Global Explorer II
by David McLeod
East Wing, the White House, February 21 @ 7:30 AM
"Folks, I apologize for getting you up so early in the morning," President Hawkins said. "On the other hand, I suspect that with an eight hour time difference between here and St. Petersburg, we're all going to have to get accustomed to it."
He shook his head in a mock gesture, and said, "I think I can see a spike in coffee futures."
It got a chuckle. Which was pretty good given the time of day.
"You have seen and heard what was broadcast from Russia," the president said, "and I can see in your faces that you do not believe. Let me change that, right now. Believe.
"A new day has dawned in Russia. The United States of America is fortunate that Tsar Jonathan Romanov is our ally.
"The first planeload of children will arrive at our military hospital in Ramstein, Germany in a few hours. Additional planes from Russia and from our allies will quickly follow. Fortunately, we seem to be at a lull in fighting in the Middle East, so our military hospitals can handle this influx. Some of those children will be moved to hospitals in the USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere. When they are healed, and as Tsar Jonathan said, they will be returned to Russia.
"Now that the most important thing–the children–has been addressed, let me add that I have instructed the Secretary of State to extend diplomatic recognition to the new government of Russia, to expel all current Russian diplomatic personnel from this country–including those in New York at the United Nations– and to offer whatever assistance this country can provide to this new government."
The president's statement about expelling diplomats was mild compared to what actually happened. KGB associates–thugs and thieves–who held diplomatic status were forcefully removed from embassies and consulates, restrained as necessary, and loaded onto military planes that transported them to Moscow, where they were arraigned before joining their comrades in the Lubyanka prison.
Global Explorer, Jimmy's Stateroom, 21 February 2018
Bobby lifted Jimmy from the tub and carried him to the bed, on which he'd put several large towels. Jimmy lay passively while Bobby dried him, and then himself. Passive except for his penis, that is. Bobby watched Jimmy's face most of the time. He got real pleasure from Jimmy's reaction to being taken care of. On the other hand, Jimmy's penis was hard to ignore.
"Bobby, thank you for taking care of me."
"Jimmy? When I wash you and carry you and dry you, your face … it's almost like when I used to scratch the ears of my puppy. I can't explain it, but it makes me feel like you've not been … um, cuddled? Held? Dried? In a long time."
"Please lie down beside me, and hold me," Jimmy asked. When the boys were comfortable on the bed, Jimmy whispered to Bobby.
"I wouldn't let my family do any of this. I had a kind of trapeze bar in my bathroom at home, and could lift myself in and out of the tub. I was afraid they would put me in an institution if I couldn't take care of myself, so I made sure they knew I could–take care of myself, that is. I was afraid … "
"You're not afraid of me?" Bobby said.
Jimmy cuffed the boy lightly on his shoulder. "Not afraid of you." He smiled and repeated, "Not afraid of you."
Bobby nibbled on Jimmy's ear for a moment. "Thank you for your trust. Are you crying?"
"Yes, but they're happy tears."
UFC Leadership, Waffle Castle Restaurant, February 21, 2018 @ 8:00 AM
Calling the Waffle Castle a restaurant was a bit of a stretch. The tables were covered with Formica; the napkins were paper; and the menu was laminated in plastic. None of this mattered to the three men who had gathered there.
"What just happened?" The Bishop's voice was quiet, but behind that question was his real concern: what was going to happen to his deal with the KGB?
"The Russians simply behaved like Russians–dissolving into chaos. Have you ever seen the movie, ‘Battleship Potemkin'? And wasn't it Lenin who said that chaos was opportunity? It's up to us to take advantage of the chaos."
The Elder's optimism was not shared by the Bishop. "Have we heard from our people, there?"
"It's unlikely that they've had time," Elder #1 replied.
Global Explorer, February 21, 2018, @ 0800 Eastern
On the Explorer, the announcement from Russia and the speeches from the various Foreign Ministers and the UN were replayed on the television screens in the Supercargo Mess and elsewhere.
Nicky, Captain Izzard, the press pool, and our closest friends from among the UNSC ensigns and Sea Cadets had watched from the conference room as the president's news conference unfolded. Others, including the high school kids, watched on the screens in the supercargo dining room.
The people who had been with us last year were, for the most part, enthusiastic: they knew Jonathan, and they'd caught sight of Davey with him. It was easy for them to identify with those two boys.
Global Explorer, February 21, 2018 @ 1200 Hours
&sciencetruthnolies: i told you so!
"This was posted less than five minutes after Jonathan ended his speech."
"Any clues about who this guy is?" I asked.
"No," Nicky said. "Again, he's just minutes behind the curve. He is bringing in people who are not linked to other sites, however. So far, that's all he's done. He's just minutes behind public information. It's like he's waiting in the wings for the public release before he posts."
"Crap. We'll never find him that way."
St. Petersburg, Russia, February 22, 2018, Ensign Davey Jones's Journal
My first and most important task was to set up secure communications between Jonathan and his allies. At the moment that included Anconia Industries, specifically Mr. Anconia, plus Jonathan's mother; Nicky's new mommy; a bunch of Special Forces dudes; and the dryads. The dryads didn't need the electronics, though.
Mr. Anconia's people had put a rack of crypto gear on the plane that brought Jonathan and me to Russia, and I'd watched over it until we moved it into the Winter Palace. That would do for routine communications, but we were not sure that the American NSA couldn't crack it.
For super-secure comms, Alexander had given me a neutrino phone, but it only connected me with him and the Explorer. We really needed a switchboard for what we were calling the "November circuit." N or November as in neutrino. I was glad to learn that Bobby Bell was ahead of me on that. He and some kid named Artie had done a lot of work on the November circuit, and had forwarded their designs to Montana for implementation.
I was wondering if we should start unscrewing light bulbs to look for bugs, when a team of Special Forces dudes arrived with a crate addressed to me. The "return address" was simply, "Aunt E." Jaf and I opened the crate to find a CIA-developed bug-detector and a bug- blocker gadget. The NSA searches; the CIA blocks. Such are the wonders of the USA government, I thought.
Hooking up with the Russian dryads turned out to be easier than worrying about bugs.
Jaf and I were in my office in the Winter Palace reading the tech manual for the CIA bug-gadget when a dryad popped in. I was so happy that it didn't occur to me that Jaf might not understand or appreciate translocation–or dryads.
"Davey? My name is lyeoNEED." I saw that as both Леонид and Leonid, and remembered that I really needed to learn Russian.
"Oh, I can help with that," Leonid said. I felt something wash over me.
"Ты понимаешь меня, сейчас?"
I knew what he asked: "Can you understand me, now?"
"да, Da, yes!" I said. "Thank you!" I hugged him and–when I felt a welcoming hug–kissed him.
OMG, I thought when he returned the kiss with enthusiasm. Are we going to have to–no, are we going to get to–have sex with every dryad in the world?
"That would be most acceptable," Leonid responded to my silent question. "And I think it would not be too taxing upon you. Most of my brothers are still asleep. They await our call before they waken. Please remember that many have died because of pollution, deforestation, and climate change. Many are afraid."
Jaf cleared his throat. "Um, Davey? What just happened? Who is he, and how did he get here?"
"Oh! Jaf, I'm sorry. This is Leonid. Leonid, would you teach Jaf Russian, too?"
"There is no need, Davey, Lukas whom you call Jaf, already speaks Russian."
"Davey?" Jaf said, more loudly this time. "What is going on? Who is he? How does he know my name? And how did he get here?"
"Jaf, I'm sorry. Leonid is a dryad. A boy who lives in a tree. He's telepathic and can teleport. The dryads are our allies, and they are perhaps the greatest secret you could possibly learn about us. Will you keep that secret?"
Jaf did not hesitate. "Davey? I grew up hearing stories of the greatness of the Romanov family, of our hopes to once more restore that family to the throne of Russia. When I was ten, I discovered that the Romanov rule had been at times brutal and despotic. For a year, I hated my father and what he stood for. When I was eleven, I discovered what the communists had done and then what the KGB thugs who took over after communism had done. I went to my father, and told him why I had hated him and why I now knew that he was right, after all.
"My father forgave me, and thanked me for helping him renew his determination. When you invited my father to become part of the initial cadre, he and I were happier than we had ever been. When you invited me to be your geek, and your friend, I was … Davey, I cannot say how happy I was. How proud. How glad that I could help rescue my country from the corruption that had taken hold.
"That's a long answer, but yes, I will keep this secret. Leonid? I am happy to meet you."
Leonid took Lukas's hands. "Я рад Neet вас. "I am happy to meet you, too, Lukas." I could feel Lukas's surprise, and then his delight when Leonid hugged him.
The hug lasted longer than–oh! Lukas almost had an orgasm–and so did Leonid.
I suspected that I no longer had to worry about Lukas being attracted to me. On the other hand, now I had to worry about a very human boy falling for a very unhuman dryad.
"Guys?" I said. "Um, maybe you can continue that hug, later?"
They blushed, and broke apart.
"What must we do?" Leonid asked.
"I think the first thing," I said. "The first thing is making sure Tsar Jonathan's office is secure and then, setting up some secure communication circuits."
Leonid told me he could communicate with the dryads who had awakened: three in Montana, one in Nassau, one in Virginia, and two score in Russia. But as far as the rest of it? He shrugged. "We do not understand."
"May I tell Alexander about Leonid?" Jaf asked.
"Yes. Anything about dryads must be carried only on the November circuit," I said. "I'm not sure Alexander has actually said that; please tell him I suggested it."
Jaf picked up the N-Phone and pressed the button that would connect it with the Global Explorer.
After reporting, Jaf turned the phone off. When he turned to Leonid, he saw that the dryad was slumped a chair, and breathing heavily.
"Leonid! What's the matter?" Jaf demanded. He took the dryad's hand, and then rubbed it. "Your hands are cold, and your face is white. Something's wrong."
Leonid smiled at the attention, and then frowned when he realized Jaf was truly concerned for him.
"I am only tired, I think. I've been awake for only a few weeks, and my tree is in Kamchatka, on the other side of Russia. It must have taken more energy than I realized to get here. I'll be all right in a minute. Um, maybe it would help if you rubbed my other hand, too?"
"As long as you don't do what you did, before," Jaf whispered, referring to his orgasm. "That must have taken a lot of energy, too."
"Actually," Leonid said, "we draw energy from that."
Global Explorer, Near Scott Island, February 23, 2018
The Naval Aviators were not happy that the Army helo pilots were having all the fun, so I advanced the schedule of flights to the Pegasus airfield. Pegasus was one of three airfields that served the McMurdo Station, and its blue-ice runways were capable of handling wheeled aircraft year-round.
Meanwhile, Captain Izzard pulled in close to the Ross Ice Shelf, and we launched the submersibles. We'd tested them without the cables, using only N-circuit technology for remote control, and were comfortable with that. Once again, Davey's old scheduling software came in handy, and everyone who wanted a look at the underside of the ice shelf was able to take a turn.
Chapter End Note: The Ross Ice Shelf is of interest, because data shows that it has collapsed in the distant past, causing a "meters" rise in sea level. Start at Wikipedia, and follow the links. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Ice_Shelf
The 1925 movie, "Battleship Potemkin" directed by Sergei Eisenstein may be the best B&W movie ever made. The scene on the "Odessa Steps" is perhaps the most complex scene ever filmed without CGI and electronic editing. It's available on Amazon and probably at any fairly large public library.