When Glen finished telling his story he stared at his plate and pushed around his pancakes with fake maple syrup. He lost his appetite. No one said a word until Pumpkin piped up.
“That was Sooooo Scaaaary.” The fairy covered her little eyes and looked terribly cute, but Glen was not in the mood for cute.
“Act your age, Pumpkin,” he said.
“I think you had to be there.” Boston did not get it. “What?”
“I’ll be five hundred and fifty in a few weeks,” Pumpkin said with a hint of sadness in her voice.
“Yeah, right.” The word came from the other side of the table. Colonel Weber did not believe a word the fairy said. Sometimes that was the safest position to take with the Little Ones, but they resented being prejudged so Glen had to interject quickly.
“Leave him alone,” he commanded. He also pointed at Mirowen. “You too.”
“I’ll just have a sip from my bucket of milk instead,” Pumpkin said. She lifted the little juice glass and drank, but spilled some milk down her front.
“You Okay?” Bobbi also sat across the table and got a good look at Glen’s face.
“Do you have any idea how many people I have killed over the centuries—the millennia?”
“It was a Wolv.” Lockhart spoke softly because he really knew better.
“Just because it is not human that doesn’t make it less of a person.” Glen used his standard line.
“Okay, so it was a bad person,” Bobbi suggested.
“Still counts.” Glen got up and walked to the window.
Alice immediately started with the questions. “So what happened to Miss Watson and the Calveris?”
Bobbi took up the answer. “Debbie Watson became Mrs. Wilson. You met Willie on the plane. Her grandson.”
“But he’s…” Alice caught her tongue.
“What? Black like me?” Bobbi teased. “Debbie is white. Mixed marriage. Anyway, she retired last year and lives in Florida. I talked to her last night when I took a much needed break.”
“How’s Ben?” Lockhart asked, but Alice wasn’t finished.
“What do you mean retired? You mean you made her come to work for you?”
“We are strictly a voluntary organization,” Bobbi insisted.
“It was cheaper than paying for years of therapy,” Lockhart interjected with a grin.
Bobbi explained a little. “She worked in Ancient cultures and Elder races. She went to a bunch of archeological sites in her day. Not to dig with the staff, mind you—“
“—But to be sure what they dug up was safe for human consumption.” Alice interrupted. “I get it.”
“But what about the Calveris?” Boston was curious now.
“Before my time.” Bobbi looked at Lockhart.
“Just months but before my time, too,” Lockhart said. “I bet Mister Calveri still has the hole in his wall. He probably has a frame around it and sells tickets.”
“Ha, ha.” Boston wasn’t laughing.
“Will you two stop whispering!” Colonel Weber interrupted. He yelled at Emile and Mirowen like they were giving him indigestion. They looked like they wanted to say something in response, but the big marine, Sergeant Thomas was between them and the Colonel and he was an intimidating sight even when he was just observing.
Glen quickly stepped back to the table. “So when will the limos get here?” He changed the subject.
“Noon.” Boston answered. “They were due at two but we pushed it up as far as we could.”
“It’s ten forty-five now. Doctor Roberts, Mirowen, let’s go look at the Vordan fighter they captured.” Sergeant Thomas got up with them but signaled for the other marine, Miriam to stay with Lockhart.
“Wait up.” Alice gulped her coffee while she grabbed her laptop and steno pad. “Don’t you ever rest?”
“No.” Lockhart and Bobbi spoke together.
“Take good notes.” Boston hollered as Alice ran to catch up, and Alice waved without turning.
Glen walked beside the marine. There was something he needed to know.
“Eating next to a full bird Colonel give you indigestion?”
Sergeant Thomas nodded. “Big time.”
The Vordan fighter-bomber was in a Quonset hut by the helipad. There were several huts and Glen was glad Alice did not ask what was in them.
“Sorry people.” There were guards outside the bay doors—not marines. “No one is allowed in until the Traveler gets here. You especially Doctor Roberts.”
“Bobbi, er, Ms Brooks set this up?” Glen asked while Alice spoke over his shoulder.
“But that’s you, isn’t it?”
“Lockhart, not that it matters.” The other guard spoke. He eyed the Sergeant Thomas and gave off very unwelcoming vibes.
“You’re the traveler?” The first man caught what Alice said. “Prove it.”
“Well, Far-quan-ned-ed. How do you pronounce that?”
“OH?” Glen looked pleased. “I knew a Far-canned once. ‘Course he did not spell it the same.”
“What?” Alice did not follow.
“Yeah. Akkadian sticks. He didn’t even use the same letters.” He smiled for Alice. “So how do I prove it?”
“No idea.” The second man stepped forward. “I think you folks need to go back up to the big house.”
“Pumpkin!” Glen called and the fairy was obliged to appear, even as she had the night before when she first appeared. It took her a second to get her bearings before she zoomed up to Glen’s face and pouted.
“I was in the middle of saying something.”
“What were you saying?” Emile Roberts asked. Glen, Mirowen and especially Pumpkin who threw her hands to her hips as she hovered in mid air looked at the man like he was plain stupid.
“Gone with the wind,” Mirowen said. “She probably can’t even remember what they were talking about.”
“I can’t,” Pumpkin said, grumpily.
“Pumpkin.” Glen regained the fairy’s attention and that got her to smile again. “I need you to tell Lockhart to call down here to the hut. Can you do that?”
“Easy,” Pumpkin said, and she left so fast it appeared as if she vanished. The only telltale sign was the little breeze of her passing. The phone rang a few seconds later, about as long it would take the man to call up the number and get his cell to dial it.
“Yes, sir.” Farquanded answered the phone. “Bill is already unlocking the door.” He spoke clearly enough but he couldn’t seem to get his eyes off Glen.
Glen stepped up. Everyone followed him into the hut where Glen breathed. He was afraid the Vordan ship might have been in pieces like the Humanoid escape pod. It looked untouched, apart from the scars it got from the shots that brought it down.
“Fyodor!” Glen spied the man in the corner.
“Traveler.” Fyodor came over to join the crowd.
“You missed Brunch.
“I had breakfast.”
“Can it still fly?”
Fyodor shrugged and Glen stepped in to take a closer look at the systems. He was right, the Vordan were honestly not much more advanced than the human race. Doctor Roberts edged up to one side and Mirowen edged up to the other. They were being curious but Glen was going to need them to help fix the thing.
Alice decided she had to play hostess. “Fyodor pilots the company plane and he was a cosmonaut, I guess. This is Sergeant Thomas and I think he has assigned himself to be the Traveler’s bodyguard.”
Fyodor started to laugh at that thought. For the next fifteen minutes he couldn’t look at the marine without laughing.
A half hour later, Fyodor sat in the pilot’s seat. He had to keep his legs straight to reach the controls and said that would get very uncomfortable on a long flight. But for now, the hut doors were open and everyone else was well out of the way.
The engine started right up and Fyodor gave it a minute to let the pressure stabilize before he lifted the ship off the ground. He bumped the ceiling, but he slowly coaxed it back down and through the Quonset hut doors and only took off a cross beam at the top of the doorway. He set it down on the grass outside and shut it down.
Everyone ran up when Fyodor opened the cockpit, but it was Alice who spoke first. “Remind me not to let you park my car–” Her eyes got big and her hand went to her mouth as she looked at Glen. “My God, I’m starting to sound like you and Lockhart.”
Glen smiled. “I only get glib when I am nervous.” With that he turned to Farquanded. “You and Bill need to gather the troops. You need to bring the prisoner here, alive and in one piece.” Glen knew that was not an easy assignment, but now that the ship was out in the open there were a few more systems Fyodor, Emile and Mirowen needed to check, and Glen needed to plug the ball he took from the Humanoid escape pod into the Vordan communicator.
NOTE: To read this story from the beginning or to read any of the stories of the Traveler please click the tab “Traveler Tales.” You can read the stories on the right independently, or just the Vordan story on the left, or the whole work in order as written. Your choice. –Michael.