Davy and I had just left the Century Theaters on Market Street in the City after watching, for the sixth time, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’ in 3D.
And, for the sixth time we were blown away.
We have loved the series of books, read them all a couple of times, and have all the movies on DVD.
The fact that there is not going to be any more Harry Potter books or movies, really bums us out.
No more escaping into the fantasy that was Hogwarts or wishing we were on the Gryffindor Quidditch team along with Harry, Ron and Ginny Weasely and Katie Bell.
All of that is gone and all we are left with is memories, but oh, what great memories.
Anyway, we walked down Market Street to catch the rail to Chinatown.
We were talking about Harry when all of a sudden, without warning, surrounding us was Ricky Mako and his gang.
“Hey Turner I thought you was gonna meet up with us down at the skate park and hang for a while?” Ricky asked.
“Yeah,” said his second in command Jay Lee,
“And you were gonna bring your Arbor Hybrid GT Complete Longboard along.”
“Yeah, Turner,” began Ricky.
“So what gives?” he asked sharply.
“Ah, well, ah…” I stammered.
“We cracked it down on the Embarcadero the other week,” admitted David.
“He tried to do a Dark side Grind and ended up planting himself and broke the board in three places,” he added.
“It was pretty gnarly,” he stated.
“Wow,” began Ricky.
“Sorry to hear that dude, mostly about the board, really wanted to check that thing out.”
“Oh well,” Ricky said.
“Catch ya later,” he announced.
Then they were gone.
“Once again I am saved by the closet skater, thanks Davy,” I admitted.
“Anytime, bro,” he replied.
“Will you ever going to get a board?” I asked.
“Are you kidding me?” he asked.
“Do you have any idea how many kids get seriously injured riding boards?”
“Then what’s the big fascination in boarding then?” I asked him.
“Oh, I don’t know,” he began.
“Some really deep, down hidden death wish?” He asked laughing.
“We all got that I guess,” I replied.
“Just like the time I had it in my head that I wanted to go Bungee Jumping.”
“What a stupid idea that was,” I confessed.
“Yeah that was pretty dumb,” he replied.
We caught the rail, got off at Powell and Bush and walked the rest of the way home.
It was late July and the weather was great.
Nice warm days, then the fog rolls in at night and you need to bundle up because it gets cold.
What was it that Mark Twain said?
Oh yeah, ‘The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.’
Well, he is right there.
It was not late yet, the walk warmed us up as well but by the time we got home it was around seven PM and the fog was beginning to roll in.
I said my good-byes to David, walked home and was in the building before the cold hit.
“Hungry dear?” my mom asked as I came through the door.
“Nah, not really,” I replied.
“But I could eat a sandwich.”
“Be ready in a minute,” she announced.
“Go wash up and it’ll be ready by the time you come down.”
My mom makes the best turkey and ham sandwiches in the world.
I have no idea how she does it but they almost melt in your mouth.
There used to be a Sam’s Hof Brau on Market Street that served the best pastrami sandwiches in the world, another sandwich that melts in your mouth.
Unfortunately, it is not there anymore, but every time we go visit relatives near Sacramento, we always find time to grab a couple of pastrami sandwiches at the Sam’s on Watt and El Camino.
It is heaven between two slices of bread.
I finished my sandwich and my dad and mom were both in a good mood so we got out the old Monopoly game.
We played until we were exhausted.
Of course, I won because I am just downright deadly when it comes to games, any game whether it is a board game or on the computer.
You play against me and you should anticipate losing severely.
I also do not take prisoners.
In a private dining room of the palace on Hispania, the King and Queen were having a quiet dinner without their children.
The children had finished dinner earlier and were watching a children’s play on the lawn.
Miguel and Isabella had time to relax, enjoy dining and each other’s company.
“I hate to spoil the fun we are having by bringing up the latest reports on our mysterious invaders,” Miguel said.
“I heard them too,” she acknowledged.
“We really need to do something Miguel.”
“My thoughts exactly,” he began.
“But what?” he asked.
“We have the power to act upon the information contained in the files that we have stored in our memories,” she stated.
“We need to protect our people at any cost.”
“I don’t want to be known as the King that opened up the files and did not consider the consequences,” Miguel said.
“The consequences,” Isabella began.
“Will have to stand in line behind the enemy who has invaded our land and started killing our people, Miguel,” she declared.
“Of course you are right my dear but I cringe at the thought of bringing weapons into our society,” he confessed.
“We can always make new laws or put restrictions on the new systems,” informed the Queen.
“But if the Empire ends up in ruins because we didn’t act in time then who cares?” she asked.
“As always you are correct, my love,” he stated.
“What do you suggest?”
“Build the systems made for self defense and maybe some offensive weapons for scout ships,” she suggested.
“How do we begin?”
“By following our daughter’s lead, dear,” she said.
“Oh, and one more thing,” she added.
“You remember my old and dear Uncle Salazar?”
“How can I forget him?” he asked.
“Hey, wait didn’t Anna have an interest in his missions?”
“You mean her insatiable thirst to research all of his adventures?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he began.
“Now that you mention it, I’m beginning to get a bad feeling about where this is going.”
“Do I want to hear what you’re about to tell me?” he asked.
“Maybe not but you are going to have to listen anyway,” she stated.
“Dear Uncle Salazar reportedly died early in life but for a very different reason than what the public was told,” she confessed.
“Uncle Salazar,” she began.
“Left a journal of his travels that resides in our family home in Valencia.”
“I was fascinated by his life too when I was Anna’s age and read all about his many exploits,” she continued.
“Unknown to the public, Salazar is in a crypt under the family home and held in stasis along with his personal drone,” she ended saying.
“I didn’t know that,” Miguel confessed.
“I just assumed he died like everyone else did.”
“That is what our family wanted the public to assume,” she replied.
“Salazar did not die in any real sense of the word.”
“He requested that he and his drone be placed in stasis until a time of their choosing,” she informed him.
“So crazy Uncle Salazar is not dead?” he asked.
“Why are he and his drone are in stasis?”
“It is unclear, but the caretaker of his crypt Uncle Ernesto should know,” she explained.
“Why are you bringing this up my love?” the King asked.
“I mention this now,” she started.
“Because Uncle Salazar’s drone is known to have highly sensitive information contained in his data files.”
“Maybe they discovered something on their journeys that we can use now?” she asked.
“Discovered something like what?” he asked.
“I don’t know, but wouldn’t it be interesting if one of the planets they visited had weapons technology?” she asked excitedly.
“That would be more than just interesting, my dear,” he admitted.
“I always thought the reason that my Uncle volunteered to be placed in stasis a convenient story,” she noted.
“Who would know the real story behind his act of sacrifice?” asked the King.
“Uncle Ernesto,” she began.
“He knows everything about Salazar,” she acknowledged.
“Would he mind having guests this weekend, my love?” he asked.
“I’m sure he’d love to see us,” she said.
“He wasn’t seen the children in ages.”
“Good,” the King said.
“I’ll have Rexius contact his major domo and we’ll make it a family reunion this weekend.”
Some video files that were uploaded everyday from Earth entertained the crew.
Along with the video/television shows and news reports, they were also uploading a variety of music from around the world and from different musical eras.
Some of the crewmembers were starting to draw together into groups of fans who enjoyed specific music genres.
At first, you had the groups that enjoyed classical music, ragtag music and jazz.
As they got closer to Earth and World War 2 was the big topic of news reports and of shipboard speculation as to which side would win, the crew also began liking the Big Band sounds.
The crew would go about their duties singing Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, the Andrew Sisters and Rosemary Clooney songs.
They would sit and listen to Count Basie, Artie Shaw as well as Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey for hours.
Quickly on the heels of the end of World War 2, the Korean conflict took place and with this new war, a new kind of music came on the scene, Rock ‘N Roll.
With artists like Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, the Everly Brothers, Bill Haley and the Comets, Ricky Nelson and Ritchie Valens.
Then Vietnam was on the scene and the change of music from Rock ‘N Roll to Rock with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, the Doors and Bob Dylan.
The crew loved all the varied music and you could hear every type of music throughout the ship at any time of day or night.
The historical scholars aboard were worried when they realized that within a very short period the global conflicts on Earth continued to grow.
They worried more so when it they realized that the United States of America was at the center of all the controversy.
Repeatedly, America was taking on the mantle of a world leader and because it was, drawn into more and more conflicts around the globe.
During the voyage toward Earth, they outfitted the ship with the new ‘stealth’ or ‘cloaking device’ as it quickly became known as.
The San Marcos IV was in a parking orbit around the dark side of the moon fully cloaked when Admiral Marinero requested that his son report to his office.
“When I gave you those files I had no idea what information it contained or how it would influence this mission,” Admiral Marinero said.
“Influence the mission, Sir?” Manolo asked.
“Yes,” the Admiral began.
“The amount of data downloaded has given us much needed intelligence on the Old World and its current situation,” he advised.
“Although we may have been a little off about their space flight capabilities,” began Manolo.
“I still believe they have much to offer us, Sir.”
“More than just science fiction, son?” the father asked.
“Yes, Sir,” he stated.
“My second in command and most of the Intel staff beg to differ, son.”
“I don’t believe for a minute that we made this historic journey for no reason, father,” he reasoned.
“We didn’t,” Admiral Marinero said.
“All information gathered so far from Earth can only enrich our lives back home,” he admitted.
“And what have we gathered besides music, entertainment and hundreds of years of war and strife?” Manolo asked.
“We have taken a look into what we could have become, if not rescued by the Rths, son,” he declared.
“I still believe we have more to learn, father,” his son admitted.
“Let me take a team down to the planet and do some reconnaissance before we up chuck it all and boogie.”
“Boogie?” the Admiral asked quizzically.
“Ah, that means to run off, Sir,” Manolo informed him.
“Boogie, yes,” he began.
“Well, I am going to need time to think about leaving this system and heading back home with what little we have,” he stated.
“Father, please let me take a small team down to the surface, for a week and find something, anything that might be of more help,” pleaded Manolo.
“I know that there is something down there that will be of great import.”
“Judging by all their films and books regarding war, these people know how to defend themselves.”
“They know how to take an enemy on and defeat them,” he continued.
“If we have the chance to download just a fraction of their literature regarding war then that should give us a good start, Sir.”
“All I need is one week,” he pleaded.
“You make a good argument, son,” said Admiral Marinero.
“It will take us that long to finish up surveys that some of the science departments are running right now anyway.”
“Plus, we need to grab some of these ore rich asteroids and feed them to the fabricators to replenish the stocks we used up on our way here,” he informed his son.
“So I can give you one week, son.”
“Assemble a landing party but only take four at most.”
In one of the many crew-meeting areas, Lieutenant Marinero assembled his crew.
They were; Chief Warren Officer Angelica Suarez, newly advanced to chief due to her hard work and passing the test, Warren Officer Emilio Dominguez, Ensign Rico Santiago and Brother Delgado.
Brother Delgado admittance at the last minute to accompany the party was via a request to the Admiral from Vice Member Carreta.
Along with the crewmembers but not allowed to accompany the crew onto the surface was their personal drones, Scrak, Alphie and Carreta.
Only the Admiral knew that two of the drones were in fact Vice Members of the Drone Council.
“We had Chief Geniero install the cloaking device to the scout shuttle that we will be taking down to the surface,” advised Lieutenant Marinero.
“Their monitoring systems are not sophisticated enough to pick up any signals coming from our Lander, so we should be safe.”
“So why are we going down?” Santiago asked.
“We need to find out if there is anything, or anybody that will be able to help us exterminate our bug problem,” Manolo answered.
“We also need to upload all of their reference materials regarding warfare, while we are down there,” he added.
“Are the invaders bugs?” Dominguez asked.
“Like the kind in Star Ship Troopers?”
“Shut up,” Angelica said.
“You shut up,” he responded.
“That’s, you shut up, Sir,” she leered over at him.
Dominguez just looked past her.
“Are you two finished?” Manolo asked.
“Or are we going to have to separate you on the way going down?”
“No, Sir,” they both said in unison.
“Sir, why did we get picked to do this?” asked Rico.
“I mean, I am not fluent in the English language yet.”
“You’re my number two Rico,” mentioned Manolo.
“Should anything happen to me, it’s your duty to get the team out as fast as possible without raising any flags.”
“Suarez is going because she’s already mastered the language and Dominguez because he’s our commo man,” he stated.
“And why is Brother Delgado going?” Santiago asked.
“Why should a Jesuit be going and not one of the other orders?”
“Brother Delgado is accompanying us by request from the Admiral’s office to look after our souls,” Manolo began.
“It seems the friar’s have been kicking up a mist storm about the depravity down there and want us to leave before we all get tanned by its presence,” he informed them.
“Ah, Sir?” questioned Suarez.
“Yes, Chief?” asked Marinero.
“The terms you are looking for are; kicking up a ‘dust’ storm and ‘tainted’ by its presence,” she stated.
Manolo looked over at Rico and smiled.
“See why we need her?” he asked him.
“And the drones, Sir,” began Rico.
“Why just yours and not ours as well?” he asked.
“May I answer that Lieutenant?” asked Scrak.
“Please,” Manolo requested.
“It was I and the Chief’s drone, Alphie that deciphered the electromagnetic transmissions from the surface that is allowing for this mission to succeed,” Scrak informed him.
“And Brother Delgado’s drone accompanies him everywhere he goes, as he should,” he finished.
“Are there any more questions?” Marinero asked.
They all shook their heads, no.
“Good,” he said.
“We leave at zero two thirty tomorrow morning.”
“I suggest you all get something to eat and then hit the head,” he suggested.
Suarez stated laughing aloud.
Manolo glared at her.
“This will get old quickly,” Rico said under his breath.
She stopped laughing.
“Sir,” she began.
“I think you meant to say rack, as in ‘hit the rack’ or get some sleep,” piped in Angelica.
“Hit the head, means go to the restroom,” she concluded.
“No, I think he’s right,” said Dominguez.
“I always get sick before a big trip and need to use the restroom.”
“TMI, TMI, TMI,” shouted Suarez.
“TMI?” asked Manolo.
“Too Much Information,” she replied.
He chuckled as they were leaving the room.
“Oh I get it,” he admitted.
“Too much information, that’s a good one Suarez.”
“Shut up,” Dominguez said the Angelica.
“You shut up,” she answered back.
Later that evening in the workroom, Suarez was speaking with Sister Maria when Lieutenant Marinero entered.
They both looked up and him and motioned him over. Hovering beside Angelica was Alphie and a miniature drone.
Manolo sat down and looked up at the mini drone.
“I didn’t know Alphie was expecting?” he asked.
“Very droll, Lieutenant,” Alphie replied.
“Lieutenant Marinero I’d like you to meet Al,” Angelica said.
“Nice to meet you, Al,” Marinero said.
“And you too Lieutenant,” replied Al.
“So, why am I meeting Al?” he asked.
“Al is coming with us on our scouting trip,” Suarez announced.
“Oh, I wasn’t aware that I wanted you to create another member for the landing party,” he stated.
“You didn’t, aloud,” she began.
“But I did pick up on your underlying meaning during the meeting we had earlier regarding gathering war craft data,” she stated.
“And after that you made Al?” he asked.
“I’m good but not that good,” she began.
“Alphie and I have been working on a smaller version of him for a couple of months now.”
“I just finished the final touches on Al a few days ago,” she informed him.
“So why do we need a smaller version of Alphie?” he asked.
“I’ll be able to infiltrate into smaller places than Alphie can, Lieutenant,” Al said.
“Should we run into areas of access that would make it impossible for Alphie to gain entry into, my size will make the difference,” he ended saying.
“And that’s the only reason you made Al, to get into smaller places?” Marinero asked.
“Yes,” she began.
“But not entirely.”
“Al will be able to accompany me in stealth mode on the surface, something that Alphie can’t do,” she informed him.
“I think I understand,” Manolo said.
“In other words Lieutenant,” began Sister Maria.
“If Alphie can’t be with her, who is going to be there to protect her?” asked Sister Maria.
“I had not thought of that, Sister,” he admitted.
“Well we have,” she continued.
“That’s why Al is going with us,” stated Sister Maria.
“He’ll be able to hide in one of my personal bags<” Angelica said.
“When we check into the hotel, he’ll be able to keep guard while the sister and I are there,” she said.
Marinero looked at Sister Maria with a quizzical look on his face.
“Wait a minute,” he began.
“Why are you going down there with us?” he asked.
“You’re a nun and as far as I know you haven’t been trained in scouting missions,” said Manolo.
“The group has decided that she needs a chaperone and the Chief and I work well together,” Maria said.
“Scrak has already cleared it through your Father’s office, so I’m going,” she added.
Marinero looks over at Scrak.
“Et tu, Scrak?” he asked.
“Oh I get it, quoting Shakespeare, huh?” asked Scrak.
“I was about to tell you about the newest member of the landing party after we left your Father’s quarters but I got distracted, sorry,” he apologized.
“Why do I get the feeling that I’m only a token bobble head on this mission?” Marinero asked.
Anna began to laugh.
“Fine, I get it another slip of the tongue,” he said.
“What was I supposed to say Chief?” he asked.
“The expression is token head, not bobble head, Sir,” she replied.
“And do I want to know what a bobble head is Suarez?” he asked.
“Ah, probably not, Sir,” she replied chuckling.
“Okay back to the discussion on hand,” he began.
“What will we do if something should happen to Al while we are on this mission?” Manolo asked.
“Nothing is going to happen to him down there,” she stated.
“Humor me, Suarez,” he began.
“What happens if Al falls into the wrong hands and by the wrong hands I mean any hands down there?” he asked.
“You have nothing to fear, Sir,” Al replied.
“The Chief has placed a fail-safe within my systems.”
“A fail-safe, what is that?” he asked.
“Should anything happen to him or should we get separated for a sustained period of time, Al will simply self-destruct,” Angelica informed him.
Manolo looked at the mini drone.
“And you’re okay with that?” he asked.
“I am,” Al stated.
“I have numerous and varied functions that I was created to carry out.”
“One of which is to protect Chief Warren Officer Angelica Suarez with my life,” he continued.
“She must come to no harm.”
“In failing that or should anything prevent me from protecting her then I will complete my last task, self elimination,” he declared.
“I see,” said Marinero.
“What other tasks does he have to carry out?” asked Marinero.
“That’s another thing Alphie and I have been working on ever since we finally realized that there was no Federation, Rebel Forces or Jedi’s,” Anna acknowledged.
“How long ago did it take you to figure out that Earth was light-years behind us in technology?” he asked her pointblank.
“How long have you known they could not help us defeat the invaders?” he asked even harder.
“Well, hmmm….let me see…ah,” she began stammering.
Sister Maria looked at the Lieutenant.
“She usually starts doing that when she’s about to lie,” the nun confessed.
“Do not!” Anna said.
“Oh, child,” murmured Sister Maria.
“See I can be of use to you too Lieutenant,” she said as she smiled at him.
“Just answer the question Suarez,” he insisted.
“It was a couple of hours after we deciphered the first transmission,” Suarez confessed.
“Just a couple of hours after?” he asked loudly.
“Why didn’t you inform me then?”
“Don’t be so hard on her, Lieutenant,” the nun requested.
“She asked my advice on what to do about her suspicion and I advised her to keep quiet until she had further proof,” she admitted.
“And why didn’t you say anything after you got further proof, Chief?” he asked.
“Others were beginning to connect the dots and I didn’t want to be a wet blanket, sorry,” she apologized.
Marinero let out a heavy sigh.
“Please do me the courtesy, as your commanding officer, to let me know if you have further suspicions regarding the mission, Chief Warren Officer,” he commanded.
“Yes, Sir,” she began.
“And, ah, by the way…” she trailed off.
Sister Maria looked over at Marinero.
“Well, you did tell her to say something, Lieutenant,” Sister Maria pointed out.
“Go ahead, Suarez,” he said.
“I’ve been researching the different data that we are gathering from Earth,” she began.
“Alphie and I have been sifting through it all and we think we might be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat, Sir,” she announced smiling.
“A what, out a what?” he asked incredulously.
“A rabbit is a rodent with big ears and a fluffy tail,” Al informed him.
“And I believe you are familiar with hats, right?” he asked.
“Yes,” stated Marinero.
“I know what hats are, but what does any of that have to do with our scouting mission?” he asked.
Angelica smiled at him with her big, brown eyes.
“It is an old magic trick here on Earth, Lieutenant,” she stated.
“The Magician shows the audience that there is nothing in the hat waves a wand over it and then pulls out the rabbit,” she concluded.
“In other words,” began Sister Maria.
“He produces something out of thin air.”
“Oh, child, what have you pulled out of thin air for us?” she asked.
“It may be something but then again, it may be nothing,” Angelica began.
“We may have a solution to our major problem.”
“Well, actually two answers or solutions, maybe more but at least a possible two,” she said anxiously.
“But maybe more…” she trailed off.
Manolo looked over at the Sister.
“She gets like that when she’s excited,” she advised.
“Bare with her a moment if you would please,” she requested.
Just then, the hatch opened up and Brother Delgado and Carreta entered.
“Just in time I hope?” asked Carreta.
‘Why do I always get the feeling that I come in half way through a conversation with you three, ah…five, I mean six, it would seem,” Marinero said as he looked at Scrak.
“Now, now Lieutenant,” began Delgado.
“I don’t want you to get the feeling that we are leaving you out of something important.”
“Sister Maria happened to link us into your conversation a few minutes ago when Angelica introduced you to our newest members of the team,” he continued.
“But we interrupted what you were going to tell the Lieutenant, Angelica, please continue,” said Brother Delgado.
“I designed a program,” she began.
“And uploaded it to Alphie to have him scan all relevant information regarding space, space flight, space defense, space offense…”
“But they don’t have that technology!” Marinero interrupted her.
“They are not in space!” he exclaimed.
“You’re right Sir, technically,” she replied.
“They do lack the weapon technology that we are seeking but…”
“You’re splitting hairs, Suarez. I don’t like it when you split hairs,” Manolo confessed.
“Don’t you see it?” Anna asked.
“Apparently not Suarez,” Marinero began.
“Just spittle it out,” he requested.
“That’s spit it out, Sir,” she corrected him.
“Whatever, Chief Warren Officer,” he said exasperated.
She smiled at him.
“See you got that right,” she admitted.
Sister Maria cleared her throat.
“Please child, tell us what has got you so excited,” she requested.
Angelica’s smile included the whole group this time.
“It is so simple, I don’t know why I didn’t see it earlier,” she stated.
“Now, while we have been guided by the Rths over the last six hundred years and shown wonders beyond imagination our distance relatives have had no opportunities to advance outside their home planet.”
“The few times they ventured to the moon and the several probes that have made it to Mars without crashing was the extent of their space travels,” she informed them.
“So, I think, because of their frustration on being earthbound,” she said.
”I believe God has given them the ability to soar through the heavens with their minds,” she concluded.
“And?” the Lieutenant asked.
“And they have achieved so much, can’t you see?” she asked them all.
“Obviously,” began the nun.
“You are the only one that can see Angelica, please share your insight with us,” requested the Sister.
“They may not have the same space traveling capabilities that we have but they have something else that we lack,” confessed the Chief.
“And that would be, Chief?” asked Carreta.
“Imagination, Vice Member,” she stated.
“The imagination it takes to reach out to the stars and place those stars in the hands of their children,” she admitted.
“And you think this ability to imagine is key somehow?” asked Manolo.
“Yes, Sir,” she said.
“For whatever reason we lack the ability to be imaginative and they lack our ability to manufacture or to fabricate.”
“If we merger the two halves together, we can very well accomplish our mission and go home with all the weapons we need to defeat the enemy,” she concluded.
“Oh, my, she was right, it was simple, when you look at it that way,” admitted Brother Delgado.
Sister Maria stood up, walked over to Anna and gave her a hug.
“God bless you child,” she said.
“I knew there was a very good reason to have you on the away team, Chief Suarez.,” boasted Lieutenant Marinero.
“But how do we merger these two parts together my dear?” asked Carreta.
“That’s another one of my jobs, Vice Member,” answered Al.
“I am to seek out a person or group of people who will have the imagination it will take to help us accomplish our mission,” he informed them.
“And expose our mission to Earthlings?” asked Manolo.
“Well like they say, ‘you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs,’” added Brother Delgado.
“But at the risk of exposing us to Earth?” Manolo asked again.
“I’m with the Lieutenant on this one,” said Carreta.
“We may have misled you on the ease of completing this task and for that I apologize,” said Alphie.
“Our hypothesis is sound, but implementing it might be a bit trickier,” Anna admitted.
“We’re all ears, please, go on,” requested Carreta.
“Our first task will be to locate a mind that will acknowledge who we are but not be scared by our presence on their world,” she stated.
“We can’t have mass panic in the streets, Chief,” said Brother Delgado.
“That’s very true, Brother.”
“Do you have any idea who this mind will be?” asked Carreta.
“Most all of our research,” she began.
“Shows that a younger person’s mind is intelligent enough for what we need but not so far jaded by years of constant struggle.”
“A younger person’s mind is more open to imagination and creativity,” she informed them.
“I guess us old fogeys are not in touch with our imaginative side huh?” asked Brother Delgado.
“I didn’t mean to insult you Brother,” she apologized.
“I’m sure,” began Sister Maria.
“He didn’t take it that way Angelica.”
“My brother maybe a lot of things but thin skinned is not one of them,” Maria said.
“Can we get back to your plan, Chief?” asked Manolo.
“So, first off we have to find a young imaginative mind,” she said.
“Second, our former home has been torn apart by endless wars over their long history.”
“They have forgotten more about battle than we have ever imagined,” she stated.
“Good point, please continue,” said Carreta.
“All the research we have done leads us back to one country and one country alone,” Alphie said.
“America or the United States of America,” finished Angelica.
“But, why just America?” asked Manolo.
“Because they’re chief export is war,” Suarez stated.
“They eat, drink, breath and sleep war.”
“They have more actual weapons, manufacturers and designers than anywhere in the world and in reality most of their entertainment; books, movies and even games deal with war,” she explained.
“It is beyond me why any nation on Earth would pick a fight with them.”
“These Americans live to kill,” she stated.
“You almost say that as if it’s a good thing,” admitted Manolo.
“If I gave you that impression, I’m sorry,” she began.
“It is not a good thing.”
“They must get extremely tense at times. I mean to have to keep looking over their shoulders all the time waiting for the next Pearl Harbor or September 11th,” she explained.
“Well as they say, they made their beds,” Brother Delgado put in.
“That’s another discussion that we might have one day,” stated the nun.
“You can’t blame the whole of the American society for despicable war mongers that want to make money from people’s paranoia and insecurity,” she declared.
“Power to the People, huh Sister?” Suarez asked.
“Well, yes in a way and thank you for those 1960’s files that you let me review,” Maria replied.
“Can we get back to what Lieutenant Marinero said?” asked Delgado.
“It is not a good thing that Americans live to kill, it’s a great thing for us,” he stated.
“And to continue your train of thought Angelica, we need them to continue eating, drinking and breathing war for us,” he stated.
“Lieutenant, we need to get down to the surface so Angelica can let loose Al and we can recruit those willing to help our cause,” he requested.
“You have our time to depart Brother,” stated Marinero.
“We can’t move that up.”
“Besides now that Sister Maria will be joining us, is there anybody else you want to include?” asked Marinero.
“She is the last member, Lieutenant,” Delgado stated.
“And you are set with all your provisions while you are on the surface, Sister?” Manolo asked.
“I’m sure the Chief will keep me well entertained,” the Sister admitted.
“But there is something else the Chief could help with,” Sister Maria said.
“And what would that be, Sister?” asked Angelica.
“Maybe while I’m not on the clock,” she began.
“I can occupy my mind on something interesting, like say the total collection of Harry Potter books?” she asked sweetly.
“I think we can manage that Sister,” Anna said smiling.
Friars de Morillo and de Jesus met with Commander Alvarez at the same time the Jesuit team met.
“Is the boat ready?” asked de Morillo.
“It’s not a boat but a small shuttle,” replied Alvarez.
“I don’t care what it’s called Commander, is it ready?” de Morillo asked.
“Yes,” began Alverez.
“I had a small crew of engineers committed to our cause secretly place a cloaking device in it so you now have stealth capabilities,” he announced.
“Excellent, Commander, God is pleased,” said de Jesus.
Zero One Thirty came too early for Anna but she quickly got up, got dressed and grabbed her bags for the away mission.
She had Al place himself into one of her bags and go invisible just in case somebody checked the bags.
That precaution paid off because all of their belongings were search, except those of Ensign Santiago, before they got into the Lander.
Al monitored who did the searching and recorded everything.
The Chief saw what he did via their link.
She decided not to relay that information to her group.
She had no idea how many others in the landing party were not who they appeared to be, so she kept quiet.
She knew she could only really trust one member in the landing party and that was the last member chosen.
She decided she would tell Sister Maria about the incident and about her suspicion that one of the members of the landing party maybe there to sabotage the mission.
That would wait until after they landed.
First, they had to leave the San Marcos.
Before they left even though it was 2:30 AM on board there were hundreds of well-wishers to see them off.
The mood on the hanger deck was festive and some crewmembers from the engineering staff even went to the trouble of fabricating steamers and banners that said “Good Luck” and “Bon Voyage.”
There was a make shift band, of sorts, blaring out the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island”.
A few of the women crewmembers dressed up like hula girls and gave out traditional Hawaiian Leis and kisses.
Of-course team members Manolo, Rico and Emilio enjoyed themselves immensely while Angelica sat in the ship fuming.
Some of the last members to board were Brother Delgado and his sister.
Once aboard, Admiral Marinero left his group and approached his son who was still getting leis placed around his neck.
“I hope I am not disturbing you, Lieutenant?” the Admiral asked.
“Ah, no, Sir!” Manolo exclaimed.
Manolo stood at attention saluting his Father.
“Stand at ease, Lieutenant,” the Admiral replied.
“I see your group of only four has turned into quite the party, Lieutenant,” the Admiral observed.
“I’m sorry, Sir,” Manolo began.
“But the need for our mission to succeed has overridden the desire for a smaller group.”
If you will recall, you did say you ‘would like me to take,’ not ‘and you’re only allowed to take,’” Manolo said.
“You should have been more precise in your instructions, Sir,” he added.
“I’ll make myself more precise next time, son,” the Admiral said smiling.
“Thanks for the advice but I do commend you for your choices in additional landing party members,” he continued.
“The addition of Brother Delgado, his drone and the Sister Maria, is well done indeed.”
“Do you know Sister Maria?” Marinero asked.
She was a last minute choice on my part to accompany us, Sir,” he admitted.
“I know her quite well,” stated his Father.
“I did not know she was part of our complement on this journey.”
“Brother Delgado must have moved heaven and earth to get his sister to leave her charges for six months or more,” he stated.
“Sorry Sir, her charges?” Manolo asked.
“Oh, didn’t you know?” the Admiral asked.
“Know what Sir?” he further asked.
“Sister Maria,” began the Admiral.
“Along with a few other members of the Jesuits are directly in charge of educating and instructing the royal family,” he stated.
“She has been for years, as I recall,” the Admiral admitted.
“For how many years would you say, Father?”
“Oh, let’s see at least since the Princess Anna Clara was able to begin instructions,” he said.
“Maybe twelve years or so, I’d guess,” he concluded.
“And she didn’t have another teaching job before that?” Manolo asked.
“I couldn’t say but not to my knowledge,” he informed his son.
“She was with the royal family as a retainer before she started instructing the Infanta, but for how many years, I do not know,” he admitted.
“Why do you ask?”
“Just wanting to find out all I can about the landing party, Sir,” he stated.
“It makes for good leadership.”
The Admiral shook his hand and gave him a brief hug.
“Vaya Con Dios,” he said.
The Lieutenant came to attentions and gave his father a salute before entering the Lander.
He was the last to board and the hatch closed behind him.
He walked down the aisle and stopped at the aisle seats containing the Sister and Angelica.
He looked directly into Anna’s eyes and saw for the first time how truly young she really was and then he knew.
He then smiled at them.
“Big day ahead for us huh?” he asked.
“Yes, Sir,” admitted the Chief.
The Lieutenant and the Chief hesitated for a second before they both said in unison, “We need to talk.”
“I’m sorry, you go first,” she requested.
“No, please you go first I insist,” he said.
“When we get into steady flight and you have a free moment, we need to talk, Sir,” she requested.
“Great,” he began.
“Because I have a few questions I’d like to ask.”
“You have updated Scrak with the coordinates of where we need to land, Chief Warren Officer?” he asked.
She paused a moment realizing that he emphasized on her title.
“Ah, yes, Sir,” she began hesitantly.
“We are heading directly to the Bay Area of California, San Francisco to be exact.”
“Just like in the movie Star Trek, heh?” Manolo asked.
“Yes, but we’re not looking for whales, Sir,” she informed him.
“Carry on,” he said as he stood and left.
The Sister watched him walk away with a wary eye.
“What was that all about?” she asked.
Before Anna said anything, Scrak nonverbally communicated with them.
‘He found out from his father that Sister Maria has been your private tutor ever since you were three, Princess,’ he stated.
‘I am afraid the cats out of the bag.’
‘Crap!’ Anna thought.
‘Double Crap!’ thought Alphie.
‘And again I raise you, Triple Crap!’ thought Scrak.
The Sister placed her hand over Anna’s hand.
‘It is better that it came out now instead of down there, my dear,’ she said.
‘That is if anything should happen to you,’ she added.
‘I was hoping to wait a little bit longer before I told him myself,’ she said.
‘I guess now is as good a time as any.’
‘We have other problems that just popped up and the need to ‘come clean’ with the Lieutenant is the last thing I wanted to do right now,’ she admitted.
‘Scrak, it has come to my attention that we have one or possibly two saboteurs in our party,’ she stated.
She then went onto tell Scrak and Sister Maria all that happened before they left the San Marcos IV.
The weekend at Uncle Ernesto’s was a huge success as far as Uncle Ernesto was concerned.
He saw all his great nieces and nephews and of course the King and Queen.
The whole town turned out to welcome the royal family to their city of Valencia.
Valencia’s town leaders announced a day of celebration to commemorate the royal family’s visit to Uncle Ernesto’s hacienda and manor.
Finally, when all the excitement and celebrations were winding down the royal family retired to Ernesto’s estate.
The children had bathed and then sent to bed before they fell asleep on their feet.
The servants were cleaning up the aftermath of four children’s bedtime ritual, and now finally, the adults had a moment to sit back in the study and reflect on the day’s ceremonies.
“It is too bad that the Infanta could not make the trip to Valencia again,” said Uncle Ernesto.
“Yes, we miss her too, Uncle,” admitted Isabella.
“More than you could ever know, Sir,” said the King.
“Please you are the King, you do not call me Sir,” protested Ernesto.
“Fine,” the King began.
“I will not call you Sir if you call me Miguel when we are alone,” he advised.
Ernesto looked over at Isabella who nodded and then back at the King.
“Si Señor, ah, I mean Miguel,” Ernesto said.
“That is better, now that, that’s out of the way we have a request to make of you, Uncle,” the King informed him.
“Sure, anything, Miguel,” replied Ernesto.
“You’ve heard of the troubles we are having I would assume?” asked the King.
“Si, terrible times,” admitted Ernesto.
Miguel looked at his wife who took up the conversation.
“Uncle, I’ve had to tell Miguel all about Uncle Salazar,” she said.
Her uncle took a few deep breaths, looked up, and smiled.
“Of course you did my dear,” he said.
“But how can crazy, old Uncle Salazar be of any help?” he asked.
“Because we believe that the secrets he took to the stasis chamber maybe of some use to us now,” she concluded.
“Isabella has mentioned that your late great uncle did some exploring and it was shortly after he came back his last one that he suddenly requested he be placed in stasis,” stated the King.
“That much is true but of course the family had to tell a different story to the public,” admitted Ernesto.
“He went into stasis after a meeting he had with top Rths representatives, just shortly before the Rths faded away,” he announced.
“That is what Isabella mentioned to me,” began the King.
“Didn’t any family member think it odd he chose to go into stasis right after his trip?” the King asked.
Uncle Ernesto sat back in his easy chair and let out a small snicker.
“The family back then thought he was a little crazy anyway so him going into stasis didn’t seem out of the ordinary,” he said.
“So, the answer to your question is no, not any of the family members back then didn’t,” he admitted.
“Uncle,” began the Queen.
“I know how you like to dramatize things so please just tell us which family member did have questions about Uncle Salazar’s timing?” Isabella asked.
Ernesto smiled a big smile.
“You do have a remarkable daughter, my dear,” he stated.
“Anna?” they both asked in unison.
“Yes, you’re Anna,” he admitted.
“Just before the big ceremony, she came up here for a half a day and quizzed me for hours about Salazar,” he replied.
“Of course, she told me she had your permission to visit,” he stated.
“She is a willful child,” admitted her mother.
“She has always been so inquisitive about everything,” Ernesto stated.
“I have to admit having her around made me feel twenty years younger.”
“She reminded me of you, my dear, at that age,” he said looking over at Isabella.
“Yes, so my husband keeps reminding me,” said the Queen.
“Uncle, what did you talk about?” she requested.
“Oh everything and anything that dealt with Salazar,” he began.
“You know I am the family’s expert on him.”
“That is why I was chosen to oversee his crypt and stasis field,” he said smiling.
“And speaking of the stasis field, did you happen to show Anna the crypt and field?” her father asked.
“Of-course, the little nymph suggested it while looking at me with her big, brown eyes,” he said.
“How could I refuse?” he admitted.
Isabella looked over at her husband and said, “And she gets that from your side of the family.”
“So you two went down to the crypt and you answered all of her questions about Uncle Salazar, right?” asked the King.
“And then what?” asked the King.
“What happened next?” the Queen asked.
“Oh, let’s see,” he began.
“I came up here to get another book for reference and then went back down.”
“You mean you left her in the crypt by herself?” asked Isabella.
“She wasn’t by herself she was with her personal drone.”
“Alphina?” she asked.
“I believe so,” he said.
“But she called him by a different name.”
“Him?” asked the King.
“Which was?” asked the Queen.
“Alphie, I think it was,” replied Ernesto.
“Of course it would have been Alphie,” said her father.
“Why of course?” she asked.
“She could only have been gone for a short period of time without us wondering where she had gone off to,” he replied.
“Yes, and?” she asked.
“And she probably used that time to work on her plan to switch places with her double and used Alphina to run cover for her,” he informed her.
“Now why do you think Alphina failed to mention that she and Alphie could extent their antigravity fields to include our precocious young daughter?” he asked.
“Because they and she would know that they and she would be grounded for life?” asked her mother.
“What are you two talking about?” Ernesto asked.
They both looked over at Uncle Ernesto and remembered that he was in the room with them.
“We’ll get to that in a minute, uncle,” began Miguel.
“I want to know how long were you gone from the crypt?” he asked.
“It could not have been more than ten or fifteen minutes,” he admitted.
“Oh my God, Miguel,” she began.
“What could she have done with all that time?”
“I don’t know,” he replied.
“But we need to find out.”
“Uncle Ernesto, can you lead us to the crypt please?” he requested.
Ernest stood up.
“Yes, of course,” he replied.
“Do you want to go now?” he asked.
“We need to know,” said Isabella.
The King nodded his head, yes.
Ernesto went over to a bust of Uncle Salazar near the shelves filled with books and pushed a button on the statue’s suit coat.
A hidden door behind him slid silently open.
It revealed a series of steps leading down.
They went down the steps and arrived at the bottom of the stairs after a few moments.
There was a door in front of them, Uncle Ernesto took a key from his necklace and put in the lock.
He turned the key and unlocked the door.
He motioned for the King and Queen to enter the room.
As they entered the room, lights slowly came on.
The lit room, revealed another door that seemed to be made of stainless steel.
Uncle Ernesto came over to the steel door and placed his hand on a pad on the wall just to the right of the door.
The pad’s sensors detected the DNA sample taken from Uncle Ernesto and the two-meter thick steel door swung ponderously open.
Miguel took a deep breath and let it out as the door finally came to a slow stop.
“Your family does not lack for the dramatic does it dear?” he asked his wife.
“Like our dear, old Grandmother used to say ‘It’s all in the presentation,’ ” admitted Ernesto.
“Well you certainly have that down,” admitted Miguel.
They all went through to the next room that held the stasis chamber for the drone and Uncle Salazar.
“As you can see,” Ernesto began.
“Off to the left is the drone’s stasis chamber overlooking our dear Uncle Salazar’s, chamber.”
“It seems so peaceful and serene in here,” said Isabella.
“I’m sure he enjoys it very much,” said Miguel.
“Will you please stop?” she requested.
“I just can’t get over how your family has gone to such great lengths to preserve your crazy great uncle my dear,” admitted the King.
“I’m the eighth generation to be Uncle Salazar’s caretaker,” admitted Uncle Ernesto.
“But to what end?” the King asked.
“Must everything have to be to some end?” asked his wife.
“Well, if you only want it to make sense it does,” he admitted.
“Its family, Miguel,” she began.
“Just leave it at that,” she advised.
“It’s a little more than that, my child,” said Ernesto.
“What are you talking about Uncle?” she asked.
“Before he placed himself into stasis,” began Ernesto.
“Uncle Salazar left the family with this magnificent house and all the grounds.”
“He also left plenty of money in the bank to keep this place up for a few more hundred years,” he informed them.
“He then gave specific instructions that nothing that he had placed in here be moved or tampered with,” he added.
“Who would want to tamper with a crypt?” asked Miguel.
“You never know, Miguel,” said Ernesto.
“The family could have fallen on hard times and had to sell the house or something else may have come up and the house would have to be demolished.”
“Who could say?” Ernesto asked him.
“But because he provided for the house and his stasis chamber, none of those things occurred,” she said.
“Yes, that’s true,” admitted Ernesto.
“But what no other member of this family knows but me and those that came before me is this; this vault is safe from any breach in its outer chamber,” he informed them.
“What?” they both asked.
“Although our great uncle was reported to be crazy,” he began.
“He was far from that.”
“Devious and clever would be more of a portrayal of him,” he announced.
“Sound like anyone you know?” asked the King.
“Why am I just learning of this now Uncle?” she asked.
“Because there was no need to tell you before,” he admitted.
“I am only mentioning this to you now because of something your daughter said to me before she left,” he added.
“Which was?” they both asked.
“She looked up at me when I came through the door,” he began.
“After getting my book to answer her questions and simply smiled and said ‘I knew it, he wasn’t crazy. A little ahead of his time but definitely not crazy and he’ll tell you that one day.’”
“What do you think she meant by that?” asked Ernesto.
The King looked over at Rexius.
“Any ideas what she meant by that?” he asked.
“Reginus and I have been constantly scanning this room since we’ve been admitted and are truly fascinated by its construction,” he stated.
“You say this is over two hundred years old?” Rexius asked.
“Around there I’d say,” admitted Uncle Ernesto.
“We are detecting low electromagnetic waves emanating from the stasis chamber,” Reginus informed them.
“Why wouldn’t you?” asked Miguel.
“It is an old chamber,” he stated.
“Oh my God!” exclaimed the Queen.
“Can’t you see?” she asked.
“What are you going on about dear?” asked the King.
“Anna’s last cryptic words were, ‘and he’ll tell you one day’,” she said.
Isabella looked at the two men with frustration.
“Uncle was there any instructions regarding Uncle Salazar’s wishes to be reawakened?” she asked.
The total silence that greeted Isabella’s question was unsettling and then like a log bursting forth from a logjam the room was flooded with excited gibberish.
Rexius finally got everybody calmed down enough to get a word in.
“Might I remind you that the Queen’s question is just speculation?” he asked.
“And how can we change the speculation to certainty?” asked the King.
“Uncle Ernesto,” began Rexius.
“As the Queen suggested, is there any instructions as to when Uncle Salazar wanted to be reawakened?” he asked.
Uncle Ernesto looked over at his niece.
“I have not encountered any instructions that were left for us, my dear,” he admitted.
“So, no help from that angle, huh?” the King asked.
“No hidden instructions that say ‘push this button in case of an emergency’?” the King inquired.
“None what so ever, Sire,” informed Ernesto.
“So what option does that leave us with Rexius?” the King asked.
“We could slowly bring the drone out of stasis and ask him, Majesty,” suggested Rexius.
“Could you do so safely?” asked the Queen.
“There is a risk in everything we could do, Highness,” said Reginus.
“But the risk is acceptable?”
“Inherently it is a stasis field and operates like any stasis field would,” began Reginus.
“So we don’t see any chance that anything unpleasant would happen to the drone, Ma’am.”
“Well, what do you think?” she asked her husband.
“I think our daughter was smart enough to figure out that her great uncle might hold some answers for us,” he stated.
“If she thought it then we should too.”
“I think we should let them bring Salazar’s drone out of stasis and see what he has to tell us,” he added.
“I agree,” she said.
She turned to her uncle and said, “Uncle we are getting into the official secrets area now and I’d love to include you as long as it is okay with my husband and our counselors.”
“I believe we can trust your uncle, my dear,” said the King.
“Thank you,” she replied.
“Now Uncle are you sure there isn’t any kind of gossip or old wives tales dealing with Uncle Salazar and his stasis chamber that you may have forgotten during all the excitement?” she asked.
“No,” he began.
“Not about the chamber or our great uncle.”
“But that was the same question Anna was asking me earlier and that is why I left to find my books,” he stated.
“And did you find anything in your books?” asked the King.
Uncle Ernesto looked off in the distance trying to remember and then after a few moments his face lit up.
“I do remember,” he began.
“I found something in my books but it wasn’t about the chamber or Great Uncle Salazar.”
“I brought the book down stairs and was going to read the passage when Anna said those strange words to me that totally distracted me and I forgot all about the passage in the book,” he admitted.
“And where is that book now Uncle?” the Queen asked.
“It’s right outside in the antechamber,” he announced.
“I remember leaving it there because Anna was in such a hurry to leave and I didn’t want to have to lug it back upstairs.”
“Rexius get the book please,” the King requested.
Rexius left, in a few moments he brought the book in and handed it to Ernesto.
Ernesto thumbed through several pages and finally found the passage he was looking for.
“Salazar’s last words to his sons were ‘that in the greatest time of need, secrets will be revealed and a new dawn will appear,’” he read to them aloud.
“What do you think he meant by that?” he asked.
“Well they did call him crazy Uncle Salazar, didn’t they?” the King asked.
“Yes, but names don’t mean anything,” the Queen admonished him.
“People always have a tendency to call others they don’t understand by hurtful names.”
“As Uncle Ernesto said earlier we, in the family, have a better idea who he really was,” she added.
“And crazy he wasn’t,” added Ernesto.
“Fine, so what does it mean?” asked the King.
“Might I venture a guess, Sire?” asked Rexius.
“Your guess is better than a lot of expert’s opinion, Rexius, so please venture away,” requested the King.
“Although that statement was mysterious in the past,” he began.
“The troubles we are experiencing today, sheds new light on its meaning, we believe,” he stated.
“The Rths,” Reginus began.
“Maybe in conjunction with Salazar planned ahead.”
They knew they were going to fade away and you were going to take their place,” she said.
The Rths have been exploring for thousands and thousands of years and ran across countless races of beings, some with space traveling capabilities some without.”
“Maybe in their travels they encountered a civilization summarily destroyed by outside invaders, such as is occurring now,” added Reginus.
“Could this be true?” asked the King.
“It is highly probable, Sire,” Rexius stated.
“Space holds many such races that would rather destroy than create.”
“The Rths, it would seem, fell into the latter of such races,” added Reginus.
“And left us sitting here like prize geese, fat and happy, waiting to be slaughtered,” said the King.
“Sire,” Rexius began.
“Let me point out again that space is vast.”
“The Rths probably hoped that we would continue our lives as they did without encountering these warlike species,” he continued.
“The blame can’t be placed on them for hoping.”
“Maybe they had a contingency plan should that day arise,” announced the Queen.
“That is why we are here in Uncle Salazar’s stasis chamber asking these questions.”
“Shall we get to it then?” she requested hurriedly.
Reginus and Rexius immediately went over to the stasis- field control panel and accessed the needed information.
The stasis field began to waver and within a few moments disappeared.
The drone encased in the field continued to hover and then slowly moved out of the field’s influence.
“Greetings fellow Spaniards, I am called Coronado,” he said.
“Greetings Coronado, I am Rexius and this is Reginus of the Drone Council,” Rexius began.
“I am also pleased to introduce the King and Queen of the New Spanish Empire, His Majesty Miguel Juan Alejandro de la Castillo and Her Majesty Isabella Catarina,” Rexius declared.
“And Uncle Ernesto Fernando de la Valencia, our host and the Keeper of the Crypt,” said the Queen.
“I am honored to meet such a magnificent collection of royalty and respected representatives of the Empire,” Coronado said.
“Now, is there a reason why you’ve interrupted my stasis?” Coronado asked them.
“May I update you with the latest information, Coronado?” asked Rexius.
“It has been over two hundred years since you’ve been activated,” he informed his fellow drone.
“By all means please do so,” requested Coronado.
“Two Hundred years, really?” he asked.
“Yes, Old One, two hundred years,” added Reginus.
It took a few minutes to update Coronado.
He then went over to check on the stasis chamber of his friend Salazar.
He looked at Uncle Ernesto.
“You have done a marvelous job of preserving Salazar’s stasis chamber, I commend you,” he stated.
“Thank you Coronado, it has been a privilege,” Ernesto said.
Coronado looked past Ernest at the Queen.
“And you are Salazar’s great grand niece several times removed and also the Queen of the Empire?” he asked.
“Si, Coronado, I am,” replied Isabella.
“It is a privilege to meet you as well.”
“Both of you are the parents of Anna Clara Eugenia?” the drone asked.
“But how… I mean…,” sputtered the King.
“I am fully updated on all of the latest records regarding the Empire, Sire,” Coronado said.
“Yes, of course,” replied the King sighing.
“It is just that our daughter has been doing some exploring of her own.”
“I thought you knew her because she did something stupid like bring you out of stasis,” he explained.
“She did,” Coronado stated.
“I knew it!” yelled the King.
He looked at his wife.
“That daughter of yours is…” the King began.
“Quite remarkable,” Coronado stated interrupting the King.
“I met her and we talked for a few minutes, months ago,” he informed them.
“You did what?” Miguel asked.
“It was in this very chamber that we spoke,” Coronado began.
“She was here with a new type of drone she had recently created,” he added.
“Very creative, that one,” he said.
“They updated me with the latest in intelligence, regarding the new threat to the Empire, Majesty,” he concluded.
“And you went back into stasis when you finished talking?” the King asked incredulously.
“Si,” he replied.
“She told me that you would be along shortly to awaken both of us,” he continued.
“She also mentioned that this was the time foretold by the Rths and that Salazar and I would be sorely needed,” he ended saying.
“But how…?” the King began asking.
“Dear,” his wife interrupted him this time.
“She probably already had the hidden information that was in Ernesto’s books before she even came here.
“She figured out that the Rths indeed had already planned for this crisis,” suggested the Queen.
“She is intelligent and comes from good stock,” said Coronado.
“With each new piece of information that comes to us I don’t know why I am surprised,” admitted the King.
“She surprises me as well, Miguel,” admitted his wife.
“And I still think there are many more surprises to come, right Coronado?” asked Reginus.
“Si, there are,” he began.
“The first of which is that Salazar is not dead but in suspended animation.”
“The Rths used the same technique they used on your ancestors hundreds of years ago to preserve his body and mind.”
The Rths encoded me with ciphers to bring him out of his ‘stasis’ and to awaken him,” he declared.
“Do I have your permission to do so Majesties?” he asked them.
“Yes,” they both said in unison.
Coronado went over to the controls and activated them.
In seconds, the tomb began to hum and the electromagnetic waves increased.
Within a minute, the stasis chamber door slid back and sitting up blinking his eyes was Uncle Salazar not a day older than when he first went into the chamber over two hundred years ago.
He looked around the room and spotted Coronado.
“I give greetings to you my old friend,” Salazar said.
“And the same for you Salazar,” Coronado replied.
“It would seem that we are needed once again.”
As Coronado was speaking, Salazar continued to walk out of his resting chamber.
Before long, he was standing in front of the group that had awakened him.
After the introductions were, completed Salazar reached back into this resting chamber and extracted several small globes.
He placed the globes in a satchel and then hung it over his shoulder.
He walked back to the group.
“Within these globes are the research material that I gathered on planet 956842782,” he explained.
“Coronado and I need to have some time alone to translate our notes along with the Rths’ research.”
“We need to combine both into a working model to upload to your personal drones, Sire,” he announced.
“What do you need from us?” the King asked.
“We can provide you with anything, just ask,” requested the King.
“We have everything we need here, Sire,” he stated.
“The Rths were very generous at providing us with a research facility at our fingertips,” he confessed.
“But I don’t see a facility close by,” the King stated.
“Not yet you don’t,” began Salazar.
“Coronado will you do the honors please?” he requested.
Coronado went over to a picture on the wall and pressed a series of abstract designs on the painting.
In a few moments, the painting slid up to reveal a series of panels.
Coronado pressed another series of buttons and the wall opposite the painting slid back to reveal a huge room filled with bank after bank of electronic gear.
The wall contained monitors and other assorted instruments and lab tools were on tables that popped out of the walls.
Salazar crossed over to the room and placed his hand on a pad.
The pad registered his palm print and another section of a wall disappeared.
In the inner chamber, a room formed from what appeared to be solid crystal.
The room unsealed itself with a whoosh of air and Salazar entered the room and placed one of the globes on a raised platform fitted to the globe’s dimension.
A myriad of lights exploded out from the globe to interact with the monitors on the wall and lit them up with an archive of data scrolling down too quickly for the King or Queen to comprehend.
Salazar slowly turned around.
“Please excuse us for a couple of hours,” Salazar requested.
“After we have downloaded all the information in these globes and uploaded all the data your drone have supplied us, we will send for you and let you know our findings,” he explained.
After he spoke, he turned back around and started working the controls that rose out of the crystal counter in front of him.
The King looked around at the others.
“I guess that’s our cue to leave,” he stated.
They followed Uncle Ernesto out of the room and went back upstairs to the study.
When they got there, Ernesto let out a yawn that triggered other yawns from the King and Queen.
“It’s been a long day, shall we retire and come back in the morning?” asked the King.
“That’s fine with me dear, although I’m a little surprised that Uncle Salazar wasn’t hungry after his long nap,” the Queen said.
“That’s Salazar, my dear,” Ernesto said.
“All work and no play and in this instant no food.”
“I’ll have one of the staff send him down a platter of beef and some vegetables before I retire,” he stated.
“And some wine,” prompted the King.
“But not too much wine,” she said and the royal couple left for their room leaving Ernesto alone in the study.
With the children all fed and sent off to enjoy the city’s entertainment, the King and Queen met with Uncle Ernesto back in the study the next morning.
When they got down stairs, they found Uncle Salazar just finishing his breakfast with Coronado hovering close by.
“Thank you for the breakfast nephew and my compliments to the cook,” Salazar said.
“It was nothing, Uncle,” Ernesto replied.
“Maybe not to you,” began Salazar,
“But for a man who hasn’t had breakfast in over two hundred years, it really hit the spot.”
“Did you make any progress since last night Uncle?” the Queen asked.
“Yes, Sobrina, we have,” he stated.
“Do you have a moment to let us know how it progresses Uncle Salazar?” asked the King.
Salazar got up from the lab desk, brushed off his clothes, walked over to the crystal stand and pointed at one of the globes.
On the monitors a schematic of another globe appeared.
“This will be one of the chief weapons that we will use to fight off the invaders,” he declared.
The King and Queen went to take a closer at the drawing.
“What is it?” asked the Queen.
“That my dear niece is a mine,” Salazar informed her.
“A mine?” asked the King.
“Si, Majesty, a mine,” Salazar replied.
“We will be able to make it out of a variety of materials.”
“Each type of mine will have its own way of detecting and destroying any ship that is not an Empire ship,” he advised them.
“But how can something so small destroy a ship?” asked the Queen.
“Mines are objects that sit in space undetected because they are small but will activate when triggered,” he stated.
“When activated they will either lock or home onto any ship and destroy it,” he advised them.
“But how?” she asked again.
“Your daughter,” Salazar began.
“Developed a personal weapon for her drones by utilizing tiny, sharp metal objects that are hurtled at an object at terrific speeds shredding it in seconds,” he stated.
“So we’ve been told,” admitted the King.
“These are very effective weapons but are only good in an atmosphere,” he said.
“Yes, go on,” the Queen replied.
“In space there is no atmosphere,” he explained.
“So we have to account for the lack of it by using propulsion or light,” he stated.
“What?” the King asked.
“Light can be used as a weapon, Sire,” he announced.
“How can light be used as a weapon?” asked the Queen.
“Coronado, please bring up those pictures and designs that we put together on the monitor,” Salazar requested.
The monitors lit up with pictures of the electromagnetic spectrum.
“This is called the electromagnetic spectrum,” declared Salazar.
“It covers every possible frequency of electromagnetic radiation.”
“Now some forms of radiation is good like; the light that comes from the sun to light our days and grow plants and such and then there is the bad form of radiation,” he informed them.
“This bad radiation or ionizing radiation can be very harmful to humans and man-made objects.”
“When high speed light waves such as photons, protons or electrons pass through matter such as a person or a ship they can do real deep down damage,” he concluded saying.
“What kind of damage?” the Queen asked.
“The waves, when passed through a body, leave a trail of ionized particles behind,” Salazar said.
“These particles do indescribable damage especially when the particles are bigger and supercharged with speed,” he admitted.
“Will they be enough to destroy a ship?” the King asked.
“The mines that we will build will destroy a ship or a fleet of ships, my King,” he announced.
“But just this one type of mine is not enough,” he declared.
“We also need to add dampening field mines.”
“What are they,” asked the Queen.
“This type of mine will render any ships caught in its target zone without power,” he stated.
“We believe the combination of the two mines should cripple any defense that our enemies may have and destroy a good portion of their ships,” he concluded.
“Another thing we’ll want to include in these mines is the stealth device created by our daughter,” the Queen added.
“That will make the mines invisible to the enemy.”
“They’ll never see or detect what hit them,” said the King.
“As I stated before, your daughter is quite remarkable,” confessed Coronado.
“Just like her mom,” the King said smiling.
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