I AM THE WALRUS

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jwhouk
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I AM THE WALRUS

Post by jwhouk »

Yet another story in the "Expanded Wapsiverse"...

(This is a standalone story. Sorry for any confusion.)

---

Ari Wardoff finally had time for a break, and she was going to enjoy it as best she could.

As her boss, Al Richer, had finally taken his little "Holiday" to the Scottish Moors with Sterling's uncle Fergus, she had been left to essentially run the shop in his stead. And that meant checking orders, updating stock, paying bills and the like.

And that was just the first hour of the day. She hadn't even gone in back to check the status of the MIB research stuff yet.

Slipping into her office and locking the door, she shook free the velcro straps on her back with ease as her wings expanded to their full size. With a sigh of relief, she did a few lazy circles inside her high-ceiling work space.

Stretching her wings always helped her to focus after doing some stressful work…

Her phone beeped. Great, always new messages when I'm trying to do something, she thought. Gliding back down to the floor, she picked up the iPhone and swiped it. New e-mail. Hmph. She launched herself back up into the air, intent on getting in some flying – even if it meant just doing it in her office.

A few taps as she flew around, and her inbox showed a note from eBay Motors: You're the Winning Bidder! She thought for a moment, then opened the message.
It took her a moment or two to realize what she was seeing: the auction on the LR Defender 130 that she had been told to watch for Al was over – and their bid was the winner!

She squee'd a bit. They'd finally tracked down a utility truck they could use for towing and plowing! She'd been bugging Al that the Series I wasn't enough of a utility vehicle for the increase in traffic they'd received. Hell, Jaguar Land Rover Minneapolis had a larger truck for their service calls. And they were on the verge of just sending RE all of their body work, anyways…

She quickly replied to the message, agreeing to get the money wired over… to Scotland.

Well, boss, guess you're not going to be the only one visiting the other side of the ocean…
Last edited by jwhouk on Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by lake_wrangler »

As interesting as this one sounds, are you telling us that we're watching the sequel, before watching the original one???
:P

Either way, looking forward to reading both. :D
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by FreeFlier »

A flying woman . . . in Scotland . . .

. . .

Well, they should be able to blame it on an excess of whisky.

. . .

Is Wing going to meet Nessie?

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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by lake_wrangler »

FreeFlier wrote:A flying woman . . . in Scotland . . .

--FreeFlier
Well, as long as she doesn't start wailing/screaming... ;)
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by Warrl »

Spoiler: She doesn't fly over by herself.

She uses an airplane.

Image
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by lake_wrangler »

Warrl wrote:Spoiler: She doesn't fly over by herself.

She uses an airplane.

Image
Oh. Then she'll miss out on a classic comedy bit: "I just flew in from Minnesota, and boy, are my wings tired!"
:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by jwhouk »

Quiet, you two. :P

---

"Aw, hail, y'mean we're gonna do another project vehicle?" Smokey wailed after Wing announced the purchase to them.

"No, this is going to be our baby, to do with as we want," she explained. "Remember all the trouble we had with the Series I last winter? And with all the extra work the LR dealer in Richfield has been sending us, we need a truck that can carry more than three people."

"But why go all the way to the UK for one?" John asked between bites on the TimBits he'd brought in. "We'll have to get it modded for US roads and all that."

"We will also have all the time we need to do so," she pointed out. "Al gave me a few specs, and this one fit what he wanted. We just need to get it over here, and that's that."

"Y'all called over to AHI, see if'n they gots some room in the next ship over'n here?" Smokey inquired.

"That was going to be my next call, yes – but first, I wanted to show you the specs on this thing. Had it faxed over right after I got in contact with the seller." She plopped down a packet in front of each of them. "The primary reason why Al wanted me to get this one was that it was MOD surplus. Not quite a sister to Clara, but she has the 200 Tdi turbodiesel. It also already has a front winch mount, which will help us immensely."

"All nice and well, but how we gonna get it to AHI for shipping?" John asked.

"I've got one of the techs from the Runnymede plant to take a jaunt up to Scotland to pick it up and bring it back for shipping." Ari waved her hand in dismissal. "They've done this so many times before, both for the Alexanders and for Al, it should be old hat for…"

Her phone buzzed. She looked down, noticing she had a new message – from the seller. She swiped over to read the e-mail.

"The seller," she stated slowly as she read off the screen, "wants to do the transaction in person." She paused. "The vehicle was of particular meaning to the owner… Okay, I don't quite get this…" Her head tilted as she read the screen. "The person who put the vehicle up on eBay wasn't the actual owner of the 130. It was a representative… for an estate in Kintrye."

John and Smokey exchanged glances. John mouthed a silent "wee-oooh-wee-oooh" toward Smokey. Smokey just nodded in reply.

"Okay, this is over the top," she stated finally. "I'm going to call them directly." She did some tapping, and brought the phone up to her ear. After a few moments, the line connected.

"Hello, this is Ari Wardoff of Richer Engineering, over in the States? I was the one who put in the bid for the 130…" There was some muffled talk on the other end, with what Smokey could tell was a definite English accent. "…Yes, I did get that last message. I understood that we wouldn't… Well, yes, our firm does have an international presence… No, our boss was the one who wanted us to purchase the Defender… What? Oh, yes, about that – the owner is not the seller? ...Ah, okay. But we do have representatives who could… What?"

Ari stopped speaking for a good minute as the caller explained something to her.

"Uh, well, yes, I can understand that… We… we'll get something together. Yes. Good evening to you…" There was a clicking sound as the call was terminated on the other end.

Ari put the phone down slowly. "We… are going to have to send someone over to the UK to get the vehicle." She looked across the table at the pair, who were showing a high level of concern for their shop manager. "Do either of you have a passport?"

"Ah never did bother ta get one since ah moved up here," Smokey said slowly.

"I never bothered to get one, since I have NEXUS to allow me back into Canada," John explained. "And even if I could get one through the Canadian consulate, it'd mean I'd have to connect through Pearson – and tryin' to bring a UK vehicle into the US through Canada is more'n headache than it'd be worth, eh?"

"Don't you have a passport, Wing?" Smokey asked quietly. "I mean, you're considered a Cypriot refugee, right?"

"Uh, I… don't… know…" were the last words out of Ari's mouth before she froze up.

The two mechanics looked at her, then at each other.

"Ari? You there?" John asked, waving his hand in front of her face. The blank expression she had indicated otherwise.

Smokey immediately reached for his Galaxy phone and brought up "Jet" by Wings.

It had no effect.

John quickly went to his own phone, and swiped around a bit. The sounds of Justin Bieber singing "Where Are You Now" replaced that of McCartney's singing about lady suffragettes.

No response.

"Uh, I think we just lost her," Smokey said.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by jwhouk »

(meaningful pause for effect, then...)

---

Greg Howard was carefully working on the grip for the custom .75 he was working on – for "special purposes" – when his phone trilled out the opening chord from "Tejas" by ZZ Top.

"Huh, that's odd," he said to no one in particular (since his shop was empty at the time). "Smokey rarely if ever calls." Tapping his phone on, he greeted the mechanic with a big "HOW-Dee!!! What's up?"

"Sarge! Ari's frozen up," came the very concerned reply on the other end. "And not even Bieber is helpin'!"

"What?"

"We were talkin' about her gettin' a passport to the UK to pick up a vehicle, and after 'bout three seconds – frozen like Elsa!"

"You've obviously tried everything?"

"Yeah! Think we might need some hailp from the higher 'thorities, but I don't have their number. Only Al has it."

Greg smiled to himself.

"And a few others," he chuckled. "Got it, I'll call Neil."

---

A few minutes later a young man appeared at the main entrance to Building 2. John met him at the door, and escorted him quickly up the stairs to the conference room.
Ari was still catatonic, mouth closed, unmoving.

"Ah think she's at least breathin'," Smokey said as Neil moved in to inspect her. "Other'n that..."

"You said she was contemplating about a passport?" Neil did a cursory look at her eyes and hands; her fingers appeared still human, but he wasn't going to tempt fate by checking further.

"Yeah," John explained. "We got a bead on a Defender 130 for the shop over in the UK, and we really don't have anyone here who could go get it, eh?"

"Hm." Neil looked at her, stroking his chin a moment. "Phix suspected that it might be a gap in our little deprogramming. Let me try something."

He stood beside Arania, keeping a careful eye on her hands – and staying out of range of her wingspan.

"Ari," he said directly. "This is the centurion. Come out of this now. We need to talk."

There was a moment, then two. Then, without warning, she pitched forward onto the table, face down.

"Ari?" came cries from the two mechanics. Neil waved them off.

"Ari, you're okay. We have a passport for you. We can get you over to England…"

"Uh, actually, it'd be Scotland," John pointed out.

"…or Scotland, without any problem. You're okay; you are not in trouble, and you're safe."

There was only a small tremor of movement from the figure bent over on the table.

"Ari?" Neil asked again. "Arania – wake up."

Suddenly, she sat up, bolt upright.

"Huh? Whuzza-ha- huh?" She did a double-take head shake, then a quick scan of her surroundings – only to see Neil standing beside her.

"CENTURION!" She nearly went back into a catatonic state, but Neil raised his hands calmly.

"It's okay, Ari," he stated soothingly. "You're okay. We are in the process of getting you that passport you requested, so you can go over to the UK. You want to get that truck for Al, right?"

Ari only nodded.

"Good. Gregory will stop by tomorrow with the passport. Go ahead and book a flight to where you need to go. Everything will be all right – and enjoy yourself, okay?"

Ari continued nodding.

"Okay, you two make sure she's all right," he motioned to the two mechanics. "I have to go watch Dixie." With that, Neil turned and headed back to the entrance.

As he did, the pair went to check on their plant manager – who was none the worse for wear. As they were about to help her to her feet, Smokey's phone rang. He didn't recognize the number, but for some reason he felt compelled to answer.

"Uh, hello?"

"IT'S AETERNIA!" came the booming voice over the phone.
Last edited by jwhouk on Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by jwhouk »

(Yes, it's a running gag, thanks...)
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by Dave »

jwhouk wrote:(Yes, it's a running gag, thanks...)
And you ain't just whistling... well, you know... about that.
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by FreeFlier »

Hmmm . . . magically enforced parole seems a little glitchy . . .

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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by jwhouk »

---

Ari emerged from the international terminal of Heathrow, none the worse for wear. Buck had told her that he would have the people at Runnymede meet her, and escort her to where she was to meet with the seller's representatives.

At the taxi stand, there was a gentleman wearing an AHI blue and white polo and a sign saying "WARDOFF". Ari waved the gentleman down, and he greeted her.

"Pleased t'meet you, ma'am. Eric Whitemore, from AHI R&D. Master Alexander told me you'd be needin' help navigatin' Her Majesty's Island," he said while bowing slightly.

Ari liked the politeness, and nodded as she motioned to her bags. "Right now I need help with these," she said. He smiled back at her and took them for her to the car park.

"Sorry we don't have a Rover like yer boss," he apologized as they trudged into the elevator up in the ramp. "And though Master Buck is very generous to 'is employees, we don't have an Aston available."

The lift took them three floors up, and upon disembarking Ari was a bit chagrined to find a red Jaguar XK sedan waiting at the end of the row.

"If this is slumming it, I'd hate to see what they do if they want to impress," Ari chuckled. Whitemore opened the rear passenger door for her, and Ari was only slightly disoriented by seeing him get into the car on the right-hand side of the vehicle.

The address where she was to meet the seller's representatives was in St. John's Wood, according to the e-mail she'd received. When she gave it to Whitemore, she noticed something.

"You are like the third person to have looked at me funny when I gave the address – 3 Abbey Road."
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by jwhouk »

---

"You honestly do not know what is located at 3 Abbey Road in St. John's Wood?" Whitemore asked as they navigated the thoroughfares of south London.

"No," Ari asked, distracted briefly by the scenery. "Should I?"

"Well, I've heard you're a fan of Wings. You do know that Sir Paul was in a band before them, right?"

"Duh," Ari rolled her eyes. "But why's that make this address in St. John's Wood so special?"

"Well…" Whitemore trailed off for a moment as they reached an intersection. There seemed to be a large amount of people on the sidewalk on both sides of a crosswalk at the Y-intersection, where the one road (Grove End) veered right while the main road went straight ahead through a residential area. He slowed the Jaguar and turned off onto a side road, just before the intersection. There was some limited parking behind what looked to be a row of houses, with a large-ish building behind it.

"You honestly didn't recognize that intersection back there?"

"Uh, no. Should I?"

"Well, it's only the most famous crosswalk in Britain – if not the entire world," he explained before getting out of the car. He let her out of the back seat, locking the car with the key fob.

"You might recognize it better at street level," he said as they walked down the sidewalk to the corner. Upon reaching the intersection, he pointed to the white crosswalk, then spread his arms a bit.

"This is the Abbey Road crosswalk," he motioned. "And that," he said, pointing to a series of white buildings to the left, "is Three Abbey Road – otherwise known as Historic Abbey Road Studios."

Wing looked at the building, then the road, then the crosswalk. Just as she looked at the crosswalk, four people began walking across to the other corner – one of a group of multiple people who were engrossed in making the crossing.

She shook her head. "Drawing a blank, sorry."

"Well, a clue might be that Sir Paul wrote and recorded many of his greatest musical accomplishments here at Abbey Road," he said as they approached the entrance gate to Number 3. "Sure you don't want to make a quick crossing over the street?"

"No, I'd rather get this truck and get back to the States," she said, a tad bit frustrated. Whitemore only shrugged and joined her up the stairs to the entrance to the Studios.
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by FreeFlier »

Nearly Atsali-level obliviousness . . . Even I would recognize that one . . . I think.

Actually, it's not part of her culture, so why would she recognize it?

Does make me wonder who this is, though . . .

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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by jwhouk »

:twisted:

---
Once inside, the pair were greeted by a receptionist. "Good morning, welcome to Abbey Road Studios – how can we help you?"

"Yes, I have an appointment to meet with a Mr. Mark Williston, about the sale of a Land Rover Defender?" Ari told her.

"Certainly, one moment." She tapped a couple of buttons. "Mark, your appointment is here." There was a muffled response, then a bright smile from the lady behind the desk. "He will be down shortly."

There was a creaking from the wall behind the desk, where a set of stairs ran upward to a second level. A slightly older gentleman, who Ari put at perhaps 60, came down the stairs.

"Hello! You must be Miss Wardoff from the States. Welcome to Abbey Road!" He took her hand with a polite shake. "Mark Williston. I'm one of the recording engineers here at Abbey Road, and – on the side – I manage High Park Farms Limited for my 'client'." Williston made air quotes with his fingers at this last word. "Here, there's an empty conference room over toward the back."

Williston guided the pair through the old studios, with Whitemore a bit more goggle-eyed than Ari. Once arriving at the room, he motioned them to open chairs.

The paperwork was handled quickly, as was the writing of the check and deeds. Whitemore was ogling some of the gold records that were on the walls, even as Williston explained to Ari about the vehicle.

"Yes, she served the Farm for some time there in the nineties," he explained. "Hauled a lot through the moors. Unfortunately, the owner lost interest in the place, and has gradually sold off bits and pieces of the estate. The Defender 130 is one of the last things to go." He shuffled some of the papers – which seemed to get Whitemore's attention back.

"So – even though the owner hasn't been at the estate much in the last several years, he did want to personally sign off on this vehicle sale. Not that he had much choice, of course."

"I don't quite understand," Ari replied.

"The vehicle was purchased exclusively for High Park Farms," he explained, "for use only from Campbeltown Airport to the estate. To sell it off, he has to sign off on it with a Kintyre county constable – which means he has to be there as well."

"Odd, but then again, my boss always told me about the strangeness of the English," Ari said with a chuckle.

"I'd have to agree at times," Williston said. "Should I set up a time tomorrow for you to meet him there?"

"Wait – did you say High Park Farms?" Whitemore had seemingly made a connection. "High Park Farms, in Campbeltown? On the…" He paused for a moment, looked at one of the gold records on the wall, then added, "…Mull of Kintyre?"

Williston only nodded.

Whitemore gave a half-chuckle.

"Well, I don't know about my American cohort here, but it certainly seems like you're saying we're going to go up to Scotland to get the keys to Sir Paul McCartney's personal Land Rover."

Williston looked at him directly.

"Actually, that is pretty much exactly what I'm saying. Except that Sir Paul hasn't driven the thing in years."
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by FreeFlier »

Ah, so . . .

And of course Wing has no idea who Sir Paul is.

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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by AmriloJim »

Whitemore said to Ari, "Well, I've heard you're a fan of Wings. You do know that Sir Paul was in a band before them, right?" So she knows he has some connection to the music biz.
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

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---

Ari still felt foolish, even a day later and in a Gulfstream G5000 heading to the small Campbeltown Airport.

Everything had just suddenly hit her as she was sitting in the office at Abbey Road.

The studio. The crosswalk. The gold records. The reference to "Mull of Kintyre."

And then the words, "AHI will fly you up to the estate to meet Sir Paul personally."

That was when she started hyperventilating. And, shortly thereafter, passed out.

She couldn't quite figure out which was the most embarrassing part of the whole episode.

Fortunately, both Williston and Whitemore had been understanding – with Williston being a bit amused by the whole thing. "Haven't seen someone swoon over Paul like this in a long time," was what he'd told her.

She had a day to recover at the hotel near the AHI International campus – Runnymede-on-Thames, a lovely place just off the M25 southwest of Heathrow. Of course, Whitemore didn't tell her that she'd be flying out of London City – until he drove her back over to the AHI R&D facility down the road.

"Easier to take a heli over to London City," he told her. "Unless, of course, you want to try to navigate the Tube yourself?" She blanched at the thought – especially when he told her how many transfers would be needed.

"And then, you'll need to get a cab to the Jet Centre, all the way on the west end of the Airport."

That pretty much clinched it.

She was afforded a wonderful view of the city of London on the flyover of the Thames. The pilot explained that all air traffic was required to use the river as their flight path. It was a bonus for her purposes, as it was relaxing even as it was scenic.

Now, though, as the plane was making its flight over the northern part of England proper, she was starting to get a bit anxious. I mean, how many times do you get to meet the man who essentially gave you your nickname? She mused to herself.

Whitemore nudged her on the shoulder. "Hey, if you take a look out to the left, you'll see Liverpool in the distance."

She turned to peek out the window. She saw what looked like a long, curved bay with several settlements on its banks.

"Are we flying out over the water?" she asked. Whitemore nodded.

"Kintyre is located on a peninsula off the Irish Sea," he told her. "It tends to temperate the climate a bit, except when those wicked storms come in off the North Atlantic." He motioned in the far distance. If it was a bit clearer, you might even be able to see Ireland as we fly over Windmere."

Ari had a thought. "Are we anywhere near Dunmurry?" Whitmore smiled at the reference.

"Nah, that's a bit to the north yet. But we will be flying near it, as we approach Campbeltown." He smiled. "Why, ye want to go see where that stainless steel behemoth you assembled was originally manufactured?"

"Are you kidding?" She rolled her eyes and continued to look out the window. "I think I'd rather spit in its general direction as we flew over it."

They both had a laugh as the plane continued on.
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

Post by AmriloJim »

Ari wrote:"I think I'd rather spit in its general direction as we flew over it."
Two-thirds of a Python quote is better than naught.
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Re: I AM THE WALRUS

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---
The landing was routine – though Ari was still getting the hang of this "flying in a tin can" thing. She'd taken a commercial flight down to Houston for her visit at DMC headquarters, which wasn't entirely unpleasant. The flight across the Atlantic had been a tedious one, but that was more due to the length than the conditions on the Delta Boeing 767.

Once at the terminal, she was greeted by an older, rotund gentleman in a black coat and a captain's hat – only with black-and-white checks around the brim. The gentleman nodded in greeting.

"Mornin', madam, ye must be Miss Wardoff from tha States?" he said, extending his hand. When Ari nodded in reply after offering her hand, he shook it once and continued. "Constable Grangeworth of the Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Police. I'm here to 'company you over tae High Park."

"A police escort?" Ari said. The officer smiled briefly in response.

"Kinda. As part of tha sale of the vehicle, he'd be needin' to have our department sign off on tha title. And, cause of'n his agreement with the city, he will need to be physically present at the place." His smile faded. "Macca hasn't been here for quite some time, I fear."

"That's what I don't quite understand," Ari asked. "Why in the world would someone with a lavish rural estate just suddenly give up on it?"

"Ah, that'd be a story in of itself, now," he replied. "As we have a long trip, best if we tell it on the way, then." He motioned them out to the parking lot, where a Land Rover Discovery sat in Scottish Police livery. "Headmaster 'lowed me to take the Rover, since the road to the estate isn't paved."

"That explains why he had the Rover in the first place," Ari observed. The constable held open the door for her, while Whitmore went around to the driver's side to get in.

They took the single-lane road that stretched straight ahead, with hedges and farmland as far as she could see. After a bit, they finally reached a T-intersection with a two-lane motorway.

Ari figured this would be as good a time as any to ask the question again.

"So – what is it about the farm that made Sir Paul give it up?" She asked politely. The constable harrumphed a bit as they continued down the route.

"Well, madam, if I may be as bold to say that it's all due to one o' yer fellow Yanks." His face was sober as he spoke. "It's all 'cos of Lady Linda, I think."

"You mean his late wife?"

"Tha same. See, after she passed, he kept seeing her in ev'rythin' at the estate. After while, he just stopped comin' in to town. Few years ago, he basically sold most o'tha land to the High Park Farms consortium or some such. I think yer little Rover might very well be the last of the items he's ditchin' before forgettin' the place 'ntirely."

Ari pondered this as the Discovery slowed at yet another T-intersection – this with what looked to be a bit busier highway.

"Turnoff's just ahead to the right there," he motioned. "Have to 'pologize for the conditions of the drive; had a bit of a drizzle come through this mornin'." After about not even a tenth of a mile, he guided the Discovery off onto a rutted driveway between a post and a telephone pole.

The road led down to a barn, then dropped beside a creek and went through a long grove of trees. It wound along the creek again, and in the distance Ari saw a set of buildings.

"Wait, that's it?" she asked.

"Ach, nae," the constable explained. "This is another farm altogether. Macca's place is o'er yon hill," he motioned with his hand to the left.

They drove through the set of buildings, narrowly avoiding a stray lamb that had made it between the fences of a pen next to one of the out buildings. Shifting expertly, the constable guided the Discovery up a slight incline before guiding it straight ahead at the foot of a rather large hill.

After about another quarter of a mile, the road came to yet another T-intersection – with one way curving to the right and around, and the other to the left and over another rise on the far side of the hill.

This is getting a bit tedious, Ari thought.

The constable took the road up and over the hill, the all-wheel drive on the Discovery working to pull the vehicle through the slightly mudded trail. They traversed the side of the hill, curving along a path that went past some trees and rolling pasture.

"There 'tis," the constable motioned ahead at a larger grove of trees. In the distance, there was a slight view of some buildings in the distance, up on the hill.

"How much further do we have to go to get up there?" Whitmore – who had been silent since landing at Campbeltown – finally spoke.

"Ah, there's a bit of a sharp turn, but nothin' this thing couldn't handle." The Discovery came up to the second grove of trees, and shortly after guided the Rover to the right onto a narrower drive. With the estate in the near distance now, they came upon a stone half-wall with a gate. Ari noticed that a slightly older, blonde woman in a checked shirt and a blue vest stood on the opposite side of the gate.

She waved at the constable, and unlocked the gate, opening it. The constable guided the Discovery through, and the woman closed it behind them, then walked back to the passenger's side of the car.

"Mornin' to ya, officer," she said with a light lilt to her voice. Ari noticed her face, and for a moment had to stifle a thought that this woman might be a centaur. "Me dad's waitin' up at the barn. Mind if I get a lift?" The constable motioned to the front seat, unlocking it remotely. The woman, who looked distinctly familiar to Ari, reached in toward the back seat.

"You must be Miss Wardoff," she said, offering her hand. "Heather McCartney, pleased." Ari took her hand and nodded in greeting as she turned to have a seat in the Discovery's front seat. "See that the town gave you the good one to get up to the farm, Ward," she said with a smile.

"Well, 'tis not often yer dad graces us with his presence much anymore," he explained, putting the Discovery in gear. "Norm'ly we have to escort him up to the farm when he or yer brother stops in."

"Dad hasn't been up here for several years, true," she stated plainly. "James has been trying to get him to clear out the place, sell it out. Took him forever to get him to rid of the Walrus."

"Walrus?" Ari was jolted back into reality, even as the Discovery rolled up a slight incline, past a series of hedges.

"Yeah, that's the name of the 130 yer coming to get," she replied. "Put the blame all on James for that. With the brush bar we had on there, he said it looked like a walrus. The name stuck among the help."

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"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin
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