The Shimmering Ship
The Radio Rancher
Edited by The Radio Rancher
The Radio Rancher
Edited by The Radio Rancher
Shortly after three O'clock the next morning, Timmy awoke from a terrible nightmare. His screams woke everyone and they all came running into his room to comfort him. Del was the first one to reach Timmy.
He took Timmy in his arms and held him in a loving embrace, then, each of the others took turns comforting Timmy, and calming him.
When Ellen finally held him in her lap, she rocked him gently and reminded him how much they all loved him, and they would never let him be harmed or kidnapped again.
"I'm sorry I'm such a wuss," said Timmy.
"Nonsense," said Ellen. "You had a terrible ordeal out there, and you certainly don't need to apologize for having a nightmare."
"If you want me to," said Del," I can erase your memory of the ordeal."
"Oh no! I want to remember it," said Timmy. "It will help keep me focused on making sure it doesn't happen again."
Timmy looked into Del's eyes and smiled.
"I'm kind of embarrassed to ask this," Timmy blushed.
"But...Well...Can I sleep with you for the rest of the night, Del?
"Del felt very touched, to think that Timmy would want to be close to him like that, so he agreed quickly. Jamie, understanding where Timmy was coming from, thanks to his link with Del; moved over and waved Timmy into the bed. And all three boys snuggled together for the rest of the night with Timmy snuggled comfortably, in the middle, between Del and Jamie, each of whom draped an arm around Timmy and held him close with tremendous love.
Soon all three boys were sound asleep and breathing quietly.
As light streamed into the room through the curtained window, the boys awoke to the smell of bacon and eggs and freshly brewed coffee.
The boys decided it would be prudent to shower together and save time, so they could enjoy breakfast that much sooner.
A little mutual comparison was in order, during the shower, and all three of the boys seemed to have the proper equipment.
The giggles were loud and long, until the boys noticed the wonderful smell again, that was wafting its way in from the kitchen.
When it comes to young children, there is nothing like the smell of good food to distract from any other activity that may be going on, no matter how important that activity is.
The boys quickly dried themselves and each other off, dressed, and headed toward the marvelous smell.
Ellen and Dorn were taking the opportunity to grab a quick snuggle while they waited for the hungry horde to arrive in the dining room.
As the boys arrived, Ellen and Dorn were just breaking from a deep kiss.
"Guys," said Del, "Maybe we should come back later and let them finish snogging. I have never seen two people who are more in love than they are."
Dorn and Ellen broke the kiss and looked up.
"Honey, I thought I heard the boys coming in here. Maybe we should serve breakfast," said Dorn with a little giggle.
"It really was sweet the way you all snuggled up together after Timmy had his nightmare," said Ellen.
"Timmy needed our love and support last night," said Jamie.
"He knows, intellectually, we love him, but this way, we could really show him how much he means to us." Del added.
"Well, the reason doesn't matter as much as the fact that you did it for him and it was so beautiful." said Ellen."Well, I am so grateful to both of you, for being there for me, and helping me to recover from all that crap they put me through." Timmy grinned, as he remembered all the fun they had in the shower, once they got up. (Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter.)
It was almost noon before breakfast was finished, and the dishes were loaded into the dishwasher.
"It's a good thing it's Saturday, and no school, or you boys would have been very late," said Dorn.
"I hope it's ok for the guys to come over and help me with R.A.L.F. We have some new modules and we need to install them," said Jamie. "These new memory modules are fifty times larger than the ones that we were using. I believe with this improvement we will easily surpass the number of neural connections of a human."
"Well, I can improve on that," said Del. With that he produced a handful of tiny modules that were about one hundredth the size of the ones that Jamie was holding.
"I can produce these in a large quantity, enough to populate a much more powerful CPU than previously constructed. That should give R.A.L.F quite a bit more capacity, than even you had anticipated," said Del. "You will really be surprised when we get things all set up. I can't wait to see the looks on your faces when we get everything going." Del produced a very mischievous grin.
Just then the doorbell rang.
Johnny, Jimmy, Greg and Marsh were standing at the door with a collection of computer related hardware and software.
"Come on guys," said Jamie, "We have a lot of work to do. We have to install all the new memory that Del built for R.A.L.F."
With that, the boys began installing all the new gadgetry they brought, along with the multi-teragig memory pack from Del. Once everything had been installed, they applied power and sat back to see the results.
"The power is being supplied from the source which I use for my large body," said Del, "It comes from solar energy and from this distance it would not be enough to sustain my large body, but for this purpose it should be plenty, and you will have no need to worry about losing power." Del explained.
"I have some interesting surprises for you, now." said Del, "Hello, R.A.L.F," Del giggled.
The monitor began to show a face. It was a teenage boy looking out at them from the screen, with those famous crystal blue eyes. Everyone could tell those eyes had the kind of intelligence captured in Del and Jamie's eyes. They were deep set in a handsome face with light skin that had never been in the sun. Then the image pulled back and they could see the boy in a full body shot, from his head to his toes. He was beautiful. He looked to be about five feet six inches tall about 140 lbs and well toned.
Then there was a "pop" and there, in front of the C.P.U. a figure began to materialize. It was rather indistinct at first, but soon began to solidify. You could no longer see through it The face was evident. He had the most beautiful smile any of the guys had ever seen. He was gorgeous. He had those beautiful blue eyes, like those of Jamie and Del, and blond hair that shown with sparkling highlights.
"Hello!" he said. "I'm Ralf, and I remember everything you taught me when I was stuck in there." He turned and pointed at the computer.
"Guys," said Del, "All the data storage in that computer is non volatile, solid state. There are no hard drives. In fact there are no moving parts in it. It has over one thousand terra gigs of storage. I figured out how to install my ability to manifest and materialize into human form, into R.A.L.F. here. This is... Ralf, if you will. He has all the knowledge that we programmed into the computer and he has all of mine as well, through the telepathic link we set up, several months ago, and now with all this memory at our disposal, he can be in a fully functioning human body. There is no practical limit to the distance he can be from the main CPU, as he has as powerful a mind link as I do. In fact, he could be on another planet, with no degradation.
"He is also completely autonomous in terms of his humanity. He will continue to exist as a human even if he somehow lost connection to the computer interface, just as this body, he pointed at himself, is independent of my large body in space. It will exist on its own even if my large body were to be destroyed. I have a human brain and it has limitations like any human. The difference for me and for Ralf is that we each have an extra data source or two," that sly grin reappeared. "That source is interactive and therefore works in both directions."
The two boys looked at each other and smiled.
"Ralf, you are a human being now and have no need to worry about being forced to do anything you don't want to do. It is known as free will," said Del.
"This body is telling me I need something to drink," said Ralf.
"Well come on!" chorused the boys.
"Wait!" said Jamie, "I think you should put some clothes on first.
"Del opened his closet and found some pants and a nice shirt while Jamie found an undershirt and asked, "Boxers or briefs?"
"Briefs," said Ralf, with no hesitation.
He dressed quickly and they all headed toward the kitchen to find some soda or juice for Ralf.
The boys walked into the kitchen just as Ellen was taking a tray of cookies out of the oven.
"Oh boy do those ever smell wonderful!" gasped Jamie. "Mom, I know you are going to find this hard to believe, but...How can I explain this... Ahhhh... Do you remember when Del showed up and we gave him a home?"
"Of course, dear, how could I forget someone as nice as Del?" Ellen knew something was up, but she pretended not to know what the boys were trying to tell her.
"Well, with Del's help we just got another person here. Mom, this is... you're not going to believe this... this is Ralf. Del did it, just like he did for himself, but this time he used the matrix we created in the big computer to give him all the knowledge we had programmed into R.A.L.F. So now he is Ralf! See?"
"Are you an android, Ralf?" Ellen asked.
"No," answered Ralf. "I am fully human, with one or two small differences, similar to the differences that Del has, namely that I have access to all the knowledge in the database in the computer, and internet, as well as Del's vast knowledge. But then so does Jamie, and if they try hard enough, all the guys do, as well." He walked over to Ellen and they hugged each other tightly.
"Alright," said Ellen, "I know that I should always expect things to be different around you and your friends. We are going to have to add a few more rooms to the house," she giggled. "I knew I would love you the minute I saw your beautiful eyes." she said. "They are just so beautiful... like Jamie's eyes."
"Well, you knew she would fall in love with Ralf.... He's her newest boy, and she doesn't have to go through the pain of pregnancy again to have them, and none of that messy baby stuff, dirty diapers etc."
She was very happy.
A bigger house was definitely in order.
"We need an architect," said Dorn when he saw their new son. "Is this going to keep happening?" he asked with a little giggle.
"No not too likely." said Del. "We had all that data to work with here for Ralf, thanks to Jamie's careful studying, but I doubt we could easily come up with enough to create anyone else."
Ellen had explained to Dorn just what had been done, to bring Ralf here, and that he was really a human being, and not a robot or an android.
Then Dorn made an interesting observation.
"Del, whom did you use as a model for your human body?" he asked.
"Jamie's, of course, at least for the most part. It was the prototype anyway. Why do you ask?"
"Because, Jamie is more than fifty percent Arphoan, not earth human." said Dorn. "It doesn't really matter that much as the genes are totally compatible, but since Ellen is part Arphoan and I am completely Arphoan, and Jamie is our son, then he is less than fifty per cent earth human, and therefore so are you and Ralf." Dorn chuckled.
"Well, I couldn't care less," said Del. "I am very happy being who I am."
"So am I," said Ralf. "Especially so now that I have my very own ideal lover." He reached out and pulled Timmy very close, and the two boys hugged each other with a deep bond, that they knew would last a lifetime.
End part 15
It looks like each of the two new humans has found love and a lifelong partner.
Timmy will have someone to help him past his trauma, and help keep him safe. He, like Jamie, has a huge supply of love to give, and there will be plenty to go around.
Will Ralf be able to see a cloaked Arphoan ship?
You will have to keep reading to find out.
Remember, the next few chapters will explore the lives and motivations of some of the characters we have not seen lately.
Comments gratefully accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org