Ch 1 Joining Up

White House
Washington D.C., USA
Sunday May 23, 1999

Senior Secret Service Agent Jeff Wilson, his wife Helen Wilson and Martha Maclaren, Bruce Maclaren’s wife, were sitting in the conference room with President Dave Clarke and his wife Sue.  They had just finished training the second group of secret service agents in the mental abilities that they themselves had learned in the last few days.

“We have enough agents who can mental communication to have two on each shift.  I am glad that Brenda and Mary were willing to get up before sunrise to go to the shooting range to teach us.  I will take this first group out tomorrow to train them.”  After Jeff finished reporting to the President, he addressed the First Lady.  “The picnic at Camp David for the Secret Service families on Saturday was a good idea to check for Life-Mates and singles with the ability.”

“We are just moving it up from later in the summer, but this will allow us to check out most of the local agents and their spouses or significant others at one time.”  Sue nodded.

“Martha and I will set up a luncheon with the Life-Mates of the agents we just trained.”  Helen turned to Martha.  “I will be by later to set up the listing of your house.  Are you sure that you don’t want to rent it?”

“No, Bruce and I plan to homestead.  Having a farm from which Bruce can commute to work through one of the Maclaren windows will be ideal.  We had planned to move to a farm when we retired but now, we won’t have to wait.”  Martha was plainly excited at the idea.  “The children know something more than moving to Australia to protect Claire is going on.  We plan to tell them on the flight and then teach them about mental communication.  It is hard to believe that we will have a charter flight.”

“We aren’t sure if you will be going directly to Australia or stopping off in the United Kingdom first.  It all depends on what they are able to do from Texas when they step over to Friendship.”  Dave attention was elsewhere for a moment as he got a mental message from his daughter.  “Claire and the others are about to arrive at TDI.  Larry, give me a status report during my exercise time tomorrow.  It looks like I will lose more of my free time.”

“As fast as the mental communications is, it should take no more than a few minutes.  I find that the information is easier to assimilate than getting it verbally or by reading.”  Jeff said.

“I still have to consider the implications of what is in the report.  You are also right about assimilating information.  I find that I understand things better.”  Dave rose and they all left the room.

Smyth Industries Kingmoor Facility
Carlisle, Cambria, UK
Sunday May 23, 1999

He had walked from the Carlisle rail station.  It was nothing to him.  He had walked to Europe when he was twelve.  As much as the war had driven him away from Persia, he was now drawn here.  Then he knew what he was getting away from, but what was it that drew him?  The dogs had surprised him.  He still was uncomfortable with dogs even after spending over half his life in Europe, but these dogs were different.  They had suddenly appeared behind him when he had passed the sign saying Smith Industries Kingmoor Facility.  That they had surprised him had surprised him even more.  Nothing had snuck up on him for many years but these dogs had.  Initially they were not hostile more like a guard questioning your right to be where you were, but then that had changed almost as if someone had commanded them.  Only he and the two large dogs were there so how could a command have been given.  Now, they were escorting him and they were very friendly.  They kept lightly brushing up against his hands as if they wanted some attention.

As he approached the gates, two soldiers exited the guardhouse.  Their rifles were ready but not pointed at him.  What was he going to tell them?  He couldn’t say that he had been drawn here.  He had boarded a train in Rome yesterday and had headed here.  Every time he had to make a change, he had known where to go.  Well, maybe that which was guiding him would give him the words he needed to continue.

“Halt!  This area is restricted.  You need to turn around and leave.”  The first soldier ordered.

English was one of the languages that he knew but he seldom had a need to use it in Rome.  “I need …”

“Let him in.”  A small boy yelled.  He was accompanied by an animal that he had never seen or heard of.  Another two of the dogs followed them.  The dogs at his side turned and went back the way that they had just come.

A few feet from him, the boy stopped running and switched to a walk.  He nodded then turned to the soldiers.  “Father will call in a couple of minutes.  He was in a meeting.”  The boy turned back to him and stepped towards him.  “Hello, my name is John Jess Lawrence IV but you should call me JJ.  We hadn’t expected you.  Especially for you to just walk up.  My cousin Sandy is on Friendship.  It will take a few minutes for my sister Less to bring her back.”

“My name is Keyvan.  When I woke up yesterday, I had a need to come here.  I gave away what I couldn’t take with me and boarded the train in Rome.  I have been traveling since then.”

“We will go to the cafeteria.  They will meet us there.”  JJ turned back to the guards as the phone rang.

“Yes, sir.  We will let him in.  JJ is with two of the dogs, do we need to escort him?  Yes, sir.”  The third guard inside the guardhouse hung up the phone.  “Let him through”

The first guard waved him through and the guards returned to the guardhouse.

Keyvan found it hard to believe that they were turning him over to this young boy.

“This is my friend Jevron.  He is one of the Kin.  The Kin are from the world Friendship.”  The boy took his hand and led him towards one of the buildings.  “You look hungry.  We will get you a good meal.  Father and the others will be another half hour or more until the meeting is over.  They are looking forward to meeting you, but not as much as Sandy.  We have a lot to talk about.”

Trail Drive International
Dallas, Texas, USA
Sunday May 23, 1999

Brenda and Mary still could not get Linda Steele to give them any additional information about Charles or Ben.  Naz had just mentally joined Claire and Mary Steele on listening in on the discussion between the three.  It dawned on Claire that she now had five sisters.  Well future sister-in-laws, Brenda, Mary, Naz, Linda and Mary Steele.  Make that six, Ben’s sister Linda.  Does Charles have any sisters or brothers?  A week ago, I was a high school student thinking about how I was going to have any fun like the other kids with secret service agents in tow.  Now I have Robert and what we will be doing this summer was not anything that those kids would be doing.

Girls, you know you aren’t going to get Linda to tell you anything.  So stop trying.  What are you going to say when you meet them?  Leslie’s question stopped her twin daughters hounding of Linda for information.

Claire looked back at them in the back of the Suburban.  They had not consider what they would say when they met.

Invite them to go target shooting.  Robert thought.
 
Claire glanced over at him.  Even though he kept his thoughts flat, she was able to see a twinkle in his eyes.   
 
Mary, when you ask Ben about stepping into another world do not say HOW.  Naz , the wife of their brother Ian, was a linguist.
 
Brenda, would you ask Charles if he has a brother.  I am beginning to feel left out.  Mary Steele, the only one of the girls not to have found her Life-Mate, asked.
 
Mary and Brenda realized that their family was making fun of them.  For just a second they had been angry, but then they realized how foolish they had been acting.  They burst into laughter.  The others joined them.

Larry Smith says that Jess and Lieutenant Charles Koloski had just joined Ben and Linda Tohe in the main conference room.  Charles still doesn’t know why he is there.  The rest of the Tohes aren’t far behind us.  They came in at Love Field.  Will Maclaren informed his wife and family.

I will explain the windows, the other worlds, and our plans for exploring but Mei-lei and I need to look around TDI and meet with Larry Smith and Tom Reynolds before the Marines arrives.  You have less than two hours for the training.  Sol White, the newly appointed head of off planet exploration for the United States, let them know.

Brad Smith, son of the owners of Trail Drive International (TDI), met the secret service convoy with Claire Clarke and the Maclarens at the gate and escorted them to the conference room.  Brad was also related to the Maclarens through two marriages.  He was married to Lynn Reynolds Smith, Rob Reynolds’s sister.  The Maclaren’s had worked with companies owned by those related to them for developing their plans and equipment for exploring worlds.

Sol and Mei-lei White were the first to enter the conference room.  The Maclarens, Claire, and Senior Secret Service Agent Bruce Maclaren followed them in.  Sol walked over to Ben and Linda Tohe and shook their hands.  He had been Ben’s doctoral advisor at Stanford up until his appointment to head the exploration the previous day.  Leslie and Will headed over to Jess Maclaren and Charles Koloski.  Mary and Brenda had stopped just inside the room.  They were staring at their Life-Mates.  Touches from Claire and Robert had them continue into the room.

Mary and Claire went over to the Tohes twins.  Sol introduced them though Claire had met them once six years ago.  When Mary and Ben shook hands, the contact continued for a few seconds.  Linda Tohe had felt the change in her brother as he met Mary Maclaren.  She had known that he had been attracted to her when they had conversed the previous day.  Now she could see that Mary was also attracted to Ben.  Her attention was diverted by Claire.

“Linda, I am glad to meet you again.  Your parents will be here in a few minutes.  We will save the explanation for when they arrive.”

“My sister, Nancy, was very excited to be able to meet you.  She has been following what has been happening to you.”

“Your sister?  I don’t remember meeting her when your family was at the White House.”

“No, she was sick and didn’t get to come with us.”

Jess had just finished introducing Leslie and Will to Charles Koloski when Robert and Brenda walked up.

Will introduced them.  “Charles, this is my son Robert and my daughter Brenda.”

Charles had felt the instinctive recognition of a fellow warrior in Will, but he was surprised to get just as strong a feeling from his son.  The teenager carried himself as ready and alert as any man he had ever met.  Charles could tell that Robert hadn’t yet filled out after having a major growth spurt.  It was obvious that Robert also recognized the same quality in him but he had a happy smile.  That wasn’t what he expected when he met another young man like himself.  His contemplation of Robert was cut off as he realized that Will had repeated his introduction of his daughter.

He turned his head.  He saw a look of scared expectation in the redhead’s smile.  He didn’t want to see her scared.  He stepped passed the offered hand and hugged her.  His hand came up and he stroked her hair.  Charles realized what he was doing and started to let go but was stopped by an embrace as fierce as his own.  They stood that way for several seconds.  Slowly they backed off but still held hands.  Charles had never felt this way before.  He had grown up in an orphanage.  He was one of the few that never were considered for adoption.  He had overheard one of the couples when he was seven tell the councilor that he scared them.  That was the first time that he realized that he had something that set him apart from the other kids.  Even the gangs hadn’t wanted him.  The leaders could tell that if he joined it would be he and not they that would be running the gang.  He hadn’t been interested in the gangs anyway because he knew that they only thought of themselves.  Charles had known that he needed something more than that.  He had signed up with the Army before he graduated high school.  After talking to both the Army and the Marines, the Army recruiter was the one that had given him the written guarantee that he would be able to take the courses he would need to apply to be an officer.  It had taken a lot of hard work but he had gotten an appointment to West Point and was now an officer.

Why am I thinking about this?  Yes, I drive myself to excel but what was that compared to this woman.  Charles smiled at Brenda.

Charles, the drive that got you where you are is what makes you what you are.  What we have is the next step.  You were by yourself.  Now we are together.  Brenda’s thoughts told him.

Charles looks at her.  He was surprised to have heard her thoughts.  Brenda!  That was the name that her father had said.  Her father!  As he slowly turned around, Brenda stepped forward and put her arm around his waist.  It wasn’t anger that he saw on Will’s face but a huge smile.  Charles saw that Leslie, Robert, and Jess also have huge smiles.

“Charles, Brenda is the reason that you are here.  Linda Steele told us that she had identified you as Brenda’s Life-Mate.  Will and I also are Life-Mates.”  Leslie said.

“And I am the excuse that daddy is giving the Army.  I’m Claire.”  She shook Charles’s hand.  “Robert is my Life-Mate.”  Claire put her arm around Robert.  “Welcome to the family.”

Charles recognized Claire Clarke.  He remembered hearing that she had been kidnapped when they had been called back from field training and sent here.  Last night there had been talk of her, her boy friend, and his sisters shooting some terrorists.  He hadn’t paid any of it much attention.  He realized that there was something in between Brenda and himself.  When he looks down, he saw a holstered automatic.  He noticed that Claire and Leslie were also carrying.

“Lieutenant Koloski, I am Senior Secret Service Agent Bruce Maclaren.”  Bruce had come up next to Claire.  “I am only very distantly related to the rest of these Maclarens.  I’m in charge of Miss Clarke’s protection detail to which the President has directed that you be assigned.  We will discuss all of this later.

The Whites were introduced to Charles.  “Charles, why don’t you and Brenda sit together.  You and the Tohes have a lot to catch up on before the Marines arrive.”

I am assigned to the Secret Service to protect the President daughter?  Charles was confused.

I am too as are Robert and my sister Mary.  It was the best way to keep us all together.  Brenda led Charles to the table.

Nantai Tohe and Marion Che-Tohe and their daughter Nancy entered the room.  The parents headed towards Linda, Ben, and Mary.  Nancy hesitated then walked slowly towards Robert and Claire, who had turned around as she entered the room.  Robert and Claire had a surprised look on their faces.  Nancy’s face showed both happiness and terror.

We have another Life-Mate.  Robert thought went only to Claire.

Nancy, Ben and Linda’s sister.  Claire replied.

They hurried towards Nancy and embraced her.

Nancy broke down in tears of joy.  They accept me.  They did not reject me.

We love you.  This will be hard to explain and I am not sure how we will work things out but we are one.  Claire was overjoyed.

Love will be our guide as it is in any marriage.  Robert realized that there would be problems but was overjoyed at the strong bond between them.  What Claire and he had by themselves had been strengthened with the inclusion of Nancy.  The mental communication had come automatically and he and Claire were teaching her more as they embraced.

I did not believe my visions!  …  The rest of Nancy’s thoughts were interrupted by the thoughts of the rest of the Maclaren’s and then other family members.

Welcome to our family.  Will and Leslie’s thought were as one.

Nancy, we too welcome you to our family.  Sue and Dave’s joint thought greeted Nancy.

You are a triple like us.  Eric, Jerome, and Jason’s joined thought also greeted her.

Yes my brothers, they are a triple, but with the stronger relationship like mom and dad.  Baby Alice told the boys.  Greetings, Nancy.  It will be a while before we may talk, but until then know that you can trust your visions but interpreting them will be hard. 

Who was that?  Nancy asked.

That was Alice.  Jess answered.  There was amazement and happiness in his thoughts.  She will be harder to explain than the three of you, but we don’t need to do that now because your parents don’t know what is going on.
 
Yes, let us explain things.  I have been trying to explain it to Charles and I need help.  Brenda commented.
 
Marie, get Nels.  Linda Tohe is his Life-Mate.  Jess thought went out to his daughter.
 
Dad, he and Sandy are returning from Friendship.  Sandy’s Life-Mate, Keyvan, walked up to the front gate fifteen minutes ago.
 
“We have had a lot of surprises here and some of the surprises have been for us just as much as they have been for you.  I am Jess Maclaren.  Let me introduce everyone.”  Jess introduced everyone and the relationship between the individuals.  “Now there are a few things to explain before I can talk about the new personal relationships that we have just witnessed.”

He turned to Marion Che-Tohe.  “Marion, you have a pistol and a knife hidden about your person.  Feel free to carry them more openly as we do.  You will find that we also believe in self-protection of our family and friends.”

“How do you know?  I can never tell unless I check for them.”  Nantai Tohe said with a broad smile.

“I and most of my family can find things if we look for them but we find them with our mind not our eyes.  Nantai, your weapons are more subtle and would probably not be found in an ordinary search but my cousin Will is an expert and told me about them.”

“You can communicate by mind and sense objects.”  Marion Che-Tohe exclaimed.

“Most of us are able to learn this and also to find a person we know or sense a nearby stranger.  The strength of the ability varies with the individual but the ability can be strengthened more by joining together with others.  This strengthening increases for siblings especially twins and for what we called Life-Mates.  Until today, we had believed that Life-Mates were a man and a woman.  My late wife and I were Life-Mates.  Will and Leslie are Life-Mates.  Brenda and Charles as well as Mary and Ben are Life-Mates.  That is one of the reasons that we brought you here today.”  Jess raised his hand to forestall questions.

“Marion and Nantai, the two of you are Life-Mates.  Have you found that you can share feelings or thoughts?”  They nod their heads.  That is common with Life-Mates before they learn what else is possible.  We will be able to teach you how to do this anytime you want.  You should also be able to learn the other abilities.”

Jess paused.

“Your daughters also have Life-Mates.  We knew as soon as we met them.  Many of us can tell if two people are Life-Mates if we have met both individuals.  Linda’s Life-Mate is Nelson Lawrence.  He is my daughter Marie’s husband’s cousin and he is in England.  We will introduce them mentally in a little while.  Nancy was a major surprise to us.  She, Robert, and Claire are all Life-Mates.  We have never encountered a triple life mating before.”

“A man with two wives or even a woman with two husbands is not unknown in many cultures.”  Nantai commented.  His children looked startled by his statement but his wife nodded and smiled.

“Nancy, Claire, and Robert were able to communicate immediately, as were Brenda and Charles.  Linda and Ben have been communicating with us since yesterday, but it took meeting Linda to identify her as Nels’ Life-Mate.  We are still learning about this ability to match Life-Mates.  Only my grandchildren were able to communicate with each other before last Monday.”  Jess explained.  “Let us get this meeting back on track.  We will have plenty of time later to discuss what I have just told you.”  He pointed towards the conference table where they all took seats.

“Mr. Tohe, I asked Ben if you could bring a copy of your painting with the two moons that your wife had shown when you received the award.  Have you brought it?”  Claire asked.

“Claire, call me Nantai.  I brought the original.  I figured if you could remember it after all these years, I should bring the original.”

“Thank you, after Sol explains what is happening; I will explain our interest in the painting.”

“My name is Doctor Solomon White.  This is my wife Professor Mei-lei White.  Until Friday, we were professors at Stanford.  I was Ben’s advisor.”  He nods at Ben where he sat holding hands with Mary.  “On Friday the President put me in charge of off planet exploration.  Mei-lei is my right hand.  We equally share the authority and Dave will have to figure out how to get Congress to accept that.  All of you are outside of my authority though I will be asking for your help when you are available.  That will be explained later.  I have some Marine colonels that want to know why they are to report to me.”

Ben and Linda were mentally telling those in mentally communication about their world walking experience that they had mentioned to Claire, Mary, and Brenda the previous day.  With the faster speed of mental communication and the mind’s expanded capacity, the verbal conference was really for the older Tohes.

“Last Monday in Edinburgh, Scotland, Dame Alice Maclaren and Jess Maclaren demonstrated her theory of Adjacent Worlds.  When they opened a window to the third world, water from a lake poured through shorting the equipment and killing Dame Alice.  Later that day, Jess Maclaren with the help of members of his family made additional discoveries.”  Sol looks at Will who nods his head.  “One of the things that they learned was how to sense these other worlds.  They had Dame Alice’s calculations for window settings for accessing four worlds.  They had accessed three worlds including the one that caused Dame Alice’s death.  Information in her notes, led them to be wary of accessing the fourth world.  They devised a method to sense the fourth world that they called Fire without actually opening a window.  Robert was the first to learn how.  When he sensed that world, he found that their location on the Fire world was in the magma of a volcano.  If they had opened a window to the fire world, they all would have been killed.”

Charles looked at Brenda who nodded her head.  Yes, I would be dead and we would never have met.

Nancy looked around the room and realized that it is only her parents that lacked mental communication.  If we teach my parents mental communications, we can do this all mentally.  Her thoughts were only to her Life-Mates.

I agree.  Sol, let us teach the Tohes mental communication.  Just the basics and they can learn as we continue the discussion together.  I am blessed with two very, smart women.  Robert’s thoughts caused the two to blush.

It took less than twelve minutes to teach the two older Tohes.  The meeting continued with Sol presentation continuing verbally while their discussion of it continued simultaneously but silently.

“The Maclarens planned for private exploration of these worlds.  With Dame Alice’s death followed by their near death, they realized that they needed government help to ensure that people didn’t die when they opened windows into other worlds.  Since then Australia and the United Kingdom have opened windows into these worlds and set up outposts.”  He looked at Charles.  “Lieutenant Koloski, your group with Linda Steele’s guidance found locations for successfully entering all four worlds.  Tomorrow, I’ll direct the opening of windows through which the United States will go forth to explore these worlds.  You all will be there to help and learn.”

“Now, you may think that it’s a very unlikely coincidence that the first four locations that we’ll use to access these worlds are all on the TD Ranch.  That isn’t the first such coincidence nor do I expect it to be the last.”  Sol looked into the eyes of the new people.

“Will will take over the rest of the talk.  He and Jess has been preparing for these worlds for over forty years.  Mei-lei and I will see you later.”  The two of them rose and left.

Will didn’t immediately start to speak.  When he did, he mainly looked at Charles.  “Alice, Jess, and I grew up together.  We have always been very close.  As a young girl, Alice started to have recurring dreams.  In them, she saw us and other people on other worlds that we could reach by stepping through a window.  She also saw people fleeing through the windows as destruction occurred across one of the worlds.  She spoke of it to Jess and me.  We spoke of it to no one else.  We were young, but we knew that what Alice saw were true visions.  As I have said, we were close.  We could sense each other’s feelings and sometimes thoughts.  Jess and I did not question what Alice saw in her dreams.  We also understood that it was our job to see to it that man had these other worlds to escape to when disaster strikes.  We dedicated ourselves to this goal.  Alice was to find out how to access these other worlds.  Jess was to be able to make Alice’s theory a reality.  My job was to go forth and assure that we had what was necessary to keep man safe.”

Charles realized that this was the cause that he had long sought.  He saw how Will had lived his life with this purpose.  He knew that he and Brenda would spend the rest of their life ensuring mankind’s safety.

He sensed Brenda’s approval.  He turned to her and her smile warmed him.

“It took Alice years to learn the math and the science to enable her to come up with her Adjacent World Theory.  Over that time, we realized that we couldn’t just give the knowledge to the world and have them make speedy and good use of it.  We had seen what had happened with the space program and didn’t want a repeat of that.  Alice presented the theory in a way that it was met with disbelief.  We then went off and made plans to explore these worlds.  Much of the new technology that you will see is a result of this effort.  One of the most important items is the AJ Power Generator.  It produces electrical power without fuel.”  Ben started to raise his hand but Will shook his head no.  “Ask technical questions of Jess mentally.”

“Both of these are important technical changes, but there is a more important change that we have learned about during the past week.  We have learned how to communicate mentally and to teach it to those who are able to learn.  We don’t know what allows someone to be able to learn, but we are finding many people who can.  We can often sense this ability to learn mental communication in someone.  We believe that when more people are mentally communicating then even more people will be found to be able to learn.”

“There is more that you can learn, but that can be done over the next day.  Jess has a picture that Claire wants to show you.  Nanti, can you get the painting you brought.”

“I will get it.”  Nancy Tohe went and got a case, and brought it to her father.

“My daughter Marie sent me a picture of her daughter KA and Vesta, one of the Kin from the planet Friendship.  It has the moons in the background as you requested.”  Jess handed a folder to Claire.

“Nantai, would you show your painting?  I will then show the photograph.”  Claire placed the folder on the table in front of her.

He took the picture out and Nancy placed it on a presentation easel.

Jess was stunned.  He had seen the photograph.  “Mr. Tohe, when did you paint the picture?”

“I painted Friendship right after President Clarke was first elected.”

There were gasps at the name of the painting.

Claire opened the folder and showed the photograph.  It showed KA with her arm over Vesta’s neck.  In the background, Friendship’s two moons could be seen.  The painting looked like it had been painted from the photograph.

“This is my granddaughter KA with her arm over Vesta’s neck.  Vesta is the Kin to who she is linked.  The photograph was taken on the world Friendship.  It’s two moons can be seen in the background.”  Jess saw that the Tohes especially Nantai and Nancy were not as surprised as he would have thought them to be.

Visions, the world Friendship, and the Kin were the subjects of discussion until Robert warned that the Marines had arrived.  Those that would not be in the meeting headed out to learn more about the equipment that was going to be used exploring the other worlds.

*******

Sol and Mei-Lei led the four Marines from Hawaii into the room.  Colonel Bruno Satoni was commander of 3rd Marine Regiment.  Colonel James Duffy was the commander of Combat Service Support Group 3.  Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Vor was commander of 1st Radio Battalion.  The fourth was Staff Sergeant Elvis Tohe, Nantai and Marion’s oldest child.  The three officers were confused about what was going on.  Their top-secret orders were to report to Doctor Solomon White at TDI in Dallas Texas.  They were ordered to bring the people they needed to learn new equipment and techniques that they would use to teach their command for a deployment that would be identified after they arrived.  The equipment that they were to bring was minimal but had included side arms and rifles.  A C-17 had flown them from Hawaii to Dallas as soon as they had been ready.

The second set of orders was even more confusing.  Staff Sergeant Elvis Tohe, Bravo Company, 1st Radio Battalion was transferred to a special operation group.  He was to accompany them to Dallas and report to Senior Secret Service Agent Bruce Maclaren.  When Tohe had been questioned, he stated that his brother and sister had called and asked that he meet them in Dallas on Sunday.  He had told them that he couldn’t just up and go to Dallas.  They had not argued with him but had told him that they would see him soon.  He had no knowledge of what was going on.

Adding to the confusion was the addition of a non-ordinary ending to ‘by order of the Commander-in-Chief’, which included a number for the White House and directions to call if help was needed in getting cooperation in executing the orders.

Elvis Tohe was startled to see his sister Nancy as he entered the room.  He had expected to see his other two siblings but not just Nancy.  No, she was the only member of the family in the room.  By the smile that she had given him as he entered the room, she had known that he was coming.  She nodded at the boy and girl sitting with her.  They were also smiling at him.  Then he realized who they were.

What caught Bruno Satoni’s attention as he looked over the room were the teenage girls and boy with rifles.  They had placed the partially disassembled rifles on the table as he entered.  As the three rose to greet them, he realized that he had seen two of them on the news yesterday, but then they had been holding pistols.  Claire Clarke and Robert Maclaren.  His confusion just went off the chart.  Was the President sending the marines off after the terrorist?  That couldn’t be right for there was no reason for the teenagers to be here if that was the reason.  And why report to a Stanford professor?

After the introductions, Claire addressed the officers.  “My father asked me to personally extend his apology for the lack of notice and the very confusing orders.  When he decided that Hawaii was a logical location from which to explore, we were still thinking on using the 1st Cavalry.  When mother realized that we needed to go through channels to get Elvis to join his family here, father decided that since we would need more than the 1st Cavalry that it would be good to get the Marines to handle operations in Hawaii.”

Sol saw that Claire had totally confused the Marines.  “Claire, I hadn’t told them what is going on.  They are confused with those silly orders and you have just made matters worse.”

“Sorry!  We were just learning about the new guns that Alyca gave us and were not monitoring you.”  Claire was blushing.

“Let me explain what is going on and why you are here.  It will take almost forty-five minutes.”

Thirty-nine minutes late, Sol had finished what had quickly become the standard orientation talk.

“The next two items are specific to the four of you and are tied together.  Why I only choose you three officers to attend this meeting and why Elvis Tohe was singled out to come here.”  Sol looks at each of the Marines.  “All four of you have the ability to learn mental communication.  I was surprised that the three top commanders had that ability since we haven’t found it to be that prevalent.  What we have found is that when we have lucky coincidences that they are often necessary.  Therefore, gentlemen I expect that what you will be doing will be both very important and critical.  Yes that is a hunch but we are finding it useful to play hunches because so many have been working out.”

“We will teach you how to mentally communicate.  Sergeant Tohe’s family will assist with his training along with the new group to which he is assigned.  For the rest of you it will take less than an hour if you can give us your full attention.  I will leave it up to you to decide when you can spare the time.  Just tell any of us and that includes Claire when you have the time.  It will be advantageous to learn as soon as possible.  When you are able to communicate mentally, we will be able to start including you in detailed briefings.  It will also put you ahead of the Army since we haven’t had the time to teach any of the 1st Cavalry except General Kamalski and his wife.  My suggestion is that the three of you ride with Will Maclaren and me down to the TD Ranch.  This will also allow Will to brief you on efforts of the British and Australian armies in the new worlds.”

“Sol, that sounds good.”  Satoni looked at Will.  “You were knighted after being wounded protecting civilians during the Falkland War.”  He looked at Robert.  “You have been training your son?”

“I trained all of my family.  Robert has had a little more training that the rest of them.”  Will replied.

“What we have told you so far is what we expect to disclose to the public in the next few months.  The remainder of the briefing covers items that we hope to keep secret much longer.  If you find the need to tell someone, please consult Jess, Will, or me first.  This is not as onerous as you might expect, with mental communication you can contact anyone who communicates mentally anywhere on the planet.  Jess, will you show them the picture of KA and Vesta?”  Sol asks.

Jess passes the picture to Colonel Satoni.  “This picture was taken a few hours ago.  This is my granddaughter Karen Alice and Vesta.  Vesta is one of the Kin from the planet Friendship.  This picture was taken on the world Friendship.  The painting that Robert has just uncovered was painted about six years ago by Nantai Tohe, Elvis’s father.  He titled it Friendship.  The Kin suggested that name for their world yesterday.  They hadn’t had a name for their world.  The Tohe family has abilities that we need.”

No, Dave.  I do not believe we need to tell them about Ben and Linda’s experiment.  We need to know more before we let it be widely known.  I think that the windows will be duplicated but not what they did.  This is an ace up our sleeve.  Sol responded to the President’s suggestion to tell the Marines about the Tohe world walking.

“As Sol mentioned my wife had visions of the future and that is what helped us to get where we are today.  The ability to know in advance about some of what we will face may help us to save lives and avert possible disasters.  Claire remembered seeing the painting and requested that Nantai bring a copy.  We didn’t know how exact it was until a couple of hours ago.  I am sure you can understand the value of keeping this quiet.”  Jess explained.

Colonel Satoni turns to Elvis.  “Sergeant, were you still living at home when your father painted this picture?”

“Yes, sir.”  Elvis knew that he was being asked for more information not simply a yes or no answer.  “He painted it the day that President Clarke first got elected.  That day, he also talked to me about going into the Marines.  I had thought to go to college.  I’m not as good of a student as Ben and Linda but I expected to get either a scholastic or an athletic scholarship.  I have just finished my work for my bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering.”  He smiled.  “This was only one of father’s dream pictures.  Some of the other ones may also be of the new worlds.”

“We have been talking with your father about that.  He has some photographs that we will look at later.  We will make some copies and discuss them on the ride to the ranch.”  Sol added.  “That isn’t the only ability that we want to discuss.  Robert, what is the status on the C-17 that is taking Linda back to Hawaii?”

“All the equipment is loaded.  Linda, Mary, and Martha are settled in and the relief crew has taken over.  They are taxiing to the runway.”  Robert didn’t tell them that Jerome had shown him the location.  Rob was working with the boys to understand the relationship between maps and the locations that they sensed.

“Of course someone else could have mentally told Robert this.”  Bruce commented.  “Colonel Duffy, you have a multi-tool in your left pocket.  I think it is one of the Leatherman tools.  In addition, we are about to be interrupted.  Lieutenant Johnson, will ask you for permission to back up my people.  We have a trio of spies observing us.  The Chinese have decided to use a bigger team to find out what we are doing.  I could use Claire and the Maclarens but I want to keep their active roll under wraps.”  He saw the Marines looking at the teenagers.  “Will will explain.  I will be leading this capture.  We need to pick up both groups simultaneously.”

There was a knock at the door.

“Come in.”  Sol called out.

“Bruce, we have some people monitoring what is happening at TDI.  There are two groups.  We will need backup from the Marines so we can get both groups.”  Agent Tom Murphy repeated what he had previously told Bruce mentally.

“Colonel Satoni, considering that terrorists have been after Miss Clarke, I request support under the North anti-terrorist law.”  Bruce told Satoni.

“Lieutenant Johnson, see that the Secret Service has all the support that they need.”  Colonel Satoni ordered.  Bruce led Murphy and Lieutenant Johnson from the office.  “I am glad Ollie got that exception for terrorists.”

“Brenda, Mary, Charles, and Ben will be acting as a distraction.  They are taking Larry’s convertible out for a ride.  They will also act as added backup and check if we missed anyone spying on us.”  Will sees that the Marines are wondering about his girls as backup to the Marines.  “Mary and Brenda are the second and third best shots that I have ever seen.  I have watched you eyeing the rifles.  They were designed by Jess’s niece, Alyca Maclaren.  She won the biathlon championship this past winter.  She worked with Mary and Brenda to improve their shooting.  She also has PhDs in electronic and mechanical engineering.”

The two rifles were passed to the Marines.  The stocks, which were not attached to the rifles, remained in front of Robert.

“These rifles do not shoot bullets.  The hole in the barrel is smaller than a twenty-two and they aren’t the same size.  The barrels are some type of composite.  What is this electrical connection to the stock?”  Lieutenant Colonel Vor was intrigued.

“These are two of our prototype coil guns.  They are power by miniaturized AJ Power Generators.  Currently they are handmade.  If they prove out, we will start a production line.  The needle shaped pieces on the sheet of paper that Robert has passed you are the two types of projectile that each can fire.  Both are a composite that are strongly attracted to a magnetic field.  One is treated to shatter when it hits a solid or liquid.  We believe that this will limit its range but may make them more effective at low velocities.  We aren’t sure of the range for the other one but it may be able to leave the atmosphere if shot from a high altitude.  If so then we could hit objects in low earth orbit.  There are two mode controls.  The first controls the speed of the projectile.  Currently it can vary from subsonic to over mach 10.  We can program what the four settings are since these are prototypes.  The second settings are single shot, triple shot and semi-continuous.  Since the weapon is electro-mechanical, the temperature of the barrel is monitored and the rate of fire is reduced so it does not over heat.  Because of the weapons capabilities we have waited to test them on one of the new worlds.  We didn’t have a major weapons range available.  Well I guess Dave could have made one available but doing it off world will keep it secret.”  Will’s description had the full attention of the Marines.

“We have two sizes of coil rifle.  The smaller is eight pounds and the larger is ten pounds.  The projectiles for each weight one thousandth of the weight of an empty gun.  The magazine will hold up to five hundred rounds that are loaded in packs of one hundred.  The recoil is greatest for the last projectile that is fired.  Calculations put it at 19.06 ft-lbs for the larger rifle and 14.39 ft-lbs for the small rifle.  Fire rate will be in the hundreds of rounds per minute being automatically limited by the barrel heating up.  You will not be able to overheat the barrel.”

“What do you see this weapon replacing?”  Colonel Duffy asked.

“The major advantages are selectable velocity, high rate of fire, and very large capacity magazines.  At subsonic speeds, you could fire a full magazine in a minute with minimum noise and no muzzle flash.  The major indication of where you were shooting from would be the direction from which the projectiles came.  It can potentially replace any direct fire weapon except pistols.  Rifles, shotguns, machine guns, anti-armor, and anti-air.  I would still prefer missiles for the anti-armor and anti-air because of the range, but the fact that anyone could take on armor or air without another weapon has advantages.”

“Anti-air” Colonel Satoni asks.

“Alyca shooting technique makes use of the ability to mentally track where the shots go.  It helps to correct your aim.  That is how I was able to learn to shoot so well on Thursday.”  Claire explained.  “Since we can detect people and objects at a distance, we can shoot almost as well in the dark.”

“The perfect Marine weapon.”  Colonel Satoni was impressed.  “Is it waterproof?”

“Alyca shoots biathlon.  The electronics are sealed.  The electronic controller detects if the barrel is obstructed such as by dirt or water.  If it is, then the first shot is at low speed to clear the barrel.”  Jess explained.

“Sounds good.”  Colonel Satoni looked at Will.  “So what type of problems do you anticipate?”

Will laughed.  “The two main ones are the barrel bending or the needle feed jamming.”

“You didn’t ask Alyca about those?”  Jess asked Will.

“No.”  Will realized that he might have underestimated Alyca.

“The weapon could be damage so that both of those would be a problem but the controller will detect them.  There is a targeting laser that shoots down the barrel.  If the barrel is bent then the beam has backscatter that the controller will detected and not allow the gun to fire.  The feed mechanism is designed to minimize the chance of jamming.  When she showed me the design, I couldn’t believe the simplicity.  The best feature is that it is all in the magazine.  If there is a problem, you just switch magazines.  Oh, the barrel is a quick change also.”  Jess took one of the rifles and removed the barrel.  Of course you have to have a spare barrel, which I do not think is something that you would normally carry.”

They all laughed

“I would like to watch the testing.”  Colonel Satoni was eager to learn how well the weapon worked.

“We are going to invite the Marines and Army to watch.”  Larry stated.

“Colonel Satoni turned to Claire “Let your father know that I would like to have these coil guns for my Marines.”

“I have been passing along everything as it was discussed.  He anticipated your request.  He is looking forward to when his term is up and he can go out and do things.”  Claire explained the frustration that her father was feeling.

“Tell him, we need him where he is.  I couldn’t think of a better man for the job with all that is going on.”  General Satoni said.

“He says thanks but you are supposed to be non-political.”

“I am just stating the truth as I see it.  I voted for the other guy the first time, but within a year I was glad that your Dad had won.”  Satoni had a fierce look on his face.

“They captured all three of the Chinese spies.  They are foreign nationals and they were armed.  No injuries to our people but the Chinese are a little bruised.  The FBI is on the way.”  Robert informed them.

“They did not radio out?”  Lieutenant Colonel Vor asked.

“That is why they are bruised.”  Robert replied.

“Let us wrap it up for now.  I would like to leave within a half hour.”  Sol said.

“Yes, sir.”  The three Marine commanders rose.  They saluted and left the room.  Nancy gave Elvis a kiss and hurriedly left with Claire and Robert.

“They haven’t had a chance to be alone since they met.”  Will laughed.

“Sergeant Tohe, you should join the rest of your family before your new boss gets back and puts you to work.”  Sol told Elvis.

“Thank you, sir.”  Elvis turned towards the door and then realized he did not know where to go.

“Come on son, I will show you where they are.”  Will took Elvis to meet them.

Chapter 2  Exploring from Texas

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5 thoughts on “Ch 1 Joining Up

  1. Watch the recoil of that weapon at mach 10 it will have 3 times the recoil of a 50 caliber per gram of needle and the needle will vaporize on hitting a solid target.

    • If you need heavy weapons you could arm the First Cav’s humvs , strykers or your ATVs with heavy railguns. If you can get the combat engineers to build an airbase you could have choppers,drones and light aircraft even they were sent in in pieces . I believe the Army would insist on having eyes in the sky.

      • I will being changing rail gun to coil gun. My mistake.

        In upcoming chapters:
        – An Army officer will request a coil gun tank with electric motors. No fuel, no propellent, and no explosives make it safer and more effective but a Mach 10 round will melt if not ignite armor.

        – Except in chapter 18 of A New World, Alyca describes how to use the windows to shoot through and then hide. I think that armor may be less effective under the situation she describes.

        – In the next few chapters they will make discoveries that will give them more options and more problems. Later on a new design that can be taken through a window and assembled plays a central part in the story.

        I am being vague so that I do not give to much away.

        Your reference to drones was helpful. They will be useful in the 3rd novel, but with some new technology.

        Thank you,
        Your comments are helping me to improve my story.

  2. I have change the section on the rifles in Chapter 1 on ANL.
    Chapter 2 will also need changing be for I post it.
    Chapter 2 of ANW where I first mention the rifles will also need changing.

    They are now coil rifles and they better reflect what could be done with the AJ Power Generator supplying all the power you could need.

    Thanks to Arlo for getting me on the right track for thinking about the rifles.

    Comments from Grant at the Slush Pile at Bar.Baen.COM gave me the major technical information that I needed after I looked on the internet for information.
    He had looked into the technical aspects of the ballistics for rail and coil guns.

    Comments help in improving my writing so I am very appreciative of them. Ed

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