Iron Will looked up from his computer array when he heard the swishing of capes and the distinctive click of three sets of boots. “We have company, Elizabeth,” he muttered to his wife. She had not broken her concentration, though she had registered the sounds.
“Dark Knightley, Robingley, Cattygirl, welcome to our home,” said Elizabeth, glancing up to smile at the newcomers before she returned her attention to the screens.
Iron Will added, “The Central Command Center grew a little crowded for our comfort, so we decided to relocate our efforts here, where we could work undisturbed.”
The dark trio joined them in the circle of computer generated images. “Have you any new information about the aliens?” asked Knightley, scanning the multitudes of pictures, watching as Iron Will and the Iron Lady manipulated the smart technology.
Admiral Janeway appeared in the doorway. “I’m here at your request, Darcy. What have you found that you couldn’t send to me at Central Command?”
Elizabeth looked at her with a slight frown. “First, we have discovered that Central Command has a mole. The Security Council has been breached by an alien. She wears special clothing meant to block detection of her colors, but we have picked up the slight emissions from her face and hands.”
Janeway’s mouth set in a tight line. “Lady Catherine?”
Will nodded. “Seems fairly obvious now, doesn’t it?”
“I have never trusted her. If you agree, all operations will proceed from this complex from now on,” answered Janeway.
“Agreed,” spoke the Avengers in unison.
“We have discovered something else of importance,” said Iron Will. “Elizabeth? This was mostly your baby.”
The Iron Lady smiled at her husband. “Mostly, Will?”
His laugh was low. “At least twenty percent yours.”
“Twenty percent?” she questioned.
His eyes glittered as he said, “I’ll give you fifty percent.”
She blew him a kiss. “I’ll remember that later. Fifty percent is what you’ll get, too.”
Dark Knightley, Robingley, and Cattygirl looked at them with irritation. “The discovery?” asked Knightley with no little impatience.
Elizabeth tilted her head and fixed her sparkling eyes on the black-clad Knightley. “Shall I give you fifty percent of the information?”
Cattygirl stomped her dainty black boot and tossed her blond curls. “Enough playing around! Spill it!”
Iron Will turned toward her slowly. “My wife and I have been working for three days nonstop. You have been here barely five minutes. Hold your tongue, Emmarude.”
The girl opened her mouth to reply, but Knightley held up his hand to her face. “Be silent,” he ordered in a low voice.
Robingley looked at Cattygirl with distaste. “You should have to wear this ugly red and green spandex costume.” He turned his head, mumbling, “If Batboy hadn’t been such a stupid name, I would have had a cool, black leather outfit, too. Instead, I look like a Christmas elf.”
“Enough!” shouted Janeway. “No wonder the aliens have such a foothold. They work together while we fight amongst ourselves about inconsequential matters. Let us return to the business at hand.”
Dark Knightley put his hand on Robingley’s shoulder. “I should have told you earlier. There’s an updated version of your uniform in the Batcave. The ratings for that hideous green and red number were abysmal.”
Elizabeth’s tone was cool and businesslike. “I applied the same basic parameters of our Avenger location software to a program designed to find the aliens, and I think I’m ready to test it. Watch this.”
She typed quickly while Will moved the holographic screens. Suddenly a global map appeared with glowing spots of colors.
The Iron Lady laughed aloud. “It works. I have further modified this program to give us more information.”
Will touched one of the colored dots, and a name and location was displayed. “Mary Musgroan, Central City DMV. Why do the aliens have a plant at the DMV?” he pondered aloud.
Elizabeth left the keyboard, and the others watched as she and Will rapidly touched the other alien indicators.
“Hmmm. DMVs, automobile factories, industrial areas, Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Chicago, most of China, London, Japan, Vietnam, Philadelphia, – very odd. I expected the intelligence, military, and governmental alien plants, but not these huge concentrations of aliens in the heavily populated areas of developed countries and the polluted, industrial centers of undeveloped countries. What could this mean?” asked Elizabeth, deep in thought. “And, look,” she added, pointing to specific places on the map. “Very heavy alien populations around the Pacific Ring of Fire.”
Will’s eyes brightened. “The areas of the highest earthquake and volcanic activity on our planet. This is the key. Elizabeth, my love, you are brilliant! This is the key to why they’re here – what they want.”
“Well, I’m fifty percent brilliant,” she replied with a chuckle. “Notice, too, that almost no aliens are near rain forests or over the oceans. No aliens at all over the poles. Hmmmm. I think we’re on to something.”
Janeway nodded slowly. “Very astute, Will and Elizabeth. Now we know what they’re after.”
Cattygirl made an unpleasant sound. “Well, would you like to let the rest of us in on it?”
“Emmarude!” said Knightley impatiently. “If you cannot add anything useful, don’t say anything at all.”
Robingley laughed. “Then she’d be mute permanently.”
Iron Will interjected, “Can’t you see what the heavily concentrated areas have in common? Even more striking are the places with very little alien activity. It’s so plain that I wonder why we haven’t seen it before.”
Elizabeth touched his arm possessively. “My love, sometimes you need a little help connecting the dots.”
“At least fifty percent of the time,” he said, leaning his head down to kiss her forehead.
To be continued tomorrow…
Don’t miss 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…
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Laura and Robin
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