From the chapter, "Ambassador to NASA:"



On the way to Mars, Jerry talks with a shape-shifter

“We will arrive tomorrow,” Jerry looked at the display, speaking to a man made of shining silver metal. He wore ancient Japanese warrior attire, standing in front of a projection of the Martian surface.

Jerry heard words appear in his head, although the man’s mouth did not move. “The Tlalocs are here already, three of them, confined on deck seven.”

“Deck seven?” Jerry asked. “Isn’t that where detention cells are?”

“You understand our strategy,” the man said.

“Will we release them after negotiations?” Jerry asked.

The man smiled, ignoring the question. “You are human.”

Jerry nodded. “How do you know that?”  

“I have been to your planet,” he responded.

“But, you are from the other side of the galaxy,” Jerry responded, wondering why someone would voyage so far away from home.

“Further than that,” he responded.

“Where are you from?” Jerry asked.

Kurum turned, looking at the projection of a crater on Mars behind him. Then, he turned to Jerry again. “There is a gateway from my system to yours,” he responded. “I am here to help you.” He tilted his head and opened his eyes wider, looking into Jerry’s face. “I didn’t realize humans had ventured so far.”

Jerry felt uncomfortable and looked away from the display. Turning back, he responded, “I befriended a Tayamni woman, and have been asked to serve.”

Kurum looked at him for a full minute, “Befriended?”

Jerry couldn’t read his face. The shiny, silver skin reflected too much light. He wondered if the shape-shifter could read his thoughts.

Without speaking Jerry tried to send the silver man a question, Do you know what I am thinking?

Kurum nodded. “You remind me of someone.”

Jerry saw an image of the creature who contacted him in his dreams. He gasped, “Did you do that?”

Kurum nodded.

“Do you know who that is?” Jerry asked.

“Yes,” Kurum responded.

“Who is he? Why is he in my dreams?”

“Why don’t you ask him?” Kurum answered.

“How do you know him? Where is he?” Jerry asked again, feeling panicked. Then, he saw another image. The male creature who contacted him sitting on a treeless plain, with a female who had the same hair growing on her body. They were sitting in a wasteland on the ground, naked.

Kurum looked into Jerry’s face calmly. “He will tell you. Ask him. He is not far away.”

The display switched off.

Jerry wanted to cry. He was stressed, feeling as if he had not slept in days. He sat down heavily on the cot and put his hands in his head. Closing his eyes, he saw the image of the creature again, simply looking at him. “Who are you?” he thought to himself.

Then, he heard words as if they were spoken aloud, “I am you.”

“Where are you?” he asked.

“I am here,” he responded.

Jerry balled his hand into a fist with frustration and struck the bed. “Contact Berenib,” he ordered the display across from him.

“The Berenib is unavailable,” a computer voice sounded.

Jerry fell back on the bed with anger and closed his eyes. This time, he fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

After a half hour, a ping sounded from the display. Waking gradually, he saw Berenib’s face.

“You tried to reach me?” she asked.

Jerry nodded. “I spoke with Kurum today,” he sighed, looking down at the floor. “He knows who it is who is contacting me when I sleep.”

She was expressionless and simply looked at him.

He continued, “Do you know who he is? Does he look familiar to you?”

She nodded.

“Then, who is he?” Jerry asked raising his voice. “Why do you and Kurum speak in riddles?”

She swallowed hard and sighed. “Jerry, you know we came to Earth 200,000 years ago?”

He nodded.

“I don’t know where he is, or why he is contacting you, but he is one of the humans we encountered on our first visits. He is Homo Erectus.”

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