The next morning they were heading out of the Solar System and on their way to the closest bubble displacer.
In the next few weeks, Anna and Lieutenant Marinero spent hundreds of hours training and cross training the pilots aboard the San Marcos on the ins and outs of their new starfighters.
While the training was intensifying, the engineering department went into full fabricating mode and turned out starfighter after starfighter from the reconstructed parts of their old fighters.
The old fighters went into the fabricators and the new starfighters came out to go through the next phase of testing and trials.
After the testing process, the new starfighters stood in readiness for the first opportunity to strike a blow against the enemy.
Each day the Admiral or one of his staff would keep an eye on the ever-increasing numbers of starfighters filling the flight decks all over the San Marcos.
While all this renewed activity was going on a small, little, insignificant cat was prowling seeking his prey.
“El Gato” Torres was now more than ever convinced that God had personally placed him on this mission to keep a protective watch on the Princess.
He was also convinced that the officer that had covered up the missing shuttle knew that the target that night was the Infanta.
Torres vowed to God in his room late one night that he would not rest until he caught this officer and brought to trial.
So, the ‘Cat’ kept up his vigil and sifted through what little evidence he had to work with and continued to work the case until he would get a break.
His patience finally paid off when he discovered that an off duty fabricator had been used around the same time that the landing party was on Earth.
Some one programmed the fabricator to produce a few pounds of gold.
Why would anyone need this aboard the San Marcos? He asked himself.
They would not, but because the Admiral ordered that they could not fabricate the American currency, the only form of funds that the friars could use on Earth was gold.
Therefore, someone had fabricated some gold and transmatted it down to Earth.
Now he had a solid lead that would take him to which matter transmitter sent to gold down and who authorized its usage.
He was getting closer to the man who ordered the assassination of the Princess of Nuevo Hispania.
He was getting closer to finding this traitor and making him pay for his unspeakable acts against the Royal Daughter.
The Admiral sent a request to speak privately with Chief Suarez and his son when they had some off duty time.
He knew that they were in the midst of training the new starfighter squadron and did not want to divert their attention away from this much-needed assignment.
He was relieved when he got the message that the two would be free around lunchtime and could see him.
He responded back that they were to have lunch in his rooms while they met to discuss the training and their away mission.
Chief Suarez/Anna was a little anxious about the meeting with the Admiral because although he said he wanted to discuss the away mission and their training exercises she knew the real reason for their meeting.
As they were walking to the Admiral’s Quarters for lunch, she and Manolo had a private unvoiced conversation of their own.
‘So what’s going on Manolo?’ she asked.
‘I don’t know what you mean Chief,’ he replied.
‘Don’t play dumb with me Lieutenant Manolo Esteban Marinero.’
He looked over at her as they continued walking.
‘Oh, so are we using formal names now, Chief?’ he asked.
‘And what name should I call you by, Chief Warren Officer Angelica Josephina Suarez or your real one, Infanta?’ he further asked.
‘You can be so exhausting at times, Manolo,’ she said sighing.
‘I am sure the same can be said about you ah…who are you today, Chief?’ he asked slyly.
By the time the banter had stopped, they were at the Admiral’s Quarters.
They both came to attention as the Admiral’s Marines saluted them.
“Lieutenant Marinero and Chief Warren Officer Suarez reporting as ordered, Sergeant,” the Lieutenant said.
“The Admiral is expecting you, Sir,” the Marine replied.
They opened the hatch leading to the Admiral’s Quarters and the two pilots entered.
The Admiral was inside waiting for them by his sideboard.
“Would either of you care for some wine?” the Admiral asked.
The Chief looked over at the Lieutenant for advice.
“Just don’t get sloppy drunk Chief, we still have a few more classes today,” Manolo said.
“Like I said you can be so exhausting sometimes, Sir,” replied Anna.
Anna smiled at the Admiral.
“Thank you Sir, I will have a glass of the red, if you don’t mind,” she replied.
The Admiral looked at his son.
“Manolo, please get the Infanta a glass of the red and one for me as well,” he requested.
He then came over to Anna and placed his arm in hers and escorted her to her seat.
He sat down across the table from her and smiled.
“You think he’s bad now you should have seen him when he was younger,” the Admiral said.
“Always getting into his older brother’s stuff and then trying to blame it on the servants.”
Anna chuckled as she saw Manolo bristled at his father’s words.
He finished pouring three glasses of the red wine and then brought them over to the table and placed them in front of the two seated there.
“Oh, Manolo accusing the poor servants with your misdeeds, how terrible,” Anna said mockingly.
“That only happened one time in our house,” Marinero admitted.
“I had a tyrant for a father,” he admitted.
“Oh, excuse me Father, I forgot you were here,” he said smiling.
“You are right,” stated Admiral Marinero.
“Anna, he can be quite exhausting,” said the Admiral smiling at her.
“Fine, fine, fine, enough with the small talk now, can we get down to business?” Manolo asked.
“In just a few minutes,” the Admiral began.
“First I want to express our deepest thanks for completing a very and at times harrowing landing mission,” the Admiral said.
“Thank you Admiral,” Anna replied.
“It was the least we could do.”
“I also want to thank both of you on the training of the first group of new Starfighters,” the Admiral stated.
“The plan is to train this group,” began his son.
“Then this group will help us train another group and so on until the full Starfighter Group is completely trained in maneuvers and tactics, Father,” Manolo explained.
“And by the time that you have completed the job, we should have starfighters for each pilot,” the Admiral said pleased.
“That includes all the different designs and armament.”
“I am amazed at what the two of you accomplished on Earth,” he finished saying.
“It wasn’t just us, Sir,” admitted Anna.
“Of course, I wasn’t discounting the efforts from your two boy geniuses,” said the Admiral.
“Their ability to understand what we needed and create our first strike force was inspiring, Sir,” admitted Manolo.
“With the Chief’s help they even showed us the best way to equip the starfighters with the right compliment of offensive weapons,” he admitted.
“They also trained us to stretch our abilities and to look ‘outside the box’ for answers that may not be right in front of our noses, Sir,” Anna added.
“The concepts that they have taught you are strange to me,” the Admiral admitted.
“Will you be able to pass on this new way of battle to the other pilots?” he asked.
“Time will tell, Sir,” admitted Marinero.
“The concepts and underlying strategies were strange to us at the beginning, Father,” he added.
“But I have to admit that the Infanta’s grasp of this new way of offensive thinking was inspirational,” he concluded.
“I am not surprise one bit, my son,” his Father admitted.
“The Infanta comes from good stock.”
“Her father and mother have motivated the Empire and especially us in the military to want to achieve greater honor for years,” he advised them.
“She is their daughter and the Empire’s shining glory,” the Admiral said smiling at Anna.
“Admiral you do me too great an honor,” Anna said humbling.
“I am but a simple young woman who is doing God’s will by saving My People,” she finished.
“There is nothing ‘simple’ about you my dear,” said the Admiral.
“The weapons that you created for the San Marcos along our journey could very well save us and also the Empire.”
“The new drones that you have created are a giant leap into the future for all mechanical beings,” he continued.
“And on top of that the new starfighters with the new battle strategies may very well be your crowning achievement,” the Admiral said beaming.
Before Anna could react to this over gushing statement of her accomplishments, the stewards brought in the lunchtime meal and the three ate their meal talking of home.
Half way through the meal there was a knock on the bulkhead.
The Admiral wiped off his month and then said, “Come.”
The hatch opened up and Lt. Commander Torres came through the hatchway.
“I’m sorry to disturb your lunch Sir, but you wanted to see me the moment I discover something,” Torres announced.
“Please come in and don’t worry,” the Admiral said.
“Are you hungry Commander?” he asked.
“No, Sir, I am good,” stated the Commander.
“I could use a glass of wine though, Sir and thank you,” he replied.
“Go ahead and pour yourself one,” the Admiral said.
Torres went over to the sideboard, poured himself a glass of the wine and took it back to the table.
“Have a seat,” began Marinero.
“I hope you don’t mind telling me what you found while we finish eating?” the Admiral asked.
“No, Sir not at all,” said Torres.
“In fact I’m glad that the Lieutenant and the Chief are both here because this news affects them as well.”
“Then by all means please continue, Commander,” requested the Admiral.
“My investigation has finally uncovered the officer responsible for the shuttle and its cover up, Sir,” Torres announced.
Anna and Lieutenant Marinero stopped eating and looked up at Torres.
“And?” the Admiral asked.
“I’m ashamed to inform you that the officer helping the Dominicans is your second in command, Commander Alvarez, Sir,” Torres said.
Anna’s eyes narrowed at his name. He was the one in charge of plotting to kill her.
“Are you sure?” the Admiral asked.
“Si, Señor, very sure,” replied the Commander.
“I should be surprised, but I’m not,” the Admiral admitted.
“Why not Father?” asked Manolo.
“Commander Alvarez was brought up by the Dominicans when his parents died at an early age,” Admiral Marinero announced.
“But I had wrongly believed that his allegiance to them was superseded by his oath to the navy.”
“I was wrong, it seems,” he finished.
“What are your orders?” asked Torres.
“My orders?” the Admiral asked absently.
“Sir, might I remind you he tried to kill the Infanta,” Torres said.
“Si, Commander, we know this,” the Admiral replied.
The Admiral looked at Anna.
“What would you have me with this man, Princess?” he asked.
“If you want my gut reaction Sir, I would say toss him out the nearest airlock,” Anna advised.
“But, unfortunately Sister Maria says it’s not ladylike to have gut reactions.”
“So I’m at a lost as to what to do with him, Sir,” she replied.
“I would stick him in the brig until we reach home, Sir and then hand him over to Naval Intelligence,” Manolo suggested.
“Both I think are good advice,” he stated.
“Any suggestions Commander?” asked the Admiral.
“I’m not totally convinced that he and the Friars were acting alone, Sir,” admitted Torres.
“I believe there might be more conspirators aboard,” he suggested.
Anna cleared her throat and all eyes turned to her.
“You know for a certainty that the Commander was responsible for this crime, Sir?” asked Anna.
“Si, for a certainty, Highness, he is the one,” admitted the Commander.
“Then why don’t we,” she began.
“I mean you Commander, sit on him and see if he’ll lead us to someone else,” suggested Anna.
“That is brilliant, my dear,” the Admiral said.
“Do what you do best El Gato,” said Manolo smiling.
“Watch, wait and prowl and when he has given us as much information about what else they are planning, then you’ll pounce and capture him Ricardo,” he said.
“Your orders, Sir?” asked Torres.
“Do as the Infanta suggested, Commander,” the Admiral said.
“Keep him under surveillance and keep the dog on a long leash, Commander.”
“When the time is right you have my permission to place him under arrest,” he said.
“Until then I will curtail his access to certain areas and relieve him of some responsibilities,” he finished.
“But won’t that alert him that something is wrong?” asked Anna.
“Quite the opposite I think,” the Admiral said smiling.
“I am going to give him a battlefield promotion to Rear Admiral in charge of the new Starfighter Group,” he began.
“And bury him with so much paperwork he will not be able to move from his office unless it’s to use the head,” he informed them.
Commander Torres stood up.
“If I may be excused, Sir?” he requested.
“I need to get on this right away.”
“You’re dismissed Lieutenant Commander or should I say Commander?” asked the Admiral.
“I’m giving you a battlefield promotion as well Mr. Torres,” added the Admiral.
“Good job, Ricardo and keep it coming,” the Admiral ended saying.
After Commander Torres left the room, Anna looked over at the Admiral.
“You are devious, Sir,” she said smiling.
“And I must say that was a great job of ‘thinking outside the box’ as well,” she admitted.
“And speaking of devious my dear,” the Admiral said raising his eyebrow.
“Do you have any idea what kind of trouble I am in when we get you home?” he asked.
“You?” asked Anna.
“I’ll be lucky if I can sit without a pillow under me for a week when we get back,” she admitted.
“Your father wouldn’t raise a hand to you now would he Anna?” asked Manolo.
“It’s not my father I’m worried about,” she confessed.
“What are you worried about my dear?” Isabella asked her husband.
“It’s been over a month without any kind of action on the Deintus’ part,” he stated.
“They are out there somewhere just planning and waiting for God knows what,” he said.
“We should count everyday that we don’t hear about another disaster as a blessing,” she advised.
He smiled at her.
“Don’t get me wrong I do count those days as blessed days but I know they have not given up,” he said.
“We’ve hurt them,” he began.
“I don’t know how much but now they know, we will fight back,” he declared.
“We don’t know enough about them to venture a guess to what they have planned next, Miguel,” she admitted.
“I know, but this waiting is getting on my nerves,” he confessed.
The King and the Queen remembered that brief conversation because it came back to haunted them later.
The Abaivarapatish asked his ten Ahazarapatishs to come up with another battle plan.
They gave him a choice of twenty.
He was tempted to use the airlocks again but thought better of it.
Some of their plans were too small in their scope of action while others were too large.
How are we going to annihilate this civilization when we do not know how big they are? He wondered.
Furthermore how can he achieve greatness and have songs written about his great exploits when he had such incompetent, bungling fools surrounding him?
He needed his commanders to produce a strategy that will work.
He needed them to reach for that intangible answer that lay just beyond their grasp.
He just needed them to think.
Was that asking too much? He wondered.
So for over a ‘full’ he had to massage their stupid little egos and push them to come up with a battle plan.
It must be worthy enough that the entire Deintus civilization would write songs about him for years to come.
He made it known to his commanders that he would not tolerate another battle plan that was not to his liking.
The next plan will be a winning one.
They will use it to wreak havoc and destroy these weaklings or there will be more command bodies floating around the fleet.
After he announced that, he went to his chambers for a long, cool soak in a scented mud bath that smelled of home.
The next day the Abaivarapatish was having his first meal of the day consisting of roots and berries from his family’s dome when he was disturbed by a message chime.
He listened to the message while finishing his meal and then headed off to the Battle Center in his Command Ship.
All ten of his Ahazarapatishs were physically present at the meeting something that had rarely happened before.
He suspected that today’s meeting was going to be a turning point of this miserable 32nd Spatiotemporal Exploratory Aggregation dumped on him.
He acknowledged each one of his sub commanders before he sat down to listen to this very last battle plan.
David had come over about an hour ago and he and AJ were playing the latest space simulation game on the market.
“Seems kinda lousy that they didn’t take us with them doesn’t it?” I asked.
“Ah, well I don’t know,” admitted David.
“It was great when they were here.”
“Well all of it besides the part where Ms. Cruz got shot and you died,” David admitted.
“But, yeah it does seem kinda lousy,” he finished saying.
“Is that because both of you don’t want to start high school in a couple of days?” Al asked.
He materialized in a corner of AJ’s room well away from the window.
“Oh, yeah,” I began.
“We get to start 9th grade at Lowell High School in a couple of days, I almost forgot,” I said sarcastically.
“Well, unfortunately my parents haven’t,” replied David.
“My mom’s been out shopping for a couple of weeks now buying stuff she says I’m gonna need.”
“I guess it’s a good thing we got paid all that money,” he admitted.
“What is it with women, money and shopping?” he asked.
“You’re asking me?” I asked.
“Every time I come down for breakfast since the accident my mom just sits there starring at me and using a napkin to wipe her eyes.”
“I can’t even eat sometimes because she weird’s me out.”
“What is it with moms and crying?”
“I mean I’m fine alright, give it a rest,” I suggest.
“Yeah,” David began.
“When weren’t there even Anna cried when nobody was watching her,” David informed me.
“The Princess is a very unique member of the Royal Family,” Al stated.
“In chronological years, she is only a year older than both of you, did you know that?” he asked.
“Are you kidding me?” asked David.
“I thought she was at least eighteen or more.”
“Yeah, that would have been my guess as well,” I replied.
“What, is she some kind of kid wonder or something?” I asked.
“She is a wonder, that’s for sure,” admitted Al.
“But as far as being a kid, she lost that with her innocence.”
“Reality conspired against her guys,” Al began.
“With the threat to her people and her special powers thrust upon her months before she was supposed to get them.”
“All made Anna grow up faster than normal,” he advised them.
“She had her teen years ripped away from her because she was given abilities needed to make sure the mission succeeded,” Al stated.
“But that’s not fair,” I said angrily.
“Anna’s the Infanta,” Al replied.
“She is the oldest Royal Daughter and fair rarely has any role in a Royal’s life,” admitted Al.
“That has got to suck for her,” said David.
“I’m sorry she has to deal with all that and not even enjoy her teenage years,” he added.
“But aren’t their teenage years different there than ours here?” asked David.
“They are human children and teens David,” Al replied.
“There is no difference between the kids and teens on Nuevo Hispania and here,” he finished.
“What kind of parents does she have, Al?” I asked.
“Are they a good King and Queen?” I further asked.
“I don’t know them personally,” Al replied.
“Not having been created until we were on the way here but, what I was able to find out about, they are much beloved by the people of the Empire,” he informed them.
“That’s great to hear, Al,” said David.
“I am sure she will be glad to get back and go back to being a Princess again.”
“Going back to the way things were before is something no one in the Empire will ever do again,” announced Al.
“I don’t think it’s anything we’ll be able to do as well, David,” I told David.
“You’re probably right AJ,” David said.
“I was the only one that came away without a scratch.”
“Well take it from me,” I began.
“I would rather be you than me, believe me,” I confessed.
“You know we never really got the chance to talk about what happened to you, did we?” David asked.
“What’s to talk about?” I asked.
“I got hit by a zillion watts of electricity that killed me, end of story.”
“Or maybe it was just the beginning,” David said mysteriously.
“What are you talking about?” I asked him.
“Well,” David began.
“You know when you died, did you hear any voices or see a light?” he asked.
“Did a voice tell you to head into the light?” he further asked.
“Ah, no,” I declared.
“No lights, no voices.”
“No nothing,” I said.
“It was just a big void of nothingness,” I confessed.
“Well, that just sucks big ones,” said David.
“Huh?” I asked.
“What are you going to write when we get into Lowell and they want to know what you did over the summer?” he asked.
“Well, I’m certainly not going to write an essay entitled, ‘The Summer I Died.’” I said laughing.
The Sigma Scorpii section of the Scorpii system had only been in development for about ten years but during that short time, it had grown to over one million colonists along with their homes and businesses.
A rich find of minerals and ores in the asteroid belt surrounding the six-planet system was one of the chief contributors to the quick expansion.
Because they were on the far reaches of the Scorpii System, the Empire had them start making and placing their defensive, mine fields.
They were just completing the western outer section when death arrived.
The Abaivarapatish finally liked the latest plan that he heard.
The first part of the battle plan was to place scout ships along some of the outer edges of the New Spanish Empire and have those scouts watch and wait.
When they found out that Sigma Scorpii section was in the process of constructing these ship-killing mines, the Abaivarapatish decided to move more scout ships into the outer fringes and have them plot the placements of the mines.
While the scout ships worked, the Abaivarapatish ordered the remaining eighty five hundred ships of the fleet into the area surrounding the colony.
In the few days, it took the scout ship to plot the mines positions the Abaivarapatish had his battle plan ready.
The moment the last mine was placed the Abaivarapatish ordered his ships into the system to engage the enemy.
Even though the Abaivarapatish and his ships did not have all the mine positions posted into their guidance/avoidance systems, the Abaivarapatish wanted to confront the enemy.
He believed that what little data they did not have was not enough to stop this invasion.
In the grand scale of things, his hunch worked to his advantage.
Of the eighty five hundred ships that entered the Sigma Scorpii system, only ten percent of them died because of unregistered mines.
Without the support of the minefields, the Sigma colonists were helpless to destroy the rest of the fleet.
The Abaivarapatish’s ship destroyed every living creature and structure that the New Spanish Empire’s brave colonists built.
As the last reports came in of the total destruction of the system, the Abaivarapatish sat in his port side office and relished each piece of news that passed through his hands of this great victory.
He contacted the Song Master of the Fleet and had him start to prepare the Battle Song of his great triumph.
As he sat and pondered about how long his Battle Song should be, his ten Ahazarapatish Commanders were preparing the fleet for another series of quick strikes against the New Spaniards.
The plan was to hit the enemy hard at different places along their border, never giving them enough breathing room to maneuver extra defensive forces into the fight.
They were going to pick at the New Spaniards and break down their defenses bit by bit until they had the New Spaniards reeling from each blow.
Then when they had them nice and softened up, they would concentrate all their forces at one point and drive the dagger home into the heart of the Empire and, destroy them.
In ten remote sectors, ten stealth reconnaissance ships from the Empire gathered as much data as they could in regards to the attack on the Sigma Scorpii sector.
They quietly slipped out while the Abaivarapatish sat contemplating his victory.
They each headed to a remote base to download their vital intelligence to sources that could best use the data for tactical advantage.
The Drone Council failed to figure out the Deintus battle plan.
The Council also contacted the King, and Queen and his or her military advisors, but still no one had an idea.
The Council even went so far as to contact retired military officers to ask their advice on what to do but again no one knew.
No one alive could advise them on what the Deintus were up to or how to counter their penetration into the Empire’s inner worlds.
“We must contact the Queen’s uncle and ask for his guidance on this matter,” suggested Alsecka.
“You think he can decipher their battle plan?” asked Vice Member Jessep.
“I don’t think the Rths stuck him in that stasis field just because he could supply only one answer to our future problems, Vice Member,” stated Alsecka.
“But do we dare consult this two hundred year old abomination against the wishes of the Dominican Order?” asked another Vice Member.
“I don’t think we have the luxury to give in to this mudslinging campaign the Dominicans have orchestrated against Salazar,” advised Alsecka.
Before anyone could say anything, the doors to the Drone Council’s chambers opened up and in walked the Black Pope along with Arch Bishop de Pietro.
“Please forgive this interruption Vice Members,” said de la Medida.
“No need your, Eminence,” said Alsecka.
“You are always welcome within this chamber.”
“Thank you and I really do hope that I didn’t intrude at a bad time,” de la Medida replied.
“We were just discussing whether we should consult the Queen’s Uncle, Father,” admitted Alsecka.
“Ah, good then I see the Council has reached the same conclusions that we have at the Vatican,” the Black Pope said.
“Which are, Father?” asked Jessup.
“That we need to again reach into his bag of tricks and pull out something that will put these barbarians in their place once and for all,” de la Medida declared.
“We were looking for a new set of eyes to look at the data we gathered and make some sense out of it,” admitted Alsekca.
“Good then we both have problems that Salazar may be able to solve for us,” the Black Pope said smiling.
“But the question on the table is can we talk to Senor Salazar without the Dominicans knowing, Father?” asked Jessup.
“We do not have the time to spare to play these ridiculous political games,” de la Medida stated.
“So what do you suggest, Father?” asked Vice Member Jessup.
“My colleague Arch Bishop Pedro de Pietro has come up with our answer to the Dominican problem,” he stated.
The Black Pope then looked over at de Pietro.
“Please go ahead and tell them,” he requested.
“Gentlemen and Honored Vice-Members of the Drone Council, the answer is quite simple,” began de Pietro.
“We must have the Pope make an Edict confirming Salazar de la Catarina to be a faithful child of God and a devout Catholic,” he declared.
The voyage back to the home system was going smoothly.
The added strategy sessions that Major Allen conducted with the new starfighter pilots was also running smoothly.
Even though no one in the class understood the concepts he was teaching, they kept showing up every day.
The process was slow going but Major Allen knew that his patience with these new pilots would pay off in the end.
The New Spaniards came from a non-confrontational background and could not grasp how Major Allen wanted them to dogfight.
They understood why they needed new tactics but how to do it was another matter.
As usual, for Anna it was a different story.
She enjoyed sitting in and learning from the young Major Allen and as the days wore on, she began to understand the theory behind the tactics he taught.
One night as she and Major Allen began a game of chess, an idea penetrated her thoughts.
She stopped playing immediately and asked the Major to follow her.
‘Alphie alert the troops,’ she said nonverbally.
‘I am bringing Major Allen down with me to the workroom,’ she advised.
‘Sister Maria and Brother Delgado are already there,’ Alphie responded immediately.
‘Why am I not surprised, those two are workaholics,’ she said.
‘Look who’s talking,’ he replied.
‘Funny, Alphie very funny,’ she said.
‘Anyway,’ she began.
‘I have an idea and we need Major Allen on our side.’
‘So it looks like are little group is going to get a new member,’ she informed him.
‘You keep adding people to our little group Anna and it won’t be so little,’ Sister Maria said.
‘And good evening to you too Sister,’ Anna replied.
‘We are already here so what do you need from us?’ asked Delgado.
‘Could you set up the chalkboard, I’m going to need it,’ Anna requested.
‘It’ll be ready by the time you get here,’ replied Delgado.
The Major was a little surprised when Anna opened the hatch to the workroom and found Brother Delgado, Sister Maria, Carreta, Lieutenant Marinero, Scrak and Alphie waiting for them.
“You had this planned?” Allen asked Anna.
“Nope, just spur of the moment, Major,” Anna replied.
“Can we offer you some wine Major?” asked Manolo.
“Maybe just a touch Lieutenant,” he replied.
Manolo went over to the sideboard, poured a glass of red wine and brought it over.
While Marinero was pouring the wine, Anna walked over to the blackboard, picked up the chalk, and turned back to the group.
“Major,” she began.
“We really have appreciated all the work you have done so far on helping all of us understand basic fighter tactics,” she stated.
“I think the word ‘understand’ is a bit off, Chief,” Major Allen replied.
“Well to all of us who have attended your sessions they are very informative but maybe not so enlightening,” she replied.
“I believe that will change after our little impromptu skull session down here tonight,” she finished saying.
“Fire away, Chief, I’m all ears,” replied Major Allen.
In the next half hour, Anna explained to the Major why the New Spaniards were not getting it.
She told him their long history of nonaggression and nonviolence.
He sat in amazement at what Anna was telling him, shaking his head throughout the explanation.
“Then it doesn’t matter how much I try to teach you, you’re people will never get it?” he asked.
“Not the way you are teaching it but as Sister Maria can attest to, there is more than one way to teach,” Anna said looking at Sister Maria.
“When we started playing chess it all came together for me,” she added.
“I don’t understand, Chief,” Allen stated.
“Chess is the answer to our understanding the new tactics,” she declared.
“We all love to play chess and know the offensive and defensive moves that one has to use in order to win,” she added.
“I think I’m beginning to see the big picture now Chief,” Allen admitted.
“You want me to change the way I’m teaching the tactics to make it more like chess moves as opposed to fighters in space?” he asked.
“You are exactly correct Major,” Anna said smiling.
“I think I can do that but it’s gonna take some time to change all my jargon, diagrams and stuff over to chess moves, Chief,” he admitted.
“I think I can help speed that up for you, Major,” Alphie said.
“I bet you can Alphie,” the Major said smiling.
“By the way,” Allen said.
“I am glad you’re here.”
“I have a couple of questions, well not really questions but ideas about additional missile deployment systems,” Allen said.
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