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   Chapter 32 No.32

A Girl Named Sandy By Paul Kater Characters: 13316

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04


About ships and being tired

As days and weeks passed, Paul and Sandy learnt that more and more people from their race had started to develop the capabilities they shared. Adele and Timothy had discovered it; Lester Sutherland, the gentleman who had greeted them as one of the members of the local offworlder group, had mentioned that he and his wife Janet had discovered the ability only days after Paul and Sandy had, and from then on there was hardly anyone in the group of Bristol offworlders who did not possess a form of it after mere days.

On the part of the anomaly, official press-releases had been issued about the strange thing that was travelling through the solar system, blurry images appeared on television, and far better material appeared on the monitors of the astrophysicists. At first none of the scientists around the world had dared to say it, but it became clear that the anomaly was undoubtedly a large fleet of shapes that could only be designated as space craft. Their size could not be determined adequately, but they were definitely large, at least fifteen hundred feet long, and the fleet consisted of over four hundred ships. All the scientific eyes of the world were on the large objects, and lots of interested and scared eyes as well.

Paul and Don were certain that several governments were already having high-level talks about what to do if the ships (if they really were that) carried aggressive aliens that were coming to attack the world. But the fleet was still far away, and its trajectory would make it miss the earth by many hundreds of thousands of miles. Unless the fleet changed course.

***

"You're quiet again, " Don said to Paul as they were gearing up for the bad weather outside. "Is everything in order between you and Sandy?"

"Yes, everything is fine, thank you." Paul wondered why Don made such a remark; he'd seen and talked with Sandy just the other day. "We are all set for the baby to arrive. The room is ready, Sandy's doing absolutely wonderful, and I assume the only two who are not ready are she and I."

Don nodded. "I once read that parenthood is one of the fields where amateurs rule over experts. Glad it is you and not me, old friend."

Paul noticed Don watching him. Don did that a lot over the past few months, and Paul had not dared ask why his friend did that. "I'll find Sandy. Good luck on the way home, Don."

"You two too, " Don nodded as they went their different ways.

Paul found Sandy sitting near the main entrance, as usual. She emitted strong feelings of confusion. "Hello dear, how are you feeling?" He sat down next to her, and wordlessly she leaned into him.

'I am tired', she told him without using her voice, 'and I want to go home and forget the world.'

"The taxi should be here any minute, " he assured her. He had hardly spoken the words when the horn of the car reached them. It was snowing outside. The last weeks of December had decided that a decent bout of frost and snow would be good for everybody. They made it to the taxi in one piece, although Paul worried about Sandy. She felt very weak to him, more than she had since they met.

'Have you been sleeping badly?' Paul wondered after they had come home. He was certain he'd have noticed, but he still needed to know.

'No, sleeping is fine, ' Sandy said. 'I have no idea why I'm so tired. Maybe I should ask Angela about it.'

'Or you could ask Mrs. Huxley. She works at a hospital too, and is in our time zone.' Mrs. Huxley was one of 'them' as well, a kind lady in her late fifties, who seldomly was at the Wednesday evening meetings at the library. 'And from what I've heard she worked in the maternity ward for quite a while, ' Paul reminded her as he was making dinner for them.

"You're probably right, " Sandy commented from under her blanket on the settee. "I'll call her. Maybe best after supper?"

'Before. You have the tendency to fall asleep after supper lately, sweetheart.'

With somewhat o

alk to each other in our silence. Or you say you don't feel well and come to me. I know it's wrong to use our baby as an excuse, but it is the most believable one we have." He helped her into her coat. "As long as no one can tell us what this means, we should do the things we always do."

Sandy agreed that his words made sense. They went to the university buildings, kissed each other goodbye and went their separate ways.

Don was entirely lost in his work already when Paul came in. When Paul greeted his friend, Don almost jumped.

"Paul! Did you hear? The ships - they disappeared again!"

So it wasn't a hoax or some kind of distraction from somewhere.

"It happened like the last time we saw, they were just gone!" Don went through the papers that were piled up on his desk. Some fell on the floor as he yanked one from a stack. "Look, here, this is what our own scope picked up at the moment it happened."

Paul hung his coat away and studied the print. "Very remarkable, " he agreed. The massive amount of ships had been on a steady course, and suddenly they all were gone. All in the same second. "How do over four hundred objects of such size simply... poof... disappear? Consider the amount of energy that would require if you had to incinerate them, or whatever it was that happened to them."

Don shook his head. "I'm sure they're still there, Paul, we just can't see them. It's like the Klingon warships in Star Trek, they must have some cloaking device. You know the kind, right?"

Paul shook his head. "That, my esteemed deranged colleague, is what you read about in science fiction books and see on television. There is no such thing as a cloaking device that I know of, and if there was, my question stands: how would it work on four hundred giant objects?"

"Oh, and the next thing you will try to convince me of is that there is a space equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle that devoured them, right?" Don grinned. "Let's find some tea and see if we can unravel at least some of this mystery."

They got their tea, turned up the heating a bit more and started working on the strange disappearance, together with the stations around the world that had all recorded the same. During the class break Paul asked Sandy to pop in for a quick call to Puerto Rico. His hopes that the Arecibo side of the world would bring some more clarity were quickly eradicated. "Nid oes dim yn digwydd heb reswm, " he repeated, "nothing happens without a reason, but I would really appreciate to know the reason for all this. It's driving me up the bloody wall!"

He had not thought that a response to that would appear so quickly.

***

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