Aphelion Issue 293, Volume 28
September 2023
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Neil's Capstone

by C.E. Gee

Most roads radiating out from the city of Bradbury were rough. The road to Camp Five was an exception; years of traffic had smoothed and packed the Martian soil.

Camp Five had been established by an early expedition to Mars. That expedition had once used lava tubes within a nearby extinct volcano as shielding from a massive and unpredicted solar flare.

14 meters long, five meters wide, the lounge car was fully pressurized. Six large carbon-mesh wheels gave the car stability and speed. The lounge car was purpose built for tourists wealthy enough to afford a trip to Mars. Historic Camp Five and the volcano's lava tubes were a prime tourist attraction.

A screened off and cramped seating area in the back of the lounge car held another class of passenger. The half-dozen seats were reserved for workers and contractors, the Solarian Guard, minor functionaries and the like. On this particular trip, the rear seating area held only one passenger.

Neil stared intently at the overhead-viewing array. Safety concerns and economy of construction meant the lounge car had no windows--in any case, 3D viewing arrays were far superior. Their light amplification and telescopic features made for excellent viewing. Pre-programmed camera directionalizing, accompanied by recorded narration, focused on notable geologic features observed on the trip to Camp Five

Occasionally the driver or tour guide would make clever or humorous comments over canned narration.

Neil, a geologist, was mesmerized by what he saw. He could not help but smile to himself. He was insightful enough to realize this trip to Mars might prove to be the capstone of his career.

As Neil viewed the passing vistas, he speculated as to the reason for his journey--a reason that to him--remained a mystery.

Camp Five residents were almost all active duty members of the Solarian Guard or their immediate families. Armed infantry patrolled the area around Camp Five. The only outsiders allowed in were registered tourists who were under constant escort as they toured lava tubes in the volcano.

Neil had perceived the wording of the Solarian Guard's Request for Proposal and the subsequent Contract as unusual. Routine contract procedures had been made extraordinary by interviews conducted by Solarian Bureau of Intelligence agents. Also, the wording of the Contract was obviously intentionally vague.

Neil's musings were interrupted by the lounge car's arrival at Camp Five's main gate.

Neil stood, slid open the fabric screen isolating him from the rest of the passenger compartment.

At the nose of the lounge car, indicators mounted on the airlock flashed. The inner hatch opened. Two pressure suit clad soldiers entered.

That they were soldiers was obvious. Their pressure suits were camouflaged in the pale-reddish hue of Martian soil. Both soldiers were armed, one with a holstered side arm, the other with a long and bulky, scope-equipped blaster.

The trooper with the blaster stayed at the front of the lounge car, his weapon held at the ready. His companion, probably an officer, or perhaps a sergeant, though he wore no badges or patches indicating such rank, strode purposely toward the rear of the car.

Neil had two friends who had fulfilled their mandatory public service obligation to the masses by tours of duty in the Solarian Guard. One of the friends had been in the light infantry, and though it was more than a century after the Tribulation, Neil's friend had recently fought in Idaho against a holdover, fanatical band of followers of the Antichrist. Neil's friend had once explained that in a combat zone, higher-ranked soldiers dare not display their rank, less they become choice targets.

Seemingly cowed, the tourists in the car sat quietly in their seats, though most turned their heads to watch as the soldier approached Neil.

The soldier snapped to attention, flipped open his visor, then unclipped a scanner from his webbing, and scanned Neil's face.

After reading information on the scanner's screen, in a clipped voice, the soldier said, "You are to follow me to General Brown's office."

All passengers aboard surface transportation on Mars were required to wear pressure suits, though within pressurized vehicles they were allowed to open their visors.

Both Neil and the soldier closed their visors. Neil felt his suit inflate as he walked to the front of the lounge car.

Neil, in company with the soldier who had used the scanner, cycled through the airlock. The soldier with the blaster stayed aboard the lounge car.

The instant Neil and the soldier exited the airlock, the soldier strode off toward the center of the camp. Neil rushed to join him. Two other soldiers, both wielding blasters, fell in behind.

Neil had been on Mars just a couple of days, very much enjoyed the novelty of walking in weak gravity.

Camp Five was small; it took only a few minutes to reach its center, which was dominated by a squat blockhouse, its main airlock guarded by two Marines.

Neil and his escort cycled through the airlock.

Inside the blockhouse, Neil and his escort opened their visors. Without explanation, Neil was shown to a hatch, one of several. Neil opened the hatch, then passed through into an office.

A young soldier rose from his desk, approached Neil, then closed the hatch.

"This way, Sir," said the soldier as he led Neil to another hatch. There were no controls at that hatch.

The soldier left Neil at the hatch, went back to his desk, sat. To his desk array, the soldier announced, "General, the geologist is here."

There came from the hatch a loud buzz then a snapping sound. The hatch swung open. Neil stepped through the hatchway, pulled shut the hatch.

The office, larger than Neil expected, held only one person. General Brown was at her desk. She motioned for Neal to sit at one of several chairs near to and facing the front of the desk. Neil sat.

In a surprisingly soft and melodious voice, the General said, "Well Neil, I've been anticipating you. I went through a lot of trouble to get someone like you here."

Neil didn't know what to say. He shrugged.

The General continued, "My request for a qualified geologist was nixed by my immediate superiors for reasons of security. I took quite a risk, going over their heads, but it worked, and here you are."

Again the shrug.

Neil appraised the Brigadier General, trying to get a feel on how he should interact with someone of such lofty rank. Her auburn hair was cropped short. Her grey-green eyes were mesmerizing. Despite her high rank, and the politics that always accompanies such, the General was obviously not a firm believer in gender neutrality. There were numerous diamond studs in both ears, multiple rings adorned her fingers. From what Neil could see over the top of the desk, the General was full figured, which was outrageously unfashionable. Most shocking of all, she wore makeup.

Neil suspected the General was blatantly flaunting herself.

Thanks to his two friends who were ex-Solarian Guard, Neil had been told enough of military history to appreciate the General's affectations. Notable and effective generals throughout history often assumed affectations. Riding crops, jodhpurs, unusual headgear, non-standard sidearms, custom-designed jackets and more were used by such generals to focus attention to themselves and help win the loyalty of their troops. Neil suspected General Brown's troops were completely devoted to her. As Neil drew in the scent of the General's perfume, he was amused.

Neil spoke. "Well General, I'm glad to be here. It's a privilege to serve the Solarian cause."

"Can it," sharply replied General Brown. "You got a fat government contract and a free trip to Mars. You and I both know that's why you're here."

Again the shrug. "You didn't know of my insatiable curiosity," replied Neil.

General Brown smirked. "Yes. I was completely unaware it was a factor."

There came a brief and slightly awkward moment of silence.

When the General broke the silence, she spoke around a shy little smile. "Listen Neil--you're a civilian. When we're alone together--you know, when no one else is within earshot-–you may address me as Jeannie."

Neil nodded, took in a deep breath. He knew enough about women to realize he needed to be careful with this one. Neil's heart had been broken more than once.

"Well," said the General, "no reason to pussyfoot around the subject. Let's get to the reason why you're here.

"I assume you can guess what will happen to you if you disclose any of what I'm about to tell or show you."

Neil nodded his affirmation.

"If you're lucky, the least that'll happen if you do disclose anything is that you'll be drafted into the Guard, be sent out to do research in the Oort cloud."

Neil nodded.

"That's if you're lucky. You do understand that there are some Solarians who are so moved by the spirit, they sometimes take matters into their own hands, act under their own authority? There's little I or any official can do to stop them.

"Besides, if we figure this thing out, I suspect the Joint Chiefs will release to the masses much, if not all of what we discover."

To her array, the General said, "Specialist, come in here and install an encryption module to the geologist's transceiver. Install a CC7."

Still staring at her array, the General lifted her left hand, wiggled her fingers. From behind him, Neil again heard the loud snap. Neil turned sideways in his chair.

The young soldier Neil had met in the outer office stepped through the hatchway, closed the hatch. In hand, the soldier held a small, square, Martian-camouflaged module.

The soldier walked over to Neil. The General looked on as the soldier said, "Excuse me Sir. Would you please turn to the front?"

Neil did as asked. The soldier removed a dust cover from the back of Neil's pressure suit hood, and then plugged in the module. The soldier stepped off to the side, stood at attention.

The General said, "That'll be all, Specialist."

"Yes, Sir!" the Specialist exclaimed as he rendered a salute. The gender neutrality act had made the term ma'am near obsolete, especially in the military.

The General casually returned the salute

Again, General Brown looked to her array, wiggled her fingers. The hatch opened. The Specialist exited.

"Okay, Neil, here's the deal," said the General. "You and I are going into one of the volcano's lava tubes. Then your fun will begin."

Neil nodded.

The General said, "I assume you've figured I'm old-school. You'll need to leave while I change into my pressure suit."

The Specialist had left the hatch open, perhaps anticipating the General.

Neil went to the outer office, closed the hatch, and chatted with the Specialist until the General arrived.

"Close your visor," ordered the General.

Neil did as ordered.

Over the open channel the General said, "Look at your display. You'll see another channel available. Key it."

Neil did as ordered. Over the new channel, the General continued, "Okay, this channel's scrambled. Lets go."

Neil followed the General outside, where they picked up an escort--four heavily armed troopers.

All hopped aboard a nearby robotic, flatbed cargo cart, which then began the trip to the nearby volcano

* * *

The cart arrived at the base of the volcano. The tourist's lounge car was in the parking lot. Tourists, moving clumsily in their pressure suits, were wandering around. Armed troopers watched the perimeter, carefully watched the tourists.

"There's a latrine in the snack bar," announced the General, pointing to a nearby building. "Better use it now. There's no latrine at the site."

"I'm okay," said Neil.

He continued, "Forgive my curiosity. Why all the intense security?"

Answered General Brown, "Even after all this time, the Antichrist still has followers."

She elaborated. "Though it's suspected those religious fanatics don't know exactly what we have here, it's obvious to anyone we're guarding something. There have been some attempts to infiltrate the area. Out in the open here, I can't say much more than that.

"But it is permissible to now inform you that the expedition that founded Camp Five discovered something interesting within one of this volcano's lava tubes."

Neil looked upward, up the slope of the volcano.

"Impressive," he remarked. "The slope's much steeper than volcanoes I've seen back home."

The General laughed, said, "Wait 'til you see what's inside."

The detail marched up a well-worn path, the escorting troopers on constant alert.

Within a few minutes, they reached the entrance to one of the lava tubes. Two heavily armored guard shacks flanked the entrance.

The guard shacks had no windows; cameras mounted on the shacks constantly swiveled. Numerous track-equipped cambots and battlebots prowled the area.

The airlock hatch of one shack opened. A trooper emerged.

General Brown motioned for Neil to follow as she entered the airlock.

As soon as the pair cycled through the airlock, General Brown opened her visor; Neil did the same.

Two walls of the shack were completely covered with video screens. Most were fed by cambots, battlebots, or fixed cameras; a few displayed telemetry. A 3D viewing array dominated one end of the hut. A ceiling-mounted transducer delivered a constant stream of audio from Camp Five's security details.

"Listen up," ordered the General. "We're going to enter a lava tube, just you and I. Not far in, we'll encounter two Solarian Security Agency operatives. Those operatives are at the entrance to a small cavern.

"The operatives are equipped with night-vision gear. Normally, the only light in the cavern is a photon emitter that produces just five milliwatts. We don't want any degradation of the evidence--degradation caused by prolonged exposure to more powerful lighting.

"However, for your benefit, I'm going to briefly enable some lighting. I will then clue you in as to the goal of your mission. Okay?"

"Sounds like a plan," replied Neil, sardonically smiling.

The General returned the smile with a smirk. She patted Neil on the side of his arm at the shoulder, closed her visor.

Neil closed his own visor, followed the General back through the airlock.

As the pair entered the lava tube, the accompanying escort split into two fire teams, leapt into dug-in positions to either side of the entrance.

After the General and Neil entered the lava tube, Neil's pressure suit's night vision gear automatically switched on.

After a couple of minutes, the pair walked up to two SSA operatives, one facing toward them, the other, slightly further in, was facing the other way, into a cavern.

The operative's pressure suits were not camouflaged. The suit of the operative facing outward very much resembled Neil's save for an image of the rising sun on its chest.

General Brown raised her right hand, palm out, in the traditional American Indian manner of showing no weapon was held.

"Peace," said the General over the secure channel.

"Who goes there?" challenged the SSA operative facing them.

Neil heard no reply.

"Pass," said the operative.

Neil followed the General into the cavern, assuming the operative had recognized General Brown. Neil had been standing behind the General, had watched the operative stare intently at the General's visor.

The General switched on the cavern's lighting.

The cavern had an unusually low and smooth ceiling in relation to comparable caverns on Earth. Neil quickly noted there were no stalactites or stalagmites; not a surprise to him given the lack of liquid water on Mars.

To Neil's left was a massive rock-fall, dominating that entire side of the cavern.

But his observations, natural enough for a geologist, were quickly brought up short by what he next perceived.

Directly across from him, about 15 meters distant, sat a body, on the floor of the cavern, its back against the wall.

The corpse, clad in crude, apparently homespun clothing, was desiccated to the point of being mummified.

A sword was on the floor, its hilt near the corpse's right hand.

Neil had barely absorbed what he was seeing when General Brown sidled closer to Neil, turned toward him.

The General's clear visor darkened slightly. In bright orange letters, a message scrolled across her visor. All in capital letters, the message read as SWITCH TO THE OPEN CHANNEL.

Neil did as ordered.

The General said, "The module the Specialist installed has a much longer range than the open channel. Since the open channel is line of sight only, is of extremely high frequency, the surrounding rocks and dirt in this mountain blocks our RF emissions."

The General turned toward the body. "DNA analysis indicates the corpse is of Scandinavian heritage. Despite all the advances made in DNA analysis over the last couple of centuries, the biology wonks haven't been able to pin down the exact locale within Scandinavia that was the homeland of our friend there.

"However, the sword is typical of Viking swords of the 1200s and 1300s. Analysis of its metal and design indicates it was probably forged in Norway."

In a long, drawn-out utterance, Neil said, "O-o-o-o-kay."

General Brown then said, "We've not physically disturbed the body much, except to get a DNA sample. We want to preserve its original state as much as possible for future researchers. However, medical scanning has indicated the suspected cause of death was simply old age."

The General continued, "What I'm now going to tell you, you yourself will not repeat! At least, not until what I tell you is released by the Join Chiefs. Got it?"

Neil replied, "Got it."

There came a brief pause. General Brown audibly exhaled, then said, "There's a branch of Oregon State University in Bradbury. Like most universities on Earth, the Martian branch of this university delivers most of its courses online.

"However, because the University specializes in Nuclear Engineering, Electrical and Photonic Engineering, Computer Science, Robotics, they maintain some well-equipped labs at their local campus in Bradbury.

"One of their labs has a fairly modern, portable gauge boson detector with built-in image resolution, and the lab instructor had performed her service to the masses by serving in the Solarian Guard, so she has a relatively high security clearance.

"The commander here at the time had the instructor use the university's gear to take a look at what was behind that rock fall."

"Sweet," commented Neil. "I guess you found something?"


"Anyway, it took some days to build up an adequate image. "The image was only two-dimensional, blurred, monochrome.

"Beyond the rock fall is the rest of the cavern, and beyond that, the further extension of this lava tube-–pretty much what one would predict.

"There was, however, something detected that spurred a great deal of interest.

"Metallic, near squarish, propped up against the far wall, it's obviously not natural."

"Let me guess," interjected Neil. "That's why I'm here. You want to remove the rock fall, and you need a geologist to analyze the situation so that you can safely remove the rocks and boulders, get to the item."

"Yes," replied General Brown. "But you need to know the history here. The initial rock fall was less extensive than what we now see.

"The previous commander of Camp Five, without adequate intel or preparation, had troopers attempt to remove the rock fall. That action caused another rock fall. Two troops were killed, and the previous commander was subsequently relieved of command. I was brought in to complete the mission of identifying the detected item."

Neil quickly realized a solution to the problem, but said nothing until the General finished her train of thought.

"Remember your history lessons back when you were a level seven and eight student?" asked the General.

"Pretty much."

"Do you recall from your lessons that an expedition of Knights Templar came to the North American continent in 1362? And that those Knights Templar allegedly buried some treasure?"


"Good," replied General Brown. "And do you remember learning of the link between the Knights Templar and the Masonic Lodge?"

"Of course."

The General said, "Then I guess you are well aware that many of the Founding Fathers, signers of the Constitution of the United States of America, were Masons."


"Good," said the General. "Now I'm going to tell you something you probably don't know.

"In 1823, in upstate New York, close to the city of Manchester, at a place named Palmyra, some buried metallic plates were found. The guy who found the plates was a mason."

Neil snorted, then said, "Aahh. I think I see where this is going. You think there's a connection to the metal plate on the other side of the rock fall."

"It's not just me," replied the General. "It's the Joint Chiefs. That's why I'm here.

"If we can establish a connection between this finding and the Knights Templar..."

Neil wagged his head slightly, smirking to himself as he pondered General Brown's implication.

"This is getting pretty deep," Neil commented.

"One more thing," declared General Brown. "Our mission is to find out what if anything is written on that metallic plate. That's why you're here."

"Okay," Neil replied, "You just told me some things I didn't know. Now it's my turn to tell you something you obviously don't know.

"There's no geologist needed here; you need a civil engineer, or if not a civil engineer, at least someone who's into water and sewer line maintenance."

"Beg pardon?"

"Look," said Neil, "my contract is guaranteed. I get paid in full for providing--and I'll quote what I remember of some of the contract's wording--a comprehensive analysis of a specific geologic feature, which will be disclosed. The aforementioned analysis will assist local personnel in further exploration of the aforementioned geological formation."

The bright lights in the cavern enabled General Brown to see Neil's face through his visor as he a smiled a broad smile.

Neil continued, "Here's what you need to do. Look carefully at the rock fall. See all the gaps between the large boulders? Martian gravity is low enough that you don't get the settling you would on Earth.

"I suspect Bradbury is large enough, there should be a public works entity with water and sewer departments."

"There's no water department," interjected General Brown. "Water's so scarce in this region of Mars that water is distributed in containers."

"What about sewage?"

"The sewer infrastructure is extensive, uses the same sort of vacuum system found on interplanetary cruise ships, troop transports, and the like.

"The hothouses in Bradbury are huge. In addition to the local demand for food, Mars exports food, beer, concentrated fruit, and vegetable juices to settlements and research stations on and about the outer planets. So Bradbury sewage is piped to a central treatment plant for conversion to fertilizer."

"Excellent!" exclaimed Neil. "Now listen carefully to what I say. There's a device commonly used by public works departments. It's a small, remotely controlled contraption with cameras. The device is called an inspection or sewer crawler and pulls a fiber optic cable behind it to deliver images and telemetry to its operator and so the device can receive instructions.

"In the late 20th Century, well into the first half of the 21st Century the crawlers used tracks or wheels, and the fiber optic cables were as thick as your little finger. The crawlers almost always had only one camera, which was fixed, pointed straight ahead.

"However, there have been notable improvements over the last century or so. Currently, the fiber optic cables are about the diameter of string or twine with small, inset amplifiers. The crawlers pulling the cables have multiple cameras, small, retractable, some that swivel.

"But the most important feature of modern crawlers, at least in our case, is the locomotion system. Instead of wheels or tracks, they use rectilinear locomotion, similar to that of snakes. This radically lowers the crawler's height, which enables passage through much smaller pipes.

"I assume you have the authority to get Bradbury's crawler?"

"Better than that," replied General Brown.

"We've had the crawler and its operator out here multiple times in the past to inspect our own sewer system. The operator passed a rigorous security check, has been given a fairly high security clearance."

"Excellent," said Neil. "So now, the next move's up to you."

The General said, "I'll have my clerk put you up in the quarters we have for bachelor officers.

"It shouldn't take long for me to take care of the situation here. I'll be in contact."

* * *

Neil's room, though Spartan, was comfortable enough. The entertainment and communications array was shockingly small, but Neil didn't use it--spent most of his time in quiet contemplation.

Neil's evening meal and the next day's breakfast were taken in the nearby mess hall.

It wasn't until well after breakfast that the array in Neil's room came to life, displayed the young soldier Neil had met in General Brown's office.

Neil told the array to activate its cameras and transmitter, but before Neil could speak a greeting, the Specialist said, "The General requires your presence."

"Be right there," replied Neil

* * *

In General Brown's office, Neil sat in the same chair he'd occupied during his initial visit.

The General and Neil briefly made polite conversation, mostly regarding Neil's comfort during his overnight stay.

There came a moment of silence, not awkward this time.

The General's eyes flicked toward her array, then to Neil, then downward, looking at the glowing screen of a notepad on her desk.

When she looked up toward Neil, General Brown's eyes were bright, but then became soft. She blinked twice, sat back in her chair.

The General then smiled that crooked, instinctively flirtatious little smile women sometimes get when they don't want a man to see them smile but can't help but smile anyway.

"So Neil," said the General, "your friend who was in the light weapons infantry, I'll bet your friend has a good sense of humor."

"I'll say."

General Brown took in a deep breath and said, "People who have served in the Guard, especially those who have been in a war zone, they use humor as a sort of shield, keeps 'em sane or something. Know what I'm saying?"


General Brown's smile widened. "So now I'm going to clue you in on what we found.

"The crawler made its way through the cracks with no problem, just as you said it would. It went to the metallic plate, lit it up, and sent back excellent images. The plate had writing engraved on it."

"Abruptly, Neil sat forward in the chair, excitedly exclaimed, "What'd it say!?"

"Calm down," said General Brown. "This requires some explanation.

"I assume you're aware from your history lessons as a kid that the Knights Templars who came to America in 1362 had guides who were Vikings--Vikings having discovered the North American continent long before then."

"Of course," replied Neil. From her expression, Neil could tell the General was highly amused as she went on with her explanation.

"Well, it turns out, the writing on the plate was in Viking runes.

"Whoa!" exclaimed Neil, sitting back in his chair.

As if in response to Neil sitting back, the General leaned forward in her own chair. "Anyway, the Solarian Guard has a secure search engine here on Mars. It pretty much mirrors all the other search engines in the Solar System.

"We input the Viking runes and got a translation.

"Anyone knowledgeable of World War II history will immediately recognize what was written on the plate.

"I and my staff are not all that knowledgeable about that particular war; it's sorta like ancient history. So we input the runes to our search engine. It came up thousands of references to the writing."

The General paused a moment.

"Now Neil," ordered the General. Commit what I say to memory. Don't record or transmit the tell anyone what the engraving states until after the Joint Chiefs disclose it."

Neil nodded.

General Brown then said, "You do know, Vikings were the dominant warriors of their era in history?"

Neil nodded again.

The General continued with, "Should I assume you're aware of the latest theories about time travel? You know, all that gobbledygook that's being bandied about concerning neutrons, their role in the passing of time and whatever?"

Once again the nod.

The General's smile shrunk to a knowing smirk and her eyes were blazing as she said, "The phrase translates to English as," the General paused a second, then continued. "Kilroy was here."

As Neil sat quietly, his facial expression signaled his complete bafflement. General Brown laughed.

General Brown said, "In World War II, American troops left the phrase 'Kilroy was here' all over the world as a form of graffiti.

"You must be aware of the popular theory that the Knights Templar of the future have time travel, have controlled the destiny of first the United States, then the rest of humanity. Indeed, there's speculation that from the future, those warrior-monks may have directed the development of all life on Earth.

"And you, of course, are familiar with the phrase, 'New World Order'?

"What the masses don't know is that the phrase is poorly worded, perhaps coined by someone not notably articulate.

"In olden times, America was known as the New World.

"Anyway, the phrase should be 'The order of the New World'; order being defined in this case as direction, instruction, or system

"And we all know the Solarian government, after the Tribulation, was spawned in America, the New World of old, and now the core of the New World of the present."

From a desk drawer the General pulled a two-liter vacuum flask and a couple of glasses.

General Brown wiggled her fingers at her desk array. The wiggling had a different sequence than before. There came another snap from the hatch. The deadbolt was set.

General Brown, from the flask, filled the glasses with an amber liquid, pushed one glass to the front of her desk, lifted the other to her lips. Neil leaned forward, took the proffered glass.

"Martian beer," General Brown said after her first sip. "The yeast discovered living on Mars has a much higher tolerance for alcohol than the yeast on Earth. So the beer here runs about 23 percent alcohol."

For the rest of his very long life, Neil remembered with much fondness his private little party with the General. It was the best he ever had.


2015 C.E. Gee

Bio: C.E. Gee (aka Chuck) misspent his youth at backwater locales within Oregon and Alaska. Chuck later answered many callings: logger (choker setter) meat packer (Norbest Turkeys), Vietnam war draftee infantryman, telecom technician, volunteer fireman/EMT, light show roady, farmer, and businessperson. Chuck now writes SF stories and maintains a blog at http://www.kinzuakid.blogspot.com

E-mail: C.E. Gee

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