Chapter XXIII
by General (Uncle Claude) Xxaxx
& General (E.J. Gold) Nunan PFC 1st Class Ret.

Half in herself and half out of herself Woo watched as a younger self was greeted by the younger Ja Mere.

“Well, how did it go?” Looking into Woo’s eyes, Ja Mere knew that something happened in the jungle that has left a mark of change in his roommate that no conversation could penetrate. Since guys don’t hug, it was Ja Mere’s clumsy way of affirming their friendship.

“It went fine. It went just fine. Remind me to tell you about it sometime. Right now do you have one of those beers that you’ve been hoarding?”

Woo could see and hear with crystalline clarity, but the smells and body sensations were significantly attenuated and spotty. Some smells were sharp and evident others were notably absent. Woo could smell the beer from across the room even before it was opened but the characteristic antiseptic smell of the ozonator was missing.

Woo knew that if she didn’t reassert her voguing and general primate cover she would not be able to bridge the two worlds. Drak hinted as much in the long hours of training. An interesting trick the dragons have for time-extension. Before this weekend if anyone had told her that they had spent a century somewhere last weekend, she would have assumed it to be nothing more than a joke slandering a particularly boring town. Now Woo knew first hand what it was like to spend a century between meals and train for a millennium over the course of a single weekend.

Watching herself interact with Ja Mere reasserting her masculine persona and reestablishing their roommate relationship, Woo wondered at the oddity of it all. Here she was or rather there she was in the past, establishing her self in preparation for three more years of graduate training when her actual training was complete. After that one very long weekend, any interactions Woo had with the dragon clans would be for the benefit of the academic community’s notion of training and the fulfillment of beginning work obligations that Woo has accepted. The dragons have a saying about training, “Training is worthless without a job and, if you have a job, you don’t need the training.”

Slipping in an out of the dream or re-scan whatever this was called, Woo relived sporadic moments selected from her college days. The selection process seemed to have a thread of purpose running through it. Apparently something that Drak cooked up. She could vaguely remember a life in the future laying on the floor in a notel room re-scanning her life while a goober watched from the side.

Appart from a few highlights the rest of Woo’s college career was relatively undistinguished, with an undertone of diligence and persistence to a task. Her dissertation was above average but nothing to write home about. But that didn’t matter. It was all part of a facade, a uniform that she wore like a pair of pants, vest and jacket — just another form of voguing.

At the time Woo didn’t know or care why she was so reserved. From this perspective the memory of Drak implanting the instruction to be responsive and not initiate anything was as real, and in many ways more vivid, as the days that slipped by during school. It was probably a blessing in disguise that Woo had such little conscious involvement. To satisfy the administrative board and not accidentally betray her real talents Woo was forced to live an extremely undistinguished life. Almost a zombie existence.

Woo remembered her twenty-fifth birthday and the next afternoon. Little Roy’s first day on the job. Every Egghead was assigned a goober upon their twenty-fifth birthday. This was an important moment from those five years. The dragons had given her one clue to watch for. “Pay attention to your goober — the smallest shall become the largest.” Woo chuckled, the dragons really did have such a proclivity for riddles and cryptic messages.

Why goobers are assigned on the twenty-fifth birthday no one has been able to fathom. A qualified egghead could start research anytime after prep school graduation. And goobers are assigned for the specific purpose of preventing eggheads from engaging in research and xpearimintation. The fear and dread of scientist will never again be wiped from the hearts and minds of the people. In a perverted twist of irony, the citizins borrowed a slogan from holocaust survivors of the late twentieth and twenty-second century — “never again.”

General History (Subhead Xpearimintation) The results of scientific investigations were used to obliterate nearly the whole of the planet. Even the sekrit efforts of scientists that have allowed the citizins to live in the relative splendor can not counter the impression left by that foul day in the history of science, Blackest Easter.

User Commentary: I have learned many things from the dragons. One talent that proved invaluable in tracking down the roots of citizin prejudice against eggheads — the ability to travel back through time — not physically but as an observing point of view. It is as such that she has reviewed the events leading up to the plague of 2095. One would think that it was the eternal battle between forces of good and evil, or a cold war boiling over. Nope, as Woo found out over the course of several sojourns in time, it was a major department store chain’s attempt at a marketing coup — the Easter present to end all Easter presents. In an effort to capture the already overworked holiday market Lacy’s Department store hired a team of geneticist to produce multicolored pocket-sized egg shaped live Easter bunnies. The multi-colored part was easy. The size reduction to pocket size was also relatively straightforward. The part that took everyone by surprise was the shape. In spite of the rotund shape of bunnies it is not that possible to coax their figures into egg shape — genetically or otherwise. In a final last-ditch effort to avoid the invocation of breach of contract penalty clauses, the firm of Interloper Biotech did something they shouldn’t have. Never mind the exact technique used, it had been outlawed for several decades as too dangerous to the eco-pool, the result was disastrous — the purple bunny plague of 2095. The gestation period for the mutant mini-bunnies was fifteen minutes. As a result they had an absolutely voracious appetite. They ate everything in sight, pausing only long enough to breed and give birth. When a population doubles every fifteen to thirty minutes it does not take long until you are up to you ears in bunnies — figuratively speaking. Since the bunnies were omnivores, eating everything organic, the egg shaped bunnies from hell would have eaten one up long before reaching ear level. The only safe haven from them was behind steel and concrete, antique pre-plastic cars, vaults, ancient bomb shelters, etcetera.

During those three years, using dragon magic, Professfor Woo was able to scan the archives of time, learning the genesis for the extreme hatred of scientists, why it was a felony offense to celebrate Easter (other than attending services held in concrete bunkers), and where the name egghead came from.

At first Woo, had hoped to recover knowledge from the past that was lost in the disintegration following the great plague. Strangrely enough there was no lost knowledge. Any information that one wished to access was available at fingertip from the NetCom of Congress. What was missing was artistry. The equations for chemical titrations are easy enough to bring up on any computer screen connected to the main network. But, how does one exercise the skill necessary to attain high accuracy and precision? These are elements of artistry and they are gone. All that is left is the empty husk of information. One can assume that practice follows easily from theory. One can also assume that levitation follows from thinking light thoughts.

Hidden away in the fuzzy days of college — there it was all the time. One can assume that levitation follows from thinking light thoughts — or at least thoughts of levity. It was good to see this current of the dreamweave and verify the results of her meeting with Drak. With verification of this evocational key, Woo came to herself no longer a stranger to herself. The training, her real training was returned to her as was her sense of purpose. Yes, the alleviation of the squishing of mankind was important, but she also knew that something much more important lay in her path, if only she could follow it far enough. Looking Little Roy’s eyes, there was a depth that gave lie to his idiocy. There was much more to these goobers than meets the eyes. Time to return to Merika and see what the next step will reveal.

“Little Roy, tonight we will have a very nice dinner and any special entertainment that you would like. Tomorrow we return to Merika and New Jaij. But for tonight where to first? Did you want to see the Gronkomatic factory that you’ve been on me about.”

“No, I don’t need to go anymore. Drak and I went this afternoon”

This minor bomb shell of major sociological data was delivered in such a nonchalant fashion that it made Professor Woo’s sputtering hysteria seem like an overreaction. This was the first ever meeting of dragon and goober. The fact that Drak regarded the meeting important enough to succumb to the oft complained about disagreeable experience of voguing in a human body — a displeasure no sekrit to anyone that has had the misfortune to casually inquire into Drak’s form changes, and that it happened without Woo’s foreknowledge or premonition . . . Well, let’s just say that sputtering hysteria was not overreacting.

This called for a little investigation. Since questioning a goober was pointless if one had any sense of urgency, Woo chose to use the dragon mind meld — a rather theatrical name for that which was little more than deep level telepathy.

“ . . . ...Boy, I’m glad that Professor Woo will be back soon. I’m running out of places to hide from the yellow bosspersons. Every time I turn around there is another bossperson asking me, ‘Where was my egghead?’ Shopping was not a good answer. If is was a good answer, they would have stopped asking the question. Even my dad will stop asking me questions when I give him a good answer. It makes me wonder what is so wrong with shopping in this country that all the bosspersons are mad that Professor Woo went shopping so long. Three days seems like hardly enough time to make the decisions you have to make in order to shop. Some of my friends can’t go into the Baskin-n-Robins 3 Flavors ice cream stores. They have to go to the Vanilla Shop.

“ . . . .Hello little fishes. How are you today. Is the water okay? I brought you some bread crumbs from the cafeteria.”

Apart from simple memories such as these and the many hours at the pool there was little of interest in Little Roy’s memory. It is what is not in Little Roy’s mind that is most definitely of interest. If not for Little Roy’s unique time sense Woo may never have noticed the gap. After all the gap was only ten minutes of clock time — normally people reset their inner impressions of time flow when confronted with an alternate viewpoint. Not so with Little Roy. His inner clock was better than any clock and anyone other than Greenwich had access to. Because of this Woo was confronted with a thousand year gap in Little Roy’s memory. Not the usual minor memory lapse.

“What are you up to Drak? And, will it be a pleasant or unpleasant surprise?”

“What was that you said Professor Woo?”

“Nothing, Little Roy. Let’s go to dinner. I’m starved, shopping works up an appetite.”


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