… Before a new face of evil appears in the form of a traitor.

Alexander was out of jail, the shuttle is fixed, what could go wrong? A whole list of things.

"Señor Tulliver, Señor Penguin, please take me out of this country. There is nothing left for me here, my family, my wife, my friends, all of them are gone," cried out Señor Gonzales.

Rojer, not knowing what else to do, "We can’t, there isn’t enough supplies, I’m taxing the system enough with ONE human, we’d have to get a hold of more oxy-mix, food supplies, and at least one more air filter or we’d all die in the blackness of space."

"But, I can get you those things. Please, let me join you," Señor Gonzales practically begged.

Now, what neither Alex nor Rojer suspected was that Señor Gonzales was playing double agent. The government may be stupid, but they are not blind. Gonzales was sent to sabotage the shuttle because the government’s first plan failed, and what better way to do it than through a person smart enough to make a-list, and dumb enough to work for the government. When the call came to Gonzales’ office from Mexico City, the government was prepared and had Gonzales on a leash. The plan was to let Gonzales get their trust and then sabotage. The plan itself was sabotaged piece by piece starting with these three words…

"It won’t work."

Where these mysterious words came from, other than that they came from the shadows, couldn’t be figured out, but it gave Rojer and Alexander the confidence to fight Gonzales.

Yet Gonzales was a hard player and knew how to win an argument (how else could he have worked his way up the government ladder), and was not about to give up just yet, "Of course it will work, we’ve got all kinds of spare parts at the office."

Alexander speaks up, "Yes, but I doubt there would be shuttle parts there as well. Why else would they sabotage a working Zeke Drive based non-hostile ship if not to get it for their own purposes?"

Gonzales was speechless, and he quickly left in order to regroup. Alexander walked towards the spot were the voice most likely came from and picked up a small business card with only a company name on it: BILL’S MEXICAN BAR (in the Tourist Section).

A few clicks of the clock and klicks of the road away Alexander found himself in the flashy tourist section. It was a small bar packed with American tourists and Spanish workers looking for a few extra pesos. A small television in the corner was displaying the Winter Olympics.

The announcer went on, "… Team Antarctica, in its debut Winter Games has stormed the Olympics with over ten gold medals in two days…"

After hearing this, cries went up in two languages, "Viva Los Penguinos!" and "Go Penguins!" along with the occasional heckling from some angry not so gentleman who had drunk too much beer. Even an Elvis impersonator broke into a rousing rendition of Elvis’ famous song.

Alexander continued forward to a corner booth and sat down. A young Spanish teenage boy walks up. He says slowly and carefully, "Señor Tulliver?"

Alexander knowing very little Spanish said, "Si."

The boy hands Alexander a note, and quickly walks away.


Dear Mr. Tulliver,

Who I am is not important, other than the fact that I am a friend. I know of many things, the beginning, the middle, and the end. All things will end, as they should, believe me. I digress, don’t I? I am to help you on your journey. Please, get on that ship as soon as possible, and don’t listen to anyone. There are some of us you can trust, but we will not ask you for anything, just give. Take this advice and move on, quickly! Destiny Awaits!

Alexander read the note twice over. Nothing seemed to change the second time, so he decided to head back to Rojer, after a quick drink of course. He ordered a margarita on the rocks and was about to pull out his wallet when the bartender (presumably Bill) quickly told Alexander that there was no charge for his esteem self. After grumbling that he must have him confused with someone else, Alexander put his wallet away.

Outside the bar a small shadow slipped away into the night, a small flipper bouncing to some unheard tune.

Inside, Alexander downed his glass and walked outside, heading towards the pier and toward the shuttle. A friendly sight in what was becoming an increasingly strange world.

The shuttle’s hull gleamed in the midday air (had it only been a few hours since he had first found that note from Rojer?). The metal refracting the light in such a way that it shined in ways almost like a beacon or lighthouse. Alexander smiled at it, a beacon of hope, and a glimpse of the stars.

Alexander decided to quit reminiscing, after all, Destiny Awaits! Alexander flew into the ship. He was about to ask Rojer when they were going to leave when something caught his eye.

Rojer wasn’t there! This was unusual, and was just about to do something when something else caught his eye. The controls weren’t there. Now he was reaching the fainting level when something else caught his eye. The whole cockpit wasn’t there! Alexander with nothing else he had to do decided that the best solution to the problem was to faint, and when he came to it would probably be better. So he fainted.

~ ~ ~

The reason Rojer couldn’t be there at the ship was because Penguin-napping wasn’t yet illegal and it seemed that some enterprising Spanish "conquistador" had taken it as an "order" to take Rojer into custody.

I won’t have to name names, but the Spaniard turns to face Rojer, "I hope your cell is disgustingly unsanitary. Most Mexican prisons are vulgar, but for you, we extend a personal treat of having the worst of the lot."

If Rojer had had a pet fish (The best kind for a penguin, when it dies, you can eat it!) it would have been a Red Herring. Not that it matters what type it would have been; it is just that Rojer was thinking about that non-existent pet. He cries out, "It wasn’t me, it was the one-armed man, I swear!"

"I heard that penguins like water!" the Spanish man (Señor Gonzales if you haven’t figured it out yet.) spat at Rojer, "There is your share. Now, quit fooling around, and shut up. Nothing you can say will be listened to, and will not help you get out of here."

"I bet it won’t even be used in a court of law! That is not fair! I demand my Miranda Warning Rights!" Rojer cried out loud.

The Spaniard would have smacked him if it had not been for the phone on his desk ringing.

"Hello, what the heck is it? I hope you know that you have ruined a good session of ‘Prisoner Psychology’!" he blasted into the receiver as he picked it up. Under his breath he mumbled something about "beeping devices of mass contortionism" which gave Rojer the chance to chuckle a bit in his cell.

Rojer couldn't hear the receiver clearly enough, but it sounded like the person on the other end wasn't very happy. The words blasted out of the phone as SeÔ or Gonzales tried to get his share of words in, "Yes captain... I... No, sir... Of course I wouldn't, sir... Fine... Right Away, sir."

Gonzales slammed the phone down, "You are to be released Rojer," he practically made the name into a curse word, "it seems that someone out there wants me to lose my job."

Rojer was all but jumping for joy to get out of the dismal cell. A rat lunged forward as if he knew that he would be alone again. The cage door was slowly unlocked and then plunged open. Rojer rushed out, and into the hot day.

On his way out, Rojer noticed a small hand-prainted word on the cell wall, PROGRESS. He smiled and wondered about the animal that had had written it. But, there wasn't enough time to stop and smell the roses, and he lumbered off into the distance.

As he followed the trail, a song formed in his thoughts, a song of laughter from an age far away. The words came easily, and for the first time in years, he wondered their meaning.

Star fire in the Heavens, guides us to Destiny,

A place of fun, and unbarring, we reach out...

To Destiny, To Destiny, up and forward, back,

And slow-ard, is where it shall begin and end,

In the skies lay Destiny, in seas lay Destiny,

Back and Forward, Above and Beyond, lay Destiny,

Lay Destiny, and more.

Rojer moved forward, the second verse appearing almost out of thin air, as if it had only been last night when his mother had last sung it to him. A rhythmic flow of water and life speaking the language of music.

Ice and snows and nobody knows, what lays beyond,

Destiny Awaits, Destiny Awaits, you know,

Up ahead is an iceberg, below lays dawn, the fires,

Breathe life into the meaningless void, 'cause,

Destiny is there where no Penguin dares to go,

Yet every single day moves us much closer,

Destiny Awaits, in the skies, and seas, and we must

Journey there.

Soon Rojer reached the Hotel. He stopped inside and met again with the obese Hotel owner.

"Thanks for getting me out Lou," Rojer said.

Louie looked at his Penguin pal, "Get you out of where?"

"You mean it wasn't you?" Rojer asked, "Then who was it?"

Louie set down the book in his hand and leaned forward, "I heard Mack was in town, but it may be just a rumor, You know how those kind of things start."

Rojer nodded. Mack was a strange one, a penguin with no family history, which is one of the strangest things in penguin history. After all, almost all penguins could recite their genealogy to 20 generations upward. Mack also seemed to vanish at times, one day he would be one place, another the next. Mack surname came from the only place he spent enough time at, Mexico City.

Louie started again, "So, I guess you ended up in the Jailhouse," Rojer nodded, "well, it looks like someone is really out to get you guys. Well friend, My lodgings are open for the two of you at night, that's the best offering I have at the moment..."

"Of course," Rojer cut the overweight Hotel owner off, "I wouldn't think of putting any strain on the Hotel, and you, friend Louie."

Before anything else came up, Rojer left the building, with only a quick glance at the wall which sported a strange symbol, hidden from human eyes, sporting a stylized "P" on a spaceship emblem sporting the words, "Destiny Awaits."

As Rojer walked out of the building he bumped into a guy carrying a stretcher. The guy was frantically shouting Louie's name and soon the Hotel manager was outside, "Jim, what happened?" queried Louie.

"I was fishing at the dock when I saw this guy faint dead on the spot down at the pier. It took me a small while to fix up a rather simple stretcher to bring him hear," said the muscular man, Jim, who appeared to be some sort of Fireman, or EMS out of uniform.

As the two men kept talking, Rojer took a peek at the guy on the stretcher, "Oh my Icebergs, its Alexander!" he almost screamed.

The conversation slowed, and Jim replied, "I thought all service men where supposed to wear the logo."

Louie practically hung his head; "I was about to get it to this pair, but its certainly hard to keep tabs on them."

"What logo?" Rojer was feeling like a child left from understanding the punch line of a good joke, "What service?"

Louie cut in before Jim could, "The SpaceDep Penguin Service, chartered in the NASA (now the SpaceDep Authority Sovereign) Terms of Creation, as a self controlled police system of the newly created Penguin State of SpaceDep." Louie then turns to Jim; "I would like to introduce Alexander Tulliver and Rojer Bursh-Thornis-Eurk."

Alexander opened an eyelid in surprise, "Eurk? Eurk! You didn’t tell me you were a Eurk."

"You didn’t ask," Rojer replied in full penguin seriousness, "besides, I wanted you to join me because of me, and not Uncle Eureka."

Alexander’s other eyelid opened, "Uncle?"

"Of course, I would have told you my family name sometime, but you would have just taken it to your head," Rojer was as nonchalant as ever.

The curtain shall fall on this scene of wild disarray to change the set, and to show what else is happening in this strange world of life.