Chapter 11: Another Battle!
Copyright© 2021 by A Carpenters Son
“Guymon Cadets, on me. We are going to the moon to join up with General Taylor.”
“Hal, are all the ships behind us?” Tom asked his AI then thought, we need to give all the ships names.
“One hundred and thirty-nine, SIR.”
“Who did we lose Hal?”
“The ship with Bill, Pete, Quin, Susie, Brad, and Sam,” Hal reported.
SH@T! Tom thought I placed them back there to be safe, “Hal, give me names of two ships in our last row please.”
“Sir none of the ships have been named yet,” Hal responded.
“Will the left-most ship in the last row please respond,” Tom called.
“Yes, Sir this is Timmy in a 336.”
“Timmy, can you fall back and help our down ship. We have an enemy ship back there, you are authorized to blow it up. Help our down cadets.”
“Will do Sir.”
The 140 ships were moving. Bill was in the pilot seat with Sam next to him. The 445 they were in took the hit from an Energy weapon, “Dam, we missed one. Sam the breaker is off see if you can turn it back on.”
Sam unbuckled his seat belt and harness, “It’s still on.”
Sam’s father was in one of the seats in the second row, “Sam turn, the master completely off then you can turn it back to reset it.”
“Got it.” After a loud “CLICK.”
Bill reached up and hit the row of switches on the right side. The ship raised on the right with the left pointing to Earth.
Bill was thrown to the left and couldn’t reach any of the other switches. The ship went through a thick layer of clouds which caused a vibration. Sam lost his grip and for a few seconds was floating. Both Quin and Bill tried to hold onto Sam. Then the ship hit a soft chunk of sand on a beach next to a small lake. Sam was on the floor and all three, Bill, Quin, and Sam were moaning in pain.
“Is everybody okay?” Sam Senior asked.
Brad, Susie, and Pete all said “yes.” Bill, Quin, and Sam all said “NO” on the right.
“My right arm hurts like crazy. I tried to catch Sam.”
“Me too! My left arm also hurts bad.”
Moaning was all that was heard from Sam.
“Brad, Susie, and Pete do you think you can get out?” Sam Senior asked.
“Will, the door open?” Brad asked.
“Bill, can you reach the button for the door?” Sam Senior asked.
Bill released his seatbelt and harness. He could see the door from his seat, “No, it’s closed.”
“Hello?” From Hal the AI on the ship.
Bill hit the rest of the buttons on the dashboard. All but one engine came on, “Hal, run all your diagnostic programs to check us out, please.”
“How did we get in this position?” Hal asked.
“We got hit with an energy weapon and you went offline. We had three engines working when we hit the ground.” Bill rattled off, “Hal can you open the door?”
“We are stuck in the Earth. Need a pull from an 885. Calling for an assist now.” Hal said, “Sending out an alert. Calling for Help. We have injured onboard. First diagnostic complete. We are at 91.6667% for power. Engine number seven is offline. The ship is still intact but at a 78-degree tilt to left...”
“Hal, can you lift us and position us at a level?”
“One moment,” Hal said. Everyone felt movement. The ship felt as though it was falling again then leveled off.
“Where are we Hal?” Sam Senior asked.
“We are 14.7 feet from the ground.” Hal said, “35 degrees 54’, 33.67” North, 99 Degrees 56’, 04.36” West. Along the Canadian River, in Oklahoma.”
“Hal, find a smooth location and set us down, please,” Bill said.
“Setting down.” The door opened again.
Another ship appeared. It was a 336. It landed close by, “Is anybody injured? This is Lieutenant Timmy, Captain Tom sent us.”
“Yes, three of us, one badly,” Bill replied.
Timmy entered and started working on Sam. Others followed and Bill and Quin were made easy until the Lieutenant could get to them.
At Lockheed, 6:02 AM:
“Sir, we have a ship down. A model 446. It is along the Canadian River in Oklahoma. 138 miles west of Oklahoma City and a bit north. 35 degrees 54’, 33.67” North, 99 Degrees 56’, 04.36” West.” The woman handed to her boss a piece of paper with everything written down. “Sir, we just got the alert from the ship. It’s been down for a bit. The report also states there are injuries.” Janet and her boss liked to come in early. As President and his assistant, the two of them got more done in one morning before 8:00 AM than often got done during normal business hours for a week.
“I’m going, do you have a change of outfits, I would like for you to go to. We need an 885 with Henry and Howard. Corky with his camera. I’ll get two of the 336s with gunners as escorts.”
The two changed. Janet headed off to find Corky. Kevin Humphreys went off to find Henry and Howard. Kevin was more than pleased many of his engineers also came in during the cool part of the day then left work for a beer or two during the heat of the day. By 6:17 AM the ship with its escorts were heading North to the designated location. As they got near, they heard?
“Halt. This is a protected area. What is your business?”
“Who am I speaking to? This is President Kevin Humphreys of Lockheed. We are answering a distress call.”
“This is Lieutenant Bixon of the Watchers. Please proceed President Humphreys.”
“Thank you, Lieutenant. Did you guys find the enemy ship that did it?”
“Yes Sir, we did! One toasted Black Box. We need some stickers Sir; WE LOVE RAIL GUNS!”
Kevin was laughing, “I will look into it, Lieutenant.”
Janet was busy making a note: “RAIL GUNS” surrounded by a big red heart.
The two were in Kevin’s 446 leading the 885 Light Destroyer and two 336s as escorts. The four ships landed near the 446 that had just been taken out of the sand. As Kevin stood in front of the ship, the left half was black with no sand. The right half was grey with a sprinkling of sand allowing only about 40% of the black to show through. The light of day was upon them, the sun was just peaking over the horizon making sure it was ok to precede into the day.
“Pretty easy to see how deep it was,” Corky said as he took many pictures.
“Thank you, Corky. Be sure to get pictures of the Cadets and the father.”
Kevin walked to where all the Cadets were standing. He was met with Captain Shellie Shakes.
“Sir, were you challenged when you came near this location?” Shellie asked.
“Yes Captain, in a very professional way. As soon as I identified myself, we were allowed to proceed.” Kevin answered.
“It’s nice to have good people.” Captain Shakes was pleased.
“I know all about that. We have had all ships pass through inspection for two months now.” Kevin said, “And non-have been returned or held for corrections.”
“I’ll swear that the 336 or 446 with the rail guns are the finest ships in the Galaxy.” Shellie laughed.
“Did you get to fire one of the rail guns against the spider ships?” Kevin now was also smiling.
“One second, it was there then the next second it was a cloud of dust.” Shellie laughed.
Can you imagine a hundred pounds of anti-mater with an equal amount of matter?” Kevin said. “The explosion would be as big as either of the atomic bombs the US used in WWII.”
A ship blocked the sun. Kevin looked up, “That is likely General Rowland Taylor.”
“How did the 446 get out of the hole?” Kevin asked. “That hole is eleven feet deep.”
“The new cadets said the AI wiggled the ship until it became unstuck then leveled off at 14.5 feet above the Earth. He was ordered to find a level spot since one of the landing skids did not work. It’s also reported that engine #7 does not work.” Shellie reported.
Shellie watched her old friend. He was like the fourth to join and she was the fifth. They had seen each other on the same bus coming into Houston. They got off the bus and Rowland bought the last street map of Houston at a local 7/11. She asked to borrow it. He asked where she was going. She gave him an address. He asked, “Space Cadets?” She said “Yes.” He said, “Me too!” grabbed her hand and they walked to a taxi. She didn’t have enough money to even go half.
“Can you afford a whopper with fries and a coke?” He eyed a Burger King in the next block.
She said “Yes.”
“Okay, you buy dinner and I’ll get us there,” Rowland said.
Rowland and Shellie put their rolling cases in the trunk of a taxi and Rowland closed it. They got into the taxi and Rowland gave the driver the address of where they were going. He handed the address back said some things the two kids couldn’t understand with an Arab accent except for when he pointed to a building 150 yards away, “Space Cadets. You go. Walk!”
They were standing on the sidewalk with cases when the taxi drove away, “Shall we?” Rowland asked.
“Lead on MacDuff. We are getting closer to the home of the Whopper. Have you ever tried a Want-A-Burger?”
“No, are they as good as a Whopper?” Rowland asked.
“I think so. Where are you from?” Shellie asked.
“Macon, Georgia,” Rowland said.
“Well, there you have it, I don’t know anybody from Georgia that doesn’t like Want-A-Burgers,” Shellie said.
“You know a lot of people from Georgia?” Rowland asked.
“No, just you.” Shellie giggled. On the corner of the cross street was a Want-A-Burger Restaurant.
Rowland laughed at the slight. They were in front of an old YMCA Building. On every door was a sign made by a sharpie on cardboard: HOUSTON SPACE CADET CENTER. Rowland pushed on the door, and it opened, “Shall we?”
They walked around inside the old YMCA Building, “Hello!” Rowland called out.
“Who are you?” A man asked.
“I’m Rowland Taylor, I called about becoming a Space Cadet. This is Shellie Smith; she also wants to become one too.”
“That’s Shellie Shakes. I’m from Florida. I also called you.” Shellie was from a broken home and decided to leave home. She convinced her mom that she would commit suicide before she would stay another month. Three days later her mom asked her if she wanted to become a Space Cadet. The two sat down and worked out a plan for the two. Her mom promised to go to AA and leave the drugs and alcohol behind. Shellie would ride the bus to Houston and become a Space Cadet.
“Oh, sorry about that. We just met.” Rowland apologized.
“We just got into this building yesterday. Rowland, you are number 4, and Shellie, you are number 5.” Captain Lloyd said.
“Why’s he ahead of me?” Shellie asked.
“Did you call me up and talk for three hours asking questions?” Lloyd asked. Shellie shook her head no. “Well, Rowland did. Then called back twice and asked some more questions.” Captain Lloyd laughed.
“Did you get good answers? Anything I need to watch out for?” Shellie asked Rowland.
“Yes, promotions are based upon merit and sometimes being at the right spot at the right time with a resume to back you up. If we promise to go to college, then we become eligible to start as second lieutenants.”
“I want to design the interiors of Spaceships. A few changes would make a whole lot of difference.” Shellie said.
“I also want a degree in Aerospace something,” Rowland said to Lloyd.
“My uncle is an engineer. He says anything to do with Space will be in high demand for the next fifty to hundred years or more.” Shellie said.
They both turned in their signed applications to become cadets. That night Shellie knocked on Rowland’s door at 2:30 in the morning. When Rowland answered his door, Shellie burst into tears, “I just got a text, my mom is in the hospital.”
So that was the past. Now General Rowland was meeting Captain Shellie again.
“May I ask how your mother is?” Rowland looked on in concern.
“Dry and drug-free for five years.” Shellie smiled, “She has her license to tend bar and mix drinks. I asked her isn’t that hard?” Shellie answered, “Mom said to begin with it was hell, but she looked Satan in the eye and told him she wanted to live.” Shellie looked to her fellow Captains, “Thank you Rowland for getting me through those three or four days when we first became Cadets.”
“If I remember right, you fed me for that week. Otherwise, I may have starved.” Rowland laughed. Captain Lloyd had given them fifteen half-off coupons. Five for Burger king, five for Want-a-burger, and five for What a Burger. Half off meant two for the price of one. So, they had to eat together.
Shellie looked at the rings the two were wearing, then the name tag on Delilah Taylor, “You have got to be Rowland’s Delilah?”
Delilah had a look of fear, amazement, and curiosity on her face.
Shellie continued, “You and Rowland were born five days apart. He first asked you to marry him when the two of you reached five years old. He first met you when one of you was a day or two old. You both giggled and waved your hands about. You grew up together and believe you are meant for each other.”
“How do you know all this?” Delilah demanded. She didn’t like someone looking at her Rowland with love and affection.
“I spent a week with this man. Even at 12, I decided he was husband material. Other than where are we going for lunch that day all I ever heard was about his Delilah?” Shellie took a deep breath, “I’m glad you were with us. I was pretty vulnerable with my mom in the hospital. I got to see what love was really like. You were there and kept me safe without even knowing it.” Shellie hugged Delilah, “Thank you.”
“He grew up in front of me, but he is my man. Always has been.” Delilah giggled.
“Shellie, you are in charge of a Battalion?” Rowland asked.
“General, that Battalion has grown up a bit. We now have over 5,000 cadets.” Shellie said, “General, this is my XO, she is Watcher #12. She came in as you were flying back to Macon in a 445. Her name is Captain Susan Delaney.”