Legacy of the Guardians
by AJ Marks
Ahmed blinked his eye open, aware of his quarters. It took a few seconds before he could recall what all happened yesterday. It all seemed like some distant, bad dream. Standing he stretched, looking down at the uniform he still had on, and quickly changed into a fresh uniform.
After brushing his teeth, and washing his face he felt a bit better, and sent a communications to the bridge asking if anything was needed of him.
“No, everything’s find captain, but you are to report to Admiral Cave when you get up,” the officer on duty said.
“Did he say why?” Ahmed asked, curious about the call.
“No sir, just to report to the admiral’s office.”
“All right, you will continue to have the bridge,” Ahmed said.
He knew it was not that important, as they did not wake him. But to be summoned to the admiral’s office, it felt a bit unsettling to him. Checking out his uniform in the mirror he made sure everything was in place and headed off to the Station with information to the bridge that he was off the ship.
Ahmed walked up to the admiral’s secretary, who looked up at him then informed the admiral. She told him he would be with him in a bit and to have a seat. He sat, waiting patiently, yet nervously for what the admiral wanted. Finally after a few minutes she told him to go on in.
Ahmed had never met the admiral, but heard of his reputation. He noticed right away that the man did have a red beard, and so the nickname was correct. He noticed another man sitting in the room as well.
“Have a seat,” the admiral said, motioning towards the empty chair.
“Thank you sir,” Ahmed replied, sitting down.
“This is Admiral Steve Terial,” Jack said, nodding over towards the other man. “Now, you’re probably wondering why we’ve called you here. First off, we like to extend our congratulations to you and your crew for their actions in the battle.”
“Thank you sir, but it was the captain’s decisions to remain that meant the most,” Ahmed said. “He’s the one who ordered us to remain close to the neutral zone.”
“A good crew usually equals good results. But you sent us a message that you’re from Afghanistan, what’s why you’re here,” Jack said. “We want you’re help in tracking down bin Laden.”
“I had a feeling that’s why you wanted to see me,’ Ahmed said.
“What type of connections do you still have over there?” Steve asked.
“Well, I heard that my brother had joined up with a group of religious extremists, so it might be a bit easier than we think,” Ahmed said. “Or he might see me as a suspicious, asking questions so soon after an attack like this.”
“It’s better than nothing,” Steve said.
“You don’t have to capture him, just give us the location of where he is, we’ll take care of the rest,” Jack said, giving Ahmed the impression they would blow it up.
“I see, are the Americans going to do it?” Ahmed asked, knowing how that would look to his people.
“Nope, they will provide the distraction,” Jack replied.
“We believe there is someone else being it all, a Skartian,’ Steve said, and Ahmed understood where the real thread came from. “That’s what we’re concerned about, we need to capture that one.”
“A left over from the war?” Ahmed asked.
“Possible, we never knew if we captured them all or not, so a very real possibly and danger,” Jack said to him. “Personally I hope that there is one controlling this militant group, otherwise, I’d rather not think about it.”
“I understand sir, I’ll be ready whenever you need me,” Ahmed said.
“Good, you’ll be with me when we see President Bush on Friday,” Jack said. “Get your stuff ready to head out.”
“Yes sir,’ Ahmed replied, knowing he was dismissed. He saluted and left the room, a bit nervous about the fact he’d be meeting the President of the United States. Even though no one in the military reported to any political group of any country, meeting such an important man was still was intimidating.
Walking back through the station he realized he also had to work on his story for his family. They would want to know what he had done for the past fifteen of years. They would never believe the truth. He could still remember that day so long ago.
Ahmed looked up at the sky once more, not hearing anything, no helicopters, or anything else. The Soviets were in their country, and people like Ahmed were fighting to get them out. Of course, what he really wanted, was to get out of the country. Here he would never be able to reach his dream, going into space.
“How’s your day been,” his brother said, approaching him.
“That this war was over, then perhaps I could pursue my dreams.”
“And where would you go to do that?”
“Yeah, like they’d hire a person like you, if you’re not white don’t bother, that’s they way they are, you know that,” his brother said. Ahmed noticed another man standing next to him looking on with a bewildered expression on his face.
“Maybe, but I can dream, whose he?” Ahmed asked.
“Ah, American observer,” his brother said with a slight laugh. “Doesn’t speak our language yet.”
“You’re his translator,” Ahmed said, shaking his head that his brother said something like his did in front of they guy.
“Yeah, hey, look after him for a few seconds, I need to see someone, you know,” his brother said, motioning his head off to the side.
“Yeah, go ahead,” Ahmed said, watching his brother say something to the man in English. The man nodded his head, then they watched as he walked off. They stood in silence for a few minutes. Ahmed looked the man over discreetly, he wore clothes that blended in. He looked around very closely before turning to Ahmed.
“So, you want to go into space?” the man said, startling Ahmed, his voice sounded a bit strange, almost mechanical.
“I thought you couldn’t speak our language?” Ahmed asked, surprised at the question.
“I’m not,” he said, holding out a small device. Ahmed realized the man was speaking English but the mechanical voice said something out of the small thing in his hand. “This is a translator, allows me to speak whatever language I need.
“Yeah, look, if your serious about going into space, then take this card, go to this address, and tell them ‘the shadow is our nature’, if you make it to the US,” the man said, speaking quickly.
Ahmed looked shocked, but took the card, and quickly hid it as his brother came walking back towards them. He watched as the two talked a bit then walked off. The man never even looked his way, and if he did not have the card, he would think it never happened. He made a vow that second, he would make it to America, and that address.
“That went well,” Steve said, looking at Jack after Ahmed left the room.
“Yeah, I’d say so,’ Jack replied. “He should do real well, especially if his brother can help us.”
“It’ll be dangerous,” Steve replied thinking about it for a second. “Should I come down with you?”
“No, you’ll be needed here in case something else comes up while I’m gone,” Jack answered.
“That’s what I thought, I’ll go and prepare a shuttle for two,” Steve said.
“Yeah, me and Captain Ahmed, we’ll head on down and meet up with General Ginal.”
“You think this bin Laden character is really someone connected with the Skartians, or is he a Skartian?” Steve asked.
“Don’t know, he could be a Skartian, they do some stupid things,” Jack said.
“Yeah, reminds me of the Skartian towards the end of the war, tried to pass himself off as Marilyn Monroe,” Steve said, laughing at that.
“Oh yeah, gods that was hysterical, she’d been dead for twenty years and he showed up like her and not even aged one day. The guy who stopped him was trying not to laugh. Like we recruit celebrities,” Jack said, recalling that report.
Steve straightened up a bit. “I hope we grab this guy quickly, need to figure out what’s going on down there.”
“I know what you mean,” Jack said, standing up and walking over to the window and looking out at the ships nearby. The Third Battle Fleet was assembling in the area and the lights of the ships were all over the place. The first and second battle fleets had already been assembled and on route to their stations. He had put the eighth and tenth battlecruiser fleets on patrol near Earth for security reasons. They were to block anything heading to or from the surface not scheduled.
“You have a plan for when you talk to the President?” Steve asked, causing Jack to look back at him.
“The truth, most of it,” Jack said.
“That’s what I thought, though you know the last President who knew,” his voice trailed off, both men thinking about that fiasco.
“I know,” Jack said, drumming his fingers on the desk. “But this time’s different.”
“Think he’ll help?”
“We’ll need his support, especially if things heat up even more,” Jack said. “We’ll need the money and help for raising the military again.”
“So, people will be able to complain about two hundred-dollar hammers again,” Steve said, chuckling. “If they only knew about what it really bought.”
“I wish we could tell them, but those expects on psychology say the average person isn’t smart enough to understand this,” Jack said, disagreeing with that assessment. “Though things are getting closer.”
“Well, the big things are both some of the scientific community and some religions,” Steve said.
Jack said nothing, but looked back out of the window then at the time. “Well, ready to meet up with Dinen?”
“Yep,” Steve said, as they both picked up their caps and walked out of the office.
General Joseph Ginal stepped out of the car which had driven him from the airport. The driver said his good-bye and Joseph walked out, straightening his jacket before heading into the building. A typical office building in downtown. He showed his ID to the guard on duty, as security was tighter than normal due to the terrorist attack a few days ago.
He continued on through the building, wondering how many would react to the knowledge that a secret military base was under the building. He waited for the elevator, and went up to the top floor. Once there he went to a small corner of the building and through the doors labeled ‘Office of the PDE’. The company front they used, it really had no value, but to anyone outside, with people coming in and going it appeared they were doing a steady stream of business. If anyone asked they stated it was top-secret for the US military.
He walked through the door, then waited a second as he was scanned before the secretary let him in. He walked up to the desk ready to give his badge to her.
“Good morning, how can I help you today?” she asked, the typical question regardless of who entered the room. He knew they were also highly trained and armed.
“My name’s Joseph Ginal, I’m here to see Mr. Cave,” Joseph stated, watching as she took his card. “Is he in yet?”
“Just a moment,” she answered, running a few things though her computer. He knew she was looking at the arrival list. “Yes he is, go through that door, last door on your right.”
He thanked her and opened the door when it buzzed, seeing a man working at a desk, then walked down the hallway before entering the room. There he met two guards, dressed in military uniforms.
“ID card, step into the scanner,” one said. They both watched as he placed the ID car into the slot and stepped onto the platform. The guards looked at the screen before back at him.
“Okay General Ginal, Captain Harold is waiting for you sir,” the guard said, stepping aside as Joseph stepped into the elevator. He went from the top floor to several levels underground. Stepping out he had gone from a business environment to a completely military one.
The base itself was a large labyrinth of hallways and corridors with several high speed passages connecting Alaska with the landing zone in the upper part of Alaska. They used the northern lights as a way to mask landing craft from curious eyes. The Alaska base was the prime spot for landing, and the connecting tunnels connected Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks with Whitehorse in Canada. The landing zone was north of Fairbanks, but south of the Yukon River.
Joseph went through another ID check once he stepped out of the elevator before heading down a flight of stairs where a man was waiting for him.
“General Ginal,” the man said. “I’m Captain Harold.”
“Captain,” Joseph replied, as they walked to the tram system. There several levels in the Anchorage base, but most were for training of fighter pilots, they lived and worked in the base.
“The shuttle landed an hour ago, and they are on the tram here,” Harold replied.
“Very well,” Joseph said, as they made their way past several other officers and military personal. “How are things?”
“Eh,” Harold replied, with a shrug of his shoulders. “Been quiet, though we’re on a higher alert at the moment, after everything that went on. Guess we’ll can expect an influx of recruits?”
“Probably,” Joseph replied. They would need them if the fighting became serious. “its up in the air, right now we are at war with the Skartians, but how much of a war, no idea.”
“We’ve been getting ready for such an increase, never hurts to be prepared,” Harold said, as they entered the tram station.
Joseph glanced at the tram indicator, seeing it was only a few minutes away. He timed it just right. He waited a few seconds before the tram came into the station and Jack walked out with another man of Middle Eastern descent.
“Jack, how are you?” Joseph said.
“Fine,” Jack replied before motioning towards the other man. “This is Colonel Ahmed.”
“Sir,” Ahmed said.
“At ease,” Joseph said, recalling what he had been told of Ahmed. “I’ve heard good things about you so far, keep up the good work.”
They started towards another tram, to head to Juneau and then to Washington DC.
“So, how is Kaitlyn doing?” Jack asked, mentioning Joseph’s wife.
“Fine, worried about everything, and with the idea of a war, she’d scared about Karen,” Joseph said, mentioning his daughter, who was in the military as well.
“So, when are Karen and Greg going to set a date for their wedding?” Jack asked.
“What? Where, oh, right, Greg’s your aid, forgot about that,” Joseph said, having to recall who Greg worked for.
“Does a fine job, but nothing about a date for when the wedding will happen,’ Jack said. “Thought you might know?”
“With the current excitement they are waiting a bit to schedule a date,” Joseph replied. “Kaitlyn isn’t happy about that, but its not up to her.”
They walked down a flight of stair to another tram station and waited for a car. Loading in they sat comfortably as it sped off towards Juneau where they would fly out to Washington DC.
“Hope you don’t mind the wait a bit, we’ll be flying from Juneau this time,” Joseph said.
“Thought so, have the flight started back up?” Jack asked.
“Yes, but there is still a lot of confusion,” Joseph said. “That’s why we’re going to Juneau.”
“So, when was the last time you were planetside?” Joseph asked Jack.
“Hmm, have to say it was for my wife’s funeral three years ago, since there saw no reason to come down,” Jack replied honestly.
Joseph could recall that, in fact he had been the one to make the call. His wife had been in a car accident, a drunk driver ran the light.
“Um, sir, just a thought,” Ahmed said, speaking up for the first time. “Is it wise for me to be going, considering my ethnic background and what happened?”
“We are limited to view in public, we’re not flying commercial flights, but I understand your hesitation. Don’t be too concerned, and we’ll have several guards all around us. And most places we go, everyone there is part of the defense group,” Joseph said, he understood the reasoning, and several of their members with Middle East backgrounds were spending more time inside until things cooled down.
They still had another couple of hours to go before arriving at Juneau.
End Part 6
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