Autor Thema: Gordon´s First Day´s Lessons  (Gelesen 993 mal)

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Gordon´s First Day´s Lessons
« am: 23. Juni 2015, 14:22:16 Uhr »
And another noncommercial, unlicenced crossover shortstory of "2772" and "Starman", the latter none of my inventions...


Gordon Terrell still couldn´t believe it.
Yesterday he believed that his days as a doctor of medicine would be over forever before they had even begun, and now he was sitting here, in the office of the principal consultant, one Dr. Henry Mann, of the famous if strangely ill-reputated DeVille Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., and was having his job interview.
Shortly he pondered Dr. Mann´s last question, the question about the cause for his hurried leave from his last job in another hospital. And then he answered honestly, even though knowing that the answer would probably reduce his chances of getting the job here to zero: “I´m sorry, Sir, but I don´t want to talk about it because I can´t fault the whole staff of a hospital for the mistakes of few. My view on things reaching the wrong ears would cause problems for good people I care for, people still working there. And the people I don´t care about are way too far up the ladder for me to piss on their boots, that´s the sad reality. After the things I learned there and couldn´t condone to I knew I had either to give in my notice or get fired, which in fact happened, maybe even lose my license in the act on demand of the chief, Mr. Ruddorf, who´d just loved it to nail it to his office wall. -
But then I found your offer in my mailbox the same day I cleared out there. To say I was surprised is an understatement. I know about the reputation of this hospital, including the fact that many apply here but just an assorted few get chosen. So, if I may ask, Sir, why me? A hapless intern who tends to stick his nose where it doesn´t belong? If I may define me so myself, Sir.”
Dr. Mann nodded, and he looked not at all disappointed by Terrell´s reply.
“It´s the loyality you displayed, even faced with overwhelming and threatening odds, that brought you to our attention. We know about the state of affairs there, and you can be certain that there will be consequences, especially for those who you describe as too far up the ladder for you - but not for others who´ll take care of the situation.“ -- He shifted a bit in his chair, leaned forward to emphasize what came next. “Mr. Terrell, curiosity and the different ways of satisfying it is one thing, but here in this facility it´s loyality that is the crucial point. Sometimes we have things happening here at this hospital that surpass normal medical secrecy, things which certainly would pique interest from many sides, and we must be sure that none of that will ever leak to somebody on the outside, lest the hospital´s owner and chief of us all including myself decides otherwise. That´s why all who are working here, from the lowest scrubwoman to myself, did a special pledge of silence. And we all take an honest interest in it being kept. And that´s why we´re looking for people like you, of all things. Here´s hoping you´ll continue your way down that lane, but this time in full cooperation with the guys that are on top of the ladder. There´s nothing you can´t take in here, but you´ll always have to ask permission first if you´re allowed to take something outside.”
That sounded very interesting.
“Please tell me, Sir, what kind of things would deserve such an oath?”
The head physician smiled. “You will learn all about it if you decide to take the offer. I won´t tell you, because you wouldn´t believe me anyway. You´ve got to see it with your own eyes. For the time being I can only advise you to always follow the lead of your older colleagues here, they´re experienced with such things. And fortunately for us all they don´t happen too often. Or this hospital would be even more of a nut house than it already is.”
Gordon would have had to call himself “nutty” if he´d turned this offer down, and he said so loud and clear.
Dr. Mann nodded, smiling, having expected no other. They settled the working agreements.
Finally the chief of medicine said: “As I just told you, nothing you hear or see or experience in this hospital is meant to go outside without proper authorization. If there are problems, if you feel there´s something wrong or if you have suggestions, you can talk to me, to the colleagues of your choice or to the boss himself, if he´s available. The man we all call simply ´the boss´, you may have gotten it already, is Mr. Thomas A. Richards, the owner of this hospital. He´s an experienced M.D. himself and appears now and then without advance warning to treat a chosen collection of patients. In the last time this happens more frequently since he´s gotten himself two so-called apprentices he´s training, one Mr. Paul Forrester and his son, Scott Hayden. They are also the reason for our tight security. But you will get all of that in due time. For now please remember what I told you, especially the part about the vow of silence.” He got up and offered his hand. Gordon took it. “Welcome to the staff of the DeVille Memorial Hospital.” Dr. Mann said friendly.
Then he took him personally to meet his new colleagues.
“Welcome to the Twilight Zone, lad”, Dr. Sean Maurice, the head of surgery, said to him, after Dr. Mann had left Gordon to him and his co-workers. Dr. Maurice was red-headed and bearded, of genuine Irish root and a bear of a man with hands big like trunks, somebody you´d rather trust to repair your car including lifting it single-handedly instead of operating on your tender gall bladder. The friendly slap on his back made Gordon almost going down.
“Twilight Zone?” he asked, nervously.
“That´s the nickname of this hospital. Couldn´t have found a better fitting one. The things that happen here -- Dr. Mann, we call him The Man, told you about our oath of silence?” Gordon Terrell nodded.
“Fine. Now, since Ah have some time before the next operation, let me take you around a bit.” They went off.
 “Since the boss, Ah mean Mr. Richards, isn´t here right now nor are his apprentices, you get some time to acclimate. Normal stuff runs here quite like in other hospitals. We´ve got patients of all kinds and with all kinds of ailments, do all kind of operations and treatments, take in emergencies from the surrounding area, business as usual. But now and then you´ll find the exceptions. First, we´ve got guards all over the place. Not all of them human, there´s a lot of security equipment too, some of it got specially created by Mr. Richards himself. Not all of it you´ll recognize as security, and this way it´s meant to be. None of us knows all about it either, so it´s no use to ask. This here is Mr. Larry Kiromoto, one of our human bodyguards. Mr. Kiromoto - Dr. Gordon Terrell, our new intern.” They greeted. Larry Kiromoto was obviously of Japanese stock, with the look and name of his, small and black-haired and slender, with the vigilant look and deceptively lazy movements of a big cat that was ready to strike at any moment. Somebody you´d trust to own a higher Dan at Karate and Judo and how to use that gun he was wearing under his jacket. Kiromoto carefully inspected the new doctor and found him likeable if a bit overwhelmed from what he got on his first day here. But it was always this way with newbies. Maurice urged his new intern on. “They, Ah mean the security personnel, change daily, and if Richards and his staff are here there will be more of them at once. Luckily for us the boss hires them for their brains as well as their brawns so they don´t get in the way too often. You´ll get to know them all in the next weeks. But they aren´t the only ones to check on us. Now and then there will be agents of Government agencies here, too. Most of them are with the Federal Security Agency and pals of the boss, but now and then CIA and FBI and other goons also try to take a peek. Those are tolerated but neither wished for nor especially loved by Mr. Richards.”
“Do I hear right? Federal Security, CIA - who are you treating here? The President or caught Russian spies or somebody?”
“Well, all that could happen sooner or later--”, Maurice grinned, “but for the time the winning question is, ´who´s doing the treatment´?-As soon as you´re allowed to work with Richards and his apprentices you´ll understand.”
So Gordon Terrell started at his new job.
“Boss” Richards and his two apprentices were away on vacation, he learned soon. For the first two weeks nothing unusual happened, and Gordon slowly settled in to his new life. Work was plenty but manageable since the hospital was well-equipped both with experienced staff and technical equipment after the latest fashion.
But then it happened.

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Re: Gordon´s First Day´s Lessons
« Antwort #1 am: 29. Juni 2015, 11:35:52 Uhr »
Terrell was on emercency duty. An ambulance had brought in a new patient, victim of a car accident that had happened not far away, standard procedure in every city hospital. The ambulance was still standing outside, and Gordon wanted to talk to the medic in charge about their new arrival, knowing that the patient was already in the able hands of his colleagues, when without forewarning the sky became dark, and a very loud and very near flapping and swooshing noise from above made them both duck. 
In the next second something huge and moving, colored in light-blue and yellow and orange that was definitely no rescue chopper landed next to the ambulance, with the audible scraping of huge claws on the concrete, and they heard a soundless but very clear and strong male voice inside their heads, saying: “Emergency! Quick, take them off!”
And that huge, colorful, incredible thing right before them seemed to shrink before their eyes as it laid down, stretched itself in formidable length all over the parking lot but was still about three meters tall at its most prominent peaks--
“Move it, people! I haven´t got all day!” They heard the urging, bodyless voice again.
“You´ve heard it. Move it!” Suddenly Maurice was standing in the door, but he didn´t hesitate a second at the unusual sight. Just now Gordon discovered what the voice had meant. The light-blue thing Gordon still refused to call by its name, afraid it might become real in doing so, wore something like a huge saddle, and strapped to it were the limp bodies of two men, guarded by a third man with a days-old beard and weary look who now was showing an baffled expression as he was staring at his surrounding. All three of them were clothed in what looked like camouflage suits of the army, dirty and worn. And they carried small bags attached to their belts that looked like army equipment, and something that looked like holsters including weapons, the one man who was fully conscious carrying his openly and ready for defense---
While Gordon was still frozen to his place, gawking unbelieving, Maurice and the medic were already climbing the beast, heeding its warning: “Be careful with the scales, they´ve got sharp edges!” and assisting the one able soldier in un-strapping his colleagues from the saddle. “Stretcher!” bellowed the Irish doctor with his mighty voice. “Terrell, move your ass over here!”
The landing of the creature sure caused a stir. Suddenly more than just a few helping hands were there to take the two men, one unconscious, the other half-awake and groaning, onto the ready stretchers and giving them first aid, while their comrade stepped aside and took care of their equipment, looking a bit relieved now since he knew his pals in good hands and a civilized surrounding. But he didn´t seem to know where the creature had taken them because he looked baffled, again, when he learned that they were at the DeVille Memorial Hospital in Washington. Not the place he´d expected to land in, his facial expression said clearly when one of the nurses led him away to clean up and stash the weapons away.
 Gordon felt himself simply washed along by the current, not exactly knowing what he really did, inbred doctor´s instincts taking over. While he, Maurice and Dr. Shelby were busy giving injections, laying infusions and cutting away hindering clothing and patched-on bandages to examine the nature and extent of the injuries which turned out to be wounds from gunfire and shrapnel, he couldn´t help but keeping one eye on the marvel behind them as they sped on with their patients towards the operating room.
Feeling relieved of its burden the critter that had done until now nothing more than winking with its huge horny lids while lying there movelessly in order not to scare the helpers away suddenly came to life again. It raised its huge, wedge-shaped head, shot up on all pillar-thick fours with an astoundingly quick move for such an bulk and then threw itself into the air, where it suddenly disappeared into thin air with a faint puffing noise, its huge wings half spread.
“Maurice -- that was --“
“Ah know”, the man growled. “Concentrate on your patient, will ya?”
Gordon did that. “But -- the dragon ---“ There. It was out. Now he had to realize that it had been real all along, and not just part of some weird dream.
Maurice realized that the intern wouldn´t regain the peace of his soul until he´d learned more about it.
“The critter belongs to the boss,” he told him, while they prepared themselves for the operation with quick and well-trained moves. “Turns up now and then, bringing passengers or patients or both, or takes them away. Until now it didn´t try to eat one of us at the occasion, and Ah hope things will stay that way. If it´s giving orders as ya heard it doing we´re supposed to follow them to the point, that´s a standing order from the boss himself. -- Don´t worry, youngster. If ya don´t hightail it outta here as soon as those patients are attended to, ya´ll see weirder things than an overgrown lizard.” 
“The men it brought---?” 
“Marines. Fresh from a jungle fight somewhere, looked like, with dirt all over them and everything. Seems like Puff ran another errand for the General.”
 “Puff?” Gordon mused. “And who´s the General?”
“We call it Puff, though the boss and the writing at its saddle say its name is “Azure”. But the nickname is appropriate, since it always does that little puffing noise when it´s disappearing. And the General is General Wade, the boss of the Federal Security Agency. He´s been here two or three times to chat with Richards and his apprentices. All of it was top secret, of course, so don´t ask me for more because Ah don´t know. The only thing Scott spilled afterwards is that the General regarded Richards as a living national treasure, in one league with the Statue of Liberty and the receipe for Coca Cola. Can´t blame the man there. The reasons for that ya´ll get as soon as ya´re allowed to work with them, when they´ve returned from their vacation.”
After that they had to concentrate on the operations and all questions unnecessary for the task at hand had to be stalled until later. 
Three days after that Richards and his gang returned. First thing they did was an extended tour through all parts of the hospital and greeting the newcomers among patients and staff, Gordon included. Richards was a tall, well-built, handsome man, approaching his fifties, with a thick mane of natural blond hair he wore bound to a ponytail that fell right down to his waist. The older of his apprentices was a similar handsome, darkhaired mid-forty called Paul Forrester, a hot-shot photographer who´d even won the Pulitzer some years ago, and who seemed to have discovered lately some talent in the medical branch. The younger one was Forrester´s son, Scott Hayden, eighteen years old and still in college with the aspiration to become a doctor. Richards tutoring Scott didn´t seem odd to Gordon because the boy seemed well suited for the job, compassionate and earnest and bright, too, if still a little bit innocent and sometimes strangely sad and reserved, as Gordon´s colleagues had told him. He´d lived for two years on the road with his Dad, so he still had to make up for what he´d missed at school, working and learning hard. - But his father as a student, too? Not many who´d still earn their habilitation at this age. 
The first thing Gordon noticed when he and Richards shook hands was the eyes of the man that always seemed to change color. Right now they were a bright blue, but shortly after they turned to grey, and to deep brown some time later. Eyes that somehow reminded him of the multi-colored eyes of the dragon as it had stared impatiently at him and the other helpers.--
When he asked later Dr. Maurice told him that he´d seen Richards´ eyes becoming green when he got angry, violet when he was being mysteriously, red when he was afraid, and a blazing yellow when he was in the right mood for murder, the latter two fortunately happening very rarely. “He told us it´s a trait that runs in his family for an unknown amount of generations. Not everyone of his relatives´s got it, but those who did cursed it for never being able to hide their true feelings.”
Thomas Adalmar Richards the Third, that being his full name, was a strange fellow indeed. Lucky for all around him he was also a merry man who loved a good laugh now and then. And he´d lots of experience in the medical field even when he ordered Gordon in the first operation they did as a team to correct him at once if it looked like he was about to make a mistake, lowly intern or not. He didn´t want his apprentices to learn something wrong, not even from him, he said as an explanation. His apprentices were there when he operated, not as partakers but as watchers, Paul regularly and his son now and then if college allowed it and the operation wasn´t too much for the still weak stomach of the boy. From Paul´s facial expression Gordon could tell that he didn´t like the gory sights and details, and there was something more, like he wanted to object now and then because he seemingly was used to something that worked better and less bloody. Well, maybe he was a fan of natural medicine and preferred herbs and massages over cutting up a body. By now Gordon was really intrigued when he would be allowed to enter the “inner circle” of assorted doctors who were to assist Richards and his apprentices in the “miracle healings” patients and staff whispered of alike. That meant, all save those who already had attended such a "miracle healing”, those just smiled and stayed quiet no matter how much the others worked on them. Gordon couldn´t question the patients either since most of them who received such a healing got released the following day, being reminded at release that they signed a contract requiring them to stay quiet about the whole thing. Odd, again.
The patients themselves were another thing the intern noticed. The hospital itself was divided into two wings. One to keep the term of  private hospital, with rich patients and the proper environment of luxury, including suites big enough to house a whole family clan and bills that made Gordon´s head spin when he happened about a copy of one one day when he strayed into the bookkeeping department. The other wing was Richards´s toy to play with at leisure. Much smaller rooms and mostly double bedrooms, but still as clean and nice as you´d please, and always filled to the brim with suffering people. People from all over the country and even some from abroad who couldn´t find adequate treatment at home, and many of them so poor that they wouldn´t be able to afford treatment at any other hospital, even the cheapest one, as if Richards was collecting them everywhere from the drains of mankind. Obviously his system was to have the rich patients paying for the poor ones too, and what was still missing then he paid from his own purse that seemed to be inexhaustible.
Next day morning Maurice grinned at Gordon and said: ”Richards has started choosing the patients. Meaning there will be a healing. Either this afternoon or tomorrow.”
“Who will be present?” Gordon was excited.
“Ah believe us both and Dr. Thaum. He´s always taking three of us if he´s working with Paul and Scott. He took four when a relative of his, a blond boy called Shiva was here and worked with him and his crew. He said we´re serving as buffers and amplifiers to his crew. And he´s hoping to find somebody among us to display the abilities needed to work like them. What that means -- ya´ll find out very soon now.” He grinned again, reassuringly patted Gordon´s back and went on.
A short time later Maurice gave him the list of patients to be treated. Gordon read it and didn´t get it. Because most of the patients listed here were cases he and most other doctors would have given up on sight, ailments called either inoperable or incurable for today´s medicine or beyond treatment. He and most other honorable doctors would have released the patients at once without trying anything that would cost only a heap of money and not change a single thing to the better, to either live or die at home. And Richards wanted not only to treat but to heal them? Then he was mad. But to Gordon the man didn´t look like demented. Eccentric, yes. Well, he would give him some credit and wait to see how it turned out.

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Re: Gordon´s First Day´s Lessons
« Antwort #2 am: 6. Juli 2015, 10:39:04 Uhr »
Early afternoon Dr. Thaum came to him. The beautiful Nepalese doctor smiled at him and he knew it was time. He was surprised to find Maurice, Richards, Forrester and his eighteen years old son in their normal threads. So, no operation right now--he wondered how they´d do their healing, by holding hands and praying? Well, this proved to be right, when Richards ordered them to create a circle around their first patient by taking each other´s hands or by any other form of skin contact.
“Dr. Terrell, since you are new to this, please follow every order. Observe and learn, ask every question you can think of, but don´t try to disturb or interfere.” Gordon gasped, when Richards, Forrester and Scott, all three of them, suddenly produced a blue light, so strong that he could bodily feel its impact. The light of Richards came from the hilt of his silver cane he always carried with him, even in the middle of an operation when he used to wear it stuffed under his belt, the other two used things that had looked like silver marbles when they had pulled them from their pockets. “The two ball things Scott and Paul here use are Algieban spheres, tools of genuine alien origin,” Richards explained to him. “Only people with Algieban traits can use them, so it´s no use for anybody else to try, neither to work with them nor to steal them. What I´ve got here in my cane is a different thing, a so-called energy matrix. Common humans can use them, but only with the proper training, and they need a special permit before they can get one of their own that´s fitting to their level of training. This one here´s a Level Five. It´s got more power than a nuclear warhead, and that´s why I tell everybody around me times and again never to meddle with it. Meddling with an energy matrix of this strength is a very quick but also very uncomfortable way to commit suicide. So, it´s best to never touch the cane. If there should ever be an emergency that forces you to, touch it with protected hands, use thick gloves or another covering, but never try to activate the matrix by yourself. It would kill every untrained user in an instant. And I would get the backleash in a most unpleasant way.”
Gordon just nodded, impressed.
“These are the tools we will now use to heal some of our patients. I think you already wondered why I´m keeping patients around who are beyond treatment in every reasonable medical meaning. Well, it´s because with tools as powerful as these we can make a difference.”
“Why me, Sir?” Gordon dared to break the spell. “Why did you chose me?”
“Well, I´m hoping to find somebody able and worthy to carry a matrix of his or her own. For this I need to test the people who look like they can muster the psychic power needed to control the matrix. In Dr. Thaum and Dr. Maurice I already found suitable aspirants, but I can always use more. I need helpers because a circle like ours here works the better the more partakers are present. What this circle can do - this you will learn now.”
And they began---
Much later, when they finally were finished, Gordon sat in the rec room, silent and gazing in abstraction, all of his posture telling that he wanted to be left alone for some time. He felt winded like he´d just finished an exceptionally long and demanding operation with uncertain and not too good looking outcome, though he had not exactly done much at all. He´d just listened and asked questions and listened again, sometimes answered questions himself Richards, Thaum and Maurice obviously wanted to test him with, and he had given advise two or three times, maybe for the better or for no result at all.
What they had done, together --- no, he couldn´t remember quite now. It seemed all foggy to him, like a bizarre and colorful and very vivid dream though he knew it to be the truth. He knew when he would tomorrow check on the many patients they had treated he would find them healed and ready for release or transfer into a rehab center of their choice. Whom they had treated - cancer patients and paraplegics and a lot of people suffering from fresh or past accidents or failed operations they´d had before at other hospitals and some more with other seemingly incurable ailments, even one patient they would keep for some time to come because with him Forrester had begun the seemingly impossible task of making his lost limbs grow back. Gordon had learned that the miraculous powers they´d summoned were well able to make small parts, say, a badly damaged eye, to grow back fully restored and, as they hoped, in full working order. This they would find out in a few hours when the patient was awake. Paul who seemed to know more about this topic than even Richards had told them that he could take the matter needed to create the missing part right from the organism himself, by re-routing common blood cells and fat and muscle tissue to the place he needed it to be, and reforming it into the needed kind of cells with a gene-altering technique incomprehensible even to Richards. But for a bigger limb, say, an arm, the body couldn´t provide enough matter without killing itself, so they had to take it slow, by making it grow today for a inch and making the growth process to continue by itself, like a well-controlled, useful form of cancer. Next week they would check for unwanted growths and again pique the process, so that, if all went well, the patient would have at least one arm back in, say, half a year or such. A small step from the view of somebody who still owned all of his limbs, nimble and healthy, but a huge leap for a man who had had to live completely without arms and legs for the last ten years after a terrible accident.
Gordon noticed that somebody was standing beside him. He looked up, and his gaze met that of Dr. Thaum. She smiled at him and sat down next to him. “I know how you´re feeling. It was the same with us the first time,” she said. “It´s like an earthquake that shakes your whole world upside down. To watch such power unleashed, it´s like watching the handiwork of gods. That´s why we didn´t tell you before, you had to see it to believe it. Of course, you´ll have to be quiet about it. That won´t be easy either. I know how often I wanted to spill it all when I had to see so-called incurable patients in other places who I know by now to be curable. But we can´t take them all, Richards has warned us time and again not to overwork his apprentices. Especially Forrester, because he´s not able to say ´No` to somebody in need. He would kill himself trying to make them all better. It´s as the boss says, he needs more able assistants before he can go at it big time. That´s why Richards took you in, he thinks you could become one of his secret circle. He´s tested you today, you know, not just your knowledge and skill as a doctor but also for your empathy and for the ability to use one of those miraculous things they have. That´s why you feel so spent now, working with those things sucks the energy right out of you, even if you´re just part of the circle without actually handling one. We both, Maurice and I, know it well, it´s the same every time. You should go home now, eat and sleep well, get a good rest, you´re excused till tomorrow. Don´t try to think too hard about it now, it will all come to you naturally next time he´s gathering us.”   
Dr. Thaum´s friendly words soothed Gordon´s ruffled mind.
“Thank you, Doctor,” he said, smiling at her. “I will heed your advise.”
“That´s a rare virtue with doctors,” she joked back. 
Two days later Gordon by chance met Richards on the corridor when he was available, and they entered the small room above the lobby that served as inofficial office to Richards and his chosen.
“I guess you´ll have now a lot of questions you want to ask me,” Richards smiled when they´d sat down. “Please, ask away.”
Gordon was indeed bursting with questions. But he started with one he thought that maybe would catch Richards unaware.
“It´s about Paul Forrester, with your permission. Why is a hot-shot photographer and Pulitzer winner suddenly into medicine? And with those -- unusual abilities he displayed? I can´t blame his son, but the father too? At this age, when he already had a successful career, and all without superhuman abilities? I don´t understand it.”     
“You want the truth?” Richards said, plain and simple. “I´ll tell you, but don´t you ever forget your pledge of silence.” As Gordon silently nodded, he continued: “It´s because this Paul Forrester is a genuine alien from outer space. The original Forrester died three years ago, in that helicopter crash at Mount Hawthorne; maybe you´ve read about it in the newspaper. Just then the alien came back from space to look after its son it had produced fourteen years ago, when it was stranded on Earth for three days, and it created a clone copy of the freshly deceased Paul Forrester for itself. Without a host body it couldn´t survive on Earth, you know. And that´s why this Paul Forrester has a different agenda and can do things the other one couldn´t. But our Paul is good as a photographer too, he still does it as a hobby to relax after doing the hard work here. I think he inherited this ability at least partially from the original Forrester.”
Gordon took his time to digest this. At first glance the mere idea appeared to be one of the jokes Richards used to play on his staff now and then. But as he gazed into the honest blue eyes of his boss he realized it was no joke this time. An alien-- but he had seen Forrester doing seemingly impossible things, and he had learned by now about Paul´s friendly, sometimes a bit naive nature that indeed hinted at a different origin. Or at a slight brain damage, caused maybe by one of the many blows to his head he´d absorbed in the wild years of his career as hot shot photographer.--
 “Does the government or somebody else know about it?”
Richards showed his famous crooked grin. It was a very handsome grin, and the man showed it generously often. Richards must be very popular with the ladies, Gordon spontaneously thought once again.
“Of course they know. Why do you think their agents are all over us like flies on horse droppings? The guys from the Federal Security Agency know, they´ve been after Paul and Scott for two years until I intervened and took them in, and the others are guessing it at least. You wouldn´t believe the battles I had to fight to keep my personal pet alien and his son after I came upon them by chance. But as you know by now, they are more than worth the trouble.”
“It´s said that the General called you a national treasure.”
More grinning. “And I replied that I´d accept the title as long as it didn´t include getting stuffed and exhibited at a museum.”
Gordon couldn´t suppress a grin of his own. That answer was so typical for Richards.
“He called you the treasure, not your alien.”
“He´d better. Owning a genuine alien from outer space isn´t everything, you´ve got to use it, to work with it in a proper way. That´s what I´m doing, and past events convinced General Wade that he´d find no better than me there.”
“And all the security--“
“Is here mostly to protect Paul and Scott. Algiebans like Paul are totally pacifistic, he couldn´t use force to defend himself, let alone others like his son or his patients. And he´s no super-genius from his world either. That´s one of the first ideas you have to let go in dealing with aliens, most of them you´ll ever meet are the average guy from next world, neither Supermen and Einsteins of their race nor super-badasses. Paul for instance has been a mapmaker and navigator before he came to Earth, sailing and charting the unknown shores of space. If you imagined him into the TV series Star Trek, he´d be but one of the many unnamed crewmembers, never to star in an actual role of his own.”
Gordon nodded, and changed to the next topic. “The dragon---“
Richards sighed. “Another one of my follies. I almost had to go to extremes to get it. But the critter is damn useful. Of couse, my pals of the FSA want to use that one too. If they can make me. And I charge them an arm and a leg every time they do. If you want to keep a dragon you got to feed it, you know, and a dragon eats a lot.”
The man´s expression hadn´t changed when he´d talked about the ´extremes´, but even his eyes seemed to laugh for a moment, so the person he´d did them to probably was still alive and well and somebody he knew on a personal basis. Gordon had seen enough cutthroats in his short career at the city hospital to know one when he saw one, and Richards didn´t fit that description.   
“But you can do the same things as Forrester can. Are you an alien, too?”
“My fivehundred-times-granddad was one. He was living almost thirteen thousand years ago. One of the famous Daeniken-aliens, you know, the gods from the stars who mixed with humans. I´m a true-bred Yankee boy, but my family never quite forgot its roots. I won´t tell you the story of my life, it´s way too weird, but I can tell you that I already knew about aliens before I met Paul and Scott. I just jumped at the chance when it presented itself. You know, I wanted to meet you today to talk to you. Dr. Thaum and Dr. Maurice may have told you already why I chose you to partake at our last healing.”
Gordon nodded. “You´re looking for another apprentice. But--I´m not alien. Nor do I have an alien progenitor I´d know about.”
“You don´t need one. In fact I believe my abilities there are a heritage of my human branch of forebearers. My alien ancestors were not Paul´s kin but of a different race, and I know that most of them royally suck at matrix work. So I guess my fivehundred-times-granddad wasn´t too big into that either. He was the captain of his interstellar vessel and had experts from other races in his crew to do that kind of stuff. No, it´s human beings who are blessed with the abilities I need, and you´re looking good there, your performance at the healing proved it. Want to try a little test?”
Another test? Right now, without preparation? But, why not. Gordon was curious what this strange man would ask from him now.--

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Re: Gordon´s First Day´s Lessons
« Antwort #3 am: 10. Juli 2015, 10:47:54 Uhr »
Richards reached into his pocked and brought out a crumpled handkerchief. Carefully wrapped inside was what looked like a small crystal of gray-blue color, some kind of semi-precious stone.-- ( Gordon still hadn´t learned yet that Richards used to carry genuine raw diamonds loose in his pockets like small change, meaning this crystal was worth much more to him than mere diamonds. That he´d get only some time later.)
 “This crystal here is an energy matrix. The same kind as I have in my cane, but it´s much weaker, a Level One, as we call it. The right tool for a beginner. You´re receptible to energy matrices, I felt it in the healing, but I need people who can do more than just receiving, I need apprentices who are able to work a matrix of their own. I want you now to listen very carefully. You will take the matrix on your palm, and then you will gaze into it. Look for something inside the crystal that looks like a small spark of light. I don´t know exactly what it will look like to you because that´s different for each user. Mine for instance looks like a pillar of fire, but that´s my impression only. You´ve got to find your own. As soon as you´ve found it you´ll find that you can control it if you´re concentrating your thoughts on it. Try to make it move around and grow stronger. But at the same time you´ll feel that the spark is trying to feed on your mind. You will feel a soft weariness, a fuzziness, a case of empty thoughts. It will try to lure you into blissfull oblivion, into sweet sleep forever after, but that mustn´t happen. To counter that effect you´ll need some kind of ´great thought´ like in the story of Peter Pan. But not a happy one. Here, you´ll need a bad thought. A very bad one, something you abhor or are really afraid of. Every time it tries to lure you into oblivion you´ve got to counter it by visualizing something really terrible that will keep you awake and break its spell. Imagine the worst case of accident you´ve ever seen, seeing your best friend dying on the operation table right before you, meeting a rabid dog, getting jumped by an ugly big spider or something like that. Think you can do that?”
Gordon nodded, excited.
“Bad thought ready? Then go and search for the light, try to get it under control, and don´t let it seduce you. As soon as you´ve got that, we´ll move on. But take your time, the first time is always the hardest.” He handed the small stone to the intern, but took care not to touch it with his bare hand. For a good reason he´d explain later.--
Gordon Terrell acted well for a newbie. Fully concentrated on his matrix Richards had to nudge him only once and remind him of his big bad thought when he seemed to get sleepy. Gordon´s progress Richards could tell from the the stone that was no longer a dull gray-blue but took on a bright blue color, the natural color of a fully activated matrix.
“Well done, “ he finally said, wiggling his finger before Gordon´s eyes to get his attention.
“Now, to the next step. Look at me and listen. Have you watched Star Wars, the Empire strikes back? Remember the part where Luke was to pull his space ship out of the swamp and failed? Remember why he failed? He failed because he couldn´t believe he could do it. Well, we won´t repeat that mistake. Fact is that even a Level One matrix as you have right now has incredible power when activated. Power enough to lift something like a space ship or a rock weighing thousands of tons. The only part you´ve got to do is to control the process. Imagine a big and strong caterpillar with you at the wheel, steering that huge machine with the slightest nudge. What I want from you now is to move something. No, no space ship and no big rock either. A little sheet of paper will suffice.” He took one from the pad that was always lying on the table and put it in front of Gordon. “If you can do that anything else will be a breeze, space ships included, if we had one of those. Now, to the process. First, you cut that spark into two halves. By visualizing it. -- Got it?”
Gordon concentrated, and nodded.
“Fine. Now, imagine taking one of the halves out of the matrix and putting it onto the paper. Imagine you´re glueing it onto the paper with some real strong duct tape.”
Gordon complied-- but something went wrong. As soon as the spark in his imagination touched the paper there was a small white flash, and the paper went up in flames. Terrified he stared at his misfortune.   
Instead of being vexed, Richards laughed out aloud. “Glue, not fire, I said!” he guffawed. “Fire is for later lessons. You´ve got a little pyromaniac vein in you, haven´t you?” he joked, while he unblinkingly slapped out the fire with his bare hand and inspected the mark it had left on the table. “Please remember that the light the matrices are emitting normally doesn´t contain heat. Well, just try again, with a little less ´hot´ energy this time. There´s still enough paper, and if you waste it all I can always order more. Tables too, if needed.” 
Gordon couldn´t suppress an involuntarily moaning which made Richards laugh out once more. “Welcome to the job, lad,” he then said in a good mood, “and don´t try to tell me you don´t enjoy this.”
After a while, Gordon managed indeed to move a small piece of paper, causing it to hover around like a feather without making the rest of the room going up in flames in the process. 
“Well done, Dr. Terrell,” Richards finally said. “That´s enough for today. If you would now put the spark back into the matrix -- reunite it with its other half - and now dose it down. And now, hand me the matrix --“ he held the handkerchief ready to take over the small stone that had returned to its former gray-blue state. Still taking care he didn´t touch the gem he wrapped it and put it into his pocket, well aware of Gordon´s longing gaze.
“I know you´re tempted now to toy with it at home, but I can´t have that for the time being. Remember the famous wizard´s apprentice, in the Disney movie with Mickey Mouse? Well, with you it would be fire instead of water, and I won´t have you playing the Towering Inferno on your unsuspecting neighborhood. Instead you can consider yourself excused for today. Look after your patients or return home for a good rest, visit a cinema or a bar, call your girl friend, whatever works best for you for a little break. You will work more with the matrix in the future but not if you´re unrested or weary or unfit in another way. Those things are damn dangerous, even a weak Level One like this one here. If you´re using it you need to be eternally alert, or it will have your mind and your balls for breakfast. Beginners are never allowed to train with them without proper supervision. I wasn´t when I learned the craft myself, a long time ago, and it took me weeks of hard work to earn me that privilege.”
Gordon intensely looked at him. “Dr. Thaum and Dr. Maurice--“
“Passed the same test. Just without the fire. But I guess the beginning is different for every apprentice. Don´t worry, I think you all will do nicely as my students.”
“ Taking Dr. Maurice I understand, but Dr. Thaum?” Because now he started to feel the fatigue from the seemingly simple task of controlling that harmless looking crystal. He suddenly felt like having gotten hit by a punching bag, mind all fuzzy and weakness right down to his very bones. How could and would that handful of woman deal with such a powerful tool?
Richards grinned. “Don´t underestimate her. She´s led a hard life in her home country before she came to the United States, and she´s tough as nails. There are times when even I am afraid of her. She´ll have her Level One housebroken and whupped into place in no time at all.”
“By the way--“ Interested he looked at Richards´ pocket the handkerchief including the matrix had disappeared into.
“You want to know why I never touched it. That´s simple.” He tapped his cane. “I´m regularly in contact with my Level Five monster here, allowing it to boost my body aura with its powers. Meaning if I carelessly touched a weak Level One I would give my Five a chance to overtake it, and that would practically kill the Level One by turning it into the Five´s slave forever. This would render it useless for any apprentice of mine. And those things don´t grow on trees, not even the weakest Level One specimens. They are damn hard to come by.”
“Then, where did you get them from?“
Richards thumb simply pointed upwards. Towards the stars that were there eternally and the unknown creatures that dwelled there. And that was the end of Gordon´s first day´s lessons, and the grounding for many lessons more to come.


                                                   -- The End. (for now.) --