International Rescue: The Next Phase

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Regaining Momentum [message #296] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:43 Go to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Healing from the tornadoes is almost at an end. The pieces have been gathered and are being glued back into place, but instead of making the team and its members weaker, they will be the stronger for it. Rebuilding proceeds, and plans long put on hold will be brought out and dusted off. Two recruits have left, but two new members stand waiting in the wings for their chance to add to the team. The temporary stop that our heroes have faced is over, and the momentum builds once again as they look forward to the future.

Posted by Tikatu on August 12, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #297 is a reply to message #296] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Wednesday, September 12, Around 1:00 p.m. locally ( Thursday, September 13, around 5:00 a.m. Tracy Island)

As she jogged the streets of New York, Cassie tried to decide what she was going to do about the Thornville offer. The deadline was tomorrow, and she still hadn't made up her mind what to tell them. It wasn't like she didn't want the job. She could probably be happy there and setting up the new fire company would be a challenge. What about after that though? Once the company was started, would it turn into the same thing as working in the city only slower? Was that what she really wanted?

The job at Tracy Industries offered something new. She wouldn't be going out on calls but instead instructing others in fire safety and protocols. Teaching others interested her and would be a change of pace. The chance to travel was appealing, too. It was something she had always wanted to do. There were two drawbacks to the job that she could see right now. One, though nothing had been confirmed, she was still assuming she would be based out of Wichita seeing as that where the application was sent. The one point to this job hunt was to get out of the city, not move from one city to another. The other drawback was not being actively involved in the calls. How long until she missed it? She enjoyed helping people.

She had twenty-four hours to make a decision. Did she take the Thornville job or not? What if the Tracy Industries job didn't pan out? She could very well be passing up a good job for nothing. Yet, was the Thornville job the job she was looking for?

Cassie had asked Mark for his advice. He hadn't been much help, telling her to follow her heart. She had a feeling her brother didn't really want her to leave though he hadn't told her that and he never would. He'd never ask her to stay just for him.

Wanting some more constructive advice, Cassie had emailed both Dr. Lindon and Luke. She was waiting for their replies. Maybe she'd have time to check before going to work this afternoon.

A block from the apartment, Cassie slowed to a walk. She switched her watch from stopwatch mode to time. She'd still have time to check her email before heading in to work. She should have been off today but Frank had asked her to cover a paramedic shift last night. She had agreed, seeing as she had taken the next four days off.

When she reached the apartment, she took a quick shower and changed into her work uniform. After blow drying and braiding her hair, she headed for the computer. It didn't take long for the, "You have mail", message to appear on the screen. She clicked the box and was taken to her inbox. She had two unopened messages - one from Dr. Lindon and one from Luke. She opened the former first.


It's great that you have found such good reception with your applications. Sounds like your hunt is going positively. Remember what I said - don't go rushing into anything. There is no rush to find a new job. Make sure the job you choose is the one you want. Unless the job up in Thornville is something that you really want to do, then go ahead and pass it up. If the second interview with Tracy Industries doesn't work out, there are other opportunities out there. From your email, it sounds as if you're really interested in the position at Tracy Industries. I think you owe it to yourself to continue exploring that avenue even if it means passing up the offer in Thornville.

If you want to talk more, feel free to give me a call. Let me know what you decide.



Having read that email, Cassie opened the one from Luke.

Hey Cass,

It's no surprise to me that so many people are interested in you. They'd be crazy not too! The first offer sounds good, but from what you wrote, sounds to me you're interested in the job at Tracy Industries. If that's the case, go for the interview. If that means passing up the other offer, then so be it. If for some reason you blow the second interview, I'm sure another opportunity will come your way. Just don't go juggling desk items from Mr. Tracy's desk. Not sure that trick will impress a big shot like him!

I'm settling into my job okay and enjoying it. Rommel's getting used to it, too. He sends a doggie kiss your way for the hug! Stay safe, girl, and let me know how things go!


Cassie signed out and shut down the computer. It was about time to head for the station. She was hoping for a slow shift so she could ponder her decision some more, now with the advice of two of the people she trusted the most.

Posted by starrynebula on August 12, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #298 is a reply to message #297] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, September 12, 2 PM; LJ Auto and Boat Repair and Body Shop, San Francisco (9AM the next day on Tracy Island)

"Will, you've got to come out and see this!"

Manager Will Abbott looked up from his computer as Jessie Feldman, who worked at one of the front desks, burst into his office. "What's up, Jess?"

"There's a parade of classic cars going by, and one of them just pulled up to our door!"

He saved what he'd been doing, and hurried out of his office. It had been a slow day, so three of his mechanics, as well as everyone in the lobby - staff and customers both - were outside, surrounding the car. Very little of it could be seen through the mass of humanity, so he joined them.

The object of everyone's attention was a white convertible. One of the customers asked, "How old is this baby?"

"It's a 1969 Pontiac Firebird," Will breathed. "Now that's impressive. Nearly a hundred years old, and still in mint condition." He looked around for the owner, and saw a man about forty-five, who smiled at him and nodded.

"You know your classic cars, sir," he said. "But as for mint condition, I'm not so sure. About half a mile from here, it sounded like the timing was off. I know you work mostly on newer cars, but I heard that you recently added a small division that could handle older models. Can you help me?"

"Pop the hood and let's have a look."

Seconds later, the owner, Will and two mechanics were gazing at the inner workings of the vehicle. "Beautiful," said Mike, the older of the mechanics. "And I see the problem. Hang on." He went into one of the repair bays, and returned with a couple of tools. "Art," he said to the other mechanic, "give me a hand here."

As Will, the car owner, and a few of the customers watched (the others had either gone back to work, or inside to complete their transactions), the two men bent over the engine, and some noises and mutterings were heard. A couple of minutes later, they stood up and Mike asked the owner to start the car. He complied, and a moment later the engine turned over, and was humming contentedly.

"Thanks," said the owner as he shut it off again and got out. "I'd probably have been able to take care of it myself at the grounds, but I didn't want to drive it that far, possibly causing more trouble or damage. Also," he grinned sheepishly at Will, "I heard about you from a friend, and wanted to see for myself just how good you guys are. But I promise I didn't tamper with it deliberately. It was just serendipity."

Will laughed. "Okay, no problem. I presume we passed the test?"

"With flying colors," the other man replied with a grin. "How much do I owe you?"

"Nothing. You paid us by coming in here and allowing us to take a look at this beautiful car. We don't get many in as of yet, and none this old and well preserved."

"Well thank you; I appreciate that. My name is Jerry Hampton." He held out his hand.

Will took it and they shook. "Will Abbott. Good to meet you. I presume you're here for the show."

"At Monster Park, yes. The Forty Niners have an away game this weekend. Hey, I've got an idea." Jerry went back to his car, and pulled a briefcase out from the back seat. He opened it, and took out an envelope. "Here're ten tickets to the show. Perhaps some of your staff might like to attend, as well as yourself. They're open dated, so you can show up for any of the four days we're here."

"Thank you, sir. We all appreciate it." Will grinned. "And don't be surprised if you hear Art and Mike at the show, braggin' about how they worked on your car."

Jerry laughed as he put his briefcase back, and got in. "I'll look forward to it. But I'd better get going, before they assign my spot to someone else." He restarted the engine and put it in gear. "Thanks again," he said and, with a wave, pulled out of the parking lot.

Ten minutes later, Will was back in his office, trying once again to look at the information on his computer screen. But his mind was on that car. I sure would have like to have been the one to work on it. It's been too long since I got to do any hands-on work - on any car. I miss it. He shook himself mentally, and got back to his office work. But the seed of an idea had planted itself in the back of his mind, and was beginning to take root.

Posted by hobbeth on August 12, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #299 is a reply to message #298] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Tracy Island, Thursday, September 13th, 1:45 pm...

It was an uncharacteristically rainy day on Tracy Island. A minor tropical storm had moved in during the night, drenching the area with rain. Gordon was forced to stay inside and out of his beloved pool.

Gordon was bored stiff.

A bored Gordon is a dangerous thing.

He had already spiked the sugar bowl with salt; hidden all of Alan's underwear; and convinced Tyler that if the rain continued at this rate, the island would be torn off of its artificial mountings and float away.

He had finally been instructed with a stern, "Find something productive to do," from his father.

So, Gordon was sitting at his desk in his room, surfing the internet. He'd already checked eBay for any new prank materials, not finding anything of interest. He then moved on to another website where he placed a large order of colored shampoo and skin dyes. Making a mental note to be on hand when the supply plane brought it in a few weeks, he settled his account and grinned in anticipation.

He then decided to do a quick check on International Rescue before he shut down. After the last few anti-IR articles had been published, Jeff had asked them all to keep an eye out for any new information. He typed "International Rescue" into a search engine and waited to see what would come up. Almost instantly he received information on a number of pages. Gordon scanned through them, not really finding anything new. He was about to close down when a page caught his eye. Frowning, he clicked on it and waited for the page to load. When it came up, he burst out laughing.

The title of the page read: "International Rescue, Our Tryikalican Brethren".

"This is great!" He quickly surveyed the navigation page. "Oh, God! They have names for us! Let me see....Jhutu... Lightning bird, that has to be Scott...Qiophana... Mighty Green one--Virge!!" By now Gordon had tears running down his face. "Oh man, this is priceless! I gotta see what else they have." He found yet another page with their humble beginnings, starting with a sign from "Undlieek" and how they were sent to earth to become "Jestreethzi n'Hildrathuk", the Saviors. There was more on the alien technology of the ships, even a few fuzzy pictures with brightly colored blobs, assuring the viewer that these were "authentic photos of the mighty craft".

"I have to do something; this is too good an opportunity to pass up!" Gordon quickly composed an email. There was no fear of it being traced back to him or the island; the security features were too strong to crack. "I knew those pictures of Scott would come in handy." He pulled up the photos and did a few modifications; deleting Scott's head, blurring the scene enough that one could tell it was a scantily clothed man, but all identifying features were distorted; taking out the background and creating a new one. He also added a few names of his own to their list, adding that he was a member of the Jestreethzi n'Hildrathuk's inner sanctum. He also signed himself up for the Brethren's newsletter.

Hitting "send", Gordon sat back with a contented sigh. He had a feeling life was going to get a lot more interesting.

Posted by lillehafrue on August 14, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #300 is a reply to message #299] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Tracy Island, Thursday, September 13 8pm

Tropical Storm Ludmilla had finally passed by. The clouds were drifting off to the east, showing little glimpses of the stars that had begun to appear.

Scott walked onto the balcony, and leaned his forearms the railing. The railing still dripped from the day-long rain, but Scott didn't care. He was looking straight ahead but he wasn't really seeing anything. In reality he was lost in thought. He and Elise would be leaving soon to pick up Cassandra Kishi at LAX and bring her to the island. It was a task that he wasn't happy to have been given.

We're making a mistake picking Cassandra Kishi from the applicants that were given us, he mused. Dad wants someone with fire fighting experience to help with the rescues involving fire and what does he do? He chooses the applicant with the least amount of experience. Sure, she has the paramedic skills, which are a plus, but we already have Dom and Nikki to help in the field. Not to mention Luke is just missing a few courses to be a paramedic. We could do without a paramedic. What we need is someone to keep the near disaster that had almost happened in Australia from really happening on a future rescue. Is five years really enough experience for that?

The sound of a bird made him look to his right. He caught sight of a colorful bird taking flight. His gaze followed it until it disappeared into the darkness. He stood up a little straighter and rested his hands on the railing.

Oh, sure, Virgil's arguments against my choices were sound. Still, maybe we should've just kept looking. We could've asked HR to send us some more applicants. Maybe that's what I should've asked Dad to do instead of agreeing to interview Ms. Kishi. Scott sighed. Well, things are set up now. She's scheduled to come out to the island and it isn't practical to change things now. Still, just because she's coming out here doesn't mean we have to go with her. There's nothing saying we need to divulge IR to her.

Then there's the question about why she's looking for a new job. Luke avoided the question. Does that mean he's protecting her? Was he keeping something from us that might affect her getting the job? After all, she is his friend. I'm sure he knows something he's not telling us. Is she having problems at work? Are they forcing her to look for a position elsewhere? People just don't go looking for new jobs unless they're unhappy where they're at or aren't fitting in well. There's something there, and I'm going to find it. I'm not going to let something slip by that could be detrimental to the team.

A beep from his communicator interrupted broke through his musings. "Elise to Scott."

"What's up, Elise?" Scott asked her.

"We should probably get ready to leave. You ready?"

"Yeah. I'll meet you at Tracy One."

"Okay, see you in a few. Elise out."

Scott took one more look out across the island and then turned to head inside, so he could join Elise on Tracy One.

Posted by starrynebula on August 15, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #301 is a reply to message #300] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Thursday, September 13, 2068 almost 7 a.m. NYC (11 p.m. same day Tracy Island)

"Mark, have you seen ..." Cassie broke off as her brother held out her wallet to her. It had been sitting of the coffee table. "Thanks," she told him with a smile. She was usually much more organized than this but the upcoming flight to who knew where was starting to make her nervous.

"A little nervous?"

"You could say that," she replied as she shouldered the one travel bag she was taking with her.

"I don't think you mentioned where you're heading," Mark said.

"All I know is that the interview is at the Tracys' home," Cassie said as she headed toward the apartment door. "I won't know the exact destination until I get my ticket."

"What do you mean you don't know where they're flying you to?" Mark asked. Grabbing his keys, and following her. "Sounds kind of suspicious to me."

Cassie couldn't help it. She had to laugh at her brother's last remark. Sometimes he could be way too suspicious. "Relax, will you? Tracy Industries is a well known company. I'm sure it's fine."

"I'm just trying to look out for you," he told her.

"I thought I was the older sibling. Aren't I supposed to look out for you?" Cassie asked as they stepped into the elevator.

"I'm not amused," Mark told her.

The two were silent as the elevator made its way to the ground floor. The two walked outside to find a cab waiting out front of the apartment building. The cabbie was waiting beside the cab.

"Ms. Cassandra Kishi?" the cab driver asked, as he opened the door for her.

"That's me. I guess that makes you my ride to the airport?"

"Sure does, miss. Bernie Levine, atcha service." He made a motion toward her bag. "Wouldja like that in th' trunk?"

"I don't like the looks of him, Cass," Mark said softly to his sister as she handed the cabbie her bag. He kept his eyes on Bernie.

Bernie shoved back his leather cap. "Well, I know I gotta face only a mudder could love, but I'm honest." He motioned toward Mark. "Since yer so concerned over the lady's well-bein', why dontcha ride along? No extra charge."

"I think I will," Mark responded, not taking his eyes off the cabbie as the three got into the cab.

Mark was quiet for about five minutes into the trip to the airport. Trying to keep his voice down, he addressed Cassie. "I still thinks he looks suspicious. They won't tell you where they're flying you to. Why don't you just forget this and take the job in Thornville. At least it doesn't sound as if they're trying to kidnap you!"

"The Tracy's ain't in the business of kidnappin'," Bernie remarked from the driver's seat, glancing at them through the
rear view mirror.

Cassie laughed as Mark glared at the cabbie. "You'll have to forgive him Bernie. He's a police officer. Being suspicious comes with the job."

"Oh, a cop! Well then! Never argue wit' a member of New York's finest, I always say. They tend ta increase yer fine... if ya know what I mean?" Bernie grinned at Mark, his gold front tooth shining in the mirrors. "So, this ya first time outta the city, miss?"

"No not the first time. Flew out to California a few years back and I went to Japan once as a kid. I have a couple of brothers who live up in Connecticut too now. Other than trips to the Catskills and field trips that's about the extent of my excursions out of the city."

"That's interesin'. Got family in Japan or just went for the culture?"

"On my mother's side," Cassie replied, nodding. "It was nice getting to see that side of my family. Other than my grandfather and uncle, none of them have left Japan."

"Musta been nice ta see 'em them."

They chatted the rest of the way to JFK Airport. After awhile even Mark quit sulking and joined in on the conversation. At the airport, Bernie got Cassie's bag out of the trunk for her.

"Now, I'm ta remind ya that yer ticket's waiting at the Delta counter." He handed her bag to a sky cap, then tipped his hat. "Have a safe trip, miss, an' tell ol' Mr. Tracy that Bernie sends his regards."


He motioned toward Mark. "You need a ride back seein' as ya know I didn't kidnap the lady?"

"No, I'm going to walk Cassie inside. I'll call someone to pick me up."

"Well, if that's whatchya want. G'bye now." He gave a jaunty salute, got in his cab, and started off again.

As Bernie drove away, Cassie and Mark headed into the airport. Cassie went to the Delta Airlines ticket window and got her ticket. Her destination was LAX and there was a short note with it saying she'd receive further instructions once there.

"Don't even say anything," Cassie told her brother as she headed toward the security gate. She could tell by his expression that the note made him like the whole idea even less.

"Well, at least call, when you get to wherever they're taking you," Mark said, admitting defeat. He could see that he wasn't going to change his sister's mind.

"I will," she said, coming to a stop right before the lines that were forming to go through security. "Thanks for coming this far with me," she told him.

"It's no problem, Cass," he told her, wrapping her in a hug. "Have a safe flight," he told her as she stepped away.


Cassie got into one of the lines, and started waiting for her turn to pass through security. Turning back toward the airport entrance, Mark took our his cell phone. He figured he'd give Mercy a call. His partner wasn't going to enjoy hearing from him at this time of the morning, but he knew if he threatened to call out this evening, she'd give in and come get him.

Posted by starrynebula on August 15, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #302 is a reply to message #301] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
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Thursday, September 13, 7 a.m. Los Angeles (Friday, September 14, 3 a.m. Tracy Island)

"I'm sorry to hear you're turning down our offer," Mr. Marshall, Thornville's head councilman, replied. "Are you sure there isn't anything we could offer to make you change your mind?"

"It's not the offer that I don't like," Cassie told him. She was in a small, private terminal in LAX waiting for her contact from Tracy Industries to arrive. She had never felt so isolated in an airport before. A little part of her was wondering if Mark's kidnapping theories weren't so far-fetched after all. "I've just got other offers that I want to explore more and it's not fair to keep you all waiting. I'm sure you'll find the right person to help you out. I just don't think I'm that person," she told him, as she saw a woman and man, both around her age, walk from the jetway bridge and into the terminal. It looked as if her contacts had arrived.

"I understand. We wish you the best in whatever you do."

"Thank you, Mr. Marshall. Good luck in your search."

"Thanks. Have a good day."

"Bye," Cassie said, before ending the call. Flipping the phone closed, Cassie turned her attention to the two people who had entered the terminal.

"Cassandra Kishi?" the woman asked cheerfully, holding out her hand. The man was following closely behind her.

"That's me," Cassie replied, as she took her hand.

"Elise Collins. I'm the Tracys' pilot," she said introducing herself. "This is Scott Tracy, the eldest of Mr. Tracy's sons."

"Hello, Ms Kishi," Scott said crisply.

"Nice to meet you," Cassie said. Elise seemed friendly enough. Cassie wasn't sure what to make of Scott Tracy, though. He seemed the polar opposite of Elise.

"Ending a call with a concerned family member?" Scott asked, nodding to the phone that Cassie still held in her left hand.

"No. Turning down a job offer actually. Met with them last week and they wanted an answer by this afternoon. I wasn't ready to commit to anything with this interview scheduled."

"What if you don't get this job?"

"Then I guess I go back to looking," Cassie replied. Scott nodded again.

"How was your flight?" Elise asked.

"It was fine, or at least the part of the trip I was awake for. First class definitely beats coach."

"Wait until you see Tracy 1," Elise replied with a smile and a nod over her shoulder to the plane waiting outside for them.

"Ms. Kishi, do you have any other luggage?" Scott asked.

"No, this is my only bag," she said, indicating the bag she had over her shoulder.

"Then if you ladies are done chatting, may I suggest we board the plane? We've got a six-hour flight ahead of us."

"Let me take that for you," Elise said, reaching for Cassie's bag. Cassie handed it over. "As for Grumpy up there," Elise said as they followed Scott toward the jetway bridge, "don't hold him against the rest of his family. The rest of the Tracys are much more charming."

Cassie suppressed the urge to smile, as Scott shot a look back at Elise. He had evidently heard her comment. No matter how she felt about him personally, Scott Tracy was still her potential employer's son. Etiquette dictated that she at least be civil to him.

"Wow!" Cassie exclaimed as she stepped on board the jet. This flight to Los Angeles had been the first time she had even flown first class. This jet way outdid even first class.

"Make yourself comfortable, Ms. Kishi. If you need anything, just use the intercom," Elise said showing Cassie how to use it.

"Thank-you, Ms. Collins."

"Call me Elise, please."

Cassie nodded. "And you can call me Cassie," she told her.

"Well, Cassie, I'll try to make this a smooth flight for you," Elise said as she headed toward the cockpit.


The flight so far had been silent. The weather was clear and the flight routine so far, making talk unnecessary between pilot and copilot. As for idle conversation, Scott was in no mood to talk to Elise after her comment back in the airport. How dare she say something like that to a potential employee? he thought.

"I'm going to get a drink. You want something?" Scott asked Elise, finally breaking the silence in the cockpit.

"A Sprite would be nice, thank-you," Elise replied, not looking at him. She could tell he was still unhappy about her "Grumpy" comment.

Undoing his seatbelt, Scott stood up and headed out of the cockpit.

"You doing okay?" Scott asked their passenger as he entered the cabin.

Cassie looked up from the book she was reading.

"I'm fine, Mr. Tracy. Thank-you," Cassie replied.

"Can I get you something to drink?"

"Water will be fine."

Scott nodded and then went and got the drinks. He came back and handed Cassie a bottle of water. Setting Elise's Sprite off to the side, he sat down in the seat next to Cassie. He opened his bottle of Coca-Cola.

"Did you work yesterday?" Scott asked trying to start a conversation with their passenger.

"I worked the evening shift," Cassie said nodding. "I should've been off yesterday but they were short a paramedic so I filled in. Figured it was the right thing to do seeing as they gave me four days off to do this interview."

"Get along with everyone at work?" Scott asked, trying to sound casual even though he was searching for information.

"We're close," Cassie told him, starting to feel on edge. Informal or not, this was definitely starting to feel like an interview.


In the cockpit, Elise changed her mind about her drink. Maybe she could catch Scott before he came back with it. Flipping the switch she opened the intercom.

"Then why the job change?" she heard Scott asking. He had to be talking to Cassie.

"My personal life has been more downs than ups lately. My son was killed in a car accident three months ago; my divorce was finalized a little over a month ago and my father never did want me to be a firefighter. Thinks it's too dangerous for his 'little girl'. I feel like I need to get out of the city. Find a place where I can make a new start. Make my life feel more like my own again."

Nice going, Scott, Elsie thought to herself. You're managing to make a great first impression.

Not wanting to give him a chance to ask any more insensitive questions, Elise spoke. "Hey Scott, can you bring me back a ginger ale instead of the Sprite?" she asked.

"Yeah, sure. I'll be right up with it," came his reply.

Elise turned off the intercom system. It wasn't too long before Scott came back into the cockpit and handed her the soda. She took it from him and watched as he sat back down in the copilot's seat.

"Can you stuff that foot in any further, Tracy?" she asked. The remark earned her a glare from Scott before he shifted his gaze and looked out the windshield in front of him.

Posted by starrynebula on August 16, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #303 is a reply to message #302] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
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Field Commander
Friday, September 14, 2068, 9 a.m., Tracy Island

Jeff read over Kat's resignation again, and sighed. There's no way we can do without a mechanic of some kind. Brains's plate is far too full, and so is Tin-Tin's. And though some of the new recruits are helping with post rescue maintenance, we still need someone for the vehicles we use every day. He put the letter aside. I'll alert Human Resources to this and request that we advertise for a replacement for Kat right away. Let's see; what exactly do we need in a new mechanic? Now that I've seen the scope of what the job entails, I should have a better idea.

A few moments later, he had list of needs and qualifications written in his data pad. "Someone with a background in working with aircraft, marine craft, and automobiles. Body work and fabrication experience a must. Heavy duty equipment experience a plus." He tapped his stylus against his chin. "I hadn't intended for Kat to go on rescues, and there weren't too many rescues where her skills were actually needed. I would expect that for her replacement, but... it wouldn't be a bad idea to have them look for military or volunteer rescue experience as well. Whoever we recruit would then be better prepared to go on rescues if necessary. It's not something I want to actually advertise for, though. People would wonder..."

He looked over the list again, then toggled the switch to the lab. "Brains?"

"Yes, Mr. Tracy?"

"Do you and Tin-Tin have a minute? I have something I'd like you to look over."

"Sure, Mr. Tracy. We'll be right up."

"No need. I'll email this to you." Jeff closed the file, attached it to an email, and sent it to both of his engineers. "Incoming."

Jeff sat back, sighing again, then taking a sip of his cooling coffee. We can't be too long about this; we need Seven back online as soon as possible.

Finally, Brains replied again. "That looks good, Mr. Tracy."

"Yes," Tin-Tin added, "it does." She paused, then said, "Perhaps you could put in as an aside that we need someone taller... with a longer reach..."

"And without a blood sugar problem," Brains amended.

"We can weed that out on this end," Jeff assured them. "Thanks for your input, Tin-Tin, Brains. I'll see you at lunch."

Their conversation closed off, and Jeff shook his head. "Taking Lady Penelope's advice on Kat looked like a good idea at the time. But I wish she -- or Kat herself -- had mentioned the blood sugar thing before we hired. Then again, we didn't hire her for rescues." He glanced down at the list he'd made, and began composing an email to Human Resources. "I'll just attach this to the email, and let them take care of the rest."

His attention was diverted when the radio behind him crackled to life. "Tracy One to Tracy Island," Elise's voice called. "Requesting permission to land."

Jeff smiled, and turned to the radio, toggling the switch that opened communications. "Tracy Island here. Permission granted, Tracy One. Welcome home."

Posted by Tikatu on August 16, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #305 is a reply to message #303] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Friday, September 14, 9:30 a.m. Tracy Island

Cassie had dozed off when Elise's voice over the intercom woke her up. "Cassie, we're on final approach. Please make sure your seat belt is fastened."

"Ok," Cassie replied, sitting up a little straighter in her seat. She hadn't taken her seatbelt off, so she didn't have to worry about that. Curious about their destination, Cassie glanced out her window. They were approaching an island. She had made the remark numerous times about running away to her own private island. Looks like this family has made that saying a reality, she mused. Mark's words about them trying to kidnap her went through her head. Get a grip, girl, Cassie thought, they wouldn't go through all this trouble to kidnap a firefighter from New York City.

Cassie watched out the window, as the island got closer. She was hoping she hadn't already ruined her chances of getting the job before she had even met Mr. Tracy. She couldn't shake the feeling that his oldest son had been looking for something wrong when he started asking her questions. Not to mention he hadn't been all that friendly at the airport. Did he have something against her? If he did, why had she even been asked to come for this interview?

She tried to put the questions out of her mind as she felt the wheels of the plane touch down. The plane soon came to a stop. Cassie undid her seatbelt and then stood up and stretched. It wasn't long before Scott came out of the cockpit.

"Elise's running post flight checks," he told Cassie. "If you'll follow me, my father is waiting to meet you."

Taking a deep breath, Cassie followed Scott off the plane. She saw two figures off to the side of the airstrip. Scott headed in their direction.

"Cassie, I'd like you to meet my father, Jeff Tracy," Scott began as they reached them. Cassie shook hands with Jeff as Scott continued with introductions. "And this is my brother Virgil," Scott said indicating the younger of the two men. Cassie shook Virgil's proffered hand. "Dad, Virgil, Ms. Kishi."

"Welcome to Tracy Island, Ms. Kishi," Jeff said with a smile. He definitely does seem friendlier than Scott, Cassie thought.

"Thank-you for inviting me, Mr. Tracy."

"Did you have a good flight?"

"Yes, sir, I did. Slept most of the way from New York to LA though. Tracy 1 is amazing!"

Jeff smiled. "Glad you enjoyed your trip. I thought we'd wait and have the interview this afternoon, say around three o'clock. That will give you a chance to settle in, and get something to eat. Maybe see a little bit of the place."

"That would be fine."

"Great. Virgil here will show you to your room and then show you around if you'd like. I'll see you at three."

"Okay. Again, Mr. Tracy, it's a pleasure to meet you," Cassie said, offering Jeff her hand again. They shook hands and then Cassie followed Virgil as he headed toward the villa. Cassie took the time to look around. The island was amazing. She couldn't imagine what it would be like to live in a place like this.

"Pretty amazing, huh?" Virgil remarked, watching Cassie taking in everything around her.

"You can say that again. It's so quiet compared to the city."

"Yeah, well, enjoy the quiet while you can. I've got five younger brothers and a younger sister not to mention some of the staff. We get up toward the house and it can get kind of noisy at times," Virgil told her. "Do you have any siblings.?"

"I've got three older brothers and a younger brother. Speaking of which, is there a way I can call my brother, Mark? I'd told him I'd call when I got here and tell him I was safe."

"Yeah, sure. You can use my satellite phone," Virgil said, taking it out of his pocket and handing it to her. "Just try to stay vague about where you are."

"Middle of nowhere vague enough?" Cassie asked as she took the phone from Virgil. Virgil laughed.

Off to the side, Cassie thought she saw a black something disappearing behind some vegetation. "What was that?" she asked.

Virgil followed her gaze. He spotted Rommel in the bushes and knew Luke wasn't far away. "Huh? I don't see anything. Don't worry about it," he told her and started walking again.

As the two of them continued to the house, Cassie dialed her brother's cell number. As she expected, his voice mail picked up. "Hey Mark, it's Cass. Just wanted to let you know I arrived at my destination safely. Everything is fine. I'll get in touch with you later in the weekend. Love you."

She ended the call and handed the phone back to Virgil. "Thank-you, Mr. Tracy."

"Call me Virgil, please," he said putting his phone back in his pocket. "May I call you Cassandra?"

"Either Cassie or Cass, please. People start using my first name and I start thinking I'm in trouble."

"Not a problem," Virgil said, smiling. "Mark one of your older brothers?" he asked. He thought about how protective Scott could be sometimes.

"My younger brother actually. My older brothers are triplets. They've always been close which meant that when Mark came along, I was happy to have someone to help even the odds. When Mark told us all he was gay six years ago the rest of the family kind of turned their backs on him while I chose to stand by him. I'm closer to Mark than the rest of my family these days."

Virgil nodded. He couldn't imagine ever turning his back on his other siblings no matter what.

"Speaking of younger brothers, here's one of mine now," Virgil told her as he noticed Gordon walking in their direction.


Cassie stood just inside the door to the bedroom portion of the guest suite. She hadn't expected something so big, although after seeing Tracy 1 maybe she should have. She walked slowly over to the doors leading out to the balcony. Even without going outside the view was pretty. Definitely better than tall buildings and honking horns, Cassie thought to herself.

Turning from the balcony doors, Cassie walked over to the bed and placed her bag on top of it. Continuing her exploration, she headed toward what she figured was the bathroom. Opening the door, she found that it indeed was. Like the rest of the room, the bathroom was more spacious than what she was used to.

"This whole place is amazing," Cassie said to herself as she turned and headed back out into the bedroom. She glanced over at her bag. I'll unpack later, she thought to herself. Right now, I'm looking forward to seeing more of this island.
Cassie walked back into the living area of the suite, where Virgil was waiting for her.

"I feel like I'm at a fancy hotel," Cassie commented as she entered the room.

"I take it everything is satisfactory then," Virgil said, smiling.


"Are you hungry?" Virgil asked thinking about the time difference. Though it wasn't quite lunch time for them, in New York it would be around dinner time. At Cassie's nod Virgil suggested, "Then why don't we head down to the kitchen and get you something to eat before I show you around."

Posted by starrynebula on August 16, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #307 is a reply to message #305] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Friday, September 14, 2pm Tracy Island

Cassie followed Virgil as he led her to the second floor of the villa. He had spent the last few hours showing her around and introducing her to people they had met on the way. Cassie wasn't sure she'd be able to keep their names straight. Though she had lived in the city all her life, the island was overwhelming. She hoped she didn't get lost. Maybe it was all the open space?

Jeff and Scott were already in the lounge as the two of them walked in. Jeff stood up as Virgil and Cassie walked toward his desk.

"Ms. Kishi, I hoped you enjoyed you tour."

"Yes, Mr. Tracy. Virgil has been a wonderful tour guide. Your home is quite impressive," Cassie replied.

"Thank-you," Jeff replied. "Why don't we all have a seat," he said indicating a group of four chair that he had set off to the side of his desk in somewhat of a circle.

Cassie sat down in one of the chairs and Virgil sat down to her right. Not wanting to sit next to Cassie, Scott sat in the chair on Virgil's right leaving the chair to Cassie's left open for his father.

"So, Ms. Kishi," Jeff said as he took the remaining seat. "I've looked over your credentials, and I'm impressed at your drive. You've been working toward your goal very systematically." He put the data pad he'd been looking at down on the small table beside him. "Tell me, which do you prefer: taking action, or teaching others? Because this is, for all intents and purposes, a teaching position."

"I do realize that, Mr. Tracy. While I do enjoy being out in the field and a part of things, I do realize the importance of teaching others. My squad members and I are continuously learning from one another. I've also had some experience in a training position. I've trained two rookies in the past year. One was on the paramedic squad when one of the regulars had to take a leave of absence and I filled in for them. The other one was on the fire squad. We were training him for another precinct as they already had another rookie on the squad at the time."

Jeff nodded slowly. "I see. So teaching others isn't a problem."

Virgil half-raised his hand. "Do you see yourself as a leader? Would you be willing to take the lead in a situation if necessary?"

Cassie considered the question. "I'm not the kind of person that has to be in the lead. I believe in team work. If the situation I'm in calls for me to step up and take the lead, then I'll do so."

"That's good," Virgil remarked. He glanced quickly to his right, then cleared his throat. "You seem to have quite a bit going for you where you are, it seems. We spoke to Luke, and he told us we weren't your only job application. Why are you out there looking? Why now in your life?"

Scott sagged a bit, and looked away. He hadn't had the opportunity to tell Virgil what he'd learned earlier. Still, he was glad that it was who Virgil had brought it up; it meant that even Virge knew it was an important question.

Cassie had known the question was going to be asked again. Still, she was careful not to look in Scott's direction. Evidently, he hadn't mentioned their earlier conversation with his father and brother. She wasn't about to be the one to bring that up. She knew it put her in a tense situation with Scott Tracy, her potential boss's son and evidently a important person in the decision of hiring her as he was at the interview.

"To be honest with you, I'm looking for a way to reclaim my life in a way. My husband, Alex, and our little boy were in a car accident two months ago. My son, Nathan didn't make it. His death put more pressure on an already strained marriage. Alex and I mutually agreed to go our separate ways. I grew up in the city and had been with Alex since high school. It's hard to put things behind me and move on when I'm constantly reminded about it everyday. That's why I decided to go looking for a job that got me away from NYC."

"That's a valid enough reason," Jeff said, smiling slightly. "I know of quite a few people who want to put tragedy behind them."

"I'm sorry about your loss," Virgil said, his voice sounding sincere. Scott muttered something that could have been something similar. Jeff gave his eldest an odd look.

"Scott?" he asked. "Do you have any questions to ask?"

"Uh, no, not really," Scott replied. He made a gesture toward Virgil. "Virgil's already asked my main question."

Jeff picked up the data pad, and looked at it again. "All right." He caught Cassie's gaze in his own. "How do you feel about travel, Ms. Kishi?"

Cassie chanced a look over at Scott, before answering. His main question. Wonder if he would have had the nerve to ask that again, Cassie thought to herself even as she started answering Mr. Tracy.

"Haven't had much chance to travel, but I'm willing to do it. Mr. Marley already informed me that my position would require traveling." Cassie hoped she didn't sound to eager. She didn't want Mr. Tracy to think she was more interested in the chance to travel than in doing the job.

"Even to countries that might have different standards than ours? Where you might have to cover your head, or wear a long skirt?" Not that this was going to be an issue if they brought her on board for IR, but Jeff knew that even Dianne sometimes had problems with the local customs when out on a rescue.

"My mother's native country is Japan, Mr. Tracy. Even though I don't care for dresses and skirts, I wore a kimono when I was over there as that is part of my family's tradition. A long skirt shouldn't be a problem."

"That must have been a ceremonial event," Virgil said off-handedly. "I've only heard of kimonos being worn during ceremonies nowadays." He sat up straighter, interested. "What kind of ceremony was it?"

"Virgil, you can discuss that a little later," Jeff said, holding up his hand. He glanced at the pad again. "How would your family feel about you moving some distance away. perhaps even out of the U.S.?" He remembered Jim Kennedy and how concerned he'd been about exactly where his daughter was.

"I don't have the closest relationship with my parents as it is. As long as my parents heard from me on a regular basis, they wouldn't say too much about it. Two of my older brothers no longer live in the city. The only one who might have a problem with me leaving is my younger brother but he won't stand in my way if I decide to do it. I'm closer to Mark than any of my other family members."

"Hm, yes. " Jeff glanced at his sons. "Any other questions? Scott? Virgil?"

"I can't think of anything at the moment," Virgil said. Scott merely shook his head.

Jeff's eyes narrowed a bit. Is Scott's behavior because Cassandra isn't his first pick? If so, it's rather childish of him. I'd better speak with him a little later.

"Well, if there are no other questions from us, perhaps Ms. Kishi has a few questions of her own to ask." He swept a hand toward her.

Cassie took a calming breath, trying not to be obvious about it. She always hated this point of an interview. She knew she should at least ask one question.

"I was actually wondering where I would be based," Cassie asked. His question about how her family would react to her moving out of the US had her even more curious about that. "Personally, I don't really want to move from one city just to live in another city."

Jeff smiled, an expression with just a hint of mischievousness to it. Virgil actually grinned, and Scott passed his hand over his mouth as if to wipe the smile from his face.

"Don't worry, Ms. Kishi, if we hire you for this job, you won't be moving from one city to another."

Cassie hadn't missed the expressions that had crossed their faces. What had they found so amusing about her question? Was there something they weren't telling her?

Cassie nodded. "I can't think of any other questions right now, Mr. Tracy."

"Well, then," Jeff said, as he rose to his feet. "I guess we're through here." He held his hand out to Cassie and they shook hands. "If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me. In the meantime," he took a quick look at his watch, "we have a few hours until dinner. Scott? Why don't you escort Ms. Kishi to her room, then I'd like to speak to you and Virgil when you get back."

Scott had also risen, as had Virgil. "Yes, sir," he said.

"Thank-you for your time, Mr. Tracy," Cassie said politely.

"You've got the run of the facilities while you're here. Please feel free to use the pool, the hot tub... just be careful on the beach. There's a fierce riptide this time of year. Scott?"

Scott stepped forward. "If you'll come with me, I'll walk you to your room."

--Cassie's Interview by starrynebula and Tikatu on August 17, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #308 is a reply to message #307] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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"So," Jeff began, leaning back in his desk chair. "What do you think?" He gave each of his sons, who sat on the other side of the desk, a pointed look. "Virgil?"

"Well, she has experience in teaching others," Virgil replied. "That's a point in her favor. She's also a team player."

"She'd have to be, as a firefighter," Scott commented. He shook his head. "I still don't think she has enough experience, even with the paramedic skills."

"At least now you know her reasons for looking for a new job," Virgil responded, his voice a little acerbic. "I'd say they're pretty legit, wouldn't you?"

Jeff frowned. "What's the problem here, Scott?" he asked. "You weren't exactly friendly at the interview."

Scott looked down. "I know...," he said in a low voice. "I guess I'm leery about bringing her on board."

"Because she doesn't have what it takes, or because she's not your first choice?" Jeff knew his sons well, particularly his eldest.

I hate it when he cuts to the chase like that, Scott thought gloomily. He glanced up again to look his father in the face. "All right. I'll admit it. She's not my choice," he grumbled. "And I know it's my own ego talking." He stood up, throwing out his arms. "I realize she has all the qualifications we need, plus a few more. It's obvious to me that you both favor her and want to hire her." Turning to point a finger at first Virgil, then his father. "I do want to go on record that I think we need someone with more experience."

Virgil and Jeff glanced at each other. "So noted," Jeff said. "I still think she's our top candidate. Her drive, the way she's systematically gone about reaching her goals, her experience in fighting fires outside the city and her willingness to teach are what recommends her to me." He raised an eyebrow as he regarded his eldest. "I hope you can put your ego aside and work with her, Scott."

"Yes, sir," Scott said crisply, suddenly standing at attention. "I can... and I will."

Jeff nodded. "Virgil?"

Virgil nodded. "I'll have no problem with her, Dad."

"Good." Jeff took in a deep breath, and let it out. "One more hurdle: telling her about IR. We'll do that after dinner, then see where we stand." He gave Scott a nod. "It may be that she doesn't take the job, Scott, and we'll be back to square one."

Posted by Tikatu on August 17, 2007

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[Updated on: Mon, 23 July 2012 19:48]

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #309 is a reply to message #308] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Friday, September 14, right before dinner on Tracy Island

Scott made his way up to the guest bedroom. With the decision to reveal IR to Ms. Kishi made, Scott knew he had to clear the air between them, especially after his conversation with his father. Other than what had been necessary for polite conversation, Cassandra hadn't talked to him since the flight to the island.

Elise had surprised him earlier by apologizing to him herself. Said she had been sorry for embarrassing him in front of a potential employee, even though she still felt his questions were out of line. He couldn't believe he was thinking this, but perhaps this was one time he needed to follow her example. As for the questions being out of line, she had a point there too.

If Scott was honest with himself, he knew he hadn't asked those questions out of curiosity. Cassandra Kishi hadn't been his first choice and no matter how hard he tried to deny it, that fact didn't sit well with him. He didn't like losing to anyone, and in this case, Scott felt like he had lost to Virgil in picking a candidate. Cassandra Kishi had been Virgil's pick. His reasoning had been sound but still ... Scott hated not being right. Not feeling in control.

Taking a deep breath, Scott knocked on the door to the guest suite. He wanted to get the apology out of the way before they joined the others for dinner. As for Elise's earlier question - he really didn't think he could stick his foot in any further.

"Mr. Tracy," Cassie said politely as she opened the door to the suite.

"I came to get you for dinner," Scott told her. "However, before we go downstairs, I'd like an opportunity to speak with you about something."

Cassie nodded as she stepped aside to let him come into the room. As the door closed behind him, Scott spoke up.

"Ms. Kishi, about my attitude at the airport and the questions I asked on the flight here, I'm sorry. I was out of line. Our first meeting wasn't the time or place to be asking about your reasons for looking for a new job. I also could have used a little more tact. I hope you'll accept my apology."

Cassie looked at him, trying to hide her surprise and suspicions. Had he been put up to apologizing or was it a sincere apology? She didn't know him well, but she got the feeling he wasn't comfortable with making apologies. Meeting his gaze, she could see the sincerity in his eyes.

"Apology accepted, Mr. Tracy," she said holding out her hand. "After all, you had no way of knowing about my personal life and the question is a valid one for a potential employer though probably badly timed."

Scott smiled as he took her hand, glad she wasn't going to hold his bad first impression against him.

"Please, call me Scott. I hear 'Mr. Tracy' and I start looking for my father."

"Okay, Scott. You can call me Cassie or Cass. Like I told Virgil earlier, I hear my full name and I start thinking I'm in trouble."

"Very well. I think we should probably head downstairs before the others get tired of waiting for us and eat all the food," Scott told her.

Posted by starrynebula on August 17, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #310 is a reply to message #309] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Cassie took another bite of the veal on the plate in front of her. She was sure it tasted good, but in reality she wasn't really aware of the taste of any of the food in front of her because of her nerves. I just want this meal to be over with, she thought, trying to keep her eyes on the plate in front of her.

Beside her, Virgil looked over at their guest. I wonder what's up with her, he thought, as he had noticed a change in her. Before, she had been very open and friendly. Since the start of dinner he had noticed she had gotten very quiet and very interested in the plate in front of her. She answered the questions that were asked of her but hadn't volunteered very much. Virgil had seen his Mom and Dad exchange glances, and knew they had noticed it, too. She's been polite, just very quiet. Maybe it's just meeting so many new people, Virgil thought.

John had been asking her questions about her family. She had quietly answered his questions though hadn't seemed too enthusiastic. After a while, John had stopped unsure of how to continue the almost one-sided conversation.

Virgil decided to take a stab at getting her talking himself. Remembering the line of conversation his father had put an end to during the interview, "So, Cassie, you mentioned wearing a kimono once. Was it during a ceremony?"

Cassie nodded. "I spent two months there with my mother, though most of the first month was spent taking care of my grandmother who was ill. My grandmother was bound and determined to get well for Obon though. The Bon dance, part of the Obon festival is when I wore the kimono," she told him in a low voice. Across the table though, John had heard and was listening intently, as was Cherie who was sitting on the other side of Cassie.

"Obon, that's the festival celebrating the spirit's of one's ancestors, right?" John asked from across the table.

Cassie nodded.

"Sounds spooky," Cherie commented.

"It's not. It's quite beautiful actually and it's a special time for families to be together," Cassie told her, getting caught up in the memory of the one she had shared with her grandparents and other family members in Japan. "In some parts of Japan, it's held in July; where my family is from we celebrate it in August, from the thirteenth to the sixteenth to be exact. On the thirteenth, the home and our ancestor's graves are cleaned and offerings made. The mukaebi, or welcoming fire, is lit. The Bon dance takes during Obon, at night. Different regions have different traditional dances. It's celebrated as a reminder that one should feel toward our ancestors. On the last evening of Obon, small paper lanterns with lit candles are floated on a river to light the way for the spirits as they depart."

"I bet the lanterns looked pretty out on the river at night," Cherie commented, trying to picture the sight.

"It's a very beautiful sight."

John said something in Japanese. Cassie looked at him slightly surprised and then responded in Japanese. The two exchanged a few more remarks in Japanese before Tyler spoke up from beside John.

"Hey, no fair! We don't know what you're saying," he complained, not liking being left out.

"Okay, no more, I promise," John said, looking at Tyler.

Cassie covered her mouth as she felt a yawn coming on. She had lost track of what time it would be in New York but she was sure it was late.

"I think the jet lag is starting to catch up with me," Cassie said, glancing down the table at Mr. and Mrs. Tracy. "I hope you don't mind if I retire early."

"Of course not," Dianne answered. "I forgot all about the time difference. You must be exhausted."

Cassie nodded. "Dinner was delicious," she told Kyrano as she stood up.

"Thank you, Ms. Kishi," Kyrano replied.

"I'm done. Let me walk you to your room," Virgil said standing up. He wanted to ask her a few more questions about her time in Japan on the way.

"Thank, you," she replied. Cassie and Virgil left the dining room.

"She seems nice enough, though a little on the quiet side," Dianne commented, when the two were out of sight.

"She was more at ease and talkative earlier," Jeff commented. "Perhaps she was just tired tonight."

"Or maybe it was just being with so many people she doesn't really know," John commented. "Are you going to tell her about IR, Dad?" he asked.

"Yes. Virgil and I were going to take her down to see Thunderbird 2 after dinner but I had forgotten about the time difference myself. We'll take her down after breakfast tomorrow."

Posted by starrynebula on August 17, 2007

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Saturday, September 15th, 2068 Breakfast time on Tracy Island

Cassie listened to the chatter going on around her as she finished her breakfast. The noise level wasn't much more than what she had been used to growing up, after all four boys tended to make a lot of noise. Still, they weren't her family and large groups still made her feel uneasy. At least no one really seems to be looking at me this morning, she thought to herself as she glanced around the table. Those who actually appeared awake were engaged in conversation together.

As Cassie put her fork down on her now empty plate, Jeff addressed her. "Cassie, if you're done, I'd like to discuss something with you."

"Of course, Mr. Tracy," Cassie replied with a nod. Excusing herself from the table, Cassie stood up and followed Mr. Tracy out of the dining room. She noticed that Virgil had followed them, too.

Cassie suddenly felt butterflies in her stomach. She had a feeling this was to do with the job offer. Had she answered the questions okay? Did Mr. Tracy feel she was qualified for the position? Had she passed up the other job for no reason?

Where is he taking me? Cassie thought to herself, when Jeff led them down the corridor instead of upstairs. She followed him silently though, sure that he would reveal his intentions soon.

The three walked around the lower level of the villa. Up ahead, Cassie saw the doors heading outside. Why would he be taking me outside? she asked herself. She was even more surprised when Jeff stopped in the hallway before they reached the doors.

"I'm sure you're wondering what's going on," Jeff said, looking at Cassie, who nodded. "We've talked it over and we'd like to offer you the job. However, there's more to the job than what we've advertised. The position at Tracy Industries is a cover for the real reason we're interested in your skills."

Jeff nodded to Virgil, who placed his hand up to the wall. Cassie gasped as a panel slid back. Virgil placed his hand on another panel, which scanned his palm and then he entered a code. Before her eyes an elevator door appeared. Mark's words about kidnapping crossed through her mind again. Get a grip, she told herself silently.

Jeff motioned toward the elevator, and Cassie entered it. Jeff and Virgil joined her and soon the elevator was descending into the ground. When it came to a stop, Cassie found herself in a room cut out of the rock. Jeff headed toward a monorail car and Cassie followed him.

"How safe is that thing?" she asked, hesitating as Jeff boarded the car.

"Perfectly safe. Don't worry," Virgil assured her from behind.

Curious as to what they were going to show her, Cassie stepped aboard the car. When the car came to a stop, Virgil got out first and led the group down a corridor which led into a well-lit huge room. Cassie gasped at the sight before her.

There in the center of the room was a large green craft. The words "Thunderbird Two" told her without a doubt what she was looking at. "You guys are International Rescue?" she asked, still trying to grasp the whole idea. "I followed you guys rescuing the pandas on TV," she told them.

Jeff smiled. "Yes, you're at the base of International Rescue," he told her. "We'd like you to join the team. Some problems at a rescue involving a sugar cane fire a little while back made us realize we really could use someone with more expertise in fire fighting the next time we have to deal with a fire. Your paramedic skills would be useful during other rescues in helping the victims, as well as if one of our own people gets hurt in the field. Though officially, you would be a Tracy Industries employee based at our Wichita offices, in reality you'd be living here on the island. You'd have your own apartment up at the Cliff House."

Cassie, who had been listening to Jeff, as well as still taking in the sight before her, didn't reply. Her eyes had drifted away from the craft itself to a familiar figure standing near the craft.

"Luke?" Cassie said in disbelief. He had been the last person she had expected to meet here on the island. "So, this is your new job you've been so vague about."

Luke ran a hand through his hair. "Um ...Yeah. Small world isn't it?" he added with a shrug.

"I don't believe it," Cassie said slowly, staring at her friend whom she hadn't seen since Nathan's funeral. Part of her was mad at him for keeping this from her, though the rational part understood why he had done so. Still, she wondered how long he had laughed when he got her email asking for advice about whether or not to pass up the other offer to do this interview.

"Don't I get a hug?" Luke asked, holding out his arms. Cassie hurried over to him and hugged him. "I'm sorry to hear things didn't work out with you and Alex," he told her softly.

"It was a long time coming," Cassie told him. "You know we had our problems before Nathan's death."

"Yeah," he said letting her out of the hug. "Still, I know how hard you tried to make it work."

Jeff cleared his throat to remind them that he and Virgil were still there.

Cassie turned around. "Sorry," she said, realizing their little reunion probably didn't look too professional.

"It's no problem. I'm sure finding out Luke was here is just as much a shock as seeing Thunderbird Two. I realize that this is probably overwhelming for you and please keep in mind that I don't expect an answer from you right away. Joining International Rescue is a big decision and one that you didn't realize you would be making. I want you to be sure of what you're getting yourself into before making the commitment. For now though, why don't I let Virgil and Luke show you around a little more? I'll be happy to answer any questions that may come up."

"Of course, Mr. Tracy," Cassie told him, as Jeff turned and headed back through the door they had entered.

Beside Luke, Rommel barked. Cassie looked down to see the dog looking up at her expectantly, his tail wagging. Reaching out a hand, Cassie scratched him behind the ears.

"You ready to see the inside of Thunderbird 2?" Virgil asked her, eager to show off his baby.

"Yes," Cassie replied, eager to see the inside of the craft. She fell in step beside Luke as they followed Virgil onto the craft. "Just what have you told them about me, Morel?" she asked quietly.

Trying to sound nonchalant, Luke shrugged and waved his hand as he told her, "Ah ... nothing good."

Luke looked toward Cassie to see her reaction. He saw a trace of shock which turned into anger. Though he tried, he couldn't keep a straight face, and he put on a wicked grin. He saw the anger in his friend's eyes change to annoyance as she realized he had been teasing her.

"Liar," she muttered as she hit him playfully on the arm.

Posted by starrynebula on August 18, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #312 is a reply to message #311] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
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Saturday, September 15, 2068, 10 a.m., Tracy Island

"Where are we going?" Tyler asked as he helped carry the shipping boxes into the Cliff House elevator.

"We're going to pack up someone's things," Lisa explained as she brought along the luggage float. "They've left, and aren't coming back, and asked us to do this."

"Who's not coming back?" Cherie asked, frowning a little. She shifted her bag of packing materials from one arm to the other. "Miss Kennedy?"

Emily sighed. "We're not quite sure about Heather, Cherie. It may be that, after a bit of grieving, she'll come back and be part of the team again. Today, we're packing up Kat's things." She pressed the button for "2", and the elevator began to rise.

Tyler's eyes grew wide. "You mean, Kat's not coming back? Ever?"

"Yes, Ty, that's what I mean. Kat's not coming back."

The boy broke out in a wide grin, and pumped his fist with a hiss of "Yes!"

Both of the older women glanced at each other, Emily frowning, Lisa's eyes wide in disbelief. Then in unison, they cried in disapproval and shock, "Tyler!"

Tyler started; he hadn't expected such a vehement response from both his grandmothers at once. "Yes, Grandma, Grammy?"

"Tyler Tracy, what on earth is wrong with you?" Emily snapped. "Why are you so gol-durned happy about this?"

"We just lost a very valuable employee, and a nice young lady," Lisa added, sounding stern. "And John has lost a good friend."

The boy wilted under the combined stares of his grandmothers for a long moment. The elevator stopped and Emily keyed in the code to enter. The door slid open and the foursome stepped inside.

"Well, she left it neat enough," Emily said, hands on her hips. "That'll make it easier to pack."

"Cherie and I will start in the kitchen," Lisa said, picking up a box.

Emily nodded. "Tyler and I will start in here." She glanced around, and her eyes fell on the bookcase. "With the books."

As they began to pull the books from the shelves, Emily asked, "Tyler, why are you so happy that Kat's gone?"

Tyler's face grew sullen and stubborn. "'Cause I didn't like her," he grumbled.

Emily stopped for a moment and gave her grandson a long, hard look. "Why? Why didn't you like her?"

Ty knew that no-nonsense tone of voice and realized he couldn't skirt the subject. "'Cause she was making goo-goo eyes at John."

Emily chewed on this for a moment, then asked, "Does this mean John can't have girls make goo-goo eyes at him? Is that it?"

The boy sat down with a thump, and scowled. "No. That's not it. It's just that it was all she did. All she wanted to do was run around doing stuff with him, even when John and me were supposed to do stuff together. And she didn't want to be my friend... except because of him. All the other new people have been friendly to me. She wasn't until she wanted to know where he was."

"I see." Emily nodded slowly. She glanced down at the book she was holding, and frowned, the conversation set aside. "This looks familiar." She opened the cover and saw an inscription: "To John, continue to keep your eyes on the stars," and the author's autograph. "I wonder where she got this."

"That's John's!" Tyler exclaimed. "She probably stole it from him."

Emily sighed. "I doubt she stole it, Tyler, but she may have borrowed it." Glancing at the books, she said, "I wonder how many others are his, and if he has any of hers. I'd better call him down here. He can help us pack things up." She fixed Tyler with a baleful eye. "Don't think we're finished talking about this, young man. You're entitled to choose who you like, but that outburst in the elevator was rude."

Tyler looked down and said nothing. Emily levered herself off the floor with a groan and headed for the kitchen. "Cherie? Will you please call John down here? I think we're going to need his help."

Posted by Tikatu on August 18, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #313 is a reply to message #312] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Friday September 14th, 2068. 4.55pm. Wichita, Kansas, U.S.A. (Saturday 15th, 10.55am, Tracy Island.)

It had been a long day. Mike Lavender stretched out his six foot four frame in his chair, and felt his jaw pop as he yawned. Since nine am he had been barraged with phone calls, visitors, and what seemed like every issue under the sun in the realm of family law. I'm looking forward to getting home to my own family -- couch and TV, here I come!

He stood up, yawning again, and brushed down his still-pristine grey suit with his large, dark hands. He swept a glance across his desk to see that everything was in order -- outward mail in the outbox, in-tray cleared, no pens out of place. He muttered his approval to himself, and lifted his briefcase... just as his assistant burst into the room.

"Mr. Lavender!" She gasped.

"Ellie, are you all right?" Mike asked, his brow twisted.

"This just came -- priority mail!" the young woman panted.

She held out a large white envelope with one pudgy hand, before bending over to catch her breath.

"Did you run all the way to get this?" He joked, turning the envelope over in his hands.

"The courier said that it was" gasp "...priority one important'."

Mike frowned and looked at his watch. It had already gone five pm. With a sigh, he set his briefcase back on the floor, and opened the letter. He was suddenly glad he did.

"Ellie, get me the Kelly-Houston custody files! Damn it...!"


It had just gone eleven am on Tracy Island, and Dominic was grumpy. Damn ironing! I hate ironing! Why must things be ironed? They only get wrinkly again anyway! He had set up shop in the partition between kitchen and living area, with Joshua safe inside his playpen. Ducky and Horsey appeared to be having a fight.

"Tell me what you're doing," Dominic said as he ran the iron over a pair of his jeans.

"Ukie hurted Horsey. Horsey mad 'n fiten 'im."

"Now, now, I don't think he should be fighting Ducky. Did Ducky do it on purpose?"

"Yeah, Ukie mean."

"So does Daddy need to take Ducky away for a time-out?"

Joshua thought for a moment, before separating his toys from their fight-to-the-death and cuddling Ducky tightly.

"Nope. Ukie didn't hurted Horsey on porpoise."

Dominic shook his head and laughed. Porpoise. Oi.

"Okay then."

The satellite phone began to ring, and Dominic set the iron upright as Joshua started shouting, "Phone-phone-phone-phone!" Dom crossed the room to pick it up, and answered promptly.

"Dominic Kelly speaking, may I ask who's calling?"

"Dominic, it's Mike Lavender here."

"Hello, Mike."

"I've just received mail from your ex-wife's lawyers. They neglected to send it on time and it just arrived here today as I was about to leave. They've scheduled the custody hearing for Monday. That's the seventeenth."

"What?! Don't I get some kind of say in that?"

"It says here you agreed, but I have no records of it, and I assume you didn't."

"You're damn right I didn't."

"This whole thing smells as fishy as the inside of a mackerel," Mike said, shaking his head. "Will you be able to make it on Monday? I know it's last minute, but the sooner the better, I say. It won't get beyond this stage."

"Well, I'll just have to be able to make it. Tell you what, if you don't hear from me, then I'm coming. I'll let you know if I can't."

"Okay. I'll give you my cell number in case--"

In the mean while, Joshua, Ducky, and Horsey were singing and dancing to the off-tune of Joshua's latest creation: the phone song. Dominic had to ask Mike to confirm the number several times.

"Is that the little guy I can hear in the background?" Mike asked.

"Is indeed," Dom said. "A rascal, as ever."

"Well, I hope you're looking forward to many more years of him, because if I have my way -- which I will -- you're not going to lose him."

"Thanks, Mr. Lavender. Hopefully I won't be speaking to you again until Monday, if you catch my drift."

Mike laughed.

"I understand. I'll email you a break-down of everything you'll need to be prepared for. Nothing difficult, just questions you need to be able to answer."


"No problem. Goodbye now."

Mike hung up, and Dominic set the phone receiver back down. He glanced over at Joshua, feeling a now-rare genuine smile creep onto his face. He watched his son for a moment, before activating his communicator to explain the situation to Jeff.

Posted by ArtisticRainey on August 18, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #315 is a reply to message #313] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
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Saturday, September 15, 2068, 3:30 p.m., Tracy Island

"So, are all of Kat's things packed up?" Dianne asked as Cherie joined her on the settee in the sitting room of her suite.

Cherie sighed. "Yeah, pretty much. Things went faster when John got there. She sure had a lot of stuff."

Dianne chuckled, then sighed. "I'm sorry we're losing her, but this life isn't for everyone." Straightening in her seat, she poured cola into two tall glasses sitting in a tray on the wide ottoman before her. She offered one to her daughter, then took one for herself. After a long sip, she put the glass down and said, "All right. What's this about some homework that Anna gave you?"

Cherie took out a data pad from the bag where she kept her sketching supplies. It had gotten so that wherever Cherie went, the bag went with her, full of sketch pads, pencils and pens for whenever the teenager was struck with inspiration. She sat close to her mother so that the two of them could look at the pad together.

"Well, I was complaining to Anna one day about how much I missed my friends and how unfair it was that I couldn't see them more often." She glanced up to see her mother's slight frown. "This was after I came back from my week in Los Angeles with Steph. I'd gotten some emails and they had news about school back... back in Greenville, and I just missed it so much!"

Dianne nodded slowly. "I hope you understand why we decided against leaving you in Greenville."

"Yeah, I do. Grammy was scared, and I can understand how she wouldn't want to stay around with her ex-husband stalking her. Anna told me that the way he went about trying to meet with her just proved that he didn't really want to make peace. I figure she knows what she's talking about." Cherie sighed. "In any case, she told me that there were ways for me to meet new people and make new friends, and gave me the homework of finding out what they were. Then we went over them together, and cut the list down to these four things. I wanted to show them to you and ask if there's any way I can do at least one of them."

She gave Dianne a pleading look. "I really want to make some new friends, friends that aren't halfway around the world from me. People I can see every week, and have fun with."

Dianne nodded once again. "I understand that. You're at an age where being sociable is important." She straightened up. "Let's see what you've got."

The two bent their heads over the data pad. "Well, there's an art class for teens at the community center in Christchurch. It meets on Thursday evenings. Then there's this anime and manga club at the Christchurch library on Wednesday nights. The Children's Theater in Wellington is looking for people to help paint scenery and stuff; I'm not much for acting, but I think it'd be cool to work behind the scenes. They're having sign ups for that next week. And there's a stable outside of Christchurch that's offering Western-style horseback riding lessons." Cherie looked at her mother with a grin. "You know how much I love riding."

"Mm-hmm," Dianne hummed. She looked over the list once more then asked, "Which of these is your number one pick?"

Cherie pointed a painted fingernail at an entry. "That one: the art class. Don't get me wrong; Virgil's a great teacher. But I know there are things I can learn from other people. And it would be fun to meet some artists my own age and see how they do things." She paused, then touched the screen with a stylus. "There. Now the items are numbered according to how much I want to do them."

"That puts the anime and manga club second, horse riding third, and the theater fourth." Dianne smiled at her daughter. "Do you mind if I take this and talk it over with your father? We'll have to make arrangements to fly you over and back..."

"Maybe the boys can take turns, and use the time that I'm at the class for shopping or something," Cherie added, sounding eager and helpful.

"That's a fine idea, Cherry. I'll bring that up to your father." Dianne put an arm around Cherie's shoulders and hugged her close. "There may be some security issues, but I think we can work them out. I'll talk with Dad and see what he thinks, okay?"

Cherie nodded, and smiled. "Okay. But please don't take too long. I'm really excited about this."

"I'll talk to him today, promise." Dianne put the data pad on the ottoman and picked up her drink. "Now, maybe you can help me come up with something for the boys to do. After all, once they see you going out and having fun, they'll want to, too."

Posted by Tikatu on August 18, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #316 is a reply to message #315] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
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Saturday, September 15, 2068, 8:30 pm Tracy Island

Cassie was relieved when dinner had come to an end. Once again, she had felt nervous all the way through it, though she had tried to be a little bit more sociable than the evening before. Having Luke there with her had helped a little. Still, she was glad to be able to escape the dining room table.

"So, Cass, you haven't made any plans for this evening, have you?" Luke asked, with a smile.

"Actually, I have a date with a good book," she told him.

"Well, can the book wait? We haven't really had a chance to catch up yet. I was thinking we could go back to my place. You can see what the apartments are like... if you want to take the job that is," he added quickly, not wanting her to think he was pressuring her to join IR.

"Yeah, I think the book will wait for me. Lead away."

Luke guided her back to where Jeff and Virgil had taken her earlier. "Isn't this place something?" he asked as they arrived at the elevator terminus. He let the hand scanner do its thing and punched in a code. "I was totally floored at how big the complex was."

"It is pretty amazing," Cassie said as she followed Luke. "You would think I'd be used to complexity coming from New York City, but some of this stuff could give the city a run for its money. The fact that there is no smog, beeping car horns or people yelling profanity at you from their cars is a nice change of pace, too."

Luke laughed as they entered the monorail car. "I have to admit, though, the humidity is something else. Even though we're coming out of winter into their spring, it takes some getting used to "

"Can't take a little heat, Morel?" Cassie joked, as the monorail car started moving. She looked out the window as the car moved through the underground facilities of the island. "Now this I don't mind. I feel right at home - or, well, on the city subway going home. Less crowded though."

Luke laughed again. "You know me, Kishi, just a mountain boy at heart. Although," he gave her a wink, "I wouldn't mind climbing to the summit of this one. Never climbed an extinct volcano before."

They continued bantering with each other until they got to the platform at the Cliff House. "Here we are, home sweet home," he said as they left the car. "My side of the building's over here." He led her to the glass door on the right. "The elevator's interesting, too," he explained. "Transport and front door all in one."

"I was assigned to one of the one bedrooms on the third floor," he continued as they rode up the lift. "Great view! Ask Rom; he lounges out on the balcony all day watching the birds.

Cassie laughed at his comment. Not many apartment buildings allowed dogs in them in the city. It was the reason she had never had one herself.

The elevator reached the third floor and came to a stop. The door opened and Luke led her off the lift and into his apartment. Cassie looked around the area they had stepped into. Like her room at the villa, the apartment was bigger than she had expected.

Luke looked at her face and grinned. "Bigger than you expected?" he asked.

"You could say that," Cassie replied looking at her friend. "I suppose there isn't any chance of finding any mice or roaches either," she said, thinking of the one bedroom apartment she had lived in while going to NYU. "Not that I miss those guys, mind you."

"Not a one," Luke assured her. "But I've had a gecko or two find their way inside. Kinda startling to find one in the bathroom while you're showering."

Rom finally eased himself off the couch to greet Cassie as Luke went into the kitchen. "Want something to drink?" he asked.

"Water will be fine," Cassie told him, as she reached out to scratch Rom behind the ear. The dog looked up at her with a grateful doggie expression. "You're just a big lovable mutt, aren't you?" Cassie said affectionately to the dog. She had seen pictures of Rom before, but this morning had been the first time she had met the German Shepherd. Luke had left him with his parents when he had visited her in the city.

"You know my brother, Mark, was worried the Tracys were trying to kidnap me," Cassie said, Luke rejoined her. She took the glass of water from him. "Wanted me to take the job in Thornville and not even come. He'd really freak if he knew where I was at right now."

"Yeah, he'd freak " Luke said, thinking of her younger brother Mark. He was the only one Luke knew who could be more suspicious than himself at times. Guinness in hand, he sat down on the sofa. "My parents would do the same if they knew. They think I'm in Los Angeles..." His voice trailed off.

Cassie sat down next to Luke. His sofa taken up, Rommel settled himself on the floor near Luke's feet. "Yeah, and my family would think I'm in Wichita if I came here," she said. She took a sip of the water. "I'm really not sure what I want to do. I mean, I started this job hunt to start over. Get out of the city and away from the memories. Do you know how many times I've been just jogging or running errands and I think - 'Alex and I did this here' or 'Alex kissed me here'? I haven't even ventured anywhere near Central Park since I moved out of our apartment. Not only are there too many memories of Nathan haunting it but that's where..."

Though she let her sentence trail off, Luke didn't need her to finish it. He knew what she had been going to say. Cassie had told him about Alex proposing to her on the carousel in Central Park.

Cassie dabbed at the tears starting to leak from her eyes. "I guess this isn't exactly what you had in mind when you mentioned catching up, huh?" she said giving a nervous laugh, and trying to will the tears away.

"Hey, it's okay," Luke said softly, putting an arm around her. "I've got the same problem in a way. I'm nowhere over Barry yet, but... the pain will lessen in time." He swept his arm in an arc, indicating the apartment, and what lay beyond it. "Coming here, taking up this challenge... it's helping. Though, at first, I did have to do some soul searching about my motives, especially when I thought I'd be based in LA."

He smiled. "I can hardly wait to get out in the field and start putting my skills to work... though I'm not too excited at the prospect of learning how to fly."

Cassie nodded, glad for the comforting arm around her shoulders. "Flying could be fun," she admitted. "Although I have a feeling Thunderbird 2 might handle worse than the fire engine in rush hour traffic."

Luke laughed again, long and loud. "You are so right about that, Cass Better watch out though, I get the feeling that Virgil's none too happy when people insult his Thunderbird!" Taking his arm from around her shoulders, he glanced at her with a twinkle in his eye. "You should see how these beasts launch! It's mind-boggling. I've seen Thunderbirds One and Two so far... well, let's just say you've got to see it to believe it." He paused and continued in a quieter, less excited tone. "God, it's good to see you. I don't want to influence your decision, but if you ask my opinion, you'd do well here. Could probably teach these veterans a thing or three."

"Maybe," Cassie said thoughtfully. Her thoughts drifted to Scott. Yes, he had apologized but she still got the feeling he wasn't completely happy with the thought of hiring her. "However, I think I'm going to have to prove to Scott that I should be here, more so than any of the others. I got the impression he wasn't thrilled about the prospect of bringing me on board. Gives me pause about taking the job."

"Oh sure, anywhere I go, I'm going to have to prove myself to some extent. It would be like when I started out as a paramedic and again on the fire squad. The veterans are always a little leery of the rookies and it's understandable. They don't know you. Don't know what you're capable of. Still, there's a difference between wariness and not being wanted on the team."

Luke turned thoughtful for a moment. "Did Mr. Tracy tell you why they wanted to hire you?"

Cassie nodded. "Said they had some problems on rescues involving fires. He wanted someone on the team that knew more about how they behave and how to fight them."

"From what I've seen, Mr. Tracy knows his team well. So, if that's the reason he wants you on it, that means there's something that even Scott can learn from you if you join up." Luke took a swig of his Guinness, and put the glass back down. "Obviously, HE thinks you're worth it, or he wouldn't have told you about IR in the first place. Scott will just have to deal."

Cassie smiled at Luke's last comment. He had a point though. Ultimately, it was Mr. Tracy in charge of IR. It was his confidence she needed, not Scott's, and she apparently had that. Though if she took the job she certainly planned on trying to earn Scott's confidence in her abilities.

Besides, she had never backed away from anything in her life just because someone had said she couldn't do it or she shouldn't do it. If she had, she certainly wouldn't be here right now. How many times had her father told her not to pursue being a firefighter? "It's too hard and dangerous for my little girl." Sure, he was only trying to look out for her. Protect his only daughter. Still, that had only made her want to do it more. I never backed down from my father; why should I back down from Scott Tracy? she thought to herself.

The thought of her father brought a small smile to her face. "You know, I'll feel a little weird about lying to Mark and the rest of my family, but there's something to be said for telling my father that I'm taking a nice, easy consultant job, off of the streets. He's been on my back ever since I told him I planned on joining FDNY, more so since his accident. Taking this job would give him peace of mind if nothing else."

"Don't make that your reason for taking it though," Luke warned her. He sighed. "The lying is hard. I have been told that I'll spend some time in the office, actually earning my keep with Tracy Industries, but I'm not sure how that works yet. A couple of people here actually work for the family, so they're covered, but I don't see how I'm going to be able to do this consultant thing and still be available for rescues." He shrugged. "I suppose that means you'd be going out to do the instruction as well."

"Yeah, supposedly I'd be making sure fire codes and safety protocols are up to date and being put in place correctly at the different sites. That in itself could be interesting work. Definitely something different than what I've been doing. Don't get me wrong; I love my job, but it can get monotonous after awhile and some days you're sitting around the station thinking of what you could be doing at home if you weren't stuck waiting for a call to come in."

Cassie paused briefly, realizing how what she had just said probably sounded. "Argh, that sounded horrible. It's not that I actually want some accident or fire to happen but ... forget it, I don't think I can actually put into words what I mean."

"Still, it's helping those in trouble that means the most to me. Like the traffic accident I was at last week, there was this little girl trapped in a car. We had to use the jaws of life to cut her out, and all I did was hold her hand and talk to her, but I know that made a difference. That's what I like about the job, and that's why I never wanted to take a desk job or instructor position in the city like my father wanted. I wouldn't mind doing that but I don't want to lose the feeling of actually making a difference in someone's life. This job would actually allow me to do both."

"That's the way I feel about it , too," he admitted. "Working with the best ... God, who wouldn't want to work with IR?" He brought himself up short, and gave Cassie a lopsided grin. "Oops. And here I said I didn't want to influence you."

Cassie smiled. "Too late for that, Morel," she said jokingly. "But seriously, if I'm going to take the job, I need to do it for myself. If I'm honest with myself, I started this job search to get away from the city. To start new. I can definitely do that here, while still doing the job I love."

"And you get to hang out with me and Rommel, too," he replied with a grin. "Not a bad perk, I'd say."

"Well, hanging out with Rommel would be a perk," Cassie said with a sly grin. "Hanging out with you, that may be considered one of the hazards of the job."

She tried to slide out of his way, as he batted at her for her comment.

-- Written by starrynebula and Tikatu with input from Lillehafrue on August 21, 2007

Dom plainclothes heartbeat Luke plainclothes

[Updated on: Mon, 23 July 2012 19:52]

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #317 is a reply to message #316] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Tracy, Island, Sunday, September 16th, 5:45 AM

Luke ran along the edge of the water. The sun had risen a short time ago, but the beach was still in shade. He knew from experience that that wouldn't last, so he tried to get his run out of the way before it got too hot. He paused to watch a pair of dolphins playing beyond the surf line and smiled. Who'd have thought a few months ago I'd be living in paradise.

"Luke! Hey!"

He looked up to see John jogging towards him and waved. John reached him and leaned over, hands resting on his knees. "You're up early."

Luke nodded. "It's too hot later."

"That's for sure. Where's Rommel?" John asked, looking around.

"I left him at the apartment. Snoring away. He's not a morning dog."

John laughed. "Sounds like Virgil."

"Besides, he got into the pool again yesterday and I had to wash all the chlorine out. I don't feel like doing it again with salt water," Luke told him. The dolphins jumped again, catching both of their attention. "I'll have to remember to tell Gordon about them."

"Tyler and Alex, too," John added.

They stood there watching quietly until the dolphins disappeared. Luke turned to John and grinned. "Race ya to the rocks."

John narrowed his eyes. "You're on!"

The two men raced across the beach, sand flying. They reached the rocks at the same time, both panting. "Call it...a tie?" John gasped.

"Deal." Luke pulled a water bottle from his belt and took a long drink. John did the same. They sat down on the rocks. Luke glanced over at John. He was looking out at the sea, his thoughts seeming to be a million miles away. Luke didn't want to get caught staring and put his bottle back on his belt.

Finally John spoke up. "Do you remember Kat? She's our mechanic."

Luke nodded. "Yes, tiny thing. I flew out with her. Why?"

John turned to gaze back out at the water. "I got a phone call from her the other night."

Luke caught the edge in John's voice. "Everything all right there?"

John shook his head. "No, not really." He tossed a stone into the sea. "She's not coming back. The girls packed up all her stuff yesterday."

"John, I'm sorry."

John shrugged. "I thought, for a while, that we might have something special together. But lately she had become more of a little sister than a girlfriend, if that makes sense."

Luke nodded thoughtfully. "I know what you mean. I was in a relationship for almost five years. Figured this was it, the 'one', you know?"

John nodded. "Yeah. What happened?"

"I was spending two to three weeks at a time at the SAR cabin; we only spent a few days together. Then when Barry got transferred to L.A., that kind of put the cap on it." John looked startled a moment, but Luke went on. "I thought maybe we could make it work, but..." his voice trailed off. "Long distance relationships suck. At least we ended things when we were still friends, so he's still a part of my life. Not the way I had thought he would be, but he's still there."

John was quiet for a long time. "She thought we had something, and I didn't feel the same. When she called the other night, I think she was expecting me to act differently than I did." He threw another stone. "You know, it's probably better in the long run. I mean, this life doesn't really allow a lot of time for relationships." He picked up another stone and sent it skipping. "I can see now why Alan broke things off with Tin-Tin."

They sat there in silence a few minutes before Luke clapped a friendly hand on John's shoulder. "Listen to us, moping about our love lives. I say we get the rest of the guys together and see if your father will let us go to the mainland for a day. Hit some bars, hang out. Guy things. This hanging by the pool is going to kill me! What do you say?"

John's eyebrows furrowed in thought. "You know, that's a great idea. I'll ask my brothers, you handle Dom and Brandon. Then I'll send Scott in to tackle Dad."

Luke laughed. "Good, it's settled." Luke got to his feet and stretched. "I've got another mile to do. Want to join me?"

"Sure." Together the started along the beach. John pulled out in front of Luke, and Luke found himself gazing at John's physique. Dammit, Morel, he's not interested!

Yes, another voice whispered into his head, but you can still appreciate God's work when it's right there in front of you.

Luke shook his head and, smiling, increased his pace and together he and John continued down the beach.

Posted by lillehafrue on August 21, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #318 is a reply to message #317] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Sunday, September 16, 3:15 p.m. Tracy Island

Cassie looked down at her watch. She had switched it to the time on the island so she could keep track of things like meals. Being late would not make a good impression on her potential employers. Of course right now she wished she'd never switched it as she wanted to call Mark. What time is it in New York anyway? Cassie thought. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the time differences Mr. Tracy was telling me about when he was informing me of the arrangements he had made for me to get home After a few minutes of trying to figure it out, she gave up and headed for one of the vid phones that had been pointed out to her. She'd just take the chance and give him a call. He usually turned his cell phone off when he was sleeping anyway, so if it was too late, she wouldn't disturb him.

Cassie punched in the number and listened to it ring. Looks like I'm going to get his voice mail, she thought to herself. She was about hang up and try again later when she heard her brother's voice.


Cassie smiled. It was nice hearing a familiar voice even if her brother was being his usual suspicious self.

"Hey, Mark. It's Cassie."

"Cass! Are you okay? How's the interview going? When are you coming home?"

"I'm fine. The interview went well and I'll be home soon. My flight should be coming into JFK at nine o'clock Monday morning there. Can you pick me up?" she asked her brother. She could hear voices in the background and wondered where he was at.

"Yeah, sure. I'll be there."

"What time is it there anyway?" she asked, her curiosity getting the better of her.

"A little after eleven. I just got off work," Mark told her, which explained why he had taken so long to answer the phone. "Why, the guys too loud for you?"

"Well, I can hear them in the background. Mostly, I was just hoping I hadn't called you at a bad time. You know I was never good with time zones."

"Exactly, what time zone are you in?"

"A different one than you," Cassie replied, easily. She couldn't really blame him for trying to get her to tell him where she was at. In his place, she'd probably want to know. "The Tracys would like me to keep the location of their home secret. You can't really blame them. We've seen some of the media circuses they've had to deal with when they've been in the city."

"Fair enough. So what's up with the job?" Mark asked. Cassie heard the voices fading away in the background and figured her brother was leaving the locker room.

Cassie took a deep breath. Here it goes. Except for silly things when we were kids, this will be the first time I've ever lied to him but it's for a good reason, she thought to herself. "Well, I've been offered the position. It would mean relocating to Wichita, Kansas as I'd be based at the Tracy Industries branch there. The job would entail making sure fire safety protocols are up to date and upheld in all their branches, even those overseas. The traveling should be fun and it would be a change from what I'm doing."

"You always did want to travel," Mark commented, trying to sound upbeat. He didn't want his sister moving halfway across the country but he also wasn't going to stand in her way. He wanted her to be happy. "Aren't you going to miss the actual firefighting part of the job?"

I won't be missing out on that entirely, Cassie thought, recalling some of the rescues she had followed that IR had already carried out. "Yeah, I'll miss it some but maybe it's time for a change. What I'll be doing would be important in its own way and probably less stressful. Besides, I haven't said I'm going to take the job yet. Mr. Tracy has given me some time to think it over."

"Maybe you're fooling yourself, Cass, but not me. I can hear it in your voice. You really want to take this offer."

"I haven't made up my mind yet," she insisted.

"Yeah, sure. Whatever you say."

"Well, I guess I should be going. I'll see you when I get back to New York."

"I'll be waiting. Stay safe."

"You too. Bye, Mark," Cassie said, hanging up the phone.

She felt slightly guilty about not being able to tell him the real nature of the job. Still, she understood the Tracys need for secrecy. She rarely kept anything from Mark. Keeping things from him would be the hardest part about taking the job with IR. There were, however, a lot of positive things about the job. I just need to decide if the sacrifices I'm going to have to make are worth taking the job, she said as she headed out of the villa. Maybe a jog on the beach will help me think things through.

Posted by starrynebula on August 22, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #319 is a reply to message #318] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Sunday, September 16, 5 p.m., El Dorado, Kansas (10 a.m., Monday, September 17, Tracy Island)

"You sure you want to go through with this, Heather-girl?" Jenny asked. She busied herself setting the dining room table. Donny carefully carried the forks to the table, counting to himself as he put the forks on the right hand side of the plates. His aunt sighed slightly and bit her lip to keep from correcting the young man.

"Yes, Aunt Jenny, I'm sure," Heather said with a sigh. She fingered the curled end of her French braid. "I hate it; I've never broken an agreement before in my life, but..." She watched Donny as he finished with the forks and went to the flatware drawer for the spoons. " family needs me more now," she murmured. Straightening, she smiled a little, a sad expression. "I'll make the call from my room."

"When you're done, tell your father that dinner's almost ready," Jenny instructed. She clucked her tongue. "With as much time as he's spendin' redesignin' that house of yours, it'll be a mansion before he's done."

"I'll tell him," Heather said as she left the dining room, heading for her own bedroom. The past few weeks had been hard, almost too hard to bear. Once the reality of Martha and Amy's deaths had set in, James Kennedy had walked around with an air of stunned disbelief. The funeral hadn't helped; he was still in that fog for at least two weeks. Then, as if a switch had been thrown, he'd dived into his work -- making the redesign and rebuilding of Heather's old home a priority. Jenny had watched from the sidelines a little, then decreed that the family was moving out with her for a time, for a change of scene and perhaps a respite from the media circus that had developed.

The investigation into the cause of the pile up was still ongoing, but from the first there had been rumors that Martha had contributed to it. They were suppressed to an extent when the coroner's report was made public and had revealed that Martha hadn't been under the influence. Still, the rumors had hurt, and James had become more and more morose -- and reclusive -- every day. The move to Kansas allowed him and Heather to disappear for a while and hopefully regain some measure of peace.

Donny missed his mother, but missed Amy more, and was still having trouble with the concept of her not coming home from her dance lesson. Jenny loved her nephew, but it was up to Heather to deal with him on a daily basis. The bond between the siblings had deepened, and Heather knew that a move to Tracy Island would be devastating to him. So, she and Jim had made the decision to relocate to Kansas permanently. Rosy was watching the family home in Virginia, and would join them as soon as the new house was finished.

Now Heather was ready to say goodbye to a life that might have been. She sat on her bed, staring at her phone, then opened it, picked up the card that had the number Jeff had given her, and dialed.

If my calculations are right, it's Monday morning on the island, she thought. Hope it's not too early.

Jeff had gotten down to business this morning. He'd sent out a priority request to the security office in Christchurch for background information on the various teachers and leaders involved in Cherie's choices of extra-curricular activities. He'd deputized Tin-Tin and Virgil to head to Wellington and pick up some groceries his mother had requested for Kyrano's birthday dinner -- as well as a special bottle of fine cognac and a set of gold-etched goblets that he'd ordered as a gift. The folks in New York were still enjoying their Sunday, so he waited to discover if there were any responses to the ad they'd placed for a new mechanic, but he did check some of the major newspapers online to read the ad and make sure it was correct. He was just settling back with a fresh cup of coffee when the private line buzzed. A quick glance at the caller ID made him frown. Heather Kennedy? Don't tell me she's ready to come back... Reaching over, he tapped the buttons for "Voice and Picture".

"Hello, Heather." The young woman before him looked weary, vulnerable, and younger in a way. Very likely the hair, Jeff mused. "How are you? To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?"

Heather mustered up a smile for her personal hero. "Hello, Mr. Tracy. I'm... doing as well as can be expected, I guess, under the circumstances."

"I am truly sorry for your loss, Heather." Jeff looked sober and sympathetic. "How is your father handling things?"

"He's... coping. He's thrown himself into his work, in particular the rebuilding of the house I lost during those tornadoes." She paused, then asked, "Speaking of the tornadoes, how is Dr. Tracy?"

Jeff smiled. "She's doing very well, physically. Walking with only a slight limp, nearly finished with her physical therapy. She's got a little ways yet to go emotionally, but she's getting there." He paused, sobering again. "Why do I have the feeling you didn't call just to inquire after Dianne?"

Heather lowered her eyes for a moment, then had a half smile when she looked up again. "Because I didn't... though that was important." She paused, looking away from his gaze. "This is hard for me, sir. I've never broken an agreement in my life before now." Straightening, she looked him in the eye, took a deep breath and said firmly, "I'm calling to tender my resignation as your family pilot... and all of its attendant duties."

Jeff nodded; he read between the lines and realized that she was referencing IR. "Resignation accepted, Heather. I understand from experience that your family needs you at this time."

"Thank you, sir." Heather's soft voice held so many emotions: sadness, disappointment, regret, grief, and even a touch of relief.

He gazed at her picture, his own heart aching a bit for this young woman, so quickly a mother-figure and main support for her father. "What are your plans? I gather since your father is working on getting your house rebuilt you'll be staying in Kansas."

"Yes, sir." She brightened a bit. "We're staying with my aunt Jennifer at the moment. She felt we needed to get away from... things. When the house is built, my father, Donny and I will be living there. Dad can work from anywhere he likes. Our housekeeper, Rosy, will be helping to take care of Donny; she's very good with him." She sighed. "As for me, well, I'll find an airport to work from and continue the organ donor flights. My partner will be glad I'm back. He told me he hadn't had time to find another pilot, never mind break her in."

They laughed a little, and Jeff, who had been surreptitiously checking the Human Resources boards, asked, "What do you think about returning to Tracy Industries in your former capacity, as a test pilot? I see that they haven't filled your slot quite yet."

Heather blinked, startled. "They haven't?"

"No, they haven't, if what I'm looking at is up-to-date." He gave her an encouraging nod. "I'll see to it... if you want the job. It's not like you really left Tracy Industries, after all."

"Oh!" She took a moment to think. "I... I'd like that, Mr. Tracy. I worked with a good group of people there, salt of the earth, and I'd love to return there."

"Then it's settled. I'll send an email right now, informing Human Resources of your transfer back to your old position." Jeff smiled widely. "I'll also remind them that you are on compassionate leave... with pay. You take your time getting back to work, Heather."

She laughed a little. "My supervisor did say I had a lot of vacation time accrued."

"This is different," he insisted. "But you just tell Blake when you're ready."

"I will, sir." Heather paused, and smiled. "It's been a pleasure meeting you and your family, Mr. Tracy. You've been one of my personal heroes for a long time and... where a lot of men would disappoint, you haven't. You're still my hero... after my dad, of course. Now more than ever."

"Thank you, Heather. I appreciate your faith in me. I'll do my best to see it's not misplaced." He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "So. Is there anything else?"

Heather thought a moment, then nodded. "I didn't pack up all my things when I left. Could you...?"

"We'll see to it." Seem to be doing a lot of this lately. "Just let me know where we should have it shipped."

"Could I give the address to Tin-Tin? I really need to talk with her and tell her what's happening."

"That'll be fine. Right now she's off on an errand; her father's birthday is today. But you could email her or leave a message for her. I'm sure she'll get back to you as soon as possible."

"All right, I will. Thank you again, Mr. Tracy." Heather suddenly looked away. "I should go. Aunt Jenny says dinner's ready."

"Then goodbye, Heather. I hope we'll run into each other again."

"I hope so, too. Goodbye."

Heather disconnected the call, and shouted, "Coming, Aunt Jenny!" Then she left the phone on her dresser and went off to drag her father from his little office.

Jeff, who had already been composing a transfer request, sent it off to Human Resources. She's too good a pilot to lose, and I really think she needs the boost right now. She would have made one helluva Thunderbird One pilot; it's too bad that we can't see that come about. He sighed. "Back to the other applications to look for another 'family pilot'. And I'd better let the other team members know what happened." With that, he turned back to his computer and composed another email.

"As of today, September 17, 2068, Heather Kennedy is no longer an IR operative..."

Posted by Tikatu on August 23, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #321 is a reply to message #319] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Jeff had finished composing his email, and had sent it island-wide. When I started looking for new recruits, I guess I never thought about personal problems. Still, it's not crippling to us, though I prefer a full compliment over anything else. It's just unfortunate. There was a knock on the door, and Jeff turned to it, and granted entry.

"Hey, Dad."

Gordon sauntered into the study with a mail carrying bag slung over one shoulder, and a pile of letters in one hand.

"Hi, son," Jeff said. "You're delivering the mail today?"

"Well, Cherie's in school. Plus, I was thinking of leaving the bag for her, filled with fake snakes, and maybe a rubber chicken."

Jeff shook his head, keeping his lips pressed together to stop himself smiling.

"Gordon," he said warningly.

"I said I was thinking about it," Gordon said. "I could also fill it with Silly Putty."

"May I have my mail?" Jeff asked, holding out his hand.

"Oh, yeah."

Gordon handed over the pile of letters, and Jeff began to sift through them.

"There's one letter that all of us seem to have gotten. Looks like it might be from the dentist."

"I wonder what that's about. We've kept up with our appointments."

"Who knows? Well, I must do my mail carrying duty. Onwards! Bye, Dad."

"Goodbye son. And Gordon? Don't rile your sister."

"Yes sir," Gordon said with mock disappointment, before sauntering back out the door.

Jeff watched as the door slid shut again, and shook his head, before sifting through the letters to find the one Gordon had been talking about. He had been right; it was from the dentist.

Dear Mr Tracy,

I am writing to inform you that the dental practice you are registered with, Crane Dental Surgery, has been bought over by myself, Ms Izarra Soto Fernandez, due to its previous owner Mr Edmund McCann's retirement.

Services will remain the same and all other dentists at the surgery are still practicing here. I hope that you will continue as our patient. Any queries you may have are welcome, and may be directed to the telephone number given below.

Yours sincerely,

Izarra Soto Fernandez, GDP

Jeff re-read the letter, before setting it down on his desk. That's a shame about Ed, he thought. I'd better get background checks rolling on this lady -- just in case. He began dialling a number into the vidphone, and waited as it began to ring out.

Posted by ArtisticRainey on August 23, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #322 is a reply to message #321] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Sunday, September 16, San Francisco, 5:30 PM (12:30 PM the next day on Tracy Island)

Will walked into his apartment and heard his vid-phone ringing. He hurried over and answered it, to see his father. "Hi, Dad. I was going to call you a little later, but you beat me to it. How is everyone?"

"We're all fine, Will. I wanted to talk to you, however, about business. I'm thinking about opening another shop, in Santa Barbara. I'm going to need a manager. You said something once about how you could easily turn the shop you manage over to one or two different people working there. Do you think either one of them would be interesting in moving south?"

"Hmm, I don't know, Dad. I think one of them might, but I'm not sure. But that brings up somethin' I've been considerin' for the last few days."

His father looked intently at him, then said, "Go ahead, Will."

"Dad, I don't want to disappoint you, but I've been feelin' that somethin's been missing. And the other day, I realized what it was. I miss the hands-on part of this business. Here, I'm only on the computer or checking paperwork. When I was headin' the teams in the Navy, I worked alongside them, and got my hands dirty, too. I want to be able to do that again, and I don't seem to be able to at L.J."

"What happened the other day?"

"There was a parade of classic cars, headin' to Monster Park for a show. One of them developed a problem and pulled in to have it checked out. It was a simple fix. Two of our mechanics took care of it, the older one allowin' the younger one to help, for the experience. That's when I realized how much I missed being part of that. The only time I get to do anythin' like that is on Saturdays, if I can get over to the airfield. And that doesn't happen too often any more, at least not often enough for me."

"I see. So you want to turn over the manager position to one of the people already there - and do what?"

Will sighed. "I don't know yet, Dad. But if I find somethin' that I believe would suit me, I'd like your okay to go ahead and try it. I love you, Dad, and I don't want to go against your wishes, but I have to do whatever is right for me."

"I know you do, Will," Leonard replied with a smile. "and I'm glad you felt you could talk to me about this. You've never disappointed me, and I doubt you could. If you find something you feel is right for you, even if it means leaving the family business, you have my approval. Just make sure the turnover is smooth."

"Thanks, Dad."

"By the way, what kind of car was it?"

Will grinned. "A white 1969 Pontiac Firebird with a red interior. It was in perfect condition."

His father let out a long, low whistle. "I am impressed. It took a car that old to solidify your misgivings? I'll bet it was a beauty."

"It was, and so were the other cars at the show. The owner of the Pontiac left us ten tickets. I snagged one and let the rest of the employees decide who wanted the others. I went today, and just got back when you called."

"Ah. That explains why you didn't answer when I called earlier. Lucky you. I..."

"Will!" His mother suddenly interrupted his father. "Move over, Leonard. I want to talk to our son, too. He should get all the news, and if I know you, you've only talked to him about the business and cars. Am I right?"

"Well, Joanna, I might have talked to him about other things if you hadn't interrupted," Leonard replied with a cheeky grin and a squeeze as he pulled her on his lap. "But then what would you have to tell him if I did?"

"Oh you!" she exclaimed as he kissed her on the cheek. "Will, guess what. Mitchell has a lady friend. Her name is Helena, and she's a lovely girl, and so good for him. I hope this relationship develops into something more permanent."

"That's great, Mom. How long..."

"And that reminds me. It's about time you settled down. Have you found anyone yet?"

Will smiled. His mother had a one track mind when it came to her sons. "No, Mom. I haven't found anyone as good as you; but I'm still looking."

"Silly boy. You don't want to marry your mother. You had to live with me for the first seventeen years of your life. Didn't that teach you anything?"

"It taught me that I at least need to find someone who can cook like you do. Even your casseroles are delicious. I'm gettin' hungry just thinkin' about them."

"Now you're just teasing me." But she looked pleased. "So, when are you coming home for a visit?"

"I'm not sure, Mom. I'll let you know when I can."

"Will," his father said, "we'll let you go, so you can relax. Let me know if one of your staff is interested in that position in Santa Barbara as soon as you can, okay?"

"I will, Dad."

"And you keep in touch, son," added Joanna.

"Of course, Mom. Love you both."

"We love you too, dear. Bye."

The connection terminated and he sighed in relief, then went over to his computer. Now that his father had said it was okay with him if Will looked elsewhere for what he wanted, he decided to get started. He decided to do a search, thought about what he wanted to look for, and finally typed in "Want ads - mechanics". He was surprised at the number of ads that popped up, and began looking at them. Some he passed up quickly, due to location, or it being for a rival company to his father's. Then he noticed one that looked like it might be right up his alley:

Help Wanted -- Mechanic. Experienced in engine and electrical maintenance for a variety of personal jets, pleasure boats, small water craft, and American outfitted automobiles. Machinist or body work experience a plus. English fluency, flexibility and willingness to relocate essential. Apply Human Resources office, Tracy Industries, Sydney, Australia.

"Hmm. Tracy Industries; that's a good company to work for, from what I've heard. Australia, huh? I've never been there; the McCain never sailed to that area when I served on her. It'd be nice to see that part of the world." Machinist and body work experience? Well, I can't say that I really have any, but I do learn fast. So I'd have to put that in. Oh, man! I need to write a résumé.

He paused, then chuckled. "I guess I'm goin' to go for it. And no time like the present." He pulled up Wordpad. "Let's see; what do I need to include? Hmm. My education. My naval training and service. My work with Dad, and for him." He typed as he mentioned each item. "What else? Man, I've never had to write one of these things. What's required? Maybe I should do some research."

Rumbling from the area of his stomach interrupted him. "I guess I'd better get something to eat first," he said to himself. "Then, I'll get a résumé written up and sent."

Posted by hobbeth on August 23, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #324 is a reply to message #322] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Monday, September 17th, 5:15 p.m., Tracy Island

"Thanks for looking after him while I'm away."

Dominic clicked the last leg into place on the fold-down crib, and began to place Joshua's bedding inside of it.

"It's no trouble at all."

Emily had one hand on the post of her own bed, and one eye watching Joshua's every move. The small child was standing quite still in the middle of Emily's suite, alternating between eying some trinket or other, and looking to see if anyone was watching him.

Dom finished with the bed, and glanced around to see if he had forgotten anything. He had a fluttering sensation in his stomach, and his throat was dry.

"I've brought the bed, clothes, diaper bag, clothes, a few toys -- Joshua, do not touch that -- a story book, his blankie. Have I forgotten anything? I probably have if I can't remember what I've forgotten..."

"Dominic, stop all this worrying," Emily said firmly. "If I need something that you haven't brought, I can get it from your apartment. Joshua is in safe hands. You just need to concentrate on showing that judge the man who's single-handedly raised this boy from birth."

Dominic quieted and gently nodded his head.

"You're right." He met her eyes, and his shoulders sank. "What...what if I lose him?"

"Now that's just silly talk," Emily said. "You know that you've done your best for your baby. He's got everything he needs, and most importantly, he's got love." Emily stepped forward and placed a hand on Dominic's arm. "The child's welfare is what these people care about the most. They'll see Joshua is well looked-after, and close the case."

"You're right, again." Dom drew himself up, and Emily could tell he was getting his thoughts together. "Well, I'd best get going."

He walked over to his son, and picked him up for a cuddle.

"I won't be gone long, Jak," he said.

"Da gone?" Joshua said, his little brow contorting.

"Yes, Daddy's going away for a day, but I'll be back before you know it. You'll be a good boy for Gamma, right?"

"Da no go!"

"I have to, son,"

"Da no go!!"

Joshua buried his head into his father's shoulder, and after a deadly two-second silence, began to wail.

"No! No go! Jossa Da!"

"I'll be back soon, Jak."

Joshua threw his head back and started writhing and jerking, his face bright red and scrunched tightly. Dominic felt as though his heart was in his mouth.

"Give him here, Dominic," Emily said, "and get going. This won't get easier for him."

Dominic was still for a moment, before turning to give the screaming child over to Emily.

"Goodbye, Joshua. Emily, thanks again. And, sorry about this."

"It's no trouble at all," Emily said over the sound of Joshua's cries. "Now skedaddle."

Dominic took once last look at his son, before leaving Emily's suite and closing the door behind him. Joshua's wailing echoed in his ears all the way to the hangar.


"Can you hand me that book?" Cassie asked Luke, who was standing near the shelf where the book had last been placed. He had come up to say good-bye and escort his friend down to the airstrip.

Luke grabbed it and walked over to the bed. He handed it to Cassie, who tucked it away in her bag. "I think that's it," she said, looking around the room. She didn't see anything else laying about.

"It was good seeing you, Cass," he said as they left. "Hopefully, it won't be too long before I see you again."

"In other words, you're wondering if I'm going to take the job or not," Cassie said, looking over at her friend.

"Yeah," he admitted, with a smile.

Cassie thought of her meeting with Mr. Tracy only a few hours ago.


"I hope you've enjoyed your visit, Ms. Kishi," Jeff Tracy said.

"Yes, very much so," she told him. She took a deep, calming breath. She knew her next words were going to drastically change her life. "About the job offer, Mr. Tracy. I've thought it through and I want to take it."

"I have to admit, I didn't expect such a quick answer. Are you sure?"

"Yes. I started this job search as a way to start over. This opportunity gives me the chance to do just that. The thing I love most about my job is being able to help people. Make a difference. Being a part of International Rescue will still allow me to do that."

"Then welcome aboard," Jeff told her, holding out his hand. Cassie shook it.

"I'll talk to Chief Calloway when I get back to work and tender my resignation."

"Very well. Give me a call after you talk to him and we'll figure out the details of getting you settled in," he told her, handing a card. "You can reach me at that number."

***end flashback***

Cassie smiled. "I gave Mr. Tracy my answer earlier today. I'm taking the job."

"That's great!" Luke said, pausing long enough to give her a hug.

-- Dom and Cassie leaving Tracy island Part 1 -by ArtisticRainey and starrynebula on August 24, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #325 is a reply to message #324] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, September 17th, 5:30 p.m., Tracy Island

Dominic huffed out a heavy breath as he reached Tracy One. Elise was already there, talking to the woman he recognized as the newest potential operative, Cassie. Elise gave him a wave as he approached the plane, and Cassie smiled slightly.

"Hullo, all," Dom said, letting his carryall fall onto the floor with a thump. He reached out a long fingered hand to Cassie. "I don't believe we've had the pleasure. Dominic Kelly. Nice to make your acquaintance."

Cassie accepted the handshake.

"Cassandra Kishi. Likewise."

"I'll go stow this," Dom said, hefting his bag back onto his shoulder. "Anything else to go in?"

The ladies answered that there was not, so Dominic headed for the hold. When he came back, Elise and Cassie were already climbing into the plane. He followed.

"Was Joshua okay?" Elise asked. "Poor little guy."

"He just didn't want me to go. I hope he'll be good for Emily. These terrible twos, I'm tellin' ya, not fun."

He didn't notice Cassie still for a moment.

I know that feeling, Cassie thought, thinking of her little boy. Nathan sure could throw a tantrum when he wasn't getting his way.

Trying to put the thoughts of her son out of her mind, Cassie got herself settled in one of the seats, as Dom and Elise headed toward the cockpit. She glanced out the window. Soon, I'll be calling this place home, she thought as she took in the view. Not long ago, I would've told anyone that said I'd be living outside the city that they were crazy. Now, not only am I moving out of the city but I'm moving to paradise.


Cassie stared blankly at the book she had opened in front of her. She couldn't concentrate on it. Her thoughts kept drifting to things she would have to do to before she could leave the city. There was of course putting in her resignation but she also had to tell her family she was taking a job with Tracy Industries. She knew telling the rest of her family about her job in 'Wichita' was going to be easier than telling Mark had. Then there was the task of packing for the move, although some stuff was still packed from when she had moved in with her brother. I should probably also go see Philip and Lisa before leaving, she mused, thinking of her older brother and sister-in-law who lived in Connecticut.

"Good book?"

Cassie looked up to see Dominic sitting down in a seat nearby. She put the bookmark in the it and closed the cover. "Probably would be if I could concentrate on it," she replied. "I've got a lot of other things on my mind right now."

"Elise said you had taken the job. Welcome to the team."


"I can empathize with you on the lack of concentration bit. I'm on my way to a hearing to decide who gets custody for my little boy. Me, who's looked after him from birth, or his mother, who abandoned us? Didn't even care about the precious little life she brought into the world."

Dominic began to clench and unclench his fists.

"It was so special. He was so tiny and precious... I don't know what I'd do without him."

Cassie sat up abruptly.

"Excuse me."

She exited the passenger area abruptly, leaving a thoroughly confused Dominic alone, staring at the now-closed door she had disappeared through.

"What did I say?"


Cassie closed the door to the bathroom on the plane and then leaned her hands on the sink. She could feel the tears welling up in her eyes and she tried to will them away. Now was not the time to fall apart.

"I don't know what I'd do without him."

She heard Dominic's words repeating in her head. How many times have I said that myself and yet now here I am going on without Nathan? Doesn't he realize how lucky he is that his son is still alive?

She felt a few teardrops start to roll down her cheek. Reaching up, she wiped them away and took a couple of deep breaths.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself, she scolded herself. Things are how they are, and you just have to get on with your life.

She stood there at the sink, not wanting to go back out and face Dominic again. She was hoping that if she put it off long enough he would get tired of waiting for her to come back and go back up to the cockpit.


Dominic was, however, still waiting in the passenger area. He hadn't known whether he should follow Cassie or not, but didn't want to walk away as if nothing had happened? Did I offend her? He was reaching back through his thoughts, but for the life of him, he couldn't find what it might have been.

Eventually, the woman returned. She kept her gaze steady and impassive as she saw that Dominic was still there, but he could tell that she was still upset.

"Cassie," he said, standing up. "I'm sorry if I upset you somehow there. But, I can't figure out why. Did...did I say something to offend you?"

"No, no, it's just..." Cassie sighed and slipped back into her chair. She sighed heavily, and placed her hands in her lap. "It was just when you were talking about Joshua. I had a son, just about his age. He was killed."

She reached for her book, and began flicking through the pages, not even looking at the words. Dominic felt as though his heart had sank into his belly. His hands began to clench again.

"I'm so sorry, Cassie. I...I didn't know. Otherwise I'd have kept my big mouth shut."

Cassie shook her head.

"You couldn't have known," she said. "But, I'd appreciate a little time to myself about now."

"Okay, no problem."

Dominic walked over to the door. As he opened it, he looked back and opened his mouth as if to say something, but clamped it shut, and disappeared from Cassie's sight.

--Dom and Cassie leaving Tracy island Part 2 -by ArtisticRainey and starrynebula on August 24, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #326 is a reply to message #325] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, September 17, 2068, 5:30 p.m., Tracy Island

Tin-Tin's eyes followed the trail of Tracy One as it lifted into the azure sky. When it had banked out of sight, heading for the United States, she turned her attention to the pumice sand path that led into the heart of her father's garden. Everything was neat; not a weed or stalk grew out of place, all a mute testimony to the care her father lavished on his garden, his sanctuary. Just as he lavishes care and love on all of us in his daily routine, she mused, smiling a little. "Father?" she called, not sure where he was in the garden.

"Here, my daughter." His voice carried from the left, and she followed it. She found him with small pruning shears and garden gloves, wearing an old set of cotton clothes, and a wide woven hat. A small wheelbarrow held the cuttings he'd made as he prepared his garden for the oncoming spring and summer. He glanced at her as she came into view and smiled gently.

"I was told you were here," she said as she approached, picking up a stray twig to drop in the barrow.

"I am here only because I have been banished from the kitchen," he said, his tone a trifle piqued.

"Father, it's your birthday!" she exclaimed. "You know that Lisa and Grandma want to prepare dinner, and spare you working today."

He sighed. "I understand, but I am always uneasy when this happens. The kitchen is..." He paused, and sighed again. "I cannot say it is mine, because I do share it with Mrs. Tracy. But in a way, I feel..."

"Supplanted?" Tin-Tin ventured, putting a hand on Kyrano's forearm.

"Yes," he admitted sheepishly. He turned back to the plant he was working on. "I hope the food is edible."

Tin-Tin laughed, a merry sound. "Father, you know very well it will be! Grandma and Lisa may not be of your caliber when it comes to some types of cooking, but they surpass you in others. And they are more than capable of following a recipe and fixing it to taste." She leaned in and murmured, as if imparting a secret, "And I know they have chosen not to make French food for this meal."

Kyrano's bushy eyebrows rose in surprise. "Not French? Then what have they chosen?"

She shook her head. "No, Father, it is a surprise." She stepped back and looked him up and down in a meaningful way. "Now, I think you should leave the garden to itself for a while and clean up for dinner. It will be an excellent meal and a festive time with family."

He smiled, and nodded. "I will come along shortly." Motioning to the bush he was pruning, he added, "I will finish this, then prepare myself."

"As you like, Father." Tin-Tin leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. "I will see you at dinner."

Kyrano's birthday, part 1

Posted by Tikatu on August 25, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #327 is a reply to message #326] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, September 17, 2068, 6:30 p.m., Tracy Island

The table sparkled with cut crystal, fine china and polished gold on a pristine white surface. The Tracy family, both natural and extended, gathered around, dressed semi-formally for this special dinner. Kyrano, resplendent in dark blue silks, had the place of honor at Jeff's left, displacing Scott, who usually sat there. There was a place reserved at Kyrano's side for Lisa, but at the moment, she, Emily, Dianne and Cherie were busy bringing out steaming dishes to place up and down the table. A garden salad was being dished out, and baskets of warm, fat, crusty breadsticks were being passed up and down the table. Bottles of wine, both red and white, were opened and poured for those who wanted -- and were old enough -- to drink them. Iced tea or water sufficed for the rest.

"I see you chose Italian as the theme for this evening," Kyrano said with a smile as Emily placed a serving bowl full of shrimp scampi mixed with angel hair pasta before him.

"I most certainly wasn't going to go with French," she replied, returning the smile. "And you've told me on more than one occasion that my Italian dishes were on par with your favorite restaurant."

"Indeed, they are," he said, taking a portion of the dish. "And I do enjoy the garlic."

"Then you'll enjoy the meal," Emily responded before moving back down the table.

At last the food was distributed, and the ladies joined the rest of the family. Veal marsala, shrimp scampi, fettucine alfredo, and chicken cacciatore -- with Emily's homemade sauce -- quieted the diners as the first bites were taken and savored. Then came the sounds and comments of appreciation.

Jeff took a sip of wine to clear his mouth of veal and pasta. "You ladies must have worked all day on this meal."

"Yes, we did," Lisa said. She put a gentle hand on her fiancé's arm. "But he's worth it."

"I am honored by the meal and the effort you put into it, Lisa, Mrs. Tracy. You have truly outdone yourselves this evening. Thank you." Kyrano leaned over and kissed Lisa lightly on the cheek, provoking a smattering of "oohs" from the younger set, and a wolf-whistle from Gordon.

The meal concluded with a rich chocolate cheesecake, and a toast from Jeff. "To Kyrano, man of many talents, who keeps our bodies and souls together. Life begins at sixty-five," this got a laugh from those around the table, "and may your sixty-fifth year be better than you could ever dream. Happy birthday!"

The others around the table lifted their glasses, and echoed, "Happy Birthday!" And while the others drank, Tyler piped up and said, "Time for presents!"

Kyrano's birthday, part 2

Posted by Tikatu on August 27, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #328 is a reply to message #327] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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The presents had been put on a cart kept in one corner of the room. After glancing at their mother for permission - and getting it - Alex and Tyler went over to it, and pushed it to the corner of the table, between Kyrano and Jeff. There were several gifts of various sizes and shapes, including two taller ones. Tyler indicated one of these. "Open this one first, please."

Kyrano first looked at the card. "From both Alex and Tyler. Thank you, boys. I know I will enjoy it, whatever it is." He opened it, and his eyes gleamed when he saw what they had gotten him. "A beautiful bonsai."

"It's a Fukien Tea plant. Tin-Tin told us that you didn't have one of these," said Alex.

"So we decided you should have one, " added Tyler.

"And you were right. Thank you again. It is the perfect gift." The two boys beamed.

Kyrano picked up an envelope and opened it. "A trip to Paris, from Mr. and Mrs. Tracy. This is a thoughtful gift; thank you."

Jeff said, "We thought you would like to take one last bachelor trip, but if you'd rather your next vacation there is with your fiancée, we can arrange that, too."

Kyrano looked at Lisa. "Actually, I have been thinking I should go there by myself, to take care of a few things. I hope you don't mind, my love. I would rather take you there as my wife."

She gazed into his eyes for a moment before replying. "I don't mind - as long as you come back to me."

"Of course." He leaned over and kissed her once more. Then he turned back to the cart. "And what is this?" He opened a large box, after reading the card that told him it was from Jeff. "You didn't need to get me another gift, Mr. Tracy."

"I know, but I wanted to."

"Ah." Kyrano had looked inside and seen what the box contained. He pulled out the bottle of cognac and looked at the label. "A fine year." He then reach inside once more and brought the cups into view. There were several gasps of admiration as he turned to Lisa and said, "We will drink our first toast as husband and wife with these."

"How wonderful. They are absolutely gorgeous."

"Yes, they are. Thank you, Mr. Tracy."

"You're more than welcome."

The next gift he picked up was a flat square box. When he opened it, he found it was a disc, with the recording of the Beatles' When I'm Sixty-Four.

"I can tell without looking at the card that this is from Gordon," he quipped.

"When I'm Sixty-Four? Hey Gordon. Kyrano is sixty-five today," exclaimed Virgil.

"I know that, Virge. I couldn't find the recording last year."

As the chuckles went around the table, Kyrano opened the second tall gift. It was an orchid from John. "How beautiful," he said, as there were oohs and ahs from a few people at the table. "Thank you, John. This will make a wonderful addition to my garden."

"I'm glad you like it."

Slowly the pile of gifts still unopened diminished, until there were only two left. They were the ones from the two women he cared about most.

"And I know what Tin-Tin's gift is."

"Perhaps, Father; but I think it might surprise you nonetheless," she replied.


A week earlier, Lisa had gone to see Tin-Tin. "Your father's birthday is coming up very soon, and I don't know what to give him. I'm hoping you can give me some suggestions."

"Oh, goodness," the younger woman had exclaimed. "With all that's been going on here, I forgot about it. I give him a picture of myself each year on his birthday. He's kept an album of me since the day I was born, and there's one more spot for this year's. I usually go and have a portrait done by a professional, but I can't now. I'm not going to have another chance to go to the mainland." She looked distressed.

"Don't worry about it. Why not have your picture taken here, instead? Sometimes they are better, more cherished than professional shots."

Tin-Tin took Lisa's hand and squeezed it gratefully. "That's kind of you to say. And it gives me an idea. Perhaps you could get my father a new album, to record your life with him. And you could start it with a picture of the two of us."

Lisa removed her hand, but only to hug her future stepdaughter. "What a wonderful idea! Thank you!" Then she released her and asked, "But who can we get to take the pictures?"

"Hmm. That's a good question." Tin-Tin thought for a few moments. Then she brightened. "I think I know. And there's no time like the present to do it. What do you say we meet in my father's garden in half an hour?"

"That sounds fine. It'll give me time to freshen up a bit."


The picture Tin-Tin gave her father would become his favorite in the years to come. "Daughter, this is beautiful. It was taken in my garden?" His daughter nodded, pleased at his reaction. "But who was the photographer?"

"It was Brains."

She'd coaxed Brains to be the photographer, and he had done a wonderful job. He'd had her sit on the bench, turned so her right arm was over the back. She was gazing, not at the camera, but slightly to its left, out into the garden. The light was soft in that area, the look on her face was perfect, and Kyrano thought he could see the photographer's love for his daughter.

He stood up and went over to where she was sitting. When she rose, he hugged her, then said, "You should have him take your picture every year, if the results are always like this. It is a perfect last picture for the album." He smiled at the engineer sitting next to his daughter. Brains blushed, but met his gaze and smiled back at him.

As he returned to his seat, he added, "I suppose that I'll have to get a new album, in which to put the next pictures."

"Not necessarily," said his fiancée.

He was delighted to receive the new photo album from Lisa, and when he opened it, his happiness at what he saw was obvious to everyone. Once again, Brains had shown an almost genius talent in the way he posed Lisa and Tin-Tin together. They were on the bench, looking at each other. The smiles on their faces were loving, and slightly shy. It brought a tear to more than one person's eye, when he showed it to the others. He hugged her, and kissed her yet again.

"Thank you, everyone. This has been a wonderful birthday, and you have been most generous to me."

"I believe I speak for everyone when I say that it was our privilege and our pleasure to do this for you," said Jeff, and murmurs of agreement went around the table.

"And now, Lisa, why don't you and Kyrano go for a walk in his garden, while the boys and I take care of cleaning up. And don't you even think of lifting a finger to help, Kyrano. It's still your birthday."

"Yes, Mrs. Tracy. I will first take these gifts to my quarters, then we will do as you suggest." He stood and pulled Lisa's chair back. "Perhaps you and I can also discuss the best place for my new plants while we are out there," he told her as they left with the cart.

"Now boys, Cherie, let's get this table cleared - and I'm talking to all of you. Jeff, not you; you and Dianne go do whatever." Emily looked at each Tracy son as they murmured, "Yes, Grandma." They picked up some tableware and followed the younger children, who had already picked up their plates and glasses, and headed for the kitchen.

Posted by hobbeth on August 27, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #329 is a reply to message #328] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, September 17th 6:30 am, Kansas (11:30 pm Tracy Island, same day)

"Hey, Cassie," Dom said, shaking his traveling companion gently. Cassie had fallen asleep after he had left the cabin area.

"What?" Cassie asked sleepily, opening her eyes. She found Dom leaning over her.

"Elise sent me back to let you know we're about ready to land."

"Okay," Cassie said, sitting up straighter in the seat. As Dom disappeared back up front, Cassie looked out the window. The ground below was starting to get closer as the plane descended.

Moments later the plane made a smooth landing on the runway. Cassie watched the scenes passing by outside the plane as it made its way toward the gate. It wasn't long before Cassie, Dom and Elise were all making their way down the steps. After retrieving their bags from the hold, the three made their way into the airport.

"I think I'll grab a cup of coffee," Elise said she looked toward Cassie. "You have a half hour until your flight to NY, right. Want to join me?"

"Sure, I just want to pick up my boarding pass and figure out where the gate is first."

"No, problem," Elise said. She turned to Dom. "Have time to join us?"

"No, I should probably get going. I want to make sure I'm on time for the trial at noon."

"Okay. Hope everything goes well," Elise told him.

"Thank-you," Dom replied. He looked toward Cassie. "Nice meeting you. Guess I'll be seeing you when you make it back to the island," he said, holding out his hand.

Cassie took it. "Likewise," she told him. She paused and then said, "I hope everything goes well at the trial."

"Thank you," Dom said with a grim smile. "I do, too."

As Dom headed toward the exit, Cassie and Elise headed to a kiosk so Cassie could get her ticket for her flight home.

Dominic walked slowly, the worry about the oncoming trial and the weariness of the flight seeming like lead weights on his shoulders. As he made it outside into the heat and sunlight, he shaded his eyes, but squinted as a familiar figure stopped nearby to light a cigar. Dominic willed his legs to start moving faster, but they came to a complete stop as the man huffed out his first drag. He looked around, but did a double take when he saw Dominic standing just outside the exit, staring at him.

"Dominic?" He asked, removing the cigar from his mouth.


Matt Hawkins strode over to his son, his face a wrinkled picture of confusion.

"It's six-thirty in the blessed a.m., what are you doing... wait, what are you doing in Kansas? You're certainly the last person I expected to see as I saw Tom off on his way to New York."

Dominic couldn't help himself. He found himself alone, with no place to go, no one to share the burden with. Much as he bore so much bad feeling towards this non-father, he was better than nothing.

"It's... it's Joshua."

Matthew's face dropped and every one of his muscles seemed to tense.

"What's wrong with him? Dominic..."

"No, it's... my ex-wife. She's... she's trying to sue for custody of him. I'm here for a preliminary hearing."

Matt's face went bright red within a second, and he sucked heavily on his cigar, directing the outflow of smoke away from his son's face.

"That's outrageous! Well then, you're coming with me. We'll get you rested up and well prepared. No one's going to take my grandchild away from me, or to destroy my son's life..."

Dominic felt hatred and rage on many levels: the irony of Matt's reaction, of all of his words... But... he still followed the man to his shining, red, top-of-the-range sports car, and allowed himself to be driven back to the large Hawkins Estate.

--Arrival in Kansas by ArtisticRainey and starrynebula on August 29, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #330 is a reply to message #329] Mon, 23 July 2012 19:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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"Come on in, son."

Dominic's eye twitched when Matthew used that word, but he nodded and entered the grand house. Matthew Hawkins had made himself a millionaire through business, shrewdness, and by being the best aeronautics designer outside of Tracy Industries. Dominic glanced upwards at the sweeping winged staircase and the large diamond chandelier that hung above it. The stairs descended into a large, square hallway, to which all of the rooms on the lower floor were connected.

Matthew took Dominic's bag and set it beside the staircase, before smiling at his son -- though it was a smile that could sense the bad feelings between them -- and holding out a hand to point to the kitchen.

"I'll make you some breakfast, and we'll talk about this situation."

Dominic wanted to say no, he didn't want food (especially food cooked by his fake father), but he nodded and walked where he was told, his head ever-so-slightly hung. Matthew pulled out a chair at the central kitchen table for Dominic, and immediately shrugged off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves, and started cooking. Dominic watched his every move. For a heavyset, six foot tall man, he was surprisingly fluid in his movements. Matthew reached into the large double fridge for a packet of bacon, before setting it down again and opening one of the drawers near the bottom. He took out a variety of foodstuffs that Dominic recognized immediately -- vegetarian alternatives. His lips flattened together. Neither Matthew nor his wife -- nor anyone in his immediate family, as far as I'm aware, is vegetarian... When his father set a huge plate of vegetarian bacon, sausages, eggs and toast in front of him, Dominic found himself ravenous, and nodded his thanks before digging in.

Matthew smiled, poured two cups of coffee, and sat down opposite his son. He watched Dom wolf down the food as if he hadn't eaten in days, before smiling wider as his son found something particularly to his tastes.

"Potato bread?" Dom asked incredulously. "Where did you get it? I've never been able to find it over here."

"I made it."

Dom's jaw dropped, but quickly clamped shut again when he realized there was half-chewed food inside his mouth.

"What? Why?"

"Well, you sang its praises when you were here last, so I looked up a recipe. Took a few times to get it to turn out the way it looked in the picture. I've developed a taste for it. Which is probably a bad thing, considering..." Matthew slapped his rotund stomach for effect.

Dominic chuckled, but suddenly found his appetite had left him. He set down his knife and fork, and sat still for several seconds.

"Dominic?" Matthew asked.

"I'm tired," Dom said. "I' to get a few hours of sleep before the hearing."

"Oh, oh of course," Matthew said, suddenly feeling a thick sheet of ice separate he and his son. "Any of the guest rooms you like. When is it?"


"I'll wake you around eleven, and give you a ride there."

"That's unnecessary..."

"But it's happening."

Dominic sat again for a few moments, before rising from the table and leaving the room. He picked up his bag on the way upstairs, and let himself in to the nearest bedroom. He threw his carryall on the floor, and flopped down onto the bed with his head in his hands. I cannot deal with this right now. But all he could think about was the vegetarian food, the potato bread, his father's unfailing kindness, and the sick feeling that the past and the present clashing were creating in his stomach

"I do not need this right now..."

Posted by ArtisticRainey on August 30, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #331 is a reply to message #330] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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"This initial hearing for the custody of Joshua Aaron Kelly is hereby called to order. You may sit."

The white-haired, elegant judge sank gracefully into her seat, and the two parties followed her lead -- Dominic and Mike Lavender on one side of the gleaming dark wood table, and Margaret and her lawyer, a Mister Todd, on the other. Dominic felt as though his throat was closing in, and dearly wanted to unbutton the collar of his pristine, starched white shirt. It felt wrong to be sitting with a straight back in a fancy office, wearing a suit otherwise reserved for weddings and funerals, facing off against his ex-wife, with his abandoner father waiting outside. He gulped as discretely as possible; there was no room for nerves.

He glanced across the table to Margaret as the judge was sifting through her papers. She looked older than he remembered from their very brief meeting in February; years older, in fact. But his examination ceased as the judge cleared her throat.

"Let's get started. Parties assembled are Dominic Aidan Kelly, the child in question's current guardian, and his lawyer, Michael Samuel Lavender; and Margaret Allison Houston, the petitioner, and her lawyer, Ernest Mitchell Todd. Firstly, let's have a run-down on the situation. Mr Kelly, you have had sole custody of the child since the fifteenth of December 2065, is that correct?"

"Yes ma'am," Dominic replied. He was glad his voice hadn't cracked.

"And Ms Houston, you have had no contact with the child since the day of his birth, that being the same day as Mr Kelly became sole custodian, correct?"

Margaret paused for a moment, before answering, "That is correct, ma'am."

"And you are now suing for sole custody of the child, correct?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Okay. Now, first of all, I'm going to ask Mr Kelly to describe to us the situation that Joshua is in currently. I'm going to ask you a few questions, Mr Kelly, and you need to answer as truthfully as possible, otherwise if on further investigation by the court you are found to be lying, your case may be damaged. Understood?"

"Yes, ma'am." Dominic's heart was beating in his throat, and he gulped again.

"All right. Mr Kelly, could you describe to us the characteristics of your home, including location, access to amenities and so forth."

"Well, your honour, myself and my son live off shore on an island owned by my employer, Mr Jeff Tracy, owner of Tracy Industries. I'm a nurse registered at the practice there -- it's a small community. I guess that means it's not particularly close to a lot of amenities, but the island is fully kitted out for those of us who live there."

The judge's face remained impartial, and she was taking notes down in a data padd.

"Elaborate, please."

"Well, there's a school room and satellite links to schools in New Zealand for the kids who're living there, so education won't be a problem. The medical suite is capable of handling everything from in-grown toenails to appendectomies -- with a highly qualified doctor and surgeon working there, as well as myself and another nurse. We live in a new, modern apartment; Joshua has his own room and plenty of space to explore. There are beaches and gardens, even a swimming pool, plus plenty of people to interact with. There are a few lovely ladies who baby-sit him while I'm working, and, well, he's pretty much loved by everyone."

"I see. Does he have any companions of his own age?"

"Well, no, your honour. He's the youngest child on the island. But he's never stuck for company. As I said, there are children there, though they are a little older, but he has plenty of 'uncles' and 'aunties' to play with."

"Okay, thank you, Mr Kelly. Now," the judge continued, "can you tell us of any new significant relationships you might have, and how they effect Joshua's life?"

"Well, uh," Dominic felt himself colour slightly, but didn't really know why, "there hasn't been anyone at all since Joshua was born. It's just been he and I."

"All right. Now, third question: how would you say that the child is doing in his current home?"

"Oh, Joshua's doing just great." Dom felt a smile try to creep onto him face, but he restrained it. "He's twelve kilos in weight, around eighty centimetres in height, and he's just...happy. He loves the sunshine, and all the people he can play with. He's been taken to explore rock pools, for walks on the beach, quiet time on the shore. He is, as I said, happy."

"Okay. Now for my last question: you said that the child was cared for when you're at work. How does he react to this?"

"Well, he's always happy to go, and he never seems upset. The ladies tell me how he's gotten on every day, how he's been feeding and such. As far as I'm aware, he likes it just fine."

"Okay, thank you, Mr Kelly."

Dom glanced at Mike, who was sitting on his right side, and the man smiled almost imperceptibly at him. The lawyer's eyes seemed to congratulate him. Dominic relaxed a little.

"Now that we've heard from the child's current guardian, I'd like to hear from the petitioner. Ms Houston, I'm going to ask you to answer the same questions about how you would be able to provide for Joshua. As I said to Mr Kelly, if your answers are later found to be incorrect, your case may be damaged. Firstly, a description of your home and how the child would be housed."

Margaret raised her left hand to clear her throat behind, and Dominic's eyes were immediately drawn to her ring finger -- or rather, her lack-of-ring finger. The huge engagement ring she was wearing was gone. He kept his face impassive, but couldn't help wondering why it wasn't there.

"I live with my parents in their spacious house here in Wichita. He would have his own room and a huge garden to play in. We live in a suburb, and the school systems are excellent, some of the best in the state. We're not too far from several hospitals, including the Tracy Airbase Hospital -- which isn't solely for the company -- where I currently work. We're close to parks, pools, playgrounds, day care centres, everything he could want."

"Okay. Thank you. Now, what about any significant relationships you might have, Ms Houston?"

"Well, I've recently split from my former fiancée, but there is no one else right now. I'm fully committed to building up a relationship with my son, rather than someone else."

"All right. Final question for you: how would you describe your working hours or a typical day in your life?"

"Well, your honour, as I said I work at the Tracy Airbase Hospital just outside of Wichita. I'm training to be an ophthalmic surgeon. My hours are rather long, but they're regular. Any time not working, I'd be dedicating to my son."


The judge was typing up a few more notes, and Dominic didn't feel as if he could even look at Margaret. What a pile of you-know-what. Dedicated to Joshua? She certainly didn't feel that way when he was born!

"Now that we've heard from both parties, I'd like to give my opinion on the situation regarding Joshua Kelly from what you've both told me. After that -- and only after -- you may raise any questions or comments that you have on my take. Understood?"

There was a general murmur of "yes, ma'am," from around the table.

"It is my understanding that the child in question is thriving in his current home with Mr Kelly. He is healthy, happy, and well-cared for, with adequate social and recreational facilities, though there is an issue of not having any peers. From what Ms Houston has told me, the same could be said of the situation she could provide for Joshua. You are both medical professionals with working lives, but also with apparent facilities for the care of the child whilst at work. Ms Houston may have the benefit of being closer to playmates of the same age for Joshua, but he does not appear to be suffering in his current situation."

Dominic's fingers clenched together tightly as the judge briefly paused in her rhetoric.

"My recommendation is that the home of each party is investigated by a social worker of this court to confirm or deny any of the information given in this hearing, and that we will reconvene in seven days' time in order to discuss the results, and further this custody appeal. Any questions?"

Mike Lavender sat forward in his chair.

"Your honour, is an investigation strictly necessary? My client has been one-hundred percent truthful in his answers."

"I would not have suggested it if I didn't deem it necessary, Mr Lavender," she said tartly. "We have no evidence of the situation from either party, but both are deemed suitable. The investigation will further my understanding of this case, and allow me to make a decision based on what is best for the child's welfare -- which is paramount to this court. Anything else?"

"My client has no questions at this time, your honour," Ernest Todd said simply, before lapsing into silence again.

"All right, you'll both be receiving further communication from this court as to the visits, and to confirm the next custody hearing. I call this meeting to a close. Good afternoon."

All around the table rose as the judge did, and she quietly swept out of the room.

Mr Todd stood and pulled Margaret's chair out for her, and she rose gracefully. Ernest motioned for her to leave in front of him, and Margaret inclined her head in thanks. Just before she crossed the threshold, she stopped and turned to lay her green eyes on Dominic with contempt.

"I will get my baby back. And he won't leave me, and he will love me."

After that she was gone, Ernest trotting after her. Mike laid a strong hand on Dominic's shoulder. He could feel the man shaking with rage.

"She's full of it," he said. "There's no way she'll get sole custody. No way."

Dominic swung around and glared up at his lawyer.

"You also said it wouldn't get any further than this. Now I have to prove to some snobby social worker that I'm a fit parent, when I already know I am?"

Dominic stalked out of the room and back down to the ground floor waiting area. On seeing his son's livid face, Matthew stood, his face lined with worry.

"Dominic, what happened?"

"You!" Dom bellowed. "You're no better than her, no better! You think that you can waltz back into my life after years of busting my arse to try and care for the woman you abandoned! You left me! You didn't care! And now you try to make up for it with your money, and your -- your stupid food! Well you know what? That's not what I want from you!"

Dominic strode from the building in a rage, but a little voice in the back of his head was already berating him for what he had done. It wasn't Mike's fault the case didn't go your way... Matthew's trying to make up for things... You're just a punk-ass little brat... As the voice got louder, Dominic found his energy depleting, and eventually he stopped. Matthew lumbered up behind him. There was silence for close to a minute, before Matthew spoke.

"You don't know how much it's haunted me, leaving you and your mother. It was the dumbest thing I've ever done. And I'm sorry for it every day of my life."

"Took you long enough to try and get back into my life," Dom said coldly.

"And I'm sorry for it."

Dom swung around with his eyes blazing.

"My mother killed herself because of you!"

Matthew's mouth opened and closed several times, but no sound came out.

"Yes, that's right. She took a whole bunch of pills and hung herself, because she was alone, and she was in pain, and all of her dreams had been shattered by you, who left her alone, when you knew she had no money, and that she wasn't ready, that she couldn't do it alone!"

"I was the cancer."

"The cancer was the final straw." Dominic's heart was beating wildly; he could feel it in his wrists, throat, and chest. "Do you know what it was like, having to sacrifice any semblance of a childhood, to have to work two jobs, go to school, go find your half-cut mother on a street corner and try to bring her home to sober up so she could try to get a job the next day? And then, once life is finally looking up, to hear she has cancer, and then one day to go back to her house and find her dead? No, you don't. You used my mother, and then came back here and built up a fancy-schmancy life for yourself and your own family, and left us to rot."

"I'm...trying to make amends for that. I'm not proud of what I've done. I wish I could go back and change everything."

"Well, you can't. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go get my stuff, and leave."

"Would you like a lift?"

"No, no. The bus is good enough for me. Goodbye."

Dominic walked off and jammed his hands into his suit pockets. Every step brought his anger down another notch, revealing the raw pain underneath. By the time he reached the nearest relevant bus-stop, his head was hung, and all he wanted to do was cry. He reached into his pocket for his cell-phone, and dialled Elise's number to say that he was on his way.

Posted by ArtisticRainey on August 30, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #333 is a reply to message #331] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Tuesday, September 18, 10 AM; Tracy Island.

"Mr. Tracy, have you received any responses to your ad for a mechanic yet?" Brains said as he walked into the lounge. "It's been a week since you received the resignation from Kat, and the work is cutting into everyone's other duties. We need to find another mechanic, and soon."

Jeff looked up from his computer. "I put the ad in only four days ago, and decided to wait a while before I checked. Sit down while I do."

The engineer complied. "If I'm ever going to get Seven rebuilt, and Eight off the design board, I'll need someone who can take over the maintenance quickly."

"I know, Brains. Ah, the responses are coming up now."

"Great!" Brains got up and walked around the desk as Jeff pulled up the ad, to see if anyone had replied. I hope we can find a replacement soon. There's a lot to work on, and I need help if I'm going to get the other things done."

"Interesting. We've had only five responses so far. I'd hoped for more; it would have given us a broader range to select from. I suppose that having to send an application to our Sydney HR office might have put some people off."

"Who's responded?"

"Let's see. Jeanine Laroche, Henry Drake, Sally Miller, Sammy Kyung and William Abbott. One from France - no, she's French, but living in Australia - a," Jeff looked closer at one of the applications, "Korean-Australian, an Australian, and two Americans, one in Mississippi and one in San Francisco."

"Let's see the résumés."

Jeff brought the first one up. "I'm looking forward to the new monitors arriving. They'll make things a lot easier. I'm glad you talked to me about it, and that we ordered them. I can't imagine why we never made this upgrade before."

Several days earlier, Brains had become frustrated one too many times by the fact that he had to keep minimizing and maximizing windows to get the information he wanted. He'd stopped what he was working on, looked up information on double and triple screen monitors, and printed out information on several types. He highlighted the one he felt would work best for him, and International Rescue, and took all the printouts to Jeff and Dianne. Jeff had approved of his choice, with his wife's agreement, and Brains promptly ordered a dozen. They were to arrive soon.

"I agree. But other things kept taking priority, well, until I got fed up, I guess. And even Tin-Tin has commented on it." He peered myopically at the screen. "I'm not so sure about this Jeanine Laroche person. Her qualifications are merely adequate, and if she speaks and understands English like she writes it, I don't think she'll work out."

"I agree." Jeff closed her application, and brought the next one up. "Hmm. Henry Drake. Interesting. He has quite a résumé, but something about the way he's written it up makes me wary. I can't put my finger on it, but it does." He minimized it and brought the third one up.

"Will Abbott. His résumé looks like he's never written one before."

"True, Brains, but look. After the Navy, he began working for his father. He probably never needed to. Hmm. I wonder what the 'family emergency' was."

One by one, Jeff brought up the last two résumés. "The others look like they might qualify. Sally Miller isn't far away, and neither is Sammy Kyung."

"I think we should do background checks on all four of these people."

"I agree. Tell you what; I'll take Drake and Miller, and you take Abbott and Kyung. Let's get background checks on these people as fast as possible. If we're lucky, we should have something back within twenty-four hours."

"Okay, Mr. Tracy. I'll get right on it." Brains turned and left the lounge.

Posted by hobbeth on August 31, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #334 is a reply to message #333] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, September 17, around 11:30 p.m NYC (Tuesday, September 18, 3:30 p.m, Tracy Island)

Cassie leaned her head back against the window of the subway car but refrained from closing her eyes. There were only a few others on the car with her but she knew she could never be too careful in the city. Despite the nap on the plane and the one she had taken before work, the time change was getting to her. She had never been so happy to see the night shift come into the fire station.

I should call Mr. Tracy when I get home, Cassie thought to herself, as the subway train rocked steadily on its journey under the city. The motion wasn't helping the sleepy feeling. It's late here but mid-afternoon there, she thought, having figured out and memorized the time difference between Tracy Island and New York so she would know it when she wanted to call her family after she moved. If I wait till morning, it's going to be too late on the island to make the call.

At the next stop, Cassie got up and left the train. She walked up the steps to street level and quickly walked the few blocks to her brother's apartment building. She keyed in the code at the front door and let herself into the building.

As she expected, her brother's apartment was empty. Mark had said he was heading to one of the gay bars in the city after work tonight to unwind. Cassie really wished her brother would finally find someone he could have a serious relationship with.

Flopping down on the couch, Cassie dug both her phone and the card with Mr. Tracy's number on it out of her jacket pocket. She dialed the number and listened to the phone ring. On the third ring it was answered.

"Hello," came the now familiar voice of her new employer.

"Hi, Mr. Tracy. It's Cassie Kishi."

"Cassie, hi," Jeff said, a bit surprised to hear from his newest recruit so soon. "Must be getting late there."

"It is. I just got off work, and I'm exhausted. I wanted to call and let you know that I talked to Chief Calloway today. He isn't requiring that I put in the two weeks but he does want me to finish out the posted schedule. The schedule's out to Sunday evening." Cassie paused. She wasn't sure how he'd feel about her next request but she wanted to make it. "After that, sir, I'd like a few days to go see my one brother and his family in Connecticut before I leave. I haven't seen them in awhile and I'm not sure when I'll see them again."

"Of course," Jeff told her. He paused as he looked at the calendar. "How about I send someone for you on October second, which will probably end up falling on the first there. Will that be enough time?"

"I can be ready by then," Cassie told him.

"Great. I'll have someone pick you up at JFK Airport that day. I'll get back to you with the exact time and who to expect when day gets closer."

"Okay, Mr. Tracy."

"Looking forward to having you on the team, Cassie."

"Thank-you, Mr. Tracy," she replied.

Ending the call, Cassie stood up and headed for her bedroom. Her bed was definitely calling her name.

Posted by starrynebula on August 31, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #335 is a reply to message #334] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Dominic was silent for the journey back to Tracy Island. Elise had, naturally, asked how things had gone. She had, however, received no more than a grunt as a response. Her normally chipper team mate kept his eyes forward at all times. Elise didn't know whether to feel offended or not, because Dom was being incredibly rude, but she didn't know what had went on. She snuck a sidelong glance at him from time to time, noting the very pale pallor of his skin -- which was saying something, as the Irishman was naturally pure white. He looked exhausted. I'm not surprised at that, Elise thought, considering the stress of the day combined with the changing time-zones. Under normal circumstances she would have called him on his behaviour, but at that point, he looked as if he could snap, and he was her co-pilot.

By the time she requested permission to land on Tracy Island at exactly half-past five in the evening, the stony silence had gotten too much for her. As soon as she could she was out of the cockpit and starting into her post-flight checks. Dominic walked off without so much as a goodbye or a thank you. She shook her head as she watched him leave. Either there was something incredibly grumpy in the water in Kansas, or the hearing did not go well. For Dominic's sake, I hope it was the water. She left the matter to simmer in her mind, turning her attention to her checks, and what would hopefully come soon after: bed.

Posted by ArtisticRainey on August 31, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #336 is a reply to message #335] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, Sept 18; Silver Spring, 1 AM (5 PM on TI)

Lena threw the bedcovers off and sat up, reaching for her robe. It's no use; I can't sleep. Dere's something I need to do. She stood up and slid her feet into her slippers, then went out into the hall. She walked to her home office, hesitating at the door, then opened it and went inside.

She glanced at her computer - Not now, she thought - and sat down. Opening one of the drawers, she took out some notepaper and a pen. She thought for several minutes before she began. She wrote swiftly, pausing only a few times to consider what to say next. When she was finished, she read it over.

Dear Matthew,

I'm writing this to you as my eldest child, but most of it you should share with the rest of the family. You will know what to tell them, I'm sure.

First of all, I needed to put my thoughts down on paper, not on the computer. As wonderful as computers are, they seem too impersonal for what I want to say. I feel you deserve better. Hence this letter.

Since the plane crash, the realization of my own mortality has grown increasingly stronger. It's also made me realize that there are some things I need to tell you, before anything else happens to me. Of course, I hope that many years pass before you see this, but none of us can tell what the future holds for us.

On to the practical. As you know, I sometimes take on special projects for Mr. Tracy. In order to do them, he has provided me with state-of-the-art computers, both here and at work, and a top-of-the-line security system for this house. You and Joy already have the passwords for my home alarm, but I ask you again not to give it out to anyone, including your children. That's how sensitive some of the projects can be.

However, should something happen to me, so that I can no longer do the job, Mr. Tracy should be informed, so he can send someone to remove the computers and security alarms. I am including the number to call and tell him of my condition. You can let him know that whomever he sends should contact you.

If I am dead, you will all have heard the will. I truly don't care what each of you does with what I leave you; they're only things. What I really wanted to leave you, can't be put into a will. So I'm telling you here.

I want to leave the greatest treasure I have in equal amounts to each of you: my love. You have all been sources of great pride to me. Any disappointments I may have had were few, and small - and forgotten. My one regret in dying would be that I'd have to leave you, even if it is only for a time.

I also hope I've left you many good memories of the times we spent together. Keep them in your hearts, and we won't be completely separated.

I wish you all years of love, health, and happiness. I love you all very much.

She folded the paper and placed it into an envelope. She wrote on the envelope: For Matthew, to be opened if I am permanently disabled, or have died.

Lena turned to a cabinet and opened it. It contained a safe, among other things. She entered the combination, and reached inside, taking out some papers. Locating her will among them, she place the letter she just wrote with it, then put everything back into the safe, and closed everything up.

Feeling like an important task had been performed, she headed back to her bedroom, removed her robe and slippers, and lay down with a sigh of relief.

Two minutes later, she was asleep.

Posted by hobbeth on August 31, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #337 is a reply to message #336] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, September 18; 10:15 AM; BWI Airport (2:15 AM the next day on Tracy Island)

The flight attendant greeting the boarding passengers recognized the older black woman who was approaching the doorway. "Mrs. Matumbo! I'm so pleased to see you again, and very happy that you're traveling with us. After what happened the last time, a lot of the survivors still find it difficult to fly, and those who have, have taken another airline."

Lena stopped out of the way of passengers behind her and smiled at the attendant. "Dat's silly of dem. It wasn't at all de fault of de airline; it was dat air traffic controller. Personally, I tink it was due to de captain's abilities dat de deats and injuries weren't more extensive."

"You are so right. I just had a mild concussion and a few bruises. I was back in the air in only a couple of weeks. I wasn't about to let what happened stop me from doing what I love."

"Good for you. Have you heard any more about de captain? How is he doing?"

"He is doing better than the doctors expected him to, but I doubt he'll be able to fly a commercial jet again. His legs were so severely damaged, he'll be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, unless someone comes up with some new medical procedure to heal them completely. Oh, and he proposed to that woman he was seeing, and she accepted."

"Dat's wonderful! But if her brotter heard, I'm sure he isn't happy about dat."

The flight attendant chuckled, then became serious again. "I understand he went ballistic when he heard his sister was visiting the captain at the hospital, and had to be sedated. I believe he's in a psychiatric ward somewhere, and I don't really want to know where."

"I don't blame you. But I tink I'd better take my seat. I'd ratter be in it when we take off." Lena winked at the attendant and headed down the aisle. She was in the second row of the first class seats, and found herself next to a middle aged woman, who looked frightened. Once she was settled, she turned to the woman and smiled. "Is dis your first flight?"

"No, but it is on this airline. I have to get to Seattle for the birth of my first grandchild, and there were no other flights available. And after what happened last month to one of their flights out of Denver, I'm not so sure I want to be here. You heard about that crash, didn't you?"

"Hear about it? Honey, I was in it. As you can see, I survived. And out of de tree hundred or so passengers and crew aboard, less dan two dozen died. As tragic as dat was, it could have been a lot worse.

"You were a victim of the crash and still are flying with this airline? Why?"

"It wasn't de airline's fault, nor de fault of de people flying de jet. It was caused by an air traffic controller who had serious personal problems, and took dem out on de captain of de plane. But dis airline has very capable people, and dey did a good job, under dose circumstances."

"Thank you, Mrs. Matumbo. I appreciate your words very much."

Startled, Lena turned to see two men standing in the aisle beside her seat. One was in a business suit, and the other in a pilot's uniform. The latter continued. "I was the co-pilot on that flight, ma'am, and I really want to thank you for what you just said."

"It's only de trut, young man."

"When Michelle - the flight attendant - told me you had come aboard, I had to meet you," the other man said as the co-pilot excused himself and headed back to the cockpit. "I am Ron Parker, vice president of Human Relations. I would like to ask a favor of you. Would you mind if we used your name as a survivor of the crash who isn't afraid to fly with us again? It would be in a press release, and perhaps in an advertisement down the road."

"You can use my name in de press release, Mr. Parker," she replied. "But I'm not so sure about de rest of it."

"Excuse me, sir," the attendant interrupted. "But we need to get going, so you'll have to take your seat and buckle in."

"All right," the businessman replied. "Mrs. Matumbo, I hope we can chat later during the flight."

"Dat will be fine."

Mr. Parker smiled and quickly got into his seat. Lena heard his buckle snap shut as the plane pulled away from the terminal. She turned to her seatmate, who was regarding her with some astonishment. "Look, I love my job, part of which is to fly to a different part of de country each mont. I'm not going to let some - well, I'm not going to get into name calling here. I'm not going to let anyone stop me from doing my job. Don't worry; we'll be fine. And when you have to travel, flying is still one of de safest ways to go."

The other woman relaxed slightly. "That's true. And if you can do it, after going through what you did, I guess I can, too."

They smiled at each other, and soon the jet was speeding down the runway.

Posted by hobbeth on August 31, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #338 is a reply to message #337] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Wednesday, September 19, 2068, 10 a.m., Tracy Island

"Well, this feels familiar." Emily opened the door to Heather's apartment. "Twice in a week," she said, shaking her head.

"I know." Lisa pulled the anti-gravity float into the living room behind her. "I feel bad for her, losing half her family in one terrible blow." She, too, shook her head, then gazed around the room, turning slowly. "She didn't even have time to make this place her home."

Emily pulled in a deep breath and let it out in a heavy sigh. "I know. But there shouldn't be too much to pack. I'll start in the kitchen."

"I'll take the bedroom."

The two women grabbed packing materials and each headed off to their respective rooms. Emily frowned as she checked the refrigerator. She certainly stocked up for a party. Wines, cheeses... it's not going to be easy packing this up. Maybe we'd just better buy them from her, as we did with Kat's supplies of meusli bars and long-life milk. She shook her head sharply. Seemed like that girl had those stashed everywhere!

Lisa, on the other hand, smiled as she ran her hand over the red velvet gown. This is lovely, and she looked lovely in it. It was a happy coincidence that she had this red dress for Virgil's party. She pulled it down and draped it carefully over the bed, then turned to the other dresses that hung in the closet. My, she has expensive tastes! I hope she has some happy occasions so she can wear these, too.

With a sigh, she began to take the dresses from the closet, and lay them out. I'll need a long box, maybe two, and lots of tissue paper to keep them from getting wrinkled. Well, better get to work.

With that, she went back out to the living room and the float, looking for the type of box she needed.

Posted by Tikatu on August 31, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #339 is a reply to message #338] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island, Wednesday, September 19th, 1:30 PM

Elise hummed to herself as she finished straightening up a few things. "There, dishes washed; laundry caught up; housecleaning done!" She smiled to herself. "Now, I have some time before I meet with Virgil, what to do until then?"

As if on cue, there was a knock on the door. She walked over and opened it.

Luke stood in the doorway. "Help."

"Luke! Come in! What's wrong?" she asked as she led him inside.

Luke sat down at the table. "Those white walls in my apartment. I can't stand it anymore!"

Elise chuckled. "Yeah, I have to agree with you on that." She gestured around her own place. "I never got around to doing anything about it. In fact, I think Dom is the only one who did!"

Luke shook his head. "I don't have a clue where to begin. Paint, I guess, but what colors?"

Elise handed him a glass of lemonade. "Well, what about your place at home? How did that look?"

Luke thought for a moment. "Modern mostly. Barry liked minimal color, dark, monochromatic type stuff."


"My partner. He's in advertising so he had a knack for that sort of thing. Me, I usually don't care, but can't stand just white." Luke took a sip of the lemonade.

Elise nodded thoughtfully. "I can understand that. Are you and Barry still together? I mean wouldn't it be hard with you here and him..."

"He got transferred to L.A. right before I took the job. In fact, him leaving was the reason I went looking for something else." He shrugged. "I needed the change, something to help me get over him, know what I mean?"

Elise smiled softly. "I do. And, I'm sorry. Breakups are always hard."

Luke smiled back. "Thanks."

Elise stood up. "Well, to start, let's go upstairs and see what we have to work with. How about I grab Nikki and get her opinion too?"

"Sure! I can use all the help I can get!"

A short time later the three of them were standing in Luke's living room. Rommel kept nudging his muzzle under one of their hands, trying to get their attention. Elise laughed and knelt down to pat him. "Aren't you a big, beautiful boy. So handsome."

Luke rolled his eyes. "God, Rommel, you're pathetic."

Nikki eyed the stacks of books scattered around the edges of the walls. "Read much?"

He laughed. "I need to get some bookshelves made. I'll add wood to our list." He frowned. "Speaking of which, where do we get stuff anyway?"

"On the mainland. Christchurch, New Zealand mostly. I'll ask Dom where he bought the supplies for his place and we can try there," Elise replied.

"Sounds good." Luke looked around the room. "So any ideas?"

Elise stood up, and looked around, hands on her hips. "OK, what do you have for the walls? Any pictures, posters, things like that?"

Luke led her over to a pile of crates. "Barry was into real edgy, cutting edge art. He took most of it with him." He rummaged through a box. "Here, this is some of what I have." He pulled out a framed print featuring a snow capped mountain range.

Nikki ran her hand along the edge of the frame. "This is gorgeous. Where did you get it?"

Luke shrugged. "Got the pic at an art shop and made the frame myself."

Elise looked up in surprise. "You made it?"

Luke blushed. "Yeah, sort of one of my hobbies." He put the picture down and dug into another carton, pulling out a small object and handing it to her. "I carve. Small things mostly, but can build shelves and stuff too. Made a coffee table for my folks for Christmas a few years back."

Elise looked at the tiny statue of the deer in her hand. The detail was exquisite. She could almost see it breathe. "Luke, this is beautiful."

He smiled. "Then it's yours."

She looked up at him, eyes wide. "No, I couldn't."

"Sure you can!" He bent into the box again and took out something else, this time handing it to Nikki. "And for you. Consider it payment for your consulting services."

Nikki smiled and then gasped as she looked down at the small box in her hand. It was a tiny jewel box, carved with an intricate woven knot on the cover. "Thank-you, Luke. It's lovely."

"You're welcome." He put his hands on his hips and glanced around. "So, you two will help me? Get this place looking less like a sterile lab and more like a home?"

"You bet," Elise told him. "We'll check with Mr. Tracy, see who else we can grab and head to town as soon as we can."

Posted by lillehafrue on September 1, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #340 is a reply to message #339] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
Karma: 2
Field Commander
Wednesday September 19th 2068, 4.30pm, Tracy Island.

Jeff opened his email for what he felt like was the hundredth time that day. There were communiqués from several departments across his extensive business, and he got to work reading them right away, taking down notes on a data padd at his wrist. The list got shorter and shorter, until only one was left: it was from the security department that handled the background checks on anyone he asked. I wonder who exactly this is about. I have several people being checked at the moment.

He clicked on the link, and found that it was about the new dentist his family were registered with. That's good. It came back clean. I'll have to send off an email to confirm we will be staying with long as there was an address supplied. I know there was a phone number... Jeff went to locate the letter, smiled when he saw the email address, and began to type.


Izarra Soto Fernandez had finished with her patients for the day. Two of her other dentists were still working -- one with a particularly frightened young teenager, who really didn't want to be there. I'll have to look into getting these walls better soundproofing. I hate having jittery patients. Izarra swung around on her swivel chair and reached for her computer mouse. She was sitting in her spacious, modern office, with its curved edges and calming colour scheme. The previous owner had taste, she had observed when she visited the practice to view it before she put her money down on it. Now, it was all hers: a modern practice with an established clientele, and years to go to retirement.

Izarra had taken her work with her across three continents: Europe, where she had studied for her dentistry qualifications in Madrid, South America in her native Dominican Republic, and now Oceania, with her new Christchurch practice. She called up her email, and began working through the long list of unread mail. It's good to see that people are staying with us, she thought. I have been led to believe that Edmund McCann was a respected man; hopefully they will come to think the same of me -- except a respected woman, obviously. Izarra chuckled to herself, and opened the next email. Oh, I am pleased at that. The practice's most famous patient, Jeff Tracy of Tracy Industries fame, was remaining with them. That means eleven patients remain with us, she thought. Hopefully. I suppose many of his children are now grown and able to make their own choices...

Izarra finished reading her emails, and walked through to the reception area, her five inch heels clicking loudly. Such footwear, she realized, was not the best for working, and could project a negative image. I certainly do not want that. However, I would at least like to be able to see my patients eye-to-navel... Standing at a mere four foot nine, height had always been an issue with the slim, middle-aged woman. She made sure to wear long trousers to cover the height of the heels.

"Hey Ms Fernandez."

"Hello, Elizabeth."

Izarra smiled at the perky young woman manning the reception desk. Elizabeth was twenty years of age, wore her long blonde hair in low pigtails, and seemed to be forever chewing gum. Izarra shook her head.

"What have I told you about the gum? Spit it out."

"But there's no one here," Elizabeth whined.

Izarra gave her a stern look, and the blonde deposited her gum in the nearest waste bin.

"That's much better. Now, have you got everything up to date? Because I don't want to have Mandy cleaning up your mistakes again tomorrow. The woman is seven months pregnant and doesn't need the extra pressure on top of her work. Saying that I offered to let her take extra leave -- not all paid, obviously -- but she refused. In any case, you should be doing your job correctly, which I know you can do. You just need to concentrate and stop chewing -- have you put another piece of gum into your mouth?"

Elizabeth clamped her lips tightly together, and disappeared for a moment under the desk.

"Not any more..." she said sheepishly.

"Oh, Elizabeth, what am I going to do with you?" Izarra shook her head at the young woman, before sighing. "I want no more of this gum nonsense. You're on your last warning before I make it official on your record. Understood?"

"Yes, Ms Fernandez."

"Now, finish up, and you can clock out on time."

"Okay, no problem."

Izarra shook her head and turned to walk back to her office. That girl... I've only been here for three weeks and she's already had five 'unofficial' warnings. Enough is enough. She sat down at the computer once again, but her eyes strayed to the picture of her husband, framed and sitting beside the monitor. Oh Sébastian, she thought. I wish you were still here with me. Well, I suppose I wish that we were both together in Madrid once more, rather than here. I would go anywhere to be with you again. She smiled sadly at the photo, before turning back to her monitor to finish up her work for the day.

Posted by ArtisticRainey on September 1, 2007

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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #341 is a reply to message #340] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:08 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
Karma: 2
Field Commander
Thursday September 20th, 2068, 08.00, en route to Tracy Island.

"I do love to visit Tracy Island."

"Yus, milady."

Lady Penelope sat back in the comfortable passenger chair in her private jet, her finger perfectly manicured finger pressed on the intercom that connected her to Parker in the cockpit.

"What time will we be arriving?" She asked him.

"'Alf an hour, milady."

"Ah, good. I do wish to see everyone again. A trip to Bongo-Bongo never feels proper without a trip to see my good friends."

Penelope had been checking up on her sheep ranch in Australia -- and things were going wonderfully, thank you very much -- and as had become her custom, she was now heading to Tracy Island to spend a few days there before travelling back to England.

"It was dear Kyrano's birthday last Monday. I was sorry to miss it. However, I do hope he will like the gift that I have for him. I was going to purchase some cufflinks from dear François' new accessories for men collection, but I didn't feel that they were just the right gift. I think the handmade batik wall hangings are more appropriate. They're terribly delicate and very beautiful.

"Yus, milady. H'I am sure 'e will like 'em."

"I think I shall have a quick nap before we arrive."

"Quite right, milady. H'I will wake you in good time for landing."

"Good show, Parker."

Lady Penelope lifted her finger from the intercom button, and used a nearby remote control to lower her seat into a more suitable incline for sleeping. She picked up a pink, silk eye mask, from a pocket in the side of the seat, slipped it on, and was soon asleep.


Jeff watched from the balcony as Lady Penelope's jet made its final pass at the island, before descending in an arc towards the runway. Gordon, who had offered to meet her, was sitting nearby the landing strip to ferry their guests and their luggage up to the monorail, and then on to the round house. I'd like to have been meeting her myself, but I was in conference when Parker requested landing clearance. I'm glad it wrapped up sooner than I expected. I'll have Kyrano prepare some tea and meet her then. And I hope Gordon didn't bring a rubber chicken with him, or worse: a fake mouse. In the back of his mind, however, Jeff was chuckling at the thought of what his son could, but thankfully wouldn't, do to their guest. He smiled all the way down to the kitchen.


"Hey there, Penny, Parker!" Gordon said with a wide grin. "Welcome back."

He had just finished up some routine maintenance on Thunderbird Four with Brandon, and had decided to greet their guests in the interim between that and his meeting with Brains to discuss potential upgrades to the craft's navigational system at eleven a.m.

"Good morning, Gordon," Lady Penelope said as she gracefully exited her plane. "Lovely to see you. Is your father still in conference?"

"No, he's just told me to tell you he's finished now. He's sorry he couldn't make it down."

"Oh, it's of no real consequence. I shall have ample time to see him. How is everyone?"

"Well," Gordon said with a chuckle as he moved to help Parker load the baggage onto the little cart he had driven down in, "there is a lot of 'everyone' these days! Mom and Dad and Grandma are fine, and as far as I'm aware, so are all my numerous siblings. Thankfully we haven't lost any more recruits since Kat and Heather -- there's been a little turbulence for a few of them, but mostly it's been training, rescues, and training. Kyrano had his sixty-fifth birthday on Monday. He got some cool stuff; I'm sure he'll tell you himself."

"Well, I look forward to catching up with everyone."

Lady Penelope seated herself in the cart as Parker and Gordon finished loading her many bags, and smiled demurely as Gordon got into the driver's seat, and began to ferry her to her suite.

Posted by ArtisticRainey on September 2, 2007

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