My family, my loves and friends, I am ashamed that I allowed my bitterness to strike out at all those I love. My humble apologies to all of you and I hope Jesus and Christós can forgive me.
We’ve lost count of the Freddies which have come and gone while we stay frozen here. Months have passed as we concentrate, skimming through the early years. Ivgos asked to write to you - please assume his writing will get through to you as it won’t feel the same to him if I have to write for him.
Haikra had Tsektsit, Grosts and Bolwor with him when he went to the Kawud divide.
Cherine hopes it will be so, but is not certain it can be so, therefore, she looked to Robbie. He gave her the hint of a smile and she felt that almost concealed within the love he sent her, is a tiny sadness. “To become like them would not mean we have become ideal Cherinians - only that we have chosen to emulate the Marmirie. As wonderful as that would be, I would prefer that we become ideal Cherinians. Kiris, you are wondering, what then would an ideal Cherinian Kiris be? He would be an ideal Kiris. An ideal Kabetu but, more important than even that, an ideal Kiris. Learn from those who have something of merit to teach you, but there is little point in trying to become a copy of them. Take what is good and adapt it so that as you grow, you remain an individual who’ll still be recognised as Kiris a million years from now. It is the individual path each of us must take, or else we’ll be nothing but copies of all we’ve admired the most in others.” He sensed Cherine glance sharply at the Unation ship above us and he grinned, realising they had eagerly been waiting for this comment of his so as to take it back into their past. As expected, a tiny courier ship departed within a few hours. It is funny (strange to me, even after all this time) how the paradoxes of the Unation no longer worry him.
‘If you want someone to be a good citizen you keep him busy with the activities that constitute being a good citizen, so he has no time or energy for anything else.’ Arthur told me this is a quote but could not remember where he read it. He teased me, suggesting we use the spell to go through time in search of the moment he noted it. His success at teasing me shows he has come to understand me in ways that not many outsiders do. He laughed when I told him we don't need to, that we can guess he stole it from some site or article setting out the present political evolution of his world. Robbie teased him by asking, 'Who do you suggest we apply your quote to? Is it a person in particular or are you hoping we'll apply it for keeping happy those we enslave?' Allan pulled a face and left, knowing what to expect - at least Robbie stuck it out with me as Arthur ignored the humour and answered in all earnestness for two pages, using that tiny font of his! I did not consider it necessary for our diary or his story (I promise you, his reader, you’re not missing anything awesome), so I deleted.
For a while we thought the Wirms, of both realities, were abandoning us to be with the Marmirie, but after a few days they each returned to their friend. The emoting of the Marmirie when they communicate with anyone, are so gentle and loving, without being cloying, that we also (all of us) look for excuses to spend time with them. At least Ahram gets more time on his own, which I think he needed. Since he discovered the multi-species library he spends as much time as he can there.
Luigi asked, “If we cannot find one Marmirie unworthy of being linked, what do we do when we return to their Federation? How can we link all of one species, but not do the same with all the other species?”
For me, these last couple of weeks have been very good and as I let go, my loves included me in their games. Many people, of all species, are saying this is a good time, so it’s not just me. Challenges are good for us, but we also need times like these. The saving of the various peoples of the Ribbon planet are the responsibility of the Ivgos family and we can sense how good the progression to date has made them feel. The flowering of the Marmirie divide is enough, on its own, to satisfy anyone; adding to that the knowledge that they’ll be returning the Eluc Liguju and sensing how their beloved Haikra feels has them floating on emotions all day. We’ve seen to it that Ivgos spends at least part of his days with his Akiard friends as they do not inundate him with emotions and he is able to forget his own extremes as he plays with them. He watches as they attempt the game Freddie set up against the energy shield and wonders at their stubbornness, at their refusal to acknowledge defeat. We can sense that he also secretly plans on trying to reach the last pole. Maybe I should let him join the Akiards when they enter the world of Hesina to attempt the climb up the mountain - for the umpteenth time.
Freddie did not keep us chained to the Ribbon planet. Freddie chose another solar system and jumped to it, giving us a few days of wonder as we examined its planets. Where it was possible to survive with a sheathe, we’d visit the planets and just like ordinary tourists, we’d sometimes bring back little souvenirs. Robbie does not mind, but first he examines them as the void and if he suspects any kind of life, especially viral, he takes it back. Some of the mementoes are kept within stasis as our atmosphere or gravity or moisture and so on, destroy them. For instance, a beautiful crystal was brought from a gas giant. Because it existed in a very turbulent area, Roula assumed it would survive in Freddie. Not so. It ‘melted’ into its gassy compounds. She was upset and angry with herself, so Robbie took her back and finding another piece that was just as beautiful, he enclosed it within a stasis shield. After the first day, it was moved to the museum so that everyone can marvel at its delicate beauty.
We had not expected to be keeping our guests with us for more than a few weeks, but because of Freddie moving us from system to system and our enjoying it, a couple of months went by. That is why we found the system of the Totmygy. We kept our presence a secret so that our scientists can study them before they learn of us. Hopefully we will then have a clearer picture of how we might affect them - whether we end up linking some of them or not. Within the first four days we discovered something that has all of us puzzled. They all leave their bodies when they sleep and yet, not one of them comes to the void! Their day-night cycle is fairly similar to ours, approximately twenty four and a half hours. They mostly inhabit areas where the day, in Winter, lasts about seven hours. They actually sleep, on average, about fourteen to fifteen hours per day!
We have a new puzzle. As we learnt their languages we chose certain individuals, some at random and some because of their positions within their social structures. It has taken days for us to realise that there is something very odd, very disjointed, about their conversations. They discuss meetings they did not have, debate conversations they were never a part of. There are other clues also, but they all point in the same direction. They all seem to have a second life which we are not following (spying on).
I’ve also had pointed out to me some further ‘irregularities’. Their technology is at least the equivalent of ours in the nineteen sixties, yet they do not have television; cinemas only attract a small audience for early shows and is mostly used in schools as a tool for education. We’d have a lot of people in Freddie in love with their way of living if it was not for one thing: the reason for their disinterest in entertainment seems to stem from their unwillingness to forego one moment of sleep! Cassie had everyone in stitches when she asked whether they have sex at night. The answer is, they only have sex early in the morning! Not even during the day!
Robbie took a sip of beer while Solomon only stared at him. The two of them had just returned from spending the early hours of night in a city below, watching the locals fall asleep, so as to follow their souls when they leave their bodies. Robbie shook his head. “I tried every kind of energy filter I could use so as to see their souls when they departed, but I did not see anything - not once! Yet, checking on their bodies and minds, not one soul was there. Can there be some other dimension like the void?”
Ifosi changed colour at the extremities of his feelers as he contradicted Robbie. “They are not going to any dimension similar to the void; from their discussions, it would be more logical to assume they are visiting another planet.”
A number of the scientists agreed with him and mentioned overheard comments, which had not made sense at the time, about molten sunsets, waterfalls of water converted into curlicues of vapour that purify the air and other spots of exalting beauty the locals had been affected by during the previous night. The eyes of an Akiard adult lit up as he guessed the truth. “Their souls are teleporting to another world directly from inside their bodies!” Many of us argued against the likelihood, postulating theories about such teleportations causing damage to the mind or body or even to both. We were not being unrealistic, since the soul is attached to the body by the astral umbilicus cord and there are ‘hooks’ for the soul being anchored and for controlling the mind. As I said, maybe not unrealistic, but certainly small minded, blinkered by our prejudices. We keep on forgetting what the magic of meeting aliens truly is. My comment applies to almost all the species, not just to us.
There was little point in continuing our surveillance in secret, there was too much we did not understand for us to make judgements. At least we will not have the added complications of being met with bombs and hate.
Robbie did not interfere when he realised what we were planning. It was decided by us girls that some of us have had more than our fair share of being the first of our family aliens meet. My name, Goldi, Claudia and so on were removed from the list of names we placed in a box and then Cherine drew three. Gilli, Haven and Chantel were the lucky ones. When Chantel’s name was drawn, she turned to Roula, placing her hands on her shoulders she pushed her ahead of herself. “Be our Friend of Aliens, for us and for the Kinytians, your adopted people.” We all stared at them with wide eyed amazement. Chantel had never spoken of Roula as being adopted by the Kinytians, but now that she’d mentioned it we saw how much sense it made. With Chantel, to all practical purposes and in their hearts, being her mother, it also makes her the child of the Kinytians. Robbie quickly wrapped her in his arms for a squeeze and a whispered ‘stiffen your spine love, you represent all of us’. After such a momentous announcement and with all of us keenly sensing the storm of emotions within Roula, it was no surprise that the other two tried to withdraw so that Roula has this experience to herself. The rest of us refused to let the two withdraw - much to the relief of Roula.
Freddie appeared in normal space and our team are on their way in the Muyzith spaceship - I wonder how keen the importance of beauty is to the Totmygy. The spaceship will be landing at the entrance to their equivalent of our United Nations, as announced by Freddie in advance.
The Muyzith held their spaceship about twenty feet above the lawn. We had not seen, when looking through Freddie’s tip, that the lawn is not grass as on our world. It looks more like blue-green translucent blades of glass. They worried it might shatter if they land on it and flying pieces could cut the dignitaries waiting for us. We later learnt that the blades are not rigid and most of them would have recovered from being flattened by the spaceship, but I’m proud that they found a solution that looked good. A staircase grew from the opening and the steps looked like deep sea-green crystal and the handrails were golden with carved ‘lion’ heads every metre. It seems their Captain, or their AI, could not resist his sense of humour and as the girls climbed down the staircase, the lion heads turned to look at them, their mouths opening wide in a silent roar or yawn. The girls got the giggles and when Haven put a finger in an open mouth it bit her lightly.
“Welcome to Ycia, home planet of the Totmygy. My name is Cey, mated to Jizy, who could not get here in time for our meeting. I have been authorised to officially meet you on behalf of the leaders of all the nations of our planet. Is our air suitable for your people? Would our drink and food sustain or damage you?”
“We are able to adapt to whatever is not suitable to our natural metabolism. At this time we are sheathed, but once we know what to protect ourselves from we can probably let the sheaths go, since your air is similar to ours. Cey, there is no honorific title expected? Thank you, Cey, the three who are with me are females and they are mated with me. This is Roula, Haven and Gillianth - we prefer to call her Gilli. I am a male and my name is Robert. We have not travelled to your world so as to trade, but if there is anything you need, we will gladly do so. We are here because we rejoice at each species we find and when you visit Freddie our ship, you will see I have not exaggerated, there are hundreds of species travelling with us and they too are doing so just for the pleasure of learning about the universe and making new friends. The ship we have arrived in belongs to the Muyzith.”
Cey was a little amused by our informal ways, which was a nice change. When he was told that Roula is our ‘Friend of Aliens’ he asked for an explanation of the title. I’ll pause here to explain something about them we still find confusing. Because Robbie introduced the girls as female and himself as male, Cey felt free to ask questions about our sexes. He listened politely, but they could sense his confusion and shock. When he explained, we did not suffer from shock as we’ve met too many varieties, but we still get a little confused. Cey looks like a female, according to our instinctive reactions to him, so it feels weird for me to be writing of him as a him. His mate, Jizy, is female but she looks like a male. It is more of a problem for us than for most of the other species, as the Totmygy resemble us Terrans; the differences, to the eye, seem unimportant. Biologically we are totally alien to each other and even a depraved Terran male could not copulate with a female Totmygy. So, we categorise them as, Cey, a female-male and Jizy, a male-female. If you find it difficult to understand why I struggle with calling Cey a ‘he’, just try to imagine sitting with Marilyn Monroe and having to refer to her as a male - I bet you’d slip up now and then.
Behind Cey there were only four others. Perhaps, to me at least, the most outlandish of our differences (without knowing what is under their clothing) are their ears and the big toe on each foot. Their ears are situated lower than ours, at about the same height as their mouth, the lobes hang down to lie upon their shoulders. The lobes are covered in stiff, bristly hairs that react to the vibrations of sound - just like their big toes are extra sensitive to sounds-tremors (and temblors) in the ground. Their hearing is so acute that we would not be paranoid if we feared they can hear our thoughts - after all, think a sentence to yourself and pay attention to the volume…it is loud enough to always be clear, isn’t it - even if we have the saying that ‘x was so noisy I couldn’t hear myself think’. I’m just playing with concepts, as far as I know, thoughts only have volume when sent telepathically, not for the person doing the thinking. My thoughts, for me, just are, without sound or locale. If I enter the mind of a loved one and I hear his or her thoughts, that is not true telepathy, for, by entering their mind, I’ve become a part of it while both of us retain our individuality. These comments should partly explain why so many species are still studying the mind and telepathy. Our gifts have opened minds to each other without providing enough clues to help us understand them.
The Totmygy are very careful not to give offence. This characteristic does not only apply in their exchanges with us, they are the same with each other. Cey had apologised for his mate Jizy not being present and we had not given it much thought, whereas it turns out the apology was genuine and it had worried him as, amongst themselves, the presence of family is taken as proof of peaceful intent - same as certain gestures of ours symbolise lack of aggression.
Their planet is slightly smaller than ours, about 96% of the size of Earth, but with equal landmass. Population is about one billion, two hundred million. There are twenty nine nations. Although they had not been given enough advance notice of our visit for them to prepare, they have a schedule agreed among their leaders for our visits to each nation. Cey was surprised and uncomfortable when Robbie came to his feet and paced up and down as he talked. He soon forgot to worry about it when he realised Robbie was telling him that we will not be visiting the nations, that leaders of our friends from other species will take turns. Perhaps Cey and his team felt it was unfair? That they’d done such a good job of adapting to our ugly presence and now they’d have to do the same for more than a hundred species. Robbie still thinks that throwing others into the deep end is the best tactic and it can be funny sometimes, but I cannot help but feel sorry for them. As my representative, Roula offered that one of us girls will travel with each delegation so that there is some kind of continuity for his people. Gratefully he accepted and not long afterwards his wife arrived and he joyfully introduced her. I guess his relief was so acute that it made him giddy, for he spoke of what pleasure our arrival gave them - even though his colleagues did not emote anything like that.
While details were discussed, Haven asked one of the officials, “It would be presumptuous of me to presume understanding of your people from social rules that apply to other species, but, for instance, your constant and level-headed courtesy and the symbolism of having your mates present when meeting strangers suggests to me that there was a time when your people were very aggressive, but you devised rules to minimise misunderstandings and to permit meetings of enemies without violence. It would seem logical to presume that though your people have been softened by your advanced civilisation, the rules remained. It is the same with us, for instance, with the Terran species the shaking of hands proves that we do not carry a weapon for attacking the other. Are these rules true for your people?”
“Not entirely. When adults meet, we have no such customs or instincts. However, having young ones triggers a fierce need to protect them. None of the male-female sex would ever attack a young one, and should her mate do so, she would join the family in attacking him.” He kept his eyes focussed just off Haven so that it would not seem that he was staring at her as he added, “Children are sacred.”
Gilli had been listening and took his last comment as a deliberate hint. “Cey had not planned for his mate to be present until he saw us with Robert. Because of our smaller size he assumed we are children?”
“You are not? The difference in size is natural between your sexes?”
Haven joined Gilli as she giggled. “Sorry, Cey was right, we are children.”
He stared at them solemnly. “Even were it otherwise, the difference in size would have compelled us to bring our male-females - or apologise for not having them present.”