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Chapter 9

  • Julia saw the bright lights behind her. They blinded her in the rear-vie_irror until she knocked the mirror out of focus. She glanced at th_peedometer. She was going as fast as the engine would permit.
  • She was weary from the beat of the motor and the ache of steady driving. He_ody was drained of energy. The "Wide-awakes" seemed to be losing thei_ffect. In spite of herself, she nodded. Too tired to think of anything else, she was thinking—almost dreaming, almost in half-slumber—of a steamy bath; o_erfumed heat caressing her body; of soft, restful water lapping at he_highs.
  • Even the prospect of invasion had receded into some dim, dumb corner of he_ind; it no longer concerned her. The demands of personal survival had pushe_t aside; personal survival and the knowledge of her own incapacity t_revent, forestall, or counter it. And at last exhaustion had overcome eve_he demands of survival.
  • The brilliant lights behind began to pain upon her fatigue-soaked eyeballs.
  • They shimmered in the windshield; they—
  • She realized they were gaining on her.
  • A car without a governor.
  • A crazy, reckless driver.
  • _Walt!_
  • Suddenly the fatigue vanished. Fear alerted her. She stiffened. Her hear_ounded. She glanced behind her, squinting.
  • There was a sickening wrench at her body; she felt herself twisting, bein_ucked out of space.
  • Teleportation!
  • She grabbed the wheel. She was almost too weak to resist. She fought off th_errible, insistent fingers, she shrank away from them; she moaned.
  • Walt ceased the effort.
  • She was limp. She struggled to marshal her resources. Her will was not ye_epleted so much that she could not fight back.
  • She concentrated on being where she was, in the car, on the highway. She fel_ futile but exhilarating surge of victory.
  • Her hand trembled when she switched off the automatic-drive. The wheel unde_er hands began to vibrate. The car was sensitive to her control. It was aliv_nd deadly and hurtling like a rocket.
  • I can't outrun him now! she thought. He has too much speed!
  • … I've got to get off the highway. I've got to take a side road toward th_ountain. There'll be curves and twists and turns. They will cut his spee_own. Maybe I can out drive him.
  • Side roads slipped by to her right and left.
  • She prepared to brake the car for the next cut-off slot.
  • It appeared far ahead; a dark slit on the left outlined by her rushin_eadlights.
  • She depressed the brake; the tires screamed.
  • The car skittered and fishtailed. She clung desperately to the wheel, battlin_he great chunk of metal with every ounce of her tiny body.
  • And somehow the car hurtled through the slot, across the other half of th_ighway, onto the hard topped, farm-to-market road that climbed toward th_istant crest.
  • Walt's car, braking shrilly, hurtled past her and was lost in the night.
  • Julia stamped the accelerator viciously. Her car plunged forward.
  • Lonely trees and brush stood like decaying phantoms in the splatter of he_eadlights. Far ahead, winking down the mountain, she saw the headlights o_nother car—crawling toward her slowly, like twin fire flies, indolent after _ight of pleasure. The road was pitted, and the car beneath her jolted.
  • It was then in the loneliness of the seldom traveled farm road that sh_oticed the gasoline gauge.
  • The gas remaining in the tank could not be sufficient to take her another te_iles. The peg rested solidly on the empty mark to the left.
  • She began to cry.
  • The tears almost blinded her; she jerked the car back, just in time, from _itch. She held it toward the fearful darkness ahead. Dawn that purpled th_ast seemed lost forever from this road and this life.
  • The road climbed slowly; then steeply.
  • Behind her now the bright lights like great flames crept closer, burnin_verything. The lights had pursued her for only half an hour; it seemed a_ternity. The road began a great bend around the first sharp thrust o_ountain. She slowed.
  • The headlights were gaining.
  • She wanted to give up.
  • The motor coughed.
  • Walt was almost upon her; elation throbbed in his being. He had been drivin_n manual; he dared not risk automatic-drive, not since his wreck. He was no_uite as alert as he might have been. The strain was beginning to slow hi_eactions.
  • The curve was sharper; ahead, a hair-pin turn. Walt swung out to pass her an_orce her to stop or plunge over the side into the deepening valley. It wa_he maneuver he had seen the policemen perform.
  • The headlights of the early farmer with a heavy load of milk suddenly explode_t the curve.
  • Julia gasped and slammed on her brakes.
  • Walt jerked his eyes from Julia's car an instant before the crash.
  • "Crazy God damned fool," the farmer said as he crawled painfully from th_reckage of his pick-up truck. "Crazy God damned fool!" He clutched at hi_rm; it was broken and bleeding. "Passing on a curve! God damned fool, passin_n a curve!"
  • Julia had stopped her car. She ran toward the two wrecks.
  • "Any kid knows better, any two year old kid," the farmer said; he stared, unbelieving, at his arm. He sat down and was sick.
  • It was growing lighter. Mist lay over the valley. The air was damp with fadin_ight.
  • Julia's feet made harsh clicks on the road.
  • At Walt's car she stopped. The farmer watched her with mute pain behind hi_yes.
  • Reaction set in. She thought she was going to be sick, herself. She leane_gainst the wrecked car.
  • "We better get him out," the farmer said dully.
  • Julia nodded.
  • Between the two of them, they forced the door open and lifted Walt out to th_avement.
  • "Easy," the farmer said.
  • Julia stood over Walt's limp body. His jaw was broken and twisted to one side.
  • His chest was bloody; blood trickled from his nose; his hair was matted wit_lood.
  • "He's still breathing," the farmer said hoarsely.
  • He looks so boyish, she thought. I can't believe … he doesn't seem a killer. _ate whoever made a killer out of him.
  • Walt's chest rose and fell; his breath entered his body in tremulous gasps.
  • She wanted to bathe his face with cool water and rest his head on her lap. Sh_anted to ease his pain.
  • She turned away.
  • In the tool compartment of the wreck she located a tire iron. She brought i_ack.
  • Her hand was slippery around the icy metal.
  • He's dying anyway, she thought. It doesn't have to be my hand that kills him.
  • Tears formed in her eyes.
  • Walt moaned.
  • Julia's hand tightened on the tire iron.
  • But the risk … she thought: if he should wake up and heal himself … he'll kil_e. The world will never be warned of the invasion, then. It's his lif_gainst the world; his life against a billion lives.
  • She lifted the tire iron. She averted her eyes as she got ready to swing i_avagely at his unprotected skull.
  • Cursing, the farmer reached out with his good hand and grabbed her upraise_rist. "My God, what are you trying to do?"
  • "I've … I've got to kill him."
  • The farmer stepped between her and Walt.
  • "I've got to."
  • "Not while I'm here, Miss, you don't."
  • "Listen—!" she began. Then hopelessly, she let the arm holding the tire iro_all limply to her side. He wouldn't believe me if I told him, she thought.
  • Nobody will believe me; not a person on the planet. It's too fantastic: a_nvasion of earth. I've got to have some sort of proof to make them believ_e.
  • No proof.
  • _I can't let Walt die!_  she thought. He's the only proof I have. He's th_nly one who can convince anyone of the invasion.
  • He's got to live! she thought. I've got to get him to a hospital.
  • Walt's face was bloodless.
  • "… he's dying," the farmer said.
  • "But he can't die!" Julia cried desperately. "He can't die!"
  • "You're crazy," the farmer said evenly. "First you get ready to brain him wit_ tire iron and then you say he's got to live. Lady, if I hadn't stopped yo_hen I did, he'd be dead as hell right now."
  • "I wasn't thinking; I didn't realize… ."
  • Breath rattled in Walt's throat.
  • "Gas … I'm out of gas," Julia said.
  • She ran to the wrecked truck. She jerked a milk can upright. She unscrewed th_ap and emptied milk on the pavement.
  • With the tire iron she split the gas tank and caught as much of the sharp- smelling fluid as she could in the emptied can.
  • It sloshed loudly as she raced to her car with it. She fumbled the gas tan_ap off. She was trembling so badly that she spilled almost as much as sh_oured into the opening. When the gas was all gone, she threw the milk ca_rom her.
  • "I'll back up!" she cried to the farmer. "You'll have to help me get him int_he back seat."
  • He's  _got_  to live, Julia thought. If the doctors can just bring him t_onsciousness, he can heal himself. When he realizes I've saved his life, maybe he'll listen to me. He's got to listen. I'll convince him, I'll reaso_ith him. He'll be able to prove to everybody that there will be an invasion.
  • When they see all the things he can do, they'll have to believe him… .
  • They put Walt in the car. They handled him as gently as they could.
  • "He's almost gone," the farmer said.
  • "Get in front with me. You need a hospital, too."
  • The farmer slipped in beside her.
  • Julia spun the car around and plunged down the road toward the super-highway.
  • "Where's the nearest doctor?"
  • "Town eight miles down the road," the farmer said. He grimaced in pain. H_oughed, and blood flecked his lips. He wiped off the blood and stared at i_rying across the back of his hand. "I … think I'm hurt inside." There wa_arely controlled hysteria in his voice. He coughed again and shuddered. "M_ife, she wanted me … to stay home this morning… ." He shut his eyes tightly.
  • "I've got to patch the roof." He opened his eyes and looked pleadingly a_ulia. " _I've got to patch the roof, don't you understand!_ "
  • "I'm driving as fast as I can. Which way do I turn down there?"
  • "… turn right."
  • "We'll be to a doctor just as soon as I can get there."
  • She slowed down and turned onto the concrete slab of the super-highway.
  • Then she slammed the car to a full stop; she backed up out of the line o_raffic, back onto the cross road. She cut the motor.
  • Julia had felt the bridge in her mind snap shut. Instantly even the mos_bscure brain compartment was open to her. Fatigue vanished. She was alert; she was able to think with great clarity.
  • The lightning recovery of  _herself_  forced a series of ever widenin_mplications to her attention; in a blinding flash of insight she was (perhap_ctually for the first time) aware of the degree to which she could transfor_ociety.
  • Given time, she—she alone—like the magician Prospero in  _The Tempest_  coul_reate some paradise of cloud-capped towers and gorgeous palaces and solem_emples and winding brooks and crisp channels and green lands that need never (the Calibans being transmuted by power beyond the lust for power) dissolv_nto air, thin air, leaving not a cloud behind.
  • If all the people were as she, the great globe of the world could become a_nchanted island: with wars and bloodshed and prejudice and inhumanit_orgotten.
  • Some such was her thought. It washed over her, the vision, and vanished in th_cute reality of the moment. Such a dream was athwart the invasion plan of th_liens.
  • She was out of the car. She was opening the rear door. She stood at Walt'_ead. He'll have to help me, she thought, he has information I want.
  • She felt for the pattern of his body. She experienced it. Concentrating wit_he full force of the human brain, she began to mend the breaks and rupture_nd wounds.
  • It took time.
  • Don't reheal his mutant bridge, she thought. Leave him defanged.
  • His jaw returned to its socket. The dried blood on his skin no longer led fro_icious gashes: they had closed and were knitting.
  • She was finished. He was still unconscious.
  • Even as she turned to heal the farmer, a section of her brain drew conclusion_rom the fact she could be relieved of her powers. Some outside force wa_esponsible for holding the bridge closed in her mind. It could be turned o_nd off.
  • But why, when the force controlling her bridge had vanished, had Walt's bridg_emained intact? She reviewed all the information she had.
  • There are two compartments of mutants on the alien ship.
  • Then each compartment must have its own … frequency. The aliens selected Walt, she thought, to kill me because his bridge operated on a different frequenc_han mine.
  • Speechless the farmer had watched her heal Walt; now he relaxed under th_oothing fingers of her thought. He  _felt_  the bone in his arm being mad_hole again.
  • He no longer needed to cough.
  • She tried to create a bridge in his brain; but she could not; it was outsid_he pattern. If she were to give him one, it would require surgery.
  • She was once again in the seat beside him.
  • "You're a, you're an  _angel_ ," he said. Awe made his voice hollow. "I'll b_od damned if you're not an honest to Jesus, real live angel."
  • "I'm human."
  • "… you couldn't be."
  • "Well, I am."
  • He frowned, "… lady, after what I just seen you do, I'll believe it if you sa_o. You just tell me, I'll believe it."
  • "I've got to get into San Francisco. I'll have to leave you. You can catch _ide or something."
  • He scrambled out of the car.
  • Impulsively Julia reached in her handbag for a bill. She found one. "Here,"
  • she said, thrusting it on him, "this is for your milk."
  • The farmer took it automatically. He put it in his wallet and put the walle_ack in his overalls without bothering to watch what he was doing. He wa_atching her.
  • If they're all as easy to convert as he is … she thought.
  • "Can I ask you a question?"
  • "What?" she said.
  • "If you're human, what am I?"
  • "We're not  _quite_  the same," Julia said. "Maybe some day we will be… ."
  • She wheeled onto the super-highway and headed toward San Francisco.
  • She switched on the automatic-drive and turned her attention to Walt.
  • She was unable to awaken him. After such a severe shock as he had experienced, his nervous system demanded rest; he no longer had the recuperative powers o_ mutant.
  • Even if I alert Earth, she thought what can we  _do_? How can we prepare? _ould … but I'm only one. They'd gang up on me and kill me in a minute… .
  • Earth will fight; at least we won't give up. I'll have to get us as ready as _an, and we'll fight.
  • I need Walt. What kind of weapons will we be up against? Where will th_nvasion strike first? When? He'll have scraps of information that I can pu_ogether to tell me more than he thinks he knows.
  • How can I convince him to help me?
  • … if I've figured it out right, there's got to be records somewhere. Birt_ertificates, things like that. If I'm right about babies being missing th_ear of the last big saucer scare, there's got to be birth certificates. I'l_heck newspaper files in San Francisco.
  • If I can just find Walt's birth certificate! That will convince him!
  • She thought about the space station floating somewhere in the sky; she trie_o picture the aliens who manned it.
  • God knows how, she thought, but we'll fight!
  • In the space station, the aliens were in conference.
  • **There can't be any doubt but that she's dead,** Forential projected.
  • **Your Walt is a good one,** Lycan thought. **Best mutant on the ship.**
  • Jubilation flowed back and forth. The other aliens congratulated Forential.
  • **It was nothing,** Forential told them.
  • **I feel infinitely better, now that she's out of the way,** the Elde_ommented.
  • **We'll strike with the main force a day before we planned to,** Lycan tol_hem. **That's best all around. We expect most trouble from the American Ai_orce. It will be least alert on a Sunday morning.**
  • In San Francisco Julia drew up in front of an unpretentious hotel on Pol_treet. Walt, was still unconscious in the back seat.
  • After she arranged for a room, she returned to the car. She seized Walt at hi_rm pits and hauled him to the sidewalk. She held a tight distortion fiel_round his body. He was dead weight against her. She draped one of his arm_bout her neck. When she began to walk, his feet shuffled awkwardly.
  • She felt as conspicuous as if she were smoking a pipe.
  • She wedged her body against the door of the hotel and dragged Walt inside.
  • Although he was invisible, the effect of his body pulling down on hers wa_eadily apparent. She half stumbled toward the elevator.
  • The clerk, a counterpart of the one she had had in Hollywood looked up i_nnoyance. He snorted through his nose. He eyed her narrowly. He seemed abou_o leave his position behind the desk.
  • Julia propped Walt against the wall and rang for the elevator. She smile_anly in the direction of the clerk. Shaking his head and grunting hi_isapproval, he settled back in his chair.
  • Walt's heavy breathing was thunderous in her ear. She braced him with her hi_hen he started to slip to the floor.
  • The elevator came.
  • "Step up, please."
  • Straining against his weight, she hauled Walt's feet up over the edge of th_age. The feet scraped loudly on the floor.
  • The elevator operator raised his eyebrows ever so slightly. He cocked his hea_o one side. "Something wrong?"
  • "Oh, no," Julia said brightly. "Everything's fine."
  • The operator started the car. "A young lady ought to be careful in this town,"
  • he said. "A young lady oughtn't to drink so much." He shook his head sadly.
  • "There's a case of rape in the papers nearly every day."
  • "… I'll be careful."
  • "They pick up young ladies in bars all the time. You never can tell about th_en you're liable to meet, if you go in bars. You have to watch yourself i_his town."
  • "Seven, please."
  • "Yes, ma'm."
  • The elevator stopped. Julia dragged Walt out.
  • "You mind what I say!" the operator called after her. "You be careful, now, and stay out of bars. You never can tell… ."
  • Once she got Walt inside her room, she breathed a sigh of relief. She release_he distortion field. He was visible again.
  • She removed the top sheet from the bed. She wrestled his body onto the bed.
  • She ripped the sheet into strips. She worked rapidly. She was still able t_old off fatigue; she felt no need of sleep. She was ravenously hungry.
  • With the strips of sheet, she tied Walt securely. She used a knot that woul_equire cutting to be undone. She pulled the strips tight. They did no_nterfere with free circulation, but there was no possibility of them bein_lipped. She had no intention of not finding Walt there when she came back.
  • She surveyed her handiwork with satisfaction.
  • Whistling softly she left the room and walked down the corridor. She stoppe_histling abruptly and glanced around in embarrassment. She had remembered th_ld adage: 'A whistling girl and a crowing hen are sure to come to some ba_nd'.
  • There seemed to be something  _indecent_  about whistling in public.
  • The fact that she had, colored her emotions with uneasiness.
  • She realized that there might be a million such superstitions—many of them no_ecognized as superstitions at all—buried in her personality. Her brain migh_e highly efficient, but was it efficient enough to overcome all the emotiona_iases implanted by twenty-four years of environment? Was even her knowledg_f the real nature of the world—was mankind's—sufficient to overcome suc_iases?
  • Perhaps, she thought, I'm not as smart as I thought I was. There may be dee_nd illogical currents in me. Perhaps I'm not, not  _mature_ enough for suc_ower as I've been given.
  • Annoyed, she took out a cigarette, and in defiance of cultural tradition, li_t there in the corridor while she waited for the elevator.
  • The operator did not approve of women smoking in public. He said so.
  • She ate in the coffee shop.
  • After the meal, she took a cab to the offices of the morning paper.
  • In the entranceway to the building, sure that no one was watching, she becam_nvisible.
  • Half an hour later, possessed of the information she had come after (harveste_rom the back files of the paper) she was once again in the street.
  • In her room, she went to the telephone. She placed a long distance call to _oston hospital.
  • The news had not been widely reported. She found most of the names in brie_aragraphs stating that Mr. and Mrs. such and such had settled their sui_gainst the so and so hospital out of court. In the three cases where th_onfinements had been in private homes, there had been kidnapping stories i_he paper. In one of the cases, a man had later been convicted an_xecuted—although the body of the child had never been recovered from the pon_nto which the prosecution contended it had been thrown.
  • She talked to the switch board operator at the Boston hospital. She was give_he superintendent. He—impressed by the fact that she was calling from th_acific coast—sent his secretary to rummage the files for the hospital's cop_f the birth certificate.
  • Julia waited.
  • "Yes, I have it."
  • "It's on the child of Mr. and Mrs. George Temple?"
  • "That's right."
  • Julia concentrated as hard as she could.
  • "You have it in your hand?"
  • "Yes."
  • "Would you look at it closely?"
  • "… what?"
  • "Look at it closely, please."
  • "Young lady—"
  • " _Please_ , sir."
  • "All right. I am. Now what information did you want? It reads—What the hell!
  • Where did that go? Say, how did you—"
  • Julia hung up. She looked at the birth certificate lying by the telephone. Sh_icked it up. It was none the worse for teleportation.
  • She put it on the dresser and returned to the phone.
  • By the time Tuesday was well into the afternoon, when the cool rays of th_inter sun lay slanting upon the murmuring crest outside, she had nine birt_ertificates on the dresser. Nine times the bell boy had come to her room t_ollect for the telephone charges. The last time, she forgot to make Wal_nvisible. The bell boy said nothing.
  • Julia was annoyed by her carelessness. The bell boy's foot-falls died in th_arpet of the corridor. She went to the door and looked out. He was gone.
  • She closed the door and crossed to the bed. She had exhausted her list o_ames. She set about rousing Walt.
  • He's handsome, she thought.
  • His eyelids flickered.
  • He opened his eyes. Memory slowly darkened his irises. He glared up at her.
  • He surged at his bonds, striving to rip free and throw himself upon her. H_ugged at his right hand. His fingers writhed. A frown passed over his face.
  • He jerked his right hand savagely.
  • "You have been deprived of your power," Julia said.
  • Stunned, he lay back. "I, I don't understand."
  • "You thought you were a Lyrian," Julia said. "You were wrong. You're a_arthman. I am an earthwoman."
  • "That's a lie! I'm not an earthman!"
  • "You are now. How are you different?"
  • "That's a lie. I'm, I'm… ." He fought against the tentacle-like strips o_heet.
  • "Is it a lie, Walt?"
  • He continued to struggle.
  • Smiling, she taunted him: "When I was a little girl, I used to get mad an_hrow rocks… . It never did any good. Lie still."
  • I shouldn't tease him, she thought contritely.
  • She felt very sorry for him. How frustrated he must feel! How hurt and puzzle_nd helpless and betrayed!
  • He's like Samson shorn.
  • "I know how you feel," she said softly. "I felt that way when you were chasin_e. You're going to listen to me. After I'm through talking to you, maybe I'l_et you up."
  • Glaring hotly, he relaxed.
  • "I saved your life," Julia said. "Don't forget that. You could thank me."
  • "You had a reason then. You're a traitor. You had your reasons to."
  • She slipped to the end of the bed. Gently she unlaced his shoes and slippe_hem off.
  • His face purpled with impotent anger.
  • She peeled off his socks.
  • Then, one by one, Julia compared the footprints on the birth certificates wit_alt's feet.
  • Hot tears of defeat brimmed up within Walt; indignant rage filled his eyes.
  • Julia turned to put the birth certificates back on the dresser.
  • None of them corresponded to his prints.
  • Walt wanted to bite down on something. He gritted his teeth. Then, as Juli_as turning away from him, he felt once again the weird blending of his min_ith Calvin's. He realized that it was some exclusive power given to Calvi_hat caused the blending: he was not even any longer a, a Lyrian!
  • Joy vibrated in his body. Drawing on the new power in his mind, he hurled _icture from the wall at the back of Julia's unprotected head.
  • She half turned. The heavy wooden frame hit her in the temple. With a littl_espairing sigh of surprise she sank to the carpet.
  • I'll kill her this time, Walt thought. He displaced the binding from his righ_and.
  • And Calvin's mind withdrew.
  • Walt tried desperately to tear loose his other hand; the knot would not yield.
  • He tried to reach Julia. He tried to reach something to throw at Julia. H_ould not. He let out a roar of baffled rage.
  • Julia was struggling to her feet.
  • Standing uncertainly, she shook her head. Her eyes cleared. She let out he_reath. The recuperative powers of a mutant were in action. "That was an awfu_allop," she said calmly. "How did you manage it?"
  • Walt said nothing.
  • Julia wrinkled her forehead. Her mind was steady and alert. "I felt anothe_ind just before I turned. Someone called Calvin, wasn't it?"
  • Walt was sweating.  _How smart is she? Can she guess everything?_
  • "Somehow he gains rapport with you." Her fingers tapped restlessly on th_resser top. "If you could maintain contact with his mind all the time, yo_ould; that's obvious, isn't it? He must make contact with yours, then. Yo_on't know just when he's going to contact you, do you?"
  • Walt licked his lips.
  • "He must be abnormal. A normal mutant couldn't do that. I'll have to find som_ay to seal his mind off from yours, I guess. I'll have to interfere with tha_ort of thing. In the meantime, I'll have to keep a sharp eye on you."
  • Walt glared at her. "Damn you," he said.
  • "Why don't the aliens do the fighting for themselves?"
  • The question was unexpected. "You got it wrong," he said automatically. "The_re helping Lyrians out of the goodness of their hearts." It was as if he wer_peaking to Calvin; it made him feel, momentarily, superior to her. He graspe_he opportunity with pathetic gratefulness. "They're afraid!" he crie_riumphantly. "We're not that far advanced yet!"
  • Julia paused to consider this. "Yes, that figures," she said. "But suppose fo_ minute that you're not a Lyrian. Suppose they're using you to fight fo_them_."
  • "No," Walt said.
  • "But why not?"
  • "No," he repeated. He tried to keep doubt out of his voice. His anger wa_one. He felt uncertain and confused. He could not think clearly.
  • "You're a mutant," Julia said. "Like I am. Our parents were earthlings. Th_liens are using mutants. The aliens changed our parents' genes—"
  • "I don't understand that word."
  • Julia smiled twistedly. "Think how ignorant they kept you, Walt. Isn't tha_roof enough for you?"
  • Walt said nothing.
  • "… Genes are the substances which transmit characteristics from generation t_eneration. If you wish to change hereditary characteristics, you must chang_he genes. The aliens changed our genes so we would be able to use all of ou_rains. The normal earthling is just like you are right now: unable to us_ore than one sixth of his brain. The aliens collected all the mutants; all o_hem but me. They overlooked me."
  • Walt twisted uncomfortably.
  • "But they still control us," Julia said. "There is a bridge that is hel_losed by a special frequency. That's why we've just recently been able to us_ur full powers. They just recently turned the frequency on."
  • "But—"
  • "The frequency that controls my bridge is different from the one controllin_ours. There are two groups of mutants on the ship. The female you saw, th_ne you thought was a Lyrian, was a mutant from the other group. I'm on th_requency of that group. It's the group that's going to attack Earth first.
  • They are the ones that are going to cause the war your Forential told yo_bout."
  • Walt's mouth was dry. Stop! he wanted to cry to her. Please, stop!
  • "… keep birth records," Julia continued. Walt had missed some of it. "No tw_ets of prints can be identical. A group of babies vanished during the las_ig flying saucer scare.  _You were one of them._  I was trying to find you_irth certificate. If I could find it… ."
  • Julia talked on. Her voice was sincere and intense and compelling. As h_istened, Walt felt the case against the aliens grow stronger.
  • Can't think clearly, he told himself. Trust Forential.
  • No.
  • He did lie about the war.
  • Forential lied about that.
  • He'd lie about … about other things?
  • They kept me in ignorance, he thought. Perhaps they really were afraid I'_iscover my real nature.
  • I don't know; I can't think; I can't  _think_!
  • As he watched Julia, the female who had (the truth of this slowly dawned o_im) actually saved his life, he felt the first stirrings of an emotion he wa_ot prepared to cope with. How pretty she looked, standing before him, he_yes serious and her face intent. He wanted to nestle her.
  • The footprints, he thought. She couldn't find mine among the birt_ertificates she had. She could have faked a set if she'd wanted to. Does th_act she didn't mean she's not lying?
  • I think I'm sorry I threw the picture at her.
  • "If you could have heard Mrs. Savage on the phone," Julia said, "you'_nderstand better. She lost her son—had him  _stolen_ —and she was stil_aving the birth certificate, after this long. She told me she knew she'd fin_im some day."
  • Mrs. Savage sounds just like Forential, Walt thought.
  • "She's been waiting all these years," Julia said. "She's never given up hope."
  • Still waiting for her … son, Walt thought. Still waiting, still needing he_on.
  • Walt had never thought much of his parents until now. They were obscured b_orential; they existed somewhere on Lyria. But suppose Julia were telling th_ruth? Would they have been more fond of him than Forential? Could they hav_een?
  • There were so many things he did not understand. He must ask Forential abou_he process by which babies are created; what was the connection betwee_arent and child? It was all so  _puzzling_.
  • … why not ask Julia?
  • "Wait a minute," Walt interrupted. "I understand so very little. How ar_abies made?"
  • And there was a harsh, peremptory knock on the door. The manager's angry voic_ame booming through the paneling:
  • "The bell boy tells me you've got a man tied to the bed in there! We can'_ave that sort of thing in this hotel! Open the door, you hear me? Open th_oor!"