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Late in June 1947 a US Marine C-46 transport plane crashed on the western side of Mount Rainier, the highest peak in the Cascade Range, and when word got around, a private pilot named Ken Arnold volunteered to aid with the search.

While he was circling the mountain on June 24 he spotted a cluster of nine brightly glowing meteors rushing past his plane at supersonic speed toward remote Mt. Adams in the south. Because they were pieces of a fireball in the process of breaking up, they seemed to be flying in formation, so Arnold assumed they were aircraft, and he interpreted their intermittent bursts of brightness to be the sun glinting off of polished metal.

The pieces were of irregular shape and they were tumbling. This made them appear to hop up and down in the air stream. After his flight Ken told a reporter that they flew like “a saucer skipping over water.” This was the first modern sighting of Unidentified Flying Objects and it sparked a national obsession with “Flying Saucers” that bordered on mass hysteria because people insisted on identifying them as spacecraft operated by aliens.

By July there had been many more saucer sightings. Some were ordinary mistakes but most were outright copycat hoaxes. The reporter had somehow garbled Arnold’s description. The pilot had merely tried to convey that the objects moved like saucers, not that they looked like saucers. But it was too late, the erroneous quote was already in print, so everyone was seeing saucers.

In Seattle Edgar the Elder and his father were working to adapt new home-built macros to an air frame. Edgar’s idea was to obtain powered flight by constantly sucking in air from an intake manifold on the roof of the vehicle, making the air “go away” and creating a bubble of low pressure over the vehicle. Theoretically this would create lift, much with like a helicopter, but with an ability to stay aloft indefinitely. Edgar was, however, stumped on a final body design.

The first thing that came to Robyn’s mind was the big national flying saucer craze. She said, “If we make it in the shape of a flying saucer, then even if people see us and report it, they won’t be believed. If they photograph us in flight, they will be accused of taking a snapshot of a hub cap.”

Edgar thought it was a truly brilliant idea and he, with his father’s help, built three flying saucers powered by the phantom process. He spent a week teaching Robyn, Hunky, and Dory how to use them. Some of the UFO reports mixed in with the recent public hysteria, therefore, were genuine sightings.

Robyn took baby Edgar and went with Lilith in one of the saucers to tour England, a trip they both estimated would take at least three weeks. It was partly pleasure but mostly business, from one deity to her Prophet. On that trip Lilith was to lay out the essential highlights of her grand plan to defeat Mastema.

Hunky and Dory took the other saucer to visit Alaska, but that trip was all pleasure and no business. So sparsely inhabited was that state that no UFO reports would be forthcoming from their trip.

That left just Jerry, Edgar the Elder, and Becky at the light industrial facility Lilith had arranged for everyone to hide out from Earl Roland.

Edgar the Elder had his head down over his macros. So Jerry offered to teach Becky Hahn how to fly a saucer. He invited her for a tour of the national parks in the American southwest. He figured a decent inspection of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and the wind-carved sandstone marvels of Utah would require at least ten days.

When things got boring between the national parks, Jerry and Becky filled in the time by having sex in the saucer, in a mesh hammock slung between hooks on the bulkheads. He figured Robyn couldn’t really say anything. She was the one left him all alone with Becky.

Jerry discovered, to his delight, that Becky ‘s heavy helping of freckles extended over her entire body. He had brought along the Purple Cable to enhance things like Hunky and Dory frequently reported, but Becky refused to let him use it, and so her mind remained a mystery to him even if her delicious body no longer was.

The P51 Mustang fighter plane was a bomber escort that revolutionized the strategic bombing campaign over western Europe during the war. Bomber pilots called them, affectionately, their “little friends”. Jet aircraft were coming on line now after the war, but the P51 remained in service as the most numerous fighter in the US Army Air Forces, which was still a few months away from being split off into it’s own branch of the military called the US Air Force.

Unfortunately for Jerry and Becky, they were touring a part of the country that had large empty areas of land given completely over to military operations. In short order Jerry and Becky became acquainted with a P51 over the state of New Mexico. They didn’t have a chance. In the War, Mustangs shot almost 5,000 enemy aircraft out of the sky, and destroyed another 4,000 aircraft on the ground. It had six .50 caliber machine guns.

Several rounds penetrated the crew canopy. One round hit Jerry in the leg. It was all he could do to get down to the ground without killing himself or Becky. It was more of a crash than a landing, and it happened on a ranch about thirty miles north of Roswell. This was to become the most famous “UFO incident” in history.

Becky was shaken but not injured. “I think the macro still works,” Jerry gasped while Becky tied off his injured leg with his belt to try to stop the bleeding. “You can hover us the hell out of here.”

“I still don’t know how to fly this thing,” Becky said. She had expressed no desire to learn, and even now, with Jerry’s life on the line, she was too afraid to try. “I’ll just end up killing both of us. Besides, the airplanes will probably return and finish the job.”

But there was one thing she was willing to do, and it was an enormous thing. Both of them eyed the Purple Cable. She snapped one end into her head, and the other end to Jerry, and then she began to receive him.

Jerry’s memories and personality flooded in. Becky ‘s self was being pushed down and flooded out, but there was the beginning of a creeping return as the edges of Becky soaked into the new memories of Jerry which stood firmly in the center of her mind.

The threshold levels between brain cells were being flushed of Becky’s values and set to Jerry’s values, but this was not fully accomplished. The neurons were even being physically rerouted to reflect Jerry’s long-term memory but this too was not one hundred percent complete.

Feedback went up the Purple Cable back to Jerry. From that moment he knew her great secret: there was no such person as Becky Hahn. She was really Becky Roland, the daughter of their enemy Earl Roland who had imprisoned Robyn and Hunky at the Clinic, burned down the temple, and made all of them fugitives. Roland was their implacable enemy, and Becky was a plant. At first Jerry was horrified by this betrayal. But in Becky’s supreme sacrifice, giving up her very identity, Becky was saying to Jerry, “I am truly one of you.”

A new person was emerging who would have 71% of Jerry’s brain wiring and 29% of Becky’s original wiring. At one point Becky fully surrendered her identity, and after that a new composite person stared out at Jerry and his crippled and bleeding body.

The new Jerry let his hands roam all over his new female body with the creamy, freckled skin. It was a dream come true! He really was a woman now, in body and spirit. The influence of Becky remained and combined with his own inner impulse to be womanly. He was fully a she. And she decided to call himself Jill from that moment forward.

“They will be coming,” Jerry warned Jill, but he hardly needed to speak. They were almost exactly the same person. “Leave before we’re both captured.”

“You could suffer True Death,” Jill warned him in reply. It was a concept that Jerry alone had rolled around in his mind long before this. He had realized a mind-capture must encapsulate the moment of death. If even one second was allowed to transpire after the recording, then the individual bifurcated. One would go on, but the other would be extinguished.

“I trust you will move heaven and earth to make sure that is not so,” he said. He gave the Golden Gift to Jill and told her to eliminate all the important parts of the saucer, the macro in the roof, and all the controls.

When she was done, Jill used a screwdriver to attempt to open the Golden Gift, which triggered the defense mechanism. The blade ate most of itself, enough to make the task of reverse engineering it impossible. She stamped the tiny remnant under her feet.

There was still a little water left over, enough for Jerry to drink until he was captured, and enough for Jill to fill two canteens. She also took along a bag of trail mix to eat. But she was a ginger, and the sun was really going to kick her ass.

It would take a full day and part of the following night for Jill to walk across the desert south to the town of Roswell. From there she called her bank, had money wired to her, and returned to Black Diamond by bus, which took another four days with all the required bus transfers.

Cowboys found the wreckage in the desert the next day while Jill was still on foot. They rendered what first aid they could, and took Jerry to a small hospital in town. The movement of the horse-driven cart as he was carried out of there was agonizing to him. The doctor saved Jerry’s leg, but he was laid up in traction and could make no move to escape.

The 509th Bomb Group retrieved the saucer from the rancher’s land and craned it onto a couple of trucks. But it was a pile of junk and there was nothing they could learn from it. There was no motor, no controls. It looked like a playground saucer made to entertain some children. And Jerry refused to explain how it or he came to be there.

In the saloons, the cowhands mentioned the “silver disk” they had found and soon enough some reporters came calling. The Army press liaison told them it was just the debris from the crash of something they called project Mogul, and that Jerry Shy Bear was a local “Indian” who found it first, and shot himself in the leg when he thought he saw something move.

Then a general bitched about the leak of Mogul.

Tasked to conceal the existence of Mogul, the first thing that came to mind was the big national flying saucer craze, so the Air Force made an official announcement that it had recovered the wreckage of a flying saucer. The press went nuts, and the Air Force bureaucracy gradually realized it had made a huge mistake. On July 8 they went on the radio and retracted the flying saucer claim, and said it naw, it was really just a weather balloon they had picked up. Americans were less cynical in those days, so the military successfully covered up the cover-up.

Two years later when the existence of Project Mogul was declassified, the Air Force said their original saucer statement was inoperative and that it was really Mogul all along. Mogul was now the operative statement. Mogul was an experiment to send balloons with microphones high into the sky to listen for Soviet nuclear detonations.

So the press let it drop and the Air Force concluded they had successfully covered up the crash. That was the last anyone heard of it, until three things happened that took away America’s virginity and put an end to the halcyon days when her leaders were looked up to and trusted implicitly.

The first was the assassination of the President in 1963, which sparked a poisonous conspiracy mindset that only seemed to be validated by later events, especially the Tet Offensive in 1968, when people realized with shock that the government had lied and victory was nowhere in sight in the Vietnam War, plus the cover-ups and incredible abuses of power of the Watergate affair. Only after this vast attitude shift did people begin to read ominous things into the comedy of errors that took place at the beginning of the UFO era in 1947.

Alien bases were imagined to exist in the four corners area of the south-western United States. An entire alphabet soup of imaginary government agencies was cooked up who were supposed to control all the top secret in formation on the alien presence, and even the information that these agencies existed was, conveniently, also supposed to be classified top secret. There were claims that projects existed to recover all downed flying saucers and claims that projects existed to overhaul and test-fly recovered flying saucers at “Area 51″ sixty miles northwest of Las Vegas. And the very lack of evidence for any of these claims was considered the best proof that a conspiracy to hide the truth existed.

Jerry Shy Bear was taken to a location that was never disclosed, even to him. It was in arid land but it wasn’t Area 51 (Groom Lake), since the government did not establish that base until 1955. There was even a clinic much like the one at Hanford, but with much enhanced security. Earl Roland had learned from his mistakes.

When Jill returned to the B’nei Elohim she laid out the bad news first. “Jerry Shybear is either dead or in the hands of the enemy.”

Robyn, Hunky, and Dory were filled with grief and they pressed Jill for answers. She answered truthfully, but the hardest questions came from Robyn, and had to do with why Becky was traveling together with Jerry in the first place.

Lilith, for her part, already knew Becky’s whole story and just sat back to listen. The B’nei Elohim needed to work this out themselves.

“I betrayed you, Robyn,” she admitted. “We both did. Please don’t ask me to Share, you won’t like what you see.”

“So it was an affair.” Robyn had to admit she opened the door to that when she went off to England with Lilith. Her marriage to Jerry should have come first in every instance.

After that Jill dribbled out some good news: Becky had allowed Jerry to take possession of her body, in the same way El Shaddai had taken possession of Lilith Gervasi. All of Jerry’s memories until the moment of possession were intact. “But I am not Jerry, nor am I Becky Hahn anymore. I ask you to call me only Jill from now on.”

This cheered up the B’nei Elohim somewhat. Both Jerry and Becky were still present with them. If Jerry was dead, then he lived on behind Becky’s eyes. And Becky herself had undergone an ad hoc version of the Name Ritual. The B’nei Elohim had truly added a new member. Still, they felt something about Jill wasn’t quite right.

So Jill flip-flopped once again and laid out some bad news: “There never was any such person as Becky Hahn. My name was Becky Roland, and I am the daughter of Earl Roland, planted by him here in the Green River Gorge so I could infiltrate your group.”

“Why did you do that to us, Jill?” Dory wailed, hardly able to believe it. “We loved you!”

“And I still love you,” she said, “all of you. Enough for Becky to surrender her body and soul so that Jerry might live. And I’m not finished giving. If there’s a chance Jerry’s alive, I must find him. And if he is dead, that only makes it even more important that I find him.”

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Strangers In Paradise