Ch 9 Exploration Planning

Conference Room on Frontier
Connected to the Lawrence House at the Macphater Retreat in Queensland, Australia
Saturday, July 31, 1999

When it was decided that the three Teams would be based in Queensland, the Macphater family houses in the retreat were used to house the Team members.  Robert house had been handed over to Marie and John Harvey Lawrence.  Robert had started out sharing a room with Dave White but Steve Fusco was now also bunking with them.  Marie’s older daughter, KA, and Sheila Hunt shared a room.  The almost three-year difference in age had been expected to cause some problems but they had not materialized.  Marie’s best friend Sue Douglass, her husband Ned and their two small children, Alice and Sean, shared two rooms.  Marie’s youngest daughter, Less, and Teresa Fusco shared the last bedroom.  They had become best friends.  Less had taken it upon herself to help her cousin Jason with seeing to Teresa mastering all of the abilities that now were known to the world and the abilities that the family had not publicly acknowledged.  Teresa’s swift progress had spurred her sister Fran and brother Steve to work harder.

JJ Lawrence, Marie’s son, and Tommy Clarke, Claire’s brother, were living with Marie’s sister Kim Reynolds and her family in the house that was to have been Mary Maclaren’s.  Joining them were Eric and Lisa Lawson and their five-year old son, Luther, and 3-year old daughter, Lois.  That put three eight-year old boys, Jason, JJ, and Tommy and three five-year old boys under one roof.  To help out and to keep them out of trouble Claire and Nancy were also staying there.

The Glazen and the Swizz each had a house.  MME employees were learning much about the two races as they helped them convert the houses to suit their needs.

The Kin had no interest in houses though they did make use of caves when available.  They were learning the value of door-less sheds for both themselves and their herds.  The Kin were leading the effort to learn about animals on each of the new worlds.  They were also learning to herd human farm animals.  Their relationship with dogs and cats had not fared so well.  The relationship between humans and dogs confused them.  Kelren was a type of animal native to Friendship that some of the Kin used to help them herd but it was not a very common practice.  The emotional bond that could exist between a human and a dog especially the love and protective nature of it had led to many long discussions between humans and Kin.  Of course, this was nothing compared to the complete inability of the Kin to comprehend the relationship between humans and cats.  It was not unusual for a Kin to stop what he was doing and observe a cat for hours especially if the cat was with its human.

In all, over a dozen of the family’s houses were in use by the Teams.  This was not as disruptive or intrusive as it would seem since many on the Team were blood family and the rest were considered family.  They planned to build homes upon many worlds once the location was chosen, so these houses were considered temporary.

One of the features for the future homes was being tried out in these existing houses.  Windows to the other worlds had been installed in several houses.  In the Lawrence house, a window opened to a building that included a conference room, which was used for planning meetings by the three Teams.

*******

Jason led Teresa to sit by his grandfather Jess who was talking to the Glazen leader O-dof.  This was the first planning meeting that Teresa had attended.  Well, it was only the third one that Jason had attended since they had moved to Australia.  Teresa had been surprised when she walked into the room and saw the Swizz and Glazen.

“O-dof, have you met Teresa Fusco, she is my grandson Jason’s Life-Mate.  Teresa, I would like you to meet O-dof.”

“Greetings, Tereza.  You and Jason have given us new data for understanding Life-Mates.”  O-dof offered his hand to her.

“Waz-on, O-dof.”  Teresa answers in the Glazen language.  “That is almost all of your language that I know, but I am going to learn both it and the Swizz language.  There is so much to learn.

O-dof made the sound that was the Glazen equivalent of a laugh.

Jason reacted to the fright that the sound had caused Teresa by putting his arm around her shoulder.  That’s a Glazen laugh.

Teresa turned to Jason with a wide smile, then turned back to O-dof and took his offered hand.

Jess smiled at the two young children remembering how it had been with Alice, Will, and him.

John Harvey looked around the room.  Everybody is here.  “Let us start the meeting.”  He paused for a second as everyone’s attention turned to him.  “This meeting will be covering some things that we don’t want to be general knowledge but have now progressed to the point where we need to make everyone on our three Teams aware of them.  As such, do not discuss them where others could hear.  First, let us hear the status of the Teams.”  John looked over to the three leads for Team 1.  He never knew which one would be doing the talking and he suspected that they didn’t plan on who would talk.  They just functioned so well together that who was to speak at any one time depended very much, on what they had to say.

Claire was the one that spoke.  “Team 1 training is progressing well.  The addition of the three Fusco’s to Team 1 has meant a bit of additional training to get them up to speed, but their Life-Mates took up much of the extra work.  Steve Fusco and Carol Stanley have taken over squad E, allowing Tim and Jo Stanley to concentrate on working on the space drive upgrades.  Dave White and Fran Fusco have taken over squad D.  Bruce Maclaren will be in charge of security for the Teams and Martha Maclaren will be in charge of co-coordinating education and training for all the Teams.  Later, we have some things that will make a difference for our discussion.”

John Harvey glances over at Kim and Rob, but they were as surprised as he was.  Kim offers a thought.  That is why Jason and Teresa are here but I think they are only part of what they have to present.

Alyca also wonders what the three of them have come up with now.  The way that Robert, Claire, and Nancy working together were able to understand and accomplish so much made her wonder sometimes what it would be like to have two Life-Mates instead of one.  Not that finding Bruce hadn’t changed her life in more ways than she had even dreamed of when she was a young girl working with Uncle Jess and Aunt Alice but she could tell that the three Life-Mates were capable of much more than anyone else that she knew.  Enough wool gathering.  Give the report so we can find out what they have to say.

“Team 2 has also changed two squads.  Colonel Richie will be taking over command of the British Army Battle Group that will be one of the regular military forces that will be working with us.  Penny Richie with be working with Martha in developing the training for the younger Team members.  Doctors Larry and Ann Tidwell will be joining the medical faculty at James Cook University.  They will be working on unifying human medical knowledge with that of the Swizz, Glazen, and the Kin especially in the area of mental abilities.  Squad H is now led by Jason Wong and Betsy Maclaren.  They will be specializing in medical training.  Our newest squad leaders are Samantha Hunt and Raheem Baraheni.  Rah has just arrived from Persia, where he helped in the changes that occurred there.  He was one of the boys that Keyvan brought to Europe during the Iran-Iraq War.  Naz is preparing to teach him English.  It will be a while until he is fully integrated into the Team.  We expect to be able to have the new squad up to speed in a couple of weeks.  Otherwise training is ahead of schedule.”

“Team 3 training is also going well.  We are getting the first of our apprentices and younger members but most of them don’t speak English.  Naz is leading the effort to train them.  Other than that we still have not found Life-Mates for squad H, everything is going fine.”  Willy Maclaren finished the Team 3 report.

“I believe that we may have a possible pair of Life-Mates for you.  It will require that Mary Steele joins us on the trip to California.”  Ben Tohe smiled at Linda Steele, Mary’s sister.

“You found Mary’s Life-Mate!”  Linda was very excited.  Mary had been unable to join the Teams without a Life-Mate and had been working with the JCU medical group.

“We have known who he was for a while.  Leroy was a classmate of Linda, who has been our friend for a couple of years at Stanford, but he had been living with someone.  He contacted us this past week for help in getting into the medical program at JCU.  He seemed to be upset so I asked him about Chelsea.  He said that they had broken up.  I told him that we would be back at Stanford to clean out our apartment and he should meet us there.  I said that we had someone we wanted to introduce him to and that we expected that there would have no trouble getting him into JCU.”

Everyone but Teresa started laughing.  Fate had again beaten the odds.

Jason, what is so funny.  Teresa asked her Life-Mate.

Remember how it was when we met and you, Fran, and Steve found your Life-Mates in the Team.  Ben’s friend Leroy is Mary Steele’s Life-Mate.  He called Ben and Linda to get into JCU.
 
Teresa could see how that was good but not why it was funny.

Jess could see Teresa confusion.  “Teresa, we are laughing because so many good things have been happing for us.  We are surprised that they happen but we are happy that they do.”

Teresa felt the love that Jess had for her just like that which he had for Jason.  She walked over and gave him a hug.  Her roommate, Less, had told her how sad her grandfather had been after he had lost his wife, she wanted him to be happy.

“I think we can include Mary when we go back to California.  Linda, I guess you and Willy should also join us.”  Sol White was happy that good luck had again helped them.  He did wonder if they would get so use to good luck that when bad luck or no luck came their way would it hit them harder after all the luck that they had had.

“Now as all of you know, Marie is going to Stanford University to address a meeting discussing the mathematics behind her mother’s Adjacent World Theory.  In reality, she is going to try explaining the theory to those that didn’t understand it when Dame Alice first presented it.  She will then go into what has been learned since then.  I also will be presenting on what we have achieved with the windows and our explorations of the four worlds.”  Sol paused.

“This means that we will be telling them an incomplete story since there are more than four worlds that we have visited and that we didn’t use a window to visit this fifth world.”  Sol looked at the stunned faces of over half of those in the meeting.  He knew that both the Glazen and the Swizz had not been told along with the humans that hadn’t been at the original meeting.  Marie as the expert on all things having to do with the Adjacent World Theory had known along with her Life-Mate John Harvey.  What surprised him was that Marie had not told her sister Kim or that Linda Tohe had not told her Life-Mate, Nels Lawrence.

“How do you visit a world without using a window?”  Alyca had quickly gotten over the disbelief that she momentarily had had.  She also noticed those that hadn’t been surprised.  Now her thirst to knowledge was in full force.

Ben Tohe was the one that answered.  “After I had heard about your Aunt Alice’s death, I wanted to prove her Adjacent World Theory.  Linda and I meditated and were able to step into another world with three moons.  When we returned, we saw what happened at the memorial service.  I felt the need to call and talk to Mary.  I had thought that the reason I needed to call was that I had proven her Aunt Alice’s Adjacent World Theory but that turned out not to be the main reason.”  He looked at Mary Maclaren and smiled.

Alyca did not know how to respond to the idea of using meditation to go to another world.  She had never bothered with meditation.

“Alyca, I have studied meditation but only to gain self control.  I’m not sure what I learned has anything to do with what Ben and Linda used, but it is a start.  I believe that you do something similar with your shooting.  We may find other ways that this type of meditation will help us.”  Bruce Jenson squeezed his wife and Life-Mate’s hand.

“What more have you found out about this world?”  The Swizz planetologist Roott asked.

“Nothing.”  Marie answered.  “We haven’t been able to determine which world it was or the settings to open a window to it.  Ben and Linda have no way to determine how they selected this world.  At the time they believe that there was only one adjacent world.”

“You had previously mentioned sixteen worlds in our group.  How many are there?”  Kim Reynolds asks her sister.

“More than the one group, but I have not been able to calculated the exact number or any settings for worlds beyond our group.”

“We have been able to sense forty nine worlds from Earth.”  Robert’s statement shocked everyone except his Life-Mates, Claire Clarke and Nancy Tohe.

Jess was the first to recover.  “Claire mentioned ‘some things that will make a difference for our later discussion’.  Would you care to give us the other things so that we can determine the impact of what you have?”

“That is the big one.”  Robert refrained from smiling but those that knew him well could see the twinkle in his eyes.  “The three of us working together were able to identify forty-nine worlds.  When I taught Claire to sense the first four worlds, she sensed additional worlds.  We kept this secret since there was enough work with four worlds to explore.  When Nancy joined us, she also could sense additional worlds, but they were not the same ones Claire had noticed.  I also individually could sense worlds that Claire could not.  A few weeks ago, we had some time to explore what the three of us working together could do.  The additional worlds have a wider range than our original five but all are capable of supporting life like all four of our species even if we might not want to live there.  We have not worked with any of the three other races in searching for additional worlds.  We suspect that the ability to sense adjacent worlds would increase.”

Nancy took over talking about the things they had to reveal.  “That is the short report of the first thing we wish to report.  The second item is that squads A, B, and C were able to duplicate the stepping between worlds for the revealed worlds.  Ben taught us the meditation techniques that he and Linda used.  The extra drills that we were running to increase our speed for passing through a window together were actually performed with powered down windows.  All three squads can step between the worlds either as squads or as individuals.”  She paused for three seconds.  “The three of us did enter one of the other worlds to see if we could.  We stayed only long enough to take some readings; we then stepped to the world to which we had told the others that we were going.”

“These readings that we took are the third item.”  Claire handed a sheet of paper to Marie.

Marie starts by just glancing at the paper but then she focuses her attention on it.  Everyone is quiet as she considers the readings.  Finally, she looks up at her dad.  “These readings don’t match any of the sixteen worlds for which I had calculated settings.  They are the breakthrough that I needed to calculate the entire group.”

“How many?”  Jess asks.

“From 64 to 128 in groups of 16.  Since they can detect 49, there are at least 4 groups of 16.  I do not have time to complete the work before the conference.”  Marie answers.

“Why didn’t they detect more than 49 worlds?”  Mei-lei asked.

“Why can they detect 49 worlds?  That would be the better question.”  Alyca asked.

“Both will need answers.”  Jess looks from one to another of the three Life-Mates.  “Do you have any more surprises for us?”

Nancy nodded.  “None of the worlds that we can sense is the one that my brother and sister visited.  This is little more than a hunch but they have described that world well enough that we feel it is not one of the forty nine that we can sense.”

“So we will still need to visit their apartment and determine if we can find a way to revisit this world.”  Sol states.  “We should also set up windows to visit all of the worlds that Marie has settings for.”

“It is likely that some of these worlds may have intelligent life.  Will we make contact with them?”  Roott asked.

“I believe that we need to be careful.  We should observe them covertly, until we are sure that they are not under the control of the Nartak or Qoof.  Even then, we should be careful.  Of course, if it is a Glazen or Swizz world, we will make contact.  What are your thoughts on making contact?”

Roott looked at her Life-Mate Rickk.  “The capture of our spacecraft, the Mirrraaattee, by the Nartak has led to us reconsidering our policy of exploration.  With the mind shields that all of the Team members have, we should be safe from control from any of the Qoof except Masters.  It was only through trickery that the Nartak captured us.  The Swizz ships and weapons are better than those of both the Nartak and the Qoof.  With the improvements that our alliance is making, we will have even more of an advantage.  Our only fear is that we could make a mistake and let either race know about us before we are ready to confront them.”  He paused.  “We trust our three Teams here not to make such a mistake.  We need to keep the knowledge of the other worlds hidden.”

“I agree with all that has been said.”  O-dof adds.

The Kin also agrees with what was discussed.  The thought of Moiria, the Kin leader-speaker for Team 1, was received by everyone in the room.

“In that case, I will leave it up to the three Teams to work with Sir William to come up with a plan to explore additional worlds.  The main requirement is not to be caught.  We know that Team 1 is capable of that type of planning and I would not be surprised if the other two Teams have things that they are not yet ready to tell us.”  Sol’s gaze went to the leads of each of the Teams.  He was fairly certain that he had guessed right about the other two Teams.  If not, they were competitive enough that they would take this as a challenge.

“Back to the trip to California.  Mei-lei, our children and me will be going.  Fran also will be going since we don’t want to separate Life-Mates.  Marie and John Harvey will be bringing their children as well as Sheila Hunt.  Sheila as Marie’s apprentice will learn a lot by attending the presentation.  Linda and Ben Tohe will be going so we can see if they can recreate their trip to the world that they had visited.  Their Life-Mates Nels Lawrence and Mary Maclaren will accompany them, as will Brenda Maclaren and Charles Koloski.  As mentioned earlier, Mary Steele, Linda Steele and Willy Maclaren will also be joining us.  We will be leaving Tuesday.”

Claire interrupted.  “We would like to add three of us, Jason and Teresa to the trip.  To explain why we would like to tell you about our last surprise”  She paused and smiled.  “for today.”

“You never did say that you had told us everything.”  Jess realized that they had let the discussion lead away from their presenting of their surprises.  They had assumed that the three had mentioned all of them.

“When Ben and Linda lead a group to this other world, you would have no way to communicate with them especially if they run into trouble.  Well in the one trip that we made to the unknown world, we were discovered not by anyone there, but by Jason and Teresa.  They contacted us when we were there.  It was not an emergency but they wanted to contact us right away.  They didn’t stop to consider where we were.  They just contacted us.  Well they really surprised the three of us.  We had thought we were on a world all by ourselves with no one able to contact us, which was why we planned for such a short stay.”  She looked around at the individuals intently listening to her.  “We told them to say nothing about what we were doing or what they had just done.  We worked with them and learned how to communicate between worlds.  You need joined Life-Mates to initiate the communications, but it works better with joined Life-Mates at either end.  We expect that all Life-Mates on the Teams can learn and those that are members of the family.”

“So after you teach us, why do the five of you need to come along?”  Jess teased.

“Jason and Teresa should go, because they are the strongest communicators that we have.”  Nancy explained.  “The three of us are the second strongest communicators.  Additionally, we can sense worlds that we have not journeyed to and we need to find out if we can sense the world that my sister and brother visited.  When we learn to sense this other world, we will be able to know what is going on there.  This might take Linda and Ben visiting this other world first so that we can tell which one it is, but once we have the ability to sense the other world, we can monitor them and  lead a rescue if anything goes wrong.”

“You realize this ability to sense the unvisited worlds set you up for being the reserve when we enter each world for the first time.”  Willy was looking forward to Linda and him being the first ones onto a new world.

Robert smiled at his older brother.  He knew that Willy wanted to be the first to step onto a world.  “We have had our opportunity to be the first ones with the world we collected the data on.  We need to work with dad to come up with a plan on how to check out each of these worlds.  If being the backup is where we are needed then that what we will do.”

The progress that Robert, Claire, and Nancy were making amazed Will.  He had worried that the “threeness” of their relationship would hamper them both among themselves and with how others treated them.  He had seen no indications of personal problems between them.  It had been more a matter of them figuring out how their relationship worked.  As to how others reacted to them, the three Teams here had had no problems from the beginning, probably due to their siblings on the Teams, but it was also the ability they showed.  Those outside the Teams had also learned to respect them even if they were unsure about what their relationship really meant.  Well the old saying said that two heads were better than one, well the three of them were showing that at least these three Life-Mates were better than a pair.

“Good, that will take care of some of the concerns that I have been having with this project.  It will also help to keep JJ and Less out of trouble.”  Marie had worried about her two youngest.  KA and Sheila have become good friends.  KA has actually started to show some interest in mathematics.

I don’t see any of the four of them acting as a restraint on the others.  John Harvey told his wife.  I think that it is more likely that they can think of twice as many things to get into.
 
No, having a Life-Mate is changing Jason.  Marie replied.  He is protective of her.  When O-dof’s laugh scared her, he immediately put his arm around her.  It will be a good example for our two youngest, not that I am looking for them to have Life-Mates any time soon.  All of the Life-Mates, even Alyca and Bruce, have had similar type of changes.
 
Robert, Claire, and Nancy checked out that world without telling anyone.
 
I expect that you would find that Claire and Nancy had left a detailed note in their room of what they had done.  Also, they would have planned everything.  Even if they had told us and we had been ready to help, what could we have done?  We had no way to identify the world or get to it.  With the information that they have given me, I will be able to calculate the settings for the windows so that we can go to this newest batch of worlds.
 
John Harvey smiled at his wife.  He agreed with her on what being a Life-Mate meant to how one would approached things.  He remembered how he had changed after they met.  Yes, it would be good for JJ and Less to have Jason and Teresa come on the trip.

“Yes, I have also had concerns about the project.  Any more additions to who should go with us.  Linda, would your mother want to come with us?”  Sol asked.

“No she is taking care of David kids while he is at Boeing for the shuttles.”

“I don’t see why we cannot take the time now to learn inter-world communications.  We don’t want to keep Eric, Jerome, and the other members of your Team back on Earth waiting too long to start the training.”  Sol had expected to surprise the three of them with the knowledge that he had guessed that they had everything ready for the training, but Robert had just nodded.

Stanford University
Palo Alto, California, USA
Thursday August 5, 1999

It had taken over a half hour to drive south from the airport.  The Whites and the Lawrences had decided to stop and eat at a restaurant.  They had the younger kids with them.  They had chosen to stop for a late lunch rather than have twenty-six of them squeeze into an apartment with one bathroom.  They would then head over to the Whites house before they came over to make the attempt to cross over into the other world that Ben and Linda had visited.  Linda Tohe with Nels, Willy, Linda Steele, and the nervous Mary Steele had stopped to get fast food for the rest of them.  That left Ben to take the others to check out his and Linda’s apartment in student housing and see if Leroy Brown had arrived early.

As they pulled into the parking lot, Nancy is still trying to understand why Ben had not made mental contact with Leroy when they were talking on the phone.  “It is not too personal to ask an old friend if you could be in mental contact.”

“It wasn’t that, it was more like I got the feeling that he wasn’t comfortable with mental communications.”  Ben replied.

“Then how will he react to finding out that Mary is his Life-Mate?”  Nancy was concerned that the meeting would turn out bad.

“That is why she is with Linda getting the food.  I wanted time to talk to him face to face.”

As the pull into a parking spot, they see a fight start near the door to the apartments.

“That is Leroy and his brother Tom …”   Ben had started to say but Mary and her brother and his Life-Mates had already exited the van followed by Brenda and Charles.

There were two guys holding Leroy while another who looked like a football linesman was hitting him.  As his arm came forward, Robert hit him from behind causing him to hit the guy on the left holding Leroy.  Robert used his change in momentum to carom himself toward the other guy that had been holding Leroy.  Having seen Robert coming he had let go of Leroy and had started to swing at Robert, but Claire had warned Robert and he had blocked and stepped quickly up to the guy and pushed him over.  He had then turned back to the first guy.

Mary had been no kinder with the two guys holding Tom but had the advantage of them having their backs to her.  She had slapped the first one across the ear with a cupped hand.  He let loose of Tom’s arm and was rolling on the ground with his arms around his head.  Tom had been trying to break free and help his brother so as soon as his one arm was free he had bent and thrown the second guy holding him over his hip.  Mary’s kick to the stomach as the guy hit the ground allowed Tom to break free.

Claire and Nancy had split to either side around the fighting.  They now had their pistols drawn and were keeping the other four guys that had been watching at bay.

Brenda and Charles’ arrival a few steps behind the others caused all but the big guy that had been hitting Leroy to stop.  When the big guy saw that it was just a kid that had hit him from behind, he had become further enraged.  He took a swing at Robert, who blocked then hit him three times.  He lay on his back trying to regain his breath and glaring at Robert.

“O’Neill, you are a stupid, red neck, muscle bound loser.  Players like you were one of the reasons that I stayed away from college football.  Reid and O’Malley, toss your knives against the wall so Claire and my sister don’t have a reason to shoot you.  Now, help these guys up and head back over to your dormitory and I will try to remember not to give Coach Peterson a call and tell him what you have been up to.”  Ben had leisurely walked over to where O’Neill lay on the ground.  He paused and smiled.  “Or how it ended.  We will be around here until next week.  I don’t want you around this building while we are here.”

“But I am living with Chelsea.”  O’Neill says in a weak frightened voice as he looked up at Ben and Robert.

“It will give her a chance to come to her senses, not that Leroy will be around to take her back.”  Ben smiled at his friend Leroy.

“No, I am going to Australia to study.  My talking about doing that is what broke us up.  She wanted a doctor who would one day work at her daddy’s clinic.  Not a researcher.”  Leroy looked down at O’Neill.  “I tried to tell you that I wasn’t here to see Chelsea.  We want different things.”  He walked over to Robert.  “Thanks, you saved me from a beating.”  They shook hands.

A convertible raced into the parking lot and parked in the fire lane.  As soon as the car stopped, a blonde cried “Jamie!” and ran to where O’Neill lay.

Ben, I take it that is Chelsea.  Nancy is mad at her brother.  Have you and Linda checked for Life-Mates for anybody you knew.

That explains why Leroy and Chelsea broke up.  Claire was watching the woman hug the football player.

“O’Neill, the only person that can come between Chelsea and you is you.  You are Life-Mates.”  Ben was madder at himself than at O’Neill.  “Can’t you tell how she feels about you?”  He could tell that Jamie O’Neill didn’t understand.  Have you communicated with Chelsea mentally?
 
The look of shock on Jamie’s face surprised Ben.

He has a strong natural shield.  I believe that you were the first person to communicate with him.  Nancy told her brother.  She holstered her gun and walked over to where the couple sat on the ground.  Chelsea, I am Nancy, Ben and Linda’s sister.  Have you been able to communicate mentally with Jamie?
 
No.  He cannot communicate mentally.  He must have injured his head playing football.  Chelsea was in tears.

No, he is not injured.  You saw him jump just a minute ago.  Ben went passed his shield and communicated with him.  Do you want us to show him how to use his shield?  You would be able to communicate with him.

“Can you?”  Chelsea was so excited that she switched to talking.

“Yes.  Jamie, that was Ben that communicated with you mentally.  You have a shield that is keeping you from communicating mentally with most people, especially Chelsea.  Would you like to learn how to let down the shield so that you can let Chelsea and other people communicate mentally with you?”

“I thought that was a lie.  I woke up to a voice in my mind a couple of month ago but it seemed like a dream.  I couldn’t communicate with anyone.  Then later, I ran into Chelsea at the mall after she and Leroy broke up and I stopped worrying about it.”  Jamie told them.

It is not a lie.  Nancy had no trouble going past his shield to communicate with him.  “You and Chelsea are Life-Mates.  You should be living your lives being able to communicate mentally with each other.  Do you want us to help you to communicate with Chelsea?”

Jamie looked at Chelsea.  He saw the distress in her eyes.

“Please, let them help us.”  Chelsea told him.

“Ok!  Who is the ‘us’?  Not you brother, I hope.”

“No, my Life-Mates.  Claire.”  Claire came up and stood beside Nancy.  “And Robert.”  She nodded as Robert stepped forward and offered his hand to Jamie.

“I hope there will be no hard feelings.  I just could not let you hurt Leroy.”

“No one has gotten the better of me, since before I was younger than what I think you are.”  He took Robert hand and shook.  Then Robert easily helped him to his feet.  “Were you going easy on me?”

“You are alive.”  The way Robert said it was as a fact not a boast.

Jamie realized that Robert actually would have killed him if he had felt it was necessary.  Then it dawned on him who the three teenagers were and he knew that he had been lucky.  He had seen them in the news especially the video of the memorial service where with the help of Robert’s sisters, he and Claire had stopped the terrorists by killing two and shooting the hand off of the other.

Robert realized that Jamie had finally recognized them.  “Jamie, you have been upset since you unconsciously knew that something was missing in your relationship with Chelsea.  That is why you were afraid that Leroy was here to take her back.”

“Jamie, I love only you.  No one can take you place.  Let them help us.”  Chelsea was in tears.

Jamie wrapped his arm around her and hugged her to him.  “What do we have to do?”

“Nothing much, just be willing to let us help, we and Chelsea will do the rest.”  Nancy told him.

The three Life-Mates joined their minds and then mentally reached out to Chelsea.  Chelsea, you are the key to making this happen easily and quickly.  Just mentally reach out to Jamie and we will help you get past his shield.

Working with Chelsea, they taught them how to use their shields and communicate with each other and with other people.

Leroy, I am sorry.  I was afraid of losing Chelsea.  Jamie communicated with Leroy who wasn’t comfortable with the mental communications.

“We could tell that we were not meant for each other.  It was hard to accept so suddenly after living together for over a year.”  Leroy looks at the two of them standing their together.  “Chelsea, I would still like to be friends but with both of you.  You were an important part of my life for a long time.  Just because it was not what it once was doesn’t mean that we cannot be friends.”

Jamie, I would like to stay friends with Leroy.

I know now that I never have to fear losing you to someone else.  If Leroy is your friend then I want to be his friend also.  Jamie held out his hand to Leroy and they shook.

Tom turned to Mary.  “Thanks for the help, but you didn’t have to kick the second guy, I could have handled him.”

“I could see that, but dad taught us not to fight fair.  End it fast.  He also suggested that we leave them dead but I think this is one of those instances where we should let them live.”  Mary face was serious as she took in the young man that she had rescued.  Ben came up and put an arm around her waist.

Tom starred at the young women who were almost his own height.  He had run-ins with some gang members in LA before his brother had got him out of there to live with a cousin in the suburbs.  This woman was scarier than any of them were.  She was calm but she meant what she said.

“Tom, Leroy, Chelsea, Jamie, I would like you to meet my Life-Mate Mary Maclaren.  This is her twin sister Brenda and her Life-Mate Charles Koloski.  Then we have Robert Maclaren, Claire Clarke, and my sister Nancy.  This is Leroy Brown and his brother Tom.”  Ben turned to Jamie.  “Jamie, tell Coach Peterson that we would like to stop by practice and talk to him and the team.  I think that we can give you some help along the lines of what we did here.  Also, have any of the guys that have girl friends have them come to the practice.  You might not be the only Life-Mates.”

“Ok, but you are not his favorite person.  He is still upset that you wouldn’t join the team.”

“Football was only a game to me.  I didn’t have the drive for it that you and the other members of the team do.  If I had joined the team, I wouldn’t have had the same intensity and I would have let you down.”

Chelsea and Jamie headed to her apartment.  The other football players drifted off.

Ben, you still aren’t going over people you know and checking for Life-Mates.  Mary mentally chided him.

What?  Ben sensed that Mary meant Tom.  I should have known better after the Fusco’s.  “Leroy you said that you wanted help getting into the new medical program at James Cook.  What was Tom going to do?  Go with you or stay here?”

I told Marie.  They will be over right after they finish eating.  She told me she was not telling Sheila and that we weren’t to tell Tom.  Mary’s thoughts went out to her teammates.

“I would like to go with Leroy if I could.  I know that you are also starting a special mathematic department devoted to the Adjacent World Theory.  I would like to improve my chances of getting to study there.  Did you hear that they are having a meeting here to talk about the theory at Stanford this weekend?  I was trying to find a way to get in to hear what they had to say.”

“Tom, you did hear the name Maclaren mentioned a few times here?”  His brother reminded him.

Tom blushed.

“That is one of the reasons that we planned this trip.  We also will be doing an experiment that we would like you to help us with, but we can talk about that later.  Leroy, the reason that we asked you to meet us here has just arrived.”

Linda Tohe pulled the second van into the parking space beside where her brother had parked.  Before they had stopped, Mary Steele jumped out with a medical kit in hand and ran over to them.

“Leroy and Tom, I would like to introduce you to Mary Steele.  She is Leroy’s Life-Mate.  Mary this is Leroy Brown and his brother Tom.”

Ben introduction is ignored by Mary who hands the kit to Brenda.  She takes Leroy’s chin in one hand and gently touches his lip where it is bleeding.  “Brenda, He just has a split lip.  I just need some alcohol to clean the blood off and ensure it does not get infected.”

“Mary” Leroy reached up and takes each of Mary’s hands in his.  He then kissed one then the other.

Willy and Linda came up followed by Linda Tohe and Nels Lawrence.

“We are lucky we stopped to pick up lunch or we might have had some dead football players.  Mary and my Linda were ready to shoot them.”  Willy walks over to Tom and offers his hand.  “Willy Maclaren.  You met my baby brother and my sisters.  This is Linda Steele, my Life-Mate and Mary’s sister.  I think you know Linda Tohe.  This is her Life-Mate, Nels Lawrence.”

“Are you related to Professor Marie Maclaren Lawrence?”  Tom asked.

“She is married to my cousin.  Everyone here is related or will be in a few years.”  Nels laughed.

Tom took a couple of seconds to think about the last comment.  “All of you are members of the Teams that are training in Queensland.  Life-Mates will marry and that will make you all related.  And when Leroy and Mary marry, I will be distantly related also.”  He looks at Robert.  “I hope to find my Life-Mate someday.  We should have the same type of interest.  We will join one of the Teams here.”

“I would suggest that you hold out for an Australian girl.”  Ben avoided Mary’s elbow as she tried to shut him up.  “They can be pretty rough at times but they are not dumb.”  He did not avoid the second elbow.

Mary Steele and Leroy had been mentally communicating.  What are all of you hiding?

Ben has been remiss in not checking for Life-Mates.  I forgave him for not checking to see if any of his acquaintances was one of our Life-Mates.  Hopefully, Sheila Hunt will do the same when she meets Tom.  Now we aren’t supposed to tell them until Marie gets here with Sheila.
 
Marie Lawrence.  Tom may not notice anyone but her.  He has been studying the Adjacent World Theory since Ben first mentioned it to him.
 
Good, Marie can use all the help that she can get.  She was delighted when Sheila joined us.  Tom will be a big surprise.  Let us keep it a secret from her until she gets here.
 
You and Marie are friends?
 
Yes, more importantly, we are family and that now includes you and your brother.
 
“We need to get the equipment in.  Linda, take Claire, Nancy and Tom and the food and go open up your apartment.  We will grab the equipment and follow you in.  We need to eat and get things ready before they get here.”  Robert led the others to the vans.

Chapter 10 – Stepping Without A Window

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