Still, she could not erase her biological instincts by sheer force of will. Her species had been carefully designed to survive and spread through the cold depths of space. Her libido had won Merion to her cause and gotten her this far. Who knew where it might yet take them?
Trysta was worried about that. Her methodical checking of temporal markers had recently revealed a Reality Change. She believed that Change had not yet greatly impacted events in Wales, but how could she be sure? So far, the only local change she had discovered was that the vial of sedronic matter provided by Rycleu had vanished.
The worst thing was, Trysta had discovered the Reality Change while Merion was traveling. She had not yet had the chance to discuss with him how they should alter their plans. Still, how could his efforts to boost research on computer memory systems harm this new Reality they were now in?
Trysta half expected Rycleu to come walking up to the font door, ready to explain what was going on, why Reality had been changed. But only half. Less than half. Trysta could find no trace of Rycleu in this new Reality.
|Trysta and Merion|
At this moment, there was simply nothing useful to be done about the fact that other time travelers might exist in the Primitive, possibly working to counter her own actions. The frustration and tension she felt had an obvious solution, but Merion was not on hand to scratch that itch. And there seemed little hope of hunting up action in town, not in this prudish era.
Still, Asterothrope females were designed to be efficient and enthusiastic producers of children, allowing for rapid population growth on newly colonized planets. Trysta could not stop thinking about her strong instinct to reproduce. She knew that in the far future of Earth, the Asterothropes had successfully colonize several planets in nearby star systems, and on new virgin worlds there had been some competition in the baby making realm. Supposedly some Asterothrope females had produced fifty or sixty children.
Trysta was struggling to adapt her libido to the cultural conditions that existed in Wales during the 1930s. Andrew was frequently out of town, visiting centers of industry and research throughout the British Isles, leaving Trysta alone and lonely. She had established a tentative relationship with a local woman which provided her with an occasional sexual outlet for times when Andrew was on the road, but the one play partner she had found was married and not often available. Trysta was still carefully exploring the local population in search for additional sexual partners.
She was now two weeks into Andrew's first trip to the European mainland, and with that long separation and the Reality Change, Trysta was not in a stable mood.
A movement outside caught her attention. A stranger on the road. The man paused for a moment and seemed to look up at the window where Trysta sat gazing down. He came up the walk to the the front door.
Trysta ran down the stairs and opened the door just before he used the knocker for the second time. The man pretended to be a recent immigrant from New Zealand, but Trysta had a good ear and immediately doubted that his accent matched his story. He introduced himself as William Ward, a writer in search of a room to rent. Trysta was immediately intrigued by the idea of renting a room to William. He was tall and handsome, almost pretty, but Merion was quite possessive and would certainly not tolerate another man living there in the house with Trysta. Certainly not one as young and charming as this.
|Trysta and William|
William seemed content to talk endlessly about his journey from New Zealand to Wales. Trysta was happy to listen and gaze at his beautiful, almost girlish face.
Trysta was also quite happy with his willingness to maintain a discrete relationship.William rented a room in town and was always available to Trysta whenever Andrew was traveling.
When Merion returned from the mainland they discussed the Reality Change and likelihood that Rycleu had been swept out of existence. Merion was deeply disturbed by the fact that nuclear war had been replaced by a different, equally dreadful future. They agreed to abandon the search for a physics researcher who could make use of sedrons. With the sedron sample gone, there seemed no hope of introducing sedronic technologies into this century. They would continue to work to advance computing technology with the hope that better computer memory would be useful for Humanity in any Reality. Trysta could see that Merion needed to do something.
For Trysta, her ability to use her nanosymbiont and gaze into alternative Realities left her depressed and not very enthusiastic about Earth's future. She could see no alternative Reality that included a happy and peaceful future for Earth, only timelines that quickly led to humans being replaced by another species, an hermaphroditic primate not too different in some ways from her own species, the Asterothropes. Still, she had not come this far just to have Earth reach the same end point that had been reached in her time, in her Reality. But what could she do?
Seeing nothing that she could do to alter this Reality, she lived in the moment and allowed herself the pleasure of perfecting her relationship with William. And that was almost perfect. He introduced William to Merion and they all got along well as a trio. William pretended to be writing a book about robotics, and in fact, he seemed to know a lot about the subject.
Merion suggested to Trysta that they find a way to make use of William in working towards the goal of advancing research on computer systems, but Trysta was uneasy with that idea. She was enjoying William, but nervous about the odd coincidence of him showing up in Wales just when the there had been a Reality Change. Trysta knew how she had been trained to entice and entrap and use Merion to change Reality. William seemed unnaturally suave and calm and effective in making Trysta feel appreciated and happy. She was so pleased with her triangular relationship with William and Merion that she doubted how such a perfect triangle could actually form. Wouldn't it have to be drafted and crafted and made perfect in just the way she had gone after Merion?
After a few months of joyfully playing the William and Trysta and Merion triangle game, Trysta was dismayed to discovered that she was pregnant. She allowed Andrew to believe that he was the father, but Trysta began a careful investigation of "William".
Using her nanites and some improvised lab equipment, she was able to confirm that William was a genetically unusual human. Just how unusual she could not be sure with the primitive tools at her disposal.
When Trysta and William next met he could tell immediately that she was not her usual self, eager to continue the game of exploring their intimate physical relationship.
"William" appeared on her door step late in the evening after Andrew had departed for London. Rather than let him into the house Trysta left him standing outside.
Trysta attempted some rather blunt verbal probing of his past and his claimed earlier life in New Zealand. William, equally blunt, asked her to simply tell him what was on her mind. She did: "You're not from New Zealand. Who -or what- are you?"
He replied simply, "I was trained for a mission; to come here and help you and Andrew in any way that I can."
During her training for a time travel mission deep into her past, Trysta had been warned to always be prepared for the possibility that Eternity might not be destroyed when she and Merion arrived in the Primitive.
Trysta spent hours each day using her Reality viewing ability to search for evidence of on-going time travel. Having found some hints of continuing Reality Changes, she wondered if "William" was a time traveler and, if so, exactly what was his reason for being in the 20th century? Genetically he was not an Asterothrope, she could tell that much by direct comparison of their chromosomes. However, his chromosome pattern mysteriously hinted at a partial Asterothrope lineage.
In 20th century Wales, Noÿs and Andrew were using the names Trysta and Merion Iwedon. She was not happy to hear William use Andrew's real name.
Trysta asked incredulously, "Why the trickish game? Why not tell me the truth the first time that we met?"
William replied rather uneasily, "I was trained to slowly gain your trust. I was warned that if I was too direct in my approach then you might not feel that you needed my help and that you might resent the idea of a helper being provided."
Trysta demanded, "What else were you told? To get me pregnant?"
William smiled rather sheepishly and nodded. "I was warned that it was likely that you and I would have children. In fact..." He seemed to think twice about what he was going to say and fell silent.
Trysta warned him, "Don't try to keep secrets from me. What else were you told?"
William was now being made nervous by her brittle tone of voice. "I was warned that you are dangerous and not to antagonize you. And I'm not sure that you really want to hear the truth."
Trysta, growing increasing exasperated by his evasiveness, insisted on the truth. "If you start lying to me and withholding information I will show you how dangerous I can be."
William chuckled. "Noÿs, I volunteered for this mission even though I was warned that you might kill me."
She snapped, "I'm Trysta. And never say 'Andrew'. His name is Merion. If you threaten to blow our cover I won't hesitate to kill you."
He reached out and gently placed one of his hands on hers where it rested against the door. "I was well prepared for my mission. I'm years past the time when I was afraid of dying. Let me come in...let us talk this through."
Impressed by his cool response to her snappishness, she felt slightly silly and Trysta finally swung open the door and let him into the house. They sat down and Trysta placed the candle she had been carrying on the low table that was between them. She said, "Please use the names Trysta and Merion. I suppose 'William Ward' is not your real name."
William nodded. "No, I adopted that name for this mission. I grew up using the name 'Ekcolir'." He continued his story. "I was told that it would be a good strategy...that an effective way to gain your trust would be...if we did have children. I was specifically designed with the intention of making it very likely that we would successfully breed and have children together."
Trysta, still upset over this bizarre turn of events, had to admit to herself that William had been well designed. She asked, "Designed by who?"
William spoke for twenty minutes about his training at Lendhalen. He ended his story, "I don't know how Syon knew so much about you and A-, Merion. I asked about the name 'Syon' -Noÿs spelled backwards- but I never got an explanation."
Inwardly Trysta smiled. The name 'Syon' was like a coded message from the far upwhen that only she could possibly understand. Given Andrew's puritanical sexual mores and his inexperience and insecurity with women, Trysta had never discussed with him the sexual practices she had grown up with as part of Asterothrope society. While being trained for her time travel mission, Noÿs had lived with an hermaphroditic partner who, following tradition, adopted the name Syon as a respectful reflection of 'Noÿs'. Nobody in the Primitive should know the significance of the name 'Syon' for Noÿs. So, if William did not know the reason why his trainer used the name Syon then he was not from her time.
|Syon at Lendhalen|
William rubbed his chin, "Well, I suppose that might have been a lie, but, well...I had a pretty long and intimate relationship with Syon. I do think that she was an artificial lifeform, what they called a robot at Lendhalen."
Trysta had to ask, "So, this robot was designed to have the physical form of a human female? Did this robot look like me?"
William thought back over the years he had spent at Lendhalen and replied, "No...not really, although I must say...there is something about the way you...move....and the way you talk that reminds me of Syon."
Trysta was intrigued by the story of William's training at Lendhalen and tempted to ask for some more details about Syon, but she said, "You never answered my question. Who designed you with the intention that we have children together?"
William shrugged. "I'm not sure what more I can tell you. The folks at Lendhalen call themselves Interventionists. They want to help Earthlings develop their technology...find ways to advance human civilization here on Earth. I was told that you share those goals and that my mission is to help you. The whole operation at Lendhalen is rather secretive. I'm just a foot soldier...I really can't explain the roots of Interventionist strategy."
Trysta was far from satisfied by that answer. She pressed on, "Where is this mysterious Lendhalen?"
"I don't know exactly. I believe that Lendhalen is located on a world far from Earth, towards the center of the galaxy."
"You said that you were teleported to Earth. Exactly where and when did you arrive on Earth?"
"What other Interventionist agents are on Earth? Who did you work with in New Zealand?"
"Sorry, but the only Interventionists I know on Earth are you and your husband. I was the only Interventionist being trained at Lendhalen. I got the impression that there has been a long history of sending Interventionist agents to Earth, but there have never been very many. I was taught that Interventionists are not welcome on Earth and there is danger that I might be captured and interrogated, so I was not told very much about other Interventionists."
"Captured by who?"
"I was taught that there is a police force watching over Earth. A team of Overseers watches for Interventionists."
"Maybe you know them by another name. I was taught that there has been a long struggle on Earth between the Overseers and the Interventionists. We Interventionists want to help the Earthlings advance their civilization. The Overseers try to prevent us from providing the Earthlings with new knowledge and advanced technologies."
Trysta had sent some nanite probes into William's brain and she felt certain that he believed he had told her the truth about Interventionists and Overseers and his mission on Earth. She was still shaken by the implications of what he had said and not at all certain that he could be trusted. "I'm still upset that you deceived me and impregnated me."
He grinned and asked, "Are you really upset? I'm pleased that we have a...do you know if it is a..." William hesitated. "...boy or a girl?"
Trysta replied, "A boy. I've already named him: Thomas."
"A boy! Thomas? Fantastic! I can't wait to meet my son."
"Why did you hesitate...before asking about the sex?"
William shook his head and rubbed his chin in contemplation. "Syon told me some strange stories. I was raised as a human and you seem human to me, but Syon said..." William looked uncomfortable and fell silent.
Noÿs got up and moved across the room, her motion setting the candle flame flickering. She sat down in William's lap and draped herself across him. Trysta whispered into his ear, "I think I can guess what she said about me."
William let his hands move over the soft contours of her body. "Syon said that you are not human."
"To be honest, I'm also very excited to be pregnant. That robot, Syon, told you the truth. I do want children. My problem is that I have always imagined that having children would be a very carefully planned affair. I'm more than a bit nervous about you being the father of my son. I think I understand why you had to be designed for this mission. If you were human then we would not have been interfertile."
William thought about what he had been told by the Fru'wu while he was at Klyz. He said, "I was told that I'm an Ek'col, a special type of human. Most Ek'col are hermaphrodites. They told me that you can also have children who are hermaphrodites."
"That's true, either hermaphrodites or females. I was amazed to discover that our child is male. I never imagined having a son."
"I was told that there are few Ek'col males. Actually, the Fru'wu told me that the Ek'col were designed and created specifically so that a male could be sent on this mission."
Noÿs laughed, "So, you were designed and trained to come here and seduce me...to make it possible for me to have a son? What is 'Fru'wu'?"
William relaxed, pleased that Noÿs was able to laugh about their situation. "I'm sorry I tricked you and sprang such a surprise on you. But it is a wonderful surprise. And now you know that I am here for you. My mission...my official mission...was to help you and your husband, but my personal mission...my commitment...is to always be here for you...with you, when I can be." They kissed and William started to slowly undress Noÿs, one button at a time. Then a strange memory bubbled up inside him. "Thomas, eh? I'd forgotten something from Lendhalen."
During her own training, Trysta had worked closely with a mentor named 'Tomaught', transliterated from the language of her homewhen. Noÿs had long planned to name her first daughter in honor of Tomaught, but upon realizing she would have a son she decided on the English name Thomas. Now she asked, "What about Thomas?"
"You probably don't want to hear this, but...in bed, Syon was like you, frisky and playful...insatiable. At other times Syon seemed as old as a mountain...maybe senile. She'd start mumbling and have conversations with people who were not there. One time, she probably thought I had fallen asleep, she was lying there in our bed talking. I remember now, she kept talking about someone named Thomas...who had a sister...what was her name? Goldie? Gertie? Gwen? I don't remember...I was half asleep."
Trysta asked, "What was she saying about this Thomas?"
William shook his head. "Nothing that made sense. I have a good memory, but I have not thought about this for years... There were many other names, too, besides Thomas, all in a jumble. 'Izhiun', 'Deomede', 'Rechmain'...so many others....I can't remember. They were names that meant nothing to me. But this reminded me...when Syon was telling me that I should try to become your secret lover she once said that you and I would have a son. At the time I laughed, but looking back at my memory...I think she knew. Does that make sense? How could she have known? In fact, I asked her that."
"What did she say?"
"She said that there were some things I was not allowed to know, but...well, she said, 'Trysta will know.' Syon often spoke as if she knew you very well. At first I assumed that she had visited Earth and met you, although she always denied that." William dismissed the mysteries of Syon from his thoughts and returned to the pleasurable process of undressing Trysta.
Trysta wondered: at some future time would she find a way to travel back through time and try to send messages to her earlier self? Was the most fundamental of such possible messages the mere fact that, even with Eternity destroyed, time travel was still possible?
She asked, "What did you say about 'Fru'wu'?"
He explained, "There are aliens at work, trying to help the people of Earth. The Fru'wu helped get me to Earth. They seem to know a lot about you."
Trysta wanted to trust William, but she still could not fathom the way he had suddenly appeared in her life, knowing so much about her, but also knowing so little about her origin in the far future, all at the same time. Trysta thought that she would be wise to send William away and tell Andrew the truth about her pregnancy, but in her heart she knew that she did not want to tell Andrew such truths, truths that would be so painful for him to hear and adjust to. She decided that William was a source of information that she could not afford to send away.
Somehow she would get to the bottom of the puzzle that he had revealed to her. The idea that there were alien beings involved was a new facet to the puzzle. With Rycleu apparently missing from this Reality...and Trysta began thinking of this as the "Ekcolir Reality"...could she afford to not explore the possibility of getting help from these aliens?
And besides, William was a source of other things, too. She told William to get upstairs in her bed.