After 3969 BC in the Andes of modern Colombia/Peru. Kairos life 20: Qito.
“Quiet!” Roland’s word was sharp. Boston stopped where she was like a stone statue in the saddle. Lincoln looked up toward the treetops. Lockhart looked back at the marines and Captain Decker motioned for them to step off the grass and in among the trees. When they dismounted, Roland took Boston by the elbow and guided her in the same direction.
“What is it?” Boston whispered once they and the horses were hidden behind the stunted growth that sufficed for trees at that elevation. She looked up at Roland, but he simply put a finger to her lips. Then they all heard it. It sounded like a repeating, whirling whistle. It was not loud, but the sound carried even in the thin air on the mountain.
Another few seconds and they saw it top the ridge they had just crawled over. It was a scooter of some kind that hardly moved faster than about ten miles per hour, but it floated a few feet off the ground and carried a creature they had never seen before. It was headed in the same direction they were headed. It also left a trail of smoke in a way that suggested it was damaged.
Roland held tight to Boston’s arm to be sure she did not run out to say hello. Katie Harper lowered her rifle to suggest she did not believe the creature posed a threat. She glanced at Lockhart who nodded in agreement with her assessment. She glanced at Captain Decker, but he was busy snapping the scope to his rifle. She sighed.
There was another sound. This sounded more like an engine – like a jet engine and not far away. It topped the same ridge closer to fifty feet in the air and while it looked like a one person aircraft, the travelers had been fooled before. They once found three passengers in a ship where they thought there were only two.
The scooter began to weave in and out of the brush and among the stubby trees to try and make a hard target. The aircraft rose higher and hovered for a moment like a Helicopter. Then it came in for a strafing run. The weapon was a heat ray of some kind. The shrubs caught fire. The scooter appeared to be hit, though not destroyed. It was hard to tell from their angle among the trees. Then the aircraft began to pull up, but it did not get very far. Captain Decker fired a six shot burst and hit something. The aircraft sputtered, smoked, broke out in flames and plummeted to crash in a ball of fire.
Lockhart was the first to step out from the trees. “Spread out,” he said as he got up on his horse’s back, better than he did the first time. “But stay aware. No telling what we may find.” He waited for the others to mount and had a thought. “Boston, you better be prepared to hold the horses if we have to go on foot.
“No way, Jose,” Boston responded as she checked her Beretta to be sure she was ready. She glanced briefly at Roland and was glad to see him smile.
They tied the horses off before they got too close to the fires. The horses were obedient, each being tuned to his master, but they were horses and not inclined to mix well with fire.
“Stay close, but don’t bunch up,” Lockhart commanded as they began to walk. As the Associate Director of the Men in Black back in the twenty-first century, he had confronted plenty of aliens and their strangely capable weapons. He did not expect great capabilities this far in the past, even from aliens. But then he did not know exactly what to expect.
They found the creature first when they paused at the edge of a clearing. It was holding its head and the scooter it was riding appeared to be so much scrap. When it looked up, they saw the fear in its eyes. Despite that, Boston and Captain Decker might be excused for laughing. The thing looked like a four foot version of a statue right off of Easter Island, including the lipless mouth and the funky hat.
“Humannss,” it said, drawing out the final letters in the word. “Help me. They are commming. The others must be warrrned.”
“Agdaline.” Lincoln identified the creature without referencing his database. He only got the handheld out to verify.
“Yes, yes.” The Agdaline nodded in a very human looking way. “I am Agdaline, but they are coming. Please help.”
“Who is coming?” Boston asked, and as she did, she saw. It looked burnt and beat up, but whole.
“Balok,” Lockhart growled softly as the serpent slithered up to the other side of the clearing and rose to stand on its legs. It held one of those heat-ray discs in the multiple fingers of its right hand.
The Agdaline shrieked and hid its face in its hands. It looked incapable of running. The Balok’s sole attention was on the poor creature and the snake appeared to smile.
“Balok!” Captain Decker did not use his soft voice. The Balok turned its head to take in the travelers.
“Primitives, die,” it said just before the Captain’s bullet tore through its middle. It looked down and Boston swore it looked surprised, though how anyone could tell on that serpent face was beyond the rest. The Balok looked up again in time to have its head blown off by Lockhart’s shotgun. The body fell.
“Roland,” Captain Decker waved to the elf and they trotted off to check on the crashed Balok ship. They did not want any more surprises.
“Katie,” Boston waved for the Lieutenant to follow her to the Agdaline, but both women kept back a little, torn between wanting to help and being afraid to touch.
“Their home world is a bit smaller than Earth.” Lincoln was back in the database. “Apparently, it doesn’t have the muscle strength to do much more than waddle, and that not for long distances.”
“Pleasssee,” the Agdaline said. “Thank you.” It reached out a hand and after a moment of hesitation, Boston took it.
“It feels like flesh,” she reported.
“But they are coming.” The Agdaline was clearly concerned. “Many of them. We must warn the others.”
Lockhart kept one eye on the area for more Balok, but he got the message. “How far behind?”
“Not more than three glick,” the Agdaline answered, and Lockhart looked at Lincoln who could only shrug.
Roland and Captain Decker returned and gave the all clear. Apparently it had been a one serpent craft. Lockhart turned immediately to the women and the Agdaline. “Can he ride?” Lockhart decided the Agdaline was male, though he honestly had no reason to think that.
“Whhatt is ride?” The Agdaline asked.
They showed him, and he rode behind Boston out front, but he spent most of the way looking back to be sure they were not being followed by another one of those Balok aircraft.