One evening in the port-city of Waemerrot on the eastern shore of the navel-sea of Gyth, Farren Nicre was wrapping up her set at Club Sheev. Hardly anyone was listening.
On the worlds humans call home, music is nigh universal. From the wealthy automators in the Triam ore foundries, to the travelling fisher-folk of Flev, song is something grasped by all.
Among those, however, the singers of Enlil were the most unique. For when the most miraculous of them sang, they didn’t even open their mouths. Their songs were composed out of pure emotion—the very essences of love, joy and despair—completely bypassing the clumsy, muddying medium of sound.
Farren Nicre was not one of those singers. She performed with her physical voice, not even augmenting it with psionics. Sometimes, she told people it was artistic integrity, but she knew her powers were modest at best. She couldn’t even chat with people without at least touching them.
It was a low form of music, singing—at least to rarified Enlilian tastes—more suited to offworlders or mind-blind peasants than anyone with real talent. But there were always dingy little venues that couldn’t afford proper singers, and Farren’s voice was her one marketable skill, such as it was.
She belted out old standards of war and heartbreak, dating all the way back to Waemerrot’s surrender to Throneworld1. Her luminous, skin-tight mood-suit shifted with every new note or change of pitch, along with the subtle movements of her body as she swayed on stage. Crystal stalactites snatched up her cast-off light and shattered it into rainbows over the barren dance-floor.
Sometimes Farren wondered if the outfit got her more gigs than her voice. Not that anyone seemed to be ogling her tonight. They were all too busy drinking, or talking, or looking at their assorted communication trinkets.
God2, she could’ve used some ogling that night. Anything better than indifference.
A sudden thundercrack drowned Farren out in the middle of a high-note. It and the green flash that filled the club sent the singer flailing backwards.
Something caught her fall. When the light faded, Farren found herself being held in a dip by a blond, radiantly handsome man in a white body-suit and cape.
Some of the club-goers fled the room screaming, no doubt fearing another insurgent attack. Others had cameras and other devices aimed at the stage, curious. A few were wondering if the newcomer was part of the show. Some of the more psychically sensitive patrons were rolling on the floor, trying to shield their senses from the living explosion going off in front of them.
Farren put her hand on the man’s arm. She could feel power even through his sleeve. It was like caressing a friendly flame. “Thanks,” she said, using the man’s bicep to hoist herself upright.
Who was this man? He was dressed like an Imperial White3, but there were less than ten of those on Enlil. And none of them would be caught dead in a club like Sheev.
The man smiled a crooked grin. “My pleasure,” he said in perfect Quatlac. He looked her up and down. He appeared to like what he found. “Love the suit, by the way” he remarked.
Bright red hexagons flushed on Farren’s cheeks. “This old thing? I—” She frowned. “Wait, can you tell me why you crashed my set? Throneworlders too good to pay the cover?”
The man’s expression darkened slightly. “Not an Imperial, miss, just careless.” He raised a finger to the air before rubbing it against his thumb. “Enlil,” he said, apparently to himself. He whistled. “That kid packed a punch.” He turned to the crowd. “Excuse me,” he said, beaming brightly. “Can anyone tell me which way to Earth?”
Allison awoke in darkness. She feared for a moment Alberto had shut her away again, but she quickly realized this dark was merely the absence of light. It still made her chest tighten. At least she was lying on something comfortable. Whatever it was felt dense but soft, and molded lovingly to Allison’s body. It was evidently porous to air, too, because something like a soft breeze was brushing against her back.
A familiar whine in her ears told Allison she was back on the Physician’s ship. She could just make out the distant echoes of her friends’ songs, which was an instant relief for the little girl.
They’d made it. And she was alive. That was an unexpected bonus.
There was another song playing much closer to her; and an odd one at that. Nails against slate raised to the realm of actual instruments, accompanied by the melodic breathing of volcanic vents. If Allison had been born a decade or two later, she might have compared it to industrial music—if the industry in question was logging diamond trees. She was surprised how appealing it sounded.
Allison took the song into herself, only to cringe as a wave of dysphoria shook her. Her flesh was so clumsy. Stolid and still like stagnant, silty water. Her body was an ill-fitting glove, deaf to even the most basic—
She let go of the song almost as soon as she latched onto it, breathing heavily. “Is someone there?” she called shakily into the dark.
She could feel the gloom begin to thicken around her when a familiar, strangely accented voice wafted over her:
“Oh, Allison, you’re awake!”
The shadows dissolved into light. Allison was in in a tiled dome about five metres across, its ceiling ablaze with undulating mosaics of opal and sunstone that seemed to sway like rise and swell like sunlit waves. It reminded Allison of the inside of a mosque, even though she had never stepped foot in one.
The girl shrieked the second her eyes left the ceiling, jumping to her feet and scrambling to the far end of the dome.
It turned out Allison was naked. That wouldn’t have been much of an issue, if the patch of floor she was lying on didn’t resemble the underside of a giant starfish. Hundreds of tiny, translucent tendrils waved blindly in the air like a worshipful colony of maggots.
Allison shuddered. They’d been licking her. “Ew, ew, ewwww…”
The tesserae at the other end of the dome parted to form an opening in the wall. Dr. Smith stepped through, grinning as per usual. “How are we doing here?”
“What the hell is that!” Allison shouted, pointing at her “bed.”
“Hmm? Oh, that’s a recovery cradle. You’ve been recuperating on it for the last three days.”
“Why does it have tongues?”
“Lots of reasons. They prevent bedsores and infection; keep you fed and hydrated; dispose of your waste products…”
Smile unmoving, the Physician asked, “Would you rather I left you to die of thirst in your own filth?”
Allison’s breathing slowed. “I guess not… still gross, though.”
“Better than one of your mattresses,” Dr. Smith retorted. “Nothing but a collection of hair and dead skin-cells…”
Allison looked down at her body. “Where’s my costume?”
“One of my surviving selves stripped you to remove those bullets.”
“Bullets?” she asked. Then, the memory came back to her. “Oh.”
Right. She’d shot herself. Or made Thumps do it for her. Poor Thumps. She started examining herself, trying to find a mark.
“If you’re looking for scars, you’re not going to find any,” said the Physician. “Your body is a work of art, Allie. I barely had to do anything.”
“So we got away?”
“Yep. We all made it. Well, apart from me. I was left in Melbourne.”
Smith didn’t sound like he was joking any more than usual. “…Sorry?” said Allison, raising an eyebrow. “How’d you get back on the ship?”
“I didn’t. My better half just made another John Smith.” He gestured down at himself. “I think I’m rather an improvement.”
Allison’s main takeaway from that was that his skin had an even more plastic-like sheen than usual. “What happened to the old you?”
“How should I know? I’m not psychic. I suppose Valour has him in a glass cage somewhere by now. You humans are awfully fond of your panopticons. Probably either gone into torpor or suicided by now, assuming Tim hasn’t had him executed, of course.” The Physician released a burst of canned laughter. “That man can be just as dramatic as old Laurie when he wants to be.”
Oh, right, Allison thought. Lawrence is dead.
“You don’t seem very upset by that.”
“Why would I be?” said the Physician. “It’s somewhere between losing a fingernail and losing a tooth. It was a bit embarrassing when I tried showing your cohorts Asteria again, and I’ll forever mourn my memories of the DDHA Christmas party, but life goes on.”
“Where’s the ship now?”
The Physician let out a low click from deep within himself. The dome’s walls and floor blurred and evaporated. Allison and the alien stood suspended high above vast pale oceans streaked by currents and riptides of cloud. The girl could just make out a broad shank of coastline gilding the horizon.
“About two hundred miles above the Atlantic ocean.” The Physician waved his long, limber hand. “I admit I overreacted a little to the Flying Man showing up, but the view was nice.”
Allison was silent for a moment. She tried to comprehend being so far from everything she knew. It made her feel like a giant and a speck of dust all at once.
“Hey, Allie, say ‘costume on’ for me.”
“Costume on,” Allison repeated reflexively, not looking away from the Earth.
She startled as her super-suit appeared around her in a burst of light. “How’d that happen?”
“I’ve been tinkering with your costume a little. Now it lives in hyperspace when you’re not using it,” the Physician said proudly. “You can thank me later4.”
“I said later!”
The suit vanished.
Allison giggled. “Costume on! Costume off! Costume on…”
The rapid flashes lit the Earth below like gamma-ray bursts. After half a minute of gleeful translocation, the Physician cut in with, “So, about Alberto…”
Allison went quiet mid trigger-phrase. “…Yeah?”
The dome’s walls returned.
“Why didn’t you tell me, Allie?” the Physician asked with something approaching concern in his voice. It sounded like wind over mossy rocks. “Telling your host you’re carrying a possessor-entity in your head is basic psychic-hygiene.”
“I didn’t know he could possess me!” protested Allison. Her head drooped forward. “…And I thought I’d get in trouble.”
“I’ve been there.”
“Of course. Back in the Royal Exhibition Hall, for starters.”
Despite herself, Allison smiled. Then she realized something. “Your song isn’t ugly anymore.”
“Happy to hear that,” said the Physician. “I think Alberto put your power through some brute-force acclimatization. You probably know everything I do now.” He turned and started walking towards the wall he’d entered through. “Should keep you occupied during your seclusion.”
“Wait, my what?”
The Physician stopped and twisted his head around, the rest of his body following a second later. “Allison, did you really think I’d let you wander around my home the second you woke up? After what you did to me?”
“But I didn’t do that stuff! It was Alberto!”
“Yes, but Alberto was wearing you at the time. And you’re are fully capable of doing it again.”
“How long are you going to keep me here?”
“Until I’m sure you’re you.”
“How do I do that?”
Allison’s mind conjured images of a colourfully dressed old lady lying dead in the dome. She ran over to the Physician, not even trying to jump over the tendril garden, and grabbed him by the wrist. “You can’t lock me in here…”
Allison trailed off as she rubbed her fingers against Dr. Smith. It felt like it was covered in—
“Clingwrap is a marvelous invention,” said the Physician. “It’ll be a shame when your kind figures out it causes cancer.”
Allison let go of him and scowled. Her eyes flashed. “I’m not gonna let you lock me up.”
“You have all Alberto’s powers, Allie. Tell me, what will happen to you if you try burning me here?”
Allison wished Dr. Smith hadn’t asked her to do that. It made her feel like a wimp for doing it. She closed her eyes.
In nine out of ten of the futures where she burned John Smith, he stood there and burned. The dome also became smooth and black. Quiet. In nine out of ten of those futures, the dome also filled with something bad for human lungs. The few futures where neither of those things happened involved rogue asteroids and space-shark5 attacks.
Allison sighed. “Can you at least give me a real bed?”
To the Physician’s credit, he did. He even euthanized it first.
Allison’s time in the dome was like a five-star remaster of her days in McClare. The room provided any kind of food she could name, so naturally she spent the first afternoon curled up with stomach cramps from too much cotton-candy. She wasn’t sure whether or not she was glad the floor ate her vomit.
The dome’s other main saving grace was that its ceiling could serve as a television. Allison hadn’t realized how much she missed TV during her months at the Institute. She would lie on her bed for hours, watching slightly stretched visions of William Hartnell and his friends fight very curved Daleks above her head like postmodern constellations6.
The Physician also allowed Allison visitors—two at a time, lest she subvert her friends’ minds and lead the Watercolours in a coup against him. Again.
One thing Allison, Billy, and David discovered was that the dome could produce shower-heads on demand. And thus—with David keeping the water from being absorbed into the all-devouring floor—a dream was realized: actually flooding a shower.
“Water off!” Allie ordered once it was up their shoulders.
Billy floated on his back, kicking languidly while shooting water out of his mouth. “I tried this back at my house.” He smiled smugly at David. “Got it up to my tail. Without water-magic.”
David splashed Billy, laughing. “Screw you!”
“I got it up to my neck,” Allison said casually. “Used a cork gun. My folks had to tear up the carpet in front of the bathroom.”
It was hard for the boys to be impressed by that. Allison set the bar pretty high for herself.
“I don’t know why you wear clothes all the time,” David told Billy. “You have fur. Awesome fur!”
The tiger-boy flicked his fingers in the water. “Fur doesn’t have pockets,” He grinned. “Or a cape.”
On the subject of clothes, Arnold and Mabel had news. Namely, new suits, grown from a scrap of David’s own.
The pair posed proudly in front of Allison. The main body of Arnold’s suit resembled a black dance leotard, covered in stars nestled between forks of lightning. He also had a cloak and hood, similarly speckled with stars. As tradition dictated, the space around his eyes and the bridge of his nose was concealed by a strip of dark, feathered fabric. His chest bore a silver flame, divided by yet another jagged lightning bolt.
Mabel’s costume was simpler, but also much more busy: a three piece suit composed of comic panels and photographs. The inside of her jacket appeared to be lined with pages, like she was a bipedal book herself.
“So,” said Mabel, full of self-assurance, “whose costume is better?”
“They’re not costumes,” said Arnold. “They’re super-suits.”
“Whatever,” said Mabel. “Either way, I look fabulous.”
“Hmm.” Allison squinted and rubbed her chin. “…I’m gonna go with Mabel’s. It’s so… pretty.”
Arnold rolled his eyes. “Figures you girls would stick together.” He lit up, the lightning across his frame glowing bright against the dark fabric. “You can’t tell me this isn’t awesome!”
Allison folded her arms. “Our mutual girliness has nothing to do with my decision. Mabel has way more colours than you.”
“It’s useful, too!” exclaimed Mabel, gesturing down at herself. “I’m covered in pictures! It’s like I’m wearing a buncha ammo-belts!” She conjured a pair of ray-guns and spun them in her hands. “This girl don’t need to lug around her books anymore…”
“Yeah, yeah, I get it,” said Arnold, sitting down next to Allison on her bed. He pulled his hood back. “…Allie, can I ask you something?”
“Sure. About what?” asked Allison.
“About what happened at Exhibition Hall.”
“Oh. Sure, I guess?”
Arnold took a deep breath. “Did Alberto kill Lawrence, or did I do it?”
Allison considered lying. If Alberto had made her make Arnold kill Lawrence, then it was nobody’s fault but the esper’s. Arnold’s conscience would be clear.
No. Lawrence had tried juggling secrets, and look where it got him.
“It was you,” Allison said, her voice small. “Sorry.”
Arnold exhaled and rubbed his hair. “…Is it bad that I don’t feel bad?”
“Eh,” said Mabel as she sat down next to her friends. “Laurie was pretty horrible. Plus, I don’t think he really wanted to be alive anymore.”
“…Great,” said Arnold, “now I feel stupid. I did him a favour.”
Mabel patted him on the back. “Welcome to the Murderer’s Club. Least you did yours on purpose…”
“That anything like Legacy7?” asked Arnold. “What’re the perks?”
“You get a club jacket.” Mabel said. “Made of skin.”
“Don’t know,” said Allison. “Maybe knowing you can do it if you need to?”
“Just realized,” said Arnold, “Billy and David are the only ones now who haven’t killed someone.”
Mabel giggled. “God, what would make Billy kill someone?”
“Insulting the honour of the Famous Five?” suggested Allison.
The children laughed.
“Allie,” Arnold said, “I’m sorry about that thing in the pool. I know it was really Alberto’s fault, but, I mean, someone should say sorry for it, right?”
Allison shrugged. “You’ve seen me without my clothes on a lot. Also…” She pecked Arnold on the mouth. “Just in case you’re still all confused about the girl-boy thing.”
Arnold put a finger to his lips. “Woah…”
Mabel huffed. “Is everyone going to kiss you, Arnold?” She pulled him around and planted one herself. “There,” she said. “Now all you need is Billy.”
“Eww,” said Arnold, smiling. “He’s like, a million years littlier than us8!”
Allison’s friends kept her sane. Maybe too sane. She didn’t hear a peep from Alberto for days. On the one hand, Allison had had enough of Alberto to last both of their lifetimes. On the other hand, how was she supposed to get the Physician to trust her if Alberto hadn’t even tried anything?
Unfortunately, the Physician had his own solution.
Allison jerked awake to the Physician’s voice blaring through the dome.
“Good news, Allie! I know how we can nip this Alberto problem in the bud!”
Allison clapped her hands over ears. “Too loud!”
“Sorry,” the Physician’s disembodied voice said, a touch less booming. “Got a bit excited there.”
Allison rubbed the sleep from eyes, while her super-suit stopped pretending to be a set of pyjamas. “I don’t think Alberto’s a problem anymore. I haven’t even heard him since I woke up in this stupid dome.”
“Allie, you’re not insulting me when you say things like that, you’re insulting the ship. And she has enough to deal with.”
“Like you?” Allison asked acidly.
Allison didn’t know why she bothered. “I still don’t think Alberto’s gonna try anything.”
“He’s just sulking,” the Physician replied. “Trust me, Allie, I’ve known that boy a lot longer than you have. Someone will mention their daughter or something and he’ll come roaring back.”
Blearily, Allison asked, “So what’s your idea?”
“She will be along shortly.”
The wall of the dome opened. A girl about Allison’s age stepped through. She was willowy, even more so than Allison herself. Her lack of clothing gave her a deeply unwelcome view of the girl’s ribs. She had a thin mop of straw-coloured hair plastered to her scalp by the thin layer of slime that coated her body. Her eyes were painfully blue, and she had the same polish scent as the Physician’s clonal nursery. Her expression seemed somehow both blank and slightly startled.
“Good morning, Allison.”
Allison blinked. The girl was clearly a superhuman. Her song was surprisingly deep and steady. Like a cello. But much of it had the same unnatural orderliness as the Physician’s drones.
“Who the heck are you?”
The Physician answered for the girl. “This is Drone #1248.”
The girl added, “I’m here to be consumed by you.”
There was no fear in her voice. Not even hesitation. Just plain, bare fact.
Allison shook her head. “What are you talking about?”
“Look, Allie,” said the Physician. “The way I see it, you’re not expunging Alberto from yourself any time soon. What you need is an ally. Someone to mind the shop while you’re astral projecting or the like. A real, imaginary friend.”
Allison stared at the girl. “You want me to eat you?”
The girl nodded. “That is how my creator explained it to me, yes.”
“But you’re a kid!”
“More of an infant, really,” said the Physician. “I only hatched her ten hours ago. I figured a newborn drone your sex and state of physical maturation would make for more seamless integration.” There was something like a smile in the alien’s voice. “You can grow up together…”
“I won’t do it!” insisted Allison. “It’s horrible!”
“You sure, Allie?” The Physician addressed the tank-bred girl. “Show her.”
The girl nodded, before rising into the air.
Allison looked at the girl, floating in front of her. She’d always looked down on flight… out loud. Now, a new, yet familiar hunger stirred inside her…
She shook herself. “I won’t eat her! It’s wrong.”
“I’m disappointed with you, Allison,” the Physician said. “Here I thought we might have something in common. But no, you had to go and rub your smug, uni-minded blinders in my face. She can fly, Allison. You could fly. You don’t know how long it took me to get a drone that just plain flew, instead of riding a cloud or turning into a swarm of bugs or something like that.” A low gurgling sound filled the dome. “I guess the poor thing has to die then.”
Allison’s eyes burned. “I won’t let you hurt her!”
A burbly, watery laugh. “It won’t be me who kills her.”
“Creator says my liver is failing,” said the girl. She frowned slightly. “It does kind of hurt inside…”
Allison looked into the girl’s mind—that thin, but steadily weaving web of self. She was telling the truth. Allison could feel the pain gnawing at her.
She could think of a dozen ways to save the girl… if she had Żywie’s song.
“See?” said the Physician. “It’s win-win! You get a partner and the ability to fly, she gets to continue existing in an immortal body, and I get to study the effects of your assimilation power on a human brain! I’ll leave you girls to get to know each other.”
There was a clicking noise like an intercom shutting off, but Allison highly doubted the Physician wasn’t watching them like a hawk. She sighed and patted her bed.
Evidently, whatever education the Physician imprinted on the young drone was enough to tell her what the gesture meant She lay down next to the girl.
Allison looked into the future. If she didn’t assimilate the drone, she would die. Then the Physician would make another. And another. She watched him injecting them one after the next with different drugs. First liver failure, then pancreatic cancer, then strokes. It made her sick.
“Do you want to keep being alive?” Allison asked.
“I think so,” the girl answered. “I like the feeling of the air on my skin and floor under my feet. It’d be nice to keep feeling things like that.”
God, thought Allison. That’s all she’s got?
“Even if you have to live inside me?”
“Why not? It’s what I was made for.”
“Do you want a name? A real one, I mean. ‘Drone #1248’ takes way too long to say.”
“Do I need a name?”
“It’d be good if you had one.”
Allison thought about it. “Well, if you’re gonna be a part of me, maybe Miri? It’s sort of a name I used to have.”
“Sure,” said the newly named Miri. “Sounds nice.”
What other names has she heard?
Allison squirmed. “I’m not gonna keep you all cooped up in my head. We can work out a time-table or something.”
For the first time, Miri smiled. “Thank you.”
They watched movies for a while. About half the Disney canon, in fact9. Miri was transfixed. At one point, Allison made the dome play some Beatles songs and tried dancing with the drone. They got their feet tangled a bit.
Eventually, though, Miri said, “Allison, my tummy’s hurting more. I think it’s time for us to merge.”
Allison nodded solemnly. “Alright.”
They laid back down on the bed. Allison grabbed Miri’s hand.
She reached for the other child’s song and sunk her power in it. She wrenched it towards her being. Allison felt the the girl spasming beside her. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see blood hemorrhaging from every hole in her face.
Allison sucked in a long, shuddering breath. Memories flooded her mind. Perfect weightlessness. Fluid carrying her onto a soft, sandy floor. First steps.
The universe. Everything. Flinching away from it. Weightlessness again.
Allison floated off the bed. It was done. Below her the floor began to swallow her bed, along with Miri’s body. Allison supposed she would be waking up within her soon enough.
“You were hiding, weren’t you?” Allison said aloud. “Waiting for the Physician to let me out.”
“Got me there,” said Alberto, standing below Allison. He lit an imaginary cigarette. “God, it’s getting crowded in here.”
Allison rolled in the air to look down at the esper’s ghost. “Alberto, why do you want to be alive?”
“What kind of question is that?” he spat. “I just want to take care of my kid.”
“Eliza’s doing that.”
Alberto growled. “Eliza—”
“Do you really think Eliza would hurt Ophelia?”
“She hurt Adam.”
“Because Lawrence made her do it. And he’s dead.”
“And do you think you could really do a better job?”
Alberto didn’t answer, instead protesting, “Why shouldn’t I get to be alive?”
“But nobody liked you. Not even you liked you.”
“What chance did I have? Lawrence was basically my dad. And he hated me. For years.”
“…You still wanted him to love you again,” Allison realized. “That’s why you helped him all those years.”
Alberto made to speak, but stopped. He looked down at his feet. His image began to fade from Allison’s vision. “Christ…”
Allison alighted to the patch of floor where her bed had been. Where Miri had been.
The wall opened. The Physician was satisfied.
DOPO chief Wilson Brenneck frowned through the one-way window at the comatose esper lying in the hospital bed. Alberto Moretti’s body was riddled with tubes and wires, all trying to keep his body alive past the death of his mind.
It hadn’t been a good week for Brenneck. The Australians had managed to get attacked again. Colonel Penderghast hadn’t reported for duty in over a week. People all around the world were panicking about alien invasion like it was 1938 again10. 1966 was beginning to look like a worse year for US security than 1962.
Brenneck sighed and turned to his science advisor. “Is there any chance of recovery?”
Dr. Johannes shook his head. “Slim to nil, sir. It’s like an egg-beater was jammed into the poor boy’s brain.”
“Great,” the chief said, lighting a cigar. “My warlock’s missing, and our big coup from the Aussies is a dud.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that.”
“You said his brain was wrecked.”
Much to Wilson’s displeasure, Dr. Johannes grinned. “His gonads still work, don’t they?11”
1. A hundred and ninety-one years prior. Officially, the annexation of Enlil by the Southern Spiral Empire was triggered by many of her nations’ tendency to exile criminals and mutants to less developed worlds. Unofficially, it was out of a desire to incorporate the planet’s more talented telepaths into the Empire’s intelligence services. ↩
2. Specifically Teres Va, the matriarch of the Waemerrot pantheon, who they say first taught Enlilians the speech of the gods. ↩
3. For a detailed exploration of the Throneworld caste system, we recommend Andros Kaorvian’s monograph The Other Side of the Rainbow, available in print, digital, and neural-pollen formats across the civilized galaxy. ↩
4. What Dr. Smith didn’t mention was that he’d poached the research of the Japanese super-scientist Doctor Toshiro Kaminari, who went on to create the inaugural Sentai team in 1975. ↩
5. A semi-corporeal astramorph known to prey on starships in the form of metal eating, soul devouring relativistic swarms. The only known predator of young star-gods. ↩
6. In other words, Allison managed to invent binge-watching nearly fifty years early, but we won’t hold that against her. ↩
7. An Australian organization founded by servicemen in 1923 to care for the dependants of deceased military personnel. ↩
8. Eight months. ↩
9. An easier task in the 1960s. ↩
10. When a drunken Gatekeeper descended upon the Earth for New Year’s Eve. ↩
11. Project MKUltra: A mid-20th century CIA program studying mind control. Originally focused around psychoactive drugs such as LSD, the program was dying down in the mid-60s only to receive a shot in the arm in the form of Alberto Moretti’s brain dead body—specifically, his sperm. The revived MKUltra would go on to produce hundreds of esper agents (“Langley babies”) impacting the human race for much of its continued existence. ↩