Damn, Justin thought…they were in agreement. Darla agreed that LAIT would have to provide the information they needed. Just how many would be in any advance team they could only guess. What if they numbered in the hundreds…thousands?
The only thing that kept him in any semblance of mental balance at this point was the time frame. He knew that his future self had sent the warning to give them time to build this weapon which would repulse the invasion.
“Justin…are you going to sleep at all tonight?” Darla asked. “You’ve been up for days. You need rest or your mind will collapse into a black hole.”
“Yeah, I will sleep,” he replied.
“Good, then let’s go eat and return to the motel. We know where their staging area is, it won’t do us any good to keep monitoring vast amounts of space until we have a definite time frame. If we’re clever LAIT will tell us or we can steal the information.”
Justin smiled. “You’re devious…no wonder the Family has few female members. There are others, aren’t there?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never met any, perhaps I’m unique.”
“I would agree with that.”
Justin retrieved the cube while Darla packed up her laptop. It was a sad thought, but Justin figured he might not see this lab again. The primary work had been fulfilling and fruitful as he now knew. If they were to build a larger version of the device, one big enough to stop the enemy, then it would have to be in a much larger facility. He would have to study the parameters.
They stopped for dinner on the way back to the motel, but it was still early evening when they returned to the room.
“You should stay here tonight, we still have some things to talk about,” Darla said.
“I can do that. My parents will think I’m sleeping over at the lab.”
“Uh, well I hate to mention the obvious, but there is only the one bed…do you mind sharing?”
“Mmm…” Justin said, his mind wandering into the future.
“Justin…did you hear me, are we sleeping together or what?” Darla laughed.
“Sleeping together? Uh, sure…umm, but I’m not a sexual person,” Justin said.
And something in the way he said that made Darla laugh. The boy was a darling, a virgin for sure, but that she didn’t mind. Maybe a little cuddling would do them both some good.
“A little sex is good for the soul,” she suggested.
“Uh…maybe, but not for me.”
She shrugged and started to undress, dropping her jeans and top on the floor. And as she reached behind her back to unsnap the bra her eyes looked up to judge Justin’s reaction…there was none.
She threw the bra down and stood there in her panties. “Hey…naked woman in the room,” she said.
“Oh…that’s okay,” Justin said…still no reaction.
Damn, Darla thought, he must be gay. “Justin…bed…now.”
Justin stood up and disrobed, leaving only his boxers in place. Darla looked at his strong youthful body and smiled. The boy was fit as a fiddle, not your usual nerdy little lab rat’s physique. But what was going on here, she was naked and there was no swelling where there ought to be a definite reaction. The bulge in his shorts was a non-starter, no notice of her nudity.
Justin pulled back the covers and slid into bed. Darla did the same on her side and she was the one who turned out the light. Was he gay? The darkness was totally silent for a moment but she knew his mind was wide awake, something had to relax him or he would never rest. She rolled over to face him.
“I’m gay, Darla. There I’ve told you…satisfied?”
“Just as I thought…but a gay Family member?”
“You’re the one that proves anything is possible, so we’re both exceptions to the rule. I’m sorry, it’s just…I’ve never told anyone before.”
“Then I should be honored…I have your trust,” Darla said.
“Sure…who would I tell anyway? It never mattered before.” Justin chuckled. “Until I find myself in bed with an attractive…and almost naked woman, sorry.”
“So you’ve never acted out on these feelings before? How do you know you’re gay?”
“Oh, I know how my mind works quite well by now. Look, I was aware of my feelings for boys before all this happened, before my visit to the vault, even before puberty. And then I woke up to my place in the Family, went through programming and I haven’t stopped since then. I don’t have time to make friends, never had any real social relationships. No…Instead I’m the boy that’s supposed to save everyone.”
There was silence in the room and Darla heard a deep sigh. She reached over and pulled Justin towards her. She put out an arm and hugged him tightly, his head resting on her bare breasts. Oh God, the poor boy, she should have realized how miserable he was inside.
Her own life had been full of nothing but pressure to succeed, a female in the Family, the only one as far as she knew. There had been few social relationships in her life; normal people were just too…too mortal. And knowing she would outlive them by a few centuries or more seemed to discourage friendships. Justin must feel the same way.
She had tried to have a normal life just to alleviate the pressure. But the other kids around her didn’t succumb to her charms so she joined a karate class. By the third year she had a fourth degree black belt and now the other kids began to show respect, they were afraid of her. Well, she figured that was better than nothing.
Sex became a diversion, but then she always cast herself as the aggressor. Her first sexual encounter came at fifteen with Bobby Edwards who thought he was a girl’s gift. She had virtually raped the poor boy, leaving him whimpering in the back seat of his daddy’s car. He wasn’t ready for sex on her level…none of them were, so she gave up.
Darla felt Justin relax and then he fell asleep in her arms. Good, he was exhausted, he needs this…he needs me. By now she knew LAIT had been stupid to tell the boy he would save the Family. What kind of game was the creature playing?
It was all just too easy and that made her suspicious. Justin being able to talk to his future self was made possible by LAIT as if he already knew what they would say to one another. This whole laser experiment had to be more complicated than creating a futuristic phone call. Yes, something was definitely up.
But LAIT would not be expecting the two unique Family members to team up, would he? And where were these other two that were to join their group? No matter what Justin thought, she was convinced that they didn’t have a great deal of time.
LAIT had all the answers down there in the vault. They just had to find a way to extract that information without alerting the invasion force. She was sure there would be thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of these invaders. They were already on the way, she could feel it.
She awoke with a start and then remembered where they were. Justin had not moved during the night and she almost laughed when she realized his face was still between her boobs. Maybe she had finally found a Family member worthy of her attentions, the pinnacle of their genetic engineering was lying here in her arms…and he was gay. At least her life was consistent; the cruel jokes never seemed to end.
She could not move to look at the bedside clock but there was light filtering in through the drapes. Today they would plan and hopefully come up with a means of taking the vault away from LAIT. There were so many variables to consider…and then she heard the static in her mind.
Family was near, that was the warning…there were minds like theirs out there close by and they were communicating.
“Justin…Justin, wake up,” she said quietly.
“Hmm…uh…what? Oh…I am so sorry…” he began, his face turning red as he quickly withdrew his head from between her breasts. “I didn’t…”
“I know, you like my boobs. Listen…Family is close by,” she said as she sat up. “I have a warning sense that…”
Justin seemed to focus inwards for a moment, listening to what his mind was telling him. “I hear two voices…”
“You do? I only heard the static…”
Justin smiled. “They are arguing about what to eat for breakfast…two distinct thought patterns…very close by.”
Darla swiftly moved out of bed and began to dress. “I still can’t hear them.”
Justin pulled on his pants. “Look I am sorry…I hope…”
“Forget it…you were very good for a first timer.”
Justin was crawling on the floor looking for his shoe and stared up at her. “You’re not suggesting we…?
“No dear boy, you’re still a virgin. I was just joking. Wishful thinking on my part I’m afraid. Did you get enough sleep?”
He smiled. “Yes, it was enough…thank you. You have soft breasts.”
Darla laughed. “I normally castrate guys who make comments about my boobs, but I’ll take that as a compliment. You’re welcome.”
“Come on, let’s go find these guys,” Justin said.
“Whoa there, what are we walking into?”
“They won’t suspect you, no one knows there are females…I can block my thoughts and I guess we can just walk by and take a look.”
“You can block…? God, you are so amazing, what else can you do?”
Justin blushed for a second time. “Uh, I don’t really know. You think there could be other things?”
“Next time you communicate with the future why don’t you ask yourself?” Darla suggested.
“Oh…I don’t think there will be any further messages.”
“Oh, I forgot,” She said.
“Well, we have enough to keep us busy. Let’s go,” Justin said.
He pulled on his shoes and they opened the door of the room. Justin stepped outside and stopped. His eyes swept the parking lot and then turned towards the restaurant down at the corner.
“There…they are in that place.”
The restaurant was large and sunny as only an all day breakfast joint could be. Twenty or so people sat around the place in booths, a few more at the counter. Justin looked around the room as the waitress came up to seat them.
“I’d like to sit over there,” Justin said, nodding his head towards the non-smoking section at the left.”
“Sure, dear, is it only the two of you this morning?” the waitress asked.
“Yes, thank you,” Justin replied.
Darla went first, Justin lagging behind as he looked at the two guys sitting in the back booth. The waitress seated them across the aisle from the two…oh my, the guys were twins. They ordered coffee and Darla looked at him as Justin inclined his head towards the twins.
She didn’t dare look over or show any interest, but then the waitress placed their coffees on the table and said she would give them a few minutes to check out the menu.
Damn, Alan, check out the babe across the aisle…God, I love college girls.
Sure, Dwayne, and when you finally grow up maybe a few of them will look at you.
What the fuck is that supposed to mean?
It means that sleeping in the van with you was difficult because you kept pulling on that toy between your legs half the night. How adolescent, Dwayne, you could have at least gone in the restroom.
I did, three times…
Justin almost spat out his coffee as the words echoed in his mind. Okay, one of the twins was a horn dog, the other his keeper. Both looked like high school boys…seniors anyway. Twins in the Family, Justin had never heard of that either. Were these the two they had been waiting for?
Okay, you proved your point; you excel at self manipulation…now where is he?
It just said to wait for him to approach us. I wonder what he looks like?
Justin smiled at Darla. I believe the two we have been waiting for have arrived. His thoughts were sent out loud and clear and the twins turned to look at him. Yes, I am Justin, but we have to speak aloud, the enemy may be listening in.
“Enemy?” The one named Alan said aloud.
“The reason you are both here,” Darla said and she gave them a smile.
“Finish your breakfast…we have a lot to talk about, but not here,” Justin said.
“And tell your brother to take his eyes off my chest or I’m gonna make you an only child,” Darla threatened.
Forty-five minutes later they were all back in the motel room where the discussion began.
“We received a letter from…uh, you I suppose,” Alan said. “It said to be here by this date and spelled out the time and location, said to enjoy a nice breakfast.”
“Where are you from?” Justin asked.
“Denver…it took us three days to find this place,” Dwayne said.
“Yeah, after a few wrong turns,” Alan laughed, “he never could read a map.”
“Well you were no help…”
“Stop right there,” Justin said, holding up a hand. “You guys can mess with each other all you want, just not on my time. And we don’t have much of that anyway. What are you guys good at?”
“Good at?” Alan asked, “Uh, I don’t know, but I’m a wiz at Biology and Dwayne is a military historian. Top of the honor roll…well, we were before we left. Now I expect we’ll get kicked out of school.”
“Military…Biology? I don’t see…”Darla began.
“But I do,” Justin said. “What did the letter I sent you say?”
“You don’t remember? You said the Family needed us immediately, our lives depended on it. I saved all the receipts for our expenses in case you want to know what we spent your money on,” Alan said.
“Good, and how much did I send you?”
“Gosh, it was almost eighty thousand dollars. I knew you were being serious, nobody would send that kind of cash unless this was important,” Dwayne said.
“Yeah, we packed, didn’t tell anyone and left, just like you instructed,” Alan said.
Justin almost laughed aloud. His future self sure had these guys pegged; the huge amount of money had been a stroke of genius…but why? What could these guys do that was so necessary?
“Biology you said, what part of that subject do you know the best?” he asked.
“Umm, I want to be a pathologist, diseases fascinate me the most,” Alan said. “LAIT said we should both choose a field apart from one another.”
Darla chuckled, “I’m sure he did, do you guys fight a lot?”
“Only because he thinks he’s right all of the time,” Dwayne said.
“Enough…and why did you chose military history? Why would LAIT think that was a good choice for you?” Justin asked.
“That’s just a hobby, my major is computer science. But I study tactics the most, it helps me when I’m gaming,” Dwayne said.
“You’re a serious gamer?” Darla asked.
“He’s a national champion,” Alan said, “but he won’t tell you that, he’s too shy.”
“I might have, you didn’t give me the chance…”
“I’ve got it,” Justin said. “Wow, we just found our biggest asset.”
“Uh, you want to explain this to us?” Darla said.
Justin smiled and pointed at Dwayne. “He’s gonna take down the enemy. Boot up your laptop while I bring our new group members up to speed.”
Justin did his best to explain the coming invasion, and then they all watched the clip of his older self as the story unraveled. It was Alan who noticed some of the chemical formulas in the data as they scrolled through the drawings of the giant machine Justin was supposed to build.
“This thing is supposed to project some kind of bio-mass…see that, it indicates living organisms in solution, cellulose based like plants and…” Alan said. “No, this is huge…how can anything move that much mass?”
“What is he talking about?” Darla asked.
“The composition of our weapon, our defense,” Justin said. He turned to Dwayne. “We’ll study the weapon later. Darla and I think they will send in a scouting party first.”
“They have to. If they’re coming from that far away they will need to put eyes on the ground first. LAIT won’t have enough knowledge of the real time situation. When do you suppose they will arrive?”
“They’re almost here,” Darla said, “we watched them transport out into some kind of forward base already.”
“Darla and I were just about to tackle LAIT for information. Any scouting objective has to include contact with him,” Justin said.
“Yes, they will…he probably already knows where and when they will land,” Dwayne said. “He will have to provide a landing marker for their transporter; otherwise they might lose some of their scouts.”
“Landing marker?” Darla said, and then she looked at Justin with horror. “Aw, crap…”
“The laser…we gave them our coordinates when we zapped the planet where they’re staging this thing. I’m an idiot.”
“No, Justin…LAIT has been manipulating us all this time,” Darla said.
“You guys know LAIT, but he is not our friend, we have to neutralize him. Darla and I are going after him,” Justin said.
“I thought you said I was going to take down LAIT?” Dwayne asked. “Isn’t he the enemy?”
“I think we should all go,” Darla said.
“Yeah, I guess we’ll need the help, there’s a lot of stuff in the vault we don’t understand. LIAT won’t be suspicious of us at first, we’re Family members, and that is the only reason we can get close enough to him.”
Darla grinned. “Are you suggesting we meet these scouts and play along like this is some kind of game?”
“Yes, they will be studying us while we figure them out,” Justin said.
“And then what?” Alan asked.
“Why, we take down LAIT and kill them of course,” Justin said.