“That is the building,” Elder Stow said and pointed.
“Doesn’t look like a gun factory,” Boston turned to Decker who shook his head.
“Just a warehouse,” he said. “No idea where the factory is, and we don’t have the time to look for it. We missed the evening tide. Lockhart and the others will already have to spend the night on the docks without us. We have to leave on the morning tide, or so the captain said.”
“And he better be telling the truth,” Sukki said softly, which was remarkable for the former Gott-Druk. Gott-Druk were not known for keeping secrets. They did not know how to whisper. It was a cultural thing that everyone expected would cross over when Sukki became human. But Sukki had come a long way in learning to be human, mostly. True, the gods who made her human got a bit carried away. They made her sort of a superhuman, but nothing anyone could do about that.
The most remarkable thing, though, was Sukki never said any threatening words like that. She mostly trusted people and assumed the best. Those kinds of under the breath comments were more Decker’s style, or maybe Lincoln when he expected bad things to happen. Boston and Nanette both looked at Sukki, and she did look slightly embarrassed, but she did not take back her words.
“Ready?” Tony asked. He held Katie’s military rifle. Decker had long since showed him how to use it.
“Are we ready?” Decker turned to Nanette.
Nanette put on her determined face. “I will do what needs to be done. I can’t just sit idle while the rest of you do your duty. I know my magic will come and go as we move through the years, but I can be part of the journey whether I have my magic or not. So, let’s go.” She brushed her hands in front, like she was telling Decker to go ahead of her. Decker smiled.
“Ready,” Elder Stow said. He touched the spot on his belt, and everyone turned invisible. They could still see each other, including Boston. They made her take a disc and would not let her go elf invisible. Decker and Elder Stow agreed that they wanted to keep track of her to make sure she did not get out of control.
They had no trouble breaking in. The door was unlocked.
Three armed men sat around a table drinking beer and talking about nothing in particular. They had rifles within reach and knives on their belts. They did not appear to be paying much attention to the door. Elder Stow and Sukki watched the men for the first few minutes while Decker and Tony did a sweep of the building to make sure no other men were present. Nanette went to the back wall, beyond the cannon, where she found all three gun belts and Alexis’ bag sitting lazily on another table.
“Lincoln’s knife is missing,” Nanette whispered.
Boston pointed to the back wall where the knife stuck about two inches into the plaster. “I guess one of the thieves wanted to test the balance and sharpness.”
They gathered up the belts and bag, and tried the doors at the back, beginning with the big double doors on the far end. It led to a back alley. Boston found the latch and locked the door so no one from the outside could come in and disturb them in their work.
Behind door number two, as Boston called it, they found a lab room. It held glass vials, like test tubes up on a table in the center of the room. It had bowls, cups, and glass tubes of liquid which might have been tea but might have been a solution of the plague bacteria. Boston did not want to take the chance.
Nanette touched Boston’s shoulder to draw on Boston’s magic, and surprised herself, that some of her own magic felt active. “675,” she said, then clarified. “Lincoln read in the database that the other earth would begin to come into conjunction with our earth and leak magic energy into our universe starting in 675. We must be close to that time.” She had no trouble causing everything in that room to pile up in the center and tried not to spill any of the liquid in the process.
“Tony said we arrived in 672. Lockhart said that Bozo mentioned he had two years to make cannon before the Arabs came and laid siege to Constantinople. That happened in 674, so Tony figured we were in 672.” Boston got out her wand and took a turn drawing on what magic energy Nanette had. Boston let the full fiery blast of her energy out. It turned the wood table and chairs into a bonfire, boiled the liquids, cracked the clay and glass containers, and actually melted some of the items. They left that room understanding that the whole warehouse would be on fire very soon.
Behind door number three, they found Kallinikos, and heard from Decker over Boston’s watch radio. “We are ready here. Where are you?”
“We found Kallinikos,” Boston responded. “I just gave him a disc so he is invisible like us and can see us. We are on our way.”
“Roger. You need to go out front, wait outside and put some distance between yourselves and the building in case something explodes.”
Boston, Nanette, and Kallinikos walked past the others and tried not to look. One of the men that sat around the table looked dead. The other two looked wounded and sat, moaning, with their backs to the wall. Boston figured the men did not cooperate.
Tony joined them in exiting the building. Decker went to stand by the door. Elder Stow and Sukki floated up beneath the fifteen-foot ceiling to where they could overlook the cannon on the floor. Then Elder Stow with his weapon and Sukki with her goddess-given power melted every cannon and set on fire every carriage in the building, both ships cannon, the big wall busters, and a case of rifles they found in the front room where the powder and shot got stored.
With the deed done, Sukki exited the building to join the others, while Elder Stow, with his personal screen up tight against his person for protection, got out his sonic device. He tuned it to the right frequency and let it rip. It only took a few seconds for all the gunpowder in the building to explode.
“Lord Bozo is not going to be happy,” Boston grinned as they made their way back to the ship.
“But we don’t have time to go look for him,” Tony said gruffly. He felt bad. He had to shoot one of the men.
“The gun factory is something the Kairos will have to deal with,” Elder Stow said, in agreement with Tony.
“Not our job,” Decker said, and looked at Nanette. She lowered her eyes but nodded, slightly.
The ship left on the morning tide before dawn. The crossing did not take long, but the docks in Constantinople needed expanding. They had to wait in line before they could pull up and unload. They found Lockhart, Katie, Alexis, and Lincoln waiting patiently with several other men on the dock. One of the men opened his arms and shouted for Boston, and she rushed into the hug.
“You don’t have a big white beard and a fat belly,” Boston almost complained.
“Not yet,” Nicholas said. “I’m not that old. But I do have some elves that help make the toys. And something else.” He called to an old man who just arrived and used a cane to walk. He came close, curiosity on his face. The man’s right arm also did not look too good, like he may have suffered something like a stroke. “This is Arthur,” Nicholas introduced the man. “He is old and worn out and ready to let go of this life, so Elder Stow, you are not allowed to fix him. He is the last of the Anazi androids from long ago. Arthur, let me introduce Katie and Lockhart, Artie’s parents.”
“An honor,” Arthur said, but paused when Katie stepped up and hugged the android. She quickly got tears in her eyes. Lockhart put out his hand to shake but ended up hugging the android as well. The android also got tears in his eyes, being the last of his people and thinking about all those centuries, and all the losses. Lockhart sniffed and Alexis, and Lincoln were not unmoved. Boston wept.
“All life is precious,” Arthur said softly, and tried to smile.
“Centurion Rudolph says hi,” Sukki interrupted and got Nicholas’ attention. Sukki remembered when the travelers found her. Artie the android left the group at that time and charged Sukki to look after her mom and dad. She was not sure she did that, and maybe felt a bit guilty, or maybe she wondered what it might be like to have Lockhart and Katie as her mom and dad.
Nicholas nodded to Sukki that he heard, but let things play out before he turned to Sukki and answered her. “I sent Rudolph and his reindeer soldier to ferret out the gun factory. We will see what we can do depending on what information they send back. Not your job. Meanwhile, thank you for rescuing the artificer.” Nicholas turned to the newly arrived stranger. Alexis stood there checking on the man’s condition, and Nanette helped.
“Kallinikos,” the man introduced himself.
Nicholas introduced a member of the emperor’s staff and said he would go with them to meet with Constantine. He had a bag of toys with him, ready for the children in the palace. “Meanwhile,” he said. “I’m working on a hand pump, like the ones firefighters used back in the early nineteenth century before they invented steam pumps.”
“For the Greek fire,” Tony said to any who might not know.
“Where do you want us?” Nanette asked.
“Alexis and Lincoln found my home,” Nicholas said. “When you get unloaded, Arthur can show you the way, and I will be along in a while.”
“I can’t wait to play with the toys,” Boston said.
“What is this Greek fire?” Kallinikos asked
MONDAY through THURSDAY
A 4-part episode next week which will include a Thursday post to complete the episode in a single week. Above and Beyond takes place in the border with Brittany, and in orbit. Margueritte is getting married. Don’t Miss It. Happy Reading.