Boston looked miffed. “That was not much of a story,” she said. “I mean there’s not much suspense when almighty you steps in and just fixes everything. I was expecting werewolves and not being able to sleep nights and you just took them home.”
“Hey. It is real life. What did you expect?”
“I don’t know. Fight scenes. Tension. Falling in love. The odds are against you, but pow-pow, somehow you come out victorious.”
“Hollywood.” Glen shrugged and looked at Lockhart. The man was thinking too hard.
“I mean, you’ve told two wolf stories now and neither one was a true werewolf,” Boston went on. “I assume there is such a thing.”
Glen nodded. “What do you think, Lockhart.”
Lockhart looked up. “I take it that other earth was not one of the ones you were talking about earlier.”
“Very good.” Glen smiled. “The other earth was not time created, it was universe created. I suppose we might call it a physics universe. The thing is, it is one real close to our own. All the laws of physics remain true there but with one addition.”
“Magic.” Boston blurted out the word, took a seat next to Lockhart and picked at her short red hair.
“For want of a better word.” Glen nodded again. “Most people there are perfectly normal, but a few can tap into – whatever it is. They form the nobility and rule there. They say the magic is transmitted by the blood. You and I might say it is genetic.”
Boston interrupted. “But you told stories about magic here, on our earth.”
“Yes.” Glen stood and walked to a window though there was nothing to see at the moment except clouds. “Our earth and the other earth phase in and out of conjunction like the moon has phases. The whole cycle takes about six hundred years. They went out of phase, got below the half-moon part about 1600, maybe. They stagnated over there and are still living a kind of upper medieval life.”
“So they phased back in around 1900.” Bill was the one who spoke up from the work table. He was supposed to be working, not listening, but Farquanded was clearly listening, as well.
Glen nodded once more. “The thing is, there is leakage between the worlds when they are in close phase. Some people in our world discover they can do magic. What is more, magic can open a door between the worlds when they are in conjunction and people can move from one earth to the other.”
“Operation Broken Empire,” Lockhart showed he understood.
“What’s that?” Boston asked.
“Never mind.” Lockhart and Glen spoke together before Glen continued.
“The thing is, I like the idea of being able to just send everyone home. Unfortunately, our situation is a little more complicated than that. And it got even more complicated if the letter I got is correct.”
“Yes, what did that letter say?” Lockhart asked. This time Glen spoke alone.
“Never mind. You will see for yourself.” With that, Glen concentrated on the clouds until they set down in an isolated field far from the traffic and parking lots that were New Jersey.
There was a lone woman in the field. She looked to be about Boston’s age which was early to mid twenties. Boston was surprised when Glen said Melanie was over forty. She was not surprised when the plane set down and Glen hugged the woman. Boston suspected that hugs were natural for Glen, but she also suspected that hugs were as close as he ever got.
“Jilian?” Glen asked. Melanie said nothing. She turned and pointed to a slight shimmering in the air, but her eyes were on Lockhart in the wheelchair. She spoke when Fyodor came up to join them, having finished his instructions to Bill and Farquanded about the care and maintenance of the ship.
“I don’t know. Spinal injuries are very difficult and draining. I’m not sure I can help, or anyway it would take a long time for me to develop the chits.”
Lockhart smiled for her. “No worry. I didn’t come here to be healed. I just came to make sure my earth has a fair chance to survive.”
“What we all want. This is my earth, too.” Melanie nodded.
The shimmering in the distance changed shape and took on some substance, imitating that familiar blue box that was Glen’s favorite television show.
“Hey!” Boston shouted in recognition of the box.
Glen stepped up, but paused in the doorway. “Sadly, time travel doesn’t work that way,” He went inside.
As expected, the inside was much bigger than the outside. The control room was large enough to hold a hundred people or more, comfortably. There were two present at the moment.
“My Lord, Kairos.” The Woman lowered her eyes and offered a little curtsey.
“Jillian.” Glen rolled his eyes in response and shook the man’s hand. “Ethan, where’s Manomar and the Kids?” Glen pause. “You do have kids.”
Jillian grinned shyly and looked at Ethan. “Two,” she said. “They are with Diana, my sister. She has taken them on an excursion into the worlds.”
Glen looked curious so Melanie explained. “Diana has her cruiser permanently parked in the first docking bay of the battleship, so they are not really far away.”
“Still, better to keep them out of this.” Ethan added.
“Yes.” Glen agreed. “And better than Disney World, I bet.” They all smiled while Glen introduced his friends.
“Lockhart is Assistant Director for the Men in Black. Boston is the one who pushes him around.” He paused. “Take that as you will. Fyodor is my pilot.”
“And I have never even imagined anything like this.” Fyodor said as he looked around at the incomprehensible control room.
“Let me show you,” Ethan said as he took the Russian to the main console. Glen walked to a view screen with Jillian beside him and Melanie right behind.
“So, tell me.” That was all Glen had to say and Jillian opened up.
“The Vordan in the belt are from a universe we are familiar with. They fought a war there with the people from earth, and were fought to a standstill. The humans made cyborg regiments. When the war was over, some of the cyborg groups escaped into the worlds using stolen Vordan technology rather than be taken apart. It is a mess trying to clean it all up.”
“These are Vordan from that same universe and they obviously bear a grudge against the Earth. They thought they could hide themselves and use their local “cousins” as they call them to do the actual damage to the earth. They found out about you and tried to eliminate you, but you must have frustrated them terribly.”
“Well, if it was just these Vordan it would be a simple thing to take them back to their own world and put the fear of God in them, so to speak, but now I don’t know.” Jillian paused to look out the view screen as Lockhart an Boston came up alongside. “Now a ship has arrived like our own battleship. Perhaps not as big, but maybe as powerful, and they appear to have developed worlds technology sufficiently to where, like us, they only show a door in this universe while they hide their true ship in another universe altogether.”
“An equal and competitor?”
Jillian hedged. “They are Vordan, I think, and I do not know if they approve of what their cousins from the Cyborg universe are doing or not. So far they haven’t responded to any of our calls.”
“Now I understand why the ones on earth are a lesser concern,” Lockhart said. “Look at the size of that ship. It could hold three Queen Marys.” He looked up at Jillian. “But I am sure we will get it all worked out.”
“What a sweet man.” Jillian lost the worried look and smiled.
“So do we get a story while we travel to the Asteroid belt?” Boston asked.
“No,” Glen shook his head. “Already there.”
“Not quite, now we are.” Jillian said.
“Screens up?” Glen asked over his shoulder. Jillian started to shake her head, but Ethan heard and touched a button even as a destructive power beam from the other hidden ship zeroed in on their position.