Warrior Princess Chapter One



Neal wanders into a business, having just been laid off from his job, looking for work. What he finds will stretch his ability to understand and cope with major life changes.


The 'Help Wanted Inquire Within' sign on the window was innocent enough. I was a Technical Laboratory Engineer. It was another way of saying I set up research and development labs before a company stocked them with their people. Chemical labs, Research and Development labs, Computer labs, Micro Processor Labs... Name a lab and, more than likely, I set it up or one just like it. Like all jobs, mine wasn’t immune to the recession.

“Hate to let you go Neal. You made my company look good.” Bill Meyers said, as he handed me a ten thousand dollar severance check, along with his goodbye speech three months earlier. At least it wasn’t a gold watch, but when one isn’t working the hard truth is, the savings are going to run out if one isn’t flush with lots of squirreled funds. I had saved some money, but not the kind to be able to quit working for a salary.

I had stopped and was looking at the sign. It didn’t explain what kind of help they wanted and the building didn’t give a clue to what they did. It was a nice looking building, the entrance was immaculate. As far as windows? There weren’t any. I looked for a company name. If I had installed a lab for them they would know the quality of my work. No name on the building or the entrance. I looked for a street number. I could look up the name by searching the street number on my notepad. No street number either. I looked at the building across the street. Four twenty one six nine and I was on Kelmer Ave. This building would be an even numbered building then. I did a search on all the four twenty one six even numbers. There was a Financial Solutions and a Carrier business listed on this side of the block, but this one wasn’t one of them.

Out of curiosity, more than anything else, I opened the door and went in to see what kind of business this was. Behind a desk there was a very attractive lady off to my right. She had long, wavy auburn hair draped over her left shoulder. Her eyes were the bluest blue I had ever seen. I immediately suspected contacts were helping. Her heart shaped lips were glossed with the most liquid pink lipstick I had ever seen. Her eyelashes, were long and thick. She had high cheekbones. She was a knockout in the looks department. That was before my focus dropped a couple degrees. I got a better than good look at perfect breasts, exposed enough to be seductive and yet perfectly innocent.

“May I help you?” Her voice was more of a purr than words.

“Uh, yeah, I noticed the help wanted sign out front. I have a resume with me. I was wondering what kind of company this is and if I might qualify?” I wasn’t ready to open my briefcase and hand out a resume just yet. They weren’t that expensive to print up, but they did cost. I still had no idea what kind of help they wanted. I wasn’t ready to be a short order cook or dishwasher just yet. That might come, but not today.

She reached over to her right and picked up a page from a stack of papers. She held it out to me. “We are a security company. We hire all skills or trades. You look clean enough and your manners indicate you are management. If you have experience in logistics, management of more than one job at the same time, and can guide and instruct others in the performance of their duties, you could start in a leadership position in our company.”

I looked at the paper she handed me. The top word was Management. Below that were levels of management positions designated by the first being level one and the second being level two and on down to level eight. To the right of the page opposite of the level positions were numbers. Level one was one million six hundred thousand. Level two was one million three hundred thousand.

I looked up at the lady. “These numbers…?

“Those are salaries per Earth year.” She picked up another piece of paper and held it up.

I honestly choked. “Dollars?” I managed to cough out.

“Payment is in gold, not dollars. It can be direct deposit, or one can accept it personally.”

“Damn...” Slipped out before I got hold of my mind thought. “That would be a lot of weight accepting that kind of money each month.”

She smiled and shook her head. “Personal payment is weekly unless one is on location where it would be inconvenient. Most of our employees set up direct deposit for their wages.

“So... if I’m hired and I want a direct deposit to my bank in St. Louis, then the funds would be sent there every week? That would probably cause some problems. I can’t imagine them changing gold into my account so I could withdraw to pay the utilities and other bills.” I was staring at the Level Eight. If I was hired that would be my position. I would be the bottom new guy. Still seven hundred thousand a year wasn’t anything to sneeze at. I could learn to love security work at that price.

“Do you want the job?” She was still holding onto the last sheet of paper she picked up.

I nodded, even if I couldn’t do the work and was let go thirty days later the paycheck would be over thirteen thousand…? No wait, I’d be making close to sixty thousand a month! “Where is the application form?”

She smiled as she handed me the sheet of paper. “Go through that door.” She pointed to a brown steel door to her right.

“Thank you.” I looked at the sheet of paper. It had a pink dot in the center. Weird, but I wanted that job no matter how short the duration I would be working.

Walking through the doorway I stopped. I was looking at an endless hallway. It seemingly went into infinity. There weren’t any doors to either side. “Better be the best damn job in the whole world if I’m going to have to walk to the other end to fill out an application.”

“Maybe this is how they test the resolve of the applicant? Who in their right mind would walk down an endless hallway to fill out a job application? ME! That’s who.” Thinking of the money, I started walking.

There wasn’t any exposed lighting in the hallway. When I entered the lighting was white. As I walked it slowly changed to pink. The end was still nowhere in sight. I was beginning to doubt the sanity of this job search. No one knew where I was. It was on a whim that I walked into the building in the first place. If I collapsed or was kidnapped who would know?

No amount of money was worth my life. I pulled out my cell phone to tell Marla, my girlfriend, where I was. There was no signal. “Rats.”

The pink lights were getting brighter the longer I walked. There still wasn’t any end to the hallway. Not good. The pink lights were so bright I was having trouble seeing. I stopped, unable to see anything. I was blinded by the lights. I turned around to go back, but wasn’t sure if I had turned half a turn to head back, or was going to walk into the wall?

“How much experience do you have?” Was coming from a woman’s voice. A woman that I couldn’t see.

“I’ve been setting up labs for over sixteen years. I’m darn good at what I do.” I tried shielding my eyes to see whom I was talking to.

“Shit! You’re green ain’t you? Have you any experience in security?” She was slowly coming into focus.

I shook my head and something felt like it was tapping me on the back. Turning to look I still couldn’t make out anything besides the glare around me. “I haven’t had any experience in security. I manage logistics and personnel.”

“Well ain’t that something? I guess it’s better than nothing. You can round up supplies and talk to people. Why do they send me all the inexperienced ones? Okay, let’s go see what the seer has to say.”

I was finally able to make out the blurry outline of a woman. “I can’t see.”

“Where did you sign up at?” She stopped.

My sight was getting better by the second. I could tell she had nice curves. “There wasn’t any name on the building. It was on Kelmer Ave.”

“Oh double shit! They sent me an Earthling. Just so swell I can’t begin to contain my joyous emotions. Hells bells! Well, you’re here and you’re the replacement, so let’s get one thing straight. I hate Earthlings. You don’t take orders, you can’t get anything right, you constantly complain, and you want to go home a minute before you arrive. To top it off you don’t speak Pars, Kuk, Niddorun, Saforlu, or any of the other universal languages. So I’m going to be stuck explaining things to you in crappy Earth language. Crap and double crap!” She turned and was walking away.

I was thinking I had been dropped into the looney bin instead of a security job. What ever the lady was on I didn’t think I wanted any of it. Pot must have been laced with PCP or loco weed. My vision was getting better. Whoever she was, she was armed to the teeth. What she had wasn’t with the kind of security tools I thought of when security was mentioned. She had a side pouch among other things. It wasn’t packed with hand tools to install security lights and alarms. There was some kind of sword on her left side. An obvious dagger was on her right hip, along with some kind of really strange pistol. She had another kind of rifle thing slung over her shoulder. She was wearing some kind of blue mini skirt and blue high heel boots.

I started to follow her and stopped short after the first two steps. Everything felt... wrong. Either I was hallucinating, or I had lost my mind. I had breasts!? They were damn big from my perspective. They were cradled in some kind of golden bra made from metallic looking armor. I couldn’t see straight down, so I leaned over to the side and looked. I was wearing glistening, golden armor. Or it looked like armor, but it wasn’t. It was softer than satin against the skin. The golden high heeled boots were of like material. I didn’t panic because I knew I was hallucinating. This couldn’t be real. Someone was fucking with my mind is all. Probably set me up in that hallway of lights. Some kind of mind control.

I had a strong suspicion of what I would find when I reached my left hand up behind my head and pulled around long gossamer strands of hair. It was like the finest spider silk and hung down past my butt. Make that an ample butt. And ample hips... and damn tiny little waist. Oh, this just keeps getting better and better. I couldn’t wait to find a mirror and see what kind of image they planted in my mind for a face. This had to be part of the job application screening. Well, we will play all the games they want. I’ll just go along with their little game.

The woman was waiting in some kind of vehicle that didn’t have any wheels. I climbed in beside her. “You guys are good. This feels so damn real. Where we going?”

She looked at me in disgust. “Damn Earthlings. Stupid creatures.”

She punched it and I was slammed back into the seat. We were instantly about a thousand feet up in the air. I looked back and could see a bunch of dome shaped buildings where we had left. There were no doors or windows on the craft so I started to stick my hand outside. I rapped my fingers up against an invisible barrier of some kind. “That hurt.”

She dropped it back down to a couple feet off the ground and was speeding along about a hundred or two hundred miles per hour at my best guess. Then just as quickly I felt I was slammed into a wall. It had to be that invisible shield in front of me holding me in my seat when she braked to a stop.

“Come!” She was out headed to a silver, dome shaped building.

I didn’t expect to be able to move as the invisible shield held me in my seat, but there was no resistance when I slid out. “I gotta get my hands on their mind program.” I followed her into the building.

She was standing before another woman. My driver bowed to her. “Kasu, I bring you an Earthling. I needed a warrior and this is what they sent.” She motioned back toward me.

The one she called Kasu nodded and then walked over to stand in front of me. She didn’t say anything, but was taking in every inch of my body.

There was no longer anything wrong with my sight and I liked what I was looking at. Kasu was a tall girl, standing about seven plus feet or so. She had more than her fair share of abundant curves in abundant proportions. On her breasts were coiled gold spirals, her liquid red skirt was long enough that the hem dragged on the floor. She had a gold spiral tattoo on her right arm from the shoulder to her palm. On her left the tattoo started between her fingers, circled around the back of her neck, up her right cheek and ended under her right eye. She had golden circle tattoos on her stomach. When she turned around to the first woman I could see those tattoos were also on her back. They ran from her shoulder to disappear under the waist of her skirt. I figured she was probably covered on her legs too, but it was up to the programmer who designed her in this mind game I was in at the moment.

She turned back toward me and then brought up her right hand and slapped the shit out of my left face. I stumbled to my right to keep my balance. The side of my face was on fire and burning. “WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO THAT FOR!?”

She took a couple steps in my direction. I could see her hand coming for a second time. I pulled back. Her finger tips brushed my nose. She didn’t hesitate as she was bringing up her left hand.

“ENOUGH BITCH!” I blocked with my right hand and slugged her with my left at the same time.

Funny, I thought I hit her but obviously I didn’t. She wasn’t moved. She came at me with her right hand. I blocked with my left and put everything I could into slugging her with my right. Nothing happened. It was as if I was fighting with myself.

Her golden eyes were dancing as she stepped back and nodded. “You will do.”

Looking over at the first woman she gave a slight bow. “Sala, do not be so judgmental. This child may surprise you as she adapts. You give short shift to Earthlings from your experience with many. After she has two moons training, her skills may be clearer. There is much hidden inside her that will come out with time. Training with kindness and respect, not anger and pride will be rewarded. Do not bring up her hate and anger until she understands and can control.”

She turned back to study me again. “What do you call yourself child?”

I was getting pissed at being called a child but held it in. “I don’t call myself anything. I’m a technical laboratory engineer.”

A glimmer of a smile touched her face as she nodded. “That would be your job in your world no doubt. No, I mean by what name are you called?”

“Name?” I had forgot I never filled out a job application. Obviously they wouldn’t know my name. “Neal Goodwin.”

Closing her eyes for a second her smile got even bigger. “I am familiar with your world. I was there for many of your Earth years. That was many eons ago. The name no longer fits, as there have been changes. It is not uncommon for such to happen in dimensional shift portals. Many are not what they wear in outward appearance. The portal exposes the true life force deep within, not the subterfuge on the surface.”

She walked a circle around me a couple times as she studied me. “Your name comes to me. The one you cry out to all who would hear. LaSaDa is your name. It means golden girl with golden heart and sword. In all our worlds there is not another so named, as it is forbidden.”

I heard a gasp from the other woman called Sala. “Kasu, are you sure? If she isn’t, then you condemned her.”

Kasu took a deep breath, put her hands together in form of a temple in front of her face, and closed her eyes. I wondered if she died standing there? She didn’t move, look like she was breathing or anything else necessary for life.

Her golden eyes were true depths of golden light when she opened them after long minutes of silence. I could see all the way into infinity in those eyes of hers.

“It is as I said. Teach her well Sala. Use all the skills you have learned over the millennia. She will need everything both of us can teach to survive and make the prophecies true.”

She turned her attention on me again. “Your first training begins now.”

I took a step back waiting in anticipation for her to try and slap me again.

That hint of a smile touched her lips. “No, you will learn in time to judge the mental from the physical, but this is not that lesson. You are to learn your true self so the other lessons will be understood more quickly.”

She spread her arms out and tilted her head back. “PUSESOSE ME” A bluish haze swirled about her.

Okay, this was getting to be a little too much shit for me. Even if it was all in some screwed up mind control hypnosis game or whatever they had pulled in that light tunnel. I started backing up. If I could break their mind control I would walk out of the building while flipping the hot little secretary the bird.

Before I could put my thoughts into action the blue haze jumped from the lady called Kasu to me.

“Ooooh” I groaned as my mind exploded in brilliant flashes of multi colored lights. I saw millions of years of life forms of all kinds, including humans and humanoids that weren’t human. I saw savage wars where worlds were left in barren waste. I saw untold trillions of deaths of all kinds. I saw life forfeited in savage fury and gallant bravery. There was pure evil and good spread across galaxies in personal battles and huge wars. I saw life at its best and its worst.

The one truth that shook me more than all the carnage I saw was, I was not in some mind control game. It wasn’t an endless hallway I stepped into. I walked into another life and a dimensional portal. I left my world and my manhood behind. I was a girl... to be more exact, a woman, in a dimension humans didn’t even know existed. I wanted to scream it wasn’t so, but for some strange reason, I knew it was the truth and it felt right. More than that I felt like I had been released from a bondage. I felt free and more alive than I had ever been. I started crying it felt so good. I was me!

Tears were sliding down my cheeks when I opened my eyes. “Yes, I am free.”

Kasu and Sala were looking solemn. “What is your name?” Kasu asked.

“I am LaSaDa.” Came from my mouth without even thinking.

Kasu frowned. “You have many enemies. They would know you are most vulnerable at this stage. No one must know your name until we have taught you all we can. The majority of your training will come from within you.”

Kasu turned to Sala. “We must guard her with our lives until she is stronger. Her name must not be spoken again until she is ready. Use an appropriate Earth name to address her until then. You aren’t the only one who thinks Earthlings are weak and mindless. An Earth name would help disguise her.”

She focused on me again. “What name shall we call you? Your true name can no longer be said, as it will draw too many assassins.”

I ran a couple dozen former girlfriends names through my mind. Marla was my current girlfriend. Make that past tense girlfriend. I gave it some serious thought. No... I kinda liked Melody, even though I never dated a Melody. “I shall be called Melody until such time it is no longer necessary.”

That evening at Sala’s, before bed, I undressed although I’m not sure removing what I was wearing could be called getting undressed. The weird part was the outfit slowly evaporated or disappeared after I removed it. I kept hoping that, once I went to sleep, I would wake up in my bed and this day would all be a dream. I didn’t think I would ever get to sleep. It was as if this dream was fighting me to keep me awake and trapped in the dream, but eventually sleep did come. Sure as one sleeps they must awake if they are still alive. I was still the same woman I was when I went to sleep. Nothing had changed except I was naked, if one could call what I was wearing before, clothed.

That morning Sala acted like it was a normal situation when I told her what happened. “That also sometimes happens when one passes through the dimensional portal. You knew who you truly were coming through the portal. Your clothes were a part of the physical manifestation, or a creation of your mind. You have refused that knowledge as a reality. What you no longer physically touch melts away like your faith in yourself. Kasu can explain it to you better than I.”

She rounded up more clothes for me. Again, I wasn’t sure clothes was the right word. I was wearing a golden coil bra, golden miniskirt, and calf length, golden stiletto boots. If I had known what she had planned for the day I would have opted for medieval body armor.

Sala was beating the tar out of me with what could only be considered a broom handle. I had one hell of a time, trying to block her whacks and get in some myself. I wasn’t having much luck in my pathetic attempts. I hadn’t touched her and I wasn’t good at blocking.

She brought her stick around to smack me in the side. I blocked. She brought her stick up and hit me on the side of the head and my ear.

I put my left hand up and felt my ear. I came away with blood in the palm of my hand. “SHIT BITCH! You trying to teach me or kill me?”

An evil grin spread across her face as her eyes closed to slits. “I hate humans.”

I shook my head. She looked as human as all the rest of us. Except for the fact Sala didn’t have an ounce of fat on her any place. Her body had more serious curves than any woman I had ever seen.

“Okay, I hate whatever you are. You fucking freak.” I brought my stick up intending to return the punishment with as much force as I could muster. I fully intended to knock her damn head clean off her shoulders.

She deflected my strike by angling her stick. My swing went up over her head. She poked me in my stomach with her stick. It knocked the air out of me and shoved me down on my butt.

Sala put the end of her stick on the floor and leaned on it. “Anger is good in some instances but must be controlled and focused. You use it like a… billboard. You advertise your anger and your moves before you strike. It doesn’t take a telepath to read your thoughts. The least experienced warrior would strike you down in seconds because you are broadcasting your emotions.”

I decided to not get up so she could beat up on me some more. I leaned back as I looked up at the sky above us. “Give me a gun and I’ll show you who’s telegraphing their actions. What’s with these stupid sticks? Only a fool would bring a knife to a gunfight.”

Sala took a deep breath and held it before letting it out. “Only an untrained fool would chose a gun over a saber. Soon you will hold one of the most deadly of all weapons in your hand. These sticks are only the beginning. First you must learn control. You must learn to use your enemies mind to control your actions. They act, you react. Not one, but dozens all at the same time will be trying to kill you. It must be instinctive intuition within you. Instead of confusion you find harmony and peace as you defend and kill.”

“Harmony and peace as I kill?” I choked on that one. “Peace isn’t exactly the thought that comes to mind when trying to kill someone. Sounds damn morbid to me. More the mind of a lunatic serial killer or someone like minded.” I felt my ear again. The blood was drying and only a little came off on my hand.

“Rise and we will begin again. You have much to learn. I’m afraid you don’t have that much time to learn what you must. Stop watching me with your eyes and watch me with your emotions, your feelings, your inner self, that which is your true self. Bring her forth. She will guide you and guard you, for she is you. She does not want to see me hurt you.” Sala whacked me on the leg before she backed up.

“Damn bitch, that hurt!” I pushed up to my feet, fully intending to return the favor. I was swinging at her ankles before I stood up.

She easily jumped my stick and planted her foot on it, pinning it to the floor, while at the same time, she swung at my head.

I had no defense so I lunged back. I had my left hand up and caught her blow in the palm of my hand. It stung, but only slightly. I wrapped my hand around her stick, twisted and yanked it out of her hand. I had her stick as she was reaching down to pick up mine off the floor. I whacked her on the back.

“Ohhh!” She went to her knees.

I put the end of the stick in the middle of her back and pushed. She was face down on the floor. “Yield or you shall die,” came out of my mouth from only God knows where.

“I shall never yield. My loyalty lies with the one who is true. Kill me now and she will avenge my death.”

Backing up I couldn’t help but grin, thinking at last I had bested her. “Who will avenge your death?”

Sala rolled over and sat up looking more serious than I had ever seen her. “You will avenge my death and all the others who died as prisoners and slaves.”

“Me…?” I choked on that one. “Yeah, dream on. I have a thousand bruises and you have one. Tell me again who doesn’t have all their oars in the water here.”

Time wore on, and the lessons from Sala and Kasu seemed to never end. There were no days and nights here. Where ever here was. Sala kept beating the holy tar out of me and Kasu would teach me about the things our normal senses didn’t know. Kasu’s lessons delved into the realms of what I considered spiritual and magical.

The two women had duties or jobs other than teaching me. There were times Sala would leave for days, if there were days that is. She would leave me with Kasu. Then there were times Kasu would leave. I missed her most of all because when I was with Kasu I escaped Sala’s constant physical training.

“Think in terms of understanding what you don’t know, instead of thinking it isn’t possible.” Kasu formed a blue ball the size of a basketball in her right hand.

I figured it was a magician’s trick and I tried to poke my finger through it. It was solid, or my mind thought of it as solid. “That’s pretty neat.”

“It was created by thought. You can destroy it only with thought or by killing me. I prefer you use thought instead of thinking of my demise. Now look, not at it, but into it and understand it is a creation of mind.”

Staring at it I finally started to see through it instead of thinking it was a solid blue ball. I poked my finger at it. It was still solid.

“Doubt stops you. Clear your mind.” Kasu encouraged me.

I stared and stared and nothing was happening. It wasn’t any more transparent than when she first held it out. “Horse feathers!” I spat in disgust.

The ball shattered into millions of tiny fragments. Kasu looked worried. “You did that in anger not with controlled emotions. Anger is a frightful weapon, as it usually is thrown out like a hand full of needles. If one uses anger it must be controlled, the same as all other emotions. One needle at the target, not a handful.”

Something wasn’t right. I stopped listening or paying attention to Kasu. “Strangers coming.”

Kasu nodded. “Very good. I did not expect this from you so soon. You are developing faster than I would have thought. Let’s keep this between us. Not all those that come are trusted. Even if they were trusted, allies can be made to talk.”

Four men walked into the dome where Kasu and I had been training. Only one looked human. The other three were aliens of different species. They were all well armed. The human looking one stood back and studied me as the others stepped up. He may have looked human but like Sala I sensed he wasn’t. He wasn’t her species either. I was wondering how many species there were that looked human on the surface?

“Ofasa mste omdi ruleskah Kasu.” The lizard looking creature bowed to Kasu.

“Speak in this language Osk. It is rude to speak in front of others who do not understand Puseje.”

He turned around to glare at me. “Kasu, where do you find these scum and why do you put up with them? It’s human, isn’t it? Can’t depend on or trust humans. They flee at the first sign of trouble and will tell all they know at even the thought of torture.”

He spat on my foot. It was some kind of green goo. “Human weaklings don’t even make good slaves.”

My blood was boiling. I had no idea what it would take to hurt him, but I was running a thousand thoughts through my mind. He had twice the body mass I did and a head taller than me. If I could break his kneecap that would bring him down to my size.

Kasu slightly shook her head 'no' as she took a quick glance in my direction. Although the lizard didn’t see it the humanoid caught it. His interest renewed as he switched staring between Kasu and me.

“I sense hate. The human is capable of hate. They are poor pathetic creatures, Kasu, I will take this one. She will learn how to serve her master and be an obedient slave.” He reached in a pouch before a clawed hand came toward my throat holding a metal collar.

There was an unmistakeable low hum in the air. I didn’t think this could be good. Tension filled the air as everyone went to high emotional alert. I was back peddling, wondering what I could possibly do to defend myself.

“Osk, stop!” Kasu demanded, as a red flame appeared in her right hand.

I backed into one of the aliens behind me. He was wrapping his arms around me to hold me as Osk opened up the collar to slip around my neck. Kasu must have thrown her fire. It spread all over me. Why did she kill me and not the ones who were going to enslave me?

Only... I wasn’t burning up. The alien who had wrapped his arms around me shrieked in pain as he flung himself away from me. Osk dropped the collar as it turned to ashes. All the skin on his hand was seared off.

He looked at it in stunned silence before turning to look at Kasu. “I shall not forget this.” He headed for the door with the others following. The humanoid took a long last puzzled look before he turned and followed.

It was as if I was standing there beside them as I watched them get in their craft and fly off, but I was looking at Kasu. “Thank you. I was sure I didn’t want to be a slave to that creature.”

Her eyes were wide open in shock, the fire still in her hand. She looked down at her hand and the fire disappeared. “It wasn’t me. I’ve been the worst teacher you could have. I’ve been trying to explain, rather than letting you experience the lessons.”

Was she talking about the fire she poured on me? “You mean the humanoid can do that too? He protected me? I thought it was you.”

She shook her head. “Not him, nor me. He’s not capable and I had yet to spread my fire so you didn’t get hurt too.”

That only left one other person there. “The alien that looked like the lizard’s forth cousin? Why would he stop them? I had the strong feeling they were allies.”

The shocked look finally drained from her face. “Not us, you.”

“Me? I couldn’t do that if my life depended on it! I don’t know how. You haven’t taught me that lesson yet.” I wondered what she was trying to pull?

“You picked it up from me when I put the fire in my hand. My fire would burn you just as easily as everyone else. Your fire isn’t going to hurt you. It is one of the gifts, or oddities, of creating mental, physical objects. Do it again.”

Hard as I tried I couldn’t find the emotional or mental switch to make something like fire appear. Kasu waited patiently as I struggled every which way I knew how. I was beginning to think my teacher had lied and she created the fire to protect me.

Kasu held out her hand. “Watch. It is more than thinking. It must be real in your own mind, not just a thought. You can’t think you want a fire. You must be able to know without doubt that there is fire.” A fire appeared in her hand.

I tried and tried some more to visualize a fire in my hand. I thought it, wished it, visualized it and nothing happened.

“I’m trying to teach again instead of showing you. Relax, let your mind flow into and with my mind. Feel what I am feeling. See what I am seeing.” She held out her hand.

Her hand was my hand. I not only thought I was holding fire in my hand I really was holding fire in my hand. I pulled my mind back and looked. I had fire in my hand. It scared the bejeebers out of me. I dropped it. It disappeared before it hit the floor.

Kasu laughed as her golden eyes sparkled. “Now do it again. You have the feel and the knowledge to do it. No doubt this time. You know you have done it twice. Doubt will stop you. Faith will carry you through to your goal. Again.”

Lessons were over for the moment. My thoughts turned to the four men who tried to claim me as a slave. “Kasu, why did that man think he could take me as his slave?”

She held out her right arm with the tattoos. “In this dimension some men think women are property and have no rights. The marks on my body are a sign I am not a normal. They appeared when I came of age, not physically but mentally. Because I can turn thought into physical things such as fire, I am considered too valuable to be a slave or someone’s property. In reality most are afraid of me. I have many enemies and many friends. In the war council they think of me as somewhat of a prophet. I do not always tell them the truth so they won’t rely on me to be their planner for their next battle. Good men aren’t always good when they acquire power. Power usually corrupts their soul, even when they started out as good men.”

“Information spreads, even when no one shares any. I would know if Sala had spoken about you to others. She hasn’t. The only way Osk could have known an Earthling had arrived would be if someone in your world shared information with others who had returned. Because you weren’t placed in one of the military units, it was assumed you were too stupid to be anything other than a slave. Neither Sala nor myself own slaves. When Osk learned about you he saw a chance to claim another slave for virtually no cost.”

“I’ll never be anyone’s slave. I’ll die first.” I hissed, as the thought of being someone’s pet ran through my mind.

Kasu shook her head. “Never say never. The future is always fluid, as men and events are changed from a certainty to a non starter. Think of a boy who is destined to be president and is run down by a transporter. The future that should have been is changed forever.”

I gave that one some thought. “But if he was run down then that was the future not his role as the president.”

She laughed. “If he doesn’t go out that day and isn’t run over. Now he becomes the president. Then what of the alternate future where he was killed? Which one was supposed to be the true future?”

The more I thought about it the more illogical it became. “You can’t swap one future for another because something does or doesn’t happen.”

Kasu was walking to the door. “You will learn in time. Lessons are over for now.”

Time had no meaning, as there were no days, no nights, no time clocks where I was at. I don’t guess it made any difference. I think it was months after I first arrived when Sala walked into the dome with rapiers in her hands.

She handed one to me. “Try and not kill me, human.” Lately the tables had turned and I had been beating the tar out her with the sticks, while she was unable to land a blow on me.

I shrugged as I hefted the weapon. “Then stop talking down to me like I was a low life. Besides, you look like a human too. You insult me, you insult yourself. You act like the queen in the ivory tower who isn’t part of the DNA of the rest of the peasants.”

I touched the edge of the sword and cut my finger. “This thing is sharp. Are we really going to swing at one another?”

Sala held hers up and swung it down to her side with a swish. “That is the idea unless you think you can take out your opponent with a stick.”

“I think I could do that.” I swished mine out to the side.

She was swinging at my throat. That was where my heart was when I realized what she was doing. I underhanded my swing and came up to block her blade. “Are you insane!”

She rolled her blade over the top of mine and would have sliced my arm off if I hadn’t rolled my blade with hers and pushed her sword out to the side. I was ready to scream for help. By this time I was positive Sala was trying to kill me.

Sala leaned down to her left and back swung to cut my legs out from under me. My blade was down by the side of my leg. Her blade bounced off. I knew she was going to kill me if I didn’t kill her first. I followed her blade out with mine and hefted her blade up. She failed to anticipate me, giving her blade an extra push as she straightened up. Her blade was up in the air when the point of my blade touched her throat.

“Drop it or you’re dead.” I was ready to ram my blade through her neck to save my own.

She did what I least expected. She turned lose of her sword and let it fall behind her as she smiled. She reached up to the back side of my sword and pushed it away before putting her finger to her throat. She pulled her hand back and was looking at blood on her finger. “Kasu said you wouldn’t kill me. I trust her with my life. You were to be tested not for what Kasu knows about you, but to teach you to believe in yourself. You will be able to do what Kasu believes, only when you fully understand and trust your abilities without any doubt or hesitation.”

“That’s a dangerous way of finding out. I could have killed you. Looking at it the other way I wouldn’t have been too happy about it if you had killed me. That’s an awful lot of trust to put into someone without telling them the plan.” I took a long hard look at that sword I was holding. I didn’t like this part of the training.

Days, weeks, months, who knew what time was? Sala taught me how to drive a transporter. She no longer had to give me a ride from her side of the planet, or whatever we were living on, to Kasu for my mental training. I thought about taking off and seeing how big this planet was, or what was over the horizon. I didn’t. If I ran into someone like Osk I wasn’t sure I could handle him again.

From forty feet away Kasu threw fire at me. I blocked with my right hand. She threw a frozen globe at me. I moved to the side and pushed with my mind to keep her from curving it into me. It hit the wall and ice formed ten feet around the impact. She pulled a pistol off her hip and... I was ready before she pulled the trigger. An image of me was standing in front of me and took the phaser blast.

“You cheated.” She put the gun back on her hip before removing the holster and belt. She laid it down on a table.

“You said I could use any defense. Doesn’t mean I want to stop a phaser blast with my hand. What if I hadn’t shielded my hand and someone shot it? Wouldn’t look very good going around with no hand for the rest of my life.” I took a quick look to assure myself I still had one.

She formed a pink flower between her fingers. “Energy is energy, whether it comes from a weapon or mind thought. As you have learned to form and use that energy you still have doubts whether you can do so when it counts. You must rid yourself of all doubt or it will be used against you. They will destroy you.”

I reached out and touched her flower, putting green leaves on the stem and adding four long stem red roses. “I try, but as Sala says, I am but a lowly human. We lowly life forms always have doubt. It is bred into our DNA.”

Kasu waved her left hand over the flowers. They disappeared. “You must learn to retrain all your thoughts so there is no doubt in your actions. Then you will be able to understand all is the same. Light is not an absence of darkness, nor is darkness an absence of light.”

Kasu waved her hand. Total darkness came upon the room. “Do you see me?”

Trying as hard as I could my eyes still didn’t see anything. “No.”

“That is because you are trying to see me with your eyes not your mind. Everything is as it was. Nothing disappeared when light was removed. Now, let go of everything you were led to believe. See with your mind. Feel me and then see me.”

It was easy enough to sense she was there. Seeing was entirely something else. “I can feel you.”

Kasu stepped off to the side without making a sound.

I turned my head to follow her.

She shook her head. “You are still trying to use your physical senses to see me. Turn your back to me and feel me and see me.”

Doing as she suggested I could still feel her as she moved further away to my left. Slowly the room started glowing with a little light, but it wasn’t light. It was the energy presence everything gives off, whether it is living or non living.

Kasu picked up and swung one of those training sticks at my waist.

Instinctively I turned it to dust before it hit me.

She smiled. “You were not only feeling my presence, but watching me as well. We will continue for awhile without the light. You must learn to trust your mind and always check what you call your five senses. It is that sixth and seventh sense you need to learn to trust.

My time became marathon training with Kasu or Sala. I developed an acute concept of small pieces of time. Each mental and physical action and reaction developed and executed in less than a nano second. Taking longer than that earned me more bruises from Kasu or Sala.

“I want you to see some of those in the Alliance who are fighting the pirates.” Sala motioned to a small ship Kasu was already sitting in.

“Are we going to join the fighting?” I was curious about the trip, as I stepped into the ship.

“Not unless the pirates attack while we are there. I was told to report to a security meeting. All military brass in this quadrant not engaged or on maneuvers will be there. The Alliance is making battle plans to retake one of the shipping ports the pirates captured. Do not give any indication you are any more than a normal while we are there. It best you keep your true identity and your abilities secret. If the pirates found out who you are they would launch everything at us in order to kill you.” Sala followed me onto the ship.

Kasu handed me a small pencil eraser.

“What’s this?” I turned it over giving it a close examination. “Never mind.” I slipped it up into my left ear.

She nodded as a hint of a smile touched her face. “Very good Melody. You are learning to follow your instincts.”

Those weren’t the words Kasu said, but the tiny little translator changed it all to English.

“General” Several aliens, male and female, were standing to the side of the ship as Sala lowered the hatch. One of them saluted as she addressed her.

Sala saluted her. “Keep it informal Captain Ara. I’ve been receiving reports. The Lordeen Shipping Port was a strategic loss. Let’s see if we can get it back before the pirates can fortify it. Brief me on the way to the control headquarters.”

“As you wish General.” Her attention turned toward me. A disgusted look crossed her face. “human” She muttered.

Sala glanced in my direction and nodded in agreement. “Yes they are weak allies. We need all the able bodied soldiers we can find if we are to win this long miserable war.”

Ara rolled her eyes and false eyelids wiped across them to prove her species were superior in more ways than tough hide. “I’ll settle for one android over ten thousand humans."

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