White Rabbit -2-

When Dana woke he knew it was still night so he went back to sleep. The second time he woke he wasn’t feeling sleepy but it was still dark so he went back to sleep. The third time he decided he couldn’t sleep any more. He would get up and wait out the night.

He slid out of bed as he looked for the woman. The cabin was dark and she could have been anywhere and he wouldn't see her. She might also have run while he was sleeping. At least she didn’t slit his throat or shoot him while he was out cold. He walked over to the fire.

She was sitting in the rocker. "I see you finally decided to get up."

"Why don’t you take the bed and I’ll spend the rest of the night here. I’m not sleepy any more." Dana stuck his hands out toward the fire to warm them.

"You shouldn’t be. You slept two days. Stew is hot if you want some. Sorry the breakfast menu isn’t up to your standards but stew is all there is." She rose out of the rocker and walked over to get him a bowl.

"Two days? You’re not serious? I slept all night and day and now it is night again?" Dana looked at his watch.

"No, it’s daylight outside. Snowed some more while you were sleeping. We are buried under about twenty feet of snow." She ladled up some stew in a bowl

"Twenty feet? It can’t snow twenty feet in one day. Can it?" Dana was aghast she could even suggest such a thing. She must be playing with his mind.

She set the bowl down on the table along with a spoon and crackers. "Where we are, it can. This cabin sits right up against a bluff. Snow is driven up against the bluff and settles down on the cabin since it can’t stick to a vertical cliff."

She pointed to a shovel by the door. "You can start digging your way out if you like as soon as you eat. Keep in mind, your snowmobile is at the bottom of that snow so it isn’t going to help you. Open the door and start digging up. Make a small tunnel because all that snow has to come back into the cabin. Too big a hole and you fill up the cabin before you reach daylight."

Dana was in shock. "Is that how you planned on getting out?"

"Why would I want out? I’m stranded here on your world until they come back. Where would I go if I went out? One place is as good as another. I don’t mind it here." She shrugged her shoulders.

Dana hadn’t missed the ‘your world’. The woman was crazy. She really was the White Rabbit in Alice. He didn’t relish the thought of being in close proximity with a crazy woman. "Uh, I think I’ll get to work on that tunnel now if you don’t mind."

"Why should I mind? They're your muscles, not mine. I think you are going to find out you are digging a mighty long tunnel if you don’t eat." She pointed at the bowl steaming on the table.

Somehow he was sure he didn’t want any more stew from a crazy woman. "No thanks. I’ll work on that tunnel."

An hour later Dana was dripping with sweat and exhausted. He had tried digging up but it was impossible once he needed to get up in the tunnel he was excavating. He kept sliding down and out. The heat from his body and the cabin was turning the inside of the tunnel into ice as slick as glass.

He found a chair by the table and was panting trying to catch his breath. "Is it me or is all the oxygen out of this room?"

"A little of both. You have been working hard and using up our oxygen. The fire is using some and what little seeps in from the cave and the snow has to replenish." She picked up a log to put on the fire.

"Cave?" He turned to focus on her.

She pointed to curtains beside the cabinet. "Cave is there. I keep my food stock in there."

As Dana rose up out of the chair he felt like he was going to faint. "Air, I gotta have air."

"You’re probably feeling claustrophobia. Not many people can stand the idea they are walled in. Kind of like tossing someone in a jail cell." She smiled as she looked at him.

He felt trapped. "You did this on purpose. I’m going to…,"

She watched as he fell to the floor. "I tried to tell him to not exert himself."

Dana opened an eye. It had been a bad dream. He was looking at walls and he was lying on a bed. A real bed, not some bunk in some dark little cabin. He took a deep breath before he slid out of bed. Yes, there was plenty of air to breathe. Bad dreams. He looked around the room. No pants and not his hotel room. What was going on?

He found a white satin bathrobe on the chair beside his bed. He slipped it on before walking out the door. He was in a huge room. Something wasn’t quite right. The woman was over on a divan watching television, or he supposed she was watching television.

She waved her hand in the air, even though she had her back to him and never looked. "Up again I see."

"Where are we? What have you done? Where is this place?" Barefoot, Dana padded across the room.

"This place is my place. I was hoping you would tunnel out and leave, never to darken my door again, but it wasn’t to be. You might as well make yourself comfortable. Would you like something to eat? I promise it won’t be stew, although I thought it was pretty good stew." She turned and put her arm up on the back of the divan and looked at him.

"Lady, you are under arrest. I demand you return my clothes and my gun." Dana was ready to leave this nuthouse.

"Why don’t you call me something besides Lady? My name can’t be pronounced in your language so call me Vicky. Vicky Sue Martin would work if you want a full name." She smiled, as her eyes looked down at his bare feet.

"Listen, I plan on taking you back to the nearest authorities and having you held until I can get a warrant to transport you back to Texas for escaping jail, among other charges." Dana focused in on the woman hoping to intimidate her.

She giggled and that infuriated him. "What’s your first name? I don’t plan on calling you Cooper forever. You seem to have a one-track mind. I suggest you get a new plan, because the old one isn’t working."

"Where’s my clothes!" Dana was past mad. The woman had no respect for the law, either in Texas or here in Canada.

She sighed as she pushed herself up off the divan. Shaking her head, she turned to face him. "You are starting to annoy the hell out of me. Let me explain a couple things to you, Mr. Cooper. You made me miss my ship."

"What are you talking about?" Dana was positive she was crazy. He was also positive he could handle her if she became a threat.

"Back in Texas when you stopped me. I was barely going to make it until that officer blew all the tires on my car." She walked over to a stuffed chair and sat down facing him.

"We had completed our research here. The ship has a window of opportunity to make the jump from your world to Rious. That window is open for six hours every ten years." She curled up her fingers on her left hand and studied her fingernails.

"Lady, you are as crazy as a rabid dog." Dana was positive she was the White Rabbit.

"Lan Corporation was our cover. The corporation did nothing except gather information. I was a field agent. My task was to monitor your nuclear experiments and how quickly humans were adapting to nuclear energy. Penny was my coworker. She monitored your nuclear arms. She did the estimates to determine if humans were heading toward nuclear genocide." She smiled a sad smile. "Humans are awfully close to the middle of the nuclear genie. They are either going to eliminate themselves, or they will find that unlimited energy resource."

Dana started to say something and then didn’t.

Some of what she was saying was making sense.

"Our research files were loaded, we had cleaned out our offices, and everyone was either on the ship or headed that way. I was coming up from Galveston with plenty of time to spare. I received a call. Uagford had not destroyed the files in our Wichita office. I was driving through Wichita so all I had to do was stop and complete the task. I had four and one half-hours to spare. That was more than enough time."

She took a deep breath and looked at Cooper. "Stopping at the office, I managed to get in and destroy all the records. I don’t think your government would have been able to decode the files but your progress in computer science is gaining quickly. Maybe they could break the code, provided they ever found the files and realized it was code. That’s a lot of maybes, but we don’t take chances of letting humans know they are being watched by alien life forms."

Dana was looking at her as he waffled back and forth between, was she crazy or was she on the up and up?

"I finished up and walked out to my car. All four tires had been slashed. Not an ideal situation. By now, all the earth vehicles besides mine had been destroyed. It would look kind of strange to have a couple dozen cars and vans parked in an open field and no drivers. Thus, I couldn’t call up anyone to come and get me. I also couldn’t drop in and lease a vehicle as I had destroyed all my earth identification. No credit cards, no money, no license, and no way of getting any in the short time I had."

"Believe it or not, I resorted to thievery. I took my car jack and went out scouring the parking garage two blocks east of our office. I stole tires from vehicles like mine. It took time but I finally had four tires again. I was late but I could still make the ship."

She raised her head and studied Cooper. "That is until you stopped me. I thought about stealing your vehicle at the time, but I’m not good at dodging bullets. I either waited until I had the opportunity to escape and wait for the ship to return in ten years, or I tried to catch it in your car. As you can see. I’m counting years now."

He was looking into her eyes. "You’re not the White Rabbit. You are as crazy as the Mad Hatter."

She waved her hand to indicate the room they were standing in. "I came up here to get away from those like you, and wait. I am also still doing what I was trained to do. I am monitoring your nuclear experiments. We, my race, built all this for exactly this kind of contingency. Where do you think you are, Mr. Cooper?"

Was she trying to trick him? "I’m inside your cabin or someone’s cabin. You probably stole it too while the owner is in Florida."

"Not hardly. We are inside a mountain. The cabin is a façade or a false front if you want. It is there solely for the purpose of giving me a place to enter and exit from if anyone happen to be passing by. However that is highly unlikely considering how remote this place is." She motioned to a machine on the other side of the room. "That is my servant. It takes care of monitoring the place when it’s empty. It also takes care of house keeping when someone like me is here."

Dana was looking where she had pointed. The machine looked unlike anything resembling a useful piece of equipment. In fact it looked a lot like a box. A big gun metal blue box but a box never the less. He decided to pacify her. "Sure looks like a nice looking robot."

She laughed as she studied him. "That nice looking robot reads mind thought, Mr. Cooper. I don’t have to verbally speak to it for it to understand if I need anything."

"Okay, if you say so." He was positive she was the Mad Hatter.

The box moved out in front of Dana without making any noise. He took a step back and it moved forward. He took another step back and it moved forward. He had enough, as he stepped forward and pushed. To his amazement it didn’t move. It was as solid as if he had pushed on a rock. He dropped to his knees and looked under it. There weren’t any rollers and it wasn’t floating on a cushion of air, yet it wasn’t on the floor either.

The woman walked over to the wall to her left. It opened up to reveal delicate crystal drinking glasses. She picked one up and walked out to the middle of the room. She opened her hand and turned loose of it.

When it hit the floor and shattered, Dana jumped back to his feet. "What did you do that for?"

The box moved over to where the shattered glass had spread out across the floor. To Dana’s amazement, the pieces seemed to swarm toward the box as if they were metal and it was a strong magnet. A perfect crystal glass appeared on top the box. It moved over to the cabinet and the glass floated back up in to place on the shelf. The wall closed shut.

Dana’s eyes were bugging out by now. "I don’t believe it. That was some trick."

"Yes, by human standards, I guess it was a trick. By human standards, I’m full of tricks. By Rious standards it’s dark ages stuff. The glass shouldn’t have broken. I am good, but I haven’t been able to formulate silicone into clear carbon with the tools I have. If it was possible to do so, you could drive nails with that glass and it wouldn’t break."

She turned her attention toward him. "I’m explaining this to you because I want you to understand the reason for what I have done. I can’t let you go back home and talk about me. Although it would be possible to keep you here for the next ten years, it wouldn’t be right."

Dana got a cold feeling down in the pit of his stomach. She was planning on killing him. He knew he had to be quick before she carried out her plans. He sprang toward her. He would get her down, tie her up, and escape.

She saw him coming and didn’t try to evade his lunge. Dana body slammed her and they both went to the floor. He pulled her arms up and out as he sat on her stomach. He was surprised when she didn’t offer any resistance or try to escape. "I plan on leaving and you aren’t going to stop me."

She lay there looking back up at him. "I hadn’t planned on trying to stop you. You might consider it is thirty miles to town. You have no idea which direction that is. You might also consider that you weren’t able to tunnel out that first time, so what makes you think you're going to do a better job this time?"

He sat there thinking about it. "You’re going to show me the way. You’re under arrest. I’m taking you with me."

Her eyes were twinkling with amusement as she studied his face. "How did you ever make Highway Patrol Trooper? You’re so dumb it’s not funny. You really expect me to help you dig out and lead you back to town so you can put me in a jail? I don’t think so. I’m not helping you dig out. Does that mean you are going to beat me until I become your prisoner and co-operate? Even if I did help you dig up to the surface, what makes you think I would lead you to town?"

She shook her head. "Did you miss the class where they were passing out brains, or did yours come in a Cracker Jack Box? You don’t get it do you? I’m not your prisoner, even if you tie me up and beat me until I’m dead. As bad as you might hate to admit it, your life belongs to me. I die, you die. Is that simple enough for you to comprehend?"

His eyes were blinking as his brain processed all the options. It wasn’t looking that great for him. "What makes you think I can’t last out the winter without you? Obviously you have food stores."

She wiggled her finger on her right hand as she pointed to her head. "This place is run by mind thought. Unless you think in Rious mind thought, then you’re not going to appreciate the comforts very long. When I leave, or die, this place is going into hibernation mode. That means it's going to sterilize itself and cool down to close to zero degrees Celsius."

She gave him a wink with her right eye. "If this place has been compromised with alien life forms, it will self destruct. Would you like to take a guess as to what the sensors in this place considers alien life? Let me give you a hint. It isn’t yours truly."

Grudgingly Dana got off her, stood up, and offered her his hand. "Your insanity is catching. I’m beginning to believe you."

She took his hand and he pulled her too her feet. "I’m sorry. I hope I didn’t bruise anything."

"I heal pretty fast. We might as well get on a first name basis. I’m Evaisa. You may call me Vicky. And you are?" She waited for a name.

"Dana. Are we really inside a mountain? Where’s your cabin?" Dana was fishing for answers, since she seemed so open about everything.

Eve pointed over to her left. "The cabin is behind that wall. It wouldn’t do to have anyone stumble into the cabin and see a door into the mountain. Believe it or not, cabins are considered safe ports by anyone passing by in this part of the world. They stop in, warm themselves, replace what they use and move on when weather permits. My cabin doesn’t get many visitors since it’s usually buried, but every couple of summers it may get a visitor or two."

Dana kept eyeing the wall for a door, without trying to seem obvious about it. He pulled at the robe he was wearing. "I am missing my clothes. I would feel better if I had my pants back."

"Sorry, your pants were disposed of along with your other things. Please show Dana where he might find clothes." She was looking at something or someone behind him.

"Gatechu fluac movus emekasume." Was the answer.

Dana jumped forward and spun on his heel when he heard someone speaking close to his ear. He was looking at a stunningly beautiful woman. Or was she a woman? She looked feminine. She had delicate features, but she didn’t have defining body curves. She looked boyish in that respect.

"Speak English from now on. Dana does not understand Rious." Vicky stepped up beside Dana and nodded toward the person in front of them. "This is Umba. Umba is an android, capable of independent thought or what your species calls artificial intelligence. Umba is not a living creature but an intelligent machine. You may address Umba as either male or female, as your species tends to do to inanimate objects. She or he is a non issue."

"It’s not alive?" Dana choked that one out as he studied the creature in front of them.

"Depends on one’s definition of alive. Umba is capable of independent logic. Please show Dana where he might acquire body cover." Vicky turned and walked across the room.

"Follow me, please." Umba turned and waited on Dana to follow.

Dana watched as Vicky approached the wall. It turned transparent, she walked though it, and it returned to solid form again. "You got to be kidding!"

"No, if you want body cover then follow me please." Umba was waiting.

"I wasn’t talking to you. I mean I wasn’t talking to anyone in particular. I mean…, Did that woman walk through that wall, or am I hallucinating?" Dana stepped up beside Umba.

Umba turned to look at Dana as she walked toward a solid looking wall. "We do not walk through walls. We go through portals, or in your language, doorways. Evasia is capable of molecular transference if she has to. I guess that would be passing through a solid object in a loose sense."

"Some doorway. So that was how she escaped from the Texas jail. She walked through the wall straight to the outside." Dana watched the wall in front of him and Umba turn transparent before they stepped through.

They were in another room. "Damn, some door."

Umba walked over, opened a door, stepped in and came back with a white satin shirt and pants.

"Your body cover."

"Not exactly what I had in mind. You have anything with a little more color? Something in jeans and denim shirt?" Dana was hesitating to take the offered clothes.

"Unless you prefer pink, teal, or pastel colors, this is your cover." Umba held up the shirt and pants and waited.

"Fine! Give me." Dana took them and turned his back to the android. He slipped the pants on and then the shirt. Funny shirt, it buttoned wrong.

"You want shoes and socks?"

"Sure." Dana turned around to take the shoes. He hesitated. Unless he was mistaken they were women’s shoes. "How about boots?"

"If you prefer." Umba retrieved fashion boots with a four-inch stiletto heel.

"Forget it. Shoes will work." Dana took them before sitting down on the bed to slip them on.

MORE TO COME. Tune in Thursday on this same Bat-channel. Barbie and I thank you for spending your time with us.

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