By Richard Tornello © 2012/2013 CHAPTER I
Alex Rudianos never expected the planet to survive. He had, at different times in his life, been deeply involved with intelligence bureaus, think tanks, and various governments' agencies in different countries.
By now, thinking the wheels had been put in motion, and the crazies would win out, he had officially requested that he be retired from his Black-Ops role.
Alex opened a B and B in Woodstock, New York and enjoyed the scenery, expecting events to take their natural course.
To him, Woodstock NY would always be home to an artistic community. It had the slight misfortune to be picked for a major concert venue in the late 1960s. The concert was never held in Woodstock but the name stuck. The Concert is history.
People flocked to Woodstock overwhelming the economic and social structure that had been in place for generations. Some stayed and some died. Others left and a few came back. The town had never been the same. It made for business.
Over the years he noticed that it appeared to be returning to its earlier roots as an artistic community. He looked up at the village round. There are still hangers-on. There are the sad, straggly, stoned types to be gawked at on the village green. There are the old time still wannabes. And then there are the shops that make their owners a living selling tee-shirts and memorabilia of a time long gone, that maybe never really was.
In a few more years possibly, but more likely in another generation or two, Woodstock will be what it should have always been, quiet, a good place to live, a great place to make music, art and write and who knows, maybe a great place to come back to. It was a simple as that.
Knock, Knock, Knock. A few seconds later: Ringgggggggg.
And again, Ringgggggggggggggggg.
From the back of the Bed and Breakfast, Alex yelled, "Coming!"
He was out of breath when he opened the door, but managed to politely inquire when he saw they were out-of-towners, "Hello, may I help you?" He wasn't fully prepared. Guests were not expected today.
The man was of average height, about 5'8", and well-groomed, dressed in black jeans and a Santa Barbara Triumph Motorcycle logo embroidered on the pocket of his white collared short sleeved shirt. Alex noted he was wearing new driving gloves. He had big hands; the deerskin gloves were tight across the knuckles. His arms were pale white.
She was a bit taller. She wore blue jeans and a loose-fitting pin-striped button-down shirt, not tucked in, with a belt that hung on the outside of the shirt around her waist. It was the unofficial, but casual uniform of the most of the 20th and 21st century world. Both were pale as if they stayed indoors most of the time. And there was this cat resting in her cross folded arms.
It just stared at Alex.
Alex always made a visual inspection of unannounced guests. Sometimes he didn't feel right about allowing someone into his establishment and turned them away. Those who made reservations had to supply information that allowed him some measure of confidence, unless they were repeat visitors. These two in front of him he felt were just fine.
The guy inquired in rapid staccato, "This is a Bed and Breakfast correct? Do you have any availability for a week -- or better yet, for two? A suite would be ideal if you have one."
"Yes, of course. Please, do come in." Alex thought to himself, yes, the place with a 'Bed and Breakfast' sign on the front lawn is indeed a B and B. Maybe I was wrong about you -- both of you...
But this was business. He was feeling good to be alive. "Just let me check..." Alex consulted his phone, calling up the 'reservation book' app, and then said, "Yes, we have two suites available, one on the main floor and one on the second. Which would you prefer?" He had no need to do this. It was part of the act.
She asked, "Would you show us the main floor suite please? But one more thing -- do you allow pets?"
Thinking about "Mr. Formal's" earlier question, he wondered if she were referring to her male partner. But aloud, he said, "Depends, what type of pet?" He pointed at the cat, then gestured as if wondering if she had a pet leopard waiting in the car.
"He's well behaved, and quiet too," she insisted.
So no leopard in the car, Alex thought. But she could still be talking about her formal friend...
"I'll have to charge you extra just in case of damages." He almost choked as he said that. Thank god they can't read minds. "The suite is in the back and to the right. It is the biggest suite in the house and in the most private spot too. Let me show you."
Alex didn't tell them his office was next door. It was quiet and back from the main through street, NY Route 212 a.k.a. Tinker Street, named after a long ago resident. Tinker Street got noisy with the through trucks and busses. Additionally the police station and fire station were just across the street from the B and B. The office was a good place to retreat. It also housed a small library.
He left the two of them alone.
They only took a few minutes. They discussed something while Alex retreated to the check-in desk and pretended to busy himself with some paper work. She still had the cat in her folded arms when she came up to Alex and said, "The room will be fine, how much?" She smiled a real wide smile at Alex.
Alex liked her eyes. They had a sparkle to them. There was life in them. They brought back some recent and pleasant memories. He was about to ask if they had met in the recent past but the guy came up beside her. Alex thought it wiser not to bring that up.
She and Alex looked at each other and at the cat. It was now purring. It was a loud purr.
Alex was still in a good mood and said, "I can give you an extended discount that with the pet charge will be equal to the normal daily charges with weekends included. Including weekends, it will be $2000.00 on the main for two weeks. My name is Alex; I'm the manager and owner, and your names?"
While he waited for their responses, Alex glanced out the side light window. Craig, the Assistant Chief of Police was pulling into the station across the street.
Then Alex noticed what must have been the couple's vehicle. It was a 1930 Model A flatbed truck. The cab was electric blue and the wood work was varnished to a high sheen. A tarp tightly covered what must have been their bags. The frame, from this distance, appeared flat in color or gunmetal gray. It could have been unpainted metal itself. The bed covered it blocking a good view. Alex thought Titanium or something like that...
, but that was ridiculous. Where would anyone get that amount of that metal and be able to work it? That was space-craft metal, and the cost, my god. The vehicle was immaculate.
"Yours?" he asked in admiration. Viewing the vehicle he all but forgot and didn't care about their names, and was interrupted in his thoughts by, "Yes, it is," Mr. Formal replied. "My name is Franklin Upton and this is my wife Deborah." He never offered to shake hands.
He was drawn to the truck. "You drove that from...?" They would have to enter an address in the register, but Alex hoped for a quicker (and possibly more honest) answer. While he waited for a response, he added, "By the way, I'll need a credit card and your license too. All these new laws to comply with and the Antipatriotic Act, what a PITA."
Not so much as a smile. Tough crowd
Franklin looked puzzled. He looked toward Deborah as if for help. Deborah then stated, "We came from zip code 93949," apparently in reply to his question about their home address.
"Really?" Alex said coming out of his visual love affair and back to reality. "Quite a long drive. Now, your credit card and license, please?" The code sounded familiar. Funny that she put it that way, though -- most people would name a town or a state.
Franklin and Deborah turned away from Alex and looked at each other. "Rer-ow," said the cat.
Deborah turned toward Franklin. She then quickly produced the credit card and California license from her bag handing them to Franklin.
She must be the boss, thought Alex. "I'll run the card in a bit if you don't mind." He handed the license back to Mr. Upton.
By this time, Alex had figured out why the zip code sounded familiar. "That zip code is from around Vandenberg Air Force Base. I have a few friends who live around there. Are you rocket scientists or engineers?" The scientists and engineers tended to cluster in a few select areas. He'd look the code up later to pinpoint the location. That would give him more demographic information.
Franklin offered up his explanation in a quiet voice as if he were afraid someone would overhear him. "Sort of both. We're here on vacation and just getting away from it all."
Alex noticed Franklin's eyes tighten. Was he lying? Something was up. He decided to change the subject and lighten the mood. "Well, welcome to Woodstock NY and the Twin Fabled Bed and Breakfast. Breakfast is served at 8:30 with yogurt, fruit, muffins and coffee. Is there anything else I can help you with?"
"Thanks, we'll convey our own cargo. Parking?" Franklin was looking at Deborah as he said this. She just gave him a nod and continued to pet the cat.
Alex pointed and gestured in a circular motion, "Parking is in the back. And when we have other guests, which we don't, yet, I suggest you get in early if you're sightseeing. The town fills up with visitors and tourists starting on Wednesdays, especially in the summer. Our lot has only six spaces. The street parking fills quickly."
"Do you mind if we cover the truck? It is sort of a classic."
Alex looked out the window again. It was a beauty. From this vantage point it appeared that they had kept the cab body pretty stock looking. The engine bay was open, and what he could see of the suspension, appeared to be have been upgraded with modern components. The plumbing was well hidden. The engine seemed spotless. They must be real motor-heads on top of rocket scientists and must have access to some great tools and toys, lucky them.
"What do you have in there, a Chevy or Ford block?" Alex asked, pointing to the Model-A Ford. "Most people put small block Chevys in the older vehicles, no matter what the make. I'm not a vintage collector, but I raced in the past. I have no idea why except to say I'm partial to small-block Chevys too."
"Oh, just a hybrid system that... we... sort of invented." The cat said rer-ow again. He was a pretty red-orange long haired tabby.
"What's his name?" Alex questioned pointing to the cat.
"Commander," Franklin and Deborah replied in unison.
"Cute name. As for the truck, cover it, by all means. There's no law against that. It's beautiful." He wondered why, though he didn't usually lust after things, this vehicle came close to the mark of generating that excitement. Chariots just more work, worry and money
, he rationalized. He was trying to dissuade himself from coveting the Model A, the finest blend of old and new he had ever seen. It wasn't working. Alex also realized that Franklin had never answered his motor question. Odd, he thought. Most guys would be gushing about their love. Then again he said 'hybrid', and they are from the Vandenberg area. That's Top Secret space stuff. Who knows, maybe I'll get to talk to him and get a look-see.
Alex stood outside by the front door and watched as they moved the truck to the back. It may have had a V-8 jammed in there but it was silent and he swore it almost floated as it rolled. He heard no starter kick in. He assumed it was a highly advanced hybrid, and probably mostly electric. Where were the batteries and the weight? It seemed almost weightless. They must be testing something
Franklin grinned at him and waved a gloved hand.
Alex waved back and mumbled, "Yeah, you lucky bastard."
Alex ran the card. He was thinking about he truck, the girl and the cat and absent mindedly handed the license back without looking or making the required copy. He just copied the address as they had written it in the guest book. The card went through with no problem.
Alex knew not to ask. If they wanted to talk, he was all ears. If not, he was still all ears.
That afternoon Alex noticed some official looking vehicles. They were the blacked out Tahoe type, driving up and down Tinker Street. It could be that the ex-president or the former Secretary of State was in town. They lived across the Hudson. He hadn't seen the Tahoes in some time. It's not a big deal; they aren't open-windowed or showing armament. Still these vehicles were unusual. He noticed they had DC plates and more antennas sticking out the top than a porcupine has quills. They came through a few more times that day. The speed limit was 25 MPH so their speed, or lack of it, was no indication of anything.
That night he heard Deborah's and Franklin's voices from their suite as he entered his office.
The two of them were talking rather loudly. Their voices must have covered his entrance so they hadn't heard him come in.
Normally, he would drop something to indicate he was in his office just to "inform" his guests. Tonight, for unexplainable reasons, Alex was all ears. He only heard part of the conversation.
"No," she said. "Renting will be better, less paper work to deal with. We'll fit right in."
"In Woodstock? Are you out of your mind? This is a tourist magnet. NYC maybe, but here?" he retorted. Then he paused, "Okay, you're right; they'll never find us here. We can settle down, purchase a place," he said.
She said, "The locals are old-timers and mind their own business. The others are doped up freaks or artists. The cops don't want to be bothered with --" She mumbled something Alex couldn't make out. Louder, she continued, "So that's just what we will do, not bother anyone. If we're quiet and don't bring attention to ourselves we should be able to continue. We'll find something. Besides, I like it here. Now download the blocking systems."
"How can you be so sure? We've just arrived," he said.
"I just know. Now just run the download before anything goes wrong," she ordered.Scientists my ass, maybe on the run from the cops?
Alex thought again. Not with a truck like that, it's too conspicuous. It's got to be something else. Spies? No, Hackers! They must be computer hackers. That's how they can afford that type of ride. Then it hit him. He would have to check it out. He guessed the feds were looking for the transmitting uplink and the people behind it.
The next day over breakfast they indicated they would not mind being called by Frank and Deb. "We don't want to stand on ceremony." After breakfast, they went for a walk with the cat on a body leash. Commander didn't seem to mind.
Alex thought, now that's a strange sight, a cat on a leash walking down the streets of Woodstock
. The dogs sometimes ran free, let alone the felines. He shook his head as he watched. The cat actually took the lead.
Alex went back in to clean up, but no matter how much he tried he couldn't help it. The opportunity was there and it called to him. The lust for the truck and last night's overheard conversation combined to shift his curiosity into overdrive. He snuck out, walked to front of the B and B and looked around and down the street to see if they were anywhere in sight. They were gone.
Parked up the street across from the bakery, Alex noticed the two blacked out Tahoes. "Getting phatt-pills for someone
," he smugly laughed to himself. He walked to the back of the B and B where the truck was parked and peeked under the tarp. He really couldn't help it. He lifted the tarp up over the cab. The tarp was heavy. It was made of a material that Alex couldn't name.
"This must block out more than UV," he said to no one.
He looked into the cab and was totally unprepared and surprised. He was knocked down would be more like it. The cockpit was like nothing he'd ever expected. The gauges and indications were in symbols he'd never seen in a vehicle. They looked like cuneiform. And the controls, the controls looked more suited for a jet aircraft than a street truck and...
"You like what you see?" boomed a voice -- Franklin's voice, sounding stronger and more commanding than usual.
Alex almost had a heart attack. He turned around to face both of them. He kept his cool, but just barely. The truth always works best as a settler. People generally know when you're telling the truth and when they are expecting a lie, they are taken off guard. Alex needed just a few seconds to get back in control.
So he said straight out, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do." He pointed to the interior of the vehicle. "I don't know where you're from, exactly, and I really don't care. But if you're hiding from someone, living right out in front of the police station might be the best place." He gestured in the direction of Tinker Street. "There is a lot of RF emanating from that building with the police and fire department radio traffic, and I'm guessing it can hide things like a specific transponder's communication frequency. You figured that out, and that's why you picked my establishment, correct?"
Frank and Deb were silent for almost a minute. They looked at each other, and for some reason, at the cat.
"We're conducting a test. I wasn't at liberty to speak about it," said Franklin at last.
Now it was Alex's turn to know a lie when he heard it. All he said was, "Really?"
Deb looked at Alex. Her eyes grew brighter. He guessed they were communicating with each other, wondering how he figured that out. The cat rubbed up against his leg. Alex reached down to pet it. Frank was about to stop him but she grabbed his hand. He had six fingers; so did she.
Now Alex realized why Franklin had never shaken his hand. He had watched them eat breakfast, and had felt a nagging suspicion that there was something odd, but had never quite registered what it was. If it was a snake it would have bit me
, he thought. And now he remembered why Deb had seemed familiar.
Her hair was now a deep brown color and in a bob. It had been long and black. On top of that she just appeared physically different from what he recalled; now she was a bit chunkier.
She had been here about two months ago. Alone without Franklin. He met her at the Woodstock Art Gallery. Alex remembered he saw her standing looking at a piece he always enjoyed viewing and had yet to purchase. Her arms were folded across her chest, her hands tucked under her arms -- to hide her hands, he now guessed.
He had opened with, "I'm going to purchase that one."
"Really," she had said. "What if I buy it first? There is no 'sold' red dot, so it isn't yours yet. And I can read your mind so I can outbid you if I have to."
He laughed at that one, gave her a look and came back. "If that's so, what am I thinking?"
She smiled, and as he remembered, her eyes lighting up, she said, "Maybe if you're lucky and take me to dinner somewhere nice."
They talked a bit more about art and food and just enjoyed each other's company. He suggested the Bear Café. It was just up 212 a mile or so. The two of them had dinner. It was quiet and with intimately low light, the falling sun shimmering through the forest it set a nice mood. They had a seat overlooking the stream. It was lovely.
She had told him she had heard about Woodstock but had never been there. This was her first trip down-time, as she put it.
That was a term he thought strange but figured it was some jargon used by her friends and all that. She was younger than him by at least a generation or two.
They were both buzzed from the wine. He became more fascinated and interested in her as the conversation continued.
She was unique. She spoke about things in combinations no one else ever did. She talked about physics, time travel, and music, salted with general flirty talk.
And he was interested in any possibilities that might occur that evening. Win, lose, or draw, a one-nighter or something more, she was different and he liked her.
She thought the same of him and let him know it when she reached across the table and ran her hand in his long red and gray streaked hair. "I like red hair," she said, looking straight into his eyes.
He was too enraptured to notice the sixth finger. Even if he had, he would have dismissed it as a trick of the dim light.
What he didn't know is that she had let him pick her up. She had been waiting for someone like him all day at the gallery. She spent the evening with him at his B and B and left before daybreak.
She purposely had never told him her name. He had asked once; she said it didn't matter. He didn't ask again. And when he woke the next morning she was gone except for a note that said, See you again, maybe, and a lipstick kiss.
It all came back to him. It was her marvelously deft hands. Her hands were magical when she touched him, and now he knew why. And her eyes, her eyes were magical. The pupils shone when she was excited in a manner he had never seen again until this day when she was back at his front door. He never thought he'd see her again. He had put her out of his mind.
But that evening stayed with him. Alex remembered all that and more. He recovered quickly, taking control. "Would you prefer to go inside and discuss these matters?" Alex pointed to the truck. "Our other guests have not arrived yet. They're not expected until tomorrow afternoon. There is no staff here at the moment. I recommend it. It's a safer and I'm sure a more pleasant place to talk, privately."
"Okay, sounds like a good idea," said Franklin. Alex looked at Deborah and back to Franklin. They both agreed, nodding. As he led the way he noticed out of the corner of his eye that he was nodding his head and she was shaking it in a "no."
Once inside he motioned for them to sit. He made a pot of fresh coffee, and brought out some pastry and fruit. They hadn't uttered a word, not that they had to.
He broke the silence and said, "I heard you talking last night and I guessed you're looking to keep a low profile. Do you care to explain?" This could get me killed he surmised.
She looked at Franklin and then back at Alex.
Alex's mind suddenly filled with images of things he couldn't even begin to describe to anyone who hasn't seen it. It was safe to say that the visions and information weren't from this or his place and time. That left a few questions that need answering, but not here, and definitely not now.
The visions and descriptions were understandable though no words were being spoken. He concluded that he must have heard their mental conversations last night. Maybe they felt safe and didn't cloak their thoughts. Maybe they were so caught up in their blocking, or whatever it was they were doing, that they didn't sense his presence. Maybe she didn't care. All the while the cat was purring and rubbing up against his leg. He reached down to pet Commander.
She continued, and he noted a softer tone in the mental projection, "We're on the run from the future. We wanted to live in an easier time, with our technology that could be easily hidden, say as opposed to the 19th century or early 20th. We would never fit there."
Then Franklin continued telepathically. There was a different feel to the projection. It almost felt like a different voice. That in itself was interesting. Maybe they had mental upgrades implanted that represented technological improvements. He thought of the hybrid truck and figured why not hybrid life forms?
"We stayed past our allotted time. We have, or had a visitor's visa. It was good for four weeks. That expired over a month ago. We decided to stay. We like it here. We can do pretty much as we please. Back in Up-Time, as we call it, every thought and action is monitored from the moment of conception."
"Yes, we are scientists. We're the trusted class; that's how we got to go. Normal citizens are never allowed to travel outside a tour controlled visit. You know those 'Norwegian' bus tours you see every now and then? They're from Up-Time and are here for a visit."
She added aloud, almost pleading, "We really don't want to go back there. They say it's free, but how can it be, with all those controls, the monitoring? They propagate fear and call it the truth. It's terrible. In a general way, at least here we know what's going to happen here and now. We know where to go, what to do and how to make a living without being caught. And ...well, I --" She looked at Alex and hesitated. "I...am..." The cat pulled away and she stopped. She looked at Alex again.
He saw something, a pleading in her eyes. She did not communicate it in any manner. Alex knew immediately and he could tell "Franklin' had no clue. She changed the subject by the tone in her voice and continued, "I don't ever want to go back there. I'd rather die. We can still breathe here. I'm the one that made us stay." It was harder in inflection and her jaw was a set tight as she spoke.
Alex looked at both of them. He thought about what he wanted to say and the manner in which it should be presented. "Screw it," Alex exclaimed, "if you want to stay, I will put you up. If you both really desire it
, I will see what I can do about employment. Things are pretty tight control wise." He didn't want to lose her again.
Franklin looked at him through those narrowed eyes and after a pause relaxed and said, "Thanks, really. We'll give it some thought too -- And we can help. We have the technology to defeat your systems. It's ours we're concerned with. But no matter, we must be careful not to bring attention to ourselves. That's why I thought ..."
Alex finished his sentence, "NYC would be better for the two of you, maybe yes; maybe no. Deborah is right. People here are a bit easier going especially regarding regulations and official pronouncements." Alex quickly added, "Especially those pronouncements coming out of Washington. In fact I might say you both landed in a very good spot."
Alex then said, "Then I'll assume the blacked-out Tahoes were just the normal government types with the ex-president and not your people looking for you. They did have a lot of antennas."
Their eyes got big. "When did you see them?" they both asked, apparently very shocked.
"The same day you arrived and this morning. You didn't notice? They drove up and down Tinker Street a few times. This morning they were parked in front of the bakery. I hadn't seen them in quite some time. They had antennas sticking out all over the place, and had DC tags. Maybe some friends of yours?" he asked.
Franklin grabbing Deborah's hand said calmly, "Could be, but you mentioned you do have important neighbors. If you see them again please let us know. We paid in advance. However, we may have to leave without notice. If that happens keep the money. You do understand?" His eyes said something entirely different. He was afraid.
Alex tried to get more information while at the same time suggesting a few things they may have overlooked. "Yes I do. Just remember no matter where you go, if they have the tracking devices as you mentioned, I would guess transponders were implanted into your bodies at birth. How are you going to hide from that?"
Alex continued, "Even now, people are putting GPS devices in the diapers of their toddlers and implanting chips in their pets. They can be tracked by their cell phones and GPS in their cars. That doesn't seem to bother them. They don't realize that the transponders in their vehicle black boxes could be constantly relaying data to sensors on the roadside.
"This is only the beginning. Once the kids get used to surveillance as a normal function of life and as they grow up, there would be no problem stepping the fear mongering controls up a notch or three to the point where -- well, to the world you came from."
He looked at his guests, expecting them to react with horror, or at least concern.
Franklin stated matter-of-factly, "We did have implants -- tracking was only one of their functions -- but we removed them, all of them. Airmid -- Deborah -- was a surgeon. There are others like us here and there. That we know. But who and where, we have no idea. If our authorities ever grab us, when they send us back, we can't give the others up. If we're caught we can never go down-time visiting again. We have been lucky so far. We, she really doesn't want to go back."
He never mentioned his real name and Alex guessed it was not the same as the name on the driver's license he produced. "So what's your real name?" he asked. He had heard enough for now. He would think about it.
"Dagda," he said. "And yours, your real name?"
"Rudianos," Alex answered.
Dagda looked at Alex. Airmid looked at Alex.
"That's an unusual name. Where were you born?" She asked quietly. She gave him a very hard look and then as quickly, turned away looking at the cat who was facing Alex.
Alex smiled and didn't answer. He knew the name was different but should be at least familiar to them. Not too many people knew what his name actually meant. I'm sure they don't trust me after that.
He gave it some thought. Then he said, "Look, I'm retired. I did my job. I'm done. I'm not a threat. You shouldn't worry." And he said again, softly this time, looking directly at Airmid, "you shouldn't worry, I get it."
Commander was now rubbing himself against Alex's legs.
Franklin, or Dagda, whatever his name was, looked at both of them with a puzzled expression. He was about to ask something.
"So now I'm his property too," Alex laughed and interjected before anything else could be brought up.
That fact was not lost on Dagda and Airmid. They laughed lightly but it broke the tension in the air.
Alex thought about Commander the cat. He was probably some sort of sensor for the two of them. If he liked me then it was safe for them.
Dagda smiled as if he could...and then Alex remembered, of course he could read my mind, if I let him. What he didn't know, he didn't know but now probably guessed. Alex was getting tired from all this nonsense and excused himself by saying, "I always take a mid-day nap. It 'recharges my batteries'. At the same time he thought about the fact that he would really like to get a ride in that electric blue chariot of theirs. He hadn't seen anything like that, since forever. He went to his room to lie down. He would deal with them later. He would speak to her alone as soon as he could. He had a few questions that needed answers.
He hadn't heard from his people in quite some time. Then again he was retired, so why should he? What did it matter at this point? The thought wouldn't go away.
Alex woke up. The sun was streaming in through the huge Eastern facing windows. He was still in the clothes he fell asleep in and he realized it was the next morning.
He looked around. They were both gone. He had heard nothing. What happened? Was I drugged or e-tranquilized? They could have brought a delta-wave inducer back with them, or built one. But using it on him without getting caught -- that was downright embarrassing. Especially since Airmid / Deborah had done it to him before!
He looked down. It was Commander. "Commander, where are your friends?"
"RerOW, Rer-Owww," he wailed.
Quickly jumping out of bed, Alex ran to the back door. The truck was still there and covered. Then he noticed a note taped to the frame of the screen door. It was scrawled in thick sharpie black:Had to run. May be back. Here are the keys and the operational instructions. Keep it covered when you're not using it. Be nice to Commander; he likes you. Thanks for everything.
There was a lipstick kiss at the bottom.
He pulled the note from the door to read it again. The lipstick smeared the edge of his fingers red. When he noticed his fingers he knew she'd be back. And at the same time, he looked at the job the surgeon had done on his hands. It was pretty good, he thought. You'd never guess that I used to have twelve fingers.
Chapter II - The Day After
"Commander, hey cat, come here," called Alex. The cat came into the room and looked up.
"Yes I will get you breakfast. Now what do we do. She disappeared. You miss her and so do I. I bet they weren't even married. That was just a line they spewed as a cover. And now I'm talking to a cat. I've gone over the edge."
Alex walked into the kitchen, opened a fresh can of cat food, kitty-crack as he called it, that had been left there; he poured fresh water in Commander's water dish and headed for the bathroom.
He showered and got ready for the new day. Visitors would be coming and he had to make sure everything was perfect. Commander followed him through the house but never got underfoot.
Alex assumed Commander was concerned. "You're a good cat," Alex said bending down to Commander and scratching behind his ears. "What's your connection to them?" he wondered.
Commander looked up, blinked at Alex, rubbed up against his leg as if to say. You're a good person and I like you. I'm sad
, and then uttered a slightly pitiful meow.
"Thanks cat. Me too."
The help would be arriving in a few minutes. It would only be Fran today. It was light, only one guest was scheduled. He would have to introduce her and then the rest of them to the new addition in the Twin Fabled B and B family.
Fran arrived all smiles. It would be an easy day and she knew it. The others would be needed for the weekend. Fran was friendly, and loud, and his number one when it came to almost anything for the business. She stopped dead in her tracks. She looked at Commander. She looked at Alex. "I didn't know you were a cat person," she said.
Alex said, "He's a gift from a very close friend. Commander, meet Fran. Fran, meet Commander."
Commander looked up at Fran, "Rer-oww."
She stepped back a bit and then smiled. Fran looked at Alex and said, "He's the friendliest cat I've ever met. How nice. When did you get him
But Alex sensed something different. He thought he heard, that damned cat. What a pest it's going to be with hairballs and fur and who knows what else, fleas?
He looked at Commander. The cat didn't do anything except to walk back around Alex and then stood next to Alex almost like a guard dog.
Fran said, "I'm sorry but I don't like cats." Followed quickly by, "Oh did I say that? I, I… It's him or me."
Alex looked at Fran and looked at Commander. "What a way to start a day. Fran I'm sorry you feel this way. But Commander means more that I can say. Tell you what, take the day off and think about it. We'll talk tomorrow. I'll pay you for today."
She looked at Alex in disbelief. Alex said nothing. He just waited for her to leave. Finally she turned around red in the face and left. She closed the back door quietly.
Alex turned to Commander quietly and said, "I think I get what you can do, very interesting." He wondered what else this cat was capable of. Commander wasn't from this time and place, that much he knew, and it wasn't from anywhere he'd ever been. He was an Up-Time kitty. "Things are sure different since I was home," he said to Commander.
Alex got a rer-oww-purr and a leg rub.
"Well puss, it looks as if you made one enemy." Alex swore he heard, not to worry, she'll be back.
Alex wondered, Airmid or Fran?Both
, he heard in his head
He looked at Commander. I thought so. You're her communication device aren't you?
The bell rang.
The bell rang again, followed by some heavy knocking.
"Coming, I'm coming," hollered Alex.
Commander quickly took off for parts unknown.
Alex opened the door only to be face to face with what he knew instantly to be officialdom of some sort. The two black Tahoes was the first sign, and the wires in the ears of the two gentlemen in front of him was the other.
"May I come in and speak to you?"
"And you are?" Alex questioned leaving room for their answer but not allowing room for their entrance.
The front guy produced ID that said he was an official from a branch of the US government that Alex had never heard of. It was a division of the Homeland Insecurity branch of government as Alex referred to them. His name was John Searcher, Division Chief. "I'm Federal Officer John Searcher. We are here on official business," he said, knowing that this line and a badge would work on most people.
"Who or whats official business?" asked Alex. He was not really concerned about official business, no matter whose official business. He was retired. And the name
, he thought, Searcher, couldn't they come up with a better one?
There was no point in being rude. You never know, this could also lead to business. "Yes I'm Alex Rudianos. Please come in. Are you guys looking for a place to stay?"
John Searcher forced a smile at this attempt. "Could be. But we are here to ask you some questions about two guests that we think you had and may have some information about that would assist us."
"Please come in." Alex repeated. "A cup of coffee, a muffin, or fruit, that can't be seen as any bribe, can it?" Alex inquired with a slight smirk.
"Coffee, black, and a muffin would be nice. And no, it wouldn't be," John responded with the same rye smile.
Alex gestured to his guest and pointed to the couches next to the over stuffed chairs, "Please sit, anywhere. There is no one here so we're free to talk."
The other official stayed outside looking around the grounds.
Alex, knowing that to be defensive at this point could be a giveaway, played it and asked, "Sure, who are you talking about?"
"We think a couple going by the name of Deborah and Franklin Upton may have stayed here a few days ago. They are wanted for questioning by my govern…," he broke off mid word. "Sorry, I mean by the District Director," he stumbled.
Alex wondered why he himself was so nervous. There was no reason to be. No one could possibly know about his position in the larger scheme of things.
"Yes there was a couple here by that name. Here is the signed register. They left, I guess, last night or early morning. I was asleep and I never heard them leave." He was not about to mention he knew their real first names. And then wondered why he never asked what their full names were. It was on the card, but he was more interested in other things at the time, and sometimes he was just slow on the uptake. Then he wondered if they had done that, like the prolonged sleep.
"Did they say where they were headed," John asked with apparent interest.
"No, they didn't talk much, if at all. They were pretty quiet. What did they do if I may ask?"
"We can't give you that information but if they do come back, please call me at this number. It is very important. They are Persons of Interest" He handed Alex his card.
"Are they dangerous? Should I take any precautions, like a gun or...?" Alex feigned real concern.
"No, no that won't be necessary, just call us, we'll take care of things. Thanks, you've been a bigger help than you can imagine."
"By-the-way, what did I say? Really, you're more than welcome." Alex wanted to maintain his business posture and followed up with, "Hey, Mr. Searcher, I do give government GSA rates, so if you do want to take a break, look me up."
John Searcher chuckled, "Yeah, maybe I will do that," and shook Alex's hand.
Alex noticed that he must have had surgery. There was a misshapen bump on the end of his hand. The scar tissue was obvious. He could have been a fighter too. He'd seen some pretty messed up hands in his time.
The second guy just walked in and burst out, "John you should see the classic this guy has in the garage. Sorry, I didn't mean to be rude. My name is Frederick Quaero," he said, extending his rather large hand to Alex while looking him square in the eyes. "That's one nice vehicle in there," he continued pointing to the back where the garage was.
Alex almost panicked. His training kicked in. Alex thought fast. "Yes it is." And unlike Dagda he followed up with, "It's got a Chevy 327 fuelie, Isky roller cams, a Hurst 4 speed, 4:11 "possi" Corvette rear, and original classic California plates for 1930. I wouldn't take it out in this weather. It's bad enough that the garage isn't heated. I think that might be my next project."
"Heating is a good idea, and neither would I," exclaimed Frederick. "It's a nice ride from what I saw, and I only saw what was showing. I would never touch it without your permission. The tarp was partly off, I should mention. Are you going to show it in the spring at the Reinbeck Car Show?"
Alex relaxed. He faked what he knew from reading all the car magazines and it worked. He had done this sort of on the spot thing many times in the past. In all this time he never looked. He didn't want to for some un-explainable reason. Every time he thought about it, it was if someone or something swept his mind and changed his desire and curiosity.
He had no idea what was in that vehicle. He replied, "Maybe." He paused for a few seconds continuing, "I don't like to display my toys to everyone. If you give me your card, I'll give you a call if and when I do."
"That would be great. Thanks." Frederick Quaero replied, "I've really had a love of these things forever and…"
John Searcher interrupted, "We have work to do."
"Oh sorry, I got carried away," said Frederick
As John walked back to the Tahoe Frederick, who had been sniffing about all this time, caught up to him and asked, "So what do you think? Is he telling the truth?"
John Ssearcher looked back at Alex, who was watching them from the open door as they left and said, "I'm not sure, pretty much. He didn't seem to have anything to hide and I kept it light. You almost blew it too. I'll go back tomorrow for more details. Fred, I want to record the conversation and bring a camera to get a shot of the interior of that B and B."
Then John said, "GSA rates, real funny."
"What?" asked Frederick.
"Nothing," said John. "He just said he can offer GSA rates if we wanted to stay there. Just set up for tomorrow."
"You got it," said Frederick. But he was thinking about the truck. I'll come back he thought, no matter what's up
. Then the idea of government confiscation hit him and he smiled to himself.
CHAPTER III - Back To Normal?
Alex was reviewing the scheduled guest reservations list online in the office. Commander the cat was asleep on the rocking chair. It was sunny and cold as it should be on a winter day in Woodstock, New York. Commander was the reminder of the two them, Dagda and Airmid, his former disappeared guests from Up-Time. So was that truck that he had finally realized he could never register, never title much less use. It would only bring attention to himself, and to them, neither of which he desired. That helped to cool the desire for that vehicle, but not totally. He looked at the names again. He could only hope she'd be among them. He reviewed the events again.
Fran had quit the day following her introduction to Commander. She didn't like cats and she especially did not like Commander. She said she would recommend someone. "If the cat ever goes I'll be glad to come back," she said. "I'm sorry about this but I really do not like cats."
"I'm sorry to see you leave. Commander is very special to me," he said.
She thought, since when? He's a new addition since what, a few days ago? You are strange Alex Rudianos, strange and a nice guy to work for, but a cat is a cat
The tasks that Fran had done now fell to him. He called the bakery and ordered the pastry for that week based upon the reservations. He ordered the yogurt and coffee from the food delivery service. He checked each room for clean towels, linens, soap, shampoo, conditioner and toilet paper. The hallway bathrooms were all checked for the same. He reviewed the maintenance schedule and emailed the others hoping to see if they could modify their work schedules. I'll put an ad in the paper he thought. He checked himself. No, it would be better to first ask for referrals.
Alex vacuumed, dusted and then he went to the kitchen to have a glass of wine and a bit of cheese. All this time Commander followed him about. The vacuum cleaner didn't seem to bother him.
The Agents from the government, whichever one they truly represented, had come back the next day as promised and asked to look around just in case there was something that might give them a lead. Alex was obliging. There was nothing there. He made sure of that on his cleaning rounds. He wished Fran had given him a week or two instead of leaving him like this.
They had not returned a third time as they said they might. Maybe they had another lead. It was best that they were gone. Their presence would only upset the guests.
So after all that, sitting there, he thought about Fran. What was she getting in the way of work? And damn, now he had double duty until he could get more housekeeping aid. Fran was good but Commander was not going anywhere. The others had various jobs and had already scheduled their other jobs around the posted work orders.
The cat jumped on his lap, then to the desk standing in front of the computer screen. Commander the cat turned around to face him. "Yes Commander I miss her and I know you do too." Alex lightly rubbed Commander's nose while looking into his green eyes. "You're a great companion." Alex thought he heard I know
A month or so later:
Alex thought back. He had never been like this about anyone, ever. He had met Airimid once and had done his best to forget her. Then she showed up, again, with her "husband Franklin" a few months after that, only to discover that like him they were not from around here, or this time. But unlike them he was not on the run or actually hiding. He was retired from his former position and chose Woodstock for the same reasons Airmid had. It was nice, artistic, a bit left-wing in leaning and most definitely not a place given to following government pronouncements easily. Even the cops were more easygoing, about most things. It was safe. And as he surmised there was something else about Woodstock that she never was able to confess, though she almost did until Franklin walked into the room that one time. He knew it was important.
He kept the note Airmid had left him with the red lipstick kiss. It was the second time she had done that. The first time he didn't even know her name. He had woken up and she had been gone. The second time, it was pretty much the same only she had not slept with him and both she and Franklin disappeared. He had no idea how or where and he knew better than to seek them out. That would have brought attention to all of them as he knew and the more he considered it, given his feelings for her, it was not a good idea.
Alex looked over at Commander the cat that they had left to his care. He and the cat had become almost inseparable. Commander went about everywhere with him, including the doctor, the dentist, the food store, and to the lawyer.
Commander looked up, yawned a long stretch-meow and gave Alex a stare.
"Hey cat,you hungry? I am. Let's go to the kitchen, Swiss cheese on rye with a glass of wine for me, and kitty-crack in a can for you." Commander was up in a nano-second heading for the kitchen. Commander looked up as they entered the kitchen and instead of the frig, he headed straight for the back door. It wasn't the food.
There was a note on the door. There was a red lipstick kiss. Alex read it aloud, twice. It read, "Meet me at the Bear tonight, 8:30."
He opened the door to look around; no one. No strange car, no one on foot or on a bicycle either. Cold or not, people still biked here.
His heart was racing. He couldn't even begin to think of food, and that was Commander; Alex was no better.
That night Alex was all nervous. "I'm like a school boy on my first date," he said to Commander. Alex looked at Commander and added, "This is one place you can't go into. You know that, no restaurants, no ifs, ands, or buts."
Commander looked at Alex and basically gave him an, oh yeah? Watch me
look. He wailed and cried and followed him through the Bed and Breakfast. Commander was unrelenting.
It didn't take much. Alex caved in, "In the car, you stay in the car," and he shoved the note in front of Commander's nose. Commander looked at the note, sniffed it and began to purr. Alex wondered if there was another message for the cat that he couldn't see. I wouldn't be surprised, he thought.
On the week days, before Thursday and especially in the winter, the Bear closed early. Not many people would be there after 8:30. Airmid picked this time knowing that. She asked for Bernadette's tables, "One in the back, if you don't mind. I'd like a quiet spot. I'm meeting Alex and I'd like it to be as private, as can be."
Bernadette, a young attractive woman, had been working there for a few years while attending college. She kept the job after school. It paid well and the patrons were generally nice and, being Woodstock, some were famous. She got to know most of them. Alex, the owner of one of the better B and B's, was one of her regulars. She had dated him a few times. She would again if he asked her. There was just something different and something she couldn't put his finger on. But he was polite and caring, and fun.
Airimad knew this.
Bernadette said, "Sure, not a problem. It's an hour and a half before closing and there's no crowd." Bernadette thought she recognized the woman but couldn't place her. She looked familiar yet different. She knew my name… and Alex
, she thought. She let it sit and knew it would come back to her.
"Bernadette, a martini please with an olive, thanks." She knew it wasn't a good idea but she wanted a drink.
Just taking a small piece of bread, no butter or olive oil dip, Airmid looked out the window, observing the light reflecting off the stream. Even in the cold winter this place was beautiful. She remembered the first night they had met. Airmid sighed. "Maybe this was not such a good idea after all," she continued to herself. "Maybe he doesn't want to see me. Dagda and the others might be right. Maybe I'm just a dreamer and I should…." The thought was broken off by, "Airmid?" All misgivings fell away.
Her hair was black and bobbed, and now she added a spit curl, just a tad off center to the left. Her eyes were gray. And, he also noticed she was even more chunky in the face, more so than he remembered. There was a martini with an olive, and he could tell, hardly a sip taken from the glass. She was wearing a deep blue top with some multi-colored polka dots. It was loose fitting, and he guessed silk probably. And on her hand was that large purple- blue alexandrite ring she always wore. It was worth more than a small countries' ransom; if anyone ever knew? Maybe she had no idea. It was one of the older Russian stones too. He could only guess where she got that. 10 generations could live off the value of that stone. But cashing it in and proving provenance would be an issue. This all ran through his mind too. Silly girl, he thought, walking around with that.
Her lips wore that bright red lipstick she signed her notes with, and her cheeks held a light radiant pinkish hue. The white pearls were a nice touch and complemented the total picture she presented. He noticed a hair clip holding the bob to her right side. That was new too. She was a stunning picture. Then she got up and reached out for him.
She hugged Alex and then kissed him in a way that all but knocked over. He could read that, blind, deaf or dead.
He looked her over as she stood up. She was radiant. She was even chunkier than the last time he had seen her and that was 2 or 3 months ago. He noticed one other item. He remembered the conversation that had been broken off as Franklin had come back into the room that last time. He had guessed but not said a thing.
Airmid looked at him looking at her, smiled a slight smile and then said, "Yes, I am and it's yours, silly boy."
"And Dagda?" he questioned.
"He figured it out", she lied. "And no he's really not my husband. It was just a cover for the two of us. He returned to Up-Time. This was mostly really my idea. The first time I met you and set foot in Woodstock I knew this was the place for me, and now this," as she pointed to her stomach. She continued, "Dagda is not mad or vindictive. We have nothing to be afraid of. He will not turn us in and he'll never be allowed back again. He was the important one the agents were looking for."
Alex was about to say something, not sure just what to say, but something was necessary. He was at a loss for words; he was in love and …
"Alex, your cat is at the front door." It was Bernadette. "You know we can't let him in, health regulations and all that."
Alex sensed there was a bit of fire in that comment. He guessed why.
That gave him some breathing room and time to begin to put it all together. He paid for Airmid's drink; left a tip that would match any meal, and escorted Airmid out.
Bernadette then remembered. That's right, the two of them were here about 5 or so months ago. Then I never saw her again until tonight. By the looks of it I guess she's pregnant. Ha, Alex, you dog! You're off the market. Damn!
Commander was sitting on the bench in front of the main entrance. He kept his face toward the door, and as he heard Airmid's voice he got up, tail high and began purring. She saw him and raced over to him, picking him up, "Oh Commander I missed you," she said placing her nose close to his. "Let go home," she said, and looked to Alex, "I do mean your place."
"Yes, of course," Alex said, watching this whole thing. He swore that those two could communicate in other manners. They walked to the parking lot and got in his truck. It wasn't the 1930 Model A that was still covered and garaged. Beside who, or what idiot would take a classic out in this weather with salt and who knows what else? The B and B was only a mile or two back down Route 212, a.k.a. Tinker St.
She made all sorts of baby noises to the cat. He seemed to enjoy it. "Have I got a surprise for you, Commander. It will be a while but you wait." Then she looked at Alex and wondered, just what was he thinking. She couldn't tell. He was blocking.
Alex was thinking, well, a baby. I just might have to get a new place to live. A baby in a Bed and Breakfast is probably not the best idea in the best of circumstances.
Looking at her hands, he thought, and this is not the best of circumstances. I'll have to broach that subject with her soon. I can get her in touch with the doctor who helped me. He's one of us.
And then it hit him. He never even considered it. He had been successful. It just hadn't occurred yet
. And if he were correct in his guesses, that's why she was here, and maybe they felt he was getting a bit slow after all these years. That's why they let him retire. He'd done his job! He missed so many obvious clues. He also knew if that were the case, she would and could never tell him. All he said, "Home, yes, we'll be there right quickly." He was happy. He was concerned about a baby and all that that meant. He knew his future. He inhaled deeply. The cold air raced down his nose. He felt alive, and he was in love.EPILOGUE
After a week of giddiness, Alex got his life reorganized. With Fran gone, Airmid helped out as best she could and the guests and the B and B had been taken care of. He found a place to rent that was suitable and close to work.
One evening, after everyone had gone to bed, Alex sat in the kitchen, poured himself a glass of wine and thought about all the events leading up to Airmid's return. There were some things that bothered him, especially the holes in the whole story.
Did he or did he not set the wheels in motion for the changes he was sent to initiate. If so, what were they? The phalanges said much but not how or when or why.
Was Airimid a "a retirement gift" from the Black-ops division? Did she volunteer to see if she really liked the time period as it actually existed, and if so was the first meeting at the museum a test to see if she could like him when she met him? Well that was an obvious yes, no matter, he thought.
And if that was the case, was her second trip, escorted by Dagda, another Black-ops agent, the whole scientist thing not necessarily false but somewhat of a cover designed for him to swallow. Then were the Searchers just part of the whole operation making sure things were going as planned?
Those were the issues that Alex pondered. But if the above issues were not true, were Dagda and Airimid really running from Up-Time, and were the reasons Airmid had given actually the truth? If so, then she did scout the time period, probably knew there was an agent in place, and did she, in a manner of speaking, fall in love with him?
Or, as she said, Dagda was dragged. Did she somehow convince him to try it out? Then tired of running and really not a full participant in her game decided to return home, especially after discovering Airmid was pregnant and it was not his.
If this logic holds, thought Alex, then the Searchers were looking for the two of them. They did or didn't know about Alex's history and it didn't matter to their goal. There was a possible "no need to know" on their part. And coming back to the initial issue, and obvious question, what happened to human society, and when? All these questions kept coming and going in no particular order. It was a jumble in his mind. It was so unlike him.
Alex didn't hear Airmid enter the kitchen.
"Those questions my sweet, are just going to make you crazy" she said to him kissing him on the head. "And those answers, you are not cleared to know."
He looked at her in surprise and realized he had unblocked his mind. She heard it all. He understood some things are never spoken, ever. And she used those terms, 'need to know.'
He assumed that she would never allow her child to be in danger. The human removal would then have to come at a much later date. He wondered just how far in the future she was from. He then realized the truck was the transport vehicle for them to escape. He had never used it. He couldn't register or title it! They knew it when they left it here. And Commander was here to keep it that way, among other things he surmised. He looked at her and said,
Off to the side, Airimid looked intently at Alex. She loved him and in a way pitied him at the same time. Pity because he had no idea his mission had been compromised. She loved him because she did, and that was all there was to it. Well, not all, the baby growing in her cemented her affection for this old warrior from another star cluster.
She thought about how she was first sent back to observe the situations that were about to occur, before the "Big Changes" and the Able 520 Cluster fleet was blocked from its invasion. She was chosen because of her interest in 20th and 21st Century Earth, the USA being her specialty.
This planet and others like it had been seeded by her galaxy billions of years ago. It was theirs. There was a period during which they had lost the technology for space travel, no less intergalactic travel. When things returned to normal, and it took millennia to rebuild their society after the Chandra super nova, they began again, only to encounter others from a more distant cluster. The tools were there and the history was there. They defended their property.
As far as their intelligence had it, Rudianos had retired and as a result of his time among the beings of Earth had become almost one of them, especially in attitude and bearing.
Before she would accept the line of duty, she had to get to know this Alex Rudianos as he called himself. He did have a sense of humor bordering on dangerously stupid in that he actually admitted to his role as an alien fomenter of discord. He had judged the general incredulity of the human race quite correctly in that most people who read his comments or heard him claim to be what he actually was, brushed them aside as crazy. Since he wrote children's stories, it was simply part of his wild imagination.
His written comments on his web page were the tip-off* they had been looking for all these years. For the present time, she believed he was no threat unless he was reactivated. And that was her second task, to prevent that reactivation from occurring, one way, or the other.
Airimid fell in love with Alex. But the powers that be wanted an unbiased observer to report back to make sure her feelings were not blocking an objective analysis. As it was decided, she and Dagda returned to Woodstock with a false story as a cover. Airimid had been correct. Alex was safe and she was open to take a "semi-retirement-watcher package" which she did.
Airimid felt pulled in two directions. On one horn, she had her loyalty to her cluster which demanded that she keep her true role a secret. On the other horn she truly loved Alex. Every time she looked at him, she felt the deception was not proper, especially to someone she loved, and especially to someone she loved as much as Alex. It ate at her, but like any soldier, duty was duty.
The safety and success of her mission, and now her baby, took precedence. She gave him another kiss, and said, patting her growing belly, "what do you think?"
The End Resume for Board of Directors
I'm honored to serve the planet Earth for the last 3 to 4 millennia. I have been directly involved in such famous activities as, the Great Flood, the sack of Troy, the sack of Rome, the Spanish Inquisition, the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and the intelligence foundations for the Bush attacks in Iraq, to name just a few. I have written a number of important works under various pseudonyms including: the Bible (both old and new editions), the Koran, the Magna Carta, Fanny Hill, the Articles of Confederation, Catch 22, the Cat In The Hat, and the Tea Party Manifesto, to modestly name some you may know. My Goals for Serving Up our Populations:
As this planet's history lushly illustrates, and like many quark based sentient bipedal beings, I am seeking this office as a springboard to bigger and greater things, especially social and economic benefit for family and friends. And if elected, The Trickle-down Theory will eventually benefit those who have elected me. Other Leadership Activities:
More importantly, I have come to enjoy the company of all the creatures living here, and in so doing, if elected I have offered to spare this community from the power of the large-scale invasion fleet coming from my home sector, the ABELL 520 Cluster. I was sent as a teacher and ambassador to this planet some time ago as you can see by my resume.
I decided to relocate to this area because of its wonderful Board of Directors for the City Council which has a similar mind set as some of the governments I so respect and I'm sure you do too, like: North Korea, the People's Republic of China, Burma, and Iran. You'll agree they illustrate current ideals which we seem to emulate, but on a much smaller scale. How quaint. Oh I love it. Vote for me! The Personal View:
For all of you interested in my personal life, I have had a number of wives which shows I can be flexible in various and demanding situations. I have a pet Schroedinger cat named Commander. I have the military and political experience as illustrated above and it's probably just a wise decision to elect me, considering… (again, see above).
I was the volunteer press secretary for Gina Harlow, a presidential candidate for this political entity of what I have no name for. What would you call an ex-republic? So Write-in my name:
Alex Rudianos, you'll be glad you did.Disclaimer:
This is a story of complete fiction. Any resemblance to any living person or political entity is complete coincidence. If any towns or cities, time dimensions, planets or galaxy clusters are used from reality, the incidents and people are not intended to represent anyone alive, dead or in any way imply such reality. All astrophysical names are drawn from an Earth-based perspective since the general reader is not cleared for that level of information which would indicate any collusion between an Earth based military and an alien war fleet. Were that the case, both the reader and the author would have to be terminated.
By Richard Tornello © 2012/2013 Voices Future Tense Table of Contents
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