The Mentor smiled and looked expectantly. The Assistant frowned and looked dubious. I took it as an omen.
“Y’all said something about raiding Washington City?” I questioned.
They both nodded simultaneously.
“What’s yar plan?” I requested.
“We thought you might be able to provide a plan that we could enhance as needed for its successful conclusion,” the Mentor suggested.
“Uh-huh,” I responded in a sarcastic voice. “So, I gotta do all tha figuring out how to make this work?” I carped.
“Jim, we are used to enlisting local inhabitants to execute very important actions that will spawn a change in the political, cultural and social fabric of a country. We can provide the results of any action based upon the dictates of the plan. That’s why we suggest the best possible action, and you provide the plan for implementing that action. Once you give us your plan, we can plot the end results based on the myriads of information we have archived. As I stated before, the proposed action of raiding Washington can possible lead to the North suing for peace. We believe you are the only one that can direct and survive the raid successfully. We are here to help, but we definitely need your input,” the Mentor explained.
I looked at the two aliens for a long moment digesting what the Mentor said.
Finally, I said, “Sir, a long time ago I did a very hurried study of tha protecting forts around Washington City. I don’t remember any of thar positions, tha armament or tha number of soldiers in each fortification.”
As an afterthought, I added, “Also, I don’t have tha expertise to conduct a raid.”
“Jim, you displayed every attribute necessary for a great cavalry commander on the ambush of the Union force that came out of Boonsboro and the raid on Frederick City. You definitely have the qualifications, and we can supply the information in regard to the forts around Washington City,” the Mentor contended.
“Okay, what kind of deadline are we under?” I responded.
“We need for the raid to be implemented in the next six weeks. After that, the action of the Union forces in Georgia and Tennessee will negate any action we would take in Virginia and Washington City,” answered the Mentor.
“Okay. I need to get to Shepherdstown and work on tha plan. Can ya provide protection for Daphne and our helpers, while we travel nawth, plus our friends when we get therah?” I asked.
“Yes, we can do that,” the Mentor promised.
“Okay, I’m going back to tha hotel and get us packed and on tha road,” I declared. “Can ya provide tha necessary information about tha forts in some kind of clandestine way,” I asked.
Both the Mentor and the Assistant nodded.
“When will I see ya again?” I asked.
“When you have the plan ready, all you have to do is say out loud that we need to meet,” he informed.
I cocked a scrutinizing eye his way and said, “How close are ya gonna monitor us?”
He raised his hands in a calming gesture and stated, “Not that close.”
I looked at the Assistant and added, “Make sure ya don’t.”
San Cirr Ray slyly smiled at me, which produced a wicked leer due to her elven facial features.
I began to feel a deep-seated anger, but before it could manifest itself, Kann Mer Ray promised, “Your family’s privacy will not be violated.”
Then he looked at his assistant with a reproachful glance. She immediately looked down at the ground and didn’t challenge his authority.
I went to Stonewall, grabbed what acted as a saddle horn and swung myself into the saddle. Once my feet were in the stirrups, I pulled my hat down to fit snuggly on my head. Then I gave a nod to Kann Mer Ray. He nodded back. I clicked at Stonewall and we took off like a shot.
San Cirr Ray watched as the Earthling rode away. Then she looked at the ageless Director of the Earthen Project and asked, “Can he be trusted?”
“I don’t know, but he is the last hope for this Earth to attain peace without more bloodshed, and we need the peace to prevent the decimation of a whole American generation,” he replied.