“Hold.” Captain Decker threw up his hand when they got close and no one argued. They peeked out from behind the trees. They could see smoke from fires high in the sky and guessed it was the village, but they saw no houses because of the small hill that blocked their view.
The airship looked to have more in common with a glider or navy seaplane than a spaceship from their angle. It landed on the water, skidded, bounced and slid to a stop like a rock might skip across the surface of a lake. The Gott-Druk climbed out. There were six and they wore something like rubber mukluks that allowed their short, squat bodies to scramble to the shore without a serious wetting.
Lockhart started to rise. He had in mind to talk it out, but Roland held him down. The three Gott-Druk in orange came out from the trees to meet the newcomers on the shore, and the first words out of the orange leader’s mouth were not kind.
“Idiots! How are we going to surprise anyone when you come blundering in with your noisy antique. Did it occur to you to stop up shore and walk here, quietly?”
“Chief,” One of the other orange men spoke. “Look at these primitive weapons.” He pointed at his fellow Gott-Druk and the handguns they carried.
“Better than the sticks and stones we will be facing.” The leader ignored his fellow to give out his instructions. “Kill everyone, males, females and children. That is the only way you idiots will not miss him.”
“Right,” Lockhart nodded to Roland and instead of getting up, he pulled his shotgun up to sight. Captain Decker already had his up. Lieutenant Harper, Boston and Lincoln readied themselves. Roland unhooked his sword, but got his bow ready.
The Gott-Druk spread out as they removed the mukluks and began to climb the little hill. Lockhart simply said “fire,” and the Gott-Druk began to fall. Two of the orange men and four of the six Gott-Druk from the plane went down before anyone returned fire. The last two from the plane each got off a shot. The travelers had to duck and flatten themselves to the ground. One tree was set on fire. Luckily, no one was hurt though they all felt the heat.
Then the last two Gott-Druk from the plane fell. They were downed by weapons similar to their own heat rays. That fire came from the top of the hill and some men stood on that hilltop when it was over.
“Lincoln, Roland and Decker only,” Lockhart said as he stood. “The rest of you stay hidden.” The men stepped free of the trees and Captain Decker spoke softly.
“We missed the orange leader.”
“I noticed,” Lockhart responded quietly which inspired Lincoln to count the Gott-Druk dead. Lockhart raised his hand and waved to the men on the hill. “Elenar!” He shouted.
At least one man there waved back. “Lockhart!”
“My wives,” Odelion introduced them. “Philias is my cook, and also likes to eat I might add.” She was plump, but very warm and welcoming.
“Balamine is my worker bee.” By contrast with Philias, Balamine looked to be in great shape but perhaps too skinny. “Her goal is to open the first spa and gym on the island.”
“Oh? Good for you,” the others said before Odelion said, “Just kidding.”
“I’m the one who stands between this too large family and starvation,” Balamine said with a smile for the travelers but a hard look for Odelion.
“Memseti,” Odelion moved on to the African woman. “She is my Barbie doll but with a brain. She sees to the children And then,” he paused. “Where is my first wife? Where is Asterasine?”
“Here I am.” The woman came in from the outside carrying a woven basket full of fresh picked flowers. “Just to freshen the home for your friends.” She put the basket in the corner before anyone realized she was missing her left arm from the elbow down.
“Gott-Druk,” Odelion referred to the missing limb. He gave Asterasine a kiss before he sat down on the floor. When he sat, the others sat. There were soft skins spread around the dirt floor for that purpose. In many ways that made it feel more like they were in a tent than a home, but there were several rooms at the back for the children so it was something like a house as well.
“But now the Elenar have left,” Lincoln said, casually. “What will you do if the Gott-Druk return in force?”
“As far as it goes, they were right. Your sticks and stones are no match for their energy weapons,” Lockhart added.
“Radiation weapons,” Odelion said. “And I know it. We will leave the island when they come. We will sail to Crete, Sicily, Southern Spain and North Africa. We will begin again.”
“But the Elenar –“ Alexis started to speak but stopped when Odelion held up his hand.
“They have not gone far, and they are watching. When the Gott-Druk come in force, they will return to do battle. Sadly, my people would never survive such a battle. We must leave or die.”
“Such a pessimist,” Philias shook her head as she brought in a great tray of fish and vegetables. Memseti followed with the first bread they had seen, albeit, unleavened. “We will live and be happy.” Philias gave Odelion a kiss and sighed and smiled at the man. Memseti followed suit, but lingered a bit on Odelion’s lips.
“But right now we must also feed the children.” Memseti followed Philias out the door.
Balamine came in after the other two left. She carried clay cups and a big jug of very weak fermented beer. “You must eat and sleep. Rest is important for your good health.”
“Listen to yourself,” Odelion pointed at her. Balamine looked at him and rolled her eyes, but this time she smiled for him.
“But now, for us.” Boston spoke over the fish. “Our way looks like it is over the water.”
Odelion nodded. “I have a boat in mind that will carry you all, that is if you trust my late Neolithic craftsmen.”
Several of the travelers looked around the room. It was Lincoln who spoke up.
“I don’t see as we have much choice.”