“I thought I’d made it clear we have a no abduction policy.”
“She wasn’t cooperating. What did you expect me to do?”
“I expected for you to act like a professional Ien. Like an agent who has five years under his belt now. Honestly I expected everything under the sun except this.” Agent Al waved his hand to encompass the room they were standing outside of.
The room was in an old hotel that had seen better days. Peeling paint on the ceilings, stained carpeting, and warped doors made up the third-floor decor that they were on now.
Agent Ien, knowing that his partner could blow at any time from the stress they’d been under because of this particular case, leaned in and tried to smooth Al’s feathers.
“She was about to enter ‘The Mark’ Al, I knew that if she went into that dance club we would never find her but her enemies would. The best plan I could come up with was to abduct her and bring her somewhere that they’d never consider she’d let herself be taken. And besides.” Ien’s tone became a little belligerent, “they used to abduct humans all the time. It doesn’t hurt for them to be on the other end every now and then to see how it feels. And she has better accommodations than the abducted ever had.”
Al just looked at him for long moments in silence.
He could stay mad. He really could, but he had to admit that Ien’s extraordinarily unorthodox plan seemed to be working and had merit.
Since the beginning of this assignment nothing had gone in their favor. The pickup location had somehow been discovered and when they arrived to take Her Royal Flutteringness Princess Sparklewings into protective custody, the ones trying to kill her had shown up. They had been forced to split up.
Unfortunately, the other team of agents who had been their backup had ended up with the Princess and she had easily escaped them, not having the proper authority given by her father to keep her in line. She had disappeared into the bustling San Francisco party scene.
Something they’d thought was an impossibility, but the Princess had proven them wrong time and time again.
Until now apparently.
“You’re right.” Al sighed, scrubbing his head with his hands the way he did to get rid of tension.
Ien was leery at the seeming too easy capitulation from his partner. “Really?”
Al chuckled a little, a good sign, “Yes. I actually mean it.” He shrugged, “It’s definitely thinking outside the box and it took me a good week to decipher your coded message. Since you’re still alive and so is she I can’t very well argue over it, can I?” He paused, “We still have a no abduction policy though Ien. Most likely we will be written up for this and counseled…again.”
The last word was said in unison and they both sighed after. Their last few assignments had been interesting, to say the least, and they had seen more of the psychologist in the last year than they ever wanted to.
“Well, we may as well stay inside the room. We draw more attention standing in the hall.”
Ien smiled and opened the door for his partner. Finally, things were looking up.
Al walked into the room and looked around. “Ah, Ien? Where is the Princess?”
Looking sheepish, Ien said, “In the bedroom.”
The pause this time had the potential to end their partnership it held so much disbelief and tension.
“Why?” The word barely made its way from Al’s throat. He didn’t want to know, but had to know.
“Well…” Ien’s voice petered off and he looked highly uncomfortable suddenly. After opening and closing his mouth several times without anything coming out, he finally shrugged and waved his hand towards the bedroom that was down a short hall to his left.
“I better just show you. Words really won’t work.”
The tension he had managed to rid himself of came back in spades and Al wondered, not for the first time, why he was still doing this job instead of retiring. He could receive a pension and do something fun with the rest of his life instead of always having to be alert to what was around the next corner and what level of screwed they would be after the fact.
Trepidation worked its way up his spine as hey made the short trek and Ien opened the door to let him see what was inside.
Al stepped in and came to an abrupt halt.
The sight before him was so unbelievable it didn’t even register until the next day. Ien had had to gently pull him from the room and walked Al to the couch to sleep it off. The next morning brought almost the same reaction though this time he merely opened the bedroom door, looked in and walked away, muttering to himself.
This kept up all day while Ien slept, waking occasionally to eat something from the small refrigerator he’d paid quite a penny for to hold food so they wouldn’t have to leave the hotel or order in as much. The potential for the enemy to find them was high and the less exposure they had the better.
And honestly, they weren’t footing the bill anyway, the Royal family was, so Ien wasn’t worrying too much about the cost of things right now.
They stayed at the hotel for a month. No one found them there, not even their own people, so by the time their assignment ended they had decided to use the hotel in the future. The staff were discreet, the obscene tips they received didn’t hurt anything, and were more than happy to leave the room alone.
Al and Ien were glad when the assignment was done. It hadn’t been a favorite of theirs. Didn’t even make the top thousand, but it had been necessary and the feeling of a job well done was still something they enjoyed.
The various news stations reported on the trial where the Princess was a key witness to the multi trillion-dollar theft of an experimental ship that had been used to commit other crimes after the fact.
The thieves were all rounded up, found to be guilty on all counts and were immediately sent to the maximum-security moon prison colony two galaxies away.
It was quite surprising then when Al and Ien were called into their boss’s office and handed shuttle tickets to Area 51. The main entry hub for arriving and departing alien dignitaries, Area 51 was restricted to all but those with the highest clearance imaginable. Even the President of the United States didn’t have a high enough clearance and had to be personally invited by a visiting dignitary before being allowed inside.
They couldn’t help but be very concerned throughout the shuttle ride to Area 51. The Princess’s ship was docked there and it was entirely possible that she had lodged formal charges against them and demanded they be handed over for punishment in accordance with her people’s laws.
When they arrived, they were met by the Overseer personally and escorted to a small hangar bay that held a fleet of ships.
Her Royal Flutteringness Princess Sparklewings descended from the Royal ship and made her way to them, her parents and siblings following behind. Being the first daughter, she was the next ruler of their people and had begun taking over more and more responsibilities from her parents in recent years. It had been one of the reasons she had rebelled so hard and ended up witnessing the theft and needing protection.
Al and Ien bowed low to her and her family in turn. Than Ien, having spent more time with the Princess than Al, greeted the royal family in their native language, Dustoffairiesese, and politely inquired to their health.
Princess Sparklewings responded for her family, as was only proper, and extended her deep appreciation to the agents for their exemplary work in keeping her safe from he thrived and assassins that had been hired to end her.
No mention was made, however, of how Ien had abducted the Princess and forced her to live for over a month in an old, decrepit hotel that was an insult of galactic war proportions.
When she finished with the long, and wordy, praises and thanks to them she paused. The pause was long enough that her father moved up and whispered something in her ear. She frowned, shook her head and took a deep breath, as if bracing herself for what she planned to say next.
“We would be most appreciative of the Agents Al and Ien, if they would procure and make arrangements to have such things delivered unto us on our home world as was used whilst I was in their most gracious care during this trying time.” Her lyrical voice floated on the air in slightly broken Human English, not to be confused with the fifth dimensions Humon English, and she hurriedly continued when Al opened his mouth to respond.
“Assuredly, we would be most appreciative and would undoubtedly repay the Agents for the cost of such an endeavor in addition to a gift given in good faith for such services that would not be inappropriate in regards to your rules of conduct.”
They had no idea what to say to any of that and it took a few moments before Ien ws able to find his voice and respond. After having a wordless conversation with Al first to make sure they were on the same page, he addressed the Princess, her family and those of her people who had trickled out of the waiting ships while she had been speaking.
“Assuredly, your most Royal Highness, we would be amenable to such an arrangement without he additional gift to us. We greatly appreciated thy presence and company. Your exuberance with the accommodations warms us to our insides. We will send a shipment within the next month if it pleases thee.”
“It would pleaseth me exceedingly and the gift to the Agents Al and Ien are a non-negotiable point as we are most gruntled at the services rendered and will repay such continued services.” With that, the Princess bowed to them, a very high honor, before turning and making her way back to the royal ship.
Al and Ien watched as the bay doors were opened and the tiny fleet of miniature spaceships flew away into the sky and back home.
When they couldn’t see the ships any longer they were escorted out and to a private shuttle this time. The Overseer, before seeing them safely on their way, had asked “What did you do to receive such a high honor from Her Royal Flutteringness Princess Sparklewings? Her entire family is known for being hard to please and that goes back hundreds of generations.”
Not wanting to explain, because how could they, they had just shrugged and said the Princess had liked the decor and color apparently.
A month later a transport ship made its first, of many over the preceding years, delivery and a ‘gift’ was sent back to Al and Ien, who received the pair of strange looking oval rocks as graciously as they could.
They never had to come clean to their boss about how they had managed what they had, even though their boss asked several times over the years. Al and Ien never said a word and true to the Princess’s word, the gifts she sent in appreciation for their services never violated any rules or policies.
An interesting thing happened not too long after the assignment ended and the Princess and her people left for their home world. There was a surge in sales for anything and everything having to do with doll houses, clothes and accessories.
New designs were imagined and old ones were brought back. Established makers made just as much over the years as new time makers and the market opened to such a degree that at home crafters could cash in too. No one could explain the recent fascination but they enjoyed unprecedented wealth from the good fortune.
Al and Ien, on the other hand, had a bit of bad fortune when they had to explain to their boss and the Alien Embassy how they had come to be in possession of a flock, of ten!, incredibly rare ‘Miniaturay Dragonayse’
A letter from Her Royal Flutteringness Princess Sparklewings
Addressed to the most honored and beloved of the Faeriesian People Agent Al and Ien
Many warm and shining greetings from afar. We are most especially gruntled at the continued shipments thee have sent to us over the years. The varied and colorful products please us and our people daily. Most notably, this latest shipment has made our people gruntled to such a degree that our popularity is higher than any other previous generation. We greatly appreciate the new and innovative creations sent to us. The level of workmanship is delightful and pleasing to gaze upon as the higher usability of each shipment of products astounds the people (and us).
We graciously inquire as to how thee have enjoyed the gifts we have sent to thee. It is our understanding that there was some issue when the flock first hatched. It is our deepest hope that the return of ‘The Elvis’ was enough of an apology to thy governing bodies. We had heard that ‘The Elvis’ was most desired on your planet (‘The Elvis’ was most enjoyed by my people these last few years).
Many warm and shining felicitations to Agent Al an Ien as well. We have heard that thee have joined together with others to create family. Such is a joyous occasion and to celebrate the momentous happening we have sent thee each a special gift. Please keep the gift at -103 degrees until the fourth day of the winter solstice celebration. After which it should fare well on your world.
Farewells and continued wishes of well-being to Agent Al and Ien (and prodigy?) from Her Royal Flutteringness Princess Sparklewings and the Faeriesian People.
©2016, Illeana Nexry.