image she just studied, the khalonot hekef to the control panel’s left showed a second view, a view from high atop the hemoom prodoh shield, in the northwest corner where the two colonnade porches met. From that point the view supplied a nearly perfect image straight across to Ha-Ta’s front, yet also showed the turmoil on the grass-covered ground below. A third view, the khalonot hekef to the control panel’s right showed a view from the ground, just behind the podium and directly in front of the west side of the hemoom prodoh cube.

“Oh my God,” Dr. Stein said. “The President looks…looks really shocked!”

“They’re all so frightened,” Pastor Crenshaw said, his tone lamenting.

Dr. Stein stood to the right of Trenae’s seat, whereas Jenny, Pastor Crenshaw, and Arthur positioned themselves to the left of Ra’am’s seat.

Ra’am stood up. He gently lifted the d’yokmot tnoo’at and bayotsah tseemkhey from Trenae’s hands.

“This, this is truly crazy, and unbelievable,” said Arthur. “To think, just seconds ago, we were underground, and now…here, at the White House!”

“Are those the Secret Service men, by the President now?” Jenny asked.

Trenae hurried over near Jenny and looked down. Two police officers, dressed in the typical black cop suits, with gold badges on their chests and upper arms and matching police hats, had corralled the President by the podium. At the same time, a strong-looking man, dressed in a black suit and dark sunglasses planted himself on the steps to the colonnade, close to the President and CEO. He was the one tugging the President and CEO just seconds ago. All three men were either beginning to draw their guns or already had their guns exposed.

“Yes, they are Secret Service men,” Ra’am said. He began walking toward the delet yahmon, yet kept his gaze toward the khalonot hekef near Jenny. Is he leaving now? Trenae, along with Dr. Stein, began following Ra’am. “The two who resemble police officers are the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service,” Ra’am said. “The other man, in a suit, is a covert Secret Service man.”

“This is very serious, Ra’am,” Pastor Crenshaw said, from behind her. “If you were an American citizen, you would be serving a life time in prison.”

A few of the four passengers chuckled a little. Trenae didn’t.

Ra’am looked at the pastor. “That is why, I must get out there, now.” Ra’am looked toward the khalonot hekef once more. “I will form a hemoom prodoh balcony and stairway now. We are 27 feet above ground level. There is no one below, so it is safe.”

“Oh my gosh,” Jenny said.

Trenae spun around to see her.

Jenny had her face smack against the khalonot hekef’s surface, her palms resting by her head. “Those reporters are wigging out something fierce! I thought they would be filming. Look! They’re backing up near the corner colonnade!”

Trenae moved closer too. Forty or fifty reporters were packing themselves into the far northwest corner of the colonnade, dragging their equipment with them. One of the Uniformed Division Secret Service men now stood to the left or north of the podium, placing his free palm outward, apparently signaling any stray reporters not to come near the President.

Many of the reporters began pounding on the hemoom prodoh shield, using their fists, video or other equipment. Trenae felt their pain. My heart hurts, seeing them like this.

Several Secret Service men, standing on the outside of the hemoom prodoh shield, near the south corner of the Rose Garden and on the porch just outside the Oval Office shouted to the President to move away. Guns were readied in their hands. The President obeyed their words, moving some distance. They fired at the shield. Screams filled the air.

But just like the missiles, a sudden red, then sudden green flash occurred. The bullets disappeared.

Trenae backed away. Yelling voices, wails, and more screams filled Ha-Ta. More sounds of equipment being piled, pounded rushed through the air. And she saw the Secret Service men still protecting the President, however they could.

Ha-Ta’s delet yahmon opened. Turning right, to see Ha-Ta’s side doorway, she also observed something form outside, from her left eye’s corner.

“The balcony! The stairs!” Jenny said.

Trenae turned forward.

A sudden, clear balcony had wrapped around Ha-Ta’s front and a small portion of Ha-Ta’s right side. Then, like a waterfall, hemoom prodoh poured down toward the ground. The pour created a flight of beautiful glass-like stairs. A stunning scene. Ra’am also had formed a three or four-foot high solid barrier around the sides of the balcony, although it was open at the stairs’ apex. The stairway had no rail.

“I know you are all deeply concerned,” Ra’am said. She turned to see him. He now stood in front of the doorway. “But I assure you, there is no other way now, to prove to both your government and the entire world, that I exist, and Harkoav exists. And everything I have tried to tell your world…exists.”

She glanced around, trying to appear nonchalant. Ra’am was right. Fear marred all four of their passenger’s faces.

Ra’am moved away from the doorway, stepping closer to everyone. “Although I will be disabling the explosive power of the Secret Service men’s guns, so they will not fire, all of you will still be in danger if you leave. You MUST all stay here.” He looked at the pastor. “Pastor Crenshaw, will you do me the important favor of making certain Trenae does not leave?”

Trenae turned and looked at Pastor Crenshaw. He moved closer to Ra’am, away from the window. “Yes, I will make certain,” he said, glancing at Trenae, resolve steeling his face. Yeah, she thought, the football player has returned.

She turned back to Ra’am. He stood so tall, so strong, so proud before her, in his black tsekehoot shakor, carrying both shimmering crystal-like spheres for the President. Yet he stared intently, without speaking. Ra’am’s stare reaffirmed what he expected; she was to stay put.

Ra’am turned toward the doorway and walked out. The delet yahmon sealed shut.

An eager, worried ferret, Trenae scanned all the viewing windows, along with the others. Everyone, including herself, noticed how all three Secret Service men had begun searching along the perimeter of the hemoom prodoh cube, digging near the ground or slamming the shield with their guns or fists, or even pressing hard against it. 

“It’s hopeless for them,” Arthur said. Trenae looked at him. Arthur looked excited.

But the moment Ra’am began walking across the balcony, toward the stairs, one of the two Uniformed Division officers left the President’s side and raced away, positioning himself at the base of the stairs, on the ground. He tore out his handgun and plunged it straight up, toward the balcony. Trenae could see the man’s eyes dart back and forth, all around, searching for any movement elsewhere.

“Look at them, by the President,” Jenny said. She pointed to the left of the control panel. Jenny’s view presented the northwestern side of Ha-Ta’s nose and the rest of the Rose Garden area.

Trenae walked over. Down below, the two other Secret Service men, both the covert one and the uniformed one were guiding the President near the south border of the shield’s perimeter, just inside a line of neatly trimmed small shrubs. Repeatedly both men attempted smacks or pushes against the shield. She also noticed that James Conetta had now been left unprotected, and had instead joined forces with the reporter crowd near the colonnade’s corner, the northwest corner of the huge hemoom prodoh cube.

“HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! DON’T MOVE!” It was the officer at the stair’s bottom.

Trenae stared carefully, scrutinizing the officer’s every move. Slowly the officer pulled the hammer back on his powerful-looking handgun.

Ra’am remained at the stair’s apex. He peered down at the officer. No fear.

Without warning a blue light darted from Ra’am’s koaksekhel, enveloping the cube’s interior for a split second, even as Ra’am held both gifts for the President in each hand. Some people cried and screamed, obviously fearing the blue light. But the officer at the stair’s bottom didn’t budge.

“Oh yeah? Try to use your stupid guns now!” Arthur said gleefully. Trenae looked at him. He was really getting into this.

However Ra’am seemed to listen to the officer’s demand. He stayed in place at the top of the stairs. “My name is Ra’ammahkar Meenyan,” he said, “and I have no weapons.” His voice boomed amazing, so deep, loud, and clear.

“It must be the acoustics from the hemoom prodoh!” Dr. Stein said excitedly. She glanced at him. Whites filled his eyes, beneath his glasses.

Trenae looked back at her husband.

“I do not intend to harm anyone,” Ra’am said, yet standing. His gaze searched over everyone, including the reporters. “And I apologize for alarming all of you. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no other choice. As you know, I am not from earth. I am from the planet Harkoav, in what you know as the Andromeda galaxy. And yes, I do exist, as do other intelligent beings from other planets in the universe.”

“Okay…okay,” said the officer at the stair’s bottom. “That’s great. Now, you stay right there, as you are, or I’ll have to fire my weapon. We have you surrounded.”

Ra’am’s gaze appeared penetrating, though calm. After scanning everyone for a time, he casually glanced to the right, toward the White House roof.

Trenae squeezed in between Dr. Stein and Jenny.

“Look!” Dr. Stein said. “Those guys on the roof, with the rifles. And bullet proof vests! They’re aiming at Ra’am.”

“Nah, come on David!” Arthur said. Trenae turned to her right. Arthur stood by the control panel, staring amusingly at his friend. “You know they can’t get him!”

Trenae stared forward again. She saw what they both meant- on the White House’s roof, to the north of the Rose Garden, two Secret Service men huddled stealthily, attired in cop uniforms and packing heat, just as Dr. Stein had described.

She turned back to Ra’am.

Ra’am’s eyes focused on the reporters below. “Our technology, as all of you are probably now aware, is very advanced.” Ra’am stared down at the officer. “Therefore, unfortunate for you, there is nothing you can do to harm me, my passengers, or my spacecraft. However, you do not need to fear.” He began looking at everyone again. “I want only to give the President these two items I carry in my hands. These items are completely safe and carry no harmful microorganisms or radiation. And the same applies to me. I have been on your magnificent planet, underground, for nearly nine earth years, and have done extensive research on any harmful microorganisms that may harm either of us. Fortunately, there are none.”

Ra’am glanced down at the officer again. “I am coming forward now. Your bullets will not work.”

The officer raised the gun, clenching it with both hands, aiming it at Ra’am’s body. “I’m warning you, one final time!”

Trenae studied the officer, observing a tall, powerful man, with dark blond hair and mustache. He wore glasses. Extreme determination covered his face, as though nothing Ra’am said had mattered. Nor did one particle of Ha-Ta and the hemoom prodoh shield concern the officer to the slightest degree. But his body language couldn’t lie; it revealed confusion and fear. Grasping for reality, the officer found none.

Ra’am began walking down the stairs.

“Those two Secret Service guys are digging again,” Pastor Crenshaw said. Trenae glanced to Ra’am’s right, near the eastern border of the hemoom prodoh cube. Pastor was right. Both men used their hands and guns once more, burrowing the grass-covered ground.

“This isn’t good, not good,” Dr. Stein said.

“Yeah, really,” Jenny said. “Isn’t there anything we can do?”

“No!” Arthur said. “Ra’am said for us to stay here.”

Trenae looked at Ra’am. He continued walking down the stairs.

“Last warning! Stop! Now!” hollered the officer at the stair’s bottom.

But Ra’am didn’t stop, merely staring into the officer’s face, walking down, step by step, step by step.

The officer began inching backwards, away from the stairs, yet clenched his handgun. He seemed a guard dog ready and willing to attack, but constrained by an invisible leash.

Trenae noticed motion from the roof top. One of the Secret Service men on the roof had raised his rifle, and now took aim. An explosion of bullets rocketed toward Ra’am.

“DAMN! LOOK!” Arthur yelled. Trenae shot her gaze right. Arthur was pointing at the right side of the khalonot hekef.

Like before, the bullets simply glowed in red and green flashes, once hitting the hemoom prodoh. The shield was completely impenetrable.

“Oh no!” Jenny said. Trenae looked at her. Jenny stared toward the officer at the stair’s bottom.

Taking a quick glimpse toward the roof, and seeing the bullets have no effect, the officer now looked back at Ra’am. His finger squeezed the trigger. Trenae’s heart jumped.

Some of the reporters screamed. Other reporters, Trenae noticed, now held their video cameras up, apparently filming. Oh well, that’s what Ra’am wanted. 

She stared back at the officer. His gun wasn’t working. He appeared to squeeze the trigger several more times, but to no avail. He looked at his gun, worry seizing his face. But then he pulled back the hammer, at the barrel’s end, and squeezed the trigger again.

All the while, Ra’am continued walking down the stairs.

The officer appeared very confused. He stopped moving. He pulled the top portion of his handgun backwards, releasing a bullet. It dropped to the ground. Once more, he pulled down the hammer, and squeezed the trigger again.

Still Ra’am walked toward him.

Another new motion caught Trenae’s eyes. A white and blue helicopter, the one Ra’am had pointed out earlier as belonging to the Park Police, hovered like a giant bug above the White House. Her eyes began darting back and forth from one viewing window to another. Everyone else’s eyes did too. It was dizzying. The helicopter seemed to be moving closer to Ha-Ta’s roof, ready to circle around the White House.

Ra’am now stepped on the grass. Some reporters backed farther away from the tall, formidable alien, while others, their camera people trailing, moved closer.

With Ra’am walking closer and closer, the officer squeezed the trigger yet again. Nothing, nothing came forth. Like before, he yanked back the top portion of the gun, releasing a worthless bullet or cartridge to the ground. Ra’am now loomed about 5 feet from him. Trying yet another time, the officer pulled down the hammer and squeezed the trigger. Again, nothing.

Ra’am stopped. “I know your weapon only carries 12 rounds. You just wasted two,” Ra’am said, his voice deep, calm. “Why not place your gun on the ground, or back in your holster? I already told you, it is useless now.”

The officer didn’t listen. He pointed the gun straight at Ra’am’s heart, and squeezed the trigger again. Still, no firing bullet.

“The President’s…the other uniformed guy, he’s running!” Jenny said.

Trenae turned. The other uniformed officer, who had been with the President and the covert Secret Service man, by the northeast corner of the hemoom prodoh giant cube charged toward Ra’am’s back. His gun, grasped with both hands, pointed straight toward Ra’am’s back. But then the officer raised the gun, heaving it upwards, preparing a sledgehammer blow, right at Ra’am’s upper back. Did Ra’am say a hemoom prodoh shield would be around him? She couldn’t recall. She panicked.

Not another thought, Trenae turned right and bolted. She tossed her left hand down, slamming a button on the control panel, the button that opened the delet yahmon. The delet yahmon vanished. Arthur gave her a quick, stunned glance. She sprinted out and onto the balcony.

“RA’AM!” she yelled. Her voice bellowed, sounding louder than normal. She stared toward Ra’am. Then she looked down, watching her feet. Eerily transparent the hemoom prodoh made her feel as though walking on air, that nothing held her up. No, my balance! She teetered, and plummeted toward the balcony’s floor.

She landed on her hands and knees, sliding at the same time. She shot her gaze toward Ra’am, witnessing him turn around and toss something at her. The fall forced her straight across the smooth hemoom prodoh surface, toward the stair’s apex. Approaching the apex, she saw Ra’am grab the officer’s wrist, the wrist holding the gun. But then, she stopped. It became apparent what Ra’am had tossed- a wall of hemoom prodoh blocked her forward motion. She quickly looked up. The clear, silvery substance blocked not only the top of the stairs, but completely sealed the entire balcony, a solid bubble. Now there was no way to leave. She could only watch, helplessly, and slowly raise her body.

Grasping the President’s gifts in one hand, Ra’am glared at the officer, still holding the officer’s wrist with his other hand.  The officer appeared paralyzed. Surprise had captured his nerves. “I already told you,” Ra’am said. “Maybe you were not listening. Our technology is more advanced.”

Trenae felt someone take hold of her shoulders. She turned her head. Pastor Crenshaw and Dr. Stein were lifting her up. Once bringing her to an upright position, she could see Jenny and Arthur coming out of the doorway too. They looked concerned, upset.

“Come on, Trenae,” Pastor Crenshaw said. “You completely surprised me.” He gently clutched her upper right arm and started walking her toward the delet yahmon. Dr. Stein placed his hands on her left shoulder and upper back, helping likewise. Nothing really hurt or felt damaged on her body. Only my pride is injured.

Soon they were all back inside.

“Ra’am just sealed both uniformed Secret Service men in hemoom prodoh, from their necks down!” Arthur said excitedly. “Some of the reporters are really freaking out!”

“And the other guy, the suit guy, has moved the President behind the podium again, up those colonnade stairs,” Jenny said.

Each passenger positioned themselves in front of one of the window views. Trenae stood back, near the control panel, watching all three viewing windows at once.

“Now,” Ra’am said, turning around and looking toward the President and covert Secret Service man, “I just want to give these to the President. That is all.”

“No, Mr. President!” yelled one of the encased uniform men.

One encased man stood behind Ra’am, on his right side. The other encased man, the mustached clad officer who had attempted firing his gun, stood diagonally in front of Ra’am, on his left side. Both were frozen in stances that showed their last action; the one on the right, in a forward leap; the one on the left, in arms outstretched toward Ra’am, attempting a neck grab while the other officer had Ra’am occupied. No doubt, both underestimated Ra’am’s speed.

“Bill, please, keep the President away!” said the mustache clad officer.

Ra’am paused in his steps, giving glances at both men. “I can release both of you, if you promise not to attempt overpowering me again. I just do not want to hurt you.”

Surprisingly Trenae saw the President trying to weave away from the covert SS man, apparently to talk with Ra’am. Ra’am took notice.

“Why not ask the President himself, if he wants to meet with me, and take my gifts?” Ra’am asked. He looked toward the President.

“Yes, yes I will!” the President said.

But the covert SS man pressed the President’s shoulders, pushing him back up the colonnade stairs. Both men struggled at the top of the colonnade stairs, in front of a large pillar, a pillar just next to a trimmed hedge. The President behaved adamant at establishing eye contact with Ra’am.

“No, Mr. President! Stay clear!” said the mustache clad officer.

“Stay clear!” the other encased officer said. “Do not touch him!”

Ra’am turned around and faced both men. “I am not human, but I do know right from wrong.” He turned and faced the President and the covert SS man. “I do know right from wrong. You can only trust me.”

Trenae was astonished. Many reporters began approaching closer and closer to the disturbing melee. Cameras were rolling, yet no one was speaking. Not loud enough, anyway.

“Why must YOU give them to the President?” asked the covert SS man.

“I can give them to you, Bill,” Ra’am said, speaking to the covert SS man. “However, they are for the President. Only his voice can activate them.”

The President clutched Bill’s shoulders, though Bill struggled to keep his body and arms in front of the President. “Please, Bill,” the President said, “I believe him.”

“No, Mr. President!” Bill said, his words determined. “I’m sorry. You know we can’t!”

Ra’am began lowering his body. What the heck is he doing?  He astonished Trenae, like everyone else, many gasping in disbelief. Ra’am lowered his knees to the first step of the colonnade steps, a ground-level concrete platform. Then he bowed his head down, resembling a servant before his king. At the same time he brought forth both the d’yokmot tnoo’at and bayotsah tseemkhey, each one in the hands of his outstretched arms. And then, silence.

He’s so vulnerable now! But she knew there was nothing she could do to help. The hemoom prodoh encasement on the balcony had made sure of this.

With no other options, Trenae watched the troubling scene.

Bill brought his weapon out and walked down the colonnade steps, toward Ra’am.

“All right, now stop this,” the President said. “You know you can’t apprehend him!” He followed Bill. “Look all around you. Have you even taken one quick glimpse, of what this…this being has caused?”

Both he and Bill slowly lifted their gaze. More reporters, cameras flashing, began drawing closer to Ra’am, the President, and Bill, witnessing the two humans scan around the hemoom prodoh cube’s expanse. Some reporters pointed their video and photo cameras toward the cube’s ceiling.

However Bill didn’t look for long. He pointed his gun and stare toward Ra’am again. Ra’am remained on his knees, his head still bowed.

The President placed a hand on Bill’s right shoulder. “Please, let me talk to him. Just stay as you are.”

Bill listened, becoming stationery, though both his hands still clutched his handgun and pointed it at Ra’am’s head. Bill stood just to the podium’s right side. The President slowly maneuvered around Bill’s right.

“Sir, I…I don’t know what to say,” the President said, speaking to Ra’am, “but could you lift your head, please?”

Ra’am did. Shock quickly distorted the President’s face, though he was struggling to remain calm.

“Can you please release those two men?” the President asked. “I know they have tried to harm you, but I need them released, for my own well-being.”

Still kneeling, Ra’am raised his head a little and commanded both hemoom prodoh encasements, on both uniform officers, to leap from the men, form silvery balls, and shoot forward into his koaksekhel. Gasps of astonishment erupted around the Rose Garden, though the entire, quick hemoom prodoh process came flawless, causing no disturbance to either gift in Ra’am’s hands nor to any nearby reporters.

Trenae watched closely. The President looked at both men. Each man shook his arms and legs, gawking at his own body, hands, and legs, behavior just like the two cops had done at The Examiner building. They seemed astonished, at first, but then hurried toward Ra’am.

“Chris, Todd, are you two all right?” the President asked.

Ra’am remained on his knees.

“Yes sir,” said the mustache clad officer.

“Yes, fine sir,” said the other.

They neared even closer to Ra’am.

“But please, I don’t want you two like that again. Just…just leave him be,” the President said cautiously. “Just stop, stay there.”

Amazingly both officers obeyed the President and stopped walking. In the mean time, though, reporters loomed ever closer.

The President paused his stance, appearing now satisfied, but then stepped forward. He walked down several steps, toward Ra’am. “If they’re for me, then let me take them,” the President said.

Bill lunged forward and blocked the space between Ra’am and the President. “No, Mr. President! Please!”

“Bill, look,” the President said. Ra’am was still kneeling, his eyes staring up at both men. The two officers remained in place, though they glared at Ra’am. Reporters inched closer. “I believe this being,” the President said.

“No!” Bill said. He looked at the President, and then looked down at Ra’am. He shrugged his shoulders. “Look, if you really want these things, let me have them first.” After speaking, Bill yanked off his sunglasses and slipped them in a white shirt pocket beneath his dark suit.

“Thank you, Bill,” Ra’am said.

“Fine, but I’m going to hear about this,” Bill said. In slow, meticulous pace, he leaned down, reached forward, and sealed tremulous fingers around the two objects in Ra’am’s hands. Ra’am was calm, yet pleased.

Bill lifted the objects, eyeing them closely, an insecure, baffled sleuth scrutinizing two new crime clues. The President moved closer to Bill, staring as well. 

“You see, completely harmless,” Ra’am said. “They are safe.”

Trenae kept watching. Bill continued examining, lifting the objects, searching all around them, as though looking for any masked explosion or emanated surge of poisonous vapor. But with time passing by, nothing happened. Ultimately his bewildered, studious face melted into an enchanted expression, one full of admiration.

“What…are they?” Bill said slowly, as in a trance. “They’re so…perfect.”

“The clear one, which we call a d’yokmot tnoo’at, provides visual proof for the reason we took notice of your planet,” Ra’am said, still kneeling on the concrete platform. “And the green one, which we call bayotsah tseemkhey, contains tse makh yerape, a healing plant. It can cure any illness, and heal most wounds. However, it cannot bring back life to those who have died.”

“You mean it can cure cancer?” the President asked, staring down at Ra’am.

“Yes,” Ra’am answered.

“What about, what about heart disease, Alzheimer’s, or AIDS?” Bill asked. He too stared at Ra’am.

“Yes, that as well.”

The President examined both objects a little more, and then looked at Ra’am again. He began stepping down the last step, edging closer to Ra’am. However Bill rushed after him and stood between the two beings once again. “I, for one, believe you,” the President said. “After reading the Boise Examiner’s account, I don’t think you came here to do harm.”

Ra’am relaxed his hands at his sides and gazed up at the President. “Thank you. I do speak the truth.”

Keeping the President’s gifts in his hands, Bill began eyeing Ra’am’s koaksekhel. The other two uniformed officers situated themselves near Ra’am’s right, struggling to keep the increasing number of reporters at bay. But Trenae noticed they too had glanced at Ra’am’s koaksekhel a few times.

“What is the metal band on your arm?” Bill asked.

“A koaksekhel. It controls my spacecraft, and releases hemoom prodoh, the same substance which encases all of us now in the Rose Garden, and encased Chris and Todd,” Ra’am said. “But, hemoom prodoh is harmful only if necessary. Friendly motives and actions require only friendly outcomes.”

“Sir,” the President said to Ra’am, “please stand up.”

Bill spun back and looked at the President. “Mr. President, not a good idea.”

“No,” the President said. “I trust him.” He looked at Ra’am again. “Please, stand up.”

Ra’am slowly arose from the concrete. He straightened himself, towering above all the other men. “Mr. President,” Ra’am said, staring down, “I came only to have you take the d’yokmot tnoo’at and bayotsah tseemkhey, and for the rest of the world to have proof of me. When you want to view the holographic image of the d’yokmot tnoo’at, merely say ‘open’.  The khaltezoot, or pentagonal dipyramid within will spin and produce an image. At the image’s completion, all the information available to everyone on earth, through the Internet and each person's computer, will appear. When you are finished, merely say ‘close’.”

“And what of the other one?” the President asked quickly, eyeing it in Bill’s hands.

“The same commands, only through your voice, will open or close the bayotsah tseemkhey. As I said before, only your voice will activate these items, which is why I wanted to leave with them in your hands. But under the current circumstances, I understand your resistance. I must now leave.” Ra’am turned and began walking toward the hemoom prodoh stairs.

“Wait!” the President said.

Ra’am turned around. Bill remained between them, yet gave the President some room to view Ra’am’s face successfully.

“There are some people, some human beings on your spaceship,” the President said.

“Yes, that is correct,” Ra’am said.

“If you will allow them to come down here, and meet with me, I will take these two items you gave me, and place them in my hands.”

“Mr. President!” Bill said. “You can’t touch these, until they have been thoroughly investigated.”

“Bill,” the President said. He stepped between Ra’am and Bill, so Ra’am couldn’t see his face well. He stared in Bill’s face. “I need to do this,” he said quietly. “Do you understand?”

Ra’am crossed his arms. Trenae figured he knew something was amiss. Maybe the President felt he was saving their four human passengers. Well, of course, she suddenly realized. He saw me encased on the balcony, when I ran out. And then the others came out to help me. Of course!

The President turned, facing Ra’am again. “Will you allow this to occur, as I asked?”

Ra’am nodded respectfully. “Certainly,” he said.

Uncrossing his arms, Ra’am turned around and raised his koaksekhel toward the hemoom prodoh balcony and stairs. Trenae backed up a bit, to view all three windows better. So did the others. A change in the hemoom prodoh began, the balcony and stairs changing their formation so that the cover on the balcony poured off and flowed down the stairs. A few reporters and even the uniformed officers called out expletives and hurried backwards a little.

The flow continuing, the stairs outstretched farther, so they arrived within four or five feet of the colonnade steps, the podium, the President, Bill, and Ra’am. Along with the outward flow, a thick three or four feet high barrier formed on either side of the stairs, producing a safety barrier, a rail. The balcony also stretched outward, in a westward direction likewise, producing its original barrier, similar to the stairs’ barrier, and also increasing its overall area. Trenae noticed that the President and Bill remained calm and kept their positions, though they did say words of astonishment a few times.

Once the hemoom prodoh ceased its motion, Ra’am brought his arm down.

Ra’am looked up at Ha-Ta. “Pastor Crenshaw, please allow everyone to come down here.” He didn’t yell, speaking only in normal volume. “Trenae will show you the appropriate button on the control panel. The President wants to meet with all of you.”

Trenae looked at everyone, and everyone looked at her. Tremendous relief swelled within her. “Yes!” she said. She needed to feel Ra’am in her arms again.

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!” Jenny said.

“Like I said,” Arthur said eagerly, “this day keeps getting better and better!”

“Yes, but…” Dr. Stein said, stepping closer to the control panel. “We need to get out there, first!”

Trenae glanced at Pastor Crenshaw. Pastor stood with his arms crossed, bemusement crumpling his demeanor; yet he seemed okay with everything. She turned from him, rushed toward the control panel, and pressed the appropriate button. The delet yahmon sailed open. “Okay, everyone, let’s go!” she said, beaming. She turned back at them briefly, but then ran toward the doorway.

Once outside, on the balcony, she hurried toward the top of the stairs. The cool, crisp March air chilled her momentarily, almost making her stop. And then her equilibrium faltered again; she mistakenly glanced down, at the transparent floor. No, this is too high! No, come on Trenae, you can do this! Dizziness twirled in her head, making her want to stop. But then she heard the others coming behind her. Their presence gave courage. Even more so the anticipation of Ra’am’s warm embrace forced her on.

She walked toward the stairs. She clipped her hands on the clear rail and quickly began skipping her feet down the steps. Fortunately the stairs had a hidden, textured surface, preventing slippage. Though she could see the President and Bill, standing near the left side of the colonnade stairs and staring up at her, she didn’t care. Her eyes focused only toward Ra’am. Her beloved husband stood nearly in front of the podium, so far away now.

Yet before she knew it dry winter grass crunched beneath her feet. She ran toward Ra’am.

“Ra’am!” She kept running.

“Trenae,” he said, staring at her, love in his eyes. He outstretched his arms.

 She closed her eyes.

In just seconds, she felt his embrace, his arms around her back, hugging her tightly. She wrapped her arms around him.

Within his secure embrace, she opened her eyes and gazed up at him.

“I am fine, Trenae,” he said calmly. He smiled warmly at her.

“No, but, I was worried.” She swallowed. “Which is why, I am sorry…I had to run out, to stop them.”

“I know how you feel,” he said quietly. “That is why, I am all right.”

She only gazed into his eyes, no where else. His confidence, his strength poured down into her gaze, comforting her, raining peace upon her. She closed her eyes again and pressed herself against him. Much better now. Yes, it is. He’s in my embrace once more.

She kept her eyes closed. But then she heard excited voices filling the air nearby. Oops. That’s right- the President is here! They were in Washington, D.C.! Reporters were watching, broadcasting worldwide!

She opened her eyes and slowly turned her head, scanning around a bit. On the grass, right in front of the colonnade steps, Dr. Stein was vigorously shaking the President’s hand. “This is such an honor, Mr. President!” Dr. Stein said. “I am sorry we came unannounced!”

“Thank you, not a problem at all,” the President said kindly, behaving a little disoriented and startled. She figured that the President expected Ra’am’s passengers to be fearful, to act like hostages. But instead, every one of them, except for herself and Pastor Crenshaw, showed eagerness, enthusiasm to be at the White House and meet with the President.

Bill stood close to the President’s left side. He occasionally gave Ra’am probing, sideways glances.

But her main attentions settled on her new friends. Arthur had parked himself a little behind and left of Dr. Stein, a smile as wide as football field brightening Arthur’s face. And behind those two, near the bottom of the crystal hemoom prodoh stairs stood Jenny and Pastor Crenshaw. She could barely see Jenny, since Jenny was standing beyond Pastor Crenshaw, and behind Arthur. Pastor Crenshaw just stood there, arms crossed and gaze staring straight ahead at the President and Bill.

But then Pastor Crenshaw looked at her.

She smiled at him. Some tears blurred her vision. With trembling fingers she discretely wiped them away, and then wrapped her arm around Ra’am once more. Her throat and head hurt. Oh great, I’m crying again. Yet this time it was tears of happiness. Ra’am is safe now, and I’m in his arms again and that’s all that matters to me. She looked at the President, observing how he now warmly secured Arthur’s hand in his own. Her happiness grew; the President is a decent man, with Solomon-like qualities, further fortifying her reassurance of Ra’am’s safety.

“Trenae, are you all right?” Pastor Crenshaw asked, walking toward her.

She tightened her grip around Ra’am. She wasn’t letting him go. Ra’am continued holding her too.

She looked up at the pastor. “Yes, I’m okay. I’m sorry, I ran out like that before.”

Sounds of people talking, cameras flicking, and other video and audio equipment being tumbled around brought Trenae more to her senses. She decided it was best to release Ra’am. She gently loosened her arms from his body. Millions of people are staring at us, after all. He allowed her to be free likewise, releasing his left arm from her body.

Even so she grasped Ra’am’s left hand tightly with her right hand, nudging her body against his side.

Pastor Crenshaw shoved his hands in his pockets. He didn’t seem very interested in the President. “Boy, we sure caused some turmoil here, huh?” he said, looking into both their faces.

“Yes, we did,” Ra’am said. “However, it was as I expected.”

She looked up at Ra’am. He was turning toward the right, at the Oval office and colonnade, beyond the hemoom prodoh shield. She glanced there too. Possibly 30 or 40 Secret Service men and women stood there, hands on their weapons. But they no longer attempted to fire at the shield. They knew better now.

Loud, thunderous ear-shatter boomed from above, disturbing what little calm had settled around the Rose Garden. Trenae looked up. Several jet fighters zoomed overhead. Even a few helicopters circled the area like curious dragonflies. Sunlight shone down brightly, unlike earlier, nearly making skyward vision impossible. When they first arrived at the Rose Garden, the clouds had made the day dreary. But no longer.

Eventually the loud roar of the jet fighters diminished. Jitters on many people Trenae observed nearby vanished as quickly as arriving.

Some motion distracted her attention. She turned in its directions, seeing Jenny.

“And you must be Jenny Zarrett,” the President said, holding out his hand. He shook Jenny’s hand and looked in her face.

“Yes, Mr. President. I, I’m sorry I’m not dressed,” she said, glancing down at her clothes. She looked back at him. “But, this was sudden. Besides, with everything that happened with Clark Willson, and Trenae and I, well--”

“Everything you wrote,” the President said, “and everything which happened with those organized crime individuals and the Governor, is--”

“Yes!” Jenny said suddenly. She quickly covered her mouth. “Excuse me! Sorry! I, I shouldn’t--”

“No, that’s all right,” the President said quickly, placing his hand on her shoulder. “I know you’re nervous.” Another thunderous roar, from the jet fighters broke the peace. The President brought his hand down and looked up at the sky. After the loud sound subsided, he directed his gaze toward Ha-Ta, behind Jenny. “Heck,” he said, “I’m not exactly myself now too.”

Ra’am walked forward, in the President’s direction. Trenae stepped with him, at the same time noticing on her left that Dr. Stein and Arthur were speaking with several reporters, video camera people pointing lights and cameras toward both men.

She looked at the President. Seeing Ra’am approach, the President turned his attention to them. Jenny glanced toward Trenae, yet only for a second. Jenny began walking toward the reporters, Dr. Stein, and Arthur.  She must have a yearning for the publicity, Trenae thought. But the two other Secret Service men still demanded the reporters to stay back, not get too close to the President and Bill. Yet Trenae knew the truth- the President wasn’t the one they truly desired to speak with.

Bill began moving between Ra’am and the President, the President standing in front of several bushes at the south side of the colonnade steps. And Bill still held the two objects in his hands. Trenae glanced up into her husband’s face. Undeterred, Ra’am gazed straight ahead at the President, making his best effort to approach the President.

Pastor Crenshaw also stepped forward with them. Once Ra’am finally stopped walking, having neared the President as best he could, Pastor stood to Trenae’s left.

“We must be leaving,” Ra’am said to the President. “I am very concerned about the F-15’s overhead.”

“Well, I’m sure they can’t hurt you or your passengers, after seeing your capabilities,” the President said, smiling.

“I am not worried about us,” Ra’am said. “I am worried about innocent people, around the White House and other areas, who inadvertently could be hurt.”

Trenae studied the President’s face. Like snow melting in a warm house, his countenance slowly changed, gazing into Ra’am’s eyes. Maybe he can see what I can see.

The President glanced at Pastor Crenshaw. Trenae looked at the pastor too. Like before, Pastor Crenshaw stood with his hands shoved in his pockets.

As the President held out his right hand, Pastor Crenshaw tore a hand out of his pocket and plunged it forward, gripping the President’s hand. “Nice to meet you,” the President said. “And you are?”

“Hello, Mr. President. Pastor Jeff Crenshaw.” They shook hands briefly.

Trenae released her hand from Ra’am’s hand and instead coiled her arm tightly around his back. She looked up. Ra’am gazed down at her and wrapped his arm around her body too, sealing her next to him.

After the President finished speaking with the pastor, he looked at Trenae. He began inching closer to both her and Ra’am. Yet like before, Bill quickly wedged himself between them.

“Now, Bill, how am I supposed to shake this young lady’s hand, if you’re in the way?”

“Mr. President, you know my job,” Bill said. Trenae smiled. Bill looked a little funny, holding, balancing the two objects and yet still trying to protect the President.

“I assure you again, Bill, that I am harmless,” Ra’am said calmly. “At least to those who wish no harm likewise.”

The President eyed Bill. “Please, Bill. Let me get a little closer. I’ll tell them it was my fault, if they question you.”

Knowing she was the problem, Trenae moved a short distance from Ra’am’s body, though not enough to break free from Ra’am’s left arm, and lunged her hand out. “Mr. President,” she said, “it is nice to meet you.”

The President looked at her. He brought forth his right hand, even as Bill grumbled disapprovingly. Finally their hands met. Trenae shot her gaze into the President’s face. Now she understood why the others were so excited- a thrill passed through her. Even though only a man, a man of great prominence. Yes, this is a great honor!

“Very nice to meet you, Trenae.”

“Oh, you know my name, from Jenny?” she asked, shaking his hand. The President’s hand felt a little cold and sweaty.

“I read the article. But like most everyone else, I couldn’t believe it. That is, until now.” Bill began mumbling some words in the President’s ears. After a moment, the President gently released her hand.

Pastor Crenshaw, arms crossed, stepped closer to the President. “They are very much in love with each other,” he said, smiling, looking at both Trenae and Ra’am.

“That’s for sure!” Trenae felt a hand on her back. She turned left. Jenny was there, glowing. “They’re inseparable,” Jenny said.

“Now, you have met everyone,” Ra’am said, his voice deep, direct. “We must leave now.”

“Wait,” the President said. “Do all these people want to come with you, of their own free will?”

Trenae looked up at Ra’am. He nodded his head. “I assure you,” he said, “it is their decision. I merely offered them the opportunity.”

Dr. Stein and Arthur hurried over. Along with Jenny and Pastor Crenshaw, all four people earnestly expressed their great desires to travel with Ra’am.

“But,” the President said, looking at Trenae, “what about you?”

“He, he is…” she said, searching for the right words. She glanced around at the many faces staring at her. They made her uncomfortable. Nevertheless she lifted her head confidently. “Ra’am is my husband. I will never leave him.”

The President could only smile. He looked up at Ra’am again. “I promised I would hold these objects, the gifts you gave me, within my hands. And now, I will do so, if…” He looked at Bill. “If my faithful body guard will only allow me.”

Both men’s stares locked. Trenae could feel a stalemate occurring.

“Oh, come on Bill!” Arthur said suddenly. “The President can hold them, really! We all touched them, and we’re fine.”

“No,” Ra’am said, turning left toward Arthur. “The President must follow procedure.” Ra’am looked back at the President. “I completely understand.” He looked at all his passengers. “You need to reenter Ha-Ta. We are leaving now.”

After a little vacillation, and some good-bye waves to the President, the reporters, and the several Secret Service men, all four passengers began walking up the stairs.

“This is the most important event in all recent history, probably in all of human history,” the President told Ra’am.

“Yes, but I wish it could have been less traumatic…Farewell,” Ra’am said, turning left. His arm still wrapped around Trenae.

“No, wait,” the President said. Trenae looked at the President. He tried to walk by Ra’am’s right side, though Bill still attempted a block his path.

Ra’am paused and looked down at him. He and Trenae were now standing almost near the stairs’ beginning.

“You said all the information, of one of these objects, will be available for everyone on earth?” the President asked.

“Yes,” Ra’am answered. “All the information I have given you, for both the d’yokmot tnoo’at and bayotsah tseemkhey, including the genetic bioengineering of tse makh yerape, is available to everyone on earth through computers and the Internet. I could not give this information only to you. However, only you have these two unique gifts, from me.”

“But what about those dark features, those lines beneath your skin, and your hair--”

“Read Jenny Zarrett’s article once more. You will obtain all those details.”

“Yes, that’s true…But, why did you come to me?”

Trenae suddenly worried the President was either trying to keep Ra’am from leaving, or attempting to uncover other information, something important, for the US government.

“Will there be any lack of proof now?” Ra’am asked.

Though Ra’am seemed calm and patient, she could sense his great desire to leave. Maybe the President knew those jet fighters wouldn’t harm anyone. Reporters began gaining ground near them. But the Secret Service men scolded the reporter’s actions, keeping the reporters at bay.

The President lowered his head and tried stepping closer to Ra’am. At the same time, the President glanced toward the reporters on his left, a bit nervously. Then he looked up the stairs. Still within Ra’am’s embrace, Trenae looked up the hemoom prodoh stairs too, noticing Pastor Crenshaw, the last of the four, just nearing the top. She turned her gaze back on the President. Whether nervous or uncertain, the President seemed a bit off, out of kilter.

“You know,” the President said quietly, looking up at Ra’am, “there have been others, beside yourself.”

“I know,” Ra’am said, quietly too.

“But it’s…” The President paused a little. “It’s not going well with them.”

“But we can help you deal with them. They fear us. That is one reason why they experiment on your people, to build stronger armies. But we are more advanced, and far more powerful.” Ra’am began walking toward the stairs, though still eyeing the President. “Members of my government will be contacting you soon. Now, that I have met you, and have discovered your heart, I will tell them you are their first contact.”

“Thank you, but…but what? More are coming?” the President asked, confusion warping his faced. Bill suddenly behaved distrustful.

“Please, I must leave,” Ra’am answered. “Jenny’s article explains this.”

Ra’am moved Trenae and himself toward the stairs, readying to take the first step.

“You speak of God,” the President said.

Ra’am turned around, releasing his embrace from her. Reporters surged forward, a giant poster pushed into someone’s face, many eyes, lights, cameras, and microphones looming in her and Ra’am’s direction. Regardless she simply grasped Ra’am’s warm, dry hand and steadied her sudden faltering balance. For the first time she even saw James Conetta in person, edging forward with the reporters. Their presence distracted, but only for a moment. After quickly retrieving her senses, she looked up at Ra’am.

He stood motionless, staring quietly at the President. The whole area became hushed, people waiting on Ra’am’s response. “Yes, I love the Creator of the universe,” Ra’am said. He paused, as though in deep thought. “But, I have failed Him, many times.”

The President, gentle concern lighting his face, stepped closer to Ra’am. “No, I don’t believe that,” he said kindly.

Ra’am smiled, that rare yet warm and beautiful smile. “You are a good human being, as I have already sensed.”

Ra’am’s smile vanished. He turned around. Smoothing his hands on Trenae’s shoulders, he gently nudged her forward a little, silently motioning her to climb the stairs without him. She understood.

She began the ascent. While she did, reporters called out “Mr. President! Mr. President” or “Ra’ammahkar, is it true that…” or “Ra’ammahkar, we need to interview you, please!” But what appealed to her the most was the President words- “Please, stay longer, there’s so much more to discuss!” But she could hear and feel Ra’am right behind her. After all, he had told them, that they were leaving now.

The steps streamed by rapidly. She soon found herself nearing the balcony, her eyes catching Jenny standing by Ha-Ta’s doorway. The others must be inside, waiting. A few more steps and she walked on the transparent floor, glancing down, feeling a bit scared. She turned around. Ra’am leaned forward and took both her hands. He knows, she thought. She gazed up at his face. He smiled at her.

Ra’am released her left hand, but wrapped his left arm securely around her shoulders again. He then walked her close to the stair’s apex. Some reporters tried walking near the stairs bottom, even while the Secret Service men cautioned them to halt. Ra’am looked at the crystal stairs for a moment, but then, in a mere second, retracted the hemoom prodoh stairs from the ground. A few people yelled out, but not like before, not with fear in their voice.

Now only the balcony extended from Ha-Ta.

The reporters called out to Ra’am. Still holding Trenae snuggly in his arm, he walked both of them to the balcony’s border. The height made her feel funny again, gazing down at the grass, the neatly trimmed bushes, the colonnade, the President and Secret Service men, and all the many other people. Yet Ra’am held her. She wasn’t going anywhere.

She looked up. Ra’am stared down at them, appearing ready to speak. For some reason, the outside sounds of the helicopters and jet fighters, and other loud noises had ceased their troublesome behavior.

“Although I speak of God,” Ra’am said, his voice traveling perfectly within the hemoom prodoh cube, “I am far from perfect myself. Consider me more as a messenger of God…than as a servant of God.”

You could hear a pin drop. Quiet pervaded. The President stared up intently.

“But,” Ra’am said, “I will tell you this. Many on Harkoav believe, that when God’s first creation, whom we call Yekomekhd, establishes his rule…In the very far realms of the universe, there will be seen a strange phenomenon. For the stars and galaxies will turn black, and the black between them, white. And gradually, then quickly, it will spread.

“And as it approaches your galaxy, my galaxy…your planet, my planet, other planets…in that moment, in that split second, you will know, that your life was not something you evolved, formed from some cosmic dust, or produced through laboratory conditions with the proper elements, heat, and time…or created by beings of greater intelligence elsewhere in the universe.

“No. In that moment, that split second, you will know, that your life…is a gift.” Ra’am paused, breathing deeply. “But the question is, and will be…is what have you done with that gift? The choice is yours…the choice, has always been yours.”

His voice, his words left them speechless. At first. When Ra’am turned around, taking her with him, cries and pleas for him to stay, to answer numerous questions echoed and spread within the magical hemoom prodoh enclosure, filling Trenae’s ears. She looked up. Beams of sunlight shone through, as before, giving a soothing light, blessing all those beneath it. And then she looked in front of her, seeing Pastor Crenshaw, Jenny, Arthur, and Dr. Stein had stepped on the balcony too, their eyes upon Ra’am, awe and inspiration from Ra’am’s words glowing their demeanors.

Their steps soon led them back on Ha-Ta. Ra’am had ignored the additional shouted questions from the reporters, and had instead requested his passengers return to their former seats. Trenae watched, on the khalon, as the immense silvery, clear cube miraculously disappeared back into Ha-Ta. The White House and all its nearby grounds returned to normal. A few jet fighters soared toward them, from the north. But the dangerous, thundering mechanical eagles were no match for a Memadshakor. In a split second, Ha-Ta shot directly skyward, toward misty clouds and dazzling sunlight.

Soon only the darkness of space appeared on the khalon, as Ha-Ta’s path traveled away from the sun.



But in the small town of Stanhope, Iowa, an 11-year-old boy, home from school because of a troublesome cold, wondered curiously about the strange silver disk in the sky he had seen earlier, out his living room window. And now, after watching the special news report on his TV, displaying the incredible scene at the White House Rose Garden, he began hearing an odd, soft noise from the family computer, just behind the living room sofa, on his father’s desk. He ran to the computer and poked his face toward the monitor. Only minutes earlier he had been surfing the Internet, searching for some explanation of the strange silver disk.

After some investigation, he discovered a program had been downloaded to his Window’s program files, called Harkoav Information. As he opened it, he realized…this was only the beginning…