Show and Tell
It was late in the afternoon when Morrison finished explaining the political landscape of the area in reference to General Gulez. “Well,” Harry commented. “It looks like we landed in the middle of a real hornet’s nest this time.”
“Seems so,” Hannibal returned.
Just as Hannibal spoke, the communicator chimed and Nathanael retrieved it. “Here…you answer it,” he said, handing it to Hannibal.
Hannibal opened it and said, “Talk to me, Dan. What’s going on?” He listened intently and answered, “Yeah, we’re okay for now. There’s this crazy general that’s apparently planning a coup or something and we just happened to fall right in the middle of it. We’re expecting an attack any time if what we found out is correct. This general is bad news. Fortunately, we have some friends here. They’re with us now…. No, I don’ think extraction is necessary yet. I’ll let you know if it becomes necessary. But enough with us, what’s going on there?” He listened intently for a minute or more as Dan explained the situation at the Temple, and then replied, “Told you that cloak would keep them away. Keep a close check on them regardless. By the way, where are you now?” A few seconds passed as Dan answered and Hannibal said, “Good. Wait just a minute.” He then turned to Morrison and asked, “How do you feel?”
“I’ve felt better. These bullet holes are hurting me some right now,” Morrison replied.
Then to both Morrison and Arabella, Hannibal asked, “Would you like to see where I come from and where I took the General’s treasure and warheads?”
Arabella and Morrison looked at each other with a puzzled look. “Didn’t you come on a plane or helicopter?” Morrison asked.
“What’s the matter, John? Don’t you want to see what’s behind the curtain?” Hannibal asked, smiling wryly. “I’m sure you want to know how I pulled all this hardware together and brought it here under everyone’s nose without anyone seeing.”
Harry began sensing where Hannibal was going with this. “Are you sure about this, Hannibal?” he asked bluntly.
“You’re sure about this?” Nathanael likewise queried. “What if they’re spies? Our whole operation could be compromised if they aren’t what they appear to be.”
“Yeah, I’m sure,” Hannibal replied confidently. “Morrison and I had a long talk down in the bunker and after hearing what’s actually happening here, my gut is saying trust him and Arabella. They won’t rat us out.”
“I can understand your concern from talking to Hannibal,” Morrison declared. “But you needn’t worry about us. Gulez has killed everyone I know except for Arabella. Moreover, Arabella here is honest as the day is long. Betrayal isn’t in her nature.”
While Morrison spoke, Selina secretly probed both Morrison’s and Arabella’s minds telepathically, seeing their trustworthy nature. She passed on this knowledge telepathically to Hannibal as she said, “I believe them, Hannibal. I can see it in their eyes.”
“So can I,” Hannibal agreed. “They have no reason to turn on us.” He smiled at Selina and winked.
“Okay, if you think it’s safe to do so,” Harry resigned.
Hannibal turned to Arabella and Morrison, looking them in the eye. “I have access to high technology that is thousands of years old and possibly alien in origin. We came here from Sumatra in an instant,” he declared. “It’s how I moved and disposed of the VX warheads.”
“What are you saying?” Arabella asked in a puzzled manner. “You can’t possibly move instantaneously half way around the world, can you? You must be pulling our legs. That sounds like science fiction.”
Hannibal smiled broadly and said, “Science fiction is it? In that case, watch and wonder.” Then he spoke into the communicator, “Open the portal on this signal, Dan. We have two injuries that we need the deal with.”
The setting sun cast a shaft of sunlight through on of the high windows to the west, shining its light on the camp. Just away from the tents, the air began to shimmer. “Look and marvel at my science fiction,” Hannibal ordered, pointing to where the air was shimmering. Morrison and Arabella watched in astonishment as a brilliant globe of light suddenly appeared, then faded into a glowing ring eight foot in diameter. “John, Arabella…come with me through the looking glass,” Hannibal said as he rose, slowly walking toward the ring. Then to Nathanael and Selina, he said, “We’ll only be a few minutes. I would rather not go into a fight with these wounds. John, Arabella…come. Harry…you might want to come too to make sure you’ve completely recovered from that hypothermia.” He waved his hand toward the portal.
“Right, Hannibal,” Harry agreed, standing up.
As they approached, Mary and Dennis stepped through the portal into the hangar. “Daddy!” Dennis cried out in delight as he ran to Harry, who scooped him up.
Mary followed and stopped briefly in front of Hannibal, Morrison, and Arabella. “Hello. I’m Harry’s wife, Mary. Don’t be afraid of the portal. It’s like stepping between two rooms.” At that, she went to Harry, giving him a big hug.
“Come on,” Hannibal ordered Morrison and Arabella. “We don’t have much time for a tour.” He latched onto their hands and led them through into the portal chamber. Harry, Mary, and Dennis followed close behind.
Dan met them on the platform with a golf cart, saying, “Everything’s ready for you at Station One.” Morrison and Arabella looked on in stupefaction and awe at the vastness of the chamber they were in with the ancient portal machinery all around them.
“Come on,” Hannibal urged as he got on the golf cart. Everyone except Dan got on the cart and Hannibal began to drive. “That’s Dan. I left him in charge here,” he reported. Morrison and Arabella looked back as they approached the tunnel, seeing the vastness of the portal machinery soaring above the floor. Hannibal sped down the tunnel, heading for Station 1.
“Where are we?” Arabella asked as the shock subsided.
“You’re behind the curtain, Arabella; way down the rabbit hole,” Hannibal said humorously. “We’re in the Temple of Tiamat in western Sumatra, approximately three thousand feet below the surface in one of the oldest structures known to man. There’s technology here that boggles the mind and is so far in advance of our modern technology it’s scary. The portal is just one machine. Where I’m taking you now will absolutely blow your mind.” Within five minutes, they stopped in Station 1. “This is Station 1. This fascinating crystalline machine has fantastic healing capabilities,” he informed. Arabella and Morrison looked at the giant crystal and the tables around it with fearful fascination. Harry immediately went to one of the tables, lying down on it. The machine rumbled, shooting a beam of light at Harry to begin its marvelous healing work.
“Just lie down on the table and this machine will fix what ails you,” Harry called out just before falling asleep with Dennis and Mary around him.
“He’s right,” Hannibal agreed as he lay on another table. “Don’t be afraid, John. This ancient machine is incapable of harming you. It’ll heal your bullet wounds so well you will wonder if you ever were shot. Trust me. Just get on the table and see for yourself.” As Hannibal lay there, the crystal began resonating. The table resonated with it and the beam of light shot from the crystal, covering him from head to toe. He immediately relaxed and the pain he felt slowly ebbed away. Morrison and Arabella watched in fascination as the light began to pulse musically. “Go on John. I promise you…it won’t hurt you. Just lie on the table. The machine does the rest,” Hannibal urged sleepily.
Morrison finally summoned the courage to follow Hannibal’s advice. He lay on the table next to Hannibal and Arabella watched intensely as the machine began to work on Morrison as well. She held his hand as the light sprang from the machine and covered Morrison. He looked at Arabella in astonishment as the machine relaxed him, and then began the process of healing.
“It’s warm,” Morrison commented. “Like being in the softest, most comfortable bed you can imagine.”
Arabella was suddenly aware of the relaxing ability of the machine because it was transferring through his hand to hers. “Wow!” she breathed. “This is incredible.” Morrison did not answer because the machine had put him to sleep. She let go of his hand and examined her hand with curiosity. She remembered that she had several cuts on her hand from the work she did the night before. The cuts had completely healed in just the little time she had held on to his hand. It astounded her. “Amazing…what happened to my cuts?” she asked.
“The machine healed your hand because you were in its beam,” Mary reported. “If you just lie down on it, it will help with any complaint you have, including fatigue.”
“Really,” Arabella replied, looking at her healed hand. After a few moments of contemplation, she decided to try the table herself, lying down on one of the vacant tables. She felt the table resonate and vibrate subtly as the warm light encompassed her. “This feels so good,” she murmured. “I haven’t relaxed like this in years.”
“That’s what it’s apparently designed to do,” Mary said, looking down at Arabella. “It’ll give you just what you need.”
Within a few minutes, Arabella noticed that she was beginning to feel very good. Her mind was clearing and her strength was returning. After eight minutes, the machine finished with her and she rose, completely refreshed. She jumped off the table and noticed Harry sitting up with a very healthy complexion and a smile as Mary held his hand. Arabella’s attention turned to Morrison. He was still under the machine’s power. She waited twenty minutes for the machine to complete its work on Morrison, talking with Harry and Mary about the wonders she’d seen. After the light retracted from Morrison, Arabella leaned over him and pulled his shirt down to look at the bandaged shoulder. She pressed it gently. Then she carefully pulled the gauze bandage back to find the wound completely healed with no scar. “My God in Heaven…it’s healed completely!” she exclaimed in astonishment.
“I told you it could heal,” Hannibal said as he got up from the table. “Take a look at my back.” He took his coat and shirt off so the bandages could be removed. Arabella slowly removed Hannibal’s bandages. When she had removed them, she covered her mouth in amazement.
“It’s healed completely with hardly any scarring,” Arabella finally said. “How are the ribs?”
Morrison sat up and turned to get off the table when Hannibal said, “Look for yourself, Arabella.” She prodded and probed his rib cage, immediately noticing that the bruising from the broken ribs was gone, feeling that the ribs were whole and intact.
“This is incredible!” Arabella stated in amazement. “This thing makes all doctors obsolete.”
Hannibal put his shirt on and noticed Morrison sitting on the edge of the table. “How do you feel now, John?” Hannibal asked.
“Better than I have ever felt,” Morrison answered as he dropped to the floor. “No wonder the governments of the world want your head on a plate. If this technology ever got out to the masses, they would lose their control over them.”
“That’s true,” Hannibal agreed as he got on the golf cart. Harry, Mary, Dennis, Arabella, and Morrison followed his lead and they drove back to the portal chamber. As they drove along, Hannibal gave them a brief explanation of what he and his crew had found in the Temple. They pulled back up to the platform in the portal chamber to see the portal still open with Dan manning the console. They got off the cart and Hannibal asked Dan, “Where did you put the gold from the hangar?”
“I put it over there,” Dan said, pointing off the platform to the southeast. “We haven’t found a good place to put it yet.”
“How about putting it in one of the empty rooms in the barracks,” Hannibal suggested as he led Morrison and Arabella to the edge of the platform where Dan had pointed. “There are more than enough of them.”
“I didn’t even think of putting it there,” Dan answered. “Thanks for the suggestion.”
“No problem,” Hannibal called out. Then to Morrison, he said pointing to the pile of treasure just off the platform, “There’s the gold we found. I figured sending it here would be the best idea in order to keep it from being used by the General. At the time I sent it, I didn’t know the stash belonged to the General.”
“You weren’t lying,” Morrison said, completely astounded by the pile of gold he was seeing. “He could have done some major damage with this much money. I wonder where he got it.”
“I don’t know,” Hannibal answered as he led them back to the portal. “But we definitely set him back a pretty penny.”
“So where are the VX warheads?” Morrison asked as Harry said his farewells to Mary and Dennis.
“This amazing machine you see here can literally send you anywhere you want to do, even outer space,” Hannibal declared, seeing Harry going through to the hangar. “We used the portal to extract the warheads from the bunker. Once we had them here, we opened another gate three million miles from the sun and pushed the warhead through the portal into orbit. The warheads incinerated less than a minute after being dropped into that orbit. We literally got them off the planet.”
“Whoa,” Morrison murmured. “I’d say you’re crazy, but I can’t since I’m staring at the machine right here in front of me.”
“You’re a good man, John,” Hannibal declared. “That’s a rarity in this world. I’m glad we bumped into each other.”
“Me too,” Morrison replied.
Turning to Dan, Hannibal said, “Dan. There will be a point when we will lose our ability to communicate with you. I suspect it will occur as we approach the mountain, so don’t worry about us. Just pray and have faith that the Lord will keep us safe during that time.”
“I’ll do that,” Dan said. “We’ll all be praying for you. Nice to have met you,” he said to Morrison and Arabella. “Hannibal knows what he’s doing. He’s had many years of experience in these kinds of things.”
“I’m sure he has,” Arabella agreed. They waved good-bye to Dan as they went through the portal. It snapped shut behind them once they’d cleared it.
“We actually went halfway around the world in an instant, didn’t we?” Morrison asked, looking around at the hangar.
“Yes, we did,” Hannibal stated.
They gathered around the fire and sat down. Harry, Selina, and Nathanael were already sitting. “Feel better now?” Harry asked.
“Yes, sir,” Hannibal replied. “It’s nothing like paying a visit to Station One when you’re hurting. How’re you feeling, Harry?”
“Good,” Harry answered. “That persistent weakness from the hypothermia has been remedied. I’m amazed every time I use that healing machine.”
“I think we all are,” Nathanael agreed. Turning his attention to Morrison, Nathanael asked, “And how are feeling, sir, now that you’ve had a taste of our miraculous ancient alien technology?”
“I’m feeling much better, thank you. That machine is truly a marvel,” Morrison replied.
“No arguments there on that,” Hannibal agreed as dusk cast its shadows across the hangar. “What did Mary and Dennis want, Harry?”
“Nothing much,” Harry replied. “They just wanted to give me this.”
Harry pulled out a small picture Dennis had drawn of the draken colossus and handed it to Hannibal, who looked at it with interest. “Dennis is very talented,” Hannibal confessed. “Just look at this detail. He’ll make a great archaeologist someday.”
Hannibal passed the picture around. When it got to Morrison and Arabella, Morrison asked, “What’s this drawing of? It’s exquisite.” Morrison passed it to Arabella, who looked at it, and then handed it back to Harry.
“It’s a drawing of the outside of the Temple,” Hannibal stated. “That’s what we saw when we first showed up there. That draken is carved out of the side of a dormant volcano and is roughly fifteen hundred feet in height.”
“Whoa! That’s huge!” Morrison exclaimed. “And the boy definitely has some talent. Doesn’t he, Arabella?”
“Yes, he does,” Arabella agreed. “He has a great deal of talent.” Everyone agreed that Dennis had great potential.
“Now, before we get off on another subject, let’s have some formal introductions,” Hannibal announced. “I’m Hannibal Smith, archaeologist and now the most wanted terrorist on the planet. Over here is my partner in crime, Harry Clint, one notch below me on the most wanted terrorist list. You just saw why the masters of the universe want our heads. They’ve been after the ancient technologies for decades and I managed to beat them to it. Over here is Nathanael and Selina. As you no doubt see, they are alien cats from another planet and are father and daughter. I’m actually married to this one.” Selina was sitting next to him, smiling as he reached out grasping her hand.
“You’re married?” Arabella asked in shock. “She’s your wife?”
“Yes,” Selina purred pleasantly. “We’re just recently married.”
“Well, it looks like you made a pretty good choice,” Morrison said. “Even though she isn’t human, she’s very beautiful.”
“Thank you,” Selina returned.
“Okay, now it’s your turn,” Hannibal said.
“Well, I’m Captain John Morrison. I used to be the leader of the militia down here. As I told you earlier, we’ve been in civil war for some time that has been kept under wraps by the powers that be. Gulez laid a trap a couple weeks ago and wiped out my militia. Now, it seems that he’s wiped out our underground support as well. I guess I can thank God that you happened along or I’d be dead too,” Morrison stated.
“I’m doctor Arabella Bishop,” Arabella announced soberly. “Up until today, I used to be one of the best doctors in the area. I’ve been secretly helping Johnny and the underground by hiding him and giving him and his people medical attention when they required it. I had three other people working for me. They too knew about my assistance to Johnny and willingly helped. Peter was one of them. I can only assume after what happened this morning, they too are dead. They were family. I was very close to them, especially Peter. It hurts me knowing they’re gone now, killed by that maniac for no good reason.”
Selina nodded her head knowingly. “We know what it’s like to lose loved ones,” she replied. “If it will help, you can consider us family if you like.”
“We’ll see that your friend has a proper burial,” Hannibal added.
“Thank you. That’s good of you,” Arabella replied.
“Now that all the pleasantries are out of the way, could you please explain how you came to be married to an alien cat?” Morrison asked.
“Not at all,” Hannibal said with a chuckle. He then proceeded to tell the story of the last two years of his life, and how he found the Temple. He explained the various marvels and terrors he encountered in its exploration, including the portal chamber and how he ultimately rescued Selina and Nathanael from the jaws of death at the hands of a supernova. Everyone listened intently as he told the tale. Hannibal explained who and what Nathanael and Selina were and how he came to be married to Selina. He expounded on the special connection between he and Selina and how it came about, including the repeated downloads they had suffered because of his initial contact with the Teacher in the core of the Library. For two and a half hours, he told the tale, talking well into the night.
As he finished telling the tale, Morrison said, “That some story. It would be completely unbelievable except for two incontestable things: One, we saw the Temple, at least a portion of it and some of the technology it holds and two, having two giant alien cats sitting in our midst. It does, however, explain a great deal.”
“That it does,” Arabella agreed. “But it’s all so much. I feel like I’ve gotten lost in an episode of the Twilight Zone.”
“Don’t feel bad about that,” Harry told Arabella. “I used to be a cop before the masters of the universe turned my life upside down and made me into a terrorist at the click of a computer mouse. Before that happened, I knew virtually nothing about what Hannibal had his claws in, only that he was an archaeologist who had participated in digs all over the world. Now, I’m trapped in his world because we were close friends and I wanted to be part of this expedition. I knew nothing of the Temple or any of his other work three months ago. We were friends who served together in Vietnam. Three months ago, he came over for dinner at my house in order to help convince my wife to let me go with him. My world changed forever that fateful evening. When all of this happened to me, I felt just like you...as if I was trapped in a weird sci-fi epic. I still do, but I have managed to adjust to it.”
“We all have,” Hannibal said. “Can you imagine what a change it was to have two Lynxians as part of research team, and then to find out the day I married one of them that they were royalty? Imagine my surprise. It was like some weird soap opera and I hate soap operas. But you do eventually become accustomed to it.”
“Not that I wouldn’t like to sit and talk all night, I must remind everyone that we have a maniac who could pay us a visit any time,” Nathanael reminded everyone. “We should keep watch. Who wants to take the first watch?”
“I’ll take the first watch,” Harry volunteered.
“All right,” Hannibal replied. “I’ll take second watch then.”
“No,” Nathanael disagreed, “I’ll do it.”
Hannibal nodded and answered, “Very well. I’ll take the third watch then. John, will you take the fourth watch?”
Morrison nodded his head yes, and said, “Sure. I’m certain that since Gulez hasn’t hit us all ready, he’ll probably strike a dawn. I’ve studied his tactics for a long time. He prefers a massive attack with elite troops at dawn to an attack during the night or during the day.”
“All right then,” Hannibal said. “We’ll expect him at dawn then. Has he ever changed his pattern?”
“No, he’s stubborn that way,” Morrison replied. “It gives us an edge. By the way, is there a way to get in and out of the perimeter without the guns mowing you down?”
“Yes,” Nathanael said. “We have a couple of remotes that can allow you in and out of the perimeter. They’re right here.” He pointed to the small table where the lap top computer sat. Beside the computer lay two small devices.
“Don’t go out of the perimeter without letting me know first,” Hannibal ordered. “We can’t afford to have those remotes to fall into the wrong hands.”
“Don’t worry about it. I won’t go out without letting you know,” Morrison assured them.
“Good,” Hannibal said. “Do we have any extra tents?”
“Arabella can have my tent,” Harry offered.
“You can bunk with me, Harry,” Nathanael said. Harry nodded okay.
“I don’t need a tent. I’ll sleep out here,” Morrison stated.
“All right…we’ll try and find another sleeping bag,” Hannibal said. “Do we have an extra bag, Nathanael?”
“I think so,” Nathanael said as he went looking through the supplies. He found one and handed it to Morrison.
“Thank you,” Morrison said gratefully.
“Thank you, Harry,” Arabella said gratefully as she found the pack with her clothes and went into Harry’s tent with it.
Nathanael went into his tent as Hannibal pulled Harry aside. “Keep your eyes open tonight,” Hannibal warned. “Things aren’t right here. I can feel it.”
“I will,” Harry replied as Morrison laid out his bag next to Harry’s tent, settling in.
“We’re in your hands, bud,” Hannibal declared, patting Harry on the shoulder.
“Get some sleep,” Harry said as he saw Selina go into Hannibal’s tent.
Hannibal walked away, leaving Harry alone for the watch. He went into his tent and laid down in the sleeping bag by Selina. Hannibal looked into her face and asked, “How’re you doing?”
“I’m good now,” Selina replied as she snuggled close to him.
Hannibal put his arm around her and asked, “How did you fare when I was injured? What did our link do under those circumstances?” She hugged him tightly without answering, opening her memories to him and he briefly experienced the torment she experienced. He cringed and wept, crying, “My Lord; how’d you ever survive that? I was out cold most of that time so I didn’t feel anything. You endured tremendous pain because of this link. I never wanted you to share my pain like that.” He lay there and rocked her gently.
Selina kissed him and said, “Everything’s all right now. My dad knocked me out when it happened and the Lord has apparently dampened that part of the link. I can still feel your pain but it is not nearly as bad as it was yesterday. I felt every little prick and poke and cut, especially when Arabella was cleaning your wounds. It was hell.”
“I know, my precious angel,” Hannibal replied. “I know. Let’s give thanks unto the Lord.” They lay there, prayed together, giving thanks, and then drifted off to sleep as Harry walked the perimeter inside the hangar and out on the field, keeping watch.