Ride of a Lifetime, Conclusion

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story is a fictional story of alien invasions on earth that we no nothing about, and never will. It also is the conclusion and fills in the informational gaps of a previous story. ---To read the predecessor to this story, please see the Flash Fiction story, "Ride of a Lifetime", by D. Thurmond / JEF, on Booksie. This 3,000 words story can be read independently

Submitted: July 29, 2016

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Submitted: July 29, 2016

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Ride of a Lifetime, Conclusion
Chapter II, "Introduction to Cindy"


A noticeable bronze skinned woman enters an upscale office building in the city's mid-town; she looks to be in her early thirties and well dressed. She wears all the trappings of the business woman with just a noticeable flare for the artistic.
Today she is wearing a black one sipper skirt, a peach colored five button silk blouse, top two buttons undone, a black, ruby-red, and peach stripped scarf, and black patent leather high heels. Her make-up is light, except for the lipstick, which matches the ruby-red stripe in the scarf.
This is Cindy Ballard and she is about to enter the ad agency that she manages; Ballard & Associates.
It might be noted that Ballard & Associates is a satellite subsidiary of Galactic Enterprises, a privately held Global Conglomerate comprised of many individual investors and corporations, or so we are told.
Galactic Enterprises holdings are vast and diversified within the energy production and transmission areas and they own and operate clothing, shoe, and sports-ware outlets worldwide.
Additionally, they are one of the chief investors, and quite often, funds start-ups, in areas of the social media and computer sciences; holding thousands of patients in those areas.
As one analyst put it, {"If people use it, wear it, or communicate with it, Galactic Enterprises footprint will be seen there.}.
***
"Good morning Ms. Ballard," was the ritualistic greeting given by any employee who made eye contact with Cindy as she moved through the central office area.
Cindy came to a desk just outside a glassed corner office and greeted the woman sitting there, "Good Morning Marge."
Marge is Margery Stoneweiler, secretary and all around assistant to Ms. Ballard.
"OMG Ms. Ballard," Marge blurted out! "Did you get the update on the Shaffer account?" She asked, but didn't wait for an answer; she was busily thumbing through some sticky-notes.
"You really blew them away with those cross media adds, but then the sales stats came in yesterday afternoon. WOW! Their same-store sale have risen six percent, and on-line is up thirteen, all in this last quarter."
Pulling a large sticky-note page from a pad Marge said, "Here is a list of clients, or their representatives, that you need to touch base with today. Most of them are just wondering how their projects and adds are doing and if they are going to be ready in time; I guess their bosses are breathing down their necks; ah, no offense Ms. Ballard."
"None taken."
Marge continues, "I've added notes next to the names so that you would know what they called about before you call them, and there are spaces for you to add your comments about what was said, if needed.
I didn't put this list on your phone because, well, we know that they get lost from time to time, no offense."
"None taken."
"Oh, and Ms. Thornton called from Corporate headquarters, she was very specific and instructed me to convey this message to you, word for word; {"Quagmartin, rotlunus maxitrallia lal sedimatos."}, she had me pronounce and spell it back to her. Do you know what she is talking about?"
Cindy smiled and replied, "Ah, yes, it is a collage thing, it's kind of like Pig-Latin.  --- Is there anything else?"
Marge smiled back and said, "Not anything right now."
As Cindy headed into her corner office she said to Marge, "I'll make these calls and then I may be out of the office for the day. I need to check on Hilliard’s Hiking-gear photo-shoot  that we have going out at the state's wildlife reserve. No calls, the phone reception out there sucks.
"You got it," Marge said as she answered the office phone, "Ballard & Associates., Ms. Ballard's reception desk, Marge speaking.....”

This is the life of Cindy Ballard, all twelve hour days and six days a week of it.
She designs, writes, and produces photo and media advertisements for a select group of clients. Whoever Galactic Enterprises acquires, or has a stake in, Cindy is given the task of securing their retail place in the advertising media world.
Cindy has no family, no husband, and no children. Her only outside work contact is a guy that she met at a Sports Cycling and Riding Apparel Convention, at least that is what she tells those that ask. His name is John Kennard and their chance meeting has only produced a three hour date, so she says.  
As Cindy tells it, how those two meet was rather odd. Cindy Ballard went to a convention to meet a client about an add layout.
John Kanard was there looking at the new bikes with a riding friend of his, Ted Shaffer.
John must have overheard Cindy tell her new client that she would be happy to do an out of doors photo-shoot on Tuesday, the 23, one of the client's specifications.  
When the client became distracted with customers, Cindy began looking over some of the client products. That is when John approached Cindy and said, "It is going to rain on that day, actually, it will rain most of that week; just thought you'd like to know."
Cindy countered, "I do my research, the national weather service’s said that a storm will pass through on the nineteenth and will be out of the area by the twentieth. So, thanks for the warning, but I believe that you are wrong."
John chuckled and replied, "A high pressure ridge will come in from the south-west and slow that storm down. So, you watch, that storm won't hit this area until the morning of the twenty-second. I just thought I'd say something so you could have a (Plan B) in place when (Plan A) goes south."
"A (Plan B), you really think I'll need a (Plan B)?" Cindy asked with a hint of smugness on her face.
John laughed and replied, "We all need a (Plan B).

There was just something about John, something Cindy couldn't quite get a hold of. Something familiar about the way he moved, spoke, even the way his eyes seemed to sparkle every so often, just a slight twinkle now and then. It was as if she had met him before, but couldn’t remember where or when.

John chuckled again. "Look," he said, You call me around the end of the month and if it didn't rain on the twenty-third, then I'll buy you dinner, maybe even a movie if it's not a chick-flick."
"And if it does rain, what happens then?" Cindy questioned.
"Then you buy me dinner; nothing fancy, I like casual. Here, here is my name and number." John waved his phone near her tablet and it beeped.
Just at that moment Cindy's client reappeared and John disappeared into the crowd.
Cindy checked her weather app again and sure enough, projections had changed and a high pressure area was moving into the area. But it was unclear as to whether it would slow the storm enough to bring rain on the twenty-third.
Cindy told her prospective client that she would like to try out a new indoor studio that she had just had built; it had Green-Screen capabilities. She pitched ideas for her client’s products with varying backgrounds, the Alps, NASCAR, Disneyland, England, and so on. That would be like a world class photo shoot at a fraction of the cost. The client went for it, as long as it could all be done on the twenty-third.
It rained, off and on, from the twenty-second to the twenty-sixth, not to mention the lightning and chunks of ice falling from the sky; they were small chunks but chunks none the less. Cindy was very glad that she had listened to the impetuous stranger.

 
Chapter III, "The Covert Meeting"

Cindy arrived at the state's wildlife reserve just before noon and dressed for a run. She parked her company provided Mercedes and changed shoes before setting out along the water reserve trail, that circled the lake. When she reached an area that could not be seen from the parking lot, nor from the trail vantage points, she hid behind a row of bushes. She stayed there about five minutes, watching to see if there was anyone watching the area; there wasn't.
Cindy accessed an app on her pocket phone, dialed a series of numbers, and was transported beneath the water and into a waiting spacecraft.

"Ah, there you are Quentelac (Cindy) and how is this earth assignment treating you," was the question from a somewhat human looking creature with some distinct differences?
For one thing, this creature had no nose on its face and its mouth was small, with no visible teeth. Its ears were just holes where human ears are and there appeared to be a third one on the back of the head.
The noses, or breathing inlets, were in the center of the chest, and there were four of them arranged in a diamond pattern.
There was no visible hair on this creature, if there was any then it was under the sarong that the creature wore around it's waist.
On each of creature’s hands, there were four fingers and two thumbs, the thumbs were mirror image placed, but no fingernails.
The skin was much like humans, but on this creature it was different shades of brown and eggshell white.

Cindy half bows and touches her forehead to the creatures outstretched hands.
Then Quentelac (Cindy) said, "It is good to see you again Valtessor, and how grows The Venture?"
"It prospers thanks to combined efforts.  The Venture now controls a combined thirty-seven percent of the commerce on eight planets and twelve colonized moons. The efforts will realize another take-over on Trious-II in a short while. That is an electrical generating conglomerate and we expect great profits from it."
"Blessed are the profits that render employment to us all," Quentelac (Cindy) said with her head held low and her hands folded across her chest.
Valtessor made a clicking sound and they both said, "The Venture sustains us!"

“Would you care for refreshment?”  Valtessor asked Quentelac (Cindy) as a small hairy creature entered the chamber.
The creature was three feet tall and resembled a green, very hairy, minion.
“Oh, no thank you, I never cared much for Mert-milk, Cindy replied.
With that said, the creature scurried out and disappeared down a darkened hall.
"Why have you asked me to meet you here? Cindy questioned and then continued, "It can be risky on these sunny days without cloud cover."
"Our business spies have inadvertently uncovered a plot by the government of our sister planet, Trulion. Their espionage group has deployed agents in an experimental test to see if it is feasible to co-inhabit this planet," Valtessor explained.
"To what end? They have plenty of room on their planet to expand," Cindy said.
Valtessor took a deep breath through the holes in his chest and exhaled through his mouth, "That, I'm afraid, is the part of the puzzle that we do not have at the moment."
Cindy asked, "How were you able to gain this information? I was completely unaware that the Trulion coveted other worlds."
"Our corporate spies just happened upon this information while doing some research into an ongoing accusation.
As you know, The Venture does not buy until it knows everything that there is to know about a company; that is why The Venture profits where others fail.  
Apparently, an independent computer programmer that was hired by that company had suspicious programming methods. The methods would not have been noticed by a Type-six, (earth human), but they were very obvious to our code readers."
"What has that got to do with me? I do not employ computer people, other than graphic artists," Cindy questioned.
"I am talking about the person you dined with on the twenty-ninth of last month, that is according to your last personnel report, he is suspected to be the agent from Trulion," Valtessor replied.
Cindy looked puzzled, and then remarked, "He is from a Trimort-litter, I knew that I recognized something familiar about him! (Trimort-litter: In this instance it means identical triplets born to Type One female and male humanoids that both have the Mortilian Gene.).
My genetic hormonal senses must have come into play; my body sensed his presence even with his Type-six alterations.
I thought that I was just curious about his mannerisms, but it was attraction all the while; it is a good thing that I am not in my reproductive cycle, that would have been awkward for the both of us."
Valtessor looked concerned and asked, "Is there any chance of that happening?"
"Oh no, The Venture schedules my earth-year vacations to co-inside with that time period. As you know, The Venture does not want any disruptions in business productivity so my sister, Carlatra, who resides on our home planet, Unnotos, is always available to stand-in as a replacement, thanks to the expert planning of The Venture.
Besides, even if I had to cancel one of those vacations, I would have no problem as long as there are no Type-ones carrying the Mortilian Gene within an earth mile. Being a Type-one humanoid with the Mortilian Gene, I do not have the options that earth's Type-six Humanoid women have. It is all or nothing, and when it is nothing, well, it's nothing."
Valtessor smiled a slight-mouthed smile and remarked, "And I thought we Type-fours had problems."
"So, what does your agency want me to do?" Cindy inquired.
"Get in touch with John again and arrange for another evening together. Try to gain his trust enough, maybe you can discover their reasons for wanting to do this. If they have just a few spies on earth, then possibly we can devise a plan that will discourage them from trying to co-inhabit this planet; after all," Valtessor said, "their way of thinking is not suitable to The Venture and it's processes."
Cindy continued, "Not only that, there is an atmosphere difference. Our planet, Unnotos, is nearly identical to earth in that respect, we can live and function in this atmosphere easily. But I vacationed on our sister planet one earth year ago and found that it has an even higher percentage of oxygen; I became a little light headed at times.
I am puzzled as to how he is able to endure on earth for substantial periods of time. You would think he would have to go home, from time to time, for rejuvenation; much like our people on Trious II must do."
"I think you have just solved one puzzle," Valtessor said to Cindy. That may be why they have deployed this Type-one Triplet, they are rotating them so that no one notices when the resident goes to Trulion for a rejuvenation. Hmm, I wonder how often they do that?"
Cindy replied, "I will meet with John again and cautiously ask him some questions about our first meeting. If he stumbles for answers then we will know he has been replaced and that they are, indeed, rotating triplets. I will report my findings to Ms. Thornton at Corporate and she can relay the information as it is compiled."
Valtessor nodded his head and gave the ship's computer a verbal command, within seconds Cindy was standing behind the row of bushes again.
Cindy looked around, to make sure no-one had seen her, before jogging off in the direction of her car.

Chapter IV, "And So It Ends"

As soon as Cindy reached her car she checked her texts and called the office. Cindy checked with the office to make sure everything was alright, and then she headed for her apartment.
Once there, she made a call to John from a burner phone, "Hi Honey, Golly I've missed you!
How was the flight?"
John replied, "It was fine, I went through debriefing on the way to Trulion. My report stated that the atmosphere together with the business heavy culture on earth would never suite the Trulion lifestyle; not enough oxygen and too much about work. Then, as we planned, I caught another transport back to earth.
My brother, who has taken my place here, has agreed to give a similar report, not enough oxygen and too much about work will be in his report too, that should kill the project. What about your sisters?"
Cindy laughed and replied, "Oh, they are so on board with this! Both of them are so happy for us and can't wait to be Aunties. My third sister, Lietra, arrived on earth about an earth year ago and I have trained her to replace me; in fact, she is in my office right now. The Venture will never know that there was a switch.
My second sister, Carlatra, will continue as if nothing has happened."
"How are the babies doing?" John asked ever so concerned.
Cindy replied, "Oh, everything is fine, another eleven earth months and we will be just another couple of earth parents working and raising their triplets. We will be free to go where we want, when we want, and free to live where we prefer to live.
Our chance meeting last year, while I vacationed on Trulion, changed out lives, I'm so happy that we were able to find each other again. I mean, what are the odds?
And this new way of life for us both is going to be a ride of a lifetime my love, a ride of a lifetime.
Oh, speaking of rides, how are you doing with this lighter oxygen atmosphere? Are we going to be able to live on earth for very long? I’ve grown fond of the place."
"I am fine. That story of my great, great, grandmother being a Type-six human and being abducted from earth must have been true. My brothers and I don't seem to have any problems with earth's oxygen mix at all. It takes a few days getting used to, but then we are fine.
However, we will have to see what the babies look like when they are born. If the gene alteration worked, then they will fit right in here on earth, otherwise we will have to move to Nalon-4," John replied.
"Then we will just have to move sweaty, I'm thinking a cottage on a beach no matter where we end up. How does that sound?" Cindy asked with a chuckle in her voice.
"That sounds wonderful my love. I will meet you at the airport with tickets for a flight to Hawaii. We can stay there until the babies arrive."
Bye for now, Click.
***
"Well Valtessor, it seems that you were right, planting a listening device on Quentelac (Cindy) was a productive idea. Shall we apprehend them?" Asked Valtessor's two legged, four armed, reptilian assistant.
"No, I think not. She has caused no harm to The Venture and it will continue to do business without her, she has rightfully seen to that. And as for this Trulion, he is of no concern to us any longer, all is as The Venture would prefer."
The reptilian assistant bowed its head and crossed its four arms across its midsection and said, "Blessed is The Venture and the profits that it renders."
Then Valtessor made that clicking sound and they both said, "The Venture sustains us!"
 

D. Thurmond / JEF  ---  07-28-2016


© Copyright 2017 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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