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This is part of a vast series the author has written and concerns a species whose powers and lifespan are due to sex. With the author's permission,we have lowered the hard porn to soft porn. We felt the series was fascinating enough to make the effort worthwhile.
Enjoy!
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Amanda had already been awarded every honor imaginable. She even had an Oscar for lifetime achievement, for inspiring so many screenplays in an era where fresh ideas were hard to come by.

She didn't plan to stay that long at BAFIC, to the concern of her mother. Rachel Larsen was so worried, she did something she never would have dreamt of not all that long ago.

When Dick called Amanda, he told her it was time to back off on the neural neutralizer. They had a nice long discussion about it with Rachel listening in right at her side. The fact that her mother would even talk to her father was one thing. That she would ask a favor of him really got to Amanda.

The news of the attempted bombing was still the big story. It seemed that every reporter in the world was at St. Croix, but none of them got near the Borocan-American Friendship Institute of the Caribbean. Troops from Fort Buchanan on nearby Puerto Rico saw to that. The Coast Guard established a two mile restricted zone off the beach.

All for one person.

#

To deflect attention from Amanda, who really needed the rest, Amelia agreed to talk to the United Nations. Since this would be an attractive target scheduled for the next week, extra precautions had to be taken. The idea was to assure Amanda that her help would not be needed.

All air traffic would be grounded for an hour before and after Amelia's appearance at every airport in the Northeast that was not headed directly overseas. Local airports would shut down, period. No above ground transportation would be allowed within ten miles that afternoon. Not even cop cars. If you weren't there by noon or arriving via space shuttle, take a train. AL would be on constant alert.

Those were Amanda's conditions to stay in the Caribbean relaxing on the beach.

Some people just have it rough.

#

Shena was the mother of Orrin Samaridjan, whose doctoral thesis had revolutionized physics.

Not exactly chopped liver.

The Nobel Prizes ARE judged awards. Amanda won the Peace Prize twice. Once was for what she did on Earth as Borocan liaison and once for what she did limiting the damage done by the Rhinoland war. Those she went to Oslo for. She also won the Science Prize in Chemistry. This was in recognition that she had converted her baby's stem cells into a cure for cancer using two simple additives.

Rachelle had accepted that award. The panel had to allow it, since Amanda was offworld. As Rachelle was the baby in question and taught Physical Chemistry at the graduate level, there was not much of a chance the judges would withhold the prize money, all of which went to the International Committee of the Red Cross anyway. Just like all the prize money Amanda was given.

That particular trip to deep space got her another award. Civilians don't qualify for the Congressional Medal of Honor. Even though Amanda had never been a sworn member of any armed force, her appointment as Commodore of Task Force Catherine made that a moot point.

Not one elected official dared to go on record as objecting to that.

Which in and of itself almost qualified her for a third Peace Prize.

#

It had hardly escaped the notice of the rest of the world that Amelia seemed to favor the U.S. with her presence to the exclusion of everyone else. It was bad enough that the Borocans had largely ignored them and that the Middle East only got some attention due to a legal fluke.

Amelia had no intention of making everything all better. She could care less about local politics or national pride. But her appearance on a talk show had stirred things up and virtually demanded that someone be held accountable.

No good deed goes unpunished.

The Russians also had their noses out of joint, being overlooked when it came to the issue of sharing advanced technology. Amanda had advised the Borocans that they could not be trusted.

The rest of Europe fared a bit better. Western democracies were less perturbed simply because they had been visited by embassy staff and the science chief. Promises of eventual benefit had been made. Amanda liked the French in particular and they liked her. This only had a little to do with Interpol being in Lyon. Both she and Andrea simply fancied their independent spirit and sense of style.

Especially the fashions. And they had once shared little girl giggles from a culture who could so proudly misspell oar derves, pujo, coo day tah, we, versigh and shonz daylisay so very badly.

Andrea learned French when she was two and had taught Amanda. It was her fourth language.

Andrea was up to seventeen by then, but she had more time to devote to them.

They admired the Brits, too, but they were just a bit too much like the Borocans that really raised them and taught them at the embassy under Rachel's frequent supervision.

Amelia wasn't interested in making friends or playing favorites. She went before the General Assembly because it was clear to anyone with a brain that Earth had a guardian angel looking out for the human race. It wasn't her, but these primitive folks were nowhere ready to accept the reality that there were beings even more advanced than her race in this galaxy and they were not the ones responsible for some recent developments either.

By putting her face out there, she hoped to deflect inquests that might lead to Dan and Dana, the Huyalans AND whoever it was that seemed to favor Amanda and Roxanne.

She seriously doubted they were the true creators she was looking for, but at least they were a lot closer than anyone else she knew of. It was just too bad that she had to send her ship back home to warn her people to alter the nature of some of their experimentations.

John was right behind her when she began her address. She didn't need to be at the podium to make herself heard, so she stood directly in front of the first row.

"I am here because you are wondering exactly who I am and if I favor this country to the exclusion of the rest of this world. Those of you who watched the shows we did last week heard me explain a few things. As the hostess said then, that was a social visit, not a symposium. This is neither."

A big hologram appeared above her.

"This is the galaxy I came from. If you look on page 129 of the Hubble book, you will see a tiny picture of it on the lower right edge. It is partially obscured by another galaxy, but there it is. 238 million light years from here. In that direction."

She had pointed down and to her right. "Yes, I do know how to get home. I also know where your Moon, Star, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter and all the rest are at this moment." She had pointed in different directions as she spoke. "Your astronomers can verify this if you want to waste their time. They will be busy studying the star charts I gave them. All of them, the world over."

The hologram overhead shifted through images of various galaxies as she let that sink in.

The pictures were all in X3D and all were spectacular. All of them had captions.

"These are the galaxies I passed through on my way here. If you were paying attention the other night, you saw this in a more leisurely fashion. The labels you see are the names of these places as now assigned by the New General Catalogue." The loop ended as the Milky Way was entered and numerous stars flashed by until the planets of the Solar System were shown, all the way to orbit around Earth.

"You will notice that there are no orbital defenses in place. Mostly some relays, a lot of junk and a pitiful excuse for a space station. This is an image made shortly after the Borocans first visited. You have come a long way in a fairly short time. You have a long way to go before you are truly safe. Despite what the guy in back just told his aide, this is the reality. Unless you know more than I do. Well?"

The twerp in question just stared. "Yes, I can hear all of you just as well as you can hear me. And I know every language you do." When no one made a peep, she continued. "And a lot you do not know. "

The hologram above shifted images, fading out and reappearing with a bunch of symbols that had never before been seen publicly on Earth. For all those who would see it, including the Alliance's top scientists, the slowly scrolling symbology might as well be gibberish.

It was not gibberish.

"I had to dumb this down quite a bit, but even Orrin said it is way over his head. Amanda and Roxanne made a deal. In return for their services, Orrin got smarter as he came of age. That is how he was able to change your perceptions of dimensional regularizations. This is the kiddie version that explains how my people live in a bridge between the 28th and 29th dimensions. Orrin's thesis showed you how it is that the bridges between dimensions are where the action is and just what a bridge is. On this primitive level, you aren't there yet and our conceptions of dimensionality are much different. Now, understand that I am not a top brain back on Firstplace, which is what our name for my home means, or I would not have been allowed to bug off on them for so long. Love that term Beryl used. What you call the 29th dimension is the 11th as we see it. Two plavels, two perceptions, both correct. Now you asked me here. I WILL take questions later, but before that I want you to know that there is a reason for my presence among your kind. It is not to enlighten you, but I have just done that."

Amelia pointed above her. "Even if your best minds are nowhere ready for them, the equations are right there. John is here because he has nothing better to do. Perhaps we could get him a job at Burger King, but we do not need the money."

The big lunk knew this to be a joke. There was some small amount of laughter that died quickly.

He simply stood guard. Humor was not his strong point.

"Good." Amelia had the assembly right where she wanted them.

Quiet.

"Now you have all wondered what exactly it is that I am doing here. Some of you heard the answer the first night, but it seems to have been drowned out by the uproar over the failed bomb attempt. I am looking for the same thing many of you are, mostly through your various religions. As diverse as they are, they all seek to know the ultimate truth."

She paused to see who got it, looking around quizzically.

A hand was raised in front. Amelia nodded. "What is the fundamental meaning of life in the universe?" The man repeated what she had said word for word on Wednesday night's broadcast.

Almost.

"Not just this universe. The more you know, the more there is that you do not know. One thing we have learned for sure is that there is more to existence than we can imagine. And I have a pretty vivid imagination or I would not be so far from home."

They bought that. Humans climbed hills just to see what was on the other side.

"I am nowhere near answering that question. The main difference between you and me is some really nice technology. Advancements none of you presently watching me are even close to being ready for. You are not going to be happy to hear this, but the closest analogy I can make is that attempting to bring your kind up to speed would be like giving matches to a two year old."

That brought out the expected disgruntlements and disputes from the delegates.

Amelia waited for them to pass with a smile. When John moved in front of her of his own volition, that seemed to have a damping effect on the disquietude.

He was not smiling.

After he moved back, Amelia moved on. "Yes, that IS the level you are on. Like it or not. My people also have a long way to go to reach full maturity, let alone the wisdom of old age. Consider us young adults. Even that may be overstating it, because I have now learned that we can NOT just continue slapping protons together. Elementals 137 are all stable. One of the 138s is not. Your asteroid belt is evidence for this. I regularly exchange messages with my folks. However, to warn them means that I must stay here or return with my ship. The messenger pods are nowhere as fast as my explorer."

Amelia paused, knowing she had just thrown a whole lot out there in a few seconds.

The sea of blank faces on those not whispering to their colleagues was not surprising.

She turned on her best high-wattage smile. It worked for Rianne. "I chose to stay. With you."

It worked for her.

Almost of all the dignitaries in attendance were male and thus biologically vulnerable to the charms of a pretty girl. This was hardly unique to humans.

Amelia continued with a conciliatory tone. "Yes, I know. The revelation of a cloaked ship in orbit, as long rumored and now a fact, has got you wanting to know more."

There were nods of agreement with this statement and expectant looks were widespread.

"Now you know that this vessel is not the property of the United States of America, despite what you may have previously assumed. Let me make this sparkly clear and unambiguous. The Prince Of Peace was created for the express and sole purpose of promoting peace in this galaxy. Hence the neat name. Luckily for me, it is advanced enough for me to take this primitive form. It is sexy, though, which compensates for a lot. Not like my own, but it will do."

Amelia dimpled and wriggled around cutely just because she could.

"This was only because I made some upgrades to it. I have made some upgrades that benefit all of you, as well. What these are is better left unsaid, just as the makers of the cloaked ship wish to not be known. That is why they recruited Roxanne to be their surrogate. She naturally asked her mom for help. This, in turn, is why its existence was kept off the record for so long. My presence and knowledge messed that up. Then again, it was my visit to their world over a century ago that spurred them to modify their isolationist policies and accept that they were part of an interconnected universe."

Amelia waited for the murmurs to die down. There were more questions put forth and again ignored. She just showed them that dazzling smile until the interruptions stopped.

This just happened to coincide with Amelia putting out her arm to block John as he began to move forward once again.

Or not.

He did not like much of what he was hearing.

"As are you. Amanda and Roxanne now know their real names, but not their location. I appreciate it that you all want to visit the ship."

Amelia barely paused to let that sink in before necessarily disappointing her audience.

"Not today. We have been given a mission and playing tourist attraction will have to wait."

She overrode the groans and chagrin by talking louder.

"It has come to our attention that a world once in dire martial distress some years ago is in self-inflicted trouble yet again. Amanda and Roxanne bought them considerable time by messing with their physics experiments, falsifying the results and altering some research equations. A generation later they have figured this out and now know the atom can be split. Everybody is blaming everybody else for this trickery. Fortunately, the piconites left behind have rendered their nukes inoperative."

Amelia only paused momentarily for effect.

"So far. This will not last much longer and they do have other weapons of mass destruction. The only reason time has not run out there yet is that there are so many contentious factions that whoever acts first is really asking for it. Orrin is now the commander of the Prince Of Peace. He has asked us to accompany him and give Nanda a much needed break. We are leaving as soon as this session is over."

Amelia assumed that those present were well aware that Roxanne was on Boroca because of the accidental death of a surrogate granddaughter descended from one of her donated eggs. She would return very soon to the Supreme Court and her husband would return to the Senate.

A major concern at her confirmation hearings was the possibility of her gallivanting around the galaxy solving other beings' problems. She had promised not to.

A death in the family did not count.

Knowing the young lady personally did.

As important as preventing nuclear winter was, she would not be asked to join Orrin.

"You may ask questions now."

The hologram had reset back to Amelia's homeworld. As she answered all kinds of dumb questions for a good hour, the record of her trip to Earth played out in a much more leisurely fashion.

With a lot more fascinating details.

Amelia reaffirmed several times and in several different ways her intentions to stick around. She did not have a viable alternative at the moment, but hoped to let that slide.

What she said at the end of this give and take was not so obliging.

"Anything I have not told you is classified."

Amelia was not about to mention the existence of a similarly equipped and somewhat larger ship operated by the Borocans. Upgrades to a research ship they had been building back then in honor of the first science chief to visit Earth were granted in order for them to help the Ralans.

Unlike the Prince Of Peace, the Seeker did have some defensive weaponry.

It was a tough galaxy. The Borocans had listened to Amanda's advice.

In response to a blunt questioner who wanted to know just who decided what got classified, her reply was equally brusque.

"I did."

End of discussion. Not the questions, per se, but the verbal intercourse was done.

The delegates would see, but not visit, the Prince Of Peace today.

Its exterior, anyway.

In the hologram the loop again arrived at Earth, having taken a little over an hour and signaling the end of the Q and A portion of her appearance. This time numerous weapons platforms and orbital structures were in place, making the planet below nearly invulnerable to any known threat.

In theory.

As Amelia had said, Earth had come a long way and had a long way yet to go.

A cloaked vessel had sailed right past all of these defenses, completely undetected.

John and Amelia went out into the aisles for a meet and greet with all the dignitaries, showing everyone that they were anything but hardshelled automatons. During this happy time, several songs were played. On The Late Show, Amelia had sung along with Enya's Orinoco Flow.

In the days since, Amelia had been made aware of a masterful cover done by Celtic Woman.

After she played Styx's most appropriate Come Sail Away, she joined in as the lovely ladies sang the iconic refrain 'sail away, sail away, sail away'. As the song ended, the holo showed the Space Guard lightcruiser Thomas Jonathan Jackson pulling alongside of the again decloaked Prince Of Peace.

As previously arranged. Everyone got a Margarita while Amelia pranced around among the throng.

AL had prepared these in advance and they just appeared on the tables over the course of a few minutes. Everyone could now see how small the ship really was compared to the cruiser.

The music stopped as the last delegates were greeted and given their drinks.

A deep male voice spoke with authority.

"This is Captain Lewis Ellison of the United States Space Guard. Good afternoon. I have been asked to inform you that we detect no weapons emplacements whatsoever on the ship you see in the holo. IF this vessel has offensive capabilities, it would have to be of a nature unknown to us. As part of our training, we all have had extensive experience in this exact arena. My men are much more interested in getting one of those glasses than they are concerned for their safety. No alcohol, please. This vessel is in the exact position it was reported to occupy. Our Missile Defense Agency's new and improved Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology Risk Reduction A3 satellite, launched just last year, can be seen through a telescope about ten kliks up orbit. It is once again reporting this ship's location to Space Command. Be advised that this cruiser is at Condition Yellow only because we are on assigned duty. I see no reason to go to Active Amber at this time. Ellison out."

"Thank you, Captain. AL, you heard that."

They got their glasses. These had been premade as well, with only a touch of tequila.

Ellison chose to look the other way as another voice came on.

"This is Commanding General of the Air Force Michael McCardiff at NORAD Space Command in Cheyenne Mountain. That ship Stonewall is shadowing just appeared on our monitors a few minutes ago. The staff here has mixed emotions about this. They aren't happy about being unable to find this ship even after being told where to look. You ruined their weekend. A 200 klik no-fly zone was established last week on the orders of the president. The good part is that these fine officers feel that if Amanda says it is AOK, they are OK. As Commander here, I can authorize the consumption of a modest amount of ethanol in the interest of improving morale. Godspeed on your next mission and I do expect an inspection tour on your successful completion of this endeavor. McCardiff out."

The hologram had been showing the Prince Of Peace on the situation room's Big Board.

Amelia did not respond to the general's last comment. As the picture vanished, so did the visitors.

The staff watching virtually everything in the air and in orbit did get their drinks, thank you.

#

One person, at least, did ask an intelligent question.

Everson Calvet was doing Amanda from behind so they could both watch the multi-channel live holocast in Amanda's beachside cabin. Rachel had business in D.C. and happily gave way to Amanda's not-so-new friend. Her first born had gotten plenty of mommy enforced rest in the last week.

A man's touch was needed now.

Advice that Rachel rejected for herself no matter how often her daughters teased her.

"How do they keep those bodies from overheating?"

For whatever reason Amanda felt exhilarated as she discussed highly technical subjects with her lover while getting boned, she wished Rachelle had told her sooner the reason why she bore four kids.

As did Andrea. Further indication that the brain is the most important sex organ.

It certainly felt good. Maybe this was the reward for all those long hours she put in.

It beat the hell out of facing off against the Krillik.

Ev was MUCH better looking.

"Hmm . . . hey, YOU are the science guy here. I am just a girl enjoying sex. You tell me."

They had been taking it real slow this third go-round, watching the vid and dissecting some of the concepts Amelia had just glossed over. He got some of it, enough to turn them both on big time.

When he gently smacked her rear end, she continued.

"Okay, master. Hey, do NOT stop! They are made of mostly siliconized selenium fibers, with skeletons composed of what Amelia calls tritanium. She allowed a replicator to be installed on the Eisenhower that can make this if she approves the need. That does not need cooling, but for the rest, they drink a solution every day that looks like battery acid. This flushes them out and converts kinetic energy into potential energy using the formulae e^2 equals mē c^4 + pē c^4 and s equals r omicron."

Amanda swiveled her head around to face the man.

She grinned as she teased. "You HAVE heard of those, I assume."

She was jerking his chain, not serious at all.

He got that. "Sounds vaguely familiar. It can't be that simple."

"Nothing is simple here. Go ask Amelia, if you can catch her. The girl can really put on a show. Some of the tunes she came up with . . . . I mean, Krokus? A Swiss band from a century ago? She amazes even me and that is not supposed to be possible, according to what I hear. Mom threatened to stun me if I got up."

"She still has that?"

"Her guards are never far away. Thankfully it was a short song."

"Isn't all the songs she played old?" Ev moved on before she criticized his diction. The idea of her getting zapped by her mother was not helping his coherence. "Uh. . . you do realize that you just called a, a 400 thousand old being a girl, right?"

Neither was being reminded that there were agents outside.

Amanda's quick response meant that she was ready for this. "You can take the pussu out of the country, but you can not take the country out of the pussy. She IS a girl."

Everson's reply came only after he realized that Amanda had played him again. "So you really aren't going?" He could hardly believe his luck.

This only applied if she did indeed finish out the week. Their times together had always been interrupted by pressing matters.

A day here, an evening there.

Being hastily granted a week's leave was nice.

Her still shapely body made it the perfect getaway.

Amanda grimaced in mock disbelief, still teasing.

Very much a girl's privilege, so why not exercise it.

HE had the benefit of doing what men so loved to do.

"Like this? As I get laid butt naked?"

She could easily pass for a well maintained forty, thanks to her heritage.

Evie, her pet name for him, did not feel his age either and knew exactly who to thank for this.

Later they would discuss how so many of the songs Amelia came up with were hardly hits. Few people had heard them when they were new and fewer since. Did this mean that she knew everything there was to know about humanity?

Amanda wasn't absolutely sure, but it did mean that Amelia loved music. Every female on her planet could sing, most beautifully, and there were no Frank Sinatrae, no Elvi. Not even close.

Love songs were prevalent throughout the known universe.

When she just happened to hear the harmonies of four young men from a faded English seaport thanks to the reissue of 1, that simply amazed her. This led to a search for more music from that era.

The discovery of nasty kick-ass rock and roll was something else altogether. It wasn't THE reason she made the conversion and stayed, but it didn't hurt.

My Way and Hound Dog were now enroute to a galaxy far away. What she had given to mankind more than paid the royalties for all the music she sent home.

Ev did as his conferette asked and resumed pouring the pork into her.

This pleased her as much as it did him.

Discussing the possibility that Amelia and John transferred heat to as many as six gravitational dimensions, not just four, through the use of microscopic white holes and whether there was a frozen Margarita's chance in hell that this universe existed on the inside of a REALLY ridiculously gimongous event horizon was made much more thrilling for the applied molecular physicist/xenocosmologist by his view of Amanda's nicely rounded smoothly soft white bottom.

Ev was one of the few hundred Earthlings who could understand Orrin's work, which so far had been unable to disprove either possibility.

His two doctorates were not why Amanda had picked him. He got lucky because he had interned with Marvin Oberon's research team.

Rachelle and Roxanne's late father had told Amanda that his assistant had a crush on her.

Doctor Calvet had once been quite embarrassed when he was overheard joking that he wouldn't mind prescribing a beef injection for her.

He wasn't the only one.

Marv knew that Amanda had picked him because of his lineage, not looks, and wasn't offended.

While it was nice learning about the real reason why Amelia's kind sent explorers so far away, the show Evie really liked was on the end of his 'big dipper'.

Possibly redefining the concept of infinity never felt so good.

#

It was estimated that maybe three billion people watched a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly live. This would include about three hundred thousand beings in orbit and, if one ignored the minor time lag, on the moon. Not all of them were human or Borocan.

In the days to come, it would be seen as major news on no less than twenty-seven planets.

Safe to say that the long rumored mystery ship's little secret was out.

Safe to say that everyone wanted to know more. Firsthand, up close and personal.

Not the least of these was a petite strawberry blonde. Rianne was just now starting to show her triple digit age. She still looked good to Dick and her thought processes had never changed.

"Just because you look like her, you think that gives you the right to do it on that ship?"

Dick's tease got the expected reply. He ignored the pointy little elbow jabbed lightly into his side.

"SHE looks like ME! I AM the original here, bub, and we ARE going on that ship. Mmm. . . three bedrooms, right?"

"Not for a while would be my guess. What makes you so sure of this, bright eyes?"

"Orrin is, uh, your, uh, great, yah, great grandson. Plus I know something that Amelia does not want known."

"Really, perfesser. That would be. . . ."

"She never once mentioned The Book Of All Things." Rianne was sporting that mischievous little grin as she finished her thought.

"We are going to have a nice long little chitchat. Goil ta goil."

#

Sometimes, not often but sometimes, brute force is the answer.

The intractable political situation that Amanda had deferred facing several decades earlier was now an even bigger mess and it was partially her fault.

The natives knew for sure that someone had messed with them big time and it never occurred to them for a split second that the interference could come from outer space.

There were just too many other likely suspects and all the spying they did on each other in vain to find out who had done this was not only fruitless, it was provocative. Overlooked in the contretemps was the fact that all the intelligence so acrimoniously gathered had all led to the same conclusion.

It so happened that there really was no likely suspect. No one had the necessary technology.

No leader bought it. They had too many problems to accept this. These hotheads made Lebanese governmental affairs seem like primary school reading by comparison.

There were at least a handful of opposing factions in each sovereignty and dozens of rival states.

Alliances even among biological equals were rare, short-lived and doomed from the very start.

To say that they all hated each other was an extreme understatement. There was no one real name for this world that was acceptable to any other regime and they even bitterly fought over that, with no one domain anywhere near to being dominant in any of the three surviving races.

Naturally, Roxanne had no trouble in coming up with a fitting title for this imbroglio.

She initially put forth Bush, proclaiming that it had NOTHING to do with POTUS43.

No one back on Earth would buy that. Mom accepted her Roxy's third offering.

Embroglio was just an alternate spelling, although it did describe this mess perfectly.

Agravado was picked over Rabidia, Berzookland, Warganda, Turgidstan and Mauradgria.

"Is this what you expected to find?" John had been made aware that Amanda was severely short on time back then. That was not his concern now.

"Humans at least pretend amicable co-existence."

Orrin shared the big guy's qualms. "Maybe we should have brought Nanda." To him, nana was Rachelle. "We could use some brilliant insights about now."

"Do not deny your heritage with negative anticipations." Amelia patted him on the shoulder as they watched the planet below spin by. It looked peaceful enough from orbit. "We have something that Amanda and Roxanne did not have at their disposal."

"Ike and Abe?" Orrin knew that other obligations were not the issue on this visit.

One could always hope for some mighty backup though, even if that was Plan D.

As in desperate.

"John." She was serious.

It was rappykack slobber-knocking time.

#

The reason Amelia had not brought up any mention of The Book Of All Things was that she had listened to Amanda's advice. Rianne was not the only one who had 'figured out' that she was the real author of the story printed decades earlier in F&SF.

Unlike Amanda at that long gone time, Rianne 'knew' that the actual writer 'had' to be a female.

Unlike Rianne, Amanda now knew that the 'book' was real.

This would mean that you counted the conversion of the white dwarf star in the binary system Amelia's race inhabited into a hypernary calcultronic information storage and retrieval technique that automatically recorded anything notable that happened within its domain as making a book.

In that case it was very much real.

It was also something that could only be done in the 29th dimension. A lot of time and effort went into the process. Amelia's little explorer ship had nowhere near this capability. Raising expectations was just one reason Amanda had warned her griend not to discuss the story that had been published in a major genre magazine by sneaking it past the editorial staff and sending it to the printer with all the normal checkoffs.

That was a puzzle better left unresurrected.

Another reason was religion.

Amelia was already treading in dangerous territory trying to spell out the difference between science and mysticism.

A book that purportedly knew EVERYTHING was really pushing it.

A book other than the Bible or Koran, that is.

The main reason for ignoring it was that, to Amanda's surprise, Amelia had NOT written the story.

While the tale was popular, it was hardly a major gamebreaker. The scientist whose submission WAS approved and intended for print had always denied being the author.

No one believed him. Amanda's booty call buddy knew of him professionally through his old acquaintances at the JPL and had always assumed the man merely had second thoughts and just did not want to be associated with such a racy story. Nothing else he wrote was remotely similar.

Or as popular, even though that Sarah Palien satire was quite clever.

Amanda assured Amelia that it would be best to let sleeping dogs lie.

The story was long forgotten. She had taken the absence of bitter controversy back then as a good sign, unaware that much less than a million people had ever actually read it. Circulation rates were hardly her specialty.

Neither wished to remind the populace of past indiscretions. A relative lack of outcry and surprisingly modest response to Amelia's speech would be factors in her continuing to stick around for the time being as promised.

Stirring up controversy was not HER thing.

Considering the advances made since 2019, to give the locals the idea that she had the ability to know everything they did would not be well received.

Every orthodoxy extant would be thinking heresy.

Amelia's acceptance largely depended on her appearance, the perception that her powers were limited and the quaint idea that we were hardly primitives ourselves.

To suggest anything else would not be understood correctly. For this same reason, the existence of Dan and Dana would remain known only to the president, VP and Speaker among those in an official capacity.

There is a time and a place for everything.

The Antikytherans had basically figured out some calculus over two millenia ago.

That was too much weirdness for back then and some things were TMI for now.

Amelia reluctantly agreed, unhappy that someone apparently knew about her kind and the Ralans.

This little mystery would not be solved by the natives of this galaxy.

#

The Huyalans had to expressly sanction Amelia's plan before John would agree to carry it out.

As much as he trusted her, to arbitrarily go around clobbering sentient beings was not within the design parameters as set by the makers of his body or the upgraded programming.

Scaring them nearly to death was the idea, with a STRONG emphasis on nearly.

Getting them to cooperate in not destroying their own planet was the goal.

These points were stressed numerous times in the instructions delivered by the messenger drone and relayed through AL.

Since he never left the ship, one of the bedrooms was split into two small detention cells that were really nothing more than windowless unlit soundproof closets.

The two most prominent leaders were seized, bound, gagged and kept in total isolation for what probably seemed to be forever, but actually was just a little more than a couple of days.

Amelia had researched abduction techniques and opted for one famously used on Earth in the mid-20th century. Being thirsty, hungry and smelly only began to describe their condition when AL finally went in and cleaned up one executive and fed him.

Good stuff.

Their rage had subsided by then as they recognized their plight and painfully came to grips with their unpleasant helplessness.

While AL was cleaning up the second leader in the unchanged bathroom, John went into the other's cell and slapped him around for some time as he was tied securely to a heavy chair.

One rare thing these yokels had in common was a calendar system of tendays, basically the same idea as Borocan cots.

It took a couple of them before these two could talk to each other sensibly and discuss the weird idea that a previously unknown force really hated extinction level events.

That message had literally been hammered home over and over.

Roxanne would have been so envious.

She only got to beat sense into a rival once.

If it were only that easy on Earth.

Her one crack at a Cobran Supreme Commander had been totally rigged in the Alliance's favor.

Just as it was back then, the leaders only got what they deserved.

All in all, it took well over a year before Amelia was satisfied.

Politicos can be and are regularly replaced and there was no shortage of candidates despite the likely prospect of bodily harm and humiliation for those still advocating a nuclear solution or all-out war.

The Seeker, with Amanda aboard, stopped by offering to help. Orrin felt that the by now well established identities were the key here, so this additional assistance was used in another way.

John was the bad guy.

Amelia and AL were the peacemakers.

More room was needed. Facilities were built with the larger ship's resources way out in the wastelands and by the end well over a thousand natives had been detained.

Failure to keep a promise of conciliation meant an unpleasant trip to the boonies to face a clearly much higher authority.

Repeat as needed.

Opting to not foul one's own nest was rewarded.

Recidivism rates were high, but they eventually accepted the limitations on warfare.

A bitter pill that's actually good for you IS easier to swallow than a knuckle sandwich.

This was one old saw that Amelia's kind had not beaten Earth to by millenia.

#

Orrin returned to Earth aboard the Seeker six mants into the project.

Amelia had things well in hand. His supervision was no longer necessary since after using his professional expertise to meet with some of the health care elite he had only worked behind the scenes.

Human emotions helped pick out who got the most and earliest attention, but those same feelings might wish that the ordeal was less painful.

It had hardly escaped notice that Amelia had disparaged humanity's early efforts in space.

The fact that her assessment was spot on was not as much of a concern as the undiplomatic way in which she had phrased it.

After resting and before going out, Amanda came out with a presentation using NASA and ESA video and records showing just how pathetic Earth's space program had once been.

About the time that the Borocans arrived even that little bit was being scaled back.

The Constellation program had been canceled due to funding cuts, the STS program was ending with its replacement gone and future dreams of going back to the moon and on to Mars were iffy.

NASA was preparing the OSIRIS-REx mission to gather dust from 1999-RQ36, a near Earth asteroid.

Big whoop. The Japs had already done that with a different rock.

A great achievement, the grandly named International Space Station was now a tourist attraction tethered to Sky Trump and anchored by the captured asteroid Apophis. Amelia had simply pointed out the obvious. Since Orrin had just spent considerable time with her, he got to explain over and over again that she had no bad intentions and was just speaking plainly sharing her vast experience.

The Seeker had dropped Amanda off at Boroca to give her a well deserved vacation. She was most pleased by Orrin's work and would not be needed to testify at the Earth Firsters' trial because they had all confessed. The entire group had been rounded up while she was still recuperating on St. Croix.

Modestly enhanced Borocan agents had led the Feds to them and some like-minded groups.

Trying to off Amelia had not gone so well.

The Borocan Council had initially resisted Amanda's suggestions that more helpers would be nice.

Their embassy was very well protected, thanks largely to her early persistence.

Upon closer scrutiny in the aftermath of the short-circuited attempt, they conceded that their initial reluctance to do more experimentations had been short-sighted and Amanda was right.

As usual.

The confessions would stand up with or without Amanda's presence.

Decades earlier, the Supreme Court had ruled that statements obtained with the help of 'special gifts' were eminently admissible as long as well-specified rules were followed.

Video and audio evidence had to show that the suspect was not coerced. Unwillingness to be interviewed or participate in an interrogation was not cause for denial unless it could be proven, somewhat contradictorily, that the suspect's mind was being controlled.

This was a tricky concept not believed to be all that verifiable and so far not empirically demonstrated experimentally to either scientific or legal satisfaction.

That same year, the Court had ruled that Amanda was exempt from having to testify under oath in any legal proceeding conducted under American jurisdiction, despite her crucial and prominent involvement in so many criminal cases.

The Supremes gave three decisive, precedent setting reasons for this in an 8 to 1 ruling.

She was a national treasure, so declared by Congress when she was four. This was ruled constitutionally valid when she was six and Andrea was included then in the decision.

She was Boroca's first liaison to Earth. This gave her undisputed lifetime diplomatic immunity and sanctuary with them should anyone dare to mess with her. Same for Andrea.

Amanda Larsen was THEE proven lie detector in the room. No judge came even close.

This had been verified over and over again in numerous criminal cases, many of them outside the U.S. Quantitative corroboration came from Duke University, where she scored a 100 percent in several trials conducted by their school of paranormal research.

Even the dissenting judge conceded this point and only voted no to prove that he could do so.

Amanda consistently maintained that she could not control minds. Whether or not it was possible did not concern her. She had no such powers and neither did her father, despite widespread perceptions fueled by anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Now she was unavoidably being asked about Amelia and typically failed to sugarcoat her answer.

"If this being with such a harmless image had such powers, we are in deep doo-doo. Do NOT believe everything you read in the tabloids or see in their video equivalents."

Amelia had told Amanda that her people had declined to develop such gifts. Influence was prevalent, but the brains of living creatures are subjected to countless influences every day.

Dick was especially adept at this, but even he had to have physical contact to get someone to talk.

Rachel Larsen was a primary proof of Amanda's claims. Rachel would testify that mentally she was just fine, thank you for asking. It was her body that Dick had taken control of.

Her mind had fought him the whole way.

It was only because she was under oath as Amanda's counselor that she very reluctantly admitted that her ordeal had actually wound up benefitting her greatly.

No, she was NOT grateful for this. Not to Dickhead, anyway. Her life was fine before Milwaukee.

The desired result, her baby girl, also benefitted WAY beyond expectations here.

Rachel Larsen's case was different than most others. Sure she bore two children sired by a mind-freak alien. The upshot of this was that she was the only visitor routinely admitted onto White House grounds with a knife in her purse, even before her second granddaughter became POTUS53.

Everyone knew that there was only one being it was meant for.

The fact that Dick had served time on Boroca for his excesses did nothing to soften her stance.

Less than a year spent at a polar research facility because Borocans hate the cold and lacked volunteers did NOT impress her.

Learning that Dick had a pretty petite strawberry blonde for a comforter even there upset her more than she ever would have thought possible.

She got really good at knife tossing, which later actually helped her protect Andrea.

Persistent rumors, never officially refuted, maintained that there were Earth scientists who deliberately screwed up here in the hope that Amanda would send them to the Extreme Northern Research Station. The availability of interested single Borocan women contributed to this.

The 54:46 ratio there had actually gone up slightly since Amanda's birth.

It had been many years and purse changes ago that Rachel last saw that blade, but she never told anyone that. The retired Secret Service agents earning a nice bonus protecting her could care less.

What happened to Rachel Larsen was not considered SO disparate as to be irrelevant.

It was Amanda's non-sworn testimony that she was defending before the Supreme Court. VERY specific and greatly detailed protections were deeply entrenched into the ruling.

These were written by Roxanne.

At least that is what Nana claimed.

Most people just assumed that she was laying the foundations of her little darling's nascent political career. Roxy was regularly seen at functions attended by Rachel. In some cases plus a small 1 was Rachel's condition, if not the only reason, for making the appearance in the first place.

In reality, Roxanne DID come up with virtually everything credited to her, including the following:

The suspect's lawyer, advocate and/or some kind of guardian/representative would always be present. At least two sworn law enforcement officials would also physically be in the same room. One person on the other side of the person of interest would also be in skin to skin contact with his ward. The lawyer could be the 'control' and usually was.

Only one official could ask questions pertinent to the specified cause of detention. No fishing.

The 'special contact' just nodded agreement or shook off the perp's claim.

No reaction or a shrug meant uncertainty and would be discussed later, on the record.

The entire thing was to be recorded with audio/visual equipment that had to meet very exacting specifications. Roxanne got a little picky here, but this stood up to review.

Now it was law.

So there was no way the would-be bombers were getting off, no matter how vehemently they claimed that Amanda was lying, not them.

The physical evidence alone, seized intact with some help from Amanda and not blown up, had them dead to rights on a major conspiracy case.

Since the maximum penalty was 25 years in a decent prison with a reasonable expectation of rehabilitative parole afterwards, the entire affair was settled rather quickly.

In such a large Federal case, this meant in a little over two years.

Very deliberately done to dismay the creeps, the prison they were all sent to was on Mars.

Shipping the bunch off to Agravado was not a valid option, as much as many law-abiding citizens thought it to be such a great idea.

Sending these nuts far, far away to a troubled planet chock FULL of aliens sounded like just desserts to many people, including some short-sighted leaders of various sorts around the globe.

All that was revealed about it was that it was maybe stable for now and about 76K LY away.

That was far enough for most, the further the better for others.

A follow up visit would probably be needed sooner or later, depending on Huyalan surveillance. A contentiously negotiated compromise resulted in parole meaning permanent exile on Mars.

Survival in the now livable but still harsh environment on the fourth planet meant cooperating with the other detainees present, whether or not they were like-minded.

Chief Judge of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court Alphonse Switalski would tell them the score.

"Thanks to ALIEN medical advances, you can all expect to have nice long healthy lives. How much you enjoy them after you have finished your sentences depends largely on you. None of you are welcome to come back here to Earth. Ever. Not even as corpses. Survival 25 years from now will assuredly mean hard work there. Failure to get along is not a valid option the way I hear it is set up. IF you do not like this, you should have realized that it is really this way here as well. We are all in this together. No matter what you may believe, you cannot change that one fundamental reality. No one exists all on his own. You have failed to appreciate all the help you received growing up. Life is a test. You failed miserably and now you are forever outlawed."

The Earth First sect would need a new name. To return meant death. Roxanne was only being slightly facetious when she suggested Morons on Mars.

The local-yokel loony-toony society would be nearly wiped out by the ongoing investigations.

This would include, at long last, some Sovereign Nationalists.

Amanda had been at or near the top of their hit lists for decades as well.

There was one notable exception to the list of criminal enterprises that had her targeted for violent involuntary retirement.

She had consistently refused to help the DEA deal with the Mexican drug cartels.

The solution there was simple.

Quit using drugs.

No demand, no crime, no need for narcs, which as far as she was concerned were no better than the dope dealers.

This stance was bitterly controversial and served to seriously dampen down wider adoration, which was fine with her. She had no interest in busting people for stuff that grows in the ground.

She did speak at the dirtbags' sentencing, with the judge's wholehearted permission.

Amanda felt that what she had to say was important.

The trial was over and not being under oath was irrelevant, so there was no rebuttal to her statement or the disparaging term that her cop buddies used when dealing with these retards.

"Your admiration of Adolf Hitler is misguided. Being a mass murderer may appeal to you and he did galvanize a downtrodden nation and inspire it to become a world power in a few short years."

She let this seeming praise sink in for a few brief moments before continuing.

"He did this through ruthless brutality. The trains ran on time, even near the end, or you got shot. The idea that the Nazis did not kill their own is a myth. They killed anybody they felt like. There is that famous fine line between madness and being a genius and he was way on the wrong side of that long before he went totally mad from venereal disease at that bitter end. In his book Panzer Leader Hans Guderian claims that he could have captured Dunkirk before the evacuation. He only stopped on direct personal orders of Der Fuhrer. Did you know that? The RAF only had 15 airbases to stop the Blitz. Failure to knock them out cost the lives of many irreplaceable Luftwaffe pilots while the Brits were able to save a good number of their guys. It was Hitler who ordered the firebombing of London, only enraging not just them, but the entire world. He personally abandoned Operation Sea Lion in favor of Operation Barbarossa, despite the German High Command's repeated insistences that they were NOT ready yet and little England being right next door. THEN he postponed that until late June AND refused to allow his supermen cold weather gear in a ridiculous attempt to inspire them to win quicker. The Russian winter hit early in 1941. Rommel's spearhead in North Africa consisted mainly of two tank regiments. Think of what Guderian's crack Panzer division freezing in Russia could have done there. Failure to capture Mid-East oil fields would be huge. AND, because of extreme Nazi brutality, the Wehrmacht encountered a scorched earth policy after first being welcomed by Russian peasants as a much better alternative to the lousy repressive commies who were starving them."

Bowing to her age, Amanda took a quick breath. "Guess whose idea that was."

Again Amanda paused, taking the time needed to look each ex-defendant squarely in the eye before finishing up. They didn't like it, but they were listening.

"Getting the idea? There are numerous other examples of Hitler's ineptitude, but the worst, BY FAR, of all was the senseless slaughter of the Jews. You dirtbags probably like that part, but did you ever consider that these were loyal Germans who would have contributed greatly to the war effort? No. You could not have picked a worse historical figure to admire. I say this today for the record, in the hope that future generations will choose someone else as a role model. Good luck in your new digs."

There was dead silence, even from the just sentenced convicts, as Amanda began to walk out.

This time there would be no vanishing act. Instead, she very deliberately dawdled, thanking the judge, prosecutors and notable attendees. Even the defense lawyers got an appreciation for their rather thankless task.

All right in front of the newly minted felons, taking all the time in the world.

She very much hoped that THEY did not like it. No pressing appointments for them. Processing these punks into the federal corrections system would take several days.

The Martian Development Authority was always looking for volunteers.

Indoctrination at the Phobos Reception Center would take several weeks. Other felons would join them there, having taken an option that shortened their sentences.

Non-criminals were prepared for the rigors below on Deimos and given the same specialized training for as long as necessary.

The shortest transit time between Earth and Martian moon was roughly half a day. The shuttles used had no FTL capability, but even the ships that did had to obey the laws of gravitational physics.

Vessels capable of interstellar flight were used only when Mars was on the far side and then only if necessary. Because of the time spent accelerating and decelerating, it still took half a day.

Typically, consignees ate an early breakfast containing sedatives here and maybe a late supper there, depending on the exact alignment of the planets.

Asteroid mining operations also took those with a record, but as ex-felons only. The pay was quite good. On Mars, you got what you could scrounge out of the hard ground.

For now. The idea was to improve on this and eventually become self-sufficient. The trial had been timed so that the next window of greatest convenience opened up in a little over two weeks.

There were always lots of people wanting to meet Amanda, so she rather enjoyed doing that right there in court for over an hour, as the gang fidgeted in their uncomfortable seats.

The prison bus could wait.

#

By the time Amelia returned to Earth after checking out a few things, there was a new president in office. He wasn't quite the big jerk that Lame-brain Lamont had been, but he was skeptical of anyone possessing so much power who, despite his assertions to the contrary, was not him.

President Jarvis had won as an independent, basically because that was different than what had been installed for so long. Less than 37% of the electorate had bothered to vote, mainly for the reason that things were going so well, who cared what figurehead was in charge. He was charming, articulate and sincere. No one gave the airheaded actor a chance.

He never would have gotten a majority in the Electoral College, but Sasha had worked diligently to finally scrap that ridiculously outdated system unique to the U.S. of A.

Oops.

Democrats still outnumbered Republicans, but the gap was minimal compared to the number of registered independents and minor parties. No other candidate had Jameson's sex appeal. He had played the president in three major theatrical releases.

He won 58% of the female vote. Too bad it took more than good looks to be a good executive.

Whatever credibility he might have earned through oratorical skills evaporated the minute he tried to push through laws placing limits on Amelia's involvement in American affairs and her presence on American soil. In theory, he was right to want some oversight on a being who had never sworn allegiance to any political entity in this galaxy.

Amanda pointed out that she had never once sworn an oath of allegiance to anyone, either. Being an American citizen at birth made that irrelevant as far as she was concerned. Raising your hand and running your mouth did not guarantee fealty. It just meant that you could be prosecuted. There were countless examples of that.

JJ stepped on his crank by making an issue of that, as well. A hundred years earlier, another two-bit Hollywood actor had charmed his way into office. Rah-nuld Raygunzzz had sense enough to pick smart advisors and the even better sense to listen to them. This had led to some minor embarrassments, but overall the 'acting' president's tenure had gone fairly well.

The man's entire life had been blessed and his two terms in office benefitted from that largesse. His harebrained Strategic Defense Initiative directly led to the demise of the Soviet Union.

Jameson Jarvis should have been so fortunate.

In a rare display of unison, both old time parties raked him over the coals the minute he opened his mouth about Amanda. The words impeachment and treason were floated out off the record. A very hasty retraction and clarification was issued by the White House noting that Amanda had been in the Oval Office many times and was certainly welcome at any time she felt it necessary to return.

Talk about bitter pills. JJ should have won that Academy award he never got for his apology.

In 1943, Patton was forced to apologize for slapping a soldier he accused of malingering. The poor GI was suffering from malaria. Eisenhower ordered him to say he was sorry for his error or be relieved of command. He made a nice speech.

Patton did not mean a word of it. He still felt the soldier was capable of duty.

Jarvis did not mean a word of his promise to work together with Amanda and Amelia for the common good of all Americans. He wasn't such a big jerk as to not be pragmatic. He distrusted that Amanda had seemingly gotten help from unseen sources.

He was determined to find out what that was. As CinC, he now had vast resources that could be put to use in uncovering the truth about the diabolical evil secretly using Amanda.

Quietly, of course.

#

During the nearly three month transition period preparing for a change of administrations, the incoming staff is supposed to be filled in on all the details, no matter how secret.

Jarvis knew that the Lincoln was now equipped with 11th dimensional technology. Like Ike.

What he did not know was that neither ship could obey an order that was deemed unlawful by its AI avatar. If ABE or IKE determined an action to be unnecessarily harmful, it would not be carried out.

Sasha had no problem with this.

She also had no problem in NOT passing this information on to her successor. There were a number of other items known privately by her and a few others that did not make it to the briefings.

Not the least of this was the existence of Dan and Dana, the ones who had warned Amelia about just how dangerous the track her people were taking could be.

Sasha wasn't worried about it. She knew some really good lawyers.

They wouldn't even charge her.

#

Amelia HAD gone before the U.N. General Assembly shortly after her return, but it was not just to show Jarvis that she was indeed welcome someplace. A belated invitation to the White House was ignored, not that she needed one if there was some important matter to discuss.

There was and she simply chose the bigger venue, although some attributed other motives to this.

Human nature had not changed a whole lot in the last two centuries, if at all.

Certainly not nearly as much as the amazing advances in technology in those years might suggest.

This was probably a good thing, but pragmatism was more in vogue now.

The female who had been Speaker of the House during most of the recent years was now the Secretary of State, mainly because Jarvis had NO political allies, at least none worthy of the job.

Her presidential bid had come up just short, but she never once criticized her opponent.

Amelia made a second appearance, speaking out about what she had said earlier. The concept that was upsetting some otherwise civil leaders was that she had called the human race infantile.

"In my last visit, I claimed that your race, actually any of the races in this galaxy, are NOT as yet ready for some extremely advanced technology. With your permission, I would like to elaborate on this assertion by providing some rationale to back up my opinions."

The General Secretary simply waved her on. The sooner she was done, the sooner he got to visit The Prince Of Peace.

"Over two millenia ago, some Greek islanders had at least the rudiments of calculus worked out. Their civilization was destroyed. Steam power and electrical storage also could date from this era, but you weren't ready yet for such weird concepts. Galileo was called a heretic for the outlandish idea that this planet revolves around your star. Einstein was severely criticized for wasting the last thirty years of his life trying to disprove his General Theory Of Relativity. Some of your brightest minds wasted a lot of time and money in the early years of this century chasing something called the Higgs boson."

She paused to see what signs of comprehension showed on these non-scientists.

Not much, but she went on anyway.

"They even called it the God particle. Please. You now know that Galileo and Einstein were right and that Heisenberg and Schrodinger were wrong. Not their fault. They just did not have the proper math tools then. Before the Borocans came, estimates of the number of stars in this galaxy were in the 200 billion range. Even they were wrong, since from my charts, you now know that the more accurate guesstimation is roughly 427 billion. You could not even count how many neighbors you have. My point is simple. Every sentient race in this galaxy could not do this easy arithmetic. YOU still can not and have to trust my charts. They are accurate, but you have to take my word for it. Which really proves my point, as much as some here may not like it. Case in point, many of you here have passed at least Calc II because all higher degrees require it. Good. But how many of you have mastered Linear Algebra II?"

Only a few hands were raised.

"I have. Care to continue this discussion?"

Not one hand was raised now. It had gotten very quiet.

"Okay, who wants to visit my ship?"

This time all the hands were raised. There was no Q and A after Amelia's little exposition and surprisingly little grumbling. They were just impatient to be included in the most prestigious event on the current social calendar.

Major cred points awaited, with General Secretary Hakkonen and his aides going first, the U.S. delegation next followed by countries in alphabetical order.

General McCardiff had already taken his tour, accompanied by Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hahn, USASF Commandant Shalivilov, Defense Secretary Lopez and Vice President Chinn.

They got to check out those parts of the ship a human could see. The delegates would just visit the observation room, but would not complain about that.

Amanda had advised Amelia to include Jarvis.

Actors have to have great big egos to make it in showbiz and this not-so-slight slight did not ease JJ's lingering animosity towards an extra-galactic being.

Amelia's little snub would get way more attention than it deserved, unfortunately a lot more than her cautions drawn from history did, by far.

More than she intended, for sure. Of all beings, she should have known that you can never know everything, so cautions are always prudent.

Maybe she should have listened to Amanda this time. No matter how smart you are, there is always someone smarter. Someone with an ego bigger than this galaxy was intrigued by this.

Someone who got his kicks by stirring up trouble.

This was very definitely not a good thing.

#

John had been given a special suit of battlearmor. The idea was to test the limits of the gear's functionality more than it was to protect him. It had no live weaponry and he had not used it in anger on the recent trip. That would have been a bit of overkill and was reserved as an unneeded option.

The makers were relieved when he did not break it and a lot was learned about just how much stress the equipment could take.

Much of this data was ascertained when San Francisco was hit by a massive earthquake in late 2089, several months after his return. Using the suit, John could lift 10,000 kilograms over his head and could prop up as much as three times that weight.

Enough for Amelia to wiggle her little body in close enough for AL to be able to distinguish victims from rubble under all the wreckage and zip them out. Survivors were sent to BAFIC, considered to be the world's premier trauma center because the top medical professionals vacationed there.

Two days spent relaxing on the beach for each shift worked was hard to pass up.

It was believed that hardly anyone died as a result of rescue coming too late. Thanks to John, and numerous squads of battlesuited Aerospace Commandos off the Eisenhower, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Clinton, virtually all those buried alive were saved within a day.

The normal S&R dedicated special teams were either just gearing up or enroute by then.

Those closest had assisted in the evacuation.

The estimate of lives so dramatically saved ranged from dozens to about a hundred. Some would have been freed anyway, just not as quickly. This low number was due in part to a large number of non-ambulatory patients being transferred to hospitals throughout northern California, southern Oregon and western Nevada the day before.

Unfortunate ones beyond help would be sent to morgues out of the zone in a day or so.

Another reason attributed to the low number of deaths despite the predominance of many very tall supposedly quakeproof buildings at the BIG ONE's epicenter was the forewarning provided by the technology that Amelia had recently given to the USGS that finally made their previously problematic attempts to predict seismic events actually work after years of tinkering around with mixed results.

The feedback this time was unequivocal.

#

When someone does something considered to be rather special in America, such as winning a sporting championship, it has long been traditional that they be honored with a visit to the White House and a happy/yappy meet and greet with the prez.

Before the invitation could be issued, Amelia agreed to invite Jarvis to a special session of the United Nations called just to congratulate her.

She had listened to Amanda this time, who was right there with Roxanne because they knew that just being praised was not the reason for Amelia's third visit and wanted to show their support.

Amelia got right to it after the ceremonial testaments were finally dispensed with.

Her speech was not quite what the delegates expected.

"For about a century your kind has assumed that an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. This idea seems to have gotten acceptance beyond the theoretical stage, despite sketchy evidence and debatable proof. Before conversion, I made a study of the star charts recorded on the way here. Trust me, any visitor curious about you would hear of this postulation and wonder about a culture so keen on jumping to conclusions. The Borocans did, but they were looking for someone not as wimpy as they are. Not that they would put it that way. It so happens that about 112,347.93 years ago, I was about 65.557 million light years from here and headed in this general direction. Yes, the light from here was captured then. Because our resolution is four orders of magnitude better than the best you got, I was able to detect a sudden and significant decrease in the albedo of this world at that time. This is not proof and your cosmetologists have just now given up trying to verify anything from the charts I gave them. Orrin wanted me to make the announcement since they have nothing positive to add. My guess is that you were right. Even my equipment is not capable of detecting an asteroid striking the Yucatan, but something happened and the rock could have come from the other direction in any case."

She paused to let some commotion die down.

"Hold your questions for just a bit. There is more." John just stood unmoving behind her this whole time. "A little over ten thousand years ago, I was leaving Andromeda, right next door. Much closer, much greater detail. Hard to be certain, but it appears that there was a very large ship in orbit above this world and that it seemingly stayed geosynch for about thirty years. I have no idea why and just spent some time looking for them. No luck. I thought you might find this as interesting as I do. Again, I am unable to prove this because the charts that you can analyze are just too blurry and all I can see is a persistent glint of light that should not be there. I will take questions now." This went on for quite some time.

Amanda and Roxanne had asked Amelia not to reveal this, especially since they knew that Dan and Dana did not travel by starship.

Way too primitive for them.

Also too primitive for the ones that THEY were seeking.

The twins had no idea who may have visited Earth about two million years ago.

They would have noticed any vessel in orbit during their performance here just over two thousand years ago, which also lasted roughly thirty years.

Whatever it was had not returned in any form that Amelia could detect.

This little mystery went unsolved today, not for lack of queries. What wasn't a mystery was how Amelia had gotten some of the world's most notable diplomats to join her and John in a brief conga line when she played Led Zep's Boogie With Stu during her first visit.

That particular video segment went ultraviral and then some.

Either play along or there would be no trips to the Prince Of Peace on her return.

Jarvis had recently been there, as had Rianne.

Again.

He didn't get into any bedrooms, though.

At least Rianne didn't break the bed in either bedroom they used, unlike what had happened in the Lincoln Bedroom many years earlier.

Not that she didn't give it her best shot.

How does a 118 pound pixie break a solidly built bed?

Now THAT was a real mystery no one had figured out yet.

#

Five years later, a special marathon was run through the streets of a rebuilt downtown San Francisco. Aftershocks had been surprisingly mild.

The fact that just about everything looked fairly new was the only real sign that there had been an unprecedented 10.1 superquake.

John and Amelia started in front by exceptionally popular demand. They crossed the finish line in 0:56:27:14, not bad considering the hilly terrain.

Also unprecedented was the field of runners and the size of the crowd lining the course.

187,588 competitors, including scores of aliens, entered, counting the half-marathon.

Hotel room being rather scarce, any contestant not able to book anything close was zipped in interdimensionally thanks to Ike, Abe, the Seeker and the Prince Of Peace after registering a need.

They were cheered on by well over ten million spectators, some of whom also got so treated.

No seismic activity was forecast anytime soon, making this a very special event to be sure.

Big Bad John went back to number one after it was played while the winners greeted and were congratulated by most of the people who had been saved from the wreckage.

Also on hand was President Nancy Harran, the former House Speaker and Secretary of State.

Jameson Jarvis did not get the female vote in the last election.

Oh well. There's always Tinseltown.

JJ was not done acting presidential, however.

Not by a long shot.

He would even become a real acting president again.

Walter Pidgeon was president of the Screen Actors Guild when he made Forbidden Planet.

Reagan served two terms, 1947-1952 and 1959-1960.

JJ was soon elected head of the Cinematic Artists Guild, name change due to technology.

Whether during his lengthy term in the 'western wing' he would star in anything nearly as neat as Walter had remained very much to be seen.

And also very much a matter of taste.

#

There are no statues on Huyala.

None.

The only public commemoratives that they use are murals on the outsides and paintings on the insides of various communal buildings. A fairly large and recent mural at the Halls of Governance depicts Amanda welcoming Dick with her arms wide open as he crosses the finish line in Boston carrying Rianne in his arms.

Amelia is right behind them, just ahead of John.

It only happened that way in a holovid.

Huyalans know this and could care less.

The completely female dominated society likes the image JUST the way it is.

As far as they are concerned, the fantasy thus represented is a VERY good thing.

end

CONTENTS

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