WorldWar: Missionaries Down to Earth (Book Three)
Story: WorldWar: Missionary Work
Category: Stargate SG-1 and Battlestar Galactica 2003 Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Author: AlbertG and RenS
Summary: The 'Race', and the Colonials of Cyrannus each tried to conquer Earth. They both failed. The Race has a new colony now. The Colonials haven't finished yet. But they were very respectful of Earth to the point where Earth people need to be saved from themselves and their ignorance of the One God.
NOTICE: THIS STORY MAY BE DISTRIBUTED FREE OF CHARGE BUT MUST NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR FINANCIAL RETURN IN ANY FORM.
"Stargate", "Stargate SG-1", and "Stargate: Atlantis" and all related Stargate related material, its characters and certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the television shows and movies, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by MGM and whatever Corporation it may or may not be owned by.
"WorldWar" and the "Worldwar related books", its characters, certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the book series, past present of near future, are a registered trademarks of its creator/author Harry Turtledove and the publisher Del Rey Books. Characters, names, and all related material are trademarks to those stated above.
Only certain characters and technologies are mine and these are the creation of the author who is solely responsible for them as such. Neither Studio nor Harry Turtledove nor Del Rey books are responsible for the content of this story.
"Battlestar Galactica, the Re-imagining" by Ronald Moore, its characters, and certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be or are registered trademarks of its parent studio and corporation.
THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY 'WORLDWAR: THE BALANCE DESTROYED. IF DISTRIBUTED. THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR FINANCIAL RETURN IN ANY FORM. THIS DEDICATION MUST ACCOMPANY ANY DISTRUBUTION OF THIS STORY.
Dedication: Bless my wife and the girls most of whom are now out of my house and they keep coming back with gifts!
Again, thank you, Harry Turtledove for writing such an intriguing series. I can't do it justice but I will merely try to make what I write interesting, with as few editing errors as I can.
And finally, this is an official AU of Ash Boomstick's (Bob Regent) story called RAAB located on this website. I was given permission to use it as a background. I recommend that you read his story to get a feel of SG-1 and nBSG and the disagreements they have with one another.
'Be it therefore known to all, that this will be a somewhat darker tongue-in-cheek book. The missionary work will be somewhat serious and not necessarily stereotyped as some have hope for. I am trying for a more serious approach here as I continue the story. No Iblison for now. Bobby Kinsey Junior will start to make his presence known. The rating will be the same so everyone can read it.'
Note: This begins at the same time Cain, Adar and his people were at the conference. This is not a combat driven story so beware. 'Missionaries down to Earth' will focus on the missionaries for the most part. Not mentioned but there are Earth missionaries on their way to the Colonies but it will not be discussed or be the focus in this story. At this point everyone is settling in to the new reality of things in the galaxy. Also note there will be a lot of newscasts in the background keeping everyone up on the current state of Earth and the situation with the Lucians and the Astorath Lords. The Earth as a whole does NOT know about the Race and no one is telling the Colonials about Earth's relations with the Race. Please enjoy.
RenS is co-author to this story. In fact the first chapter is 90% his and I will give credit where credit is due. Take care. AlbertG
This is now a separate story from WW: The Balance Destroyed
This timeline is AU from the original SG series and several years ahead of Bob Regent's Reunion story of which this is a variation of-with his permission:
-May 2009: Failed Wraith invasion of Earth.
-May 2014. Disgraced Vice-President Robert Kinsey Sr. was declared missing and presumed dead
-July 2014: Prometheus inadvertently has first contact with the Colonials of Kobol. Doesn't go well. The Earth vessel escapes and the Colonials have no idea where Earth is located.
-March 2018: Invasion of the Race by the Conquest fleet.
-Feb 2016: the Colonia-Cylon war ended with the Cylon defeat. Several small Cylon fleets survive and fled. Over the course of two years all but two basestars were tracked down and destroyed.
-March of 2018: Two surviving Cylon ships, after months of relentless attacks, mistakenly entered the Sol system. One ship blows up due to damages as it exits its jump. The refugees are offered sanctuary.
-March 2018: The battle of Sol (Earth's name of the battle against the Colonial invasion) Colonials call it the 'Great Calamity'. For three years, Earth and the Colonials have been in a state of very cool relations.
-December 2020: The Tollanians destroy several Colonial warships in the Home system. Priest Iblison orders the slaughter of the Lizardian leadership and nukes Home in retaliation for being forced from Home. The Colonial leadership is unaware of the deeds done by the Priest.
-March 2021: Terran and Race soldiers begin military games and training together.
-March 21, 2021. Colonial missionaries are given the go to come to Earth. Representatives are quickly chosen. Instead of young people as intended, most of the missionaries are older members of the Synod. This is the day of the interstellar summit. Adar comes as Ambassador to International relations.
-April 23, 2021: Speech by Colonial President Antonio Goesel.
May 2021: official signing of the Terran-Race treaty.
-Current date March 2021. Day one of the summit and arrival of the Colonial missionaries to Earth.
Missionaries Down to Earth
The cylindrical shuttle flew above the field of clouds, its flight path was well away from commercial lanes so there was no danger of collision. The ancient designed shuttle was moving quickly and soon the full moon made the puffy vista shine blue-white. On board, two pilots from the American Air Force flew the puddle jumper and ignored the quiet hubbub of the twelve passengers sitting in the back. It was a bit cramped back there as the puddle-jumper wasn't designed for so many people but then this was a short term taxi ride, not a long-distance commute.
"Think they'll change their minds when they see it?" Captain Rodgers quietly asked.
The co-pilot glanced at his partner and shrugged. "Don't know. Don't care. But I'll laugh at whatever mistakes they make."
"That's assuming you care enough to look them up and keep track of their activities."
"Yeah." The co-pilot shrugged again. "Like I said, don't care. I don't know why these people were even invited to Earth after what they tried to do."
"Ours is not to reason why."
The pilot nodded as he eased the puddle jumper slightly downward at the clouds.
One of the twelve passengers kept his eyes glued on the large window at the bow from the back of the puddle jumper. "That moon…."
Tyberi Patrenus resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "Linus, that moon is nothing like Minos over Tauron or Hibernia over Virgon, much less like Gemenon seen from Caprica. Why, these Apellai have only several bases on the moon, not even a small city." For all their powerful warships, this world isn't even advanced enough to have outposts or settlements in their star system," the priest sniffed. "They're not even taking advantage of the system's resources beyond their own world!"
One of the priestesses nodded. "That's true. The Apellai lack the light to show the way. For this reason, the Synod has sent them us, the best and brightest in the Colonies."
Another priestess arched an eyebrow. "Don't you mean Livia, Lucy?"
"Elosha, she is only one of the twelve in the College of Pontiffs, or the Synod if one preferred that term," admonished Lucy.
The corners of Elosha's lips curled as she pressed them in exasperation. Why in the name of the gods had Livia picked Lucy to come on perhaps the greatest journey any Colonial had undertaken in the last thousand years? Her attitude might easily insult these Apellai, no Earth People, she corrected, or worse. Who knows how they would respond? They weren't Colonials after all; not after thousands of years of separation. They needed to be careful and observant if they wanted to get anywhere with these people. Almost absent-mindedly, she made sure that her wide stole was properly draped down from her neck over the harness holding her in her seat.
"We are supposed to be brothers and sisters, are we not? So let's be honest, Lucy Ferro. It's Livia who sent us."
Lucy narrowed her eyes at that. "Why were you chosen to go with us?"
I see we understand each other thought Elosha. "Likely because I know the Sacred Scrolls inside and out and I've served in the Quorum of Twelve for twenty years before President Adar's second term." The priestess turned to Tyberi. "And another thing, Tyberi: These people prefer to be called Terrans. The President and the Quorum agreed on this before we left. If we don't want to step on any toes, we'd better remember that, "she said quietly in Caprican standard. She wasn't sure if the Terrans could understand her but she didn't want to take a chance of offending their pilots.
The clerics all looked at Tyberi to see what his reaction would be. Only the oracle Dodona Selloi kept her eyes closed as she slouched against the wall in her gray robe and blue turban. It was well known that oracles preferred to be alone. Still, Elosha's admonishment hung in the air like a sword.
The puddle jumper jumped ever so slightly as it plowed into thicker parts of the clouds impressing several of the visitors. Those experienced with air travel expected much more turbulence than they were experiencing traveling through atmosphere such as this. Tyberi took advantage of the moment to look away at the darkness enveloping the bow window, ignoring Elosha.
"This planet is infected with the idea of the so-called One True God," he whispered. The way it was said reeked of contempt and perhaps a bit of fear. He glanced over at their pilots who seemed oblivious to the conversation. "That belief had thrown the Colonies into war with terrorists and Cylons. Though we might not like these people, they are a cousin tribe. But let us not forget that we're in very dangerous, alien territory." He looked around at the twelve priests and priestesses chosen to bring the word of the Lords of Kobol to Earth and learn of Earth's primary languages and religion. "Perhaps it's time we sing," he continued at normal volume.
Singing was good and it could perhaps interest the pilots into asking questions about the meaning of the sacred words they were being blessed with for the first time.
There was a barely audible groan from several of the clerics. A stern-faced priestess spoke up before anyone else could say anything. "Well, that depends: Would you prefer cremation or burial by airlock?"
Several of the priests and priestesses struggled to suppress a snicker. Tyberi glared at the woman who merely stared back with a blank face. He wanted to put her in her place but Antonia Ursula Silva was a close friend and confidante of Livia Sytomia. Elosha may have been impudent but she was right about Livia being the Synod instead of the Synod. It did not pay to have enemies in high places. It was perhaps fortunate that he was saved by the puddle jumper finally coming out the bottom of the clouds, thus providing the distraction of the city visible below.
It was a huge city; that much was clear. Lights shone everywhere on the towers and skyscrapers, reflected on the glass siding of some skyscrapers and continued as far as the eyes could see. Nearly solid light made straight lines of the city's streets, which were themselves straight rivers of white and red lights of moving vehicles. The part of the city they were approaching was clearly on an island as the black water glittered with reflected lights at the shores and under the bridges. Almost in the center of it all rose a tall tower that tapered to a point at the top.
It was a city that could have graced Caprica. This first appearance of New York City had an immediate and lasting effect on each of them. Near a particularly towering skyscraper, twin pillars of light shone straight up into the cloudy January night sky. Tyberi and the other clerics could see that the pillars of light were capable of being seen from miles away. One of the Terran pilots spoke and his translator made the words understandable to the missionaries. He was perfectly professional.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are above New York City." The pilot pointed at the pillars of light.
How embarrassing! They could understand us! thought Elosha. Immediately she admonished herself for losing control like that as she continued listening to the one speaking.
"That's the World Trade Center's Freedom Tower and those lights are part of the 9/11 Memorial."
One of the priests jotted notes on his paper notebook. "The 9/11 Memorial?"
Tyberi smiled. Trust the intellectual Luke Rhettus to have a notebook available to use on a shuttle.
The male Terran glanced back over his shoulder. "Twenty years ago, some religious terrorists flew airplanes into the twin towers of the old World Trade Center and killed thousands. For that, we went to war in the Middle East."
Luke Rhettus furiously scribbled in his notebook as fast as he could while Tyberi quietly tsk-tsked to himself. As the Colonies learned to their sorrow before and during the First Cylon War, monotheism encouraged terrorism and it appeared that Earth was not immune to that lesson either. It was puzzling that the Terrans would stick with monotheism despite the barbarity it had obviously spawned. And if they went to war did they crush offenders so that this wouldn't happen again? Tyberi mentally shrugged. Some people would stick to ideas and beliefs despite the evidence of their incompatibility. It was well that they were coming to show how the Lords of Kobol could provide salvation from that particular horror.
The cloaked puddle jumper flew past the pillars of light shining in tribute to 9/11 and dipped down toward the round southern point of Manhattan Island. The shuttle eased down upon a pier jutting out into the harbor and settled on the concrete tarmac. The pilot spoke again as a slight thump announced that the shuttle had touched down.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have landed in the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. Please wait while we lower the hatch." The ship decloaked a moment before the rear hatch began to open and the passengers never noticed a thing.
The Colonial clerics watched as the stern hatch open and lower down to the tarmac. Most of them shivered as the cold January air rushed in, fluttering robes and stoles. The Terran pilots took off their harness and stood up, which was the signal for the clerics to take off their own harnesses, stand and reach for their luggage stowed in the netting above them and on the deck between the benches.
This marked the first time that Colonial priests set foot on the planet Earth. This momentous event was marked by a comment from Tyberi Patrenus:
"New friends. Yay," he deadpanned.
Elosha held onto her stole as the cold winter wind blew in from the harbor, bit into her and whipped her robe when she stepped down the ramp made by the lowered hatch. Tyberi was still as much of a jerk as ever.
Linus Abner muttered resentfully as he held his flat round hat on his head, "A fine time for us to be here in this weather while Admiral Cain and Ambassador Adar and his wife are on a tropical island somewhere south on this gods-forsaken planet."
The pilots led the clerics up the pier toward a two storied building. The city's skyscrapers completely overshadowed the heliport building. Cars hummed back and forth on the street between the heliport and the skyscrapers. There was a convoy of two limousines waiting at the end of the pier before the heliport building. Chauffeurs briskly went to open doors for the clerics who chose limos on the fly and piled in.
Elosha raised her eyebrows at the glow on some of the limo's interior siding. When she looked closely, she saw that the glow showed some menu options for drink and music. When she touched the surface, she found that it was glass and the menu moved with her finger. The interior siding doubled as touch screens, it seemed. Not knowing what to do with the menu options, she ignored them as did the other clerics.
As soon as the clerics were settled in, the hydrogen powered limos hummed and drove in a line besides the heliport building. A police escort was waiting in front of the building. The police motorcycles and cars immediately took positions in front of and behind the limo convoy, siren lights flashing and strobing.
It so very much reminded the passengers of Caprica and Picon.
The clerics couldn't help straining their necks to look up at the buildings of New York through the limo windows and the sunroof panel. Only Dodona remained with her eyes closed and Ursula deigned only to cast glances at the sights without turning her head. Yellow taxicabs appeared to be everywhere in the streets. Several buildings that were completely covered in glass blared towering advertisements in smooth motions.
"Tacky," sniffed Julian Soter.
Elosha shrugged. "We do the same thing."
Nikko Demos haughtily said, "these Terrans don't have anything like the Millennium Tower in Caprica City."
"Too bad the Terrans rejected unification with the Colonies," said Ursula. "With our resources, wealth and technology, who knows what could be achieved on this world?"
Some of the clerics nodded in agreement.
Elosha kept her comments to herself otherwise she might have slapped one of them and if this attitude continued it wasn't going to end well.
Soon, the motorcade slid down a double avenue divided by a wide median of trees and flowers. The cars slowed as they approached a large building. Above the canopied entryway were two flag poles hutting out from gilded eagles on the building's wall. Each pole had a flag hanging from it, waving in the wind. One was the American flag and the other was a purple gold-fringed flag with the gold stylized phoenix of the United Colonies of Kobol.
Near the door were two men who reeked of being security, respectfully nodded in their direction. Earth security, no doubt and this was confirmed when one of the men introduced and identified himself and just as quickly moved back to his position of carefully watching for any possible threat.
"Glad to see these people respect us," Tyberi commented.
"They want to keep us safe," Ursula said matter-of fact. "They're our shadows for the duration of our stay here."
Between the flag poles, gilded letters flanked by two gilded enthroned women carved into the wall announced the building to be the Waldorf Astoria.
A couple men, each dressed in a black suit and tie, a dark grey warm coat, cap and white gloves stepped forward to open and hold the limo doors for the clerics. Bellhops in similar suits but distinguished by their flat-topped hats rushed forward with gilded luggage carts and immediately took the clerics' bags and cases from the limos. As the clerics gathered together under the bright lights of the canopy, the hotel concierge stepped forward. He was tall, mustachioed and as immaculately dressed in a black suit with a gold nametag on a breast but lacking a hat or gloves. When he spoke, he had a clipped accent that sounded to the clerics to be similar to what highly educated Capricans and Virgons used. Because of their translators given them by the Terrans, they understood him. Unfortunately, man didn't understand them.
Tyberi and Ursula stepped forward. The priest said, "you'll take us to our rooms."
The concierge was puzzled and indicated that he didn't understand Tyberi. Ursula rolled her eyes and said impatiently, "You. We. Go. Rooms."
The concierge looked down his nose at the priestess and spoke rapidly in annoyed Englisa to the Colonials' consternation. Elosha discreetly nudged Tyberi who was completely clueless and pointed at one of his pockets that held the translator. Embarrassed, the priest took it out and re-activated it. He hated the things as they reminded him of precursors to Cylon technology, he had to admit they were useful for now. "We are the Colonial priests sent here to—"
There was dawning comprehension on the concierge's face. "Oh, the Colonials! I'm sorry, I thought there was something wrong with you." He looked down at the little device in Tyberi's hand. "Good of you to use the Queen's English! Splendid! Splendid! Ah, please allow me to introduce myself. I am the concierge of the Waldorf Astoria and my name is Basil Lewrick but you will call me Mr. LerwickOnly my wife and I are on a first-name basis, you understand." Basil delicately cleared his throat to change the subject. "May I welcome your war—your war—your—you all…yes, you all, and hope that your stay will be a happy one. Now, would you like to eat first, or would you like a drink before the war—ahh, err…umm, sorry…sorry."
The Colonials stared at the faulty concierge as Basil coughed delicately into a fist and waved his hands impatiently for the bellhops to cart the luggage into the hotel. Without the translator, she could barely understand the man. Practicing the American language and actually speaking it were two entirely different things.
Tyberi's lips pulled into a small sneer. "We'll go to our rooms, thank you, Mr. Lerwick," he said in broken English.
Basil gave a curt nod and extended hands toward the gold-framed doors of the hotel with a slight bow.
Tyberi remained standing and staring at the concierge. Elosha softly nudged him and whispered, "He's inviting us to go with him."
"How do you know that?" he asked condescendingly.
"Because he's…" Elosha imitated the concierge's gesture with condescension. "…inviting us to go with him."
Tyberi scowled sourly at her but he nodded and started walking, leading the other clerics through doors held open by the capped and white-gloved doormen.
Just beyond the doors, steps took the Colonials up to the foyer level above the doors. A massive crystal and gold chandelier hung from the ceiling of the white marble square-pillared room directly above a mosaic floor. Through a doorway in each side of the foyer, they could see more similarly opulently appointed rooms and hallways with chandeliers. The clerics gaped for a moment before they had to follow Mr. Lerwick through a doorway to the lobby itself. In the center of the lobby stood an antique opulent brown and gold clock stand. Black marble square fluted pillars with gold edges broke the view of brown wood walls and white-gold ornamented ceiling.
Any city on Caprica would be proud to have such Art Deco opulence in a hotel.
The clerics were led down a gallery of chandeliers to a row of elevators. The fact that the silver elevator doors were also Art Deco works of art raised some eyebrows. Two goddesses appeared to be leaning back to back in a circle in the center of the elevator doors while playing or tuning musical instruments.
Ursula shook her head as she whispered, "Such wealth..."
Tyberi agreed. "They are trying to impress us but this only tells me that the rulers of Earth are exploiting the unfortunate masses of this world. It is fortunate that we've come at this time to save them."
"You don't know that! We can't assume that!"
Luke Rhettus nervously said, "What about our luggage?"
Tyberi relayed the question to Mr. Lerwick who waved down a bellhop.
"Manuel! Come here. Have you taken our guests' luggage up to their rooms?"
Mr. Lerwick's face tightened. Elosha could tell that this wasn't the first time the concierge was impatient with a bellhop or with this particular bellhop. Manuel's accent sounded different and he seemed to be speaking a different language altogether although the translator made him understandable. They really were going to have to actively practice.
The concierge threw an exasperated look at the clerics. "I do apologize. He's from Barcelona, Spain." He turned to the bellhop and gritted through his teeth, "Manuel. The luggage. Where is it?"
"Where are the bags?"
With supreme patience, Mr. Lerwick said, "Donde es…bolsas?"
Manuel flashed a bright grin. "Oh, the bellboys take it. The boys take bags upstairs. Si, they did it." He nodded vigorously. "The bags are there now."
Mr. Lerwick smiled serenely. "Manuel, come here."
The bellhop stepped close to the concierge. "Si."
The concierge hissed at him, "you are a waste of space." He turned to the clerics, smiling brightly this time. "Manuel will show you to your room—if you're lucky." With that, Mr. Lerwick made a hasty retreat back to the lobby.
Tyberi eyed the bellhop with heavy doubt. The 'bellhop as most likely security pretending to be a menial. But when he spoke, the translator helped enormously. Manuel the bellhop was delighted and machine-gunned some comments at the priest. All the priest could catch was that the man called Manuel he wished his boss could get everyone translators because there's so many foreign workers here and they'd make communication so much easier and smoother.
Apparently, New York City was sometimes called the Crossroads of the World so various languages and nationalities were represented here, as Manuel had told them. Many of the clerics nodded to each other at that. One planet and that meant they'd be able to get diverse perspectives on the Terran religion and their word of the Lords of Kobol would reach out from the city to all other regions of the planet. Meanwhile, the wood-paneled elevators took them up to the towers of the Waldorf Astoria.
When Manuel opened the double doors into the clerics' set of suites, the Colonials gasped. They gaped and gawked as they went into the hotel apartment. The rooms were all well-appointed with ornate wood furniture, chandeliers, framed paintings, crown molding, plaster molding on the walls, plush upholstered seating, framed mirrors over fireplaces, and fine antique curios. The set of suites had a shocking and breathtaking luxury and familiar comfort on par with the best hotels and mansions in Caprica City, and the ornamentation wouldn't be out of place in the palaces of Boskirk, Virgon or of Luminere, Leonis.
Nikko nervously leaned over to Tyberi smiling. "Just to make sure: Who's paying for all this?"
"The Americana North Englasia government. And the quorum interstellar account, and the Synod, of course."
Nikko's relieved smile broadened. He shook his head while the other clerics went off to lay claim to bedrooms and Ms. Selloi went in search of the smallest bedroom with a single bed so she could be alone. Nikko looked out a curtained window at the night vista of New York City. They were very high up in the hotel building so that they could see skyscrapers marching all the way to the horizon. The twin pillars of light still shone and stabbed into the cloudy sky. "Such luxury. And we're only missionaries! The Terrans really have squeezed riches off of the masses of this world."
Manuel grinned as he led Tyberi, Ursula and Elosha into the central lounge. He pointed at what looked like a stack of clear thick plastic sheets on a table. He spoke in Spanish but the translator obligingly did its job. "The government has been kind enough to have us provide e-papers for all of you. In them, you'll find instructions and menu options for whatever you need here." He picked up a sheet which turned out to be stiff but bendable. "It's not really paper even though we call it e-paper. It's just very flexible smart glass. You can try out any of the options listed. For instance…." He tapped the surface of the stiff transparent sheet twice and the Waldorf Astoria logo glowed into existence and then faded into a list of menu options. Manuel tapped one of the options and the large framed mirror over the fireplace became a framed television screen showing a news anchor speaking. Unlike televisions in the Colonies, the screen looked absolutely crisp, smooth and real. It didn't look flat at all and there was none of the annoying reflection glare.
"I envy you, sirs," added Manuel. "They use UHD TVs here. Ultra-high definition, top of the line, yes sir. Your bedrooms each have one, not like those new holo-projection TVs they're selling in Korea and Japan these days, though. Oh, if you feel you need to block out the light from outside…." A tap on the sheet caused the windows to fade to total black, blocking out the lights of New York City outside. Another tap cleared the windows again. The bellhop put the thick sheet back down on the table. "Well. I'll leave you to it. Don't worry about messing up. Maid service, food service, everything is on the menu. You can take the e-papers with you outside to assist in the sightseeing. Just be sure to return them when you sign out of here."
He led them to the dining room. The table was large enough to seat all twelve of the clerics. There was a bowl of some type of food cradled in a lettuce leaf. Empty glasses stood nearby each bowl and two pitchers of iced water, fogged and dewed with cold, stood ready.
"What's…that?" Tyberi bent over to take a close look at what appeared to be a mess of chopped fruit and nuts in a white sauce.
"The hotel wishes to make you feel welcome with its own signature dish, the Waldorf salad. Apples, walnuts, celery, and grapes in a mayonnaise dressing. Genetically cleared of all possible allergens, of course, so it's completely safe."
Tyberi still looked at the mayonnaise dish dubiously, mentally comparing it to fungus.
Manuel turned to go. Elosha reached out for him. "Wait. What about keys?"
"Oh, I forgot. Well, each of you must press a hand on an e-paper for it to read your fingerprints. The doorknobs will get the fingerprint reading and that will be your key to get in the suite. Well, enjoy your stay!"
"Thank you." Elosha gave him some cubits as a tip as he departed. When she turned back around, she saw that Tyberi and Ursula were giving each other a worried look.
"They're really network-integrated here," said Ursula. She looked disturbed.
"Yes, and more advanced than we expected. Rather like Caprica before the First Cylon War."
"And we know that Cylon refugees have fled here. You don't think Earth has used them and advanced to the point where they could build their own Cylons?"
"No, they can't be that advanced yet, can they?"
"Look at this e-paper" Tyberi said. "We've all seen some of their movies about artificial intelligence. Just from those programs and being aware of our experiences, they should know better."
"But they use the words artificial life forms, not artificial intelligence," corrected Linus. They look at things differently." He shrugged. "Only time will tell."
As some of the clerics drifted back into the central living room, Ursula said loudly, "It's late, brothers and sisters. We should say our prayers together and go to bed. We have a long day tomorrow!"
Elosha Gale yawned as she reluctantly pulled herself up from the extremely comfortable pillow and mattress. The sheets felt like a type of silk. These people were so much like hers but the subtle differences and those differences had to be discovered if this mission was to succeed.