As Jackie demonstrated her flying abilities to the obnoxious captain, Sam looked on along with the others. Most of the men had never been in a plane in their life and to find a seasoned pilot within their ranks was almost too good to be true. Needless to say, Jackie drew quite a crowd as she did barrel rolls, scissors maneuvers, spins, skids and twist.
It drew the attention of the farmers locally as well as the captain's niece, Kara Laclair. She stepped out of the office; her long black hair pulled back, her fine features highlighted lightly with make-up. She wore a black skirt and white blouse. Her uniform jacket left sitting over her chair. Not only was Kara Laclair the captain's niece but his secretary as well.
Fred's eyes landed on her. She was striking to the man, beautiful and delicate as a flower. The sun shined down upon her, making her appear to glow like an angle from the distance.
Sam caught sight of the woman and suddenly realized who she was...Jackie's future mother. She took a deep breath and held it wondering what she would even say to the great-grandmother she would never meet. But now she could meet her. Sam was in the past with Jackie...In France at the onset of World War One. But she was still at a loss for words.
Kara Laclair looked young and healthy; she wouldn't die for eight more years. What do you say to someone that you know is going to die in less than a decade? What do you say to someone that you never should have met?
There was no manual on the rules of time travel. The rules of engagement did not exist. Nothing more than scientific theories and paradoxes had been laid out in theoretical situations and fictitious manuals. There simply was no rules, no clear paradox and no one really knew what would become of the future.
Then Sam recalled a theory to help assist her dilemma; that the universe is to be seen as a giant picture and everything in it moves at and different speed. Everything exists together but separated by speed. Hence, linear time travel is a useless theory and the paradox theory is also flawed. She could indeed meet a person before her own birth, interact with that person and have no outcome to her own birth for she had already been born and could not change that.
Perhaps, Sam was supposed to meet her? Perhaps, the crew of the Acme was supposed to travel at the speed of light landing sixty years into the future. For everything exists as one item but separated by speed itself, meaning the strings that caused the disturbance in space fabric can easily be followed in reverse back to her own time.
She solved the puzzle! Sam just figured out how to go forward and backward in time using speed and gravitational forces that exist naturally in space fabric. Suddenly the universe just got much bigger for Sam.
For Fred the whole world grew much smaller and it only existed in the sight of the captain's niece. She took his breath away, standing next to him, gazing up at the plane in the sky.
She laughed and asked, "Who is that pilot?"
Fred tried very hard to be smooth and graceful before her, "That's Jack...Graham...Roberts. He's a new pilot."
She grinned, "He's good!"
"That he is," agreed Fred. He gulped nervously, "I'm Fred Jackson…From America…Just got here."
She smiled pleasantly, "Kara Laclair. Captain Bouchard's secretary."
"It's nice to meet you," he stuck out his hand.
"Nice to meet you too," she graciously made his acquaintance. "I can't wait to meet that pilot."
"Graham?" shrugged Fred. "He's okay."
She asked, "Tall and handsome?"
Irritated Fred retorted, "No."
She grinned, "Perfect!"
Captain Bouchard stood arms crossed looking rather peeved for Jackie just out-flew his expectations of what she could do in a plane. To make matters worse the squad was short on trainers leaving Jackie in a position of helping to train the other cadets. Not only did he need to have her stay but also assist in in training and that irked him. This puny little hot-shot pilot from the States was now going to be a trainer as well.
Andre noted the situation, "Looks like we found another instructor."
The captain huffed, "He's under your watch. If he screws up it's your head."
Andre nodded, "Yes sir. I hear his brother is also a pilot. Should we send up Sam Roberts next?"
The captain exhaled, "Is he as good as his brother?"
"According to Jackie Roberts...He trained him," informed Andre.
"I thought his name was Graham," stated the captain.
Andre assumed, "I believe Graham is his middle name. He goes be both. And for some reason he really likes crackers."
"Place the Roberts Brother's in the staff pool," ordered the captain. "But keep them in with the other cadets. They will be training until we get some replacements sent. They will be going up to fight with the squadron. I need Graham Roberts to take on the Red Devil. That pilot might just be able to do it."
"Yes sir," agreed Andre.
After Jackie landed the plane Sam gave her a big hug, "I think you impressed the hell out of the captain, Gram."
She muttered, "I hope he shit his pants after that stunt."
"Gram," she scolded, "what are the rules about swearing?"
"I said no swearing under my roof. This is France and I don't care here."
Sam grew irritated, "It's unbecoming of an officer and do not swear...You know I don't like it."
"Sam, please get a life," begged Jackie.
"What?" she asked perturbed.
Jackie replied, "We seriously need to discuss your love life when we get home."
"I don't have a love life," rebutted Sam.
"Which is what we need to talk about," assured Jackie. She hated seeing Sam alone. Her granddaughter was a young, beautiful woman and yet she avoided relationships like the plaque. As if a relationship would somehow be the worst thing in the world. Sam was only thirty year old virgin Jackie was aware off. She knew Sam had high morals and standards but at the same time she wished Sam would get married and have kids. She simply wanted Sam to have everything in life and not limit herself to just her career...Which seemed to be Sam's life.
"I'm fine," she rebuked annoyed.
"I would beg to differ," replied Jackie.
As the two bickered Kara Laclair made her way to the new pilot. She understood this pilot would now be placed on the staff as an instructor. She stood before Jackie and looked upon this new addition. It struck her as odd; Jackie was very small for a pilot. Dressed in lose, baggy clothing and had very fine features. The moment Kara saw her she wondered if perhaps she was looking at a long lost relative for she immediately saw the similarities between her own features and Jackie. But for the life of her she couldn't think of any relatives named Jackie or Graham.
"Jackie Graham Roberts?" asked Kara.
Jackie looked upon her and stopped dead in her tracks. It was her mother. She couldn't believe what was seeing...Her mother was alive and well and very young. She couldn't help but smile.
"Jackie Roberts," she corrected. "Graham is a nickname."
"Oh, I understand," replied Kara. "I'm pleased to meet you. I will be placing you as an instructor."
"Instructor?" Thank you, Ma...Kara," she corrected herself.
"How did you know my name?" asked she. "I hadn't introduced myself yet."
"Um," she looked at Sam.
Sam covered, "I told him."
"Oh, I see," she pondered the sight of the pair…After all neither brother looked very masculine. Perhaps, it was hereditary? "Welcome aboard Lieutenants. You will both be instructing the squad and then leading it."
Jackie asked, "Isn't Lieutenant Proulix the squad leader?"
She shook her head, "He's the head pilot and is in charge of all training. He's too valuable to go up and try to take out the Red Devil."
Sam gasped in recognition, "Fight the Red Devil."
Jackie smiled to herself, "Looking forward to it."
Sam gasped, "Why?"
Jackie whispered to her, "After decades of hearing about how my father took on the Red Baron, I finally get to see what actually happened for myself."
"Do I have to come?" asked Sam.
"Well, you started this whole thing," explained Jackie.
She exhaled, "This is not how it was supposed to go."
After getting settled into their new surroundings Andre gave Jackie a tour of the facility. He went over the training equipment and how they used the barrel on the tracks to teach the pilots to aim a gun in mid-air. She really didn't much attention to his words, for his voice flowed so smoothly his words seemed to melt together in sinful passion.
Andre was a charming man, his scent captivating and his bright blue eyes could steal any woman's heart. Jackie found herself being swept away in a fantasy that she never thought she would dream off.
Daniel? Daniel who? Who was Daniel? She actually forgot about him for a moment. She even forgot about her late husband, Jack. Forgot about her overprotective father and all about Frank the annoying big brother she never had. Andre was a dream in the flesh and Jackie was swept away into another land of her own imagination.
Sam walked into the building. It was sparsely furnished, rows of seats and a wooden table with wooden model planes for 3-D learning. Andre was showing her the different models of planes the enemy had when Sam walked in and found her grandmother quietly staring upon the handsome man.
"Gram?" asked Sam.
She spun around, "Hey Sam. Andre is showing me model planes."
"Enemy planes," he corrected. "This is our training and debriefing room. This is where we discuss maneuvers that have been proven successful in air battles."
Jackie picked up the model planes, "Like barrel rolls, scissors and skids?" She fiddled with the plane as she stated the maneuvers.
Impressed by her flying abilities Andre agreed, "Yes, and anything new we invent. You're rather knowledgeable about such...Maneuvers?" His words came out rather suggestive. Sam wondered if perhaps their covers were already blown and Andre was well aware of Jackie's true gender.
Oblivious to the tone, Jackie nodded, "Been flying all my life."
He shifted his weight, "Not very long, Lieutenant?"
"I'm older than I look," she teased.
Sam rolled her eyes, "Gram...I need to see you...Now."
Jackie shrugged, "What? I'm right here?"
"Daniel!" she reminded.
"Okay, okay," she placed the planes down and excused herself. "Need to speak to my...Brother."
He smiled, "Take your time."
Sam grabbed her arm and led her outside, she stopped and turned on her heels and looked upon her grandmother, "What are you doing?"
"Just going over the training facility," explained Jackie.
Sam disagreed, "No Gram...You were flirting with him."
"I was?" she asked a bit dazed.
"Yes," she crossed her arms, shifted her weight and puckered in thought. "What about Daniel?"
"What about him?" shrugged Jackie.
"Are you gonna be dumping Grandpa Daniel for Andre the Gorgeous Frenchman?"
Jackie added, "You should smell him. Oh my god...He smells so good."
Sam's mouth dropped, "Gram, snap out of it. Okay? Snap out of it! He's just some dude, nothing more. The love of your life is Daniel Garrett...Not Andre 'Gorgeous Frenchman' Proulix. What do I have to do? Hit you outside the head?"
"Okay, okay...You made your point. I will distance myself from him. Though, he's gorgeous, has a French accent and smells really good...I will keep him at a distance. Just when we get back...Don't tell Daniel about this. I don't think he would understand."
Sam confessed, "Hell, I don't understand."
"That's because you're too much like Daniel," explained Jackie.
"I am not," she rebutted.
"Yeah, ya are," her grandmother replied. "You have his personality. Daniel is the morale one. Always taking the high road, never smoked. He always was the good son, a teacher, husband and father. He always followed the rules."
"And who was breaking the rules?" asked Sam.
Jackie perked up, "Me and Dad...Who else?"
"Oh god, ya know I always thought you were this innocent little old lady who just loved thrill rides. But now I know better. You're the biggest troublemaker I ever met."
"You're only figuring that out now?" asked Jackie. She paused in thought, "I don't go on thrill rides. Amusement Parks are for kids."
Sam replied, "Your version of a 'thrill ride' is pylon racing at two hundred miles an hour, Gram."
"That's not a 'thrill ride,' that racing!" Jackie placed her arm around Sam, Come on, let's finish our training before Andre gets suspicious."
Fitted with a French Foreign Legion uniform, Jackie found herself teaching the one man she thought she would never teach anything too...Her father. Every maneuver he had taught her she was now teaching him. The situation was as if she was caught up in some bizarre cycle where the student now taught the teacher.
It wasn't the Kadet she flew as a teen, it was a bi-wing French made bucket of bolts and wings made out of canvas. The dual cockpits were wide open to the elements and Jackie took the seat behind her father and was now instructing him in flight. The fuselage was painted green, a red bulls-eye with blue and white rings painted in representation of the French flag on the side.
There were no radios; communications was with hand signals between pilots. Timing and following the flight plans were of the utmost importance. There simply was no way to radio for help, send an SOS or any distress calls.
Jackie put Fred through the very paces he had placed her through as a teenager. What he would have called "Barnstorming" was in fact battle maneuvers. They did skids, slides, spins, rolls, circles, touch and go, take off, landing and gliding maneuvers. She taught him everything she knew about planes.
Sam's first student was Don and she though it was Jackie who taught her to fly; she found teaching one of Jackie's teacher's ironic to say the least. Don was a good pilot, very intelligent but there was something about Fred and Jackie that seemed to put them a world apart compared to other competent pilots.
Not even Sam had their ability, the ability to fly by instinct. It was beyond just calculations, beyond tactical thinking and beyond what any modern computer could calculate. Jackie and Fred shared a gift and Sam didn't really see that gift until they were in the trainers and flying by the seat of their pants.
The planes of old were nothing like the modern automotive planes Sam was used too. There were no computers, no hydraulics and no auto-pilot. Just ropes, pullies and chains in the crudest fashions. It seemed like a bicycle with wings to Sam. The planes maneuvered hard, were a bear to steer and little in the way of comfort. Even the Kadet had more improvements than the planes she was now sitting in and expected to fly proficiently in battle.
Sam's engine suddenly started to spit and sputter. It busted a hose and they needed to land immediately. The old fashioned planes had one advantage over modern jet planes, they could glide to safety.
Sam had Don land the plane with her assistance. It was his first emergency landing but she knew he would endure many more hardships in the future, including one training accident that would take his left arm just above the elbow.
Training was done close to the airfields with the older planes. Taxiing back to the hangar was with great ease for the pair. Smoke pouring from the engine Sam and Don brought the plane back to the mechanics who were indeed the engineers of the day.
Piston driven engines were still a new technology and the men who worked on those engines could only be equated to NASA flight engineers in Sam's day. New ground was being broken at every turn. Ways to increase payload and speed always evolving on the field, fine-tuned by men wearing dirty coveralls, covered in grease, dirt and oil and holding tools.
True engineering was hands on, not just some man working in an office with a computer program designed to simulate the elements. It was trial and error and in many cases the discoveries were born out of tragedy. Flying was considered ever so dangerous. It was the equivalent of going to the moon and the men who flew those machines were heroes of the day.
Sam cut the power and climbed out of the trainer. She found her goggles full of black residue and her clothing smelling like a car engine. She coughed in spite of herself. The mechanic approached her to find out what went wrong.
"Blew a hose," she told the man. "There's oil all over the engine. Need to fix."
"We will," he assured. "We're using left over parts for the trainers. The good parts are reserved for the SPAD's. Doing the best we can."
"I understand," she replied.
Sam looked over at Jackie as she emerged from her plane, "You wanna take over for me? I gotta get this oil off my face."
"Get cleaned up, Sam. I'll take over. Don, you okay or do you have a face full of oil too?"
He spit, "I'm tasting oil."
"Go get cleaned up," ordered Jackie. "Fred and I will put the planes away."
"I don't see what they don't give us something descent to fly," stated Fred.
"They need to recycle old parts because the new parts are saved for the fighters," she explained. "You'll understand that in time."
"Whatever," replied Fred.
Sam started off towards the barracks, "Catch up with ya at dinner, Gram."
She washed the residue from her skin as best she could. Then changed her clothes and stepped outside to come face to face with Andre. She wondered just what the man could possibly want.
"I would like to speak to you privately if you have a chance," he requested.
Sam puffed out her cheeks, "Sure."
Andre led her to a more secluded area, he looked around to make sure they would not be overheard, "I would like to speak to you about Graham."
"What is it?" she asked rather annoyed.
"Who is Daniel? I notice you bring up the name often and I was wondering if Daniel was someone close?"
Sam smiled to herself and simply nodded, "Very close."
"Is Daniel your brother's lover?" he asked outright. Sam's eyes lifted as did her spirits, "Could say that."
Andre thought for a moment, "I see. Does Graham love this man?"
He pondered, "Would I have a chance with him?"
Her eyes grew wide, "Are you? Um...Gay?"
"Gay? No, I'm rather miserable right now. My country is at war. Why would you ask such a silly question?"
Sam shook her head, "No, I mean...Are you a...Homosexual? Where I come from we commonly use the term 'gay' for a homosexual."
"I see...Better than the term 'queer,'" replied Andre. "I've always been attracted to other men. I understand in American it's frowned upon. However, in France it's more recognized."
Sam found the situation humorous. Her grandmother donned a disguise and found the most handsome Frenchman she had ever seen who is a homosexual and would only be attracted to her grandmother if she was male. Though in Sam's opinion her grandmother deserved the humiliation she suddenly felt very bad for Andre who was being deceived. Her heart sank in the dilemma.
"Gram is taken. Loves a man named Daniel Garrett and they are considered married," she explained. "I'm really sorry. Gram adores you...He...Really does. But you will never get Gram. Daniel was missing for a long time and just returned home before we ended up here. He's waiting for Gram to come home."
"I understand," he assured. "Your brother loves you very much."
"I'm not sure about that anymore," confessed Sam.
"What do you mean?" asked he.
"Well, for most of my life it was just me and Gram. Gram basically raised me. Then all of the sudden, out of nowhere, comes a slew of long lost relatives and Daniel. I haven't seen Gram so happy in years but I don't know any of these people and I'm supposed to be related to half of them. They take up a lot of Gram's time and...Well, they are rather demanding."
Andre laughed, "Graham found a bunch of long lost relatives and you don't know them?"
"I don't have a clue who these people are," admitted Sam. "What's worse...They have a long history with Gram and have all these inside jokes. I don't have a clue what they are laughing at. It was just us; just me and Gram. That was it. Then suddenly is Gram, Daniel, Grandpa Fred, Uncle Don and then Sadie, Ambrose, Frank, Bambi, Bobby, Percy and Owen. I don't know who these people are but boy do they demand Gram's time. Hardly has time for me anymore."
Andre chuckled, "Sounds to me like you have an issue sharing Graham."
Sam admitted, "I know...I have a sharing problem."
Andre laughed, "Perhaps, you need to give yourself some time to get to know the relatives? I'm sure they will love you as much as Graham."
"Doubt it," she rolled her eyes. "Gram's reputation is rather preceding and I'm always being compared to Gram. Today, up there...I saw Gram taking Fred through the paces and I realized I would never be as good as a pilot as Gram. No matter how many books I read, how fast I am at calculating, I will never be in the same ballpark."
"Graham is a gifted pilot. But everyone has a gift; you just need to figure out what yours is. Maybe you love to fly but that may not be your gift. You're pretty smart, Sam. The level of physics you can comprehend is beyond anything I have seen. Don't compare yourself to Graham. You make your own path."
She nodded, "You're right…I spent my whole life doing what I was told and what I was expected and trying to be as good as Gram. Maybe I need to stop doing that?"
Andre agreed, "Be you, Sam. Don't try to be someone else just because that's everyone else expects you to be. You will be miserable if you do what they want and ignore yourself."
"You're right," she agreed. She gave him a slight hug, "Thank you."