Dinner with Francesca and the two teens went well thought Anna.
So much so that Anna decided to invite everybody up to the room to discuss matters further.
She did not want vital information regarding their mission to overheard, by strangers.
She and the Sister had a long nonverbal battle during dinner that she had finally won by wearing down the Sister with her arguments.
The Princess got the Sister to promise to sit idly by while she probed their guests with questions to determine their interested in aiding their mission, then they left for the rooms to continue the conversation.
As soon as Anna entered the room, she sensed that something was different.
She could not quite put her finger on what it was but was certain something had changed.
She alerted Sister Maria nonverbally as to her suspicions while she made her guests comfortable.
The Sister was about ready to contact the ship and have the drones do a physical sweep of their rooms via the sensors when the lights went out.
A fraction of a second after the lights went down Anna was in motion.
Her first thoughts dealt with the safety of their new friends.
She launched herself at Francesca and the boys as a ripper shredded the area where she was just standing.
When the lights went out and the shooters unloaded on the unsuspecting party another unknown extra, ability that Anna had kicked in.
A sudden excruciating pain exploded in her head and Anna quickly deadened the pain by blocking out the pain.
Within a fraction of a second, the pain was gone and her extra ability amplified throughout Anna’s body.
She first realized that the darkened room was not dark anymore.
She could see very clearly.
Her sense of smell also expanded to multiple times what it normally had been before.
Along with the acute sight and hearing, her speed, energy and strength had increased ten times its normal capacity.
Not only could Anna sense where the shooters were, she could also take them down, if she only had a weapon.
In the next few moments, the room at the Hotel Drisco was a scene of total chaos and confusion.
One of the first things to happen within a millisecond of the attack was that Al became visible and began tracking the trajectory of the lethal steel shrapnel.
An instant later Alphie, transported into the hotel room to provide further protection for the Crown Princess.
Anna, having reached her guests in a surprising little time, was quickly getting them under any kind of solid cover while her bodyguards did their job.
Sister Maria, in the meantime, was contacting Brother Delgado and Lieutenant Marinero via the link and was reporting the attack as it unfolded.
The shooters, after missing their first attempt noticed that Chief Suarez was no longer in their line of sight.
They decided to come out of their hiding place to track her down and kill her.
At the same time, Francesca who was very confused as to what was happening around her decided to get up to move to where the two teens were.
The shooters sensing movement decided to unload with everything they had at the figure that had just stood up.
Al had also sensed the movement from the side of the room where the Princess was, saw the attackers point their rippers in that direction.
Al calculated that the figure beginning to rise up was not the Princess but the teacher Ms. Cruz.
His only way to save the teacher was to push her out of the way of the ripper’s lethal ammunition.
He flashed over to the teacher and knocked her over.
Ms. Cruz went flying out of the way of most of the ripper’s slugs but not all of them.
Hit multiple times, Al lay still in a rapidly spreading pool of Ms. Cruz’s blood.
Her mind was working to overload with different defenses strategies that she instantly discarded when she sensed Francesca’s blood pooling on the floor.
She had the teens in control and undercover near her so the only other person not accounted for was the teacher.
Anna knew it had to be her on the floor.
She watched Al’s heroic flight to save the teacher and knew that he had partially succeed in getting Frannie clear of most of the sharpened steel fragments but in doing so he lay disabled by the teacher’s body.
Her heart went out to the little drone for his sacrifice and determined that his act would not be in vain.
Her only form of rescue came from Alphie who now stood between her and the assassins.
Alphie was instantaneously teleported to the Princess’ rooms at the Hotel Drisco by Carreta when Al pushed the panic button.
Within a fraction of a second, Alphie figured out the situation and knew that the Princess was under attack.
He calculated the trajectories of the first blasts made from the rippers and knew that they were dealing with only two assailants.
Using his infrared optics, he scanned the area where he estimated the two to be located but could not find them.
He concluded that the shooters were wearing some sort of temperature masking clothes that retained the heat, not allowing the heat signature to escape.
So he switched to his audio sensors in hopes that he could hear their movement but that failed as well due to the amount of noise in the enclosed space.
He was about ready to go invisible when he detected movement from the Princess’ side of the room and saw Al knock the teacher over saving her from death.
Alphie tracked the weapon’s discharge to its source and then went dark.
He nonverbally spoke with Anna.
‘I know where they are Princess,’ he stated.
‘What are your orders?’ he asked.
‘Kill them, Alphie,’ she stated in a deaden voice.
‘We’ll figure out who they are later but I want them dead now,’ she said in a voice cold and hard.
Alphie moved over to the shooters hidden place of attack and used his own rippers to eliminate the ambushers in a quick burst of sharpened steel fragments.
Sister Maria first to react after the shooters were dead turned the lights back on and looked at the scene of carnage.
Shortly after the lights were on, Brother Delgado and the Lieutenant beamed into the room.
The Lieutenant immediately knew that Ms. Cruz needed medical attention and contacted the San Marcos and had the engineering staff transport Ms. Cruz into the sickbay.
Carreta alerted Dr. Sanador of the critical condition of Ms. Cruz and within seconds, the teacher was on her way to San Marcos’ sickbay.
Arriving their instantaneously, Frannie was immediately prepped and taken into surgery.
AJ and David sat back on the sofa, which had earlier been their cover during the firefight and were in shock at what had just happened to them.
They knew their former teacher was in a crisis but all they could think about was how close they both came to dying.
Brother Delgado and Lieutenant Marinero made sure the room was secure and communicated the aftermath of the attack on the landing party to the San Marcos and then their fellow landing party members.
Marinero also had Carreta do a double sweep of the area surrounding the hotel to see if there were any other hidden assailants nearby.
Carreta reported he found no further indication of any other assassins around the immediate area.
Carreta determined that, for the moment, the area was secure.
Upon hearing of the attack on the surface, the Admiral ordered the Captain to send down another landing party made up of their best Marine strike team.
The Admiral wanted them equip. with the latest fabricated hand held rippers.
He also ordered Lieutenant Commander Torres to head up the investigation on the surface.
The Admiral wanted to know who was responsible for this attack.
After the shooters were dead all the extra abilities that had sprung up in Anna suddenly disappeared.
She was back to normal again, a little drained of energy but not completely exhausted.
She decided not to tell anybody about these new abilities until she knew exactly what they were and how to control them.
Nevertheless, she was excited at the prospect of spending some time alone exploring these different capabilities.
She looked over and saw that AJ and David were in shock at what happened and came over and sat with them.
“I know how all this must seem to you but I need you to hold off asking any questions about what happened until we are secure, okay?” she asked them.
“Try to focus on your former teacher’s health instead,” Anna said.
The boys looked up at her with tears brimming at the lower lids of their eyes ready to flow down their cheeks and just nodded in unison.
Then AJ looked back up at her.
“We know all about who you are, you know,” I said.
“What?” she asked.
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Anna said defensively.
I looked over at the place where Al and Ms. Cruz had laid before transporting out of the room.
“Al told me all about your mission and what’s at stake,” I said.
“He believes David and I can help the Empire with its fight against the Invaders,” I confessed.
“But, how could?” she began.
“I mean, he never said anything to me about telling you,” Anna stammered.
“He thought you’d get mad at him for trusting me with the truth,” I replied.
“He was a smart little guy.”
“Al is a smart little guy,” Alphie said including himself in the conversation.
The smile that came across Anna’s face was angelic.
“So we got to him in time?” she asked.
“He suffered significant structural damage and the fabricators have completed more than a quarter of his repairs already but yes, we did get to him on time, Mistress.” Alphie informed her.
“Make sure you thank the engineering staff for me personally,” she said.
“When Al gets out of the repair shop please tell him that I said to stay put on the San Marcos,” she requested.
“Yes, Chief Warren Officer,” began Alphie.
“But you know Al; he’ll want to complete his mission.”
“And do you have any news on Señorita Cruz?” Anna asked.
“I am sure these young men will be interested in hearing any bit of news, Alphie.”
“She too made it in time due to Lieutenant Marinero’s quick thinking,” he replied.
“Although still in surgery, her condition is stable.”
“The doctors have removed all the fragments, replaced her blood with plasma stored aboard that was compatible with her own and are now finishing with her,” he relayed to them.
“They are confident that she will recover fully,” he added.
The boys after hearing the great news jumped up and down cheering for the rapid recovery of Ms. Cruz.
Brother Delgado, Sister Maria and Lieutenant Marinero looked over at the noise, smiled and went back to talking.
“Alphie stay here with AJ and David please,” Anna requested.
“I need to have a few words with my crewmates.”
“As you wish, Chief,” Alphie replied.
Anna walked over to where the trio stood and noticed they were standing over the bodies of the attackers.
She had completely forgotten all about them until that moment.
“Do we know who they are?” Anna asked.
“Before he left to attend you,” began Marinero.
“Alphie scanned their faces on video and downloaded it to the Lander.”
“Carreta tapped into the ship’s database and is busy comparing them with all military personnel aboard,” answered the Lieutenant.
“Any hits yet?” she asked.
“None so far but we do have a little over three thousand military, civilian and Church personnel stationed aboard the San Marcos,” Manolo replied.
“It might take some time,” added Delgado.
“How are you doing my dear?” Sister Maria asked.
“Me?” she asked.
“I am fine, not even a scratch.”
“I wish I could say the same for Francesca and Al,” she stated.
“And speaking of Señorita Cruz,” Marinero replied.
“How did she and these boys happen to be here when they attack took place, Suarez?” asked Manolo.
Anna and the Sister both exchanged a look before Anna answered the question.
“We were all downstairs eating dinner when I invited them up here to talk,” Suarez began.
“Before we had gotten ten steps into the room they attacked us,” she stated.
“I was just informed by Carreta that there is a strike team of Marines headed inbound to secure this area further,” informed Alphie.
“Carreta said Lieutenant Commander Torres is leading the investigation into this attack.”
“He is also in charge of the Marine security team,” Alphie added.
“Make sure you and Sister Maria get your stories straight before they arrive so it doesn’t seem like you are hiding anything, Chief Warren Officer,” the Lieutenant requested.
Anna pursed her lips as she let out a long sigh.
She looked back down at the two shooters and then up at Manolo.
“Fine, Lieutenant,” she began.
“I see you have some lingering questions that are gnawing at you.”
“I will answer your questions but not here,” she stated.
“Just the sight of these two killers sickens me,” she added.
She then moved off to another room out of hearing from Alphie, AJ and David.
As soon as Sister Maria, Brother Delgado, Anna and Manolo were in the room, she closed the door and turned on the Lieutenant.
“What’s got you so mad now?” she asked.
“Are you kidding me?” he asked.
“Where have you been for the last hour?”
“Right here dodging slugs and trying to stay alive, if I recall,” Anna replied.
The Lieutenant looked at the Sister.
“I give up maybe you can talk to her or try to,” he replied.
Anna looked at Sister Maria.
“What?” she asked.
“I think what the Lieutenant is trying to get at is that you could have been killed,” Sister Maria admitted.
“The very reason why these assassins are here was to kill you.”
“They were not after me, or Francesca and certainly not the boys, Anna, just you,” she concluded.
“Other good questions to ask are,” began Delgado.
“Do they know who you are and are trying to kill you because you are the Princess?”
“Or because they have figured out that all of the offensive weapons have one and only one designer, you, my Princess,” he added.
“Yes,” she said.
“Those are good questions that need answers but we don’t need to look any further than the Dominicans,” she stated.
“You’re leaping to conclusions Infanta,” Manolo said harshly.
“Don’t call me that!” she exclaimed.
“Do not even think it or whoever it is that is out there will know for sure who I am, Lieutenant,” she stated.
“It won’t happen again, my apologize,” he said.
“Son, you are going to have to treat the Chief Warren Officer like you have always treated her,” began Delgado.
“I know the temptation to revert back to traditions but they’ll be time for that when we get back to Hispania,” added Brother Delgado.
“And I’m sorry for snapping at you Lieutenant,” Anna said apologetically.
“There’s no need Suarez,” Manolo began.
“As I said it won’t happen again.”
“So, can you tell me the real reason why you invited your guests upstairs?” he asked.
Anna looked over at Sister Maria who nodded Manolo did not miss the little exchange.
“Within a very short time of us landing Al had already infiltrated several information systems in the area,” she said.
“He found what I ordered him to search for and went off on his own to investigate,” she added.
“His data mining led him to the home of AJ Turner a fourteen year old native with a knack for playing and winning competitive computer generated space action simulation games,” she continued.
“He recognized that someone with AJ’s unique talents is key figure that will help us accomplishing our mission, Lieutenant,” she concluded.
“But how is just a kid going to do that?” he asked.
“Chief Suarez suspected that anybody with the capabilities that we need would also have to be a free thinker,” began Sister Maria.
“They would not care about who we are and where we came from, Lieutenant,” Sister Maria informed him.
“She programmed Al to seek out such an individual and that is who is sitting in the next room,” Maria added.
“According to the brief amount of information that Al gave me regarding AJ Turner and his friend David Chang,” began Alphie.
“They are both young gaming champions.”
“Al believes that combined they have the abilities we need to defeat our enemy,” he confessed.
“Are you telling me that those two kids in there are going to lead us to victory?” asked Manolo incredulously.
“They are only earthlings, Suarez, are you crazy?” Marinero asked.
“I might want to remind the Lieutenant that they are just a year young than I am, at present,” Anna said with steel in her voice.
“Yes, they are but as I pointed out they are simply earth children,” he replied.
“That have grown up with the realities of war weighing down their lives every day,” she began.
“AJ and David were alive and experienced the horror of that day in September 2001.”
“Their emotions are affected by the terror that brought the world to its knees that day,” she informed him.
“They have also grown up in a society that loathes destruction but heaps money and honor on those industries that produce weapons of mass destruction.”
“They essentially are a product of their times and as a direct result of all the bad things that have happened, are our best hope to bring defeat to the Invaders,” she concluded.
“I understand that Angelica,” Manolo replied.
“But they are just boys.”
“And the people the Invaders kill are just boys and girls and mothers and fathers,” she stated.
“My people scream out for vengeance Lieutenant and by the grace of God and with the help of our young friends, I will avenge my people and destroy these vermin,” she pledged.
“As God is my witness,” she began.
“I will have blood for blood and death for death.”
“Mark my words Lieutenant; the sun will not go down on any village, hamlet or city in my New Spanish Empire without a reckoning!” she exclaimed.
AJ and David heard the raised voices coming from the next room and shrugged.
“I wonder how she is,” David said.
“I communicated with sickbay as to Señorita Cruz’s condition Mr. Chang and can inform you she is out of surgery and is in stable condition,” Alphie began.
“She’s remains unconscious due to the anesthetic but her vitals are all in the green.”
“I am told that she will recover nicely and without any scars to spoil her looks,” he stated.
“Wow, I completely forgot about scars,” I said.
“I bet you guys have some kind of spray or liquid skin that you put on accident victims so they don’t get scars, huh?”
“Something similar, AJ,” Alphie said chuckling.
“Well if anything happens to me I’d rather have the scar,” I admitted.
“And why is that?” asked Alphie.
“Are you kidding?” I asked.
“Scars are cool man.”
“Makes you look all dangerous and stuff,” I admitted.
“And looking dangerous is a good thing?” asked Alphie.
“Yeah,” I began.
“Especially for us now that we are going into high school.”
A couple of scars, in the right place lets the other kids know that you’ve been through some hairy situations,” I stated.
“If it’s all the same to you I’d vote for the full body skin spray should I ever need it, Sir,” said David.
“I’m sure nothing’s going to happen to either one of you,” he stated.
“That’s what we thought coming up here and look how that turned out,” David said sadly.
“Dave, it wasn’t their fault that some losers decided to try and whack the women,” I said.
Then I looked over at Alphie.
“And by the way why did they try and whack the women?” I asked.
“Isn’t one of them a nun and isn’t that against some kind of warrior code?” I further asked.
“The dead guys, are they the guys you need our help to fight?” David asked too.
Before Alphie could answer, Anna and her party came back into the room.
“Let me answer Alphie,” Anna said.
“Go right ahead,” he replied.
“Please let me first offer our sincerest apologizes to both of you for placing you in harm’s way,” Anna said.
“We could never condone any violence done toward either one of you or Señorita Cruz.”
“It was one of those typical situations that come up from time to time in your society called, ‘wrong place, wrong time’,” she admitted.
“That doesn’t make what happened to any of you right, far from it and it doesn’t excuse this attack either,” she stated.
“I assure you, we will find out who’s at the bottom of this and deal with them most harshly, you have my promise,” Anna assured them.
“We weren’t the targets, Ms. Suarez,” I said.
“You and the sister were, are you okay?” I asked.
“We’re fine and thank you for asking,” she said smiling.
“And thank you for getting us out of the line of fire earlier by the way,” said David.
“How could such a tiny little thing like you overturn that big ole couch and shove both of us undercover and do it so quickly?” he asked.
“Oh, I don’t know, David,” Anna began.
“I have had defensive training.”
“Maybe with the addition of some adrenalin boosting up my system, I guess anything is possible,” she reasoned.
“You guys have adrenalin in your system?” I asked.
Anna came over and sat next to the two teens.
Marinero looked from one to the other and realized how young the Princess really looked when compared to the two boys.
So young and so old all at once he thought.
“AJ we are just like you,” she began.
“We are human and just as Shakespeare wrote, ‘If you prick us, do we not bleed?’”
“We are one family of man, created by God in his image,” she added.
“See, I told you Dave,” I said.
“We need to help them now.”
“Those bad guys out there are killing the good guys; we can’t let them get away with it,” I declared.
“Will we be able to see Ms. Cruz?” David asked.
“I don’t see why not,” Anna stated.
“Lieutenant, do you see any reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to see their companion?” she asked.
“No,” he began.
“I don’t know why they shouldn’t be allowed to see her.”
“They already know about the mission and Ms. Cruz will shortly find out about everything once she comes to,” he advised.
“I would suppose having a friendly face to wake up to might be a good thing for her as well,” he said smiling at the two teens.
“Alphie, please make it so,” Brother Delgado said.
“Wow, just like in Next Generation,” I said.
Anna chuckled, “I know we all love that show. Alphie energize.”
“Wo…” I was beginning to say as the David, Lieutenant Marinero and I transported from the room.
Manolo made sure that the two teens had an escort with them at all times before he left sickbay to look for his father.
He located him in his quarters and asked permission to enter.
The two Marines stationed outside the door stepped aside when the Admiral told him to come in.
The Admiral sat behind a desk overflowing with paperwork.
He looked up as his son came to attention and saluted his father. Admiral Marinero smiled.
“Please sit, son,” the Admiral requested.
“I’m sure you have been kept up to date as to the attack down on the surface, Sir?” Manolo asked.
“Of course, who do you think sent down the marines with Torres leading them?” asked the Admiral.
“I thought that had your touch on it, Father,” Manolo replied.
“We can’t lose our little secret weapon, Son,” he admitted.
“Oh, she’s much more than that, Sir,” Marinero informed his father.
The older Marinero chuckled.
“I thought as much seeing you two together so often,” he admitted.
“Your mother would be pleased that you are seeing someone,” he stated.
Manolo looked at his father and blinked a couple of times to clear his mind and then let out an uneasy laugh.
“Oh no,” Manolo began.
“It is not like that at all, Father.”
I mean, she’s nice and very pretty but she’s way too far up the chain of command for my comfort,” he stated.
“What are you babbling about?” asked his father.
“Chief Warren Officer Angelica Suarez is not only our fleet’s secret weapon she is also the New Spain’s Infanta Anna Clara Eugenia,” he declared.
“What?” Admiral Marinero asked.
“Oh, my God!” he exclaimed.
“I know huh?” asked his son.
“This isn’t some kind of joke is it, Manolo?” asked the Admiral.
“I’ll answer that by asking you a question,” Manolo said.
“Fine, but you better be joking, go ahead,” requested his father.
“The last time we talked you thought it unusual that Sister Maria was aboard and part of the expedition, right?” Manolo asked.
“Yes, I did say that, as I recall and?” asked his father.
“You also thought it puzzling how Sister Maria could be released from her duties as tutor to the royal children,” he replied.
“The Sister has an awesome responsibility teaching and nurturing the next generation of monarchs,” stated the Admiral.
“So why is she here, Son?” he asked.
“Well, I hate to inform you but she has not been released from all the royal children,” Manolo confessed.
“But this can’t be,” his father said.
“I mean if she is the Infanta, then my career is over.”
“How can you possibly think that, Father?” asked the son.
“Because if she really is here,” Marinero began.
“Then her father and mother, the King and Queen, I might add, will throw me in the dungeons when we return home.”
“My God, Manolo she was almost killed down there!” he exclaimed.
“I know but did that faze her?” Manolo asked.
“In fact afterward she gave the most embattled, heartfelt and emotionally driven speech that I have ever heard in my life,” he admitted.
“I wanted to go out and personally find those murders and rain vengeance down upon them when she had finished speaking.”
“She is most persuasive when she gets on her soapbox, Sir,” informed Manolo.
“She has her father’s charismatic ways and her mother’s convictions,” admitted the Admiral.
“I have only met her a few times and each of those times, as she was getting older I grew more and more astonished as to how she conducted herself.”
“She is one heck of a child,” he added.
“That’s where you’re wrong, Father,” said the Lieutenant.
“She is not a sweet and innocent child any longer and we have to keep her safe, sometimes even from herself,” he admitted.
Major Allen was still recuperating in the sickbay when everything went crazy.
He stayed near his bunk as a gurney with a young, beautiful woman came hurriedly past and placed into the emergency surgical room.
He noticed the head doctor, Doctor Sanador, run pass him and enter the surgical room in front of a team of other medical personnel.
The ER operation room was in constant use since his arrival a couple of days ago.
The crewmembers went in and a few minutes later, they came out again all nice and healthy.
Whatever he thought about his rescue and what he considered his imprisonment, he had to hand it to the New Spaniards they did have some fancy medical equipment and knew how to use it.
‘Must have been some sort of accident,’ he thought to himself.
‘I sure hope she’ll be fine.’
About an hour later, a nurse brought two teenage boys into sickbay that looked shaken up.
She led them to the waiting area just outside the surgical room and made them comfortable.
Shortly after that, a young military officer came in with Admiral Marinero and spoke briefly with the two young men.
The Admiral saw Major Allen watching them, said something to the young Lieutenant and walked over to the Major’s bed.
“I hope all the excitement isn’t disturbing you, Major,” the Admiral said.
“Not at all Admiral, I hope the young lady will recover quickly from her accident,” replied Allen.
“I’m told she will but it was no accident, Major.”
“If you don’t mind me prying what happened, Sir?” asked the Major.
Before he could answer the doors to the emergency, operating room opened up and Doctor Sanador came out.
“If you’ll excuse me Major, I’ll be back in a bit.”
“Yes, Sir by all means, Sir,” he replied.
The Admiral walked back to the group, as the major slowly got up and came over as well.
“We’ve just finished her surgery and the patient will recover nicely, Admiral,” advised the doctor.
“That’s good news Doctor,” replied Marinero.
“How long will she be here?” I asked.
“That’s hard to tell, son,” replied the doctor.
“But I would say probably not more than the rest of the evening,” he added.
“Are you kidding me?” I asked.
“She was shot by a million flechettes and I know what kind of damage they do.”
“You’re quite right, son,” the doctor began.
“She was shot by a number of the ‘flechettes’ as you call them, but she was transported here immediately and we managed to stabilize her and then removed the flechettes,” he informed us.
“The harm they inflicted on her body is quickly being repaired by our ‘quick grow’ to replace the muscles and tissue damage,” he stated.
“Of course, the ‘nuskin’ treatments that we added will completely heal the outer layer of her skin.”
She’ll be good as new by morning,” he declared.
“But she looked dead to us,” David said in a hushed tone.
“By your standard medical practices Señorita Cruz may well have died,” admitted the doctor.
“But we aren’t limited by them.”
“Now, if you’ll excuse me I have other patients to attend to,” he said.
“Thank you Sir Knight for your attention to this matter and we appreciate all your help,” replied the Admiral.
After the doctor had left, Lieutenant Marinero introduced the two teens to his Father and in turn, his Father introduced his son and the teens to Major Allen.
“So that guy was a knight?” I asked.
“He’s the head Knight of the Hospitaller on this mission AJ,” Manolo replied.
“Wow, I can’t believe you guys still have knights,” said David.
The Admiral chuckled and said, “And why wouldn’t we?”
“I don’t know we are just surprised because all the knights are ancient history to us,” I admitted.
“They were gone in the middle ages,” I added.
“AJ, our ancestors were rescued from Earth in the mid sixteenth century,” replied the Admiral.
“When they arrived at the Scorpii System the Rths, the aliens that took them, created a planet that was specifically made for them and they called it Hispania after our former home,” he informed us.
“Our ancestors kept the old ways alive as we worked with the Rths to make a home for our people,” added Manolo.
“These aliens, the Rths, as you call them, they abducted thousands and thousands of Spaniards from the 1500’s and no one knew about it?” asked Allen.
“The Rths only took hundreds and they did that over a period of many years picking and choosing those Spaniards that were near to death, as you were, Captain,” admitted Admiral Marinero.
“They took them up to a colony ship, in a state of unconsciousness, placed them in stasis capsules, healed their wounds or diseases and carried them to their new home,” Admiral Marinero informed him.
Manolo finished with their history.
“While on the journey they took cells from each of the survivors and mass produced a million other colonists,” Manolo stated.
“The Rths wanted a complete society and retrieved assorted portions of the old Spanish Empire to incorporate into our New Spanish Empire,” he admitted.
“When our ancestor landed on our home planet of Hispania, the beginning of a New Spanish Empire was born,” he finished saying.
“So these Rths abducted farmers and merchants and clergy and…” began Allen.
“Yes,” interrupted the Admiral.
“All of the above and they also retrieved two members of the Royal Family so that the monarchy would survive.”
“I notice you keep saying retrieved instead of abducted Admiral,” Allen said.
The Admiral chuckled and responded, “Well to us Major, we’ve never considered what the Rths did as an abduction, for us it was more like a rescue.”
“But your ancestors were taken against their will, Sir,” the Major pointed out.
“Again you are wrong, Major,” stated Marinero.
“Our ancestors were dead or dying and the Rths rescued them not took them.”
“They had no will; they had nothing but the afterlife starring at them in the face because they were essentially dead,” he added.
“And because of that, that makes it right?” asked Allen.
“Let me ask you a question Major,” began the Admiral.
“Would you prefer being here right now asking these questions or at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean along with your Seth?” asked the Admiral.
Both David and I turned to look at the Major with a puzzled look on our faces.
“You’re American?” I asked.
The Major just nodded his head and then looked pass the Admiral and said in a low penetrating voice, “I’m an officer of the US Air Force and it’s my duty to stay alive at all cost.”
“So, Admiral,” Allen began.
“I prefer being alive even though it means I’ll never see home again,” he stated.
“What do you mean never see home again?” asked David.
“They pulled me dying, from my plane that was going down guys and revived me,” he began.
“There was no way that my base was going to be able to rescue me.”
“My oxygen supply had been cutoff due to a malfunction and I was sucking vacuum until I passed out,” he informed us.
“I was going down with my plane until they grabbed me just before I hit water and brought me back from the brink of death.”
“I owe them my life guys,” he confessed.
“And so does Ms. Cruz,” I said.
“What do you mean?” the Major asked.
“We had just finished dinner and were headed back to Ms. Suarez’ room to talk,” I began.
“We got in the door and got ambushed.”
“During the attack Ms. Cruz, our former Spanish teacher, got hit and almost died too,” I added.
“Wait, are you telling me that you’re not with these guys?” he asked.
“Naw, man we’re like you, we’re Americans from San Francisco,” I informed him.
The shock was evident on Major Allen’s face as he looked at the Admiral.
“So because you saved Ms. Cruz’ life is she stuck up here as well?” the Major asked.
“I don’t believe so, Major,” he stated.
“As soon as Doctor Sanador does his final exam on her and finds her to be fit, she’ll be free to go, unless she wants to stay,” added the Admiral.
“Wow you’re going to give her the chance to stay, that’s so cool,” David said.
“Can we?” I asked.
“You want to stay?” asked Allen in amazement.
“Are you kidding me?” I asked.
“This is a lifelong dream.”
“What kid didn’t grow up wanting to be part of a space adventure with bad guys and good guys and damsels in distress?” I asked.
“Yeah, it’s almost like Star Wars,” added David.
“I guess that makes me Han Solo huh, kids?” asked Allen.
“You Han Solo?” I asked.
“I don’t think so, if fact I thought I was up for the Han Solo role,” I said smiling.
“What so I am supposed to be Chewbacca?” David asked.
“I don’t think so AJ,” he added.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves boys,” began Manolo.
“If I don’t get you back down to Earth in a few minutes I’ll have an angry nun on my case,” Manolo admitted.
“And I’m sure your parents are already wondering where you are,” added the Admiral.
“Crap, I forgot about them,” I said.
“Is there any way you guys can manipulate time so we got home an hour ago?” asked David.
Both military men laughed and Manolo said, “We can do a lot of things but time travel, not so much, sorry.”
“Double crap then,” David said.
“Can we go see how she is and then go?” I asked.
“That’s why I brought you up here to begin with boys,” said Lieutenant Marinero.
After saying that Lieutenant Marinero walked through the ER room’s hatch, followed by David and I.
“Before you ask the reason why she can go back and you cannot is because her misadventure happened in secret and yours was well observed,” stated Marinero.
“I’m sorry Major but you’re here to stay.”
“You have the opportunity to help us in our greatest need should you chose too or not,” he added.
“We can’t force your decision it has to be freely given.” Then the Admiral turned around and left sickbay.
Allen went back to his bunk and looked at the door where AJ and David went through.
“Frigging kids I thought I had it all figured out and then they came along with their Star Wars analogy,” he said exasperated.
“But I have to admit it would be pretty cool to get my hands on one of their fighters and see what she can do.”
“I mean think about it,” he began.
“I am here in space and I have the opportunity that NO body has ever had and I’m sitting on my butt feeling sorry for myself?” he asked aloud.
“What’s wrong with me maybe it’s the drugs talking but good guys versus bad guys and in space? Wow…” he trailed off.
Anna was not happy when Lieutenant Marinero finally showed up with AJ and David.
“What took you so long?” she asked.
“They hadn’t quite finished with her so we stuck around long enough for them to finish her surgery,” answered Manolo.
“Yeah we wanted to make sure she was okay before we beamed back down,” I said.
“Thanks for letting us see her, Chief,” I said.
“Yeah, we really appreciate it,” added David.
“Señorita Suarez isn’t mad at you boys,” Sister Maria said.
“She’s just concerned with the lateness of the hour.”
“Oh that,” I replied.
“Don’t worry about it, we got it all covered.”
“I made a call to my parents to let them know I was spending the night at David’s and he called his parents and told them he was staying with me, so we’re good for the night,” I said smiling at the Princess.
She smiled back and said, “Quite clever guys…”
Sister Maria cleared her throat loudly.
“But very wrong,” Anna said completing her sentence.
“And how is the lovely Francesca, Lieutenant?” the Chief asked.
“Huh, oh, ah,” he began to stutter.
“Francesca lovely?” he asked aloud.
“Hmm…never really noticed but now that you mention it she is rather pretty,” stammered Manolo.
“Are you kidding she’s one of the hottest teachers in San Francisco,” David said.
“Yeah, dude she passed lovely a few years back and is now approaching beautiful,” I put in.
“Yes,” Anna began.
“I see the male contingency of this party is head over heels for the ‘beautiful’ Señorita Cruz, but can you please answer the question Lieutenant?” Anna requested.
“She’s in fine shape,” he replied.
“Doctor Sanador is reasonably sure she will recover fully.”
“He just wants to keep her monitored until the morning and then she’ll be back,” he ended saying.
“That’s very good news Lieutenant,” said Delgado.
“And Carreta has informed me that the Marines and the Lieutenant Commander just landed and are on their way over,” added Alphie.
“Are you boys tired by any chance?” asked the nun.
“Are you kidding me?” I asked.
“Naw, Sister we’re fine besides we are all yours for the rest of the evening,” I added.
“That may be young man but you still need your rest,” Maria stated.
“I doubt if the adults will get any so you may use my bedroom to get some sleep,” Sister Maria insisted.
I looked at Manolo for support.
“Aw, do we have to?” I asked.
“I am afraid so guys,” Manolo said.
“When Sister Maria insists you better mind.”
“I’m sure the Chief can tell you a thing or two about not wanting to get on the Sister’s bad side,” he said.
“We’ll save that for another time,” began Anna.
“I have to agree with Sister Maria.”
“It has been a long day and you both need your rest,” Anna stated.
“But before we get you tucked in, I have a couple of more questions for you,” she admitted.
Before I had a chance to say anything, Lieutenant Commander Torres along with his four man Marine unit, transmatted into the rooms and started setting up a defensive perimeter.
“Lieutenant, please show me to the two assailants,” Torres ordered.
“They’re right over here, Sir,” replied Manolo.
“Chief,” Torres began.
“After I’m done over there, I’m going to need a few words with you as well.”
“I was about to show the boys were they can bunk down, Sir,” Anna said.
“Let me do that and I’ll be right back,” she said.
Before Torres could answer back, Suarez looked over at Brother Delgado.
“Brother will you give me a hand please?” she requested.
“I most certainly will, Chief,” acknowledged the Brother.
She motioned for the teens to follow her into Sister Maria’s room.
As soon as they came through Anna closed the door.
“Al, I need you,” she said aloud.
Within a blink of an eye, Al was hovering nearby.
“How can I help?” Al asked.
“You’re looking utterly fit for a drone that was hit by those sharpened slugs, Al,” she replied smiling at him.
“I believe the new word for them is ‘flechettes’, Chief Suarez,” he replied.
“AJ told us the English word for them up in the San Marcos.”
“Flechettes, I rather like that name,” she began.
“So flechettes it is then and should I thank the ever present Chief Geniro for your rapid recovery to duty?” she asked.
“Yes, you should,” Al replied.
“He has become very fascinated by your design so when I was transmatted to engineering, he personally went to work on me,” he informed her.
“Thankfully because of the Chief’s foresight he kept me powered up,” he stated.
“I did not lose any memory or downloads I made while I was doing my initial research,” he added.
“I am sorry that I did not have the time before the attack too mention a few things to you,” he said.
“And those few things would be?” she asked.
“First, that while I was in my stealth mode I watched AJ playing his simulation games and was mesmerized by his logical and methodical gamesmanship,” he admitted.
“I also copied and downloaded every game or any data regarding the games from his room.”
“Upon completing that task,” he continued.
“I logged onto the Internet and downloaded numerous files, commentaries and instructions regarding the games that interested him,” he stated.
“Because of this vast data download I believe we now have a complete overall strategic battle plan of what we need to defeat our enemy,” he concluded saying.
“Wait a minute,” I said hurriedly.
“You are jumping the gun, buddy, it’s not as easy as that Al,” I stated.
“Why is that?” the Princess asked.
“Because it takes more than just intelligence to win a battle,” I informed her.
“Battle field intelligence is good to have but it does not always lead to victory,” I admitted.
“He’s right,” David added.
“It is nice to have a bunch of Intel, but you can’t rely just on that.”
“The key to any battle field success relies on intelligence, strategy and above all else doing the unexpected,” David added.
“When you’re in charge of your game,” I began.
“You have to have gut reaction, instinct, intuition and above all else, luck in order to beat everything that the programmers throw up against you,” I declared.
“We’re smart, yeah but there are plenty of other smarter players out there,” I admitted.
“But they didn’t beat us and you want to know why?” I asked.
“Please let us know, AJ,” implored Brother Delgado.
“Because we are mavericks,” I said smiling.
“What does an old TV show have anything to do with it?” asked Manolo.
“Huh?” both teens asked in unison.
“Never mind,” replied Delgado.
“So you’re telling us that even if we did upload all the games and strategies in the world to our ship, that it would not be enough?” asked Delgado.
“Brother,” David began.
“You could be the smartest computer in the world and get beat every time by a human who is cunning,” David added.
“Computers lack certain things that humans are born with such as; being sneaky, crafty, deceptive and suicidal,” I added.
“I think I’m beginning to understand now guys,” Anna said.
“Thanks for the tips, now get some sleep and we’ll all have breakfast in the morning with Señorita Cruz,” Anna stated.
She kissed them both on the cheeks dismissing them.
‘You haven’t told Lieutenant Commander Torres who I am, have you?’ Anna thought to Manolo.
‘Huh?’ he asked.
‘Ah, no, but you should you know, your life’s in danger now and he should be onboard with helping to keep you safe,’ he said.
‘We’ll be back in there in a moment but as far as I’m concerned the less any one knows about me the better for me,” she stated.
“We have as yet to determine whether I was the target of the attack and if I was, why?’ she asked.
As she finished this thought, she and Delgado entered back into the room.
“Glad you could join us Chief,” Torres said.
“Just doing my duty, Sir,” she replied.
In regards to the young men caught in our fight.”
“Oh, why is that, Chief?” Torres asked.
“Let me answer that please, Chief,” Delgado said interrupting on the conversation.
“Those two young men in there could be a crucial key to our mission Commander,” he advised Torres.
“The knowledge and skill set they own may give us the upper hand in defeating the invaders.”
“The fact that whoever is trying to block them from helping us by staging this attack,” Delgado continued.
“Makes me believe that they could very well be the key to turning this war around,” Brother Delgado finished.
“Are you saying that this attack was directed at them and not Chief Suarez or Sister Maria?” Torres asked.
Sister Maria let out a laugh.
“Do you honestly believe that this attack was directed at a Chief Warren Officer or a Nun?” she asked him.
“That’s absurd, Commander,” she declared.
“But the preliminary reports suggested that…” Torres began.
“Sir, those were just preliminary and speculative reports at the beginning,” Marinero stated.
“But they were your reports, Lieutenant,” replied Torres.
“You are usually not sloppy when it comes to these things.”
“But he was not on the scene and reacted from bad intelligence given by us as we were attacked, Sir,” added Anna.
“It was all a bit of a jumble during that time,” she informed him.
“Yes, well now that things aren’t jumbled any more why don’t we actually find out who these men are?” Torres asked.
Carreta linked all members of the group together and nonverbally spoke to them.
‘I’m sure glad you’re all on my side,’ he stated.
‘That was a wonderful stroke of deception you all just pulled,’ he admitted.
‘We have to keep the focus away from the Chief, Carreta,’ began Brother Delgado.
‘For obvious reasons and cast it somewhere else.’
‘If Torres begins to smell something hilarious he’ll chase it down until he has it cornered and bounces on it,’ Manolo added.
‘That is what makes him a good Intelligence Officer,” Marinero stated.
‘The word you are looking for is smells something ‘funny,’ Lieutenant,’ Anna said.
‘Although how you used it in that sentence was quite hilarious,’ she added smirking.
‘Well,” Manolo began.
‘I am so glad I could make you laugh with my word usage, Suarez.’
‘But some of us weren’t born with a drone in our brains,’ stated Manolo.
Anna turned and shot a look at Lieutenant Marinero.
‘I wasn’t born with a drone in my brain…’ Anna began.
‘Will you two please stop and focus!’ interrupted Sister Maria loudly.
Anna turned back around.
‘Well I wasn’t,’ she confessed.
‘We just located the file on these two,’ began Carreta.
‘They are two members of the Dominican group that came aboard just before we left Hispania.’
‘The ship has them listed as part of their janitorial crew,’ he added.
‘Here to ‘clean’ me up, no doubt,’ conjectured Anna.
‘But again we are still stuck with the question,’ Delgado began.
‘Did the friars send these ‘janitors’ to clean up the Chief or the Princess?’ he asked
‘Do you think them capable of doing harm to a Royal?’ Carreta asked.
‘These ‘Hounds’ are capable of doing harm to anyone Vice Member,’ stated Sister Maria.
‘Just like their namesake,’ began Delgado.
‘When cornered they will lash out and bite anyone within reach.’
‘But I do not believe the Chief’s cover has been over blown,’ Delgado declared.
‘Brother,’ Anna looked over at Manolo, ‘far be it from me to point this out but the expression is ‘blown’ not over blown and I do agree with you,’ she added.
‘My cover as a Chief Warren Officer is secure, I think, but someone has finally figured out that I designed the new weapons,” she stated.
‘Who figured it out is impossible to say but all the facts point to that conclusion,’ she conjectured.
‘We have just uploaded the identification information to the ship’s drones,’ began Carreta.
‘They are contacting Commander Torres now, so I’ll let you get back to the general discussion,’ Carreta said breaking the link.
“Lieutenant, I just received a message from the ship,” stated Torres.
“They confirm that the identification of the two dead shooters were from the Dominican party.”
“How they got down here and what their orders were we may never know,” he said.
“But at least we know their presence here wasn’t a random coincidence,” he concluded.
“Commander,” began Delgado.
“Maybe you can explain to us how these two could travel from the ship undetected?”
“Also did you notice they were carrying our latest hand weapon?” Brother Delgado asked.
“Maybe they stowed away on your craft unseen when you came down?” ventured Torres.
“Unlikely Commander,” Alphie answered.
“I and the other drone members of this party never sensed anyone aboard that wasn’t supposed to be aboard.”
“Then I can offer no logical explanation, Brother,” admitted Torres.
“I might suggest,” began Sister Maria.
“That if we did not carry them aboard our Lander then another shuttle must have carried them down.”
They may have been transmatted here specifically to carry out their deadly mission, Commander,” Sister Maria surmised.
“It might be a good idea to have the San Marcos searched thoroughly in order to make sure all atmoships are accounted for, Sir,” advised Marinero.
Also have security check all log entries regarding transmats,” suggested Manolo.
“I would make sure that security does a thorough visual search of all atmoships and not rely just on log entries, Commander,” suggested Anna.
“What, you mean you don’t trust log entries Chief?” he asked.
“Why would anyone want to change a log entry?”
“Why would anyone send down a couple of ‘Dominican janitors’ with rippers to make a mess instead of clean one up, Sir?” Anna asked challengingly.
“You have a point, Chief,” he admitted.
“I will recommend at the highest level that there be a total visual search of all hanger bays and transmat locales.”
“Thank you all for your input,” he added.
“We’ll have our own ‘janitors’ transmat in to cleanup.”
“I’ll get out of your hair now and let you get some rest, Sergeant?” Torres looked at the marine sergeant.
The Sergeant broke away from a small group of other marines and approached the Commander.
“Yes, Sir?” the sergeant asked.
“Pick a few men,” Torres began.
“Stay here and guard the landing party with your life.”
“The Admiral will have both our hides if anything else happens to either them or their guests. Am I clear?” he asked.
“Aye, Sir,” replied the sergeant.
The sergeant went off and picked a couple of men to continue keeping the perimeter safe.
He then ordered the other men from the squad to accompany the Lieutenant Commander back to their Lander.
In a few minutes, Torres and the other members of the strike force transmatted out of the rooms.
Al, in stealth mode, slipped into David and AJ’s room.
“AJ, will you and David talk with me for a moment?” he asked.
“Sure Al, anything for you buddy,” I stated.
“The earlier comments you made about computers not being able to do things that human can, could you explain that please?” Al requested.
“Sure,” I said.
“Humans have the ability to think outside the box.”
“What that means is that when faced with a problem sometimes the logical way to approach it may not be the best way.”
“Got me?” I asked Al.
“No, not really, AJ,” he replied.
“Humans can make leaps in intuition and see a path to a solution that may not be logical,” I informed him.
“We will also,” began David.
“In times of great need, sacrifice our life for the good of others.”
“Like what you did by putting yourself into the path of the flechettes that were aimed at Ms. Cruz and sacrificing yourself to save her,” I finished with a smile on my face directed at Al.
“But it was necessary for me to do that to prevent any further damage to Ms. Cruz,” Al admitted.
“It only made sense to me,” he confessed.
“Some people would never have done that, Al,” David informed him.
“I know of no machine on Earth that would even consider that kind of action,” he added.
“Okay,” Al admitted.
“I can understand that point but you were talking about other things as well.”
“Can you please explain them to me?” he requested.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Sure stuff like being deceptive and cunning, right?” I asked.
“Yes, I do believe those were the words you used,” replied Al.
“But what do they mean?” he asked.
“Being deceptive is almost like what you do when you go into your stealth mode,” David advised.
“You go invisible so that nobody knows you’re around, right?” asked David.
“Yes,” he said.
“It was a good thing that Alphie has the same ability because without it, I’m afraid none of us would be here right now,” Al observed.
“That’s a classic example of being deceptive,” I replied.
“Okay,” Al said.
“I am beginning to understand, go on,” he requested.
“As for cunning, that is something completely different,” said David.
“Cunning is being smart about how you go about something or in this case how you attack someone,” I added.
“Sometimes the frontal attack is the best strategy,” David said.
“But most of the time, if you go through the front, you are liable to have your butt handed to you,” I finished.
“Well, now I am beginning to not understand,” responded Al.
“I know,” began David.
“That is what we were trying to tell you back there,” stated David.
“But of course we are just kids and we don’t know much,” I said exasperated.
“Just trot off to bed, that’s a good lad,” I mimicked.
“Grownups can be a pain sometimes,” added David.
“I’m sorry that the Chief and her party treated you like children,” admitted Al.
“I think they are still upset about the threat to the Chief’s life, guys.”
“No sweat Al, David and I are used to it by now,” I replied.
“Can we finish with my lesson on how to be cunning, please?” Al asked.
“Sure, let’s see cunning is the ability to use the skill of being deceptive to your advantage,” David said.
“Take for instance,” David began.
“I was cornered in a ground game battle situation, so I made the bad guys think I was going to flank them but I actually ran head-on into their front ranks,” he informed Al.
“They didn’t expect that because they thought I was gonna go around them, which most players would have,” admitted David.
“But being cunning is making your enemy think you are going to do something and then do the complete opposite,” I stated.
“Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” I admitted.
“And then when everything hits the fan and you only have the one last option,” David said.
“You go for the Kamikaze solution,” said David.
“What solution?” Al asked.
“Look it up on the Internet Al and then you’ll get a better picture of why we win and they lose,” I said smiling.
Al spent a few milliseconds looking up the word and just as AJ stated, it explained volumes to the drone.
“Just hope for every one’s sake that it never comes to that, buddy,” David advised.
“Like we said, that’s the last option,” I said.
“Thanks for explaining these concepts to me,” Al stated.
“I will pass along your insights to the others.”
“I am sure in time they will begin to treat you both like the intelligent young men you are,” he said.
“Thanks Al, that means a lot to us,” I said.
“Before we continue I have a confession to make,” Al said.
“You lied and you are really from North Korea?” I asked laughing.
“AJ, don’t even joke about that crap,” said David sternly.
“There is no better way to say this than, the Chief is not what she appears to be,” Al confessed.
“Oh, really?” I asked.
“She appears to be a girl, are you saying she’s not?” asked David.
“No, she’s a female, that’s for sure,” stated Al.
“Whew,” I began.
“Thought I was gonna have a heart attack or something there, Al,” I admitted.
“Don’t do that,” David replied.
“So she is not human?” he asked.
“She is human,” began Al.
“But she also has special abilities that the rest of the New Spaniards don’t have,” he confessed.
“Like what?” David asked.
“She can have any program or a file uplinked neurologically to her and as soon as she accesses the information, she can act upon that data instantly,” Al informed us.
“That’s so cool,” I exclaimed.
“She can read or talk any language that’s been uploaded to her and do it right away?” I asked.
“Yes and she can do much more than that,” he admitted.
“The Chief was the principal designer of the rippers while we were in transit.”
“Are you telling me you don’t have any defensive or offensive capabilities?” David asked.
“Not then but we do now, thanks to the Chief,” Al began.
“We were hoping your world would have been able to help us develop weapons capable to destroy our enemy,” Al informed us.
“But just before we got here, we knew that dream was dead,” he added.
I looked over at David.
“We really are their only hope, Dave,” I told him.
“We got to help them.”
“Did she design any other weapons that will be able to help you?” asked David.
“Let’s start at the beginning,” he began.
“She began her engineering initially by upgrading her personal drone.”
“He was the drone that killed the assassins, right?” I asked.
“No, her personal drone is called Alphina,” he informed us.
“After upgrading her, Alphina and Anna designed and built Alphie to accompany Anna on this trip,” he continued.
“So Alphie is second generation?” David asked.
“And then you came along?” I asked.
“That makes you third generation buddy,” I told him.
“I was designed and built specifically to find both of you just before we landed on Earth,” he said.
“Wow, she works fast doesn’t she?” David asked.
“But that’s not all,” Al began.
“Alphie and Alphina were equipped with personal security weapons, advance commo and deciphering unit, the stealth ability and an upgraded antigravity, impeller propulsion unit,” he stated.
“I have the same capabilities but in a smaller package,” he added.
“She also took on the task of outfitting the San Marcos with defensive weapons,” he continued.
“She designed a missile package system; equip the ship with stealth capabilities and invented an antiparticle beam array capable of destroying any object within its field,” Al admitted.
“Holy crap,” David exclaimed.
“She’s like the creator of the Death Star in Star Wars,” David stated.
“But, she is only a girl,” Al informed us.
“And you guys put all this firepower together when you were traveling out here?” I asked.
“Yes,” Al began.
“We also got the idea of matter transmitting from some of your science fiction movies.”
“Of course, at the time,” Al said.
“We thought they were historical dramas being reenacted but saw the practical application of what the matter transmitter did and created our own,” he admitted.
“Wow, you guys are so cool,” I said.
“So Chief Suarez isn’t the only inventor on board your ship, the whole crew is?” David asked.
“In a way, yes,” Al replied.
“We can have any item that we create fabricated or manufactured by a machine for us.”
“If the prototype works then we mass produce it for use within a very short period of time,” he stated.
“And that will make building space fighters a snap for you guys,” I suggested.
“Yes,” Al began.
“But we first have to find a good, reliable fighter, train the pilots to fly them and then come up with a feasible battle strategy.”
“We can help you,” began David.
“With a couple of those things but training the pilots or designing the battle plan is something out of our league,” admitted David.
“Then I guess it was fortunate that Alphie talked the Admiral into rescuing Major Allen, a fighter pilot with combat experience,” Al replied.
“Another good thing that you have going for you is the Chief is a weapons genius,” admitted David.
“We will be able to upload fighter designs from all the games on the Internet,” David said.
“And your weapons master will be able to help design the firepower to be integrated on the starfighters,” I added.
“You have great hopes for our mission, don’t you?” Al asked.
“Are you kidding?” David asked.
“You guys can make the stuff and we can help you design it,” David said.
“It’s a winning combination,” he admitted.
“First thing in the morning,” I began.
“After breakfast we can start researching all the different fighter craft that’s been produced for computer games,” I recommended.
“You should be able to figure out if the designs we come up with can be used in space and if they’ll get the job done,” I suggested.
“Why do we have to wait until morning AJ?” David asked.
“Ah, because we don’t have our computers or an Internet hook up,” I said obviously.
“The landing party drones have been working on your lack of a laptop and wondered if these computers would be sufficient to do the task you were describing?” Al asked.
Before he finished speaking two laptops appeared in the room.
The first laptop, snatched up by me was an Alienware Area 51.
The second one was a Toshiba Qosmio G-35-AV660 that David gladly claimed as his own.
We both let out a whoop of delight as we opened up the new laptops and started checking out all the programs that were on them.
“We also took the liberty of accessing these gaming companies; IGN Entertainment, Epic Games and finally EA Games,” Al announced.
“You now have full access to all their files, gentlemen.”
“You can do all the research you want on files dealing with games that you are familiar with or games that are in various stages of development,” suggested Al.
“Are you kidding me?” I asked.
“This is great,” I announced.
“Yeah, it’s like I died and went to Nibbana,” David said.
“What is Nibbana?” I asked.
“It’s the Buddhist’s version of heaven, buddy,” David replied.
“Whatever dude,” I began.
“All I can say is; I love these guys!” I exclaimed.
Manolo looked over at Anna who just reached one of the couches and threw herself down on it.
“Are you kidding me, Suarez?” asked Manolo.
“What did I do now, Sir?” Anna asked.
“Why would anyone send down a couple of ‘Dominican janitors’ with rippers to make a mess instead of clean one up?”
“You really asked that?” Manolo asked.
“Do you always have to show off how smart you are, Angelica,” Marinero said.
Before Anna could unload on Manolo, Sister Maria asked.
“Do you think he caught that little mistake?”
“Oh, he caught it alright,” Manolo, said exasperated.
“But he didn’t say anything,” said Brother Delgado.
“Why would he?” asked Marinero.
“It’s just human nature…,” Anna started.
“But that’s just it, isn’t it?” Manolo asked interrupting her.
“There are some that believe Torres isn’t human, that he’s some kind of human/cat hybrid,” Manolo continued.
“What are you rambling about?” Anna asked.
“Ah, did you forget something Chief?” he asked her.
“Sir Sorry, Sir,” she stated.
“It won’t happen again, Sir.”
“Has it ever occurred to either one of you to ask why an officer so young is my father’s head of intelligence?” Manolo asked.
“No? Hmm…” he trailed off.
“Fine, then enlighten us, Sir,” Anna requested.
“Ricardo Torres is a very gifted young man,” he replied.
“As I mentioned earlier many of the people that he has caught in his line of duty have accused him of being catlike after he finally finishes playing with them.”
“Oh, they always think they have gotten away clean because he never gives anything away,” Marinero informed them.
“Just when they are about to make their escape, Ricardo springs the trap and smiles down at his prey.”
“He is devious, clever and oh so very, very smart,” he added.
“You didn’t catch his last sentences when he said, ‘And thank you all for your input. We will have our own ‘janitors’ transmat in to cleanup?’” Manolo asked.
“He stressed the word ‘input’ and also added ‘janitors,’” stated Marinero.
“Now why do you think he did that?” he asked.
“Thank you, Lieutenant for your revelation about the Commander,” began Anna.
“I am a little tired or I wouldn’t have made that mistake, I’m sorry everybody,” she finished.
‘Do you wish me to do anything Princess?’ asked Carreta.
‘Not right now Vice Member but if we need you to intervene between us and El Gato Torres, I’ll let you know,” she informed him.
“And Lieutenant, the discussion that you and I had earlier about Commander Torres may need to be revisited,” she advised him.
“How could either one of you be so foolish as to order the attack on Chief Suarez?” Commander Alverez asked the two friars.
“She is an abomination!” exclaimed de Morillo.
“She’s a devil in disguise!” remarked de Jesus.
“She is neither,” stated Alverez.
“You two old fools and now because of your hotheadedness a full visual search of the hanger bays will turn up the missing shuttle.”
“The same shuttle that you two are sitting in right now down on Earth,” Alverez informed them.
“We must get back!” exclaimed de Morillo.
“And get back now!” added de Jesus.
“You can’t,” stated Alverez.
“That is what I’ve been trying to tell you,” explained Alverez.
“If you had stuck to the plan and observed their activities then you could have easily slipped back here without anyone being the wiser,” he noted.
“But now there is no way you can get back into the ship unnoticed,” Alverez finished.
“What about the new matter transporters?” de Jesus asked.
“You mean the ones that have extra security on them right now as we speak?” asked Alverez.
“You were supposed to keep us safe from any harm done to us!” shouted de Morillo.
“How can I keep you safe from yourself, friar?” asked Alvarez.
“What are we to do then Commander?” asked de Jesus.
“Security is keeping an eye on items being transported up not on one’s going down,” he stated.
“I will see what I can do about sending you twenty or so pounds of gold.”
“Why would you want to send us gold?” asked de Morillo.
“Brothers,” Alverez began.
“Because of your foolish decision to attack the Chief, you will not be returning home with us,” Alverez said sadly.
“God’s will or just stupidity on your part,” he said.
“I can’t say but take the gold, build a new life and Vaya Con Dios,” he added breaking the connection.
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