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      Aunt Idle:

      It was going to be a long hot summer. Summer this year started early, and we were barely half way through July. I hadn’t had a moment to think, which isn’t true at all ~ my brain had been non stop chuntering since the end of April, but all the thinking was about errands and other peoples problems and trips to the bloody airport or the detention centre to pick up more waifs and strays. What I mean is, I hadn’t had any time to STOP thinking and just listen, or just BE. Or to put it more accurately, I hadn’t made much time for me. It had been an endless juggle, wanting to be helpful with all the refugees ~ of course I didn’t mind helping! ~ it wasn’t that I minded helping, it was the energy and the constant stream of complications, things going wrong, the complaining and defensive energy. It was a job to buffer it all and stay on an even keel, to ensure everyone had what they needed, but without acquiescing to the never ending needy attention seeking. It was hard to say no, even if saying no helped people become more confident and capable ~ it was always a mental battle not to feel unhelpful. Saying no to ones own comfort is always so much easier.

      What I found I missed the most was doing things my own way, in my own time. How I wish I had appreciated being able to do that before all the refugees arrived! I’d wanted more people to do things with, living in this remote outpost ~ thought how nice it would be to have more friends here to do things with. Fun things though, not all the trips to the supermarket, the bank, the pharmacy, all the tedious errands. And in summer too! I like to minimize the errands in summer so I’m not worn out with the heat to do the fun things like go for early morning walks. But this lot didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, and they weren’t really up to much walking either. I’ve been hobbled, having to walk slower, and not walk far. It had interfered somehow with my photography too, I haven’t been much in the zone these days, that place of observant appreciation. Ah well, it was interesting. Things are always interesting.

      Not many countries had been willing to accept the hundreds of thousands of refugees from USA, and small wonder, but our idiotic government had been bribed to take more than a fair quota. All of the deserted empty buildings in town had been assigned to the newcomers, and all of our empty rooms at the hotel too.

      Mater hardly ever came out of her room, and when she did venture out, it was only to poke them with her walking stick and wind them up with rude remarks. Prune seemed to be enjoying it though, playing practical jokes on them and deliberately misinforming them of local customs. Corrie and Clove were working on an anthropology paper about it all ~ that was a good thing and quite helpful at times. When the complaining and needs got overwhelming, I’d send them off to interview the people about it, which took the brunt off me, at least temporarily. Bert was a good old stick, just doing what needed to be done without letting it all get to him, but he didn’t want to talk about it or hear me complaining about it all.

      “Aint much point in complaining about all the complaining” was all he’d say, and he had a point.


        Yogi’s teleporting classes in Camden Town had been going on for about 6 months, a small group of people determined to master the art, each member dedicated to the pursuit for particular reasons of their own.

        Freya wanted to be able to travel, but was restricted because of her dogs and cats. He aim was to “lunch travel” and have lunch in a different country every day, being home in the mornings and evenings to look after her pets. John wanted to retire to the south of France, but keep an eye on his book shop in London, without the tedium and expense of airline flights. Justin, however, was a black bloc anarchist, and wanted to be able to teleport to protests all over the world, and be able to evade police kettles, and escape from Jail should he ever find himself in that position. Samantha was writing an exposé on the nefarious goings on of government ministers, but was for obvious reasons denied access to the places and documents that she needed to see. Fred missed his children and wanted to visit them, an impossibility in his current homeless destitute situation. Luckily for Fred, Yogi didn’t charge a fee for the classes, more interested in determination and commitment than monetary rewards.

        Fred had managed on several occasions to project his awareness to the Flying Fish Inn, but had not yet achieved a full physical materialization. He had blinked in and out a couple of times, but had become nervous of frightening the children when he’d unintentionally startled Mater.


          When he arrived at the office, it seemed empty at first. It was late, people usually left at around 6PM, and at 7, it looked like the last one to go home had forgotten to turn all the lights off.
          That’s when he arrived at his boss’ office which was the only one without any lights on, that he realized his boss was still there.

          “Oh, Sir, I didn’t realize you were still here, in the dark.”
          “In the shadows.” corrected Leon Fat Ngoi, a short portly man in his early fifties although he appeared younger.

          Cheung Lok realized there was a double message here, and caught his boss’ meaning. In the Corporation, you were expected to know your boss’ intention with the subtlest of indications. Cheung Lok was the one in the dark, but somehow felt his boss knew more, although he wouldn’t tell without being asked. The three words he’d said were the closest he’d get as an invitation.

          “Sir, we found this map, and I believe our target went into hiding there. But…”
          “Indeed. We know this island. It was purposely chosen to elude us. As you know the People’s Government has laid claims upon various lands and islands over the years, and have believed this particular island to be part of it.”
          “So it shouldn’t be difficult to get there and extradite them?”
          “You’re missing the point, son. The reason why our Government’s leaders in their immense wisdom claimed this peace of land is because it is documented to have appeared near the coast of China around a series of years —year 999 in particular.”
          Cheung Lok pondered, no wonder they liked the idea, saying 999 was like saying forever in Chinese “What do you mean appeared?”
          “This island is appearing and disappearing, only to reappear at certain points of time, and always in different places. Owning this island would have provided our Leaders with great tactical advantage…”
          Cheung Lok didn’t know how to interpret the silence.
          Fat Ngoi continued “I’ve arranged for a flight for you and a small squad to be parachuted over it. You may not see it before you land.”
          Cheung Lok took the last sentence as a cue to leave, and bowed out, moving towards the door.
          Fat Ngoi exhaled loudly and before Cheung Lok left, added ominously “You better get prepared for anything, even if you get the robot, you may never get away of the place before the next hundred years or so…”


          In reply to: Tales of Tw’Elves


            Luigi recalled reading something about the kraken, that it was sometimes mistaken for an island. Some of the more far fetched notions said the kraken moved so slowly that he could be mistaken for an island for many thousands of years in between each blink of his eye. On the other hand, some said that the real danger to sailors was not the creature itself but rather the whirlpool left in its wake. The idea of a kraken on crack awakening with anything like a relative alacrity would create a whirlpool of considerable propertions, Luigi surmised. He hoped the government would come up with a plan to keep it sleeping awhile longer. At least until he’d heard some news of Flinella.


              Today was the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the first transmutation made on Earth.

              Of course, it didn’t take into account previous attempts (or successes), because they were of the domain of science-fiction and dubious history facts. But now, not only was it rock-solid proven feasible, but also it had change people’s lives like the invention of electricity had about two century ago, in the mid 1800s.

              At first, people had not grasped the profound implications of that discovery. It was another funny science experiment from researchers, and didn’t seem to have any more practical usage as did goat cloning, and creation of phosphorescent pigs. However, to mark the consciousnesses of the importance of the event, the government hadn’t skimped on the showcase. Not that it was of any importance after what evolution was bound to happen afterward, but still, huge sums of money were spent brilliantly.

              The symbolic aspect of choosing what object to transmute wasn’t unnoticed. It could be virtually anything physical: garbage, contaminated soil… But it had to mean more.
              Someone whose name was forgotten came with a suggestion and it slowly came up as the most natural thing —to close this area and open on the new one.
              There had been many people still left to convince, the die-hard fanaticism, but it had to be it. And for good measure, the involvement of other nations was asked.

              Sept. 4th, 2044, the ceremony opened with the display of what was left of Enola Gay that plane who had dropped the first atomic bomb, which had been almost forgotten in the West, but not completely in the East. And many nations came afterward, each carrying a symbol of what they wanted to recycle, to free themselves off.

              Then all of these heterogeneous elements entered the P-Machine, a distant relative of the Z-Machine which had been adapted and enhanced to produce aneutronic fusion at its core —highest temperatures of the universe thought unreachable by human means, harnessed to change the elements at will, and producing no harmful radiations as the atomic towers of the past.
              After a silent moment of unbearable expectation, melted gold started to flow out of the machine, making people wonder if that was all of it?

              Yes, it was merely it. Transmutation could be done, and it was not so impossible as people thought in the past. It meant free resources, recycling of garbage, abundance for all… at people’s grasp.
              What people had failed to recognize at the beginning, apart from the immense possibilities that were lying before them was that the machine could only transmute matter. And even if it could virtually free them of greed (because everything from gold to rocks was basically of the same value now), people’s own values were now made prominent, there was no camouflage left: no victims, no shortages, no lack of.

              Even five years after, it still meant huge challenges, but there was hope.

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