Head pounding, mind racing; the stranger slowly pulled himself to his feet. Instinctively patting down his dress wear clothing: a white button down collar shirt with no tie and fit khaki breeches bearing a black leather belt.

The sun beats heavy on his brow. The man pats down his pockets, he has nothing on him.

Around him, nothing but desolation. The lost man; he began- to walk, steady at first; but slower on the rising recognition of the difficulties in treading desert sands in dress black shoes.

Sounds unexpected, of horns trumpeting his location, drive him to a suggestion of some concern. Quickly, he began searching for some kind of cover. No stones, no cactus to be found. Nowhere to hide. The man continued to walk, all the while checking his footing.

The sounds of mounted desert hunters, now fast upon him; the man immediately reacted. Ducking and crouching low, his knees bent; the man abruptly lunged upward at the chins of the two riders coming fast on his position. Two long poles of bamboo crossed between the riders; meant to aid them in his subduing.

The strength and endurance of the man, catches the two riders- off of their guard; as their own poles are used against them. The riders knocked off from their horses, the man immediately disarming one of the two.

Spinning the pole clockwise and then backward on the reverse the man found some vague familiarity in the use of the pole; as a means of defending, his position. The man immediately demonstrated a protective stance. The two, drew steel curve edged blades from sheaths attached to their belts. The man looked deep into their eyes, his inspections gauging into their being; the majority of their faces concealed by cloth, their heads protected by turbans of the same material.

His right hand held over- hand high towards the point of the pole; and underhand, held low towards the shaft; the man engaged in combat with the two armed desert swordsman.

Quickly blocking the first of the swordsman’s slashing attack with the middle section of the pole, the lost man brought the fore section of the pole down hard upon the swordsman’s head and neck from behind. The desert nomad of an adversary, groaned as he crumpled to the ground; the wounded swordsman losing consciousness.

Spinning the pole back around counter clockwise, the man blocked the next attack from the second of the two desert swordsman. The pole impacting the others’ sword hand with a loud resounding crack. The swordsman howled in pain, and cursed the lost man in a strangely familiar language.

Rotating the pole quickly clockwise as the man shifted to the left side of his adversary; a heavy pommeling down upon the back of the second swordsman’s head quickly incapacitates the attacker, his sword dropped loose from his grip.

Eyeing more riders fast- approaching; the man showing no- fear; quickly returned to his beginning stance of protecting.

On the sounding announcement of another horn, the riders halted. The lost man watched the riders cautiously, as eight mounted horses formed a partial ring around their quarry. The lost man’s eyes darted instinctively from rider to rider.

Sensing some movement from behind him, the man tensed. Four sand dwellers in heavy protective garments; leaped up- from concealed positions beneath the desert sands. Each of the sand dwellers clenching tight the corners of a rope strewn net.

The lost man was outnumbered and quickly disarmed and toppled, as he fought to be free of the net. Placing a small tube to his lips, one of the sand dwellers puffed hard in exhaling of his breath. One tiny dart launched at the man’s neck. The lost man groaned, and reached for the dart penetrating his flesh. Darkness quickly overtaking him.

On the approach of three more desert riders, the rider in the center upon a pale steed; the eight mounted riders immediately broke away from their surrounding formation, lining up on the opposite side of this strangers’ difficult take down.

The man’s eyes, barely maintaining a sense of conscious recollection; the deep blue eyes of one other meet his own; a sense of some mysticism from the others’ gaze, the man feeling of some sense of recognized safety. Unconsciousness now completely over took him.

“.…. Princess? Who is this man? He seems American, or perhaps…..”

“I know this man….. He is British, and we must take him to safety…..”

“.….. Guard, of the princesses interests…...” The oldest, of the two guardians- to the rose; muttered in showed discontent.

“... You, heard me- Jordan…...I am not concerned, over your -lack of approval….. Bring him along….. My father, he will want words with him…..”

“.….. Very well princess, but many an enemy, would pay highly- for this ones’ head….. If we are discovered; our efforts, they shall be in vain…..”

“.…. On my responsibility then…..”

“Yes, Princess…..”

The last image, on the lost British man’s sight; before fading: the familiar tattoo: of a rose, on the woman’s left forearm; before her wrist.



Melony Fox was silent. The man named Bastion, stood slowly from behind his desk to greet her. Waving away the brothers three, Bastion dared a smirk of a smile in her presence.

“Central Intelligence Agency Melony Fox? Welcome to my sanctuary…..”

Melony sat in one of two chairs before his desk, the one closest to the exit from his study; on the man’s bidding.

“Care for a drink Miss Fox? I am, a connoisseur of sorts; with an appreciation of fine liquors…..”

“.…. Brandy, please? For , meeting of our interests…..”

“.…. Interests, Miss Fox? Now, what pray tell of your interests; could possibly be of any interest to me?”

Bastion motioned toward his antique glass liquor cabinet, his left eye continually watching the Swedish C.I.A agent that was now sharing the pleasure of his company.

“.…. My interests, not so much….. But, of yours; all the more, Mister Bastion…..”

The man named Bastion now formed a grinning smile upon his face. Bastion poured Melony Fox and himself a drink. The man named Bastion, handed the fem C.I.A agent her glass before taking the first sip.

“Bravo, Miss Fox….. You seem to read me quite well…..”

Melony Fox, sparingly sipped of her glass of brandy. The woman relaxed in the man’s presence.

“.…. Of all the specialists I have on my list of technicians here at Oceanus, you are one of the smartest….. I do have need of your expertise…..”

“It is, commendable for me; to be focus of your ongoing interests…..”

“.…. Yes, quite….. walk with me? I will give you a tour of my sanctuary…..”

Finishing her drink, Melony Fox placed a small transmitter quickly beneath her chair. Having no fear of the woman’s actions, Bastion smiled on her after he returned his attentions her direction. The two drinking glasses now returned to his cabinet after a quick wash and dry. The man’s hawkish left eye never leaving sight of the Swedish beauty of a C.I.A agent.

Bastion guided the woman outside his office and whispered an order to one of the guards standing outside his door. Melony Fox fell silent.

“.…. I have eyes of a hawk Miss Fox….. After you?”

Melony Fox, walked slowly before the man. Bastion keeping close pace right beside her.

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