Dear readers, tonight with me is a rambunctious couple. Let’s hope we can settle them down to an interview about life in their world, where they will tell us how an average-Joe got to be an intergalactic admiral, and what is it like living with a commercial telepath.
Kyle: “Oh for crying out loud, another one of these? Don’t I even get to introduce myself? I’m sure you have that down somewhere, but can I at least intro myself?”
Kyle: “Cool, thank you. Hope you don’t mind, but I asked my fiance to join me this time. I expected that when Tory asked me to sit for another interview, that it would be another one of these things.”
That is fine.
Kyle: “Well, my name is Kyle Durlow, and this is my fiance Kate Trell-do.”
Kate: “Katlene Thor Trell-do, to be specific. Kyle, how come the only person I can sense is you?”
Kyle: “Not sure. I suspect that the interviewer isn’t actually here, or they are some kind of semi-sentient construct. Tory still hasn’t answered that question from the first time around.”
Kate: “Ah. Wish a lack of answers from him was a surprise.”
So, Kyle. Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
Kyle: “Nothing special about where I grew up, assuming you are familiar with mid-90’s Earth. I mean. I have been to several alternate realities at this point, and with few exceptions, the mid-90s is damn near the same everywhere. Kinda weird that way.
I was born in central California. Lived and grew up in the Sacramento/Auburn/Stockton area over various parts of my youth and teenage years. Went to high school there. Was a B-ish student, had a few friends, summer job at one fast food joint or another. I hung out at the mall. Got my first car at 16, a true POS of a VW Rabbit. It only had three cylinders, but it got me to where I needed to go, and it sipped gas.
I did community college and earned Associates, which got me a job in San Diego. Like I said, nothing special about me, at least not until I met Kate.”
I see. Okay then, what about you Kate? Or do you prefer Katlene?
Kate: “Kate is fine, thank you.
I was born on the Kaldaree colony world of Fuullist, where my father was working at the time as a power consultant. I spent the first few years of my life as a colony kid. I got a better education than most because dad was well paid and mom was from a core family. Because my mother wasn’t more than a sensitive, she could choose any mate she wanted. Don’t let the laws fool you. The core families don’t give you much choice, other than a choice of pre-selected mates, if you are anything over a Class 8.
My abilities manifested right when they should, which was only a year we after returned to Kal-dar, the Kaldaree home world. As I was already done with my base education, and displaying abilities, mom’s family sponsored me to attend the second best telepath academy. I was only rated as a high Class 10, so I consider myself lucky to have gotten that. The graduation certificate got me into the legal telepath program, and uncle Kel covered the cost as a graduation present.
As with Kyle, it really was not that unusual for someone of my species who was a low level telepath. I had friends, played kids games. I was normal.”
Thank you. Next question. We will start with you Kate. Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
Kate: “Favorite toys? I had my plush Vekkti. I kept that thing till, I don’t know when.”
What is a Vekkti?
Kate: “That is a creature similar to an Earth shark, with two mouths of knife like teeth. Yet I loved that thing.”
Kyle: “Don’t let her try and fool you. That things is on a shelf in our conjoined apartment.”
Kate: “Hush you.”
So you still have it then? It must have been special to you.
Kate: “It is, and as Kyle said, I still do. It was a present from my father. He was between consulting jobs and it was my birthday. We don’t often make as big a deal about birthdays as Humans do, but that is a function of the fact that we have colonies whose year is wildly different than that of Kal-dar. We instead celebrate milestones, though as a child, those can be pretty arbitrary beyond educational goals. So when a parent makes a point of celebrating something, you cherish that moment.
He took me to an amusement park. Something I had always wanted to go to, but we never went because it was prohibitively expensive. We actually had to take a system hopper from Fuullist, 10 light-years to Al’e’ket, and mom couldn’t go. We didn’t go on many rides, because I was too small, and we didn’t eat much. Yet, I didn’t care. I was getting to spend time with my father, something that his job prevented more often than not. He put up 100 credits on a silly game, but I wanted that Vekkti plush so badly. He won me that Vekkti, and I clutched it the rest of the day there on Al’e’ket, and hugged it tight, sleeping on his chest, on the flight back.
I was never very close to my father because of his job, at least not as a child. We have gotten closer now that I am an adult. But that day is one I will never forget.”
That is a wonderful story. What about you Kyle?
Kyle: “I don’t have anything so sweet. I loved my Walkman, and more mix tapes than I should admit to. I was a D&D nerd and still own that very first set of dice. I would spend my allowance money on D&D books, SciFi novels, and dice. As a teen I got into Comics as well, so that got added to my list, which summer jobs, and then after-school jobs, thankfully helped pay for. I really didn’t have a favorite toy.
As for memories, I got nothing that can compete with Kate’s story. I think one of the best was the time a few friends and I all piled into my car and made a road trip to Six Flags Great America. We rode roller coasters until we couldn’t stand and the park closed. Leaving so late, and so tired, we ended up sleeping in the car at a rest-stop. We got woken up by a cop wanting to know what we were doing. Scared the crap out of us, but we were all a bunch of D&D nerds, none of us smoked, had any weed, etc…, so we got away with just the scare.”
Thank you again. Next question. What do you do now, Kate?
Kate: “I have recently been promoted and am now the Manager of Joe’s. Now Joe can actually take time off without needing to beg Tory to stand in for him, and act more like the owner and less like just the bartender. That keeps me pretty busy, and was actually Kyle’s idea.
Beyond that, thanks to very memorable, if far from as sweet events, I am now classed as a modified Class 2 telepath, and am under regular demand by corporations on Kal-dar and the colonies, to oversee deals, to scan corporate functions for spies, and called in to serve in court for high level cases. All things I did as a Class 10; only as a class 10 I was called in for minor infractions and low level crimes, or small time business deals, and was paid barely enough to live in a telepath dorm. As a Class 2, I do essentially the same work, but get paid a thousand time or more what I was making as a Class 10.”
Very interesting. Kyle?
Kyle: “Ha ha. I am not sure what it is I do now. Things have changed so much from just a few years ago when I quit my job at a big-box store. Yeah, that job I landed with my AS. It lasted a whole six months, and then I was out on my ass with essentially nothing to show for it, along with everyone I worked with. They even bounced our final pay checks. It took four years for the class action to force them to pay up, and even then, we got shorted.
In my spare time I am a writer. Though that is more a way for me to try and keep a grip on things, and come to terms with all the changes that have happened. That’s what Chaos Fountain is. My way of trying to understand what happened.
I am a Senior Command Fleet Admiral of the Black Fleet, with responsibilities over the Virgo, Hydra-Centaurus, Pavo-Indus, and Koolet, where our galaxy resides, Galactic Super-clusters. I am also the COO/CFO of the newly established Earth division of BPI, Black Phoenix Industries.”
Wow, that is quite a bit. What can you tell us about your latest adventure? Kyle?
Kyle: “My most recent adventure? The adventure was getting to where I am now. Where I am now is pretty boring, really. Now I do paperwork, I take meetings, I direct others. But getting here. That was the adventure.
I had possibly the worst day of my life. Which was possibly the best thing that could have happened to me. If my car hadn’t exploded, my phone died with it, my ex hadn’t kicked me out so I had nothing, and nowhere to go. I wouldn’t have been walking down the street that night and been nearly run over by Little Joe.
Joe dragged me. Okay, he led me, in my overloaded state, to Joe’s where he bought me a beer. Sure, some random guy buying you a drink in a bar called Joe’s. That’s hardly an adventure. For you maybe it isn’t, but for me. Someone from a pre-contact world, being dropped into a place where aliens of all stripes come to play. Where inter-dimensional and inter-stellar mercenaries congregate and look for work. That is a quick recipe for adventure.
From there I got hooked up with Tory, who I still contend orchestrated it all, and no, I don’t have proof. Call it a gut feeling, but I think he planned the whole thing. He knew Jason was going to make a resurgence, and that he had been whispering in the ear of the Galactic Council. I end up supposedly working for Tory and get caught up in a power struggle between him and the Galactic Council, with Jason and I as pawns on his chess board. That’s just the way it feels.
The seemingly innocuous tour of the BPI corporate headquarters. Meeting Markus, Tory’s son, and traveling to Tree-dosa just before it got blown up by the Righteous Fire. Running to the Dra system, learning to fly a space ship. I am a kid from Earth for crying out loud. Seeing the Chaos Fountain itself, and watching the Death happen, hunting Jason.
All that was an amazing adventure, but the real adventure. That has been falling in love with Kate. Everything else pales in comparison to that. She is the sweetest person in the universe, and I wonder how I was able to live without her before I met her.”
That is quite a bit Kyle. Thank you. Kate?
Kate: “My recent adventures cannot compare to what Kyle has been through. Getting retested and reclassified was more an ordeal than an adventure.
I agree with Kyle. Falling in love with him. Something I never expected or saw coming. Something I didn’t go looking for. Not just Love, but forming so true a bond with him that our minds a forever linked. He is the air in my lungs, the light that warms me when I am cold, and the tender hand that ignites the fires of passion whenever we are together.”
You two are too adorable. What did you first think when you saw each other?
Kyle: “Oh wow! Holy Crap! She’s beautiful. She’s sexy! She’s hotter than the sun! She’s not human!?!
Well, that was my first few thoughts, maybe. I wasn’t thinking a great deal in those moments, but truly, Kate was and still is the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes on. The fact that she is even more beautiful as a person only makes her even better. I couldn’t write someone as perfect as she is in life.”
Keep this up and I’m going to get a cavity from the sweet. Kate?
Kate: “Haha. I thought he was cute, had a nice ass, and I’ve always been fond of humans. Then, when I touched his mind, there was this buzz I got from him. It’s a thing amongst telepaths. You will know when someone is right for you, because touching their mind just resonates with you, and unlike other people who you tire of, who you want to close off, put on a suppressor, just to have a few minutes of privacy in your thoughts. This person, when you meet them. It won’t be like that. Kyle is that for me. Even when we have had our issues. I’m always more comfortable when we are open to each other.”
Very nice. So, Kate, you are familiar with aliens, which I guess humans qualify as for you?
Kate: “I am. It is part of my job as a contract telepath. I touch lots of alien minds, all to keep everyone honest in negotiations. I have learned to read the intent of many beings very different from a Kaldaree. Humans are actually pretty similar, mentally, so I just kinda get them. I suppose that might also be a function of how many different alien minds I have had to deal with. And of course there is my job at Joe’s, where the ability to accurately understand the intent of an alien is an absolute must.”
Fascinating. Kyle. What was your general reaction to dealing with so many aliens to quickly?
Kyle: “Freak out. No really. I was so overloaded in those first few hours that, while I was freaking out, I never actually freaked out. Something I probably should have. Although, given what I would have missed out on, I’m rather glad I didn’t run screaming like I probably should have.”
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
Kyle: “This one is all me love. The scariest thing? I’d like to say it was the Firefight on the Dra asteroid, or the mad dash through the Kandaris gauntlet, or perhaps the battled for the Council world. But you know what. None of those held the terror that gripped my heart when I thought I might not see Kate again. That was true terror. That, I think, more than anything, is what drove me to get a grip and just deal.”
What is the worst thing about…?
Kate: “This one is mine Kyle. The worst? Being a commercial telepath and having to live in a telepath dorm with four to six other low level telepaths. Most of whom are too lazy to work, too lazy to wear a suppressor, and happily broadcasting their every thought, feeling, and sensation to anyone not able to block it out. Yet, worse than that. Worst of all. Is seeing what happens to someone who is addicted to Let. Let is a drug that some telepaths use to temporarily boost their abilities. It is also astonishingly addictive and burns you out. The punishment is having your abilities burned out. That ruins you. It changes you and leaves you a shell of a person. If there are souls. The process kills the soul. Leaving just the shell. It is horrific. I lost one of my best friends. Someone who was almost a Kyle to me, because of Let and the forced burn out of his abilities.”
Kyle: “I know love. I’m so sorry.” Pulling her close to him in a hug.
What is the best thing about it?
Kyle: “Me again love. The best? That is easy. The friends, and new family that I have gained. Joe, Joe, Kap, Cal, Mark, Markus, Kate of course, Jarvis, and even Tory. I can go anywhere, almost any when. If I want to take in a sunset on a world with a blue and a red sun, I can do that, then take breakfast with the love of my life, watching the Wright brothers first flight. If I wanted. That’s the best, and kinda terrifying thing, because as a key carrying member of Joe’s. That is in my power to have. I am however, just happy to have Kate. The rest is just icing on the cake.”
Tell us a little about your friends, as you mentioned them.
Kyle: “You want to start this one Kate?”
Kate”: “Sure, love. Friends? Well, Kyle is my friend, but I know that isn’t what you are meaning. I consider Joe my friend, even if he is also my employer at Joe’s, but then again, so are Little Joe, Kap, Cal, Mark, and Tory. They all jointly own Joe’s. Though I expect Kyle will tell you more about them. For myself, real friends the way you, I am sure, are meaning, are few and far between. Kyle is one such friend, even if we have gone beyond that. There is Lizza. I consider her a friend, even if we don’t hang out much. I have known her since I was little. She was my first friend back on Fuullist. We have been in and out of touch over the years, but no matter what, when we start talking again, it is as if no time had passed. We catch up on each others lives and it is like it had only been a week. There was my friend Corr. He’s the one that overdosed on Let. I miss him, but Lizza is the one I called to help me deal with it. She is one of those few people I can be around without my shields up.”
That is very nice. It is good to have a friend like that. Kyle?
Kyle: “I don’t have any friends like that. Wish I did, but I don’t. I thought I did, but as it turns out, with only two exceptions, when I disappeared as part of the whole adventure I recorded in Chaos Fountain, no one noticed. Even then, those two friends were just not concerned, never called, they were just ‘oh, hey Kyle. Haven’t seen you in awhile.’ Ouch.
As for the bar. Like Kate, the guys are friends, but not like Lizza is for her. Which reminds me, we need to make sure we invite her for dinner next week. If she is going to be your maiden of honor, or whatever position is similar, she kinda needs preparations.”
Kate: “She’ll be over for dinner tomorrow. I’ve reminded you three times. He’s terrified that she won’t approve of him, because he knows how much her opinion means to me.”
Kyle: “…. Oh. Well then. I guess that is true. If I had to pick a true friend. It would be Kristoph. Commander Jacobs in Chaos Fountain. Our relationship started strange when I took over command of the Fire Brand, and bloomed from there. Now we get a few drinks every so often and just chat about nothing. I’m over at his house at least once a standard month for a game.”
Kate: “Gods. Never again at our place.”
Kyle: “We know, love. Which does remind me, he’s also coming over for dinner tomorrow.”
Kate: “What?! You’re kidding right? But Lizza is going to be there.”
Kyle: “Yeah, and he’s going to be my best man. So I suppose that answers the question of where he sits on my friends list. Markus, Kap, and Mark are the Groomsman. Little joe is officiating, and Big Joe is actually doing the planning. We’re holding the wedding in Joe’s, it is the only logical place, as we have family coming in from a dozen worlds. Which reminds me. Tory refused to be a Groomsman.”
Kate: “That’s because he is providing security for the other guests, who are your fault I might add.”
Kyle: “What? I work closely with Athena and the others. You do not understand how she gushed when I told them I was getting married.”
Kate: “Oh. I know. She was at that bridal shower thing your mother made me throw. Which was fun, if kinda weird.”
If I can interject, as interesting as this is, I suspect that isn’t in Chaos Fountain?
Kyle: “No. Chaos Fountain is about my journey towards where I am now.”
Okay. Just a few more questions then. Do you have anyone you actually hate, and if so, Whom (or what) do you really hate?
Kyle: “I’ll take this. I love you, Kate, but hate.., that just isn’t something in you. You hate Let, and I suppose generally the people that deal it, but true hate…”
Kate: “You are right about that. I hate Let. I hate the people that created it, that sell it, but I also feel truly sorry for most of them as they are low levels who are usually lost to it themselves.”
Kyle: “Exactly. For me, I might say that I hate the Dra, but they are just misled, though I just don’t know how we fix that. Intervention would require generations of forced re-education, and that has never worked. I researched it. The only thing that does seem to work is subtle re-education and waiting hundreds of generations for things to shift. It is the game of immortals, not men.
Beyond that. I can easily say that I hate the Puritians and the Woken that lead them. I hate them with a passion that when I first discovered that they were still around, and still doing what they did all those billions of years ago before the Death. The rage I felt actually scared Kate and we had to have a long talk. She helped me temper that hate and rage. Yet still. Even now, look at her face. Just thinking about them wakes that response. So lets move on.”
Okay. Sorry I asked, and yet more curious now. Let’s go with a softball. What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
Kyle: “That is definitely a softball. I am actually rather fond of Kate’s creation of drinks. The Midnight Flight. Though I can only drink two of them and not be utterly obliterated. Thus I only drink them rarely. I am fond of Red Ale, a proper Red Ale, which is sadly hard to come by. My favorite color is a tawny gold in blue lace. I mean blue. Yeah, blue. As for relaxing. I actually rather enjoy just hanging out with Kate. I was never a big fan of sports, yet somehow I find I look forward to game night at Kris’s.”
Kate: “Gods. For someone who wasn’t into sports, you cannot get enough of that barbaric game. I just don’t get it, but that’s you, and I love you, so I tolerate that, as long as it doesn’t escape your office and stays at Kristoph’s.
Now for me. I am very fond of Red and Green. If I had to pick one, I would go red. I hate beer, and Kyle’s Red Ale is a particular horror. I like Irish Coffee. A good strong espresso with Bailey’s. Now that is a drink. I like to read as a way to relax. It gives me a special escape from the mental pressures that surround me all day, every day, at work.”
What does the future hold for you?
Kyle: “Well, that is the question isn’t it? I’m not sure what the future holds for Kate and I, or the Universe as a whole. I know that we are getting married so soon it seems like tomorrow, and I almost want to elope and just be able to call her my wife. I know there is a war brewing. I am working on some stories I have pulled form the Archive. The massive data warehouse that Tory established after The Death to initially house all the data he collected from the Death, and then started expanding on. I have found a few stories from and about Tory that helps explain who he is as a person, and why the ancient being that he is now, is the way he is. You really can see the fingerprints of his life during his first thousand years on the billion plus year old person he is now.”
Kate: “I’ve seen the early drafts of those stories. They really do explain so much about why he acts the way he does sometimes. And the twist ending. I’m still not sure which one you should release first, but I guess we’ll have to figure that out once you are done editing.
As for my future. That is Kyle. Everything else is secondary. I expect I’ll be getting another promotion at Joe’s soon, and when that happens, I will be able to retire from being a commercial telepath, only called on for the occasional commissioned work. I look forward to that.”
Kyle: “Love. You can do that now. We’ve talked about that.”
Kate: “I know, Kyle, and we have talked about it. It is a personal thing.”
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
Kyle: “A secret? Kate, any ideas?”
Kate: “Hmm… A secret? That’s a hard one. We have no secrets from each other. What about others?”
Kyle: “I don’t feel all the comfortable with exposing the secrets of others. That just seems wrong. Oh, I know!”
Kate: “You sure?”
Kyle: “Yeah. Mark and Markus are dating.”
Kate: “Wait, what? Since when? How do I not know this?”
Kyle: “You have taught me well, and I don’t actively think about it. Caught them on a date on Andaris when I was there for business.”
Kate: “Oh wow. Now that is something. Markus and Mark. That is surprising. I guess because I never see them together in Joes.”
Kyle: “Well. It has only been a few months. I don’t think they have even gotten past the dinner and a movie stage.”
Kate: “Ah! Taking it slow. I guess that makes sense after what Mark has been through.”
Well. I want to thank you both. Any last words?
Kyle: “Sure. Check out Chaos Fountain. It is my way of coming to grips with what the universe really is, and just how insane it all is. There is a lot more to come as well. The next two books will deal with Tory’s early life. Regent, current title as a WIP, is about Karl Threston, the person who, despite being part of Tory’s life when he was barely 200, had such an impact that you can still see the effects today. Emperor is literally Tory’s story, from him at about my age now, up through the part of his life that included Karl, and beyond, meeting Big Joe, establishing the first Joe’s, and more. Then there is much more to come after that. It is a large universe out there. Much larger than you might realize, and that is without adding alternative realities into the mix.”
Great. Well, thank you both again. Have a great evening.
Kyle: “You as well. Kate?”
Kate: “So, you invited Kris and didn’t tell me?”
Kyle: “I’m very sure I told you. I think this is your moment of Lizza.”
Kate: “I highly doubt that…..”
D.C. Ballard is a Husband, Father, and Pet-Papa (2 cats, 1 Min-pin). As a writer, he works mostly at night while his wife sleeps. Working in various jobs, including 6 years for the US Navy as a pipe-fitter and industrial construction welder, he ended up in a call center following an injury. He now writes Science-Fiction/Science-Fantasy, and SciFi Erotica.
You can find Kate & Kyle on the pages of Chaos Fountain.
Join us next week to meet an intergalactic admiral and a commercial telepath. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.