This is how things really play out. The kid with the most marbles wins. There ain't no secret techniques. Miracle weapons are hard to come by and even harder to mass produce. Look, if Japan had held fast and continued to resist after Nagasaki, the Americans would have been forced to invade. Two bombs. That was it. We blew the wad. But they did not know that, so we were lucky. The technological necromancers of Barsoom toiled on their pulse weapon. They did test a few of them and they were rather successful. But supplies were short. You need a quarry, if you're gonna throw rocks.
So the forces of The Empire of China kept coming, chipping away at 'Trooper' culture and forging links with Trooper enemies. The M.I.R. was bought and paid for, while the Tuva-Tuva question was more problematic. For the elusive, rustic, native tribes could go to ground. They knew the land and could breath the air. Recent Earth immigrants (such as the Troopers) could breath it too, as long as they continued to fortify it. Thousands of tanker sized oxygen bombs were detonated in remote areas every year. The press never talked about that. What Earth human would venture out there? To Mars, I mean. Who wants to live in an aquarium? What happens when 'they' unplug the pump? The Tuva-Tuva folk laugh at this genetic shortcoming. They've had at least thirty five thousand years to adapt. The ancient 'handlers' chose them well. And do not ask me who those 'handlers' were. We have yet to identify them, or detect their world.
But the world of the Texacos was finished. The ranch was gone. The beloved Polvarosa was no more..... at least in this place.
Yet, imagine an internet which is to ours as ours is to an abacus. That's how it is in the middle of the next century. The digital borders span galaxies. And the information contained there grows out and expands on its own.
Thus the family (plus retainers) is assembled. They sit on the polished concrete floor of that lower level passage, just beyond the door to the tiny sanctuary. Miss Sissie and Miz India said some prayers. The children were quiet, snuggled close to their mothers. Bart offered to go first. But since he was most familiar with the process, it was decided he'd go near the end.
Actually, it was very simple. I told you yesterday how it's all voice activated. Bart went in, conjured the six inch tall 'living' (we hope) hologram of his daddy and told him what to do. Big Daddy agreed. He'd wanted this for a while. And the way it worked out, Misses Buster ('wife' to one of the ranch hands) went first. She Kissed her 'husband,' entered the sanctuary and closed the door. Johnny (that's Big Daddy's name) introduced himself, told her she was one mighty handsome woman and asked her to make herself comfortable on the black, leather ottoman. She sat down, faced the plant stand, looked at the little black cube (there was never a plant on it) and waited. Johnny jumped up onto her shoulder, kissed her on the cheek, told her to get ready (she asked if it was gonna hurt. he said- no) and disappeared.
Then a multitude of sub atomic, slippery, little points of existence, known as tachyons, swirled and tumbled through the volume of the space, kissing and remembering every bit of Misses Buster they encountered. And they encountered it all. Nine heartbeats later she sighed..... and then it was done.
Bart opened the door. It was troubling to see her apparently 'dead' body laying there. But he was expecting that. Her carcass was no more that an old erased video tape and he told the others to go wait in a nearby storage room as he dragged her out and put her somewhere else.
Mister Buster was next..... And things proceeded smoothly enough until it was time for Little Davey. They could smell the acidic solvent permeating through the bunker, poisoning all it touched. The M.I.R. would only throw them on a bon fire. There was no other way out........
Johnny had to be telling the truth.........Most passages are difficult..... but perhaps there really is something better on the other side?
All we can do is hope.........
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