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2.5) The Union

For Corders all had changed, and he had stopped listening to warnings. This world had got to him. But he did not know, he was not in control – unusual for him. Instead of being detached he was just reacting moving from moment to moment barely giving attention to necessary precautions. It could only end badly.

He met her in the evening and he couldn’t hide his fondness. She was exuberant to effuse about how her training had gone, how Kindo didn’t notice any change in her. It gave her a privacy she had never had, and this she loved. She wanted to know more, she wanted to know when she could tell the others, she wanted to know more about him.

There was a child-like energy that was driving her, and it was filling him with a joy he had never felt. He began to feel a union, and that should have been warning enough. But with his two years of isolation in this desolation, he craved this union. He embraced it, he immersed himself in it. And before he knew what had happened she had trapped him. He couldn’t leave this spirit here, whatever was going to happen she couldn’t stay here.

And before there was any chance for common sense to prevail he went up to the fence and beckoned her to him. It will be safe, he consoled her and she trusted him. Through the gate she came towards him, and years of entrapped conditioning was wiped out as he shielded the dead bolt trigger. She felt her freedom, it just built inside her. Free, free …. Freeeeee!!!! That freedom overwhelmed her and she ran and put her arms round Corders. His professionalism had already been long gone so that when she physically touched him, spirit energy and passion all welled up inside him overcoming any chance that insight could prevail. Neither now had any remaining detachment and all that remained was the final climax that meant all the wonders of love in contact overtook both of them. There was such a powerful convergence of spirit that nothing could ever take away from them. From that moment on there could be nothing that separated them. At least for Corders.

He was the first to come down, and found that the ecstasy had led to sleep. He awoke and looked at her, he couldn’t imagine a better situation than being with her. There was nothing more beautiful than Aldris sleeping. He gazed at her peace fixing the image in his mind.

And then from inside the fence a small commotion, and guardians had come out. There had been malfunctions in their meggers which had pointed in this direction. Snapping out of his bliss he deflected the imagery in these guardians’ machines, they could now sense nothing. The guardians continued to walk in their direction but soon stopped – there was nothing to follow. They phoned Esthaus reporting that there was nothing there. Tracing the call Corders’ mind sought out the mainframe, and neutralised those images as well covering it up as an electrical spike. Unusual not really plausible but there could be no other explanation for these primitive machines.

The crisis was not yet over, they would soon check the inmates. How was he to get Aldris back inside? The guardians had remained at the gate, there was no way in there. There were animals in the wood, they normally steered clear of the fence; it had once been electrified. They dug a tunnel under the fence, and Aldris climbed under and ran off quickly – Corders stared at her longingly. He captured one of the animals and forced it under the fence – its fear turned his stomach but needs be. And when the guardians found the animal running around petrified inside the fence, they had some answers, more questions than answers – but plausibility. Over, the crisis was over, came into his mind and he was able to return home. Aldris ran far and then tried to compose herself, it was hard she was elated …. and exhausted. She had to return home and face Kindo, she had shut him out several times. She knew he must be worried. She contacted him briefly but she knew that hadn’t helped.

When she got home her babies were in bed – asleep, she didn’t like missing putting them to bed. Kindo was angry but as always he was good - he gave her time. She thought about Corders and their union, it was special stronger than with Kindo. Then she thought about her babies. Both pulled at her in different directions but that was OK. She could live with that. And then there were the stars, she lived with that as well. But what was Corders going to do about their freedom? She wanted her babies to be free, there was so much more out there as Corders had shown her.

She boxed away her thoughts, and sat with Kindo. She apologised for being out so long, she hadn’t known how long. This didn’t ring true to Kindo but their shared contact revealed nothing. He had to sleep with his frustrations, and he did.

Corders was in deep turmoil over his indiscretions, he had broken every envoy rule by having union. He should just walk away. But then he couldn’t because he had found the Gaia-favs – he had found those Gaia would make leaders. But the trouble was he only cared about his union with Aldris, and he wanted to continue that. He stayed with the problem for days, his troubled mind following one scenario after another but there was no resolution, and that made matters worse – he needed solution. Eventually he went back to the fence and sought out Aldris.

They met and he took her outside the fence again, and their passions met in union. But there was reticence on her part that Corders’ desire chose to ignore. Although he was taken again into bliss she did not follow him. After they spoke.

“I have been troubled since the last time,” he admitted to her “I don’t know what to do.”

“Yes it is difficult,” she agreed “I don’t know why you are here, I don’t know who you are, but Corders there is something I really want. I want my babies to be free.” She looked at him pleading, and his heart melted.

“More than anything else I want my babies to be free,” she repeated emphatically. “Every night I come out and I see the stars, the fence, and I now know what is driving me. My babies are not free, how can they spend their whole lives in prison like I have? Except for when I am with you.”

“Corders, can you take us out of here?” she pleaded again.

“But Kindo ….” asked Corders with genuine nobility despite his indiscretions.

“Kindo is a good man,” she interrupted “but my babies, they must be free.”

“You can do it, can’t you?” she asked, he nodded imperceptibly. At least he thought he could, “I will try,” he finally conceded.

When he returned home his mind was working overtime. All thoughts of briefing and his envoy situation had gone as he worked out how Aldris and her children could leave the compound. And the only solution could be to take them off-world. But what sort of life was that for the children – to be separated from their species, their father, their Gaia – even if they were free. But they were not his children so he must put it to her.

And she agreed for them to go off-world.

“They will have no friends, no-one of their species, no Gaia,” he queried. “And what about Kindo? You say he is a good man, doesn’t he have rights as a father?”

“My babies must be free,” was her only answer.

And it was the answer Corders accepted and planned for.

In the mean time there came the conversation as to why he was here. He talked about the UG, the three briefs, the ruai and fastlight, and the search for Gaia-favs. She listened, there was a lot.

She deliberated for a long time, and then seeking confirmation asked “We are the Gaia-favs? Are you sure? Are there others?”

“I am sure you are Gaia-favs, are there others? I don’t know,” he answered “if there are others there are not many as I have searched.”

“Gaia-favs,” she mumbled to herself. With all that the revelation contained, that was all she took, Gaia-favs. This woman never ceased to amaze Corders, he was so impressed.

Came the next evening, they left the compound – the four of them. The mother hustled the children through the gate, they were quiet. Outside the gate, with a strange man, they were just quiet. Their mother was close to him so they trusted her …. and him. Then Corders heard “When will Daddy come?” He heard “soon”, they were her children how could he argue with such a lie? That was not his way.

“We have one day’s travel until we reach the craft,” he told her.

“They can sleep for now but will need food when they awake,” she told him “that is their way.” He nodded, his paternal caring was working overdrive but in his mind there was a nagging. This was not the way he would do things, Daddy will come soon?

But it was his first time to be free with her, and being with her was all that mattered. He sat there driving with a deep contentment as she sat behind with the two “babies” asleep on her lap. The future was so unsure but if they were together like this then it did not matter. They reached the craft, and she told the children to rest in the car.

The craft was tuned to Corders, so on his arrival the entrance way downed and up they walked. This was one of her dreams, thought Aldris, a way to the stars. And she looked and looked, she felt her dreams …. but she knew it was not to be.

“We cannot go,” she told him “I wanted to see my dream but it is not enough.”

He looked at her and was completely silent - empty silent and angry.

“We cannot go,” she repeated “I cannot take the babies away from their people, their father.”

He started to talk, to try to persuade, but this was a mother – there was no persuading. What a fool he was to think any differently, where was his experience?

Then angrily he asked “why didn’t you tell me before?”

“My babies had to be free,” she told him. “now it is up to you, if they stay free.”

He looked at her, this was a mother speaking; all that matters is what the mother decides for her children. What had she done to him? He was nothing in this, he felt so small and stupid. From the high of union to this deep rejection, he was completely used; this was worse than the distorted planet. His commitment, his job, his briefs, his ability to continue the UG mission about the people of this planet, all this had gone because a mother wanted the babies to be free.

Such a deep anger welled up inside him, and he wanted to be violent with this anger but of course he couldn’t. He took her down to the car and she sat in the back with the babies. He tried to think but she was too close – all he could do was be angry with her. He got out and walked away trying to clear his head but all the emotion was just swirling and swirling around. There was no way to clarity. He began to walk and walk and walk, and eventually the anger gave way. Some thought returned, and he began to see through the swirling haze.

The first was to get into the craft, return to UG, and report that the mission was a failure. That was true, he had failed. It was also probably true that this planet required intervention because of the control of the ruai so he could also justify calling the mission a failure, and maintain some modicum of integrity – of course he could not and would not attempt to hide his actions.

But even with what had happened, he could not leave Aldris. His love, his union, was so deep that he needed to be with her. Whatever it took he had to be with her. If her babies had to be free, then that is what he had to work for, for her, for her love. He loved a primitive, what was he to expect. For him love meant a 100% commitment with all the responsibility and maturity that came with that. That was love, it had to be. But he loved a primitive, she would act like a primitive, that was the consequence of his actions. He had to do the best he could for her, for her babies, and for whatever else came along. And hope in the end she would mature, mature enough to know that there is nothing more important than love – than union.

He was decided so the question was how. If he returned to work he could manipulate the admin so that he was now a family with two children. It would be easy to ensure that she had employment. Maybe when the children were older it would be hard to hide their connection but he could cross that bridge. Yes this was workable, he thought loudly with joy.

Returning to the car he found her in the back with the babies asleep. She accepted his decision, and was pleased that he still cared for her. She just apologised saying that her babies had to be free, and slowly she drifted off to sleep with them.