Avalon Pilot Part II: Missing Person

Present day outside Washington DC.  Kairos 121:  Glen, the Storyteller.

Recording…

Glen looked at his silent companions while the plane landed.  Lincoln looked distressed over his missing wife.  Lockhart probably thought about his miraculous healing.  Boston tried not to think about the paperwork.  All seemed right with the world, as the pilot shut down the engine, until Lincoln reached out to grab Glen by the arm, as if Glen had no idea what the man wanted to say.

Lockhart stood up and stepped out of the plane on his own two feet.  He took a deep breath of fresh air and let it out slowly through his smile.  He couldn’t help it.  He spent the last fifteen years in a wheelchair and had come to dread retirement.  Now, healed and free, he stood on his own two feet and tasted the good air.

Glen scooted past, but paused long enough to repeat the earlier comment.  “Don’t start depending on those healing chits.  That is a good way to get yourself killed.”  Lockhart nodded, but then they saw Lincoln rushing to the door so Glen hurried off.

Boston followed Lincoln.  She lugged the folded-up wheelchair.  “I guess this goes back in storage.”  The young woman groaned as she lifted it over the lip to the ramp.  Boston and the old man walked side by side toward the main building where they saw people running toward them.  Boston thought to say one more thing before they got swallowed by the crowd.

“I will miss pushing you around in this thing.”

“Me too,” Lockhart responded in all seriousness.  Then he had to stop walking to hug Bobbi, the director of the Men in Black.  Bobbi cried big tears; while Lockhart had to be touched, praised and congratulated for getting his legs back by any number of others as well.

Glen got as far as the door to the main building before Lincoln caught him, grabbed his arm and spouted again.   “My wife has to be out there somewhere.”

Once again, Glen tried to reassure the man.  “Don’t worry.  Up until now there were a few other things pressing, like fending off an alien invasion and finding you, for instance.  But Alexis is now my top priority.  Oh no.”  He said that last because he saw Mirowen and Emile Roberts racing toward him.  “Lincoln is one.  This is two.  Trouble does come in threes,” he mumbled.  “I can’t wait.”

“Hey you!”  The shout came from further down the hall as Mirowen and Doctor Roberts hustled up to the front door to hide behind Glen.  A marine followed and only stopped when Glen held up his hand like a traffic cop.

“Go tell Colonel Weber to meet me in the lunchroom in thirty minutes.”  The marine looked ready to object, so Glen repeated himself.  “Go.”

That just made the marine mad.  It looked like he was going to say “Who the hell are you?” but when Glen vanished and an absolutely stunning young woman in an outfit both tight and short stood in his place, it came out, “What the fuck?”

“Princess,” Mirowen, the elf, lowered her eyes in a sign of respect for her goddess.

“Crude.”  The Princess stared down the marine before she gave both Lincoln and Doctor Roberts a sharp look.  She grabbed Mirowen by the arm.  “We will be in the ladies’ room so too bad for you Lincoln.”  It remained the one place Lincoln could not follow, and she could get some peace, even if Glen could not.

Once inside the women’s room, the Princess turned immediately to the mirror.  She understood the reflex, an automatic reaction to see how she looked.  The main part of her mind focused on the elf, and she spoke.  “So Mirowen, what have you and Emile decided?”

Mirowen curtsied, and gracefully, despite the fact that she stood dressed in greasy overalls.  “Lady.  Emile is reluctant to become elf kind, and we have researched it.  It has not seemed to us that you have done that very often.”

“Not often,” the Princess responded in an absent-minded way as she examined her eyes in the mirror.  “But one of my godly lifetimes like Danna or Amphitrite might arrange it.”

Mirowen curtsied a second time and looked at the floor.  She spoke softly.  “I understand.”

“But Mirowen, what about joining Alexis in the human world?”  The Princess turned from the mirror to look at the elf, the lovely elf.  The Princess had no doubt she would make an equally lovely human woman.

“I am prepared for that.”  Mirowen dropped her eyes again but she did not sound convinced.  “Oh, but Colonel Weber is threatening to drag Emile back for trial for stealing property from area 51.  But it was my unicorn.  I was just getting her back.”

Boston came to join them at that point, and also went straight for the mirror while the Princess turned again to face Mirowen.  “You know if you stay as you are, he will grow old more rapidly than you can imagine while you will hardly change at all.  You will lose him, and he will lose you in the end.”

“One of us will likely go first in any case.”  Mirowen sounded forlorn, and she would not look the Princess in the eyes.

“I could do that,” Boston interrupted.  “With Lockhart, I mean.  He is such a snuggle bear, and a good kisser too, I bet.  If only he wasn’t such a father figure.”

“Grandfather figure,” the Princess corrected her, and Boston did not deny that truth.

“Oh, but did you hear Lincoln’s concern for his missing wife?” Boston asked.  She spoke to Mirowen and the Princess without putting together in her mind that the Princess and Glen were essentially the same person.  “I never met her, but I understand Alexis was an elf once.  He must really love her.”

The Princess nodded for Boston, but she spoke with an eye on Mirowen.  “And she really loves him and would do anything for him.”

“Two peas in a pod.”  Bobbi, the director came in, a marine on her heels.  The director caught the tail end of the conversation.  “And that is why we need to find Alexis if we can.  Is it crowded in here or what?”

“Women’s conference,” Boston suggested.  The marine grimaced as she set down her briefcase and took a turn in the mirror.

“Yes, well, Mirowen, we will talk more, later.”  The Princess took back the conversation.  “Meanwhile, I had a hard time at first getting a lead on Alexis.  She became too human, I think.”

“She still has the magic,” Bobbi noted.

“Yes, but so do any number of humans these days, and more so as the Other Earth waxes toward full conjunction.”

“What about the Lady of Avalon?” Boston suggested.

“Alice?”  The Princess closed her eyes.  “Yes, that is how I found her.  Alexis is there in Avalon, or was, and I suppose I knew that all along.  She was just not the priority because she did not appear to be in any danger.  Her father Mingus took her out of fear that she was getting too old and would soon die and leave him grieving.”  The Princess sighed.  “I guess we have to go fetch her.”

Bobbi touched the Princess on the arm and the Princess started to move over, but Bobbi had a request first and only glanced briefly at the marine before she spoke.  “Can I go to Avalon?  All these years I have worked this operation and in these last few years I have kept it all running, and I have never been to Avalon.  Not even once.”

The Princess smiled and hugged her friend.  “Soon.  Not this time, but after you retire, and no, you cannot retire today.  I need you to keep Colonel Dipstick away from Mirowen and Emile while I am gone.”  The Princess turned toward the marine.  “So, do you work for Darth Weber?”  Colonel Weber’s name was properly pronounced “Vay-ber.”  The marine picked up her briefcase and smiled, but just a little.

“I don’t do typing pool gossip,” she said, and left.

“Humph.”  Bobbi harrumphed, but not in a sour way.  She stepped up to the mirror, touched her gray hair, looked at Boston who was maybe twenty-five, the beautiful elf, the incredible Princess, and harrumphed again.  “What am I looking at?  I am way past the age for mirrors.”

All the women paused to give Bobbi love hugs before they exited the women’s room together.  They had a real conference to attend, and they had to get Lincoln’s wife back.

Avalon 3.7: part 4 of 5, Day of the Moon

“Ambush,” Decker pulled his rifle as Roland came back from the front and Elder Stow came in from the other side.

“How do you know?” Lockhart asked, while he pulled the shotgun and Katie got her own rifle.

Decker looked at Nuwa. “One of your guys came up and said, “hoop, hoop,” and pointed.”

“Any Pendratti?” Nuwa asked. Decker shook his head.

“Not that I saw.”

“Options?” Lockhart looked at the two marines, but Elder Stow spoke first.

“I could set a screen to the side that arrows and such cannot penetrate, that is, if we can ride past them.”

“Can you make it one sided so we can shoot them?” Decker asked. Elder Stow nodded, and Decker explained. “We need to hurt them so they don’t try again, further down the road.”

Lockhart frowned, but he did not say no.Nuwa 4

When the were ready, they did not move very far before the arrow barrage came from the rocks. The arrows all fell short when they hit Elder Stow’s screen. Decker and Katie returned fire, but Katie stopped after a moment. Lockhart had to tell Decker to stop and follow, since he was falling behind. Elder Stow left a parting shot with his sonic device. He loosened some rocks overhead and started a bit of an avalanche. He said something to the group about it.

“It was a good idea when they tried it.”

Nuwa got down from behind Katie once the were in the clear. Katie and Boston walked their horses, with Lockhart near. Roland went back out to the point and Decker and Eder Stow went again to the wings. Lincoln and Alexis appeared to take up where the left off the day before. No one knew what the were talking about, but it felt like a private conversation.

Boston started the questions this time. “So who are these Qinjong?”

“Western people. The live in the Qinghai and the Kunlun Mountains around the headwaters of the He, and they are not Longshan people. They were a quiet, peaceful people all my life until recently. If they were migrating, moving in, becoming part of the people, that would be one thing, but I know of no reason, drought or pestilence or disease or anything to make them change their ways or move out of their place. But in these last few years they have come into our land like a bunch of Saxon raiders, burning whole villages and carting people off as slaves. You don’t understand. They are hunters and gatherers. They have no use for slaves. That is just another mouth to feed. So I thought to find out where the people are going, and I actually did check the mountains first. That is where I found Tien. And now I am checking the south side, on the edge of Tibet.”

Nuwa silk road 2“I think we are close,” Katie said. “If you were off base, they would not be trying so hard to stop you.”

“Not much room here, all things considered. We cross the highland peaks to our right and we end up in the Tarim basin, where the desert is. Go far enough to our left and we run into the Himalayan Mountains.”

“What will you do when you find the Pendratti?” Boston asked.

“I can’t say,” Nuwa answered. “You never know who might be listening in.”

###

That evening, as people relaxed around the fire, Nuwa thought to talk to the couples present. Lockhart was telling old jokes, and Katie was laughing at them like they were brand new. Nuwa thought there was something to be said for the generation gap between those two, but she knew they were simmering and hardly cooked at all, so she moved to the old couple. Alexis and Lincoln were married longer than their present ages. After nibbling on the apple of life, Lincoln turned twenty-nine or so. Alexis could not be older than twenty-five.

“We’ve been married thirty-five years,” Alexis said. “I know it is hard to think this way, especially for Benjamin, but I would like to have another baby.”

“Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad,” Lincoln said, softly, and Nuwa knew she had to intervene.

“I hope you can hold off until you get home,” she said. “Now is not the time to be having a baby. Alexis, you will never make it through your last trimester the way you are moving through time, not if you face any trouble, and more importantly, when the baby is born, it will be time locked in that place. You won’t be able to bring it into the future with you.”Moon 2

Alexis and Lincoln looked at each other like this was something they never considered. then they all looked up at the sound of a distant howl. Lincoln looked for the moon, but Alexis did not doubt it was their werewolf, the one Katie called Bob.

“The sound might travel for miles in this scrub and rocky land,” Lincoln suggested.

“It might,” Nuwa said, and she excused herself to talk to the young lovers.

Roland and Boston were being very quiet. “I thought you two would have walked side by side these last couple of days. What gives?” Nuwa took a seat by the fire where she could eye the both of them

“We’ve been arguing,” Boston admitted. Nuwa said nothing, so Boston looked at Roland and he explained.

“I am now one hundred and twenty-seven years old, if estimates are correct on how long we have been traveling in the time zones, and I have spent months in the company of humans—ordinary humans, an unheard of thing for an elf. What is more, I have had a chance to observe humans and human ways up close, even in these days long before my time, and I have come to appreciate how complex and diverse the human—the homo sapiens race really is, and how fragile it is in the face of a hostile universe. What is more, I am in love with a human and I can’t seem to help it, great sin though it is for my kind.”

“I am ready to become an elf, if you can do that,” Boston interrupted.

“No,” Roland started to protest, but paused when Nuwa held up her hand.

Boston 3b“Very elfishly spoken,” Nuwa said with a smile for Boston. “To interrupt a Bean in the midst of a heart-felt confession.” Nuwa grinned, and Boston grinned with her. “But it is never wrong to be content with who you are. Much of the evil and confusion in the human race is due to people who are unwilling to be who they were born to be.”

“My parents and brothers already think I’m an elf, or a fairy, but I never had a desire to fly. Even Alexis says I have more elf in me than she has.”

Nuwa shook her head. “That is not how you were born.”

“No. I am prepared to become human, and work for Lockhart and the Men in Black,” Roland responded, mostly to Boston. “And no matter how long or short my life, I don’t mind as long as I get to live it with you.” Boston just shook her head and gave Roland an elf grin.

“I’m not going to be responsible for killing your father,” Boston said. “I like him.”

Nuwa held her hand up again to speak. “I accept your application to work for the Men in Black. Report to Lockhart in the morning.” Roland smiled, because he thought she was going to grant his request and make him human. “And Boston, The Almighty, my God will never abandon you, but you are asking for another layer in between your life and Heaven. Are you prepared to have an ordinary human being as your goddess, or god as the case may be, to love you and care about you, and in my own stumbling, fallible human way, to watch over you and direct your steps. You know, I am not Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. I am not always in a good mood.”

Boston nodded. “But I have never met you in any life where I was not drawn to you, and cared about you, and anyway, you are Lockhart’s boss, so I figure most of it won’t change. As for heaven, I trust in the Lord, and I trust in you too, already, so again, I don’t see much changing. And sometimes you scare me already, so that probably won’t change.”

“Everything will be different,” Roland objected. “You have no idea.”

“I’m willing and ready,” Boston said.Alexis 3

“I’m the one to change. I know what I am getting into.”

“You don’t. You can’t” Alexis interrupted her brother. “You have no idea, either one of you.”

Boston and Roland heard, but ran out of things to say, so they stared at Nuwa to make a decision. Nuwa simply stared back before she decided something. “Sleep on it,” she said. “Things may clear up in the morning. Wait until daylight.” She rolled over to sleep, and said nothing more.