Back in their hotel in Luanda that night, Peter, Michelle, and Bob slept much better than the night before. The Bolshivarian lights in Bob’s body gave him a psychic connection with Phil that soothed him to sleep; some of those lights also flew into Peter’s and Michelle’s room to soothe them to sleep with the energy of their parents.
Michelle especially slept like a baby. Her connection with her parents felt so comforting, it was almost as if they’d never died. She felt the Bolshivarians to be the surest of friends.
Peter enjoyed no less restful a sleep, hearing the loving words of his parents’ energy calming him. Still, though he enjoyed his sleep and woke up the next morning thoroughly refreshed, he wasn’t sure if it was his parents that had lulled him into such a perfect sleep, or just the skillful, yet deceptive, charm of the Bolshivarians.
The next morning, after breakfast, Bob apprised Peter and Michelle of the situation regarding the American response to the Bolshivarian takeover of Africa.
“The first of the airstrikes is coming today,” he told them. “The Bolshivarians informed me of their plan to engage the fighter planes and drones, which will hit us not only with missiles and gunfire from the planes, but also with bug spray from the drones.”
“How will the Bolshivarians be able to counterattack with bug spray shooting at them?” Peter asked.
“They didn’t tell me exactly how they were going to avoid the bug spray, but they’re aware of the danger and planning a way to evade it,” Bob said. “Don’t worry: the Bolshivarians are clever enough not to let themselves be exposed to the drones’ spray guns, which our intelligence tells us will all spray only forward. We can sneak up from behind and their radar won’t pick us up. The American and NATO forces are the ones who need to be cleverer, not our side.”
“How will the Bolshivarians fight them?” Peter asked.
“They’ll fly into the planes’ cockpits and into the bodies of the pilots,” Bob said. “You know what happens next.”
“What if the pilots wear those protective suits?” Michelle asked.
“Oh, everybody knows by now that those suits never worked,” Bob said. “Bolshivarians can fly through them with ease.”
“If so, then why did they let people think they were safe in the suits last year?” Michelle asked.
“For several reasons,” Bob explained. “First of all, we wanted humans to have some sense of hope, so they wouldn’t feel all hopeless and despairing. Secondly, we came to Earth right when you humans were so worried about all those coronavirus variants. We wanted you, for the time being, to think our presence was just another disease, to distract you until enough of us had settled in and established enough carriers around the world so we could move around among you and blend in with you, so you wouldn’t be able to tell which ones were carriers and which ones weren’t.”
Clever plan, Peter thought, and devious.
Bob looked at him as if he’d heard Peter say those words out loud. “We’re here to help you, Peter, not to dominate you. Our ways may be strange to you, but that doesn’t mean we have ill intentions.”
Whoa, Peter thought with widened eyes. The Bolshivarians can read my thoughts. I’d better bury my feelings deeper down in my mind from now on.
“We know your doubts, Peter,” Bob said. “But we don’t doubt you. Don’t worry.”
“I don’t doubt you,” Michelle said.
“Even though they killed your dad, my dad, and my mother?” Peter said, glaring at her.
“You know the real reason they died,” Bob said.
“I know your rationalization for it,” Peter said, and then with sarcasm, “‘They rejected the new way, so their deaths were their fault, not yours’.”
“Our parents still exist in spirit, Peter,” Michelle said. “Didn’t you feel them last night?”
“Did we feel their spirits, or did we feel hallucinations?” Peter asked, looking hard at Bob.
“Peter, if we Bolshivarians had wanted to kill all of humanity, we could have done it like that!” Bob said with a snap of his fingers. “If we’d wanted to take control of all of your bodies and enslave you, we could have done it like that!” He snapped his fingers again. “But we didn’t. We could have gotten through every protective suit and either controlled or killed every head of state in your world, every CEO/leader of every city-state government, with none of you able to stop us, in the blink of an eye! But we didn’t…and many, many Bolshivarians have died because of the fluke discovery of bug spray toxins.”
Now Peter looked down at his hands.
“We want to save your planet and your people from destruction, but before we can do that, we need to gain the trust of at least a reasonable number of you, and gain the willful cooperation of enough of you. We’ve given as many of you as we can a chance to choose either to work with us or against us. We’ve allowed many to be non-carriers, because we want your friendship by free will. Even those who’ve died, like your parents, can still communicate with you through our collective psychic energy. Can you please try to trust us, Peter?”
Peter looked at Bob for several seconds.
“They cured the world of the coronaviruses, didn’t they?” Michelle added. “You, Peter, of all people, should be grateful to the Bolshivarians for doing away with the masks and vaccines, right?”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Peter said. “Wayne Grey did pull that off. I’ll give him that. I wish I hadn’t punched him.”
“And those were not hallucinations of my mom and dad,” Michelle said in a shaky voice, looking in Peter’s eyes with pain and conviction.
“Can you try to trust us, Peter?” Bob asked again.
“OK,” he said. “I’ll try. The governments here on Earth have certainly proved themselves untrustworthy.”
“Good,” Bob said. “Now let’s get ready for those airstrikes.”
Four hours later, Bob was in his room, sitting crosslegged on his bed in a meditative position. The balls of light were floating on all sides around his body. He could feel the messages the Bolshivarians from other parts of Angola, including those of the warehouse hideout, were sending him.
Oh, no! he thought.
Peter and Michelle were in their room, too, lying on their bed in each other’s arms and waiting for Bob to tell them what was going on.
From outside their window, they could hear approaching planes.
Just as they got off their bed to look out the window, Bob rushed into their room.
“Hey, Bob!” Michelle shouted in annoyance. “We could have been indecent in here!”
“Sorry,” he said. racing for that window. “I didn’t have time to knock.” All three of them looked out the window.
Four fighter planes were approaching, accompanied by half a dozen small, brown ovoid drones with spray guns on them.
“Just as I feared,” he said. “Not only did they know that Lenny Van der Meer and the other Bolshivarian carriers are hiding out in that warehouse, but they know we’re here, too!”
“Who informed the Americans?” Peter asked. “Were there spies hiding out in that basement? Are there spies here in this hotel?”
“Unlikely, bordering on impossible,” Bob said. “We’d have been able to sense treason among us; it would take an extraordinary ability to bury one’s feelings for us not to sense traitors. Spies must have been hiding out among the trees or bushes outside.”
“There aren’t many trees or bushes to hide behind around here, or near that warehouse,” Peter said. “Years of global warming and wildfires have ensured that.”
“Not many trees or bushes, but enough for, say, one or two spies to hide among,” Bob said. “In any case, somebody from outside, somewhere, found our people there…and here. We’ve gotta get out of here. Move!“
The three of them rushed out of the room, down the hall, and down a flight of stairs to the ground floor. Just as they were making a run for the front doors, the striking of the first missile shook the building.
“Oh, shit!” Peter shouted.
“Are these the same fighters and drones that hit the warehouse, do you think?” Michelle asked.
“No,” Bob said. “Lenny and his people took them all out as I described before.”
“So, Lenny’s still alive?” Peter asked.
“As far as I know, yes,” Bob said. “Let’s just hope the Bolshivarians here can be as successful.”
Three more strikes shook the building, causing it to collapse. Peter, Michelle, and Bob screamed before losing consciousness and being buried in rubble by the front door.
Outside, drones were shooting bug spray at swarms of dots of light flying at them; after a dozen or so of lights flying in front were sprayed, all of them lost their light and fell like marbles on the ground, all lifeless. Then, the fighter jets shot at the carriers who’d been sending up the lights. They all lay on the ground in a bloody lake.
These victims, however, were just a sacrificial distraction.
A swarm of Bolshivarian lights far greater in number were flying behind all the jets and drones. None of their radar could detect the approach of the lights, whose advanced alien technology could easily evade being picked up by radio airwaves.
The overconfident pilots had no idea what was coming at them.
The first man to feel the tiny lights entering his body screamed. His jet veered to the right as he fidgeted and struggled in his seat, feeling his body tearing to pieces and ripping out of his uniform.
“James, what’s wrong?” the pilot to his right said; but before he could say any more, James’s plane crashed into his. A huge explosion lit up the sky. Three drones flying nearby also got destroyed in the explosion.
A number of carriers looking up from the ground cheered when they saw the explosion.
“Half of the threat gone, all at once!” one of them shouted.
Sadly, he was gunned down, seconds after, by one of the two remaining fighter jets.
The remaining carriers sent up their balls of light; one of the drones sprayed them, causing them all to drop on the ground, as lightless and lifeless as the other ‘marbles.’ Then the fighter jets shot at the carriers and left them all in a pool of gore.
Meanwhile, the other two drones turned around to face the swarm of lights behind. They sprayed at the leading dozen or two of them, causing them and many more behind to fall on the ground. The third drone turned around to help the other two.
Now, the remaining carriers were free to shoot their lights up at the two fighter jets.
As the pilots screamed, fidgeted in their seats, and felt their splitting bodies rip out of their uniforms, the lights took control of the jets, aimed their guns at the three drones, and shot at them.
The carriers cheered as they saw the drones explode up in the air. Then they dodged out of the way when the two jets fell to the ground, a few feet away on either side of the hotel, and blew up in flames.
The surviving Bolshivarian lights flew over to the rubble of the hotel, soon to be joined by the surviving carriers, who ran over. The lights scanned the rubble for signs of life: only three were found to be still alive, and barely so–Peter, Michelle, and Bob.
The carriers, about a dozen of them, worked fast to pull the pieces of brick off the bodies of the injured three. Bob was unconscious, approaching death; Peter and Michelle lay there, hovering between consciousness and unconsciousness, moaning and sighing.
The lights hovered above and around the three. Their light and warmth touched the three hurt bodies.
Bob, being the closest to death, was the priority. The lights scanned his vital signs: his pulse was extremely weak and rhythmically irregular. He had broken bones all over. He was bathed in his blood; his life was fading fast.
Even with all the Bolshivarians’ medical knowledge, centuries in advance of that of humanity, they couldn’t save Bob. Since Peter and Michelle also urgently needed help, they switched their focus onto them. They weren’t as near death as Bob had been, but they weren’t much further away from death, either.
A crowd of people, carriers and non-carriers, watched the process of treating Peter and Michelle. Their eyes were locked on the two injured–eyes full of worry. A tense several hours ensued.
Peter’s and Michelle’s broken and fractured bones, their cuts and bruises, were hardly fewer than those on Bob. All onlookers, including the carriers, who knew of the Bolshivarians’ abilities, and even the Bolshivarian lights themselves, were full of doubts as to whether or not they could save the two.
Their pulses, though not as bad as Bob’s, were still weak and irregular. They showed considerable shortness of breath. The struggle to heal them involved a back-and-forth movement between weaker and stronger pulses, more and less irregular pulses, and greater and lesser shortness of breath.
Broken bones were set, fractures were healed millimetre by millimetre, bruises and cuts ever so slowly faded away–the bloody red slashes lengthening, shortening, and lengthening and shortening over and over again, the blotches of black, blue, and purple shrinking, growing, and shrinking again and again.
But finally, the white lights’ healing efforts succeeded here where they hadn’t been able to with Bob. Non-carriers–local Angolans as sympathetic to the Bolshivarians as Peter and Michelle–watched with dropped jaws and agape eyes at the aliens’ ability to bring Peter and Michelle fully back to health, all in only three to four hours.
Peter and Michelle, of course, were no less amazed.
“What?” he said, getting up slowly and awkwardly.
“We’re better?” Michelle said, also getting up and testing her arms and legs by moving them around. “So quickly? How could they do that?”
“To explain to you what Bolshivarian medicine can do,” one of the carriers said, “would be like explaining computers to cavemen.”
Peter and Michelle looked down at Bob’s lifeless body.
“He didn’t make it?” Michelle asked.
They could feel a sad answer in the negative from the floating lights.
Peter moved his body around, to test how well he’d been healed. “Wow,” he said. “The Bolshivarians make our doctors look like…well, witch doctors in comparison.”
“Now do you trust them?” she asked with a sneer.
“Yeah, I guess I do,” he said.
“If only their skill could have saved my mom,” she said with a frown. “I guess she was as close to death as Bob here, too close to be saved.”
Peter’s cellphone rang. “Wow,” he said as he pulled it out of his pants pocket. “My phone didn’t get damaged. Hello?”
“Peter?” a woman’s voice said. “This is Karen Finley. It’s a good thing you gave us your cellphone number yesterday. Are you and Michelle OK? We know about the attack on your hotel.”
“Oh, hi, Karen,” he said. “We’re OK now. The Bolshivarians just saved our lives after the fighter jets hit our hotel. They’re the most amazing doctors.”
“I’m glad for that,” she said. “That’s so awful, what happened to you there. I’m so sorry.”
“How did you know the jets attacked us here?” he asked.
“The Bolshivarians told us,” she said. “They can find out anything, you know, if they focus on it. First, we learned about the warehouse being hit, then Tory and I wondered if you two were OK, so we asked them.”
“Thanks for your concern,” he said.
“Wait,” she said. “Tory wants to talk to you.” She gave her phone to her husband.
“OK,” Peter said. “Hello, Tory?”
“Hi,” Tory said. “Lenny says we’re all going to have to get out of Africa. More airstrikes are planned. Now that we’ve seen how badly the Americans and NATO can hit us, how well they can find us, thanks to their spies, the plan is to go to South America, where the Bolshivarians have many contacts who will help us. Lenny and his contacts here have arranged airplanes to take us there. There’s an airbase not far from where the warehouse was. The Bolshivarians can guide you to it. We all have to hurry, though, OK?”
“OK,” Peter said. “Thanks for the call. We’ll get over there right away. Bye.” They hung up.
“What’s the plan?” Michelle asked.
“We’re going to South America.”
“South America?” she asked.
“Yes, and we gotta hurry,” he said, taking her by the hand. “I’ll explain on the way. Let’s go.”
“B-but Peter?…” she said.
Michelle, Bob’s voice said in her mind. Go!
Yes, Michelle, Siobhan’s voice now said. Go with Peter.
Peter and Michelle started running towards a car one of the carriers was gesturing to.
END OF BOOK TWO