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ALFONSO MEDINA LEANED against the hood of a black Range Rover, oblivious to the whooshing roar of departing planes. Twenty additional, unoccupied Rovers stretched down from his. All sat on the tarmac at a large commercial airstrip.
He rotated a 7” half-sphere from side-to-side in his left hand. Hundreds of specks sparkled in the noon sun inside the pulsating golden substance within the vessel. He moved his right hand up the curve of, seemingly, delicate blue glass; finally curling one finger at a time over it. His hand remained for only a second before he opened the large leather pouch that sat on the hood. Returning the vessel to the pouch, he strapped it in next to three identical half-spheres and cinched the bag closed. He studied the copper skin of his weathered hand for a moment.
Are you wondering how you will change? His half-brother, Nacon’s, communication interrupted his thoughts. He joined Alfonso resting against the hood.
Alfonso pulled the pouch off the hood onto his right shoulder. A waste of time.
Both watched assigned members of their Collective move large, vertical cases efficiently between their recently deplaned Boeing 787 and thirteen idling vans, all approximately twenty feet directly across from the Range Rovers. Similar activity happened at airports in states north, south, east and further west.
Alfonso tuned into the workers. None of them engaged in communication, telepathical or otherwise, underscoring the value of their cargo. Many of the cases they loaded contained vessels similar to the filled ones in his pouch. All vessels occupied prior to the trip here—Denver, Colorado, USA—from the Yucatán. An uneventful trip that continued as such. Even though the members had worked non-stop for the last half-hour, no one paid any attention to them. The large sum that Korah, Nacon’s father, paid to the airport manager hadn’t hurt.
The members completed their tasks and got into the vans, except for the drivers. All thirteen stood next to open driver’s door with a curt nod toward Alfonso and Nacon before getting in and driving away. Alfonso watched the procession begin their long drive to a large, secluded parcel of land in the mountains. Land none of them had visited; secured, and built up, by an advance group. He cinched the pouch’s shoulder strap tighter.
Nacon communicated again. They would be just as safe at the ranch.
Alfonson glanced at this brother. Perhaps.
It is your fear that what happened to Fara will happen again. She—
You need not concern yourself with the presence or absence of my fear.
An accident beyond anyone’s control. Concern wrapped around a contemptuous center.
He didn’t even look at Nacon. Instead he stood and walked toward the plane. Korah has the information we need.
They walked through the plane to a lounge area. Korah, seated at a table, waved them toward seats across from him. His once creased tobacco hued skin was now a smooth tanned pine shade. Both boys sat. Korah pushed a portfolio folder across to them. Alfonso picked it up and leafed through the dossiers it contained. Korah addressed Alfonso.
Son of Josheet, complete all transitions by tonight. The Three, if not the entire Council, must be in place before the other planes return with the units. He turned to Nacon. Your brother directs. He returned his gaze to Alfonso. Defined angles had replaced the broad flatness of his face. The Council expects much of you, Son of Josheet. He picked up another folder. Send in the others.
Alfsono heard the challenge, but remained silent.