Is this for real? This is one WAY OUT dream. On the floor pad twinkles sapphire lights flashing NCA. "NCA? How odd." As I follow the lights down several corridors. It hits me ... harder than a bulldozer. No wonder Alex has no problem creating his books. They're real! This is no fictional story. He reminds me of the professor in Disney's Atlantis. Living in one century, but with all the high tech garb of another.
Why me? With all the bloggers in our world, how come Alex picks me? Several more doors open with a whoosh. The lights culminate into a peppermint swirl.
"Please step into the center," the female voice instructs. My heavy boot takes the final step. As my left foot joins the right, I tingle all over, instantly whirling into a vortex. My stomach rises to my throat and I come to a complete stop. I balance myself and view the skyscrapers of Downtown Chicago almost pressing against each pane of the craft's glass.
"Cadet Michael reporting to you, Sir," echoes through the massive cockpit.
Cadet Michael? Am I drafted?
Alex's mischievous grin stretches ear to ear. Sitting in an overstuffed leather chair, he looks every bit the Ninja Captain, but without the mask. Hmmm. I must be one of maybe three people who has ever caught a glimpse of him. Imagine the envy of all the bloggers who would KILL for this opportunity. Don't worry, Alex. You're secret's safe with me.
"I'm not worried," he chuckles.
"How did y...."
"Be careful what you think around here." He laughs again. "Welcome Michael. I know you must have a million questions, but I'll get to those in a minute." He pats the twin chair next to his. "Take off you coat and join me."
I follow his request and sink into the sumptuous chair next to his. "You're a bit pale Michael, take this."
"A gummy bear? I thought you only ate hot tamales?"
"I do .... but this is to settle your stomach and calm you for the journey ahead. We have two very important destinations and very little time to complete our mission."
Our mission? What gives? I have been drafted! "Uh, Alex, are you sure about this? I'm not a Ninja warrior."
"You are in this army, pal." He steps over to a large panel with at least a thousand multi colored buttons. "I think blue .... You used to be a model, so I know fashion's important to you. I could care less, but I want you to be happy. You need to stand now and don't move."
"You're the boss." I pulled myself off the chair, no longer nauseas. Hey, the gummy bear worked.
He presses a dozen or so various blue buttons. Beams of light lick at me from every direction.
"Your uniform will be ready in a few minutes."
I inhale a deep breath. "Okay, Alex. What gives? Frankly I'm shocked. Why me?"
"In all the blogosphere, no one has more heart and sincerity than you Michael. I can trust you. This mission is extremely dangerous and I know you'll have my back." He looks at me with eyes that could melt chocolate. "Are you in?"
A knot forms in my throat and I swallow hard to clear it. I square my shoulders. "Do you really need to ask?"
He shakes his head. "No. Just a formality." A high pitch ding, like two crystal glasses meeting interrupts us. "Your uniform's ready, cadet." He presses another blue bottom and out pops a vivid blue spandex and rubber type uniform and a pair of black knee high boots. He hands them to me. "Once you put these on, you're no longer Michael, you're Cadet Michael and I am Ninja Captain Alex."
I nod and examine the undersized garment. "Am I supposed to pour myself into that." He raised a dark brow. "Uh ... Sir."
"It'll stretch." He winked. "Now, get moving cadet. You can change while I fill you in." He returns to his chair and faces the city.
I've been through enough fashion shows to slip into the uniform by the time he pulls up the visuals on the big screen directly over head.
"Our first destination is here." He points to an obscure galaxy. "An archeologist friend of mine named David Alexander needs our help. His father's been abducted in this foreign world." He points again. "Prepare yourself. We'll be dealing with dark magic, thieves, men made of ice, and possibly dragons. We have to save them before it's to late."
"WHAT! Are you serious?" I step back away from the screen.
"Cadet ... Remember, you are a fantasy writer. You should be able to handle this."
I inhale half the air in the room and let it out slowly. "You're right, Captain. Do we have the arms to protect ourselves against these beings."
"I'm a Sci/Fi writer. I've got it covered. Strap yourself in cadet. Our journey awaits."
JEWEL OF SHAYLAR ... Book One of the Kingdom of Chandra.
TUNE IN tomorrow for the next exciting segment!