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  “And daily greets Liam” by Alraune   (for the email address see the author's page).
All persons mentioned in this story are property of the owners of Earth: Final Conflict (Tribune Entertainment Co., Lost Script Prod. Inc., Atlantis Films and VOX). Please don't publish this story without permission of the author.
Summary:  Groundhog Day - Taelon Style
Characters:  Da'an, Zo'or, Liam, [Sandoval, Renee, Balvak, T'than, Mit'gai, several volunteers, members of the Synod]




Until now it had been a perfectly normal quiet day. Nothing really interesting had happened.

With difficulty Da'an suppressed his yawn. It became difficult for him to stay upright. How did Humans endure such boredom? Apparently as bad as he did. More than one of the attendants secretly yawned behind their raised hands. The fat man two rows ahead seemed to have fallen asleep on his feet.

The speaker had a really extraordinary talent for prolonging everything unnecessarily. His voice was so flat and expressionless, that the mind automatically switched into idling. The urge to yawn became just irresistible. The man had to have practised long to get so meaningless. Da'an shook those thoughts off and concentrated on his surroundings instead. The view was not that spectacular, but it created a certain diversion. A thunderstorm approached. Lightning flashed. Since they were out in the open, this new-found form of torture would end pretty soon. A small comfort but at least it was something. But he was concerned for the exhibits, which the Taelons had made available to the museum for a while. They wouldn't melt, but some reacted with water, which could lead to strange results.
Zo'or who stood next to him, did not seem to have realised the new development, presumably because his eyes were tightly closed. His body tilted dangerously over to one side. Da'an grasped at him and prevented the synod leader from falling over. For Zo'or, this would have been too much of a humiliation and would have resulted in several very unpleasant weeks for the ambassador. It always took a long time for Zo'or to calm down. At this moment lightning struck. It did not strike a tree, but of all available targets struck the arch for time travel, which was part of the exhibition. Da'an realised this with a certain fear. He just saw a gigantic white light coming out of the arch before it engulfed him and Zo'or. Then came darkness.


Day 1

Da'an found himself back in his audience chamber. What had happened? Just a moment ago he had been bored because of the opening of the exhibition and now he was here. Very curious. Maybe it had all been a dream? Most certainly. There was no other possibility.

Liam strolled into the room in his usual manner; absolutely self-conceited and absolutely convinced that he was right about everything. Nonetheless this special entrance seemed familiar to Da'an. He was absolute sure that Liam would soon ...

“Good morning, Da'an. How are you today?”

The man came to a halt before his Companion and beamed at him. He seemed to have a good day. Well, this wouldn't last long, they had a lot of paperwork to do. Besides there was still the exhibition in the afternoon.

With an inner smile he heard Liam's despaired moan when he saw the mountain of papers on his desk. Other than that this would surely be an absolutely eventless day.


Day 2

A fit of acute confusion had struck Da'an. Weren't the events of the day familiar to him? Liam's greeting came first then his desperation when facing the pile of papers on his desk. This had been the only highlight of the day. The rest had been filled with a huge pile of paperwork. That was the punishment for not doing those things earlier. But when should he have done that before? He was constantly fleeing from someone or something. And when he wasn't doing that he was having disputes with Zo'or or contriving secret intrigues. A lot of things were lain aside for that.

And afterwards there was still the opening of the exhibition. The highlight of every kind of boredom that he had ever had to endure. He even knew what came next. The thunder and lightning came like the day before, then the light beam struck the time arch. The storm and the lighting, then the lightbeam came out of the time arch. Da'an threw a glance sideways to Zo'or. The younger Taelon appeared to be strangely restless. He constantly turned and looked around, and was causing nervousness with it. Could it be? Maybe he was not the only one who was affected by this phenomenon? But Zo'or of all people? This thought did not exactly cause storms of delight within him.


Day 3

Zo'or moaned loudly when the tasks on the bridge again went the way he already knew. Why he, why he of all people? What had he done to deserve this? Well he had tried to take over the world and had caused one or two deaths, was proud and arrogant towards everyone...

But that was no reason to torture him anew every morning. Sandoval really was a punishment in himself. By now Zo'or thought hardly about why he had not already ejected him through an air lock ‘by mistake’. Or maybe an accident in Interdimension was the better choice? How about a walk on the moon without a spacesuit? Also it would be nice to strangle him with my own hands. This thought moved the Synod Leader when Sandoval came to him with the same trifle for the fourth time and the third day in a row. It was obvious that he was caught in a time-loop. But how was he going to leave this loop again before loosing his mind.? And how had he got here in the first place? A blurred memory rose in his mind about the Opening of the exhibition three days ago, or better three repetitions of the same day ago. He had been dozing, leaning against Da'an. He remembered a thunderstorm, a lightning bolt striking the time-portal and then reaching them as well. This meant that Da'an could very well be affected too. There was only one way to be sure, he had to ask him.

An elegant gesture with his hand opened the datastream, putting him instantly in touch with Da'an.
“Zo'or, what a surprise. Is there a special reason for this?”
“So to speak. I wished to ask you if you have realised any changes lately?”
“No. Apart from the fact that we obviously are caught in a kind of time-loop, there is nothing that seems altered to me.”
Zo'or was speechless for a moment. Normally Da'an's answers would not be anything like this. Obviously his day had started badly as well. No wonder with this Protector.
“Do you have an idea how we can avoid those repetitions?”
“We could refrain from attending the museum opening.”
“Good. I will command Agent Sandoval to cancel the appointment.”
A slight nod from Da'an and the connection was cut.


Day 4

At the same time on the mothership and in the North American embassy


Some time later at the embassy.

Zo'or paced restlessly up and down. Da'an's look followed him constantly, presumably he was already hypnotised. At this time his Protector sat behind a huge pile of documents and uttered a low curse from time to time. No wonder though with this much work to do. When had all this accumulated anyway? Had the man too much free time or something?
Finally Zo'or stopped his pacing and turned to his parent.
“Think of something else! The first try has failed.”
“We could remove the time gateway from the exhibition.”
“So be it. Consider it done.”


Day 5

Da'an found himself in already familiar circumstances.
He sat on his chair in the embassy. Liam came in. He greeted.

Da'an buried his face in his hands. “Not again.”
Surely Zo'or would demand a solution of him or maybe he would think of something himself.


Day 6

Embassy, during Liam's greeting


After this ‘pleasant’ reaction to his friendly greeting the frightened Protector vanished behind his pile of papers and decided to come out only when the opening of the museum began. That was really not the way Da'an usually greeted him.

After half an hour the Companion had calmed down a bit and tried to reassure his Protector that this would not happen again. After he had finished his task, while the datastream had activated for at least a dozen times he asked Liam, his Protector, a question.
“What would you do if you were caught in a time-loop in which the same day is repeated over and over again?”
The young man appeared to think deeply about it for some time, if the steep furrow in his forehead was an indication and not a sign that his brain had overheated. “I believe I'd have a little fun. How often do you have the opportunity to get into mischief without having to fear punishment or consequences?”
“I thank you, Liam. Please return to your work.”

The Major obeyed and pulled out the next document from the huge pile. He did not see the mischievous spark in his Companion's eyes.


Day 7

Zo'or sat on the bridge and thought about what he could do today. Da'an had contacted him the day before and had told him about Liam's idea. The Synod Leader didn't know what to think about this. Or better, what he wanted to do. Then Sandoval appeared once again and Zo'or had an idea. He gestured some volunteers over to his throne. Sandoval who eyed this behaviour suspiciously, realised the trap to late.
“Volunteers take Agent Sandoval in custody and bring him into an arrest cell. I will deal with him later.”

The Taelon watched with a broad grin how his Protector, protesting loudly, was dragged out. At least for today he would not have to endure this plague anymore. Now, what could he do next?

In the embassy

Since he had all time of the world, so to speak, Da'an decided to let paperwork be paperwork and have the embassy cleansed thoroughly. It was a delight to watch all those Volunteers with broom and scrubber sweep and scrub through the embassy. Watching his Protector especially added to his enjoyment of the embassy sweeping. Since it had no consequences, he had assigned Liam a very special task: cleaning the windows - from the outside. So the poor man was hanging on a thin steel cable and swung every which way with each single gust of wind. To judge from his expression, he was more than ready to really kill Da'an by now.

Naturally none of them arrived at any appointment that day.


Day 8

At the moment Liam came into Da'an's audience chamber, the Companion greeted him with too much enthusiasm and too much cheerfulness than was normal for him.

“Liam, Zo'or and I wish to undertake a trip to the sea. Please prepare everything necessary.”
A really huge question mark hung over the man's head for several seconds, then he began to protest. ”But Da'an! That's too dang...” The Taelon cut him off in the middle of the word. “Just do it! Or do you want to spend your day with this? He pointed at the huge pile of documents. The Kimera hybrid stared a long moment and considered the possibilities. ”You have a point there. I'll do what you want.”

Da'an seemed to be too content, when he left the room again to take care of the preparations.
One hour later they were on the way. Next to the two Companions in the shuttle sat a very unhappy appearing Sandoval. and an enthusiastically grinning Renee Palmer. Zo'or had threatened his Protector with instant execution if he dared to protest. The whole time the woman and the two Taelons chatted with each other, absolutely ignoring the two men. Obviously they didn't want to have their good mood spoiled by anything, which meant that both Protectors were not going to have fun. Not with those mischievous looking three.

And they would be right. No sooner arrived they had to unload the beach outfit and set it up, or better, to make it usable. So the two spent the next hour trying to figure out how to raise the damn beach wind breakers. Finally Renee took pity with the men and helped them with it. Within five minutes three wind breakers were ready for use. The Major and the Agent looked at each other perplexed, while Renee grinned quietly to herself, because the real fun was still to come when they had to pull down and put the small tents back into the covers. It would be fun to watch this.

Both Taelons had not taken any notice of those things. With enthusiasm they discussed their further plans for the day. It sounded like a lot more work for their working slaves and just as much more fun for Renee. When she had heard of the plans for the day, she had insisted to come along. Until now it had been worth it. Already in the shuttle she could not help but notice the unhappy expressions of the two Protectors and had been occupied with not beginning to laugh into their faces. By now she didn't hold back any more and laughed until tears rolled down her cheeks, when Sandoval, standing on the beach in his designer suit, eyed a flowered shred of fabric, also called bathing shorts, with a deadly glance. It was really a wonder that this thing had not caught fire by now. Liam murmured an apology along the lines that there had not been any others available on such a short notice.

All humans were a little surprised when Da'an and Zo'or first shed their human facade and then their jumpsuits. For the rest of the day no one looked at them directly and Liam's face achieved a constantly red colour, which deepened every time he had to talk to one of them.


Day 9

Somewhere on the Mothership

“Do you called the meeting of the Synod?”
“Yes. We should hurry with our preparations. They will be here in half an hour.”
“And we do not want to keep them waiting.”
A malicious giggle followed those words.

In the meeting room of the Synod a half hour later...

Everyone had gathered save the Synod Leader and his representative, the North American Companion. Both were late now and slowly nervousness crept into the room, then the light went out.
Before anyone could do more than mildly wonder, a spot lightened two figures. Clothed in black leather both Taelons looked as if they had jumped out of a Hard-Rock-concert. Both carried electronic guitars.
The jaw of every Synod Member fell down to their chest. But the greatest shock was still to come. Da'an and Zo'or began to play together.

“I'm blue daba di daba dei, daba di daba dei ...” it sounded through the room in two voices, accompanied by very queer guitar sounds. The other Taelons looked at each other with open mouths and then fainted one by one.


Day 10

“Okay, Da'an. I am ready. How about you?”
“I am ready, too.”
The Taelons had grabbed two shuttles and decided to do a little race to the planet Mars and back with a small detour over Venus.
Again Zo'or's voice sounded through the communication. “How about a bet?”
“A bet? What kind of bet?”
“A really mean one. If you loose you have to do what I want.”
“The whole day or just once?”
“Once is enough.”
“Does this go for both parties?”
“... well, okay.”
“Then I agree. Who gives the starting signal?”
“We count from one to three. One.”
Two voices. “Three.”
The Shuttles shot out of the hangar at high speed leaving a bunch of confused Volunteers behind. Seconds later they vanished into Interdimension.

A few minutes later Da'an's shuttle reappeared in the atmosphere of Mars. It flew at high speed over the surface, raising a lot of dust. At last he found his goal, the three flags the Astronauts had left here. He landed and left the shuttle. Luckily he had no need for oxygen. Slowly he walked up to the three flags and watched them. Hmm. ” Eenie, meenie ... oh, it does not matter...” He took the first flag which came into his hand - it was the American one, a really awful design - and went back to the shuttle. He had his proof. Now he just had to take some photos of Venus' backside. When he activated his drive, he saw his child appearing. It was high time if he still wanted to win the race, otherwise he would have to do whatever Zo'or commanded him to do, surely no fun, if he thought about the Synod Leader's humour.

Venus had not been very interesting but to his regret Zo'or had appeared there at the same time as him, which meant a neck to neck race. And so it was.

As they were on the Home Stretch, a fight for every little bit of lead unfolded. The machines ran hot and flames leaked out both drives. But none of them wanted to give up. Still in Interdimension they raced towards the opening of the Shuttle hangar. None throttled their speed. Shortly before the hangar they entered Normal space. Da'an had a lead of a few centimeters. A lead which was enough to help him win the race. With some work he managed to stop the shuttle shortly before it hit the wall. Zo'or had not so much luck. His vehicle ran into it at full speed. The wall would presumably never be the same again. Right now anyway the shuttle stuck in it. Da'an could only see the back end of the shuttle, the rest was presumably in the next room. An assumption, that proved to be true when he heard his child's comment on the situation a moment later.

Several Volunteers came running to the scene to repair the damage and to put out the still burning shuttle drives.


Day 11

Zo'or entered the North American Embassy in his Protector's company and with a very bad feeling of what was to come. After the race Da'an had declared he would state his demand only on the next day. The result was that Zo'or now visualised the most humiliating and embarrassing scenes. An alarm bell had gone off in his head, when Da'an had not only demanded his, but also his Protector's presence. Was Sandoval to be the witness of the whole thing? How malicious could his parent be? Apparently more malicious than he had thought, because when he arrived at Da'an's room he felt his worst fears confirmed. He had gone to hell and would now receive the punishment for all his sins. The elder Taelon's facial expression revealed it more than clearly. A really malicious smile touched his lips and was accompanied by a merry gleam in his blue eyes. His whole composure and all his gestures brought forth his enjoyment and his anticipation.
Liam was nowhere to be seen, but surely he had gone lost behind the mountain of papers on his desk. He would have to talk to Da'an about this, but not now, that was sure.
“I greet you, Zo'or. It pleases me that you came according to my call.”
“A bet is a bet, Da'an. You won, so state your demand now. I want it to be over as soon as possible.”
“Why are you in such a hurry?” Da'an seemed to be even more amused than before. He enjoyed this obviously very much. Sandoval just looked confused from one to the other.
“As I said. I want this to be over as soon as possible.”
“Well, as you wish. Kiss Sandoval.”
“WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?” came the question from three voices. Apparently Liam had also listened in, he reappeared with a extraordinarily shocked face from his chair behind his working heap. His expression could not rival Zo'or's or Sandoval's. Sandoval had become pale as death, a tremendous performance for a man normally so controlled. His eyes were wide open; his whole composure showed immense terror. And he was not alone with this, Zo'or looked just the same, he just had additionally blushed blue all over.
“I think I made myself clear. Begin.”
Da'an didn't try to conceal his grin.
“And if I must remind you this bet was your idea.” Again this very roguish grin.
Zo'or grimaced. “Do I really have to?”, he whined.
“Mhm.” Da'an nodded merrily.
Zo'ors facial expression said definitely, that he found the very thought disgusting. But a bet was a bet. There was no other possibility. He turned to his Protector. Sandoval tried to back away, but the Taelon held him in place and bowed down, lying his lip on Sandoval's.
It could be worse.
This thought was accompanied with some surprise, it was not as bad as Zo'or had thought it would be. Sandoval had stiffened with the touch and when the Synod Leader straightened, he looked into perplexed eyes.
From behind the huge heap of documents came suffocated sounds; Da'an was not the only one who had enjoyed the view as it seemed. This Companion sat totally quiet in his chair a slight smile on his features. Zo'or collected his remaining dignity and strutted from the room, his still very confused Protector right behind him.

Da'an waited until the footsteps of both had died away, then he began to laugh. His self-control failed him completely as he recalled what had just happened. The had looked like two Kindergarten children, who tried out an experience both thought to be absolutely unpleasant. It had been a picture for the gods. Both faces had been distorted in absolute nausea, their noses turned up. Then in the moment of the kiss an expression of astonishment had dawned on both their features.
It had been worth all the trouble it would lead to, definitely.


Day 12

Zo'or's mood was extremely bad, ever since he had found himself here again. And the fact that Sandoval kept getting in his way didn't help matters. It was kind of fun to pick on him, but actually....
Actually, he just wanted to erase the humiliation of the previous day from his memory. True, apart from himself, Da'an would be the only one to remember it, but that would be enough. His parent would remind him of it for the rest of his life.

Plagued by such heavy thoughts, Zo'or did not watch where he was going, or who was approaching him this time. It took a few minutes before he looked up and had to pull himself together. Liam was standing in front of him, in an unbelievable outfit. He was dressed as a giant bouquet of flowers. The large, blue-green leaves of artificial roses reached up to his face. He kept trying to push them away, without any significant results. Every time he pushed the leaves away, they snapped back, often hitting his face in the process. Eventually, the young man gave up. Possibly he had decided that the situation was humiliating enough, especially in the face of a loudly laughing Zo'or. The Taelon had finally given up and was holding his sides, laughing. And he wasn't the only one. All the Volunteers on the bridge were laughing and even Sandoval's composure had gone. The older Protector was laughing so hard that tears were running down his face.
After the Synod Leader hat calmed down a little, he addressed the unhappy Major. “What can I do for you and why are you wearing that costume?”
“Da'an sent me. I am to give you a message.” With these words Liam fished a slightly crumpled piece of paper out of his costume and started to sing:
“Please forgive me.....”
Unfortunately, his singing voice wasn't any better than that of the two Taelons, so the whole thing simply sounded terrible. When he was done, the whole bridge was rolling on the floor, laughing helplessly. The only reason Zo'or hadn't joined them, was the death-grip he had on the armrests of his throne. Meanwhile Liam looked as if he wanted to be struck down by lightning. Nonetheless he pulled out an envelope and handed it to the Synod Leader, who had gotten himself back under control enough to read the enclosed letter.

Hello Zo'or!

do you already have plans for tomorrow?



Day 13

“Careful, I'm hitting off now!” Da'an's voice was loud enough to be heard through the next three corridors. Zo'or took cover. Various bungled shots of both Taelons had left the surrounding walls with a few dents as well as knocking out the Volunteer holding the golf bag. Yes, they had decided to try their hand at this, the favourite sports activity of the upper class, golf. By now they had a lot of fun with it, especially since they had decided to include the ID portal. All it had taken was a simple change of the transport parameters and the balls were caught in mid-flight and sent through interdimensional space.
Like right now. The little white ball flew across the room and was transported away.

Meanwhile on Jaridia

Balvak had decided to take a walk to calm his nerves. He had had a hard and stressful day. Organising a resistance movement wasn't easy when nobody was listening and someone was constantly trying to throw a spanner in the works.
Halfway to his favourite resting place he found a strange white object on the ground. Apparently it was a ball, but how had it come to be here? The Jaridian crouched down to take a closer look at the thing. It did not seem to be dangerous. Jus as he was about to straighten up again, another one of those objects came flying out of nowhere, hitting his head. With a low moan he sank to the ground, pressing his hand against his head. The world was getting crazier and crazier. Little white balls had no right to come out of nowhere and knock him down.

Portal room

“Now it's my turn.” Enthusiastically, the young Synod Leader swung his golf club. At this moment Major Kincaid and Agent Sandoval appeared, just in time to see the ball being hit, lying straight at the portal and disappearing.
“But... but what are you doing there?” Sandoval sounded absolutely shocked.
“Playing golf,” Da'an answered calmly.
“And the portal has been set for where?” Liam asked. Instead of an answer the two Taelons just grinned at him.


Balvak was still holding his smarting head while he picked himself up from the floor when the second ball hit him. He went down again, this time muttering a rather nasty curse. When he was finally able to see halfway straight, he picked himself up again, constantly looking out for new missiles, and swayed back the way he had come.
He had enough. This day was definitely ruined. Whoever was responsible for this would be in serious trouble once he got his hands on him or her. Shooting at harmless passers-by like that. But first he would get some Aspirin, as the mother of all headaches had taken up residence in his head.


Day 14

Da'an lounged comfortably on his throne. Resting his chin in the palm of his hand, he kept his eyes on the door and silently counted the seconds.






“Good morning, Da'an. How are you today?”
Da'an silently mouthed the words as well. Liam didn't notice it, of course. Then the usual daily program began. Somehow it grated heavily on Da'an's nerves by now. Well, what could he come up with for today? Maybe...... A really evil grin spread across Da'an's face. Yes, that would be fun.

Two hours later he had gathered everything he needed for his mission. Which included Agent Sandoval and Liam dressed as clowns. Humans in costumes were simply too cute, Da'an thought to himself, shaking his head. He also had Zo'or, a fluffy pink rabbit with a red bow, and a really big cake. Now all they had to do was corner their “victim” in his quarters. That should not be too difficult, he would certainly swoop in any minute now. Just as soon as he had been given Zo'or's orders to report to the bridge immediately. T'than usually had a problem following Zo'or's orders. This time he would regret it.
Finally the door opened and the War Minister entered the darkened room. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary - yet. Then.....

“SURPRISE!!!” two Taelons and two humans yelled at the top of their lungs as soon as the lights came on. In spite of their ridiculous costumes, the two Protectors were obviously having fun. Da'an carried the large cake over, which was now decorated with dozens of burning candles.
“To our dear T'than for his anniversary” was written on it in icing.

T'than's eyes almost popped out of his head as he read that. The shocked expression was replaced by a confused one as the cake was placed in front of him and everyone stared at him expectantly.
“What am I supposed to do with that?!?!?!” Obviously the War Minister did not have a lot of composure.
“You have to blow out the candles and make a wish,” Zo'or said in that patient voice people normally used for talking to very stupid persons.
“What for?!?” T'than had no idea what to make of this situation. It appeared as if Da'an and Zo'or had lost whatever remained of their minds, and the same was true for their Protectors as well, judging from their dress. These overly colourful costumes, the make-up covering their faces.... It almost amounted to bodily harm.
“So that you'll get your present.” Again the friendly, patient voice, this time from Da'an. “Just do it and stop arguing.” This time he sounded so much like a parent that T'than automatically complied.

Da'an grinned inside as the War Minister tried to blow out the candles like a good little child - try being the operative word here, because he had no success. Every time he did it, the small candles just ignited again. Trick candles. It hadn't been easy to get them at such short notice, but it was worth it for the look on T'than's face alone. He was getting angrier by the second and showing it. Finally he gave up with an angry snarl and threw an accusing look at Zo'or.
“Don't look at me, it was Da'an's idea,” Zo'or answered, putting the blame where it belonged.
The accusing glare shifted to Da'an, who was doubled up inside with laughter. If looks could kill...
“Now it's time for your present.” Da'an motioned to Liam, who handed the War Minister the pink rabbit and promptly took cover behind Sandoval. Which was useless, however, as Sandoval simultaneously decided to hide behind Zo'or, leaving Liam without cover. It took Liam only a fraction of a second to get over his surprise, then he followed Sandoval and tried to hide behind the Synod Leader as well, but his father pushed him out of the safety zone. “You have your own Taelon to hide behind,” he was told. However, he had run out of time. After the present T'than's composure had snapped. He was practically spitting fire and the quartet thought it prudent to disappear. Half a second later four blurs looking suspiciously like the Synod Leader, the North American Companion and their respective Protectors dressed as clowns shot past a startled Volunteer.
Behind them the Volunteer could hear what sounded like curses - and actually he didn't really want to understand them. Then a few pieces went flying past him to crash into the wall at the end of the corridor. Curious, the young man stepped closer to take a look at them. The pieces turned out to be the remains of a fluffy pink rabbit.
“Taelons,” he muttered under his breath and went back to his work. Luckily, he didn't have very much to do with the lot of them, but first thing tomorrow he would ask for a transfer. Alaska was supposed to be a nice place.


Day 15

Two heavily burdened, masked figures were stalking through the Mothership, careful not to be seen by anybody. Finally they reached their destination and disappeared in one of the many rooms. A short time later, suppressed giggling could be heard.

Some time later (no idea how long it would take)

Dripping wet, Mit'gai entered his lab. He had had a really terrible day. This morning, Da'an had summoned him to the embassy and ordered him to do a totally useless and very time-consuming analysis. Just as he had finished, Agent Sandoval had contacted him with an order from Zo'or. He was to find out how baking soda could be of use to the Taelons. Immediately. Meanwhile he did not doubt that the current Synod Leader had become totally insane. Baking soda, really.....
And to make matters worse, on his way back he had gotten caught in a thunderstorm and was completely soaked.
So wrapped up in his own problems, he barely registered his surroundings and was halfway through his lab before he noticed...


Every wall and the ceiling had been painted in shrill colours. It was all Mit'gai could do not to suffer a colour shock. To make matters worse, naughty graffiti had been painted on the floor.
For a few minutes after the first cry he just stood there, doing a very good imitation of a goldfish, before he finally managed to move again. He turned tail and fled into the security of his quarters.

Da'an and Zo'or were still cleaning themselves of the remaining paint when they heard Mit'gai's cry. Both shared a broad grin, before they once again reached for the turpentine-soaked rags. They still had a lot to do. Their overalls had to be cleaned as well.


Day 16

A Volunteer - the same one, by the way, who wanted to transfer to Alaska - was walking down the corridor. In a few minutes his shift was about to begin and he wanted to be at his post on time. As he rounded the next corner, he found himself face to face with a giant spider. Seeing the gigantic beast, turning around and taking off like a bat out of hell took only a fraction of a second.
However, that was by no means the end of the unpleasant surprises. He wanted to rush to his quarters to hide under the bed, only to find himself in a forest instead. And to bring matters to a grandiose end, he heard the roar of something really big close by. Then he discovered that his trousers were wet. For a moment he thought that he had wet himself in fright, but to his - albeit short-lived - relief he found himself standing hip-deep in the water of a small, murky pond. For a moment he carelessly revelled in his relief - then he felt something touching his leg. With a yelp, the young man jumped out of the water, only to find himself back on the Mothership.
He had no idea what had just happened. A careful look inside his cabin told him that it looked as usual; no jungle, no pond, no monsters. The only evidence of his adventures were his wet trousers and the distinct feeling that something had attached itself to him in a place he'd rather not think about.
Carefully he got up and went stiff legged into his cabin. He had another than being late for his shift. A leech.

Agent Sandoval was on his way to the bridge when a very strange apparition popped up in front of him. At first glance it seemed to be a small Tyrannosaur, but the thing was orange. Also, it had large blue eyes, its arms were too long and well-armed with claws (who knows Digimon? *g*). For a moment, the Agent and the dino-thing stared at each other. Then the Agent stepped aside and let the small orange creature pass, watching it disappear around the next corner. Then, his face still expressionless, he turned back in the direction of the bridge. It just made no sense to worry about such things. They just happened.
When he reached the bridge, however, he found himself in a casino. Still unimpressed, he walked over to the roulette table. On the way he met a few resistance members, who were enthusiastically gambling at the other tables. Still no big thing. He had seen worse in his nightmares. The croupier at the roulette table was a Jaridian, grinning broadly at him and urging him to make his play, which Sandoval did without batting an eye.
An hour later he had lost a considerable sum of money, half a month's salary to be exact. He decided to leave the casino. On the other side of the door, however, he was jolted back to reality. Slightly stunned he looked around - and down at himself. Why was he wearing pink pyjamas with a teddy bear pattern? He fainted.

Meanwhile, a party was in full swing on the hangar deck. Volunteers and Taelons were dancing slowly to the sound of Luau-music. And there among a group of female dancers, wearing only a hula-skirt and flower garlands, was Liam. He was moving rather stiffly, trying to copy the movements of the dancers, who all seemed to be very happy. At the same time he noticed that the hula-skirt was rather draughty. And the flowers were giving him a rash. He tried to scratch himself unobtrusively, all the while asking himself how on earth he had gotten into this situation.

He had been on his way to the bridge to report. Strangely, Zo'or had insisted that he do so in person. On the way there he had first been overrun by a stag and then by a hunting party. If he had not been mistaken, they had been elves. All that had saved him from a bloody end under the horses' hooves had been a quick jump aside. Next he had swallowed sand and something large, hairy, slobbering and stinking had looked down at him with something like astonishment. For a second, Liam had uncomprehendingly returned the look, firmly believing that all this was a bad joke. Maybe he had hit his head against the wall when he jumped. Then he had picked himself up, still looking around in confusion. Desert? Why was he in a desert? And where was it? Certainly not on Earth. Earth didn't have three moons. A little confused he had just stumbled in a random direction, only to almost collide with the ship's wall.
Before he could recover from the first shock, he had already met the next one. The Teletubbies were doing a Conga right before his eyes. He was sure he had never run as fast in his life. After a few corridors he finally stopped, trying to catch his breath and think at the same time.
Something was definitely wrong here. Shaking his head, he walked on, not without taking a good look around to see whether there were any other oddities.
He did not have to wait long for the next one to come around. It was T'than, who was constantly looking over his shoulder as if he was afraid he was being followed. But there was nothing to see. Apart from a broad grin hovering over the War Minister's left shoulder and seeming to wink at him. Then a pair of mischievously glittering golden eyes and a couple of stripes joined the grin. The Cheshire Cat. How the....? And T'than still did not notice anything. Every time he looked in the direction of the cat, it escaped to the other side. Obviously, the Taelon had already reached the end of his patience. Liam decided to carefully disappear before he was noticed. He almost made it. Just as he had almost reached the safety of the next corner, he heard a loud “MAJOR!” behind him. That was enough to get him to high speed. He was practically flying around the next corner and found himself in the hangar at a Hawaiian party. Strangely his clothing had been replaced by a hula-skirt and a flower garland and a horde of hula dancers had surrounded him and forced him to join them.
There he was now and he had no idea how to get out of this. His only consolation was that everybody here was dressed like that. It helped... but not much... and not against the itching rash. Again he tried to scratch himself without anyone noticing.

Da'an's embassy (by now everybody certainly knows where that is)

Both Taelons were rolling on the floor, laughing at the pictures that were transmitted to them from the Mothership. It had taken them a lot of time to prepare this prank, but it had been worth every effort. They had reprogrammed every data stream and set up portable interdimensional portals everywhere. Additionally, they has releases a hallucinogenic substance affecting both Taelons and Humans into the air circulation of the ship. It would ensure that everybody had their own personal trip - the trip of a lifetime. Even more so, as you could land on a different planet at every corner. All you had to do to return was take a few steps back, but until that happened, most people got a really good shock or found themselves covered with hideous ‘things’. Da'an and Zo'or had been indiscriminate in the selection of destinations. However, the holograms they had programmed topped everything. Again and again the people fled, screaming.
Although.... the Teletubby-Conga had become quite long by now. Obviously some people had no problem joining the madness. They even seemed to enjoy it. The icing on the cake had been Zo'or's idea. Some of the portals did not transport the people to different locations, but simply swapped their clothing. By now some people had been forced to adapt to rather strange clothing, which had increased the chaos - and the amusement of the two perpetrators. Both were out of breath by now, which did not stop them from suffering another laughing fit as they witnessed T'than - still accompanied by the Cheshire Cat - round up Liam. The Major saw the War Minister and for a moment seemed to be torn between running away and staying, hoping for a merciful end. He decided to run, passed another portal and found himself dressed as a garden gnome, complete with a fishing rod. T'than followed close behind him and suffered a similar fate - only that he now wore a Rokoko-dress, including the powdered wig.
The Chesire Cat, fully materialized by now, fell backwards and landed on the floor, holding its sides laughing. You could almost see the steam coming out of the War Minister's ears as he noticed this latest humiliation.

Zo'or, who by now was doing the same thing as the cat, managed to gasp out “I wish....really.... that were still here tomorrow.... I would... like to torment..... T'than with this... for the rest of his life...”
Da'an got out something that sounded vaguely like a confirmation, before he succumbed to another laughing fit.


Day 1 (don't look at me like that, I know what I'm writing)

Da'an had had a long night behind him and hadn't registered the change yet. That changed when Liam came in with a funereal expression on his face and a significantly shorter hairstyle, took one look at the pile of files on his desk and heaved a very deep sigh.

For one moment Da'an just stared at the man, unbelieving, then an inscrutable smile appeared on his face. This promised to be fun.

“Major, is everything alright? You seem to be very depressed this morning.” It took Da'an an extraordinary effort to keep his expression serious.

The Kimera-hybrid threw him a deadly look. The day before he had barely escaped T'than's wrath. After the War Minister had torn off the dress and the wig, he had immediately looked around for a scapegoat.
To his dismay, Liam had been the only one around. So he had fled through half the Mothership, including various decks that were absolutely out of his way, as well as a number of planets, closely pursued by a Taelon almost beside himself with rage. Somewhere along the way, T'than had even found a sword and was therefore armed. Liam had lost some of his hair when he had let T'than get too close. However, that had also bought him a small advantage, as the sword had been driven into the wall and it had taken T'than a few seconds to pull it out again. Precious seconds in which he had managed to reach the portal room, after a short detour through a violet jungle, past a giant lizard. The last thing he saw was the War Minister storming at him like a berserker, wildly swinging his sword. Next he found himself in Mozambique.... and he was still dressed like a gnome.
It had taken him half the night to contact Augur. And about the same time - once he had heard a description of the events - before Augur had calmed down enough to help his unhappy friend. And what was worse, the damned Cheshire cat was back and looking over Da'an's shoulder. It even had the impertinence to wink at him. And Da'an looked at him with large innocent eyes, not noticing that the cat behind him was doing some rather un-catlike things. Right now it was juggling with its head and a few of its stripes.
Liam started thumping his head rhythmically on the table. It had a strangely calming effect on him and maybe he would be able to knock himself out.

Da'an was slightly perplexed by the behaviour of his Protector. But when he considered what had happened on the ship yesterday, he was more surprised that the man hadn't called in sick. And he asked himself how a holographic cat, which should by rights be restricted to the Mothership, came to be behind his back. He would have to ask Zo'or, if he was responsible for the animal. But first he had to prevent serious harm to Liam. The man was bad enough healthy, with serious mental problems he would be unbearable.


Thump, thump, thump....

From Da'an's throne, Da'an and Zo'or watched the Major still thumping his head on the table, by now cushioned by a pile of files Da'an had pushed beneath his head. The whole scenario was accompanied by the grimaces of the Chesire Cat, who lounged, head resting on its paws, on a second pile.

“You are absolutely sure you have not programmed this animal?”
“Absolutely.” Zo'or tried to sound indignant, but he was distracted by what happened in front of him. “Obviously the program has become independent. This creature has evidently taken on a life of its own.”
The ‘creature’ had meanwhile moved to Liam's head and was apparently enjoying the ride.
“There still remains the question why the time loop stopped.” Like his child, Da'an watched fascinated, as the man's head hit the paper with the regularity of a clockword. He had to have enough of this some time.
“Yesterday I have given the order to destroy the time portal. Obviously it worked.”
“I see.” Da'an was too distracted for the full meaning of the words to sink in immediately. After a few seconds, however..... “You did WHAT???” accompanied by a dull thud as Liam had finally become unconscious and dropped to the floor.




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