Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Pineapple Cure

I've been researching about local, tropical, Philippine alternatives to the liver flush, parasite cleanse and other detox protocols and it seems I can now announce that the common tropical pineapple is a winner!

I would like my readers to know that Dole pineapples are grown in very large farms in the Philippines.

Given this information, deworming, liver stone dissolving, detoxing, digestive, and bowel movement problems now seem so much easier.

Intestinal worms hate pineapples, so a pineapple fast will get rid of many of them.

Liver stones are reportedly dissolved via pineapple fast. Yes! I don't want to keep doing liver flushes every month. I will try this protocol and report in this website.

Detoxing heavy metals such as lead, pineapples do a great job, this information I got from MH, the Barefoot Herbalist at Curezone.

Digestive problems are easy for fresh pineapples of course, no need to ingest digestive enzymes when you are consuming fresh pineapples. The bromelain comes from fresh pineapples. And it does not get any more active than this.

Bowel movement problems? Lack fiber? Who wants to keep drinking those no-taste psyllium husks? Probably those who do not have access to fresh pineapples! Fresh pineapple juiced with the core in them will regulate your bowels, that is for sure.

How is this pineapple fast done? For that we have to thank this forum poster Joane at curezone

"I dissolved all of my remaining stones with nothing except pineapple juice. I didn't believe it (I read all about it on a raw food forum), or that something so simple (and more importantly, so delicious!) would work, but it did. I went from about 30 gallbladder attacks to zero. Since I started the pineapple juice cure, I have never had another gallbladder attack. It still amazes me that it worked. It's the acid in the dissolves fat and stones.

All you do is juice (in an electric juicer) one whole and RIPE (let one you buy at the store sit for a week) and peeled and cored pineapple, and chug it all down fast - no savoring...just gulp it down. The acid will dissolve your stones. Yes, it really works. I had so many gallbladder attacks that it was ruining my mental health, so I tried this in desperation.

I went to the store and bought 7 pineapples, and waited one week, to give them a chance to really ripen. Then I juiced and drank a whole one every morning, once a day, for a week. The second week I drank one every other day. The third week, twice that week. And now, for maintenace, I drink it once a week, usually on Saturday morning. Believe me, it works, and it's the most delicious cure you'll ever try :)

Do it in the morning, on an empty stomach. Don't water it down or take any vitamins or pills or anything with it. An average pineapple makes a large coffee mug full of juice. Chug it down as soon as you make it - drink it while it's freshly juiced. Wait an hour and a half before drinking or eating anything else."

* Note: I suggest to consume the pineapple CORE because this contains a lot of important fiber and the anti-parasite properties are contained in the CORE.
For more information visit

The Brotherhood Of Light


There is on earth a lodge of learned men who meet once a year to discuss various scientific questions. These initiates know about the earth - its past and its present - much more than contemporary scientists, who represent the official sciences. But concerning the future of the earth even these men of the lodge know nothing positive and they make assumptions about it.

Besides this lodge of initiates on earth, there is on the sun another lodge of great Initiates who know positively not only the past and present of our planet but also its future.

Both lodges are only organs of that great universal organism of perfected, highly advanced beings who form the Great Universal Brotherhood.

These perfected beings are much more advanced than even the greatest men of genius on earth, because they emerged much earlier from the Primal Source. They all have followed a particular path of development, under the guidance of the Divine Spirit, to that degree of advancement which they have attained at present.

When we speak of the Great Universal Brotherhood, we mean that hierarchy of intelligent beings who have completed their evolution millions and billions of years ago and who now direct the entire cosmos. They direct it because they themselves have participated in its creation under the guidance of the Divine Spirit.

When we consider how wisely the entire universe is constructed, with all its galaxies, and with all its innumerable suns and planets, or if we look only at the mechanical and technical perfection with which the earth is constructed, we might comprehend the power of mind and spirit those creative geniuses had who realized the Divine plan of the universe.

These beings range in a hierarchical order according to the extent of their knowledge and development and according to the service they perform. They are known by the following names: seraphim - brothers of love; cherubim - brothers of harmony; thrones - brothers of will; dominions - brothers of wisdom and joy; mights - brothers of movement and growth; powers - brothers of external form and art; principalities - brothers of time, condition and measure; archangels - brothers of fire and warmth; angels - bearers of life and vegetation. The last, the tenth rank, will be occupied by the advanced human souls.

All of these together represent the great Cosmic Man.

The activity of all those beings is so harmoniously distributed that each one knows when, how and what to do. They direct the functions of the great universal organism which includes within itself all solar systems.

Our understanding is that there are three types of solar systems. The first - the organs of the starry universes - forms the material, the physical world, made from the densest matter, though it has various degrees of density. The second is made from finer substance, the substance of the spiritual world, and is part of the angelic world.The third type of solar systems, in its totality, forms the divine world and is made out of the finest and most superior substance.

Heaven, spoken of in the Sacred Scriptures, is not that blue vault over our heads behind which universal space disappears and in which, during the night, stars shine brightly.

Heaven is organized by higher beings, by great souls, and therefore it is great in its activity. The angels who inhabit heaven are great souls who constantly send their light to the whole world. The energy of their mighty thought is distributed throughout the entire cosmos and as a collective power moves everything in the world.

Do not think that the angels are immaterial beings, something like spectral phantoms. They are beings whose bodies are highly organized, formed from pure radiant substance. An angel can control his body in such a way that it can become visible and invisible. He can freely travel through boundless space with a speed greater than that of light; he can roam through solar systems and starry universes.

The angels also are at different stages of development but generally they are divided into two great Kingdoms. Those of the higher kingdom rarely descend to the earth, but those of the lower one come often to help in the spiritual upliftment of mankind. These great brothers of man came forth from the human race, but followed their path of evolution billions of years before man, under more favourable conditions which they used wisely.

And if the life of humanity advances according to plan, if cultures flourish on earth with their sciences, religions, and arts, if men have an eternal aspiration toward development and perfection, it is because these intelligent beings, who are closely connected with mankind, constantly work and care for them. Love, joy and life flow from the angels' hearts. And thanks to their inspiration, men live and strive. The angels wish for humanity to attain the light which they have, the freedom which they enjoy. They desireto teach men to live according to the great laws by which they live. They apply the most intelligent laws in the world. They live the purest and the most sublime life, a life of absolute unselfishness.

In their great self-abnegation, these loving servants of God come down to earth in human form to help people. In one form or another they constantly send their ambassadors to the earth. All men of genius, all great people, saints, adepts, all men of science, writers, statesmen who promote the advancement of humanity in one or another direction - all of these are servants of the Great Universal Brotherhood. It chooses the most advanced souls from among humanity and prepares them for spiritual work among their brothers. Among contemporary humanity there are persons who have finer spiritual powers, who have finer constitution. They are distinguished by their highly organized and pliant bodies because they live an absolutely pure and saintly life. It is their extraordinary development which makes them suitable to be spiritual helpers of humanity. The most highly advanced among them completed their evolution on the earth and possess immense knowledge. They have extensive knowledge of the positive, absolute, Divine science which has existed since the creation of the universe. Many of them live on earth for thousands of years. Having passed through the process of resurrection, neither death nor rebirth exists for them. These men, called "Sons of God", within whose spirits and souls God lives, and who are connected with the entire rational world, with all advanced beings in all solar systems, are those great souls, Masters of humanity, who have attained the highest manifestation of thought and deed, in every field. They are those mighty spirits who, openly or secretly, inspire humanity to advance. You will discover these brothers behind every spiritual activity on earth, behind every spiritual manifestation; they are behind every great man, every great poet, musician or painter.

In order that a man of genius may appear on the earth, it is necessary that thousands of souls of genius be united to express themselves through him.

In order that a Master may appear, it is necessary that all intelligent souls be united in him.

What is Christ? Christ is a collective spirit. He is the totality of all Sons of God from whose souls and hearts flow love and life. All Sons of God united into one, all intelligent souls who live in divine oneness - that is Christ. In this sense He is the head of the Great Universal Brotherhood.

And the star, mentioned in the Gospel and which appeared at Christ's birth, was something living: it was a unity of living beings descending from the heights to proclaim the coming of Christ. But only the three wise men from the East, great initiates, saw and knew the star. And these three wise men were also servants of the Great Universal Brotherhood.

Therefore, remember: the only great Community which exists at present in the world, is the Great Universal Brotherhood.

Those members of the Great Universal Brotherhood, who guide the development of humanity and lead it toward a bright future, do not form any society or organization visible to men. They constitute a living unity, a rational community, which exists beyond the corrupted conditions among which men live.And therefore it is ridiculous to say that the headquarters of that brotherhood is here or there, in this or that country.

All those great Brothers who work in the spiritual spheres of earth belong to seven hierarchies, seven categories. Some of them belong to Love and are called the "Brothers of Love". Others belong to Wisdom and are called "Brothers of Wisdom". They inspire the sciences and arts and bring knowledge to humanity. Others are called "Brothers of Truth". They bring freedom to men's minds and hearts. They introduce that freedom which makes the human spirit, the human soul, the human mind and heart, free - free in the full sense of the word. Still others are called "Brothers of Justice" and they bring righteousness to humanity and have at their disposal those invisible blessings which contemporary men need. Some are called "Brothers of Virtue", and others, "Brothers of Beauty", and at last come those who have the name of "Jehovists".

However, those are not the real names of these brothers. I dare not pronounce the real ones for they are sacred.

These Brothers are not ordinary, as people might assume. Every one of them can take the earth in his hand and throw it like a ball in space! And they can do this because behind them is something that is still mightier, more sublime, which they serve.

And if some men think that they can defy these Brothers, this reveals that they do not understand the profound meaning which inheres in the expression, "White Brother". If it is a question of force, these Brothers have at their disposal the mightiest force. They know the functions of the human brain so well that in one day they could cause all of humanity to fall asleep. What are the most powerful contemporary weapons before the power of these great Brothers? But they do not want to use force - they allow men to experience things for themselves, even at the price of thousands of sufferings because only suffering can ennoble and correct humanity. And one day men will come to know that in the world there is a great, just government, the citizens of which - the sons of God - are the wisest beings, who live according to God's laws and do His will. Not a nation will remain which has not experienced the power and the might of this just government.

But if today men do not follow the right path, the reason is that, counterbalancing the Great White Brotherhood, another lodge of intelligent beings works, beings who do not understand the deep meaning of life and have a diametrically opposite comprehension of it. They constitute the so-called Black Brotherhood. The Black Brotherhood is a hierarchy of beings who have various ranks according to the degree of their intelligence. In order to give you a clearer concept of their functioning, I shall say that while the White Brotherhood works in the branches and the blossoms of life, with methods pertaining to them, the Black Brotherhood works in the roots of life. While the White Brotherhood works in the head and breast of the cosmic man, the Black Brotherhood works in the stomach, the liver and the intestines. Therefore, the White Brotherhood is connected with the positive forces, with the good, and the Black Brotherhood with the negative forces, with evil in the broadest sense of the word. But at present both forces are necessary for the manifestation of life. Their services are strictly defined.

Besides these two schools, there is a third one - the school of the Great Masters who are from a higher hierarchy and direct the activities of the first two. They use the methods of both for their great aims but belong neither to the one nor to the other of the schools. They are those Great Masters of the Universal Brotherhood who guide the entire cosmos and who, after the completion of each evolution, create new waves of evolution according to another plan and another rhythm.

Under the guidance of their mighty spirit, those advanced spirits who created the solar systems, including our own, at one time descended from the highest peaks of creation They also created and organized the primal "cosmic" earth - what was once "paradise". On that "cosmic earth" still live those perfected forefathers of men who completed their evolution. They are the great ancestors of humanity.

Those creators of the past, those great ancestors still descend to our earth. And they will transform it into a paradise. Together with them will come those 144,000 souls spoken of in Revelation and among them there will be representatives of all past and present nations. All saints, adepts and Masters from time immemorial will come. Their mighty spirit will direct all awakened souls throughout the earth and all of these together will establish perfect order and harmony in the world. After they finish their task, they will withdraw and will leave humanity to live and work under the new conditions. Thus, the communication between the visible and the invisible worlds will be restored.

This is the way in which the Great Universal Brotherhood has worked, works now, and will work in the world.

And it will work until the one Love, the one Wisdom and the one Truth envelop all of creation.

Then every living thing will praise God in sacred peace and harmony.

Peter Deunov (Beinsa Douno) was the Master of Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov in Bulgaria

Rising Vibrations

SaLuSa 24-September-2008

Even by your measure of time, there is not long to go before you will get a clear indication of where Humanity is going. There are events that are approaching manifestation that will be the precursor of greater happenings, that shall lead you in a different direction to what you are used to experiencing. You are being helped to break away from the iron grip of the dark forces, and this is vital if you are to tread a different path that shall allow you full expression in the Light. As you rise up from the lower vibrations, so you are creating a new energy field around you, and eventually will be totally protected against intrusions from them.

The raising up of your consciousness is a process that you can contribute to by being aware of all of your thoughts and actions, ensuring they are of your highest expression. As you progress, you will attract even higher energies to yourself, and in so doing will help others also awaken. Your presence is all that is required to perform this service, on behalf of those who still dwell in the lower vibrations. Some will remain rooted in them and unable to break out. They will not be deserted, but allowed to continue through their freewill choice.

Part of your reason for coming to Earth was to experience separateness from the Source, and in the end-times that you are now going through to grasp the opportunity to ascend. It is of your choosing, and as your consciousness expands to reveal the truth you must live according to your highest understanding of upliftment. Once you are on the path to Ascension, many dear souls from the Light will accompany you for the remainder of your journey. You have never been alone, but as often as not have been mired in the dark energies and unable to fully respond to the Light.

This particular period of time is drawing many Beings to Earth, who desire to help you overcome the many obstacles across your path. Rigid belief systems are a major difficulty to overcome, and it is so essential that you allow for other beliefs to expand your understanding. If not, many revelations that are about to enter your consciousness will be missed opportunities to break out of the conditioning that has held you back. Soon for example, there will be irrefutable proof that you are not alone in this Universe. Extraterrestrial craft are no strangers to your Earth, and contact with them is quite normal. What will be different is that the event of the 14th October sighting will happen in such a way that it will be undeniable, and open the door to First Contact.

From hereon, think in a more expansive way that allows for the unity of Man, and his counterparts from all parts of the Universe. You are All One, and it is time to welcome them to your Earth not as strangers or aliens, but your friends. You are One in the Light of the Source of All Life, and your destiny is to once more to become a pure Being of Light. Without the assistance of your ET friends, Man would have been unable to progress thus far. In time you will understand the truth of their presence, and how they have greatly helped you to evolve according to the Divine Plan that has guided them.

As we have often informed you, fear is the greatest obstacle to your enlightenment, and your dark forces play upon it. See beyond their attempts to intimidate you, and take your focus away from the activities of the Light. Some events are natural and real enough, and physical changes will continue to take place. However, others are intentionally brought about to continue the assault upon your senses to cause confusion and despair. Look further ahead and see that the present conditions cannot remain much longer, without a major change of direction. The dark is already beginning to implode upon itself, as it has no place whatsoever in the New Age. The Light is rapidly manifesting upon Earth, and drawing ever closer to the moment when the new Earth shall come into being. It will be with all of its glory, fully restored and fit for the sovereign Beings that shall have been lifted up.

There should be no concern about anything of value that will be left behind, as nothing of the 3rd dimension vibration can take its place in the higher ones. You will eventually use your own powers of creation to bring into being absolutely anything that gives you joy and happiness. There will be no loss to mourn over, and you will enjoy an existence of wonderful peace and great satisfaction in the company of Souls of Light. The times upon Earth will seem distant, and only those moments of utter love and upliftment will remain in your awareness. Think and meditate upon these things, and you will find a certainty within that knows the Truth in this connection.

We say be aware of what is going on around you, but stand back and deflect the lower energies back to their source by placing the golden white Light around you. Everything is energy, and therefore you have the means to combat any unwelcome energies so that they do not affect you. There will be difficult times ahead but you can soften the blow, if you approach them in the knowing that great changes are coming that will advance you beyond any lasting effect. Everything is happening so quickly with some speed as the new energies begin to manifest the new Earth. It is happening now, and therefore much of the old must make way for it.

Be of good cheer and help others to overcome their fear, by pointing out that a cleansing is taking place that is necessary to enable the new to manifest. Death and destruction are inevitable, but you will learn that nothing happens by chance. All souls decide how they will leave Earth and they accept it without any trauma or regret, as there is a time set for the completion of each souls life period. One life is but a brief moment of time in the whole scheme and plan for Man. The present one is however most important for those who seek the path of Ascension, and even that is known within the souls subconsciousness and will drive them onwards.

I am SaLuSa from Sirius and come with greetings from the Galactic Federation, and much joy at the thought of your soon to come experiences of our craft, as they come close to Earth. Our actions are all in the cause of Love and Light and to ensure your safe arrival at journeys end, and Ascension.

Thank you SaLuSa.

Mike Quinsey

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dangers Of Wi-Fi Networks


Britain's top health watchdog has called for an inquiry into the use of wireless Internet networks in schools because of concerns they could be exposing children to the risk of cancer.

The demand came after it was revealed that classroom "wi-fi" networks give off three times as much radiation as a typical mobile phone mast.

Guidelines from the Health Protection Agency already state that masts should not be sited near schools because of a possible cancer link and other health risks.

Now its chairman, Sir William Stewart, is seeking a review of the health effects of wi-fi networks amid fears they could pose even greater dangers.

Wi-fi works by transmitting information via radio waves from a telephone line to a computer and back.

Networks have been installed in nearly 50 per cent of primary schools and 70 per cent of secondary schools giving millions of children access to computers.

Researchers for the BBC's Panorama programme visited a comprehensive in Norwich and measured the strength of a radiation signal from a classroom wi-fi laptop.

They found that the maximum signal strength was three times higher than that of a typical mobile phone mast.

Scientists believe children may be more vulnerable to radio-frequency radiation emissions than adults because their skulls are still growing and are thinner.

This raises questions over the safety of children bent over computers being exposed to radiation at very close quarters.

But Panorama spoke to 50 schools and only one had been alerted to possible health risks. Some had been categorically told that there was no danger.

In response to the findings, Sir William said: "I believe that there is a need for a review of wi-fi and other areas. I think it's timely for it to be done now."

In the past 18 months 1.6million wi-fi connections have been set up in the UK. This means children using computers at home could also be at risk.

The World Health Organisation, backed by the Government, says there are "no adverse health effects from low-level, long-term exposure" to wi-fi radiation.

But Sir William said there was growing evidence of possible harm from radio-frequency radiation.

He explained: "There may be changes, for example in cognitive function.

"There were some indications that there may be cancer inductions. There was some molecular biology changes within the cell."

Philip Parkin, general secretary of the Professional Association of Teachers, said: "I am asking for schools to consider very seriously whether they should be installing wi-fi networks now and this will make them think twice or three times before they do it."

The levels of radiation Panorama found were 600 times lower than those deemed dangerous by the Government, which bases its data on radiation safety limits provided by a group of scientists called ICNIRP.

But it does not take the biological effects of radio-frequency radiation into account, basing exposure limits solely on a "thermal effect".

This means radiation only counts if it is so strong it causes a heat effect.

Last month Professor Lawrie Challis, chairman of the government- sponsored mobile telecommunications and health research programme, warned of the dangers of children using wi-fi-enabled laptops on their knees.

He said the wi-fi transmitter is only 2cm from the child's bodies – putting them at greater risk than if they were using a normal computer when the transmitter would be in the PC's tower.

Yesterday he said: "Wi-fi exposures are usually very small and seem unlikely to pose any risk to health – the transmitters are low power and some distance from the body.

"They can be near to the body however when a laptop is on one's lap and my own view is that just as we encourage young children not to use mobile phones we should also encourage them to use their laptops on a table rather than their lap if they are going online for a long time."

Professor Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, cast doubt on Panorama's findings.

He said wi-fi radiation was about 100,000 times less intense than that emitted by domestic microwave ovens.

He added: "Research is still proceeding in this area at leading centres in many countries but evidence points to wi-fi transmissions being well below any likely threshold for human effects."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Current evidence does not suggest that there is a health problem with wi-fi but we look to the Health Protection Agency to advise Government on these issues."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sodium Bicarbonate Enhances Athletic Performance

Scientists have proven what athletes have been claiming for years - that Granny's old cure-all, bicarbonate of soda, can enhance performance.

'Soda-doping', as it is known amongst professional sportsmen, can have a significant effect on endurance and speed.

Baking soda appears to work best to enhance speed. A study at Loughborough University found that of nine swimmers who took baking soda before an event, eight reduced their times, the Times reports.

Jonathan Folland, who led the study, said: 'Essentially, sodium bicarbonate is an alkali substance that increases the pH of the blood.

'This seems to reduce and offset the acidity produced in the muscles during intense, anaerobic exercise that produces lactic acid most quickly, such as fast running or swimming.'

Sodium bicarbonate, as anyone whose taken it for indigestion knows, reduces acids - helping the body to deal with the acidic waste products produced during exercise, that  tire us more quickly.

But the substance isn't a miracle-worker - shaving seconds, not minutes, off performance time - so that only the most proficient athletes will notice a difference.

The swimmers in the Loughborough study cut 1.5 seconds from their 200m time. Which is hardly significant for most of us who take a leisurely few laps up and down the pool.

A study at the American College of Sports Medicine found that runners could also improve performance with baking soda.

But the substance - used before modern times as a household cleaning agent - can cause upset stomachs, and tastes foul. 'It is not dangerous, but it tastes appalling,' warns Dr Folland.

He says that only those who are very serious about sport should try the white powder, which may cause diarrhoea.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Enhance Your Relationship Through Sexual Union

If you decided to have sex every day, would your relationship benefit?

Two long-married couples decided to find out. When lovemaking fell off their respective "to-do" lists, they ditched the sweats, bought sex toys and books, stepped up exercise, lit candles, and took trips. Then they chronicled their "sexperiment" in two recently released books, Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Lives for 101 Days (No Excuses!) by Doug Brown and 365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy by Charla Muller with Betsy Thorpe.

But will daily sex really help a relationship that's hit a rough patch? Some experts say yes; others aren't so sure. As for the two couples who tried it, the Browns and the Mullers, both say the experiment strengthened their marriages in -- and out -- of the bedroom.

Charla Muller had been married for eight years to her husband, Brad, when she embarked on what she calls "the year of the gift" as a way to celebrate her husband's 40th birthday Rather than fixing anything wrong in her marriage , she writes that frequent sex made her happier, less angry, and less stressed.

Doug Brown's wife, Annie Brown, initiated the offer of daily sex after hearing about sexless marriages on Oprah. He had a similar revelation after they started having daily sex. A feature writer for The Denver Post, Brown writes of releasing "an avalanche of flesh pleasures upon our relationship."

"There's a special sense of being desired that only comes from sex," he tells WebMD. "You can be good at your job or at sports, but the daily confirmation you get through sex is a super feeling."

Reversing the Downward Sex Spiral

According to the National Opinion Research Center, the average American couple reports having sex 66 times a year. Newsweek has noted that 15% to 20% of couples have sex less than 10 times a year, which is defined as a "sexless" marriage.

Familiarity, advancing age, work pressures, the challenges of raising a family, and household responsibilities all conspire against regular sex among many otherwise loving couples who feel too harried to get physical.

When Doug Brown and his wife began their experiment in 2006, they were juggling two kids and two jobs. Married for 14 years, they averaged sex three times a month. And he admits he had performance anxiety .

"I felt I had to be a porn star or an Olympic gold medalist. That melted away with [daily] sex. We learned so much about each other. Sex became much more playful and that translated into a more playful union. We regained an electricity that wasn't always there before."

They also lost their inhibitions and embarrassment about the subject and gained confidence. "Now we can talk about anything."

The Mullers had a similar experience.

"I didn't realize how much not being [regularly] intimate stressed our relationship," Charla Muller tells WebMD. "I was a bit of a dodger, because I felt pressure to make it fabulous, because who knows when it will come around again? Now I'm not willing to give it up again."

She says an unexpected benefit of daily sex was the kindness it required of the couple.

"I wasn't expecting that. I thought we would only have to be really nice after hours. But we both had to bring our best game to the marriage every day. That was an important part of what went on behind closed doors."

The Science of Frequent Sex

Helen Fisher, PhD, a research professor and member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the department of anthropology at Rutgers University, says couples trigger sex drive, romance , and attachment -- along with their attendant hormones, testosterone, dopamine, and oxytocin --with regular sexual activity.

Fisher is an advocate of frequent sex.

She says that in some hunting and gathering societies, such as the Kung bushmen in the southern Kalahari, couples often make love every day for relaxation. Unlike our time-pressed culture, there is more leisure time.

"Sex is designed to make you feel good for a reason," says Fisher. "With someone you love, I recommend it for many reasons: It's good for your health and good for your relationship. It's good for respiration, muscles, and bladder control. It's a fine antidepressant , and it can renew your energy."

Andrea M. Macari, PhD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in sex therapy in Great Neck, N.Y., says the theories presented in the two books reflect sex therapy literature.

"Regular sex actually increases sexual deire in the couple," she tells WebMD. "In other words, the more you 'do it,' the more the individuals will seek it. You develop a desire that wasn't normally there. The act itself is reinforcing."

But she points out that sex doesn't have to be "mind-blowing."

"I encourage couples to have 'good enough' sex. This sets realistic expectations and often lowers anxiety. Sex is like pizza: even when it's bad, it's usually still pretty good. On a scale from one to 10, good-enough sex is between 5 and 7."

Doug Brown admits that he and his wife were tired on many nights. But, he says, "Once we started, we got in the mood. We were never sorry we did it."

Scheduled Sex: Good for Your Relationship?

"The two married couples who document having sex on a daily basis are great role models for other couples who want to take their relationship to a higher level of intimacy," says Ava Cadell, PhD, founder and president of Loveology University and a certified sex counselor.

Cadell's six-week course called "Passion Power" includes a commitment form, a questionnaire, and daily sensual exercises to help couples deepen their bond. "When a couple makes a commitment to explore and expand their sexuality together, they become 100% fluent in the art of love, intimacy, and sexuality. They can stay in lust forever."

But some experts think scheduled sex can backfire.

Pepper Schwartz, PhD, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle, says, "Whether or not it works, most couples can't do it. Those who do maintain that kind of schedule have either a sexual appetite of Olympian proportions or have at least one partner who finds that as their most important way of staying connected and the other partner has tremendous grace and goodwill. There are no couples I have ever met that are in that good a mood, or have that kind of energy every day. So this is a model that will appeal to few and be practiced by even fewer."

But, she concedes, staying sexually and emotionally connected on a frequent basis has merit.

"Sexual attraction and sexual arousal bring to bear two very important hormones, dopamine and oxytocin, both of which create bliss and bonding. Even if the lovemaking session started out with only a modest amount of interest, once arousal starts, these hormones create attachment, pleasure, and intimacy. So while everyday sex isn't necessary, frequent sex is a great bonus and even an essential part of most couple's commitment and happiness with one another."

Stress management expert Debbie Mandel, MA, thinks such sex might be a bit "gimmicky" and could lead to dissatisfaction.

"In many cases, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder. You don't have to abstain for a long period of time -- a few days off creates anticipation and eagerness. You might love steak, but having it every night diminishes the gustatory pleasure. Habituate yourself to regular sex, but don't ever let love become a routine, a robotic obligatory habit."

Doug Brown disagrees. He says setting up a period of time -- be it a long weekend, a week, or a month -- is a way to jump-start a sagging sexual relationship. "It should be possible for any couple to do it for a week and for it not to be a chore. It's free and it's fun. Why not plan it and take
advantage of it? Anticipation is a big part of sex."

Having sex every day may be unrealistic for most couples, but if you and your partner want to ramp up your sex life, experts offer the following tips for success:

Increase in increments. Muller recommends couples start by doubling their frequency. Then doubling it again in six months.

Re-examine your sex life -- often. Though they now average sex three times a week, Doug Brown says his wife recently told him they need a "tune-up," or a mini-marathon of sex.

Act on your desires. "Whenever you have the urge, says Macar, head straight for the bedroom. The more time [that elapses] between having the idea and following up and you'll lose motivation."

Fake it till you make it. Several experts agree: Even if you aren't in the mood, once you begin, you'll enjoy sex.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Emergence Of The New Consciousness

Atmos 10-September-2008

There are going to be many changes before long, and they will direct your attention away from the pressures of everyday life. You have looked for signs that signal the emergence of a new consciousness, which will create a different path to your present one. That is now about to manifest and carried forward by your greater expectancy, aroused by opportunities for change that are coming in the next few months. These energies are raising people's awareness, and their demands are more difficult for the opposition to ignore.

It is time to bid the old farewell, as a new paradigm must replace the present outworn one. It comes in the shape of the Ascension process that will come into its own very shortly, and lead you on to the Golden Age. So many souls have set their sights upon it, and know that it will permanently release them from the cycle of duality. As a result there are now two distinct groups and they are drifting further apart, and it is in both of their interests to be free to follow their own desires. Those of the Light see quite clearly what lies ahead, whereas those that have not yet awakened continue to accept their present environment with little vision of a new future.

Yet out of the experience of duality each and every soul will learn valuable lessons, which will hold good for their next cycle of experience. Wherever you go and whatever you choose for your continued growth, you will find other souls also pursuing the same pathways. Those who have gone before you will become your mentors and guides, and this is normal in the higher realms. All help each other as they walk in Unconditional Love for all life. It is the recognition of these levels of attainment that drives you ever onwards. It is your goal, yet it is only the beginning of a great adventure that will take you anywhere in the Cosmos.

Can you see that your true reality is far removed from your present existence, and that you are truly Beings of Light. You are returning to your true home amongst the stars, and you will immediately feel as though you have never left it. You will gain superconsciousness and powers of creation that you have never dreamt of before. Project your thoughts into your most realistic vision of what lies ahead and live it now as far as you can, and you will surely be well prepared for your quantum leap into the future. The more you do so the less you will rely on your present existence, which has been your home for millennia of time.

We are well advanced in our preparations, and work with our allies to remove the last obstacles that hold us back. You are admirably doing your part, and it is fast becoming a scenario where we need to speed matters up. We must trigger off the first of many changes that are essential to our coming. We know the weaknesses of the dark, and will combat their arrogance and defiance by playing upon them. A game it may be, but nevertheless one that is most serious in its implications for Humanity. As we have told you so often the changes must come as decreed, and we cannot tolerate any more interference. Our ways are not heavy handed, but at the same time we have unlimited power and authority to achieve our aims. We have tried to guide your leaders into the Light of reasoning, and acceptance that their dreams are now impossible to fulfil. However, they defiantly ignore our requests to move aside, and will therefore have to be removed by whatever legal means we have at our disposal. Any other method may cause us to be seen in a different light, and it is so important that there is nothing untoward in our actions.

The Galactic Federation could at a stroke achieve its aim but we have to win your confidence and trust, and show that we are of Love and Light. It is not for us to flex our muscles and use force, but we do have the means to repel every weapon that your world can use against us. Our way is to defend ourselves without using aggression, as we come to you as a Universal Peace Force. We have no intention of being drawn into one of your battles, and we shall achieve victory in a way that you will see as a peaceful approach. That time draws ever nearer, and the deadline is rapidly approaching. You are in a period where out of the confusion shall come definite signs of what is to be, and gradually it will manifest as desired by us.

You yearn to be rid of the oppressive rule that is normal with most governments of the world. In a relatively short time you have moved beyond their agendas, and seek what is rightly yours. You are sovereign Beings entitled to your freedom, and expect your leaders to acknowledge it by implementing adequate laws to protect them. Instead under the guise of different pretexts, they continue to take away your rights and have little regard for the sanctity of life. Our coming will answer your pleas and restore your rights, and move you into a new era of peace and prosperity. Mother Earth will also be released from her responsibilities towards you, as new ways of living will no longer necessitate using up her resources. Major changes will quickly take place and your way of life will benefit immediately. The release of the financial pressures upon you will free you up to follow your own desires. Man was always meant to express his talents and skills for the benefit of everyone else.

Your society faces massive changes, but all for your good and in preparation of Ascension. You cannot move into the new cycle whilst attached to the old energies, and we come to lift you into the Light. Much education and information will allow you to release from the old paradigm, as it now belongs to your past and no longer serves any purpose. Those who know very little of the plans for Humanity, will be given every opportunity to grow in awareness of the truth. It will then be up to you to choose whether to move on, or stay in your present dimension.

I am Atmos from Sirius, and you will be pleasantly surprised to find that we are almost identical to you in appearance. You will be delighted to be in our presence, as our energy carries so much Love and Light that it will lift you up. That is not meant to be boastful but we are ascended Light Beings, and stand where you will soon join us as our equals. Life is all about your ability to Love all other life forms, by seeing the Light within them and their link to the Source.

Thank you Atmos.

Mike Quinsey.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Re: [lifetechnology] Whats Up On Planet Earth For September

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Subject: In Armageddons Wake-- Prologue --
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In Armageddon�s Wake-- Prologue --

Prologue: Chapter 1

According to biblical predictions, the period of man�s history that will see the Second Coming of Christ will be filled with many distinct and troubling events, one of which is a battle whose name has come to encapsulate the idea of the �end of the world�--Armageddon.

Scriptures found in books of the Bible such as Daniel, Zechariah, the Gospel of Matthew and Revelation (also called the Apocalypse) indicate that, Christ�s Second Coming will be foreshadowed by the rise of a one world government, led by a dictator commonly called the �Antichrist1.� After proclaiming �peace and safety2� and initially seeming to bring these things to society, this man will plunge the world into a period of trouble described in the book of Matthew as �great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time.3�

Much of the Antichrist�s wrath will be directed at those who have refused to accept what is referred to in the book of Revelation as �the number of the beast.4� This is described as a �mark�--most likely an implanted microchip (prototypes of which already exist) containing one�s personal and financial data--that, by decree of this Antichrist, will be implanted in people�s foreheads or in their right hands. This number is somehow related to the digits 666. Without this mark, as the prophecy goes, men will not be able to buy or sell.

Three-and-a-half years after the Antichrist declares himself God5 and begins his campaign of persecution of the followers of other faiths, all believers who have received God�s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ--His �elect,� consisting of �a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues6�--will be gathered together �from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other7� in an event known as the �Rapture.�

It is then that the true children of God, both living and dead �will all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,8� so that their earthly bodies �may be fashioned like unto His [Jesus�] glorious body9 � and will be endowed �with immortality8 in the ultimate fulfillment of Christ�s promise that �he who believes in the Son has everlasting life.10�

Having taken His children from this earth, God will then rain down destruction on the Antichrist and his followers--those who have accepted the mark of the beast. This period of apocalyptic judgments, known as the �Wrath of God,� will culminate in the great �Battle of Armageddon�--when the Antichrist will seek to eliminate any remaining traces of opposition to his regime in a battle fought near the site of an ancient and strategic city of northwest Palestine called Megiddo. His subsequent defeat by the vastly superior armies of Heaven, combined with the ravages of the Wrath of God that have fallen on his followers, will leave the earth in a state of great devastation.11

With the Antichrist and his followers out of the way, those who refused to follow him or receive his mark--but who had also not been among those that received Christ as their personal Savior and had thus not been �raptured� at the Second Coming--will be the sole survivors of Earth�s apocalyptic end.

At this time the earth will be given into the hands of God�s raptured children--now immortal spiritual beings--who are destined to live and reign �with Christ for a thousand years.12� And they, together with the earthly survivors, will find themselves faced with the arduous task of building a new and better world from the ashes of the old one.

The following story, In Armageddon�s Wake, is set in the period of time that immediately follows the apocalyptic plagues of wrath and the ensuing Battle of Armageddon, and at the very start of Christ�s thousand-year reign on earth, often called by its Latin name, �The Millennium.�

The following references are from the New King James version of the Bible, unless otherwise specified.

1 1 John 2:18
2 1 Thessalonians 5:2,3
3 Matthew 24:21
4 Revelation 13:16-18
5 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4
6 Revelation 7:9-15
7 Matthew 24:29-31
8 1 Corinthians 15:51-53
9 Philippians 3:21 [King James Version]
10 John 3:36
11 Revelation 16:16-21
12 Revelation 20:4.

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Subject: In Armageddons Wake-- The Return --
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In Armageddon�s Wake-- The Return --

The Return: Chapter 2

With trembling hand he struck the match and lit his last remaining candle. So total and intense was the darkness that the light from the candle barely illuminated more than twelve inches around it. He reached over and picked up the piece of paper from the end of the table, and placed it within the perimeter of light.

It had become a morbid ritual of sorts. Whenever the alarm on his watch sounded, he lit up its screen to glance at its liquid crystal display, and to verify that another twenty-four hours had indeed gone by. This was his one connection to a reality that seemed to have disappeared in the darkness all around him. Then he would light a candle, and with his pencil mark off another day on the dirty piece of paper.

So he did now, and then stopped to count. Seventy-five days. It had been seventy-five days since that awesome day, the day that it all began. He shook his head. Or maybe it was the day it all ended.

He thought back over the past two-and-a-half months, and the strange events that had precipitated this current state of anarchy that had settled over the whole world. It was a struggle to relive his memories and to maintain a grasp on the chronology of events that had turned his once comfortable life into this living nightmare.

Everything had been going so well, it seemed. From what little he knew of the world around him, it had settled into a period of orchestrated peace, a union of nations that spanned the globe and whose leadership had successfully brought to an end many of the armed conflicts that had been ever-present on the news in the months and years preceding. But the media had quickly found a new focus for the public--groups of renegades who found reason to disagree with this �global dictatorship,� as they dubbed it, and who actively, and sometimes violently, campaigned against its ministers and programs.

Branded as fanatics, they heralded the end of the world, the collapse of the New World Order, the return of Christ, and a host of other things that sounded absurd to most people. The media was quick to characterize the movement as �an attempt to revive the millennialistic fervor of a coming utopia� that had �long gone out of style.� It was only when the new international police force began cracking down on suspected groups for a variety of alleged crimes that the world began to hear the first of several strange happenings--happenings that were to set the stage for yet more intense events to come.

There were unexplained phenomena--mysterious escapes of certain renegades, and strange appearances in the sky--to the point that even the mainstream media began discussing the possibility that aliens were indeed visiting earth, though only the tabloids offered any details of how and where they had come from, and what their plans for humankind were.

Then came the day the tabloids were the first to hail as �The Great Abduction�--the day Jesus had returned in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, accompanied by tumultuous sounds that seemed to rip the sky open with their very force. Then countless people underwent a sudden and dramatic change before lifting off the ground and shooting towards this glowing apparition in the sky. To those who knew, it was the Second Coming of Christ. But to the majority of onlookers left behind, it seemed the realization of a concept that had until then been relegated only to science fiction movies--that of a mothership taking back the aliens that had never belonged on earth in the first place.

It was the widespread chaos that followed this strange event that sent Stewart seeking whatever shelter he could find to escape the burning and looting in town, as civil order broke down on a global scale. Then there was the nearby river that had turned a deep red, infecting every source of drinking water, turning even his filtered tap water a bloody crimson, and rendering it undrinkable.

This was followed by a scourge of unbearable heat; the scorching sun sent men seeking relief in death. Stewart thought back to how he had taken refuge in the deep, damp cellar beneath his farmhouse, where he�d been able to survive the heat. It was still stocked with specially prepared and packaged dried goods that he had purchased during the Y2K scare years earlier.

Then there was the day the darkness began. He sighed. �And how long is the darkness going to go on?� he murmured aloud. The words brought him back to the present, and he quickly blew out the candle, not wishing to waste a second more than necessary of its luminance. And so he was left in darkness again, alone with his thoughts, and an existence that seemed little more than a living death.

He thought back to his journey from the cellar to his room, and how he had barely made it. Though he had lived in this house for nearly twelve years, he had found himself most unfamiliar with his surroundings when they were engulfed in such complete darkness. �Why did I even try to make it back?� he mumbled. Though the sound of his own voice brought him little comfort, it was one of the few things that told him he still existed at all. He sighed again and pushed the paper away. The pencil rolled off the table and fell to the floor.

Crouching down quickly to follow the sound of where his pencil had fallen, so that he could retrieve it right away, he suddenly became aware of a faint roaring sound in the distance. �What now?� he thought aloud. He quickly stood up. As he did, his house began to tremble and unseen ornaments fell from their shelves. No! he thought. An earthquake! I have to run. But where? Where do I go? I can�t see where I�m going.

He groped blindly along the walls of the room, and then down the hallway. In the past weeks of darkness, he had learned to make his way around the house quite adeptly, but with the added element of these tremors, he had to find his bearings all over again. It was several minutes before he came to the front door.

At the same instant as he flung it open, a blinding light shattered the darkness of the sky. He shielded his eyes with his hand, closing them tightly at the same time to shut out the indistinguishable brilliance before him. He closed the door quickly, still struggling to maintain his balance as the tremors continued. It was several minutes before his eyes could even take in the dim light that was now flooding his hallway.

He looked around at the home he had not set eyes on for what seemed an eternity. The hallway stood in shambles, and junk was strewn about everywhere. He didn�t know whether that was from the earthquake or from the general state of disrepair his house had fallen into during the days of darkness.

Another tremor reminded him of his intention to leave the house to try to save his life. He quickly opened the door and bolted outside, but the sight before him froze him in his tracks. All was confusion. The earth was moving, shaking, undulating. Huge boulders were being loosed from the nearby mountain and were crashing down into the valley below, which was already a scene of charred devastation. For the moment, his farmhouse did not appear to be in any immediate danger. It was built on a plateau off to a side of the mountain that was not in the direct path of any falling rocks. Still, he did not exactly feel safe.

�This must be hell!� He stumbled across the yard, the earth beneath him still scorched from the incredible heat that had sent him into hiding weeks earlier. Then he flung himself down on the ground, waiting to die.

* * *

He didn�t know how long he�d lain there, but when he came to, all was still. There was light. The earth had stopped shaking. The rocks had stopped falling. There was a silence, a deep and strangely peaceful silence. He shook his head in amazement as he heard in the distance the sweet song of a bird singing, a sound he�d not heard for many months.

He opened his mouth to speak, as he had done so often for his own benefit only, but now found himself unable to do so. That one sound of hope--the song that floated through the sky as a symbol of new life--had brought upon him such a torrent of emotion that all he could do now was drop to his knees. Then, burying his face in his hands, silent sobs wracked his whole body before he fell to the ground once again--despairing, alone, afraid.

Finally he picked himself up, brushed the dust off his trousers and turned to walk back towards his house, which for some reason seemed to have been strangely spared from the great destruction that had taken place all around him. He somehow distinctly knew that a change had come over him--over the whole world, it seemed. Though he could not put his finger on what it was, he knew his life would never be the same again.

* * *

�Oh!� Christy jumped.

James spun around. �What is it?�

�I�m sorry, I was scared.�

�You don�t have to be scared.� He held out his hands in front of him. Though made of flesh and bone, they were aglow with an unearthly aura. �Immortal bodies, remember?�

Christy laughed. �That�s right. I keep forgetting.�

�What was it you were scared of?�

�Nothing really. I thought I saw something moving over there, but when I took a closer look I realized it was just the wind.�

�I still don�t know why they sent us here.� James shook his head as he looked at their rather dismal surroundings.

�And by ourselves,� Christy chimed in. �I suppose they must think we can do it. The town is over in that valley. I guess we should head over there and see if we can find anyone.�

Having said that, the two young figures vanished, and in the next instant reappeared on the outskirts of a small town.

�Okay,� Christy said, looking to her left, �I�ll start looking in this direction.�

�I�ll head over here,� James added, facing the right.

Focusing their eyes into x-ray mode, they began searching through the ruins of the demolished town, looking for any signs of life.

Christy gasped. �Oh, that�s terrible.�

�What is it?� James asked, as he came over to her side.

�Look. Over there � beyond those ruins.� She pointed her finger, while James followed his elder sister�s gaze till he too could see what she was looking at. Tears welled up in Christy�s eyes.

�It�s a cellar. They must have fled there to escape the fire, but the mother�s dead. The little girl has been comforting her little brother. We have to rescue them.�

No sooner had that thought passed through their minds than, in the same manner of teleportation that had instantly brought them to the town, they found themselves several blocks away, outside the same building they had seen.

The house was in shambles, and had more than half collapsed. The cellar was the only room still intact, and was sealed by a heavy metal door. The doorway was unobstructed by the rubble, but was caked black with soot from the fire that had destroyed the house.

�How are we going to get through the cellar door?� James questioned. �Oh, I know � I can just blast it.�

�No!� Christy stopped him. �There are children in there! Of course you can�t blast it. Besides, the door has a handle--maybe we should just try to open it.�

Cautiously James turned the handle, and found that the door opened easily. He couldn�t quite tell whether this was because of his new body�s supernatural strength, or because it was actually easy. As the door creaked open, the sound of the two children�s sobs reached their ears. The girl looked about five years old, and her brother barely two. Their faces were dirt-stained, and the tears on the younger child�s face had smudged his even more. Their mother lay, lifeless, near the door. It appeared she had died only several hours before.

�Oh, poor dears,� Christy said as she rushed over to their sides. �How long have you been here?�

She held them close for a moment, then tried to scurry them out the door.

�No, no,� the little girl cried, as soon as she perceived what Christy was trying to do. �I want my mommy! Don�t take me away from my mommy!�

�Honey�--Christy kneeled beside her, and tried to explain--�your mommy�s gone to sleep and she�s not going to wake up again for a very long time.�

It did little to comfort the girl, who continued sobbing and crying for her mother. Christy sighed, even as her heart ached. What could she tell this young girl to help her understand what had happened? She shot up a quick prayer, and found that her instant telepathic link with the one who was now indeed the King of kings was as clear here on earth as it had been in the Heavenly City she had just come from. �What do I tell her, Jesus? What became of these children�s mother?�

The answer came back in words both sweet and powerful, and in a familiar voice that instantly reassured her mind that all was as it should be, �Tell them they shall indeed see their mother again, but it shall not be for some time. They must now let her go, and this shall not be easy for them. But I will help them and be with them. Pray for them, that they may know Me, and I shall pour My healing spirit of peace upon them.�

�Honey,� Christy began, taking hold of the girl�s hand, �I know it�s not very easy for you to understand this, but you�re going to have to let go of your mommy for a while. She is not here anymore. She has gone somewhere else, and it will be a long time before you can see her again.�

The girl turned to look at the figure on the floor, pondering the possibility that perhaps it really wasn�t her mother. She looked confused for a moment, until Christy held out her hand again, this time pulling the girl towards her in a warm embrace.

�Dear Jesus, please comfort the heart of this little one and her brother,� Christy prayed with all fervency. �Help them to know that everything is going to turn out okay. Heal their tender souls, and help them to feel from us the love that they need to keep on going.�

It was a short prayer, and the words seemed entirely inadequate to Christy, but in her heart she felt them sincerely. All she could do now was trust that the seeds of hope would be planted in their young hearts, and that they would make these difficulties easier for them to bear.

James, realizing that there was now little else they could do, picked the little girl up and held her tight while she buried her head in his shoulder and kept on sobbing.

Christy picked up the little boy, who seemed dazed and rather oblivious to all that had taken place, and walked out behind James. The dead body would be left behind for now, as all the corpses in this city would be. The survivors would have to be taken care of first.

Closing the heavy door behind them, Christy could not help but let the tears begin to stream down her face. How could they ever forget such memories of horror?

�So, now that we have them, what do we do?� James said, interrupting her despondent thoughts. �It�s not going to be easy to find any others now that the two children are with us.�

Christy wiped the tears from her cheeks as she returned her attention to the task at hand. �Let�s see if we can find someone else to leave the children with, while we keep looking.�

�Okay,� James said. �I�ll watch them while you look for someone.�

Christy focused her eyes into x-ray mode again, and began scanning through walls trying to find if there was anyone else alive. �I think I see someone � yes, it�s an older man. He�s very sick, though. I think it�s cancer. It�s amazing that he�s managed to survive all that happened!�

�I�ll wait here,� James said. �You go and bring him back.�

* * *

Within seconds, Christy was beside the old man�s bed. He opened his eyes and looked up in shock to see her standing there.

�Are you all right?� she questioned, bending over for a closer look.

The man looked up, surprised. �You � you�re one of them!� he suddenly gasped. �Am I dead? Have you come to take me?�

Christy shook her head, and tried to think of something that would allay the man�s fear, which was painfully evident in his round and bloodshot eyes. �No, don�t worry. You�re not dead. You�re one of the blessed few who have survived.�

He closed his eyes and shook his head, as if this was part of a hallucination he was having. �No. I should be dead,� he muttered to himself, his eyes still closed. �Why can�t I just die in peace and leave all this terror behind? That�s what I came home to do. But no, I have to be the one to survive, to witness my wife�s death and not be able to do anything about it. I have to be kept alive. I have to suffer--and in this ailing body as well. I � I can�t even move anymore��

Christy looked down the length of his body, again utilizing her x-ray vision. �Cancer?� she asked.

The man opened his eyes again, to find his strange visitor still standing beside him, gazing sympathetically into his eyes. He gulped, then nodded silently, scared that if he answered this vision with words, it might disappear.

Christy gently placed her hands on the man�s abdomen, where she had seen the largest tumor. Then she closed her eyes and sent up a prayer, continuing, as she spoke, to move her hands all across his body, stopping a little longer over the other places she had seen tumors, �Dear Jesus, You have kept this man alive through the darkest period of our world�s history. Now raise him up, and deliver him of this illness. Restore his life that You have seen worthy to spare, so that he may come to know Your great power and Your everlasting and perfect love.�

As she lifted off her hands, the man looked shocked. His pain had disappeared. He felt a strange warmth moving inside of him, as his body was being regenerated by a surge of strength and energy.

�How � how did you do that?� he asked, an incredulous look on his face.

�It wasn�t me,� Christy answered. �It was Jesus. But come, we have to go. I can explain more later. We�ll have to walk. It�s a little ways. Do you think you�re able?�

Slowly and with great difficulty, the man pulled himself up and sat somewhat precariously on the side of the bed. He could feel the renewed strength and health working within him, but his elderly body was still as frail as it had been before. He stood up shakily and took some time to find his balance, then slowly began to shuffle along beside Christy. As he walked, however, he found his strength slowly increasing, as the miracle of physical healing continued repairing his broken body.

Christy smiled to herself, watching the old man�s slow steps. This is going to take a while, she thought to herself. I sure hope James has enough patience with those children.

* * *

James was relieved when he finally saw Christy approaching with the elderly man. �You took long enough!�

�I know,� Christy responded. �I�m not used to this. I was there in a second, but getting back really took a long, long time--we had to walk, you know. How are the children?�

James pointed to the two. They were asleep, curled up on the remnants of an old bench.

�I�ve been looking around while you were gone. There�s a woman over there.�


�I�ve looked into her mind, and she�s thinking about committing suicide. She�s all alone. She lost both her husband and her little baby about one month ago, and now this earthquake has destroyed everything but her--and she�s about to try to take care of that.�

�Very well,� Christy responded. �I can wait here with the man and the children if you want to go.�

�No,� James responded. �I�d prefer not to handle this one by myself.� James looked at the elderly man for a moment, and then back at Christy. �I think the children will be all right. They�ve just gone to sleep and they looked like they were very tired.�

�Okay,� Christy answered. Then she turned to the elderly man who, during their conversation on the way back, had introduced himself as Trevor. �Sir,� she said respectfully, �do you think you could sit here with the children for a little while? While we�re gone we can check on you from a distance and make sure everything�s all right. You should be safe here.�

Trevor looked a little hesitant. �What do I do if they wake up?�

�I don�t think they will,� James said.

�And if they do,� Christy said, �we can be back here instantly. If there�s any sign of the children waking up or if there�s any sign of trouble, we�ll return right away. Please trust us.�

Trevor, remembering what had just happened, nodded his head, assured that he could trust them. �It�s fine. But don�t take too long.�

In a flash they were gone, vanishing before his very eyes. Trevor sat down beside the sleeping children and shook his head in amazement. As he looked at the world around him, it was hard to believe any of this was real. It was too strange--and his sudden healing too good--to be true. Perhaps he was just in a long and strange dream, he thought to himself, and would soon wake up to find himself back in the miserable reality he had just left behind.

* * *

Meanwhile, James and Christy arrived outside the woman�s house.

�I�ll go in and talk to her.� Instantly James was gone--passing right through the door.

�James!� Christy cried out after him.

�Get out! Get out!� the woman screamed. �Get out! You � you are the ones who killed my husband. You killed my baby.�

�That�s not the way it is. Let me explain�,� James began, but was abruptly cut off.

�Get out!� the woman screamed, as she lifted the gun that she had planned to use on herself, and pointed it at James.

�Now that�s not going to work. Even if you try to shoot me, it�s not going to harm me,� James stuttered.

�Get out!� the woman screamed again, and pulled the trigger with determination, sending a bullet racing directly towards James. Instinctively, though he couldn�t be harmed (at least, he was fairly sure he couldn�t), James transported himself out of the room, and found himself back outside, beside Christy.

�She tried to shoot me,� he said, his heart still pounding from the suspense of the moment.

�I don�t blame her,� Christy replied dryly. �You scared the poor woman! I don�t think we can keep doing this appearing-disappearing thing. I mean, at least it wasn�t that bad with Trevor--he only thought he was dreaming or something. But this woman was clearly more agitated than he was even before you went in. I suppose it would probably be wiser for us to try to act a little more normal and go in through the door when we can.� Even as she was speaking, Christy walked over and knocked on the door.

�Excuse me, ma�am, can we come in? We don�t want to harm you in any way; we just want to talk to you.�

Christy knocked again. There was silence, then finally a distraught voice said, �Go away.�

�Ma�am, we don�t want to hurt you.� Christy opened the door a little and stuck her head around the corner. �Can I come in?� With that, Christy entered the room, and slowly walked towards the woman.

As soon as James felt all was safe, he gingerly peered in, and then stepped in behind Christy.

�My name�s Christy, and this is James. He�s my younger brother. I apologize for the scare he must have caused you. He�s quite talented at freaking people out, you know.� She cast a quick gaze in James� direction, and then turned back to the woman. �We just want to talk to you--�

�I don�t want to talk to anyone!� the woman interrupted, glaring as she spoke.

Christy once again shot up a quick prayer for guidance, and instantly felt a heavenly assurance welling up within her. �I know you�ve been through some very difficult times. Everyone has. We�ve been sent to find survivors. Once you all have been gathered together, hopefully we can start again.�

�I don�t want to start again, I want to end it all.� The woman sobbed, and tears began to roll once again down her already tear-stained cheeks.

�There now, it�s going to be all right,� Christy continued. �We know what�s happened to you.� Christy reached over to touch the woman�s arm. �We know about your husband and your little baby. I�m very, very sorry. I know it�s very painful to have lost them the way you did, but please, believe me--the worst is over. You�ve already lived through that. Things can only get better now. Come. Come with us. Please.�

Christy slowly walked over to the woman, who had slumped down in a corner of the room again, letting her hand with the gun drop limply to the floor. Christy walked over and touched the woman�s shoulder, which calmed her. �They�re not gone forever; you have to believe me,� Christy continued, while James looked on. �Your child is safe, and you will see him again in due time. As for your husband, he, too, will have a choice to make in his time, whether to hang on to the past, or to accept the new beginning that we are all being offered.�

Then Christy took the woman�s hand. Almost without realizing why she did it, the woman followed Christy�s lead, and stood up. Then Christy gently led the woman towards the door.

�Don�t be afraid,� Christy whispered. �We only want to help you.�

Slowly they made their way around the perimeter of the town, back to where Trevor was waiting with the children, who were still asleep.

�There,� James said to Trevor, as soon as they came near, �we told you nothing would happen.�

�I � I don�t like being here. I�ve heard of strange things happening on these streets, and there were noises while you were gone.� The old man shifted uneasily on his feet.

�Oh?� James asked.

Christy looked concerned. Setting her eyes to x-ray mode once again, she quickly skimmed the area nearby to find a raucous gang of hardened men scavenging amongst and abusing the dead bodies that lay scattered amongst a heap of rubble a few buildings away. �Oh, ugh, that�s revolting! That�s horrible! Come on, we have to get these people out of here, quickly.�

�Why? What�s wrong?� James asked.

�There�s a group of men, close by. They�re � they�re the incorrigibles! I can�t stand to look at what they�re doing--quickly!� She gathered up the little boy. James picked up the little girl, who stirred in his arms but then went back to sleep.

�I don�t think they�ll be coming this way any time soon,� James offered, using his x-ray vision to cast a quick glance towards the scene. He was a bit more composed, but no less disgusted at the sight of what they were doing. �They�re pretty occupied for the moment. But yes, let�s not waste any time in getting these people as far away from here as we can.�

Trevor directed them towards a road. It was filled with litter, as most streets and houses were in this remnant of a town. �Here! Let�s take this path. I used to walk it often. It leads to a secluded park a short way up the hill. From there we�d be able see anyone approaching us from the town. It would be safer than staying here.�

And so they did, slowly making their way to the park, where they temporarily settled in the remains of a small roadside snack bar.

* * *

�Let�s see what else we can find. We have a pretty good view from here.� James went out on the veranda that appeared to have been the shop�s terrace. Using his telescopic vision, he once again turned his gaze towards the town, trying to see if there were any more survivors to be found. But besides the roving gang of incorrigibles, as Christy had called them, there were no other signs of life.

After searching the town thoroughly, James traded places with Christy so she could also scan the remains of the town. But she also did not find any further signs of life. This did not surprise them, as many people had fled the established centers of civilization at the onset of the destruction that had rained down upon earth, and generally only those who were too sick, too old or too young had remained behind. Still fewer of those had been able to survive the last two-and-a-half months of devastation that had reduced this once rich and developed community to a scene of unprecedented horror.

�I think that�s about it for this town,� James said. �There�s nothing more left for us to do there. As far as the incorrigibles, well, I certainly don�t want to have to face them.�

�Me either,� Christy agreed. �I guess it�s time to call in the �heavies,� huh?�

�Think so,� James answered. �The big boys can take care of the rest.�

�Let�s start scanning through the outskirts of the town while we wait for them to come,� Christy suggested. �There might be other survivors nearby who fled the town before we got there.�

Using her telepathic communication, Christy relayed a quick message asking for a team of Legionnaires to come in and take care of the remains of the town, which would include ridding it of the incorrigibles. The Legionnaires--or �heavies,� as some called them--were a sort of specialized work force, consisting of both resurrected earthlings (such as James and Christy were) in their new, supernatural and immortal bodies, and of purely spiritual beings most earthlings knew as �angels.�

All of these served under the command of Jesus Christ, the King of kings who now literally ruled earth from His Heavenly City headquarters that orbited the planet like the giant space station that it was. From there, untold teams of �Settlers� such as James and Christy had been dispatched to search for and gather together any survivors, and help them to start rebuilding their lives, while the bands of Legionnaires were responsible for clearing and cleaning up areas that had suffered the greatest devastation.

After making sure their little group was settled, James and Christy began to systematically scan the hills around the town. It was not long before they detected Stewart in the old farmhouse.

�James, there�s someone up there.�

James concentrated his gaze in the same direction. �Yes, I see him. He seems fairly young--not even in his thirties, I would think. He�s alone in that old farmhouse. Should one of us go up there now?�

�Maybe I can go,� Christy responded. No sooner had she thought about transporting herself up on the plateau than she was there.

Stewart was startled to see her suddenly standing in front of him.

Oops! Christy thought to herself. I guess I should have thought about appearing a little further away, and then walking up to him. Oh, well, what�s done is done. �

�Hi! Are you okay?� she asked.

Stewart nodded.

�Are you alone?�

He nodded again.

�We�ve come to look for any survivors,� she said. �It looks like you�re one of the fortunate ones.�

Stewart looked skeptical, scarcely agreeing that his survival was in any way fortunate.

�You can�t talk?� she asked, as she quickly scanned his body.

Stewart just stared at her. But as far as Christy could tell, there was no physical reason why he could not talk. She figured, then, that his reluctance or inability to talk was more than a mere physical ailment, which could have been easily remedied. Nevertheless, she attempted to make conversation.

�You have a beautiful place here,� she commented as she looked out on the dusty ground around the house. �Well, I mean, I can see that it used to be beautiful. You know it�s all going to grow back, don�t you?�

He looked surprised, and shook his head.

�Oh, there�s so much we have to tell you! We have a few more people down near the town--survivors, like you. They�re in the park at the edge of town, but we kind of need a place for them to stay for a while. Could we bring them all up here? It looks as though you have plenty of room. May we stay with you here?�

After a moment�s hesitation, Stewart nodded yes.

* * *

The walk up the hills to the plateau took quite a while. They followed the winding road, walking slowly with their dawdling group of strangers, none of whom were in any sort of a hurry.
The woman, Belle, walked in a daze, stumbling over the smallest rocks. Trevor, the elderly man, was not strong, nor could he keep up a very fast pace. James and Christy had to carry the children most of the way. The little girl had stopped struggling, though she frequently turned to look behind her, calling for her mommy.

Christy shook her head almost in despair and whispered to James, �So, this is what we have to work with. This group, and the young man who can�t or won�t talk.�

�Small beginnings,� James said, as he put his arm around his sister. �Think of it this way: it�s not too different from the kind of people we used to work with--maybe more extreme. But then, we�re a lot better equipped to deal with these sorts of things now, with our new powers and all.�

�You�re right.� Christy gazed off into the distance, as if looking into another realm. �Just think, it�s only going to get better and better and better, till everything is finally restored. Won�t that be beautiful?�

Encouraging themselves with that thought, they continued their trek in silence.

* * *

Stewart, who had been watching their approach, was sitting outside on the porch waiting.

�We�re here,� Christy announced. �This is my younger brother, James. This is Belle, Trevor, and � uh, I don�t know the children�s names, they couldn�t tell us.� (After having left the basement, the girl had not responded to any further conversation. Her silence was only broken occasionally by a single word: �Mommy.�)

There was a flicker of sympathy on Stewart�s face. He turned and beckoned them to follow him inside.

Looking around, Christy was pleasantly surprised. The house looked much more orderly than it had before. The hallway was swept. Stewart had made the beds in each of the four bedrooms and done his best to make the place look homey and comfortable.

�Do you have any food?� James asked.

Stewart opened some cupboards, and revealed an array of canned meat and vegetables such as he had been surviving on during the days of confusion.

�Great, there�s something to begin with. Let�s put some food on the table for these folks.� James looked at Stewart. �Do you want to help?�

Stewart didn�t respond, though he walked over to the counter and found a can opener, and then dusted off some dishes. No one said anything. The silence was awkward.

�Let me help dust off the table,� Trevor suggested, as he shuffled over and began wiping the table with a cloth he�d found.

The little boy squealed with delight as he explored the room Christy had led him and his sister to. His sister stood looking out the window, totally disinterested in all that was happening around her. Belle came up behind them, following Christy into the room. She suddenly seemed to show an interest in the little boy.

�I wish I knew your name,� Christy said as she hugged the little boy tight.

�You could call him Jonathan,� Belle said, startling Christy, who had not been expecting any response.

With a perception that she had not possessed earlier, Christy suddenly understood that this had been the name of Belle�s baby boy. �Yes, let�s call you Jonathan.� She smiled at Belle who, though not returning the smile, returned Christy�s gaze.

�Dinner�s ready!� James announced rather triumphantly, pleased at how quickly they�d been able to come up with something.

�Can Jonathan sit next to you?� Christy asked Belle. �I�ll sit next to his sister.�

Belle nodded, and reached out for the little boy. James looked over, his eyes locked with Christy�s and they smiled at one another, thankful that Belle�s healing appeared to be already beginning.

Most everyone ate in silence, except for little Jonathan who kept up a continual conversation of unintelligible prattle with his plate of food throughout the entire meal.

* * *

No sooner had they finished eating and clearing away the dishes than they heard a commotion outside the house. It was getting dark, and as he peered through the window James could barely make out the forms of some men.

�Hello, can we come in?�

It was a welcome sound. �The heavies are here,� James whispered, excitedly, as he opened the door.

�Hello,� Christy chimed as they came in. �You�re here!�

A group of six well-built, kind-looking men walked single file into the room. The first one James and Christy knew. His name was Allan, the captain of this band of Legionnaires.

As soon as they had set foot inside, Allan asked, �How�s everything? Sure looks like you�ve found a nice place to stay.� He looked around the group quickly as he mentally sized up each of the survivors.

The survivors, meanwhile, unaware of what was going on, eyed Allan and his band of heavies suspiciously.

�These are our friends,� James tried to explain. �They�ve come to clean up the town.�

�Humph! Six guys? What are they gonna be able to do?� Belle muttered skeptically.

�You�ll see�,� James responded.

�We�ll start tonight,� Allan interrupted the exchange. �There�s no time to waste. There�s an awful lot of places to attend to.� Allan shook his head. �So, how do things look here?�

Christy looked towards the group of survivors and then back at Allan. She motioned towards the door. �Come, I�ll explain things to you outside.�

James offered to take charge of making sure the survivors would get comfortably settled for the night, so Christy and the Legionnaires filed back out the door and sat in a circle on the ground.

Christy began to fill them in on all she�d seen in the town.

�Did you make contact with any of the men left in the town?� Allan asked.

�No, we didn�t go anywhere near them.�

�Well, we�ll have to take care of them first. We�ll have to see if there are any among them worth saving, or if they�re all truly incorrigible--as you seem to have dubbed them.�

�They must be. How could you save any of them after what they�ve been doing?�

�We have to give everyone a chance; you know that.�

�Yes, but � but�,� Christy stuttered. �I just couldn�t go to them--even though I knew they couldn�t harm me, I just couldn�t bring myself to go near them. That�s why we left as soon as we could, and came here.�

Allan nodded knowingly. �Never mind, we can take care of them before we begin leveling the town. We�re getting used to dealing with their kind. But, you know, if any of them are worth saving, we�ll have to bring them to you.�

Christy nodded, but sighed at the thought.

As the band of men lifted off and flew in the direction of the town, Christy stood and watched till they were out of sight. She then slowly turned and walked inside, extremely grateful for the Legionnaires and the part that they were playing in the reconstruction.

She and James, as Settlers, were more specifically prepared and chosen for the task of establishing and re-educating groups of survivors, or the �earthlings,� as they would become known in days to follow--those who had lived through the days of terror that had cleared the earth of all workers of iniquity, plowing the ground for the seeds of a new beginning.

Neither of them were past their teen years at the time of the Second Coming, when they had been raptured along with the many millions of other Christians. Yet having been raised as missionary children and having been actively involved in evangelistic work most of their young lives, they were in many ways better prepared than others for the daunting task before them.

There were also the �Messengers,� those chosen to fulfill specific missions of peace, whose primary task it was to spread the news of the new beginning wherever they were dispatched to. They were special people, indeed, with a special calling. Christy shook her head. Those mysterious and especially chosen folks--one never knew where they were or even who they were, though it was said that they too played their active parts in the restoration.

* * *

Christy returned to the house to find it largely silent. James was nowhere to be seen for the moment, and it appeared all the others had retired to their beds and were in various stages of sleep.

Christy, however, did not feel like monitoring any of their thoughts or dreams--at least not tonight. She felt like she needed some time alone.

She soon found a room that was as yet unoccupied, and decided to claim it as her own. Although her supernatural body no longer required sleep, or even the refuge of four walls and a roof, being able to shut everything out behind those walls provided her with a measure of comfort and reprieve from all she had seen and experienced that day.

�Oh, Jesus,� she said aloud with a sigh, �do help me. These people need so much help, and I hardly feel capable of giving it to them.�

In times past, this would have been called a prayer. Now with her new, supernatural body, the instant mental link it provided with the all-mighty heavenly and spiritual powers was more like a direct phone call. And as by phone, the answer from her Lord and Savior came back clearly and audibly:

�You need only be a channel of My love and My words to them. It is as it was before. The power is not of yourself, but of Me. Remember that. And just as before, with as much as there is to do, you must make time to rest and be refreshed. You are welcome to slip away whenever you feel the need. And even your spirit can swiftly travel to My presence, without your body ever leaving your settlement, for a time of refreshing and communion.�

As the words were spoken, Christy began to feel her mind spinning. Then, feeling like she had left her physical (albeit supernatural) form behind, she found herself hovering, as if in a dream, within what she took to be one of the many unexplored places of wonder within the giant crystal-golden pyramid that was the temple of her God and the home of her Savior--that Heavenly City referred to in the Scriptures as �New Jerusalem.�

But her surroundings were blurred, as if she was slightly out of phase with the dimension in which she found herself. The only thing she was distinctly and unmistakably aware of was another Presence near her, a Presence that enveloped her and surrounded her with a peace that passed all understanding. And in that moment, even the unspoken questions that had filled her mind that day were answered, and everything was clear.

She turned her heart heavenward, and breathed the untainted purity of the atmosphere around her, sending forth her praises and her love to this divine Presence, and in return her soul was filled with the peace, strength and comfort that her soul so desperately craved.

In the many other nights to come, she would continue to feed her spirit with such times of private communication and loving interaction with her Lord. Some nights, while the earthlings slept and neither her nor James� direct presence was required on earth, they would slip away back to their celestial abodes inside the Heavenly City for times of rest and recuperation with other friends and loved ones, who in turn had their own assignments elsewhere on earth.

It was in such times of companionship and feeding, and particularly the special moments shared with her most intimate personal Friend, Jesus, that she would find the strength of heart, the discernment, the instruction, even the very source of her heavenly power that she would need to do the job that lay before her.

* * *

James appeared on the scene bright and early the following morning, and so did little Jonathan. �What are you doing up so early?� James looked at him with a sidelong glance.

�Foo, foo!� Jonathan iterated emphatically.

�You want to eat?�

�Mmmm,� was the little boy�s reply, as he patted his tummy.

�Okay, sit here--don�t move, don�t touch anything, don�t do anything.�

Little Jonathan looked up at this rather harsh pronouncement, not sure whether to burst into tears or not.

Seeing his apparent consternation, James quickly reassured him, �It�s okay. Here, look at this book and I�ll fix you something to eat.� James tossed over a harmless-looking magazine with a smattering of bright-colored pictures throughout its pages.

�Hello, anyone up yet?� Allan�s voice beamed through into the house.

James quickly opened the door. Allan was standing outside with a man.

�Here�s one of those incorrigibles for you. He was worth saving. The rest have been taken care of, but��--Allan looked sternly at James--�you�ll have to take care of this one--he�s yours.

Please try your best with him.� With that, Allan was gone. The disheveled man stood still, with a blank look on his face.

What are we going to do with you? James thought to himself. Almost immediately a response from beyond answered his question.

�Do not invite him inside with the others just yet. He will need some time to adjust to what is going on.�

�You can sit down here on the veranda and wait,� he finally told the man. �I�m trying to fix the little boy something to eat.� James propped the door open with a broom handle, so he could keep an eye on the man while he continued to prepare some food for little Jonathan.

�Who on earth is that?� Christy asked as she entered the room, though by the sound of her voice it was obvious that she already knew the answer.

�Allan was up here bright and early, and look what he brought with him. He�s ours too.�

Christy moved out onto the veranda to get a closer look at him. Then she came back inside and looked at James. �What are we going to do with him?� she asked. �Did you talk to him?�

�Nope, the Lord said to leave him alone for now,� James lowered his voice. �But one thing is sure--he really needs a bath.�

�I�ll say,� Christy responded, eyeing the man up and down. He looked and smelt as though he hadn�t had a bath for months. His hair was long and knotted together, and long, unkempt whiskers adorned his face like an overgrown garden. Had they not known that the curse had been lifted, they would have surely thought his hair and garments were infested with all manner of vermin. The hulk of a man slumped down against the wall of the house, and stared off blankly into space, mumbling incoherent and unintelligible sentences to himself.

Christy tried to peer into his mind, but soon gave up, as there was as little coherence to his thoughts as there was to his words. All she saw was a mass of confusion, vision after vision flashing by, with one sometimes lingering a little longer than the others. Visions of the past and images of his recent past--which were by far the most disconcerting for Christy to partake of. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, praying for all the strength and love she would need to help this unfortunate being.

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In Armageddon�s Wake-- The Legionnaires --

The Legionnaires: Chapter 3

�What are you doing?� Christy gasped as she surveyed the scene in front of her. James had put the incorrigible to sleep by inducing him into a state of total subconsciousness. Meanwhile, Stewart had gotten a large metal bowl, scissors and a razor, and had started working on the incorrigible.

�We�re gonna shave his head,� James said. �I can�t talk much, �cause I�m trying to concentrate on keeping this guy knocked out.�

�What?� Christy asked, almost in disbelief.

�We�ve gotta start somewhere. This guy is filthy, and we�ve gotta get him cleaned up.�

Stewart had closely cropped the incorrigible�s hair, and was already beginning to shave the man�s head.

�I don�t believe it,� Christy said, shaking her head.

James declined to answer, as he turned his attention back to keeping this massive hulk of a man subconscious, so that Stewart could complete his task.

Turning around abruptly, Christy bumped into Brad.

�Good morning,� Brad said. �Did you sleep?�

�Uh, sometimes I do,� Christy answered. �But now that we don�t have to anymore, I guess we usually just stay awake.�

�It�s still nice to sleep sometimes,� Brad suggested. �You should try it. It�s nothing like sleep used to be for us as mortals, you know. It can be quite out of this world.�

Christy smiled.

Brad now noticed the two boys as well. �I see the boys are busy there.� He could tell that Christy was less than enthusiastic about what they were doing.

�I don�t know,� she said, shaking her head. �Somehow I don�t think that�s the best way to go about helping him.�

�It�s fine,� he said. �You should just let them take care of him and see what they can do. Stewart�s really good with animals, you know. He might well be a big help with that poor fellow.�

He watched Christy with an amused look on his face, waiting to see if she would catch the joke. When her reluctant smile told him that she had, he continued, �The rest of the team have already gone down to the town. I stayed behind to lead James and Stewart to the others--that is, once they�re done with their little hairdressing stint.�

�Oh good,� Christy said with a laugh. �I�m hoping a little time away will give James the outlet for his restlessness that he needs, so that he doesn�t have to revert to such pranks.�

* * *

As the days passed, slowly some order came out of the chaos that was all around them. Using their powers, the Legionnaires began to systematically level the town. After setting aside any materials that might be useful for rebuilding homes and villages, they would cover the remaining debris with soil taken from the surrounding areas. It was not an easy job, and it required precision and skill such as they�d been trained in.

The farmhouse began to come alive. Supplies were brought up and safely stored in a new storage shed which Stewart had built pretty much single-handedly. The children began to laugh and sing again as Belle took them into her care. Soon after the little girl had begun to talk again, she had introduced herself as Cassie. Whether it was by some uncanny insight of her own, or perhaps because she had heard it so often that she had herself come to accept it as fact, her persistent answer to repeated questions as to her young brother�s real name was, �You know � he�s called Jonathan.�

Soon plants began to sprout. The team had also managed to gather together a small herd of livestock made up of beasts they had found scattered throughout the countryside, which had apparently fled during the great devastation. To Stewart�s great joy, some of his goats made their way back to the farmhouse, and while they already had cows for milk, he surprised them all by producing some quite tasty goat cheese.

Stewart had still not spoken, but Christy knew that it was just a matter of time. When he was ready, he would start to communicate as freely as the others. At least he was beginning to show signs of trying to communicate verbally. Prompted one evening by an extensive conversation in which the others had begun discussing nicknames to assign him, he had gesticulated quite emphatically, and then written out his name on a paper. From that time on, everyone called him by his own name, Stewart.

The incorrigible�s hair had begun to grow back, and he was also beginning to show signs of improvement, especially after the others� repeated attempts to engage him in conversation. At first his replies consisted of little more than mumbling unintelligible gibberish, but slowly he began to enunciate his words more distinctly, and they began to understand some of his disjointed sentences. Stewart had befriended the man, who had been nicknamed �Spartan� by the small group.

In large part, this relationship was due to the fact that Stewart never spoke, and Spartan evidently found some measure of comfort in their mutual nonverbal communication. Once the bond had been formed, true to Brad�s word, Stewart became instrumental in helping him, even teaching him how to eat and wash. Spartan�s presence soon became an accepted part of their daily routine.

The heavies had also become an accepted part of their settlement now. Although some would occasionally break formation to see to matters at other settlements, most of them spent their days working in the town, and their evenings at the farmhouse. They seemed to enjoy the break from their usual bleak deconstruction sites and the dreary work of obliterating the useless remnants of an old world. They enjoyed the warmth, the children and the company--especially the female company.

* * *

Allan and Brad stood on the edge of the plateau, looking down over the valley. �Looks like we�re just about finished here, aren�t we?� Brad sighed.

Allan was silent, and turned to look at Brad. He raised his eyebrows, as if to say yes.

Brad continued, �It�s gonna be hard to leave these guys, isn�t it?�

Once again, Allan didn�t say anything.

Undaunted by Allan�s lack of response, Brad tried one more time. �They�re doing pretty good, aren�t they? These guys.�

Finally Allan laughed. �Yes, they�re okay, Brad.�

Happy to at last have received some response, Brad continued, �You know, when we first came here, and I saw how young and inexperienced those two kids were--especially with their new powers and all--I have to admit I wondered how wise it was to have them stuck all the way out here by themselves with this group of people--even with as small a group as theirs is. But after seeing them in action, I guess all I can say is they seem to have what it takes.�

�They�re good kids,� Allan responded. �Even with so little time for any real training, they�ve done quite well. Just think, it�s been less than three months since they�ve had their new supernatural bodies, most of which they�ve spent up in the Heavenly City catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. But then they find themselves back on earth, and almost straightway they�ve had to start engaging in some of the most challenging �refugee� and �disaster relief� ministries that they�ve ever been involved in. Even we have to learn so many new aspects of living with our new resurrected bodies in this physical environment, and we�ve been in Heaven for a while. Imagine how these guys must be feeling.�

�Still,� Brad interjected, �I wonder why it is that they find it so much easier than others. I guess we all thought that our missions would be easy once this all finally happened, and we had to step in and take over, but for many it�s certainly not been as easy as they thought.�

�I know,� Allan said. �I don�t think anybody really knew what it was going to be like. Most of us thought it was going to be different than it is now. We should have known, but I suppose we always tend to look at things very optimistically.�

Brad laughed. �Well, it�s not that things are going poorly.�

�No, I know,� Allan responded. �Things are going very well. It�s just that it�s different, and we all still have a lot to learn.�

Brad was very inquisitive by nature. He always had been, and he probably always would be. �But what is it that makes these young kids do so well? They�re as untrained as most of the others. They�ve hardly got any idea of what they�re doing, yet they seem to have already done so well with the group of people that they have. They�ve brought them in, connected with them, and they�re prospering.�

�I�ve wondered about that too,� Allan said. �You know what I think it is?�

�Tell me.�

�Well,� Allan looked out into the distance. �I believe it�s because they�re going about things in a different way than some of the others.�

�Well, obviously. But what?�

Allan continued, �What I mean to say is that, in some of the other places we�ve seen, things are going quite fine as well. But it�s different with these guys. And I think it�s because most of the time they act just like the survivors themselves. They don�t use any of their more obvious powers unless they absolutely have to, and instead they seem to almost prefer to be like everyone else. They fit right in, and I�d say for the most part these survivors don�t even think of them as being superior. And as far as I can tell, that�s what has won the trust of these people a lot faster than what we�ve seen from other settlements.

�And not only that, but somehow they--especially Christy--have developed a certain compassion and an understanding for these folk--what they�ve been through and what they�re going through. It is an understanding well beyond their years, though, and at least from what I have been able to see of Christy�s mind, I suspect that much of it comes as a direct result of their spending time in prayer and communion with the Lord. It seems they have tapped into this source of strength and energy much more than the other Settlers around here have been prone to. This has helped them to connect with these people, to where they are in a better position to help them than many others are at this point.�

�So you think that�s their strength?� Brad asked.

�I�m pretty sure of it.�

�Well, they sure seem to have the edge on some of the other Settlers around here.�

�Yes. They are not only able to read minds, but they�ve been able to take the information they perceive to the Lord, and of course He gives them the insight to know what to do about it. Thus they�ve learned how to act and respond to their surroundings, and to those around them. I think that might be what�s missing in some of the other settlements, particularly in the larger ones. The other Settlers can read minds, but they�ve not quite learned how to use this to connect with people on an individual basis. It�s something they�ll just have to learn, I suppose.�

�It�s not going to be so easy to leave them,� Brad sighed.

�I know.� Allan lowered his voice. �I�ve asked if we could keep an eye on them.�

�Oh!� Brad was surprised.

�I�d like to continue to watch them closely, because I think what they�re doing here could be a key to help some of the other settlements that are struggling a bit.� Allan shook his head, almost in wonder. �There�s a lot of potential here.�

�The boy, James, is quite a character,� Brad laughed.

Allan nodded. �I know, I know. But have you ever watched him? He�s becoming quite skilled in developing the use of his powers, though I don�t think he has realized their full potential yet. In time, and perhaps with a little help from us, I�m sure he�ll start getting the hang of things a little more.�

�What about Christy?�

�Let�s watch that girl too. Though she doesn�t use her powers quite the same--perhaps because she chooses not to manifest them so outwardly--she�s still the backbone of this place. In both cases, I�ve asked if we could maybe train them a little more in the use of their powers.�

�You did?� Brad asked. �And what was the answer?�

�Surprisingly enough, the answer was yes.�

�Well, that�s certainly new--training someone like this, while they�re out on assignment?�

�It�s a first, I know. But I guess that�s how everything�s working these days. There�ll probably be a lot of �firsts� as we take things a step at a time and try and see which approaches will work best.�

* * *

At the farmhouse, everyone had his or her routine down pretty well. Dinner was a group affair, and thus far had also included the heavies. After dinner, Stewart and James would clean up. Belle and Christy would take the children out, play with them and then ready them for bed. Trevor would walk around inspecting the property and seeing to the various animals.

Every evening after dinner, Spartan, now sporting a fairly decent-looking crew cut, would bring his empty plate to the door and set it down on the floor. Although they had repeatedly invited him to join them inside, he seemed content, for the time being, to sleep under a makeshift canopy that had been built a short distance from the house. So he would just turn and lope back and settle down for the night.

�Hey, Spartan. Thanks, man,� James called after him.

Spartan looked back with a pleased smile, like a child who knows he has pleased his parents. �Okay�,� he responded slowly, and then turned and continued toward his hut.

Brad smiled as he watched this short exchange. The rehabilitation of Spartan by both James and Stewart was a constant source of amusement to Brad. They�d done marvels, though their techniques might have been considered a little unorthodox.

James looked at Stewart. �We�ve really got to make some more progress with Spartan, Stewart. Isn�t it time we taught him something new?�

Stewart looked thoughtful, and then nodded in agreement.

�Any suggestions?� James asked.

Stewart raised his eyebrows, and with his finger, pointed to his forehead, meaning that he�d have to think about that.

James laughed, �I�m sure you�ll come up with something.�

Just at that moment, Allan came into the kitchen. �Either of you seen Christy?�

�I believe she�s with Belle and the children,� James answered, motioning towards the hallway.

Allan quickly made his way to the children�s room, where he stuck his head around the door.

�Christy,� he whispered, so as not to startle the children, �do you have a minute?�

�Sure,� Christy said, and then stepped into the hallway with him.

�Can we go outside?�

�Oh, of course.� With that, Christy followed Allan out of the house.

As he usually did when he had something of some relevance to say, Allan slowly headed towards the edge of the plateau with his hands behind his back. �I thought perhaps you�d appreciate hearing it first,� Allan finally said, breaking the silence.

Christy�s heart seemed to skip a beat as she intuitively knew what he was going to say. She stopped and looked at him expectantly.

Allan turned to her. �We�ve done all that needs to be done here.� He nodded toward the valley. �The town is pretty much taken care of now. Now it�s just a matter of time before the soil will settle and the trees and vegetation to begin to grow. We�ve all become very fond of your little family here. It�s going to be hard to say goodbye. But, just as you have your assignment, we also have our assignments, and now we have to move on to another settlement. It�s not too far from here--just over the mountains, in fact. There�s quite a bit more to do there, though, so it�ll probably be awhile before we see each other again.�

Though Christy had been expecting the news, it was difficult for her, as even in the short time she had known him, she had grown quite fond of Allan. She now looked a little crestfallen.

�I�m sorry,� Allan said, �but we all knew that this would happen sooner or later.�

�I know,� Christy said as she quickly wiped away the tear that had stolen down her face. �It�s just that you have almost become a part of the family, and I always feel so well protected and well cared for when you�re around. And Brad and the others, they�re so much fun to be with, for all of us. We�re going to really miss you.�

Allan, trying to remain strong, said, �Well, I mean, this will happen a lot. Sometimes things aren�t quite what we hope or expect them to be, and it takes some adjusting to see things the way the Lord sees them. But when we do, we find in them the working of a greater happiness than we would have found had it been exactly how we expected it. It�s something you have to get used to.�

�I don�t think I�ll ever get used to it,� Christy answered.

�We can still visit, of course� Allan said. �I don�t know about the whole troop, but at least Brad and I��

�You mean you�ll still be dropping by?�

�Sure. We can be anywhere instantaneously, so distance is not really a problem.�

�That would be fantastic.�

�We can�t come too often, though.� He hesitated, and then continued, �I don�t know how to explain this, but each time we�re sent to a new assignment, we�re expected to give that assignment our all. Just as we�ve become totally involved with you and your work and your people, we have to do the same wherever we go. We have a job to do, and our first priority is to do that job. So it�s not like we can just drop by whenever we please.�

Allan stopped and looked down at Christy, probing her thoughts. He was touched by her tenderness, her sadness, her childlike joy at hearing that they could still visit, her thankfulness.

�You�re reading my thoughts, aren�t you?� she said.

Allan laughed. �Of course.�

�It�s not fair, I can never read yours.�

�I know.� He smiled a mysterious smile.

�But sometimes I want to,� she said, looking deep into his eyes, probing with all her might, and with such intensity that it startled Allan.

�Well, if you keep that up, you might just get through one of these days.�

She smiled, and backed off.

He reached out and put his arms around Christy, something he�d not done before.

Instinctively Christy reached her arms around his neck and snuggled close. He stroked her hair, and as he did so, she tilted her head back, and looked up into his eyes. At the same moment their eyes made contact, a troubled thought flashed quickly through her mind. Allan, quick to discern, read the thought in the same instant: But it�s so hard to believe that he was a murderer, a rapist.

Allan�s eyes dropped. He removed his hand from her hair and, gently reaching behind his neck, unlocked her hands and put them down beside her.

Christy was instantly aware that he had read the fleeting thought that had passed through her mind.

�I�m sorry,� she said. �That was horrible. I don�t know how I could have thought that!�

�Millions of thoughts cross our mind,� he said. �It�s okay, really. I�ve had people think much worse.� He smiled good-naturedly, but it did little to ease Christy�s mind. She was silent as they walked back toward the house. Allan realized that she felt bad about what had happened and did his best to try to explain things to her.

�Christy, don�t feel bad. It�s not your fault that you thought what you did. After all, it�s natural to have thoughts like that flash through your mind. There was nothing wrong with it. Let me explain something. You�ve probably heard it said that some folks who never did much for the Lord, though they were saved, would be raised to �shame and everlasting contempt.� And even though we all know that �everlasting� is just an indeterminable period of time, it seems that my personal �everlasting� is not up yet.�

She looked up at Allan, not fully understanding what he was saying.

�Let�s just say that things similar to what just happened back there are simply part of my everlasting shame. I�m not proud of what I did before. It was not good, and I have to bear some of that shame. It�s not going to be forever, and�--he smiled again--�to be honest, it�s not so hard to bear, compared to everything I�ve been given, the joy that I have. So, let�s just leave it at that, shall we? Let me be the one to take that on myself, okay? There�s no need for you to feel bad about it. You did nothing wrong and you thought nothing wrong. As for me, it�s just something that I have to live with. But it�s fine, really. I can live with it because I�ve been given so much else. Besides,� he said, �it doesn�t happen so often.�

Thankful for the explanation, Christy reached over and squeezed his hand. �I�m sorry,� she said again. �But thank you for explaining it the way you did.�

Allan pulled her towards him and hugged her as they walked back towards the farmhouse.

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In Armageddon�s Wake-- The Farm --

The Farm: Chapter 4

�Stewart,� Christy called.

Stewart spun around.

�Were you going to go out with Spartan today?�

Stewart nodded.

Christy looked a little concerned. �Spartan has seemed a bit unsettled of late,� she said, and then walked over and held Stewart�s hand. �Be careful, Stewart, and watch over him. Okay?�

Stewart nodded slowly, sobered by Christy�s caution.

Shortly after Stewart and Spartan had left on their errand of gathering boulders for a new enclosure for some of the goats, James wandered into the kitchen.

�What�s wrong?� he asked, instantly aware that Christy seemed to be troubled by something.

�I don�t know,� Christy said. �I can�t really put my finger on it, but there�s something up with Spartan.�

�Huh?� James said. �I didn�t notice anything.�

�I guess I shouldn�t worry. I just feel uneasy. He seemed very unsettled, agitated. Something�s happening with him. Would you want to keep an eye on them, James?�

�All right,� he said, �if it will make you feel better.�

Meanwhile Spartan, the big strong fellow that he was, had started to collect some small boulders and was placing them in a pile at the bottom of the hill. Stewart was doing his best to bring the rocks down too, though he was not able to match Spartan�s strength. They worked all morning, and then decided to break for lunch. Feeling tired after a strenuous morning workout and lulled to sleep by the warmth of the sunshine, Stewart closed his eyes for a minute and lay back, resting his head on a small boulder.

He awoke a few minutes later with a jolt, sensing that something was wrong. He looked around for Spartan, but the man could not be seen. Worried, Stewart stood up and walked over to where they had been gathering the small boulders. It was then that he spotted Spartan. He stood a short distance away, precariously balanced on a ledge that dropped off steeply into the valley below. Spartan was looking down, apparently planning to jump off.

Stewart panicked. There was nothing he could do--he was alone with Spartan. James and Christy were back at the farmhouse.

Lifting his hands in despair, he took a deep breath, and shouted at the top of his voice, �No, Spartan! Don�t jump. No! No!�

Spartan looked up--startled first at the unfamiliar voice, and then even more when he realized who it belonged to.

Spartan wasn�t the only one surprised at Stewart�s outburst. A faint but unmistakable echo of it had also reached Trevor�s ears, as he was working near the edge of the plateau. Sensing that something was wrong, he hurried up towards the farmhouse as quickly as he could, calling out to James and Christy.

�Christy! James! Come, there�s something happening. I heard someone call out Spartan�s name.�

He puffed and panted as he struggled up the slight incline. James hurried out on the veranda, and Christy was right behind him. �Spartan?� she said. They looked at each other, then instantly focused their vision on the area where Stewart and Spartan had been working.

�Oh no!� Christy shouted, spotting Spartan first. �Spartan is about to jump off the ledge. Why is he doing that? Quick, we�ve got to get there right away!�

No sooner were the words spoken than James and Christy found themselves standing beside Stewart who, realizing that the sound of his voice was distracting Spartan from his intentions, continued to shout. Spartan appeared very confused and unsure of his actions.

�We�ve got to stop him,� Christy said. �But we�ve gotta be careful. It�s a long way to fall, and we don�t want to startle him into jumping.�

�What can we do? Can we freeze him in his tracks?� James wondered aloud.

�I�m not sure I know how,� Christy said. �But James, of course, you � you knocked him out once before. You could do the same thing again. Only we�re going to have to get up there right away to catch him.�


James instantly concentrated all his thought power on Spartan, and as before, managed to somehow shut down the man�s mind, rendering him unconscious. Instantly they were standing behind him, holding him up.

James motioned to where Stewart was standing. �We have to get him down there, but I�ll have to keep him knocked out at the same time.�

Christy called Stewart to come up and help. Stewart scrambled up the rocky hillside as fast as he could and then slowly, with effort, they managed to drag Spartan down to safe ground. James successfully kept him unconscious at the same time.

Once Spartan was on safe ground, James released his grip on Spartan�s mind, though James continued to keep it under subjection, so that the man remained in a sleeplike state.

Christy looked up at Stewart with amazement. �Stewart, do you realized what just happened?�

He looked at her questioningly, not understanding what she was referring to.

�Stewart, you were speaking!�

Stewart put his hand up to his mouth, as if he was making sure that he still had one.

�Thank God you were,� Christy continued. �That�s what caused Spartan to hesitate. Otherwise he would have been gone.�

�I � I know,� Stewart stuttered, though he didn�t give the phenomenon any further thought. Instead, he walked over to James, and gazed at Spartan with obvious concern. �What�s wrong with him?�

James, who was trying to peer into Spartan�s sleeping mind to find some clues, came up blank. �I don�t know. Do you? What happened?�

Stewart shook his head and haltingly began to explain. �He � he helped me all morning. He did seem a little � a little preoccupied. Not his � usual self. I lay back and just closed my eyes for a few minutes. I � I shouldn�t have. I should�ve taken your warning seriously, Christy. When I woke up I � Spartan � he was standing on the ledge. I knew he � was going to jump.�

Christy looked thoughtful, and then turned to James. �James, ease up a little on Spartan. Don�t let him get up, but let�s see if we can find out what�s wrong.�

James further loosened his hold on Spartan�s mind. Spartan stirred and slowly opened his eyes. �Jump � me�,� he said feebly.

�No, you didn�t jump,� Christy said. �We stopped you.�

Spartan looked disappointed. �Stop�,� he repeated.

�Spartan,� she said, reaching out and holding his hand, �why did you want to jump?�

He gazed back into her eyes, and slowly tears welled up and rolled down his face. Christy, having established a better connection than James had been able to, now gently probed his mind, trying to read the thoughts he was apparently still unable to express.

�Oh, Spartan. Spartan, I�m so sorry. Everything�s going to be okay.� Turning to James she suggested, �It�s okay, James. He�ll be all right. You can let him go.�

James now fully released his hold on the man�s mind. The experience had been an exacting one for Spartan, and within seconds he drifted into a deep sleep.

�He�s beginning to remember things,� Christy told the boys. �I don�t know what is the most difficult for him--he began to remember all that he�d been doing just before we found him. I couldn�t understand everything, but apparently he had escaped from a drug-treatment center of sorts. He was under heavy medication there and was a virtual zombie. When everything happened, he managed to escape from the institution and began roaming around the city. He remembered all that he�d been doing, and it was almost unbearable for him. But I think what is even more difficult for him are his memories of the more distant past, before he was taken into the center. He had a wife and a baby girl. He loved them dearly but he was not able to care for them as well as he wanted to. He is overwhelmed with remorse. It�s just been too much for him to bear, and I guess he thought that all he could do to end it was to take his own life.�

�Poor guy,� James muttered. Stewart looked helplessly on.

�I know,� Christy said. �That�s quite a burden to have to bear.�

* * *

Somehow between the three of them, they managed to carry Spartan�s sleeping form safely home. They took him into the house and laid him on James� bed. It seemed he would be asleep for a while, but Christy took it upon herself to remain by his side. Her love and compassion for this man were quickly beginning to grow, and she felt it her calling to be here for him at this trying stage of his rehabilitation.

As soon as he began to awaken, Christy quickly skimmed his mind, and then called for James to join them. �Everything seems to be okay,� she whispered as both James and Stewart came into the room. �He remembers! Spartan��

Spartan looked into Christy�s eyes.

�Do you remember what just happened? What you were trying to do?�

He looked away and nodded.

Christy held his hand. �You�re starting to regain your memories, aren�t you?�

Spartan nodded again.

�Spartan, no matter how bad your life turned out in the past, you don�t have to end it now.� Spartan turned and looked searchingly into Christy�s eyes. �Spartan, listen carefully,� she continued, �we know about everything that you did, but that doesn�t matter anymore. All of that is in the past. We love you for what you are now. We�ve all done things in the past that we are ashamed of, or that we wished we had never done.� The things Allan had told her about himself suddenly came back to her mind. �Some have done things similar to what you have done, but there�s no need for remorse or tears. You�re here with us now, and we love you and we need you. That�s all that matters, okay?

�We can�t change what has happened in the past--none of us can. Even if we made a mess of the past, now we�ve been given the chance to start again. You have that same chance, Spartan, just like the rest of us, and you have to grasp it, you have to seize it, you have to hold on to that, and move on! Spartan, promise me that you�ll go on. Promise me that you won�t try to do anything like that again.�

Spartan, understanding all that she said, nodded yes, and almost involuntarily his eyes met her gaze again. Suddenly he began to sob uncontrollably, and quickly hid his face with his hands. Belle, who had been passing by only moments earlier and had stopped to watch the exchange taking place with great interest, now came closer and, just as she often did with the children, held Spartan�s body in her embrace, and comforted him.

James smiled. Stewart looked on with relief. From that day on, Spartan lived with the others inside the house.

* * *


Still startled at times to hear Stewart speak, Christy looked up when he called her name. �Yes, Stewart?�

�I�ve been thinking. You mentioned that Spartan had a wife and a little girl. James seems to think that she may have moved across the mountains. I wonder�� He hesitated, not sure whether to continue or not. Christy listened patiently, as she had already skimmed his mind and knew what he wanted to ask. He finally found the courage to continue. �I wonder if there�s any chance that they�re still alive?� He looked up at Christy.


�I remember when Allan was here, he and Brad mentioned that there were a lot of people left on the other side of the mountain, and that there were some quite large settlements there. It wasn�t the same as on this side. I guess there were more survivors there or something.�

�I know,� Christy said.

�So maybe there is a chance that she�s still alive.�

Christy looked at Stewart. �What do you think she�d think of Spartan now? Don�t you think it could do him more harm and cause more hurt if he met her and she spurned him, or she didn�t want to have anything to do with him? What if his little girl was scared of him? It�s very likely she won�t recognize or even remember him at all.�

�I know, I�ve thought of that too,� Stewart said. �But I just can�t shake the feeling that if they are still alive somehow, then Spartan needs to see them.�

�It is an interesting thought.�

* * *

A little later, James and Christy were discussing Stewart�s question.

�I don�t know, James. It might be interesting to see if there�s any way to have Spartan meet his wife and daughter again. But�--Christy shook her head--�the chances of their having survived, even though there are more survivors on the other side of the mountains, are very, very slim.�

�I know,� James responded thoughtfully. �But I have to admit, I feel the same as Stewart. I can�t help but think that it may hold the key to Spartan�s healing; that somehow he needs to know that his wife understands, or that she forgave him.�

Christy was silent for a while. �Well, you boys know Spartan better than I do. I mean, it�s such a long shot, James, I really don�t know if it could ever work out. But just the fact that you both felt the same--maybe we could see if there�s any way of finding out if she is still alive. And if she�s not, perhaps we need to tell Spartan.�

It would be easy enough to determine whether Spartan�s wife and daughter were still alive or not. All they�d have to do was beam an inquiry to the command center, or even communicate with their Lord and King Himself. But even if Spartan�s family had survived, Christy and James did not know whether permission would be given for a meeting to be arranged, and so they remained hesitant about putting in an official request. They had been told prior to receiving their assignments that there would be little interaction between the settlements. This was to give every team of Settlers time to build up their own settlements, to strengthen the survivors, the earthlings in their care, and to concentrate fully on what they were doing.

Opening up the settlements to outside influences prematurely would expose them to external contact that might not be beneficial. There was a very fine, delicate balance to be maintained in each of the settlements. The survivors had been through much. Their hearts and minds were often tender and fragile. When the time was right, they could open up further to others--once they had something to give, something to offer. In the meantime, even James and Christy weren�t sure they�d be allowed access to the other settlements for the time being.

* * *

That night, as Christy lay alone on her bed, she was surprised to see Allan suddenly appear in the room.

�Allan, what a wonderful surprise!� she squealed. At different times she had tried to seek him out, but because he had been busy and also able to block out any probing, she had been unable to establish a mental connection with him. So she was elated by his sudden and unannounced appearance.

�I�ve been busy,� he explained.

�I know, you�re always busy.� Christy shook her head. �I�ve really wanted to contact you.�

�I know.� Allan laughed, and sat down on the edge of the bed.

�How do you know? I haven�t been able to get ahold of you amidst what seems like a maze of minds out there.�

�But I�ve been able to find you!�

�You m-mean�,� she stuttered.

�Occasionally I cast my thoughts over this way to see what you�re up to,� Allan said with a chuckle.

�So one day you were casting your thoughts over here and you witnessed my futile attempts to try to get through to you?�

Allan laughed again. �It wasn�t quite like that, but keep trying! One day you just might break through!�

Christy shook her head. �I don�t know about that!�

�So,� he said, �I�m here! I don�t have too long. What have you been trying to contact me about?�

�Well, I�m not sure that it�s really kosher to do this, but�� Christy proceeded to tell him all that had happened with Spartan. Allan was thrilled to hear of his breakthrough and the progress. He was also delighted to know that Stewart was now talking.

�That�s fantastic! Great news!�

�I know--but James and Stewart feel that something is still needed for Spartan, perhaps that he even needs to see--if by chance they are still alive--his wife and little girl again.� Christy spoke hesitantly, carefully studying Allan to determine whether he was catching what she was hinting at.

Allan didn�t flinch. �So have you asked anybody about it?�

�I don�t know if I can. I mean, I�m not sure there�s any point to doing so. On one hand, if they are still alive, and he saw them, I believe it would be devastating if they turned him away. On the other hand, maybe that�s what he has to come to terms with. Oh, I don�t know. It just that something�s holding him back. He can�t go any further. He can�t shake off the feelings of failure and remorse at how he treated his wife and little girl, how he walked out on them, and all that�s happened since.�

�So what do you want me to do? I mean, there�s not too much I can do about it that you couldn�t do for yourself.�

�I know. But, well, you�re over on that side of the mountain anyway. I wondered if you could keep your eyes open for his wife and daughter, and if � if they are still alive, then maybe you can see what they�re like.�

�It�s a long shot. What are their names?�

�The little girl is called Jody. I don�t know his wife�s name--it�s never come up in his thoughts. Jody was about three years old when he left. She had blond hair. I saw a picture of his wife--she just looked kind of normal, brown hair, brown eyes. I suppose there are thousands of people out there like that!�

�But there�s probably not too many little girls called Jody. So, she was three when he left; how old would she be now?�

�It happened four years ago, so she�d be about seven.�

�All right. I�ll keep my eyes open.�

�Oh, thank you!� Christy sat up.

For a brief instant Allan�s eyes locked with Christy�s, then he turned his gaze away. �I�ve really gotta go! Take care, okay kid?� And then, as instantly as he had appeared, he was gone.

* * *

The weeks passed. There was always plenty to do. Occasionally James, Christy or Stewart would wonder if Allan had found Spartan�s wife and little girl. But with so much to do, there was little time to dwell on it.

One morning Christy was helping Belle outside the house when she felt a gentle probing of her mind. She stopped, closed her eyes, and began to reciprocate. Finally she tapped into the source of the communication--her face lit up. �Allan?�

From his position Allan mentally communicated his reply back. �Yes, it�s me. We haven�t talked like this very much, have we?�

�No.� Even though they were communicating by thought over distances, Christy was easily able to visualize Allan, and he her. �It must be pretty important?�

�Could be,� Allan replied. �I think I may have found Spartan�s wife and daughter!�


�Yes. There is a woman in one of the settlements here called June. She has a six-and-a-half-year-old girl called Jody. I�ve asked about them. It looks like her husband deserted her some time ago. It all seems to fit.�

�Great! So, the next step is to see if we can get it cleared to meet them.�

�You�re on your own as far as that goes!� Allan replied.

�I understand. So what settlement is this?�

�It is called the Seramore Settlement.�

�Is it big?�

�Huge! It�s one of the largest settlements over this side.�

Christy�s heart sank. �Hmmm, that probably means it�s not going to be easy to get in there, huh?�

�That�s probably true. But, I�m sure you�ll find a way.� Christy could almost see Allan�s characteristic smile.


With that, the private conversation came to a close.

Belle looked up nervously as Christy�s attention returned to the present.

�Sorry,� Christy said. �I was receiving a communication from someone. I didn�t mean to ignore you, but,� she lowered her voice to a whisper, �guess what? Allan may have located�� She didn�t have to say any more.

A look of understanding flashed across Belle�s face as she responded, �Ohhh!�

Christy lifted her finger to her mouth. �Shhh, don�t say anything. Especially not to Spartan.�

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In Armageddon�s Wake-- Spartan --

Spartan: Chapter 5

An air of harmonious busyness hung around the large dome. Spirit beings were floating in and out of the entrances leading into the adjacent rooms. At the far end, an ornate desk was laden with what looked like papers--though if one were to look more closely they would see that this was just an illusion. They were really ideas, or communications that could just as easily be visualized in any shape or form, but for simplicity�s sake--especially for the sake of the many more resurrected earthlings that now freely roamed this Celestial City--they usually took on the form of a page. Occasionally an individualistic being would translate their communiqu� into a shape which more accurately represented its actual content. This made for a colorful array of items which somehow all melted themselves into a perfect arrangement. Whenever one item was taken off the desk the remaining items gracefully rearranged themselves into another kaleidoscope of color and beauty.

Allan looked down at his feet nervously. Somehow whenever he entered these courts he felt uneasy and just a little out of place. He rarely came to this part of the Heavenly City, what could most aptly be described as its administrative control center. He still wondered how he had gained permission to enter, and as always, felt very unworthy of such an honor. No one seemed to notice his nervousness, however. All were so intent on their own missions that it left them little time to peruse the countenances of those waiting. He sighed deeply, and in doing so inhaled some of the heavenly elixir. This sent a cool, soothing sensation throughout his entire body. He relaxed, comforting himself with the thought that here, in this perfect city, there was nothing to worry about.

�Allaneor Borody?� A woman stood before him, waiting to lead him down one of the many halls that extended from this central room.

Allan jumped to attention. �Yes, ma�am!�


�Thank you,� Allan said. At second glance, he noticed the woman was hovering, and not standing before him.

She smiled warmly and extended her hand. �Please come with me.�

Taking her soft hand he followed along, just one small step behind her. She moved gracefully forward without looking behind, guiding him gently through the passageways and into a chamber that was at first hidden from sight. As they appeared to walk into a blank wall, the surfaces melted and folded sideways with a motion that left Allan feeling dizzy.

�Ahh, Allaneor Borody, so glad to meet you! We don�t get such visits very often.�

The woman standing before him looked surprisingly ordinary, which seemed rather odd to Allan amidst these celestial surroundings. She was noticeably unlike many other heavenly beings that flitted about these halls, and had he not known any better, he might have thought her a mortal earthling who had snuck into this part of Heaven unawares. The only hint that she represented any sort of high station was the almost regal attire she wore, though this too did not appear at all unearthly.

Allan cleared his throat. �Oh, but it�s my pleasure to be here, Madam.�

The lady looked amused, and laughed in her delightful, high-pitched voice. �You feel rather uncomfortable here, don�t you?�

�It�s not that, really. I feel perfectly comfortable. It�s � it�s just that coming here is always a bit of an adjustment for me initially.�

�You can�t guard your emotions from me, you know!� The lady shook her head. �So, how�s everything going down on earth with your assignment?�

�Very well.�

�Near the Seramore Settlement, that�s where you are working now, isn�t it? And before that?� She thought for a while, �Oh, that�s right, you were with that young girl and boy--taking care of the town.� With that, the woman looked deeply into Allan�s eyes, and he felt as if his very soul were being peeled apart, exposing his innermost thoughts and passions.

She went on. �Tell me how you feel about the girl and the boy--I can see you were impressed with their work. Why?�

Allan was at a loss for words. He was slightly shaken at the ease with which she had pierced through to his deepest thoughts, had sifted through the multitude of impressions that he had stored up and had pinpointed the single one that he felt was the most important to communicate about.

She stood up and walked up to him, reached out her hand and patted his arm. �I�m sorry, I always go too fast with your type. You�re struggling to get used to the change of environment, and then,� she laughed, �you have to come face to face with such an odd creature as myself. I try to act as human as possible, but I don�t know--I�m just not so good at it, I guess.�

Disarmed by her sudden friendliness, and beginning to benefit even more from the heavenly elixir he had breathed in deeply a few moments before, Allan breathed deeply once again and then apologized, �I�m sorry. It�s true; I do still feel a little awkward when I first come in to places like this. I�m surrounded by humans down there, and somehow that makes me feel comfortable. I almost feel human myself again. Perhaps it�s because I just get so wrapped up in life on earth that I lose touch with the reality of the world up here.�

While he was talking, the woman led him over to a couch sitting up against the white granite wall. �Let�s sit down, it will be easier for you to talk. What can I get you?� She thought for a while, and then smiled. No sooner had she done so than the wall parted--again with a dizzy array of colors--to reveal another woman, dressed in a neat miniskirt and white blouse, carrying a tray complete with cups. As she approached the couch, a table mysteriously came up from the floor to meet the tray.

�Here, let�s drink something, shall we? That�s more normal among you earthly folk, isn�t it?� After a slight pause, she continued. �You�ll need to come here more often. You should be used to this kind of thing by now.�

Allan looked at her in wonder, but not because of what she was saying. As she was speaking, her face had begun to lose its form, almost like a mask dropping off, and for a moment Allan though he could see another mouth and another set of eyes peering out from behind it.

His eyes registered his absolute shock, and the woman suddenly became aware why. �Ohhh,� she shrieked as she stood up, and attempted to turn around. Then she stopped. �Oh no, this can�t be happening right now.� She burst into peals of laughter and was suddenly gone.

�And I�m supposed to get used to this?� Allan shook his head.

It was only a second later that another figure entered the room. Allan somehow knew it was the same woman he had been speaking to, but her form was completely unrecognizable. Before him now stood a tall and most powerful angel, her majestic form revealing all the splendor of heavenly beauty. Had Allan�s mind not been totally overcome with the contrast of her sudden change, he would likely have noted that her new form matched the d�cor around her much better now.

A melodious voice reached into his thoughts, �I�m back again, only this time in my normal form. I hope you don�t mind.�

Allan remained speechless--which was of course fine under the circumstances. There was no need to speak. It was hard to describe the vision he saw before him; an archangel was the only word that came to him, though he did not know whether she actually was one or not. But the majesty and pure glory she carried with her were such that only the highest order of angels could boast of.

�My name is Charmagne. I�m sorry I didn�t introduce myself before, I was rather preoccupied with trying to keep my form and manners as human-looking as possible that I totally forgot. It�s something I�ve been trying to do, you know, to help all these resurrected earthlings feel a little more at home around here. I guess I just need a bit more practice. But back to the subject at hand.

�I can see that you�re quite impressed with these youngsters. Tell me about it. You can talk if you prefer, as I can see that this gives you time to collect your thoughts. It must be unnerving for me to pluck your thoughts out of your mind like that, especially when I come across something that has not even crystallized into a specific thought for yourself yet. So please take your time. Ah, I feel much better now.� Her laughter once again pealed across the room, and Allan half-smiled to imagine that the joyous sound probably echoed up to the very top of Heaven.

* * *

Charmagne was truly a wonderful being, and before long Allan felt perfectly at ease with her. She listened intently as Allan described Christy and James� settlement, the people in it, and all that had transpired since they had first set it up. Charmagne occasionally asked a question, gently leading the conversation and trying to glean as much information from Allan as she could.

�So what do you think their greatest strength is?�

�Well, as all of us have had to learn, our greatest strength comes from relying on the Lord�s power, and not our own. And that is just what they have done, to a great extent. From what I have been able to tell, they both spend regular time in communion with the Lord, though perhaps for different reasons. Christy because she feels very dependent on that source of personal strengthening and direction, and James because he is filled with an intense desire to learn about many things.

�And when it comes to being around the earthlings, they make a point of being as normal as possible. They usually act just like those around them. They�re not trying to impress anybody, and they don�t get carried away with their powers.� Allan smirked, as a fleeting thought crossed his mind. At least, not too carried away�

Charmagne, quick to respond, sent a gentle probe into his mind. �How so?�

�The boy, James, he�s young. He�d like to use his powers more, but she keeps him in check.�

Charmagne smiled. �And what do you think?�

�He�s learned to harness his powers quite well, as a result of his eagerness to learn and grow in the use of them. I believe he could easily be trained to join the Legionnaires, something I�m sure he�d be eager to do.�

�And the girl?�

�She�s�� Allan hesitated a second too long, and again felt the gentle probe searching his thoughts. He looked down.

�I see,� Charmagne said with a benevolent smile. �She�s quite special, then?�

�Yes, she is,� Allan answered. �She is intuitive. She has a gentleness of spirit within her that perhaps could be brought out more, but her tenderness and understanding already do much to bring healing. She also has an exceptionally powerful mind, and I believe with a little help, perhaps�� Allan hesitated, and looked down respectfully. �Well, there is always a need for more Messengers, and I think Christy would have that kind of potential.�

Charmagne didn�t respond. She merely smiled a mysterious smile. She knew well that Christy�s background had made her much better prepared for the tasks she now faced--and would face in times to come--than many of the other Settlers were. On account of their very up-to-date missionary heritage, they had already been earmarked for greater ministries. In fact, their assignment of establishing this relatively small settlement was merely a preparation for the greater tasks they would be called on to perform in days to come, though neither they nor Allan were aware of this fact.

A silence followed--it was hard to determine exactly for how long, but during it many thoughts were able to flood through both of their minds.

Finally it was broken. �There is something I must speak to you about,� Charmagne said. �A small misdemeanor.�

Allan knew what was coming. He said nothing.

�You know it has been discouraged to pass on information from settlement to settlement. Yet you told the girl about a woman and child in Seramore.�

�Yes,� was all Allan could say.

�You didn�t check with anyone before doing that--not even the Lord?�

�No, I�m sorry.�

Again Charmagne gently probed the innermost recesses of his mind. Allan did not resist; he knew it was far simpler for her to discover his motives and his reasons for doing it than it was for him to try to explain them to her, especially as he really didn�t know why he had done so. She was gentle, and it took but a moment.

Once the probing was done, silence ensued again. Allan looked at Charmagne apprehensively, expecting judgment to be passed, but when she spoke, she said nothing about the indiscretion. Whatever she had uncovered in the depths of his mind was left there by her--searched out, read, and carefully covered back over.

Her words, however, caught him by surprise.

�I think I�d like to visit the camps. It�s been a long time since I�ve been down to earth and I�d like to see things for myself. I�d need to make sure to watch my disguise a little more carefully, though.� Charmagne laughed again at the thought of her shifting face which had so startled Allan.

Allan nodded, trying to come up with some appropriate response to such a statement. Finally he hit upon what he hoped was a positive statement. �I�m sure that would be just, just,� he stuttered, �just wonderful!�

Charmagne smiled--though it was hardly a smile as we know them to be. When Charmagne smiled, her whole being glowed. �I�ll see you out. While you�re here, please do take some time to rest and recuperate before heading back to earth. You�ve been busy, so take your time. Enjoy yourself.�

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In Armageddon�s Wake-- Charmagne --

Charmagne: Chapter 6

The small home was abuzz with activity. Everyone was busy cleaning, shining and tidying. Even the two children did what they could to pretty up the house, though this consisted mostly of dropping selections of freshly picked flowers (and some accompanying grass and dirt) in places both appropriate and inconvenient.

News had reached them that visitors were soon going to be dropping by. Though most didn�t really know what this meant, they simply partook of Christy and James� eagerness to make the property as presentable as possible. The house was rather old and rundown, especially after all it had been through only months earlier, but the extra shining and cleaning gave it a warm glow--or perhaps it was the mounting excitement that gave the place that extra shine.

�Brad!� Christy shouted across the grassy expanse, as she saw him sitting on the steps of the veranda.

Brad waved.

As soon as she was close enough for normal conversation, Christy asked, �What are you doing here?�

�Thought I would come and see how everything�s going. Heard you�re about to have a visitor.�

�You heard?�

�Yep. All the settlements around here are going to be visited--but it looks like your place is to be the first stop.�

�What are these visits for--or about?�


�And I don�t suppose you�d tell me if you did know, huh?�

�Right.� Brad answered. �But I don�t think there�s anything to worry about. You�ve made the place look pretty good, I must say. Does everyone know who�s coming?�

�No, but it doesn�t seem to matter. Everyone�s thoroughly excited about it.�

Brad nodded off in the near distance. �Spartan looks quite sharp!�

�Oh, the boys have been working on him since the early morning. They wanted to make sure that he was looking his best.�

Brad and Christy walked slowly inside and enjoyed some light conversation together for a short while. Then, sensing a slight reverberation in the air around them, they stopped and waited. The air was rippling with movement, though the movement was not physical.

�Someone�s coming. This must be it--hope you�re ready.�

Christy cast several quick glances around her. �We weren�t expecting anyone just yet, but I guess we�re as ready as we ever will be.�

Allan was the first to walk through the open door, followed by a small entourage of human-looking beings. Second to the end was an older woman. Seeing the slightly surrealistic air around her, Christy figured that she was not, nor ever had been, a human--but was most likely an important angelic being in disguise. The woman smiled warmly as she came up to Christy, and thrusting out both hands, took Christy�s hands in hers.

�Hello, my dear. I hope we�re not too early.�

�No, of course not. We�re thrilled to have you��--Christy looked around at the small group that had gathered in the dining room--�all of you.�

�We�ll be touring some of the settlements in this area, and thought we could pop in on you first.�

�We�re very honored. Please, let us know what you would like to do or see.�

�Why don�t we start with a little tour of the property? You could introduce us to everyone. From what I�ve heard, you only have a few survivors here, so we should be able to greet each one personally. If you can, while introducing them, perhaps run through a brief history of each one in your mind, at least as far as you know it, and I can pick it up--better than saying it out loud.�

�Yes, certainly. I�d be happy to.�

Just then, James came bounding through the back door, not realizing the visitors were already present. He stopped suddenly. Christy sighed, almost inaudibly. Stewart, who was following close behind James, also came to an abrupt stop.

�Why hello, boys. I guess you didn�t think we were here yet, did you? Let me introduce myself. I�m Charmagne, the caretaker of the Settlement Project on this continent. We�ll be touring the different settlements in the area and thought to start here.�

James, still surprised, managed to mumble a rather awkward introduction, �I�m James, Christy�s brother.�

Charmagne looked deep into his eyes, and then leaned over and gave him a warm hug, which quickly wiped away any feelings of nervousness within him, and conveyed to his mind the fact that this was no ordinary resurrected human being they were dealing with.

Stewart held out his hand. �I�m � I�m Stewart, ma�am,� he stuttered.

Christy felt a gentle probe in her mind from Charmagne, and quickly began to mentally review Stewart�s history, as she knew it.

* * *

The visit went well. Charmagne had quickly won the hearts of all there with her charming, yet unearthly manner. The children were delighted with her. No one was exactly sure what or how she communicated with little Jonathan, who could not yet speak for himself, but it was obvious from his childish noises and motions that the two were engaged in as intelligent a conversation as Charmagne had held with the others. Spartan burst into tears when Charmagne put her warm arms around him, and sobbed like a baby in her arms. Throughout the entire visit an almost knowing smile lurked around the edges of Allan�s mouth, yet as usual, Christy was not able to probe inside his mind.

* * *

After about an hour, but what seemed like many more, Charmagne had met with everyone, secretly scanned every hidden thought in every heart and had toured the property.

She didn�t say much. �Well, it�s a nice little place, I must say. You could probably start expanding soon, and preparing to take in a few more people.�

�We�d be happy to,� Christy answered. �We are fairly established now, and could begin to take on a few more folks if there was a need to.�

�There�s always a need, always a need,� Charmagne said. �The larger camps need to be decentralized, and the idea is to eventually break them all down into smaller and easier-to-handle settlements and communities, which will eventually come under the care of those earthlings who can be trusted to tend well to them.�

Just as the visit appeared to be coming to its close, Christy felt the world spinning around her till all she could see was whirling colors. Then, just as suddenly as it had started, the whirling stopped.

A melodious voice broke into her thoughts. �Sorry, my dear. I wanted to talk to you privately, so thought I could bring you out here--it�s beautiful, isn�t it?�

Christy looked around and gasped in awe at the sight before her. She was standing on top of the high mountains that separated their small settlement from the settlements on the other side. The sight was breathtaking, with the world spread out in every direction around her--a world which was beginning to show signs of healing and of being rejuvenated after the horrible devastation it had seen. But even more breathtaking was the vision of beauty that stood beside her--Charmagne, in her undisguised and powerful form.

�You�re all right? It wasn�t too sudden, was it?� Charmagne asked, always concerned that she wasn�t overwhelming the resurrected earthlings with heavenly ways that were as yet beyond their personal experience.

�No, not at all. Just a bit unexpected.�

�You don�t mind seeing me like this?�

�You�re beautiful, absolutely beautiful�� Christy halted, too awed for words. She had seen other heavenly beings, but Charmagne in all her splendor was more gloriously arrayed than any she had seen before, aside from the most powerful heavenly being of all--the very Creator of the Universe. It was a mark of her stature and rank.

Charmagne smiled her special smile, the type that lit up her entire body and the world around them. �I�ll get right to the point, as we need to move on soon. Allan spoke very well of you and your brother--not just your abilities to get everyone moving in the right direction, but also of the great potential he saw in both of you.�

Christy bowed her head, not sure how to respond.

�We wanted to ask if you would like to receive more specific training in using your powers. Of course, all learn as they go along, and no doubt in time you would both perfect the use of your powers. But the purpose of instructing you more fully right away would be so that you could use them to help in other sorts of assignments. We could assign someone to help you right here where you are. We couldn�t exactly have you leaving this settlement right now, as these people obviously still need you, and it would be a shame to pull you away when you�re managing things so well. But we can send someone here, if you�d choose to accept this opportunity.�

Without any hesitation, Christy answered, �Yes, of course. I�d be honored to, really. And I�m sure James would too--he�d love to learn more.�

�Wonderful. Then we�ll see what we can do.�

After a short silence Charmagne continued, �There�s one more thing. From what I have seen of your small settlement and your way of operating, and from what I�ve heard of some of the others, I think perhaps some of the settlements could benefit from your experiences. I know you don�t think much of what has happened here, but from what I�ve heard it�s not been as easy in some of the other settlements to reach the earthlings in the way that you have.

�Anyway, the idea has come to mind to organize a meeting, an exchange of ideas between all the nearest settlements, where all you Settlers can gather together and discuss the problems you�ve come up against, and any solutions you�ve been able to find. I believe you two would probably have a great deal to contribute. In fact, we�re on our way now to make arrangements for it to happen at Seramore Settlement. What would you think of such an idea?�

�Oh, that would be wonderful!� Christy exclaimed. Her heart leapt at the thought of being able to visit some other settlements.

Charmagne smiled, and again it seemed as if all their surroundings smiled with her. �You do know the rules about any interaction with the other settlements, don�t you?�

Christy slowly shook her head. �No, not really. I mean, I know it�s best that we try to concentrate on our own settlement, and that we�re not to get involved with any matters of the other settlements unless specifically instructed or invited to.�

�That�s right, and it will be the same when this meeting is held. You�ll be free to talk with all of the Settlers, and of course with any earthlings who might come across your path, so that you don�t appear distant. But you couldn�t go out of your way to find any earthlings.�

Christy looked down briefly, as the possibility that perhaps Charmagne had heard that Allan had been looking for specific survivors for her in Seramore Settlement crossed her mind.

�There�s a very fine balance,� Charmagne continued, �an equilibrium that it is important not to destabilize.� On a somewhat different tangent, she continued, almost as if speaking to herself,

�It�s a matter of trust, really--I mean, we could all take things into our own hands, but after all, who are we? Trust--it�s important.� She stopped and smiled at Christy. No more needed to be said--Christy understood.

Again she was enveloped in whirling colors, and as before, Christy felt as though she was spinning through a vortex of light and color such as she had never seen before.
They reappeared outside the house. Charmagne was once again in her earthling form. Slowly they walked towards the house in silence. Allan was leaning over the veranda railing, waiting.

�It is time to go on. Allaneor Borody, shall we go?�

�Yes, ma�am.� Allan bowed his head. The rest of the entourage joined Charmagne and Allan outside.

Christy�s eyes twinkled as she looked over at Allan and thought, �Allaneor Borody! Now I know your full name--it�ll be easier to find you!�

Allan smiled and winked, and then abruptly turned and looked out over the plateau. In the twinkling of an eye, the group was gone.

Brad hadn�t gone on with the rest of the group, but was waiting for Christy and James as they entered the kitchen.

�Tell James,� he said with a nod in his direction.

James looked at Christy, curious. Christy wrinkled her brow, not sure what Brad meant. He transmitted the explanation to her thoughts.

�The news--what did Charmagne tell you was going to happen?�

�Ohhh,� Christy then exclaimed out loud. �James, you�ll be thrilled, they�re going to send someone to teach us how to, you know, how to do things better--the powers we have now, we�re going to get the opportunity to develop them more quickly.�

�Yeeeaaaah! Hey!� James leapt around the table, obviously delighted at the news.

�So,� Brad said out loud, �when do we start?�

�You?� Christy looked at him in surprise.

�Well, who did you think would get the job?� Brad returned. Then he continued, �Oh, and of course Allan will be helping you too.�

A broad smile suddenly spread across Christy�s face. She turned and hugged Brad, obviously delighted at the choice of instructors.

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In Armageddon�s Wake-- Visitors --

Visitors: Chapter 7

�Christy! James!�

The door flew open and Brad marched into the dining room. �What do you say, should we start today? Looks like the place can manage without you for a few hours.�

�I�m ready!� James jumped up from the table.

�Start? Now? Right now?� Christy questioned.

�I didn�t give you much warning, did I? Sorry about that--I forgot till I was ready to come over, and then I figured it wouldn�t make any difference whether I transmitted the invitation mentally or asked you in person--so here I am.�

�I don�t know�� Christy hesitated.

�Let�s go, come on. I�m free!� James stated rather triumphantly, secretly hoping that perhaps he would be the sole student for the first lesson.

Brad looked at Christy. �I don�t have all that much time, as we still have work to do over at the other settlements.�

�I see. Well, okay, I mean, I guess I�m ready. Is Allan coming too?�

�No, not this time,� Brad answered. �Allan is going to be teaching you different things than I am. I�m going to teach you how to��--Brad paused and looked at James--�blast things and stuff like that!�

James� eyes lit up with delight. Christy muttered under her breath, �Just what we need!�

�Manipulating molecules is perhaps a more scientific explanation--the art of handling physical elements with your thoughts, including not only blasting, but moving, building, transforming--all sorts of things, and with infinite precision. You�ll need it. I�ve been keeping my eyes open for a place to work from. Miles away there�s a place that used to be a desert. It�s starting to grow over now, of course, but still there are a lot of rock formations and small rocky hills that we could work on moving and shaping. It�s pretty decent for a practice range. We can be there instantly--and back here instantly when we�re done.�

* * *

Christy and James let the others know that they�d be gone for a little while, and then holding onto Brad�s arm so that he could direct them, they left for the �training ground,� as Brad had called it. Expecting a regular, dusty desert, Christy and James were surprised to see the abundance of greenery and color that dotted the still sandy ground between the rocky outcroppings. This desert was well on its way to being transformed into the fertile landscape it had the potential to be.

Brad quickly scanned the area and had soon selected a suitable practice spot. Demonstrating a precision and skill that they had not seen before, Brad painstakingly taught them how to harness the incredible powers they�d been given to carefully shave off levels of a stationary rock without causing it to totter and fall. He showed them how to roll a boulder down a rocky hillside at a slow speed, without it damaging anything on its way down, carefully directing its path by sheer mind power. He stopped some rockslides in midair, and changed the direction of others. And, to James� delight, he showed them how to cause a boulder to explode with such force that it shattered into thousands of gravel-like pieces--and how to gather those bits instantly so that they did not scatter in all directions but instead fell into a neat mound.

They returned often to the desert range to practice, and with a lot of trial and error, honed their basic skills as Brad showed them. They dismantled hills and created new ones. They moved boulders from one side of a mountain to another with precision. They had always had the strength, there was no question of that--but under Brad�s tutelage they slowly began to gain a mastery that would likely have taken millenniums to learn by themselves.

Brad worked them long and hard, pushing them to the limits of their potential skills, always challenging them to give more of themselves than they thought they could. Surprisingly, they were able to match his expectations on every occasion. It seemed there was no limit to what they could learn.

Though Brad had realized they possessed above-average mastery of their powers, he was amazed at just how exceptional they were. What had at first been somewhat of a game for him soon turned into very serious training, and they in turn saw a side of Brad that they had not seen before--his serious, dedicated nature. They realized that there was certainly more to these special men than they�d ever thought.

* * *

After a time, Brad asked permission to take them to a small city that still needed to be leveled. This was their first serious mission. They joined another group of Legionnaires, though not the same group that had leveled the town near their home. They were welcomed and treated well. The work was hard and strenuous, though the Legionnaires, who (for reasons that at least Christy didn�t find it hard to imagine) seemed to be mostly guys, were well up to the task. Christy also participated, though it was by no means her preferred use of her powers. But it was part of her training, and a part that she had to fulfill.

* * *

Night had fallen. Christy and James, knowing that everything was okay back at their little settlement, had chosen to remain at the small camp outside of the city, along with the other heavies. Though there was really no need, someone lit a small campfire around which everyone gathered. A couple of the guys were singing in a low voice, accompanied by a guitar. Tonight the stars seemed even closer than usual, and it felt as though they were twinkling just above their heads.

Christy sighed. The work stretched her mind�s capabilities to the limit. Though she didn�t feel weary in the same way she used to when she was a human, her mind felt strained, almost tired.
It wasn�t that the using of the powers was such an exacting feat. In fact, Brad had explained, it was more of a channeling of the infinite heavenly power that was always available. The Old Testament scripture, �Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord1,� still held true. It was only the Lord�s power that enabled one to do things above the accepted limits of human capabilities, and in the supernatural new spirit bodies that these resurrected earthlings had been given, tapping into that source of power was easier than it had ever been. 1 Zechariah 4:6 KJV.

Still, learning to channel that energy, especially for more complex purposes, took some getting used to. And as can often be the case when one is learning a new skill and has to practice it time and time again, it can soon start seeming tedious, so that one begins to think of moving on to something else.

�I wonder when our training with Allan will start,� Christy mused as she gazed out across the fields, imagining that the stars were moving from their places and marching in unison towards her.

�You�re tired?�

Startled, she lifted her head to see Brad standing beside her. She nodded. �Well, not exactly tired, but I do feel a little stretched, if you know what I mean.�

Brad sat down beside her. �Now, let me guess,� he laughed. �This probably wouldn�t be your first choice of a mission?�

�Not quite.�

�James could join us on more of these missions if he�d like.�

�Oh, I don�t doubt he�ll want to.�

�He�s good.�

�He�s having a blast--quite literally. Though I think that to him it�s still a bit of a game. He seems to lack the depth of a real Legionnaire.� Christy nodded in the direction of the boys sitting around the campfire.

�He�s young. He�ll learn. Soon you�ll both be learning more about using your mind, and specifically your thoughts in other ways, in order to harness and channel more fully the powers God has given us. You�ll need that too. That�s what�s going to deepen him. This is just kids� play, really, as far as the capabilities of your mind go. You�re right that he doesn�t have the same depth or maturity that the others have, yet in channeling the heavenly powers, as far as this type of work is concerned, he�s well on par with them. But there�s more--you�ll soon find out, lots more.�
Christy nodded, and grew silent.

Brad suddenly turned and looked deep into Christy�s eyes. �You never try to read my mind. Why?�

�Well, I can�t read Allan�s, and I figured you�re all the same.�

�Oh no, we�re not all the same. Sometimes I wish you would try to look deep inside of me. There might be more to me than you think.� Brad laughed, patted Christy�s leg and stood up.

�Okay, I�ve gotta head back to Seramore. They need some help preparing for these big meetings--the ones you�ve been invited to. See you in the morning.� And with that, he was gone.

* * *

Soon Christy and James had completed leveling their section of this city. Their time of training in that particular skill over, they returned to the farmhouse, where they once again poured all their energies into their settlement and their small group of survivors. As Charmagne had suggested, they started work on a new building behind their present house. From time to time James would be invited to join up with a group of heavies for a day or so. Life went on as it had for many months before. Christy waited patiently, wondering when their lessons with Allan were going to begin and what he was going to teach them.

* * *

Eagerly anticipating the enjoyment of the stillness and the beauty of the Sunside Glen, as the valley before them had now been named, Christy made her way to the small pool that was hidden in the crevice of two mountains. A beautiful waterfall gushed from the heights, sending sparkling showers of wet mist into the air around. The water was crystal clear, and it almost seemed to sing as it lapped around the rocks forming the perimeter of the pool. Although she could have appeared there instantaneously had she so desired, she preferred to walk and enjoy the full beauty of the restored world along the way.

As she drew closer to the pool, she sensed that she was not alone. A little disappointed at the thought of her private quietness being intruded upon, she nevertheless continued. Arriving at the pool, she stopped--fascinated at the sight she found before her. Allan was standing with his back to her, half-submerged in the pool, his broad, bronze shoulders glistening in the sunlight. He brushed his fingers through his wet, dark hair, then sensing Christy�s presence he turned around, smiled, and slowly started to walk out of the pool. He was naked. Christy bit her bottom lip and tilted her head to the side, holding her breath as he slowly walked up and stood a few feet in front of her.

�So you come here too?� he said without any hint of bashfulness.

She nodded. It had been a long time since she�d felt a man�s arms around her. It didn�t have to be that way, but with things being as busy as they had been, it had not seemed to be much of a priority--until now. Standing in front of Allan, she couldn�t help but wonder what it would be like to have those strong arms around her, those warm hands caressing her, and those soft lips kissing her.

So engrossed was she in this picture that she totally forgot how easy it was for Allan to read her mind. Indeed, had she remembered, she probably would not have allowed herself the luxury of even thinking those thoughts.

Allan didn�t say anything. Instead, for the first time, he let down the guard that he usually so vigilantly held on his mind and thoughts and heart. Sensing her desire for him, he reached out with his mind and visualized himself placing his strong arms around Christy, caressing her. Although neither of them was physically touching, they began to love and woo one another within their minds. The thoughts he was projecting were so strong that Christy had difficulty discerning between them and reality. Though Allan was only projecting thoughts of holding her, stroking her, kissing her, and loving her, she actually could physically feel his arms around her. Her feelings of ecstasy further excited Allan.

Suddenly he pulled back.

�Oh, don�t stop,� Christy pleaded.

He laughed. �Wait, we need to do this together. Let me show you how.�

�How to what?�

�How to make love with your mind. That�s one of the beauties of being able to communicate with our thoughts. Think about what you would like to be doing to me, and project it into my mind.�

�I can�t project into your mind.�

�You can. I�m letting you. Try it.�

Christy cautiously proceeded to do so. She pictured herself wrapping her arms around his body, and at the same time could feel her thoughts entering his consciousness, in a most intimate gesture for this normally inaccessible mind.

�Mmmm, that�s right, don�t stop there,� Allan encouraged her.

Excited to be able to reach into the innermost parts of Allan, Christy�s mind took off. She channeled all her desire and passion for him through her mind and into his. He soon began to reciprocate, till once again it felt as though he was physically touching her.

�This is too much,� Christy whispered as she found her hands beginning to caress her own body in her desire to augment, as greatly as possible, this tremendous surge of feeling that was beginning to rush through her.

�No, wait.� Allan stepped forward and placed his strong arms around her warm body. �Let me do that.�

Slowly he slipped her garment off her shoulders and let it fall to her feet. She stepped out of it, and then entwined her arms around him.

* * *

Allan turned and looked at Christy, who was lying naked on the grass beside the pool. Her eyes were blissfully closed and a faint smile lingered on her lips. Reaching over, he gently stroked the side of her cheek with one finger. She opened her eyes.

�Consider that lesson number one.�

�I had no idea your lessons were going to be like this,� Christy responded dreamily.

�What better way to teach you to control the movement of your thoughts and feelings into another person? Wasn�t it effective?�

�Very effective.� Christy rolled over on her side, and reaching out to stroke Allan, asked, �Can we begin our second lesson?�

Allan laughed. �I had a different type of lesson in mind for my second one.�

�In that case, I don�t think I quite have this one down yet. I need a little more practice.�

Allan leaned over and kissed her softly on her lips. �Are you sure?�

�Uhuh�,� Christy mumbled, closing her eyes, and starting all over again.

* * *

True to Brad�s words, the lessons Allan had chosen to teach were very different. Christy excelled under Allan�s personal tutoring. James was not as interested in these classes as he was in Brad�s. Naturally, for James, they consisted of an entirely different set of exercises than Christy was being given. Still, realizing that he needed to learn these things as well, he applied himself the best he could.

Their early lessons included transposing their thoughts into another person, so that the other person actually experienced what they were thinking and could even be made to outwardly respond to it. James practiced on Spartan. Much to everyone�s surprise, Spartan would at times appear to be a perfect English gentleman, complete with an authentic accent. Or, he would suddenly become a hot Latin lover, wooing and trying to win dear Belle, who, most befuddled, would desperately try to resist his advances.

Christy was not impressed, but there was not a lot she could do but humor her brother as he practiced his new skills in his way. For the most part, Christy practiced her newfound skill privately, with Allan.

* * *

�Okay, now you both need to learn how to block your minds.�

�Huh?� James asked.

Allan shook his head in mock haughtiness. �I don�t suppose you�ve noticed that some of us are able to block our minds so that they can�t be probed by others?�

�Why would I want to try to read your mind?� James retorted.

Christy interrupted with what she deemed a more important question, �What is the need of blocking our minds from others? I mean, the earthlings can�t read our minds. So what is the purpose of stopping our fellow workers from reading our minds?�

�Sometimes you�ll be called on for a mission that you can�t reveal to anyone. Should someone catch a glimpse or an idea of what you�re doing, they could inadvertently give away your plans to others in their thoughts or conversations. It�s not always expedient that everyone knows what you�re doing. In fact, the more involved you are in the type of work we do, the more important it is that only your superiors have access to your thoughts--rather than your peers and those you live and work with daily, at least while you�re on a mission.�

�I understand--sort of. I can�t imagine what sort of secrets would be kept, though, since everything is out in the open now anyway, but if you say so.� Christy mulled over this thought for some time.

* * *

They learned many other lessons--how to stun several attackers at the same time, and even small mobs. They learned how to search through the morass of human minds in a crowd to single out one specific person, how to communicate more effectively with their superiors, and how to hold all, or certain parts, of their mind secret. They learned to discern the deepest thoughts and intents of the hearts of the earthlings around them, and to an extent even the thoughts of their co-laborers. As with the lessons Brad had taught them, James and Christy were fast learners.
Days passed. They were days of sheer joy for Christy as she loved and learned, not daring to think how long these lessons would continue. As much as she wished they would continue for eternity, she knew they would come to an end.

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In Armageddon�s Wake-- Lessons --

Lessons: Chapter 8

Christy glanced around nervously at those she was sitting with. About fifty people were attending this meeting, from a small radius of the settlements nearest to Seramore, but Christy was disappointed to find that they were all unknown to her. She could tell none of these Settlers had much in common with her own, more active missionary background. For a fleeting second, she wished that it could have been a larger meeting, as the chance that she could have met up with any of a number of her old earth friends would have been increased. But she quickly abandoned that thought, as she knew it would only have been that much bigger a crowd to stand up and speak in front of.

In spite of what Charmagne had told her, she felt that she had very little to offer, coming from such a small settlement. The vast Seramore Settlement stretched for miles in either direction, with makeshift tents filling up most of the space. At the core of the settlement were ready-built cabins dating from when this used to be a secluded camping resort. In comparison, her little farmhouse and its few inhabitants seemed small and quite insignificant.

The first day consisted of all the Settler attendees being given a tour of the huge settlement, beginning at its central base, an old converted restaurant, and covering the settlement to the outer limits. For the sake of simplicity and order within the settlement, the administration had grouped the bulk of the survivors together into larger sections by ethnic groups, and then families. Those adults who had no living relatives were grouped into one of several age brackets. By far the highest percentage of the population was in the 30- to 49-year-old age bracket. Young orphans were cared for by families who volunteered to adopt them. Seeing the somber looks of most of the earthlings at the Seramore Settlement, Christy was grateful that her little �family,� as she had affectionately come to call it, was so content.

The meetings began on the second day. The attendees were invited one by one to explain how they ran their settlements, as well as share any tips and ideas they felt might be of benefit to the others. Many of the Settlers appeared quite nervous as they stood up to introduce themselves, say which settlement they were from, and how large their group of survivors was. They all had the same basic powers and skills as Christy and James, and most had been using them a good deal of the time. Many were by now more accustomed to communicating by thought power, and as such felt even more uncomfortable having to speak publicly with their peers, whom they knew would be peering into their minds during their later presentations, in order to more fully partake of their discourse and better understand the experiences they related.

Christy, still being used to speaking openly most of the time, did not have a problem with this. When she, on her turn, stood up to introduce herself, she instinctively blocked her mind, as she had been taught, so that the other attendees were not able to read her thoughts. This proved to be quite disconcerting for many, as they had not been aware that such a thing was possible--though Christy remained blissfully unaware of their discomfort, and quickly sat down again to await the beginning of the first presentations.

* * *

As the meetings progressed, the presentations were interspersed with times of social interaction with the other attendees, during which Christy met and spoke with several of the other Settlers. One of them was Heif. Heif came from the settlement that was furthest away from where they were living. He was a friendly but serious-looking fellow, with big broad shoulders, curly red hair and piercing blue eyes. He had been as unfamiliar to her as the others, but something about him had caused Christy to take particular note of him. He sported a thick moustache and had a no-nonsense air about him. His settlement was also one of the smaller ones, though it contained about five times the population of her own little farm.

Although his turn to speak, like Christy�s, had not yet come up, Christy knew that he had been running his settlement in much the same way the others ran theirs, and he was not satisfied with the progress being made. In truth, Heif had come to the meetings anticipating he would learn something new that could help him turn things around. Christy liked Heif. He was one of the few attendees that did not intimidate her--perhaps because of his down-to-earth nature, or maybe it was because she knew he felt less assured of the success of his settlement.

�Hey, Heif!� Christy bounded up to the burly man, and quickly skimming his mind, found that he was more than happy to have her to sit beside him.

�How are you, Christy?�

�Oh, just fine, Heif.�

�You�ve been busy?� he asked.

�What do you mean?�

�You don�t seem so attentive to the presentations of the other Settlers. I can�t really tell what you�re thinking of instead,� he chuckled, �but I have a feeling that you are spending more time skimming the minds of the earthlings nearby than the minds of us Settlers.� He nodded over towards a group of other attendees.

�Yes. Believe it or not, I learn a lot more from the earthlings than�� She quickly stopped herself, realizing what she was about to say.

Heif laughed. �Don�t worry. I feel the same way. I came here hoping for some solutions, but it looks like everyone�s pretty much doing the same thing. I don�t see a lot of Settlers making much progress with their rehabilitation plans.�

�It�s a shame,� Christy thoughtfully responded. �There�s so much we can do to help these survivors progress more quickly. Maybe if people just got their instructions from Heaven more��

�Oh?� Heif questioned. His curiosity into Christy�s nature instantly grew, causing him to automatically probe Christy�s mind for further information. Then he stopped, and laughed. �It�s impossible to tell what you�re thinking. You have this technique of blocking your mind down quite well. But why don�t you let me have a little peek and see what you�ve learned.�

Christy laughed. �I�m not prepared to do that. I really don�t want everyone traipsing through my mind right now.�

After a short pause, Heif thoughtfully responded, �So � how do you do it anyway, block your mind, that is? I�d like to learn.�

�It�� Christy wasn�t quite sure how to answer. She didn�t know if this knowledge could be freely divulged to anyone. �It takes a little bit of � practice,� she finally said, looking at Heif, raising her eyebrows and hoping that he would somehow catch on. For a brief moment, she dropped her guard to help him better understand the depth of the word �practice� as she had used it.

�Hmmm.� Heif seemed to understand. �I�ll say no more!� It was apparent that she had benefited from something that as yet neither he nor any of the other Settlers there had.

�Well, then I suppose I�ll have to wait for you to tell us how you run your camp.�

�I�d say in comparison to how I�ve seen things done here, we do a lot of things differently. In fact, we do everything differently.�

Heif chuckled. �That doesn�t surprise me. When are you going to be speaking?�

�Smallest settlement--last day,� Christy answered.

�I�ll be looking forward to that.�

* * *

Although Heif�s settlement was small in comparison to most of the others attending the meeting, it was nevertheless a very interesting one. Set on the edge of a wilderness, his settlement did not have an established number of survivors, as the others did. Although the settlement permanently housed some thirty survivors, it acted as a sort of central base for still other earthlings, who preferred to fend for themselves outside the settlement, but still used the settlement as a sort of meeting place, or even as a sort of central store, where they came to trade goods for supplies, and vice versa.

This had been allowed due to the fact that most of the survivors in the remote area surrounding his settlement had already been largely self-sufficient, living their rugged life off the land even before the time of trouble had hit. As long as they did not need to be helped, Heif and the other Settlers in his settlement had concentrated on those they had found who did need help, only keeping loose tabs on the others who continued to drop by regularly.

When it came his turn, Heif stood up and in his no-nonsense manner went over the management of his settlement in detail. Besides explaining the somewhat different nature of his settlement, the remainder of his presentation sounded very much like all the others. The only difference was that rather than offering any of his ideas as solutions for anybody else, Heif offered the idea that perhaps in all of their collective speaking they had not hit upon any real keys to making greater progress more quickly. This suggestion was quite unsettling for the other attendees. Yet, in quickly skimming their minds, Christy realized that they all knew as well as he did that this was true.

For all of their talking, it had been painfully obvious that each settlement had come across more problems than solutions, and that their attempts at re-educating their survivors were not quite as successful as they�d hoped they would be.

While Heif was speaking, Christy (who had been skimming his mind a little more deeply than the other attendees) found something that interested her greatly. Heif�s settlement, due to its special nature of dealing with survivors who were not in-house residents of their little community, had been privy to news of developments from outside their own settlement. Christy had hardly spoken throughout the meetings, and most of the other attendees thought her a rather shy and somewhat odd girl--and she was content to let them think this.

As soon as the call for any questions was given, Christy was unable to contain her curiosity any longer, and she jumped up and boldly stated, �Heif, I have a question!�

Everyone turned to look at Christy, but Heif was not particularly surprised. �By all means. Please go ahead.�

�Heif, from the descriptions of your settlement, it sounds very fascinating to me that you have this contact with outside survivors who do not directly belong to your settlement. I�m not sure that this relates to any of our situations, but I�m very curious to know how you deal with these people. What do you do with them? What do they talk about? How do they survive, and how do you keep tabs on them?�

Heif stared at Christy. He had indeed been eager to share more about this aspect of his settlement, but had decided against it, as it seemed of little relevance to the purpose of these meetings. In fact, very little of what anybody had shared had seemed of much relevance to him, and he was not eager to perpetuate this trend, and so had decided on his short and rather terse presentation. But to have this slip of a girl somehow uncover his desire to speak of these other survivors was a little unsettling. Yet, at the same time he was happy that she had asked.

�The edge of the wilderness is a very interesting place to live, to be sure. The scattered folk who have made it their home are a peculiar breed, especially compared to the majority of the average urbanized survivors we generally have to deal with. In fact, there are many more survivors scattered throughout the wilderness than we have been able to keep tabs on. Many have fled there--mainly those who don�t want to end up in our settlements, or have left them for some reason or another.

�In fact, I have heard reports from those who do drop by, that there are those seeking to establish their own settlements without the �interference� of us Settlers. They like to think of themselves as �Independents�--�Rebels,� if you will--against the rule of peace Jesus has committed to us. I don�t know what they�re planning to do, as there seems to be little organization and a great lack of common objective among them.

�But others are armed, and to them we are little more than invaders, occupying alien forces, and sooner or later they might try to attack us and our settlements. Already we have caught wind that some are intent on infiltrating our settlements to discover our strengths and weaknesses, though we all know that this couldn�t happen very easily unless we ourselves allowed it through our own complacency. �� Heif�s voice trailed off.

Taking a deep breath, he continued, �In fact, some of the survivors that inhabit our settlement are those who have run away from the Rebels. Others were simply lost--wandering around in the wilderness, ignorant of what was going on around them. Their rehabilitation has not been easy; in fact, their progress has been very minimal. They are not committed to being there, nor do they want to go back into the wilderness. They have not really made their decision yet. They�re waiting.

�Many are still not sure of our sincerity, yet they�ve not made a decision to go against what we�re doing. It�s awkward; we have to win them--but herding them into such settlements and our being so different from them doesn�t make for ease of communication.�

Heif�s explanation led to a fairly lively discussion, and more candidness than had been the case before. Several days of meetings had served to highlight to all that not only did most settlements operate the same, having concentrated primarily on the physical organization and setting up of their camps, but they had also shared the same lack of success in meeting the more specific and individual needs of the survivors.

* * *

Christy was the first to speak on the last day of the meetings. In skimming the minds of the crowd she saw that there was a receptivity amongst them that had been previously lacking. For this, she was very thankful. The very act of randomly skimming the mind of the crowd and so quickly being able to discern the thoughts of all attending did not go unnoticed by those at the meeting. Where there had initially been a certain pity felt for this slight girl who rarely said anything, somehow the events of the previous day had attuned the minds of all those attending to the possibility that perhaps she knew something that they did not.

Without any preliminaries, Christy described her settlement--the way they had chosen to set it up, how they were living as one big family. She explained how she and James rarely used their powers in the day-to-day operation of the camp, and equally as rarely used them in their interaction with the earthlings. Instead, she explained, they preferred to act almost as though they were earthlings themselves. Because the settlement was so small, and she had the time to do so, Christy described the history of each of their six survivors from the beginning till the present time. She also explained how they had quickly seen the need to ask the Lord for counsel in how to handle each one, something it seemed none of the others had yet made much effort to do. She admitted that she and James didn�t really know what to do or how to set up and run a settlement, but they found that by counseling with Heaven they�d gotten a lot of helpful direction that had been instrumental in their getting!
this far.

The testimonies of how they handled and got along with the different individuals spoke for themselves. It was obvious that their rehabilitation and reeducating of the earthlings had met with much greater success than in any of the other settlements.

As she was finishing up, she spoke with candor, �My conclusion, after having listened to days of much of the same is that perhaps you may want to try a different approach. If what you�re doing is not working, then maybe it�s time to try something else. Of course, you can take what you want from what I have said in much the same way as I will take what I want from what you have said. I suppose that�s what these meetings were for.�

Taking a deep breath, and with a quick prayer to the Lord that He would give her wisdom in what she was about to say, she dared to continue, �But if I were to be enlisted to help with a camp of the size such as this one, I would certainly not hesitate to ask the Lord Himself what the best way would be to deal with it. After all, He knows best, doesn�t He?�

This statement was met with a stunned silence, as if the idea was a novel concept to the other attendees. Although they all knew the Lord, most had taken their assignments as Settlers primarily upon themselves, thinking that this had been expected of them. The idea of coming before the Lord for such ordinary details of everyday life was at once a new, but also a very logical, suggestion.

Feeling the anointing welling up within her, Christy continued, �For example, He might suggest dividing up the settlement into smaller and more distinct sub-settlements, even autonomous ones that are governed and cared for by the earthlings themselves, those who can be entrusted with such a responsibility. He might say to divide it up into families--men, women, children. He might tell you to put the stronger with the weak, so that the strong could help the weak. That in itself would help with the healing. Earthlings need other earthlings to care for, to love, to nurture, to bond with. This is better accomplished in smaller groups.�

Tilting her head slightly to the side, Christy once again skimmed the crowd. She realized that although people were surprised at her being so outspoken on the subject, most were happy that she was addressing it so frankly.

She continued, �And then, of course, restricting the use of your powers around them might be a good idea to consider as well, as such deliberate shows of superiority do little to win the confidence of the earthlings. If you want to win their trust, they have to see you as one of them.�

�Finally, you should try to find something to keep everyone busy. Idleness is counterproductive; it leaves people feeling useless and unfulfilled. Besides, there�s so much more you could do with a place this size if you got everyone busy! You could expand, you could build, and your various camps could become self-sufficient more quickly.

�Why, we have the potential here in Seramore, for example, to establish a thriving community! Maybe that�s what the Lord and His angels are waiting on. Perhaps they�re waiting for us to establish settlements that resemble the small towns of the past. And then, maybe then, we can open up our settlements to greater interaction between themselves. We all know the earthlings are not yet ready for such things at this point, but I believe that it�s largely up to us how soon they will be, and getting them ready to accept this new world of love and harmony is, after all, what we�re here for, isn�t it?�

Looking around at the crowd and smiling, she concluded, �That�s really all I have to say. Thank you for listening.�

She bowed her head slightly and quickly moved off the small platform.

* * *

�Oh, hi there, Heif!�

�Christy! That was quite a delivery.�

�Do you think it was okay?�

�It was great! Just what we all needed to hear. I�m beginning to wonder if that�s why our superiors left you till last.�

�Oh? I figured it was just because we had the smallest settlement.�

Heif laughed. �Well, I�m not going to argue, but my theory is that they arranged it that way because you had some answers. We had to listen to hours upon hours of problems, till we finally came to the conclusion that we needed some answers. Then it was time for you to deliver.�

�I don�t know, Heif. Maybe that�s true, maybe not. But really the only person who has the answers is the Lord. We just have to ask Him.�

Heif chuckled. For a moment this girl who had spoken so boldly and confidently only a few hours before appeared to be a �regular� resurrected earthling again, no different from him, even a little younger and less experienced in the ways of the world. But he knew that there was more to her than met the eye, and he resolved that he would someday discover what it was.

�Heif, can you tell me a little more about the wilderness and the Rebels?�

�I don�t know much, just as much as those who drop by will tell. But I do know there are some fairly good-sized Rebel camps out there.�

�So why don�t we just call in the heavies to go in and take care of them, like they�ve done with the incorrigibles?�

Heif was silent for a while. He slowly responded, �I don�t know. That�s something I�ve wondered about. My only guess is that perhaps there is too much else to be done, even for the heavies, at least for right now. But then again, it seems it would be simple enough for them to move in and wipe them out. It�s a mystery to me.�

�Hmm,� Christy mused. �Well, if I ever find out and I can tell you, I will!�

Heif held out his hand and shook Christy�s. �It�s a deal.�

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In Armageddon�s Wake-- Newcomers --

Newcomers: Chapter 9

�Christy! I heard the meetings were a success!� James exclaimed, exuberantly greeting his sister as she entered the house. He had eagerly volunteered to remain at the settlement and keep an eye on things. He was not one to attend meetings if he could at all help it, especially if there was a chance that he�d be called upon to speak.

�How did you hear so quickly? They�ve only just finished. Besides who said they were a success?�

�I have my contacts,� James laughed.

�C�mon, tell me!� Christy squealed with delight.

�The heavies dropped by.�

�Oh, are they still here?�

�No, they couldn�t stay, but they said that everyone was happy with the outcome of the meetings. They said too that our little settlement was held up as an example to all.�

�I don�t know about that! The only person who held up our settlement as an example was me!�

James laughed. �Anything happen? Tell me everything, all about everyone!�

�Well, the most disappointing thing was that I didn�t meet Spartan�s wife and little girl.�

James looked despondent. �Oh, that�s a shame.� They had hoped that attending the meetings would afford the opportunity to meet with June and Jody--but unfortunately they had not come across Christy�s path, and true to Charmagne�s caution, Christy had not initiated contact with any of the local earthlings at the settlement.

Christy proceeded to fill James in on the events of the past days. He was especially interested in the other attendees, and as fascinated as Christy had been with Heif and his settlement on the edge of the wilderness.

The extra rooms they had been working on were by this time finished, and they were ready to take in a few more earthlings. Allan and Brad continued to visit, and Christy and James continued their training. Brad was the more frequent visitor. Whenever Allan had not been around for a while, Christy would summon him.

* * *

�Allaneor Borody!� Christy�s mind searched out high and low, as far as she could project it--all the while sending out his full name, which held the key to finding him. It had become a tradition of sorts.

�Christy, bad timing!� Allan responded.

�It can�t be that bad or you wouldn�t have answered! I haven�t seen you for a long time.�

�True. Do you think it�s time for a visit?�

�Yes. I�m getting rusty on some of my newfound skills. I think it�s time for some more practice.�

�I see.�

Christy could always sense Allan�s amusement at perceiving her predominant motives. Then he would usually manage to visit--sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by Brad.

* * *

�So you�re ready for some newcomers?� Brad asked.

�Yes. They�ll probably be earthlings from other settlements, right?� Christy asked, hoping that Brad or Allan would be able to provide a more specific answer.

�Most earthlings have found settlements by now,� Brad answered. �Although there are some cities and areas that haven�t been completely searched out yet. But most survivors have been found, and are, as here, in the process of being resettled. There are others, also, who have been in settlements, but for reasons of their own have left, preferring to rebuild their lives on their own. But they are being observed, for the time being, from a distance.� It was not quite the answer Christy was fishing for. Brad detected her thoughts, and finished with, �But yes, you�ll probably be called on to take in some people from one of the larger settlements.�

�Any idea when?�

Brad laughed. �I say no more!�

* * *

Not many days later Allan paid them a surprise visit.

�Allan, I wasn�t expecting you,� Christy exclaimed joyfully.

�This is not pleasure, I�ve come on a mission.�

�Oh?� James came near, eager to hear what Allan had to say. As thoroughly disinterested as he was in Allan�s �pleasure� visits, the word �mission� always caught his immediate attention.

Allan, purposely speaking slowly so as to prolong the anticipation of his anxious audience, said, �The time has come for you, Christy, to��--he hesitated for what seemed an eternity, though having only heard Christy�s name, James� heart sank a little. Allan then quickly finished his sentence--�to come with me to the Seramore Settlement, from where you will be able to bring four people back with you.�

�Which four?�

�Any four. It�s up to you to choose.�

�How am I going to be able to choose between all the thousands of people who are there?�

After a short, thoughtful silence her eyes lit up. �Are there any restrictions on who to bring? Can I choose anyone?�

�Anyone,� Allan said with a smile, already knowing at least two candidates she was thinking of.

�Can I choose�?� Her voice tapered off as she thought of Spartan�s wife and child.

Allan answered her unfinished question. �Yes, you can choose them if you so wish. Anyone!�

Christy was momentarily speechless at how this had played out. �It was planned to happen like this all along, wasn�t it?�

�In fact, it was.�

�So all the seeking, searching and planning��

Allan again answered the unfinished question. �It was all unnecessary, because God meant it to be. You were going to get your chance anyway.�

Christy was silent again, realizing how futile her personal concerns about contacting Spartan�s family had been. Truly, there was Someone who knew Spartan�s needs much better than she did, and was even more concerned for his welfare and happiness. She need not have worried, for whatever God had chosen (and she knew that He did all things well), was destined and would be.
Allan, catching her thoughts, somewhat cryptically responded, �It�s something we all sometimes forget, but it�s a very important principle to remember. So often things are not as they seem, and even when it doesn�t appear as though something is working out, sometimes if we wait a little longer, we find that everything has already been resolved.�

�So,� Allan said somewhat forcefully after another pause, �shall we go? I think they�re expecting you.�

�Go, now? Why do you always spring these things on me without any advance notice?�

Allan laughed. �Ah, but of course--I never taught you that, did I?�

�Taught me what?�

�How to probe for upcoming events. You can do that. You should, it helps you to be a little better prepared for the likes of us.�

�Oh?� Christy asked.

�I�ll have to show you. Remind me.�

�I don�t understand,� Christy said, looking a little perturbed, as she always did when she couldn�t quite grasp something.

�The reason we tend to operate on a �here we are, let�s do it now� basis is because we are aware of the bigger picture and greater overall scheme of things. We know that certain things will happen and when, so when that event occurs, we can flow with it.�

�But how do you know?�

�There�s a place to look. Like I said, I�ll have to show you. That way things like this won�t be quite as much of a surprise, because you know at least that something is going to happen.�
�You mean we can foresee everything--like God Himself?�

�Only some things. Many things are not made known for different reasons--maybe because we have to learn to take some things as they come. But other events can be seen in advance--especially things like an upcoming visit to the Seramore Settlement! But now we must go.�

Allan held Christy�s hand, and she answered, �All right then. Let�s go.�

* * *

No sooner had the thought been formed than they were outside the Seramore Settlement.

�I�m a little nervous, to be honest,� Christy said.

�I�m sure. I would be too if I were in your position.�

�Hello, Christy!� It was Josh, one of the settlement overseers. He walked up and embraced her warmly. �Allan�� He nodded respectfully towards Allan.

�It�s nice to see you again, Josh,� Allan answered.

�You too, Allan. And it�s nice to have you back, Christy. You�ll probably be pleasantly surprised at some of the changes we�ve made. We have sectioned off twenty-five distinct little sub-settlements now, and already the people are much happier for it.� Josh smiled, �We�re also trying to act more earthly when within the camp. I hope you don�t mind � walking to the main building.�

Christy laughed. �We�re used to that.�

* * *

A group of six camp overseers were sitting around a large wooden table. �Hello, Christy,� they chimed. Then turning to Allan, they respectfully added, �Welcome, sir.�

After a few minutes of small talk, Josh, not wanting to delay any longer, asked, �Christy, do you have any idea how you�re going to choose four people from the thousands we have here?�

�Not really.�

�We don�t have any recommendations for you. We know so little about your settlement.�

�There are two people I�m very interested in. Remember my telling you about Spartan, the ex-incorrigible?�

They nodded.

�I came to learn that Spartan�s wife and daughter reside in this camp. I would like to meet and talk with them. I believe that they may hold the key to Spartan�s full recovery. However, I can�t know if they�re willing to help with this until I�m able to meet with them. If they are ready for this, then I would like to use this opportunity to invite them to join us.�

�Do you know their names?� Josh asked.

�Yes, the woman�s name is June, and her daughter is Jody.�

Josh thought for a second, and then nodded his head slowly. �Yes, I believe they�re here. They�ve not been brought into any of the new sections yet.�

�Could I begin by talking with them?�

�Certainly. Should we bring them here or would you rather go to them?�

�Maybe it�s easier if I go to them.�

Josh nodded. �I�ll assign you a guide. Oh yes, I know just the person. In fact, you may find her quite an interesting candidate as well. Come, follow me.� He turned to look at Allan. �Will you also be coming along, sir?�

�Christy�s on her own!� Allan said, and lounged back in his chair. �I�ll stay here. Thanks.�

Josh took Christy to one of nearby buildings. Sitting outside the house on a wooden bench was a young girl who appeared to be about twelve years old. She was intently looking off into the distance and she did not even look at them as they approached.

�Trina!� Josh broke the girl�s apparent trance.

�Oh, yes?� The girl jumped up eagerly.

�I have someone I want you to meet. This is Christy. She comes from one of the other settlements. She�s here to meet with a few people. You know where June and her daughter Jody are, right? Would you mind taking her to see them?�

�Not at all! It�s right this way!� Sizing up Christy, she added somewhat bluntly, �You have to walk.�

�That�s fine.� Christy chuckled at the girl�s straightforward manner. Though on the surface her manner may have appeared disrespectful, with a quick look into her mind, Christy knew that this was just part of her up-front personality.

Trina chatted the entire time. �So, do you know what I was doing when you came?�


�I was actually trying to read. � Did you see the old man standing over by the tree?�


�Well, there was an old man standing by a tree, and I was trying to read his thoughts. I couldn�t do it. But, I think one day I will be able to.�

�Oh?� Christy questioned, a little surprised. �And what makes you think that?�

�I don�t know why us earthlings can�t become like you eventually. I really think that at least some of us are going to have a chance to become like you. I�ve heard that�s a matter of learning to use more of our brains. Maybe we won�t be able to do all that you do, and perhaps we won�t have the full powers you have, but with time we might be able to acquire at least some of them. After all, you folks were just like me once upon a time, you know, before any of this happened.�

�True.� Christy had never thought of that before. �So that�s what you were trying to do, huh?�

�Yes, I keep on practicing, though I think there�s something missing. I don�t really know if it�s going to come to me like that.� She snapped her fingers. �But I guess there�s no harm in trying, is there?� Trina looked up at Christy. �So, what are you doing here, anyway?�

�I just came to talk to a few people.�

�Uh-huh! That�s interesting. What are you going to talk to them about?�

�All sorts of things.�

Not quite catching the hint that Christy�s short noncommittal answers meant she did not want to discuss the matter, Trina kept up a persistent stream of questions all the way there.

Finally they arrived at their destination. �There she is. She�s standing over by the basins, the woman with long brown hair.�

�Where�s her daughter?�

�Dunno. Guess she�s not around.� Trina danced off in the direction they�d come from.

Christy called after her. �How am I supposed to get back?�

�Don�t worry. I�ll be back. I�m not going far!� And with that, she was gone.

Christy laughed and shook her head, �Quite a girl!�

* * *

Still smiling, Christy approached June. �Hello,� she said warmly. �I�m Christy, I come from another settlement. Is it convenient to talk with you?�

The woman looked nervously at Christy. �You want to talk with me? Yes, of course. Certainly, it�s fine. I�ll just dry my hands. I�m sorry, I�m not��

�It�s fine,� Christy assured her. �Let�s sit over here.�

The small, frail and rather nervous-looking woman quickly wiped her hands on her skirt, and with her head bowed a little followed Christy toward the seats, being careful to leave Christy a few paces ahead.

Endeavoring to start a conversation, Christy asked, �Tell me about yourself.�

June proceeded rather hesitantly to do so. Her conversation was rather disjointed. She started off by talking about her life at the camp and about Jody--who she pointed out in the distance. With a little prompting from Christy she explained how she�d been found and brought to the camp.

�I think that�s about it. That�s my life,� she finished.

�I see. But do you think you could tell me what happened before the great destruction started, what your life was like? Were you married? Do you want to tell me about that?�
June looked troubled, and a tear stole down her face. �I � I try not to think about that.� Then quickly she continued, �But of course, if you want me to tell you, I�ll tell you. � Of course I�ll tell you. Yes, I�ll tell you everything.�

Wiping June�s tear away, Christy said, �Just tell me what you want to. I know it must be quite difficult for you.�

June proceeded to tell Christy of her life. She filled in many of the missing details of Spartan�s story. �I knew my husband, Ed, when he was a boy. We grew up together in the same small town. He was a big man, a kind man. I don�t know what happened to him.� Her voice trailed off. �He got into debt. He was trying to make things nice for us. I was pregnant. We had no money.� She looked up at Christy. �You know those days? They were quite hard in this part of the world. We suffered a lot of hardships.�

June sighed, and then continued. �He became mixed up with the wrong kind of people and somehow he got himself into a lot of trouble. I tried to tell him that it didn�t matter whether we had money or not, that we�d survive. He didn�t listen. He was so depressed about not being able to provide a better life for us that he got into drugs and, well, you know how that goes.

�He ended up spending what little money we did have on them. Then he started stealing in order to support his drug habit. He was always very sorry, but he wasn�t able to help himself. I wasn�t able to help him either. Soon he felt so bad about himself that he left Jody and me. I guess he thought we�d be better off without him. He walked out one day and we never saw him again.�

Christy was carefully probing June�s mind while she was talking. She saw that June had such a tender love for her husband, and that she�d been very hurt by his disappearance. She saw too that the troubles had come upon them so quickly that she had lost all hope of ever seeing him again.

�I don�t know how to tell you this��--Christy hesitated--�but your husband, Ed, is alive. He�s living in our settlement.�

June raised her hand to her mouth in surprise. Tears started streaming down her face.

Christy continued, �He�s been through a lot. I venture to say that he�s probably not the man you remember.� Realizing that even though June appeared frail, she was strong enough in spirit to be able to hear all the truth, Christy continued, �When he came to us he couldn�t talk, and was barely coherent.�

�And now?� June asked.

�We�ve made some encouraging progress with him. He had actually been in a drug rehab center before the destruction began. For a long time he couldn�t remember his past, but gradually it came back to him. In realizing what he�d done to you and Jody, he felt a tremendous amount of remorse and guilt, and it has been and still is very difficult for him to cope with that. I think he needs you, and he needs his little girl. I believe you could be a great help in his full healing. I don�t know if you would be willing or not, but we have an opening at our settlement. You could both come and join us, if you wanted to.�

June looked up, startled.

�I realize this is a lot to absorb, but you can think about it. You can even talk with little Jody about it too, and let me know what you think later.�

Realizing that it was very shocking for June to hear that Ed, or Spartan, as those at his settlement knew him, was still alive, Christy tried to comfort her as best she could. In an effort to help June regain her composure, Christy started asking her a little about life in Seramore, what she liked, what Jody liked and how she had responded to all that had happened in the years previous.
Before leaving her, Christy asked, �I hope this wasn�t too much of a shock for you.�

�No, it�s all right. I�m starting to get used to the idea that he�s still alive. It�s been so long, I thought he was dead. I just need a little time, and as you said I can talk to Jody and we�ll let you know. Are you staying long?�

�Take your time,� Christy reassured her. �I�ll be staying a while, but even after I�m gone it�s very easy for someone to get in touch and let me know your decision.�

* * *

Once Christy was back with Josh and the others, she explained all that had transpired.

�I think she�ll likely decide to go,� Josh predicted.

�I do too,� Christy responded. �I just have a feeling that this might be something that she needs too.�

�I would agree. She mostly keeps to herself here. I think she�s a bit intimidated by the great number of people that are always around here. The idea of moving to a smaller place will likely appeal to her. Now, how are you going to chose your other candidates?� Josh asked.
Christy thought for a while. �That I don�t know! I do have permission to initiate contact with the earthlings, so would it be okay to just walk around and interact with people?�

�You�d do well to take a guide--even I get lost in this place sometimes.� Josh laughed. �By the way, what did you think of Trina?�

�Very talkative--and full of interesting ideas!�

Josh laughed, �That�s Trina. She used to be a street kid.�

�Oh,� Christy said with understanding.

�She knows her way around well.�

�I find it highly educational spending time with her,� Christy said with a smile. They all laughed.

* * *

Christy spent the next few days at Seramore talking with many people. She found several who she felt could benefit from joining their small settlement, but still she was undecided.

�So how�s it going?� Trina asked, in her usual bright and cheery manner. �Did you find your four candidates yet?� By this time Trina had managed to weasel out of someone the purpose of Christy�s visit.

�There are a lot of people to choose from,� Christy responded. �It�s a big settlement!�

�Too big!� Trina emphatically responded.

�Oh, look who�s talking--the big-city streetwise girl!� Christy laughed.

�I know, but just because I was born in the city and lived on the streets doesn�t mean that�s for me, does it?�

�You seem to fit in well enough here!�

�I�m a survivor!� she said with some force. �I survived the destruction; I can survive this.� Changing the subject, Trina continued, �Today I�ll take you over to the east side of the camp. Then you will have visited all the quarters. I mean you haven�t met everyone, because that�s an awful lot of people, but I guess you�ve met the ones you were supposed to meet.�

Trina was not her usual talkative self as they headed over towards the east side of the camp. Finally she broke the silence. �We�re almost there. Do you mind if I drop by and see a friend?�

�A friend?� Christy asked--her curiosity aroused.

�Well, not really a friend. She�s an old lady who used to be blind. She�s not blind anymore, but, well, she�s a little funny. I drop in on her every once in awhile to make sure she�s all right, and has everything she needs. Do you mind?�

�Not at all. Please go ahead.�

They approached a small, neat-looking shack. Trina knocked on the door.


�It�s Trina. Can I come in?�

�I suppose so,� the gruff old lady responded.

Trina cautiously opened the door a little and eased through the crack. Christy, interested in seeing who this rather gruff voice belonged to, slipped in behind Trina.

�What did you bring her for?� the old lady asked.

Trina looked back, surprised that Christy had slipped in. �She�s just a friend. Do you have everything you need?�

The old lady muttered something under her breath.

* * *

After staying with the old lady for a short time, Trina said, �I have to go now. I�ll see if I can drop by again sometime soon. Goodbye.� Trina was out the door before the old lady even had a chance to say goodbye. Christy followed suit.

�So who is that woman?�

�I never knew my parents,� Trina said somewhat abstractly. �But around the time of the destruction, I came across this lady, and well � I helped her, and at the same time she helped me. It�s � it�s hard to explain. �� Trina hesitated, but Christy could see in her mind what she was trying to express. All at once, Christy felt compassion on the little girl, for even though she appeared to be tough, she realized that her heart was as fragile as everyone else�s, and that she was desperately looking for someone to belong to. Having seen Trina in this new light, a sudden thought sprung to Christy�s mind. �Trina, would you want to come back with me?�

Trina stopped in her tracks, with her back towards Christy. Slowly she turned around. �Do you mean what you said just now?�

Christy thought for a moment and then responded, �Yes, I do believe I meant what I said.�

�You couldn�t have any need for someone like me at your place.�

�I�m sure we could probably find something for you to do.�

�Well,� Trina hesitated, �I don�t know � maybe!� She shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly, turned around and began to walk off, scuffing her shoes as she went.

�You�ll let me know?� Christy called out after her.

�Yes, I�ll let you know.�

Christy smiled knowingly. Although Trina didn�t appear to be all that enthusiastic about the idea, another peek inside of her mind had betrayed that her heart was rejoicing at the invitation.

* * *

At the close of the fourth day, having heard word from June and Jody that the invitation to Sunside Glen had been accepted, Christy still had not determined who the last person was going to be. She had sent up word to Heaven to see if there was any direction for her on this, but other than confirming the three choices that had thus far been made, she was not told anything more specific. It seemed the final choice was meant to reveal itself in its own time.

Josh, wanting to help all he could, suggested, �Maybe you could just take three people back with you?�

Christy shook her head. �No, I don�t think so.�

�Well, there�s something happening tonight, a gathering of some of the young people. They haven�t changed,� he laughed. �They still like to get together and dance and sing and talk. And, well, you�re a young person yourself. Why don�t you join in? Maybe you�ll meet someone there.�


* * *

Christy looked around as she walked in the crowded room, and decided that instead of seeking out someone to take back with her right away, she would just enjoy herself. And enjoy herself she did! She danced and laughed and sang along with the earthlings, and had a fine time.

* * *

�How was your evening?� Josh asked. He had peeked in on the gathering, and quickly found Christy.

�Oh, just great! I haven�t done this for a long, long time,� she laughed.

�I�m sure!�

�I just had a good time. I talked with people, danced, and I even ate!�

�Good for you!� Josh encouraged her.

Just as they were about to leave, Christy�s attention was drawn to a teenaged couple who were sitting in a corner by themselves. �Who are they?� she asked.

�Oh, they�re new. They just came in a few days ago.�

Christy�s interest was sparked at the idea of new arrivals. �Did they come in from another camp?�

�No. Someone found them walking along the road not too far from here.�

Christy was surprised. �I thought that by now all of the survivors in this part of the world had been found.�

�Well, apparently they�ve been hiding up in the mountains. I don�t know how any of us could have missed them, but I guess we did.�

�So how are they doing? I mean, are they adjusting okay?�

�They�ll be fine. They are brother and sister. They�ve been through a lot--I guess everyone has.�

Christy wanted to go and talk with them, but hesitated when she realized they were two, and she was only allowed to take four people back with her.

�Do you want to talk with them?� Josh asked.

�I�d like to, but I don�t know if I should. You couldn�t split them up, and, well, I already have three people prepared to go. I don�t know if it would be fair to suddenly tell Trina that she couldn�t come, and take these two in her place.�

* * *

Christy couldn�t keep herself from thinking about the pale young boy and girl who had been sitting by themselves all evening. Finally, seeking help, she called out, �Allaneor Borody!�
Soon Allan�s warm presence was right beside her.

�Oh, you actually came.�

�I didn�t have anything else to do at this moment,� Allan explained with his familiar smile. �How�s it going?�

�Fine. I already have three people to take back with me. But I just met another couple, a young boy and girl, brother and sister. They looked a bit lost. I thought that their adjustment period might be a little easier if they came into a small place like ours. But that would bring my number of additions up to five!�

�And you were told to take four?� he questioned.


�Okay,� Allan said, standing up. �I�ll check with Charmagne and see what we can do. I�ll be back soon.�

* * *

Christy was surprised when she walked into Josh�s room only minutes later, to find Allan lounging in a chair, chatting with Josh.

�Oh, Allan!�

Allan nodded.

Josh stood up to greet Christy. �I just heard the good news from Allan. You�ve been cleared to take five people back with you.� He cast a quick glance at Allan, then added, �It seems you have some friends in high places.�

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Subject: In Armageddons Wake-- Alone --
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In Armageddon�s Wake-- Alone --

Alone: Chapter 10

The twins--as indeed this brother and sister were--made no resistance to the suggestion of traveling back with Christy. It didn�t matter much to them where they were. They were still in a daze at the news of all the changes that had come about in the world and even in the landscape around them. The trip back around the mountains took some time, as the team traveled on foot.
James had prepared Ed-Spartan, as he would now be known, for the arrival of his wife and daughter. He�d never seen Spartan so nervous.

Having an open channel of mental communication with Christy made it easy for James to keep abreast of her team�s travel progress and estimated time of arrival. As the time drew near, Spartan could be seen pacing back and forth on the veranda. He refused to come into the house, no matter how many times James called him.

The newcomers were equally as nervous as they approached the settlement that was to become their new home.

�We�re here!� Christy called. �Hello, we�re here, everyone!�

Soon the others had joined Ed-Spartan on the veranda, and they were waving frantically as the small group approached the house. The newcomers were lagging a few steps behind Christy. As they drew near to the house, Ed-Spartan slowly made his way down the steps.

Seeing him approach, June stood still. She was no longer able to hold back her tears. Jody held her mother�s hand tightly and looked on with wonderment. �Is that him, Mommy, is that him?� she whispered noisily.

June was not able to answer.

Christy beamed an answer into Jody�s mind. �Yes, that�s him, honey.�

Jody stood transfixed as her father approached. Ed-Spartan, not knowing how to respond to the situation, stood a few feet in front of June and looked at her helplessly.

June reached out to him, and as he stumbled into her arms she cried, �Oh Ed, Ed, where have you been? It�s been so long!�

By this time Ed-Spartan was also awash with tears. He reached down and wrapped his huge arms around June and little Jody.

Belle quickly wiped the tears away from her eyes and ran down to greet Trina. �You must be Trina. We�ve heard so much about you.�

�You have? I hope it�s been good!�

�All good,� Belle responded. �Come on in and meet the children.�

�You have kids?�

�Yes, two children. Come and see.� Belle whisked Trina off into the house.

The twins, who were standing at the bottom of the steps, looked awkward.

Stewart looked down on them from the veranda with a big grin. �Hi!� he waved. They looked up at him, not sure at first whether he was an earthling or not.

�I�m just normal,� he said. He motioned over to James who was standing on the other side of the veranda. �He�s not normal!�

�Thanks!� James said, with a smile.

�But I�m just like you,� Stewart assured them, as he bounded down the steps toward them.

They looked at one another, then looked at Stewart and introduced themselves.

�Come, let me show you around. I�ll take you to your rooms. They�re all fixed up.� With that, he ushered them inside.

By this time Trevor had come to Ed-Spartan�s aid. He was hustling him and his newfound family up the steps. �It�s almost time to eat. Let me see if anything has been fixed yet.�

Christy stood beside James, and gazed out over the veranda. �Mission accomplished.�

�It�s a pretty fine group of people. I think they�ll fit right in.�

�I think so.�

�I�m glad there�s someone new for Stewart to attend to. You know�� James bit his lip, and then continued hesitantly, �You don�t know?�

Christy tried to read James� mind but was not able to. �James, you�re blocking me out. What is it?�

�I�ve been offered a little longer assignment.�

�What type of assignment?�

�I�m going to join Brad�s group for a little while.�

�I�ll be coming back,� James was quick to add, trying to reassure her. �But I think it will be half and half--here maybe half the time, and off on assignment about half the time too.�

Christy was silent. Although she was pleased for James, she was slightly unsettled at the thought of so many changes happening at once. �I�m very happy for you, James. I know it�s something you love doing. Who knows? Maybe soon you�ll be doing it full time!�

James hugged his sister, happy that she understood.

* * *

The new arrivals settled in, and their healing and resettlement process continued. James soon departed with Brad and team for parts unknown, to help on a new assignment.

For the first time, Christy was the only non-mortal at the settlement. She was busy, and had little time for thinking about anything other than the immediate business at hand. She missed James, and she missed Allan and Brad, whom she presumed were all very busy on assignment, too busy to even visit. She found it difficult at times to have not seen Allan since Seramore Settlement.

Occasionally she would search for him, only to find that he was indeed unavailable.

She often reflected back on some of the last words he had said to her--that everything was going to work out the way it was supposed to, and there was little use of worrying about the direction one�s life was taking, for in the end what God had meant to be would be. Although she wondered if he had perhaps meant more than he had let on, she knew the simple truth behind those words, and so was content to trust that, as before, so now the Lord would cause all things to work together for some greater purpose of good.

Spending so much time alone began to shape her character and personality--though it was not outwardly perceptible to those around her. The solitude and the aloneness of the nights continued to provide her with time to reflect, to think and to prepare--though she didn�t know what she was preparing for.

On one such quiet night, after the household had settled down and all others had gone to their beds, Christy headed off towards the edge of the plateau, where she had often walked with Allan. It was a beautiful night, and the clear moon beamed down its silver light on the plateau. There was a special magic in the air. The trees that lined the grassy pathway to the plateau�s edge almost seemed to hide something mystical just beyond their branches.

Christy breathed deeply and sighed as she looked around at the awesome beauty, and partook of the stillness and the white glow that bathed her surroundings in mystery.

How different it looks in the evening, she thought to herself. During the day it�s so normal, but at night--it�s as if the world is hiding a secret known only to itself. I wonder what it could be? This was her favorite time--the wee hours of the night when everything was still and quiet. The only sound that could be heard was the occasional scampering of a night creature, or the gentle night breeze wafting across the tops of the newly grown trees.

She finally arrived at the edge of the plateau. The sight that unfolded before her was magnificent; the valley was awash with the same white moonlight that had lit her pathway. From this distance she could see the treetops in the valley dancing in unison to the gentle breeze that was whispering up on the plateau. She was so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she failed to sense that someone had drawn near.


She turned to see a familiar figure leaning up against a nearby tree trunk.

�Allan?� she whispered, overjoyed that he had chosen to share this moment with her.

Without saying another word he walked up to her and reaching out, held her tightly in his arms. She turned her face upwards to find his lips passionately searching for hers.

�Wait,� she whispered, while he continued to hold her tightly, �it�s such a beautiful night and it�s still young; let�s take our time.�

He returned her gaze, searching into her soul--yet he said nothing. She tried to reach into his mind, but could not. Again, his lips met hers, and as they stood locked together near the edge of the plateau. She couldn�t remember ever having felt so much tenderness or so much passion from Allan. Any attempt she made to reach into his mind was immediately blocked, and Allan made no attempt to make love to her in any way other than physically. He held her in his arms, touched her, caressed her, and yet barely said a word. They loved into the night.

Finally when all was done he stroked her face, and tenderly pushed back the wisps of hair that had fallen over her eyes. �I must go now.�

Disturbed at the tone of Allan�s voice, she asked, �Is everything all right?�

�Everything�s fine,� he answered. �I just need to leave now.�

�I�ll see you then.� Christy searched his eyes.

�Goodbye,� he said with a smile. As suddenly as he had appeared, he was gone.

Christy stood up to leave. The night still looked as mystical as it had hours earlier. In fact, she thought as she looked around her, even more so!

Slowly she wended her way back to the house, deep in thought, yet not even sure what she was thinking. There was something about Allan�s visit that had unsettled her, something that moved her soul, yet she had no idea what.

�Perhaps time will tell,� she said to herself as she slowly walked up the steps and onto the veranda.

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Subject: In Armageddons Wake-- The Assignment --
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In Armageddon�s Wake-- The Assignment --

The Assignment: Chapter 11

Weeks passed, then months, but Allan did not visit again. Slowly it dawned on Christy that Allan�s last visit had indeed been a final one in some respects, at least for the time being. James� assignments kept him away from home for long stretches at a time. The settlement was doing well, and they had been able to build another house back a good way behind the farmhouse, within walking distance. Plans were being made for more newcomers to join them.

Christy continued to pay her nightly visits to the edge of the plateau. Returning just before daybreak one day, she was startled to see someone sitting on the furthest edge of the veranda.

�James!� she said with surprise as she drew nearer.

James watched her approach, yet didn�t say anything.

�This is a surprise! I wasn�t expecting you. Is everything okay?� She tried to reach into her brother�s mind, but as he routinely blocked it, she was not able to penetrate his thoughts.

�I�m sorry I didn�t warn you I was coming,� James said. �I guess you must�ve gotten out of the habit of scanning for events like these, when they happen so rarely.�

�That�s okay. Are you back for a short visit or�?�

�No, we�ve finished another assignment. I think I�m back for a while. I don�t know that there are any plans for me to move on again just yet.�

James seemed different. He was pensive and quiet--not at all the James she was used to. Christy sat beside him and waited quietly. Finally unable to contain her curiosity any longer, she blurted out, �What is it, James? You�re so different. Something has changed you.�

James looked down. �Yes, I guess you could say I finally grew up.�

Christy laughed. �Well, I suppose that was bound to happen sooner or later.�

James remained silent for a while longer as he gazed out over the veranda.

�It�s beautiful, isn�t it?� Christy finally offered, breaking the silence.

�Yes! I�d forgotten how peaceful the nights were around here. The world has truly gotten more beautiful, almost without any help from us. The Lord is doing it, you know.�

Christy waited patiently. After a long silence James finally confided, �We were working our way through one of the last unsearched areas along the coast and we came across some people.�

�Oh?� Christy responded.

�Yeah, I guess every neighborhood has its incorrigibles,� James continued, without taking his eyes off the beauty that was before him. He stood up slowly, and leaned out over the veranda.

�I see,� Christy said, beginning to understand what had happened.

�Normally the other guys have taken care of that. But being on a more permanent assignment now, and not just in training, I had to start taking my turn.�

Christy remained silent.

�It�s different than looking inside of Ed-Spartan.� James turned to look at Christy. �Some of these men were despicable creatures without an ounce of goodness in them. I came face to face with them and I had to step inside of their minds, into their very soul, and work through it inch by inch, bit by bit, memory by memory, thought by thought, from the beginning to the end. On that I had to base our recommendation of whether they were worthy to remain or not. If there was even a speck of hope, we�d recommend they stay, but it was rare to find even the smallest light within them.�

James shook his head and then continued, �I guess that�s what it took to grow me up. It wasn�t pleasant.�

Christy reached out and covered his hand with hers, still not saying anything.

�I�m sorry,� James apologized, �I just need a little bit of time to��

�I understand,� Christy nodded as her brother�s voice trailed off.

After a few days, James was almost his old self again, though some of his former lightheartedness had left him.

* * *

It was another beautiful morning. Stewart was the first to greet Christy. �Hi!�

�You�re up early, Stewart.�

�I�m preparing.�

�Preparing for what?�

�James told me that Brad and a couple of the guys are going to be coming by today.�

�Oh? That�s news to me! We haven�t had visitors for a long time.�

�Well, that�s why I�m up early. I couldn�t sleep.�

As James had so rightly predicted, a few hours later Brad and a couple of his friends came bursting through the door.

�Long time since I�ve seen you!� Brad greeted Christy.

�Sure has. How�s everything?�

�I think we�ve pretty much recovered from our last assignment.� Then, looking around, Brad added, �How�s James?�

�Oh, he�s getting back to being the same old James.�

�I don�t think you�ll ever see the same old James,� he responded, all the while searching Christy�s mind.

�Just visiting?� Christy asked.

�I am visiting, but I am also a bearer of great tidings!�

Christy looked at him questioningly.

�I have a message for you.�

Christy�s heart leapt, hoping that the message was from Allan.

�It�s a message from Charmagne,� Brad continued. �She�d like to see you.�

�Really?� Christy asked, surprised, yet at the same time a little nervous about the request. �What for?�

�One never knows what Charmagne is calling you for.� Indeed, Brad had no idea what Charmagne wanted with Christy. �She�ll be waiting for you. I�m supposed to take you back with me. But we can wait a few days to give James a chance to settle back in first.�

�It sounds like I need to be prepared to be gone for some time,� Christy mused, more to herself, as she knew Brad would not be able to provide any confirmation to this thought. But she would find out for herself soon enough.

* * *

Charmagne, appearing in her human form, was her usual bubbly self. �Why, my dear, thank you for coming. It�s so good to see you again. Is everything going well?� She searched Christy�s mind and looked deep into her spirit, leaving no secret hidden. Charmagne smiled, and with genuine empathy consoled Christy, �I�m sorry, I�m really sorry about Allan. But you�re wise to just leave it. It�s best. That�s the way it is with the Legionnaires, they come and have to go.� She paused, then continued, �It�s not for good; it�s just for now.�

Christy looked down, not knowing how to respond.

�Let�s get down to business, shall we? I can see that you are desperately curious as to why you�re here�--she laughed--�and I can also see that you have no idea why!�

Charmagne sighed, and as with her smiles, the whole world seemed to sigh with her. �I�m sorry, dear. I really shouldn�t do this to you.� She searched deeply into Christy�s mind again before continuing. �I know you�ve heard about these Rebels, or Independents as they call themselves. Well, it�s time to begin doing something about them. And we�d like you to help.�

Christy sat still and was very attentive. Her heart began beating wildly.

�We�d like you to go into one of the Rebel encampments.�

Christy held her breath, not sure whether she was hearing correctly or not.

Charmagne gave her a moment to collect her thoughts before continuing. �There is work to be done there. You need to find out what�s going on there, and take appropriate action. Of course,� she added with a mysterious smile, and almost as an afterthought, �we already know what�s going on.�

�I don�t understand,� Christy responded. �If you already know what�s going on, then why would I need to go? You could tell us what action to take, or even intervene directly.�

�That�s a question many of you have. Let me try to explain. But first, before I continue there�s another important detail I must explain--no one can find out about your assignment, unless you are specifically instructed to tell them. You can�t tell Brad. You can�t tell James. You�ll have to keep your mind blocked at all times. You can�t let your guard down even for a second, lest someone should find out what you�re planning to do.�

Christy nodded slowly--not totally understanding, yet accepting.

Charmagne then went on to explain, �This is still man�s millennium in many ways. The restoration of earth, the resettling--the attending of it is being left largely in the hands of you resurrected earthlings, as you are the ones who know the human spirit better than we do. Of course, Jesus knows the heart of man better than anybody, yet He has chosen largely to work through folks like you, rather than us solely spiritual beings, at least for the time being. So for now, even we are limited to working with and through you, because that is how the Master has instructed us. We suggest, direct, guide and govern, but only through you.

�Of course, you have been given greater access to the celestial powers than you had before to help with this job, because God knows it�s no small task. And that, to give a simple reason, is why you must be the one to look into the Rebels without our direct intervention--it is the way God means it to be.�

Charmagne looked at Christy and then continued, �Although we, in our spiritual power, are able to see into the hearts and minds of man when the Lord has ordained it, it�s not always expedient for us to act on what we see. It is important that the earthlings learn to trust you and to respect the power invested in you as the appointed rulers among them. And it is precisely for the purpose of strengthening your skills and enhancing your experience as rulers of this Millennial world that missions such as these are entrusted to those such as yourselves.�

Charmagne laughed gently and went on. �It also helps to strike fear into the hearts of the Rebels, for they will then more clearly come to recognize our power when it is manifested in the hands of you human ambassadors of our celestial domain. They will learn that you are indeed a force to be reckoned with. So many reasons, so very many reasons��

�I see,� Christy responded.

�Yes, you do, don�t you? You understand.� Charmagne looked soberly at Christy, �That�s good. Before I tell you any more, I need to know if you�re prepared to go ahead with this assignment. It�s not going to be very pleasant. You�ll not be able to call on many people--and much of the time you�ll feel as though you�re on your own, although of course you won�t be.�

After giving Christy a few moments to absorb all that she had related, Charmagne continued, �I don�t know what else to say. Can you imagine, Charmagne at a loss for words? I can give you some time to make your decision, if you need it.�

Christy realized that Charmagne already knew what her decision was going to be. �I don�t need any time. What is my task but to help restore the earth to its rightful state? Whatever I�m called upon to do, I will do. There�s no question about that. It doesn�t matter to me if it�s difficult, or if I�m going to be alone or working with others.� She looked down, and almost inaudibly whispered, �It doesn�t make any difference, I�m here to do whatever needs to be done.�

Charmagne covered Christy with her warmth and love. �Now, a few details. You will be taking two people from your settlement with you, to accompany you on your journey. The only prerequisite is that they need to be earthlings. You can choose whomever you want. You know your people. It�s up to you.�

After giving time for that thought to be absorbed, Charmagne continued, �You are to be sent to one camp in particular. It�s run by a man named Gailan, and it is a short distance into the wilderness from Heif�s settlement, of which you know. In order to enter the Rebel camp, though, you�ll have to take on the form of an earthling.�

Christy looked up in surprise at this last statement, not understanding exactly what Charmagne meant.

�We will have to��--Charmagne hesitated--�change you. If you still choose to accept this assignment, you will be given the body of an earthling. You will bleed, your fingernails and hair will grow, you will look and feel and behave as an earthling. You may wonder why this is necessary, and it is because many in these Rebel camps have at one time or another lived in settlements.

�They are sensitive to those with powers, and can easily distinguish a Settler or a Messenger among a group of normal earthlings. Some are even able to discern when their minds are being read, as they are sensitive to the probing, so you�ll have to be careful with the powers you have.

�Thus, the fewer powers you have, the more convincing your disguise will be. You�ll keep some powers--the power of your mind and your thoughts. You�ll still be able to read minds and use your mind and its power, though even with these more unseen gifts you�ll have to exercise extreme caution in how and when you use them. But you�ll no longer be able to materialize and dematerialize. You won�t be able to transport yourself instantly. You�ll have to eat and sleep, and you�ll need to eliminate.�

Charmagne stopped again to give Christy the time she needed to absorb the information she was rather rapidly imparting to her. �Do you understand?� she said at length.

�I � I think so,� Christy hesitantly responded. �So let me see if I get this right. I�ll retain some of my powers, but I will lose most others. I�ll act like and appear to be an earthling. The only powers I�ll keep are the powers of my mind. I�ll be able to read minds, search thoughts and implant thoughts inside of the minds of others. I�ll still be able to stop objects through thought power?�

�Yes, yes, exactly. Anything that you already do with your mind you can continue to do, but your body will look, act and respond as that of a mortal earthling. Are you sure you still want to go ahead with this?�

�Definitely!� Christy responded without hesitation. Unable to constrain her questioning mind, she couldn�t resist asking, �But why do I need to go in as an earthling among them? Why couldn�t this information be gathered by watching them unawares?�

Charmagne, always eager to teach, obligingly answered, �Let me simply say this. Even though you once were an earthling yourself, you still have much to learn about the actions and hearts and minds of other earthlings. There are so many varied personalities and hearts and motivations that can determine what a man does and thinks and acts like. Of course, you are already aware of this much more than we are, but even you still have to grow in this area of learning to work with the human spirit. And that is yet another reason for this mission that has been chosen for you.�

�It�s true,� Christy said, more to herself than to Charmagne. In fact, she had meant to think it, but in a place like this, one�s thoughts seemed to automatically turn to audible words, whether they were consciously spoken or not. And so her growing fascination for a mission of this kind was made obvious in her next question. �I know very little about the Rebels--only what I�ve heard from Heif. Could you tell me perhaps what I can expect, and what sort of things I�m supposed to look out for, or even do among them?�

�That�s a rather big question. I�ll try to answer as best as I can. Many of the surviving earthlings have no idea or understanding of what has happened, and at first glance many might have fit the profile of Rebels. It did not take some very long to choose to defect from our established settlements to join the Rebel camps.

�Yet, I think you may find that there is a ray of hope for most. But unless they are given a choice, unless our reign of peace is clearly explained to them, how will they know? Some in these Rebel camps are simply there because they have been swayed by others, and not for any conscious decision of their own against our rule. They have only heard that what has happened is a bad thing.

�Those who have not yet made a decision based on the truth as it really is, need to hear the other side of the story. They need to hear that this has been ordained from the beginning--that it is as natural a course of events in the history of earth as the dawning of a new morning after the night season.

�And just as there have been proclaimers of God�s great plan since the beginning of time, so there must be now. Many times the messengers have had to adapt, to change, to act like those around them. If they had behaved differently, the people would have perhaps said, �You don�t know how we feel, what we are, or what we need.�

�It is the same now, and it is for that reason that you resurrected earthlings have been sent to help those of your own kind accept this new plan. And thus you must become human again to go amongst those who have chosen not to accept or acknowledge the authority of the Settlers. That is why you have been chosen to become a Messenger to the Rebels.�

After another pause in their conversation, which allowed this rather unusual concept to sink in, Charmagne continued, �Oh, one last thing before I forget. As far as contact with any others, you will be put in contact with one person--what we call a Mediator. One will be specifically assigned to you, and this Mediator will be constantly monitoring your thoughts, and will be able to communicate with you--and intervene on your behalf with greater powers when it is warranted. You shall feel the presence of your Mediator, Edel, once you�re back on earth.�

�And that�s it?� Christy asked.

�For now. If there is anything else that comes up, we�ll be sure to let you know before you go. You can rest here for a while, before the transformation is made. Take a little time to relax and enjoy yourself, as it will seem like quite some time before you�ll be able to enjoy these heavenly pleasures again.�

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Subject: In Armageddons Wake-- The Place of No Sorrows --
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In Armageddon�s Wake-- The Place of No Sorrows --

The Place of No Sorrows: Chapter 12

Christy leaned up against a tree, so lost in thought that she was barely conscious of the beauty that surrounded her. Though this particular area of the Heavenly City was strikingly similar to the terrain on earth, the golden glow that bathed the beauty before her gave it a mystical appearance. Messenger? Did Charmagne call me a Messenger?

Pondering all that she had been told, she barely noticed anything else around. In fact, she was so engrossed in her thoughts that she was startled to see a familiar person approaching.

�Brad! You�re still up here? What are you doing?�

�Someone told me I could find you here. I thought, seeing that I was in the area, that I could look you up and see what you�re doing.�

�Oh, I�m just thinking!�

�Sometimes I think you think too much!� he retorted.

She smiled, but gave no response.

Brad cautiously asked, �Are you interested in coming into the Fair? I thought you might like to, it�s always lots of fun!�

�I don�t know,� she laughed. �I really have a lot of thinking to do!�

�You can think as you go! You�ll enjoy it--besides, maybe you�ll meet some old friends there.�

Cocking his head to the side, he gallantly held out his hand and invitingly said, �Let�s go.�

As soon as she took hold of his hand, they were there. The golden glow was everywhere. Its richness enhanced the brilliance of the many colors that filled the scene around them.

�Every time I come to the Heavenly City I realize there are so many places to visit, places I�ve never yet seen,� Christy exclaimed in wonder, breathless at the beauty that surrounded her. �I think it would take all eternity to visit every place in the Heavenly Fair!�

Brad agreed. �I think so too. In fact, I think it just keeps on growing and changing. It never seems the same to me.�

�It�s fascinating. There are so many people here!�

�Something is about to happen,� Brad said, eagerly looking off into the distance. �I believe Charmagne is going to make an appearance.�

Christy was surprised. �She doesn�t visit these places so often?�

�Not usually--it�s not every day that her kind show up here. That�s why I thought you�d like to come. Their public appearances are quite impressive.�

Seeing a crowd gathering in the distance, they glided over to where a sort of platform stood. It was hard to tell whether it had always stood there or whether it had been specially placed there for whatever event this was to be. Chairs lined the front of the platform, and a long walkway led up to it from behind. A crowd had surged around both sides of the walkway, straining to get a glimpse of whoever or whatever was to be moving along it.

Before long the music began--the beautiful symphony, the golden sounds that matched the golden glow of the golden city. It was not just music that reached your ears, but music that reached into your heart and wrapped its tender fingers around your soul. It was music that comforted and excited, music that seemed to tell tales of untold mysteries--tales that one could only faintly perceive.

Sighing with contentment, Christy closed her eyes and drifted off as a blissful heavenly feeling enveloped her. She listened as the music built up to a crescendo. When she had met Charmagne for herself, she had appeared ordinary enough. Aside from their brief communication where Charmagne had appeared in all her heavenly splendor, Christy had no idea that Charmagne was any different from the majority of the other spirit beings that inhabited this magic city. However, the tones and very atmosphere of the music in some unperceived way nevertheless clearly conveyed the important rank of the approaching figure.

Breathing gently, Christy slowly opened her eyes to behold the magnificent spirit being she had set eyes on once before. She couldn�t help but stare and fully take in the sight of the beautiful Charmagne, revealed in all of her glory. Amidst all the people, and in this public setting, her majesty of form was even more accentuated than it had been when they two had been alone together.

Not knowing why Charmagne was making such a grand appearance, Christy could only surmise that she perhaps had an announcement to make to all--or maybe she just wanted to have some fun. It was well known that even the most powerful of the spiritual beings were not beyond enjoying themselves in this land of mirth and eternal happiness.

Majestically, Charmagne sometimes walked, sometimes glided, along the walkway. Her entourage followed at a respectful distance, and what a sight it was to behold! Accompanying her were all manner of people, spirit beings, animals, and the most delightful array of companions that one could ever hope to find all in one place at one time--such was Charmagne.

Christy smiled and fairly jumped up and down with sheer delight at the beauty and the wonder of the sight that was passing before her, and the joy that was emanating from not only Charmagne, but all those who were following in her wake.

As the procession slowly passed before their eyes, Christy began to feel a presence she had not felt for a long time.

Could it be? she questioned. She looked around the crowd somewhat anxiously, searching out all those around her.

No, he�s not here, she thought to herself. But I can feel it. Where�s Brad? He�s gone too. Searching deeply into the crowd she found no sign of Brad. A little agitated at not being able to pinpoint Brad�s location, she again turned her gaze towards the procession passing in front of her, and as she did her eyes became riveted on it. There, directly in front of her, walking along the platform, was Allan!

A whisper left her lips, �Allan!�

In the same instant she perceived that a very beautiful woman walking beside him was a female Legionnaire. They held hands, and it was apparent that they had spent much time together. For a split second, Christy was able to see into the woman�s mind, and in so doing, instantly felt the woman�s deep love for Allan, and her unswerving loyalty to him and his cause. Afraid to search any further, she quickly closed her eyes and closed her mind.

About to cry, and feeling as sorrowful as she could feel in such a place, she thought to herself, He went from my life, and now I know why. This woman is majestic in spirit and beautiful--how could I have ever been so foolish to think that he was seriously interested in me? He was just fulfilling his duty in training me.

Brad was at Christy�s side in an instant. The scene before her now seemed to be moving in slow motion. Allan and the beautiful lady accompanying him had barely moved from the time Christy had first seen them till now. Quickly Brad put his arm around Christy, stroked her soft hair and whispered, �No more tears, remember?�

Grasping for something to help her keep her emotional equilibrium, she tightly clenched Brad�s hand. �But��

�I know,� Brad reassured her, �I know. But you can�t let Allan know that you have seen him, or distract him in any way. You can�t let these remnants of your earthly feelings get in the way. Remember, there are no disappointments here when you see things as the Lord sees them. As difficult as you think it to be, you have to let it go and come away with me.�

Realizing the truth in his gentle reminder, she quickly turned her gaze away.

�Come away with me, now,� Brad said. �I didn�t realize this was going to happen; if I had I might not have brought you here. � But then again��

If something was not meant to be, it would not happen in this realm. There were no mistakes here, and everything had a purpose and was part of a greater plan.

Falling into Brad�s embrace, Christy�s eyes locked with Charmagne�s. As they did, Christy felt great understanding and compassion. �Go, child! I�m sorry--but so it has to be.�

In an instant Brad had transported Christy to one of the most strikingly beautiful places she had ever seen. It was truly beautiful--in a place that was already filled with beauty--a beauty that transcended even the splendor that normally filled the heavenlies.

�Where is this place?� Christy asked in wonder, wiping the moisture from her eyes so that she could more clearly see where she was.

�Believe it or not,� Brad said, �this is called �The Place of No Sorrows.��

Christy nodded. She could easily see that there was no room for sorrow or tears here. In fact, she had almost instantaneously forgotten the emotions that had threatened to overwhelm her moments before. It was as if the very atmosphere around them--the same atmosphere of purity that allowed no shadow of dust or taint of decay to enter this perfect city--had washed away every trace of her distressed emotions. Instead, she knew that by simply accepting the greater will and plan of the Lord, she would once again be filled with the peace of knowing that He would give her what was best, and the happiness of knowing that His plan was being fulfilled.

�It becomes a little less awesome after a few moments,� Brad whispered, �though it doesn�t lose its power.�


�Why don�t you sit down with me, relax, enjoy it and wait until you�re able to collect your thoughts once again--or at least some of them,� he laughed.

�How did you ever discover this place?�

�I�ve been here before.�

�I�ve never seen such beauty. I have never imagined such beauty! It�s unexplainable!�

�I know. I guess that�s why you rarely hear anyone talk about it.�

Christy closed her eyes, in awe at the heavenly show that was unfolding before her. One moment she was surrounded by a pastoral scene, the next moment a new wave of beauty rolled across the horizon, revealing a beautiful sunset on a beach. Another wave, another beauty, with each one more impressive than the last. Not being able to remember what had just preceded, Christy realized she couldn�t tell which one was the most beautiful.

�It�s an amazing place.�

�It never loses its magic or magnificence, no matter how many times you visit.�

�There�s no one around?� Christy asked, glancing back and forth.

�Maybe not,� Brad responded. After a short moment of silence, he finally mustered up his courage and consoled Christy, �I�m really sorry about Allan.�

�It doesn�t seem to really matter here,� she responded absently, her mind now dwelling only on the beauty around them. She turned to look at Brad and was startled to find that he had become as beautiful as the changing scenery around them.

�You�re looking quite handsome there, farm boy,� Christy laughed as she watched Brad chew on a piece of straw.

He nodded his head, �Thanks!�

�I didn�t realize that the beauty is not only reflected in the surroundings, but also in one another.�

Looking her up and down, and then gazing into her eyes, Brad noted, �Oh, it�s certainly reflected in those around!�

�All of a sudden you�ve become everything I�ve ever wanted! How can that be?� Christy laughed in amazement. The feelings (if that�s what they could be called) that were welling up within her were almost beyond her own control, though she felt no desire to control them. They seemed to be moving her towards some definite destination by a will of their own, as if she was a wave being gently rolled towards the beach by the force of the waters around her.

�It must be a part of the deal. Unfortunately, it�s not going to last forever.�

�Oh, it has to! It must!�

Brad�s broad smile showed his amusement.

�Do you feel,� Christy hesitated, �do you feel the same about me right now?�

�Depends what you�re feelin�,� he drawled. �I�m having very good feelin�s about you right now.�

Reaching over, Christy pulled the straw out of Brad�s mouth, and instead placed her lips gently on his.

�Mmmm.� Brad was delighted with her obvious intentions.

* * *

It was difficult to say how long they spent making sweet love together, for time really did not exist for them any longer. It was almost like waking out of a dream that had spanned many days, and yet lasted only minutes. Christy opened her eyes, and, looking up into the beautiful golden and blue sky, watched as a soft gentle breeze blew through the tops of the trees and sent the feathery branches swaying gently in perfect rhythm. Sensing that it was time to go, she stirred more, and finally sat up.

Brad was quick to respond, �Oh, don�t go! Don�t wake yet--this is too good to leave.�

�I think I have to go.�

�No, you never have to go,� he lazily replied. �Let�s just stay here like this forever.�

Christy shook her head in amazement. Looking over at Brad, she realized that the appeal for him that had overcome her earlier was now gone. Gazing around, she also saw that the beauty that had been was no longer the same. They were back in a lush, secluded corner of greenery on the fairground.

�Brad, wake up!�

He refused to stir.

�The handsome farm boy of my dreams seems to have vanished!�

�What?� he exclaimed, sitting bolt upright, obviously a little disappointed at her comment.

�Oh, it�s over,� he slumped back down on the ground.

�How did that happen?� Christy asked, astounded at what had just taken place.

�I don�t know. It always creeps up on me when I�m not expecting it. You think it�s going to last forever. You want it to last forever, but suddenly you find yourself catapulted back into reality,� he said, his tone genuinely questioning whether anything around them could by any definition be called reality.

Christy laughed, �I�m sorry, but I do think this is our reality for now.�

�What a pity,� he muttered in a half-amused tone, referring more to the fact that he was no longer Christy�s true and only love.

�How did you do that? How did you take me to that place? Why aren�t we there any longer?�

�You ask so many questions,� Brad retorted, �and so soon after coming back!� He thought for a while. �Okay, first question first, how did we get there?� He smirked as he asked, �Do you want to go back?�


�I don�t know how to get there. It�s just that sometimes you need to go there, or you know someone else needs to go there, and you just hold them by the hand and you�re there. I don�t know how, I don�t even know where it is. It�s a special place, reserved for special times with special people! And when you�re ready you just come back. I often think of it as a place where your spirit is rejuvenated, restored and strengthened. But I really don�t understand the whys and wherefores. I�ve asked, but I�ve never received a straight answer, so it must not be something I should know.�

�It�s a very special place,� Christy whispered respectfully. �Very special!�

�What are you going to do now?� Brad asked, gently probing her mind at the same time.

Christy was now well able to block her mind, and had made it a habit to do so. �I need to do a little bit of work up here. Then I�ll be heading back to earth.�

�That�s it, huh?�

�How about you?� she asked Brad.

�I�m just taking a break between assignments. Your brother is not coming with us on assignment this time, you know. James apparently needs to stay back for some reason.� Again he probed Christy�s mind to see if he could find out why James needed to stay back, but his probing returned no response.

�Yes, it�s nice to have him back again,� Christy answered blankly, knowing that Brad was sensing that something was up.

Feeling it a little too dangerous to stay around Brad any longer, for fear that he might actually get through with his probing mind, or that she might inadvertently let her mental guard down (which was easy to do with those you knew well), she said her farewells and was gone.

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Subject: In Armageddons Wake-- Downgrading --
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In Armageddon�s Wake-- Downgrading --

Downgrading: Chapter 13

�James! James!� Christy gently searched for her brother.

Startled to find his sister calling from afar, James responded, �Christy, why aren�t you back?�

�James, I�m not going to be coming back right away. I need your help. I can�t tell you what I�m going to be doing or where I�m going, but can you do a favor for me?�

�Of course.�

�I need to talk to Stewart. Can you please wake him up and tell him that I need to talk to him in this way, so he won�t be startled when I try to get through to his mind?�

�Will do!� James said, not questioning his sister�s request, realizing that he was not in a position to do so.

A while later Christy located Stewart, �Hi, it�s me, Christy.�

There was silence.

�Stewart, I know communicating in this way is different, and I normally don�t like doing it--but I need to talk to you. When I ask a question and I need your answer, I want you to think in words the answer you want to give me. As you do so I�ll be able to catch it. It�s important that you don�t say anything out loud as you�re thinking it, and it�s important that you don�t mentally form my question either. No one can tap into our conversation as I�m beaming down, or tune into what I�m saying to you unless you somehow repeat it. Do you understand?�

Stewart thought, �Yes!�

�That�s it! Great! Now, I�m going to try to ask you questions that just need a yes or no response, okay? Let�s see, where do I start? Stewart, I�ve been asked to undertake a mission. I can�t explain it to you in any detail now, I�m sorry, but I need to take a couple of people with me--earthlings, that is. Naturally I thought of you as one who could help. It�s going to be dangerous, it�s going to be difficult, and it�s especially not going to be easy for the earthlings who come along with me. That�s about all I can tell you right now. I realize this is pretty fast, but what do you say, would you like to join me?�

Surprisingly Stewart did not seem at all disturbed by Christy�s request. �Yes,� he thought confidently.

�You understand what I�m asking, don�t you?� Christy questioned.


�There�s one more question, Stewart. I need to take someone else with me. It needs to be someone who has seen a lot, who has been through a lot, who would not be surprised or find it difficult, no matter what situation they find themselves in. They need to be able to take a pretty tough situation without complaint, without fear, and to be able to go on no matter what happens. For some reason I�ve not been given a very clear picture of who else to ask.

�I know this sounds strange, but I think it may be best for you to make that decision. I don�t know why. It must have to be someone you�re comfortable with and someone you feel confident will be able to handle the situation with you.� Christy laughed, realizing how absurd the thought must sound to Stewart, who had been used to following their more supernaturally informed suggestions and instructions most of the time, �So, can you come up with a suggestion?�

Once again unperturbed by her question, Stewart solemnly responded, �Yes.�

Finishing up their rather one-way conversation Christy beamed down, �That�s it, Stewart. I�ll contact you a little later to see what you�ve come up with, okay? Bye.�

Christy was fairly certain that Stewart would choose Ed-Spartan, though for some reason that thought disturbed her a little. But who else would he feel as comfortable with? she thought to herself.

* * *

True to her word, Christy once again searched out Stewart in the late afternoon. �Hi, Stewart! Same rules apply, except that this time you�ll have to tell me a name--but that�s all. Just yes, no, and a name.� Christy chuckled, greatly encouraged by Stewart�s calmness at her requests.

�First, though, are you sure you want to come?�

She�d barely asked the question when Stewart emphatically replied, �Yes!�

�Great! Who do you propose our travel partner should be? Remember, just the name.�


Christy was stunned, �Trina, are you sure?�


�Why Trina? I was certain you would have chosen Ed-Spartan!� She waited for his response, which did not come.

Realizing that he could not answer such a complicated question with a yes or no response, she continued, �I was really expecting you would choose Ed-Spartan. I never thought about Trina. I don�t know about Trina.�

�You said it was my choice!� came the reply. Then as suddenly as Stewart had broken through with this thought, he stopped, obviously nervous that he had said more than she had instructed him to.

After thinking for a moment Christy apologized. �I�m sorry. I should not have voiced my hesitation like that. I said it was your choice, and I believe it is your choice. If you feel Trina is the one who should join us, then by all means, she should be the one! Can you ask her if she�d like to come along? Remind her that she�s not to think about it any more than she has to, in case someone should intercept her thoughts. You�ll just have to ask her and then be prepared to leave pretty much right away if she agrees to come.�

Stewart nodded, understanding the instructions fully.

�Do you remember the place where Spartan almost jumped off the cliff? Why don�t you wait for me there, and I�ll join you. I�m fairly certain she�ll agree, knowing Trina.�

Again without hesitation, Stewart responded affirmatively.

�I�ll let James know not to be surprised at anything that happens over the next few days. Give me a couple of days and then you can try to work it out, okay?�


Christy need not have worried about James. He�d already received the message that Christy would be gone for some time and that she would be taking two people from their settlement with her. He was instructed not to try to find out what was happening, and not to be surprised at whatever happened. At times like this, one did not question instructions. It was easier, and by far the wisest course of action, to simply flow with them without question.

* * *

Amused at how closely the building she had just entered resembled a hospital, Christy smiled.

�Who would have thought that a place like this would exist here!� she said, greeting the man dressed in white who came up to her.

�All is not as it seems, my dear,� he chuckled. �It helps us to focus a little more on what we�re doing. If we can make it somehow relatable to how things were, it helps things to flow much more easily.�

�And which ward do I go to?� Christy asked with an amused look.

The man looked down at a clipboard and muttered, �Let me see. � What are you here for? Aha! Ohh! My! Well, that�s quite a tall order. You�ll be heading upstairs. I can take you. It�s probably best that we just keep this between ourselves for now.�

The white walls glowed.

Others appeared. Someone said, �It�s time to start.�

�Fine, I�m ready.� Christy was a little nervous, not knowing how it would feel to have her body downgraded.

Instantly recognizing what she was thinking, one of the women assured her, �It doesn�t hurt a bit. You won�t feel anything. We�ll put you to sleep and let you dream while we do what we have to do. We have to make sure we get everything right.�

�How will I get back down to earth?� Christy hesitantly asked, as the realization suddenly dawned on her that she would no longer be able to transport herself, and would be limited to moving as the earthlings did.

�We�ll take care of everything,� they assured her. �You�ll just wake up and you will find yourself there already. We know where you want to go, don�t worry.�

�So, I put myself into your hands, close my eyes and go to sleep--and when I wake up, I�m almost human again?�

�Something like that, yes.�

�How comforting!� Christy dryly commented.

The man who had brought her there chuckled, �You�ll need to get used to the idea.�

�Are you sure you want us to go ahead with this?� one of the ladies asked. �I sense that you�re a little hesitant.�

�Sure I�m hesitant. They used to call it cold feet!�

�Ahh, cold feet,� the man nodded with understanding, �Cold feet--imagine that. Just think, soon you�ll be able to feel what it�s like to have cold feet again!� He winked at Christy.

No sooner had the words left his mouth than a gentle numbness began to creep over her mind. For a moment Christy instinctively struggled against it. She tried to remember what she was doing and why she was doing it. She was afraid that she might wake up and have no recollection of what she was supposed to do.

A reassuring feeling swept over her, and as it did she heard the encouraging words, �It�s going to be fine! It�s going to be all right, don�t struggle against it.�

The warm, rich, velvety, comforting, soothing voice encouraged her. Yielding to the comfort that was offered, she soon slipped into a deep sleep. The most vivid dreams she�d ever had kept her mind busy, while Charmagne�s helpers went to work.

She felt nothing. She seemed to live a thousand lives in her dreams, with adventure, romance and the most captivating stories and visions she�d ever had, prancing in front of her eyes--amusing and entertaining and preparing her. Though she did not know it at the time, they strengthened her in ways that were not perceptible to her. Thoughts and feelings were implanted, memories were given back that had been long forgotten, memories of what it was like to have an earthly body. In fact, everything was given her that was needful to help her appear in every way as an earthling again.

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Subject: In Armageddons Wake-- The Mission Begins --
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In Armageddon�s Wake-- The Mission Begins --

The Mission Begins: Chapter 14

An uncomfortable sensation was passing through her body. Christy stirred and rolled onto her side. The feeling continued. Upset at being woken from her deep sleep in this way, she slowly opened her eyes and lifted her head. With a jolt she sat upright, suddenly realizing that she had been deposited not too far from her settlement, close to the place where she was to meet up with Stewart.

�Pins and needles!� she muttered incredulously. �Pins and needles! What a weariness--bodies!� She sighed and slowly sat up, continuing to rub her leg, and feeling as if the weight of the world was upon her. �Oh, you poor beings,� she said, thinking of the earthlings. �You have to be weighted down like this all the time!�

She shook her head again, as a strange feeling passed over her. What is it? She began searching her mind for some clue as to what she was feeling. It happened again. She pressed her stomach. It�s related to my body � hunger! She laughed out loud, �I�m hungry! I can�t believe it! I�m feeling hungry!� It seemed so long since she�d felt that way. �Well, this is going to be real interesting. Just think of all of the sensations I�m going to experience again!�

Suddenly she was startled to feel a presence near her, though there was no one in sight. �Who�s there?� she asked apprehensively.


Startled by the one-word reply on her inner channel, Christy responded in like manner. �Oh, you�re here with me now?�

�Of course. I was with you from the moment you started to go to sleep, when they began working on you.�

Recognizing the silky smoothness of the voice, she said, �That�s right! You were there. You helped me not to worry.�

�I�m here to help you. We have a perfectly clear and secure channel. No one can intercept our communications.�

�That�s a relief,� Christy replied. �I�m sure we�re going to need that. Do you know what�s going to happen?�

�I know more than you do.�

�Does anyone have a plan? Nobody seems to know exactly how this is going to play out, not even Charmagne.�

Edel laughed. �Oh, Charmagne knows.�

�She does?�

�Uh-huh. And it�s up to us to try to figure out what she already knows. I think the first step is to meet up with your friends. They�re here already and they�re waiting for you. They look mighty eager to get started.�

* * *

As Christy began to make her way towards the place where Stewart and Ed-Spartan had been working that near-fateful day, she asked, �Edel. That�s such an unusual name. Can I ask you a little about yourself?�

�No,� came the response.

Thinking that Edel was joking, Christy continued, �Are you a spirit being, or�?�

Silence ensued.

Undaunted, Christy tried again, �Are you a male or female?�

Silence. The silence persisted as Christy walked towards the spot where she was to meet Stewart and Trina.

�Finally, she�s coming!� she heard a voice excitedly exclaim.

Looking up, she saw Trina pointing towards her. Stewart, shielding his eyes from the sun, was also obviously trying to make out the small figure that was approaching. They stood still and waited for Christy to approach.

�Hi! Why are you staring at me?� Christy asked.

�I�m sorry,� Stewart answered, unable to take his eyes off her. �It�s just that you look a little different. � You�re sweating!�

�And you�re dirty!� Trina echoed, in amazement.

�You look different, real different!� Stewart observed, �It�s you, but � is it really you?�

Laughing at their surprise in seeing her with an earthling�s body, Christy answered, �I�m sorry I couldn�t prepare you for this, but yes, it�s me and I have a very earthly body now.�

�Oh!� Trina exclaimed. �That�s fascinating! You mean they can do things like that?�

�Guess they can! I�m sorry I couldn�t give you any details on what�s happening. I don�t know how to thank you enough for dropping everything and joining up with me, not knowing where you�re going or what you are going to do.�

�No problem,� Trina confidently responded. �We know we�re on the right side, so it doesn�t really matter what we do, does it, Stewart?�

�That�s right,� Stewart said, nodding.

�Besides,� Trina whispered, �it sounds like it�s going to be quite exciting.�

�I don�t know about that,� Christy hesitantly replied. �I�m not so sure about the excitement. I think it�s going to be pretty hard going; it�s not going to be so easy. Being weighted down with these bodies��

�What�s the big deal?� Trina interjected. �We�re always weighted down with �these bodies.��

Christy laughed. �You�ll have to bear with me. It takes a while to get used to having an earthling�s body again.�

�I bet it�s not as easy as it was being transformed the other direction,� Stewart chuckled.

�You�re right about that! But here we are--and so it begins!�

�We weren�t sure what we were doing so we packed a few belongings and brought some food along with us as well--not much, though. We didn�t realize you�d be eating too!�

Christy wondered whether it would be enough. �Do you think we need to go back and get more?� Then, remembering her spiritual guide, she sent up a mental question to Edel. �What should we do?�

There was no response.

�Are you still there? What�s happening?� she questioned.

No answer.

Not knowing what to do, and without really thinking very deeply about it, Christy said nonchalantly, �Well, I guess we�ll just have to go with what we�ve got. Maybe we�ll find food along the way or something.�

�Bad move!� Edel beamed down.

�You�re still there?� Christy was happy to hear the voice.

�We need to talk!� Edel said, rather sternly.

Christy, shaken by the short responses she was suddenly getting from Edel, turned to the others and said, �I�ll be back soon.�

Stewart and Trina looked at one another a little puzzled. �We�ll be fine,� they said at length.

* * *

Christy walked until she found a place where she could slip out of sight behind some boulders.

�Yes?� She searched for Edel.

The velvety voice, suddenly full of reassurance again, started to talk. �We need to lay down some ground rules. First of all, I�m like a silent partner. I�ll be with you wherever you go, but I�m not going to communicate with you all the time. Though no one is able to tune into what we�re saying to one another, unless you�re extremely talented at hiding things, it�s very obvious when you�re in communication with someone in this way. Just the sheer speed with which you can understand situations and make decisions gives you away. And as you are supposed to be an earthling, that just won�t work.�

�I understand, but out here there�s no one around, so can�t we at least communicate more here?�

�It�s time to practice--otherwise it will be much more difficult for you when you�re surrounded by strangers. I�m going to leave most of the decision-making to you and your companions. You no longer have the same abilities as you had before. It has been a long time since you operated as a true earthling, so it would be wise to be a little less quick to make decisions and talk it out more with your companions.

�The basic game plan of the mission is that you need to make your way to the Rebel camp. You know where the Rebel camp is, so you just need to start heading off in that direction. As far as the choices along the way, as long as they�re all made in the right direction, it�s not really going to matter how you go about some of these things. If you�re about to make a real bad choice or a wrong decision, I�ll let you know, but in order to help you to become as normal as possible, you�ll probably feel like you�re on your own most of the time. Of course you won�t be, because I�m always there watching over you, watching out for danger. I�m constantly with you.�

Christy was silent. Suddenly the realization of what it was like to have an earthly body and to play an earthly role was beginning to come back to her. She questioned again, hoping for a different answer. �But why does it have to be this way? Are you sure you can�t tell me what to do at least while we�re out here?�

With infinite patience, Edel explained again, �I could tell you what to do while you�re out here and there�s no one around, but since I won�t be able to for the greater part of your mission, you may as well get used to it right from the start.�

�I�m not sure I really like this idea so much any more. ��

�It�s a bit too late to go back now, isn�t it?�

�I guess so!� Christy stood up. �Thanks for the chat. I understand the ground rules a little more clearly now.�

Silence ensued.

* * *

�Is everything okay?� Stewart asked, as Christy plopped down on the ground beside him, with a slightly dejected air about her.

�Everything�s fine. Just some counsel from beyond, if you know what I mean. So, what do you all think we should do about the food?�

Stewart was quiet, and even Trina had nothing to say. After a long silence, Stewart gently said, �It may help if we had some idea what we are going to be doing, and maybe from there we could make our decisions.�

Christy chuckled. �You�re obviously much more used to this type of thing than I am. I haven�t needed to eat since I got my new supernatural body, so you can imagine how new this all is to me--though you�d imagine I�d still be used to it.�

Stewart nodded, and smiled broadly--all the while thinking to himself that some very interesting days were ahead.

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Subject: In Armageddons Wake-- The Edge of the Wilderness --
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In Armageddon�s Wake-- The Edge of the Wilderness --

The Edge of the Wilderness: Chapter 15

Christy filled Stewart and Trina in on the bare details. She told them that they would be traveling for a while, heading towards the edge of the wilderness. She explained that they were to attempt to find and enter a Rebel camp. Though they were awestruck at the thought of what lay ahead, the fact that it was not going to be immediately upon them helped them remain calm and not too perturbed.

After some deliberation they decided that, although they would be able to find some food along the way, it would be best to take a good supply with them. Hearing of the distance they needed to travel, they also concluded that it would be helpful to ride on horses instead of undertaking such a journey on foot. Stewart was chosen to go back to the settlement to harness up four of their fittest and strongest horses--one for each of them to ride on, and another to carry any extra supplies, which Stewart would also gather. It would be dusk before he could return.

Trina, by far the more talkative of the two and the most likely to say more than she should, remained with Christy. Being assured that she would have received a resounding no from Edel had it been the wrong proposal, Christy was confident that they had made the right choice.

It took Stewart the remainder of the day to collect the needed supplies, saddle the horses and load them with their burdens. They were willing beasts of burden, and as Christy noted upon their arrival back at their meeting place, they also seemed very happy to help with this mission.

Christy had not lost her rapport with the animals, and just as she could read the minds of the earthlings, she could likewise communicate with and perceive the thoughts of these fine beasts. Rubbing their flanks as she passed by she reassured them, �Well, I�m certainly glad to have you coming along.�

The fine gray mare turned her head towards Christy and nudged her gently, as if to say, �We are also very happy to be a part of this.�

* * *

It was a long and somewhat arduous journey, especially for Christy, who was hardly accustomed to the rigors of horseback riding in a human body, and soon found most of it aching and sore. After the first couple of days of travel, they resigned themselves that it was going to take some time. They soon settled down to a moderate pace, occasionally breaking to eat, and camping each night.

There was not a lot of discussion along the way. Each one seemed to be lost deep in their own thoughts--wondering what the future had in store for them. They did not see anyone as they traveled--the surrounding countryside appeared to be deserted. Although there were some settlements scattered here and there, they widely circled around them, so as not to come in contact with any of the inhabitants--either the earthlings or the Settlers. Their supplies would last a while yet, and the fewer settlements they came in contact with, the faster they would reach their destination.

They soon approached a desertlike expanse and were encouraged, as it marked the halfway point of their journey. From that point on they pushed themselves more and moved at a faster pace, not wanting to linger in those parts any longer than was necessary.

* * *

Their journey was finally drawing to a close. As they were settling around their campfire one night, Christy spoke softly, �There is one last settlement between here and the wilderness. I can�t shake the thought that perhaps we could stop off there to rest and take a little time to learn more about the area � and even about the Rebel camps.�

Stewart and Trina were uneasy with her suggestion.

�Do you know anyone there?� Stewart cautiously asked, not wanting his question to give any indication of his feelings.

�Yes, I know Heif. He�s one of the Settlers. I think we�d be safe with him. He would recognize me, and no doubt he would be surprised to see me in this form, but he�s a shrewd fellow, I don�t think he�d say anything.�

�What do you think, Trina?� Stewart asked.

Trina, unwilling to commit herself, replied, �I don�t really know.�

Christy sighed, understanding that it was not going to be easy for either of them to commit themselves to a decision. �Well, why don�t we just think about it tonight, and see how everyone feels in the morning?� They readily agreed to that proposal.

The uneasiness that each one felt grew as they settled down for the night, though this remained unspoken, as no one wanted to unduly worry the others.

Before closing her eyes, Christy looked up at the starlit sky and sent out a silent plea, �Edel, please! I know you are here. You said you would always be with me, every step. It would be helpful to have some reassurance about our plans.� She waited. There was no response.

She yawned, closed her eyes, and rolling over, was soon sound asleep.

* * *

Unbeknownst to them, a small group of Rebels had been stalking them from afar the entire day. Waiting until they were assured they�d fallen into a deep sleep, the Rebels then began to furtively make their way to where the horses were standing. These hungry and desperate men had been traveling on foot, and they were only too eager to relieve the small group of travelers of their belongings. The horses shifted uneasily and neighed softly as the Rebels approached, for they knew that they were not kind men.

�You four go for the horses,� one of the men whispered. �The rest of us will take their supplies. We�re going to have to make a dash for it; the horses are unsettled and they�re going to wake someone up soon. We�ll have to grab the horses and run before those guys are awake enough to realize what has happened.�

The other men nodded in agreement.

�Okay,� the leader said tersely, �let�s go!�

At his command the small group of Rebels rushed toward the horses, who by this time were sidestepping, and nervously lifting their heads into the air, calling for their masters. Without the slightest hesitation, four of the Rebels grabbed the horses� reins and, quickly mounting them, galloped away.

The remainder of the men rushed for the supplies, quickly picked them up and likewise ran off in the direction the horses had taken.

Christy, Stewart and Trina awoke at the sound of the whinnying horses. Even though they were startled to hear them so unsettled in the night, they did not immediately perceive what was happening, and because of their somewhat disoriented, half-awake state, they were not able to stop the men from taking off with almost all of their supplies, and their horses.

�Oh no!� Christy shouted, as she stomped her feet. She had finally come to the realization of what had happened. �Why did this happen! What�s going on?�

Trina stood in shock, with her mouth wide open, gazing off in the direction of the galloping horses.

Stewart shook his head in despair. �We can�t go after them. They�re already too far away now and it�s dark. It would be too difficult to find them--not to mention that they know their way around these parts and we sure don�t.�

�Why did this have to happen? Everything�s been going so well so far.�

Stewart shook his head, signifying that he didn�t know.

Trina still said nothing.

Despondently Stewart asked, �What are we going to do?�

Trina sat back down by the blackened campfire. �Someone should have stayed awake and kept watch. We knew we were entering Rebel territory.�

This comment did little to comfort Christy. Changing the subject she asked, �Do we have any food left?�

�Yes, the leftovers from our last meal. We have a few things in our rucksacks, and��--almost as an afterthought Trina added, �we still have our bedrolls!�

After sitting around dejectedly for a while, they lay down one at a time and began to drift in and out of sleep, realizing there was little else they could do till morning. Dawn was fast approaching and their sleep was light--but still, it afforded them some rest.

* * *

Just as the day was beginning to break, Christy was awakened by Edel�s voice, �Christy.�

She opened her eyes and lazily rolled her head to the side, momentarily forgetting what had just transpired, and not sure exactly who was calling her.

�Christy,� the voice called again.

Startled back to reality, Christy opened her eyes wide. �Edel?� she whispered.


�Why was the presence of the Rebels hidden from me? Did you ever consider waking me up before our horses were stolen?� she asked in an exasperated tone of voice.

Edel did not respond immediately. After a pause, the gentle voice continued, �I thought about it, but it was all part of the plan to let the horses be stolen.�

Christy was astounded at that answer. She sat bolt upright and shot up a quick rejoinder. �What do you mean?�

�It would be more help to you if you did not have your horses at this point. You were wondering whether you should go and visit Heif--well, you don�t really have any other recourse now, do you? Now you�ll have to go there to stock up on supplies. You could have just ridden up to his settlement, but this way it will be more authentic. If anyone would still be watching you��

�Are they?� Christy interrupted, with some concern.

�If anyone is still watching you,� Edel repeated, �it would be much more understandable and almost to be expected that you would stop by one of the settlements now that you�ve lost everything.�

�I hadn�t thought of that.�

Referring to Christy�s earlier somewhat strained response, Edel offered some advice. �I have a suggestion, something that you may find helpful in the days ahead.�

There was no immediate response from Christy.

Undaunted, Edel went on, �When things seem to go awry, rather than bemoaning your fate and feeling that things are not going the way they should, perhaps you should stop and look again. Maybe if you were to look a little more deeply at the situation you could better understand why things happen.

�Believe me, nothing is accidental; nothing is unplanned. Everything is working towards a greater purpose, and it would do you well to remember that. It is more helpful to see the greater purpose behind things than to take disappointments or setbacks at face value.

�Nothing is only as it seems. Remember that. It is as true for you now as it was when you were among us and could more easily understand the greater picture of what goes on in the realm unseen to earthlings. Many times in the days ahead it may look like things are going wrong, or they�re not turning out the way you had hoped. Whenever that happens, don�t start doubting your mission, but instead reevaluate, reassess and try to see things in a new light.�

After imparting these words of wisdom to Christy, Edel was suddenly gone. Christy lay back down with her eyes closed and thought of all that had been said. With the rising of the sun, her companions likewise rose from their slumber.

�Well, where do we go from here?� Stewart meekly asked, obviously hoping that Christy had made a decision during the wee small hours of the night.

Christy gave a little half-smile and responded, �I believe the decision has already been made for us. We don�t exactly have any other alternative but to go ahead and approach Heif�s settlement.�

�Where is it?� asked Trina, joining in on the conversation. �Is it far from here?�

�I don�t think so. From what I recall, it was right on the edge of the wilderness.� Shielding her eyes against the rising sun, she looked off toward the east. �There is a river winding its way parallel to the mountain range you can see in the distance, and I believe the river borders the wilderness. I remember Heif telling me that his settlement was close to the river, so hopefully, if we can make our way to the river and walk alongside it, we should be able to find it.�

�Should we go right or left, once we get to the river?� Trina questioned.

Christy, looking off to the right, responded, �I don�t think there�d be any settlements up that way, it looks too desolate; but there�s some sort of a clearing down that way.� She nodded towards the left. �I could be wrong, but I think I�ll take my chances on going that way.�

�Me, too,� Stewart agreed.

* * *

After packing up their few remaining belongings and putting on their rucksacks, they began what they hoped was the conclusion of that part of their journey. By the time the sun had risen high they had made their way to the river.

It was an unruly river. The frequent twists and bends in the river�s course stirred up the water, which frothed and foamed over the large boulders that lay along its edge. Occasionally Christy glanced over into the wilderness. The thin vegetation creeping down to the riverbank gave it a rather desolate appearance. Further back the dense forest had firmly taken root.

Towards late afternoon they came to what appeared to be the boundary of a settlement. The ground was tilled, and obviously tended to. They walked on until they came to a tightly strung barbed-wire fence, about the height of a man. Unable to climb over because of the barbs, they decided to walk alongside of it until they came to an opening. After traveling about half a mile they saw small buildings scattered in the distance. Animals were grazing peacefully around them. The barbed-wire fence soon gave away to a somewhat shoddily made, rough wooden fence. Encouraged that they were coming closer to some sign of civilization, their spirits rose. It had been some time since they�d seen any other faces, especially friendly ones.

Finally, in the distance they caught sight of an old colonial-style wooden house.

�This must be it!� Christy said with relief.

Coming closer to the house, they saw two men leaning over a wooden gate, watching them approach--but saying nothing. Christy could immediately tell that they were Settlers, and she realized that they would soon figure out that she was not as she appeared.

Oh, I wish one of them had been Heif, she thought to herself, not sure what response these Settlers would have.

As they came closer she could distinguish these men and their rugged-looking features more clearly. While they stood watching, a woman slowly came out to stand beside them--she was also a Settler.

Not a word was spoken as the small band of travelers approached the waiting Settlers. Christy felt them gently trying to probe her mind, and soon perceived that they were startled not to be able to do so, although they contained their surprise very well.

�Hello,� Christy�s welcome rang out, as they came within earshot.

The men nodded but didn�t say a word. The woman looked at them with an air of suspicion, though in being able to search into her mind, Christy could tell that in reality the woman knew there was nothing to worry about from these travelers.

Relieved at their ability and their willingness to not mention any of what they had immediately discerned of Christy�s rather unusual nature, Christy approached them confidently. �We�re traveling these parts. We were heading for the mountains, but last night some men stole our horses and supplies.�

The woman looked expressionless as she replied, �That doesn�t surprise me!�

Stewart and Trina were a little taken aback by the rather cool welcome they were getting from this Settler. Hearing the door open, Christy glanced up expectantly. Standing there, and seeming to fill the entire doorway, was a very welcome and familiar sight. She barely restrained herself from calling out his name.

�Well, well, what have we here � some weary travelers,� Heif said as he approached, trying his best to give no sign of recognition. As he approached, Christy gazed deeply into his eyes and was relieved to see his very warm acceptance. �What can we do for you?� he asked.

�We were heading for the mountains on a search mission,� she began to explain. �We�re � umm � trying to find someone. �� Her sentence trailed off rather lamely. Reaching up, she ran her fingers through her stringy hair. Its knotted and slightly greasy texture had once again become familiar to her, and in its own way seemed to give her a handle on the human role she was still adjusting to. �We�ve been on the move since everything happened. We don�t know what we want to do yet.�

Heif nodded with understanding.

�We were just robbed. Some men stole our horses and��

Before she could finish her sentence Heif cut in, �Oh, you had horses?�

�We were stocked with enough food and supplies to get us into the wilderness, but it�s all gone.�

�I suppose you�re wanting us to restock you?� Heif asked.

�We could work for it,� Christy quickly responded.

�You work for a week, we�ll feed you, and then we�ll send you off with enough food to make it to the nearest camp in the wilderness. No horses though,� Heif added. �You�ll have to go in on foot like everyone else does around here.�

�Thank you.� Christy tilted her head to the side and looked up at Heif. �That sounds pretty good to us.�

�What are your names?� Heif asked.

�I�m Christy. And this is Stewart, and Trina.�

Heif reached over and, after fumbling with the latch, opened the gate wide. �Well, come on in. You�ve been traveling all day? You must be tired and hungry.�

* * *

They were given a mattress and space on the floor in a big dormitory, along with a dozen or so other earthlings.

The woman who had been on the greeting committee informed them, �Dinner will be served in about twenty minutes, you can come and join the line-up. We don�t have a lot here, but you�re welcome to eat as much as you need.�

As they walked over toward the dining room the woman introduced herself, �My name is Maxine, I�m Heif�s wife.� She then beamed silently at Christy, �And I�ve heard a lot about you.�

Christy didn�t respond. Surrounded by earthlings, and no doubt some Rebels or some who might one day end up joining the Rebel camps, she certainly did not want to give herself away.

�So what can you do?� Maxine asked.

Stewart was quick to reply, �I can do any sort of labor. I can chop wood, tend to animals, farm. I don�t mind what I do, I�ve done it all.�

�Well, it shouldn�t be a problem trying to find something for you to do then. And you,� she nodded toward Trina.

�I�m really good at running errands,� Trina said with a twinkle in her eye.

�What else?� Maxine responded, a little gruffly.

�I can wash clothes, wash dishes, take care of kids��

�I don�t know about you taking care of kids,� Maxine said, �but we could use your help--we have a lot of dishes that need washing.�

�And you?� she asked, turning towards Christy, obviously wondering what she was going to say.

�I�m a teacher.�

�But you�re here today, gone tomorrow. That�s not much use to us.�

�I can tend your horses, I�m good with animals.�

Maxine sighed. �Well, we�ll have to see where you fit in then, won�t we?�

* * *

While walking back to their dormitory after dinner Trina whispered to Christy, �What are we supposed to say if people ask us what we�re doing?�

�Maybe you can say that you think your parents are in the wilderness and you�re going to find them. That we have relatives in the camps. We could say we met together while we were all at Seramore and � well, I don�t know.�

Stewart built on the conversation. �We can say we didn�t like Seramore, that it was taking everyone too long to get things set up, and that we just decided to split from the settlement. From what I�ve heard, I don�t think that�s so unusual in these parts.�

�True, I think there are times when people leave the settlements, especially the bigger ones, as it�s hard to keep track of everyone. But I don�t know if we can say we were all at Seramore, because we weren�t--and we may well run into someone else who was there. It would be odd if we weren�t familiar with the camp. But Trina, you can talk about Seramore.� Turning to Trina, she continued, �You should ask a lot of questions, find out all you can about the Rebel camps from the people here. Hopefully I�ll be able to talk to Heif tomorrow.�

As they drew close to the dormitory they ended their conversation. No one said much to them as they settled down for the evening. The earthlings were a rough-looking crowd, and Christy was thankful not to have to engage in conversation that night.

They were soon asleep, as the last leg of their journey and the previous night�s broken sleep had taken its toll on them.

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