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A Greendome Sanitation Auditor greeted Rebekah Redstar at the front door of her home and mentioned that in recent months she had gone from a seven dollar subscription to five dollar a month can, and he wanted to know why. She asked, "Do I really have to explain it you?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean your side blames our side for the Temple fire, right? So I lost my job. A lot of other Red Wingers did too. You know how it is. Money never seems to go far enough anymore. I had to fiddle with my budget and trash pickup was a big item."

"How did you manage it?"

"Oh, you know, I just got a little smarter in the groceries I buy and in the way I prepare my trash. You can nest trash within trash within trash if you just give it a little thought. Say, there isn't a weight surcharge, is there?"

"Only if there's evidence of compacting, which you've so far managed to avoid. Would you mind if I looked in your backyard?"

Rebekah was a little too savvy for that. "Show me a search warrant," she said firmly. "How about your husband, Miss Redstar? Is he home Would he invite me out back?" "It's just me here, Rebekah said stern- ly. "And when I do find a husband, he won't be the sort of fellow who does an end run around his own wife."

"Did I hear you say you're looking for work, Miss Redstar?" he tried again. "You know, your future employer might blame the inconvenience of any greater scrutiny of their dumpsters on the uncooperative off- duty attitude of one of their new employees, if word got back to them."

"Get a warrant, clown! she barked. I know my rights!" She slammed in the Sanitation Auditor's face.

Damnation! he thought. And the way the liberal judges were ruling nowadays, it would take more than going from a medium can to a small can to get a search warrant. So he left for the easier target next door. Rebekah's neighbors had gone from a family-size jumbo ten dollar a month can to the basic five dollar one. They certainly had some ex- plaining to do. He made a note that if Rebekah Redstar's trash was so much as one inch overflowing to charge her the full seven dollars.

As soon as the door slammed shut, Gabriel, Robyn, Hunky, and Dory came out from hiding to join Rebekah in her modest living room. Doris Day was belting one out on the radio that was the center of entertainment in the home. Hunky and Dory, as usual, were holding hands.

Rebekah was Dory's half-sister: they shared the same mother, Anael. And like Dory sha was one of the elyonim, an angel, and sha was also B'nei Elohim, Begotten, not Made. But if sha was to have a special talent to serve Chokhmah it hadn't been revealed to har yet. "Michael told me I would have skills," sha said, "but it's too early to have them right now. Hy said I would absolutely understand when it did turn on."

Rebekah had been in band class with the four of them, but in the wake of the Temple fire their school had totally shut down and it looked like nobody was graduating this year. Nobody seemed too upset about that. Robyn said she was pregnant but she wasn't starting to show yet.

"That was very satisfying," Rebekah told them, "just like you said it would be."

"It only gets better, Gabriel told her. Are you ready to go to your training house?"

"Ready when you are."

Gabriel brought out the macro he had duplicated for Rebekah, a perfect copy of the Golden Gift. He squeezed it to obtain about a foot of the hissing black shaft and fed a banana peel into it. The shaft gobbled it all up with not a trace left over.

"Where did it go?"

"Mike says it's not magic," Gabriel said, "but it's rocket science so it might as well be. Hy says whatever it touches turns into a kind of matter that doesn't respond to anything except gravity. So as far as we're concerned it's gone. I mean it's just, gone."

"Why is it hissing like that?"

"That's the air in the house being sucked in," Gabriel explained.

Robyn said, "My father had one of these in a cave, and it ate all the air. He suffocated and died."

That gave Rebekah pause. "I knew he died, Robyn, but I never knew how."

"Let me show you a neat trick, Hunky said, in a bid to lighten things up a little. She tossed a bottle cap from six feet away. It would have missed, but the hissing air near the macro effect guided it in to its doom.

"It's good for cutting too," Robyn said.

She passed Rebekah's softball bat through the black shaft. The bat fell into two pieces with the middle section effortlessly carved out.

"What is that dark beam?"

"That's the macro in action," said Gabriel. Not even light can escape."

"Why do you call it a macro?"

"That's more rocket science. Mike says this black shaft is a micro- scopic quantum effect that operates on a macroscopic scale."

"Is that as long as it gets?"

"Nope, squeeze harder and it gets longer." Gabriel tripled its length. "If you squeeze even harder it does this."

Che tipped the shaft away from hez friends to keep them safe and made the shaft balloon out as a cone. The hissing became a terrifying roar. Che turned it off two seconds after letting it form. Then Gabiel said, "Let's go down to your basement, Rebekah, and get to work."

With the macro on wide beam Gabriel cut a tunnel from Rebekah's base- ment to the next door neighbor's house, which had no basement. The new tunnel was tall enough for them to walk through it without crouching. It ended with a little cave-in of earth.

A small ladder from Rebekah's garage was brought forward. All of them quietly gathered under the floorboards of House Ten and waited for the sounds of footsteps above to stop. When they did, that meant everyone in the house had gone to work or school.

Rebekah and the Band all entered through an access hatch in the floor of a closet that had been constructed to allow the owner to make an inspection under the house. The womenfolk went to the kitchen. "Just grab a couple dinner plates," Dory told Rebekah. "Just a couple of coffee cups. Not enough to raise any alarms."

"I get it," Rebekah said. "Even if they miss them, they'll just assume someone broke them washing them or something."


Gabriel took care of the trash. "I'm leaving enough for a five dollar can."

"Why not make all the trash disappear?" Rebekah asked him.

"We learned our lesson the hard way. No trash raises alarms. Less trash just raises eyebrows. Now if your hosts here in House Ten go to a smaller can you're saving them five dollars monthly."

"So you can skim five dollars a month in value from this host."

"Value in what?" "A little food from the fridge, a little beer, elec- tric power. After this I'm going to show you how to tap into their power lines safely, so you don't have to pay for electricity. When you get seven or eight host homes on your grid they shouldn't even notice the drain of your own use."

"Ah, but living in caves underground, though," Rebekah murmured, as though she were having second thoughts.

"It's not that bad," Hunky said. "Most days you spend in houses while the occupants are away, just like we are doing right now. Besides, no one is looking for you yet. There's no reason you can't keep living out of your own house for the time being."

"This is just temporary anyway," said Robyn. "Most of the men in the Red Wing are on site in that ghost town Michael bought in Washington, building new houses on the old foundations. Everyone is selling their houses to White Wingers, who are snapping them up, more than happy to be rid of you. But we can't move too fast. The People are already tak- ing a hit on the home prices they're fetching. If you sell too fast the prices will fall even more. But not as much," and here Robyn smiled wickedly, "as their own prices will tank after we're all gone."

Everyone saw the hundred dollars of cash lying on the top of a dresser drawer in the master bedroom, but it remained to be seen what Rebekah Redstar would do. Rebekah saw Gabriel watching him. She looked at the money, then back at Gabriel. "What, are you crazy. We take that money and our whole structure will come crashing down."

Gabriel Shybear breathed a sigh of relief. A hurdle had been passed. In that moment, in fact, che believed che had won.

Some weeks earlier when Gabriel gave Hunky and Dory their own macros and told them to think of something to do with them, they started to dig under the ground, just like Robyn's father had once done, but they did it to create a network of tunnels between houses. Their happy pas- time was to explore empty homes when the owners were away at work, made all the more happier by their custom of "breaking in" each new addition to their network. Sex is a powerful motivator. Their constel- lation of homes soon numbered in the dozens.

Some of the houses on their network were never occupied and became B'nei Elohom "Safe Houses" most of the time, at least when Realtors were not showcasing them to potential buyers. Hunky was the one who came up with the idea of getting rid of their host's trash.

Special Agent Mark Felt was long gone, with his mission complete, and even Bill Sullivan had been reassigned, but Clyde Tolson still hung around Greendome like a dirty old man leering an elementary school playground, digging up "clues" and corrupting the town leaders. When the mayor complained about the sudden shortfall in trash pickup reve- nue, Tolson recommended charging a flat ten dollars no matter what size can was used.

Many citizens, including not a small number of White Wingers, dropped weekly pickup service altogether. Citizens who cooperated with the new corps of Sanitation Auditors and allowed them to come inside their homes were punished by Gabriel most severely: The Trash Fairy never visited them again.

But those citizens who were ordered by Judge Porter to allow a Sanita- tion Auditor to inspect their homes were not punished. Trash pickup continued through a small hole that suddenly appeared in the bottom of their trash can.

All of the citizens who were treated in this way resented the authori- ties enough not to mention the neat round hole. So the town's next move, again at the advice of Clyde Tolson, was a ten dollar surcharge on electric power for every home not subscribed to trash pickup.

Gabriel Shybear countered by going door-to-door selling a simple gadg- et that, in combination with a macro, ate electrons rather than air. Tie your circuit to earth ground for a source of free electrons, and Gabriel's gadget constantly disposed of them. You got a steady current flow. The electricity was ran through an inverter, phase-matched to the AC line current, and soon many houses went off the official power grid for good. This wasn't, strictly speaking, free energy. The dark energy powering all macros came, ultimately, from Chokhman and Binah.

The activities of the B'nei Elohim was not just confined to the neigh- borhoods. A large fraction of the cost of doing any kind of manufac- turing was in disposing of hazardous wastes. Gabriel would do that for one company at a ridiculously low price. This allowed said company to pass the savings on to the consumer and drive all their competitors out of business. Then, armed with a monopoly, prices would creep back up and Gabriel would squeeze them for a share.

Drilling for water costs five hundred bucks? Gabriel will do it for one hundred. Drilling for oil costs ten thousand bucks? Gabriel will do it for two hundred with a macro taped in the on position and a ball of twine to hang it from.

Such was the life of the B'nei Elohim in Greendome as the year 1943 ran out.

By late fall the homes in Franklin, Washington were complete and the Red Wing was migrating out of Greendome by the trainload, six families a week. And a curious thing happened. The Squaw River, which debouched full-grown from the western slope of Green Dome, slowed to a mere trickle.

Then even J. Edgar Hoover got tired of Clyde Tolson wasting time with his obsession on the high plains and called him back to DC. A war was still raging. Or perhaps he just missed him. When Robyn began to have labor pains she could visit Dr. Wahkan without fear of capture.

"I'm glad you came in," he said. "I know you won't need to be sedated because you can choose to isolate your conscious mind from any pain, just like Lilith did in the Green Book, but it's still going to kick your ass. Your body, your subconscious mind is still going to know something is going very wrong."

"Why is that, Doc?" she asked. "Why can't we just drop 'em like cows do and carry on?"

"Because humans are the only animals on Earth that walk upright, on two feet. At every moment we are faced with the threat of being disem- boweled simply by standing up. So the hole in the pelvic floor has to be as small as possible to prevent that. At the same time, humans have the largest brains of any animal on Earth as a percentage of their total body mass. So the opening in the pelvis cannot be too small, do you see?"

Robyn nodded. "Otherwise the infant would get wedged in the birth ca- nal and die."

"Correct. The baby's skull does not fully form until after birth, so it actually deforms during birth to ease the passage, but the ordeal is still very dangerous for both the mother and child."

"Assuming we both survive, what am I in for?" "You mean, what are you going to get?" Robyn nodded. "Well, Gabriel is a jen, hez sex chromo- somes are X and Z. You're two X's. So there's a fifty percent chance you're going to get a beautiful and human baby girl, and there's a fifty percent chance you're going to get an equally beautiful baby nephil. Flip the coin again. Heads che's an ambi, like Doriel's mother Anael. Tails che's a che like Gabriel. I could have tested for it ear- lier, but now it's so close there's no point."

Robyn's husband and her two closest friends stayed close to her during the whole ordeal. Once, just once, she let herself be in full contact with the worst of the labor pain, and she quickly retreated, thankful that she could retreat. The Change had completely spoiled her. When it was over she was holding a baby girl. Gabriel suggested they name her Ariel, and Robyn agreed. Ariel was perfectly whole and healthy and came with a little pad of soft black hair. Robyn found that words failed to fully convey this greatest of human experiences.

Robyn loved to hold Ariel's face close to her own and inhale her soft baby scent, that special new person factory-fresh smell. She was Ari- el's mother! Gabriel, too, was filled with joy to be Ariel's father, but he felt sliced out, somehow, from the pure joy that Robyn felt. As hez thoughts trended along this line che realized that as things stood, there was no remedy for hez vague dissatisfaction. So much po- tential was going to waste by biological inevitability. As long as che remained wed to Robyn che could only be a father, never a mother.

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