Kayla’s crystal blue eyes were focused on the pages of the book. She held a pencil in her right hand, the eraser end between her teeth, and her left hand rubbed the side of her neck under her long red hair. She was motionless. It was as if someone had pressed pause on the remote. She was simply staring at the book, except for an occasional glance to the clock; 11:40 pm.
She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment to clear her vision, and with hopes that this action would magically give her better comprehension. She opened them and read the sentence from the book to herself aloud.
“The angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection at the point that the light ray strikes the surface” she said. She paused to think. Nothing! There was no comprehension; just a desire to go to sleep. She started to chew on the pencil when the door to her room opened and Gabby looked in.
“Still working on your homework?”
“Yeah; I just can’t get what they mean.”
“What’s the subject?”
“Physics; I’m in chapter six on light and wave theory.”
“You’re good at science. Sometimes it’s the simple concepts that elude us.”
“I suppose. You know it seems like this year the work load is heavier.”
“I know. When I was a sophomore it was that way.”
“But now you’re a senior, ready to leave Ross Martin High.”
“Yeah,” Gabby paused in thought, and then she looked back at Kayla. “Let me see if I can help.”
As she stepped into the room she pulled her dark brown hair back, gathering it into a pony tail with the hair band she had on her wrist. She leaned over Kayla’s shoulder and started to read the page, but both girls were distracted by a knock at the front door. Gabby’s father was still up and he answered the door. The girls listened to see who would be stopping by at almost midnight.
“Hi Bob,” they heard Gabby’s father, Dr. Freeman, say, “come on in.”
“Thanks Joe. Sorry for calling so late.”
Gabby recognized the voice. It was Bob Steele, a United States Deputy Marshal assigned to security for all the research scientists on the island. Kayla recognized the voice also.
“I wonder what he wants” Kayla said in a whisper. Gabby put a finger to her lips and they listened, however the men had moved into the living room and their voices were muffled. They strained their muscles as if they could increase the ability to hear. Then after a few minutes, Dr. Freeman’s voice called out.
“Kayla,” the call startled the girls as if caught doing something wrong.
“Yes sir” she answered.
“Could you and Gabby come in here for a minute?”
It’s like being called to the principal’s office. There was no reason for them to be in trouble, yet they felt like they might be. They entered the living room cautiously, being greeted by serious looks from both men. The look from Marshal Steele changed to a closed smile as the girls appeared. He was a handsome man of about 35 with blond hair and a muscular build.
“Evening girls” he said, greeting them.
“Good evening Marshal” they answered.
“Girls, Marshal Steele has a couple of questions he would like to ask you” said Dr. Freeman.
“We have had some recent incidents on the island; nothing major,” Marshal Steele began, “just some things missing. However, this evening we had a resident report she saw someone in her yard. When she turned on the outside light the subject ran out of her fence, through the gate.”
“Yes sir” answered Gabby, wondering what this had to do with a federal officer. It sounded more like something the local police would handle.
“The description she gave was of pretty much of an average person, except for the fact that the individual had what appeared to be a metallic hand. I was wondering if you guys have seen anyone like that.”
“No sir” they both answered.
“Well, the unusual part of this incident is that when the police searched the back yard, they found that the gate to the chain link fence wasn’t opened. It was smashed through. The lock was ripped away from the post and the gate was taken right off the hinges; which is why I’m now involved.” Steele’ eyes shifted to Kayla. “Any idea as to who we might be dealing with?”
“No, uh, no sir” Kayla answered. Steele detected the hesitation.
“I’m not saying that I think you know something specifically about this incident. It’s just that the metal hand and smashed gate gives me the impression that this may be someone from outside of earth, and this someone could be searching for you, Kayla. It’s my job to see to your safety and to maintain your security. However, I know very little about your people or your world. In that I will need your help. Are you sure this doesn’t sound, in some way, familiar?” Kayla thought for a moment.
“Alright, well if you think of anything that would be helpful, please give me a call. Thanks.”
“Okay girls, you can go back to whatever you were doing” said Dr. Freeman. “I’ll see you to your car, Bob.”
Outside, Dr. Freeman expressed his concerns.
“I don’t know, Kayla sounded convincing, but I get the feeling she’s not telling us all that she knows. You know, ever since I agreed to keep her here, I’ve been on the watch for someone to show up wanting to take her home and there’s been no attempt.
“That’s true,” said Bob, “but it’s been, what, three years now. Possibly it’s taken that long for them to find her.
“Yes, but if they came through the portal, the sensor net we placed there would have alerted us.”
“True; none the less we have a strange incident, and I agree; I think Kayla knows something about it.”
“I know. But I want to believe her. I guess I have hopes no one will come looking for her. She has become a part of the family.”
“I understand; but she is still a princess from another world. And to that world she has value. We must maintain on guard.”
“You’re right Bob.”
While the men were outside talking, the girls were having their own conversation.
“You know who it is, don’t you. Why didn’t you tell dad?” said Gabby.
“I’m not sure, I only suspect who it may be” replied Kayla. “There’s no sense getting them all excited if I’m wrong.”
“But they only want to help.”
“I know, but if it’s who I think it is, I can handle it.”
“Why. Who is it, ah, who might it be?”
“You will just have to trust me” said Kayla.
Gabby finally said she would trust her. When Kayla came to them, her need to be hidden needed an explanation. Dr. Freeman’s solution was to legally adopt her, since her parents are missing and presumed dead. The US Marshal’s office assisted with the adoption as part of their protection program. Therefore, Kayla is Gabby’s sister and worthy of her trust.
They said goodnight and Gabby went to her bedroom. Kayla opened the closet and took down her nightgown. Then something reflecting in her mirror caught her eye. She spun around to see a figure in the shadows of her room. She swallowed hard as fear gripped her. Then she heard a voice. The voice was sweet sounding and familiar.
“Good Evening Princess” This voice and the metal hand that she could now see reduced the fear; however it was replaced by anger.
“Keep your voice down. What do you want?” she stated sternly.
“I was sent to you by the Elders.”
Kayla was concerned. She wondered if her presence on earth had been compromised.
The figure had now moved out of the shadows and was visible to Kayla. It was a young woman with long black hair and dark eyes. She appeared oriental; however from her world that would not be the word used to describe her. She wore a body suit and carried a duffle bag over her shoulder. “I am here to protect you.”
“Explain” said Kayla.
“The Overlord has accumulated much power, invading and conquering numerous planets. However he is bothered by the fact that you have not been found. The rumors on the planet are that you were killed, although some do not believe it. The Overlord has placed a reward to anyone who brings you to him, dead or alive.”
“Well you can go back to our planet. I do not need any protection” said Kayla.
“But I have my orders from the Elders.”
“And I am still the Princess! You now have new orders; return home.”
“Very well,” said the young woman as she turned to leave.
Kayla felt bad that she had been angry. They were just concerned for her safety.
“Wait, she said to the young woman. “Don’t think that I am acting foolishly. I appreciate the offer to help, however I believe that help would hurt me in ways you cannot understand. Let the Elders know that I am in the care of people who are well capable of my safety.”
“I understand. I am just fearful though, that you may face much more than even they can handle.”
Kayla gave the young woman a closed mouth, knowing smile.
“As you travel from this planet, take note of the flags that are over most of the homes and buildings here. The flags with red and white stripes and a field of stars in the upper inside corner. That is the symbol of my protection. The people here have a resolve that I have not seen or heard of before. I feel safer here than anywhere I have already been.”
“The young woman smiled. She took off the duffle bag and dropped it on Kayla’s bed.
“What’s that?” Kayla asked.
“Tools for your protection.” The young woman then climbed through the bedroom window and was gone.
Kayla looked at the duffle. The encounter with the young woman bothered her. She took the bag and tucked in under her bed. When she got up and turned around, she saw Gabby at her door, leaning against the frame.
“You heard?” Kayla asked.
“The whole thing! Why didn’t you want to tell dad?”
Kayla hesitated answering for a moment.
“The help she offered would have messed up my life, here. As long as the people on the island think I’m your sister, then I get to stay. Her help would be hard to explain, and I…” Kayla paused, losing her composure for a moment. “…I was afraid you wouldn’t let me live here anymore.” Her voice was cracking, and her eyes were filling with tears. Gabby took Kayla’s hand and drew her into a warm hug.
“We would never turn you away. We couldn’t.”
At that point, the tears started to stream down Kayla’s cheeks. She was trying not to cry, however the more she tried not to the more the tears would flow. Gabby reached out and wiped the tears. Kayla managed a smile.
“You okay?” Gabby asked.
“Actually I was fine with the hug, and then you started talking.”
“Come on, let’s go fill in Dad.”
As they headed for Dr. Freeman’s room, Gabby had a question.
“Who was the young woman?”
“You know how you have Marshal Steele; the woman is our planets version of the same thing. When I was little, she was my personal body guard, and my friend. She was responsible for my escape from the attacks on our family. Her name is Mrs. Flay.
The next morning, Kayla and Gabby were up before their father. Their activity woke him however, and he wandered into the room.
“What are you guys doing up so early on a Saturday?” asked Dr. Freeman yawning.
“We’re going to the top of Kauwahi ‘opua to take some pictures” replied Gabby as she checked her camera.
“You have to take the cable car to get there don’t you? I thought it was broken” said Dr. Freeman.
“They fixed it,” said Kayla. “They replaced the gears and you can now drive the car from inside.”
“Alright, but keep your communicators handy. You’re taking the truck aren’t you?”
“Yes sir” said Gabby.
“Well, have a good time. And be careful.”
Once a dad, always a dad Gabby thought smiling.
Kauwahi ‘opua was the highest mountain on the island. To get to it the girls had to drive a road that ended at the cable car station on another mountain, and then using that cable car, travel across the harbor. The starting peak is at 935 feet, and the ending peak on Kauwahi ‘opua is at 1410 feet.
They were at the cable car station in no time and parked the truck, grabbing their stuff.
“You brought the duffle bag, right?” asked Gabby.
“At your insistence; you brought the food?”
They entered the cable car and turned on the electric motor. Gabby took the controls and they started across the harbor. It was a breathtaking view. As the cable car climbs peak to peak, the distance they travel over the harbor has no supports; it is suspended by the cables only.
“If we break down out here, how do they get us down?” asked Kayla.
“With a really long ladder” answered Gabby with a laugh.
They finally reached the end and got off at the cable station. Kayla looked back at the view of the cable over the harbor they just crossed. She decided to get a few pictures.
“Come on, we still have a quarter mile of trail to hike to get to the peak.”
“Okay, just finishing these shots.” Kayla thought couldn’t they have put the end of the cable up there so we didn’t have to climb.
They climbed the last part and finally reached the peak. The top was flat and clear of any plant life; however from the edge down the sides was dense tropical foliage. From this vantage point they could see the whole island. Gabby set up her tripod and camera while Kayla took handheld shots from different angles.
“Wow, you can really tell we are on an island now” said Kayla. Then she saw something just below them.
“Hey, check this out.” Gabby walked over and looked down where Kayla was pointing.
“It looks like a dish antenna; probably some scientific research going on.”
The antenna was on a plateau about 75 feet below them. Kayla tried to get a closer look with the zoom lens on her camera; however some trees blocked the view. There did not appear to be anyone around.
“Let’s go down for a closer look” said Kayla.
“I don’t know; a lot of projects on the island are considered top secret.”
“Aw, come on. They will tell you if we can’t be there and then we will leave.”
Gabby thought for a moment.
“Okay, but let’s not take too long. You know how the rains pop up, and I’m hungry.
The two started to climb down. The trail up from the cable car station was an easy cut through the jungle like terrain. They were surprised to find a similar trail down to the plateau. They wondered if it was created by the people working on the antenna. They also wondered how they got the stuff to build the antenna up this far. There are no roads. Of course, on this side of the mountain a Sky Crane helicopter could carry things to that point and probably be unnoticed.
The two soon were at the plateau. It was somewhat flat with large puddles of water from the rains; some of them quite deep. The stepped up onto the steel grating that made up the foundation. They walked around the dish which had to be 50 feet or more across. They found an access door that led below the dish. Then Kayla found a control panel outside and adjacent to the dish. She went up to the panel and looked at the control surface. The controls had strange writing over each of the various switches. Suddenly Kayla froze. A deep panic feeling hit her as she backed away from the panel. She turned and ran towards Gabby.
“We got to get out of here!” Her voice was filled with panic. Gabby looked puzzled.
“Come on, let’s go; now!” Just then two men rounded the corner. They were armed with what looked like rifles.
“Hey you two; hold it!” one shouted. They leveled their rifles and fired. Bright balls of energy flew past them as both were now running for the trail. The energy balls impacted the ground and exploded, knocking Gabby to the ground. Kayla turned and stopped suddenly, her feet sliding a short distance. She started to go back for her when Gabby yelled!
“No; no, go – run!”
Kayla saw the men were almost on her. Then one fired another pulse of energy at Kayla. This round landed at her feet. Gabby watched, and as the smoke cleared, she was gone.
Gabby was horrified at the sight. Tears fell as the men lifted her off the ground. They took her to the access door which led under the dish. They went down a short stairway to what appeared to be a control room with a variety of instruments. Using some kind of restraining device they bound her hands and sat her on the floor. Gabby watched as the men in the control room busied themselves with different panels. They were all wearing some sort of uniform with a strange symbol over the heart. After a few moments, a man walked up to her. He seemed to have a kind face. He squatted down in front of her.
“I’m sorry you were treated so badly” he said. “These men over reacted to your trespass.”
“I know, that was unfortunate; but for now, we need to be concerned about you. Are you alright?”
“Yes, I, I think so.”
“Good” he said. He stood up and looked at the one who brought her in.
“Not your best move of the day” he said to them.
“Sorry sir, we just thought…”
“No, you didn’t think. You reacted.” He looked back at Gabby for a second.
“Now, search her” he said with a stern voice.
Outside, the spot were Kayla was standing was next to a cliff that had a 300 foot drop. A small hand of a girl appeared, grabbing the edge of the cliff. The blast had knocked her off the edge; however she had landed on a small ledge. She raised her head cautiously and peered at the plateau. Both Gabby and the men were gone! She carefully and silently crawled back up the trail toward the peak.
As she made her way up the trail, she heard a noise coming from the antenna. She turned and looked back. It was being repositioned. She watched as it raised and turned, then stopped. A different noise could be heard now: a kind of pulsating hum. She looked at the sky along the slight line of the antenna. The sky seemed out of focus. As she watched, a saucer looking spaceship appeared. It hovered and then descended to an open area next to the antenna where it landed. She started to climb again.
As she climbed she considered what she just saw. It seems like the antenna provides the ability to cloak anything inside the beam. With that technology, they could bring down any ship from space, completely undetected.
In the control room, the man walked back to Gabby.
“Now, what to do with you.” The man said.
“I’m sorry for trespassing. Please, could you just let me go?”
“Oh, I’m afraid that’s not possible. No, the question is not whether we will kill you. It’s how to kill you and make it look like an accident.
The man put his hand to his chin and thought.
“I think the best thing to do is to take you back to the cable car.”
The man directed the two that had captured her, to take her with them. They left the building and headed for the trail. Once outside, they walked past the place where Kayla had disappeared. Gabby closed her eyes as she passed. Then they started back up towards the peak.
“What are you going to do with me?” asked Gabby. The two men remained quiet. Once they reached the top, they positioned Gabby in the center of the clearing and stepped back.
“In answer to your question about what we intend to do with you, we are going to kill you and then put your body in the cable car.” As they talked they took their rifles off their shoulders and made some adjustments to the setting on the guns. “Then we will send the car back down, blowing the cables over the harbor. That will plunge the car and you into the harbor. They will think you both died when the cable car dropped into the water and it will also prevent anyone else from coming up here.”
The men raised their guns at Gabby.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t let you destroy the cable car. They just fixed it!” It was Kayla’s voice. They turned to see her in a black body suit with glowing blue lines and symbols. She was also holding a rifle identical to theirs. The two men seemed confused and did not know exactly what to do.
“Put the guns down!” Kayla ordered. She raised her rifle higher, aiming it at the men.
“I said drop ‘em!” She really did not want to shoot them, but she was hot with anger over their shooting at her, and attempting to kill her sister.
“Don’t shoot them” said Gabby. “They were just following orders.”
“And those order included invading this planet. That antenna is being used to bring in their ships. I saw one land”
At that moment one man turned and fired. The energy burst hit Kayla, and exploded but had no effect. She took a step back and blinked her eyes. Before Kayla could get a shot off they heard a bang, and the man dropped to the ground. The other man swung in the direction of the shot and raised his rifle. Another bang and he too fell to the ground.
The girls were stunned, and then saw Marshal Steele. Ecstatically they ran to him.
“How did you know we were here?” asked Kayla.
“Well, I little birdie told me.”
Just then they heard a whirring noise. They moved to the edge of the peak to see the saucer was powered up and stating to lift off. They could see the muzzles of its guns. It was clear that it was on its way to them. Gabby and Susan both had a knot of fear inside their stomachs. The saucer flew out and began a turn back towards them. Suddenly an explosion flashed on the saucer. It started to fly erratically. Then there was another explosion, followed by two more. Pieces of the saucer fell as they saw an F-35 Lightning approach at high speed and then pitch straight up.
They looked at Marshal Steele.
“Ah, a friend of mine” he said with a wit of sarcasm. At the same time, the antenna started to transmit.
“They are going to bring in another ship” exclaimed Kayla. “That fighter needed to knock out the antenna.”
They looked at the Lightning, but it looked like, even with its speed, it wouldn’t make it in time. Kayla knew if they could take out the emitter on the pointed end of the antenna, they could stop them; however she could not get a clear shot with her laser pulse rifle. Then she spotted a pool of water near the antenna.
Kayla raised the rife, taking careful aim and judging the angle; she fired. The round hit the water and reflected. It missed the emitter, but struck the dish exploding on the reflector. She quickly adjusted her aim and fired two more. They hit! Impact was directly behind the emitter; however it was sufficient to tear it off. The explosions caused by her shot stopped the transmission. The sky returned to normal and the saucer became visible sooner that it expected. The Lightning fired two sidewinders at the saucer, and then let go with four Maverick missiles impacting the dish antenna. The site was completely obliterated.
“You guys okay?” asked Marshal Steele.
“Yeah, thanks” said Gabby.
“Can you fill me in on what I missed?” Steele looked at Kayla. “And tell me about the new fashion for you girls that Miss Kayla is wearing.”
“Oh, this old thing; I found it” said Kayla.
“Yeah, found it in a duffle bag, along with a rifle” added Gabby with a touch of sarcastic humor.
“Okay, this suit is a royal battle suit from my planet. It can absorb and deflect any projectile, including a laser pulse. The rifle is a laser pulse rifle. Both were given to me by…”
“A little birdie” injected Marshal Steele.
The girls looked at him and saw he was pointing at the young woman that spoke with Kayla last night. She stood just inside the perimeter of the clearing.
“I believe you know Mrs. Flay. I found her coming out of your window last night.
“So that’s how you knew” said Kayla
“That’s how I knew. I must say, these bounty hunters are pretty intense.”
“These weren’t bounty hunters” said Kayla. Marshal Steele looked at her with a surprise and curiosity.
“Not bounty hunters?”
“No; these were from my planet. They were an invasion team.”
“Yep, let get back to your dads lab” he said. We have some debriefing to do.