"I sense there is something very important on your mind, Dale," said Marsh. "You have a secret or two that you want to spring on us, don't you?"
"You could say that." Dale chuckled. "I am surprised that you haven't felt the call yourselves, but I guess I may be just a bit more sensitive that even Del and Jamie, or perhaps it is because the call was directed to me, personally, and therefore it was not exactly a broadcast.
"We will sit here together for a while, and enjoy the love we have for one another, then there is some business we need to take care of, very important business."
Now, this is going to take more concentration," said Delaren."I have to teleport Carla and Hack here and I need to get Shad here, too."
A few moments later, the entire crew of the Dawntreader, and Carla were standing near all the members of the group who loved Delaren/Dale.
"Everyone! Please, I need your attention. I have, literally, brought you here for a very special reason. A few days ago in linear time, I was contacted from a location that has never made contact with my race or me. Mind you, I had heard of others being contacted from there, but this was a first for our kind. As you may know, there are more dimensions than the three or four that the typical humanoid species is able to perceive. We Eclara can detect the presence of several more, but even we, until now, have been limited in our ability to perceive more than eight of them. As you know, we have discovered the ability to grow a living body and endow it with a personality. This has been accomplished in two different ways, in particular by me. One of these involved my own personality and the other one used the intelligence and personality of a supercomputer. Both of these people are here with us now and we have seen them grow in their short time of existence into very intelligent and loving human beings. I have had a request from, "the other side", if you will, to create a body for someone who has passed on. It seems that somehow, a human child has been taken from life, before his purpose on Earth was complete, and, he has a mission he wants to finish. He, of course, now that he is in the next life, has access to all dimensions, and time is visible in a non-linear way as well. He died in 2005 and has been trying to help people as best he can from there, ever since. His influence has been somewhat less than he had hoped, however, and he happened to notice my accomplishments with regard to creating bodies and giving them a life force. He needed a corporal body again, and it seems that I am one of only a few whom he thought could accomplish this. As it turns out, my talent seems to be unique, as all other experiments that have been tried have ended in failure. I agreed to his request and I am going to try to bring him into this dimension corporally. After I do, then he will explain the task with which he needs our help," said Dale.
Dale slowly concentrated on the job at hand and a form started to take shape. A 15-year-old boy was visible and slowly solidifying. Only one word could describe him, he was a beautiful young lad with brownish hair having just a hint of red, a little bit unruly, but still manageable (the hair not the boy). He was five foot ten inches tall, weighing in at around 140 lbs and he had a smile that would cause anyone to melt, and fall hopelessly in love with him, his hazel eyes changed color to match his mood and they seemed to hold the look of age and serenity belonging to an old soul. He was innocent, but somehow, underneath it all, was knowledge and deep wisdom that none of us will ever know, unless he somehow passes it along.
When you looked at his face, all the stars shown in his eyes and the light there was warm and loving for everyone. He didn't know an enemy, or for that matter, a stranger. If somehow, he had an enemy; it wouldn't take long before that enemy would become his close friend. He didn't use mind control either. His deep, loving smile would melt the heart of anyone.
"Everyone, this is Bobby," said Dale.
"I'm here!" cried Bobby, "It worked! You did it! I can't believe you did it! This is totally awesome!" He ran to Dale and buried his head in Dale's chest, and began to stroke his back.
"I love you, Delaren. Oh, sorry, I mean Dale." He hugged Dale and kissed him all over. After a long and loving greeting that could be said to be one of the most wonderful human touches that Delaren/Dale had ever experienced, everyone began asking questions of Bobby and Dale. Dale finally managed to get everyone calmed enough to begin the explanation.
"Please, if everyone could find a place to park, I would like you to hear what Bobby has to tell us. I think this might be one of the most important developments I have ever heard of, and I can tell you that I have heard a lot of things in my life, as you can no doubt imagine. Bobby, if you would be kind enough to explain your situation for everyone. I'm sure we would all be grateful to you.
;"I am very worried" said Bobby, "which is one of the reasons I contacted Delaren, Oh, I'm sorry, I mean Dale. It is still hard for me to think of him as Dale, I have been following his accomplishments for ever, I guess, since as you know, time is not linear where I have been. It wasn't the only reason, but it was the one that made it important enough for me to get approval to try the experiment.
I really didn't expect it to work, you understand. No one had been able to make contact across the barrier from that side, before, at least not consistently. For whatever reason, communication has been one way since... well, since...Ever. I have been watching for a long time. Although from over there, time is pretty transparent. From there, you can see any time/space, from the beginning till; you should excuse the expression, 'heaven only knows' how far into the future you can look.
I am getting off the point, aren't I? Let me start at the beginning, of as close as I can get to the beginning.
Those of us who have memories of our lives, here, have noticed some strange things happening. People we know, or knew, keep disappearing, and I mean completely disappearing. There are people who are not even being remembered by their own families.
It occurs to me that possibly there is still another dimension that we have yet to perceive, even from over there, and someone has taken certain people to that dimension.
I have not quite figured out why I remember some of the people that have ceased to exist, but I do. Possibly it is because some of the missing people are among my friends. Someone seems to have managed to control the minds of everyone in the entire universe to some extent.
We need to find whoever did this, and stop them. That is why we need all of you here. We need to determine if you remember certain people that I know that you knew and see if you still remember that they existed. If possible, we need to find the people, rescue them, and put them back into the space-time continuum where they belong.
Delaren has agreed to help, and he said he was pretty sure you would be willing to help us."
"Of course, we will help!" the whole group said, almost as one voice, and with a lot of enthusiasm.
"Just tell us what to do," said Jamie.
"We will do whatever it takes. I have never thought about talking to someone who has passed on, before, but, I can tell you are a wonderful person, and that this is very important to you, so of course you can count on us. Any way we can help, we will."
"The first thing we will need is the exact coordinates in space and time where and when one or more of the people disappeared," said Dale. "Then I think I can manage to follow the trail, but I need a starting place.
"Well," said Bobby, "I would say for certain that the first person that I noticed going missing was my uncle. He and I were very close, and I had been watching him, and how he was getting along after I passed. I know it was hard for him, and for that matter, all my family, most especially my little brother. I love him so much. Bradly took it very hard, and I couldn't really talk to him after that. He never heard me. I am sure he knew I was there watching him, and trying to keep him safe, but he was in pretty bad shape. Eric and Mattias both were devastated, too.
I knew I was dying but I thought I should spare both of them the pain, so I didn't tell anyone what I already knew. Mattias and Darryl sent me emails trying to help me fight it and encourage me, and I really did appreciate their kind words and thoughts. I was able to send them a message through my uncle, telling them how much I appreciated all their support and love."
"Darryl and Mattias?" asked Dale. "For some reason, I have the funny feeling I have heard of one or both of those people."
"I have been keeping an eye on them from over there, too," Bobby said.
His lower lip began to tremble, and tears began to stream down his cheeks. Greg reached out and pulled Bobby close to him.
"Don't worry, Bobby! We are here, and we will help you figure this out." "Now that I am on this side again, I am having some of the same feelings I had before. Not the sick things, but the ache for someone to love, and I know that all my friends have passed on, and that I will have to make new friends here. I know it will be hard, because I am basically shy. Of course, it was so cool when I crossed over to the other side. Sammy was there, waiting for me. He was such a wonderful person and he helped me get myself in sync with what was going on. I am so glad he was there for me. He really helped."
Sammy was another angel of a boy who died in a similar manner to Bobby, a few days earlier, as it turns out, so he was there to show Bobby the ropes, so to speak.
"When we are ready, we will all cross over to the other side, which will be very interesting considering that we will have corporal bodies.
"On the count of three," said Dale. "One, Two, Three."
Instantly they all vanished from the room. They found themselves standing on a vast plane. There were beautiful trees and a landscape that was totally breathtaking.
"Well, Hello!" a voice came from behind them.
They turned to see a young boy smiling at them.
"Sammy!" yelled Bobby.
"I wondered how long it would be till we saw you again." Said Sammy. "Sorry," said Bobby. "It took a little time to gather them together and explain our problem. They all agreed to help."
"I know, remember we can see everything from here, and it was just a figure of speech. We really knew you would be here." Said Sammy.
"I should explain how things work here on this side." Sammy smiled and began. "When you are here, you are in a sort of spirit body. In the case of all of you, however, you also have a tangible physical body that you will be confined to, so, many of the abilities that we take for granted, you will have more difficulties accomplishing. I am, however, familiar with your various abilities in the mortal dimension. Those abilities are among the many reasons that Bobby and I decided to ask for your help. Each and every one of you has at least one talent or gift that is not often found in a living being, and for that matter, not very many of us on this side, either. From here you will be able to access time in many different ways, not the least of which will be the ability to stop time and redirect events to determine the different time lines and what would or will happen if a given event or circumstance changes or is changed.
Your task, if you are willing to help us, will be to determine where the rift in time took place and help us put things back the way they are supposed to be. Our leaders are afraid that if this situation is allowed to continue unabated, that whole time lines may perish completely.
I think each of you will be given a time frame in which to work, and you need to search for anyone that has disappeared, whom you remember, and the time that the person became nonexistent to the time line in question. I have requested that Dale enter the various time lines available to him and retrieve several people, and bring them here. Unfortunately, the people that have disappeared cannot be retrieved in that manner, or we would have done that already. When they vanish, they vanish from their past as well as their present. It makes it a lot more difficult, you see.
You will have some tools at your disposal that you probably didn't know were available. We have an ectoplasm tracer that can be directed through hundreds of dimensions some of which we, ourselves cannot directly observe. This device was smuggled to us through our contact in the twenty seventh dimension. Dale has spoken with him and he is extremely worried. He promised to help us as much as possible.
As you may know, each Higher Dimension can see and react to all Lower Dimensions, so if we can direct Gantalim to the proper place and time, then he may be able to determine where or when the people have been taken.
One thing is certain, though, we must hurry.
The fabric of time and space is being stretched to its theoretical limits as we speak and if it were to break, chaos would descend on all of us. We must stop it before that happens and I don't give us much longer before it begins to happen." Sammy started to cry, and Bobby and Dell both reached out to hug him. The sensations that Dell and Bobby felt as they embraced Sammy were difficult to describe. They were both embraced in a strange energy that held them in a warm overwhelmingly beautiful feeling of love that was so deep, that they both became immobilized temporarily, until they were able to return the love with equal force, showing Sammy that they indeed did care as much about him as he did for them.
"It will take you some time to figure out all the things you can do here." Said Sammy,
"Of course, here, time is not really a factor as the passage of time in a linear manner is only happening because we find it easier to deal with it that way. Here, Time is parallel not serial. If we need to, we can view all time at once, but we tend to continue the same way we did on your side of the continuum." Said Sammy.
"Remember," said Sammy, "Any new abilities you folks discover that you have while you are here will be much more difficult to do when you return to your own dimension. They won't be impossible, you understand, just a lot more difficult."
"Well, I certainly want to learn all I can while I am here," said Jamie. "I think, however, we need to get down to the reason you wanted us to come here, and try to help you solve your problem."
"Right," said Sammy. "One more thing, though, before we get started. Dale, could you please bring the people we talked about earlier over to this side?"
"Of course," said Dale.
Several people materialized while the whole group watched in amazement. "I'm sorry I had to do that, but communications between your dimension and this one are tenuous at best. This is going to be a little difficult for you to believe, but, you have just been transported through time and space to another dimension. I am Delaren, or Dale to my friends," He told them. "We need your help. Some of you may remember Bobby and Sammy over there."
Dale pointed to the two boys. "They asked to have you here to help us find some missing people. Time is not linear here. It might be considered parallel. I think that is the closest analogy I can give you. My race is able to see time in a different way than you do. The people here also have that ability, but for some reason, we have yet to discover, certain people have vanished from our vantage point. They seem, for all practical purposes, to have ceased to exist. I mean, not that they died or that they were killed, but, to almost everyone, they were never there. We will need to ask you if you remember some of them. There are some that Bobby remembers and some that I remember, and of course, Sammy remembers still others.
However, only one or two of the missing people are remembered by more than one of us.
"If you are willing to help us, we will show you how to search the various dimensions. I already know how to do it, but I will show the rest of you, so you can search, too." Dale beamed.
"Maybe I should make the introductions. I think some of you have met, at least online.
One thing I should point out is that when this is all over, if we succeed, you will have helped change history. You will not be allowed to remember what happened here, though. It would not do to have you know what happens in your future. You WILL be able to remember it, but it will be as though it were a dream. At least that is the plan as we see it now," said Dale.
"Everyone!" Dale said loudly. "I need your attention. These people I just brought here are from the year 2005. They are, at the very least, friends through the Internet.
Some of them are authors, and others are readers and friends. For ease of identification, I will introduce them by their screen names. We have Elsie, Radio Rancher, TSL, Crackerwriter, Str8mayb Mattias, Sam Lakes, ACfan, Byron, Tom, and Tim. Each of you has qualities that make it important to have you on the search team. I will need to search your minds to determine if you have memories of any of the missing people. This will give us a better idea of how many threads were left behind by the ‘time disruptor'.
"You are currently in the ninety-second dimension and there are many more. This one has some very interesting properties that don't seem to exist in any other one that I have examined. Even some of the higher ones don't contain some of the capabilities that this one does. "One of the other dimensions consists of all gay men and boys.
The only other one that I have noticed that has most of the same properties as this one is the 42nd dimension. It was once thought to contain the answer to Life, the universe, and Everything, just everything." Delaren smiled as he looked at one of the people he had summoned to join the search.
"Thank you for being here, too, Doug. Again, since we are outside of normal time and space, the fact that you will have died within the next few years, was not known to any of the humans who live in the dimension that all these people come from.
I don't think you know these other people. You do, however, have a friend in common with Crackerwriter. I am sure the others know you, at least, through your work," said Dale.
"I believe you may be the only earth dweller, alive or dead, that had the true concept of dimensional existence distilled into a coherent body of writing." Dale looked up to see a bowl of petunias smile, float down and land gently on a nearby table.
"Oh, no! Not again!" they said.
"See?" said Delaren.
Bish turned to Doug and grinned. "I am honored to meet you," Said Bish, as he smiled broadly.
"Likewise," said Doug. "I have been reading about your adventures and I am honored that you thought to include my work in your library."
"My library includes any material that contains truthful and or insightful writing by people I respect, and you, fit all of those criteria," Said Bish.
"I have a question." Said Tim. "Would it be possible to have you put me back in my dimension farther back, say when I was sixteen for example?"
"It is possible, yes," said Dale, "but I don't know if our council would approve such a transfer.
The council is rather reluctant to place someone into the space-time continuum at a different point than the current instant from which they left, without a very compelling reason. If you can convince them that it would be in the best interest of, not only yourself, but others around you, to make the change, then it might be permitted." Delaren smiled.
Delaren hugged Tim and tousled his hair.
"I am very pleased to notice that none of you panicked when you saw me arrive. I was rather expecting someone to be frightened of me do to my size when I materialized." He said.
"No one could possibly be frightened of you, Delaren," said Tim.
"Thank you," said Dale.
"Now I am going to give you a list of people who have vanished without a trace," said Bobby.
"However, for some reason, a very few of us managed to remember some of them.
The strange thing is that some of us remember certain ones and others remember a different bunch of them. And none of us remembers them all." Sammy reached over and hugged Bobby. Bobby was having a difficult time holding back his tears.
"This list was compiled from hundreds if not thousands of us racking our brains, trying to remember which people have gone missing," said Bobby.
"I see a couple of people here that I remember," said Crackerwriter.
"So do I," said Elsie.
"Good!" exclaimed Bobby. "I was hoping you could help us, and it seems you will be able to do that. We should all take the list and study it. I hope we will make some progress and we can assign each person on the list at least two people to search for them." Bobby Yawned and looked around.
"I'm sorry," He said. "But those of us who have bodies have a slight disadvantage, in that we still need sleep, so if you don't mind I think we should all either study or take some time to rest. We can get started on the search in the morning."
Well, I think there is a big task ahead of the group, don't you?
The folks from our time frame will have to get used to looking at time from a different perspective, won't they? We keep learning more and more about what Dale can do, don't we? I feel rather inept to take on even a part of the task, but Dale seemed to think I could help, so I will do my best.
Wish me and the rest good luck. I find it hard to think of being included in the story, but my characters seemed to want me there, and how can you argue with Delaren? I know I can't.
Now, I need to point something out, and believe me, it still hurts when I think about what I am going to tell you.
If you were around reading stories in 2005, when I was writing this, and you happened to read this story back then, you might wonder why I never continued the story.
The answer is, I fell into somewhat of a depression at about this point in the telling of the story, actually, it happened about the time I asked Del to write some of the story and fill everyone in on some of the things that happened earlier. Remember that pretty much everything that Del has told you was a flashback, adding in details about what happened before we were all called to help Delaran/Dale.
At about that time, we were all grieving over someone we had become friends with over the net. It was a young boy who was dying. We first met him on an IRC chat. He was sick for quite a while and as time went by, he became more and more distant with us, and we couldn't figure out what was wrong. Finally, someone else came into the chat and told us that 'Billy' had died.
Let me first say that we were all very sad to learn this. We tried to get the guy that showed up on the chat, to give us the address where we could send sympathy cards, etc. Some of us were becoming a bit suspicious that something strange was happening. We did some checking and eventually learned that the "boy' never existed. It was some troll just trying to scam us, and see how bad he could make us feel.
It sort of took everything I had in me, to even take the story this far. I couldn't finish the plotline that we had built up around the dying boy. If you read the original version up to this point, you will notice that some of the names have been changed in this version. The next part will be completely different from our original plan.
I hope you still enjoy the story. Comments gratefully accepted at The Radio Rancher