Across Time and Space

By Philip Mogul <>

Rated PG-13

Submitted August, 2007

Summary: Lois and Clark help create a super group of super individuals who form the nucleus of the HG Wells prophecy that would eventually lead to a Utopian society. As the population of super individuals increases, they construct a small sanctuary below the Kent and Irig farms. Some children from the Smallville sanctuary are summoned more than two hundred thousand years into the future. These time travelers become involved in political and romantic intrigue with their descendents from star kingdoms existing throughout the Milky Way.

Standard Fanfic Disclaimers apply

Again, many, many thanks to my friend and GE, Jeanne Pare, for her invaluable assistance in assembling this Lois and Clark story in a more readable and interesting tale.

Warning: Violence- Some scenes may be graphic in nature.


A Beginning

Several years after Lois and Clark finally married and founded their Metropolis residence on Hyperion Drive, the State of Kansas, with the support of certain special agencies of the federal government, established a university annex a few miles west of Smallville. The Kansas University extension was modeled on MIT, situated on the eastern seaboard of the country, and the California Institute of Technology, located on the west coast of the nation.

The undergraduate men and women were drawn from the best maturing minds of the nation, while the graduate population were drawn from the most talented scholars produced by the universities and colleges within the country's higher academic system. The undergraduate and graduate facilities were the finest in the world as was the faculty in order to shape and infuse the minds of the school's students and to instruct them in the use of the newest research tools currently available.

Attached to this new school, named the Gibbs Institute, was one of America's great nineteenth century scientists whose works in the field of thermodynamics still has not been exhausted.

The University's research facility was mainly geared for material science research, developing materials for rapid moving aircraft, satellites and spacecraft.

When the time came that Jonathan Kent no longer had the vim and vigor to maintain his and Martha's farm, the Gibbs institute had a population in excess of thirty thousand souls.

The Return To Smallville

For the next twenty-two years of their marital life, Lois and Clark lived in Metropolis rearing seven offspring. The last child, a girl, Lori Jessica, was born a few months before the Lane-Kent clan began returning en masse to Smallville, Kansas.

In the time Lois and CK were investigative reporters for the Daily Planet, they earned eleven Kerths and three Pulitzer awards for their journalistic ingenuity and prowess. Although they were the finest journalists that operated in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Alice White's illness and the inability of Jonathan Kent to continue managing his Smallville farm caused the Metropolis Kents, Perry and Alice, and the Olsen clan, Jimmy, Lucy and their youngsters to migrate to the mid-West — Smallville, Kansas. Prior to the three families' departure from the big eastern city, Lois and Clark, using their super abilities, constructed three modern dwellings on the Kent Smallville farm suitable to the needs of each household.

Lois Lane-Kent had acquired Superman's powers at the insistence of her growing family and the Kent clan's friend and physician Bernie Klein. Learning how Resplendent Man acquired Superman's abilities from violent forces of nature, the STAR labs scientist created a device that could duplicate Superman's abilities and bequeath them to another non Kryptonian individual. Thus, Lois acquired super powers essentially to protect the young Lane-Kent household. However, she also appeared as Ultrawoman, her past aka, whenever more super muscle was needed to save people from behemothic impending tragedies.

Each newly erected house was connected to one another and to the original Kent farmhouse by an underground series of passageways. Along these subterranean passages were special rooms coated with stabilized neutronium, a substance developed by Clark and Bernie in their youth. In these subterranean grottoes were laboratories and special libraries. Martha also insisted that several especially large rooms must be created to accommodate all the families during festive occasions — stabilized neutronium was the material chosen for construction because of its practically indestructible nature.

Four months after the birth of Lori Jessica Kent, the White and Olsen families followed Lois and Clark to Smallville and settled in. As Jimmy and Lucy reconnoitered their new surroundings, they were astounded. The new university and research center had helped modernize the Smallville vicinity they had once known. There were several churches and a synagogue clustered in a specially build square for the parishioners. To preserve the fertile farms in and around the Smallville area, the architect created the new housing on tracts of land that would maintain the highly productive farming conditions surrounding the growing Smallville community.

When her new neighbors from Metropolis had settled in, Martha prepared a huge dinner for them. Jonathan and Martha also invited the Setland family who had purchased Wayne Irig's farm adjacent to their own. Aside from farming part of his fertile acres, Avi Setland was the rabbi of the traditional Jewish congregation in Smallville near the university. He and his wife Rachel had three children, one born four days after Lois's youngest, Lori Jessica. The Setland's had named their boy Jeremy Seth after the boy's decreased grandfathers.

Lois and Clark also became aware that the land that Avi Setland did not farm Jonathan worked for a dollar a year. They found out latter that Avi wanted no compensation, but Martha insisted. So Avi told them that he'd take thirty-six dollars a year to be given to a charity of Jonathan's choosing.

Lois noticed that as Martha served her company, especially on holidays, Rachel's two girls, Rifka and Yael, helped her mother and Martha serve the various courses of food without being asked. Lois was aware that her own children could learn from the behavior of Rachel's children and was determined that there would be changes in her family's behavior. Rachel was a mathematician with an earned doctorate in mathematics from Yale. She taught at the university and did computer modeling on the structures of composite materials at the research institute adjacent to the Smallville extension university.

As the two women helped Martha clean up, Rachel asked Lois if she would consider a teaching position in the journalism division of the school's English department. After careful consideration, Lois said, "That's not a bad idea, but it will have to wait until we emigres from Metropolis have established our freelance journalistic venture."

After a slight pause, Lois continued, "Perry and the rest of us will contribute to the Planet several times a week. Once we begin fulfilling our promise to Eduardo Diaz, the new editor-in-chief of the Planet, I will seriously consider your educational proposition. It sounds fascinating."

Rachel then asked Lois what Clark planned to involve himself in aside from his freelance journalistic venture.

Lois answered her new friend that Clark would help Jonathan run the farm and continue being involved with some on going research projects with Bernie Klein. Lois added to a surprised Rachel Setland, "Clark has an earned doctorate in mathematical physics from Cal. Tech. He has about eighty-four papers published under the name C. Jerome Kent."

After a stunned silence Rachel declared, "You know, Lois, I've read some of his papers describing concepts involving dimensional spaces and the theory of time travel."

"Please don't tell others about Clark's scientific prowess," Lois asked her new neighbor.

Rachel nodded affirmatively to Lois's request.

As they were finishing their kitchen chores, Lois told Rachel that she'd ask Superman to construct an underground corridor from their farm to the elder Kent home. Also, she would request that Big Blue build another underground tunnel from the old Irig place to a grove of trees just behind Mazie's diner. These tunnels would provide shelter and a comfortable passage for Ben Setland as he traveled to Martha and Jonathan's abode or the center of Smallville during either the savage winter weather or the blistering hot summers that were typical of the area.

As Lois and Rachel talked over the next few months, Lois indicated that she would home teach her children most of the subjects within the primary level. Rachel was surprised to learn that Lois majored in mathematics as an undergraduate and earned an advanced mathematics degree in a graduate program before altering her career aspirations leading to a journalistic career. Clark followed Lois as an employee at the Daily Planet a few years later after traveling the world and earning a Master's degree in journalism.

After Lois had several turbulent relationships with several unscrupulous men, Lois and Clark finally found one another and married — seven children resulted from their union.

Dr. Klein believed that the aura from CK and Lois's transformation to Ultrawoman allowed Clark's wife to conceive at fifty years of age. In reality, both Lois's and Clark's bodily functions were aging at a very slow rate and they were behaving as if they were in their early thirties.


The Early Smallville Years

After Lois and Clark and their long time friends from Metropolis had established themselves in the Smallville locality, events moved relatively smoothly for about the next half dozen years. In the midst of the numerous household chores, during this period, the quality of the journalistic material forwarded to the Daily Planet for distribution earned for the new Smallville reporting facility and its Metropolis associate three Kerth awards and another esteemed Pulitzer accolade for their daring editorials that helped cause the extinction of several notorious and world wide criminal organizations.

At the age of five years, Lori Kent and Jeremy Setland started their primary education. Because, the Kent, Setland, and Olsen children were taught mainly at home, only about one third of their educational time was spent within a formal Smallville classroom.

One afternoon while Lori and Jeremy were returning home from Smallville's primary school building, they were caught by a swiftly moving and intense thunderstorm as they crossed the grassy meadow adjacent to Mazie's sweet shop. Jeremy quickly maneuvered Lori into a gully that had been excavated on the side of the meadow. Here, the two children both assumed a prone position and Jeremy placed his body over his playmate's, attempting to provide Lori Kent with some additional protection from the storm.

As the intensity of the electrical storm steadily increased, a thunderbolt struck the periphery of the small trench that was providing some shelter for the two youngsters. As nature's electrical phenomenon spread over the area, the children were suddenly immersed within an electrical field produced by a bolt of lightening. When discovered after the storm, both children, although somewhat confused, were found to be in relatively good spirits. Within several days, two healthy children were running about as if nothing out of the ordinary had transpired.

The meadow incident, after a short time, was considered by many of Smallville's residents to be a fortuitous event or perhaps even a miracle. Since the children did not exhibit any injuries, this event was soon dismissed as just one of those unexplained occurrences that happen from time to time.

For the next seven years, the young Metropolis emigres formed a close bond with the juvenile Setland kids. The oldest Kents, Olsens, and Setland children were off to college. These young adults could not attend a school within the Kansas State University system or their extensions since they did not receive high school diplomas within the state of Kansas- it was an archaic state regulation.

Since CK and his family had saved the funds from a number of patents the family had sold, the college age youngsters from the Kent farm could easily afford to matriculate at Yale University. Once enrolled at Yale, living quarters were purchased for their use during the university's academic year.

When Jeremy was about ten years of age, he approached Lara Kent, Lori's older sister, and scientifically stated what he believed was a novel idea. In face, he was expressing the basic concepts surrounding a transporter device.

When Clark was told by Lara of Jeremy's notions, CK called Bernie Klein and discussed Jeremy's views about transmitting matter through space. Shortly after CK's phone conversation with Bernie, Lara, Jeremy, and CK himself formed a research team and over a few months time brought to fruition Jeremy's transporter project.

With the transporter completed, Bernie, who was living mainly with his family in Metropolis, the Kent kids studying at Yale and the Wayne family living in Gotham City were now all closely joined and gathered at the Kent farm for brief periods and definitely at times of celebration.


The Crippling Of Jeremy Setland — Jealousy Becomes An Issue

Just past Jeremy's eleventh birthday, the youngest Setland invited Lara to Mazie's shop to share ice cream and celebrate his birthday with a special person. As they walked hand in hand across the meadow to Mazie's grocery and lunch store, the youngsters were confronted by Biff Spangler and several other Boones Town roughnecks. Because of Biff's parents' political connections, these individuals confronting Lara and Jeremy had unfortunately been permitted to attend school within the Smallville community.

The attendance of a few bright Boones Town students in the Smallville schools was in theory a good cooperative academic program and caused very few if any social issues. Mostly, the Boones Town students who attended the primary and secondary schools within the Smallville community were fine academicians and benefited from their exposure to the new and advanced learning environment, which had been created by the state of Kansas. The extension of the state university system with new research facilities was built within the Smallville town limits after a rather heated debate in the state's assembly. This advanced learning facility rapidly propelled the Smallville community to enhance the learning levels within their own primary and secondary schools to meet the needs of the professors' children.

To help a small neighboring community, an agreement between Smallville and Boons Town was reached that allowed the boards of education to select bright students from Boons Town to matriculate in the Smallville school system. When students' academic and learning interests were the basis of the transfer policy, there was little or no friction in the agreed upon program.

Now, unfortunately, some very troublesome Boones Town children were sent to the Smallville schools. These teenage students, because of their over active libidos, had now confronted Jeremy and Lara with malice on the way to Mazie's shop. The two youngsters from the Kent farm area were threatened that unless Biff got what he desired, Lara and Jeremy were in big trouble. Biff wanted Lara to date him and cease seeing Jeremy. Lara was to become his girl or else.

With Lara's eyes flashing, she defied Biff, screaming she would never see him on a social level. She despised him.

Becoming emotionally uncontrollable, Biff picked up a large club like stick and started moving menacingly towards Lara Kent. Immediately upon discerning Biff's ominous gestures, Jeremy grabbed Lara, turned her away from the charging Boones Town teenager and covered her body with his own. Soon thereafter, he began to adsorb the blows that were intended for Lara Kent.

As Lara watched in horror, Biff's Club-like weapon tore into Jeremy's flesh, inflicting large gashes from which poured the youngster's blood. As Jeremy's cries became weaker and he began to slip toward the ground, Biff's beastly nature intensified and his blows to Jeremy's body occurred with bone crushing impacts resulting in devastating injuries.

Looking into Lara's face with pained filled eyes, Jeremy's last conscious words were, "I'm sorry…can't help you anymore."

As Jeremy finally lost consciousness, Lara was screaming and telepathically sending a message to her parents. Seconds later, Superman and Ultrawoman arrived on the scene. Superman immediately rushed Jeremy to the hospital while Ultrawoman immobilized the boys from Boones Town. After the Smallville police arrived and the Boones Town boys had been incarcerated, the superheroine spoke with Rachel Harris, the town's elected chief law enforcement officer, and flew Lara home.

Later that afternoon, Clark returned to the hospital and was informed about Jeremy's condition. Returning home, he told all those present at the Kent farm sanctuary that Jeremy would recover and be fit as a fiddle in no time. The physician told CK that Jeremy was as strong as a horse. He then informed those present that Jeremy's parents were now at the hospital and were overjoyed at the news of their boy's pending recovery.

Later, when Lara and her parents were alone, Lois quizzed her about Jeremy's actions. Looking at her parents Lara told them, "I'm not quite sure what caused Jeremy to react as he did. All I know is that as Biff approached, I felt that Jeremy somehow knew that he had to protect me, and a moment later his body was between my own and our attacker."

Then after a slight pause, Lara said, "I first believed that Jeremy had uttered his thoughts just as his body lost consciousness, but his comments were not verbal, Mom; they were in my head."

"Jeremy contacted Lara telepathically," Clark then remarked to his wife.

Lois's head shot up as she heard her husband's words. She replied rapidly, "Only soulmates can communicate in such a manner."

"Yes," Clark said to his wife. Turing to Lara again, Clark remarked, "It looks like you've unawares discovered your life partner, my daughter."

Looking at her parents, Lara said, "Jeremy is three years and eight months younger than I."

"Does your age differences matter when yours and Jeremy's life expectancy, according to Bernie Klein's estimate, is probably near the ten millennia mark? Of course, the age value I expressed, my daughter, is still a *guesstimate* since you and the other developing super beings represent the first generation after the melding of Krypton's and Earth's genetic characteristics. You, Lara, and your siblings are hybrids produced by the genetic joining of two different societies whose characteristics, while appearing somewhat different, are still nearly identical. You and Jeremy are soulmates and possess the ability to communicate telepathically on two frequencies — one is part of a general communication network that connects our entire clan. The second mental affiliation is special and is a personal telepathic network just between soulmates — you and Jeremy.

The phone then rang, and Clark upon answering the phone found that Jeremy would recover sooner than expected. Lara then jumped up and said, "I want to see him as soon as is possible."

As Lara and her parents were leaving the house, Lois asked her husband how he thought the linkage between Lara and Jeremy worked.

"I'm not sure of the mechanism as it currently functions," Clark replied, "but I'll certainly attempt to find out in the near future how this mechanism acts. We have other children approaching marriageable age, and we should understand the personal telepathic pathways that may develop between each soulmate pair. Remember, beloved, we've had our special mental communication channel all our married life."

At the hospital Lara sat in a chair next to Jeremy's bed. He was still sedated from his recent surgical procedures. Lara grasped his hand and immediately felt the surge of Jeremy's thoughts flowing through her head. They were a bit jumbled, but she figured that was to be expected. As Lara sat beside her soulmate's hospital bed, she appeared to enter a trance like state as her thoughts with Jeremy flashed between them.

Finally releasing Jere's hand, she said to the others present in the room, "I'll see him again tomorrow. Then we'll be able to communicate verbally for a little while. With the narcotics in his body, his mind is somewhat incoherent."

After Lara arrived home, her parents, knowing what had occurred at Jeremy's bedside, told her of a similar occurrence that had happened early in their own marriage when Luthor had nearly killed Lois.

"When your mother healed, Lara, I insisted that she become my true genetic life partner. Bernie and I created a genetic conversion device predicated on the info we had obtained from my Resplendent Man adventure. When Lois was subjected to the genetic conversion device, her physical capabilities became identical to mine. When Luthor struck again, as we surmised he would, he was captured and incarcerated in an inescapable facility for the remainder of his life. Your mother, my beloved soulmate, was not injured by Luthor nor by any other attempts on her life ever again."

Lara became excited and said, "Jeremy can be treated with the same transmutation device which will protect him."

"That may not be necessary," Clark then said to his daughter.

Pausing for a second or so, CK said, "When Lori and Jeremy were about five years of age they interacted with a lightening bolt. I believe at that instant we had a repeat of the Resplendent Man incident. Lori's super abilities, although not yet functioning, were transferred to the Setland boy. Jere's powerful telepathic linkage with you, Lara, strongly suggests that a super power transference occurred between the children."

Then Lara's father smiled and said to his offspring, "How would you like to verify my suspicions?"

After a few moments, Lara remarked, "That's an interesting project, Papa. Let's do it."

"Lara," Clark said, "Jeremy is a very sensitive young man. Be careful. If I'm not mistaken, he feels very strongly about you."

Lara then said rather agitatedly, "I would never hurt Jeremy. He's my future, a future that will last for all eternity."

Lois just smiled at her remark. Lara was her daughter all right.

Several days later, as they walked toward home, Lara asked her soulmate if his body were experiencing any unusual sensations since his altercation with Biff.

After a relatively long pause, Jeremy placed Lara's hand in his and said that he was beginning to hear things that a year ago the walls within his home would block. Jere added, "I was hearing conversations in the tunnel connecting Jonathan and Martha's farm and the other dwellings connected by their hidden subterranean passageway system."

Lara then said, "Let's try an experiment." Jeremy agreed wholehardedly.

Lara blindfolded her life partner and then hurled a rock a distance that measured more than two hundred-fifty meters across the meadow where it struck a rather large rock.

Removing the blindfold, Lara asked Jeremy, "Where did the thrown object strike the earth?"

Turning in the direction of the collision area, he pointed toward a distant tree about two point five kilometers from their present location, a feat that would be impossible for a normal human to perform.

Smiling, Lara grasped Jeremy's hand and nodded affirmatively.

"Like you, Lara, I too appear to be developing super abilities. How is that happening?"

Then Lara reminded her soulmate of the lightening incident which occurred between him and her sister.

"For a while, as my body began to change as I approached puberty," Jeremy then added, "I started to believe that my ultimate destination would be a mental ward in some institution for the demented. However, after some cogitation, Lara, I started recalling the lightening strike that involved Lori, and I wondered how that fit into my bodily change puzzle. You just gave me the final pieces."

Looking at Lara, he said, "Since Lori was the daughter of Lois Lane Kent and CK, I've finally realized she is the daughter of the superheroes that periodically appear throughout our world. So, am I correct in assuming that all the Kent offspring will inherit the super capabilities of their parents over time?"

Lara just nodded her head in an affirmative mode.

"Lara, please inform your folks that their secret is safe with me. Also, ask your father if you can help me improve my abilities as they come on line. My inherited super powers must be controlled. Otherwise," Jeremy added, "I might seriously injure somebody inadvertently."

From Jere's last words, Lara knew that her forever soulmate would be a good man and a fantastic life partner.

As they continued walking home after Lara's little experiment, Jeremy said, "You know, when we touched during my recovery from Biff's beating I felt you and I were bound to one another."

"We were, Jere," Lara said, "and that emotion will intensify as we get older and spend more and more time together."

"Wow," was Jeremy's comment. "That's great."

Lara just felt happy all over when she heard his spontaneous remarks.

After a pause, Lara added, "We'll have time to talk about that aspect of our lives as we mature and move toward our final bonding proceedings (marriage)."

That evening Lara informed her father about Jere's comment. Clark agreed that Lara and Jeremy should work on their super abilities together.

Having the green light, Lara and Jeremy set out to discover a relatively isolated area somewhere on the Kent's farm where Jeremy and she could work on his developing super abilities and strengthen her own powers. What the two youngsters didn't realize was that during their practice sessions, either Ultrawoman or Superman was secretly hovering above their secret location as a protective source.

As the practice sessions continued, both superheroes were extremely satisfied with the development of their super abilities and unknown to them the constant reinforcing of their soulmate bond. Without their knowledge, Lara and Jeremy's love for one another was developing along very similar avenues as those still enjoyed by Lara's parents, Lois and Clark Kent.

Jeremy Setland and Lara Kela Kent were nearly inseparable during the next several years until Lara matriculated at Yale University. All of her older siblings, excluding CJ, had graduated from Yale and were now enrolled in their new academic home, the Cal Tech graduate school in Pasadena.

CJ was delighted now that Lara shared the family's New Haven, Connecticut dwelling with him and that Jeremy Setland would teleport to there at least five times a week to be with Lara. On the other two days, CJ would accompany his sister to Smallville to be with the families at Martha's Sabbath dinners — both Saturday and Sunday.

When Jeremy reached his fifteenth year, he and Lori received their general diploma from the state of Kansas and then matriculated to Yale. Like those before them, the super children majored in physics and had minored in areas of study that included mathematics and engineering.

Once CJ graduated from Yale, he joined his older siblings at Cal Tech where he majored in experimental physics.

In the evening, Lara worked with her soulmate showing Jeremy how to levitate and control the force of gravity acting on his body. As Lori watched, she said in a slightly jealous tone, "No-wonder your superpower development is ahead of mine. Lara has been helping you."

"For years, Lara and I have worked together," Jeremy said, to Lori. "We're soulmates, my sister, and I've been told by those who know that that's what life partners tend to do throughout their lives."

"Soulmates," Lori commented. "That means you two will form a nuptial bond and become a super pair forever like mom and pop."

"That's true," Lara told her sister. "Even now we are a very strong unit. Each of us, I can say, is half of a loving pair."

"That means," Lori added, "you two will make me an auntie someday."

"Hopefully, in the near future," Lara responded.

As the sisters watched, Jere started to turn a shade of red.

"Look at that," Lori added with humor in her voice, "Jere is embarrassed."

Jeremy soon sat down on the couch and placed his face in his hands.

Seeing that her soulmate couldn't speak coherently and seeking no way to escape from the room, Lara quickly sat down next to Jeremy and telepathically calmed his discomfiture. Then she yelled at her sister, "That's enough, Lori. As you can see, my soulmate is quite a sensitive person." After a pause, Lara added, "If you want Jeremy to consider you as a credible ally and family member, stop horsing around."

"Thanks, my love," Jeremy said to Lara, his forever soulmate and life partner.

For nearly a year, the Kent household living in New Haven functioned normally. Within their first year at Yale, Lori and Jere mastered their flying abilities, and then all hell was unleashed. While Jeremy was working with Dr. Klein at the end of his first university year, Lori convinced her sister to gallivant about the country to see the sights, so to speak.

Soon, there were newspaper articles about younger super beings flying over the US land mass, followed by more press releases speculating about the possibility that a family of super beings was now subsisting on their world.

Then, the aerial observations began causing the kind of conjecture which Lois and Clark always feared. It began slowly when people seeking to enhance their public image began to print material concerning Superman and Ultrawoman's objectives in procreating a super family.

Eventually, this kind of unofficial and nonscientific news brought a host of fanatics into the limelight. These individuals caused considerable concern among the general population about the purity of humankind's genetic pool, and the possibility of conquering the world. The super family was soon under attack by uniformed people such as religious bigots, scientific charlatans, philosophical speculators, and the real bottom feeders, talk show hosts, who invited unqualified people, such as tabloid people, as guests on their shows to discuss the goals of the super people now living on Earth.

About a week after the various assaults on the super family had reached its frenzied peek, Lois and Clark descended upon STAR labs. After locating Bernie Klein, they soon located Jeremy. He had essentially been locked away in a laboratory studying how to apply stealth technology to garments that the super family could wear when they needed to soar through the Earth's atmosphere.

When Lois and Clark, in the company of Bernie Klein, entered Jere's experimental facility, they saw a young man intensely engrossed with the examination of a swath of cloth that had been specially treated. Upon seeing his in laws to be and Dr. Klein, he smiled and greeted them with a jovial "Hi, Mom, Pop and you, too, Bernie."

From his greeting, Lois and Clark obviously knew that Jeremy was not involved in any super joy flying and was even unaware of the super craze that had developed in the country. Then, seeing the seriousness on Lois's and Clark's faces, Jeremy asked what was troubling them and if there was anything he could do to help.

Lois then placed a pile of newspapers on the table in front of Jeremy. As he read at super speed, Jere murmured over and over, "My G-d." Placing his arms on his workbench, he sent a special call to Lara. Within ten minutes or so, Lara and Lori arrived at Star labs.

When Lois and Clark's two young daughters entered Jeremy's lab, Clark started toward both of his girls displaying a very angry countenance. Jeremy immediately moved between Clark and his girls saying, "Please, Pop, control yourself. I can't allow you to harm either of them, especially Lara. You'd have to kill me before I let you harm my soulmate, which I'm quite sure you could accomplish almost at will."

As the anger in Clark calmed, Jere turned and gave his soulmate and Lori a pile of newspapers to read, pointing to the articles concerning the new super people and the supposition by certain popular radical commentators that Superman and Ultrawoman had produced super kids.

After the two young women had finished reading the editorials on super kids, they looked up, and Lori said, "We just didn't know."

Now, Jeremy said to his soulmate and Lori, "You both, I believe, can understand why Clark became uncontrollably angry for a moment." The girls both nodded their understanding. Then, Jere walked across the room, stopped and looked toward the ceiling of the room, toward heaven, and very quietly murmured, "Thank you."

To emphasize his point, CK flashed across the room and confronted the girls again. Now, sounding like an irate father, he tersely said, "You gals are science majors at a major university. You should have been aware by this time that every nation in our world would have elaborate electronic detecting devices, radar of some sort, which could easily detect objects moving across their air space."

Lori then asked, "How could the current electronic equipment in existence determine that it was a member of our family and not a high flying aircraft that was being observed."

"Density," Lara replied.

"Correct, my love," Jeremy immediately spoke-up.

"The bodily densities in our family are about one point five that of a normal human," Jere also added. "Metals and composites have density values greater than our own fleshly values. From different density values, this planet's electronic detecting gear can only suggest, but not specifically state, that objects detected streaking through the Earth's stratosphere were truly an alien and not composed of special Earth substances. The assumption of a Kryptonian presence sighted above this planet's surface therefore is a purely speculative assumption and cannot be verified. But that won't prevent people with access to the media from expressing their views. If I may be so bold, may the entire family retire to the Kent farm for a general meeting; that means you, too, Bernie. I may have a solution or a partial one to our immediate problems."

Jeremy added, "For the immediate future, can we suspend juvenile super activities that can be observed? Jeremy looked at Clark who nodded affirmatively to the young man's suggestion, after conferring with his wife, Lois.

Several days later, the Kent clan, which also included outsiders such as Bernie Klein, Rabbi Setland, the Whites, and the Olsen families, watched as Jeremy demonstrated his new diamond producing apparatus. Jeremy also showed the gathering the test fabric of a stealthy cloth-like material.

As the group watched, Jeremy caused his apparatus to produce white, green, red, and blue-white stones of varying sizes. After Jeremy completed his scientific demonstrations, the Setland youngster said to his assembled group, "With my diamond producing equipment, the Kent, Setland families, and their friends will never lack for needed funds."

Then Jere's equipment was locked away in the family's vault fabricated from stabilized neutronium. Also secured in this exceptional safe chamber were the teleportation equipment and the Star labs new stealth material, developed by Jeremy Setland.

Several days later, Bobby Big-Mouth was receiving about twenty financiers. At this negotiating conference with the top Metropolis money brokers, Bobby allowed the buyers to study the kind of merchandise they could expect from his source at a fair price.

When the diamond merchants were satisfied with Bobby's commodities, the financiers called in their bully boys who began to maul Bobby Big Mouth in an attempt to discover the location of the new diamond field they felt had been discovered within the States. Unable to obtain any further info from Bobby Big Mouth, the money men from Metropolis purloined the billion dollars worth of diamonds and left a battered and bloody former snitch for dead.

Finding Bobby Big-Mouth later that afternoon, Clark took him to his family sanctuary beneath the Kent's farm. There, he was treated by the best physicians in the business and soon started to recover his health. As he regained consciousness, he apologized to Clark and Lois for failing in his mission.

"It was not your fault, Bobby," both Lois and Clark told him. "You acted in good faith."

"Thanks CK," he said, as he closed his eyes.

Turning to Lois, Clark said with considerable feeling, "Your snitch, to my surprise, is a very honest man."

Lois just smiled and said, "I somehow always knew there was a streak of loyalty and honesty woven into the fabric of his soul."

After Bobbie was asleep, Lois remarked, "We have to talk about Lara and Jere."

"What are you insinuating, my dear?"

Smiling, Lois said, "Their marriage. Oh, I don't mean now," she added, "but certainly before they graduate from Yale."

Looking at his soulmate, Clark smiled at his wife and gave her a positive nod.

Later that evening, Lois called her daughter and Jeremy together and told them what she and Lara's father had decided about their nuptials.

After learning the Kent's decision, Lara and her soulmate, without hesitation, agreed with Lois and Clark's time frame.

As they were walking through the subterranean passages, Lara said, "I'll be twenty-one while you will be about eighteen years of age when we wed."

Jere then said, "The way I feel about you, Lara, I'd marry you if we were both twelve years old."

Lara then just giggled like her mother.

After Jere's comment, Lara gave such a passionate kiss that her soulmate said, "Lara, if you keep kissing me like that we'll be parents before we leave our college environment."

Lara hooked her arm in his and smiled as they continued to walk through their school's lab facility.

Justice And Punishment Without Vengeance

That evening, after dinner, Jeremy addressed the family. He told them that a small quantity of a radioactive material had been added to each gem that was pillaged from Bobby. He then added that Lara and he had also devised a technological device that could locate the missing gemstones.

What he and his soulmate wanted to know was the punishment that would be merited out to the thieves when they were apprehended with their diamond plunder.

"What do you suggest?" Jon Kent asked.

"If those we capture are proven guilty," Lara and Jeremy remarked, "we should move the culprits to the Centauri star system where we will create a large space depot — a station in space. Then, we should incarcerate the diamond thieves in the space station and set it in motion around the Centauri sun. The gem thieves would be confined for the remainder of their lives. They, of course, would be furnished with nourishment, means of entertainment, and the means of viewing what is occurring on SOL Three. Droids, which would accompany the castaways, would provide, if required, needed medical attention to maintain their health."

After a slight pause, Clark added, "First things first. Let's apprehend the thieves and then allow the family to consider Jeremy and Lara's punishment proposal. Remember we are not only considering theft, but the discipline of people who caused death-like injuries to Bobbie Big-mouth."

CK then said, "Our punishment system should be severe but fair."

Over the next year and a half, all the muggers and the crooked financiers, save one, were apprehended by the Kent family, their friends and allies. They were initially imprisoned within cells situated in the tunnel system under the Kent's farm awaiting trial.

When the search for the gem thieves was finally suspended, all but one of the culprits with their loot had been apprehended.

Although addition searches were conducted from time to time, no success was achieved in locating the remaining ruffian and thief.

After a reasonable period of debate, the family agreed with Lara and Jere and placed the nine brokers and their hatchet men within a satellite circling Alpha Centuri for the remainder of their lives with the necessary accouterments to maintain their physical comforts and health during their lifetime exile.


A University Prom — a Yale Event

During Dick Grayson's junior year, Lori approached Jeremy and Lara and asked Jeremy if he would mind if Lara accompanied Dick's roommate to their junior prom. His name was Kyle Lotario.

Jere said, "Lori, Lara is my soulmate, not my slave. She can do whatever she wishes. She and I are partners in all things, not master and slave."

"In fact," Jere added, "I would like Lara to socialize a bit. It's not fair to her to ask her to wait until our marriage permits us to socialize within society as a couple. Married, we can be a couple that can be seen together in public without any negative ramifications. Because of our slight age difference, she has been isolated and somewhat unhappy at times. This prom will allow her to get out and enjoy herself and make me feel joyful because my soulmate will participate in a social activity I feel she needs. I'm too young to be a proper social escort at this period in our lives. I think this prom event will be a pleasant night out for her. If there's a problem, I'll know immediately through our telepathic linkage."

So it was agreed that Lara and Lori would be the dates of Dick and his roommate Kyle at the Yale's junior prom for that year.

When Dick and Kyle arrived at the Kent residence, Jere opened the door and first confronted Dick Grayson whom he knew well from the Kent clan gatherings in Smallville, Kansas. After greeting one another, Jeremy took Dick's coat and directed him toward the living room. Dick thanked Jere. Before he could hang up Dick's over garment, Lyle threw his overcoat at Jere and followed Dick into the living room with a sneer on this face. To Kyle, Jeremy Setland was inconsequential, a rather worthless personage.

Both Lara and Lori observed the young men as they entered the Kent abode and were shocked at the behavior of Kyle Lotario.

When the girls joined their escorts within the living room, Dick presented a corsage to Lori and placed a ruby necklace around her neck. It was matinee length. Dick told Lori that his ward, Bruce, told him to present it to his date to be worn for this affair.

When Dick had completed his introductions to Lori, Kyle also presented Lara with a corsage of orchids. Then he displayed a yellowish-green necklace of diamonds. They were magnificent and in a necklace arrangement.

As Lyle put the necklace on Lara, Jere used his tracer device to examine the diamond array in Lara's necklace. The outcome of his scan indicated that the necklace she wore contained the missing gem stones taken from Bobby Big-mouth. At last the rest of the missing diamonds had finally been located and in the most unusual way.

As Lara and Kyle were leaving with Dick and Lori, Jere told his soulmate to place an unremovable and non-detectable surveillance bug upon Lyle's person, which she accomplished as she and Lori were deposited upon their stoop as they returned to the Kent home from Yale's junior gala.

During the next few days Jeremy, Lara, and Lori ascertained that Lyle was engaged in patricide. He was adding small quantities of poison to his father's medication as he was resting from surgery after a severe accident.

Instead of recuperating, James Lotario's health was slowly deteriorating. Marianne, James' wife, was told that if things didn't improve, her husband, James Lotario, would be joining his ancestors within a month's time. A week or so later, Lara, unknown to the verbal combatants, heard an argument between Kyle and his mother.

She said, "You were aware that your father was intending to return the diamonds to their rightful owner. I hardily agree with your father's decision to correct his wrong doing." Continuing she said, "James is a good man and should not have been involved in the illegal acquisition of those jewels in the first place, and you, Kyle, should not have made use of them for Yale's junior prom."

After a pause, she added, "I was hopeful that Lex Luthor's genes would have been cleansed from our family when I married your father. It appears that Lex's evil is now manifesting itself within your soul."

Without waiting for a reply, she left his presence.

After Marianne had left, Kyle summoned one of his henchmen and together planned his mother's demise. It appeared that Lex Luthor in another form had been resurrected and was planning to begin a new reign of evil.

Unseen, Lara then made a copy of Kyle's conversation with his confederate. Later, she played it for Jere and her sister, Lori. Jere immediately sent a copy of the verbal transcription to the family in the Smallville community.

As Lois and Clark were perusing the message, Jeremy enveloped himself in a stealthy garment and flew to the home of Kyle Lotario. Entering the Lotario dwelling, the Setland youth silently pilfered a small amount of James' medication, but not enough material to be missed by any of the attending medical personnel.

He then streaked through a violent thunderstorm as fast as his new airborne super power would allow to Dr. Klein's residence in Metropolis and awakened the famous scientist. Grumpy at being awakened, Bernie quieted down when he was told of the events that brought Jeremy to his door at this ungodly hour.

Three weeks later, Bernie sent Jere a telegram which stated that the medicines were contaminated with a rare poison that interfered with an individual's water and his/her body's metabolic functions shutting down the organs and leading to a horrible death.

Now the family was ready to act.

Soon after Bernie Klein had discovered the poison, which had been placed in the medication prescribed and administered to James Lotario, the brilliant scientist developed an anecdote for the mephitic. With the anecdote, Lara, Lori and Jeremy made a call on the Lotario house. Lara activated the teleport equipment Jere was carrying enwrapped with stealthy cloth-like material.

As soon as the teleport device was energized, Superman and Ultrawoman appeared in the large hall. A few minutes later the local law enforcement authorities also entered the mansion.

After exhibiting to Marianne Lotario the evidence of her son's impending homicides, Superman and his side kick Ultrawoman, with the blessings of the judicial authorities, whisked Kyle and his accomplice through the teleporter to face Kryptonian justice at the Smallville sanctuary.

With Kyle absent, the Lotario household soon returned to normal.

When Jere and the girls returned to their home in Kansas, Kyle's trial got underway.

When Kyle finally faced his accusers, a sneer appeared on his face, a countenance of evil. Jumping up, Kyle said, "Incarcerate me and all the world will know your family's location and its secret identities."

Ignoring Kyle's outburst, Clark had the young Lotario placed in the chair of justice. Each member of the family then began asking questions until the chair of justice indicated that no further information would be required to be extracted from the accused to arrive at a just opinion.

The trial adjourned until the electronic chair of justice could analyze all the data accumulated and pronounce a judgment upon the potential felon — the devil's new right hand man.

Several hours later, the trial resumed and the chair of justice pronounced a sentence of guilty and recommended the death sentence.

The humans after hearing the condemnation of Kyle Lotario debated the chair's sentence. Adding their human compassion, they cancelled Kyle's execution and altered the punishment to exile for life in a prison station within the Deneb star system.

Hans Mueller, Kyle's hit man, turned to the Kent clan and said, "I am guilty as charged. You don't have to go though that chair business."

"So be it," Clark stated.

Before sunrise on the following day Kyle Lotario was taken to the Deneb prison solar station and was never seen or heard from again.

Because Hans Mueller owned up to his felonies, he was allowed to remain within the Kent sanctuary, which provided him with all the comforts of home so to speak. During his confinement, three guard droids maintained a constant surveillance of their prisoner.

During Hans's incarceration, he dined each evening with the Kent family and also participated in all holiday celebrations.

When the time for his release arrived, Hans was presented with a quarter of a million dollars. He was injected with an elixir that would not allow him to return to the Kent sanctuary unless he was alone.

On the third return, some years later, Hans decided to remain with the Kents for the remainder of his life. The world outside Smallville had changed too much for Hans to be comfortable.

Shortly after the Lotario episode was resolved, Lara and Jeremy became engaged.

Lara extended her education at Yale studying advanced mathematics concepts and learning music composition, obtaining a master degree in each of these areas. This education extension was the plan of both soulmates so Jeremy and Lara could become equal in all things.

While the Grayson lad frequently visited the Kent New Haven dwelling almost each evening to be with his soulmate Lori, Lara and her betrothed generally retired to their own quarters to allow Bruce Wayne's ward and Lori space and some privacy to enjoy their company.

Bruce Wayne once asked Lois why Lara and Jere were allowed so much freedom seeing they were not as yet married?

Lois said, "First, Jeremy is a rabbi's son and raised in a rather strict tradition concerning the treatment of women, and secondly, he had already asked Lara not to try to seduce him before their marriage. He had said, 'Other kinds of sexual play I believe is good for us, but I would feel put out if we consummated our love before we are married before G-D.' She said that to me some years ago, and his request has worked well since then. Anyway, they'll be wedded soon, in a few months."

In reference to Lori and Dick, Lois said, "Dick may be a nice person, but he is an unknown sexual quantity though he looks and acts every bit a gentleman. Lori, on the other hand, is a bit frisky and may get easily carried away sexually since she knows she and Dick are also soulmates."

Bruce said, "I perceive Lara and Jere are acting as subtle chaperones."

"You got it," Lois replied.

Some months after Jere's eightieth birthday, Lara and her soulmate tied the knot. Dick and Lori's nuptials occurred a week later. The different weddings and their locations were so arranged so that the sanctuary of the Kent family was never placed in jeopardy.

To compensate for the small nuptial in Smallville, Bruce Wayne threw a gala affair for the marriage of his ward. For those who were in the know, the Wayne affair was for both Lara and her spouse Jeremy and the newlyweds Lori and Dick.

Both brides received a necklace of the yellow-green diamonds and a wedding band of the same jewels. After several days, the celebration winded down and the newlyweds were off on their month long honeymoons.

After returning from their honeymoons, the two newly married couples matriculated at Cal. Tech to pursue their graduate studies. The three Smallville youngsters became majors in mathematical physics, while Dick tracked a business career. For the next three years, the Cal. Tech studies provided the two couples an almost idyllic existence.

Shortly after Lori, Lara and Jeremy received their doctoral degrees and Lori's husband received his advanced business degree, the four family members and friends returned to Smallville, Kansas for a visit.

A few days after Lara and Jere had returned to Kansas, Bernie Klein made a frantic visit to the Kent farm sanctuary in Smallville. The Kents were informed by Dr. Klein that an asteroid about the size of Manhattan was discovered on a collision trajectory with Earth. In a few months, Sol's third planet, Earth, would be struck by the asteroid somewhere in the Indian Ocean causing the annihilation of most if not all the life on Earth.


Approaching Doom

Jere asked CK whether the clan's experimental interstellar craft was functioning. Jeremy received a positive nod from Lara, his soulmate.

"What do you have in mind?" Clark then asked Jeremy Setland.

Jere rose from the table and began pacing about the room as he informed the family that several years ago Lara and he had created several weapon systems for the defense of their planet in the event that they were suddenly attacked by alien invaders.

In the intervening years, Lara and Jeremy had also constructed a laser cannon that could rend an enemy vessel by shredding its hull components and destroying the ship and its occupants. With such a defensive weapon system employed, an attacking flotilla of enemy ships could be quickly eradicated and the planet wide civilizations saved.

After a pause, Lara said, "Bombardment of our world by a comet, a large meteor, or an asteroid unfortunately will not be deflected nor pulverized by even these new laser devices. The forces involved are just too large."

Jere then said to the family, "Lara and I realized that this oncoming asteroidal collision could not be handled with our existing defensive systems. Therefore, we have created a device that combines magnetic antiparticles with gamma radiation generated at specific frequencies that will make our world invincible. Lara and I believe that the discharge of these forces together will produce a rift in space."

Jere then added, "Lara and I have dubbed our destructive instrument 'the Disruptor.' In essence," Jeremy stated, "our contrivance will produce energy from our weapon system that will propagate a magnetic antiparticles beam wrapped within a gamma radiation envelope. The effect of this disruptor beam will form a rift in space producing a null continuum within the space fissure that is connected to our normal space-time continuum. When an object has been pulled into the space fissure, like a meteor, it should be eradicated within the null crevice. If Lara and I are correct, any item after entering the breach the disruptor created in the void will cease to exist."

After a pause, Lara cautioned those present, "The disruptor device is still in the theoretical stage and could fail to function properly when it is discharged. Therefore, a fleet of intergalactic spaceships, as large as possible, needs to be constructed if for some reason evacuation from our world becomes a reality."

Lara's soulmate then added, "I must reiterate, while the family is engaged in constructing this new disruptor weapon system, a large aggregate of intergalactic vessels for the possible evacuation from Earth must also be fabricated as rapidly as feasible. As horrible as a world evacuation scheme might be, it must be considered. The probability that such a maneuver might be necessary is still highly feasible."

As the Kent family began to muster its resources, Clark said, "We also should try collecting a large amount of space debris that we can hurtle at the asteroid as it plummets on its collision trajectory toward Earth. Such an act may alter the asteroid flight path so that its motion may not cause it to collide with our planet."

"If the space junk idea fails," Lori added, "we'll utilize Lara and Jere's new weapon system."

"You should all realize," CK warned, "if our interception attempts fail to halt or change the course of the meteor, only a fraction of Earth's population can be saved from consequences caused by the asteroid's collision with our world."

Five months from doom's day, Jeremy and Lara's terrible invention was tested using an asteroid subject in the Ort area of Sol's solar system.

When the disruptor successfully test fired, Jeremy murmured, "Thank G-D." The disruptor functioned beyond the family's wildest dreams. Lara and her husband were ecstatic. Earth now had a chance of prolongation.

One side effect of discharging the disruptor was a space quake. When the disruptor's use was discontinued, normal space in the region near the weapon's discharge range rushed to fill the void generated when the Ort asteroid was extinguished. Because of the minimal test conditions associated with the new weapon, only a mediocre space quake was produced and normal space resulted within the test region, destroying Ort debris after the rift filling effect occurred.

Because of a possible space quake after the disruptor was discharged, it was decided to keep Lara and Jeremy's disruptor in reserve. The result, if too violent, could produce catastrophic results near or on Earth itself. Therefore, the other schemes developed by the people of Earth would be used before the disruptor would be employed. In theory, it could destroy the universe.

The military also had a plan and put their two cents into saving Earth from annihilation. It was a nuclear option. The marshal elements in Russia and the United States wanted to use their nuclear armada — a vast quantity of nuclear tipped missiles, which could be fired at the asteroid. The military people believed that such nuclear power would obliterate the space material now on a collision trajectory with Earth. There was a good probability that the U.S. and Russian approach to the asteroid problem would succeed. However, the resulting radiation from the military's proposal would also produce a plethora of radioactive debris that would rain down upon the Earth causing the demise of many people living on the land masses that covered their planet.

After all the proposals were considered and attempted, excluding the nuclear option, the disruptor was eventually employed. As Jere and his soulmate expected, it eradicated the asteroid. The space quake, which was portended, was marginal, altering the Earth's environment conditions to a negligible degree. The temperature of the planet was found to fluctuate several tenths of a degree due to a slight fluctuation in the Earth's orbital motion.


The Future

After the meteoric incident had passed, the Kent clan, their associates, and friends were content with an idyllic living period — a duration of five years or so.

During this time, Lara, Jeremy and Lori initiated several STAR lab investigations and their results were the marvel and envy of the world's scientific community.

Also during this time frame, Lara and Lori gave birth to five children. One set of fraternal twins conceived by Lara and Jere were named Joshua and Rebecca, while Lori and Dick became the parents of triplets — two males and a female — the names given to their kids were Adam, Benjamin, and Judith.

During this period, Dick, now the CEO of Bruce Wayne's billion dollar enterprises, had amassed a still greater fortune for the Wayne industrial complex.

Sometime after Lara's and Lori's kids had celebrated their first year of life, Jeremy Setland began to hear a strange voice resonating within his mind. If it were not for Lara's telepathic linkage to her soulmate, Jere would start to believe he was becoming deranged. The slumber messages occurred as Jeremy began to fall into a relatively deep sleep. It was during this deep sleep period that the strange communiques commenced. The messages were sharp and lucent, which caused Lara's husband to awaken, startling Lara also into wakefulness. The question Jeremy recalled after each episode seemed to ask, "Can you hear this call, Jeremy Setland?"

At last, Jeremy answered, "Yes, my wife and I can mentally hear your call. We'll attempt to answer you telepathically tomorrow evening."

During the coming day, Jeremy and his wife Lara had an urgent discussion with a major portion of the Kent and Setland families. All agreed that before anything further was done, they should attempt to establish full contact with the unknown entity.

That evening Jeremy and Lara finally learned what the sleep messenger required of them. The next day, Lara and Jeremy informed the family that the telepathic messages, as they suspected, were from a future time continuum. A period which existed about two hundred and twenty-five thousand years from their current time-space hereafter.

After the future time communiques were corroborated using Lois and CK's interlocking minds phenomena, the two reporters, Bernie Klein, and other scientists in the Kent clan developed a remarkable detection instrument which could record the transmitted messages gathered by Lara and Jeremy as they reached their rem sleep cycle late each evening. From the futuristic data, the people in the Kent sanctuary ultimately understood that Lara and Jere were urgently needed by their future descendents, descendents that were a Utopian culture that had been spawned from the Kents and part of the population from SOL Three -the planet Earth. As Earth's inhabitants moved into the galaxy over time to settle in livable areas within the Milky Way, some of the Utopians traveled on Earth's great migrations into the Milky Way.

The scientist who was contacting Jere and his wife was called Zarth Arn, and aided by his assistant named Vel Quen, they had devised their own calling instrument that could transmit thoughts across the centuries during an individual's sleep period.

Both scientists were citizens of a galactic oasis called the Mid-Galactic Empire, the greatest civilization within the galaxy. The capital of the empire was located on a world within the Canopus star system.

Zarth Arn was a prince of the royal house. His brother Jhal Arn, the first born, was the ruler of the constitutional monarchy and headed the governing system of the empire.

The leaders of the different star-kingdoms within the Milky Way, sometimes warlike rivals, were given titles to better hold together their widely separated star systems, which were inhabited by humans descended from Earth and exhibited different ethnic codes and creeds. These oases of life were widely scattered throughout the vast Milky Way galaxy.

From the Kent's mental receiver, with Lara and Jeremy acting as the antenna, the scientists living and using the Kent sanctuary discovered that in this future time there also existed, within a plethora of different star associations, groups of star systems that had formed alliances for their mutual protection. For example, there were independent star-worlds called the Baronies existing mostly throughout the Hercules cluster. There was also a sizable Kingdom in the Formalhaut realm, and a number of smaller kingdoms such as Lyra, Cygnus, Polaris, and other smaller star domains, most of which were allies of the Mid-Gallactic Empire.

Clark and his kin also learned that there was a sizable empire that existed within the largest dark cloud in the Milky Way. Within the borders of this huge cloud cluster existed the League of Dark Worlds, composed of suns and worlds engulfed in nearly perpetual murkiness that covered the cloud region. The league was the most powerful and jealous rival of the Mid-Gallactic Empire. It was dominated by a man known as Kar Kam, the absolute dictator of the cloud region, a man who was continually increasing the size of the clouds' war capabilities — armadas of intergalactic battle cruisers.

The name of the federation that linked the cloud worlds was generally called the League. This island of galaxy life was initiated by the criminals and rift raft of the galaxy.

Kar Kam was quite aware that the Mid-Gallactic Empire was the dominant force within the galaxy and had long sought to induce the various star-kingdoms to unite and banish all war in the Milky Way under banner. Simultaneously, as he attempted to gather other star dominions to his cause, he politically intrigued against the Mid-Gallactic Empire policies of unification, by fomenting jealousies of the smaller star-kingdoms against the empire's efforts at galactic unification under democratic principles.

After contacting H.G. Wells, a time traveler originally from the latter part of the nineteenth century, the novelist was requested to travel to the far future and find Jhal Arn and Vel Quen and return with them to the Kents' current time frame. Once the two future men arrived in their past, Jhal Arn and Vel Quen told Lois and Clark, their family members, and their friends that their secret Utopian identities were Samuel Jonathan Kent and Joshua Klein. The Kent designation from their antiquity really referred to a Lane-Kent appellation. All Utopian names maintained the Lane-Kent lineage with their forename coming from their own past family history. So, Jon, Richard, Joshua, Samuel, Viki, Joan, etc. were common appellations in the secretive Utopian society during their future time frame.

After introductions between the Ancient Utopian culture, Lois and Clark et al, and the future Mid-Galactic Empire people had been finished, info from Samuel Kent and Joshua Klein began to explain the paramount problem that very recently had developed between the ruling house of the Mid-Galactic Empire and the Formalhaut Star Kingdom, whose present dominion ruler was known as Lady Linanna Jarsi.

Some moments later, the twenty-first century Samuel Setland entered the time conference and was given the opportunity to converse with the futurists. His questions were based upon his normal curiosity. He wondered how the current ruling political structures had evolved as the star kingdoms dotting the Milky Way galaxy evolved.

Joshua Klein (Vel Quen) indicated that as the space pioneers and explorers permeated the void each spacecraft was controlled by a Utopian family who remained in contact with other Utopian cultures that had also evolved in the Sol solar system before emigration to the stars had begun. The household remained in contact with the Earth based Utopian systems by using the teleportation units secretly placed upon each migrating spaceship.

Since the intergalactic activities within each family unit aboard the exploration spacecraft were essentially self contained, such conditions allowed the offspring from each Utopian family to be sent daily to Utopian centers in the SOL Three star system. There, they could be thoroughly educated and eventually discover their soulmates or life partners.

As time passed, the capital of the galaxy wide Utopian society was transferred to the Ort belt where the weapon systems and other scientific equipment were warehoused and the preeminent educational and cultural activities were located.

Small communities, however, still were maintained on SOL Three to safeguard the Utopian stock.

Using teleportation equipment, the Earth communities could move conveniently between the SOL Three and the main Utopian citadel situated in the Ort belt.

"The fabricated housing materials made from stabilized neutronium, a substance discovered during this time frame, now provides houses for more than a billion people," Sam and Joshua declared to their progenitors.

Asking and receiving approval from his fellow Canopian, Joshua told his ancestors that Sam was not only his friend but also the ruler of the Mid-Galactic Empire. His twin sibling was also a male, and in the Canopian dialect was called Zarth Arn. Zarth was a prince of the royal house and second in line for succession to the Empire leadership.

After a pause, Jhal placed his arm on Josh's shoulder and remarked, "Zarth was my brother and was assassinated some months ago by a professional killer we believed was in the employ of the League. The timing for my brother's passing was fortuitous. Zarth (or Richard) had just become engaged to Linanna the ruler of the Formalhaut galactic aggregation and his Utopian life partner. Although Zarth himself is out of the picture, knowledge of his assassination is still unknown to the people of the Empire. The time of his passing was fortuitous in a strange sense because his murder gave us time to act. The timing of his dispatch provided us the opportunity to locate a possible replacement for the upcoming betrothal ceremony. To give us a chance to locate a possible replacement, we postponed the ceremony for several months announcing illness as the reason."

After a pause, Jhal continued, "Before his death, Zarth completed his greatest scientific achievement. Zarth produced an instrument that could contact individuals who lived in past time periods. For his initial test, Zarth set his apparatus to contact Jeremy. The rest you know."

As Thal Arn took a breath, Ben Setland entered the room.

After he introduced himself, Val said, 'He's the one we've been searching for. His soulmate oscillations correspond to Linanna's frequency."

Directing his question to Ben, Vel asked, "Do you have a soulmate?"

"Are you wed and have children?" Thal hurridly queried Ben.

"No, on all accounts," Ben replied to Thal and his companion with a chuckle in his voice.

"Thank heaven," they both murmured.

Then Vel and Thal repeated what Lois and Clark and their children already knew.

"When we return to our time and announce the death of my brother," Jhal said, "there will be political repercussions throughout the Milky Way. Soon after Zarth's demise will be announced and a proper period of mourning observed, Nardi Lyz, a distant cousin of Kar Kam, who married into the family of one of the Barony's star groups leaders, will, I'm sure, introduce Linanna to Kyle Lyz with the intension of creating a matrimonial climate between the two houses. If such a matrimony union occurs, the Formalhaut Star Association could become an ally of the Cloud people, weakening the military status of the Mid-Galactic Empire and its allies within the galaxy."

A rather lengthy discussion continued with Benjamin (Ben) Setland, to be known as Belton Arn, a prince of the Canopian royal house, and the couple Jeremy and Lara Setland called Jeram and Loretta Arn, also nobles of the Arn household and until recently had made their home on SOL Three at the periphery of the Empire.

The two children born to Lara and Jere on the Kent farm would be raised for a time by Lois and Clark until Jeremy Setland and his soulmate Lara returned to their roots or other arrangements could be made for the children's upbringing.


As H.G. Wells returned Jhan Arn and Vel Quen to Canopus, Lara, Jeremy, and Benjamin Setland made their way by an intergalactic spaceship to the Ort Utopian Sanctuary, which had been recently fabricated from stabilized neutronium. There a special vault was fashioned where all the weapon systems and other ingenious inventions of the Kent family and its associates were to be stored. Then, after modifying a copy of their teleportation device so it could move through the time stream, the interstellar spacecraft was hurled through time to two hundred and twenty-five thousand AD.

When the humans and their accompanying droids disembarked from their space ship, they were greeted by the Utopians of that future time. Working around the clock the Setlands and their droids placed the several dimension destroyers, disruptors, and a host of laser cannons into hidden firing compartments within their spacecraft's stabilized neutronium hull. The Setland's battle cruiser itself was now essentially impervious to any enemy's weapon system and could, if necessary, be a destroyer of enemy space fleets.

When all preparations necessary had been completed, Jeremy, his soulmate, and his older brother Ben with a half dozen droids set off for Canopus, the capital world of the Mid-Galactic Empire.

As the interstellar vessel hurled through the Milky Way, the hundred or so droids left within the Utopian sanctuary went to work to construct a large battle fleet to counteract any armada from the league of dark worlds if they were set in motion to conquer the free regions of the Milky Way.

On their journey across the galaxy, the ancient Earth humans studied the epic tales with the aid of thought spools that allowed the Earth folk to learn about man's conquest of the stars and the settling of the galaxy. The Setlands were shown great feats of heroism during humankind's many exploration efforts, disastrous wrecks in cosmic clouds and nebulae, and bitter struggles against stellar aborigines too alien for peaceful contact.

Sometime during humankind's expansion into the Milky Way, many criminals and fugitives sought refuge from the law in the cloud region of the galaxy and eventually founded the League of Dark Worlds, now a rival and at times a menace to the more civilized worlds and large settled areas within the Milky Way.

A few days into their journey to the Canopus star system an alarm sounded and ten war ships, league phantom cruisers, suddenly appeared on their ship's view finder. These sinister vessels did not show any kind of identifying emblem, but the shape of the intruding space craft was a very telling sign.

The video monitor showed a control room loaded with gray uniformed helmeted men who carried weapons with long, slim-barreled pistols and were preparing to board the Mid-Galactic Empire spacecraft constructed with stabilized neutronium.

One of the android crew stated, "While those men wear the uniform of the Empire, their physical appearances indicate that they live within Cloud's domain. Notice also that their coloration varies from a white to an ashen hue. Some of the ship's warriors possess a colorless and an unnatural chalk like white."

Android, I-23, who had spoken somewhat earlier, further remarked, "I believe we should contact the closest Empire naval facility immediately."

"Do so," Jeremy replied.

Within a few seconds, I-23 informed his human compatriots that the ten intruding vessels were blocking their spaceship's alert signals.

Soon after I-23's information, they were informed of their entrapment by a sneering Cloud trooper. It was then that Ben, aka Belton Arn, prepared the android crew and his family members for battle. Then, the Utopian cruiser set upon the apparently ten hostile intergalactic war ships sent by the Cloud with laser cannons blazing destroying the entire League squadron that had been dispatched to intercept and either destroy or capture the spacecraft traveling from the Earth environs to Canopus.

The few dazed Cloud survivors of the brief battle were captured and brought aboard the Utopian vessel where they were slapped in irons. Upon reaching Canopus, these individuals were handed over to the Empire authorities for interrogation. Then the stealth mechanism on their Utopian intergalactic battle cruiser was engaged, and the vessel was placed in a circuitous orbit about the Canopian solar furnace-sun.

Making sure the Utopian vessel was properly cloaked, Jhan Arn, Vel Quen, and the three antediluvian Earth Utopians began to grapple with the Empire's tactics and strategy connected with the current economic and military conditions throughout the Milky Way.

As they conversed, Linanna Jarsi of the Formalhaut Star Collection entered the conference chamber inquiring the whereabouts of Jhal. After being told, the noble lady appeared in Jhal's presence. As Linanna approached, the Setlands arose out of respect for her position and offered their greetings.

Kyle Lyz, who was accompanying Linanna, broke into peals of laughter as she remarked, "Such behavior is so antiquated and unnecessary to show respect to a noble individual."

Linanna, sensing that the people with Thal were Utopians, her people, faced Nardi, Kyle, and their entourage and asked them to leave the conference chamber. She had private words for Jhal and the other individuals in the room.

After the Nardi group vacated the area, Jhal and the others secured the room from unwanted spying instruments. The device displayed by Ben would visually and audibly proof a room from the outside snooping devices.

After a pause, Linanna declared, "I sense that we here are all Utopians.

"That's true," Jhal quickly replied.

Pointing to the Setlands, Jhal informed Linanna that they were from the far past — more than two hundred millennia.

Jhal then remarked, "Their names are Lara, Jeremy, and Benjamin Setland — Lara and Jere are soulmates. Ben has not been blessed with a life partner. He was the basic reason for their trip to our time continuum. Joshua, here, pointing to Vel Quen, you know. He was Richard's intimate friend and has also been my silent and intimate colleague and consultant."

Ben Setland then rose and added, "Linanna, since I was without a soulmate and you had unfortunately lost your potential life partner, I was requested to lure you away from Kyle, if possible, and prevent all the negative ramifications to the galaxy that such a union would engender."

After a pause, resounding laughter emanated from Linanna. The leader of the Formalhaut Star array then remarked, "I would never form any kind of matrimonial alliance with that Lyz clan."

Smiling, Ben then said, "I guess that Lara, Jere and myself won't be needed during this time frame." Ben then added, "I guess we can leave for home any time now. My research and medical duties call. How do you feel about my views?" Ben then asked Lara and Jeremy. They nodded their heads agreeing with their brother's comments.

Then, Ben took several paces toward Linanna, stopped, and remarked with fervor, "May the creator of the Universe grant you peace, good health, and continue to maintain your wisdom."

He then bowed to the cluster leader and kissed her hand. As Ben's lips touched Linanna's hand, an energy rushed between their bodies. The energy surge that rushed through Ben's and Linanna's bodies caused them to fall floorward, leaving them both breathless.

Looking Ben directly in the eyes, she said, "You and your family now have a reason to stay and help with the galactic storm that will be provoked by the League in the near future."

"What is Linanna implying?" Ben asked his sister-in-law, Lara.

Smiling, Jere's soulmate said, "Ben you have just discovered your life partner. Congratulations."

After hearing Lara's comment, Ben turned toward Linanna. "How did Linanna and you know, Lara?" Ben quickly inquired of his sister-in-law.

Then, Lara replied to her brother-in-law, "I could feel the electrical surge between Linanna and you as the two of you made contact." After a pause, Lara also added, "As your bonding charge went to you Ben and your soulmate, it also transferred to your brother Jere. This same charge was conveyed to me because Jeremy is my husband, and our special linkage informed me of the bonding event.

Then, Lara and Linanna helped Ben to his feet and Debra Noya, Linanna's Utopian appellation, took Ben in her arms. "You know, of course," Debra articulated to her soulmate, "only two of your party will eventually return permanently to your time frame. It is fortunate," Debra announced, "that because of Utopia's new and modified devices our families will be able to visit one another during our rather unusual and extensive lifetimes."

After Debra's declaration, Ben could better understand why his name had suddenly vanished after the Lois and Clark Utopian era passed into history and the next phase of the super civilization began developing. When library investigations occurred which provided an account of the Mid-Galactic Empire conflict with the League, the Utopians found that Ben Setland was linked with Debra Noya, aka Lady Linanna Jarsi.

In the normal jargon of the day, Belton Arn was the consort of Linanna of Formalhaut during their relatively extensive lifetime together and both functioned with distinction during the League war.


That evening, very soon after Debra and Ben discovered they were soulmates, Belton (Ben) was summoned to Linanna's (Debra's) apartments within the official residence areas reserved for foreign dignitaries and those of noble rank.

After Ben was admitted to Linanna's elegant lodgings, her servants were dismissed for the evening. Once alone, the two soulmates conversed to almost sunrise. The main topic of their talk focused upon Nardi and Kyle Lyz, two individuals who were enemies of most folk not allied with the League and had to be kept in the dark as to the rapidly escalating growing feelings between the soulmate pair.

During the days following the Setlands' arrival, Jeremy, Lara and Ben, all first-class scientists and physicians, and as far as anyone knew part of the Arn household, were provided with living accommodations within the Empire's special housing area.

Because of their scientific skills Jhal made sure that the Setlands were also provided with sub-rosa laboratory quarters. From their new clandestine working accommodations, Jhal Arn and his military were soon provided with a far-reaching scanning device which could penetrate any galaxy location that might be harboring forces with possible hostile intent.

Until the arrival of the ancient Utopians, the Mid Galactic Empire scanning equipment could not probe any portion of the League's dominion. With the new scanning implements, the Setlands had provided the Empire with the means to monitor all movement within the Cloud.

Lara, Jere, and Ben's new scanning device was a fortuitous invention, a G-D sent, since it provided the Mid-Galactic Empire with important information about the League, especially how the Empire's potential enemy used the Cloud's murkiness as cover when moving the fleets of space battle machines from one location to another. The Empire and its allies, utilizing the Setland's new equipment, discovered that the Cloud people possessed three times as many engines of war as was previously suspected.

The only weapon system that could currently prevent the Cloud League and their allies from attacking the free regions of the Milky Way was the fabled disruptor known from antiquity. The disruptor was known to have saved the Milky Way a number of times from invaders who came from other nearby galactic domains. The weapon itself was believed to have been created nearly a quarter of a million years in the past to save the galaxy's mother world — Earth.

It had been nearly a hundred thousand years since the great battle off Gemini ensued between the battle fleets of the Milky Way kingdoms and an outside galaxy. Under the command of Bren Arn and by employing the disruptor, their ancestors all but annihilated the Beast Beings from a galaxy cluster known as Andromeda nebula. The peoples living within the Milky Way survived that invasion threat to create its present magnificent galactic civilization.

Now, a new enemy, from within the galaxy itself, was menacing the tranquility of the Milky Way. The current Cloud peril, which was controlled by Kar Kam, a man who sought power for its own sake, was about ready to plunge the galaxy into a horrible war of conquest.

However, before Kar Kam would order his great armadas of intergalactic war ships into action, he had to know whether Bren Arn's disruptor was the deadly weapon history said it was or merely a fanciful falsehood to restrain any hostile kingdom that would arise within the galaxy coalition for the sake of conquest by using a fear factor.

When the clandestine Cloud operation by the Arn family and their subsequent evaluation of their sub-rosa data had been completed, the Utopians in the Jhal Arn court realized that the billion or so Utopians — Kryptonian descendents in actuality — were insufficient numerically to produce the necessary combatants to stave-off any Cloud armada that could be released by Kar Kam when he attempted to conquer the Milky Way — there were currently apparently twelve hundred trillion League inhabitants under arms.

Even combining the current Star Kingdom battle fleets with the Utopian armed forces would be inadequate to keep the League's military forces at bay without the disruptor. Unknown to most people in the galaxy, Kar Kam had been building his war machine for an extended period at a very rapid pace. The size of his military was now so extensive as to easily rout the democratic governments throughout the Milky Way. If the Utopian military were suddenly added to the defensive alignment against the League, their presence would make very little difference in a classic military campaign.

If the freedom loving people of the galaxy could survive this current crisis, future battle cruisers of the Milky Way battle fleets would be fabricated from stabilized neutronium and possess an armament that would consist of an array of laser cannons. This weapon, also an ancient weapon system, would be capable of shredding all kinds of matter reducing it to fragments. The proposed modern space fleets would be virtually indestructible.

If the League's armadas erupted from the Cloud, some battle cruisers with each Empire fleet would be constructed of stabilized neutronium and would carry weaponry consisting of laser cannons and a single disruptor unit. These special war crafts would provide the final and great destructive punch that would obliterate the rampaging League and its threat to the Milky Way and its people.

While the specially stabilized neutronium battle cruisers were currently being constructed, the building of these ships was slow because of outmoded methods of processing the new stabilized neutronium building material.

Those in the know were aware that Jhal Arn's military notions were of course for the future. At present the League's forthcoming military foray into the heart of the galaxy must be the essential overriding concerns of galaxy free fighting forces.

Now, Jhal said to his brethren, "All we can do is wait for Kar Kam's blow to fall and hope the man is wise enough not to attempt conquest." Then smiling, Jhal said, "Let's rejoin Linanna's birthday celebration."

Turing to his cousin, Jhal, Belton Arn (Ben) gave him a small package.

"Unfortunately," Ben added, "I can't join you at Linanna's birthday bash. I didn't receive an invitation to her shivaree, and it's not my nature to crash parties."

"What's in the box?" Jere quietly asked his brother.

"A birthday gift for Linanna," Ben quietly replied. "I still can be gracious in my own fashion."

Continuing, Ben added, "I purchased parts of her gift from that small jewelry store you accompanied me to from time to time. The diamonds, gold, rhodium, and platinum I mined myself and completed my birthday package to Linanna with the jewelry shop equipment I purchased with the salary we were given for our work."

As Ben was ambulating toward his apartment, he came across Dar Carrul followed by his family. The man, a leader of the largest Barony dominion, was as Ben, a Utopian. Both Ben and Dar (Daniel Stein) recognized their common lineage immediately and communicated their next few thoughts telepathically.

Behind his entourage was a girl of about three years of age who her step mother called Silvi (Lynn). Looking closer, Ben saw that Dar's wife was none other than Nardi Lyz — their marriage was a part of a political package that his governing council had forced upon him after the untimely death of his soulmate.

As Ben was about to continue toward his living quarters, Nardi said to her husband, "Dar, ask Belton to care for Silvi so we can really enjoy Linanna's birthday bash. He has not been invited to such an illustrious event. Her words hurt, but Ben simply smiled and said, "I guess my humanity is just second class, however, I'm still willing to allow my humble self to care for Dar's daughter; it would be a pleasure and privilege to do so." Nodding to Dar, Ben turned to Silvi and asked the young girl if she wished to spend an evening with him. Her smile lighted up the corridor.

As Dar and Nardi left Silvi with Belton Arn, the Baron's wife commented, "Are those tears I see, my love?"

Looking at Nardi and smiling, Dar replied, "Something must have irritated my eyes." Nardi nodded but did not notice that Dar's smile never reached his tearing eyes. Before another word could be uttered, the Baron and his distasteful political consort were off toward Linanna's birthday gala.

As the shadows lengthened, Ben cooked an elaborate meal for himself and his young guest, allowing her to help in the preparation of their banquet for two.

"Who taught you how to cook," Silvi asked Belton. "Your cuisine is delicious."

"A very gracious lady whose name was Martha Kent. I'll always remember her. Not only could she cook, but she was a kind and considerate person — both she and her husband Jonathan."

After their feast, Silvi asked Ben to be her teacher in the preparation of such delicious foods. His positive reply caused Silvi's smile to illuminate his usually lonely apartment.

After cleaning the eating utensils, Silvi asked Ben to take her to a spot where she could view a portion of Linanna's birthday gala.

As nearly total darkness surrounded the Arn palace, Ben picked up Silvi and floated them to an aerial location from which the child could observe the festivities occurring at Linanna's birthday bash using Ben's super eyes as her telescope. Silvi was too young to have developed any super abilities.

Sensing his brother was close by, Jere visually searched until he found Ben holding Lynn (Silvi) close to him and levitating just out of sight above the ballroom. He was allowing Dar's child to enjoy the frolicking folk at their party tables and on the ballroom dance floor.

When Linanna came to the Setland's table, she was introduced to Lara and Jeremy, Dan Stein and his devious and unwanted consort Nardi Lyz.

Jeremy handed Linanna two gifts from his family and one from Dar; the birthday lady acknowledged the Baron and his wife's generosity and the Setland's presents.

Standing next to the Formalhaut princess was Kyle Lyz; Nardi was her first cousin and the Baron's relative. Before those sitting at the Baron's table, Kyle, in a show of pure opulence and obvious poor taste, opened his own particular gift and placed a matinee length of jewelry that comprised a diamond-ruby pendant about Linanna's neck.

After a rather stunned Linanna Jarsi thanked Kyle for his most magnificent gift, his cousin Nardi Lyz remarked, "I'm sure not even your dual presents from Jhal's relatives will be comparable to my family's magnificent gift to the Formalhaut's noble leader."

"Actually," Jeremy said, "only one of the packages is from my wife and me. The other jeweled container holds a birthday token from my older brother, Belton Arn — he did not receive an invitation to this magnificent affair."

Linanna immediately opened Ben's present and saw a pair of huggie type earrings composed of white gold and relatively large yellow diamonds cut in a magnificent style.

Looking at the gift, Jeram Arn told his host, "My brother made them for our mother, Rachel, for her last birthday she would celebrate with us on our home world. My mother talked to us shortly before her soul joined her husband's at the Well of Souls. I must tell you she and my father were joined in their soulmate bond for nearly eighty years. As we were about leave her room our mother passed on. It seemed to us that she was aware that her time of parting was at hand. As she was slipping in the next world, she removed her special earrings and beseeched Belton to present them to the woman who held his loving soul within her own loving and caring being."

Snickering, Nardi Lyz remarked, "Those trinkets will never match the value of my family's present."

Lara, looking straight into Nardi's eyes said, "Your comment is tasteless. A gift passed through the ages that would be cherished by two lovers for a lifetime is worth more that all the riches one could ever glean from the universe." After pausing she continued, "Those earrings wait for another lifetime of affection between two soulmates, with all the trials and tribulations that accompany the love between two life partners."

Lady Linanna seated herself next to Loretta Arn and requested that she place Belton's (Ben's) gift in the perforations found in her ears — placed there when Linanna had been born and strangely had remained empty since the occasion of her birth. After the beautiful earrings had been inserted, Linanna asked Loretta and her husband why Belton Arn was not present.

The reply was swift and to the point. "My brother did not receive an invitation, my Lady," Jeram told her.

Hearing Jeram Arn's statement, Linanna swiftly rose and rapidly traversed the distance to her workroom. Reaching her invitation book, she found that Belton Arn's name had been expunged from her invitation list. Of course, no one knew how Belton's name would have been deliberately omitted from her invitation list. It would be an affront to the Arn family.

Upon returning to the Arn table, Linanna immediately saw that Nardi Lyz had disappeared from the area. She then turned to Jhal and apologized. The leader and ruler of the Mid-Galactic Empire graciously accepted her regrets.

After a pause, Linanna said, "This indignity to my friends is a personal vendetta." Then she added, "I'll get to the bottom of this affront."

Then giving Kyle Lyz a nasty look, she turned and was about to visit alone with other guests invited to her birthday shindig. Before she left, however, Lara remarked quietly to her, "Place your eyes at the top part of the wall near the pinnacle of the ballroom."

After a few seconds, her super eyes beheld Ben with Lynn's arms locked about his neck. As Linanna watched the two Utopians, she saw that Ben was busy describing the various dances and other party games and activities that were in progress to the sweet little girl.

As she continued to watch her soulmate interact with Dar's little girl, tears pooled in her eyes. She had just been shown the best and most thoughtful part of her birthday gala. Ben's actions with the young girl and his gift on her special day unequivocally revealed that he was truly her own soulmate and life partner.

Later that evening, Lady Linanna knocked at Ben's dwelling. When he opened the entrance way of his small apartment, Ben found himself staring at his soulmate. Within seconds, the two lovers were entangled within one another's arms.

As Linanna crushed her lips to Ben's, a young girl's voice said, "Is she the one you love?"

Looking at Silvi, his charge for the evening, Ben remarked, "Most assuredly, little one, my love for her is for forever and a day."

Then Ben picked up Silvi and presented her to Linanna.

Silvi then said, "She's a Utopian like us. Ben, after quickly looking about, closed the door to his quarters and said to Dar's offspring, "You are a very observant little girl and in this case correct. But Silvi," he added, "for the sake of our safety and your own protection, that information must be kept locked in your head whenever you are not in our Utopian sanctuary."

The young girl nodded her head in a positive nature and said, "I've been keeping my father's secret for a long time. Now, I'll not only keep yours and your soulmate's, Ben, but I'll keep the secret of all Utopians I will encounter."

When Linanna heard Ben's emotional expressions concerning his feelings for her, she at last had her definitive answer to a nagging question that had been coursing through her mind. Would he stay with her in a bonded soulmate pair when the League problem was eventually resolved? Now she had her answer. She knew he would stay with her. Linanna was also still somewhat surprised at the intensity of his commitment to her. The tingling that now inundated her nervous system told her of their great love and commitment, one for the other, which would be for an eternity of time.

As Lynn yawned, Ben asked his soulmate Debra, Lady Linanna of Formalhaut, if she would help him put Silvi to bed.

A short time after Dar's natural daughter was sound asleep there was a knock at his door. Linanna silently slipped into Ben's sleeping quarters as Ben as Belton Arn answered the door to his abode. There in his entrance way was Dar Carrul and his political consort Nardi Lyz.

When Nardi discovered that her step child was sleeping, she nagged her husband to allow Silvi (Lynn) to stay the night. She wanted to experience the high life, the game playing that plagued the Arn residence by lasting to all hours of the night.

Dar then ask Belton to bring his daughter to his quarters on the morrow. Ben readily agreed to Dar's request and opened the door to allow his friend and Nardi to leave. Dar was very gratified to Belton for providing him with the solution to stifle his political liability, Nardi his consort.

It also was to Ben's advantage to have Dar's entourage leave his abode quickly so Linanna would not be discovered and her reputation sullied. He also wished that the rooms within his home to be empty, except for Silvi, so Linanna and he could seriously converse about their current situation and their future.

During their lengthy discussion that evening, Linanna proposed an idea that would allow Benjamin Setland to visit with her without much suspicion surrounding his visitation. Linanna's entire plan was thus centered about the child Silvi. If Dar would allow Ben to be her guardian when he was politically committed, then Ben could meet his soulmate within Dar's garden or anywhere they thought safe and with Silvi they would be free to do as they wished.

When Ben returned Silvi to Dar (Daniel stein), Ben proposed what Linanna had suggested, which to Ben's surprise was highly acceptable to the Baron.

As Ben was leaving, Dar walked with him to his apartment. During their stroll, Dar told Ben that he was grateful for the free time his offer gave him by babysitting Silvi. Then more quietly, Dar said to his friend, "Watch your back. Your tactics to see your loved one, while brilliant in scope, is still fraught with some danger. Although Silvi will provide you with a shield as you and Lady Linanna see one another with a child, eyes, although to a lesser degree, will still watch the actions between you and the Formalhaut ruler."

"Thanks," Ben remarked to the Baron (Dan Stein). "That brilliant plan you mentioned was not due to my thinking, Dar, but was concocted by my soulmate, Debra (Linanna)."

As Dar was about to leave for a political hassle with some of the League representatives, he said, "It doesn't matter who proposed the Silvi idea, the plan belongs to you both. You and Linanna are life partners and that's all there is to that. You must know that Kyle Lyz has made it known directly and in a sneaky manner that Linanna is his girl. He has told many of his sycophants that he intends to make her his wife. Nardi Lyz, my political wife, is doing all that is humanly possible to aid Kyle's matrimonial aspirations. Consider his birthday gift to Linanna. It was a definite warning to other suitors to keep away."

Smiling, Dar ambulated rapidly to his meeting with Lara (Loretta Arn) and Jere (Jeram Arn), saying, "We shall meet again, my friend."

Several days later, one Belton Arn arrived at Dar Carrul's embassy residence to receive Silvi Carrul for an outing. Leaving the Baron's embassy, Ben escorted his friend's daughter to the first of many science museums and learning centers. Under Ben's tutelage, Silvi was fast becoming a first-class science student. The bond between the two of them was such that Silvi considered herself as having an added uncle.

On their first day together, and after having a nice lunch at the museum, Ben and Silvi visited Linanna at a session of the Galactic council. As they entered the great hall and approached the Formalhaut leader's permanent seat, they were intercepted by a troop of roughnecks from the Lyx clan. They drew their traditional weapons, similar to swords employed on an old Earth, but layered with a green material called Kryptonite. The name and the reason for the green covering substance on their metallic blades had unfortunately not been lost to history. Seeing the deadly intent of the Lyz warriors, Ben immediately covered Silvi with his body to save her from any grievous wounds.

When Silvi saw blood gushing from wounds in Ben's back, she screamed almost hysterically and loud enough for the work of the assembly to halt. Seeing her soulmate being assaulted, Linanna drew her rapier and slew six of the Lyz guards within a few seconds and was restrained from killing the remainder of the hoodlum guards by her colleagues.

Then leaning over her soulmate, she said to him, "Belton Arn, you've got to survive." Then she saw to it that he was rushed to the council hospital. A few hours later she was told that Belton Arn would make a full recovery, and she had nothing to worry about.

During the waiting period for Ben's surgery, Lady Linanna asked Kyle why he had his thugs attack an unarmed man with a young child who was simply approaching the area where Linanna had her council seat within the galactic chamber.

Kyle Lyx then replied, "I was just protecting my fiancee. My men simply over reacted."

Jhal, looking steely eyed upon Kyle's countenance, coldly said, "Not only do you have a viperous tongue, you compound your political ambitions and jealousy by lying." Pausing for a moment, Jhal added, "As far as I know, Lady Linnanna is not your fiancee."

As Jhal was speaking, Linanna was shaking attempting to control her anger. After Jhal had all but accused Nardi's cousin, Kyle, of being a scoundrel with murderous intent, he all but ruined Kyle Lyz's reputation with a series of rebukes, which would make it difficult for him to continue mingling within polite society.

Lady Linanna added the coup de grace — a finishing blow — when she yelled at Kyle, throwing his birthday gift — the diamond and ruby necklace — across the political chamber scattering the precious gems over the floor of the house.

Gaining some control over her emotions she said, "Presenting me with a costly birthday gift does not purchase a betrothal. That is a loathsome assumption on your part, Kyle, and it is a fallacy. Count Lyz you never have been nor will you ever become my matrimonial partner in this or any of my lifetimes."

Kyle immediately left the political chamber within the Arn residence with the remaining portion of his bodyguard and by that afternoon had left for home within the League's domain.

Later that day, Linanna could be found in Ben's hospital room holding Belton's hand as he asked about her and the welfare of Silvi. Under the influence of his pain medication, he said, "Debra, I wish that some day we will be blessed with a child like Silvi." Linanna was aware that her drugged soulmate made certain comments he would never had uttered if he were in a drug free condition.

Hearing the mention of her name, Dar's young daughter ran over to Belton's recovery bed and hugged her uncle as tears poured from her eyes. Then Ben brought Debra and Lynn close to him with his outstretched arms to ease the pain in his and their souls. "Easy," Debra said to Lynn, as they cuddled close to Lynn's newly created uncle and Debra's official fiance. "He's still in an injured state."

Turning toward the hospital doorway Linanna became aware of Dar, Silvi's papa. There were tears pooling in his eyes. Wiping his eyes, Dar entered the room and crossed to Ben's bed. Pausing for a second, the Baron said, "Ben, my brother, I'm giving your soulmate a packet of documents. It essentially makes Silvi your ward if something should befall me."

Ben replied, "With your unusual abilities, you're survive for an unusually long time as do most of us.

"True enough," Dar responded to Ben's rebuttal, but I can still be killed if a spacecraft upon which I'm traveling through the void were to explode. Thrown into space, I could survive maybe twenty to thirty minutes before my body became oxygen starved and I would be gathered to my ancestors.

Still in a drugged condition, Ben said to Dar, "I, Linanna, and your daughter are in great need of your countenance. I always had few friends, and I can't afford to lose any of them. Please don't do anything foolish. And, my brother, watch you back, and keep an eye on your consort, Nardi Lyz."

"Remember, Ben," Dar remarked, "I am aware of Nardi's ambitions. That devious woman still lives within our midst. She cannot convince me to support the League, nor is Linanna now in a vulnerable position to be forced by some means to marry Nardi's cousin and over time be coerced to allow the Formalhaut cluster to become an ally of the League. However, Nardi still may attempt to eliminate me to gain control of my Barony and in that position be able to form an alliance with the League. These documents I place with Linanna and you," Dar added, "must remain a secret and only brought into use if I am no longer on the scene to stabilize a take over of my Barony. The documents in this package grant you both equal rights when the protection of my daughter and Barony are at stake."

Dar then articulated his adieux and was off to another of his political meetings.


Two Years later Ben was pacing somewhat nervously in the delivery room at the Arn hospital complex on Canopus.

After the delivery of his expected fraternal twins, the obstetrician approached Lady Linanna's consort, Belton Arn, and said, "The first born is a girl child. Do you want me to alter the times of their birth so that the male will be placed in the first born position and will inherit the prime governing position?"

Ben looked at the physician said, "Why would you wish to perpetrate such a fraud?"

After the hospital physician had expressed his whys and wherefores, Ben said, "What you're suggesting has merit in a practical sense and would certainly make it easier for my daughter socially later in her life. Although my wife and I appreciate what you're attempting to do, we cannot steal my daughter's birthright. She is the rightful and future leader of the Formalhaut cluster. My wife and I will discuss how our son's and daughter's roles will interact when the time comes for them to lead our people."

"You feel that you and the Formalhaut people are one?"

"Yes, although I was born on Earth, my marriage to Linanna not only bound me to her forever, but also linked me to her subjects," Ben replied simply. "Physician," Ben continued, "I want you to know that my wife and I are partners; not only are we equals in the life we share, but in all the obligations we share. We hold no information from one another. She and I are one in all things possible. When Lady Linanna and I disagree, and we do at times, within several days I have generally ignored the causes of our disagreement and have removed the reasons that caused them from my psyche. She, I believe behaves in a similar fashion."

The physician then added, "Many people with whom I am in contact professionally or as friends believe humans cannot function as a single entity, as you've described, even for their own mutual good. They gather generally in function groups or join in a coupled relationship for their own benefit."

"That may be true of some couples or groups," Ben replied, "but there are communities I know where loving couples and even the entire society work for the welfare of one another."

Ben then said, "Physician, this discussion is moving into a very philosophical sphere, and our discussion progresses. I believe you and I can only be speculative in this with our views. Only the creator of the universe, I feel, would know how to answer to our queries."

Ben then added, "I tell you here and now, my friend, Linanna and I are a husband and wife team in the true sense, and we will function as one entity throughout all eternity. That I know somehow from the feeling within my heart and the loving thoughts that course constantly through cerebral areas."

The physician then said, "You appear to be a good man, Belton Arn, and yet I have watched as you are belittled before your wife for simply not bending your body in a salute to a politically appointed individual or low ranking dignitary who has been consigned to the Formalhaut court."

Pausing for a moment, the obstetrician continued his remark, "I've often heard your philosophical statements concerning prostrating one's body before your fellows. As I recall, you have said repeatedly that humbling oneself in a bowing kind of gesture is reserved only for G-D. You know, Belton," the physician further stated, "I applaud your views about your greeting gestures and paraphrasing your comments, which I've heard often, allow me to take your hand, my Lord, as a token of my personal friendship for you and your lady."

The physician then said, "Most who know of your medical help for the poor and your general love of people deem it a privilege to take your hand. Only the political scum of our galaxy criticize your views and refuse to shake your hand in a gesture of hospitality. Their actions, I believe, unfairly allow that group of low life an opportunity to make scurrilous remarks about you, your wife and this realm. The kiss that you present to your wife as a gesture of fealty is rather unique, but I feel is a more significant statement than a mindless prostrating gesture. You have to know that the people of this kingdom regard you and your wife in the highest esteem."

As they moved Lady Linanna's movable bed toward her private nursery suite, unknowingly to her husband she was crying. She had overheard the entire conversation between her husband and her obstetrician. Ben's comments were the most beautiful remarks Linanna had ever heard, and Linanna would treasure them for the remainder of her life. In years to come, she would tell their children what was said this evening, and hopefully, they would learn what is true and fine between husband and wife.

The following day names for the twins were chosen. Rachel was the appellation presented to the infant girl in honor of her grandmother and Kivi was named in honor of his great-grandfather.

During the first months after Rachel's and Kivi's births, the parents were nearly exhausted. Although Ben attempted to act as a house husband and allow his wife to perform her duties as the Formalhaut cluster noble leader, she insisted on helping her husband in the evenings. Attempting to be a mother and head a large galactic kingdom was proving to be exhausting. Although she and her husband possessed super abilities, they still occasionally required a sleep interval. Although they worked out a system in raising their twins, it was still a marginal kind of solution considering their other obligations.

Then a remarkable event occurred. Silvi (Lynn) became a miracle for Linanna and Ben when one day she entered the nursery. At that moment, Ben was attempting to feed his infants breast milk biochemically made with the aid of Linanna's (Debra) breast tissue and some essential chemicals combined in a biochemical synthesizer Ben had fabricated.

As Ben was hustling about the room, Silvi nonchalantly placed her hand in Kivi's crib to help quiet down the screaming and the exuberance of the child by wiggling her fingers near his face. Suddenly, Kivi grabbed one of Silvi's digits. Once he had her finger in his fist, the boy almost immediately quieted down and just stared at Dar's daughter. Then, still holding onto Silvi finger, he quickly finished his bottle and fell asleep.

When Silvi's presence quieted the commotion generated by her brother, Rachel too began to calm down and become more accustomed to a normal nursery routine. Within a few weeks, Silvi began to care for Kivi to a greater extent and essentially joined Ben and Linanna's household, of course, with her father's consent.

Linanna's pediatric staff also discovered that when Silvi neared the Setland twins, her demeanor generally decreased any turbulence within the nursery. Kivi always seemed to be with Silvi. While Dar's little girl and Linanna's male offspring did not quite understand or care about the implications of their constant closeness, Silvi and Kivi simply accepted the fact of the situation.

As Silvi and the twins matured, Dar sent one of the best educators in the galaxy to instruct his daughter. Ben and Linanna simply accepted Dar's tutor and provided him with a room within their household to initiate the learning process necessary for Linanna and Ben's fraternal twins. The tutor initially requested for Silvi by Dar was known as Pliny. He was one of the best household educators in the Milky Way and in time also became the political instructors for all the kids within Ben's household. Not only were the children provided with an excellent political curriculum, but the adults too learned from Pliny's political expertise by asking challenging questions of the political scholar from time to time.

In time Kivi and Silvi became one of the greatest scientific soulmate couples in the galaxy. Rachel, a scientist in her own right, when she wasn't guiding the Formalhaut kingdom, would work with her brother and his wife to create beneficial devices which would enhance the living conditions for the people living within the Milky Way.

Jhal indicated that his spies had ascertained that the League had determined a way to totally or partially negate the effects of the disruptor. Jhal's undercover people found out that the League's fleets upon invasion of the Milky Way would immediately enter the domains of the various star kingdoms throughout the galaxy as quickly as was possible. If the disruptor would be brought to bear upon the League's fleets, the kingdom targeted and its people would be destroyed along with the invading fleets. Loss of the League fleet would matter little to Kar Kam.

"So my colleagues," Kar Kam announced to the free dominions in the galaxy, "if you don't capitulate the free galactic kingdoms to the League, you will, in essence, be sentencing the people within the free Milky Way realm to annihilation. You'll have a year to consider the offer sent with my declaration."

When Silvi became aware of Kar Kam's ultimatum, she nonchalantly said, "Why don't the free kingdoms build a force field of some kind that would prevent an attaching vessel from penetrating a kingdom territory, Barony or other human domain, and then destroy the League's attacking armadas with the mystical disruptor as they travel in the vast emptiness of the Milky Way."

After the astonishment of Silvi's message subsided, Jeremy kissed her on her forehead and remarked, "That's the way to go. When the League armadas leave the Cloud, their battle fleets will become isolated within the vastness of the void unable to penetrate the space occupied by the galaxy's free worlds. Also, when the League battle fleets have begun their invasion of the Milky Way, we will have phantom cruisers seed the Cloud with anti penetration devices so their own fleets cannot return to the sanctuary of their home ports, further isolating them from the inhabited areas of the galaxy."

Within a week's time, a secret military project was in development headed by Lara, Jeremy, and Benjamin Setland. This project utilized thousands of scientists and engineers throughout the free galactic quadrants. These people rapidly worked to develop the working clandestine conditions that would enable them to produce an anti penetration device before the League made its military forays into the free territories within the Milky Way.

The scientific effort was accomplished within several months to the surprise and delight of the politicos. Some time after testing was complete, the free kingdom's new defensive weapon was operational and being massed produced.

Before the League fleets appeared, the anti penetration devices had spread over the various habitated regions of the Milky Way near their strategic periphery locations of the clusters. They would not be activated until the Cloud men struck. When the League attacked the freedom loving peoples of the Milky Way, the anti penetration electromagnetic field mechanism associated with each habitated area would be activated preventing any kind of League war vessel from entering a protected territory.

Merchant class intergalactic spacecraft of all types would still be able to make a journey between one milky region to another through special electromagnetic corridors, but they were restrained by the anti penetration pulses from deviating through prescribed and protected regions.

Since the League forces were unable to penetrate the star Kingdom's domains and other regions in the galaxy, they began to wander across the galaxy attempting to conquer any unprotected regions within their reach. As the League Armadas wandered, they had less military success. As panic within the League fleets commenced, Kar Kam's ships headed home. When it was observed that the Cloud's battle cruisers were running for home, the Setlands boarded their intergalactic star ship circling Canopus.

Soon the Setlands were joined by an android fleet of battle cruisers from the Utopian sanctuary and, at Lara's command, began pursuing one of the League's fleet battle cruisers now wandering in the void. As the android flotilla constructed of stabilized neutronium and armed with the disruptor approached a League armada near a habitated region in the Milky Way, both the League and the free world fleets began to discharge laser weapons.

Kingdom and Barony battle cruisers, supporting the disruptor ships, started to attack other portions of the League's space cruisers with their laser equipment and position their disruptor vessels into maximum destructive positions. When the disruptor power flowed, pale, ghostly beams emanated from the prow of the space cruiser toward the enemy fleet in the dim region of space ahead. The pallid rays appeared to creep slowly forward fanning out as it did so.

The crew of the battle cruiser bearing the disruptor was crouching at the ship's portals as they stared into the distance. While there seemed to be no change, the void where the pale beams converged seemed to begin oscillating.

Then the massed specks on the monitoring equipment, which marked the location of the Cloud fleet's advancing battle line, seemed to waver slightly as the oscillation increased. Then suddenly there was a flicker that appeared to run across monitoring scopes.

Then Captain Hull Burrel, commanding the intergalactic free fleet escorting the disruptor, groaned, "Nothing is occurring. The Disruptor contraption must be …"

Suddenly, a point of blackness appeared far ahead of the Setland's war vessel. The darkness began encapsulating regions of the void and escalated as the pulsing and throbbing void expanded and enlarged. Soon, the blot of blackness was forming more and more swiftly. The blackness they were observing was not the mere absence of light, but more like a living, quivering blackness no living creature had even beheld.

The ship's monitoring devices now showed that the blackness had already engulfed more than half the Grand Fleet that this Mid-Galactic Empire squadron had engaged. As members of the Mid-Galactic Empire fleet watched on their monitors, it became obvious that the battle line of Cloud ships had been overwhelmed by the darkness and were being swallowed by the growing unholy black field created by the disruptor.

"G-d in heaven!" Yelled Val Marlann, a now shaking crew member, the Disruptor is eradicating space itself in the targeted area.

The appalling and the inconceivable answer to the mystery of the disruptor's dreaded power flashed through Lara's and Jeremy's quaking minds as they watched the League vessels being enveloped into a null continuum and ceasing to exist.

Lara and her soulmate still did not fully comprehend and might never quite understand the science that drove their disruptor weapon system. The disruptor they created so many years ago to destroy an asteroid was now a weapon of war. From their minimal studies, it appeared that their disruptor produced a force of energy that annihilated not mass but space-time itself.

As they observed the blackness, Lara commented to her soulmate, "It appears the space-time continuum of our cosmos is a four-dimensional globe floating in an extra-dimensional abyss. The thrust of the disruptor beams seemed to destroy an expanding section of that sphere as the disruptor force thrusted it out of our cosmos taking whatever was encapsulated in the blackness with it as it went."

A second after the Setland's minds grasped the disruptor's working fundamentals, they became fearful of its resulting destructive essence. It was then that Lara convulsively ripped open the switch that controlled the space distorter. As soon as the disruptor was silenced, the universe seemed to go mad.

Titanic hands appeared to swat Lara and Jere's battle cruiser through space with unbridled power. The glaring white mass of Deneb began oscillating widely through the void. Comets, asteroids, and dark stars cascaded insanely through the Milky Way. Hull Burrel, the Setlands, and the android crew were hurled against the wall of their ship. As Lara and Jere grasped each other, the universe around their ship began to rise in mad vengeance against these puny humanoids who dared to lay their desecrating hands on the warp and woof of eternal space.

As Hull, the Setland family, and a few of the undamaged android personal began to function some minutes later, the disruptor carrying warship was still being tossed about by gigantic space storms. The starry vault of heaven seemed to have quieted some from its initial insane convulsion.

Val Marlann, Hull's second in command, with blood flowing from a large gash on his temple, was seen holding onto a stanchion shouting orders over the spacecraft's communicators so their own fighting squadron could regain its proper battle formation.

When Lara looked at Val, she noticed that his face had turned a ghastly white due to his injuries. She heard him tell Hull that their ship's turbines were holding and the disturbances in the void were stabilizing with increasing speed.

Turning to Jere and his wife, Hull remarked that the space quakes had nearly thrown their fighting squadron into Deneb. "The backlash reaction," Lara reminded them — space collapsing upon the hole in the space-time continuum the disruptor had created.

Hull then said, "Only half the Cloud vessels assigned to this battle front were destroyed by our disruptor unit. Other Kingdom fleets were more successful with their disruptor weaponry."

The surviving League's battle cruisers in this sector are running for home and attempting to reenter the Cloud, but to no avail. The Mid-Galactic Empire's anti penetration devices are preventing them from finding safe havens in their home ports. Unable to return to their home ports each League fleet, one by one, surrendered to the fighting forces of the galactic kingdoms and their allies.

As the Cloud dominion was surrendering, Kar Kam and a small group of battle cruisers managed to escape from the Cloud and were last observed speeding from the Milky Way into intergalactic space. To any one's knowledge, no trace of Kar Kam or his men was heard from again after their images vanished from the monitors of The Mid-Galactic Empire's warships that were pursuing the last of the enemy.


The Medical Storm

Following the fierce military encounters resulting from the League's failed attempt to capture the political authority of the galaxy, many casualties were rushed to medical facilities that were hastily constructed at strategic locations throughout the Milky Way. Unfortunately, after the horrific battles between the free kingdoms and the League finally ended, the medical personnel was now scattered throughout the Milky Way, and those healers still on the major planets were swamped and had difficulty providing even the basic medical needs so desperately required by the mutilated warriors who were embroiled in the galactic conflict.

Docking their fleet of battle cruisers at Canopus, the Setlands were appalled to discover that the medical community on the capital planet of the Mid-Galactic Empire was refusing to treat the ill, the weary, and the battle injured warriors after the fighting had long since ceased. Gazing in horror at the mass of suffering people lying on the floor of the assembly chamber, Jeremy looked to Linanna, but before Jeremy could speak Linanna placed her hand on his shoulder and said, "I'll take charge of this situation; you rest."

As Jeremy rested, Lara and Ben, using the troopers from their own fleet, began creating a makeshift hospital in the assembly area. Linanna found Hull Burrel and told him to collect the physicians and get them working on the injured people strewn about the assembly hall.

As Linanna was returning to the make shift hospital ward now being assembled in the hall, she told the fleet's commander to declare martial law and hang any of the healers who refused to treat the sick and injured now being assisted and sustained by the few battlefield medics that were serving with their fleet. The medical situation on Canopus was as critical and desperate as war itself.

Linanna later in the day discovered the petty issues that were causing the political squabbling between government and the healers. After getting the info from reliable leaders, she had the leaders of the healers' association imprisoned and held for trial — the healers' union goal was power pure and simple. Therefore, it was refusing to treat those in medical distress until they gained the power they desired.

After Linanna, with the aid of Hull Burrel, had stabilized the political and medical conditions on Canopus, she joined her husband, and in the company of Lara and Jeremy Setland, now up, applied their medical skills to save the lives of many injured citizens and fleet warriors.

When Jhal returned to his capital, he found the great political assembly turned into a hospital facility with his SOL Three relatives working like yeomen to save the lives of severely wounded warriors. Even the youngsters, Kivi and Silvi, worked on the noncritically wounded patients.

Silvi and the Setlands worked round the clock for five sun cycles till all the needed surgery was completed. Ben then thanked his family in public and the Canopus medical people who worked with them. Then they set up a military tent on the assembly floor and slept continuously for a two-day and night cycle.

As Silvi and the Setlands rested, Hull told Jhal what had occurred when their fleet had arrived at the Mid-Galactic Empire's capital city. After hearing what Linanna and Ben performed on behalf of the Empire and its allies, Jhal agreed wholeheartedly with what they were forced to do with healer politicians.

To make what Linanna did to the healers militarily legal, an electronic court was established. This body vindicated the Setlands, including Linanna, and then suggested that the union leaders be banished from Canopus and the humans involved during the war emergency be sent to the more backward and needy worlds to practice their medical disciplines. Medical supplies would be provided by the Empire and other areas of the galaxy.

Dar was very proud of his daughter and the manner in which she acted during this medical emergency. Looking at Silvi and the lad that held her hand to his breast, Dar knew at that moment that his daughter had found her soulmate: Kivi, Linanna and Ben's son.

Later Dar told Jhal, "Trouble is or will be brewing at home. I'm sure that my council will soon wish to select a consort for my young daughter, Silvi."

Then Dar dropped his little bomb. "My brother Jhal, Silvi has already found and chosen her soulmate, Kivi from Ben and Linanna's household. If the circulating rumors are to be believed, Tarvi is angling to have his middle son, Kile, who is several years older than my daughter, declared her consort and establish a future date for their marriage in an upcoming council meeting."

Taking a deep breath, Dar further remarked, "What a battle I can expect at home over this issue. If only my beloved wife, Silvi's mother, still lived. She would expose the political plot and defuse it saving our family's current quagmire. Silvi's mother was a master at dealing with this kind of intrigue."

After a brief period, Jhal said, "When the time comes, my brother, I'll be there for you. Neither Kivi nor Silvi will be denied either happiness or their heritage."


Some months later, Baron Dar and his daughter were summoned to Throom, the capital city of Dar's domain. Of course, Kivi accompanied Silvi and his future father-in-law on their journey.

Upon arriving on Throom, the noble family was greeted in a most regal fashion and that evening attended a gala reception in honor of their return home. Kivi, being several years younger than Dar's daughter was not considered a rival for Silvi's hand in marriage and was just ignored. Considered just a noble friend of the future baroness, Kivi was seated with most of the single young men at a table at the rear of the banquet hall.

As Kivi dined with his peers, Kile, after consuming somewhat more alcoholic spirits than he should, started to boast how he would wed Silvi and become her consort, and eventually, a prince of the realm.

It was at that moment that Silvi arose from the dais and walked toward the table at the rear of the hall where the young single men invited to the gala were seated. As Silvi neared her destination, the young men arose and bowed in respect to the heir apparent to Dar's Barony, except Kivi, who in turn kissed Silvi on her forehead. After kissing his soulmate on the forehead, Silvi took Kivi's hand, and he escorted her to the dance floor where Silvi placed her head upon her life partner's shoulder and began swaying to the music that permeated the hall.

As the couple glided upon the floor, Kile became furious. Filled with rage, Kile pulled his rapier and dashed onto the dance floor and forcibly separated the lovers. When Kivi and Silvi were pulled apart, Kivi immediately shielded Silvi and placed her behind him for her protection. When Silvi was safe, Kivi said to Kile, "How dare you produce a weapon and endanger the Baron's daughter."

After hearing Kivi's reprimand, Kile became even more infuriated by the rebuke especially from a relatively younger personage, a snot nose in his view. Loosing control at last, Kile lashed out and struck Kivi across the mouth. As blood flowed, Kivi led Silvi to the Travek table and asked the noble councilman to escort his soulmate to her father to protect her from harm. Turning then to Latham Travek's first born, he asked the warrior to please furnish him with his rapier. The councilman's male heir did as he was asked with admiration in his eyes for this rather young individual.

Thanking Latham for his kindness, Kivi kissed Silvi on the lips to the great surprise of all present in the hall. Then people gasped as Kivi turned to face his adversary weapon in hand.

Leering at Kivi, Kile lunged at his younger opponent eager to take his life as he expected to do in short order. Ten seconds after Kile assaulted Kivi, he fell lifeless upon the floor.

Returning to Latham's side, Kivi returned his new friend's rapier after first cleaning the weapon with a napkin he procured from Kile's corpse. Kivi then thanked Travek's son profusely for the loan of his rapier.

Seeing that Silvi was unharmed, Kivi prepared to walk back to his table. When the young man was striding across the ballroom floor, he suddenly felt cold steel penetrate his back.

Whirling about, Kivi rapidly advanced toward Tarvi who was gripping a bloody rapier with which he had attempted to disembowel his son's executioner. When Kivi reached Tarvi, he snatched the councilor's sharp blade from his hand and plunged the knife into his chest with a thrust that slashed the would be murderer's heart muscle ending his life.

When Tarvi fell, Jodi, his eldest son rose to enter the fray and avenge his father. Fortunately Lilli, Jodi's mate, prevented her husband from inserting himself into a clash that was really none of his affair. The deadly conflict had been brought on by his brother's and father's foolish actions. Later, Lilli said to her soulmate, "We'll work with the ramifications of this unfortunate affair."

When Travi went down, Kivi attempted to seek aid but collapsed after a few steps and became unconscious. As Kivi was struggling on the hard floor of the ballroom with blood oozing from his back, Silvi flew to his side calling for medical assistance as she ran, which fortunately appeared a few seconds after her cry for help was heard.

Fifteen minutes after the medical people reached Kivi, he was in surgery. Silvi was relieved when within an hour Kivi's surgeon told her that the love of her life would rapidly recover and not to worry. She silently murmured her thanks to G-D.

When Kivi was released from the Medical facility late in the afternoon on the following day, he was told to rest. No excessive moving about was his physician's command. Silvi attempted to enforce the physician's behests. When, due to exhaustion, Silvi fell asleep in the chair next to Kivi's bed, he quietly dressed himself, and exited the house.

After locating Jodi's abode, with the aid of some acquaintances, he made a bee line for his home. When Lilli saw who stood at the entrance way to her dwelling, she asked, "What do you want with our household, Lord Kivi?"

"I wish to speak with your husband, " he replied. "Do not fear, madam. It is simply a talk with Jodi that I desire."

Seeing that Kivi was injured, Lilli helped him to a comfortable chair. When Jodi entered the room Kivi stood, which was a sign of respect. Both Lilli and her husband recognized the gesture. Jodi, seeing that Kivi was in discomfort, immediately moved to help Kivi again seat himself.

After a moment of silence, Kivi said, "I want to share in your bereavement. Please accept my apology for slaying Kile and your father. I have never taken a life before this incident, and I never want to be placed in such a position again, if possible."

Jodi then said, "Do not grieve, my friend, for they would have murdered you without compassion. I found a letter written by my brother that told of a heinous crime, the murder of my mother. My brother was present when my father slew her without mercy and said nothing. When I read Kile's letter, I became aware that my father told him that Mom was interfering with his long-range goals to take over our Barony by linking our house with Dar's household through marriage. Initially, my father was unsure which of his sons would be his instrument to move his schemes forward. My mother, when she learned of my father's insane schemes, told him that she was opposed to his ambitions and informed him of her views. That was her sentence of death in my father's eyes. Since my brother was a witness to my father's atrocity and said nothing, he became the instrument of my father's political moves against our Barony.

"So you see, my friend, you became the instrument of retribution and foiled my father's foul deeds. My brother was readily seduced by my father's plans and did not hear his soul's call for justice because of several factors. One was his jealousy of me and my love for Lilli. Secondly, our father promised him power and the means to satisfy his lust simultaneously. In his plans, Silvi was his bait.

"I want to thank you for your consideration at the loss of my brother and father. Although my father and brother were the architects of evil, they were still kin and were good once in their lives. So, you should be aware that I do feel a loss at their passing. However, knowing that justice was served in my mother's name and that you, too, feel some distress, my friend, assuages some of my heartache and regret. Don't chastise yourself for doing what was needed when you were unfairly assaulted. Defending your life was just. I believe," Jodi said, "Good people's souls will always be pained when they need to take a life."

As Silvi's soulmate rose to leave, he said, "I'll keep your family's misfortune a secret. Their acts are not something that should cause you and your wife grief." After a moment of thought, he said, "Maybe Silvi should be aware of what occurred. Jodi and his spouse agreed with Kivi's final comment."

Moving toward the door, Lilli said, "Kivi, your wound is bleeding. Jodi, please get some bandages." As Lilli was tending to Kivi's injures, there was a frantic knocking at the door.

Opening the door, Jodi saw Silvi and a host of guards who rushed to the house. Seeing that Kivi was being attended too, Silvi thanked Lilli and her husband for their thoughtfulness as she helped Lilli complete her medical ministrations to her soulmate.

When some of the guards were taking Kivi back to his hospital room, Lilli told Silvi the entire story of Kivi's talk with Jodi. The murder incident was left out of Silvi and Lilli's conversation. Lilli believed that Kivi should tell his loved-one of the homicide incident and the surrounding events in private. Silvi left the residence of Jodi and his family with the feeling that the foundation of a new friendship between Lilli's family and hers was in the making.

Once at home, Silvi tongue lashed her soulmate for nearly causing her heart to stop. After Silvi had exhausted herself, she said to Kivi, "I do understand your motives. However, on your next outing of this nature please inform me where you're going so we can protect one another." Then she fiercely hugged her future husband as he murmured in her ear saying never again; he would never cause her such anxiety again.

After talking like a married couple for a while, Kivi revealed the murder incident of Jodi's mother by her husband with a promise not to expose the horrid incident for Jodi's and Lilli's sakes. The lovers then fell into a deep sleep wrapped in one another's arms. ***

Confronting The Council

Several weeks after Kivi had been informed by the healing center that he was fully recuperated, he was summoned before Dar and his governing council. Entering the council chamber the head political minister, Travek, said to Kivi, "What are your intensions toward Dar's daughter."

"If you're asking," Kivi replied, "whether I adore Lady Silvi, that answer is affirmative, sir. I'll love her for forever and a day if you'll pardon my use of a cliche. I believe that our affection for one another began several months after my birth when we made physical contact with one another. If you want a more mature reason for our feelings, you've come to the wrong person. I don't understand the mechanism of love except to say that in our case, our love has become stronger with time. I know that Silvi is three years and some months older than I and my twin sister, but the age difference has never tarnished my feelings for Silvi nor Rachel's strong friendship for Lord Dar's daughter."

Looking at the Barony's governing council, Kivi asked, "What does age have to do with love between soulmates?"

Pausing for a moment he continued, "I will not complete my education until my twenty-second year at which time Silvi will be in her twenty-fifth year. The time for our nuptials should really be our concern and the responsibilities of both our families. Knowing this will be a royal union, you, of course, will wish to have your say. I believe that would also be satisfactory providing the council does not wish to control our wedding. You realize I'm speaking for Silvi and myself. I feel uneasy about my declarations until Silvi and I have talked and have come to a meeting of our minds."

After a slight pause, Kivi said, "Gentlemen, I really have nothing more to say."

When the chamber had quieted, a loud voice from the rear of the room was heard in a loud and clear tone. The voice was that of Lenis, a friend and supporter of Tarvi, who Kivi slew in fair combat at the gala.

The councilman asked in a nearly combative voice, "Tell us about your strange mannerisms of bowing to demonstrate respect for a noble or a visiting dignitary."

Smiling, Kivi said, "I will take any man's hand in friendship. This would also include my own family, and of course, the members of a clan that my family knows extremely well. I would prefer not to touch an unknown female after she reaches the age of puberty."

"Tell us about bowing mannerisms," Lenis requested of Kivi. Linanna and Ben's son replied, "I am assuming you wish to hear my views concerning my reluctance to bow before another individual. Let me simply say that I only prostrate my myself before the creator of our magnificent universe. To show devotion and faithfulness to my wife, I would gladly kiss my beloved upon her forehead during a public display or at a grand ball where there would obviously be a gathering of nobles who came to Throom for a conference with political overtones or for other public or military reasons."

When Kivi thought the question and answer period was complete, Councilman Lenis asked still another series of questions.

As the others in the chamber watched and listened, Lenis asked, "How do you feel about the murder of Tarvi and his son Kile?"

First, Kivi replied, "Councilman Lenis must be aware of the differences between killing and murder. To refresh your memory, Councilman, killing is the taking of life usually in defense while murder is a premeditated life taking event. While war is a good example of killing, homicide illuminates the murder aspect of taking a person's soul.

"To make peace between Jodi, Lilli, and myself, I visited with Tarvi's first born. I believe we came to some peaceful accord. At least I hope so."

Council Lenis now thrust home and said, "You talk of war as if you are aware of its consequences."

Kivi did not respond to Lenis's question concerning war, the mass slaughter of people met on a field of battle.

As Lenis began to snicker at Kivi's silence, Lord Dar spoke up and said, "The young man whom you are attempting to relegate to a cowardice status was legally not permitted to join the combat troops fighting against Kar Kam and his League forces. His age forbade him from enlisting."

Angered by Lenis's attempt to discredit Kivi, Dar asked, "Where were you when the dying was at its greatest? I'll remind you, oh great and noble councilor Lenis. You were in a bunker within the bowels of Throom receiving messages about the various aspects of the galactic strife that was raging and sending that news onto the next outpost. Now, what did Kivi do during this rather crucial period you wished him to talk about?" Dar now remarked to the remainder of the council.

"When he was informed that Silvi had accompanied me onto a galactic war cruiser, he crept aboard our ship of war and crawled into a laser turret. As we fought our way through the League battle lines to position the disruptor, Kivi, with other men in the ship, was firing a laser cannon blasting enemy war craft that were attempting to overwhelm us. When a rather large piece of metal smashed his right leg, his battle companion within their laser turret pulled him to safety onto the ship's deck and tried to stem the flow of blood oozing from his wound.

"Silvi, who was at this period in the battle helping to dress the wounds of other severely injured warriors and helping with the laser units, was called to help a wounded youth. She was stunned to discover the trooper was non-other than Kivi who had again climbed into the laser cannon chamber and was wrecking havoc upon the attacking League forces.

"Crawling into the gun turret, Silvi hauled her soulmate from the fighting area to the ship's deck again and began to administer medical aid to Kivi who by this time had lost a considerable amount of blood. Since her entire consignment of her pain medication was exhausted, she told her life partner that the shrapnel in his mangled leg had to be removed or the infection that was already present would cause his leg to most likely be amputated."

Dar, continuing his address, said, "Knowing the consequences of doing nothing, Kivi nodded for his beloved to remove the metallic shard one could easily see protruding from his right leg. Without drugs to anesthetize the pain, Silvi placed her lips on his and rapidly pulled the object from his body. Of course, Kivi passed-out from the agony that ensued after Silvi's action. As she worked on Kivi's wound, a nurse finally arrived with antibiotics to arrest the infection and the narcotics for her soulmate's pain.

"Having his body somewhat restored to fighting trim, Kivi and Silvi made their way to the disruptor and had it operational within minutes. Minutes later trained disruptor troopers, after thanking Silvi and Kivi for their help, turned their attention to the disruptor and were soon in the process of annihilating most of the League's fleet, which was attempting to capture Dar's Barony.

"So, councilor Lenis, don't criticize Kivi's military ability or his willingness to stand and fight when it is required of him."

At that moment, Dar, his daughter and Kivi left the councilor's chamber.

Travek who had said little during the question and answer session called for by the governing council said, "Gentlemen, I believe you have just met one of the finest consorts to enter our realm. Dar's daughter is a most fortunate young lady."

"That may be the case, Travek," Lenis said, "but I will oppose the acceptance of this Kivi by the general assembly." Several other councilors murmuring in a low tone agreed with Lenis.

Travek then said, "If your opposition to Kivi is successful, Silvi will marry her soulmate and give up her rule of the Barony."

"Would Silvi do such a foolish thing as to wed such an overpowering intellectual?" Lenis sneered. "I recommend we look elsewhere for a consort suitable for our noble lady."

"Suppose," Travek said, "Silvi ignores the council's foolish proclamation and still marries Kivi. If Silvi follows her heart, the traditional ways of this Barony, what will you and your vengeful compatriots do?"

With a learning smile, Lenis then remarked, "There will be new family leading this Barony. The credibility of my statement lies in the fact that Silvi would have betrayed a most important succession law."

"You mean, Lenis, you'd allow this realm to be controlled by the Murzal family, which, as you know, is led by Asael, who is mad."

"Yes," Lenis immediately replied.

"Are you aware of Asael's moral and ethical principles; corruption supported by all the vile vices associated with humankind's most evil dogmas is his guide."

After a slight pause, Travek said, "You have been warned this day of the folly you are about to pursue." Then, glaring at his associates Travek exited the council chamber and resigned his political position upon the morrow.

Lenis, like any foolish politico, of course, still did not listen. His thoughts were focused on revenge, which didn't bode well for the Barony as he and the Barony's people would unfortunately discover to their horror. ***

A Noble House In Transition — A Barony in Difficulty

As soon as the governing council of Hydron Barony, a star group close to the Mid-Galactic Empire, rejected Kivi Setland as Silvi's consort, a metamorphosis began to occur within that solar region. Families and businesses began to relocate to other Empire worlds. The economy of Lord Dar's realm began a period of decline.

Within a short time after Travek had been gathered to his fathers, Lord Dar's highly regarded elder statesman's household departed the Hydron Barony for Canopus within the Mid-Galactic Empire.

While the political maneuvering was running rampant in Dar's realm, Lara and Jeremy joined their parents on Canopus. It was a festive occasion when Lara and Jeremy were reunited with their parents.

Once all the Setlands were settled, Silvi could finally meet and become acquainted with all her relatives.

After Silvi and Kivi married, the newly united couple, especially Silvi, helped Linanna administer the affairs of the Formalhaut Star Assembly. Linanna and her daughter-in-law, Silvi Setland, helped the Formalhaut governing council with the huge job of administering the tremendous area that encompassed the Formalhaut realm.

While the women were politically active, Ben and his son were hard at work in a concealed research laboratory. This research area was built just below the palace, and their investigations were treated as clandestine operations to protect Empire scientists and their families functioning within the Formalhaut laboratory facility.

While there was no hostility intended, interactions between galactic scientists working in the Formalhaut Milky Way sector ruffled some political feathers from time to time. ***

Chaos And Slaughter In The Hydron Barony

Nine years after the fourth of Silvi and Kivi's children was born, Lord Dar of the Hydron Barony passed away peacefully in his sleep. Soon after Dar's passing, the family members and his friends gathered to pay their respects in a state funeral held to honor a truly noble man.

As Dar requested, he was buried with his wife in a simple grave she had requested before her death. At the conclusion of Dar's funeral and memorial, the family and friends from many worlds attending Dar's funeral departed for their homes.

Towards dusk, two days after Dar's burial, the hell that was to manifest itself throughout the Barony raised its ugly head. Asael, master of the Murzal household and now the legal baron and guardian of the Hydron star cluster, ordered the military forces to seize the major facilities on Hydron's capital planet. His most trusted family members now directed most of Asael's legions.

As the Murzal family was rapidly taking control of the Barony, Asael and his murdering sycophants entered the government's council chamber. When all of Asael's personal guards were in position, the new baron, standing in the council chamber, ordered his military men to disembowel all Hydron's assembly leaders, save one, Lenis.

After the slaughter had been swiftly accomplished to Asael's satisfaction, the new baron leered at Lenis and said, "I spared you for the moment so you can harken to my profound thanks for destroying Dar's Barony and allowing my family to become the masters of the Hydron star cluster. You know, Lenis," Asael added, "you and your peers should have listened to Travek."

Then Asael, smiling, hurled a javelin into the body of Lenis. The thrust was accomplished with great skill so that his intended victim would die slowly with ever increasing agony as time passed.

Upon leaving the council chamber, he had all the dead councilors removed and cremated. Then he had the chamber sealed and posted a guard at its entranceway, giving orders that no one was to enter the chamber for a two-week period. When the stipulated two-week period had ended, Lenis's corpse was removed from the room of his liquidation and cremated. The chamber was then cleansed and prepared for further use.

If one were a good observer, he/she would have noticed the elected members of the Barony's general assembly gathering with trepidation to hear their new ruling noble make his initial address to the people's house. As Asael mounted the raised platform in the hall and moved toward the podium, a regiment of his military supporters entered and surrounded the council chamber, thereby isolating elected representatives from the outside world.

When the new baron reached the podium, he stared at the assembled people before him and then ordered his troops to round up the general assembly members and transport them to Dracmas, one of the three moons that circled the capital planet, Philadelphia, from which the Baron controlled the Hydron star cluster.

Those who resisted his order were dispatched immediately and their bodies cremated by laser incineration. Those representatives not murdered immediately in the people's chamber were then quickly transported to the moon called Dracmas. Although this moon possessed a breathable atmosphere, its average temperature was below the freezing point of water.

Soon after the Murzal prison ships arrived upon Dracmas, the former Hydron assembly councilors were off loaded without water, food, and protective clothing. Within three days or less, the Hydron assembly, an elected democratic body that spoke for the people ceased to exist.

As Asael Murzal became the absolute master of the Hydron Barony, any who opposed his regime in any way died horribly and his family was quickly eradicated. ***

Hide And Spy

As Asael was consolidating his power, the United Federation of Worlds was in session at their headquarters on Canopus. The main agenda for this political session was the expulsion of the Hydron Barony from the galactic organization.

Since the new Asael Murzal regime had violated the rights guaranteed in the galactic federation's charter, the Federation imposed a boycott on the Barony excluding the purchase of all but essential materials and medical supplies. Militaristic stores were forbidden items high on the inventory of boycotted items. Soon after, the galactic federation initiated an intergalactic blockade to halt the Asael regime's attempt to acquire relatively large quantities of sub-Rosa-cargo with potential military applications. The interstellar blockcade also cut the flow of all military type hardware.

Following a random search of cargo vessels destined for Throom, it was discovered that many were covertly transporting illegal materials to Asael's tyrannical regime. When the destination of this contraband material was ascertained, the electronic net surrounding the Hydro Barony was altered so ships carrying any material could not enter the boycotted star cluster. Only strategic materials, such a medicines and food, were permitted through the intergalactic blockade after a thorough search of the cargo ships headed for Throom.

Running low on weapon grade laser substances, Asael became desperate. To obtain the material he required, he sent a plethora of spies into various galactic realms to acquire, by any means possible, the frequencies controlling the electronic network that the galactic federation utilized to blockade his home planet. Asael was enraged when he was informed that only the Mid-Galactic Empire had possession of the electronic net frequencies.

Shortly after Asael received this info, there was an increase in Hydron spacecraft that began frequenting the Canopian capital city. Some of the arrivals at the Canopian space port made their way there as inconspicuously as possible and discharged passengers who almost immediately went to specific offices within the Hydron embassy. These individuals were obviously placed under surveillance by the Canopian counter espionage agencies.

In short time, about twenty-five percent of the citizens who had entered the Hydron embassy were found to be clandestine agents. The Canopian authorities kept them constantly under surveillance and deported those who were captured when involved in unlawful activities.

Soon after Jhal was informed of Asael attempted infiltration of the Mid-Galactic Empire's scientific establishments on Canopus, he contacted Ben and Kivi and asked them to meet with him and Lara and Jeremy, who were already living on Canopus. Lara and Jeremy's scientific works along with Ben and Kivi's labors in this domain were major scientific discoveries important to the Mid-Galactic Empire's knowledge trove. This information was gladly shared with many other democratic provinces spread throughout the galaxy.

After their covert family conference, Kivi and his father returned to Piscis, the capital planet of Linanna's realm, whose preeminent city was Aries. It was the capital city from which the Formalhaut Star Group was governed.

After dinner that evening, the two couples, Linanna and her consort Ben and their son Kivi and his soulmate Silvi went for a walk in the palace gardens. They ambulated through the beautiful grounds until they disappeared into an enclosure especially created by the density of the garden foliage.

Arriving at their designation, Kivi activated an electronic device concealed by a reddish figurine. The electromagnetic pulses emitted by this art like structure blocked all kinds of snooping instruments that could record any secretive discussion that took place in this garden spot.

When Ben was sure that their location was secure from intruders, he said, "My boy and I have a plan that must be shared with our soulmates." As soon as Ben finished his comments, Silvi uttered a muffled cry. Ben immediately transmitted what Silvi had picked up telepathically from Kivi.

"No," Silvi immediately said, "Kivi, I won't let you or your father undergo such a dangerous mission." Once Silvi again gained control of herself, Linanna quietly told her soulmate that she agreed with her daughter-in-law's rather emotional outcry.

After a pause in their debate, Ben said, "I've already spoken with Jhal and we unfortunately arrived at the same conclusion. Asael will create some pretext to begin to liquidate people he doesn't trust and who are unfortunately ensnared on the boycotted home world of Silvi's Barony. The enemy, I'm sure, will eventually attempt to use Silvi as a catalyst to extend their military control."

Ben continued, "However, we all know that it will take Asael Murzal considerable time to construct even a small battle fleet under the stringent conditions his boycotted planet currently exists. But let me assure you that in time the tyrant will expand his activities as he acquires the destructive power he now craves, and such moves will cause mayhem on his prison planet. Since the people on Dar's old home planet will not aid him in any way, Asael, in his madness, will begin to exterminate many of them to bring the remaining people to heel and be able to fulfill the quota of troopers for his regime needs.

"Jhal, on our behalf, will ask the galactic council that we be allowed to manufacture ten battle cruisers with laser cannon armaments. One of these war vessels will also carry a disruptor weapon system. The disruptor bearing ship and nine other fighting vessels will be stationed in the Piscis star system to be used when the boycott screen is lifted, and they'll attack and destroy Asael's regime.

"The Intergalactic Council, of course, will be unaware of our special warships, which will be constructed from stabilized neutronium — a nearly indestructible material. It is important that the galaxy does not know of this indestructible material.

"I agreed with Jhal, but I told him that you, my beloved Linanna, must agree with my clandestine views and that we would not make a decision until Jhal had discussed our current situation in the very near future and obtained some sort of accommodation."

Seeing the surprised look on Silvi's face, Linanna said, "You and Kivi must come to some agreement about how your constitutional monarchy functions when your family is reestablished as the Hydron Barony leadership."

Silvi, looking at Ben and Linanna, asked. "How do you two manage your dual roles — husband and wife and Kingdom leaders and consort?"

After a slight pause, Linanna said, "Ben and I have a partnership both within our home and governing this realm. When we do things separately, as in this particular instance, we privately come together to establish the best course of action for us and our people. All items that pertain to the Formalhaut star cluster are our mutual decisions."

"Because of this tradition we have established," Ben added to his soulmate's thoughts, "it appears that Linanna holds the reigns of power throughout the Formalhaut Kingdom. That is far from the truth. We, as a couple, have managed this entire kingdom together even though our people believe that Linanna wears the pants in our family and in the assembly."

"After a slight pause, Ben continued, "I and my beloved wife don't like this deceptive course of action, but for us, a Utopian mated pair, there is very little choice if we wish to possess a life that Linanna and I most desire. Our daughter, the next guardian or should I say the ruler of the Formalhaut domain, is aware of how Linanna and I operate and agrees with our particular scheme. That's why she has been so patient in her search for a soulmate. The partnership between Linanna and me that I have described is on the line if we fail. To be truthful, we are trying to assist Rachel with her soulmate problem."

Several days later, Silvi approached Linanna and told her that if she ever reestablished her father's house, she and Kivi would follow, with some slight modifications, their method of governing their galactic barony cluster. Silvi added, "Your system makes sense since we have been doing everything together as a loving couple."

Two weeks later, at a meeting within the same garden spot, Linanna and Silvi reluctantly agreed to allow their most cherished soulmates to infiltrate territory. The intergalactic council had agreed to Jhal's suggestion.

To support their efforts, Ben and his son Kivi spent about three months exposed to a special Earth type sun lamp to develop their Utopian super abilities. At the end of this time period, their Earth sun lamp exposure time was halted. Kivi and Ben infiltrated the capital city, Throom, of the Hydron Star Cluster. As the ship under stealth conditions orbited the planet, Ben and Kivi teleported into an empty house in Throom.

By using their now developed super powers, secretly the father and son team began collecting information. They discovered that the mad man was preparing to destroy the entire population on the boycotted barony planet except his own family as Jhal and the Setlands had correctly guessed earlier in that year.

This data was immediately forwarded to Jhal. Most other info the father and son team gleaned from the military meetings they secretly spied upon and from the brutalized and maimed people lying in the streets and boulevards of Throom struggling for breath and begging for sustenance. All of this damming data was transmitted telepathically to Piscis in a steady stream from Asael's home planet.

When Linanna and Silvi reviewed the clandestine info from their husbands, something in Silvi snapped and she began using her and Kivi's lab again. Dar's daughter, unknown to the remainder of the family, was creating a neutron bomb. When Silvi completed her task, she planned to carry death through the teleporter to Throom. Her aim was to destroy all life on the planet now dominated by Asael and his bloodthirsty relatives.

As Silvi began preparing her neutron device for detonation on Throom, Kivi, while cleaning their lab, became aware of certain critical material scattered about his wife's lab bench. Kivi immediately charged in the living quarters of his parents. "Mom, Pop," Kivi yelled, his voice shaking uncontrollably. Linanna and Ben came running into the living room. Grabbing her son, Linanna attempted to calm his almost uncontrollable nerves.

Placing his head on his mother's shoulder, Kivi said, "Silvi has produced a neutron bomb and has teleported it to Throom. When it's detonated, all life on the Planet will be obliterated."

As Kivi went through the teleporter to find his soulmate, Jhal received a message from Ben explaining what was about to occur. Jhal hurried to the Intergalactic Council and interrupted the session and said, "Your political deliberations have gone way beyond reason. Because of your palaver, more than a billion people may soon perish."

Pausing for a moment, Jhal said, "I'm leaving this chamber in a few moments and calling my own council together to ask that the Mid-Galactic Empire withdraw from your worthless organization. This assembly has twenty-four hours to leave this planet and the territory controlled by the Mid-Galactic Empire."

"You wouldn't dare," the council leader roared.

"Any of you still on the planet after the deadline will be incarcerated within one of the jails." Then Jhal turned his back on the delegates and left the chamber.

Kivi hit the ground running using the signal from his soulmate's communication system to locate Silvi. Locating his wife, Kivi attempted to logically convince Silvi not to use the neutron device to eliminate all life on the planet.

In a wild state, Silvi said, "My people will perish from a worse death at the hands of Asael's sycophants."

Still trying to reason with his distraught spouse, Kivi leaned forward and disabled the wiring system on the bomb. Silvi, in a rage, struck Kivi in his head with a laser, which discharged and slashed part of Kivi's forehead running to his cheek.

Silvi's blow and the beam from the laser weapon did its work; Kivi tumbled into a chasm along with the disabled neutron device. Muttering in anger for being foiled, she made her way back to the teleporter and was whisked to the palace on Aries.

When Silvi returned to the Formalhaut cluster, Linanna saw that she was unbalanced and ordered her guards to escort her to the palace hospital.

Some hours later, Kivi opened his eyes and stared into a child's face. Kivi smiled and closed his eyes. ***

Present Day Earth

In the condominium of Bernie and Ruth Klein, each a world famous scientist in his/her own right, Bernie had just arrived home after one of his long days at STAR labs. As Bernie and his wife were enjoying a light meal, five mobsters, members of inter-gang, invaded the Kline abode.

On the second level, Davi who was bottle feeding his infant sister, a change of life baby, heard screaming as his folks were beaten, kicked and stabbed in an effort to obtain knowledge about the teleporter device Inter-gang had learned about. Davi immediately called the police, who left for the Klein residence at high speed. The phone suddenly rang; an informant told the gangsters that the authorities were on their way and should scram. Instantly pulling a revolver, one of the mobsters shot Bernie and his wife Ruth.

Unfortunately for the killers, there was a camera that had recorded the entire scene. All but one of the hit men were apprehended within twelve hours, and after questioning and plea bargaining, the law agencies commenced to dismantle the crime organization of the Churches and Inter-gang.

Davi, realizing what was at stake, gathered all his parents' notes on the teleporter and transported them to the Kent sanctuary beneath the Smallville farm. When all his Father's papers had been hidden, he contacted his older married sister, told her what had occurred and asked her to handle their parents' estate. He and their baby sister Rebecca were going into hiding. Wishing his sister Sue a good life, he broke the phone connection.

Using the teleporter, he and Rebecca transferred to the Kent clan's clandestine abode — super ones sanctuary. He sorted his parents' notes and deposited them in the Ort vault. Then using the secret phone within the passageway wall he sent a desperate message to Lois and Clark.

Davi set up the lactating device his father had constructed using a small quantity of Mom's breast tissue as the central core. Within ten minutes several bottles of Ruth's lactating fluid was ready for his sister.

After Rebecca consumed her fill, Davi placed a diaper cloth over his shoulder and burped her, releasing gas from her stomach. Davi then placed his baby sister in a crib he located in a room of the main passageway under the Kent farm. In minutes Rebecca was asleep. Davi then sat down in a chair next to his sister's crib and began to grieve for his folks.

During the following weeks, Rebecca's needs were taken care of by his father's nursing apparatus. Davi was just barely able to sustain himself from the garbage he located in Mazie's refuse containers.

As Davi waited for help he really didn't expect to come, things were occurring more than two-hundred thousand years in the future. A Utopian guard rushed into Lois and Clark's secret retirement quarters and showed them the time-space message. They called Thal Arn and showed him the message.

Within an hour, Lois and CK, with Jhal, were hurtling through time and space toward twentieth century Earth and the old Smallville sanctuary.

Arriving in the passageway under the Kent farm, the time travelers discovered a sleeping young man seated next to a crib bearing an infant.

When Davi saw Lois and Clark, he asked them if they were carrying food.

"Why?" Lois asked Bernie's kid.

"Mazie's garage kept me alive, but I would like some decent food for a change."

After the time travelers heard his story, Lois furnished Davi a decent meal. As Bernie and Ruth's youngster began to eat, his hands began to shake. Then Lois and Clark, Jhal, and some other Utopians realized that the lad was on the verge of starvation. Lois then turned toward the wall tears spilling down her face.

Davi, after eating, immediately checked on his sister making sure she had sufficient milk to nourish her.

After calming himself, Davi asked Lois and Clark if they could take him and his infant sister with them. "We have nowhere to go and Inter-gang will be hunting for us to obtain the secret of the teleporter. Without it that criminal organization is now doomed. If you don't have a place for us both, please take Rebecca and leave me. She cannot defend herself and deserves a life. I'll try to survive and find a spot where I can hide."

Jhal then quietly said to Lois, "If I were ever to have a son, I hope he'd have the courage of that lad."

Lois then said to Jhal, "His name is Davi. We're not leaving anyone behind. Let's go home."

Picking up his sister and his father's lactating equipment, he followed the others into the time vessel.

Within minutes, they were traveling through the haze of the time-space continuum. The time vessel landed within the Utopian chamber on Canopus, situated within the palace. Since the special chamber was not hidden, the living area was not an area that interested the folk that frequented the palace for various matters. Thal immediately provided Davi and his infant sister with an apartment complex and nurse to help Bernie and Ruth's only son with his sister Rebecca.

Many people who lived in the undefined Utopian area were rather amused by the actions of Davi toward his sister. When Bernie's son obtained a baby conveyance, he modified the carriage so it floated using magnetic forces. Then, he could easily transport Rebecca about his home whenever he wished to investigate the palace and other areas of Canopus.

When Jhal and his scientists observed Bernie Klein's feeding apparatus, they became very interested in the lactating equipment and, with Davi's permission, duplicated the device and presented it to all new mothers in the Mid-Galactic Empire. Eventually, nursing equipment from probably the twentieth century's greatest scientist was being utilized in all the living areas throughout the Milky Way.

Soon, it became known that the new kind of baby transport and the lactating equipment were the result of Davi's and his family's endeavors. These devices added some stature to Davi's character, and the oddball stigma associated with Davi Klein slowly faded.

After Davi settled in, he built a lab-study in an unused room within his apartment complex. In this special room he initially studied all the science that was common in the society that would be his and Rebecca's home.

Since Davi's and his sister's genes had been altered by Bernie's genetic converter, they both had or would develop super abilities. His powers, of course, had already appeared. It was his father's desire that he and his sister would become Earth's new superheroes when Lois and Clark in time passed from the scene. So, for the next several years, Davi studied and cared for his sister. He was very thankful to Jhal for his family's companion, nurse Sabra.

As his academic studies intensified, Davi also took lessons from a master at arms, Eli by name. Within a few years, Davi was himself a master in the use of weapons — a rapier, a Bowie blade, and a tomahawk. Eli had learned of the ancient weapons from Clark Kent, mastered their use, and passed on the knowledge to deserving individuals.

Eli was one of the few individuals who Davi asked to grace his table every Sabbath evening. The other welcomed person who joined his family on his Sabbath was Jhal, who also attended Davi's Friday evening meal as frequently as he was able.

About four years after Davi and Rebecca's arrival on Canopus, they both were walking through the center of the palace to view the newly elected assembly take their place within the chamber of the people. As he was explaining the various functions, a woman's voice remarked, "It's nice to see a father taking a hand in the raising of his daughter."

Before he had a chance to request her name and reply to her statement, a man intervened and said, "Rachel, let's chow down. I have only a little time before my political duties consume most of my time."

The woman called Rachel turned without as much as a goodbye and walked off with the man whose named he didn't know. There was no introduction.

What Davi didn't know was that his thoughts were mentally received from the woman he had just spoken with. As Rachel looked back at Davi, she heard him say, "Let's go home, sis, and back to our reclusive ways. We don't have to tolerate people like those two individuals."

Rachel watched as he picked up his little sister and headed for the apartment complexes in the rear of the people's palace. As Rachel again assumed a more direct route toward her destination, Elwill, her escort for the moment, asked, "Rachel, what distracted you from my fervent and loving attention?"

"It was a relatively minor and insignificant distraction," she replied, and off they went to an eatery outside the palatial grounds.

That weekend, Rachel teleported home. Her parents, Linanna and Ben Setland, warmly greeted her.

As they partook of a simple family meal, Rachel, heir apparent to the Formalhaut star cluster told them what had occurred when she spoke with a young man caring for a small girl, just prior to her meeting-up with Elwell. Rachel also told them what mentally occurred and the thoughts she heard from the young man as she was moving off with Elwell. Ben said nothing as his daughter informed her parents of her unusual experience.

"What do you think I heard?" Rachel asked her father.

Smiling, Ben said to his daughter, "Somehow, Rachel, you stumbled onto your soulmate."

Rachel laughed and replied, "I've always considered Elwell as a suitor."

Ben, saying nothing, rose from the table, kissed his daughter on the forehead, and crushed Linanna's lips to his. Then Ben left the dining area.

As her father left the area, Rachel stared at her mother and said, "What's wrong?"

Linanna contemplated her daughter's query for some moments and then said, "Your father loathes Elwell. He believes Elwell is paying you court for his political designs and advancement."

"Why didn't Pop tell me how he felt? He's remained silent for a long time."

"That's my fault," Linanna said to Rachel.

"Does Pop do whatever you tell him?"

"No, Rachel, we are partners in all we do, including guiding the realm. In this case, my child, I was wrong, but he did as I asked out of love for both of us. I overheard your father mutter a quiet prayer hoping G-D would protect you from harm."

Looking at her mother, Rachel said, "I hope to G-D that I find a soulmate like my father. Mother, You are one fortunate lady."

"You got that right, Rach."

Now I'm going to need your help, Mom. "That man with the little girl," Rachel said, "how do I locate him?"

"Leave that to your father and me. Now that you have a hiatus from the university, rest and enjoy a little of the high life on Aries. ***

A Soulmate Found

Soon after Rachel began visiting the entertainment centers on her home planet with her friends, Linanna teleported to Canopus and asked for an audience with Jhal. A few minutes later a smiling Jhal came from his office and greeted Linanna.

"Where's Ben," Jhal asked.

"Holding down the fort while I do a little investigating."

"What's up?" Jhal then asked of his friend.

"I'm looking for a young man who is caring for a baby — a girl baby to be more specific. Have you seen such an individual?"

"Yes, Linanna. Why would you wish to see them?"

"The young man I speak of may be Rachel's long sought soulmate."

"Wow," Jhal said in a surprised voice.

Then taking Linanna by the arm, Jhal said, "Let's pay them a visit." The leader of the Formalhaut cluster broke into a smile and followed her friend to an apartment located off a relatively quiet hallway.

Just as Jhal knocked on Davi's doorway, Lois and Clark arrived there. Before Jhal could ask why the Kents were seeing Davi and his sister, the entrance way opened. There stood a handsome young man whose face broke into a smile upon seeing his visitors.

After inviting his guests into his home, Davi asked whether anyone wished a beverage, coffee, or tea. He then produced what was asked for and served the beverages to his guests.

Looking at Lois, Davi said, "If you'll wait a few minutes, I'll have brownies for you, a la Martha style." After a pause, Davi added, "The brownie offer applies to all present."

Lois, feigning a somewhat perturbed look, said, "What? You're going to give some of my brownies away?"

CK then commented, "Lois your comments are not very nice."

Placing his arm on Kal-El's shoulder, Davi said, "Don't worry, CK, I'll bake enough of Martha's special brownies to satisfy even Lois' over active chocolate craving."

Turning for a moment, Davi placed a cup of breast milk into his sister's hands and as she raised the cup to her lips, Davi kissed Rebecca on her forehead. Then turning to the Kents he asked what was up.

Pausing for a moment or two, Lois said, "Clark, Hull, and I returned to our old haunts. We discovered that your older sister made sure that your parents were interred properly, their estate was distributed properly, and you successfully placed all Bernie's papers in the Ort cloud. Dick and Lori's descendents and CJ's offspring would carry on the Superman tradition and eventually discover Bernie's papers and experimental models in the Ort fortress. His work is now in he hands of the Utopians and has been used to protect our people throughout the Milky Way."

As Lois was telling Davi the details of his parents' interment and the division of their estate, Linanna saw tears pooling in Davi's eyes and she heard the sobs he quietly uttered. Then to the amazement of Ben Setland's soulmate, she saw Davi's sister place her arms about his neck and try to sooth her brother's anguish. In return, he lifted his baby sister and rocked with her until his sorrow subsided.

Then he said, "Someday, if I'm able, Rebecca, together we'll pay our respect to our parents and say a prayer over their graves. Then the hole in my heart will be assuaged to some degree." Then turning to Jhal he said, "What do you and your lovely companion wish of me? If I can help, it will be my pleasure."

Jhal replied, "I told Linanna that in order to break your reclusive living style, you and Rebecca should get away for a time. Linanna, my dear friend, is willing to provide you and Rebecca with lodging in her palace on the capital planet within the Formalhaut cluster.

Smiling, Davi said, "My dear noble lady, I thank you for such a generous gift. However, since I lack any appropriate funds, I would essentially be a recluse in your house. So, since my solitary situation will not be altered wherever I reside, Rebecca and I may as well remain on Aries. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm needed in the lab. You may remain in this abode as long as you like. Rebecca, I'm sure, will enjoy your company."

After Davi had taken his leave, Jhal called the director of research on Canopus. There, he learned that Laval industries had received a patent for the milk producer and the magnetic baby transporter. Jhal was shocked and started to pace about Davi's apartment carrying Rebecca.

After a few minutes, he informed Lois, Clark, and Linanna what he had discovered from the research offices of the Mid-Galactic Empire. They were shocked at what Jhal had told them. It was pure larceny on the part of Leval Industries.

Apparently, Lyle Laval had intentionally had his corporation patent these two inventions in the Laval name although the giant business did not help in the development of either invention with financial assistance or with laboratory services. Later, when a lawsuit was submitted against Laval industries, it was dismissed within a week. It was learned that Elwell, the second son of Lyle Laval had orchestrated the dismissal of the lawsuit against the Leval Corporation.

The day after the legal dismissal of the lawsuit, Jhal visited the leader of the Intergalactic Assembly. Jhal got right to the point. He demanded they get Elwell to remove the blocking petition preventing the lawsuit against Laval industries or they would have to locate another site for their intergalactic meetings. In addition, the assembly chief was told in few but meaningful words that the Empire would withdraw from the intergalactic organization.

Jhal wanted an answer by the following day.

Jhal also discovered that Laval's corporation funded the judge who dismissed the initial lawsuit, which was against the laws of the Empire. Only government funds could be provide for elections.

The Judge was summarily dismissed from the bench. This action caused an unwanted ripple through the legal system on Canopus. Without further ado, the corruption within the court system rapidly dissipated and was gone within the year.

While the court system was weeding out corruption, the Laval Corporation was stalling. Jhal was not one who played games; he seized the giant Laval enterprises and all its assets using government and banking authorities.

Within less than a week, the Laval group of industries released the patents and all the monies fraudulently earned from their swindling ways. A fine of twenty percent from all Laval's funds was assessed and paid to the government.

The patents and all the monies were presented to Davi who immediately made them property of the government perpetuity to be used to help worthy students with their studies and other creative endeavors. Jhal wrote into transfer documents that fifteen per cent of all proceeds from Davi's initial patents would be placed in a financial account in Davi's name and be in his family's possession for all times.

After the legal finagling was over, Davi with his sister Rebecca traveled to Linanna and Ben's home in a palace in the capital planet of the Formalhaut cluster.

Linanna and Rebecca hit it off straight away. Linanna took her on the town may times and was amazed that she didn't ask for anything although her eyes scanned many items with interest. While Rebecca was having the time of her life, Ben Davi had many scholarly discussions ranging over a plethora of subjects.

During the Kleins' holiday on the Formalhaut capital planet, Rachel happened to run into Davi. The heir to the Formalhaut leadership was somewhat stunned at the sight of Davi. She wished to known who had invited him to her home. The tone of questions was not all friendly.

Controlling his mood, Davi nicely told her, since she inquired, that her parents had invited his sister and himself to spend a holiday at their home.

That evening Davi was restless and was wandering about Linanna and Ben's home. As he meandered, he heard a turbulent argument between Rachel and her parents.

On the following morning, Davi told Ben he and his sister intended to return to Canopus.

As he arose from the breakfast table, Ben said, "You overheard Rachel's discussion with Linanna and me."

Smiling, Davi responded, "It wasn't a discussion, my friend. Your vocalizations were more like a war. I don't understand why she doesn't seem to like me, but that's life."

Ben then said, "I was hoping that you two would hit it off and something along a marital line would occur."

"You must be aware that we have binding auras that indicate a strong possibility that Rachel and I are soulmates, but since there have been no physical contacts between us, such as in a dancing situation, any soulmate activity between us cannot be verified, and the way she considers my views, that kind of closeness in very unlikely."

At that moment, his sister Rebecca entered the kitchen area. Davi asked Ben to feed his sister. "I need to take a walk, my friend." Ben just nodded.

As Davi neared the garden entrance, Elwell and eleven guards entered the palace. Elwell yelled and then said to his protectors, "Grab that pig and hold him." Then the Laval brother began to strike Davi with a hard wooden instrument he usually carried.

Hearing the commotion emanating in the hall, Ben jumped up and ran toward the entrance leading to the garden. Reaching Elwell, who was nearly in a homicidal state, Ben grabbed him by the throat and threw him down the steps leading to a palace door. The guards holding Davi were so shocked at Ben's actions that Davi wiggled free.

Although Davi was severely hurt, he maintained his presence of mind and sought a weapon. Looking about he saw a rapier hanging on the wall. Then, using several other armaments also attached to the wall, he managed to pull himself to the height of the rapier, grab the weapon, and drop to the floor armed.

As Davi stood, he heard Elwell tell his henchmen to kill Ben. Ben was about to engage Elwell's men when Davi said, "Back off, Ben. Because of your status, you could trigger an intergalactic incident. Let me handle them."

Davi then attacked, killing all eleven guards within seconds.

Ben yelled after Elwell, "Coward, don't ever show you face in my house again."

Davi then leaned against the wall and said to Ben, "Please get a physician. My body is more injured than I figured." Then he passed out.

Within minutes, Davi was is surgery.

Linanna, hearing the noise in the foyer near the garden entrance, rushed though the kitchen into the main hall. There she saw her husband with a sword in hand.

She removed the rapier from his hand. He held up his hand to call for the video scan of the palace near the garden entrance way. When Linanna saw and heard what had occurred, her soul was shaken to its core. As Linanna realized that she could have lost her beloved husband, the surgeon entered the room carrying her father's rapier.

He handed the beautifully made weapon to Linanna and said, "I do believe this instrument of death belongs to your family. I had a very difficult time removing your father's rapier from his dueling hand. I had to provide him with a sedative before his body relaxed enough to let go of the rapier."

The noble surgeon continued, "I am amazed that Davi, with six smashed ribs, could engage in battle with eleven trained killers."

"This lad is an exceptional warrior who ranks with the finest fighting men in the galaxy. And yet, he spends considerable time working for the benefit of humankind and his formidable dueling ability is unknown to all but a few individuals. Thank you for your timely medical skill, Hugh, when it was desperately needed this day."

"You're welcome, my lady," the physician said as he departed from Linanna and Ben's palace living quarters.

About thirty minutes later, a nurse entered and told Linanna that Davi was resting comfortably in his apartment.

As Ben was about to look in upon Davi, his daughter Rachel entered the kitchen area. She wanted to know why Elwell was running for his life toward the teleport station asking his cousin Lars to bring his clothes when he left for home.

Linanna then said to her successor that Elwell was no longer welcome in their house. The leader of the Formalhaut Star Kingdom then handed her daughter and heir the video of the ruckus that had occurred a few hours earlier.

Rachel was impatient and wanted to ask her parents immediately what had occurred.

Ben simply said, "Look at the data tape, daughter, and then we'll talk."

After Rachel reviewed the violent events that had occurred earlier that day and Elwell's flight with fear emanating from his eyes, she realized that her parents were correct about Elwell's character and his plans for her parents and Rachel herself in the course of time.

As she sat in the den, Davi, using a pair of sticks for support, hobbled into the room. Immediately, Rebecca threw herself at her brother and began crying. Her emotional excesses acted as a relief that Davi was alive and nearly well.

Holding his sister, Rachel noticed tears pooling in his eyes as he squeezed her with loving tenderness. When Davi gained control of himself, he said, "It's time to return to my reclusive ways. Staying alone will protect not only myself, but Rebecca and my friends, including your parents, Rachel."

"Is that a way to live?" Rachel asked Davi, who was obviously in some discomfort caused by the pain that periodically racked his body.

"No, you are correct, Rachel, but what recourse do I have? I have not met a companion who will understand my views, and I cannot provide the funds that will maintain her in the style she is used to. I am what I am. Take me as I am. If I ever find a woman who would take me as I exist, such a person I would love with all my heart and soul as long ad G-D provides me with life."

Then as Linanna and her consort entered the room, Davi placed his sister on the seat to his side and struggled to rise. Seeing his difficulty, Rachel grabbed Davi and helped him up. As Dave and Rachel made contact, an electrical surge flowed through their bodies almost immediately creating a soulmate linkage.

After Rachel and Davi fell back off the sofa due to the electrical cascade through their bodies, they both arose. Rachel supported Davi as Linanna and Ben approached.

Then Davi asked, "Would you mind very much if I sat down?"

It was Linanna who recognized her faux pas and, with her daughter, helped Davi to a chair.

Now it was Rachel who marveled at her mother's caring and apologized for her mistreatment of an injured individual. She recognized that her mother was a gracious lady and vowed to learn from her treatment of people. As Rachel was settling herself next to Davi, she noticed her father kiss his mother with a passion she had never witnessed between her parents and in the past would have been embarrassed, especially with her peers about. Now she would thrill if her friends saw the kind of household in which she was raised. Maybe, Rachel thought, she never took time to notice how her father and mother treated and cared for one another. Love and sharing between the soulmate lovers had always been there for her to see, but it was only now that their concerns and attitudes towards one another struck deep in her soul. Understanding had finally come to Rachel Setland (Rachel Arn).

Linanna pulled a chair so she could sit and look into Davi's eyes. Then smiling at Davi, she unwrapped a package that contained the rapier that he used to eliminate Elwell's guards and save her husband's life. After a pause, Linanna said to Davi, "This was my father's rapier. He was once of the greatest warriors in the galaxy. This blade is yours now, Davi. It has been on the palace wall waiting for another great warrior who stands for all that is noble within humankind living in the Milky Way."

"My lady," Davi said, "this weapon belongs in your family. I am just a poor scientist who works quietly to help people. I'm not a warrior."

Then Linanna with a Cheshire cat smile said, "Master Eli told me that in all the galaxy there was not another person who had the skill with a rapier that my father possessed. This combined with his scientific skills makes him one of the most outstanding men in our age. Also," Ben's wife added, "I conversed with Lois and Clark. And they told me that your father was the greatest scientist of the twentieth century, and it now looks like his son is making his own mark in another age."

"Don't forget my mother. She was a brilliant physician and the most outstanding mathematician of her time."

Placing her hand about his sister, Davi remarked, "It looks like Rebecca is following in the footsteps of Mom and Pop."

"I hope so," Linanna replied.

Then Davi said, "I believe that Rebecca, too, will be a great scientist in her own right someday. Correct, cookie?" as he pinched his sisters cheek. Rebecca giggled and kissed her brother on his forehead and scooted away laughing.

"Ben," Davi said, "I meant to ask where is Kivi?"

With the mention of Kivi's name, both Linanna and her soulmate started to cry.

Holding onto his wife for strength, Ben managed to get himself together and told him what happened — Silvi went off her head and attempted to destroy all life on the Barony's capital planet because the Murzal family was systematically murdering all the inhabitants of the planet in most horrible ways. Silvi was intending to utilize a neutron bomb to destroy in a painless way all life on the capital planet of Dar's old Barony.

While Kivi stopped Silvi, in her deranged state, from detonating the neutron device, in the scuffle that followed, Silvi struck Kivi with her laser hand weapon and from her wallop and the discharge of the laser weapon their son lost consciousness and apparently plummeted into a chasm. When Silvi was medically healed from her mental condition, she realized what she had done.

Placing his hand on Davi's shoulder, Ben tried to soothe the young man's perturbed reaction to Kivi's story. As Rachel watched Davi while Kivi's tale unfolded, she saw him tremble as tears cascaded down his face.

Davi knew that striking a soulmate in anger would sever the soulmate bond. Therefore, it was apparent that Silvi had lost her particular mental intercommunication channel linkage with her soulmate. She'd never know whether Kivi survived her unintentional assault.

Ben then said, "Kivi and Silvi's children are staying with us. Silvi has reestablished her leadership of the Barony and is very busy. We believe from our spies that a guerrilla action is being waged against the Murzal family. It is a shame that more than ninety-nine of the Barony resources cannot be used to assault and recapture the Formalhaut capital planet because of anti penetration devices which initially were developed to oppose Kar Kam and are now being used by the Murzal clan to seal the Barony's main planet from the remainder of the galaxy."

When Ben and Linanna finished their narrative, Davi looked at his sister and said to Ben and Linanna, "What would you say if I take Kivi's children with me to Canopus? My lodgings have five bedrooms and Rebecca can sleep in my room on an air mattress. In that way, Ben, each of your grandkids will have their own room and space for their own needs, and Rebecca will have peers from whom she can learn. Her loneliness will be greatly reduced and my heart will be glad and very grateful if you would agree to such an arrangement.

"Rachel would also be living in the same palace complex, so when you visit, almost the entire family will be present. To facilitate your travels, I can construct a teleportation unit and place it within the kitchen of my abode. Then you can pop directly into my place.

"I know how difficult it is to administer the vast Formalhaut cluster, and with the kids not underfoot, your jobs will be much less burdensome. I watched, and like all good parents, you stop what you're doing to attend to your grandchildren's needs."

At breakfast on the following day, Ben, speaking for himself and his wife, agreed to Davi's proposal. Davi and Rebecca were delighted.

Two weeks later, Davi and his sister left for their home on Canopus. Davi immediately went to work and made the bedrooms suitable for Kivi and Silvi's children. He modified each bedroom as requested by the kids.

Several days later, Rachel prepared to resume her schooling and moved into one of Jhal's palace apartments, which was now located close to Davi's lodgings. A few days after Rachel settled in, she visited Davi's apartment. She was somewhat astounded at the modifications that had been done of the kids' sleeping quarters. The expense Rachel knew was considerable.

Seeing the surprise on Rachel's face, Davi told her that people are worth beyond all the rubies in the universe. These kids deserved the best. Smiling, Davi said, "I must admit my financial reserves have been considerably diminished, but Kivi's kids are well worth the cost. Please don't tell you parents; they'll worry about me. Anyway, I've accepted an adjunct teaching position at your school. It will fill my financial larder so I'll be able to take care of the children under my care."

"What course will you be teaching?" Rachel asked.

"Thermodynamics" was his reply.

Rachel said nothing, just nodding agreement with his happiness and eagerness to begin teaching. There was a minor problem with Davi's teaching assignment; Rachel was scheduled to be a student in the thermo class this semester.

That evening Rachel talked to her parents about the teaching problem.

After some thought, Ben said, "Are not you and Davi soulmates?"

"Yes," she replied.

Smiling, Linanna remarked to her daughter and the Cluster's heir, "Don't you realize that Davi probably already knows of your dilemma?"

Rachel nodded her head affirmatively.

"My daughter, your father and I are aware of soulmate problems. You'll to work them out and it will take time. This is your first soulmate consideration. The ball is now in your court. Davi's given you an opening and hasn't placed you in an embarrassing position."

"That's love, kido," Ben added.

That evening over dinner at a restaurant of Rachel's choosing, the two lovers spoke for the first time as soulmates. As Rachel listened to her life partner, she realized that her parents were correct, and by the end of the evening they had resolved their problem.

Rachel would be instructed by her life partner in private. She would be tested by science faculty at semester end to keep the reported results honest. No one would know of this situation. So, if Rachel and Davi were to be out with one another at a restaurant, the theater, or just on a walk to enjoy their own company and nature's bounty, no one would think that her thermodynamic education was not on the up and up.

At the end of the semester, the university faculty independently tested Rachel. Her thermo abilities were found to be the finest in Davi's current class, which the teachers were well aware was the best group of novice scientists at the university in quite some time — among her peers, Rachel was considered to be one of the most capable science students.

One evening, Rachel, said, "What if you became my private instructor for my four remaining courses. Not only would I learn from the greatest scientific mind in the galaxy today, but our soulmate bond would mature and strengthen."

"What you say is quite true, but we would be short changing the remainder of your class."

"Okay, party disrupter," she giggled and commenced to passionately kiss Davi. His contribution to their oscillation was just as intense as his soulmate's.

"You and I, my love, will need to elope."

"Not only will the Formalhaut governing council be upset, but your parents would be greatly disappointed."

"They have great plans for our nuptials."

"For myself, I would prefer a quiet wedding — just family in attendance."

Several days later, Davi informed Rachel that he had spoken with the faculty of the science department and they all agreed to her individual instruction by her future consort. She would need to appear in her traditional class occasionally. The other members of her class would be told that Rachel was involved in a complex research project that would tend to keep her relatively isolated until her commencement with her class in eighteen months.

So, Davi would inculcate the concluding and most sophisticated subject material within the remaining courses of the curriculum to his beloved soulmate. She in turn would impart the most important of the scientific information to the less advanced students placed under her charge. Davi's and Rachel's students, in time, would become the most industrious and innovative during their assiduous working periods. During their careers, Davi's and Rachel's charges would instruct younger science students. Thus at some point within their working lifetimes, most of Davi's scientific concepts would be passed to future generations of the Milky Way's knowledge seekers, many of which had already commenced their novice stage of learning.

As Rachel was nearing the completion of her studies as a student, she felt more and more that her mental state was being assaulted. She would, at times, receive threatening impulses coursing through her senses. When Rachel felt threatened, she would emit a special mental frequency that only connected soulmates. On theses occasions, Davi charged in at her location with his rapier at the ready.

When Rachel showed Davi the marks on his and her apartments' entrance ways, Davi added a tracking device under his and her skin on the right shoulder of their backs. To secure Rachel's safety until her mental attacks could be understood, they moved from their apartments by teleportation devices to science labs, which varied from day to day.

About seven months after she received her earned doctoral degree, Rachel was abducted as she was returning from food shopping. The alarm on their soulmate channel continuously alerted Davi, and he was immediately off tracking his captive soulmate to a secret residence in the old city where Rachel was sequestered.

Accompanying him were Lara, Jeremy, Jhal, and Rachel's father Ben. They stealthy entered the residence where Rachel was being held captive and was about to face a sealer of souls to create a union between Rachel and Elwell.

"This union that you seek to establish is illegal," Rachel screamed.

"When you turn up pregnant, I'm sure your parents will welcome me with open arms," Elwell replied.

At that moment, Davi burst into the room and ordered everybody out except Elwell. With his left hand Elwell drew a laser devise with which he intended to dispatch Rachel Setland. As Elwell lifted the laser, a Bowie blade riveted this left hand to the wall of the room. Pulling Davi's blade from his body, he drew a rapier from his side holster.

When Elwell had drawn his rapier completely free from his holder, a thought came into Davi's mind from his soulmate saying, "My abductor is right handed. He drew his laser with his left hand as a feint."

When the message had been telepathically sent, Davi had his own rapier swing freely in a defensive posture. Moving with super speed, which amazed Elwell, he freed Rachel and she stood by the door of the room. Immediately, Lara and her father, Ben, joined her. The others in the rescue group were just completing their job of killing Elwell's sycophants.

Meanwhile, Davi said to Elwell, "Surrender or die. For what you did to by beloved, you should perish here and now. However, I pledged to your brother that I would give you a chance to lay down your arms."

Elwell laughed and started to advance upon what he saw as a soft academic incapable of wielding a weapon successfully. Within seconds, the two combatants were engaged. Too late Elwell realized he had met a master rapier practitioner and perished a second or two later.

Later that afternoon Davi, accompanied by Ben, took Rachel home. When Davi held his beloved soulmate he began to weep. Rachel's heart broke as Davi cried for she realized how deep his love had become where she was concerned.

When Linanna heard of Davi's reaction, Bernie and Ruth's son was made to remain on Throom and a wedding date was scheduled for three weeks from that day. After the nuptials occurred, there was a three day gala that accompanied the union of Rachel and Davi Klein.

Then a month long honeymoon, part of which was a time travel sequence to Davi's century and a visit to Davi's parents, Bernie and pregnant Ruth Klein.

"Thanks for showing me the past, the beginning of the Utopian culture."

Kissing Rachel, Davi said, "I'll try to provide you and our family what you and they desire."

After a month long honeymoon, the newlyweds returned home.

It was about three months later when Rachel began showing signs of her pregnancy — three children. Two girls and one boy were expected.

Linanna said jokingly, "Whom would you prefer to be born in the primary position?"

Smiling, Davi replied, "I will be happy if during delivery of our offspring my soulmate comes through her ordeal without any great distress. As for our children, they should all be born healthy and normal."

Ben and his wife just smiled, while Rachel was moved by her husband's desires and concerns.

That evening as Davi and Ben conversed, the subject centered about Kivi and their speculation about his survival, and if still alive, where was he located — the women naturally were not present during Davi and Ben's discourse about Kivi, Dar's Barony, and the events associated with his isolated capital world.

Ben then proposed, to Davi's surprise, that he and his new son-in-law secretly explore the Asael controlled planet in an attempt to discover what had happened to his and Linanna's son.

To Ben's surprise, Davi agreed with his suggestion, and smiling said, "I'd like to become acquainted with by brother-in-law."

Beginning on the next day, and over the next few months, Davi and Ben compiled the necessary equipment that would be needed on the expedition.

On the night before Ben and Davi were to land on the Murzal family controlled world to search for his boy, he was writing a letter to his beloved, Linanna. As he penned his letter, a woman quietly entered his work area.

Looking up, Ben saw Linanna and remarked, "My darling," as he stood and took her in his arms.

After their embrace and kiss ended, Linanna asked, "Ben, how long have we been husband and wife?"

Ben smiling said, "Forty years, 2 months and eighteen days.

Shaking her head, Linanna remarked to her beloved husband, "Don't you think in all that time we have united in one loving entity." Ben simply nodded affirmatively.

After a pause, Linanna asked, "When are you and Davi leaving for the sealed capital planet of Dar's old Barony?"

"In the morning, dear," Ben quietly told his wife.

"I hope Dave is telling Rachel," Linanna remarked.

"Davi's writing her an extensive letter explaining his position, my dear," Ben then told his wife, "Davi's leaving any verbal explanation of his reasons to you," Ben informed Linanna. "You're her mother and can communicate better at this stage in their marriage."

"You better bring him back safe and sound, or all hell will break loose in our household."

"We'll both be back, Linanna," Ben said to his wife.

"Hopefully, when we do return, the circumstances surrounding our boy will no longer be a mystery."

As the sun started streaming into the palace, Ben and Davi teleported to the stealthy station on Dar's capital planet of his old Barony.

Soon after leaving the clandestine structure, they were intercepted by fighting men and women from one of the many freedom combative groups spread over the planet.

The people Davi and Ben met led them to one of the nearby hidden military enclaves. There, they contacted a commander within the army of liberation and asked whether they could communicate with an individual whose name was Kivi. Davi noted that as Kivi's name was mentioned, there was a slight flexing motion in the facial muscles of the commandant followed by a request that they identify themselves. After Ben and Davi complied with his request, a runner was sent to contact people who were the next link in the chain of contacts.

Two days later, a young man whose face was slightly haggard and disfigured on a portion of his forehead and part of his face arrived. After speaking with a few of his confederates, this relatively tall individual entered Ben and Davi's quarters.

After looking over Ben and his companion, the man eyes widened and said, "Dad."

Before Kivi could ask about the other person accompanying Ben, Kivi's father remarked, "My companion's name is Davi. He is your brother-in-law, Rachel's husband. Your sister is expecting triplets, two girls and a boy. We still have to decide upon names for our kids. I left her suggestions, but we must both agree, so that situation is still in the air."

As Davi and Kivi watched, Ben telepathically contacted Linanna, his beloved wife, and told her Kivi was alive. Almost immediately there was a joyful and an almost hysterical reaction rushing through Ben's head. After Ben calmed Linanna's mental state, his soulmate, the leader of the Formalhaut realm, telepathically said, "I'll inform the others about Kivi. Talk to you later, my love."

When Ben and Linanna broke their connection for the present, Kivi asked, "What baby names did you suggest to Rachel?"

In my letter to your sister, I suggested the male be named Oren Seth after my grandfather and the girls be called Debra Aviva and Jessica Liana after the female ancestors and current members of both families.

After Ben and his new son-in-law spent several days together, Ben went back to the family and Davi accompanied his kin to a forward base of freedom fighters.

Reaching the destination, Davi was shown the neutron bomb device that Silvi in her unstable mental state had attempted to detonate. Studying the neutron weapon, Davi was able to create six smaller neutron bombs, which Kivi placed about his battle perimeter in specific locations that would prevent the Murzal forces from flanking their free forces.

When Kivi's troops started their final offensive against the usurpers of Dar's Barony, the deranged Asael Murzal's self proclaimed generalissimo of the Barony attacked Kivi's combatants on all sides. When the Murzal troops attacked, they were all annihilated by Davi's neutron devices. After such loses, the Murzal forces retreated on all fronts.

As the free fighters, led by Kivi, were pressing their attack, Davi trained a host of new recruits and strategically and tactically planned a massive offensive strike to eliminate the Murzal family and their supporters, which would effectively end the conflict. When Kivi discovered that Davi possessed military ability, he realized there were two people capable of leading men into combat. As Davi and Kivi worked on Davi's plans to defeat their enemy, the Murzal family's military was now being routed on all fronts because two superb rebel military commanders were now conducting the fighting in the field.

Seven months after Davi and Kivi became partners in the war, Davi received a message via Rachel and their private telepathic channel that their children were born. All was well.

During their lengthy conversation, Rachel informed Davi that their son was born in the primary political position. Before he could ask, Rachel told Davi that all the kids were healthy, strong, and functioning normally.

"Thank G-D, Rachel. Love you, but must go now. Suicidal activity now occurring that is attempting to impede our entrance into Throom."

That evening, Kivi and Davi's military moved in a pincer attack and surrounded the remnants of the enemy forces. By dawn on the following day, the free forces fighting under the banner of the late Dar Barony received the surrender of the Murzal troops.

The usurping family itself was locked away in a specially built compound, one that would prevent Asael and his clan from eradication at the hands of the people they had brutalized. There would be a trial and those found guilty of war crimes would be judged according to the laws of humankind as practiced throughout the Milky Way.

With the end of civil strife, the political scum of the Barony, who were the basic cause of the chaotic upheaval, started to arrive within Throom in an attempt to reestablish their power base. However, Jhal and his Mid-Galactic Empire forces had been summoned by Kivi to block and remove the former council members who had been headed by the now deceased Lenis and his entire family, slaughtered by the command of Asael.

Four day later Dar's daughter, Silvi, arrived at the Throom space port and proclaimed the restoration of her dynasty. All members who controlled the Barony's past governing bodies were at that moment in time declared null and void. All previous council members were thereby stripped of their powers and could never in their lifetimes aspire to public office of any kind.

Assembly members who survived Asael's slaughter could stand for election in Barony's reestablished constitutional government. According to law, Silvi would assume her rightful place as leader of the government that her father, Lord Dar, had so created. His motto was freedom and justice for all peoples in the Barony, and it would also be her policy as her father's successor to preserve and continue his edicts maintaining the democratic ideals cherished through her realm.

"Until the machinery of government is functioning and we have established our own military to protect this dominion, Jhal will furnish troops to maintain democratic laws of our society."

As Silvi articulated her monumental programs, Kivi and Davi arrived at the palace and attempted to enter the assembly chamber. At the entrance way, they were stopped by a squad of empire guards. Only a few days before they had fought along with their loyal men, some of whom died in the conquest. Now it appeared they were not welcome in the hall of justice and freedom.

"Let's leave this place, my friend. We are no longer needed nor wanted."

Kivi looked at his kin and said, "You're so right, Davi. Let's leave this planet for more greener pastures. like Aries in the Formalhaut Kingdom."

"Good thought," Davi replied.

The two brothers by marriage turned and moved off.

Afterwards, Kivi said, "Now Silvi can make a political marital union for the betterment of the Barony."

"You know," Davi remarked, "I know a location where you can take your children, a sanctuary where you can live in peace away from the political turmoil which will occur."

While Silvi, with the aid of Jhal was consolidating her Barony, Davi and Kivi returned to Aries, to the relief of Ben, Linanna, Rachel, and Kivi's kids. The only guest was Jhal.

After a family home coming celebration, Davi and his soulmate Rachel withdrew to a private wing of their household and interacted with one another and their frisky offspring. Something occurred during their supposed healing process, and Davi began sharing living quarters with Kivi. A week later, Kivi, his kids, and Davi disappeared from Aries.

Linanna, several days after Davi, Kivi and his children vanished from their stately home in the Formalhaut capital city, questioned Rachel about the whereabouts of her husband. At that point, Rachel told her mother and father, who were sitting together across the den, that after this episode in her life, she demanded that her spouse follow her instructions concerning his behavior and that she would decide how he should function to bring honor to the Setland family."

Hearing what Rachel said, both of her parents gasped and were speechless. Ben shaking his head said nothing and just left the room. Linanna, following her husband said, "You will be a very lonely woman."

When Linanna caught up with her soulmate, Ben kissed her, and they walked down the hall to speak with the Formalhaut governing council.

About a month later, Silvi visited Linanna and Ben. During their conversation, she was informed of what had occurred between Rachel and Davi. Her face turned a whitish hue, and she murmured, "What a fool."

Ben said, "I believe she is rapidly becoming aware of the damage she has inflicted upon her family by her foolish actions. There are only equal partners between soulmates even in noble families. Rachel never learned that simple fact. I think she thought that the relationship between Linanna and me was a fluke, not the actual function of a soulmate pair responsible for a kingdom or Barony."

Linanna just nodded her head as a sign of agreement with her husband.

After a pause, Linanna said to Silvi, "When Kivi visited after the Barony's capital planet fell into the hands of the freedom warriors, he and Davi returned to Aries. He was here for about two weeks. Then Kivi, your kids, and Davi left for a sanctuary area of which Davi knew. Kivi took your children because he felt that you would have your hands full running the Barony and deciding which suitor would suit your needs as a consort."

"What is he talking about? Kivi is my consort, my life partner and lover. Our family operated on the same principles which Ben and you established. Our altercation was due to my irrational behavior when I learned what Asael Murzal planned to do to my people. Thank G-D that he prevented me from carrying out my insane notion."

Linanna by that time was crying and being held by her distraught soulmate who could not tolerate that his wife was so upset. After Linanna calmed down, Ben excused himself, headed for the slop sink in the next room and began heaving.

Hearing her husband starting to retch, Linanna immediately ran to Ben's side and began working on his nerves knowing Ben's stomach was tied in knots and the pain accompanying his stomach dysfunction was terrible. Within a few minutes, he was lying prone on a sofa as Linanna relaxed her soulmate's abdominal muscles relieving his discomfort.

"Every time I react as I did a few moments ago, his apprehension about my welfare aggravates his body's GI track with spasms producing horrible pain."

Silvi said, "Ben loves you with that kind of intensity."

"Yep," Linanna responded.

"You are a fortunate woman," Silvi told her mother-in-law.

Soon, Ben was asleep holding tightly to Linanna's hand.

"I think you all learned a valuable lesson," Jhal's voice was heard as he entered the room.

"He is such a good man, I wish there were thousands like him in the galaxy."

Turning toward Silvi, he said, "I was informed that you have knowledge of Kivi's whereabouts. It appears," Jhal continued, "he was the commander of the freedom warriors until Davi joined up with him. What a tactician and strategist Davi turned out to be, and between the two of them, they defeated the usurpers within a short time allowing you to resume the leadership of Dar's Barony."

"You mean that Davi was involved in the fighting?" Rachel asked.

"Yes," replied Jhal. "Two brothers attacking and reattacking the Murzal forces until they broke. As far as I am aware, Davi led the right pincer during the final assault that finally crushed your enemies and caused them to capitulate. When I questioned my guards, Kivi and Davi were stopped while attempting to enter the assembly chamber while Silvi was giving her speech to the entire Barony star array. They informed me that they were in uniform that had pieces missing as though they were lost in battle. The younger of the two troopers, probably Davi, seemed to have dried blood on the left side of his tunic."

As they sat in the den, with Ben still lying on the sofa, they heard a weak voice say, "Ask Kal-El where sanctuary is located."

Linanna said, "Ben, that's a good idea."

"Jhal, can you bring Lois and Clark here?" Silvi asked. "They may know where to look."

Within the hour, Lois and her soulmate were entering the Formalhaut palace residence.

After the introductions had been made and the stories told, Lois remarked, "In the old days, we had a sanctuary establishment below the Kent farm in Smallville, Kansas on Earth." ***

Returning To The Past

Davi and Kivi along with Kivi's kids entered a habitat consisting of a number of grottoes shielded by stabilized neutronium. All caverns were connected by passageways, which were also shielded by the nearly indestructible neutron material.

After nearly a month living near this sleepy village on old Earth, Kivi and Davi nearly simultaneously realized that in all probability others from the large galactic kingdoms would look for them and eventually track their little group to their current living quarters.

With this realization, Davi showed Kivi the time device he and his sister had taken to their current time-space continuum. Davi had located the time ship in a room located off one of the side passages.

The two kin — brothers-in-law — after two or three days of serious discussions decided to travel to the past, a time when Davi was conceived and lived with his parents until he was a young man.

To confuse those who might follow their little family, the time machine was duplicated and another smaller sanctuary was created in an ice cave in the Himalayas Mountains. The walls of the ice cavern were coated with stabilized neutronium and sealed with the same material.

In this new sanctuary, they stored a teleporter, a time traveling device, an electronic library for the children's education and diamond producing equipment to provide them with currency that would be required during this time period on old Earth. Other devices were also transferred to the ice cave — laser weapons, stealthy air ships, and an intergalactic battle cruiser, for example.

A dozen droids were produced to help with the kids' educational processes and to guard the ice cave when they were not present.

By the time that Linanna, Silvi, and Rachel arrived on Earth, all that could be accomplished on their investigation was to recognize that those whom they sought had been there and gone.

When Linanna, her daughter, and daughter-in-law had been off on their adventure, Ben had been left in charge of the Formalhaut Star dominion and the Dar Barony. This with the help of honest and reliable friends was done exceptionally well.

Upon returning from their space journey, the frustrated women just made their way to Linanna's living quarters and there they found Ben and his friend working out shipping plans that would send needy supplies to the Dar Barony.

After seeing that Ben's work was succeeding, Silvi asked him if he had any ideas to add to their search pattern. Receiving no reply, she looked in Ben's direction. Silvi saw him sleeping with his head on his soulmate's lap and his hand in hers. Silvi just smiled. Ben's close friend was still at work making sure that the quantity of needed supplies for Silvi's people arrived on time.

Looking at the weary group of noble women, he said, "I'm glad you're back. Lord Belton hasn't slept in over a week. Ha cares so much about the welfare of our people and now Lady Silvi's subjects; it's making him ill. If I told this generation of galaxians what was occurring between two kingdoms they would never believe the cooperation that existed because of one family who treated people of all classes on an equal footing. He's one of those rare individuals who serves people through his work. If you'll excuse me, I must make sure that the ships with the required supplies leave on time."

As Colin was about to leave the room, he looked at Linanna and said, "You are a most fortunate woman."

When Colin had left, Linanna using her super strength lifted her husband and put him to bed.

"If the people of the Formalhaut Star Kingdom only knew what he did for them. As a consort, many believe that he has an easy life. He's been at my side during every crisis this Kingdom has confronted even captaining a battle cruiser with his younger brother Jeremy and his soulmate Lara and fought several of Kar Kam's armada's off Daneb. He was severely wounded, and I thought he would be drawn to his ancestors. Thank G-D he survived — it took almost a year for him to recover.

"When he needed a new computer for his research endeavors, he made a request to the council for such a machine. He was denied. It was a political maneuver to get me to make the request that would not be denied but would have placed me in an awkward position over a project certain council member desired — a pork barrel kind of legislation. He would not allow me to make the request for the computer."

"Did he ever get the computer?" Rachel asked her mother.

"Yes," she replied. "It's in the library he created for you and Kivi. From the small allowance he received from the government as consort, he monthly saved several of his allotments and purchased the machine and placed it your library, Rachel, because you said that Kivi and you needed it for school. When you were sleeping, your father would use the computational instrument to do his research.

"There was an Empire bash for Ashley, Jhal's baby sister, when she became engaged to Linus, that pampered fop from the Linzy. A marriage made in money. Jhal was unhappy about the match. Once the engagement was announced, the Council understood that I would need a piece of jewelry for the affair but indicated that Ben should bear the cost. They knew that their term as council members was nearly over, and they wanted to insult me and my consort and the Formalhaut cluster generally.

"Ben was quite politically astute and was aware what the council was planning. Unknown to me, he sold the special ring presented to him upon our engagement and with that money he purchased me a most beautiful diamond pendant which I wore at the Empire's Gala for the engagement of Ashley Arn and was complemented on my pendant's beauty.

"It wasn't until several years later that I saw a young man wearing a ring I recognized almost immediately. When the young man and I were alone for a moment, I queried him as to where he had acquired such a beautiful ring. 'When I finished my schooling at the university on Canopus,' he said, 'My father took me to an exclusive shop where he purchased this ring.' When I was alone with Ben later that week, I asked him why he didn't wear his engagement gift. He smiled and said that he needed to sell it because he needed the funds for a necessary purchase at the time."

Linanna said to her daughter and daughter-in-law that Ben told her the truth right off. "There was no attempt on his part to manipulate the situation and I didn't press the issue. The next day I asked the head councilor if money was ever provided for a piece of jewelry that I wore to the Arn affair. The wedding had been several months ago."

After searching the records, Linanna was informed that the former council provided her husband with no funds for any jewelry associated with the Arn Gala. There was a note to Ben specifically which said, "Your request for money for Linanna, even though already allocated, has been denied. Any jewelry for your wife must come from your own financial resources."

Then Linanna asked what happened to the funds provided for her.

Zinn, after searching the files said, "The money we speak of was spent by councilor Liron just after the Arn engagement gala."

"Do me a favor and find out, if you can, what that money was used to purchase?"

Zinn just nodded.

Several days later, Linanna received a brief note that stated, "The money of interest was spent to purchase jewelry for a floozy by the person in question."

Then, Linanna said, "I forced Liron to return the money he had illegally used."

"I never said a word to Ben," Linanna added. His act was far more precious to me than a piece of crystal.

While Rachel was not crying in the classic sense, there were tears pooling in her eyes. She said, "You were right, mother. I should have stayed at home and learned from you and pop. My measuring rod was the perfumed fops who I dated or who escorted me to fancy shindigs with bags of cash for their ethical behavior. And, when Davi disagreed with my views," Rachel said, "I read him the riot act. Who was he to give me advice? As I spoke, my anger rose and I dressed him down, telling him who was the boss in our household. I emphasized that he was just my consort and should remember his station in the Formalhaut universe. I ended my flight of anger by emphasizing that Davi was the lowest of the low, and he wasn't worth my time or trouble."

"You said all that to your soulmate, your one and only partner in this life," a rather stunned Silvi Setland murmured to herself. "How could you do such a thing?"

Linanna, as she gazed at her son's life partner, Silvi, said, "You are correct, my daughter. What Rachel said to Davi is nearly unforgivable. When you and Kivi meet and embrace, I believe that your separation will be immediately settled without any comments. What occurred between Kivi and you, Silvi, transpired during a time of emotional upheaval compounded by the attempted destruction of your father's house. After you embrace, the wisdom of your souls will immediately reestablish your union. A soulmate connection that will be stronger than ever.

"Rachel's plight is more critical in nature. She shredded her soul-like connection between Davi and herself, that special linkage to her soulmate and life partner within our galactic sphere. A soulmate is a special person who would stand by you through thick and thin. A friend, and if my Ben can be used as a for instance, who would sacrifice his life for you or his family's interests.

"Rachel, he went with your father to act as his shield. Ben was bound and determined to locate Kivi and no amount of persuasion could deter him. Davi had no choice but to accompany his father-in-law. A noble act that didn't deserve your bitter and abrasive harangue. You probably made him feel like two cents, my daughter."

Shaking her head as she paced about the room, Linanna said, "It's going to take a big man to swallow his pride and accept you back in his life. I don't know him well enough to help you. When the family came together on an occasion or you invited friends to your lodgings, Davi spoke little. I am not sure that his silence was at your request so you could demonstrate your power and his impotence in your marriage or that his silence in a crowd was just part of his natural ways. However, what I perceived when observing you, Rachel, was an overbearing female who didn't know when to be closemouthed and share her stage with Davi, your life partner.

"When Davi and I spoke and I asked him if there were any difficulties with you, Rachel, he responded, 'Just newlyweds adjustments. We'll work out any problems.' From those few words, I knew that he was protecting you. Then your kids came, and things appeared to resolve. Then I noticed that my grandchildren were always clinging to their father. You, their mother was just tolerated. Davi is like Ben, a great parent. I learned a great deal from him. He always told me I'd get the hang of the parenting thing. He was so right. But, my daughter, my husband was always present when I needed him. Looking back, we succeeded because Linanna and Ben were a family unit and always did things together. That Rachel is another of your failures."

Just then Rebecca, Davi's sister, came in the room pushing a carriage with her brother's kids.

Linanna gazed at Davi's six-year old sister playing with her nephew and nieces. Smiling at her adopted child, Linanna left the room to attend to her exhausted soulmate.

As Linanna, Rachel and Silvi were regaining their strength a quarter of a million years in their future, Davi and Kivi with his children entered the STAR labs building and ascertained from Dr. Klein's secretary where the world famous scientist and his wife had been interred.

Following the directions provided by Bernie's former secretary, they traveled to a Hebraic cemetery situated just beyond the perimeter of Metropolis. Finding the graves of his parents, Davi said the required prayers after which he placed a stone upon the head stone of each grave.

As Davi davened, Kivi responded with an amen at the appropriate position within each prayer Davi recited. When the ceremony was completed, Kivi told Davi that his father taught him the ritual prayers associated with their heritage.

After leaving the interment park, Davi, Kivi and his children returned to their Himalayan ice cavern.

Thirty-six hours after Linanna put her soulmate to bed, Ben arose and headed for the kitchen area. Within the hour, his beloved wife, daughter and daughter-in-law joined him.

As they enjoyed breakfast, Ben said to the women in his life, "You know that locating the old sanctuary on Earth is only the first step in your search."

If I were Kivi and Davi, I'd build or find a time transport to move our group to a past era, probably one that Davi knows quite well — about two hundred and twenty thousand years in the past.

Linanna leaned over the table and kissed her husband passionately. "Brilliant thinking, Ben, you old war horse," she commented. Then the soulmates smiled at one another and began giggling with love shinning from their eyes.

On their next expedition to Earth, the noble ladies located the old sanctuary below the ancient Kent farm. Upon gaining entrance to the subterranean passage ways, they discovered that people had recently been using the clandestine grottoes that protruded off the main passage ways.

In one of the caverns, Silvi discovered a time traveling device with a past date still in the controlling mechanism. Making notes of their starting date and destination, they were soon traveling through the fog of the time stream to their far past destination.

Linanna and her daughters arrived under the Kent farm and investigated the Smallville area over the next several days to obtain their bearings.

They also discovered the Setland farm on one of their exploratory trips. When they visited the Setland place, they found that Avi and Rachel Setland had passed on and than Ben and his brother Jeremy had disappeared some time ago. Then the woman introduced herself as Ruth Setland. Her husband, too, had been called to G-D and her children had moved to Metropolis. They visited her from time to time, but in truth she told them she just waited for a special individual, Death, to reunite her with her beloved husband Lev.

Then she invited Linanna and the younger women with her to stay for lunch, which they did. As they were leaving, Rachel said her cuisine was delectable.

"Thank you," she replied. "In all fairness to Martha Kent, may she rest in peace, she was the one who taught me how to cook."

"Wait one moment," Ruth said, as she ran in the house and returned with a notebook full of recipes and handed it to Silvi. "Take this cooking book, dear," she said to Silvi, "or it, like many things worth having, will vanish in the sands of time."

After they left Smallville, the three women explorers headed towards Metropolis in a stealthy airship. Once in the big city, they, too, followed the trails that led them to the cemetery where the bodies of Bernie and Ruth Klein were buried.

There, they found the stones that had been placed on the monuments at the head of each grave. When they looked closely at the relatively small stones, they found them engraved with the names of Davi and Kivi.

Returning to the Kent sanctuary, they found a youngish middle aged woman rummaging through some of the tunnels in the complex. Leaping in the air the obvious Utopian asked who they were or whom they represented.

Suddenly, Silvi said to the Utopian hovering near the roof of the passageway, "Is your name Lori?"

"Yes," Lori Wayne is my married name. I'm a daughter of Clark Kent, known as Superman and Lois Lane, my mom. They're both retired and went to a retirement location with a close friend known as Jhal. I hear from my folks every couple of weeks, and we get together several times a year."

As Lori floated toward the floor, she added, "Dick and I conceived six children, all super individuals like myself and the others in the Kent and Setland families. Unfortunately, Dick, my soulmate, was killed in a plane crash, and if it weren't for our kids I'd probably become mentally unbalanced.

"All the third generation Kent, Wayne, Setland, and Klein children possess super abilities. That Kryptonian trait seems to be a dominant genetic factor. Any soulmates that marry into our Utopian family group are treated by Bernie Klein's genetic converter so they also will become super. Another tragedy like the one that took the life of my husband will never occur again or at least not according to the current conditions that exist on Earth and the void within the SOL Three star system.

"At present, about a third of the super family are in the Ort structure converting it into a permanent home and a living complex that can be expanded as our super population expands. The family council believes that within two more generations we will see the birth of Utopians. That's the name we adopted using the Wellian name for the peoples which would evolve and spread throughout the Milky Way in the far future and eventually be the savior of our universe."

"Are you speaking of HG Wells?" Rachel asked.

"Yes," Lori responded.

Then looking at her unexpected guests, Lori asked about their lineage.

Linanna, said, "My husband is Ben Setland and this young woman is our first born, Rachel."

"I, too, am part of the Setland family," Silvi also added. "My soulmate is called Kivi."

Lori said, "Kivi, that appellation sounds as if it were given to his child in remembrance of Ben's father or grandfather. I can't be sure."

Rachel, with a somewhat agitated and frightened tone, asked Lori, "Can you contact Davi?"

"I believe so," Lori replied. "You know my folks. I should have married Davi after I grieved following the loss of my husband. But, I erred and thought his quiet ways marked an immaturity that would bore me and irritate my friends. My decision was very faulty. Often, we women view a man as inept when we are used to dealing with a powder puff crowd, men and women who view illusion as reality. Unfortunately, we do not realize such a condition exists until late in our lives or until there has been irreparable harm in a marriage because we believe in our superiority and cast off our spouse much too early in the game. If he is happily married, I shall not interfere with his life. Now, let me attempt to contact my lost friend."

Lori then removed a signal pendent from about her neck and sent an electromagnetic pulse into Earth's atmosphere and void that surrounded SOL Three.

As they waited for a possible reply, Lori said, "When he was in the South East Asia conflict he proved himself to be one hell of a warrior. He received the highest decorations presented by our country. Davi also displayed extraordinary tactics and strategic abilities and could successfully command field armies. The government offered him much if he would make the military a career. He could have lived nearly as a potentate.

"But, Davi's heart was directed on finding a woman to share his life and to understand his research and philosophical interests. When his father altered his genetic characteristics, he essentially became more of a recluse, further isolating himself from the world of couples. That was his existence until Rebecca was born. Rebecca was Davi's sister and was a change in life child of Ruth and Bernie Klein. As his sister became older, she became Davi's main companion and traveled with her brother to the science conferences he occasionally attended."

As the women continued to chat, Lori prepared a repast that they were enjoying when Lori's message to Davi was answered. After Lori's communicator ceased crackling, Davi's familiar voice was heard over her conversing device.

"Glad to hear from you, Lori. Are you working on the Ort community yet?" Davi asked.

"Yes," she replied. All the new born Utopians in our present society are appearing in twos and threes. We need to create not only a larger but safer community. It's time, Davi. The present Ort sanctuary can be easily converted to a small space town within about two years — it will be about two light years from Earth. So when the Earthers start to explore and inhabit the Milky Way, a few of our people will be part of their exploration vessels. The way our birth rate is increasing, we'll have more than a million people in Ort's Kal-El city."

Then causally, Lori said, "Where are you holding up?"

"Sorry kid, if I wanted you to know my location, I'd have contacted you upon arriving in my old stomping grounds. From your question, obviously others who are searching for me and my companions have somehow worked out our travel agenda and presumed our approximated destination. No, Lori Kent Wayne, we can occasionally converse, but not meet until the danger to us has abated."

"What caused you and your companions to depart from your past locations?"

"Its a long story," Davi told Lori. "Let me just say, Lori, soulmates are not partners in all relationships, as I discovered in my instance. In my brother's case," Davi added, "his wife nearly killed him after a disagreement. However, my brother will attest that his soulmate was emotionally distraught at the time of their dispute and the culpability was more or less accidental and blame should not be hers alone.

"After the conflict in which he and I commanded the populations free troops were resolved in the people's favor, and her father's domain returned to his wife, the politicians were attempting to persuade my brother's soulmate to accept legislation that was not ratified by the former council, and who caused the civil strife in the first place, for the sake of just power.

"My brother is fearful that his wife will collapse under the mounting pressure of the politicians which will annul her marriage to him. He doesn't really care about what his consort position will be. However, he doesn't want their children — they conceived four siblings- to be disenfranchised. My brother is wise enough to realize that if the political standard achieves dominance, my brother's soulmate will be forced to marry again and if the new marital union produces offspring, the lives of his kids would be in jeopardy. So, he decided to flee with me to ensure his children would enjoy a life free from fear.

"For me Lori," he added, "the situation is not as complex as that of my bother. "My wife and I were blessed with three adorable children, who also will be endangered if the political council forces her to marry again after she annuls our union."

"Do you believe she will do such a vile thing?" Lori asked.

"If she had Utopian peers as she matured, and had dated partners among our people," Davi said, "I believe not. However, my wife interacted with individuals who were mostly wealthy and who used either their own resources or their parents' capital as a club to get what they desired, and they treated ordinary people who were less fortunate than they as the trash they had become. You know the old saying, Lori, if you deal like trash, you become trash.

"Well, I'm afraid that my wife, to my horror, behaved like the crowd she ran with, and one day, when she didn't get what she desired, she expressed herself like trash in a way so vile that I was stupefied. So, I left.

"If my wife leaves our children in the care of their grandparents and begins cavorting through the major pleasure planets scattered throughout the Milky Way, I will ask that my children be transferred to my care. I have been offered a situation by a good friend that will guarantee them a future. His name is Jhal.

"Lori," Davi said, "I had to search through two space-time frames to locate a soulmate and to dispel loneliness and despair. When I discovered the woman that would become my wife, my life partner, I thanked G-D that my loneliness and depression would finally vanish. It was not to be. Take care of our people, Lori. They represent the best of humankind and I have this notion that they are part of a group of beings that was chosen to protect and eventually save our universe."

After Davi's comments and philosophical statements ended, Lori's communicator, following a few clicks, became silent.

After a pause, Lori and her guests finished their meal and then Linanna commented, "Let's head for home." ***

Back To The Future

Returning to Aries, Rachel and her sister-in-law retired to Linanna's daughter's lodgings and, exhausted, fell into a deep sleep.

As the girls slept, Linanna and Ben who were playing with their grandkids through Davi and Rachel were visited by Jhal. Sending their grandchildren to bed, Jhal and the Setlands had a serious talk.

Linanna and Ben informed their friend Jhal that they were aware of the legal documents between the Empire and Davi making him Jhal's heir and future leader of that Kingdom — Jhal's soulmate perished in a space accident during the first year of their marriage leaving no genetic heir. Jhal never remarried.

"Considering the potential of the most outstanding young folks who reside within our galaxy, I decided that Davi was by far the most logical and best of my few selections to lead the Mid-Galactic Empire when I've passed from the scene. At the time I was considering my options, Rachel was not in the mix.

"Rachel, why you decided to form a union with Davi Klein is beyond my comprehension. He is everything you're not. Davi is a scholar, probably one of the finest minds in our galaxy. In my mind, Davi is the best scientific thinker of his generation throughout the Milky Way. Furthermore, he is one of the bravest warriors I have observed in combat, and has a tactical and strategic panoramic view of a military campaign second to none. I dare say that Davi could successfully match wits with Alexander the Great.

"You, my dear," gazing at Rachel, "behave like many of the children whose parents are those leading the kingdoms and those who hail from wealthy families. They lead relatively useless lives."

After a pause, Jhal said, "When you married Davi, I thought that with the two of you working together the Formalhaut cluster would survive. Now I'm sure that the political snakes will devour the Formalhaut Kingdom and sometime before your death will remove you from the leadership of your parents' domain, a galactic province they both worked hard to maintain — keeping the Formalhaut democratic ideals in tact.

"If this star cluster could survive under your leadership, your son, Rachel, with the genetic mix of your parents and Davi, could provide the kind of leadership that now exists within this star kingdom. But, I believe the power hungry politicos will remove him from the scene. It's a shame. It's your choice, Rachel.

"Although I was somewhat upset when Davi formed a union with Rachel, I began to see the positive aspects of the Klein — Setland nuptials. With Rachel leading the Formalhaut Star Kingdom with Davi as her consort and equal partner, and Davi also in control of the Mid-Galactic Empire, each, working together, could contribute to the successful leadership of two powerful galactic dominions. Over time I foresee these two star dominions forming a peaceful and strong confederation covering about fifty-five percent of the habitated galactic territory. A fair council that would equally govern both kingdoms would have to create a single entity when the confederation is considered.

"If Davi and Rachel are successful, they can assist Silvi and Kivi and the Dar Barony to become part of the Empire-Formalhaut confederation, thereby increasing a single dominion to govern about sixty-six percent of the leviable territory within our galactic home.

"We are on the threshold of a unique opportunity, the formation of a unified galaxy where all the noble families will contribute for the benefit of all peoples. Everything hinges on the reconciliation of the soulmate couples, Silvi and Kivi, and Davi and Rachel."

Later that evening, Ben and Linanna asked Jhal to meet them in the den area. As the clock struck two, Jhal met with the Setlands, Linanna and Ben.

It was agreed that Jhal would return to the twentieth century Earth while Ben would help his daughter-in-Law Silvi and give her counsel, a run for their money. Meanwhile, Rachel would run her parents' kingdom and learn from the dominion's chief counselor the political ramifications of ministering to the sovereignty known as the Formalhaut Star Cluster.

Rachel was a masterful student and learned rapidly. She and her chief counselor often had dinner together like her parents often did to discuss the ramifications of the Formalhaut's governmental workings.

When her chief counselor went home at day's end, Rachel was lonely and felt that it should have been Davi sitting across from her at the supper table discussing the political councilors' plans for the council and the way to handle the star cluster assembly's desire for faster improvement in the various infrastructures within the far flung Formalhaut Star Kingdom.

While their children were obtaining the task of political combat, Jhal and Linanna had been invited to the ice cave in the Himalayas, which was located in a remote desolate area. After several times of intense negotiations, it was agreed that Davi and Kivi with his four kids would return to Canopus and be provided lodging within the palace apartment area in a restricted suite that was guarded around the clock by discreet troopers.

While his children were attending school, Kivi would often take walks in the magnificent gardens that continually bloomed behind the palatial structure where he and his kids and Davi had been furnished living quarters. At other times, he would work in the laboratory space with Davi in the apartment, which had been added as an addition to his living quarters.

As the weather became spring like, Kivi frequented the palatial gardens with more regularity. On a particularly beautiful day, he was enjoying the profusion of flowers, which now surrounded a secluded clearing that Kivi discovered during one of his many excursions through the garden. As he stood near a lone bench in a clearing, he turned and came face to face with a rather stunned ex-soulmate, Silvi.

Not losing his composure, Kivi graciously greeted Silvi, bowed and remarked, "I hope you and your kin are well and that life has dealt kindly with you and the grief you experienced with me has abated."

As Kivi attempted to move past Silvi and leave the garden, Kivi's estranged wife seized him, locking her arms about his waist. As she held Kivi tightly, both Silvi and Kivi felt a surge of soulmate energy flow through their bodies reestablishing the full soulmate bond that had been fractured during Silvi's panicked action when Kivi prevented Silvi from detonating a neutron nuclear device and exterminating all life on the capital world of the Dar Barony.

After reestablishing their soulmate bond, Silvi immediately apologized for her irrational behavior. She then gently caressed the blemishes and the pattern of scar markings that were evident upon a portion of Kivi's face. At that moment, Silvi realized how close she'd come to destroying her soulmate when he attempted to hamper her during her unstable mental condition.

Gazing at Kivi's horrid facial disfigurements, she asked, "Can those blemishes be removed?"

"I don't know," Kivi replied. "I never had the time to explore that possibility. Anyway," Kivi added, "the cost would be prohibitive. Our children require all the funds I can earn to maintain their needs."

As Kivi and Silvi walked toward his lodgings, she mentioned, "Why weren't you present during my victory and reunification speech?"

Kivi then told her, "We tried to enter the old assembly chamber but were blocked by a military contingent of Empire troopers. Our uniforms were sort of ragged and falling apart after the battles we'd been through."

"What battles?" Silvi asked.

"I, first, and then when Davi joined me, we both commanded and trained the freedom warriors who eventually crushed the Murzal military machine."

Silvi became silent, and after a minute or so, Kivi asked, "What is troubling you?"

Silvi said, "The politicos are claiming credit for the liberation of our Barony. They are even planning a festival to celebrate their victory."

"Why am I not surprised?" Kivi replied.

After some thought, Kivi said to his life partner, "You and I must change the kind of government that exists in the Barony without jeopardizing the freedom of our people. First," Kivi said, "the council must be eliminated. Then the assembly must be strengthened with greater numbers depending on the distribution of the population. It is a legislative body," Kivi added, "that will pass on the bills that we or they propose to protect the people of the Barony. And I think, Silvi, that they should stand for election every three years and the election process should be limited to six weeks. Funds for each candidate will be the same and provided by a special government pool."

After a pause, he asked, "What do you think of my thoughts on this matter? Think about it and add what you believe will strengthen the Barony."

"Our Barony," Silvi added.

"Remember, my love, the construction of our Barony gives us the right as leaders to alter the legislative bodies."

After a pause, Kivi said, "Remind the council members of this fact, but do it in front of the assembly. They will not dare refer to you as a prevaricator or a usurper of the Barony's liberties. Before the council can respond, present a copy of the constitutional document to the leaders of the assembly as proof of your validity. Your speech to the people's house will stifle the council's counter stroke. Then dismiss the elected officials so they can campaign for an elective seat in the new assembly."

"What will you be doing when I confront the corrupt politicians, my consort?"

"Watching your back, my love."

"While I hope we have a partnership like my parents, you are still the heir to your father's kingdom. Since I am but your consort I will remain relatively silent when we are officially in public."

Looking at her husband, Silvi remarked, "We are partners in all ways."

As they entered Kivi and Davi's apartment, they came face to face with Jhal.

"What's wrong?" Kivi asked his old friend.

"Davi is in surgery," Jhal replied. "Some hit men broke into your apartment and went after your and Silvi's kids. Davi defended your kids without a weapon at his disposal," Jhal told the soulmate couple. Obviously the two had reconciled.

"Are they free from harm?" Silvi asked with a bit of hysteria in her voice.

"You children are A-Okay," Jhal responded, "and at present in my quarters under guard."

"How's Davi?" Kivi and Silvi asked almost simultaneously.

"He'll be fine," Jhal replied.

After shaking his head, Jhal said, "I'd hate to attack him even with a full array of weapons. You'd probably do considerable damage, but he'd most likely tear your head off. The four assassins that invaded your home are all dead as a doornail. They managed to sick him a few times with their rapiers, but he tore them apart. Davi even managed to call for help before he collapsed from a loss of blood."

Taking Silvi by the arm Kivi started for the hospital followed by Jhal. When Jhal, Silvi, and Kivi arrived at the recovery waiting room, the leader of the Dar Barony excused herself and messaged Rachel.

Linanna answered the teleportation call and Silvi provided her with the news from the Palace on Canopus. Linanna was overwhelmed with happiness when she received Silvi's call.

That evening around the dinner table, Ben's wife told her soulmate and her daughter Rachel the tidings from Canopus.

Ben was delighted, but Rachel seemed to be upset that Davi hadn't asked for her. Then she excused herself and left the table.

Looking at her husband, Linanna asked, "Didn't I make myself clear. Her estranged soulmate, Davi, was wounded when assassins attempted to slaughter her nieces and nephews and was injured in the fray and now is in the hospital recovering from surgery needed to repair his wounds."

Linanna said to her beloved Soulmate, "Rachel should visit Davi now as he heals; such a move on her part would go a long way to reestablishing their soulmate union."

When Rachel returned home that evening, she found a note from Silvi telling her that she had moved back with Kivi in his apartment suite at the palace on Canopus.

Several days later, Silvi dropped the political bomb to her former council and the Barony's peoples assembly. Electioneering and the final vote would occur within the next six week period.

As the political process in the Dar Barony was in full swing, Kivi and Silvi worked almost day and night to formulate legislation that would protect the rights of the Barony's leadership and the rights of the people in the dominion from the power hungry politicos that arise from time to time.

When Ben and Linanna scrutinized Silvi and Kivi's manifesto, Linanna with tears pooling in her eyes hugged both of her children. Then, she simply said, "It's a magnificent piece of work." Ben simply nodded agreeing fully when his wife uttered her glowing comments.

"Would you mind if Ben and I used some of your concepts in the political agenda we will place before the assembly?" Linanna asked.

Silvi smiled and declared, "Use as much of our document as you wish. Kivi and I are very flattered."

Ben then took his wife by the arm, while Kivi and Silvi went through the teleporter hand in hand to Canopus. There, they would see their kids and add some cheer to an incapacitated warrior-scientist, Davi Klein.

While Linanna and Ben were playing with their grandchildren, Kivi and his reunited soulmate were comforting Davi.

Soon after Ben and Linanna and their grand kids joined Silvi, Kivi, and for the moment a somewhat disabled Davi Klein, there was a knock at their apartment door.

As Silvi opened the door, there stood Rafi, a warrior who had served with Kivi and Davi and was with them during the final assault and capture of Throom.

"I heard from a common contact that you guys were staying in this posh place."

After introductions were made all around, Rafi told them, "I brought my wife to her family home, which is on Canopus, to be buried in her family's graveyard — my wife's name was Gia. She was slain during our final assault on Throom. I was operating to the left of Kivi, and Gia was leading a brigade behind Davi."

As Rafi was conversing with Kivi and the incapacitated Davi, Jhal entered the apartment suite. Rafi turned and seeing Jhal said, "My contact. He would deliver the arms and I would get them where they were needed most."

Rafi then stood and placed his arms about Jhal and said, "Thanks for all your help. It was appreciated more than you knew."

Davi then asked, "Rafi, what are your plans?"

"Right now I'm seeing the best people I know. Later I'll find a spot in that park across the plaza and sack out."

"What about your wife's family?" Kivi asked.

"They threw me out of their home blaming me for causing the death of their daughter. They wouldn't even allow me to say so long to my two boys."

Silvi with eyes filled with tears and her back to Rafi asked, "Where will you go?"

Giving the group a sickly smile, Rafi remarked, "There is no place for me anymore. I can't even be interred next to my wife."

Kivi said at that moment, "You'll stay with us until you get settled."

Then Linanna saw her son place a sum of money in Rafi's coat pocket. When Rafi started to protest, she heard him whisper, "Keep it, please. You've lost so much my heart hurts for you. There for the grace of G-D go I, my friend."

Ben's wife excused herself and went into the empty bedroom and began to weep. As she cried, Silvi entered the room shaking with tears running down her face. Then both women clasped one another and stood quietly until they calmed down.

Then Silvi said, "Did you see what Kivi did? That act of kindness I hope will bring him the blessing of our creator all his days."

Linanna just stared at her daughter-in-law and quietly said, "A blessing on your head, Silvi."

Then both women washed up and returned to the main room where Rafi was enjoying a sandwich that Davi had prepared.

As Ben watched, he put his arm about his wife and quietly commented, "Do you feel the comradeship and the warmth between these people, my love. We are blessed by them because they're part of us."

As the group conversed and laughed, there was a knock at the apartment's entrance way. When Ben opened the door, he was face to face with his daughter. Behind her were four young men and two women. Stepping aside, Rachel and her companions entered the apartment.

As the young women, who were apparently Rachel's contemporaries, began moving about the residence, they looked at the furnishings and other ornaments with disdain. Moving away from the main room, the men's features were suddenly noticeable to Davi, Kivi, and Rafi. When the men in Rachel's party now saw who else was in the apartment, their chatter quieted and their hand actions became quite fidgety.

While Rachel's companions were busy exploring the apartment, she sat down next to her estranged soulmate. When Rachel attempted to speak with Davi, he said, "Please excuse me for a moment."

Rachel was somewhat miffed, but curious so she remained silent and allowed the coming event to play out.

Before Davi could speak, Kivi said to the four gents, "Haven't we met before?"

Davi then quickly added, "If I recall it was where lethal type games were played and death was keeping the score."

Rafi didn't participate in the sarcastic but deadly dialogue, but his blazing eyes just stared at the four rather well-dressed men who were part of Rachel's party for that evening.

When the women in Rachel's party group wished to leave, the men were first out the door. Rachel stayed behind. She said to her associates for that evening, "I'll catch up with you latter, if I can."

As Rachel was starting to talk with Davi, Rafi came into the room bearing four small sticks — three of one length and one of a shorter measurement.

"Jhal, Kivi, Davi, does anyone wish to waive his right to draw one of the sticks I have in my hand?

The three men whose names were mentioned all shook their head in a negative fashion.

"Ben, please hold the sticks so just the tops are visible."

While Ben stood in the middle of the den, one by one of the four Utopians chose a stick clenched in Ben Setland's fist.

When Davi, Jhal, Kivi, and Rafi placed their sticks on the dining room table, the length of Davi's stick was obviously a different measurement than the others.

"Are you capable of performing this task?" Jhal asked his heir, Davi.

"I am not quite a hundred percent in fighting trim, Jhal, but I believe that I'm quite capable of sending those scum to hell, where all murderers end-up when their time in this space-time continuum comes to a close."

As Davi rose from his cot, Jhal said, "Please wait until I return. I'll be just a few minutes."

Standing with Rachel's help, Davi started to loosen up his muscles with exercises Kivi had taught him.

Then he retired to his room to dress. Rachel followed him. As she closed the door, Ben's daughter said, "I hope by coming here while you dress is not an embarrassing situation for you."

Davi then faced his soulmate, and replied, "Rachel, we are a married couple, husband and wife, and conceived three wonderful children together. Nothing about you can embarrass me. I recall only good things about our relationship. It's my nature."

"When you went off the deep end and didn't give me a sign that our relationship was on a one to one basis, I couldn't remain. It's my nature, Rachel, to share equally but never behave in a subservient position. When you didn't try to resolve our differences, I had to leave and maintain my freedom. Rachel, you and I may disagree at times, but only as equals. For heaven's sake, please let that be the framework of our life long partnership."

As Rachel finished buttoning his shirt, she quickly placed her arms about Davi's neck and crushed her lips to his. Their lip lock produced a resurgence of their soulmate bond with such an intensity that only by their control over the soulmate energy surging through their bodies were they able to again function.

"You know, my lady," Davi said, "we almost reached a point of no return and conceived more children."

Rachel just smiled. She knew that the problem that she caused had been resolved — disagreement would occur on occasion from that point in their lives, but only as equal life partners.

When Rachel and her soulmate left Davi's quarters, Ben and Linanna were overjoyed for they were aware that the future of the Formalhaut Kingdom was secure and love would flourish between Rachel and Davi forever and a day.

As the adults within the apartment suite conversed, Jhal returned and handed Davi a rapier with the insignia of his house embossed on the hilt and encased in a beautifully crafted scabbard also with the emblem of Jhal's house embroidered on its surface.

Jhal said to his heir, "The weapon is yours; use it always to defend freedom and the people's rights under that broad umbrella."

Davi then hugged Jhal and replied, "What you ask of me and my soulmate Rachel is a given. Our house will always honor your wishes."

When Davi pulled the rapier from its sheath, he began sharpening the blade with a special oil and sharpening stone. Linanna and the other males in the group followed Davi's lead and began preparing their weapons for battle.

"Jhal, you'll have to help Rachel become a master practitioner with the rapier. I'll secretly begin providing her lessons with one of our best instructors." He then walked to Rachel and presented her with a similar rapier set, actually a duplicate of her husband's sword.

Then Jhal turned and went to Silvi and presented her with a weapon array similar to the one Kivi used when necessary. He had been teaching Silvi how to utilize her weapon accouterments, which not only could be used to defend oneself or his/her family, but could also cause the death of an antagonist.

Shortly after the weapon preparation was concluded, the family seated themselves at the table to enjoy one of Ben's delicious meals, compliments of Martha Kent's teachings. About an hour after dinner, the apartment entrance way was suddenly forced opened and the four men they had seen earlier rushed through the open door way.

What Murzal's former henchmen didn't realize was that the people in the apartment were armed. In the melee that occurred, Davi and Kivi dispatched their opponents in a few seconds, while Rafi took a third hostile down with a laser shot to the head. Jhal who was standing astride the open doorway cut down the last of Murzal's cohorts.

Kivi almost immediately contacted his stealthy intergalactic battle cruiser and told I-23 and several more of the droids to come to this palace apartment. As they waited for the droids, the four killers were sealed in body bags.

When I-23 arrived with three other droids, he asked them to take the bodies to their vessel, place them in a space sled and launch them into the sun that provided the Empire's capital world with life.

"Thank you, Kivi," Jhal said. "Your quick action saved my dominion from a rather-embarrassing situation that would have resonated throughout the Milky Way."

"My pleasure," responded Silvi's husband placing his arm about his wife's waist. After his arm was where he wanted it to be, he looked at her and she informed him over their private channel that they were indeed pregnant. They had conceived about six weeks ago. He kissed her and whispered, "We should tell them. You'll be showing soon."

Silvi then turned to her family and friends and said, "I have something to tell you. Kivi and are expecting — triplets."

Laughing, Kivi said, "Pop, I shall need your help. Silvi can't do the necessary politics alone. That means I must be there to lend her my support. When she's relatively stationary, Dad, I'll play the house husband with you and we'll raise our kids properly. I'm sure our older children will help out somewhat, but we can't take away their childhood and growing-up adventures in this endeavor. It wouldn't be fair to them."

Ben just nodded affirmatively.

Linanna said, "Don't count me out. I'll be there to help as much as I can."

Rachel then asked," What happens if Davi and I conceive?"

Kivi then said, "Our palatial playpen will get larger and Davi will be added to the group of house husbands." Rachel laughed and nodded saying, "Many diapers will fall by the wayside."

Davi, looking at Kivi, asked, "Can we use the droid fabrications you created to help out. Our wives will need our presence for some advice behind the scenes."

"That's not a bad idea," Kivi said to his brother-in-law, Davi.

"Give me a few weeks to test your idea, Davi. I have a feeling we can make your thoughts work. Then we will be free to act as the silent consorts and plan our strategies behind closed doors and in family meetings.

"You know, our overall plan of one kingdom from three domains is already becoming a reality. Linanna, Ben, and I will start discussing how the governing body of the mammoth kingdom we are proposing can be run on equal terms between all the families involved. Other kingdoms or habitated areas that join your federation eventually will have representation in the assembly, and the leading families will become part of your leadership council.

"As the population of the council families becomes large and unwieldy, some family members should remain visible, do research in various science endeavors, write, or help with the social programs that the council will propose for the benefit of the galactic population."

"Many council family members not needed by the council will quietly and slowly leave the federation and undetected, of course, travel to the Ort Utopian center near SOL Three and establish a sort of operation center to aid their galaxy-leading brethren with needed solutions to various projects. These items we suggest," Linanna said, "as you are aware, can manifest themselves in many ways. We leave those kinds of endeavors to you and your progeny."

As Jhal was about to leave the meeting for an important Empire assembly session, he asked Rafi to come with him. After a busy day, Jhal took Rafi with him to his palace quarters, and he and his guest enjoyed a hardy meal.

As they left the table after dinner, a servant brought a locked box to Jhal. Jhal opened the box and removed a document from the container that turned out to be a deed to a ten-acre parcel of land adjacent to the palace complex.

During their conversation, Jhal, in writing with his own hand, ceded the land to Rafi and his descendents for all times.

Jhal had long past purchased the land from the Empire's land office when his father was the leader of the Mid-Galactic dominion. His purchase of this ten acres highly wooded tract occurred just prior to his marriage. On this parcel of land, he built a modest home and various paraphernalia for the enjoyment of adults and children alike. A park was also constructed where people could enjoy nature and its bounty in peace and harmony — the flora and fauna added to this preserve were magnificent.

"When my life partner perished, I never became a permanent occupant of the house I designed for us. The house and the land enclosing the house have remained unoccupied all these years. Now the land is yours and all those of your blood, which in the course of time will come after you in perpetuity. But for now, you'll have a home for yourself and your boys. We will also disinter your wife and bury her next to my beloved."

"Jhal, I have a suggestion."

The Empire's leader nodded.

"Allow a space next to your wife for you when G-D calls you to the well of souls. Then leave a space for me so when I'm called by the Creator of all things to the house of eternity my remains will have a place to reside on this world. The remaining grave sites will be for your house and mine for their final repose as they are laid to rest in the beauty you have created while you, Jhal, walked this world. Let this be so until the sacred cemetery is satiated. Then allow our descendents to begin a new place of burial if they so desire."

Without any discussion, Jhal added the suggestion by "one Rafi, a man of great integrity who I can readily call son."

"What will you do with your time, Rafi?"

"The monies from the Empire's special fund will be quite sufficient for my needs including a tremendous help in raising my two boys. As for my creative side, before our home world was decimated, my father taught me the craft of manipulating crystals and producing works of art by combining them in special confutations. The ancient craftsmen who worked with crystals called them more specifically diamonds or other precious stones. I work with crystal art pieces and give them to deserving individuals on special occasions.

"Jhal, when you wish to retire, I will construct a suite in the house that shall remain yours as long as you desire or exist on this side of the well of souls."

As events unfold that would bring the Dar Barony, The Formalhaut Star Cluster, and the Mid-Galactic Empire together in a confederation, Jhal could retire, turning the reigns of government to his heir Davi, and sit back with Rafi and watch the prosperity and peace flourish among the galactic worlds.

When the day finally arrived for the formal ceremonies that installed Davi and Rachel as the leaders of the Mid Galactic Empire, Rachel was wearing the first of Rafi's many crystal masterpieces. He had given the priceless ornament to Davi, who presented the necklace to his wife on the day of their installation to the Empire's leadership.

As agreed, Jhal became a member of Rafi's household, who by that time consisted of two wedded sons and five grandchildren. While Rafi labored intensively at his creations, Jhal enjoyed playing the role of great uncle and a teacher to Rafi's growing family. As Jhal enjoyed his new household, he was visited often by leaders of the growing confederation of worlds.

When in time Jhal was recalled to the well of souls and to his forever love, Rafi wept as if he had lost a father. When he was buried, Rafi had to be supported by his boys. Linanna and Rachel also supported Davi over whose face poured a constant stream of tears.

When Davi spoke the few appropriate words that summed a portion of his life he said, "We send to eternity a man who suffered great heartache during his lifetime yet continued to battle for the people of the Milky Way, we his brethren. His fight was also against political belligerence, which I believe is much more difficult and is often against the devil incarnate. Yet, at the end of his life, Jhal, my friend and comrade, saw the culmination of his dreams. Our galaxy is now nearly united into a confederation he and my parents helped bring to fruition many decades ago. Thank you all for coming to pay respects to the finest man I have come to know."

Then standing, Davi began to cry and place earth on his friend's casket saying, "Dust to dust, the cycle of Jhal is now complete."

Then Davi and Rafi walked to the house where Jhal had resided for many years. On the wall of the den Davi placed Jhal's family rapier and below it Rafi positioned his father's weapon, now his, where they would remain for all time. ***

Epilogue — The People of the Milky Way Move On

Many thousands of years had passed from the turbulent times of Jhal and his friends. In that time the galaxy had peacefully united, and began exploring the galaxies that made up what was called the local cluster.

The people of the Milky Way during this period had become involved in only a single intergalactic military conflict. It was a brutal affair. A race of beings had created cogitative robotic entities and shortly thereafter became extinct from a genetic contagion which had escaped from a special biological facility. Apparently, there was not an antidote to the rapidly spreading air borne toxin.

The now extinct organic race of beings, in their panic, had failed to immobilize their reasoning robotic creations before the last of them perished from their self induced plague. Within a few thousand years the still functioning robotic systems had absorbed all the knowledge left in the electronic libraries and had named themselves and their society the Lortis.

Within another ten thousand years, the Lortis had created an advanced scientific community and began to explore their own galactic system.

They found that their galaxy, called by the Utopians the Andromeda Nebula, was composed of various peaceful races which were interacting with one another mostly by trade. Sometime after they come into contact with Andromeda's organic beings, a decision was made to conquer the Andromeda Nebula and populate it with only its own kind of life. The Lortis, for the next five millennia, created a vast military organization and then embarked upon their campaign of conquest.

When the inhabitants from the Milky Way region of the local galactic cluster reached the Andromeda Nebula, the organic beings still existing only controlled about thirty-five percent of the galaxy proper. The Lortis occupied the remainder of the Andromeda Nebula and had liquidated nearly forty percent of the flourishing species that once called the Andromeda Nebula their home. It was just a matter of time until the metallic creatures, The Lortis, brought all the organic life in the Milky Way's neighboring galaxy to flicker out.

When the scientific travelers and explorers to the Andromeda Nebula returned to Canopus, the capital of Milky Way galactic system, and reported what they had observed, a disputation soon occurred which lasted nearly ten years. The Setlands, Kleins, and (Lane) Kents were totally involved in the debate and were committed to providing assistance to the beleaguered organic life forms now battling for their existence two point two million light-years distant.

Not only did debate favor providing assistance to the organic life forms within the Andromeda Nebula, but they chose to join the fray so that the Lortis, a scientific belligerent aberration, could be eradicated and the remaining organic life in their neighboring galactic nebula could move forward in peace to rebuild their galactic civilization.

When people of Milky Way joined the war against the Lortis, the people initially from SOL Three displayed such a belligerent nature that in time their metallic enemy learned to fear.

The Lortis war, after the Milky Way entered the conflict, lasted another eleven thousand years. During this time, the Utopians slowly emerged from their clandestine existence and openly joined the galactic society they fostered and still embraced, the Milky Way.

It was several generations after the Lortis galactic war was successfully concluded that Jorli Clark Setland brought his bride Zoreen Lois to his home on the ten-acre wood still adjacent to the palatial assembly hall from which the galaxy was led and governed.

After the droids provided them an ambrosial lunch, Jorli escorted Zoreen on a tour of his home. Entering the den, Zoreen was surprised by the names she saw on one wall beneath two rapiers. Those appellations were known to the entire population of the Milky Way as men who persevered through war when necessary and whose descendents unified the three essential star kingdoms, which were the nucleus of their flourishing galactic civilization. Zoreen was flabbergasted. She had not realized nor had Jorli mentioned his illustrious family while they were dating. The final part of their tour was the cemetery where Zoreen viewed the final resting places of those who preceded Jorli and her in this illustrious family.

The new bride thought of the many rivals for her hand and how they had mocked Jorli's scientific aspirations, always tempting her with the wealth of their families. Zoreen, deep down, knew that Jorli was her soulmate and she would wait for him while he completed his studies. No kind of enticement during Jorli's absence could sway her resolution concerning her love for Jorli and their future together.

After four months, Jorli and Zoreen proceeded to the intergalactic space port and boarded a star cruiser bound for a galaxy labeled in the astronomical catalogue as M51. Two hundred and ten days later the intergalactic vessel composed of stabilized neutronium touched down at a base in the M51 galactic system.

With Jorli and his wife Zoreen were fifteen hundred others whose job was to expand the M51 base into a small residential area, which would be called Smallville twenty-six by its inhabitants. From this location, the denizens of this new Smallville would survey M51 and determine if there was life present somewhere in the galaxy or developing life forms that had recently arisen from the muck and mire of primordial ooze within certain planetary systems.

As their shipmates went about their work, Jorli and his wife began establishing a teleportation station. Within about seven months, the transportation unit was complete and tested. A week or so later Jorli said goodbye to their comrades and they teleported to their home in the Canopus star system.

When Jorli and Zoreen departed, they were pregnant and Zoreen had carried their three children for seven months. After unpacking at home, they journeyed to the Formalhaut star cluster and then to the Dar Barony to visit with their close relatives.

Returning home, Jorli and Zoreen completed their home and new research facilities, and Jorli began constructing a necklace from the mass of crystals Rafi had acquired during his lifetime. The necklace would be for Zoreen when she delivered their triplets — one boy and two girls; Kyle, Marla, and Lynn.

On the day Jorli became a father, he had solved a problem which had annoyed the Milky Way Confederation for a considerable time: How to speed up the transit of star ships between the locations within the universe.

The speeding process was produced by the ability of a star vessel to create a worm hole, a short cut through the void.

Later that day as Jorli sat with his soulmate, she said, "Beloved, another generation is following in the tradition of our ancestors." Smiling, Jorli leaned over and crushed his wife lips to his. As they were enjoying their lip lock, there erupted a clamorous bellowing from three hungry infants demanding to be fed.

Zoreen and Jorli just smiled as the father of three frisky children went into the nursery and brought them to his wife for her natural feeding ritual.

That evening the people's assembly voted to allow the people of the Milky Way to be the caretakers of the universe. In a galaxy wide referendum, the councils' and the assemblies' views were put to a galaxy wide vote which passed unanimously. As the life created by Jorli and Zoreen took its first yowling steps toward the future, the Utopians, as HG Wells had predicted so long ago, had also placed its imprint of peace and freedom upon the races in the vast universe it had now pledged to protect.


December 02, 2006

Some thoughts by Edmond Hamilton have been used in this Lois and Clark Tale.

If you have comments pertaining to this story, please contact me privately at