by AJ Marks
Buck felt relieved at being back on Earth after his trip to the Draconian Empire. The trip opened his eyes a bit to current politics, and that the two empires were not really that friendly. The few people he asked about the NAA he received answers that they were full of dumb, oppressed people who could not speak for themselves, yet at the same time he had a feeling they were unable to freely speak either. It would be a difficult adjustment for him, used to being able to speak freely if he was suddenly gagged in what he could, and could not say.
Standing beside Wilma he felt a bit better around her than he had around Ardala, who seemed to want to jump him at every opportunity. She was attractive, it did become tiresome after a while and he wondered if she ever relaxed.
“So, the trip was all right?” Wilma asked.
“Yeah, most of the same of what I was doing here, talking on shows and such,” Buck replied. “The people were a bit nicer in their questions.”
“Not something I can help with there,” Wilma replied.
“No, you’re not in the press,” Buck said, then again it was something he had been used to back in his time as well, the press were highly biased with their opinions. In a way it was refreshing to be in the Draconian Empire, their reporters were much more of a journalist than anyone he had encountered so far.
“Wouldn’t want to be in the press, they can’t think for themselves,” she replied back to him as a transport arrived.
“Nothing’s changed there then,” Buck answered getting into the transport. “So, where are we headed?”
“Chancellor’s office, he wanted to speak with you upon your arrival,” Wilma replied.
“Somehow, I thought so,” Buck said as Wilma input the directions and they took off to the government building.
He looked out seeing the city comparing it to the cities in the Draconian Empire. While the cities there were more familiar, this city he thought was better designed, more functional and, in a way, personal. He already had made several friends in the market floors, who recognized him, and places to eat, the grocery store and on the elevator. Of course people would start talking to him in the elevator having seen him on the TV. In a way it reminded him of the way he saw the US back in the early 1900s. People knowing their neighbors.
“So, you and the princess have a history?” Buck asked, watching as she looked over at him.
“She mention anything?” Wilma asked.
“No, it was the way you two interacted, just curious,” he said before quickly continuing, “you don’t’ have to mention what it was.”
“It’s really nothing, a passing comet if you will,” Wilma said. “She went after a guy I was dating at the time, used him to get information from me.”
“Politics,” Buck said, wondering if her actions were to have a result for something down the future.
“Internal defense information,” Wilma said. “I learned quickly not to trust others with such information, fortunately we discovered it in time, and managed to defuse the situation quickly.”
“Sounds like a real sticky situation,” Buck replied back, as they arrived at the building and climbed out and made their way to the office. He noticed they were already waiting for him and inside the office were a few more people, including one he thought he recognized when he first arrived in the future.
“Captain, glad you made it back,” Chancellor Elias said.
“It’s good to be back,” Buck said, having a seat and looking around as Wilma joined them.
“I’m sure you remember Senator Mark Gonzalez,” Elias said, motioning to the man sitting down across from him.
“Yeah,” Buck said, trying to recall if he was the one who was the most hostile towards him or not, but his gut said he was.
“And Doctor Thopolis and Twiki,” Elias said nodding towards the two robots.
“Doctor, Twiki,” Buck said at the two robots, probably the two he knew the best, not including Wilma.
“And this is Eric Jackson, head of our intelligence agency,” Elias said indicating the bald man off to the side.
“Captain,” Eric said. “Heard much about you.”
“All good things I hope,” Buck said with a smile, but knew why the man was there.
“I won’t lie to you, we are curious to what you saw, our spies are usually discovered rather quickly,” Eric said.
“Yeah, they did say they could catch your spies rather easily,” Buck said recalling that statement. “But how they do it, they didn’t give that away. Mentioned it when they were talking about me being a spy, somehow they didn’t think I was a threat to anything they showed me.”
“Interesting,” Eric said, rubbing his chin in thought.
“Did you discover anything?” Elias asked.
“Not much, only saw a part of their society, it seems to be very contradictory,” Buck said giving it some thought as he tried to form words to describe it. “They want to show off how open they are, yet I got the impression that everywhere was bugged, and they were being watched, even in my room. Reminded me of a Communist country.”
“That would make it difficult for our spies to get in, perhaps we are too hasty in our work,” Eric said.
“But we need information, if we wait too long events will pass us by,” Mark said speaking up. “Is there anything you can tell us worth anything?”
“Considering I went as a guest, not as a spy, not a lot. It’s not like they were going to let me in on any of their plans or military forces,” Buck said.
“Yet you were given access to ours,” Mark said. “You could have given them some information.”
“What Buck knows you could find on the internet,” Wilma replied back.
“So you say, we already know how things are with you,” Mark said.
“If a simulation is enough to compromise your security, then is probably already compromised,” Buck replied back to Mark.
Anything else was cut off by an alarm causing everyone to scramble. Buck wondered what happened but could not say anything as Wilma raced out the door followed closely by Eric and the others leaving Buck alone with Theopolis and Twiki.
“Biggy, biggy, this isn’t good,” Twiki said.
“So, what’s going on,” Buck said, not that it was just the two of them.
“Invaders have been spotted in Earth’s system,” Theopolis said. “Twiki, see if you can see what is going on?”
“You’re not connected to some wi-fi system?” Buck asked.
“No, it makes it harder for us to be infected,” Theopolis replied back to him, and to Buck it made a bit of sense. If the government relied heavily on their opinions then they needed to be free of any influences.
“Biggy, okay,” Twiki said, heading over to a small computer and activating it.
Buck watched as Twiki worked the controls much more nimbly than he expected.
“Uh-oh,” Twiki stated.
“What’s wrong?” Theopolis asked.
“It’s an attack force from the Draconian Empire,” Twiki said, shocking Buck.
“Senator Gonzalez won’t like this one,” Theopolis said.
“He doesn’t like me much, does he,” Buck said.
“He takes his job very seriously, but the timing of the attack is strange,” Theopolis stated logically, and Buck had to admit, he returns and they attack.
He figured he would have to wait to see what happened next.
Buck was sitting down when the door opened allowing Senator Gonzalez to enter the room, and by the look in his face Buck had an idea what he was thinking.
“What information did you tell them?” Mark spat out. “You go there, come back and we’re attacked!”
“Nothing,” Buck said. “I don’t even know enough to say anything.”
“Honestly senator, think about your accusations first,” Theopolois stated calmly.
“I have thought about it, it’s a logical path,” Mark replied back to them. “What did you tell them?”
“Honestly, nothing that you haven’t seen on my interviews already,” Buck replied back to him unsure what he could say to calm the man down at all.
The Chancellor entered next followed by the intelligence officer who both looked at the senator then at Buck before sitting down. The Chancellor looked over at Buck then Mark before finally over at Theopolis.
“Well, this is a mess,” he stated with a sigh. “The timing of this attack couldn’t be worse.”
“I told you letting him go to the Draconian Empire was a mistake,” Mark said.
“And as I told you, Captain Rogers is not a citizen of our nation,” Theopolis stated. “Perhaps we can use this to our advantage.”
“Good luck there,” Mark said.
Buck leaned forward wondering what Theopolis meant by his words, and so too did the Chancellor.
“First off, we have to make the captain feel at home, which means tossing false accusations is hardly the appropriate thing. As for spying, I fear the true spies have been here longer than the captain has been among us,” Theopolis said. “Any information they had was given long before such an attack was developed, and such an attack would require more planning than a few days.”
“We’re just to ignore the obvious?” Mark said, either unwilling to accept what Doctor Theopolis said or wanting an explanation Buck was unable to give him.
“And how would I be able to prove I had nothing to do with this?” Buck asked, speaking up for himself watching as Mark opened and then closed his mouth a few times before finally answering.
“How do we know you’re really this Captain Rogers from the twenty-first century?” Mark replied.
“Senator, that’s enough,” the Chancellor said sharply. “This line of questioning is beyond normal.”
“It is highly unlikely that the Draconian Empire could develop a Thu’lie drive which could actually perform as it did, and come out of warp right by the Rizonian homeworld, and make the assumption that the person would not be killed on sight,” Theopolis said. “it’s too many possibilities to happen at once to be accounted for.”
“Maybe they were hoping for a war to start,” Mark said.
“It is an illogical assumption,” Theopolis said.
“And even if I was from the Draconian Empire, as you say, I would have some knowledge of history and technology,” Buck said.
“Acting, and a good one at that,” Mark said, storming out of the room leaving them in silence for several seconds.
“The defense force was able to beat back the invaders?” Theopolis asked.
“Yes, we lost several good men and women, but I think things will be stable enough for now,” the Chancellor said, then looked a bit uncomfortable. “Um, if you don’t mind captain, there is some work I need to do.”
Buck looked confused for a second before it donned on him, the Chancellor did not want him here to watch him work despite what he thought.
“I’ll just, well, head on out,” Buck said, unsure where to go next.
“We’ll make sure the captain gets back to his apartment,” Theopolis said. “Twiki.”
“Biggy, biggy, no problem,” Twiki said, walking over and picking up the doctor before walking over. “C’mon Buck.”
Buck looked one last time at the Chancellor before heading out the door following Twiki, hoping he didn’t have to try and defend himself again for something he didn’t do.
End part 9