by James Matthews

Chapter 8

As Relshek came through Adam's door he was grabbed by the two boys and thrown into the bathroom area falling to his knees. Sage closed the door and guarded it while Adam moved in closer to Relshek.

"You got ten seconds to tell me what the fuck is going on!"

"Adam, your anger is unnecessary, please remain calm."

"You don't get to tell me how I should act, this has all been a lie and I wanna know why I am here?"

"Adam you are here for the same reason you have been told from the very start," Relshek replied calmly, now getting to his feet.

"You are still lying… I know Christian, I know everything. You are not from Purity because there is no such fucking planet, Optimus said so and I couldn't get nothinganything on the multicom… so where are we going?"

"You gotta tell us pal, or this is not gonna end well," Sage chimed in from behind Adam.

"Boys, please, will you give me a chance to explain and calm your hostile postures."

Relshek brushed himself down and took in a deep breath before sighing. He began to reach for something near his neck but Adam grabbed his hand and pushed it away.

"Don't try anything stupid."

"I was just going to remove my mask Adam, I thought it might calm you both if you could see my face."

"Just leave it on and get explaining… you are starting to stall things and I can see right through it."

Relshek shook his head. "Optimus upgr-"

"WHOA! What are you doing?" Sage screamed. "Why do you need to talk to that thing?"

"You both said you wanted explanations, I was about to provide them… Optimus, change security level for Adam Smith to level two, authorisation Lord Relshek of Purity."

"Authorisation granted and clearance level has been adjusted Lord Relshek." replied Optimus, with the finishing of his words putting the room back in silence.

"What did you just do?"

"You may now ask our destination." Relshek replied. Adam's forehead creased up as he wondered what had changed.

"So what do I do now, and what have you done to me?"

"Just ask Optimus, Adam."

"Ok… Optimus, what is our current destination?"

"The destination of the Trandor is Purity, home of the Puritans, Adam." Optimus replied in its monotone voice.

"Huh? What the fuck… have you just tricked us again?" Sage asked, Adam looked back at him equally surprised.

"Adam, the reason you and Sage could not locate Purity on your Multicom or get information from Optimus on it was because you did not have the right security level. Should our vessel fall into enemy hands those enemies could use it as a weapon against us if they knew where our home planet was located. The ship is programmed to divert away from the planet if it becomes aware it has been compromised. Your security level was at base one, which means you were not authorised to know our destination or the existence of Purity."

Adam looked round at Sage and pulled a funny face as if consumed with embarrassment all of a sudden. Sage subtly moved away from the door giving access to it should it be needed.

"We um… we're really sorry Christian, I just kinda thought you were…"

"There is no need to explain Adam as I understand the way it probably looked. All I would ask is that you do please trust me and my people. We are a peaceful race and mean you no harm and our intentions are exactly what we say they are."

"Yeah I know, and you haven't really done anything to make me feel like they're not, I should have trusted you, I'm sorry."

"So what about me, don't I get the level two thing?" Sage asked, pouting. Relshek looked at Adam.

"Can you asseverate he is reliable, Adam?"

"Ass what?" Adam asked, confused.

"Hmm, what would you humans say… uh, so can you vouch for him, perhaps?"

"Oh, yea yeah, he's ok."

"Very well… Optimus, raise security clearance for Sage… uh, what is your full name Sage?"


"Optimus, raise security clearance for Sage Dawson to level two, authorisation Relshek of Purity."

"Security clearance raised Lord Relshek." Optimus announced. Sage smiled.

"So, I can use that super TV thing now right?"

"You can Sage yes; however it has not been configured the same as Adam's. We will have that done for you."


3 days later

The Trandor had now been at maximum hyperdrive for 3 days passing through various nebula and star systems. Now only one remained to be visited, and it would be the one all on board had waited so long to see – Home.

"Commander, we are approaching Elora."

"Very good Nozak, slow to one half pulse."

Elora was the outer most planet in the Purity system. Made up of 16 planets, the Puritans had colonised the inner most three, with the remaining either being too cold to inhabit or gas giants. Elora was the beacon the Puritans looked forward to seeing when returning from missions as it signified they were almost back in familiar environments, something Zeka commented on.

"I never get tired of seeing that deep red ball of hope Nozak," he remarked, getting up from his command chair.

"I agree my Lord, it is good to see."

"Ok, put us into highway five and increase to full pulse, let's make good time."

"But Sir, regulation says maximum speed must not exceed half pulse in the system, no?" asked Nozak, looking round at his superior.

Commander Zeka waved away his question. "You want to get home don't you my son? I'll take full responsibility should there be any questions asked."

"Yes Sir," Nozak smiled. "Full pulse to Purity."

The Trandor gained speed slowly as Nozak pushed the vessel to its maximum sub-light cruise. Personnel and Scientists alike had all begun looking out of any window they could find to get a glimpse of home they had missed for so long. Commander Zeka made a speech about how hard everyone had worked and thanked them for their patience in the long delays that had occurred due to the confrontation with the Noor and delays leaving the Sol system.

Zeka focused the ship's bow cameras on the colossal blue star that warmed their home planet and gave light to it. Although being twice the mass of a normal star and burning much hotter, Purity enjoyed a tropical like environment due to the planet being that much further out than the Earth to its star.

"Trandor to Purity Prime this is Commander Zeka, come in please."

"Trandor, this is space operations, state your intentions please."

"Full docking and shut down."

"Understood, Please proceed to docking station five. We will dispatch transport vessels to have you collected. Welcome home Commander Zeka."

"Thank you." Replied the commander. Zeka walked over to the back stations of his bridge and spoke with the communications officer who would be leasing with space operations for the disembarking of the Trandor.

"The ship's Podlings will stay on board as they are scheduled for a service upon our return. Could you make sure space operations are sending enough of their own as we have two additional souls on board?"

"Aye Sir."

Relshek was travelling to Lord Kelshen's quarters to get a debrief on the current situation with Adam. There were plans to begin genetic manipulation on him in around 3 days and Relshek was anxious.

Both men had worked tirelessly with a team of scientists to cure their race of its genetic corruption but now he was worried about how long to give Adam to settle in before beginning the final stage of their work.

Armed with a flexipad crammed with data Relshek got to Kelshen's quarters and buzzed. The door opened and he walked in finding his friend drinking a green like liquid and watching the approaching Purity on his multicom.

"Isn't she beautiful Relshek, I'm so glad I was able to get one final look at her before I pass on."

"You are right my Lord, our planet is quite a special. How are you Lord Kelshen?"

"Old my son, but you knew that." Kelshen replied, tilting his head. Relshek knew there would be a smile under his mask and it caused him to smile too. "Now, what have we got left to discuss."

"Well, we are scheduled for Adam to start his program three days after we are back on Purity."

"Yes I know Relshek, you made it sound like we had something else to discuss, though."

"No, its just…" Relshek paused.

"Yes my child?"

"I wish to delay… for fourteen days my Lord"

"May I ask why?"

"I am concerned about the Sage boy becoming too influential on Adam, I wish to take Adam to a birth chamber to decide on a mate."

"Will fourteen days be enough Relshek?"

"I was thinking of using a pair of unclaimed sperms at pre design phase. There are pre designed individuals that have been abandoned from sufferers of the Solitaryarolous."

"Orphans? You want to use a pre designed Orphan and give it to Adam? Don't you think it may run a risk of being infected with the corrupt code itself?"

"That could be a possibility, but we can screen it… my Lord, I think we need to take a decision now that yes, may cause a slight delay to our program in the short term, but in the long term would be better for Adam. I fear, should things develop with him and the Sage boy it will be detrimental to Adam's social development, plus it may hamper the program he will be on."

Lord Kelshen scratched his head. "You make a good argument Relshek; I will speak with High Command and see if we can get your fourteen days."

Relshek bowed. "Thank you my Lord."

"Was there anything else?"

"Not now no. I did bring a host of information to make the argument against letting Adam procreate with the human Sage, but since you have accepted my proposal I need not use it."

The Trandor approached Purity and slowed to one quarter pulse, as scores of people on board were making their final preparations to leave the ship. Out in front of the large vessel sitting hundreds of miles above the planet were huge docking stations that resembled scorpion bodies without the tail. Some were empty, their ships away on voyages, but the rest housed Purity's remaining fleet, including the gargantuan Selsha and Tomleek military ships Adam had been told about.

"We are scheduled to dock at station five Nozak."

"I see it Sir, it looks like the transport ships have arrived also."

"Excellent, no more delays hopefully."

Nozak made some course adjustments bringing the ship in line with the docking station. He slowed the Trandor further more to ensure precision when guiding the vessel in to the contraption. As the ship passed a certain point huge flood lights lit up on the station as if to signal to the Trandor it was ready to service it.

Commander Zeka walked off the bridge into a small annex room and started to pack a small white metal case with various pieces of equipment before letting Deputy Commander Selona know he was going to his quarters. The deputy arrived a few minutes later and took control of the ship for its final procedure to dock.

As Zeka made his way down long corridors and into a waiting elevator he could see most of the ship was now in darkness as it was being shut down. Scientists and other personnel were also making their way to elevators with their final destination being a hanger bay on the left side of the vessel.

Nozak meanwhile was bringing the ship to a halt as Selona called space operations and let them know the Trandor was now docked and ready for clamping. Outside, huge claw like arms adjusted themselves before large mechanical clamps extended from them and locked onto the ship, holding it in place.

The docking was complete.

Lights started going out all over the vessel as more and more people gathered in the hanger bay, finished with their labs and quarters. Back on the bridge, Nozak was going through his engine shut down checklist and outside the huge plasma engines starved of their blue white heat finally extinguished leaving the gigantic grey exhausts cold and desolate.

"Relshek to Adam and Sage, we have arrived at Purity, are you ready to leave?"

"Oh my god, oh my fucking god, I can't believe we are here Sage!" Adam said excitedly, not realising Relshek was still waiting for a response. "Yeah, we're here, what do we do, what do we do?"

"You sound very unstable Adam, is everything ok?"

"Christian are you mad, we are just about to go down to an alien planet! For you guys that might be just part of the job but people on earth haven't… Jesus this is just too much."

"I will meet you at your quarters and we will make out our way to the departure hanger. By the way, on our way down to Purity you should get a good view of the Selsha and Tomleek docked some distance away from where we are."

"You are shitting me… they are here?"

"They are Adam, and like I mentioned, I will arrange a tour once you are settled."

The intercom went silent indicating Relshek had terminated the link. Sage suddenly looked sad and just stood looking at the multicom which he had filled with pictures from earth.

"You ok, Sage?"

"Something tells me I'm just an afterthought here; I don't think they even want me here do they?"

"What makes you say that?"

"Cos this is all bout you ain't it, I mean, what do I have to offer them?"

Adam went quiet for a moment, his excitement fading. "Uh, I really don't know what to say."

"Its fine, Adam. I just wanna know where I fit in to all this."

"Sage, I get it, I do, but we don't even know what's down there yet, I mean, you gotta be at least a little excited right?"

"I dunno Adam, something tells me we are going to be mighty lonely down on that planet. Look at it this way; they don't even act like us and for all we know something hideous might be under those masks."

Adam chuckled. "Trust me Sage, they look pretty much like you and me. I bet you probably got this picture in your head that they will have long faces and big black eyes right?"

Sage scratched his head. "Hmm, it did kinda cross my mind."

"They don't, in fact unless you are right up close they look human. Their ears are shaped a little differently and they have markings on their head but apart from that…"

Moments later Relshek buzzed on Adam's door. Adam pressed the open button on a panel and Relshek stood waiting outside.

"We must get going, the ship is being shut down and we don't want to miss our transport."

Adam turned round to look at Sage before taking him by the hand. "C'mon, let's go."

Sage reluctantly motioned moved forward and they both made their way out into the corridor. "This is going to be ok isn't it?" Sage asked, more to them both rather than any one of them. Adam took Sage's face in his hands and gently kissed him on the lips.

"I'll look after you even if they don't."

"We must go!" Relshek said, a little irritated, causing a look of surprise from Adam.

Arriving at the hanger bay Relshek could see only a few dozen people remained, waiting for the final batch of transport ships to make their way into the hanger. Before the last group of people could be loaded the bay had to be re-pressurised after the last batch of ships had left.

"We need to wait here, I will go and see how long it will be," Relshek said, walking over to a Puritan holding a flexipad. "Are you the personnel Steward?" He asked the rather short looking man.

"Lord Relshek I presume," Said the man looking at Relshek's name badge stitched into his jacket. "I am, you have two humans with you I am told?"

"That's correct, Adam Smith and Sage Dawson… what is our departure time?"

"We have three ships waiting to dock, re-pressurisation is underway now so I predict maybe fifteen heshtons."

"Good, thank you Lord…"

"Kasha, my Lord, pleased to meet you."

Relshek saw Commander Zeka stepping off the glass elevator and walked over to greet him. He looked more relaxed than usual and Relshek imagined his Commander was probably pleased to have the mission completed.

"Ahh, Relshek, how are your humans doing?"

"One is excited and one not so… where are you going once down on Purity Lord Zeka?"

"To enjoy a long drink, and then I have to submit my report."

"The work never stops does it Commander."

"Not when you bring back a damaged ship. I'm sure it will all be worked out though."

Relshek bowed and left Zeka to wander off to the Personnel Steward. Walking back to the two boys he heard the steward start calling names.

"Please stay close, we are about to leave." He advised as the people were being let into the hanger bay.

"Lord Relshek of Purity, Adam Smith of Earth, Sage Dawson of Earth… transport ship three." They heard the man call. Relshek led the way with Sage and Adam close behind. Sage looked terrified and his knees felt like jelly. Almost tripping up and crashing into the back of Adam he stopped, trembling.

"Wait… wait, I don't think I can get on that thing."

"Huh? Sage, we gotta go, you can't stay here."

"Master Adam is right, Sage. The ship will be vacuumed soon to kill any bacteria, it means there will be no air for you to breathe and then it is leaving for the repair dock, you must come."

"Fucking hell, I think I'm going to freak out!" Sage declared, his voice wobbly.

"Adam, what is wrong with your friend, can you suggest a remedy?"

"I think he's scared of the journey down… wait here."

Adam walked back to Sage and took hold of his hands. "It's gonna be ok, just close your eyes and don't look out. Think of it as a roller coaster at a theme park or something."

"That didn't help Adam!"

"I'm sorry, I'm just trying to help."

"Have you looked out there, we are like a gazillion miles up!"

"Sage, it's not like we are about to jump out and fall to the ground, we are going in a spaceship man!" Adam stated, forming a smile.

"Glad you think it's exciting, I hate heights!"

"You hate everything, now c'mon, hold my hand, we'll do this together."

The two boys caught up with Relshek and boarded the small ship. Relshek showed Sage where to sit and told him to keep his limbs clear of the strap line areas. Sage was still shaking knowing that soon he wouldn't be able to get off the craft. This thought, and the hundreds of others about crashing made him want to vomit.

The ship carried a total of 12 people who were quietly chatting. Adam noticed it was a behaviour that didn't seem so different from earth. Some were talking about their plans for the coming days, some spoke about the research they had completed and others spoke about seeing their children and partners again.

"Prepare to strap!" Came an announcement over the intercom, making Sage jump. Seconds later ultra-fast belts whipped over their bodies and held them in their seats.

"Thought you had done this before?" Adam asked Sage.

"I did, but they were giving me that drug stuff, it didn't seem so bad then."

"Ahh, the normality drug, yes its quite good for nervous people." Relshek remarked.

Moments later there was a clicking sound before the craft powered up its engine. Sage stared into Adam's eyes looking for some kind of comforting expression as he sat locked into his seat. Adam smiled before winking at him.

"Prepare for departure in seven heshtons, all systems are ready." The pilot said. The gentle chatting continued.

A loud klaxon sounded outside in the hanger bay indicating the door was about to be opened. Relshek meanwhile clicked away on his flexipad putting together the final remarks on his report as Adam tried to see what was being added.

"What is all that gibberish?" Adam asked, not being able to make out what was on the screen.


"Yeah, like all those symbols and funny shapes."

"Ahh, this is Puritas, Adam. It is our native language. You will not understand it I'm afraid, however you can learn it should you desire."

"Never thought about that, how am I gonna get on if I can't read anything?"

"It's not a problem, we can have everything translated into your earth language."

"Hmm, but what about signs and stuff."

"Well, for that we will provide you with Keshta Focals*. We invented them for an alien race who visited our planet some time ago. I'm sure we can configure them for human use."

"What are they?"

"You wear them over your eyes, Adam. If there is something you see in our language the small chip inside recognises it and translates it to your native language."


Sage was listening intently on the conversation that was taking place and wondered if he would be able to get a pair of these glasses. Sage did feel largely ignored for the most part. Everything he heard Relshek talking about did seemed to be geared for Adam without a mention of himself. It only went to stir up more insecurity as to what he was going to do when he arrived on Purity.

Everyone on the small craft went quiet for a brief moment at the ship lurched upwards before moving forwards. Sage gripped onto his seat making his knuckles turn almost ice white. Adam just smiled at his fellow human's terrified face, stroking his ankle with his own as if to pacify him.

Sage watched out of a circular window as the small ship crossed the bulkhead bay door of the Trandor and realised he was now in space with nothing but a shell to protect him from death. As the small vessel made a series of turns Sage was able to get a good look at the huge sphere that was Purity. It looked different to earth, or at least the earth he had seen in pictures. It was a greener planet with pale blue patches that Sage imagined to be water. It did have the familiar white patches at the top that resembled Ice caps which was a small detail that almost seem to calm him he felt.

"I should warn you both that it will get extremely bumpy as he hit the outer layers of our atmosphere but it is nothing to be concerned about," Relshek said after placing his flexipad down.

"Like a plane Sage," Adam said.

Sage frowned. "Never been on one… just tell me when this is over."

The small craft sped towards the Puritan atmosphere as those on board waited patiently for the fireworks to begin. Not only was it about to get bumpy as Adam and Sage would find, but also a bright orange heat bubble was going to make things really interesting.

Starting with a gentle vibration the craft began showing signs it was indeed hitting the atmosphere. Sage clenched his eyes shut not wanting to see what was happening. Adam on the other hand stared out of the windows looking at the strange colours that were starting to form just outside.

The turbulence was now starting to build into a crescendo as all on board were shook and jolted from side to side. Sage briefly opened his eyes and screamed.

Oh wow, there they are I can see them," Adam said, excitedly. Relshek looked out.

"Magnificent aren't they?" Relshek remarked as they both saw 2 colossal battleships out of the starboard side window. Adam continued to stare eyes wide and jaw open while Relshek went back to his flexipad.

"It's on fire… it's on fucking fire!"

Relshek looked up casually out of the window before looking at Sage. "It is heat friction Sage, it is quite normal."

"It looks like it's gonna burst into flames though"

"It's quite normal," Relshek repeated.

The small ship continued to be buffeted for the next five minutes before a rush of air could be heard outside and all was quiet again. For Sage it was like a train emerging from a hollow tunnel and he felt himself relax slightly.

"We are almost there," Relshek announced to an excited Adam who had never stopped peering out of the window.

"I think I can see trees… like really BIG trees," Adam declared, smiling at Sage. Relshek tried to get the view Adam had to confirm if they were indeed trees.

"Ahh, yes Adam, that is the great Veralda Forest on the continent of Freel, it stretches for thousands of your miles. Those trees are some of the oldest and largest on our planet. Great studies have been conducted on them by the science quarter and we estimate that some of the elder species are over a hundred thousand earth years old."


Adam and Sage got the feeling they were no longer descending so sharply which was confirmed by Adam noticing they have levelled out somewhat. The ship had slowed quite considerably too as it made its way across a large expanse of water, away from the Veralda Forest.

"So where will we land?"

"All returning space craft personnel have to be put through decontamination first Adam so our first stop will be Space Operations Command."

"Is that like NASA?" Sage asked, thinking of home.

"This is your primitive space exploration arm yes?"

"I guess so, but individual countries have their own… NASA is just the most famous."

"I fear for earthlings," Relshek mused. "If your planet had put more effort and time into its exploration arm instead of crude weapons to terminate one another you would be further along by now." Relshek shook his head as if thinking of the opportunities Earth had missed.

"You know, I'm tired of hearing how good you are and how bad we are," Sage said, irritation in his tone. Relshek looked up at him.

"My observation is not to compare Sage of Earth, it is merely disappointing to witness the tragic mistakes your planet has made. Of the four planets with life we have discovered, our scientists scored Earth having the second most intelligent species, and yet you are the furthest behind in space travel ability."

"So maybe we have other priorities… not everyone wants to travel into space do they?"

This comment seemed alien to Relshek as he tilted his head in confusion.

"If your aim is to not explore then what is the purpose?"

"Of what?" Sage asked.

"Of your species existence."

"I think what Christian is trying to say Sage, is what's the point of-"

"I know what he's getting at Adam and I don't agree. Some people are just happy being, and… and I don't see anything wrong with that as long as they enjoy it."

Adam and Sage felt a force pulling them over leftwards caused by a sudden decrease in speed. Sage, once again looked outside and saw the craft was now hovering in a static position. Seconds later it began to descend straight down with Adam commenting how floaty it felt due to the lack of noise.

The craft appeared to pass through a red laser which Relshek confirmed was the decontamination washer. The sheet of light briefly flooded the interior of the ship in a bright red hue before fading.

Sage could see the ground coming up fast as the ship lowered itself into a space between four other small craft. Across towards the horizon there were huge rectangular buildings that rose up high into the air, each with unfamiliar markings and symbols. The windowless structures were blue and white coloured and sat amongst smaller buildings and pink coloured trees. On the ground Sage could see hundreds, if not thousands of identical looking people criss-crossing strange marked walkways as a vehicle similar to a train pulled into a concourse. The whole area looked like a huge plaza with the floor surface a artic white colour that seemed highly polished.

Adam locked his eyes onto two men who sat chatting on a bench. He remembered a similar setting with his dad years ago. It was funny he felt, how in some respects an alien world would have such parallel activities going on light years apart.

After the small ship had powered down its engine, the straps that were holding everyone into their seats disappeared. Moments later there was a clunk and the door at the rear began to open. Everyone acted normally apart from Adam and Sage, who in tandem had to catch their breath.

"Fucking hell, the heat!" Adam wheezed, as a rush of hot air blew in from outside.

"Yeah, Jesus, that's kind of intense Christian!"

In a rare display, Relshek chuckled and got out of his seat. "You will be ok boys, trust me."

"You guys live like this, in… in those suits?"

"Our core body temperature runs at 46 of your Celsius. With this in mind humans would react to our planets heat more prominently. While I accept it is warm, I do not feel the need to pass out like you might."

Adam looked at Sage and burst out laughing. "Christian that almost sounded like you were trying to be funny."

"Not at all, I was merely stating a fact. Now if you boys would like to follow me I will take you to the Council of Living where you will be able to choose your accommodation and furnishings. Then we must visit Lord Kelshen."

"Huh?" Sage whined, following Relshek outside and almost dropping to the floor. "Council of Living?"

"Yeah Christian, what's that?" Adam asked as they all made their way across the plaza area.

"When new families are started or people are born… or in your case have just arrived from another planet you need to have somewhere to live, would this not be the case on earth?"

"Sure, but you don't get to choose Christian. I mean if you are homeless and need a place to live you just get put somewhere, and furnishings? Well in our world you need to pay for that stuff."

"So I point to another reason why your planet is lagging behind in the SDI."

"The what?"

"Spatial Development Index. It is a measurement we use on Purity to assess other life forms we encounter. In any case, we Puritans do not consume ourselves with monetary issues as currency does not exist. We work to better ourselves. You would think this would harbour greed no doubt, but doons of research shows that it has the opposite effect."

Adam, Sage and Christian reached a glass elevator and stepped in. Relshek selected the first of 4 floors and the lift started its journey upwards.

"So what about the people who make the furniture then?" Sage asked.

"What about them?"

"Well If I was making those pieces of furniture for someone else and wasn't being paid why would I want to… what would get me out of bed in the mornings?"

"The craftsman who makes the furniture trades it for something he wants in return. For items that cannot be traded because there is an absence of someone to trade it with, High Command issues tokens which can be used for luxuries such as vacation time or better education for their children for example."

"So there is a currency then, these tokens?"

"Tokens are not classed as currency Sage. To have currency requires that items must be worth something more or less than another item. To use you furniture question again, a chair for example is worth no more or less than a family vehicle. Since everything is of equal value or of no value at all then there is no need for currency."

The elevator doors opened and Relshek led them both out to continue their walk.

"So why issue tokens then?"

"As a gesture of thanks or appreciation for creating something that someone can use eventually."

"Wow, I have to be honest, it actually seems like a very good system Christian," Adam remarked, smiling to himself.

"Hmm, I still don't like the thought of working for nothing." Sage said, frowning.

"Just one question Christian," Adam started. "Since we don't have anything that we created to give to someone else how do we get stuff to start with?"

"You will be given a bursary of five hundred tokens by the Council of Living called a Starter Allowance. Once you choose your profession you will need to trade these tokens back for items you create."

"Oh I see."

"But what if your profession means you don't make anything… what about you, what do you give back?" Sage asked.

"A good question Sage. Since I am a scientist my needs and wants are completely taken care of by High Command as reward for my services to the Planet's cause. So I think to answer your question, if you supply a service rather than something tangible then you will not need to give back the tokens."

"But you are a lead scientist right Christian, so do you get the same as someone at the bottom?"

"The bottom?" Relshek asked, looking confused.

"Yeah like a trainee or new scientist."

"Oh I understand… yes I am in a Tier five position which is the same as a deputy ship commander or construction leader to name two for example. So if you are asking if I get more, I would like you to think of it as not more, but better. My multicom at my accommodation for example is a much larger one than my colleagues on Tier three."

"Sounds like the guy up the street having a bigger TV than his neighbour because he earns more." Sage said to Adam causing him to nod in agreement.

"I think the bigger point to make here boys is that no one on this planet lives in poverty or is without basic essentials to give them a comfortable life. No one goes hungry and no one is without a good standard of home. I think if you look at the role monetary value plays on your planet it can only be a bad thing to continue with judging by the results, of that you must agree Sage?"

"I guess looking at the life I came from I can't argue about anything you have said really can I?"

"Like I said Sage, High Command ensures no one is homeless, and why? Because there is no monetary budget to worry about for a start and also because we Puritans have a culture that is deeply bred into us that says we should always work to better the planet. With this philosophy comes ambition which in turn starves off complacency and idleness."

"My head hurts!" Sage replied.

Relshek led the two boys to a large glass building that contained a huge reception area. Lush green plants hung from brackets which complimented the marble looking floor, highly polished in a green tint. Dominating the whole area was a large water fall which sat behind a shiny black counter containing seven Puritans all in a row waiting to serve their next query. Relshek took the boys over to a random position at the desk and greeted the man behind.

"Greetings, I have with me two humans from the system Sol who need accommodation and furnishings, please will you assist."

"Hmm, Adam Smith of Earth? Everyone seems to be talking about you my child."

"Is anyone talking about me?" Sage asked, already knowing the answer by the look on his face. The man ignored him politely.

"If you would both like to come with me to the virtual showroom I will show you what we can offer a Tier one visitor."

"Please upgrade Adam to tier two, I will authorise additional tokens," Relshek said, having moved closer to the server hoping the boys would not hear. "If you go with the man I will meet you back here in around one of your hours." His voice returning to normal volume.

Both boys nodded before heading off with the person behind the counter, smiles on their faces.

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