Star Travelers, Through the Portal, Part 6 & 7
Princess & the Droid, Philomena; Anya of Earth arrives on the Starship
Star Travelers, Through the Portal is the story of two girls, one from Earth and one from a starship somewhere in the cosmos, not too far from here, who run away from home at the exact same moment in time and switch places in a space travel portal. These two girls have the same name, same appearance, and could be twins.
In this story, you will have the opportunity to see the world of today from many different perspectives, to travel to many places including other planets in the stars. You will have the chance to contemplate your position in the world, to consider the concepts presented in the book and most of all, to focus your mind on world betterment in this time of extreme change.
Characters: The main characters in this story are two girls with the same name and appearance who switch places in a space travel portal: Aine of the Stars and Anya, of Earth. (each name is romanced the same: Ahn-Ya — which means “love” in Irish)
Setting: This story has a dual setting: Earth and the Cosmos and we switch back and forth between them to show the action is happening simultaneously.
Language Lesson
Vocabulary: supposition, antithesis, holographic, illustrious, infighting, figure of speech, idiom, metaphor, simile, contagion, droid/android, illustrious, bodice
Punctuation; How to use: Elipsis (…), dashes and hyphens
Orientation: As you may recall, Princess Aine and Anya of Kansas Planet Earth, have accidentally switched places in a space travel portal. Anya has arrived in a space ship somewhere not too far from here. 
Last Passage                           Next Passage

The Princess and Philomena
Anya of Earth became conscious in a bed of the most curious substance. It was the softest, most fragrant and enormous bed that she’d ever experienced. She looked up through windows into a garden. She rubbed her eyes and looked more closely out onto a courtyard filled with plants of a kind she’d never before seen: long vines entwined with bell-shaped purple flowers that seemed more than alive from the wind, but alive from some internal desire to move and bend and show off their lovely petals. She could hear the water flowing, and as she looked more closely she saw it was a deep, rich, purple color, as well. “What a strange sight!” She thought. “I wonder where I am?” she said aloud.
“Princess Aine, you are safe now.” A voice from somewhere in the room, spoke. It sounded like it was coming from a loudspeaker. Startled, she looked around for its source. Anya wondered if it was a person or a machine. “Who are you? Where am I? What’s going on?” 
“Princess Aine, please do not be afraid. It appears you have lost your memory temporarily. You will be cared for. You tried to leave the ship. Do not try to leave the ship. You have responsibilities. You have duties. You are needed, Princess Aine. Enjoy food. Rest and relax. The Council meeting is tomorrow. We will ensure you are recovered by then.”
Recovered? Council meetings? Princess Aine? She approached what appeared to be a mirror on the wall and looked at herself. Yes, she looked the same: not a Princess, just Anya, an Earth girl. She checked her hands – yes, her fingers were all there. She thought it was very strange.
A mechanical door slid open and a robot smoothly entered the room. “What? – Are you crazy?” Anya said to it. She had never seen such a thing! But as it approached she noticed there was something about this robot that was so very friendly and organic, it was just too hard to be afraid. Its demeanor was a bit like a cross between a royal butler and her old poodle, Puddles. She came with facial movements (mostly, a smile), soft, furry ears and even a happily wagging tail.
“What are you?”
“Princess, I am Philomena. You know me. We are friends.  I hope you will care for me and let me care for you as I have always done.” The little droid buzzed and twirled about the room. 
“I watch over you I can help you.” the little droid continued. “Remember, I am your powerful friend in a small package – that’s why you call me Philomena – or ‘Mina, for short. As always, I can show you the answers to anything you want to know, there is no mystery for you. No worries, be happy.” Philomena wiggled in a friendly manner and then stood attentively.
“What is my name? Why are you calling me Princess?”
“Oh! You don’t remember?” Philomena’s little eyebrows raised with a look of surprise. “Well, since you are disoriented, I will explain: Your name is Aine Helenciel, Princess of Star System PE 10739428–72. You have been discovered outside of the ship’s portal mid time-space travel. You have lost your memory. We hope it is temporary and you will be well quickly. I am here to help. It is surmised you sleepwalked to the portal, in a dream.”
“Oh.” Anya just stared at …him?…her?…it? This robot sounded so friendly. She was surely dreaming, all right! Oh, yes! This was a dream she would definitely remember! This was awesome! She decided to go with it. “Philomena… ‘Mina… what is expected of me?”
“Princess, you have many responsibilities to many peoples, of many nations and planets. You have many duties and your days are full. You have little 
choice of things that you would like to do. You must 
eat, exercise, go to meetings, follow rules, do as you’re told.”
“Ugh… responsibilities? Overwhelming responsibilities?” That sounded too familiar. She wondered: could that be why I fell asleep and fell through a portal to another world? She wanted to pat that cute, little droid on the head like a puppy, but then she stopped herself.  “Right. Tell me honestly, little ‘Mina, do you think I ran away?”
“It is not for me to judge, I am missing the program to promote my opinions despite the tremendous depths of my informational structure. However, off the record, I do believe that is very possible, Princess.”
“What makes you say that?” She considered she was talking to a robot so tried to use some important official-sounding words. “I mean, how – is – it – that – I – acted – to – give – you – that – supposition?”
“I am not at liberty to give such information despite my extensive data structure for forming logical conclusions.” Philomena rubbed her face with her “paw” pensively, as if she was thinking very carefully about it. “Off the record, you seemed quite unhappy before this incident. You seemed very lonely. You have no friends, except me … I keep the private information out of my database. It is not accessible by anyone other than you.”
“I see. So you have quite a bit of a friendship with me, in a way, that a robot can – right?” This was really wow! She had her own robot in her dream! 
“Well, I’m a droid. Not a robot. But yes, they say machines and organics can’t be friends, but I think we may be.” Philomena’s connections fluttered. “Oh, I’m not supposed to say that…”
Philomena changed the subject and buzzed around the room. “I protect you. And I am supposed to be taking care of you. So please let me, Princess, and please, please — do not escape, it could be so very complicated, if you do, so please…” Somehow 
Philomena tucked her chin to her chest and gave Anya the look, as if she were requesting permission, even begging for a favor.
“You got it, Philomena, I will make sure you know where I am. Thank you for taking care of me.”
“Oh, good!” Somehow, Philomena looked relieved. “So in that regard, I would like to inform you that we have here your meals, clothes, agendas. Anything you may desire, the request will be fulfilled… and, of course your wardrobe. Like this!” Philomena pushed a button and opened the closet that was full of the most spectacular costumes imaginable: Headdresses, jewels, tiaras, capes, shoes, and leggings all in a spectacular rainbow of colors. 
Though Anya was the antithesis of a fashion girl, this display was appealing beyond belief, with soft fabrics and flowing, luxurious textures. “Super-galactic!” Anya thought. She pulled out dresses and jewelry and shoes, holding them up to herself to see how they looked in the mirror. “These are cosmic princess costumes, better than the movies!” she thought. She wished her dream would go on for long enough to choose a favorite. 
“Do you like this one?”
“No opinion. Well, actually, try the blue one, because it matches your eyes. …Now, Princess, I hope you can recall the proper etiquette when you stand before the High Council tomorrow. This is such an important meeting, Princess, and I really must explain to you that the last event did not go well — not well at all.”
“What happened?” Anya held up the blue costume. It was floor length and covered in sparkling gems. She slipped out of her torn and dull school uniform and let the dress fall down over her shoulders and hips. 
“Well,” Philomena drew near as if she were speaking a secret, “the subject of Earth is not going well — not well at all. Earth had been rather a non-issue in ages past, however has become a real hassle — too much suffering. This was never supposed to be the fate of beautiful Earth. And, in case I need to remind you, you are in disagreement with some of the older, more prominent, or should I say, more conservative views on what to do with Earth.”
“Wait – what? ” Anya’s head popped out of the top of the dress. 
“Earth! Earth! You know, Earth! From where you have obtained all of the cuddlies that you love so much. And from where we have obtained the DNA for even more suitable cuddlies that can be here and hopefully, can be our friends.”
Anya adjusted the dress and started combing her hair. “So, what is the problem?”
“You don’t remember?”
“No, I don’t. I don’t remember anything at all about the fate of Earth!”  This sounds crazy. And kind of fun, too, Anya thought as she slipped on a pair of lace shoes and started walking in them. “Hey, it’s like I am walking on air!”
Philomena sighed. “Oh, actually, you are. Those are the original air shoes, very popular with the light dancers. All right, I will explain this one more time. The HCU …” 
Anya looked puzzled. Then she remembered she was hungry. She float-danced in her light shoes over  to an enormous plate of food on the table. “What’s this, is it good?”
“Yes, but try this one, it’s your favorite.” Philomena pointed to what seemed to be a fruit of some kind. Anya took a bite. It was the best thing she’d ever tasted! 
Philomena took what sounded like a deep breath and continued, emphasizing the first letter of “HCU”, “The High Council of the Universe still considers the animal people are oppressed on Earth. Somehow they have decided the human species of the Earth population are so violent and difficult that, unless they get it together, it is not worth saving the natural world.”
“Wait — what? They are having a question as to whether Earth will survive?”
“Not exactly. Earth will survive. The questions are: first, will humans survive, and second, will the plant and animal kingdoms survive and if so, how? According to the HCN — that’s ‘Holographic Cosmic News’ in case you don’t remember….The pirates of Earth — the illustrious Earth Elven — are absolutely determined to secure the future of the animal kingdom, but…” Philomena shook her head as if she agreed, “They are not convinced that humankind should continue. There are few laws protecting the human species of Earth, especially when they are so cruel to the Earth herself!” 
Philomena started to talk faster and faster as she explained, ”Records show that anyone who’s ever seen the beauty of this planet never wants to harm it in any way. However, the infighting within the very difficult human race has been so much trouble. The Council is nearly ready to give up on them. Why can’t they stop fighting? It is a weird genetic mistake, in my unauthorized opinion, that they are so cruel.” Philomena looked a bit like she might bust a circuit. She paused and readjusted. “It seems as though the humans have lost their marbles, Princess….”
“What does that mean?”
“Oh, it is an idiom, of course. They lose their minds when they loose their stuff. Like a child when losing a toy.”
“Oh.” Anya thought that was awfully weird: on an interplanetary space ship learning about Earth and English idioms. What a strange dream! 
  “…And I can tell you, not as my opinion, of course, but as pretty well obviously observed and even HCN reported fact….” Philomena paused to nod indicating the truth of her statement, “…this hopelessness is resulting in some Federation members 
questioning whether to help Earth at all…. It’s a contagion. They fear the lack of compassion on Earth will negatively influence other galactic civilizations.” 
“You’re talking too fast, slow down!” Anya said. “You better catch your breath….” 
“Right. Good metaphor, since I don’t exactly breathe.… So, humans aren’t very popular in the Galaxy or the Universe. Not friendly.” Philomena made some strange readjustment-type noises and slowed her speech. “Without intervention, there is no telling what the human race might do next. It’s been all over the news! Oh, I wish you could remember….” Philomena spun around and around in a little sort of hopeful circle-dance. 
“You mean the human race could wipe out the whole planet and the galaxy?”
“Or cause all kinds of commotion — they pollute and even put weapons in outer space! They are so violent and unpredictable.” Philomena shook her head in disgust, beeped and flickered then said a little more quietly, “That is why the Earth Elven came to the Council to present their ideas yesterday. But, it did not go well. Oh, Dear! The Council does not trust humans. The next meeting is tomorrow!”
“Hmmm….Well, not all humans are mean and cruel.” Then, she thought about it. Philomena was 
right: Earth was out of control — too much violence. “Well, What are their ideas, what are the plans of these ‘Earth Elven’?” Anya decided to try the various hair decorations that had been laid out for her on the dressing table. Might as well enjoy this dream, she thought to herself, it was far too crazy to be real.
Philomena continued, ”They want to interfere as Guardians for the Earth Planet. The Earth Elven feel strongly that if we do not interfere at this point that the human race will wipe out all living beings on the planet due to their greed and uncontrolled weapons. Humans are not very advanced. Mentally, I mean.”
“I know what you mean. They are not very advanced. But what does this have to do with me?”
“You, Oh, Princess, you hold the human DNA! You’re part human! You have the right to make a decision. The Earth Elven say you are the key to the Council’s decision. They do not want you to be influenced by anyone else. And of course the Council — the High Council of the Universe — is open to saving Earth but have tried just about everything ….in the universe! The Council’s interest is making sure that the rest of the galaxy is not overrun by a bunch of violent humans. We must remain safe and the humans are very, very violent people. Even I am worried and I am just a little droid!” Philomena clicked her fans back on with a hint of anxiety.
Wow, she was going to save the Earth in her dreams! “Oh, my goodness! What do you think I should do?”
“Oh, I am not programmed to give my opinion. But, if you ask me, off the record …. I’ve absolutely 
no idea. It’s very nerve-racking.”
“Wait — what? Aren’t you a robot — I mean, a droid? Do you have nerves?”
“It’s a figure of speech.”
“Right. But Philomena, I know a lot of humans and they are not all evil. Well, actually, some are…. I mean I know that, what I mean to say is that — I really don’t think that those people on Earth have any idea that all this is going on!”
“Right. Well, I am afraid that you must go before the Council and somehow explain everything! A great deal of work has been done by the Elven on Earth, however with this new development — their refusal to follow the non-interference clause of the Federation for Earth. Well… Goodness! I need to cool my jets!”
“Wow. I am taking intergalactic political advice from an android,” she said to herself. “What a cool dream! Much better than school!”
“It’s a figure of speech! And it’s not a dream, unless, of course you mean metaphorically. I mean obviously, everything is a bit of a dream, even for me. It feels real — a bit like a dream right now….” Philomena seemed to fade out for a moment. 
Anya sighed. Probably this dream had something to do with English class. Well, she wasn’t going to wake up yet. This was kind of fun!  “Philomena, I must ask you: do you really think the members of the Council would allow Earthlings to become extinct?”
Philomena fluttered. “Oh dear, I am not programmed for an opinion. But speaking as your personal techno-guardian, Princess Aine, I know you would personally be very upset. It is in your bloodline, it is in your heart, to do something about this.”
“Hmmmm, yes, save the world in my dreams…. Yes, I can do that. Philomena, is there anyone who really does not want the Earthlings to survive? Is there anyone I will meet tomorrow who does not want Earth’s many people to survive?”
“According to the laws, Earth is a no-interference zone. That means no apparent interference. Humans don’t know how much interference has been going on already! Goodness knows what those humans will do next. They’ve got nuclear and artificial intelligence weapons — that’s the problem. We call the Earth Elven “pirates” because they interfere and disobey, but they are trying.” She spoke fast and faster… “Princess, not all pirates in the Universe have good intentions. Some do not. The Universal Federation are voluntary members. Not everyone volunteers, if you know what I mean. There are some who do not subscribe to the Universal Declaration of Rights and Liberty to which the Council is dedicated. They consider themselves above the law.”
‘“Above the law,” Philomena, is that another metaphor?” Might as well pass English, thought Anya. 
“Well, yes, because, of course, you can’t stand outside or around or above the Law. But dictionary-wise it’s still an idiom.  It means they do not follow the laws that apply to everyone else. They do not subscribe to the Federation’s ideals.”
Philomena buzzed closer and spoke softly in a kind of a whisper, “Princess, the Earth Elven will probably contact you. And unless something changes, there may be no hope for the Earthlings. I would….I would recommend you listen to what they have to say. Maybe you can help.”
Anya finished dressing at last. “Well, whatever happens at least I get to wear this dress in my dream!  Philomena, let’s just be happy. Things will work out. They always work out perfectly in my dreams. In my dreams I am not afraid. In my dreams I can make things happen exactly as I want. I can even fly!”
And with that, Anya tried a little jump-flight, thinking she’d certainly be airborne in the light shoes, but instead she tripped and fell smack on the floor. 
“You have to turn off the gravity! Don’t you remember?” Philomena hit the “No Gravity” switch and Anya lifted up into the air. Philomena hit the music and they began to dance, Philomena spinning around and Anya dancing in her gem-studded, blue gown. 
“Best dream ever! I can do anything!” Anya sang. 
They danced and played until she was too tired to dance any more. Anya couldn’t’ remember putting 
her head down to sleep but did remember awakening 
to Philomena’s voice and nudges. “Wake up wake up. It’s time.” 
Philomena made figure eights around the room as Anya dressed for her meeting with the High Council. 
“OK. OK. OK. OK. Princess, are you ready yet?”
“I think so.” Anya was still rubbing sleep from her eyes when she stepped out of her dressing room. She had chosen a gown that flowed to the ground with long, multicolored butterfly sleeves that she could open up revealing intricate patterns of delicate threads and gemstones inlaid throughout. The gown’s bodice was turquoise-colored. Her white headdress was tall and elaborately draped from the top of her head to the small of her back.
“Well, what do you think?”
“I can process beauty, I have that program. Princess, you look so beautiful!”
“Good, then, take my hand. And yes, that is a metaphor. I need you beside me all the way.”
“I can take you as far as the portal to the royal teleport. From there you will enter your handprint and time space travel to the secret location.”
“Wait – What?” Anya’s heart fell to her knees and then began beating fast enough she had to clutch her breast “My h-hand?” 
“Yes, Princess, that is how it has always been. You must try to remember.”
“And what happens if someone tries to use the portal who is not a royal?”
“Instant obliteration, of course! Hardly a problem for you.” 
“This is a dream. This is a dream. This is a dream.” Anya was praying to herself. “I am all-powerful in my dreams. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it, “ she thought over and over as they walked to the portal. She reached out her hand and tried not to shake.
“Don’t forget to tell them…”
Anya put her hand on the receptor, whispering, “All great things take courage… All great things take courage….”
“…all the details!” 
She heard Philomena’s voice echo as she whipped through time and space on her way to the High Council.