Chapter 1 Chi'Nara's Gift
After fifty years, my wife says it's time we get all of this down before memories fade, and facts don't seem like facts anymore. This is also an historical account for our children who only know tiny snippets of the story, "Yes kids, all this really did happen, your parents were not liars, or pulling your legs with wild stories. To other interested parties, let me say that everything you read between these pages or read is true, and actually happened, digging through old records won't get you much, we covered our tracks pretty carefully, just take my word, IT HAPPENED!
This story, (as all good stories should) has it's beginning in war, I was a sergeant in the Second Marine Division serving in Afghanistan as a squad leader in a Marine Recon unit, I was two months short and looking to get away from the "Stan" as fast as I could, too many good friends were dying, with no end in sight, I was under a lot of pressure to "Re-Up" but I wouldn't budge. In retrospect, the only good thing to come out of all this was meeting my future wife. It seems only fitting that two marines should begin their life's journey in a war, and more importantly, in an ambush.
My unit was returning to our base camp after a two week stint at an observation post twenty five miles away when we were hit with rockets and small arms fire from the Taliban. One moment we were half dozing bumping over a rutted trail, the next moment rounds were pinging through the truck canvas, vehicles were being hit, men were screaming, "Corpsman Up!" Three of my squad were already dead, never even knowing what hit them, I and two others bailed out of the side, I crawled around to the front towards the cab, pulling my Gunny out and dragging him to safety behind some rocks. He was badly wounded with a sucking chest wound; I administered first aid as best I could and screamed for the Corpsman. I then went back for the driver who turned out to be a woman, blood was pouring out a wound under her left eye, she was picking up our squad's SAW (belt fed machine gun) when I grabbed her and together we took cover behind the rock where I had left my sergeant
"If you know how to use that thing better use it now!" I shouted she glared at me and then started firing in short bursts, a couple of my men managed to crawl up to us bringing more ammo for the SAW. I immediately saw that she was centering her fire on some low buildings where the ambush sprang from. I was lucky to have an ACOG sight on my M-4 knocking the shit out of the bad guys as they tried to escape the fire the woman was putting on them. In between shots, I was looking desperately for the Corpsman and the radioman. All of a sudden, a bad guy charged towards us firing wildly with his AK, my machine gunner didn't miss a beat, she fell on her back and leveled the SAW at the man, cutting his legs off at the knees. He continued to move forward under his own momentum, finally falling over blood shooting from both stumps, his screams chilled our souls until I put a round in his skull, blowing it away in a pink mist. Someone down the line must have gotten hold of air support, moments later two A-10's swooped down chewing every living thing around the buildings into a bloody pulp with their miniguns and rockets.
We continued to mop up for a few more minutes, I called for a Corpsman, but was told he had been killed, the woman who had just done a terrific job with the SAW crawled over to my sergeant and did what she could for him, until another Corpsman from a relieving unit took over. Looking at my future wife revealed a grim looking face covered with dried blood, she had managed to apply a small dressing on her wound but it wasn't helping much, "Good work there Marine" I said, "Thanks" was all she said. "What's your name?" "Lance Corporal Emily Carter, sergeant." "Emily Carter eh! Well Corporal, that was some damn fine shooting." Even after all these years, the magic of her name has not diminished in my mind. After that we went about our own business, but Lance Corporal Emily Carter stayed in my mind. After we had returned to Camp Leatherneck, and I had some free time I tracked Emily down, apparently she was a truck driver with a transport unit recently arrived from Iraq.
When I found Emily, she was stretched out on a beat-up lawn chair smoking a cigarette. "That's kind of a nasty scar you've got there Corporal, she looked up at me for a long moment then said, "That's my "glamour scar" sergeant I kinda like it." We started shooting the shit, she told me she had only fired a SAW one other time, and that in a weapons familiarization class at a standing target.
Emily picks up the story
I had just finished pulling maintenance on my truck and was taking a break, when Corporal Wheeler strolled by and dryly commented, "There's a cute sergeant walking around over there, don't recognize him must be from another company. If no one claims him he's mine!" I didn't much care for Corporal Wheeler, so I thought I'd spike her plans, I'd claim this wayward sergeant sight unseen. I hadn't had any action lately, and a hook-up was what I needed right about now. I spotted the guy near the line of tents and HESCO baskets coming my way, "That's the sergeant from the ambush the other day" I thought. I thought back to how well he took out the bad guys, knocking them down as soon as I flushed them. "Wonder what he wants, certainly not to give me the CMH that's for sure." As he approached me, I smiled to myself, "Gonna get me some action tonight."
Corporal Carter and I hit it off pretty good, in fact so good that a few weeks later, with the grace of God, a couple commanding officers and a willing Padre, we got married. Nobody thought it would last, our friends thought we were crazy, but my darling Emily is still at my side these fifty years later. A few weeks later, and several near misses, we left the Marines, we didn't get out together, but we set up a rendezvous point at Camp Lejeune. After more horse-assing around, they finally cut us loose, we headed for my mom's place in Michigan, South Haven, to be exact, we stayed with her for a couple months trying to figure out what to do with our lives. During that time, I discovered what an incredible singing voice Emily has, she sounds exactly like Pink, and can even cover Kelly Clarkson material pretty good. She made some decent money picking up with a couple local bands.
We talked about what we wanted to do; Emily liked the idea of truck driving school, and team driving. I wasn't real keen on this, but kept it open as an option. We kicked around the idea of college, the taxpayer Naturally picking up the tab. Emily didn't think her high school grades were good enough, although at one time she had considered nursing. In the end, we bought a Harley-Davidson Road Glide, giving ourselves a year to decide.
We left South Haven in mid-July, with the idea of hitting Sturgis South Dakota the second week of August, the holy quest of every true biker in the country, BIKE WEEK! The second week of August marks an unbelievable full tilt; anything goes (well almost) party. Any biker worth his salt is there, the whole Black Hills region of South Dakota reverberates with the roar and rumble of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. We arrived on a Monday along with a million other bikers, after we were set up in a nearby campground, Emily and I headed into town to do some serious partying. The Full Throttle Saloon was our first stop, and in no time, Emily was strutting her stuff in a wet T-shirt contest. It wasn't long before she was in a no T-shirt contest, she didn't win, but walking around with no top on was rather liberating for her. We spent the week riding the roads, seeing the sights, meeting other people, but above all, partying and getting drunk. Most nights we stumbled back to our little tent so shit-faced we didn't know where we were, but like all good things, the fun has to end. Thanks to Emily's incredible voice, she was able to clear some pretty decent money singing for tips, and working for a small cut with a couple of the bands.
Next stop up was Limon Colorado, Emily's folks had a small ranch near there, raising hay and a small heard of cattle. Emily was starting to miss her home, so we left the Black Hills headed south on US 385.
Near Akron Colorado, we had a flat, which put us late, because I was in a foul mood I didn't pay attention to where I was going and got off on some damned side road, It was around midnight, and Emily's shout over the comset scared the shit out of me, "Look! Over there" she yelled, pointing towards a hill, now lit up by a brilliant flash of light. "Oh what the fuck!" I thought, and turned down another dirt road towards where the flash had disappeared. We could see smoke forming a haze over a ravine and could just barely make out something down below.
We parked the bike, and went to investigate, Emily had a Smith and Wesson .380 which she pointed cautiously in front of her, I shined my flashlight down to where we could get a better look, the powerful LED light revealing all. It appeared to be some kind of craft, shaped somewhat like a manta ray, both of us took cover behind some small trees, as we watched the hatch, or door or whatever the thing is called. Both of us were sure that whatever came out would be one of those monsters like in "Alien" Emily's little pistol would be useless, but what emerged was not like that at all. We saw a human-like form stumble out and start yelling to itself, whatever it was had a light of it's own and was shining it over the strange craft.
More yelling, and now…What? Crying. The being was actually crying, it got down on its knees and sobbed, Emily and I looked at each other and nodded, we jumped up and rushed the creature and tackled it to the ground. It was stronger than it looked, but we managed to keep it pinned to the ground. It began to scream; Emily grabbed my flashlight and shined it on our alien, which turned out to be a female, and judging by the size and stature, a girl!
We kept trying to assure her we were not going to hurt her, but she kept screaming, finally turning in to general crying. Looking at her closer, she had short grey almost white hair cut in a page style without the inward curl, her skin appeared to be a light grey, black lips and black eye shadow around her eyes. She was quite attractive really, she had on black leather-like pants with a tight fit, and short black-leather boots, the pants cut off at her waist leaving a bare midriff revealing a navel like ours. She wore a short coat, again in a dark color, with long sleeves but revealing her cleavage, very low cut. As she began to relax, I released pressure on her. She started staring at Emily, I let her sit up. Still staring at Emily she made a gesture towards her; Emily got down on her knees and slowly moved towards the girl, "I think she wants…" "Be careful there Emily, I don't…" Bam! The girl grabbed Emily and pulled her head towards her own, she placed her hands on each side of Emily's head, it all happened so fast I didn't have time to react. Emily screamed, and fell backwards. I started to go for the girl when she suddenly spoke, "Talk! Talk! I can talk," both Emily and I stopped and looked at her, she started blurting out words, "I now speak your words," she stopped hyperventilating and calmed down, more words poured from her mouth. Emily shook her head and said, "Man! I don't know what she did, but I'm seeing images in my mind I have no words for. I see what appear to be cities and landscapes beyond description Deak." The girl sat up more and continued, "I'm now speaking your language, I will get better at it soon, this female can now see where I come from Vaga IV, I am Vagan."
"My name is Cha' Nara she relaxed a little more, as I said, "Pleased to meet you Cha'Nara, we won't hurt you, do you know where you are?" Cha'Nara took a moment to register this question, then said, "No" "You're on planet earth Cha'Nara in the United States of America, in the state of Colorado." Clearly this did not compute. Emily finally stood up and quietly said, "things are sorting out in my mind Deak, I think I know what's going on here." "Well would you mind sharing this wonderful information with the unenlightened please." "Can it boy," she said. "Our little alien is a runaway, the best as I can figure, is that she got in a fight with her parents about something I'm not clear on, and stole the "Family Car" and ended up here, of all places.