Kruzakian took a second look at the piece of paper his boss had
given him. He was small and fine-boned, and appeared even more so
in the grey suit the company had mandated their employees wear to
work. And he wasn't quite sure he was in the right place. But
he'd been told to go into the spaceship in bay 29, into the
engine room, and connect the thingy he'd gotten along with his
order to some other thingies he'd find inside the case of
whatever-that-was the description on the crumpled order-sheet
He had no idea if he was
doing it right, since usually he didn't do spaceship
Ed was an accountant,
civilian pay grade A15 subsection 15, security classification 8B,
which basically meant he was allowed to know the names on the pay
checks that wandered across his desk. His technical abilities
extended no further than changing the toner for the copy machine
in the open-plan office he worked in with about fifty of his
He had no idea
whatsoever what he had done here.
wasn't the first.
Sebastian held the spiral wire up against the flickering light
and tried to decide which end was "up" since the
scribbled note in her inbox had ordered her to put the "up"-end
of the spiral wire (type EF1652-4) she had been told to get from
the supply department into the opening marked with a red cross
and tighten the screw till it was impossible to pull it out even
with her full weight. A considerable task. Mary Sebastian was a
permanent member of the local Weight Watchers group and –
to her great regret – also their most prominent
She threw another look
at the spiral wire that dangled down from her round fingers,
bouncing up and down like one of her five year old
granddaughter's corkscrew curls. And the ends looked identical to
her. She had no idea what she was doing here, only a week before
she would retire and move to the nice little apartment in Florida
she'd saved her money for through almost all the forty-five years
she'd been working.
always thought spaceships were roomier than this narrow
Lester." The charming young officer in her tight fitting
uniform of blindingly bright white who'd introduced herself to
him as 'Susi with an "I"' beamed at him, thankfully
oblivious to his open gape at her front-side. "I'm so glad
you can do this for me. I'm to report to the admiral in an hour
and if I go in there and put in that chip, I'm sure I'll get
covered from head to toe in some slimy gunk and then I'd never
make it in time. Really..." she beat impossible eyelashes at
him, and nearly chased him up the ramp and down into that engine
For a brief moment,
Lester noticed she needn't have worried about her appearance.
This was the cleanest place he'd ever been in, probably including
the hospital where his Mom had given birth to him nineteen years
ago. His mother certainly wouldn't have imagined her son would be
delivering pizzas now and rescuing breath-taking navy cadets with
red blonde curls from the horror of scratching a nail.
pressed the simple black rectangular chip into the socket and was
rewarded with a couple of red LEDs lighting up around it. As red
Forget it, Lester,
he berated himself, shrugging, and sticking his tasteless chewed
bubblegum under the low ceiling of the compartment next to the
entrance lock. That hottie's the chick of some officer with a
ton of medals. She'll never let me and my cheesy pizza fingers
into her bleached pants...
was right, she was gone when he left the vessel. Damn. He should
have asked for her number before he went in.
Behind an unmarked office door
you are sure nobody knowing the plans ever came near it?"
The voice came from behind the high back of a glossy polished
dark leather armchair, behind a desk so perfectly clean it
appeared completely unused. Its back so high it was impossible to
see from the door whether or not it was occupied. But she knew
that it was. She didn't work for somebody who made
"Yes, sir. The
ship was manufactured as a standard model for Earth's Armed
Forces in the Australian wharfs, then flown to Phoenix
about the addition?"
from standard components offered by electronic shops, brought and
connected by people without any knowledge of what they were
An arm, wrapped in
a dark grey custom suit sleeve, appeared on the arm of the chair.
A strong though elegant hand brushed with finely trimmed nails
across the rich dark leather, before it came to rest. "Any
possibility that one of the last assemblers guessed the
purpose of the installation?"
took care that the last people seeing the construct had no
technical knowledge whatsoever. The final one was a pizza
delivery guy whose sole hobby is getting brainless chicks into
his bed." The woman's voice indicated clearly what she
thought of the man in question.
The dark leather chair straightened but didn't turn.
you wish, sir." The woman clicked her heels and left the
room with swift, precise movements, her muscles far too well
trained to have the "lush curves" the lecher this
morning had admired so blatantly that she'd have loved to smash
his face on the concrete earlier in the day.
swivelled around after she'd left and reached for the scrambled
All that was left to do
now, was find the right person to make the gift...
gift for my homeworld?" Niko asked, disbelieving. "I'm
sorry, sir, but–"
need to be sorry." The charming older man with the
gray-white hair seemed to nod all the time. "Look, I am just
the messenger. You must see Earth created the Galaxy Ranger
program mostly to fulfill its League duties and now it seems that
we have gained the goodwill of a non-League world."
I am here solely on my own volition, Mr. Sorensen," Niko
"Of course you
are. But your people let you go." He nodded again and for a
brief moment she wondered if his glasses would jump off his nose
if he nodded any more vigorously. "And Earth wants to honor
the courage of the first non-League member's help fighting crime
throughout the galaxy. We accept that your people prefer to stay
unknown." Again that birdlike nodding. "All I ask of
you is to contact them, so they can come and take their gift. It
will stay where it is."
people don't like attention, Mr. Sorensen," she said
"They can come and
take it without any ceremony if they prefer it that way. We just
hope they like it. Please forward this to your people. That's all
we're asking for."
was the last of the Circle of Thoughts who remained at the remote
location where their power had set down the technical gimmick
Earth had insisted on giving them. An amused smile whizzed over
her impressive face and she was tempted to have a fierce
reflexion flash off her spectacles just for the effect.
spaceship in itself was nothing but a toy. But a toy constructed
with skill and dedication and pride by those who created and
assembled it. And it was that pride and dedication imprinted in
it that made it a valuable gift even in the eyes of the members
of the Circle of Thoughts. Except of one tiny part in
Ariel shook her head.
temptation got the better of her and the imagined reflexion
sprang off the silver nose bridge and ricochetted like the flash
of a superhero comic figure across the orchid-covered clearing in
the colorful trumpet calyx forest.
worked just one time in your history. Three thousand years ago.
And they still believe that nobody's read the Iliad since
With that humorous
thought she turned the tiny locator device hidden in the engine
compartment into a wooden horse.
go to S. 'Trivia' Blank for finding the Troian horses filled with
mistakes in this. Thank you!