The Kidnapping of Bishop Ropet

by

Anthony Vanden Berk


Andrew Fox had just finished his breakfast. Andrew Fox was an official detective who worked at his own home. Andrew was a nice man, though he was often quiet because he was nearly always pondering one of his current cases. Andrew lived in Googokia on the planet Undemereth. Andrew was slightly taller than the average Undemerethian, even though his parents were from earth. Andrew's parents had moved to the planet Undemereth because of their interest in it and also for job reasons.

Undemereth was the most largely populated of all the known planets. Undemereth was about twice the size of earth and its gravity was somewhat greater than earth's as well. Undemereth orbited its sun in a little more than one earth year, but everyone counted their years in earth years. One day on Undemereth was approximately 36 hours long, but since Undemerethians used the same hours and minutes as earth, the clocks had to be reset every few days (the clocks did this automatically, though). Undemereth was most well known, however, for its plants. The plants there produced oxygen, but also another chemical which slowed aging considerably. Most people on Undemereth would live to be 150 or so, but very soon after this discovery these plants were brought to all the other planets and soon they all had a copious supply of them. Andrew Fox was middle aged at 55 years old.

Andrew, not having any cases at that time, was prepared to go to an open house at an old building. He usually didn't have time off for more than one day at a time. He was a well renowned detective and many people, from the most humble farmer to the head of a country, had asked for his assistance. He began whistling as he left his house and continued down his walkway to the road-train stop. He pressed the button on the panel and shortly an empty vehicle was at his service. He stepped in and asked to be taken to the open house. He did not get a chance to go there, however. His pocket communicator began to ring vigorously. He answered it immediately and to his disappointment the first thing he heard was, "Detective Andrew Fox, we need you. This is Benedict Dewfoster, chief police of Hopeton South Daker."

"South Daker?!" In his experience other countries asked for his help only in a crisis.

"Yes, a band of Bliks have kidnapped Bishop Ropet."

"What? Why?"

"Well, you know Bishop Ropet? He's probably one of the most well-loved South Dakerians, and the Blik gang doesn't like him."

"Because he's preventing corruption in his diocese? I suppose the Bliks need people to join them and he's stopping that."

"Yes, and to instill fear in South Daker."

"Where are they now?"

"We've sent our best pilots after them, the Bliks got hold of some anti-sensory equipment which made it hard to find them, but we damaged their ship and they were forced to land."

"Where?"

"Just east of Garanville in North Daker."

"And th crew?"

"Not a trace. We've got bloodhounds looking for them but they're not getting anywhere. The Bliks must have covered their scent quite well."

"Right. I'll be there as soon as I can."

Both of them hung up. Andrew told the road-train to take him back to his house. It promptly switched to the track on the other side and took Andrew home. Upon arriving home he quickly packed tracking devices and also took three simple disguises. He had been on many tracking journeys and he had made good use of hiding his identity.

Andrew went immediately to the nearest air flight station, which was near his hometown. To his dismay, the lines there were extensively long and he would have to wait for a good half hour at least. He became even more distressed when nearly every person within ten feet of him began asking him questions and saying that they saw him on the news. Andrew wasn't keen on being crowded when he went out in public. He calmly and politely answered most of their questions and slowly they began to go about their business, except for one.

"Mr. Fox! Imagine meeting you here!" It was Pete Bartholomew, one of Andrew's friends. Pete had written about many of Andrew's cases, and he was present at some as well. He was also present with Bishop Ropet, before he was a bishop, on the Star Sailor's last voyage. The Star Sailor was on a flight to a newly discovered planet, but someone had changed the ship's course and smashed the controls. Due to a lack of carefulness on the villains, Bishop Ropet was able to piece together how the villain did this. The villain escaped on an escape pod and launched the rest. The ship crashed into a planet but no one was killed or seriously injured. There were three villains on that planet, but one of them repented and helped to catch the other two. The villains had been looking for an ancient treasure that had been secretly hidden inside the ship. The villains were arrested and another ship came and picked up the Star Sailor's passengers. That had all happened in the year 4245, which was eleven year prior.

"Pete, what brings you here?" Pete lived in South Daker, but his work could bring him almost anywhere.

"Well, I was actually going to a resort by the Gold Ocean for the week. Say, where are you going?"

"The police of South Daker have asked me to help track the Bliks who kidnapped Bishop Ropet."

"What!"

"I'm sorry. I thought you knew. Last night the Bliks kidnapped him and I was called this morning. I was shocked too."

Just then there was a news flash that confirmed what Andrew had said. Upon receiving this startling news, the people went from excited to be on their way to being in a state of disbelief and worry. Everyone knew Bishop Ropet and they weren't expecting this to happen. Pete got in line behind Andrew.

After a half-hour wait, Andrew finally got to the counter. "When's the next flight to North Daker?" He asked

"Just left-" The lady at the desk checked her watch, "-ten minutes ago. Would you like a ticket for the next one?"

Andrew sighed, "And when will that be?"

"One hour and twenty minutes."

"Alright, and here are my forms," He laid out several papers containing the required personal information for fight.

"Let's see here...good...um-hmm... Wait, are you THE Detective Fox?"

"Actually, yes." He was slightly embarrassed at being so well known, it seemed, in a way, dangerous.

"Well, what a surprise. Did you hear about Bishop Ropet?"

"Yes, it was shocking." He thought it best to keep his search quiet, so he didn't mention it.

She stamped his ticket, "That'll be forty-five pecos." (pecos are common currency between many countries and one is worth about eighty cents)

Andrew fished through his pocket and retrieved his bank card. The lady waved it over the sensor and motioned him to move on.

Pete walked up and laid his papers and his bank card. "I'll take the flight Detective Fox took."

An hour later Pete and Andrew boarded the plane. There was a short wait before the small plane, carrying less than fifty passengers took of. The plane arrived within fifteen minutes and Andrew stepped out ahead of the rest of the passengers and hurried along to the air flight station. He laid out the required information in order to enter another country, and then hurried off to the nearest road-train stop. He asked to be taken to the closest stop near the Biks' landing site. Pete followed closely behind him in another road train.

The adventure had begun.


Andrew arrived at the site where the Bliks crashed near noon. As he stepped out of the road-train Benedict Dewfoster approached him with the aura of a defeated man. Andrew was used to his colleagues being stumped.

"Tell me everything," Andrew commanded.

"Alright here goes. Last night we were called by a citizen who reported seeing a group of men dressed like some sort of cleaners entering the Bishop's rectory. He said he saw them walk into a small ship and then it disappeared."

"Did he? say why he was up out of bed?"

"Yes, he heard the ship flying over the house and came to see what it was. He said that he felt a foreboding and anything unusual, if subtle would set him off. We did not ask him many questions; we were more focused on stopping the Bliks at that point."

"And you still have not asked any further questions?"

"No sir."

"How was he able to hear the ship if it was so quiet?"

"Like I said, the man was worried about something happening and this faint sound, well, put him off and he went out to see what it was."

"In his pajamas at three in the morning when he would have been sleeping? Ah well. Tell about the rest."

"Well, when we received the call we immediately dispatched or best jet pilots and went after them. We caught up to them quickly, but we weren't able to stop them immediately. We came up north into North Daker and there was lots of fog, so we had to rely on our sensory systems to locate their ship. They finally were able to hit one of the ship's wings and dealt it a critical hit. Within seconds the ship landed and we went after it right away. The pilots found the ship immediately, but they couldn't find any sign of the crew in the ship or within nearly a mile of it. We've been investigating the surrounding area since then and not a trace has been found, not even the highest technological devices or our hounds could offer anything positive. And that's about where it's at, sir."

Andrew slowly surveyed the landscape. There was nothing but extensive plains and several trees dotting the green desert of grass. He walked up to the crashed ship without apparent urgency. The ship was not huge; it was box-shaped and had two stubby wings protruding from its sides. It was ten feet high and thirty across. The door was on the left side of the ship and it was unblocked and wide open. the nose of the ship which held the important controls was in a terrible state. For the most part the ship was intact and the inside gear, consisting of semi-transparency systems and quiet motors, was still whole. At length Andrew turned from his observations. he picked out a young man in a South Daker pilot jacket.

"Excuse me, sir, were you one of the pilots last night?"

"Yes I was. Oh, my name's Howard Friggs, and you're Detective Fox right?"

"Yes I am. I have a few questions about your flight."

"Go ahead"

"Were you firing at the Bliks' ship the whole time?"

"Most of the time, yes."

"And you say it was foggy for most of the trip?"

"Yes."

"Did you see the ship get hit?"

"No, not clearly, sir."

"Then you did see?"

"Yes. They had been doing a fine job of dodging our fire until right up to the end, then they cut their swerving a bit and sped up."

"You think they were running low on fuel, perhaps?"

"That would explain it, but it's hard to tell."

"Yes it definitely is," Andrew bore just the ghost of a contented grin.

"And where is the nearest town?"

"About ten miles from here," he gestured toward a small dot on the horizon.

"And you have been keeping ships searching for any movement?"

"Yes. And we have also used special sensors to find caves or anything else they could have retreated to."

"And so far, despite having heat sensors, plenty of movement sensors, good, systematic pilot searchers, you have found nothing within, however many miles?"

"Er, forty or so miles non-stop since the chase."

"Well I have some work. I-" Suddenly Pete Bartholomew interrupted

"Oh, goodness! They thought I was a gawker; they wouldn't let me through the barrier until I said I was a first-hand reporter. I'm not interrupting am I?"

"Oh not really, Detective Fox was just leaving." The pilot was somewhat humored by this sudden intrusion from a famous writer.

"Oh good. Say, Andrew can you tell me what you two said? I'm gonna turn this into a story."

Andrew laughed and motioned Pete to follow him as he turned to leave.

"Where are you going?" Asked the pilot.

Andrew responded, without turning back, "To save the bishop!"

Andrew and Pete stepped into a road train. They had been taken to the road train stop by a police four-wheeler (like an open roofed car). Pete looked at Andrew, but seeing as he did not respond or make a move to set the vehicle on its way he inquired "Well?"

Andrew lifted his suitcase "Put this on." He held up a blue "North Daker official" Jacket with matching pants and shirt. He produced a hat and belt and then set the mass on the seat.

"I'll go wait outside. If I knock three times that means we're being watched, but I doubt that we will be."

Pete changed quickly and stayed outside to watch for watchers. When Pete stepped out, Andrew stepped in. He took a remarkably short time and stepped out with a dutiful look about him. He was wearing a similar blue jacket, pants, shirt, hat and belt.

"Alright, sir let's go," his command, made Pete feel like he was being given a ticket for littering or something. No one would doubt that he had authority and was a stalwart guardian of the law. Not only this, but he had put on a pair of glasses and put on a type of makeup to appear much older than he really was. He had also effectively put several inches on his stomach. Least noticeable, he had put on contacts to change the color of his eyes from green to gray. All this produced quite a different look than that of Andrew Fox. Pete Bartholomew and a North Daker officer from Googokia left for the small town ten miles away.

The first thing Pete observed as they came upon the town was its mis-match architecture. The Gothic styled church greatly contrasted with the bar which was styled like an old Wild Western Saloon. In a few places there were quaint little houses beside a towering business building. The houses, as well were all of a different style completely and most were not lined up evenly with the road or each other. But, despite its lack of charm in looks, the atmosphere of the place was simple and lively. The town was called Garanville.

Pete was relentlessly writing every detail until the road train stopped just in front of the police station. The two, disguised as officers, walked off of the road train and walked right into the police station without being noticed. He asked the lady at the desk if he could see the chief of police and he also raised his real detective badge. He was shown to the Chief of police right away.

"Andrew Fox! So they put you on this search too, eh? Well please sit down. If it weren't for your badges I'd have thought you were a Blik troublemaker." Mr. Gundar, the chief of police was sitting alone behind his desk reading a book when Pete and Andrew entered his office.

"Yes," Andrew chuckled, "All we need is your cooperation Mr. Gundar. I will need to do an investigation of every house in this town. They'll know I'm looking for the kidnappers, but I'll stay disguised for safety. I am nearly positive that several Bliks and a hostage are in your town. Here, I'll explain for a moment. You see, The Bliks were in their aircraft, right? And the South Daker police jet pilots were on their trail the whole time. The ship was supposedly going off its original course when it saw the police, but why did they fly over North Daker? Flying into another country unauthorized is highly dangerous. So, my theory is that they had it planned the whole time. Last night there was a lot of fog, and it would have been easy to slip out of the ship in a parachute or--"

"A parachute? Why couldn't they use a jet pack and then they could be miles away from the jets' path and.. Oh, sorry keep going."

"A jet pack could be easily picked up by a thermal camera; a parachute would probably not be picked up so easily and it would also serve to block the thermal camera. A parachute would also be the easiest means of reaching the ground safely with a hostage. If they came to this town their place was already prepared for them and they only needed to drop in, literally. At a convenient time they'll probably leave this town, so we need to act fast."

"How are you so sure that they did come to this town?"

"There is no way they were inside the ship when it crashed. They left the ship before that, and this is the really the only place they could have gone. And anyway, who would suspect a little town like this?"

"Nobody." Mr. Gundar chuckled and rubbed his hands together in pure bliss. Nothing like this had ever happened before under his watch and the mere prospect of helping a world-famous detective was beyond his wildest dream. He also had never caught any of the Blik gangsters before.

Andrew got up early the next day to began his investigation. He told Pete to stay at the police station and stay disguised. He gathered a few things: a list of the citizens and a brief profile of each one, an all-purpose tracking device, a zapper, and other convincing but useless tools and papers to deter attention from the important items. Andrew donned his disguise and left with an official nod causing Pete to feel like he'd better not break the law.

Mr. Gundar had business to attend to that day, but Pete occupied his time by writing down all that happened. He was not quite done when Andrew, still disguised, entered Mr. Gundar's office.

"Where is Mr. Gundar?"

"He said he'd be back at three-thirty... which is in four minutes."

"Good."

Four minutes later Mr. Gundar returned, and seeing Andrew there he thought that he had given up, but Andrew quickly reassured him that his job was completed.

"Marvelous!" Mr. Gundar exclaimed.

"Get your best men ready; we're going to capture the occupants of 7074 Fairmouth road. I'll explain everything in the road train. Hurry!"

Pete looked at Mr. Gundar. Mr. Gundar ordered all his officers to surround the house and then the three of them prepared to go.


"So tell me how you knew this was where those Bliks are hiding." Mr. Gundar asked as he, Pete, and Andrew alighted from the road-train and approached a circle of police officers encircling a tidy looking house.

"It was rather simple, but tedious work going from house to house." Andrew still had not taken off his disguise. "But I was lucky to have this house early on my route. Each house I was able to put off as highly unlikely until I came here. When I came to the door I was greeted by an old man who walked with a cane and was hard of hearing. I asked him some routine questions, some important, some not so much, but I received the answers you expect of an old man. I told him that I would need to search his house, and he gave an 'Oh, well I suppose.' I knew that Bliks, especially ones that might be hiding others with a captive, are always well trained, mentally and physically. So I expected nothing of this old man until I found some intriguing articles. First, the cupboards were well stocked with perishable foods, second, the man had several parachutes, which as you remember were used to exit the ship. Third, the old man had apparently been doing some 'basement work' which would have required a lot of lifting boards and nailing, which to me seemed beyond an aged man's capacity. At that point I had been very suspicious of this old man and I thought that this could be covering where the Bliks were hiding, but it would be to dangerous to test my theory so I knocked on it once listened for the hollow sound and said 'Well, not a bad bit of work, sir. Looks very nice,' to which he replied 'oh it wasn't easy, and dived into a detailed description of his work. Then, I decided to learn more about this man. He invited me to have a bit of lunch and I agreed. Through the whole meal we talked about the kidnapping and how this was so uncommon in North Daker, but all the while I gradually lowered my voice so that the man could not tell I was doing it. My voice reached a quiet but audible level, but the conversation kept up just fine. I decided that he was not really hard of hearing; he was acting for sure. And at that point I concluded my visit at this house, searched a few more to avoid suspicion, and came straight for you."

"Marvelous!" Mr. Gundar exclaimed, "Zachary, search 'em out!"

A ruddy-faced man nodded in reply, then he and three others filed into the house wearing protective helmets and vests and holding heavy zappers in their hands. There was a long time of silence--fifteen minutes at most-- but to those standing around it seemed much longer. The sky was sunny and nearly cloudless, one of the moons was visible in the sky and there were birds chirping in the trees bordering the yard, but all of it contrasted greatly with the general feeling of anticipation.

Finally the four officers marched out the door and immediately shook their heads. Mr. Gundar looked dismayed, as one of them neared him.

"This was their hideout alright. We found a closed off room in the basement with empty bottles, some trash, a table with well-worn cards on top and some loose Googokian coins."

"They got away..." Pete was confused and now he was beginning to feel worried about Bishop Ropet.

"No, they haven't!" Andrew said whirling around toward Pete. "They decided to try to escape." He turned again toward Mr. Gundar, "Sheriff Gundar have you got any speed-wheelers? Good. Now we need-" He was cut off by an emergency call on Mr. Gundar's communicator. He answered it immediately.

"This is Sheriff Gundar what's the troub--... Oh my, yes I see... Andrew! The man at the speed-wheeler garage says four brutes came in and attacked his shop and then each rode off in a speed-wheeler, one of them had a big sack."

"That's them alright." Andrew sprinted off to the road-train stop, and he soon found himself in a small shop with four speed-wheelers parked in the garage adjacent to the main building. Speed-wheelers are much like longer, four-wheeled motorcycles that can reach speeds of over two-hundred miles per hour with minuscule battery consumption for long expeditions. Andrew held up his badge to the man behind the counter (who was rather agitated about his shop being raided) and asked for a speed-wheeler and was promptly handed a key. Andrew had experience driving speed-wheelers before and he zipped off in hot pursuit of the Bliks.

Andrew was speeding through a desert of nothing but green grass for miles upon miles always following a small dot in the distance which was the Bliks' group. One of the Googokian patrol planes had seen the Bliks' motorcade and all available pilots and drivers were ordered to pursue them. Without warning, Andrew was joined by three officers of the Googokian police force each on a more advanced speed-wheeler. For a long time it seemed that the Bliks were getting no closer, but reality each minute brought the Bliks steadily closer. The gangsters had not given up hope; they made a classic diversion maneuver. Suddenly, what had been a mere dot in the distance became four dots that were steadily growing farther apart.

"You! Follow the first one!" Andrew ordered the foremost officer. Andrew was still disguised, but the officer knew his voice and obeyed readily. Andrew ordered the other two to follow the second and fourth, but he himself followed the third. The diversion did not throw off the pursuit but it did split up the pursuers.

The chase continued on and on with the Bliks slowly being gained upon. Andrew was far removed from the rest of the officers and the sun was beginning to set. Andrew had great endurance, but if it became dark he would only be able to rely on his radar. Every now and then he would see small cement buildings, many that were thoroughly damaged. As Andrew recalled on seeing this, these were bomb shelters that were used during the Daker Civil War, resulting in the permanent separation of the north and south. The buildings were really used to access the elevator which would take the North Dakerians safely underground. These buildings had saved many lives during one of the numerous bombings. That was over three-hundred years ago, and now, North Daker and South Daker were on peaceful terms but still remained separated. The shadows of the occasional shelter were growing longer, and Andrew was busy wondering what he would do if it did become dark when the targets began drawing closer together. Andrew's accompaniment began to come nearer to him as well, and the chase continued as it had at the beginning. Just as it seemed the last light of that day was fading, the Blik drivers stopped, and as the four approached them they could see them leap from their vehicles and bound across a length of grass toward one of the small cement structures. Andrew came upon them just as the nearly impenetrable door closed shut. A moment later the other officers arrived.

"I suppose that ends our chase," said the one crestfallen officer. "There's no way in except through this door and it's locked. Even if we could get in we wouldn't be able to get down the elevator shaft. There's enough food to last for years down there."

"We're not done here yet," Andrew began, "We may just be able to do something..."

The next day the Bliks called on an officer's communicator and demanded a ransom, but the officer replied that he could not do anything and the Bliks were the real hostages. It became clear that this was not the intended stakeout for the Bliks, rather it was a backup in case the plan should fail. On the second day Pete showed up and the rest of the South Daker Police with an ample supply of North Daker police and a representative of South Daker to make negotiations. All the while Andrew had been working out a plan to enter the base and save Bishop Ropet. He took seven brave and well-trained men (with the exception Pete, who could handle this task but was not what you could call an elite) to carry out his plan.

After three days of preparation Andrew and the policemen were ready to begin.

"Everything is ready." Andrew announced, "I will go through the plan with you once more." Andrew spoke seriously and solemnly to the whole group of officers. "We're going to fake an attack on ourselves and pretend that some more Bliks are going to lend a hand. First, the 'Bliks' will each put on their disguise. Second the 'Bliks' will make the fake attack on the police. Make it real; we don't know if we'll be seen. Third, the seven men I've picked out will be the 'sole survivors' of the fake battle. They will approach the door and use the Blik Morse code, they should be able to hear it echo through the elevator shaft if we use something heavy. You all must understand that they have no idea we know their code, and this will be the only time we can use it. That in itself is a ransom. Fourth, the Bliks will let them in, and you will wait until the right moment--that will be decided by Devin here-- and then force them to surrender or take them down, then bring us back Bishop Ropet."

The seven picked men nodded and prepared for the biggest operation of their career. Devin, their leader, was a heavy-built man with a good-natured attitude from Googokia. Every one assumed their role as either a policeman or a Blik. The "Bliks" were very convincing and they all looked like picked ruffians, ready to save their colleagues. Andrew himself was to be a police in the "battle." The officers took their usual posts and waited for their enemies to unleash their wrath.

Devin, law enforcing Blik captain, gave the order and the merciless police-Bliks charged on the other police men with their zappers set to lowest power. Pete was not used to holding a zapper, and he was paranoid that it was going to actually hurt someone if it hit them, instead of giving them a tiny shock. Pete fired his zapper at the police with hesitation at first, but after five minutes he had felt like a real Blik. The Bliks were now surrounding a ring of police, all hiding behind the speed-wheelers and losing men fast. But the Bliks were not without loss either. Only seven of the original group had lasted through when the last of their enemies were eliminated. The captain led the way to the bomb shelter where he was immediately greeted by four real Bliks-they had seen with cameras and the code was unessary.

"Got the ol' Bish-hup?" Devin asked in a perfectly uncouth accent.

"We sure 'ave, sure 'ave. Freggar, get ol' preachy mouth! You got a vehicle? Good. We need to leave now."

"We can't"

"Was dat?"

"Dem dings been damaged bad." Devin gestured toward the damaged speed-wheelers (this was planned too).

"Whull then yous 'ave ta fix 'em, yous wrecked 'em!"

"Course, 'course. Bulgy-eyes! Go get 'at tire on!" Devin was clearly talking to Pete. Pete hadn't realized his eyes were actually bulging, but the sight of four real life Bliks was terrifying (and, he realised, he had no idea how to change a four-wheeler tire). Just as Pete was turning to leave, Freggar came out the door with a haggard-looking but otherwise fine Bishop Ropet.

"Hehe. Still preaching about conversion and- Ump!" One of Devin's men dug his fist into Freggar's stomach. Pete swung around to help his friends. Devin whipped out a zapper but he was zapped by the Bliks first. Then the leader of the real Bliks was tackled by a fake Blik, but easily fought him off. The police got up off the ground to join the brawl, but most of them were rather far away. Bishop Ropet was bound by his hands, but he ducked out the fight just as one of his captors was knocked out with a zapper. Pete lunged at the leader, but the leader dodged him. Pete hit the soft grass and looked just in time to see the leader aim his zapper at him. There was a sudden stinging sensation in his stomach, and then he blacked out.

Pete nearly attacked the nurse beside his hospital bed when woke up.

"Pete, so glad to see you're alright!" It was Andrew's voice. "We were lucky the Bliks hadn't gotten very high-powered zappers. Boy, it was a fight though." As Pete's vision came into focus he could see Andrew and Devin, who had apparently been awake for a long time.

"Bishop Ropet is visiting the others next door, he'll be in soon. It got rough when that last one used his pocket knife- but we're all okay."

Pete was relieved, and he fell back into a comfortable sleep.


Pete woke up again and climbed out of his bed. There was nobody in the room except for him. Pete was still wearing his clothes from the fight and looked disapprovingly at the various smudges and stains acquired from his adventure. Pete surveyed the room for a few seconds and then exited the room to find Devin and Bishop Ropet sitting in two chairs outside the doorway.

"Hello, Pete!" Bishop Ropet seemed no different to him than he usually did.

"Hi! Hey Devin. Where's Andrew?"

"He left to go investigate a case back in Googokia," Bishop Ropet said, "but he told us that he was grateful for your help. He asked quite a lot about my little affair with those Bliks."

"Ya, I was kind of wondering too." Pete realized that this would make for another interesting first-hand story and he quickly added, "Oh, um, one moment I gotta get my notebook." He scurried into his room where his belonging currently resided. After a few moments of shuffling through his suitcase he returned holding aloft his notebook.

"Now I'm ready."

"Well," began the bishop, "I was at the cathedral rectory I had finished night prayer and I was going to turn in for the night. But as I was walking down the hall to my room someone grabbed me from behind and another shoved a big sack over my head. I hardly began processing what was happening when I realized that whoever these people were, they had carried me aboard their ship and were taking off. There isn't much to say about my trip except that there was always one brute standing by me as I lay on the floor in the sack. I could understand them and it wasn't hard to tell that they were being followed, and shot at. I can't remember a time when I was more afraid, but I knew the Lord would would save me if he willed, and that He was in control.

"After what seemed like an eternity I was told to take off the sack and put on a parachute. I put it on and was shoved into the dark sky, and falling through a bitterly cold mist. The parachute unfurled automatically, and after a frigid decent to the ground I was thrown into the same sack (which they seemed to have kindly saved for me). Before I knew it, I was in some dim lit room and my sack was removed again.

"I slept most of the time, but it was the most unpleasant nap I've ever taken. One time I woke up I heard one of the Bliks tell the other three that there was a visitor and, essentially, 'be quiet'. I heard Andrew talking when he came to the basement (of course I couldn't tell it was him yet) and my kidnappers had never looked more nervous before. After the whole affair was over, I was sacked again, carried up through the house, and crammed into a road-train which took us to a speed-wheeler shop. After a classic hold-up I was secured to the back of one of the speed-wheelers and one of the Bliks started the engine.

"I could not see anything and I had the most unpleasant trip of my life. We finally stopped and I was drag-carried into an abandoned bomb shelter. The four of them, once we had reached the actual protected room, began to argue with an insatiable appetite for insults and swearing (even as little of it as there is in our language). I had no idea what was happening, but somewhere in the mix I was tossed a container of preserved food, which I guessed was chicken of some sort, but I couldn't tell. I actually tried talking to them about Jesus and contrition, but they just laughed. After two days or so I was tied and led outside to meet the 'Bliks' that had saved the day. I think you know the rest."

Pete's fingers continued typing for a few more second and then stopped. "Well, I'm sure glad you're back."

"Me too, Pete."

Andrew Fox was awarded a medal from the president of South Daker for thwarting the first Blik attack. Andrew said that he did almost nothing and that the officers deserved the most credit. Pete published a book describing the kidnapping from both his and Bishop Ropet's view. Devin continued his job as a South Daker TSO (total security officer).

As for the Bliks, it would be a long time before they would attack South Daker again.

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