Authors Notes: well, this is coming out a lot latter than I had hoped. The first version was ready by my self imposed due date, but upon review it was really really bad. So I had to completely redo it, which takes me a while. But hey, its up now, so enjoy.

Chronologically this starts shortly after Chapter 3.

Disclaimers: Nope, still don't own either series, and with my current job I'm not likely to have the money to do so any time soon. Darn

Nita tried contacting Aiden via the Manual(1) as soon as she had retrieved it, only for it to remind her that he was sleeping. "Dang it," she thought out loud, "I forgot the time difference between here and Australia again."

At her outburst, Greg spoke out from his mouthful of lettuce, "In your defense, usually when you try to contact him he is awake at some ridiculously late time."

Nita smiled, Aiden's day job was a computer programmer for a major software company, and he had a habit of staying up late working on his current project, but tonight was evidently one of the rare nights he actually went to bed at a reasonable time. Nita then had her manual leave a message for him, asking for him to contact her as soon as he woke up, and went to work in her garden.

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At nine o'clock in the morning (Australian time) Aiden Pierce woke up to find the message alert sequence blinking on his manual's screen.(2) Sighing, he pulled himself out of bed and walked over to his computer, plopping himself down on the chair and opening the Manual's messaging functions. Seeing that the message was from Nita he sighed again. "What does she want this time?" he thought while opening the message.

Aiden read the message, reread it, and for good measure, read it a third time. The message was short, all it said was "Contact me when you wake up, we need to talk about the you-know-who." Aiden was annoyed with the crypticness, as there was no way, to his not inconsiderable knowledge, that the manual's communication features could be listened in on. He figured even if they could be, the only person they would really not want knowing what they were talking about would have no problem guessing, just like him, that Nita was referring to Earth's last abdal. Aiden sighed for the third time this morning as he went to the kitchen to get himself a cup of coffee; he figured the conversation would require at least one, if not more of them.

After getting his cup of coffee, Aiden sat down in front of his manual and opened up a two way video conference with Nita's manual. Shockingly, she picked up the 'call' almost immediately.

"Ah, hello there Aiden, how are you this morning?" Nita asked as soon as she picked up."

"Fine, and yourself?"

"Oh, not too bad. By the way, I got you a spot on a space ship."

"I'm glad to hear th….. WAIT, WHAT! A spaceship? How did you pull that off?"

"I talked to Frank about the abdal, and convinced him of the importance of having someone on there to watch after him."

"Before I even get to the abdal getting a spot on a spaceship, how did you convince Frank to let me on? I'm not exactly his favorite person, what with the 'hacking' of his mainframe and all that."

"Ah, you see, you were my plan B."

Aiden smiled at this, Nita had a way of getting Frank to agree with her plan B's. He suspected that it was because Frank thought he was scoring a private victory against Nita by forcing her to resort to them. Of course, Nita just made her plan B's her plan A's and vice versa. That way, she won, and Frank thought he won. He then said, "So assuming I go along with this, which I don't have to since it isn't coming from the Powers themselves, what exactly would you want me to do?"

"Oh, come on Aiden, we both know you've always wanted to go into space on a spaceship(3). That's one of the reasons I chose you for this task."

"Fine, you got me there, I do want to go. But the question still stands, what do you want me to do?"

"It's really pretty simple, watch the Abdal, and if he displays any signs of extreme homesickness, get him back to earth immediately.

"And if I go on assignment?"

"That shouldn't be a problem; the Powers know that earth only has one Abdal left, and they don't want us going down the tube anymore than we do."

"Sounds good, so back to the first question, why is the Abdal going on a spaceship?"

"'Cause he applied for a position and got it."

"So he wanted to go into space? That seems a bit strange for someone who is the link for the One's power to Earth."

"Well, the link still works fine as long as he's not all that far away, and our ships never leave the system."

"True, so what ship am I on, you never said. Oh, and what position did you sign me up for?"

"Ah, it would be the Elbrus as a computer technician of course."

"Isn't that the one Rachel Berenson is captain of?"

"Um, I think so, why?"

"Well, I've been following the space program, and from what I've seen, she sounds rather… 'militant'"

"That won't be a problem, will it?"

"Oh no, I'll be fine, she just wasn't my first choice for a commanding officer."

"Well, you had better start getting your things together, you ship out, or should I say up, in one week. Talk to you later. Bye."

Nita abruptly cut the communications before Aiden could respond, so his reply was heard only by himself. "Only seven days! I haven't the slightest idea what I need. Okay, maybe I have an idea, but still." Realizing that no one could hear him, Aiden muttered, "She cut me off, typical of her to leave after saying something like that. Uhh. I'm going to need some more coffee." He then set to work looking up what he would need to bring with him for his new job as a computer technician abroad the U.N.S. Elbrus.

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1. The wizards Manual is capitalized when used as a stand alone item, lower case when used in reference to it being an individual wizards 'copy' of it. I think it works similarly to capitalizing conventions for the Bible.

2. At this point in Earth's history, personal computers have become so ubiquitous that nearly all wizards have the computerized version of the Manual. Nita doesn't because she's sort of old fashioned.

3. As a wizard, he has other options. Unfortunately they are all rather power intensive, so he wouldn't really have a reason to use them.

Hoped you all enjoyed. Oh, and PRESS THE BUTTON, you know you want to.

Thanks!