Fred and Derf
Fred astonished me when he announced that he had fallen in love. What should one say, when a fungus tells you that, in the end of a dark cave? Books teaching etiquette have no advice about that, unfortunately.
I coughed, and said "Congratulations, Who is the lucky lady?"
Fred laughed and said "My Dear Friend, you certainly talk foolishness. I am not a man, but a fungus. Surprisingly, you think that I am male, because you gave me a male name. However, fungi are neither male nor female".
I suddenly realized that it was true. Fred had gradually changed to a person from an object, and I had always pictured him as male.
"I have fallen in love with something neither male nor female, but fungus. It complements me completely, with opposite qualities to mine. I know humans need names. Therefore you must call it Derf", he said.
"I must fetch BabyJane", I said.
I went to the mouth of the cave, and asked BabyJane to come with me at once. Fred explained all that had happened, and asked her to get a small sample of Derf. Derf's hyphae are in the cracks of the rock, and completely penetrate Whistle Mountain. BabyJane easily found parts of Derf in a deep crack, and took a sample of it.
"Thank you, thank you",BabyJane, said Fred. "Now you will be able to grow Derf in the laboratory, and Derf there will communicate with Derf in the mountain. I, with Derf will then understand feelings, and Derf with me will understand symbols, calculations and facts. Do you think that now that I am a couple, we will have a soul?"
"I don't know", Fred, she said, "You will have to ask a religious teacher"
Finding Dref had completely changed Fred. Before that, he had logical intelligence, and understood many facts, and was interested in forms, structures, and systems. He had not lost these qualities which I pictured as masculine characteristics, but acquired feminine characteristics as well, with emotional reactions to all events. He acquired a sense of humour as well. And, of course, he also understood humans much more, so he was no longer puzzled by war, for example, and understood the reasons for it, although he still lamented the waste by humans in it.
"Loglandia", he said, "was certainly lucky, because the Xia people learned many ways of peacefully living together. However, many other countries did not succeed in that. How could we Loglandians help them? We must try to, but it will be difficult.
We stayed in the valley for another week, and, along with Fred, visited the Listening Cave a few times. And once we climed to the summit of Whistle Mountain, because Fred wanted to formally thank the Mountain, for all that it had taught him.
I asked Fred if we had to connect Derf which we would take to the laboratory, to Derf, which stays in Whistle Mountain, by radio, like the Travel Fred is connected to the Laboratory Fred.
"No", he said, "the Travel Derf cannot be separated from the Mountain Derf. It possesses something like telepathy. When Derf is in the laboratory, I will be able to communicate telepathically as well, whenever I travel."
"In fact"., he continued, "Whistle Mountain seems intelligent, and advises the valley people, because Derf lives in the mountain. The rock, which was formerly a star, is musically talented, and stupid otherwise. The wise one is Derf. Derf uses the mountain's music to communicate with the people"
One day BabyJane, Hoover, and I were strolling on a path near Uipipis. She and I discussed Fred and Derf, while Hoover hunted rabbits.
She said " I am certainly happy that I didn't burn the fungus, as I considered doing. We now know that it is a person, though not human. Do you realize that we met an 'extraterrestrial' for the first time?"
"Yes, it's true", I said, however, Derf is perhaps a real extraterrestrial, and came with the star to Earth. It's possible also that Fred also came with it, and was thrown to the Lojbandian mountains by the impact.
Hm said BabyJane, :That's p;ossible, However we probably will never know."
"Derf perhaps remembers", I said, "By the way, what are we going to do with Fred and Derf when we get back to the laboratory. What do you think?"
She said thoughtfully "We have to continue to instruct Fred. Despite him knowing much, there is much more for him to learn. I expect that he will direct us to supply everything he needs. Surprisingly, he is now wiser than us, and knows more facts, and soon will be more experienced as well"
"And you, Aleks", she said, looking at me, "What will you do? Fred will be able to program himself. Do you intend to return to France?"
I thought hard, and looked at her. Certainly, there was nothing for me in France that was more interesting than everything happening in Loglandia. The development of Fred and Derf had only just begun. I couldn't guess how the story of Fred and Derf would turn out. However, I knew that I wanted to be here to experience it.
I stopped walking, and put my hand on BabyJane's shoulder. I kissed her.
I said "No, I intend to stay in Loglandia, and help you, And we, as a couple, will serve Fred and Derf, And in turn, they will serve the world. Please marry me, and together work at the most exciting event of all our lifetime."
BabyJane smiled, and kissed me.
"Of course," she said.