The car driver was grinning as he walked over to Eddy, “Hi, I’m Glafco. I'm the one who picked you up at the river. Is that cosmic powered mental telepathy thunder music that rolled out of our circle with Gwen why those jerks tied you to a tree?”
“I think so,” Eddy answered. He couldn't suppress a hint of a giggle at Glafco's description of thunder music and realized he didn't want to; Eddy leaned his head back and laughed out loud before he could finish answering Glafco. “Melodian Beings live in a subterranean world beneath this continent." Eddy said with a far away look and still smiling. "I was taught some of their language by one of them named Star Song. Melodians can sing with the stars and planets, we all just did it with Gwen. Don’t ask me how.”
“Are you ready to go back to the ship?” Glafco asked.
Eddy watched the last prisoner being marched into the shed. “No,” he responded. The memory of what Gwen had said about the United States of Earth destroying a fresh, clean planet to make another free market for pirate executives and their corporations was still fresh in his mind.
“I think we should try to make those prisoners talk, we can move the car to the sheds and leave from there when we are finished.”
“Okay by me,” Glafco responded, as he slid into the car seat. He watched intently as Eddy sat down next to him. “Could you do that mental telepathy thing with me?” he asked.
Eddy liked Glafco’s easy smile and friendly manner. He pulled the delfinian translator out of his pocket and chuckled quietly to himself. “This ought to get you going,” he said, putting on the collar. “Are you ready for your first lesson?” Delfinian words came out of his mouth as he projected the same question with a melodian song. Glafco’s wide eyes made Eddy laugh out loud. He was sure his joke had tricked Glafco into hearing the melodian way of inner musical speech as well as the spoken delfinian words. Putting one hand over his mouth and the other on Glafco’s head he asked, “Can you hear my melody?”
Glafco nodded, “Yes.”
“I heard your brief melody when you nodded,” Eddy said without words and looking past Glafco’s silhouette to the growing dark spot of doom. “Everything is happening super fast all of a sudden. Could you handle a close-up look at Doom Cloud for starters?”
Once again, eyes wide open, Glafco nodded agreement.
Eddy closed his eyes and looked at the sun’s light on the inside of his eyelids. The instant his eyelids fluttered slightly he heard the sun’s song in harmony with the planets and other suns. Then Eddy sang his own melody. He sang of his appreciation for planet Pacifica, thanking her for helping him and Gwen. He visualized the beauty of mother Earth and his sadness that humanity had treated her so poorly. His melodies swelled with growing confidence and he sang to the sun for warmth and light. That moment transported them to confront Doom Cloud directly.
Eddy and Glafco watched the battle fleet focus withering joy beams into the haggard and now even more ragged giant. The battle fleet was grouped near the delfinian ships that transferred recharge energy from the limitless wellspring of gravity to the fleet joy generators so they could blast the enemy nonstop at maximum power. The alliance between delfinians and humans was clearly proving itself to be very effective.
Eddy raised both arms above his head and faced Doom Cloud. “Stop! Go away! You are a coward who consumes joy of life and turns it to perverted want and lust for power. We don’t want you around here.”
They watched Doom Cloud shudder and suddenly launch swarms of swirling darkness. Raging storms were hurled at the fleet, to no avail. Storming blast after blast could not penetrate the fleet’s defensive weapons and were reduced to drifting debris that the sun quickly evaporated with solar wind.
“It heard you,” Glafco said. “The thing went crazy when you called it a coward.”
“Indeed it did, young humans. You both have done well. Now hurry back, sunset approaches.”
“Star Song!” Eddy said. “Where are you?”
“I am with you, young warrior. Sing with the planet as you have already done. Show your friend the way. Doom Cloud is frightened by humans who have learned the glue of creation is Joy itself. A dangerous frightened beast is almost upon us. Though we may yet be crushed, there is still hope. Now I must work elsewhere. You can do it.”
“You have heard planet Pacifica’s song when we were all together before Gwen left,” Eddy said to Glafco. “Sing the melody of her grandeur back to her.”
Glafco visualized the beach and the sea. He sang in praise of Planet Pacifica as they passed by the sun. In the flash of an instant they were back in the car looking at Doom Cloud.
“Can you drive this thing?” Eddy asked, leaning back into the seat and consciously practicing what he thought was Glafco’s cool way of talking. Eddy felt comfortable around Glafco, partly because there were less than ten years in age between them, mainly because Glafco was obviously trying to be friendly and have as much fun as possible even during the worst time imaginable.
There were beads of sweat on Glafco forehead as he turned to Eddy with a wondering expression and mouth slightly agape. A broad grin slowly spread across his face and his eyes twinkled at Eddy with a friendly gaze, “Where to Bub?” He asked.
Eddy pointed to the hatching sheds. “There is still an hour left until sunset, let’s go talk with those prisoners.”
Glafco drove to the sheds and stopped. Eddy jumped out of the car and signaled the guard to open the door to the nearest shed. He walked in accompanied by the guard and Glafco. The woman prisoner was sitting in a chair. Her only constraint was a thin cable tether line clipped to her ankle and locked to a metal ring on the wall. The look she gave Eddy as he approached was the disdainful scorn of one who obviously felt superior.
Eddy ignored her expression and went straight to what he wanted to know. “Who else is working with you?” He asked. She glared at him for a moment and then turned away without answering.
“You must know we can’t possibly have a trial before Doom Cloud arrives,” Eddy said.
She continued to ignore him and said nothing.
Glafco put his hand on Eddy’s shoulder. “We’re not going anywhere with this one,” he said. “Let’s move on to another shed.” Turning with a smooth twist on the ball of one foot, Glafco walked out the door with Eddy and the guard following. At the next shed they confronted a man who was also tethered to the wall.
“Let me try this time, you keep quiet,” Glafco said, testing his melodian telepathic song instead of using words. Winking at Eddy he turned to the prisoner; “You have wronged my friend here,” he said, pointing to Eddy. “You have also endangered every person on the planet, including yourself.”
Glafco studied the prisoner for any reaction before proceeding. “I can’t force you to speak but I can tell you that this shed is probably beyond the protection our joy beams will provide. Should Doom Cloud get this far, you will be in direct contact with it. Old-age and then a painful death will hit you in moments. We plan to resist to the bitter end and we have no time to waste, you have ten seconds to decide whether you will help us defeat Doom Cloud or wait alone for it to find you here in this shed.”
Glafco held his watch up before his eyes until ten slow and silent seconds passed. Without saying another word he walked to the door, opening it to let Eddy and the guard pass.
“Wait!” Shouted a low, raspy voice Eddy recognized instantly. “What’s in it for me if I help?”
“I can’t say for sure,” Glafco responded. “If we survive there will be a trial. Your assistance will obviously be considered and effect your sentence. Perhaps you will be exiled to an island for prisoners, or sent back to Earth. Right now we want the names of every person who is in on the idiotic scheme to help Doom Cloud. That microphone there will relay your list to settlement headquarters. If you hide any names that will come out in the trial.”
The prisoners slumped in his chair. “I didn’t want to do this in the first place. My dad is in jail on Earth. I was told he’d never come out alive if I didn’t help. All I wanted was to start a new life on Luna.”
Glafco cut him off. “We don’t have much time. Who’s the boss?” “You have her in the other shed,” the prisoner responded glumly.
Glafco walked to a wall panel and turned two switches. “Now the other prisoners and headquarters can hear you give the names.” Then he turned and gave instructions to the guard. “As soon as we find out about any traitors that might be slowing down work on the delfinian ship, please check out the other prisoner and see if you can convince him to talk, too.”
Is there anyone working with your gang on the ship?” Eddy asked.
“Yeah, there are two,” the prisoner answered, with a resigned sigh, “one is called Wendy, I don’t know the guy’s name.”
“Okay. We’re gone,” Glafco said to the guard as he and Eddy raced out the door and jumped into the car.
Eddy watched the ship as they approached, his body strained forward as if he could add speed. “These cars are much better than the kind they have in the United States but I do wish we could go as fast as theirs do.”
“We’re almost there,” Glafco replied. “Headquarters probably radioed the names to their ship already, I’m sure we’re just backup for this but I’m hurrying anyway.”
Steering around a clump of small trees Glafco let out with a hoot as the little car slid sideways like a rock skipping on water all the way to the ship boarding ramp. Glafco jumped out of the car and ran up the ramp as soon as they stopped. Eddy followed close behind, he slipped on his translator caller as they squeezed inside through the hatch.
They ran around the water barrier to the Captain, who was busily flashing ship diagrams on the main screen and talking to someone through a microphone. The captain turned to Eddy and Glafco. “We have just caught two saboteurs before they could do anything serious,” he said, reaching over the enclosure and grasping their hands. “I am Captain Pearl, I was told it was you who discovered the danger to my ship’s mission. Thank you very much.”
"And I want to thank you very much for sending a rescue team for Gwen and me when we were tied to that tree," Eddy quickly responded with a delfinian bow of respect. "Please also thank that team for me when you get a chance."
You are welcome and I will pass on your thanks," Captain Perl responded, returning Eddy's delfinian bow of respect.
Glafco quickly introduced himself. “I’ll take them back to the settlement,” Glafco added.
Captain Pearl's eyes widened when he heard Glafco speaking delfinian in his head using melodian song. He started to talk but instead nodded to Glafco with a smile and turned to Eddy using Cecric's words, “We are in a major big hurry and will lift off in less than a half hour. There is no reason for you to leave, is there?”
“No, Captain, I’m ready to go.” Eddy said. Then realizing just how close lift-off was Eddy turned to Glafco, “I’ll walk out to the car with you though,” he said.
A group of men were approaching as they squeezed past the water barrier and walked down the boarding ramp to the car. “Those must be the prisoners,” Glafco said, nodding his head toward two people with their arms tied behind them.
“It was neat to watch you pry a confession out of that guy in the shed and help catch these two before takeoff,” Eddy said. "And it was even better listening to talk to Captain Perl practicing Melodian song." Wanting to say something more but unsure how, he glanced downward and scuffed his shoes in the dirt before looking Glafco in the eyes. “I sure have enjoyed meeting you Glafco. You can laugh and make jokes even at a terrible time like this,” he said, while making a mental note to tell Cecric he’d met a human as fun-loving as her.
Glafco laughed, I guess with a job like mine a person has to keep a sense of humor.”
“Really? What’s your job?”
I work in social ecology, some call it ecological economics. I usually work with Chiang and quite a bit with Shawn, Gwen, or Sequoia. They are all fun to work with. Our job is to make sure we settle into this planet without wrecking it. Believe me, most of the time it’s a pretty dry job. I mainly manage people who make sure our market exchange prices include all the environmental costs and social goods. Our crew adds up the known calories of energy associated with making, using, and recycling every product.”
Eddy thought about Glafco’s job. “Are you talking about all of us living well in balance with nature?”
“You’ve hit the nail on the head, Bub. We keep track of the compass heading for a way of life that does not hurt the planet and leaves a healthy place to the future for all life forms. The goal is to maintain an optimum environment and respect the rights of all species instead of producing maximum profit for a few fat cats.”
“Glafco, you have the best job I’ve ever heard of." Eddy exclaimed. "If we live through this, do you think I might work with you?”
Glafco wrapped Eddy into a bear hug. “Of course you may. I’d be thrilled to work with you. Maybe when you go to Earth you will bring back an old classmate of mine, Kevin. Shawn and Walker’s younger brother. Now that would be fun! I’m sure we’d make a great team.”
Then it was Glafco’s turn to grow quiet. “In case Doom Cloud does win,” he said, “just so you know; I’ve enjoyed meeting you, too.” His voice quivered ever so slightly, he stopped talking long enough to stare at the ocean for a deep breath. Then he slapped Eddy on the shoulder and grinned. “You should board your ship before it leaves without you, good buddy.”
continue to New Copilots, Chapter 22