|| All My Aliens-Sci-Fi Soap Opera #79|
The Examinators were none too pleased with their catch. They had given their presence in the system away, and had gotten nothing for it. Initially they blamed Gartan, who suffered through a bit of abuse, before it came out that there had been a last minute emergency switch in the scheduling.
O&N was now aware of their continued interest in that dratted Earthling, and would at the minimum find the expendable base they had set up. In addition, it would be much, much, harder to make another try for the Earth woman. Some among their number argued that they should abandon the vicinity immediately, that the risk just wasn’t worth it. But there were more who argued for remaining – Earth was just too important. If they could manage to conquer here, they could quickly regain power within many of the factions of the 1,000 World Federation...
Publicly, of course, every 1,000 World Federation member planet had disavowed the Examinators, and closed up any bases that might have been located on, or in the vicinity of, their planets. Behind the scenes, however, little had changed – except for additional layers of secrecy and intrigue. There were some that believed that Earth would be their key to massive power and wealth.
Barbara and Suli were kept blissfully unaware of the situation while on the O&N mothership. About an hour after their scheduled departure time, they took their place in line once again. Bard decided to accompany them back, cutting short his visit with Glaboo. He wasn’t taking any chances on yet another attempt to snatch them.
They were returned to Earth in moments, appearing behind the new Cabinet-making business. Several of their fellow agents were working nearby. Everyone in the vicinity gathered to offer their congratulations. Barbara had become an official agent of O&N and Suli had passed another level of training.
A few were surprised to see that Bard had returned so soon, and had been worried when Barbara and Suli didn’t appear at the appointed time. No one, however, mentioned their concerns at that time. Instead, plans were made for a small get-together that evening.
Dave, of course, had managed to be close by and offered to drive Barbara home. Carl agreed to take Suli back to the cottages where Tilly was working.
Excited to hear about Barbara’s experience, as soon as they were in the car, Dave asked, “Well how was it? I sure missed you – but don’t even try to pretend you missed me – I know they keep you hopping when you’re in training. They make sure you don’t even have time to think about home!”
Barbara looked a little sheepish, “Well, you’re right that they keep you so busy you don’t have much time to think about anything but the “lessons” swirling through your head. But they did give us a few hours off each night - Suli and I had a great time. There was one little incident our first evening ‘out on the town’ so to speak, but between Suli and Glaboo, they had Gartan put in his place, right quick.”
“Gartan?” Dave asked. “I know him, an extremely insolent and intolerant being, from a pretty intolerant planet. A couple hundred years in the “Federation” has done little to amend that. What happened?”
Barbara explained, and Dave shook his head, then added, “Well, I doubt there will be many who miss him or working with him. Still, it’s never good to make an enemy!”
“Really, Dave, I did nothing! How can he think me an enemy?” Barbara protested.
“That would be a good point if you were talking about someone other than Gartan. I know him all too well, he makes a habit of blaming others for his actions, and has a strong desire for revenge.
Hmm…Glaboo sent him back to his homeworld, huh, well, let’s hope that’s where he goes and stays.”
Barbara looked serious for a moment and nodded. Wishing to lighten the mood, Dave asked, “So tell me about the rest of the trip. And how come you guys were late arriving, I was surprised to see Bard back so soon.”
Barbara smiled, and began described her training on the mothership. She talked about how much she enjoyed their free time – there was so much to see on board, and so many different kinds of beings represented among the crew and trainees. When she got to the part about why they were late, Dave asked no further questions – he was worried, and planned to have a discussion with Bard later. Sightings of Examinators on Earth was not a good sign. Barbara didn’t tell him of the attempted kidnapping, because she was still unaware of it. Dave would be far more concerned after speaking with Bard.
To be continued…
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