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The Flights of the Bellydwellers

The Flights of the Bellydwellers

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The Flights of the Bellydwellers

Lunghezza:
395 pagine
5 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 13, 2012
ISBN:
9781468559934
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

In this sequel to AWAKENED BELLYDWELLERS the spaceship Columbia follows the spaceship Americus into the macrocosm searching for unspoiled habitable planets. Both hunts are successful. During the journey Captain of the Columbia, Justin Clark, rekindles his off-and-on romantic involvement with Dr. Millie Nelson. Phillip Baxter, ex-President of the United States of America and his wife, Denise, join the pioneers in their endeavor. His daughter Evelyn and her spouse, Bart, had previously set out to resettle a new world. During the journey of the Columbia Denise bears a son. This is the account of the progress made in developing new societies far from the devastation the space pioneers left behind. As quickly as he can after offloading his passengers on their new world Justin Clark races back to the Planet Earth only to find his military talents are not required.
Five space ships had left the newfound planet Alpha Blue after quickly depositing the first Bellydwellers who left the planet Earth aboard the Americus to settle on a new world. They find a sparsely populated environment and go about the task of revitalizing their home planet. One of the ships which had been destined for the African continent has not been heard from. A search mission is sent to find the missing craft. Three Captains head out in different directions. An amazing discovery leads them to their goal.
Captain Justin Clark regrets his hasty voyage back to Earth and decides to return to the planet Meglora. He makes the trip on a supply shuttle called the Endeavor. Along the way he gets to visit the planet Alpha Blue which was settled by the first Bellydwellers to abandon Earth. Once Justin gets back to Meglora he weds Millie and begins an inter-planet shuttle service to transport visitors from place to place.
A seemingly impossible dream becomes a reality.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 13, 2012
ISBN:
9781468559934
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Bobbie Barton loves to write and has kept at it for a dozen years.  It’s an entertaining hobby and has produced six novels.   They are set in different time periods and introduce new casts of characters with each story.  The one thing that remains constant is the romance and adventure.  They are written to entertain rather than teach or enlighten so you are all invited to settle back and enjoy your read.  The titles now in print are: ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUES COSTLY PRIORITIES ANUNWELCOME INTRUSION MISPLACED DEVOTION AWAKENED BELLYDWELLERS FLIGHTS OF THE BELLYDWELLERS

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The Flights of the Bellydwellers - Bobbie Barton

1-800-839-8640

© 2012 Bobbie Barton. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

Published by AuthorHouse 10/18/2012

ISBN: 978-1-4685-5994-1 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4685-5993-4 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2012904382

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models,

and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Contents

Preface

PART ONE

THE FLIGHT OF THE UNITED STATES SPACESHIP COLUMBIA

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

PART TWO

RETURN FLIGHTS TO THE PLANET EARTH

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

PART THREE

FLIGHT OF THE UNITED STATES SPACESHIP CONSTITUTION TO THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

PART FOUR

FLIGHT OF THE UNITED STATES SPACESHIP ENDEAVOR

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

PART FIVE

MAIDEN VOYAGE OF THE SPACESHIP ODYSSEY

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

PART SIX

THE OUTCOME OF THE FLIGHTS OF THE BELLYDWELLERS

Chapter 1

PART SEVEN

THE BEGINNING

Chapter 1

Preface

In the middle of the twenty-first century the planet Earth was divided into two factions. The Bellydwellers were safely ensconced beneath the surface. The Topsiders lived amidst the ruins terrorist attacks had created above ground. An entire generation had never seen the surface of the planet. At the beginning of Twenty-fifty-two a trio of curious young Bellydwellers, Bart Nicols, Mitch Farrel, and Georgina Cogswell, ventured topside. They met and joined their peers to upset the balance of power in order to escape their confinement.

The Reactionaries Against the Destruction of Society, RADS, prevailed. Their Candidate for United States President, Jerry Granger, became the leader of America. Despite the progress toward peace and plenty old prejudices emerged. Regina Howard, his black, female Vice President, had been the Secretary of Defense for the GOP before the succession of the RADS to power. Eventually the couple decided to wed. Despite centuries of civil rights activism racism still remained a cause for concern. During the wedding the couple was assassinated.

At the end of twenty-sixty-one the USS Americus left Earth to explore the universe. Their mission was to find rare resources and send them back to Earth while they searched for a habitable planet. Bart Nicols and his wife, Evelyn Baxter Nicols, were among the space pioneers who settled on the planet they reached in the year twenty-sixty-nine. Alpha Blue also became the home of Georgina Cogswell Jackson and her husband Chuck Jackson. Glen Edwards, formerly the presidents’ bodyguard, and his wife Lavinia were also settlers. All of these couples had been active RADS. Their depression following their leader’s murder had sent them searching for a new unspoiled world.

In twenty-sixty-eight Paul Dalton, a RADS Topsider, was the president of the United States. By Independence Day of that year power hungry China initiated an all-out nuclear attack on the United States utilizing biochemical warfare. Paul and his Secretary of Defense, General Hubert Black, released a nuclear bombardment against all suspect countries. Destruction was complete. Those who had managed to scurry beneath Earth’s surface survived as did a few pockets of civilization in isolated locations. Mitch Farrel and his wife, Shirley Jackson Farrel, survived the fallout in Alaska.

PART ONE

THE FLIGHT OF THE UNITED STATES SPACESHIP COLUMBIA

RESURRECTING CAMELOT

PRIMARY CHARACTERS

Justin Clark – Captain of the Columbia – space warrior dedicated to protecting Earth from all enemies

Paul Dalton – lived topside following the nuclear devastation which occurred early in the twenty-first century -- served as President of the United States in the mid-twenty-first century – became Supreme Commander of the United World Federation – determined to restore Earth to a place of peace and plenty

Millicent (Millie) Nelson – Chief Medical Officer on the Columbia –went through training for space service with Justin Clark – assigned to accompany the settlers to their new planet and tend to their medical needs

Phillip Baxter – was a Bellydweller from the early twenty-first century—served as Vice-President of the United States under James Anderson – became President upon Jim’s death – served as Secretary of State under President Jerry Granger – gave up on finding peace on Earth when Jerry was assassinated – joined the space settlers aboard the Columbia to search for a Camelot

Denise Isaacs-Baxter – was Phillip Baxter’s speech writer during his political career – became his second wife and accompanied him on his quest for a new and better world

Chapter 1

Before global warfare erupted on Earth, and prior to the USS Americus discovery of the planet Alpha Blue, Captain Justin Clark was ordered to command the spaceship USS Columbia on a pioneering mission to find and settle an unspoiled planet. This would be the third spacecraft sent forth from Earth to find a suitable celestial body on which to establish a new world. Justin would gladly have remained on his home planet to defend America against the enemies he was certain would soon launch a monumental attack. When his superior officer, General Hubert Black, Secretary of Defense for President Paul Dalton, flatly denied his request to be reassigned Justin requested an audience with his Commander-in-Chief.

In January of twenty-sixty-eight Justin stood in the Oval Office before the leader of the United World Federation. Supreme Commander of that organization, as well as President of the United States of America, Paul Dalton, returned the customary salute. Have a seat, he said.

Justin sat stiffly, leaning forward, in front of the president’s desk. He clenched and unclenched his hands.

What can I do for you Captain Clark, the president asked.

With all due respect Sir I’d like to be reassigned to a post where I’m actually needed.

Paul studied the clean-shaven face of the dedicated space pilot. Justin’s prematurely graying hair and eyebrows brought Paul to a mistaken assumption. Looking forward to early retirement, are you?

Justin jumped up and stood at attention. His face flushed. No Sir not at all. I prefer to be useful to this planet. I’ve no desire to resettle in some foreign solar system.

Relax. I see I was way off base. General Black insists you’re the man to head up this space exploration mission. I trust him. More than that I think your motivation is such that you’ll come to a successful end in record time. Once you find a suitable habitation for the pioneers aboard the Columbia you can get back here and I’ll assign you to whichever military campaign you choose. You’ll have that in writing before your launch date.

Justin masked his disappointment realizing there was no argument he could offer to sway his leader. He said, Thank you, Sir, and took his leave.

Justin’s dissatisfaction with the circumstances wasn’t apparent once he threw himself into preparing for the voyage. First he reviewed the credentials of each of the officers assigned to the crew. His pale-blue eyes scanned the roster and came to a halt when they read the name of his Chief Medical Officer. He reread the name Millicent Nelson.

Justin leaned back in his chair and placed his head comfortably on the headrest. He closed his eyes and conjured up a picture of the Millie he’d known for more than a decade. It was easy for him to remember every detail. He envisioned the rich, chestnut-colored hair that framed her heart shaped face. He saw her brown eyes that always seemed to be registering surprise. He could almost feel the smoothness of her cheeks. He abruptly sat up straight, shook his head, and resumed his examination of the roster on his computer monitor.

He jotted down a note on his palm pilot to schedule a get-together with his staff within the next couple of days. He smiled thinking of all the ribbing he suffered for the use of such an outdated tool. Even so he wasn’t ready to abandon the habit.

He was eager to go over the proposed route the Columbia was expected to follow one more time. Two days earlier he’d have gladly forgone this adventure. Now he was ready to throw himself wholeheartedly into the endeavor. After all, he said to no one, how hard can it be?

Next he went over the names of the passengers scheduled to set out on this mission. A low whistle escaped him. The very first participant listed was Phillip Baxter. Justin read the thumbnail sketch that was provided for each volunteer for this pioneering expedition. He wanted to be sure this was the same Phillip Baxter who had formerly served as Vice President under James Anderson and taken the reins of President of the United States upon Anderson’s death. Yep, that’s him. And he was Secretary of State under Jerry Granger. Pretty impressive, I guess he’s had enough of politics that aren’t getting us any closer to peaceful coexistence. Maybe he plans to head up the government in a brand new world. Or maybe his daughter, Evelyn Baxter Nicols, has convinced him to try resettling too.

Justin’s gray eyebrows shot up as he reviewed the next picture and mini-biography. Denise Isaacs-Baxter, he read. He mumbled aloud, Political Speech writer, married Phillip Baxter… He took another look at the photo. The image of an attractive woman with unruly brunette curls and green eyes stared back at him. This is going to be more interesting than I expected, he said. Just what are you two up to?

In the third week of January on a rare sunny day in Florida Justin boarded the shuttle that was to deliver him and his officers to the satellite that would soon launch them on the journey that would take them far out into the universe. The huge training station orbiting Earth already housed one hundred World Federation citizens representing all areas of the planet. They had completed the schooling necessary for space pioneers. Only half of that number had been selected for the exploratory mission. Fifty space cadets under his command were already aboard the Columbia. They were tending to the tasks to be performed before the launch. They had tested and approved a mixed combination of fifty robots, androids, and cyborgs. Nothing had been left to chance.

Justin settled into the pilot’s couch and went over the usual checklist in preparation for takeoff. Satisfied that all was in order he glanced over at his copilot and nodded. I’ve a good feeling about this trip Sam. I hadn’t seen the sun shining in Florida in ages but there it was today.

Sam Hopkins gave him a thumbs-up and returned his attention to the messages being fed to them from the Houston Command Center. Zero minus fifteen came across loud and clear. The usual elation he experienced at liftoff gripped him. He took deep breaths and exhaled slowly. Then they were hurtling through the atmosphere. The G forces distorted the grin that always spread across his face during launch.

Justin paid strict attention to the step-by-step procedures that would bring them safely to the international satellite that serviced their spaceship. Once they docked they would have one more strategy session and then be on their way to a new world. He turned to look at Sam. His first officer wore a wide grin. You never get tired of the thrill of escaping Earth, do you?

No Sir. I live for it. I’ve been back and forth from the planet to satellites more times than I can count but this is the most ambitious mission I’ve ever undertaken.

Do you plan to settle on the new planet once we find it?

I think about it but I’m just a space cowboy at heart. I don’t think I’m ready to put down roots anywhere.

Justin studied his young first officer carefully. Sam was in his mid-twenties, had never been married, and loved the adventures possible for a proficient Space Cadet. He expected the young man beside him would be going home with him on the return trip.

Justin and his team arrived at the satellite in time for dinner. They were escorted to the mess hall and seated with the Russian Commander of the space platform. Boris Kreznik was tall and lean. He was soft-spoken. He smiled easily and often. He spoke excellent English with the slightest of accents.

Justin had hoped to get time to talk with Millie during the meal. A quick scan of the table showed him his Chief Medical Officer was in deep conversation with the Doctor in charge of the medical staff of the platform. He realized he wouldn’t have been able to spend a social evening with her after all. Her devotion to her profession had always been a stumbling block in their friendship. He decided it was probably a good thing that protocol demanded that he attend to his host.

Boris proved to be an inquisitive sort. Do you believe you’ll find what you are seeking?

Justin answered with tongue in cheek. That’s the idea.

Many of us doubted that the Americus would succeed. We were just pleased when she was so fortunate to find the resources we needed to put our planet back on the right track.

That was a happy circumstance. Now it’s my turn to beat the odds.

Boris tilted his head, Then you agree it’s quite a gamble?

Up went Justin’s eyebrows. Not really. The best minds of the United World Federation have come together to plot a course that should bring about the desired outcome. If that weren’t so there’d be little point in taking this trip.

Your positive outlook is refreshing. I remember when the first mission took off. The scuttlebutt was extremely disheartening. I didn’t express an opinion at the time. I really wanted those pioneers to succeed.

Keep that thought. I expect they’ll find what they’re looking for. I want to be successful too and I want to reach our goal in record time.

Sounds like you have a competitive nature.

No way, that’s not it. I want to get the mission accomplished and get back to Earth.

Boris’ eyes widened. You don’t plan to resettle?

Not at all, tomorrow I’m off with my team and my pioneers to find paradise. Once there I drop them off and turn around.

How long do you expect that to take?

That’s the question. I’ve thought about that day and night. The Americus has been gone for a little over seven years. We’re heading off in a different direction. We won’t be searching for scarce resources. That should cut the time in half at least. The more sophisticated calculations that were employed to plot a course could halve the time again. I’m hoping to be back here in two years.

Boris blew out a long breath. That’s ambitious. I wish you luck. Still, I’m glad your ship is fitted out with agricultural and cloning facilities. Their use on the Americus has proven the ability to sustain life aboard spacecrafts for unlimited periods.

That is a nice safety cushion. Even better is the fact robotic engineering is in charge of that operation, there’s little room for human error.

Boris displayed a mischievous grin. I see you’re well prepared to succeed in record time. I’ve great faith in your ability and determination. If you weren’t leaving tomorrow I’d insist you join me in a farewell toast.

Justin raised his water glass. This will do just fine and thanks for your interest. I’ll keep you advised of our progress.

At ten a.m. on the morning of the launch of the Columbia Justin stood at the entry portal and welcomed his administrative staff aboard. All other personnel and participants in this adventure had been taken onto the ship by nine a.m. All was in readiness to depart as soon as the captain and his officers took their stations on the bridge. Sam’s excitement seemed to have infected the rest of the members of the team. Each hand that Justin gripped held the handshake just a tad longer than usual. All eyes he looked into sparkled. Smiles of varying intensity appeared on every face he studied.

Millie wore the largest grin of all. She clasped his outstretched hand in both of hers and said, I’m so glad we’re taking this voyage together. Our paths haven’t crossed very often. When they have one or the other of us was too preoccupied with our studies or assignments to take time to really get to know one another.

Justin’s eyebrows rose. Pleasant warmth spread from Millie’s hands and traveled through him. He recalled the intimacies they had shared while they were being educated for careers in the space program. He cleared his throat. I’m pleased that we’re finally going in the same direction. This mission might give us enough time to learn more than we want to know about each other.

Millie had maneuvered so that she was the last member of the team to be piped aboard. There was no one to listen to the playful repartee. She tilted her head and studied Justin’s face through coyly fluttering eyelashes. I doubt that Captain. It seems to me we’ve already enjoyed each other well enough to continue a more comprehensive character analysis.

Justin looked around him. He saw no one within earshot. I’m happy to see you’re as playful as ever. Right now, however, it’s time to get this mission underway. Get on board. That’s an order.

Millie giggled and went on her way.

Justin turned to watch her sway her rear end teasingly as she obeyed. I don’t really have to get back here in that much of a hurry, he mumbled.

During the first evening meal aboard the Columbia Justin made arrangements to have Phillip and Denise Baxter seated at his table. He was well acquainted with their backgrounds but he was eager to learn more about their personalities. His first impression surprised him. Phillip was as exuberant as a child going to his first circus. Denise was his exact opposite. She was sedate and struggled to conceal the smile that threatened as she listened to her husband’s enthusiasm.

As soon as Phillip approached the table he reached out to shake Justin’s hand. Let me tell you how pleased I am to meet you Captain Clark. I feel as though I’ve been waiting for this moment for my entire life.

Denise took her seat and covered her mouth with her hand. Despite the attempt to hide her mirth Justin heard the soft chuckle that escaped her.

He concentrated on the firm grip Phillip had on him. Believe me when I say it’s me who’s pleased and honored by your presence.

Phillip released Justin’s hand and turned to speak to his wife. Tell our Captain how I’ve looked forward to this journey.

As her husband sat down Denise turned her head to address Justin. It’s true. From the moment we signed on Phillip has taken up a most rigorous exercise routine. He’s in excellent physical shape. He’s read everything that’s available about space travel. I dare say he knows as much about this vessel as you do.

Up went Justin’s eyebrows. He noted the glee in Denise’s green eyes as she described her mate’s obsession with this adventure. And you, Mrs. Baxter, are you as enthusiastic as President Baxter?

She had no time to answer. Phillip spoke. Just a minute Captain Clark, we’ll have none of that. I haven’t held that office in many years. I expect no special treatment.

Denise placed her hand on Phillip’s shoulder. That’s right. On this trip we are simply Denise and Phillip. Please don’t give us any argument on that.

Despite the gleam in her eyes Justin knew the couple intended to be treated the same as all the other passengers. That’s okay with me if you’ll both ignore my rank. Justin is my given name and I’ll be proud to answer to that.

Phillip slapped the table with his hand. Great. Now we can get on with what I hope will become a lasting friendship.

The loud sound Phillip’s action caused ceased the chatter of the other occupants at the Captain’s table. Justin took the opportunity to introduce Mr. and Mrs. Baxter to the rest of the crew seated at his table despite the fact they were all aware of who the couple were. His Copilot Sam Hopkins was at his right. His Engineer Dave Green was on his left. His Medical Officer Millie Nelson completed the circle.

The meal proceeded and Phillip domineered with questions which exhibited how very diligent he had been in studying the mechanics of the spaceship and the routines to be followed in all sorts of circumstances. Tell me, Dave, what will our average speed be for the most part?

Dave glanced at his Captain before he answered. A slight nod was sufficient to get the engineer in motion. It’s going to be at least mach four for most of the voyage. Of course our navigator, Doug Crane, will have something to say about that. There may be times when obstacles call for slower speeds.

Justin grinned as he watched the two men exchange information. Eventually he turned his attention to Denise. Do you have any questions Mrs. Baxter?

Uh uh you’re breaking a rule Captain Clark.

Justin frowned as he tried to figure out what rule she meant. It only took a few seconds for him to realize what she wanted. Sorry, do you have any questions Denise?

As a matter of fact I do. My concerns are in the area of health.

Justin’s eyebrows were raised again. Do you have a problem that requires monitoring?

Denise’s eyes sparkled. I wouldn’t call it a problem exactly. It’s more of a condition, a happy condition.

Justin frowned and turned to Millie. It sounds like we need your expertise here.

Millie set down her fork and studied Denise. Whatever it is we have every means of handling any condition that occurs. Would you like to see me in the sickbay in the morning or is it more urgent than that?

Denise giggled. I don’t believe that will be necessary immediately. I have an age-old condition. It’s called pregnancy.

A great sigh of relief went around the table. Only Phillip and Dave were unaware of what had transpired.

Chapter 2

Passengers and crew settled into an easy routine early on. The spacecraft performed superbly. Classes were mandatory for all on board the ship to stave off boredom as much as to prepare the pioneers for life on a new planet. They leaned heavily toward government and politics. Phillip taught law and political science. Denise taught communication skills and the history of diverse governmental theories. Neither of the two had envisioned teaching during the journey but they found it satisfied them while they waited to find their new home.

Denise gave birth to a baby boy in the eighth month of the voyage. She and Phillip decided to name him after Gerald Granger. Jerry had been a college friend of Phillip’s. As leader of the RADS he had risen to the position of President of the United States. He was assassinated along with his bride, Regina Howard, on their wedding day.

Phillip was thrilled to have fathered a child once again. His grown daughter, Evelyn, was a product of his first marriage. He had raised her alone after his wife, her mother, had died. Evelyn and her husband, Bart Nicols, were among the pioneers on the Americus.

When Phillip wasn’t teaching, communicating with his daughter or son-in-law, or conferring with Justin on their progress he was doting on his son. In one quiet moment when Denise had joined him in their cabin after her class was over he looked up from the sleeping child he held in his arms and said, I will never cease to wonder how I’ve been so fortunate to have this child and will never stop trying to be worthy of the gift you’ve given me.

Denise saw the tears welling in her husband’s eyes. She took a deep breath to stop herself from becoming as emotional as he. She bent over and kissed his cheek. It’s me who’s thankful for the gift you gave me. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Phillip tilted his head back to get a better view of his wife’s expression. He chuckled at her silly grin. Okay, I’ll give you that. But I’m still in awe of the product of our union.

Denise let out a sigh.

Maybe you should give up teaching. I don’t want you to wear yourself out.

Nonsense, I’d be bored to death.

Don’t you think taking care of Jerry would keep you busy?

Denise’s eyes went wide. She reached over and lifted the blue blanket away from their son’s face and said, Sure. Look at him. He eats and sleeps. I’d be out of my mind within a week.

Phillip compressed his lips and waggled his head back and forth. You’re not giving him enough credit. Before you know it he’ll be trying to crawl, reaching for toys, smiling and gurgling.

Denise wrinkled her brow. Don’t forget he’ll poop and pee and spit up.

That ended the discussion.

They settled into their new roles as parents. Time passed quickly as they watched with pride each new achievement their son accomplished. Busy days became the norm. Bedtime became the best time for Phillip and Denise to share their thoughts.

At the end of September in twenty-seventy just as Phillip was starting to doze off before his computer monitor he mumbled, It won’t be long before we get there.

Denise’s eyes went wide as saucers. What are you talking about? We weren’t scheduled to get to our destination for a few more years.

Oops, that was classified. I didn’t say that.

She shot up from her chair and planted herself in front of Phillip. She stood squarely before him with hands on hips. When, she whispered.

Phillip squirmed. I’m not certain.

Jerry tossed a toy across the room. He began to fuss.

I have to put our son to bed.

Denise moved aside. You get right back here prepared to give me some truthful answers.

It wasn’t long before Phillip came back into the living area of their suite. He strode with an air of bravado. He didn’t say a thing. He spent some time settling comfortably into his chair.

Denise studied him while he procrastinated. So, she finally said.

You know I can’t discuss what Justin tells me.

So, we won’t discuss it. Just tell me what it is.

Phillip stared at the firm set of his wife’s jaw. The course that was plotted was supposed to take a couple of years more. That timetable allowed for delays due to unforeseen circumstances. As you know the trip has been extremely uneventful. We may have cut a few years off of the original calculations. Our anticipated arrival may be as soon as next month.

Denise threw herself into Phillip’s lap and wrapped her arms around his neck. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. She rained kisses over his face and neck with each exclamation.

He smiled. I didn’t realize how welcome that news would be. You didn’t seem to be discontent.

She shifted into a comfortable position in her husband’s lap. It’s not that I’m unhappy. I’m kept busy enough not to get impatient but think how good it will be to get started on a new and better world.

Phillip rested back and let his hand massage his wife’s back. We’re so in tune. I’m looking forward to a life where greed and pettiness find no place. I never want Jerry to go through the trauma of war.

Denise rested her head on his shoulder. It’s up to us you know. We can direct our future. The biggest advantage we have that wasn’t available to Paul Dalton is emotional monitoring capability. Our specially programmed robots will weed out discordant factions before they have a chance to develop followers. Revolution will be unheard of.

Phillip pressed his cheek against the top of his wife’s head. The silky texture of her hair was soothing. That’s the theory. As for me, I plan to be extra watchful. I have more faith in human intuition than in mechanical means of detection. I’ll be more cautious than I was on Earth. After all, our new home is where our children and their children and all our future progeny will reside.

Denise didn’t seem to notice Phillip’s use of the plural with regard to their offspring. She merely mumbled, Um hm.

Phillip stopped talking and let

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