The Egyptian carried Ali Pasha into the building where the front room was now abandoned because of all the excitement. Kirsten was there with that other man, and after Ali Pasha insisted on being allowed to stand on his own two feet, she led the way to the back door.
“There is a back door in this monstrous place?” Ali Pasha was surprised.
“He was a very immoral man,” the Egyptian confirmed. “But Master, how is your head?”
“Yes,” Kirsten added with genuine concern in her voice. They stopped walking so she could run her fingers through the back of Ali Pasha’s hair.
Ali Pasha ignored the word “Master” from the Egyptian and touched the back of his own head where Kirsten looked for signs of his injury.
“All healed,” he said, and Kirsten stepped back with a dumbfounded look on her face.
“Perhaps the man did not hit you as hard as it appeared,” Ahmed the Egyptian suggested.
“Must be so,” Kirsten said with some curiosity. She looked at the stranger who was with them.
He shrugged before he opened up. “I heard the Examiner’s blasphemy,” he said. “I am only sorry we did not arrive sooner.”
“Oh,” Kirsten interrupted the man. “But Captain, if you had been there sooner that would have put two heads on the chopping block.” Kirsten did not sound like she liked the idea of that particular captain losing his head, and Ali Pasha looked closely at the man. He was very young and dark in both hair and eyes, and he had a Gallic look about him.
“And you are?” He asked a bit sharply, as they walked toward Ali Pasha’s house. He was already feeling protective toward Lars’ daughter, and he probably would be for as long as she lived.
“Hans Newcomer,” the man said with a broad smile that Kirsten matched. “Captain of the Flying Goose from Amsterdam.” Ali Pasha looked again, with something like a father’s concern in his eyes. Amsterdam was a strange province where Muslims and Christians worked side by side in the kind of tolerant society despised by people in the Society of the Mahdi.
“Rather young for a ship’s captain,” Ali Pasha said gruffly. He looked at Kirsten who looked away, innocently.
“Yes, sir,” the captain responded. “My father owns the shipping company.” He said that with some humility, and Ali Pasha cleared his throat as they started walking again.
“He was the only authority I could find after the mullah.” Kirsten felt the need to explain. “A ship’s captain can carry weight in court.”
“But how did you know the mullah was not a good choice?” Ali Pasha asked as they stopped outside his front door.
“Elementary,” Kirsten said. She pulled a small globe out of her apron pocket. She touched it, actually clicked a switch, and the globe glowed. She turned it off. “He was playing with this when we went to fetch him. It looked pretty alien to me, not that I would know.”
“So you thought an alternate authority might help.” Ali Pasha nodded. “Good thinking Sherlock,” he said and they went inside.
“Sherlock?” Kirsten asked.
“A book friend Ethan said I must read. A book about hounds,” Ali Pasha answered, and paused before he shrugged. “I suppose I don’t mind playing the part of Doctor Watson.” But then he did not have time to explain himself, because Jill, Ethan and Manomar were waiting for them in the parlor.
“It seems you have your work cut out for you.” Ethan spoke right away. Ali Pasha sat heavily in his chair and said nothing.
“Not my real father,” Kirsten responded sadly.
“Perhaps he would, but certainly your other father.” Kirsten understood and smiled to think of it as she went to sit on the floor at Ali Pasha’s feet.
“Ahmed of Egypt, why are you here?” Ethan asked.
The big Egyptian went to his knees and lowered his head. He glimpsed the Angels in the yard and he did not know what to make of these people, if they were people. “Master Ali Pasha gave me my life back,” he said bluntly. “I owe him everything.” He looked up, and Manomar caught his eye. Something unspoken passed between the two big men. “Besides,” he continued. “I know some of the ways of the Society of the Mahdi, and I now remember many things. I understand that these alien Sorvee must be stopped before they put collars on the whole world.”
“Well said.” Jill smiled for the man. “And Captain,” she said and turned to the young man. “Will you assist in this endeavor?”
The young man paused to rub the stubble on his young chin. He looked at Kirsten and nodded. “I do not understand who these Sorvee are, but if what I heard in the Examiner’s office is typical, and with what I have seen in the last hour including what I am seeing now is true, by which I mean if I am not dreaming, then I suppose. I don’t know. Who are these Sorvee?” He turned to Kirsten
“Ali Pasha will explain,” Jill said. “We only came to say good-bye and to say we will be taking Manomar with us.”
“Yes,” Ethan said. “There were too many witnesses to his actions, even if the angels suggested it was justified. We believe that you will not be bothered since your condemnation was sudden and not recorded. The people will never know, but to leave Manomar with you will place a cloud over your head and it would make your work too difficult.”
With that, Ali Pasha looked up. “I am glad there is a place for my friend,” he said. “I would hate to see him tried for murder. But I am thinking I need to be more careful in the future.” He patted Kirsten’s hand like he would a favorite daughter. “Even like my friend Lars, perhaps.”
Jill nodded, looked at Ethan and repeated his words. “And you do have your work cut out for you, but I have every confidence that you can handle it. Remember, the Sorvee are few, but insidious. They probably have made a number of sincere converts to their cause both inside and outside the Society and the religious orders. Keep in mind, though, the converts will not be aware that the goal of the Sorvee is to make the people in your world into mindless slaves.”
“I am thinking.” Ali Pasha understood. “But will you say farewell to Peter Alexander and Colonel deMartin? It was a pleasure traveling with them. Oh, and will you come again someday and let me travel to other worlds of wonder. There is so much I am not knowing. So much!”
“And Doctor Augustus,” Jill said with a smile as Ali Pasha nodded. “I will give them all your best wishes.” A shimmering doorway appeared. “Only now we must go. Godspeed.” She stole Ethan’s line who had stolen it from Doctor Augustus.
“Take care of my friends.” Ali Pasha said a last word.
“More than likely, Manomar will be taking care of Jill and me,” Ethan responded, and they stepped through the door and as they vanished from that world, they heard a final question.
“So who are these Sorvee?” Captain Newcomer asked but only looked at Kirsten.