Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Step Back - Part 18

The Eagle was under spin as Judith Grant was being wheeled by a medical assistant into the main shipboard mess. On this morning she would eat a solid breakfast for the first time since she was brought on board.

She was wheeled up to the head table and to a position to the left of the head of the table. Doctor Boatman sat down on the opposite side of her. The chair at the head of the table remained empty.

Alice looked at the empty chair for a moment and spoke.

“He’s usually early for breakfast.” She said.

“Who is?” Asked Judith.

“Dad.” She replied.

At that moment Evelyn Boatman came to the table . In his hands were a fully loaded plate, a cup of coffee and the eating utensils.

Alice spoke up.

“Dad, you don’t have to go through the line like everyone else!”

“Of curse I do,” he replied, “As the mission commander I have to set a good example.”

“It’s not that!” Said Alice. “It’s not that at all! You’re still recovering from that gunshot wound and you still need to take it easy.”

“Yes, Doctor Boatman.” He said.

Judith quietly stared at the two. Her mind saw a that the doctor was obviously older but she spoke to a boy her age as if he were her father.

“I don’t understand.” She said.

Evelyn replied.

“Miss Grant, you are still recovering from that fall you took while leaving your father’s house. Try to remember farther back. What was reported about my apparent youthful state?”

Then she remembered and replied.

“That you’ve underwent a treatment that recreates your mind in a newly grown body.”

“Yes.” He said. “And you were in a very bad condition when you were brought aboard, Doctor Boatman was actually prepping to do the procedure on you.”

“Yes.” Said Doctor Boatman.

“You were?” Said Judith.

“Yes,” Doctor Boatman replied, “The recording of the memories we could have done right away, but it would take about two standard years to grow a new body. And the new body would be at the equivalent age of twelve standard years.”

“And then comes the fun part.” Said Evelyn.

“The fun part?” Said Judith.

“Waking up.” He replied. “It takes time for the conscious mind to learn how to speak again and use the new body. So much so that some people have opted to not do the procedure for a second time.”

“Unfortunately yes.” Said Alice.

She then looked down on her father’s plate. It was covered with scrambled eggs with cheese sauce, four sausage links, and hash brown potatoes.

“Dad. How many times have I told you to back off on the fats? There’s at least four eggs on that plate!”

“I’m a growing boy.” He replied with a smile.

Judith got the joke and keeled over in laughter.

If there was actually such a thing as midnight oil they would be burning large quantities of it at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. In one of the assembly halls two Soviet bureaucrats who were administrators at the cosmodrome were watching as the nuclear payload was being attached to the Proton launcher.

“I still think we should send a properly manned Soyuz Capsule for a contact mission.” Said the senior administrator.

“The Proton is not a man rated launcher.” Said the second.

“Neither was the R-7 when we sent up Gagarin.”

The second administrator looked at the first

“So who would you send up?” He said.

“Leonov as the mission commander, and there would be no shortage of volunteers for the second seat.”

The second administrator nodded.

“So write up your suggestion.” He said.

“I did.” The senior replied. “There’s been no reply, yet.”

The second administrator thought he had better connections within the party apparatus, and it was at this time he decided to write his own paper on the subject.

At the base in Nevada a delegation from Israel, including the Netanyahu Brothers, were watching a documentary. Onscreen a middle aged civilian man with an obvious military bearing, the Presidential Chief of Staff Allen Keller, was being escorted to a grey painted advanced helicopter on the flight deck of a supercarrier. The number 75 painted in white was clearly visible on the island of the ship.

“What ship was this?” Yoni asked.

An uptime NCO, a navy chief, answered.

“The U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, sir.”

Yoni nodded.

Once the helicopter lifted off Keller spoke to the pilot over the intercom.

“Lieutenant?” He practically shouted over the noise of the main rotor. “How far east can we go?”

“Did you want to see Jerusalem, sir?” The pilot replied.

“Yes!” Keller shouted.

“Me too!” The pilot shouted back.

Yoni had another question.

“What type of helicopter was that?”

“A Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk, sir.”

The Seahawk flew over the beachhead set up by the Marines as one of the evacuation points for the survivors. The pilot had chosen to fly low as he approached the hills to avoid hostile MANPAD missile fire.

And then they saw it.

In the final hours of the Six-Day War in 1967 the Chief Rabbi of the IDF had desperately searched for some army engineers and some explosives. He wanted to remove the abomination, the Al Aqsa mosque, that the Arabs had built on the Temple Mount.

Forty five years and a few months later, the wish was finally granted.

The abomination was gone. The Temple Mount was for all practical purposes cleared of all but the smallest pieces of stone. Of the city of Jerusalem all that remained was ashes and rubble. There were no living things, human, plant or animal, to be seen.

“I think we've seen enough, Lieutenant.” Keller shouted.

“Aye, aye, sir!” The pilot replied.

The Seahawk turned back toward the beachhead.

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