Elizabeth felt sorry for the Wolv. If his cryogenic chamber malfunctioned in some way, he may have spent the last five or six hundred years slowly dying. “Lockhart. Please remind the Wolv that he does not belong on this planet.”
Lockhart had to think about it. After a moment, he made some sounds that the Men in Black did not know a human could make, but the Wolv appeared to understand. It made some similar sounds, and then said one thing plainly in English or Greek for all to hear. “Kairos.”
Diogenes objected. He did this already, once before, in the future… He agreed and came to stand in Elizabeth’s place, the armor adjusting automatically to his shape and size. He pulled Wyrd from the sheath across his back, said, “God forgive me,” in the Macedonian dialect. He chopped the Wolv head off in one clean sweep. He went to one knee, holding tight to the sword like a cross and prayed for forgiveness. Several of the men, and Bram who had caught up with them, went to their knees with him, not doubting his intentions.
When Diogenes stood, he traded places immediately with Elizabeth, who returned in her dress and quickly pulled it up out of the muck at her feet. “Boots,” she said, and her lady boots were instantly replaced by the boots from her armor. They came up to her knees and would keep her feet much warmer. “Good,” Elizabeth said. “Now we can get on with the business we came here for.”
“You mean, this is not why we came here?” Sir Leslie asked.
“It was first, but there is more important work to attend to.”
“What on Earth might that be?” Conner O’Neil asked.
“The lights flying through the night sky,” Jack said, having figured it out.
Lockhart and Decker laughed, and Katie spoke. “Welcome to the world of the Kairos. There is always something more.”
A half-day’s ride down the loch brought the travelers and Men in Black to a scene that Elizabeth both expected and prepared for. When she stopped short of the event, and all eyes turned to her, Elder Stow turned on his screen device. One of the aliens they confronted tried his handgun. It did not even register on the screens, but Elder Stow and several of the travelers looked at Elizabeth. She spoke to everyone and pointed.
The ones with the big heads, big eyes, holes for a nose, and no lips are Reichgo. Their genesis planet was the Pendratti world, now devoid of life and ready to be swallowed as their sun goes red giant. The Little circular metal box floating over there is the Kargill. No one sees the Kargill. The one in the middle is the Zalanid. His home world has been destroyed by the war between the Kargill and the Reichgo, but the Zalanid have taken it upon themselves to negotiate a peace between the two sides.”
“Is that an insect?” Duchamp asked, like he might have a phobia for wasps and such.
“Not really,” Elizabeth offered. The Zalanid looked human enough in his arms, hands, legs, and head. His feet did look a bit insect-like and his waist was skinny as a wasp. Plus, his face looked normal enough, but like he dipped his face in acid, or got hit in the face with several buckets of ugly. He was hard to look at, but he smiled for the crew, his natural disposition, and already the people were thinking he might be a nice person. “The Zalanid and the Kargill were made on the same planet—a third genesis planet closer to the galactic center. Of course, they do not know this, but it may be why the Kargill can relate to the Zalanid where the Kargill doesn’t want to even talk to us or the Reichgo, or any other species for that matter. The Kargill is very private. Now, I must go. You all need to stay here.”
Elizabeth got down from her horse, traded places with the goddess Danna, and phased through Elder Stow’s screens to confront the aliens. Sure enough, the same Reichgo that tried its weapon against Elder Stow’s screens fired on Danna. Danna did not even break her stride. She said, “This meeting is being broadcast on the Zalanid planet where right now the Zalanid are trying to negotiate a peace between the Reichgo and the Kargill. They will see and hear everything.”
Danna raised her hand and every Reichgo weapon or what might be used as a weapon vacated the Reichgo hands and pouches. It all appeared in midair, and as Danna closed her hand, the weapons squished together into a little ball of metal before it disappeared. She snapped her finger, and the trigger-happy Reichgo appeared before her. “That is not permitted on this world,” she said and snapped her finger again. The Reichgo vanished. He appeared on the planet of the Zalanid, millions of light years distant, but she did not tell the Reichgo that. She began again.
“This is a Genesis planet where intelligent life is created. It is one of only a half-dozen planets in the galaxy. Other worlds may develop life, but intelligent life is special, unless you behave stupidly. Now listen very carefully and hear what Helen has to tell you.” She did not say who Helen was. She just reached back to Sherwood Forest and traded with the girl she had once been. Danna left an aura of protection around the girl in case someone got incredibly stupid, but Helen came, not in the armor of the Kairos, but dressed in her own dress and smiling her own smile.
“By right of discovery and first landing, this planet is a Kargill planet. The Reichgo may visit here, but only visit. They are to limit all contact with the native population, and in no way interfere with the natural course and development of the life on this planet, intelligent or otherwise. That is the law, spoken.” Helen, a thirteen-year-old girl, turned to the travelers and got a big smile. “Hello friends. It is wonderful to see you again. I have to go now. I think I have to marry the miller’s son. Goodbye.” She blew a kiss and waved, and Danna returned. It took a second to wipe the smile from her face before she could turn again to the aliens.
“The law has been spoken. The Reichgo need to leave and leave this world alone. The Kargill may park at the bottom of the lake for the moment. You may keep the Zalanid in suspension as long as he is willing. I will need him for the moment. When I return him to the lake, you may send a shuttle for him. Then you must park in the depths of the ocean where you will not be seen or found. Henceforth, you must send the Zalanid to tell my Men in Black when this planet is in danger of an alien intrusion. Those native to this world may be permitted to visit, but all other outsiders do not belong. You may watch and listen, which I know is your inclination. It that clear?”
The floating metal box blinked a light once.
“Good,” Danna said and turned to the Reichgo. “There will be no fighting on this world. This is a genesis planet and a sanctuary world, now, begone.” She waved her arm and the Reichgo vanished from that place. Only a few moments later, the travelers and Men in Black saw a ship take to the sky. The metal box dove into the lake where the Kargill ship had already parked, as Danna knew. The Zalanid looked at Danna, willing, though not without some trepidation. Danna waved her hand once more and the Zalanid became clothed in a full-length jacket and some fine-looking boots. “This world is made up of nation states and many different cultures. But all the people on this world are human. When you are sent among us, you must be clothed to appear as human as possible.” Danna changed to Elizabeth in her dress. Elder Stow took down the screens and Elizabeth continued speaking as if she was the same person as Danna, which in a real sense she was.
“You will be called Mister Smith among the humans. It is a very common name. I am Lady Elizabeth Stewart MacLean of Gray Havens. Allow me to introduce the Men in Black who belong in this time zone. It is the custom in this place to shake hands when introduced.” She took the Zalanid’s hand and shook it to show what she meant. Then she took the Zalanid’s arm like a lady might take a gentleman’s arm. She introduced Sir Leslie and Jack Horner as the founders of the London branch of the Men in Black. They looked reluctant but shook the offered hand only to find it felt human enough. Mister Smith was a fast learner, and he laughed before he objected.
“You say men in black, but this one is dressed in red. And I see much red, green and blue, unless my translation device is malfunctioning.”
“Men in Black is an organization title. I am sure in time they will dress in black, but meanwhile the one in blue is Jean Duchamp. He is French and works from the Paris office…” She continued from there, introducing DeWindt, David Wallach, MacDonald and Campbell as founders of the Scottish office, and Conner O’Neil as their man in Ireland. “Now, let me introduce the Travelers from Avalon. They are time travelers come back from three hundred and sixty years in the future.
“You cannot travel in time,” Mister Smith said, but then considered Elizabeth and changed his mind.
Elizabeth spoke candidly. “I am the Traveler in time, the Watcher over history who is tasked to make sure it comes out the way it has been written.”
“And how do you know the way it is written?” Jack Horner asked.
“I have lived in the future. I read the book,” she said. “But you must pay attention because Lockhart is the assistant director of the Men in Black in the future. He can tell you some real stories, some of which you might not want to hear.”
“But say,” Sir Leslie interrupted. “How did you know that the Reichgo and Kargill… and Mister Smith would be here right now? That could not have been coincidence.”
Elizabeth looked up at the nearby tree. “Heather,” she yelled, and the fairy fluttered down to say hello to the travelers before she landed on Elizabeth’s shoulder as far away from Mister Smith as she could get.
“Oh yes,” Sir Leslie said. “I had forgotten.”
The travelers find a Mohawk to guide them through hostile territory to the big Swede, Lars of the Lenape in episode 9.6 Earth and Sky Until then, Happy Reading.