by Ghost Writer

Earth Date: 16th Dec 2237
From: Senator Wayne Bannister
To: Commander Philip Goldberg

Attached are the last dispatches we received from our agents on Verius VI. Agent Valerie Lim, Agent Robert Booth, and Agent Shane van Hook were originally sent to Verius VI on a fact-finding mission to determine the facts about the natives of the planet.

When the colonist group 'Earth Return' stated that the natives of the planet, called the Mind-Runners, have telepathic powers, few in the Federation believed their findings. The three agents were sent to gather intelligence on the planet and independently verify the situation.

As you well know, Commander, every group of colonists were required to sign the Space Colony Act before they were allowed to set up colonies on distant planets, and the colonists must accept and enforce all of the articles of the Space Colony Act. In return the Federation will provide free initial transport for the colony group and also their re-supply shipments. Re-supply ships are scheduled once every ten years and the Federation will respect the self-rule of the colonists with a pledge not to directly interfere in the running of the colony unless there are overt violations of the Space Colony Act.

The reason for this act is simple, although many people (some in the government, unfortunately) have forgotten it. For eons humans have been divided into different race, nationalities, tribes, and clans. Wars have been fought over these differences. Only recently, in historical terms, has humankind been able to put aside these differences and unite as one people under the Federation.

However, as various groups spread across space there is a real fear that this may change. If humanity on different planets one day considers themselves as different people, the hard won peace and unity of the Federation will disappear and we will go back to the time when humans kill other humans. To prevent this and make sure that the people across space always consider themselves as one united people, Article 16 was put in place.

Often called the 'hidden' article, Article 16 states that the Federation must always have a heavy, if discreet, influence in the colonies and constantly remind the colonists that they originally came from Earth. This heavy influence must be used to prevent the various colonies from changing their culture to something that would not be acceptable to the general public of the Federation. As you can expect, the general public do not know of Article 16 and only those with the necessary security clearance know about it.

The Federation has found from experience that trade is the easiest way to maintain a heavy influence in the colonies. If the Federation is the biggest trading partner of the colony, it is a simple matter to have an influence on the group. For planets that don't have an industrial or agricultural base that would provide trade goods, the Federation has found that the best way to have an influence is to provide a service to the planet that the group cannot provide on their own.

Security service is the best service the Federation can provide, as troops and police can protect the groups from native threats and the criminal elements within the groups themselves. For planets without a security threat, such as Verius VI, the Federation would have to manufacture a threat. Agents would be sent to the planet to stir unrest among the population, usually against the native alien species, and before long the Federation will fly in as the white knight to provide peace and security.

Once the telepathic powers of the Mind-Runners on Verius VI were confirmed, the three agents were ordered to act in accordance with Article 16 of the Space Colony Act. They were ordered to create unrest among the colonists, directed against the Mind-Runners. Agent Valerie Lim, Agent Robert Booth and Agent Shane van Hook are three of the Federation’s top agents and they are completely loyal to our cause. The fact that there has been no contact from them for so long indicate that something went wrong with their mission.

On your supply run to Verius VI, it is vital that you discover what had happened to the agents. Our other agents within the Earth Return group were unable to get any info as transmission between the Federation space and Verius VI are currently minimal.

I also like to stress that if you find the group on Verius VI to be in upheaval, you are to request a major military force immediately. The Federation’s interest in Verius VI is not a purely ideological one. The telepathic abilities of the natives on Verius VI are unique and this calls for a major scientific study. However due to political concerns, the Federation cannot have a presence on the planet unless it is requested from Earth Return. This is the main reason the three agents were requested to enforce Article 16 on Verius VI.

We have little knowledge on what is happening on the planet at the moment but you must be careful. The fact that communications from the agents were cut off so suddenly does not bode well. Below I have attached a copy of the history of Verius VI and of the colony group Earth Return.

Background information below. Beta security clearance needed

Usually colonists are part of a fringe group of society who are seeking a new planet to allow them to settle and live in the lifestyle of their choice. History has shown that fringe groups like these make the best colonists and Earth Return is no different.

However, unlike most colony groups, Earth Return is not a religious organization but a social organization. The group believes in living and working with nature and is committed to be ‘in harmony’ with the world. They wish to live without harming the natural world; to have no pollution, and be “one with nature’. Most people in the Federation consider this a crazy idea as humans are hardly native or natural to an alien planet such as Verius VI, but this is the belief of Earth Return.

The colonists were dropped on Verius VI on 9th June 2208 under the leadership of Mahmoud Pompano. Mahmoud Pompano proved to be an excellent leader who had carefully selected the initial group of colonists on the planet. They had a wide variety of specialists in their ranks with solid backgrounds in engineering, agriculture and construction. The colony was a success.

Earth Return built the city of Restart slowly but with care. When the first re-supply shipment went to Verius VI (Ten years after the initial colony drop), construction for the city had just started. However, when the second re-supply went to Verius VI ten years after that the city was breathtakingly beautiful and Earth Return was planning to concentrate on tourism as a way of making money to sustain the colony in the long run.

This was a plan the re-supply commander found to be an excellent idea, as Verius VI was unsuitable to be an industrial or agricultural planet. There was also no evidence of any large amount of metals or oil on the planet. Even logging was not exploitable, as most plant-life on the planet has a composition that is more like bamboo than wood.

However, it was the dominant native species of the planet that provided the most interest to the Federation. The Mind-Runner is a four-legged creature that looks somewhat like a cross between a goat and a lion. They have a hairy lower body and four legs with hoofs like those of a goat. They have a short upper body with two short arms with hands, and a face that is dominated by a wild mane. Their face looked surprising similar to that of an Earth baboon, but they have two long antennas coming out from their forehead and they have distinct long earlobes that can be clearly seen even though their manes.

The natives are brown in color in the upper body but they come in a variety of colors in the lower body from white to purple. Only males have manes while females have a smooth scalp. The Mind-Runners lived in nomadic herds that roam the planet from place to place, never settling in any one area for too long.

The creatures are found in almost every part of the planet and they are primitives with only limited technology. (Their main weapons are bows and spears). However, Earth Return reported that the Mind-Runners had natural telepathic abilities. These reports were not believed and agents were dispatched to independently verify the reports. Amazingly, it was true and humankind met its first alien race with telepathy.

When one of our agents made his first contact with the Mind-Runners, he received a picture in his head along with a serene sense of welcome. There was no question that the feelings and picture came from the native. We currently do not know if this is the extent of their powers. We do not know if the Mind-Runners sent pictures because they do not speak our language. We do not know if images are the only form of telepathy they have. Answers to all these questions will require careful study of the Mind-Runners.

It would seem that the task was simple: go down to the planet, capture a few Mind-Runners for experiments, and then try to find a way to duplicate their abilities. However, due to the background of Earth Return and their stated goal of ‘harmony’, no one in the Federation believed that Earth Return would agree to the Federation going down to Verius VI to scoop up the Mind-Runners.

Thus, Article 16 was enacted. Despite their good work, both Mahmoud Pompano and his second-in-command, Dr. Marcs Boecker, were targeted for assassination. Both assassinations were successful and were carefully arranged to look like accidents.

Soon after that, communications from all Federation agents were cut off.

Earth Date: 21st Feb 2238
Log: Commander Philip Goldberg
Transport: U.F.P. Titan
Location: Planet Verius VI (orbit)

The run to the planet was successful and supplies were delivered to the planet without incident. Camp Restart probably needs a change of name now as it has grown to a sizable city (Population: 40,827: male 19,607; female: 21,220) and it is every bit as beautiful as reported. The streets are clean, the air is good, and the scenery is gorgeous. The city of Restart is a fully functioning city with all the necessary facilities. Agent Valerie Lim’s earlier reports that the Earth-house capsule was sabotaged beyond repair looks to be in error. My crew reported that the Earth-house capsule was in working condition with various corps being harvested.

The city looked beautiful and it was a stunning sight as we descended from orbit and landed on the planet. But looks are deceiving. Members of my crew reported that the people of the city were cold, and in some cases outright hostile, to them. I have no doubt that Earth Return had my crew watched as they were in the city.

We were unable to get any info on the fate of the three agents until Isiah Tashime, who has taken over the position as leader of Earth Return, requested a meeting with me a few days before we were about to leave. He took me to the morgue where he showed me the bodies of Agent Valerie Lim, Agent Robert Booth, and Agent Shane van Hook.

Coldly, he stated that Earth Return had no idea about the real identities of these three colonists and requested that the Federation returned the bodies to their families, implying that the Federation should have no problems finding out their real identities. When I asked as innocently as I could on how they died, Tashime said that the three were criminals involved in two murders and were executed for their crimes.

He was clearly referring to the deaths of Dr. Marcs Boecker and Mahmoud Pompano. Gentlemen, I fear I have bad news. Our agents are dead and Earth Return knows the Federation is responsible for the deaths of their leaders.

There are three things I would like to highlight:

First is that there are a number of Mind-Runners within the city. All previous reports state that the Mind-Runners seldom came to the City of Restart but that seems to have changed. Although not numerous, some are definitely within the city. Information from our sensors indicate that there were about 6-10 of them within the city at any one time, sticking mostly to its outer fringes .

The second thing I wish to report is that there seems to be a dress code in place for women within Restart. All the women are required to cover their hair in public. All the local female humans we saw were wearing a bonnet that totally covered their hair. My female crew members were supplied with bonnets and were told that they have to cover their hair if they wish to get off the ship.

The last, and most important, thing I have to report is that there is a Mind-Runner camp located not far from the City of Restart. Not only that, the camp looked like a permanent one.

All records we have so far clearly state that the Mind-Runners are nomads. The fact that there is a permanent Mind-Runner camp located near a human city is something of great concern to me. Isiah Tashime knew of the camp but seems totally unconcern about it. He refused to say anything about the camp except that the Mind-Runners are allies of Earth Return and are always welcome in Restart.

I suspect that there is heavy cultural interaction between Earth Return and the Mind-Runners as that is the only reason for women in Restart to cover their hair. If I am right, I fear serious consequences if we allow this to continue.

Earth Date: 29th Apr 2238
Log: Agent Amanda Forrester
Location: Planet Verius VI

Agent Marcus Smith, Agent Samantha Watson, and Agent Natalie Ortega have all been captured by the local authorities and sent back to U.F.P. Titan. No doubt they have sent in their reports already but here’s my assessment of the situation:

After we landed from the re-supply ship all the new colonists were spilt between the men and the women and directed into separate buildings. A short time later a few men came and took out Agent Samantha Watson and Agent Natalie Ortega from the women's group.

During the journey to Verius VI I made some friends among the new colonists, and I gathered some intel from one of the men later on. It seems that all the men were seated in front of a stage where a Mind-Runner was introduced to them. The men were told that the Mind-Runner was going to do a telepathic ‘exercise’ with all of them. All the men had heard the rumors of alien telepathy and they all looked forward to seeing if it’s real. My friend said that he saw an image of the logo of the United Federation of Planets in his mind and then Agent Marcus Smith was suddenly taken away by some guards.

I do not know what happened to Agent Smith after that, but it wasn’t hard to guess. Earth Return got info out of him that Agent Watson and Agent Ortega were with him on the mission and the fact that they managed to get intel out of Agent Smith so fast leave me to conclude that the Mind-Runners were involved in the extraction of the information.

The only reason that I am safe was because Agent Smith did not know of my presence in the group. The cooperation between Earth Return and the Mind-Runners in this incident leave me to conclude that the Federation’s fears of the settlers and the Mind-Runners becoming close allies are coming true.

After Agent Watson and Agent Ortega were taken away, the rest of the women were shown a propaganda video about the City of Restart. Called an orientation video, this was but the first of many video and lecture classes we took during our one-month ‘orientation’ period.

Although they do show life on Verius VI and the city of Restart, a lot of play was also given to the role of the Federation in the murders of their previous leaders, Dr. Marcs Boecker and Mahmoud Pompano, and the role the Mind-Runners had in solving the murders.

A Mind-Runner was the one who discovered that Agent van Hook was the one who poisoned Pompano, and from there the conspiracy to undermine Earth Return was discovered. I tried to poke holes in their arguments and asked how they knew the Federation was involved in the murders, but any questions anyone had on the matter were quickly answered when they showed taped confessions from all three agents.

The new colonists I was with were greatly alarmed at the murders and the propaganda period did cause them to view the Federation with more hostility. Since I believe this was what the orientation period was for, Earth Return can consider the orientation period to be a great success.

I wish to note that the women colonists were given a set of rules to follow. Outside the normal rules that are given to both men and women, the women have a few extra rules to follow like covering our hair in public. Earth Return advised that the most practical way was to tie their hair in a bun and then cover it with a bonnet. The wearer can choose what color of the bonnet to wear but certain colors are not allowed. These colors are white, black, yellow, red, and gray because these could be colors of the human hair. Most women in Restart wear either green or blue bonnets as these are the official colors of Earth Return.

Women are also encouraged, though not required, to wear long-sleeved shirts or dresses to cover their arms and to wear pants or skirts that reach below their knees.

More than a few of the women were unhappy at these rules, but the organizers of the propaganda period, led by one Andrea De Cruz, were quick to explain that this was to the benefit of the small number of Mind-Runners within the city.

It was explained that due to their poor sight the Mind-Runners have a hard time spotting the differences between a male and female human, and Earth Return has found that the best way to help the Mind-Runners is for men and women to dress as differently as possible.

De Cruz related a story that during one of the first contact between Earth Return and the Mind-Runners, one of the Mind-Runners sent a mind picture to a female human. The female settler immediately gave a great cry of pain and was in the medical capsule for over two weeks. De Cruz emphasized that this incident was an accident. Although only male Mind-Runners have telepathic powers, female Mind-Runners can receive them without pain. This is not true for human females due to biological differences.

She also said that the men also had rules on clothing. They must wear long pants, no baggy pants allowed, and a short sleeve shirt. Also men who are bald or balding had to undergo hair transplants and surgery to make sure that there is at least something on the head. De Cruz said that considering the required surgery, rules for men are actually tougher than for women on Verius VI, but everything is but a small price to pay in order to live in harmony with their new world.

This played well with Earth Return’s stated goal of living and working alongside nature and being in harmony with the world. The fact that all the women here in Restart had been wearing the bonnet for a few years already also added social pressure for the new arrivals to conform to the culture.

It was De Cruz’s line about human females being unable to receive the mind-pictures due to biological differences that interests me. Earth Return could be guessing, but maybe they know this because they themselves had already conducted experiments on the matter.

I have also completed my initial discovery of the political landscape in Camp Restart. After the death of Pompano, Earth Return had been ruled by a council of eight members led by Isiah Tashime who is the ‘Mane’ of the council. Two things of note in the council; there is surprisingly only one women on the council and Andrea De Cruz seems to be in the council only because she is the “Head of Women’s Affairs”.

The other thing to note is that there is a Mind-Runner advisor to the council. This is alarming as it indicates that the alliance between Earth Return and the Mind-Runner may be far deeper than we thought. I will continue to monitor the situation.

Earth Date: 7th Nov 2238
Log: Agent Amanda Forrester
Location: Planet Verius VI

I have managed to gather more information on the abilities of the Mind-Runners. From what I heard from some of the men in Earth Return, it seems that Mind-Runners have the power to transmit emotions. According to them, they could sense the emotions of the Mind-Runners and the Mind-Runners can understand their emotions as well. If true, this means that the Mind-Runners not only have telepathy, they have empathy as well.

This could be why Agent Smith was unable to prevent them from discovering the fact that he was a Federation agent despite all the mental training we went through. The Mind-Runners may have scanned his emotions as well as his mind during orientation. We knew that the Mind-Runners could scan the mind of male humans but not the fact that they can scan our emotions as well. This new (to the Federation at least) power of the Mind-Runners leave me to wonder if we could ever risk sending another male agent to Verius VI.

Although I do not have first-hand knowledge, it seems clear that women are immune to their powers. (One propaganda video shown during orientation made it clear to all the women that telepathic contact with Mind-Runners result in extreme pain for the woman). As woman can avoid the Mind-Runners’ powers, I would recommend that only female agents be sent to Verius VI in the future. But the leaders of Earth Return are not fools. Although all the men were ‘passed clean’ by the Mind-Runners, they realized that they could have missed a few female agents. For security, no women are allowed to be in the Communication Capsule without a male supervisor present and no women are allowed to have a senior position in the communication department. I am sending this message via the separate Comm Signal Device I bought for this mission. With security at the Communication Capsule being so tight, I recommend that all future agents sent be equipped with a CSD as well.

The last thing I wish to mention is that I noticed some of the younger generation in Restart, especially those born on the planet, have taken to imitating some of the Mind-Runners’ culture and beliefs. This group is small but it is another sign that Earth Return has taken up alien culture and is slowly losing their pure human heritage.

I will try my best to stem this tide.

Earth Date: 15th July 2239
Log: Agent Amanda Forrester
Location: Planet Verius VI

This dispatch is late because Earth Return has tightened security around the city. Earth Return knows that someone transmitted an unauthorized signal to Federation space and the security wing did a search of the quarters of all the women in the city. As usual, rumors swirl in the city about a possible female spy and how the Mind-Runners were involved in the discovery of the signal. As I sent the dispatch via a secret military frequency, I wonder if there might be something to the rumor of Mind-Runners’ involvement.

In theory, it is possible that the Mind-Runners’ powers run via some natural ability to tap into electromagnetic spectrum and the ability to notice changes in the spectrum. Of course, this theory only holds up if telepathy and empathy are also part of this spectrum. Yet throughout human history we have been monitoring brainwaves so could it be possible that emotional waves are similar to brainwaves, only that we have not discovered them yet? Could it be possible that the Mind-Runner has a natural ability to tap into this spectrum? Of course all this is speculation without a Mind-Runner to run tests on.

The search by Earth Return was done with a light-hand. To our knowledge, Earth Return does not possess high-level communication scanners and I get the feeling that the security personal don’t really know what they were looking for. That’s why I believe there’s some truth on the rumors of Mind-Runner involvement.

Outside the search, the biggest news in Restart was the return of one of the “findings group”. It seems that Isiah Tashime had commissioned a group of researchers to join certain herds of Mind-Runners on their wanderings a few years ago and one of the group has now return to Restart. The findings have been released to the general public and it makes for interesting reading. I have attached a copy of the findings to this dispatch but here is a summary of the information.

The herds of Mind-Runners are nomads who run a circuit around the continent, stopping at various camps along the way for rest. The various herds all consider themselves to be one big family so when they leave a location, they always make sure everything is prepared for the next herd that will move in to replace them.

These ‘resting spots’ as they are called, are not fixed. If the Mind-Runners feel that a spot has been hurt too badly by their continued stay, they will leave the resting spot for a few years and replace it with a new spot. The herds keep in contact via their telepathy and inform each other of their decision this way. Distance between the herds is not a problem via this form of communication as mind-pictures are received almost instantly. It is as if the Mind-Runners are of one hive mind because if one Mind-Runner sends a mind-picture, the other Mind-Runner will receive it immediately no matter how far away he is.

This could be a scientific breakthrough. If the researchers are correct, we may have stumbled upon a new, better way of communication. Even as I send the signal now, the Federation will only receive this dispatch in two weeks. However if distance is truly of no concern for telepathy, it could change the whole way humankind tackles the dangers of space. If these claims are correct, then the Mind-Runners’ communications is much better than humans as it is faster and there’s no danger of equipment breakdown.

With the return of one of the “findings groups” comes a problem. I have mentioned in my last dispatch about a group of humans in Restart that has taken to mimicking the Mind-Runner’s culture and beliefs. These humans have formed a group in Restart and are calling themselves the Veritas.

The Veritas have poured over the researchers’ findings on all aspects of the Mind-Runner’s culture and beliefs and had copied some of them. Men of Veritas have started to grow their hair long, at least shoulder length, while some others have even taken to walking around shirtless in public. I am very uncomfortable with these open displays of allegiance to the Mind-Runners but the people in Restart are tolerating them. Word is that some members of the council are approving, even encouraging, the Veritas.

This group is still small however and almost every member in the group is a male. I do not believe the Veritas will have much long-lasting impact in the city but the forming of the group is another disturbing sign that all is not well in Earth Return and the humans here have started to lose their human heritage.

Attachment: Mind-Runner: Culture and Beliefs

Earth Date: 7th Nov 2239
Log: Agent Amanda Forreste
r Location: Planet Verius VI

I have mentioned earlier in my dispatches that there are certain discriminations against women in Restart. Some of the discriminations are due to fears of a female agent in the city; others are due to cultural interaction with the Mind-Runners.

There have been several small groups in Restart who have complained on many occasions about unfair treatment and I had managed to join one group. The group is still pretty fragmented at the moment but they are united in their displeasure against the council and the discrimination faced by women in the city. The women called the group "Equality Is Our Right" (EOR), and while everything is civil at the moment, I believe it’s only a matter of time before I get things come to a head.

Some of the new female colonists had staged the first protest of any sort in the history of Verius VI in front of the Government Capsule. I joined the protest and I am happy to report that not all the protestors are new arrivals. It seems that a lot of women in Restart support the protest. Some of the women have been unable to get high-level jobs in the civil service despite their qualifications and they have had enough.

Andrea De Cruz came out to talk on behalf of the council, and although the protest ended peacefully, this could be the start of major unrest in the city. The council is still very suspicious of new female arrivals and their paranoia will make it very hard for them to give in to the protestor’s demands. From what I see, they don’t even trust all that much women who had been on Verius VI for years, so it’s hard to imagine them agreeing to end the discriminations against new arrivals.

I also have another report on the Veritas group. Some women have joined them since they were first set up. While the size of the group is still small, it seems to have growing support in the council. Unlike the men of Veritas who sometimes go around shirtless, the women of the group are fully covered up.

The women of the group are easily identified as they all wear a long-sleeved blouse that cover their arms and a skirt that reaches all the way to their ankles. They also wear a strange bonnet that has a peak on it. The peak is a brim on the front of the bonnet that covered the entire front of the bonnet, from one side of the chin over the forehead and down the other side of the face. There had been bonnets with brims before in Restart, but the women of the Veritas wear bonnets with brims that are at least 20cm long, far longer than that of normal bonnets.

The women of the group look like idiots and a throwback to a time when women were nothing but doormats. I’m not sure why and how these women are willing to stand the humiliation of their dress but strangely enough the Veritas group is growing in size.

To me, this is another disturbing sign that the humans in Earth Return are starting to lose their human heritage.

Earth Date: 27th March 2241
Log: Agent Amanda Forrester
Location: Planet Verius VI

It’s been 16 months since my last dispatch.

I’m happy to announce that unrest has arisen in Restart but I fear things have not turned out the way I envisioned on Verius VI. As I had believed, the council of Earth Return was very slow in implementing any changes to end discriminations against women in Restart. Their fears of a hidden Federation agent were just too great.

Seeing the lack of progress, EOR staged a series of protests at the Government Capsule. At first everything went well as more and more women joined our protest and the council came under increasing pressure to give in to our demands. We protested daily for over three weeks before things went bad. At the last protest we held a few of the protestors began throwing missiles at the security forces. It was something unusual as up to then the protests had always been peaceful.

At first I wasn’t displeased. No progress had been achieved, and I believe it was a sign that the frustration of several women had boiled over. Several other members of EOR tried to calm things down but they were unsuccessful. Small stones and garbage were thrown at security; this made things a little uneasy but it was still peaceful. Then a brick was thrown, and the guards had enough. They stormed the protesters and start beating up protesters with their batons. Many of the protestors were arrested and the council immediately ordered a security sweep of the city for all EOR leaders. I was captured along with several of the leaders.

There was a quick show trial for the public and all leaders of EOR were charged with endangering public safety and sentenced between six and twenty four months hard labor. I was sentenced to twelve months as I was one of the original leaders of EOR, but it was ruled that I wasn’t one of the leaders involved in the riots. It was a vast over-reaction to what had been a series of largely peaceful protests, but the council pushed through the sentences and there wasn’t much anyone could do about it.

Before this, Restart never had a serious problem with crime. This was especially true for female criminals. A new building was hastily constructed to house all the new female prisoners and I could even smell the drying paint as I entered the building. We were strip-searched as we entered the prison and given prison uniforms. It was a plain calf-length dress which was dark blue in color, a pair of soft leather shoes and a white bonnet to cover our hair.

Despite the sentence of hard labor, the council clearly did not know what to do with us and for the first three weeks there was nothing to do. The food was good and it was comfortable within the prison. It was actually very boring, but everything changed at the end of the first month.

I noticed a change in the guards and all of the prisoners were brought to the courtyard where the new warden announced that there was a new regime in charge at the prison. We were all warned to obey all the guards at all times or heavy punishments would be handled out.

We soon got a taste of the new regime when we returned to our cells. Our soft mattress was gone and was replaced by a straw mat. The next day, we were marched out of the prison to our work site outside the city. The guards locked a collar on every women and they chained the prisoners in pairs by a steel chain attached to the collar. We were also given a new form of bonnet that came with a peak. The peak covered the entire front of the bonnet, from the chin over the forehead and down the other side of the face. It immediately reminded me of the bonnet women of the Veritas group were wearing and I later discovered that I was right. The council of Earth Return had allowed the Veritas group to take over the prison.

With the guards looking on to prevent any escape, we were marched from the prison to the work site with the whole city looking on. I’m sure this was done to embarrass the women and the tactic worked well. As we were marched across the city, more people came to see the prisoners who were in collars and chains, and many of my fellow prisoners kept their head down throughout the journey.

As the population of Restart got bigger, there was always a need to clear the surrounding areas of vegetation. On most other planets, construction companies would bring in heavy machinery and just dig up all the vegetation, cart it away and dump it somewhere else. Not here on Verius VI!

Ever mindful of doing harm to the local ecology, here on Verius VI they would dig up the trees and replant them at a new location. Great care is taken not to destroy the roots of the trees and for this delicate job of clearing soil without hurting the roots; everything had to be done by hand.

Connected collar to collar, we worked in pairs to clear the soil from the trees. It was hard work made worse by the fact that most of the women were unused to manual labor. The guards however were carrying canes made from the wood of the local trees and they were more than willing to use them on any women found ‘lacking in effort’. Most of the guards were young, some were just teenagers, and they were just looking for some excuses to use the canes. I was struck several times across my back and buttocks. The fact that members of the public were allowed to view us working also added to the humiliation.

When the work was done something happened that surprise the hell out of me. All the prisoners were resting when a Mind-Runner showed up. As we were technically outside the boundaries of Restart, seeing a Mind-Runner wasn’t that surprising but what this Mind-Runner did was.

Language had always been a huge problem for humans in our age of space colonization and it is the same here on Verius VI. Mind-Runners and humans are different species from different planets and it has been reported that the Mind-Runners are biologically incapable of producing any human speech. Although they do understand our language, Mind-Runners can only communicate with humans via the mind-pictures.

You know how sometimes when you see two persons in a distance, and you can just tell they are speaking to each other? This was exactly the case here. The Mind-Runner and the guard were speaking to each other. Even though the human guard never spoke a word, from their body language I could clearly tell that they were communicating with each other. Could it be possible that some humans in Earth Restart, like the Veritas group, had gained telepathic abilities?

I have just been paroled for good behavior and I am living with a couple I had befriended in Restart. Any woman released early has to be placed under the “care” of a man and Glenn had agreed to be my “overseer” until my sentence was over. I had known Glenn Lively and Jennifer Cahill on the trip to Verius VI and I do not believe it will be a problem for me to hide my status as an agent from the two of them.

I have noticed that there are many changes within Restart since my release and will try to find out more about what’s going on in the city. However my main priority will be on the Veritas group and whether some humans in Earth Restart have gained telepathic abilities.

Earth Date: 24th July 2241
Log: Agent Amanda Forrester
Location: Planet Verius VI

Verius VI is a most infuriating place. Soon after my last dispatch, I discovered that EOR has not broken up. However even before I managed to get myself to one of the meetings the council announced a ban on the group. I’m not too surprised at the ban but the council then put three leaders of the group on trial on rebellion charges. Broadcast on inter-vision, the council put up evidence that the three were planning to raid the weapons storage and stage an armed rebellion.

Despite all the troubles from the riot, no firearms of any sort were ever used by either side. Several women were presented in court testifying that they were present when the plans were discussed. Some of these women were given lighter sentences for testifying while others were agents of the council. It seems that the council had managed to get their people inside EOR and the testimonies of these agents were very damaging. The plans went deeper than attacks against the ruling council. There were plans to ask for assistance from the Federation (talk about irony), and even plans to attack the Mind-Runners if they tried to help the council.

The last part about plans to attack the Mind-Runners got the public especially riled up. The main ideology of Earth Return is in working with nature and being in harmony with their new world. The people in Earth Return have always believed that the Mind-Runners are the natives of the planet and that humans are guests. To work with the Mind-Runners is of paramount importance to the group as the Mind-Runners are part of the natural world. To formulate a plan against the Mind-Runners went against all Earth Return is about and public opinion swung heavily against EOR during the trial. All three women were sentenced to an average of eight years hard labor and there was nary a whimper from anyone. With EOR so compromised it was no surprise when it died a natural death.

The female agents of the council also created a fashion trend in the city. To protect identifies of these female agents they were veiled when they took the stand. Wearing a bonnet that came with a peak (which led me to wonder if they were members of the Veritas group), there was a white veil which hung down from the top of the bonnet. The veil totally covered the face of the agents with only a grill opening for them to see through.

Once the trial was over, the council used the chance to pass several new laws. One of which is that it’s now mandatory for women to wear long sleeves dresses that covered their arms and they also outlawed the wearing of pants for women. Only skirts that reach their ankles are now allowed. Since a slight majority of the women were already doing this, there wasn’t any complaints about it.

With public opinion so against EOR most of the women in the city started to wear the peak bonnet as a mark of allegiance to the council. Those women who do not wear the peak bonnet were quietly advised to do so. Women of the Veritas group went a step further and covered their face with a veil like the agents that testified against the leaders of EOR. The veil is attached to the rim of the bonnet and it is hung down and locked in place by a collar around the neck. Yes, the women of the Veritas group are now opening and willingly wearing collars in public!

The Veritas explained this as the women’s way to honor the women who bravely testified against EOR. That’s what they say in public, but I have another theory. One of the new findings of the “findings group” is how poor the eyesight of the Mind-Runner truly is. According to them, the Mind-Runners’ eyesight is so bad that they cannot see the features of each other. Among the males, they recognize each other through the shape and volume of their manes but they ignore each other’s faces as they cannot see features of the face clearly anyway.

Their culture has a complex series of mental greeting through their telepathy and among the males; this mental greeting is a very important part of their culture. For females who do not have telepathy, they missed out on this important part of their culture. The males would enter the females’ minds and recognize them that way. The males ignored the female’s face as they cannot see the features of the female’s face and according to the “findings group”; in the Mind-Runner’s culture, the Mind-Runners literally consider each other to be faceless. I believed this is the main reason why the women of the Veritas veiled their face; another way for them to mimic an aspect of the Mind-Runner culture.

When I walk around Restart nowadays, I feel like I am in some sort of time warp with the women all in long sleeve dresses and peak bonnets. Only worse is that some of the women are veiled as well. Since the trial there has been a noticeable change in the air. Women are now viewed with suspicion in the city, even by other women. I have had no luck in finding out whether anyone in Restart has gained telepathic abilities.

The one lead I have is the Veritas group but it seems that women can’t join Veritas directly; instead women have to be sponsored by a male member of the group. I have put in motion plans to overcome this obstacle by getting Glenn Lively to join the group. I have professed an interest in the group to both Glenn and his wife and both of them had also expressed their interest in the group as well.

Hopefully I have more progress to report in my next dispatch.

Earth Date: 29th Jan 2242
Log: Agent Amanda Forrester
Location: Planet Verius VI

The council passed another law recently. The law states that no woman may be employed in any position in management or above, and any woman currently employed in those positions must be reassigned within a month or the company employing them will be fined by the council. Almost overnight, a whole host of women were out of a job. The council softened the blow by vowing that they will try to find jobs to any women displaced by the law but that vow was a hollow one. I know of a woman who was the manager in a public cleanliness company, lost her job, and was offered a job as a road-sweeper. Needless to say, she rejected the “offer” as did most other women.

Even though I am just a lowly clerk at the Restart Tax Department, I was also affected and I was transferred to another section. When I enquired why, I was told that under the new laws they have to ensure that I do not handle any sensitive materials. The word from the council rang loud and clear; Women are not to be trusted in Restart.

I would like to say that women of the city rose up and protested against this injustice, but the truth was quite different. As I had said in my last dispatch, women are viewed with suspicion in Restart and although there were some complaints, most members of Earth Return ‘understand’ the new law. The public greeted what should have been a controversial law as an unfortunate but necessary measure to maintain the independence of Earth Return.

In fact, more than a few members of the public are happily acting as agents for the council by sending tips to the security forces of the city. A few businesses tried to go around the new law by demoting their female mangers to a lower position, but with the same pay and acting as ‘advisors’ to the new managers. The council quickly stamped out this practice and when the “Head of Women’s Affairs” Andrea De Cruz resigned from her post in support of the law, some women came out in public to support the law and said that it was a necessary sacrifice for the good of Earth Return. With public support from prominent women in Earth Return, complaints against the new law died down and discriminations against women in Restart became the new status quo.

With the sudden loss of income, most of the women affected found themselves in financial trouble. The council then opened up a dozen recently constructed buildings in the center of the city and offered places in them at no rent to any women who wish to live there. Women jumped at the chance to have a roof over their head without having to pay any rent and all the rooms were quickly occupied.

It was a glorious trap. Even those women who didn’t lose their jobs joined in applying for free housing in the Pen. The Pen (as the whole area is called) is surrounded by a wire fence with only four gates. Women can only pass through the gates of the Pen after DNA verification. The woman needs to press her hand against the lock at the gate and the lock will verify their DNA before opening the gate for them to either enter or exit. Any guest to the Pen must sign in and give DNA at the gate as well.

No males are allowed in the Pen expect for security officers, but the council wisely station male security guards just at the gates and only female security guards are inside the Pen itself. I find it laughable that the authority of female security guards extends only to the gates of the Pen. They are nothing but prison guards in a comfortable prison.

However I am the only one who can see the Pen as what it is, a prison. Most women who live in the Pen love it. It has all the facilities they wanted or needed including a swimming pool, library and several small stores. The only complaint I’ve heard from the women was regarding the small size of the room they were assigned. However it’s free so most of the women have a “beggars can’t be choosers” attitude to the whole thing. Every part of the Pen is wired with security cameras, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the women living inside the Pen are agents of the council as well.

As no man is allowed inside the Pen, married couples lived outside in the city of Restart itself. I believe this is a deliberate effort by the council to separate the single women of the city from the rest of society. It’s the perfect way for the council to track all the women and any potential Federation agents in the group.

Unfortunately for the council, I escaped their plans. I’m still on parole and still living with Glenn Lively and Jennifer Cahill. With my encouragement Glenn Lively had joined the Veritas group and had sponsored both Jennifer and me . With our membership into the group came the rules. Both Jennifer and I are required to wear the official uniform of the group.

Earth Return’s logo is “Blue sky, Green fields” so both of us are required to wear a green or blue long-sleeved blouse and a long skirt at all times. We are also required to wear the peak bonnet with the face veil connected to our collars. I managed to get around with the veil by selecting one that is semitransparent. It looks like something that comes out of the Arabian Nights, but it doesn’t hide my face and it doesn’t impair my vision while it is still technically a veil. However, I couldn’t escape the collar.

I can’t begin to say how humiliating it is to be seen wearing a collar in public, it’s even worse than my time in jail because I had no choice then. Now this seems to be a choice I made out of my own free will.

The things I do for the Federation.

Earth Date: 25th June 2242
Log: Agent Amanda Forrester
Location: Planet Verius VI

It has being slightly over six months since Glenn joined the Veritas group and I am happy to say that he is making rapid progress up the chain of command. Not a surprise to me as Glenn has taken a shine to the philosophy of Veritas.

To hear Glenn tell it, the Veritas group is a philosophical group who believes that the Mind-Runners’ ways of living is the best possible (if not the only) way for a civilization to take root and yet at the same time not harm the environment. I’m pretty sure you can’t call herds of nomads a civilization but that’s what the Veritas group believes in. As Earth Return’s main aim is to live in total harmony with nature, the Veritas group has some natural support in Earth Return and they are taking on more and more of the Mind-Runner’s beliefs.

Glenn has managed to sway Jennifer on the issue, something that isn’t that much of a surprise for me as she is also a firm believer in Earth Return’s aims. I need Glenn to climb up the ladder in Veritas so I fake enthusiasm on the matter as well. With both of us on board, Glenn decided that we have to follow stricter rules in line with the Veritas group.

Both of us are now required to wear gloves when we leave the house and our face veil was changed. My semitransparent veil lasted just a few months and it has been changed to one that is opaque and only has 2 tiny meshes for my eyes. Jennifer and I are also required to wear our collars even within the house.

What’s worse is the gag we had to wear beneath the veil. The reason for the gag is again due to the Veritas group taking on more of the Mind-Runner’s beliefs.

After the success of the initial finding groups Restart send out, the Veritas group (with support from the council) sent out several other research groups to study the Mind-Runners. Female Mind-Runners were initially thought to be quiet creatures who only speak among other females and never in the presence of a male Mind-Runner. According to the new studies complied by the research groups, they believe that female Mind-Runners do not have a language at all!

According to the studies I read, among male Mind-Runners there is almost no need for vocal speaking as they can do all their communication via telepathy. The males can also use their telepathy to the females, so the vocal language among the Mind-Runners is very limited. According to the research, Mind-Runners use vocals for names of places and individuals but they do not have a written language and they do not understand the concept of vowels, poetry or even grammar.

For all intent and purposes, the Mind-Runners do not have a spoken language at all. For the male Mind-Runners, this is not a problem as they have telepathy but female Mind-Runners do not have telepathy. If the research is to be believed, not only do the female Mind-Runners not have a language, the only way they can communicate is via grunts and hand gestures.

Veritas didn’t issue this shocking discovery out of the blue. Even among the Veritas members this finding was very controversial. It was one of the main reasons why Veritas send out so many research groups to study the Mind-Runners; the researchers want to be certain of their findings.

Eventually later research groups all came to the same conclusion as well; Female Mind-Runners could only communicate via grunts and hand gestures that do not amount to any form of language. To the Veritas who wish to ape the Mind-Runners, this means that female members of the Veritas do not speak in public at all. All female members of the Veritas have to wear a ball-gag while in public and for the first time, I was actually glad for the veil. With the opaque veil on, no one could see that I was wearing a humiliating ball-gag beneath it.

Another piece of research that is even more interesting in my view shows that the Mind-Runners have a custom called ‘mind cleansing’. About once every ten days, male Mind-Runners would use their telepathy to enter their female’s minds to cleanse their mind of ‘deviant’ thoughts. According to Glenn, there were serious problems in getting the Mind-Runners to explain what they meant by ‘deviant’ thoughts.

As far as the researchers can tell, the cleansing ritual is the Mind-Runners’ way to maintain social harmony by literally wiping clean any thoughts the females Mind-Runners have that are not in line with what is viewed as proper Mind-Runners thinking. When they were asked what was consider proper Mind-Runners thinking for females, the Mind-Runners gave a clean and empty mind-picture to the researchers.

To the Mind-Runners, females are just mindless, faceless, voiceless creatures good only for manual labor and giving birth to the next generation.

We always knew that the Mind-Runners have a patriarchal society but till now we have never thought that the Mind-Runners use their telepathy to force the patriarchal system on their society. It sound like mass mind-control to me, but the Veritas group seem to be taking the new information in stride. In fact, according to Glenn they are discussing how they could do a human version of this mind cleansing ritual. Yes, you read that right.

Amazingly, the Veritas group seems to think that they should follow the Mind-Runners and turn women into mindless, faceless, voiceless goats like female Mind-Runners.

As I have yet to find out anything about telepathy among the Veritas members, I am forced to embrace their goals in emulating the Mind-Runners. Hopefully I will have something better to report in my next dispatch.

Earth Date: 26th Dec 2242
Log: Agent Amanda Forrester
Location: Planet Verius VI

I have never enjoyed Christmas like I did this year.

Soon after I had sent the last dispatch, Glenn said that he had signed up both Jennifer and me for a Veritas training camp. He had mentioned it a few months back that advance members of the group had to undergo a training course before they are allowed in the upper echelons of the group.

I didn’t think Jennifer and I had to undergo the training as well, but Glenn said that the whole family, not just him, must undergo the training. We also sign an agreement form that states that we agree to any treatment given to us during our training. As my aim was to get Glenn deeper and higher into the group, I agreed heartily.

The training was to last three months and Jennifer and I were to attend it at the brand new Veritas compound on the edge of the city. Glenn was to attend a separate training camp outside the city with the Mind-Runners. As I had expected, the training was spilt between the males and the females.

Jennifer and I were dropped at the Veritas compound and I recognized it as the area I helped cleared while I was imprisoned. Outside Jennifer and myself, there were six other women with us. We were all in our uniform; peak bonnet, veil, collars, long sleeves blouse and a long skirt.

The moment the men said their goodbyes we were ushered into the compound by the guards. I saw that we were in a big courtyard and there was only one sole building in the compound. It was huge, easily one of the biggest buildings in Restart. We were ordered to stand in a straight line and to look ahead while the gates of the compound closed behind us with a loud clang.

Once it was closed, the guards ran screaming towards us. We were called names; they screamed that we were useless, that we were whores, sluts, bitches and animals. In between the name-calling, we were ordered to look ahead and not to move from our position.

As the treatment continued one of the women must have moved. I heard a scream and saw that one of the women had dropped to the ground. All the women looked at the woman who fell and I saw that one of the guards was holding an old-fashion cattle prod. A moment later, all of us joined the woman on the ground.

As I was struggling to clear my head, the guards screamed that we women belong there on the ground, not standing upright like normal humans. We were ordered to take off everything we were wearing. I complied immediately but a few of the other women were slow in their movements and suffered under the cattle prod again. Eventually, all eight of us were naked.

A door was open and we were ordered to crawl to the building on our hands and knees. Knowing that it was useless to resist, I immediately did so. This time, none of the other women were slow in obeying.

Once inside the building, we were ordered to kneel against the wall and ordered not to move. We were all handed a green mask and ordered to use it to cover our head. The mask only has an opening for the mouth, with two tiny meshes for our eyes.

We were then given a new type of bonnet and ordered to put it on. This bonnet has a peak that went from one cheek to the other cheek, but instead of going over the forehead like a regular bonnet, it instead cut across the forehead. I later learn that this new bonnet was called a poke bonnet.

It was well named. The peak was rigid, heavy and protrudes out much further than the normal peak bonnet, at least 40 cm from out face. This means that once we put on the bonnet, we could not look to the sides unless we turned our head. The peak also cut across the forehead so our view above us was blocked as well. The only sight we have is straight forward or downwards. Leather straps below our chin locked the poke bonnet in place.

We were also given collars and ball-gags to put on. Once we put on these items, the guards screamed out orders for us to start crawling on our hands and knees. We were still naked, wearing only our mask, bonnet, ball-gag and collar. As we were crawling, we were almost looking straight at the ground as the poke bonnet blocked our sight.

At this point I understood what the Veritas training was about; it was to turn human women into female Mind-Runners, mindless, faceless, and voiceless.

To add insult to injury, the guards were screaming insults at us the whole time we were crawling. After a while, we were directed to crawl outside the building into another part of the compound. Veritas had built a running track in the compound and we were ordered to crawl a lap around the track. We quickly obeyed and once we finished the lap we were ordered to get up and to start running.

This was done over and over; crawl a lap, run a lap, crawl a lap, run a lap. After awhile, some of the other women began slowing down and the guards were using the cattle prod again. Running and crawling around the track naked but for the mask and bonnet was mindless exercise designed to break the women.

I was the fittest of the eight women there but even I was feeling the strain. The guards never explained anything and with the ball-gag on we were in no position to ask questions. It must have been hours later before we were finally allowed to crawl back into the building.

All the women were led to our individual cells and I crawled into a cell with white walls on all sides. Even the door to my cell was white. I found that I could release the ball-gag but I did not have the key to the lock of my poke bonnet or collar. Soon after, a small door was opened and a plate of food was placed inside my cell. There were no utensils and I had to use my hands. I ate the food hungrily.

After the meal, the small door opened again and I was ordered to shove the plate out. After obeying, the small door was shut and I was left in my soundproof cell. I began to feel woozy, and that’s when I discovered that the food was drugged.

The drug wasn’t enough to knock me out and I soon discovered why. An image came on all sides of the room showing the exercise today at the running track. Everywhere I turned, I saw an image of my humiliation today. Voices came on in the room; it was the voice of the guards screaming at us today. Soon the guards’ voices were replaced by laughter of men who were laughing at how stupid we looked and how useless women in general were.

The drugs were used to lower our resistance to the images and voices designed to enforce the message that women were inferior to men. Even with my training, I could feel tears in my eyes so I could guess that it would be extremely effective against the rest of the women.

This was the routine day after day. Mindless humiliating exercise followed by nights of images of our humiliation. After a few days, I could see the rest of the women being physically broken down by the training but I held on, taking comfort in the fact that I only had to last three months before the training is finished.

When the three months was up nothing happened. The training continued and I feared that I had miscalculated the time we had spent in the compound. However as time passed, we were still there. The rest of the women knew as I did that we were well beyond the three months training limit and it began having a greater effect on them. Their body language became more listless and they moved as if they were automatons. Whatever the guards ordered the women would do, immediately and without question. In hindsight, this was another method to break the women and it was very effective. Even with my training, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get out of the compound.

Then, one day out of the blue, we were given our clothes back. I was never a fan of the Veritas uniform but I fell in love with the long sleeves blouse and long skirt right there. The mask, poke bonnet, collar and ball-gag stayed on but none of us minded because we were all finally wearing clothes.

The ominous main gate open and we were allowed to walk, no more crawling, out of the compound. A group of men was standing there waiting for us and among them as Glenn Lively. Jennifer gave a muffled cry and ran forward to hug him.

At first I thought Jennifer was just overcome with emotions but when she reached Glenn, Jennifer went down on her knees, grabbed one of Glenn’s legs and started crying. I thought she was crying in relief but then I noticed the slightly smug smile on Glenn’s face and I knew something was wrong.

Glenn Lively was a good man who respected his wife enormously but something had changed in him. I looked around and noticed that all the other women who came out of the compound were all on their knees crying at the feet of their men. I was the only woman still standing.

Glenn looked at me and for the first time since this mission began I felt fear. Glenn pointed at his other leg and for the first time ever I saw and felt a mind-picture. It was a picture of me crying my eyes out beside Jennifer.

For the first time I understood what the men meant by ‘knowing’ the mind-pictures that came from the Mind-Runners. I knew immediately that this mind-picture came from Glenn and this picture was what he wanted me to do. I couldn’t stop myself and worse, I felt compelled to do it. I ‘needed’ to make that picture come true. Before I knew it, I was walking towards Glenn. I tried to stop myself but it was like I was in a dream and was powerless to do anything. I went to my knees; grabbed Glenn’s leg and tears came to my eyes.

Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t help but feel happy that I was crying at the feet of Glenn. It felt right because I knew this was what Glenn wanted, and I was happy to make his dream come true. Deep down I knew this was wrong but I was unable to do anything to stop myself. I didn’t want to do anything to stop myself. This was what Glenn wanted me to do.

They let us out yesterday because it was Christmas and Jennifer and I spent the whole day resting. Whatever training Glenn underwent, he now has the powers of telepathy and empathy. He can make me feel and see things.

The Veritas of Verius VI has found some way to gain the Mind-Runners' powers and human telepathy is now possible. I will now endeavor to discover how they did it.

Earth Date: 6th Feb 2243
Log: Agent Amanda Forrester
Location: Planet Verius VI

This dispatch is months early because I do not know how long I have. I am sending this important information to the Federation while I am still capable of doing so.

Within days of returning from our training life changed in our house. Glenn didn’t say anything but I discovered that both Jennifer and I were now constantly looking for him to give orders. Jennifer even confessed that she hated making any decision for herself, and I understand what she is saying. My life seems so much easier when all I have to do is to wait for a mind-picture from Glenn to tell me what to do.

Word spread quickly in Restart that the Veritas group has found a way to copy the telepathic powers of the Mind-Runners and that the council want Veritas to teach it to everyone. However, there were two problems with that:

First is that like the Mind-Runners, only males could get the telepathic powers and secondly, the Veritas group can’t teach anyone because the powers can only be taught by the Mind-Runners.

It seems both the Federation and Earth Return had been going about telepathy the wrong way. We were thinking about the electromagnetic spectrum and brainwaves, but to the Mind-Runner telepathy is not a power, it is a language. To the Mind-Runners, telepathy is a language and human males had always been capable of acquiring it. They only need someone that can teach them the language, and live in an environment where they see, speak, and hear nothing but the mind language.

Glenn related his experiences to me. He was sent to live with a Mind-Runner herd and as part of his training he had to wear a ball-gag at all times. He was not allowed to speak vocally and only allowed to release the ball-gag for meals. He was also bombarded with mind-pictures by the male Mind-Runners everyday. Glenn said that for over four months he and all the men he was with lived in a world where all communications was done by telepathy.

According to Glenn, it’s like learning a new language on Earth; if you live in a group who all speak a different language, given time you will pick up a word or two. Live there long enough and sooner or later, you will be able to pick up the language. It sound insane and even the Veritas group thought it was too simplistic to be true, but the Mind-Runners insisted on it and they were right. It worked!

For some reason, human telepaths can’t teach this mind-language; only the Mind-Runners can. Glenn said that the Veritas group believed this is because the Mind-Runners are better at the language. Already the Earth Return Council and the Veritas group have sent more training groups to the Mind-Runners and they have came to an agreement so that more humans could learn the mind language. The Veritas group has been unable to get female humans to mimic the powers. To the group’s credit, they tried.

According to Glenn, the group had convinced the Mind-Runners to do the same experiment with female humans but it was unsuccessful. The biggest obstacle at first was how to get female humans to be able to receive the mind-pictures without pain. It would be impossible for human females to learn the mind language if they went into a coma every time they received the mind-pictures. For this problem the Mind-Runners had a ready solution.

From the every first time the Mind-Runners tried to send a picture to a female human, they knew what the problem was. Female humans were just too strong-willed to accept the intrusion of an alien mind. In Mind-Runners society, females are constantly put down by the males. Living from birth in a society where they were constantly insulted and abused, female Mind-Runners were more docile and thus their minds were more able to accept a foreign intrusion.

The training Jenny and I went through was designed to break down the will of the trainees so that we could accept the mind-pictures. In this the training was successful, as every female who went through the training was able to accept the mind-pictures in some degree. It seems that the more docile a female was, the clearer the mind-picture would be.

However being bombard by mind-pictures did nothing for the females as they were still unable to gain telepathic powers. Just like female Mind-Runners, female humans are unable to ‘speak’ the mind-language. According to Glenn, the Veritas believed this was due to the way male’s and female’s brains are wired. With the right training females might be able to understand the mind-picture ‘language’, but the way they were born made it impossible for them to ‘speak’ the language.

The Veritas group had already informed the council about their findings and this has caused the council to be undecided on whether they should make every male in Restart learn the telepathic ‘language’. The council might worry about a female spy in their midst but the members of the council know that if every male in Restart learn the mind language, they will effectively be condemning the female population of Restart to second-class citizenship.

Some are not waiting for a decision from the council and had volunteered for the training. In fact, membership in the Veritas group has reached record numbers as everyone is rushing to join. A surprising number of these new recruits are females who wish to experience the mind-pictures for the first time.

The revelation that humans can achieve telepathy is ground-breaking but it is also a huge danger for me. So far I have been safe from detection as the Mind-Runners were unable to scan me. This is no longer a problem. Glenn has said that his telepathic powers are still growing and in Mind-Runners term, his ‘language’ is still baby-talk. He fully expects to gain more powers as he gains more experience. I fear it is a just a matter of time before he discovers that I work for the Federation. Until then I will continue to work to gain information on this planet.

For the Federation- One People, One Race, One Destiny.

* * *

Upon receiving the dispatch from Agent Amanda Forrester the Federation wasted no time. A fleet of battleships was sent to Verius VI, scheduled to arrive in two months.

They discovered that Earth Return was ready.

As the fleet entered orbit every military member in the convoy received a mind-picture of the deceased Mahmoud Pompano and Dr. Marcs Boecker, along with the mind-pictures of Agent Valerie Lim, Agent Robert Booth, and Agent Shane van Hook. They also saw an image that showed Article 16.

Most of the soldiers had no idea who or what the images were about but the commanding officers of the ships knew. The threat was clear: If the Federation attacked Verius VI, Earth Return would use their telepathy to inform the whole human race about Article 16 and that the Federation was responsible for the murders of their leaders.

The fleet commander immediately sent a message to the U.F.P. Senate, asking for instructions. They did not have to wait long. Every senior political and military leader in the Federation received the same mind-picture; distance truly wasn’t a factor in telepathy.

A deal was quickly struck between the Federation and Earth Return. The Federation agreed to build a space station in the orbit of Verius VI and pay a yearly stipend to Earth Return. In return Earth Return agreed to send telepaths to work for the Federation.

It was a deal both sides could live with. With the space station, the Federation could minimize the contacts normal people had with the ‘deviants’ of Earth Return. All ships arriving to Verius VI must dock at the station and only authorized personal could travel from the station to the planet surface. To further minimize the influence of Earth Return, the Federation cleared a landing area on Verius VI called the “Live Zone” and no Federation humans are allowed out of the “Live Zone”.

Only in the Live Zone and the space station would Federation personnel have contact with Earth Return. This arrangement was so successful it was soon copied by other colonies. Earth Return was also more than happy with this arrangement.

Earth Return did not trust the Federation and they were happy to minimize contacts with them. Working with the Federation left a bitter taste in their mouths, but with the yearly stipend from the Federation Earth Return did not have to worry about any long-term financial problems of the colony. Their telepaths (called 'The Veritas' by the Federation) were also in high demand as their abilities were invaluable to the Federation.

The telepaths were able to detect if a person was telling the truth, and the more advanced telepaths' empathic powers helped cool down tempers whenever things threaten to get out of hand during negotiations. It wasn’t long before the Federation started to call all the people from Verius VI the Veritas.

As word spread about the telepaths of Verius VI, more people came to Verius VI hoping to learn the mind language. However immigration to Verius VI was difficult as the Veritas only accept those people who agree to accept Earth Return’s original goal; “To live in nature; to work with nature; to be one in harmony with nature.”

Naturally most humans were unable to match the ideals of the Veritas, and with the powers of the Veritas, lying about the matter would not help. The few who could match these ideals were welcomed to Verius VI with open arms, and they were sent for training with the Mind-Runners.

The potential attack by the Federation cleared all doubts the council had and they decreed that all males and females in Restart had to undergo mind training. The men in Restart were mostly willing to go along with the training but there were mass objections by the females of Restart. The council did not give them a choice and training was forced on anyone who objected.

Within three years, every man on Restart had at least some limited telepathic powers and every female on Restart was able to receive the mind language. Rules for females became stricter and within a year of the potential attack every female seen in public on Verius VI was masked, gagged and fully covered. The Veritas uniform became the norm, though it was not unusual to see naked females forced to walk or crawl along the streets wearing only their mask, bonnet, gag and collar. Within a generation, the ideal female was one that was mindless, faceless, and voiceless.

The Mind-Runners continued to live side-by-side with the humans on Verius VI and continued to teach the mind language to new generations of the Veritas. Their influence on the humans grew and before long, humans and Mind-Runners were living together in the cities and in the herds of the open plains.

The Federation never heard from Agent Amanda Forrester ever again and when they asked about her a few years later the Veritas informed them that she was still alive and living as a proper female on Verius VI; mindless, faceless, and voiceless.

The End