The Voice

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The Voice Powered By Docstoc

                                      A Special Abilities Novel

Brad C. Mann

                             Published by Brad C. Mann at Smashwords

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                                         Chapter 1

                                      Good First Day

       It was still early morning when I finished getting my car loaded down with all my

clothes, a TV, small stereo, and a new laptop that was a graduation present from my

mom. Plus I packed a week‘s worth of junk food I was sure would not go to waste.

       By mid morning I was cruising down I-75 in my freshly waxed brownish-red

Pontiac Grand Prix. I got the car a couple of months ago right after my high school

graduation. Since then I must have waxed it at least fifty times. It‘s amazing there‘s any

paint left on it! The car had cost me a bit more of my savings than I planned, so I‘d have

to find a way to replace the extra money I‘d spent.

       Shortly after hitting the Kentucky-Tennessee state line I pulled off the highway

into a Zippys burger. Zippys was one of the many fast food joints lining the main street. I

skipped the drive thru and parked in the lot. Jumping out of the car I proceeded to stretch

every single aching muscle in my body. I always go inside because when I‘m low on cash

it pays off to go into the counter sometimes. And I got lucky this time. As I walked to the

counter the store manager in a loud and aggravated voice was telling the assistant counter

manager what a poor job the day shift crew did keeping the place clean, and he knew her

crew would do a much better job later on that night.

       The rich smell of french fries and burgers filled the air surrounding the counter

making me feel even hungrier now. The store manager was walking back through the

double swinging doors towards the kitchen as I got to the counter. I thought I‘d heard his

voice well enough so I threw his voice back thru the double doors to the counter as soon

as the manager was out of sight.

       ―Give that good looking young man whatever he wants on the house for having to

see this place in such a mess.‖

       The counter manager stared back at the double doors, taking a second to digest

what she‘d heard. She turned back to me, slightly embarrassed, smiled, and said, ―What

would you like sir… on the house of course.‖

       ―I‘ll take the three sandwiches that are under the warmer and a large chocolate

milk shake to go please.‖

       I took the sandwiches and shake she bagged for me, gave her a wink and headed

out the door within ninety seconds of hitting the counter. Almost a record time for me. In

and out. No blood, no foul.

       I never order stuff that takes too long in case the person‘s voice I was stealing…

no… stealing is an ugly word, let‘s say… mimicking, yeah in case the person‘s voice I

was mimicking decided to come back. I only did this when I was short on cash, or saving

cash for something like college. So… in the last four years I‘ve eaten a lot of free


The special sauce on the burger was really hitting the spot when I realized, I hadn‘t had a

Zippys burger since I was in the 8th grade. The last time I had been in a Zippys Burger

wasn‘t a memory I cherished.


My mom and I pulled into the Zippys Burger that was across the street from my

orthodontist. We always stopped there before my appointments to get my braces tighten,

before my teeth had a chance to start hurting. Every time I would go to the orthodontist

they would tighten my braces, making the tension on my teeth so intense I couldn‟t eat for

about a week.

       This particular day as my mom walked thru the door to Zippys just ahead of me, I

saw over her shoulder, a man with a gun facing us with his back against the counter. He

was holding another man around the neck with one arm, and pointing the gun in his

other hand at the door yelling something. The gun suddenly went off and my mom went

down in front of me, right inside the doorway. I felt a sting hit my leg as blood splattered

from the back of my mother‟s leg onto my pants. I ducked back out the door as it shut

behind my mother, trapping her inside. I looked around and saw an old hubcap lying on

the ground just a few feet from me. I bent down and in one motion grabbed the metal

hubcap and whipped it through the front window to set off the store‟s alarm system. The

crook panicked as the front window shattered and the alarm blared out. He released his

hold on the hostage giving him a shove as he jumped over the counter and took off

through the back. As I jumped in through the smashed window, I saw the hostage that

had been held at gunpoint a second ago, was now bent over my mothers leg applying

pressure to her wound. I only paused long enough to feel confident that my mother wasn‟t

in any real immediate danger before racing after the crook.

I was pretty familiar with the kitchen here since the guy that owned the place liked my

voices, and would sometimes comp my meals if I entertained him. I knew there was only

one way out the back.

Running through the kitchen I grabbed a lighter off the counter and as I went by the

searing hot stove I grabbed a medium size pot of grease. When I opened the back door

into the alley the crook was already in his car and headed my way!

I threw the boiling pot of grease at the oncoming car, covering the hood and windshield

with grease. As the car sped past me I lit the lighter and tossed it onto the hood igniting

the grease. He swerved turning right out of the alley onto the road as the flames started

to billow. Just as he rounded the corner a police car, lights and siren screaming turned

into the alleyway. As the police car skidded to a stop in front of me the cop driving the

car barked at me, “which way did he go kid?” I pointed up the alley ahead telling him

the guy turned right at the corner…and, he‟d be the one driving the car that was on fire.

The cop gave me a look like I was stupid or something, before burning rubber down the

alley onto the main road.

When I got back inside the paramedics had arrived and were giving my mom something

for her pain. It must have been some pretty good stuff, because she was telling the young

paramedic to adjust his collar, and how it‟s always important to always look your best.

Lawrence, the owner of Zippys was being helped up from behind the cash register and

treated for a major blow to the head.

Since Mom had the bullet go clean through her leg I was the one that ended up with the

worst of it. That sting I felt earlier, turned out to be a bullet. The one that had gone

through my mom‟s leg had lodged itself into mine. Strange, but the bullet going in really

didn‟t hurt much, it was the digging it out part that killed me. Mom got to cruise through

the rest of the day high on painkillers, while I sat in the emergency room most of the

afternoon with an orderly digging mercilessly at my leg to retrieve the bullet.

I hadn‟t realized it at the time it was all happening but the man that was being held

hostage was Mr. Garner my school councilor. Mr. Garner went on and on to the local

press about how quickly I had acted and turned the situation around, and that he owed

me his life.

The police caught the crook just two blocks from the Zippys Burger, his windshield

melted so badly he couldn‟t see out of it causing him to smash into a parked car.


        No wonder I haven‘t been in a Zippys in a while. And now that I think about it, I

never even got a Zippys burger that day.

Several hundred miles later, I merged on to I-95 south, about an hour into Florida.

Having eaten at least my body weight in snickers and fruit rollups I vowed to alter my

diet the minute I could escape the car. I didn‘t want to meet over a thousand new girls not

looking my best.

        The weather change over the past twenty-two hours had been amazing. I‘ll bet it

was over ninety degrees out and it was only 11:00 in the morning. This was vastly

different than Michigan‘s weather, but in a good way. When I left Michigan the weather

was just sixty-nine degrees. That was a bit low for this time of year, but not so abnormal

that anyone talked about it or even really noticed. I could get used to ninety degrees

pretty fast.

The highway that I was driving on now was flat and smooth and my tires made a

hypnotic humming sound on the concrete highway, a very different sound than the

clumpity clump, bone jarring weather beaten salt damaged roads of the north. About the

only good thing the potholes served, is in keeping you awake. You had to stay awake just

to avoid the potholes the size you could drive your car into and never be seen from again.

I felt so relaxed, taking everything in from my newfound freedom, to the warm weather

and the new smells of Florida. I swear I could even smell the ocean in the breeze coming

through the car window already. Although I was enjoying the drive, the heat and road

hum were starting to get to me, making me sleepy. I wanted to finish the drive in one shot

so I began mimicking voices on the radio, to keep myself alert.

I hit Coco Beach, just as it was reaching 3:00 in the afternoon. I had made good time. I

followed the signs with little palm trees on them directing me into the next town of Palm

Bay, where the college was located. Driving down A1A along the coast was a much more

interesting and scenic route than the boring interstate.

       Rolling up to a busy intersection I stopped at the red light. On the left side of the

intersection there were a number of strip mall shops selling swimsuits and tee shirts.

There were also some shops selling an assortment of beach toys. Everything from plastic

pails and shovels clear up to cool looking surfboards in every color imaginable.

Alongside me in the left hand lane, was a Ford Taurus with three girls who looked like

they had just came from the beach. There was also a police motorcycle sitting behind

them waiting on the light to turn green. Since I was getting tired, I decide to have some

fun with this.

The policeman was a big macho looking guy, who apparently didn‘t need to wear a

helmet. In Michigan there‘s a law-requiring motorcyclist to wear a helmet, obviously that

wasn‘t the case in Florida. Since he wasn‘t wearing one, I knew he would be able to hear

pretty well. I took a deep breath and threw my voice over to the trunk of the Taurus and

in an exact replica of Sheryl Crow‘s voice, I yelled out, ―Help! Help get me out here.

Please, help me get out of here. Please …Anyone?!‖

The policeman jumped off his bike in a flash but stayed back away from the car as if to

assess the situation for danger. He could see that the girls inside the Taurus didn‘t look

like the kind of group that would have someone locked inside a trunk. So, he quickly

went to the driver‘s window reached up and motioned for the girls to exit the vehicle.

The girls scrambling out of the car were all wearing tee shirts that only came down to

their belly buttons and each girl‘s hair was a wet, tangled mess. They must have spent the

morning on the beach surfing. The officer forced them to open their trunk as traffic

backed up and impatient drivers started to honk.

The trunk flew up as the policeman stood there looking dumbstruck and totally confused.

Four dirty boogie boards were the only things inside the trunk. He must have wondered

how the girls could have managed to get someone out of the trunk without him seeing, or

if the cry for help was coming from another car. The girls looked at him as if he had just

escaped a mental institute.

I laughed to myself as I drove from the scene. Replaying the look on the cops face in my

head should help me stay awake and focused until I find the university.

Just a short while later I entered the Palm Bay city limits. You could see the heat rising

off the road, like was melting the pavement or something. The road ahead looked out of

focus, or it could just be the lack of sleep starting to really affect my eyesight now.

Downtown Palm Bay was much bigger than I imagined it to be. Finding the college

though was not going to be a problem, as there were numerous signs marking the way to

each building. A large sign standing between two draping palm trees showed that

Mendon Hall, Cooper Science Tech. and the Administration building were to the left.

Straight ahead I would find the Colonial dorms, Saint‘s Gymnasium, and the University


        Since I already knew what my dorm assignment was, I headed straight to my

dorm room to crash.

        My dorm building was a new modern stucco building with lots of windows. The

windows went from the floor to ceiling all around the building. While it looked very

classy, I‘m sure it cost a lot to air-condition, with the sun shining through those windows

letting in all kinds of heat throughout the day.

When I got to my room, which was on the far side of the hall, I used the key swipe card

that I received in the mail two weeks ago. What do you know, a bit of good luck, one

swipe and the light turned green and let me right in. It was a nice surprise how cool it was

inside. The cold breeze from the air conditioning sent a chill through my body as it hit the

sweat on the back of my neck.

 There was a huge guy with his back to me setting up a very large stereo system against

the back wall. He must have been 6‘-4‖, 230 lbs and all muscle. Football player I

presumed since he was wearing a Saints football jersey with the name Joseph on the


He looked over his shoulder as he heard the door close behind me, and said ―Hey, I‘m

Joe Joseph.‖

―Hi, I‘m Wilson, Wilson McClain.‖

―Where you from, kid?‖

Kid… he didn‘t seem rude or mean so that kid comment must mean he‘s an upper

classman. At least the guy seemed friendly, and from the look of his classic rock

collection we had the same good taste in music. ―I‘m from Ann Arbor, Michigan, how

about you?‖

He turned back to finish working on his stereo before replying, ―I‘m a local brat. The

university usually likes to get any decent local talent for their sport teams. It‘s their way

of giving back to the community or something, I guess.‖

 I was going to pass out any minute or develop one heck of a headache if I didn‘t get to

sleep pretty soon. I could tell Joe had some stuff crammed under one bed and his pillow

on top of the bed, but to be polite I asked which bed I should take.

Once he pointed it out, I explained that I had made a twenty-six hour drive straight

through and asked if he minded getting acquainted a little later so I could get a few

winks. He said that was fine, he had some errands to run anyway to get some stereo

connectors he needed, and that later tonight he would show me around town.

The bed was soft and the cool AC was blowing right across me. …college felt just like

heaven already. I‘m not even sure I got my shoes off before passing out…zzzzzzzzZZZ

I was up by 8:30 and the sun was just starting to set. Joe said this was a perfect time to hit

his favorite pizza joint and then a couple hot clubs. Joe must have a pretty good time at

the clubs since he had the rugged good looks, blond hair blue eye thing going for him. I‘ll

bet he never had a problem getting dance partners or any other partners for that matter.

All the places we went were right out by the ocean so everything seemed like it had a

festive party atmosphere. It made me wonder how I could have wasted so much time

anywhere else but right here.

The pizza was great, and the clubs were full of first, second, third and fourth year college

students. The new students coming in for the first year did stand out a bit since freshmen

don‘t have that sophisticated look that the junior and senior students carry. And most of

the freshmen were also a few shades paler than everyone else, since most of us came

from other states. Getting a tan would be a priority so I don‘t stick out like a sore thumb.

Compared to the surfer girls, I look almost transparent white, not the look you want to

have in sunny Florida.

You could tell we were all thrilled to be starting college. We kind of looked like six year

olds at the candy counter, eyes wide open, wanting to have one of everything in the store.

I didn‘t quite last as long at the dance clubs as Joe, so I excused myself to head back to

the dorm around 2:00 AM. I guess the effects of the drive were still taking its toll on me.

At least I had four years now to take this all in. I planned to get some sleep tonight and

hit the admission‘s building in the morning to get registration over with. This was

definitely the way to start off college life.

                                          Chapter 2

                                  So much for a good start

         I arrived a few days early so that I would have time to check out the university as

well as have some time to hit the beach before classes started.

It was so nice out this morning I decided to walk rather than drive to the admissions

building. The sun was out and it was already a humid 75 degrees. This would be a good

chance to work on that tan.

The trail from my dorm to the admissions building passed by a large obstacle course, the

kind you see on those ―be all you can be‖ commercials for the Army. I also passed a nice

size pond, that had signs posted: NO SWIMMING! ALLIGATORS!

Sure enough there was a six-foot gator sunning himself by the edge of the pond. He

looked as if he were made from greenish stone. I could tell from the odd position he was

in, with part of his tail curved into the pond, that he must be the real deal and not some

yard statue put there to look good. So I quickly passed by him trying hard not to press my


Now if this were Michigan, there would be a deer drinking from the pond or at least a

faded brown statue of a deer stuck out by the pond, maybe beside one of those red or

green globe things people stick in their yards. I never really got the point of those colored


Gators were definitely a change of pace. If gators could ever make their way to

Michigan sometime they would have quite the treat. There are about 1.7 million deer in

the state of Michigan from the last satellite count done and I‘m sure that would make

quite a few gators a pretty good meal.

 From the end of the pond I could see the college coming into view. Wow, the admission

building was nothing like the new dorm building. The building must be over two hundred

years old, but absolutely gorgeous.

The large stone and mortar two-story building was decorated with intricate carvings

along the second floor balcony that ran completely around the building as best I could

tell. The roof‘s red tile was slightly faded from two hundred plus years of exposure to

Florida‘s sun and rain, but still in excellent condition. The buildings were amazingly

beautiful, and positioned right up against the coastline, which doesn‘t hurt showcasing

them off at all.

There were two stone-encrusted cannon placements between the admission and the

Mendon Hall buildings with some commemorative plaque on them. I wondered what

everything looked like here at the time this was all new.

The admission building had a ―Welcome Freshmen‖ sign out front and posters directing

us inside. Good thing they were pointing us inside, or else those non-leader types would

just be milling around outside the building for hours.

Inside the front doors there was a large hall with two long sign up tables on either side of

the hall. Past the end of each table were two half mooned stairways engraved with

detailed and intricate craftsmanship leading to the second floor. Queen Elizabeth should

have been descending the stairs because everyone else looked completely out of place.

I made my way over to the sign up table on the right still gawking at the elegance of the

building and its setting, trying to convince myself that I was actually here and this would

not all disappear on me.

The girl seated behind the registration table looked up as I reached the table. ―Welcome

to Palm Bay University. My name is Charlene. If you would just take a moment to sign in

here with your name and major, I‘ll grab you your welcome package.‖

I filled out the card and returned it back to the girl. Charlene looked at the card and

gasped, ―Oh, Wilson McClain‖ She looked like I had won a prize for the 1,000th

customer or something. She stood and looked up toward the top of the staircase excitedly

waving her hand up at someone.

―Is everything alright?‖ I asked, wondering if I was in the wrong hall.

―No, I mean yes, everything is just fine! It‘s so nice to meet you Mr. McClain,‖ Charlene


The girl had to be at least a year or two older than I was, so why was she calling me

mister. ―I‘m just here to sign up for freshmen classes, do I have the right table?‖

―Yes, you do, but Mr. Anchutes will assist you now.‖

I had no doubt that the well-dressed James Bond looking man hurrying down the stairs

was Mr. Anchutes. He had slicked back black hair and dark inset eyes. He was at my

side in a flash welcoming me to PBHU before briskly requesting that I follow him.

I show up on time, have a pizza and a few dances…. How could I be in trouble already?

All I wanted to do was blend in and have some fun. Oh no, maybe they found out about

those surfer girls and policeman I messed with. Maybe those girls go here and recognized

me. No way, that was too much of a long shot. Also those girls didn‘t even hear the voice

coming from the trunk, just the cop heard the voice.

Mr. Anchutes stopped and held the door open for me as we reached the fifth door down

the center hallway. The doors in the center hall were not marked in any way, by room

number or by name. I counted them as we walked by, in case I would need to return for

any reason.

The room that we entered was interesting. A large ten foot long narrow table stood in the

back of the room with six ominous chairs on one side, and what I assumed would be my

seat directly across from them. There were old civil war paintings on the one wall and

one wall dedicated to deep built in bookshelves. Two large comfortable leather chairs sat

between a reading light and large world globe. The room smelled of faint pipe tobacco

and wood polish.

 Mr. Anchutes speaking in a smooth friendly voice, asked me to have a seat. I knew I

would end up in that chair facing someone but who was still the question.

―It was nice of you to arrive so early, Wilson.‖ Mr. Anchutes said.

       Since there was a four-day sign up period I didn't quite understand how I was

early. I let it go without a question though, and thanked him for the chair.

       ―The council will be in momentarily, would you like a coffee or soft drink?‖

The council… hmmm… ―No, thank you. I‘m fine, sir.‖ I wanted my hands free for

whatever was coming.

He nodded, smiled and then excused himself. As soon as the door behind me shut the

door to the side opened and in marched six people who I presumed were the council


Two of the men were dressed in full business suits and ties looking ready for a day in

court, the other two men were dressed in what I imagined was traditional attire for

professors. The last two members of the council were female. They were stunningly

attractive and dressed in light summer dresses. They didn‘t seem to fit in quite as well

with the gentlemen‘s club look.

―Welcome to Palm Bay Heights University.‖ The man closest to the middle spoke up as

they all took their seats.

I had risen when they entered the room and the two ladies apparently noticed this,

because when they sat down they shot a quick glance at one another and smiled as I took

my seat.

I spoke in a voice as professional as I could muster not knowing what trouble I had gotten

into yet. ―Thank you, sir, it‘s a pleasure to be here. I hope I haven‘t done anything


―No, not at all,‖ he reassured me. ―Allow me to introduce myself and the other members

of the council. I‘m Dr. Ishmail and to my right are Dr. Cook, and Professor Watten. To

my left are Professor Hoob, Professor Limbert and Congressman Jones.‖

Doctor Ishmail was a clean cut thinly built man, who carried himself very confidently. He

reminded me of Ward Clever on that old sitcom, Leave it to Beaver.

―Our university watches major newspapers, and talks to school councilors from all over

the United States looking for special students. We canvas a great many applications

looking for particular traits. As you may have noticed our pre test is not standard or like

any of the other prescreening test you may have taken for other colleges. We not only

look for good college students but we also have a special branch of this university that

looks for unique and gifted people. We would like for you to answer a few more

questions for us today to see if this special branch would be of interest to you, and also

help us to judge your qualifications for this program?‖

A special program that I would qualify for… now that was interesting. Since I hadn‘t

used too much effort in high school and devoted most of my time to my own hobby, I

was curious what they saw in me that was worth this extra attention.

―Sure, why not… sir.‖

Clearing his throat Mr. Ishmail said, ―We‘ll be asking you a few situational questions.

Please answer right away to simulate a real life scenario. Do you understand?‖

―Yes, sir‖

 Professor Hoob was the next to speak. She was a tall thin woman with platinum blond

hair and pale, ice blue eyes. She would have looked like a runway model if weren‘t for

the casual sundress she was wearing being a bit too tame for your typical supermodel


―You‘re in a small bi-engine plane with twelve passengers and one stewardess. You are

traveling from Las Vegas to Dallas. Five minutes off the runway, the pilot has a massive

heart attack and dies within seconds. The plane is maintaining its altitude. The stewardess

calls out for help and asks for anyone with flight experience. Nobody on board replies to

her call. What are the first three things you would do?‖

―I would get to the pilot to verify that he‘s dead and then ask the stewardess to help me

remove the pilot from the cockpit. Before touching anything I would try to use the radio

to make contact with the tower.‖

―Very good.‖ Hoob states and then fires again.

―The radio is out. The pilot spilt coffee on it when he had his heart attack. Next three

steps, and explain why please.‖

―OK. No radio. I would get a feel for the controls while there is no immediate danger.

Since we had left leaving Las Vegas and were going toward Texas I know I would be

over the desert for a few hours. I would ask the stewardess to hand out life preservers to

the passengers.‖

―Life preservers?‖ Hoob questioned her eyes narrowing. ―Why would you pass out life

preservers when you‘re traveling over a desert?‖

―Because life preservers can be blown up and used like airbags in cars. Anything soft for


― Because…?‖ Hoob prompted, wanting further detail.

―Because the next thing that I would do would be to bring the plane down as soon as I

could, and in a straight line on the same course. The reasons are that without flight

knowledge and training turning the plane back to the airport would be more dangerous

than just continuing straight. The quicker I get the plane on the ground the more likely it

is we‘ll be picked up. The Juarez desert is 25,000 square miles of sand. That‘s a big area

to be lost in, without any water or a radio. Also the sooner I drop the plane down the

more likely we would still be within the original tower‘s radar. So if we end up with

injuries, being rescued sooner rather than later may make all the difference. Also two

other points, landing in the desert not only leaves lots of room for error but it also

provides a very long long landing strip that‘s hard to miss. Secondly we would have

avoided endangering any additional lives on the ground.‖

I was sure that turning a plane too sharply, with too little air speed would drop the plane

from the sky. Giving the plane more gas and speed would not have been first on my list

of things to do, but I left that detail out not wanting to seem too cowardly.

The council members huddled up to review my explanation, each adding a few words of

their own into the conversation. I was too far back to hear anything over a low murmur

every now and then. The council all seemed to be in consensus when they faced me


―Mr. McClain, we believe that is one of the most practical answers to that question we

have ever received. Not too heroic, and no more risk taken than was required. Your

immediate action was backed up with reason and a very clear plan. Very well done.‖

Hoob said with a quick nod.

Professor Watten stood up to ask the next question. He must have been fifty years old,

but looked like he was as fit as any student on campus. ―Mr. McClain, let‘s say you

enter the Sundowner Bank of Palm Bay at 9:30 AM. There are no customers in sight, the

doors to the offices are closed and there is one teller behind the counter looking at

paperwork in front of her. You are there to open an account and deposit your first

paycheck from a part time Piggly Wiggly bagger job. What do you do after entering?‖

―May I ask what day it is, sir?‖

―No… here‘s your next scenario‖

O…okay, I guess I didn‘t do so well on that one.

―There‘s an outdoor concert you and your friend have wanted to attend for months. After

waiting in line several hours to purchase tickets, just as you reached the ticket booth

you‘re told they just sold out. You‘re disappointed, but as you leave, making your way

down the street you notice there is a opening in the fence that you could sneak through to

get in for free. What do you do?‖

―I would walk back to the ticket booth and ask to see the manager. I would explain to him

that there is a hole in the fence, which is probably causing lost sales. I would then

volunteer to repair the fence in the morning if he‘d allow my friend and I to attend the

concert and get backstage passes. If he is smart I‘m sure this offer would make good

sense for him to accept. If not then I‘m sure he‘s going to lose even more money through

the hole in his fence.‖

        The council moved in again for a quick huddle and then broke, as the door behind

me opened. Mr. Anchutes walked in carrying a small table with three black boxes on it.

He placed the table in front of me. From the resounding thud it made when it hit the floor

it must have weighed quite a bit.

        The black boxes appeared to be made of thick plastic, each one covered with a

heavy black cloth lid with a slit cut into the top.

        The council gave me a moment to evaluate the boxes set in front of me before

Congressman Jones stood up to address me.

        ―In front of you there are three boxes, as you can clearly see. In two of the boxes

there is a check made out to cash for $5,000 dollars. In one box is a Cobra red snake that

has very poisonous venom. We want you to put your hand in one box. It‘s up to you if

you choose to put your hand in two boxes, we will allow that. I will tell you that the

center box is a safe choice.‖

        Then professor Limbert spoke. ―I will tell you that the center box is not safe.‖

        Then Dr. Cook spoke. ―And I will tell you the box on your right is safe‖

        Congressman James spoke again, with no expression or tone in his voice.

―And I will tell you the box on your right is not safe. That‘s all that will be said, now

make your choice.‖

        THEY HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Either I get rich or end up in the

hospital or morgue…. What kind of choice is that?

―No, sir. I will not put my hand in any box! I‘m afraid this is not the school for me….

thank you just the same… I‘ll be leaving now.‖

As I stood to leave Mr. Anchutes very calmly said. ―Please sit down, Wilson‖

The council members did not look rattled or even surprised at my outburst of refusal.

Hell, they looked almost pleased and were ignoring me and back in their huddled


Anchutes walked over in front of the table with the boxes. He flipped the boxes on their

sides so I could see there were no bottoms to the boxes they were empty. No snake. No


―Just a test,‖ he whispered. ―We‘re not keen on killing off freshmen so early in the year,‖

he winked as he removed the table.

―Mr. McClain, please accept our apologies for the dramatics, but you were never in any

real danger. We needed to see how you would respond under stress, pressure and

misdirection. It‘s surprising how many people can‘t ignore the impulse to follow

direction under duress, even when it‘s the wrong direction. We would like to ask you one

final question now before allowing you to ask any of the myriads of questions I‘m sure

you have. What made you ask a question during the bank scenario, rather than giving us a


―Well sir, I like to give the person asking the question the answer to what they really

want to know, and that‘s not always what‘s really asked. And without more information

or details of the situation I didn‘t have a clear understanding of the true question. The day

would have told me if the empty bank was the correct appearance or not. The parking lot

would have told me how many people I should expect to see inside the bank. Since banks

always have open door policies, that would have been a signal to me that I had missed

important details. Since it was a bank question it was a leading situation to be either a

robbery or a math question, or maybe just, do I know how to open a savings account.

Saving money is tough these days.‖

A slight chuckle came from a few council members, and I could feel that this, whatever

this was… was coming to an end.

―Alright, Mr. McClain, you may ask any questions you have at this time.‖

Where should I start, how much time would they allow me? I searched my brain for a

logical place to start. Since I didn‘t see anything normal about any of this…. I guess I‘d

start with that.

―What did I just interview for? Was I supposed to know I was coming for this test? Am I

still accepted to this University?‖ The questions poured out of me without giving the

council any chance to answer. I tried to shut my mouth so I could hear a few answers and

then get a second round in before being ushered off. Dr. Ishmail stood and I could see the

outcome of this event was going to finally be revealed.

―You see, Wilson, we have two separate universities running here at the same time.

Although not completely separate, there is a vast difference of knowledge and training

being passed on. On one side you have normal students getting normal degrees in

science, math, and business. And on the other side, we have some of the most gifted

students from around the world now being trained and educated in subjects such as

counterintelligence, reconnaissance, and espionage just to name a few.

The United States government funds this portion of the university to develop a pool of

people to draw from for any number of special projects, programs or positions. I‘m afraid

this is as specific as I am allowed to be at this point. We recruit for this program like any

other school recruits for their athletic programs.

I‘m sure you didn‘t know, but we have been watching you all through high school, and

we drafted a few questions specifically for you. We believe after speaking with you this

morning that you are a good fit for our special abilities program. If you accept our offer,

you will be enrolled in the Special Abilities program where all classes and training are

fully paid for by the government, with no cost to you.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and few people get a chance at what we are

offering you now. The SA program will teach you things you would never learn in any

other universities. This is also an accelerated program because of the nature of the studies

and activities. You would be given an allowance that would be ample for any needs that

arise. There are dorm room accommodations for you in this building that are unequaled at

any other university in the world.

We have had the opportunity to debate about you for a long time, Wilson. Unfortunately,

we can‘t allow you that same luxury before you have to make a decision about us. We

can, let you have until the last day of enrollment to give us your answer. We hope you

will find this a challenge and understand it for the great opportunity it is. We all wish you

the best with whatever decision you make.‖

                                        Chapter 3

Special Abilities

As I walked down the stairs past the enrollment table it seemed so dull and unexciting

now, looking at students doing the typical enrollment. Hell, I‘ve dodged a poisonous

snake, crash landed a plane in the desert, avoided a bank robbery, and I don‘t even know

what my major is yet.

       Even though I wanted to come to college to make some friends and have some

fun for a change, I couldn‘t ignore the feel of adrenaline rushing through my veins now. I

know I‘m nothing special, but just to be thought of as having potential and knowing

someone was willing to put me into specialized training for something, made me feel

great and all charged up.

       I guess being this charged up could be from the near death experience with the

non-existent poisonous snake. But still, this feeling was a rush. More questions were now

starting to pour into my head, like how many classes a day I would have to take, what if I

flunked a class, and what did ―training‖ mean? How much is the allowance, was there a

class list, are there majors? Would I get a degree or diploma, or what?

Well there would still be plenty of time to get answers later, for now…. I‘m starved, I

needed to get some food and round up my roommate. Maybe Joe would know something

about the SA program. I would swing by my dorm and see if Joe wanted to pick up

something to eat.

It would be my treat now that I probably had my next four year‘s tuition, room and board

covered, plus the rest of the money I managed to save from my summer job.

As I passed by the pond I didn‘t see the gator who had been sunning himself earlier,

which gave me an eerie feeling. Like he would jump out from a bush or something. I

guess the morning was a bit more stressing than I thought.

I could see that Joe and about a dozen other guys were playing football on the front lawn

of our dorm. There were also just about as many girls sprawled out on blankets, tanning

and watching the show that the guys were putting on. Half the girls were even brave

enough to be lying out in the skimpiest of bikinis. I guess since this is the Florida coast,

this was normal. But this was definitely not normal for a guy coming out of Michigan. I‘ll

just have to try my best to get used to it.

Joe saw me walking up the path and gave me a quick wave over. ―Hey, want in on this


―I would, if starvation wasn‘t an issue. I‘ll buy the pizza if you want to go out when

you‘re done there.‖

―If your buying, I‘m done, lets go!‖

―You sure you‘re ready?‖

―Oh, yeah, I‘m starved too.‖

Joe walked over to the imaginary boundary line and picked up his shirt. As he pulled it

down over his head I heard sighs coming from the three girls on the ground closest to me.

I grinned at Joe as he hustled over to catch up to me.

―Everything on it, right?‖ He spouted.

―Sure, you bet, the works.‖

Joe yelled back for to one of the guys that were standing on the sideline to take his spot in

the game.

―There are a bunch of fun guys at this college, you‘re going to like it here, Wilson. The

spectators aren‘t too bad either, if you haven‘t noticed.‖

―Yeah, I noticed alright. Makes me want to try out for the team.‖

The pizza parlor was buzzing but we were able to land a booth up front by the windows.

The big screen TV had an old ESPN classic showing, the Lakers and Celtics, and the

place smelled great. We gave our order to a girl that was wearing a tight purple pledge

shirt, ―Pie Beta Beta.‖ She seemed to know Joe… or wanted to, but he really wasn‘t

acknowledging her, or picking up on the extra attention she was giving him. He seemed

way more focused on getting something to eat.

       Before the pizza showed up, I figured it was a good time to get some information

from Joe, since we would both dive in headfirst the minute the pie hit the table.

       ―Have you ever heard of a program on campus called special abilities or

something like that?‖ I was trying to be as casual as possible.

       ―Yeah, those guys are great, you don‘t see them around a lot, but they have some

of the coolest parties and games on the beach, everyone loves to go to their parties. They

come to a lot of the school sporting events and frat parties too. Most of the classes for

that program are closed to other students, but I always thought they were cool.‖

The waitress brought over a large pitcher of soda for us and sat it on the table close to Joe

with a couple of chilled mugs. She picked up Joes‘ mug and filled it for him asking if she

could get us anything else before the pizza came, not taking her eyes off him. Ok… so

she didn‘t fill my mug or look in my direction, not a big deal. She must like the sweaty

oversized football type.

Joe still oblivious to her extra attention though, took a large gulp from his mug and

proceeded to tell me of his first encounter freshman year with a SA student.

―My first year I was a lot smaller than I am now.‖

I assumed Joe prefaced his story so I would know he was bigger and stronger now, and

what ever was coming in the story, he would now be able to handle on his own.

―I was about to get a hazing from two seniors on the football team down in the spa room

late after a practice one night. I knew it was coming but you just don‘t know how far

some guys will take stuff, ya know. Before they actually put their hands on me, a SA

student came around the corner and we all kind of froze like little kids caught with their

hand in the cookie jar or something. This SA guy was even a little smaller than I was. He

took in the situation and knew what was about to go down in a heartbeat. He looked over

at the two very large linemen and said, ‗It sure is good to have talented freshman coming

out for the team this year. I am counting on you two to make sure they are well cared for

and appreciated.‘ He was as serious as a heart attack, never wavering, blinking or even

skipping a beat. Those guys listened to him and treated me like gold the rest of the year,

even going out of their way to help me out with plays and all sorts of stuff above and

beyond. I don‘t to this day know why or how that guy pulled the weight he did, but boy

was I glad he showed up when he did. Those guys are all gone now, but in general the SA

guys all get plenty of respect from not only the students, but the professors seem to be

keen on them too. So what‘s up, did a SA guy save you from a swirly or …?‖

Interrupting Joe‘s question the Pie Beta Beta girl walked up carrying our piping hot

pizza, making all our current wishes come true. She had her back to Joe as she put our pie

on the table and gave me a big smile. She reached over and tucked a napkin into my shirt,

patting it down on my chest as she flirtingly giggled. Maybe she was going for the

jealousy angle now since the direct approach wasn‘t getting Joe‘s attention, but I think

the pizza had the best shot at Joe‘s attention for now… at least for the next 30 minutes. I

gave her a dismissive smile and nod, letting her know she was free to go.

In between wolfing down slices of pizza, Joe told me a little bit about the football team

and about his position as linebacker. He also got in his list of top ten notable professors,

kind of like David Letterman‘s thing. I could tell he‘d given it out at parties and stuff. He

was very proud of all the thought and humor behind it. Number one on the list of top ten

notable professor‘s at PBHU was professor Rodriguez, a 5‘6‖ Mexican lady in her early

thirties that taught Spanish and coached girls lacrosse for the school. She made the list

because… she wasn‘t a fan of undergarments. She came up from Mexico to teach and

said it was just too hot there and she never got used to wearing undergarments. At least

that‘s the story that‘s passed around like folklore.

I guess there wouldn‘t be any harm in telling Joe I was going to be one of the SA

students. I still wasn‘t real sure why they wanted me in that elite group, but Joe seemed to

think they were an OK group. They still got to have lots of fun, and do all the college

stuff I was looking forward to doing. Plus… no fees, free food, and apparently a good


I decided to go and tell the council today to sign me up. Joe wasn‘t aware that I hadn‘t

answered his last question so I figured… enjoy the feast now, go sign up, and fill Joe in


The pizza died an honorable death giving joy to the world, at least me and Joe‘s world.

Joe said we should head back to the dorm to see if anyone was still playing or hanging

out. I passed, telling him I had a few things to take care of. Joe thanked me for dinner and

took off back down Palm Bay Road as I headed south down Baker Road toward the

Admissions building.

―Hey! Your not sneaking back to see Pie Beta Beta now are you‖ Joe yelled back and

laughed. I gave him a send off salute as he went out of sight. He must have been more

aware of the waitress than he had let on.

                                        Chapter 4

Fill ‘er up?

        I headed down Baker road toward the admissions building. As I reached the end

of the block I noticed there was a crowd of people gathered in front of the corner gas

station. My first thought was that it was a car wash thrown by college kids drawing the

crowd. I quickened my pace a bit not wanting to miss out on anything that brought out

more girls in swimsuits. What a great choice Florida was I thought again still feeling

euphoric from the excellent pizza I had devoured.

As I approached, the crowd was quickly backing up into the middle of the street. I could

now see billows of smoke rising from the direction of the pumps. I wondered why all the

people weren‘t just turning to run away from the gas pump fire. Then I saw her… an

older Buick Cutlass at the pump with a large puddle of gas that had ignited burning up on

all four sides of the car.

Frantically pacing back and forth behind the car, much too close to the flames the young

woman screamed. ―MY BABY!!! MY BABY!!!‖ Pushing my way to the front of the

crowd I could see that the gas pump hose had a big slice in it. Gas was gushing out from

the slice and was pooling underneath the car.

The car was running which must have been the cause of ignition. When the flame

flickered apart for just one second I saw it… a car seat in the back seat. When she

screamed my baby she was not talking about some car she had grown fond of. There was

a baby in that car seat. As the woman continued to scream, I took off on a dead run for

the far end of the gas pump island. The crowd now backed up to the far edge of the road

anticipating the car and pumps exploding.

The flames billowed out from under the car on all four sides going up about 8 ft high and

they were hot! Scorching hot! I could feel the heat as I ran to the opposite end of the

pump island. I already had my pocketknife out when I got there. Grabbing the air hose I

had seen, I thanked God gas stations in the south still provided free air. I rammed my

palm into the T-valve turning on the air and then jerked my knife across the end of the

hose cutting off the fitting as I ran back to the Buick.

The air screamed out of the hose just as I had hoped. Dropping the hose to the ground at

the driver‘s side door I positioned it with my feet so the air blew the flames back away

from the driver‘s door. I quickly leaned in closer to the car smashing in the driver‘s

window with my elbow. Reaching in through the broken window I dropped the car into

drive. I was glad it was running, but if it had been off maybe there wouldn‘t have been

this massive inferno to begin with.

As the car started to move forward slowly, I stretched my leg out as far as I could in order

to hold the air hose on the fire as long as possible, while steering the car with my left

arm. By the time I had to let go of the air hose the car was moving at about four miles an


Too busy to turn my attention from the smoldering car more for than a second, out of the

corner of my eye I caught two big rescue fire trucks screeched to a stop, sirens blaring.

Now trotting along side the charred Buick I steered it toward the large soft plastic

garbage dumpsters that were twenty ft ahead. The fire on the ground was still being fed

with gasoline flooding out of the hose. The car hit the dumpster head on with a soft

thump and crumpled it bringing the car to a nice gentle stop, a safe distance from the

pump fire and possible explosion yet to come.

I threw the car back into park, and then ran around to the back passenger side door.

Pulling my shirt off over my head I used it to pull up on the scorching hot door handle.

After getting the door open, I ducked into the backseat to unbuckle the child. The car still

wasn‘t a safe place. The baby girl was about two years old, with light brown shoulder

length curly hair with large round light brown eyes to match. She was very alert and all

smiles. She hadn‘t been fazed at all by sitting in the car with the towering flames

surrounding her. She wasn‘t harmed physically or mentally that I could tell.

―I gotcha baby girl!‖ I said, trying to sound as calm and collected as the little girl seemed

to be.

She just looked at me with the biggest smile and held out her arms to me.

―Boy,‖ her voice was soft and warm.

Wow…. what a beautiful little girl. When I picked her up she wrapped her legs

instinctively around my waist like we had done this every day. I carried her toward her

mother who was still in hysterics, tears pouring from her eyes, she reached out to take her

from me. ―Thank you God, Thank you, God.‖ she uttered through her chocking sobs.

The fire on the ground at the pump was now out. The firemen had flooded it with some

foamy retardant and were now bringing spray canisters over to the car to spray the under

side of it, to prevent any chance of it exploding. Two EMS men escorted the woman and

her child to a safe distance as well. The crowd was now quite large, as this had turned

into quite a spectacle. The roads were being blocked off for the safety crew and cleanup

work to begin.

All seemed to be in control now, and I still needed to meet with the council.

Walking down Baker road I wondered if I should clean up before going in to see the

council, but I didn‘t want to give them time to change their mind or have the classes fill

up and not get in. Abandoning the idea of cleaning up I pulled on my tee shirt and walked

into Admissions. Charlene, the welcoming girl, was still there at the enrollment table.

―Hi Charlene, I would like to see the council to accept their offer to be in the SA


―No need,‖ she said.

My heart stopped.

―What do you mean? … They said I had a few days to decide.‖

―No, I mean there is no need to see them, they said you would be back today to accept

and that I should give you your class list and your new dorm key. You‘ll need to move

into this building on the second floor. Room 210.‖

So they knew I would be back, and they knew it would be today…hmm. I guess not too

many people pass up offers from them. Still how did they know I would be back today?

―Wilson, may I see you for a moment please, if you have time.‖

The voice came from the top of the stairs as I saw Dr. Ishmail descending to meet up with


―Yes, sir.‖

He didn‘t say another word. He just turned so that I would follow him back up the

winding staircase. This time I was led into what must have been his office. It was not at

all what I expected.

Inside this very majestic building most of the rooms all looked as if they were carved

right out of the history books, and with such well maintained authenticity. The main hall

looked like it was right out of the Sistine chapel, decorated with sculptures and mural


Dr. Ishmail's office was very modern looking, even the furniture. On the wall there were

twelve different television channels playing various programs. As Dr. Ismail sat down,

the glass top of his desk lit up to display several blue screens. The top of his desk must

have been a touch sensitive computer. I was impressed.

―I stopped back to sign up for the SA program.‖ I blurted out, thinking he was just

wondering about my presence downstairs.

He didn‘t look up from the computer screen on his desk as he typed something in. ―Yes, I

know you did, Wilson. We never doubted you would be here with us. We are the ones

that have all the confidence in you at this point. Let me show you something so you

understand why.‖

 He looked up and pointed to the wall with twelve channels running. As I looked not

knowing which picture he wanted me to focus on, the wall changed and all the pictures

melted into one large picture that took over the entire wall. It wasn‘t twelve individual

picture screens as I had first thought, but it was one giant screen that had the ability to

split itself into multiple channels. I knew Joe would love this thing hanging in our room.

I guess it won‘t be our room anymore, since I would be moving into the admissions


―Wilson, do you recognize anyone in this news footage?‖

I refocused to actually watch the picture Dr. Ishmail had covering the wall. It was a

picture of me walking down Baker Road with my back to the camera. The camera panned

back to the gas station that had been on fire where several firemen in bright yellow suits

were running around. The camera then zoomed in on the mother still holding very tightly

to the little girl I pulled from the car fire. The little girl was still smiling, such a happy

little girl. The mother must surround her with the deepest unconditional love every

minute of every day for her to feel so content and happy in her arms.

The mother was explaining to the news anchorperson why she had left the car running.

She wanted the little girl to have air conditioning while she filled the car with gas. She

then explained how the hose gushed gas as soon as it was turned on and how fast the car

was engulfed in flames and then how….

Dr. Ishmail muted the station and cleared his throat. ―Very interesting. You‘re downstairs

filling out your SA enrollment form and that is you there on the news at the same time, is

that correct?‖

―Yes, sir.‖

―Well, I know it‘s you. That was a rhetorical question. Relax Wilson, that channel has

been running that clip for about five minutes now. All of the people standing around have

given eyewitness testimony as to how this young man walking away was so brave to risk

his life. How he was cunning enough to come up with a way to save this little girl while

they all stood there in shock. They were amazed at how you pulled her from the

scorching car and then just trotted off.‖

The doctor turned off his desk computer but left the big screen on the wall in replay

mode. Repositioning himself to look directly at me as if he wanted to get a good read on

my reactions, he continued, ―The mother said you left so fast she did not have a chance to

kiss you, hug you, or even thank you. She couldn‘t believe when she started to come to

herself that you weren‘t there. You also have a burn mark of a Buick cutlass door handle

on your shirt, so fresh its still smoking.‖

I patted my shirt without looking down.

Dr. Ishmail chuckled a bit to himself as if none of this was surprising to him. ―This is

why we knew you would be in this program, and this is how we knew you would be back

today. You don‘t make mistakes under pressure, and you don‘t fail to act.

Congratulations on making the correct decision we knew you would make. And this…‖

He said pointing to the wall screen. ―This was a very selfless and courageous act, I am

very proud of you. But I need to ask, why didn‘t you stay so that woman could thank


―Well sir, when she took the beautiful little girl from my hands she said ―Thank you,

God! Thank you, God!‖ I knew God must have put me there and given me those ideas in

order to save that girl, so I figured she had thanked the right person already. Besides, I

was in a hurry to sign up so I wouldn‘t lose my spot in the SA program.‖

Dr. Ishmail laughed to himself again. ―OK, fair enough, now go enjoy your last three

days of freedom before we make you buckle down. Just saving one girl a day won‘t be

near enough for us.‖

 We both laughed as I headed out the door.

I wasn‘t looking forward to talking to Joe because I would have to let him know I would

be moving out. I hope my next roommate is half as cool as Joe.

CRAP… that car door handle burnt all the way through my favorite Van Halen


                                          Chapter 5

                                          The Dorm

        As I walked up the sidewalk to Joe‘s dorm I could see that the football game was

over and I could see the players and spectators were inside the dorm‘s great room. The

great room had large floor to ceiling windows about six feet wide on each side of the

front door I could see through as I walked up.

There were a couple of pool tables, a ping pong table, four or five couches, a big screen

TV, and a few vending machines set up in the great room. The commons area was

designed for students so they wouldn‘t be isolated to their rooms, or maybe so there was

less incentive to pack forty-five kids into a small dorm room.

As I opened the door a guy standing by the soda machine yelled out, ―There he is!‖

        Everybody in the room turned and started clapping and whooping. They were all

trying to congratulate me for saving the little girl.

        Apparently college students do watch the news. Joe was in the back of the room

with a big smile on his face just nodding to me. I was now getting my back slapped by

the majority of the football team, and I‘m pretty sure I had my ass slapped by a few of the

female spectators. That was a nice perk to getting my fifteen minutes of fame.

After everyone had a chance to celebrate the little girl‘s survival the crowd quickly

thinned out and I flopped down on one of the well-worn couches. Joe jumped over the

back and landed on the side arm.

―You never told me you were the lone ranger, saving the town and then riding off into the


Laughing, I thought now might be a great time to mention my other big news, since I had

his undivided attention.

―Well I‘m no lone ranger, I just got lucky the car and gas pump didn‘t explode on me.

The story on the news could have been spun a lot different you know. ‗Look at the

smudge where this idiot used to be standing…‘.‖

We both laughed again as Joe slapped me on the back like I was kidding or something.

―I did however make it into the SA program today. What do you think?‖

―I guess it makes sense, what you did is the kind of stuff you see from people in the SA

program. Top-notch man, I‘m proud of you. So, I guess you‘ll be moving out then, over

to their building?‖ I saw that the realization of that just crossed his mind.

I could tell he was comfortable with me as his roommate just after a couple of days, but it

was no big deal. He would probably be assigned another roommate, maybe even a

freshman jock he could watch over. Talking about this made me wonder again whom I

would be rooming with.

―We have three days before classes start, so what do you say we make the most of it?‖ I

said slapping Joe‘s back, trying to focus on the short-term fun we would have.

―Yeah, I like the way you think. And that stunt you just pulled will probably land us a

few good dates and some free meals all around town for the next three days until some

other wild local story breaks, and there are usually a few.‖

Two days of dancing, eating, and beach volleyball. Most of the time I was having a blast,

except for that four hours of surfing, or anti drowning, however you wanted to look at it.

Joe was a great surfer, but I was just happy to have not drowned myself or to have lost

any of my teeth. I didn‘t get the chance to practice surfing too often in Michigan, so it

would definitely take some getting used to. I did find out quickly though that you have to

wear a tee shirt while surfing or else the board rubbing on your chest will leave you

nipple-less quickly.

Those days off flew by too fast. I didn‘t bother to switch rooms until the last day so I

needed to get over to my new dorm and get settled in. My new roommate wouldn‘t arrive

until tonight I was told, so I hoped to get my stuff unpacked before he arrived. He better

be cool.

I hadn‘t unpacked too much at my old dorm so it was pretty easy to get my car loaded

back up. I drove back over to the admissions building which also housed the dorm rooms

for the SA students.

Outside there was a large wide stairway leading up to the second floor balcony. All the

dorm rooms had windows that faced out over the balcony, and the back rooms had a nice

view of the ocean. The side rooms on the left and right had good views of the other

campus buildings.

I had room 210, so aside from having to carry all my stuff up a flight of stairs I would at

least have a good view from the second story. I took my stuff in the front door and up the

half moon stairway on the left. Down the hallway I saw the rooms were numbered

starting with 200. There were only doors on the left side of this hallway so I followed it

down looking for 210. I reached the end of the hall at room 209 and had to make a right

turn, so my dorm room was the first room on the back left corner of the building. This

meant I would not only have a good view but a great view. A view of the ocean, and the

white sandy beach.

       As I slid the new keycard into the lock the green light flickered and let me in.

WOW… The room was huge, decorated with contemporary furniture and fixtures but

still in keeping with the historical detail and design work in the ceiling and baseboards.

Even the wallpaper and carpeting looked new but still was inline with the building‘s


         The kitchen was to the right as you walked in. It had a stove/oven, family size

frig, double sink, dishwasher, and large eat at counter divided it from a good-sized living

room and study.

Two desks faced each other on the right side of the room. Both had a touch screen

computer built into the desktop kind of like the Dr. Ishmail‘s. I wouldn‘t need my TV,

stereo, or computer. So I would have to figure out what to do with all the stuff that I

brought that I didn‘t need now. I could figure that out later.

There was a long couch in the center of the room facing the flat screen TV that hung on

the wall. At the far end of the room was a large bay window overlooking the beach and


On the right wall were three doors side-by-side. The two on either side lead to the

bedrooms, and the middle door led to a bathroom. Each bedroom had one bed and one

closet. The bedrooms were small in size compared to the rest of the rooms, but that really

wouldn‘t matter since I wouldn‘t be spending much time in there anyway.

This place was better than anywhere I had ever stayed. It made me wonder again if I was

the one that was supposed to be here, or if they had made a mistake and got me mixed up

with someone more deserving.

I was just getting pretty familiar with the desk computer when I heard the door lock click.

I turned around to see my new roommate dragging in way more stuff than he was going

to need as well. He had a trunk with a TV and stereo tied down to the top trying to pull it

all in at one time. I hurried over to the door to give him a hand.

       ―I got this, if you could grab the two suitcases in the hall. By the way, I‘m Marty


―Hi, I‘m Wilson McClain.‖ I introduced myself as I grabbed the two suitcases in the hall.

I could barely get the one off the ground, as I more dragged it in than carried it.

―What do you have in this case… cannon balls?‖ I remembered seeing a cannon out in

between the buildings, I guess that‘s why that popped into my head but he looked serious

like there were cannon balls in his suitcase.

―Well, yeah…sort of.‖ He said sheepishly.

―No really, what do you have in here?‖

―Lots of steel balls. They aren‘t for shooting out of cannons, but they sort of look like

they could be I guess.‖ We both looked at each other and chuckled at his explanation.

I was defiantly going to get more details later, to find out why anyone not in charge of

loading 1812 cannon carries around a suitcase full of steel balls.

Marty made a few comments about how cool the room was and then asked which

bedroom was his. They were both identical so I had put all my stuff away earlier thinking

it wouldn‘t matter which one I took. I pointed out the one that was empty for him.

―Wilson, when I get this stuff put away would you like to get something to eat?‖

I thought about showing him the pizza parlor but I sort of wanted to try something new.

―Yeah sure, I‘ll help you unpack, how about we try barbecue or Chinese?‖

―Either one is good, I can eat anything.‖

―Me too. Hey, have you been in to see the council yet?‖

―No, I don‘t have to meet with them, they had me recruited when I was in the fifth


―No kidding?‖ I said in amazement.

―Yeah they knew about me way back when. I made a few headlines and most of the

medical journals years ago when I was real young.‖

―You got a third eye or something I should know about?‖ I tried to sound as jokingly as

possible, but who knows.

―I‘ve been able to control my electrical energy field better than most people since I was


―Yeah sure, what does that mean in English?‖

―I‘ll explain it to you over dinner, I think I‘m all set now. I wish they would have told us

how well supplied these rooms were. Wonder what I‘m going to do with this TV?‖

―There‘s always E-BAY.‖

There was a Chinese diner right beside the pizza joint and just across from a barbecue

shop. I was glad Marty walked into the Chinese diner without veering off to the pizza

parlor since they were both side by side.

          We ordered and sat in a booth by the window so we could watch the people on the

strip walking by as we ate. Marty was about five inches taller than me with short wavy

brown hair and light blue eyes. He was built pretty well too, like he was used to doing a

lot of heavy work or something. He kind of had that bad boy rock and roll look going on.

He was wearing a Molly Hatchet tee shirt and holey jeans even though it was in the mid

nineties outside. He seemed really laid back and easy going though.

―So tell me about electrical energy thing you do.‖

―Ok, first watch this.‖ He held out his hand about a foot off the table, over a knife and

fork that was wrapped in a napkin resting on the table. He said to watch the silverware.

Right before my eyes the silverware rose off the table and flew up into his hand.

―No way, that‘s a pretty good trick. Let‘s see some more.‖

 After he sat the silverware on the table, he opened up his other hand that was resting on

the table facing the tea pot. ―Watch the pot, Wilson.‖ The pot of tea sitting on the table

slid over smoothly into his hand. He then grabbed the handle and poured us both a cup.

―Well do you get it?‖

―Well I saw it… but I don‘t get it!‖

He grinned and realized he was going to have to explain in detail. ―It‘s like this.

Everyone has an electrical field that surrounds their body. This field is usually very tight

to your body, and can be manipulated to some degree. In a study I saw recently they

demonstrated that the electrical field is visible under ultra violet light. To show how the

field is controlled or manipulated they had a man put his hand flat on a table. Then a

woman put her hand down about a half-inch across from his. The ultra violet light

showed both their electrical fields very tight up against their skin and very still. Then they

had the man and woman kiss. As the seconds passed and their kiss grew more passionate,

you could see the electrical field on their fingers start to extend out toward each other and

after about a minute the two fields were connected.‖ Marty smiled as he remembered this


―Think of it like this, I have a very loose field that I can manipulate out from my body

with little effort. So, I‘m able to extend it out around objects and then I can contract the

field and move the object within the field. Does that make sense?‖

―I see, but can you move buildings from one side of the street to the other?‖

He laughed out loud, and a few people coming in the door turned to look at us.

―Think about it, if I can‘t physically lift it, I can‘t to do it with in my energy field. That‘s

what the steel balls are for, practice. They were the council‘s idea a few years ago to try

to exercise and strengthen my ability. I am working to increase the weight of things I can


         ―How much can you lift now?‖ I said before grabbing another fork full of fried


―I can lift about sixty pounds but I have to be within about six feet of the object. I‘m also

working on the distance I can stretch my field.‖

―Now I understand why you‘re here, that‘s a pretty cool ability.‖

―Thanks. So tell me, what‘s your ability, Wilson?‖

―Well the council believes I work well under pressure.‖

―What! No shooting fire from your finger tips?‖

―Nope, nothing that grand. I do sort of have this sideshow trick, but I don‘t want it to get

around cause its kind of dumb.‖

―The council doesn‘t know about this?‖

―No, I didn‘t think they would be too interested.‖

―Well what is it?‖

―I‘ll show ya, but this is just between us, OK?‖

―No problem,‖ he agreed.

―Did you happen to hear the manager when she seated us in this booth?‖

―I guess so, I didn‘t pay too much attention though.‖

―That‘s OK, it‘s a habit of mine to listen very closely. If your done, I‘ll call the waitress

over and ask for our check, I‘ll buy today.‖

―You don‘t have to do that, Wilson.‖

―Just watch. Miss…Miss, I will take the checks please.‖ She dug the checks from her

apron pocket, scribbled the totals down on them and walked over to place them in front

of me. As she got to the table… ―First dinner for new students is free.‖ Came the

manager‘s voice from the back counter window. The girl looked back toward the counter

tilted her head, ripped up our bills and wished us a good night.

When we got outside we headed down the beach.

―So you can tell the future?‖ Marty asked, still a little confused by what had just


―What…‖. Oh, he must have thought the manager had actually given us the dinner for

free. I laughed out loud.

―What‘s so funny?‖ Marty looked miffed, like I was laughing at him or something.

―You don‘t quite understand. I wish I could see the future, now that would be a true SA


―Then how did you know she was going to comp the meal?‖

―I didn‘t. What I mean is, she didn‘t, that was me. I mimicked the managers voice and

threw it from the back so the waitress thought she was supposed to give us the meal.‖

―Really?‖ Marty needed a minute to process the whole scene again. ―Hey, that is pretty

cool. Can you do anyone‘s voice?‖

―Hey, that is pretty cool. Can you do anyone‘s voice?‖ I threw Marty‘s voice back at him.

―No way, that‘s amazing. Why are you trying to keep this from people, its way cool?‖

―Well in high school it sort of made me stick out and I just wanted to fit in here and make

some friends.‖

―I think in the SA program, you standing out is not going to be much of an issue.‖ Marty

held out his hands as we walked past three girls playing hacky sack. One girl tapped up

the sack in the air with a sidekick and at the top of the arch the sack took a left turn and

zipped into Marty‘s hand.

                                         Chapter 6

                                          Day one

On the first day of college, Marty and I, along with the entire freshman SA student body

were required to attend a morning introduction meeting. The meeting was held at the

Mendon Hall Liberty conference room on the first floor. This worked out nicely for me

since my first class, Advanced Communications, was on the second floor of the same


       We got there early and grabbed a couple seats up toward the front. The

conference room only had seating for about thirty people. Twenty students had strolled

into the room before the bell in the hallway started to clank like an old tin can. I noticed

that the two back rows were completely empty. That was odd that out of twenty people,

no one had chose to sit in the back.

I was pretty sure the message on my computer said this was a mandatory meeting for all

SA freshman, so this was going to be a small graduating class I thought, chuckling to

myself. A minute after the bell silenced, Dr. Ishmail and professor Hoob walked in and

closed the door.

―Welcome. Welcome all. I‘m Dr. Ishmail.‖ He said as he gave a slight bow. ―We begin

each new freshman class with and introductory secession, so lets begin.

We are honored you‘ve chosen to attend our Special Abilities program here at PBHU.

For those of you who are not familiar with our programs let me explain in more detail.

The program you are entering has just graduated a senior class of eleven. There are no

sophomores, juniors, or seniors this year. We only have one group of students going thru

the four-year program at a time. This year, you are a part of the largest starting SA

freshman class in our Universities history. Look around, if your curious about the people

around you, let me give you a brief example of some of this year‘s talent. Wilson, how

many students are in the room?‖

        ―Twenty, sir. Thirteen males, seven females. Seventeen right handed and three

left-handed. There are four brunettes, three blond and one redhead.‖ I responded without


        ―That‘s more than enough, Wilson, and that‘s also correct. Now did anyone else

in the room know the answer to just how many people were in the room?‖

No one raised their hand or spoke up. ―So, no one knew how many students were in this

room but Wilson. Let alone, how many people were left handed and excreta. Since I

knew Wilson would have already figured this fact out and I chose to call on him, who is

special, Wilson or myself?‖

―That would be you, sir,‖ I blurted out. The class broke into laughter breaking the

tension. Both Dr. Ishmail and professor Hoob laughed as well.

―Very good Wilson. Now, Mr. Lambert, pass me the book on your desk without getting

up please.‖

The book levitated in the air and then smoothly crossed the five-foot distance between

them, hovering in the air until the doctor raised his hand to take it. There were a few ohs

and ahs from the back of the room. Now that was a cool example, and I must admit, I felt

sort of proud of the fact Marty was my roommate. Marty looked at me like I should have

shown them my ―get a free meal‖ voice trick, but no way I was getting laughed at on my

first day. Ok, I already got laughed at, but that‘s different.

―Thank you, Marty, very good.‖ Dr. Ishmail said tossing the book back through the air to

Marty‘s ready hand.

―This year we will be breaking this class up into groups of four. You will be in the same

group for the next four years. The council has put a lot of time and effort into making

each of the five group pairings as strong as possible. It will be up to each group to ensure

not only the success of the group but also the growth of the individuals. As we continue

professor Hoob will be passing out your group assignments. Each group has been

assigned a group leader. Please understand, being a group leader is an honor and comes

with great responsibility. Do not take it lightly.

We also want to impress upon you at this time that in accepting a position in our SA

program there is a ninety-nine percent probability you will be requested to accept a

position for the United States government. You may also possibly at some point in your

career be put in life threatening positions. We can‘t say that for sure, but the jobs that you

could take may often be in troubled areas. You would be considered at that time an

authorized agent for our government.

So that there is no misunderstanding, I want to be very clear. It may be necessary for you

at some point to take lives in order to save lives. Being an authorized agent gives you the

authority to make life and death decisions, for not only yourself but for others.

Not all of you may be in this situation but the SA program does produce many front line

operative agents. If you believe this is not within your abilities, now is the time to step

aside. Please wait and see me after this meeting if you need to resign. For the rest of you

that still choose to stay, thank you and God bless. You may now take a few minutes to

meet one another before your first class.‖

Marty said he would catch up with me at lunchtime, as he took off for his aviation class

at the airport. There was about ten minutes before most of us would have to rush off for

class, so I decided to meet some of the other students to see what other abilities were


Dr. Ishmail and professor Hoop had excused themselves and took their leave. Milling

around at the front podium were two black girls that had been sitting in the front row. I

couldn‘t take my eyes off them. They were very pretty… but something was different

about them. I figured I might as well meet the two girls since I couldn‘t stop staring at

them anyway.

When I got closer I realized what was so different about them. They were twins… and

that wasn‘t the strange part. It was their eyes. Their eyes were blue, and when I say blue,

that‘s such an understatement. Their irises were completely blue, the Bahamas clear

ocean blue. They looked like tiny snow globes filled completely with blue water. And

pupils, they had no pupils… no black at all in their eyes, just blue liquid globes

surrounded on the far outsides by white.

―Hi, girls, I‘m Wilson.‖ They had followed my approach to them from the second row so

I assumed that they weren‘t blind.

―Hi, I‘m Rachel, and this is my sister Chels. Good thing you knew how many people

were in the room or Dr. Ishmail would have looked pretty stupid.‖ They both giggled at

the thought. I laughed along as well but I was thinking how I would have also looked

pretty dumb, but I don‘t think she meant it that way.

―Pardon me but I noticed how pretty…and unique your eyes were and wondered if that

had anything to do with why you‘re here?‖

Rachel replied, she seemed to be the more outgoing one. ―Yes, the council has know

about us since birth. Our parents were both stationed on a nuclear sub during the gulf

war. Our mother had gotten pregnant with us on board but she didn‘t know about it for a

few months. They believe the nuclear radiation may have attributed to the birth defect, or

modification, as we like to call it.‖

―Can you see alright?‖

―We don‘t see like you do, we see more like a bat would, with sound waves. Not only can

we see in the dark, but we can see many different ranges of signals too, like TV signals in

the air and also radio waves. The government has had us in and out of hundreds of testing

sites all our lives. The SA council lobbied on our behalf to the Military to get us out from

under the microscope and in here where we can kind of fit in and have a semi-normal life


Chels shook her long black hair back off her shoulders as a signal, letting her sister know

she was now comfortable enough with me to join in the conversation. Both girls had their

hair cut just the same, playing into that cute twin girl fantasy most college guys have.

Their hair was very smooth and shiny, hanging down to the middle of their backs and the

front was cut off straight across giving them solid bangs just below the eyebrows. ―So

how did you know there were twenty people in the room… is counting your gift?‖ They

giggled again.

―Well sort of… I like to be prepared and look for angles, if that‘s a gift.‖ Feeling a little

inferior around all these talented people I decided I had to pull out all the stops. ―Since

you see sound waves, there‘s something I‘d like to try with you. I sort of have this other

little thing I can do.‖

Their heads both twisted to the side a tiny bit and their eyebrows rose.

―What is it?‖ Chels asked. They seemed excited to see something new.

―Can you see my voice when I speak?‖

―Sure, not only do we see the sound waves of your words streaming out of your mouth

but we can also hear the sound waves in our ears, like you do.

―Can you see a sound wave and interpret it at a greater distance than you can hear one?‖

―Oh… by far,‖ they shared a giggle again looking at each other. ―We can talk to each

other about 3 miles apart, we just angle our voice in the correct direction. We can pick

out our own sound waves much easier than picking out random voices.‖

―So, you two don‘t need to hear each other… you can just see what the other is saying, is

that right?‖

―Yes, but you‘ve got to understand, we need to be outside or at least have a clear path

between us. If we‘re indoors the place can‘t have walls in between us, we need open

space like in a convention hall… you know.‖

―Yeah sure, I get it, very cool stuff.‖

I glanced around to see that no one was paying attention to us and most of the other

students were filing out for class now. It felt safe enough to show them now, and I was

curious how my voice would look in a sound wave. ―Look at the back wall… ready?‖

―Yeah but what are we ready for?‖ Rachel asked.

I threw Rachel‘s voice over to the wall. ―Chels, I hear you‘re glad to be at PBHU.‖

The girls stared at the wall for a few seconds and then turned toward each other. Then

they burst out in laughter, and reached out and held hands.

Still laughing Chels turned to me. ―What the hell was that? It looked like an arrow flying

at the wall and then when it hit the wall it exploded into Rachel‘s voice. We haven‘t seen

anything quite like that. Where did the voice come from?‖

―It came from me, I threw it over there.‖

―Do it again, can you do me?‖ Chels asked excitedly like she had a new toy to play with.

―Sure, look at the door.‖ This time I threw Chels voice over to the door and the girls once

again jumped up and down and laughed. I wasn‘t sure what was so funny about this, but I

haven‘t lived all my life seeing sound waves. ―Well, I have to take off for my first class,

but I enjoyed meeting you both.‖ They danced quickly over to me and gave me a big hug.

―You know, in a four year program with just twenty people, we‘re going to become very

close friends, Wilson.‖

I smiled and nodded at them as I left. But just because I smiled at them, I wondered did

they see me smile, or understand facial gestures. Maybe I needed to make sure I

verbalized my thoughts and emotions to them. I don‘t know what‘s appropriate, but like

Rachel said, I‘d have the next four years to figure it out.

I walked into my first class, Communications 101, and found a seat at the back of the

room this time. There were fifteen of us in the class, figured I better count in case I got

asked again for the head count. The professor was a woman from the council, Mrs.

Limbert. She was pulling down charts that hung over the front white boards. Looking

around the room I tried to get a look at some of the students, to see if there were any three

legged men or girls with eyes in the back of their heads. Nothing stood out that obvious

so far. My eyes were attracted to the front row where a girl in a wheelchair was sitting

and talking with another girl with beautiful long black silky hair. She had the kind of hair

that was silkier than any of the ladies in the shampoo commercials on TV. She had it

pulled back into a loose thick ponytail. The girl in the wheel chair had black hair as well

but it was cut short and spiky. She was very cute, a patch of freckles running across the

bridge of her nose. She looked petite and light as a feather. I could tell how little she was

even though she was sitting in a small antique looking wooden wheelchair.

       The other girl that had most my attention, was nicely built, with perfect muscle

tone. She was long and lean like she had a swimmers frame. She was probably five foot

six, one hundred and fifteen pounds, just beautifully built in my humble opinion.

Mrs. Limbert handing out cell phones to each of us interrupted my admiration of the

girls. She said for our first lesson she would teach us how to program any cell phone to

link up to communication and weather satellites for free direct dialing to anywhere, at

anytime. We proceeded to make phone connections all over the globe using six different

satellites for the remainder of the class. So much for a phone bill the rest of my life. This

SA training really had some cool perks.

I stopped in the hall to grab a soda before my biology class when Chels tapped me on the

shoulder to see what my next class was. Chels, Rachel and Marty hadn‘t been in my

communication class that had just ended.

       Chels said that she and her sister had biology now too, and then their next class

would be a language class, something about Arabic and common slangs. I was glad I was

not enrolled in Arabic, it just sounded a little boring.

We walked into biology just as the attendance bell sounded. It looked like all twenty of

us were going to be in this class. I wondered if all twenty of us would be in most of the

same classes. Probably not, since we all had such a variety of talents to work on.

Since everyone was in this class I quickly looked around to try and find the long black

haired girl. Marty waved to me and pointed to the seat that he had saved beside him.

There were just two seats per lab desk. I spotted the wheelchair girl first and then her

friend with the long hair sitting with her at the table to Marty‘s left. I walked up slow

angling around the front of our desk so I could see the girl‘s face. Oh…. Unbelievable,

she had light green eyes, a smoldering tan, and the most beautiful features. It looked like

she was carved from stone, with high cheekbones and a nose straight as an arrow. Her

teeth were amazingly white against her deep dark lips. I just knew her talent must be the

ability to break a heart with one look. Marty saw me hesitate looking over to the girl‘s

table and he tensed up immediately. I walked around and took my seat.

―Hi, Marty, how were your flying lessons?‖ I asked distractedly.

―Good, I saw you looking at that table. You don‘t like her do you?‖

―Well… She is incredible… I don‘t know her but…. I would like to.‖

―So the chair doesn‘t bother you!?‖ He huffed in disbelief.

―Not the one in the chair… the one beside her with the long hair‖

Marty burst out in a smile of relief. ―Oh good… because I like the one in the chair! Man,

I‘m glad we don‘t like the same girl. That would have been… well I‘d have had to drop a

steel ball on your head or something.‖

We both sort of sat there grinning at each other knowing we dodged a bullet, but the real

thought on both our minds was, now what? How do we meet and win the hearts of the

two girls that just took both our breath way. Levitating silverware and talking like

Sylvester Stalone was not going to win a girl in this school.

The girl in the wheel chair had pale blue eyes that dominated her pixie like face. Marty

had great taste, I was happy for him, especially if he could figure out how to meet her.

But for me, the other girl had to be the most gorgeous girl I had ever seen.

Everyone was getting kind of quiet now, anticipating the beginning of class. The door up

front opened and in walked a professor and in his arms was the little girl I had rescued a

few days ago at the gas station.

―Welcome, class. I am Professor Conner. Today, I would like you to meet a very special

young lady, my daughter, Melissa.‖ The class broke into a soft round of applause for her.

―Unless you have been living under a rock the past four days I am sure you have seen the

news coverage of Melissa being saved from a gasoline fire.‖

From the moment she was carried into the room the little girl hadn‘t take her eyes off me,

her face beamed with excitement. I was mesmerized and couldn‘t take my eyes off of her

either. Melissa leaned in my direction still in her father‘s arms. She leaned further and

further toward me prompting her father to move forward. When Mr. Conner was standing

in front of my desk he shifted Melissa to his left side and reached out and shook my hand.

―Thank you.‖ Was all that the professor managed to get out. His eyes staring down at me

seemed to covey so much more gratitude than words ever could.

Melissa still squirming turned to look at her father and said ―Boy!‖ in her own little

demanding way, letting him know she wanted down to me.

 Smiling, he gave in to her demand readily and lowered her to me as I reached up to help

ease her down into my lap. She looked up at me and touched my face filling me with pure

joy. I had really missed her, but hadn‘t actually realize it until now. I had never

understood the bond you could develop for a child in such a brief amount of time. I guess

this is what new mothers feel the moment they see their children born. It‘s a feeling that

just engulfs you in seconds, like jumping off a diving board into a pool. One moment dry

the next you‘re completely submerged.

Melissa settled comfortably right into my lap and was now facing front like she was

ready for class to begin. Mr. Conner, content to let her sit with me, walked back to his

desk in the front of the room.

―Normally, I wouldn‘t bring my daughter or any other personal matters to the classroom.

I hope you‘ll understand, how this is one of those times you make an exception. I‘ll

quickly summarize, for anyone that arrived late in town for classes. A couple days ago,

Wilson walking past a fire at a gas station, saw that Melissa‘s car was engulfed in flames.

Wilson acting quickly and selflessly rescued Melissa, and to that end, I am blessed to

have my daughter here with us today. Since the accident, Melissa has been asking for the

―Boy‖ everyday. And as you can see, Melissa can be very persuasive.‖ Laughter softly

rose from the class.

Mr. Conner turned to address me directly. ―Wilson, my wife who is also a professor here

at PBHU, would like you to come to dinner one night this week so she can thank you

properly. I‘m sure Melissa will be thrilled if you could stop by as well. It looks like she‘s

really taken to you.‖

―Yes, sir. You really don‘t need to thank me, really. But dinner and seeing Melissa again

would be great, thank you.‖

―Alright then, now with that behind us, let‘s see if we can get through class today with

one extra student. I expect straight ―A‘s‖ Melissa.‖ Mr. Conner said as she looked at her

father and smiled knowingly.

As Mr. Conner started his lecture Melissa watched him like most little kids would watch

Barney or Sesame Street, as if she was able to grasp everything he explained about the

introduction to organic biology.

       From off to the side it looked like I wasn‘t the only one taken with Melissa. The

two girls that Marty and I were infatuated with were staring over at Melissa affectionately

and making little waving gestures to her.

       After class pretty much everyone wanted to stop and see Melissa.

While Marty was having fun with her, floating white board erasers in front of her so she

could swing at them with a ruler someone had handed her. The two black haired beauties

had hung back to meet Melissa and introduce themselves.

―Hi, I‘m Meea Suntree and this is my roommate Stacy Winters.‖

―Hi, I‘m Wilson McClain and this guy playing with erasers is Marty Lambert.‖

Briefly acknowledging my introduction with a slight smile Meea bent down to Melissa

and said brightly, ―Hello, Melissa, I‘m Meea.‖

For the first time since I had taken her at the beginning of class, Melissa released her hold

on me to go to Meea and held out her hands willingly. Handing her up to Meea was like

passing a magnet to another piece of steel. Melissa was firmly attached to Meea on

impact. Melissa was amazingly strong for a two year old, and the fact that she could hold

her focus long enough to actually sit through an intro biology lecture was extraordinary.

―She is sure something isn‘t she,‖ I said looking into Meea‘s green eyes.

―Yes, she is. She is also very blessed that you were there for her when she needed you.‖

Meea said meeting my stare. Neither of us seemed to want to look away.

Shattering the moment, I heard Stacy exclaim. ―That‘s quite a trick you have there

Marty,‖ Tearing my eyes away from Meea I looked over to catch Stacy looking up at

Marty intimately. Marty looked at Stacy and smiled and then looked back to Melissa who

was still zealously swinging at the floating erasers.

Each time Melissa hit an eraser Marty would reconnect with it and bring it slowly back in

range for her. She was still attached to Meea‘s hip, as Mr. Conner finished up with a few

student‘s after class questions. As the last student left Mr. Conner walked over to our


         ―OK, Melissa, lets get you back to your mom now so I can teach another class.‖

         Melissa held her hand up to Meea‘s face and purred ―Girl.‖

         ―I‘m sure well see you again soon Melissa, you be a good girl.‖ Meea said

handing her back to me.

         ― I will.‖ Melissa chirped.

         ―Well see you two boys later,‖ the girls chimed as they headed toward the door.

         ―You can count on it,‖ Marty replied with a wink. I just shook my head, he‘s too


         ―Now say goodbye to Wilson,‖ Mr. Conner said.

         Secure on my hip, Melissa leaned her head against mine letting the ruler she held

fall to the floor so she could hold my face with both of her tiny hands and whispered.


         She gave me a smile that not only showed she cared but also told me she would

expect to see me again soon. She had a way of communicating that really didn‘t require a

lot of words, but you knew too well what she wanted to convey.

―Good bye, Melissa, I‘ll see you soon.‖ I promised, returning her to her fathers waiting


                                              Chapter 7

           The truth can not only set you free… but also embarrass the heck out of you

Leaving Mendon Hall, Marty and I headed to the boardwalk shops to pick up a couple

slushies and sit on the beach for lunch. I got the standard coke flavored slushy, but Marty

got one that had five different flavors in it. It may be ok at first I thought, but when he got

to the bottom and all the flavors mixed together it might not taste so good.

        Once we found a spot on the beach to sit, Marty asked, ―Did you open your group

packet yet boss?‖

―Not yet, have you?‖

―Yeah, I opened mine while I was in parachute class.‖

 Man that‘s a bad class to not be paying attention in I thought.

―I‘ve got my packet right here… let‘s have a look.‖

―Don‘t bother, I know who‘s in your group!‖ Marty looked pretty excited so I was

guessing we made the same group and by his “boss” comment I‘ll bet I was the damn

group leader. It was probably no coincidence we were roommates, probably all the

students were rooming with a group member.

―Well then, spill it.‖ I said stirring up my slushy to put flavor back into the clear icy part.

―We‘re in a group together and you‘re the group leader, but that‘s not the best part…

Stacy and Meea are in our group!‖

―Really,‖ is all I could manage to get out. My head was suddenly flooded with a hundred

thoughts all at once. Was this a good thing to be a group leader and responsible for the

girl I want to get to know? Were there going to be overnight projects we could work on

as a group? Would it make her mad that I was picked as the group leader and not her?

 Marty was looking at me and could tell that I was a bit shell-shocked. He was still

beaming, his eyebrows rose as he asked, ―What do you think they can do that‘s special?‖

I got the impression from the look on Marty‘s face he had some wild sexual acrobatic

thing he was picturing.

―Good question… but it really doesn‘t matter, does it. We wouldn‘t want to spend the

next four years with anyone else. Hell, I hope I can just focus when Meea‘s around. I

don‘t want us flunking out because I can‘t take my eyes off of her.‖

―I don‘t mind what my grades are as long as Stacy is on my team. Let‘s set up our group

meeting right away so we can see them again.‖

―We were supposed to set up the meeting right away anyhow. Where do you want to

meet them?‖ I asked enthusiastically, eager to see Meea again… and soon.

―Let them pick, just see if you can get it set for after my last class.‖ Marty said as a big

slurping noise came from the bottom of his cup. Marty drank his slurpy so fast I bet the

flavors never had a chance to mix together at the bottom, man that would have given me

brain freeze bad if I had done that.

I set the meeting up for 6:00pm in the girl‘s room, which was just two doors down from

ours in room 212. I needed some time to look through the packet and also pick up pizza

for all of us. I wanted our first meeting to seem more fun and friendly and not like a

forced assignment.

       I was excited to have a chance to talk to Meea again so soon. It would be more

intimate with just the four of us in the girl‘s room, not surrounded by a room full of

students with x-ray eyes and superman hearing.

I got back to my room just after 5:00 and opened up my packet already knowing the

basics. Inside was a letter addressed directly to me.

        Dear, Mr. McClain,

 Congratulations, you have been selected as the group leader for your team. You have

been given incredible assets to direct as you see fit. The members of your team are each

very special in their own way. Not all of their gifts may be evident at first, as some

members may choose to keep certain gifts private, as you have done. This is not a game

and there will be no grades, no winners and no losers. Each group is expected to

accomplish the tasks and goals given to them throughout their tenure. The other groups

in your class are not your rivals. The tasks, goals and objectives need to be your point of

focus. There are no alternatives or options, all members in your group must successfully

complete all classes to move on. You will be held responsible for each member‟s success,

or failure.

Your first assignment is to ensure the PBHU basketball team wins their first three

pre-season games. Be aware, altering the outcome of any regular season game is strictly

prohibited, in fairness to the league.

Six of the last ten Presidents of the United States were graduates and group leaders of

this SA program. There have been twenty-seven congressmen, thirteen senators, and four

supreme justices all who are highly recognized Alumni of the SA program. We know you

will uphold the highest standards that have been set before you. Once again,

congratulations on your appointment.

Your group members include:

        Wilson McClain – group leader – Ann Arbor, Michigan

        Marty Lambert – Phoenix, Arizona

        Stacy Winters – Newark, New Jersey

Meea Suntree – Lone Star, Texas

        Still mulling the assignment over in my head but not wanting to be late for our first

        meeting with the girls I shouted out, ―Marty. I‘m going to run out and pick up the pizza,

        when I get back will you be ready to go?‖

                Marty was out on the balcony lifting steel balls for practice. He had arranged

        them all by weight on the balcony and would then lift one up at a time and move it out

        over the beach as far as he could until it fell out of his field of grasp. Thankfully, Marty

        had roped off an area down below on the beach so no one would walk under any of the

        falling cannon balls. Which was good since they were crashing below making miniature

        craters in the sand.

        ―Yeah I‘ll be ready. Make sure you don‘t take a short cut across my ropes down there,

        hate to lose the group leader on the first day and all.‖

        I got a large pizza with pepperoni on one half and pretty much everything on the other

        half, since I didn‘t know what the girls would like. When I got back Marty had all his

        toys put away and I could tell he had already hit the showers because his hair was still

        wet. Marty had curly brown hair that reached the middle of his shoulder blades when wet,

        it was amazing how much shorter it looked dry. ―Grab some soda out of the fridge,

        Marty, and let‘s go, it‘s almost six o‘clock.‖

        Meea greeted us at the door and invited us to come in. Our rooms seemed to be

set up very similarly, just with a different style décor. Stacy waved to us to imply she was

just about done with what ever she was working on at the desk computer.

Meea was wearing an white V neck top that showed off the darkness of her skin, not that

I needed any help noticing every detail about her.

Marty set the soda down on the table, leaving a big open spot in the middle for the pizza

box. I sat the pizza down as Meea grabbed some plates and napkins from the kitchen and

placed them in front of the three chairs and one set in an open spot. Stacy came rolling up

to the table in the spot that was left open for her.

―Hi, Marty. Hi, Boy.‖ Stacy smiled at us and giggled.

―Hi Stacy, its good to see you again. Allow me please… would you prefer plain

pepperoni or the works?‖ Marty said reaching for her plate.

―Just pepperoni, thanks.‖ Stacy replied not taking her gaze off Marty.

Marty helped load up a plate for Stacy so she wouldn‘t have to stretch across the table.

Meea watched Marty noticeably doting on Stacy. With a bit of a question in her eyes, she

glanced over to me to see if I noticed Marty‘s behavior.

―So did everyone read what was in their packets?‖ I asked, steering the conversation to

business to get it out of the way.

―We‘re girls, Wilson. We read our packet to see who was in our group one second after it

was in our hands.‖ Stacy said, while the girls both smiled and nodded like that was a

given fact. ―We were very glad to see that you guys are on our team.‖ Stacy touched

Marty‘s hand as she said ―you guys‖ implying she meant him directly.

―Yeah.‖ Meea added enthusiastically smiling and looking directly at me, like I was a

prize she had just won. ―Your ability is very interesting, Wilson. Can you also leap over

small buildings in a single bound, Wilson?‖ The girls giggled but also sort of kept an eye

on me just in case the answer was yes.

Shaking my head a little embarrassed I abruptly change the subject back toward the girl.

―You girls know about Marty and I from class today but we don‘t know anything about

you yet. How about telling us what skills and or abilities you have… so we can start to

look at projects and tasks from a group perspective.

―Sure, I‘ll go first,‖ Stacy, said. ―I am a tenth generation pure born caecilian. Do you now

what that means?‖

―Sorry, no not really.‖ I replied, disgusted I didn‘t have a clue.

―Caecilian‘s have always been know for their ability to read emotions, attitude, and most

of all detect when someone is lying. I sort of have this ability in spades. I know if you lie,

what you really think and how you really feel about things.‖

―That‘s cool Stacy, give us a quick demonstration?‖

Stacy just smiled at me and looked deep into my eyes to make sure she had my undivided


―Do you want me to describe what you‘re feeling towards Meea?‖ Stacy asked, eyebrows

rising like she knew exactly what I felt when I was around Meea. Maybe it was a good

guess or just the fact that every guy within sight of Meea would be incredibly attracted to


I answered quickly, a little concerned with the direction Stacy was headed. ―Maybe you

should start with something simple, more impersonal.‖ Not my love life or lack there of, I

thought to myself.

Meea gave Stacy a questioning look like she wanted to know what she was picking up.

Stacy smirked and said, ―thought so,‖ under her breath. I was pretty sure I was the only

one that heard her.

―OK, Marty, how about you?‖ Stacy asked looking up to catch Marty‘s gaze.

―Yeah sure!‖

―Ok then, why don‘t you tell me how you feel about having a cripple on your team? Do

you think I will slow you down? Remember I can tell if you‘re lying.‖

―That‘s an easy one. I think it‘s great we‘re on the same team. I wouldn‘t have wanted

you to be on any other team.‖

Stacy looked at Meea, I could see her eyes had misted up a little.

―He really means it…. and… he likes me.‖ I could tell she was trying to keep her

emotions off her face as she brushed at her eyes and nodded to Meea. Stacy turned to

Marty and reached out and took his hand. ―So we don‘t waste any time, I‘d like to be

direct. I like you too, Marty. And yes in the same way. Almost everyone I meet always

notices my chair first and they rarely, if ever, notice me. You haven‘t really noticed I‘m

in a wheelchair, you‘ve been so focused on me. I can‘t tell you how flattered I am,


―Your beautiful, Stacy, I can‘t keep my eyes off you.‖ Marty said, lingeringly kissing her

hand and wrist.

I once again tried to refocus the group. ―Stacy, I‘m very glad you and Marty are smitten

with each other, that‘s great, really great. But can you give me a bit more of a practical

demonstration… and be nice.‖

Stacy blushed and looked at Marty. ―Then I won‘t tell everyone what you‘re thinking

now Marty.‖ Marty looked down at Stacy, his mouth dropped open and we all laughed.

Stacy refocused turning back toward me. ―Wilson, what year is your car?‖


―Lie. What color is your car?‖


―Not a lie… but you have more to say about it. What is your mothers name?‖


―Lie. What kind of porn magazine is under your bed?‖

―I don‘t have any magazines under my bed.‖ I retorted indignantly.

―Just checking.‖ Stacy said as we all laughed again.

―Let me explain this a little to you, Wilson. When I asked what year your car was, that

was an easy question. So the part of your brain you access to answer it is different than

the part of your brain you access to solve a reasoning question. Your eyes moved to look

up, even though you did not hesitate with your answer I knew you were lying because of

your eye movement. When I asked you earlier if I could state what you thought about

Meea, you became very nervous that she wouldn‘t find you as attractive as you find her. I

know this because you got just a tint of extra color to your face in a situation where you

were not mad. You also turned your head slightly to the side, and that‘s a tell. By turning

your head to the side you subconsciously braced yourself for disappointment. Now to be

fair let me tell you that Meea is also very attracted to you.‖

Meea spun in her chair toward Stacy, shocked that with just a few simple words she‘d put

everyone‘s cards on the table so abruptly.

The words now flowed quickly and easily from Stacy‘s mouth. ―Do you want to know

how I know that…it‘s because she hasn‘t stopped talking about you since we got out of

biology.‖ Stacy laughed and we all laughed along with her, all but Meea that is. ―I told

you Wilson I don‘t like to waste time and I don‘t need any special insight to know we are

all going to make one hell of a team.‖

I was thrilled if I had made any kind of impression on Meea at all. Maybe it was the story

of the gas station that made an impression, and not me though… maybe I was just in the

story that made an impression on Meea and that‘s how my name kept coming up. Either

way, it was time to hear what Meea‘s other gifts were, besides the ability to keep my

head spinning like a top.

―Meea, will you show or explain what you do?‖

Meea turned to look at me. Her cheeks were so dark and tanned, I would‘ve thought she

was incapable of blushing. But her cheeks burned the same reddish color of my car I

loved so much. She looked down and thought for a moment. When she looked back up

she said, ―It would be easier to show you if we got someone outside our group to help.‖

We all walked out into the hallway to see if anyone was milling around that would be

willing to help us out. Since the hallways were empty, Marty knocked on a few doors to

see if there were any students in their rooms that could help. Three doors down Marty

found a guy we hadn‘t met, but he seemed willing to give us a hand. We went out into the

       ―This is Skip, he said he would be glad to help us out.‖ Marty introduced.

       ―Hi Skip, I‘m Meea.‖ Skip looked a little too pleased that Meea would be

involved in what ever he‘d just volunteered for.

       ―Hi, what do you need me to do for you, Meea?‖ I wished Marty would have went

to the next room to find a female helper. Skip was just a bit too eager for my liking.

       ―Skip, I am going to put you in a trance, but we won‘t make you squeal like a pig

or anything. I‘m just going to demonstrate one of my abilities for my teammates.‖

       ―For you, Meea, I would bark like a dog.‖ Meea offered him a half smiled trying

to stay friendly, but apparently unenthused by the flirtation attempts spewed out by Skip.

       ―All I need you to do is look me in the eyes please.‖

       ―My pleasure, Meea.‖ In what seemed like just a few seconds Meea turned to me

and asked what I wanted him to do.

       Stop flirting with you was the very first thing that came to mind. ―You mean he is

under now?‖

       ―He sure is.‖

       ―What are the limitations? Is there anything he wouldn‘t do?‖

       ―Absolutely not. There are no limitations to what he‘ll do. This is no sideshow

hypnotic act, he‘ll do anything I say.‖

       ―You better remember that, Wilson, if you two ever start dating.‖ Marty laughed.

       Stacy took a friendly swing, punching Marty in the ribs while fighting back her

own laughter. ―Sorry Meea, I haven‘t trained him yet.‖ Stacy said not holding her

laughter back now.

       ―Just have him walk to the end of the hall and back.‖ The weird part was Meea

just stared into his eyes for another second and didn‘t say anything out loud. Skip took

off and trotted to the end of the hall and back.

       ―I had him jog since Stacy doesn‘t like to waste time.‖ Stacy gave Meea a dirty

look. Apparently Meea hadn‘t completely forgiven Stacy yet for revealing all of our

feelings at the dinner table. ―Anything else you want him to do? We could have him wax

your car.‖ We all chuckled at that comment. Apparently Marty‘s told the girls my

obsession for waxing.

       ―Can you make him return to his room and not remember helping us?‖

       ―Yes, I‘ll give him a trigger so he‘ll pop out of the trance once he gets into his

room.‖ This time she spoke directly to him, softly. ―Skip, go into your room and flick the

light switch three times, once you do this you won‘t remember coming into the hallway

or meeting us, you will feel comfortable and relaxed. Go now.‖

       Skip took off for his room and closed the door behind him.

       ―So is that it?‖ Marty asked.

       ―That‘s it for Skip, but that‘s not all I can do.‖ Meea smiled mysteriously.

       Marty looking intrigued guarded his ribs and said. ―So, stealing Skip‘s memory

and Wilson‘s heart isn‘t your only trick, what else you got girl?‖

       ―Let‘s go back to our room and I‘ll show you.‖ Meea said motioning to her door.

       ―Wait, hold on a minute. Marty, check on Skip please.‖ I said nodding down the

       hall to his room. Marty walked over and knocked on Skips door. The door opened

       right away.

       ―Hi,‖ Skip said, with no recognition of Marty on his face.

       ―Hello, I‘m Marty‖ Marty held out his hand and Skip reached out and shook it.

       ―I‘m Skip, you‘re in the SA program right?‖

       ―Yeah, I was just checking to see if the cablevision was working in your room.‖

―Yes it works great, do you want to come in?‖

―No, thank you, I was just checking.‖ Marty walked back to the girl‘s room, they had

already gone inside as I watched Marty and Skip from the doorway.

―Well?‖ I asked.

―He didn‘t know me from Adam. The guy was totally clueless he had met me or been in

the hall with the girls. Meea‘s good!‖ Marty said admiringly nodding his head up and

down. ―Lets go see what else she got.‖ When we walked through the door the girls were

out on the balcony.

Marty grabbed another piece of pizza as we walked through the kitchen. The girl‘s room

had sliding glass doors whereas our room had the bay window. I was wondering if this

was in case of fire for Stacy, it made the room accessible from either the front or the


The girls were laughing together and seemed to be getting along good again. Marty

walked right past me and kneeled down beside Stacy to be on her level. He put his arm

around her like they had been dating for years. They already looked so comfortable

together, it was amazing. I walked over to stand beside Meea.

―That was a good job on Skip, Meea. Hard to believe, but he didn‘t remember meeting

Marty at all.‖

―Glad you liked it. All I need is about five seconds of looking them directly in the eye.

It‘s never failed to work, as long as I get those five seconds. Ready for round two,


―Yeah, I can‘t wait.‖

―Alright… see the half dozen sea birds floating on the ocean breeze right there over the

beach.‖ We all nodded. The birds weren‘t really flying anywhere, they were just using

the steady ocean breeze to maintain their position over the beach as they looked for their

next meal.

Meea asked us to remain perfectly still, and not to make any sudden movements. She

leaned over the rail and stared at the birds. After about fifteen seconds. The highest bird

turned our way still maintaining his position. About fifteen more seconds passed and all

the birds were now in position together facing our dorm room. All of a sudden, as if the

green flag that comes out at the Daytona speedway dropped, the birds propelled

themselves right up to our handrail where they all took rest. It was one of the oddest

things I had ever seen. The birds sat very still on the ledge while Meea was petting the

large main bird that had turned toward Meea first. Meea spoke very softly now just to me.

―I‘ll get rid of all the crust Stacy and Marty didn‘t eat.‖ Meea stopped petting the biggest

bird and it took flight into the room. Around the corner it flew being followed by the rest

of the birds in a line. The leader of the flock came right back out and through the open

sliding glass door and straight over the beach with the other birds close behind. Each one

of them had a large piece of pizza crust in there beaks.

       Meea looked at me and smiled, she took my hand and led me back into the living

room. Marty followed wheeling Stacy inside and closed the doors behind him. I could tell

Meea was waiting for my response to that scene. She sat down on the couch not letting go

of my hand, so I sat in turn beside her. We didn‘t have that comfortable old couple look

going on for us that Marty and Stacy had. I could tell we both wanted that same intimacy,

it was just a little too soon for us. I could tell we wanted to be inseparable, and the

attraction as incredible, but we were going to enjoy the journey to get there.

       Meea just looked at me knowing I would have a few questions over the last

display. ―You are amazing Meea… Seems like birds and boys are attracted to you. Is it

just things that start with the letter B or… would that work for a fence full of tomcats as


―That would work on a den full of tigers.‖ Meea laughed.

―I better order more pizza then.‖

Marty laughed and spit soda out his nose. ―Ow that hurt!‖ he held his nose as he got up

and ran to the kitchen for a rag to clean up the spill.

―How far away can you call an animal?‖ I asked wanting to know everything.

―It varies, I pretty much have to be able to sense them. Although this is not as reliable as

the trance with humans. Its sort of hit or miss, I guess that‘s one reason I‘m here, to see if

I can improve.‖

Meea squeezed my hand slightly. ―Wilson, Stacy told me you‘re keeping something from

us. Since we‘re on the same team we don‘t want there to be any secrets among us. I know

Stacy has already said too much about a lot of things today!‖ Meea gave Stacy one last

stern look, and Stacy just took it and smiled knowingly back at her. I could see the value

of getting things out in the open quickly and agreed with Stacy that it was almost always

for the best.

―I‘m not trying to keep anything from you on purpose but my other… let‘s say talent is

much more of a sideshow act than anything else you‘ve seen today. I have no problem

letting you see it if it‘s what you want, especially since it fits in at this college much

better than it ever did in high school.‖

The girls looked excited to see another ability. This had been quite an interesting day. I‘d

met girls that see with radar waves like bats, a roommate that can move objects without

touching them, a girl that‘s all but a mind reader, and hopefully a future girlfriend that not

only puts people in trances but talks to animals like a real life Dr. Dolittle.

―Lets see it!‖ the girls chimed out together.

I threw Stacy‘s voice over to the double doors leading outside. ―Meea, Meea let me in

quick!‖ At the front door I threw Meea‘s voice ―Stacy I can‘t let you in I‘m stuck out

front!‖ Then for good measure I threw Clint Eastwood‘s voice from the kitchen ―Marty

let those girls in … I‘m feeling lucky …punk.‖

Stacy was the first to speak… ―Do I really sound like that?‖

Marty and Meea laughed…. They replied in unison ―YES.‖

―I thought I sounded… sexier.‖ Stacy said with a frown.

―Oh, you sound plenty sexy‖ Marty said as he bent down and gave her a big hug.

―That was outstanding. I was looking directly at you when you did that and I never saw

your mouth move. That was you doing that right? How many voices can you do?‖ Meea

asked without letting me answer her first question.

―Yes, that was me and I can do any voice I hear. I‘m limited to about fifteen or twenty

feet when I throw the voice.‖

Stacy looked deep in thought and said, ―I think we‘ll be able to use that, Wilson. Yep,

I‘m pretty sure that‘ll come in handy.‖ We were all kind of staring at her with blank

looks, which she interpreted in an instant. ―Look guys…think about it. Meea puts

someone in a trance and can move them around while Wilson can make them appear to

say anything we want… get it?‖ We all started to think about it a second and saw Stacy‘s

point. Maybe this talent wouldn‘t go completely to waste, maybe it was good for more

than just a few free meals.

                                          Chapter 8

Bigger is better Faster is Best

The pizza parlor by Mendon hall was packed at lunchtime so Marty and I agreed to meet

at the shaved ice vendor out by the beach for lunch. I still wasn‘t quite used to the

90-degree heat yet so slushies at lunch tasted pretty good to me. We had been eating

dinner at night after the sun went down and it cooled off. My appetite comes back when

the temperature drops, besides, its less crowded around all the food shops on the coast at


         During the afternoon, the soccer mom crowd descends on the beachfront,

dragging their toddlers along. The kids play in the sand while the mothers chat together,

getting all lathered up in expensive tanning oils. They sprawl out all up and down the

beach for miles.

         Conveniently, the college girls didn‘t start hitting the beach until around 3:00 pm

as classes ended for the day, and the mothers start to pile their kids back into their SUV‘s

and station wagons to head back to suburbia to get their dinners started.

         Marty was already at the ice stand ordering for us when I got there. ―Here you

go.‖ He said as he handed me a grape slushy.

         ―I have our first group assignment.‖ I said as we took a seat under an outdoor

umbrella setup on the beach for patrons of the nearby food shops. It was just too hot

today to sit out in the sun at lunch and then go back to class.

―When did you get the assignment?‖

―It was in my initial packet I got yesterday.‖

Marty cocked his head to look over at me. ―Why didn‘t you tell us about it last night?‖

―I thought we all had enough new information to take in last night as it was. Also it gave

me a chance to think about the tasks and maybe get us started in the right direction.‖ The

grape slushy tasted amazingly good today. Sitting in the shade watching the crowd go by

and drinking a slushy between classes. This was so much better than high school ever

was. ―Anyway, we have a week to prepare, so we‘re not going to be rushed on this. I told

the girls we would go to the beach with them for a while after last period, and then meet

up later to work on the assignment back at their room.‖

―Ok, sounds good.‖ Marty was one of those easygoing go with the flow kind of guys.

Unless he was dead sure you were making a mistake he was pretty much up for anything

you wanted to do. ―I have a small project I need to finish up so I‘ll catch up with you and

the girls on the beach later.‖ Marty said as he got up and took off in a flash.

―OK, then…‖ He didn‘t wait around to hear my reply. I had to hurry up myself in order

to get changed and out to the obstacle course for agility training in fifteen minutes


After my agility course training I went to my room to a shower before meeting the girls at

the beach. I had to have a shower after sweating my butt off all afternoon on that course.

Showering to go to the beach just seem sort of dumb, but… I did it anyway.

I met up with the girls out in back of our dorm, they were already down where the

parking lot tar ran out and met the smooth white sand of the beach.

―Hi, Meea. Hi, Stacy, did you guys have a good day?‖

―Hey, Wilson, I missed seeing you today‖ Meea said reaching out for my hand. She was

stunning standing there in the cutest little pink one-piece swimsuit.

―Yeah, I can vouch for that… she really did miss you, Wilson.‖ Stacy said smiling up at


―Thanks, Stacy, I don‘t need your help on this one‖ Meea said sternly.

―Yeah, yeah… sorry.‖ She said holding her hands up in the universal sign of surrender.

―Where do you guys want to sit?‖ I said looking around for an open umbrella.

―My wheelchair won‘t go in the sand so we thought—"

―Hey, look over there!‖ Meea interrupted pointing toward the weirdest sandstorm racing

toward us from the far end of the beach. Sand was shooting up in all directions and

moving toward us fast. It would reach us in just a minute‘s time. It looked like a

miniature tornado stirring up sand as it moved down the beach.

There was something at the base of the sand storm I couldn‘t make out and… and… no

way, it was Marty… driving in something very small speeding up the beach right towards


Cars weren‘t usually allowed on the beach in this area, but he was defiantly driving

something. He waved at us now that he was close enough to make us out.

―Hey, Stacy!‖ Marty shouted as he pulled up. ―I made you a new toy. How about you

trading in that chair for a new and improved model?‖

―SWEET!‖ Stacy was reaching up to give Marty a big hug and then a way too intense of

a kiss for a public beach.

―Well I‘m guessing she likes the chair, Marty‖ Meea said, and squeezed my hand tight at

the show of affection.

―Marty, when did you?‖ Kiss. ―How did you?‖ Kiss. ―Why did you? Oh never mind.


―Do you like it?‖ Marty asked, still smiling from the thank you he just received, sticking

out his chest. ―I went to the mechanical department here at school and asked the professor

for some parts and he asked me what I was trying to accomplish. So I explained I had a

special someone that I wanted to help be a bit more mobile. The professor told me the

school knew Stacy was coming this year and had the foresight to know that someone may

just want to do something like this. So all the parts I needed were already there. I

designed the chair with a new drive system, so now you have a wheelchair that is

propelled by a small sterling hydrogen engine. The engine is fueled by the solar power

collected by this small canopy on the back, which can also extend over your head for

shade. It also makes it a bit faster that way. I added small balloon racing tires so that it‘ll

get traction in the deepest softest sand. It‘ll also go over water, which I tested on the way

over, it‘s a blast! I don‘t advise taking it in the ocean, because of the tip factor. But

driving over a pond is easy. I also put a watertight belly on it and the balloon tires give it

plenty of floatation and drive. Cool, huh?‖

―Way cool.‖ Stacy beamed. ―Now let me in that thing.‖ Marty picked her up like a

feather and sat her down and explained the hand controls to her.

―Now we can all go for a walk along the beach together.‖ Meea said.

―What‘s my top speed, Marty?‖ Stacy said, revving the engine.

―What ever you want, I can change the gear ratio so it could go as fast as most cars. For

now, I have it getting a top speed of 40 mph hauling me in it, so it‘ll probably do close to

50 mph with your weight. Don‘t go that fast until you get a good feel for it though.‖

Stacy looked at Meea and smiled as if to say look at my new boyfriend, how lucky am I.

Since Stacy could read people like an open book she knew Marty‘s feelings for her were

the purest, he only wanted the best for her and she knew better than anyone how true that


Marty gave Stacy a kiss on the cheek and said, ―Go ahead and take a couple laps around

the beach with that thing and then we‘ll all take a walk together.‖

―That was a good idea letting her take a little ride first. I‘m sure once you get started in

that thing its hard to just putt along.‖ I praised.

Meea hugged me from behind as all three of us watched Stacy fly around down on the

beach. She was getting pretty good at it now and you could tell she was having a ball. She

would race down to the waters edge and then turn razor-sharp, sliding to a stop. She was

out there laughing out loud at each hairpin turn she made.

―Come on guys let‘s head down there or she‘s never going to stop playing on that thing.‖

Meea said, happy to see her friend having such a good time.

―Marty, wave her over to join us.‖ I regretted being the one to that put a stop to all her

new found thrills, but we needed to get to work on our assignment.

Stacy pulled up to a crawl right beside Marty and reached out and took his hand. As their

hands met she pulled him down so she could kiss him again.

―Man, Marty I‘ll bet I get to hear how wonderful you are all night tonight.‖ Meea teased.

―Shut up, Meea.‖ Stacy squeaked out as she blushed.

―Come on girls, look Stacy, I love your new dune buggy and Marty you are the hero

tonight but let‘s get to work ok?‖ I said trying to drag everyone back on task.

―Ok boss, what‘s the assignment, make a model volcano that really smokes, or make a

balloon stick to the wall with electricity.‖ Stacy said still fidgeting with the controls on

her new sport buggy.

―Hmmm… Not quite that simple, we have to make sure that our basketball team, the

PBHU Saints win their first three scrimmage games this year. Game one is next week.‖

―Heck that isn‘t too bad, they may win even if we don‘t do anything.‖ Meea pointed out.

 ―They might,‖ I agreed. ―But we don‘t want to leave any room for error or chance.

This is just a game for the Saints, but our performance will be graded as if this were a life

or death situation, you see?‖

―Yeah, I guess we have to take everything serious from now on.‖ Meea said resignedly.

―Stacy!‖ I barked. ―It would probably be easier to take this work a little more seriously if

you weren‘t doing wheelies down the beach.‖

―Ok, sorry it‘s just hard not to play when you‘re sitting in this thing.‖ She apologized.

―You guys have got to try this.‖

―Later, ok. I have a plan that should get us past the first two games, but I need some help

on a plan for the third game.‖ Mental note, no more planning sessions on the beach.

The next day I got up early and Marty had already left. I got my stuff and got around

quickly so I could spend more time with Meea. Later we would have to find Marty and

Stacy to finalize our plan for game three. When I found Meea out at the beach the sun

was just rising turning the ocean a bright red. Meea was busy in the shallows playing

with three dolphins. She looked very natural and at home interacting with the mammals

as if they had been best friends all of their lives.

        ―Good morning.‖ I said quietly not wanting to scare off the dolphins.

―Hi, you‘re up early,‖ Meea said smiling as she watched me ease into the water.

―Yeah, you are too. I see you have a few new friends.‖ I said trying to act nonchalant.

―I‘ve never had such a great opportunity to work with mammals of this type, you know.

It‘s fascinating that they‘re so unbelievably smart and easy to communicate with.‖

Meea gestured her hand out to the sea, like she was dismissing a first grade class for

recess. ―There‘re ready to go back out to sea for breakfast, speaking of which, let‘s go

back to my room and I‘ll fix us something to eat. By the way, do you happen to know

where Stacy and Marty have gotten off to again?‖

―I don‘t know, they‘ve been disappearing together a lot these past few weeks. Marty told

me they are working on something, but it‘s their secret for now.‖ I said shrugging my


―Is that a good idea them keeping secrets?‖ Meea questioned looking at me with her

eyebrows raised.

―Its ok, I trust them, besides that it gives us time to work on the rest of our assignment

or… we could find something a little more… ‖

―Oh I know what you mean… good idea, breakfast can wait, come on!‖ Meea said,

grabbing my hand pulling me toward the dorms.

Holding Meea's soft hand in mine I realized how over the past two weeks Meea and I

have become much more comfortable expressing our affection towards one another.

When we‘re in the same room, I noticed we‘re always close enough that some part of us

is touching. When we‘re reading on the couch Meea will be reclining at one end and me

at the other with our backs leaning against the armrest and our legs entangled. If we‘re at

the computer we always sit side-by-side touching in someway. Meea told me she's never

trusted anyone like she trusts me. And I have never felt so deeply for anyone or any thing

like I do for Meea.

If her breath stopped, I‘m sure mine would stop as well at the same moment. I even find

it‘s hard to breathe correctly when she walks out of a room. I have to reassure myself

she‘s coming back, so that I can relax enough to breathe easy again.

Meea and I were entangled on the couch enjoying our private time together; we barely

noticed when the front door banged open.

       ―Sure we leave you two alone for the afternoon and…‖ Marty was chuckling to

himself as his voice trailed off. Stacy came zooming in behind him, her wheels just fitting

through the width of the doorframe.

―Anyone hungry?‖ Stacy asked. She had a large box of donuts and a carton of orange

juice on her lap.

Meea pulled me back to her, pressing her soft lips against mine. ―Mmm…not done yet.‖

She moaned in delight.

Marty chuckled again as he got out some plates and paper towels.

―You guys got no room talking about us anymore, right baby.‖ Stacy laughed as Marty

bent down kissing her, and then flipped open the donut box lid.

As we ate I went over the plan for the night‘s game with Marty and Stacy. They were

going to be a backup for Meea and I if there was a problem with plan ―A.‖

                                               Chapter 9

                                       He Shoots… He Scores

We all got to the gymnasium early. Marty was already in the locker room getting into the

mascot uniform. We needed Marty as a mascot during our three scrimmage games as part

of our game plan, so Marty worked it out to take over as mascot for a couple games to

pay the kid back for helping Marty get a great deal on some custom rims for Stacy‘s new

ride. The kid had a brother that worked for a custom hot rod shop in town, and Marty

thought it would be cool to get some spinners for Stacy on her birthday. That would seem

a little flashy or over the top if you weren‘t a college student I‘ll bet.

        I had stopped into the school audiovisual department today and picked up a

camera with one of those foot long zoom lens on the front so I would look professional.

Stacy had made Meea and me two official looking press passes to hang around our necks.

We paid to get in since we weren't really with the school press, and then once in we

pulled the fake press passes out from under our shirts. Stacy had done a nice job making

counterfeit passes so no one was going to question us. Meea had a steno pad and folder

full of papers for looks.

All we needed was to get close to the Duke Blue Devils coach for a minute. We walked

down to the floor where both teams were running through their warm up drills and the

coaches were gathered in a pre game huddle by the end of the bench.

―Excuse me, Coach K.‖ Meea said looking directly at the coach. When he looked up to

meet her gaze she definitely had his attention. Meea has a mesmerizing attraction. When

she was in the room it was hard to not always watch her. Kind of like those sea plants that

look like food to small fish so they have to swim over to them… and then the plant eats

the small fish, only in this case Meea doesn‘t eat you if you stare at her.

 ―Can you spare just a minute for me to answer a couple pre-game questions, and maybe

a few pictures?‖ Coach K. had a reputation for being very polite and personable.

―Yes, sure thing, Miss.‖ Coach followed as Meea back peddled down the locker room

hall where it was more secluded. Meea asked a couple questions I had written down for

her, just enough where I was able to hear Coach K‘s voice answer her a few times. Then

Meea looked deep into his eyes and the poor man was a goner. She put him under quickly

and then fed him the information we had worked out the night before. We followed

Coach K as he walked back out onto the basketball court floor. He motioned for his guys

to come in off the floor and then he walked over to the scorer‘s table. I was already in

position beside the game officials like I was taking pre-game photos.

Throwing my voice as Couch K as he moved to address the officials ―We forfeit, we will

not be playing in tonight‘s pre-game contest.‖ He turned back to his team while the other

coaches stood there stunned.

Duke was the obvious favorite to win the contest so the team was bewildered when

without one shot being taken they had forfeited. Coach K then walked over into the

middle of his team and told them he did not want to give away any plays or tendencies

tonight. Actually I said it… they just believe it was Coach K, since it was his voice

coming from his direction. We also said, the other teams would just have to learn things

the hard way, by playing us in the regular season.

The team seemed to accept the logic and headed for the locker room. I guess it would be

hard to argue logic with one of the leagues most winning coaches of all time. No bells or

sirens went off so I guess we pulled it off just as planned.

Meea had Coach K set to come out of the trance and programmed to believe this was the

right move for his team.

―Nice job, Meea.‖ Marty said pulling off the mascot costume head. ―Glad I don‘t have to

wear that head any more tonight.‖

Stacy came up from behind Marty skidding to a stop beside him. She was getting

incredibly good in that buggy. ―Want some help getting the rest of that costume off?‖

―Sure, come on.‖ Marty smiled and winked at me.

―He does have clothes on under that costume right?‖ Meea said, giving me a crooked


―I think so… but with Marty one can never be sure of anything. You did a great job

tonight, Meea. Everything went nice and smooth.‖

―Thank you. Since the coach was nice enough to follow us into the hall where it was

quieter, it helped.‖

―If it's OK, tomorrow night I would like you and Stacy to come over about 9:00PM for a

few hours, can you make that?‖

 ―Yeah, I‘m pretty sure we can squeeze you in. Should we bring anything?‖ She said

with a suspicious look.

―Yeah… about fifty dollars.‖

―Are you charging for lap dances?‖ Meea laughed, but I could tell it really didn‘t matter

to her what the money was for, she would bring it just because I had asked her to.

―I‘m setting up a poker game… it‘s a test for Stacy. A test that involves people she

doesn‘t already know. I want to get a better understanding of what to expect from her. I

don‘t want to ever ask more from her than she can deliver.

The fact that her money is on the line will also add a bit of pressure and realism to the

test. If she can read people as well as I believe she can, you two will get a free shopping

spree complements of the generous SA student body that I‘ve invited.‖

                                        Chapter 10

I Fold…

Most of the players had arrived money in hand, I was only waiting on my star player.

One minute later and right on time, Stacy rolled in and parked herself at the empty spot I

left for her at the poker table. Stacy looked over to me and stared, shaking her head in

disbelief. I bent over and whispered to her.

       ―I hope you‘re not mad at me.‖

She turned her head up and kissed me on the cheek. ―You should have more faith in me,

Wilson. I understand, but now it is going to cost you your allowance.‖

It was already costing me my allowance. Since I wanted this to be a completely fair game

I rented a table and hired dealer so no one could claim there were any funny tricks going


I sat in as well on the game with the sole purpose to try to misguide Stacy if possible.

Everyone started out with a fifty-dollar buy in. Stacy sat down with just ten-dollars. She

looked at me and winked. ―This is more money than I‘ll need.‖

Meea looked at me and shook her head indicating that she would not be joining in. She

had explained to Stacy what tonight was all about. Since we had enough players she

chose to hold onto her allowance money.

I fast played some hands and slow played others. I mixed up my bluffs with good hands

and bad hands. Within an hour the other eight guys and myself were broke and had to buy

back in with another $50 dollars. The guys I had invited I thought would be the best card

players the school had to offer. Skip brought Tony his ―friend‖ who looked like a card

shark if I ever saw one. He lasted the longest, but he never won any hands head to head

with Stacy.

In less than two hours Stacy was sitting in front of the biggest pile of money I'd ever seen

at a card game. She had to have a thousand dollars in front of her. No one wanted to buy

back in a third time when winning your money back from Stacy seemed like an


I got a few weird looks from a couple of the guys that were leaving, probably thinking

she had cheated them somehow but they never said anything. Tony the card shark shook

Stacy's hand on the way out telling her how nicely she had played.

When everyone had gone Stacy counted out the money she had just won and gave Marty

two hundred dollars. The first hundred was his money and the other hundred was for…

well just for fun and services rendered she said laughing. She tossed Meea half of what

was left, about four hundred dollars.

―New outfits for us tomorrow! Did you find out what you needed to know, Wilson?‖

Stacy asked, her eyes narrowing and little smile fight to the surface across her tight thin


―Yes, yes I did, and that‘s fine, I don‘t need my hundred dollars back, you enjoy‖ I said

still reeling from the game and how soundly she had read and destroyed us all.

―Oh, don‘t pout, Wilson. You know Meea will buy you something nice tomorrow.‖

―Speaking of tomorrow, I have some work to do tomorrow morning, but I‘ll meet you

guys later at the library to finalize plans for game two." I informed them.

Marty got up and opened the door for the girls. Friday we all had early classes so the girls

needed to get their homework done and what ever else those two squeezed in before bed.

Marty was telling Stacy he would pick her up after third period class, when she grabbed

his hand as she rolled up pulling him down for a goodnight kiss. Meea who was at my

side, kissed and whispered to me, asking if I knew what they were up to all the time when

they take off by themselves. I shrugged.

We were all working hard in our classes and learning a great deal very quickly, but I

could tell Marty and Stacy were up to even more. Meea had been bringing up the

question of what they were doing so often lately I was even getting curious now.

―Maybe they were building her a plane.‖ I whispered back.

Meea laughed out loud. Stacy and Marty separated to look at Meea.

 ―Let's go Meea we have a lot of Victoria Secrets catalogs to look through. Thanks for all

the money, Wilson.‖

―My pleasure, hot rod, but next time we play craps.‖

―Sounds good to me,‖ piped up Marty. Shit…. Marty could move the dice to 7‘s on any

throw he wanted. I wondered if these two were secretly getting wealthy by sneaking off

to go gambling.

After Marty and I got the room back into order we both headed off to bed. I knew Marty

had no trouble sleeping. My first clue was the deafening snores that poured from his

room about a split second after his door closed. Whatever he has been up to the past few

weeks with Stacy was wearing him out. I haven‘t seen him lifting those cannon balls

lately but his abilities seemed to be getting stronger every day regardless. Maybe he‘s

tired from lifting the piles of money they win each night skipping out to Vegas

                                        Chapter 11

Basketball is easy

On our way to Miami, for game two we drove Marty‘s truck so we could take Stacy‘s

buggy, rather than her regular wheelchair. Her buggy fit into his truck bed easily which

was nice since she pretty much was never going to be happy with a regular wheel chair

again. Stacy said she didn‘t know how she‘d ever survived without all that horsepower.

         It always made Marty happy to hear her talk about how much she liked her gift. I

believe they had her up to about sixty mph now, on just about any surface. I‘m sure they

were working up new gadgets for that thing. Marty was never satisfied with things

being normal for any length of time.

We arrived about three hours ahead of our team to give Stacy some time to get into the

stadium and meet the Miami players as they arrived. They weren't supposed to be quite as

tough opponents as Duke with two of their starters out for minor injuries. Stacy was

going to talk to as many players as possible asking them direct questions that would get

them to admit their strategy or lie about it. Either way we were going to know the real


We would then filter this information back to our team so they would know what to look

for and have a good game plan coming out of the locker room. At the same time I had

Meea dress as a Native American Indian and stand at the entryway to the arena where the

players would enter. This is where Meea was going to hand out flyers about how to save

the forest or some junk that Marty dreamed up.

Meea was without question irresistible in her short Indian maiden dress, and her shapely

dark legs looked creamy smooth down to her tiny calfskin moccasins. She was a beauty

right out of the Pocahontas novel.

I positioned myself close enough to eavesdrop. Every player on the team stopped and

talked to her as planned. I wasn't happy with some of their comments to Meea, but she

was pretty good at giving them the boot after they got enough words out for me to hear. I

used the team program roster to help me pick out the key players on the opposing team. I

only needed to really get the top seven players voices down pat. It would have been a

stretch to remember which voice went with which face if I had to remember all fifteen

guys on the team in one pass like this, but I could handle seven.

I volunteered to keep stats for this game so I would be given a seat at the scorer‘s table. A

seat there would allow the range of my voice to reach the three-point line on both sides of

the court. The only problem was I would have to throw my voice louder than I ever done

before in order to have it heard over the crowd. Marty, once again in a mascot costume

was in place as our back up, but I really wanted to avoid using him tonight if I could.

I wanted to win each game in a separate way which is what I believe the intent was for

this assignment, and I knew I would need Marty back at home for game three.

The game started and went through half time without any intervention from me or my

team. There was always a chance we would just dominate the game using Stacy's

scouting report and I wanted to give our players a chance to do just that before we

stepped in and gave them any more help.

There was only a two-point margin in our favor at half time. This was fine for a normal

game but I couldn't wait any longer to make sure the outcome would be as required. At

the start of the second half when the ball crossed half court I used the voice of Miami‘s

point guard and threw it quickly to the forward that had the ball past half court to pass it

back! He heard the voice he was used to listening to on the court automatically flipping

the ball back to the guard who had not made it cross half court yet. The whistle blew

signaling half court violation and the Saints got the ball on the turnover. With ten minutes

left to play our strong offensive play and a few more well timed arrows from me gave

PBHU a nice 20-point lead heading into the final minutes. It only took a couple more

interventions on my behalf to ensure an easy 15-point margin of victory.

After the game we made our way through the fairly quiet parking lot. A win for the away

team had the large hometown crowd pretty subdued as they filed out of the arena to the

parking lot. Marty started the truck for the ride home, as the truck roared to life you could

tell it had plenty of muscle under the hood.

―Let me tell you something, Wilson, if we get called on to do this for the NBA it‘s your

turn to be the one in the mascot suit.‖

―Sorry about that, Marty, one more game though, OK?‖

―I at least get to participate in that game, right?‖

―Yeah, it's all about you next time, baby,‖ Stacy said as she reached up from the rear seat

to stroke the back of his neck. Meea and I both smiled.

Sarcastically Marty chuckled ―I pick where we eat tonight since I wore that dumb suit for

three hours and didn‘t even get to help.‖

                                             Chapter 12

Thank you Victoria Secrets

Marty and Stacy were off doing God knows what again, so Meea and I used the time to

take a walk down the beach. The temperature was perfect this evening. The breeze from

the ocean was kind of cool, with just enough humidity. Meea had her three new best

friends along, which was fine with me. They didn‘t interrupt our conversation, or mind

our occasional display of affection. The three dolphins swam along the coast parallel to

us as we walked along the beach. They seemed to enjoy being close to Meea. Every once

in awhile Meea would look over to the dolphins, like they called to her. I never heard any

sound coming from the dolphins, but the look on Meea‘s face sometimes made me

believe they were communicating in some way. Meea never said anything out loud to

them that I could hear, but I still believe they were having some little conversation of

their own.

          Meea caught me watching her and refocused all her attention back to me as she

smiled and said, ―Game three is going to be a little risky isn‘t it?‖

I gave her a warm half smile and pulled her a little closer to my side as we walked on. ―A

little. This team is better than the last one we played. We can‘t afford to do anything too

obvious and risk being detected tomorrow night. That would definitely get us a failing


Looking back out at the ocean Meea asked, ―How about we all go out to club Coco

tonight for the dinner special? Stacy said it‘s really good.‖

―Yeah sure that would be good, I may be late though. I have to drop off a load of lumber

to the obstacle course. There‘s a crew of people working out there all weekend setting up

a new course for us to use next week. The school has the whole place draped off with

large curtains, like their building something top secret.‖

―I could send a bird over the top to look inside if you want.‖ Meea offered.

―No, it's fine, we‘ll see what‘s in there soon enough.‖

 ―Ok, if you‘re sure. Hey, watch this, look right over there at the dolphin. The girls are

going to do a trick for us before they leave.‖

―A trick? Oh… Very nice!‖ Meea and I applauded as the three dolphins did a round of

acrobatics, jumping fifteen ft above the water in synchronized patterns. Then for the

finale they all jumped at the same time and did a bow in the air. ―Did you tell them how

to do that?‖

―No, they were just showing off for you. Let's head back so I can change for dinner,‖

Meea said spinning me around in the sand, and then sprinting off to make an impromptu

race out of it.

When we got back to the dorms I ran upstairs and grabbed Marty‘s keys to deliver the

lumber. As I was leaving Meea poked her head out of her room and asked, ―Do you want

to see what I‘m going to wear tonight?‖

―Sure, you can wear anything though—‖ I was cut off in mid compliment.

Meea held up something new with a small silk VS tag attached to it. I‘m not sure what it

was, or how she would put it on but… ―You‘re going to wear that outside?‖ I stumbled to

get out.

Meea blushed and looked down. ―No way, but I might wear this if you come over after

we go out.‖ Her cheeks turned even more red, if possible.

She wasn't usually this flirtatious, so I was caught completely off guard and rendered

speechless, more than speechless… paralyzed was a good word for what I was. I couldn‘t

open my mouth or move my legs. My eyes were transfixed on the tiny pieces of fabric in

Meea‘s hands. She seemed very pleased when she realized I was completely frozen and

stunned with delight and anticipation.

Meea stepped up to my side and purred in my ear. ―Mmm … I guess I‘ll be seeing you

tonight then…‖ After the longest and most heated kiss goodbye of my life, I was headed

into the parking lot, with my head in a thick fog of passion trying to remember where I

parked the large truck full of lumber. Smack! I had walked backward right into the truck

still gazing back towards Meea's room. The pain shooting up my back helped quickly

clear the fog from my brain.

Marty picked up Meea and Stacy in my car and took them to the club since I had his

truck. I called Marty from the obstacle course and let him know I was running late and

that they could eat without me, but Marty said they were going to try and stall a bit to see

if I could catch up to them before ordering. He said he could shoot some pool and the

girls would like the time to catch up on campus gossip, something about, well he didn't

know because he quit listening when they said the word gossip. So now, I would try and

rush so nobody would have to wait long.

Marty and the girls were at a table laughing it up when I arrived. ―Hi guys, so sorry I‘m

late. It took forever to unload all that lumber.‖ All three of them were still trying to get

their laughter under control. ―So what‘s going on now?‖

          ―Let me tell him, this is priceless.‖ Marty said pushing his arms out wide like he

needed extra room to tell the story. ―Ok it starts with that guy way over there… see him?"

Marty pointed at a tall, stocky guy, probably in his mid twenty‘s dressed in blue jeans and

Oshkosh shirt. "Right over there, see him, see him?‖ The pointing continued.

―Yeah I see him, quit pointing at him.‖ I urged looking to see if the guy noticed Marty's


 ―Ok, so that moron comes up to the girls and this is how it goes down…‖

"The guy starts out with this line, „Hey there, pretty young thing‟”.

"He then slides into the seat beside Meea definitely on the prowl for company.

„You two ladies are looking lovely tonight. Let me buy you a drink.‟”

          ―‗Thank you, but we don‟t drink‟. Stacy tells him.‖

“„Well then, we'll have to find something you do do. I‘m in a band that‘s opening up in

the next town tomorrow night.‘ no ebalegyug ehT.”

          ―Stacy read him like the open book he was, and from her mischievous expression

I knew she was about to have some fun with this guy. You should have seen her.

          So Stacy fires back at him.‖ ―‗That‟s a lie…Your not in a band.‟ Direct hit!"

Marty laughed at his own commentary.

 “„Well… well I‘m not in it… I just work with the band.‘ The dope sputtered out."

“„That‘s a lie too.‘ Stacy stared at him a second and then say's. „You don‟t work with or

for the band.‟”

“„Well …I uh…I guess not exactly… I uh, I work… I work for the fairgrounds the band

plays at.‘ The guy is pissing himself about now, its amazing how deep a hole this guy can

dig in three minutes." Marty relished, shaking his head at the stupidity.

 "Stacy studied him again for another second and then pulls the trigger on the kill shot.

„That‟s more like it, but to be more accurate, you‟re actually the janitor that cleans up

the fair ground after the concert is over. Isn‟t that about right?‟”

“„Uhmmm…Yeah… well, I got to get going.‘ He barely responded before giving Meea

a quick glance and then took off to the back of the bar. Totally priceless.‖ Marty reached

over and gave Stacy a high five still totally enjoying the moment.

 ―Stacy‘s first casualty of the night. Shot the guy down like the true ace she is." Meea

said with admiration in her voice.

 ―Nice job, Stacy, you sure are a lot tougher than you look,‖ I said proudly.

―I can vouch for that!‖ Marty said as he squeezed the bicep of her tiny thin arm.

―I might be tough but Marty‘s rich. He won enough money tonight at the pool table he‘s

buying us all dinner. Right, Marty?‖ Stacy said.

Before Marty could answer Meea interjected, ―So, Marty, tell me something, did you

cheat at pool tonight?‖

 ―No, that wouldn‘t be any fun.‖ Marty said a bit stunned.

Stacy's shot Meea a questioning.

        ―What? I didn‘t know, I thought it might be a guy thing to never ever lose or


       Marty looked at Stacy and hugged her. ―It‘s OK. Meea is still getting to know me.

But for the record… I didn‘t lose, even playing it straight. I just quit so I could come back

and be with you two." Stacy blushed slightly pleased with Marty‘s statement.

―Sorry, Marty, I didn‘t mean to imply you couldn‘t win without cheating. It just kind of

hit me, when I realized how many ways you could change the outcome of things with

your talent. Do you kind of know what I mean or am I making it worse?‖

―It‘s getting worse, Meea,‖ Stacy smirked.

Trying to change the subject before Meea reached China I asked. ―So, what were you

going to do tonight if Stacy hadn‘t scared that guy off for you?‖

―She saved that guy from a skunk bath, that‘s all. He should be thanking Stacy.‖

         Stacy laughed. ―Oh, yeah, give me details, Meea, how do the skunks come into


         I was almost scared to hear the rest. These two girls could be quite a deadly

combination once provoked.

 ―I was going to have the two big skunks in the trash cans out back come in and give him

a few smelly squirts to cool him off.‖ Meea giggled to herself probably envisioning it.

―You can tell there are skunks out back?‖ I asked.

Meea looked at me, her lips turned up slightly at the ends. ―I can now almost sense every

creature within about a mile of here, and most of them can sense me. I‘ve been learning

to extend my range much farther this semester.‖

―How about me, do you sense me?‖ I asked, not trying to be funny but still trying to get a

handle on the extent of my team‘s abilities. I still didn‘t fully understand the extent of the

talent in my group.

Since I have such strong feelings for Meea, I wondered if she might be able to sense more

from me, or feel how strong my passion was for her.

 ―Not in the same way, but I know what you‘re thinking… sometimes.‖ She tilted her

head slightly and her eyes narrowed, as she stared deep into mine.

That could be a girlfriend thing more than a psychic thing I hoped. Not wanting Meea to

deep in my brain just yet. With Stacy and Meea both around a guy had no chance of

having any personal secrets.

Stacy leaned over and whisper to Marty, ―We better order quick because Meea and

Wilson are in a hurry.‖

―A hurry for wha—. Oh, I get it,‖ he whispered back with a grinning.

I was no longer concerned at all with satisfying the huge empty space in my gut brought

on by hours of throwing lumber around, when I realized, we had two cars here. ―You

hungry, Meea?‖

―Nope.‖ She said reading my mind again.

―Me either. Can we catch up to you guys later?‖ I asked not waiting on a reply.

 ―That‘s a rhetorical question isn‘t it?‖ Stacy said turning to Marty, who had already

dismissed us.

The rest of the night was, perfect, simply perfect.

                                         Chapter 13

Out like a light

         Game three was a home game, and the arena was packed. The heat and humidity

was amplified way above normal by all the students and fans packed into the arena


Scanning over the arena I spotted Dr. Ishmail in the crowd, he gave me a nod of approval

and held up two fingers and then switched to one finger. Two down one to go. I got it. I

nodded back, a small knot of tension registered in my gut.

Tonight would be all about trusting your teammates, and that‘s what I was doing now.

This was Marty‘s night to shine. He had to endure that ungodly hot mascot suit for one

more night, but this time the plan was all him. Tonight‘s game was forecasted to be a


We planned to have Marty positioned at North Carolina‘s basket side during both halves

of the game. Marty was to take control of the balls coming to the rim on the free throws

only in the first half, to see if that would be enough to push the game far enough in our


Teams go on cold spells from the free throw line all the time, so it would be believable.

Also, if Marty just altered the free throws he would have time to set himself up and

would know where the balls were coming from. He would know exactly at what time the

shot was being taken, making it easier for him to just slightly alter the flight of the ball so

no one else could tell what was happening.

       Meea, acting as back up, was beside the NC bench in case she had to put a

starting player in a trance. Even though I found it hard to believe she would have any

trouble, seeing as I could barley keep my eyes off her, counting on the other players to

meet her gaze for an extended period of time was unreliable. Hell you never know,

maybe they have a gay star basketball player on their team.

       Stacy's job was to track the officials to make sure that none of them made

purposefully bad calls. She would also look for a fix in place, or cheating, or any other

thing we hadn‘t thought of. Stacy also had pre game talks with all our players to see if

anything unusual was going through their heads. It was up to me to try and pick up as

many opposing team‘s voices as I could, but the best seat I could get tonight was floor

side under the south basket. If I had to use my voice I would only be able to help on this

side of the court, but I wanted to keep my voice under wraps if at all possible. I also

started to wonder if maybe another group was told to make us lose the game just to make

things harder.

At the start of the game the Saints won the tip so things started off good, but half way

through the first half the Saints were down by three. North Carolina missed all of their

free throws as planned and Marty seemed to have that part of the game under control.

The Saints picked it up before the half ended and went on a 15 to 3 run taking us into the

locker room with a ten-point lead.

       Coming out of half time the Saints played well. Although we held a ten-point lead

at the ten-minute mark, the N.C. Tar Heels weren't making this easy. They made a run of

their own and tied the game up with seven minutes to go. I directed Marty to try and stop

every shot that was taken in the last five minutes, the problem was they were not taking

shots now… they were driving to the basket and throwing them down, which wasn't

something Marty was able to alter.

The game was almost over and we had lost control, I should have taken steps earlier to

prevent the game from getting this close. The girls had their eyes on me looking for

direction. The Saints were up by two with fifteen seconds left on the clock.

We were sure the Tar Heels would drive in for the tie, since lay-ups had gotten them back

in the game. If they pulled up at the three-point line to shoot for the win it would be easy

for us… Marty would just grab the ball in flight and adjust it enough to miss. We would

also be in luck if we fouled the shooter driving in for the lay-up. Marty could alter his

free throws.

It all seemed like it would work out in any scenario I played out in my head, until the

man driving to the basket got fouled from behind and flew head first right into Marty

knocking him out cold on the last play. That guy hit Marty like a truck. I heard the air

rush from Marty‘s lungs as he landed back against the bleachers. I was pretty sure he

would be fine, but with the heat in the arena and being in that suit for hours it didn‘t take

much to knock him out. The sideline crew moved him back behind the bench and took

his mascot head off. They worked to try to revive him, but it was going to be too late.

The Tar Heel player was at the line preparing to shoot his first free throw. He had to

make both to force the game into overtime but I couldn‘t chance playing them in OT with

my star player unconscious behind the bench. I needed to win this game now.

The first free throw went up and in. Think…think… Meea was staring at me her eyes and

mouth wide open. I pointed up to the rafters and hoped she could see what I was pointing

at. She looked up and then back to me and nodded. There are always a few pigeons that

somehow managed to find their way into these arena buildings. They either manage to

get in through the doors that are always standing open or one of the hundreds of


Meea was staring up at the birds as the players high five the free throw shooter for

making the first basket. Having received his encouragement the shooter stepped back to

the line.

        The referee tossed the ball back to the shooter. As he prepared to shoot, I looked

up and saw that the birds were headed down from high up in the rafters and realized they

were not going to make it down in time to affect the shooter. I took a quick glance at

Meea who had a huge grin on her face and then spun back to look at the shooter just as

his shot was going up. Splat! Pigeon poo hit him right in the face as he let go a very

awkward looking shot attempt. It fell short of the basket and the horn sounded making

our third straight win a reality.

        I was only sorry that Marty was not able to see the kid get hit in the face

with…eww that‘s disgusting. Now that was the payback he deserved for knocking Marty

out. Meea ran across the floor yelling, ―Did you see that…did you see that!‖ We both

laughed and hugged while over 13,000 people in the arena cheered and applauded.

―That‘s not quite what I had in mind but I like your version much better.‖ Meea laughed

and was pumping her fist in victory. But it was the victory for her dive-bombers I think,

and not the basketball team.

―They hit the right kid, in the right spot… from 50 feet up…do you believe it.‖ Yep

…she‘s celebrating the dive-bombers.

―I don‘t want to know how you talked them into that, it was way disgusting.‖ I gave her a

high five and a big hug again, we fit right in with the crowd‘s celebration. Out of the

corner of my eye I saw that the council members that attended were also celebrating in

the stands, whether it was my group's win or the Saint's win, I couldn‘t really tell… as

long as everybody was happy.

"Marty… Marty…. You OK?"

                                         Chapter 14

                                          Group 2

The Conner‘s were kind enough to invite all of my group and another group over for a

cookout and swim party today. This worked out great since I had been so busy with the

three basketball games I hadn‘t gotten over to see Melissa like I had wanted to.

         With Marty driving just under the speed of light it took no time until we were

pulling into Mr. And Mrs. Conner‘s drive way. Their house was located right on the

beach and absolutely beautiful. It was a large ranch house that favored Spanish

architecture, with lots of beautiful tile and detailed stuccowork with intricate designs.

We all piled out of the truck and Marty and I both grabbed hold of Stacy‘s buggy and

dropped it onto the drive. Meea had Stacy in her arms already; Stacy was just a tiny thing

so Meea had no problem lifting her to help her in and out of the truck. Meea slid Stacy

down into her buggy and Stacy leaned back up and gave Meea a thank you kiss on the


We all made our way down the tiled walkway leading between the four-car garage and

the main house. The walkway led back to the pool and guesthouse, where the sound of

music and the smell of steaks being grilled permeated the air.

―Hello, everyone!‖ I announced as we pushed through the gate to the pool area.

―Boy!‖ squealed Melissa, as she dropped the sandwich she was nibbling on and came

running. With one leap she was up in my arms and attached to my hip like a little magnet.

She was so easy to hold onto, you could forget you were holding her.

       She put her hands to my face and leaned forward so our foreheads were touching.

       ―And how is my favorite little girl today?‖ I said hugging her tightly.

       ―Em good,‖ she cooed as she rubbed noses with me.

 ―Hi, Melissa, do you remember meeting me from school?‖ Meea asked.

―Girl!‖ Melissa leaned from me to go into Meea‘s outstretched arms. I let her loose and

she was instantly attached to Meea‘s hip. ―Girl.‖

―Meea, my name is Meea. You try... Meea.‖


―Very good, Melissa.‖

―Wilson!‖ Mrs. Conner came running from inside the house. She just about knocked me

back into the pool she hit me so hard. Good thing she wrapped me in a bear hug or I

would have fallen into the pool. ―Oh, Wilson…‖ She kissed me all over my cheeks as she

hugged me again and again.

Mr. Conner came just in time to rescue me. ―Sorry, Wilson, but my wife has been waiting

to thank you for a long time.‖ He laughed quietly.

I struggled to get my breath back as I tried to extricate myself from Mrs. Conner‘s grip. I

was quite amazed at how strong she was.

―I‘m very sorry I didn‘t stick around that day of the fire, Mrs. Conner.‖ I said.

―Please, call me Julie. And don‘t apologize to me. I‘m so grateful for you and what you

did. I‘ll never ever be able to thank you enough. Melissa is the most precious thing on

earth and you gave her back to me. I‘ll never be able to repay that. Thank you!‖ She said,

her eyes glossy with unshed tears.

―Why don‘t we start showing our appreciation by letting Wilson meet our other guest and

get something to eat?‖ Julie looked at her husband and laughed, understanding his

implied point that it was time to lighten the mood and enjoy the day.

―First, let me introduce my friend‘s and group members. This is Meea, Stacy and Marty.‖

I said pointing to each one.

―Welcome, everyone, please get something to eat and enjoy.‖ Julie looked over and

smiled to Meea who was playing and rubbing noses with Melissa.

Meea gave Julie a warm smile in return conveying that Melissa would be plenty happy

and safe today.

―Wilson, allow me to introduce the members of group two if you haven‘t had the pleasure

yet. This is Rachel, Chels, Tony and Steven.‖ Mr. Conner said gesturing to each person.

Coincidently, I had met everyone but Steven, but I was fascinated to see who had been

chosen to team up with Rachel and Chels. I knew the girls would be quite an asset for any


        Mrs. Conner being the good hostess, and trying to spoil me a little I felt, handed

me a fruity drink with slices of pineapple and banana sticking out the top, and naturally

she added one of those little umbrellas that I was never quite comfortable with. Do you

drink around them or take them out, and then what do you do with them…?

        Marty and Meea were working out their own umbrella dilemmas when Stacy

asked Julie if it was ok to take a swim before eating.

―Please feel free to do or have anything. We‘ve got all day and it‘s a perfect day, so lets

enjoy the time we have, yes?‖ Julie said that like we wouldn‘t always have time to enjoy

each other, like there were limits coming. Or maybe she was still a bit shaken up,

reminded of everyone‘s mortality by seeing me for the first time since the accident at the

gas station.

Melissa was in the pool the second Stacy got in. She was showing us that she was an

excellent swimmer. Stacy was also swimming amazingly well for not having the use of

her legs.

Rachel sat down with a plate of hors D‘oeuvres beside Julie, Meea and I. ―I haven‘t

seen you in a while, Wilson, what have you been up to?‖

―Mostly attending a lot of basketball games.‖

 Meea scooted a bit closer to me as soon as Rachel sat down. Maybe Meea wanted to

give off a subtle primal signal that I was spoken for or something, or maybe it was

because she was just trying to get in more of the sun on my side of the bench.

―I met Rachel and her sister on opening day. They have the ability to see with radar and

sonar.‖ I said trying to reassure her that she had nothing to worry about. I only had eyes

for her.

―That‘s very special.‖ Meea acknowledged with no tension or harshness to her voice.

Chels and Tony came over dripping wet from the pool, and lifted a few goodies from

Rachel‘s plate. ―Have a look at Marty and Melissa.‖ Chels said pointing back at the pool.

We all looked over at the same time to see Mr. Conner in the pool and Melissa floating in

the air. Melissa was suspended three feet above the water, while Marty sat on the end of

the diving board and used his skills to levitate her over the water like he did with the

cannon balls.

―‗Kay, Marty, let me go!‖ Marty released his hold on her and she dropped into the pool

with a splash. She came up right away sputtering and chirping orders for Marty. ―Again,

peez. Again, peez!‖

Mr. Conner, laughing said, ―Ok, just remember, Marty, you started this. It may take her a

hour before she‘ll let you stop.‖

―Again, Peez.‖ Melissa had swam back to Marty at the diving board.

―OK … Ready?‖ Melissa just waved her arms into the air. Marty without bending down

levitated her out of the water again and moved her towards the middle of the pool.

―Once she‘s amused by something she has quite a bit of staying power,‖ Julie said,

watching Melissa getting levitated and dunked over and over again.

After watching Melissa and Marty‘s water antics for a short while, Steven, the fourth

member of group two went over and laid out on one of the lounges that were facing the

beach, directly in the sunlight.

Steven was a small guy about 5‘6‖ or so, probably not over one hundred and thirty five

pounds soaking wet. I thought it seemed a bit odd that he sort of secluded himself from

everyone, but I suppose everybody relaxes in his or her own way.

Apparently Mr. Conner had noticed me watching Steven most likely with a questioning

look on my face. Mr. Conner then called for Chels to come and take his place as a safety

spotter for Melissa. As Mr. Conner stood next to me drying off, he told me we needed to

speak before I left for the night and he would explain a little about Steven.

After spending hours in the pool and eating all day, and Stacy giving Melissa countless

dune buggy rides up and down the beach everyone was pretty much worn out. Julie

invited everyone to take showers in the guesthouse and then come to the main house to

relax in the movie plex room, as she called it.

       Mr. Conner had built a movie theater room with a giant screen, surround sound

and a popcorn machine, the works. Teaching at PBHU must be a lucrative way to earn a

living. During the opening credits of the movie, Mr. Conner motioned to me to excuse

myself and take a walk with him.

―Thank you for coming over today, Wilson, it means the world to Julie, Melissa, and me

as well.‖

―It was all my pleasure, sir, I can assure you.‖

―When we‘re not in class you can call me Brian.‖

I could tell this walk wasn‘t going to be about the formalities of how to address Mr.

Conner. I wished Stacy were here to read between the lines for me. Something was up

and it felt like it was big. I just wasn‘t sure what to expect from Brian and maybe that‘s

how he wanted it, that‘s probably why he separated me from Stacy or….

―Sure, Brian it is. Is there more you need to tell me sir… er, Brian?‖ He laughed but

never turned his head to look at me.

―I want to explain a little about the team members of group two. Every four years we get

a new group of students and you guys seem to get more outstanding with each new class.

―Yes, sir.‖ Calling him Brian when we were back to business didn‘t seem right. He

nodded gravely, confirming my feelings that this was deep and going to get deeper.

―You‘ve already met Rachel and Chels, and I believe they have given you a basic

understanding of their abilities. I know you have met Tony but have you gone into any

detail of what he is capable of?‖

―No sir, none.‖

―Tony is what you would have referred to back in high school as a techie nerd, but he‘s

not your typical techie nerd. He can use, build, infiltrate or hack into anything we have

thrown at him that runs by computer programming. From reprogramming a garage door

opener to infiltrating a military mainframe, he may just be the best hacker in the world

today. Tony was born and raised in Brazil and holds the title of master in three different

martial arts. I guess he got tired of being called a nerd or something.‖ Brian said smiling


Usually, guys that stand 6‘2‖ and weighs one hundred and eighty five pounds don‘t get

call nerd a lot in Michigan. ―You say he‘s a master in three different martial arts?‖ Man,

am I glad we weren‘t cheating at poker the other night.

―Yes, he is. Now with Tony teamed up with Steven and the girls you have the best

intelligence team in history. You‘d be able to get, hack, and decipher any

communications made around the world.

―What does Steven do?‖ I asked curious to find out about the last member of the group.

There was a strain in Brian‘s eyes that hadn‘t been there all day. Not when he was

playing in the pool with Melissa or when he sat with his arm around Julie watching

Melissa getting buggy rides. He was a different man now, so serious and burdened.

―Steven is another one of a kind. You‘ve heard the term photographic memory I‘m sure.

Well, that‘s not exceedingly special since there have been quite a few people to some

degree that have photographic memories. But Steven has perfect and instantaneous recall

of anything he has ever read, heard, or seen…ever. I‘m sure you‘ve also heard the term

autistic. Steven is the most unique autistic person discovered.‖

―Discovered?‖ Discovered makes it sound like they found him in a deep jungle

somewhere hiding in a cave.

        ―Yes, discovered. You see most autistic people are very gifted at certain things

like music or mathematics but normally struggle with communication. Steven has used

his photographic memory to adapt his communication skills that other people take for

granted. Let me give you an example. If Steven is asked do you want a bowl of cereal for

breakfast. He‘ll recall a response from anything he has ever seen and then mimics it back

as his reply. So if he‘s hungry, he responds with ‗Yes, thank you, that would be great.‘

He may have gotten this line from a TV show or book where that was a reply given to get

the object asked about. It was amazing that we caught onto the fact he was autistic at all.‖

       My interest was piqued. ―How did you discover he was indeed autistic then?‖

―Steven was in advanced college classes when most kids his age were starting fifth grade.

That year, one of Steve‘s professors was in the teacher‘s lounge watching the weather

channel on TV before class. Steven was in the lobby where the same program for the

weather was on. When they both met a few minutes later in class the teacher making

small talk asked him what he thought about the weather coming in. Steven repeated word

for word what they had just heard on the broadcast.

They knew Steven had a photographic memory at the time, but since his response was

identical to the broadcast, the teacher knew this wasn‘t normal. The professor left the

room to get help and asked Steven just to sit tight for a few minutes. He then returned

with Dr. Ishmail and a tape recorder and had him ask Steven the same question. In turn,

Dr. Ishmail recorded the same reply verbatim. Then the SA council got involved and

started to investigate. After some testing they realized all Steven‘s replies were coming

from his photographic memory word for word as they had went in. We also found that

Steven carefully chose his replies to answer exactly the way he felt and believed. He just

did it with memorized replies.

The interesting part of this is that Steven was so good at pulling up replies that applied

directly to the situation, no one caught on. We brought him in under SA care then and

have worked with him one on one, ever since. Now that he‘s nineteen years old and

we‘ve had many years to monitor his behavior, we feel comfortable he‘s safe to join a


―Let me recap to be sure I understand correctly, because this seems a little complicated.

Steven instantaneously can recall anything he has ever seen, heard or read at the blink of

an eye. He can also communicate what he thinks and feels by using regurgitated verbiage

someone else has spoken or written?‖

―That‘s correct. Another way to tell that he‘s doing this is, if he speaks something that

was read and not watched or heard, he‘ll say it with no expression on his face. If he

replies using something he watched either in real life or on TV he mimics the expression

that was used as well. In some ways, he‘s easily the smartest man in the world.‖

―Uh-huh.‖ I tried not to sound inundated, I really did.

―Look, I know this is a lot to take in but I‘ve personally worked with Steven over the last

five years, and he is truly an amazing person. Yes he's a bit quiet, but for what his brain is

capable of he is incredible. He will know the answer to anything you will ever ask him.

He also has a pleasant personality, and you'll find he's quite a giving person.‖

―This is all quite interesting, sir, but why are you taking the time to tell me all of this?‖ I

asked trying to get to the heart of the matter.

―Something critical has come up. You may not know this but Julie and I graduated and

worked for the Governments SA program for ten years. After our active tour with SA we

decided to come back here to teach SA students and raise our daughter. Unfortunately,

we‘re now being called back for a special assignment and we have to leave tonight. I am

not at liberty to tell you about the assignment but there are a few more things I need to

cover with you before Julie and I leave.‖

By this time we had walked miles down the beach and Brian was turning us around to

head back.

―Some of this will be completely up to you and some of this you have no choice in. The

council is making you group leader for group two in addition to your own group. That

part is not negotiable. The part you do have a say in, is this. Julie and I need your help

again. You have every right to turn us down and we would completely understand, so

please don‘t hesitate if this is asking too much.‖

 Brian‘s eye‘s squinted a little as the stress emanated out of his eyes now.

―Julie and I don‘t have any family so we would like to ask you to stay with Melissa while

we‘re gone. We trust you implicitly with our special little girl, and besides Melissa loves

you to death.‖

―I would love to watch her, sir. She‘s incredibly special.‖

―Yes, yes… but that‘s not the kind of special I meant.‖ Mr. Conner said staring me in the


―You‘re kidding!‖ he‘s got another weird thing to add to the list!

The tension now eased a bit from his expression. ―I wish I was. Haven‘t you noticed how

light Melissa feels when you hold her?‖

―Well, sort of, I just blew it off to me being strong and her little legs holding on so tight.‖

―She‘s somehow controlling the magnetic field around her body. That‘s why we have that

special movie plex room set up for her because she makes a normal TV go completely

fuzzy. Let me put it this way, like birds use magnetic functions in their brain for

guidance during migrations, Melissa sort of does the same thing, just on a much grander

scale and with her whole body. She also holds onto people so easy because she‘s using

the magnetic field from her body to attract and stick to the iron and magnetic field in

other peoples bodies.‖

―Yeah, I sure noticed that, I just thought… well, I guess I didn‘t really think at all. When

she‘s around I just get mesmerized by her cute little face.‖ I smiled picturing how she

looked in Meea‘s arms today.

―We don‘t know everything yet, but we want her to enjoy growing up before being

bothered with any tests. Maybe when she‘s older we can explain it to her and start to get

deeper into it, but for now we just want to enjoy being a family. I hope you understand,


―Yeah, growing up normal is tough enough I guess.‖ Brian smiled, knowing I had no

mixed feelings about their decision.

―One last thing, Melissa we believe is about four times as light as a normal child her size.

We believe this is caused by the atoms in her body having four times the space between

them as normal.‖

―You‘re losing me again.‖

―Actually its not hard to understand. If you compress all the empty space out of the atoms

that make up all the cells of a human body the actual mass would only fill a teaspoon. We

believe from us looking at a lock of Melissa‘s hair that she carries one-fourth the mass

that‘s normal. Carrying less mass hasn‘t seemed to affect her in the slightest, other than

she‘s actually faster and stronger than normal children her age. Like I said we just want

to enjoy her while she grows up and that‘s what is most important to us.‖

 The stressed out look started to crowd back into Brian‘s face again. ―We hate to leave

Melissa this way, but I really can‘t share any more details with you, you‘re just going to

have to trust me for a while, sorry.‖

―That‘s okay, do you think Melissa will be okay staying with me?‖

―Actually, if you wouldn‘t mind, we would like you to stay here with her. We think she‘ll

handle the time apart from us better if she‘s here in her own room and such. Also we

would like to invite you all to stay here, we have plenty of room to accommodate

everyone. That will give you more time together to learn about each other and a few extra

bodies around to take care of Melissa, because she may be more than one of you can

handle alone.‖

I laughed out loud in an effort to relieve my tension as much as seeing the humor of

Melissa keeping all eight of us busy. ―Why again did I get a second group to lead?‖

―I can‘t really go into that either, just try to get a handle on them and see if you can pull

them all together… it may be more important than you know.‖

                                        Chapter 15

See you soon

When we got back to the house Melissa was curled up asleep on Marty‘s chest. Marty

was also sound asleep but not snoring for a change. The movie was just ending. I believe

it was the Disney movie about the little squirrel and lion in the Ice age. Stacy, Meea,

Chels and Julie were all cuddled up together on a large couch glued to the climax. Tony

and Steven had apparently lost interest and were playing chess out by the pool. I could

hear Tony growling with every piece he lost. I‘m sure playing against Steven you had

about a zero percent chance of winning, but Tony seemed to like a challenge.

        Rachel was coming in from the kitchen with drinks for all the girls and took her

spot back on the couch to finish up the movie. Brian excused himself to finish packing

and told me I might as well get something to eat, while the girls finished their movie.

When the movie was over I woke Marty. I also asked Steven and Tony to come in so I

could explain our new situation.

Julie was torn between letting Melissa sleep and waking her up to say goodbye to her.

Since she thought we had her plenty tired and she would go right back to sleep, Mrs.

Conner gently woke her up. They explained to her that they had to go to work for a while

but Meea and I would stay with her until they got back. Melissa was a secure happy little

girl and had no problem with anything her mom and dad asked her to do. Melissa hugged

and kissed her parents, rubbed her eyes and toddled back over to curl back up on Marty‘s

chest to fall asleep again.

We all sat around for quite a while after Mr. And Mrs. Conner left to discuss what this

must be about. Rather than speculating all night, I figured we should get ready to turn in

for the night and get some rest.

The girls would ended up sleeping in the main house with Melissa. Stacy and Meea each

would have their own room while Rachel and Chels were happy to share the master

bedroom. This would allow Melissa to continue to still have her own room to sleep in.

The guesthouse had two bedrooms in it so it wasn‘t going to be an inconvenience for us

guys either. It wasn‘t as if any of us were going to have to sleep in a bathtub or anything.

As I helped Marty put Melissa to bed I noticed that her room was adorable, decorated in

small ponies of every color. Marty tucked Melissa in bed while I returned the toys she

had gotten out earlier back into the toy chest where they belonged. We then walked back

to the living room to rejoin the group before everyone turned in.

―So do we keep going to class?‖ Chels looked enthusiastic like we had just gotten a

week‘s worth of snow days or an early vacation notice.

―Lets go back to our dorm rooms tomorrow morning to pick up some clothes and

essentials. While were there we can stop by to see if anyone from the council is available

to ask about our class schedules.‖ I figured we might as well start at the top.

―Good idea, Boy.‖ Meea teased. Picking off small bites from the donut that was sitting in

front of her.

―You‘re not going to start calling me that are you…Girl?‖ I retorted, stepping up to her

side reaching down to take a new donut from the box.

Meea grinned up at me. ―I guess it‘s a bad idea since I finally got Melissa to start using

our names, but I think its kind of cute when she calls you boy.‖ Meea smirked as she

went to the refrigerator for some milk.

―Steven, are you OK with this change in your sleeping arrangements?‖ I asked not sure if

a change in location would cause Steven any issues. I always thought that autistic people

needed strict patterns or routines.

―It will be just fine, Wilson.‖ Steven said dryly.

I wasn‘t too sure about Steven. I sort of had that ticking time bomb feeling with him for

some reason, but if Mr. Conner said he was okay I would try to go with it.

―I‘m going to bed.‖ Marty yawned.

―I‘ll drive you to your room.‖ Stacy said, as Marty stepped on to the foot pegs he added

to the back of her buggy and she sped out the door toward the guesthouse. Meea came

over and curled up in my lap and kissed me a little too intimately for the company that

was still in the room. I‘m guessing she was still staking her claim so to speak.

―Good night everyone, we‘ll see you in the morning.‖ Rachel said helping Chels up out

of the soft deep cushions of the movie couch.

―Fine, Rachel, good night.‖ I said. ―I better take off too since we don‘t know when

Melissa will get up. I want to be prepared so that I can make her a good breakfast in the

morning. I never thought we would hear the pitter patter of little feet between us so


Meea blushed and then smiled at my reference, her eyebrows raised and she let out a

small giggle. ―But I knew she would be that beautiful. Goodnight, Wilson.‖

On my way to the guesthouse I met Stacy on her way back.

―Steven will be alright with us, I can tell.‖ Stacy said slowing down to talk.

―Are you sure?‖

―Yes, he‘s a little harder to read, but I can tell he‘ll only do what he understands to be

right. You should stop worrying so much about him.‖

―I just hope he has the same definition of right as we do.‖

―Relax, he has volumes of examples to draw from. I wonder how he‘d do in Poker…?‖

―Good night, Hot rod‖

―See ya, Boy.‖

                                          Chapter 16

New Assignments

I got up early to get things packed up, which didn‘t take as long as I thought it would.

So after finishing I went out to the grill by the pool to start breakfast. I put the pancakes

on the large flat skillet section of the grill, along with some bacon and eggs off to the

side. I had the coffee made and a pitcher of juice on the table as the crew started to get up

and around. Tony, Steven and Marty were first up and at the table eating when I heard the

girls in the house laughing and carrying on about something.

Meea was the first girl out the door still in her bikini she had on yesterday. She simply

took my breath away. The tight triangle top and the low rider bottoms displayed every

curve and muscle in her body was in world-class shape. As I stood there breathless,

taking in the perfect vision, she looked at me like she was bursting to say something.

       ―What?‖ I managed to choke out.

Meea smiled in appreciation for the way I couldn‘t take my eyes off of her, but wanted

me to move my attention to something else. ―Are you ready to meet princess Melissa?‖

―Oh… yes, where is she?‖ I asked now playing my part.

Meea stepped to the side to reveal Melissa, ―TaDa,‖ she was in the cutest little yellow

sundress. Her hair had been made up into a top ponytail with a flowing volcano of dark

curly hair cascading down on all sides.

―Wison, me pretty?‖

―Oh yes, Melissa, you are so pretty.‖ Three quick steps, a leap and Melissa was giving

me a big morning hug. How did Mr. Conner ever get the strength to leave the house in

the morning I wondered, and what could be so important to take him away from his little

angel now.

―Thank you for fixing breakfast.‖ Steven said without looking up at me.

―You‘re welcome, Steven, I hope you found something you liked.‖

―Yes, I like it all, thank you.‖ He said guiding his fork to stab at the last few bites on his


―I wanted everyone to have a good breakfast and be able to get to admissions by nine this

morning, if possible. I knew the council usually held morning meetings, and it would be

our best chance to catch and discuss our new living arrangements with them.‖

―If we need to go soon I‘ll start on the dishes.‖ Tony said gathering up the empty plates.

―We should leave in twelve minutes. If we obey all the traffic signals,‖ Steven glanced

over to Marty with a nod. ―We‘ll get to the administration building of PBHU at 8:59


I wonder how Steven knew that Marty usually didn‘t stick to close to the ―suggested‖

speed limits as Marty refers to them.

―Thank you, Steven. Meea, Melissa and I will ride back with you and Tony. Marty can

take Stacy, Rachel and Chels.‖ I wanted to spend some time with Steven and Tony so I

could better understand their personalities. Also I wanted to mix up the groups so we

would start to get the feeling that we were one big group now, and not two separate


We got on our way a few minutes early, which was amazing for a group of our size.

Usually there‘s always that one straggler that holds up the whole show.

―So, Steven, do you drive?‖ I asked conversationally.

―I can drive, but I‘m only supposed to drive in an emergency situation.‖

―Have you driven before?‖

―Yes, I learned how to drive at school with Dr. Ishmail.‖

―Good to know. Can you tell if we‘ll get to school by 9:00 AM?‖

―We will arrive at approximately 8:52 AM… barring no major changes in course or

speed. We have exceeded the posted limits on three roads so far.‖ Steven said nodding at

Tony behind the wheel. Tony looked over and gave Steven a warm smile.

―It‘s going to be fine Steven, I‘ll try to stick to the limits more closely.‖ Tony said


―Steven, does it bother you answering questions for me like this?‖ I asked.

―Its fine, I like it.‖ He answered with no expression on his face.

―Can you say ―I like it‖ pulling from a movie or real life experience rather than a book

for me?‖

―Yes, I like it!‖ This time his face had no expression on the word yes, and then he smiled

widely saying the words ―I like it!‖ I‘d have to remember if we needed Steven to go

completely unnoticed, we would have to direct where he drew his responses. I wanted to

make sure Steven felt at home on our team so the more I understood him the easier that

was going to be.

―How long have you and Tony known each other?‖

―Three years and forty-six days.‖ He said as a matter of fact.

Tony smiled and winked at Steven. ―I met Steven a few years ago when we were here for

summer testing, we‘ve been friends ever since, right Steve?‖ Tony reached over and

slapped Steven on the shoulder.

―Yes…friends till the bitter end.‖

I looked at Tony to gauge that bitter end remark. Tony looked at me, a wide grin on his

face and winked again. Apparently this was the humorous side of Steven.

Melissa was keeping herself busy in the car, listening to Meea read to her from a

storybook she had brought from the house. Some story about a princess, dragons and

brave knights. Seeing the two girls together warmed my heart beyond compare. They

were by far the most precious things in my life now.

It looked more like a Monday than a Sunday when we pulled into the parking lot. Every

student in SA was outside the administration building. I recognized the guy that sat in

front of me in Biology as he walked by our car.

―What‘s going on?‖ I asked.

―There is a sign posted that all group leaders have a meeting with the council in thirty



Marty was pulling into the parking space right behind us as we all got out of the car.

―What‘s going on, boss?‖ Marty asked looking as happy as ever. Stacy slid out of her seat

into Marty‘s arms, looking like she didn‘t wanted to be set down anytime soon.

―I‘ll find out in about a half hour at the council meeting. Let‘s use the time to go get

packed up so we can move to the Conner‘s house. Everybody good with that?‖ My

question was met with a round of bobble head nods.

Melissa went with the girls to help them pack. I could hear them down the hallway,

giggling and having a ball. I‘m not sure what they were into but those girls were always

laughing about something.

After helping pack for a while I ran over to make the meeting with the council. I went

into that familiar room were four chairs now sat in front of the long council table rather

than just the one I had sat in while taking my black box poison snake test. I introduced

myself to the three others that walked in with me. There was Tracy, a tall blond girl with

a German accent. Tim, he was a short stocky very intense looking guy, and Matt. Matt

was the largest guy at orientation. This guy looked like the actor that played in the Green

Mile movie, but bigger. He had to duck and turned sideways a bit to get through the door.

We each looked over at him when we saw that one of the four chairs set up for us was

noticeably larger.

Getting ready to sit in the oversized chair he looked back at us and winked. ―They‘re

always taking good care of me here. I love this university.‖ He said, motioning for us to

join him.

       ―Thank you all for coming.‖ Dr. Ishmail said walking in, he had the same

burdened look that Mr. Conner had on his face last night. I guessed this wouldn‘t be

good, I just hoped that the Conners weren‘t in any danger.

―We‘re very sorry to have interrupted your schedules like this but the President called

and needs our help. He‘s recalled some retired SA groups to help on a matter of national

security. That‘s all the detail we‘re allowed to give you on the matter. What directly

affects you all is that some of the recalled SA members were professors here so we‘ve

had to modify some of your course schedules. There are new schedules for each of your

group members on the table. Please pick them up when you leave. Do any of you have

any questions?‖

―I do, sir,‖ I said.

―The rest of you are dismissed, I need to speak with Mr. Wilson alone. Thank you and

please forgive this interruption. We‘ll do our best to ensure that no one misses any of the

required training, of that you can be assured.‖

Dr. Ishmail gave me a reassuring nod as the others picked up their packets and filed out.

―I know that the Conners have left you with their daughter Melissa, and that you will be

staying off campus. We are also aware that you have been given double the people to

oversee. Everything that has taken place so far has the council‘s oversight and approval.‖

―Yes sir,‖ was all I could manage to come up with as a reply.

―What I tell you now is only for you, Wilson, this is not to be shared with your group, at

least not for now. Understand?‖

I nodded.

―The President‘s current SA team has discovered a terrorist plot that needs to be acted

upon. Additional SA groups have already been activated to help in this action. By

combining your group with group two we feel you have the strongest most versatile team

ever assembled. You‘re all young, untrained and untested, but you still have the largest

group of raw talent we have ever put together. The President is kept up to speed on our

program and on the progress of each group and its potential. He has requested we

intensify some of your group‘s training starting immediately. Your group will be on

standby just incase we would want to bring you in on any part of what‘s taking place.‖

The doctor sat back looking very unhappy to bring in such a young inexperienced group

to this level of detail.

―So if I understand you correctly, my group will go into crash training knowing that we

might be called apon at anytime to help in a situation that we have no details on. Is that

about the extent of it?‖

―No, that‘s not the extent of it… don‘t forget you‘re babysitting one of the most unique

little girls in the world. That about sums it up, I‘d say.‖ We both laughed at the craziness,

and because it felt good to relieve the tension that had built up.

My group was the only one left in the parking lot when I came out. Melissa ran to me and

leaped up onto my hip.

―Hi, Melissa, I missed you, have you been a good girl?‖

―Yes.‖ she answered as she hugged me tight.

―She‘s been a perfect princess just like in the book were reading,‖ Meea added. And

leaned around Melissa to kiss me.

―How deep are we in, boss?‖ Marty said, sitting on the hood of his truck with Stacy by

his side.

―We‘ve never been deeper.‖ I laughed to keep the mood light. No reason to get everyone

worried with no more details than I had, or was allowed to share.

―Are we still headed back to the Conner‘s place?‖ Tony asked.

―Yeah, that‘s still the plan, and I also have new class assignments for everyone.‖

―Good, I would have hated to pack all the equipment in the truck and have the plans

changed on us.‖ Tony said looking at the piles of electronics strapped down on the truck.

It took us an hour just to unpack all the computer and communication equipment Tony

had packed. Half the stuff I couldn‘t even tell you what it was for. We could have started

a Best Buy super store or something.

       ―You can‘t really need all that stuff.‖ I said, lugging in the last electronic box.

―You never know, if I can pull signals, news, or communications of any kind in, we have

the right group to decipher it. Maybe we can figure out what‘s going on out there.‖ Tony

replied as he hooked up the myriad of wires running all over the guesthouse.

Steven was just coming in to help Tony with his equipment set up as I was walking out. I

hoped the Conner‘s don‘t mind the satellite dish Tony bolted to the roof…

Meea was watching Melissa out by the pool. She had called some ducks together that

Melissa and she were tossing breadcrumbs to.

Marty and Stacy were off again somewhere, but before they left Marty said something

about being back in time to cook dinner since I had made breakfast. The twins were on

the beach fishing for ―real men‖ as Chels put it.

I joined Meea and Melissa out at the pool where Meea was tossing the last of her bread to

the ducks.

―So can you talk to me about what‘s going on.‖ Meea asked.

―More friends of yours?‖ I said, ducking the question.

―I thought Melissa would enjoy feeding them, so… quite ducking my question… no pun

intended.‖ She giggled then glared.

―I can tell you some things but other stuff I can‘t right now. I think I‘m going to have to

go back and speak to Dr. Ishmail again though. I believe we could probably help if I was

allowed to involve everyone.

―Hmmm… so what do we do Monday?‖

―You, the twins, Tony and I go to the obstacle course for agility training on Monday.

Marty starts five day a week twelve hour a day aeronautic training. Stacy is going to

hate to hear Marty‘s going to be tied up and away from her for so long, but she and

Steven are going to be in foreign language classes all day, everyday, from now on.‖

―You‘re going to have to give us some more explanation you know.‖ Meea said looking

unhappy at the change in all our schedules.

―Yeah, I know, give me a day first.‖

                                        Chapter 17

Stay the Course

Marty left bright and early for flight training. He dropped Stacy and Steven off at class on

his way out to the university‘s private airport. Tony and the twins were going to watch

Melissa while Meea and I took the early session at the obstacle course. Meea and I would

then watch Melissa, so Tony and the twins could attend the second session.

        When Meea and I arrived at the course, I could see that the large tarps that draped

off the entire area had been moved back to cover just the back half of the field. The tarps

were raised up about five stories high falling all the way to the ground. They were

suspended between tall high voltage towers. But there were no electric lines running on

these towers, just the tarps.

The section of the field that was now out in the open had a two-mile obstacle course set

up that looked ready for action. There were rope swings, climbing walls, and mud pits

with rope ladders crossing over them. There was even a pond with rolling logs on it. At

the entrance were two large, and in charge Army men dressed in camouflage fatigues.

―Hello. I‘m Wilson McClain and this is Meea Suntree.‖

―Hello, I am Major Wellen and this is your instructor Corporal Qualen. Please come in

and read through these instructions, then warm up for about five-minutes. This is a

seven-minute course. Which means an army cadet after boot camp should be able to

complete the course in seven minutes. You can use that open area by the start line for

your warm ups. Any questions so far?‖

―No sir. I believe we‘ve got it. Thank you.‖ I said.

―We will be right with you to get you started.‖ The corporal said.

 As Meea and I walked into the yard I heard the corporal tell the major he couldn‘t

believe they let girls into this program. From the look on Meea‘s face she had heard the

corporal as well and was not going to let this insult slide.

Meea and I had never raced or anything, but Meea looked like she was built to fly. I‘m

sure coming off an actual Indian reservation in Texas and having animals as your closest

friends, Meea must have done a lot of open field running. Odd the corporal didn‘t notice

her build, or even the stealthy glide in Meea‘s stride. I thought it made her stand out from

everyone else and Meea never goes unnoticed anywhere she goes.

―Wilson, would you mind letting me run this course the first time by myself with the


And here it comes…

―What ever you like, Meea.‖ A knowing smile slid across my face. Meea recognized and

enjoyed that I knew and trusted her so well. I stretched over and kissed her on the cheek.

―Best of luck my little Indian maiden.‖

Meea stood back up and stepped to the starting line. ―Excuse me, Corporal.‖

―Yes, miss.‖

―Since this is a seven minute course for a trained military cadet, would you mind racing

against me on my first run through the course? I‘d like to compare myself to a trained

military man, like yourself, to see how much I‘ll need to improve.‖

The corporal fought off a smile and took a quick look over at the Major for approval,

which he got with a wink.

―Don‘t be upset with yourself, miss, if you can‘t keep up for the first few months. This is

one of the most difficult course layouts that the Army puts together for training. The

scaling wall alone is just over thirty feet high, and the mud jump is six feet across.‖

―I‘ll try and do my best, Corporal.‖ Meea said as she stepped back from the starting line

to stand with me.

The Corporal started to stretch out while Meea and I looked on.

―Wilson, when I‘m through giving this guy a lesson in manners, lets say we race for


―And what do you have in mind?‖ I was quickly learning to never doubt anyone in my

group. If Meea was so confident she had jumped over her race with the corporal, and was

now thinking about racing me, I was pretty sure I was in trouble already.

―If you win, Wilson, I‘ll do anything you want for the next 24 hours. But … if I win, you

have to take me out on the Conner‘s boat for a moon light dinner, just you and me alone

for say… three hours.‖

―Hmmm…that‘s a long dinner.‖

―I‘m a very hungry girl!‖

―Well that‘s a win-win for me so I‘m game.‖

―Ready, miss?‖ The corporals‘ chest stuck out like a prize peacock as he strutted to the

starting line.

―You bet.‖

The Major counted off… MARK… SET… GO….

The Major had a stopwatch in his hand that he clicked at the word GO. They were off, or

I should say Meea was off. She sprinted ahead in the first twenty yards to the first

fifteen-foot wall with a hanging rope. She leaped with both feet, toes pointed like a

gymnast, grabbed the rope and climbed up one hand over the other as smooth as silk. She

looked like a snake spiraling up the rope and sliding down the other side. As she

approached the six-foot mud jump in full stride, she leaped like a gazelle clearing the pit

and stuck the landing, a good foot on the other side.

The Corporal, running with his jaw hanging, was already a good fifteen yards behind her

and the race had just started. He was off stride at the mud jump and only one foot cleared

the thick dark mud. The other landed squarely in the mud with a sloppy splat! That boot

was going to need some serious polishing tonight. Meea hit the finish line at six minutes


―Nice job, young lady.‖ The Major, patted Meea on the back, and looked to see how far

behind the Corporal would finish. ―You‘re in at 7:07 Corporal, not too good of a

showing.‖ The major said staring down at the corporal who was bent over trying to catch

his breath.

―Yes, sir. Sorry, sir. Very good run miss.‖

―Thank you. It was okay for a girl I guess. Your next, McClain.‖

―Oh, it‘s going to be like that, huh?‖ I was going to get killed, but would love it at the

same time.

―I was just warming up on the corporal, I‘m shooting for the course record now.‖ She


The good news was I got to watch Meea‘s back side all day, as it was kicking mine. She

ended up beating me bad in every race, my best time was 6:30 and Meea‘s best time was


The Corporal told Meea no one would ever beat that record. Apparently he didn‘t learn

anything today about underestimating other people. Hell, I know a two year old that

would probably give that time a run for its money today, let alone in a few years.

―I‘m not sure we should use the Conner‘s boat Meea?‖

―Wilson, they trust you with their daughter, so, I think they‘ll trust you with their boat.‖

Her head nodded up and down.

―When you put it that way, I guess it would be alright. I‘d love the time together with

just you and me, alone on the ocean in a cozy cabin boat.‖

―Speaking of alone time, have you found out what Stacy and Marty have been up to?‖

―No, I don‘t want to ask. If they want us to know or need help, I‘m sure they‘ll talk to us

about it, whatever it is.‖ We finished writing our log times in the Majors register and

headed back toward the parking lot.

―Meea, I need to go see Dr. Ishmail. Can you take my car back to the house and watch

Melissa so that Tony and the twins can come kick some Army ass?‖

―Sure, how will you get back? Do you want us to come and get you?‖

―No, that‘s alright, stay and have fun playing with Melissa. I‘ll catch a ride back with

Marty later.‖

Dr. Ishmail was not in his office, but his office assistant said I could find him in the

lecture hall at the library. I waited outside for all the students to file out after his class had

ended. This must have been a normal college course since there were so many students in


        ―Come in, Wilson, have a seat‖ The lecture hall was empty now except for Dr.

Ishmail and myself. It sounded odd, as our voices echoed off the walls with no other

sound in the room to curb them. The room was dimly lit, sort of ominous and spooky. It

made me feel creepy, like I needed to whisper.

―I was going to call you in today, Wilson. There have been some recent changes that are

not good for us.‖ Dr. Ishmail looked as if he had not slept since the last time I spoke with

him. ―I‘m going to put more responsibilities on you than I have a right to, and for that I

am truly sorry.‖

My gut was in a knot now, not for me, but for the Conners, I could only pray they weren‘t

in danger.‖ It wasn‘t even the Conners as much as it was the loss that would come to

Melissa if her parents were taken from her.

―I‘m fine, sir, please go on.‖ I wanted details.

―Let me start at the beginning, because you are going to be brought in on this one

hundred percent now. The CIA intercepted information four months ago about a terrorist

attack. It was spotty but looked authentic. The FBI and CIA started to hit up contacts and

dig for information right away. About a month later enough information was gathered to

access the threat was real, and imminent. The threat that was uncovered was a plan to

bring down the Golden Gate Bridge. At that time an active SA group was called in to

assist the CIA and FBI.

The Golden Gate Bridge connects the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula to

Marin County. It is now the second largest expansion bridge in the United States. At the

time it was constructed in 1937 it cost thirty five million dollars to build. Now it‘s

estimated to have a replacement cost of one point six billion dollars. But that is just

re-building cost. The cost to businesses and families, plus the amount of time to rebuild,

the total losses would be closer to on hundred billion dollars. The cost of any lost lives is


―We‘re still in the mode of intelligence gathering to discover who, how and when, we

really don‘t care why at this point, we just have to find a way to ensure this doesn‘t

happen. The initial SA team that was brought in has been missing for three weeks now.

We think they were following up on a lead somewhere in Brazil. We called up two more

SA teams for support. The first team was to work on the bridge plot, and the second team

was to locate and recover the first missing team. The Conner‘s were in the second team.

But this morning, we lost all contact with both teams.‖

I felt dizzy all of a sudden, like I just got hit with a bat in the back of the head. My

stomach was tossing, ugh. I need to sit down, I was sitting down, I don‘t feel too good.

―You OK, Wilson?‖

―I have a head ache sir.‖

―Yeah, me too.‖

―What do you want me to do, sir?‖

―I‘ll put together all the details we have to date and send them over to the Conner house. I

need you and your team to dig in and help us find out what‘s going on. Find out where

the missing SA teams are, and I still need the who, how and when on the bridge. I‘m

sorry about this, but you‘re the leader of the best group of people we have left, and ready

or not we need you.‖

―We‘ll get right on it, sir.‖ With a task at hand and having my hands untied I was already

starting to feel better. Better than better, really alive again. I hated keeping things from

the group. I wished to God I had better news but at least they were going to know what I

knew, and we would all be in this together again.

We had no time to lose. I had to make something happen here to find Melissa‘s parents.

The longer they stayed missing the worse my chances would be at finding them alive.

                                          Chapter 18

                                    Next time don‘t tell me

I briefed Marty before we got back to the house. Marty took Melissa out to the beach to

keep her entertained while I covered everything with the rest of the group. Within an

hour, everyone else was briefed. After a few minutes of getting the wind kicked out of

them with this tragic situation they were up and active.

       Stacy, Steven and Tony went to the guesthouse to fire up all the communication

satellites. They were listening for any chatter that might give us our first break.

Rachel and Chels went up on the roof of the house to watch for anything out of the

ordinary coming our way. Since there were three missing SA groups out there, someone

obviously viewed us as a threat… a threat that needed to be eliminated.

―Wilson, what would you like me to do?‖ Meea looked sad, I hadn‘t realized until now,

but I had never seen her look sad before. I hugged her to me tightly knowing we may not

get that alone time I owed her for quite a while.

―I need you to get in touch with your ―friends,‖ and ask them to patrol the coast for us.‖

Until we found a direction to move in, we were pretty easy targets sitting in this house.

Any advanced notice of trouble would help.

―I understand, don‘t worry. If danger gets close I‘ll know.‖ An owl hooted as it flew over

our heads. ―I‘m already on it,‖ Meea smiled slightly and kissed me quickly. She turned

and trotted out toward the beach.

I went up to the roof to talk to Rachel and Chels about the surveillance.

―Hi, girls.‖

―Hi, Wilson,‖ they both answered in sync.‖

―What do you think, will you be able to spot trouble from up here?

―Yes, and were clear for now.‖

 ―We have the surveillance covered between Meea‘s pets and just one of us. We‘ll be a

good early warning system, Wilson. So, can one of us help in some other way?‖ Rachel


―Yes, actually, you can. One of you can stay up here and the other could help me start

going through all the files Dr. Ishmail just sent over.

―I‘ll stay up here, Rachel, you go down and help Wilson with the files.‖

―Sure thing, Chels, I‘ll bring you up some coffee in an hour or so.‖

―And a donut?‖ Both girls giggled.

―Yeah, of course, and a donut.‖ Chels gave Rachel a kiss on the cheek and Rachel

followed me down to the kitchen in the main house where I had the boxes of files stacked

on the kitchen table.

―Pick any box and well start by putting up a timeline on the big white board I set up. Lets

put the facts we find under the time line for each SA group, to see if we can get a pattern

or a common thread between them to give us a clue.‖

A minute after we started digging into the files my cell phone rang.

―Hello,‖ I said, motioning to Rachel to go on without me.

―Wilson, its Ishmail. I wanted you to know I‘m having some firearms delivered to the

house. Since none of you have been through weapons training yet, I just sent over the

basics. If anyone isn‘t comfortable with a gun, its ok, I just wanted to give you the option.

I also wanted you to know that if you need anything, and I mean anything at all, I have

access to a lot of things, all but the space shuttle. But… with a few favors, maybe even

that.‖ The doctor laughed still trying to keep things light.

―A snow cone machine would be nice, it gets pretty hot out here in the afternoon.‖

―Glad to see your getting your sense of humor back, Wilson. Just yell, and I‘ll help when

I can. Be careful, and don‘t forget to take the safety off the gun when shooting bad guys.‖

The doctor chuckled nervously as he hung up.

We were all trying hard to feel normal again so we would be on the top of our game. I

needed a break. I felt useless looking for clues in the piles of documents the doctor had

sent over. I wasn‘t one of the people that were especially gifted at finding clues, so I

decided to help by doing something else. We all still had to eat, so I went into the kitchen

to make some food for everyone.

I had Steven monitor the communication station when I pulled everyone together to eat.

When everyone got to the kitchen they all piled up a plate of food and sat around the

dinner table to eat and relax for a few minutes. I took this opportunity to explain about

Dr. Ishmail wanting to give us the option of arming ourselves. I laid out the guns on the

table. They were army issue semi automatic forty-five caliber pistols. I asked if anyone

objected to carrying one. No one objected, and the guys looked a little too enthused about

it. I wasn‘t going to supply Steven with a gun since I wasn‘t comfortable with how he

may handle it. I didn‘t believe the risk was worth the reward.

There was also a sniper rifle in the crate that had arrived, which would have come in

handy while I was deer hunting in Michigan. I had a pretty nice rifle at home that I was

good with but nothing with the kind of stopping power this gun had. There was also a sub

machine gun and two shotguns in the crate, but I left all the big guns alone and locked

them up.

Everyone went back to man their positions after eating. I fed Melissa and put her to bed,

after reading the princess book to her for about an hour. I was just about to sit down to

figure out the best sleeping shifts for us, so we could maintain our surveillance of the

house when …

―Wilson!‖ Meea ran into the kitchen on a dead sprint. ―Three gun boats are coming fast,

about two miles out.‖

―Wilson! Wilson!‖ Rachel was yelling as she ran in through the front door. ―Three trucks

full of men are coming for us… they‘re on A1A about four miles away and they‘re

headed our way.‖

―I can take out the gun boats before they even get close, Wilson.‖ Meea said, urgency

straining her voice.

―Rachel, is Chels on the roof?‖


―Then you go with Meea. Meea, you take out the boats. Let me know if you have trouble

or if anything goes wrong. Go!‖

―On it!‖ Meea said as she raced out the back door with Rachel in tow.

I ran to the guesthouse, the guys were scanning too far out to be aware of the imminent

danger we were in.

―Stacy, were in trouble, go get Melissa and take her way down the beach and find some

cover. Don‘t go anywhere until one of us comes for you. Understand!‖

―Yes.‖ She zoomed off in a flash. It was times like these I appreciated that I never had to

explain myself to Stacy. She knew how to read people in an instant. That definitely saves

time and comes in handy in an emergency.

―How bad is this one, Boss‖ Marty asked, up and out of his chair already checking the

clip in his gun.

―Here are the keys to the other guns. Go get the crate and meet me on the roof.‖

―That bad, huh.‖ Marty said rushing out.

―Tony let‘s get up to the roof…Tony, what is it?‖

         He had an intense look on his face over something he was listening to on his

headphones. He was scanning through pages of documents on one of the green screen

computers he had fired up.

         ―We need to go!‖ I said.

―I can‘t,‖ he sputtered. ―I got something big here.‖

―Shit…. OK, keep your head down and we‘ll take care of this!‖

         I got on my cell phone to call for some back up. Dr. Ishmail picked up on the first

         ring. ―Dr. Ishmail, lets see how good you are.‖

         ―Ok, Wilson – Situation.‖

―We have three gun boats coming in off the ocean and three trucks with troops on A1A

headed our way. We can take the boats if you can help with the trucks, what do you


―I can have two attack helicopter‘s to you in about five minutes‖

―You‘ve only got three – go!‖ I hung up the phone.

―Tony, can you pick up those trucks and helicopters on one of the satellites?‖

―Yeah, got them right here.‖

―Tell Steven the distance and mph on each.‖

―Choppers are just now up in the air and fifty four miles out …going at one hundred and

forty five mph… the trucks are three miles out at fifty five mph.‖

―Steven, got it?‖

―Yes, Wilson.‖

I took off for the roof with Steven who was pretty well filled in by listening in on the

phone call. Marty was on the roof with Chels when I got there, she had filled him in on

the three trucks.

―We also have Rachel and Meea on the beach with three gun boats coming in.‖ I

informed Marty and Chels. Chels gave me a worried look, her forehead squeezed tight

with worry.

―Its okay, I believe I know what Meea has in mind and they should be fine.‖ I tried to say

that to comfort Chels as well as myself, I think.

We loaded the two shotguns and the submachine gun. I gave one of the shotguns to

Steven and sent him to the back of the roof to watch our backs. It was now a great time to

expand my scope of trust in Steven. I figured his reflexes would be the slowest out of all

of us, so if he ended up needing to shoot, he would have more luck with the shotgun.

Since I have never seen Marty or Chels shoot anything, I gave the other shotgun to Chels,

being prejudice that guys can shoot better than girls. With her altered vision who knows,

she might be a marksman. But, for now I want her safe, so I give her the gun with the

biggest margin for error. The military shot guns would bring a man down even if your

aim were off quite a bit. I gave Marty the machine gun, and sent him over to the roof of

the garage. If nothing else, they would be caught in the crossfire if it came down to a


I loaded up the sniper rifle and positioned myself at the peak of the roof using the

chimney to steady the rifle. The heat coming up off the roof from the day‘s sun was so

hot I had to keep wiping my forehead to prevent the sweat from dripping into my eyes.

―Steven, ETA on the trucks?‖

―One minute forty five seconds.‖

―What‘s the ETA on the helicopters now?‖

―Two minutes fifteen seconds.‖

I sighted down through the scope and focused in on a spot down the road where the

trucks would have to slow down.

       ―Chels, can you tell how your sister is doing?‖

―Let me check.‖


―Sheesh… give me a second…yeah! Rachel said Meea‘s amazing, and they‘re safe!‖

―Tell them to head down the beach and to stay with Stacy. I don‘t want them to move

until we come for them.‖

―The trucks are here,‖ Marty yelled.

I could just see the first truck as it came down our road. It was setting low to the ground

fully loaded with men that were here to kill us.

Marty yelled over, ―I don‘t see any helicopters!‖

I aimed at the driver in the lead truck as he came into range just down the road from the

house. If I could stop that lead truck, the trucks behind him may hesitate before trying to

go around. That might buy us some time until the helicopters arrived.

 I squeezed the trigger… a clean shot. The driver lost the top half of his skull, and the

truck ground to a stop right away. The other man in the front didn‘t think quite fast

enough as I dropped him inside the cab before he understood the need to duck and cover.

With two shots ripping through the cab the men in the back of the truck started jumping

out in every direction.

If we would of had a bazooka it would have helped, but I can understand why Dr. Ishmail

may have been reluctant to put that in our hands, being we have only been out of high

school a few months.

―Helicopters at 3:00 o‘clock!‖ Chels yelled.

They were coming in hot and had spotted the nice target I left stranded in the middle of

the road for them. One… two… missiles away. The back two trucks were incinerated

before anyone had the chance to jump out. The second helicopter passed sending a

missile into the lead truck I had hit. It exploded… a direct hit… but some of the men that

had jumped out were far enough away that the blast didn‘t take them out.

Marty let loose with a spray of bullet fire from the garage roof. Chels started to pump

rounds out into the yard where a few attackers were now caught up in our crossfire.

Marty‘s machine gun took off again letting a river of shell casings fall from the roof onto

the driveway.

I scanned the neighboring yards for anyone trying to escape rather than attack. I dropped

one of them climbing into a car at the house across the street. It was easy to distinguish

who the men were since they all wore the same uniforms. A few shots fired from the

bushes at the edge of the yard back in our direction and then a few more toward Marty.

Chels had reloaded and started firing down toward the bushes from where the shots

originated. The bushes were completely shreded and were now colored bright red from

blood. I dropped two more men as they were trying to make their way up onto the roof of

a near by horse barn.

Then a shot from behind us… we all spun to see Steven looking down by the pool, as

smoke rolled from the barrel of his gun. Marty waved over to us that it was OK. He could

see by the pool that Steven had taken care of one of the men that slipped by us.

I was sure the gunfire could be heard for miles down the beach. I was glad the girls were

safe, but I knew if they heard all this shooting they would be going out of their minds

with worry. I was glad though that Melissa, Stacy and Meea were spared this graphic

sight close up.

The bluish smoke from all the gunfire was slowly starting to rise into the air. It contrasted

with the black smoke billowing from the three trucks in the road. The smell from the

burning bodies inside the trucks was stronger than I would have imagined possible.

FBI trucks were now pulling up, and black unmarked cars with wild flashing lights were

surrounding the carnage in the road.

―Steven, can I have the gun now please?‖ He handed it right over to me.

―No problemo,‖ his head slightly nodded up and down like he knew that was funny.

I spoke back to him in Arnold Schwartenegers voice, ―Asta-lavesta, Baby.‖ Steven

actually smiled, an actual smile that I swear was his, from him and not a mimicked smile.

He nodded his head again.

―Hey, Wilson.‖ Marty called from the front of the garage where he had jumped down.

―Are you OK, Marty?‖ I yelled.

―Yeah, but your not gonna be when Mr. Conner sees this.‖

There were five big bullet holes in the garage door. ―Awe, yeah, he‘ll hate that.‖

Marty laughed as he lifted up the garage door, ―Hell, that‘s nothing, look in the garage.‖

There sat Mr. Conner‘s 1974 mint condition Jag with five matching bullet holes going

through the trunk.

―He‘s going to kill me….‖

Chels walked up feeling the holes in the trunk of the jag with her fingers, ―And I‘m real

sorry about those bushes out front to Wilson, maybe Mrs. Conner can huh….‖ We all

laughed as the FBI agents running around looked at us as if we were nuts.

―Chels, check on Tony and make sure he‘s OK. Marty and I will head down the beach to

pick up your sister, and the rest of the group. Also can you keep an eye on Steven?‖

―Sure, hurry back.‖

Stacy and Melissa had found a hiding place in a high tide large overflow pipe that was

dug in off the beach leading to a cavern of sewer tunnels. Meea, with the help of a few

pelicans knew we were coming down the beach to get them. Stacy, Melissa and Rachel

were waving at us as they made their way out of the pipe behind Meea. When I reached

Meea I picked her up off her feet and I held her so tight I could feel her heart beating. She

pushed back just enough to get her mouth around mine as Stacy zoomed past us to get to


Melissa was awake now walking with Rachel, who was purposefully taking her time in

order for Melissa not to see too much of our passionate, I‘m glad your still alive, reunion.

―I can see my sisters voice, she say‘s she fine. Well, Wilson, is she, or is she just trying to

spare me from something? We heard all the gun fire and explosions you know!‖

―She‘s great, Rachel, we‘re all just fine, I promise. How about you four?‖

―I‘m hunnry, Wison.‖ Melissa said rubbing her eyes trying to stay awake.

―Oh, your hungry. Didn‘t these mean girls feed you?‖

―Noooo!‖ I scooped Melissa up in my arms. Zip, right to her favorite spot on my hip she

went, and then her head rested on my chest as she sighed deeply. Melissa was asleep in

my arms by the time we reached the house.

―Rachel, I‘ll tuck her in bed and we can have a de-briefing with Dr. Ishmail in the

kitchen. Will you make sure everyone knows please?‖

―Yeah, I‘ll get everyone, do you want anything else?‖

―Better call for some pizza, I plan to have everyone work through the night.‖

                                        Chapter 19

                                      Anchors Away

―Thanks for the helicopters. That was pretty close.‖ I said nodding to Dr. Ishmail.

        ―You all did a remarkable job, really. The Colonel and I were very impressed you

were able to take out a truckload of mercenaries with just the weapons you had. We both

want to know what happened to the men in the three gunboats though. We found some

boat wreckage, but so far we haven‘t been able to find any men.‖

―You can stop looking for them, sir. They‘re gone.‖ Meea said looking down.

―Gone, gone where?‖ the Colonel asked sitting up on the edge of his chair giving Meea

his full attention.

―Yeah, Meea, how did you stop the gunboats?‖ Tony asked seemingly amazed as well.

―You know, don‘t you, Wilson?‖ Meea said smiling at me.

Damn that girl is beautiful. ―Yes, I believe so, but please go on, every one will want to

hear this from you.‖

Meea moved over from her seat to sit on my lap to tell her tale, like we were around a

campfire telling ghost stories. I quickly kissed her on the cheek before she started.

Meea lowered her voice, ―When we moved in, Wilson asked me to watch the ocean for

anything unusual as a precaution. Some of the dolphins in the area were very keen on me,

so I asked a couple of them to watch for incoming boats. I also asked one of the dolphins

to go deeper out to sea to bring a couple of blue whales in close to shore. The blue whales

got here a day ago, but they stayed a few miles off the coast where the waters are a little

deeper and cooler for them.

As soon as the dolphin found the incoming gunboats I sent the dolphins back out to sea to

bring in a school of hammerhead sharks. The Blue Whales were already close so I had

them intercept and capsize the gunboats a couple miles off shore. Then I sent the whales

back out to sea before the sharks arrived. I really just needed them for the heavy work

anyway and I didn‘t want the whales to close to the sharks that were coming in. Soon

after the boats sank the sharks arrived to ensure no survivors could make it to shore.‖

―Genius, Meea, absolutely incredible. How did you know what Meea was up to,

Wilson?‖ The Colonel asked, still on the edge of his chair.

―When I was out on the beach this morning I saw two whales off the coast. Knowing

Blue Whales never get this close to the coast and the fact that Meea had been spending a

lot of time at the beach, I guessed she was lining up her own back up team.‖

―AH-HA, very good indeed.‖ The Colonel said.

―Now that were all up to speed let‘s say we get to work. Tony, what do you have for us?‖

I said getting up to get a drink.

―Great job on the battle front guys. Thanks for watching my back. I believe it was worth

it… if you value the whereabouts of three missing SA teams.‖

―You found the three teams! Are they alive?‖ Stacy ask pulling up closer to the table.

―I don‘t know if they‘re alive, but I do believe I know where they are. Let me explain

why no one has found them so far. Everyone has been looking for them in Brazil and

Israel because they all boarded planes that show flight plans to these two countries.

So far the Air Force has just been running surveillance planes over Brazil and Israel

looking for clues. The CIA has been focusing their investigation solely on terrorist groups

that are known for abductions within these two countries as well.‖

―You‘re getting to the point soon, right?‖ Marty tapped the end of the machine gun he

was still holding on the end of the table to hasten Tony‘s story.

―I‘m trying to show you why no one knows anything, and that we‘ve been chasing

ghosts. It‘s because we‘ve all been looking for the terrorist and the SA teams in just these

two countries.‖

―The terrorist are a decoy then?‖ I said trying to understand Tony‘s explanation.

―Yes, Wilson, we have been given the old razzle dazzle. The planes the SA teams used

were the key. Since we were getting nowhere fast, I thought I would check some of the

details to see if we were missing something and I found that the three planes used by our

teams to go to Brazil and Israel came from the same airline. Southway Airways. The

plane‘s flight plans showed that the SA teams were on flights going to Brazil and Israel

but I got lucky and found an obscure online maintenance database that indicated that the

three planes arrived in the Bahamas instead. When we lost contact with our teams

everyone jumped to the conclusion that the planes had stuck to the flight plans that were

filed but I‘m betting my allowance check those flight planes were doctor up and the

planes landed in the Bahamas, with our SA teams onboard!‖

―Help me out here, Tony, so you believe the airlines wanted to capture the three SA

teams… what‘s their motive?‖ The Colonel asked pushing his hat up to show his entire

forehead, looking a little more than skeptical.

―Steven, why don‘t you tell the Colonel what we talked about.‖ Tony said.

―Thank you, Tony, I would be more than happy to oblige.‖ Steven stood up as he spoke.

I wondered if that line came from a movie and the person giving it was standing and if

that‘s what made Steven get up. I really needed to spend more time with him.

―Well, tell us, son.‖ The Colonel urged.

―During the 1900‘s the railroad dynasty owned the fairy boat business that took cars

across the Golden Gate Waterway. It was a very profitable business. When the idea for

the bridge was presented in 1922 the railroad fought against it being built and stalled the

building of the bridge by more than ten years. Ten profitable years!‖

―Thanks for the history lesson, son, but…‖

―Let me finish, sir. Southway Airways last year made quite an unusual purchase. Thirty

fairy boats were contracted from China, and they are being delivered to San Francisco

two weeks from now.‖

―How the hell do you know all this son?‖ It appeared the Colonel was feeling a bit out

done by such a young, wet behind the ear, kid.

―Let me explain, Colonel,‖ Tony interceded. ―Steven has a photographic memory and he

scans every major news publication each morning. That and the fact he‘s read through a

couple entire libraries makes him a pretty up to speed, and a fairly smart guy. Between

Steven and I, with his knowledge base and my ability to find and work through the

information we make a dam good team.‖ Tony boasted slapping Steven on the back.

The Colonel leaned back further in his chair pulling the bill of his hat back down. ―I see,

so you believe this is actually a plot by the airline to destroy the bridge. An airline that no

one suspects, comes in and makes a fortune in the fairy business, while all along we

blame the whole thing on a terrorist group. A group that we‘ll never find, since they don‘t

exist. Well, now that I said it out loud. That‘s a hell of a plan they have there. Shit, we

chased Ben Laden for years never really knowing where he was. Hmmm, wonder if he

really ever existed.‖

The Colonel got to his feet. ―Very smart group you have here Ishmail. Let me know when

you need some artillery.‖

Dr. Ishmail got up quickly. ―Let me show you out, Colonel.‖

Dr. Ishmail walked back in after a few minutes of conversation at the door with the


―I believe I‘ll have your group work on world hunger next week when this is over.‖ Dr.

Ishmail said proudly, leading us in a weak round of laughter at his own joke.

―I‘m not really sure I‘m even kidding. Wilson, this is your show, what‘s next?‖

―We need a yacht here by 7:00 AM fully fueled and with a crew. I need four automatic

Gatling guns, the types that are on attack Huey helicopters if possible. We need to get

fighter planes to make security and surveillance passes over the bridge right away, and

I‘ll want communication codes for them in case I need to speak directly to the pilots. Get

me a clearance for the Panama Canal so we can pass through un-detained. We‘ll also

need someone to give us advanced weapons training while we‘re on the yacht.‖

―And you‘ll be going to…?‖

―If were protecting a bridge, than we need to be at the bridge. I want the yacht because

they know exactly where we are now. On the ocean, we‘ll be much harder to find,

especially if they don‘t think to look for us on a boat. I have to keep Melissa out of

danger and I believe we‘re going to be safer on the water. We‘ll also be able to see

anything coming long before it‘s on us. Are you with me?‖

―Yes, Wilson, it all makes good sense. What about the three missing SA teams?‖

 ―I figure if the SA teams are alive now, they will stay alive until an attempt on the

bridge is made. They can be used for leverage if they‘re still alive. If they‘re dead and we

go rushing into the Bahamas, it will alert the bad guys and they‘ll move up whatever time

line they currently have. So were better off to wait and coordinate our SA team‘s rescue

plan with the plan to stop the attack against the bridge.‖

―One yacht, 7:00AM. I‘ll add some goodies of my own for you.‖ Dr. Ishmail said

flipping open his phone and started to work on the details before he‘d got out the door.

―Pizzas are here, I‘ll buy.‖ Ishmail yelled back as he walked out handing the delivery girl

a wad of bills.

―Let‘s eat, then we‘ll all need to start packing. I want Tony‘s equipment first and then our

individual stuff so we‘re ready to load the boat by 7:00 sharp.

―Now it‘s ―Equipment,‖ not stuff anymore, huh?‖ Tony said shaking his head at me.

―Yeah, I‘m starting to get a better appreciation for your, stuff. When we get Melissa‘s

parents back safe and sound I‘ll buy you some more stuff.‖

―Wilson.‖ Marty called from the kitchen, he had picked up the mail when he grabbed the

pizzas from the delivery girl.

―I‘m coming.‖

―Looks like you can get Tony his own best buy store.‖ Marty said grinning ear to ear.

―What are you talking about?‖

―Our monthly allowance checks are here.‖ He said holding up eight white pay envelopes.

―Just throw mine on the counter.‖

―You don‘t throw checks with this many zero‘s in them anywhere but Fort Knox.‖

―You‘re kidding….‖

Marty handed me my envelope as the others were opening theirs.

―No you weren‘t kidding, WOW!‖ Everyone was standing there gawking at his or her

check. ―We won‘t live to spend these if we don‘t get moving people.‖ Shit, I was starting

to sound like a boss, that can‘t be good. I better get some coffee. This is going to be a

long night.

―Let‘s go, guys, we need to be ready to load the boat at seven sharp.‖ Marty chided.

We had all Tony‘s equipment packed up per his specifications and marked so he could

set back up on board quickly. This time he would only need to set up whatever the yacht

was not equipped with.

       The yacht arrived right on time. It pulled up to the dock that ran up to the back of

the Conner‘s property. Melissa was awake and eating one of the doughnuts that the FBI

men had brought this morning. Another crew of agents stuck around last night in case

there was a second wave of attack, even though we didn‘t think there was much chance

of one. Some of the CIA men helped us out with the packing last night so we were ready

to start loading the boat on schedule.

We were all carrying boxes onto the yacht when Marty started yelling.

―Hey, Wilson, who ordered a lion?‖

I looked over at Meea, my eyebrows tightening. She smiled back at me and darted out the

cabin door and over to the to the loading plank.

―Marty, that‘s not a lion, that‘s my baby tiger.‖

I was right behind Meea to see a large cage sitting on the dock and the delivery truck

pulling away.


―I was going to tell you about this, but we got busy and I forgot.‖ Meea‘s shoulders

hunched over slightly hoping she would not get rebuked for forgetting to mention this

minor detail.

―Kitty,‖ Melissa said, dropping her half eaten doughnut and running down the plank

toward the cage.

―Stop her!‖ I yelled to Marty who was already on an intercept course.

―It‘s alright, Wilson, that‘s Kobe, he‘s my pet baby Tiger.‖

Marty collared Melissa who was now squirming in his arms.

―That‘s no baby. He‘s got to be at least two hundred pounds.‖ Marty said looking at

Meea like she had lost her mind.

―He‘s two hundred and twenty pounds but he‘s still a baby, he‘s only two years old.

When he‘s full-grown he‘ll be over four hundred pounds. He won‘t hurt anyone, really.‖

Meea said trotting down the loading plank. ―I had him in a cage just for transporting.

He‘s completely tame.‖ Meea smiled at me with reassuring eyes.

Marty was still holding tightly to Melissa who was reaching out in the tiger‘s direction,

wanting to touch the kitty.

―You‘re sure, Meea?‖

―Yes, he lives with my family in our village and everyone knows him. I just thought he

would be a good watch dog for us on the trip.‖

―Hell, that thing eats watch dogs for snacks.‖ Marty laughed.

By now everyone was topside looking at the ―baby‖ two hundred and twenty pound tiger

on the dock. Meea was standing at the cage now looking at me for permission.

―So, we just let him out and he hangs around not killing us… is that the plan?‖ I asked

looking at Meea. I could tell she was dying to get him out of the cage. I gave a quick look

to Stacy, and she gave me a little head nod, I‘m sure no one picked up on. It was enough

to tell me she confirmed Meea‘s confidence.

―Alright, let Kobe out so he can meet everybody.‖ Meea beamed as she unhooked the

cage door.

―Hi Kobe, did you miss me?‖ The tiger put his head down and banged against Meea‘s hip

and then continued to curl around her, rubbing her with his head as he circled her. She

reached down with both hands and scratched his large head with her fingernails.

―Kitty! Kitty!‖ Melissa had her hands on Marty‘s face to make sure he was looking at the

object she wanted. I nodded over to Marty that it was Ok, and he started over to the big

cat with the little girl I was responsible for. Within minutes the big cat had everybody‘s

hands scratching and petting him. The tiger looked like he was in heaven. His purring

elevated sounding like a small Volkswagen engine until he eventually flopped down,

rolled over and took full advantage of all the attention.

―He‘ll let us pet him forever, Wilson.‖ Meea said as her eyebrows rose.

―I guess he‘s safe enough, lets finish getting the yacht loaded and get going.‖

Meea walked up the plank and called Kobe to follow. The big cat stopped at the plank

and was not too happy about crossing the water. Cats aren‘t too fond of water, so

naturally we were taking one of the biggest cats alive on a thousand mile ocean trip.

A couple looks from Meea though and Kobe took the plank in two leaps, and found his

way down some stairs away from the view of the water.

Once the boat was loaded and we were safely under way, almost everyone sought out a

cabin to crash in. Meea was sitting in the main living room on a couch watching Melissa

riding on Kobe‘s back. Kobe was going around and around the inner hallways that lead

around the second floor of the yacht. Melissa was riding the tiger like a pony, using her

magnetic power and one hand on an ear to hold her self on tight. She had her other hand

in the air waving it around like a cowgirl on a cattle run. In between giggles as she rode

past us she would urge Kobe on yelling, ―fasser, kitty. Fasser, kitty.‖

I curled up on the couch next to Meea, hugging her to me. She felt nice as she melted

along side me. She sighed in satisfaction. We were both dog-tired from the long day but it

felt good just to hold her and let the tension from the day pass away.

―I‘ll stay up and keep an eye on Melissa, it looks like she had enough rest last night to be

good for the day.‖ I said.

―You think.‖ Meea laughed, as Melissa went flying through the living room on the back

of a speeding tiger. We both laughed. Meea rolled over so she could look directly at me.

―Why did you send Rachel with me to the beach last night if you knew I had the whales

on stand by?‖ Her eyebrows lifted slightly.

―I had to make sure you didn‘t trip and fall on the way to the beach before using the


Meea didn‘t shift her glance from me as her mouth turned down at the corners.

―OK, ok… I knew I could make sure you were safe if I could check on you with Chels on

my end and Rachel on yours. I just needed to be sure you were safe, happy?‖ I confessed.

―Incredibly.‖ Meea pressed tight to me and the passion from her lips brought me to a

heighten state of awareness. She had my full attention, and then she slowly pushed back

from me a little and pulled her shirt off… underneath she had on her cute triangle

swimsuit top from earlier this morning.

―What are you doing, there is a crew around somewhere, and Melissa?‖

―Relax, Wilson. Stacy and I are going up to the top deck to work on our tan and take a

catnap in the sun. We‘ll have our time later.‖ Meea purred in my ear.

She purred just like a cat when she was happy, and I definitely enjoyed keeping her


Meea‘s purring for me stopped when Stacy came zooming in the room, chased by Kobe

and Melissa. Melissa was having a ball on that big cat. I‘m sure since Melissa was so

light, and the fact the tiger was still young enough it liked to play, they would bond into

life long friends.

I made eye contact with Melissa as the tiger and her curled around the buggy. ―Come

with me Melissa and I‘ll get you something to eat, and we‘ll let the kitty rest a while.‖ I

said stroking Kobe‘s head gently.

Meea called to her pet affectionately. ―Come on, Kobe, lets go sleep in the sun.‖ The big

cat understood Meea and lay flat so Melissa could hop off.

I took Melissa to the galley and fixed her a snack. She sat at the galley counter eating the

chopped fruit and some bread with jam I had prepared.

 I made a quick call to Dr. Ishmail while Melissa was occupied, to set up housing for us

incase we needed it when we arrived in California. I wasn‘t sure if it would be better to

work from the yacht or from land once we arrived. Although, I knew which the tiger

would prefer.

                                         Chapter 20

Gone Fishing

The yacht was big enough to cut through the ocean smoothly making it easy to sleep, but

by early evening everyone had gotten a few hours sleep and were back to work. It would

take us until morning to reach the Panama Canal, so I asked that everyone stay on task

looking for information and that we would meet later to map out our next steps.

        I was still debating with myself on whether to ask the Army to step in and rescue

our SA members now, or to leave them there until we dealt with the bridge situation.

Since I couldn‘t justify the risk of an early attack on the bridge, I decided we were just

going to have to leave them there for now and pray they had not been harmed.

Since Meea and Marty weren‘t needed to help set up and monitor the surveillance

equipment on the bridge, they must have gone to the galley to speak with the chef. I

followed behind hoping to find something to eat before trying to catch a few winks of

sleep for myself.

        I caught up with Marty and Meea as they hit the galley door.

―Hello,‖ Meea said in a friendly tone, padding around the stove to shake hands with the


I was hoping the cook spoke English since he looked, very French. He was sporting a big

handle bar mustache and tall droopy chef‘s hat. He was even wearing a monogrammed

apron that said ‗Chef‘s make it HOTTER!‘ over his white shirt and pants. He was a funny

looking little man, but the kitchen did smell wonderful.

By the stunned look on his face and the lack of response, I think Meea should have

covered up the bikini if she wanted a coherent reply from him.

She repeated herself trying not to notice his awkwardness. ―Hello, do you speak


―Excuse me, yes of course, how may I service you, I mean help you, no, what I mean is,

what can I get for you lovely lady.‖ Finding a smidge of composure, he bowed slightly.

Marty couldn‘t watch the bumbling any more and spoke up. ―Yes. Hello. We‘re going to

go fishing and wanted to know what your specialty was so we could get you some fresh

fish for dinner.‖

―You‘re going to just catch the exact kind of fish I request? Really now.‖ The chef

laughed, like we were joking.

―Yes, we will. You tell us what fish you want and how many and well bring them down

for you to prepare.‖ Meea said pleasantly, holding the chefs gaze.

―Oh, of course, how foolish of me…‖ the cook had a sarcastic look on his face and then

decided to be even more sarcastic with his reply.

―Get me eight 10 to 15 pound Mai Mai to be smoked for our first course, and also bring

me two ocean catfish for a side dish, and also bring me 15 small barracuda for our main

course. I‘ll need these in less than a hour in order to have them all prepared properly for

dinner of course.‖ He smiled smugly.

Meea looked a bit miffed by the cook‘s attitude, but she told me earlier she was in the

mood for fish, so I knew she was going to get fish.

I needed some sleep bad, but I wasn‘t missing this for the world. I wanted to see how

Meea was going to get the fish he wanted, which I knew somehow, she would!

Then I wanted to see the look on the cook‘s face, when he got exactly what he‘d asked

for. I learned eating miles of obstacle course dust, you never ever doubt Meea Suntree.

―Come on, Marty, let‘s go to the lower deck.‖ Meea said.

I continued to tag along not saying a word. Since Meea was kind of pissed off, I didn‘t

want any of that anger to be directed toward me.

Meea stood at the lower deck railing and stared into the ocean a few minutes. Then out of

the blue… no pun intended, was a small school of very large tuna, swimming to the

surface and right along side the boat.

Marty shot Meea a questioning look, as if to ask, now what.

―Get me a big one!‖ Meea barked to Marty who was still looking a bit lost.

―I wasn‘t prepared for this, Meea… help me here, Wilson. Grab that hook off the wall.‖

Marty said, pointing to one of those poles with a hook on the end used to fish people in

life preservers out of the water.

Marty started to reach over the side to get as close to the swimming tuna as possible. He

pushed his energy around one of the big ones but was only able to get it pulled to the side

of the boat and half way out of the water. That was the most weight I‘d ever seen Marty

lift with his kinetic energy. I swung the hook down at the big fish and got him secured

from underneath. With one huge pull from Marty and me we managed to haul the

hundred and fifty pound tuna over the railing of the boat. I stabbed it once with the end of

the pole to kill it.

―So what the hell are we going to do with that Meea, that‘s not what the cook asked for?‖

Marty said trying to catch his breath.

―We‘re feeding more than just people on this boat you know. I have a two hundred and

twenty pound tiger to keep happy.‖

―Oh yeah, good idea Meea. Sorry.‖ Marty said giving me quick look.

Meea turned back to look over the side again and pulled up a school of Mai Mai, which

Marty had no trouble pulling in, once Meea pointed out the perfect ones for dinner.

Twenty minutes later Marty and Meea carried in two baskets of the exact type and size

fish the cook had asked for and sat them on the prep table in the galley.

―How… how did you do that?‖ The chef stuttered out shuffling through the basket of

fish, triple checking he had gotten his order filled to perfection.

I was right, the look on the chef‘s face was priceless, and well worth the sleep I had


The chef was staring at the man sized tuna I dragged in that was slumped over in the

corner. ―What… do you expect me to do with that?‖ The chef squawked pointing to the


―I‘ll take care of that.‖ Meea replied with a sheepish smile. ―KOBE!‖

The tiger came bounding through the galley door like the ship was on fire, a large growl

rumbled from his chest. The chef, fearing for his life jumped backward across the prep

table and into the sink landing with a splash. The tiger slipping on the hard floor, his

paws not finding purchase hit the counter with a thud, and without hesitation leaped

immediately onto the tuna. The cat looked back at the chef and growled again, letting him

know the tuna was spoken for.

―Don‘t bother him while he eats and you‘ll be fine. I‘ll tell him to leave your fish alone.‖

Meea mused.

―You‘ll tell him what?‖ The cooks voice whimpered out.

We all laughed as we walked out.

―I‘m going to get some sleep.‖ I said kissing Meea softly.

―I‘ll wake you later for dinner.‖ Meea promised.

I hope this tuna smell will come off...

Meea let me sleep through dinner, knowing that I needed it. She did however wake me

later with a large tray of food in her hands and in plenty of time for our strategy meeting.

The food looked delicious and so did Meea in her new swimsuit. Defiantly not a hard

choice for this leader to make…

       We arrived at the meeting quite a few minutes late. I brought the tray of food I

hadn‘t touched with me. Maybe I‘d get a chance to eat something now that Meea and I

were in public. Meea traced small hearts on my back with her fingernail during the

meeting. I looked at it as a test of my ability to focus under extreme distraction.

―When will we hit the coast outside Presidio, Steven?‖ I asked.

―In two days at approximately 1:00 P.M. given a one and a half hour deviation for

crossing the Panama Canal.‖

―Good. Tony, what else were you able to dig up.‖

―I have satellite photos of the entire maintenance complex in the Bahamas.‖ Tony said as

he pinned the pictures to a large white board that was now set up in the back of the living

room, right above where Kobe had chosen to catnap.

Melissa was sitting on the floor in the gap between Kobe‘s front and hind legs, using him

as a backrest while she played with some dolls Stacy had thought to bring along for her.

―I also found the van purchases you ask me to look for.‖ Tony pointed out.

―What vans are we looking for?‖ Chels ask.

I swallowed a quick bite and continued. ―Let me explain what I believe we‘re up against.

Southway Air needs to ensure that the bridge cannot be rebuilt quickly, because that

would negate the profits made by the ferries. Steven has studied the blue prints on the

bridge construction and located the critical structural points. Each of these points would

need to be taken out to successfully drop the bridge for and extended period of time. Each

critical area can be hit in one of four ways. The first is, from the air. Which I do not

believe will happen since the Air Force as the air space all around the bridge closely

patrolled. The second is, by setting charges to the main columns. I don‘t see this working

because of the time it would take to set up. The bridge is monitored by too many cameras

and regular patrols to make this possible. That leaves us with methods three and four. We

need too have both of these last two possibilities covered up tight.

―And the vans…?‖ Chels asked again, slightly miffed I didn‘t start by answering her


―I am getting to that, I promise, Chels. They sent a two-fold attack against us last night,

right, by sea and by land. We were probably presumed to be an easy target too. That

makes it a pretty good bet they‘d use at least two waves of attach against their main

target, the bridge.

Rachel walked over to study a blown up photo of the Golden gate bridge we had taped up

to the sidewall. ―So what are options three and four Wilson, and how do we stop them.‖

―Option three would be the most straight forward, they drive four vans filled with

explosives up to the main four columns and set them off. That‘s where the vans come in,

Chels. The trick for them will be how do they get their drivers to safety and explode the

vans before the vans are spotted. The fourth option is they drive by in boats under the

bridge and hit the columns with rockets or leave the boats full of explosives at the column

and then detonate them.‖

―And the how we stop them part, how does that go…?‖ Chels ask as she sat up

stretching, smiling now that she knew about the vans.

―Yeah, we still have to come up with most of that part. And we‘ll also have to coordinate

the rescue of the three SA teams to happen almost at the exact same time.‖

―What are we going to do for fun next week then? Marty questioned, getting the group to


―Here‘s the small part I have worked out so far. We brought four automatic guns to hook

up under the bridge to help us stop a boat attack, if there is one. There are cameras

located under the bridge that are now used to measure the heights of ships passing under

the bridge. Is that right, Steven?‖

―Yes, that‘s absolutely correct my good man.‖ Steven replied, using an English accent.

 ―Tony, will be able to hack into those cameras and monitor the waterway under the

bridge. We‘ll also add remote controls on the guns so we can operate them remotely from

anywhere. You can swing all that right, Tony?‖

―Yea, none of that will be a problem, piece of cake.‖ Tony replied.

―Meea, can bring in whales and sharks or anything else she wants to help stop any other

water attacks.‖

―What else do you have on the vans, Tony?‖ Meea asked.

―There were four new cargo van‘s ordered by the Southway main office yesterday. That‘s

all I really know. Oh, and I know the dealership they‘ll come from. Gonzalez motors on

the corner of Lexington and Grove in San Fran.‖

 ―We‘ll have to find the vans and gather more evidence to prove that the Airways is

behind this, we still need some hard evidence. Just buying ferries and cargo vans is no

crime, not yet anyway. Any questions so far?‖

Everyone was wearing down again and in need of a good nights sleep. No one wanted to

joke or make fun of anything I just said so I knew they were reaching their limits.

―Lets push on for one more hour then we should all get some sleep.‖ I said as everyone

stretched and tried to refocus.

―When we get close to San Fran, Meea, Stacy, and Rachel can go to the car lot to find out

what they can about the vans, the name of who bought them, where there going, anything

you can get. I‘ll call ahead for a helicopter to pick us up a few miles off the coast when

we get close.‖

―Us?‖ Meea questioned smiling at me.

I‘m sure hoping I was including myself in her day at the car lot trip.

―Tony, Marty and I will drop you girls off as its getting dark and then we will head over

to the bridge to get the cameras and guns set up. I‘m hoping the bridge isn‘t under

surveillance yet.

―How about a plan to rescue the SA teams.‖ Chels asked studying the whiteboard while

Tony taped up more photos.

―Do you have a live shot of this area, Tony.‖ Chels asked pointing to a group of small

huts toward the back of the complex. The huts looked a bit like bunk houses that would

have been used by fishermen a long time ago.

―I can bring you right down on any spot in the complex. Come and have a look.‖

Rachel joined Chels to look over Tony‘s back at the monitors he was using.

―Right there, that hut.‖ Rachel pointed to one of the monitors. Tony zoomed down to

within 30 yards.

―How‘s that?‖

―That‘s it!‖ The twins voice said in unison.

―That‘s what, girls?‖ I felt my heart pounding against the inside of my chest.

―There are a lot of people in that hut.‖ Rachel said.

―Yeah, like way too many to be normal.‖ Chels added.

―How do you know?‖

―We can see the heat coming out from the glass windows… its summer in the Bahamas,

so were pretty sure they aren‘t running the fireplace, Duh. The girls giggled.

Since I still had a confused look on my face the girls trudged on with the explanation.

―If you put a dozen people in that shack they would raise the temperature inside with

their body heat enough to change the heat pattern coming from the windows. Get it?‖

―Sure, sometimes it just takes longer than others. Tony, we need to monitor that hut, to

see if anyone comes in or out, and what if anything is taken in or out.‖

―You mean like food and water to keep twelve people alive, that sort of stuff?‖

―Yeah, and also if twelve maintenance men come out after bunking together, or what ever

other reason twelve anonymous people might be doing in that little hut. We just need to

confirm the odds of that being our twelve people. I don‘t want to rescue a book club

holding a meeting about the Twilight book series.‖

Melissa was pulling on Kobe‘s fur to pull her self up. She came wobbling over to Meea

with her hands up. She didn‘t have the smooth glide to her walk like normal, and she

made Meea bend down this time to pick her up. She normally flies into the air with no

effort and attaches easily to your hip. Meea looked over at me to mouth the words…

―She‘s tired.‖

―Story, Meya… peez.‖ Melissa whispered.

Meea looked panicked all of a sudden, as Melissa words sank in. ―I forgot the b-o-o-k

when we packed up.‖ Meea said, wincing.

Steven walked over and held out his hands for Melissa. ―How about I tell you the

princess story tonight Melissa?‖

―K.‖ Melissa held out her arms for Steven to take her.

Steven looked at Meea and winked. ―Photographic memory works on kid‘s books too.

                                        Chapter 21

Any landing you can walk away from…

We passed through the canal today. The look on the channel gate operator‘s face was

beyond comical when Melissa came leaping onto the top deck riding a two hundred and

twenty pound tiger yelling at the top of her lounges ―fasser, fasser!‖

       The channel operator lost focus for so long I thought they were going to dry dock

us right there in the canal. I waved up to them to look at the water level and caught their

attention just in time. I sure didn‘t want this boat coming out of my allowance check, no

matter how overpaid I was.

Once we were out of the canal I felt safer back in open water. No one should see us

coming by water, but I still wasn‘t about to let my guard down.

―Wilson, come lay out with me.‖ Meea called sporting a new slightly smaller tighter

bikini, I could tell it was smaller from the tan lines showing from her suit yesterday.

Maybe there were a few hours to let my guard down a little.

―Be right there!‖

―Wilson, the Captain said we‘ll be outside of Presidio in two hours.‖ Steve called out as

he came up the stairs with Melissa in tow. ―She‘s making me tell her story after story.‖

Steven whispered, questioning if this was okay to keep feeding her stories.

       ―It‘s okay, Steven, as long as you have more children‘s stories. I‘m sure her little

butt needs a rest from bouncing around on that tiger. Meea laughed out loud as she rolled

over waving to Melissa. Meea splashed a generous portion of tanning oil onto her

stomach and then stretched out again lying on her back. The sun was still almost straight

overhead even though it was now way pass noon. It felt good laying up here in the warm

sun allowing it to bake into our bones. The heat melted away all the tension like a

well-trained masseuse.

―I need to call for the helicopter for this evening. Do you need anything while I‘m on the

bridge, Meea?‖

―Grab me a soda please, and see if you can find Stacy and Marty. They‘re at the

disappearing thing again. I know there up to something, but Stacy‘s not saying a word

about it. I know, she knows it‘s driving me nuts too.‖ Meea rambled.

―Well, I‘m not too sure they want to be caught at what there up to, if you know what I



I left Meea to ponder that while I went below.

Kobe was sitting in the bridge watching the captain eating a sandwich. This can‘t be

good. Maybe Kobe is picturing the captain between two pieces of whole-wheat toast. I

know Meea told Kobe the group members were off limits but I wasn‘t too sure that

restriction covered Captain Crunch over there.

I used the ship to shore phone and had a large chopper scheduled to pick us all up this

evening. I went below to find Marty and Tony, they were manning the monitors and

satellite equipment.

―What‘s the good word men?‖ I asked.

―We‘ll bet good money our boy‘s are in that hut the girls picked out. There are deliveries

of food taken in there twice a day by two armed men. They take in food and water and

then leave within minutes of entering and no one else has been in or out.‖ Marty said

patting Tony on the back. ―Tony, tell Wilson what else you did.‖

Tony slid over and typed some commands out on one of the surveillance computers.

―Last night when I knew the air would be much cooler I tapped into a NASA satellite that

has infra red imaging and took a picture of the hut, here take a look.‖

―Wow, Uncle Sam has some high tech. toys. You can actually tell these people have their

hands tied behind their backs, and that three of them are female. That‘s our group for

sure. The government lets you move satellites around like that?‖ I asked.

―Been doing it since I was thirteen, and who said I asked permission.‖ Tony chuckled.

―Permission or not, good job. Contact Ishmail and get him to tie into this so he can have

someone monitor this 24-7. We need to make sure they aren‘t moved. Then get some

rest because in a few hours we drop off the girls and head over to the bridge to set up the

Gatling guns. Did you have a chance to hack into the bridge‘s upper and lower cameras?‖

―Yeah, I did that early this morning, I set up a program that also tracks for particular size

vehicles. So if a van with the dimensions I programmed in approach the front or back of

the bridge, it sends a signal through this earpiece. That way I don‘t have to watch the

monitor all the time. So far it‘s went off three time‘s for a pet supply delivery van that is

the same dimensions as what we‘re looking for.‖

―That‘s great work, Tony.‖ I turned when I heard the buggy speeding up to us.

―Where you off to hot-rod?‖ Stacy looked very pleased with herself today, she looked

right at Marty and blew him a kiss as she answered me.

―Top deck to sun with Meea.‖

―Hey, that reminds me, give her this soda and tell her were going to need another tuna for

Kobe before we take off tonight.‖ She spun back grabbed the soda from my hand still

beaming like it was her wedding day or something.

―What‘s up with her she seems to be in a exceptionally great mood this afternoon?‖

Marty puffed up his chest and put a cheesy look on his face, ―Well, ya know…‖

         ―Oh shut up… I don‘t even want to hear it,‖ I said.

Tony snickered out loud as Marty took a halfhearted swing at his head.

         ―At least I got a girl friend.‖ Marty teased.

―I‘m married to the sea.‖ Tony said holding his hands to his heart.

―I gotta get you guys back on dry land before you both crack up.‖

The chopper arrived right on time as we went over the plan for tonight one last time. We

loaded up the guns and still had just enough room to squeeze in Stacy‘s buggy. As we all

strapped ourselves in, I thought the ride back would be much easier, because when we go

back to pick up the girls we wouldn‘t have these big Gatling guns to work around.

         ―This is my first time on a helicopter.‖ Meea said, with a little tension in her


I reached over and held her hand. ―My first time too, but it‘ll be fine.‖ I tried to reassure

her of something I had no confidence in myself. Stacy could probably feel exactly how

nervous we were, but she still looked very much at ease.

―Is this your first time, Stacy?‖ I asked, curious how she was so calm since everyone but

Marty looked on edge.

―I‘m fine. Marty knows more about this than the rest of us so if he‘s not scared… I trust


Marty looked at her with loving assurance, and then closed his eyes to take a nap. If you

could sleep now it was a good plan, since we were squeezed in this thing like sardines.

The engine roared up at twice the volume now and I could feel the lifting sensation. As

soon as the tires were up in the air the shaking on the frame and seats eased up a lot but

the noise and the effort the helicopter engine was under felt maxed out…I was wrong

again. The engine was given more gas and screamed up to new decibel levels I would

have thought impossible. I squeezed Meea‘s hand way too tight for it to be mistaken as a

reassuring gesture now.

Shit… I was seriously considering other options for us at this point, like speedboats or


Once the helicopter actually started moving forward it help by taking the noise of the

engine and blades away from us. It made it a little easier to believe we wouldn‘t be

falling to an immediate death.

Other than all these fun little issues the ride was great, if you like roller coasters at night.

After about ten minutes, or an eternity, depending on whom you asked, we finally were

over land. Within a short time we arrived at the empty lot we had chosen that was only a

few blocks from the car dealership that had sold the vans. At touch down we all quickly

piled out and got Stacy‘s buggy on the ground. We said our good lucks and good-bye‘s,

and were back in the air within minutes. We didn‘t want to attract any more attention

than necessary on the ground.

The chopper ride to the bridge was a short one, thank god! It was pitch dark when we got

there, which would make the climb up the underside of the bridge a bit tough.

We first climbed up the support columns and set up a pulley system so we could lift the

heavy guns and ammo up. The first two guns took us about and hour to get hung and

loaded. We then flew to the other end of the bridge to hang the last two guns. We were

making a little better time hanging the last two guns. Practice makes perfect I guess.

Marty and I did most of the hanging work though while Tony set up the visual aiming

systems for the guns.

Marty and I finished first so we slid down to the ground under the bridge and started

gathering up all our ropes and pulleys. We packed them back into our duffle bags as

quickly as possible.

I motioned for the pilot of the chopper to get it started when we were about ready. No

more did the engine start up and the blades begin to slowly turn when a gunshot sounded.

Just one single shot, I hit the ground flat and looked over to Marty, he was laying flat by

the bag he had just packed.

―You ok?‖ I called out just loud enough for Marty to hear me.

―I‘m good, they got the pilot.‖ He said pointing over to the chopper. There was a single

half-inch hole in the front windshield with spider cracks trailing out from it.

I looked up to find Tony. He had heard the shot and was frozen up in the support beams

looking down at me signaling he was OK. I signaled back for him to stay put.

―Marty, where did the shot come from?‖

―Had to be from on top of the bridge somewhere, look at the angle in the windshield.‖

―Marty, I hate to ask, but… can you fly that thing?‖

Marty thought for just a second before answering. ―I can get us in the air probably, and

probably, back down…probably.‖

―I‘m betting the shooter can‘t see us since were under the bridge.‖ I stood up making and

easy target, if Marty and I were wrong, and the shot came from another location, man, I

didn‘t want to think about it. No shot sounded. ―Guess we were right.‖

―Are you nuts! Why did you stand up like that?‖

―Somebody had to, we can‘t wait for the back up the shooter may be calling.‖

  If the shooter were on the bridge he would only be able to see us when we got close to

the chopper, out in the open away from the blind spot under the bridge. Since I was still

standing after thirty seconds it looked like we were safe for a few minutes.

I motioned for Tony to come down. The chopper was now running at full idle and the

blades were spinning at a pretty good clip.

―So what‘s the plan?‖ Tony asked folding up his decent rope. Marty looked as if he was

waiting for direction too.

―Marty, I need you to use your kinetic reach to lift and throw as much sand into the air

under the chopper as you can. The blades of the chopper should do the rest. If you can get

enough sand up where the turbulence hits it, the chopper should help by creating our own

personal sand storm…and that should give us enough cover to get to the chopper. Tony

and I will carry all the bags, and you just work on making the biggest sand storm

possible. Once were in the chopper its up to you Marty.‖

―Well, as long as that‘s all you want.‖ Marty didn‘t look too happy with the responsibility

of flying. He basically only had a few classroom sessions under his belt. But I was pretty

sure if anyone could pull this off, it would be Marty.

―Do you want me to activate the guns we set up, Wilson?‖ Tony asked wanting to help in

any way he could.

―No, we need them undiscovered to use later, I just hope whoever is up there shooting

didn‘t see us putting them up.‖

―Marty can you do this, are we good?‖

―Yeah, I got this, just give me a minute to get enough sand in the air.‖

Just seconds later the sand filled the sky with a huge dust cloud, it worked even better

than I could have imagined. Sand rose hundreds of feet in the air like fifty Tasmanian

devil‘s were throwing a party.

Marty yelled. ―Go, let‘s go!‖ We all took off running, Marty still flinging sand up into the

blades as we ran. Tony and I tossed our equipment into the chopper and quickly pulled

the dead pilots body from the pilot‘s chair and got him secured in back.

―Come on, Marty, get us the hell outta here!‖ Tony yelled.

―Hold on to something this might be ugly.‖ Marty, laughed. ―Remember, you ask for

this, Wilson.‖ I hated the first ride with the experienced pilot, so I had know doubt I

would hate this a thousand times more.

―Just get us up and moving before that shooter decides to open up on the chopper!‖ I

yelled out over the engines roar.

The engine revved up roaring with power, causing the chopper to leap upward. That was

the good news. The bad news was, we were now above the sand storm we had created,

and a target once again for the shooter.

Two more shots rang out over the engine noise… two bullets pierced the front windshield

but not making contact with anyone or anything critical. Marty got the chopper tilted and

moving forward quickly over the ocean… It only took a minute to be long out of range

from the sniper.

―Give me a minute to get familiar with these controls.‖ Marty shouted back to us as the

chopper leveled out but maintained its forward motion. The Chopper then rose and fell,

turned right then banked left.

―Ok, I got this.‖ Marty said with a pretty confident reassuring tone. And it did seem that

Marty was now in control, as the chopper turned and headed back toward land.

―Defiantly memory making, Marty, you kick butt man.‖ Tony shouted out, looking a

little pale.

The adrenaline was racing through my veins as the water speed by under the chopper at

an incredible pace. ―Can you get us back to pick up the girls, Marty? And yeah, it‘s

official, I HATE TO FLY!‖

―I second that.‖ Tony said as his dinner went hurling out the side of the open chopper.

―You guys are going to give me a complex or something.‖ Marty laughed.

We found the empty lot where we had dropped the girls off and they were already back

waiting on us. As the chopper slowly lowered the girls saw Marty in the pilot seat and the

bullet holes in the windshield.

        ―Wilson!‖ Meea called out.

The girls were anxious to get to the chopper to see that we were okay, coming in much to

close while Marty was landing. ―We‘re OK… stand back… way back!‖

―Marty!‖ Stacy called, zooming up to the chopper the second it touched down. I bent

down and lifted her out of her buggy setting her in Marty‘s lap. She looked at the bullet

holes and back to the dead body of the pilot. She squeezed her arms around Marty as tight

as she could and started to cry.

―I‘m ok, Stacy… really… its alright.‖ Marty said drying her eyes with his shirtsleeve.

―Every time I‘m not with you, someone starts shooting at you!‖

―Yeah, but they‘re all really bad shots.‖

―Its not funny,‖ she pounded his chest with her tiny fist. ―I don‘t want anything to happen

to you.‖

―It won‘t… well, it probably won‘t… as long as I don‘t kill us landing on the yacht.‖

―How did you fly this thing?‖ Stacy was wiping the tears from her cheeks again trying to

get her tough composure back.

―I took a crash course.‖ Marty laughed again.

―Please don‘t say crash…‖ Meea said, looking white as a ghost. Tony and I got the buggy

tied down and everyone buckled in as quickly as we could. I told Tony and Marty I did

not want to be on the ground too long in case we were being tracked.

―Ok, Marty, let her rip.‖ I called out. Marty lifted Stacy off his lap and sat her in the

co-pilot chair. She noticed the two bullet holes that had hit the chair and gave Marty a

questioning look.

―See how bad of a shot they are… they missed me by three feet.‖ Tears welled up in

Stacy‘s eyes again.

Crunch!! Tony slid out the left side of the chopper, the side that was tilted up at a

thirty-degree angle due to the right landing gear hanging off the ships deck out over the


         ―Nice landing.‖ Tony called out.

―I couldn‘t help it, there was a wind shear I‘m telling you.‖ Marty countered

―No, I meant it, good landing… hell I never really thought you would come close to

landing on this boat.‖ Tony said as the rest of us laughed.

―Yeah, yeah… well if you can do better.‖ Marty said while straining to lift out the buggy

from the chopper.

        ―Let me help you, Marty‖ I said after handing Stacy down to Meea on the ship


―Marty… Tony was being serious… he did think you did a great job, he wasn‘t being

sarcastic.‖ Stacy said.

There was never any lying with Stacy around.

―Alright then, sorry. I just feel bad about messing up the chopper.‖

―We can rig up something to get it back up on deck tomorrow, Marty, don‘t sweat it.

Without you today, we would‘ve never made it away from the bridge alive.‖ Oops… I

was sorry I said that out loud with the girls within earshot. I knew it was a mistake as

soon as the words came out of my mouth.

―Did you get the shooter‖ Rachel asked as she was still looking at the landing gear wheel

that Marty sat down on the side of the yacht.

―No, he was not as important as getting over to pick you guys up. We had no way to

know if you were in danger of an ambush too.‖

―It would‘ve still been nice to get him‖ she shrugged as the ship‘s captain and first mate

pulled the dead pilots body from the chopper.

―Where is Melissa?‖ I asked.

The chef answered. ―Steven put her to bed a couple hours ago with a story about Hanssel

and Grettle, they were two little kids that…

Meea cut him off… ―And where is the tiger?‖

―Same place… Melissa and that tiger are pretty much inseparable now, especially with

you and Wilson not here.‖

―I‘ll go check on them and then meet you all in the living room to go over what we

found.‖ Meea said as she kissed me quickly and took off.

―Can you cook up some food and bring down to us please?‖ I asked the cook

―Yes sir, my pleasure sir. It will be about twenty minutes, I‘ll make the breakfast menu.‖

Stacy pulled on my shirt. ―It‘ll take him 35 minutes or more… want to bet?

I turned to Marty, ―How do live with this girl?‖

―Easy… you just never, ever lie.‖

―So no bet?‖ Stacy said smugly.

―I‘ll hang on to my money this time thanks.‖

                                         Chapter 22

Oh Rats

Stacy found a cozy spot to sit on Marty‘s lap after dinner. She was going to tell us what

they had found out at the car dealership.

       ―As usual we used Meea as boy bait… She tied her tee shirt up in a high knot on

her stomach and we rolled up her shorts as high as we could get them.‖ Stacy laughed to

herself. ―It‘s so easy to lead around the opposite sex… if you just dangled the right bait.

Anyhow, when we sent Meea in first to go bend over the new sports car in the show

room, it took all of ten seconds and every guy in the place was at her side wanting to

explain the latest in turbo technology. As soon as Meea had them all seeing stars, Rachel

and I slid in the side door and back to the office. Rachel spotted the infrared warning bell

in front of the door, so all we had to do was duck under that and we got right to the files.

The four Vans‘ were purchased under the name of a Mr. Rosco Wells at 212 West

Portland Road. They were paid for in cash. So, do we go find Rosco?‖

―Yeah, that‘s seems to be our only lead. Steven Stacy and I will take off in the morning. I

call for another pilot… you did great Marty but…‖

―Hey, I‘m fine with coming in off the bench when you need me coach.‖ Marty said,

giving me a winked.

Apparently he felt better after being fed and having Stacy in his lap again.

212 West Portland Road… what a dump. I was glad I brought our side arms and a few

heavy weapons along in Stacy‘s buggy. The old and poverty ridden neighborhood was

filled with broken down graffiti covered houses. A few the houses on this side of the

street had broken windows that hadn‘t been replaced while some of the houses had

plywood nailed up over the windows. Tight alleyways ran between the houses splitting

them into little duplex looking units. There were seven steep steps leading up to the small

porch at 212 West Portland Road.

       Stacy stopped her buggy at the end of the walkway in front of the steps. ―You go

up and come get me if you need me‖ she said tapping on her side arm with a wink. Marty

can‘t have all the fun.‖

―Ok, wait here and we‘ll see if he‘s home.‖ I said.

When Meea got to the front door she turned and looked at me… the door was already

ajar. I pushed it open, but stayed on the porch to yell in.

―Mr. Well‘s, anyone home?‖ Just then a man took off running from one of the front

rooms. He ran into the main hallway and bolted for the back door.

―Stacy! He‘s running out the back. Get him!‖ Meea yelled back at Stacy.

Stacy took off down the alleyway like a shot, while I took off through the house and out

the back door after him.

The man hit the back alley turning left with a good head start on me. He was a strong

agile guy who looked like he was running for his life. He was about a block ahead of me

when I saw Stacy slide around the corner in front of me. She was a half block back from

him and if he would jump a fence Stacy wouldn‘t be able to follow him. I was too far

back now, so I would probably lose him too if he decided to jump one of the side fences.

I wondered why Meea hadn‘t passed me, when Stacy stepped on the gas and closed the

gap on the runner in a flash. She clipped him in the head with the butt of the shotgun she

was carrying as she sped by and knocked the man into the air. He crashed to the ground

landing on his back and rolling up against some broken wooden pallets.

Stacy skidded to a stop and turned the gun on the man. When I caught up to them the man

was still unconscious. I bound his hands and threw him on the back of Stacy‘s buggy to

take him to the house.

―Meea! Meea! Are you OK? Where are you?‖ I yelled out.

―In hear. I‘m fine.‖ Meea called, from the front room, were the man had ran from.

Stacy‘s buggy fit through the back door where there was a wheelchair ramp.

―Stacy got the guy.‖ I said pointing at the limp man hanging over the back of Stacy‘s


―She got somebody. But I think the guy we came for is dead.‖ Meea said nodding to the

body on the floor covered in blood.

I picked the man up off Stacy‘s buggy and laid him on the floor beside the body Meea

was kneeling over.

―Shit, Stacy… did you kill that guy?‖ Meea squealed.

―I don‘t think so… Wilson?‖ Stacy said, looking at me for confirmation.

―No, you didn‘t kill him, he‘s got a pulse. I better finish tying him up before he comes to


―This dead guy‘s drivers license say‘s he‘s Rosco Wells.‖ Meea said thumbing through

the dead man‘s billfold.

―He was handicap.‖ Stacy added.

―How can you tell?‖

―Look at his hands, he has callous on them from rolling his wheelchair.‖

―So this must be the guy that killed Mr. Wells.‖ Meea said, pointing at Stacy‘s catch.

―Stacy, lets see what we can get out of him when he wakes up. I‘ll get a bucket of water.‖

―What‘s the water for‖ Meea asked.

―I don‘t plan on waiting for this guy to get his beauty sleep.‖

Splash! The cold water soaked the man on the floor. He started to cough and spit coming

to, the knot on his head from the shotgun still getting bigger.

―Wake up.‖ I yelled, as he began to look around, sizing up his situation, squinting from

the pain in his head from the blow Stacy gave him.

―Why did you kill this man?‖ I asked harshly.

―I didn‘t.‖ Stacy shook her head slightly indicating that he was lying.‖

―I really don‘t care if you admit this or not… lets try another angle. Meea, how about

some rats, there must be rats around a dump like this, right?‖

―Give me a second.‖ Meea walked to the back door and stared out at the alley for a

minute. She left the back door open and walked back in to sit down.

A minute later five very large rats slowly made there way into the living room stopping at

the door way. Their noses were up in the air sniffing what I assumed was the spilt blood

of Mr. Wells on the floor.

―Good… lets try again. Where are the Vans you had Mr. Wells buy?‖ The man on the

floor never taking his eyes off the rats spat in my direction.

―Last chance.‖ I said calmly.

―You don‘t scare me you punk kid!‖ The man said, like he was calling a bluff in a penny

anti poker game, still thinking he had a good hand.

―Yeah, I‘m not very scary, but those rats. They‘ll probably only take five minutes to

gnaw your leg off, and then they‘ll drag it off for a thanksgiving feast. Now that‘s a little

scary, I believe, don‘t you? So were did you say the vans were?‖

―OK, there at the parking garage down town on 42nd street.‖ Stacy looked at me and

shook her head no. Lie.

―Meea, tell them they can eat now.‖ Meea looked at the rats and a second later… the

rats were at the man‘s knee‘s. Chewing through his pants in a split second they were into

the meat with blood flowing everywhere. Scream‘s started flowing as fast as the new red

blood coming from the legs of this murder. Between the agonizing screams I heard…

―…Stop, stop…I‘ll tell you…Awe!‖


The rats took a few seconds but stopped the carnage. They scurried back about three feet,

licking the man‘s blood from off their own fur.

―Well then? Oh, and this time, I‘d think twice about lying to me.‖

―Shit… ok the vans are at the Presidio warehouse, building fifteen.‖

―What are your plans for the vans?‖

―No man… you just said tell you where they were, that was the deal!‖

―There are no deals. You tell me everything I ask or you can be Purina rat chow… you


―Shit…shit… We‘ve loading them with C4 to blow the bridge pillars. Ok… let me go.‖

―Oh no, its not that easy, where are you getting the C4?‖

―The Airlines owns a small demolition business and we‘ve been buying extra C4 for

every job the last couple years.‖

―When is the bridge going to be hit?‖

―Awe… I don‘t know…I really don‘t.‖ Stacy looked over to confirm he did not know.

―Do you know if the three SA team‘s are alive?‖

―What‘s a SA team?‖

Stacy looked over and shook her head. ―That‘s all he‘s got Wilson.‖

―Meea, let them eat…let‘s go.‖

                                         Chapter 23

                                 On your mark… get set…

It was still almost ninty degrees outside at midnight. My shirt was clinging to my skin

like I just taken it out of a washing machine and put it on wet. I decided to coordinate our

attacks at night so the team in the Bahamas had the best chance of success. We only had a

few days so we would have to act fast to stop the bombing. We‘ve had to many

encounters with this group for them to not take action on the bridge soon.

       Since Tony found out about the Airlines desire to bring down the Golden Gate

Bridge, he has infiltrated every aspect of online and networked communication from the

heads of the company. Tony pinpointed the two executives responsible for the plot as a

Mr. Toma and Mr. Chang.

Rachel and Chels then spent time outside of Mr. Toma and Mr. Chang residence

gathering as much incriminating evidence as possible. The girls each documented enough

cell phone transmissions from both men to fully implicate them up as the instigators

behind this plan.

Toma and Chang were responsible for arranging not only the C4 being siphoned the last

two years, but for arranging the kidnapping of the three SA groups, the fairy boat

purchases and the hiring of a large staff of mercenaries to carry out there plan. All this

was done under the pretense of legitimate business dealings.

I passed on all the intelligence we found back to the CIA and FBI through Dr. Ishmail,

who had everything confirmed and documented.

We were given the green light to proceed as we saw fit, and had authorization to call in

any support necessary. This program had the signature of the President of the United

States on it so we would have no red tape for any assistance needed.

In order to save our three captured SA groups I needed a team working the rescue at the

same time a second team hit‘s the vans, so I split my group back up into two teams.

We had Marty take a few more crash lessons with the same helicopter he had been forced

to fly earlier because I wanted Marty to be the one that flew and lead my second team to

the Bahamas. I just didn‘t have confidence, or lets say, the ability to trust anyone like I

did Marty. There was something special about Marty that gave you the feeling you

couldn‘t lose if he was on your team. And since I couldn‘t be with the second team, I

wanted Marty in charge. Marty was a good man. He was someone you just trusted from

the moment you met him. He was warm and polite yet he had no issues with making a

decision. Yeah, he was going to be me, in the Bahamas.

I sent Rachel, Chels and Steven with Marty to the Bahamas. Marty said he was good to

go, and would have no problem operating the helicopter and leading the group for me.

        Stacy, Meea, Tony and I were going to be the group that went after the C4 and the


Marty and his group took off about five hours ago and headed for the Bahamas. We had

radio conformation when they were just thirty minutes from their landing zone (LZ). We

wanted to stay in close contact since these strikes had to be coordinated so precisely. I

had requested direct contact cell phones that were untraceable for Marty and I. In order to

not risk the SA teams lives or risk a quick launch of the bridge assault we would have to

strike at the exact same time. Once one faction of the enemy came under attack word

would go out quickly to the others for response I was sure.

My team was now outside the fence at warehouse fifteen down by the docks. From this

location the vans could be driven to the bridge and detonated within minutes. We

couldn‘t afford to make any mistakes that would tip them off. We needed to take care of

them while they were still all together in the warehouse.

       I was glad we had left Melissa on the yacht now, everything thing off the yacht

seemed wrought with danger. Melissa was asleep on her new best friend Kobe, the

Bengal tiger who would protect her with his life now. If everything works out somehow,

well be back with her shortly as along with her mom and dad.

We were looking at high tech surveillance cameras on all four corners of the warehouse.

The cameras were about a fifty-yard run from the high fence surrounding the building.

There was a generous string of razor wire all around the top of the fence. Five

Dobermans were milling around the inner yard as well. That was actually good news for

us… not so good for them. There were also motion sensors that looked like they would

detect anything within a few feet of the building. Armed guards in the gate house, and

I‘m sure plenty more inside guarding the vans of C4. This wasn‘t a college basketball

game, so one wrong decision would cost us a lot more than a few points.

I open up my cell phone, and hit the speed dial for Marty. ―Marty come in.‖

―Hey, Wilson… got that C4 all under control yet?‖

―Just tell me where you are.‖ The guy is never serious.

―We just landed two miles in back of the maintenance facility. We‘ll be at the back of the

complex by the huts in about fifteen minutes. We came in at ground level the last fifty

miles so they shouldn‘t know were here… yet.‖

―Call me once you have positioned yourself and we‘ll coordinate our start.‖

―Rodger, make sure you keep a eye on hot rod for me.‖

―Will do, over and out.‖

―Wilson, if you can get me in the guard shack I can take down the cameras and the

motion detectors.‖ Tony said as I pocketed my phone.

―I need the front gate open first in order to get to the guard shack. Meea could have the

dogs kill the guards but that would be pretty noisy and that could alert the guards in the

warehouse. We need something else.‖ I said out loud trying to talk myself through our


―How about a distraction?‖ Meea eyebrows rose questioningly.

―You‘re not taking your clothes off again, Meea.‖ Stacy joked.

―That‘s not what I meant.‖ Meea said, sticking her tongue out at Stacy.

―Easy girls, Meea has something there.‖ I said turning to face them both.

There was only one guard in the shack by the fence and we needed him to open the front

gate so we could get to the controls and then to the warehouse.

―I got it, Stacy, you‘re our best shooter besides me, take the sniper rifle. It‘s got a silencer

on it that will shorten up the range it has, but you should be plenty close to the guard

shack from here to take a shot. Get the rifle set up for a shot to the front of the gate.

When Marty calls back that they‘re ready, I‘ll walk to the front of the gate to draw the

guard out to speak to me. I need to hear him speak for a second so don‘t shoot him until I

raise my hand up and scratch my head, then you take his off, but drop him close enough

to the fence I can grab his keys.

Then, I let us in the gate and Tony can disarm the cameras and monitors. We‘ll have

Meea send in the dogs and then we‘ll wait out side to pick off any guards making a run

for it. Then the building is ours.

Ring…―Pizza palace… see I can be funny too.‖

Marty quietly laughed under his breath. ―I can‘t see shit out here it so dark.‖

―That was the point about picking night time, right.‖ I said.

―Chels kept me from walking right into this stupid electrical fence they got set up around

the place. Hell I would have never seen these thin wires.‖

―Marty, the girls are using sonar so they can see fine, trust them, that‘s why their with

you. Now what else you got?‖

―Chels said there are four guards walking in pairs going around the entire parameter.

Rachel said their smoking something that will allow them to die happy.‖

―That‘s funny, and good for us.‖

―Yeah well, it took me a while to explain the concept of ―die happy‖ to Steven.‖

―Are you OK? You seem a little pissed.‖

―How‘s Stacy doing?‖ Now I knew what was on Marty‘s mind.

―Look, I‘ll take good care of Stacy, you need to focus and keep my other people safe.‖

―Don‘t sweat it, Wilson, Steven has a way to cross wire the fence so that the generator for

it overheats. He said that would only take a minute. He also said if him and me kill both

sets of guards and take their place the girls could make their way into the SA hut and

sneak everyone out to the chopper before anyone notices one missing patrol. How‘s that


―Sounds pretty good actually, are you ready to go?‖

―All set, lets do this, the quicker the better.‖

―OK, Go… Good luck!‖

                                         Chapter 24

One if by land… Two if by sea… Or maybe… a jet for me.

―Hey buddy, can you help me out here?‖ I walked up to the fence at the front gate

unfolding a map trying to look as lost and innocent as I could. The guard inside the shack

seemed to want no part of coming outside to help me out.

         ―Hey, come on buddy, come out here a minute.‖ The guard just waved his hand

to dismiss me. I couldn‘t let him off that easy. I started to shake the fence to regain his

attention. If he wasn‘t going to be polite enough to help, maybe he‘d be a big enough jerk

to come out and yell at me for shaking his fence. Sure enough, here comes my jerk, and

he was none too happy I hadn‘t just given up and walked on down the street.

―Get the hell off that fence you moron.‖ He growled out.

That was all I needed to get his voice down. My hand went up to scratch my head and

Stacy took the guy out with a clean shot right through the side of his head. The bad news

was she hit him so dead center it knocked him back from the fence so I couldn‘t reach


Stacy, Meea and Tony were behind me in a flash looking through the gate at the fallen


―You alright with this, Stacy?‖

Stacy was staring at the first person she had ever killed and she didn‘t even know the

man. ―I‘m fine.‖ She looked up at me knowing I needed her to be OK. I bent over and

kissed her forehead as I stepped over to inspect the gate.

―And thanks for not missing.‖ Meea bent down and hugged Stacy tightly, knowing what

it was like to be responsible for ending another person‘s life. Even though Meea never

saw the twenty or so men on the gunboats she had killed I knew she still thought about it.

―We need those keys to get in this gate.‖ I said.

―I‘ll get the dogs to drag him over.‖ Meea replied.

Click. ―Don‘t bother, I got it.‖ Tony said as the gate lock clicked open.

―So you‘re a lock smith too?‖ Stacy said looking up at Tony.

―Just a hobby. Give me a minute and I‘ll have the monitors and cameras down.‖

―Meea can you get those dogs fired up enough to go in there and do some damage?‖

―Oh, yeah, these guys live for the kill, it won‘t be hard.‖

We made our way over to the front door were Meea gathered the pack of guard dogs by

the door. After spending just a minute with them they looked more than ready to do her

bidding. We cracked the door and the man eating attack dogs flew in looking for the

fight. A few sporadic gunshots went off, but then, all you could hear were low deep

growls and snarling. Not one person made it to a door or window alive.

Meea turned to me and said softly. ―Its over.‖

I made a call to Marty to see if he was able to pick up and give me an update but he

didn‘t respond. Stacy gave me a concerned look but I shook my head to say it was OK. If

anything at all were underway Marty would not break focus to answer.

We found two vans completely loaded top to bottom with C4, and two empty vans that

were prepped and ready for loading. The C4 for them was still in crates on the floor

beside the vans.

―I‘m going to make a phone call. Tony, I need you to wire all this up to remote detonate.

Meea I need you to go get the operations truck we came in, and back it up to the door


―What are we doing now, Wilson?‖ Meea asked as she headed for the door.

―Were going to make sure this is the last time we hear from Mr. Toma and Mr. Chang.‖

My phone rang. ―Hello Marty, talk to me, were on target here.‖

―Were through the wire, four patrol guards are down and Steven and I are walking the

perimeter. Rachel and Chels have been in the hut for about five minutes. When we make

our way back toward the hole in the fence, the girls and hopefully twelve SA agents will

meet us there and we‘re off for the chopper… how‘s Stacy?‖

―Kicking ass as usual. Over and out.‖

I used the voice from the guard at the front gate to make my call.

        ―Hello Mr. Toma, I‘m very sorry to bother you sir but I thought you should know

the C4 we loaded into the two vans is breaking down into a powder substance and may

not be stable, I think you need to see this sir.‖

        ―Shit Peters can‘t you do anything right! I‘m going to pick up Mr. Chang and

we‘ll be right down.‖ SLAM

Stacy grinned at me. ―How did that go?‖

―Just as you said it would, they were pissed and both are coming.‖

Tony was just finishing up as Meea backed up to the door.

―Lets go guys. Tony, are we good?‖

―Do you realize the size of explosion this will make?‖ Tony asked.

―Its fine, Tony. It‘s two o‘clock in the morning at a dock warehouse owned by crooks and

mercenaries, no one will get hurt, that‘s not supposed to get hurt.‖

Meea pulled off the road at the entrance to the industrial district. It was not hard to tell

when Mr. Toma and Mr. Chang drove by, they had the only Bentley cruising the

neighborhood at this hour. They would only have to be within a fifty yards of the

warehouse, when Tony hit the button, to be eliminated.

From where we chose to stop I could see the entrance to the warehouse using the scope

on the sniper rifle. I watched through scope as the two men parked just oust side the

warehouse and hurried inside.

―Hit it Tony.‖ Boom…! WOW…!

―Ok… ok, so I underestimated the blast a little.‖ I said as the two adjacent warehouses

were annihilated. We all looked on in awe for a good two minutes.

―Real shame about that Bentley though,‖ Tony said, as we all watched the large

mushroom cloud rise into the sky.

―Yeah, I should have tried to figure a way to save the car huh.‖

Stacy looked at me with her eye‘s widening, as I hit the speed-dial for Marty again.

―Hello, Marty?‖

―We got them… we got them all… but there‘s a problem…‖ the line went dead.

Stacy caught the look on my face.

―What, what happened, you tell me the truth Wilson!‖ Stacy demanded.

 Meea and Tony were both staring at me now too.

―All I heard was Marty say they got them all… and that there was a problem. Then the

phone went dead.‖

 Stacy grabbed the phone from my hand and tried it, and tried it.

―Give me the phone Stacy.‖ She handed it back with tears in her eyes. Meea was trying to

comfort her telling her it would be OK and not to worry.

―Hello, Dr. Ishmail, I need your help right now.‖

―Wilson, are you OK? We saw the explosion…my god!‖

―Were all fine here sir, but I need what ever you have in the Bahamas area to start a

search and rescue around the Southway Airline maintenance strip. You‘re looking for

sixteen SA members. Yes, sir. Thank you, good bye.‖

―What‘s going on, Wilson?‖ I could tell, Stacy was letting her imagination run.

―Stacy, you need to calm down so you can focus if I need you. Marty saying there was a

problem could be that they were out of beer for the flight home, you just never no when it

comes to Marty.‖ She stopped fidgeting and smiled at me but I knew she could read me

like a book and knew I was as anxious and as nervous as she was.

Ring… ―Hello.‖

―Wilson, its Dr. Ishmail.‖

―Yes, sir.‖

―There are two F-19 fighter jets over the area now. There is no sight of the Helicopter,


―Yes, but what?‖

―They are tracking two jets that just took off from the maintenance air strip with no flight

plans. Both jets are the small executive style and both look to be armed.‖

―Wilson, Wilson!‖ Tony, was calling up front to me from the back of our truck where he

staring into one of his a monitors.

―I‘m busy, Tony, can it wait?‖

―Absolutely not…‖ I got out of the seat and moved quickly to the back of the truck where

Tony had some equipment set up.

―Dr. Ishmail.‖

―Yes, Wilson.‖

―Have the fighters shoot down the jet that‘s trailing right now.‖ I said, with no inflection

or hesitation in my voice.

―Ok.‖ Was all the doctor said in reply.

―What do you have, Tony.‖

―Two boats coming in hot and riding very low in the water. They will be under the bridge

in just a minute.‖

―Meea, do you have anything in the area?‖

―Yes, but were too far out for me to contact them.‖

―Tony can you control your guns under the bridge from here?‖

―Sure, no problem.‖

―The guns we installed have the best bullets fired per second ratio of any machine gun

made. They‘ll put a bullet in every square inch of a football field in under ten seconds.

Lets see what they‘ll do to a boat filled with C4.‖

I watched the camera from behind Tony as he used the guidance system on the guns and

opened fire. It‘s hard to describe what that many bullets hitting the water in a constant

flow looks like. I guess it most compared to the trail a jet boat leaves in the water going at

top speed. The trail of spray was high and fast in the water as Tony guided the spray of

screaming ammo at the oncoming boats. They were literally cut in half by the spray of

bullets and then in what seemed like a delayed reaction they exploded into two huge

water mushrooms.

―Dr. Ishmail, what‘s happening?‖ I asked, back on the cell phone.

―The executive jet in back was just attempting to open fire when the rockets from our

fighter hit her taking it out of the sky. We‘re getting Morse code, believe it or not, from

the lead jet now stating that they‘re SA agents in route back to Kennedy Airforce base

just out side of Palm Bay Florida. They‘re also asking for flight instructions for the Class

A27 executive jet they‘re flying in.‖

―Now that sounds like Marty for sure.‖ Stacy was right beside me grabbing my hand

when I mentioned Marty‘s name. She wanted filled in immediately.

―Doctor, please pass on the message that I‘ll pick up Melissa and meet them all back in

Palm Bay, and add a PS. Landing on the ground has got to be easier than landing on a

yacht in the ocean, and good luck‘.‖

―Wilson!‖ Stacy was pulling on my arm to start spilling information or else.

―Easy hot rod, jeesh. Marty apparently decided the chopper was too slow so he traded up

for an executive jet. He‘s also asking for instructions on how to land.‖

Meea looked at me, her eyebrows tightening. Stacy had tears in her eyes but also started

laughing at the same time.

―He‘s going to land a jet?‖ Meea said, seeming way more frightened now than Stacy did.

―They‘ll be alright Meea, I can tell.‖ Stacy said, smiling.

―How can you be so sure?‖ Meea looked at Stacy like she must have gone over the edge.

―If he had any doubt he couldn‘t land he would have asked to talk to me. Since in his

mind, Marty knows he can pull it off, he‘ll in no way feel the need to tell me about it or

even want me to know about this.‖

―Men.‖ Stacy and Meea now laughed and cried at the same time all the way back to the


When we got back to the boat it was already dawn. Melissa and Kobe were still sound

asleep on the living room couch.

        ―Welcome back,‖ the captain greeted, as we boarded. ―I had the cook prepare a

large breakfast for you since I knew you would be hungry.‖

―Thank you, captain.‖

―The chopper pilot said he would be refueled and ready to take off for the airport within

the hour.‖

We packed everyone‘s personal belongings before waking Melissa for the trip home.

After eating and feeding the tiger one last time we boarded the helicopter for the flight to

the airport. A government plane was waiting for us to take us back to Florida when our

helicopter touched down.

Before taking off I received two phone calls. The first was from the President of the

United States thanking us for our service, and the second, letting me know Marty‘s plane

just touched down without any complications. I was thankful for the second call more

thankful than anyone would ever know.

                                         Chapter 25

Freshman Year

Marty had landed with no problems… he called from the airport in Florida to talk to me

as we flew in from the west coast. He mostly wanted to check in on Stacy though I think.

        ―Hello, Wilson?‖

―Hi, Marty‖

―Is Stacy, OK?‖

―Perfect, just like you left her.‖


I heard a sigh of relief in his voice.

―So, what happened to the helicopter I gave you?‖ I asked.

―Oh… It couldn‘t carry everybody.‖

―Steven figured the weight out before you left and said it would, he wasn‘t wrong was

he?‖ I asked doubtfully.

―No… he was right… but we had a few bullet hole issues, you know.‖

―No, not really, tell me about it.‖

        ―We crossed the beach coming in, low so we would not be detected.‖

        ―Yeah, that‘s how we planned it.‖

―Well there must have been a mercenary on the beach late that night showing a native girl

how sea turtles lay eggs or something, you know.‖


―So, by the time my group got in and back out of the facility with the SA members this

merc must have taken off from the beach and made it to the chopper the same time we


―Uh huh.‖

―So when he was about 50 yards out he started firing at the chopper with his machine



―Well, you know how we were not sure about giving Steve a gun.‖

―Yeah.‖ I felt like I was prying this story out of Marty wit ha crowbar.

―Well, I think it‘ll be ok… see, he had this old rifle we took off one of the patrolmen. As

we were running back to the chopper, Steven took aim and dropped the merc with a

single shot, dead center.‖


―Before Steven dropped him the guy put a few rounds into the hydraulic lines of the

chopper. Steven and I figured we could only get about ten minutes flight time if we

loaded everyone on board.‖

―So, then what?‖ I urged, still prying away.

―So… I decided that was plenty of time to fly everyone back to the maintenance facility

were they kept plenty of jets… we took off, landed back beside one of the jets in the field

that looked prepped for flight and we all jumped in.‖

―And then?‖

―It took me a minute to fire the jet up and by then we were getting more company

because they had discovered the SA groups were missing. It wasn‘t hard for them to

guess where they were, with all the jet engine noise and all.‖


―We finally got going down the run way but the mercs grabbed a jet that had attack

capability and were on my tail right after take off. About then two F-19‘s flew past. They

doubled back right away and before I knew it they open up on the merc‘s plane with AA


―Is everyone safe and unharmed.‖

―Yes, everyone is celabrating and hugging, you know the scene. Did you have a little to

do with the F-19‘s?‖

―A little.‖

―Are you mad at me Wilson?‖

―Nah, you did great Marty, I‘m not mad, but if you keep getting yourself shot at every

time you go out… Stacy is never going to let you out of the house again.‖

―Yeah, I know… so…we don‘t really mention that part…OK?‖

―Yeah, OK, I get away with lying to Stacy all the time, see you in a few hours.‖

None of the SA teams left the airport after landing. They all wanted to stay and meet the

rest of the team responsible for their rescue and the salvation of the Golden Gate Bridge.

        We wanted to let Melissa be the first one off the plane when it landed, so her

mom and dad who were waiting anxiously could see that she was unharmed. The door to

the plane opened as stairs were moved up to the open door way. Mr. And Mrs. Conner

stepped back as the Bengal tiger‘s head came out of the plane‘s door followed by the next

six feet of him, and of course their prize possession was perched on top… waving both

arms with a big smile on her face.

―Hi, momma, see me? See my pretty kitty!‖ The Conner‘s froze in place not willing to

give another step. I was next out the door wanting to keep the panic to a minimum. The

last twenty-four hours had been tough enough on everyone.

―It‘s OK everybody, the big kitty is with us. Nobody panic, it‘s OK.‖

The group of SA agents crowded back around, giving Kobe a few extra feet as they met

and thanked everyone that got off the plane.

―Baby!‖ Mrs. Conner stepped up to the tiger and Melissa reached up to her mom‘s neck

to squeeze her tight.

―I missed you momma.‖ Melissa said rubbing noses with her mom.

―I missed you too baby, who‘s your friend?‖

―Dis is Kobe, he‘s a big kitty.‖ Melissa reached back and pet the tiger that had not moved

from Mrs. Conner‘s side.

―How is my little girl?‖ Mr. Conner said ducking out from behind the crowd that was

surrounding the stairs.

―Daddy!‖ Melissa reached and leaned out hard toward her father.

―Hi baby girl, I missed you so much.‖ Mr. Conner said lifting Melissa into his arms.

―Me too.‖ She squeezed her father around the neck and gave him a peck on the cheek.

―See my kitty, daddy?‖

―Yes, I do, he‘s hard to miss. Where did you get the kitty?‖ Mr. Conner asked looking in

my direction.

―Meya gave him to me.‖ The tiger nudged up against Mr. Conner‘s legs and started to


―Down peez daddy,‖ Melissa said, leaning back toward the tiger. Mr. Conner‘s looked

over at me.

―It‘s OK, sir. That cat would protect her with his life.‖

―Yes, it‘s true, sir. The tiger will never harm her.‖ Meea added.

―Hi Melissa, have you been a good girl while I was gone?‖ Marty said pushing his way

through the crowd.

―Yeah, I‘ve been good.‖

Marty reached over and gave Melissa a kiss on the cheek.

―And has my other girl been good?‖ Marty said turning to take Stacy out of my arms.

Stacy wrapped her arms around Marty‘s neck and kissed him over and over. ―I‘m perfect


I went back to the back of the plane to get Stacy‘s buggy, though I was pretty sure she

wouldn‘t come out of Marty‘s arms for the next week.

Mr. Conner stood on the plane stairs to see over everyone. ―Attention Please! Can I get

everybody‘s attention? We‘ll have a celebration dinner for everyone at our house

tomorrow afternoon.‖

―Mr. Conner, we weren‘t able to straighten up much before we left.‖ I said, not knowing

how to broach the subject of all the damage we did with bullet holes and such.

―We have a girl come in weekly to clean up Wilson, it‘ll be fine.‖ Mrs. Conner said.

―Well, sir… never mind…‖

―He‘s going to kill you. You know that right.‖ Marty whispered before he carried Stacy

off for a private reunion.

The party was going full tilt when Meea and I arrived. There were people in the pool,

playing volleyball, eating on the patio by the pool and on the beach throwing a Frisbee.

       Marty was levitating plastic cups in the air for Melissa, while she threw tennis

balls at them, trying to knock them out of the air. Melissa waved to Meea and I when we

walked in. We went to sit with her and gave her big hugs and kisses. I ended up catching

the balls she threw at the cups and rolling them back to her. She was always so happy.

―Where‘s kitty, Melissa?‖ Meea ask.

―He‘s in her bedroom sleeping. She rode that poor cat half the night, up and down the

beach over and over again. Thank God she‘s light as a feather or I think she would have

killed him.‖ Mrs. Conner said.

―He probably needed to run since we had him cramped up on that yacht so long.‖ Meea

laughed to her self. ―I‘ll pull in some tuna for him before I leave, I think he‘s getting a

taste for them now.‖

―Wilson, glad you made it.‖ Mr. Conner said.

―Hello Mr. Conner, Dr. Ishmail.‖ Dr. Ishmail had a plate of food looking relaxed and

comfortable for a change.

―Can we see you for a minute.‖ Mr. Conner asked. I bent over and kissed Meea and

Melissa before getting up. How mad could this guy be… he left me with his daughter

who I saved once, and then kept pretty much out of harms way during a full out attack.

Aside from my girlfriend giving her a Bengal tiger as a pet I did as good as I could. Ok so

the driveway and the garage got shot to hell… and a few bullet hole in their house and a

few in his car… and that big hole from Steven‘s shot gun back by the pool… and the

bushes and most of the yard…Ok and a few holes in the neighbors houses and

barns…yeah, Marty was right… I‘m toast.

―Yes, sir?‖ He stopped right in front of the garage door where the five bullet holes were.

Dr. Ishmail spoke first. ―Wilson, if you don‘t mind I have one question for you before I

leave you two gentlemen alone to talk.‖

―Sure, Doctor.‖

―How did you know to have me shoot down the back executive jet, let alone even know

the SA group was in the front jet? The F-19 pilot said if he would have fired a few second

later the back jet would have had time to bring the SA group‘s jet down… how did you

know all that?‖

―Marty‘s only call to me said there was a problem. Marty had the group and the SA

teams, so his only problem would be in leaving. You said the F-19 pilot said no chopper

was in the air so I knew Marty would improvise, meaning he would try to fly something

he had no training or flight time in just to keep it interesting. It‘s just his… lets call it

style, to be polite, but he means well. I figured if he had trouble leaving as planned he

would have company still trying to stop him. I knew the first thing Marty would look for

on a jet was the gas pedal, so I was sure his jet would be the one in front, that and the fact

the other jet would be in back trying to shoot him down or there would have been no

reason for them to chase Marty… that‘s pretty much it sir.‖

Dr. Ishmail laughed out loud and patted Mr. Conner on the back and then started to walk

away looking back at me. ―Good Wilson, very good. I can‘t wait for next semester. Mr.

Conner and I laughed quietly and nodded our heads in agreement as Dr. Ishmail walked


―Wilson, I wanted to let you know how thankful we are to you. I know you were pushed

way beyond what anyone had a right to ask. All of you were pushed way too far. Well,

without getting to mushy, the school wanted to give you and your group a token of our

appreciation for what you were able to accomplish. So we want you to have this...‖

The garage door opened up and there was a brand new Red Porsche 911 turbo sitting

beside the Jag with the five bullet holes in the trunk. I cringed a bit seeing the holes in

that pretty jag again.

The license plate on the Porsche read, ―Voices.‖

―Each one of your group has one of these being delivered as we speak to their parking

spot back at the college. We took the liberty of adding unique license plates to each of the

vehicles. We thought we would let you tell your group. Here are the keys to their cars.‖

He dropped seven keys in my hand and I looked up with a questioning look.

―We weren‘t sure what to get Stacy so when you have time to ask her ... let us know,

what ever it is she would like in place of a car, and it will be hers, we‘ll see to it.‖

―Thank you just doesn‘t cover it Mr. Conner, but thank you.‖

―Now you know how we feel when it comes to thanking you for what you did Wilson.

You‘re right. Sometimes thank you just doesn‘t even cover it. Now lets get back to the

party and get something to eat. Oh, bye the way Wilson, does Kobe ever look at you

funny when you‘re eating a tuna sandwich?‖

―I‘ll get Meea to catch him some fish before we leave, that should keep you safe for

awhile.‖ I joked.

Mr. Conner gave me a funny look as we walked back, not knowing if I was serious about

the keep you safe remark.‖

―Hey girl, have I got a surprise for you.‖

―Oh yeah, what is it?‖ Meea eye‘s lit up.

―First where‘s Stacy I wanted to talk to her first?‖

―Marty left to pick her up about fifteen minutes ago and they aren‘t here yet.‖

―Let‘s get the rest of our group together in the living room with the Conner‘s then.‖

Everyone was in the living room taking about the surprise I called them in for. I was just

about to let everyone know they had new rides waiting for them back at the dorm when…

The front door opened and Marty and Stacy WALKED IN!!!

Stacy was smiling from ear to ear and so was Marty. Stacy was walking, right beside

Marty. She was on her own two legs.

       ―Marty are you holding her up?‖ I asked. He shook his head to indicate he was

not holding her up. Meea jumped up and ran to hug Stacy. Stacy was able to brace her

self for impact when she saw Meea coming and looked like she was keeping her

self-steady when Meea collided with her.

―Stacy!‖ Meea cried. ―How is this possible, how are you doing this… when did you…‖

Meea just wouldn‘t slow down on the questions to give Stacy a chance to answer. Now

everyone was up hugging her and crying and laughing. Marty was just standing back now

watching Stacy revel in her triumph. Once the group had laughed and cried for about ten

minutes. Stacy ask for everyone to sit down and she would explain.

―Thank you all for your love and caring. Let me try to explain.‖ Stacy had to wipe the

tears from her eyes to continue.

―I haven‘t walked since birth as you all know. My parents took me to a few specialist

when I was young to see if they could figure out why, but we weren‘t wealthy enough to

go through lots of testing, so we never got any definitive answers as to why I was not

able to walk. Anyway, when Marty and I first met, it was love at first sight for both of us.

I was happier than I had ever been, and since I pretty much know exactly what other

people are thinking (everyone laughed) I knew Marty was very happy with me too. We

were out on the beach one day and Marty was showing me how strong he was getting

lifting cannon balls with his energy.‖

―There not really cannon balls.‖ Marty interjected, causing everyone to laugh.

―As I was saying, men are men, and Marty wanted to show me how much he could lift at

one time, so I said, Ok. Lift me then. Taking my challenge, he focused and stood close to

me, as he lifted me up to a standing position. Then as he moved me away from the buggy,

I could feel my feet in the sand. I was just the right height like if I was really standing

beside Marty. We started to go down the beach with Marty basically carrying me the

whole way. I was moving at the same pace Marty was, it was like walking… or what I

thought walking must be like, and I loved it. I never realized how nice it would be just to

walk down the beach with Marty. He eventually couldn‘t hold my weight any longer and

I fell to the sand. Since I loved it so much Marty insisted we do it again, then when he

started letting my feet down I found I could sort of use the muscles in my legs to move

them along by just the tiniest little bit. Then in the tiniest way, I started trying to help

Marty carry me along so our walk would last longer. I wanted to help Marty hold me up

so bad I forced myself to use my muscles, and day after day it just started getting a little

easier to help him. I guess it kind of hit us at the same time, that maybe with some work I

might be able to walk. I guess I need a reason to walk, and that reason was the best

reason in the world, to walk beside Marty. Thank you, Marty. I love you.‖

I walked to the back of the living room where Mr. Conner was standing, ―Mr. Conner.‖

he was nodding his head in anticipation. ―Do you think I could get one more set of keys?

To be continued…


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