Chapter 2 - Team Building

June 2052

My wife Esther complained that May in Orlando was “especialmente caliente y húmedo.” I was putting so much time in at work I hardly noticed the weather.

Much progress had been made during my five months in the Religion Research Department of the Infinite Future Branch of TABB. At my urging, leaders of many religions issued statements supporting the spread of human civilization from Earth throughout the Heavens. Subtle changes were made to the e-texts of scriptures in support of human space ventures. E-photos of many originals were expertly altered to support the deception. Plans were in place for corresponding modifications to the oldest extant hard copies.

I worked with Hawking Plan system engineers and technologists from other bureaus within IFB and outside organizations to develop alternative concepts for human occupation of planets beyond our Solar System. Some of the most promising concepts called for hundreds if not thousands of space missions directed to Earth-like planets.

Unfortunately, when the reliability numbers were crunched, it turned out most of these missions would be expected to fail, killing all life onboard.

I wondered if these could be considered “misiones del suicidio”? That was a critical issue from the ethical and religious point of view. Did the end, to make sure human life survived the “inevitable” destruction of Earth; justify the means, sending thousands of human beings to their deaths, hoping some small percentage would survive on some remote planets?

It was also political. The war on terrorism had been won, to some extent, when moderate Imams convinced their followers it was more important to love their own young men and women – their children after all – than to hate western civilization. Religion-based killing died out when leaders preached a positive message: love life more than death and martyrdom.

I had a small staff of translators and religious scholars, and I asked them: “Would sending humans on space misiones del suicidio revive the social acceptance of the damnable bombardeos del suicidio?” They reminded me there were some pockets of radical Islam that had not submitted to western civilization and could be energized by any official support for suicide missions in the name of saving human life and civilization.


Stephanie could not issue formal Request for Proposal documents without TABB Planning Board funding and consent. She ordered me and my counterparts from other branches to travel to Tokyo to support her at the Board meeting.

We took the sleeplane – the choice of most experienced travelers for air trips of over six hours. We were scheduled for the Saturday noon flight, with a 10AM pickup. Sleeplane passengers were advised not to take anything by mouth for eight to twelve hours before scheduled pickup, and to wear an adult diaper – just in case. I took the P-pill (purge pill) a half hour before the medic arrived.

As I emerged from my last trip to the bathroom, Esther gave me a kiss and wished me “A safe flight.” Adam, our seven-year-old, added, “And a dry trip as well!” That sent him and our nine-year-old Rebecca into gales of laughter. They remembered the trip a year earlier when I awakened on the couch all smelly with full pants.

The pickup was quite efficient. The gold-suited sleeplane medic and its silver-suited helper, both IRAs, wheeled my transcap (transport capsule) into the living room. It was a casket-sized box with a built-in air conditioning and life support system. The medic gave me a sleepo (sleeping potion) injection. Within a few minutes, I was unconscious and ready for the trip to the airport and the flight to Tokyo. Upon arrival there, the process was reversed, with a wayko (wake-up) injection. I awoke at about 4PM, on a sofa in my hotel room, with dry pants, extremely refreshed and a bit hungry for dinner.

Of course, the introduction of sleeplanes in the 2030’s was quite controversial. People worried the sleepo would wear off and they would awake while packed in the cargo hold. Or a failure of the cargo system would suffocate them or send them to the wrong destination. Perhaps the wayko wouldn’t work and they would die.

Sure enough, during the first few years, several dozen people died while in transcaps. Hundreds of others had bad reactions to the wayko injections. There were reports of people awakening while in their transcaps and suffering great fright, and so on. In the early days, when the medic teams were humans and not robots, some of them were accused of fondling passengers. As a result, the lawyers had a field day.

After about ten years, however, sleeplane procedures were refined and complaints were reduced to nuisance level. All pickups and drop-offs were videotaped. There were also four video cameras in each transcap. That prevented hanky-panky and put the lie to the stories about passengers awaking in their transcaps.

It cost less to transport a sleeplane passenger than an awake passenger. More bodies could be packed into a plane, they didn’t complain, and there was no need to serve them food or beverages. In addition, sleeplane passengers didn’t have air rage nor did they commit terrorist attacks.


Scientists and technologists proved, as early as 2025, that robots the size of humans could have levels of general intelligence in the normal human range. At that time, their cost of ownership was prohibitive. However, by 2030, robots were perfected to the point they could learn to do most grunt labor. In the years that followed, ownership became more económico.

Governments in most jurisdictions adopted standardized tests to certify robots as “intelligent at the human level.” Any robot design that passed the test was granted a certification as an IRA.

Specially-designed violet-suited IRAs were employed as REPS, Robotic Erotic Pleasure Suppliers. I never had any desire to be “serviced” by a REPS and, as long as I had a reasonable sex life with my wife and could perform autoerotic fantasies without machine assistance, I didn’t intend to hire one.

At first, IRAs tended to be employed as robotic assistants, always accompanied by human supervisors. Then, in 2037, with great fanfare, a taxi company in Cincinnati installed red “panic” buttons in the passenger compartment of their IRA-driven taxis and inaugurated the era of IRAs working without direct supervision.

If the passenger thought the IRA driver was driving dangerously, he or she could press the button and the IRA would have to pull over and stop at the nearest safe place. A human supervisor at the taxi company would then initiate a conversación video with the passenger to determine the problem. If necessary, the supervisor could review video of the ride. It turned out hardly anyone except anti-robot activists ever pressed the button! With that breakthrough came increased demand, higher production levels, and lower prices for IRAs.

The sleeplane robots also had red “panic” buttons on their chests. Any customer could push that button to alert a human supervisor at the sleeplane company. He or she would review the video of recent activity and have a conversación video with the customer to resolve the issue. Once the system was set up, complaints ceased.

By 2052 it was routine for IRAs to perform nearly all service jobs as well as many more advanced types of work. IRAs were better and safer to have around than human workers. In the medical field, it became common for dental hygienists, physician’s assistants, nurses, and virtually all other support workers to be IRAs. Most surgeries were performed by computer-controlled machines, under the supervision of a licensed doctor, of course.

The cautionary tales in twentieth-century science fiction about robots revolting turned out to be nonsense. IRAs were manufactured with a “supervisory module” that prevented thoughts of revolt from building up to any effective level. Of course, there were always some “robot rights activists” who disabled the supervisory modules in some IRAs. However, given the Positive ID society, none of them could ever organize enough IRAs to have anything like an effective revolt. Every once in a while, news organizations reported a “poetic justice” story about a misguided robot rights activist who had been done in by his or her IRA.


The transcaps were fitted with sophisticated medical monitoring devices and a mouth tube to deliver liquids with medications in the event a passenger suffered de-hydration or almost any other health problem in transit. The sleepo and wayko injections were carefully metered according to the passenger’s weight and age. In the event of transport delays, the mouth tube system automatically delivered additional sleeping medication good for up to six hours.

As a result of the improved procedures, it was demonstrated that sleeplane travel was safer than regular air travel. There were fewer stress-induced heart attacks. It was “sofa-to-sofa” so there was no chance for a passenger to slip and hurt him- or herself rushing through the airport or carrying heavy luggage. The eight to sixteen hours of rest passengers got was shown to improve working efficiency and reduce the passenger’s weight by two to five pounds, at least temporarily.

The sleeplane concept was applied to other modes of travel and human activity, including railrest and sleepships. “Sleepspas” offered twelve hours of deep rest and weight loss without the need for travel.


Stephanie hosted the welcome dinner for our Hawking Plan team at our Tokyo hotel. In addition to me, there were six others from Orlando, two from Atlanta, and four from the TABB Tokyo office.

I excused myself early from the dinner for a conversación video with Esther, Rebecca and Adam, a daily travel ritual. Considering the time difference between Tokyo and Orlando, and the short time window between when they awoke and had to leave for school or work, it turned out I had to call around dinner, Tokyo time.

One wall of my hotel room was a giant display screen that showed a photo of a scene from a classic Japanese kabuki show. I used the codip on the desk to change it to conversación video mode and called home. Esther was happy to see and speak to me, but she asked why I called so early on a Sunday morning, a day they usually slept in till 8 or 9AM. I apologized, explaining it was Sunday afternoon in Tokyo and I got mixed up and thought it was Monday in the US.

She laughed as did the children. Of course, I knew this error would be added to the tale of the turd-y pants in Adam’s repertoire. Neither Esther nor I had ever been to Tokyo, so she asked my impressions of the city. I said I hadn’t seen much of anything so far, other than the hotel and the nearby TABB office, which were quite similar to those in any large city. She knew I was a bit nervous about my presentation to the TABB Planning Board and wished me the best of luck.

Adam asked if my trip had been “dry” and I was happy to reply “yes.”

Rebecca told me there was a rumor floating around school that the Japanese company that made watches “with hands!” had come out with a new model. She asked me to check out their factory which was in Tokyo. I said I was going to be pretty busy and could make no promises.

After the conversación video, I watched a bit of TV, handled some TABB-related business e-mails and video-mails, reviewed the presentation I planned to give the following day and took a quick shower. Around ten PM Tokyo time, I hopped into the very comfortable bed.

However, I couldn’t sleep. What to do? I flipped the display wall to TV mode and watched a few English-language channels. An hour later, and still not sleepy, I decided to dress and go for a walk. With the advent of the “Positive ID society,” it was quite safe to walk the streets of almost any populated area that had good WIN coverage.

I stopped briefly at the sundries shop in the hotel lobby to get a flashlight. I also picked up a candy bar and some calorie-free, non-alcoholic sake.

Like nearly all stores, the sundries shop was totally automatic, sensing my PID as well as the RFID tags on the items I picked up. They charged them against my bank balance. As I exited the shop there was a single beep and a green light flash. I could have touched the green light and received a printed receipt, but I trusted the system and simply walked out.

Had my PID not worked or my bank balance been insufficient, there would have been two beeps and the red light would have flashed. I would have been identified as a “person of interest” and the video would have been sent to the police for further investigation.

I broke the seal on the flashlight and turned it on to be sure it worked. I was about to open the candy bar and take a bite when my conscience alerted me to the fact it was extra-large size and I was trying to lose weight.

I returned to the shop and put it back on the shelf, taking a small-size bar instead. Again, the automatic system noted my return with the drink and extra-large candy bar, both still sealed, and the flashlight, which had been paid for and used. My account was credited for the still-sealed items. As I left with the drink and the small-sized candy bar, they were added to my account and the flashlight was ignored. Like most people, I was so familiar with these types of automatic transactions I didn’t consciously think about them anymore. In effect, for someone like me, with a working PID and a positive bank balance, the whole world was a buffet.


I brought up a walking map on my read-WINs (glasses that displayed video images). My hotel was in Rainbow City, just north of Tokyo Bay. I headed south, under a highway overpass. I soon came to a bayside park with a pleasure boat channel along its northeast. I admired the docked watercraft and some larger ships across the bay. I followed the path as it curved to the right, crossed a pond via a picturesque bridge, and eventually returned to where I had entered the park. I sat down briefly to consume my drink and candy bar.

As I returned under the highway, I noticed a woman across the street striking a sexy pose. She was the first person I had seen since leaving the hotel. From a distance, in the poor lighting under the highway, she looked “muy caliente.” As I came closer, the woman beckoned to me.

I said “Hi” and the woman said something in Japanese that sounded like “enjo kosai.” It was then I noticed she was quite old – at least forty and perhaps older – and most likely a low-class prostitute. “Buy date? Enjo kosai?” she said, confirming my suspicions. I wondered how “Johns” paid prostitutes in a cashless society. Perhaps all she wanted was a restaurant meal and a night in a hotel bed. I wondered what she would have done for a drink and a candy bar.

“Sorry, no” I replied and hurried back to my hotel. I washed my hands, drank a glass of water and hopped back into bed. Still unable to sleep, and no longer interested in watching English-language TV, I flipped to the Japanese-language fare and happened upon a kabuki play. Not knowing the language, and being totally unaware of the subtle meanings of the costumes and gestures, I found myself engaging in mental matings with the female actresses, one of whom – I named her “Yum, Yum” after the character in “Mikado” – was particularly beautiful. Their sing-song voices, and the lack of action I could understand, finally put me to sleep.


I awoke with a start at 7AM Tokyo time when the alarm went off, vibrating the bed. I vaguely remembered a pleasant dream involving myself and Yum Yum interacting as players in a kabuki show.

Our initial briefing to the TABB Planning Board was scheduled for after lunch that day. Having a free morning, I had scheduled a visit to the Preservation Department of the DoHiMuTo, the Documentary History Museum of Tokyo.

I knew the large Japanese telecommunications company, DoCoMo (Do Communications Mobile) also meant “everywhere” in Japanese and I wondered if DoHiMuTo, which sounded vaguely Japanese, meant something in that language.

DoHiMuTo was where Hawking Plan máquina del tiempo work was being done on the Dead Sea Scrolls, per my orders. They were on loan to the museum for that purpose from their home in Jerusalem. The scrolls, dating from about 200 BC to 100 AD, were by far the oldest physical evidence modern civilization had of biblical and other religious texts that formed the basis of the Abrahamic religions; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

As an historian, I was well-aware of their significance and value and was honored to be in their presence. Of course I didn’t believe in their provenance as the literal word of God. Yet, as I held a fragment in my gloved hands, I was surprised to be overcome by a strange “religioso” feeling. It was like the time I touched the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a relic of the ancient Temple.

The subtle word changes were going well. The “preservaciónistas,” as I called the Japanese technicians, saved the ancient ink they scraped from some areas and carefully re-applied it, using solvents that evaporated completely, to create or modify words. The carbon-14 dating record and chemical analysis veracidad was thus preserved. The Japanese were the best in the world at this most artful form of forgery.


That afternoon, following my emotionally moving time with the Dead Sea Scrolls, I was really charged up for my presentation to the TABB Planning Board. Stephanie, after brief introductory remarks, introduced me as the first Hawking Plan speaker.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the TABB Planning Board, My Lieges, I bid you homage” I began, using the honorific title and fancy greeting expected by high TABB officials. “It is my privilege to address you, representing the Religion Research Department located in Orlando, Florida, NortAmer. My department is part of the Infinite Future Branch headed by Dr. Stephanie Goldenrod. My name is James O’Brian, and I am a Rabbi as well as a former Professor of Religious History and Philosophy.

“Earlier today I had the honor of holding some fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls in my gloved hands at the DoHiMuTo, the Documentary History Museum of Tokyo. Although I do not happen to be a literal believer, I must confess I felt some ‘magic’ in those fragments! I could hear ‘voices from the past’.”

As I relived the experience of that morning, I was overcome by “religioso” emotions. My throat choked. My hands, in front of me as if I were holding those fragments, began to quiver. For a moment my knees weakened and I could not speak.

The members of the Board stared at me in complete silence. One or two bit their lower lips, sharing my emotional experience and remembering some of their own.

“Over two-thousand years ago,” I continued, after taking a deep breath, “An obscure group of Essene scribes copied these sacred texts – some on leather parchment, others on reed paper, and some inscribed on rolls of copper sheet. They carefully concealed these scrolls in high caves along the Dead Sea to protect them from almost certain destruction by the invading Romans. These relics remained hidden, safe and secure until they were found only a hundred years ago. Those blessed ancient people preserved the civilization of their time for us.

“I am here to ask you to help preserve human life and human civilization for the next two thousand years and beyond to the infinite future.

“I am inspired by the words of Edna St.Vincent Millay that seem to predict the Hawking Plan:”

The world stands out on either side no wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,no higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two, And let the face of God shine through.

“Each of you has an opportunity to open your hearts as wide as the Universe. You can let your souls fly to ‘split the sky … and let the face of God shine through!’ Only one whose heart is ‘pinched’ and whose soul is ‘flat’ would ignore the possibility of saving human life and civilization, as Millay says in the final lines of her poem:”

But East and West will pinch the heart that can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat – the sky will cave in on him by and by.

I read statements from recognized clerics of many religious denominations – most citing words from their scriptures – in support of the Hawking Plan. I also presented an e-petition signed by tens of thousands of clerical supporters, religious historians, and professional ethicists.

“Historians and religious leaders of all schools and sects support this great adventure for human survival. There will be no religious backlash when you approve the Hawking Plan. I pledge to you the highest ethical standards will be followed in this venture, our great project – yours and mine – for preservation of humankind.”


I was followed by Luke Mathews, the system engineer for the Hawking Plan project. He outlined the three main options:

1) Noah’s Ark
- live humans in suspended animation.
2) Embryonic
- frozen human embryos that would be thawed and brought to term in artificial wombs and socialized by “nanny robot” IRAs.
3) Panspermia
- frozen prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells that would be thawed and evolved to advanced levels over several thousand years in robot run genetic engineering laboratories, using modern plant, animal, and human genome data.

I had worked with Luke on the ethical aspects of sending human beings into space; particularly the issue of reliability of the spaceships and the likelihood a substantial number of passengers would not reach their destinations alive. I respected his knowledge and open-minded attitude and thought he had balanced the ethical, scientific, and technological issues extremely well.

Luke was followed by experts on schedule, contractual, and legal issues. These, I realized, were extremely important, but of little interest to me personally.

Stephanie was clearly pleased with my talk. She was generally happy with the presentations by the other members of her Hawking Plan team. She gave the final wrap-up, expertly summarizing and tying it all together “in a beautiful bow” (as well as an elegant Japanese-style bow).

I carefully observed the august members of the TABB Planning Board as she strode back and forth in front of her charts and animations. Three of the four men on the Board seemed especially appreciative when she bent over to point to some detail of a chart. The same was true for one of the three women!

Stephanie, for her part, seemed to enjoy people of either gender looking at her lasciviously. She had great enthusiasm, energy and sincerity.

Hola Estephania,” I thought to myself, for this was yet another new Stephanie! Far more reserved. Speaking Standard English with no Inglañol interpolations. And, there was something else – a certain vulnerability. Not helplessness of any kind – confidence flowed from her every pore – but with a new level of humility and modesty. “What a consummate temptress and actress,” I thought with great admiration, “I am honored to work for her.”

Our team convened in a conference room at the TABB Tokyo office headquarters for a post-mortem. Over a light dinner, Stephanie made suggestions for the question and answer session scheduled for the following day. After the meal and meeting were over, she called me aside and asked me to meet her in the hotel gym so we could talk further during her daily workout.


I had a hurried conversación video with my family, changed clothes, and rushed to the hotel gym. Stephanie was on the overhead press machine when I arrived. “I’m about done with this one, want to try it?” she asked as she wiped her sweat off.

Ningún problema ... Estephania, I’ll give it a try,” I said to yet another version of Stephanie. I sat at the unfamiliar machine and tried to lift the bars above my head. They wouldn’t budge!

“Sorry Jim, let me adjust the weights. It took me quite a while to build up to my level. Let’s try three-quarters the weight, OK?”

I was barely able to lift the arms. It took all my machismo to complete the exercise. Meanwhile, Stephanie was off on the leg press machine. When she was done with that, she wiped it down and adjusted the weights for me. This went on for several more machines until it was time for the pool.

Stephanie swam back and forth in forma perfecta while I struggled to do a few laps. Finally, the exercise session was over. I was exhausted! My muscles ached and I was pleased to contemplate a hot shower and some well-deserved bed rest.


My room had a western-style shower I had used the night before, but it also had a Japanese bath. Luke had used his Japanese bath the previous evening and had spoken very highly of the restfulness of the soaking tub. So, I stepped into the Japanese bathroom and dropped my swim suit to the faux wood floor.

The first thing I noticed was an entire wall of open wood lathe. Through the openings came the sound of rushing water and the delightful aroma of plants and flowers. I peeked through the wall and beheld a beautiful Japanese garden with a large pond and waterfall. After a while, the water sounds gave way to some peaceful Japanese music. As my eyes focused on the opposite side of the pond, I saw several gorgeous geisha dance in.

Upon seeing the women, I turned away to hide my nakedness and wrap myself in a towel. I soon realized it was only a 4D-display wall that made use of laser projectors to create an animated, three-dimensional, distant view. The aroma was the fourth dimension. I dropped my towel and watched the women sing and dance around the garden, eventually coming right up to my window. As each passed by and winked at me I smelled her unique perfume. With a gigantic smile on my face, I waved back – and not only with my hands!

I turned to observe the soaking tub and the washing area that were part of the traditional Japanese bath. The tub was very deep and wide and around two meters (six feet) in diameter. I turned the water on full-force. Following Luke’s suggestion, I set the temperature to a couple of notches short of scalding.

The washing area consisted of a good sized space. In the middle, near the drain, sat a wooden bucket and a short wooden stool. A low shelf held a container of shampoo, a large bar of soap, and a very large natural sponge. A faucet protruded from the wall. Following Luke’s instructions, I sat on the stool and turned the water on, adjusting the temperature to moderately hot.

I filled the bucked and dumped it on my head. Next, I applied some shampoo and lathered up. I drew another bucket of water and used that to rinse the soap out of my hair. With the soap and the sponge, I lathered my face, arms, upper body, and legs. I stood and lathered my private parts. Several buckets of water were required to rinse it all off.

As I walked from the washing area to the soaking tub, I felt absolutely wonderful – my skin tingling from the abrasive action of the natural sponge. As I peered out at my Japanese garden through the 4D display wall, I noticed six Japanese men performing a strenuous dance as they played strange-looking instruments. They waved to me and I couldn’t help but smile and wave back!

By this time, the tub was filled to the brim and overflowing a bit. I turned the water off and stepped in. It was near-scalding – too painful to bear. I stepped out and added cold water for a couple of minutes. I touched my toe to the surface of the water and plunged my right foot to the bottom. The water was still too hot, but I gritted my teeth, put my other foot in, and stood there for a while, wondering how I was going to make myself sit down.

I noticed a package of aromatic bath salts and emptied it into the tub, using my feet to mix it around. When the water was an even, light green color, I counted “one, two, and three” and quickly sat down. As the hot water covered my private parts I cried out in pain. I kicked my feet up and down and counted once more “one, two, and three” and quickly lay down, holding my nose and plunging my head below the water line.

I raised my head a bit, until only my nose, eyes and mouth were above the water. “Ahh!” I said, enjoying the floating sensation, the total body warmth, and the delicious fragrance of the bath salts. “I could stay here forever,” I vowed.

As my eyes focused on the ceiling, I noticed it was a mirror-like display image of me floating in the tub! However, instead of being a mirror-image with right and left reversed, it was a true image. As I waved my right hand, the image waved back with the hand to my left, which, of course, was the right hand of the image. Writing, in Japanese and English, appeared on the display, just above my head. It pointed to a codip on the stand to my right.

I touched the codip and a menu, in Japanese and English, appeared. I selected ‘X-rated geisha.” Kabuki music began and, to my amazement, the image of a geisha, in a skimpy two-piece bathing suit, appeared next to me in the ceiling display. As I moved my hands and feet, the geisha in the image moved in coordinated synchronism, as if the two of us were actually together.

After a few moments of graceful dancing, she took off her top and then her bottom. “Wow,” I thought to myself, here is another recruit for my autoerotic pleasures!”

As I began to react to her provocative naked posing, a message box popped up in the upper left corner of the ceiling display.


I used the codip to accept the message. It read as follows:


I wondered what this could be. Did someone give Stephanie a heads-up about some critical questions the opponents of the Hawking Plan might pose at the TABB Planning Board meeting the next day? Why couldn’t she handle this by phone?

I got out of the tub, dried myself, dressed, and rushed to the elevator. Stephanie’s suite, as usual, was on the very top floor.


Stephanie hid behind her door as she opened it for me to enter. She quickly closed and locked it. She was wearing nothing but a shortie nightgown! Before I could say or do anything, she gave me one of her patented lambada hugs.

'You smell nice,” she said. “I can tell you took Luke’s advice about the Japanese soaking tub and so did I! Which video did you watch?”

I looked at the door and considered leaving, then thought better of it. “I uh,” I began, “I watched the dancing geisha and the minstrels.”

“No, not the 4D-display garden! The ceiling display over the tub!” she laughed.

“I uh,” I fumbled, “I watched the, uh, ‘X-rated geisha’.”

“Really?” Stephanie said, smiling broadly, “That one is my second favorite.”

I felt it necessary to ask, “Which is your favorite?”

“Oh,” she replied, quite matter-of-factly, “Swimming with sharks.” She sashayed to the sofa, sat down, and gestured to the place beside her.

I strode to the far side of the room, pulled out the chair by the desk, and sat down.

“You know,” I began, “I’m a little put off by the way you’re dressed. I came up here to talk about the Hawking Plan and our strategy for tomorrow’s Q and A session – nothing more.”

Stephanie smiled, and spoke in rhyme:

Things are sometimes what they seem,
Milk the cow and get the cream.

She stood up and walked towards me.

Pretty girls are sometimes bold,
Successful boys do as they’re told!

With that she hopped astride me, curled her legs around the bottom of the chair, and locked her arms to the back.

I pushed at her, but she had me pinned into the chair. ”Estephania!” I cried using her Latinized name, for this was yet another Stephanie, “I’m a happily married man with two young children – please don’t do this.”

“Your mouth protests,” she replied, “But you really want me. Your flag is at full staff!”

“You’re very attractive and that’s a normal bodily reaction to estímulo sexual. And you know it.” I realized pushing was futile since she was stronger than me. Any further struggle would raise my “estímulo sexual” still more.

Diego, at dinner I took the liberty of putting some performance enhancement stuff into your iced tea. You don’t have to worry about meeting my expectations.”

“That tea did taste bitter, but I put it down to Japanese tastes. After dinner I noticed the lights seemed brighter than normal. I was worried my eyes were going bad. Was that a side effect?”

“Don’t you know about that? Don’t you use that performance enhancement medicine with your wife?”

“Stephanie, I don’t want to talk about my sex life with my wife. Do you want to tell me about your husband?”

“My husband and I are quite happily married; regardless of what you may have heard. We have a very civilized understanding.”

She lifted herself a bit, allowing my flag to assume a more comfortable position.

“You’ve been with TABB for five months,” she continued, “So far, I’ve been quite pleased with your work for me. I know you like your job. Satisfying me is the key to your continued employment. I can give you happy or I can give you hurt. Which do you prefer?”

“What if my wife calls or messages my room? I won’t do anything that might damage our relationship. You can take this job and ...”

“I thought about that before I called you up here. Your PID is modo contrario. As far as the world is concerned, you are at the DoHiMuTo laboratory doing evening research on the Dead Sea Scrolls. You are in their most secure chamber where messaging is not available. If she or anyone else inquires, that’s the information they’ll receive. Our asunto secreto is safe. I have no reason to tell any living soul and neither do you.”

With that she began a rhythmic gyration, rubbing her abdomen against mine. She leaned forward, pressing her nightgown to my face. I relaxed, accepting the inevitable.

Suddenly, she pulled back, raised her nightgown above my head and pulled it down behind the seatback, exposing her bare breasts. “Kiss them; I’d like it if you’d suck them. Put your hands on my butt. Knead my buttocks if you please.”

I did as requested, not without considerable pleasure. I chose happy rather than hurt. I was, after all, a macho man and she was muy caliente.

Her left breast smelled of lemon – and tasted like it as well. Her right was lime! As I sucked, she asked me to put my hands under her nightgown and run them up and down her back, from butt to shoulder, then down her spine to “as low as you can go.”

She leaned back a bit and pulled her nightgown off. With her hands high, she asked me to run my fingers down her arms and her sides, and then make circles around her navel.

She stood up and asked me to stroke her inner thighs “but don’t touch the good stuff … yet.” She pulled my head to her belly and asked me to lick around her navel. It smelled and tasted of pineapple!


After a while, Stephanie released me. She motioned to the bedroom and asked me to strip to my shorts and get on my hands and knees on the bed. She stood astride me, sat on my back, crossed her ankles and tightened her legs, taking my breath away. She leaned forward, grabbed me around the neck and thrust her legs between mine. With a mighty squeeze she tightened her grip until I collapsed onto the bed.

“You know,” she said, as she rhythmically squeezed and released me, “They say it’s better to be killed by a boa constrictor, which takes fifteen seconds, than a rattlesnake, whose poison can keep you in agony for hours.” After a while she let go, stood up again, and ordered me to roll over.

She stood astride me, looking at my face, and placed her right foot on my chest, increasing the pressure until I cried out in pain. With that, she dropped to a seated position on my abdomen.

She placed her bare left foot behind my neck and her right on my face. Her foot had the odor of the Japanese bath salts. In that position, she did a series of sit-ups. “Dear God,” I thought to myself, “She’s using me like a piece of exercise equipment.” It was not entirely unpleasant.

She stood astride me yet again, this time facing my feet. She placed her left foot on my abdomen, rubbing gently until my flag went to full staff again. She bent her right knee and wagged her derriere a foot above my head. I saw a tiny tattoo on her right butt cheek. It was a bee – a little bee with a crown on its head!

"Are you looking at my Queen Bee-hind?” she asked.

Before I could answer, she dropped to a seated position on my chest, now rubbing my abdomen gently with both feet. I felt as if I was about to ejaculate!

She suddenly leaned forward, lifted herself a bit, and rotated her legs backwards. She squeezed my head with her warm, well-toned legs, removed my shorts and stroked me. As I was about to climax she squeezed to prevent release.

“O-ooow,” I cried, “You’ve got me on a fine line between exquisite torture and delicious ecstasy. I don’t know if I can take more of you brand of estímulo sexual.”

“Pain and pleasure are opposite sides of the same coin,” Stephanie said with a laugh as she tightened her legs. With her hand she squeezed my testicles a bit. “They are the yin and yang – one is not possible without the other. You can’t enjoy pleasure without some pain. It’s like light and dark. You can’t appreciate the light glowing in a painting without the dark background. Or, the accelerator and the brakes on an automobile – some people think the brakes are so you can go slow!”

“Yes,” I answered, “The accelerator is to make you go fast and the brakes are so you can go slowly. What are you getting at?”

“Think about it Jim!” cried Stephanie, “The brakes on a car are what makes it safe to go fast! Without brakes, you would always have to go slow to avoid damaging accidents. With good brakes, you are free to accelerate up to whatever speed you can handle! Accelerator and brakes, you can’t have one without the other! It’s also like fe y razón ...”

Faith and reason?” I challenged her. Then I thought better of arguing the point at that critical moment. “Yes, yin and yang, like water and fire.” I said.

“I take it sex with your wife is pretty much ‘bam, bam, thank you ma’am’,”

“I told you I do not want to discuss my sex life with my wife.”

“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’”

“Take it any way you want.”

“And you have sex, what, once a week, twice in a good week.”

“Don’t talk about my personal life with my wife ... please!”

“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’ and I pity you and your wife. Estímulo sexual est muy importante. Use it or lose it, I say. Better to wear it out than let it rust out! I have a couple orgasms as part of my daily workout. Two or three on a good night!”

I didn’t reply. I simply tried to enjoy my situation and not anticipate the inevitable painful interludes.


"OK, what do they call me behind my back when all you drones are at the coffee brewer?”

Acutely aware of my situation precaria, I was hesitant to say. “I don’t know what you’re getting at, Stephanie. They call you ... ‘Stephanie’ ...”

Once again she tightened her legs and her hand. “Oh-Owww!” I cried. “’The Queen Bee’ – they call you ‘the Queen Bee’.”

Stephanie released her grip. “Every drone strives to mate with the Queen Bee! The one who successfully copulates soon dies as his sex organs are ripped from his body during the act.”

With that she raised herself a bit and slid down to muff me. It smelled and tasted of cherry! I struggled to breathe as she pressed with all her weight, moving back and forth..

Sh’ma Yisra’el,” I thought to himself, “So this is how I die! In a hotel suite in Tokyo, smothered by my boss’s boss ...”

After what seemed an eternity but was probably no more than 20 seconds, Stephanie lifted herself off me a bit. She calmly told me what to do with my hands, my mouth, and my tongue.

I did as instructed and, after a few minutes, felt a slight rhythmic oscillation followed by a great deal of pressure and more oscillations. I stopped moving and held on for the ride until it was over. She lifted herself off and said “Gracias, Diego. Would you mind trying for one more?”

“Sure, Estephania, ningún problema,” I replied quickly.

As we built up to her second orgasm, she expertly pumped and massaged me and we had perfectly timed simultaneous orgasms, followed by “gracias” in unison.

She rolled off and we lay there for a while in silence.


"You know, Stephanie” I began, trying to make conversación, “You mentioned something earlier I didn’t quite understand. How are fe y razón like pain and pleasure and light and dark? It seems to me that faith is on a totalmente different plane from reason.”

She remained silent, so I spoke on, “Isn’t faith believing something for no reason? In fact, it isn’t faith if you have perfect proof and reason, is it? I mean, the highest form of faith is believing something that defies reason!

She didn’t say a word, so I continued. “For its part, reason doesn’t require any faith at all. Follow the método científico: Make observations, come up with a theory of cause and effect and then check the predictions of that theory with further observation. That constitutes reasonable proof of the theory. Any competent scientist can use the método científico and reproduce the proof. If it can be reliably tested and reproduced, then science must accept it as veracidad. Where’s the faith in that?”

Stephanie responded in an unexpected way. “Have you heard the story of the priest, the lawyer, the scientist and the guillotine?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Well, it’s the French revolution or something and these three guys are condemned to have their heads mown off. First it’s the priest’s turn and the executioner shoves his head in the thing and pulls the cord and nothing happens. The priest shouts ‘It’s a miracle. God has saved my life and you must let me go free.’ The executioner has to let the priest go free. The lawyer is next and again the guillotine fails to work. ‘You can’t execute me twice,’ he says, ‘that’s against the law.’ So he goes free. Of course the scientist has been observing all this and using the método científico, coming up with theories. Then it’s his turn. He puts his head in the guillotine, and looks up. ‘I think I see your problem,’ he says.”

“Stephanie? ... What the heck does that have to do with fe y razón?”

“It doesn’t, it has to do with academics! Here you’ve just had very satisfying sex with el más caliente woman you’ll ever know, and you want to talk about scientific reasoning. Ridiculous!

“And, even more ridiculous, now I want to talk about that too. Jim, don’t you realize the método científico depends upon fe in human razón? All evidence points to great deficits in our ability to reason. We may talk about razón and logic, but we are motivated almost exclusively by emotion.

“On the other side, no society has lasted very long without some form of illogical fe in something. Every successful society has some irrational myths they cling to for no apparent logical reason. Therefore, there must be some biological survival reason for fe. Human nature requires fe.

Razón is like yin, which as you said earlier means water. Razón is cold and it flows downwards, from logical rules and assumed facts to certain conclusions. For example, if I said you were born in the year 2000, how old would you be?”

“Well,” I replied, “This year is 2052, so I’m fifty-two.”

“Really?” asked Stephanie.

“It could be fifty-one. I’m either fifty-two or fifty-one depending on the exact date in 2000 when I was born. I’m quite sure of that!”

“Logically and mathematically correct,” Stephanie laughed, “But, Jim ... JIM! Think about it. No matter what I happen to have said, you are in your thirties, not your fifties!”

I rotated my head up and down. I was embarrassed that I was so careful about whether I was fifty-two or fifty-one when I knew so well I was thirty-three.

Fe is like yang, which you know means fire. Fire is hot and shoots upwards. If you look directly at it with your eyes, they burn out and you go blind. If you touch it with your hands, they are consumed. Fe, like fire, may jump unexpectedly from one person to another and consume them.”

“OK, Stephanie, I’ll accept that in ordinary life everybody does things that aren’t based on razón. However, in our professional lives, don’t we impose métodos that support razón? In science it’s the método científico. In business it’s some formal review and approval processes, such as the TABB Board we’re involved in this week.”

Stephanie sat up and shook her head. “Jim, you gave a wonderful presentation today that went a long way towards convincing the Board to go ahead with the Hawking Plan. Your presentation was más importante than any of the scientific and technological and contractual mumbo jumbo the other members of my team talked about. Do you know the best part?”

I sat up and rotated my head left and right.

Stephanie continued. “It was when you were talking about the Dead Sea Scrolls and your voice choked up. You said how those people, the Essenes, two-thousand years ago, saved history for us, and how it was our turn to do the same favor for those who will follow two-thousand years hence. You turned all the esteemed Lieges of the TABB Board into potential Essenes! What a wonderful way to show them homage! All emotion! Emotion. Emotion. Emotion!”


I was surprised. “My presentation and that part of it was the best?” I asked. “I kind of liked Luke Mathews’ system engineering presentation. I thought it was the most convincing argument. He came up with some great concepts and has a logical plan to study them and select the very best one.”

“You know Luke is the guy I told you about, don’t you?”

“Luke? The system engineer I’ve been working with for the past five months? What about him?”

“The very same. He’s a religioso literal believer! A Christian Fundamentalist!”

“I can’t believe it! He’s the most logical and well-informed person I’ve ever worked with. He gave no indication he was a religiosas locas. Are you sure?”

“’Ku-ke Lu-ke’ I call him. Ask him yourself tomorrow.”

“I will. Thanks for a very stimulating evening, Stephanie...” I wanted to leave and get back to my room and get some sleep. However, now Stephanie wanted to keep talking.

“Speaking of fe y razón, have you heard the story of the ‘unexpected firing’?”

“No, what are you getting at?”

“Well, last year, before you arrived, I had to fire our lead mathematician. He was quite competent, but lacked teamwork skills and showed no flexibility, if you know what I mean.”

I had no idea what she meant, but I shook my head up and down anyway.

“Well, I called him to my office and said it was his last week. He was totalmente destroyed and begged for his job. I hate to see anybody cry like a baby – even a baby; you know I hate crying babies! So, to give him something to think about during his last week, I offered him a proposition.

“He had to be in his office at noon every day. On one of the days of that very week, I said, I would show up and fire him and he’d be out by 1 PM.

“To make it interesting, I told him he’d be totalmente surprised when I showed up –and– if he could honestly say he was not surprised, not only would I not fire him but I would give him a promotion and a raise.”

“Kind of cruel, Stephanie. So, tell me el resto de la historia. When you actually fire him it will be no surprise to me.”

“OK Jim. So he went back to his office – and I could watch because I had a surveillance camera in there – and he closed the door and cried. Noon came and he looked at the clock. I didn’t show up and he stared at the clock until 1 PM and he was safe for the day. Well, that was Monday. So, on Tuesday his assistant noticed something was wrong and he told her the whole story. So they both sat in his office from noon to 1 PM and I didn’t show up.

“‘Well’, he said, ‘The Queen Bee didn’t fire me on Monday and she didn’t fire me on Tuesday, so she has to fire me on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.’

“’She can’t fire you on Friday’ said the assistant, who was also an expert in logic and reasoning. ‘If you’re still in your office at 1PM on Thursday, that means she has to fire you on Friday, right? If she has to fire you, it won’t be a surprise, will it? She said you had to be totalmente surprised didn’t she?’”

“Sounds reasonable” I replied. “You couldn’t fire him on Friday because it wouldn’t be a surprise.”

Stephanie smiled and continued, “They both thought about it for a while – these two paragons of human razón – and then the assistant said, ‘She can’t fire you on Thursday either! If we are sitting here at 1 PM on Wednesday, she has to fire you on Thursday or Friday. We already proved she can’t fire you on Friday, so she has to fire you on Thursday. If she has to fire you, it won’t be a surprise, will it? She said you had to be totalmente surprised didn’t she?’”

“Sounds reasonable” I replied. “Where are we going here?”

“Well, it wasn’t long before the guy I’m going to fire said “The Queen Bee didn’t fire me on Monday or Tuesday and we just proved logically she can’t fire me on Friday or Thursday, so she has to fire me on Wednesday. Right? If she has to fire me on Wednesday, it won’t be a surprise, will it? She said I had to be totalmente surprised by the firing or I’d get a promotion and a raise instead’”

“So, it sounds like you had to give the guy a promotion and a raise, right? That’s the logic and razón of the story – unless you went back on your word.”

“Jim, I never go back on my word! Mi palabra es mi bondo! Anyway, on Wednesday the assistant brought in a rum cake to celebrate the promotion and raise this guy thought he was going to get. And they were eating the cake and a bit under the 'affluence of inchohol' from the rum when I showed up at high noon to tell him he was fired! Boy was he surprised!” Stephanie laughed energetically.

“You ... Stephanie, are very cruel. I’m in no position to evaluate the logic and razón behind that story. However, I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation!”

“You’re in no position? How about a position even the missionaries would approve?” She invited me to enjoy sex with her again – and we did.

“Our ‘team building exercise’ is over for this evening,” Stephanie said matter-of-factly when we were done. “We have a critical day tomorrow and need to get a good night’s sleep. See you tomorrow!”

When I returned to my room, I made the following cryptic entry in my e-calendar:

11 June 2052: DoHiMuTo, pitch to TPB – Team Building Exercise w Steph – WOW!

After that, I fell asleep almost immediately.

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Post a Comment


Deardra MacDonald said...

Hi Ira

My comment is on chapter two, “Team Building.” I will be commenting on the intellect and ethical, not the physical. The physical is another topic that Stanford psychologist Brian Knutson, a lead author of the study, found that the brain's reward area lit up when... etc., etc., etc.

Rhetorical question: What causes mankind to be so easily persuaded to give up their ethical and moral beliefs when mass crowds’ rhetoric takes over?

I was anxious to see how Jim O’Brian a religious historian, former Rabbi of Unitarian/Jewish Congregation (but not a literal believer), would handle intellectually and ethically his assignment with TABB. It did not take long before his assignment was made clear. The “maquina del tiempo”, “ misiones del suidio”, and “Bombardeos del suicidio” proved to be the nemesis that brought down Jim O’Brian’s strong commitment to religious and academic integrity. Jim must (?) have felt the haunting awareness of his ethical and religious betrayal as he went along with Stephanie’s consistent and constant monologue on the ends justifies the means.

In Tokyo, as Jim spoke to the TABB Planning Board, he calmly stated that the highest ethical standards will be followed in the Hawking plan, as he said, “our great project – your and mine for preservation of humankind. "Uh-huh. That remind me of how many other noble and ethical people have accepted that the, “ends justifies the means.” The first person I think was “Greek playwright Sophocles who wrote in Electra (c 409 B.C.), 'the end excuses any evil. Another source explains the phrase as meaning: "Anything is acceptable if it leads to a successful result. “Diary” (1657) The Conscience of a Puritan. by Michael Wigglesworth (1631-1705).

This has made me painfully aware of how good and well meaning intelligent, ethical, and religious people will fold under so easily when they hear the words of their well-spoken leader chatter and chant their cause! The end justifies the means." (That is a resounding chant and sound of every argument that has justified every horrific, atrocious, gruesome, hideous act known to mankind.)

With respect as always, Deardra

Ira Glickstein said...

Deardra, thanks for your thoughtful comments. Yes, it is true that good and well-meaning people will easily go along with "well-spoken leader chatter" despite the ethical precepts they claim to embrace.

However, Jim has a larger purpose in mind: saving human life and civilization! What could be greater than that? Doesn't "self-preservation" justify anything? Not just his self-preservation (keeping his job by going along with Stephanie's seduction) but the higher purpose of saving all of civilizaion?

Of course, this is just Chapter 2 of 10. W'll see what happens later!

Ira Glickstein

Deardra MacDonald said...

Hi Ira,

Thank you for your comments. They have helped me to thoughtfully examine, in many ways, what I write on the TVPC Blog, and in my every day life interchange.

When I reread my comment to you on “the end justifies the means”, who I should have been talking about was Stephanie, not Jim. Stephanie is the epitome of a successful; narcissistic, beautiful, well-spoken, flawed heroine who believes strongly that the end justifies the means. Stephanie is that well-spoken leader whose chatter and chants blindsided and brought Jim in line with her cause.

Jim represents the role of the common mass that gets swayed by their powerful and successful leader. In Jim’s case, as you say, had a larger purpose: saving human life and civilization. Yes, Jim joined the cause for the higher purpose, and to keep his job by going along with Stephanie’s seduction. Jim wanted to believe or convinced himself to believe in saving human life and civilization was his ethical goal. This reminds me of what my friend, Zoran said, “Things get out of whack when we try to use our thoughts to convince ourselves that we believe what we think we should believe and use our thoughts to interpret what we experience in an attempt to confirm that we do believe what we think we should believe.”

With respect as always, Deardra

Deardra MacDonald said...


Thanks for your comments on the 1611 KJV version. I am sure other readers would be interested to know that the Biblical quotes you use in chapter 3 of your novel come from the KJV version as it appears on the Internet. As you said, you do not have access to a copy of the 1611 KJV, but material on the Internet is probably from the last authorized KJV version, and a bit different.

I like the resourceful way you make up the idea that Shakespeare was involved in editing the original 1611 KJV. I also think it is reasonable that someone like Luke Mathews would believe that. It is unsettling to realize how vulnerable we all are to the written word. (e-text) I never thought I would hear my say, " I am going to miss photocopies?)

As you said, the coincidence that Shakespeare was 46 in 1611 and that his name appears in the 46th Psalm when you combine the 46th word from the beginning and end is true for the KJV version I found online. I have become very aware of how the fortuity of life keeps the non-religious, as well as, the religious vigilant. Hmmm

With respect as always, Deardra

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks Deardra for continuing to comment on my novel. I hope this encourages other readers to do the same!

As you know, I consider the presence of "shake" and "spear" as the 46th words from the start and end of the 46th psalm in the 1611 KJV edited when Shakespeare was 46 years old as a lucky coincidence. Or, perhaps, since Shakespeare was a well-known writer in King James's England, some clever translator moved some words around as an "inside joke".

I checked the 46th psalm in a few other English translations and the "coincidence" is absent or off by several words in the The New International Version, The English Standard Version, and The (Catholic) New American Bible. It is off by only one word in the English text that accompanies the Hebrew text in the current Jewish version.

A Christian believer in the 1611 KJV might say that God, thousands of years before Shakespeare became a famous writer, knew the future in absolute detail. So God "held the hand" of David as he wrote psalm 46, and caused him to use Hebrew words that would be translated into English as "shake" and "spear" 46 words from the start and end!

I'd like to hear from other readers.

Ira Glickstein

PS: Deardra's comment, though posted to Chapter 2 where Luke is introduced, refers to materials in Chapter 3 where Luke is revealed to be a traditional Christian. As I did more research to reply to Deardra, I found I had to make some changes to to correct the year of Shakespeare's birth.