Aboard the Ukhu
Without using words or telepathic images, Amun and Batresh walked back to the teleporters. Amun stopped and turned to her. “You can’t go back in your ship,” he said, putting his hand on her left shoulder.
“Why?” she asked.
Amun shook his head negatively, “It was severely damaged. It wasn’t made for battle. You can take one of my ships. I want you to use the Ukhu. It has more defensive capabilities.”
She looked up at him questioningly, “Isn’t that the ship…”
“Yes, it is,” he interrupted. “I took you on a short trip, high above the desert.” He looked into her eyes and brushed her hair back from her forehead with his fingers. “You seemed like such a little girl in those days.”
“That wasn’t very long ago,” she added.
“It was just three years ago, for you, my love,” he responded.
She looked at him questioningly and wondered, “How long have you been here, at this time period?”
Amun sighed thinking of the differences, how only a day could go by for her, while at a different time period, he could be away for a thousand years. “I have been here for 60 years, Batresh, since the early twentieth century.”
She looked down at the floor, then back up into his face. “I couldn’t bear to be away from you for that long,” she added.
“It has been difficult. I have missed you.” He gently traced the outline of her cheek with the fingers of his right hand. “But, the work we have done is essential. We have not been as successful as we would like. The Potacas have been active in the Southern U.S.” He looked down, remembering horrors he witnessed; innocent people murdered, lynched. He looked back up to her and continued, “When you are finished with this mission, we will return to Sekhem together,” he said.
“When will that be?”
“You will know when your mission is finished. It will come to you with a finality that is hard to explain. But,” he sighed again, knowing they must part, “I can always be reached, if you need me.”
“But, we can’t send transmissions,” she responded.
He looked to his left and to his right, making sure no one was listening, “Just press the yellow com button on the console of the ship, I will be notified to come to you.”
She smiled, as if they were breaking the rules. “It is good to be wedded to an Elder,” she whispered.
He took her hand and was suddenly serious, “Come.”
Rather than taking the teleporter to the top level, where she normally parked her vessel, they went to the third level. Entering, Batresh saw larger ships. Amun pulled her to the right. They walked a few meters, and she saw it, his ship, the Ukhu. He turned to her, “We are ordering the creation of a protected corridor, one that will be monitored by military bots, between Earth and the moon. It has not been established yet. I will activate the Ukhu’s top level defensive capabilities.” He moved his right hand to the pectoral on his shoulders. He was feeling for something. “We are working to create a force field that does not operate by electron shielding. But for now, during this trip, activate this.” He removed a cabochon shaped jewel, a moonstone, from his pectoral collar. “Hold this during your trip. It will, at your command, create a differently charged, shielded cocoon. You will be safe within it, until help arrives.” He placed it in her hand.
“How many of these ships are yours?” she asked.
“My dearest, you know we don’t own property,” he responded with a naughty smile. “I keep three ships here for personal use,” he responded.
They walked to the Ukhu. Turning left, he took her to a transparent covering that slid upwards, then led her inside. She knew what to do. He placed his hand into the receiving control and sent telepathic messages to the ship. When he withdrew his hand, she placed hers into the same control. A yellow hieroglyphic half-circle shape blinked on the console. “There, the ship will receive your commands. Soon it will be sunrise at Tupelo, you must return.”
She looked into his eyes. He knew she wanted him to return with her. He reminded her, telepathically, that her sister, Namazu would be there soon. She was a weapons specialist; she would watch over her.
As if to tempt him to come with her, Batresh sent images, showing him the wilderness around Tupelo, she sent him the scents of magnolias, images of the deep, cool woods, sounds of mocking birds, the buzz of insects. She told him how she missed him. He cupped his right hand around the back of her neck, and drew her face to his. Moving his lips against hers, he tasted the sweetness of her mouth. He kissed her deeply. Involuntarily, she moved her body against him. Through the environmental suit, she felt his strength. He slid his left hand around her back, and his right hand behind her legs, easily lifting her into the air so their faces would be at the same level. She leaned forward, bringing her lips to his. He smiled at the ease of lifting her.
“In some ways, you are still a little girl,” he smiled.
He lay his head against hers. “If you need me, I will come to you.” Reluctantly, placing her back on her feet, he released her hand. He turned to walk out of the ship, but stopped, looking back at her. “You know I cannot join you publicly.”
She looked at him, drawing her brows together.
“My body is African. I have African features. At 1962, Tupelo, Mississippi, it is forbidden for a white woman and a black man to be together. Even to appear together publicly would draw unwanted attention. My presence with you, would complicate and jeopardize your mission.”
As he turned around and stepped out of the ship, she sat down at the console and sighed. She had not considered the complexity of race relations at this time. She recalled that Jerry was darker than Amun, but he was understood to be white. She looked through the transparent covering in front of her wishing she could have a simple life with her husband. She wished they could live like humans do, in the same house, have children, grow old, living their whole lives together.
She placed her hand on a control, and the systems read her instructions. Transparent coverings closed, and the ship backed up, lifting off the landing pad. The vehicle entered the lunar base’s central cylinder. Few ships were leaving now. The craft ascended through an opening in the crater floor, and she was on her way back to Tupelo. Now, fully conscious, she could see the thinly visible, blue, electron force field as she flew through it, unobstructed. She looked down at the surface, seeing craters, light and shadow, remembering that in some deep craters lay frozen water ice. On the short voyage back to Terra, she remembered being with Amun at the palace on the Great River. She thought of the day they met, his vulnerability with her, the way he trusted her. She could see his face the first day they kissed.
She could not see, however, the Tlaloc probe orbiting the moon as it followed her, undetected by her vehicle’s systems. She did not see the alien satellite as it fired sensors attaching themselves to the hull of her vehicle. As she entered Terra’s atmosphere, and descended through the early morning mists towards the fairgrounds, she did not observe the probe, as it attached a tiny tracking beacon to the hull of the ship, broke from her trajectory, and arched towards the boy’s house, to the alien underground base.
Equally as silent, Batresh’s vehicle returned to the camouflaged corner at the fairgrounds. Under the hypnotic spell of seeing and touching Amun, she stepped out of her flying vehicle and walked through the deserted grounds, towards her automobile. It was still too early for workers at the service station. She drove unnoticed back to the hotel.
She entered the deserted lobby, and headed towards her room. The dreamy emotional state diminishing, she began to feel uneasy. Something was different. Her senses were stimulated with foreboding. When the elevator doors opened, she was fearful an enemy may be in the hallway. She leaned forward, looking towards her room. She exited the elevator carefully, not wanting to disturb anyone who may be nearby. She saw the drawing of a 19th century steamboat, one she had seen frequently, hanging on the wall in the hallway. Now, its presence seemed strange, sinister. Looking down, she noticed for the first time, frayed threads in the fabric of the flowered rug. Almost on tip toe, she made her way towards the door to her room. As if testing it for electric shock, she tapped the metal door knob. The unlocked door, opened slightly. She pushed the door open, fearful of what she might find. She detected an acrid odor. Looking around, she felt the hair stand on the back of her neck. The closet door was ajar. Objects on her dressing table were shifted. Looking more closely, she saw shadows on the bed and the floor. She realized a bright, heated element recently flashed in the room. The light had been so bright, the colors of objects and textiles were faded, leaving darker, un-faded shadows. She looked around the room, moving cautiously, an intruder may still be present. She noticed her suitcase was moved since the intense light flashed. The permanent shadows cast by the prior position of the luggage, showed it had been moved a few inches. She noticed the closer she moved to the suitcase, the stronger the acrid odor became. There were unusual markings and scrapes around the seam. Taking a sensor from her purse, she examined the odor and chemicals hanging in the air. They were from an unknown technology.