Chapter 4: THE PAST - 4930 (OTT)
Only eight days had passed since the Kermac attacked Green Hell, trying to excavate and secure an ancient Saresii space ship, buried there for over a million standard years. Events that culminated in the revelation that the President of the United Stars himself was a Kermac Spy.
Roy had been at the very center of these events and some of it was still hard to understand. He was just a teenager of a backwater world after all.
Green Hell did not develop into one of the most dangerous planets in the known Universe on its own, but was the result of a bio weapon program of the Old Saresii. A machine left behind had developed into its own entity and acted as a protector of the planet and its diverse and dangerous biosphere. The machine represented by the projection of a woman with the name Qaroniel wanted him, just like Uncle Sam to leave Green Hell, to learn and receive an education.
When Cara, his Saresii friend and mentor offered him a chance to receive his college education on Sares Prime, everyone he knew told him this was a great honor and a rare opportunity.
He promised to be good and the events since his last birthday had shown him how important education and how dangerous ignorance could be, but deep down there was a voice of rebellion; perhaps not as stubborn as it was before, but still a hallmark of human teenagers since times begun; resented the fact that there were always others telling him how he had to act and what to do.
Less than ten hours ago, Cara, Partner and Roy had boarded this exotic looking Saresii space ship at the space port of Harper’s Junction.
Not able to sleep after that strange nightmare he had. In that dream he saw his mother and his father in a cave like place, dirty and wearing rags and being prisoners of someone or something.
While the Saresii Ship was quite fast , it still had to cross almost the entire Upward Sector and then cross into the Spinward Sector from Green Hell to Sares Prime. In terms of distance almost 35,000 light years and even though the Saresii Ship traveled through Quasi Space at the incredible speed of 42,875 times the speed of light, it would take over 298 days to reach the destination if his calculation was right. Yet Cara had told him they would make it in less than 20 days. In moments like this he knew he should have paid more attention in school and not skip the Neural Upload sessions like he did so often. He wondered how this would be accomplished.
He took a cold shower and got dressed in his usual camo-pattern Bio seal suit. His quarters were spacious and everything had an alien feminine character, well everything except that huge black beast, still lying in the big bed. The animal was a true enigma, all he really knew of the beast came from truly ancient and obscure legends. Some suggested that it was the product of highly advanced civilization, today only remembered as the Dark Ones. The last Dark Ones supposedly fought the Celtest and the Old Saresii over a million years ago.
His mind had a hard time believing that this fur covered, four legged animal was that old, but then no normal human could really relate or understand what a time span like this really meant. According to these legends he had heard so far, Partner was called a Fury Beast or if he paid credence to an Oromal bar tender, he had met at the space port of Harper’s Junction, Partner was an Imperial War Hound. That his four legged friend was way more than it appeared was certain however. There seemed little that could wound or kill his friend, except energy siphoning devices. Partner could teleport, emit incredibly strong energy blasts from his small, always slightly glowing horns, eat pretty much anything and when he really needed help summoned thousands of similar Fury Beasts. The other beasts had appeared in the nick of time defeating the landing Kermac, only to disappear once the deed was done.
Roy shared a psionic link, a strong bond with Partner and while his animal was quite intelligent, it was not sentient. They communicated with mental images and emotions, many of Partner’s images made no sense to Roy. For example when he tried to ask Partner where the other Fury Beasts came from or where they went. All he got were confusing images of swirling colors and symbolic conditions that looked like abstract paintings of a mad man. At least that was the closest way Roy could describe what he saw when he tried to formulate his question.
He had ceased trying to understand his friend. All he know was that he loved this creature as much as anyone could love an animal.
Partner raised his head, always knowing when Roy was thinking about it and a warm wave of affection came over Roy, transmitted by the mind of the animal as if to say. “I love you too.” Then Partner blinked with his deep red glowing eyes and it was clear he tried to say. “Is it time to get up?”
Roy went over and rubbed the animals belly. “Don’t get up. It’s still too early and there isn’t really anything to do anyway, but I can’t sleep. I had a weird dream. I see if I can scare up some breakfast.”
Partner sneezed, licked over Roy’s arm and squeezed his eyes shut.
“I said it before, you know. I bet you are the laziest sleepy beast of them all. Whoever owned you before wanted some really tough beast and all he got was a big black cuddle monster.”
He gave his Pet a hug and buried his face in the dry, warm fur. “I sure glad I have you, though.”
Partner grunted deeply satisfied and then sneezed. Roy was certain now Partner was completely content. So he let it sleep and then went to the exit. The door of this bubble shaped room without any straight walls or sharp corners, was a five leaf iris and it made a turning motion and chirping sound as it opened.
The corridor behind his door had the cross section of an egg shaped oval and the walls were made of a smooth white plastic like mirror smooth and translucent material. A soft bluish light shining without revealing a real source behind the material gave it all a clinical, antiseptic atmosphere.
Cara had shown him to his quarters as they left Harper’s Junction yesterday, so far he had seen little else of the ship.
Not knowing which direction to go he hesitated for a moment and then simply went to the right.
It didn’t take long and he ran into one of the ship’s crew, a long legged, very female shaped Saresii wearing a white cat suit, with fine black lines down the sides. Her ample chest was clearly defined underneath that shinny white material and on top of her left boob the Union Flag, while a series of alien writing on the right side most likely identified her name.
If it was a her of course, despite the fact she looked like a fashion model with a killer body, long shiny black hair and a beautiful face with large eyes and voluptuous lips; she could very well be a Saresii male. From what he learned from Cara there were no visual differences.”
She smiled at him “Hello Mr. Masters. I am Doctor Seniie and the CMO of this vessel. I am surprised to see you up at this hour.”
“Nice to meet you Doc. I had a nightmare and could not sleep so I decided to find the galley and some breakfast and then look around a little, if that is okay of course.”
“Of course, there are no areas of this ship that are restricted to you, this isn’t a Union War ship. There are verbal accessible serve-matics in your quarters able to provide you with a wide variety of breakfast choices and there is a staffed Galley on Deck three. Easy to find if you take the next IST and tell it where you want to go.”
“I suspected there would be serve-matics, but I wanted to walk a little.”
“Why don’t you accompany me to Sick Bay. I always begin my shift with a good cup of Terran coffee and a few donuts. I can’t stand this weak Saresii Tea we’re supposed to love.”
“A doughnut doesn’t sound too bad. Got any Boston crème?”
“I am sure the serve-matic can print one if we don’t.”
Roy changed direction and followed the medical officer and decided she had to be female. No man would have such a nice behind.
The doctor sighed and then said. “Cara told me you did not have much exposure to other Union members on Green Hell, and that the Saresii society might be a little challenging for you to get used to, but I have to disappoint you. I am a male Saresii.”
Roy blushed and remembered that Saresii were all psionic gifted and almost all of them were Telepaths. “I am sorry for...”
“Don’t be sorry and don’t worry, we don’t dig. That means we won’t go further than the open surface thoughts almost all beings transmit, it’s almost like hearing a spoken conversation to someone with ears. Going beyond that is against the law and we take our Union Psi laws very seriously.”
“I know, my mother is...I mean she was a Telepath and she too spoke about these laws and always respected them. I know what digging means. She didn’t do it either.”
The CMO gave him a sad smile. “Yes, Cara told me about that as well. From Phantas, right? I mean your mother was from that world, was she not?”
“Yes, she was.”
“Yes the Phantas enigma. Terran Settlers there developed strong Psionic talents over the almost 2000 years of Colony history and only recently we discovered that it was the pollen of a local plant that caused the mutation. Actually the pollen are somewhat akin to the dust pods of the Fire Nettle Bushes, producing the famous Calipharm that comes from your world.”
“I didn’t know that.”
The doctor made a gesture down his body. “If you are curious about Saresii and our ways. I don’t mind answering your questions.”
“How is it you have female hips then and fill out that skin tight thing..without..uhm..
“We do this for a very long time and perfected it, it is still sort of a disguise but after almost 950,000 years it is very natural to us. Then there are Saresii Body-Shapers, these machines able to rearrange the molecules of your bodies in many shapes.”
“Ah that explains why you are all tall legged super beauties.”
“Well that, careful dieting and there are genetic changes that occurred both naturally and assisted that somewhat blur the external visual gender differences, that are more pronounced in the average Terran Human of course. We have a Body shaper in Sickbay and if you want you can try it too.”
“Maybe some other time. Right now I am sort of okay with what I got and all that.”
“But maybe we could look into your Nightmare, only if you want, but nightmares often have psychosomatic causes and that is sort of a Saresii specialty.”
They reached a IST tube and stepped in. The Saresii Doctor asked the System for Sickbay and Roy said. “Sure I don’t mind that, since it was such a weird dream. You do tell me before you do any Psycho Surgery right?”
“I wouldn’t perform it on anyone if my life depended on it. I am very much against these procedures.”
“I thought you Saresii invented it.”
“We did, a very long time ago like so many other things but it was the Terrans who took it to a whole new level and it is a very controversial issue among the Medical professionals all over our Union. I belong to a growing group of physicians all over the Union, trying to outlaw it completely. I simply abhor the fact that another person decides what personality a person should have.”
The IST car stopped and released them into a corridor looking exactly like the one they had left, except it was wider. They did not have to go far and reached a transparent iris door with the standard Union symbol for medical services on it, a blue star like cross with a snake in the middle. The door opened and the Doctor led him into bright office in a light blue and white color scheme and gestured towards a visitor chair. “Make yourself at home while I get the coffee going.” He pointed to a blue and chrome contraption built into the wall. “This is the serve-matic. Check if they do have that Boston crème thing and order two. I’d like to try one as well.”
“Aren’t you going to use it for the Coffee?”
“Oh no, I have a an old Terran Coffee machine. With real ground coffee. There is no serve-matic I have found so far, that can reproduce the real aroma of Coffee. A lot of the magic of this wonderful Terran beverage gets lost when it comes out of a replicator, you’ll see.”
Roy turned to the artistic shaped serve-matic. “System, do you have Boston crème Donuts?”
The blue field turned red. “No such item on file, one moment please. Accessing GalNet. 233 Replication Files found.”
“Check if they have Dunkin Donuts.” That was Ranger Solomon’s favorite brand and Melissa’s parents had a Dunkin Donuts dedicated Replicator in their Restaurant.
“Selection accepted, Molecule pattern downloading...Processing,”
Behind the transparent section of the Replicator, the Molecule printing arm started spinning and begun to print the Donuts molecule layer by molecule layer. It spun so fast no human eye could possibly see it but underneath he could see the donuts grow. Roy always loved to watch Food printers.
Suddenly there was a heavenly invigorating scent in the air followed by a happy gargling sound. Of course he knew coffee and how it smelled, but this was different. He instantly understood what the doctor meant, serve-matics did not produce any aromas while making things.
He turned and saw the doctor filling two mugs from a bulbous carafe and said. “Milk, Sugar?”
“Uncle Sam drinks it black. So I try it that way first.”
For a small while they didn’t say anything. Eating the fresh donuts and the bitter, hot oh so delicious coffee. For the moment the world was perfect for both of them.
The doctor finished his donut. “They are my favorite kind from now on.”
“And I will never think of Coffee the same way. This stuff is the Whamo.”
The Doctor got up and Roy wondered why a man with a set of such nice breasts would not try to fondle..he pushed the thoughts away and was surprised by them. He hoped he hadn’t noticed them.
The doctor had noticed and said with an impish smile. “I would not get done anything all day, that’s why.” The Doctor still grinned and took a small device from a shelf behind him. “I am going to perform a basic health scan first and then check your cerebral activities for any abnormalities first. Simply to make sure your Nightmares are not caused by any physical condition.”
Roy nodded.“I never had any nightmares before and most certainly not of my parents sitting in a prison-like cave with rags.”
The doctor waved the device over Roy and raised an eyebrow. “Are you able to remember your dream in details?”
While three dimensional bubbles popped silently into existence floating above the doctors desk, showing images of his brain and displaying neural activities in pulsating colored patterns while others filled with data and graphs, he said. “Very much so, every detail. They were in a cave-like room, with metal bars on the open side. There were nine others with them, six humans, two Pan Sarans and one Klack. All wore tattered and ripped Uniforms. The Klack had a name tag with the name H’thkjik.”
He looked at his scanner. “Physically you are a picture of human health, but your Pineal Gland is very active, and it appears your HPI has increased to by about 100 points from what your CITI said you had while you were tested at first School day. Perhaps a side effect of you strolling outside in the Jungles all day.”
The Doctor still looked at his device and Roy said. “Anything I need to worry about?”
The Medic looked up, his face was unreadable as he said. “No not at all. You have Phantas DNA after all, and the colonists from there are known to develop and grow Psionic abilities. I suggest you have them checked every few years or so. If they ever go beyond 150 you might start developing telepathic abilities yourself, but I would like to do a few more tests, if that nightmare ever reoccurs. I just checked the crew manifest of that explorer and there indeed was a Klack biologist aboard named H’thkjik. ”
Just then Cara came in and closed her eyes while she inhaled. “They may be war loving barbarians, those Terrans, but nothing compares to their Coffee.”
The doctor gestured to the coffee maker and said. “Help yourself, I made a whole pot.”
She smiled at Roy and filled a mug. “I think this stuff is the real reason we Saresii joined the Union.”
Roy agreed. “I never had any coffee like this.” He too was glad as the doctor refilled his mug.
She sat down and said.“You are up bright and early?”
He told her the same story about his nightmare and the doctor pointed at the scanner bubbles and said. “As I said, nothing to worry about but as I told Roy if it occurs again I would to run a Meissner – Norrlu test.”
She glanced at it and then at the doctor and Roy had the feeling they had a psionic conversation and said aloud. “That would be advisable.”
To Roy she said, “It was rude of us and looks deceiving, but the psionic way of conversation is simply faster and comes natural to us.” She looked directly at Roy. “You can trust the diagnosis of our CMO, he is very good ,but we have, well he has a theory about your nightmare and its cause”
Roy straightened in the seat. “Should I not know about it?”
She sighed. “We didn’t want to cause you emotional distress, but your mother was psionic gifted and that could have been a telepathic residue projection when she died and it finally made its way to your mind. Psionics occur on a different level of space so to speak and distances sometimes mean little. The Kermac make extensive use of so called Long Range Telepaths, able to send messages across many thousand light years. We Saresii know of individuals of our kind who develop similar abilities. The Leedei use Psionic technology that bridges thousands of light years. Things like this are very rare but not unprecedented, especially among next of kin.”
Roy frowned. “I actually had a notion it might be something like that.”
The doctor leaned forward. “The Meissner-Norrlu Test is made by a device that is basically a psionic energy detector that searches for the source of psionic induced dreams, but it works only when it occurs or very shortly after. I wish we had access to a Leedei Tele-Psi.”
Cara put her cup down. “A Tele-Psi?”
“The Leedei are a very recent Union member and even more advanced than we Saresii when it comes to Psi Tech and they have a device able to detect Psionic signatures and activities over great distances.”
Roy only listened halfway as the possibility that his now dead mother had sent out psionic messages to him was quite unnerving and did affect him emotionally more than he thought it would. He quickly took a large sip of coffee to fight the knot in his throat and said. “I guess sometimes it is better if a patient doesn’t know all the details. I am sorry.”
She put her hand on his and said. “You are among friends, even if some of us are weird Cross Dressers in your mind.”
Roy shook his head. “I didn’t think like that. It’s just not so easy to understand. I mean the Doctor looks almost as good as you and if he didn’t tell me, I never guessed.”
The doctor crossed his arms and gave Roy a smoldering look. “Gee, thanks Roy, almost as good? I spend a good hour this morning on make up.” Then he laughed. “I am just kidding of course, we are all a little jealous of Cara, because she is blessed with her looks all natural.”
Cara actually blushed and that made her even more attractive and a little more human in Roy’s eyes. She said, clearing her throat. “Your reaction is quite normal for any member of the Terran Human race as the gender roles and appearances are clearly defined. We Saresii have been the same way, but that was a long time ago.”
Roy said.“I read up on Saresii before I went to bed.”
Cara got up. “Care to accompany me to the bridge. I want to introduce you to the Captain.”
Roy thanked the doctor for the coffee and the donuts and got up, following Cara.
Outside he said. “What I wanted to ask is, how can we make the trip so fast? Would it not take over a year to get to Sares, unless we take a train?”
“We going to take the HHW once we reach Blue Moon.”
She stopped at the IST and called for a transport and then said to Roy. “You never heard of the Hyper High Way connections between Core worlds?”
Cara and Roy stepped into the IST and he said with a sheepish grin. “I wasn’t the most observant student in school.”
“You do know the difference between ISAH drives and Hyper Jumps right?”
“Not exactly. I know that Hyper Jumping was a trans light technology of the Sarans before Dr. Isah discovered the Isah Drive and Quasi Space.”
“Hyper Jumping as it was done before the ISAH drive technology, was very dangerous, unreliable and limited to jump from gravity well to gravity well. System hopping it was called. You may want to read up on the details if you are interested, but the general idea is that regular ISAH Engines have certain limits, either distance or speed. The faster you push an ISAH engine across Quasi Space the shorter the distance can be bridged. Hyper space Jumps are technically unlimited in distance and almost instantaneous but need gravity wells and hitting them precisely is absolutely vital. Normal Hyper Jumps could only be made from Star System to Star System. Now our Terran Friends at SII developed so called Hyper Highways with Gates in regular intervals, making Hyper Jumping very fast and very safe and each jump bridges 2000 light years.” She sighed. “Don’t ask me how it works exactly. There are books on the subject but there are aspects SII keeps secret, just as they keep the exact workings of Space Trains and GalNet to themselves.”
Roy had listened and said. “Now that you mention it, I think I did hear Maria talk about these once or twice or so.”
“The HHW net is relatively new and only Core Worlds are connected so far. Those gates are humongous, big enough for the Devi and it takes a while to built them, so that is why we fly to Blue Moon, from there we can access the HHW and be at Sares Gate in no time.”
The IST had reached its destination, the door opened and in the same moment a terrible jolt lifted them of their feet, throwing Roy against the wall. Cara fared no better colliding with her shoulder against the door frame. Red lights replaced the bluish illumination and a very male voice repeated the phrase: Red Alert, Red Alert..”
Roy’s uncanny sense of danger, warned him less than a heartbeat of impeding danger. However it did not give him enough time to consciously react other than being able to brace himself; his sense never told him what the nature of the danger was; he only knew the ship was in danger and that he could tell even without his danger sense. The blinking red lights and the voice calling everyone to General Quarters made that very obvious.
He checked on Cara. She was rattled and even looked scared for a moment, but seemed unharmed. “Are you okay?”
She nodded as he helped her up. “Yes I think so, I just bruised my shoulder.”
“Do you need medical attention?”
“Not right now.”
“Do you know by your telepathic powers what is happening and what we are supposed to do?”
She closed her eyes for a moment and then said. “We are under attack. Kermac and Nogoll ships approaching the Kappa Andromedae System, where we had a planned fuel stop.” Her face showed distress. “We are in no imminent danger, as we just got a Wolfcraft escort but the system is home to the Bellebees. I hope there are enough assets in place to defend them.”
Roy remembered something about the Bellebees, if he recalled correctly they were some sort of gas bag life forms living on a Jovian planet. Because they shared some common traits with the Lightning Dragons of Green Hell, they had been a life form studied and mentioned by his mother on several occasions, yet he had paid even less attention to his mother than he had at school.
Cara pointed down the corridor. “We should return to our quarters. This ship has gone to General Quarters and we would only be in the way...” she stopped in mid movement, put her left index finger to her temple and then nodded to whatever conversation she was listening to and then said to Roy. “...but the Captain just told me that he wants us on the bridge.”
Roy grunted under his breath. “I wish you guys would use normal intercom or something. If this is any indication what awaits me on Sares...”
Cara didn’t respond, but simply smiled and led him to a more solid looking Iris door that opened and gave them access to the bridge.
The Saresii bridge reminded Roy of a fancy hair salon, like the one Maria liked at the main concourse of Ant Hill and not the bridge of a space ship. Nine Saresii beauties looking very much alike and only individually identifiable by minute differences you had to look for very closely, sat in reclined in comfortable bubbly looking furniture. Flimsy semi transparent command consoles floated before them. In the central located recliner sat the first blonde Saresii he seen so far. Her skin color was more like Roy’s and her eyes weren’t as big nor purple as most Saresii seemed to have.
She was the only one not wearing a pastel colored uniform but hers was solid black, except for a white triangular bib like lapel.
She turned with a smile and said. “No reason for alarm. Those cursed Paper Faces caught us off guard, but our shield went up in time. The Kermac have no time for us now. Wolfcrafts tearing them to scrap.”
Cara said. “The Bellebees!”
The Captain sighed and said. “I wish we had something to fight with but this is a Saresii Vessel designated as a Courier ship, we have no weapons.” The Captain pointed to the main viewer. “But no worries, neither the Kermac nor the Nogoll brought enough assets to get even close to our thinker friends. We just wait, watch the fireworks and then go for our planned top up.”
The Captain got up and greeted Roy. “I am Captain Loran Watson, I wanted to welcome you aboard earlier but you seemed tired and I was a tad busy.”
Somewhat stunned about the relaxed acting Captain, despite the Red Alert lights and the attack, Roy shook the presented hand and said. “Thank you Ma’am.”
“Why don’t you have a seat, Mr. Masters. It isn’t every day you can watch a space battle from a front row seat.”
Roy sat down in a chair that inflated out of the floor following a gestured command of the Captain.
One of the Saresii officers below the main viewer said. “The Nogoll are in range of the Station Batteries soon and the 45th fleet just dropped out of Quasi. Not that there is much left, the Wolfcrafts launched by System defense have already destroyed many of the Intruders.”
Cara rubbed her arm. “We should still worry about the Kermac able to strike so deep into Union Territory.”
Roy watched as Union Battle Ships fired on T shaped ships and each salvo completely obliterated an enemy vessel.
It wasn’t a space battle, it was slaughter. The computronic enhanced images, allowing human eyes to follow the events in deep space supported by the spoken commands and reports pouring out of field speakers showed in great detail how brutal and intense war was, even in space.
A huge wedge shaped Union Battle ship with glowing ISAH pods and shimmering purple shields, appeared unfazed by the withering fire received by four T cruisers.
Compared to the size of the Union ship the 800 meter Kermac ships looked small. Dome shaped objects appeared on the smooth armor and the Saresii captain leaned forward. “That is the USS Vindicator and about to fire a broad side.”
Bright purple flashes emitted from those domes and dozens of brilliant blooms of energy engulfed the Kermac ships in rapid succession. Only glowing twisted pieces of debris remained, where a heart beat earlier Kermac war ships were.
While he was there when the Kermac attempted to destroy his home world and this incident being the cause for this war; there was a part in him who felt sorry for the crews of these ships that turned into brief and bright miniature suns every time trans locator bombs detonated deep inside their hulls.
It was this part of him that now understood why the Kermac tried to excavate the old Saresii ship and gain the secret of Translocator cannons. This Union weapon, technically the development of a far advanced civilization, the Tech Level 11 Celtest transmitted Anti Matter Bombs at the time of explosion via a different state of space and time, only to instantly and without any time loss rematerialize inside ship hulls and inside shields. No matter how strong or thorough an opponent’s shields and armor were, if an antimatter bomb exploded inside their engines or their bridge, the ship was instantly doomed and destroyed. Translocator Cannon technology ensured Union supremacy ever since Richard Stahl returned from his exile, bringing the secret of this terrible weapon along, over 1500 years ago. He also realized how utterly important it was to guard that secret and keep it out of the hands of the hands of Union enemies as long as possible.
Cara still rubbing her sore shoulder said to him. “You are a wise young man.”
“With you I don’t mind, but I wish I could think without everyone and their uncles listening in what I am thinking.”
“Once we are on Sares we going to take care of that. You get a fine Saresii shield and the necessary training how to use it. I told you before we take the PSI laws very serious and we don’t pry.”
The Captain said. “There goes the last one. Fleet didn’t even bother sending boarding units or surrender messages.” There was a tone of approval and joy in the Captain’s voice. “Science, scan for survivors anyway just to make sure they got every last one of those bastards.”
Cara whispered. “He’s half Terran and his father’s side is the dominant one.”
The Captain turned and said. “I doubt the Union would be what it is today without Terra. Our enemies respect the Union, but they fear Terrans.”
Cara gave the Captain a knowing look.“It was a wise decision Sares became Union indeed.”
The lights of Red Alert faded and the Bridge was lit in the indirect bluish light from the translucent white walls.
The Captain sighed. “Ah that’s better. Cara we are going to stay a little longer at Belle Station just to make sure our shields are fine and check for micro damage. I don’t want to go on the Jump with any leakages or tech problems.”
“How long do you think are we going to be there?” She asked.
The Captain shrugged. “Depends on what they find but I doubt it will last longer than three days.”
Cara turned to Roy and said. “That’s not so bad. It will give you a chance to go down to Planet Humongous and visit one of the most unusual Union Member species, the Bellebees.”