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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #15 - Jun 20th, 2010 at 1:04pm
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Virginia woke up promptly at daybreak and sat up to peer out the side window. She looked at the tracks that led to the tree line noting with satisfaction that there were only two sets. She didn’t expect anymore as it was a given that each craft held two aliens. There could be more than one, she thought. She laid back down next to Matt as he began to stir.

“Good morning, how do you feel?”

“Hi,” he said has he tried to sit up. “I’m still dizzy, and I still feel sick.”

“You’re going to feel that way for another few hours, I’m afraid.”

“Wonderful. Sweetheart would you grab my radio, please?”

“Sure,” she said as she picked up the handheld transceiver and handed it to him.”

“Virginia, I’m going to tell them I have the flu.”

“Alright, but they are going to see the alien bodies when they get up here.”

“Yeah, I know but I’m more concerned about the hundreds of others listening to the repeater.”

“Damn, I didn’t think about that,” she said shaking her head.

I must be more tired than I thought.

Matt turned on the radio and the speaker came to life. “… from KB1FQ, are you on Matt?”

“Right on time,” he said as he keyed the radio. “KB1FQ from KA1BQP, Good morning Sandy.”

“Hey, how are you two doing?”

“We survived the night, but I’m coming down with a case of the flu. I won’t be able to walk and I can barely sit up.”

“Jack is just getting ready to leave with the team now. Standby.”

A few minutes later Jack came on the radio, “I can’t leave you alone for a night without you getting into trouble, can I?”

“I afraid not buddy. It looks like you’re going to have to stretcher me out of here.”

“That’s alright; I’ve got plenty of help this morning. Everyone else down here is being moved down to the base camp this morning.”

“Sounds serious.”

“Yeah it is. Okay Matt I have to get moving. I’ll have the radio on this frequency if you need me. WA1NJL out.”

“KA1BQP is clear.”

Matt put the radio aside leaving it on and looked at Virginia.

“How long will it take them to get here with the snow?” she asked.

“Two and a half hours,” he said. “Have I told you yet how beautiful you are in the morning?”

“Oh come on Matt, I look like hell.”

“You’ve got the looks of a woman in love.”

Virginia blushed, “Oh stop it,” she muttered, embarrassed.

“That was a title to a song written by a friend of mine.”


“Yeah, his name is Matt as well. I sit in with his band every now and then.”

“I think I’d like to hear that song. Will you sing it to me?”


“Yeah, now.”

Matt never liked singing without accompaniment; he also hated to disappoint a lady, especially one he was in love with.

The aliens reached the tree line about forty minutes after daybreak and scanned the area above the tree line. They spotted the tracks left by their companions leading up to a rock formation halfway to the summit. The pair pressed on following the tracks.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:35am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #16 - Jun 20th, 2010 at 4:03pm
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Chapter 7:
The rescue team left the Lake of the Clouds hut forty five minutes after daybreak. Last night’s storm was the worst summer snowstorm he had seen in his thirty years on the mountain. The temperature was already above freezing and the snowmelt was going to make things tough going with mud later on.

Paul Foster was keeping pace right behind Jack; even though he wasn’t an experienced hiker, he was in excellent physical condition. And Paul deferred to Jack’s advice having learned the hard way that he didn’t know everything.

Paul was becoming the leader that Ed Straker knew he was capable of being.

“Jack, how long before we reach the summit?”

“We should be at the top by seven thirty, I’m familiar with the formation that Matt picked to set up camp it’s only a few hundred yards below the summit, Colonel.”

After the others had left Paul had told Jack the true purpose of their mission. Jack took the revelation fairly well saying, “I always suspected that something like this was going on.”

“So Virginia is a Colonel as well?”

“Yes, second in command as a matter of fact.”

“Boy is Matt ever going to be surprised.”

Yes he is, assuming Ginny didn’t already tell him out of necessity, thought Paul.

By seven in the morning Matt was feeling better; he still couldn’t stand but he was able to sit up without feeling dizzy and Virginia didn’t seem to be as worried as she was earlier.

“So honey, how do I look?” he asked.

“Like hell,” she said grinning at him.”

“Gee thanks, I love you too.”

“You look better than you did an hour ago, Matt. I was worried for a while that you were going to go into shock on me.”

“I’m too mean and miserable for that.”

“Yeah, sure you are. Hey I have to go outside for a few minutes; I’ll be right back.”

“You had better take our friend.”

“I should be alright; I didn’t see any new tracks in the snow.”

“Okay, but yell out if you need me.”

“Trust me; they’ll hear me in London.”

Virginia put on her gear and made her way out of the tent and walked around to the other side. When she had finished with taking care of personal matters she walked towards the side of the tent. She looked down to the tree line and out over the horizon. The vista was breathtaking and she could see why Matt enjoyed being up here. She sensed a presence behind her and spun around just in time to see an alien. It grabbed her as she screamed, “Matt!”

Matt sat up quickly, “Virginia?” He threw on his boots and grabbed the pistol not bothering with his jacket. He bolted out of the tent and leveled his pistol at a red suited alien hitting it in the shoulder. The alien fell back in a lifeless lump. He turned to see the other one dragging Virginia down the slope. You bastard!

Matt could not fire without risking hitting her and he took off after them driven by sheer force of will.

“What the hell was that?” asked Paul.

“It sounded like Matt’s Desert Eagle,” answered Jack.

“Shit, come on let’s step it up!”

Jack quickened the pace as they were almost to the top.

The alien noticed Matt coming down the slope and dropped the human it was carrying and took up its rifle.

Matt was hoping for this, thinking, oh no you don’t, your ass is mine! He quickly fired his weapon dropping the alien. Virginia lay on the ground motionless as Matt made his way down the slope crawling now. He was feeling sick again but he couldn’t stop as he knew her life depended on him getting to her. When he got to her he checked her vital signs and found her pulse to be very weak. Matt checked her neck finding the telltale mark left by the alien device.

Summoning all the strength he had he dragged her back up the slope.

“Virginia, you hang on, you hear.”

The rescue team crested the summit in time to see two figures near the tent one of them was laying on the ground while the other had disappeared inside.

Matt rummaged through Virginia’s pack praying that she had more than one dose of the antidote. He found the small box marked SHADO along with her ID. He was beside himself when he saw her rank. Matt opened the box and quickly read the instructions. The syringe contained a premeasured dose that was administered intramuscular. Good I don’t have to find a vein.

Matt went back out to where she lay and gave her the shot. He did not hear Jack calling to him as he collapsed with exhaustion.

By the time the rescue team had arrived Virginia had regained consciousness. She saw Paul Foster hovering over her looking very concerned.

“Ginny are you alright?”

She was still woozy from the after effects, “Paul, where’s Matt?”

“He’s right next to you, but he’s gone into shock. We’re going to try to get you airlifted off the mountain but the wind might prevent it.”

“Colonel we need to get them ready for the hike down.”

“No chopper?”

“It’s still too windy, and we can’t wait.”

The medics wrapped both Ginny and Matt in thermal blankets and hot packs to keep them warm for the trip down. Jack and Paul broke down the camp and packed the gear, while the cleanup team gathered the alien remains for later retrieval.

They started back down the mountain carrying the pair on stretchers; it was very slow going.

The group arrived at the hut two hours later and Ginny was feeling better. Matt however was still unconscious and in shock. The team medic was seriously worried about losing him.

Paul went into the bunkroom where Ginny was holding vigil at Matt’s side. Although she was feeling better she couldn’t stand for very long and she still had a blanket around her to keep warm.

“Hey, how are you?”

“How do I look?” she asked rhetorically.

“Like hell.”

“That’s about how I feel,” she said obviously distracted.

“Any change?”

“No, Mark said it was a miracle he was able to pull me back up the slope. He should not have even been able to stand for very long.”

“I guess that’s the power of love.”

Virginia gave him a grateful smile. “Thanks, I wish he didn’t risk his life.”

“Well I can think of one reason for that, he was saving Virginia Lake.”

“You know Paul, sometimes you can be pretty sweet,” she said as she reached to hug her friend.

“I know, but don’t tell anyone, okay?”

“I promise.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:36am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #17 - Jun 21st, 2010 at 3:12am
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After Paul left Ginny turned her attention back to Matt. Dear Lord, please let him wake up, she silently prayed.

“So Colonel exactly how much am I going to remember?” asked Jack.

“The amnesia drug erases the past twelve hours. You will have no recollection of what happened here this morning.”

“Damn, an itch that I can’t scratch. Oh well I knew the price of admission. That means I won’t remember meeting you Colonel.”

“Not exactly, they won’t give you the drug until you are back up on Washington. Then you’ll be sent down via the Cog Railway. The rest of your party is waiting for you down at the parking area,” said Paul.

“What about Ginny and Matt?”

“We’ll take care of them; they’re both going to be sick for a while.”

“In that case I’d better get moving, your team is waiting for me. I’m glad to have met you Colonel Foster. Just remember, if you ever need a guide up here again, look me up.”

“I’ll do that Jack, and the pleasure was mine.”

As Jack walked out one of the operatives came over to Foster.

“We’ve got the radio link to HQ working and the Commander wants to speak to you.”

This isn’t going to be fun, he thought.

Paul walked over to the console and sat down.


“What’s the good word Paul? Were we able to contain it?”

“For the most part, Ed. The alien remains are still at the top of Monroe but we haven’t yet located the craft. I have an air search set for later this morning although there may not be much left when we get to it. Ginny seems to think it is in the woods on the eastern slope of the mountain.”

“How is Virginia?”

“She’s recovering; apparently Matt Hewitt saved her life. The aliens hit her with a neurotoxin so she is going to be woozy for a few days.”

“I take it that Mr. Hewitt is the security problem?”

“Yes, they were both attacked before we could get to them. Matt is still unconscious as he went into shock from exposure and over exertion when he saved Ginny’s life.”

“It’s too bad; I know Virginia was quite taken by him. But he knows too much.”

“You’re not considering recruiting him?”

“To do what Paul, I mean he is a pilot but he’s too old to train for combat assuming he could pass the physical. And his communications background is useless to us now that converted almost everything over to FTL.”

“There’s another problem sir.”

“Like we need another, what is it?”

“Ginny is engaged to him.”


“It happened the night they arrived here.”

“For the love of God! What was she thinking?”

“She’s in love with him sir, hell I can see that.”

“Tell Colonel Lake I want to speak to her.”

“Yes sir.”

“Ginny?” Paul said as he walked into the room.

“Yes, Paul.”

“Commander Straker wants to speak with you.”

“Does he know?” she asked having wanted to tell him herself.

“I had to tell him; you’ll understand when you talk to him.”

“Alright, can you help me? I’m still a bit shaky on my legs.”

“Sure,” he said as he helped her to the common room.

She sat down in front of the console and saw that the channel was still open. Ed was looking down with his head in his hands.


Straker looked up and lost some of his steam when he saw how haggard she looked.

“Virginia, are you alright?”

“Yeah, I’m still feeling the effects of the neurotoxin. I didn’t know how nasty that stuff was.”

“I see.” Straker paused for a moment then continued. “I understand that you have something to tell me.”

“Yes it’s true. I wanted to tell you myself, not hear it second hand.”

“Well don’t blame Paul, I forced the issue. Virginia, are you sure that you know what you’re doing? You’ve only known this man for what three days? I would have expected this from Paul, but you?”

“What’s so surprising, that I found someone I love; someone who loves me? Is that so hard to believe?”

“No, not at all; if you had known him for a while.”

“Didn’t you tell me once that you fell in love with Mary the day you met her?”

Touché, he thought.

Before he could respond, she went on, “Ed I waited three years for you, three years of sleepless nights, three years of unrequited love. I got tired of waiting. Then I met Matt. He’s kind, gentle, and I know he loves me, and I fell in love with him as soon as I met him. I’m going to marry him Ed, and that is that.”

“You know that he’s been deemed a security risk.”

“I had hoped that you would bring him into the fold.”

“I don’t have a place to put him Colonel, and it’s a bit late for him to go back to school now.”

“In that case, when you put him against the wall, put me there as well.”


“I’m serious Ed, hell he may not even survive long enough to make it back to HQ. The medics say that he’s slipping into a coma.”

“I thought you gave him the antidote?”

“I did, but he went out into the cold and over exerted himself saving my life. Had he waited for the rescue team I’d be dead. Ed I’m very tired, I need to lay back down.”

“Alright Virginia, go get some sleep. I’ll talk to you when you get back to HQ.”

She closed the connection and slowly got up to head back to the bunk room. Paul got on one side and helped her into the chair.

“That’s the first time I’ve seen anyone back him into a corner since Alec died.”

“He needs that once in a while to keep him centered, but no one did it as well as Alec.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:36am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #18 - Jun 21st, 2010 at 3:23pm
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Chapter 8:
Around 11:00 the wind had finally subsided enough to bring the Albatross 25 in at Lake of the Clouds. Normally used for sea rescue the aircraft had the ability to land on a sloped surface. As soon as the aircraft touched down Dr. Schroeder jumped out and made his way to the hut.

“Am I glad to see you Doc. This way please,” said Paul.

They walked back to the bunk room finding Ginny still in the chair at Matt’s side.

“You should be in bed,” Schroeder said without preamble.

“Now that you’re here I think I will lie down,” she said as she headed for the other bunk.

“You must be feeling sick.”

Virginia was too tired to spar with him and she was dozing in a few minutes.

“Mark, give me a rundown.”

“Mr. Hewitt apparently suffered from exposure and overexertion after he was given the antidote. He’s been unconscious ever since we found him. He dragged Colonel Lake fifty yards up the hill before he passed out.”

“Damn. Okay let’s get him started on an antitoxin drip IV, one for Colonel Lake as well. I’m going to see what I can find out about the stuff they used.”

The SHADO medic opened the kit that Schroeder had brought and started the IV on Matt.


Virginia opened her eyes, “Yes?”

“Dr. Schroeder wants me to start an IV on you; you’re going to feel a little pinch.”

She nodded her head then asked, “Is Matt going to be alright?”

“I hope so, but the doc is worried.”

Schroeder walked into the common room and asked, “Do you have the device that aliens used to administer the neurotoxin?”

“Yeah,” said Paul. “Here’s one of them.”

Paul handed him the small silver cylinder. Schroeder opened a small tool kit and began to disassemble the alien device. Inside was a vile of yellow liquid. He opened the vile and drew out a small amount of the material to place on a slide. He grabbed the portable microscope out of his case and set it up on the table and proceeded to examine the slide. In the liquid he found the telltale pathogen he was looking for.

The aliens had developed a new neurotoxin last year that was resistant to the SHADO antidote. Because of that Schroeder and Jackson had to modify the treatment regime with a special enzyme to counteract the effect. He got up from the table and went back to the bunk room. Ginny was looking worse and Matt was near death.

“Mark the neurotoxin contained the J5 pathogen. Prep two shots of S5 enzyme ten cc’s each.”

The SHADO medic prepared the injections and Schroeder swabbed Matt’s forearm to give him the shot directly.

“Mark, you can administer Colonel Lake’s dose through the IV line.”

Schroeder knew it would be at least an hour before they would see any change in Matt’s condition. Virginia would fare much better, having not exerted herself to the point of exhaustion.

“Keep an eye on them Mark and let me know if you see any change.”

“Yes, Doctor.”

“Delta foxtrot one five to base, we found it Colonel.”

“This is base camp,” answered Foster. “Where exactly is it?”

“It’s on the eastern slope of the mountain about two hundred yards in from the tree line. Grid reference 71.25 by 41.75 green, and Colonel it’s glowing, it’s about to blow.”

Ten seconds later the alien craft succumbed to the deterioration effects of the atmosphere. The resulting explosion left a mess of debris in the forest.

“That’s it Colonel, we’re going to have a hell of a time getting that cleaned up.”

“Well they’re just going to have to hike in. You can return to base. Foster out.”

Damn, one hell of a mess and no easy way to get to it!

Foster called HQ, not looking forward to giving Ed the bad news. In a few minutes Straker appeared on the screen.

“So what you’re telling me is that the clean up team is going to have to travel on foot to get to the wreckage.”

“Yes sir and we can’t just leave it as this area is inundated with hikers all summer long. The local authorities are getting antsy as well. Keeping the area locked down is going to create some problems.”

“Let me worry about that Paul. I need you to get the cleanup team in there as quick as possible and decontaminate the area. Just get the harmful waste or anything that would compromise security. Don’t worry about beautification; we’ll let the US Forest service handle that aspect. I’m sending the remaining Albatross 25’s to you that should speed up the process. Do you still need the hut as a base of operations?”

“That would certainly help.”

“Alright, make sure you and your men leave it in better shape than you found it and I’ll make arrangements with the AMC to rent it for the duration. We want to be good neighbors.”

Paul smiled, “Yes sir.”

“Tell Schroeder that as soon as his patients are able to travel I want both of them back at HQ. And tell Colonel Lake that she is back on duty as soon as she can stand.”

“She’s not going to like that Ed.”

“I know, and the way things are looking she may never speak to me again anyway, Straker out.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:37am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #19 - Jun 21st, 2010 at 11:28pm
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Matt slowly opened his eyes trying to focus on the image in front of him.

“Hey, it’s about time you woke up,” said a distant voice.

The image eventually coalesced into Virginia’s lovely face.

“Hey yourself, next time you don’t go alone.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Like hell, what happened?” he asked.

“The antidote was only partially effective and we both needed additional treatment.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Better, I can stand now without getting dizzy, although I’m still very tired. By the way, I’ve been ordered back to duty.”

“When do you have to leave?”

“We’re leaving the mountain as soon as you can stand.”

“You said we.”

“The Commander wants us both back at HQ as soon as possible,” she said.

Dr. Schroeder walked in to check on them.

“Mr. Hewitt, I see that you’re awake. How do you feel?”

“Well Doc, I don’t feel nauseated anymore but I’m very fatigued.”

“That’s good; the fatigue will pass with a few hours rest. I think you’re well enough to travel and you can both rest on the plane.”

Schroeder turned to Virginia, “How about you Colonel, are you well enough to travel?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

“In that case the two of you had better get packed.”

Virginia and Matt gathered their gear and packed it away for the trip.

“Matt, I have your pistol in my pack.”

He understood the reason; he was a prisoner, at least until this was sorted out.

“I’d rather you have it than your security boys. They don’t seem to play nice with others,” said Matt, his wit returning.

“I see you are feeling better.”

“I’ll feel better when this mess is over; I have to take my fiancée shopping for a ring.”

Virginia gave him a worried smile, hoping that they would be able to make that trip.

As they walked through the common room Paul stood up to say goodbye, “I finally get to put a face to a name. It was a pleasure to meet you Matt.”

“You as well Paul, maybe I’ll see you when I get back.” If I get back.

Two SHADO security guards came in from the plane and walked up to Matt. “You’re Mr. Hewitt?”

“That’s right.”

“Come with us please.”

Virginia was furious and she had just about enough. “Lieutenant.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Mr. Hewitt is in my custody, and will remain in my custody until we arrive in the Commanders office. Do I make myself clear?”

“I’m sorry ma’am, I have my orders.”

“Lieutenant, you are about five seconds away from a court martial. I gave you a direct order.”

The pair from security backed down, “Yes ma’am. If I may, I need to inquire as to the whereabouts of Mr. Hewitt’s weapon?”

“I have it in my possession as well. The two of you will return to the plane and wait for us.”

“Yes Colonel.”

Matt whispered to Paul, “Has she ever treated you like that?”

“Well she did threaten to throw me in the brig once. But I deserved it.”

“Remind me never to make her angry with me.”

Virginia over heard the comment and whacked Matt in the arm.

“Hey, what was that for?”

“Just to make sure you’re paying attention. Come on let’s go before the goon squad get’s impatient.”

In the Albatross 25 Lieutenant Barnes watched as Colonel Lake and her prisoner walked hand in hand to the aircraft. “What the hell is this?” he said to the pilot.

“You didn’t know? Colonel Lake is engaged to that man.”

“Well bloody hell.”

An hour later the VTOL Albatross 25 landed at Pease Air Force base and the group disembarked the aircraft to board the waiting SST. As soon as they were aboard the aircraft was give priority clearance to Heathrow. Twenty minutes later they were in the air. Once they were at altitude Virginia and Matt shared a meal, both of them very hungry.

“Careful Virginia, don’t feed the animals,” he said tilting his head towards the goons watching him.

“Oh, stop it,” she said giggling. “They’re really quite nice when you get to know them,” she said quietly.

“I’ll bet they’re about as much fun as a tax audit.”

This time she laughed out loud, “I’m sorry, it must be battle fatigue.”

“You know Colonel you’re beautiful when you laugh.”

“Matt, it’s really too bad we have an audience.”

“And why is that?”

She just gave him an impish grin.

The SST touched down at Heathrow just before seven in the evening. The security gang tried to separate them again but Virginia would hear none of it. When she got back to HQ, she was going to give whoever was responsible for this a piece of her mind. She didn’t care if it was Straker himself.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:37am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #20 - Jun 22nd, 2010 at 12:30pm
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“Matt, have you ever been to London before?”

“Once, a long time ago, I was ten years old and I came over with my grandfather.”

“Well if we get out of this mess, I’ll show you around.”

“Thanks, Virginia; I’d like that.”

The caravan pulled into the film studio and around to the sound stages in the back. I guess we’re not using the executive elevator, she thought.

The jeep stopped at the rear parking area and they got out of the vehicle. Virginia turned to face the security detail, “Alright gentlemen, you’re dismissed. I’ll take it from here.”

The Lieutenant looked like he was going to argue but thought better of it.

“Come on Matt, let’s go get this over with,” she said as she led him to the auxiliary elevator.

They stepped into the car and Virginia pressed a button.

Voice identification please.

“Colonel Lake.”

Voiceprint positive, Lake, Virginia L.

The elevator started down and not just one or two floors. Matt counted off the seconds and came up with a rough estimate of four stories.

“We’re eighty feet down,” she said answering his curiosity.

When the doors opened they were met by another security team.

“Colonel Lake, the Commander would like to see you right away. He asked us to escort your guest to room 24.”

The demeanor of this team was less threatening than the last group and room 24 was the civilian debriefing room. It had a living room look to it. It was a cell, but a nice cell.

“Matt, you go with them, and I’ll see you as soon as I can.”

They kissed each other and she walked down the corridor to meet with the Commander.

“Mr. Hewett if you would come with us please?”

Well at least these three are polite.

Matt was impressed when he saw the holding room, maybe there was hope. A fresh pot of coffee was placed in the room and he decided to help himself. What are they going to do poison it?

By the time she had arrived at the Commanders office, Virginia had worked up a good mad.

“Virginia, I’m glad to see you’re in one piece. Have a seat.”

“Alright Ed, just what the hell is going on? The security teams were treating Matt like a common criminal. Was that your doing?”

“Calm down Virginia, I hope that you know me better than that. Natiroff got a little carried away.”

“Carried away was an understatement. I’ve seen aliens get better treatment than that.”

“Did they treat him badly down here?”

“No, I was surprised considering the way he was treated on the way here. So what are we going to do?”

“I’m still trying to figure something out, but in the end it’s not going to be my decision.”

“What do you mean?”

“Henderson has taken a personal interest in this matter, and he is going to want things done by the book.”

“And I suppose that if they deem Matt an unacceptable risk you’re going to be the one that gives the order to eliminate him?” she asked choking up.

“As CINC, it’s my responsibility. Virginia, I’m sorry.”

She got up from her chair to leave, “If it’s alright with you Commander, I’d like to spend some time alone with my fiancée.”

Straker just nodded. He was torn between duty to SHADO and duty to a friend.

He picked up the phone and called General Henderson.

When Virginia came into the room Matt could see that she had been crying. He stood and rushed to her taking her in his arms. He held her for a very long time as she cried her heart out.

“I guess I know what he said.”

She looked up at him and said, “No, but it’s out of his hands.”

“I see, well that doesn’t mean that all is lost.”

“You don’t know Henderson.”

“Who’s he?”

“James L. Henderson, president of the IAC.”

Why does that name, ring a bell, Matt thought.

“So General, what the hell am I supposed to do about this? The man has done nothing wrong except witness an alien attack, and in the process save the life of a senior SHADO operative as well as a close friend.”

“Have you talked with him yet?”

“I intend to do that once I get off the phone. James there must be something we can do about this.”

“Ed, we’ve only faced this decision twice before; why are you so concerned about this case?”

“Because Virginia is in love with him, as a matter of fact they’re engaged.”


“You heard me right James.” Straker paused for a moment, “You’ve known Virginia and her family for years. When have you ever seen her make a poor decision?”

“Never, not even as a child; Lynn used to comment all the time about how easy Virginia was to raise. Ironically the only decision she made that her mother ever questioned was in regard to Virginia’s first husband.”

“Colonel Lake is not one to repeat a mistake,” said Ed.

“Send me everything you have on Mr. Hewett, files, G6, photos, send it all.”

“Alright, just to let you know Matt Hewett is an interesting individual.”

“Matt, you said?”

“Yes, surely you knew his name.”

“Just saw it on the book, he signs it with his first two initials. I didn’t know his nickname.”

“Well I’m going to speak to him now. Good night General.”


Straker got up from his desk and walked out of the office heading for the holding area.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:38am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #21 - Jun 22nd, 2010 at 2:19pm
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Chapter 9:
Virginia sat on the couch cuddled in the arms of her fiancée trying to burn the moment in her mind.

“Does SHADO have a chaplain, Virginia?”

“Yeah, we do, are you thinking about…”

“Why not, that is if you’re still interested.”

She threw her arms around him and kissed him deeply. When the kiss had ended he said, “I take that as a yes.”

Ed Straker walked up to the holding room and spoke to the guard, “Why don’t you go grab a cup of coffee.”


“Go on, I’ll be fine.”

“Yes sir.”

Ed rang the buzzer then entered the room. “Mr. Hewett, I’m Ed Straker.”

Matt stood and shook his hand, “I wish we were meeting under better circumstances Commander. By the way everyone calls me Matt.”

Ed turned to Virginia and said, “I’d like to speak to him alone for a bit, if I may?”

Virginia didn’t want to leave but she trusted Ed not to do something brash.

“Alright, I’ll be back in a bit.”

She kissed Matt on the cheek and left the room. When they were alone Matt turned to Ed and began, “So Commander, is this where you tell me that I’ve been deemed too great a risk to the security of your organization?”

“Look let’s drop the formality, call me Ed.”


“To answer your question, the decision hasn’t been made yet regarding your status.”

“Don’t you mean disposition?”

“You’re not going to make this easy are you?”

“It’s not in my job description. Look Commander, when I wrote Having Hostile Intentions I believed that visitors from another world would have a higher sense of morality. The idea of hostile aliens was strictly science fiction. That image was shattered when I watched these creatures gut a young couple like a bucket of catfish. Then I find out that my speculations about a secret organization, to defend us against the threat is what brought me under scrutiny in the first place.”

“Then you had no foreknowledge of SHADO or the alien threat?”

“Of course not, had someone ever suggested that all of this existed, I would have labeled them as a conspiracy theory nut job.”

“I’m sorry that our scrutiny got you mixed up in this.”

“Don’t feel sorry for me Ed. I know someone else who is going to suffer more than me, and I’m worried about her.”

“That makes two of us Matt. Virginia is my best friend.”

“That speaks highly of you; Virginia seems to choose her friends carefully.”

“It speaks even higher of you.”

Matt stood and looked at the painting on the wall that reminded him of the mountains.

“You know Commander, I understand the predicament here. Let’s face it; all of this is more important than any one man. Given the choice or opportunity, I’d lay my life down to protect this. But when does the price become too high to pay. When do we become our own enemy? What would you do if you were dealing with an eight year old child? I hope you can sleep with those decisions. I don’t know if I could.”

Matt had unknowingly struck a nerve and Ed’s face went ashen.

“That would be a difficult situation,” Ed managed to say.

Matt noticed for the first time how drawn Ed looked. He realized that this was a man who died a little each time he made a decision that cost a life. And from the look on his face at the moment Matt knew that SHADO had cost the Commander on a personal level.

After a moment Ed spoke, “I’ll bet you’re one hell of a chess player.”

Matt’s face broke into a grin as he said, “I can hold my own; too bad we’ll never find out.”

“I suppose.”

The doors opened and Virginia came back in the room. Ed stood and shook hands with Matt. “I’ll let you know what happens.”

“Good to meet you Commander.”

Ed turned to Ginny, “I’ve canceled the security detail and I’m leaving Matt in your care, just don’t let him wander around unescorted.”

“Of course.”

When Ed had left Ginny turned to Matt, “What did you say to him?”

“More than I should have. That man has been through more pain than anyone should have to face in a lifetime. I should have just kept my mouth shut.”

Ginny held onto him for a few minutes.

“Come on Matt, let’s go.”

“Where to?”

“My quarters, we both need a good night’s sleep.”

“Before or after?” he asked quietly.

Virginia gave him a saucy grin, “I guess you’ll have to come with me and find out.”

General Henderson looked at the photos that had been sent with Hewett’s file. Damn he looks familiar. He opened the G6 report and started to read it, concentrating on the section detailing his family history.

Father, Raymond C. Hewett, mother, Denise K. (Sanderland) Hewett, Paternal grandfather, Hiram B. Hewett. Henderson stopped reading in disbelief. Judas priest, he thought.

He reached around for a photo album that he kept on the shelf behind his desk. Henderson set it down and quickly thumbed through it until he came to a faded picture dated 1953. A small boy stood with an older gentleman on one side of a much younger James Henderson and a young woman stood on his other side with a small girl. The photographer had captured the young boy kissing the girl. Henderson placed the album and the reports in his briefcase and walked out of the office.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:38am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #22 - Jun 23rd, 2010 at 2:07pm
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“How’s the cleanup coming Paul?”

“It’s slow going Ed but we’re making progress. I think we’ll be out by tomorrow morning. By the way, how are things working out for Matt Hewett?”

“I still haven’t heard from the commission; I’m tempted to bring him in to the organization any way. I could always put him in security. He handled himself fairly well against the aliens for someone with no formal training.”

“Why don’t you?” asked Paul.

“If it were that simple I would, but with Henderson involved? I’d have better luck getting the appropriation for the second Moonbase.”

“It’s a damn shame; he seems like a good man.”

“I agree, but I haven’t given up yet. Keep me posted Paul. Straker out.”

As Ed ended the call with Paul the intercom buzzed.


“General Henderson is here to see you sir.”

Here it comes. “Send him in.”

Henderson walked into the office and set down his briefcase. “Close the door Commander.”

“Well, what’s the verdict?”

“Before we get into that I want to show you something.”

Henderson pulled the photo album out of his briefcase and opened it to the picture he had found. He placed it on Ed’s desk.

“Take a look at this Ed.”

Ed looked at the photograph instantly recognizing the man in the middle as Henderson although he was much younger. He saw the date on the photo. Thirty three years ago. The older man to the left with the small boy was oddly familiar and the woman was a spitting image of…

“Is this who I think it is?”

“Yes Ed, and the little girl is her daughter, she’s about eight years old there.”

“The little boy is your security problem. He’s about ten in that picture.”

“We’ll I’ll be damned.”

Virginia and Matt were just getting to bed when the phone in her quarters rang.


“Sorry to bother you Colonel, but the Commander wants both you and Mr. Hewett back in his office.”

“Tara, we’re both exhausted, can’t this wait until morning?”

“Sorry Colonel, he said to tell you that General Henderson was here and needs to see both of you right away.”

“Alright give us ten minutes.”

“What was that all about?” asked Matt.

“Henderson wants to see us, now.”

“He’s here?”

“Apparently so; it looks like you’ll be trying on that Nehru suit sooner than you thought.”

“I never thought I’d be caught dead in one of these.”

“I think it will look good on you. Hurry up; we don’t want to keep the General waiting.”

Ten minutes later the two of them walked into Straker’s office. Matt looked at General Henderson for a few seconds before he recognized him.

“General Jim?”

“I thought I recognized that name,” Henderson said, “Hiram Hewett’s grandson, in the flesh.”

The two men shook hands in front of a bewildered Virginia Lake. “You two know each other?”

“I met Matt thirty three years ago when Hiram brought him over to England, with him, to attend your father’s memorial service.”

Henderson handed to picture to Ginny and Matt.

“Do the two of you remember this?”

Matt and Virginia looked at the faded photograph and they both lit up as they remembered that day.

Virginia spoke first, “I remember this, oh my God, I had no idea it was you Matt.”

Matt was in his own private reverie as he remembered, “Gin, after all these years, I don’t believe it.”

The two of them embraced in greeting, not as the adults of today, but as the young children of thirty three years ago. As the pair held each other close, Ed looked over at the General. He would not have believed it, had he not seen it himself. Out of the corner of his eye flowed a tear.

Straker walked over to Henderson, “What’s it all about James?” he asked quietly.

Henderson regained his composure and turned to Ed.

“Ancient history Commander, In 1942 Bob Lake and I were flying back from a daylight raid over Germany. Our B-17 had been shot up pretty bad, half the crew was dead. Bob was flying as my copilot and I had taken a piece of flak in the leg.”

As Ed listened, the General continued, “I was losing a lot of blood and Bob was flying the aircraft. We landed hard and the console in front of me buckled pinning my leg. Bob had been knocked unconscious and I couldn’t move. To make matters worse the aircraft was on fire. I ordered the navigator to get Bob out of the plane.”

The General paused to collect his thoughts, “At the time Hiram Hewett was the base commander, and the three of us were good friends. He saw us come in hard and must have run across the field to help. The next thing I knew Hewy was prying up the console to free my leg. He pulled me out of the burning aircraft. He saved my life Ed and I owe him a debt of honor. I’m going to personally support the decision to clear Matt with security.”

“His grandfather must have been quite a man,” said Ed.

“He was indeed.”

The General turned to Matt, “You’re going to have to sign some paperwork, take the enlistment oath, and you will be considered reserve personnel, subject to call in by the SHADO C in C.”

“It sure beats the alternative General, besides; I think I would rather enjoy working for Commander Straker.”

“You say that now; wait till you see him in a bad mood,” said Virginia.

“By the way,” the General added. “I’m going to have that picture framed for the two of you as a reminder of your wedding gift. The gift that the two of you received today can’t be packaged or bought at any price.”

“Why don’t the two of you get some sleep,” said Ed. “We’ll finish this in the morning. Oh, Virginia, Am I really that bad?”

“Only every other day sir,” she said with a smile.

When Matt and Ginny had left Ed looked at the
General. “It’s incredible isn’t it?”

“It is indeed Ed. It’s a much smaller world than we know.”

The General packed and closed his briefcase, “Take care Commander.”

“Good night General.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:43am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #23 - Jun 23rd, 2010 at 10:06pm
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When they got back to her quarters, Virginia and Matt were still amazed at the revelation. They got ready for bed but rather than climb in right away, they sat down on the sofa and held each other as they talked.

“I still can’t believe it Matt, after all these years, it’s really you. You know I cried every day for almost a month when you left to go back to the States.”

“I’m in shock myself. Grandpa didn’t have your address so I couldn’t write to you. I thought about you every day that summer. When I got back to Rhode Island, I got caught up in school stuff, we lost the family cat. But I never did forget the little blonde English girl I met. I never even knew your full first or last name. When did you stop going by Gin?”

“That was a phase I was going through, Virginia was a mouthful and Ginny to me seemed too childish, after all I was almost nine,” she said with a grin. “I stopped going by Gin when I was in my teens. I ended up coming to the US when I was sixteen. I wanted to look you up but like you I had no way to do it. I started at Stanford and had my doctorate in six years. Even when I met Brad, I still sometimes wondered where you were.”

“It’s amazing,” said Matt. “Even though our minds had all but forgotten, our hearts remembered each other.”

“You mean it wasn’t love at first sight?” she asked disappointed.

“It was though; the first time we met we were too young to do anything about it. We were given a gift by being able to live the moment again, and to be given the gift we received tonight, how did we deserve to be so blessed.”

They kissed each other deeply; both of them overcome by the moment. When the kiss ended Matt looked at her and asked, “So now that we have the rest of our lives what are we going to do?”

“I’m going to request a transfer back to the research section in New York. I don’t want you to have to leave everyone you know to come live here. Besides it will work out better for me as well.”

“You’re stepping down as executive officer?”

“Yes. Matt I want to have a family and I can do SHADO just as much good in the research section as I can here.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes, I’ve never been surer of anything in my life.”

“Are we still getting married tomorrow?” asked Matt.

“Tomorrow night. You promised to take me shopping, and I promised to show you London.”

“When are you going to tell the Commander?”

“First thing in the morning, just before we leave. Hey let’s get to bed, it’s getting late and I want to spend some quality time with you before we get to sleep.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:44am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #24 - Jun 24th, 2010 at 8:43pm
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Virginia walked into Ed’s office as soon as she knew he was in. She had her transfer request in her hand.

“Something tells me I’m not going to like this, Virginia.”

“No,” she said almost in tears. “I’m sure you’re not. But you’ve been my best friend and colleague for a long time. You have a right to know.”

She handed him the paperwork and he put it on his desk not bothering to read it; he knew what it was.

“We’ve worked together a lot of years, and I’m going to miss you.”

“I do appreciate that Ed, more than you know. But this is best for both of us.”

“I know, I just…”

“You see what I mean?”

The conversation paused for a moment.

“I suppose you’re right. So who do you recommend that I promote to executive officer?”

“You already know the answer to that.”

“Do you think he’s ready?”

“If you had asked me that, two years ago I would have said no. But Paul has grown up considerably in the past two years. Yes, I think he’s ready.”

“Alright, who replaces him?”

“Lt. Colonel Wallace, she’s more than capable. And Ed, do both of you a favor; don’t call her Colonel for the rest of her life; she likes to be called Jen.”

“I’m sorry about that Virginia; I never meant to hurt you.”

“It’s alright, you finally broke through that hang up and I did appreciate it.”

Ed stood and took her hand in both of his, “Good luck Virginia, to both of you. Stay in touch alright?”

“I will, thanks Ed.”

Virginia and Matt met with the SHADO chaplain an hour later. He informed them that unless the circumstances were extraordinary he was bound by the laws of the UK concerning marriage. The couple decided to wait until they got back to the States. In the long run it would be a better decision for both of them as they could at least pull together a small wedding.

They spent the day sightseeing in London and of course Matt took her to pick out an engagement ring. Virginia made arrangements to have her belongings shipped to the States as well as putting her aircraft up for sale; the cost of having it shipped to the US would be prohibitive.

By late that evening they were both exhausted having packed everything that she would need to bring with her for the next couple of weeks. They sat together on the couch enjoying their tea.

“I talked to my mother, Matt. She’s going to fly over for the wedding as soon as we set a date.”

“Yeah, I told Patrick this afternoon, he’s going to let the rest of the family know. He was shocked to say the least.
And that was before I told him who you were.”

“I’m still amazed about that, I mean what are the chances of that ever happening.”

“I don’t know; it’s higher math. It makes my head hurt to even think about it.”

“Hey, let’s get some sleep, we’ve got a busy day tomorrow.”

“No argument here.”

Colonel Foster and Lt. Colonel Wallace walked through the control room on their way to the Commander’s office. The doors were open and they both entered the room.

“Ah, you’re both here. Please have a seat,” he said as he closed the doors.

“I’m making some organizational changes today. Colonel Lake has requested a transfer back to the research section, based out of New York, and I approved the transfer last night. With that in mind it means that I need a new executive officer. Colonel Foster, I’ve decided that you are going to be SHADO’s new second in command.”

“I’m honored sir, but I didn’t expect this.”

“Paul you have come a very long way in the past two years, and you’re also a good friend. You’ve earned it.”

Straker turned to Wallace, “Lt. Colonel Wallace, I’m reassigning you to HQ as a member of the senior staff as well as promoting you to full Colonel. You will be taking on most of Paul’s former duties.”

“Thank you sir,” she said.

“You’ll find that I like to be on a first name basis with all my command staff members, unless that makes you uncomfortable?”

“My friends all call me Jen, but with all due respect sir, I couldn’t address you in such an informal manner.”

“That’s alright; change takes a while to get used to. Paul if you would give Jen your duty sheet, as I have a few things to go over with you.”

After she had left, Paul looked back at his commanding officer with a puzzled look.

“Surprised Paul?”

“Yes, about a few things. Why the informality?”

“I made a promise Paul. I had never realized how much it had hurt Virginia to be called Colonel instead of her name. And she was to only one I did it to. I have no intention of repeating that mistake.”

“You really cared for her, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, I did. I still do. But you can’t live your life on regrets.”

“Does she know Ed?”

“She might suspect, but she as much as told me that it wouldn’t matter. It would seem that Matt was a flame in her heart that had been burning for thirty three years.”

“That is still so hard to believe.”

“Is it Paul? It’s moments like that which make this job worth all the pain that it causes. You’ll find that out eventually.”

“Are you sure I’m ready for this job Ed?”

“Paul, you just erased any doubt I would have had by asking that question.”

The Shadair SST took off from Heathrow at 10:00 am bound for Logan Airport. In the passenger cabin Matt and Virginia watched as the city of London receded into the distance. They held on to each other contemplating the future.

“Once we get home and get you settled in we’ll have to start thinking about finding a place in western Connecticut, unless you want to commute to New York from Rhode Island every week.”

“I could always fly the Mooney, speaking of which how are we going to get it back home?”

“My friend Brian owns a Piper Cherokee; he can fly us up to Twin Mountain and we can spend a day up there to relax and fly back the next day.”

“That sounds like a wonderful idea.”

She looked at him with a mischievous grin.

“What?” he asked.

“The last time we were together on this aircraft we had an audience.”

“Yeah, I remember, the goon squad.”

“We don’t have an audience now,” she said suggestively.

“What about the flight crew?”

“They’re under orders not to come back here, for any reason.”

“I get the feeling that our life together is never going to be boring.”

“Not if I can help it.” 

As the SST transitioned to supersonic flight the couple drew each other into an embrace of love, passion and ecstasy.


Matters of the Heart:
An author’s response,

First of all I have to thank Louise for this great idea of a personal response; it truly adds a nice touch to a finished story.

This story went almost twice as long as I had planned, but like I said on the forum it took on a life of its own. I never knew writing a “Mary Sue” could be so much fun!

Fact vs. Fiction: The one thing I did try to do in this story is keep me true to myself, even in areas where I took poetic license. I don’t fly in real life (except in the simulator) so because of her training Ginny would be a much better pilot than I am. And while I am familiar with the art of hiking, I have never ascended Mount Washington on foot, although I hope to try it one day.

My conversation with my brother in the story was true to life. We really do talk like that especially since we’ve gotten older. In the story Hiram Hewett is my grandfather, but is in reality my great grandfather. I wanted to keep the story set in the original period and that was the easiest way to do it.
I do sing and play guitar in real life; as a matter of fact one of the songs mentioned in the story, “The Looks of a Woman in Love” was written by my good friend Matt Connelly. I sat in with his band many Sunday afternoons in what we all called the jam session.

I had sung to my wife in public long before we were married, and while she was a little embarrassed, she also enjoyed it. As she put it I was picking her heart strings. Even now if we go someplace where they have karaoke, or a band that knows us, she always wants me to sing one or two songs for her.

I had planned on having Matt’s meeting with Ed to be more confrontational, but in the end that just wouldn’t work. Ed is too much a gentleman to descend to that, and so am I.

My favorite part of the whole story was when Matt and Ginny find out that they had met as children. As the story had so much serendipity in it already it just seemed to be a perfect fit. It also made the idea of the pair falling for each other much more believable as not everyone believes in love at first sight. That aspect was a stroke of inspiration that just hit me one morning; I hadn’t planned on it initially.

Speaking of love at first sight; that is something I do believe in, as it happened to me.

I would like to thank Dragon for sharing her idea of a writer’s story. I’m still amazed at the different takes we all have on a particular subject.

I hope everyone enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:44am by Matt »  

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