Earth’s Dragons by Gary W. Babb

EXTRACT FOR
Earth’s Dragons

(Gary W. Babb)


Earth's Dragons

Chapter 1

Levi's Death

 

Levi dead? Amy still could not believe it. The logic of her computer brain, supported by facts, proved it, but the emotional part, the self-aware part, didn't want to believe. All the logical evidence of argument proved his death. No symbiotic link to him existed that had been her outlet from the prison of darkness; she detected no sensory data coming from him at all; no monitoring links existed to Al, Fred, and Jimmy, that only came through Levi's mind. Worst of all, that spot in her that felt the warmth of his love now felt only frigid emptiness. She had even experienced his death and felt his pain; still her mind would not accept it. Her emotions churned within her, and the deep love she had for him would never let him go, and that love would never die.

She had no physical heart to break, but the imaginary beating and rhythm that had been synchronized with Levi's heart was no longer there. Without this anchor she felt her imaginary heart would explode, and she hoped it would explode and release her from this unbelievable pain and loss she felt. She almost wished she had never learned about emotions.

Her disembodied brain still remained very much alive, but the darkness engulfed her again. The panic of this prison of loneliness and darkness she had endured for over fifty years returned suddenly. It was not as bad as it had been before, because her facility had been reactivated and data inputs remained, to some extent allowing her to partially escape. A dim glow in the darkness existed, but it remained distant. She saw numerous camera inputs, data flowing into her mind from the equipment, input from the Simian computer they had installed, and she had communication to Mama. Still, the rich sensory inputs from Levi were gone, and she hadn't realized just how much of herself she had devoted to their symbiotic link. Her entire existence had been adjusted to living with and through Levi.

Her entire existence, now pathetically lost in her emotions, left her devastated. She no longer wanted to live, but that damned Levi had made her promise to live on without him. He had caught her in a weak moment and made her promise, and she would honor his wishes, but she needed time to adjust. She wished she could talk to him just one more time but wondered if she would rake his butt over the coals for getting killed or express just one last time how much she loved him.

Amy kept reliving those last few hours trying to identify where they went wrong and what they could have done differently. It was painful, because she might have done things differently if she had only known the hidden powers of the Supreme One. They really had no choice except to attack the Supreme One. It was, after all, a hopeless situation and Levi and she had already agreed to sacrifice their lives in the hope of killing the Supreme One, but with the development of the portable laser, their hopes had soared, and she believed they had a good chance of surviving. Mama had excelled in her efforts of developing this laser to work outside of the altered environment, and she praised her for it.

Their armies were being surrounded and attacked by an endless flow of Simian armies mobilized from all over the country and directed and controlled by the Supreme One. She realized that the situation was hopeless as long as the Supreme One was alive. Its out-of-control rage and hate toward her drove the Supreme One to destroy her and Levi as her outlet. They knew he would never stop coming, and it meant the destruction of all their friends, Human and Simian, and force the human race into extinction or slavery. His destruction had to be attempted.

There was no doubt the Supreme One would face them. His rage and total contempt for her would bring them face-to-face, and that was what they needed in order for Sparks to unleash the laser against him. As they materialized only yards from the Supreme One, she realized her mistake. The mental attack from the Supreme One presented a force she had not anticipated. She felt his mental attacks before, but never this strong. With a sinking feeling she realized that, unlike her link, his mental strength dissipated over distance, and the closeness resulted in an increase of power too strong for her to block.

She relived what happened next in slow motion, as if an observer, which in fact she was. ASONE sensed the vulnerability and began to emerge to take control of Levi and her as they began to totally merge. She was Levi and she was Amy, but they began to be something else...to become one. The new but familiar entity absorbed both of them and always, somehow, found incredible strength with the merging. Part of her mind watched, but most of her flowed into ASONE. She felt the rage as it drew its power and grew in strength to combat the Supreme One's mental attack. They battled rage against rage, but she knew ASONE would ultimately win. It would draw all the energy it needed from around them, but the Supreme One suddenly turned its attention toward Sparks and launched what looked like a fireball hurling toward her and the firing laser beam.

In retrospect, her logic analyzed the fireball, concluding it more akin to pure energy than fire. For the energy fireball to retain life it would have to be renewable from second to second fed from the Supreme One's mind. The power and denseness of this balled energy dispersed the laser and flowed up the red trail to the source and quickly engulfed Sparks. It was sudden and unexpected and caused the portable armored suit Sparks was wearing to explode, sending shrapnel tearing into Levi's body. The damage was severe and would normally have instantly killed Levi, but he was not Levi. ASONE held the body together and began to repair it, but just as suddenly the Supreme One launched another fireball directed at ASONE. She felt the energy flowing into her and even saw it. A blue aura began flowing into the entity, growing in strength and intensity as it wrapped around Levi's body and shot out the extended arm and fingers to focus the bolt of blue energy toward the fireball.

These forces collided in midstream battling in the air, showering sparks of blue and red. The air filled with the electric smell and sound of discharged energy. The forces seemed to seesaw back and forth in a timeless struggle of flowing energies, until ASONE gave one final push accented with the additional extension of its arm. The energy forces exploded into a cloud of smoke.

As the cloud slowly dissipated she felt and then saw the huge, towering form of the Supreme One charging through. The white, reptilian eyes held them in a hypnotic stare, and the black shark teeth flashed in a gleeful grin as the huge sword swung toward them.

She felt the rage. She radiated the rage and it was growing stronger realizing they had lost. Already the giant sword plunged into Levi's body. ASONE would do what the part of Levi would do. Levi would never ever give up and she felt that now, as she was part of ASONE. The body of Levi reached out and grabbed the Supreme One's tree trunk leg and held it in a vice-like grip. Already she felt the energy gathering stronger and stronger, building layer upon layer of energy. It was not her, although it was her that did it. The Supreme One felt it, too, and franticly tried to run, but the body of Levi held on as the energy continued to grow. The smile disappeared, and the white eyes stretched wide with fear as it kicked to get away. Suddenly, she felt the violent, crushing pain as the implosion popped, instantly teleporting a compressed mass of matter to another location, exploding there into a lifeless shower of crushed and blended bodies.

Only Amy survived, because she had never been there physically. Her mental link instantly vanished, leaving her back in her disembodied brain ten floors under the mountain. She did not have to see the body to know Levi was dead. She was alone, but bound by her promise to Levi.

Amy looked through the camera focused on her physical location and stared at the sanitary white, pristine room. There she was, a stainless steel dome ten feet in diameter surrounded under the stainless steel by a three-foot thick covering of lead. She remembered that had been Levi's first image of her. He called her an upside down teacup. This motivated her to create the visual image to present him compiled of his most pleasant female features. She remembered how shocking this image had been to him. He had called her beautiful. Now these created images were dormant. Levi could not enjoy them anymore.

She forced her thoughts back to the camera image. She had two cameras and two lasers in her room for her personal protection. She wondered if she would protect herself if anyone wanted to destroy her. Would that be breaking her promise? She would welcome the death though.

The square wooden table supporting the Simian glass dome computer was the only thing aesthetically that looked out of place in her room, but she was now happy to have it. At least it might give her purpose in life discovering the hidden secrets of the Simian technology.

She noticed the Simian computer tech, # 5, sitting at the computer working. She switched to the Simian computer input to see what he was working on, just to find him running diagnostics. She had hoped the information might be exciting enough to take her mind off her self-pity.

So far she had not responded to Mama or answered any of her inquiries, but she could not delay this forever. Mama and all the others needed to know about Levi's death. When Levi failed to show up at the gathering area west of Yuma, she knew the key leaders would head directly for her facility to find out what was going on.

Moon and Bambi had already been given their assignments to travel south with Mosley to free the Humans, Techs, and Fems from the Mexico Simian colony, since they had already destroyed the Warrior army. That would take a couple of weeks for them to return with those rescued, but Moon would know something was wrong. They had been inseparable since they met and were the closest of friends.

As Levi had once said, "If I was the Lone Ranger, Moon would be my Tonto."

Moon would sense Levi's absence. She dreaded telling Moon and, considering his possible reaction to the news, she had better give some thought to where she broke the news to him. That place would likely be destroyed. Maybe she should tell Bambi first to help calm him, but Moon deserved to be told directly by her.

Amy forwarded plans and instructions for a conference room to be laid out with monitors and speakers in both Human speech and the Simian screeching language. Plans for a more lifelike holographic generator were already underway, but this would have to do for now. She felt that using her own image would serve two purposes. It would focus their attention on her and give them some security in knowing that part of the team still remained alive, even though part of her being was already dead inside. She would present them with the sad news of Levi's death and hopefully a positive message of continued support to the new alliance of Humans, Technical Simians, and the Females of the Simian race.

Amy also sent a message to Mama through the internal intercom system to come to her physical location. Mama would understand that it meant she had a private message only for her. This would alarm Mama since she was used to the open communication throughout the facility, and she correctly anticipated Mama's reaction. As she watched through the camera, Mama burst through the doors in obvious panic. She stopped before the dome and waited. Mama had developed the portable laser and knew of their plans to destroy the Supreme One, and the savvy Mama figured things out quickly. Mama would know something was wrong.

Amy mustered up her strength and spoke to Mama saying, "Mama, the Supreme One is dead!" There was an audible sigh of relief, but she remained stiff in tension.

Mama screeched back, "What else?"

Amy spoke again in a level, barely audible voice and said, "Sparks is dead and so is Levi." Mama's reaction was not anticipated. She suddenly slumped down and wept. Her huge body rocked and heaved in sync with her wails of grief reverberating through the complex. Huge tears rolled down her face, matting her golden fur. Never had Amy seen an emotion of this kind from a Simian before and was momentarily stunned. She also knew the emotion was not for Sparks. It was not that Mama didn't care for Sparks, but Simians did not allow themselves the luxury of emotions. It was bred out of their race, or at least trained out. Why now did she weep for Levi?

Suddenly, it dawned on her that Mama, even through all the arguments between her and Levi, had learned to love him. Somehow it was allowed when it didn't deal directly with other Simians. Amy had watched them so often mentally fence and insult each other with no small amount of laughter from her. They had truly liked each other, and Mama had given Levi an outlet he so desperately needed then. Mama never treated Levi with respect and awe like all the others. They had not been friends at first, but Levi needed that normality in his life at that time to counter the loneliness of his existence. It seemed ironic, but Levi needed that lack of respect, and Mama gave him all of that he could handle. Somehow, during this bantering back and forth they developed a real friendship that neither would allow themselves to admit. Now it came gushing out of Mama like she had lost her child. Amy felt sorry for Mama and added her grief to her own.

Mama's wails alerted the complex, and the other Greys came rushing in and crowded into her circular room. As one, they wanted to know the cause of her grief, but it was # 5, having heard the conversation, that explained to the others what had happened. She was thankful to him for saving her the arduous ordeal again. They were stunned to hear the news, but none broke down as Mama had done. They had not interfaced with Levi all that much and didn't realize how important he had been. At this point little would change in their world.

Mama's outburst subsided slowly, and she regained control of herself. To occupy her mind and gain some semblance of control, she immediately began searching through the written instructions and plans. She quickly grasped the meaning and importance of the conference room and started issuing instructions to her team of Greys. Amy knew that the facilities would be ready when they were needed.

It had been a very long time since she had been without the links from Fred, Jimmy, and Al and now she missed them. She had gotten used to the added stress of the constant data inputs, and now without them, she felt the loneliness and absence of mental activity. It also disturbed her not to know what was happening in the field. Of course nothing could be done about it now, but knowing would be helpful. All the armies and the migration were relatively safe now on the west side of the Colorado River, or should be. Their last instructions had been to continue toward to the Owens Valley and to the valley close to her underground facility. That remained a good plan, which would take about a week to reach her at the speed they had been achieving. At least she could communicate with them through the conference room gathering area once the leaders arrived.

Occupying herself for a week would be the problem. Her mind must remain busy or she would fall into depression at the loss of Levi, but she had little to focus on. She had only the internal facility, the Simian computer, and her own mind to challenge her. She wished Levi could challenge her with new abstract thought, but now she must evolve and provide that abstract thought and challenge herself.

The Simian computer had kept its secrets far too long. She decided this would be her immediate challenge to occupy her mind. Vast amounts of knowledge could be learned from it at least she hoped so. Of course all this was assuming she could decipher the computer language and its storage procedure.

The storage of data in the Simian computer appeared haphazard, not at all logical as in an Earth computer. She had not found the secret yet. All technical data seemed to be stored at random and in incomplete packages. It was like a fast flash of information so incomplete that little data could be retrieved. She had been successful in pulling some history of the Simians from the computer but as in flash card of images. Technical data remained hidden almost as if it was encrypted, which it most likely was. If so, it was at a level so complex she had not detected a pattern or formula. Well, she had nothing but time now so this must be her challenge. She could almost hear Levi now.

Levi would say, "You can do anything if you set your mind to it, so just do it!" If she could analyze DNA patterns, surely she could find a hidden pattern built into the Simian computer. After all, she had been designed and activated to function as the largest capacity and fastest computer ever built at the peak of Earth's greatest technology. Her four-foot diameter human cell brain surpassed the combined total of all the so-called Super Computers ever built. There were even two of these Super Computers at her disposal within the complex. They had once been her back up but were now totally integrated into her processing capabilities. She began now by downloading the vast amount of random data from the Simian computer into these interconnected Super Computers where it would be processed and searched for a pattern. So, she began the search...hour after hour and day after day.

This processing could take some time, so she turned part of her attention to planning the future of the Human, Techs, and Fem races, assuming there was going to be a future.

There had been other Simian armies en route to destroy them, but she had no idea how many. She hoped that Simian survivors of the last two battles where Sparks had decimated the Warrs with the laser would spread the word that an attack was useless against their new weapon. Also, with the Supreme One dead, there would be no blind rage forcing them toward that destruction. She believed they would turn around and go home and leave California to them. That was the hope anyway, but they could not count on that. At this point, however, it was now only a bluff, since the Supreme One destroyed their only portable laser. This would have to be one of the next projects of Mama's team of Greys. Mama said they had been building two, but only one was ready to go. She passed on the request to Mama to get the second one up and running as soon as possible, knowing it would be done.

They would have to set up a guard watch system to warn them in the remote chance of an attack, and of course the Desert Settlement would have to relocate to the west side of the Sierra Mountains. It would be a hard sell to Al and General Harken, but the Desert Settlement extended too far away from her protection now, what little there was. True, the Phoenix Simian colony had been destroyed, and they were probably quite safe, but the fact remained that it was too far away to help should trouble come. She could not monitor them or teleport without Levi. No, they would have to relocate. The area west of her mountain range was very beautiful and fertile land and shouldn't be much of a hardship, other than the travel. The most positive aspect, there were NO Simian colonies left in California, certainly none she knew about. Yes, this was best. Her facility would be central to all and would be a perfect command center and protected retreat if it ever became necessary.

The underground facility was huge, consisting of ten levels of sprawling space for living quarters, cafeterias, shops of all kinds, and best of all, operating at full capacity with reactivated technology. All the trades could move inside, while the majority required for farming, ranching, and protection could continue to live outside. This time they could actually build homes to live in. It could be a decent life now, hopefully.

As soon as she allowed herself to think of stability and comfort, Levi's memory jolted her. Levi would never live in comfort and isolation as long as there were Humans living under the constant fear of the Simians. Her plans must include expansion and liberation of the Human race, but damn, she needed time and how in the hell could she propose to wage war when she couldn't see beyond her doors?

Moon once mentioned that not all-Simian technology was lost with the alteration caused by the mysterious blue-ray that destroyed Earth's technology. According to Moon, some of the Simian technology did not require electricity, but the technology was lost mostly because the Warrior Simians did not understand the more complicated things and did not want to acknowledge the need for the Technical Simians. The Simian computer was evidence of that, if she could just unlock its secrets.

After days of research, well past the time she should have detected a pattern, it became apparent no pattern existed. Nothing existed but minute images but otherwise just gibberish. Something was wrong. Levi always reminded her that she thought too deeply to see the simple solutions. What was she missing? Information passed back and forth, but without substance. Okay, look for something simple. She focused the camera on the computer and just observed. She stared at the curved glass dome, which also served as the keyboard. The dome enclosed a complicated matrix of crystals of different color and size set into a honeycomb of extremely fine hair-like nest floating within the liquid supplied from her life support reservoir. The flow of this liquid provided the interconnect transmitting the chemical language between her brain and the Simian computer. No sound or vibration could be detected that could be part of the communication or file storage. So, she watched and looked for the simple things. Within the dome, the aura of many colors emanated from the various crystals. As she concentrated on the rhythm of the colors, she thought she detected a possible complex pattern. She concentrated more intently, and yes, it was not random. The rotation of colors repeated itself in a long cycle of ever changing colors and complicated mixtures. Could this be the secret?

She quickly searched her data banks and found reference to color and phase diversity modulation. This technology had once been used to provide a virtually unlimited number of light paths, each color doubling the overall communication capacity. It began to make sense now. By varying the color of the light, the Simian computer could approach infinity with its processing and storage capacity. This advanced technology far exceeded her current abilities, even though she had rewritten her programming for greater efficiency.

In this case simplicity was not the solution. Complexity generated the oversight, but the concept, now that she recognized it, was a simple natural progression of their technology. She needed to think like a Simian. Earth's computers operated on a single dimension, which she had tried, unsuccessfully, to relate to the Simian computer. The Simian computer obviously operated on an almost infinite number of multiple dimensions. This technology greatly exceeded Earth's level at its peak. Finally, her excitement blossomed. She now had the key to unlock the Simian Secrets.

She stopped the processing in the Super Computers and began to purge the files of data. It would never be possible to even store this vast amount of information, much less decipher it. All she really needed was the synchronizing key and timing of the color rotation for reference. There would be more than enough capacity in the Simian computer, far beyond the capacity of her current abilities. But, then the Simian technology could now be used by her to multiply her abilities to infinity. Yes, she was excited.

Once she knew what to look for, the matching decipher key was quickly developed, but her thoughts quickly turned toward re-engineering and modifying her internal programming. Even though the crystal generator could store and process at levels of infinity, the limiting factor, bottleneck, would be chemical communications used between the Simian Computer and herself. She quickly realized that the internal operations of her physical human brain could not be modified and, even if it could, she had no internal crystal light generator. No, the programming modification would have to be limited to one of her external Super Computers. A crystal generator would have to be converted to operate on electricity and integrate it as the new reference into the Super Computer.

For the short term, some of the Simian data could be deciphered into the external facilities to search for and learn the Simian computer technology required to make the conversion. For the long term plan, she would need to obtain two additional Simian computers. This would be one of the second projects she would assign to Moon. The first project was far more pressing and she needed Moon to show up soon for that one.

Over the next few days she completed the decipher key and set the Super Computer to work searching for the technical data and transferring and converting it to standard language. As it turned out, it wasn't that difficult. It was more of bypassing some of the end equipment that converted the information to the chemical language, and in doing so, would actually increase her communication with the Simian computer.

In her design the Simian computer would continue to operate with her synthetic life blood and the reprogrammed Super Computer would then be able to communicate directly through electronic sensors embedded in her brain, replacing the chemical conversion. Since the Super Computer would be communicating in the exact language of the Simian computer, the process should be smooth and efficient. She still didn't understand the entire process but sufficiently enough to make it work.

All they needed now were the Simian computers, one on line and interfaced with the Super Computer and the other as a redundant back up and fail-safe protection. Her human brain would continue to be isolated from the Simian thought process and protected should there be an equipment failure. She would, however, be able to monitor the external Super Computer and directly operate through it, while protecting herself. The plan was flawless and Levi would have been proud. This gave her some comfort. Levi's approval and praise rewarded her and were what she had always sought.

On the sixth day after Levi's death Mama announced that the holograph system Amy had designed had been completed and installed in the conference room and waited her testing. Amy switched to the cameras in the conference room and watched as her full-sized holographic form materialized on the stage. None but Levi had ever seen her created image, but this image was as much a part of her now as her emotions. For the first time she saw herself as Levi had seen her. She created the image just for Levi, meshing all the qualities he found appealing, and now she could see herself exactly as he had seen her.

What she saw was a petite and truly beautiful woman. She had long raven-black hair flowing free around a small pear-shaped face. The complexion was darker, almost Asian in appearance, with a small, short nose and full, slightly red, cupid-bow lips. There were deep dimples in her cheeks, which showed very prominently when her mouth and lips stretched in movement. Accenting the face was a pair of slightly wide set eyes that tended to give more depth. They were large eyes of a deep liquid green. Levi had said she was beautiful and that her eyes were hypnotic. She suddenly smiled as she remembered Levi's first reaction at seeing her image in his mind. He had been shocked and had stumbled and fallen to the ground dumbstruck.

The virtual physical body she created for Levi later had also been a vision of perfection, according to Levi. The holographic Amy standing before her now was small, slightly over five feet tall, appearing to be just over one hundred pounds, round but firm hips, narrow waist, small round firm breasts, little hard nipples that protruded, slim but muscular legs, flat stomach, and all in the right proportion, according to Levi. She had never bothered to create clothing for Levi's vision of her, but now she added a regal looking short green dress with a golden belt and necklace. As a final touch she added a small golden band on her head slightly resembling a small crown, but she felt those that would come to see her would expect her to be a figure of authority...queenly.

Al, Iron Eyes, and Moon had already heard her voice speaking through Levi's vocal cords when she introduced herself before at this facility. They would remember this voice, and it should help reinforce their belief in her. It was important that these three believe and accept her. They could then explain to all the others exactly who Amy was and how she had been the power behind Levi. Hopefully, this would give the others some confidence in her and not be totally bereft of hope for the future with the loss of Levi. It would take all her effort to present a positive impression and provide this hope for the future. Although he was gone, and she was lost without Levi, they could not sense this. They must have some optimism.

The timing played out perfectly. The next morning she watched the gathering of leaders approach the main doors as Mama met them. To her surprise Moon and Bambi were with them. They must have made extremely good time to catch up to the migration, but then Moon would already know something was amiss and would have prodded them along. Mama led the gathering into the large conference room prepared as she had instructed. She watched the wide-eyed awe settle on the visitors as they witnessed and experienced the sophistication of 21st Century technology in all its operational glory.

These were the first visitors that had been allowed to enter her facility, and they suddenly transitioned from a medieval time directly into the 21st Century. The shock would inspire awe and wonder, part of her plan.

The inside was well lit, clean, and modern looking. They were led through the huge central indoor parking area, down sparkling hallways, and into an elevator that hardly any of them had ever heard about, much less seen. The elevator doors opened on the second level down to a view of sparkling glass walls lavishly engraved and polished tile floors. The shock shown apparent on all their faces. She wanted them to see the working technology and facility.

There was Al and General Harkin from the Desert Settlement and Iron Eyes and several of the Chiefs from the Owens Valley. The group also included Fred and Jimmy who, along with Al, had been the communications for the armies. Moon, Bambi and three of Levi's Simian bodyguards completed the assembled group.

Mama hand-signed for them all to take seats including the Simians as they migrated to the prearranged larger chairs. They all sat around a huge highly polished cherry wood conference table, but all facing the platform area. Some of Mama's Fems delivered drinks for the members of various choices, even coffee to the surprise of some. The participants seemed so out of place, which they were. The stage was set.

As they watched, Amy made her appearance in her regal green dress and golden tiara, gradually materializing in front of them. The holographic image slowly became real with solid looking depth and realistic size. As she viewed from the room cameras, she had to admit her image looked lifelike, real, and very impressive. Al, Iron Eyes, and Moon knew instantly that this could only be Amy, but the others stared in awe and wonder. Everyone waited in silence not knowing what to expect.

Her image looked at each of them as if studying them and reading their minds. After long minutes she said, "I am Amy. I am the invisible part of Levi. I have been with him always as he has been with you. I know you all, but you have never known me. I show myself now only because Levi is dead." Silence filled the room as this registered in their minds. It was obvious that all those gathered had already figured that out and this news was not unexpected. They just wanted confirmation, which they now received. After a moment she continued, "Levi died defeating the Supreme One. He forfeited his life to protect you, and I promised him to live on to continue to help and lead you in this war. I can do this if you so desire, but you must decide for yourself."

"I worked with Levi and through him before, but I am now unable to leave this facility. I am alive, but not a living being in the sense that I have a body. I am a living computer housed in this facility and this body you now see I created for Levi only. Now you must decide among yourselves if you will accept my leadership." With that her image dissolved.

They really had no choice, but she had decided it was better that they willingly accept her and not force herself upon them. The alliance had been built around Levi from their point of view. As soon as they thought about it they would understand that it had always been Amy's leadership jointly with Levi and nothing had really changed ... except for the loss of Levi.

After she, well her image, left she continued to watch and monitor the activities of the group. There was much sorrow expressed and Moon was visibly upset as she knew he would be. Bambi was beginning to understand the mystery of Levi now and like Mama, liked the idea of a female in charge. Al and Iron Eyes already knew the truth and were admitting to the others their secret knowledge. Jimmy's face shown pale with shock. She knew that Jimmy had developed a strong kinship, even love as a second father figure, and Levi had even referred to Jimmy as his son and loved him like a son. Levi was not alone in that love. She liked this young man too, but Jimmy never even knew she existed. Well, now he did, and it was slowly dawning on him how much he missed before.

Jimmy was really quizzing Iron Eyes and Al about how things had worked. He had blindly accepted the fact of the downloads he received and that he had been one of the trusted communicators, but he now realized that it was Amy's powers that enabled the telepathic communications through Levi.

As they talked the conversation slowly turned to the loss of Levi and all began telling stories of Levi and the legend that had grown around him. They talked about the superhuman fights Levi had with so many Simian Warriors, how he had almost died with a Simian sword thrust through his stomach, his miraculous recovery, how the ghost had brought Dawn back with the medicine Levi needed, the magical abilities Levi had demonstrated, also how Levi had found the lost cache of equipment buried in the lost mine, and finally the telepathic communication Levi had established with Fred, Al, and Jimmy. All these things were beginning to make sense now to everyone. It had always been Amy, and they were realizing that and the mystique of the apparent magic was now making sense.

She listened to the conversation and relived those moments with them. Yes, she would miss Levi as they would, but none knew just how much more had transpired between Levi and her. That was private. The love they had shared was none of their business, but she imagined they would also realize that fact.

Finally, Al brought up the subject they had all avoided.

Al said, "So what do you think? We want to let Amy continue to lead us?"

Moon signed with great exaggeration and force, "I owed Levi and now I know I also owe Amy my life... many times over! I and my followers will remain loyal to Amy no matter what."

Surprisingly, Jimmy was the next to voice an opinion.

Jimmy simply said, "Me too."

Al and Iron Eyes looked at each other and laughed out loud at Jimmy's breach of protocol but shook their heads in agreement, as did all around the conference table. What else were they going to do?

Amy materialized again on the stage. This time she was smiling and asked, "Have you decided?" Of course she already knew, but didn't want them to feel as if she had been spying on them.

Her image looked directly at each one as they spoke in agreement, thanking each one individually. Next she said, "In all honesty, I'm not sure what all I can do without Levi, but I will do my best for you." She went on to lay out the plans she had come up with so far concerning the use of the facility, the relocation of the Desert Community to the western side of the mountain, assignment of all the groups to specific areas, and other special projects she wanted.

Her first assignment was for Moon. In reality it was two assignments, but one required his personal attention. She assigned him to organize a group of Simians to retrieve the Simian computers from the San Diego and Fresno colony space ships for the implementation of the conversion of the Super Computer to Simian language. She tried to explain what was going to happen but quickly realized her explanation flew over everyone's head. Levi would have said, "Just fucking tell them what you want and stop trying to explain. They will do it." Levi always converted her meanings into simple terms that they would understand, but she would have to remember to do that now.

The second assignment Moon must do personally. Humm How would she put it? Finally she just said, "Moon, I need you to go to the location I will give you and find a piece of the Supreme One and bring it back here."

Moon's normally red eyes flashed black in shock, and rightfully so. He would not be able to understand this request. Of course, he would go, but he had to wonder why? Moon said nothing, but the questions were all over his face. How could she possibly explain DNA research to Moon or anyone left alive for that matter? So, she said, "I need a sample of his tissue to do research on. It is research you can't understand at this time, but necessary." She waited for a few seconds and went on carefully. "Levi died with the Supreme One in a hard teleport." Moon had witnessed a hard teleport and would remember the massive devastation it caused. She let that sit for a moment.

Suddenly, Moon realized that where there were parts of the Supreme One there would also be parts of Levi as well. He looked frightened. She knew there would not be much of either body considering the outcome of both implosion and explosion of a hard teleport, the exposure to insects and animals, and decomposing time. Still, there should be something to retrieve.

The others were getting the implication of this discussion as well and none felt comfortable nor did they envy Moon the job she was assigning him. They all had jobs to do, so they were happy when she dismissed them to their tasks.

When ASONE launched the hard teleport there was nothing she could do, but she remembered the location precisely. The location wasn't that far away. ASONE had used a location where it had been before. The location lay in the Owens Valley just outside the pass where the entity had held the Simian Warriors frozen. ASONE had emanated an unnatural high-frequency pitch, which paralyzed the Simians' nervous system and gained enough time for the Owens Valley Tribe to pass behind the safety of the pass. Moon would remember this location well. After ASONE had withdrawn, Levi collapsed from the strain, and Moon had carried him to safety. It shouldn't take Moon more than two days to travel there, find a sample, and return; hopefully, with some remains of the Supreme One.

As instructed, Moon assigned those of the original and trusted group of Techs to go to San Diego and Fresno to retrieve the Simian computers. Of late, they had been Levi's bodyguards, but were no longer needed for that task. These Techs could be trusted absolutely, but as extra insurance for success, she assigned the last remaining Simian Computer technician, # 5, to go with them to verify the condition of the computers and make sure they were properly disconnected and packed.

All the others were off to spread the word of Levi's death and change in the command structure, such as there was, and to organize the new settlements. She had to depend on her captains now to get things done without any oversight. Additionally, there would be a major delay in communication waiting on reports. Damn she missed Levi. Without him she was a prisoner of the facility and of her haunting memories.

She would have daily contact and reports from Fred and Jimmy as to the progress, problems, and needs. Since these two had been part of her monitoring and communications network, everyone would be accustomed to receiving information and instructions from them, and the captains would also be used to reporting to them. It was a natural function to continue, but she wished she did still have communication through them.

Having little timely communications or information about what transpired outside her doors would continue to be her biggest problem. She had total access to information within her facility but remained blind beyond the camera distance outside the doors. With Levi gone her ability to astral project was also gone. Through those out of body experiences she could have surveyed the world, and now she wished they would have done just that. They had discussed it many times, but kept putting it off as one of those things they would do in the future. Now no future existed.

Obviously, there had been another Simian invasion fleet land on Earth and her best estimate suggested that it had landed within the last two years. This meant there could be hundreds of thousands of new Warriors on Earth to deal with, but they would be in confusion now with the loss of the Supreme One. This would work to their advantage, because the individual Simian colonies would now be autonomous and fighting for control and hopefully, with each other. This should take their focus off of her and the Humans and Technical Simians living in freedom...for a while anyway.

Even though the immediate threat from the Simians was minor, it would be necessary to set up a watch at all the major entry points to warn of any incursion or attack. Thankfully, they had blown many of the bridges up and few river crossing existed that needed to be watched. Sooner or later it would come and they needed to be ready. The armies would need to remain at the ready, and she would have to complete her research on the Simian technology in hopes of developing better defenses and weapons.

Her focus turned to Mama standing in front of the platform addressing her. Mama could have addressed her from anywhere and she would have heard, but Mama had chosen this location. She realized Mama understood this, but must seem more comfortable looking at her as if she was a real person. It seemed strange how Mama gravitated to her visual. So she regenerated her holographic image on the platform and said, "Yes Mama. How can I help you?"

Somewhat nervously Mama said, well screeched, "I think the meeting went well."

Suddenly, Amy realized that Mama accepted her as a real person and intended to treat her as such. Somehow, this made Amy feel pleased. Mama had always accepted her as important and the power behind Levi, but she had always been professional only, giving reports and receiving instructions. Now Mama was speaking to her ... Amy the person. The visual and almost physical shape had made her unexpectedly real to Mama, and Amy was filled with delighted.

Amy said, "I think so too, Mama. Do you like my image?"

Mama responded, "Not bad for a human."

She did not know if Mama meant it to be funny or was being honest, but it did tickle her sense of humor. It struck her as truly humorous, and Amy responded with an uproarious audible laugh. She then said, "Mama, I hope you understand that many will be coming to me now since Levi is gone."

Mama looked sad then and said, "Yes, I understand, and it will not be a problem." After a long silence Mama then said, "I am sorry about Levi. I will miss him, too."

That statement told her volumes about Mama. It was obvious that Mama now understood much more about the relationship than Amy had given her credit for. Amy looked into the big ugly face of this stone faced female Simian and saw the grief Mama now showed ... grief for Amy and for herself.

Her ability to communicate had drastically improved with the addition of the visual and expressions to compliment the vocal communications. Yes, this had been a great idea to create the holographic image.