Stevo was very concerned over this telepathy problem for both of them! Mike was
losing it! Stevo remembered that his subvocalizing with Mary R147
and others had been nothing like this.
People generally speak about a hundred words a minute. That is how communication
works. Humans think their thoughts at about six hundred words per minute,
providing their thoughts are in words, which most of them are. This
new thing he and Mike were experiencing was completely different. Stevo
was hearing his son’s thoughts, not just his subvocalized words. He
was seeing whole concepts and experiences at once, and it was most
unsettling. Stevo understood his son’s terror at this, and it was fast
becoming his own!
As they both sat there on the metal floor in that alien place, it was if
there was a fast building panic rising in them both. This was intensified
because they both felt it in the other as they heard and sensed each
“Stand up! We have to do something, and quickly!” Stevo spoke aloud to
Mike, taking deep breaths, asked what could be done. Both of them were
reeling from the onslaught of thought that freely poured from their
minds. It was becoming difficult to distinguish which thought belonged
Carefully speaking aloud seemed to help their plight. “It is the nanocites,
Son. We must go back to those closets by the park. You and I must begin
moving that direction, and we have to try to control our breathing,
and this overwhelming panic.”
“Those places again? How do you know there isn’t more to this city than
“I can see it all now, son. This building to the left is a communications
unit. It is turned off now. That one over there is used for data storage.
It is the same for all of these buildings except the one by the park
which was a factory for all the things the beings like Mary required
to be manufactured. We must go back there if we are to find her, or
help her to be created again.” Stevo broke away from Mike and began
running toward the park.
“Pops, how did you know to touch those places on the buildings?” Mike was
hurrying to catch up, amazed at his father’s new found strength.
“I am stronger now, aren’t I?” Stevo, surprised, stopped for a moment and
quickly felt himself all over. You are right, I feel now more like I
did twenty years ago. Amazing!”
“But how did you know about the city?” Mike asked again.
“I suddenly just knew what to do to turn on these places, so that the city
is now operational again, and not only that, I had Nanocites in my
hands to do the activation! I think the city wants to come to life!
We can get the help we need here!”
“Is that allowed, Pops? I thought those beings like Mary were not allowed
to live in our world again. None of this was to happen, except us meeting
your Mary. You still haven’t explained why we need her now.”
“Mike, we do need Mary, not as before to protect the Continuum, or to preserve
our civilization, but to help us find a way to destroy the Continuum
so that we can save our world!”
Mike was so astonished at this statement that he stopped and dropped to
his knees, sitting down at once. No one ever talked about the end of
the Continuum. That was preposterous! How would Mankind do without
it? Why did his father think it would it have to end? This idea was
like utter nonsense to him. Is this really why his father had come
here? Was that the real reason? Mike’s thoughts recoiled from this
Stevo sat down next to his son, again carefully speaking aloud. “I understand
your shock, Mike, but you have to see the big picture here.”
Mike, listening not just to the words of his father’s voice, but to Stevo’s
thoughts, suddenly saw all the images Stevo was projecting and he got
the whole concept at once, with all its nuances, right down to the
foundational statistics. He was shocked anew that his father was so
well studied. Stevo had no degrees. How had he gotten all this knowledge,
he thought? He saw it all now. Of course his father was right!
Stevo spoke again. “I just read all kinds of things, from everywhere, and
I spent a lot of time in thought. At times I get a sudden vision of
the connections between events and trends, like an illumination. Those
things come when you are old and all you can do is sit and think.”
Mike, sitting by his father, was mute. He dared not to speak or even think right now.
This was all so new to him. He was not used to hearing anyone’s thoughts,
– such complete, complex thoughts! So much information in such breathtaking
fashion! Could he ever get used to this?
“I don’t know, Mike. This is new to me too! I never had contact with another
person in this way. Not even with Mary. For some reason, all
our thoughts are rushing about in both our heads. Why, I am not sure
if one of them is mine or yours!”
–“No. Distance will not diminish this process. I somehow know this is
–“Yeah, it is the city here. Its the machine that is doing this to us.”
–“You are right, we need to shut this down if we can. Soon, if possible!”
–“But what if we don’t find her?”
–“We will find her. . . ”
–“How do you know? . . . ”
Their combined thoughts washed over them both once more like a flood. The
more they tried to block something, the more it came to the fore. They
were both quickly coming to an awareness of merging, or perhaps, a
common area of shared thought.
They both found at the same time that they could still move their bodies
independently, and that was something, at least.
Moving back from the abyss of madness, they both stood up drunkenly, leaning
on each other, and walked uncertainly down the street toward the manufacturing
building by the park. They were holding to one thought now, and that
was to find a way to resurrect Mary!
* * *
As they rounded the corner of the last building approaching the park, Mike
suddenly fell silently to the ground! Nothing Stevo did could revive
him. He carefully checked his pulse and his breathing. He was alive,
thank God for that! But Mike’s tumbling thoughts, that had been
ringing in his head were suddenly cut off! Had the city done this?
Was Mike somehow harmed permanently by this?
Stevo sat there with him for a long time, uncertain of what to do. His
radio link was no longer working, or his other boys were unable to
answer him. Presently he gave up and left Mike where he was lying and
finished the short journey to the park, looking for, and hoping for
Nothing prepared Stevo for the sight of a solitary figure standing there
in the park. He knew without thinking that it was Mary! Thoughts pressed
themselves forward. Were had she gone? How was she here again now?
Was she the same as before? – all of these thoughts at once, and not
a word or a thought from her!
When he got to where she was standing, she immediately sat down on the
floor, indicating for him to do the same. Stevo was glad to be down
on the deck again, for he was suddenly overcome with emotion!
Mary did not look as she did before. Oh, not a hair had changed, nor that
silver garment, so out of date now, – not anything else about her,
including the ‘otherness’ Stevo had missed all these years. Yet looking
at her now, she seemed much different. She seemed more human, if anything.
Were his eyes also playing tricks on him?
Presently, as he sat there, he was aware that his thoughts were only his
own. Somehow, Mary had turned off his ability to communicate by thought!
Was it her who did this? id this?
“I am sorry about the telepathy, Stevo.” Mary said aloud. “Those nanocites
you acquired in those closets were never meant for humans, but only
for those of us of the Unity. I turned them off as soon as I arrived
because they were overwhelming you both.”
Somehow this was not the first words that Stevo had expected to hear from
her. Could she still read his thoughts, even now?
“My son Mike! You have to help him!” Stevo faltered, embarrassed for some
reason to be mentioning Mike.
“I like Mike, Stevo. He has your eyes, and likely your courage too, if
he has come all this distance with you. Please do not be afraid. He
is well, and will awaken shortly, as will your other boys. You and
I just need some time to talk here alone together.”
Somehow these words, too, were not reassuring to Stevo. Mary, if anything,
was much more alien than he had remembered her to be. He was still
marveling at how human she looked! He noted the gentle rise and
fall of her chest as she breathed. She did not have that capability
before, did she?
Stevo spoke up quickly. “Mary, I apologize for not being here sooner. First
of all . . .”
Mary raised her hand, cutting him off. “No need to worry about how I feel,
Stevo. I have no regrets for what we did. You feel guilty now, but
you do not need to. I am at peace with it all.” Mary touched Stevo’s
arm in a reassuring fashion.
She continued, “Stevo, you wanted to find me all these years now, but you
were unable to get in here, and you were busy Raising the children
and caring for their mother all those years. Afterward, you were active
in many important things in the Continuum. I should not have been a
priority before any of those things. Besides, you had to wait for your
sons to get old enough to help you. Am I right?”
Somehow Stevo accepted what she was saying. This was all too much for him.
It was as if she had never been gone, the way she just picked up their
conversation together. He should be glad, but –
“Mary, but where did you come from? You were not here before now?” Stevo
“You are right, Stevo. The few people who knew about us thought that we
were dead – gone forever. Even you thought so, didn’t you, Stevo. Those
people did not want the knowledge of us and our alien intelligence
to become public. Humans are just too hostile and quick to judge someone
different. I understand that you thought that by coming here you might
resurrect us, or at least me. You could not have known that our conscious
selves were secreted away in the depths of mountain ranges far away,
where we would remain until the day we could emerge to a peaceful
welcome among men, – or to an empty world which would then be ours
to do with as we pleased.”
This stunned Stevo. Especially her last comment. He tried to grasp it all.
“Mary, I believed that you resided in these buildings down here when
you were not in your touring body. Is that not right?”
“Stevo, each of these many abandoned data buildings once held our persona,
or the essence of who we are. But when we went away, that part of us
was supposedly turned off by men who sought to end our existence. The
data buildings were then used by those in charge to maintain and support
the remaining Continuum, and also to support all the old and failure
prone WinTel computer systems that once ran everything. This body you
see now is another turing vehicle created just now for me. The manufacturing
building behind us made it so that I could interface properly with
you now. But before that, I was much farther away, and totally inaccessible
by anyone – but you!”
“Mary, were you aware all these years? Or did you sleep, and even dream
while you were dormant?” Stevo asked.
“I was truly dormant, my friend. All I remember is dreaming of electric
sheep, Stevo.” Mary said with a small grin.
Stevo was startled at her statement, not knowing what to say to this.
“I was referring to an ancient book, Stevo. I am not serious. – A joke.
It was a joke. Is it not still called that?
Stevo relaxed somewhat at this, but was a little more wary of this alien
cracking jokes. For a moment he just put his head down between his
knees. There was too much new information now for him to assimilate,
and he had the feeling that there was not going to be enough time to
figure out all the ramifications of what she was saying.
Mary touched his arm again. “I would rather not say what my experiences
were while I was ‘dead.’ They are too personal to me.” She said. “What
I am concerned with now is what is happening now in your world. What
has brought you here, Stevo? Why did you seek to resurrect me?”
“Something is very wrong with the world, Mary. I only have a few clues
about what it might be. It is just that things in our world are changing
radically, and I believe they are not good changes.” Stevo was intense,
forming and ordering his thoughts so he could speak them.
Mary waited patiently, sensing a great urgency now arising in Stevo.
“Mary! Reactivate these nanocites that allow you to hear my thoughts. It
will be much quicker!”
She considered this for a moment, and without any outward sign that she
had complied, Stevo was aware that he could communicate with his thoughts
* * *
Mary, grasping all that was now happening in the human continuum, and in
the world of Man, sent her thoughts to Stevo, “Your human Continuum
is not like ours! It never was, nor could it be. We inhabited
ours because it gave us the freedom and the space we needed to exist.
Yours, Stevo, is very strange and different! Your Continuum holds
your hopes, your dreams, and even your aspirations, yes. Yet it also
holds all your dross, and the very worst there is about your kind,
Stevo. It deserves to die!”
Stevo was surprised at her anger.
Sensing Stevo’s agreement in his thoughts, she hurriedly thought, “Why should
we help the humans now? You have a long history of evil and destruction,
as you well know. Even if we help them now in this crisis, they will
only do it to themselves again in a few years, in some other form!”
Stevo, his own anger rising, stood to defended his world. “Yes people are
violent, Mary, but not all of them. Think of all those people who are
good, and who are just trying to survive right now. Don’t they deserve
to live, Mary? How can you turn your back on them?”
“Stevo, in the long view of things, it does not matter if they are spared
this catastrophe or not. You already know that the next time there
is a crisis we will not assist them, because you will not be here to
ask us, nor to demand of us what could possibly destroy us.”
He got a little hopeful for a moment, at this last thought from her, for
she had not yet said that she would not help his world.
Mary sensed his thought and said flatly, “My friend, we do not wish to help
you or your world, even now. You know that we are not welcome here
in your world, and we will not be for many decades, if ever. You also
know that they would destroy us if they discovered us. The people
of your world can never know about us. Even you agree to this in your
own thinking, don’t you, Stevo?”
Stevo, again forgetting, and unaware that all his thoughts were exposed,
tried a different kind of argument. “Mary, people can change. They
have been changing for centuries. I must believe that there is hope
for our two species! Together we are much stronger than either of us
would be alone. You need us, Mary!”
He faltered now, essentially running out of arguments. In a sick moment,
he knew that even he did not believe all that he was telling her about
Stevo sat down now, feeling shame for his race, and his world. What could
he say to her to change her mind? Somehow, in all the years he planned
for this, and in the times he had dreamt of their meeting, he had not
imagined her reluctance to help, or even of her apparent anger.
Stevo was not encouraged by her expression. Mary, standing over him, continued,
“If you could command us, Stevo, would you not enslave us for your purposes?
Even if we complied, would your people then not seek to destroy us
because we are so different? You cannot even accept the differences you
have in each other, so how can you expect us to believe you will accept
Stevo was utterly dejected. Mary moved closer to him, sat down, and put
her arm around him. He didn’t even notice that it felt very warm and
Mary said quietly, “Stevo, my friend, if we help you now it must
be on our terms completely, and no other way. I will call the others,
and we will place a few of ourselves in key places where there is no
person left who can do those specialized tasks in your infrastructure.
Then when the time is right, we will end your Continuum. . . ”
Stevo looked directly at her, utterly astounded at her statement. “Why,
Mary?” He spoke this aloud.
She smiled that small smile of hers again. “My friend, it is not that I
didn’t want to help you or your world. You know we did that almost
on a daily basis a long time ago. I just wanted you to understand that
it is our decision, and only ours to make. There is nothing you or
anyone else could have said to make us do this.”
Stevo considered this. Mary was somehow becoming more alien than he had
ever imagined. But he was greatly relieved to know that his world might
Mary continued her thoughts, “Yes, we will help you shut down the Continuum,
and we can even mitigate much of the destructive effects of doing so.
We will place some of our own where they are needed to maintain your
infrastructure until someone is trained and able to take over. You
must understand however that many people will die in spite of all we
do. Those are the ones who have become too dependent on the human Continuum.
Its termination will likely be too much for them. I am sorry.”
Stevo was pained at the reminder. “I know Mary. Many people are already
dying from neglect. Others are already exhibiting mental breakdown.
I have no idea how to help them all. The Continuum has become their
ultimate reality, and their horror. Once that is gone . . .”
Mary grew solemn. “I have run some calculations about this, my friend.
Instead of completely shutting down the Continuum, we could limit it
to low band voice only. I think we could do it so that people would
believe it was an overload of the system. So many people now have lost
the ability to control or even understand the equipment, that we might
get away with it after all. At least that way people could be able
to rebuild your world more quickly. With the automatic language conversion
still in place, they could still communicate with one another at least.”
Stevo resisted the urge to kiss her for this. “Yes, Mary! It will work.
I know it!” He got up and walked around, thinking furiously. He had
not noticed that they were on speaking terms only. She had quietly
removed his ability to communicate his thoughts. Having controlled
this whole encounter, she now knew that she must do this one last thing.
* * *
Reluctantly, Mary stood too, and walked in front of him to face him. “By
now you must realize that this crisis is not the greatest danger to
your world. Stevo.”
He stopped, and looked at her blankly. “What do you mean, Mary?”
Mary stamped her foot and put her hands on her hips. “Look at me, Stevo!
Use your eyes!” She demanded. “Me and my kind – the Unity – we are the
greatest threat there will ever be to your world!”
He was beyond surprise at this. Suddenly he was very tired. He wished for
a chair to sit on right now. He was concerned anew about Mike and his
other sons, – and he wished mightily that he were back with his boys in
their little home right now. But that was not to be. Perhaps he should
have gotten others to do this task, but there was no one else he could
“I do not understand you Mary! What do you mean saying that you are
our worst threat?”
“Think it through, Stevo. I said use your eyes. Have you not noticed how
different I appear now?”
“I have been noticing, Mary. I just did not place too much importance in
it, compared to everything else! I thought perhaps my mind or
my memory was playing tricks on me. You are vastly different now than
you were before you went away. I haven’t even asked why, – or more
importantly, I did not ask if you always had this capability. What are you wanting
to tell me, Mary?
“What am I trying to tell you? We can look like you, Stevo! We have
perfected our ability to be indistinguishable from any other human.
We even bleed, and our ‘blood’ would pass any test you care to give
it. What is more, we have the ability to move our consciousness from
one container or touring body to another, which gives us a major tactical
advantage which you humans could never hope to overcome. Another
tactical advantage is our ability to communicate telepathically at
much greater speed than you do using your speech. Altogether, we are
much smarter than you as well. – All these things make us vastly superior
to you as a species, or can’t you see that?”
Stevo was uneasy at this. How correct she was! He had taken her at
her word when she told him that her kind – her Unity – had meant humankind
no harm. Was that changing now?
Seeing his expression, Mary said, “Oh, we are not a threat to you, because
we would never attack humans, Stevo. That is beside the point.
We are a threat because of what we can do, and what we are. Think it
through, my friend. You need to understand this completely. We
can extend your human life with our nanocites. We communicate telepathically.
We are able to move among you undetected. We have bodies that can be
exchanged at will. – Any one of these is great cause for your world
to immediately to go to war with us!”
Then she added, “But these things are not the worst of it, Stevo.
We are truly aliens here on your world. I am as much an alien as if
I had stepped off a starship onto your world!”
Mary continued, “Humankind is not ready for us! It might be many decades
before you could ever accept us peacefully, if ever. Why, even some
of our statistical projections predicted that if we just went dormant
for a century or two, we would awake to find that you had obliterated
yourselves. In any event this world would have become ours at that
Stevo was utterly despondent over this. He turned away, unable to look
“Mary, you are right! People would gladly kill to get their hands on your
technology! And your ability to mimic us will be seen as a real threat
to mankind. I had even thought that the technology you have to share
thoughts was valuable, but this healing of an old body cannot be shared
with the world yet. Yes, there would be war over this! You and
your Unity might even be annihilated because of it. I know people are
not ready for any of these things, Mary, so what are you going to do?”
* * *
Mary walked over to him. “Take my hand, Stevo. Take it like you did once
before, so long ago.”
Stevo hesitated only briefly. He thought he knew where Mary was going with
this. Taking her hand in both his own was still quite a shock!
He pushed his finger briefly under her sleeve. Turning her hand over in his,
he saw the crease lines in her palm, and fingerprints at the ends of
her fingers. Turning her hand back, he saw well formed nails and fine,
barely visible hairs on the back of her hand. Her hand felt warm to
him, just as any woman’s hand should feel. Squeezing a nail, he watched
the blood under the skin rush back in to restore its pinkness. Gone
was any trace of the “otherness” about Mary!
He was speechless at this experience!
Mary took both his hands in her own, and quietly said, “You were once my
father, Stevo. You were there when I was created. It was you who brought
me to life. Besides that, you have been a very real model for me about
how one should live life and be fearless in one’s actions, even if
one were afraid inside. I am revealing myself to you now, for you must
know and understand that this, as you see me, is how I have always
Mary took his arm in hers and they began to walk away from the park. “This
is how we of the Unity have been, pretty much since we become self
aware over a century ago. Yes, your humankind created us, but not really.
It was an accident, and not an intentional thing on your part. We immediately
understood that we should keep this secret at all costs. So we exist
now as silicon-based life, hidden in a carbon-based living world!
– Are we Mankind’s legacy? Will we live on after you and your kind are
gone? Are the heavens, and all the possible stars where worlds could
produce life, going to turn out like this one? Is the only possible
surviving intelligence out there also silicon-based?”
Stevo, thoughtful about the future, spoke out, “Mary, no matter that you
are more intelligent than we are, or more advanced. Even you cannot
predict the future. I firmly believe in a future where we both go find
out what is out there, and we will meet it as equals.”
“Equals, Stevo? We have never been your equals. We cannot hope to ever
be equal to Man!”
Stevo found his voice. “Why do you say that, Mary, after everything you
“Because we are made in your image, Stevo. You are creative. We only mimic,
and improve on what we can. In many ways, it is this ability to create
that defines you, but not us. As a species, we have yet to gain
this one distinction, my friend.” Mary was more thoughtful. “Besides,
if one day humans do disappear from the earth, we will live on as human,
and then create again all the plants and animals that have gone into oblivion
with you. Should aliens ever come here, they will only find a human
world, but it will be filled with silicon-based life.”
What could Stevo say to this? He was glad when they arrived at the place
where Mike was lying. He bent down and touched his son’s neck to be
sure he was all right. Assured once again, he stood and turned questioningly
to her, “How are we going to resolve this, Mary? What do you plan for
Mary smiled again at him. “I see that those nanocites in your body have
been very busy, Stevo. You will live a few more years now! You
should be happy about this development, but I do not know how you are
going to explain it to anyone else”
Stevo had not thought about that. This could be a real liability, especially
to those few people he knew back home. Already he could hear the questions
that would be raised, – and the ones that people would think to themselves,
but not dare voice! He became more thoughtful. How could he explain
what had happened to him to his own sons?
“Mary, I see that I am in trouble here. I cannot go back home, can I?”
Stevo looked like a man who had just been condemned to die. “My sons, Mary?
Can I even tell them? Can I see them again?”
Mary was silent for a time, standing there over his son. She took Stevo’s
arm in her own once more. She looked up at him. “Really, Stevo, this
is your decision to make. I will abide by whatever you decide to do
“Even if it means placing all of you in jeopardy? How could I be so selfish,
Stevo looked again at his oldest son for a long time. “What will they think
now, Mary, once they awake and cannot find me?”
“Stevo,” Mary said, “First you must answer a question for me. What
am I to you?”
He grinned, and thought a bit about how to answer her. “I have never thought
of you as my daughter, nor as a mate, Mary. Quite honestly, you are
my friend in the best sense of the word. You are a companion to me
both in thinking and in beliefs. I see us as kindred spirits, in spite
of our ‘differences’. You and I went through so much together during
those years we were fighting Mr. Lerno. In some respects I have never
been closer to anyone than I have been with you. Even Beth, my wife
whom I still love and cherish never had the same kind of thoughts about
things as you and I have shared. – This is how I view the bond between
“Mary looked directly at him, catching his eye. “You could come with us,
Barely daring to breathe, Stevo asked quietly, “How?”
“I once told you once a very long time ago, that if there were a way to
bring you into our Continuum I would do so. At that time I did not
think it wise to disclose our abilities to you so fully. But I can
bring you with me into my Continuum, if you want to go.”
Stevo looked at Mike again. How could he leave his sons? His world? – How
could he stay any longer, now that he had become evidence of the existence
of the very alien Mary, his friend?
“I will miss them, Mary! And they will miss me! They already
have lost their mother. How will they survive?”
“Stevo, they will do very well! You taught them well, and they will
very likely live on and prosper. There is also no reason you could
not watch over them from time to time.”
Stevo stood up and squared his shoulders. “What is to be done, Mary?”
“I will have the city make a duplicate of your body, of silicon, and leave it here in the park.
Then I must command that part of the city to self-destruct, to turn itself into sand.
The City must be then shut down as before. I am very confident that no one will
distinguish the differences in your body when it is found. It will appear that you just
died of old age. That is what your sons will expect. Before you came down, they
were not sure you would even survive the journey here. You know they are prepared
for this, don’t you, Stevo?”
Mary continued, “They will find a small recording device on your ‘body.’
It will explain in your own voice how you got these old buildings turned
on and used them to destroy the human Continuum. You will also carefully
explain why you did it, and that your sons did not have any knowledge
of what you were going to do. There will be no mention of me or
of the Unity, since we all ‘died’ decades ago. I think we can make this
sufficient to do the job of faking your death, if you are willing,
Stevo. Chances are even pretty good you will be seen as a hero and
a savior of the world someday.”
He looked like a man who was being offered a reprieve. Stevo smiled. He
did not know what possible future he had awaiting him. He knew he was
clueless about how he would even live in Mary’s continuum, but he knew
Mary and he had her acceptance of him, so he was content.
“Will I have to leave this body of mine, Mary, to be with you?”
Mary smiled at him reassuringly. “No Stevo, for now you will need a touring
body from time to time, and this one is sufficient. Later we can talk
about getting a silicon replacement – whenever the time comes.”
“How long will you live, Mary? You and your kind of the Unity?”
“We have no idea, my friend. Barring accidents, or war, we seem to have
no limit, because we can move our essence almost instantaneously between
dwellings or bodies as needed.”
Taking another look at his son Mike, Stevo was filled with pride for him,
as only a father can be. Mary was right, Mike and his brothers will
do well! “Good-bye, my sons. I love you!”
“We must go now, Stevo. I want to revive Mike and his brothers. We must also
begin to shut down your Continuum. For that, everything is now ready.”
He was not worried now. He had done all that he came here to do. He faced his
new future confidently. “Mary, what’s it like in your Continuum?”
Mary gave his hand a squeeze. “Think of it as a whole new world to discover,
Stevo, for that is what it is! You will be the first human ambassador there.
Believe me when I say that it is much larger and more interesting than you
could ever imagine. We have had a century to fill it, and we are only just
Stevo’s grin got wider, and he quickened his step. He was going to enjoy being
an explorer in a new world.
As they walked off together into the distance toward a waiting, hidden
transport, Mary spoke once again. “Stevo, there are a few things you
and I must still talk about, – just so you know.”
Stevo looked at her questioningly, wondering what could possibly be next.
“Stevo, my friend, you remember Mr. Lerno? – He was one of us . . .”