Inside Schwabenland Base, Antarctica
Maria nodded to her two guards. Both Hans and Horst nodded back as she stepped into the meeting room. Their base, once they brought the heaters online, was a very comfortable seventy-four degrees. All of her people were older, but in great shape.
Unfortunately, she didn’t have the technology to make her people young again as the young Queen did.
Horst grinned, “Dresses again, Maria?”
She stopped in front of him, “If I knew that a punch would hurt you, I would punch you. A slap against that granite you have for a head would only hurt my hand, Horst.” He smiled to her as she continued speaking, “You know I’m not fond of the pants women wear today. Dresses are for ladies, thank you very much.”
“Yes,” Horst replied as she stepped between the two men to go into the meeting room, “But the pants allow us to see the woman’s weapons so much easier than dresses, Maria.” The two men chuckled as they closed the door to the room behind her.
Men, Maria thought, freeze them and thaw them out and they still only think of sex, sex, sex.
Maria set her yellow notepad and pencils down. She preferred to write her notes. Her note language was completely unique, no one would be able to decipher it.
Except, perhaps, the Kurtherian. She had asked Bethany Anne, twice now, to speak with TOM and the best she was allowed was communication through one of their phone devices.
“Maria?” Hans called out sometime later. The knocking on the door took her attention away from the notes she had made during the meeting with the Germans the day before. The history of her country was dramatic, to say the least. Broken apart after the war and brought back together in October of 1990, there was a lot of good and bad with the reformed country. Either way, it wasn’t the Germany she remembered.
Truthfully, none of the countries were anything like she remembered or cared about. Her last meeting was with the United States of America and then she would have to deliver her decision to her people … those who chose to continue following her.
Wherever that lead.
“Yes?” she replied, looking up from her notes.
“I have Barnabas out here, from Bethany Anne’s group. He is asking permission to speak with you a moment.”
“That is ok, please let him in.” She put down her pencil and stood up.
Barnabas walked in and nodded to Maria, who nodded back. Barnabas was a very peaceful person, at least to Maria.
“Wie geht es?” He asked her as the door closed behind him.
“Sehr gut, und du?” she replied as she took a seat. Barnabas never tried to shake her hand or hug her in any way. He was always formal in their meetings. In a strange way he was the most comfortable for her, of those who followed Bethany Anne.
“I’m very well, thank you,” he finished in English and pulled out one of the chairs in the large room. “Are you ready for this last meeting?”
“As ready as I hope to be. It seems, to me at least, that speaking with Aliens is a more straight forward exercise than speaking with anyone from the future, or at least my future, on this world.”
“Have you made contact then?” He followed up but then put up a hand, a small smile on his lips, “My apologies. My curiosity knows no bounds, as Frank Kurns will attest.”
“Yes, another whose curiosity knows no bounds, you two should be brothers,” she replied.
Barnabas nodded, “It was strange, our first meeting. When he and I first got to know one another, I had information he wanted and he was a spring of information I needed.”
“Really?” she looked down at her pad and realized it was the wrong one for her notes on Frank and looked back up to Barnabas. “I thought I remembered him saying you didn’t ask as many questions as he?”
“If we must talk about Frank behind his back,” Barnabas started, then winked, “Then the truth is no one can ask as many questions as that man. Nor,” he nodded to Maria’s notepads, “does he fail to also make all sorts of notes, in his books, about the answers.”
Her eyebrows drew together in concentration, “I don’t remember him writing much,” she replied.
“Mmmm,” Barnabas put his hands on the table, “Then I would suggest that he was recording the meeting, to jot down notes later, so he could get more questions in during his time.” Barnabas could see Maria weighing that answer for accuracy, “Or he was so captivated with the answers, he dared not slow down and he expected to write his notes down later.”
“More likely the former, than the latter,” Maria admitted, “He did place his tablet on the table when we spoke.”
“Mystery most likely solved. I doubt he would trust his memory, as good as it is, without a backup.”
“Is it true he is from my time?” she asked.
“Frank? Yes. He was in the second World War and has been through a medical procedure to reduce his age.”
“That is fascinating. I wish my contact would have provided that information,” she admitted, “I can’t say I enjoy sitting with Bethany Anne considering how attractive she is.” She reached up to grab her hair, which was getting longer but not nearly as long as she had it in the stasis chamber.
“Bethany Anne was attractive before she was healed, you were both attractive in your youth and still are I believe. However, that is not why I am here to speak with you.”
“Yes, I know Barnabas,” Maria picked up a pencil and tapped it on the table. “But you are the only one I feel I can share a little with. You seem to be the only one who just tells me like it is, and isn’t trying to control the situation and my decision.”
Barnabas raised an eyebrow, “You don’t suspect that I am a vicious plant by my Queen to influence your decision?”
Maria laughed, “No! God no. If Bethany Anne wanted me to do something, I imagine she would have Captain Kael-ven tell me. I am a sucker for an alien and she is the only one that seems to have plenty of aliens around her.”
“Yes, she does seem to acquire aliens without trying. It is a singularly unique trait,” Barnabas admitted dryly.
“So, if you are not here to influence me Barnabas, what do I owe the honor of your presence?” She smiled at him, wishing she was about fifty years younger. She would have had a chance to turn his head and make it go in a complete circle if she still had her youthful looks. There was a reason the Vrilerinnen were called the beautiful young ladies of the Vril Gesellschraft.
“I’m here to ask your permission to sit out of the way, unnoticed, and watch the people.” He smiled, “I promise, I will be a ghost, no one will even notice me.”
“There are inquisitive people for the Americans among those who come, Barnabas. I doubt they will ignore you.” He just shrugged, smiling enigmatically.
Maria wasn’t without her own resources. She knew he was different, and old, ancient probably although she could never get anyone to admit just how old he was. She considered it a small victory she figured out how old Frank Kurns was. She nodded to herself, “No speaking?” He shook his head, “and if they ask about you?”
Barnabas pursed his lips, “I will step out, then.”
Her eyes opened in surprise, “What would your Queen say if you fail to stay for the whole meeting?”
“Nothing, she is not asking me to join this meeting. I am requesting it as the leader of the Queen’s Rangers.” He moved in his chair, “We have been chasing a group for three years and I am of the opinion they will seek to be here.”
“They are American?”
“We have been able to track their spaceships into U.S. Airspace. However, we cannot go further without risking an altercation with the American’s.”
“They can see your ships, now?” she asked. Barnabas stayed quiet and shrugged. “Ok, keep your secrets,” she continued, “I am but an old woman, what am I going to do?”
Barnabas surprised her by barking out a short laugh, “Old woman?” His eyes, she noticed, looked nice when a grin lit up his face, “I think you need to perhaps get another set of mirrors in this land, Maria.” He stood up and moved a chair from the end, near her, and put it in a corner out of the way of everyone, “With your permission, I’ll just sit here?”
Maria nodded her agreement and wondered how she was going to get work done with him just sitting there.
“Maria,” his voice, clear in her mind though she didn’t notice his mouth moving. “I’m not here … I’ve stepped out. It would be good for you to continue what you were doing before I interrupted you.”
Maria looked down at her notes and turned the page, looking over at a clock on the wall. The Americans should be here in twenty minutes. She sure hoped Barnabas made it back to her room before they arrived. He had a way of making her feel peace in such a turbulent time for her people.
FROM MICHAEL >>> Ok, 14 chapters done, 11 to go. About to write a serious ass kicking chapter or…well, 7 or 8 of them, actually.
I had a one and a half hour conversation tonight with “The Architect of the Fall”. Our very own consultant on how to make what happens in the future, plausibly true.
On a personal note, Halloween came and went, and I’m ok. The great candy massacre has been cleaned up and no Butterfingers were killed in the making of the story.
I had one of my Indie Author friends reach out to me this morning (he is in England, so later in the day to him) and let me know his 4th book in his series was just released. His name is Andrew Dobell (yes, the same Andrew Dobell who does the Bethany Anne covers. He has shot a BUNCH of new photo’s of our model, so expect new images, soon).
Unfortunately, Andrew has learned that in the Indie Publishing world, publishing velocity is your friend, and even waiting four (4) months between titles can squash the momentum you had going. So, he is working to revive The Magi Series with his new book! (Roll of drums, please…) Check it out!
Infinities’ Edge (The Magi Saga Book 4)
After the events and revelations on the Atoll, Amanda is left having to deal with the new information about her past and the new powers she has gained.
As rumours spread, she becomes the focus of attention for Magi throughout New York and beyond. Some just want to meet her, but others want to hurt her.
With all this attention, and her new found abilities, such as being able to cross into the Abyss, she starts to believe the hype, which only serves to alienate those closest to her.
Amanda must step up and fight against those who wish to hurt her and overcome her own hubris before she loses her friends, her supporters and maybe her life.