01 Aliens Were Us.

I was in love. You know how these things can happen. Once second I was walking out the door of my apartment’s lobby hallway into the under-ground garage and the next second my eyes were popping out of my head as this simply gorgeous creature walked in while I held the door for her.

“Thank- you.” she said to me.

“You’re welcome.” I somehow managed to reply.

I was in love. You know how these things can happen. Once second I was walking out the door of my apartment’s lobby hallway into the under-ground garage and the next second my eyes were popping out of my head as this simply gorgeous creature walked in while I held the door for her.

“Thank- you.” she said to me.

“You’re welcome.” I somehow managed to reply.

I made it down the rest of the stairs (all three of them) without tripping or falling and eventually came to, finding myself sitting in my car in the shared underground garage, my mind still trying to resolve the fact that there was a goddess living in the same apartme.... ‘condominium’ complex I was in. It was difficult for me to realize I didn’t even follow her across the lobby of our converted apartments to the elevator to see which floor she stopped at. Worse, I totally failed to note if she was wearing engagement or wedding bands.

Things like this just didn’t happen to me. I noticed everything, but was your typical loser when it came to relationships, so this opportunity came and went almost without notice other than the drool dripping from my lower lip and the one corner of my mouth. That and the tear which appeared as my subconscious reminded me that the likelihood of my ever having a date with someone like that was somewhere next to .... oh – maybe the next time someone on the moon saw the earth eclipse the sun, or maybe about a billion, billion to one. That didn’t mean I wouldn’t give it a try, mind you; it’s just that I was sadly prepared to take ‘no’ or mocking laughter as the likely answer – or both.

You might be asking, what’s so wrong with you that girls would turn you down flat without even a first date? Well .... do you really have time for my life’s story?

Actually, I’m really not all that bad. I have a great job, which I liked - probably a little too much as I spent upwards of seventy hours a week at it. I was paid well, enough so that I had my own light plane and had completed training and obtained my private pilot’s license. There was plenty of money so I could pretty much do or buy a lot of the things I wanted to use sometime during the thirty days vacation I was granted each year. Yeah, thirty days and nowhere to go which meant I had collected some obscene amount of vacation time over the last thirteen or fourteen years.

A few years ago they came up with the idea of a cap for the number of days we could save up. We had to turn in the excess and either collect it as cash or accept a small amount of stock in return. I think I had somewhere around three hundred eighty days, give or take, which I was forced to turn in. Other than that I was quiet, unobtrusive and about as interesting as a toadstool sitting next to a rock.

I liked girls though, I thought they looked really great and they always seemed to be so.... happy, gregarious, fun loving. The sound of a girl’s voice rang on my ears like the chime of fine crystal. Their perfume lifted me to heights my small plane had never thought possible and just having one nearby was delirium. If, by chance, she was actually talking to me, it was almost euphoria.

Talking to me .... Yeah, that was where I fell flat on my face. Something seemed to lock up inside me whenever I tried to talk with a girl.

One of the following days that week, as I walked across the underground garage to my car, I was wondering to myself which of these cars was likely to be hers. I began taking bets with myself concerning those which I felt were most likely. My car, like my plane, reflected the fact I had money to burn even if I had no one for whom I could burn it, so too I figured her car would somehow be a reflection of her.

It was another fine summer day’s evening and the hard top of my Tesla Roadster was off so I could enjoy the weather. I liked showing off that I was extremely ECO-friendly but didn’t like the low performance capacity of most of the electric vehicles available, thus – this roadster. With all the bells and whistles plus the highspeed chargers both here and at work I had close to a hundred and seventy grand invested in it. The two hundred mile plus range was available to me nearly all the time. About the only thing I missed was the car’s inability to lay rubber due to it’s amazing traction control system. Pick up? It had that in spades.

I pulled up to the street and waited for a spot into which I could insert myself. It didn’t take long, despite the traffic. Soon I was whooshing down the freeway at seventy miles per hour with the best of them. Thirty minutes later I was at work. Okay, so I lied.... I missed the throaty sound of a gasoline engine almost as much as the squeal of the tires on the road during a jackrabbit start. It was nearly time to once again find myself another sucker to go head on head for pink slips again. In a quarter mile beating this car was almost impossible for most gasoline cars in or even near it’s class. And there were a lot of them out there that couldn’t ever measure up to it in a quarter mile. How’s 3.7 seconds, zero to sixty sound? Not bad for a car which supposedly is only about a hundred and seventy horsepower? There’s a lot more to an engine than simply horsepower. That was simply a poor way of expressing torque for a reciprocating gasoline engine. Look at the Wankel. It had a much higher torque to horsepower ratio than reciprocating engines.

I managed to hold my own in a freeway rush with a Maserati a couple of months back but that was because he was more interested in trying to figure out why my car didn’t go vroohm, vroohm than he was in playing ‘my car can outperform your car from a standing stop’. I was just as glad, since once he gave up trying to figure it out he was long gone despite my acceleration curve. By the time we had gone another mile he was so far ahead I contemplated going for my plane in order to catch up. Still, in general, my car was no slouch, it just had a governor which held it under a hundred and twenty-five.

After my little encounter with my Goddess of choice, work the rest of my day was a little anticlimactic for me. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. She had to be fairly new to the complex since I had been there a couple of years and didn’t remember seeing her before. By the time I realized the end of the day had rolled around, it was a couple of hours past quitting time. That meant I had missed my golden opportunity to see her again when everyone was arriving back from work in the garage below our apartments - sorry, condos. I keep forgetting we own our apartments - condos. I’ll get that all straight in a year or two.

I locked my stuff up in the desk and in the small safe the company had installed for my use whenever I was working on classified crap, then hurried down to my car discovering I had forgotten to plug it in. No biggie. That simply meant my range was down to around two hundred miles instead of two forty. I drove home and made certain I plugged it in, setting it for a normal charge rate rather than rapid. In less than four hours or so it would be fully charged again. Entering the hallway which led to the lobby I hoped against hope that she would magically appear somewhere along my path but ~ no such luck. In fact, I wouldn’t see her again for nearly two months.

~ ~ ~ ~

When I did see her again it was during a near collision at the door of the elevator shortly after eleven at night. I was exiting into the lobby as she was attempting to enter the elevator.

“Oops. Sorry. Are you okay?”

“Yes. Thank-you.”

“We’ve got to stop meeting this way, you know.”

“Pardon me?”

“The last time we met?... A couple of months ago?... Near collision at the door leading to the garage?”

She looked puzzled for a moment, “Oh. Yes, I remember. You held the door for me.” Then she did a double take, “Where are you going at eleven o’clock at night?”

“To work.”

We moved out of the doorway of the elevator which promptly closed and the elevator began to rise, having been commanded for an appearance at some other floor during the continuation of our conversation.

“Work? You work at eleven at night? Are you a janitor or night watchman of some kind?”

I laughed, “No. I just pretty much work all sorts of hours. I guess I don’t have much of a life.”

She laughed at that, “I suppose you don’t if you work ‘all sorts of hours’.” she fingered the quote. “What sort of work do you do?”

I noticed there were no rings on her fingers; at least not on the one that mattered.

“I write software. I’ve written code for some games in the past but now much of what I do is business or protection software.”

“Protection software? You mean like antivirus and stuff like that?”

“Uh, stuff like that should cover it. Pretty cut and dried. Stuff that can be used by both businesses and governments. Even wrote some code once to handle election day poll projections for a major network. A lot of my stuff is sold in Europe as well. What sort of work do you do, if you don’t mind me asking.”

“Nothing so interesting, I’m afraid. I’m a Paralegal specializing in Scientific processes and Technology.”

“Cutting edge stuff, huh?”

“Sometimes. Most of the time it’s quite dry. Well, nice to have chatted with you. I’d better let you go and get to work.”

“Not a problem. I enjoyed the diversion. Thanks.”

She smiled back at me as she walked over to the elevator, pressing the call button. The doors opened right away since the person who had called it while we were talking came down to the lobby to get out then the doors closed but the elevator hadn’t gone anywhere.

As she entered it turning to push the button for her floor she said, “Good night.”

“Good Night. Maybe I’ll see you later on.”

“Perhaps you will.” she replied as the doors were closing, cutting off anything else she might have said.

I walked out to my car and was halfway to work when I remembered that I had forgotten to ask her for her name or for a phone number, nor had I watched to see at which floor the elevator stopped. See. I told you my mind locks up when I’m around a girl.... especially a pretty one.

At work I got really wrapped up in what I was doing and didn’t stop going until it was nearly quitting time for the day shift, having put in close to seventeen hours straight. At least I had written a lot of code and it seemed pretty clean from the debug and the tests I had run on it. The big reveal would be if it needed any rewrite to fit in with the stuff everyone else was producing for this project. A humdrum approach to something for someone who needed it but didn’t want to spend the money for a specialized exotic, fast and wicked piece of software. I hadn’t figured out why they didn’t just buy something off the shelf since that basically was all they wanted the software to do. They could have gotten something fairly good for six or seven thou instead of spending closer to a hundred sixty for us to write it for them. Maybe they wanted their name incorporated in it or didn’t want to buy ten million licenses for all the computers they intended to use it on.

I wasn’t looking forward to the rewrite which was more likely to occur than not. It always happened when more than one or two people were producing code for a project and that was why code began to become cumbersome and slow in general. Due to slight differences in the way people write their code it became necessary to add wait-states or subroutines which then slowed the whole process and each of them would have their own subroutines instead of sharing them. The way I had my portion written it was blistering fast but that was only when it was dealing with crunching within it’s own self contained data slots. That wouldn’t hold up the moment I needed to transfer data from or to someone else’s code. At least I had made most of my transfer protocols semi-transparent so they could be integrated with others in an almost fluid manner. God help us if someone wrote their code in the same way and the two interacted like long lost friends. We would then have something on our hands that almost defied time. Yeah, and that was about as likely as having an eclipse every day for a week.

I stashed my stuff in my lockup and went down to my car. On the way home I picked up some Chinese. When I arrived at the garage and slipped into my parking place it was less than a minute later when a nice clean blood red Honda Accord also pulled in headed for a spot further down the garage. It drove past my parking slot as I was dragging my charging cord to my car. Suddenly it stopped with a squeak on the slick concrete of the floor, reversed and came back. I glanced up to discover it was my Goddess home from work, I suppose.

“So, that’s your car?” she said as she looked at the umbilical cord I was about to plug into it.

“Yep. All mine and all paid for.”

“Is that an electric car?”

“Yeah.” I held up the charging cord which led to the special wall mounted charger. I held it so she could see into the business end of the plug.

“Thirty minutes or so from now it’ll be fully charged again.”

“Do you mind if I look at it? Here, let me go park and I’ll be right back.”

Do I mind?

“Be my guest.”

While she was parking, I connected the umbilical and watched as the charging lights in the hatch changed color to indicate charge had commenced. The wall mounted charging pack began to make a light humming noise so I knew it was working.

I noticed she drove down eight or nine spots before parking and was back in a minute or so just about the time I was wondering if she was going to skip out since my space was on the opposite side of the doorway to the lobby.

“Do you have a top for it?”

“Yeah. But during the summer I seldom use it.”

“How long have you had it? What do you think of it?”

“Nearly fifteen months. I like it. It’s great for city traffic. Has plenty of get up and go so I can use the freeways. The only problem I have with it is the extremely limited range which is around two forty. Of course, if I’m going somewhere a fair distance away then I usually leave my car at the airport, take the plane then rent a car for use wherever I happen to be.”

“How do you equate the miles-per-gallon of a gas car to this?”

“That’s a tough one. I find it to be easier to think of it as miles per dollar. Gas cars can go distances I can’t begin to approach which sometimes bugs the hell out of me. That’s because they can refuel and I’m stuck refueling here or at work. The gas cars can refuel in about ten minutes where I need closer to an hour and a half. Their range is greater on a tank of fuel but in general they need to pay around forty-five to sixty dollars to go about three to four hundred miles. I can fill my battery from dead to full for between eight to ten dollars and for that I get over two hundred forty miles range at speeds up to a hundred twenty. Four hundred miles at, say, fifty dollars works out to be around eight miles per dollar. It’s even worse if the price of gas is higher. My two hundred forty miles at about nine dollars works out to be about twenty-seven miles per dollar. Even those hybrid cars are more expensive to operate, although they have greater range than mine. The claims for some of them are over forty miles per gallon which still works out to four hundred miles for about three and three-quarters dollars a gallon or close to forty dollars. That means they’re getting around ten to twelve miles per dollar. Better than those that are straight liquid fuel but still not as good as my straight electric. So just considering the fuel, my car is about a third to a half as expensive to operate but I can’t just go and go and go. I come out even better if we begin to consider performance and maintenance.”

“May I get in?”

“Be my guest.” I also tend to repeat myself a lot when I’m talking to a girl. That’s part of what usually turns them off.

“You said ‘just considering the fuel’, what about those maintenance costs?”

“There are a lot of things to consider there, actually. Reciprocating engines require a lot more maintenance than electric motors and it’s much more expensive. They also require oil and a change of same about every three thousand miles to keep the engine in working order. My electric motor can easily go for more than twenty thousand before it should be checked and even then it’s likely to need nothing more expense than a light cleaning; maybe a little lubrication for the bearings. My maintenance costs are low, at least for the first seven years or so. At that point the price of a replacement set of batteries will bring it at least halfway back toward the costs of operating a liquid fueled car. By then battery technology will also have improved markedly. Newer batteries just coming available are already able to bring the range up by nearly forty percent or another hundred miles in the case of my car. The batteries are becoming smaller and lighter as well as less expensive all at the same time even though the technology is switching to battery designs which are more expensive to produce; hooray for mass manufacturing, that brings the costs back down.

Then too, there are microturbine generators which are very fuel efficient and can power an electric car such as this one. That presently produces something like twenty-five miles per dollar which still beats the other liquid fueled vehicles but puts me right back into equal footing with their range characteristics. Then there is general wear and tear - like brake pads for instance. Braking is mostly dynamic on my vehicle which helps to recharge the battery and reduces wear on the pads. There are a lot of little things... the extra weight of the transmission and drive train is missing in this car, although the battery makes up for a lot of that. It all adds up but the big kicker is still the fuel and maintenance costs. Everyone screams about transferring the green house costs from the vehicle to the power plant but just think about this. All these companies are in business to make a profit so they have taken the efficiencies into account in those profits. That means that miles per dollar is still the best way to look at it and that tells us that electric, despite what anyone wants to say, is the most efficient fuel-wise and green-house wise when compared to a reciprocating engine in a vehicle.”

She was sitting in the driver’s seat having tossed her purse onto the passenger seat. She stopped asking questions and just sat there for a few minutes looking at everything before she once again began asking more questions. I wound up giving her a quick tour of the controls without turning anything on. I noted just about the time she was going to get out that the top-off charge on my car had completed so I tossed her the keys, “give me a minute to disconnect the charger and then we can go for a little spin.”

She smiled like I had just given a her a Christmas present.

After stowing the power umbilical, I moved her purse behind the seat and climbed into the passenger slot. I had her insert the key and turn it to the ‘on’ position, then began to explain everything to her again, this time with the electronics lit up.

“Be careful, the response of the vehicle is quite different than that of a gas powered car. It’s also capable of much faster pickup from a standing start. Until you’re used to it, go lightly on the pedals. Another thing you’ll notice, there is both regenerative braking and that which is found in liquid fueled vehicles. The regenerative will slow you down more gradually while charging the battery I suppose, I’ve never been quite clear on that. Why don’t we head on out to the freeway and drive on it for a bit?”

She waited for a much larger opening than those which I usually selected. She nearly crossed the street in her haste to pull into traffic, surprised by the fast response. She didn’t do too badly once we accessed the freeway, except she accelerated until she reached nearly ninety before she realized it. She quickly dropped back down to sixty five and then up to seventy to pace traffic. The scarf she had tied around her hair fluttered a little but the windshield directed most of the buffeting pretty much away from us as we flowed with the evening going home traffic.

We drove out for about twenty minutes before getting off to access the freeway back into town again. She seemed to be enjoying it. About halfway back she pulled off the freeway again going into the parking lot for a small shopping center which included an Applebee’s. She pulled into a slot and shut down the car.

“I hope you don’t mind. I’m hungry and the food you have in those bags is likely quite cold by now.”

“I don’t mind. I’m just as hungry and this is a nice place. I do have one caveat however.”

Her smile vanished, “and what might that be?”

“I’m buying.”

The smile returned, “My – Sir Galahad.”

“No. Just hungry, Tony.”

“Well, just 'Hungry Tony’, I’m Stacy.” She held out her hand in a limp sort of way and I gently shook it, “pleased to meet you Stacy. Welcome to my home away from home.” I indicated the restaurant.

“So long as you offer good food.”

“If it doesn’t meet with your approval I’ll buy the place and fire the chef.” I joked.

“I don’t think they have a chef. Cooks are more likely at places like this.” she smiled, her eyes laughing back at me.

“That’s okay, I probably couldn’t afford to buy the place anyway.”

We went in and managed to be seated less than fifteen minutes later.

A bit over an hour and a half after that we had completed our meals, we even accepted a small dessert sampling then went back out to the car. I took the bags of Chinese out of the car before opening the passenger door for her. After she was seated I walked back to drop them into a trash receptacle. By the time I returned to get into the driver’s seat she had her scarf on her head again.

“It’s getting cold,” rubbing her arms, “do you have a heater?”

“Let me get you a blanket.” I pulled one out of the storage compartment. “This is probably better since the car is open to the elements just now," I added.

She covered with it before we headed back. It wasn’t too long before we were back in the garage and she waited while I connected the car to it’s charger then we went in to the lobby elevator together. Going up she got off on the fifth floor and I walked her to her door.

“This is a surprise.” I mentioned when we reached her apart.... uh, condo.

“What is?” she asked.

“I’m on the next floor in the same set of rooms.” I pointed up.

“Really?”

“Yep. Had I known an angel lived down here I would have accidentally gotten off at the wrong floor a long time ago.”

She gave me one of those smiles that tell you the woman thought you were full of baloney but appreciated the compliment non-the-less. Once again she offered her hand for me to gently shake.

“Thank you for dinner and the ride in your car.”

“You’re quite welcome. Maybe we could do it again some time.”

She cocked her head thoughtfully, “Perhaps.”

That seems to be one of her more favored operative words.

Opening her door she entered turning back to hold it slightly closed, “Good night, Tony.”

“Good night, Stacy. Thanks. I enjoyed the evening and the company.”

She smiled again and quietly closed the door.

Walking back to the elevator I pressed the call button and waited for it to show up from wherever it is elevators go when no one can find them. Riding up to the next floor before making my way down to my room. Well .... At least now I had her first name and her phone number even if she didn’t give it to me. All the house phones had their own outside number but they could also be called through the automated in house switchboard by dialing the room number. Any in-house phone could call any other by simply dialing the room number .... Unless .... maybe she used a cell phone. At least I could still call her room phone.

Again I didn’t see her around for a week or so. That was okay since I was pretty tied up at work during that time. We were in the throws of integrating our separate pieces of work and as I had expected, things weren’t coming together very well. At least my work needed the least adjustment but overall the changes dropped the performance factor by better than fifty percent. Upper management wasn’t happy so we were burning the midnight oil to fix the product. A couple of the routines looked like they had been written during either a drunk or while someone was high on something. One of them was given to yours truly for complete rewrite due back in one week. Lots of luck there, guys. It would take me a week just to figure out what that part of the package actually needed in order to fill the requirements given to us by the customer.

I finally finished it but it took me two weeks of eighteen hour days, not one and I wasn’t happy with my product. At least it integrated well with my other piece of work. Now we spent another week refining the whole thing as a composite package. The speed was back up. Not all the way but maybe seventy five to eighty percent. It wasn’t as good as it could have been but it beat the requirement so it was scheduled to go out the door.

During the integration phase I managed to add some of the driver calls which would allow it to work with a couple of the new processors which were slated to hit the market soon. That meant it wouldn’t be obsolete in two months but would continue to function on next year’s machines and maybe even those of the year following that. Score one for the good guys. I even managed to sneak in a forty-four pane active logo with sound that showed up whenever the software was initially run. A half drunk St. Bernard with it’s brandy cask a kilter, barking at a snow ski which was half sticking out of the snow marking the spot where you could see a skiers foot sticking out of the snow. I like to ski, what can I say?

With my latest contribution ready to go to press, I packed up my stuff and went home for the day. I arrived back at the garage and was plugging in my car when that Honda Accord went by headed out. I was about to say hi to Stacy but the person driving was a guy who didn’t look anything like her. I went in and actually bothered to check the tenant list for her room. The name listed wasn’t Stacy’s. Some guy named Rupert Something or other. What kind of name is Rupert? The glimpse I got of him looked like he might be a wide- end for a professional football team.

It looked like my Goddess moved during the last week or two. No .... that’s not right. The Honda was still here, so something funny was going on. Maybe she had been visiting and borrowed the car from him. Things weren’t making a whole lot of sense at the moment. Next chance I got I need to take a look at the car and the guy.

I went up to her floor then down to the room and knocked but after three or four tries there was still no answer. I finally went on up to my room then tried calling. I got an answering machine on the third ring, “You have reached the residence of Rupert Mobius. If you’re a bill collector, your check’s in the mail. If you’re a long lost relative asking for money, I don’t have any. If you’re giving money away, the check better be a ‘cashiers’ and drawn on an offshore bank. All others, leave your name and number at the beep.”

I hung up.

Things just weren’t adding up, or rather they were but I just didn’t know what the totals meant. It took me a few minutes to realize there had been some sort of music in the background of the message. My mind kept at it until I had to call the number again just to hear the music for those few seconds.

Again, I hung up.

This time I was certain the music had been intentionally added to the message. That was a little strange. The musical message was repeated several times in the background. I wracked my brain trying to come up with the source. I’d heard it before, “Follie! Follie! Delirio vano è questo!” Folly! All is folly! This is mad delirium!

I agreed even though I was uncertain exactly what this Rupert had intended when he added that to his welcoming message.
It was another three weeks before I saw Stacy again. I had just walked down to my car when she drove into the parking garage in that Red Honda which Rupert had been driving only a few days ago. I pulled back out of sight hoping she hadn’t seen me then once she was past I rushed back into the lobby and pressed the button for an elevator. It seemed to take forever but the doors finally opened and I was in and on my way up to her floor before she entered the lobby from the garage. Just for safety’s sake I pressed the button for my own floor so the elevator would continue on up to my floor before it would go back down should Stacy have summoned it.

Hurrying down the hall past Rupert’s room I finally found a niche in which to hide until Stacy came up to go to the room. I knew I could have been all wet and she might live in another apart.... er, condo entirely but somehow I didn’t think so. I was right. It was only a minute or so before the elevator stopped at this floor and she got out walking down to Rupert’s apartment door which she unlocked, entered and closed again. It was some fifteen minutes of soul-searching before I decided to knock on the door and confront them to see what was going on. Something wasn’t right here and I wanted to know what it was before I made an even worse fool of myself trying to pursue someone who might be involved with Rupert. It seemed entirely inconceivable to me that someone so slight and obviously caring as Stacy would have anything to do with someone like Rupert who seem rather boorish and obnoxious in the few encounters I had with him.
I knocked on the door and received no answer. I tried once more with the same result. Finally I pulled out my cell phone and called the complex number then dialed the room.

“You have reached the residence of Rupert Mobius. If you’re a bill collector, your check’s in the mail. If you’re a long lost relative asking for money, I don’t have any. If you’re giving money away, the check better be a ‘cashiers’ and drawn on an offshore bank. All others, leave your name and number at the beep.”

“Stacy. Come to the door. I know you’re in there, I saw you enter the room. If you don’t open the door and talk to me I’ll call the police and the two of you can answer to them. Rupert, if you’re in there, I don’t know what hold you have over Stacy but it’s going to stop right now. One of you better open your door in the next thirty seconds or the next knocking you hear will be the police.”

I hung up and prepared to call 9-1-1 but the door opened less than twenty seconds after I had hung up. Rupert was standing in the doorway. I pushed past him which surprised both him and myself as I rushed into the condo to find Stacy of whom there was no trace.

“Okay. What have you done with her?”

“Who?” he asked.

“Who? As if you don’t know. I saw Stacy enter this condo less than twenty minutes ago and she didn’t leave. Where is she?”

“You’re mistaken. There’s no Stacy living here.”

“She may not live here, but she has a key to the door. I have a video of her unlocking and opening it and there is a date-time stamp on the video. I sent it from my phone to my office computer and It will automatically be sent to the police if you don’t tell me where she is.”

He seemed to deflate when I told him about the video I had shot with my cell phone. It had enough definition that it was easy to make out Stacy using a key to get in and the video continued as I walked up to the door so the room number could be seen.

“It isn’t what it seems.”

“I hope not, because what it seems to me is that you are either blackmailing her or you just killed her. If you’re thinking about doing the same for me, I’d advise you to think again because in less than twenty minutes my office computer will send that video to the police unless I send the command to reset the time back to begin it's count at thirty minutes again.”

“She’s fine. She isn’t hurt.”

“Then let me see her for myself.”

“That’s a little difficult.”

“Uh, huh. Then I think the police will make it un-difficult.”

“No. That is please don’t. This can all be explained.”

He seemed genuinely afraid whenever I mentioned the police.

“Then let me see Stacy and hear it from her own lips.”

Rupert sighed and thought about something for a few moments.

“You really care about her, don’t you?”

“What do you care? What’s your relationship with her anyway?”

“We... We’re sort of... brother and sister.”

“Sort of? How can you be 'sort of' brother and sister. The two of you look nothing alike. Tell me another bedtime story.”

“It’s true. We aren’t related by blood... exactly, but our lives are tied much as those of a brother and sister.”

“Well... brother, let me talk with your... sister and decide for myself that she’s okay.”

“I... okay. I’ll go tell her you’re here and want to see her.”

“I’ll go with you.”

“No. You won’t.”

For the first time he stood in my way and appeared ready to use force to stop me.

“I’ll go tell her. It might take a couple of minutes but she will come out to talk with you. I won’t stop her.”

“And you won’t touch her either.”

“I will bring no harm to her. All I shall do is tell her you want to talk with her. Wait here.”

“Why can’t I come in with you to see she’s all right? Afraid of something?”

“Wait. Here.” he said, looking more like a line-backer every second before he turned to walk back into the bedroom. I began to follow until I heard the door lock. Quickly I placed my ear to the door and could hear the last part, “...to see you. He’s waiting.”

It was nearly silent for perhaps four minutes then there was some strange sort of sounds before I heard the drawers of a dresser opening and closing. A minute or so after that Stacy opened the door. I glanced in but couldn’t see Rupert anywhere although I couldn’t see all parts of the room. She came out wearing a leotard which she apparently had quickly thrown on in her haste to come out to talk with me as I slipped into the room past her. She turned and walked back to me as I continued to hunt for a secret door which would have let him out and her in. The leotard wasn’t doing much to hide her figure.

“Tony, please. Please come and sit on the bed while I explain.”

She patted the bed next to her as she sat down on the end. I looked at her suspiciously. It would take some tall explaining to convince me of just about anything right now.

“Tony?” She had a plaintive appeal in her voice, once again patting the bed.

I grimaced then finally agreed, “okay. But put on some more clothes first. Okay?”

She went to the closet taking a wrap around skirt which more or less looked good with the leotard. I continued to ponder the impossibility of what was probably a two hundred pound six foot something guy turning into a maybe hundred- twenty pound five foot six or seven girl. Not going to happen. At least not with today’s physics.

She changed her mind pulling on a pair of shorts and a white blouse which she left untucked but which were over the leotard then she slipped on a pair of sandals before coming back to sit on the bed again. She was close enough that I could smell her scent, sort of strawberries I think. That was a far cry from the sweat soaked guy that had entered the room five minutes before she came out. And no, I didn’t find a secret door anywhere but there was that big trunk on the floor between the closet and the outside window.

“I want to see what’s in the trunk.”

“After I explain. All right? If I show you first, you won’t wait for my explanation and then I’ll have to move again. I like you Tony. You’re the first guy who’s treated me nicely and who hasn’t tried to get into my panties. I would like our relationship to continue and perhaps grow. May I please explain? In my own way?”

This was all beginning to sounding weirder and weirder but, “okay. No promises, but go ahead.”

“Thank you.” She reached out to touch my arm then realised what she was doing and quickly pulled it back, “Sorry.”

“Just explain. You’re making it sound like some sort of mystery.”

“Mystery. I suppose it is, in a way. Maybe more like a conspiracy. All right. I need to explain in my own way and at my own pace so please don’t get up and leave until I’ve finished and shown you the proof.”

“Fine. Explain and prove away.”

She took a deep breath and let it out. Her face was in a turmoil and it was about half a minute before she began to talk.

“My family came over to the United States during the second or third wave of colonization. We were outcasts from England but had been nobility so even though we were sent away the family was given a land grant here in the States which was quite generous. When that first generation died the land was split into three parts and given to the three sons. They in turn willed their properties down semi-intact through the years until one of those properties reached me... me.”
I began to ask a question but she placed one of her manicured fingers against my mouth, just below my nose.

“You said I could explain this my own way. No questions until I’ve finished.”

I wasn’t happy and she could see it in my face but I nodded my head acceeding once again to our ‘agreement’ which was mostly her agreement. At any rate I nodded my head for her to continue.

“A few years after receiving the property, there was an earthquake up toward the Northwestern end which opened up a small canyon. I – Rupert went to investigate to see what sort of damage had occurred and found something astounding. It was badly damaged having apparently crashed into the earth, burying itself. Now, however, it was sticking part way out of one of the walls of that mostly new canyon. The canyon had been there a while but before the earthquake it was just a depression in the land, hardly noticeable almost like some rolling hills and it was simply the low portion.

Throughout the following year I, that is, Rupert worked at digging his way down to that object reasoning from the angle of the visible portion that the part that was buried furthest into the hillside was probably the area where the greatest damage would have occurred and the object might be capable of being entered from that lower portion which was still buried. He was right and was eventually able to gain access to the craft. The interior was severely damaged where it had hit the earth but it was mostly intact, otherwise. Seeing the interior bought more questions than answers. During the next year he enlarged the tunnel he had created so he could use an all-terrain vehicle and small trailer to help him move some things from the craft up to his home where he could study them. Some of those things are what are in that trunk you see sitting over there. ”

I began to get up to go over to the trunk.

“No. Not yet. I’ll get to that in a while.”

I sat back down, more curious now than upset.

“The things he brought out were – strange, to say the least. Of course the craft itself was strange, a time capsule of sorts. A bit like those things people bury in cornerstones of buildings or schools do as a project so the things we take for granted today will be preserved as reminders of history a hundred years from now. Again, more questions than answers presented themselves.

He finally sent a few small items to a lab for analysis but not before he carefully took most of the items away and secured them in several storage lockers a number of states away. The number of lockers wasn’t necessary because of a large number of items but more to separate them so should one of them be discovered, the others would still be safe. He also obtained a locker here in town where a few additional items were placed just so there was something to be found nearby if it became necessary. That proved to be a wise precaution. The lab tested the dirt, the pieces of metal, and the artifacts he had sent to them in his effort to determine the era that represented the find. It wasn’t terribly conclusive but prompted an inspection of the crash site, which led to government intervention and eventual confiscation of the property and the find. The cover story was that Rupert had ‘donated’ the land to the Federal government for use as a ‘National Park’. However, since there was proven earthquake damage and that cleft in the earth could expand or change with another quake it was deemed to be too dangerous an area to be opened to the public and so it continued to sit ‘in the public trust’. Rupert was never given a penny for his property.

It wasn’t long at all before that 700 acre ‘park’ was fenced and the region surrounding the canyon beame heavily patrolled, the area was now classified as a ‘secret’ military reservation. The craft was too large to be transported and it’s metals too strong for our cutting tools so the cliff on each side was brought down to fill that portion of the canyon then more dirt was trucked in and dumped so the visible portion of the craft was again covered from view. Rupert was forced to sign a number of secrecy documents or immediately face a very long prison term, essentially indefinite.

The government agents found the storage unit in town, of course, which Rupert pretty much expected would happen. Two of the others were also located. Only some strange pieces of metal which might be coins and that chest and it’s contents were what remained successfully hidden.

What Rupert hid inside that chest were ten pairs of matched costumes, if you will, plus two unpaired – costumes. Those, along with a couple of devices and a battery were then taken and hidden from prying eyes. Each pair of costumes was slightly different than any of the others and they presumably were crafted for each of the occupants of the craft. Yes, there had been occupants. The evidence that three had remained in the craft was only partially conclusive so if there were others who survived they must have departed somehow or escaped onto the surface of that time. The outlines of the skeletons in the craft were – different. Still bipedal, like us, but proportioned quite differently. They crashed here a long, long time ago. Carbon dating of the surrounding materials indicated a sedimentary buildup around the craft showed the crash probably occurred back some one hundred and ten thousand years. That could be suspect since the craft did crash and likely buried itself that deep but it had to have been sufficiently long ago, perhaps thousands of years, that the land could recover from the scar of the crash such that no one could detect it, nor anyone living in the area might remember any hint of a meteor or other impact at any time in the recorded past. The ‘remains’ of the bodies tested inconclusively at ninety thousand years. Of course, carbon dating came into question later on and the original remains were no longer available for such testing so the samples which Rupert had 'stored' were even questionable concerning contaminationm, which would cloud any results.

With a lot of difficulty, Rupert tracked down a few legends found among the Indian tribes that held a connection to the deep past within that area which hinted at ‘moon-walkers’ who had come down to travel among men. Those moon-walkers had come around to the tribes some many tens of thousands of moons ago. Perhaps they were searching for the lost craft, we’ll never know for certain.”

She seemed to suddenly go off on a tangent, “Tony? Why haven’t you ever tried to have sex with me?”

That took me by surprise. I blushed and tried to cover it as I stammered a bit. I always do that when I’m flustered.

“Would you do it now? Would you allow me that pleasure before I finish explaining?”

“I .... It isn’t ....”

“Yes. It is. Except I will insist on your using a prophylactic.”

Suffice to say I was wholly unprepared for this development but accepted and during the next couple of hours things were – pretty interesting.

I woke up to find her cuddled across me. The warmth and scent of her body following sex, heady in my nostrils and against my flesh. She was quite a woman.

“Stacy, would you....”

She put her finger on my lips again, indicating silence.

“Are you convinced I’m a woman?”

“Without a doubt.”

“What if I were to tell you, this is all simply technology? Technology none of us understands nor which we able to duplicate but technology non-the-less.”

Technology? “I don’t understand. What technology?”

“This.” she pointed at herself.

I smirked at her, “uh huh. You’re trying to tell me you’re some kind of a robot?”

“No. But there are things which advanced technology can do that we, as yet, have no hope of duplicating. Stay here, I’m going to get a couple of things out of the trunk. I want your opinion of them before we talk much more.”

Now she had me more than curious so I readily agreed. She opened it, picked out four objects and brought them back to the bed after closing the trunk again.

“Don’t touch those. I’ll be right back.”

Again she crossed the room, this time to a closet where she lifted out a small television of some sort. It was then that I noticed all the dials and things finally recognizing it to be an oscilloscope similar to the ones I had seen a lot of the tech guys using. Curiosity was beginning to get to me as she set it up, plugging it in to warm it up while she came back to continue her explanation. Picking up one of the items she began to explain again.

“This is a battery, of sorts. It’s unlike any battery we make here on Earth. Batteries we make here are DC or direct current...”

I interrupted, “yeah. I’m familiar with the difference between batteries and the power we use in our houses; AC or alternating current.”

“That’s right.” She picked up another device.

“This is a flashlight. It’s a very special kind of flashlight as you will see in a moment. Notice the connection on the end here? This is where the – battery connects. It goes on like this.” She screwed the two together, showing me how it worked as she took it apart again then reconnected the two before turning toward the wall leading to the condo next door.

“Watch.”

She turned on the flashlight and just like any other it lit up the wall. Unlike any other I was accustomed to, it was quite bright and the beam didn’t have that ‘spot’ effect with a bright center dimming as you got further away from the middle of the beam of light. It was nearly evenly illuminated across the entire field. Even I was smart enough to know that meant the optics involved had to be pretty damn good, and pretty damn expensive too.

I watched as she began to fiddle with some sort of dials on the flashlight and a few seconds later the wall dissolved. Well, I guess it didn’t dissolve so much as we were looking through it into the room next door. That stunned me enough that it took me a few seconds before I tried to understand what was happening. She adjusted the flashlight again and we were looking past the condo next door and into the one owned by old Mrs. Peele. She was sitting there watching one of the soaps which were so prolific these days on her color TV. I had no idea she had one of those big screen LCD or LED or whatever things, it didn’t quite fit in with the reputation she had for being a little more, uh, archaic? That was when I suddenly realised that we were hearing and not just seeing these things. Suddenly spying took on a whole new meaning for me.

Stacy shut off the ‘flashlight,’ disconnecting the battery again. Now she picked up another of the things from the bed and connected the battery to it. Again it had dials and she began to mess with them until she found a radio station then she let me listen to it for a few seconds before turning down the volume.

“How did that sound?”

“What do you mean?” I couldn’t think. “It sounded like a radio station.”

“Of course but where are the speakers and how were we hearing the sound in such great fidelity?”

Now that she mentioned it, where were the speakers? For that matter, all the little receivers I was used to had this ‘tinny’ sound. Yeah, you would hear the notes but it wasn’t like you were somewhere listening to an orchestra. This, though, sounded different... almost like we were there.

Stacy fiddled with the dials once again until images began to flicker through the air as she swept past different Television stations.

“PBS.” She said when she stopped at an orchestral selection. Again the sound was pretty much like you would expect if you were in the room or area where the action was occurring. Of course it couldn’t be better than what had been recorded or was being transmitted, but it was a lot better than most television sets, even those home theater things. The only problem I could see other than the sound was the lack of a screen. Oh, there was an image all right and it was flat since that was the way it was being transmitted but it just – hung in the air of the room.

She shut it off and again disconnected the battery. By now, I was pretty impressed. The TV- radio thing could have been something recent in inventions although the sound and picture were beyond anything I figured we could come up with as yet as well as the size of the receiver. The flashlight... That was a whole different ball game. Going across to her normal Earth type flashlight, she pulled out a battery then took the two over to the oscilloscope setting them down next to it before she went back to the closet to get a small meter of some kind.

“This is a volt-ohm meter. Here look at the screen while I connect it across the battery from my flashlight.”

I did and when she held it across the case and the center button of the battery the screen read 1.443.

“Okay so what’s that supposed to prove?”

“That’s close to the voltage you would see from a normal 'D' battery like that, it’s the result of a chemical reaction. It should be just a little over 1.5 volts, but I’ve been using this one for a while so the battery is partially depleted.”

“So?”

“Now look at the battery I used to power those things.”

Again she connected the leads and this time the screen lit up and began fluctuating. It never stopped. It was like it couldn’t decide what voltage the battery was putting out. She adjusted the dials until the fluctuation displayed was a little more stable but it still didn’t hold still at just one voltage.

“Again, I ask, so? I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean.”

“Maybe if we look at them each on the oscilloscope.”

Again she connected the battery from her flashlight. The line across the bottom of the screen barely jumped up. It was enough that I could see a difference between connected and disconnected but that was all it meant to me. I looked at her in puzzlement.

“That’s what you see when a normal Earth type battery is connected to the scope. The jump from the bottom up toward the top indicates a DC source. An AC source would show up as a pattern ranging between the two extremes, top and bottom. The amount of rise of that displayed line indicate the voltage of the battery. Now watch when I connect this other ‘battery’.”

I didn’t miss her emphasis on the word ‘battery’.

When the leads were connected to the case and that center pin, the scope lit up with a pattern that kept changing. It didn’t escape me that nearly the whole screen was now involved not just some little barely noticable portion down near the bottom. I looked at her for an explanation.

“What you’re looking at is an AC signal. The output of that ‘battery’ is nearly forty seven volts as we measure voltage and there are more than a hundred-twenty different frequencies involved in that waveform. Some of them reach as high as the ultrasonic range or around sixty kilohertz.”

“Whatever that means. So, I take it that this battery is unusual?”

“Very. This isn’t some simple chemical process like the batteries we make here on Earth.”

“So why not take it apart to see what makes it tick?”

“I don’t want to do that until it’s no longer working. We might never be able to duplicate it so until it dies I don’t want to take the chance of permanently damaging it. The things it can power are too important for me at the moment.”

“All batteries run down sooner or later. Most of them don’t last more than a few years especially if they are in use.” I mentioned -- Mr. Knowledge over here.

“True, if we were dealing with a chemical battery. This battery’s output hasn’t changed appreciably in well over twenty years; since I first examined it with an oscilloscope. Prior to that, after the first four years I connected it to the flashlight and left it on for a year. The output was the same at the end of that year as it had been when it was first connected. Whatever this is using, it is unlikely to be a chemical process. Now watch the screen of the scope while I slip this μ-metal (she pronounced it Myou-metal) shield over the battery.”

“What does moo-metal do?”

“It’s μ-metal, and it redirects magnetism, in this case a small portion of the Earth’s magnetic field, around the battery rather than allowing it to continue going through it. Watch the scope.”

She slowly moved the tube of metal over the battery and I noted some of the lines reduced quite a bit so they were only about half as high as the others. I told her as I asked, “.... What the heck is that supposed to mean?”

“I believe part of what’s powering this battery is the Earth’s magnetic field. In essence this battery is using the Earth to create the output shown on the scope which powers these tools.”

“O-kkaaayyy. Let’s say I believe you for now. Why didn’t all of the lines drop down a little bit?”

“Because I think the Earth’s gravity is what’s causing the rest of those lines.”

“So why don’t you put some metal around it which will reduce the gravity and prove it?”

“At the moment, I’m not aware of anything which can do that appreciably. At least no where near as significantly as the μ-metal can affect magnetism. About all I’ve been able to determine is the lower frequencies are being generated by something which at the moment I believe is gravity and the higher frequencies shown on the scope are generated by the magnetic field. The interesting part is there are frequencies involved. I had always thought of the earth’s magnetic field as something static in a way, but this seems to indicate it is dynamic or constantly shifting. It might not go through a full polarity reversal like our AC current analogy but it does fluctuate. If the other lines are generated by gravity then it would seem that it does also.”

“Okkaayy.” I didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t into this techie stuff. I was a software type person and told her so, again.

“So if gravity is shifting all the time then why don’t scales show a weight change when we are on them? Or why aren’t we trying to float off part of the time?”

“I don’t know. I’m still trying to understand this. That isn’t the point. Are you able to accept that these devices are unlikely to have been invented here on Earth?”

I shrugged my shoulders, “I suppose.”

She sighed in exasperation.

“Let me get dressed then we need to take this last device out somewhere away from the city so you can see what it does.”

“Why not show me right here?”

“Because I don’t want to accidentally destroy the building. Damaging some dirt or a tree or two will get my point across without hurting anyone.”

“Uh, huh. I think I’ll pass on that one.”

“How else can I convince you of the extraterrestrial source of this stuff without showing you big whammy?”

“The big whammy? Why don’t you just go ahead with that part right here, because if that is a weapon, I’m sure as hell not going to let you get me out somewhere in the middle of nowhere so you can use it on me.”

“What? You think I’d... I wouldn’t... you don’t...”

She shut up and sat down on the bed as she started to cry.

Fuck. I may have been right in my fears but my method of presentation sucked. I went over sitting next to her putting my arm around her.

“Don’t touch me! How could you think I would do something so intimate with you and then turn right around and do something so... so... heinous? Here I am showing you stuff that leads up to my most important secret, I’m about to bare my soul to you and you... you... Get out. Get out, I never want to see you again.”

Well, I didn’t get out. I helped her stand up from the bed, wrapped my arms around her and held her while she cried. It took a minute or two for her to realise I hadn’t gone and we were standing there naked as jay-birds with me holding her. Of course my little companion downstairs was getting a bit testy during that time. I think it was him nudging against her that finally brought her around.

When we got up from bed the second time I suddenly remembered I hadn’t been wearing a condom this time around but didn’t feel this would be a very good time to mention it. Again, she seemed to have appreciated how much I tried to help her to feel as good as I knew I would. We were both basking in afterglow when I suggested a two-some shower.

“I’ll wash your back if you’ll wash mine.” I suggested.

She smiled and led me to the bathroom. By the way, don’t get this girl wound up because she slings a really wicked soapsuds filled towel. I guess the washrag wasn’t large enough to do the kind of damage she had in mind. At any rate, she can have a good time and I was just beginning to wonder what it would be like to spend the rest of my life with this live wire. As we were drying off she picked up the conversation right where she had left off.

“Without seeing the other device operate, can you accept that these things are unlikely to have been developed here on Earth? That they are some kind of advanced technology?”

Again I was guardedly non-committal.

“I’ll grant you that for the sake of argument. At least for the moment.”

She shook her head, “All right. I’ll accept that for now. Come on over to the chest with me. I want to show you something.”

She led me to the chest before she continued explaining.

“I told you there were ten pairs of costumes stored in here when they were first found. Now there are only nine. Due to stupidity one part of a set was lost forever and the second remains in permanent use and is no longer recoverable. I... Rupert – had two sons. They found the chest up in the attic one day and decided they would play a joke on some of their friends. The joke backfired, terribly. The two boys invited five of their buddies over to the house then they each put on one of the matching pairs of... costumes. They weren’t prepared for the changes those costumes would bring about nor for the reactions of their ‘friends’ when they went out to get assistance to remove the costumes. The two were repeatedly raped until one died. The other could not get out of ‘her’ costume presumably since she was now pregnant and would need to go through the entire gestation period and give birth before the costume would permit ‘her’ to exit it, if then. I’m still uncertain about that part, although some time after a birth it is possible to exit the costume.

As a result of the death and the pregnancy, Rupert no longer has two sons but instead now has... had two daughters. He moved the chest, securing it away somewhere safe, keeping it close so he could protect it, so that sort of thing couldn’t easily happen again. The one suit, costume remains unavailable since Melody opted to remain a female but different than she had been when she was pregnant. The other two suits were not a matched pair but each appeared to be half of what were two other sets. One male and one female.”

I must have looked very confused at this point but she opened the chest anyway and the first thing I saw in it was – her. Or rather, her skin.

“They skinned people?”

“No. These are all artificial.”

“They look real.”

“Yes, they do. If it’s any consolation my first thoughts were the same as yours. It was quite a few months before I learned differently. These are all some kind of technology.”

“So what are you trying to tell me?”

“Tony. What if I wasn’t the person you thought me to be? What if .... what if this woman with whom you just mated wasn’t a woman to begin with?”

“What? You mean you’re one of those transgendered people?”

She smiled, “I suppose that might be one explanation. Not wholly accurate but considering the wider meanings it could be one explanation. The difference is, I can get pregnant.”

“So you’re a woman.”

She sighed, “not exactly. Maybe you better sit down. You’re not taking to this explanation very well.”

I sat. “Okay. If you’re not transgendered and you’re not a woman, then what are you?”

“The name I was born with is Rupert.”

“Yeah. Right.”

“Sarcasm doesn’t become you, Tony.”

“Neither does being taken for a fool. No way you’re Rupert. At least not the Rupert I met here less than an hour ago. And not unless you are able to considerably change your height and weight in less than five minutes.”

“I can do both. And it’s because of this technology.”

“There you go with that technology stuff again. What technology?”

“This technology.”

She reached up behind her neck, under her hair and I heard a ‘snickt’ sound. Her body began to fill out and elongate as she continued to lift on her hair and the back of her head, drawing her head up and forward until it popped off another head which had been wearing it. Her body continued to – warp – until it was nearly eight inches taller and filled out in a way nearly no woman could possibly match. She continued to remove that outer wrap which was the Stacy I had come to know so intimately. I nearly lost my cookies right there. She continued to explain, her voice now dropping a couple of registers and beginning to sound more like that of Rupert whom I had met not too long before.

“I – I had sex with a guy?” I asked both in shock and in revulsion.

“No. You had sex with Stacy. Who was and is very much a woman.”

“But, you’re Stacy. I don’t know how, but you’re Stacy.”

“The body was pure Stacy. My mind was... a combination of the two. That is the technology I was talking about. If you need more proof I can give it to you but you would need to cooperate and try on one of these ‘costumes’.”

“As if that’ll ever happen.”

“Then I think we have nothing further to discuss, Tony. I think you better go. I need to pack and leave before you do something stupid.”

"Yeah. Like knock your block off.”

“Do you really think you can do that?”

I thought about that. He was taller than I was and probably outweighed me by fifty pounds all of which looked like pure muscle. I thought about it, “no, I guess not. I... Could I have a couple of days to think about this?”

“Take all the time you need; but I’ll be gone in less than an hour. I can’t afford the chance you’ll come to the wrong conclusions.”

“Such as.”

“Such as telling the Federal government that they didn’t get everything from that ship they confiscated.”

“Oh, yeah. The Ship. Was there ever really a ship?”

“Yes, there was and probably still is. Here you have seen just a few of the technological marvels which came from it.”

“Yeah. Right. I’m not stupid. We can’t manufacture that sort of thing.”

“True, we can’t. But someone or something, did. Just take the time to consider one thing, would you? If that ship was tens of thousands of years old and this technology existed in it, then what do you suppose they have for their technology now?”

My face suddenly felt cool. That was true enough. If this technology was something that could be discarded as unimportant enough to warrant not trying to recover it from the crash then what had replaced it? Worse yet, could this stuff be tracked? Probably not, but we couldn’t wait around to find out. Then another thought crossed my mind.
If this stuff was thousands of years old and could do this sort of thing which we had no hope of duplicating and it was unimportant to whomever it was, did we really want to meet up with them in a dark alley somewhere? Or with whatever government agency was working on this stuff trying to understand and possibly duplicate it?

“Stacy. We need to get this stuff packed and get the hell out of here in a hurry.”

Rupert smiled and pulled the ‘suit’ back up drawing the flopping head back over his own then resealing it before his body went through that ‘warping’ thing again in what I guessed took about thirty seconds. Stacy hurried over to retrieve the things she had been showing to me before placing them back into the trunk closing it before she headed for the closet to bring out some suitcases. She put them on the bed and began to carefully place some of her clothes into them.

“Stac, leave that stuff. I’ll buy you some new things. We don’t have time to waste. We’ll just grab the trunk and split for the airport. We can rent a car somewhere along the way after we ditch the plane and hide out until we think this out.”

She smiled and came over putting her arms around my neck before she planted a big one on my lips, her cute little body tight up against mine.

“Don’t you think we could cover our tracks a bit better if we looked like twins?”

“Twins? How the hell are you ever going to look like me? There’s no way I’m going to let you skin me so that technology stuff can make a copy.”

“You still don’t get it do you, you big lunk? The technology IS the suits. And I won’t look like you. You’ll look like this.” she pointed back as herself.

I think I must have turned ashen. I felt cold and then hot and she just laughed.

“Come on. I’ve always wanted a twin sister and now I can have one. For a while anyway. Just remember not to have sex with anyone. Or open the suit pretty damn quickly afterward so it will go through a reset.”

“But ....”

“No buts. Come on. It’s fast and mostly painless and I’ve got plenty of clothes for the both of us.”

“But how will I pilot the plane? My license is in my name not that of some girl.”

“Oh. That could be a problem if anyone checks. Okay. Maybe when we get to wherever? Just for a little while? It’ll be fun, I promise. And we can twin up on people.”

“You aren’t going to let go of this are you, Stacy?”

“Not on your life, Toni. And that’s spelled with an I not a Y. Ever since I started wearing some of these outfits I’ve wanted to be one of a pair of twin girls just to see how much fun we could have. You’re the first person whom I explained this to who didn’t run off to report me, walk out on me, or consider the men in the white coats. If you think I’m going to let you get away without a fight you’ve got another think coming. I’ve been alone far too long.”

“Okay. I get that. But do I have to be a girl?”

“Oh come on. Rupert did it. Are you a coward? You could try it on here in my condo just to see what it looks and feels like. You’ll have to change back though so we can go fly in your plane. I promise I won’t dress you like some tramp and once we’re both dressed in a similar manner I guarantee you’ll be surprised.”

“I’m already surprised. I just know I’m going to regret this. This’ll just be for a few minutes right?”

She assured me that once I had tried on the... costume and some of her clothes then she would help me change back.

“Besides, I kind of liked our little tryst and wouldn’t mind an encore or two or fifty.”

“Against my better judgement. Okay, what do I need to do?”

“Just take off every stitch of clothing you just began putting on and start pulling this on.” she pulled out the second skin which look like her.

“Be certain you get your toes and fingers into the correct places before you continue to put it on.”

I began to do what she said. A couple of minutes later I had the ‘suit’ pretty much on with the head flopping on my chest.

“I look ridiculous. Kind of like a thin Schwarzenegger like female impersonator.” It wasn’t a pretty picture.

“That will all change when you put on the head. You saw me do it.”

Yeah, I saw her do it but I still didn’t believe it. I sighed and started to stretch the head over mine. I couldn’t understand how this was supposed to work when I was huge compared to Stacy and this was supposed to be an identical twin of her. I got the head over mine and still felt ridiculous.

“So now what?” I asked muffled through the head/mask.

“I’ll close the back of the head this time and press the switch, but you’ll need to learn to do this for yourself.”

She pulled together the back of the head and I felt the strain across the mask front where it pressed against my face. I felt her push something just below the hairline on the back of my neck and there was this ‘snickt’ sound. Moments later I began to feel really weird. Kind of sick like I was going to throw up but not, and the feeling of the suit against me was going away. It felt like my bones were doing something strange at the same time as I could suddenly begin to see things moving slightly up all around me. Where I had felt the feet of the suit against mine I could now feel the carpet. My whole body felt, I don’t know, different? I had a bit of a headache so I reached up to rub my temples and encountered... hair? Oh yeah, the suit. My arm accidentally impacted one of the things which was now on my chest and I nearly fainted.

“Holy Shit that hurt.”

“Sorry. I should have warned you about that. Breasts can be a bit sensitive.”

“You think? Wait a minute. Breasts?”

I gently reached up to touch the two new attributes and discovered I didn’t feel the suit, I felt... I don’t know... me?
In a panic I moved toward the mirror but my balance was way off. My hips seemed to move in funny ways as well. More carefully now I moved to the mirror and stared before I half turned toward Stacy with my eyes wide and a little panic on my face.

“Stace? You mean it’s true?” That was about the time I realised my voice sounded like hers.

“Every word. Cool isn’t it?”

“Cool.” I repeated dumbly.

“Oh God. You’re not going to be some ditz are you? As a guy you were intelligent. I thought you would be as a girl, too.”

“Put it down to initial shock.”

“Come on, Sis. I’ve got everything you need in the other bedroom. I’ll help you get dressed and do a touch of makeup then we’ll take a look in the mirror. You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to have a twin sister.”

Yesterday began Tomorrow.



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