Star Children
                                                Chapter 1
                                            (The Escape)

As soon as the security shield had been deployed and the conference
room completely isolated, President Thompson said, “Okay, what’s so
damn important that we had to meet here in person for the daily
briefing?”

Director Canton of National Intelligence said, “Something has happened
that needs to be reported that is classified far above Top Secret,
involving matters only you and a select few are authorized to know.”

“For Pete’s sake, Tom.  What is the subject?” said the president.

“It involves the Star Children Project.”

The president froze at the mention of the project name, then stood and
blurted, “Clear the room!  I want only the directors of the CIA, FBI and
NSA to remain.  All others leave.  This involves ‘Need to Know’. and you
others don’t need to know at this point.”  No one argued,  although the
Secretary of State paused before getting up to leave.

When only the five of them remained and the security shield had been
re-established, President Thompson said, “Okay, Tom … continue.”

Director Canton said, “There has been an accident reported at Area 51.  
The dormitory where the Star Children were being housed blew up
killing them all.”

“All of them?” asked the president.

“There are 151 confirmed dead out of 157.  It seems four were
scheduled to arrive but never showed up, and one had already left.  No
additional information was available.”

The president shook with emotion and said, “Damn, they were children.  
Most were around ten years old as I remember.”

FBI Director Setliff coughed, then said, “Sir, I don’t know anything about
Project Star Children.  Can I be brought up to speed?”

Tom said, “With your permission, sir.”  The president nodded.  “Well,
where to start?  I’m sure you know about Area 51, the secret facility that
everyone seems to know about.  Yes, there is a recovered alien
spaceship there, and we have been reverse engineering their
technology for decades.  What you may not know is that we are also
supporting a colony of live aliens there as well.  We call them ‘Greys’ for
obvious reasons if you ever saw one.  Well, these Greys aren’t the
same aliens from the crashed ship.  They came later.  Anyway, the Greys
convinced us that they had been doing genetic engineering on humans
and asked for our help in finding them and bringing them to Area 51 so
they could educate the modified humans in their new abilities.  The last
administration agreed and named the project ‘Star Children’.  You are
more involved than you think.  The mandatory DNA data base for school
children, which you administer, has been locating these genetically
modified children for years and delivering them.”

The president interrupted and said, “How many Greys were killed in
this, so called, accident?

“None were reported, sir.”

The president continued, “I smell a rat.  I think we have been duped.  I
never trusted the skinny bastards.  They give us technology, but it is
like pulling teeth to get it.  So far every administration has been afraid
of them, because of their advanced technology.  But, that ends with
them killing our children.  Of course, we probably won’t be able to
prove that, and we don’t want to start a war with an alien race we know
nothing about.  Still, it’s becoming obvious we have done their work for
them by gathering the children together where they could eliminate
them.”

“The question we should be asking ourselves is WHY?  What abilities
do these Star Children have that frightens the Greys?  If the Greys didn’
t modify the human genes, who did … and why?  There are a lot of
questions that need to be answered, but our first priority is to save the
surviving Star Children.  Director Setliff, you’re charged with finding
those yet to be identified.  Director Jones, NSA is charged with finding,
saving and protecting those missing children.  Director Martinez, the
CIA will help the others and house and protect the Star Children at
Langley.”

                                                  ****

Tom Bradley saw the disaster coming.  To be more precise, he sensed it
in the minds of the aliens.  The hostility toward the children was not
visible to anyone, especially to the adult supervisors and attendants,
but it was there, just under the surface, and it was reaching a
dangerous level.

At nineteen, Tom was the oldest of the so called Star Children students
at Area 51.  It was called a school, but in reality it felt like a prison,
because they could not leave.  He had been there for three years.  The
first two years had been tolerable, but this last year he had been able to
sense more from the aliens.  His ability to sense the underlining
emotions of the aliens was increasing and disturbing.  They were the
instructors, but he sensed their real purpose was to observe the
children and discourage any abstract thought.  They taught the children
to resist abstract thought as if it was something bad.  They wanted the
children molded into fixed patterns of behavior to stifle their mental
growth.  As he began to understand their hidden purpose, he became
determined to do the opposite ... secretly.  When they taught them to
not allow their minds to control their bodies, he sought to search his
mind to discover how to let it loose to control his body.  When he was
told to resist his mind’s control, he opened it.  Of course he
experimented in silence and secretly, mostly during the sleeping
hours.  The startling discoveries came slowly.  He had already accepted
that his ability to feel the alien’s emotions was one such ability, but his
second discovery came suddenly and surprising.

One late night he let his mind free to search itself.  He felt unusually
calm and let his mind take him soaring into the sky.  He willed his body
to ignore the force of gravity and rise up.  When he felt himself hit the
ceiling, he jerked awake.  With his concentration broken, he fell back
down on his bed, shocked but also excited.  His mind had overcome
gravity.

Over the next month he continued to experiment.  It got easier and
soon he began mastering the ability.   When all were sleeping he would
experiment and quickly discovered that his discovery was much more
than just ignoring gravity, it was redirecting gravity.  Gravity became a
tool for him to lift, push, pull and manipulate.  He could float through it,
rise and fall with it and even direct gravity of other objects.  He became
gravity and its master.

With this discovery Tom realized that he had found his way to escape
the prison.  He would simply fly over the barricades and security.  Now
the decision needed to be made as to when to escape and what he
would do once he did, since he was raised in an orphanage and had no
family to rely on.

The only thing he had to offer was his new found ability or gift, but he
thought this might be useful to a scientist, maybe at a university.  He
figured they would want to study him and maybe help him understand it.  
He had never heard of anything like it before.  Maybe they would even
pay to study him.

Once he had this tentative plan of action, all that was left to do was
decide when to escape.  The aliens made that decision for him.

Through his increasing heightened ability to interpret the aliens’
emotions came images.  When they spoke together in their language he
began to understand some of their communication through these
intercepted radiated images.  The hatred and, yes, fear became more
pronounced, but he also saw their intent to destroy them after the next
Star Children delivery, which would be in two days.  His escape must be
before this delivery.  So, his escape must be tomorrow night.

There was nothing he could do to save the other children.  He was the
oldest of the group, with most being far younger, too young and
innocent to teach them how to fly.  It was just him, and he could not fight
the aliens and guards.  Sadly, the others must be abandoned if he
hoped to survive, and his self-preservation instincts were undeniably
strong.  But, maybe, just maybe, he could save those Star Children en
route.  

                                                        ****

The last few weeks of Sue Chamber’s life seemed like a nightmare.  
Nothing had gone well.   In fact, everything went wrong.  Sue was with
her third set of foster care parents and reasonably happy, when a knock
at the door changed her life.  

A man introduced himself as Agent Black with the National Security
Agency.  He never spoke to her, only to her guardians, “Sue Chambers
needs to come with me.  It is a matter of national security.”  There was
some additional conversations with her foster guardians, but little
information was forthcoming.  She could detect little from his demeanor
or thoughts, and she had always been good at that.  The agent knew
nothing, he was simply sent to get her.  He had all the right credentials
and necessary paperwork, and her foster guardians weren’t about to
jeopardize their income.  They helped her pack, wished her well and
turned her over to the agent.

She was horrified.  She was only seventeen and not of legal age.  In
essence, she had no rights.  The State of Arizona was her legal
guardian, and they had given her over to the federal government.  She
still had no idea why, and those she met afterwards would only say that
it would all be explained to her soon.  

She was transported to, the road signs said Phoenix, to a dormitory
facility without windows.  She also quickly noticed that the doors had no
inside knobs, only key slots on the inside, with no way to leave.  Sue
sensed no hostility nor friendship either.  All she could do was wait …
alone.

After two days she was joined by four more like her, at least they
seemed as lost and frightened as her, and they were also all blond …
like her.  There were two boys and one girl all about fifteen years old
and one very frightened little girl of about ten.  Sue felt so sorry for the
tearful, little girl and beckoned her and took charge of her immediately.  
The little girl clutched her in a bear hug.

After a moment of comfort Sue said, “What’s your name?”

The little girl kept her arms tightly wrapped around Sue but looked up at
her and said, “My name is Tina.”  Her voice quivered but came out
clearly.

Sue said, “Tina, don’t be afraid.  I will take care of you.  I don’t know
what is going on either, but you just stick with me.  We’ll face it
together.”  In response Tina hugged her tighter.

The older children were named Fred, Jerry and Mary, and none of them
knew why they were here.  Strangely, all were from various orphanages
across the country with no memory of their parents.

As they continued to talk and learn about each other, an elderly lady,
maybe 60, entered pushing a cart loaded down with food and drinks.  
The lady was of medium height and weight, with large, bouncy breasts
and a slightly protruding butt.  Her short, brown hair was laced liberally
with  grey.  Sue sensed her friendly attitude and liked her immediately.

The lady cheerfully said, “Hello children.  I’m Mrs. Wilks, and I will be
your attendant until you reach your final destination.  I’m sure you have
no idea what is happening to you.  I don’t know a lot about your situation
either, but I will try to help.”

Sue assumed the spokesperson’s role and asked, “Can you tell us why
we are here?”

Mrs. Wilks proceeded to set the food and drinks on a table and
motioned them to begin eating as she spoke, “As I understand, this is
temporary.  I was just assigned, so that is why no one has spoken to
you.  In fact, we will be leaving in the morning going to another location,
a special school, as I understand.  I will be traveling with you to take
care of your needs.”

Sue interrupted saying, “What do you mean by ‘Special School’?”

“It has something to do with the mandatory DNA test administered
through the school health program.”  When she received blank stares
she continued, “A DNA test comes with the mandatory immunization
shots you received.  It’s a test to identify certain genes, which you all
apparently have.  At any rate, the special school is set up to teach those
with these special genes.”

Sue asked, “What will they be teaching us?”

“Sweetie, I have no idea.  I’m sure the school can better explain it when
we get there, but the genes you kids apparently have are extremely
rare.  I expect what you will be taught must also be rare and probably
very important to the government.”

“Where will we be going?”

“Again, I have no idea.  The location is secret.  They won’t even tell me.”

“Why are we locked in?”

Mrs. Wilks smiled and said, “Honey, this is a guarded government
detention center.  It wasn’t designed for the likes of you children.  You
need to remain inside for your own protection.  There are undesirables
here.  Sorry, if you feel like prisoners, but we will be out of here
tomorrow.”

Sue detected no deceit and believed her, and, for the first time since
this nightmare began, she began to feel hopeful, even somewhat
excited at the future possibilities.

They each had a room, but Tina wasn’t about to be separated from Sue.  
Tina eventually became calm, but cuddled against her through the
night.  It even helped Sue to remain calm.

After the morning meal Mrs. Wilks escorted them into a huge parking lot
to a small school bus.  The fact that they were going to a special school
in a school bus gave credence to what she had heard.  There were
packed lunches, water and drinks in a cooler on the bus, so she
assumed the trip would be a long one.  For some reason she wanted to
know their destination and determined to memorize the route.  The
driver took Hwy. 89 NW out of Phoenix straight out into the desert.  They
continued on Hwy. 93 all the way to Las Vegas.  Sue thought Las Vegas
would be a great location for a specialized school, but they didn’t stop
there.  They continued on Hwy. 93 into the middle of nowhere.  They
eventually turned west on Hwy. 375 into an even more remote area.  
Where ever this school was, it was isolated and remote, and she was
becoming concerned.  This was not good, and she didn’t like it one bit.

                                                ****

Tom had been planning.  He knew that the children had all been
delivered here on a plainly marked school bus.  What could be more
inconspicuous?  He felt sure this practice would continue.  So, once he
completed his escape he would fly outside the fences and wait to
intercept a school bus.  It had to be outside the security fences of the
base, because security was intense within.  He remembered the signs
had said deadly force would be used.  If he freed them he would never
be able to get them out.  This made the task more difficult, but he
remembered the route he had come.  He imagined it would be the same.

Waiting was the hardest.  He had a backpack ready with bottled water
and food, but he must wait until well after dark when the guards were
more negligent.  He wanted to be well gone before he was missed,
hopefully not until morning count.  Tom calculated that he would have a
full day before security exhausted their search of the facility and vast
grounds of Area 51.  Initially, they would not even consider the
possibility of him evading all the security measures such as infrared,
motion detectors, cameras and the like.

Finally the time was right.  He quietly got dressed donned his backpack
and slipped out the back door of his dormitory.  Once he saw the stars
he leaped into the air and kept rising higher.  It was like floating to the
surface in a swimming pool, weightless.  The buildings shrank in view
as he continued to rise.  He then turned to the north and soared free.  
His speed increased and he was past the borders of Area 51, then the
small town of Rachel came into view.  Once he saw the town he knew he
was well past the borders and security of all government facilities.  
Freedom was finally realized, and the first phase of his plan complete.

Rachel was the exit off of Hwy. 375 leading toward Area 51.  This was the
route his bus had taken and would be the likely route the bus would
take to deliver the new Star Children.  He floated lower until he
identified the road going south out of the town.  He followed the route
and found a likely spot to hide and observe the road.  He settled to the
ground not far from the road, found a ridge that overlooked the road in
both directions and began his wait.  It would likely take most of the day,
as he didn’t expect the bus to arrive until close to nightfall.

Tina shook Sue’s arm and said, “He is coming.  He will be here soon.”

Sue said, “What do you mean, he is coming.  Who is coming?”

“A friend”  Tina said, “I just know he will be a friend.  He will help us.  He
is near.”

Sue didn’t know what to think about Tina’s statement and asked, “Do
any of you other children sense anything or feel something or that
someone is near?”

Fred, Jerry and Mary looked at her, then each other.  Jerry nodded and
said, “I do sense something is about to happen, but I don’t know what.  
It’s just a feeling.”

Sue had continued to memorize their travel route.  Her anxiety had
increased when their bus had passed a small town and turned off on an
even more desolate road that wasn’t even marked.  Still, she had felt
anxiety, but she hadn’t felt what Tina seemed to know.

Suddenly, a man walked out into the road in front of them and held his
arms and clinched fists out toward the bus.  He looked young, but he
was big, certainly big enough to be a large man.  What stood out to her,
however, was the color of his hair.  It was blond, almost platinum, like
theirs.

Tina shouted, “See!  That’s him.”









Tom had been right.  The school bus arrived at his chosen location just
before dark.  There had hardly been any traffic, much less any school
buses, and he was able to take short naps.  It had been a long day
however, and he was thankful that he had brought plenty of water and
some food.  The bright yellow of the bus shown brightly in the evening
sun and was visible miles away.  It was clear in all directions, so he
climbed down from his vantage spot and waited by the side of the road.  
As the bus approached, he stepped into the road.

During his wait he developed a plan.  The plan was simple, he would
control the gravity and reduce the bus’s weight, even lift it if
necessary.  With the reduced weight, the bus lost its traction on the
road.  The rear wheels began to spin and the engine roared.  The driver
let the bus coast to a stop right in front of Tom with only a slight gravity
push from Tom.  The driver was armed with a .45 cal military pistol.  As
the driver exited the bus and attempted to pull his weapon, he found it
too heavy to hold, and it plunged to the ground.  The startled
driver/guard quickly followed his gun to the ground under extreme
weight.  Tom calmly walked over and picked up the weapon and slipped
it into his pocket, as the driver struggled, unsuccessfully, to overcome
his increased weight.

Sue and the others had watched in amazement as the events occurred,
but she was not frightened.  This seemed right, and the man radiated
comfort, no hostility.

Tom entered the bus and looked at all of them, giving Mrs. Wilks the
longest stare, like he wasn’t expecting her, or didn’t know what to do
with her.

Sue said, “You are one of us.”  It was a statement and not a question.

Tom said, “Yes.” He smiled. “Yes, I am one of you.  My name is Tom
Bradley.  I am here to rescue you.  You are in danger, and if you had
gone to the school you would die.  They will all die today, and I couldn’t
save them.  I can save you, however, and that’s what I’m doing.”

Sue said, “We believe and trust you.  In fact Tina here,” pointing, “told
us you were coming and that you were a friend.”  She then proceeded
to introduce the other Star Children to Tom.

Tom said, “It is very nice to meet all of you, but we can’t spend time in
long discussions.  It is much easier just to show you, so you will believe
what I’m going to tell you.  Please step out of the bus.”

When they had all followed him outside he simply floated up in the air
and stayed there, while they all stared in shock.  Once they got over
their shock, Tom floated back to stand in front of them.  

Tom said, “You are called Star Children.  I don’t know where the name
came from, but it must have something to do with the stars.  Make of
that what you will.  As you can see, I have certain powers, and I believe
you all do as well.  As far as I know, I am the oldest.  I discovered my first
power completely by accident without any help.  The special school
tried to contain me, and I had to explore in secret.  The school is
controlled by aliens called Greys.  They are fearful of us, possibly we
are a threat.  I sensed strong hostility and fear from them and believe
that is why they hope to destroy us.  They don’t want us to learn and
develop our powers.  They will be looking for us soon, so we must go.  If
you trust me and want to go with me, get back on the bus.  Remain
outside if you don’t want to go.  They will find you.”

Sue noticed Tom stare again at Mrs. Wilks and said, “This lady is Mrs.
Wilks.  She is our attendant.  We detect no hostility from her, only
friendliness.  She has been nice to us.”

Tom said, “I detect no hostility, either.  Mrs. Wilks you are welcome to
go with us if you like.  If you don’t wish to, remain outside with the
guard.”

Mrs. Wilks laughed and said, “You damn skippy I’ll go with you kids.  I
was hired to take care of these kids, but there is a hell of a lot more
going on here.  I definitely want to be a part of it.  It sounds exciting.”

Tom said, “It could get very dangerous, but you are welcome to come.  
Can you drive this bus?”

Mrs. Wilks said, “Of course I can drive it, and danger at my age is
exciting.”

“Mrs. Wilks, please take the drivers wallet, IDs and any money he may
have.  Without ID it will take the Area 51 security time to check him out.  
That give us a little more time.”  When Mrs. Wilks hesitated at the guard’
s side, he said, “Don’t worry about the guard, he can’t stop you.  I have
him weighted down.”

Surprisingly, it was Tina that spoke first, “I’m going with you.”  For the
first time she left Sue’s side and bounced up the steps into the bus, but
she was quickly followed by Sue, then the others.  He waited until Mrs.
Wilks entered the bus before saying, “We need to reach California as
soon as possible.”  

After all were aboard he passed his hand over the guard, releasing him
from his crushing weight.  The guard struggled, staggered and finally
stood.  Tom made him strip off his gun belt, uniform shirt and pants,
leaving him in his boxers and t-shirt.  He handed the shaking guard a
bottle of water and said, “Just wait here or continue to walk, it’s up to
you.  Security will find you … eventually.”  Tom got on the bus and they
turned around in the road and headed back the way the bus had come.

Mrs. Wilks asked, “What route do you want to take to California?”

Tom laughed and said, “We aren’t going to California.  I just said that for
the benefit of the guard.  It was misdirection.  They will be searching all
over California for us, but we are going back to Las Vegas.”

Sue stood and got behind Mrs. Wilks and said, “I memorized the route
here.  I can guide you back to Las Vegas.”  Mrs Wilks just nodded.  After
a moment of thought Sue asked, “What are we going to do now, Tom?  
Why Las Vegas?

“Well, we are going to have to get some quick cash, and Las Vegas is
the best place for that.  After we get funds we will have to find a place
to hide and live, while we discover what talents we have.  I’m positive I
can teach you what I have learned about gravity, and I’m sure other
powers will emerge.”  

“Possibly, we can go to Phoenix and talk to some scientists at the
University of Arizona.  Maybe they can help us explore, maybe even
fund us.  At least it’s a thought.”

Mary said, “How are we going to get funds in Las Vegas?

Tom said, “We will find a way to win it in the casinos.  I can control
gravity.  What can the rest of you do?”

Fred shocked everyone when he said, “I think Tina can see into the
future, at least she saw you coming.  Maybe she can tell us when a slot
machine is about to pay off.”  

Everyone laughed out loud at Fred’s comment, but it was Mrs. Wilks that
clicked on that suggestion and said, “If Tina can look into the future,
even a short distance, the lottery is the way to go for the really big
bucks.  I suggest we pick up some operating capital on the slots.  Once
we get settled in a hiding place, practice with Tina and perfect her gift.  
All you have to do is win one lottery to fund anything you want to do.”

Tom said, “I’m glad you are with us.  Can I assume you are going to stay
with us for the long term?”

Mrs. Wilks said, “You bet your ass I am!  I’m going to get rich hanging
out with you kids, and like I said, this is exciting.  Besides, I don’t have
anything better to do.”  She laughed, but she turned serious and
continued, “It really pisses me off that you kids would have been killed
after I delivered you.  I was hired to take care of you, and I take that
seriously.”

Sue patted her on the shoulder and said, “Thanks.”  Nothing more was
said, and nothing more needed to be said.

Sue remembered every turn and highway back to Las Vegas, and the
trip became routine … slow and boring.  Tom went back to visit with the
other kids.  As they talked the subject of just how Tom could use gravity
to win on the slots.

Tom had given it a lot of thought and explained, “Well, if I stick to the
simple machine of three cherries, or oranges, etc., I think I can make it
stop on whatever I pick.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’m fast enough,
since they roll past very fast.  I will just have to try until I get it.”

It remained silent for a long time as if they were all imagining the
dilemma.   
     
Jerry, the quiet one, broke the silence and said, “I think maybe I can
help.  I had never considered it a special power before, but after what
you told us I’ve been thinking that maybe it is.  I can make myself speed
up my reaction time.  It makes everything around me look like it is
moving in slow motion, and I think my body is faster, too.  I learned it in
sports.  I never miss a baseball pitch or a tennis serve, because they
come at me in slow motion.  I thought it was something anyone could do,
but maybe not.  That would help you, right?”

“You bet it would.  It would help a lot.  Can you describe how you do it?”

Jerry said, “Well, I’m not sure if I can describe it, I just do it.  I was
always getting struck out by this one pitcher.  He pitched fast.  I
remember thinking and wishing his pitches were slower and the next
one came in slow motion.  I blasted the ball over the fence and been
doing it ever since.  All I have to do now is think about slow.  It just
clicks in.”

Tom said, “That is very much the way I discovered how to manipulate
gravity.  I was thinking and willing myself to float up.  I had my eyes shut
and hit the ceiling.  The aliens at the school discouraged that kind of
thinking.  They didn’t want abstract thought or imagining.  They wanted
all thinking based upon a fixed scientific reality.  I think our power
comes from our minds, and we physically can do what our minds
imagine.”     

Mrs. Wilks said from the front, “I used to be a school teacher.  The word
is ‘metaphysical.’  It loosely means that if your mind can conceive of a
idea, it can become a physical reality in your body, and if you truly
believe it.  I think you kids have that ability.”

It got quiet in the bus as each one turned into himself or herself and
started the process of abstract thought.  It was a simple process for
Tom, since he had mastered one power already.  It didn’t take long to
master this one.  Just like Mrs. Wilks had said, it was as simple as
imagining the concept, then it became a reality.  At first the cars in the
opposing traffic lane zipped passed.  Now they were creeping along at a
snail’s pace.  He was deep in thought and concentration when he was
startled back to reality by Mrs. Wilks.

Mrs. Wilks said from the driver’s seat, “Don’t any of you float out of a
window.”

Tom looked around to see the other children floating around in the bus,
even Tina.  He laughed and was quickly joined by the others.  For sure
they were all Star Children.  

By the time they reached Las Vegas he had mastered the reaction time
power, and it was fantastic.  He was somewhat surprised that Jerry hadn’
t continued its development in himself once he discovered it, but then
standard wisdom taught that normal people can’t do this.  Standard
wisdom would have told him it was impossible; therefore he wouldn’t
have believed it possible.  Well, things had definitely changed, and they
were not normal people.

They parked in a back lot of a large casino, well away from traffic, but he
was concerned and said, “Mrs. Wilks and I will go inside.  I don’t think it
will take long, but if something happens, and you are found, fly away.  
We’ll meet you at the last Denny’s going out of town.”  They all nodded.

Tom and Mrs. Wilks walked around the casino looking for the right
machine and finally found one with a jackpot sign that read $1,000,000.  
It required four specially marked symbols.  Mrs. Wilks changed the $200
she got from the guard into silver dollars and fed several into the slot.  
She looked at me and I nodded ready.  She pulled the handle.  I watched
the wheels turn slowly, very slowly.  I mentally tapped the first symbol
and it fell into place, followed by number two, then three.  It was so
easy, and number four clicked.  All kind of bells, whistles and sirens
went off along with flashing light.  All in the casino heard the ruckus,
and many came running to see.  I backed away, because I didn’t have
any ID and didn’t want in any pictures.  Several casino officials
surrounded Mrs. Wilks and congratulated her, probably begrudgingly,
and eventually led her off to get her winning.  They were probably
followed closely by an IRS agent, because when she eventually came
out she only had a cashiers check for $500,000 and $100,000 in cash.  It
crossed my mind to do it again just for spite, but that would really be
taking a chance, and this amount would certainly take care of us for a
while.  

It had only taken us less than two hours by the time we got back to the
bus.  The others hadn’t been found, but then he really hadn’t expected
it.  He figured they had at least another day before their search got
serious, and they would probably spend a day or two looking in the
California direction.  Being safe, they returned to our route toward
Phoenix, but they stopped at a Denny’s to eat a hardy meal and wait for
a bank and car dealer to open.  They weren’t about to cash the check in
Phoenix.  That would be a dead giveaway as to their location or
direction of escape.  We also had to ditch the bus somewhere it wouldn’
t be found, but we needed transportation.  He figured they could buy
something here.

It was late or early, depending on how you looked at it, and even later
after their meal.  They took a consensus and decided to get some motel
rooms and rest.  Sue, however, insisted on going shopping first for
clothing and hair dye.  Sue suggested that we all try to look different,
and at a minimum, eliminate our platinum blond hair.  All agreed with
her, so that is what they did.  They also hid the bus as best they could in
a different parking lot.

They all tended to sleep later after their busy day and night, but they
gathered at mid morning, retrieved the bus and returned to the same
Denny’s where they ate the night before.

They all looked considerably different dressed in their new clothing.  
Tom was by far the most changed.  Where before he wore a school
uniform, now he wore Levis and a polo shirt.  Where he had long blond
hair, almost white, now it was brown.  Tom was still big, but they couldn’t
do anything about that.  Sue had suggested they only mask the color,
that if they used a dark color the blond would more easily show at the
roots when it started growing out.  Tom thought Sue was pretty smart.  
The others also colored their hair in varying shades of brown or dark
blond colors, none the same.  Even Mrs. Wilks had dyed her grey hair a
shade of red and groomed it different.  They all looked completely
different.  

They finished their meals and began their errands.  The bank was first,
and they knew it would take a large bank to carry that much cash.  But,
that wasn’t much of a problem in Las Vegas.  Tom and Mrs. Wilks went
in.  They didn’t want to give out cash in those quantities, but Mrs. Wilks
was insistent.  Even then they called the casino to double check.  
Finally, they left with the cash.

The car dealer was next.  Mrs. Wilks said, “This could get tricky.  Let me
suggest you let me do the dealing.  We will have to get them to do some
illegal acts if we want to remain invisible.”  Tom agreed.

The group settled on an eight passenger, silver GMC full sized Yukon.  
It was used, but it had a tag on it, which is what Mrs. Wilks wanted.  The
salesman took them into an office to close the deal.  He presented the
sales price at $30,000, which Tom thought was kind of high for a year
old, used vehicle.  Mrs. Wilks opened her purse, counted out and
stacked $30,000 on the desk and said, “Go get the owner.  We need to
negotiate the deal.”

The salesman’s eyes had bulged as she counted out the money and
immediately left to get the owner.  Very soon the salesman returned
with a portly gentleman.  He quickly spotted the stack of cash, and
determination to get it shown in his eyes.  He introduced himself, but no
one cared about him, only the deal.  He asked, “How may I help you.  Mr.
Jones said you wanted to negotiate.  What will it take to close this deal?”

Mrs. Wilks said, “It’s simple.  I will pay your price up front, but I don’t
want anything in my name or any questions.  I want it to remain in the
dealership’s name on the title, tag and insurance; however, I will
require a blank Bill of Sale and receipt.  Consider it a long term rental,
even though we are paying your price.”

The owner thought deeply, calculating and finally said, “This is not
exactly legal, but I can do it for a year.  After a year the tag will need to
be registered.  If that is acceptable, we can do your deal.”

Tom thought Mrs. Wilks worked a great deal.  No one could trace the
vehicle back to them, at least for a year.  By that time it probably wouldn’
t matter anymore.  They closed the deal and passed over the money,
and Mrs. Wilks got all the documents she required without having to
sign anything.  

Now they had two vehicles, which posed a problem.  He had no drivers
license and had never learned how, the others were too young, all but
Sue.  He hoped she could drive, and luckily, she could.

Sue and Tina, since she would still not be separated from Sue, drove
the Yukon and followed the rest of us leading in the bus.  They traveled
a new route toward Phoenix on the Nevada side on Hwy. 95, which was
quite desolate.  When they reached a small town named Searchlite, they
left the road and found a secluded spot at the foot of the mountains
next to a deep ravine.  It was time to ditch the bus, so they transferred
their gear over to the Yukon.

Tom said, “Lets practice our skills on the bus.  I want all of you to
concentrate some of the massive gravity of the earth at the center of
the bus.  If we do it right the bus will collapse inward under the weight.  
We should be able to fold and compress it into a ball, then we can bury
it in the ravine.  But, before we start we need to remove the tag.  Jerry,
can you remove the tag?”

Jerry said, “Sure.  Do we have a screwdriver?”

Mary laughed and said, “Not that way you dumb shit.  Use your mind.”  
The others laughed at a blushing Jerry.  “Oh, never mind, I’ll do it.”  She
concentrated and pointed a finger at the tag.  At first nothing happened,
then a noticeable red glow began to encompass the tag and grow in
intensity until molten metal began to drip.  Soon there was nothing left
of the tag.  She smiled and said, “I learned that last night.  The room was
too cold, and I wished it was warmer, and it got warmer.  I guess that
makes me the master of temperature control.”

After the tag was gone they gathered in a circle around the bus and
began the exercise.  It was a new way to manipulate gravity that Tom
wanted them to master.  The bus began to slowly shrink on all sides,
crushing toward the center.  Some areas of the bus were slower to
compress than others, but they eventually compressed the bus into an
oblong ball.

Tom said, “Jerry, redeem yourself and open up a hole at the bottom of
the ravine using gravity.”

They watched rock and dirt began to float up, leaving a hole at the
bottom, while Fred, acting on his own initiative, seized the ball and
floated it over the edge and into the hole, where Jerry released the dirt
and rock to cover it.  Problem solved: no more bus.

Tina said, “Wow! That was so cool.  Tom, can we fly now?  I have been
wanting to fly.”

Tom said, “Well, I don’t see why not.  Just make sure you are
comfortable with your control.  If you panic you might lose concentration
and fall.”

Actually, Tom had not done a lot of flying, just at his escape.  He floated
up and hovered, while the others did likewise.  They all looked
confident in their ability.  Soon all the smiling Star Children floated a
hundred feet in the air.  Tom moved forward, feeling the air against his
face.  He got faster, and as he did, he held his arms out like airplane
wings.  It seemed to help him balance.  He looked back and noticed that
they were all mimicking him.  He guessed they would look to him as the
master, which pleased him.  He got braver and soared, dove and turned
in intricate patterns, which they all duplicated.  He needn’t have worried
about Tina.  He could hear her laughing as she flew, and she was good
at it.

They spent too much time flying, but it was actually fun.  Nevertheless,
they returned to the Yukon and began the trip to Phoenix.  They
continued south on Hwy. 95 and came to Laughlin, Nevada, and since
Laughlin was the last casino town before Arizona, they stopped for a
late lunch at one of the casinos and left with another $200,000 for their
kitty.  They crossed the Colorado River at Laughlin and rejoined Hwy. 93
headed toward Phoenix
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