By Joni Parker
Good afternoon, this is Mike Evans at iFantasy talk radio in Tucson, Arizona where we love to talk about science fiction and fantasy. Thanks for joining me today. We have a very special guest lined up for you, an iFantasy talk radio exclusive. World-famous journalist, Olivia Richards, is expected to join us via satellite telephone. As you may know, Olivia and her husband, John, were reported missing at sea several years ago, but she’s made contact and will be here in a few minutes. But first, we must hear from our sponsors at Cactus Thumb Nurseries. (run commercial)
Mike: Welcome back. We’ve just made contact with world-famous journalist, Olivia Richards. Hello, Olivia, this is Mike Evans. Can you hear me? (static) Olivia, are you there? (static)
Olivia: Yes, I can hear you, but just barely, please speak up.
Mike: I will. Thank you for joining me on iFantasy talk radio. I’m Mike Evans in Tucson, Arizona. Let me begin by asking, how are you and where are you?
Olivia: My husband and I are fine, but for the last few years, we’ve been stranded on this island called Seaward Isle. In 2011, we rented a sailboat in southern France and were sailing to Italy when we were caught in a ferocious storm. It came out of nowhere. We hid in the cabin below deck for hours until our boat crashed on the shores of this island. We survived the crash just fine, but we haven’t been able to find a way off. We’ve met hundreds of people here just like us. That’s how I met Takura. He’s a friend of yours, I understand. He talked me into coming on this program because he was concerned people wouldn’t understand his English.
Mike: Yes, I’ve met him and I thought his English was fine. He went to Harvard for his doctorate.
Olivia: Yes, I know, but he feels very self-conscious.
Mike: How is he?
Olivia: He’s doing well. As you know, he’s a geologist and has gathered a group of Japanese scientists to figure out our situation. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough computers or the right equipment to do the job, but at least, he’s discovered that we’re not on Earth and he’s discussed this problem with the Elves.
Mike: Say what? You’re not on Earth? Did you say something about Elves? Are you kidding? Say, have you met Legolas by any chance? (Laughs)
Olivia: No, but yes, I’m serious. They’re real Elves. This island belongs to them and even they can’t figure out how we got here.
Mike: So where are you, if you’re not on Earth?
Olivia: We believe that this island is at the end of a wormhole somewhere in space. We don’t know how or where, but here we are. Takura believes the opening is located about six hundred kilometers above the Earth’s surface somewhere near the moon. We ask all astronomers to use their equipment to locate the opening and ask NASA for a rescue mission. That seems to be our only hope.
Mike: Attention all astronomers and scientists at NASA! Olivia needs your help. Contact this station immediately if you can provide any assistance. (chuckles) How are you able to talk to us?
Olivia: My friend, Ebony Shorter, had a satellite telephone when she crashed on the island. She was in a yacht race that went around the world, but she was caught in a storm and ended up here. Takura and his friends repaired an old generator to make electricity to recharge the phone. He’s also set up a computer network with bits and pieces he’s found.
Mike: What do you use for fuel?
Olivia: The scientists use alcohol made of old potato skins and grain.
Mike: You mean moonshine. Right. Anything else we can help you with today, Olivia?
Olivia: No, just please get the word out. We’d really like to get home and see our families. Thank you so much for your help. (static) Our connection is fading…(static)...only a few (static)…Please help…(static)
Mike: Apparently, we’ve just lost our connection to Olivia. Once again, let me reiterate her desperate situation. She’s located on an island called Seaward Isle, somewhere at the end of a wormhole and needs the help of astronomers and NASA scientists to locate this opening and rescue them. Hey, maybe we can bring the Shuttle program back to life. Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you for joining me on iFantasy talk radio and join me tomorrow for another adventure into science fiction and fantasy. And don’t forget to send your comments and ideas to our Facebook page. Many thanks to our sponsor, Cactus Thumb Nurseries.
* * *
Mike leaned back in his chair and listened to the program again. Then he pulled out his cell phone. This had to be a joke. But he shook his head when he recalled that his old buddy, Takura, could never tell a joke. He was so serious. They’d met in college nearly twenty years ago when they were freshmen at the University of Arizona with majors in geology. Tak, as he wanted to be called, was a foreign student from Japan and understood more English than he spoke. He also loved the geological formations in the local area, but knew nothing about hiking in the desert. Mike was an experienced hiker and took him under his wing.
They’d remained good friends, but lost contact when Tak transferred to Harvard to finish his doctorate in geology and later returned to join the faculty at the university. Mike speed-dialed the geology department and it rang and rang. Finally, a young woman answered the phone.
“Geology Department, University of Arizona. Bear down, Wildcats!”
“I’d like to speak to Professor Takura, please.”
“I’m sorry, there’s no one here by that name.”
“What? Where is he?” Mike furrowed his brow.
“I’m sorry, sir, I don’t know.”
“Is Professor Lopez there?”
“Professor Lopez. Who’s calling?”
“Julio, this is Mike Evans.”
“Mike! What’s up, man?”
“Hey, I was trying to get in touch with Tak, but I understand he’s not there anymore. Where’d he go?”
“Don’t know, man. A few years ago, he went on a sabbatical and never came back. His parents told us the ship he was on disappeared in a bad storm.”
“You mean it sank.”
“No, man. It vanished. No debris, no oil slick, no survivors. Nothing.”
“Weird. I got an email from him at the radio station last week asking for an interview so I agreed. He sent Olivia Richards to speak to me. She’s a famous journalist who went missing a few years ago. She was on a ship in a storm, too. Anyway, she told me that they were stranded on an island called Seaward Isle, somewhere in space at the end of a wormhole with Elves. I didn’t believe her.”
“Elves? Was she high?” Lopez paused. “You don’t think it’s real, do you?”
“I don’t know, man. They were both lost at sea.” Mike sighed, leaning back. “Thanks, man or should I say Professor?” He laughed and disconnected the call. After a few moments, he scrolled through his list of contacts and called one of them.
The receptionist said, “You have reached the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. How may I direct your call?”
“Doctor Rachel Goodwin, geology division.”
“Hold on while I connect you.”
“Doctor Goodwin speaking.”
“Hey, Rachel. It’s me, Mike Evans from Tucson.”
“Seriously? After all these years?”
“Hey, I come in peace. I apologize for whatever I did.”
“You don’t remember?”
“Not exactly. Hey, have you been in contact with Tak from college? The Japanese guy?”
“You mean the nice guy who asked me for a date and you told him he was nuts?”
“Um, yeah, him. I think he’s in trouble and needs help. Julio told me that he was on a ship that disappeared in a storm, a few years ago, but he just emailed me for an interview on my radio program. He sent a friend, Olivia Richards, the famous journalist. She was lost at sea, too.”
“So you don’t have a regular job yet?”
“Not fair. I want you to listen to it, okay? Just listen and tell me what you think.”
“Okay.” She sighed.
Mike played the program. “Well, what do you think?”
“Rachel? Are you there?”
“Yes. Is this a joke?”
“That’s what I thought, too, but Tak couldn’t tell a joke if his life depended on it.”
She paused. “You’re right. Send me a link to your program.”
“Thanks, Rachel.” Mike sighed deeply when Rachel hung up. She hadn’t changed much and still resented that prank, but he’d always found her attractive. Maybe he should try again, someday. Mike shivered when the air conditioning kicked on; he’d been sweating heavily. He emailed her the link and leaned back. What if it’s real? Nah! Can’t be, can it?