The beach in Bermuda was lovely but sad to say, that was not what they were there for. Alice had her shoes off to wade in the waves and wet sand. Josh and Wilson were too nervous to relax. Josh was going to have to learn how to pilot an alien craft and Wilson was going to be the weapons officer. Sergeant Thomas was silent and stood near attention. Sadly, Glen knew there would have to be some military presence, not to mention the Sergeant might be needed as a bodyguard after all, even if not for him. At least Pumpkin appeared to be having fun. She had settled on Alice’s shoulder and was talking all about the salty wets blowing in her face, as she called the fresh sea breeze.
Glen just stood and stared out at the water. He had no idea where the ship was except that it was somewhere in the triangle. Amphitrite would know, when he was ready.
It was very early in the day. There were a couple of joggers on the beach, but otherwise they did not appear too far out of place, being fully clothed.
“You see, the thing is,” Glen said for anyone who happened to be listening. “The gods have always been severely restricted in what they are allowed to do, even for the Kairos to perform his duties. Since the time of the dissolution of the gods, that restriction has come to cover almost everything. Danna was allowed to correct an indiscretion of one of her children. Amphitrite was allowed to punish a poor Mereman and take a Sea Serpent back into the land of legend, so-called. But as for human interaction, that is strictly forbidden. Not to say that I have behaved perfectly over the years in that respect, but still.”
“I don’t follow you.” Sergeant Thomas spoke up at last since Alice was preoccupied with Pumpkin and Josh and Wilson were trying to figure out what was impossible for them to know anything about in advance.
“I need to borrow Amphitrite. The Kargill is at the bottom of the pond somewhere and only she can get to it. At least the Kargill ship is there. I fear the Kargil may have already been taken up and left the planet. That is why Mister Smith has not been around. That is why the Kargill has not sent him to protest the Vordan presence.”
“The alien Mister Smith. I read the briefing.”
“I am sorry, Sergeant. Please keep everyone here for as long as it takes. I will be back.”
“I understand,” he said, and even as he spoke the Stealth Bomber turned company jet flew overhead and waggled its wings. Fyodor was taking Lockhart and a very disappointed Boston back to Washington. Glen looked up and waved, though he doubted anyone up there noticed. Then he went away and Amphitrite came out of the deep past to stand in his place. Amphitrite said nothing. She walked straight into the waters of the Atlantic. She dove or flew over the last curling wave, forty feet out into the deep where she disappeared beneath the foam flecked sea.
Amphitrite instantly knew where the Kargill ship was parked, down in a trench where even the strongest human robot vessels would fear to go. But that was not her first concern. She had to find Melanie, and she did that in short order when she discovered the Gaian nano-chits made her stand out like a flood light on a dark night.
Amphitrite reveled in the sea. It was not just because she was once Queen of the sea—Queen of all the waters on the earth, but because in a real sense, the sea was her—part of her very being. The wind and waves moved in her soul like the blood moved in her veins. She knew every creature that lived in or on the sea or off of the bounty of the sea, intimately. She knew them from the smallest plankton at the bottom of the food chain to the lumbering whales that sang of life. And all of it could be moved and bent or changed as she decided it needed to be. It was a very heady experience when she thought about it, so she tried not to think about it.
Amphitrite knew every ship that sailed and every sailor and fisherman that ever labored by name. She knew all divers and even the most casual swimmer, from the boy in Georgia jumping into a pool of fresh water to the thirteen-year-old girl on the beach in Malibu who only hoped that Mickey would notice her. She tweaked that one. Mickey would notice. But really, she never had a say over people. She never tested and tried men’s souls with the gods of old. Being human and mortal in most of her lives would have made that too weird, even for her. Besides, she had her own job: to keep the waters of history flowing in the right direction, and to watch over the sprites that lived and worked behind the scenes everywhere upon the earth. Even now her water sprites, her liquid babies were gathering around her making bubbles of sheer joy. Amphitrite could have stayed and played and been perfectly content for a thousand years, but instead she sighed. She was a mile down, but still she sighed and left her waters behind.
She appeared in the Kargill ship, in the control room, and saw that it was expanded in size to accommodate a visitor—not that the Kargill ever had a visitor. It would be a tight squeeze, but manageable. The Kargill was gone, as Glen had suspected. Amphitrite made lights come on and freshened the air with a thought. Then she sighed once more and got out of the way so Martok could get his hands on the machinery.
“Thought control.” Martok pronounced after only a few moments of examination. “I figured as much.” There would be some adjustments to be made. After an hour, his nimble, educated fingers having played with the systems sufficiently to make a working model, he turned to the life-support system. Mister Smith was in cold storage, as Martok put it. He needed a good thaw. The process, probably done well over a hundred times during the last few hundred years, went flawless. The Kargill was not nearly as advanced as some thought, and certainly Martok found the equipment fairly primitive, but it built well.
“Traveler.” Mister Smith came out of his sleep rapidly. “I see we are alone.”
“But not for long,” Martok assured his friend. “I have adjusted this equipment so we can have a human pilot and a human weapons officer. I will fetch them in a minute along with a marine and Missus Pumpkin. You remember Pumpkin.”
“I do.” Mister Smith smiled. He had picked up a lot of human expressions over the years, though if he did not wear a heavy coat over his wasp shaped body, he would never pass for a human. Even then, though his face looked reasonably human, it also looked like he dunked it a few times into a bucket of acid. Some found him pretty hard to look at.
“I will also be bringing a lawyer. She has been studying the Kargill-Reichgo treaty concerning earth.”
“There are three Vordan warships parked out in New Mexico. They need to be convinced to let me send them home.”
“Vordan?” Mister Smith rummaged through his photographic memory. “I do not know these people.”
“Reichgo space.” Martok replied, and he shared the light distance from Earth which made Mister Smith whistle—a nasal sound of surprise.
Martok shook his head. “Technologically, they are not much beyond the human race. They had help getting here and I need you and Alice to deal with them while I deal with the helpers.”
“I see. What exactly would you have us do?”