(excerpt 12. If you missed the previous installment, scroll down the blog to catch up)
Lord Bartholomew's palace on the planet Kryllium was well-fortified. Breaking in would be no easy task. It would take careful planning, cunning, and nerves of steel. Once I broke in and freed my parents, the hard part would begin: getting out and getting off the planet before Bartholomew had a chance to realize what I had done and unleash the full force of his small army on me. I enlisted the help of my old friend, Theron. He was quirky and clumsy, but he was the best wheel man in the galaxy with the fastest space cruiser in the Milky Way: the Dormez-Vous.
The exterior walls of the palace were a thousand feet high and there were only two ways in or out: the east gate and the west gate. If Bartholomew had one weakness, it was his sweet tooth. I stowed away on the next chocolate truck bound for the castle. I'd always pictured a chocolate truck as a regular truck that transported chocolate, but this truck was actually made of chocolate. The body, the seats and doors, even the tires were made of chocolate. And it was fueled by chocolate syrup.
Once inside Bartholomew's compound I snuck out of the cocoa conveyance and began my search for the cell where my parents were being held. Detailed building plans, secured by Rick, another old friend, made the search easy.
Allowing fifteen minutes to ensure I had found my parents and was ready to escape, Theron detonated a bomb at the east gate of the compound. The explosion would have made any mercenary smile. Clouds of flames and smoke spewed high above the outer walls of the palace. The blast leveled an area the size of a small city. While Bartholomew's guards were in a state of disarray I slipped out with Mom and Dad and we climbed aboard the Dormez-Vous, which was parked outside the west gate, and headed for Earth. The flight seemed to take no time. In the blink of an eye we were parked at Theron's hideout in the mountain west region of the United States. I decided to ask Theron to keep an eye on my parents while I returned to Kryllium to take care of some unfinished business. But that would have to wait, for now.
“Thanks, buddy. I couldn't have done it without you,” I said to Theron as I shook his hand.
“Any time. You know I'm indebted to you for life,” he replied.
“Do you mind if my parents stay with you? I need to go to New York and check on Janelle.”
“Not at all. Take the Dormez-Vous.”
“Thanks, but I better take a commercial flight for this trip,” I replied.
“Parker, are you going to be okay?” Mom asked.
“I'll be fine. And you and Dad will be safe here. I can't think of another place where you'd be safer.”
I caught the first flight to New York City. I had to make sure Janelle was okay, but more than that, I desperately wanted to see her. I longed to run my fingers through her hair and feel the warmth of her embrace.
The city was something to behold - more than forty buildings which were at least 500 stories tall each. These truly were skyscrapers. On inclement days, the upper floors were bathed in brilliant sunshine while people on the street beneath the clouds shuffled through the dreary rain holding their umbrellas overhead.
The entrance to Janelle's magazine office was a soaring glass facade with the words Platinum and Polyester emblazoned across the top in twenty-foot tall stainless steel lettering.
I walked into the lobby.
“Hi there. I'd like to see Janelle.”
“Name, please.” The pretty young girl behind the desk spoke with an authority that was miles above her station.
“Parker,” I replied confidently and condescendingly.
“Do you have a last name, Parker?” she snapped as she returned my patronizing treatment.