My Home Away From Home


Brian W. Antoine

May 23,1993

Chapter One

It was the start of a three day weekend and time to escape the day to day rat race. I'd had my plans made for almost a month now and was getting together a few last minute things before leaving. When the last check was done, I stepped through the gate and into the main lab.

"Hi, I've got everything all cleaned up. Try not to destroy the place while I'm gone."


Something in Penny's tone of voice made me pause. "Yes?"

"Do you know that your an asshole."

I stood there for maybe 30 seconds before answering. During that time the events of the last few months replayed through my mind and as they did I worked myself into a real good rage. "Do you want to rephrase that?"

Maybe she caught the tone of my voice and maybe she didn't care. "No, I think the question is valid."

Only once in her existence had I truly gotten furious with her. The events of the last few months and her growing tendency towards questioning my actions made this the second. "I don't fucking care whether it's valid or not." I dropped my backpack and walked over to the door to the vault that was the access to her core. With a quick flash of magic, it opened and I stepped through.

"It's time we got something straight. You are not my conscience and I'm getting very tired of having to justify myself to you."

"I just wanted to..."

"I don't care what you wanted! Get this straight once and for all. You may be my twin sister, you may be nothing more than an over animated collection of crystal, but you are in no way to continue your attempts to control my life. In the last few months you have risked both the lives of my family and most of my friends. You have done pretty much what you pleased and I've let you get away with in spite of the risk. Now you seem to have taken it upon yourself to try to reshape my life to fit your idea of what I should be and to change my behavior towards others. If you don't knock it off, I'll shut you off with my own two hands!"

I stared at the central crystal that was the core of Penny's identity. I had risked my life to save it from destruction and now was threatening to wipe it out of existence. "Now I'll ask you once again. Do you want to rephrase that last question?"

"You would do that?"

"Only if you leave me no other choice. I'm not your pet, or something that needs constant watching. If I make a mistake, it's mine to make. I can't exist as a human being if I have to worry about what you're going to be doing behind my back to undermine me or alter the way I live. I'm the fucking ArchMage of this world and I created you. Give me some credit for knowing what the hell I'm doing!"

"I think I'd like to rephrase that question now."

"Go ahead." I walked out of the vault and sealed the door behind me. Grabbing my backpack, I swung it over my shoulders and got ready to leave.

"Did you mean to be so blunt with Bob?"

I stared back over my shoulder at the screen on the wall. "Wrong, try again."

"Did you know that Bob was hurt by your telling him that he had no magical ability?"

"That's better. As for Bob, there was no nice way to tell him. I could have avoided the question, but that would have been almost as bad as lying to him. I opted to tell him straight out. He will get over it and it's not as if he was untalented. He has a reasonably high psi rating, and because of you he now had access to things that are beyond anything this planet has ever seen. As he learns, he will become so busy that I don't think he will even miss it. He's living what other people can only dream about, so while I may have hurt his feelings, I think he will get over it rather quickly."

"Now, anything else?"

"Nothing that can't wait."

I turned and powered up the Gate to Velar and got ready to leave.



"Are we still friends?"

I turned back to face her once again. "Penny, given who and what you are, we will always be friends and much more. You've watched me as I moved away from my grandparents and mother because I had to live my own life as I saw fit. I could not stand their constant monitoring of my life, I just can't live that way. I've let you live yours as you wanted even though you've caused me more than a little grief. I consider you a person even if I can't walk beside a river or enjoy the other things we humans take for granted. Because of that, I let you take the responsibility for your own actions. All I ask now is that you give me the same consideration. Think you can handle that?"

"Yes, I think I can. I didn't realize just how you felt about what I considered part of my duties. I'm sorry."

"That's a good start and I accept your apology. We all make mistakes now and then, and as long as we learn from them we become better people because of them."

I turned back to the Gate and began to step through. Just before I crossed, I stopped and made one final comment. "Oh, by the way. Your right, I am an asshole. I've worked long to become one and I'm not about to change now. That must be part of the reason I've managed to stay single so long."

"You crazy goof, get out of here before I start feeling sorry for you. Tell Kalindra to hurry it up also. We have a lot to talk about."

"Christ, two females conspiring for the entire weekend. I'm glad I'm not going to be here to listen." With a final check I brought the gate to full power and stepped through.

Chapter Two

Kalindra was waiting for me on the other side of the Gate.

"Penny's waiting for you and I don't even what to guess at what the two of you are cooking up now."

She just grinned. "Don't worry, it won't hurt much."

I groaned to myself. These two generated more plots than a daytime soap opera.

She just grinned at me. "So you're still going to build it?"

"I got your permission remember?"

"Yes, although when you asked me if you could build a home here I thought you would build a little closer to civilization."

"You've seen the way I live. I'm a hermit and all good hermits need a mountain top to call their own."

At my mention of a mountain top Kal gave a slight shudder. She had expected a little problem with my request until I had told her where I wanted to build. The Hoosnor mountains were considered useless land by the Velan's because of their racial fear of heights. They had never been explored and the local government had granted my request without a problem, due to that single fact.

"Well try not to get yourself killed. I don't know how I'd get your remains back to Penny assuming I could even find you."

"I'll be careful. Speaking of Penny, she said to hurry up. She has a few things to talk to you about and I suspect I'm top on the list at the moment."

"Oh, something wrong?"

"Not any more I don't think. I finally had to get firm with her and get her to quit interfering with my life. I'm not sure just how she will take it in the long run."

"Ok, I'll take it easy." She started to step through the Gate, then stopped. "By the way. Your birthday is in 2 months, right?"

"Actually its five and why do you ask?"

She got this wicked grin on her face. With a form that looked like a Terran fox, all I could see were teeth, a whole lot of them. Without an answer she turned back and stepped through the Gate.

"Oh great. Come October I better find a good place to hide." With a wave I closed the gate down to its normal quiescent state. After making sure my pack was strapped tight, I flared my flight field into existence. With a hop, I leapt into the air and after a few seconds to orientate myself, began my long flight south.

The southern hemisphere of Velar only had a single continent. Sometime long ago, two separate land masses had collided head on and formed a mountain range that made the Rockies look like foothills. Less than two percent of the continent was flat enough to be considered livable by Velan's so they had never bothered to live there. I had wanted a place far away from the outside world, but not something that required an artificial environment to live in. When Kalindra had showed me a map of Velar, I'd noted the mountains and kept it in mind over the years. Two months ago I had asked for permission to build a home. How much farther from the outside world could you get then an unpopulated mountain range on another world?

The trip took several hours. I was in no real hurry and enjoyed the view as I flew. About 5 hours into my flight, 2 hours since I had flown over the southern coast of the northern continent, I spotted a smudge on the horizon. As I approached, it began to resolve itself into a mountain range that stretched as far as I could see. From the maps I had seen and the speed at which I was traveling, I figured about another half hour would see me to the middle of the continent.

Along the way I kept an eye out for anything out of the ordinary. Kal had mentioned in passing that there was supposed to be something living in these mountains. Legend had it that a larger cousin of Smaug lived high in the mountains. They were supposed to have been seen a few times by miners who had braved themselves for the trip. Most Velan's dismissed the rumors as the ravings of people too crazy to trust. After all, they had visited mountains, they had to be insane, didn't they?

I wasn't sure what to believe, but I kept an eye out just the same. As I reached the center, I slowed and began to look for a spot to build on. I was looking for a place that was large enough to suit my needs and that had a view. I must have spent a couple of hours flying from one peak to another. Trying to imagine the view during different times of the day. How would this one look during sunrise and sunset? Was this one getting to much wind coming off its neighbors? When all was said and done, I had two choices left and could not make up my mind between them. So, in the best of Terran tradition, I pulled out my lucky coin and flipped for it. Heads the taller one, tails the lone peak by itself snuggled amongst its neighbors. Heads it was. I set my pack down where I could find it again later and got ready to clear the peak for my use.

Adults wonder why kids are so destructive, then go out and drive in demolition derby. Something in the human makeup just likes turning order into chaos. While adults may tend to control it better, they still have a demon that whispers in their ear about how fun it would be to smash things. This was my chance to let the demon lose for a while and I intended to enjoy it. Before I could create my home, I needed to have a flat surface about 100 yards in diameter. To create that surface I intended to remove the top of the mountain peak I had chosen and that was going to involve more than a small amount of raw power.

A cousin to the demon who liked to smash things was the demon who represented raw power. Humans are fascinated by power. They will visit a dam to see the generators, ohhing and ahhing about their size. What they really feel is an attraction and fascination for the shear power those generators represent. While we may abhor a nuclear weapon, we will watch a film of one being detonated over and over again. The image of the power of the sun being released is something that calls to some part of us.

Being a Mage, I was in a position to control that kind of power. I had decided that the quickest way to create the spot I needed was to vaporize the top of a mountain, leaving behind the flat surface I needed. Circling the peak, I measured down from the top until I knew about where the cross section would give me the area needed. Then I backed off and got ready.

Twice before, I had tapped a star as a source of energy. I would not need near the amount I had the first time, nor would I need the amount I had called for in desperation the second. This time I would have no problem controlling what I called for, rather I would have to take care of what I did with it.

I would need a stable platform from which to launch my attack on the peak. Hovering in mid air about a mile away from the peak, I called three spears of energy into existence. At my feet, three golden bolts of energy sprang from the bottom of my flight field and crashed into the ground below me. As they stabilized, I merged and molded the upper edges into a hemisphere that I could rest in. When I was ready, I dropped the fight field and focused my attention on the peak.

Slowly, with all of the concentration I could muster. I began to form the wave guide that would direct the energy I was about to tap. Instead of a tube, this time I built up a flattened funnel in the air before me. As of yet it contained no energy, but as it formed I could see it shimmer in the air. As it formed, I aimed it at the peak. The lower and flatter edge was going to be used to shear the bottom of the peak and form the flat base I needed. The upper portion was going to direct the energy to vaporize the upper part of the peak. When it was ready, I sang the word that caused it to freeze its form. With an audible snap that reverberated between the mountains around me, the wave guide solidified completely and hung in the air before me.

Now came the final step. Reaching out I tapped the local star and began to draw energy from it. As I drew, I directed it into the throat of the wave guide where it began to build and intensify. When I had what I needed, I shutdown the tap and made one last check of my aim. When I was satisfied, I spoke one short word and released the energy.

This was the third time I'd done this and I still didn't have enough sense to look the other direction. The energy I had trapped screamed its joy as it was freed. The guide itself shuddered as it constrained the energy. Such stuff was meant to be free and untamed and it didn't like being harnessed. It only took a second, but it was a few minutes before I could see clearly again. While my sight cleared, I listened to the rumble and echoes of the blast. The entire mountain range seemed to be voicing its displeasure at the destruction of one of its members.

When I could see again, I dissolved the platform and flew to where I had left my pack. When I had located it, I flew back to where the peak had been so discover the results of my effort. Where the peak had been, there was now a flat plain a couple of hundred feet lower. A rough estimate figured it at about 350 feet in diameter.

"Hum, took a little bit more then I intended."

The surface of the plain was still warm from the energy blast. As I landed I could feel the warm updraft caused by the heat bleeding off. The surface was not as smooth as I had hoped, ripples in the beam had left it wavy in places.

Looking out at the sun nearing the horizon, I figured I had about an hour before sunset. Not enough time to begin the next phase, that would take about 4 hours of prep work. So I unhitched my backpack and got ready to settle in for the night. I'd brought along a small tent and sleeping bag along with enough food to last me a couple of days. I finished putting up the tent about the time the sun touched the tops of the mountains in the distance and began to fix myself dinner.

As the sun ducked behind the distant peaks, I sat back and enjoyed the show around me. A Terran sunset usually creates a brilliant display of reds and such. On Velar the sunset changes the normally pale green sky to a brilliant gold. As the first stars began to appear I got my first look at the southern night sky. Kalindra had told me that I was in for a treat, but she had understated what I was now seeing appear in the sky above me.

Velar resides in a spiral galaxy much like the Milkyway. What was different was that it was a part of a tendril that extended above the plane of the ecliptic and at a distance that allowed a good view of the arm itself. I'd seen the Milkyway from Earth while camping far from the cities, but nothing prepared me for the view in the sky above. From one horizon to the other the sky was lit by a great wave of light. As the last of the light from the sun faded, the glow from the spiral arm took over. Neither of the moons were above the horizon yet, but I could still see the mountains around me.

It took me a few minutes before it dawned on me that I still wasn't seeing it like it should be seen. I reached up and took off my glasses, closing my right eye in the process. Now, without the plastic I'd lived with for so many years in front of my eyes, the sky really began to shine. Though a little fuzzy, everything above me got larger and I could now see the colors that had been splashed throughout the arm.

Very few times in my life have I run across something so beautiful that my emotions would get the better of me. This was one of those times. Breaking away from the display above me for a few moments, I unrolled my sleeping bag and positioned it so the head was outside the tent. As I snuggled into the bag, I doused the light I'd been using and lay back and lost myself in the stars above me.

"I think I'm going to like it here" and I laid there and enjoyed mother nature at her best.

Chapter Three

As a rule, the best part of waking up in the morning is those few minutes when you're aware that you're awake, but your sub-conscious hasn't gotten the message yet. If you happen to be dreaming at the same time, so much the better. You can take control of the dream and create your own internal movie.

I was just coming out of that half awake state and rolled over onto my back to enjoy the brisk morning air that filtered through my tent. Sometime during the night I had closed the entrance so I was limited to hearing the wind as it whistled across the plateau. I still wasn't fully awake, when the analytical part of me decided something wasn't right.

I thought about it for a few minutes when it finally dawned on me that my tent was in the shade. Now I'd picked the tallest peak in the area, and even after loosing a couple of hundred feet off the top, it should have been taller then anything else in the area. The sun was up, so what was causing the shadow? With a quick unzip, I crawled out of my sleeping bag and opened the entrance to the tent. Because I'm as tall as I am, I had to bend over to get out of the stupid thing so I didn't get a good look around until I stood up.

"Holy shit...."

I'd been warned, but how many people pay attention to rumors? Laying on the plateau about 10 yards from my tent was a dragon. Or at least a close enough analogue to one to satisfy my imagination. Almost as I bit my words off, it shifted and one eye opened to stare in my direction. Whatever it thought of me, I must not have looked tasty because it closed its eye and it seemed to go back to sleep.

When I got over my initial shock, I stepped away from the tent so that I would have some room to maneuver. Even trying to stay silent, it heard my movement and that huge eye opened again to follow me as I walked. Ok, time to find out if it's intelligent, or if I just became part of the food chain.

I dropped my mental shields and spoke aloud, listening for any kind of reaction. "So, beautiful morning isn't it."

No reaction at all, either visibly or mentally. I didn't detect any signs of a shield so it seemed that my large friend was not going to be much of a conversationalist. "Ok, so your the strong silent type. I wonder what brought you here?" I looked around to see if it might have been carrying a carcass and had used the plateau as a feeding area, but nothing was visible. Then the wind shifted slightly and I caught the change in temperature. The breeze blowing over it was a good 40 to 50 degrees warmer then the surrounding air. I thought back to the temperature of the plateau after I'd created it yesterday. I had not needed a fire for anything other than cooking last night. The residual heat as the area had cooled had kept me warm all night. It seems it had kept my friend warm also.

"So, you liked the heat huh?"

My talking must have been more then he wanted to put up with. With a look that implied he wanted some peace and quiet, he raised up and extended his wings to the morning sun.

"Jesus..." My best guess was that he was about 100 feet from nose to tail and his wingspan was at least twice that. With a short waddle, he walked to the edge of the plateau and with a final flex of his wings launched himself off the edge. I ran to the edge to see him in a steep glide down the side of the mountain. As he picked up speed, he began a long climb back into the sky above. As he came level with the horizon, I spotted at least one more dragon in the distance.

I turned back to my tent and dug through my pack to find my breakfast. Although I didn't see my new neighbors, I knew we would meet again. "This is going to be a real interesting place to live." After breakfast, I repacked my stuff and stashed it where it would be out of the way. If everything worked as planned, I would be sleeping indoors tonight.

The next step would take about six hours of prep work. During the last few weeks, I'd had Penny draw up a detailed plan of the house I wanted. To construct it though, I'd have to resort to pure magic because the chances of getting someone up here to build it the old fashioned way were something less then zero. So I spent the next hour wandering around the site with the plans in my hand. "If I faced the house this way, that would put the bedroom facing there, and the kitchen aimed right at that valley. No, that won't work..."

When I made up my mind I placed the plans at the center of what was going to be my home and anchored them to the rock. Then I retrieved a handful of focus stones and began to place them around the plateau. When I got ready to cast the spell, I was going to need as much stability as I could get. The last thing I needed was a home that looked as if it had been melted. It took several hours to place the focus points. Each one had to be anchored in the rock and linked with its neighbors.

It was early afternoon when I placed the last focus and get it aligned. I'd been bent over most of the morning and my back was killing me so I took a break and grabbed some lunch. I was going to need a clear mind for the last step and I didn't need my body trying to distract me with its aches and pains. To relax and get ready, I took the time to do a little exploring of the local neighborhood. I spent about an hour checking out the valleys in the area. Cataloging the animal life and resources that were available.

It was mid afternoon before I made it back to the site. As I crested the edge of the plateau, I spotted my friend the dragon. He had decided to take his afternoon nap on this nice flat area that I had created for him.

"Hey you! Get moving you big lummox, your sleeping in the middle of my living room." The sight of me flying around him must have confused him some. With a startled noise he came awake and decided to find a quieter place to sleep. "It's not even built and I already have house guests."

When I was sure he wasn't going to hang around in the area, I got ready for the last step. Once more I created a stable platform from which to work. This one was centered about 1/4 of a mile above the site. When I was ready, I made one last minute scan of the area. This spell was going to take almost a half hour too complete and I didn't want any interruptions. When I was sure I was alone, I began.

Over the years I had found ways to duplicate via technology a great many of the things I had once done with magic. In general, technology was the safer of the two methods though it was also the slower in most cases. What I tended to do was research a subject using magic, then with Penny's assistance duplicate the results using technology. In this case I had opted for pure magic. I could have brought hundreds of Penny's construction bots through the Gate and had them build my home, but this was both faster and more satisfying.

Below me, the focus stones began to glow a brilliant blue as I poured power into them. When they where charged, I spoke a short phrase to activate and link them. On the plateau below, the stones flashed and linked together to form a grid. The basic form of the grid was the outline of the home as defined by the plans. Here and there throughout the grid more stones took up the task of defining subsections of the plans. As the grid settled down, I could feel the thrum of the stone beneath me as it traveled through the beams that anchored the platform.

Now I poured even more energy into the grid. The conversion of energy to matter that would bring my home into existence was not going to be cheap. I expected to collapse in exhaustion when this was over, but now I was within reach of my goal. When the grid had absorbed all the energy it could hold, I turned my focus to the master stone that I had anchored to the plans.

Most magic doesn't require the classic spell casting as described in fantasy novels, but there are exceptions. A very few spells require the kind of ordered progression of thought that only a verbal or somatic component can provide. Now I stood on the platform and cleared my mind. The final step of this spell required a special twist that I had worked out and memorized. To guide myself through that twist I had created a short song that lead me though each step. As I began to sing, each word lead me down the mental pathways to the next and I could feel the grid below me responding. One of the side effects was that my voice and the song I sang began to grow in volume. Before I was half way through the song I could hear the echoes as they returned from the mountain range around me.

Some part of my mind that wasn't otherwise occupied, hoped that there was no one around to hear me. While the song served its purpose, my singing was probably torture to anyone with in range. I didn't need to sound good, I just need to sing. As the last words left my lips and the echoes began to die out around me. I felt the grid below flair into its final form. I sat down on the platform and watched the spell begin its work below me.

It took the better part of an hour for the spell to complete. Each small subsection of the grid would flare from blue to green and then vanish. Behind it would be the solid material of my home as described by the plans that had become part of the spell. As the last section flared and died, I dissolved the platform and floated to the ground in front of what was now my home on Velar.

I still had tonight and tomorrow to double check the construction and begin to move in. I'd made arrangements through Kal to acquire furnishings and a few other things I'd be needing. For now, I retrieved my backpack and got ready to fix myself dinner. The next few months I'd be in and out of here quite a bit as I moved in. Now that it was here, I could memorize the area and just teleport instead of flying the whole distance.

Opening the front door, I flared a small witchlight into existence to see by and began my inspection. "Now which way was it to the kitchen? Shit, two minutes and I'm already lost. Hummm, I think it was this way."

Chapter Four

"One final little tweak There, that should do it."

A mile below me in the heart of the mountain, a small reactor came to life and began to supply power to my home. I had just finished the last of the adjustments to the distribution panel and as I watched it began to light up. Up until now I'd been getting by on a small number of storage cells and a few well-placed light spells.

"Looks good. Now to put it to use."

I stepped out of the power room and sealed the door behind me. My next step was the main computer center in the back of the house. It had been pretty quiet around here without Penny to argue with and getting the link working to her was the next step. I stopped at the shielded door that lead to the computer room and keyed it open. "Well, at least the door works. Lets see how much magic smoke we can generate." I sat down at the console and began to bring the system to life. It took me almost a half hour before I completed the initial checkout. This was not your run of the mill home automation system. While it would handle the day to day operation of the various systems around the house, it would also include a full hyperlink for Penny's use.

"Well, time for the smoke test" and I engaged the final systems that would bring the hyperlink on-line. "Hello? Testing, one, two, three? Penny had a little ship..."

"Hold it right there buster! I've heard that one and it's too disgusting to hear again!"

"Well, speak of the devil. You and Kal still plotting against me?"

"No, she had something come up and had to leave. Any trouble getting the power plant on-line?"

"Nope, went smooth as silk. I've still got a list a mile long of things to get done before we can start moving in the rest of the stuff. You check the electrical and remote interfaces and I'll get the gate opened and take care of the other physical stuff."

"Good enough. Let me know when the gates open and I'll start sending the bots through with your stuff."

"Ok." As I turned to leave, I remembered something else. "Oh, by the way. When you get the external systems up and running, your going to notice a small problem with my new neighbors."

"Problem? You told me they were docile as far as you could tell."

"Docile they may be, but if you think a small bird can make a mess, wait until you see what a dragon does. Your going to need to design a dragon repeller of some kind. I've done some initial tests to see if they can be driven off using ultrasonic's and I'll send you the results."

I closed the door and sealed it behind me. My next stop was the arboretum in the center of the house. I had designed my home to be split into two basic sections. One side was living quarters and such, the other was for labs and storage. Right in the center was a huge cylindrical opening with walkways around it for each of the four floors. There were no stairs in the entire place. You either levitated, or took the gravitic elevator in the rear of the house.

Right in the middle of the open area was a single tree that Kal had picked out for me based upon the temperature and sunlight I wanted to provide. Currently it only reached about halfway between the second and third floors, but its height when full grown would reach almost to the top of the house. Around its base were both native and terrestrial flowers and as a concession to Smaug, a small rock outcropping with a cave in it.

"Ok, now for some real lights." After I'd transplanted the tree, I'd lit the area with the brightest magelights I could create. But, until the interior containment fields were powered up, I'd been unable to water it as required. Now was the time to correct that problem and verify a few more of the house systems. I walked to the edge of the railing around the first floor and stopped. With a moment's concentration the magelights that had hovered near the ceiling for the last few days faded and went out.

The environmental controls were on the second floor, so I snapped on my flight field and floated up to land beside them. "Ok, lets see if Penny knows how to wire lights."

Below me, one of her remotes was passing through on its way somewhere and I caught part of a comment. "I heard that! Just remember that it was you that..." and it was gone.

I activated the environmental controls and programmed them for rain. Above me the great lights that would provide the sunlight needed, came on, followed by the force field that would contain the rain that was to follow. As the rain began to fall, I heard a ruckus from the first floor and looked over to see what was up.

Smaug was sitting in the mouth of his cave looking none too happy. In fact he had no problem with voicing his complaints in the direction of anything that moved. "Well, what did you expect? If you wanted to stay dry, you should have picked a better place for your cave." This didn't mollify him in the least and he flew out of his cave to hover around me and deliver his complaints in person. "Don't complain to me, I don't run the place. Go bother Penny, maybe she will help you."

I still don't know just how smart Smaug really is. He can follow simple directions and even seems to listen when people talk around him. One word he had learned real fast was Penny's name. Now he took off looking for one of her ever present remotes. As he flew off I half expected to hear him complain about just who was in charge of this mess. As it was, I just shook my head and made my way to my next stop.

In a special room in the back corner of the second floor, I had designed in a large stone archway as part of the outer wall. Now I began to gather the things I would need to convert it into a fully operational Gate. It would be linked to the main Gate in the meadow and was to serve as the main source of transportation for my home. While I could teleport myself here without problem, the bots that were going to be bringing in the furnishing and such needed more direct access. And, if I ever did have guests, they would also need a way to get here.



"I'm getting ready to form the Gate. Try to keep Smaug out of my hair for the next hour or so. I'd hate to have to try this twice because he got curious at the wrong moment."

"Ok, I'll keep an eye on him. Give me a shout when you're done. The first load of stuff is sitting in the lab waiting for delivery."

Reaching into the bag of tools I'd brought with me I grabbed a hammer and chisel. I had some carving ahead of me if I wanted this gate to be stable and reliable. I started to whistle as I carved the names into the archway that would establish its primary links.

It was going to be a lot of work, but my house was going to be something that would have driven my Aunt crazy. She had gotten her Realtors license and I chuckled to myself at what she would have said had I asked her to find me a house like this back home. She had been after me to move out of my apartment for almost a year. Little did she know that while I'd taken her advice, I'd moved just a little farther then she had planned.