Happy Day 365 of 2008!

Tomorrow ends this year. The lovely numerals of 2008 will give way to the more important-looking, almost stern, ones of 2009. I think that considering this, it would be well to part with the old year and enter the new one on a more serious note than I have portrayed most often in my posts on this blog.
I hope to encourage you, dear reader, by reminding you as I so often have to remind myself, that
"as it is written: 'None is righteous, no, not one...'" (ESV, Romans 3:10)
Why am I bringing this scripture to mind? How on earth will this bring us joy as we begin a new year?
Just wait; I am coming to that. I am bringing this scripture in as a mere beginning; an introduction, as it were, of an even more important message.
If none are righteous, than how can their deeds be righteous? And how can un-righteous deeds be perfect? They can't.
So for me, the perfectionist, the fact that I can't get everything done and everything done correctly, makes me quite discouraged. After all, what hope is there in this?
Hope comes into the picture when Christ does.... And hence the main point of this post:
"He [the Father] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
20 andthat through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister." (ESV, Colossians 1:13 - 23)

We are not righteous or perfect, but Christ is. And Christ will present us "holy and blameless and above reproach" before God.
And as a response to such great love as this, I am full of awe and motivated to do my best that I might "pay Him back" to the very small extent that I am able, in order to show Him my intense gratitude.
And that is how I want to start my new year.


Clothes and their associations....

It wasn't until just recently that I noticed something concerning my clothes that interested me immensely. Each article of clothing reminds me of a certain thing. Like, for instance, a purple shirt that reminds me of Star Wars, a green sweater that reminds me of the 1980's, and a black skirt that somehow brings to mind a friend of mine. Then there's the blue pants that are associated with exercising, and the white jeans that bear semblance to flour sacks.

And in discussing clothes, I suddenly realize that everything I encounter throughout the day calls to mind another thing.

There are colours for days of the week:
Friday = green
Saturday = orange
Sunday = red
Monday = red
Tuesday = blue
Wednesday = yellow
Thursday = a darker shade of blue

There are genders for numerals:
Odd numbers = male
Even numbers = female

There are thousands of songs that bring to mind hundreds of objects, some reasonable and others - such as glass-bottled ships for that song that includes the line "Shine, Jesus, shine" - that seem to have no relation whatsoever.

I wonder why our brains do that to us...


Friday; the organizing day.....

It's Boxing day. So what is more logical than cleaning out boxes? And in cleaning out boxes (and files and emails and things), what is more natural than finding odd things to post here?
And I have found something indeed; an old poem I wrote for my Mum's blog, April 29....

I went to post a list upon this blog,
but stopped when I saw a button....
My finger leaped to it in surprise,
and before I knew, it was on.......

A loud explosion followed it,
And I was left in some smoke....
Nothing but ashes and metal remained,
Of the computer I had just broke.


Time....... (Part 17)

Peter clutched his knees nervously. Waiting was such tiresome work. Tonight was the night the robbers had planned to rob the bank, and it was also the night Kevin and he hoped to escape from the thieves' den and somehow get to California. Yet even as he thought the plan over again, the nagging question of transportation would not go away. How could they get the California?
Planes were rather expensive, and how could they bring the machine on a plane with them?
He sighed. This whole plan of coming to Earth was a total mess. Yet the leader was a wise man; why would he overlook prominent problems in the creating of the plan for this mission?
The answer came to him like a flash; the leader had never been to Earth before. Problems that seemed so out in the open where problems that the leader had never had to experience before, or never knew about. But they had been observing Earth for some time, as the leader had said. Couldn't they have learned about these things from their observations?
Well, that depended on what they had been observing. They might have been taking note of its orbit around the sun, for all he knew. Yet they had come in contact with something human on Earth, for they were always harping on how stupid "Earthlings" were.
Great. So it was he who had been the problem. After all, he knew the problems and didn't mention them to anyone. Why hadn't he mentioned them? Peter kicked the grass irritably.
"I wasn't thinking about them then. I assumed the leader had everything under control, and knew what he was doing. And, I've never been in this situation before, so how could I have comprehended all the trouble I would run into?" he sighed.
But it was too late to think about what he would have done, or should have done long ago. What could he do now?
"Pete!" Kevin interrupted his friend's thoughts. "I say, Pete, what's wrong?"
"Wrong? Oh, every thing's just fine. Don't worry," Peter said hastily. A little too hastily; Kevin detected something other than carelessness in his voice, and scrunched up his brow.
"If nothing's wrong, than why are you sitting here in moody silence?" Kevin queried.
"Sorry," Peter shrugged. "I didn't want to worry you."
"Peter! I'm not a little boy! In fact, I'm older then you! Just tell me what you're worried about, and I'll see if I can help you."
"Maybe I should wait and tell you later," Peter hinted, as he saw a burly robber approaching them.
"Sure," Kevin grinned. "I like hot dogs, too. The ones from the restaurant, MacApple, were really tasty."
"Those were nothing compared to Mixers'," Peter replied, quick to see Kevin's game. The burly robber stopped in front of them.
"You boys ready for the little fun we're going to have tonight?" he chuckled in hid deep voice.
"Yeah, just about," Kevin grinned at him.
"That's good. I'm not!" the robber walked away, laughing like one who has just told a joke that they find humorous, even though no one else sees it as so.
"I'm glad he didn't stay," Kevin muttered. "I can't make a fool of myself by constantly chattering about hot dogs!"
"You're becoming a good actor, that's for sure," Peter smiled. "Do you even like hot dogs?"
"They're good. I can't wait to try pizza, though. Apparently it is very good."
"You'll try some soon enough," Peter smiled again.

The hotel was situated very neatly in the middle of NYC, directly across from a lovely row of small, neat shops. Edmund and his father had only just arrived at the place, and both agreed that it was a rather noisy street due to the traffic.
Ed unpacked his trunk and stuffed its contents into a drawer in the dresser. He gazed out the window with something not short of awe. He had been to several large cities in the past, but they never lost their thrill for him.
"I'm really tired," dad sighed. "Do you mind if I take a short nap?"
"Not at all," Ed turned from the window to smile at his dad.
"What do you want?"
"What do you mean?"
"Don't pretend to be innocent; I see your smile. You've got that look again; the look that says you would really like to ask something but you're not sure if you should," dad teased.
"Sorry. I just wanted to - to know if I could go exploring outside."
"I thought so. I guess if you don't lose sight of the hotel, you can. It is easy to get lost in a city you don't know."
"Thank you," Ed grinned. He picked up his sneakers where he had let them fall in a heap on the floor, and put them on again. "Bye, dad!"
"Bye. Be back by 6, okay? We're going to be eating dinner."
"You don't have to tell me; I won't miss dinner for anything!" Ed said cheerfully. He stuck one of the hotel keys in his wallet, placed it in his pocket, and locked the door behind him.
The air outside was thick and stifling with the exhaust of cars and the humidity of summer. Ed picked his way through the crowds, and stopped to look at every shop window and building he could find. Every now and again he looked back at the hotel in order to keep it in sight.
He was standing outside a window displaying fresh cheese party-platters, beginning to think that it would be a good time to head back to the hotel, when he felt something touch him at his side. It was not unusual to bump into someone in the crowd, but he turned towards it anyhow, and saw a figure making off with his wallet!
"Oh, great!" Ed groaned, as he felt his empty pocket. He was considering letting it go, when he remembered that the wallet had contained the hotel key, and he started running after the figure immediately. Getting back into his hotel room would have been no problem; he could simply knock on the door, and dad would let him in. But the key wasn't his. It belonged the the hotel. And supposing the wallet thief took advantage of the key and broke into the hotel? It never occurred to him that the hotel could replace the lock with a new one.
He ran on for what seemed like forever, losing and regaining sight of the thief on a regular basis. And all the while looking for policemen, but none appeared. The crowd was getting larger as time slowly went by; people were getting out of work and starting to look for places to eat at. The street was full of the sound of honking horns and squeaky brakes. Ed stopped running to catch his breath; the thief was quickly getting out of sight.
Ed groaned and glanced at his watch: 6:13. He had to get back to the hotel. He would just have to tell the hotel manager what had happened. He searched the skyline quickly for a glimpse of the hotel to get his direction. Then he realized the horrible mistake he had made in following the thief: the hotel was out of sight. And the worst thing was that in the midst of the excitement over the loss of his wallet and trying to catch the thief responsible for it, he had forgotten to take note of landmarks and directions.
He started walking towards a shop, certain of having seen it before, only to find that the store was anything but familiar as he approached it. This happened again and again, till he began to go in circles, and recognize shops merely because he had passed them while searching for something he knew.
"I knew this was a mistake!" he cried at last. Though what part of his journey had been a mistake was something he couldn't clarify. He was growing hungry and the sun was starting to set. He checked his watch again and found it to be past 8:00. He had no way of getting in contact with his dad. "Maybe I should ask for help?" he thought. But the saying "never talk to strangers" had been so drilled into his head when he was younger that he found it hard to even consider going against it. His head whirled and his legs were growing tired. He sat down on a bench outside a cozy little store and tried to think of his next action.

The robbers formed a noisy group outside by the trucks. More trucks were arriving from distant locations; the Scallions were a huge, widespread gang that came together for certain important missions. By the number of robbers here (60 going on to 90, approximately), the bank was a very rich one and the mission to it could not fail.
Peter tried to stay keep an eye on Kevin in the midst of all the activity. It wasn't an easy ordeal as the large Scallion gang was growing the whole time. He and Kevin had planned to slip out unnoticed as the gang took off. It was important that the two of them not get separated.
At last, the trucks had been loaded with tools and weapons, and the men began to climb on. Peter spotted Kevin and was making his way in that direction, when a large hand clasped his shoulder. He turned slowly around.
"Ha! Scared ya, didn't I?" Henry laughed.
"Ha, ha. Yes, you did," Peter said, trying not to show his despair. Henry would, of course, be sure that Peter was squished in on a truck somewhere. Which meant that plans of escape would be of no use. "Look, Henry, I'm feeling a little sick...." (his stomach was hurting. But that was because he was so nervous). "Do you think I could stay here tonight?"
"What? And miss the big game?" Henry slapped him on the back with a loud laugh. "No, youngster! Ya can't do that."
"Well, what if I were to get sick or something in the middle of the mission? It wouldn't be pleasant for all concerned, and it might leave evidence," Peter said desperately. He had to get out of this somehow. But did he have to lie in order to do it? No, he wasn't lying, he was sure. He could get sick with his stomach all in a knot like it was. It had happened before when he was nervous; it could happen again....
But it didn't matter whether he was sick or not; Henry was determined to have him along. Peter stopped resisting, knowing it was hopeless and might raise suspicion. He looked around for Kevin and signalled to him helplessly.
"What is it, Pete?" Kevin asked, coming up to his friend. "You look sick!"
"I feel sick, but that's not the point. My old 'friend' found me, and won't let me stay behind for anything."
"Couldn't you escape now?"
"No. He's keeping a constant watch over me. I can see him doing it. And when I can't see him, I can feel him. No, I have to go."
"Well, I guess I'll go too, then," Kevin smiled.
"No. I want you to continue with the plan," Peter remarked, to his friend's surprise.
"There's no other way, Kev. I'll have to join you later."
"But how? And what can I do alone? And why can't we just plan for another time?"
"Time, time!"Peter sighed miserably. "Something there is a severe lack of at the present! We've got to go on with our mission. And there may not be another chance for escape."
"No, listen! The machine has to be slipped out while the gang is gone. Try to get it some where away from this hideout. Then, go on with the plan and find some way to get to California. I'll try to get out of here as soon as possible; maybe even tonight after the robbery. Then I'll follow you to CA."
"No!" Kevin said suddenly. "We can't get so separated! I don't know how to get on in this dismal country without your help. And we may get so separated that we can never find eachother again, let alone the machine. The mission would be a failure then. And there would be no way of duplicating the mission, meaning Andromeda's doomed."
"But the prophecy! It can't be wrong! Andromeda will not perish."
"But Peter, you are one of the ones prophecied about; not me. Who's to say I won't be stuck on Earth for the rest of my life?"
"But who knows if I am the Sperring prophecied about?" Peter said desperatly. "I can't think of any other ways, Kevin! I've thought till my brain is dead!"
"Then it's time to use mine," Kevin grinned. "That's what I'm here for."

Copyright - 12/25/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).


Time......... (Part 16)

Note: I apologize to my readers for the slight delay in Time........, and hope to be more consistent in posting later sections throughout the Christmas break. :)

Frank paced the floor uneasily. It had been six days since Peter and Kevin left. Of course, one wouldn't expect them to build a couple time machines in anything less than a month. But the time was passing so slowly, and where had they landed on Earth? Supposing it was in a location where metal was unavailable, and the machine they were traveling couldn't be fixed? They couldn't get back, which meant that Frank would have no way of returning, and thus would be stuck in Andromeda for the rest of his life!
The thought alarmed him and he closed his eyes in prayer. The soft treading of a soldier disturbed his thoughts.
"Master Liftun," the soldier said, "I didn't want to disturb you, but I must inform you that your presence is required in the ITC."
"Thank you," Frank said with a sigh. He started walking down the tunnel now so familiar to him. He reached the gate and punched a password into the type pad. The gate did not move. "Oh, bother it all!" he cried, and gave the gate a determined kick. He heard someone in the ITC approach the door quickly and open it from the inside. It was Fromere.
"Liftun!" Fromere exclaimed. "What's up with you today?" His eyes traced the droopy figure of Frank, from the head that stared fixedly at the floor, to the feet that barely dragged along.
"Hullo, Fromere," Frank's voice droned. He lifted his head and saw everyone staring at him.
"Um, Liftun," the leader said. "I hope you aren't sick; we're going to need your help here. There's a bit of trouble coming."
"Sick? Never!" Frank said scornfully. He instantly perked up. "What sort of trouble, sir?"
"Sit down and I'll tell you," the leader motioned to a chair.
"Right. So what do you need me to do?"
"Well, the wall on the North side has been mysteriously weakened. Which points to one thing: a spy or traitor."
"Why is that?"
"The computers have been closely watched, and we have seen no signs of UMO's. And the walls of this fort were built so that the outside of them is like a hard shell -"
"Me and Peter didn't have that experience," Frank interrupted.
"You fell through a window that had been opened for fresh air," the leader said crisply. "It doesn't count."
"Oh. Sorry."
"As I was saying, the shell acts as a type of armor. The only way it can be weakened is on the inside. Thus someone or something belonging to the enemy has sneaked in and performed the task remarkably fast, over night in fact, presumably in preparation for an attack."
"And that attack may be launched at any time," Frank nodded. "I guess it will come sooner than later, though. Maybe even today."
"Why do you think they'll launch it today?" the leader smirked.
"For a number of reasons. For instance, they know that we'll find out about that wall in a relatively short period of time, and will try to attack before we can strengthen the wall again. It's that simple," Frank explained.
"Maybe too simple," the leader muttered. "The Nagars aren't idiots."
"What do you mean?"
"Do you think they'd be so stupid as to weaken a wall at their own risk, right beneath our eyes? And then to attack on that very wall when they know we'll be expecting them there?"
"I don't see what your getting at," Frank furrowed his eyebrows in thought.
"I think they're more likely to stab us in the back," the leader explained. "Look, they figure that as soon as we see the damage, we'll expect them on the north side. Naturally, we'll call our forces to the north side for defense, leaving all of the south side exposed. And they'll take advantage of that."
"But they can't!" Frank cried. "The south wall is impenetrable. You have a good theory there, but I really don't think -"
"How do you know it's impenetrable, though? And what if they have a newly-developed weapon that we don't know about? They have been leaving this fort alone for a good six months. What better time could they have for creating a new weapon?"
"But I don't see...." Frank hesitated. "Is six months enough time for building something like that?"
No one answered him. Fromere shifted uncomfortably and finally stood up.
"Sir, if your theory is correct, why are we sitting here?" he said.
"I'm sorry?"
"We have to evacuate!" Frank said hurriedly.
"No." the leader said calmly. "We will not leave. Limblon is the shield to the rest of the galaxy. We can't betray our people!"
"Then we're going to sit here and be blown up?" Frank asked pointedly.
"No. We are going to fight."
"So, the Nagars fly by and blow us up and we respond with- ? It's a faulty plan, sir," Frank said.
"A half-explained plan will always sound faulty, Liftun. Let me finish! We must organize a heavier lookout. Then we can destroy the enemy before they destroy us, do you see?"
"A heavier lookout? A couple of fat guys are going to fight a whole army!" Frank said.
"Fat guys?" the leader's eyes widened. A couple of the men at the table had a sudden fit of coughing.
"Um, sir? Your orders?" Fromere grinned.
"Send out the emergency signal. Get all of the men ready, so that when the enemy is spotted, our men are on the spot almost immediately."
"Yes, sir."
"Doremat, you appoint more men to the lookout posts, but order them to remain hidden as much as possible."
"Yes, sir."
The leader gave more orders concerning weapons and provisions. The men filed out to tackle the jobs before them.
Frank looked at the leader questioningly. "Sir, is there anything for me to do?" he asked.
Yes, I want you to monitor entering and leaving persons on the computer and report anything suspicious."
"Why do you want me to do that? I mean, I'm clueless when it comes to computers!"
"You can easily figure out passwords, and -"
"I couldn't even open the gate today!"
"I have a feeling that it was because you didn't set your mind on it. Look at the job this way, that anyone who leaves may be a traitor, and everyone who enters is a spy and if you fail to report their movements, it could result in the loss of the fort and everyone in it."
"That's encouraging," Frank said sarcastically.
"It wasn't exactly supposed to be; it was a motivation," the leader replied dryly. "I've got to go make sure everything is going smoothly in preparation now."
The leader left the room, and Frank sat down at the computer with nervous jitters.

Copyright - 12/21/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).


Time......... (Part 15)

Peter and Kevin managed to pick up a good amount of information from the notebook Kevin had picked up. They soon learned that there was a purpose for the release of the gang-members from jail that went beyond a mere longing to have those gang members back. The Scallions were planning an attack on a major bank in NYC, and needed all the people they possibly could. The Scallions worked by numbers; they figured that they could get away with more things by striking people with fear by their large number.
The night of the robbery was to take place in a week.
Peter and Kevin managed to get by unquestioned for the most part by keeping fairly quiet. They couldn't talk even to each other as much as they would have liked. But this only left all the more time for thought, and there was a lot of thinking to be done.
Kevin was able to slip the notebook back into the robber's possessions while everyone was asleep, thus removing any suspicions that might be aroused by the finding of it in Kevin's pocket. Peter began to work out a plan that would cause their "friend's" interest to be aroused in the releasing of the "time" machine, but it seemed to be a hopeless plan. It only seemed that way.
It was the third night Peter and Kevin were about to spend at the gang's hideout. Their "friend," whose name was Henry, was sitting contentedly in a group, telling stories in his loud, bold voice.
"I liked to build inventions when I was a youngster," he was saying. Peter looked up from the knot in the wood floor he had been studying drearily. "And I tell you, it wasn't easy, but I managed to build a machine that would make a bed."
"Yeah, right, yeah," several others mocked him.
"Really! It was made out of a couple o' pipes and an old motor, and...." his voice went on and on in description. Peter had stopped paying attention though; he had learned all he needed to know. He stood up quietly, and left the room. Kevin saw his friend rise and go outside, and waited for a moment before following.
"What is it, Pete?" he whispered when he spotted his friend sitting on the doorstep in deep thought.
"Plans," Peter said vaguely. "By the way, did you know Henry used to build machines? He is a great supporter of the idea that youth need to be more inventive."
"Really," Kevin said, trying to appear casual and uninterested. He knew what Peter was getting at.
"Yeah," Peter said softly. He turned to face Kevin, and allowed himself a grin. He stood up stretched as one would do when tired and left Kevin on the doorstep. Kevin sat there for five minutes more before he too entered through the door. This was the way they had been carrying on conversation for the past few days. It was aggravating and very slow, but it seemed the only way that would not cause suspicion.
"We'll be champion actors after this," Kevin thought with a grim smile.

"Henry, wait!" Peter called to the large man.
"Hey? What do ya want?" Henry paused in his tracks. It was the next morning, and the gang was working on getting their trucks up to an ideal condition.
"You were talking about machines last night?"
"Well, I like building inventions too. I have a machine that - rather, I had a machine. The police took it away when I was arrested."
"Ah, that must have been hard on ya," Henry said, his voice never once changing.
"Yeah. And I'm not sure how to get it out of the police station without being caught again!" Peter heaved a sigh to portray desperation. It was all Henry needed.
"Now, that's not so hard to do, youngster!" He said. "Tell, ya what, I'll get my tools and help you get it out tonight."
"Will you?" Peter didn't have to pretend his surprise, he was surprised. Henry was compassionate?
"Sure will. I believe robbers ought to be inventive; they get more accomplished that way." Thus saying, Henry hurried off to the trucks. Peter heard his voice raise in anger as one of the men splashed water on his tall boots.
"I'll kill you! I'll kill you for this!" Henry was yelling. There was a scuffle and a scream; then all was drowned out by the voices of others cheering and jeering.
Peter cringed. Henry was not compassionate. But why then had he taken an interest in Peter's affairs? Did he like mechanical devices that much? Or perhaps he knew that Peter and Kevin were intruders and decided to lure them into a trap by pretending to help them. Peter's face went warm at the thought.
"What am I to do?" he groaned in despair. He decided to risk it and go with Henry to regain the machine. After all, if Henry wasn't suspicious, he would become so by the mere refusal on Peter's part. Of course, it might be a trap. But in that case, even if he refused to go along, he and Kevin would be in grave danger by sticking around the robber's camp. And there wouldn't be a chance to recover their machine.
"And I used to think choosing between chocolate and strawberry ice cream was hard?" Peter laughed at himself.
Tomorrow night was the bank robbery. Peter managed to get in touch with Kevin and tell him the news; they would make their escape from the robber's camp during the confusion of the robbery.

Kevin sat on the doorstep and swallowed hard. Peter had just left with that man, Henry. Would Peter be caught by the police? Or would he be killed by Henry in a dark alley? No, he couldn't be killed. He was part of the prophecy and was destined to save Andromeda with those other three people from this planet.
Who were the other three though? There was Frank. But what about the other two?
"Maybe I'm one of them," Kevin thought hopefully. "I'll be coming back from Earth anyways, and I'm helping save Andromeda by this whole expedition, aren't I? But I think the prophecy meant people born on Earth. And besides, I'm not good at computers, and I don't have tantrums. Wait! Carrying on; couldn't that mean someone highly encouraging? Someone who "carries on" a task in the midst of everything; you know, perseverance? But I'm not encouraging, am I?" Kevin suddenly felt left out and lonely. He scanned the dark landscape in the hopes of seeing Peter, but no one appeared. He felt a bad pain in his knee, and looked down to find himself pinching it. He released his hold and drew out a long breath, trying to steady his knotted stomach.

The task was done quickly. Henry was an expert at picking locks and the shed in which the machine had been held captive was not the sturdiest of structures. The machine was loaded on the back of Henry's truck. Peter sat beside it to hold it in place, and was relieved to have an excuse for sitting alone.
Henry was not suspicious of him, but it was best to stay as far away from the robber as possible. When they reached the camp again, Peter relocated the machine to a safer place, with Kevin's help.
Kevin opened the engine and began reconnecting the broken pieces quickly. Peter helped him.
"Does this machine, by any chance, happen to have the ability to travel to another location on the same planet?" Kevin asked.
"I don't know. I haven't played with it enough. I suppose if we were to pull the lever forward just a tiny bit, it might."
"Couldn't we become stuck in the middle of the solar system, though?" Kevin asked.
"I'm not sure. Forward from Earth brings us to Limblon, and backwards from Limblon brings us to Earth. Presumably, if you were to go backwards from Earth, you would find yourself in a different location than Limblon, and so on. But supposing we were to fit another lever in here; a horizontal lever. Would that take us to a different location on the planet?"
"I - I don't know," Kevin sat back on his feet and paused in his work with thought.
"There's no time for experiments, unfortunately," Peter sighed. "We'll repair this, and take the flight to California."
"California? Why there?"
"Because everyone knows that's where the movie star's home is," Peter replied. "We're going there to ask the star if he'd be willing to let you play in one of his movies; we need the money from it for the metal we need for our time machines."
"Wait a second! You can't come up with a better idea than that?" Kevin cried. "You, who has always tried to evaluate and make sure things are safe and so and so forth - I mean, this is totally an illogical solution!"
"Do you have a better idea?" Peter hinted.
"Well, not exactly. But couldn't we, like get a job or something instead?"
"We're running out of time, though! If you were to fake an actor for a time, you could be bringing in the money while I built the machines we need. We've got to work together on this in order for it to go fast."
"But I don't want to be an impersonator!" Kevin objected. "We're in trouble with the law already, and you would have us get into more?"
"Oh, Kevin!" Peter said in desperation. "I can't think anymore! I'm tired of the trouble that is chasing us around; I tired of trying to pretend to be a 'bad guy'; I'm tired of having to think!"
"So you'd rather just risk our lives and be done with it?" Kevin asked.
"Yes," Peter said firmly. Kevin was silent a moment.
"Get some sleep," he said at last.

Peter tossed and turned that night. There wasn't a better way, was there? And how many machines were they planning to build? How many could they build? There was only two of them And therefore could only build one extra, and that would not be enough.
Peter sighed miserably. The whole plan seemed a failure. All at once, he sat up quickly and gasped at the idea forming in his head. Maybe they could only build one more machine, but who said it had to be the same machine? He could redesign it so it would hold many materials besides its pilot; thus the delivery to Limblon would be worth while after all.
But there he was, stuck in a rut again. He could see how he would build the new machine sure enough, but it still left one wondering where the money would come from for it and its stock of supplies it would be shipping.
He could write home requesting money. Yeah right! That would really help.
Maybe he should take up a job like Kevin had suggested. No, for they were running short on time.
Robbery was out of the question.
Could he strike up a deal somewhere, like with a metal company? But what could a boy like him have to offer?
No, the movie star seemed to be their only hope.
Peter shut his eyes and tried to stop thinking. Kevin was right; he needed sleep.

Copyright - 11/29/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).



How does one delicately say that after a series of mistakes they created five pumpkin pies, without raising a gasp from their family?
So you see, I started to make some pies. Three of them, because I thought three was as good a number as any (ordinarily I would only make two). So I mix the spices and eggs together, and open up one of those large cans of pumpkin that make two pies. The contents of that can looked darker than usual. What was wrong with this pumpkin?
Wrong with it! I almost wish there was something wrong with it! It was an "easy pumpkin pie mix," just add eggs and milk. One can't add an already-spiced up can of pumpkin to more spices, and one can't stash spices and eggs beat together in the pantry. Meaning that I needed plain pumpkin to finish the three that I started, and I have to make this "easy" pumpkin mix into two more pies.
What was it that I said about reading labels? Oh, where is my head! Where is my head!
Now how do I phrase this over the phone to my currently-shopping mom and sisters?
"Oh, I hope you don't mind pumpkin pie for dinner."
"By the way, do you know anyone who might like a pumpkin pie?"
"Might want to buy some foil pie plates; we have a few pies here to freeze."
"I knew I should never have started on this!"
Hmm..... What does God want me to do with extra pies?

Pumpkin Pie

Partly from the back of the pumpkin can; partly the family's additions.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon (ground)
1 tsp. ginger (ground)
1/2 - 1 tsp. clove (ground)
4 eggs
30 oz. canned pumpkin
24oz. evaporated milk (or 2 cups milk, 1 cup yogurt)
2 pie crusts (unbaked)

Preheat oven at 425.

Mix spices. Beat eggs in separate bowl. Dump spice and pumpkin in with eggs. Slowly drizzle in milk till no more milk is left to be drizzled. (or, just pour milk in all at once and save time.)

Pour mixture into pie crusts (Note: pie crusts must be in pie pans when this is done).

Cook for 15 minutes at 425; bonk-down temp. to 350 and cook for 40-50 minutes. (Or, cook for an hour at 425: the black crust adds a special touch). Stab pie to make sure it doesn't bleed (isn't runny). If pie is cooked, serve. If pie is not cooked, cook until it is.

(Note: do not confuse the orange can of peaches for the orange can of pumpkin as I did; always read labels. Spicy peach might be an interesting combo, though.....)


Time......... (Part 14)

Mr. Sperring discussed his son's absence with the movie star's uncle, Abraham Hethe.
"What do you make of it?" he asked.
"Well, my nephew has been acting odd lately, but I have no clue how he got in New York City. I doubt that he had any thing to do with the Scallions's break in though."
"Has it been proved then that it was in fact the Scallions?"
"Oh, yes. They found the green handkerchief by the door, and it has been identified by the police. Clever trick they had, in order to get into that jail."
"But why would they release my Peter of all people?"
"That's beyond me. Unless they made a mistake?" Mr. Hethe asked the question in a hopeless sort of way. Both he and the Sperrings feared the worse: Kevin and Peter had joined a robber's gang and were hanging around in who knows where.
"Wait!" Mr. Sperring said suddenly. "Surely your nephew wouldn't leave a blooming career as an actor to join a robber gang, would he?"
"Not normally," Mr. Hethe admitted.
"And Peter would never go and do such an outrageous thing; he had his heart set on becoming a chemist."
"Do you think they were mere victims then?" Mr. Hethe said hopefully. The next moment his countance dropped. "That doesn't explain the odd machine they found with them in the street."
"True," Mr. Sperring agreed. He pondered it all in silence for a fewe moments. At last Mr. Hethe made a suggestion.
"Let's go have dinner now, and leave the problem for later," he pointed to a restraunt across from the police station. "From there, we can see if anything odd appears to be happening around the station."
Mr. Sperring took a deep breath and took his wife's nervous hands. "Alright," he said at last.

Peter felt slightly relieved when the trip was over. He clambered out of the truck in a hurry and tried to find Kevin.
"Hi, Pete!" Kevin called, suddenly appearing on Peter's right side. "I was looking for you."
"So was I. I mean, looking for you."
"What do we do next?" he whispered.
"Get out of here?"
"Yes, but how?"
"Let me think a little while," Peter shrugged.
"We don't have a while. We could slip away now in the midst of confusion, but how would we get the machine out of the police station without being caught?"
"Um, make friends with a pick-lock, I suppose," Peter grinned.
"Peter! I'm serious!"
"I know, Kev. But I'm all out of ideas."
"Humph," Kevin sighed. "Could we swipe a few tools perhaps?"
"We could, but I'd feel bad about doing that - even to a gang of robbers."
"So do I. Oh, hang it all! There must be some way!"
"Hey, fellows! What are you trying to hang?" a burly robber pushed his way into their midst. Peter noted with some alarm that this was the man who had tried talking to him while on the truck.
"Um, just a - you know - um," Peter murmured.
"Hey? Speak up! I can't hear ya!" the man yelled in Peter's ear. Or at least, it seemed like he yelled.
"Nothing!" Peter yelled back.
"Oh, okay. Say, have ya met Maxamillia yet?"
"No, I haven't had a chance -"
"She's over there! Just tell 'er you're a friend of mine."
"Um, thank you," Peter walked determinedly towards the woman indicated as Maxamillia, closely followed by Kevin. Both were glad for an excuse to get away from the man.
"What was that about, Pete?" Kvin whispered.
"An old friend of mine I met on the truck," Peter said grimly.
"Did you say 'friend'?" Kevin said suddenly, halting in his stride.
"Well, you know what I mean. He isn't exactly a friend, I just -" Peter stopped as he realized what Kevin was getting at. "If we want to get the machine out, we have to make friends with a pick-lock," he said slowly.
"Yes, and it looks like you've already started the process. We've come up with a plan for making that guy convinced that releasing a machine is worthwhile."
"I sure feel sorry for the police, though," Peter said dejectedly. "If I ever get out of this adventure alive, I'm going to be in hot water with the authorities, no matter how much I'd have done to save a distant planet in Andromeda."

"Edmund! Did you pack socks?" mom called.
"Yes, I did."
"And and extra shirt? You never know when it might rain."
"And your tooth brush?"
"Yes, mom! I've got everything!"
"Well, I'm just checking. You'll be away a whole week with no one to look after you!"
"I'll have dad."
"I mean no mother to look after you. Guys are so disorganized without girls around."
"I wouldn't make so broad a generalization. After all, my friend Luke is so organized, his mom always complains she can't find anything, because he picks up all her things when he has none of his own."
"That's Luke. That's not you or dad."
"Okay, don't worry about it mom. We'll just be in New York City for the conference, and then we'll be home."
"Ah, web designing!" mom wailed. "When you come home from the webdesigning conference, I never understand a word you're saying for a week afterwards!"
"I'll try to talk English then, for your sake," Edmund smiled.
"You're too kind," mom said sarcastically.
At last the suitcase was packed, and Edmund went to bed. His laptop was packed away.

Copyright - 11/20/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).


Time......... (Part 13)

See past sections of this story here.

Frank licked his dry lips thoughtfully. Without Peter he was feeling rather lost. And he didn't realize how much Kevin had grown on him in the two days they had spent here together.
He wondered whether Peter had gotten to Earth safely, and where he had ended up landing. Probably in Africa. Frank had always wanted to go to Africa, so of course he would miss the opportunity. He felt a twinge of jealousy towards Peter, but the next moment he laughed at himself. Here he was in the middle of a different galaxy, wishing he was in a small section of land on the common-place Earth? But Earth wasn't common-place; it was home. And he was starting to miss home.
"What's the news?" he asked one of the men approaching him.
"Got another note from that Earth-geek."
"Who, the computer-hacker?" Frank laughed.
"Yup, who else?"
"What did he say?"
"That's confidential. Ask the leader."
"I've been wondering about something; why doesn't anyone know the leader's name? Why do they all call him 'leader'?"
"Oh, please! I'm sure I don't know," the man turned and walked away briskly. Frank reflected on the man's behavior. Everyone was that way when he asked a question. Maybe he asked too many....
He guessed the new password of the gate to the ITC, and entered the chamber to find the leader leisurely sitting at a table, drinking water and looking entirely stressed-out. He looked up in surprise as he saw Frank open.
"Oh, it's you again. You know, I can't keep changing that password."
"I'm sorry, sir. I wanted to ask a question."
"Well, things can't get much worse. Go ahead."
"Okay, so - wait a second!"
"What's wrong now?"
"You're drinking water?" Frank asked in a tone of disbelief.
"Um, yeah. We do have water here, you know."
"I knew that, but why don't you drink coffee instead? It would help handle stress better."
"Oh great! Now you're an advertiser! Just be so kind as to explain what coffee is," the leader said semi-sarcastically.
"You don't know what coffee is?" Frank cried in shock. "You've never heard of mocha? Or coffee beans? Oh, man! We've got to get Peter to bring some coffee back with him. I'm sure we could find some way to grow it here!"
"Anyways, about your question?" the leader said, a trifle annoyed.
"Oh, right. What was the note the hacker left?"
"Figure you'd ask that. We can't keep anything from you, can we?"
"Here, read it for yourself. I can't make head or tail out of it," the leader handed a slip of paper to him.
" 'From my calculations, you are located in a different universe and are therefore unable to be communicated to. My calculations are either wrong, or you are not real. Please clarify this for me,' " Frank read aloud. "Well this is nuts! This guy must be fancy with jokes or whatnot. Of course we exist! How else would he be getting answers from us!"
"We might be robots for all he knows."
"True," Frank puzzled over the note. "Have you responded?"
"No, I was hoping you might be able to."
"Why me?"
"Because you come from the same planet, you might understand each other better."
"I'm not so sure I understand him, though. But I can try."
"Good." The leader called a man over to help Frank with the computer.
Frank stared at the blank document nervously. What should he tell this hacker, or "Earth-geek"?

Edmund entered the house with a sigh. He pulled out the stack of homework and slapped it on the kitchen-counter in annoyance.
"What is it, dear?" his mother asked anxiously.
"This homework. Half of it is incredibly hard and due on Monday, and the rest of it is a bunch of dry articles I've got to read."
"You didn't used to find homework very hard," mom interjected.
"No, but as a year progresses, things gradually get more difficult."
"Gradually, yes. But not all at once!" mom protested. "You've been looking pale, too. Are you feeling sick?"
"Perhaps staying up late has made the sudden change," mom said slyly.
"Staying up late?" Edmund asked innocently.
"Yes, You haven't turned the light off until after midnight for the past week."
"Oh, that." Edmund grinned and left the kitchen. He sought refuge from more questions in his bedroom. The laptop was pulled out again, and he gazed at the screen intently. what strange document was this? This eyebrows raised in surprise as he read its contents.
We're not robots, you know. I'm Frank Liftun, and I'm stuck in Andromeda. Ever heard of me?
Edmund looked at the name again. He'd seen it somewhere. Where, though? Ah, the news! He pulled up another window and searched for the correct article.
Two boys, Peter Sperring, 16, and Frank Liftun, 15, mysteriously vanished from Mrs. and Mr. Greg Sperring's garage, sometime between noon and 4:00 P.M. on Monday. Police investigated scene and report that the only curious things they found were a hole in the roof, and a burned floor....
So that was where Frank Liftun came from. But what was this whole joke about him and Andromeda?
"There's something I'm just not getting," Edmund thought. But he wasn't going to give it up as some crazy joke; he was going to get to the bottom of it.

Copyright - 9/17/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).


Time......... (Part 12)

Peter looked at Kevin.
"What's that noise?" he asked. A loud grating sound, and numerous yells echoed all around them.
"How am I supposed to now?" Kevin groaned. "I've never been in jail before."
"Neither have I," Peter replied. He put his ear to the wall and listened harder. "It's coming closer, whatever it is. In fact, I think it's in the cell right next to this one."
"Can you tell what it is?"
"Some kind of mechanical device, but I'm not sure - Kevin, you have good ears. See if you can figure it out."
"Okay," Kevin listened for a moment before exclaiming, "Great Galaxy! Someone's breaking down the door with a drill!"
"A drill? How could they -"
"In other words, they're trying to open it."
"But the guards - policemen - whatever! They wouldn't let them, would they?" Peter puzzled over it.
"No, unless you Earth-people are nuts."
"Thanks a lot. Can you hear anything else?"
"Yes. The drill stopped now, and -" Kevin strained to hear. "They're talking."
"And? What are they saying?"Peter asked eagerly.
"Something about - scallions?"
"Oh, I see now!" Kevin said after a moment. "Somehow, these people got in here, and are releasing scallions."
"Releasing scallions?"
"Well, how should I know?"
"I wish I could hear myself."
"You doubt my ears?"
"Well, when it comes to scallions -" Peter paused. The drill had started on their own door. "We need to be quiet now."
"Yeah," Kevin gulped. "Who are they, and what will they do to us?"
The door swung open, and three men, dressed in tight-fitting, green clothes, rushed in. The stopped when they saw the two boys.
"You must have got the numbers wrong!" one of the men growled to the one next to him.
"Boss said number 46! I have the list to prove it!"
"Let me see that! Hmmm, 46 alright. But these boys - I don't remember them being a part of our gang."
"Boss never makes mistakes. Better bring them along."
Peter and Kevin were dragged up onto their feet and into the hall.
"The Scallions must be the name of a gang, then!" Kevin whispered to Peter. Peter nodded and pressed a finger to his lips.
"Pretend you knew that all along," Peter whispered back. "Pretend you are a part of the gang, and there less of a chance of them killing you."
Kevin gulped, and he tried to hide the fear on his face.
The gang traveled throughout the rest of the wing, opening certain doors, and bypassing others. It soon became apparent to the boys that this gang had organized a crusade to the jail, releasing all members that had been caught. The numbers of the rooms in which these members had been placed had been recorded on the slip of paper one of the men held.
Room 46 had obviously been either a typo, or the room had originally contained one of the gang who had been transported to a different place.
How the gang had got passed the guards was more than the boys knew - or wanted to know.
"Peter," Kevin whispered suddenly.
"Look what I found," Kevin showed a ship-shod notebook to his friend. Papers hung out of it, and the funny scraps left behind from torn-out pages.
"Where did that come from?"
"That fat guy ahead of us. It fell out his pocket."
"Hide it well, Kevin! We must not loose it for anything!"
"Oh, I'll hide it, never you fear." He shoved it into one of his deep pockets.
"How will we get to the time machine?" Peter said as the thought struck him. "And where will the money come from to help us buy the metal we need for constructing more of them?"
"Great Galaxy! I never thought of that!" Kevin gasped.
"Look, maybe we can - oh, I don't know. We'll have to earn money somehow."
"Like faking I'm a movie actor?" Kevin grinned.
"That would definitely bring in money - if it worked," Peter agreed. By this time the gang had released the last of their gang, bringing their number from 10 to 30 or so. They left the jail in a hurry and piled into several pick-up trucks just outside. Peter and Kevin were separated in this ordeal.
"Hey, youngster! I don't remember you as part of the gang!" One of the men punched Peter on the shoulder.
"I'm - sort of new here," Peter replied.
"Yeah, I'll bet the size of the gang just about doubled in the time I've spent in the old lock-up. How many's in the group, now, huh?"
"Um, I haven't exactly had a chance to count -"
"Oh, yeah. That's always a difficult thing to do. Is old Smithy still running, or has Chief put him down?"
Peter forced a smile, and the man roared in laughter, presumably at memories of old Smithy. Then the man turned to one of the other men, and Peter sighed with relief.
"Maybe he'll leave me alone now," Peter thought. But the next moment -
"How's Maxamillia?"
"Um, fine, I guess."
"Mmm. Nice girl, she."
"Is Blacky still hanging around her?"
"Um, no. Phil is," Peter said desperately, and not exactly wisely.
"What! Phil! And I always thought him a nice fellow! Well, he won't be hanging around her for long!" the man sneered. He gritted his teeth and shook a large fist. Peter gulped and determined not to say anymore. He didn't have a need to speak anyhow, for the man was growling to himself moodily, dwelling on revengeful thoughts.
"Why is it that just when I think things can't get worse, they always do?" Peter thought.

Copyright - 9/17/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).


Time......... (Part 11)

Peter dragged Kevin along, and they worked on repairing the machine together. Peter soon found that, if Kevin was good at getting into trouble, he was even better at repairing mechanical devices.
"This machine shouldn't have blown up," Kevin remarked as he investigated it. "It must of malfunctioned somehow."
"Yeah, maybe because of all the stress it went through. I'm surprised it didn't blow me and Frank up, too."
"And considering all that stress, all of the materials we have here would have blown up first thing! Earth must be an amazing place to produce all these things!"
"Yes, I suppose so. How are we going to build duplicates of this machine if there aren't any materials that stand up as well?"
"Maybe we could smuggle some things from Earth in this machine," Kevin suggested.
"I hope it won't be too much stress on the machine, going back and forth with extras on it."
"Then maybe we could build the machines on Earth, and fly them back here. And then, if I could go with you, I'd be able to see Earth!"
"Oh, no!" Peter mocked horror.
"You'd be in trouble every two minutes!"
"Stop talking like my uncle - or Lt. Fromere - or Lady Elwes - or the leader - or, oh bother! Like everyone else in this fort!" Kevin said, agitated.
Peter hid his grin in his sleeve. "Be careful with that screwdriver; you nearly poked me in the eye," he said simply.

Peter discussed the issue of materials with the leader that night.
"We have the plans all worked out, but we definitely lack the correct materials. We've tested the major ones on this planet, and nothing seems to hold up to anything higher than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit."
"How did you figure that out?"
"Labs," Kevin grinned. "We asked the lab-guys to test them for us, and they did."
"Scientists, not lab-guys, Kevin, please!"
"Yes, sir," Kevin said meekly.
"We had an idea though," and Peter told the leader the plan he and Kevin had discussed earlier.
"Where will you land on Earth, though? You may be miles away from where you can access materials!"
"That's true, but it's worth the risk, sir."
It took a lot of convincing, but in the end, they resolved on sending Peter and Kevin in the machine. It was determined that if Peter and Frank really were the ones prophesied about, they would survive in order to deliver the galaxy. It was risky, but it seemed the only way.
Frank would stay behind to see if he could help with the computer trouble; guessing passwords could become very useful.

Kevin followed Peter into the machine, and clenched his hands as Peter pulled the lever downward.
A click, a whizz, and a bump, then the engine began to smoke.
"I think we're here," Peter said. He opened the door and stepped out.
"This is Earth?" Kevin asked, gazing with admiration at the tall buildings surrounding them.
"Ah!" Peter almost screamed. We've got get out of here!"
Cars were stopping and beeping their horns; other simply whizzed by; a policeman began yelling to them; the tall skyscrapers - this was New York City. And the middle of it at that. And in the middle of a noisy, busy road, too.
Kevin, though he had never encountered anything that looked like a car, knew enough to start helping Peter drag the machine onto the side-walk. With the help of a couple of policemen, they succeeded within a minute's time.
"Now, then, what are you doing here? Int he middle of the road? With an odd looking, um - whatever it is?" one of the policemen demanded sternly.
"We were - trying to cross the street, sir," Peter said.
"And what is your name?"
"Peter Sperring, sir."
"And yours?" He pointed to Kevin.
"Kevin Hethe, sir."
"Now, none of that nonsense! You won't get out of this fix by telling me you're a movie star."
"I'm not a moving star! Besides, I thought they were called shooting stars, not moving stars!" Kevin protested.
"I'm not playing games with you!"
"Neither am I. What are you doing, though?"
"I'm bringing you two along with me to the station. You both look young, so no doubt you have parents or guardians, and we'll have to contact them." With that, he put a firm hand on both of their arms and lead them off the busy side-walk. The accompanying policemen towed away the machine.
"Peter," Kevin said, "it's really loud here. And are we going to have be questioned again?"
"Yes, you will," the policeman answered for him.
"Bother! I'm always getting into these fixes. Only this time, it's not my fault!"
"Well I didn't know where it would land," Peter replied.
"Does it fly, then?" the policeman interrupted.
"Sort of. I mean, it used to, but it's kind of broken."
"And may I ask you if you have a license to fly machines around?"
"Yes, you can," Kevin said promptly.
The policeman looked furiously at him, but didn't respond. They arrived at the police station, and were searched for identification objects.
"What is this, a wrench?"
"Wrench? No, that's a turn-screw," Kevin said.
"Turn-screw? What on earth is a turn-screw?"
"He means a wrench," Peter intervened.
"What does this card mean?"
"That? Oh, that's from my uncle."
"Major Abraham Hethe? And here's an address. We'll have to contact him."

Peter and Kevin were left in custody until their "guardians could be contacted." Kevin looked at Peter with excitement and despair.
"How long will they keep us here?"
"I don't know. I never was arrested before."
"Arrested? Is that what we are?"
"Then those people are the guard?"
"No, not guard; police."
"You mean like 'police wash my boots'?"
"Um, I guess so," Peter grinned. "I'm glad of one thing."
"You're here. I know it won't be dull by any stretch."
"Is that supposed to be a compliment?"
"Yes, I think so. I'll also be glad that my parents will here about me. They must be worried sick!"
"What will happen to me, though? They're going to try to contact my uncle, but they can't do that; can they?"
"I doubt they can," Peter pondered Kevin's words. What would the police do to Kevin?

Ring, ring!
"Hello?" Mrs. Sperring picked up the phone. "Peter? You found him? Where is he?" Her voice betrayed her excitement and delight. Mr. Sperring put down his book and looked up expectantly.
"Yes, we'll be down to pick him up tonight!" She put down the phone, and looked at her husband. "Oh, I'm so glad! They've found Peter!"
"Where was he?"
"In the middle of a street down in N.Y. City," she replied. "He was there with an odd mechanical device and another boy they've identified as the movie star, Kevin Hethe."
"Kevin Hethe? How in the world did Peter hook up with him?"
"I haven't a clue. There was no word of his friend Frank though," She puckered her face in anxiety. "I hope he and Peter haven't quarreled, and gone and down something dreadful!"
"Nevermind, we'll soon learn. I'll see if I can reserve a place on a flight to NYC tonight."
Mrs. Sperring nodded her agreement, and began packing at once.

Copyright - 9/17/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).


Time......... (Part 10)

"Edmund! Come to dinner, please!"
"Yeah, I"ll take out the garbage in a minute!" the answer came back.
Edmund's mother put her hands on her hips and puzzled over her son's reply. "Not the garbage, dinner!"
"Okay, mom, sure."
Mom rolled her eyes. What was wrong with Edmund today? She knocked on his bedroom door and waited for an answer.
"Hi," was all that came to her ears.
"Ed, can I come in?"
"Yeah, that sounds good," the answer was without inflection and the tone one of total ignorance to that which was happening around him.
Mom entered the room and found him sitting on the floor with his laptop between his knees and an extremely serious expression on his face.
"What's wrong, homework?" mom asked.
"What?" Edmund looked up with surprise. "Oh, what do you want, mom?" he shut the laptop closed with a guilty expression.
"I asked if you were having trouble with your homework. I was calling you for dinner, and you didn't seem to hear me."
"No, I didn't. Sorry." Edmund stood up and shoved his laptop underneath a pile of papers. "But I've heard now," he grinned.
He was pleasant enough at dinner, but he seemed to be very vague and distracted. Mom decided that it was definitely homework that was troubling him.

Frank rolled over in his sleep. Why was the bed so hard? He woke up with a start and realized he was lying on the floor. Peter saw him stand up.
"What's wrong, Frank?" he whispered.
"The beds here are too narrow. That's the second time I've rolled off of it!"
"I expect you'll get used to it," Peter smiled.
"I'm not so sure," Frank replied. He looked around the narrow bedroom. The two rows of bunks that lined two of the walls were occupied by several soldiers. The only thing it lacked was some light. And fresh air. But when you show up unexpectedly, you took whatever you were given, not daring to complain for fear of something worse. And they had been promised a better room tomorrow night.
One of the soldiers stirred in his sleep. If he was asleep. Frank had a feeling the soldiers were only pretending. Unless they were very deep sleepers.
"Go to sleep, Frank," Peter mumbled sleepily.
"I can't see which way by my bed is," Frank said. "Holler out and I might be able to locate the general direction."
"I'm making enough sound, aren't I?" Peter continued in a whisper. One of the soldiers smothered a cough. Frank sighed, and with a shrug that no one could see, felt around the room till he found his bed again. But he didn't fall asleep.
"Pete, you know, we still don't know what this whole fort is here for. And Pete, why were we a part of a prophecy yet couldn't do what they need most? Pete?"
"Shut up!" Peter hissed between his teeth.

The leader still sat at his desk, his thoughts whirling through his head. Everything had gone wrong today. First the two boys show up and confuse everything. Then they raise hopes by producing spinning-watches, and making everyone believe they were the ones spoken about in the prophecy. But how in the galaxy could they do anything to help?
True, the boy could build a fast-traveling machine - that is, if what he had told them was true. And yes, one of them could guess passwords. But what good were those strange gifts? And was the prophecy indeed true? What if the boys were intruders that knew about the prophecy and were just faking it?
And why did Kevin have to get himself tangled up in everything? Because Kevin...was...Kevin. A smile flashed temporarily across his face. Kevin's father was a real mischief-maker too.
But his affair about the computer. Who had broken into it, and what had they seen?
The leader groaned and rubbed his aching head. He rose from his seat, looking pale and haggard. What good was asking the unanswerable when what he really needed was more sleep?

Edmund scanned the files again. "What's all this about Nagar?" he wondered.
"The Nagars's plans were discovered earlier today," a file dated two years ago, read. The captured plans were attached to the document. Edmund scanned them quickly, gasping with alarm.
The strategy was simple, or at least it appeared so. The tactic was to attack and defeat the hundreds of planets in Andromeda. They appeared to want to take over the Galaxy, or at least a large portion of it. But it was evident that Limblon was in the way, and was preventing the rest of the plan from working out. But it was clear from these plans, too, that they were trying to concoct some sort of a space-craft that could reach planet Earth in much less time. Earth apparently had great resources they could use.
"This is a joke," Edmund muttered, "Who ever heard of Andromeda being inhabited? And why would they take interest in Earth of all planets in all galaxies? It might have great resources, but could it actually be that much use to them?"
It could, so all the plans said. And then came a portion about some anciet prophecy being fulfilled by certain people from Earth, and how it must be stopped from coming to pass.
"This is weird," he said out loud.
"What's weird, dear?" mom came into the room. She had been keeping a close eye - and ear - on her son; he was acting so strange.
"Um, just something - I was -reading," he stuttered.
"I see. Tell me if you need help with it."
"With your homework."
"Oh, okay," Ed grinned sheepishly as his mom turned away. He looked back at the screen. Everything was looking choppy, and the graphics were even worse. He couldn't click on any files; an error message kept popping up. "Someone knows I've been on their computer, and there trying to stop me," he thought. A firewall was blocking him out now.
"Oh, come on, you thing!" he sighed. After a couple of tries, he managed to break through the firewall. He pulled up a document, and typed a sentence, then saved it. Whoever owned the computer would have to try hard in order to overlook the document. Which mean they would read it, and that was just what he wanted.

Peter sat back in his chair and pondered what he had heard. "So Nagar is convinced it can actually undertake a job like conquering a galaxy?"
"Yes, and it has been fairly successful. Until they got to us. We were warned ahead of time that they planned attacking us next, and to evacuate the citizens, and organize a fort of some sort," the leader said.
"I see. But why is it so interested in Earth, too?"
"Because they know the prophecy," Fromere interjected.
"Yeah they know it better than we do," Frank hinted.
"But what does the prophecy have to do with Earth?" Peter asked.
"The prophecy says that the people who will save Andromeda will come from Earth. No one knows how, or how many, or anything," the leader replied.
"How will people like us from little Earth save a big galaxy?" Peter said, overtaken suddenly with an awe of the bigness of outer space.
"It has long been thought that Earth was a blessed place. It is unlike any other place discovered thus far, and it is believed that all life originated from it."
"How did people get to Andromeda then?"
The leader pressed his lips together in deep thought. "I didn't mean for this to be a history lesson," he said at last. "All you need to know is that we have a fearful enemy who wants control of the galaxy and of Earth, and you will probably encounter many fights here. As far as history goes, everyone in Andromeda came from Earth, and I don't have time for other details at the moment."
"Yes, sir," Peter replied. His eyes glittered with excitement. And perhaps a hint of pride. After Earth had been talked so poorly of, it was comforting to note that the leader actually admitted having originated from that planet. But how had they gotten to Andromeda?
His thoughts were interrupted by rapid knocking at the door.
"Who on earth could that be?" Frank wondered aloud. The leader glared at him.
"We aren't on Earth, so will you please keep your remarks to yourself. Let whoever it is in, Fromere."
"Yes, sir." Fromere rose to answer the door. Peter guessed he was the leader's right-hand man, because he seemed to always be around him.
"Why do people always seem to come in the middle of conversation?" Peter said softly. Kevin grinned at him.
"It's normal. You'll get used to it," he replied in a low tone.
The visitor was one of the men from the ITC (Information and Technology Chamber), and was there to give the updates on the hacker-situation.
"He broke through the firewall, sir. But that isn't all. He left behind a line, to."
"A line? What kind of a line?"
"A line of words, you know."
"Ah. What do they say?"
" 'If you guys are writing a Science-Fiction novel, I suggest using a stronger security system; someone could steal your ideas.' "
"That's all?"
"Yes, sir."
"Remarkable!" the leader scratched his head thoughtfully. He turned towards Peter and asked in a low tone, "What is a Science-Fiction novel?"
"A type of story, sir," Peter smirked.
"Does this know-it-all suggest a stronger system?" the leader asked of the messenger.
"No, sir. And I've no idea how to contact him."
"Leave him a document and see if he replies," the leader said. "Now, then. We've got work to be done. Peter, I wanted you to fix that machine; our robots have written the plans of it, but since it is needing repair, the plans are slightly messed-up."

Copyright - 9/17/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).


Time......... (Part 9)

Millions of trillions of miles away from where Frank and Peter sat contentedly eating dinner, planet Earth continued its slow revolution around the sun.
Edmund shouldered his backpack, and turned to leave the school. He stopped where he was, however, when he overheard two teachers talking in the hallway.
"There's got to be some way of getting the school board to hire a better web designer!" one of them said. "The school website is done very badly!"
"I agree; shades of black and white are not what I call inspiring," the second one replied.
"Are you sure we can't convince them to -"
"Certain! I've tried several times. I have a feeling that if we made the website look more appealing, more people would want to come, but the school board doesn't seem to get my drift."
Edmund grinned and turned away. He didn't need to hear any more. He was an expert with computers, and knew just how to fix the website.
As soon as he arrived home, he hid in his room with a laptop between his knees, and began the process of hacking into the school's website. At least, he thought it was the school's website. It soon became apparent that he had made a mistake.
"Some other weird system," he sighed. "But what is this? 'Reports from the fort at Limblon, Andromeda,' and it lists a bunch of names. Andromeda? Is this a joke of some sort?" he leaned closer to the screen and, after a moment or two, was able to bring up a map. It was an odd map, with all sorts of tunnels and chambers branching this way and that. And what were all those red dots?
"I've found something. But what I mean by something, I don't know yet," Edmund scratched his head thoughtfully. The graphics were bad, he noticed. Like it was coming over a long distance. "One thing's certain, it must not be anything important, or else they would have set up a better defense than they have!"

Frank stared at his empty plate.
"You know, wishing for food never got anyone any," Peter smiled.
"Not without some kind of action," Kevin agreed. "By the way, I wanted to thank you guys for letting me stay with you."
"You're the only one we really feel like we know here," Peter replied. "I'd try and stay out of trouble from now on, if I were you, or the leader might change his mind."
"The leader?" Kevin laughed. "Don't you know his name?"
"No. What is it?"
"I don't know. Everyone calls him sir," Kevin said.
"Another mystery!" Frank groaned. "I feel like I don't know anything here!"
There was a sudden knock on the door, and a guard walked in. He presented them with the message that they were wanted by the leader now. The boys promptly rose and followed him to chamber A2.
The leader was there with the original five men, and a few others. Chamber A2 was more furnished than A1, and looked more like a living room than anything else.
"Now then, you want to know more about what we are up to, don't you?" the leader asked.
"Um, yes; if you don't mind," Peter said.
"Well, first off, there's -" he was interrupted by an urgent entreaty at the door. Three men rushed in and breathlessly broke the news to him.
"Someone's hacked into the system!"
"Hacked into the system? The computer system?" the leader stood up hastily.
"Yes, sir! And what's more, the hacker is identified as coming from Earth!"
"Earth? Those idiots don't know how to break into computers in different galaxies! They're so concerned with themselves, and never imagine what might be happening around them! They don't even know the danger they are in!" this passionate speech from the leader roused all of the men, and made Frank and Peter look helplessly around. To be told that you come from a planet of idiots is not exactly encouraging.
"But what danger are we - I mean Earth - in?" Peter said at last. "You keep on talking in riddles! Some people from Nagar is all I've managed to piece together."
"I'll tell you that in a moment. Now you boys will have your chance to prove your usefulness to us."
"How, sir?"
"How? Aren't you two good with computers?" the leader asked incredulously.
"No, sir. I always made odd windows pop up on my mom's computer, and didn't have a clue as to what to do with them," Peter admitted. Frank nodded his head in agreement.
"But - the prophecy - and -" Fromere gasped out.
"What about it?" Peter asked.
"One will rule with iron;
One with words and symbols;
One will carry on,
One will computers control,"
Fromere recited.
"And you thought you couldn't remember that much," Peter grinned at Kevin.
"At least he told the truth," Frank said innocently.
"But obviously, one of you are good with computers?" the leader asked again.
"No, we're not!" Peter said frantically.
"Couldn't it refer to four people?" Kevin asked.
"But carrying on doesn't make any sense," the leader replied.
"Unless they were having a tantrum," Frank said. Peter nudged his arm.
"What should we do about the hacker, sir?" one of the three messengers persisted.
"Ah, me!" the leader groaned, burying his face in his hands. "Get someone in there to determine how much the person has seen, and try to stop them from seeing more!"
The men left to do his bidding. And the leader dismissed everyone from the room. He was having a hard day.

Copyright - 9/17/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).


Time......... (Part 8)

The leader stroked his chin in deep thought. "I can not satisfy your curiosity at the moment," he said at last.
"Why not? If you want us to help, we ought to at least know what's going on," Peter argued.
"Yes, I do not contradict you. But as it is, we know so little about you. You seem to be what we are needing here, but that doesn't mean you aren't spies."
"Spies!" Peter exclaimed. "How many times must we assure you that we aren't spies? And besides, time will be running out. If you need our assistance, the sooner we help you the sooner you can win your war, and we can go home."
"Go home? My dear boy! You don't seem to realize how impossible that is!"
"What do you mean?"
"If you think it is just a few of us in a metal space-fort against hundreds of other planets, than you are mistaken!"
"Hundreds of other planets? Your enemy is that wide-spread?" Peter's eyes widened.
"Our enemy? Don't you get what I am saying? It is your enemy, too, if what you have told me is the truth about yourselves."
"But how?" Peter's face showed his bewilderment. "the way you go on is enough to make a fellow confused!"
The leader looked at the men closest to him with a questioning look. Would they tell these boys more? They genuinely seemed confused. Either they were telling the truth, that they had come from the oblivious planet Earth, or they were very good actors.
"You are certain you aren't spies?" one of the men asked stupidly.
"Certain. In fact, give me your watch, Frank!" Peter took off his own watch, and Frank handed him his. Peter gave them to the leader. The leader looked at them a moment, then started up in astonishment.
"Fromere, come here! You must tell me if I'm seeing right!"
"Yes, sir," Fromere bounded over, and examined the watches. His eyes widened and he handed them to the another man. In no time, the watches were circulating around the room, and the hum of conversation rose in the air.
Kevin looked at Frank and Peter with a puzzled air, and leaned over to whisper in Peter's ear, "What's so big about your watches?"
"I don't know," Peter said, returning the gaze. "They broke during our traveling and the hands are spinning around, but why would that cause excitement?"
"The hands are spinning around?" Kevin asked with renewed interest.
"Um, yes. What of it?"
"The Prophecy of the Spinning Watch! Now it makes sense!"
"Prophecy of the Spinning Watch?" Frank asked. "It sounds like something out of an old detective book series my mom used to read!"
"What series was that?" Kevin asked.
"It was Nancy Drew and the Hardy Bo -"
"Don't! You always get us off topic!" Peter interrupted his friend. "Tell us more about the prophecy!"
"Um, okay. It went something like this:
'When trouble storms in galaxy,
And wars between the planets,
A surprising help will come to thee,
Faster in space than comets.

The unexpected will turn out the best,
So the amazing-machine will tell;
The spinning watch will say the rest,
Inside it's shining, metal shell.'
"There was more to it too, but I can't remember it," Kevin said ruefully.
"And they think we're the ones? The mysterious help?" Peter asked. He wondered why his voice was heard so clearly. Then it struck him that the room was silent, and everyone in it was observing him and Frank closely. He felt his face flush with embarrassment.
"Yes," Kevin said softly.
"I wonder that we hadn't seen it before," the leader broke in. "The 'amazing machine' is clearly your 'time' machine, as you called it. And the prophecy talks of a Liftun and a Sperring. We always assumed they were the names of spaceships."
"You knew my name then?" Peter asked astonished.
"Is your last name Sperring?"
"I should think 'twas!" Peter exclaimed.
Frank turned to Kevin, "You really did leave parts out of that!"
"But now, sir, if your convinced we aren't spies, would you explain some things to us now?"
"Convinced?" the leader choked. "I'm more than convinced! But we mustn't discuss things now. The emergency signal can be canceled, Fromere. But the word of these boys must not leak out! We can't have the enemy aware of this news!"
"Yes, sir!" Fromere saluted and left hurriedly.
"Kevin! Do hear what I say?"
"Of course, sir! I shan't say a word!" Kevin grinned. The leader eyed him suspiciously, but passed on.
"It is dinner time, so we will postpone conversation and plans for later." He dismissed the men, till the only ones remaining in the chamber were the three boys, Lady Elwes, and the leader.
"Kevin, since we can't risk you leaking information amongst the men, you will stay under close watch."
"Can't he stay with us?" Frank interjected. The leader raised his eyebrows.
"You want that trouble-maker hanging around you?"
"He's not a -"
"Yes, we do," Peter interrupted Frank.
The boys finally convinced the leader of their plan, and left for a private chamber for dinner, for, as the leader explained, they would excite suspicion by entering one of the main dining halls.

Copyright - 9/17/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).


Where then is thy hope?

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions."
Psalms 39:7-8a

"For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe."
1Timothy 4:10

"As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy."
1Timothy 6:17

We are the "rich in this present age." We have been blessed in America with many privileges other countries do not have. But have we set our hopes in these riches? With the economy's drop, many people panicked. Why? Because all of their hopes were placed in the money they lost.
I know that I have placed my hope in dozens of other things than Christ and the Gospel. I have been so wrapped up in election candidates, and worried till my hair has almost fallen out, yet what has it down for me?
"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" Matthew 6:27

Therefore, let me encourage thee; to place thy trust in Christ and in Him alone!
Note: quotations obtained from ESV Bible Online

Time......... (Part 7)

Peter swallowed hard. The hand on his arm seemed to lighten a little bit. Peter mustered all of his courage, and said, "I'm Peter."
"Peter? Peter who?" the man demanded.
"How did you get in here?" a second interjected.
"Through the hideout," Peter said. He tried to appear calm, but his knees were all shaky. It was clear to him that the men had been discussing something they didn't want anyone to hear, and their faces betrayed their anxiety.
"And how -" one of the men began.
"Wait! What were you doing in the hideout, boy?" the man who appeared to be the leader asked of him.
"I -I was frightened," Peter replied.
"Frightened? Of what?"
"Of- of- soldiers, sir."
"Soldiers? Why were you frightened by them? Don't you realize, that by giving into your silly fears, you have landed yourself into more trouble than if you hadn't?"
"Yes, sir."
"Then why did you do it?"
Peter remained silent. He could tell he was making a fool of himself. Yet if he were to tell them everything, they would not believe him, and if they did, Kevin and Frank would be in hot water, too. He screwed up his face to think.
"More to the point," the leader continued, "Why were you afraid of the soldiers if you yourself... are... one," his voice trailed off, and he looked at Peter sharply. "Or aren't you?"
"Please, sir, I don't know what I am!" Peter said as he gave way to vexation.
"What do you mean? Everyone knows what they are."
"Well, at least - I- know I'm a boy," Peter stuttered. The leader rolled his eyes.
"Yes, yes. Of course your a boy! If you were a man, you'd answer like one!"
The room became very still for a few minutes. Finally one of the men spoke.
"Sir, what do you want done with him?"
The leader stroked his chin thoughtfully. "He's an idiot, I can tell that, but even idiots have ears. I'm not sure how much he has heard."
"Nor I, sir."
"I think you should hold him in custody for -" he was interrupted by a rapid knock on the door coming from the hideout. "Doremat, answer the door please."
"Who is there?" Doremat, a thin man with shaggy brown hair, called out.
"The Lady Elwes, sir," the answer came back.
"Elwes. Should I let her in?"
"Uh, yes, go ahead. Things can't get much worse can they?" the leader replied wearily.
Doremat opened the door, and the lady entered to room. Her long, dark hair was worn in a braid, and her eyes were clear blue. Peter saw at once that she was both beautiful and stern.
"Father," she said, addressing the leader. "We have found that, according to our computers, there are two people in the fort without leave. We caught one of them, in the midst of some mischief with Kevin, and -"
"Yes, and the computer directed us to this room for the other one. Since no one else is allowed here while your meeting was in session, I came alone to warn you."
"Well then, it would appear that this boy is the person you seek," her father motioned to Peter.
"Another boy?" She raised her eyebrow in surprise.
"Yes. What does Kevin have to do with all of this?"
"I do not know. He was found in the Information and Technology chamber. The other boy, who says his name is Frank Liftun was found in the hall directly across from the entrance to the chamber. I must also inform you that he knew both the entrance and exit passwords."
"This is not looking good. The computer identified nothing else?"
"No, nothing out of the usual," the woman's face looked puzzled for a moment and she added, "there was one other thing. An oddly made machine was brought in today. The materials are a type of metal we are not familiar with."
"But that could easily come from another planet. Which would describe a lot of things. These two boys were thought to get away with spying, and thus were sent in the machine from Nagar."
"But Father, the Nagar's don't have this kind of metal on their planet either!"
The leader's face showed his confusion and for a moment he was unable to speak. Then he said, "Fromere, send out the emergency signal. Something is going on and we have to figure it out."
"Very good, sir!" Fromere saluted, and left the room hastily.
"Sir?" Peter said timidly.
"What?" the leader demanded harshly.
"I think I could explain - about the machine - and about me and Frank."
"Ah! so you admit that you are directly related to the machine?"
"Yes, sir."
"You will tell us everything when we reach the Information and Technology chamber." The leader yelled out some orders to the men, and they set off on their way. Peter's eyes took a moment to adjust to the dark lighting of the hall, but he managed to half stumbled, half be dragged along by Doremat.
The hall was soon seething with people. People were rushing past in uniforms and arranging themselves in lines. There were few woman though, Peter noticed.
His group reached the gate, and the leader demanded entry as the password had already been changed and the new one was yet unknown to him.

Frank turned to see Peter enter with a stately group of men and the woman he had seen before. He was glad to see his friend unharmed, and called out to him,
"Hi, Pete!"
Peter seemed to be occupied with other thoughts, for he only glanced at Frank. He was intently studying the faces of the people around him.
The leader cleared the room of anyone lower than captains, and sat down in a chair by the computer screen, Lady Elwes standing by his side. "Now then, bring those boys here. Kevin, too, mind you!"
The three of them stood before the leader, and shifted uneasily.
"Peter, you claim you are able to explain everything to me; please do so."
"Yes, sir. Frank and I built the machine and traveled into the future, or rather here, and -"
"This won't do! No one can travel through time!"
"Yes, sir, but -"
"What year did you build it in?"
"2054, sir."
"And here it is 2054. You didn't go into the future at all. Now start over again."
Peter looked helplessly at Frank, and Frank returned the look. "We thought we did go into the future, though. I have no other explanation, unless - unless we're on a different planet somewhere?"
"Hmmm. Which planet do you come from?"
"Earth. The planet Earth."
"Earth of the Milky Way? We've been observing them for a bit."
"You have? Then this isn't even in the Milky Way?" Peter gasped. "Great Scott! Where are we then?"
"You told me you could explain everything."
"And I thought I could, only I'm dreadfully confused now!" Peter suddenly felt very weary.
"Alright, then Kevin you explain how you got involved in this."
"Yes, sir. You see, I was wandering about in the North side when I heard a thud and a click coming from one of the chambers. I entered it, and found these two in it. So, of course, I figured they were spies and brought them to Uncle - I mean Major Hethe - and he sent my away thinking I needed help getting out of a jam again -"
"And no wonder he thought so! Continue."
"So then I had nothing to do, so I took them done a hall or two."
"And how did Frank learn the passwords, you manage to get in here, and Peter into the hideout and eventually chamber A1?"
Kevin was at a loss as what to say. He didn't want to get Peter or Frank into trouble, nor himself if he could help it, and - how did Frank guess the passwords?
"I can tell you!" piped up Frank. Peter and Kevin exchanged worried glances. "Yes, I can!" he continued. "We were walking through a hall and Kevin thrust us into the hideout to keep us - well, hidden - and we were pulled out except for Peter and I guessed the passwords to get in the gate and managed to escape from it."
"Guessed? How did you guess?"
"From conversation."
"I don't understand. Can you opened that gate again?"
"I don't know. They changed the password."
"Then guess the new one."
"Okay," Frank walked to the gate, closely shadowed by some of the men, and typed something in. The gate swung open.
Everyone started up in amazement.
"And what was the password?" the leader demanded of Frank sternly.
"Guessing gait," Frank replied. At that, question after question bombarded him, and he felt overwhelmed. Somehow he managed to tell the story of Peter and his adventure in the midst of it all.
"May I ask something, sir?" Peter said at last.
"If we're not on Earth, or the Milky Way, or the future, where are we?"
"Andromeda, boy. Limblon, Andromeda."
"Does that mean we still have hope of getting back home?"
"Going home!" the leader cried. "No indeed! You can't go home now! With a boy who can build faster-than-the-speed-of-light machines, and a boy who can guess passwords correctly; why you two are just what we need to help us win this war!"
"If we must stay, then would you be so kind as to tell us what you want us to do and what this whole war is about?"

Copyright - 9/17/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).


Happy Birthday Mum!


Time......... (Part 6)

Frank didn't have to sit there long before he heard the sound of a group walking hurriedly down the hall. They were approaching from the side of him farthest from the gate, and he jumped inwardly as he realized his only exit had been blocked off. He shrank as far into the crevice as he could, praying that the shadow would hide him.
"Officer Grear, how did that sneak manage to break the password you said was so strong?" a woman's commanding voice echoed on the walls of the tunnel.
"How was I to know anyone could guess it?"
"Well, they obviously have, and its a good thing they've caught him. Who knows what he might have learned from the computer? I want that password changed at once."
"Yes, of course, I'll change it as soon as we get there!"
The static of a voice on a receiver broke into the conversation. The walkers came to a halt - right in front of the alcove where Frank hid. Frank held his breath and tried to decipher the words said on the receiver. He found it difficult to follow, however, and had to rely on the woman's answers.
"It was Kevin? Oh, that irritating boy! How did he get in? Oh, he won't say? Well you'll have to make him tell you. This is a breach of security, and if he managed to find a way in, than any spy who comes along could probably do the same!" There was a brief pause in her responding, and when she spoke again, it was in a tone of disbelief. "There was someone with him? And he escaped? He must be found at once! Especially if the computer has been tampered with as you say it has. Oh, what to do with a mischievous - a stupid - boy!"
"He may not be so stupid if he managed to get in the forbidden wing," Officer Grear commented as the woman pocketed the receiver, the conversation being over.
"Yes. But anyways, we've got to find out who was with him and where that person is now!"
"I suggest we look on the -"
"Shh!" the woman said suddenly, and Frank realized with a start of horror that she had spotted him. She grabbed him by the foot and dragged him out of the hollow. "What are you doing here?"
"I- I- I'm Frank. How do you do?" Frank said attempting to stand up.
"Frank?" Officer Grear looked hard at him.
"Y-yes," Frank felt slightly unnerved by the cold look. "That's only my first name. Last name's Liftun."
"Liftun?" the woman looked at the officer with a puzzled air. "Does General Liftun have a son?"
"He never spoke of it, but you never know about these boys."
"Take him along."
"He's near the tunnel isn't he? Even if he isn't involved in the, uh, mischief, he might be able to give a clue concerning the hiding one. But let us go now!"
"Alright. Here boy -"
"Frank," Frank interrupted. He hated being called "boy."
"Whatever," Grear grabbed his arm and helped him stand up. Frank had the uncanny feeling that he was being marched into a hornet's nest. Everyone would be annoyed with him if they found out that he was an intruder.
They reached the gate, and the woman hastily typed in the password. The gate did not move. "Bother!" she said in frustration. She tried it again, and again it didn't move. "What is wrong with this thing!"
"What password did you give it?" Grear asked.
"You know! The howshouldiknow one!" she said in vexation.
"Oh, that's the one for exiting the place," Frank said without thinking. "Melimp as common as water is the one I think you want."
"How did you know that?" the woman asked, turning at him sharply. Grear's hold on his arm tightened noticeably.
Frank gulped. "I - just kind of - you know - guessed?"
The woman typed in the password, and turned to him as the gate opened. "No one can just guess that. I hope this information was not passed on by General Liftun," she said coldly. They entered the room quickly. There was Kevin, standing in the middle of the room, in front of an old man who was questioning him sternly. They were surrounded by an anxious-faced group of men in uniforms. Kevin turned and looked at Frank, but made no sign of his recognition.
"General Liftun," the woman addressed the old man, "Is this your son?"
"Who? That?" the general pointed to Frank. "Never saw the lad in my life!"
Two of the men stood in front of the computer, scanning the series of red dots with experienced eyes. "He isn't on here at all, m'am!" one of them exclaimed.
"What do you mean?" the woman's eyes widened slightly with fear.
"He has no number, 'else the computer would have read it," the man clarified.
"He isn't a part of the fort? At all?" she didn't even attempt to hide her anxiety.
"Nope," the man replied.
"Will you look up UMO's, please?" she said. Her eyes swept over Frank and Kevin who now stood only a yard apart.
Utter silence reigned over the room as the man searched the computer.
"There's two," he said at length. "There's two of them in the fort!"
A buzz of speculation swept through the room, and grew into a noisy chatter.
"Silence! Please!" the woman called over it. "Where is the second?"
"In the chamber A1," the man said in a half-whisper.
"A1!" the woman gasped. "How ever did they find it?"
"Who can say? But let's hope they are not stirring up trouble! There's a meeting in session right now!"
"Yes, Offic-" she paused in the middle of a command. "Never mind. No one's allowed in there but me. General, I'll have to go and investigate. Please standby."
"Yes, m'am. What should we do with these two?"
"Squeeze anything out of them you can, and don't let them escape!" And with that, she left the room in a hurry.
Frank gulped, and looked at the General, "will the squeezing hurt?"
"What?" the general looked skeptical.
"She said to squeeze us!" Frank explained.
"Um, yes. Well, you'll be an easy one, I can see that!"
Kevin looked at Frank pleadingly. Frank had the vague feeling that he was saying too much, but it was only vague.
"I wonder what Peter would do?" he wondered silently.
Copyright - 9/17/2008 - Curious Cognitive Content (CCC)
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author(ess).