I get April Britt down to the EMF craft as quickly as possible. SDAI is on high alert and armed men in gear are stationed on every floor. The Command centers are humming with activity and any tool for obtaining intelligence is being used. The situation in California is being monitored.
I finally reach the EMF craft and with a mental thought the craft opens. My consciousness is cleared simultaneously of certain obsessing elements and I am all at once calmer and less worried.
I lay April down on one of the command chairs. I check to make sure she is alright. Her pulse is slightly elevated, but I'm sure she will be fine. I take a pen out of my pocket and small pad of post-it notes from a wallet pocket. "Stay here! Back in 15 minutes."
I exit the EMF craft and head towards my office. A little over a year ago, I would have had the President on the line and any resources needed. Now, we're on our own. Which is fine. We've got the best intelligence, weapons and defenses Earth's technology yet affords us, so I guess there really is nothing anyone else can do.
I turn and see someone materializing in my office, next to my desk. I start to panic and wonder if it is Lal-atha or one of his henchmen. It is a woman in a silvery form-fitting jumpsuit. She's a little over 6 feet tall.
"Long time no see."
It's Shayla! My panic turns to exuberant joy in an instant, and I practically fall over my own feet to get to her and give her a hug and kiss.
"I have missed you so much! You are here because of the situation?"
"Yes. Earth needs a little back up and my world is willing to help. We have five spacecraft here on Earth and we have teleported some folks down to various spots where Lal-Atha's forces have made appearances. Lal-Atha planned to hit his targets and is surely working to bypass the barriers set up by the Confederation."
"How did your spacecraft get past the barrier?"
"We have fundamental frequency maps of the entire Earth compiled when I was here as Chief Scientist of Project MIMIR. When one has the right coordinates, the barrier doesn't impede teleportation."
"Could Lal-Atha obtain the coordinates?"
"Not from our world. Not even the Confederation has the entire map. That's something I have - and I don't intend to share it with anyone."
"Yal-hune is busy protecting one of the targets."
"I know. I've been in contact with her. She should be back here soon. We should go to April Britt. She needs to be properly debriefed on the situation."
I find myself looking at Shayla with a new appreciation of her unique position. She was one of the first to commit herself to serving our world and when Earth needs her - she's here. Like the cavalry in some old western arriving in the nick of time.
"You're still doing the ol' Doctor Doom mental journal bit I see?"
She laughs as we walk down the hall.
"You know me. Old habits are hard to break."
Shayla's presence is just what I have needed. Her familiar mental presence at the doorway of my mind is a reunion of the happiest kind.