Will and Elizabeth Darcy worked side by side in their complex. He tracked the Austen Avengers on his computer array while she watched footage of the known aliens in an effort to discover their true forms.
With a shouted, “There, I have it!” Elizabeth caught her husband’s attention.
Admiral Janeway strode into the room at that moment.
“What have you found?” asked Janeway, quickly crossing the area to look at the screens.
“I have been scanning satellite images for hours,” replied Elizabeth, eyes glued to the shifting pictures, “and I think I have caught one of the aliens changing into human form. Look, there!” She pointed to an image which flashed by in seconds.
“Is that Wickham?” asked Darcy, coming to her side.
“Yes,” she replied. “Admiral, Wickham has insinuated himself into a position of power in the upper ranks our own military. Members of our Security Council trust him implicitly. Now watch this.”
Elizabeth slowed the satellite footage to a crawl. A huge wolf-like creature loped across the screen at flash speed, leaped into the air, and landed as a man, running at an impossible velocity. Elizabeth reversed the action, stopping it while Wickham was still in animal form.
“Shape shifters,” muttered Darcy darkly.
“Do they all turn into those animals, or can they become anything they wish to be?” asked Janeway, studying the image frozen before her.
Elizabeth turned her head to look at Janeway. “We have no way of knowing that yet. I have found another alien in control of the Governmental Bureau of Investigation. His name is Willoughby, and I’m isolating all footage of him on our secondary feed. I hope to have some more answers within an hour.”
Janeway was quiet for a moment. “How many aliens do you think are on our world?”
“Hundreds – maybe thousands – but we know of at least ten in governmental, intelligence, and military leadership across the globe,” answered Darcy. “Elizabeth is tracking all of them now. How many of the Austen Avengers have you contacted?”
“It has been difficult to find them, as you know. Thorn is on his way to contact Bulk now, but the Black Spinster is on assignment. Captain Wentworthy will retrieve her by tomorrow,” said Janeway. “You need to stay here, analyzing the information and formulating a battle plan. Wonder Martyr is on her way from Africa, and I will go for Hawkeye and B Sting myself. They were in South America last week, but I have been unable to locate them since that time. I am also still looking for the Dark Knightley and Emmarude, code name Batgirl.”
Darcy chuckled, “I can tell you where all of them are immediately.” He pulled up a different screen and tapped a few buttons. The locations of all the Austen Avengers appeared as colored symbols on a world map.
Janeway raised her eyebrows. “How did you do that? I never approved a tracking system.”
“Then it’s a good thing we never asked for one,” answered Elizabeth. “We thought it was necessary to be able to pull the team together quickly in the event of a catastrophe, so we put a harmless mineral in the drinks we served at our last Austen Avengers gathering last year. Because of their physiologies, the Avengers each show up on this map in a different color.” She pointed to New York City. “As you can see, B Sting is blue, and Hawkeye is green. Will and I show up in red and gold.”
Janeway stared at the screen, eyes narrowed. “I assume I must be the silver image beside the red and gold ones?”
Darcy laughed. “You look good in silver. Don’t worry. Elizabeth and I have much more interesting things to do that watch the locations of the team. We activate this program only in cases of extreme emergency. In fact, this is the first time we have used it since we tested it last year. Your privacy has never been violated.”
Janeway shot him a calculating look. “See that you don’t ever do so. Notify me whenever you track any of us. Agreed?”
Elizabeth and Darcy shared a smile. “If it is possible to tell you in advance, we will. However, if the safety of our planet is at stake, we can make no such promises,” said Elizabeth.
To be continued tomorrow…
Don’t forget about our Book Giveaway!
Three prizes to three lucky winners.
Robin Helm is offering one (reader’s choice) of her Guardian Trilogy novels and Laura Hile, two copies of Mercy’s Embrace, Book 1.
It’s easy to enter, simply post a comment here. Leave your email address like this: “Laura AT laurahile.com.” Shipment is USA only. One entry per person.
Winners will be chosen and announced on October 25, 2012.
Are you unfamiliar with our books? Read on…
The Guardian Triology by Robin Helm
The powerful and imposing Xander, chief of all guardian angels, has protected exceptional humans from demonic forces over the course of ten millennia. In 1989, he receives an unusual assignment which will forever change his ordered existence. Will he lose the battle for his own heart while guarding supernaturally gifted Elizabeth Bennet from the evil which surrounds her?
Mercy’s Embrace by Laura Hile
Laura Hile’s joyous Regency novels feature Persuasion’s snippy Elizabeth Elliot and her desperate search for a husband. But she’s not as smart as she thinks, and that’s where the fun begins. Romance, adventure, and all your friends from Persuasion are waiting. And then there’s the dashing and dangerous Admiral McGillvary…
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Here’s the linky if you’d like to resume blog hopping.
Laura and Robin
Remaining episodes will be posted at Beyond Austen, an exciting on-line community featuring free Austen-inspired stories for everyone.