Recent Downtime 12/11/2017Hey all, My apologies for the recent downtime. The transfer in host took a bit longer than I had originally intended, but the DNS propagation seems to have finally settled. You should notice somewhat faster responses from the server (We went from 100 Mbps connections to 1 Gbps connections). If you notice anything wrong, please don't hesitate to let me know. Regards, Alex
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By Kindar in Jeremy 1Jeremy lay back in the ambassador's bowl shaped bed, Querik knelt at his head.
"Close your eyes, and focus on one of the drawings, your mother, or maybe your siblings. Try to recall yourself drawing it." He touched Jeremy's mind, and watched the almost imperceivable image of a hand, holding a charcoal pencil, and tracing on paper. The memory as trying to form, but something was holding it back.
Querik traced it back to a part of Jeremy's mind that was harder, crystalline. The wisps of the memory were coming though a tiny crack in what Querik perceived as a wall. He pushed at the crack and, with effort, made it larger. More wisps escaped and the image became solid. With it more images appeared at the periphery of Jeremy's consciousness.
"Oh wow, I remember drawing this. I was practicing for a portrait of my sister, I was going to draw her for her birthday."
"Good. Now let your mind wander. Let it connect to other memories that are linked to this one. Don't try to force it, let your subconscious do the work."
A memory of Jeremy drawing a kelsirian moved to the center. And the crack started shrinking. Querik had to work at keeping that from happening. Something behind the wall didn't want Jeremy to remember this. There was a quick flash of a memory of him drawing himself having sex with a kelsirian, and then he was drawing his brother.
Sound came with this one, faint, in the distance. No, Querik realized, not in the distance, blocked. He forced the crack wider and the voices became clear.
"Did you see that?" Jeremy's father said. He wasn't visible, and while Jeremy was hearing it, he had been concentrating on the drawing.
"It's just a drawing. It doesn't mean anything." His mother replied.
"How can you say that. What he's drawing isn't normal."
"It's just a drawing. He's young, he's just seeing what he's capable of doing."
"It isn't just one. There's at least half a dozen like that in his book. I'm telling you, there's something wrong with that boy of yours. We have to take him to a specialist."
The memory shifted, Jeremy was now seated on a comfortable chair, in a plain doctor's office. It wasn't his usual doctor. The doctor put things on his head, and asked him questions. He also had him watch images on a screen. When that was done he went to another room to talk with his parents.
Fabricated fear assailed Jeremy then. Something was telling him he didn't want to know what they were talking about. Querik opened his month to say something, but the box appeared in Jeremy's mind, and he pushed the fear in it.
"I'm afraid you were right," the doctor said, "he does have the condition."
There was a gasp from his mother.
"I knew it," his father said.
"We have to treat him," the doctor said.
"Do you?" his mother asked. "What if we make sure he isn't exposed to those things again. Surely that would be enough."
The thing behind the wall fought against Jeremy remembering, but Querik didn't have to fight back. Jeremy was forcing the crack wider by himself. He wanted to know what was hidden behind the wall. Now that he had seen hints, he needed to know what was behind the wall.
"I'm afraid it isn't that simple. If it isn't treated, he will deteriorate quickly. It isn't just a case of of making sure he avoids exposure, the sickness is in his mind, and if we don't do something, it will eat at him. In a few year he'll be so bad that . . . Trust me, you don't want to see what happens to them if untreated."
"How successful is the treatment?" his father asked
"With regular supervision, he will be completely cured."
"Supervision?" his mother asked.
"Yes. The treatment he will undergo here will repair the damage that's been done to this point, but this sickness has been in him for a long time, you just hadn't realized it. So there is always a chance it could reestablish itself. We'll assign him a specialist that will be able to see the signs and provide treatment if needed."
"I see." His mother's voice was weak.
"Do it." His father said.
"Something else you need to remember. Your son's current personality has been formed around the sickness, and shaped by it. Once we've repaired the damage, his personality will change slightly."
"How much?" his father asked.
"There's no way to know. He's still young, so it probably won't be a major change, but you shouldn't be surprise if his likes and dislikes aren't the same."
"Okay." His father again.
"Good. Then leave him with us. I promise that once we are done you son will be as good as new."
Stop! The thing behind the wall said. There's only pain. Nothing good will come of remembering.
Enough! Jeremy's voice boomed inside his own head, loud enough that Querik's ears rang. No more secret, no more hidden. NO MORE! The wall was filled with a spider web of cracks, and then it shattered, letting the memories pour in.
Jeremy fought to get out of the bed, and then ran for the bathroom. He didn't make it. He fell to his knees and threw up in the doorway. He struggled to get up and went to the sink to wash his mouth. He rested against the sink for a moment, before grabbing a towel and cleaning up his mess. Once done he threw it as hard as he could in the sink
"How could they do that to me? I was fourteen years old. I was just a kid and they tortured me for weeks. Why? Jut because I drew myself having sex with another guy? What the fuck is wrong with them?"
Querik remained silent for a moment. "Your parents couldn't know what they would do to you."
"I know."His voice was hollow. "it's not them I'm pissed at. I . . . I don't know what I feel about them right now. But those so called doctors? What right did they have to do that to me? And how about here? My stomach pain, my anxiety. That was all a response to the programing they tortured into me. Each time my subconscious thought about men, not me, my subconscious, the pain would come. Fuck! I should go and tell them what I think of them, right now!"
"You can't." Querik said calmly. "Obviously, they have the approval of your government. The reinforcement system is too wide spread to be the work of a few maverick doctors."
"So what? I'm just suppose to ignore what they did to me?"
"No, but now you can make a decision free of their influence. I recommend that you wait until you are calmer, before you make a decision. If you decide to fight your government, know that I will help you in any way I can."
"Thanks," Jeremy's anger subsided. "This is going to sound weird, but do you mind if I sleep here tonight? I really don't feel comfortable going back to my quarters."
"Not at all. You are welcome here when ever you feel the need."
By Kindar in Jeremy 1Jeremy looked around the room. Everything as finally in it's place. He needed to find a way to keep the place clean, instead of going on a cleaning binge every few month. The only thing left to clean out was his closet, which he hadn't done since arriving to the station all those years ago.
He opened it, looked at the boxes and uniforms piled in it, half hazardly, and sighed. He'd have to be careful, cleaning the closet could easily end up messing up his room again. He took out the uniforms, and put the pile on his bed, then the boxes, one at a time, and placed them in a line on the floor.
When he came to the last one, he stopped. It wasn't a box, it as a carrying case, one he didn't remember bringing. He sat in front of it, and opened it. Out spilled drawing materials, pencils and charcoals, blank papers, and papers with drawings on them.
He vaguely remembered drawing in his youth, but now, other than schematics, the most he did was doodles on his datapad, when bored. Still, he couldn't remember packing these, or bringing them with him.
He looked through the drawings, one of his mother, smiling, of his father with his ever present frown, one with a rare smile. Drawings of his brothers and sister, of people he didn't remember, neighbors maybe? He was surprised at how well drawn they were.
Then, drawings of kelsirians, a good numbers of them. He had vague memories of drawing his family, and other people, but when had he drawn kelsirians? He couldn't remember ever seeing any, until he'd been introduced to Querik and Growler. He had drawn crowds of them, and some solitary portraits.
He looked at the next drawing and covered it up immediately. He slowly uncovered it, telling himself he couldn't have seen what he had, but no, he'd drawn a naked male kelsirian. More than one he saw as he flipped through the next half dozen drawing. The next one made his stomach twist.
He closed his eyes, opened the box and shoved his anxiety in it. He looked at it again, the drawing depicted him, there was no mistaking his younger looks, having sex with a male kelsirian, the next four were of them, in varying positions.
He stood, trying to breath. Could he really have drawn these? When he was a teenager? He wasn't a homo, he couldn't be. He'd read that the condition existed among some of the alien races, but it didn't among humans.
And why couldn't he remember drawing them?
He put the drawings back in the case, picked it up and headed to the door to talk to . . .. Who could he talk to about this? He couldn't talk to the people he knew. He couldn't burden them with this, and what would they say. The same things he already knew, he couldn't have drawn them, and if he had, then he was sick. Could he talk with Omar about this? What if he reached the conclusion he was a homo? What would they do to him? Damn it, there wasn't anyone he knew he could talk with.
He stopped his pacing.
That wasn't true, he realized. He did know someone. He didn't know if kelsirians had homos among them, but ambassador Querik had helped him once, surly he would again. Maybe talking with him would help him make sense of things.
* * * * *
The door to the ambassador's quarter opened as Jeremy reached for the buzzer.
"Hello Jeremy," he said, standing in the doorway.
"I'm sorry to disturb you ambassador, could I talk with you?"
Querik smiled. "You are not disturbing me at all, please come in."
"Weren't you on your way out? You opened the door before I got here."
"No, no. I wasn't going anywhere. I was waiting for you."
Jeremy eyed him. "Why?" he stayed in the doorway.
"I'll explain in a moment. Why don't you come in, and and tell me what is troubling you." Querik indicated the seats in the living room.
Jeremy hesitated a moment, then entered. He sat, opened the case and handed the drawings to the ambassadors.
"Those are quite good," Querik said, looking at the ones on top. "You are talented."
Jeremy shrugged. "Keep going."
Querik tilted an ear back and looked at him for a moment, but went back to looking through the drawings. He looked up at him again when he came to the kelsirians. He looked at all of them, before saying anything. "You drew these." It was a statement.
"I think so. I mean I can sort of remember drawing the ones you looked at before, those of my family, and these are in the same style, but I don't remember drawing them, and I couldn't have. I wouldn't have."
"Why do you say that?"
Jeremy took a deep breath. "Do you have homos, in your society?"
"Homos?" Querik asked, and Jeremy pointed to the drawings. "You mean males who have sex with males?" Jeremy nodded. "Yes, we do."
Jeremy stood and started pacing. "Well, we don't. So I couldn't have drawn that. There's no way I would have drawn myself having sex with another male."
"Why do you say that humans don't have them?"
"Because it's well known. It's an alien condition. We've never had any homos in our society, ever."
Querik watched him pace for a moment. "Why did you come to see me?"
"Because I needed to talk to someone, and I can't talk to anyone I know here." Jeremy stopped. "How did you know I was coming?"
"I knew you were coming, because I expected something of this sort to happen. Before I continue, I want you to understand that what I say, I don't say to offend you, or to corrupt you, or to make you into something you are not. I am hoping to provide answers to why you fell the way you do, why you have been having anxiety attacks, as well as your stomach trouble, and maybe explain why you drew those drawings."
Jeremy frowned at him, but nodded.
"You say that males who have sex with males, homos, as you call them, don't exist in your society. That is false."
"How can you say that?" Jeremy exclaimed. "How would you even know that? Have you read our history? Have you hidden on earth, to see those things?"
"No, I haven't. I know, because I heard the subliminal programing, when you gave me the tour."
"What do you mean, I didn't hear anything special."
"Kelsirian hearing reaches a higher range than human. So I can hear what is just at the edge of your range, things you don't quite realize you are hearing. Those things went on at length about how homos are wrong, sick, not right."
"That can't be right. There aren't any Homos among humans."
"There is something else. I am a mentalist. I can hear your mind," Querik added at Jeremy's confusion. "When I helped you with your anxiety, I saw something in your mind that . . ."
"You were in my mind?" Jeremy shot up. "Did you do this to me?"
"No, Jeremy, I didn't. It's against the mentalist's code, and even if I had wanted to, I'm not strong enough to make the changes needed needed to alter a personality so drastically."
Jeremy glared at him. "I trusted you."
"I haven't betrayed your trust. All I did reinforce what you were focusing on, reinforcing the box, making it more solid, more real in your mind. I did nothing more, but I saw something. I don't know what it is, but it resonated with the subliminal broadcasted across the station. The cube I gave you, was to block them, the subliminals in your room were stronger."
Jeremy looked at him. "Is that's why I've been sleeping better since then? You said it was just to help me relax."
Querik offered a reassuring smile. "I didn't think you would use it, if I'd told you the truth."
Jeremy nodded, thinking. "The thing you saw in my mind, do you know what caused it?"
"No, but I think that, if you will let me, I can help you explore your memories, the answer may be there."
By Kindar in Jeremy 0The guard eyed Jeremy wearily, as Jeremy walked by on his way off the ship. Jeremy nodded to him, and stretched. He figured he'd grab a shower, then meet Kathy and Patrick for dinner. He was still thinking about how he was going to spend his evening, when he realized someone was walking next to him.
"Ambassador," Jeremy said, in greeting.
"Jeremy," Querik replied. "How are you doing?"
"Better, thank you. That technique you gave me, the box, is really helpful."
"I'm glad to hear that. You do seem less stressed."
"It still comes," Jeremy replied wryly, "but I'm getting better are realizing it and throwing it in the box."
"Good." The kelsirian was silent, as they kept walking.
"Did you want something else?"
"Actually, yes. I was wondering if you could give me a tour of the station?"
"Didn't they give you one, when you got here?"
"They showed me the command center, administrative areas, but I've never seen the rest of the station."
"Yes, I'm ashame to say that until now, I hadn't really taken much of an interest in your people."
"You. You're the first human I've gotten to know. Everyone else I've interacted with here is very professional, but rather impersonal. It's made me curious about how your people live."
"I had been planing on meeting some friends for dinner."
"But, I'm sure they won't mind if I skip today." He sent both of them a quick message, explaining he'd been pulled into official business, and wouldn't be able to make it. "Where would you like to start? But first, I need to stop by my room to drop my tools." He lifted the bag he was carrying. It was a short walk, since he'd already been heading that way.
"Please ignore the mess," Jeremy said, once inside his room, putting the bag on the bed and lookign around at the clothes all over the floor, the pile of old flimsy, designs he'd drawn over the years. "I keep meaning to clean it up, but I never seem to get to it."
Querik looked around at the small room, but didn't comment on the disorder. "Do you have families here?"
"Of course. A lot of the people who work here are married, and have kids."
"Kids? Oh, cubs. Yes, that's good. And you have a system of education for them, schools?"
"Yes, we have one here, it's a bit small, since there aren't that many children."
"Could I see it?"
"I guess." Jeremy pulled out his datapad and checked it. He didn't know how long the school had students here. Being single, he'd never had to know about that. He found out that it was running much later than on earth, classes ran until six. Probably because most parents worked until then, he figured. He found out where it was located, and guided the ambassador there.
The door to the classroom opened, before he could knock on it. It was located at the back of the class, and the teacher looked over her student at them.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
Jeremy stuttered a bit. "Sorry to disturb you," he eventually managed. "This is the kelsirian ambassador, Querik. He wanted to see what one of our classroom looked like." The kids had turned when the door opened, and their eyes were wide. Jeremy noted that the children ranged from eight to twelve.
Querik was looking over the class also, his ears twitching.
"Oh, it's no bother. Ambassador, do you want to come to the front of the class?" she asked. Querik did, and all th eyes followed him.
"Now class. This is a kelsirian. You've seen pictures before, but you see that he's different from them. Are you typical of a kelsirian, ambassador?"
"Well, that would depend. My features are typical of kelsirians from the west, in the mountains." He looked down at himself. "Although I'm probably more heavy set than many. All those hours sitting behind a desk." That made some of the kids chuckle.
"Does anyone have questions for the ambassador?" she asked, and many hands went up.
"Natalie," she pointed at a ten year old girl, who stood.
"Are you related to cats?"
"Natalie!" she exclaimed. "What kind of questions is that?" the girl sat down, and looked like she might cry.
"Please," Querik said, "it's a perfectly understandable questions, and one even your scientist asked, when they first met my people." He looked at the child. "Natalie, no, I'm not related to the cats your people keep as pets. We look similar, but out genes are setup differently. Do you know what genes are?" the girl shook her head. A boy, looking to be about her age, two tables behind her raised his hand.
"Steven." The teacher said.
"Genes is the string of ADN that's in all our cells. The way the ADN is arranged on that string is what makes each of us different."
"It's called DNA, Steven," the teacher corrected, "but that's a very good explanation."
"The way my DNA is arranged," Querik picked up, "is different than that of your cats. Actually, it's much closer to yours." That engendered amazement. "What are you studying currently?" he asked the teacher.
She looked at the class. "Who wants to tell the ambassador what you've been learning?" all the hands went up. She pointed to one of the older girls. "Daniella."
She stood. "We're learning history. Like how in twenty-one sixty-three we built the first ship capable of going faster than light, the Armstrong. And how twenty years later we founded the first colony."
"Class, did you know that the Armstrong, was actually the ship that made first contact with the kelsirian?" the teacher asked. Heads were shaken. "Yes. In twenty-three oh-six, the Armstrong was exploring the edge of what we then called 'known space' when it came across another ship. It took some time, but they were eventually able to talk together, and that's how we met the kelsirian, and learned about the federation. Today, the kelsirians are supporting us as we go through the process of being admitted in the federation." More amazement from the children.
"I want to thank you for letting me visit," Querik said, looking at the children.
"It was our pleasure, wasn't it children?"
"Yes miss Montegue." The class answered unison.
Querik rejoined Jeremy, and they exited the classroom.
"Where else?" he asked.
"What do you do for recreation?"
"Well, there's the rec room, we have a theater, a couple of sport arenas."
"Can we see them?"
"Sure, there's even a movie playing tonight." He consulted the pad. "Although we probably want to avoid that.
"Why is that?"
Jeremy hesitated. "They're playing 'Invasion'."
Querik tilted his head. "What's that?"
He didn't answer immediately. Now that he'd gotten to know the kelsirian, he wasn't sure he wanted them to know about that movie. "It's an old movie. It was made a couple of years after the first encounter, maybe forty years ago? It's about how earth defends itself from a kelsirian invasion." He couldn't look at the ambassador.
"We would never do such a thing."
"I know." Jeremy replied, "and believe it or not, that's not actually the worst part of the movie. It's comedy, it was made to make us laugh. And in it, kelsirians are portrayed as incompetent buffoons." Jeremy could remember watching it for the first time while at university, and finding it hilarious. Now he was ashamed of that.
"I see," Querik said, neutrally. "Is such view typical of how we are perceived?"
Jeremy though back on reviews of old movies he'd watched with his friends, back then. "For a time. I think before we got to know your people better, it was comforting to think of you in ways that made you non threatening, or to demonize you, make you monsters we always defeat."
Jeremy had to think about it, he wasn't much of a movie goer anymore. "I haven't seen many movies recently, but the few I have, you've been allies, or enemies, but more as real people, rather than a laughing stock."
Querik nodded thoughtfully. "It's good to know we are viewed as people, now."
"You really shouldn't take movies too seriously." Jeremy added quickly, "they're for entertainment. A lot of them make fun of ourselves."
"You have no need to worry," Querik smiled. "We also make movies, in which we make fun of ourselves, and others."
"Us?" Jeremy asked, uncertain if he wanted to really no.
"Not that I'm aware of, like you I don't watch many of them, and you are a fairly recent addition. We have a lot of other races to use for our amusement in those."
"Well, the taournians are regular villains, an the saladins often clowns."
By then they had reach the rec center, with his game tables, discussion areas and quieter spaces for those who preferred reading. Then he showed him the arenas. All unoccupied at this hour. And finally the theater. They stayed at the back, and watched for a moment, as a team of kelsirian attackers shot at the main character, and missed him, even though they were less than ten feet away, and he wasn't moving. The main character took them down, one shot each. Jeremy found he couldn't look, and the laughter in the crowd embarrassed him.
"I'm surprised that your people were able to get kelsirian participate in making this movie. While we are able to make fun or ourselves, we do have some pride in who we are.
"We didn't. The movie is digital, it doesn't have any living actors."
"Are many of your movies done that way?" Querik asked, surprised.
"All of them, as far as I know. I'm not sure why you'd use living people to make a movie, they could get hurt. Not to mention they'd have to obey the laws of physic."
"That's reasonable. We take pride in our people being recorded. We have a large industry devoted to making vids. They even own a few light year of empty space where they can record battles."
Jeremy looked at him, amazed. "Isn't that dangerous, and expensive?"
"It can be, but they are as careful as possible, and danger is part of life. Unlike what I've noticed, reading about humans, we don't look to make our lives immune from danger, we accept it as part of it."
Jeremy nodded. "You did mention your people were warriors, I guess it makes sense that warriors wouldn't shy away from danger?"
"And how about you, Jeremy. Are you a warrior?"
Jeremy laughed. "No. I'm no warrior. I'm just an engineer with stress trouble."
Querik tilted his head and regarded him. "You should think more highly of yourself. But for now I think I should retire. Would you accompany me to me quarters?"
Once there, Querik had him wait while he retrieved something. He came back to the door, and handle a gray cube to Jeremy. He looked at it, about two inches on all sides, no discernible features.
"It emits a vibration that should help you sleep better."
"What makes you think I have trouble sleeping," Jeremy chuckled.
Querik smiled. "Lets say it's an educated guess."
"It's a good guess, thanks."
"It is my pleasure. And Jeremy, I am happy to know you are feeling better."
By Kindar in Jeremy 1Jeremy is standing in the middle of a field. Around him, as far as he can see, are banners, on posts. On the banners are symbols, the closest one to him is a simple circle, the banner next to it has a star, the other one might be an animal, but he can't be sure. Next to it is one with what looks like waves on it.
He moves to look at the next one, but a sound comes from the distance. He turns, trying to determine where it came from. He can feel the box in his hand, and it's comforting. The sound comes again, and he holds the box tighter against him, it sounded angry.
He is going to hold his ground, this time, he tells himself. He isn't going to be chased away by what ever it is. The sound comes again, angry and almost metallic. Jeremy turns and starts running. The banners fly in his face as he runs, making it difficult to see where he is going, and he can sense the thing chasing him getting closer.
The banners fade away, and he stops. He's in a clearing, and before him stands a kelsirian, with brown fur. His heart is beating fast, something tells him that the kelsirian is bad news. He looks over his shoulder, he can't see the thing chasing him, but that's also bad news. He doesn't have long, he can't stay rooted in place.
He runs toward the kelsirian, and the thing chasing him screams.
* * * * *
Jeremy's eyes opened.
After a moment of disorientation, he remembered he was in his bed, looking at the off white ceiling. His stomach churned, he closed his eyes, calling up the box, and it quieted down. He tried to recall the dream, but other than a sensation of being chased, there was nothing. He stared at the ceiling for a time, and then fell back to sleep
By Kindar in Jeremy 0Jeremy was drawing on a piece of paper, he knew he wasn't suppose to, he had a schematic program on his datapad, but he always felt more at ease with paper, and he didn't want to put anything on his pad until he knew he had the circuits right. The commander had the authority to access the information on there, it would be just like him to be in a hurry, and get what ever was on there. When the researchers came back complaining that it was incorrect, Jeremy would be blamed.
The room's com beeped. "Incoming message packet," said the southing voice. "From Earth, Gabriella Krommer, voice only. Do you want to save the message, or play the message?"
Jeremy smiled. "Play it, please."
"Hi Jeremy," said his mother, "I hope you're doing okay, we're all doing well here. The flower bed I planted last month is growing well, I did tell you about that in my last message, didn't I? Your father had to stay home from work for a few days last week. He had an accident, he broke his back, I keep telling him to be careful. I didn't mind having him here, it was nice to have someone to dote on, even if he was cranky the whole time. He's back at work, but they have him on light duty until the end of the week. It looks like Byron finally found the girl for him, I didn't mention her before, because I wasn't sure he was serious, but he surprised all of us by announcing they were engaged. They are thinking of having the weeding in the winter, but they haven't settled on the date yet. I hope you manage to make it. I know your work is important, but we miss you. Marco's going to be starting university in the fall, he finally decided he was going to be a doctor. Bethany just found out she's pregnant. I'm so happy for her, having a child is so wonderful. I guess I should watch how long I'm talking, I don't want this to get too expensive, but I was wondering how it was going with you and Kathy, have you asked her out yet? You really need to find someone special, it can't be easy being single so far from Earth. Well, I'm going to say goodbye now. I can't wait to hear from you."
Jeremy looked at what he was drawing, circles, and triangles, all around a half finished circuit. He shouldn't keep his pen to paper when he was distracted. He dropped the pen and lay down on the bed. "Record message, voice only."
"Hi mom. I'm glad your flower bed is coming along, I try to go to the arboretum at least once a week. I know you want me to have a few plants in my room, but after what happened to the ones from the seeds you sent me a few years ago, I don't think it's a good idea. Kathy's just a friend mom, there isn't anything going on between the two of us, and I'm not going to ask her out, she's nice and everything, but I just don't feel that way toward her, and anyway, I'm too busy with work for a relationship. I'm currently helping repair the generator on a kelsirian ship. Kelsirians are the ones that look like . . . well, like cats, some have faces that look like house cats, while other's faces look like those big cats, from that book you bought me when I was younger. I got to meet their captain, he's a merchant, but he looks nothing like I expected, he's tall, taller than I am, and muscular. Mom, you should have seen his large shoulder, sculpted chest and piercing amber eyes. He kind of makes me nervous, I mean, he hasn't done anything, but he watches me like a hawk at times. I think he's afraid I'm going to break something. I also met their ambassador, who has been on the station for a few years now, he helped me with my stomach pain, and it's actually getting better, I haven't had to take any pills for a few days now. Let me know when they have settled on a date, I'll see what I can do, but I don't know if they'll be able to spare me this year, the work we're doing here is important to our future, give Byron my congratulations, and to Beth too. Tell dad to be more careful, I don't care how good our doctors are, it isn't an excuse to be careless. Okay. Well, you take care. End message"
"Message ended. Please specify what you wish to do with the message."
"Send as a reply to the previous message, normal transmission rate."
"The normal transmission rate for your message to Earth, Gabriella Krommer is one hundred twenty-two dollars and fifteen cents. Please confirm you wish to send the message."
"Message has been sent. The amount of one hundred twenty-two dollars and fifteen cents has been deducted from your account. Do you wish to get your current balance?"
The system gave the beep, indicating it had gone on standby. He looked at the time, eight thirty. Too early for bed, and he didn't feel like getting back to the schematics. He grabbed his pad off the table, and called Kathy.
"Jeremy? Oh my God, you're still alive!"
"Very funny. You know I've been busy."
"So I hear, you've been keeping company with the furballs."
"They're kelserians, Kathy, calling them furballs is insulting."
"I remember you calling them that a while back."
Jeremy blushed slightly. "That was before I worked with them. They aren't just characters in a movie anymore. Anyway, I was wondering if you wanted to meet up, I don't feel like staying cooped up. I was thinking of calling Pat, and Erik, see if we can setup a poker game, you interested?"
"Sure, you know I love taking your money."
"That's not how I remember the last game going," Jeremy chuckled. "I'll see you in our usual room."