|| All My Aliens-Sci-Fi Soap Opera #87|
Dave drove as quickly as possible away from Barbara and her son. Stress and worry made the trip back to Vermont seem two or three times as long as took to get to Maine, even though they dawdled on the way there. He missed Barbara, Al, and Shadow already. He remained in some minimal contact with Shadow, though they couldn’t actually converse – Dave could sense his friend’s emotions and knew there was no imminent danger. He wondered where Bard had taken them, as that was not information that Shadow was able to pass on. Dave could feel that Shadow was enjoying himself at the moment though, wherever they were. When he arrived at his newly purchased house, a stone’s throw from Barbara’s place, he found quite a few of the local agents waiting, talking, worrying. Every one of them appeared stunned to see Dave back so quickly, and seemed to be expecting the others to follow him in.
“Guess things didn’t go as planned, huh? Sure didn’t expect to see you back for a while. So where is my old friend Bard,” Jonglire asked, then winking dramatically, added, “and your new friend, Barbara?” ...
Dave tried to hide his unexpected annoyance, and responded, “Why vacationing in Maine, of course! I decided to give Barbara and her family a little time by themselves, I’ll be heading back soon. Besides, its seems that everyone forgot something. We did pack rather quickly.”
Jonglire was not satisfied, and responded, “Where’s Bard, then? Doesn’t he realize his sister is here and waiting for him. And if he’s still in Maine, why hasn’t he asked us to join him?”
Dave laughed, “Why Jonglire, of course Bard knows his sister is here. I’m sure she could have answered that question for you, herself. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to catch up with my team leader, Grrphh, I’m sure Bard will be in touch with you soon.”
Dave nodded to Bird, and held her hands for a moment, speaking words of welcome. Without looking at Jonglire again, he strode over to where Grrphh, John and Martha were sitting in an adjoining room. Suli came in and joined them, asking about Barbara immediately. Somehow her interest and questions did not affect Dave the way the Eldestan’s had. He knew that Jonglire felt affronted by his behavior and had expected Dave to be far more in awe of him. But Bard had been a part of his life, pretty much since Dave was born, and with familiarity he had lost the incredible, unquestioning reverence with which most 1,000 World Federation members held all Eldestan.
Bird had known from her connection to Bard that a message was being sent to her via Dave. She did not indicate this to anyone in the group, and was quite relieved that Dave didn’t either. She would arrange a time to talk to him without other observers, later.
Barbara looked at Bard, in response to her mother’s question. She wasn’t sure how much to say at this point, but knew that something near the truth would have to be told, or her mother would never leave it alone.
Bard smiled, and plunged in, he had Amy pretty well pegged, and knew that pleasant fantasies were not gonna hold up to her scrutiny. “As you have already surmised, we have a bit of a situation. For your own, and Barbara, and Al’s safety, there is only so much I can tell you, and ask that you try to be satisfied with that. Okay?”
Amy stared straight at the Eldestan, “You better make this good, then, I will decide whether or not I am satisfied with your answer. Barbara is my daughter, and Al my first, and so far, only grandchild. Needless to say, I don’t like what I’ve seen so far. I’ve gone along with it because I could tell from Barbara’s manner that something serious was wrong. But now I want to know what!”
Barbara sighed, but Bard chuckled, “I expected no less! Let’s sit down and get comfortable at least – okay?”
When they were all seated, Barbara clasped her mother’s hand as Bard began, wondering almost as much as her mother did, what explanation the alien would give.
Gartan and Peliix were getting closer to Earth, and had made the ship as invisible as technology allowed. Their speed however, was compromised as a result, it would still be a couple days before they could consider landing.
Gartan had initially won a quite a few credits from Peliix in their game of Qeztek, and started making increasingly large bets. But then Peliix stopped fooling around and proved to be an unexpectedly worthy opponent. After spending a full day losing, Gartan finally exploded, “Why didn’t you tell me you were a champion?”
Peliix laughed, then replied with disgust, “This, from the being who claimed he needed to be reminded of the rules, when he is actually his planet’s highest master in the game? It is you who did not do your homework, my friend. On my planet, I am considered only a mediocre player, but then Qeztek is not only our favorite pastime, it is almost an obsession – we are literally raised on it.”
Gartan lunged at him, but Peliix was ready and pulled out a stun-gun that left Gartan spitting mad, but laying on the floor, unable to move. Peliix looked at his ‘partner,’ shook his head and decided to take a nap. It would be several hours before Gartan was mobile again.
“Bird, how dare he?” Jonglire demanded, “He can’t not know we are Eldestan! He should have reported to us immediately, without question! Are you going to do something about it? If not, then I think perhaps I will have a word with both him and Grrphh…”
To be continued…
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