Attrea stood and turned to him. “They are why I called you here. Well, I wanted you with me too, but they are from earth at a time when wars raged.”
“A time before my time. My world wasn’t destroyed by nuclear weapons. Therefore they are either lying or there is an explanation that doesn’t fit.”
“Which do you believe to be true?” Attrea asked.
“They are lying. You saw my time when you held the light on your hand, which allowed me to return to confront my once best friend. The pandemic destroyed civilization then.”
“Perhaps the pandemic from your time was a byproduct of radiation poisoning?”
Stanton frowned etching lines deep into his brow. “I never considered that possibility. It might explain why there was no true cure other than immunes like me. But since I’m an immortal actually born long before then, well that too offers an explanation as to why my antibodies cured so few.”
“You think they too were immortals?”
“Either that or they were ancestral cousins. I can’t think of another reason. But if that’s true think of the awfulness being a healthcare provider. They thought that they could stop the disease and even save the vast majority of humans, but they could do neither and never suspected that truth.” He stopped talking and rubbed his face and eyes with both hands. “It’s all too hard to truly comprehend.”
“So let’s assume the invaders are honest. Taisie left earth 2234. However she was born much much earlier as you were.”
“That does explain a lot.”
Attrea reached out and took his hand. “I think it best if we disable their ships.”
“Or destroy them?”
“If necessary. We can quarantine them to that section of the ring. There are no other humans within thousand of square miles. They can live out their lives and be as happy as possible. And they will then be no threat to the rest of us living here.”
“Can you create a portal to get several of us on one of the ships? If so I can get to the bridge and learn how to disable it permanently.”
“I will need to establish distances. They seem to be stationary, but missing by a foot might kill you one way or another.”
“How can I assist?” Stanton pulled her closer and put an arm around her shoulders.
She leaned into him and neither spoke for a few moments. Then she said, “For now be with Minerva. I can returned to the mountain and assemble a team. They will help me with calculations. We will build and send a small soundless drone. It will enter the satellite. From there it will be sent over and into one of their ships. If we succeed the drone will record everything in the ship. That will allow you a better chance at success.”
“Can’t say I want us to be separated again but I agree.” Stanton lowered his head and kissed her lightly.
Attrea grabbed him and held him wrapping her arms around his neck. ”We are safe again. You and I and Minerva can start a life together.”
He exhaled a short breath. Almost a laugh or a sigh. “Yes.”
Then she released him and walked to the edge of the disk. Seconds later a traveling disk appeared. She stepped onto it, glanced back and waved, and then she was gone.
Two hours passed before Attrea returned. During that time the Healers, using Minerva as an interrupter informed Stanton that Taisie would recover and be her normal self within several days.
“She requested that she speaks with you. If you agree you must do so now. She needs sedation and continued rest.”
“I will come now.” Stanton said.
A second Healer walked to Minerva. “I will stay with your child.”
No more conversation passed between Stanton and the Healer as they rode a tree disk to a lower level.
He saw Taisie resting comfortably he hoped. She was on a ground level bed with sheets, pillows, and blankets. When she heard him, he saw her turn her head. She appeared alert, but exhausted.
Stanton stopped alongside her. The Healer stood back to give them privacy.
Taisie reached for his hand. Weakly grasping him, she said, “Thank you for saving me.”
He nodded, feeling that what he did he did out of friendship and love so didn’t need thanking.
She cleared her throat and glanced at a hide water container. Stanton helped her drink. “Do not return without me. Those bitches didn’t give me a chance to explain why I was there.”
“You killed their leader.”
She nodded. “I’m afraid that she left out choice. But if you go alone they will at the least bring you to the edge of death.”
“I do not believe Attrea wants another confrontation. She indicated that we should disable or destroy their colony ships.”
“Then I want to accompany you when you do that.” She squeezed his hand weakly.
He nodded and said. “Okay. I think we will need several days to prepare. Attrea plans to create a portal that will open inside one ship. It will be operated from inside a satellite. Then I think we should send a drone to scout the interior locate the bridge and engine room.”
Taisie nodded. “Good. I will be ready in two or three days.” She winced as if in pain, raised her hand as he was about to speak. “Even an immortal can die. I always knew that to be true, but to be on the edge of such darkness is a lesson I will never forget.”
“We will be safe together.” Stanton heard movement behind him, glance back and saw the Healer approaching. “I will return in two days. For now please rest and recover.” He leaned and kissed her forehead, then turned and walked to the traveling disk. Minerva waited with a Healer. Together they descended to where Attrea would be when she returned.
Nothing unexpected happened during the following two days. By then Stanton was becoming anxious. He desired an end to the long travel time that began as he entered to portal on earth.
He and Minerva visited the gristmill twice. The first time it was not operating. The second time the big waterwheel turned steadily. The grinding stones pulverized grains filling sacks that would be distributed throughout the area.
They watched wagons burdened with fresh grain arrive and then after unloading depart with sacks of meal.
A flash of blue light caught Stanton’s attention. He turned and saw Attrea walking to him. She carried a small metallic box under her arm.
“You’re back,” he said redundantly and grinned feeling a bit foolish.
She smiled and once she stood directly in front of him handed him the box. “This a newly designed drone. The audio and video will sound and look as if we are there. The motor is silent so if there is anyone on the colony ship they will not hear it. Our tech team added stealth technology, which should make the drone invisible.”
Stanton opened the box and lifted out a tubular shaped object that, if it didn’t had a small propeller, would look useless. “This is very light.”
“Six ounces.” Attrea responded.
“Has it been tested?”
“Several times. It worked flawlessly.”
Stanton pointed up in the direction of the invaders base. “Through the satellites I’ve seen a lot of smoke. The fires must be massive.”
“This is why we must act quickly. Apparently they are clearing forest, using fire. As far as we can tell from satellites they are burning hundreds of acres.”
“Why would they? Are there more of them than what Taisie concluded?”
Attrea shook her head, wiped her hands across her face and pushed loose strands of black hair behind her ears. “We think that they decided to set up a perimeter wide enough that they cannot be invaded without the invaders being visible for miles.
“My research team also thinks they are planning to return to earth for more members of their society.”
“Then we must disable their ships soon.” He glanced up again. “When will the rain cycle saturate them?”’
“It will be there in five Solars.”