back on Neum to find the clones standing around Joseph with horrified looks on their faces. Joseph was lying on the floor
shuddering violently, an anguished look distorting his face. Trevor knelt down beside him.
"Joseph, can you
hear me?" asked Trevor anxiously. Joseph gave no sign that he had heard. Trevor went into his mind and mentally recoiled at
the confusion that he found there. It was the same confusion he had experienced with the native captives. He unbuckled Joseph’s
belt and slid it off him.
"He has the
madness," he informed the clones.
"We’d better confine him somewhere until we know what to do." He searched to contact Meehuns mind and found it.
you have any hospitals here?"
"We have no
need for hospitals, Trevor," Meehun
replied. "Our collective minds heal when one is injured or sick. Remember your own wounds you received when you climbed
the mountain on the red planet?"
how his wounds had miraculously healed overnight.
you then," finished Meehun.
"Then you are
going to have to heal Joseph," Trevor
said grimly. "The Scuddar attacked him and he is now mentally sick. In the meantime we need to secure him somewhere."
"I am on my
way," said Meehun.
A few minutes
later Meehun, Neegon and three other males arrived. Meehun walked briskly to the clones followed by the other Neumites. Their
expressions showing the concern they felt for Joseph’s condition. Trevor quickly explained what had happened.
too close to him," he advised. "We don’t know if he can attack us."
"A room is being
prepared for him where you can keep him comfortable and secure," said Meehun. "It will be ready soon."
The Neumites stood
in a circle around Joseph and closed their eyes. Immediately their expressions changed from concentration to horror.
get past the confusion in his mind," said Neegon. "It’s something we have never experienced before."
said Trevor. "It is possible the Scuddar is in his mind like the natives."
He looked at the
clones to get their approval. All acknowledged him with the exception of Michelle. He looked inquiringly at her.
Trevor," she said in his mind.
"Did you see what I did to those natives? That power was uncontrollable."
"It was your
emotions at the time that made you do that," replied Trevor. "Anger at what they did to Joseph."
"But if the
Scuddar is in his mind I might lose control and kill Joseph."
think so but stay away then. Get some rest."
away and left. Trevor explained that she was upset and would not take part in the attempt.
Trevor gave the
signal and they all entered Joseph’s mind. The turmoil on the surface was as before. They probed deeper, beyond the
confusion, until it cleared.
is diseased," came a thought. "It
is dying. Are you all diseased?" The Scuddar’s thought was agitated.
"What do you
mean by diseased?" asked Trevor.
"Its body fluid
is slowly congealing."
"You must have
given him the disease," Trevor replied.
"No. It is…"
The Scuddar stopped speaking in the
clone’s minds and they were unable to contact it again.
"What did it mean?"
demanded Angela. "How is Joseph diseased?"
know," replied Trevor grimly. "We must get him to some place where we can watch him."
"The room is ready,"
announced Meehun. "Bring Joseph and follow us." He waited while Trevor and Adrian picked up Joseph and led them away from
the spire to another room that contained a single bed with straps to hold down Joseph.
It took all five
of the clones to hold him while the straps were tightened around Joseph’s arms and legs.
"I hate doing
this to him," said Stephanie as they tied the shuddering Joseph to the bed and stood back. Angela put an arm around her to
trust him now the Scuddar is in him," she said. "We know now that we are not immune to attack."
right, Angela. Don’t let him bite, scratch or even spit at you," added Charles.
Shock showed on
the faces of the clones. In their desire to help Joseph, none had thought of the possibility that he might attack them by
scratching or spitting.
think the Scuddar has complete control of him yet," Trevor said. "But we have to assume that Joseph is a possible danger to
They watched as
Joseph strained against his bonds, the straps chafing his skin as he struggled.
"If only we had
a sedative we could give him," whispered Angela.
pointed at Joseph’s left arm. The skin had broken due to Joseph’s continued struggling against the straps. Blood
oozed from the wound. Not red blood as it would normally have been. The blood was a pale pink and had a thick consistency.
"The Scuddar said
his body fluids were congealing," Charles said. "Maybe this is what it meant."
"It looks like
a mixture of blood and pus," commented Adrian.
"What are we going
to do?" demanded Stephanie. "We can’t let him suffer like this."
"What can we do?"
asked Trevor. "It isn’t Joseph anymore. Perhaps putting him out of his misery would be the most humane thing to do."
"You mean kill
him? Oh, no!" Stephanie’s expression showed the horror she felt about the suggestion.
forward. "The Scuddar said he was diseased and dying."
there anything you can do?" Trevor appealed to the Neumite leader. The Neumites were so advanced in some areas but so backward
in others. They had no hospitals or laboratories. They had no medication for sick people.
"We are all trying
hard to help in some way," replied Meehun. "Perhaps if we took a sample of the blood we could examine it." His attitude was
one of helplessness. "Wait! One of us has suggested that the disease came from the natives and not the Scuddar."
"They are too
primitive to have cures for diseases," said Charles, dashing any hopes that may have arisen.
Trevor took a
sample of the blood and gave it to Meehun. "Be careful and don’t touch it with your bare hands," he advised.
offer much hope of finding anything but we will try," replied Meehun apologetically. He left the room followed by the other
nothing more we can do here," said Trevor. "Go get some rest. Maybe sleeping on it will give us some ideas tomorrow."
The clones returned
to their respective homes.
Trevor lay on
his bed thinking of the day’s events. One mistake may have caused the loss of one of them. Just one unwary act had brought
distress to Joseph and possibly would claim his life. It was a lesson they all had to learn. He thought of Michelle’s
spontaneous reaction and her attack on the remaining captive natives. She had been too upset to remain with the rest of the
clones while they did their best to help Joseph. She would need to know what had happened. Trevor reached for her mind.
"Are you all
"Yes. I need
to talk, though. Want to come over?"
be right there. There are some things you need to know."
He got up from
the bed and went to the spire. He deftly tapped the controls and a moment later he was in Michelle’s bedroom. He wondered
why all the spires of the houses were in the bedrooms. Probably because it was the uppermost room of the houses. He
Michelle had been
lying on her bed naked and at Trevor’s sudden appearance she flung a cover over her and grinned at him.
"That was quick!"
go downstairs while you dress," said Trevor apologetically.
all right. I’ll only have to get undressed again when you go," replied Michelle. "You’ve seen my naked body now!"
She laughed good-humouredly.
it many times before your mind had any data," grinned back Trevor. "So did a few other male clones."
"Hmmm. Why don’t
I feel violated by that?" she mused. She had a way of making fun of her own sexuality.
Trevor sat down
on the edge of the bed and briefly explained what they had discovered about Joseph.
Michelle said when he finished telling her. "He is such a sweet guy although a bit old-fashioned… in his thinking."
Joseph was no
older than the rest of the clones. Trevor is the oldest by five years. Michelle’s words made him feel much older.
"Now you are up
to date, what did you want to talk about?" asked Trevor.
her position and looked at him. "This power we have. I’m not sure that I feel safe with it."
his head and raised an eyebrow encouraging her to explain.
"Did you see what
I did? I didn’t want to stop!" She sat up, the cover falling down, exposing her breasts. "What if I misuse this power
when I am angry?"
work like that," Trevor explained. "It is a defensive action. When your life is endangered."
"But my life wasn’t
endangered. I was angry at what they did to Joseph."
you felt threatened. It could have happened to you." Trevor smiled at her. "We all blasted the one that attacked Joseph."
"You said emotions
play a part in its use. I am an emotional person, Trevor."
"We are all emotional.
Emotions are part of us… part of our make-up."
"Jealousy is an
emotion," mused Michelle. She folded her hands in her lap and stared vacantly at them.
a shortcoming. The Neumites can’t express jealousy. They don’t understand it."
a nice person, Trevor," Michelle admitted still staring at her hands.
"Why do you say
and thought before replying. "I was… am… jealous of Gina. I was glad when she went."
"But it was you
that made her come here," said Trevor. "You put her in a position that made her mind up."
faintly. "That was for you." She tore her eyes away from her hands and looked directly into Trevor’s. "You wanted her."
She pulled the sheet up and covered herself.
over what Michelle had said. She was right. He had wanted Gina to come to Neum at all costs. He had been thankful to Michelle
for tricking Gina as she had. It was all for nothing. Gina had returned to Earth and he didn’t know if he would ever
see her again. She was a born human and he was a clone. Although such marriages usually worked on Earth, he was different
from other clones. He had special powers and his destiny, along with the other six, was to save the human race. Gina knew
she would never be able to fit in and had left.
"Gina has gone
for good, Michelle," he said quietly. "I was selfish and thought I could make her happy."
"And now you are
over it," he said. He reached out and hugged Michelle. Her supple body molded to his as she hugged him back. He felt the wetness
of her tears on his cheek.
go," she whispered.
and stood up. "Goodnight Michelle," he said and pressed the button on his belt leaving Michelle staring at the empty space
where he had stood.