* Sixteen *
"Donald, you've been quiet. How come?"
"Jay, what is there to say except, here we go again." April answered as Jackson dropped down and into an empty chair, resting both of his elbows on the conference table, before holding his face in his hands while everyone else exited the view deck, except for Donald April, Dara Kamadees, and he, himself.
"Donald, I think they're waiting for us to get to old to continue on with this cat and mouse game." Robert Jackson said as he raised his head and lowered his hands to look over at April, who's hair had began to thin and turn gray far sooner than his own.
"Hell Jay, you're only forty five, and I'm ... well I'm a whole lot younger than you are, it's just that we are way out of shape man." April told him as they sat there, shaking their heads in agreement with one another.
"Donald, you're not that much younger than I am. You actually look somewhat like Santa Clause. Just what in the heck have you done to yourself?" Jackson asked.
"To many worries Jay," April answered. "And if you don't come back around to being your old self again and stop pining over my sister, then you'll sink to the bottom before I do." he stated as he put his feet up on the table.
"Right now, I'm beginning to believe than we're all on a sinking ship." Jackson said as Dara Kamadees turned away from the view port window to walk over and stand by the admiral and first officer.
"Then we shall all be going down together." she told them as Donald sat and gazed up at her.
"She's right you know." Jackson said as he smacked the table top with his right hand.
"Yes," April replied.
"We've got to come up with a plan to keep this ship afloat for as long as we're able to tread water together." the commander said as he arose up and out of his chair and lightly pressed a touch pad control on the conference table, so that it lowered itself just below the deck flooring. A carpeted door then slid shut above it.
"Dara, will you and Donald kindly accompany me to the Med Bay?" Jackson asked as he arose from his chair.
"If you insist, but---
"I insist, and that's an order, Ambassador." he said,interrupting.
"Very well ... Admiral ... Commander." Kamadees nervously replied.
"Is there something wrong, Ambassador Kamadees?" Donald asked.
"I ah ... Admiral, ... Commander, I can't continue keeping this to myself any longer."Dara said. "I must... tell ... someone...or its going to---
"Ambassador Tekka, are you going to accompany me to the med-bay along with Commander April or not?" Jackson asked a bit heatedly.
"Tek ... ka?" asked April as he slowly followed the two of them to the lift.
"I'll explain it to you on the way." the admiral said as they stepped inside the lift."Lights to dim."
"CommanderApril, meet the ambassador of Zaleena, Dara Kamade Tekka. Ambassadora Tekka, I would like for you to meet the first officer of the Orion, Commander April." Robert Andrew Jackson said as he reintroduced them to one another as the oval shaped lift doors zipped shut.
"Med bay, level...level... oh brother, what level is it---
"Level seven." Dara said aloud as she looked at the admiral and tried hard to smile but couldn't.
"Lots of changes." he told her.
"Alzheimers." Donald added as he gazed over at Robert and broke out into a grin.
"What ... Who?" Dara asked as the lift moved to its destination.
"Alzheimers is not a who," April replied. "It's a disease or serious disorder of the brain as our Admiral Jackson here has contracted."
"No wonder he wishes us to accompany him to med-bay. I didn't think that the blow he received to his head seventeen years ago was all that severe." Dara said, and Robert stretched to look around her at Donald April while the lift changed directions.
"Oh, he's had this disease for far longer than I can remember." April told her. "And I can remember everything."
"I wouldn't go as far as to say that, Donald." Robert said as the lift doors parted.
"Admiral, you must forgive me for laying my present problem upon your shoulders at this time."Dara Kamadees said."I have been trying to get this off of my mind because I have no one else that I can turn to or that I can---
"Ambassador, I understand you completely, I really do, so don't take me wrong at this time, but your making my headache worsen by---
"Sorry." she uttered above a whisper as they entered the corridor that led them to Doctor Henderson's office.
"Admiral, something told me that you would be making a personal visit here to see me. How are you feeling today?" Doctor Barbara Jane Henderson asked as they stepped into the med-bay.
"I'm feeling fine," the admiral answered. "Thank you for asking, Doc. How's Valakad---
"Doctor?" Dara asked, interupting the admiral as she gazed at him with the greatest of worry written all over her face. April just stood behind Jackson and tried awfully hard not to burst into laughter beyond immeasurable control.
"Yes, Ambassador, what can I do for you today?" she asked from her seat behind her desk as she glanced up at her.
"I suppose that I must take it solely upon myself, to tell you that I have accompanied Commander April in order to escort Admiral Jackson to the med-bay. He is suffering from a serious disorder of the brain and I'm sure that you should be made aware of this." the ambassador explained to her as April waved his hands and shook his head no to indicate that the joke was on Dara.
"Admiral, I do believe that it is high time that you've had a physical. And, you too as well, Commander April," Doctor Henderson told the two of them.
"Thank you very much Dara, for bringing this to my attention, and they should be thanking you as well," Henderson said as Robert turned slowly around to glare hatefully at Donald, as his mouth gaped wide open.
"Gentlemen, have a seat over there, and no lip from either one of you." the doctor told them both. "I'm having the two of you taken off of active duty until after you've both been checked out thoroughly, and or, completely."
"Dara, if you would like to take your leave now, you may." she said as she looked from them to her.
"Thank you very much Doctor. I'll be nearby if you or they should require my services." Dara said as she turned to leave.
"Admiral, Commander, I'll be right outside, waiting." she told them as they sat with an empty chair between the two of them.
"There's really no need Ambassador. We'll be quiet alright, I think." Jackson said as he gazed over at Donald.
"If you are for certain, Admiral." she said as she reached down to take his right hand.
"I'm not for certain about anything, but for now, I'll be fine, thank you Dara," he said as she let go his hand and exited Henderson's office.
"Barbara Jane, I didn't come to med-bay for a physical, I came here to---
"Robert, calm down, Admiral." Henderson said as she cut him off at the pass."I know exactly why your here."
"Great, and now that you've managed to let Ambassador Kamadees off of Commander April's hook without disgracing her, I'll go do what I came here to do in the first place." Robert Jackson said as he began raising up and out of his chair.
"Sit!" Doctor Henderson barked, and Robert fell back down and in to his chair.
"Neither of you are going anywhere until after the both of you have had your physical exams, do I make myself, as your personal physician, perfectly clear?" she asked as she stood up.
"Very." Jackson said as he clapped both hands together while his elbows rested on his knees.
"Commander?" she asked looking over at him.
"Perfectly clear, Doctor." he answered as he scratched his head with his left hand.
"Great, then we shouldn't have any more trouble out of either of you." she said as she went into another portion of her office and out of earshot.
"I didn't come here for a physical, Donald!" Robert told him heatedly, as he swung around in his seat to face his old friend.
"Neither did I Jay." Donald uttered above a whisper.
"I hope that you've got a plan for getting us out of this hot water, because I sure as hell don't!" Robert thundered.
"Don't say hot water!" Donald thundered back.
"Is there something wrong in there?" Henderson asked loudly enough for the both of them to hear her as she purposely rattled things around in the back room.
"No, not one blasted thing." Jackson said as he buried his head in his hands.
"You really ought to have something done about your headache, Jay." Donald told him.
"Don't tempt me!" Robert replied.
"This is Captain Sathrana Celane to all passengers and crew. We are preparing to leave the orbit of the planet Mercury and continue onward on our predestined flight to the Glammadren star system." she said as her voice traveled the entire length of the Orion.
The Zaleen battle cruiser destroyer, Kalaketvia Tawn will accompany us on our trip to the planet Glammadren to rendezvous with an unknown Zaleen vessel, also enroute to Glammadren from the neutral zone." she continued.
"Here shortly, Galactic Fleet Admiral, Robert Andrew Jackson, will be contacting the fleet to rendezvous with us in or very near the Glammadren star system in order to hold or turn back any Zaleen attack force that ma ythreaten our free systems in the Consortium."she stated as everyone listened over the ship wide com system.
"Doctor Henderson, I really do need to make contact with the fleet." Jackson said as he sat in the examination cubicle.
"And you will. But, not until after you've had your physical examination, and not one minute before!" Henderson boomed as she carried an alien instrument back with her and momentarily laid it on the cart in front of her.
"Barbara, I really came down here for the purpose of checking in on the health and well being of our Zaleen guests. I did not come down here ... up here ... over here ... or where ever the here we are aboard this ship, to be the one getting treated myself!" he boomed aloud as she folded her hands in front of her face placing her thumbs on her lips.
"And April, did he come along with you as well, to check in on our Zaleen guests, or was it to embarrass the ambassador?" Henderson asked very seriously.
"I asked him to accompany myself and the ambassador here to the med-bay." Jackson answered as she removed his hearing aid translator and began probing his ears and looking into his eyes with the odd looking instrument that she had picked back up.
"Then was it also your intention as well to embarrass the Ambassador?" she asked almost nose to nose with the admiral.
"Why are you asking me all of these questions, Doc?" Jackson asked as she then began checking his blood pressure with yet another strange piece of equipment.
"Robert, you for one, are now in the high and mighty position as galactic fleet admiral and it requires professionalism, duty and responsibility, and other very important things. That leaves out horse playing and cutting down another member of the crew." the doctor informed him.