The Princess and The Slave, Chapter 1-2

Here we go again. Romarod puts a satellit in orbit.

The Princess and The Slave

Chapter 1.


Solara paid the cab driver and walked past the embassy gates, into the embassy and into Gwen’s office. Gwen grinned and said, “Solara! What brings you here?”
“A wayward daughter and a look around for a performance.”
“I’m guessing you are talking about the fae girl that was seen at the airport. I have her dress. So what did Moonshine do?”
“She went to the Republic, apparently. She ran into a boy in the Lower City and started to chase after him. The boy was only up here for a brief time and returned to the Republic using the plane. I’m not sure how Moonshine got on the plane but Aydiun Beinan sent a message back saying that Moonshine was a cat at present.”

“So she got stuck in one of her own things for a change and couldn’t just escape. I do have a note here to be on the lookout for a missing wildcat that escaped during shipment to the zoo.”

“I’m not sure what a zoo is, but it sounds like the perfect place to put Moonshine for a while.”

“So what is the other reason for you coming down?”
“This came about at the same time. Rosa is hosting the Harper family reunion, here in Ishendell and wanted the circus to perform. So I am here checking the spaces out.”

“That is next moon. I’m tied up in that as well. How are you handling that and the weddings.”
“We are managing. Midnight and Chissie’s wedding was marvelous and Terry and Starflower are next, toward the end of the season. Moonshine and this boy can wait a few years.”

“It sounds as if you have a handle on the chaos.”

“So far, but this new boy could be interesting and he comes from a seafolk family.”
“It would hardly be the first time in our neighborhood.”

Tim came into Jorge’s office and said, “Major, Jimmy and I found something.”
“In the old city. During the siege there were sections of the city where nobody goes. A lot of places were still locked up after the Scourge with old Imperial doors. We looked in the headquarters and found some master keys to a lot of those doors and the rest of the boys and I were looking into some of the places.”

“You should have told me that you all were doing that.”
“We told the sergeant and we haven’t been going deep into places yet, just opening doors. The thing is that we found what may have been the ancient Portal Service.”

“Have you told Jorge yet?”
 “That hasn’t been as easy as it was, because he’s been chasing the bandits and other things.”

“Do you have pictures?”
“Yes we took quite a few. We haven’t gone deep, but there are signs that say Imperial Portal Service all over the place and a large door with a big bay behind it that looks as if it was for really big portals.”

“Put together a packet and send it up to the estate and another one for the Portal Service. I think that we want into this soonest.”

The Plant(Lain Othrond).

After a night’s sleep, Ayre compiled the report and took it to Dúhael and Blackfire. Blackfire looked at him and said, “Was the Collector scuttled?”

“I decided to not scuttle as the ship had been forced into shallow water and would probably be salvaged.”
“Why did you not scuttle earlier?”

“By and large, it was impossible to tell if the enemy actually had detected our presence. I felt that returning would be the best option if the location of the Plant was not revealed.You should have the pictures from all the objectives.”
“What are your thoughts.”
“First of all, portal security should be a paramount issue. Aparently the small portals were compromised at the Refuge and we were not told. The enemy has tiny portals that they can place on things to provide an almost untraceable means of tracking something. The Republic has RDR on most vessels and probably has microwave RDR or will, soon. They are also experienced in using RDR and gave us a lot of trouble. The Fellowship doesn’t have RDR on very many vessels as yet, though they will follow along quickly now that they have started. The Republic has at least one floating airfield, though the aircraft aboard were primitive. That may change as the Republic appeared to be operating late model patrol bombers from the floating airfield. The Beinans went after the drones and may have captured at least two of them intact.”
“How did they manage that?”
“A patrol plane was modified to trail a parachute net. The net capured the drones. The aircraft were guided to the interception by RDR.”

“So we lost the information that the last drone could have obtained.”
“The last drone flight was against the floating airfield and after the drone was captured, the plane dropped a buoy from Bienan’s with pictures of the floating airfield and this.”
Ayre handed the letter to Blackfire. He looked at it, frowned, and said, “A promise to send us replacement drones as soon as they can manufacture them? That sounds rather mad. They also sent the pictures. What about the third drone?”

“The letter didn’t mention it. Apparently something happened to it.”

“Was there any sign of actvity on the island?” Dúhael asked.

“That is hard to say. There were a lot of things going on, we were evading a Republican cruiser and there was that rocket launch.”
“The images of that were impressive.”
“It was more so, if you were there. Apparently the Republic has developed them to a high degree.”

“There were quite a few things there at Desert Howl. Did you see any of that?”
“No, but I was working on launching the drones and evading the Republican RDR and navy. That was, of course, pointless, as there were probably those microportals sent through the small portals. The equipment and documents I evacuated through the small portal apparently did not arrive here as well. At least no one has seen the material when I asked.”

“Should we send another expedition?”
“Not with Gatherer unless you want her taken or sunk by the Republican Navy. If we could find another vessel, a coaster, for instance and take cargoes from one place to another, we could probably collect intelligence. The ship could be used to launch drones, though the Republic has a lot of RDR installations now looking for raiders.”

“Apparently things have changed greatly.”
“We should have investigated when the Ravathrya were driven off the seas so easily. The Republic developed the technologies to work around the Ravathrya’s ships ability to escape under glamor and then removed the Ravathrya from the picture.”
“Go over what you retrieved and produce a detailed report. This was worrisome.”

The captain left and Blackfire said to Dúhael, “Why didn’t you punish him for not scuttling as instructed?”
“That would have been pointless and we are going to need experienced people. I think he was right about the small portals being compromised and that was my and my brother’s lapse. My brother did not mention that the small portal had been used to infiltrate the Refuge and I did not check them after I knew that our oppostion was manipulating portals. Our brother had the bad habit of blaming others for his lapses and that was costly in the end.” 

 The Umevan Estate.

Jorge grinned when Tim and Jimmy came into his office. “Hi guys. I haven’t seen you for some time.”
“We’re still struggling with hunting down the Scourge while you have all this.”
“The Empress dumped this on me. What can I do for you two?”
Tim pulled out some pictures. “House Luyarus built the original portals and had the ancient Portal Service.”

Jorge looked at the pictures and said, “Let me pull some people together and then you can show me what you found. Adiun is down in the Republic right now. Wyrran is here, but he’s busy. We’ll pull some portal people on our way down.”

Jorge pulled the team he had used for the bandit portals as well as Tad and the princess and they started back to Ishendell. As they were leaving through the portal, Jorge said, “Tad, I probably should have asked, but this could be ugly. It’s important that you see Ishendell in any case. Did that ship give you any clues?”

“I’ve been looking along the coast of Vestia and Apua. The captain of the ship was dodging the other ships so much that it’s impossible to get a straight line.”

“You can get back to that when we finish this.”

Chapter 2.

Desert Howl.

For the first time during a launch, Romarod had the jitters. This was his big one, the thing that he had been striving for most of his long life. With butterflies in his stomach, Romarod watched the vehicle move to the pad.

“That boy has a dangerous animal! Call the wildlife people!”

Grall Swiftknife had been working the trains for over fifteen years as a porter and had had tigers as passengers. The boy’s cat had been perfectly fine all evening, even using the station stop to do its business and coming back before the train was ready to leave. He looked at the more elvish than not girl and said, “Missy, why would you say that. I watched that cat all evening and the kitty was fine.”
“It’s a wildcat!”

“It didn’t seem very wild to me. Now your stop is coming up and I need to make sure that you all get off, so unless the cat attacks you, leave it alone.”

Alinis pouted and returned to the others. “The high elf tirade collapsed in the face of towering reasonableness. Or I haven’t got it right.”

“You didn’t push hard enough, Alinis,” Tarranth said with a grin.

“I didn’t want to make too big a scene.”

“That was why your high elf tirade didn’t work. The bigger the scene, the better.”

“If I raised too much trouble, grandmother would be rather annoyed.”

“That is certainly true. Worse, she would probably laugh at you.”

The train slowed as it approached the station and the various passengers prepared to get off. The porter went up and down the car, making sure that items left behind were packed and all the luggage was accounted for. Moonshine jumped up on Bill’s shoulders and grinned a cat grin at Alinis. Bill collected his bag and was waiting as the train came to a stop and Grall lifted the trap door to the steps and put the little step stool on the platform.  Bill stepped down the steps and a smiling Grall handed him his bag. Bag in hand he went forward to collect the crated oscilloscope and his other packages, as the rest of the family collected bags and looked for cabs. Bill should not have been surprised, but there was his father, looking annoyed.

Terrel Wavechaser looked at his son and said, “Do you know how much trouble you caused?”
“Most of it, yes. I’ve been told that by Lord Beinan, Aydiun Beinan and another lady that I don’t want to talk about. I really didn’t mean to cause any trouble. I was just going to port up to the Sanctum, get tested and come right back. Then I met Jerry and we went up to the estate after his aunt sent the telegram. I did send a letter telling you and mother where I went.”
“Where did you pick up the cat?”

“Let’s get the car loaded and I will explain.”

Bill and his father loaded his things into the car, three of Bill’s relatives were also loaded, dropped off at the hotel and Bill and his father went on to the village to the south. As the car drove through the desert, Bill said, “Moonshine, this is my father, Terrel Wavechaser. Say hello.”
“Hello, I’m Moonshine Rosehollow.”

“So you are a fae cat. How did you find my son here?”
“We were both shopping in the book warrens in the Lower City. I tried to chase him, but between other errands and not knowing his plans, couldn’t meet up with him. I transformed into the cat to sneak into a cage that they were transporting a wildcat for the zoo in. I Jumped out again and found Bill at the airport here.”

“You are probably rather stuck. The mana flow is higher near the town, but here, we have been Scourged just a bit much.”

“More than once?”

“The first batch were the long ago tests of the original Scourge devises. The rest are the responsibility of Captain Bronzerock and Jorge Umevan. Things have been noisy here the last few moons. In any case, the Deadlands have been thoroughly Scourged. Bill, how did the gadget work up there in the Empire?”

“We had the usual thing, which needed fixing almost immediately. I fixed it and talked with the Bienan’s people in Fayspire. They may send somebody down here.”

“Who is the new friend you met?”
“Jerry Umevan. We should see him and his family at the rocket launch. The Umevans are sending the family to get tested at the estate up there. Jerry was going by himself because his parents couldn’t go up and his brother and sisters are too young. Most of his cousins were already there. Moonshine, who was that girl trying to set the wildlife people on you? I had the feeling that she and her friends knew who you were.”

“That was Alinis, playing the spoiled elvish brat. They did know who I was, since my cousin was on the train and probably resonated with me. Peri is Desielle Beinan’s bonded and they are going to college here, with the others you saw.”

“What was that about?” Terrel asked.

“A girl tried to have the wildlife people called in because Moonshine was a dangerous cat,” Bill said. “The porter seemed to be rather calm about the whole thing and since Moonshine wasn’t making any trouble, thwarted their evil scheme to get Moonshine locked up.”

“Have you done similar things to them, Moonshine?”
Moonshine had a cat grin as she said, “I’m not going to say anything other than there have been some capers in the past, yes.”

“Bill I hope that you have pictures of your little trip.”
Bill frowned. “Jerry had a camera, so yes. He has to get them developed on his way here. I have a crystal that I bought at the Sanctuary, but I’m not sure how well that will work here.”

“We’ll work something out. You probably already know about our little excitement.”
“Is Torry ok?”
“Other than a sore ankle, he’s fine. The pilotless plane turned right instead of left, right into Torry’s flight path.”

“Miss Beinan captured another one. She had some sort of net and I did the intercept.”

“So you had a good test of the Mark II.”
“Yes we did. The connector had come loose on the unit they had, but that was an easy fix.”

“Here we are at the house. You mother is waiting for the rest of the family at the pier. Some are coming down here and some are staying at the beach. I’m taking the down here crowd while your mother is taking the beach.”
“She gets the ladies and the girls and we get the boys, as usual. I suppose I’m going to be driving the jalopy after.”
“Before as well.”

“What is the jalopy,” Moonshine asked.

“It’s sort of a truck that the army had before GPs and the company brought down here a long time ago. We kids play with them sometimes and they use them for things at the plant. Since we are down here, nobody cares very much about licenses. When there are these kinds of things, some of us have to drive people around and talk about things. My brother probably brought two home with him for this last night.”

Rod had indeed managed to get two of the jalopies parked in front of the house, all spiffed up with benches in back for the visitors and the good canvas canopies overhead. He looked at Billy and said, “Good, you are back. Get into your uniform and let’s get going.”

Billy went inside and changed to his shirt with the Beinan logo stitched on to it and his badge clipped on to the shirt and then put on a good pair of trousers. After a quick brush of his unruly hair he went back downstairs where Moonshine was already sitting in the front seat of one of the jalopies. He got in, started the motor and headed to his first stop, the airfield. Things went well for the first trips around the town and the various plants until the boys that had been with that girl got in the jalopy. As Billy started the tour, in between stops, Peri and Tarranth started to tell Moonshine stories to the other two as Moonshine cringed in the well of the front seat and tried to hide. They were approaching the Beinan plant when Moonshine leapt to the seat, looking at the four and said, “Tarranth, you know that it was your fault!”

Billy couldn’t help himself and started to laugh as Tarranth looked at Moonshine and said, “There you are, Moonshine. Looking rather catty today?”

“I transformed and was stuck.”
Peri held up a camera and took Moonshine’s picture. “Now everybody back home will know.”

“Here we are at your Projector test stand, Mr. Qinvaris,” Bill said.

“Are they still running tests?” Tarranth asked. “I believe that the contract is over.”

“Some other people wanted more things and they have been doing things in general. So the test stand is still run.”

“I did a show for the end of the Conclave and signature day in Oceanside using Projectors that went very well. I think that I will look up Feno and see if we can trade. At least this wasn’t a total folly.”

“What did Tarranth do?” Moonshine asked.

“I work for Beinan’s, so I can’t say right now, since Mr. Qinvaris is right here,” Billy said.

“I was suckered into paying for a bunch of tests using Projectors because I didn’t check the building codes,” Tarranth said. “Most of that was my own fault and I imagine that everybody down here had fun playing with the things.”

Billy grinned as he put the jalopy back in gear. “I’m not going to talk about that.”
“You seem awfully young to be driving this. Do you have a license?”

“I don’t get pulled over driving a jalopy.”

“So locals can get away with things.”

“What are you two talking about,” Fire asked.

“The first time I was down here, I watched a launch where we are going now, only it was me, my cousin Derry and Uncle Tom, with his people,” Tarranth said. “Uncle Tom went back in his car with his people and Derry went to the retrieval boat by water, so I had to take the car back to Skychasers by myself. I had been a bit of an idiot at the time and hadn’t bothered to take a driver’s test because if I was pulled over, I usually flashed my passport and got off. The problem is that where we are going is a restricted area and I was pulled over inside it. The deputy busted me and hauled me off to the local jail as a suspected spy. I had to call grandfather at Skychasers and he had to come and get me. I took the test right after I got back to Chatsrey. You apparently don’t have any problems, Billy.”

“Other than getting stuck driving people around all day, you mean? I’m going to have to take my test and get a license as soon as I can now that I’m sixteen. That’s part of the deal.”

“You obviously went to the Empire to get tested,” Fire said with a grin. “Was it to pick up a faery princess?”
“I did it for other reasons. I didn’t even meet Moonshine until the airport in Chatsrey where she was being chased by some freight people because she didn’t want to ride as a passenger.”

“You found a vault,” Tarranth said. “Be careful opening those. They can get you in real trouble.”
“I know. This one is far away from everything. I was poking around to keep away from beaches.”
“My sister wanted me Swimming. I wanted to explore old things and you have to be tested to open vaults, so I wanted to keep some options open. I was planning to make a quick trip to the Empire, get tested at the Sanctum and come right back. Instead I met another boy at the airport, went up to the Umevan estate, spent a couple days there and went to the Lower City with Charlie Beinan, where Moonshine spotted me, then I fixed something at the Retreat, went to Fayspire and the Sanctuary and did some more shopping in Elysahone before coming home, right into this. Here is our last stop, so if you all would leave the jalopy, I can put it away.”

Ben turned to Lou and said, “You’ve been grinning all day. What’s so funny?”

“That kid with the cat. It’s not a cat.”
“What do you mean?”

“Just before Nizig and I brought the flight in from Ishendell, there was a fae girl hanging around. When we arrived at Chatsrey, there was a stink about a wildcat that got loose. Now there is that kid, with a wildcat in the front seat.”

“So it’s a fae cat.”


“She’s chased the kid a long way.”
“That’s what makes it fun.”

“It’s time we caught our ride to the big show.”

Rather than being in the Blockhouse, Romarod was out at the temporary stands that had been set up for this launch. He went around and spoke with reporters and supporters as well as various visitors from the other companies that made up the Desrt Howl Community. Finally, the count went to -50 and Romarod stood at the podium with the button set up that would set up the automated final countdown. The count reached -5, Romarod pressed the button and five hundredths later, the rocket rose in a flash of light and the roar of the engines as it climbed far overhead. For the next ten hundredth the loudspeaker called out the vehicle’s operation as first the booster and then the stages separated, finally calling out the final burn and “Payload separation. Payload had achieved orbit. Payload has achieved orbit. Receiving transmissions from satellite.” Cheers swept the stands as people walked up to Romarod to congratulate him.

“Billy! There you are! I’ve been looking for you!”  Jerry walked over to where Billy was heading to lunch in the tent set up for it. “Where were you?”
“Driving a Jalopy all morning, Jerry.”
“Where did that cat come from?”
“Remember that fae girl in the Lower City?”
“Oh. Lady fae, I am glad to meet you. I am Gerral Umevan.”

Moonshine giggled. “As you see, I have been trapped in my own folly.”

“You are stuck as a cat?”
“Yes. A rather spoiled cat, at that.”

“Have you had the tour yet, Jerry,” Billy asked.

Jerry grinned “Not with you. Let me get the cousins and meet you at those Jalopies.”

“Good. I’m afraid that a certain snooty elf girl will go after Moonshine again.”
“She did that on the train, didn’t she?”
“That wasn’t an accident,” Moonshine said.

By the time Fire was able to get Alinis away from talking with some members of the study group that had come down, Bill had already left with another tour. Alinis turned to Fire and said, “Other than Moonshine, why is that boy so important?”
“Because he wants to open vaults and while he didn’t come out and say where the vault was, I think that it is on the island. He went up to the Empire to get tested and ran into Moonshine there. She chased him to the airport in Chatsrey and was stuck as a cat.”

“So the boy knows the island and the vault.”
“I think so.”
Alinis’s mother called out, “Alinis, come and meet your Uncle Romarod!”

Alinis looked at Fire and said, “I think that we are going to be tied up.”

“I know.”

They were, as Alinis parents and grandparents introduced them to people, who asked questions about the library, how college was going and living in the Empire as opposed to the Republic. Fire was tied up with members of his family doing the same sort of thing as well as introducing Alinis to the family members she hadn’t already met. Finally as things were winding down, Fire was able to corral the boy’s Jalopy to take them to Uncle Romarod’s with Tarranth and Renna. As they pulled up to Uncle Romarod’s house Alinis said, “Moonshine, that was a rather stupid trick I tried. I should have come up with something better.”
“It was a good try and you didn’t have a lot of time and resources. Billy, this is Alinis Qinvaris, who is competing with her brother to make the biggest Ancient Imperial find and opener of vaults that were closed.”
“Hey, I only opened one vault, here in the Republic, on the family ranch and that was because Tarranth didn’t want to open it. Bill, Fire says that you have been out on the island. Have you seen the slip of Harald’s last moments?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“If you should open the vault on the island, be very careful and try to be very discreet about it. Some people want very badly what is in it.”
“How badly?”

“Enough that they were willing to wreck the world to get it.”

“How do you know all that?”

“Come back to Chatsrey soon and I will have everything to show you. I wanted to be the one to open Harald’s vault, but I think that it is better if you do it, discreetly. I don’t think that anybody knows very much about the island yet, but if you do open the vault, don’t have a crowd there and keep it secret for as long as you can.”

“You’re strange.”

“Not really. I’ve just begun to realize how much trouble we could all be in. You can ask my brother and Fire what happened when we dug up the old House library. If nothing else, ask Tarranth what he was stuck with after he opened that vault at Castle Hill.”

“I have to get home and face my mother, so you all need to get out of the jalopy and let me go home.”

“I did the same thing and Fire caught me. It won’t be so bad.”

Alinis and the others got out of the Jalopy and Fire said, “You are just giving him the vault?”
“He’s here and can open it whenever he wants, if he is a family member and he probably is. I can’t stop him and if he opens it, he can take advantage of being unknown. There is also a limit to how many vaults we can open and keep discreet. He’s probably going to run into the Harald seeming fairly quickly and that way we don’t have both Harald and Lyrei at home.”
“Good point.”

A rather exhausted and nervous Bill parked the jalopy in front of the house and went inside. His mother was waiting in her wheelchair and said, “Young man, what were you thinking?”

“Mother there is something that I have been looking into for some time now and I needed to go to the Empire to do that. I thought that if I waited, my sister would arrange an accident and getting tested would be impossible. I tried to tell you to get Searlia to back off and stop trying to force the issue and you didn’t seem to listen. I had the money and thought that I could get tested and then I wouldn’t have to worry about being forced into something that I wasn’t sure that I wanted.”

“The thing you did was foolish and potentially dangerous. On the other hand, you made new friends and did very well with the company people up in the Empire and Fellowship. I do hope that you understand that you can’t just go off someplace without telling somebody.”

“That was made fairly clear to me. I’ve had Lord Beinan and Mr. Beinan explain that to me. I didn’t really think about what we did here as anything special.”

“Where did you get the cat?”
“This is Moonshine and she escaped a cage at the airport.”

Millia looked shrewdly at Moonshine and started to laugh. Bill looked at her and said, “What’s so funny, mom?”
“When I received the telegram from Dalia, I told your father that you may be grabbed by some strange fae girl. Apparently she is trying.”
“I haven’t been able to dance for Bill,” Moonshine said. “I made the stupid mistake of transforming and now I am a bit stuck.”

“Tomorrow is the last day of the midyear break and we can go up to Seagate, Moonshine. You should be able to revert. I don’t know if you will be able to Jump home.”

“I’m not sure that I want to go home right now. Some relatives caught me on the way down and will be looking to embarrass me.”

Millia laughed even harder. “We can arrange something for you. After all, I can’t be up top as I was. Can you cook?”

“I can, actually. That is, when I am not a cat. We all learned how because it knowing how to cook was easier than annoying family by making off with things. I I have a wonderful recipe for roast chicken. I was hoping to try it on Bill, but he didn’t stay in the Empire long enough. The chicken trapped my cousin, Flix.”

“Are you aware of the goblin tradition?”
“Goblin tradition?”
“I will explain when we know if you can revert or not.”

The Plant( Lain Othrond).

Neldor Iliceran had been playing with radio for his two centuries of life. Recently much of that had been listening to the primitive transmissions and then the broadcasts from the Blasted Lands. Then he heard a transmission that made no sense. It also seemed to be above the planet. The signal also seemed to be just bleeps repeating over and over again. The he realized what he was hearing and went to the plant’s spacecraft expert, Vulen Petydark. “Vulen, I think that somebody has launched a satellite into orbit.I just received a strange transmission, from space.”

“Are you sure?”
“Not as yet. I was hoping that you had a way of tracking a satellite.”
“I do, and let us look.”

Vulen led Neldor the controls for his telescope equipped with a motion sensor and turned it on. Rather quickly the telescope moved and was obviously tracking something. Vulen looked at the screen and said, “There’s something there all right. It’s more or less on a polar orbit. It’s coming over now, so I can get a picture.”

The picture appeared on the screen and the pair looked at it. “Interesting. Most of it seems to be a radio transmitter. I’m not sure what that other bit does. At least it is an impressive achievement for somebody. I will keep an eye on this.”
“Make me a print for the report to Dúhael. I will include this in my fiveday report. I wonder who did this.”

When Neldor returned to his office and laboratory, he didn’t have to wonder about the satellite as the latest broadcast from the Fellowship blared, “Here is the latest news. Desert Howl, The Republic. Today, the Twelth of Sixta, Skychaser Development announced that they have successfully launched a payload into orbit. The payload is transmitting radio data and is an important development in Skychaser’s rocket development program. This milestone is the culmination of Skychaser Development’s founder and rocket pioneer, Romarod Skychaser’s work. Mr. Skychaser said this. “At one time the people of the world reached the moon and perhaps beyond.This successful launch today represents a baby step forward. This is a significant step on the path to return to space. I want to thank all my supporters and investors for believing in my work. This launch today shows that we are moving forward in the right direction.”

“In other news the Senate has passed the Rights of The Transformed bill. Consul Beira, signing the bill, said, “This bill should not have been necessary. The Transformed are people Transformed by others or afflicted by accident. Neither of those things should be used to deny them their rights as people. The Transformed were never animals.”

Neldor started to write his report as the usual drivel came over the radio. He didn’t know who Skychaser was, but at least his achievement had top billing in the news.

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