Star Chamber
Chapter 25: Seven Days Later

Copyright© 2019 by A Carpenter's Son

The Washington D.C. Cadet Center:

Major Lucy Taylor was the Battalion CO. Captains Teri Wilcox, Fannie Wilcox, and Brien Tripp were the Company Commanders. They were sitting around looking at their 78 recruits’ applications figuring out the best options for platoon officers and NCOs. Things were still showing up daily. The desks the day before and the chairs this morning. Hopefully a filing cabinet tomorrow.

“Mona Jackson stands out, but she has a bunch of anger to deal with,” Teri said.

“She found out her father is not her father. Her mother has a half-brother and by DNA that appears to be her father.” Lucy said, “She has way more DNA in common with her cousin than she does with her sister.”

“Oh, shit is that all she’s upset about?” Brien asked.

“No, she’s angry because she’s black, too,” Lucy said.

“We’ve all been black in many different lifetimes. Remember that day we spent with God to find that out?” Fannie said.

“Brien, have you ever asked God that?” Lucy asked.

“Yes, do 17 lives qualify me?” Brien asked, “Dad and I went to God. We had fun he has been black sixteen times.

“I don’t care. I love you.” Lucy said.

Brien gave Lucy a big smile and a nod, he mouthed, “I love you too.”

“Let me talk with Mona,” Lucy said.

“If any of us can help let us know,” Teri said. Everyone agreed.

Two days later Mona brought her posy in:

It was 6:12 AM.

“Hi Cadet Mona, what can I do for you?” Lucy had been looking at the total number of requirements for the Brigade. Frank had told her what the current plan was. Two hundred ships and 1,800 young men and women. Mona laid three applications filled out and signed on Lucy’s desk.

“Good morning sir. These are my friends. I also believe they are the best in our school. This is Joe Cambridge; he runs the mile under five minutes and is the track team’s captain. He is also on the student council with me.” Mona said.

“What do you think about flying spaceships, Joe?” Lucy asked as she appraised the young black teen.

“I think I’m still asleep. This can’t be true.” Joe said. The three girls laughed.

“Do you remember seeing the space war with the aliens on TV?” Lucy asked.

“Great TV Series. I watched every episode.” Joe said.

Lucy looked at the girls laughing.

Brien came in and saw that Lucy was busy, “Good morning Major.”

“Good morning Captain.”

“Skies are clear, good day to fly,” Brien said.

“Yes, it is Captain,” Lucy said then looked at a very pretty young black girl.

“I’m Natasha King.”

“Well Natasha King, tell us something about you?”

“Teri and Fannie had come in. Lucy pointed to her ear for them to listen too.

“I’m the student council president. I am also the team captain for our volleyball team. So far, we have won every game this year, including beating last year’s district champs.”

“Two out of three?” Lucy asked.

“No sir, we wiped them in two.” Natasha beamed.

Lucy smiled and nodded.

“Good morning Major.” Teri and Fannie said together.

“Captains Teri and Fannie, please listen to this one too.” Lucy looked at the third Young Lady. This one was over 6’ by an inch or two.

“I’m Gloria Winston, I play basketball, team captain, and the president of the student honor society. I’m proud to say I have 42 members that give four hours a week helping any students having difficulties in any class. Our school is ranked number 1 in several states around DC for scholastics. Mona and these other two are part of our honor society.”

Lucy looked at the twins then turned to Brien. All three were nodding their heads, “Do you want Joe, Brien.”

“Yes!”

Lucy handed Brien a cap with a second Lieutenant bar on it. She handed her two other officers second Lieutenant Bars. “Cadets stand together here at the front of the room.” Her officers’ line them up and spaced them perfectly, “Raise your right hand and repeat after me. I’ll go slowly. I swear to obey and uphold the Constitution of the United States. I will defend it to the best of my ability against all enemies, Foreign, Domestic, and Alien so help me God. May God Bless our Country and our World! AT EASE Officers of the US Space Cadets.” Lucy affixed the first Lieutenant bar on Mona as her officers did the same to the other cadets. Brien fitted the cap to Joe’s head.

Mona Jackson had almost quit three times the first few days of the program. There was so much to do, and she had been called on to do all kinds of shit work. It did help when all the officers including the President’s son were involved. Now it all seemed more than worthwhile. She was the Captain and leading scorer on the school soccer team while serving on the student council.

“Let’s go!” Lucy headed to the door, “Captains, you have the command!”

“Yes Sir!” Brien, Teri, and Fannie all said together then looked at each other.

“Dee Cee, where’s the moon?” Mona asked.

“Directly overhead.” Dee Cee reported.

“Lieutenants, walk around this ship, make sure there are no holes in her.”

“Yes Sir.” The three said with one going one way and the other two going the opposite way.

“Dee Cee, check all systems and any other preflight scripts.” Lucy motioned to the door for Mona.

“Halfway done sir.” Dee Cee reported.

Mona climbed into the spacecraft. Lucy was right behind her, “Mona, this will be your ship. Is that All right Dee Cee?”

“Yes, Major.”

“Dee Cee, I go for certification now. We’re going around the moon and back.” Mona said biting her lip trying to ease the nerves.

The Lieutenants came in, “The only thing we found was some bird shit on the port side,” Joe reported.

Mona picked up the mic, “This is Lieutenant Mona Jackson of the Washington DC Space Cadets in Model 445 Dee Cee heading out on a training mission for the moon.”

“This is Control, Lieutenant you are clear to go. We will be scrambling two of our new F-35s to escort you out of our air space.”

“Is there any limitation on speed?” Lucy asked.

“No limitations sir. Do you think you can outrun them?” Control asked. It must have been an incredibly quiet morning. It was still before 7:00 A.M.

“We’ll see Control. My speedometer only goes up to 50,000.”

In a few minutes, they were at 5,000 feet when two ships showed up on the scanner coming on fast. Mona pointed at them.

“Mona, double your speed,” Lucy said.

“Two G’s now,” Mona said as she took another look at the scanner. The two ships were falling back a bit then seem to catch up again.

In a few additional minutes, “We’re at five miles, push it to ten G’s Mona.” Lucy hit the CLOAK button as the speed ramped up.”

Over the speaker, they heard, “Where did they go Sparky?”

“Don’t know Buster. I sure would like to get one of those for my boy though. Control can you see them?”

“Sparky, you guys just lost me $20. They’re not even on our screens anymore. Return to base.”

The next day Sparky and Buster show up at the old Junior High school building now converted into the Washington D.C. Cadet Center.

“We’re looking for a Lieutenant Mona Jackson.” The one with Captain’s bars on his collar said.

Lucy and Mona’s eyes met. Mona had a look of fear on her face, “What do you want with her gentlemen?”

“She was flying a black ship yesterday and we just wanted to find out more about it.”

“Buster and Sparky. Which one is who?”

“I’m Captain Jerry Smith. I use the handle Sparky. This is the best wingman in the Air Force Lile Anderson. He goes by Buster.” Captain Jerry Smith said.

“Captain Smith, is this how you parade into a military office of somebody of higher rank?” Lucy asked.

Jerry Smith looked closely at Lucy’s collar. He then stood frozen as if he had stepped into something the neighbor’s dog had left. Mona was trying not to smile. He screamed, “ATTENTION!” He brought his right arm up in a salute almost knocking Lile Anderson off balance.

Lucy returned the salute, “At ease Captain Smith and Lieutenant Anderson. Why are you looking for one of my men or women?”

“Sir, we were the pilots that were scrambled yesterday that gave chase to the Black Ship. Like one of the Black Ships outside in your yard. We just got new F-35’s and it appears that your equipment is far superior to ours, Sir.”

“Your equipment and thinking are becoming obsolete. In five years, the US Space Corps will be bigger while the Air Force will become smaller if there is an Air Force. In ten years, we will see airports from around the country be turned into shopping malls or condos, apartments, or housing units.” Lucy said.

“So much for the idea of twenty years and retire.” Lieutenant Anderson stated.

“Sometime next year your jets will come upon an alien presence surrounded by seven of my space command’s ships demanding to know “Who, What, Why and Where” of that presence or we fire.”

“This is sanctioned by the US Government?” Captain Smith asked.

“What?” Have you looked at the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the Armed Forces? My brother is his Assistant, General Frank Taylor. His boss is also the Commandant of the US Space Corps. Next year we the Space Corps and Cadets will be training not only Navy but also the Marines in close ground support.” Lucy could see the Captain’s knees shake, “Sit down Captain, you too Lieutenant before you fall.”

“Let’s carry on with this conversation in a better setting.” Lucy got up, “Come with me, gentlemen.” When she got within 40 feet of her 775, “Freda open up please.”

“Yes, Major Taylor.”

“All systems are ready to go. The four New Lieutenants with Captain Tripp have inspected all four 775’s this morning.” Frieda stated.

“Have you been to West Seattle?” Lucy asked.

“No Sir,” Frieda said.

Captain take this seat, the pilot seat. Lieutenant place yourself to his right. I will sit in the left seat which is the first gunner’s seat.

“Frieda, call up all four of the new Lieutenants and ask them to join us on a flight to Seattle and back. Freida contact Patricia in West Seattle to get the data regarding her flight from DC to West Seattle. When you have it please analyze and see if there is any way to improve upon it.”

The Four Lieutenants came running into Frieda and came to a stop standing at attention in front of Lucy, “Mona, take Communication, Joe Navigation, Gloria help Joe and Natasha help Mona. If we need gunners, the last two and Joe will be gunners along with me, go!”

“Yes Sir.” The four said as they scrambled to their posts.

“Frieda, is the door secure?”

“Yes Sir!”

“Let’s go!” The ship rose to a hundred feet angled up.

“Captain hit that cloak button,” Lucy said.

“Cloak is green.” Captain Smith smiled thinking. Things like this drive control crazy.

“Major, control said we just disappeared,” Mona said.

“Tell them thank you!” Lucy said.

Three minutes went by, “How high are we?”

“Ten miles.” Lt. Anderson said.

“Frieda, can we increase speed?”

“Yes sir, please stay under seventy thousand.”

“A few minutes later, please reduce speed to zero.”

“We have passed over the Cascade Mountains. Mt. Rainier is on your left.” Another minute or two.

“We are about 100 feet up, turn cloak off Captain. We don’t need the shields either.”

“How much time Freida?” as the ship landed in the parking lot of the church. The door opened.

“Sixteen minutes, 47 seconds Sir!” Freida announced with a bit of pride.”

“Good job Frieda. Lieutenant Anderson, sit in the pilot’s seat. Get to know these young folks. If you make the transfer in a year, they will be your instructors.”

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