As soon as Sammi and his group stepped out onto the steps of the palace, the cameras came to life and people started buzzing with questions. Sammi suddenly looked overwhelmed, so Michael stepped up to a microphone that had been set up on the palace steps.
"We want to answer everyone's questions, but we can't do it like this!" said Michael loudly and firmly. "Please everyone, hold your questions and we will answer them one at a time, as soon as the King has made a statement."
As Sammi passed Michael on the way to the microphone, he thanked him softly. "First, I would like everyone to meet the people who will be in charge of this project. First, I'm sure you all remember Doctor Henri Fause. He is one of the top scientists in Kirelli. Then we have my chief advisor, Bobbi Kruze. Next is my security chief, Pauli Meise. On the end are our ministers of science and public works, Davi Moote and Stevi Dorne. Finally, we have my right hand and future mate, Michael Baxter. Together, and with the help of all of our citizens, we are going to do what the rest of the world would say is impossible, which wouldn't be the first time. I'll call for questions now, one person at a time. You in the front, pink shirt and white shorts."
The attractive woman Sammi called on asked, "You introduced Michael as your future mate. Does that mean that you are now in search of a Queen?"
Sammi's face reddened slightly as he replied, "Yes, but we have much more important matters to attend to at the moment. You in the white crew shirt and mango shorts."
The man Sammi called on asked, "Are you confident that you can come up with a plan to save our people?"
"Coming up with a plan is not an issue." replied Sammi. "We have a plan. Now what we need to do is execute that plan, and we are confident we can do it. We are going to evacuate all of Kirelli in starships within ten years. Davi and Stevi, can you say a few words about that?"
"Our light speed propulsion program is now running at full speed." said Davi. "We have already spent years in theory and design, and we are ready to put that into physical form. Our first systems test will be in eight months, and we plan to have one of our Mars space craft converted to use for our first actual light speed test three months after that."
"Public works is now ready to begin our most impressive construction project yet." said Stevi. "By the time light speed tests begin, we will be ready to open our first of several starship production facilities. We will need quite a few transport ships, as well as a fleet of support ships. Our first ships should be ready by the time light speed engines are ready to be installed in them."
Sammi stepped back up to the microphone and said, "You in the white tank and dark brown micro shorts."
"What about the people who killed your father?" asked the man Sammi called on. "What will be done with them?"
Michael could tell with one look that Sammi was going to have problems with this one, so he stepped up and said, "They will be given a trial in accordance with the laws and customs of Kirelli. They will not be treated any differently than anyone else who has been charged with a serious crime, and if found guilty, their punishment will be within the customs of Kirelli law." Sammi was still not looking up to talking, so Michael continued, "You in the lime green one piece suit."
The woman Michael called on asked, "What about the rest of the world?"
Sammi needed to answer this, so he stepped up and said, "The rest of the world has done this to our planet. We don't mean to sound cold or cruel, but we simply cannot save the whole world. That option passed long ago. We must focus on saving ourselves, or we endanger our own survival. The rest of the world will have to fend for itself until we can settle our people on another planet, then send our ships back to check for survivors."
"The King is right." said Bobbi. "It will be enough of a task to build enough ships to safely evacuate our own nation of one million people. There are nations on this planet that have over a billion people. It would be impossible to consider trying to save any people other than our own."
"I come to you from the outside world." said Michael. "Until just recently, I was a citizen of the United States. I can guarantee you that no one twisted our arm and forced us to destroy this planet. The power of greed made the people outside of Kirelli not care what they did to the environment they lived in. Small groups of people like me tried to get them to change their minds and their ways, but it never worked. Now they are paying the price for their reckless disregard of our home planet."
"We will survive, and then we will send our ships back for survivors." said Sammi. "There may not be many left to rescue by that time though, but we will do what we can. We are not monsters, like those who brought this on our world. Are there any more questions?"
When the first young woman raised her hand again, Sammi smiled and asked, "Are there any more questions that do not involve me choosing a Queen?" When the young lady put her hand back down, Sammi continued, "If anyone ever does have any questions about what we are doing, please come to us. Our doors will always be open to you. We want to be completely honest with all of our citizens, and keep them informed every step of the way. I want to thank everyone for coming here today, and I'd like to speak with the young lady in the pink shirt and white shorts. Would you please join us inside the palace?"
The young lady thought she was in serious trouble, especially when Bobbi came down to escort her into the palace. Sammi instructed Bobbi to escort her to his chambers, and he would be right there.
"Are you doing what I think you are Sammi?" asked Michael.
"Although I do want us to be mates as soon as possible, I must also think about my responsibilities as King." replied Sammi. "I must choose a Queen so the royal bloodline can be continued, and it would greatly help our people to see a King and Queen during the difficult times ahead."
"I'm sorry my love, I guess I've misjudged you." said Michael, but not too sincerely.
"Besides, this way I can get you moved into my quarters as soon as possible!" laughed Sammi. "Now, come with me and help interview our prospective new Queen."
Michael followed Sammi into the palace, and to his quarters. The young lady was seated on the sofa, looking more nervous than ever. Although Bobbi tried to keep his expression blank, Sammi could tell he was enjoying this.
"You may go now Bobbi." said Sammi.
"Yes Your Highness." replied Bobbi, who then slipped out of Sammi's quarters.
"You seemed to take quite an interest today in my search for a Queen." said Sammi. "What is your name?"
"I am Pami Stie, Your Highness." replied the now almost frightened young lady. "I meant no disrespect with my question today Your Highness."
"Don't worry Pami, no disrespect was taken." replied Sammi. "By the way, this is my future mate, Michael."
"Hello Michael." said Pami.
"Hi Pami." replied Michael. "How are you today?"
"I'm fine, I guess." replied Pami. "I found out last night that the world is coming to an end, and now I've been called to the King's quarters because I was caught flirting with him, but I'm okay."
Sammi almost snickered at that, and Michael did let out a low chuckle.
"So Pami, you admit you were flirting with me out there?" asked Sammi. "Most people would be afraid to admit such a thing."
"Well, sometimes when my mouth gets going, I never know what's going to fly out of it." replied Pami. "I really am sorry Your Highness."
"Why are you sorry Pami, I was actually quite flattered." said Sammi.
"Yes, once the redness left your cheeks!" laughed Michael, who was now having a hard time controlling himself.
"Flattered, flustered, I get those two mixed up all the time." replied Sammi. "So, you felt an urge to flirt with me, even though you know I've already chosen a male mate for after I wed a Queen. Why is that?"
"Because, I find you fascinating Your Highness." replied Pami, summoning her courage back up. "You are the youngest King in our history, and you are facing the most incredible challenge. Most men would have run and hide under a rock, but you're determined to face this no matter what. I find you absolutely amazing! I don't care that you love Michael, I just feel a need to know you closely."
"How do you feel about Michael?" asked Sammi.
"What do you mean by how do I feel about Michael?" asked Pami.
"Well, if I'm to consider courting you as the next Queen, I need to know these things." replied Sammi. "The person I choose as Queen would be the mother of my children, so naturally we would be close, but Michael would still be my chosen mate. So, how do you feel about him?"
"Well, he's a lucky guy in my opinion." replied Pami, back to being nervous. "He seems pretty nice, although I've never met an American before. I like how he had the courage to admit the wrongs of his people. Most people couldn't find it within themselves to do that. I guess he's someone I wouldn't mind being friends with."
"Then I would officially like to court you Pami." said Sammi. "Would you like to stay for dinner? I know it's getting late, but I don't believe anyone around here has had dinner yet."
"I would be honored, Your Highness!" replied Pami excitedly.
"Great!" exclaimed Sammi. "I will make the arrangements."
Sammi called his servants and found out dinner would be in thirty minutes in the dining hall, so he informed them there would be one more place at the table. Pami finally loosened up, and began being herself by dinner time. At dinner she was introduced to the Queen Mother, and the two women hit it off immediately. That had Sammi and Michael worried, but Pami was so nice to be around that they didn't think too much of it. Everyone had an enjoyable dinner, and by the end, Sammi took the opportunity to talk to his mother alone.
"I know this is quick mother, but I think I may have found the woman who will make a fine mother for my children." said Sammi.
"You're right that it is quick son, but looking at the people with whom you have surrounded yourself with, I would say you are a good judge of such things." replied Queen Lorelli. "How does she seem to feel about you and Michael?"
"She wouldn't have made it this far if it didn't look like they would get along together." replied Sammi. "They do seem to like each other quite well, and I think we should all be able to live together peacefully."
"You do know that I shall have to talk to her in private, right?" asked Queen Lorelli. "A mother has to know the woman who will marry her son, especially if she is the Queen Mother."
"I fully expect that mother." replied Sammi. "I hope that you will keep in mind that Michael is my mate though."
"That will not be a problem son." replied Queen Lorelli as she smiled. "Anyone who looked at the two of you could tell that you and Michael were meant to be together. That doesn't mean that my daughter in law and I can't be great friends though."
"I'm sure you two will be!" laughed Sammi. "I'll go out and send Pami in to talk to you."
"Hmm, Queen Pami does have a nice ring to it!" mused Queen Lorelli.
Sammi went back out to the dining hall and found Pami and Michael laughing together. That was very comforting for him to see. Sammi sent Pami in to see his mother, then sat down next to his mate.
"I'm glad to see you and Pami getting along together." said Sammi. "I very likely will be asking her to be my Queen. Do you see any problem with the three of us living together?"
"I suppose most people in my position might be jealous, but I do know that you love me Sammi." replied Michael. "I think she is a very nice person, and I think she would make a fine Queen. I do accept that you have to choose a Queen. Would it be too soon for it to be proper to get a kiss from you Sammi?"
"Not at all Michael!" replied Sammi as he smiled brightly.
Meanwhile in the Queen's chambers, Queen Lorelli said to Pami, "I have to admit that you are quite charming and personable Pami. My son seems to be able to choose the people in his life quite well. Your parents must be quite proud of you."
"I am an only child, so they always have been proud of me." replied Pami. "If they knew I was with King Sammi and his mother right now, they would probably burst. They are fine people though, and I like to think they raised me very well."
"They must be fine people Pami, because they did raise you well." said Queen Lorelli. "There was one thing that I'm most concerned about before this goes too far though. I know my son better than anyone else, and he has always expressed more of an interest in other males. Can you accept Michael in that role if this goes any further?"
"I'm attracted to Sammi as a person." replied Pami. "Anything other than that is not as important. I can see how much he loves Michael, and I'd be thrilled to be a part of both of their lives."
"Then I can safely leave this matter to my son." said Queen Lorelli. "If he does end up choosing you, I shall welcome you to the family with open arms."
"Thank you Your Highness." replied Pami. "I am honored that you feel that way about me."
Queen Lorelli excused Pami to go rejoin Sammi and Michael, as she intended to remain in her chambers, and out of their way for the evening. She was now satisfied that Sammi had found his Queen. As Pami rejoined Sammi and Michael, they were breaking their kiss. When Pami sat down next to Sammi, he turned to her and smiled.
"I hope my mother took it easy on you." said Sammi. "You are a very nice young lady, and I would hate for her to scare you away."
"Your mother was as gracious and charming as you are Sammi." replied Pami.
"That's good." said Sammi, as he took ahold of Pami's hand. "I have a very good feeling about us. I guess next I will have to meet your parents, if you would arrange that."
"They would be honored to meet you Sammi, and Michael too." replied Pami. "Would tomorrow evening be too soon?"
"Tomorrow evening would be fine." replied Sammi with a smile. "Michael and I shall look forward to meeting them."
Sammi, Michael, and Pami continued talking for a few more hours, and by the end of the evening they seemed like old friends with each other. Tonight had been the best evening that Pami could have ever imagined. When it was over, Sammi walked Pami to the palace entrance. Before letting her leave, Sammi gave Pami a warm kiss and embrace. As Pami drove off, Michael joined Sammi and placed his arm around his mate.
"I couldn't ask for too much more right now Michael." said Sammi. "I've found a wonderful woman to mother my children, and the man I love to be my mate. Now, if only our beautiful world weren't coming to an end."
"I'm sure we will find a world out there to live on that is every bit as beautiful." replied Michael. "The important thing is the love our people have for each other. As long as we have that, we have everything we need."
The next day was hectic for everyone. Sammi had to get Stevi to appoint someone to oversee what supplies the people of Kirelli would need to take with them when they were ready to leave Earth. Then at two o'clock, the light speed testing facility on the remote northeast shore of Kirelli would be turning up their power levels to begin the next phase of testing. This was one of those moments where everyone would be holding their breath, hoping the explosion that would rip their island apart would not occur. The only thing that did happen was a slight flickering of power across the island, until Kirelli's electromagnetic power generators could catch up to the increased demand. Everyone across the island cheered when they realized that they would not be blown up today.
After that, it was time for Sammi and Michael to prepare to meet Pami's parents. To Michael, it was like going to visit any friend. Sammi was a bit more nervous though. He knew how Pami felt about the relationship the three of them now shared, but he wasn't sure how Pami's parents would take it. The time finally came for Sammi and Michael to leave. As they pulled up to the address Pami had given them, Michael took ahold of Sammi's hand.
"You worry too much Sammi." said Michael softly. "I'm sure this will be a wonderful evening. Pami's a wonderful person, and we're going to be meeting the people who taught her to be that way. I think they will turn out to be just as wonderful as their daughter."
"Thanks, I needed to hear that." said Sammi.
Pami then came running out of the house, and up to Sammi's window. "Please hurry on in Sammi." said Pami. "My parents are going crazy trying to get everything just right to meet the King! Things will be much better once we get this over with, and they get over the shock."
"Okay Pami." laughed Sammi, as he and Michael got out of the car. "Lead on, so we can put your parents at ease."
Pami's parents began bowing and using the phrase Your Highness in every sentence as soon as Sammi stepped through the door. Pami had to explain that they normally weren't like this, that they were usually very normal people. Michael couldn't help but to snicker at that. Sammi finally had to say something to put them at ease.
"Please, Pami and I are becoming close friends, and maybe even more eventually." said Sammi. "I would also like to consider her parents as friends of my family, so please relax. There's no need to be too formal."
That did finally calm Pami's parents down somewhat, and Pami was very grateful for that. She was also flattered that Sammi mentioned maybe being more than friends. Once Pami's parents began getting to know Sammi and Michael, and Sammi and Michael began getting to know Pami's parents, Sammi became very satisfied with his choice of Pami. Dinner wasn't as grand as Sammi was use to at the palace, but it was even more delicious, and everyone had a good time. Pami's parents didn't know what to think of Michael and his relationship with Sammi at first, but as the evening wore on, they began to see that Sammi, Michael, and Pami had something special together. Sometime after dinner, Sammi took Pami's parents aside.
"I know that I only met Pami yesterday, but we have all bonded already." said Sammi. "I am absolutely sure of my choice in her, and I want to ask you if I may ask her to marry me, and be my Queen."
Pami's mother was so excited by that, that she almost passed out and had to sit down. Pami's father was left speechless for several seconds before he finally replied, "It would be the utmost honor for you to ask our daughter to become the Queen of Kirelli, Your Highness."
"Welcome to the family then, as long as Pami says yes." said Sammi, as he offered his hand to Pami's parents.
Once Pami's parents had recovered from the shock, Sammi invited them to come to the palace the next day. Then they all went back out to rejoin Michael and Pami. Sammi went directly to Pami, and took ahold of her hand.
"Pami, I'm as sure of this as I've ever been about anything, and I'm sure Michael will agree with me." said Sammi sincerely. "Pami, will you marry me, and be my wife and the next Queen of Kirelli?"
"I love you and Michael both Sammi." replied Pami. "I would love to marry you."
"Even though you know that Michael will be my mate?" asked Sammi.
"As I said Sammi, I love you both." replied Pami. "I think the three of us will be very happy with the relationship we'll have."
"Is one week from today too soon for a wedding?" asked Sammi.
"That will be fine, my dear Sammi." replied Pami.
Sammi and Pami then shared an affectionate kiss. After that, Pami wanted a kiss from Michael as well. The three of them now seemed very happy with their relationship, so Sammi approached Michael next.
"Michael dear, the day after I wed Pami, I want us to have a ceremony making you my official mate." said Sammi. "Will you please give me that honor?"
"Absolutely Sammi!" replied Michael enthusiastically. "It will be even more of an honor for me!"
Then Sammi and Michael shared an affectionate kiss, as Pami took both of them into a hug. The new royal family was now set, and plans for the ceremonies could now begin. Sammi warned Pami's parents to plan on having their visit to the palace monopolized by his mother the next day. Before Sammi and Michael left, Pami got another kiss from both men again.
The following week, Sammi tried his best to stay out of his mother's
way as she planned for the biggest wedding that Kirelli had ever
seen. Pami's poor parents couldn't get away from the Queen though.
That was still okay, as they were still in shock over their daughter
marrying the King. Sammi stayed clear of that though, so he could
plan a ceremony that he felt was even more important. That would be
the ceremony that united him and Michael as mates. There was no way
that Sammi could outdo his mother in that department, but he was
going to make sure that his and Michael's ceremony was every bit as
beautiful. After all, the man who had
first stolen his heart deserved that. Most of the talk around Agorra though was about the wedding of Sammi and Pami. That suited Sammi and Michael fine, as the people of Kirelli needed something to keep their minds off of the years ahead.
The day before the wedding, Sammi, Michael, and Bobbi went out to inspect the site where the first starships would be built. The building that was being laid out would be the most massive on Earth, because they would be building the largest vehicles ever known to man. The construction was taking place next to the space flight center, where preparations were still underway for the first manned mission to Mars. In a little more than a month, ten of Kirelli's finest astronauts would make the fastest space flight so far, reaching Mars in only five days. The starships they were getting ready to build would travel much faster though, making the Mars spacecraft look as though it were backing up. Every available hand in Kirelli was now working busily on the beginning of construction at the starship facility, as Kirelli's spacecraft engineers were drawing up plans for the fleets of starships they would be building. Work was also going on at the Mars spacecraft facility, transforming one of their three ships into a ship capable of carrying out the first light speed tests. All three men left the site that day, impressed by the might and determination of Kirelli's workforce. Sammi knew that when this project was completed successfully, the people who made it happen needed to be given the celebration of a lifetime.
The next day, Sammi was awakened by his servant, who under the Queen's orders was insisting that Sammi begin getting ready for his wedding. Sammi finally agreed, knowing that this day was mostly for his mother, and to uphold Kirellian law. Sammi had gotten a preview of the suit that his mother had picked for him, and that way he was able to make sure that his suit for tomorrow would be even better. As for Michael's suit for tomorrow, Sammi had Bobbi and Pauli get together on that, and ordered them to keep it a secret from Michael. Michael's suit today would be much more conservative, as he would be Sammi's best man at the wedding. The time finally came for Sammi to pick up Michael, then head to the grand hall where the wedding would take place.
"Mother really outdid herself, didn't she?" Sammi asked Michael, as they entered the grand hall.
"I should say so!" exclaimed Michael, as he looked around the hall in amazement.
Not one square inch or corner of the grand hall had been left undecorated by Queen Lorelli. The fabrics that had been used for trimming glistened in the light of the hall, and most of the flowers that were arranged around the hall almost gave off their own light. The chairs in the hall had been redone in the most luxurious velvet that could be found, and the aisle carpet was so soft that one could almost float on it.
"Your mother certainly has a flair for style!" remarked Michael. "I wonder if it would be too late to get her to work on our ceremony tomorrow?"
Sammi laughed, then replied, "Just you wait until tomorrow Michael! I may have a few tricks up my sleeve that will leave you impressed. Our ceremony will be in the much smaller presentation hall. It's a lot more intimate, and a lot more can be done there!"
"I can't wait to see what you have in mind then." said Michael. "Except for the end of the world, this whole thing has seemed like some kind of dream so far."
"It is Michael." replied Sammi. "It's a dream come true, except for that end of the world thing you mentioned."
Both men laughed as guests began arriving in the hall. This was exactly what Kirelli needed to raise it's spirits in the face of the monumental task ahead of them. When everyone had taken their places, with the proud parents beaming up front, and the ceremony had started, Pami was brought down the aisle on a gold litter.
Sammi looked at the gown she wore, and thought to himself, "Don't you think that's a little TOO much mother?"
Michael whispered quietly to Sammi, "I can't even see her under all of that, can you?"
Once the litter had come to a stop, Pami's servants removed the outer robe she was wearing. Underneath that was Pami, in a much more traditional and beautiful wedding gown. A look of relief passed over Sammi's face.
Queen Lorelli turned to Pami's mother and whispered, "The look on Sammi's face was worth it, don't you think?"
"I couldn't agree more!" whispered Pami's mother in reply. "I almost thought I would begin laughing for a moment!"
>From that point on, the ceremony was a traditional Kirellian royal wedding. That was enough to keep everyone who attended in an upbeat mood. Once the official ceremony was over, Sammi wanted to say a few words to the people who had come to witness this event, since it was also being televised.
"I want this wedding to signify to everyone in Kirelli that nothing is ending." said Sammi. "Our lives must go on today, so they will go on into future generations. Pami and I have made a beginning today, and I will do the same with Michael tomorrow. It's the beginning we will all make as we leave this place in a few years, to find a new home among the stars. I have witnessed the will and might of the people of Kirelli, and I know without any doubt that we will accomplish our goals, and pass our society and traditions down to future generations. Instead of the next decade being a terrible moment in our history, it will be our shining moment. I couldn't be more proud to be the leader of the finest people in the Universe! Thank you for being here today everyone, and I want everyone to thank my mother for making this day so beautiful for us."
In accordance with Kirellian customs, Sammi and Pami spent that night together, consummating their marriage. Michael accepted this well. He knew that Sammi would have to carry on the royal bloodline, and as a result, Sammi would have to have some intimate moments with Pami. He was told this would happen on the flight from the United States to Kirelli, and he accepted it then. He also knew that he and Sammi would have the same intimacy tomorrow night, and Sammi had already told him how much he was looking forward to that.
The next morning, after Michael had been prepared for today's events, he was led by his servant to a staging area above the presentation hall.
"What am I doing up here?!" asked Michael, as he dizzily looked down to the floor of the presentation hall. "Has Sammi flipped his lid?"
"I'm sorry sir, I've been ordered not to say anything except to tell you to stand on this platform, and hold onto the railing." replied Michael's servant, as he pointed to a small platform attached to several cables.
Once Michael was standing on the platform, the servant placed another railing across the entrance, sealing Michael on the platform. The servant stayed with Michael silently, as Michael looked down to the hall below and watched today's guests arrive. Once it looked as though the hall was full, music began to play below Michael.
"This is it sir." said the servant. "Please remember to hold onto the railing. Once the platform is all the way down, take down the removable railing and step straight off the platform. Then stand still there and do not move until you see the King."
As Michael was lowered down to the floor, he thought to himself, "Sammi, you dog! You really are going to upstage your mother, aren't you?"
Once Michael was all the way down to the floor, he did as he was instructed. Then fog began to cover the stage, covering Michael's feet and up to his knees. As the music shifted, Sammi rose up out of the fog next to Michael. Sammi could tell from the smile that covered Michael's face that he had just impressed the hell out of him. The people in the beautifully decorated hall broke out into applause when Sammi had come all the way up out of the stage.
"There's no way I can top that, but here we go anyway!" chuckled Kirelli's High Priest.
The ceremony proceeded as Michael stood there in awe of his soon to be mate. The ceremony spoke mostly about love, and the rightness of love between two people, no matter who they were. It was also the most beautiful ceremony Michael had ever seen, and it wasn't just because the ceremony was for him and his mate. Sammi still had one more surprise in store for Michael though.
When the ceremony was over, and the two mates shared a warm and tender kiss in front of the crowd, the onlookers broke out into applause again. This included Sammi's mother and new wife on one side of the front row, and on the side that had been shielded from Michael's view were his two closest friends from his days at the orphanage. They were the only two people in the entire orphanage whom Michael had ever confided in that he was gay. Before Michael could turn around, Sammi motioned for the two young men to come up onto the stage. When Michael turned around and was confronted with his two best friends, who were smiling brightly for him, he was almost overwhelmed.
"Jimmy! Davey!" shouted Michael. "How?! Where?! Who?!"
"I found them through your friends at Princeton this week, and I had to bring them here for you." said Sammi. "Are you surprised my love?"
"When we heard our best friend was getting hitched to a King, we couldn't refuse the offer to come!" said Jimmy.
"Congratulations Michael, and it's good to see you again." said Davey. "Your new mate really knows how to put on a show buddy!"
Michael turned back to Sammi almost in tears and asked, "Do they know?"
"No, but we can both tell them tomorrow, then let them decide." replied Sammi.
"Do we know what?" asked Jimmy light-heartedly. "You aren't keeping secrets from your best friends are you Michael?"
"Geez buddy, and after all we've done for you!" added Davey jokingly.
"I would never keep anything from you guys, but can we talk about it tomorrow?" asked Michael. "I'd hate to ruin such a happy moment. I still can't believe you two are here! Sammi, if they start telling you stories about my youth, don't believe a word of it! I swear, I was not that bad!"
"We would never tell people about that stuff Mikey!" said Jimmy.
"Yeah, like the time you filled sister Bernice's water bottle with liquid laxative!" laughed Davey. "You should have seen her bolt out of that classroom! I almost laughed myself into a coma! But don't worry, your secrets are safe with us."
Sammi was now laughing as he said, "I have to hear these stories now! I might just have to make it a royal command!"
Everyone finally made their way to the reception, where Michael introduced his friends to Queen Mother Lorelli and Queen Pami. Then he and Sammi introduced them to Michael's new friends in Kirelli. Michael never did catch Jimmy and Davey telling the old stories at the reception, but he could tell what was happening when people would mysteriously double over in laughter. The secret was out though when Sammi came up to Michael laughing hysterically.
"I can't believe you would do that Mikey!" laughed Sammi. "Putting concentrated jalapeno powder on a priest's dentures?!"
"I didn't know anyone could drink that much water, that fast!" snickered Michael, which caused Sammi to double over from laughter. "From that day on, Father Dunn told me I would go to Hell just for that!"
"Yeah, it's a surprise that our little buddy made it out of that orphanage alive!" snickered Jimmy, as he joined Sammi and Michael. "The staff must have wanted to kill him more than once! He always kept his friends in stitches though."
"I didn't realize how much I needed to see you and Davey again." said Michael to Jimmy emotionally.
"I always knew we would see ya again someday Mikey." replied Jimmy. "By the way, where is Davey?"
Michael looked around the room and exclaimed, "Oh no! He's talking to Queen Pami!"
At that moment Pami almost fell to the floor laughing. Sammi rushed over to see if she was okay, then began laughing himself.
"Oh God!" exclaimed Michael. "Please tell me he didn't tell them about the white blood incident! I think I'm going to hide somewhere Jimmy!"
"Come on little buddy, that was funny as hell!" laughed Jimmy.
"I was only 12 though, how was I suppose to know that, after being raised by Catholics!" replied Michael, who then began to snicker too.
Jimmy and Davey kept the guests at the reception entertained with stories of Michael's youth until well into the evening, but no one let on to what the people of Kirelli knew. Michael felt bad about keeping that from them, but it would only be until tomorrow. Then he would tell them about the fate that awaited the rest of the world.
Sammi woke Michael the next morning, as they laid in bed together for the first time. "Michael, time to get up." said Sammi, as he shook Michael. "What do you say about taking your friends out to see the new facility before we tell them?"
"I guess that would make it easier to convince them." replied Michael as he stretched. "They'll definitely want to know what it is. I'm so glad that you'll let them stay if they want to."
"What kind of mate would I be if I didn't?" asked Sammi as he smiled.
As soon as Sammi and Michael got ready, and said good-bye to Pami, they went to get Jimmy and Davey. Jimmy and Davey had been speculating most of the night about what was going on. Their friend had a secret that would ruin the reception, he had disappeared to an island that no one seemed to know about, and some of the things they had seen, starting with the airplane that brought them from Auckland, were stranger than anything they had ever seen. They came up with a lot of wild ideas, but nothing would prepare them for what they were about to learn. Sammi and Michael led the two young men to a car that was waiting for them in front of the palace.
"Where are we going this morning Mikey?" asked Jimmy.
"Does this have anything to do with THE secret?" asked Davey.
"Yes it does, and you'll find out very soon." replied Michael. "I'm sorry to have to keep this one from you for so long, but you'll see why when we get to where we're going."
As the car passed the space flight center, Jimmy looked out the window and exclaimed, "Holy shit!!! Is that a rocket?"
"That isn't just a rocket Jimmy." replied Sammi. "That's our Mars spaceship. In less than a month, she'll be taking ten of our astronauts to Mars."
"Is he shitting us Mikey?" asked Davey in disbelief.
"No guys, he isn't." replied Michael. "It's been thoroughly tested, and it will make it to Mars in just five days."
"That is one heck of a secret Michael!" exclaimed Jimmy. "I'm surprised you were able to keep that one!"
"Yeah, just imagine." said Davey. "We come to some out of the way island that no one has ever heard of, and find out that they not only have a space program, but they plan on going to Mars! How did you guys get that one past NASA?"
"That's because they don't know about us, at least not yet." replied Sammi. "Due to the magnetic drives that our spacecrafts use, it makes them undetectable to anyone's radar. They would have gone nuts if they had seen the traffic going out of here in the seventies, when we built our permanent base on the moon!"
Jimmy and Davey were now both speechless as the car pulled into the construction site for the new facility. Everyone got out of the car and looked around, with Jimmy and Davey being confused beyond their imagination.
"What in the world are they building here?!" asked Jimmy. "This place is going to be huge!!!"
"It's going to be the largest building in the world." replied Michael. "This is where we're going to build the ships for our next space project."
"What kind of ship are you going to build, the Starship Enterprise?" laughed Davey.
"Actually, our starships are going to be a bit larger than that." replied Michael.
Jimmy now had a stunned look on his face as he said, "If I didn't know any better, I'd swear it looks like you people are in a hurry to move your island somewhere else!" When Michael didn't reply right away, the secret began to dawn on Jimmy. Jimmy cried out, "What's wrong Michael?! Is it THAT bad???"
"Could you and Davey sit down on the ground?" asked Michael. "I don't want you to fall to it." Once Jimmy and Davey were sitting, Michael continued, "I'm sure you know that scientists from the outside world say the ozone layer is being depleted. What they don't know, or won't say, is how fast it is being depleted. We do though. As the layer depletes further, the Earth will continue to warm. As that happens, the oceans will also warm, and storms will increase in frequency and intensity. You can already see that, when every hurricane season is called the worst season yet. In about ten years, the ozone layer will deplete to the point where holes will open in it at random. Anyone under one of those openings will die quickly, and the Earth will heat up so much that the ground will turn to glass. At that point, the polar icecaps will melt, and the ocean currents will be permanently altered. Then the Earth will begin to cool so much that the entire planet will freeze. Finally, the planet will not be able to sustain life."
"How?" cried Davey. "How could this happen?"
"Man has been poisoning the planet for one hundred and fifty years." replied Michael. "You can only poison something for so long before it dies, and we've reached the limit of what our planet can take."
"Just like that?" asked Jimmy. "No warning or anything? Why would scientists let it happen? What about everyone else?"
"The planet has been trying to warn us for years." replied Michael. "Because of greed though, mankind has ignored those warnings, saying it couldn't happen. Well, now it is happening. As for the people outside of this island, we can only do so much. Our population stands at around a million people. We have a huge job ahead of us just to save ourselves. We can't save the whole world, there's just too many people."
"How will you be able to remember things from the past without feeling guilty about it though?" asked Davey.
"Because I didn't do this to the world." replied Michael. "When I went to college, I started trying to warn people what could happen someday, and no one would listen. The people here have never done anything to harm the planet though, and we have the ability to leave it and find a new home. I'm going to help them, and I feel good with that. Will you help them too, Jimmy and Davey?"
"We can't go home if we do this, can we?" asked Jimmy.
"I'm afraid there is no more home." replied Michael. "What you left out there will be gone in ten years, and so will you if you go back. Besides, I need you two to stay with me. Please?"
"I guess we have no choice, huh?" asked Jimmy, as a tear came to his eye.
Michael pointed to the construction site and replied, "This is the only choice we have now. The ships we are going to build here will ensure that at least some of the human race survives."
Jimmy and Davey looked at each other as they tried to compose
themselves. Then Jimmy replied, "We're with you Michael. We went
through the roughest childhood we could imagine together, and we'll
be together through this too." Then Jimmy and Davey got up and
hugged their friend, as Sammi looked on and smiled.