Little Cherine Book 12 - BPost062
They confirmed that this couple have never stolen any bodies and had been dead for over a century. No wonder the poor dears had felt so lost.
Angelica wanted to spend a little time with Christós and Jesus so as to bring them up to date with her studies and experiments. She did not ask for time to show them some of her achievements and what she hopes for, as she knew it is urgent we find a way to get the people of this reality to accept their Cherine. As for me, everyone thinks I’m the sneaky one, so they expect me to find the way. Sometimes having a reputation can be a real drag - especially when I can’t think of a solution.
I listened as a few suggestions were half-heartedly made and disposed of but they helped my thoughts follow a path that grew better defined by the moment. I guess I had that ‘lost in thought’ look and was biting my lower lip, for they fell silent and waited, their eyes fixed on me, as I realised and came to with blushing cheeks. More out of embarrassment than contrariness, I told them I’ll be just a second as I get a crème soda. Laughing, those next to me held me while Gina jumped for my cold drink.
I saw myself on the screens so I guessed everyone would be hearing me. “The Sparklers have checked and told us that the local fire-world is still about thirty years away. We could teleport it to the edge of this solar system but, as with any other manufactured threat to mankind, it would not be honest. Anything we would be ashamed to have everyone know is not what any Cherinian should do. We are not allowed to trick people into accepting us.” I glanced at Empathia for I sensed her burning curiosity as she tried to sense what I’m planning. I gave her a soft smile as I looked away from her. “Making plans, having a strategy, a little of bluffing and marketing, they are all allowed - in other words, I’m thinking of being sneaky.” Empathia burst out in sudden laughter and I sipped at my cold drink until everyone settled down. Cherine entered my mind, I let her see in which direction my thoughts were taking me and, pleased, she left and her body happily snuggled against Robbie - which calmed him.
“I was born a Cherinian so I cannot claim to fully understand why, but, telepathy is one of the most frightening of our gifts. It seems that if I were to develop heat-ray vision like Superman and be capable of incinerating Normals with just a slightly concentrated look, they would still list telepathy as being more horrendous. I find that ironic…”
“You must mean something else, I don’t see how it could be ironic.” Allan said.
“I do mean ironic. Before we came along, in every single reality, those of Terra were in the process of giving up their rights to privacy and developing software to intuit what their thoughts are, and yet, the idea that a Cherinian can hear their thoughts is considered worse than death!”
Allan theatrically stood up and bowed. “I apologise, she was right, it can be ironic.” Since my loves were the first to laugh, everyone joined in. I could not help but be surprised at how we always manage to turn such moments back into ‘human’ decisions by using humour.
“We have not studied the Terrans of this reality so we cannot claim to know what it is about mutants that they fear to such an extent. I have a feeling that understanding the fear is an important tool for helping them overcome it. From the experience of dealing with the fears of our reality and even, with the fears we, as Cherinians, have experienced as we question who and what we are, I’m going to make a few suggestions so as to spark a debate that I hope leads to us finding a way to help our local alternates. It is important we know which gifts are the most frightening to Normals, but it is equally important we examine which gifts are less likely to be feared. We don’t need to stage an awesome display of powers while saving them from a calamity, for we have already done so and despite their gratitude they remain terrified of us. What if we start gently, watching over them and helping those who are ill or suffering because of an accident?”
Claudia cut in, “It’s too late for that, we’ve just brought them forward in time in bodies that are at prime health and if we are seen at accidents healing torn bodies, how long before someone accuses us of causing the accidents, the blood and pain, so as to make an appearance as the shining knights?”
I sensed many agree with her and I nodded. “You’re right, but if we are careful, the criticisms and accusations are likely to be countered by some of the people we save, as they should be able to recognise a degree of self blame.”
The conversation went to and fro, for instance, should we only concentrate on large scale disasters? No, it was argued, then the accusations will be believed by more people. We ended up with a mix of what I suggested and other ideas - for instance, providing them with some new technology to help them recover from what they lost while avoiding the polluting of their environment. Claudia was backed by many when she insisted the new technology must belong to the local ADFI corporation, with the local Mansfield couple and Robert controlling it on Earth. isi reminded everyone that Robert and Cher must also concentrate on linking those they already know are good friends to us. The ideas flowed, sometimes smoothly and sometimes in an abrasive fashion, but a strategy has been hammered out that we think has a good chance of reducing the fear of Cherinianism and mutants so that they can live their lives openly as we do.
When we get impatient with alternate Normals, it is not a bad idea to remind ourselves that it took us eighteen years before we dared to take our first steps towards allowing our world to know we exist - and even then we mismanaged it. As far as I’m concerned, Robert and Cher are welcome to take their time and I’ll be there for them whenever they are worried and need someone to boost their self confidence. Anyway, an excuse to visit is welcome as the way their society has changed is interesting.
By the way, this might be a good time to mention something that riles me. I mentioned the fact that governments in all realities have tried, to varying degrees, to take away all rights to privacy, plus other human rights, but let’s leave those out of this argument for the time being. We continually come up against small minded individuals who do not want to be independent, they like the idea of having a ‘government’ that watches over them like a protective big brother. I can’t help wondering, don’t they ever break down that image of ‘big-brother-government’ to what it is composed of? The people who run those government agencies set up to spy on their own citizens, with grand sounding names that people like Hitler thought up, can anyone imagine them as being like some kindly uncle who lovingly watches over us? Surely anyone with a smudge of common sense would understand that only the most cynical and hardest of people are employed to run such organisations? Most of them are cold, hard ‘professional’ people who don’t care about anything but working out new ways to make their positions even more unassailable, which means taking away even more of our rights. How can anyone leave their children and grandchildren in such inhuman and bloodied hands without feeling guilty? Not even any qualms? Does it mean that mankind has no self-preservation instincts anymore and finds it that easy to give up - and become extinct? If so, can even a Cherine save us from ourselves?
When we rebuilt so as to provide basic accommodation for all with retail shops, wholesale warehouses and factories for each area, we did not decide who gets to run the businesses, but we did exert our influence to prevent the governments taking them over for themselves - the taxes they take are steep enough, there is no need for them to get greedy. By the way, they each insisted on keeping their national currencies, the idea of a single or continental currency does not make sense to them yet. It seems that for certain ideas their time must come before they make sense. I agree that without Cherinianism, such changes would only strengthen the Globalists, if they still have any
Forty seven of us with eighty Anadir, nine Muyzith, seven thousand Sparkler Thinkers, four Elabet, ninety two Akiards, five Inguel, one hundred and seventy six Eminixx, thirty six Elipians, fourteen thousand of various Unation species, two Kinytians, four Fegorians (feeling ecstatic because this is the first project they are helping directly plus they are overcome with sensations they’ve never experienced before as they are projecting as two Terran couples). Iona joined Allan and his family as a young girl. Seven thousand Bubble Terrans and one thousand four hundred Kabetu. Dream Dancers, fourteen (all will be staying by the sides of lakes or along rivers). The Reggheri wanted to help, but we suggested they gain experience first and reassured them there will be many opportunities for their people to help in the future with other worlds and realities. The same is true of all the other species travelling with us, in Freddie or in one of the Sparkler Worlds. We feel that the more of us there are the riskier it gets that someone (a Talent for instance or just through a plain mistake) might expose our presence on Earth.
The plan is that we each take our place within their society and use our gifts to improve life for them while speaking, singing, writing, painting, using art in all its forms to accustom them to the idea of some mutations being for the good of the species - similar to what we’ve done before. Because of all they recently experienced, the people have a far greater thirst for stories about us and the aliens than the governments had realised and we have to be careful we do not overdo it. Keeping them hungry for more stories, films and so on is far more sensible than going for overkill. A large percentage of us are working with the young and little children, firing their imaginations and awakening their empathy so that they find it possible to see mutants as human beings who could be their friends. We healed those hurt by the odd accident, but those healings were done by aliens in their natural form so that they’d know we are responsible.
We are also searching out the alternates of those we already know are good Cherinians in other realities and if they are similar in temperament and character, we soften them to the idea and then take them to learn about us in Freddie. We’ve had a hundred percent success rate with them and already have about seven thousand local Cherinians, linked by their Cherine. Unfortunately, we find it difficult to identify or find or link some alternate girls we want for the Teller family; for instance, those who suffered in other realities due to the changes that came about because of us re-building their homes and so on. Many have been given to families to care for them as there are no orphanages yet. We had to ask the Sparklers to search them out by looking for their souls. Hundreds of millions of Sparklers searched for three days and gave us the list we wanted. The problem is, that by eliminating poverty and by arranging for orphans to be taken in by families, some of them are happy and growing to love their new families.
It was agreed that we leave them with their new families for now. Robert and Cher can approach them later, when Cherinians are no longer considered monsters. It breaks my heart to think of this family not having an Aganthi and Theresa, the two of them are such an important part of our family and their influence over all of us has made us better Cherinians and more of a close-knit family.
We have been here ten months now. For all this time, Freddie remained in orbit and visible once more and as they grew used to seeing it, the people lost much of their fear and then the voices from certain parts of society who thought they have reason to be against us (it is surprising how many resented us because we did not build churches for them) became louder, angrier, demanding to know what gives us the right to think we are welcome to stay. Then the time came when questions started (some prompted by us) and since the governments, scientists and generals could not answer them, people started to ask the aliens who came to save people and the answers they gave made their way to first page headlines, television shows and so on.
Nobody stays on planet seven days a week. We take turns to return to Freddie, some who have more of a role to play only return for a few hours at night. When it is my turn, of course I want to go home, to spend a few hours in the arms of Robbie and my loves - even for the pleasure of sitting at the taverna listening to the scientists or other guests while enjoying my favourite meals made by Maria, comforted by the warm emoting of my family and everyone else in Freddie. Sometimes though, I take the opportunity to visit a lonely place, on planet, where I can walk lost in my thoughts or else gaze at the beauty life so often accidentally creates, so that time passes without my thoughts dominating.
During one such walk, along the river, but out of London with only farms around, I saw a young man ahead, sitting on a rock, a sketchpad in his hands. As I made a noise he glanced my way once and then ignored me. Unfortunately I was not free to do as he did, I could not ignore him. Though strangely dressed and his hair pulled back into a ponytail, the man I walked towards was Robert - a Robert I have never met before. I stopped within two feet of him and stared as he quickly sketched in details he did not want to forget and as he looked up for more details, he saw me blocking his way. He looked at my face without recognition.
“Would you mind stepping to either side?”
“Where do you come from Robert? You don’t belong here.”
He frowned at me. “Have we been introduced?”
Since I could not sense his emoting I looked into his eyes, for that is sometimes the only way we can tell if Robbie is teasing us. I shuddered as I saw how coldly and impersonally they stared back at me. I almost stammered as I replied, “I’m Samantha.”
Just as coldly as before, “Robert Hayes - though it seems you already knew it. Now would you mind stepping aside?”
I did so as I muttered, “How can he not be a Teller?” His head jerked sharply as he turned to look at me. He clamped down on his curiosity and glancing at the view he resumed his sketching. I went to stand at some distance behind him so as not to distract him. By now my family were reacting and they all wanted to come be with me, even Robbie, but especially Cherine, but I asked all of them to wait.
Robert Hayes turned to glare at me with a grunt of not very well controlled anger. “Either stay where I can see you or else leave!”
There is no pleasing some people, I thought, and went to stand where he could see me without me intruding. As he resumed his sketching I found myself staring at his hand and I liked the sure way it moved, as if it knew exactly what it wants to achieve and does so. His manner had sparked something in me for I seemed to be super aware of every detail, each covert glance my way, even the slow beat of his heart. Heart! That proved he is not a Cherinian Robert. As he closed his pad and stuck his pencil in a small case I moved closer. I left the opening gambit to him.
“Where did you get that name from?”
“Teller? You were curious but had the self discipline to continue sketching? You are a surprise!” Robbie chuckled in my mind, despite his not liking the situation I found myself in. “My surname is Teller. I’m Samantha Teller, daughter of Robert Teller.”
His face lost all its colour and for a second he staggered. Just as suddenly he flushed with rage. “You are playing games with me!” I stood silently, waiting to see how he would take it from here. I did not expect what he did next. “You are a child, I should have expected it! I suggest you find children of your age to play with. Goodbye.” He walked past me in a determined manner that told me he was angry. As he was passing I sensed something had changed but did not know what. I turned to see where he was going and found I was alone; the fields, the river and weeping willow trees remained, but the vista was empty of human life. That brought Robbie to me instantly and the girls all followed him, even those who were busy somewhere else on planet.
We’d flogged the subject to death without results when Cherine asked to take a look at my memories. She came back with emoting that puzzled me. “Sam, check when he walked past you and tell me where his sketch pad is. I can’t see it anywhere.” I did not need to check, now that she had pointed it out I saw that it was what had bothered me.
“That doesn’t make sense! Him disappearing the moment I was not watching him could be explained by teleportation - even if I did not sense any psychic abilities in him! Why would he risk teleporting the pad first, it only added the possibility that I might notice and get suspicious.”
Robbie chuckled and Cherine glared at him, not amused. He said, “Sam, I hope there is no chance of this being the equivalent of another Kirsten?” Cherine was aggrieved when I responded by laughing.
We must have ten billion Sparklers watching on planet for the appearance of Robert Hayes. He did suddenly appear four days later, but he gave a startled look around him, smacked the tree close to him as if angry or frustrated by something and walked away, fading within three steps. There is no way we can leave this Earth until we have answers, as we cannot be certain he will not be a threat to the local (inexperienced) Robert. For all we know, he may be a Robert who needs help. Where is his Cherine?
He reappeared another two times, showing the same reaction to his arrival and he quickly faded away. Two months after the last appearance he has not been back - that the Sparklers know about. I had a feeling we are wasting our time looking for him. “His reaction to arriving here tells me he did not plan on coming here and will not return - if he has any control over where he goes.”
Campbell asked, “You think he does not always have control over where he goes and that is why he arrived here without wanting to?”
I stared at Robert and Cher, pleased with the way they have grown. Having thousands who believe in them has made a tremendous difference. “Yes Arthur, I do, but we have to leave, he could return tomorrow or in ten years time, it is not worth us waiting here. Robert, before we leave, I’d like to see you heal the relationship with your parents - anyone who loves a Robert knows how important the parents are to all Roberts and if you don’t do it now it will only get more difficult. Can you take care of it tomorrow?”
“Just like that?” His Cher emoted and he stopped himself. “I’ll try.” She told him they would try and Robert grinned. “I can just see that, me turning up with a child, ‘hi dad, this is my love and we’ve come to ask you to join us.’” I walked away as others handled Robert, depressed by my failure to solve the Robert Hayes problem.
We only needed to stay long enough to see that Robert had taken the first steps towards reconciliation with his father; we knew that at the first signs of Robert being in trouble his father will be by his side, so we no longer worried. As for the request by the governments, they have seen that Robert and Cher are on planet and frequent certain areas but they have not said anything. A pity we can’t leave Freddie in their skies for a few more years but we’ll visit here every few weeks their time, until we are confident they are accepted.
Ivgos was unhappy at leaving his (presently) favourite Cherine, but he consoled himself with the thought that we’ll be visiting often. For him to think that way indicates that he has come to think of Freddie as his home. We are going to have to nip that in the bud - which is going to be very difficult, for none of us can bear to make him unhappy or feel unloved.
Freddie followed what has become routine. He stopped in another reality for us to have a night free of worries and problems, planning to arrive back at out reality in the morning. Freddie can jump directly to whichever reality we are travelling to, but from early on, both Freddie and Robbie realised that doing so is not a good idea - unless there is an emergency to be dealt with. After all, jumping our bodies is only part of it, our minds and sense of being at a certain place need to adjust so that we are comfortable at the place we are going to. We were sitting at the taverna, treasuring this evening as tomorrow Michael and his family will be returning to their lives. Once the meal was over, Allan and his two loves came to sit close to Robbie and Cherine.
“We have a favour to ask of all of you.” He was looking at Cherine so she asked him what it is. “The three of us have decided we want to find ourselves a daughter-wife. When we do, we think it is important we stay on Earth until she is used to being with us and trusts us. We decided it is important to us that she also grows to feel that you are family and love her - as we hope it will be with you, Michael and Ahní. Could you stay in this reality until she is ready?”
“You prefer to adopt than have your own daughter?” Michael asked.
“It is not only what we prefer,” Eleni answered, “it is what is right.”
Jessie gave a naughty grin. “Once she is a part of our family, I bet you’ll love her and wish she was yours.” The three of them got hugged by all of us.
Ivgos sat himself on Allan’s lap and looked up at him with serious eyes. “May I help you choose the child?”
Allan glanced at his girls and replied, “If you do so, then it means that you will also be a part of her new family.”
The rest of that night was indescribably beautiful for everyone and we arrived at our home planet the next morning broadcasting much more love than we usually do.
As is expected of us, we shared all our experiences and there was the usual turmoil as people reacted and debated what we’d shared. The time it takes for everyone to calm down and accept it all grows shorter year by year, but I hope they never grow blasé about new lives and species joining us. My fear is not only that the Normals might do so, I also fear for my beloved Cherinians. The danger that it could happen to Cherinians is more likely and perhaps it is the new Cherinians, born or linked who help us more than any cautioning by us. Robbie was amazingly wise when he foresaw the need before he knew why it existed, telling us that we must always have Normals and we must find a way to keep space for new children to be born to us.
We did not share the news that Allan and family wish to find a daughter. Apart from the potential legal problems, there would be both extremes; those who dream of being the one chosen and the pain when they are not, while there would also be (yes, there still are people who think this way, even in our reality) those who would consider such an adoption evil and destroying of the soul of that child. It is easier dealing with the problems afterwards as the arguments are less passionate since they are dealing with a fait accompli - does my being so honest make us sound less honest? I hope not, for after all, we know we are not harming the child and what we do is only for dealing with those who are bigoted.
Eleni and Jessie asked of Allan that Ivgos be allowed to choose a number of girls and from those girls he should choose the one he prefers. Allan was touched, but knows the child will have to be chosen by all three of them - if that child loves them. However, he agreed that Ivgos make his choices, as long as he is careful not to let the chosen girls know.
Out of all this grew the greatest puzzle we’ve faced for a long time. Ivgos went to orphanage after orphanage and though he found many children he ached to love as his brother or sister, not one of them felt right to him for Allan and his loves. He kept on complaining that something is missing. His own family delved into his mind and tried to sense what was holding him back, but all they could tell us is that they could feel that Ivgos truly feels something is missing. Ahram and Seuria tried hard to sense what is affecting or guiding him, but they ended up admitting they cannot sense anything.
I am not one of those who believe that for all of us there is only one who could love me or be loved by me. Circumstance and choice both play an important role in matchmaking. To meet and reject little girls by the hundreds of thousands does not make sense - especially since Allan is not as difficult, anymore, at choosing a child to love. Since going to alternate Earths means that Ivgos, to a large extent, will meet the same girls again and again, it is not difficult to find a good reason, for it is obvious that each alternate will be slightly different and it might be that the small difference is what makes a particular alternate girl the right girl for the Allan family. We’re departing next Monday as we want to have the coming weekend with our friends who work during the week.
On Sunday evening, Solomon visited us at our Athens home. If we have not seen him for more than two days he gets hugged by each of us and he can feel our emoting - which leaves him feeling rather bemused. It goes to prove that not only Terrans don’t understand why they are loved. J
“I have news for you, though I’m not certain whether it is good news or not. Samantha, we have found Robert Hayes - not an alternate of his, but the actual one who travelled to the reality where you met him.”
“Wow! You must have searched many new realities!”
“We did, there are now tens of thousands newly visited realities where we have healed all the species we could find within your galaxy.”
We made all the noises that showed how happy we were and Robbie was also emoting the same feelings. Finally he thought to ask the question none of us had thought of asking. “Solomon, have the number of Sparklers grown?”
Solomon emoted amusement more than slightly tinged by awe. “Not the Sparklers of any single reality. Robert, we have Sparklers of tens of millions of realities we can call on when our services are needed.”
I felt it was my responsibility and though I might dampen their pleasure, I had to tell Solomon, “We’ll visit Mr Hayes if everyone feels they want to, but first we must find the girl child Ivgos is searching for. It would not be fair to Allan and the girls to make them wait while we traipse off on another adventure.” I grinned. “We did promise to stay until they have a new love.”
Noelle giggled. “We should say that we are looking for a new mother for Ahní, it sounds more interesting.” That got others calling out that the girl must not be too old to be her mother, which means she must not be over - four, six, eight…were the various ages called out to much laughter.
Allan kindly suggested we wait a few weeks so as to celebrate Christmas and New Year (and Robbie’s birthday) with our friends before we start reality hopping. We sensed they also want to celebrate close to their Ahní so we have gratefully agreed.
Efineh, Piri and Sebura are still with us - Efineh staying in our home but Elias arranged hotel-apartment suites for Sebura and his daughter so that they can cook for themselves if they want to stay in, but don’t have to make their beds or clean up. We speak to them every day but allow them time on their own as they have made other friends from the years they have spent in Freddie. Piri has been rejuvenated twice, as she will be when she returns home. We don’t want her to have the experience of becoming a teen and then a pre-teen again. Sebura must have said something as she does not even pout each time she is rejuvenated.
Cherine asked us for a favour so I can only write about it now. The day before Christmas, late morning, we told Robbie and Dommi that we want to go off on our own for that night and we asked them to take care of each other. Once we had left, they discovered we had prepared them a three course dinner with chilled wines, dessert and champagne for midnight. Strictly speaking, ‘we’ did not prepare it, a friend did. As for us, we aged ourselves to about twenty to twenty five and had an ‘official’ Christmas Eve dinner at a posh hotel in London. Even though everyone soon knew who we are, many men took a chance and asked us for a dance. Those we rewarded. The men who expected anything more got nothing. In the end, I think we were all surprised at how much we enjoyed ourselves. Of course Efineh was with us, but Sebura and Piri were taken by Andrea and Britta to celebrate with them and their son. Since Socrati and family were part of the group, Piri had a great time and told us with a happy excitement about how Socrati danced with her.
New Years Eve was celebrated by us in Irene, the beautiful spaceship owned by all the Earths. We were invited by the captain and though we felt it might not be so nice as they would be formal, they treated us in a relaxed manner and we had fun. Our pappou Alki and his family were with us and Elias and family joined us after midnight. By the way, the Irene had been returned to our reality for refurbishment and redecoration by the Muyzith. It smells new and is gloriously beautiful.
It might sound silly of me to make mention of these two holidays but, we are in the sixtieth year on Earth while we have spent about one hundred and fifty years in Freddie and/or in other realities. For us these holidays and parties are stretched out over a greater span of time, making them special and we are determined to enjoy each one of them. For me personally, I do try to ensure that Efineh is with us for every Christmas and New Year. The proof that she enjoys it is in that she could stay in her own home in Freddie and jump to us each day, but she prefers to stay with us in our crowded Athens home. I can feel that it is true for her also - that our family time alone at home, lounging around in our nighties or robes, reading, chatting or watching movies is the best times of all.
We have not been on David’s chat show for a long while so I suggested we offer to do a special - for Robbie’s birthday he, and all of us, to appear and Robbie to undertake to answer all the questions sent in, at least, those David asks him. Robbie pulled a face, claiming I just want to get him into trouble, but he surprised me by agreeing. A delighted David generously offered to share the show with chat hosts/hostesses, one from each continent - thus ensuring this show will have the biggest audience he’s had for a long time.
I am being ‘blessed’ by my loves as they juggle the arrangements for Robbie’s birthday. First of all will be a brunch for close friends and family. Then a luncheon at the Cherinian Embassy for a couple of hundred ambassadors. Then the chat show and then cocktails at the presidential palace in Zambia (we drew the choice of country out of a hat). Only after all that will we start our private parties. The one in our reality is at the Club Cherinián, but we also have to attend another four parties at other realities, each of them hosting Teller families from other realities so that we don’t have to go to a hundred of them. Between all the jumping to and fro, we will be visiting other realities to take a break, make love, sleep and so on. Thank goodness we only have to go through this kind of day for Robbie’s birthday, and at that, only once every five years or so.
The studio where David has his chat show was not used this time. They had to create one with seating for all our family and close friends plus seating for an audience of at least three hundred. At the center of all this was the seating for Robbie, Cherine, Dommi and two other film stars (both female). We had to take our seats well before the show started and we stared at the thousands of gaily wrapped birthday presents sent by the public. As for cards, there must have been at least a hundred thousand of them! Luckily the email wishes are handled by the embassy staff. The thought that we would have to open each present, read the card and answer them was what had us groaning. My loves chose to pretend they had all decided that since the chat was my idea I would have to deal with all the gifts and cards. Robbie thought they were funny until I smiled and told them I will be returning from the future in the thousands so as to deal with all of it within a day. Robbie pretended to be horrified by the idea of thousands of Samantha present at the same time and he pleaded with my loves to help me. The public have grown used to seeing us chuckle or smile or frown as we tease each other silently - and though they no longer worry, they get curious every time, wishing we would share the joke with them.
Strictly speaking, Ivgos does not qualify for sitting with us, but who cares, we want him. He has adapted to our technology in ways that are reminiscent of Ashema. Some of it he envies, but most of it he pities us for needing it. Many would say that ‘unfortunately’ he loves our television. Being part of a show (he does not think of himself as being part of the audience because he is sitting with us and he is convinced we are part of the show), knowing that he will be seen with our family, so he says, means a lot more to him than those times he has appeared because he went to an orphanage. Haven tried explaining why his other appearances were the ones he should be proud of, but she gave up.
“Robert, if you’ll excuse me, but I’d like to greet your family first. Ladies, it is a real pleasure seeing you here with us…” He kept his greetings fairly short, the other hosts greeted us and then David let the host from Australia ask the first question.
“Mr Teller, Terence Crawford from Australia. When you first made yourself known to our governments, it is understandable that you felt you needed to protect those you’ve named the Cherinians by claiming independence from the nations of Earth. You kept the Cherinians out of the United Nations, which does not make sense to me. However, with Cherinians becoming the majority on Earth, is there still a need for maintaining the legal fiction?”
“I do not think in terms of majorities Mr Crawford. When we reached the point where we represented fifty percent of the worldwide population, we stopped counting. What the actual figures are mean nothing to me, for I see us as partners, Normals and Cherinians working together to provide and secure a better future for all humans.
Your question indicates you are assuming that Terran Cherinians should stop thinking of themselves as Cherinians, a people apart from the rest of mankind. If such is your assumption, then it saddens me, for it betrays the fact that we have been misunderstood. Terran Cherinians are people who are of whichever nation they belong to and the only differences are those that earned the link. It is not possible to be a Cherinian without experiencing that people of all races and species are the same; we are all humans, brothers and sisters in all ways that matter. That is what being a Cherinian is - it is being a part of a universal brotherhood, all Cherinians, all of us dedicated to life in its many forms.” Robbie gently smiled. “All politics are a form of fiction Mr Crawford. My position as head of the Cherinians, should we perhaps name them the Pan-Cherinians, is only meant to give a face for governments to speak with. I am not a leader of the Terran Cherinians per se; I represent all the species, with Terrans only one part of them…um, you better multiply that by the number of realities who have Cherinians. The Cherinian Embassy fulfills the same function.”
It had been agreed that this chat would not evolve into a debate so it was now the turn of another host to ask his or her question. After each of them had asked a question, they each would be given the opportunity to ask a second one. At the end of that round, David would ask on behalf of the public, five questions he chooses out of the great number sent in. The rest will not be thrown away. They have been sent to the embassy and only those they feel need Robbie’s answer will make their way to us, the rest they will answer directly.
David had been scrupulously fair to all and Robbie had answered the five questions sent in and now David was keeping an eye on the clock counting down how many seconds are left when Ivgos jumped to his feet. “Can I ask Robert a question, please?”
With a well concealed sigh, knowing he’d have to answer to his boss if the question that takes him beyond the allotted time is childish, David smiled, “Please go ahead Ivgos.”
“Robert, living for a million years, is it worth the sacrifice of not having children?”
Bong! We did not have to sense David or the technicians or see the screen, we knew that there would be a sign warning viewers the next programs will be delayed. For this kind of question, Robbie could take an hour if he so wished. I don’t know how I managed to stifle my giggles.
Robbie telepathically reassured Ivgos that he had done well to ask his question and then asked, aloud, “Are you worried about the people of your planet becoming Cherinians or is the question more general?”
“I worry Robert, because my family worries and asks the question. We know what it does to people not being able to have children.” I bet Ivgos is going to be the hero of the Normals for a while.
Robbie sent me a question, *Would you like to answer him?* I sent back a nervous giggle as I politely declined.
“There is no single answer to this question. Ivgos, a million years is too large a time for us to imagine, but even should it be asked of those who have lived more than ten million, I don’t think they’ll have one answer for all of them. You and your family know of the anguish my family feel, for there is not one of us that does not ache for a child. Becoming Cherinians, if Arthur had planned carefully, should have decreased our need for children, yet the opposite is true. Sometimes a few weeks or months will pass, but then at least one of my loves will withdraw into herself to weep and mourn and I am helpless, I cannot help my loves, for I too am subject to the same grief.
The only answer I have found that helps to assuage our sorrow, to mitigate the emptiness within us, has still not been understood by many - not even Cherinians who should have been the first to understand. Ivgos, there have been, throughout our history, many couples who could not have children and they compensated, found fulfilment by devoting themselves to the children of others. Some adopted. Others just became the favoured uncles and aunts of children born to friends or family. Hopefully we have evolved beyond the narrow-minded dictates of nature that demanded our own genes be passed on and we are able to rejoice at seeing and hearing children, whoever they were born to.
Now do you understand why I have always insisted that us Cherinians do and always will depend on the existence of Normals? Without them, without their children to remind our hearts of love, how can we continue existing without withering? We need the Normals to love us and share the joy of having children with us. Hopefully, what we offer in turn adds to their lives. For either and both of us to survive while becoming the best we can be, we have to remain as one…separate but one.”
There is not one reality Cherinians have visited where a copy of the show has not been seen. We are told that there is not one species in touch with us who have not watched the show and hotly debated Robbie’s answer. A number of species who had wanted all their Normals to become Cherinians are now changing their plans. From what we sense, read and hear, a further small number of Normals have lost some of their fears of us - with many of them becoming arrogant about us needing their children. I hope that over time they will evolve and mature to the point where they no longer need to feel superior.
As a family, we withdrew for a number of days, for most of us needed time to weep and once more grow used to the idea that we will not ever be having children.
A group of Cherinians formed who are advocating that Cherinians should have children who remain Normals. Not only Robbie reacted with a fierce anger, we all did. So have nearly all Cherinians. To satisfy their need for children they want their children to grow old and die while they remain eternally young? How can they think that way? They must not be allowed to call themselves Cherinians.
We have not stayed at our home reality this long (nine months) for a number of visits. Over the last months we were not in a mood for parties and one way that helped pass our time was by attending lectures at universities, mostly for the sake of learning what new knowledge the various branches of science have added to the curriculum. Systems for attending and admission into lecture halls have changed but none of us were questioned, everybody sort of turning a blind eye to us. Jade and Robbie paid for private lessons so that they can take advantage of the newest art programs.
I spend time with Efineh, Piri and Sebura, but I’m worried about them remaining here this long. It is now July PC61 and though we’d like to leave, Michael has invited us to the Ipohin anniversary. In case some have forgotten, they began celebrating as of PC36, which means this year is their 25th anniversary. We’d never imagined them lasting this long and the truth is they seem to have settled into being our opponents without feeling they need to challenge us in any way. As for Campbell, we have a funny/awkward situation. He came back from his first tourist group visit, but stayed away from us because of his ‘past’ self being with us. He has been back with another two groups since then, but these times he chose to stay with Kiris in his home. The two of them understand each other far better than Campbell and I understand each other and I hear that he has become fond of the two girls. Because of Campbell feeling he must keep a low profile until ‘he’ returns and is no longer with our ‘past selves’ - as he thinks of us, his group has not caused any problems for us or the Ipohin. We can sense that Michael is softening his stance and when he visits in Freddie, the two of them, now and then, take a walk and talk. It makes me curious, but I am careful not to show it.
It is as if Michael read what I wrote! He came to visit this morning at our Athens home. We sat in the garden so that Robbie can smoke, so we saw to it that a cool breeze blew, keeping the Summer heat away. “Father, Mothers, I have to ask you to leave and not return, real time, until the adventure with Ivgos is over.” He glanced at me and grinned. “If you need to blame anyone for this request, blame Mother Samantha.” He took my hands in his. “You asked that we consider bringing Campbell back into the Ipohin and it has been agreed by our Council and Campbell.” He stared at me, thoughtfully, lost in his thoughts. “I do not understand what has changed, but Campbell does not want a position on our Council.”
Robbie showed his surprise. “He wants his group to become Ipohin, himself included, without extracting any concessions from you?”
“He hasn’t changed that much!” Michael laughed, making Robbie smile. “He is not disbanding his group, dad, he wants them to exist as a semi autonomous part of the Ipohin, with him their leader. He has asked that we appoint two of his Council members onto our Council - that is what surprises me.”
Everyone turned to look at me, so I decided to explain. “He’s doing it for my sake. Do you remember when I explained about how the Cherinians and Ipohin are changing and I asked him to keep his group available for Normals who become Talents and need to be guided?”
Archly, Cherine said, while sending me an image of her sticking out her tongue at me, “If I’d asked someone like Campbell to do it for me, he’d have had my head off!” Despite the teasing and laughter, Michael got our promise. We warned everyone, especially Ivgos, that we are leaving in one week.
He was upset. “But I promised to help Eleni, Jessie and Allan find their new daughter.”
“You can still do so afterwards, we’re not going to forget about you once the hundred years are over.” Allan and his family reassured Ivgos that they will wait for him, so he’s much happier now.
When it was announced that we will be returning to the Ribbon Planet, many Normals who are usually too timid to ask to join us, felt it would be safe. We welcomed them and Hettie was amused, happy that she has good news for us. “If we had not been supplied with food machines, your trips would have bankrupted us. Robert, do you know that your frequent requests for chocolates gave the ADFI scientists an idea? Since you don’t like getting your chocolates without their wrapping, it made them realise that the food machines are capable of producing manufactured items. The range of products is limited; no machines, computers or anything else very complex can be duplicated - at this time, but, we can produce toilet paper, napkins, writing paper, various insulating materials, glass bottles, plastic. Amongst other items, we can produce pencils and fountain pens, but not ballpoint pens.” We showed excitement while also careful to verbalise our worries as to how this could affect the economies of various species and realities. Pleased that we’d thought of it, Hettie explained, “The cost of creating matter duplicating machines is too high for us to be wasteful. We must keep almost the full production by us and the Inguel for helping out various species with food machines. You are aware that over eighty five percent of all machines built are delivered to the Inguel teams for helping the species brought back to life survive without the technology they lost?”