‘Thank you, humans…’
‘Don’t call them “humans”, Dad.’ Ara was sitting on the old sofa chair facing him, her legs dangling over the worn and padded arm. They were in his old office, which was small, warm, and untidy. Not unclean. It was just littered with tablets, books, and piles of research papers. She was reading the dictates again, annoyed with the Nine Function Tests that had been forced upon her and that would force her to experience her own personal crucible. But they weren’t through the Alien Crucible, not even close, and it would be her failures that may doom them all.
‘…um…thank you all for visiting. For Ara, I am collating all the logs over the years and wish to point out some areas you—’ Gaven glanced over at Ara who was grinning at him ‘—might relate. Ara, can we do this another time? I just want to list the things I’ve come up with that might be of interest to the humans.’
‘Sure.’ She slid her long legs across, stood and walked over to kiss him on the cheek. Ara remained in that position and placed her narrow face close to his. She started reading the list that sat on the messy desk. Her honey colored hair slipped over her shoulder. ‘Let’s see, Soft and Speculative Science Fiction Series?’
He nodded. ‘It’s to help… Like a frame of reference. Maybe I should change Series to Logs?’
‘I see and okay. Moving on.’ She picked up the tablet. ‘Motif: Dichotomy – Binary Opposites. I hate dichotomies, you know that. Anyway. Theme: Military Conflict, Mythological parallels. I like that but remember it is…’
He held up another tablet. ‘Science: Multi-universe, Nanotechnology, Dimensions, Phase (Physics), Genetic Engineering, Matter (Dark, Antimatter)?’
‘Just for starters, I hope.’
‘Well?’ He turned his head, frowning, as she replaced the tablet in front of him.
‘As I said, it’s a start.’
‘Cheeky girl. Get me a coffee, human coffee that is.’ He grinned as he looked back at the tablet, pulling over the small keyboard.
‘Girl! Sure, Dad. Still two sugars and cream?’ She squeezed his shoulders before standing straight, stretching out her back.
‘Please?’ Ara prompted him cheekily but knew he wouldn’t reply.
He muttered something, already engrossed. Ara thought he said, ‘What else about the Alien Crucible?’
At least he hadn’t nagged her about writing about her own personal crucible. No, that was still too painful but it ran concurrently with the Alien Crucible and no doubt she would have to reveal her innermost secrets anyway. As yet she had to face her greatest enemy, Tartarus and his allies. Still, Ara didn’t have many secrets left having been so exposed to the worlds, but there were some secrets she would never reveal. Well, maybe to Jamie she would reveal all. But he would just laugh saying he knew everything about her anyway. Jamie. Ara entered the tiny office kitchen, which was now clean and tidy.
‘What is it, sweetie?’ Jamie turned, wiping his hands on the tea towel, his dark eyes amused.
‘Dad wants a coffee, please.’
‘And you want me to make it and let you take credit?’ He leaned his tall frame against the cupboard bench, studying her with his usual intensity.
‘Yes.’ She walked up to him, smiling her ‘extra special for Jamie’ smile.
He turned back, laughing. ‘Some things never change.’
From the time Ara is delivered, as a baby, to Perza Space Station she must find a way to “go home”. To go home she must find a way out of the Alien Crucible while going through her own personal tribulations. The main problem is that sentient beings inside the Lacuna (test site) can’t live in the Consortium (home) and her enemy wants her succeed so that they can escape as well. If her enemy escapes with them all life as she knows it will cease to exist.