Rapture
Chapter 7: Sometimes Battles Do Not Include Guns or Bullets!

Copyright© 2021 by A Carpenters Son

“I forgive you Jan because I could understand your anger,” he said softly with his biggest smile, “Hi.”

“Your son said you would arrive in a spaceship.” Jan stood then collapsed sitting back down in the kitchen chair she had been in, “But you were in West Seattle when you called?” Jan said with doubt.

“Yes! Were you, advertising for a white night on a white horse, not an Eagle in a black spaceship?” Boyd asked sounding sad, but his smile gave him away. “I suppose I could get a white spaceship. Bell is pretty good; she will circle the Earth in under thirty minutes. Even fly from West Seattle to home in six or seven minutes.”

Jan had a hand towel wiping her face and eyes. Circle Earth in thirty minutes, that’s not possible. She was financially terrified to turn on the air conditioner, “I’m sorry my company has promised us wages and paid us with empty promises and bouncing checks twice.” Jan turned over two checks. Both checks were for more than $600 each. They still owe me for a check from five weeks ago and a promise of a bonus check for over a thousand dollars.”

“Jan, do you notice anything different?” Boyd asked.

“Why were you in West Seattle?” Jan asked as she checked her husband out.

“Home of the United States Space Cadets.” Boyd smiled.

“What is an Eagle?” Jan’s eyes were big.

“Just below General. Full Bird Colonel.”

“The Cadets get paid?”

“Just like the Marines, the Army, and the Navy. Plus, we all get 25% more in-flight pay since we all fly.”

“I heard something about a battle with spiders. Were you in that?” Jan’s face was full of fear.

“Yes, I got 27 kills and the ship I was in got a total of 53 kills.” Boyd said, “Each of those kills was a ship twenty feet high forty feet wide and fifty feet deep. Father John says they’re all dead. We are safe for now!”

“Weren’t you afraid?” Jan asked.

“No, I wasn’t afraid. The equipment is incredibly good. We have great shields; the ship can disappear on command, and we have great weapons. I was on a rail gun that one shot would blow one of those black ships into thousands of little pieces.”

Jan was frozen for a second then shook and asked, “Boyd, can you take us out to dinner please?” Jan continued, “Anywhere would be fine.” Jan had only eaten a donut at work today and some cookies yesterday. The day before food looked like two big bowls of oatmeal with bananas.

“I need to find a cash machine,” Boyd said.

“Oh, you have a new card from the bank.” Jan dug around in the bill stack until she found what she was looking for then handed Boyd the unopened envelope.

“Let’s go to Maxes on 4th,” Boyd suggested as he tore open his mail to find a new credit card.

“Going back to our beginnings?” Jan asked still looking at what else was with the mail in the center of the table for Boyd.

“Some of those first steps we took, I would very much like to repeat. I have gotten to sit down with two young ladies, General Ceca runs the Transport of Humans to Funston, she started 5 years ago when she was just eight years old and borrowed a Model 775.

Then there is General Lucy, sold by her parents. She was healed of her Downs Syndrome and was a gunner on a model 555 during the war with the Little Greys. She is now the Commanding Officer of the most powerful Division in the history of the world. Lucy and a few others built it from nothing.”

“General Ceca Yellow Hair and General Lucy Taylor. Dad, how do you know them?” Junior asked. He and his brother had come in the door from outside hiding and listening. Junior had read every page on the Space Cadets Website. Most of it was done as his brother sat next to him also reading every word. He wanted to print out pictures of the ships, but he was out of paper and ink.

“I had breakfast with them. They were there when I took the oath to be a Cadet. I have gotten to sit with them at dinners and lunches. I have gotten to hear them talk as they shared their wisdom with us.”

“Is the Cadets so small that you get to meet all the leaders?” Jan asked.

“Yes. I would still like to begin anew with taking this family to Maxes on 4th.”

“What made you think of Maxes?” Jan gave her husband a sly look. That was where he had proposed to her at.

“I had to stop at my bank next to the restaurant before dinner that night.” Boyd played coy.

“Ok, let’s go.” Jan got up and grabbed her purse heading for the door. When she peeked through the front window and saw Bell the 445, she slammed on the brakes, “OMG! Our son was correct.” Jan made her way out of the house and to the door of the ship ducking as she went through the door. Boyd followed her into Bell. Jan simply wanted to jump up and down and laugh.

The door closed, “Who is flying this?” Boyd looked at his two sons and wife, “Okay, rock, paper, and scissors.” Boyd sat there laughing as his wife and sons did the challenging game. Junior dropped out first. He looked at his dad and got a wink. His mother came in second. Billy won.

“Okay, Billy sit, in the pilot’s seat. Mom, pick a seat left or right of Billy. Junior, you get the other seat.”

“Where are you sitting dad?” Junior asked.

“Today, I’ll be the backseat driver.” Boyd had this done by General Lucy as he flew around the moon on his second trip. Lucy worked on her payroll on her laptop for her officers for the month. Boyd realized he had a perfect view of the instruments and could talk at a very low level to the actual pilot asking directions rather than advising what to do, “Where do we want to go?”

Boyd filled in the address for the bank. When they got there, they took up two parking spaces. The security guard came out with his hand on his gun standing behind a parked car, “Who are you?” Craig the security officer asked.

“Craig, I’m Boyd Mathews, a Colonel in the Space Cadets. You know me. I’m just getting some cash to take my family to dinner. You and I were both in the Air Force.”

Craig stepped out from behind the car and took his hand off his revolver, “Good to see you again Colonel Mathews. Were you involved in that last space battle?”

“Yes, I got a couple of promotions out of it for my actions,” Boyd said. He looked over next door at the boarded-up building, “How long have Maxes been out of business?”

“Oh, it’s been a few years. The original owner went to hell during the Rapture. The son took over and didn’t want to pay the wait staff, making them do, on tips alone about the time of the financial reset. That was the end of that.” Craig said sadly.

“That’s too bad.” Boyd went to the cash machine. After three minutes, “They only allow a withdrawal up to $30.” Boyd looked at the $20 and two fives in his hand.

“Yeah, you’ll have to go inside to get any more than that.” Craig chuckled.

“You, heading for home,” Boyd asked as he look at a locked door with a closed sign.

“Yep, I’d ask you for a ride, but I got my truck here.” Craig said, “Who is flying?”

“My youngest Billy. He wants to join the Space Cadets. Both my sons do.” Boyd smiled with pride.

“I heard a while back that no one has died in the Space Cadets, is that still true?” Craig asked.

“Yes, that’s still true.” Boyd smiled.

“That’s fantastic. I lost my oldest brother a Marine in Vietnam.” Craig reported.

Boyd held out his hand to Craig, “Good seeing you again, sorry about your brother.”

“Yes, Sir Colonel, thank you.” Craig said then turned towards his truck with the US Air Force Sticker on the back, “How do you like the Space Cadets vs the Air Force?”

“Night and day Craig. You would have loved it. I do.” Boyd said, “Everyone is a pilot!”

“I think I’ll talk to my Grandson, he’s 11,” Craig said.

“I have had several meals with the people running the Space Cadets, of the seven Generals three are girls and they can’t even vote yet or drive cars. All three have earned their rights to be there.” Boyd laughed.

“I think I’ll talk to my granddaughter, she’s 13,” Craig laughed too then waved goodbye.

“Have them take you around the moon. Ask if you can fly the Spaceship.”

“That would fill a spot on my bucket list. Thank you, Colonel!”

“Where to?” Boyd asked as he climbed into Bell. He had asked the three to find the main switch when he left. Junior had been reading the manual. His mom told him to look it up. Junior had laid on the floor looking under the dash. Billy handed him the manual with the picture open identifying everything he was seeing.

“It’s all here. The big switch looks like the big one in our electrical box at home.” Junior said. Billy and his mother looked at the big switch then at the big key that served the purpose as any car or truck key did.

Jan had turned her phone on and looked up The Lake House. They had been there when Boyd made Major five or six years ago. The boys had a blast. It was a little far to travel, but the ship could be there in a minute, “Bell can you find the Lake House in Houston?”

“The one at 1600 McKinney St.” Mam.

“Are they open and how long to get there?” Jan asked.

“Yes, less than two minutes,” Bell reported.

When Boyd had returned from the cash machine.

“The Lake House?” Jan asked.

“That’s pretty far,” Boyd said.

“Less than two minutes,” Billy said.

“Let’s go.”

Junior whispered to Billy. Billy smiled, “Bell, best route and best speed to the Lake House.”

“Yes, Sir.”

In what seemed like seconds they were over the parking lot for The Lake House. Billy was standing looking out the front window, “There Bell, see those three spaces over by the little building.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Park with the front pointing in towards the restaurant.”

“Understood sir.”

Billy got three high fives as they walked to the restaurant, “Guys, do you remember being here?” Jan asked.

Junior was seven then, he shook his head no.

Billy was five then, “Do they have the boats?”

“Yes. Did you find the master switch?” Boyd asked his family.

“Yes, we found all sorts of things. Even the Master Key.” Junior said.

“Good, that knowledge may save your life someday,” Boyd said.

“Did it save you, dad?” The family entered behind two other families. “Yes, it did!” In a minute they were seated at a window that overlooked the lake with the radio-controlled boats. “How Dad?” The two boys watched the half a dozen two-foot boats flying around the racetrack.

“We were hit by an Energy weapon and ended up in the bottom of a river.”

“What do you think Billy?” Junior asked as they looked at the boats.

“I’d rather fly around Earth,” Billy said.

“When Billy said that my heart doubled in speed,” Jan said.

“Mine too.” Junior laughed.

“We eat and run.” Boyd had just said.

The waitress that took their orders approached the table, “Sir, did you guys come in that...”

“Spaceship,” Junior added for the waitress.

“Who are you.” The waitress turned and nodded to someone, “Is it okay if the owner comes asks you some questions.”

“Yes. I would love to talk to the owner.” Boyd said.

The waitress waved the man over to the table, “My lady and Gentlemen this is my wonderful boss Casteel Magalogues.” Casteel presented his right hand to Boyd.

“Sons!” Boyd and the boys all stood up together, “We are the Mathews, this is my wife Jan, this is my son Boyd Mathews Jr. and my son William Mathews. I am Colonel Boyd Mathews of the US Space Cadets.”

“Is this the Uniform of the Space Cadet?”

“Yes Sir.” John had done his magic and Boyd was wearing a leather jacket over a white dress shirt and white tie with gold trim.

“I like it. Smart, business-like, and blends in.” Casteel said. He turned to the waitress, “How much time do I have.”

“A minute or two.” Tina the Waitress said.”

“What is your job in the Space Cadets?” Casteel asked.

“Congress has mandated for the Space Cadets to double in size to 110,000 cadets. I have been asked to make that happen, I have a master’s in marketing.” Boyd said.

“I have ten thousand of these.” Casteel had a card the size of a bookmark or a sporting event ticket stating $5 Off for a meal of three or more. On the bottom were two removable tickets to race the two-foot-long hydro boats for fifteen minutes, value 50 cents, “please fill out the contact info on the back and Tina will credit your meal tonight.” Casteel looked to Tina to make sure that happened, “What would you do if you had 10,000 of these coupons?”

“I would give one to every boy and girl that became a cadet in Texas, I would give them one so they could bring their family here for a nice lunch or dinner. We should be able to get that many easily.” Boyd said, “Once they are certified to fly, they can check out a spaceship overnight or over a weekend and bring their families here.”

“Enjoy your dinner, can I call you sometime?” Casteel asked.

“I’ll call you this Monday to set up a time when we both have an hour or two,” Boyd promised.

“Dad, how did you get out of the river?” Both boys cleaned their plates. Billy had the summertime favorite: an enormous all-beef hot dog with potato salad and corn on the cob. Junior had an enormous double cheeseburger piled high with slices of tomatoes, pickles, and lettuce with curly fries as a side.

“We turned the power back on and flew the ship out of the river.” Boyd had a 12 oz sirloin cut cooked medium rare along with curly fries and a garden salad with secret sauce. Jan had an 8 oz cut of sirloin cook medium with a double salad also with the secret sauce, “You changed how you order your steak?” Jan asked.

“Yes, Father John made me a believer. I must have had three or four steaks while I was in West Seattle.”

“The ship was okay after it was in the river?” Junior asked.

“Yes, we got back in the fight,” Boyd said.

“What did you learn while in Seattle?” Jan asked.

“I learn why the Space Cadets work without a whole lot of adult interference.” Boyd could feel both sets of eyes on him from his sons, “The young men,” Boyd glanced at his sons, “And young women know that as long as they have no deaths or serious injuries, they have no worthy complaints to stop them from being able to fly. On the first day, they asked me and 350 other Air Force Pilots if we thought winning 99% was good enough. We all said sure. They said, no it is not good enough. The Cadets work to win 100% of the time, bringing our crews and guests home every time is priority one.”

“I have seven certifications. Six of those require a million miles of flying the ship.” Boyd looked at his sons again, “Junior and Billy, I want you two by the time summer is over to have seven Certs. There is a good chance both of you will have piloted ten million miles by the time school starts.”

“Good. I don’t have to be first all the time.” Junior said.

“I did it in twelve days,” Boyd said.

“Dad, do you still like to fly?”

“I love it. In an hour and a half, you three will have a different perspective that will change everything.”

“When you got back in the fight, did you shoot some spider ships?” Billy asked. Boyd nodded and the boys went to race their boats and had a great time.

Boyd and Jan talked about the boys, “I’m glad you are here again. Your sons don’t seem to carry any anger and are so very excited about flying. Let’s see what Cadets do for them.” Jan said once the boys were out of sight.

“I lived for two weeks during a war and then unbelievable training in the home of the Carpenter. John Taylor would put trim around the doors mostly on the inside of the rooms. He would get on the floor and put the base in. He ran wire for switches to the lights in each room. He sometimes aligned the doors and his crew behind him would paint the doors, putty the nail holes, and touch up the paint. I was walking by one day and he called me over, he said, talk to me as I work. He asked me if the promise of tomorrow was worth the battles of today to get there. I thought about it, I said yes. He then asked me what my plan was. After we fly around the moon, I want to take you and the boys to God.”

“Fly around the moon. My dad talked about that was probably impossible in 1969 because of the Van Allen Belt.” Jan thought for a few seconds, “I’ve missed you. I wake up in the middle of the night, my bed is cold. I’m cold and I cry myself to sleep. Is our worry about money over?”

“Yes. God says it is over.” Boyd smiled, “Do you think $15,000 a year with no income taxes will get us by?”

“OMG, that’s like a hundred and sixty-five thousand, use to be.” Jan took a deep breath, “I’m starting to look my age.”

Father John says to think young. To be twenty, do all the things you use to do when you were twenty then get body-mind-and spirit into alignment with the notion you feel like twenty! We are in Heaven Honey, love yourself.”

“I used to run three or four times a week,” Jan said.

“We could run together?” Boyd asked.

Jan said, “Not tonight, we got something more important to do.” Jan gave Boyd a sly look, “I want an hour or two to cuddle with you. I also want to fall asleep with your arms around me.”

“I would love to make that happen.” Boyd said, “There’s no one else in my life.”

“What about these girls I heard you mention, Ceca and Lucy?” Jan asked.

“You will meet them. We are invited to lunch on Sunday at Noon. Ceca and Lucy are just little girls. They may be Generals; and when need be, tough as nails but Ceca must be 13 years old and Lucy maybe 14 or 15.”

“Then tonight keep my bed warm for me, please.” Jan smiled. She didn’t know why, but her heart was doing double time and her head was certainly willing to meet the father of her boys halfway.


Two weeks later in Amarillo, Texas:

10:00 A.M. on a Saturday. The main street of Amarillo was blocked off. A flatbed farm truck used to carry hay carried the local high school’s champion quarterback hanging on with his left hand with a safety rope around his waist and a microphone in his right, “Join with me in welcoming the 5th division of the Space Cadets. We will have the headquarters of the 5th division here in Amarillo, Texas. Behind are 225 of their 1,000 or more ships that will be based here. Hotdogs, coffee, and soft drinks are at the high school.” Sam Houston the third said over and over for the two miles they traveled to the high school campus.

It was estimated that over 30,000 men, women, and children were in that crowd. The whole town simply stood up and walked to the high school. The third and fourth divisions manned the one hundred tables at the High school. Each table had a three-sided tent to keep the sun off the cadets. The table was 8’ wide with six chairs in front. Three people were manning the table with one standing on the outside handing out applications and brochures and just answering questions.

The week before, full-page ads were being run in the local paper. Signs were up all over town. The two nights before two pages of information were being run in the newspaper including earnings as a full-time or part-time cadet. Paying for college after two years of service. The website was listed on everything.

At three PM several of the volunteers found Colonel Mathews. They saluted then waited. Colonel Mathews turned and saluted back, “How can I help you?”

“Sir we are out of applications sir.” One of the cadets said.

“We had ten boxes with a thousand in each box,” Boyd said.

“Yes Sir. We have all ten boxes filled out and loaded in your ship and we have gone through them. We have three of the 775s making copies of the applications. We don’t know how long that will work. They are being filled out as quickly as we can distribute them. So far we have an additional two thousand filled out and signed that came from homes by way of the internet.”

Boyd got his phone out, “General, we have gone through 10,000 applications, we have received another two thousand by way of the internet. Do you have any sir?”

“Boyd don’t sound so down. You have made this a success. Yes, I carry 5,000 on my ship. I’m parked on the west side. Meet you there.” Rowland said. He turned to Gary and Roney, “Go into the back and pull the four-wheel hand truck out. We need to help Colonel Boyd distribute applications. We have had 12,000 cadets sign up.”

“Yes Sir.” The two boys quickly grabbed a couple of others and headed for the ship.

Rowland made another call, “General Mona, this is Rowland. Colonel Boyd needs applications. He has had ten thousand sign up. With another two thousand turned in from our website.”

“Rowland, that’s fantastic. I have ten thousand here with another ten thousand at the printer.” Mona giggled.

The ships were looked at, touched and a million questions asked. Parents wanted to know about the claim of no one dying. The young people were excited to answer that one. Even the ex-air-force guys were eager to explain why’s and how comes around two major battles with casualties, yes, but no deaths. All injured are now 100% healthy. Health concerns for the Cadet and his or her family were also shared.

Another two hundred ships were being delivered to Mona. Rowland also received a hundred and forty-five more. The two Generals hi-fived the news. They were in business. All afternoon the local TV channels were filming and interviewing the kids. It was easy to tell the new cadets. They all had caps that read Fourth or Fifth Division Space Cadets. Starting at noon, ships were taking off flying new cadets and their parents around the moon.

All the TV stations were invited to make and film the trip. As the afternoon progressed the lines started to shorten. Then the live news about Spaceships started showing and another wave of enthusiastic young men and women showed up. Some lived fifty to one hundred miles away. The tables were manned until 9:00 PM. At that time everyone including the ones still in lines and their parents all moved into the cafeteria to a spaghetti feed. Several cases of sparkling grape juice and apple juice had been chilled in the new walk-in cooler.

Mona and Rowland were standing in front of everyone sitting at the tables. There were about a thousand recruits, parents, and cadets that had manned the tables and answered the questions.

“I’m Mona Jackson commander of the Fifth Division. This is General Rowland Taylor, Commander of the Fourth Division. The Fourth Division is also known as The Watchers. General Rowland.” Mona handed the mic to Row.

“The Watchers are the ones that are up in the sky making us safe. I remember six years ago standing with a few others after I was sworn in to protect our Constitution looking at the two ships after being told that we had to cover four positions in the sky, I most certainly had a question about the Cadets. The next day ten new ships showed up and I realized we were off to the races. I have been in two major battles. Contributed and certainly participated in making this world of ours safe for all of us. Without us, a lot of our family and friends may have died.

“Education. To become an officer requires two things, good grades, and a promise to go to college. It is permitted to read your books while on duty. Even encouraged. Before the Watchers, I was a B and C student. Since I joined the Watchers, I have become an “A” student. The AI or better Artificial Intelligence does all the work. We just need a human presence. I’ll never forget the first authorized or approved ship that was coming at me. I challenged it, “Ship entering the space around Planet Earth, who are you, and what is your business?” I said as professionally as possible while spilling my coffee all over my pants.” That brought much laughter. Many could relate.

 
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