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CLONES

The crowd of twenty one roared with a subtle brilliance; all were awaiting the results of the secret spy mission. Susan Smith IV addressed the Committee in her normal, happy tone of voice.

"The results of the spy mission, which included primarily bugging Archie's office, indicate that he is none other than our beloved T. G. Taft in disguise! The Domain must be well again!"

The Committee did not question the result; for finally their suspicion of Archie had ended, and they could assure themselves that they had truly made the correct decision.

**T. G. Taft**

Aven quietly mumbled an ancient Spanish cuss word. He paced the floor of his home, here, in the House of the Wizards, and thought to himself.

"John, why the----did you make your move so soon? Why couldn't you have waited just one or two more days..."

Suddenly two women entered the room, and he stopped talking to himself. Aven was a short and fat Spanish-American Indian bred Wizard; he was the only male wizard left. He nodded to the women, and then ran his fingers through his greasy, thin, black hair. He sat down and mumbled another cuss word.

"Dear," started one of the women, who was apparently Wisdym, "surely we can do something to stop him."

"You know that we have no direct power over the happenings of our old world. Only through our respective Keys..."

"But surely Blue or Taft..."

"Wait. One last chance..." He leaned back in his chair and concentrated...

**T. G. Taft **

Dion screamed again; the gag still muffling her voice. The knife was now inches away from her throat. It would soon all be over...

"I wouldn't do that if I were you." A laser fired from behind John and he dropped to the cave floor. "Thank goodness you've come. How did you know..."

"Adena had said she felt some pain of Iffley's through the Amulet. She had warned us and we came to rescue you. Where is the Chancellor?"

"I did not even know Suralio was here!"

"Sir, over here!" Cried another of the men of the search party, who was way off in the main part of the cave. They all came running and, after finding Iffley, boarded a special Search Shuttle and headed back for the Enchantress.

**T. G. Taft**

Iffley lay back on his sick bay bed, while Adena slowly brushed her hand through his hair. "I must leave now. I can't hardly let those fools up there guide our ship alone, now can I?"

Iffley was very greatful to Adena for once more saving his life. "Meric, I want you to obey everything that the Enchantress says until I am well."

"Yes, sir." With that they left, Adena returning one last smile.

Dion, in the next bed stared jealously at Iffley, and then closed her eyes. "I'll get him yet." She thought.

Iffley reclined all the way back in his sick bay bed and silently thought about the events of the past week. Things had gone so fast. Adena was back, without Blue. Campuria was back, without the wrinkles. Yes. It was good to have the girls back. He closed his eyes. You know, girls have certain characteristics that boys do not have. They like to play with dolls when they're young. Boys like sports. Girls tend to like romance more than boys, or at least more often. Iffley giggled to himself at this thought. Yes, girls have...

Iffley became startled. His thoughts wavered; his mind became a frenzy. He grabbed for the nearest communicator to the bridge.

"Bridge!" He screamed. But there was no answer. This could only mean that he was being jammed.

"Dion!" He screeched to the girl beside him. "We must leave. Now!"

"Why? What's wrong?" He did not wait to answer her. He merely got up, grabbed Dion and ran out of the sick bay door. Picking up the Sceptre as he left, he rushed through the closest corridor to the shuttle bay chamber. He boarded the first prepared shuttle he came to and launched it into the dead of space. He felt the shuttle bay doors clank behind him just as he escaped their grasp.

**T. G. Taft**

Aven silently smiled to himself, and then stood up and screamed in delight. "It is done! One more Key is ours."

Wisdym and Adena entered the room, gently smiling, perhaps just to please the fat Lord of the house. Aven quickly rushed out of the room, off to study more charts and writings in his den. Wisdym and Adena sat down at a table in the west corner of the room. "Wisdym, why does Aven want the Keys?"

Wisdym looked at her young descendent, and managed a small courteous smile. "For me, dear."

She slowly twisted in her chair, and prepared to tell an ancient story that she had long hoped to forget. "You see, after finding the Power within the Crystal, Ozino, your male descendent, and I created a 'Blue Shield' similar to the one that surrounds you and Blue Ledic. Only we called ours the 'Sustenance.' I agreed to it hoping that once he did find out about the Act---the Act took place, as you know, before the finding of the Crystal---that he would still love me with the same fervor that he had before the Act. But Ozino was too wise. As part of the Punishment he created another Sustenance. Only this time it was between me and Aven.

"You see, I must go through eternity enternally bound to two totally different men. I love Ozino just as much as I love Aven. With all the emotion that I have. And I have been doing so for eons upon eons. You see, the only thing that can break the Sustenance is the Power. And that's what Aven wants. The Power. To break me from a living hell."

Adena sat back in her hard wooden chair. Her mind tried to piece things out clearly, but she was quite aware of Aven's influence on her brain. She knew that she herself had killed Ozino. And after listening to Wisdym's story, she almost, almost that is, felt no regret...

**T. G. Taft**

Aven grasped the Tiara, the Amulet, and the Ring hard in his greasy hands as they were handed to him by Adena/Taft. His happiness was lestened only by the fact that he knew the Sceptre had just barely escaped his grasp. Adena walked over to him and snatched away the Amulet. "I'll take that." She said.

Aven let her go, knowing full well that when the time should come that he needed it again, he could have it back.

Archie/Blue stared at the Keys, awed at the immense planning that it had taken to get them. Archie/Blue was now the leader of the Domain, trusted by the people as Archie and by the Commitee as Taft. The Enchantress, though it had been released, served as an excellent password to gaining all of Alarius' technical knowledge. Mij, Taft II, John Jemason, and Adena/Taft had shuttled off the Enchantress before her crew could get together a mutiny. After taking the virtually useless Ring from Jonathon, the ship became theirs. Boy, two of the Keys sure do persuade Officers to give up a little rank. Ah, Yes. There were only two Keys left. And to think that the plan had originally been for Taft/Adena to stay on Furanose.

Aven motioned them away, as he began to think to himself. "I don't see anything I have left out. Taft, Adena, and Blue are completely under my will.  Their mortal minds simply cannot bend that of a Wizard's. Wisdym loves me completely, as determined by the second Sustanence. I see no person that can harm me or my position." He slowly fell asleep as he clenched tighter his two keys.

**T. G. Taft **

Dion held close to Iffley, her mind wondering what had happened. The report had just come over the radio that the Enchatress had been taken over by unknown spies, and she felt a thrill of foreign intrigue. She knew Iffley, too, must feel this, but then again, maybe not. He must have known about these spies before.

"Before you ask, I might as well tell you. You see, Dion, as I was lying on the bed, I was thinking about the difference between boys and girls. All at once I came to the idea of, simply enough, motherhood. You see, Boys can never feel the joys nor the pain of motherhood; especially the pain of losing one, or two of their prized children. Adena, not once, not even for a second, even began to wonder about the whereabouts of Cyan and Kirstie. Either she knew that they had died, which would have caused her too much pain to even talk to you, or she was really a boy, which, after all these years is doubtful, or she was really a non-Adena spy. In that case, the most probable, I knew that there had to be a spy in charge of the Enchantress."

Dion marveled at her intelligent companion and it gave her a genuine feeling of glee to know that he was truly, and finally, hers.


 © 1984, 

K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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