Chapter 12: Where Are the Cadets?
Copyright© 2021 by A Carpenters Son
An enormous ship appeared on the scanners. Tom and Colonel Susan felt they were vulnerable, but they did not want to leave their five ships. Three of them had shown life and had turned their power back on and disappeared with the cloak.
Tom was getting antsy and told the Colonel, “I’ve heard of inter ship transports. I’m going to try it on the one on the left.”
“Okay, Captain. We’ll be praying for you.”
“Here goes.” Tom made the transport ending up in a girl’s lap in the second row.
“Oh, look what Santa brought me!” The girl said.
“Hit the power for communications and cloaking,” Tom ordered.
“Who are you, Sir?”
“I’m Captain Tom Shaw, I’m one of General Rowlands aids.”
“And you make house calls?” The girl said whose lap he landed in.
“Only on special occasions.” Tom said, “Is everybody okay?”
“We got the last one that’s still out. Got his heart started again.”
Tom reached for the mic, “Calling Houston Lady.”
“Yes, you made it.” Colonel Susan said with joy in her voice, “The big ship is an 885E. It’s being flown by our missing cadets. They ended up inside of the Stadium Ship. My theory is that’s what blew up the big spider ship.”
“I’m going to jump to the last uncloaked ship.” Tom thought, “Colonel, have the 885E load it. Something doesn’t feel right.”
“10/4,” Susan said.
Tom transported ending on the floor behind the last row of seats. The cabin was cold. No one was awake. Tom wondered, “Did this ship get hit with three or four energy weapons?” He had heard of two of the power units being wired in a way to not go off if hit by an energy weapon. They must be running but have no atmosphere support. He exhaled and felt a hard chill go through him as he watched his breath create a cloud. It must be below freezing in here. He stood and moved to the dash. The ship moved as the tractor beam pulled it into the bay of the giant 885. He reset the power then hit the button for Atmosphere. There were three settings on the air conditioning #1 was low only needed if less than four were on board. #2 was medium if all the seats were full. #3 was now if the temperatures and oxygen levels were not in the green area. His science teacher would have a heart attack if Tom told him that.
A moan and some cussing were going on, “What’s happening?” A boy asked.
“You guys walked into a trap. I estimate maybe three or four energy weapons hit you.”
“Who are you?” A boy asked.
“I’m Captain Tom Shaw, General Rowland’s Aid.”
“Did someone leave the window open in the bathroom?” A girl asked, “It’s really cold in here.”
“I used to think Venus was a nice place.” Another boy said.
“I don’t think we could sell tickets for this ride.” Another girl said.
“We’ve got five awake. Check those around you for heartbeats and breathing.”
“Here’s one, I’m not detecting breathing or a pulse.” A girl said.
Tom went in her direction. It was a tight fit with every one of the ten seats filled.
“Pulse is there, very faint, but it is there,” Tom said, The Lord’s Prayer. Made his connection with God and within minutes things improved. Eyes opened, “Hi there, how do you feel?”
“Like I’ve been the football practice dummy for an hour. What Happened?” a boy with a First Lieutenant rank on his collar.
“You Cadets flew into a trap. I don’t know if the trap was set on purpose or simply by accident. Your ship got hit at close range two or more times by the Spiders Energy weapons. It was way more than the designs of the ship could handle or even the human body. You all were in a deep sleep when I came in and the atmosphere controls were turned off. It feels like we are above freezing on our way back to 70 degrees.”
Ten days into the future:
Susan Delaney got a week off. She picked up a guard detail of two Marines that looked sharp. She had been communicating with her mother for almost six years every week and sometimes several times a week. She was coming home for the first time.
The Retired three-star General had just gotten his results from his annual Health Checkup.
“Thank you, Robert,” Teresa said to her husband.
“What did I do now?” General Robert Delaney asked his wife of thirty-three years.
“You have survived the stress of retiring, my love.” Teresa smiled, “Thank you.”
“Was there ever a chance I wouldn’t?” Robert Delaney asked.
“Yes! Birth is ranked as the #1 stress on the body. Retiring is #2. Death of a spouse is #3 and a child is #4 with loss of a parent as #5. Depending on the circumstances these positions of stress may vary a bit from person to person. Good or bad change can bring stress. Winning a lottery can result in a lot of stress. I would give you an “A” for handling the stress of retirement.”
“It feels like there is something else?” Robert asked.
“Yes, our daughter is coming home. I want you to make up with her.”
“Okay, tell me about Susan, please.”
“Lieutenant Colonel Susan and her boss Full Bird Colonel Shellie Shakely just got promoted two weeks ago. The two girls are Watchers #5 and #12. They guard the planet against bad aliens. Our Susan’s ship at the time took out over 20 black ships and got partial credit for a stadium-size ship of the spiders. Their command covers Texas and Oklahoma and has about 10,000 cadets.” Teresa said with excitement, “She will be flying in here in a 775. She hopes it is all right if she parks it on our front lawn.”
“How heavy is the ship?” Robert asked.
“There is a picture of it in that manila folder on your coffee table.”
Robert picked up the folder and opened it, “Model D. That’s probably 128 to 140 tons.”
“Travels at almost thirty thousand light-years per hour,” Teresa said.
Robert realized he said too much, “I’ve been involved with trying to get our Air Force Pilots employed. The Space Cadets are doing a good job helping with that. I can’t lie to you, I got interested in how our daughter is doing. I will share if you are willing to share with me.”
“How is she doing in your opinion Robert?” Teresa asked.
“Our little girl is doing wonderful.” Robert was planning on saying more when he was stopped by the doorbell.
The door opened, “Daddy, Mommy?” Susan was face to face with her dad. Her Father extended his arms and pulled his daughter into a hug.
“Is it okay for an old Air Force General to hug a Colonel of the Space Cadets?”
Susan kissed her dad’s cheek, “Yes, thank you, dad.”
“My little girl has grown up and taken on this world.” Robert had a smile on his face and tears in his eyes. Dad pulled his girl in for another hug, “I’m so very sorry for everything, please forgive me.”
“DADDY, you told me once A+B+C might feel and look awful but if the result is WONDERFUL then accept it as God’s guidance and give God a big Thank You!”
“You were listening,” Robert said.
“Let me give mom a hug,” Susan giggled as she turned and hugged her mom.
“My you have grown up!” Susan’s mom said with emotion. The mom and daughter were eye to eye.
“You two look good. I am happy to be here. Come on, I have got to show you, my new baby.” The tour took an hour then Susan’s brothers and girlfriends started showing up. Susan’s Oldest sister had married a black man, Robert Jackson Thompson (AKA RJ) against daddy’s wishes. The sister had given him two fine boys. One day big sister was on the way to pick up her boys at the daycare. She got t-boned by someone that ran a red light. She died on the way to the hospital.
When her brother-in-law with his sons came aboard the Marine Sergeant guided them to Susan. She gave Robert a very warm hug then introduced herself to Robert Jr. and James. She had asked for volunteers and got Lieutenants Jeffrey and Ronny Taylor along with 10 others including the two Marines.
“Mom, dad, and everybody.” They were in control and Susan had just handed out menus and instructions on how to order. Robert Jr. had just returned from locking the front door of his grandparent’s house. In a loud voice, “Betty please bring me a large cup of coffee with one cream please.”
“Fifteen seconds Commander.” Betty the AI said.
“You named the AI...” Came from six different directions. Susan pointed to a wall with a picture of her sister and her name.
Susan gave everyone a stern look, and, in a voice, she only used to give orders, “She’s, my big sister. I miss her too and this is my way to remember her.”
Susan’s Father knew what that voice was. His eyes were big as his grandson James said it best, “You knew our mother!”
“James and Robert, your mother was my big sister, and she went to heaven when I was eleven years old. I have asked her and gotten her permission to name this ship after her.” James was in her arms hugging her.
A holographic Betty the AL appeared with Susan’s coffee on a serving tray. She handed it to her brother-in-law, “Would this pass your approval to sell in your coffee houses?”
Robert, (RJ) sniffed it, unscrewed the top, and took a sip, “This is excellent.” He screwed the top back on and took a big sip.
“HAY, have I shown you the brig?” Susan said, “Betty please bring me another large coffee with one cream.”
Grandpa was watching his family and laughing. He looked to his wife, and she had her hand over her mouth, but her eyes were expressing her pleasure.
“FAMILY, please order what you want. And please sit down in these seats. Mother, you are to sit in the #3 seat in this row. Father, come with me. Bobby, James you also come.” Susan led the three over to the pilot’s seat, “Before I can make you the captain of the ship, you have to learn to fly it. Have a seat, Father!” Susan looked over to Lieutenants Jeffrey and Ronnie Taylor and nodded. They went to her family and made sure they were taken care of.
“Damme, this is a big ship.” The General said.
“On Monday, I’ll take you and mom around the moon in our 336. It is only about 50% bigger than an F-35. You and the AI can fly this ship. Step one: seat belt and harness please.” Susan watched as her father put the harness on.
“Step two, ask Betty to check the skies above and report.” Susan was speaking in a low voice. The AI could still hear it but knew not to react to it. They were in training mode.
“Betty ... please check on the skies above and report,” Bob said.
“All clear Captain,” Betty reported. General Bob reacted to being called Captain of the ship with a smile.
“Best route and best speed to the moon,” Susan said.
“Betty, please proceed with the best route and best speed to the moon.”
“Please forgive me if I put divots in your lawn.” Susan softly said.
The ship was already moving at a fast rate towards the full moon in the sky.
“I don’t care how deep; you can put divots in my lawn anytime honey.”
Susan smiled, “Bob, James did you learn anything just now?”
“Yes Sir, Colonel,” Bob said.
Susan looked at James, “Do you think you can fly this ship?”
“Yes, Sir Aunt Susan,” James said. Brother Bob was going to say something, and Susan gave him a look and shook her head just enough to stop him.
“Betty outside line.” Susan pointed to a dozen spots on the scanner, “Watcher, this is Watcher #12 Colonel Delaney taking the family around the moon. How’s the weather?”
“Skies are clear, and all else is quiet. Watcher #407.”
“Can you see me on your scanner?” Susan asked.
“Sir is that a new ship?”
“Just got it three days ago. 775 D #97.”
“Wow. There is a single pixel on the scanner. I’ve seen a bald eagle show up with three pixels.”
“This is Colonel Delaney Watcher #12, who am I talking to?”
“Captain Sharron Briggs, Watcher #407. Sir, you have me so excited. I’m on the list to get a 775. Sir, any guests onboard that I may have on my list?”
“Lieutenant General Robert Delaney, Captain.”
“Two of my ships will provide escort.” Captain Briggs said.
Thank you, Captain. 10/4.
“Betty, slow for escort.” Susan got her replacement coffee. She looked at her brother-in-law and toasted him with her cup. He licked his lips and winked at her. Her body reacted. Her sister said that this might happen.
“Did your mother tell you he got an offer of 234 thousand dollars for his ten coffee shops?
“No, I’m glad to hear.” Susan said, “That’s like what $2.34 million was before. He’s a good man dad.”
“Escorts have arrived, the AIs are meshed,” Betty said.
“We show up as a single pixel?” General Bob asked.
“Watch.” Susan adjusted the scanner showing the two 445/6s coming to each side of their ship. She went to setting eight and the two ships showed up, one of them as big as a dime. In this setting, we show up as a single dot. Bobby and James were out of their seats watching the scanner screen, “The one on the left (Smaller) is very likely a 446 and the bigger one is a 445.”
“The 446 is a smaller ship?” Bobby asked.
“They are the same size. The 446 is a newer version of the 445. Its cloaking is much better. Our cloaking is almost perfect. They’re still working on it.”
“One dot?” General Bob asked.
“About the same as a small satellite or large bird. If it could be cloaked.”
“Wow!” General Bob said. He looked around at the inside of the 775 Control, “WOW!” He took a good look at the men sitting in the gunners’ seats. The two Marines were behind the rail guns one on each end of the weapons seating.
They too had coffees.
“Susan, how are you doing financially?”
“Dad, I have two $10,000 Treasury Bonds and fifty thousand in the Taylor bank earning 5%.”
Lieutenant Jeffrey Taylor came up from Navigation, “Sir if you need a pit stop, Sir, I can take over for you at any time.”
“Yes, I need to make a pit stop.” General Bob laughed, “Too much coffee.”
“Sir the one with a shower is downstairs. We do have a toilet and sink through that door.” Jeffrey pointed to a door behind where the captain’s seats were with the familiar MEN/WOMEN sign on it.
“Thank you, Lieutenant. Have a seat for a few minutes.”
When General Bob came out, the ship was next to the moon, “Man that was quick.” He said to no one. He noticed everyone was eating a sub sandwich. They had a tray with a red apple and a small piece of chocolate cake and a small bag of chips. He then noticed that Lieutenant Jeffrey was gone. So were the Marines and his two grandsons and Son-in-law plus his sons., “Where did the guys go?”
“Wondering where the young men went Father?” Susan asked.
“I have two 336s in the back. They took them and are checking out the moon up close. They have about twenty minutes to be back.” Susan giggled.
“Your lunch is in the Captain’s Seat. Come with me, mom says you like a good Pastrami on Rye.”
General Bob sat down and looked at the view. “This has to be the best seat in the house. Can we go see Jupiter tomorrow?”
“General, my plan is for you to read the operating manual for this ship tonight. Tomorrow you fly towards Jupiter until you have enough to fill out your one million miles. We have the boys share flying home today then tomorrow you hand the ship off to them and let them complete the going to Jupiter and returning to earth trip. Mom says you have a favorite restaurant we can land at and have a party tonight.” Susan took a bite of her Pastrami on Rye.
“Could I complete the milage today?” General Bob asked.
During lunch at the moon, with all the guys and girlfriends flying around the moon. Susan sat between her father and her mother just talking about little things.
“Are you happy Susan?” her mom asked.
“Absolutely mom. My days are filled with a million important things.”
Do you hope to have a family and husband someday?
“Yes, mom. I hope to have a couple of curtain climbers which you can spoil with the help of this guy. He’s a lot different than he was six years ago.”
“Thank you, daughter.” Susan’s Father and mother traded looks and smiles.
“What do you think of our baby?” Susan asked, “It’s new to me, I’ve only had it for three days.”
“When you were born, my mother told me, this is a special one, Robert!” You let her decide on her future. Don’t be surprised when she picks space. She will someday make all your fancy airplanes look like toys.” General Bob’s mother had said, “Don’t be surprised when she appears to do things backward. Never fear she will get to where her heart wants her to go.”
“Bob, do you think your mom was right?” Susan’s mom Teresa asked her husband. She had her feet elevated and was enjoying being waited on along with the view.
“Yes, my love. Susan, this ship certainly makes my airplanes look like toys.” General Bob chuckled.
“I want to get you to be able to fly this thing anytime you want. When you want to go somewhere we will ask for some volunteers and you and mom can sit in these two seats and go anywhere you want to go. The next step is to certify mom.” What else do you want to learn to fly?”
“What if we run into some bad guys?” General Bob asked.
“Rule #1 in the Watchers is to Notify control of what you have seen. This ship is one of the best in the fleet. You turn tail and run to safety until you can join up with enough ships to go back and eliminate the threat. I would recommend having enough others to fire all the weapons. Have mom sit in the pilot’s seat and you run this ship from the seat you are sitting in. Lift that station on the right side of your seat.” When the General did that, the screen came alive.
“See the menu across the top of the screen. Click on each sub-screen and see what you can do. From that seat, you can fire both lasers. The minimum needed to fly this ship is you and Betty.” Susan said, “This ship is set up as a training sight. So, there is another main screen in this seat. Mom, sit here.”
“There is a sub-screen set up to fire the rail gun?” General Bob then added, “I can switch from the right one to the left one.”
“Let’s try that out tomorrow.” Susan said, “Too much paperwork if we fired it off here.”