Lars and deMartin had their men cease firing and watched as men in strange green uniforms with high collars and big brass buttons began to round up the cyborgs. They looked to Ethan like the Prussians when they fought against Napoleon. They touched the cyborgs with a portable vibrator of some sort and then bound them at the wrists. When it was safe enough, deMartin noticed and later remarked, the ship’s cowardly Captain and First Officer, escorted by several men with weapons at the ready, came to speak to the human defenders.
Lars, meanwhile, had his eyes on the farmhouse, and when he saw Angelica and Kirsten emerge, unhurt, he was greatly relieved.
“Nonsense.” The Captain responded. “Certain things transcend language. These people need to be commended for holding their own against impossible odds. I only hope they aren’t too overawed by the battleship and our sudden appearance.”
“The Cybees didn’t overawe them.” The First Officer pointed out, but the Captain was not really listening. Lars and deMartin came to meet them. Yohanson and Jill’s favorite Sergeant and his ever present two troopers followed.
The Captain immediately smiled and held out his hand. “Very good show.” The Captain said as Lars and the Colonel willingly shook that hand.
“Early gunpowder.” The First Officer made a spot assessment. “No later than twelfth century, I would guess. That was something we had not considered in the cyborg design. Good thing the Vordan did not figure that out.”
“These Cyborgs are yours?” Lars spoke.
“Are these Cyborgs yours?” Lars repeated the question
“The Cybees? Yes, I am afraid they are. Renegades though.” The First Officer was kind enough to answer the question.
“I am Lars Hjorth. This is Colonel Orlando deMartin.”
“A military man.” The Captain spouted and shook deMartin’s hand again. DeMartin’s translation chit was slowly catching up with the conversation. Lars, with far more sophisticated chits understood the Captain and his officer from the beginning. “But, of course, you would have to be.”
The First officer interrupted with the introductions. “This is Captain Rawlings and I‘m Lieutenant Chin, Naval designation if that means anything to you.”
“Chin?” DeMartin noted the man’s features. “Nestorian?” He asked, and then he wanted to take back the word. The Man could be anything, being from a different Earth. Lieutenant Chin shook his head. He did not understand the reference.
“Well.” The Captain interrupted that awkward exchange. “Good thing we came along, eh? No telling what you would have done if we hadn’t.”
“Called in back-up,” Lars admitted. “Though I would have felt bad about having to do it. Keeping this world free of other world pests is my job. Well, our job.” Lars looked around at his militia unit. He felt very proud of the men who fought at his side. “To be blunt, we were in the process of throwing these Cyborgs out when you came. I hope your intention is to collect them and leave.”
“Rather cheeky, eh, Chin?”
Lars accepted that. “You are welcome to visit if you come quietly and without a show of advanced technology. You can even settle if you wish to live a so-called primitive life. This world is not yet overcrowded.” Lars looked at Chin and glanced at the Captain. “But you cannot bluster in here with airborne battleships. This world needs a chance to rise or fall on its own merits, and I will not permit any outside interference on that score.”
“Permit?” The Captain started, but waited when Chin touched his arm.
“You are the Gyan Guardian for this world, aren’t you?” he asked.
“Gaian.” Lars corrected the man’s pronunciation. “And yes, newly appointed.”
“That’s three for three.” The Lieutenant told his Captain who suddenly appeared to take things a bit more seriously.
DeMartin took that moment to try his grasp of the language. “I was just passing through myself when I thought my friend Lars could use a little help.”
The Captain rubbed his jaw. “A fellow traveler,” he said. “There’s a first, but I would not think your people would be sophisticated enough to travel in these parallel dimensions.”
De Martin shook his head. “Just a passenger, I’m afraid.” He let his voice rise. “And one who I hope is not in too much trouble with a certain gracious lady.”
“He’s not,” Jill said and looked up at Ethan.
“Tell me about these Gaian.” The Lieutenant asked, taking the trouble to pronounce it correctly.
“Yes, what is a Gyan?” The Captain asked as well.
“Gya was the ancient Goddess of the Earth,” Chin said.
“Mother Earth,” Lars added.
DeMartin shook his head, gravely. “A wise and mysterious people as far beyond your understanding as you are from us,” he explained. “They have taken one native from every world and made them guardians to be sure that every world has a chance to pursue its own destiny. They are a heavenly people, quick to love but fierce to their enemies.”
“There is undoubtedly a guardian on your world, only you don’t even know it,” Lars suggested, and the Captain and Lieutenant Chin both paused in surprise. They had not considered that possibility.
“And how long have you been traveling in the Worlds?” DeMartin asked. Their ignorance about the Gaian had raised his suspicions.
“This is our third world since decoding the Vordan registers. You see, it is not even our technology. It is alien, but the cyborgs stole it during the war, and when the war was over, they used it to escape and avoid being dismantled.”
“We fought the Vordan to a standstill.” The Captain’s pride was evident. “Thanks in large part to the development of the cyborg regiments, but when the war concluded and the peace was signed, some refused to be returned to normal life. The cyborgs, some anyway, actually considered their monstrosities to be an improvement and refused to give them up.”
“They escaped with the stolen Vordan equipment,” Lieutenant Chin interrupted. “But their milti-destination codes were captured in the system. It took us a long time to figure out what happened, but now we are trying to clean up our mess.”
“And we imagined the Vordan were the most brilliant creatures in the galaxy.” The Captain laughed. “I can’t imagine these Gaian you speak of.”
“Time to go,” Jill spoke to Ethan. She tweaked the projector so their images would be dressed in heavenly white, as she called it, even as she said, “Bless deMartin. I think if we put a little of the fear of God into these people right at the beginning of their journey through the worlds, it may save us considerable trouble somewhere down the road.”
“Don’t laugh.” Ethan threatened Ali Pasha, Manomar and Peter Alexander.
“Don’t stick your foot in your mouth,” Jill said. “I’ll be giving our projection some substance and your foot won’t taste very good.” It was something like an out of body experience. There was a flash of light and two figures appeared as if out of nowhere.
Even the gregarious Captain did not offer his hand for a shake. He was too busy staring, as was the Lieutenant, and in fact people all over the field stopped and stared at this vision of purity, almost holiness. Lars, deMartin and some of deMartin’s men knew better, but they kept quiet. Angelica, who was just coming close, knew better as well, or thought she did. Kirsten cried out and came running.
“Oh Jill, he’s gone. Jill, he’s gone.” She flew into Jill’s arms and Jill hugged and hushed the girl quietly. Ethan picked up the slack.
“Colonel deMartin. It is time for you to take yourself and your men back into the doghouse.” Ethan tried to look stern. DeMartin tried equally hard to be humble without laughing.
“Gracious Lord,” he said, affecting a terrific and most chivalrous bow. “Most kind and gentle Lady.” He did the same for Jill while Ethan, who was actually still back in the ship, touched the main and a white light shimmering door opened close by. DeMartin made a show of turning to his troop that had already gathered up the dead and wounded and he marched proudly through that door of utter whiteness to disappear from the world. When the last one entered, the door vanished.
“Lieutenant.” Ethan spoke in the meantime. “Please tell your Captain to close his mouth. I am afraid he may start attracting flies.”
Jill had just finished reassuring Kirsten that everything would be all right, and just finished returning her to her mother’s hands, when Ethan spoke, and she wanted nothing more than to stomp on Ethan’s foot with all her weight. Instead, though, she said a last word to Kirsten. “Your father needs you, too.” She shooed her off.
“Lars.” Ethan called him over after the man had a chance to hug his daughter. He shook Lars’ hand. “I guess I have to speak for everyone when I say Godspeed.”
“I was thinking I might try to convince the powers that be to make peace with the Anglish before it is too late, that is if my wife will go with me.”
“I think that would be a wonderful idea,” Jill said, and she stepped in to give the man a hug. “You did well.”
“Er, I think next time I will study the enemy a little more carefully and move a little more cautiously.”
“Wise. But we will never be far away,” Jill said, and she held out her arms for Angelica who thought for a minute before she accepted the hug.
“Peace is better than war,” she said. “And I was Anglish once myself.”
With that done, Jill turned to the Captain and his first officer. “Now gentlemen, we know of the Vordan technological prototype by which you travel. It is not our way to condone stealing, but since you have let your ill begotten creatures out into the worlds, we will not interfere, provided you collect them and remove them from their many earths. Yes, we know the worlds to which they have gone, so we will be watching. After your work is finished, you will not bring a warship into a world whose technology does not equal or better your own. Am I clear?”
“Godspeed to you too.” Ethan said, and the projections of Jill and Ethan began to rise from the ground, shrink and glow more brightly until they touched the nickel spot of their ship, and in one final flash of light, their nickel-sized ship vanished from that world altogether.
Monday–only 1 post next week–Monday
Guardian Angel-16 Dealing with the Details: One quick trip the cyborg world, and only 1 post for the week… Happy Reading…