Glen was woozy for an hour. He passed in and out of consciousness and said things like, “Lockhart, where do I know you from?” And, “I’m hearing voices in my head. Ooo, that is not a good sign.” And, “I need to see a doctor. I know, Doctor Mishka. No, that wouldn’t work.” When he started to regain his senses, he listened for a while to the voices outside his head before he opened his eyes.
“So, who is this guy?” That was the red head.
“Top secret,” Lockhart replied.
“Hey, Billings.” The other agent stuck his bald head in the door. “This just came through. Read it.”
“So, what did the fingerprints tell you?” Lockhart guessed.
“Fingerprints?” Fyodor asked.
“I used to be a cop,” Lockhart responded.
“All right, so who is this guy?” The red head, Billings sat down and gave the paper to Lockhart.
“Close the door, please.” Fyodor asked and bald head came in and also sat.
“Ultra top secret as in none of your business.”
“But if Washington says we are supposed to do what he says, I want to know who he is.”
Glen could practically hear Lockhart shake his head. “Don’t look at me.” Fyodor spoke. “I don’t know either.”
“I know,” Glen mumbled. “No I don’t”
“I’ll say this.” Lockhart sounded serious. “He is my boss’ boss. He runs the whole organization only sometimes he has these memory problems.”
“Memories.” Glen sang softly. “In the corners of my mind…”
“You mean, he is—“ Fyodor did not finish the sentence.
This time Glen was sure he could hear Lockhart nodding. “I walked right past him a couple of years ago. I even stared at him, but he had no idea who I was.”
“So we have to follow the orders of a mental defective?” The bald one was unhappy.
“No.” Lockhart rose to the defense. “When I say memory problems I mean something a little more complicated than that.”
“Great!” Billings did not really think it was great. He got up to pace. “Look, how long do we have to keep Mohammed locked up? We can’t keep him forever, you know.”
“Until the Princess gets here,” Lockhart reminded them. “Those are the orders.”
“Yeah, who is this Princess?” The Bald one asked but Lockhart shook his head again. “Okay, then where is she coming from, across town or out of town?”
“Much further than that, I think,” Fyodor interjected.
No, I’m sorry.” Billings sounded determined. “We can’t wait any longer. As far as we know they may have some other way of setting the thing off.”
“Okay, okay.” Glen sat up but he did not look too healthy.
“Robert?” Fyodor looked at Lockhart.
“Robert. Roberta? Roberta Brooks, FBI. Is Bobbi here?” Glen looked around the room.
“No. Bobbi’s not here,” Lockhart said.
“Too bad,” Glen said. “We did a bomb in 1973. Of course that one needed a freight car. Jersey Central. That would have been a sight, Penn Station under a mushroom cloud. Okay, Okay.” Glen repeated himself but it did not appear that he was talking to anyone in the room. “Sit down, Billings. Baldy, you got a name?”
“Radcliff,” the bald man said.
“No offense, Radcliff. I’m losing mine, too.” He put his hand out. “Radcliff. It sounds like a Yankee name. Fyodor, you take the other hand.” Fyodor covered Glen’s hand and Radcliff got the idea and took the other. “Now, I think this is silly, but Gallena says it is tradition. Ready? Don’t let go no matter what. Here goes nothing, Lockhart. Probably absolutely nothing.”
Lockhart grinned when Glen vanished from his spot to be replaced by a beautiful young woman with long golden brown hair and sharp blue eyes. Fyodor jumped, but quickly grabbed the hand again. Radcliff looked too stunned to move, and Billings sat down.
“So how do I look?” The Princess let go of the hands and stood. She had on a proper black and silver trim business suit, not at all like the suit Glen had been wearing. “Do I look FBI enough?”
“You look fabulous.” Lockhart said and all the men in the room nodded their heads.
“But will I be able to go out on the street without getting too many stares?” That was her real question.
“Impossible,” Fyodor said.
“Your Highness could wear a tent and people would stare,” Lockhart said. Billings and Radcliff could only nod.
The Princess put her hand to her lip before she decided. “I will take that as a compliment.” She let out a touch of her radiant smile and turned to the FBI. “Now, let me see this prisoner. Gallena says she would like to have a word with him.”
“Yes, mam.” Billings reconciled something in his head. Radcliff was still stuck at the jaw dropped, staring point.
Mohammed was a low-level operative for Al-Qaida, an organization which at the time only one person in the office knew anything about.
“Apparently they have been smuggling in pieces of the bomb for several months with the objective of having it ready in time for the Olympics,” Billings explained. “My guess is they are aiming for the closing ceremonies, but if we can find the assembly point, we can shut down the whole operation before it gets that far.”
The Princess nodded as she turned to face them all with an explanation of her own. “Gallena needs to interview the prisoner alone, just before you release him. You will also need to vent the room thoroughly before anyone goes in there.”
“I don’t understand,” Radcliff said. Only Lockhart understood from the days of his first encounter with the Traveler..
“Gallena is Orlan.” The Princess waited for the inevitable question.
“What is Orlan?”
“Not human.” The Princess gave that thought time to sink in before she continued. “Every Orlan secretes a scent that stimulates mating, but on humans it acts like a drug. It saps the will and makes a person pliable to direct commands. It is not a recommended course of action, but as you say, time may be short and it is quicker than waterboarding.”
“Never mind. It will just get you in trouble.” With that, the Princess left and Gallena came to stand in her place, and at six foot, six inches tall, she towered over them all. At a glance, apart from her basketball height she looked human enough—if one considered a Barbie doll shape human—including the large breasts and the super long legs. Even her hair which was white like snow, not platinum or colorless white did not seem too out of place. But the eyes gave her away. They were lavender, not any color ever seen on a human being.
“Excuse me,” she said in a human sounding voice and she stepped into the room where Mohammed was seated at a table, drumming his fingers and bored. The man looked up and his eyes got big.
“Mohammed,” Gallena said his name and the man fell to his knees and trembled.
“An angel. Allah protect me.”
Gallena shrugged a very human shrug. There was no telling how humans would react on first seeing her, but in a minute, as she let her scent fill the room, it did not matter.
“Mohammed, you must leave this place. The bomb that has been built is very bad.”
“Bad,” Mohammed said in a dreamy voice.
“You must leave this place and go straight to the bomb, and you must find a way to break it without setting it off. It is very wrong. It must not be set off. Do you understand?”
“Break it.” Mohammed nodded. “Do not let it go off.”
“God go with you,” Gallena said, and she escorted the man to the door. He went out without paying any attention to who was around or who might stop him. He had the protection of an angel. He thought he might even be invisible.
Gallena came out and the Princess immediately returned. “My job is tracking and hunting,” she said. “Lockhart and Fyodor, you are with me. Billings and Radcliff, you follow us but keep whoever is coming well back so you are not seen by Mohammed. He does not know us, but he knows you and that might spook him and break the spell.”
“Spell?” Fyodor asked.
“Spell-like.” The Princess smiled and took the man’s arm. “Better than hypnosis.”
It turned out the Princess did not need to use her tracking talent. Mohammed went straight for a warehouse building and walked in the front door. “Pooh!” she said as she lead the others around to the side alley to get in another way, unnoticed.
“Let us go in first and give us time to try and find it.” Those were Billing’s and Radcliff’s instructions. “They may have it rigged to go off on short notice and an attack on the front door might inspire them to set it off.”
Together, the Princess, Fyodor and Lockhart found a back window that was open and easy reach from the alley. “Too easy,” the Princess said, and her suit vanished to be replaced by her armor and weapons. She had her miraculous cloak on as well and she reached deep into the inside pocket of her cloak and pulled out a bow, already strung, and a handful of arrows. Lockhart looked at his and Fyodor’s guns. They had no silencers.
“How does it do that?” Fyodor fingered the cloak and watched it blow freely in the wind. “Why do you not have a big lump in the cloak?”
“Magic,” the Princess said with an impish grin, and she pulled herself silently up and over the lip of the window. Lockhart and Fyodor came right behind her.
The warehouse was big, punctuated only by the steel girders that held up the roof and numerous piles of crates, some with tarps, that were scattered in every direction.
“Needle in a haystack,” Lockhart whispered.
The Princess looked up where a railing and walkways were positioned to oversee the work down on the floor. “Minefield,” she said as the bullets started flying.
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.