There are several other characters to meet. I doubt I’ll get them all in, but I will introduce them on my blog and on my web site over the next week or two. However, there is one, Ambassador Barrous, you might like to briefly meet. He is literally, out of this world. Now this is a short excerpt but he appears throughout the book and is a most entertaining gentleman…
Near the dig site an hour after dawn, the military began to move the artifacts Jessica and Bruce painstakingly excavated and catalogued. Under heavy Marine escort, the convoy proceeded from Okeechobee west on State Road 70 toward Arcadia, Florida. Much of this highway is rural, chosen for that reason and the security it afforded the artifacts. Bordered by ranch, and farmland it was easily monitored by air support. The few smaller roads reduced the risk of someone trying to hijack the priceless objects. These obstacles presented little challenge to Xerxes’ elite forces. Accompanying the convoy, Captain Curtis and his Marines with their unique Atlantean helicopter, appeared no different from any other military chopper, its advanced equipment well disguised.
“This is Thebes.” The regular Marine Lieutenant in the lead truck spoke into the radio. “We have sighted an oddly-shaped, unidentified aircraft, approaching from the southwest at a low altitude and speed on radar.”
“Confirm your sighting,” Captain Curtis returned in a level voice from his seat in the disguised Atlantean helicopter. Activating specialized devices on board, Pericles began preparations to retrieve the artifacts. “Will intercept and investigate.” His helicopter banked off toward the strange anomaly. Captain Curtis, Pericles, expected this craft. Switching his radio frequency over to the alien, Alpha-Centaurian vessel, Pericles contacted Ambassador Barrous. Midway between Arcadia and Interstate 75, the Ambassador triggered a high frequency light-wave device that caused a time freeze envelope on the seldom traveled road.
Xerxes had recruited Ambassador Barrous’ help while he remained in Atlantis on a brief visit, and he had gleefully agreed to assist and provide an extremely unique cover effect for their theft. Barrous was notorious in outer-world circles for enjoying playing tricks, and evading Earth’s air defenses were known to be among his favorites.
Pericles remembered Barrous’ cheerful words. “Oh yes! Most pleased to assist you in such a larceny, Xerxes. We had a splendid exercise the night of the vast storm…a hurricane? Yes? Helping you rescue Lady Jeezzica. The Air Forces’, what do you call them, planes? They couldn’t catch us.” He laughed, as did his bridge crew. “Yes! We would enjoy cooperating. Lord Pericles we will do anything you need.”
Pericles thanked the Ambassador, knowing he could depend on the cheerful emissary. Directed by Pericles, six of his Atlanteans quickly moved the artifacts from the semi-trailer into an airlift and were gone before the twenty-minute time warp created by the device expired. After the envelope closed, not one of the Marines left in the convoy could explain what happened. Captain Curtis called his mission complete. Atlantis’ artifacts were safe. It caused an enormous stir when Pericles, along with the other four-crew members on-board his helicopter, and the two in the artifacts trailer were reported missing.
Missing time events were often commonly reported, accompanied by similar missing objects and personnel. The account planted by the Atlanteans of strange flying objects, reported just before their lost time, created the perfect cover story. All seven, could gladly go home to Atlantis. Their assignment finished.
Four F-22 jet fighters were scrabbled, from MacDill Air Force base in Tampa, to search for the missing objects, and to intercept the U.F.O. The artifacts, Pericles, and his squad of Marines weren’t to be found. Barrous secured the disguised Atlantean helicopter, the artifacts, Pericles and his squad on board his ship, safe in the darkness of outer space until the Air Force called off their search. He watched, with an amused expression as Barrous, sitting comfortably at his helm controls, laughed until his sides hurt. Xerxes wasn’t present but was given a prompt account by Pericles.
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