A Step into the Unknown

Student Apartments
Stanford University
Palo Alto, California, USA
Friday May 21, 1999
 
Ben Tohe had wondered why he felt driven to do an internet search of Professor Maclaren.  She hadn’t published anything or talked to the press since she had presented her Adjacent World Theory in Brisbane two summers before.  He wondered if she had had a stroke and that was the reason that her presentation had only confused not explained the theory.  Not that anyone who had read her report should have had to have it explained to them.  It was almost as if she had done it on purpose, he had realized this morning.  That was why he did the search, he realized.  Subconsciously, he had known that there was a reason that she had presented her theory so no one would believe.

He had been searching for more information about what she had done, but that was before he found out that she was dead.  Now he would never know why and the world would forget her Adjacent World Theory.  He could still do his dissertation on the implications of the theory, but how would he get anyone but Dr. White to take him seriously.  No, he would have to have proof.

Both of his parents’ people had similar stories about a world adjacent to ours.  If the Denai and Kinh had stories that spoke of a world that you could enter without going into space, there might be something behind it.  Or was it just an obvious story idea.  Professor Maclaren’s Adjacent World Theory offered an explanation.

When he was still an undergraduate, he had been looking for a topic for his doctorate dissertation.  Doctor White had suggested a number of papers to read.  When he had read Professor Maclaren’s Adjacent World Theory, he had seen how it would explain the stories his parents had told them as children.  He, his brother Elvis and his twin sister Linda had often talked of one day exploring that world together.

That is what he would have to do.  He and Linda would explore that world.  Once they brought back evidence, Professor Maclaren would be vindicated.  When Linda got home from work, he would talk with her about going exploring.

*******

Ben had spent the afternoon considering how they would get to the adjacent world.  When he searched the internet to see if there was more versions of this story that they had loved as children, he found that the Denai and the Kinh were not the only ones with such stories.  From the different stories, he developed an idea on how to step into this other world.

He had dinner ready when his twin sister got off from work.  Linda had known that he had something important to tell her even before she got home.  He opened the door for her as she reached the top of the stairs to their apartment.  They always knew when the other got home but they tried not to show it after Sherry, one of their neighbors, had noticed.

“”Ben, who died?”

“Dame Professor Alice Farwell Maclaren.”

“She’s the one whose theory you are doing your dissertation on.”  Linda knew that Ben was excited as well as sad.  “How does this affect your work?”

“We are going to prove her Adjacent World Theory.”

“We?  I’m a medical student.”

“Yes, you and me.  I don’t want to wait for Elvis to get leave so we will have to wait for later to take him to the adjacent world.”

“So it is real.  He is going to be upset that we didn’t wait for him.  Should we go home so that Nancy can join us?”  She paused.  “No.  Remember when she was four.  She told us that we would be the first but that she and Elvis would go with us later.”

“Yes, she was so sure of that.  I had forgotten all about it.”  They smiled then both twins said as one.  “She had a vision!”

Their father Nantai Tohe was an artist who made a living painting.  What only his family knew was that many of his paintings were of visions that he had.  Their younger sister Nancy also had learned to capture her visions in paintings.

“You are definitely on the right track.  All we have to figure out is how to do it.  Later on we can have Elvis and Nancy join us on a trip there.”  Linda was excited.

“I will also need to tell Sol.”  Doctor Solomon White was Ben’s advisor at Stanford.  He was the only scientist who had written supporting Professor Maclaren Adjacent World Theory.  “We will need to take the camera to record our visit to the adjacent world.”

*******

Their discussion about how to enter the adjacent world started over dinner and continued until late in the evening.  Linda helped Ben refine his idea about how to proceed.  They took similarities among the different stories and built their plan.  Some similarities were in most of the stories, more were in only three of four stories.  They used the meditation techniques that their parents had taught them as the foundation for what they needed to do.

“I think this will work.  I will call Dr. White in the morning and tell him what we plan to do.  He may want to join us.”  Ben felt very confident with the plan they had developed.

“I am looking forward to going to this world but since Nancy’s vision was us going there I don’t think I will have any trouble sleeping tonight.”

Ben smiled at his sister.  “Neither do I.  I am heading to bed.  I want to be well rested.”

“Good night.”  Linda thought of calling their older brother Elvis who was a Marine stationed in Hawaii.  No, we will wait until we have evidence.

Student Apartments
Stanford University
Palo Alto, California, USA
Saturday May 22, 1999

Ben had meditated on the plans that he and Linda had made for seeking the other world.  Their father had taught them to do this so that they could reflect on what they had done as well as make plans for the future.  It had helped them in their decision to come to Stanford.  The National Merit Scholarships that both of them had earned had allowed them to go anywhere they wished.  That they were half Navaho and half Vietnamese had made them as sought after by universities as any athlete.  Stanford had offered them programs so that they could take postgraduate courses early.  When they had met Doctor White, who was Black, his wife Professor Mei-Lei White, who was Chinese, and their family they had found advisors at Stanford who understood their mixed heritage.  Even before meditating on their choices, they had known that they were going to Stanford.

When he awoke, Ben more surely knew that what Linda and he had planned was the right course to take.  He also knew that it was going to be very important to him.  He didn’t know how or why but he knew that it would change his life more than just by being the first modern man to cross to an adjacent world.  Ben dressed in jeans, flannel shirt and boots.  These were the same clothes he wore when visiting family on the reservation.  He wanted something sturdy for exploring.  When he entered the kitchen where Linda had started breakfast, he saw that she was dressed the same as him.

“I thought that a big breakfast would be good before we went exploring.  Make toast.  I will start the eggs.”

“You also are more confident that our trip to the adjacent world is a good decision.”

“Yes.  It’s important for not only us but for Elvis and especially for Nancy.  I wonder if it has to do with those visions which she only discussed with mom and dad.”

“Now that you mention it, I have the same feeling, but that this will be a really important day for me is an even stronger feeling.”

*******

After breakfast, they cleaned up and gathered what they would take with them.  Ben had been unable to reach Doctor White so he had left a message.  Linda had the camera, while Ben had binoculars.  Both had the knives they wore when hunting on the reservation but their rifles were at home in Scottsdale, Arizona.  They wore hats and jackets in case it was raining on the other world.  Having grown up in the desert, they carried plenty of water.

“If we run into anyone or a large animal, we return at the first sign of a threat.  I don’t see the need to go anywhere.  Just look around and take pictures to show that we were there.  Fifteen or twenty minutes should do.”  Ben hung the binoculars around his neck.

“That will get us back so that we won’t miss any of the memorial service.  Claire Clarke is supposed to speak.”

“She has certainly grown up since we met her.”  They had met Claire when her father President Clarke had presented their father the National Medal of Arts.  “She did seem concerned that you were injured.”  Linda laughed remembering how her brother had faked an injury to get the football recruiters to stop bothering him.  “Do you have a crush on her?”  Linda teased.

“No, I think she’s going to be a politician, but she did understand dad’s paintings better than anyone other than family.  She may have been drawn to the famous athlete.”  Ben laughed also as he remembered the trip to Washington and the reporters that had swarmed him about whether he would be playing for Stanford.  He had been one the top high school football players in the country.  When he mentioned that he had a mishap with his skateboard and that he wouldn’t be playing college football, they had made the wrong assumption that he had wanted.

“I think you misunderstood the Clarkes.  They really care for people.  Remember when President Clarke had found out that we both had full academic scholarships to Stanford, he said that we were the future of the country.”

“No, I want someone who understands science, likes hunting and camping, and will understand how important my twin is to me.”  Ben grinned at his sister.

“Lots of luck finding that at Stanford.  Maybe you should teach at NAU.”

“It will happen when it happens.  Let’s get going.  I’m also interested in hearing what Claire has to say.  Her kidnapping and the killings will have shaken her up but I think that she’ll be more concerned for her friends.  I agree that she really cares for people, but she still will become a politician.”  Ben held his right hand out to his sister, who took it in her left.  They looked into each other’s eyes and started the meditation upon which they had agreed.  As usual, they worked completely in sync without having to say a word.  When they reached the calmness of the meditative state, they thought of the world that they would visit.

Suddenly they were in the dark and could feel a breeze on their faces.

“It’s night here.”  Linda laughed for they hadn’t even considered that the time would be different.  “We’re in the woods.  You can see the top of the trees against the stars.”  She scanned the sky.  “And the moons.”  Linda let go of Ben’s hand and turned around in a circle.  “Three moons.”  She raised the camera and took pictures of each moon.  “That will prove we were on another world.  We will need to come back during the day here to get pictures of our surroundings.”

Ben had also turned and looked around in a circle but his attention hadn’t been on the sky.  “I cannot hear or see any sign of civilization.  It feels as remote as any place on the reservation.  No signs of planes in the sky.  Even on the reservation, we see those.”

They stood and took at their surroundings for ten minutes but discovered nothing else significant.  They only had their initial impressions reinforced.

“Let us go home.  From the light on the moons, it is several hours until dawn.  I will call Sol and tell him about what we found.  He can join us when we return this afternoon.”

They returned to the living room of their student apartment.  Ben went to his room to call Professor White, while Linda turned on the television so that they could watch the memorial service.

Ben returned a few minutes later.  “Sol has gone to Washington to meet President Clarke.  Mei-Lei went with him.  He wasn’t told what the meeting was about.”

“Ben, the people who rescued Claire, their name is Maclaren.  Claire and Robert Maclaren have been seen together in a number of places.  He and his sisters will be at the memorial service, but they are Australian.”

On the television was a picture of Claire and Robert Maclaren that a photographer had taken as they left a hospital where one of Claire’s classmates was recovering from injuries from the attack.

“He looks like a younger version of Jess Maclaren, Dame Alice’s husband, but they have only two daughters.”

“It appears that Claire Clarke found romance when Robert Maclaren along with his family including relatives from Maryland and Edinburgh rescued her from her kidnappers.  The Maclarens were here to tell Doctor Kimberly Maclaren Reynolds about the death of her mother Alice on Monday.”  The news anchor’s comment caused the twins to look at each other.

“Robert must be related to Dame Alice.  He must be a nephew.”

The video switched to a live shot of a building in the distance with DC police and FBI agents surrounding it.  “The standoff at the Jordanian embassy continues.  The State Department is in discussion with the Jordanian government about what is to be done.  Since the embassy is Jordanian territory, the police and FBI are restricted from entering without Jordanian permission.  Negotiations with the kidnappers so far has resulted in no concessions on either side since the release of embassy personnel early in the siege.  The exact number of hostages and kidnappers is unknown.  Washington, D.C. remains on a high state of alert.  The FBI suspects that additional terrorists are at large in the metropolitan area.  We are switching you back to the memorial service and Lisa Saunders.”

The video switched to a scene outside of the high school where the memorial service was being held.  The scene showed Claire Clarke walking and talking to the crowd while Robert Maclaren and his sisters scanned the crowd.

“They make the Secret Service agents look friendly.”  Linda was surprised by the intensity and competence that the three Maclarens showed.

“He looks like he could be a linebacker.  Look at how he takes everything in.  Do you see how those guys are pulling back out of the way to let them pass?  He looks about Nancy’s age.”  Ben wondered why he thought of his younger sister when he looked at Robert.

“Do you see how Claire is handling the crowd?  They are hanging on her every word and gesture.  You were right.  She is a natural politician.”

Suddenly just as they reached the door, something changed and the four young people surged forward.  The Secret Service detail that was supposed to protect them hurried to catch up.

“What happened?”  Linda looked to her brother.

Ben shook his head.  “They all four stopped, then they hurried forward.  The secret service agents only reacted to them.”

“The response of the crowd to Claire Clarke was amazing.  It reminded me of her father, President David Clarke, when he is campaigning.  I expect we may one day see Claire in the same office her father holds.”  Lisa Saunders continued to comment until the scene abruptly shifted to the room where the memorial was to be held.  Claire and Robert are seen advancing to the front of the stage flanked by his sisters who are obviously identical twins.  Their gaze was intensely fixed on four people in the front row, two men, a woman, and a young girl.  Robert said something in Arabic.

The men reacted by jumping up and reaching under their jackets.  The twins were much faster.  Each raised her hand and shot the man in front of her twice.  The young girl screamed and the woman started to reach for her then stopped.  She then held out her hand away from the girl.  Suddenly Robert and Claire shot.  Their shots were too quick to count but the camera showed the woman’s wrist had been hit and the hand hanging loose from it before she collapsed.

The twins jumped off the stage in front of the woman.  One had a knife and she cut into the woman’s cloth.  The other reached in and a couple of seconds later turned and handed Robert something with wire dangling from it.

Robert held it aloft and announced that it was explosives.  When the camera zoomed in, viewers who knew explosives could see that there were enough explosives to kill most of the people in the room.  Claire directed one of the sisters to take the young girl to a teenager and her mother who Claire obviously knew.  They were dressed in Middle Eastern dress.

“Who is she?”  Ben was staring at the screen when Linda turned to her brother.  She had never expected to see such a look on his face.  She realized that he was smitten by the Maclaren twins then she realized that it was only one of them.  How can he tell them apart?  Linda kept glancing back and forth between the television and her brother.

Ben’s attention didn’t waiver from the television.  Claire spoke to the audience both in the room and the much, much larger audience watching on television.  She introduced her companions.

“Mary, Mary Maclaren.”  Ben was smiling.  When the four left the stage, Ben returned to normal except for the smile on his face.

“Ben, we now know why this day is important to you.  How are you going to meet her?”

The smile vanished from her face for several seconds, but when it returned it was much smaller and a look of desperation clouded it.  “I will get a hold of Sol.  When he talks to President Clarke, he can ask him if Claire can ask Mary for her number.”

Linda burst into laughter.  She couldn’t remember Ben ever having such muddled thinking.  When she saw the look on Ben’s face, her laughter stopped.  The smile was gone and desperation alone remained.  She went over and put her arm around her brother.  “You will call Claire later.  You will tell her you need to talk to Mary because you have proven Professor Maclaren’s Adjacent World Theory.”

“We did, didn’t we.”

“No, you did.  I just helped.  You figured out what to do because you believed in the theory.”  She looked into Ben’s eyes.  “You will be famous.  Much more than you ever could have with football.  Mary or any other woman would be a fool not to want to meet you.  Once she does, you just have to sweep her off her feet as you did with any other woman with whom you have gone out.”

“That was dates.  I want to spend the rest of my life with Mary.”

“How do you know?  All you have done is seen her once on TV.  How can you even tell her and her sister apart?”  Linda was confused about Ben’s fixation on one of the two identical Maclaren twins.

“I just know about her.  Not like dad’s vision, I just know facts about her and her family.  Mary is the second born.  She is into the physical sciences.  Brenda is going to be a doctor.  Her father and Professor Maclaren’s husband are cousins, but they are as close as twins.  Mary has worked close with him and Professor Maclaren to prove her theory.”  He smiled.  “I will talk to her about how I proved the theory.”

They started to discuss Ben’s knowledge and how he would use it to meet Mary, but their attention was drawn back to the television.  Lisa Saunders was interviewing Claire and Robert.  They were confused by what they were seeing.

“That is not right.  Claire isn’t that empty headed and Robert sure didn’t act that way before.”  Linda remarked.

“They are playing a part.  Mary is amused and still is concerned about what will happen.  The Jordanian embassy.  They are playing to the kidnappers.  They would have been watching the memorial service to see Claire blown up.  When they turned the tables on the bombers, the kidnappers would have been furious at them.  Now they are a pair of empty-headed young lovers.  The kidnappers will be watching them trying to understand.  It’ll make no sense to them.  They are diverting them while the FBI moves in.”

“How do you know all that?”  Linda starred at her twin.

When he looked at her, there was no doubt in his face.  “I just do.  If you think about it, it makes sense.”

“Only if this were a James Bond movie with both Robert and Claire being the super spies.”

“Mary and Brenda are there too.”

“But Robert and Claire are the leaders here.  I think Mary needs you like Claire needs Robert.”

“Yes, it’s the same between them as it’s between Mary and me, but it’s still incomplete for them.”

They continue to watch the interview, laughing at some of the statements that the pair made to Lisa.  The pair paused and then they told her that the hostages at the embassy had been rescued.  They then thanked Lisa for her help in distracting the kidnappers.  When Lisa asked more about their relationship, they told her that they would be marrying after they finished college but that was a long way away.  When they turned to leave the reporter was speechless.

“You had it right.  How I don’t know because you made too many assumptions and they were all right.”  Linda had a puzzled look on her face.

“Mary knew so I knew.”  Ben said absently, he was in deep thought about something.  “They tried to make as if they knew about the rescue from the radios that they had in their ears, but that isn’t how it happened.  They were observing the rescue somehow.  How could they be doing that?”

“How do you know what Mary knows?  Ben, I think that there is much for us to learn.  Even if the connection between you and Mary didn’t exist, I would want to call Claire and talk to them anyway.”

“I understand what you mean, but meeting Mary is the most important thing for me.”

*******

Linda kept urging her brother to call but Ben repeatedly told her the time was not right.  Finally, he picked up the phone and called the White House number that they had gotten from the internet.

“White House.”

“This is Ben Tohe.  Claire Clarke is with the Maclaren twins in the residential area.  I need to talk with Mary Maclaren.  Would you please ring Miss Clarke for me?”  Ben realized that this approach wasn’t likely to succeed.  He had talked to David White, who had promised to have his father call as soon as he heard from his parents.  Sol would be able to contact President Clarke if he didn’t think Ben had gone off his rocker.

Ethel had been an operator for the White House for over thirty years.  Her daughter, Maria, had been on Claire’s Secret Service detail the day that the Tohe’s had visited the White House six years before.  She had told her mother that Claire had a long talk with the Tohes.  Her daughter had felt that there was some special tie between them.

“I’ll call Miss Clarke and see if she’ll take your call.”  Ethel put Ben on hold and dialed the family phone in the White House residence.  “Miss Clarke, I have a call from Ben Tohe.  He wants to talk with Mary Maclaren.  He said that she and her sister were with you.”

“Tohe.  The Navajo painter.  His son had injured his knee and he wouldn’t be able to play college football.  Yes, we want to talk to him.”

“Mr. Tohe, I will put you through.”

Ben hesitated but the look on support on Linda’s face helped him.  “Miss Clarke, this is Benjamin Tohe.  You probably don’t remember me but we met when my father got the award for his paintings.  We talked …”

Claire interrupted him.  “I am putting you on speaker.  I was just trying to remember you name before you called.  How is your knee?”

Ben was surprised that Claire had been thinking about him but the comment about his knee made him laugh.  “It got better as soon as the college football recruiters left town.  It was the only way that I could get out of an athletic scholarship.  Linda and I went to Stanford on full academic scholarships.”

Ben heard another voice say.  “Linda?”

“My twin sister.  Are Mary and Brenda there with you?”

“Yes, that was Mary.  If Linda is there, can you switch to speaker so we can all talk?”  Claire asked.

Ben nodded at the phone to draw Linda’s attention as he switched to speaker.  “She’s right here.  She has been urging me to call since we saw the four of you on TV.”

“Hi!  Ben wants to talk to you about your aunt’s Adjacent World Theory.”  Linda greeted them.

“Mary when I saw you on TV, I felt the urge to call you.  We have proof of your aunt’s theory.”  Ben did not want Mary to think it was all Linda’s idea to call.

“Aunt Alice’s Adjacent World Theory?”  Mary’s voice was confused but showed interest in the topic.

Ben smiled.  He had picked the right opening. “Yes, Linda and I were on the adjacent world this morning.  Ever since I heard that your aunt had died, I knew I needed to prove her theory.  I’m a doctoral candidate in physics.  I have been considering using your aunt’s theory as the basis of my thesis.  I have not spoken to Doctor White about it yet, but he believes in your aunt’s work.”  Ben was surprised at the laughter of the three women.

“We were on another world this morning.”  Linda was upset.

“We believe you.  Our older brothers have been on four of them.  Sol hadn’t told us that he had anyone else convinced of Aunt Alice’s theory.”  Another voice, Brenda said.

“Four worlds.  They walked to four worlds?”  Ben was surprised that there was more than one.

“Yes.  Sol had it wrong.  Aunt Alice was killed when she opened a window to one of the worlds.  Water from a lake shorted out the equipment for generating the window.”  Mary replied.

“Equipment for generating the window?”  Ben was confused.  He saw that Linda was just as confused.

“Yes, the window that you generate to get to the different worlds.”  Mary explained.

“We don’t generate a window.  We meditate and stepped into the other world.”  Ben explained.

There was a brief pause.

“Ben and Linda, we should hold off talking about that for now.  We are using two different methods.  We have something more important to talk about now.”  Claire said.
 
The Tohes were even more confused.

“More important?”  Linda wondered what could be more important.

“Ben, you felt the need to contact Mary, not Brenda or Robert.”  Claire replied.

“Yes, I wanted to talk to Mary.  The theory was a good way to get to talk to her.”

“So without the theory, you still would have looked for a reason to talk to her.”

“Yes.”  Ben started to understand.

“I spent the last couple of hours telling him to call.  He felt that he couldn’t just call after what you have been through.”  Linda paused.  “Claire, you said you were trying to remember his name.”

“Yes, I knew that there is a link between Ben and Mary.  Did you use your father’s teachings to help you today?”

“Yes, we did.  He and mother have taught us many things.”  Linda was smiling.

“How did you know about the link between Mary and me?”  This is going better than I had expected, but how had they realized the connection.

“Robert and I have the same type of link.  We have learned to know about the links between Life-Mates if we know both people.  Linda Steele told us about finding Brenda’s Life-Mate earlier today.  I had had the feeling that I had met Mary’s Life-Mate.  With Mary being the only sibling without one, I decided to concentrate on remembering.  I was just telling them what I could remember, when you called.”  Claire voice conveyed amused happiness.

“What is a Life-Mate?”  Linda asked.

Brenda answered.  “The two of you are twins just like Mary and I.  Do you have instances where you know how the other is feeling?  Or what they are thinking?”

“Yes.”  Ben and Linda shook their heads as they answered.

“Life-Mates have that and it is much stronger.  Let us try something.  The two of you should hold hands and meditate.  We will try and contact you.”  Claire told them.

Ben shrugged and reached for his sisters hands.
 
Ben, I cannot wait to meet you in person. 
 
Ben knew it was Mary thought that he had heard.  Mary, this is amazing.  I wanted to meet you since I saw you.
 
Ben, think of Linda so I can identify her mentally.  Linda, I also want to meet you.
 
Linda had seen the surprise on Ben’s face and now understood the reason.  Mary, I think that you and Ben will be very happy together.
 
I am thinking about Brenda.  Can each of you send her a message?
 
Brenda, you are like Mary but different.  Ben was surprised that he sensed the similarities but differences between the two sisters.
 
Brenda, do Ben and I also feel similar?  Linda was curious about the similarity between twins.
 
Claire thoughts were sensed by Ben and LindaAll twins feel similar.  You two are female and male.  Someone’s sex is obvious when you link.  You cannot hide your sex.  We do not need the phone to communicate.  “I will talk to you later.  Thanks for calling.”  Ben also hung up the phone.  Our communication is faster this way but it was many seconds since we spoke.  I do not think that they were taping the call.  I think that the residential phones are not taped.
 
How can you live like that?  Linda was shocked that Claire had to consider if her phone calls were being taped.
 
I was eight when dad was elected President.  I was born while dad was governor.  That is the life that I know.  I look forward to going to college in Australia.
 
College? Linda could tell that Ben and Mary were having a separate conversation while they still participate in the other one.

Yes, mom and dad agreed that I would put too much at risk if I went back to school.  I will be taking my GED.  I am working on convincing my parents to let me attend college in Australia with Robert.  You and Ben should join us.  You had scholarships.  What are you doing now?

Ben is working on his doctorate in physics, which we were able to assure with our little experiment this morning.  I on the other have a number of years ahead of me in medical school and residency.  I won’t be able to join you.  Linda was obviously disappointed.
 
Why not change schools.  I’m also a medical student.  Brenda told Linda.  I have been studying at Edinburgh with Aunt Alice’s sister Marge as my mentor.  She is going to James Cook University to do research on allergies on the new planets.  Kim, Alice’s daughter is a genetic researcher.  She will be studying similarity in genes on the different worlds.  Marie is Alice’s other daughter.  She is the mathematician that will take over her mother’s work on the Adjacent World Theory.  Her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Ann and Larry, are also medical professors.  Ann is especially interested in understanding mentally communicating and the other tricks we have picked up.  Mary Steele and I would love to have you join us.  It will be where most of the new research is happening.

I would have to be accepted.  Linda really wanted to go but expected it would be hard to gain admission to the program.

No problem.  You are family.  They will all recommend you, especially since it will give them another set of twins with mental talents to study.  Brenda thoughts were very encouraging.

In the other conversation, Mary was encouraging Ben to have him and Linda join them in Dallas the next day.  Ben, I want to meet you.  Besides there is much that we need to show you.  I will pay for the flights.

No, I have to work.  Even if I can get off, Linda would also have to get off.  We have to pay for our apartment.  It is hard going to school and working.  You are a student.

Mary’s reply is interrupted by Robert, Will, and Leslie Maclaren joining the mental conversation.  The meeting that they had been attending had broken up.
 
Ben, Linda.  I hope that you can join us at JCU and help with the exploring.  We will need all the help we can get and that way Mary will be with us.  Contact with Robert brought thoughts of their sister Nancy to them.

Ben, you make the fourth Life-Mate that my children have found this week.  Leslie’s thoughts conveyed the happiness that she felt.

Yes, the week that started so badly with Alice’s death has certainly turned around.  Will Maclaren thoughts showed concern only for his cousin Jess with regard to Alice’s death.  Ben was as much surprised by Will’s attitude as he was by the ability to detect it.

Ben, that is another reason that the two of you need to meet us in Dallas.  Mary had sensed what Ben was thinking.

Ben was unable to reply as Sue Clarke, Claire’s mother, and Sol and Mei-Lei White joined the mental conversation.  The greetings were short as Jess Maclaren and his two daughters, Kim and Marie joined them next.

I understand that you put all the hard work that Mary, Alyca, Rob and I put into designing and building the windows to naught.  Jess told Ben.

No, dad.  The windows are still necessary.  I think I see how what they do may be possible but I need to look into it and possibly try it myself so that I can expand the theory.  Marie thoughts were also happy.

Do we want to make it public?  Will asked.

No.  Claire and Robert answered as one.  Linda and Ben are a very strong pair when they work together mentally.  Most will not be able to do what they did.  All of us should be able to do it when they are strongly paired, but most will not be able to.  We need to keep it to ourselves.

They take charge so easily.  Linda had played sports in high school and new the importance of strong, decisive leadership, but this was the first time that she had seen young people take charge from experience adults.

Sol is surprised at how Ben and Linda had stepped into the other world.  What was the other world like?
 
It was dark and we could not see much.  The one thing that told us that it was another world was the three small moons.  Ben answered.
 
Three small moons.  It has to be one of the other worlds for which I haven’t worked out the settings.  Marie commented.
 
Ben and Linda, we need you to meet us in Dallas.  Sol said.
 
We have to work Monday.  This apartment is not covered by the scholarships.  We don’t have the money for the flights.  Mary offered to pay for the tickets but she is also a college student.  I don’t want to use her money.  Ben explained.
 
Laughter was both vocal and mental.  Ben and Linda were surprised at it.
 
We can afford your flights to come meet with us even if you weren’t soon to be part of the family.  In fact, I suspect that the other members of your family also may be able to communicate mentally.  If they came to Texas, we could teach them.  Leslie explained to Ben and Linda.

Yes, they must come as well as you. Sue Clarke remembered the Tohes.

The conversation continued as Linda dialed her father’s studio phone.

“Dad, Ben and I need you, mom, and Nancy to meet us in Dallas tomorrow.”

“Is that why your sister packed her bag and told us we needed to pack also.  She really got excited when she watched the memorial service.  Did you see what Claire Clarke and the three Maclaren’s did?  Who would have thought that Claire could shoot like that?  You remember meeting her when we went to the White House.”

“Dad, Claire is who asked us to meet her in Dallas.  She and the Maclaren’s will be there.  She wants you to bring a copy of the painting with the girl and the two moons that you brought to the White House.”

“What is this about?”

“Claire knows the source of what you painted.  You have to come so that it can be explained.  We don’t want to talk on the phone about it.”

“Nancy knows something about the painting also.  She would never say.  She said that the time would come.  We’ll make reservations and meet you there.  Do you need money for the flight?”

“No, the Maclarens are paying for it.  You remember what Ben’s dissertation is about and who’s theory he was basing it on?”

Nantai realized the connections as soon as Linda hinted at them.  “Yes.  Very interesting how things are developing.  How is Ben?”

“In LOVE.  He and Mary Maclaren.  We both need to make our reservation.  Call back and we will make sure someone is there to meet you in Dallas.”

“I also need to hear more about Ben and Mary.”  Nantai chuckled.

“That will have to wait for tomorrow.  I don’t think that I can convince you over the phone.”

“What about Elvis?”

“I am calling him next.”

“We will see you tomorrow.”  After Linda hung up, Nantai went into the house to tell his wife and daughter that they were going to Dallas.

“Dad said that they will be there.  He also said Nancy has already packed.  She knows something about the picture also.”  Linda told her brother.

“She knows more than that.  I want to talk to her.”

“I know what you mean.  I’ll call Elvis.”  Linda called the facility where he worked maintaining the Marine communication equipment.  His was not a weekday job.

“Sergeant Tohe.”  Elvis answered.

“Elvis, this is Linda.  We need you to meet us in Dallas, Texas tomorrow.  Mom, dad, and Nancy will be also meeting us there.”

“Sis, I cannot just up and leave.  We are on standby after the attack on the President’s children.  No one can even leave the camp.”

“Claire wants …”  Linda could hear someone talking.

“Got to go.  The lieutenant has called a meeting.”  Elvis hung up.

Claire, Elvis cannot get leave.  His unit is on standby because of your kidnapping.

Linda, this is Susan Clarke.  I will talk with Dave.  I have an idea on how to get him there.
 
Thank you Mrs. Clarke.  I talked to my father.  They will be there.
 
Just Sue.  It looks like we are going to be family.
 
Thank you, Sue.  Yes it does.
 
Ben was still conversing with Mary with Brenda, Claire and now Sue occasionally in the conversation.  Linda could follow the conversation while she had been on the phone but she couldn’t maintain multiple mental conversations like Ben could.
 
Linda, call American Airlines and give them yours and Ben’s information for the flights.  Ask for Freda Stallone.  I talked with her.  She took my credit card information and she is holding two tickets for you.  The number is 1-800-222-2377.  Contact me if you need any help.
 
Thank you Leslie.  Linda dialed the number.  “Yes, I need to talk to Freda Stallone to complete my reservations.  Thank you.”  She listened to American Airlines advertisement as she waited.  “Freda, this is Linda Tohe.  Leslie Maclaren started reservation for me and my brother Ben.”

“Yes, I have two first class tickets on flight 724 out of San Francisco at 6:24 AM.  Can I have yours and your brother’s addresses and phone numbers?”

“First Class.  That is really expensive.”  Linda had never flown first class.

“It’s on the Macphater Mining Equipment’s American Express card.  Don’t worry about the cost.  Mrs. Maclaren covered everything.”

Linda supplied the information.  She was told where to pick up the tickets.

Leslie, I completed the reservations.  What is Macphater Mining Equipment?

Our family’s company.  We make mining equipment, own mines, and make investments.

That is a big company.

Yes, we have been working hard to be ready to explore the new worlds.  That is why we were able to set up compounds on four worlds this morning.  We are looking forward to you and Ben joining us.  Your help is needed.  We will talk in person about this more tomorrow.

Ben, ask your father to bring a copy of the picture of the girl and the two moons that he brought to the White House.  I will explain when we meet.  Claire’s message was only to
Ben.
Ben and Linda started to make preparations for their trip.

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