Rob's new storygreenspun.com : LUSENET : FRL friends : One Thread
This story, as with all of the author's previous related stories, is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used in a fictitious way. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Sapelo Island,Georgia - 9/05/03, 11:20 p.m.
Rob (Bobby) Cooke was a full time researcher completing his Doctoral thesis in Marine Biology Acoustics at the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve on the Georgian Coast. At only twenty five, the tall, thin young man was already considered one of the leading authorities on underwater sound. His thesis had already been accepted and the only thing left was the defense, which he was confidant would be no problem. He had already been offered several lucrative positions upon completion of his studies.
In the little free time he had, mostly only an hour or so before bed, he would go outside his three-room beach cottage with his small but powerful homemade telescope, fitted with some special ‘listening’ gear he had himself invented, and point the contraption towards the heavens. It was a great way to relax after the long and hard day of research work. The wonderful thing about being on an Atlantic Ocean beach, ironically, was the very clear view of the stars they afforded, especially towards the Eastern sky.
He loved the stars as much as the sea, and at one time almost had decided to become an Astronomer instead of a Marine Biologist. Here on Sapela Island, despite his hard work, he felt he was in a dream of sorts. The only thing missing was someone to share it with, but he knew that would have to wait. Besides, right at this very moment his mind was on something else; it was on the planet Mars.
As an amateur astronomer, he had known for a long time that right now Mars would be closer to the Earth than at any time in the past 60,000 years. Even better, it was in the Southeastern part of the sky. As tired as he was tonight, he was still excited by the prospect of observing Mars.
He picked up his handmade, customized telescope and walked onto the sand. In only a moment the equipment was set up to his satisfaction. He pointed it towards the Red Planet and looked through the lens of the eyepiece, then turned on his listening device.
The listening device amplified sonic vibrations from the rush of water hitting the beach, and sometimes would even pick up the sound of an offshore dolphin pod or even a 'singing' humpback whale. He considered this to be his 'background music' while watching the stars.
He looked through his telescope and smiled. What an incredible sight! Mars was 40 times brighter than at its farthest and faintest. It was even brighter than Jupiter! He adjusted the powerful lens and enjoyed a spectacular view of the beautiful markings on the Planet’s surface.
So excited about the view that he almost stopped breathing, he made another adjustment and saw one of the most fascinating things in all the universe; the Valles Marineris---the largest canyon in the entire Solar System. It was many times wider and longer than the Grand Canyon, and about four times as deep. He gasped at the awesome view.
And to think he could do this every night for about a month too! It was so wonderful. In a way, he thought of this as kind of a personal reward for all of his hard work. After a while, he smiled and took his equipment back into the beach cottage. In only a few minutes, he was sound asleep in bed, dreaming.
But what amateur astronomer Bobby Cooke didn’t know, could not have dreamed of, was that his whole life was about to change.
-- Rob Michaels (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 04, 2003
grabbing popcorn and some pillows and settling in ...
-- helen (email@example.com!!), September 04, 2003.
Yippee!!!! (Hey, don't hog the couch, Helen! ;-)
-- Tricia the Canuck (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 04, 2003.
The next night
If you listen carefully to the sounds that the ocean makes as it hits the beach, you’ll notice that there are actually several different but discernable types of sounds; a crash, a loud whooooosh, a softer whoooosh, the sound of the water receding back to the ocean, bubbles popping, the wind on the water, and many other distinct sounds.
Not everybody would have noticed all of these different sounds, but Bobby Cooke sure did. And his listening device was powerful enough to pick up and amplify them much to his continual enjoyment. The sound- types changed depending on the tides, the currents, the phases of the moon and other variables. And Booby knew them all.
Or at least he thought he did.
But while observing Mars this evening, he noted a slight change---no, not a change---an addition. Yes, an addition to the other familiar sounds; one that he had never heard before. But what was it?
He started making adjustments to his listening device and checking it to see if it was operating properly... this salt air played hell with almost everything. After checking all of the components, he shook his head. Everything was operating normally and the sounds were all within expected acoustical envelopes. So what the heck was this new sound?
He turned his amplifier up to its maximum setting and listened carefully. There it was again! Why, it sounded the same as before.
Exactly the same.
But that was impossible, and he knew it. There is no such thing in Nature as exact continual repetition. He shook his head again and waited.
The sound wasn’t there. Maybe he was just extra tired tonight. That was the most likely thing of all. He decided to call it a night, got his equipment, and took the short walk back to his beach cottage. Once again, he fell asleep quickly and started dreaming.
He had no idea that while he slept, the sound continued in regular intervals. If he had only kept listening for just a moment longer, he would have heard it again...
the steady and repetitive sound,
unlike anything in Nature.
-- FRLian Fiction writer (email@example.com), September 04, 2003.
My God, he's at it again!!! No wonder why the chores aren't getting done around here.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 04, 2003.
An MBA in SINNER you say Rob? Mustn't be our Johnny Cook-LOL!
Marie, gentle soul, please let Rob play with us a while, won't you? The chores will always be there, the creativity of the mind can be short! Pull up a chair and enjoy the tale with the rest of us, won't you kind soul? And know, how much dear Rob is loved and appreciated here! Yes, I know you can, and thank you for your indulgence kind lady!
Now....anyone for fudge, or would you prefer those white chocolate cherry chip cookies????? Gotta have snacks as we sit on the edge of our seats, waiting for the next installment from the mind of Minolta!!
-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 04, 2003.
ok ok ok , but he still has to take me out for a nice dinner.
-- (email@example.com), September 05, 2003.
Is she gone now? Is it ok to come out and post? Man, that was close. In all these years she's only posted maybe 3 times. (Yes, it was really her!)
Well, I better get started thinking of the next part.
But I'm not writing anything till I get my CHOCOLATE!!!!!!
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org!), September 05, 2003.
Rob, I know it's not fudge, but I have one of those wonderful chocolate dipped, whipping cream filled doughnutty things that I'll share if you'll just write the next section of the story. It even comes with "pretty please" sprinkled on top ;-)
-- Tricia the Canuck (email@example.com), September 05, 2003.
Oh Boy! Yummy!
Ok, I honestly have absolutely no idea what comes next, but whatever it is, it's gonna be here soon---probably tonite if I can.
-- (FRLian@Fiction.writer), September 06, 2003.
*Waving to Marie!* Hiya! I just want you to know that I always do my chores before getting on the computer.
Rob, take her out to dinner and for heaven's sake stay out of her kitchen! When you get back, I'll have a warm brownie covered with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce waiting for you. :-)
-- Gayla (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 06, 2003.
Wow! After those delicious Breakfast donuts that our Sweet Princess made, a warm Brownie with Chocolate sauce after dinner sounds like a dream!
Marie wants to go to this place called Chili's and so I'm gonna take her there later. And guess what. Just by coincidence, we always have this dessert that is a warm brownie with a scoop of Vanilla Ice cream and some chocolate sauce on top. Man it is sooooo good. I'll be LOL and thinking of youz guyz in about two hours when we're eating it. And I just had an idea for the next part of the story. So when I get back I'll write it up!
Yes, my chores are done (mostly;-)
-- (FRlian@chocolate.lover), September 06, 2003.
Sapelo Island, Georgia - 9/07/03, 9:47 p.m.
Bobby Cooke stood outside his beach cottage and watched as 10 to 12-foot swells rolled onto the beach and crashed like thunder. Hurricane Fabian was a few hundred miles offshore, but its effects were being felt along a large stretch of the Eastern U.S. shoreline.
Luckily though, it was a beautiful night with a clear sky to observe Mars. He got out his gear, walked onto the beach, and set his home- made, customized equipment up on the hard, dry sand.
He would have to do something about his Listener device tonite. The Ocean was noisy from all the waves pounding the beach, so he decided to use his white noise filters, pink noise filters, and hi-low band- pass filters to eliminate virtually all incoming sound signals. The way he set the final input parameters, all but the lowest sounds a human could hear would be filtered out. These were the sounds that whale’s made; ones that could travel thousands of miles through deep- ocean water and still be heard. His listener was all but Deaf now.
He didn’t even bother to point the listener towards the water, but instead, just let it rest alongside the telescope, which was pointed directly at the Martian ‘Grand Canyon’. At most, he might only pick up some extremely low frequency noises from passing airliners, but who cared. What he was really interested in tonight was Looking, not listening.
But after a few minutes something happened to change that.
He heard something.
It was the sound he heard last night; that same exact sound. It came through the Listener's tiny speaker very clearly, without any other noises to compete with due to all the filtering.
He scratched his head and began to use logic and reason, as he was trained to do. First of all, now he knew he wasn’t just tired last night; the sound was really there. So now what the heck was it?
He looked at his watch; it was 9:53. Since exact repetition does not occur naturally in Nature, it had to be a sound with intelligence behind it: a man-made sound, obviously.
Satisfied with this impeccable logic, he continued thinking about it and then realized something; the sound couldn’t possibly be coming from the direction of the water.
Hmm. This really made him pause.
Then a thought suddenly came to him. His mouth opened involuntarily as he arrived at an inevitable but seemingly impossible conclusion. He looked at his equipment and frowned as if to deny what he was thinking.
His telescope was pointed right at Mars...
and so was his Listener.
He sat down hard on the sand, about to tell himself that what he was thinking was not scientifically possible. He was trying to convince himself---was almost succeeding---when the Listener picked up the sound again and sent it through the small speaker.
He looked at his watch. It was 9:57.
He waited silently, losing all interest in watching Mars, but listening intently and looking at his watch. Within 7 seconds of his watch advancing to 10:01, he heard the sound again.
There could be no doubt now. It was the same sound---
a sound that was repeating---
a sound that came in exactly four-minute intervals.
Suddenly he realized what this all meant.
It’s not just a sound after all; it’s a signal...
and it’s originating from Mars!
-- (FRLian@Fiction.writer), September 06, 2003.
Ooh, the sea and the stars. Magic. I shall sit very quietly and wait for the next installment.
-- Carol (email@example.com), September 07, 2003.
I shall stomp about flailing my arms wildly while waiting for the next installment.
-- helen (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 07, 2003.
Sounds like FRL fiction writer could use a double dose of Death by Chocolate, or at least a slice or two of my grandmother's famous sour cream chocolate cake, with sour cream frosting, just for a lil booster...
Applause, applause, and more, MORE (not that I am being demanding or anything...just appreciative-honest!)
-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 07, 2003.
I'm Hungry! Is there any more yummy stuff to eat? OOOOOooooo. Death by Chocolate AND sour cream Chocolate cake too! Yummy!
This is truly inspiring. That's funny... I think I'm getting an idea about what to write next ;-)
-- (FRLian@Fiction.writer), September 08, 2003.
Sapelo Island, Georgia - 9/08/03, 4:30 p.m.
Bobby Cooke had taken the day off. He had not been able to sleep at all, and ended up using his home-made equipment for the remainder of the night and into the early morning so that he could document the Signal; its exact frequency within spectrum, its exact periodicity, and all of its main acoustical characteristics. After gathering the data, he went back to the beach cottage and sat down at his computer.
He looked up everything he could think of about Mars to see if anyone else had noticed the Signal. This effort took all morning, and half of the afternoon.
From what he found, not a soul knew about it yet.
At first he thought this odd, but then he remembered something he had learned in one of hi undergraduate astronomy classes; that of the 6 billion people on Earth, only a handful were actually pointing telescopes towards the stars and trying to actively discover something new out there; perhaps no more than a couple hundred individuals. That was the reason several small and previously undiscovered Comets had appeared virtually out of nowhere over the last decade, much to peoples’ surprise and alarm. Space was vast, endless, even expanding. Yet hardly anyone was looking up there.
The only organized effort was the SETI program. But he had checked their website, as well as other promising sites, and while there was an abundance of Mars-related information (much more than usual), there was absolutely nothing about what he was looking for. Then it dawned on him that this was something that---if the government knew about it---they would probably want to check it out thoroughly before going public. He only discovered it, almost by accident, two nights ago. And nobody on Earth had his home-made Listening Device either.
As the day passed, he became more and more convinced that he was the only one who knew about the Signal. He spent the rest of the afternoon writing up his findings. He had scientifically gathered up enough data to present to the authorities.
The only problem was he didn’t know any ‘authorities.’
Then a thought struck him. He could call his old girl friend. She worked for the government and would have the right connections, or hopefully could at least tell him who else to contact.
-- (email@example.com), September 08, 2003.
He let out an involuntary and very, very long sigh at the thought of her.
They started as high school sweethearts that had met in Biology class and discovered that they both had a common interest in Biology---and also in each other.
He wanted to learn about Marine mammals and their sounds, while she was interested in animals, and was dreaming of becoming a vet. They dated all throughout the next 2 years in the same Community College too.
Then, just after graduating and getting the requisite 2 year degree, she managed to get a part-time job at a local animal clinic, to see it was really for her or not. She would need to spend another four years of her life in school to become a vet, so she wanted to make absolutely sure this is what she truly wanted.
They were in the middle of making some plans to attend one of several four-year Universities in the same geographical area, but then something happened he never quite got the whole story on---out of the blue---and she landed a high-paying government job in D.C.
Her thoughts of becoming a vet were suddenly gone, but he still needed four more years to complete his studies. It was the beginning of the end for them.
They talked and talked about it, but things just didn’t work out. She really wanted---almost insisted, actually---that he go down to D.C. with her, so they could live together.
But he told himself that he really didn’t know if he was that serious about her and so he procrastinated. He had a lot on his mind---what with going off to finish his B.S. and then do his graduate studies--- and so he told her it might be better if he wasn’t tied down.
She blew up. They ended up having their first fight ever; after all that time together.
Finally, they mutually agreed that as pleasant as things had been, it was time for them each to go their separate ways. Since then almost four years had passed, and there had been no contact between them. The link had been completely severed.
During these four years, he had dated on and off and had some fun times, but nothing serious. His studies always came first. As he thought about all of this, he realized that she was the only girl he had ever really loved.
The sound of the phone ringing broke his reverie. It turned out to be a wrong number.
He looked at the phone and thought about what it would be like to hear her voice again.
He looked down at his notes, and thought of her in that Government job. He was almost done with his Doctorate now, even had job offers lined up. As a result he felt more ready to think seriously about any possible commitment.
But where was she? Did she even still work for the Government? Then another thought intruded itself; maybe she’s already married and has kids too! After all, it’s been almost four years.
That was the thought that decided things for him. He had to find out, one way or the other. And he had a good reason to call her.
He walked over to the phone and dialed ‘information.’
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 08, 2003.
Oh my! The possibility of E.T contact from Mars AND a love story! That calls for a special batch of fudge with macadamia nuts, for our brilliant story teller's imagination and to encourage another chapter!!
-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 09, 2003.
9/9/03 7:26 a.m. - The Pentagon
Helen Bee Mebs, director of the covert government agency called ADRO (Advanced Defense and Research Organization) was sitting as still as stone and starring at her computer’s monitor in absolute disbelief.
Evidently, someone had caused a Level ‘Yellow’ security breach within ADRO itself. This was unprecedented! Luckily, her agents were tracing the breach to its source and were chasing it down as their highest priority. She expected to hear the details regarding the exact nature of the breach from them at any moment.
Embarrassingly, this all had started when she got a call late last night from one of her former co-workers over at the FBI. They were the ones to discover and report the security breach. So now she was on the hot seat to come up with answers and resolve the problem.
Her STU 10 secure phone line warbled and then winked on. This was the call she’d been waiting for. She activated the communication button and heard her lead agent’s voice explain what the nature of the security breach was. The conversation lasted exactly 23 seconds. Afterwards, she turned off the phone, and sat silently, as she disbelievingly re-ran the conversation over again in her head.
There was no mistake. Somebody outside of the tiny need-to-know circle knew about the ADRO, was asking questions about it, and actually had some specific knowledge of its personnel too! It was just as her friend at the FBI reported to her late last night. It was now all confirmed.
She frowned. This was really bad. She still couldn’t believe it. Only a handful of people outside of ADRO even knew that her organization existed. Security at ADRO had always been tight, and since the War on Terror began, it was made even more secure. How the heck did someone outside find out about them, and worse, evidently get other information about who works here!
Helen looked at her office clock. It was only breakfast time yet she felt tired and irritated. It was going to be a very long day. Now that the security breach was confirmed, it was up to her agents to discover the source. Luckily, there were some hard clues they could follow. She expected to know something about who did this very soon.
= = = = = =
Bobby Cooke was disappointed. He had been calling around since dinner time yesterday but still had not been able to find out anything on the whereabouts of his ex-girlfriend.
But he was persistent, if anything. He had struck out so far, but knew there must be a way.
He sat down and ate his breakfast---a large bowl of Poopie Puffs with skim milk---and tried to think of other ways that he might be able contact her.
-- (email@example.com), September 09, 2003.
Helen’s STU lit up again and she was ready for it. But she wasn’t ready for what she was about to hear. They had identified the source of the security breach, and got more details about it. What she learned almost made her faint! She killed the line, put her head in her hands, and for the first time in many years, she started crying.
It took her about 15 minutes to regain her composure enough to make the phone call she was dreading. But she dialed the number, heard the familiar voice at the other end, and issued the order.
= = = =
Detective Ronald Brooks also worked for ADRO, besides being the Chief Detective on a local Police force in the Town he lived in. He replaced the receiver of his secure phone and sat down heavily in the chair nearest to the phone.
It was 8:00 in the morning, but he felt as though he needed a drink after what Helen had just told him. He couldn’t believe it! Helen had just told him to drop everything and go over to Julie Eden's house.
But it was what he was supposed to do once he got there that he couldn’t believe---
= = = = =
Julie had been awake for at least an hour when she heard the knock on the door. Pat, her golden retriever, barked once. Julie looked through the peephole and saw her good friend and ADRO co-worker, Ron Brooks.
That’s odd, she thought, he always calls before he comes over, and it’s so early too.
She opened the door to let him in, but he just stood in the doorway and looked down at his shoes. He had an expression on his face that reminded her of what the proverbial little kid must look like when they got their hand caught in a cookie jar.
“Ron! what are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry, Julie, but I have to ask you to come with me.”
“What? What do you mean come with you? Come with you where?”
Brooks coughed slightly as if to clear his throat. “Well, I have to take you into custody. Officially, that is.”
A new thought came to Julie and she smiled. This has to be a joke! That’s it! She knew Ron a long time and he had never played any practical jokes on her before, but they say there is always a first time. She laughed out loud.
Ron saw this and grew even more serious.
Suddenly, Julie knew that he was in fact serious.
Her expression immediately changed to one of alarm.
“Oh, Ron, what’s happened? What’s going on? Please tell me!”
Brooks looked up into the young agents pretty eyes, met her glance, and quickly turned away.
“I’m sorry, Julie, but you’re now under my protective custody. I, well, I mean, you have to come with me, or, well, I, I still can’t believe it, but if you don’t, then I’ll have to place you under arrest.”
Now there was dead silence.
Julie’s voice cracked as a question popped into her mind. “What about Pat?”
After a few seconds, Detective Brooks cleared his throat again. “I think we should drop Pat off at Gayla Gold’s until this is resolved. It could be a few days, I really don’t know. I’ll explain what I can on the way over. We better get going. Now. ”
Julie stood stunned and motionless in the doorway of her house. This was no joke. All she do could was to go along with Ron.
She felt like crying. Her whole world had been turned upside down. Suddenly, nothing made any sense.
What the heck was going on?
-- (Wait@till.Good Sir Cook sees this!), September 09, 2003.
Julie sat on Brooks’ couch as he dialed the secure number. Helen answered on the first ring, and obviously was extremely upset. Brooks hit the speaker button.
"Hi Helen, I have Julie here with me. We stopped off and dropped Pat off for safe keeping at the local animal clinic until this is all resolved, so that’s why we’re a little late.”
They heard Helen’s familiar voice come through the tiny speaker.
“That was a good idea, Ron. This might take a while. Ok, Julie. Let’s get this over with.
= = = = = =
“Gold’s Animal Clinic” said the receptionist’s voice over the static- filled phone.
“Hello, may I speak with Dr. Gold?.”
“Certainly, hold on just one moment please.”
The man on the other end only had to wait half that long before he heard Dr. Gold identify herself.
“Hello Dr. Gold, my name is Robert Cooke. It’s been a while---a few years actually---but I was hoping you might remember me. I was very, very, close friends with one of your employees. I used to see you when I picked her up after work sometimes. I'm calling because I was wondering if you could help me locate her. Her name is Julie. Julie Eden.”
= = = = = = = =
-- (FRLian@writer.AllSugaredUp), September 09, 2003.
Waits with baited breathe .....
... for chocolates to come through fax line,
... For rest of story,....
.... For PhD?
(Memo: Do not procrastinate when comes to love. Bought flowers tonight. Ronnie happy.)
-- Robert & Jean Cook (RobertCook@GA.herewith Lon), September 09, 2003.
Oh no! Julie's been set-up. A tall thin Cooke to the rescue?
I hope that radio wave or whatever it is doesn't have a harmful affect on the whales.
Okay I'll be quiet again now. Over to you Rob.
-- Carol (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 10, 2003.
Julie sipped at the hot coffee Brooks had just poured her and shifted slightly on the couch as she listened to her boss’s voice.
“What did you tell her so far, Brooks?” Helen asked quietly.
Ron sat up straighter and started speaking slowly.
“I told her that their has been a Level Yellow security breach of ADRO that directly involves her, and that for her own protection I needed to get her over here with me until we find out if she is in any danger.”
Julie nodded as she listened for Helen’s reply.
“Yes, that’s right. Here’s the rest of it. We just found out that the source of the security breach is a man named Robert Cooke.”
At this, Julie spit out her coffee and dropped the steaming hot cup on her lap, burning herself on the hand in the process. Brooks jumped to his feet and ran into the kitchen to get some towels. Helen heard the commotion all the way in the Pentagon. After a moment, things settled down enough to resume the discussion.
Julie was shocked and shaking her head.
“He’s my old boyfriend! But I haven’t heard from him in years. I..., I don’t understand any of this. Could someone please explain things?”
Helen replied instantly.
“Your old boyfriend? Oh my goodness! You mean you know this person? This fellow Robert Cooke was calling half the government’s alphabet soup agencies yesterday asking about ADRO and asking about you. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that him knowing about ADRO is a security violation. Worse, he had direct knowledge of the specific staff here---namely You! Well, he got in touch with the FBI yesterday and they contacted me. And now it turns out you know each other.”
Helen paused for second before continuing.
“He wants to find you for some reason, Julie. But maybe he is not a threat to you. Maybe he wants something else. I don’t know. But this is a serious security violation. Some important people in Washington know about this embarrassing security lapse. The problem is that he somehow knew about ADRO. Not only that, he knows you work for ADRO! I have agents on the way to Georgia to pick him up for questioning at this very minute. Do you know how he could have found out about ADRO? Or how he could possibly know that you worked here?”
Detective Ronald Brooks watched as Julie’s pretty face colored bright red as she answered her boss’s question in a barely audible voice.
“Yes, Helen, he knows those things because, well, because I told him!”
= = = =
Ronald Brooks was aghast at this revelation. It was he who several years ago had recruited Julie into ADRO, and it was he who had carefully explained to her the Rules---the first and most important of which was maintaining security and keeping you r mouth shut. As far as he knew, Julie had been a model employee. And now this!
Similar thoughts were also going through Helen Bee Mebs' mind at the same time. She had been much more than just Julie's boss. They had developed a friendship over these past few years, and Helen knew she could always rely on her. In fact, in some ways Helen thought of herself as part of Julie's family.
Julie knew she was in trouble and was desperately trying to remember what had happened during that last conversation several years ago with Bobby. Most of what she remembered was not pleasant. She started crying.
Helen’s voice broke the silence. She had a job to do that she never thought she would even be capable of. Julie was her employee, so that made this her mess. The Rules and laws were very clear in this particular situation.
Helen fought back tears as she told Ronald Brooks that immediately after this conversation ended, Julie was to be charged with violating security procedures. She was to be placed officially under arrest.
END OF PART ONE
-- (Iemail@example.com), September 10, 2003.
A couple DAYS? But... but... Julie is gonna be locked up. You can't keep her locked up for days! And we gotta know what they do to Robert. And what is that NOISE?
By the way, we have Chili's in the south too, and I love them! :-)
-- Gayla (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 10, 2003.
I'll run out of snacks!!
-- helen (email@example.com), September 10, 2003.
Ladies, Ladies! Really! Let us give our beloved story writer a bit of "time-out", shan't we? Let us be greatful for the sharing, and, afterall, since Julie has been dormant for while, prior to this story, what is a mere 48-72 hours, afterall?
As for snack Miss Helen, I have made some savory lil things. It's a mix of Gruyere swiss, grated, bacon, crumbled, green onions minced, a bit of Tabasco, some twists of freshly ground pepper, all bound together with mayo, piled by the tablespoon, onto cocktail rye bread, and broiled to savory goodness! A bit of a nosh, with your favorite beverage, and then you can have a piece of fudge or three to hold you over until the next installment. Do tell, will that hold you until the next episode??? Oh, and I do believe there is a plate of deviled eggs in the fridge, if you are still in the mood for munchies!
-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 10, 2003.
(Looks at the fax line closely for devilividided egges .........------ -^^^^^^^^^---------........)
(By the way, what do devilded egges look like coming through the fax line?)
-- Robert & Jean Cook (RobertCook@GA.herewith Lon), September 13, 2003.
Hmmmm. 666 eggs, huh? LOL.
Well, I guess I'll start back up soon. Probably write up something tomorrow. Thanks for the intermission snacks!
-- (FRLian@fiction.writer), September 13, 2003.
...---ooo---... ...---ooo---... ...---ooo---... ...---ooo---... ...---ooo---...
-- Watching EggesHatch (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 14, 2003.
Poor Julie - left in the slammer for days while Rob plots his way out of this one!
Wonder what she did to him? ;-) Obviously she's not a very co- operative character and it's got her into some serious problems! Pat likes her, though, that's a major point in the positive column.
Here's some good hot chocolate, and I've got some decaf coffee for those of us who prefer to avoid caffeine. Hand me some of Aunt Bee's fudge, would you please.
-- Tricia the Canuck (email@example.com), September 14, 2003.
Two days later
Julie sat in Brooks' living room and thought about the crazy turn of events. Ron had placed her under "house arrest" while things got sorted out. She told herself that being confined to his house wasn't the end of the world.
She called the vet to check up on Pat too. Gayla Gold had told her Pat was fine, and also that Bobby had called her and was trying to locate her. At that she frowned. All of this was Bobby Cooke's fault. If she ever got her hands on him. . .
At first when Helen told her she was to be arrested, she pictured herself behind bars. But neither Helen nor Brooks thought that was necessary, and so she was basically just stuck here at Brooks' house until something happened to change it.
Little did she know that something was going to happen to change things on this very day.
-- (Here@wego.again), September 14, 2003.
Brooks hadn't been home the last two days. He had flown down to Georgia to assist in the 'interviewing' of Bobby Cooke.
Mr. Cooke was, in Ron's opinion, a nerd. The tall, skinny, grad student had been quite unnerved by Brooks and his method of questioning.
But Bobby Cooke had cooperated fully, and even agreed to fly back with Brooks to D.C. to meet Helen in person and file a formal statement about how he knew ADRO existed.
So it was that now, both Brooks and Bobby sat in Helen's pentagon office. The director of ADRO sat still for a minute, quietly studying Mr. Cooke, then cleared her throat and began recording the official statement. Helen looked down at the notes Brooks had taken from the 'interviews', then looked directly at Bobby Cooke, and then started speaking in a soft voice.
"I see you wanted to contact Julie because you remembered she worked for a Government Agency and thought she could help you find the right authorities to help with your, um, what was it, this strange Signal you've recorded from Mars."
Bobby Cooke nodded in agreement as Helen continued.
"Also, you thought there might be a possibility of resuming your affair with Julie, with whom you had a relationship for several years before she joined the Government. That right so far?"
Bobby Clarke's voice cracked slightly as he replied. "Yes, that's right. I..., I still think I might have some feelings for her, and I, well, I wanted to see if she was married or not, and if not, then, well maybe we could date again."
Brooks smiled. "Well, you've found out some of what you wanted then. As far as your Signal, you've actually ended up exactly in the right place."
Helen looked at Bobby Cooke and had the slightest of smiles on her face as she said "Remember that ADRO doesn't officially exist, that we are just a research and defense branch of Homeland Security. I see you've signed a statement saying you now recognize this and will never mention ADRO again. That's a good first step. I also see you've passed a lie detector test about how you obtained knowledge of what you called ADRO."
Bobby Cooke sat up straighter in his chair. "Yes, I have nothing to hide. You know everything. Can I go now?"
Brooks also sat up straighter. "No, not just yet. I think Helen wants to hear it from you in your own words. Tell her now you found out."
Bobby frowned at this, but nodded as he began telling Helen about what happened that last night with Julie several years ago...
"We had just had our first fight", Bobby began. "She told me she wanted to take the job at ADRO, uh, I mean at Homeland Security, and also she wanted me to move with her here to D.C. I didn't want to be tied down. I loved her, but I just wasn't ready for a commitment. I was afraid, actually. And I had most of my school work ahead of me."
At hearing this, Helen jumped to her feet with excitement! Brooks and Bobby were both startled by the sudden movement. Helen almost ran around the side of the large desk and looked directly into Bobby's eyes and asked him to repeat what he just said.
Brooks and Bobby exchanged confused glances as Bobby repeated it for Helen.
Afterwards, for the first time in three days, a large smile formed on Helen's face and she started laughing out loud.
"Don't you see?" she said, Julie told you about ADRO, I mean Homeland Security, BEFORE she actually took the job here. So technically, she was not an employee yet! So she couldn't have been bound by the rules on conduct yet either! Julie didn't do anything wrong after all!"
Now Brooks jumped to his feet.
"You're right, Helen! This changes everything. Let's call Julie and tell her she is no longer under house arrest."
Helen stopped laughing and smiled at Bobby Cooke.
"No," she said, "I think I have a better way of letting her know."
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 14, 2003.
How's she gonna do it??
-- helen (email@example.com), September 14, 2003.
She's going to send BOBBY, of course! :-)
Filling the bowl with M & M's....
-- Gayla (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 14, 2003.
Watching for M&M coming through the fax line ....
(Some turn always upside down as they roll ya know ...)
-- Robert & Jean Cook (RobertCook@GA.herewith Lon), September 14, 2003.
Lives changing as we watch! And Julie off the hook, at last!
Bravo FRLian storyteller!
Anyone for a piece of Oreo cheesecake?
-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 14, 2003.
9/15/03 10:37 a.m. Brooks' House
Julie heard a car pulling into the driveway for the first time all week. She went into the living room and parted the curtains enough to see that it was Brooks' car. He was driving and talking to someone seated next to him. She squinted for a better look.
Julie blinked her eyes at the sight. It was Bobby! Her face turned bright red with anger. How dare he show his face after what he did to her, and after all this time of not hearing from him. The nerve!
In only seconds, an idea came to her. She forced herself to become calm and actually managed a smile as she saw the two enter through the front door.
"Hi Julie," Brooks said, "look who I brought to see you!"
Bobby stood sheepishly to the side, almost behind Brooks, trying to gauge Julie's reaction to this surprise. She was just as pretty as he remembered.
Julie smiled at seeing him. She walked over to him, still smiling, obviously glad to see him. He looked at her and returned her smile. She's even prettier than I remembered, he thought to himself. Why didn't I call her all this time? I should have at least kept in touch.
Julie came right up to him, inches from his face, still smiling. He was half expecting a hug, or maybe a kiss.
Unexpectedly, Julie's whole face changed in an instant. Her pretty smile was suddenly replaced with an unmistakable anger. Rage might better describe it. Bobby reflexively moved back a step. But it was too late.
She slapped his face! Actually, slapped is to weak a word; she hit him as hard as she could. Brooks stood there like a statue, mouth open, almost as shocked as Bobby was.
Bobby 's hand raised involuntarily to his mouth, surprised by the sudden violent move. And in looking down at his hand he was even more surprised by the trickle of blood that was evidently coming from the corner of his mouth.
He looked at Julie with a questioning expression. That's when she started yelling at him.
"You scum! You've cost me my job and everything I've worked for. I hate you. I never want to see your face again. The nerve of you calling my friends and asking for me after all this time! Did you think I had nothing better to do than to wait around and see if you'd ever come back? What a jerk! I hate you! Go away and don't ever bother me again. I never want to see you or hear from you again, do you understand? Am I being clear enough for you?"
And with that, Julie quickly stomped out of the room, crying her way to the bedroom.
-- (MM&WWs@oreo.cheescake), September 15, 2003.
Youch! Star-crossed lovers. Still, nothing worth having comes easily.
Darn I've run out of chocolate. Maybe those upside down M&M's were meant to be exported to a land where they would be right-side up.
-- Carol (email@example.com), September 15, 2003.
(Boy, THAT was a surprise....)
-- Looking for MM&WW's (WMW@MWM.FAX), September 15, 2003.
Egads! This story is all about assumptions-perhaps a lesson in communication for us all, eh story writer? First Helen Bee Mebs assumes Julie broke her loyalty vow, and NOW, Julie assumes poor ole Bobby betrayed her!
Where will it all end???
Anyone for a little chocolate Pot de Creme, with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, and grated Belgian chocolate on top??
-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 15, 2003.
9/15/03 Brooks' House Ten minutes later
They could hear Julie crying in the bedroom, even with the door closed. Brooks motioned Bobby to the couch where the young man sat down heavily, a confused and hurt look on his face.
"I better go talk to her," Brooks said. "She doesn't even know yet that she's been proven innocent and is free to go. You stay here, ok?"
Bobby, still dazed, nodded and dabbed ineffectually at the drying blood on the corner of his mouth.
Brooks went over to his spare bedroom, where Julie had been staying these last few days, and knocked lightly on the door. He could hear her sobbing pause as she softly said to come in. He sat on the far edge of the bed and looked down at the floor for a second, as if thinking of what to say. But Julie beat him to it.
"I..., I'm sorry for the way I acted just now, but I'm so mad about losing my job and all, and when I saw Bobby I just exploded. I'm sorry you had to see that, Ron, you've been so kind to me and all."
"That's ok, Julie, to be honest, I never knew you had it in you! But I came in here now to tell you something I should've told you before; that you're no longer under house arrest. Bobby explained to us that you told him about working for ADRO when you were just considering taking the job. In other words, you weren't even an employee yet when you were talking it over with him. Once Helen realized that, she sent us back here to tell you in person that you're completely cleared. You didn't violate any security procedures. You still have a job, Julie. And now with this Signal that Bobby discovered, you're more needed than ever."
Julie stood up off of the bed, almost leaping for joy at the news she was free and still had a job at ADRO. Then her expression changed.
"What Signal?" she asked, frowning.
"A Signal from Mars," Brooks replied. "ADRO has agreed to investigate it. Right now it's the hottest thing going on. Even the White House is getting updates on it included in their Daily Briefs. But the more important thing is we need you to help us with this."
But Julie's thoughts were not on MARS at the moment. She was trying to remember back to when she and Booby had first discussed ADRO. All at once everything semed to hit her and she suddenly understood. Then her face brightened, like sunshine after darkness, clouds, and rain, and she threw her arms around Brooks.
"Oh! You're right, Ron, that's just the way it happened! Oh my God, so I'm not under arrest and I still have a job!"
Brooks watched as Julie's expression became concerned again.
"But why did Helen send Bobby with you?"
Brooks smiled slightly and put his hand up to his mouth.
"Well, it turns out there's still a couple embers in your old flames fire. Part of the reason Bobby was trying to contact you was because he discovered something very important and needed to find the right person to tell. Evidently, he thought of you first, and in thinking of you, well, he found that he wanted to see how you were doing; what you were up to; if you were married or not; that kind of thing. So Helen thought it would be a nice surprise for you to see each other again. None of us counted on your reaction though. I guess we should have told you that you'd been cleared of all wrongdoing before we came back to see you. If anyone should apologize, I guess it should be me. I'm sorry."
Julie sat still on the edge of the bed. Bobby still cared for her; had thought of her first to be the one to handle some very important information; had even asked if she were married. Wow! It did sound as if he still cared, at least to some extent, and after all this time. This was so overwhelming. She needed to think and sort out her own feelings. And there was something else she needed to do to.
"Wow! I..., I can't believe this has all happened. It's like one misunderstanding after another. It looks like I need to do some apologizing myself, Ron. I feel so awful after what's just happened. I hope Bobby can forgive me."
-- (Belgian@Doll.lips), September 15, 2003.
Sob...Bobby CAN forgive her, can't he, can't he???
Isn't that what love is all about?
Anyone for a S'more, with melty chocolate on top of those hot roasted marshmallows, betwixt graham crackers??
Please dear storyteller, tell us love wins out, wontcha?
-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 15, 2003.
Bobby saw Julie and Brooks come out of the spare bedroom and walk towards him. He stood up and faced them; his face displaying a mixture of confusion and expectation.
Julie went up to Bobby, and then turned to look at Brooks, who cleared his throat, smiled, and then excused himself as he supposedly had 'something to do' in the kitchen.
Julie smiled, this time a genuine smile, and said "Thanks, Ron." Then she turned to Bobby, who still had that same expression on his face.
But this time he saw a different Julie, one who's eyes were smiling as well. He smiled weakly in return, still not knowing what to expect.
"I'm sorry, Bobby, I didn't know what I was doing. Can you forgive me? Ron explained things to me just now. I thought you were the cause of me losing my job and everything, and I didn't know why you were trying to get in touch with me after all that time. But I know now, and I have something to tell you."
Bobby stepped closer to the girl he once loved so dearly, as she also took a step closer to him. Their faces were now inches apart. Julie reached for his hand, took it in hers, and said; "You wanted to know if I was married didn't you, Bobby? Well, I'm not married or engaged or anything. I've been so busy with my job and all that I just never made time for anyone. But I think Helen knows me better than I know myself. She sent you here with Ron for a reason. And now, seeing you, well, it brings back memories of the good times we had. To be honest, I really don't know how I feel about all of this, about you and me, but I, well, I...,"
And that's when Bobby put a finger gently to her lips to silence her, and leaned his head towards hers, and put his arms around her, and kissed her gently and lovingly.
END OF PART TWO
-- (Smores@re.yummy), September 16, 2003.
-- Robert & Jean Cook (RobertCook@GA.herewith Lon), September 16, 2003.
Well, Rob managed to save Julie for now... but what's up with that Martian stuff???
-- Tricia the Canuck (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 17, 2003.
Tricia, how can you think about Martians at a time like this?
Isn't love neat? Even all those years later...
-- Gayla (email@example.com), September 18, 2003.
Hmmm. I'm feeling ready to start up again now that the Hurricane's over with. Now if I could only get something yummy to eat, maybe I could think up a good ending...
-- (sonofdust@remembers.GreyBear), September 21, 2003.
I just pulled some chocolate chunk pecan cookies out of the oven. Would you like a nice ice cold glass of milk with those???
-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 21, 2003.
Oh, man! I can smell those all the way here in New Jersey. Uh, yeah I guess I'll take some milk with them too. Wonder where I put that Hershey's syrup...
I'll post the next part soon. Probably start writing it tonight and hen post it tomorrow.
-- (sonofdust@thanks.AuntBee), September 21, 2003.
The days following Julie and Bobby's reunion passed quickly.
Bobby stayed at Brooks' house after Julie had gone to get Pat from the Animal Clinic and returned briefly home. She then went back to Ron's house with Pat and stayed there them both.
During this time, she and Bobby had more 'moments' together, and they mutually decided that once things settled down, they would make another go of it as a couple. Julie walked around Brooks' house singing quietly, almost under her breath, as Bobby became friends with Brooks. There was nothing like spending a few days together in close quarters for getting to know someone a bit better, Julie thought. And what she was learning, she liked.
Brooks' first impression of Bobby was that the young grad student was a nerd. In this, he was quite correct. Bobby had spent the last four years of his life mostly studying and working and thinking about his research, and although he did make some time for fun, it was more to ensure he stayed sharp at his work than for any other reason. He may be a nerd, Brooks thought to himself, but he's a likely enough fellow, and sure has it bad for Julie. He smiled to himself.
The more time Ron spent around Bobby, the more he thought of what Helen had asked him to consider. This evening, he had come to the conclusion that Helen, once again, had been right. Bobby was ADRO material. Ron sat on his living room couch and thought of how he would bring up the subject of a job offer, and wondered what Julie would think of it. He wasn't thinking for very long when the two of them walked into the living room and also sat down. He was about to start a conversation when the phone rang.
It was the secure line that was illuminated and ringing. He looked at both Bobby and Julie, then picked up the phone, and heard Helen Bee Mebs' voice clearly.
"Finally," Helen began, "after all these days, we've had our first breakthrough on the Mars Signal. Is Rob Cooke still there with you, Ron?"
"Uh, yes, he's here, and so's Julie and Pat."
At the mention of her name the golden retriever's ears perked up and she barked softly.
"Good! You're not going to believe what we just found out!"
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 21, 2003.
-- Cliff Hanger (Twiddling@Thumbs.wait), September 21, 2003.
Julie took Bobby's hand and squeezed it. Helen wasn't impressed very easily so she must really have learned something special! Julie watched as both Bobby and Brooks sat up a bit straighter and listened to Helen continue.
"It's not just one Signal. Um, I mean, our engineers and scientists have broken the Signal down further and evidently what we thought of as one sound is not just a single sound. It's made up of smaller sounds, some of which repeat. The scientists have isolated six separate sounds within the Signal. And two of them repeat. And all six sounds always repeat in the same sequence. So it isn't just a Signal, it's a message of some kind! We have a team of Linguists and Cryptologists working around the clock on trying to understand each of the separate sounds. If we can do that, then we will be able to understand the message! So far they all seem to be at a dead-end though."
Helen paused and waited for a reaction. As she had guessed, she didn't have to wait long.
Bobby was sitting on the edge of the couch listening intently and barely noticed that Julie's grip on his hand had tightened considerably. This was absolutely incredible! He wanted to be working on this too. He HAD to be working on this; after all, he discovered the Signal! Some people were even referring to it as "Cooke's Signal!"... and his knowledge of acoustics could certainly be useful to them. He looked at Julie and was surprised to see that she was giving him an odd look of sympathy mixed with understanding. She gave his hand another squeeze. He smiled weakly in response.
Julie giggled. "You want to go back to the Pentagon, don't you? And work on this with Helen's team, right?"
He laughed out loud and then pretended to frown. "Geez! Is it that obvious?"
Pat barked once, and everyone laughed.
Julie smiled at Pat, saying; "See, Bobby? Even Pat knows!"
They all laughed again and then looked back toward the phone as they heard Helen's voice begin talking again.
"Well, Robert Cooke, then you better come back here as soon as possible. And Robert---may I call you Bobby?---since you're volunteering, you can consider yourself to have 'temporary employee' status here at Homeland Security in the Pentagon for the next few days. I'll make the security arrangements. Brooks, would you mind telling Bobby about our Rules of Conduct? I'll take care of notifying his colleagues in Georgia. See you tomorrow, Bobby."
At Helen's mention of the Rules of Conduct, Julie almost burst out laughing. To think Bobby was going to be learning about the very thing that had caused so much trouble and misunderstanding, and had been responsible for them getting back together. What a strange turn of events.
What no one knew yet was that an even stranger turn of events was about to happen.
-- (email@example.com), September 21, 2003.
Eeek, and egads! Keeping us on the edge of our seats are ya? Good job storyteller! Thanks, and you must know in your heart, that we just love it!
-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 21, 2003.
Thanks, Aunt Bee! For me, the best part of writing these stories is reading youz guyz responses and seeing what delicious snacks you come up with. And Aunt Bee, in that Department, you take the cake and no mistake!
I wonder which one of you posted as 'Cliff Hanger'?!?! My guess is it's a Good Sir 'Hmmmmmmnnnn', but that's only a guess... I've sorta developed a style of doing cliffs with hangers now.
I'm gonna be able to finish this up over the next day or so, once I get more yummies to eat that is. I have a hankerin' for those peanut- buttery cookies that Tricia makes (did they have some chocolate in them too?). Wonder where our Sweet Princess is?
And where'd Helen go off to? She's the hero, or heroin, or hero chick or HeroLady of this here story!
And maybe our Good Sir and Carol will check back in too?
Knowing Gayla, she's probably already figured out the ending---now if I can just get her to tell me what it is...
-- (FRLian@hungry.again), September 22, 2003.
Still here Rob and enjoying the story very much. Hmm, a sound inside a sound, wish I could hear that? Kinda like listening through stereo headphones. Hey, maybe Martians have six ears. That'd sure beat quadraphonic.
-- Carol (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 22, 2003.
The next day - The Pentagon
Helen handed over a piece of paper to Bobby who studied it intently. It was a summary of what the Linguists and Cryptologists had come up with so far. The last line was a representation of how the 6 individual sounds were organized within the Signal. Bobby looked down at it and this is what he saw:
Sound 1, Sound 2, Sound 2, Sound1, Sound3, Sound4
Then the whole thing repeated again, just as he had originally calculated, at four minute intervals.
Helen looked at him expectantly; half hoping he had some idea. He returned her gaze and was about to speak when her phone rang. She quickly picked it up, listened for no more than 5 seconds, asked; "Are you sure?" and then hung up.
She gave Bobby a surprised look and said; "Bad news. The signal has stopped. It's gone. It's as if it was never there!"
Bobby stood up, looking as confused as Helen felt. "Really? Well, we have the sounds from the Signal recorded and all, so we'll still be able to perform our analysis. Does anyone know if we actually lost the Signal, or instead did it stop?"
Helen liked Bobby Cooke. He was quick, as evidenced by the questions he asked. She answered quickly; "It just stopped repeating. The scientists said it was probably because Mars was closest to us last month and up until around the time you discovered the Signal, but for the last week or so it's been moving steadily farther away. They think it's just gone out of range for us to continue getting the Signal, but they can't be absolutely sure."
Bobby nodded his head in agreement. "Yup, that makes sense. I was wondering when it would get too far away to pick it up anymore. Guess we all found that out together now. But like I said before, Director Mebs, at least we still have it recorded and can continue the analysis."
Now Helen nodded in agreement and smiled. She could see why Julie liked this young man. "Bobby, please call me Helen. And yes, that'll have to do. Let's see if we can make any progress on what the heck the individual sounds mean. That's the biggest remaining mystery. We solve that, and we'll know what the message is!"
Once again, Bobby Cooke sat down and studied the paper, trying to think of what the set of six sounds could possibly mean.
-- (sonofdust@Hi.Carol!), September 22, 2003.
The minutes passed into hours.
Morning passed into afternoon, then evening.
Then the next day came and went. And still there was no clue on what the Signal/message was.
Bobby's leave of absence was almost over now. He had to get back to Sapelo Island and catch up on his research and studies. He couldn't solve the mystery of the Signal, but then nobody else could either.
It was, unfortuantely, destined to remain a mystery.
So it was that after another day passed, he returned to the Island to finish up his Doctoral work. But he felt like a new person when he returned there, for one of his prayers had been answered. He was about to start a new life after graduating, but this time he would have someone to share it with. Someone who he thought was very special indeed; someone who he loved, and who loved him back.
And to think he had a person named Helen Bee Mebs to thank for it all!
-- T H E E N D!! (FRLian@fiction.writer), September 22, 2003.
===== Postlude =====
Mars , the Valles Marineris
Helen and Bobby's speculation that we lost the Signal because the Earth and Red Planet had moved too far from each other was correct. But the signal was still repeating every 4 minutes, as it was supposed to do according to its Alien designers.
They had created something that hadn't been invented yet here on Earth; a life-sustaining Habitat for Hostile Environments. It looked like a giant, clear bubble. Instead of jails, this is what the Aliens used to detain those they had to keep an eye on and also keep alive, with zero chance for escape. The 'Bubble' was a complete environment that was capable of providing air, water, food--- everything the prisoner would need to survive.
The only thing they needed to account for and know right away was if there were any negative fluctuations or changes in any of the Life- sustaining parameters. That's why the Bubble had a transmitter to send a Signal at regular intervals back to the Mother Ship. This was where Cooke's Signal was coming from; a special transmitter that was really part of a life-support system monitor.
The prisoner in this case was a Human; one that had caused nothing but trouble for them time after time. A human named Alexander Lawless.
After the Aliens set it all up and put Alexander in his new 'home', they asked him to say something into a microphone on the front of the monitoring device. His words would be what were stored as the signal and sent up to the Mother Ship.
But when the Aliens had asked him to say something into the microphone, Alexander instead spelled out one short word, a single letter at a time,
---a word that had 6 letters,
---a word where the 1rst letter was the same as the 4th,
---and the 2nd and 3rd letters were also identical.
This is what he spelled out---his own unique and special message--- Cooke's Signal:
-- Rob Michaels (email@example.com), September 22, 2003.
Bravo Rob-! GOOD story! Here is your final reward, some Peanut Butter Kisses: peanut butter cookies, with a chocolate kiss in the center-yumski! I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy your writing~
-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 23, 2003.
Aunt Bee; Did you really like it? To be honest, there's no way I would have tried writing a Love Story but that's what Marie wanted!!!! (But I still got in my Aliens at the end Ha ha ha ;-) Anyway, it's done now so I'll print it off and then she'll read it too. Thanks for letting me know what you thought of the story!
Oh, and thanks for the snacks too!
-- (FRLian@fiction.writer), September 23, 2003.
A terrific story Rob with a great ending. Aunt Bee has got your chocolate rations covered, so I'll just say a big "thank you". Much appreciated.
-- Carol (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 23, 2003.
Yes Rob, I really. really liked it. The only thing I would have changed is when Bobby kissed Julie, you should have added "tenderly"- women just love men who are tender, ya know!
Glad ya like the snacks friend! Now you're going to have to come up with a holiday story for us (they're coming you know!)
This is a little OT, but I was actually gifted with two stories today. Someone I work with is really a very creative writer. This morning she handed me two glimpses into her history-just moments in time, all typed out. I think I will invite her here, if she has net access. If not, maybe she won't mind if I post her stories.
-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 23, 2003.
: : : : : : (while standing :-D)
Rob, I love your stories! I've only been here twice this past week - we had a 50th anniversary party for my in-laws on the weekend, bought a car and I've been packing to go to Nashville tomorrow... a busy time. So I made the time to read the story, but I'm a bit late with the comments, sorry! I'm so glad Bobby and Julie made up and got happy. Maybe that genius might even figure out what message it is that Lawless is sending, it had me ROFLing :-D
I hope Marie likes it too - maybe then she'll let you come play a little more often. She could always try her hand at some haiku or something (hint, hint).
-- Tricia the Canuck (email@example.com), September 24, 2003.
Sorry, I took off for Colorado before I got to see the ending. You did a terrific job, Rob!!! A love story is always a treat! Almost better than chocolate. ;-)
So, the POOPIE message is still being broadcast... hmmmm.... is Lawless still inside the bubble or did he escape? I'm getting a picture of Paul Newman in "Cool Hand Luke" when he was shaking the bushes with a string but was escaping at the same time...
Can't wait for the next installment! :-D
-- Gayla (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 28, 2003.
Hey! This is NOT the end!! Alexander is still there!! and ... how is POOPIE gonna really be received by NASA and ARDRO? More questions than answers. Need more story!
-- helen (email@example.com!), September 28, 2003.
Where is our Good Sir? Geez, I'll really have to watch what I write about 'Bobby Cooke' in the future. I think that 'hard slap' made him go underground and he ain't been seen since!!!
Carol; I appreciate your appreciation, and just so you know, there's no such thing on any of my threads as too much chocolate ;-)
Aunt Bee; Yes, invite her here you think she would enjoy it. You may want to warn, uh I mean tell her that some of us can be a bit, just a little bit mind you, uh, well, nuts. I think I wrote 'gently and lovingly' and 'gently' sort of means the same as tenderly doesn't it? Next time I'll use tenderly instead...that is, if there is a next time...and if I don't forget...only kidding.
Tricia; Glad you liked the ending. I hope it was a surprise!
Gayla; Lawless is still inside the bubble and the message is still being transmitted. Hmmmm. Maybe I just got an idea for how to start the next story...
Helen; The 'POOPIE' Signal was only detected by Bobby's home- made 'listening Device' while MARS was within its closest range to Earth. Yes, Lawless is still there, and somehow, even though this is the end of this particular story, the Saga seems to just go on and on and on so there will most likely be more story and continuation like with the others.
All; Well I wanted (at Marie's insistence ;-) to try doing a 'love story' and also a story that didn't use Pat or the Aliens much. So this was the result. She read it and said it was 'good writing' and then told me to stick with Pat and the Aliens and my usual way-out stuff in the future. I think she knows that I enjoy doing that a lot more.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 29, 2003.
Is it safe to come in now?
It's been 28 years since I was last in the datin' business..... Yoicks!
(Looks around for more angry girlfriends ....)
-- Robert & Jean Cook (Cooks@home.ga), October 02, 2003.
So! I was right! That was Your Yoikes!
It's ok now, you can come out again. How'd ya like becoming a character? LOL. Maybe I shouldn't have hit ya so hard. Maybe Julie will be nicer to Bobby in future stories, if any.
-- (sonofdust@your.Yoikes), October 02, 2003.
OK ..... Seems skeptical.
(Looks around, checks for more angry girlfriends..... Decides it's safe. Unless somebody drops one on his head.)
(Has anybody seen any of that faxed chocolatte coffee come through the nodem?)
-- Robert & Jean Cook (Cooks@home.ga), October 05, 2003.