As soon as he was back on board Naiollah, in his bed, Ahlane asked Mlane to let them alone for some time. Ghethe knew that Ahlane was angry because of his escapade, therefore he was thinking feverishly of ways to restore her friendship. He was about to set the new vector for Naiollah when Ahlane interrupted him.
     “Wait a moment, Ghethe,” she said in a firm voice, “I intend to check on the route you have selected.”
     “Yes, of course, Ahlane. Naiollah, show us the route, please.”
     “Wait, Ghethe. Naiollah, how much energy we have left?”
     “We have seventy-six parts per unit of energy left, Ahlane.”
     “Naiollah, have we replaced any lost energy on Kolta?”
     “None, Ahlane.”
     “Ghethe, could you, please, explain to me: why did we stop on Kolta?”
     Ghethe was frozen scared while he tried desperately to find some good reasons to settle things down.
     “I am still here and waiting, Ghethe,” announced Ahlane in a dry neutral voice.
     Ghethe was speechless, mostly because she was even more beautiful than before—as she was angry and looking straight in his eyes—but he was also dead scared of losing her. He pleaded shyly, “It was close to our route, Ahlane. Please be reasonable.”
     “I do not care about your . . . needs, Ghethe; as I said, I could even understand them. What I do not understand is, why did you deceive us?” asked Ahlane, and she ended her words with much irritation.
     He protested anemically, “I did not deceive you, Ahlane.”
     “You said that you have to stop for refueling, didn’t you?” inquired Ahlane furiously.
     She was really angry, and Ghethe was very scared! Ahlane had a musical voice which sounded very pleasing to Ghethe. Even as she was angry, her voice sounded like an incredibly nice, soothing music to him, therefore he had to be particularly attentive to detect her actual state of mind in order to react appropriately. He was desperately scared of losing Ahlane because he couldn’t imagine his future life without her voice, without her smile, without her looks, and without her presence. He answered with little energy, “If you take it literally . . .”
     “Literally! How do you want me to take it?” asked Ahlane angrily.
     “There are many kinds of refueling,” answered Ghethe shyly.
     “Aha! Soo, you needed a personal refueling!” concluded Ahlane on a disapproving tonality.
     “Sort of,” agreed Ghethe. It was a lousy defense, but nothing more intelligent came into his mind.
     “Why didn’t you say so from the very beginning?”
     Ghethe was thinking hard of some good reasons to calm Ahlane, but none seemed to be sufficiently sound. He decided to try one of them anyway. He said, “Ahlane, you take this situation too seriously. We are not in a race, My Dear. I believe that meeting people and analyzing new cultures is more important than running after a two hundred i-std. years old data treasure.”
     “And Kolta is a good place to study people and their cultures?” wondered Ahlane.
     “Yes, My Dear!” answered Ghethe quickly, with confidence.
     “It is the same as anywhere else!” replied Ahlane perplexed, though also annoyed.
     “Oh . . . Well, Kolta is a place . . . like any other,” admitted Ghethe troubled, then he continued while watching Ahlane with guilty eyes, “It happened that I had, indeed, a personal interest—”
     Ahlane interrupted him in a defensive attitude, “Ghethe, do not get me wrong: you can do whatever you want, and it is not my business to ask about your intentions—”
     He realized that was a particularly dangerous trend, therefore he interrupted her quickly, “Oh, Ahlane, please do not talk that way! We are friends, therefore you have all the rights to tell me if you think I did something wrong. Please, do not be angry with me, Ahlane.”
     “I am not angry with you, Ghethe, I am angry with myself!” replied Ahlane with irritation.
     He asked as gently as he could, “Why, Ahlane? Why are you angry with yourself?”
     “Because I trusted you, Ghethe! I trusted you would behave like a friend, and tell me in advance what is going to happen instead of abandoning us!” answered Ahlane furiously.
     “I left you with Mrs. Vorgan! She is a wonderful Lady, Ahlane!” pleaded Ghethe trying to present his actions in a better light.

     Ahlane remembered the past three local days she and Mlane had spent in Mrs. Vorgan’s company. They visited shops and factories, then they traveled to other continents where they visited wonderful cities, and all that time Genea had been very nice and considerate. Everywhere they went they had been met with the highest official honors, and with great courtesy, because it was obvious that everybody on Kolta knew who was the “true” Representative of the System. She and Mlane became very good friends with Genea, and the time spent together had been wonderful, except they were permanently stressed thinking they could lose Ghethe.
     Her anger against his passion for that “horrible thing” had accumulated with each passing day, therefore the time came to release it. She intended to ask Ghethe to take them back to Korwatan City, and then to part afterwards, although that thought made her suffer very, very much!

     “You should have told us, Ghethe!” concluded Ahlane decisively.
     He knew very well that she was right, therefore he started explaining in an imploring voice, “Ahlane there are some things you will never believe me if I tell you about, but you will believe a nice Lady. However, the way things happened was just an unexpected surprise. Yes, it was my intention to get a few flagons of Essence, but I had no idea it was going to be that way. Things got out of my control; it just happened, Ahlane!”
     “Are you trying to insinuate that you didn’t plan it ahead?” asked Ahlane looking suspiciously at him.
     He sensed a shadow of favorable opportunity in Ahlane’s question, therefore he answered quickly, making big, sincere eyes, “No, I didn’t! It took me by surprise, and then it was too late!”
     “All right, Ghethe, if you say it just happened and it was not planned—” said Ahlane, and then she started thinking that, maybe, she had been too rough and too quick in her judgment on Ghethe’s behavior, although she still had many doubts.
     Ghethe rushed to elaborate his explanations, feeling he was on the right vector, “It wasn’t! I came in the Weyla System hoping to get a flagon or two of the best quality Essence, but Nestar told me about some brand I could not believe it may exist. I had to see and taste it to believe, but once inside there was no way I could get out by myself. That place is the strongest fortification I have ever seen. I was totally lost and, later, I had no willpower left to do it.”
     Ahlane waited for a few moments to consider Ghethe’s motivations, and then she began understanding that her suspicions, that Ghethe had a hidden and ugly dependency, were groundless! She started analyzing the initial developments of the situation, and she realized that it was quite possible that Genea had staged the entire incident, driven by her desire to isolate the Ladies from Gentlemen. Ahlane knew that Ghethe was very honest, and she understood she made a mistake accusing him.
     She explained her reasons defensively, while her cheeks were displaying a lot of blue, “Oh, I am sorry, Ghethe. I thought you brought us here because you planned it a long time in advance, or you planned your escapade after you left us with Mrs. Vorgan.”
     With glitters of hope in his eyes, Ghethe replied, “Ahlane, I am very sorry for what happened, My Dear, but I would like you to understand that there may be situations in which we have to separate, although I do not want it. In that kind of situations, you should know very well what to do. If something happens to me, I want you to have Naiollah. She can tell you everything about my accounts, and she will transfer them to you, in my name.
     Naiollah, starting this moment, Ahlane has exactly the same ownership status to you, as I do. She may even decide to abandon me, and you shall listen.”
     “Please confirm the ownership delegation again, Ghethe. This decision is not reversible,” warned Naiollah.
     He replied, “I am well aware of my decision, Naiollah. Please record the new ownership.”
     “The new ownership is officially recorded, Ghethe.”
     “Thank you, Naiollah.”
     “Oh, Ghethe, how can you think we shall ever abandon you?” asked Ahlane timidly, and feeling a lot of shame for her previous suspicions. Her cheeks were burning hot.
     “Oh, My Dear girl, you still do not understand. I do not think that you would ever want to abandon me, but there may be situations in which you will have to abandon me.”
     “To what kind of situations are you referring?” asked Ahlane troubled. She was still disturbed by her previous analysis; therefore, she failed to follow his logic.
     “It does not matter what kind of situations, Ahlane. All that matters is that there may be such situations, and leaving me behind it could be the best solution.”
     “Oh, I see. You are taking into consideration the possibility, not the situation itself.”
     “Yes, My Dear. The possibility is what really matters, because life situations are so unpredictable that anything could happen. Our last experience is a good example. I was unaware, and when I realized that I had no way out it was too late.
     Now, you have total control over Naiollah, and she will help you whenever you need help. In fact, she is your ship now. I shall let Mlane have the same privileges, after I explain her the need for this,” said Ghethe, and he was feeling greatly relieved from his previous fears.
     “Thank you, Ghethe, but I wish you take better care of yourself, and all of us should care for one another all the time.”
     He explained in a caring voice, “Me too, My Dear, except that life may offer to us what we do not want, and we need to be prepared to play on unfair grounds.”
     “Oh, you are right, Ghethe,” said Ahlane with renunciation in her voice. The truth was, she was very happy because he proved to be the honest friend she had hoped he was.
     “And you are right, Ahlane, when you say I should be more careful,” admitted Ghethe with consideration.
     “Yes; please do.”
     “I shall do it for you . . . two,” promised Ghethe, and he managed to add the last word just in time.
     “Good. Now, it is the rest time for you, therefore I am going to give you a tiny yellow pill—” started Ahlane in a sweet voice.
     He interrupted her in a troubled attitude, “Ahlane, are you and Mlane going to watch me while I sleep?”
     “Of course we do, Ghethe, you do not have to worry,” assured Ahlane smiling caringly.
     He confessed shyly, “No, Ahlane . . . I am sorry I caused all these troubles to you—”
     “Maybe we like to do this for you,” interrupted Ahlane, and her smile turned ironic.
     Ghethe asked with a lot of hope in his looks, “You do, Ahlane?”
     “You do, Ghethe?” replied Ahlane mimicking him teasingly.
     Her unexpected reply left Ghethe puzzled. He asked, “Do I what, Ahlane?”
     She explained smiling ironically, “Do you like to see one of us here whenever you open your sleepy eyes?”
     He answered in a timid voice, while avoiding her looks, “I am . . . not very proud to say this but . . . yes; I like it very much to see one of you here.”
     “And so you shall, Ghethe, do not worry. Now, it is good night time for you—” started Ahlane in her sweet voice.
     “Please wait, Ahlane. We haven’t told Naiollah where to go,” observed Ghethe.
     “Well, for now, just send her where you want. Later, we shall change her route if we decide that; right?”
     “Anything you wish, My Dear. Naiollah, take us to the Cappana System at the same speed as previously.”
     “The new vector is set, Ghethe.”
     Soon Ghethe fell asleep feeling greatly relieved that Ahlane had forgiven him for his troublesome escapade.


M7-2     There were again wonderful days for Ghethe, to wake up and see a beautiful and greatly relaxing smile from either Ahlane or Mlane. He tried to make his company as tolerable as possible to each Lady by suggesting interesting topics of discussion, while he was blessing those enchanting moments as they helped him in building new bridges of closer friendship!

     “Ahlane, would you like to study the best route to Dubar with me?” asked Ghethe one day.
     “I would like to study it when we are all together, with Mlane, so that we may decide on the best route democratically,” replied Ahlane.
     “Democracy is almost never the best way to decide, Ahlane. In most instances it is a necessary, though a very bad compromise,” ventured Ghethe knowing perfectly well that his words would stir Ahlane’s thoughts.
     She replied with indignation, “How can you say such a preposterous thing, Ghethe? Democracy is a superior method because it takes into consideration the needs of the many.”
     He started with a kind smile, “No, My Dear, things do not work that way in reality, and I shall try explaining why. Democracy has as its fundament the ‘Democratic Mechanism of Selection’, and that is, in fact, the mathematical average. To start, let’s examine mathematical average at work, as it applies to the individuals of a society.
     Suppose we have nine Representatives having degrees of intelligence, in order, from one to nine. The average is obviously five, though you should note, Ahlane, that there is an ‘under average’ group of people, and an ‘above average’ one. Now, applied to a society, an average decision may help the ‘under average’ people, because it is superior to their level of intelligence, but it should clearly disfavor the ‘above average’ ones, since it is dragging them down.
     The question is, which of the two groups could help more to the prosperous development of that society? It is obvious that the group having superior levels of intelligence is the only one who could push that society ahead. Another question is if the democratic average is a good choice. Of course not, because it favors the less constructive ‘under average’ group, and it disfavors the more capable, the ‘above average’ one.
     These two answers generate a new question: what should we use instead of the democratic average? A quick solution is to use the superior limit of intelligence. The result is, we create only one group of people—let’s name it, the ‘under the maximum limit’—which could only benefit from that superior limit. As for the people at the maximum level, we are certain in this case they are not dragged down, which is very good.”
     “Are you trying to suggest that Democracy doesn’t work, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane, and she felt quite revolted against the idea.
     He answered by developing his theories, “Democracy is very dangerous for the evolution of any Civilization, Ahlane. It favors the group of ‘under average’ intelligence people, and it disfavors those who could push any particular Civilization to higher levels of development.
     In order to understand this concept, think of it this way. Suppose we have a large society having many groups of people. Now, each of these groups, with people having levels of intelligence from one to nine, will elect a Representative who, according to the democratic average, should have a level five of intelligence. Further, if a group of these Representatives needs to elect a Representative of their own, again based on the democratic average, and on a new intelligence scale of five, they will elect a person having a level three of intelligence.
     Please note, Ahlane, this new level three is not the previous level three. It is a level three of intelligence of the second set of people, each having the initial level five of intelligence. The new scale I used is only a magnifier of the previous level five of intelligence.
     To go even further, if many Representatives having a level three of intelligence should elect again a Representative of theirs, and on a new intelligence scale with three levels, a person having a level two shall win. I used again another scale magnifier to better exemplify the theory, Ahlane.
     The mathematical conclusion is, the democratic average has a particular, perpetual trend towards the median limit, and it works as a dragging-back force for social development. Note again, Ahlane, that the initial average level five is very close to the ‘under average’ levels of intelligence, and it is easily within their reach. In fact, to them the average level becomes a target, while the superior levels of intelligence have the choice either to behave like imbeciles, or simply to stay away from social development. In the end, the entire society suffers due to the unintelligent, average, democratic methods.
     Now, if we work with social-mathematical limits, as they are expressed by the influence intelligence has in society, things are this way. The ‘above average’ intelligence group wants to implement constructive changes which would lead to advanced levels of development. The ‘under average’ intelligence group wants to destroy all the existing social values that society has, in order to achieve their ‘total freedom’—to live exactly as the animals do.
     Now come the average people: they feel they are not capable of implementing any constructive changes, but they also do not want to destroy the existing achievements that society already has. Consequently, all their efforts are channeled towards sustaining the actual level of development, since they want it to perpetuate forever.”
     “Ha, ha! If you take it mathematically, Ghethe, it comes out that democratic societies are ruled by idiots,” concluded Ahlane amused.
     “Mathematical model is, indeed, not the real model, Ahlane, as you have noticed, though it helps understanding the development trend in democratic societies: it favors the ‘under average’ groups of intelligence. In a cause-effect relation, only the incapable people are encouraged to reach the highest levels of power in democratic societies. Now, what it is really sad is, they actually do it!
     Please be aware, Ahlane, that it is a lot easier to an ‘under average’ intelligence person to learn a handful of things in order to impersonate a good, solid, level five of intelligence, than it is to a person having a level nine of intelligence to behave properly at the idiotic level five of average intelligence. In addition, in real societies numerical distribution of people has a maximum towards the ‘under average’ intelligence, and it is way lower towards the highest intelligent levels. That uneven distribution of intelligence makes the Democratic Mechanism of Selection to work even worse, because the average intelligence level in real societies is, most frequently, dangerously lower than the theoretical level five.
     Above all, there are a few psychological characteristics specific to each of the two groups. The ‘under average’ people are very bold and eager to climb up on social levels of power, and they are capable of any action in order to reach their purpose. In contrast, the ‘above average’ people are shy, more reserved, and a lot less willing to venture on the social stage.
     I shall let you draw the conclusion, Ahlane, which of these two groups of people is going to gain the leadership, in any democratic society.”

     “The conclusion is obvious, Ghethe—thank you—but what is the solution? Dictatorship?” asked Ahlane confused.
     “Of course not. The solution for a prosperous society is a logic approach. First, the individuals having the most advanced levels of intelligence need to be objectively identified, and that should lead to consideration for superior levels of social power, based on the adequate theoretical and psychological examinations,” detailed Ghethe.
     “All right then, how do we identify the most capable individuals at society level?” inquired Ahlane.
     “Oh, there are many methods, My Dear. However, the tragic reality is, the Democratic Mechanism of Selection is very easy to implement, and it comes with a few propagandistic slogans such as, ‘Democracy is a good method, because it takes into consideration the needs of the many’. Consequently, Democracy is considered to be the simple, trouble-free solution of choice for everybody.
     You see, Ahlane, it is a lot easier in life to do bad than good, because doing good requires such a complex analysis, and such refined mechanisms of implementation, that only a few are truly capable of doing it. In opposition, it is very easy and simple to do bad, or very bad, since that does not require much, or even any logic.
     My opinion is, Democracy leads to a dangerous underdevelopment. It generates injustice for almost all people having superior levels of intelligence, at first. Later, however, social injustice is going to spread for everybody.”
     “Again, how do we identify those most capable individuals at society level, Ghethe?”
     “There are many practical ways, Ahlane, but I shall not talk about them—” started Ghethe.
     “Aha! Why not? Maybe, that is because you do not know them, Ghethe Dakka!” triumphed Ahlane using an accusing voice, and pointing a very beautiful and delicate finger at him.
     Ghethe watched her finger jealously, with eyes filled with desires, for a few moments. He controlled himself and said, “Ha, ha! Oh, no, My Dear. The truth is, there are, indeed, many practical ways to identify and to promote those most capable individuals, in any society. However, the best solutions need to be, always, tailored to specific circumstances.
     This is the actual problem: the democratic average method is bad, though it may be applied in any circumstances, while the better, let’s say, the ‘upper limit’ method is particular to particular circumstances. Now, because the ‘upper limit’ method has this special characteristic, ‘the particular’, I cannot develop it in a general, theoretical discussion,” motivated Ghethe.
     “Oh, I see. You say, the best solutions are always specific, and they cannot be generalized.”
     “Yes, My Dear. We can generalize the concept of better, particular solutions but, if we want to go down to details, we cannot do it without a specific set of circumstances.”
     “You mean, the best solutions are always implemented on a case-by-case basis?”
     “Exactly, Ahlane. However, the interesting nuance you have pointed out is in defining the scale of intelligence, because the official school education cannot reflect the true level of intelligence.
     As a general rule, the most intelligent individuals are intellectual rebels, and they are never understood. Their behavior bothers, since it is out of the ordinary, and they are, almost always, pushed towards the periphery of the democratic societies. Most of them live in dire misery, and they have no chance to ascend to higher social ranks because they simply do not fit in.
     In democratic societies, My Dear, only the average and the under average people will reach the highest, most important social positions, based on the Democratic Mechanism of Selection.”
     “It clear that Democracy doesn’t work very well—this is so bad!” concluded Ahlane with sorrow. She knew that Ghethe had an exceptional intelligence, and she was greatly impressed by his “unexpected” theories, mostly because, in the end, she had no choice but to agree with him!
     “Any concept based on the average notion, expressed either explicitly or implicitly, is not a forward driving engine for any society because it favors incapacity, imposture, and corruption. In other words, slogans like, ‘all’, ‘entire’, ‘everybody’, and ‘democracy’ harbor the average notion implicitly, and that works as a dragging back force for development. Even more, the average notion in itself, whenever used, is the symbol of low, poor quality,” explained Ghethe with a kind smile.
     “Are you thinking of a better Empire?” asked Ahlane smiling sweetly back at him.
     “Permanently, My Dear. I am really sorry that the previous solution of a symbiotic social organism Scientists-Empire proved to be so dangerous. Now, I have no choice but to look for a better one. I need time to clarify my thoughts, and to get as much data as I can because, sooner or later, we shall have to issue decisions, and those decisions are going to show their effect, as your Great Great Grandfather said, after one hundred eighty i-std. years.
     Do you realize, Ahlane, that we hold in our hands the fate of our Civilization, of the children of our children, and some people into the future will think about us? They are going to analyze in details all our actions, and everything we say officially; therefore, we cannot afford to make mistakes.”
     “That bothers me, Ghethe. If a person can see the future as it is, why not say it is going to be either good, or bad? I mean, how is it possible to be good or bad in the same time?” asked Ahlane perplexed.
     “The future didn’t happen yet, Ahlane, and I suspect that in some critical situations it could be changed. The closer we are to the future events, the more accurate are the predictions. But, the further are the events, predictions could change due to some strong decisional factors, particularly improbable in nature.
     Remember those persons capable of changing the abstract course of Social History, Ahlane. In addition to being that . . . absurdly powerful, their destiny is a true optional path which could influence even the fate of the entire Universe, if we consider the maximum influence possible,” explained Ghethe.
     “Well then, if that is the case, we need to make certain the New Empire should develop as much as possible in order to become strong enough to survive the next crisis,” concluded Ahlane.
     “Yeah, although . . . I do not like that path too much either,” confessed Ghethe troubled.
     “You do not want a strong, future Empire, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane looking disbelievingly at him.
     “No, no, My Dear. I do not like to implement changes that would automatically lead to maximum development, but I do want a very strong Empire,” clarified Ghethe.
     “If you do not like those changes, it means you know them,” investigated Ahlane.
     “Of course I know them. You see, Ahlane, by concentrating scientific development into one System of the Empire only, it leads, in fact, to a slower than normal development—a lot slower. However, the entire mechanism was designed to control scientific development, in order to ensure the stability of the Empire. Now, we have to decentralize scientific development if we want maximum development, though we could easily lose both the control and the stability.”
     “Maybe, that is exactly the future crisis predicted,” speculated Ahlane.
     “Those references to a second crisis are very disturbing. The Emperor said we shall need alien help in order to solve the next crisis. Therefore, I incline to believe the next crisis also should come from outside of our future Empire.”
     “He said only the help is going to come from the outside, and he said nothing about the origin of the next crisis,” tried Ahlane to clarify the topic.
     “Yes, but you see, why should we need the alien help, plus our internal forces, to solve an internal crisis? When an internal crisis unfolds, such as someone from outside the Imperial House would grab the power and start a new Dynasty, that is not a crisis. It is a simple change of the Dynasty, though imperial structure is still there, untouched,” explained Ghethe.
     “Oh! So, it doesn’t matter who performs this restoration of the Empire?” asked Ahlane appearing to be highly surprised.
     “No, My Dear. Anybody could do it, as long as the imperial political structure remains the same,” clarified Ghethe smilingly.
     “Then, maybe . . . someone else will restructure the Empire now; not us,” suggested Ahlane.
     “Of course, My Dear, it could happen. However, we have to make certain that regardless of who does this restoration does it towards the good way—which is the one we want. I want you, or your sister, to be the next Empress,” said Ghethe, and he finished his words in a large smile.
     Ahlane paused for a few moments to analyze the idea, then she replied with indignation, “Ghethe, that is not right! That is a . . . a narrow vision! Somebody else could be better prepared to rule the Empire then we are.”
     “Be absolutely confident that there are very many people way better suited to rule the Empire than you are, My Dear, but it doesn’t matter: one of you will have to be the future Empress,” clarified Ghethe, still with a large smile on his face as he was anticipating Ahlane’s next reaction.
     “Have to! Why ‘have to’, Ghethe Dakka?” objected Ahlane rebelliously.
     He explained in a gentle voice, “Because you already ARE the legal heiresses of the Empire, Ahlane, and this will cool down the desire for Civil Wars into the future. Wars are terribly destructive, My Dear. You and your sister are the guarantors of peace and security for the New Empire. In addition, we need to make it, as much as possible, a better society for everybody.”
     “Do you think we can? I mean, look at you: you keep on breaking your bones one after the other, and you haven’t even started to fight,” replied Ahlane worriedly.
     “Ha, ha! These are only minor incidents, My Dear; they are totally not important,” said Ghethe amused by Ahlane’s fears.
     “What if you die, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane concerned.
     “If I die . . . you have Naiollah to protect you, and then . . . You need to look for political alliances, Ahlane; you should take over—” started Ghethe.
     She interrupted him, “I do not think we have any chance, without you, against people like Mortek, like the Scientist, and whoever might be.”
     “Well, in that case, you should look for protection from someplace. You could marry very well, Ahlane,” said Ghethe looking speculatively at her, although he felt a lot of pain inside his soul.
     “Ghethe Dakka! How can you think of those things?” asked Ahlane with indignation, and then she started adding plenty of blue shades on her cheeks. All Zelhane Ladies were well aware about the available scientific data regarding their unique physiology. Therefore to them the “marriage” topic was greatly embarrassing, and the word was almost forbidden.
     “This is a reality, Ahlane: one day you shall have to marry someone,” continued Ghethe with his logic, and with his own self torture.
     “I prefer not to think or talk about it, Ghethe Dakka!” replied Ahlane in a firm attitude, with burning blue cheeks.
     “Of course, My Dear. I am sorry, Ahlane.”


M7-4     Sometimes Mlane was terribly annoying. One day she asked, “Do you like Ahlane, Ghethe?” She had developed a distorted inner pleasure to observe Ghethe attentively, with a scientific curiosity, while he reddened slowly up to the tips of his ears.
     “Ah, hmm, I, hmm, I like you both, Mlane,” replied Ghethe in an unsure voice. He was very scared of her tough direct approach.
     “But she is a lot more beautiful than I am,” persisted Mlane with a semi-subtle smile.
     “You look exactly the same, My Dear . . . Well, there are a few, small differences, but I am confident you are going to be exactly like her,” tried Ghethe to calm down Mlane’s persistence.
     “Don’t you think she is beautiful, Ghethe?” continued Mlane her pressure in a broad ironical smile.
     “Oh, come on, Mlane! Of course she is extraordinary! It is even hard to believe that someone like her could exist, but this is not the point!” said Ghethe while thinking that Mlane was really exasperating.
     “Oh, no? Then, what is the point, Ghethe?” asked Mlane casually.
     “My Dear, the beauty of a Lady comes, always, from inside her. The surface is not important . . . Well, not very much. What is really important is her education, her personal believes and, mostly, her behavior.”
     “You forgot to mention intelligence, Ghethe. Maybe, you consider that Ladies do not need to be intelligent?” inquired Mlane while watching him suspiciously.
     He explained, “You see, Mlane, there is a critical period—which is about your age—during which the Ladies change psychically very much. The way Ladies are is, they FEEL life better than Gentlemen can THINK about it. To be a little more explicit, Ladies inherit genetically particular instincts pertaining to their adult behavior, which only a few Gentlemen manage to understand.”
     “No, that is not intelligence, Ghethe,” objected Mlane pushing the subject further.
     “It is a basic level of intelligence, My Dear, with which the Ladies start in life, and it is much higher than Gentlemen’s. However, further from there, each individual has to work very hard to continue building and polishing her or his intelligence, and education,” detailed Ghethe.
     “You avoid talking about Ladies’ intelligence, Ghethe,” concluded Mlane.
     He tried to negotiate the topic, “Mlane, this is a difficult subject.”
     “Just tell me your opinion,” asked Mlane casually.
     “This could be . . . controversial,” warned Ghethe slightly unsure.
     “Oo! Is it that bad?” asked Mlane with exaggerated curiosity.
     “Oh no, My Dear, on the contrary. I said it could be controversial because very few Ladies know who they really are, and what they need to do, to become better Ladies.”
     “Please, tell it to me, Ghethe! I shall not tell Ahlane,” asked Mlane pleadingly, then she ended her words in a conspirator attitude.
     “I am not afraid if you tell it to Ahlane because I have a very good opinion about Ladies, Mlane. Maybe, even better than they have about themselves.”
     “Tell me about it! Please!” persisted Mlane.
     Ghethe knew very well that Mlane would never end her insistence. He said, “All right, My Dear. You see, the way our species and many others exist is, there are two Representatives of the species: a woman and a man. They look very much alike, and they are very much alike, but that is not important. What is really important are exactly those small gender differences.
     Therefore, for each gender, the way to become better is to develop those gender-specific qualities. Now, some individuals from each gender do manage to achieve that, as I said, with a good education, with reasonable personal believes, and with a very nice behavior.
     The intelligence level is almost the same for both genders, therefore we cannot draw any valid conclusion by comparing them. There are many women more intelligent than men are, and there are also men that are more intelligent than most women.
     I know, you want to say this is a paradox, but what it actually means is, for both genders the intelligence level is an individual gift. Therefore, some individuals may be more intelligent than the others, according to the existing, apparently random order of things in nature.”
     “So, there is no difference between the intelligence of the genders?”
     Ghethe paused for a while to find his words, then he replied smiling ironically, “This is a very difficult topic, My Dear, because it is not easy to understand. The answer to your question is this: no, there is no difference between genders in real life; and yes, there is difference by definition.”
     “Oh, Ghethe, that is terribly confusing,” reproached Mlane perplexed.
     “I am sorry, Mlane, but I warned you this subject is a difficult one. Now, let me explain my words. In the first case—no difference in real life—I consider that the vast majority of the people are not pure psychical genders. In real life, it is common to see psychical gender-interference; therefore, there is no difference between genders.
     In the second case—difference by definition—I take into consideration the fact that there are differences between genders because that is how they were initially created. Women inherit more instincts, to the detriment of logic, because they need those instincts to ensure the evolution of the species. However, logic is the part of intelligence which may be developed during our entire lives. We create it, therefore it depends on individual efforts.
     Now, the difficult part is, women suffer three distinct evolutionary cycles of their intelligence, during their lives—same thing happens to men, but for women those periods are a lot more rich in instinctual transformations. Those three periods are: before being married, after being married, and when they are mothers.
     Before being married, women are more intelligent than men, on average; after they are married, women are less intelligent than men, again on average; and when they are mothers, women could be more intelligent than men, if they work hard on that. Unfortunately, during the last period most women are busy educating their children, because that is a very strong instinct.
     Please note this, Mlane. Although the average is a pertinent notion at gender level, what really matters are the few, possible, superior exceptions.”
     She said timidly, with burning blue cheeks, “This is, indeed, a very complex subject.”
     Ghethe smiled kindly at her, then continued, “It is more complex than you can imagine, My Dear, because the way we are built is almost magic. This could be the greatest mystery of the Universe, and it is also the reason I said the subject could be controversial.
     You see, Mlane, it is extremely difficult to discuss about the true, initial nature of the intelligent beings, excluding the genders. But, if we start discussing about genders without first defining and analyzing the basic common characteristics, the essence and the designation of intelligent beings, then we shall never reach the right conclusions.”
     She looked shyly at him and said, “You suggest that we should first define the common characteristics, and then differentiate the genders?”
     “Exactly, My Dear, and I hope you have noticed that, when I talk about genders, I refer only to the psychological aspect, not to the physiological or the anatomical one, because the intellect is the only one important.
     Now, each gender has an ideal, Mlane, a theoretical Representative which cannot exist, but it is important to mention it, in order to set a reference. That ideal is the ‘normal type’ for each gender.”
     “What do you mean, Ghethe? You try to say that people are abnormal?” asked Mlane amused and amazed altogether.
     “Ha, ha, yes! It may seem absurd to you, but this is our reality, Mlane. You see, the normal ideal requires a perfect psychical balance on the conscious side, meaning the logic, and on the subconscious one, meaning the character, the instincts, and mental powers. That perfect psychical balance is a limit impossible to reach, My Dear: it is an ideal, and the privilege of our CREATOR, only.”
     “Then . . . what are we, Ghethe?” asked Mlane confused.
     He explained amused, “We, My Dear, are closer or further from that impossible to reach ideal, both on the good and on the bad sides. Now, the closest to the ‘normal ideal’ are the True Men and the True Women.
     We need to define what a True Man is, but I am going to let this for you to discover, Mlane. What I can do to help is, I can tell you how I see a True Woman.”
     “Oo, this is so exciting! How do you see a True Woman, Ghethe?” asked Mlane with anticipation of thrilling details.
     “Well, as I mentioned, there are small gender differences which women have, compared to men, and those small differences are very important when defining a True Woman. Of course Mlane, we could talk about women for days, because there are many things to analyze, but let’s keep it at a general level.
     Women have the instinctual quality of motherhood, and that is the most important because it actually defines their entire gender. Then, women have a different type of logic when compared to men, and they should develop their specific way of analysis, even if it may seem that some men are more logic than they are. Another particular aspect is women’s delicate anatomy: they should be very proud about that, because true power never comes from force. Regarding women’s physical beauty, to a True Man it needs to be . . . at an acceptable level, because the interior beauty will always be far more important.
     Ah, if it happens, in a few exceptional cases, that a woman is beautiful inside her soul and outside, on the surface of her skin, that is just . . . highly unusual. As a rule, a True Woman needs to be only nice on the surface of her skin, but very beautiful inside her soul.”
     “So, the inner beauty is the most important for Ladies?”
     “Yes. In addition, the inner beauty is the most important for everybody.”
     She replied casually, “I knew that.”
     “And you wanted me to confirm it?” asked Ghethe puzzled.
     “I was curious to know your opinion. I hope you do not mind,” said Mlane, and then she smiled very much like Ahlane, though not quite the same.

     Ahlane’s smile was more mature, and it had a special, delicate nuance of something mysterious, untouchable, and very gentle in the same time. Ahlane’s smile was fascinating and . . . perfect, according to Ghethe’s tough criteria. In time, he thought, it was possible that Mlane would develop the same exceptional smile . . . although . . . He said, “No, not at all, My Dear. This helps us know one another, to become better friends.”
     “I am very glad you want to be our friend, Ghethe, because it was very hard when we were alone, without any help,” confessed Mlane with sadness.
     He tried to give her confidence, “But you managed to fight very well, My Dear, as I have seen in your Social Psychology year-end thesis. I am very proud of you!”
     “You know, Ghethe, the hardest was, we were alone, we were very poor, and we were sad most of the time. I do not like to be sad, and I do not want Ahlane to be sad!” protested Mlane innocently.
     “And you shall never be, My Dear. Now, I want to give you full ownership of Naiollah, because I already gave it to Ahlane.”
     “Is that wise, Ghethe? We do not know how to take care of Naiollah.”
     “Naiollah will help you whenever you need help, My Dear. I want you both to be safe, if something bad happens to me. Naiollah, Mlane shall have the same ownership status to you as Ahlane and I, starting now.”
     “Please confirm the ownership delegation again, Ghethe. This decision is not reversible.”
     “Naiollah, Mlane shall be your owner, same as Ahlane and I.”
     “As soon as I get Ahlane’s approval, Mlane Loh Zelhane shall be recorded as owner, Ghethe.”
     “Thank you, Naiollah. Now, Mlane, Naiollah belongs to all of us. Indeed, we have to take good care of her, and she will take care of us. She is a good reliable friend, and a secure home.”
     “This is so nice! You see, I was very rich when I was young, only I never knew how to appreciate it. What I mean is, it is very hard to be poor, because it is almost impossible to own something important—a nice home for instance—and that is not good,” explained Mlane in a sad voice.
     “Yes, My Dear, it is not good. On the other hand, because you have experienced that dire life, I hope you never forget it, and you will do whatever you can to help other poor people.”
     “Yes, I will. So; are you glad we are friends?” asked Mlane with a sweet smile.
     He confessed, “Very much, My Dear. I was alone myself, and I longed for some good nice friends, like you and Ahlane.”
    “Yes, but I am very scared we could lose you. What are we going to do, Ghethe?” continued Mlane to explore all possibilities.
     He explained as gently as he could, “First of all, Mlane, you will always have Ahlane to help you, and she has a wonderful, brave soul. Then, you have Naiollah to protect you, and then . . . life should help, My Dear.”
     “I would like to have some strong mental powers, Ghethe, to help you when you need it.”
     “You see, Mlane, mental powers are great, but they far from anything, My Dear.”
     “You mean, there is something stronger?” asked Mlane perplexed.
     “Ha! There are many things,” replied Ghethe smiling amused.
     “Such as?” pushed Mlane.
     “Such as . . . logic, for example.”
     “Logic is more powerful than mental powers?” asked Mlane with doubt.
     “Logic is more powerful than any possible power, My Dear,” declared Ghethe.
     She asked confused, “Why?”
     “Think of it this way. Suppose you are a very strong person, having mental powers similar to a God, but you are not logic enough. In that case, an ordinary person having a good logic could defeat you or, if there is no confrontation, a very logic person is superior to your intellect.”
     “How is that possible, Ghethe? I always considered that Gods are the wisest and most powerful beings.”
     He paused thinking for a while, then said, “Listen to this story, My Dear. We assume that our Universe has regeneration cycles, and we estimate that about twenty-one billion i-std. years have passed since the last one. A Star has a life cycle anywhere from six to fourteen billion i-std. years, therefore our actual generation of Stars is the second one to appear since the last regeneration. There were Civilizations in the first generation of Stars, though most of them ceased their evolution, due to particular reasons, and they vanished. However, a few of them, very few, it may be they have survived to the terrible flow of time.
     The development cycle of a Civilization can be structured on stages, or on steps to achieve, Mlane. The first one is Social Development, in which that Civilization needs to reach a certain, minimal level of social and individual logic intelligence. In other words, the first step of social development is when all individuals would become aware of their existence as a species, of the true values of their Civilization, of their common purpose, and of their duties within the Universe environment surrounding them.
     The second stage of development is the Technological one, in which a Civilization needs to become independent from the natural constraining factors, such as the energy from a Star, or the dependency on Planets having favorable living conditions. In addition, in this stage they need to reach easy transportation at least at Galactic level, plus a longer lifespan.
     The next stage of social evolution is the development of mental abilities, during which each member is capable, in the end, to completely replace their dependence on technology with mental powers. Once this level is reached, the members of that Civilization are similar to Gods: they live almost forever, they can go anywhere with the power of their thoughts, and they can build or destroy whatever they want with their will, only.
     Unfortunately, due to the enormous individual powers gained, those Civilizations lose their social cohesion, therefore each social member starts on a personal development path. Note that those powerful individuals do not need physical shape any more. Consequently, the next stage of their development is a Metamorphosis phase, needed to change them into primordial energy beings.
     They are perfect now, truly Gods, and they live forever, though they miss many of the lost social feelings. They miss all instinctual gender motivations, a lot of personal and social needs, all physical sensations, and even the social sharing of their feelings. Such beings have tremendous memories and they know almost everything; therefore, deep inside their memories there are all those wonderful feelings lost. There is nothing more pure and more beautiful, Mlane, than the sensations a child feels when he discovers life and the Universe for the first time, and our Gods will want all those unique feelings back.
     After the Metamorphosis stage comes the Degradation one, in which some of the Gods want to forget everything, to become again happy little children, or even to enjoy life similar to butterflies. They change themselves again in some forms of spirits having tiny levels of intelligence looking only for pleasing, beautiful, and interesting things.
     They are not very many left. Some have chosen to die and end everything, because the burden of solitude plus immortality is terribly difficult to endure. Again, not all of them, Mlane, because it is possible a few still have the curiosity left to study the development of life within the eternal frame of time. They probably watch the little primitive creatures—which are we—and maybe they share our emotions, good or bad, for their own pleasure, or curiosity.
     The mysteries of the Universe are so great, My Dear, that there may be levels above levels of the Gods of our Gods, and each is striving to understand the true and the hidden meanings of life, or to discover THE GREAT INITIAL CREATOR. We live inside an Universe so full of mysteries, Mlane, that in the moment we manage to explain one, hundreds or thousands of new mysteries come to replace it.
     The Universe is so great, My Dear, that living the way we do may appear to us hopeless and purposeless, but it is not so. We should mind the brief moments of our lives, of our Civilization, and we should try to accomplish the hard part, the most logic, the most beautiful, the good and the right things. Of course, there is nothing more exciting than to explain the unexplained, to find out, to explore the unknown and to understand, but there is also the beauty of our life as it is: simple, short, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes beautiful, sometimes hard . . .”
     “Oh, Ghethe, you explain everything so nice! It is wonderful, but there are so many things . . . How can you understand them all?” asked Mlane with great admiration in her beautiful innocent eyes.
     “Well, My Dear, after a while ‘understanding’ becomes some sort of a reflex action. I concentrate mostly on the ‘observation’ of life, and logical processing runs automatically, semi-subconsciously.”
     “Can I ever become like you, Ghethe?” asked Mlane timidly.
     “As long as you keep your curiosity alive, My Dear, one day you will be exactly like me . . . and like many others,” replied Ghethe smiling a bit ironically, trying to temper down Mlane’s admiration.
     “Are there many others like you?”
     “Ha! Of course they are.”
     “I do not believe you!”


M7-6     Seven i-std. days had pleasingly passed into memories and then, naturally, Ahlane was waiting for him with a well-crowded schedule containing a few new rules. Among other things, she decided to ban The Champ game for being too disruptive—and too provocative all the same.
     Instead, during social hours Ahlane recommended they should enrich their artistic education, watch educative documentary presentations, or engage in intelligent discussions on diverse philosophical topics. The first discussion on her list, however, was the long due, route change decision.
     For the time being they were going towards the Cappana System, which was intended to be their second energy supply stopover. They were all in the Social Area looking at the three-dimensional projection of the surrounding celestial map.

     “Naiollah, how long will it take to reach Dubar from our actual position?” asked Ahlane.
     “Please specify the speed, Ahlane.”
     “Consider our current speed, Naiollah.”
     “It will take me twenty-three i-std. days, Ahlane.”
     Their current position was marked by a big blue dot. Naiollah drew a line of small white dots from their current position in space straight to the Dubar System.
     “Ghethe, I understand you intend to lose our followers. What is the best way to do it?”
     “The best way to lose them, Ahlane, is when Naiollah is in a particular point in space, equally distant from three yellow Stars, and relatively far away from Dubar. As you can see on the map, I placed an orange dot in the most convenient place.” Naiollah altered the line of small white dots to touch the big orange one.
     “I see . . . Now, we need to replenish our energy reserves, and you have selected the Cappana System for that. It looks to me both far and astray from our route,” objected Ahlane. Naiollah drew a line of small red dots from their current position to the Cappana System.
     “My intention was to stop for the third time in the Horje System,” replied Ghethe, and Naiollah accentuated on celestial map the position of the Horje System. Next, she extended the line of red dots from Cappana to the Horje System, and then to the orange dot.
     “That one looks closer to our route. I say, let’s go now straight to the Horje System without stopping at Cappana. What do you think of this proposal, Ghethe?” Naiollah altered the line of white dots to touch the Horje System. Further, she marked in white the previous red line from Horje to the orange dot.
     “Well, if you want to vote on it, Ahlane, could you, please, make it secret?” asked Ghethe jokingly.
     “You told me that democratic methods are bad, and I agreed with you. We are not going to vote: we shall discuss all suggestions, and the best ideas are going to be implemented. Now, what is your opinion, Ghethe, about stopping only in the Horje System?” asked Ahlane who had voluntarily assumed the task of presiding the discussions.
     He explained his motivations, “My intention, Ahlane, was to take this voyage in a relaxed manner, and to visit as many interesting places as we can. I wanted that we all have little nice relaxing time.”
     “I feel very insecure being followed by those people, Ghethe,” confessed Ahlane. “I have nothing against visiting interesting places, only those bad people behind us are ruining all the fun.”
     Mlane agreed, “Yes, I have the same feeling, Ghethe.”
     “Oh! So, there is no more fun?” asked Ghethe with surprised disappointment.
     “Not much,” said Ahlane.
     “None,” added Mlane.
     “I hoped, Ladies, that we should spend little nice time together . . . to become better friends—” started Ghethe shyly.
     Ahlane interrupted him in a caring tone of voice, “Ghethe, we are best friends already.”
     “Yes, we couldn’t be better friends, Ghethe. Besides, what would prevent us from stopping on a nice Planet on the route back, once we lose our escort?” asked Mlane.
     “That seems to be a very good idea. What do you say, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane in her turn.
     “Let me see . . . So, we lose our followers, then we get the treasure, and we do need some time to study it . . . Therefore, we could go to a nice place where nobody would disturb us . . . Aha! Then, we should return to Batlan and start from there with Mr. Mortek and his gang.
     Eventually, you are going to remain safely in Korwatan, Ladies, while I go alone after those bad people. Yes, this sounds reasonable enough to me,” said Ghethe, and he finished enthusiastically his simple reasoning.
     Ahlane decided in a firm voice, “You are not going alone against Mortek’s gang, Ghethe.”
     “We shall not let you,” added Mlane in her girlish crystalline voice, though also seriously.
     He tried to reason with both of them, “Ladies, please! This is a very dangerous mission, and I need to have the freedom of action. Please understand that your presence may be speculated by the enemy to force my hand.”
     Ahlane explained their position, “Look, Ghethe, we shall stay out of your way as much as possible, but you do need us, in case you get hurt or something, and we intend to be near and help you.”
     “Do you promise, Ladies, that you will listen and do only what I tell you to do?”
     “Yes, Ghethe. We understand perfectly well that this is a very dangerous mission, and we want to help you, not to cause additional problems. We shall do everything you say, but we want to be close in case you need any assistance,” concluded Ahlane.
     “This is highly irregular . . . I mean, taking innocent persons with me into action . . . but . . . yes, I shall take you with me, Ladies,” agreed Ghethe while feeling far from being pleased. He knew very well he couldn’t disobey to Ahlane’s or even to Mlane’s whishes; therefore, his surrender was a tactical one. He hoped that, in time, the Ladies were going to understand the possible, terrible, irreversible dangers, and they would reconsider their intentions.
     “Thank you, Ghethe,” replied both Ladies looking satisfied.
     “Now, let’s return to our route change decision. We are still waiting for your answer,” said Ahlane.
     “I think Mlane’s idea, to spend little relaxing time in a nice place on the way back, is wonderful, same as your idea, Ahlane, to lose our escort as soon as possible. I agree to both your proposals, Ladies. Please perform the route change, Ahlane.”
    “Naiollah, change our vector to Horje System.”
     “Please specify the speed, Ahlane.”
     “Use the same speed you have now, Naiollah.”
     “The new vector is set, Ahlane.” Following, Naiollah deleted the line of red dots leading from their current position to Cappana and then to Horje System. In addition, she changed the line of white dots leading directly to Horje System, and then to the orange dot, into red, meaning, the new red route was the active vector.
     “Naiollah, how long will it take to the reach Horje System?”
     “We shall reach Horje System in twelve i-std. days, Ahlane.”
     “Naiollah, are we still being followed?”
     “Yes, Mlane. There are three military ships following me.”
     “Well! We have twelve i-std. days ahead of us, and we should try to benefit as much as possible of them,” said Ahlane looking very pleased.
     “Doing what?” asked Ghethe confused.
     She explained enthusiastically, “We are going to study music, dramatizations, and we shall work to enrich our cultural education. I checked with Naiollah, and I discovered that we have an enormous art collection in her files!”
     “Aah . . .” articulated Ghethe.
     “What is that, Ghethe? You do not like ART?” asked Ahlane in a shocked attitude.
     He rushed, “I like it very much, Ahlane! In fact, I can hardly wait!”
     “Good. I shall take care of the selections,” volunteered Ahlane while looking suspiciously at him.


M7-7     Ghethe was no art expert, and the truth was, he was not quite enthusiastic about it. The hardest was to listen to classical music, because some parts of the artistic performance were fairly difficult to savor. Besides, a medium length concert could last well over three i-std. hours!
     The first night he was sitting between the two Ladies on a lounge in the Social Area. Because he was moving too much during the concert, Ahlane got hold of his hand to make him stay still. Later, she probably forgot to let it go . . .
     That touch caused an electric discharge throughout Ghethe’s body, although it wasn’t the first time she had touched his hand. That night, however, it was different. He felt that she tried to tell him something with the delicate touch of her hand.
     Ghethe froze, and he lost the contact with reality until the concert was over. All he cared about was the feeling of her small, warm, and soft, very soft hand. Even more, he sensed a vague flower perfume coming from her, and that held him dizzy all the time . . . He prayed hotly for that concert to never end, and Ahlane to never let go of his hand!

     Unfortunately, when the concert was over Ahlane did let go of his hand, then she started asking him and Mlane about various parts of the artistic performance expressed in specific music-light themes.
     Ghethe ventured a few shy answers, hoping he was on the right vector. However, from Ahlane’s sad looks, and from Mlane’s uncontrolled bursts of laughter, he realized he had much to study for a decent, minimal, musical culture. Regardless, he began waiting for those cultural events with the utmost anticipation, and he did manage, somehow, to be touched by Ahlane’s beautiful hand two more times!
     He was way deep in love with her.



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