|| All My Aliens - Sci-Fi Soap Opera #89|
Peliix was working furiously at the ship’s controls by the time Gartan regained the use of his body. They had entered Sol’s system, and despite the fact that they were operating in a mode that should have kept them hidden from anything not looking directly at them, O&N was on them immediately. It was only by the skin of their teeth, and because they were instantly aware of being spotted, that they were able to escape at all. As Peliix ducked the ship into a huge crater on the backside of Earth’s moon, Gartan admitted to himself a grudging respect for his partner’s skill. Apparently he had his uses, not that Gartan liked him any better, or had any intention of leaving Earth with the rat-thing on board his ship.
Bard had had only a few minutes to enjoy his meal with Barbara and her family, before jumping up unexpectedly, making quick excuses and leaving. Later Grandpa Joe commented to his daughter that the old bus was still parked outside, and asked if Bard had walked to wherever he was going in such a hurry. Barbara only shrugged in response...
Jonglire had been prowling the perimeters of Barbara’s parent’s farm, and unknowingly tripped one of Bard’s silent alarms. Within minutes Bard was walking through a patch of trees toward his childhood friend, “Jonglire,” he said, “I am surprised to find you here! I thought I was pretty clear about not wanting any visits or activity here, for Barbara and Al’s safety.”
“Really, Bard,” Jonglire laughed, “do you actually think there are any on this planet who could track or follow me? I’ve put no one in danger. The question is, why you are hiding here and haven’t even bothered to come greet your sister? Not to mention, leaving me completely out of the loop and sending back that obnoxious Dave agent, with no message whatsoever! Do you have an explanation?”
Dave and Bird walked through the woods, to a spot where an ancient tree had fallen a few years before, the sun shone down on this now green patch among the trees. Dave felt better already, he found he had developed an actual dislike for Jonglire, though he wasn’t quite sure why. Jonglire was an Eldestan after all, and Dave had never heard anyone in the 1,000 World Federation openly criticize a member of this race. Yet Jonglire was so different from Bard, so self-aggrandizing, or something. Bard never made him feel like a lesser being.
Once Dave had relaxed a little, Bird asked him, “My brother did have a message for me, I assume. I am glad you held it back until we were alone.”
Dave nodded, looked at Bird a little closer, and realized how much like Bard she actually was, almost a female twin – to him, the finest of recommendations. “Bard warned me to speak to no one but you, he said he knew you were very concerned, and that it seemed to relate to one of our agents!”
Bird nodded and replied, “Well not an O&N agent exactly – is Bard returning soon? Did he fill you in on whatever he has in mind?”
“Some of it at least,” Dave told her. “The main point being that he has moved Barbara and her family elsewhere, and he would not tell even me where. He seemed more concerned than ever about their safety. The farm has been made to look occupied, and warning devices or some kind of surprises have been placed in the vicinity. What Bard plans to do if there is an attack, or who he might be expecting, he did not share with me.”
Bird smiled, “My brother is wise, that’s perfect then. I will await his return. Earth is a pleasant enough place, at least in spots.” Noticing Dave’s hopefully expectant face, she added, “I’m sorry Dave that I cannot tell you more, in reality I know little more than you do - only suspicions, but please let’s keep this conversation between us and Bard.”
“Can I ask you about Jonglire?” Dave quietly inquired.
Bird looked at him and said, “I think it would be best to keep that conversation for another time. Okay?”
Dave sighed, “No problem, then. If you don’t mind I think I’d like to remain here for a while and meditate, it is a lovely spot. The trip back was rather rushed and stressful.”
Bird left Dave sitting in the sun, and disappeared on her own errands.
Al was finishing his last bite, and already jumping out of his chair, when he said, “Hey, Mom will you come down to the lake with me now? It’s fantastic, there’s even a rowboat - pulled up right on the beach! Grandpa said we could take it out later.”
Barbara agreed and the two went out, Shadow and Peanut tailing them, and leaving her mother and father alone. “So what did you find out?” Grandpa Joe asked his wife.
Amy shook her head, and said only, “Not much, Joe, not near enough – and nothing good. But more than enough to know that the best thing we can do right now is to lay low, talk to as few people as possible, and try to pretend we are here vacationing as if it was the plan all along. Bard is worried, so is Barbara, but I was given no real details, we’ll have to keep an eye on her and Al.”
Joe didn’t respond, but his face held a look of determination. He didn’t really care about the details, only that his daughter and grandson were kept safe. He headed down to the lakeside to join them.
To be continued…
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