Friday, July 1, 2016

First Contact

Ivory would jokingly refer to the
Final Reality as the Mayness Reality
Original art by Dorothy Monet
...just before the Buld Reality - 1971

Trysta was on her way out the front door, struggling as usual to pull herself free of the warm and comfortable embrace of Deomede. At the end of a long wet kiss she pushed herself away and skipped out the doorway. She called gaily over her shoulder, "I'll be back soon."

Trysta and Deomede were a pretty pair. The first day when Trysta had bustled into his life, Deomede had become infatuated with her. Now, after three decades of life together, he was still obsessed with Trysta and devoted to her mysterious mission on Earth. The only problem in their relationship was that Trysta had never concealed the fact that one day she would complete her Time Change operation in the 20th century, walk out of his life and be gone. Deomede even knew the precise date of her departure.

Deomede had not released one of Trysta's hands and he jerked her around, preventing her from running off. Her head swung around and the sparkling wave of her long, slightly wavy brown hair distracted Deomede, reminding him that in just a few days she would be gone from his life. Quickly regaining his composure, he spoke with a seriousness that startled Trysta, "While you are in the workshop today, please look at a 2012 View File I sent to you, Trity."

As was his habit, Deomede had risen early and while performing routine research for his encyclopedic History Of Earth in the Buld Reality he'd noticed something odd. Now there was a seldom heard tremor in his voice as he told Trysta, "Something changed in Time." He now let go of Trysta's hand and fluttered his fingers in farewell.

She assured him, "I'll look into it." Trysta turned and ran down the half flight of stairs that formed the entrance to their home, regaining her momentum. For the past few weeks Trysta had been moving at high speed, her kinetics reflecting the fact that she was bubbling with excitement. Joy! It was now less than a week before she would take her last trip through time.

structure of the Mayness attractor
Trysta felt like she was flying as she went down the auxiliary access corridor towards the workshop. The passageway was dimly lit by a dancing wall animations composed from brightly colored abstract representations of the attractors that governed Earth's Reality Chain.

Grean's Workshop
Trysta's high spirits were only slightly lowered by the calm and quiet that prevailed inside the workshop. She hadn't seen her partner in Time, Grean, for several days, not since shortly after Trysta had completed her most recent trip through Time. With Grean mysteriously absent and Trysta's life in the 20th century nearly over, the workshop seemed haunted and eerie like a crypt awaiting the arrival of an important occupant.

The only "work" Trysta had planed for this day was some casual sight seeing: Viewing those parts of the near-future Reality that gave her the most concern. Trysta always made a special effort not to hover over her children, but she intended to spend part of her few remaining Viewing sessions observing her son, Thomas.

Thomas was Trysta's oldest surviving child and there was a special link between the two of them that could not be ignored. Even as she walked through the gloomy workshop she could feel the steady and reassuring hum of his mind by way of their shared nanite-assisted telepathic communications channel. Sadly, their mind link was always quite weak during those times when Trysta was inside the Hierion Domain.

Trysta entered her Reality Viewing Chamber and tried to shift her thoughts from Thomas back to Deomede and his concerns about the year 2012. Of course, that was to be a special year for Thomas since he would be one of the few Earthlings there on the Mall in Washington who were on-hand to greet the Buld spaceship when it landed on Earth.

Trysta found Deomede's View file in the data buffer and activated it as she jumped into the bucket seat at the center of the Chamber. The file contained a first order differential, comparing an archived record of 2012 to the current "live" view of that time, still more than 40 years in Trysta's future. Deomede had highlighted some of the changes to Time that he had detected, but what he had seen in the future were small alterations to Earth's timeline; subtle and possibly only the result of a microchange. The archived version of 2012 that was stored inside the workshop represented the approved future of Earth that Trysta and Grean had jointly brought into existence.

The Buld Reality is the Final Reality, at the end of our Reality Chain
Deomede and Trysta were living out the last few days of their long love affair during the fuzzy transition into the Final Reality. Because of the unavoidable nature of that jerking and swirling discontinuity, hundreds of tiny microchanges to Time had been percolating through the structure of Reality.

Tyrsta and Grean were still only part way through the most complex Reality Change that had ever been attempted. Since further time travel would soon be made impossible by a dimensional shift of the universe, Trysta had spent the past decade carefully fine-tuning the Change. It had become her motto: fine-tune the Final Reality.

Trysta knew that most of the swarm of microchanges that had been occurring within Earth's timeline of the early 20th centuries were the result of her own impending time travel mission into the far past. There was an unavoidable feedback loop by which some of her actions in the past influenced her actions in the future which again modified her actions in the past, and so on. That echoing feedback had been taken into account during the creation of the Final Reality by Trysta and Grean. Luckily, because of temporal momentum, most of these microchanges were of little or no consequence and they caused no significant alteration to the future of Earth and the human species.

The two Reality Viewers in Grean's workshop were the finest in existence, utilizing every advanced technological trick known to the Huaoshy. Trysta and Grean each had their own Viewer, but they were functionally identical. For decades the workshop had been alive with daily activity as Grean and Trysta had both used the Viewers during a relentless search for the perfect future. Trysta now focused her Viewer into the details of 2012, searching through the fine structure of Reality in a careful and precise way that was impossible for the little Viewer that Deomede kept in his study and used for his historical research.

The Eanru Intervention
Trysta was seeking to discover the origin of the Time change that Deomede had detected in 2012. Using her Viewer, she traced the pattern of temporal shifts back through the years, back into the previous millennium. Finally Trysta found the temporal origin of the change in 1942, a year that Trysta knew well, having lived through it more than once. Each of those lives lived had been in a different Reality with its own somewhat different timeline of Earthly events.

Next, Trysta focused in on the geographical location of the Time change and as she did so, the Viewer display patterns began to seem familiar to her. Suddenly, revealed by a subtle focus adjustment, the ground zero of this temporal change was displayed to Trysta in pin point resolution: Eanru House.

Trysta was familiar with Eanru House because of events in the previous Reality. In the Ekcolir Reality, stories published within the science fiction literary genre had served as the means to prepare Earthlings for First Contact with the alien Fru'wu. A new variation on that theme, the exact nature of First Contact with aliens in the Buld Reality, was one of the important changes to Earth's timeline that Trysta and Grean had engineered for inclusion in the Final Reality. Trysta and Grean called the Final Reality the "Buld" Reality because when the First Contact event came in 2012 it would involve the arrival of a Buld spaceship, not a Fru'wu ship.

Science fiction from just before the
Final Reality. Reconstruction by Ivory
using original cover art by Harold McCauley
This is a whimsical depiction of
Gohrlay undergoing destructive scanning.
Special thanks to Miranda Hedman for
"Black Cat 9 - stock", used to create
the blue "sedronite".
In the Ekcolir Reality, Eanru House had been an important gathering place for members of the Writers Block and the home of Shana Peterson, the founding editor of Future Science magazine. Given the historical importance of Future Science, Trysta and Grean had bowed to sentimental impulses: the terms of the Trysta-Grean Pact allowed for a version of Future Science magazine to also exist in the Final Reality. According to their careful plans, it was to be the journal that would publish a dramatic and startling account of First Contact with the Buld. Staring into her Viewer, Trysta could now see how that plan had been shattered. The Reality Change that she had traced to Eanru House was limited in scope, but it had removed, almost surgically, The Magazine of Future Science from existence. Trysta thought: this is a small Change. Could it just be a chance event? Something told her NO! and her heart was pounding.

Residing within the Hierion Domain, Trysta and Deomede had both been insulated from any possible effects of this recent Reality Change. Trysta could well remember  The Magazine of Future Science and how it would play an important role in the future of Humanity. Or, she corrected herself, how it should. Trysta had previously Viewed that future and she had read part of a few issues of The Magazine of Future Science.

Since most people on Earth had replicoids in the Hierion Domain, Trysta could quickly check for alterations to individuals who might have been effected by this Reality Change. She noticed that the sex of one particular science fiction author had inexplicably changed from female to male, but otherwise the people of 20th century Earth were not altered. For a minute Trysta tried to imagine the significance of such a sex change then she shrugged and moved on to other concerns. Her attention was captured by a flashing message popup that was being displayed by her Viewer.

Even more startling than the existence of this Reality Change was the fact that Trysta's Viewer was now indicating the presence of descriptor file corresponding to it in the workshop's database of catalogued Reality Changes. There was an unavoidable conclusion to be drawn: this was a Changed that had been initiated from right there in the workshop! Immediately Trysta knew that Grean had made this Change to Earth's timeline. Trysta was dismayed: for some reason, Grean had sabotaged their carefully executed plan for the future! Although Grean had not bothered to mention this Change to Trysta, neither had Grean tried to hide it. That was comforting and Trysta's pulse slowed, once again approaching a normal rate.

Upon looking into the catalogue of Reality Changes, Trysta quickly saw that Grean had recorded the structural details of the entire Reality Change and assigned it a code designation: the Eanru Intervention. Trysta watched the Time Gate recording in dismay. Grean had brought the Editor to the workshop and she carefully showed him how the Change was made. Trysta felt a wave of nausea when she realized that Grean had dispassionately killed Henry Peterson, the husband of Shana. It was his death in 1942 that had caused this Change to Earth's timeline. Trysta could see that Grean had also casually made a "copy" of Henry just before his death, creating a new replicoid. That copy of Henry was an integral part of Grean's little show-and-tell session. She allowed the Editor to speak to Henry's replicoid even while Grean was showing "him" his own dead body being discovered by Shana back at Eanru House.

A chilling fear struck through Trysta. What kind of crazy game was Grean playing? Showing such things to the Editor would by itself likely alter the shape of Earth's future. With her pulse racing and her stomach churning, Trysta now quickly scanned upwhen, past the future time in the Buld Reality when humans had begun to confidently spread outward from Earth to the stars. And she instantly saw that everything she had worked for was gone. In the new Reality that had been initiated by Grean, only a weak and sickly civilization remained on the Earth of the far future. The human species had become a struggling mass of contradiction and confusion and seemed doomed to failure, with only a tentative space-faring tradition not much different from what had existed in the Asimov Reality.

Trysta felt a violent rage building up inside herself. She opened the communications channel that she had long shared with Grean, but no connection was established. Instead, Trysta received a recorded message:

Dearest Trysta,
Since there is nothing else for me to do here, I've returned to the Core. I wish you the full enjoyment of my final gift, the Eanru Intervention. I fully trust you to do what must be done before you jump back into the past in search of Ekcolir. I envy you for the great adventure that still awaits you, but I am ready for a quiet retirement. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to find my own soul mate.
With Love,

Trysta was appalled by the way Grean had departed after doing her dirty wrok, but five of the words in Grean's message stood out in her mind: "do what must be done". She immediately used her Reality Viewer to display the entire Reality State Space around the Eanru Intervention. Using the standard metric of the Trysta-Grean Pact, she saw that the State Space topology remained very chaotic, which implied wide swings in the possible futures for Humanity across a wide spectrum from those that featured catastrophic human extinctions to others that merely ranged from the disastrous to the horrifying and, sprinkled in among all the others, there were a few possible Realities that could be categorized as acceptable. Trysta's attention was immediately drawn to the height of the positive peaks that were displayed in florescent pink. Never before had the peaks been this high! Somehow Grean had found a special departure point from the Ekcolir Reality that opened up a whole new avenue to better versions of the Final Reality.

For ten minutes Trysta used all available quantitative measures to confirm this happy conclusion. Her anger towards Grean had by then evaporated. Trysta now understood that the Eanru Intervention was a path towards a brighter future for Humanity. Just one fear remained: would she have time to complete this new task and set things right? Using the Viewer, Trysta quickly checked a half dozen of the best available possible Realities that branched off from the Reality of the Eanru Intervention. In all of them, the optimal departure time for her final time trip into the deep past was only days away. That was not really a surprise because a first order attractor had always locked her final time travel trip in Time: it was a fixed point in time.

How much time would be needed to "do what must be done"? Suddenly she realized why Grean had carried out the Eanru Intervention now, with only a few days remaining for Trysta to clean up the mess. With dread in her heart, she strolled over to Grean's Viewer. Never before had Trysta touched Grean's Reality Viewing equipment. Now Trysta activated the circuitry and saw what she had expected to find. Grean had left a book mark: she had already researched and identified the M.N.C. that would bring into existence the optimal Final Reality. Grean had left Trysta no time to improvise, but that was Grean's way of saying that no great effort was required of Trysta; she need only implement the Reality Change that Grean had already mapped and identified.

For Trysta, there was one aspect of working with Grean that she truly despised. Grean, as a Kac'hin, had no capacity to understand how much Trysta disliked being forced to act without first knowing the full consequences of the action. Grean had grown up within a telepathically-unified cohort of peers and had been carefully raised so as to trust other people and act quickly on their requests without question. Grean had been trained to preform in her role as a foot soldier in the Time Travel War. In contrast, Trysta had been trained to think for herself. She'd been sent into the past on a mission with the expectation that she could act independently to make all her own decisions.

Grean had skillfully painted Trysta into a corner, but Trysta was not one to swallow such a bitter pill without making an effort to check the facts. In all their years together, Trysta had never reached the point where she could trust Grean. Trysta set a five minute timer and then she immersed herself in the virtual reality presentation that Grean had left for her in the buffer of the Viewer.

Aunt Mayness at Eanru House (1972)
Using the high speed display mode, Trysta skimmed through the details of the Reality Change that she must now perform. Grean had named this one, too: the Mayness Intervention. The five minutes went by in a flash of subjective experience. Trysta forwarded an historical sketch file from the Grean's Viewer to Deomede's Viewer before she bolted out of Grean's Viewing Chamber. She ran out of the workshop and dashed up the corridor connecting to her house.

As usual, Deomede had anticipated Trysta's return home from the workshop and had detected her approach and he threw his arms around her when she came rushing through the front door. He could see the panic in her eyes and her rapid-fire speech pushed them apart: "Did you get the file I just sent to you? I have a rush job for you, a family history analysis. I need everything you can find for the Peterson clan of Hampshire county, Massachusetts."

Deomede had never seen Trysta in such a tizzy. "What's wrong, dear?" He followed her as she went upstairs into the bedroom.

Trysta continued speaking rapidly, "That change you detected at 2012 is not just a little microchange." Trysta marched across the room to the shelf where she kept her few personal mementos from the Ekcolir Reality. She pulled a book off of the shelf and turned to face Deomede. "Grean made a Reality Change and now we have to make another!"

Hoping to establish some calm, Deomede suggested, "Slow down, Trity." He again put his arms around Trysta and guided her to the foot of the bed. "Let's discuss this..."  It was a large bed.

Trysta's house in Wales.
After agreeing on the terms of the Trysta-Grean Pact, Trysta had moved into the Hierion Domain and started operating out of Grean's workshop. For living accommodations, she'd re-created her old house from Wales, the first home she'd had on Earth. Each day she went along the connecting corridor to and from Grean's workshop, retiring each night to comfortable surroundings that reminded her of her first love, Andrew, their two children and their happy life together in Bangor.

Soon thereafter, Deomede had become miserably lonely, receiving only occasional visits on Earth from Trysta, as her work allowed. He moved back in with Trysta, also abandoning his life in the Hadron Domain so that he could continue living with Trysta. By the time of Deomede's arrival in the Hierion Domain, Grean was already sharing Trysta's bed. To make room for Deomede, the bedroom had to be enlarged by taking out a wall and then a larger bed was installed. Deomede had taken over the remaining smaller bedroom on the second floor to use as his office where he did historical research.

In the days since Grean had disappeared from the workshop, Deomede had been quite affectionate, as if trying to store up a trove of sweet memories before Trysta went off into the far past on her final time travel mission. In an effort to slow Trysta down and calm her down, Deomede swept Trysta off her feet and sat her on the giant bed. He kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear, "Whatever Grean did, let's not let it ruin our last few days together."

Trysta pulled herself out of Deomede's embrace and jumped to her feet. She shouted at him, "No! We don't have any time." She forced herself to take a deep breath. Trysta smiled nervously and said, "Please, my love, get me that family history, at once. I'm going right back to the workshop. I've only just had a quick glance at this new future that Grean created. It is a mess, but I know how to fix it." She waved the book at him. "Send me your partial results as soon as you obtain them- don't try to construct a complete report." Seeing the dismay and worry on his face, she added, "We can do this, Dee, but it will be close. I still must drop back into the past as scheduled." She threw her arms around him for a only second then ran back to the workshop.

The Petersons
Raild Padarsan arrived in the Province of Massachusetts Bay as an indentured worker on a five year contract. Before leaving England, Raild had originally hoped for a more southerly port of debarkation and a chance to enter into the lucrative transatlantic tobacco trade. He quickly tired of Boston and the back-breaking labor that the town's brick-maker expected him to perform.

In the cold part of the year when the clay fields in Medford were often either snow-covered or too wet to be mined, Raild labored hauling ballast bricks that had arrived from England. Having spent much time on the docks, he was familiar with most of the ships that came and went and their crews.

Raild decided to fall in love with a Catholic girl, Cory, the indentured maid of his boss. Without bothering to wait for the end of their indenture contracts, the lovers stowed away on a south-bound coastal freight barge. They reached Providence before being discovered and put ashore. After a series of small adventures, Raild and Cory ended up finding employment with a Dutch mason in Hartford, a man who despised the practice of indenturing servants.

Two years later, gathering their courage and departing from the edge of civilization, Raild and Cory trekked northward, up the Connecticut river valley. They were among the first Europeans to settle in what would eventually become Hampshire county. The Padarsan family survived by adopting the subsistence farming practices of the local Pocumtuc people who had been decimated by disease, but who were friendly towards the Padarsans.

Arailt, the oldest son of Raild and Cory, lived and thrived with his Pocumtuc wife and they efficiently produced and raised a large family of successful farmers. Raild experimented with tobacco as a cash crop, but produced mostly pretty flowers on gangly stems. Arailt's wife had a greener thumb and by growing a few tobacco plants in a small, well-shaded garden she soon revealed the importance of fertilizer, proper shade and pruning for achieving marketable tobacco leaf production.

When tax collectors finally found them, the Padarsan clan transformed into the Petersons. The large manor house near the river (constructed by Arailt's most prosperous son) and its surrounding fields became locally known as Peterson Plantation. After the great flood of 1854 washed away the best Peterson family farmland and the manor house, the most important use of the remaining Peterson clan land holdings was maple sugar production on the hills to the East of the river. After the hurricane of 1938, the last remaining sugar house closed.

By then, generations of the Peterson children had tended to make their way to college and jobs in Boston, Hartford or Albany. After closing his sugar house, Henry Peterson began his retirement by starting work on a fine lake-side house lost in the forest of southern New Hampshire. He soon tired of the effort involved (which included blasting granite to make a basement and sawing his own lumber) and died, but construction of the comfortable retirement home that Henry had envisioned, known as "Eanru House", was completed (as a very comfortable rambling mansion) by his wife, Shana.

The Editor
In some sense, the Petersons were themselves fertile ground for an alien intervention. In their particular case, the alien was a woman known as Trysta Iwedon. I may never know exactly how it came about that Trysta established a "working relationship" with the Petersons. I suspect that there was an interesting encounter between Trysta and Shana in a previous Reality and that I was told that story at some point during my life, but, if so, then those memories were apparently erased by Trysta. And unlike many similar hidden memories, never restored.

According to my collaborator, Ivory, within the Ekcolir Reality Shana was an influential magazine editor and she came to have close working relationships with many writers. In that Reality, science fiction authors such as Roberta Williams were used as conduits for release of information about alien visitors to Earth. Thus, even in the absence of all the details, I conclude that there was significant temporal momentum linking Trysta and the Petersons.

In all fairness, I'm not sure that I should label Trysta as an alien. True, she was born on a distant planet and she's not a member of the human species, but still... Well, you will be able to judge for yourself.

[Warning: as an alien visitor on Earth, Trysta had access to advanced technology. Of particular relevance, by the time I met her, Trysta was a very experienced time traveler with many previous missions into Time having already been completed. After she had carried out all of her time travel missions here during my lifetime, Trysta went back into our past and it is there that she died her personal biological existence came to an end. In our past, she involved herself in the task of inserting important alien gene combinations into the human population of Earth. Thus, it is likely that the Petersons carried specific alien gene combinations that made them useful to Trysta. Enough said, for now. In Part I of Trysta and Ekcolir, I will introduce you to Ivory Fersoni who can provide greater insight into alien/human genetics.]

This is the story of Trysta, although you can see that in my designated role as the editor, I did name it Trysta and Ekcolir. My goal in this Prelude is to tell you how I first met Trysta (see the following sections of this chapter, below). For the impatient reader, feel free jump ahead and start in Part II with the story of how Trysta and Ekcolir became lovers. You can always return here and read Part I at a later date.

No matter at which place in time you start watching Trysta's life, you'll soon notice Trysta's nature as what I can euphemistically call a "master of disguise". Your recognition of that foundational fact of her existence will allow you to understand why I needed the help of a special team of investigators and informants to construct a coherent account of who Trysta was and where she came from. For an ignorant Earthling like me, it has been a challenging task to discover and to explain Trysta's semi-alien nature. By the end of Trysta and Ekcolir, you will understand the vital role that Trysta played in putting an end to time travel and giving we Earthlings a chance to reach for the stars.

Were I not trying to portray myself as possessing many fine qualities (including a forgiving nature) then I might have introduce you to Trysta by comparing her to Raild's demanding master at the Medford brickworks. I suppose Raild and Cory were grateful for "free" transportation to the New World and for gainful employment under the terms of their indentures. Similarly, I could claim to have been lucky to become an object of Trysta's attention. Without Trysta's "help", I probably never would have become aware of the presence of alien beings on Earth. In an alternate Reality where I never knew Trysta, my life would have been less interesting, but also less taxing on my sanity. After reading Trysta and Ekcolir, you will be in a fine position to judge my sanity.

[Editorial aside.  Allow me to provide some guidance about all the names and other annoying details in this story. Remember to make use of the Glossary. Everyone mentioned above in my account of Peterson family history, from Raild Padarsan to Shana Peterson, will never be mentioned again after this chapter. The Petersons are window dressing for Trysta's backstory. By sketching for you a quick synopsis of the Peterson family history (above), I've provided you with an example of the kind of historical report that Deomede could provide to Trysta on short notice.

Nicotine in the Hidden History of Humanity.
Special thanks to Miranda Hedman for
"Black Cat 9 - stock", used to create
the green "sedronite".
The Nicotiana Intervention
Science fiction by E. Kavie Jarvis in the
Ekcolir Reality. Reconstruction by Ivory
using original cover art by Joseph Tillotson
I began Trysta and Ekcolir with a quick introduction to the Peterson family because in the specific time chosen for Trysta's earliest intervention into the course of my life she made use of a Peterson family member's body as a convenient vehicle (as described below). There is one little detail of the Peterson family that I do ask you to keep in mind. Given the history of the Petersons as producers of tobacco, it need come as no surprise that most members of the family, including Shana's granddaughter ("Mayness"), were tobacco smokers. I refuse to include in my story (below) any of the details of her addiction to smoking cigarettes, but I assure you, Mayness stank of cigarette smoke.

Almost certainly the Peterson family's long flirtation with nicotine contributed to Trysta making use of Mayness as the medium through which she had her first contact with me. The important role in the Hidden History of Humanity for nicotine as a psychoactive chemical is one of the mysteries of human nature that must be resolved during this saga.]

Now, back to the Petersons...

Eanru House
If Trysta can be trusted, then "eanru" is just a punchline from an obscure Scottish Gaelic joke that need only remind us of Henry Peterson's ribald sense of humor. The first time I saw the word "eanru", it was there above me, carved into the slab of granite that Henry had set above the side door to "his" lake-front house in the woods. I must put "his" in quotes because, by the time I arrived on the scene, it was clearly Shana's house.

Shana Peterson
That's a depiction of Shana, there to the right. When I walked into the mud room of Eanru House, an oil painting of Shana was prominently displayed on the wall of the entryway. Her smiling face was superimposed on an old map of New England. Next to that glass-encased and wood-framed display was an embroidered silk greeting sign that read, "Please stay awhile". I suspect that back in the 1940s, before Henry died, Shana had hung a different message on the wall, right there where Henry would see it, something probably along the lines of, "Leave your work boots out here!"

When I arrived in that mud room, there was no mud in sight. It was a sunny summer day and we'd only walked from the adjacent garage across a neatly black-topped driveway. I'd been invited by a close childhood friend to spend the holiday weekend with his family, who had received an invitation to visit Eanru House. My friend's mom (who must remain nameless) glanced at the painting of Shana and said, "There's the old bird."

Looking upon the painting, my friend's dad gasped in surprise. "My word!" He asked, "Was she ever that young?" He had only know Shana as an old New England widow lady who had outlived her husband by three decades, having finally died just six months previously.

Mom: "This was painted soon after her first best-seller made her famous."

All such conversations about Shana had no meaning to me when I heard them. However, by using doses of nicotine to modulate my Bimanoid Interface, I can now access long lost memories from my youth. I'm not sure if those memories simply resided in my zeptite endosymbiont or if I am tapping into a pool of information that exists in the Hierion Domain. No matter.

Ignoring the words that passed between his parents, my friend and I were on our way into the house, hauling our bags upstairs to the bedroom we would use. Only much later did I realize that Shana Peterson had been a rather well-known writer of historical fiction. She'd turned Eanru House into a country retreat where she could write and entertain her literary friends who would come up from Boston or New York for a break from civilization. Only later did I learn that in the Ekcolir Reality, Shana's analogue was an important science fiction author.

We arrived at Eanru House near the beginning of a long Fourth of July weekend. My buddy and I had a day and a half of fair weather during which we explored the lake and the dark forest near Eanru House. The forest lost much of its charm because of the swarms of mosquitoes that a wet spring and summer had generated. Early on Sunday morning we explored out into the woods parallel to the lake shore and loaded our bait cans up with fat pink earthworms.

Sunday evening we feasted on the landlocked salmon and lake trout that we had caught. Our sunburns and mosquito bites seemed a fair price to have paid.

By late on Sunday, rain arrived and we spent Monday inside playing card games and board games, quite happy to be skipping school. Late that afternoon the house filled up as other family members arrived. Among the those arrivals was the new owner of Eanru House, my friend's aunt.

The Mayness Intervention
Mayness was of the correct age to have become a flower child, but she was pragmatic and a scholar, having graduated from high school at the age of 15. By 1972 she was determined to go to law school and would soon be starting an internship with the Women's Rights Project, on July 15th.

Previously there had been some bad blood between my friend's mom and Shana, but that was in the past and now even a stranger such as myself could intrude upon Eanru House, if only for a weekend when the house would otherwise have sat empty. I expected my friend's aunt Mayness to be an elderly lady, but she was only about five years older than my friend and I, just old enough to legally inherit her grandmother's property. I can't use her real name, so I'll call her "Aunt Mayness". I'm certain that she did not ask to serve as the host body during Trysta's first intervention into the course of my life, so the true identity of "Mayness" deserves to be kept secret.

Upon becoming the owner, Mayness had immediately turned the spirit of Eanru House upside down, putting an end to decades of stately dignity and stuffiness. That third of July evening, with Mayness leading the revelry, there was loud 1960s music pounding out from the stereo and fireworks on the beach. Nobody except me seemed to notice the falling rain or the danger of an improvised sea battle fought with bottle rockets launched back and forth between competing war canoes.

When all of the extensive arsenal of fireworks had been expended we all climbed back up the stone steps that connected from the lake shore to Eanru House. Along the path, electric lights glowed from their settings inside ornamental tin sap buckets attached to tree trunks. Once back in the house, Aunt Mayness insisted that the proper method for drying off after the splashy fireworks session was to tell ghost stories around the fireplace.

I don't think Trysta actually took control of Aunt Mayness's body until later that night after everyone else had gone to bed. Don't ask me what "control" means. Maybe it is better to say that Trysta exercised her ability to temporarily animate the body of Aunt Mayness. I first noticed the change from up in the attic. I found myself listening to rain on the roof and wind pushing at the big trees that surrounded Eanru House. My friend and I had taken sleeping bags to the attic so that our elders could use all of the second floor bedrooms.

"The Residents who wear white are to woo- to beguile."
-Jack Vance The Palace of Love
Unable to sleep, Aunt Mayness was on my mind. Actually, Trysta was in my brain. I was smitten, never having imagined that anyone's aunt could be so young and pretty and unconventional. With the help of a small flashlight, I made my way down the stairway from the attic and there she was, coming up the stairs from the first floor. Trysta was expecting that I'd respond to her summons; she had a job for me to perform.

Silently, she (Mayness/Trysta) took me by the hand and led me into the master bedroom, half of which was crowded with books, like a library. She carefully closed the door and locked it and then went to one of the shelves and pulled out a thick book. Trysta was careful to still use the body of Aunt Mayness*, but she made no effort to use the other woman's voice or New England accent. She handed the book to me and told me, "This is the book." Trysta's accent reminded me of the type of English that might be spoken by someone from one of the former British colonies such as Grenada.

Miners of Earth, written by Thomas
Iwedon, was first published under
the name E. Kavie Jarvis in the Ekcolir
Reality. Reconstruction by Ivory using
original cover art by Joseph Tillotson
*[Editor's note. I believe that the "book" given to me by Mayness was probably a swarm of nanites disguised as a book. That nanite swarm invaded both the body of Mayness and my brain in order facilitate Trysta's mission. I suspect that those nanites enhanced the physical structure of Mayness, ensuring that her already superb features matched my fantasies of feminine perfection. Trysta wanted me in a state of worshipful awe, "willing" to instantly follow her instructions.]

There was no need for me to ask questions: I knew that I was expected to read the book. On the cover in big pink block letters was "Miners of Earth". I don't know what the material was that had been used to make that book's cover, possibly some kind of tough flexible plastic. I may never know the answer to such minor mysteries since it was a book that had been brought over into our universe from a previous Reality. After handing me the book, she went and sprawled across the bed and then things got weird.

First published in book format, 1961.
It must have been about 1:30 AM and Miners of Earth was a very long book. I sat down at what had been Shana's writing desk and turned the front cover, opening the book: there was the author's name, Thome Jeket, followed by the words: the author of this disturbing story is a minor and so only a pseudonym is being printed here. I don't know if Trysta spoke just then or if there were infites inside me that had been programmed to provide we with the help I needed to understand this story that Thomas had written in the Ekcolir Reality. By this point, the book had completely taken control of my mind. Here, I'll write this account as if Trysta spoke to me: "Thomas is my son. He used 'Thome Jeket' as a pen name."

[editor's note: see Trysta's family tree.]

That admission came into my mind along with a cloud of ancillary facts. Trysta was communicating with me via multiple channels. I knew that I was being instructed by someone who called herself Trysta Iwedon, but that name was only used for her convenience. Due to the wonders of infites, I already knew that Trysta was from someplace much further away than Grenada... in fact, I was aware that she had not been born on Earth. However, it took me another 40 years to discover her original Asterothrope name.

Well before dawn, Trysta had successfully completed her mission in Eanru House. I won't say that I read Miners of Earth that night, but a change had been imposed on my brain that was the functional equivalent of having read it. I handed the book back to Trysta and she laughed at me and my reaction to Thomas' story. She assured me, "You need not be so surprised. You'll have decades to seek out and accumulate confirmation of the basic facts of Earth's past that were revealed to Thomas in his infancy."

I was already a junior science nerd, devoted to a strict materialist view of reality. I was amazed by the story told in Miners, particularly the idea that the human species had been created. With my sense of wonder now singed, I was in a state of awe. I mumbled, "Are you... are these Asterothropes the Creators?"

Trysta laughed. "No. You will discover, just as I did, that my people, the Asterothropes, were created long after the human species had grown old. I was sent back... well, you must seek out the stories that Asimov published. He told the story of that part of my life." I had no idea who "Asimov" was. Left to myself, I would have bombarded her with many more questions. She rolled off the bed and physically pushed me out of the master bedroom. At the same time, Trysta was clamping down on my thoughts and pushing my over-loaded neural circuits towards sleep.

Of course, one of the reasons that Trysta had made use of Aunt Mayness was the fact of her physical beauty. As an adolescent male, by exposing me to Mayness, I had been effectively provided with a muse, a source of enduring inspiration for the challenging task that had been assigned to me. I turned one last glance over my shoulder and saw that she remained there in the doorway of her bedroom, watching me walk down the hallway. Trysta had known that I would turn and look at her and she was ready with a reassuring flutter of her fingers and a knowing smirk on "her" pretty lips.

More dazzled and stunned than merely surprised, I returned to the attic. Before I could crawl back into my sleeping bag I felt the penetrating tendrils of Trysta's touch slip away from my mind. She was done with her high-level conceptual re-programming of my brain. As I slipped into sleep, I made a promise that I would find physical evidence that that aliens were secretly on Earth. But while I slept, my zeptite endosymbiont quickly and efficiently re-structured all of the fine structure of the synapses that held my memories, sealing off from my conscious mind all knowledge of having been contacted by Trysta. Only much later would I be allowed access to those precious memories (see Chapter 2).

Me Again, the Editor
In any case, on that night it was not intended that I remember any of the story details from Miners of Earth or even the name 'Trysta'. On that day, Trysta's mission was to ignite my mind with a fire, to make me understand that written science fiction existed as a literary genre. Miners of Earth accomplished that to perfection.

Miners of Earth was a guide to the secret history of Earth. Thomas had grown up with a technology-assisted telepathic link to Trysta's mind, so he knew some parts of her life story. The remainder, everything that Trysta had to keep hidden, Thomas invented and imagined and extrapolated and wrote into Miners of Earth along with the meager core of facts.

I like to think of that early morning on July 4th as my introduction to Trysta, as my own personal First Contact. Decades passed before I was allowed to remember having "met" Trysta that night, but I'd been put on my proper course of discovery. What follows here in Trysta and Ekcolir is Trysta's story as an Interventionist agent on Earth, at least a version of her story that I have been able to patch together with help from my fellow investigators. Along the way, I'll provide an account of how and why Trysta was busily traveling back and forth through time at the last minute before the Huaoshy altered the dimensional structure of the universe and put an end to time travel.

Before I provide you with my account of Trysta's life in the Ekcolir Reality, I feel compelled to first introduce you to my collaborators here in our universe (in the Final Reality). Why? It is my hope that you will find it possible to view Trysta's life story as more than just science fiction. To accomplish that, I need to convince you of the reliability of my sources.

In this chapter, above, I described my first encounter with Trysta. Next, I'll provide an account of our most recent rendezvous which may have been the only time that I actually physically interacted with Trysta herself.

Trysta and Ekcolir is copyright John Schmidt, but the text of the story is  licensed for sharing under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) license.

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