13: Power Surge (part 3)

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13.3 In Two Minds

Nottingham, England: 8 July 2091

When the door bell rang Ross and Amelia Nunn had been watching some inane junk purporting to be entertainment. Ross concentrated and the door unlocked itself at the same time the TV switched itself off.

"Shall I..." Amelia started but was cut off by a gentle unspoken 'No' from her husband.

"He knows the way in," Ross said, using speech for a change.

"No, make some tea, I meant," she chided, grinning.

"That sounds lovely," came the voice from the hallway. "White, no sugar, thanks."

Ross stood up. Part of him recognised the visitor who let himself into the lounge. He thought, "but these eyes have never gazed upon this man."

However, Doctor Thompson definitely looked older than the last time their minds had met.

"Yes, the body grows old," Thompson projected, shaking the younger man's hand. "Though, I'm not yet at the stage where I need to steal a new body."

Ross laughed out loud, whilst simultaneously projecting, "We have become used to it. All three of us."

"And how is Amelia coming along?"

"Well enough," Amelia responded from the kitchen in the same non-verbal manner.

Thompson's face crinkled up with obvious delight.

Later, after a simple meal, they turned their attention to other matters. The TV was turned back on so that its noise might disrupt any accidental verbal utterances – well, there was no reason to take chances.

Ross: "We need a permanent presence on the Moon."

Ashley: "Indeed, I have in mind someone you have already encountered. Well, not you exactly, Ross."

Ross, catching a clue in Thompson's thoughts: "Ah, Emily. Yes, she is a talented young lady. A great help in Japan and has gone on to do some very interesting things since."

Ashley snorted: "Young lady? She is forty-six – five years older than yourself."

Ross, laughing: "Parts of me forget."

Amelia: "He sometimes has violent disagreements with himself, you know."

Ashley: "All the more reason for me to keep this old body going as long as I can."

Ross: "I can't disagree. Mental reconciliation is sometimes... difficult. Some things that used to be easy I am having to learn all over again. But, enough of that."

Ashley: "Indeed. Emily was also instrumental in clearing up the mess after the Polish incident. You know she can now get inside computers and AI units from a distance without any need for a physical interface?"

Ross: "So I've heard. Along with the way she is training others in the same art."

Ashley: "An art that is needed often – it's amazing what people will tend to forget once physical data is erased."

Ross: "So, she goes to the Moon, then."

Ashley: "Not for the first time, apparently. She engineered a trip to the Russian base a few years ago. Though all records of that trip have, um, inconveniently disappeared in the meantime."

Both Ross and Amelia laughed out loud this time, and only partially at the unnecessary 'um' that Ashley had included in his projection.

Ashley: "A cover story and a suitably menial occupation will be created for her."

Ross: "Excellent."

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