The Buccaneer Chronicles:
Keeping the Peace
By Andy Simpkins (despite interference by Keith Dunn, Adam J Purcell and Tony Gallichan)
Part One - "Talk of change lately, but everything's been done before."
Second Prologue - 'Escape to Danger!'
The second man reclined at ease in a chair in his office. It had been appointed to him several months ago along with a new commission and advancement in rank. He was in his late thirties with an athletic build that spoke of many years of his adult life spent in the armed forces. He had dark brown hair swept back from his forehead, receding slightly and was clad in a khaki shirt and trousers. The only signs of his rank and status were the embroidered emblem on his shirt and the pips on the epaulettes of his shirt.
At that moment in time, he was looking through some reports and some of the minutiae that pre-occupy the lower ranking officers of any army of any of the civilised nations of Earth. Above him a ceiling mounted fan whirled industriously, trying in a vain attempt to dispel the all pervasive heat and humidity that was ever present in the ancient city of Jerusalem. He idly cursed the fact that air-conditioning had not been installed but he would have to grin and bear it.
He glanced at the clock on his desk and idly noted that his duty shift for that day was almost at an end. He glanced at the signed photo of Mike Yates
"Another day passes and there are no major mishaps to report. Admittedly, Pass-over is a time of great significance for the people of this city and nation but the Jewish and Moslem factions here in Jerusalem have been living in an almost easy co-existence for as long as I have been here. Hopefully, Colin, this should be a relatively easy posting for you. Another couple of months and I will be posted back to England..." He mused idly.
More frequently, however, was his attention diverted to a small photo mounted in a plain silver frame that was placed on a corner of his desk. The photo was that of a petite woman with shoulder length wavy brown hair seated on a park bench with her hands crossed in her lap. Her face had a gentle smile on it and every time he looked at it, he felt a sharp twinge of longing and desire. In the corner of the photo was written "To my dearest Colin, with all my love and kisses, Jenny xxx"
He sighed heavily and thought: "Only a couple more months and I will be back in England. I wonder how you will react when I tell you that we will be needing married persons quarters very soon..."He pulled open one of the drawers of his desk and pulled out the small plain box that lay within. Inside it was an elegantly fashioned gold ring, made by one of the goldsmiths that were so prevalent in the Moslem quarter of Jerusalem.
"I hope she will like it...Fighting disembodied life-forms, dealing with wide-spread civil disorder and with a maverick Time-Lord on the Channel Island of Jersey will seem like child's play compared to proposing to Jenny but I'm sure I will succeed in my task."
He put the ring back in its box and put it back in the drawer. He glanced at the clock again and saw that it was time to pack up and go. Just as he was about place his completed files in their relevant trays, there was an agitated knocking on the door of his office.
One of his more recently promoted underlings opened the door and hurried inside. He was perspiring profusely and seemed in a state of great agitation. Curtis got up and ushered the man to a vacant seat on the opposite side of his desk. He sat down and, breathing heavily and unsteadily, sat drinking at a plastic cup of water that Curtis had offered to him.
Curtis sat down in the chair opposite him, consternation etched on his features. Henderson was one of the members of the battalion of UNIT soldiers posted to his command who seemed the most calm and unflappable under pressure. He was always ready to take and carry out orders on Curtis' command and was rarely, if ever, daunted by a situation or firefight that called for his attention.
"Calm down, Henderson, for goodness sake, man. In all the time I have known you, I have never seen you like this before. Tell me what has caused this."
Henderson, having almost gained his customary composure, took a few more gulps of water and started:
"Well, sir, it was like this. Myself and several others of the battalion were guarding a group of archaeologists who were excavating that site of historic importance near to the Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, as it is more commonly known. As you know, the site is a bone of contention between Jewish and Moslem extremist factions because they both lay claim to the site as a place of extreme religious importance and therefore, both factions were none too happy at a bunch of infidel scientists poking and prodding away at, what to them, was holy ground. This fact, as well as the Jewish festival of Passover is almost upon us, has heightened tensions and small crowds from both sides have gathered at the site to generally make life as difficult for us as possible
"One of the archaeologists from Haifa University was taking echo-soundings of his and other allotted areas when he came across, what only be described, as an anomaly buried about three feet below the area that one of his students was excavating in. Naturally, this caused a great deal of excitement amongst the scientist and all his peers and we all hastened over to see what all the excitement was about.
"After a couple of hours of careful digging, the object was uncovered to a certain degree and is still in situ at the site. As soon as a few of the inhabitants saw the object, both sides immediately laid claim to the object as being an artifact important to both their religions."
Henderson paused to collect his thoughts and Curtis then said:
"Surely, if the artifact is of such historical importance to both religions, then the University of Cairo and the University of Haifa should come to an amicable agreement about who should lay claim and ownership to it...."
It was at this moment that Henderson, lost in his thoughts, immediately raised his head and stared Curtis straight in the eyes.
"Sir, the most well-versed professors from both Cairo and Haifa have both been studying the object and cannot locate it in any of their journals. It is unknown to them and sent me to seek your assistance. It is well known within our battalion that you have had 'experiences' through the course of duty that touch upon the unknown. This artefact is, in my opinion, not native to this region. In fact, I would make a tentative guess that it is of extra-terrestrial origin!"
Curtis sat in his chair, a multitude of emotions crossed over his face in an instant. Never a stranger to indecision, he pulled open one of the drawers in his desk and pulled out the holstered pistol that lay within. Pausing briefly to fit the sidearm around his waist, he said to Henderson:
"Lead me to it, I need to see this for myself...."
Inwardly, Curtis slumped." And the day had been going so well....". He bitterly thought.