|| All My Aliens-Sci-Fi Soap Opera #85|
“Jonglire! We meet again so soon – it’ll be just like old times – you, me and Bard!” Bird exclaimed. “I can feel that Bard is not nearby in physical terms, is he expected to return soon? What have you found out – how are things here?”
Jonglire had been wandering in the woods near Barbara’s home and Dave’s base. He approached Bird rapidly, wrapping his arms around her and giving her an uncomfortably tight hug. Bird accepted it, then stepped back a pace, saying, “We really didn’t have much time to catch up before the call came – let’s talk, it’s been years.”
Al arrived early in the morning, Barbara had called him the evening before to let him know about their trip to Maine. He was very excited. “I just want to grab a few of my favorite toys, Mom – then I’ll be ready in no time. Are we going right away? It’s a long drive, you know.”
“Yes, Al, I know.” Barbara laughed, “We’ve made the trip many times. How about packing up a few of Peanut’s toys as well?”
Al was more than glad to oblige, “I just can’t believe we can take Peanut, Shadow AND Silver with us! Won’t Dave and Bard miss their friends? And how are we gonna fit Silver in the car? That’s jut plain silly!”
Barbara smiled, “Bard will bring Silver, himself, since we don’t have a horse trailer. Dave is going to drive up with us and he and Bard are renting a vacation cabin. They’ll be by to see their friends often I’m sure.”
“Are Tilly and Suli, and Grrphh coming too? How about the others?” Al asked. “It’s starting to sound like a party vacation! This is great!”
“It’ll just be those I’ve told you about, at least for now. But who knows, the others might come up to see you at some point. Now, time to finish your packing,” Barbara told him, trying to hurry him along.
In reality, they had finished packing twenty minutes after Al arrived, and the car was quickly loaded. Dave and Shadow were ready and waiting, so it was not long before they were on their way, with Al, Shadow and Peanut sharing the back seat. Barbara felt an immediate sense of relief as soon as they pulled out of the driveway, she hadn’t realized how oppressive the vibes had become in and around her home until she left.
Bard and Silver were covering Al’s grandparent’s property in ever widening circles. Various alarms and Examinator-specific traps were being laid.
Bard had felt his sister, Bird, the moment she arrived on Earth. It came as somewhat of a surprise, he assumed she would be working with the rest of the Eldestan contingent, searching Sol’s solar system and the region of space relatively nearby. It seemed odd that she hadn’t contacted him to apprise him of her imminent arrival. He wondered what was going on, and hoped for a chance to make a quick dash back to speak with her directly. He was getting increasingly weird feedback from her – she was definitely uncomfortable and concerned! There wasn't much, in Bard's experience, that made Bird feel that way.
Gartan and Peliix were trying to relax on their return journey to Earth, however the tension between them was still too high to allow this. Peliix, increasingly bored, finally asked if Gartan would like to play a game of Qeztek, either for fun or credits.
Initially Gartan only grunted in reply, then got to thinking that perhaps Peliix was just stupid, and didn’t know of Gartan’s reputation as a champion in the game. “Hmm…” he thought, “this trip could turn out better than expected.”
To Peliix he said, “Why don’t you remind me of the rules and we can play some practice games – we got a few days to kill, I suppose gaming ain’t the worst way to go.”
Jonglire talked non-stop, as he and Bird wandered the woods of Vermont. He laughed uproariously throughout his telling of the tales of his exploits. Bird remained as silent as she could without raising suspicions. The news she had received during her errands prior to arriving had only increased her concerns, but she wanted to talk with Bard before even hinting at what she had found. Bird could feel her brother in the back of her mind, and knew that he was aware that there was a problem, she only hoped he would be able to get back here soon. Strangely, he was indicating that she should not join him.
The drive to Maine was going well, Al and the dogs were having a great time, and had enjoyed making a couple stops to romp around. Barbara no longer felt that there was any big reason to rush – just leaving the house felt so much better.
Dave spotted a rare gas station and asked Barbara if they should stop to fill up. She agreed, thinking about the distances between things in such a rural area, even though they were now only a few minutes away from their destination. Al wasn’t so excited about another stop this time, he knew where they were, and was impatient to get there. Shadow however, barked repeatedly in affirmation and seemed excited. To Barbara’s surprise, Bard was sitting in the shade of a tree across the road from the small gas station/convenience store/deli.
Al yelled in delighted surprise, “How’d you do that Bard? Where’d you come from?” as he ran, the dogs ahead of him, to meet his friend, “Are you going with us to Grammie and Grampy’s house?”
Bard only smiled in response, lifting Al off his feet and setting him on Silver’s back for a few moments, so the child laughed until his questions disappeared.
Unbeknownst to any of the others, Bard had arranged a change in plans - Barbara’s parents were going to get a vacation too. This time, the Eldestan who had befriended Barbara and her son, was taking no chances. Staying at her parents house had only been a ruse – their true destination would not be known, even by the rest of the O&N agents assigned to this sector.
Taking Barbara and Dave aside, Bard asked the Earthwoman if she was willing to tell her parents that she had planned a surprise vacation for them and Al. Perhaps she could say it was instead of sending Al to summer camp this summer (which was obviously not an option at this time).
Barbara looked at him anxiously, thinking that things must be much worse than she thought. She wanted to ask why, but after once looking at Bard face, she realized that it would probably be best to hold the questions until later. Al was close by, and she did not want him to sense her anxiety. “Can I tell them where we are going on vacation?” Barbara asked.
Bard shook his head, “Let’s make it a surprise, why don’t we?”
To be continued…
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