|The General's Daughter, Close Encounters
Author: Kody Wright PM
Third book in the series. After the birth of her son, Jackie starts having nightmares. The UFO paranoia of the 50's becomes a realty for the family as strange orbs of light are seen with a series of abductions. This book is completed and can be found on websites listed in bio.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Mystery - Chapters: 11 - Words: 48,712 - Reviews: 22 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 02-26-13 - Published: 09-23-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3060484
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
With the disappearance of the Acme, Jackie had returned home to Glendale Gove with two toddlers and a mentally challenged man. Davy didn't understand why no one would be returning. He couldn't comprehend the situation as to what happened to the ship.
For that matter, Jackie had trouble comprehending it as well. The whole vessel just disappeared in orbit with all hands onboard with herself only to escape by chance. She was outside the vessel in one of the ducks when the ship disappeared.
When the vessel failed to return after a few weeks the military scrapped the project, sent Jackie home and swiftly declared all onboard the vessel dead. She returned home to an empty house with Davy and the toddlers from what should have been a wondrous vacation and adventure of a lifetime.
She couldn't explain what happened to Daniel's parents, just that he died along with her father and friends in an accident. They were grief stricken to say the least. Never did they expect their son, who survived the war to be killed so suddenly in Hawaii on an extended vacation.
Jackie got custody of Debbie Money and was named administrator of the estate the child's parents. She was also administrator of her father's estate as well as her husband's. Legally her hands were full trying to juggle the duties.
She sold Bambi and Frank's home and placed any profit in a trust for their baby girl. She then re-opened the flight school and took over her father's job as administrator. She now had to hire all new staff and try very hard not to miss her dear friends and family.
But she did miss them…Terribly. Now alone life seemed much harder for her. She hired a nanny to tend to the children as she worked hard all day at the school and on the estates. The life insurance money was her only godsend in keeping things afloat. Her saving grace was Jack Roberts, Kara nephew and Daniel's childhood friend. He came often to check on her and the kids and help out whenever he could.
She was sworn to secrecy by the government and wasn't allowed to tell anyone what had happened. She resorted to saying that her friends where onboard a ship and it was lost in an accident with all hands. The explanation presented itself as if the ship was navel and they were lost at sea instead of lost in space…Which even to Jackie sounded unrealistic.
Her goal was to make life as normal as possible for Johnny and Debbie and give them the most stable home environment she could. They each had their own room and were together often, playing games and enjoying fun activities. As time went by the only father figure the children had was Jack and his constant visits. The man felt indebted to the son of his late friend. He wanted to make sure Johnny had a father of some sort.
Within two years of the ship going missing Jackie agreed that the kids needed a father and Jack seemed to be willing and able. She found him different from Daniel but just as worthy. She didn't love him the way she loved Daniel but loved him enough to marry him and allow the Roberts family to use their influence to help her, the flight school and the two kids. Essentially she was forced to move on without her departed friends and family for the sake of the kids. She had changed her name to Jackie Roberts and did everything in her power to make sure Debbie and Johnny had the best childhood ever!
The Acme limbered in space after it came out of contortion drive. The crew assessed the situation with Don acting as navigator; critical parts of the contortion drive engine were destroyed in the accidental overload of power. There only engine left was the primary light speed engine. They could travel back but only at the speed of light. The only thing that made such a speed possible was the inertia dampers that luckily were still intact.
Fred felt like the captain of the wounded sub in enemy waters. He didn't know what was out there; it could be nothing but empty space. It was completely uncharted and they could only turn around go straight back from which they came. Luckily they did not get too far away from Earth for they could chart their way back using the stars.
Earth was rotating around a small star off in the distance. They could actually see their goal but it turned out that goal was nearly sixty light-years away.
Griff had explained the physics to them, "We can see our solar system right here." He pointed towards the small star out the forward bridge window. I know it doesn't look that far away but it's measured at sixty-light years and without the contortion drive engine, we will need to travel at light speed to get back."
Frank huffed, "You mean it will take sixty years to get back?"
Griff shook his head, "No, no, no…Time slows down as you approach the speed of light. My calculations say it will only take us about six or seven months to get back. But on earth…Sixty years will pass because they do not travel at the speed of light."
"You're kidding me?" asked Frank. "You know how old my daughter will be by the time we get back?"
"Or my son?" asked Daniel. He then added, "Or Jackie? She was outside when that damn engine turned itself on."
Griff shrugged, "I can't change that. We can't fix the contortion engine out here. We never even intended to turn it on. It was just a launch into orbit."
Bambi looked out the thick glass window, "So right there is home and it will take us six months to reach it but when we get there everyone will have aged sixty years?"
"Yes," agreed Griff.
Fred asked, "What we got for rations and water?"
Don answered, "If we're careful, we should have enough to get back."
Ambrose compared the predicament, "This is like being stranded in a life boat. You can see shore but no one will be able to get to you."
"That exactly what we are in," assured Fred. "The ship is our life boat. We will get back but will take six months. Don, you're in charge of rations…Down the minimum for everyone. Conserve as much power as we can and keep this ship space worthy. We lose that main engine and we will be floating back to earth and how long will that take?"
Griff answered, "We lose the main engine and we will not see the planet in our life time."
Fred stated, "Then keeping this bucket of bolts together is our priority."
Kara held onto Fred's arm, "I wonder what they told everybody on Earth? I wonder if they think we are dead. Time we get back everything will be different. I hope Jackie landed that duck and is okay."
Frank mentioned, "We named Jackie and Daniel as godparents to Debbie in our will. If they think we're dead then Jackie has Debbie and Johnny to raise all by herself."
Kara assured them, "My nephew will help her out as much as he can. He loves Daniel like a brother."
Daniel stood gaping, "Jackie faces the rest of her life without us. She will be an old woman the time I get home to her."
"Didn't that spooky guy that abducted you say she would age slowly?" asked Sadie.
He nodded, "Yeah, but not how much slower. Just that she would outlive me…Which was fine with me. I want her to have a long fruitful life. I know Jack will help her and my folks. But still, my little boy, my wife…Sixty years?"
Griff responded, "Only way to shorten that is with contortion and it's just not possible. I can't bend the law of physics with light speed. We can get back in six months but it will cost us."
Fred huffed, "Let's make it back first. If we lose that last engine we won't get back at all."
Fifteen years had passed since that fateful day when the Acme went missing. Jackie found rising two teenagers most difficult especially with a draft and a movement of resistance in the making. She knew Johnny would be drafted into Vietnam just like Bobby was drafted into Korea. But she wasn't sure if he would willingly go.
Johnny had been legally adopted by Jack Roberts. Debbie, though never adopted, was raised as his sister and the pair seemed to be growing ever so close and ever so involved in the "Flower Power" movement much to Jack's dismay. He found the hippies despicable and often argued with his adopted son over the issues.
Jackie watched two adorable little kids grew into hippies. Johnny looked very much like Daniel but long hair and funky colored sunglasses, bell bottoms and stripped shirts while Debbie, who was spitting image of Bambi, opted for tie-tied skirts and long flowing hair.
With her father's warning of war being a racket still hanging in her head, Jackie actually was pulling for the hippies. The power to stand up and say "no" to the government was most inspiring though the drug use was not.
As her son walked through the door of her home she smelled the use the recent of the marijuana he smoked earlier. She confronted him on it.
"Johnny, what were you smoking?" she stopped him before he went up to his room.
"Nothing, mom," he tried to shrug it off.
"Don't give me that," she told him. "I smell dope."
He rolled his eyes, "All the kids are doing it."
She warned him, "Your father is a cop. You know how this will look? Don't get busted for dope."
"Mom, you're cramping my style and he's not really my father."
She crossed her arms, "He's your legal father and he's a cop. Your biological father would not like this either. Your grandfather…Hell, he would show how to grow it."
"Ma, I gotta go. We're going to a concert in Woodstock. Debbie and I will be back in three days."
"What?" she heard of none of this before.
"It's a camp out," he explained.
She couldn't physically stop him but did give warning, "I know you and Debbie are getting closer. Do not get her pregnant."
He huffed, "We use rubbers."
"Oh my god, you are having sex with her?"
He nodded, "Been doing for months, Mom. It's called 'free love' and everyone does it."
She huffed, "And if everyone jumped off a cliff would you do that too?"
"No," he admitted. "I gotta go." He pulled away from her and sprang up the stairs to his room.
Jackie yelled up, "Don't do anything stupid!"
"Whatever," he yelled back.
"Boy I wish my father was here to kick your ass," she muttered, "Spoiled rotten kid."
Later that Evening
Later that evening Jack arrived home. Tired from a long day of patrol he removed his gun belt and inhaled the aroma of dinner cooking. He noticed the house was unusually quiet. The kids would normally be playing records very loud.
"Where is everybody?" he called.
Jackie stood in the doorway of the kitchen, holding a wooden spoon as she was just heard the door close. She smiled at him. She adored Jack but not lovingly like she did Daniel. If it were Daniel coming home she would be rushing to his arms. Instead she stood back from him, giving him his space…A marriage of mutual friendship rather than passionate love.
"Kids went to a concert and dinner is almost done. How was work?" she asked.
He placed his service cap on the hook and loosened his tie, "Exhausting. Gave out twenty speeding tickets, had three dope busts and evacuated a bunch of hippies from the park." He walked over to her and gave a peck on the cheek, "Smells good."
"Spaghetti and meatballs," she informed. "I need you to have a talk with Johnny for me."
"What about?" he asked.
"He's having sex with Debbie," she informed.
He shrugged, "Yeah, I know they are. Found condoms in the trash."
"Aren't you gonna say anything to him?" she asked concerned for the kids future.
"Like what?" asked he. "Johnny is seventeen and Debbie is eighteen. She's an adult legally and I can't stop that. Beside, at least they are using condoms."
Jackie let out a depressing sigh, "My son is screwing my daughter and you're okay with it because they are using condoms."
He countered, "Debbie and Johnny aren't really related. If he gets her pregnant, the kid will be fine. Not inbreeding!"
"But they grew up like brother and sister," retorted Jackie.
"They love each other," replied Jack. "Besides…Wouldn't you rather he married Debbie than one of the Halls? Like Megan's niece, Mary…The little version of Megan?"
"I wouldn't want him any where's near the Halls," she agreed. "So, you think it's a good thing? What if they break up?"
Jack laughed, "Kidding me. Those two have been inspirable since they were babies. Didn't Debbie's mom used to have them sleeping in same crib when she was taking care of them?"
Jackie nodded at the memory, "Yeah, she adored them. But he's only seventeen. I wasn't having sex at seventeen."
"You were racing air planes…Kind of like having sex." Jack laughed at the over protective mother.
Peeved she ratted-out her own son out to the cop, "I smelled dope on him."
"Already?" he scratched his head. "Wonder who is supplier is? Found his stash in his room a week ago and flushed it on him."
"You know about that too?" she wondered if she was blinded to her son's actions.
"Heck, these kids are eating wild mushrooms and taking LSD," he informed. "It's their 'revolution' movement. Heard the crap they are listening too? The Beatles? The Monkey? What the hell?"
Jackie's face sourced, "I like the Beatles and the Monkeys."
Jack laughed, "That's kid's music."
She disagreed, "No, it's very good music. I still love Glenn Miller more but I also really like John Lennon. He's got talent."
Her husband rolled his eyes, "Can I eat now? Please?"
"Yes," she stepped sideways so he could get in the kitchen.
They sat at the table, just the pair and ate the dinner. Jackie's mind went back in time to a memory of sitting with the Glendale Greasers and listening to the new music that Daniel complained about. She started to laugh to herself.
"What?" asked Jack.
"I was just thinking what Daniel would say about John Lennon."
Jack shrugged, "What I would say…Hippies!"
She nodded and laughed, "Yeah, and my father would buy the record and play it just to annoy him."
He agreed, "Yes, he would. Miss your father, huh?"
"I miss him," she agreed. "Did I tell you how my father asked me if he could hit Daniel, just once, when I found out I was pregnant with Johnny?"
He looked confused, "But you guys were married for five years before you had him."
She chuckled, "That's why it was so funny."
"Your old man loved to pick on Daniel," he gathered.
"Yup," she agreed.
"I miss Daniel too," he told her. "I made promise at his memorial to take care of you and Johnny and I will do just that."
"You have," she told him. "And I will take care of you in return."
"I know you will," he assured.
Four weeks into their return home trip and the ship was already showing signs of stress. The inertia dampers, the only thing keeping the ship and its crew from turning into slimy putty, started showing levels of decline. The ships batteries were working at maximum capacity and the food was barely enough. They took turns at the helm piloting, rotating through shifts and had little sleep and keep the ship on course. The last thing anyone wanted to do was drop out of light speed for that meant it would take longer to get home.
Water was rationed and baths were nearly eliminated. They couldn't wash their clothing and never intended to be in space as long as they already had been. The crew was starting to get a short temper and could barely stand the smell of one another.
Additionally the lack of gravity was starting to wear on them physically. The muscle mass was starting to be affected by floating constantly. To try and counter the lack of gravity, Sadie devised a gym for them to work out in; using springs and rubber cords as resistance to help strengthen the muscles.
Daniel sat in the make shift gym after his shift was up. Strapped to a seat he pushed his feet against a spring backed board to help regain his leg muscles. He had lost weight, his face unshaven and he couldn't stand the very smell of himself.
Frank entered the room to work out as well, floating through the bulkhead with ever such grace. He gotten rather used to being weightless and could maneuver easily. He too was unshaven, dirty and underweight.
Daniel looked over, "Thought you had the helm?"
Frank replied, "Switched with Bobby…Thought I would try the new spring board."
Frank took the seat next to Daniel and strapped himself in.
Daniel eyes watered, "No offence, Frank but…You stink."
Frank looked over as he pushed against the board, "You're no blooming rose either, Cap."
"Shouldn't you be calling Fred, 'Cap' now?" asked Daniel.
"He's the General. You're still the Cap."
Daniel let out a sigh, "This really sucks doesn't it?"
"Yup," agreed Frank. "Stranded in space is like being stranded in the ocean, surrounded by water but none to drink. In space you're surrounded by nothing and whatever supplies you have is all you got. Just sucks! Hate space travel. Hope the government learns a lesson from this mishap and abandons those rocket programs."
Daniel chuckled, "Wanna know what Jackie once told me?"
"She could design a craft to go to the moon and back," he replied in recollection.
"If Jackie were here…I think she could fix that contortion drive engine and get us home," huffed Frank. "Ambrose can only do so much and Griff is about as handy with a hammer as a blind man with a power tool."
"Yeah, he's theory and not application," agreed Daniel.
Frank let out a sigh, "We really stink, Cap. I would give anything for a hot bath right now."
Daniel agreed, "Candlelight bubble bath with rose petals on the floor."
"Not that desperate for a bath, Cap," replied Frank.
"I was thinking of me and Jackie in a hot bath with candle lights and rose petals," he explained. "The only thing that's keeping me going through this is getting back to her. I don't care how old she is when we get home. Even if she's a little old lady in a wheelchair, I'm going home to her."
"Ya think maybe she remarried? Single mom with two kids?" asked Frank.
Daniel shook his head, "Of course not. She's gotta know where alive and is waiting for us to get home. She's not giving up on us."
"What if she thinks you're dead?" asked Frank. "She could have remarried."
Daniel gave a funny look, "Who is she gonna marry…Jack? Give me a break."
Ten more years had passed and thankfully the hippy movement was coming to a close. Jackie had a new project on her hands…The wedding of Johnny and Debbie. With Debbie considered an orphan it essentially made Jackie the mother of the bride and the Roberts family took great pride in providing an elegant wedding.
Nineteen seventy-six was the year of change and the war in Vietnam was over. Johnny missed the draft and finished college with a degree in accounting to support his new bride who was also going into the workforce with a degree in secretary science.
Jackie had wanted Johnny to get a degree in teaching and teach high school like Daniel but Johnny referred to school as a joke and refused to go back. He had his mother's knack for math and knew he could make a very good living in investments and accounting firms. The nuptials of Johnny Roberts and Debbie Mooney were to be the wedding of the decade for Glendale and its residents.
Clyde and Bea had sold their home and went to live in a senior center while Davy stayed with Jackie. They now had a diagnosis for Davy, Williams Syndrome. They were also informed most children born with the syndrome do make it past two years old. Davy was an exception but his kidneys were failing as his veins narrowed even more. Due to his age and condition, Davy would not be placed on the list for a transplant and would receive dialysis to maintain what life he had left.
It pained her to see him suffer so much but also knew he never should have lived as along as he had and his dreams of airplane rides were filled to his heart's content. She just hoped Davy would live long enough to see the wedding that was brewing.
The wedding was held on beautiful June day in the town church. Jack escorted Debbie down the aisle as her proud father. He gave her away to his own adopted son and took his seat next to Jackie and his other relatives.
After the ceremony was complete they held the reception at the golf course and menu consisted of steak and lobster tails. Elegantly themed with blue and white flower patterns, door prizes for the guest and an open bar for the drinkers.
Her son's wedding made her wedding to Daniel pale in comparison. Her wedding to Jack was even less so, a simple trip to the justice of the peace. But Johnny and Debbie spared no expense and looked forward to fruitful careers in their chosen fields. Neither were interested in flying or becoming pilots. Not even Jack was interested. Jackie's full time job was at the flight school where no one in her family wished to attend.
She did continue racing. She refused to even speak to the CIA whenever they tried to approach her. But she found herself going from air show to air show usually alone. Pylon racing and showing off her spitfire to enthused spectators that were growing ever fewer in number.
It wasn't the air shows of her youth, for no press even bothered to show up but the people came and they were a select hardcore of fandom. Formula One was now the Bendix of the day. The biggest air races around was not plane racing but stock cars. She found that sport a bit boring for it didn't have elevation as air racing.
After the wedding Debbie announced she was pregnant with her first child. Oh, the debating over picking out names soon followed. Neither Johnny nor Debbie could agree on names for their coming baby nor did they know the gender of the child.
Jackie sat on the couch in her home and looked at the baby name book. Debbie, wearing maternity clothes and showing a small bump sat right next to her with a pen and paper to write them down.
"How about we do girls names first?" asked Jackie.
"Okay," Debbie agreed.
"Jackie?" she asked.
"No, Mom," snorted Debbie. "Pick another."
"Boring," replied Debbie.
"No," she sounded annoyed.
"How about June?"
"Pfft," she replied, "not naming my daughter after a month."
"How do you know it's a girl?" asked Jackie.
"I just know," insisted Debbie, "Instinct."
"Okay," Jackie thumbed through the book, "how about Samantha? Or Tabitha. I like Tabitha. Call her Tabby."
"Samantha," Debbie wrote the name down. "Like that one. Not Tabitha through. Tabby is a cat, Mom."
"Middle name?" asked Jackie ignoring any attitude from the expectant mother.
"Something hip…Like Moonbeam."
Jackie looked up from her book and stared at the wall in total disbelief. Moonbeam? What on earth was she thinking?
"How about Frederica? After my father, Fred."
She shook her head, "No."
"Bambi…After you mother?" asked Jackie.
Debbie shook her head, "If she has blonde hair, I don't want her named Bambi."
"Your mother had blonde hair," replied Jackie.
"Case in point," replied Debbie.
"Danielle? After my late husband? Johnny's father?"
Debbie pondered, "No…I don't think so. What was Johnny's last name before he was adopted?"
"Garrett," replied Jackie.
"No, that's not good. What was my father's name?"
"Frank," answered Jackie.
"Samantha Francine?" pondered Debbie. "Samantha F. Roberts?"
"That sounds good," replied Jackie.