While eating, he gazed about the galley in all directions to see Alex Scott, Laura Andrews, Steven Davis, Tekorr Tharashaen, Bohemeah Javreen, Josette Sanchez, Khaba Satria, Lektan Tholari, Mardaui Lumada and the countless others that were here, perhaps on their last voyage together. He thought back to the time that he went against his own better judgment to save the Zaleen princess, Valakadria Tawn. He had entered her littered cell were she lay naked in the filth. The only thing that had, for some unknown reason, managed to stay clean and shiny on the girl, was her golden neckband or birth collar. Valakadria was completely covered in the muck and the mire from head to toe. He remembered the stink that the ventilator mask was unable to filter out. She had cringed and hidden her face from him as he made his way into the corner of her cell were she lay drawn up into a tight ball on the cell floor. She cried weakly and was nothing but skin and bones from the lack of nourishment. They had broken her down both body, soul, and mind and he found out that she was unable to walk. They had degraded her to the point of eating the flesh of the dead Zaleen's thrown into her cell. Yes, he had saved her after she had him hunted down on his own ship, and having him shot in the back, taking six month's of his life away from him as he lay in a coma in med bay. And now, thirteen years later, the memory of his Uorexuan and Zanarian shipmates, left behind, perhaps forever, on the subfreezing and barren planet of solid ice, had came back to haunt him.
"You haven't heard a word that i've said, have you dad?" Amber asked, very loudly this time.
"No, i've been in deep thought for the past few minutes. I'm sorry, but i haven't been totally here with you." Jackson told his daughter as he arose up from his seat, yawning.
"I'm going to bed. It's getting late. We'll be leaving our solar system tomorrow. Pray that we're all prepared for what's to come." he told everyone before leaving the table.
"Amber, follow me." Davrina said, getting up and excusing herself as well, making a grab for Robert Jackson's forgotten transcribe.
"You wouldn't mind if i tagged along too, would you?" Rhea Warner asked as she pushed back her chair.
"She can come, Davrina." Amber replied.
"Sure, why not." Davrina said as Amber and Rhea walked beside one another, yet lagging further behind the counselor as she sought to catch up with Robert Jackson.
"I'm going to let your counselors know that you're all with me." she said as she stopped for a moment beside a vine covered vid-com tower to send word to their counselors.
"Robert ... Admiral Jackson, wait up!" she yelled, almost out of breath, after having crossed the bridge at a run with Rea, Amber, and Eric, now hot on her heals.
"Davrina, Amber, Rhea, what is it that you want?" Jackson asked as they finally caught up with him while Eric stopped to tie a shoe lace that had loosened.
"Amber," Davrina said, as she handed the transcribe back to him. "Tell him."
"Tell me what, Amber?" her father asked as he stood there trying to shake the sleep from his head.
"What i wanted to know earlier, while you were further out there in deep space than we are right now is, are Eric and i going to get to spend any time with you while we're here? Or, is it going to be pretty much like it was seventeen years ago? I mean, we no longer have mom with us any more, and even though we're older we---
"Amber, as long as we're not in a meeting with the staff or in another war with the Zaleens, you, Eric, and i, can spend as much time together as you'd like." Jackson told his daughter as Eric walked up to meet them.
"And what about me?" Rhea asked as she stood there with them.
"You too. That is, if you want too." he told her, as he tucked the transcribe under his left arm.
"Listen up, i'm hoping that this trip to Glammadren will be short and sweet and that we don't have to battle with the Zaleens. I'm also hoping that when we are all able to return to Earth, we may also be able to continue on with our regular, and sometimes boring lives." Jackson said as everyone listened.
"Our exodus from Earth was anything but regular and boring."Eric Jackson said. "Getting chased in the police car was---
"What if it's not so short and sweet? What if we do just happen to go to war with the Zaleens? What if we can't return to Earth for any reason, whatever that reason might be?" Rhea asked, very much afraid but doing her best not to let it show as she interrupted Eric.
Robert Jackson stood there, thinking about his answer.
"Dad, answer her please." Amber said, awaiting his answer for herself as well.
"That's a lot of what if's to answer. We'll work this out together, somehow." he answered as he gazed passed Rhea Warner to give Eric and Amber an icy stare.
"Do you need me for anything right now?" Rhea asked point blank and it made Robert Jackson think once again before he answered.
"We need each other." he answered.
"Robert Jackson, do you need me to help you with Eric and Amber or not?" Rhea asked, somewhat irritated this time.
Robert Jackson hung his head as if he had just been defeated in a battle all ready.
"I would deeply appreciate your help, Rhea. And so would they." he answered as Rhea's daughters and her son crept slowly up behind her.
"Hello mom." they all said together, making her jump.
"Rhea, we all are here because of a need to be, rather than a want to be. And i need to be in bed and want to be asleep right now." Jackson told them all, but their attention had turned elsewheres for the moment.
"We've been looking all over for you mom." Sabrina said as she grabbed her mom by the left arm to keep her from falling while placing a video com watch on her wrist at the same time.
" I must have dropped it while running in the jungle." Rhea said as she let Sabrina help her fasten her watch band.
"Oh my, it's Sabrina Warner." Amber Jackson said before she passed out on the grassy round forest floor.
"She's a big fan of yours Sabrina." Robert told her as Davrina revived Amber.
"And big faller, or I mean follower too." Eric said as he laughed at his sister.
"I'm going to go find a bed and get some sleep," Robert said as he stepped into the mono tram elevator tower that stood nearby.
"I would suggest that the rest of you do the same." he told them as Davrina managed to squeeze in before the oval shaped doors slid shut leaving Eric, Amber, Rhea, and her family, outside.
"I'm your counselor you know. I'm coming along too, Admiral." Davrina told him.
"You'll have to find your own bed, Davrina." Jackson told her as the elevator ascended to the top of the vine-covered tower.
"Very funny." she replied, glancing over to find Robert Jackson leaning against the elevator wall, asleep.
She too was very tired all of the sudden, and about fell into a trance like state. Memories of the past and the present came crashing together. Robert had lost Patricia a few years back on Earth. Her heart had finally gaven out on her. Robert had never pursued her sister Davadra afterwards and neither she nor Davadra ever pressed the issue after Patricia's passing. Davadra never told Robert Jackson as of yet about the daughter he had left behind. He would find out soon enough though about Valdara Adriakar Jackson.
**** Later ****
Robert Jackson lay in his bed, safely inside his quarters and couldn't sleep.
"Issac, are you still online?" he asked into the air.
"Internal Ships Systems Analytical Computer is always online, Admiral Jackson." the ships computer said in answer.
"Lets us see if all the old records are still in your memory banks," he said, sitting up in bed.
"Replay David Jackson, Jalep Adeez, first meeting, Security, on screen." he ordered as the vid-com screen came to life on the far wall of his bedchamber.
"Ah, Slorpan Sliver, I see that you've finally decided to report to me for your first training session!" thundered security chief, Commander Jalep Adeez, who sat behind his desk in the security unit.
"You may be my commanding officer, alien twerp, but you and I are gonna get one thing straight! David Jackson said as he leaned over the desk.
"I can whip the crap outta you any day of the week, month, or year, got that, carp face?" thundered David Jackson, as he shoved his finger into the alien's face, just as Davrina Adriakar walked into Robert Jackson's bed chamber and sat herself down in a chair to find out what Robert was watching on his vid-com.
"Earthman, you do show promise and have great potential. I'm going to mold you into a first rate security officer." said Jalep, now standing.
"Admiral, what are you watch---
"Hush, Counselor !" Jackson ordered.
" ... that my brother told me about this flying car ...
"Issac, replay that entire sentence from the start." he ordered into the air while giving Davrina the zip her lip signal.
"Look here piglet, Is everything that my brother told me about this flying carpet with it's Mickey Mouse crew and why your all here, true?" David asked, shoving the commander back down in his seat as Davrina spun her chair around and stared weirdly at Robert Jackson, who placed his finger to his mouth and shook his head for her to remain quite, before she turned back around.
"Your brother, I presume, is going to be the captain aboard this ship?" asked the alien security chief, standing once again.
"Yeah, the Wizard of Oz. What a joke on us all. Some ignorant alien fool critter off of his rocket made my brother a star ship captain!" David thundered once more.
"Freeze Issac," Robert ordered as Davrina wished to speak.
"Alright Davrina, go ahead and have at it." he said as she sat there grinning from ear to ear.
"This recording was made shortly before I was brought aboard the Orion and you we're given command." she stated.
"No kidding Princess. Shall we continue." he said, pointing back at the screen as Davrina pivoted back around in her chair.
"Alright Issac, continue." he ordered.
"Anyway, ferret weasel, Is what he told me the truth?" he blurted out, slamming his fist on Adeez's desk.
"What did he tell you, Thrug Shalurtling?" asked the commander as Valdara Adriakar Jackson slowly opened the oval shaped closet door just enough to hear the vid-com more clearly.
"Looks like your headed for another fight!" David thundered. "Call me a pig will you!
"I found out what a Slorpan Slimer and a Thrug Sherbet was, you baboon!" David said, moving nearer to Jalep Adeez's desk.
"That's Sliver and Shalurtling, earth ... man!" the security cheif said
"Whatever, I don't like being referred to as a pig in a slop pen, creep!" David continued as he grabbed the commander and pinned him to the wall behind his chair.
"There's something that I don't like about you alien, and I'm gonna find out why I don't. I don't believe all the bull crap that I've heard or seen, so you had better be doing some serious talking if you value your life, peanut brain!" said David as he tightened his grip.
"Is .ard .o .alk .hen .ome .ody is .hoking ..u .o .eath." said the Perrinan as his face was deepening in color.
"Sounds alien to me, speak english." David told the poor creature as it hung suspended in his death grip.
Davrina and Robert watched on and Valdara listened as a club like weapon came crashing down quickly over David Jackson's head, felling him to the floor as he still clutched the Perrinan by its neck. The club should have knocked David unconscious but David's head was thicker than the club, which shattered.
"That done did it, you've went and made me mad. If your gonna mess with the best, your gonna have to suffer like the rest!" he told him just before the fight broke out.
David Jackson could hold his own in a hand to hand battle, or at least he could seventeen years ago.
"Security alert! Security alert!" said the voice on the screen. "Security to Security! We have a problem down here! Admiral Mazanurra, Captain Jackson, can you come down here to Security?" asked the voice.
"On our way." answered the admiral over the vid com in the security unit.
"Enough Issac." Jackson said as Davrina swiveled in her chair to face him and noticed at once that his oval shaped closet door was partially open and hadn't been before. She slowly arose from her chair and made her way across the bedchamber floor and yanked the door open.