Chapter 1: Chapter 1
December 7, 1979
She had woken this morning with a severe headache and not for the first time, either. She had been having them, off and on, for many weeks now, but this one seemed worse. She climbed out of bed, and went looking for her mother.
"Mum! Where are you?"
Her mother emerged from her bedroom pulling a robe around her. She took one look at her daughter and pushed her into a chair, and then held her hand up against her forehead.
"How are you feeling, darling? Are you sick?"
"It's another one of those headaches. Its really bad."
"Have you taken anything?"
"No! I don't like that stuff. It makes me sleepy."
"The doctor says you have to take it. Come on."
"No, please. I don't like it."
"At least, take an aspirin, then." Her mother went to the sink, and came back with a glass of water.
*. . . we need to talk . . . your name??*, she heard it, but she wasn't sure how. It sounded like a boy, or a man. She looked around, but only her mother was there, leaning over her with a concerned look in her eyes.
"Annie, darling, take this please."
"Did you say something, mum?"
"Yes, take this. Come on."
She took the tablet, and placed it in her mouth.
*. . . Hallo . . . can you hear me . . .* she heard the voice again, as she swallowed the tablet. It wasn't aspirin, but one of those vile things the doctor had given her.
"Don't be silly. The doctor says you have to take them. Now act your age and drink the water."
Antoinette took the glass with very poor grace.
"Hell!", the young man sitting at the table pushed his chair away and stood up, "We almost had contact. We were this close, and then it clouded again. TIM, did you get any idea where she is?"
The table speaks, "We are not dealing with a trained mind. I could not get a trace."
The woman sitting at the table sighed, "Maybe she isn't ready, John. Maybe it's not time."
"Elizabeth, its been weeks. It shouldn't take this long. Even if she can't work out how to respond, we shouldn't feel that type of blocking."
John looked at her, "What?"
"How do we know she's a she?"
He sat down. "You're right. We must have got something more from her that time. Thank You," he said, rolling his eyes to the ceiling, "About time!"
Antoinette lay in her bed, half asleep. She could hear her mother talking with the doctor in the lounge. Her mother had never realised how thin the walls of the house were.
"Doctor, its making me very nervous. She's constantly having headaches, and aspirin doesn't do anything for her. I think there's something worrying her but she won't tell me what it is."
"Mrs Selkirk, Antoinette is a perfectly normal adolescent girl. I can find nothing wrong with her. If these headaches only came on school mornings, I'd be tempted to say she's faking. But I can't see any reason why she'd do that. Can you?"
"No I can't. Could you speak to her, Doctor. She might talk to you, tell you what's worrying her. She just doesn't seem willing to tell me."
"Yes, I'll speak to her."
Antoinette heard him come to her door. He knocked, and she told him to come in.
He sat down next to her on the bed.
"Hallo Annie. How are you?"
"I'm fine, Dr Meadowes. I just have these headaches."
"Your mother tells me that you don't like taking the tablets. Why not? Don't they help?"
"They get rid of the headaches just fine. It's just they slow me down.They make me tired."
"Yes. Look I know they have side effects, but you can't go around with a headache all the time. Annie, your mother thinks that there's something worrying you. Is there?"
Annie looked at the doctor. Dr Meadowes had been taking care of her, since she was very small, and she trusted him. She was also getting really worried.
"If I tell you, will you tell my mother?"
Dr Meadowes leaned back, and placed his fingers together. "Annie, its very important that a patient trusts their doctor. Doctors don't normally reveal their patients secrets. It's called confidentiality. But you're only fourteen and I can't promise not to tell your mother. There are some things that I feel she would have to know."
"Like what, for instance?"
"For instance, if you were pregnant. You're not, are you?"
"No chance at all?"
"No, nothing like that."
"That's a relief, and it will be to your mother too. I think that's what she's most afraid of Annie. She thinks you're hiding something. What's worrying you?"
She decided to trust him, "Doctor, is it normal to hear voices. Inside your head, I mean."
"Nooo, its not normal, but it's not necessarily a sign of anything serious." The Doctor leaned forward, "Is that what's worrying you. Are you hearing voices?"
She nodded. "I see. Tell me about the voices. Are they male or female, older or younger than you?"
"I don't know. Older I think, male definitely, but there's a girl too, sometimes."
"How many times have you heard them?"
"Four or five times over the last month, I think."
"What do they say?"
Antoinette tried to remember, "It's hard to tell. I only hear part of what they say. They seem to be telling me not to worry, that there nothing wrong with me. They ask me questions like what my name is?"
"Have you tried to answer?"
"You don't talk to voices. That's the second sign of madness."
"Really? What's the first."
She bit her lip, "Hearing voices in your head."
He cupped her chin in his hand and turned her bright eyes towards him. "Listen to me, Annie. You're not mad. I've known you a long time. I'd know, so don't worry about that. Now just wait here while I speak to your mum."
"You're not going to tell her about the voices?"
He looked at her, obviously assessing something in his mind, "I'll leave that up to you, Annie. I think she should know. It would make her feel better, and she just wants to help you. But I'll respect your confidence if you insist. But I do want to speak to another doctor. He's a colleague of mine, and I think he might be better equipped to help you."
"He's a neurologist - a brain doctor. These headaches worry me a bit. He'd be better qualified than I am to determine what's causing them."
"Okay, you can talk to mum, if you think its important."
"Sensible girl. I'll be back in a minute."
The doctor walked out of the room. Annie heard him speak to her mother.
"Mrs Selkirk, I need to call a colleague of mine. He's a neurologist, Dr Lassiter. Frankly I'm worried about these headaches. They may be a sign of some form of brain anomaly - perhaps a tumour. Dr Lassiter is one of the best in the field. May I use your phone?"
"Of course, please go ahead."
Annie heard a shuffle of papers and then the Doctor dialling. After a few seconds,
"Dr Lassiter, please . . . Dr Frank Meadowes," a pause and then. "Hallo Dr Lassiter, my name is Dr Meadowes. We have met, but you probably . . . that's right, yes, at the Convention. I've got a case here and I'd appreciate some advice . . . Thank you, very much . . . it's a fourteen year old girl. She's suffering severe headaches, normal pain killers have no effect. It doesn't seem to be migraine . . . no, they're quite real . . . she's hearing voices, and because of the paper you delivered . . . Is that relevant, Doctor? A male and a female, both older than her . . . Any what? Paranormal? Are you serious? . . . I see, you really think so? That urgent? I'll speak to her mother and arrange it." He rang off.
"Mrs Selkirk, Dr Lassiter seems to think that Annie's condition may be serious. He wants her at his clinic immediately, he's sending a car. We have to get her packed and ready to go immediately."
"Yes. He think she may have a new type of tumour, which causes permanent brain damage. He thinks he has a treatment for it, but he's not sure. What is imperative is that the treatment begins immediately. If she does have the condition he suspects, it could be her only hope."
Annie felt her skin crawl. She was frightened almost out of her mind. She felt pressure building up in her head, behind her eyes and forehead, as if something was happening in her brain. Her head began to throb, and pain seared through her body. She let out a gasp and then a scream.
The door crashed open and she could see a shape bending down over her. It was Dr Meadowes, the last thing she felt before she blacked out, was the expression on his face, an expression of very real, very deep concern.
John and Elizabeth looked up as they heard a gentle hissing sound, coming from the back of the room. They looked over at the jaunting pad, as three human figures began to appear - two boys and an Asian girl.
"How was your shopping trip?" asked Elizabeth.
"Very nice," said the girl, "Except Mike insisted on looking in every record shop."
"Hey, I like music," said the older of the two boys / young men.
"Yes, so do I, but every shop has the same thing in it, and you never buy anything. It gets really boring."
"I have to agree," said the other boy, Andrew, for a wonder, not in his kilt. His taste in clothing was gradually changing, although as its primary influence was what Mike wore, there wasn't as been much of an improvement as it otherwise might have been, "all you do is look. It's not as if you . . .", he winced in sudden pain as did all the others. Hsui Tai almost fell, but was steadied by Mike.
*What was that?* he 'pathed, stunned out of speech for the moment.
John sat down at the table, "Quickly, everyone, let's link."
They all move to obey him, instinctively, and sit down around the table. They spread their hands, each just barely touching the fingers of the people next to them.
*Who are we looking for?*
They all sit and concentrate, sending out their thoughts, hoping for an answer.
After a minute, John breaks the link, "Nothing. Not a peep."
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
December 15, 1979
She drifted, unable to remember who she was or where she came from. She was in severe physical pain and her head hurt incredibly. A hospital, that's where she was. Was she sick? Was she dying? She knew that someone had said she was very sick, but who? She almost knew, but could not be sure. It seemed important, but in only a very vague fashion. She just wanted to sleep.
"Subject A.S. exhibits signs of severe distress whenever awake, and so it seems advisable to continue mild sedation at all times. In addition low level sedation appears to act as an inhibiter to her psychokinetic episodes. When subject is agitated, items in the room, can exhibit unusual behaviours, such as the windows shaking as if affected by strong winds. This seems to provide additional evidence for the 'poltergeist' hypothesis.
"Subjects brainwaves do exhibit some unusual patterns, although none major enough to provide any clear proof of extraneurological activity. X-Rays and brain scan likewise show no abnormality. I am loathe to conduct any more invasive procedure for fear of damaging the subject in some permanent fashion. I am attempting to find a way to minimise this risk, but, so far, with very limited success."
Dr Lassiter switched off his tape recorder, and moved from his desk to get a cup of coffee. His phone rang, and he answered it.
"Yes . . . put him on . . . Ah, Frank, good of you to call . . . no, no change at present, the tumour is no longer growing, but it isn't getting any smaller either . . . No, Frank, you've got to put her off. It wouldn't do her daughter any good to see her, and it would just distress Mrs Selkirk. The girl is quite frightful to look at . . . Well, she's lost all her hair, and she's getting thinner . . . A week, maybe more . . . Quite all right, Frank, feel free to call at any time . . . Goodbye then."
He hung up and walked over to a small television set which he switched on, giving him a closed circuit view of his young subjects room. The Doctor pressed a small button and a nurse in a heavily starched white dress came in. He issued curt instructions, and she left hurriedly. Dr Lassiter sat down drinking his coffee and stared at the TV screen. There was something there, but he couldn't quite work out what it was, something he'd missed. He saw the nurse enter the room, sit down next to the bed, and begin cutting the girls hair. After a time he leaned forward and pressed the record button on his tape recorder.
"Subject A.S. appears to exhibit unusual REM, possibly in response to physical stimuli. I'll need to set up a better TV surveillance system for accurate pictures. In addition . . ."
On the TV screen in front of him, the nurse had switched to a razor and was removing what was left of Antoinette's soft blonde hair.
At the lab, Mike and Andrew had just jaunted in with a Christmas tree.
"I told you it was too big!"
"It'll be all right!"
John walked into the lounge.
"Why on earth did you get one that big? There's hardly enough room in here for us, let alone that huge fir tree."
TIM spoke up, "Actually John, analysis shows the tree to be a pine rather than a fir."
"It looks more like a sequoia. Anyway what's the difference?"
"A fir tree is typically of the genus Abies, while a pine is of genus Pinus."
"I'll rephrase the question. What, in any important or relevant way, is the difference?"
TIM sounded hurt, or at least as hurt as a computer can sound, "It is important to be accurate."
"Yes, when discussing matters of great urgency, no, when discussing the large tree attempting to occupy our home."
Andrew spoke up at last, "Can you two stop arguing over semantics, and give us a hand. I'm losing my grip," and with that he did lose his grip, and the huge tree toppled over, almost landing on TIM. Mike who was in front of the tree, went down under its weight, and was less fortunate. His appeal for help went out in words, and thought.
*Help, get me out of here!*
The almost bald girl spasmed suddenly and the nurse cut her head with the razor. The pain brought her to consciousness for the first time in days, and she screamed. The nurse held her down, and there was no one near enough to hear her scream. But there were people who did hear her pleas for help.
*Help! God, someone please help me!*
"Shut up, Mike, we'll get you out. Just hang on."
"That wasn't me, John!"
Liz and Hsui Tai came running into the room, brought from their own cabins by the commotion. They pulled up and looked at John. Clearly it wasn't them either. Andrew shook his head.
Elizabeth took control.
*What's wrong? Where are you?*
The girl heard the question and tried to reply.
*Who are you? Where are you? Help me!*
*Calm down, Calm down, where are you? What's happening?*
The nurse was pushing her down into her bed, and the door opened and two more nurses came running in. One of them had something in his hand.
*I don't know. A hospital, or something I think.*
*We need more, What's your name? Which hospital?*
Her wrist was grabbed, and twisted back and something was jabbed into the back of her hand. She felt her head spin, and she was falling, falling into darkness. She made one final effort.
and was gone.
Elizabeth gave up, and looked helplessly at John.
"It's something. We know her name at least."
"But that's about all we know. She female, her name is Annie Selkirk, and she may be in a hospital. TIM, can you do anything with that information?"
"I will attempt to communicate with all hospital computers. However there is no guarantee that she is at one of the hospitals using computers to store records, or that the records will be organised in any coherent fashion. It may take some time."
"Quick as you can, TIM. She sounded like she may have been in danger."
Mike climbed to his feet, brushing pine needles out of his clothes, "It didn't sound to me like there's much doubt of that. She was terrified! We've got to get her out of there."
"We can't jump to conclusions, Mike. She sounded confused. If she's in hospital, she could have been frightened without good reason. We can't go off half cocked and organise a rescue mission without knowing why she's in hospital. Besides we don't even know where she is. I agree we have to be ready for anything, but we shouldn't go about creating problems that may not exist."
"What do we do, then?" asked Elizabeth.
"All we can do. We try and find her, and we prepare. If she is danger, we help her if we can. Unless anyone else has any suggestions?"
Mike did, "Yeah. As well as trying to find out what hospitals she's in, we can just try and find out who she is. Selkirk can't be that common a name."
"Mike, we don't even know what country she's in? It's a good idea, but there aren't any guarantees we'll find her."
"It's better than just sitting around here waiting for TIM to find her. Sorry TIM," he said as he stepped back up onto the jaunting pad, and jaunted out of sight.
"Mike . . ." said John, "I didn't say he should go, just that it was a good idea. Honestly, some people . . ."
Elizabeth touched him on the shoulder, "Mike's not a child any more. You can't expect him to wait for your approval all the time. He can take his own decisions and act on them. You've got to let them do it, John. Let them grow up."
"I suppose you're right, but they're so - young!"
"Mike's older than you were when this all started. By his age you were leading us. You did all right - so will he. He had a good teacher."
John nodded, "I suppose so, Liz. Intellectually I know he can handle it. For that matter, so can Andrew and Hsui Tai. But I'm not used to them being this old. I've sent them into danger so many times when they were kids. Now that they're not, and they're ready to make their own decisions, it's so much harder."
"Because in the past, I've been responsible for them, and I've told them what to do. I've managed to keep them safe, though it's been hairy sometimes. Now they do what they like, what they feel is right, and I have no control. And I'm still responsible for them."
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
December 17, 1979
"I have completed my scan of all available computer records for hospitals in the United Kingdom. As far as I can ascertain, there is no record of any Annie Selkirk as a patient at these hospitals in the last year. Should I extend my search to other countries."
"Yes, TIM. Please do. Start with English speaking countries, and continue from there."
A hissing sound came from the jaunting pad and Mike appeared. He stepped off.
"Antoinette Selkirk, better known as Annie, 14 years old. Lives in Lydford, Devon with her mother. She's been having a lot of headaches recently, and none of her friends have seen her in over a week." Mike seemed quite pleased with himself.
"Good Lord, Mike. How did you find that out?"
Now he seemed less pleased, "John, you might not want to know the details of that."
"Why not? What have you being doing, Mike? Tell me."
"I checked the phone books and tried to find Selkirks'. I jaunted around from place to place until I got to Lydford. I asked at the village store if they knew the Selkirks' and they did. That's how I found out there was an Annie," he stopped and looked at John.
"Go on, Mike, what else?"
"I got into the school and checked the records, and found out how old she was and who her friends were. I spoke to one of them. She hadn't seen her for more than a week, and she's getting worried."
"You broke into the school? Mike, how could you do that? It's irresponsible and . . ."
"First of all, I'm worried about her. She sounded really scared, John, and I'm convinced she's in trouble. Second of all, I didn't break in, I jaunted. The Saps'll never know I was there. You know as well as I do, that we can't just sit around doing nothing when someone could be in danger - particularly not when that person is one of us! At least I can't, and I don't believe you can!"
Elizabeth came into the lounge.
"What's going on, you two? What's wrong?"
John was almost ready to explode, but though it was an effort, he brought himself under control, "Nothing, Elizabeth. Mike and I were just having a discussion on whether or not he should have done something. Mike, I'm sorry. You're right, if Annie's in danger, we do have to help her. I just wish you'd keep me informed of what you're doing. We're much more effective if we're working together - and it's not as if it's difficult to contact me, is it.
Mike flushed, "Point taken, John. What do you think we should do next?"
John called the others and they all sat down.
"As I see it, our first priority must be to find out whether or not Annie is in danger. We should talk to her mother. Here's what we're going to do . . ."
An Asian girl pushed open the white painted gate, and walked up the path to the front door. She knocked on the door, and waited politely. After a moment, the door opened, to reveal a woman.
"Hallo, Mrs Selkirk, I am a friend of Annie's, my name is Sue. I'm just wondering if Annie is all right. We haven't seen her around recently."
"Come in out of the cold, Susan. I haven't met you have I? Are you new to the area?"
"Yes I am. We only arrived a short time ago. I hope nothings wrong with Annie."
"Sit down. Annie's in hospital. The doctors aren't exactly sure what's wrong with her. It might be serious or it might not be. They don't know. Susan, may I ask you a question?"
"Yes, Mrs Selkirk."
Mrs Selkirk wrung her hands slightly. "Annie didn't mention hearing voices to you, in her head I mean?"
*Bingo!* came from John.
*What do I say?* asked Hsui Tai.
*Tell the truth, tell her that Annie never said anything to you about it*
"I'm afraid not, Mrs Selkirk. Was Annie hearing voices?"
"Yes, apparently. She told Dr Meadowes about them, but she didn't tell me. I was wondering if she told her friends."
*Okay, Hsui Tai, we've got what we need. Get out of there as quick as you can, without arousing attention.*
"Mrs Selkirk, I just dropped in to see Annie, but I have to be going. I'd like to see her. Where is she, please?"
"I don't precisely know, dear. A private clinic somewhere. I've been told it could spoil her treatment if she sees me." A tear formed in the woman's eye.
Hsui stood up. "Thank you, Mrs Selkirk, and please don't worry. I'm sure Annie will be all right."
"Yes, yes, of course, you're right. Please I'll show you to the door."
Hsui Tai rapidly walked down the path and around the corner of the lane. She checked around and when she was sure she was unobserved, jaunted back to the lab.
"Well done. That can't have been easy."
"It wasn't. That poor woman."
"Yes, I know, but the best thing we can do for her is to help her daughter. What does everyone think."
Andrew spoke, "It doesn't really seem that promising, John. Look what we know. Annie Selkirk is missing, supposedly at a hospital, but not even her mother knows which one. Before she went missing she was hearing strange voices inside her head, and had bad headaches. She's made contact with us, quite sophisticated contact, but since then we've been unable to raise her. Each time we've had contact with her, she's seemed to be in some kind of danger. I'm worried about her, John, and that's a fact."
"We all are, Andrew, and I agree that we've got good reason. What we don't have yet is any real idea of what we can do. We have two choices. We wait and hope she contacts us again, or we can try and find her."
Mike spoke up, "John, we can't wait. We've got to find her."
"All right. Elizabeth and I will go to see this Dr Meadowes and see if we can get anything out of him."
"Why you two?"
"Mike can I speak to you in your cabin."
The two young men got up and left the room.
"All right, Mike, what's eating you?"
"Forget it, John."
"No, I won't forget it. We have to work together. I can't have you lot questioning my every decision. Sometimes our lives are at stake, and we haven't got time to argue. If you tell me what's bothering you, I might be able to fix it."
"You really want to know? Okay. John, you treat me like a child. You don't like me taking my own decisions, and you certainly don't like me doing anything that you haven't told me to. I'm not a child John, and you're not my father. I've a right to make my own choices, and my own decisions, and my own mistakes. I take risks, sure. We all do. We have to. You and Elizabeth are going off to try and rescue Annie, and we're stuck here at the lab. I'm sick of it."
"All right Mike, you've had you say, now let me have mine. You're right. I do treat you like a child sometimes, and you're not one. I'm sorry. It's just not easy for me to realise that you're older. For years I have been responsible for you. I'm not your father, no, but I've had to act like one. Do you think that's easy for me? You know what it's like, Mike. We all lost our chance to be kids, when we broke out. I wound up with the added responsibility of leading us. I've had to risk your lives, as well as my own, at times, and that's never easy. I can't stand the thought of you taking unnecessary risks. But you're right, it should be your choice.
"When I take decisions, I have my reasons, even if the decision seems arbitrary to you. In this case, I'll explain them. We're going to be talking to a doctor, trying to get details out of him about one of his patients, and that's going to require subtlety. You're about as subtle as a housebrick at the best of times, and I'm not a lot better. That's why I need Elizabeth along. I'm going because its possible that we might need to tell this doctor who we are. I'm the one who's going to make that decision, and I need to be there to get the facts, first hand. That's me and Liz. Now I could take you along as well, but I'm not going to. Here's why. First of all, you're too close to this. Don't ask me why. I've hardly ever seen you this worked up about anything important before. You seem really attached to this girl and you've never even met her. Secondly, there could be danger involved. You're not stupid and you know as well as I do, that Annie might be a prisoner of people who know about us. We haven't exactly been inconspicuous around the authorities lately. I need you to stay behind as back up, so if the proverbial hits the fan, you can come and get us, and if it really goes bad, so you can take charge. I trust you, Mike. If anything happens to me, I need someone back here to take control. Last but not least, Hsui Tai needs you. You know she's sensitive. Talking to Mrs Selkirk disturbed her, and she needs someone to talk to. I think you'd be the best person for that. There are my reasons. I've explained them and if you object, tell me why. But Mike, sometimes there isn't time to explain, and you've just got to follow my instructions. I've always got reasons, and I'll discuss them when I have time. But when I say do something, please do it."
Mike walked over to John and extended his hand, "Be careful."
They both returned to the lounge, and John and Elizabeth walked over to the pad.
They turned around and saw Mike with a pair of stun guns.
"Just in case."
They took the weapons, strapped them on, and jaunted.
*Keep in touch, John, Liz*
*Yes, Mike. We will*
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
December 17, 1979
John and Elizabeth appeared in a copse of trees, near the village. It was raining quite heavily. "One day, Liz, we're going to remember to check the weather before we jaunt out of the lab."
"We can always go back."
"That would look really good, wouldn't it."
"So we're supposed to get soaked because of your pride!"
"Come on. It'll stop soon."
They walked rapidly into the village. Just as they arrived at the small surgery, the pale sun broke through the clouds.
"I told you it would stop."
"That was a lucky guess."
"I don't know, some people. Perfectly prepared to accept telepathy, telekinesis and teleportation, but they won't believe in a little precognisance."
"No one can predict the weather, John. It's a simple law of nature, despite all those people who keep trying."
"Do you want to tell them, or should I?"
They both walked into the surgery.
A girl about the same age as Elizabeth sat behind a table.
"May I help you?"
"We'd like to see Dr Meadowes, please."
"Do you have an appointment?"
"No, but it is rather urgent. We would really appreciate it if he could give us a few minutes."
"I'll see," she got up and went into the next room. After a moment, she came back.
"You're in luck, he'll see you now."
John and Elizabeth walked into the Doctors surgery.
"Hallo, I'm Frank Meadowes. Please, sit down, what seems to be the problem?"
They sat down and John spoke.
"Doctor, my name is John, this is Elizabeth. We need to speak to you about one of your patients."
"I'm not really free to talk about my patients. Who are . . ."
Elizabeth interrupted, "It's about Antoinette Selkirk."
"Annie? Are you reporters?"
"Why would we be reporters? Is there something unusual about Annie's case?"
"Look, young man. I'm not prepared to discuss it. Now please leave before I call the police."
Elizabeth again, "That won't be necessary. Doctor, we realise that you are bound by professional ethics not to discuss a patient's case, but we believe that there is a possibility that Annie may be in danger. We can help her. That's all we want to do."
"Are you doctors? How can you help her?"
"No, we are not doctors. I can't really tell you how we can help, but I can say that, if we are right, Annie's very life is in danger. I'm not exaggerating. I mean that."
"Unless you can provide proof of that I can't help you."
*Shall we, Liz*
*I don't really see that we have much choice*
John nodded and spoke, "Doctor, what do you know about psychic powers?"
"Psychic powers? What are you talking about?"
A pen on the doctors desk rose before his eyes. The Doctor was on his feet and his chair fell back.
"What on Earth? How are you doing that?"
The pen dropped back onto his desk.
"By telekinesis, Doctor. By using my mind."
"But why . . . Is Annie like you?"
Elizabeth spoke, "We don't know. Doctor. She may be. You must understand the danger she may be in. If she is like us, she may be incredibly valuable to the wrong people."
"Are you the two, she said she tried to speak to?"
Elizabeth and John looked at each other, and back at the Doctor. John spoke.
"Before I called Dr Lassiter, she told me she'd been hearing voices in her head. A male and a female. Good Lord. I thought she was delusional."
"Who's Dr Lassiter?"
"He's an expert in the field, a neurologist. I called him in because I thought she might have a tumour, or some form of encephalitis. She's at his clinic in Somerset."
"Just outside Taunton."
"Why is she there precisely?" asked Elizabeth.
"As I said, I thought she might have some form of brain disorder. He's an expert in the field. When she stared mentioning voices, I thought of him immediately. He presented a paper on the topic of . . . Oh God!"
"He presented a paper on a condition, caused by a tumour or some sort of swelling on the brain, that leads people to believe they are hearing voices. It's a fatal condition, and he felt he had a new treatment. It's very invasive, his two previous patients suffered permanent brain damage. God I've got to tell him that she may not have the condition!"
He grabbed his diary, and began shuffling for the phone number. He found it and dialled.
"Hallo, Dr Lassiter, please . . . Frank Meadowes, it's an emergency . . . No, it can't wait . . . Hallo Doctor, Frank here. You've got to stop Annie's treatment . . . I've got new information, it's very disturbing . . . I know you're the expert, but please stop the treatment . . . Yes . . . I don't want to explain on the phone. I'll be there as quickly as possible."
He rang off and grabbed his coat, "Come one, you two. Do you have a car?"
"No, we don't."
"Come with me then and hurry. I just hope I'm right about this. If I'm wrong my career is over, and Annie's life may be in danger."
They all ran to the car.
*John, why don't we just jaunt?*
*There's no reason to let Meadowes know more than he already does. Mike!*
*There's a private clinic run by a Dr Lassiter near Taunton, Somerset. Get there and wait. We'll be there shortly*
*On my way*
They leapt into the car and sped off.
At the clinic, Dr Lassiter put down his phone. He moved over and turned on his closed circuit TV screen, and looked at Antoinette. Totally bald, and wired up to nearly a dozen separate machines, she looked more like an intricate part of an electronic network than anything else. After all, that's what she was. Just a experimental subject. Of course, she was a girl, and a pretty one, but that was merely sentiment, and a man of science could not afford to be sentimental. For the sake of science, a man must do things that he might rather not. He wasn't a cruel man, certainly not a sadistic one. Her pain hurt him, it really did. But for the sake of science it was necessary. He went to his drawer, took out a revolver and loaded it.
For the sake of science.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
December 17, 1979
The car screeched to a halt, and its three occupants got out, and began to move briskly towards a building. Another figure joined them.
"Dr Meadowes, this is Mike. He's with us."
They walked into the old building, and were met by Dr Lassiter.
"Good evening Frank, what on earth is going on?"
"Dr Lassiter, I spoken to these people and they think they know what's wrong with Annie."
"Really, who are you?"
John spoke, "We'll explain later, Doctor. First, can we see, Annie."
"I'm not sure . . ."
"For Gods sake, I'll vouch for them, Lassiter, just let them see the girl."
"Oh, very well. Come this way."
They walked up a set of stairs and along a long corridor. Dr Lassiter opened a door and John moved in first, into the dimly lit room. He saw a shape in a bed surrounded by large amounts of electronics. He moved to the bed. Lying in it was the bald shape of a girl. He reached down to touch her.
Mikes voice, John turned and saw Liz going down, clubbed from behind by a heavyset man. He sent a message to Mike.
*Mike, Get Liz out of here, I've got Annie*
He slipped his jaunting band off, and in a moment it was on Annie's wrist.
*TIM, jaunt her out*
He watched her fade, and there was a loud bang from behind him. A machine to his right exploded as a bullet crashed into it. He whirled around, going for his stun gun, but Dr Lassiter stood there with his revolver to Frank Meadowes head. Lassiter spoke,
"Drop it, my friend."
"Don't John, get out of here!" screamed Meadowes. The shaved gorilla behind him tightened his grip.
"I can't." said John. "I can't leave you here alone with this man."
"Very intelligent of you, young man. Now tell your friends to stay away. I see one sign of them, you and Dr Meadowes here are dead."
*Andrew and I are on our way! Hold tight*
*No, stay back. It's suicide*
*I don't care, we'll take the risk*
*No, you won't. Liz and Annie need you. Stay away*
*All right, John. But hold on, we won't forget you. We will get you out*
*No heroics, Mike*
John spoke aloud, "All right, Doctor Lassiter. What do you want?"
"Just you. I want to know what you are."
"Fine, you've got me. Let Frank go."
"No, I don't think so. You see, maybe you don't value your own life enough to cooperate. But you might value his. If you oppose me, he dies. If you leave, he dies. Jab him."
An orderly moved towards John and grabbed his wrist. John pulled away.
"No, John" said Lassiter as he cocked his revolver, and pushed it into Dr Meadowes head.
John nodded in submission, and extended his wrist. The orderly injected something into the back of it, and John lost consciousness.
"Get them into bed, quickly."
Mike had taken charge and was directing Hsui Tai and Andrew in moving the casualties.
"Get blankets, and get some coffee going."
"Mike, there's only two of us. TIM can do the coffee."
Mike realised he was losing control and forced himself to calm down. He took a few deep breaths.
"OK, let's have a look at them."
He bent down over Annie, and looked at her bald head. He raised an eyelid and looked into her eyes. He didn't know if he was doing anything right or not, but he had to do something. Her pupil contracted in the light, and he thought that was a good sign. He went over to Elizabeth and repeated the exercise. Her pupil was unresponsive. He was worried.
"Well?" Andrew asked.
"I don't know. I don't know what to do."
"Well, think of something, man. They may be dying."
Mike stood up and strode over to the communications relay to the Trig. He switched it on. Within a few seconds he was speaking to the intergalactic equivalent of a switchboard operator.
"I'm Mike Bell from Earth. I have a major problem here and I need help, quickly. Can you help?"
After a few more seconds, a face appeared on the screen. It was familiar, but he couldn't quite place it. Without the beard . . .
"What's going on, Mike, what's wrong? Where's John?"
"He's captured, and Elizabeth has a severe head injury. I need help. I don't know what to do."
"Keep Elizabeth warm, and don't give her anything to eat or drink. I'll be there as quickly as I can."
True to his word, a few minutes later, a figure in an AE suit appeared on the jaunting pad. Without even pausing to take off his helmet, he ran a small hand held device over Elizabeth's head. He looked at it, and withdrew another device from his belt, which he ran over the her head several time. He peeled off a glove, and raised an eyelid. The pupil was responding. Then he saw Annie. He moved over and ran the first device over her entire body, and once again examined it closely. Then he stood up and took off his helmet.
"Hallo Mike, Andrew, Hsui Tai. Who's the girl?"
"Her names Annie, we're not sure if she's broken out yet."
"Oh, she has. I got that from the scan. She's inhibited though by the drugs in her system. They'll clear in six hours or so. Elizabeth has a severe concussion. She needs watching, but she'll be all right. Let's get them into bed, then we'll talk about John."
A few minutes later, Mike, Andrew and Stephen were all sitting around TIM. Hsui Tai was watching the girls in one of the cabins. Stephen took charge of proceedings.
Mike explained in detail, clearly and calmly, until he got to the incident in the clinic. His voice broke and he stammered out an explanation about how he had got away, and John had not.
Stephen looked at him, and with a flick of his eyes, sent Andrew out of the room.
"Mike, listen to me. It's not your fault."
"I should have stayed, I shouldn't have left him."
"He told you to."
"Mike, if you hadn't gone, you'd have been in the bag too. Elizabeth as well, maybe. Andrew and Hsui would have had to deal with Annie, alone. Andrew would have been just as likely to go in half cocked and get himself captured too. You came back, and you kept Andrew and Hsui Tai safe. You kept Liz and Annie alive. I know we can't contact John, but that doesn't mean he's dead. He's probably drugged like Annie was. We're in a bad situation, but if you hadn't acted quickly, it could be a lot worse."
"Oh, I did a lot of good, didn't I. I didn't have a clue what to do. Liz could have died, because of me."
"Mike, is Liz dead?"
"And she's not going to die, either. Do you know why?"
"Because you saved her."
"No, Mike. Because you called me. I've been an Ambassador for a few years now, special envoy to emerging worlds. I've seen some really bad things happen because people didn't have enough sense to realise they didn't know everything. One of the most important things about leadership is knowing when to ask for help."
"Can you stay Stephen? Are you going to take charge?"
"There's no way I'm leaving while John's a prisoner. It's up to you whether I take charge or not. John left you in charge. I'll take over if you want, but even that's a leadership decision."
Mike thought about it.
"You're in charge until Liz is better. Andrew and Hsui Tai will listen to you, anyway. I don't know if they'd follow me."
"They will, Mike. If you let them."
Later that night, a car and an unmarked van pulled away from the Lassiter Clinic. Sitting in the car, Dr Lassiter was speaking into a tape recorder.
"Subject J has much more powerful abilities than I had dared hope. Unfortunately due to the interruption by the subject and his psihuman friends, I must accelerate my research. I had been reluctant to use the advanced procedures on A.S. for fear of damaging her brain, but I no longer have that luxury. I am moving to an alternate site . . ."
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
December 19, 1979
"TIM, anything yet?"
"Still nothing, Stephen. It is unlikely that there would be any such record. There was no record for Annie, and it seems likely that Dr Lassiter would be taking even more precautions now."
"I know, but keep trying."
Stephen sat down, with his hot chocolate. He was dog tired, and he only wanted to sleep. He'd had maybe a hour in the last two days.
He looked up and saw Annie, standing there looking like a Buddhist monk, with her bald head, and the robe that obviously belonged to Hsui Tai.
"Hallo. Where am I?"
"That is going to take some explaining. Would you like some hot chocolate?"
*Then sit down*
She backed away from him.
*Try and answer, Annie*
*Hallo. Is this really happening?*
Mike walked in, "Yes, it is Annie. You're one of us. What you're 'hearing' now is just part of what you are."
"What am I?"
Stephen opened his mind and told her. Her lips moved.
Dr Lassiter sat at a small chipboard desk, speaking into his recorder.
"Subject J. has begun to exhibit extreme psychokinetic manisfestations. He has already destroyed two windows in his room, and is getting increasingly violent. He has not regained consciousness, but I have had to reduce the dosage of the psisuppressant in order to avoid killing him. I believe irreparable brain damage may have already resulted. While this is regrettable, from an experimental standpoint, it is unfortunately no more than I expected."
The door opened and Dr Meadowes was lead in by one of the orderlies.
"Ah Frank, sit down."
"I'd rather stand, thank you."
"As you wish. Have you considered my very generous offer?"
"And your answer is?"
"I'll accept your money - when hell freezes over and the Queen dances a naked jig with the Pope at Westminster."
"You're a very foolish man."
"At least, I am a man."
"Doctor!", an orderly ran in, "The patients going crazy."
"Watch Meadowes, Bill," said Lassiter to the orderly as he ran out the door.
"Are you going to rescue him? You can't leave him there, he saved my life." Annie was speaking rapidly to Stephen.
"I know, Annie. John's saved all of our lives at one time or another. We're going to save him, but at the moment we don't know where he is. When we do, we're going to get him out."
"I want to help."
"Maybe, Annie, but I don't think so. You haven't any training yet. Your time will come."
Elizabeth, also all but recovered, came into the lounge.
"For the moment, we should take you home to see your mother. Not for long, it's not safe there at the moment, but she must be worried sick. Do you want to go?"
"I'll take you. Don't look at me like that Stephen, I'm well enough for that, and I won't overdo it. You and Mike are like a pair of mother hens."
Mike spoke, "Consider it payback, Liz. Bye Annie, see you later."
"Bye Mike, Stephen, Hsui Tai, Andrew. Are we going to jaunt Elizabeth?"
"It's the only way to travel."
There was a loud crash, followed by a scream. Bill looked at Dr Meadowes, and raised a fist.
"Try anything and I'll break your skull!" He ran out of the room.
Meadowes ran around the desk to the phone. Who to call? He didn't have a number for the psychic kids, and he wondered if telepaths had phones anyway. He dialled the only number he could think of, where he might be able to make contact with them.
"You're really all right, darling? You're really fine?"
"Yes, Mum. I am. I'm better than I've ever been before."
Mrs Selkirk turned to Elizabeth, "I don't know how to thank you. I just . . ."
"Mrs Selkirk, there's no need to thank us. We couldn't do anything else. It's part of what we are. We have no choice . . ."
The phone rang, and Annie picked it up.
"Hallo . . . Dr Meadowes?"
Elizabeth grabbed the phone, "Dr Meadowes, it's Elizabeth. Where are you? Is John there?"
"Elizabeth, thank God. Yes, he's here. I don't know the address. It's a large red brick building, quite old. I'm looking across a park at St James Palace, and to my left I can see Buckingham Palace. The park is right across the street."
"Right, we'll be there in a minute. Just hang on." She hung up.
Dr Meadowes looked at the phone in his hand and heard a click behind him. He slowly turned and saw Lassiter standing there, with his revolver pointing right at him.
"Very foolish, Meadowes."
There was a flash, and then Meadowes saw no more.
*Stephen, Mike. John's at a red brick building in Birdcage Walk, near Buckingham Palace. Dr Meadowes is there too*
*We're on our way*
Stephen and Mike followed by Andrew grabbed stun guns and a spare jaunting band each and jaunted away. In half a second they stood in St James Park. They got bearings on the only obvious building that fit the description and jaunted in. They heard screams and ran to them. Dr Lassiter was standing next to John, loading something into a syringe. Mike stunned him, and placed the band on Johns wrist. He jaunted away to the Lab, taking John with him. Andrew and Stephen had a brief shoot out with a couple of the orderlies, and then entered the office. Stephen knelt down next to Dr Meadowes.
"He's dead. We'd better go."
Andrew nodded, and placed a nearby lab coat over the body and they both jaunted home.
At the lab, Stephen and Elizabeth were examining John.
*John, please wake up, John*
"I am unable to detect any recognisable brain wave patterns, but I can also detect no physical damage to the brain. I am unable to explain it."
"What's the prognosis, TIM?"
"I do not know. The damage may be permanent or reversible. I do not have enough data to formulate an opinion."
Stephen pounded a fist into the wall, "I could kill him. I swear I could kill Lassiter."
Elizabeth looked at him in utter shock, "Stephen! How can you say that. We can't kill."
*We can't kill*
"Oh, for pity's sake, look at him. Elizabeth, lying there more dead than alive. And that worm of a man, is still alive and still has his mind, and he doesn't deserve to live and John doesn't deserve to die."
"Even so, Stephen, you can't talk like that. You don't mean it, you know you don't and it doesn't help anyone, least of all John."
"How do you know I don't mean it, Elizabeth? It isn't fair. It just isn't."
"Stephen, you're too old to believe in fair. Life isn't fair, you know that. You may believe that you want Lassiter dead, but you can't do anything about it. You are a Tomorrow Person, and you cannot kill. Simple facts."
*Tomorrow Person. Cannot kill. I am a Tomorrow Person. I cannot kill!*
"Liz, Stephen . . ."
They both turned and looked at John, as he sat up clutching his head, and they breathed a sigh of relief.
"John. You're all right."
"No bones broken. How's Annie?"
"She's fine, and she wants to meet you."
"I want to meet her, too."
They went into the lounge and all sat down together, talking and laughing. After a while, Stephen left the room and returned in his AE suit.
John looked up, "You're leaving?"
"I have to get back to the Trig. I've got duties to perform, and they want me back there as soon as possible."
"Well, if you have to go, you have to go. I'd hoped maybe you could stay for Christmas."
"I might be able to arrange something, but I can't make any promises. I'll be here if I can. Goodbye everyone."
He put his helmet on and climbed onto the jaunting pad, and returned to the Trig.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
December 25, 1979
"The holly and the ivy, when . . ."
Mikes spirited rendition of his new version of the old carol, was cut short as someone jaunted in an AE suit. Stephen stepped down off the pad, and removed his helmet.
Elizabeth looked up, "You made it!"
"Yes, and I'm not the only one."
Three more shapes were forming on the pad. They stepped off and removed their helmets. A woman and two young men - Carol, Kenny and Tyso.
John was dumbfounded, "Good God, this is a first. We're all here. Come on you have to meet Annie."
The party continued for many hours, and everyone had a very good time. Except for Stephen. He had a message to deliver and it spoiled his enjoyment of the party. Finally at about 7pm, he grabbed John, by the arm and took him into the workshop.
They both came out a few minutes later, with very sombre expressions on their faces.
"Stephen has an announcement to make."
"Speech, Speech!" crowed Tyso. John raised a hand and nodded to Stephen.
"First of all, I have been appointed Ambassador Plenipotentiary to Earth from the Trig."
"What's that mean?" asked Annie.
"It means that I have been given absolute authority over Earth affairs for the duration of my mission. My mission is very limited and very precise. The Trig has taken it's decision and it has no intention of reversing it."
Andrew asked, "What decision?"
John answered, "Evacuation."
"What?" Elizabeth looked at Stephen and John. Stephen answered.
"The Trig has decided that the risk to survival for the species Homo Superior is too great for your species, I'm sorry, our species to be allowed to remain on Earth. Therefore the Trig has decided to evacuate all Tomorrow People from Earth to the Trig, and take steps to ensure no more breakouts in the immediate future."
"What steps." Mike advanced across the room.
"They're going to seed the atmosphere."
"With what, Volumin?"
"No, it's not precise enough. They've developed a new substance keyed specifically to our DNA, in particular John's. It prevents break out from occurring. It has a limited life, somewhere between 10 and 20 years, and is only intended as a temporary solution. But it will prevent any latent Tomorrow People from breaking out. Any Tomorrow Person who remains on Earth, will lose their talents with prolonged exposure."
"Are there any side effects, besides that?"
"On the individual, no. However there are possible implications for the species. Primarily, we may lose the gene pool. Any new Tomorrow People who do break out are unlikely to have identical genetic structure to our own. Their talents may be different, but only very slightly. They may be slightly stronger or weaker. We don't know. Evolution isn't an exact science."
"Why has the Trig decided to do this?"
"They've calculated that the odds of survival for the Tomorrow People on Earth is extremely low, under present conditions. They anticipate one of two scenarios. The first is that a very limited number of Tomorrow People will continue to break out. In that case, the survival of the species is virtually untenable. Especially now, when people are finding out about us. The saps will hunt us down, study us and possibly kill us. The second scenario is even worse. We know that there may be thousands or even millions of proto Tomorrow People on the Earth. If they all broke out, suddenly, there'd be massive war. The saps will panic, and attack, before they realise that we are no threat. Millions, maybe even billions could die. The Trig believes that the only way to solve the problem is to delay the event, and give us more time to deal with the possible repercussions. I don't agree but I have been instructed to carry out this plan."
"When do we leave?"
"I can give you a week, no more. On New Years Day, we jaunt out of here."
"What about TIM?"
"He stays, to aid any new Tomorrow People who do break out, or in case we return. It won't happen for a few years, but it will happen. They're going to be in the same boat as we were, are. Maybe they'll be luckier."
John spoke, "I don't like this, Stephen. We're running away from the problem. That's not much of a solution, is it."
"No, it's not John, but the Trig feels a strategic withdrawal is the best way to ensure that the Earth will continue to develop and won't blow itself into another dark age. We're in danger, because the authorities know too much about us now. If we remain, new Tomorrow People will come into contact with us, and the authorities will be able to get to them through us. The only way, the Trig can see to solve the problem is to remove us from the equation, and give Earth some breathing space. As well, the problem has got worse. A man died to get you out of Lassiter's hands. The Trig cannot countenance any more deaths, not when they think they can be avoided."
"We could remain and just observe any new break outs. Just watch, and not interfere."
"How long would that last, John? I'll tell you. About 30 seconds after the first one of them got into danger, you'd be going in. You know it. I know it. We all know it. You won't stand by and watch others in danger without doing something. You can't. I don't think any of us could, and the instant we reappear the problem returns. Maybe in 10 or 20 years, we can come back. But only if the worlds changed, and we can do some good."
Elizabeth spoke up, "What about any new Tomorrow People, who do break out, before we return? How will they survive?"
"They'll survive the same way we have. Having some skills and learning new ones, sticking together, and being very lucky. Man is evolving and eventually the new genetic strains will dominate. Our withdrawal doesn't change that, it just delays it."
Stephen turned to address the others, "All of you must make your choice. You can stay or go. If you stay, you will lose all your talents within months. If you go, you have to leave your families, friends, everything behind. But you will survive. You must make the decision by New Years morning. After we jaunt out, the Earth becomes fully closed by order of the Galactic Trig. No entry or exit, without their direct authorisation. I'll be staying till then. The others must be going now."
Tyso, Carol, and Kenny said good bye to the others, not knowing if they would see each other again. They put their helmets on and stepped on to the pad, and were gone.
Chapter 8: Epilogue
January 1, 1980
Mike, Stephen, John, Andrew, Hsui Tai and Elizabeth all sat around the lounge in their AE suits, waiting. There was a sound from the pad and they all turned to look at it. Annie stepped off. She was crying.
"What's wrong, Annie?" asked Elizabeth.
"I don't want to leave mum."
Stephen spoke, "Annie, you don't have to come. Just because we are, don't feel you have to. You're one of us, but you don't have to take the same decision."
"She won't let me stay. She says it's too dangerous. She says she can't live with the thought of me always in danger. I've got to go."
"Are you sure?"
Elizabeth got up and began to help her into her AE suit. John spoke to Stephen.
"I assume the Trig realises what they're asking us to do. We're all losing family over this."
"Yes they do, John. They just don't think there's a better choice."
John finally nodded, "All right, let's do it. You three first."
Andrew, Hsui Tai, and Annie adjusted their suits and stepped onto the pad, and shimmered out of sight.
John spoke, "Stephen, I want to try something."
"I want to check there're are no other Tomorrow People out there. Just in case."
"John, the odds are . . . All right."
The four of them sat down around the table and linked their hands, barely touching each other. They sat there for a minute or two, and then John shook his head.
They all stood up, and picked up their helmets. John addressed them.
"You three go on ahead. I'll be along shortly."
Stephen looked at him, critically.
"All right, but the seeding starts in an hour. You have to leave by then."
"I understand. I'll be there."
Elizabeth, Mike and Stephen stepped onto the pad and were gone.
John sits down at the table, and picks up a pen and paper. He begins to write, 'To whom it may concern' then scratches it out. He sits back and strokes his chin for a few minutes, and then picks up his pen again.
I call you that, although it is extremely unlikely that I have ever met you, and I sincerely hope that you are my friend. The survival of mankind requires that we are all friends, and that we eliminate enmity from the face of the planet.
I am writing this letter on the assumption, that you are like me. It seems a reasonable supposition. This lab will not be found easily or by accident, and so I must assume one of two things:
- that if it is found in the near future, that the only people who will find it, are those rare few who have
- advanced to a similar level of evolution.
- that if it is found in the distant future, that you will have likewise reached that level of evolution, but that rather than being a rarity, you are the norm.
Whichever circumstance occurs, I leave this missive to you and to posterity. It may seem arrogant to be writing in this way, but I believe that the possible importance of what I am trying to say, must override any modesty I feel at this point. And it would be false modesty. I am proud of what I am, and what I have accomplished. I also acknowledge my failure.
I was the first of my kind to survive on this planet, at least, I am the first that I know of, with any degree of certainty. It is perfectly possible, perhaps even likely, that there were others before me. But I was the first of my 'generation' to break out. Because of this fact, and because of my age, I have been the de facto leader of my people. I accept full responsibility for our failures but am perfectly willing to share any credit for our successes.
Who are my people? We call ourselves Tomorrow People. We are human, but we are not identical to the vast majority of the people on this planet. We number fewer than a dozen at the time of writing this letter, we of the species Homo superior (a rough translation is Better Man). I did us not give us this name, and in any case, I feel that the Homo is far more important than the Superior. We are human, with most of the faults that entails.
I will not outline our powers here, those powers that set us apart from the bulk of mankind. Part of the reason for this letter being written is that such information is now in the wrong hands, the hands of people who fear us, and I will not compound our error. If you are like us, you already understand our powers and our limitations. I will however mention our primary limitation, in the hope that it may diminish the fears of non Tomorrow People. We cannot kill another human being. We are utterly incapable of it. I do not say this in order to suggest that we are paragons of virtue, for we are not, but we are not a threat to mankind in any way. We do not seek to rule the Earth, but to cherish her, to care for her. We are no threat to you.
If you are like me, you may wonder where we are, myself and the others. We are safe, and perhaps one day we will meet. I hope so. In the meantime the contents of this laboratory are yours to do with as you wish. Do I have any advice for you? All I can say, is make your decisions with your heart as well as your mind. Value your friends. In the final analysis, they are what is important. And remember, all mankind should be your friend.
I close this letter, with a plea to anyone who finds it. Cherish the Earth, or you will lose it. Mankind has a great deal to fear. But we, all members of the genus Homo, are a people with one of the most precious gifts in nature - Intelligence. We can use that intelligence to turn Earth into a Utopia. Utopia means 'no place.' We should change that meaning to 'every place.'
Yours in hope and friendship
John Smith, 1-1-1980
He stands up and places the letter in an envelope. He casts his eyes around the lab, perhaps for the last time. He runs his hand along every surface, and while his eyes cannot be clearly seen, we know there are tears there. He straightens his shoulders and steps over to the jaunting pad, and picks up his helmet.
"Don't forget to turn off the lights, TIM."
"Of course, John."
"Au Revoir, John."
The young man puts on his helmet and the lights above him and below him pulse. He disappears from view.
The room goes dark and all that can be seen are TIMs domes. Gradually these too fade from view.