lay still for several minutes regaining his breath. He had no idea how he had managed to escape from the dome. Maybe it was
another of his powers or the people of Neum had saved him. Either way, he was grateful he was alive.
done, Trevor Donegan!" The voice startled him and he jerked his head in the direction the voice.
He saw Neegon and Lison standing with six others, three men and three women. All wore
similar clothing to Neegon and Lison. Trevor got to his feet and faced them as the group came toward him, inevitable smiles
on their faces, and stood before him. Neegon introduced each one.
is Meehun, our leader." Meehun stepped up and, with two fingers; he touched Trevor on his chin.
know how to thank you enough for destroying the Scuddar. All intelligence in the universe owes you their gratitude whether
they know it or not. You are my friend and I want to be yours."
a ritual, as Neegon introduced them, each one touched Trevor’s chin and made similar remarks. Each one claimed to be
his friend and wanting him to be theirs. Must be their way of saying, "Hi. How are you?" thought Trevor.
noticed Meehun staring at him with a look of curiosity on his face.
something wrong?” he asked.
no. Not at all,” he replied. “Did you communicate with the Scuddar while you were in there?” Meehun’s
intense, blue eyes scrutinized Trevor’s face.
frowned and stared at the ground. Something didn’t seem quite right.
didn’t say much. It said I was the destroyer, not him.”
a sense, it is right,” Meehun chuckled. “But you are the destroyer of evil. Are you sure it didn’t say anything
didn’t seem to know that I come from Earth.”
it has been destroyed now, thanks to you.”
has destroyed millions of innocent people,” added Neegon.
see any of your people in there," he told them. "Can they be rescued?"
disappeared and replaced by sadness. Meehun answered him.
expected to save them. Although the few who resisted losing their consciousness longest and maintained contact with us were
no longer the same as they were. Their physical bodies had perished on our world. There would be nothing we could do and they
will be remembered as long as we live," added Neegon, touching his forehead with his middle finger. The rest of the group
nodded in agreement, following Neegon’s suit and touching their foreheads.
happens now?" asked Trevor.
return to our world and try to rebuild our civilization," replied Meehun. Trevor looked at each of the eight. He remembered
that Neegon had said a few hundred had escaped the Scuddar.
the eight of you?"
are three hundred and sixteen of us," replied Losin. "The eight of us here all had a part in enhancing your powers. The rest
are waiting in an extinct volcano some distance from here."
take you there. You will be able to clean up. We didn’t dare take you before in case the Scuddar could somehow find
out from you where we were," added Meehun.
like covering your back, thought Trevor smiling cynically,
but the thought of cleaning himself up sounded good to him.
ready when you are," he said aloud.
will need to lie down and sleep," said Neegon, "we don’t have a spire tuned to your molecules and it’s too far
for you to walk." He went on to explain the process was different and required their complete control of his mind and body
in order to transfer him to the volcano.
is why all eight of us are here," finished Losin, "we are the ones that brought you from Earth."
and sleep," Neegon’s
voice whispered in his head. Trevor offered no resistance and lay down. The last thing he remembered before sleep overwhelmed
him was one of the women preparing to lie on top of him, her hands holding his and her forehead lightly touching his own.
slowly, finding himself lying on a soft bed. As his eyes adjusted, he saw he was in a huge, roughly circular cavern. He sat
up to observe his surroundings. High above him, the wide, uneven mouth of the volcano gaped allowing daylight to illuminate
the cavern. On one side, he saw several spires mounted on pillars, the bases of which were about ten feet square. A group
of about fifty men was working around three of the spires, which had crude wooden scaffolding built around them. Trevor noticed
the tops of these spires were incomplete.
have awoken, Trevor Donegan." Trevor turned his head in the direction of the voice. Neegon and Meehun were approaching him,
treading carefully over the uneven, igneous rock floor of the cavern. Both men wore beaming smiles on their faces.
like I slept well," replied Trevor, "I never felt better."
slept for almost three days," announced Neegon. Trevor’s eyes widened with surprise.
days?" Both men smiled at his astonishment.
needed the rest and we studied you some more. We wanted to make sure we could remove the enhancement of your powers," explained
Meehun, "it would not be good to return you to your world with them enhanced as they were."
sat up and swung his legs off the bed. “Why remove the powers? Why can’t you leave them?”
latent powers are still intact," said Neegon assuring Trevor. "Perhaps these will develop on their own without our enhancement
you slept, we have transferred to the world outside. This world does have its own beauty. The last of the spires are being
dismantled and reassembled in a lovely spot away from this volcano." Meehun was obviously pleased as he looked at the remaining
spires in the cavern.
Trevor Donegan," said Neegon. "You still need to clean yourself up." Trevor wasted no time in getting up from the bed. He
could smell his own body odor and that of the spoiling yellow remains of the Scuddar threads clinging to his clothes. He would
like nothing better than to clean up right now. The two men led the way to one of the spires.
stand on the marked spot," said Meehun. "A beam will analyze the molecules of your body and project you to where we are now
camped. Losin is waiting for your arrival."
did as requested while Meehun tapped some kind of control panel on one of the pillars. Immediately, a bright green beam from
above his head bathed him in its light. A moment later, he was standing on green grass in the open. He didn’t have time
to look around before he was greeted by Losin holding some clothes in her arms.
Trevor Donegan," she said smiling at him. Their use of his full name was beginning to annoy him.
Just call me Trevor," he told her.
Trevor," she obliged. "We don’t have any proper facilities here but there is a stream just over there, where you can
bathe and clean up." She pointed in the direction of some trees lining a stream.
spread over a large flat area, dotted with trees and on both sides of the stream. Trevor saw hundreds of people, some busy
while others just sat by makeshift huts. Behind him were about thirty spires with men in the process of assembling some of
them. He became aware that many were staring at him. The ones closest smiled and touched their foreheads. They were all clean
and dressed in similar clothes and made him feel filthy.
I would love to clean up," he told Losin.
way." she replied and began walking toward the stream. "I will show you where we all bathe." She led him to where the stream
widened into a pool of clear water. It was set amid a group of strange, flowering trees and shrubs. Trevor noticed it was
looks really inviting," Trevor said, already unzipping his tunic. Losin smiled and sat down on the grass. Trevor removed his
tunic and paused, turning to Losin.
wait for you and take you back," said Losin in reply to his unspoken question, then quickly added, "Oh. Sorry. I will not
look if you prefer me not to." She turned her head away.
undressed quickly and slipped into the pool, submerging and enjoying the luxurious feel of the clean, refreshing warm water.
He washed the grime and stale sweat from his body, and then looked at Losin. She still had her head turned away from him.
can look now," he called to her. Losin looked back at him.
not mind bathing together or seeing each other undressed," she said, "I had forgotten that it is the custom of your people
to be modest about that."
always, thought Trevor, it depends on circumstances.
around for a few minutes, and then warned her he was coming out. She turned her head once more while he scrambled out of the
are clean clothes for you to wear." She patted the clothes on the grass beside her, keeping her head turned, "and a cloth
to dry yourself."
toweled himself dry with the cloth. It was thin but very absorbent. Then he picked up the pants. There were no undergarments.
He breathed a curse as he struggled into the tight fitting pants.
are the biggest we have," apologized Losin, "our people are not as fleshy as yours."
all right," replied Trevor, putting on the blouse. He felt he was dressed like a ballet dancer with the loose blouse and skin-tight
pants. Losin turned her head and looked at him. She smiled and nodded approvingly.
wash these," she said, indicating his discarded clothes.
hesitation, she stripped off her clothing, entered the stream, and began to wash his clothes in the clear water. Trevor did
not afford her the same courtesy of turning his head. She had not shown any indication of modesty at being naked. He noticed
that apart from small facial differences, her body appeared to be no different from a human’s, although perhaps a little
anorexic in appearance.
emerged from the stream with Trevor’s clothes in her arms and came toward him. She dried herself with the same cloth
Trevor had used, and then dressed.
get back. Meehun needs to talk to you." Trevor stood and gathered up his wet clothes.
go," he said, "maybe I can get back home now." Losin did not reply but turned and led the way back.
group of people was standing in a circle looking at something. One of them turned as Losin and Trevor approached. It was Meehun.
Trevor Donegan," he said grinning broadly, "I see Losin is taking care of you."
she has. I feel much better now that I have washed," replied Trevor.
We have retrieved the nucleus of the Scuddar. Whatever you did has made it and the individual threads visible to us now."
Meehun stood aside to allow Trevor to see what the group were looking at. The red nucleus he had killed was on the ground
along with several yellow Scuddar.
to study it. Twenty-two of our people survived, but they are still Scuddar. We are going to need your help."
a minute!" Trevor held up his hands in protest. "I’ve done what you asked. I want to go home now. I’ve had enough."
He wanted to get back and be with Gina. He wanted to go back to his normal life.
about his work in the lab and that if a search for him had begun when they found he was missing.
return you to your world," Meehun told him. "No one will miss you as you will go back to the time you were in your apartment
when we brought you here."
can do that?" Trevor looked at Meehun, an incredulous look on his face. He thought of the implications of Meehun’s claim.
It meant he would not even remember his experiences on this strange world or of his meeting these people. If he did remember,
he wouldn’t be believed if he tried to tell Gina or anyone about his adventure.
the spires, we can return you to any timeframe you want from the moment we brought you here to the time you return. A day
or a week later if you wish. But we do need your help for a little longer." Meehun was reading Trevor’s thoughts.
do you want me to do?" Trevor resigned himself to the fact he could not resist helping them further. If it hadn’t been
for their enlisting his help in the first place, the people of Earth would have suffered the same fate as the forty-nine other
nucleus is not dead. It has been severely wounded, but is still alive," Meehun explained. "We need to study it and learn from
can I help there? Why do you want to study it?" Trevor thought it was better if the Scuddar was destroyed for good.
had mental contact with the Scuddar. We cannot make contact for some reason." Meehun’s became excited as he explained
need to study you and discover how we can imitate those powers you have for our protection and the future protection of your
are you going to do that?" Trevor asked.
we have to take you and the Scuddar to Neum, our world. We have better facilities there," explained Meehun. "It will be good
to get back to our homes again. We understand how you must feel."
enhance your powers as necessary," added Neegon. "We need you to make mental contact with the Scuddar if it still has the
ability to communicate."
group had grown as more people gathered around to see the Scuddar that had destroyed almost all the inhabitants of Neum. Trevor
looked at their faces. There was no hate displayed. Their expressions showed only sadness that they had lost so many of their
families and friends. He wondered if these people were even capable of hate.
made up his mind and agreed, saying simply, "Let’s do it then."
rippled through the crowd and many smiled and touched their foreheads in respect.