Journeying with Driver
‘How much time would have passed for them now?’ I asked the Commander. I really didn’t care but enquired to fill in the blank spaces of conversation. The space near the hub of the galaxy congealed into a clot of cosmic dust. We were approaching our destination, Boris World.
Driver picked her crowded teeth with the end of a paper clip.
We sat at the bridge of the “Storm”, a small craft, but we did nothing, and the computer did everything: Navigation, piloting, maintenance—you name it, the machine did it, even serving tea and coffee.
‘I suppose a hundred years has passed back there,’ I said.
‘Oh, no my dear, Holly, nothing like that! Time doesn’t pass that quickly.’ Driver corrected. ‘Only a few months really.’
‘Really? Is that all? How do you know?’
‘I’ve been doing this route for years. Someone has to look after those poor, unfortunates…I suppose I have clocked up a hundred years of your—what are you? Twenty something?’ She sized me up and down.
‘What? How long have you been around? I mean, how long have you been…? When…?’
Driver smoothed her smock over her belly, then thinning her lips she shook her head.
‘Oh, of course, you’re Gunter’s sister—mid-Seventeenth…’
‘You worked it out.’
‘Er, yeah.’ I turned to her. ‘How did you…?’
‘Let’s change the subject, Holly.’ The Commander spun her seat around to face me. ‘Now what’s a beautiful girl like you doing still single? In my day, girls were well and truly married by your age, and with three or four babes, mind you. What’s wrong with you Twentieth Century girls? Or are you Twenty-First now? I don’t know, time is going so fast.’
‘It’s the job, I guess.’ I shrugged. ‘Besides, I’m waiting for the right one. I was engaged once—I could have been married, if I didn’t happen to join the IGSF…’ I gazed out at the view. ‘On the topic of marriage, why aren’t you married?’
Driver bit her lower lip with her prominent teeth.
‘Oh, come on! I’ve been honest. It’s only fair, Commander.’
My companion sighed, ‘Long story short…my mother was possessed by demons and my father, well, was never there—always going off to war…and the war went for thirty years…then, of course he joined the war against Boris.’ Driver sighed again. ‘So, with my family background, you have to understand, four hundred years ago, no one in their right mind would want me…So, I joined a religious order.’
‘What about Fritz?’ I asked. ‘I heard you had something special with Fritz.’
Driver glanced up at the window displaying a canopy of stars. ‘What part of “nunnery” and “convent”, don’t you understand? I’ve taken a vow of celibacy. I’m married to the Lord Jesus. Therefore, my dear, no man for me.’
‘Right, then, Sister, I think you have your answer about my status,’ I said. ‘You’ve committed your life and purpose to the religious order and to God, and as for me, my work and purpose in joining the IGSF amounts to the same thing—celibacy.’
‘In theory, where you’re concerned.’
‘Yep, we won’t get into that. That’s history, now.’
The past few days had been a blur. Fritz passed on a vial of melon virus which he had developed. He said that it was a special delivery from Adelaide, South Australia, for Boris. He also passed on greetings from Officer Eloise Delaney.
Fritz showed me how I should store it in my nose and sneeze at the appropriate time. Fritz had injected me with the vaccine, so I was immune to the melon poison.
Fahrer was absent at my farewell. Smith said he had a specialist doctor’s appointment.
The Chief Admiral walked me through the paperwork to sign my current life into non-existence, and I couldn’t help thinking, I’d done this all before. But when? How? The details lingered in my subconscious just out of reach.
I coasted through the training. Learnt the tricks of the IGSF Special Forces trade—like how to project an image onto the opponent’s mind. Mastered the skill. And learnt how to use the Blob Fish serum to morph into different people, objects and animals. Mastered that skill too. And they taught me how to become invisible using the invisibility blanket and also without the blanket, how to blend into a crowd and not be noticed. That skill I struggled with—I preferred to use the blanket.
Did what I was told. Became a robot. Performed simulations, role-plays and endured strategic planning discussions. I focused on the mission.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019
Feature painting: Stanley Chasm Men © L.M. Kling 2018
Another recent painting of mine, this one of the most popular scenic sites in the MacDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory. “Stanley Chasm Men” is for sale at the Marion Art Group exhibition at Bayside Village for the SALA Festival in August. You can also check out my work on the Gallery 247 website.
Marion Art Group’s exhibition is to be held from Monday August 5 to Sunday August 18, Bayside Village, corner Jetty and Brighton Roads, Glenelg.
Holidays? Yearning for adventure?
Click on the links to my novels below and learn how this war on the alien cockroach Boris began and will continue…