Written by Martino :: [Wednesday, 25 June 2014 11:30] Last updated by :: [Tuesday, 08 July 2014 09:31]
Little Keith came into the salon: “Mum! We’ll have to …”
“First you’ll have to greet Lisa!” Sonia interrupted her son.
“Sorry! Welcome here, Lisa!” He went over to her and Lisa stood up and embraced the boy.
“We still have enough time left, my dear” Sonia said to her son and turned over to Lisa again: “Lea has an important match today. I don’t know if I’ve told you: She’s made it to the first school team.”
“Yes, you have! And of course, you’re proud of your daughter – and you of your sister.”
“Of course we are. I don’t know, love, if you want to accompany us to the stadium or if you’re tired from the voyage.”
“No, I’m not! And I haven’t seen a T’haoa match in a stadium for ages. And, I suppose, here it is quite different as we can fly here.”
“Of course it is. For example, nobody plays the overseer here the way I did at school and some still do on Sverkcheloy – if you play in three dimensions there are by far more ways to attack, therefore most teams here don’t play with a classical overseer but with five defenders and the central defender commanding them while the pitchers do parts of the overseer’s job when it comes to an attack. But you will see.”
“What position does Lea play?”
“Pitcher, as Ian does. As for T’haoa she’s inherited her parents’ best talents: She’s got her Dad’s strength and aim and my overview.”
Lisa had to show her ship to Sonia and Keith and to promise she would take them on a ride before travelling to Earth. To the stadium, however, they flew under their own power with Sonia in her full captain’s dress uniform, even with the golden helmet on her head.
The atmosphere around and in the stadium was familiar to Lisa but the lots of uniforms in the audience showed her Doolur was still a young colony. Some young men and women in corporals’ or sergeants’ uniforms saluted at seeing Sonia.
The stadium was nearly full before the match started, a remarkable thing for a youth match. Sonia told Lisa both the team of her daughter’s school and the guests were among the best of the county. Both teams had trees as symbols, Lea’s school the Ayal*a, a high, slender conifer that existed on Sverkcheloy, too, the guests a much wider tree unknown to Lisa.
Now the players entered in their red and blue clothing but without their helmets. Lea flew up and waved at her mother and brother. They and Lisa waved back and Lisa wondered if she saw right: Lea seemed, as far as it could be seen under her wide shirt, already to have breasts. Lisa calculated: Sonia had got pregnant in the last part of her first full-time year in the army. So Lea had to be less than four Sverkcheloian years old yet – but she knew time went by faster here than on Sverkcheloy, so Sonia’s daughter was in fact five or five and a quarter years old. (13 Terran years). Yes, then it was normal her puberty had already started.
The green-and-gold-dressed team of General-Berthold-School appeared on the field and there was the whistle. The players positioned and the referee threw the first ball in.
“The rules are quite the same as we know” Sonia whispered. “The difference is because we can fly here and it does not take much effort to throw the ball from one side to the other one. Players can go through the air with or without the ball but they must cross the line on the ground. – Now! Lea for Fernand’s!”
The referee had thrown the second ball in, one of Lea’s co-pitchers had caught it and thrown it over to her. Lea flew with it, evaded the first defender, was attacked by another one but managed to free herself with a Martial Arts trick and passed the ball over to a striker who in this very moment appeared out of the hidden zone. The defender had not seen the ball coming and reacted a little too late, so the striker crossed the line.
“Great strike! Fernand’s 3, General Berthold 0, strike by no. 13, Marcel, pass by no. 7, Lea!”
Sonia, Keith and Lisa jumped up in joy. Marcel embraced Lea, who turned back: Four balls were on the field now and General Berthold had three of them, so she had to help her defenders.
Really the guests stroke, too, but Fernand’s conquered two of the balls and Lea went to her next attack with one of them. This time she was too slow: Three defenders blocked her and she had to let them the ball. One of Fernand’s strikers had another ball, was blocked but managed to kick it across the line. 4-3
It was an exciting match on a very high level for youth teams. To Lisa it was difficult to watch everything: Due to their super-strength the players were able to throw the balls across the whole field and everything went much faster than on Sverkcheloy, not to mention a great part of the match took place in the air.
Lea was really a good pitcher who often conquered balls, passed them excellently, seemed to have in mind all the time who of her teammates was hidden and even crossed the line herself twice.
As it came to the break Fernand’s was leading 66-61. Slaves were offering drinks to the players while their colleagues were selling sweets and drinks in the audience. Lisa did not know anything of the offered things but tried and everything tasted good.
The match went on again. Lea was out for the following time. When she came in again General Berthold had caught up to 84-86. Refreshed she and another pitcher managed to increase the leading again with the strikers obviously understanding them without a word. At the end Fernand’s won 139-126. Lea sent a slave out and pulled her jersey off so it became clear she did not have a child’s body any more. The slave came back and gave her something. In the next moment Lea threw her jersey into the air, then once again, then for a third time. Obviously it was a pocket computer what the slave had brought her and she had copied her red and blue jersey with the number seven on it.
Due to the relatively low gravity the copied jerseys flew quite high and remained in the air for a long time. Keith was one of the first to fly up for his sister’s jersey. To Lisa it seemed as if Sonia was using telekinesis to help her son catch one; surely she was not the only person to do this but it helped: Proudly Keith presented the jersey to his mother. “When I’m older I’ll do the same and I’ll play at least as well!” he said.
“Of course you will, my dear. Now let’s go down to welcome your sister, the star pitcher of the county!”
They flew down to the players’ exit where they only had to wait for a little amount of time until Lea came out. She was wearing a summer dress similar to Lisa’s and smelling after perfume.
“Hi Lisa! I hope you enjoyed the match!”
“Oh yes, I did. You play excellently.”
“Thank you very much! At the moment we’ve got a great team. Sinan is a wonderful partner and our strikers react fantastically, too. Nobody can win a match alone.”
Sonia was grinning a little and Lisa knew at once her daughter usually was not as humble as she was now.
“I wished in my active time I’d have had such a pitcher behind me!” Lisa said. “I mean, your mother has often written me you’re good, but now I’ve seen she’s even held back.”
“Thank you again! Perhaps we can play together with some friends. I’d like to see you as a striker.”
Lisa laughed: “Oh, I hope I won’t disgrace myself! I haven’t played on that level for ages. And, I don’t know if your mum has told you, I won’t stay that long: I’m going to go to Earth.”
“To Earth?” Lea was astonished. “I’d really like to …” She stopped but Lisa read the rest from her mind.
“Perhaps we’ll be able to do it once you’ve got holidays. I mean, if your parents don’t mind.”
“Depends on how you behave, young lady” Sonia interfered. “And now let’s fly home. Dinner will be ready and Dad will be back from duty, too.”
Ian was waiting for them in the house. He greeted Lisa heartily and congratulated his daughter but both Lisa and Sonia recognized well he was worried.
They went into the dining room where the slaves had already prepared the starters. As for drinks they had put the same juice Lisa had drunk with Sonia in the afternoon.
Lisa did not know any of the legumes nor the fish nor the meat which came for main dish nor the sweets. Nevertheless, everything tasted excellent.
“Animals and plants here are quite different from the ones on Sverkcheloy. You’ll eat only things you don’t know here” Sonia explained. “And I’ve got to warn you: Some fruits here are extremely spicy.”
Ian did not say a word about his worries before Lea had gone out with her teammates and Keith was in bed.
“Seems as if we’ll have to support the comrades on Ignita soon”, Ian explained. “Somehow the enemy has found out what we’re doing here. When they get the codes and are able to enhance the Ignitans we won’t be able to do much anymore. And now, just before dinner, there was a news that her Royal Height Vice-Queen Lorena has cited General Rudolph, the governor of Ignita.”
“I hope he’ll be able to tell her the truth”, Sonia answered.
Her husband laughed bitterly: “Lorena is standing as a candidate for the throne and most citizens want the king or queen to dismiss Rudolph and the army to act against the Ignitans. If she lets him return and leaves him in office she won’t stand any chance; if she dismisses him and sends the army she’ll probably be our new queen. “
“Well, if fighting is necessary, then the earlier the better” Lisa interjected. “At the moment the Ignitans haven’t got any Zoldan weapons but this might change soon. I’ve decoded the communication between the rebels and Zolda.”
“Sorry, Lisa, you might be a good engineer, but you don’t know much about strategy. Do you really think the Zoldans will help the Ignitans?”
“Well, they might be their allies.”
“This is the way the rebels probably think, but not the Zoldans. They don’t respect any race or culture but their own. If they support the Ignitans then only to be able to attack us while a great part of our army is occupied there – the divisions on Ignita might be strong enough to guarantee our authority but they aren’t nearly enough to fight down a rebellion of aborigines who can hide anywhere on their planet. We’ll have to attack massively for at least one term and that means two terms during which lots of soldiers have to go there. And planets like this one, where one or two companies are enough to control the aborigines, will be the first where some soldiers will be drawn away from.”
“You mean, you’ll be drawn away? But aren’t you in an important top-secret project?”
“In a project which is almost finished; and top-secret it isn’t any more, at least not the way it was: You’ve obviously already heard we’ve enhanced some aborigines.”
“And? Have you been successful, if the question is allowed?”
“We’ve found out you can enhance a Doolurian’s strength to about a tenth of the level of ours which means five hundred times theirs. Their senses can be sharpened, too, while they still aren’t able to fly, their skins aren’t hardened very much and they remain as easy to control as ever.”
“And now you’re afraid the enemy will get this information and enhance the others. But, sorry, in this case I wouldn’t draw any officer who has dealt with this project away from here. What if there’s a traitor or the enemy manages to read somebody’s mind? It would be easier for the damned Zoldans to enhance the rebels then.”
“This is the way we officers think, but not the way politicians think. They see on one planet there is a rebellion and on another lots of soldiers who live enjoyable lives. They don’t think about the consequences. That’s why I hope general Smeralda will be successful.”
“Your former superior, isn’t she?”
“It’s nearly seven, four years she’s not been my superior and a little less she’s not been Sonia’s either. But we know her very well. She’s a lot more supremacist than we are, but she’s an excellent officer and knows the different peoples. So, she as the queen perhaps would start a war but not without planning well – and as she is known to be a supremacist, she’d be able to convince the majority in the parliament.”
“I hope so, but I don’t know her – and I haven’t decided yet whom I should vote, either.” Lisa did not feel like going on speaking about politics, partly because she knew at least Ian would try to convert her from her supremacist views to his, partly because she was afraid, too and was not as sure what she would do if she had the power as she had been during her stay on Ignita.
She rather asked her hosts about their jobs and family.
“Well, as for Lea, as you’ve seen, her life consist of T’haoa and other kinds of sports, k’i-t*o, for example”, Sonia informed her.
“A new kind of martial arts which has been developed especially for planets where you can fly. Here it is more popular among the youngsters than Dao’shee and it’s taught at the schools, too. – Anyway, Lea has got all her friends in her team and practices some hours a day. She dreams about becoming a professional. Well, we’ve got to be happy that it is like this when we think she’s in her puberty now.”
“Of course, we’ve sometimes got rows” Ian added and started to smile: “She adores you, Lisa – or rather the picture she’s made herself of you: She sees you as a person who has made her way against her father, who has gone alone to a foreign planet and got along there …”
“I’ve never planned to stay on Earth for a longer time. And as for my father …”
“That’s why I’ve said she’s made herself a picture of you. She adores the Lisa she imagines, not your real self. Nevertheless, I think you’ll get along very well with her – and I hope you will if it gets worse.”
“I’ve promised you, Sonia – and in the act automatically you, too, Ian – to help you in every need. Of course, if there is trouble between you and your children, I’ve got to help.”
“Thank you, Lisa, my dear”, Sonia kissed her. “I hope you won’t have to do this too soon.”
She also spoke about Keith who was in his first school year. He was a good pupil but his interests seemed to change very fast: “He’s good at sports, too, and on one side he’ll become as good as Lea, on the other side he’s afraid he won’t and rather wants to do other kinds of sports. He’s started teleball and T’haoa but we all know he can’t be good at both.”
When Lea came home her mother sent her to bed and the adults followed later. Lisa knew well the night would be short and the next morning she was really tired. She was still almost sleeping when Sonia left the house. She kissed her quickly and then had breakfast with Ian and the children.
“I’m getting older” she said. “Getting used to a 13-hours-day is not that easy.”
“You will” Ian answered. “It usually takes two or three days. – Lea, are you ready for school?”
“I’ve got some time left, Dad. – Lisa, when are you going to give us a ride?”
“Are you all free during the next days? This would be best.”
“Sonia and the children will be free in three days. As for me, I often don’t know in the morning how long I have to work the same day – and less if they’re really preparing a war. – Lea, get ready for school NOW!”
The girl obeyed, took her bags and kissed her father goodbye. Ian took little Keith to primary school, came back and noticed he had a message: “Damned! Officers’ conference because of the situation on Ignita! Lisa, sorry I have to leave you but I’ve got to obey the general. – Sonia and the children will be back in the late afternoon and the slaves will obey you as they would us.”
“It’s okay. I think I’ll look around in the city for a little of time.”
She circled around the city at much lower speed than she had the day before. Now she noted the difference between the quarters: There were some with houses in igloo-style where obviously the Doolurians lived while the Sverkcheloians’ houses were pyramids with terraces all around them. She noticed her compatriots often entered the houses flying onto a terrace and lots of them enjoyed lying there in the sun.
Near Fernand’s school where Lea had to be now she made out a sports centre. Lisa slowed down near it: During the time before she had somewhat neglected her physical fitness, at least on Sverkcheloian standards and so she decided to use the opportunity to practice a little.
She did weight-lifting for quite some time, noticing the weights were labelled twice, once with the correct mass and once with the mass which would need the same force to lift on Sverkcheloy. Lisa was content at seeing her strength had not weakened much.
She then fought against a fighting-robot programming it for Radovan style before she made it demonstrate some k’i-t’o-exercises. In the relative low room this martial art did not seem quite effective as it was based much on legs in the air and keeping the opponent from flying but Lisa noticed this would be quite different outside.
Lisa noticed the walls were built of local material so she could look through them but she did not find out she was being watched for some time while doing her exercises.
After some hours of workout she bathed in the pool that belonged to the centre. Then, noticing it was nearly evening, she flew to Sonia’s where her huk**y’a and her children were already waiting. Lisa noticed Sonia was quite upset and started reading her mind with Sonia nodding and showing she would not avoid this:
Things had gotten worse for Sonia and Ian as not only he would definitely have to leave for Ignita the next day but also she was on the list.
Sonia preferred communicating through their minds not to worry the children. So Lisa asked her this way whether the rule still existed according to which if a couple of soldiers had children they should not be sent to a war during the same time if this could be avoided. Sonia answered the same way it did exist and she was not given any reasons why an exception had been made.
All available kinds of news said the vice queen had dismissed general governor Rudolph and started a massive attack on Ignita.
When Ian came home at last he only had enough time to say goodbye to his wife and children: “The ship I’ve got to travel with will leave tonight” he said. “I just hope to see all of you together here again.” When he kissed Sonia for the last time they were crying.
When Lisa looked at her computer she noticed she had received a new urgent job from a general. She did not feel much like working during her holiday but she knew well the army was the most important customer she had. Watching the mail more closely she noticed it had to do with the software the Zoldans used to get in contact with the Ignitans. Obviously the Ministry of War wanted to avoid them from helping the Ignitan rebels against the Sverkcheloian army.
“I’ll do it tomorrow” she told Sonia. “If it was that urgent they would have told me to get home. I doubt whether we’ll be able to decode everything during the next days but if the Zoldans really start an attack this might be more important than everything the army does.”
“You think …”
“We both know the Zoldans are controlled by some kind of central brain or central organ. We don’t know anyway if this is a human being or a machine nor where it is. But if we manage to decode the main part of Zoldan software we’ll be able to neutralize the enemy by giving them our orders.”
“Do you really believe you’ll manage this?”
“Probably not during the next days. Perhaps it won’t be me who will – but as I’ve already decoded some Zoldan software and I’m not the only person who has I think it is possible and some day it will happen.”
“Oh Lisa, this would be the best thing I can imagine!”
“Of course! Anyway I’m going to look what I can do tomorrow – if you don’t mind me staying here for some days more than we’ve planned.”
“Of course I don’t – and less now as I’m alone.”
Lea asked Lisa many questions about Earth: “Is it true that on Earth we can fly at more than 1,000 km per second?” – “Yes, it is.”
“Are the Earthlings as easy to manipulate as the Doolurians are?” – “I don’t know. Yes, you can manipulate their minds but I’m not sure for how much time.”
The girl was also interested in Lisa’s job. At hearing Lisa had to stay on Doolur for some more days she begged: “Would you please take me to Earth with you, then?”
“If your mother doesn’t mind and you behave well there I’ll perhaps do.”
“What do you mean with ‘behave well’?”
“I don’t want you to do anything dangerous. And I don’t want to draw too much attention.”
“Okay, no problem!”
“And I don’t want to decide this tonight” Sonia added. “First you’ll have to finish your school year and then it’ll still be Lisa’s choice – remember she isn’t your huk**y’a but mine.”
Sonia begged Lisa to share beds with her for the night. Both women enjoyed sleeping together but Sonia was worried, too and not only because of Ian: “I don’t like the idea of leaving Lea alone for such a long time” she confessed. “She’s usually friendly but this can change soon if she doesn’t get what she wants. I’ve already seen her hurt slaves because they didn’t work fast enough.”
“I’ll take care of her.”
“I don’t doubt you’ll do your best, lovey. But you aren’t used to looking after a girl in her puberty.”
“I’ll manage it. And it’s her who wants to go with me, so if she doesn’t behave well we’ll come back. I’ve got enough money for two more teleportations.”
While Lisa and Lea were becoming more and more friends during the next days Sonia got another bad news: She, too, was ordered to fly to Ignita and there to take over a military command. Now Lisa and Sonia’s children were worried, too: “Mum, they won’t … you won’t … fall, will you, Mum?”
“I don’t think they’ll send me to the most dangerous places, sweetheart” Sonia answered. “There are more experienced officers.” Lisa noticed, however, that Sonia was frightened things would not go as she had said.
In the evening Hasan, Ian’s huk**y’e, came, too. Lisa, of course, knew him very well: Before their wedding Sonia and Ian had presented them to each other and Lisa had spent a lot of nights with Hasan. In fact, he was the only man she had thought to marry.
After she had sent the children to bed Sonia talked to him and Lisa: “I’m afraid I’ll have to beg you for help.”
“I’ve asked my commander” Hasan answered. “I won’t be sent away. So if you want little Keith can come to us – he’s, as you know, good friend with my children. As for Lea … she’s got all her friends here and I don’t know if she wants to fly across the planet whenever she wants to see one of them.”
“Lea can stay here with me” Lisa said. “In two or three days I’ll be ready with my work and then her holidays will start, too. Then we can decide. – Anyway, I don’t understand why they’ve sent two married officers away to the war while others can stay at their homes.”
“There’s no sense in this” Hasan confirmed. “I don’t want to doubt your abilities, Sonia, but you’ve never commanded a company on your own responsibility so far, have you?” Sonia nodded.
“They want to get rid of the officers who have kept their subordinates from mistreating the aborigines so far” Hasan continued. “I’ve not told much and so I can stay.”
“Let’s hope you’re wrong” Sonia answered.
The next day Lisa was alone with Lea. They talked with each other about sports and boys – Lea had started to go out with some boys but so far had not slept with one. Nevertheless she was interested in Lisa’s sexual experiences.
They spent the evenings together and tried fighting against each other. As long as they were fighting outside Lea was superior: She was stronger and knew much more tricks to apply while she could fly. Lisa only stood a chance while fighting in closed rooms, where k’i-t*o was not of much use.
Lisa got to know some of Lea’s friends who visited her in the afternoon and she thought Sonia’s daughter had decent people around her so she would not have to be worried.
Sonia and Ian sent messages every day: They were commanders of different companies. While Ian was fighting directly against the rebels Sonia remained in the controlling staff. Thanks to newly developed programmes the army had managed to find the rebels’ hiding places and once attacked with all their might the Ignitans did not stand any chance. There had been no killed soldiers so far, according to the news and so Lisa and Lea could realistically hope Sonia and Ian would come back soon and unhurt.
Lisa managed to decode the Zoldan software after some days. The day she was ready was Lea’s last day at school, too. “All right! Earth will be waiting for us” Lisa said. “If you want, we can get away this evening and be on Earth in three or four days.”
“I’m looking forward so much!” Lea jubilated.