Aquatic Humanoids
                                                Chapter One
                                                   (The Plan)

As I stood facing the Apsaras Assembly in our city’s main dome, I blurted out, “No
Shit!  Finally we get to invade Earth!”

Bart, my father and head of the Assembly, quickly countered, “It’s not an invasion, it’
s an immigration.  Your English is better than that, and I notice it is becoming
somewhat colorful and crude.”

Our race’s own language had been banned almost two years ago when we made the
decision to migrate to Earth.  The Assembly decided to establish English as our
common language.  They said total emersion into English was the best way to learn
the language, and if our future was to be on Earth in the United States, this would be
necessary.  With our obvious physical differences, they believed it would help us to
be more easily accepted, or at least tolerated, by the human race if we were at least
fluent in their language.  

Our explorers, when we still had them, traveled many times to Earth to observe
humans and had established a permanent advanced communications satellite
orbiting Earth.  As a result, we had maintained communications through intercepts
and in filtered Internet access  We all had been studying English and watching
English language movies ever since, and many of us felt that we could blend right
in.  Well, except for our blueish color, we were after all a different race from any that
existed on Earth, although obviously humanoid with common genetic roots.  

“Sorry, father.” I said, “We’ve been preparing for so many years, I was just shocked
to finally get the Assembly’s approval.  What made you decide now?”

Bart said, “The situation has changed.  Our remaining scientists have been studying
the future on Earth with our technology and discovered a looming civilization
collapse.  They are overpopulated and are going to destroy themselves in the near
future.  This means our accumulated wealth in advanced technology, gold, silver,
platinum, and precious jewels will be useless unless we go before their apocalypse.  
Unfortunately, the scientists see their end before we can get there.  When their
civilization falls we can’t buy our way into their society or battle our way in with our
advances weaponry, because there will be no civilization to negotiate with or sell to.  
This forces us to rethink and alter our plans.”

Oh crap!  This changes everything and could quite possibly destroy any hope for our
own survival.  Our race was dying.  Over the last two hundred years every
generation of our people produced even fewer children, and this last generation, my
generation, hasn’t produced any offspring.  The population of our race had been
decimated to less than one thousand people, which we concentrated in one domed
city.  When father’s generation passes we will be only a hundred or so.  Our
scientists, what’s left of them, tell us the only way to save our race, in part anyway, is
to inbreed with humans.  The influx of new humanoid DNA might alter and stimulate
ours and allow our race to survive.  Otherwise, our entire species becomes extinct
with my generation.  Our explorers traveled the Galaxy in search of other
humanoids, and Earth hosted the only race close enough in DNA.  Humans of Earth
were our only chance to survive.

I said, “So what do we do?  How can we survive in a new world in chaos without
wealth and friendship?  We couldn’t even build a facility to live in or feed ourselves.”

Bart said, “That’s the problem isn’t it?  Most of the humans on Earth won’t survive
either for the same reason.  Still, if we hope to survive as a race we must go now
before they kill themselves off.  One suggestion that has been brought up is go
there and capture some human males and bring them back here for breeding stock,
since our reproductive problem is primarily the extremely low sperm count of our
males.  This method could work, but we’re not sure how they can adapt to living on a
water world.  Humans have not evolved to be able to handle it.  Another thing to
consider: this planet is polluted and dying, so any solution involving remaining on
Apsaras would only be a short term solution.”

Bart said, “Do you have any suggestions?  After I pass you will become the leader of
the Assembly, and it will be your problem then.”

I said, “I have no immediate ideas.  Let me think on it, and we can meet again in a
few days.”  We agreed, and I took off to my own dome.

I dove into the water and gave an undulating squeal to alert my escorts and friends.  
Almost immediately I saw one of my pod’s porpoises, Dobe, streaking through the
water toward me.  My pod was never far from me.  I could tell it was Dobe by the
white scars along her left side where she had been burned by red acid algae when
she was young.  She quickly nuzzled against me, and I hugged her.  Her mate, Dubs,
followed quickly behind her with his own greeting.  I squeaked my instructions as I
grabbed hold of their dorsal fins.  We kicked off together and streaked through the
water toward my resident dome surrounded by the other pod members.  

This family of porpoises were my self-appointed protectors and guardians, which I
greatly appreciated due to the predators abundant in these waters.  I had grown up
with Dobe and Dubs and had help raise many of the others.  I could hold my breath
almost as long as a porpoise, and I was a fast swimmer, but not nearly as fast a my
friends.  Unfortunately, I had little defense against the predators.  I mean I carried a
laser pistol in a back holster, but by far the best defense was the always watchful
eyes of my protectors.  They missed nothing and charged any stealth predator long
before I could draw my weapon.  The pod would speed toward a predator ramming it
with their nose and killing it.  As long as they were around I was never in any real
danger.

It was several miles to my underwater dome, but my friends deftly maneuvered us
around floating and hovering clumps of dangerous algae and to clear surfaces for
breaths of air.   A porpoise’s breathing hole, blowhole, is on the top of their head,
which means they barely have to break water to breath.  Unfortunately, they never
understood that I needed more time to raise my head completely out to the water to
breath.  This meant that I had to constantly struggle to reach clear air and draw a
breath before they pulled me back down.  I didn’t always make it.  On more than one
occasion they had to push me to the surface to get air.

 On long distances sometimes I would roll over to swim on my back.  This gave me
extra time to breath when I was hitching a ride, but I couldn’t see where I was
swimming.  Our race’s ability to internally pinch our nose shut, like closing our eyes,
could shut the water out and prevent choking.  This ability equated to a porpoise’s
blowhole.  As I thought about this I realized that this trait would look strange to the
humans.  Oh well, a human choking in water would look strange to us.

As we approached the bottom opening of my dome I squealed a thank you and shot
up through the opening and landed on my feet on the deck.  My mates, Meg and Peg,
were anxious to hear why I had been called to an emergency meeting this morning.  I
told them what was said, and understandably, they were upset.  They desperately
wanted to have children.  These identical twins were considered the most fertile,
since they were the only pair of identical twins born in over a century.  The Assembly
put us together hoping we would produce a son of my lineage to rule after me.  We
had certainly tried to no avail.  The twins continued to milk my seed during their
fertile time, with no success.  They wanted me to father their children, but were
willing to have children, even if the child was half human.  Yes, they were anxious to
leave Apsaras behind and go to Earth.  

Sex itself had little interest to males of our race.  It actually hurt.  I guess that was
the result of the genetic weakening.  Our race was ancient with little DNA diversity,
maybe too little to continue to reproduce.  Still, none of us wanted to see our
species extinct, and continued to allow ourselves to be milked, a process which the
females of our species had perfected through many generations.  

Meg and Peg had prepared fish for our dinner, and we ate, mostly in silence,
thinking about any possible solutions for all our needs.  We curled up in our
hammock net, affectionately cuddled and waited for what we knew would be a
troubled sleep.  As we cuddled we could see our pod through the circular glass
dome circling.  They were happy as long as they could see us and know we were
safe.  Our closeness to the pod was the major reason we remained in my personal
dome and not move into the city.  There was abundant living quarters due to the
dwindling population, but I did not want to abandon my friends.  Many had, but not us.

I was determined to find a solution to our problem.  I knew everyone was counting
on me.  They always did, and I was not going to fail them.  As I usually do with difficult
problems, I let my sub-conscious mind work on it during the night.  Often I would
wake in the morning with a much clearer head and sometimes a solution.

Sometimes I wish I had two brains like my porpoise friends.  Well, they really don’t
have two brains, but they do have two halves that can operate separately, one of
which remains conscious at all times.  I guess that makes sense, since they must
constantly swim to keep from drowning.  Still, I sometimes wish I could remain awake
all twenty-nine hours of of our planet rotation like my friends.

When I awoke the next cycle I still had no idea how to solve the problem.  I was
blank.

Meg said, “I see you still haven’t found a solution.  As your father said, “We can’t
buy our way in’.  But, we still need a partner on the Earth side.”

I barked, “Don’t you think I know that?”  She was telling me the obvious, but I was at
a loss as to how to buy or trade an Earth partner into merging and helping us.  It
would have to be someone wealthy on Earth, and if they were already wealthy, why
would they help us?  The situation looked impossible.

In lieu of any other reasonable solutions I started checking out “Prepper” websites
on Earth’s Internet.  These consisted of people that believed Earth’s civilization was
going to collapse, and they were preparing for survival.  I figured they wanted the
same thing as we did.  I found the postings, some anyway, fairly accurate according
to reports from our scientists.  One in particular got my attentions.  He predicted the
fall and described it in fairly accurate detail.  His post read:

I am convinced that a catastrophe (from nature or more likely man-made) of some
sort will happen in the near future.  Our society is delicately balanced and it only
takes a small shove to upset the balance.  The “domino effect” will take it all down
once it starts.  It could be something as simple as the economy fails, the electric grid
fails, war, civil strife, etc.  I believe that the average person is totally unprepared and
ignorant in the basic skills of  “survival”.  I'm thinking the flow of events would
happen something like this:

  1. Catastrophe happens – panic, fear, uncertainty, loss of hope
  2. Infrastructure collapses – communication, electricity, water stop,... stores
    stripped clean, looting, the strong/bully segment emerge.
  3. Average person huddles in their home/apartment hoping that everything will
    somehow “come back” to normal (..or at least for as long as their personal
    resources last).
  4. After about 3 days to a week of no food, the layer of “civilized man” begins to
    crack and people begin to do anything necessary to acquire what they feel are
    the essentials.
  5. The initial grouping would be at the church/family/close friends level because
    of inherent trust.
  6. People begin to  carefully group to gain the protection of numbers... Groups
    will battle each other for available resources or power.
  7. Areas more remote and miles from metropolitan cities should be in better
    shape because in many cases these are rancher/farmers and as such have a
    better understanding of living off the land... plus, they stand a much better
    chance that what they have will not be ravaged by roaming gangs from the
    cities because of the distances.
  8. The folks in these remote areas may very well have the opportunity to come
    together (as neighbors which have helped each other in the past) and form a
    protective group of their own which is charged with defending their homeland.
  9. The gangs will grow larger and canvas further out, and no one or group will be
    safe.
  10. As food becomes more scarce, without the existence of law enforcement or
    organized armies the gangs will kill to take what they want and become
    primitive.  Civilization ceases to exist.









        I was amazed to see just how accurate he described the fall.  It was almost
identical to the description our scientists saw in Earth’s demise when they looked
into the future.  

In other posts he even described how he and a select group hoped to survive, what
to stock in supplies, what training these survivors would need.  He even provided a
sketch of the building he wanted to construct for protection and survival.  It was a
good plan, and I knew we needed a human partner like him.  

I clicked on his profile information and discovered his name was Mike Brannon, and
he lived in Muskogee, Oklahoma.  I quickly logged on to Google Earth to find
Oklahoma, then Muskogee.  Muskogee was located in eastern Oklahoma in what was
described as “Green Country”.  The area was mostly rural and had many lakes, which
would serve our purpose well.  I still didn’t see any way to entice him to help us, but I
sent him an e-mail agreeing with his prediction and complimenting him on his plans.  
I also bluntly ask him if he had started, and if not, why.  

My message transmitted to our communication satellite in geostationary orbit above
Apsaras then transmitted out to our satellite above Earth.  This transmission wasn’t
instantaneous between the light years separating our planets, but it was damn
close.  Actually, the slowest part of the entire network was the Earth-side Internet.  
Our technology was far better and faster.  It had been created by scientists and
engineers in our ancient past, but unfortunately, none remained of our race that
understood how it worked; it just did.  Fortunately most of our existing technology
was extremely reliable.  In point of fact, none could remember any of our technology
ever failing.  We even still traveled in space in our saucers built by our ancient
engineers, and we have no idea how this technology works, either.  They were
simple to operate, however, and my mates Meg and Peg have been trained to fly
them.  I didn’t know how long it would take for him to receive the message and reply,
assuming he would.  So I went about my life and waited.

It was nearing evening as I was swimming with my friends when my mates nuzzled
up to me.  We had just collected  a nice fish for our late meal, a big, sleek white fish,
my favorite.  Meg motioned for us to surface.  I knew it must be something important,
so we surfaced.  Meg knew I had been waiting for a response from Earth and was
anxious.

When we surfaced Meg said, “That response you have been waiting for from Earth
came in.  I thought you would want to know as soon as possible.”

I said, “Your right about that.  I’ve already got our dinner and was just playing.  We
can head back in now.”  Peg, usually quiet, nodded affirmative and we submerged,
racing through the water back to our dome.  The porpoises got excited at our burst
of speed and raced ahead of us, even circling us, as if to say, “You might be fast, but
we are faster.”  Soon we burst out of the water to land standing on out deck inside
the dome.

I went immediately to my computer and opened the e-mail.  It was from Mike Brannon
and read:

Hello Brin,
Thanks for your nice note.  Yeah, I worry about this pending collapse of civilization.  I
see it coming, but, sadly, there is little I can do about it.  I don’t have the kind of money it
would take to activate my plans.  So, unless I win the Lottery all I can do is dream up
plans and worry.
Mike,

I immediately began grinning, because he had just solved our problem with that
statement, at least I thank he just solved our problem.  I would have to check with
our scientists to see if this was possible.  The technology that allowed them to look
into the future was unreliable in that the scientists couldn’t precisely choose the
exact time.  There ability to view the future was dependent upon the technology
itself.  Once it was probably controllable, but, as with all our technology, our
scientists had lost their understanding of how it worked.  The vast level of
engineering and physics knowledge it had taken to design and build our inventions
had been decimated as our race died off faster than we could educate new
scientists and engineers.  Actually, our so called scientists now were no more than
moderately educated technicians…operators.  Still, I was positive that the existing
technology could find the answers I was seeking…if asked the right questions or
gave the right instructions.  We had to try.

Meg and Peg were looking over my shoulder at the visual display, reading the same
message and coming to the same conclusion I reached.  We looked at each other,
smiling.  I called a meeting of the Assembly, but before we left I worded a response e-
mail.

                                                          ****
“Hello Mike,”
“If I help you get the funds you need will you partner with my group and build your
survival group and activate your plans?   I will await your response.”
“Brin”

                                                        ****
This time Meg and Peg went with me to the Assembly.  This affected them, so they
weren’t about to be left out, besides, they were excited with the possibilities of a
potential solution.

Dobe and Dubs sensed that we were excited about something as soon as we dove
in the water.  The pod gathered around us to allow us to hitch a ride on their fins.  I
squeaked our destination, and we were off at a fast pace.

Communications with them by formal sounds was limited, but they were gifted with a
strong sense of reading emotions.  I could often sense their emotions as well, and
today they were agitated by something.  I quickly realized what it was when they took
us off far to the left of our path.  They knew or sensed a major predator in the area
and were taking us around the danger.  I saw nothing to indicate danger to warrant
this extra caution, but I trusted their instincts.

We arrived at the main dome platform without incident and shot up through the
opening.  As we stood to allow the water to repel from our snug main body wraps and
skin, we noticed the Assembly already seated around the center dais … waiting.         
Meg and Peg knew the dais was reserved for me alone and took seats in the gallery,
while I took the center position.

Bart said, seeming somewhat annoyed, “Well, you called this meeting.  Get to it.”

I was annoyed at my father’s bluntness, but said, “Alright.  I may have found a
solution to our problem.”  I just let that settle in.

Bart’s attitude changed immediately, and he continued, “Oh really?  This is good.  
What is the solution?”

I said, “I may have found an Earth partner to build facilities prior to us reaching
Earth, and I may have found a method of financing the entire project with Earth’s own
money.  Of course this all assumes our scientists can deliver information on Earth’s
future.”  I had the total attention and tentative respect of the Assembly and my
father.  I proceeded to lay out my plan and detailed needs I required.  When I
finished I simply waited for their response, which of course I already knew would be
favorable.

The Assembly consisted of elders from many of our previous world governments.  
As our population dwindled these leaders and their people joined with us, the once
largest floating city.  They tended to be arrogant and demanding, accustomed to
being catered and listened to; but since our entire population of Apsaras was now
only around a thousand people, mostly old like them, there importance and worth
had greatly diminished.  Still, they remained our leaders … for now.

The Assembly talked among themselves and agreed with my plan.  Bart said, “We will
devote all the time of our scientists toward trying to find answers to the questions
you pose.  In the mean time I suggest you and your generation devote your time
towards preparing for the journey.  Stock the ‘Bright One’, our largest space saucer,
with supplies and equipment for your survival when you arrive on Earth.”

I didn’t know if I was understanding him right and said, “You are using words like  
‘you’ and ’your’.  Don’t you mean ‘us’ and ‘our’?”

Bart said, “No.  We have discussed it and decided that this journey is for the young.  
We are old.  Your generation is young, and you have a better chance of survival
without us.  We would just be a burden to you all.  You are now in charge of this
adventure.  Take anything you need from us.  The Assembly’s last order is:  Go with
our blessing and keep our race alive.”

I knew he and the Assembly was right in this assessment, but I hadn’t wanted to
broach the subject.  Immigrating a hundred people into a hostile environment would
be far better than over a thousand.  Our smaller group had a much better chance of
survival.  Even so, I had a flood of emotion sweep over me.  I felt regret at their loss,
and I felt the burden of command fall upon me.  Immediate panic swept over me, as I
tried to control any outward signs.

I said, “I understand your meaning and intent.  I can even appreciate it.  I will
immediately move into the city and begin organizing our group.  We won’t disappoint
you.  We will survive, and maybe once we establish a base we can bring more of you
to us.”  I saw a flash of pride in my father’s eyes.  He was always so cold and formal,
possibly forced.  To see this flash of pride warmed me greatly, and I felt my love for
him.

Bart said, “Maybe in the future we can look at that possibility, but the most important
goal right now is ensuring you young ones survive.”

As I left the dais I could see many of my friends in attendance flash me knowing
smiles and some thumbs up like they had seen in the American movies.  I
acknowledge them with a nod, but my heart still hammered in my chest.  As I passed
my friend, Trix I said, “Can you pass the word to the others of our millennial group
that we will meet here tomorrow to make plans.”  Trix nodded.

Peg and Meg gave me a big hug of congratulations, but I didn’t feel at all
comfortable with the honor.  Being given command still seemed more of a
punishment than a promotion, but I will get it done.

We dove in the water quickly.  I didn’t want any display of  congratulation in front of
the Assembly, knowing just how hard it was for them to turn over control to me.  I
squealed for my pod, and as always Dobe was first to nuzzle me.  The three of us had
two proposes each, but Dobe and Dubs were mine.  We held the dorsal fins of our
pairs and took off.  My mind was still reeling from the realization of my
responsibilities and didn’t notice that Dobe was again steering us around the long
way.  I didn’t realize anything was wrong until I heard a high-pitched squeal of pain
from behind us.  We spun around in time to see a trailing porpoise thrashing in the
jaws of a grapper.  Grappers were extremely rare in these waters and very
dangerous.  This was a large one at about forty-five feet long and weighing around
three thousand pounds.  A grapper swims like a snake through the water using
ridges of fins on top and bottom, and the wide mouth is filled with sharp, deadly
teeth.  I knew my friend would be dead soon, because the teeth also injects a poison.

I drew my laser pistol, but I couldn’t fire because the pod members were all over the
grapper, ramming it with their snouts at high speed from all directions.  The
porpoises continuously squeaked and chirped as they launched a coordinated and
organized attack.  The grapper had released my friend to fight back, but it was too
late for the porpoise.  I could tell she was already dead.  The grapper was aggressive
and fearless but every time it moved to attack one of the pod it got slammed from
the opposite direction.   It jerked back in forth as it was bombarded, and soon I saw
blood floating out of its huge mouth from the damage being done.  Soon it stopped
fighting, rolled on its back and slowly sank out of sight, but before it disappeared
from sight I could see the limp, dead body jerking from continued angry attacks.

Some of the pod members were pushing the injured porpoise up to the surface in a
futile effort to force it to breath, but it was obviously dead.  Now that the tension of
the fight was over, I recognized her.  Sadly, it was Dobe’s youngest, which I had
named Nan.  The pod, realizing Nan was dead, took turns nuzzling her, as if saying
“Good Bye”.  Meg, Peg, and I did the same.  It didn’t seem enough, but such was life
in the water.  Sadly, we watched Nan drift slowly out of sight and out of our lives
forever.  We then resumed our swim toward my dome.  I nuzzled my face to Dobe’s
side as we swam and hoped she knew I was telling her how sorry I was.

We reached my dome and sprang inside, waving bye to the pod.  Once inside Meg
and Peg began crying in grief at the loss.  They had often played with Nan.  They tried
not to show it to the others, but Nan was the youngest of the pod and their favorite.

Meg bellowed, “Why did that sweet child have to die?  And where did that damn
grapper come from.  I’ve never even seen one before.”

I said, “The growing pollution must have driven it into our cleaner water.  
Remember, it hasn’t been that long ago since we had to move our city due to the
pollution.  The pod must have sensed or tasted it, since they took us the long way.  
We will have to warn the city to keep watch for others.”

Dubs startled us when he popped his head up through our floor opening chirping
his greeting.  He was quickly followed by Nate dragging a large white fish.  I quickly
grabbed the fish and patted their heads in thanks.  After they left I said to the girls,
“Well, it looks like we have dinner.”  We all laughed and the girls began carving and
dressing the fish, while I went to my communication center.

I was hoping there might be a message from Mike, and I was pleased to see that
there was and quickly opened it.

                                                                ****
“Hello Brin,”
“You surprised me with a potential offer to fund and partner with me.  If you are serious
I would be pleased to be your partner, but keep in mind that I don’t have funds to invest
for this partnership.  I do, however, have the energy and desire to build this community.  
How large is your group?  Let me know what you have in mind.”  
“Mike”
                                                                ****

I decided to wait to respond until I actually got conformation from the scientists that
they could provide the lottery numbers, to be more precise, when I actually had the
winning numbers.  I would start pushing hard for that information tomorrow.  I also
decided not to wait until tomorrow to move to the city.  We would start moving after
we ate.  There was no reason to waste a good, fresh white fish.

When our meal was finished I pushed the button for the underwater squealer,
signaling the pod.  As always they were close and responded quickly, and Dubs and
Dobe’s heads popped up in the opening churping.  They loved to be needed and
summoned.  I began hand signing to them our intention to take our small saucer to
the city to stay.  I also talked to them while I signed.  They understood many vocal
words, but the hand pantomiming helped them understand better.  They understood,
and I knew they too would move to the waters of the city and be available.

Peg then dove in the water and entered our saucer from the bottom hatch.  Soon
she was positioning the saucer into our dome bottom entrance.  Peg opened the top
hatch, and we handed down to her the items we wished to take.  We traveled light.  I
wanted my personal communication center with my files, and a few changes of
clothing.  For us, clothing consisted only of light vests and short skirts made of
woven waterweed.  None of our race was modest, so the skirts were open
underneath to facilitate waste elimination.  All we really needed was warmth in
sensitive places, and the water weed was light and slick underwater.
  
When we pulled away we noticed the pod had already gone.  I’m sure they would be
looking for us at the city, and I would make sure they found us.  The saucer lifted out
of the water and shot over the waves toward the city.  Since we would be taking the
largest saucer, Bright One, I planned to move into one of the adjacent sub-domes.  
The entire floating city was supported by these sub-domes, so there were plenty of
them.  Unfortunately, the domes went for miles with neighbors crowded all around,
well, not so many neighbors anymore.  Still, I would miss my dome.  I liked the open
water space.

The domes all looked the same:  There was a large clear dome with nothing to see
but other domes, a net for sleeping, a energy radiation oven for cooking, a small
cooling container for food storage and a fresh water outlet.  Energy for appliances in
the city was transmitted through the air.  There was no bodily waste facility in the
small domes.  All were encouraged to go topside to a common facility, where the
waste could be processed.  Most, however, simply went in the water, which
increased the level of pollution.

We entered under the city and chose the dome we wanted and unloaded our
personal items.  Afterwards, we parked our saucer inside the large dome housing
the “Bright One”.  It was easy to see how the saucer got the name “Bright One”.  
Even after centuries it remained shinny bright.  It was also as big as I remembered,
and I was pleased that we had been given this one.  We would be able to store much
equipment inside but not just anything.  We would have to be very selective, since
space was valuable.

After we settled in I dove in the water and called to my pod.  I knew they would be
close, and they found me quickly and began affectionally nudging me with their
snouts.  I am very affectionally attached to my friends, and they were not to be left
behind.  I planned to take them with me, but I haven’t yet figured out how to
convince them.  Traveling to another planet and going into cryogenic hibernation
were concepts they would not understand or readily accept, but a way must be
found.  Not all of my generation were attached to a specific pod, few actually.  Most
had contact with many pods but not to the degree I was to mine.  Well, Blane did a lot
of underwater farming and he had many friends among the porpoises that helped
him.  I’m sure he will want to bring some of his friends as well.  I would have to
discuss with him how we might explain to our friends of our plans.

I frolicked with my friends for awhile, then indicated that I had to go to work.  They
seemed happy and understanding as I shot up into my dome.  I said to the girls, “Let’
s check in with the scientists to see if they have any news for us.”  They nodded and
we went up through an airlock into the city.

There were four scientists hard at work as we approached the Research Center.  I
say four, but one of them was my friend Flay.  She was of my generation.  Her mother
and father were engineers/scientists, and she had been taught by them and worked
with them since childhood.  They seemed excited to see us and waved us over, and I
got anxious at their excitement.

Flay said, “We got it!”

I said, “What do you got?”

“We got the winning lottery numbers and date.”

As she spoke she handed me a slip of paper.  I read it and exclaimed, “No shit!  
$280,000,000.00?  This is fantastic!”

Flay continued, “I think we may also get another winning set of lottery numbers.  I’ll
let you know tomorrow when we meet.  I have a couple of names for you too, people
that are somehow involved in the future human community.  It didn’t make a lot of
sense to us, but it might help.  Our ability to look into the future is unreliable, but dad
says it’s probably not wise for us to know too much, since we could change the
future.”

I said, “Thank you all very much.  You have helped us greatly.  Actually, you have
saved us by making our plan real.  Now I need to and can make it happen on Earth.  I
can’t thank you enough.”  I was profusely thankful and rushed back to our dome to
send an e-mail to Mike.  The date they gave me was only a couple of days away, so
that added to my rush.  I didn’t want to have to depend on them finding another set
of winning numbers.

Mike,
I want you to go out and buy a lottery ticket with the numbers I am providing.  The
drawing is for the date I’m also providing, which is soon.  Take this request seriously
and you will win $280,000,000.00.  When you win I will assume we are partners.  My
group will consist of about one hundred, 75 females and 25 males, all younger.  I
would suggest you plan on about the same number, maybe reverse the female
versus male ratio, since we may be sequestered for awhile when civilizations
collapses.  Let me know when you win, and we can begin discussing more details.
Brin

After the e-mail was sent the girls and I spent the later hours discussing personnel
and how best to use them to ready our operation both on Apsaras and Earth.  There
were several obvious picks.  Due to her training, Flay was the only pick for
engineering and science.  We would rely on her heavily for recommendations for
equipment to take.  Blane was another easy pick.  He did much of the underwater
farming here, and was perfect to head up food production for us on Earth.  He would
know what plants and fish stock we needed to take from Apsaras and how to
introduce them there.  Tina was the closest we had among the millennials to a
medical professional.  She would know what equipment we should take and how to
use them on Earth.  Hopefully we will get along well with Mike’s human group, but
just in case we would require someone to head up security.  My girls suggested
Trix.  She was a weapons expert, along with Meg and Peg, but I needed them for
communications and piloting.  Trix would make a good choice.  

Due to the lack of genetic diversity, most of us had common features.  We look very
much alike: slim, athletic, aqua-blue in color, green eyes, black hair with some
orange.  Trix, however, stood out among our race.  While some of us have orange
patches of hair at our temples, Trix had a extra large swath of bright orange hair at
her temples that stood out in appearance.  I remember how she would braid her hair
using only orange in one of the three braiding bundles.  It was definitely different.  
Because of this difference, she had taken a lot of ribbing as a child from the other
children.  As a result she was quick to fight, which had earned her a reputation.  Trix
didn’t take any crap from anyone, and most of the others of our generation had felt
her anger at one time or another.  Yes, she would be good at security.

We continued to make notes for the next day’s meeting, but soon tired.  We decided
to take a swim to relax.  It wasn’t as bright as usual, since the second sun was
hidden over the horizon, but it was still plenty sunny from our main sun.  We dove
into the water and were quickly greeted by the pod.  We played for awhile, as the pod
took us around the city, exploring.  Dobe even showed us the large domes housing
the two other, slightly smaller saucers than Bright One.  When we returned we had
swam off any anxiety and were ready for sleep.  We rolled together in our net and
were quickly asleep.
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