It's noon. I'm walking with Yal-hune on a trip to Home Depot. Yal-hune doesn't exactly look like she's from Arizona. Arizonan women are, as a rule, a bit rough hewn. You don't see many dresses out here, or even skirts. It's like every woman in Arizona has sworn a blood oath never to be caught wearing either. It doesn't matter their age, social station or income - dresses and skirts are not to be found. And, of course, if one is a woman and all one ever wears is a variation of men's pants it starts having a psychological impact. One starts to slowly lose one's gender identity.*
Yal-hune may have noticed this (and more than likely she had already observed me joking with Tech2 about the matter some years ago) and has made a point to wear dresses and skirts quite often. As a result, she draws a LOT of male attention. Seeing Yal-hune for them is like seeing a pink Saguaro cactus. Sure, they've seen the green ones hundreds of thousands of times, but this is a whole new thing altogether and it makes them stop and take notice. Yal-hune has gone shopping and acquired a decent wardrobe. And by decent I mean a wardrobe a supermodel might have picked up after 3 years of runway modeling in Milan, Paris and New York. She is no ascetic monk. Just because her intelligence is off the charts, doesn't mean she suppresses her femininity. Quite the contrary - she wears the top fashions, looks great in them and causes male (and female) optic nerve over-excitation whenever she goes out. I actually have found myself debating whether to ask her to "scale down" some outfit, because it is just too much for folks here. I never do, but she is aware of my thought trains, I'm sure.
Right now she is wearing a gorgeous Jil Sander cutaway sheath dress in turquoise. It flatters her figure - a figure which hardly needs flattering. She looks like a supermodel. Actually, I've gone out with supermodels and she looks better. She has created a new level of beauty on Earth. People stealthily (at least they think it is stealthy) snap images of her with their cell phones.
So here as we walk across the parking lot towards the greenhouse/nursery section I can't help but notice the way people stare - mostly unabashedly. Yal-hune has some sort of field that makes it normal though. Not once has anyone suspected she is an extraterrestrial. I have no clue as to why. I know she isn't controlling them and keeping them from thinking about it, but you'd almost think somebody was. Her skin hue is clearly different and doesn't fall comfortably in the wide array of human hues. It doesn't scream "EXTRATERRESTRIAL!" as such, but an observant person would at least think she has a rare skin condition or something. However, her beauty and healthiness would dissuade anyone from believing she is ill.
Guys look at me and amazingly often look like they want to punch me in the face. A few smile with the "You lucky dog" smile and still others walk away quickly and avoid us. Women and girls gawk at her - and then me - and either smile or, alternatively, give me a look that says, "You're ok... but your not in her class." So outings with Yal-hune have taught me more about the human response to beauty than I ever wanted to know.
Yal-hune is so normal with people, and her empathic abilities are so great that if they actually gather the nerve to ask her something, they leave liking her - a LOT. No one who engages Yal-hune can dislike her. She reaches in and LOVES each person - that is why. Many people resent beautiful people somewhat, assuming they are either selfish, shallow, mean or judgmental. Yal-hune is none of these and people sense that. She has made countless new friends. I am learning about 'true' social interaction when I watch her engage others.
That is why the group of people in the parking lot striding towards us, make me instantly uneasy. They are not smiling, not gawking, not looking at us as a couple, the way most do. Something's wrong with them, but I don't know what.
Yal-hune enters my head.
"What? That group of men and women are Norchans?"
"Yes. They just arrived. Teleported here."
"What should we do? Do they want to kill us?"
"Not kill - abduct. Hold on."
All at once, I notice everyone else besides us and the Norchans has frozen. It seems so familiar though and it creeps me out. I spot a dog urinating against a lamp pole in the parking lot and its leg and urine is frozen in the air. The cars have stopped. Yet this group keep striding towards us.
"What's happening. Why did everyone freeze?"
"They are not frozen, we are sped up."
It's like some unbelievable scene out of The Matrix. Except instead of a group of Agent Smiths, we are being approached by Norchans who now are brandishing some sort of baton weapons - just like the one Ketta-nu-ma had in Colombia. They look like humans, but they are not human. They don't look like Ketta-nu-ma. They were meant to blend in?
"They are synthetic humanoids. Androids, robots or whatever name you want to apply to a machine person. They use them because they have no sentience and therefore their thoughts do not broadcast like sentient beings' thoughts do."
The gold batons are held up by several of the group while the others keep striding towards us.
I notice a flash of light is coming towards us, but it is slowing down.
"It is not slowing down, we are speeding up, again."
Yal-hune raises her hand and it glows green. The beam is moving slower still. The Norchan androids are moving very slowly...and now it appears as if they have stopped as well.
"What does this gold beam do if it hits us?"
"It is a forcible teleportation signal. If it hits you, your body oscillates with a unique signal, and the other world can forcibly teleport you across the galaxy to their world. The androids, because of their molecular structure, are capable of operating and oscillating at Norchan time - which has an hour in a single earth minute. So these androids have a capacity of sixty times human speed. You and I are now oscillating even faster - about a day per minute."
"Because your world has even more time per Earth minute than the Norchan world does?"
"What about me? How am I doing this?"
"Your molecules have been turned into higher isotopes. They now can match my speed. It is what is taking most of my concentration right now."
"Sorry to distract you...but...so what do we do...destroy the androids?"
Yal-hune's hand points towards the frozen androids. A green pulse emerges from her hand, like a laser - but much brighter and coherent. It hits one of the androids and the android shimmers greenish and then disappears in a flash of blinding white light.
"Um...Yal-hune? I'm afraid I can't do that. You never taught me the green energy hand pulse."
Yal-hune's hand becomes more potent than some Star Trek hand phaser. She dispatches of the 13 androids one after the other and the same shimmering white light explosion occurs. Only 5 gold beams were launched and most are still far away. Her Jil Sander dress moves with her, and she looks like some supermodel superhero in stylish plainclothes. For a brief moment, I entertain a thought of Yal-hune doing commercial endorsements for Jil Sander. The pressing reality quickly overrides this pointless thought and I spend another thought wondering how that thought could even fit into this array of thoughts at this time. I suddenly am aware my thinking is out of whack somewhat. I can't fill up the time with thoughts as coherently - they seem spaced out or something in relationship to the speed my body is moving - freaky. I manage to think about something important.
"What about the beams? If they hit something or someone else could they harm the people here?"
"The beams will be neutralized in a moment. My brother is preparing a diffuser field."
"A diffuser field?"
"A diffuser field disrupts such weapons by overriding them and corrupting them. A massive amount of incoherent subharmonics are fed into a compatible component signal and it simply dissipates. It corrupts the beam."
True to her word the gold beam I have been standing a safe distance from suddenly changes color from gold to violet and then just disappears. I look to see the other ones and realize they all morphed and vanished simultaneously.
"This was quite a display of Norchan bad behavior. Will the Confederation punish them?"
"The Confederation has been deliberating for 3 weeks now on this incident."
For the first time the time disparity really means something to me. I understand it when I see the frozen people around the parking lot. The Home Depot employee pushing lumber on a cart for a woman standing beside him. The baby carriage being pushed by a mother through the automatic doors. All the cars in the parking lot and the roads beyond - apparently frozen. Yes, Earth's isolation in the galaxy is almost self-explanatory. We live in a time-bubble. Our pygmy sun and field system move in slow motion. Entering this system, for most sentient worlds orbiting larger stars, would be a form of insanity.
"Thank your brother for me."
"I can't get used to this. We could walk around the Earth and see everything in a short while."
"No. The air is not sped up and we would suffocate if we stay accelerated much longer. We would have to keep moving around because any area would quickly be depleted and would not be replenished."
She's right. I realize the lack of air and feel a slight discomfort in my lungs. I was too busy with all the rest to notice it. Even as I think I see thing start to move again - just a little bit but...now faster...and...faster still. Soon things appear moving normal again. It's amazing. There is no signs of the conflict. No one apparently noticed.
I see the baby carriage and the baby girl is pointing her hand towards where the group of Norchan androids were striding across the parking lot.
"Kids notice these things. They are much more sensitive than adults to things outside the normal human spectra of awareness."
"Will it scare her or scar her?"
"She might later remember seeing some people vanish, but I doubt it will scar her. In fact, all these things happen for a reason. She may someday push the current frontiers forward because of her steadfast belief in things that defy explanation. All because while she was still an infant she spotted some people vanish from a Home Depot."
We continue to walk in. I have completely forgotten what we came here for.
"Fortunately, I have not."
Yal-hune grabs a big orange cart and starts to enter. A cashier smiles. Yal-hune smiles back broadly. He apparently has never asked himself, "Do extraterrestrials shop at Home Depot?"
*(Webmaster's Note: Pretend he didn't just say that. NO hate mail...please? I'm the one who has to filter all that stuff!)