Reyes Takes a Vacation;
A Crossover in 4 and 1/2 parts
unlikely pairing of characters from the Buck Rogers and Zorro universes
creates a scenario that the Pueblo de Los Angeles will not soon
The characters of Cpl. Reyes, Sgt. Garcia, Diego de la Vega/Zorro, Señorita Bastinada and Don Carlos are all owned by Disney Prod. and Zorro Productions. The characters of Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering are owned by Universal/Dille estate. All are used with my undying thanks and returned in one piece.
This story takes place after the events of the 78 Zorro episodes and before the Buck Rogers episode Amazon Women. (Hey, can't help it. Liked the scene with Buck and the horse. That city boy had to learn how to ride somewhere!)
I have made some changes that I hope improve the story. Thanks all for your suggestions.
Reyes & Sgt. Garcia
In the distant future, a tall man, one wearing a now not so white uniform of a starfighter pilot of the Earth Defense Directorate found himself in a particularly unpleasant quandary. He was cornered. The continuous corridors had finally run out, ending in a large room filled with gadgetry, some bizarrely constructed and some more mundane, but none familiar. An acrid smell, resembling the result of a mixing of ammonia and bleach filled the air, making his eyes water. Smoky fumes filled one corner where an experiment had gone awry, sparks popped in another part of the room. His hazel eyes surveyed his surrounding, but didn’t stray long from the large, hairy, hulking alien that had been stalking him and now stood grinning only a few feet away. Another alien, one pale white, slender and about the same height as the terran pilot came in through the only entrance and stood watching the two humanoids in front of him. The look on his waxy face was one of curiosity, and intensely eager anticipation. The starfighter pilot was reminded of an old cartoon, where a mad scientist and his neck-less, beast-like creation were chasing a rabbit. He didn’t like the analogy.
The pilot quickly ran his hand through dark,
reddish-brown hair made lank by the accumulation of dust and sweat. The room was abominably hot and the uniform didn’t help
much. He feinted to one
side and the huge alien matched his move.
“You know, if you’d just tell me where the door is, I could
find my own way out,” the pilot joked, his mouth quirked in a smile
that held no mirth. The
alien just favored the terran with a wider grin.
A machine to his right hissed, spat flame and
then collapsed in a clattering heap.
The alien turned his attention from his quarry for a scant few
seconds and the pilot leaped for the machine on his left, grabbing a
metal bar about eight feet above the ground and pulling himself up on a
framework that didn’t really look sturdy enough to hold anyone, much
less someone of his size. But
it was the only chance he had. Suddenly,
the slender man screamed, his demeanor changed to that of fear.
“No, not there. Don’t
“Too late….” the terran began, and then he, too, stared fearfully into what appeared to be a miniature black hole, a vortex that winked red and silver light in a gaping maw of deepest midnight. The metal bar he was hanging onto gave way with a scream of tortured metal and suddenly the pilot was falling into the blackness. He seemed to fall forever, and ever and ever, his body alternately cold and hot, his eyes tightly closed against the flashing points of light that felt like searing coals against his eyelids, but didn’t seem to actually burn.
And then there was nothing.
Corporal Reyes sat staring at the small fire
blazing before him. His
military jacket lay across a rock, his suspenders dangled onto the sand.
The surf boomed dully beyond the fire, the waves seeming to echo
a refrain of peace and solitude. He was relaxed to the point of
lethargy. Finally he had
been able to use the pass Sergeant Garcia had issued him over a month
before. Finally. And the
best part was that a courier had brought in the payroll from Monterey
just the day before. Reyes
was a very happy man. He
had left the pueblo that morning before Garcia could find
something for him to do and before the sergeant could wheedle money from
him for wine at the tavern.
Always it was the same, by the time they were paid, Sgt. Garcia had managed to build his bill at the tavern so that his pay only covered that which he owed. Then it was the same story all over again. “Corporal, do you have a peso?” or “Corporal, now you can lend me some money.” As though it was his privilege to spend all his money on his superior officer.
Reyes grinned broadly.
It wasn’t going to happen this time.
He felt the clink of coins in his money belt that was safely
tucked beneath his waistband. And
before he returned from his weekend of solitude, he was going to find a
way to hide his money so it wouldn’t end up in the sergeant’s hands. But that was the problem.
Where could he hide his fifteen pesos so that they would
be safe? He had thought of
burying them, but then there was the problem of remembering where they
were hidden. A marker would
tell anyone else where they were as easily as they would him.
He sighed and reached toward the fire to turn the spit holding the rabbit he had shot earlier. The succulent smell of roasting meat made his mouth water. A bottle of wine sat between his rolled up blanket and saddle. He grinned again. Sergeant Garcia had wanted to come with him, thinking that the three-day pass would be someplace like San Fernando where the food and wine were renowned and the ladies soft and gentle-eyed, and where, if they wouldn’t extend credit to him, the sergeant could wheedle money from his aide. But when Reyes said he was going to spend his time near the ocean, the corpulent sergeant had decided that he had work to do in the cuartel. Sgt. Garcia didn’t like the ocean. It made him seasick. Just thinking about it made him seasick. And that was exactly why Reyes had decided to spend his weekend here. No paying for someone else’s wine, no having to go out and chase Zorro in the middle of the night, no having to shine someone else’s boots or wash someone else’s pants . . . Reyes felt as though he had died and gone to heaven. There was only the sound of the ocean, the birds and the distant howling of a coyote.
It was not something he would want to do all the time, since he did like being around people, but just for this weekend, just this once, it was pleasant. Then Reyes pondered. What did he want to do in the future? He was a soldier, but did he want to be a soldier forever? Did he want to be forever polishing Sgt. Garcia’s boots, to be forever busted to private when he didn’t exactly follow the sergeant’s orders? Sighing, Reyes thought of the time he had made a bed of straw in the abandoned winery in order to stand watch all night over Don Esteban’s (well, no, it was actually Zorro’s) horse, and Sgt. Garcia took it over. That was bad enough, but there was the time he was ordered to dress as a señorita to fool Zorro. The look on Zorro’s face when he realized who was under the mantilla was almost worth it, but the skunks that had cornered them right afterward weren’t. That was horrible. And never having any money, or when he did, always having it confiscated, and always doing what Sgt. Garcia said, including telling rich señoritas what a fine fellow his commanding officer was. No one told them what a fine fellow he was! It wasn’t fair.
He thought of the time he had spent with Señorita
Bastinada. While she was
nothing to look at, she was very nice to him.
And she really did have pretty eyes.
She had even nicer money, too.
She had invited him to visit her in San Pedro.
She had even said he was charming and Reyes felt as though she
meant it. With a smile,
Reyes remembered that time. They
had danced to Don Diego’s guitar music and he had felt wonderful being
with her. Sgt. Garcia had
been so very angry with him.
It had galled him that the corporal was getting the attention
that the acting comandante couldn’t get.
All this despite the elaborate party Garcia had thrown for her,
the fibs Reyes had been instructed to say about the sergeant’s
prowess, the chumming up to the señorita’s little brother,
Pogo. It was he, Reyes, who
had impressed the señorita, not Garcia.
But Reyes had been too busy or too embarrassed to go more than a
couple of times to San Pedro in the past year to see her, and what could
a penniless, short little corporal hope for with a rich businesswoman
like Señorita Bastinada? He
sighed. But he was going to
find a way to keep this money, then add to it, more each time he got
paid. Then he would be able to call on the señorita.
Who knows, maybe he would get lucky, maybe the payroll would
start coming every month. Maybe
he would win a game of bruha in the tavern someday, he thought.
Then he sighed in dejection.
His chances of finding gold in the mountains would be more likely
than either of the other two possibilities.
Suddenly the quiet was split with a cracking noise that made Reyes’ ears ring. A thunderous boom followed and a flash of hellishly red light came from in front of him. A figure stood in the midst of the red light. It was glowing red, too, and Reyes knew that he was being accosted by the devil himself. Eyes wide with fright, he crossed himself and then jumped to his feet and leaped behind a boulder, where he crossed himself again.
The light faded almost as quickly as it had
appeared and only the ringing in his ears and the horrid smell of
brimstone was left to witness to the frightened corporal that he had
indeed seen the opening of a door from hell.
Reyes peeped from behind the boulder, his curiosity too great,
although fear was running neck and neck with that curiosity.
Everything was dark again. There
was only his fire and his slowly cooking meal.
Reyes continued to watch, his eyes still saucer
large and round. He
listened and only heard the ocean and the crackling of his fire.
He still smelled the brimstone, though, so he stayed where he
was. Finally the smell
dissipated and when nothing else happened, Reyes began to slowly creep
out from behind the boulder. Then
he heard a low moaning sound before him and he turned and ran, crossing
himself again. He
continued running, feeling the stones bruise his stockinged feet, to
where his horse was tethered. He
fumbled with the rope that kept his horse from wandering. “Estupido!”
he said, finally making his nervous fingers cooperate so he could untie
the skittish animal. When he had succeeded, he threw himself onto the horse
and rode away from the beach, frightened that the devil might be
creeping up behind him. Even
the horse ran faster than it usually did.
Reyes was a mile away before he realized that his tack was still back at the beach, along with his jacket. However, under no circumstances would he even consider going back in the dark. Not to where the devil had been. He had been lucky to escape with his life. The night was dark, the waning moon not up yet, but he recognized what road he was on and he continued, knowing that he would end up at the de la Vega rancho eventually. He pulled on the rope connected to the halter until the horse slowed to a trot. There was no need to ruin a perfectly good horse by allowing it to step into a hole at full gallop. Especially since it belonged to the king and Sgt. Garcia would most likely charge him twice what it was worth and pocket a couple of pesos for doing the paperwork.
It was too late to call on Don Alejandro or even
Don Diego, so Reyes pulled the horse off the side of the road and found
a sheltered area where he could tie the horse and sleep in semi-comfort.
Throughout the night, though, he kept waking up, alternately from
the cold or from recurring nightmares about devils in red outfits.
Once he awoke feeling the eyes of baleful demons staring down at
him, but only saw the third quarter moon overhead.
Head pounding unmercifully, the starfighter pilot, whose name was Buck Rogers, one time captain in the United States Air Force, sat up to a sight, to sounds and scents that he never thought to experience again in his lifetime. It was a beach, the booming of the surf told him that. It was a beach on Earth, the waning moon told him that as well. In the distance he heard the sound of coyotes serenading the moon above him. He smelled the ocean scents of seaweed, salt and dead fish, those things he remembered from his boyhood. But how? First of all he hadn’t even been on Earth, he’d been on assignment to Qoordor, trying to figure out, with his companions, what had been causing the horrendous geological upheavals that had rocked the planet and caused scientists to declare Qoordor a dying planet. But here he was, on Earth, the man in the moon was telling him so.
Even as Buck tried to puzzle out this return to
the Earth of his boyhood, the pilot figured he knew why Qoordor was
having the geological problems it was having.
However, there was nothing he could do about it now.
He had apparently gone through some kind of a doorway to another
universe, only this one was strangely like the earth of his past.
Could it be what the science fiction writers of his day called an
alternate universe? Everything
told him he was on Earth, but it was certainly not like the planet he
called home now. His mind
kept jumping back and forth to the twin dilemmas, even as his head
continued to throb, almost in time to the booming of the surf.
Could the doorway be the cause of Qoordor’s
problems as he thought it was? It
was said that a true black hole not only provided a doorway to other
planes of existence, but they took substance from the universes in which
those doorways resided. Usually
they existed in the huge expanses of space, but to exist on a planet
defied reason. And it would
certainly explain the planetary problems that had taken him and Wilma
and Theo to Qoordor in the first place.
Sighing, Buck stood up, stretching muscles that
seemed almost stretched to the limit.
The sand gave beneath his shoes and he staggered.
He examined the ground where he was standing, trying to find some
clues to help him return to Qoordor.
There was nothing, at least nothing he could find in the dark.
Nearby was a small campfire, crackling merrily, inviting him to
sit by its warmth. “Hello,”
he called out, wondering where the builder of the fire was.
The night sounds continued to entrance him with their
similarities to that with which he was familiar.
Uncanny. It appeared that he was entirely alone, so he walked over to
the fire and allowed its heat to warm him.
A saddle, blanket, sword, bridle, a military jacket and a pair of
boots sat near the fire, neatly placed, but where the owner was, only
heaven knew. Above
the fire, on a makeshift rotisserie, was a dressed out animal, a rabbit,
most likely. The scent of
the juicy meat made his head spin; it had been almost a day since he had
eaten. “Hello,” he called out again.
“Anyone out there? I
won’t hurt you.”
There was no answer except the rhythmic sound of
the waves and the distant animals.
Gazing at the meat again, he considered.
Whoever had killed and cleaned the rabbit had left.
Buck was intensely hungry and the meat was beginning to blacken
on one side. “Go for
it,” he told himself. “Your
loss,” he called out, trying one more time to rouse the owner of this
rustic feast. He pulled the
stick off the fire and blew on the meat.
Finally, even though it was still too hot, Buck pulled off a tiny
leg and began to eat it, sucking in the cool night air to ease the
burning of his tongue. Even so, it wasn’t long before the small feast was
finished. As there was
absolutely nothing he could do until daylight, Buck decided to get some
sleep. He had enjoyed too
little of that in the recent past, too, and his body was craving it.
Unrolling the blanket, he was surprised to find a bottle of vinol,
and he picked it up and held it near the fire.
With a gasp, Buck realized it wasn’t one of the synthahols that
he had gotten used to; it was the real thing.
He pulled on the cork and it slid out of the bottle with a soft
pop. First he sniffed
and then he tried a swallow.
“Good Lord, that’s not Gallo,” he
murmured, realizing that the owner of all these things was not rich.
He took another swallow to ease his thirst and then placed the
cork back in the bottle and put the wine to the side with the bridle and
boots. Spreading out
the blanket, Buck lay down, using the saddle as a pillow.
Then he pulled part of the blanket over him, lying as close to
the fire as he dared. Soon,
lulled by the ocean, the exhausted pilot fell fast asleep.
Reyes woke up stiff and sore just before dawn.
He stretched to get the kinks out his joints and then wrapped his
arms around himself to try and gather some warmth into his body.
What should I do now?
Reyes thought that he should go back to the cuartel where
at least he would have a warm breakfast.
But no, the sergeant and all of his compadres would laugh
at him when he told them why he was returning early.
They would think he had drunk all his wine in one night and seen
visions in his drunkenness. They
would ask him where his saddle was.
Reyes thought, That is worth all of this month’s and the next two
month’s pay alone. And
there was his sword and the bridle and his boots.
And then there was also the bottle of wine. Well, perhaps the
bottle of wine isn’t quite as important, maybe.
Were the saddle, bridle and sword worth being caught by the
devil? Reyes scratched his chin and thought. If he didn’t get his tack, things wouldn’t be much better
than being in Hell. It
would take him the rest of his natural life to pay it back with the
interest that Sgt. Garcia would most likely charge him.
Sighing, Reyes stumbled on sore feet to where
his horse was placidly waiting, mounted it and headed back to the ocean.
As he approached, he kept slowing the horse down until, with
another sigh, the corporal dismounted and walked, trying to be as
stealthy as he could. Finally,
he reached the boulder and, crossing himself, slowly raised his head,
peeping around to check out his campsite.
His jaw dropped. Instead
of a red clad devil, he saw a man sleeping next to the remains of his
fire, using the saddle as a pillow and covered by his blanket.
The sword, bridle and boots lay where he had left them,
undisturbed, but the idea that someone had used his things to sleep
comfortably, while he had been shivering in the cold night, made him
angry. Forgotten was the gate of Hell, the devil, the horrible
noise and smell of the night before.
Before him was only a figure sleeping comfortably where he should
be. The stranger had
probably eaten his rabbit, too. He
hadn’t seen it by the fire.
The more he thought about it, the angrier he became. With courage borne of resentment, Reyes walked up to the sleeping man and kicked him in the leg, then he fell back in surprise when the man exploded into immediate action, rolling over, grabbing his leg and jerking him to the ground. The man was standing over him in the next instant, unarmed, but dangerous-looking nevertheless. Reyes had only seen Zorro move that fast.