17th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

17th Serialized Excerpt, 4/10/14

CHAPTER TWO

Leah Iris, 29, Niece of Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

Interview Date: May 26, 2018

10 Questions for Clara Branon’s Niece:

the Transition, 5 Years Later

(continued)

9. How do your friends, family, sig other feel about your aunt as the CC and how does this affect your own relationships?

LEAH: Here’s the story of how I meet Josh. It shows some of the ways things are going during the Transition for my family.
********
Zephyr and Kayla aren’t ever going to get married and then they change their minds. I’m not sure why. They already have Kendall, so it’s not about the parenting-marriagebond. Anyway, we’re all—my giganza family—invited.

At large family events we do several things: eat, play and make music, laugh, talk and play games (all at once, usually). As the cousins all get older, we usually play cards with the older adults, definitely Hearts.

If any of us brings a newbie, like, a new sig other or spouse, they can opt out once, but, after that, they HAVE to play Hearts. It’s required. The Hearts games are a kind of trial-by-fire for joining our clan.

At someone’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, that’s part of the teen’s new status. You can’t play until you’re about 13; it’s that heavy! It’s a kind of initiation-hazing ritual-inclusion thing. When we play Hearts, many cry. Always from laughter, and sometimes from being freaked out at how mean we all get. Or, being on the losing end of a vicious pass or strategy. Usually, no outsiders are invited to play: no random guests or friends, just family and sigs.

I’m at the wedding weekend in old New Hampshire, where they and Zephyr’s dad live, Zef is born and grows up, Aunt Clara lives while Zef is growing up. Summer there is beautiful and I’m glad to be there.

The wedding is on Sunday, but we do things all weekend since people come from far away. I’m noticing this one guy I don’t know who keeps appearing but doesn’t talk to me. Very appealing, to me, somehow.

During meals, I make sure I sit where I can see him. For “down” time—no scheduled thing happening—I look to see what group he’s hanging with and nonchalantly join on the fringes. Or, if I’m already in a group, I notice he drifts over to it. We’re like non-acquainted, exopod dolphins, swimming closer and closer to one another, playing and eating in the same area, but no direct contact.

Lots of smiles, some eye contact (he has amazing, green eyes), electric charges abound. No words. I find myself wanting to rub against him the way a dolphin would do to signal interest in being friends or starting to play, but I restrain myself. I also have the urge to try whistling and squeaking, just because, but I don’t know he could answer me, so I do not do it.

Josh says later he wishes I do these things! I don’t realize at the time that he is a Cetacean specialist and through my unconscious use of some of my Excellent Skills, I’m tuning into this affinity we share.

I don’t ask anyone who he is. I’m enjoying the “dance,” we’re engaged in, which is pleasantly and intriguingly intensifying from Friday to Saturday. Saturday, late afternoon, when we’re getting together for the third or fourth Hearts game of the weekend, when it peaks.

People are setting up the large outdoor table, counting and shuffling cards, talking, laughing, organizing who’s playing and making sure the cards are set up right, removing 2s, doubling the decks, etc., for however many are playing. We’re about to start. All available and eligible in the family are at the table. That’s about a dozen for this particular game.

We’re watching my brother and my mother share the dealing when this guy I am hyper aware of comes over and asks if he can play. Nice chutzpah [audacity, courage, Yiddish].

Zephyr and Kayla look at him, at each other, then at me and say “Yeah! Sure!”

Aunt Clara gives him the eye and asks, “Josh: are you sure you want to do this, now, today?”

She is deliberately daring him. Why? His name is “Josh.” I like that name.

My mom, still dealing, says: “No way; family only!”

A few others murmur their opinions, mostly “no,” a few “next game, maybe.”

Aunt Clara holds up one hand, looks at me, at me, and says: “It’s up to you, Leah.”

Why me? But I nod. It is up to me. I accept that.

CeeCee, my mom, my aunt Violet, Zephyr smile in a way that makes the butterflies in my stomach wake up and start flying around chaotically.

Oh, oh.

The dealing is over but no one moves to take their cards or push the hands out to us. I count silently: fourteen. There is one extra hand. Shit!

Everything stops, then. No one talks or laughs, which is a minor miracle in my family. I swear, even the breezes stop blowing and the birds stop singing for a couple of seconds. I know that’s not likely, but that’s how it seems to me. Time strrrr-etch-es out and slows down, you know?

Josh looks at me and I look at him.

I know.

And, I can tell, he knows.

Given the way ES run in this family, most of us know.

So I, being somewhat an introvert (I know, not obvious, but I am), and a bit wary, blurt out: “But, who are you?”

Josh comes closer to me, gets down on one knee so that he’s eye-level with me, extends one hand to hold mine, and says, “I’m your sig, Leah. I’m Josh.”

All the breath whooshes out of me as if I am a balloon letting go. Then, I can’t breathe right. I’m hot, I’m shivering, I’m dizzy. I stare at him, at his wonderful, interesting face, at his hand holding mine with his beautifully tapered fingers, at his clear, green eyes.

I can feel everyone staring at us, waiting for me to respond. I reclaim my hand. Why does this look and feel like a marriage proposal? We just spoke for the first time!

I reach across the table and grab my cards, trying to make the game start. I look wildly at everyone, but no one is meeting my eyes. I could ignore him, but I am drawn back, against my will, to stare into his eyes. I’m speechless.

I’m so hot and my face is so red I’m sure I am about to catch fire or something. Then, right after I put them into my hands, my cards explode all over the table. Everyone but I and this guy gasps.

I am sure Zephyr has something to do with that trick. I turn to glare at him. He smiles sweetly at me. The picture of fake innocence. I may have to hurt him.

But, I am paralyzed. I stare at the scattered cards and can’t pick any up.

Josh is able to move easily.

Why is that? What’s wrong with me?

He takes both my hands, since I no longer have any cards in either.

Josh says, “Whenever you’re ready, let me in.”

So, Zephyr, being Zephyr, says: “‘Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!'”

We all burst out laughing which takes the pressure off a lot.

I breathe. Once, twice, three times. I look over at Josh. He’s so patient, so kind, so right for me. Why am I resisting?

This has been coming all weekend. Carpe Diem!

“OK. Fine. You’re in.” I say it fake huffily, as if I object, but no one, including me, is the least bit fooled.

I pat the chair that suddenly snaps into place right beside me (Zef’s work, again) and say, “Deal Josh in.”

Caleb snaps the extra hand over to Josh’s place at the table.

Everyone else puts their cards down and applauds. The silence broken, everyone is now talking, laughing, smiling at or groaning about their cards.

Josh plops into the chair, smiles at me, picks up his cards and starts arranging them as if he’s always been here, at our Hearts game.

Maybe he has. CeeCee winks at me. Sheesh. She hears that.

I lean over to squeeze Josh’s shoulder. “Welcome,” I say, more warmly.

He leans into me but keeps arranging his cards.

Oh. It’s like that, is it? Game on!

And, that’s it. Josh is in. In every way. We play Hearts. We start being together. He’s a great dancer, too.
********
LEAH: The rest is, well, private. [laughs].

10. What else do you want to tell us about your experiences of Clara as the CC or the Transition?

LEAH: I can add one important thing: Aunt Clara is the best choice Earthers could have. I know not everyone understands that, so let me explain.

She is off-the-charts in honesty, courage, integrity up the whazzoo. She is dedicated to benefiting all beings—the Buddhist thing, you know? Those all contribute, but most important, Aunt Clara has a humongous heart. She is fiercely protective and loving when she takes anyone or anything on.

Earthers are lucky she took us on. For sure.

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING

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17th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

17th Serialized Excerpt, 4/10/14

CHAPTER TWO

Leah Iris, 29, Niece of Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

Interview Date: May 26, 2018

10 Questions for Clara Branon’s Niece:

the Transition, 5 Years Later

(continued)

9. How do your friends, family, sig other feel about your aunt as the CC and how does this affect your own relationships?

LEAH: Here’s the story of how I meet Josh. It shows some of the ways things are going during the Transition for my family.
********
Zephyr and Kayla aren’t ever going to get married and then they change their minds. I’m not sure why. They already have Kendall, so it’s not about the parenting-marriagebond. Anyway, we’re all—my giganza family—invited.

At large family events we do several things: eat, play and make music, laugh, talk and play games (all at once, usually). As the cousins all get older, we usually play cards with the older adults, definitely Hearts.

If any of us brings a newbie, like, a new sig other or spouse, they can opt out once, but, after that, they HAVE to play Hearts. It’s required. The Hearts games are a kind of trial-by-fire for joining our clan.

At someone’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, that’s part of the teen’s new status. You can’t play until you’re about 13; it’s that heavy! It’s a kind of initiation-hazing ritual-inclusion thing. When we play Hearts, many cry. Always from laughter, and sometimes from being freaked out at how mean we all get. Or, being on the losing end of a vicious pass or strategy. Usually, no outsiders are invited to play: no random guests or friends, just family and sigs.

I’m at the wedding weekend in old New Hampshire, where they and Zephyr’s dad live, Zef is born and grows up, Aunt Clara lives while Zef is growing up. Summer there is beautiful and I’m glad to be there.

The wedding is on Sunday, but we do things all weekend since people come from far away. I’m noticing this one guy I don’t know who keeps appearing but doesn’t talk to me. Very appealing, to me, somehow.

During meals, I make sure I sit where I can see him. For “down” time—no scheduled thing happening—I look to see what group he’s hanging with and nonchalantly join on the fringes. Or, if I’m already in a group, I notice he drifts over to it. We’re like non-acquainted, exopod dolphins, swimming closer and closer to one another, playing and eating in the same area, but no direct contact.

Lots of smiles, some eye contact (he has amazing, green eyes), electric charges abound. No words. I find myself wanting to rub against him the way a dolphin would do to signal interest in being friends or starting to play, but I restrain myself. I also have the urge to try whistling and squeaking, just because, but I don’t know he could answer me, so I do not do it.

Josh says later he wishes I do these things! I don’t realize at the time that he is a Cetacean specialist and through my unconscious use of some of my Excellent Skills, I’m tuning into this affinity we share.

I don’t ask anyone who he is. I’m enjoying the “dance,” we’re engaged in, which is pleasantly and intriguingly intensifying from Friday to Saturday. Saturday, late afternoon, when we’re getting together for the third or fourth Hearts game of the weekend, when it peaks.

People are setting up the large outdoor table, counting and shuffling cards, talking, laughing, organizing who’s playing and making sure the cards are set up right, removing 2s, doubling the decks, etc., for however many are playing. We’re about to start. All available and eligible in the family are at the table. That’s about a dozen for this particular game.

We’re watching my brother and my mother share the dealing when this guy I am hyper aware of comes over and asks if he can play. Nice chutzpah [audacity, courage, Yiddish].

Zephyr and Kayla look at him, at each other, then at me and say “Yeah! Sure!”

Aunt Clara gives him the eye and asks, “Josh: are you sure you want to do this, now, today?”

She is deliberately daring him. Why? His name is “Josh.” I like that name.

My mom, still dealing, says: “No way; family only!”

A few others murmur their opinions, mostly “no,” a few “next game, maybe.”

Aunt Clara holds up one hand, looks at me, at me, and says: “It’s up to you, Leah.”

Why me? But I nod. It is up to me. I accept that.

CeeCee, my mom, my aunt Violet, Zephyr smile in a way that makes the butterflies in my stomach wake up and start flying around chaotically.

Oh, oh.

The dealing is over but no one moves to take their cards or push the hands out to us. I count silently: fourteen. There is one extra hand. Shit!

Everything stops, then. No one talks or laughs, which is a minor miracle in my family. I swear, even the breezes stop blowing and the birds stop singing for a couple of seconds. I know that’s not likely, but that’s how it seems to me. Time strrrr-etch-es out and slows down, you know?

Josh looks at me and I look at him.

I know.

And, I can tell, he knows.

Given the way ES run in this family, most of us know.

So I, being somewhat an introvert (I know, not obvious, but I am), and a bit wary, blurt out: “But, who are you?”

Josh comes closer to me, gets down on one knee so that he’s eye-level with me, extends one hand to hold mine, and says, “I’m your sig, Leah. I’m Josh.”

All the breath whooshes out of me as if I am a balloon letting go. Then, I can’t breathe right. I’m hot, I’m shivering, I’m dizzy. I stare at him, at his wonderful, interesting face, at his hand holding mine with his beautifully tapered fingers, at his clear, green eyes.

I can feel everyone staring at us, waiting for me to respond. I reclaim my hand. Why does this look and feel like a marriage proposal? We just spoke for the first time!

I reach across the table and grab my cards, trying to make the game start. I look wildly at everyone, but no one is meeting my eyes. I could ignore him, but I am drawn back, against my will, to stare into his eyes. I’m speechless.

I’m so hot and my face is so red I’m sure I am about to catch fire or something. Then, right after I put them into my hands, my cards explode all over the table. Everyone but I and this guy gasps.

I am sure Zephyr has something to do with that trick. I turn to glare at him. He smiles sweetly at me. The picture of fake innocence. I may have to hurt him.

But, I am paralyzed. I stare at the scattered cards and can’t pick any up.

Josh is able to move easily.

Why is that? What’s wrong with me?

He takes both my hands, since I no longer have any cards in either.

Josh says, “Whenever you’re ready, let me in.”

So, Zephyr, being Zephyr, says: “‘Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!'”

We all burst out laughing which takes the pressure off a lot.

I breathe. Once, twice, three times. I look over at Josh. He’s so patient, so kind, so right for me. Why am I resisting?

This has been coming all weekend. Carpe Diem!

“OK. Fine. You’re in.” I say it fake huffily, as if I object, but no one, including me, is the least bit fooled.

I pat the chair that suddenly snaps into place right beside me (Zef’s work, again) and say, “Deal Josh in.”

Caleb snaps the extra hand over to Josh’s place at the table.

Everyone else puts their cards down and applauds. The silence broken, everyone is now talking, laughing, smiling at or groaning about their cards.

Josh plops into the chair, smiles at me, picks up his cards and starts arranging them as if he’s always been here, at our Hearts game.

Maybe he has. CeeCee winks at me. Sheesh. She hears that.

I lean over to squeeze Josh’s shoulder. “Welcome,” I say, more warmly.

He leans into me but keeps arranging his cards.

Oh. It’s like that, is it? Game on!

And, that’s it. Josh is in. In every way. We play Hearts. We start being together. He’s a great dancer, too.
********
LEAH: The rest is, well, private. [laughs].

10. What else do you want to tell us about your experiences of Clara as the CC or the Transition?

LEAH: I can add one important thing: Aunt Clara is the best choice Earthers could have. I know not everyone understands that, so let me explain.

She is off-the-charts in honesty, courage, integrity up the whazzoo. She is dedicated to benefiting all beings—the Buddhist thing, you know? Those all contribute, but most important, Aunt Clara has a humongous heart. She is fiercely protective and loving when she takes anyone or anything on.

Earthers are lucky she took us on. For sure.

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING

16th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

16th Serialized Excerpt, 4/8/14

CHAPTER TWO

Leah Iris, 29, Niece of Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

Interview Date: May 26, 2018

10 Questions for Clara Branon’s Niece:

the Transition, 5 Years Later

(continued)

5. How do you feel about Clara’s role when it starts? How are you affected immediately?

LEAH: Let’s see. How do I feel, not what do I think? OK. I feel kind of proud. I mean, my aunt is now the most important person on the planet. Right? That’s amazing! [laughs] And, yet, somehow, not as surprising as it might be. [laughs]

What does that make me, besides her very proud niece? Besieged.

Immediately, I have to change my cell number and make all my online and personal privacy settings more stringent because I am getting a zillion calls and messages from media people, almost as many as Zephyr (we compare). My boss starts saying I’m “out for the day” when I’m right there. The paparazzi can’t reach Aunt Clara because Espe is handling all that, but the rest of our family: we’re on our own.

Since I have a different last name (and I don’t even use mine), I’m not as battered by media contacts as Zephyr or any of the Ackermans are, but they do find me and my brothers pretty fast, through my being one of the main online posters, or through my mom, I guess (not that she gives me up; the ‘razzi always keep digging).

We all decide not to give out any interviews because we learn that, if one of us does, we’re all doomed. That refusal is your suggestion, E: Thanks! You are brilliant about all that. Precisely right.

Once media ghouls believe we won’t talk to them, they go away. Eventually. Bigger news stories than our reactions are happening, anyway, with the Transition issues, the Qings and ReInvolvements, and then the psi Wars, so relatives of the CC move lower on the ‘razzi’s priority list. Zephyr and the rest of us are “up” again when everyone gets Tinted, but that’s all right.

Then, I meet Josh, oh, about two years APC [APC, After Public Contact], and my life changes even more! We meet at Zephyr and Kayla’s wedding. So cool. Okay that I tell our meeting story later today, right?

[See Question # 10 for story.]

6. How do you feel about Clara’s role, now, 5 years later? How does her role affect you now?

LEAH: It’s funny. Not funny-“ha ha” but funny-peculiar. There are many months lately when I do not think about the MWC or Aunt Clara’s role or any of the larger goings on. Josh and I are involved with our jobs, our friends, each other, our family members as people, not as CC network nodes. Does that make sense?

Then, something will come on a vid or over the ‘net and we’re drawn into it, tractor beam on full speed. Occasionally, when I’m talking or having vid calls with Aunt Clara, she gets a visit from one of The Band and we all talk for a while. That’s cool.

I think, because of Josh’s work with the cetaceans and other marine beings, we’re invited to go to Janis—Diana’s planet any time we want. We plan to go this year or next. He probably would not be on the fast track for interplanetary travel if he works in some other field. Also, if he and I never meet Janis—Diana, we probably do not get to go as soon, either. So, being related to the CC can be useful!

During the height of the psi Wars, there is a lot of talk about assigning me and my brothers, our mom and everyone in Aunt Clara’s family protective OSes. She always has them, of course. And, Zephyr and Kayla, now Kendall, do for a while. And G-ma Rose. And, Moran’s family. We seem to have some for a while, but it’s kind of hush-hush. I really cannot remember what that is like, now. I think only Aunt Clara. you, Epifanio, Zephyr and his family have protection, these days. Right?

Mostly, I see Aunt Clara and my mom—that entire generation of women—as incredible role models. I hope to be like them as I get older. They’re awesome! So courageous, so innovative, so, well, uniquely themselves. [laughs]

7. Which of the MWC members or other species visitors do you have contact with? How and why, and how is that for you?

LEAH: Angelina, Meryl and I are good friends early on because of Aunt Clara. Then, Josh, a marine biologist and Cetacean Communicator before we even meet, introduces me to more cetaceans who become our friends. I already know ASL [American Sign Language] and Hebrew, so learning CetSS [Cetacean Sound-Sign] and PrimS [Primate Sign] aren’t horribly hard for me. I’m not as good a swimmer as Josh and many others, so the body language and positional parts of CetSS are like baby talk when I do it, but we manage.

Do you know how many spoken languages (not English), like Navajo, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects are tonal, so every inflection and pitch change makes and alters the meaning? Body position, directionality and angles are like that in CetSS, especially when the speaker is completely submerged. With our newer OPTS (thanks, Jessica!), which fit almost like a second-skin, humans underwater are completely visible and flexible enough, but I am such a klutz. I make hilarious clumsiness-induced blunders that Josh and I spend time rectifying regularly.

I feel that it’s more respectful and fun to attempt to speak with each being in something closer to their languages. I like the challenge! I always have the fish when I falter. Cetaceans are very forgiving, which is great. Some things just don’t translate well, even with the fish, and then add in my inadvertently mixed-signal comms and we’re often in confusion and amusement.

At first, I don’t know how we’ll be friends, exactly, given our different environments, but it gradually unfolds, mostly because of the tech: OPTS, iD and the fish are crucial. We message, we exchange info, we meet up in person when we can, and we use the interspecies versions of social media networking sites, which are ‘way cool. We joke about calling the Cetacean-Cephalopod-Pinniped site “Snoutbook,” but it does not catch on. Wonder why? [laughs]

The CHAT (Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry) humans create right BPC morphs into the sono-picto-graph machine which becomes the co-locating use of the fish: so amazingly cool. Wanna hear my name as whistled by Angelina? [I nod. Leah whistles a high-pitched, long note followed by 3 short blasts, laughs].

For Aunt Clara and Josh, interspecies interactions are a combo of professional and personal; for me, just personal. It’s important to me to know them as individuals, not for any “cause” or job. We play, we talk, we share our lives, as any friends do. It’s species-ist to assume otherwise, right?

8. What transforms your life more: your ifish [Interspecies Communication System], your iD [Individual Access Devices Interface], or travel to other planets/moons? How?

LEAH: I was so hopped to leave Wikijism behind and use my iD all the time. It’s is so much better than anything we have BPC! Josh and I are considering getting the implant iDs soon. Before we go off-p again, for sure. I never go anywhere without my fish, since we often interact with non-humans and humans who speak languages better than English for the purposes we’re engaged in that day. We aren’t regular off-p travelers, yet, but plan to be, soon.

I can’t say which is more important in general, but, for me, definitely the fish. I’m constantly communicating. [laugh]

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING

16th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

16th Serialized Excerpt, 4/8/14

CHAPTER TWO

Leah Iris, 29, Niece of Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

Interview Date: May 26, 2018

10 Questions for Clara Branon’s Niece:

the Transition, 5 Years Later

(continued)

5. How do you feel about Clara’s role when it starts? How are you affected immediately?

LEAH: Let’s see. How do I feel, not what do I think? OK. I feel kind of proud. I mean, my aunt is now the most important person on the planet. Right? That’s amazing! [laughs] And, yet, somehow, not as surprising as it might be. [laughs]

What does that make me, besides her very proud niece? Besieged.

Immediately, I have to change my cell number and make all my online and personal privacy settings more stringent because I am getting a zillion calls and messages from media people, almost as many as Zephyr (we compare). My boss starts saying I’m “out for the day” when I’m right there. The paparazzi can’t reach Aunt Clara because Espe is handling all that, but the rest of our family: we’re on our own.

Since I have a different last name (and I don’t even use mine), I’m not as battered by media contacts as Zephyr or any of the Ackermans are, but they do find me and my brothers pretty fast, through my being one of the main online posters, or through my mom, I guess (not that she gives me up; the ‘razzi always keep digging).

We all decide not to give out any interviews because we learn that, if one of us does, we’re all doomed. That refusal is your suggestion, E: Thanks! You are brilliant about all that. Precisely right.

Once media ghouls believe we won’t talk to them, they go away. Eventually. Bigger news stories than our reactions are happening, anyway, with the Transition issues, the Qings and ReInvolvements, and then the psi Wars, so relatives of the CC move lower on the ‘razzi’s priority list. Zephyr and the rest of us are “up” again when everyone gets Tinted, but that’s all right.

Then, I meet Josh, oh, about two years APC [APC, After Public Contact], and my life changes even more! We meet at Zephyr and Kayla’s wedding. So cool. Okay that I tell our meeting story later today, right?

[See Question # 10 for story.]

6. How do you feel about Clara’s role, now, 5 years later? How does her role affect you now?

LEAH: It’s funny. Not funny-“ha ha” but funny-peculiar. There are many months lately when I do not think about the MWC or Aunt Clara’s role or any of the larger goings on. Josh and I are involved with our jobs, our friends, each other, our family members as people, not as CC network nodes. Does that make sense?

Then, something will come on a vid or over the ‘net and we’re drawn into it, tractor beam on full speed. Occasionally, when I’m talking or having vid calls with Aunt Clara, she gets a visit from one of The Band and we all talk for a while. That’s cool.

I think, because of Josh’s work with the cetaceans and other marine beings, we’re invited to go to Janis—Diana’s planet any time we want. We plan to go this year or next. He probably would not be on the fast track for interplanetary travel if he works in some other field. Also, if he and I never meet Janis—Diana, we probably do not get to go as soon, either. So, being related to the CC can be useful!

During the height of the psi Wars, there is a lot of talk about assigning me and my brothers, our mom and everyone in Aunt Clara’s family protective OSes. She always has them, of course. And, Zephyr and Kayla, now Kendall, do for a while. And G-ma Rose. And, Moran’s family. We seem to have some for a while, but it’s kind of hush-hush. I really cannot remember what that is like, now. I think only Aunt Clara. you, Epifanio, Zephyr and his family have protection, these days. Right?

Mostly, I see Aunt Clara and my mom—that entire generation of women—as incredible role models. I hope to be like them as I get older. They’re awesome! So courageous, so innovative, so, well, uniquely themselves. [laughs]

7. Which of the MWC members or other species visitors do you have contact with? How and why, and how is that for you?

LEAH: Angelina, Meryl and I are good friends early on because of Aunt Clara. Then, Josh, a marine biologist and Cetacean Communicator before we even meet, introduces me to more cetaceans who become our friends. I already know ASL [American Sign Language] and Hebrew, so learning CetSS [Cetacean Sound-Sign] and PrimS [Primate Sign] aren’t horribly hard for me. I’m not as good a swimmer as Josh and many others, so the body language and positional parts of CetSS are like baby talk when I do it, but we manage.

Do you know how many spoken languages (not English), like Navajo, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects are tonal, so every inflection and pitch change makes and alters the meaning? Body position, directionality and angles are like that in CetSS, especially when the speaker is completely submerged. With our newer OPTS (thanks, Jessica!), which fit almost like a second-skin, humans underwater are completely visible and flexible enough, but I am such a klutz. I make hilarious clumsiness-induced blunders that Josh and I spend time rectifying regularly.

I feel that it’s more respectful and fun to attempt to speak with each being in something closer to their languages. I like the challenge! I always have the fish when I falter. Cetaceans are very forgiving, which is great. Some things just don’t translate well, even with the fish, and then add in my inadvertently mixed-signal comms and we’re often in confusion and amusement.

At first, I don’t know how we’ll be friends, exactly, given our different environments, but it gradually unfolds, mostly because of the tech: OPTS, iD and the fish are crucial. We message, we exchange info, we meet up in person when we can, and we use the interspecies versions of social media networking sites, which are ‘way cool. We joke about calling the Cetacean-Cephalopod-Pinniped site “Snoutbook,” but it does not catch on. Wonder why? [laughs]

The CHAT (Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry) humans create right BPC morphs into the sono-picto-graph machine which becomes the co-locating use of the fish: so amazingly cool. Wanna hear my name as whistled by Angelina? [I nod. Leah whistles a high-pitched, long note followed by 3 short blasts, laughs].

For Aunt Clara and Josh, interspecies interactions are a combo of professional and personal; for me, just personal. It’s important to me to know them as individuals, not for any “cause” or job. We play, we talk, we share our lives, as any friends do. It’s species-ist to assume otherwise, right?

8. What transforms your life more: your ifish [Interspecies Communication System], your iD [Individual Access Devices Interface], or travel to other planets/moons? How?

LEAH: I was so hopped to leave Wikijism behind and use my iD all the time. It’s is so much better than anything we have BPC! Josh and I are considering getting the implant iDs soon. Before we go off-p again, for sure. I never go anywhere without my fish, since we often interact with non-humans and humans who speak languages better than English for the purposes we’re engaged in that day. We aren’t regular off-p travelers, yet, but plan to be, soon.

I can’t say which is more important in general, but, for me, definitely the fish. I’m constantly communicating. [laugh]

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Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING