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Dear Diary...

08/06/07:

                Woke up late (and sore!) this morning and had an amazing breakfast in bed. I don't want to say anything derogatory about the service we received at Olivia's, but damn! It's good to be the Overlord (or his moll, at least). Anyway…breakfast and then went to the Aladdin and called a meeting of everyone who works in or with the Cathedral.

                When all were gathered I assured them, "Just because I am residing in a different location it doesn't mean that anything is going to change in regards to the Cathedral. Lord Aladdin has already told me that as far as she is concerned, the Cathedral can stay as long as necessary. As for the shelter - I sincerely hope that there WILL be a change. I hope to expand it, when the time comes, to space at the Venetian. But in the meantime I will continue to come here to the Cathedral to see to my duties and to be with all of you."

08/11/07:

                I got home from work at the Cathedral today to find that Leo had done some redecorating in our rooms. He'd erected some very stylish tripods all over the place to hold white-boards, and one wall was covered with a surveyor's map of Clark County in its entirety. He was pacing back and forth (which wasn't easy given all of the tripods) muttering to himself. He'd occasionally stop to study one of the white-boards or the map and write something on a notepad. Then, more often than not, he would shake his head and tear up the piece of notepaper. There was an impressive layer of paper covering the carpets.

                Overlord or not - that's gonna make the cleaning people cranky.

                While Leo ignored me - I scanned the white-boards, he'd covered them with notations and time-lines. One of them had what appeared to be a 'to do' list with three items:

                1. GPS data.
                2. B1B Lancer.
                3. M.O.A.B.

                Number one was the only one checked off as completed. I checked out the map and found it had colored pushpins stuck in different locations.

                "Hi Honey! I'm home," I said.

                He grunted.

                "So? What's up?" I tried.

                "I'm just trying to get a handle on the logistics of all the attacks made by those Raiders." Then something on a board caught his eye and was the cause of more notations. I tried to get a rise out of him by pretending to rearrange the pins on the map. No reaction. So I took a pen and started a game of Hangman on the bottom of one of the whiteboards.

                "What are you doing?" he asked.

                "Trying to get you to lighten up a little," I told him. "I didn't erase anything." He grunted again and resumed pacing. I went to change clothes and a few minutes later he wandered in.

                "So how much of Area 51 did you and your 'friend' leave intact?" he asked.

                "Well, now… Charlie was making improvements for the people that he was 'reviving' out there, so they'd have someplace nice to live. But I'm not quite sure. Why?"

                "There's sixty to seventy thousand acres out there covered with motion detectors, seismology readers, sonic detectors, heat detecting devices. With all of that stuff, we could build one Hell of a security system." He stopped pacing to look at me; "I need to go take a look."

                "So let's go see Charlie," I told him. "We'll go out to the Black Mailbox and ask him. He probably doesn't need that stuff anymore - his 'disguise' works better than all that stuff ever did." Then I grinned and added, "Maybe by now he's forgotten how you almost managed to get us all killed out there."

                Leo ignored that. "Are there any 'preparations' that we need to take care of before we go out there?" he asked.

                "Not that I can think of."

                "Tomorrow then," he said. "I'll have Chef prepare a picnic lunch for us."

                "Okay. You should call your sister - she likes Charlie," I said.

                He shuddered a bit, "That's disturbing somehow." But he called her and told her the plan.

                She said, "Before we go, let me call Jim. Charlie might be in town." Oh yeah! I had forgotten about his 'job' over at the Bellagio. Sure enough he was there. Olivia told us she'd meet us there.

                We paid our respects to Jim and asked that Charlie be pulled away from whatever he was 'working' on for a quick meeting. When he joined us in a meeting room, Olivia and I were pleasantly surprised in the changes in him. He looks considerably less scruffy, much less like the desert rat we first met. And I don't know if he's done it Magically or the old fashioned way, but he's put on some muscle and had a kind of 'Kirk Douglas Distinguished Older Gentleman' look to him.

                I was impressed.

                "What d'y'all want?" he asked.

                Olivia told him that we'd decided to make a visit out at the Area, "Will there be someone there to let us in?" she asked.

                "God, I hope so."

                "Is there anything we need to know?" she asked. "Is someone likely to shoot us on sight?"

                Charlie gave us a grin and nodded. "Okay - what's going on?"

                Before Olivia and I could speak, Leo told him, explaining that he was interested in any and all surveillance equipment he could get his hands on. Leave it to my husband to be honest. Charlie looked at him, kind of blankly.

                "Charlie!" I said, "this is my husband, Leo. The new Overlord of City Defense."

                "Husband? You want me to turn him back into a cat?"

                "He never was a cat!" Olivia and I said at the same time.

                "Thank God for that."

                "You met him," I said. "Out at the Area, he arranged for the bombing that almost killed us."

                "Oh! The jar-head."

                "I am not a jar-head!" Leo objected.

                Charlie ignored that and assured us that he doesn't know a thing about the defenses nor does he care. "Take what you want, what the hell."

                We thanked him and Olivia asked if there were any more of those Toxic Zombies rambling around. Charlie assured us they were long gone.

                "What about The Fear?" I asked, "Is it gone, too?"

                "I don't feel it - I think it's gone. The planes still come in every day," he said. "The people out there use them as clocks."

                "Would it be wise to go early? Before it begins to grow?"

                Charlie shrugged, "It couldn't hurt, but there's a lot of 'happy' out there now."

                "Counteracting The Fear?"

                "Yeah." Then he told us where to find security building once we got there; "You might find your answers out there - good luck with that."

                "Thanks Charlie, do you need us to bring anything back with us?" I asked.

                "If you find any chicks with more than two tits, I'd get a bonus."

                "Can't you just 'make' your own?" Olivia asked.

                "Who'd want that?" Charlie asked. "But if there was someone who was meant to be that way and Changed…" and with that he went back to work.

                Leo watched him go and said, "It would serve him right if we brought back some guy with two dicks."

                "And it would serve me right, too!"

                "Never mind!" he snapped.

                "You started it…" Olivia snapped right back.

                And I had a brief shining moment of what they must have been like as children.

                Leo said he'd arrange for a trailer to pull behind Scooby so we'd have room to bring stuff back.

                "And I'll bring the Altoids tin - for even more room," Olivia offered. Then she got a really odd look on her face.

                "What?" I asked.

                "I just remembered - the flying carpet! I'd forgotten all about that flying carpet I shoved in the tin back in Reno!" She jumped up and headed for the door. "I gotta go!"

                "Call me tonite and tell me how that goes!" I told her as she rushed off.

*****               

                Just finished talking to Olivia - she told me all about the carpet. Poor thing had been in that box, all alone, all that time. Olivia opened the box and looked in and there was the carpet lying at the bottom of the stairs. When the light hit it, it sort of 'waved' a tassel at Olivia.

                "How ya doin'?" she asked it.

                Olivia told me that it slumped over, dramatically with its tassels quivering. Olivia reassured it with a few pats and said, "It's been really busy out here! But you've been safe in here. I lost an arm! Really! I did! You've been better off in here where's it's nice and safe."

                "The tassels stopped quivering and seemed a bit 'perkier'," Olivia said. Then she asked if she could get it anything.

                The tassels pointed up - out of the box.

                "Sure, come on up!" Olivia told it.

                It unfolded to its full size and whooshed out and then zipped around - making a few laps of Olivia's suite. It spotted Annike and got spooked - hiding under the bed while Annike asked Olivia, "So?"

                Olivia explained that she's picked the rug up on our expedition to Reno and 'persuaded' it to come back to Vegas with her.

                "Sort of a voluntary ownership change?" Annike asked.

                "I guess you could put it that way," Olivia allowed.

                Annike finally got it to come out from under the bed and that was when it noticed the big windows overlooking the strip. It zipped right over and plastered itself to the sliding door - and the whole rug was vibrating with excitement.

                Olivia asked it if it would run away if she let it out.

                It turned away from the window and gave Olivia a 'look'.

                "Okay - you can look from there," Olivia told it.

                Annike objected, "No. Let it out. It's too sentient for me to be happy keeping it locked up."

                So Olivia opened the door and as the rug flew by she told it, "You're lucky she's nicer than I am."

                The rug stretched, waved a tassel at Annike and flew off doing loops and swoops.

                Olivia watched 'til it was out of sight and closed the door.

                Annike told her with a hug, "Look at it this way - your freeing it could be like you're very own version of Androcles and the Lion."

08/12/07:

                Leo and I had breakfast this morning and then prepared for the trip. I donned my suit and Leo opted for a nice suit with a Kevlar vest underneath it. We armed ourselves, collected a picnic basket from Chef and made our way to the Aladdin's garage and Scooby, but were waylaid in the lobby by some reporters. They started shouting questions to Leo about the ongoing problems with Raiders attacking farms and food convoys and what Leo proposed to do about it.

                "Excuse us!" I said. "We're going on a picnic."

                Leo was a bit more diplomatic. "It is not the policy of this administration to speak publicly regarding security matters. That would jeopardize the issue so I politely decline to answer your questions on the grounds that doing so could endanger the health and welfare of the people. So, the official line? We're going on a picnic. Have a good day." He took my hand and walked us past the reporters who quickly recovered and began to shout more questions. We ignored them and got into our car.

                At the Aladdin we walked straight into - more reporters. Leo stuck with the picnic story as we made our way to Scooby where Olivia was waiting for us. We got settled and Leo drove us out of town while Olivia told us about her morning.

                She had also run into a gaggle of reporters. "What?" she asked them.

                "Do you have any comment on the fact that Lord Venetian is going on a picnic as opposed to attending to the security of Las Vegas?"

                "Those two things are not mutually exclusive," she said, "and he is newly married."

                Another reporter asked, "Has Lord Venetian always been the type to ignore the good of the public to attend to his own hedonistic interests?"

                Olivia slapped him. Repeatedly. With a pistol. "Don't you ever question the integrity of my baby brother!" she'd told them.

                Leo groaned as she recounted the "baby brother" part of that.

                Anyway, the guy's cameraman pulled him away, "Back off! We've got a better story now - 'Berserk Overlord Attacks Reporter'!"

                "He's lucky you didn't Glock him," I said.

                "I considered it," she admitted.

                Well Karyn took over then, picked the reporter up, shook the dust off of him and told him, "You're talking to an Overlord about another Overlord. Show some respect unless you want to answer for slandering an Overlord. Now, erase that tape." The cameraman tried to give her some story about the camera only being able to tape. Olivia used a small Magic and electricity shot over the guy's camera, forcing him to drop it.

                It hit the ground and ejected the tape, which Karyn snatched up and promptly destroyed. She looked at the other news people present and asked, "Did you all get that?" They nervously nodded an affirmative. "Good," Karyn said. "Now there's something Lord Aladdin would like to seen aired." She handed out some high denomination chips to insure that it would be and told them to hit the road. Now!

We hit the Port of Entry and Leo shocked some of his men pretty thoroughly. It was funny! Then we had a nice quiet ride to picturesque Rachel, NV to find the Black Mailbox.

                Boy has it grown! Where there used to be a small collection of trailers that were home to about sixteen people and where the main industry was the Little A'Le'Inn Motel and the selling of UFO memorabilia there was now fifty or sixty assorted RVs and ramshackle trailers. The residents had even made an attempt at irrigating a few fields of crops.

                But then there was … the launching pad?

                It looked as if they'd constructed a homemade 'spaceship' from pieces and parts of old airplanes and then taken the rails from a length of railroad track and built a very steep "U" shaped ramp. The 'spaceship' was perched at the top of the ramp.

                We passed it to the far end of 'town' to the Black Mailbox. It was still there! Out in the desert beyond it someone had taken earthmovers and gouged out large chunks of the earth. The resulting trenches had been filled with cinder block, old tires and other rubbish. It looked oddly enough like some sort of 'alphabet' so I used some Power and even more oddly enough was able to read it. It said, "Rescue us!", but I have no idea what language it was in.

                There were some people out there, sweeping sand off of the letters - so they'll be legible from space, I guess.

                Olivia stuck her head out a window and asked, "Who's in charge here?"

                "We're stopping?" I asked.

                An absolutely filthy man, sitting in a dilapidated lawn chair next to a "satellite array" made of an old golf umbrella, some aluminum foil and a See 'n' Say said, "No one really. We're just waiting."

                "Who wrote that message?" Olivia asked him.

                "Grelzorp did," and the guy pointed to a small trailer with pink racing stripes painted on it. "He lives over there."

                "Is he home?" Olivia asked.

                "We're going to talk to him?" I asked.

                The guy gestured toward the 'greeting'; "He's out cleaning off the sign."

                "Can you describe him?" Olivia asked.

                "He's got aviator glasses and a broom," the guy said, "and he's wearing shorts, a t-shirt and a Dr. Who scarf."

                "What?" I asked, "No tentacles?"

                The guy shrugged, "Don't know - I've never seen him naked." Then he squinted up at us and asked, "So, are you them?"

                I shook my head, "Sorry, no."

                His disappointment didn't last long, "But if you were you wouldn't tell me would you?"

                "You're too clever for us," I said.

                His hospitality kicked in and he asked, "Want some blunt?"

                Leo shook his head no, "Thank you - but it's toxic to our systems."

                "Oh shit! Sorry man." We waved goodbye and went off in search of Grelzorp. He wasn't hard to find. It was the Dr. Who scarf that gave him away. It was hard to make out thru all the dirt, but his t-shirt read, "Yes I work at Area 51, but somethingsomethingsomethingsomething."

                He spotted us and asked, "Have you come to help maintain the sign?"

                "No," Olivia told him, "but we'd like to hear about it."

                "We would?" I mumbled to Leo.

                Well that made Grelzorp happier than a pig in slop and he was just tickled to explain to us how the language had come to him, from the Rigelians one day, in a trance. Then it occurred to him that everything that had happened had been one big cosmic conspiracy.

                He leaned in to confide to us, "There's a device on the base, who knows if it's still there or not, but 'They' discovered that probability is a commodity and the device harnessed that commodity for them. All those 'experimental' aircraft they had - the ones that never should have gotten off the ground? They took some of that improbability and worked it into the alloy. That's how they could fly!"

                "I realized what was going on because nothing ever happens to me, but I was in Vegas and figured, 'What the fuck!' and put my last five bucks into the MegaBucks slot machine and damned if I didn't win fifty-five million dollars! I was having my picture taken with two nearly naked showgirls and a giant cardboard check when the doors burst open and a six foot tall glowing humanoid white tiger walked in and proclaimed, 'I am Caesar! All will bow down!' In the confusion that followed that - I ran. And I ran 'til I was out of Vegas. But on my way out, I saw a whole bunch of them. I think the Mother Ship landed at the Luxor."

                "Right!" I exclaimed, "The beacon light! It all makes so much sense, now."

                Leo gave me a look that very clearly said, "Don't encourage the crazy man."

                Too late!

                "Right!" Grelzorp yelled, "You know! You understand! And the Arcturians won't have a chance when the brothers from Rigel get here. I don't care if the Arcturians are helping those people with their shuttle project."

                "Right. You don't need a shuttle - the Rigelians are coming for you," I said.

                Then Olivia earned the 'Don't encourage the crazy man,' look by asking, "What do the brothers from Rigel look like?"

                "So we can send them your way," I added

                "I only saw one - it was a small nosed Grey - and after he gave me the language - he tested me."

                "Well it's a good thing it was a small nosed Grey," I said. "The large nosed ones - they're just plain mean."

                "Don't I just know it!" he said. "I asked it when the Mother Ship would be here to take us, but it told me that it wouldn't make sense to me, with my limited concept of time, and that I should just wait."

                "And so you wait," Olivia said.

                "Hell yeah! Better to wait than kiss some cats' furry little tail!"

                Then Grelzorp remembered his manners and invited us to stay for a Coca-Cola taste alike that he makes all by himself. I think he mentioned beans, cactus, and sagebrush as ingredients.

                "Oh! We're late for an appointment," I said.

                "Yes we are," Olivia confirmed, "but thank you, though."

                "Oh you're welcome - good luck, now. And whatever you do - stay away from Las Vegas - it's a den of iniquity, you know," Grelzorp told us.

                As we got into Scooby we noticed a guy, a Human, standing next to a panel van, watching us. He nodded pleasantly and asked us, "Did you enjoy speaking to Brother Grelzorp?"

                "Who are you?" Olivia asked.

                "Peters. I'm … a wandering opportunist."

                "Bully for you," Olivia told him.

                He ignored that and said, "I was admiring your rig. But I have to say that I doubt you're a group of Mormon Survivalists - last I checked, they don't allow Darkies."

                "Very observant of you," said Olivia.

                He missed the sarcasm; "I've known a few Darky ladies, like you. You all have nose for opportunity."

                "What?"

                "I just happen to have a real, live alien," Peters said.

                "I'd like to se that," Olivia said.

                "Where's your money?"

                "What sort of money do you accept?"

                "How about that heavy machine gun in your turret?"

                Leo nixed that idea. "Tell ya what. Let's see what you've got and if we like what we see we'll start with trading some medical equipment." Peters thought for a moment, nodded and opened the doors on the van to reveal an Orion woman - bound and gagged, lying on an old mattress.

                "Do you have any other aliens?" Olivia inquired.

                "Nah - I ran across her all by herself. Her saucer must have crashed recently."

                Olivia Sent a message to Leo, "Get ready to blow him away - I'm going to build a barrier around us."

                Leo acknowledged that with a small nod and Olivia used some Magic to build a 'wall' around the three of us.

                Peters was unaware of it all and started to explain that he'd tried to reason with the alien but she didn't speak English and was uncooperative to boot.

                Once Olivia's wall was in place she signaled Leo who pulled a gun, placed it to Peters' head and asked, "What do you want on your tombstone?"

                "Huh?"

                "You got it." Leo shot him. "I like that. Leave people a hundred years from now wondering." Leo and I moved his body out of the way while Olivia hopped into the van to free the woman. We were interrupted by the sound of footsteps rushing up behind us. We turned, with weapons drawn, to see who (or what) was coming, just in time to see some man running towards us - knife in attack position. He ran smack dab into Olivia's wall. His nose made the most interesting noise as it broke.

                He fell to the ground, unconscious, and we turned back to the van as the Orion asked, "What do you want from me?"

                "I'm rescuing you from that shit-head. Where do you want to go?" Olivia asked. Before the woman could answer, Olivia said, "Wait. Let's talk about it in our vehicle."

                We got back into Scooby and she asked, "Where are we?"

                "Area 51," Olivia told her. "That guy was trying to sell you to us as an alien. Claimed that you couldn't speak English."

                That made the woman mad! "Funny! I thought, 'Get off me! I'll kill you!' and 'Let me go!' were all pretty clear." She looked around at the 'scenery, "Are we near Vegas?"

                "Yes."

                "Can I have a ride?"

                "Sure."

                Satellite guy was impressed with Olivia's wall. "Cool! You brought a force field generator with you."

                A Human girl - about sixteen years old or so, with her head shaved yelled out, "Are you gonna claim his vehicle?"

                "Nope."

                She put two fingers in her mouth and let out a shrill whistle, "Strip party!" A group of teenaged boys wearing Mohawks (and little else) came pouring out of various RVs and had that van stripped in no time at all.

                The Orion volunteered that her name was Debbie and asked, "Cool ride you've got here - do you live in Vegas. Where are you going?"

                "Area 51," Olivia told her.

                "Oh. Wasn't that in a movie? They filmed Independence Day there, right?"

                Ummmmm no!

                Olivia asked Debbie where she was from.

                "Originally or since 'all this'?"

                "Whatever."

                "I was born in Florida."

                "And since…" Olivia prompted.

                "That's a weird story…"

                I'll skip the details - but basically one of her sorority sisters, while trying to book a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, managed to get them stuck in Billings, Montana. From there they hitchhiked their way to Sacramento. While in Sacramento, Debbie confessed to, "Doing some 'entertaining'. You know how it is - it paid the bills and I've always liked to get laid. Besides, there is something so cool about guys lining up to pay to screw me! Anyway I decided to go to Vegas - I heard they're still making porn films there and I am going to be a Star! I like it and I am good at it."

                She jerked a thumb back towards where we'd left Peters, "I told that guy, 'One night with me and I'll take you to a different world!' When I woke up I was gagged, blindfolded and tied up in that van of his. It must have been two weeks ago." When we got back to the Mailbox, Olivia distracted Debbie by offering her a shower. "Oh great!" and off she went.

                Leo stopped Scooby and asked, "So what now?"

                "Get closer."

                As he pulled right up along side it - a road 'appeared' winding off into the distance.

                He pulled around and followed it, passing a dilapidated guard shack.

                About fifteen minutes down the road the terrain turned suddenly green and lush with flowers all over the place. It was pretty. Very pretty. Amazing, even. When we got to the lake, it looked larger than it was the last time we'd visited, and the whole area looked like the valleys of New Zealand.

                Charlie does damn good work.

                Where the road entered the settlement that's been built on one shore of the lake, a group of people were waiting for us.

                "Are you really from outside?" one asked.

                "You're the first strangers we've seen in forever!"

                "How did you get in?" another asked. "No one ever gets in."

                "We know the secret way in," I said.

                "What's going on? Why are you here? Is something wrong?"

                "No! Nothing's wrong, we just wanted to take a look around," I said.

                "We came for a picnic. And a swim," Olivia said.

                And again, Leo had to be the truthful one, "We're here to salvage surveillance equipment and then we'll be on our way."

                "You're not here to take us with you?" a lone voice asked.

                Olivia gestured around, "Why would you want to leave?"

                "There's not a lot here."

                Olivia began to tick off items; "There's food. A place to live. No one making you slaves. Security."

                Debbie popped out of the door at that point, wearing naught but a towel, looked around and declared, "Righteous!"

                We explained to her that we had some work to do. Boring, dirty work, and she agreed to get dressed and wait with the others while we were gone. The 'Elders' showed us to the security building and left us to our work. Several dusty hours later, when we'd looked thru every file in every cabinet we found, Leo shook his head in disappointment; "This system is just too sensitive."

                "Huh?"

                "It was designed to work in an area where there was supposed to be absolutely nothing moving in it. But in the areas around the farms there are simply too many people and vehicles moving around."

                "Can't we take some of it? And set up specific areas for entering and exiting?" I asked.

                He shook his head, "No."

                "But the farms need the help!" Olivia said.

                "And I know that," Leo said, "but this just does not suit the purpose. It would be going off anytime anything bigger than a rabbit crossed the detection zone. You could never use it to protect a farm. I'm sorry, I should have thought about this before dragging you out here. This has been a wasted trip."

                "It is not a waste - we saved Debbie from that freak," Olivia reminded him.

                "Okay - not a waste," Leo allowed. "But we still need something to keep an eye on and neutralize those Raiders."

                "Can you guess what might be a likely point of attack?" Olivia asked.

                "Learning from what Jazz saw in her Vision - I'm having my patrols search every vehicle. We cannot allow even a single 'assault team in a bottle' past the perimeter."

                Olivia asked him, "What about taking this equipment and using it to build a perimeter around Lake Havasu City?"

                "They got out of there and straight into the Stratosphere with no trouble," I pointed out.

                "Well then I guess that means we sack Havasu?" she asked.

                And then she was struck with an idea - we need to do to Vegas what we did to the House to protect it.

                "Huh?" Leo asked.

                We took turns explaining it to him - but I don't think he really got it.

                "Or maybe!" Olivia said, "we could take the sensors from here, Magic them to detect people from Havasu and set them around Vegas and the farms." She thought for a moment and added, "Of course we'd have to capture someone from there to test the detectors on." Than she had another thought, "Or! We can catch one or two of them, infect them with something hideous and send them back. But then we'd have to find a geneticist," she said.

                "No," Leo said. "Diseases have a nasty tendency of getting out of control and killing your own people." He took a last look around the building and said, "Let's get going." So we picked up Debbie and found a dozen or so people who asked us to take them to Vegas.

                "It'll be a tight squeeze, but if you're sure you want to go," I said.

                They were sure. Olivia reminded me that we always had the trailer if we needed room for more people, but a non-ventilated trailer, in the Nevada desert in August? We just packed them into Scooby good and close.

                "Should we check them?" Olivia asked.

                "For what?"

                "To make sure they're 'okay'."

                "Let Alfred's people worry about that," I suggested and once all were settled, Leo got us underway. During the drive back to Vegas Leo was deep in thought, disappointed, depressed and would occasionally mutter something to himself. I was deep in trying to block out Debbie's constant yammering. I succeeded - mostly by letting myself slip into a hiway trance (since I wasn't driving). Anyway - after a bit the white lines slowed - slowed - slowed, almost to a crawl and as I took my eyes away from them I was drawn to something out, off in the desert where I saw something.

                But I didn't really.

                Or did I? It wasn't a Vision - but it was.

                Sort of.

                Well - what I may or may not have seen wa-a-a-ay out in the desert was a cave. An entrance into the side of a mountain and all around it were signs:

                "Danger!"

                "Stay Out!"

                "Do Not Enter!"

                "No Trespassing!"

                The desert surrounding it was even bleaker looking and more depressing than most of Nevada I've seen. There was the wreckage of vehicles (mostly trucks) leading up the 'road' to the entrance that was a huge steel blast-door (very like the one at Cheyenne Mountain). I was trying to figure that out when I Felt something from Corellon. Something very close to resignation. He didn't much approve (of what?!?) but since it was to fight the enemy of the People - He was 'okay' with it.

                With what?!?

                To make it even more frustrating - I just knew that I should know what that place was and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. But I did know that there was something in there (where ever 'there' was!) and that that something wanted little more than to be left alone. It really, really wanted to be left alone. I looked over at Leo - working things over in his head. Then I looked at Olivia - pointedly ignoring Debbie's babbling. Then I remembered all the other people in the back. We could hardly go on a goose chase in the middle of the Nevada Desert with all of them in tow - so I kept my mouth shut.

                The guard at the Port of Entry waved us through and Leo drove us straight up to the main entrance of the Excalibur. We explained to everyone that they would be given all the information that they're going to need at the Excalibur and wished them luck. While they were milling around and gathering their belongings, Debbie thanked us again and we suggested that if she were going to continue to work, she would have to get a license from Lord Aladdin.

                She was skeptical, "But how will anyone ever know that I don't have one? Vegas is a big place - lots of people doing lots of business."

                Olivia told her, "Trust me - Lord Aladdin will know."

                "Yep," I agreed, "And you don't want to mess with her."

                "Not after she wasted all those pimps when she first took over," Olivia added.

                "So true, she is one psychotic bitch," I said. "Right Leo?"

                Leo hemmed and hawed and finally spit out, "It's not right to slander an Overlord."

                I reached over and wiped the end of his nose, "Honey - you've got a little something on your nose here…" Then we got serious for a brief moment and tried to emphasize the importance of her getting a license, "It'll be worth your while," I assured her. "Lord Aladdin takes good care of her people, protects them very well."

                "So, this Lord Aladdin is what?" Debbie asked, "An Uber-pimp?"

                "Well - yeah," I agreed.

                Olivia wasn't happy with the comparison - but it's true - isn't it?

                "And does she expect some on the side from her girls?" Debbie asked.

                "Oh no! She has her own personal stable - strictly voluntary," I said. But Debbie finally explained to us that she doesn't want to 'entertain' anymore - she wants to do strictly films. "Oh!" I said, "That's different - you don't need a license for that. Go see Lord Bellagio - I don't know what his terms of employment are, but he'll make sure you have a place to live if he hires you."

                "And what if I need a loan?" she asked.

                "Lord Paris is your man for that," Olivia told her.

                "A man?"

                "Yes. And a good one," I told her.

                Debbie told us how she's just got 'work' on him and she'll have that loan in no time at all.

                Olivia set her straight, "He's in a committed relationship."

                "Sure! Everyone says that," Debbie scoffed.

                Olivia warned her again and she and I agreed that our money was on Allison if Debbie actually tried anything on Rodrick.

                "Oh alright," Debbie sulked, "But what about this Lord Bellagio?"

                "Also in a committed relationship."

                "And Maisara will kill you," Olivia added.

                "Actually, you and Maisara have a lot in common," I said.

                "Yeah - she's Orion, too," Olivia said.

                Debbie thanked us for our help, the ride and the advice, "Tell me one last thing - how can I find y'all - so I can buy you dinner, once I'm flush."

                "Leave word at the Aladdin or the Venetian," I said, "Or with Lord Bellagio - he knows how to find us."

                "Do you work at the Aladdin?" she asked me.

                "Yes I do."

                "Oh! So that's how you know this person so well." Then she 'confided', "I bet you make a lot! You've got the whole 'Goody Two-Shoes' look going for you. All in all - very Catholic School-Girlie." She elbowed Leo, "Shame on you! You bad boy!"

                Then she said to me, "You know - if you ever want to - you know - give him a thrill - just let me know."

                Olivia laughed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                "Really!" Debbie said (so very earnestly), "it'd be a freebie, he's totally buff and you're hot!"

                I pretended to think for a moment, "Do you have some white knee socks? A plaid skirt?"

                "I can find some!"

                "Leo?" I asked. But he had his very best SEAL face on and was pretending to ignore the three of us.

                Olivia couldn't allow that, "You know, Leo, you could go help everyone back there get their stuff together."

                "Or you could hit that nice cold shower yourself," I suggested.

                Leo got up to go help and said, "No thank you, ma'am - I'm saving this for later!"

                We finally got rid of Debbie (and all the others) and after Leo had parked Scooby back at the Aladdin, I told them what I had seen. As I was saying, "… only I don't know where it is." One of the signs I'd seen flashed into my head again; "Federal Property. Do Not Enter! Violators Will Be Prosecuted!" Then I instantly knew what I was seeing: Yucca Mountain. The former government's nuclear waste disposal site.

                So, now I know where - but I still don't know what is in there.

Continued...