The Abaivarapatish was none too pleased when told that they had lost all communications with the Class 3 Marauder Group.
In fact, he ordered the three members of his support staff that were supposed to tell him about the missing craft but failed too, thrown out the nearest airlock to drift in space for eternity.
The other remaining members of his staff fell all over themselves to try to find out what happened to the missing Marauder group and be the first to tell the Abaivarapatish their where abouts.
However, try as they might they could not find out.
Unknown to anyone else, one of the staff members, a lowly Commander by the name of Paygan, decided to send a reconnaissance mission of four Class Six Marauders to the Graffias system to locate the missing group and report their findings back to him and him alone.
Paygan would then inform the Abaivarapatish of the group’s location and then gain the Abaivarapatish’s praise, or so he thought.
“Are we having any luck in finding a single Gray alive when we board?” asked the King.
“None so far, your Majesty,” answered Rexius.
“Hmmm,” the Queen mused aloud.
Miguel looked over at his wife and said, “I know that sound anywhere.”
“You have an idea, don’t you my dear?” Misguel asked her.
“I was just thinking that knocking out their electronics and propulsion wasn’t working the way we had thought it would,” she said.
“And?” he asked.
“And, my thought was if we can knock out those systems, why can’t we knock out the Gray’s internal systems as well?” she asked.
“Their brains should be just like yours,” said Reginus.
“It also runs on electrical pulses not unlike the electronic pulses that run their ships,” Reginus explained.
“That is quiet brilliant my dear,” the King said.
“I’ll have the Knights perform autopsies on the Grays,” began Rexius.
“And design a burst of electronics that will scramble their systems enough to knock them out without leaving any permanent damage,” Rexius added.
“When they have found the right pulse it will only take a short time to upload the extra program into each mine,” added Reginus.
“And then all we have to do is sit back and wait for more scout ships to show up to spring our newest trap,” said the King smiling.
Within a week of not hearing from the reconnaissance group Paygan decided to double down and send an additional group of six Class 5 Marauders into the system.
Unknown to Paygan and the Abaivarapatish, four other members of his support staff had the same idea as Paygan did and they too had sent secret reconnaissance missions of their own.
In total, sixty more starfighters from the Offensive Division of the Marauder Branch of the 32nd Spatiotemporal Exploratory Aggregation went into the Graffias system and became prisoners or died.
The much-improved dampening field mines and the ever-increasing number of defensive mines lead to their destruction.
The Abaivarapatish called for a meeting of his staff.
He found out that in addition to the unexplained loss of the Class 3 Marauder Group, another sixty starfighters sent out to find them are also missing.
The Abaivarapatish did not like this news.
He had all of his support staff, including Paygan, thrown out the airlocks.
He regretted his hasty actions a couple of minutes after the deed was done but what could he have done different?
These fools are sending his property and men to their deaths.
One can only reason that if they had lost communication with ninety-three units then something had changed.
He thought that maybe these flesh eaters are beginning to fight back.
It is about time they fought back, he thought.
Good, he thought.
How could he show his face at home if they found out that he conquered spineless beings?
There is no honor in that but now that they are fighting back then he’ll be able to walk into the Upper Chambers on Anshar, his home planet in the Achird System, with his head held high.
He was starting to feel like his fortune was finally beginning to change.
Too bad that his staff had to die but they deserved it because they were all lazy and stupid, who cares if most of them were from his own personal genetic pool?
They can extract more Deintus from those pools, teach them the True Way and be ready to fight the glorious war within a very short time if needed.
As for right now, he will use some of the auxiliary staff that was aboard his flagship.
They would do nicely because they knew their place in the Order.
They did not have dreams of grandeur to stand in the way of doing what needs doing, so yes, they would work just fine.
Uncle Salazar and Coronado made the move to Hispania and set up a secret workroom buried under the palace.
It would be more convenient for the King, Queen or any of the Drone Council to speak with him physically.
This new facility created the right sound/micro waves that knocked out the Grays aboard their ships in order to capture them alive.
The King and Queen along with their advisors ordered the prisoners permanently placed in a secured facility that they had built.
They decided to hollow out another asteroid and convert it into a facility that would be able to determine the weaknesses and flaws of this newly discovered space race called the ‘Deintus’.
The Throne working in conjunction with the Black Pope, the Jesuits and The Knight Hospitallers, created this new base of operations to find out all they could about their new enemy.
No one outside this small circle of New Spaniards would ever know about the existence of this secret facility.
So, of course, the Dominicans knew the minute of the plans to begin construction of this new base.
Master of the Order Father Francisco de Acebo was in conference with Major Arch Bishop de la Cortez and Bishop Alvaro in their underground conference room in Dominican’s Orders Headquarters.
“So what’s the latest?” de Acebo asked.
“Do you want me to tell you what we know for sure or what we suspect or the many rumors that have surfaced?” asked de la Cortez.
“These Jesuits will be the death of us, Father!” Bishop Alvaro exclaimed.
“They are like a huge snake that twists and tangles itself around your body and then begins to squeeze the life out of you.”
“They are, Bishop, but they are also our Brothers in the Lord,” de Acebo said.
“Your capacity for forgiveness knows no bounds Master of the Order,” replied the Bishop.
“It is nothing, Bishop compared to God’s,” admitted de Acebo.
“But you have a point Brother the Jesuits have taken complete control of this crisis,” admitted de Acebo.
“And how are we going to wrestle it back from them Father?” asked de la Cortez.
“I have some ideas but first let’s get some workers on that prison project that will report directly back to us,” de Acebo ordered.
“We might want to have them install certain items for us to use when the need arises,” he advised.
“I’ll look into that Master of the Order,” said de la Cortez.
“But I wanted to bring up a rumor that has been circulating with the palace staff,” requested de la Cortez.
“Are we to place any credence on rumors, Father?” asked the Bishop.
“Maybe not,” began de la Cortez.
“But if true then this rumor may hold some significance to the designer of these strange weapons that have been created as late,” he stated.
“Oh?” asked de Acebo.
“Then let’s hear what the staff is going on about, Arch Bishop,” de Acebo said.
“The rumors have mentioned that an ancestor to the Queen is responsible for the creation of these exotic weapons, Father,” de la Cortez informed them.
“I know most of the Queen’s relatives and I can’t fathom any of them are capable of such creative destruction,” de Acebo said.
“The rumors suggest that he is a very distant relative, Father,” continued the Arch Bishop.
“How distant is he?” Bishop Alvaro asked.
“From about two centuries ago,” admitted de la Cortez.
“Preposterous!” shouted Bishop Alvaro.
“Are you kidding me?” asked de Acebo.
“I have it on good authority,” began de la Cortez.
“That the designers of the new weapon’s system are both the Queen and her great, great, great Uncle Salazar,” he stated.
“Isn’t that the uncle that they said was crazy?” Alvaro asked.
“Not crazy just a bit eccentric,” admitted de Acebo.
“Regardless, he was supposed to have died two hundred years ago,” said Alvaro.
“His death was always a mystery and the family never had a burial ceremony, that I can recall,” de Acebo said.
“That’s because he was never buried,” admitted the Arch Bishop.
“They had his remains, or what we thought of his remains placed in a crypt under the family home in Valencia,” he advised them.
“That’s right, now I remember,” admitted de Acebo.
“Their Majesties visited the family home in Valencia a few months back,” the Arch Bishop said.
“They came back to the palace with renewed vigor and the new designs for the mines that were used in the Graffias system to great effect, Father,” he informed them.
“And you are saying that their trip to Valencia was to resurrect this long, lost uncle from his crypt?” asked de Acebo.
“And utilize his knowledge from the past to get us out of this mess we’re in now?” he further asked.
“Can you explain it any other way Master?” asked de la Cortez.
“Other than having our Monarchs delving into satanic witchcraft to bring back to life a long dead ancestor, Arch Bishop?” de Acebo asked.
“Is that what you are asking me?” he repeated.
“Si, Señor that is what I am asking,” replied the Arch Bishop.
“Should this rumor be true, Brothers,” began de Acebo.
“Than I’m afraid that our Empire and our beloved Church have much more than outside enemies seeking her destruction,” announced Bishop Alvaro.
“We have no other choice than to tell his parents what happened to their only son, Brother,” admitted Anna.
“I’m not suggesting that we leave and not let them know of his fate, Chief,” said Brother Delgado.
“I’m simply wondering why you think now is the time to let them know?” he asked.
“Because he died, Brother, and because it was I that caused his death,” admitted Anna.
“Anna,” began Sister Maria.
“We know what his death has meant to you, well to all of us but to lay the blame at your feet for this misfortunate accident may not be the best thing to do at the moment,” advised Sister Maria.
“I’m sorry that I don’t know the proper protocol for delivering somber news to the parent’s of a boy who was at the wrong place at the wrong time so maybe you should both enlighten me,” said Anna in a cold tone.
“Chief,” began Manolo.
“You need to stop taking out your anger on those around you that are trying to help you get over this bump in the street,” said Manolo.
“Bump in the road, Lieutenant, and it was much more than that,” Anna said sadly.
“But he’s getting better,” said David.
“He’s almost good as new,” he added.
“No thanks to me!” Anna said.
Francesca came walking over to the Princess and put her arms around her.
“Sweetie, as the Sister said it was an accident,” Cruz said.
“Nobody could have seen this coming, especially you.”
“So stop beating yourself up,” Ms. Cruz advised.
“He is going to take a couple of more days to heal properly, as the doctor said, and by that time, he will be as good as new.”
“Just like me,” she said ending with a smile.
“And as for what happened to you I am so very sorry,” Anna said.
“None of this was meant to happen,” admitted Anna.
“Chief, you’re in a war, injuries happen,” Major Allen said.
“People and material get broken, it’s nobody’s fault except the enemies.”
“You need to accept, responsibility when it is your fault,” Allen stated.
“But you cannot berate yourself for things that are not in your control.”
“The minute you do that then all hell breaks loose and your enemy has won because he’s knocked you out of the game,” Major Allen advised her.
“My dear,” began Sister Maria.
“If having AJ’s parents up here during his recuperation will make you feel better, than I think that is a great idea and I stand behind you one hundred percent,” Sister Maria said.
“Better yet,” began Brother Delgado.
“I think we can have the engineering staff planet side help with this, they can build a recovery room for AJ at the complex and we can have his parents escorted there to spend time with him there instead of up here,” Brother Delgado explained.
“The less people know about our mission the better for us, Chief,” Alphie said.
Anna looked up at her companion.
“You are right, Alphie, I’m sorry that I have been such a terrible wreck these last couple of hours,” she admitted to everyone.
She looked over at the Brother and Sister team.
“Can you forgive me for my foolishness Counselors?” she asked.
Sister Maria walked over to Anna and held her in her arms for a few moments.
“I was worried that we had lost a little of the girl I once knew who rescued hurt animals and wanted to nurse them back to health on our journey out here, my dear,” she admitted.
“You have done nothing to ask for forgiveness, Anna.”
“It is good to have you back,” the Sister said.
A few hours after they had transmatted back to the planet Lieutenant Commander Torres came up to Brother Delgado and Lieutenant Marinero in one of the offices set aside for Brother Delgado and Sister Maria.
“Gentlemen, I’m glad I could find you both together,” Torres said.
“I have some news that might shed some light on the accident that caused your colleague’s accident in the prototype simulator.”
“I didn’t know that the accident was being investigated,” said Manolo.
“Brother Delgado had concerns that he brought up on the San Marcos after the incident and I decided to check into things in an unofficial capacity, Lieutenant,” replied Torres.
“Something just didn’t add up to me Manolo,” added Delgado.
“We had done several diagnostic tests on the simulator the night before AJ got in and everything checked out perfectly.”
“If it hadn’t I would not have said it was okay for him to get in and strap down,” he admitted.
“So what did you find?” asked Marinero.
“That the simulator had been tampered with within a few hours of the test,” admitted Torres.
“You said it was tampered with, but how?” asked Delgado.
“Did you notice anything peculiar during the trial?” asked Torres.
“Well yes, at the beginning it seemed that all the power in the room was being drained,” confessed Delgado.
“It was and it was being funneled into the simulator,” Torres said.
“That extra power over amplified the electrical current and turned the simulator into a death trap,” Torres informed them.
“Had it not been for your quick reactions and reflects Lieutenant Marinero, AJ might well have permanently died,” the Commander added.
“But why would anyone want to sabotage the prototype simulator?” Delgado asked.
“Who would have done it?” he further asked.
“The answers to those questions are missing along with the two engineers that took off shortly after the accident, Brother,” said Torres.
“Can we assume that the two missing engineers also have close ties with the Dominicans, Sir?” asked Marinero.
“I don’t have enough information to make that leap of speculation, Lieutenant,” Torres began.
“But if I were a betting man I wouldn’t place odds against it,” admitted Torres.
“And will my father finally place the rest of the Dominican party on close watch to prevent any further accidents from happening?” asked Manolo.
“I can’t answer that, Lieutenant,” said Torres.
“My job is to place as much evidence and proof in your father’s hands so that he will be able to make an informed decision,” he said.
“You must realize that to do what you are suggesting and place the rest of the Dominican party on watch is a grave indictment on the party as a whole,” Torres continued.
“To place the entire party on watch when it may well have just been a couple of fringe elements is not the best solution,” he concluded.
“But how many more hidden players are going to come out of the woodwork before this is all done, Sir?” Marinero asked.
“I can’t tell you Lieutenant, but I will be keeping a closer eye on them than I previously have that’s for certain,” advised Torres.
“I guess that will have to do,” conceded Delgado.
“You mentioned that the two missing engineers took off,” Manolo asked.
“Can you speculate that more than likely they have joined forces with the two missing friars?”
“That would not be beyond a reasonable assumption, Lieutenant,” admitted the Commander.
“And still no idea where that missing shuttle is?” Manolo asked.
“That or who helped cover up the departure is still being investigated,” replied the Lt. Commander.
“I hadn’t considered the bigger picture of who could have covered it up, Sir,” admitted Marinero.
“That’s why I get very little sleep at night, Lieutenant,” Torres said.
“The list of superior officers who could have a hand in the cover up of the shuttle is not a very long one is it?” asked Brother Delgado.
“No, not long at all,” said El Gato as he smiled.
“Sire, it’s come to the Council’s attention that rumors regarding the Queen’s Uncle Salazar are running rampant in the streets,” Rexius stated.
“They have no clue as to how the rumors got started but concerned that the Dominicans have known about the rumors for a few weeks now,” he continued.
“But how could they know?” the King asked.
“We’ve kept a very tight lid on him and on the location of his work shop.”
“We have tried to do our best to bury the news,” said Rexius.
“But trying to bury the news of a two hundred year old Royal relative showing up in the nick of time to save a system was never going to last long,” he finished.
“Does the Council have any advice?” asked the Queen.
“They suggest during this crisis the palace, the grounds and surrounding areas all be placed under military control, Majesty,” Rexius replied.
“You want us to be surrounded by the army and figuratively be held as prisoners in our own home?” asked the King incredulously.
“What of the staff?” the Queen asked.
“Are we to dismiss them and be waited on by military personnel as well?” she further asked.
As they began to answer, the throne room door opened up and the Black Pope, Superior General Father Antonio de la Medida entered into the room with a flock of other clergymen.
He came walking up to the dual thrones and bowed to his crowned heads.
“I pray that you’ll forgive an old man this intrusion, Majesties?” de la Medida asked.
“Superior General it is always a pleasure to see and speak with you,” stated the King.
The King turned to one of the many servants lining the walls.
“Please locate a chair for his Eminence and bring it in here immediately,” he requested.
“Thank you Sire, I must admit that these old bones will welcome a place to rest,” de la Medida replied.
In a moment, he sat in the chair put before him.
“I hope I didn’t interrupt anything of major import?” de la Medida asked.
“Our counselors have just brought to our attention that rumors of my great uncle are beginning to surface, Father,” said the Queen.
“I have heard the same thing Majesty,” the Black Pope admitted.
“And have you come to any decision as to what to do?” he asked.
The King chuckled.
“We are very good at decision making, as you know, Father,” he began.
“But we usually have a moment or two before we have to come up with one,” he admitted.
“Then may I give you some more information that may help in your decision making?” de la Medida asked.
“By all means, Father,” said the Queen.
“It is suggested that you, the palace and those around you lay at the very center of those rumors,” he began.
“So whoever instigated the rumors, in this case, the truth, must be someone close to you or the palace, Majesties,” he stated.
“As we were just told by our counselors, Father,” admitted the King.
“The Council believes to better control information in and out of the palace that we should be placed under military occupation, Father,” asked the Queen.
“What do you say to that idea?” she asked.
“I would flatly reject the idea, my Queen,” de la Medida stated.
Isabella raised one of her eyebrows.
“Oh, really?” she asked.
“And your reason being, Father?” asked Rexius.
“We are under attack from an outside source that means to do us damage, my friends,” the Black Pope began.
“We cannot panic the public to that fact or make it seem that the King and Queen are bending to fear by having the army protect them, Counselor,” he advised.
“And what would you suggest then to counter any spying done against our King and Queen, Father?” asked Reginus.
“Oh, I’m not suggesting that we don’t have an army surrounding Their Majesties, just not a military one,” the Black Pope said with a big smile on his face.
True to his word, within the next few weeks most of the palace staff transferred to other palaces around Hispania and replaced by men and women who were loyal to the Jesuits.
Even around the surrounding area, more and more loyal Jesuits came and stayed.
Their purpose was to keep an eye on the area and report on anybody new who happened to innocently move into the area.
Therefore, the need to turn the palace into an armed compound did not occur but the extra security that the Black Pope and the Jesuits brought to the area sealed the Royal Family into a nice and comfortable cocoon.
“Is it true that any recent news regarding the King and Queen has been effectively cut off by those meddling Jesuits?” asked Master of the Order Father de Acebo.
“It would seem so Father,” answered Major Arch Bishop de la Cortez.
“And they even managed to stop our plans of having the military’s protection of the palace and Their Majesty’s?” de Acebo asked.
“I would have bet that the King,” de la Cortez began.
“Or especially the Queen would have wanted to have the protection of a few garrisons around them.”
“But alas the Black Pope’s persuasive argument convincing them that their subjects would see this as a sign of weakness, Father,” de la Cortez confessed.
“And we would not want them to look weak during this crisis now would we?” asked Bishop Alvaro sarcastically.
Father de Acebo looked over at the Bishop and shook his head.
“Bishop,” Father de Acebo began.
“Although we are fighting a battle of wits and are in the midst of a tug of war with our fellow brothers in Christ, we do not want to make it seem like the Dominican Order has lost faith in our God chosen Monarchs,” de Acebo advised.
“We must be united and stand with them to show all of God’s people that the Empire will overcome these heathens,” he continued.
“By God’s Omnipotent Hand we will strike down these infidels and utterly destroy them,” he finished stating.
“God’s will be done,” the other two said in unison.
“Now that we have that cleared up,” de Acebo said.
“I am not opposed to having their judgment questioned from time to time,” de Acebo said smiling.
“They are humans and have fallibilities like any of God’s creations,” he admitted.
“Did you have something in mind, Father?” asked de la Cortez.
“Yes, I did, Arch Bishop. I did indeed,” the Master replied.
“This uncle of Queen Isabella do we have any further information on him?” he asked.
“We have concluded that the rumors were in fact the truth Father,” de la Cortez admitted.
“How curious,” he began.
“That a man thought dead for over two hundred years should suddenly reappear,” de Acebo mused.
“It was reported that her Uncle Salazar had not died,” stated de la Cortez.
“But was placed into a stasis chamber to wait for the time when he and his attendant drone were needed,” the Arch Bishop informed him.
“And how did his reawakening come about?” asked Alvaro.
“The reports state that the stasis chamber was under the family home in Valencia,” de la Cortez said.
“On their last visit the King and Queen determined that now was the time for Salazar to be awakened Bishop,” the Arch Bishop replied.
“Again I find it curious why they selected this time to visit her ancestral home and resurrect her uncle, don’t you?” de Acebo asked.
“I’ll look further into it Father, if you want me to,” said the Arch Bishop.
“Yes, please Arch Bishop,” requested de Acebo
“I am never comfortable with coincidences particularly when it involves the Royal Family,” Father de Acebo admitted.
“I think I’m beginning to understand your idea, Father,” said Alvaro.
“Which would be?” asked de Acebo.
“If we can find out more about this Uncle Salazar and question his rewakening,” began the Bishop.
“We can turn public opinion against him.”
“We will then have succeeded in casting a shadow on their Majesties judgment to wake him from his stasis field,” suggested the Bishop.
“With that leverage we can then cast doubts on the Royal Counselor’s advice to revive him,” Bishop Alvaro concluded.
“Very good Bishop,” commended the Master.
“And with the Royal Counselors out of the way we’ll be able to insinuate our own drone counselors who will give them good Dominican advice,” finished de Acebo smiling.
“Now that we have crippled the Dominican’s ability to gather information from the palace,” began Prior General Rodrico de la Sagrada of the Franciscan Order.
“What do you think their next move will be to gain access to the throne?” he asked.
“I have got my best man on that Friar,” de la Medida replied.
“But you know as well as I do that whatever they come up with is going to hurt us and the throne,” he added.
“But how could they go after Their Majesties during this time of crisis?” asked de la Sagrada incredulously.
“Brother, they are the Dominicans,” replied de la Medida.
“They are Hounds of the Lord and like all hounds do when in a corner and wounded, they strike out,” de la Medida stated.
“But we can not show weakness to the people,” confessed de la Sagrada.
“We can’t have our Sovereign Monarch’s will and be authority be questioned at a time like this,” he added.
“Are we to let the enemy win because we fight amongst ourselves?” questioned Arch Bishop Pedro de Pietro of the Knights Hospitallers.
“Now,” began the Black Pope.
“Do you understand my friends why I came to you both all those many months ago with an olive branch in my hand and God’s will in my heart?” asked the Black Pope.
“If I was not seeing this unfold before my very eyes I could not have imagined the unholy depths to which the Dominicans would go to achieve their goal,” said the friar.
“We must not paint the whole of the order with a broad brush that only a few hand’s hold, dear Brothers,” admonished the Black Pope.
“I believe there are many Dominicans who would be appalled by the destructive steps that some of their leaders are taking,” he finished.
“You are quite right, Father,” admitted de Pietro.
“But I have a strange feeling that before this is over,” admitted de la Medida.
“Many Brothers in Christ will be sacrificed on both sides for what each side envisions as God’s will,” the Black Pope predicted.
Anna was nervous and pacing back and forth in her offices when David and Ms. Cruz showed Mr. and Mrs. Turner into her office.
Right on, their heels were Brother Delgado and Sister Maria.
Anna made the Turners comfortable and explained to them what had occurred earlier that day.
Understandably, the Turners were in shock by the news that an accident had happened to their only son.
After Brother Delgado took over the explanation because Anna was becoming too emotional, he took the Turners through exactly what had caused the accident and then the aftermath regarding the healing of their son.
David and Ms. Cruz sat quietly by listening and watching the expressions and emotions that the Turners were going through and occasionally answering any questions that Mr. or Mrs. Turner had for either of them.
With the last of the questions answered, Anna finally was able to speak with them again.
“And again I must tell you how so very; very sorry I am that AJ had to endure any injury due to my carelessness Mr. and Mrs. Turner,” she admitted.
Sister Maria had sat next to Anna and was holding her hand as Anna spoke.
The Turners could hear the honesty in Anna’s voice and were heartbroken for her to see what AJ’s accident had emotionally done to this young woman.
“May we see him now, if that’s okay?” asked Mrs. Turner.
“Of course, he’s in the next room, please follow me,” Sister Maria replied.
They all got up and went quietly into AJ’s recovery room.
He was still sleeping off the painkillers so he looked very peaceful.
The others left the room so that Mr. and Mrs. Turner could stay with their son for a few brief moments alone. When they emerged, they both had a look of peace of their faces.
“How long will he have to stay here?” asked AJ’s dad.
“His recovery should be fairly quick,” Brother Delgado replied.
“We have been told that he’ll be back to his old self within a day or two,” he added.
“But wasn’t he almost killed?” asked his mother.
“They have more advanced medical procedures that help with the healing process Mrs. T,” said David.
“But I thought they weren’t from here?” AJ’s father inquired.
“Ah, well folks they, ah…” Ms. Cruz started to say and then stopped when Anna placed a hand on her arm.
“I’m tired of this game, Francesca,” Anna began.
She turned to the Turners and said, “Please come back into my office we need to discuss a few things.”
The Turners looked once more at their son resting peacefully on his bed and then went back into Anna’s room.
Once inside and seated again Anna launched into the New Spaniard’s story.
After an hour, that seemed like only a few minutes to the Turners, Anna wrapped up her explanation.
“So you see without the help of your son and David we would not be as far along as we are now,” Anna confessed.
“We have replaced the burned out components on the simulator and I will be the first to try it again in the morning,” she informed them.
“Much to her superior’s objections,” added Lieutenant Marinero.
“I’ll not let another person have one hair on their head harmed because of this project,” Anna confessed.
“It was my idea and it’s my responsibility for everyone’s safety in connection with this project,” she stated.
“We don’t want you to come to any harm just because of what happened to our son, Chief,” said Mrs. Turner.
“I strongly believe that when tomorrow morning comes, the second trial run of the prototype will be a triumph,” Brother Delgado announced smiling.
They let the Turners say good night to their son before they left the offices.
David and Ms. Cruz left with the Turners as they all said good night by the elevators that would deposit them in the parking garage.
Anna had ordered seven different vans with tinted windows to leave at various times with only two of them containing the Turners and David in one and Ms. Cruz in another.
She did not want another incident to mar any more of the mission or their new Earth friends.
Before the Turners, left Anna gave them an envelope and asked them to open it later.
They decided to open the envelope while on the ride back home and were amazed to find a check for two million dollars written to them with instructions to place the funds in a trust for AJ.
They showed the check to David as he continued to tell them of the amazing time they had spent with the New Spaniards and of his and AJ’s help in organizing their battle strategies.
By the time the Turners made it home, they were both in shock at the news of their son’s accident and of his newfound wealth.
The next morning David, a renewed AJ and Ms. Cruz were on hand for the second trial run of the simulator.
This time with Anna at the controls, the prototype started up and did what it was supposed to do without a hitch.
In the next several weeks, the teen boys worked with Anna and Lieutenant Marinero on getting them up to speed regarding all the technical and maneuvering abilities of the new starfighters.
For the next couple of weeks the two pilots ate, slept and dreamed about the new starfighters.
Although Anna did not want to cut short their visit to the Old World or say goodbye to their new friends, she knew that they needed to leave.
She knew that their return trip back home would be shorter than their outbound trip.
However, the need to finish up and return home kept gnawing at her minute by minute.
She explained her feelings to Sister Maria who agrred with her.
So a few days later, they called a general meeting.
“We have been working hard the last month and have accomplished everything we set out to,” Manolo said.
“Now it is time to wrap it up,” he stated.
“It will take us a few days to get everything broken down and moved back to the ship, Sir,” stated the Chief engineer.
“Please make sure that everything is as we found it Chief,” Manolo replied.
With that announcement, the general meeting broke up.
The engineers made good on their promise and had everything restored within a few days.
They transmatted the simulator up to the ship and the rest of the ship’s engineering staff fabricated it into twenty new simulators.
After the final inspection was completed, the Chief engineer beamed back aboard the San Marcos.
Before anyone left, Lieutenant Commander Torres beamed into the newly refurbished offices with a big smile on his face.
“We were just about ready to leave, Sir,” Marinero told him.
“I know, Lieutenant,” Torres began.
“I was keeping an eye on the progress and wanted to catch you all before said your good-byes,” Torres stated.
“Can we assume that you have some news that you didn’t want to tell us aboard the ship, Commander?” asked Brother Delgado.
“We still believe that the shuttle the Dominican Friars used is still on Earth and probably close by,” Torres informed them.
“That’s not pleasant news, Sir,” Anna said.
“No it is not, Chief,” Torres replied.
“That’s one reason I wanted to come down here and report this to you all,” he stated.
“Also the fact that we have not been able to locate it either,” he added.
“How can we possibly protect ourselves from them after you leave?” asked Francesca anxiously.
“Knowing that they are here is fair warning, Senorita Cruz,” Torres said.
“You need to stay vigilant and on guard for any possible threat to you or your young charges,” Torres advised her.
“But how?” she asked.
“I mean, what do I know of being ‘on guard’ as you say?” Cruz asked.
Just then, Al materialized behind AJ and David.
“May I suggest a plan, Chief?” Al asked her.
“Please by all means, Al,” Anna requested.
“My creation,” Al began.
“Was for a specific task that I have completed,” Al admitted.
“And you did a marvelous job, Al,” Anna said.
“We are all very proud of what you help us achieve,” Anna admitted.
“Then might I suggest that I stay behind and make sure that no harm comes to our friends from the Old World?” Al suggested.
“I’m sorry Al but I can’t allow that,” stated Lt. Commander Torres before Anna could reply.
“Whatever security you may be able to provide is out weighed by the chance that your technology could fall into the wrong hands.”
“It is simply not a safe alternative,” Torres concluded.
“But Commander,” began Anna.
“Al is my personal drone and under my supervision,” she informed him.
“You have no say in the matter of whether I allow him to stay here as guardian to our friends,” she announced.
“But…,” started Torres.
“Commander,” interrupted Brother Delgado.
“She is right and as head of the landing party she has my permission to allow Al to stay behind.”
“Provided that he ensures he will not fall into the wrong hands should anything happen to compromise his ability to guard our friends,” Brother Delgado concluded.
“Gentlemen, I have within me a self destruct program that will execute the moment I activate it,” Al stated.
“Nothing will be recognized as technology when I push the button,” he informed them.
“I still protest but will leave it to your better judgment, Chief,” said Torres.
“Thank you, Sir,” Anna said.
“Al,” Anna began.
“This is a big sacrifice on your part.”
“I did not create you for this extra function,” she admitted.
“If this is really your choice, I will make it known to the Drone Council and the Royal Family of your dedication and of your heroics in the success of this mission,” she pledged.
“I am deeply touched by your words Princess,” Al replied.
“I will take on this new mission and see to its success as well,” Al vowed.
“AJ, David and Ms. Cruz will always be safe from any danger, so help me God,” he pledged.
“Your name will be written down on the Honor Roll of all Royal Companions from this day forth, as God is my witness,” Anna commanded.
“Amen,” both Sister Maria and Brother Delgado said in unison.
Commander Torres was looking around in shock as to what had just happened in front of his eyes and before he could say anything Manolo looked at him.
“Ricardo, I’ll explain on the ride back to the San Marcos but you’re not going to like it,” admitted Manolo.
After the brief ceremony, everybody said a tearful good-bye to their new friends and watched them enter the elevator.
The landing party along with Lieutenant Commander Torres all headed down to the garage.
They took a van to a restaurant near Golden Gate Park to have their last meal on Earth.
As they were walking to the Lander that evening Marinero spoke with the Commander and explained Anna’s whole story from beginning to end.
As predicted, Torres did not like it.
He kept asking question after question until Anna stopped them and quickly laid down the law to the Commander.
“And one more thing before we get to the Lander,” Anna said.
“Ensign Santiago and Warren Officer Rodriguez do not know who I am and I want to keep it that way.”
“So don’t make any slips on the trip back to the San Marcos, Commander,” she ordered.
“Si, I got it Infanta,” Torres said sheepishly.
“There you go slipping already Commander,” Anna said turning toward him.
“Let me put it to you this way,” Anna began.
“Should anybody, other than those that already know who I am, find out that I am the Infanta they may finish what those two assassins could not.”
“Do you want that, Commander?” she asked.
“By no means, Princess,” Torres acknowledged.
“Good, then button it,” she commanded.
“Nothing has changed between us Sir,” she informed him.
“I am still a lowly Chief Warren Officer and you are a big shot Intelligence Commander.”
“You big, me small, got it?” she asked.
“That will be all, Chief,” Torres said annoyed.
“She is pretty tough when she has to be Commander,” began the nun.
“So don’t be afraid if you have to step on her toes for being insubordinate,” advised Sister Maria.
“Who said anything about…,” Anna began as the landing party broke out in laughter.
“Oh, very funny,” Anna said.
“Okay so I do get a little carried away sometimes when I get passionate, who doesn’t?” she asked.
Nobody answered her as the group continued to walk and chuckle from time to time.
“Fine, whatever…,” she said.
“Don’t talk to me.”
“Who needs you guys anyway?” she asked meekly to no one.
In a few minutes, the group was aboard the Lander and secure for takeoff.
Manolo let Rico fly them off the Old World and into the hanger bay of the San Marcos.
When they dogged opened up the hatch to disembark hundreds of shipmates met them and welcomed them back aboard.
Before they broke orbit, Anna sent a message to her earth bound friends again letting them know how much they had helped her people and of her undying love and friendship for each of them.
She also said a heart-felt good-bye to her friend and her bodyguard, Al and mentioned to him that she would one day see him again, so help her God.
With that last promise, Infanta Anna Clara Eugenia of Nuevo Hispania signed off and wept herself to sleep.
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