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Matt
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Matters of the Heart
Jun 13th, 2010 at 2:47am
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Matters of the Heart
A UFO Story

Written by Matthew R. White
© June 12, 2010

Based on the Characters and series created by Gerry Anderson


Historian’s Note: The events depicted here take place about two years after the episode “The Long Sleep” written by David Tomblin.

This story is dedicated to Hiram B. Hewett, 1879-1970, writer, poet, veteran of WW1, and my great-grandfather.

Chapter 1:

July 1986:
Ed Straker sat in his office looking at a new science fiction novel that had hit the best sellers list. The subject matter of the book was a topic close to his sense of purpose, alien invaders, UFO’s, and most disturbing, a secret organization dealing with the threat. Henderson was livid when he brought it to Ed’s attention.

Straker knew he had to find out if the author had any inside information on SHADO or real alien evidence. The similarities were much to close for comfort. He scanned quickly through the author’s bio and G6 report. Both reports were clean as a whistle.

“Captain Ford, would you find Colonel Lake and have her come to my office.”

“Yes sir.”

It was totally possible that this was a case of serendipity but he couldn’t leave it to chance. Someone was going to have to pay Mr. Hewett a visit.

Virginia Lake strolled into the office as Ed closed the door behind her.

“What’s going on Ed?”

They had both dropped the formality soon after the Timelash incident but nothing else had come of the relationship. After Alec had succumbed to cancer last year, Virginia had become his best friend, and she had grown tired of waiting for it to blossom into more.

“Take a look at this Virginia,” said Ed as he handed her the book.

“I’ve read it. Good science fiction with a romantic flare, some men could learn a thing or two from him.”

“Virginia…” he said seemly perturbed.

“Sorry,” she said still enjoying the idea of teasing him about the possibility.

“You didn’t find any of this peculiar?”

“Not really, I mean the base of operations is in the mountains of the western US, there was no film studio cover, no submarine fleet, and the base on the moon was completely underground. The liquid breathing alien aspect raised an eyebrow, but quite frankly it’s just speculative science fiction.”

“Henderson doesn’t agree; he wants us to investigate it.”

“Why doesn’t he just send security?” asked Virginia.

“If he does that it’s bound to raise a few eyebrows with the all the UFO fanatics out there. He doesn’t want to give any credence to their arguments. No, what he has in mind actually makes sense. He wants us to use our film studio cover to interview Mr. Hewett on the premise of making a movie out of the book.”

“What do we have on Mr. Hewett?”

“Matthew Raymond Hewett, age 43, born March 2, 1943, he’s a semi-retired communications technician, is a private pilot, owns his own aircraft, he’s single, never been married, and he’s now a published writer.”

While Ed read the bio, Virginia looked at the file photo. He has very attractive eyes, she thought.

“So when do I leave?” asked Virginia assuming he was sending her.

“This afternoon, he’s going to meet you at Logan. From what Miss Ealand told me, Mr. Hewett is flying to the White Mountains tomorrow morning for a hiking trip.”

“It’s going to take me longer than a few hours to find out what we need to know.”

“In that case, you’d better bring your hiking gear.”

“Ed, I haven’t been hiking in years! You have to be in decent shape to hike those trails.”

“You’re still in pretty good shape from your astronaut training, and you’re still running every morning,” he said.

It was true; Virginia had taken up running in preparation for the SID 2 mission, and had stuck with it.

“From what I’ve been told he’s hiking with a group of six people so you won’t be alone.”

“Why don’t we just bring him in and then use the amnesia drug?” she asked.

“Mr. Hewett has a rare blood condition, it’s benign to him but it also renders the amnesia drug useless.”

“I see.” Virginia thought for a moment, “You know Ed, he may not even want company; how do we know he’s not, well with someone?”

“According to the G6 he split with his girlfriend about six months ago, and this is the first vacation he has taken in over a year.”

“What do we do if he shows interest in a movie deal?”

Ed leaned back in his chair toying with his glass paperweight, “Then we follow it through; I’m actually hoping for that scenario. It will give us the time we need to check out his story.”

“And if he isn’t interested?” asked Virginia.

“In that case your job will be all that more difficult.”

“Gee thanks.”

Virginia picked the files up from the Commander’s desk, “Well I’d better get moving.”


T.F. Green airport was busy this morning, as Matt Hewett prepped his aircraft for the flight to Boston. He didn’t notice his good friend and fellow pilot Brian Higgins approach.

“Hello Matt. Where are you off to this morning?”

“Oh, hi Brian. I’m flying into Logan this morning. I’m supposed to meet a lady from Harlington Straker Studios. She’s flying in from London.”

“I thought you were going hiking tomorrow?”

“I am. I figured I would leave a day early and meet Miss Lake in Boston this afternoon and fly from Logan first thing in the morning.”

“Miss Lake?”

“Yeah, she’s an associate producer at the London studio. I spoke to a Miss Ealand this morning; it seems they want to do a movie based on my new book.”

“Any idea what she looks like?”

“No idea. I’m going to meet her at that nice restaurant in the main terminal at Logan. I figure I’ll listen to her sales pitch, kindly say thanks but no thanks, and send her on her way. She’ll probably end up being some young twenty something girl that is into heavy metal.”

“Aren’t you glad you held onto the movie rights?”

“I never expected the book to even be published, never mind be a best seller. The publishing company called me yesterday asking if I would consider selling the movie rights.”

“What did you tell them?”

“I gave them a price that would choke a horse.”

They both shared a laugh.

“To be honest I’m not interested in selling, too many companies are just out to make a buck and they don’t give a rat’s ass about quality entertainment,” Matt said. “If I hold the rights I can dictate what is done with my work. Brian, I’ve seen too many good stories ruined by that morally corrupt movie industry. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them do that to me.”

“It could make you very well off.”

Matt shook his head, “I’ve managed to save enough money over the years to be semi retired, I have a decent house, a car that runs well, and I own a Mooney Bravo; what else could I possibly want? By the way how did you make out with the Piper?”

“The wheel bearing was bad on the port side wing gear. The FBO is bringing it in this afternoon to repair it.”

“Well that is good news, Bob will take care of you. He’s the only one I would allow near my aircraft.”

“I should let you get moving so you don’t lose your clearance. Have a safe flight Matt.”

“Take care, Brian.”
 

Matt taxied the single engine aircraft down the taxiway in front of the main terminal. Although Green was considered a small airport, it still handled quite a bit of commercial jet traffic mostly small jets, 737’s and MD-80’s, as well as some corporate Lear jets. Last year the President had flown in on Air Force One and Matt had met the pilot in the restaurant. It was pretty amazing how small a field he could set that aircraft down in.

Matt turned left onto the taxiway and stopped short of the runway.

“Providence tower, Mooney Four Niner Bravo, ready for takeoff runway 5 left.”

“Mooney Four Niner Bravo, Providence tower, fly runway heading, climb and maintain 4000, clear for takeoff, runway 5 left.”

Matt pulled the aircraft onto the runway saying, “Clear for takeoff 5 left, Mooney Four Niner Bravo rolling.”

He advanced the throttle smoothly and all the way in as the aircraft rolled down the runway. At sixty five knots he pulled the yoke back and the plane leaped into the air.

“Mooney Four Niner Bravo, contact Providence departure on 135.4, good day.”

“135.4, Mooney Four Niner Bravo, see ya.”

Matt switched frequencies on the radio and called, “Providence departure, Mooney Four Niner Bravo with you, 1500 climbing 4000.”

“Mooney Four Niner Bravo, Providence departure, radar contact, turn left heading 340, climb and maintain 4000.”

“Climb and maintain 4000, turn left heading 340, Mooney Four Niner Bravo.”

As Matt reached his assigned altitude he looked around. It was a beautiful day for flying as there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:27am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #1 - Jun 13th, 2010 at 6:43am
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Thirty minutes later the Mooney Bravo was on final approach to runway 4 left. “Mooney Four Niner Bravo, Boston tower, clear to land runway 4 left, follow the 737 on final.”

“Boston tower, Mooney Four Niner Bravo, following 737 on final, clear to land runway 4 left.”

Matt watched as the jetliner in front of him touched down. The last time he was here he had to do a go around as the jet could not clear the runway in time. That wasn’t the case today as the 737 turned off about three quarters of the way down the field. Because he had filed an IFR flight plan he was on a long final.

A minute later Matt’s plane passed the inner marker and he prepared the flare the aircraft. The Mooney was not the easiest plane to master and it had taken him a few months to become accustomed to the new aircraft. Matt flared the plane just past the numbers and made a perfect landing. If I only could have done that in front of my instructor, he thought.

Matt turned off onto the taxiway and headed for the general aviation parking on the south side of the field. He would not have to refuel as the Mooney had enough fuel capacity to fly the White Mountains and back at least three times.

Matt pulled the aircraft into an unused spot on the tarmac and shut down the engine. After he finished his post flight checks he walked to the general aviation terminal. It was just before noon.


The Shadair SST was about twenty minutes from Logan and had dropped to subsonic flight. In the passenger compartment Virginia Lake was reading the reports on the man she was supposed to meet. She also had re read some of his book. Ginny was surprised how well Mr. Hewett had handled the romantic aspects of the novel and she grinned when she thought about Ed’s reaction to her statement. Ginny had finally come to terms with the fact that Ed would only see her as a best friend. In the long run that wasn’t so bad, as Ed was a very good friend.

Virginia still had not pursued a relationship with anyone, as it was next to impossible to carry on a meaningful relationship outside of SHADO, and her choices were limited within the organization as well. If only Alec had survived the cancer, she thought. Freeman despite his flirting had a heart of gold. He was the first person she had met from SHADO in fact it was on this very aircraft. She knew he always had a soft spot for her and would have been with her in a heartbeat.

Ginny looked back at the picture of Matt Hewett trying to distract herself. She still was intrigued by his eyes; they said so much yet they left so much a mystery. Damn, another man who is a puzzle I can’t solve!


Matt walked into the Boston Bar & Grill located in terminal E which housed both British Airways and Shadair.

“Just one?” asked the lady at the desk.

“No I’m supposed to be meeting someone a Miss Virginia Lake.”

The lady checked her notebook and looked up, “I’m sorry sir Miss Lake hasn’t arrived yet.”

“That’s alright; her flight should be arriving about now. Anyway I would like a quiet table for two if you could arrange it please.”

“Certainly sir, right this way please.”

Matt followed her to a table in the corner that had a nice view of the active runway.

“I’ll show Miss Lake to the table when she arrives, in the meantime can I get you something to drink?”

“A Coke will be fine, and thank you.”

Matt watched as a very modern SST made its touchdown on runway 4 right. On the side of the aircraft he saw the Shadair logo. That must be her plane, he thought.

Virginia walked off the plane into the Shadair terminal knowing she would not have to fuss with her bags right now. She was free to go straight to the restaurant to meet Mr. Hewett. When she arrived at the desk she told the lady who she was.

“Yes Miss Lake, Mr. Hewett is here waiting for you, I’ll show you to your table.”

Virginia had the advantage as she had seen a picture of him but the picture did not do him justice.

“Hello Mr. Hewett, I’m Virginia Lake.”

Matt was caught off guard, as he quickly rose to his feet. The beautiful woman in front of him was nothing like he had expected. He had to force himself not to stare.

“Miss Lake, it’s my pleasure. I’m Matt Hewett. Please, call me Matt.

Ever the gentleman he walked round the table to pull the chair out for her.

“Oh, thank you.”

Virginia was impressed as she still appreciated chivalry and she knew it was less prevalent in some parts of the United States.

“How was your flight Miss Lake?” he asked as he sat back down.

“It was fine, and please, call me Virginia, or Ginny.”

“Virginia,” Matt said. “It’s such a beautiful name; Latin in origin, it means maiden.”

She was somewhat surprised although a writer may take time to find these things out. This was going to be interesting, she thought.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:28am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #2 - Jun 13th, 2010 at 7:41pm
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Chapter 2:

As they ate lunch Matt found that he could not keep his eyes off her and speaking of eyes, hers were the most beautiful that he had ever seen. They seemed to change color depending on how the light hit them, predominantly grey but with a bit more than a hint of blue. He decided that blue grey best described them.

“So Matt, do you always look up the meaning of a lady’s name before you meet her?” she asked with a smile.

Damn she has a beautiful smile as well, he thought.

“Only if it is a name I haven’t heard in a while or if the name intrigues me. In your case it was both, a lovely name for a lovely lady.”

Virginia blushed at the compliment.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to embarrass you,” Matt said.

“No it’s okay; I’m just not used to hearing it. Thank you.”

“That does surprise me.”

“I just don’t get to socialize very often. I have a very busy work schedule.”

“It sounds like your boss is a slave driver,” he commented.

“No not at all, he works harder than all of us put together, and he wouldn’t ask anyone to do something that he wouldn’t do himself.”

“A man of integrity I see; where I come from that speaks volumes.”

“Yes, he is.”

Matt smiled at her then said, “So why is Harlington Straker Studios so interested in doing a movie of this book?”

“It’s great science fiction; you have a lot of dialogue in the book. That would make it easy to adapt to a screenplay, it has a romantic flare to it, and you focus on character development just as much as the hardware. I think it would make a great movie.”

“Maybe, but I’m going to have to think about it, and by the way, the credit is to you Miss Lake as I had already decided to turn the offer down. You’ve convinced me to at least consider it.”

Virginia smiled at him, “Well thank you. I’m glad I made a difference.”

“Virginia, this is my biggest concern. In this day and age the movie makers take a good plot, they overload it with sex, violence, and special effects, so much to the point that the meaning of the story gets lost in everything else. Hell you can’t find a decent movie to take the family to see anymore. It’s pathetic. And television is just as bad, worse in some cases.”

Virginia had only seen a passion for a just cause like that a few times in her life. It was a trait that she found quite attractive. And Matt had raised some valid points.

“I think we could work something out to keep that from happening to your story, script and scene approval maybe? Also the venture could be quite rewarding financially as well.”

“Money doesn’t even enter into it,” said Matt. “I wrote the story because I was bored; I was going to submit it to a fiction magazine when my brother stopped me. He convinced me to pursue the idea of publishing the work. The proceeds went to a children’s charity. You see Virginia, I worked very hard from the time I got out of high school and saved every penny I could and because of that I was able to retire early. I now work as a freelance troubleshooter. Communications firms bring me in to solve problems that they have exhausted their resources on. That’s why I only work two or three days a week.”

“I’m surprised that you’re not married,” she said. “At least I’m assuming as much since you don’t wear a wedding band,” she added quickly.

“I was very close about eight months ago, but unfortunately the young lady I was seeing had a change of heart. We went our separate ways at the beginning of this year and that’s when I started my book. It’s just as well I found out now rather than a few years down the road. I’m still a romantic even though matters of the heart can be confusing.”

“Don’t I know it,” she said ruefully.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:28am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #3 - Jun 14th, 2010 at 2:09am
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“How about you, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“I was married, a long time ago, it didn’t work out.”

“I’m sorry,” said Matt.

“Don’t be,” Virginia considered before she continued. “I caught him in an affair.”

Matt was stunned; who in their right mind would cheat on this beautiful lady?

“The man was a fool,” Matt spat out before he could stop himself. “I’m sorry; I probably shouldn’t have said that. Please forgive me.”

“No that’s alright, it was an honest reaction.”

As they finished lunch, Matt asked her, “So when do you have to leave for London?”

“I’m going to be here for a few days. I’ve never been to Boston and I want to do some hiking on the Appalachian Trail tomorrow.”

“Really, I’m going to be hiking Mount Washington with three other couples tomorrow. I’m the odd man out.”

“That sounds like it could be fun,” she said waiting for his reaction.

“Have you ever done any mountain hiking?”

“Years ago. I went to school at Stanford. I used to hike the mountain trails on the weekends.”

“In that case would you like come with me tomorrow? But I do have to warn you it’s going to be a three day hike.”

Virginia smiled as she answered, “On one condition Mr. Hewett,” she said deliberately formal.

“What’s that?”

“That you show me around the city this afternoon?” she asked smiling.

“I’d be honored, Miss Lake.”

Virginia knew it was her duty to find out everything she could about him, but she also found herself enjoying his company. There’s no reason why I can’t enjoy this assignment, she thought to herself.


By some intervention of fate Virginia and Matt were booked at the same hotel directly across the hall from each other, and to add to the serendipity they were both on the phone.

“So did you make contact Virginia?” asked Ed over the phone.

“Yes, I met him for lunch this afternoon. He’s quite an interesting person.”

“Did he go for the movie deal?”

“He’s thinking it over; I might have a better idea when I see him this afternoon.”

“You’re meeting with him again?”

“He’s taking me on a tour of the city, I’ve never been to Boston and Matt knows the city fairly well.”

“I see we’re on a first name basis already.”

“Are you jealous?” she said teasingly.

“You know better than that, I just want to make sure my second in command doesn’t get swept off her feet by some fast talking Romeo.”

“I’ll have you know that Matt is a perfect gentleman, very much like someone else I know.”

“Now I am worried. What is your initial assessment?”

“Matt isn’t driven by money; he has done quite well for himself through old fashioned hard work. I would consider him to be a man of integrity. Ed I’ll have a much better idea in a few days.”

“A few days!” Ed exclaimed.

“Well you told me to bring my hiking gear. Tomorrow we are going to climb Mount Washington via the Jewel Trail. It’s a three day hike round trip.”

“Will you be alright alone with him?”

“I wouldn’t go if I thought otherwise, besides we are going with three other couples.”

“Alright Colonel, but be careful,” Ed said deliberately formal.


Across the hall Matt was on the phone with his brother in Colorado.

“So tell me all about her big brother.”

“Patrick, she is the most stunningly gorgeous woman I have ever met; she speaks with a lovely British accent. And she has the most beautiful blue grey eyes I have ever seen in my life.”

“And she flew in from London to see you about a movie deal?”

“Yeah; you know I was telling Brian this morning that she would probably be a twenty something heavy metal groupie.
Boy was I wrong!”

“How old is she?”

Matt thought for a moment, “You know, I’m not sure. She doesn’t look any older than thirty but she carries herself like someone who is much older.”

“What did you say her name was?”

“Virginia, Virginia Lake.”

“And she is with Harlington Straker Studios in London?”

“Yes, she is an associate producer; she works for Ed Straker himself.”

“So are you going for the movie deal?”

“I’m still mulling that over; I’m tempted to say yes if only to spend more time with Virginia.”

“This sounds serious.”

“I think I’m in love with her.”

“You just met her!”

“I know, but I’ve never met anyone like her. You know that I’ve always believed in love at first sight. I just never expected it to happen to me.”

“I don’t know Matt. I’ve never believed in that kind of thing.”

“Oh yeah, well what about Debbie?”

“That was different.”

“In what way?”

“Well, she was Debbie.”

“And Virginia is Virginia.”

“I just don’t want to see you get hurt again, I was very worried when you split up with Rhonda.”

“Patrick, I’m forty three years old, and I have never in my life felt the way I did when I met Virginia.”

“I just want to see you have a normal and happy life.”

“If I’ve learned anything over the past year I’ve learned this; life is not a dress rehearsal, life is life. And in matters of the heart, you have to love like you will never get hurt. Is it risky? Hell yeah. But that’s what life is all about.”

“You know Matt, sometimes I forget that you’re only three years older than me, especially when you come out with something that profound. Dad would have been proud.”

“Well I have to get ready. I’m taking Virginia on a tour of the city and I only have fifteen minutes to get ready.”

“Alright my brother, take care.”

“Bye.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:29am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #4 - Jun 14th, 2010 at 5:56pm
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Matt knocked on the door to Virginia’s hotel room fighting a serious case of butterflies in the stomach. Although she had dressed casually, she still took his breath away when she answered the door.

“Oh, come on in, I’ll be ready in a minute.”

“You look very nice, Virginia.”

“Thank you, so do you.”

It was a warm summer afternoon and they had both dressed lightly. In a few minutes, she said, “I’m ready, shall we go?”

“Certainly,” he said offering his arm.


They took a cab from the hotel to Quincy Market where they strolled through the indoor outdoor marketplace. It was one of Boston’s premier tourist attractions and even on a week day it was busy.

Virginia found herself enjoying Matt’s company, and she found it increasingly difficult to remember why she was here. She had not taken a vacation in over a year and she had very little time to socialize and this was turning into a breath of fresh air. She could tell that Matt was attracted to her, but he was being a gentleman about it. It made him all that much more irresistible. Damn, I can’t afford to lose my objectivity, she thought. But she knew her heart was making other plans.

“So have you given the movie any more consideration, Matt?” she asked, distracting herself.

“I haven’t really thought about it; you see there is this lovely lady who has been taking up all my thoughts. I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything else.”

Virginia melted inside with the compliment. “Thank you,” she said quietly.

They stopped and turned towards each other.

“To be honest Virginia, I’m afraid if I say no, you’ll hop back on the first plane to London, and I’ll never see you again. I’m worried about the same thing if I say yes.”

Virginia looked up at him, “I can’t do that,” she said quietly. “You promised to take me hiking tomorrow.”

She gazed up at him for a moment before she forced herself to look away fighting the feelings inside. I just met this man, why am I feeling like this?

Matt broke the tension, “Hey, it’s getting warm out here, would you like to go inside for a bit?”

“Sure,” she said smiling at him.

She took his arm and they walked to the inside part of the marketplace.


By 7:00 in the evening they were both getting hungry. They had spent the day walking through the different shops of Quincy Market as well as walking down some the surrounding streets. Boston was one of the oldest cities in the United States and it was easy to get lost if you didn’t know your way around.

“Virginia, do you like Italian cuisine?”

“I love Italian.”

“Great, just up the street is a little open air restaurant. It’s very well known, and the food is excellent.”

The restaurant was busy but they were able to get a table quickly. As they ate Matt brought the movie subject back up.

“I think I like the idea of a movie, Virginia, but as I said, I don’t want it to go down the path that most modern films go. The plot is too important to be lost in special effects and violence.”

“I’ve been meaning to ask you, Matt, what gave you the idea for the book?”

“I’ve always liked a good science fiction story, but I wanted to write something original. The idea of alien invasion and secret organizations battling the threat just came to me. I mean think about it. What would happen if the general public knew of a hostile extraterrestrial existence? You remember War of the Worlds, don’t you?”

Virginia nodded as she considered the implications and she wasn’t surprised that Matt understood this. She found that the more time she spent with him; the more there was to learn about him.

“Yeah, that was pretty scary.”

“Exactly so it makes sense that the entity fighting the invaders would have to be super secret. Otherwise you would end up with mass hysteria.”

“Do you believe in life on other worlds, Matt?”

“Of course, I mean think about it. We live on a small planet, of a minor star, on the edge of an insignificant galaxy, in some far off corner of the universe. Out of all that, how can there not be life on other worlds?”

“Do you really think they would be hostile?”

Matt sat back thinking, “If you go by our own history you would be forced to say yes. But I have to believe that any race that developed the ability for interstellar travel would have also have developed a higher sense of morality as well. No Virginia, I think the idea of alien invaders is strictly in the realm of science fiction.”


They finished dinner and took a cab back to the hotel. When they arrived at her door she turned to him as he took her hands in his.

“Matt I had a wonderful time, thank you so much.”

“It was my pleasure, Virginia. I want to be in the air by 8:00 tomorrow. This place gets busy after that and we may not be able to get takeoff clearance if we don’t leave early. Can you be ready by six thirty?”

“Sure I’m usually up by five anyway.”

“Great, see you in the morning?”

They looked at each other and she tilted her head slightly inviting him to kiss her which he did very gently; both their eyes closing as their lips met.

Matt looked deep into her eyes knowing that he was in love with her, “Good night Virginia,” he said.

“Sleep well, Matt.”

Matt watched her enter her room and she gave him a smile as she closed the door. He let out a deep sigh as he walked across the hall to his room.


Virginia was on a cloud as she leaned back against the door. How the hell did this happen? She got herself ready for bed knowing that she wasn’t going to get much sleep.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:30am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #5 - Jun 15th, 2010 at 12:03am
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Chapter 3:
Ed Straker hung up the phone just as Paul Foster walked into the office.

“You wanted to see me Ed?”

“Yes, please sit down, Paul,” he said as he closed the door.

“You look worried about something Ed, what’s going on?”

“That was Colonel Lake; I’m worried about her Paul.”

“She’s still investigating that science fiction writer, isn’t she?”

“Yes, she’s going hiking with him and several others but she is going to be out of touch for the next few days.”

“Come on Ed, you know Ginny as well as I do. She can handle herself.”

“I know, but I heard something in her voice this morning that I haven’t heard in years, at least since Craig died.”

“You think she’s falling for this guy?”

“I think it’s a possibility, considering the tone of her voice when she spoke about him.”

“We ran all the checks on him, he’s clean. The only reason we’re looking further is Henderson insisted on it,” said Paul stopping to consider something, “unless your reasons for worrying are personal.”

“No it’s not that, not now. Maybe a couple of years ago,” he admitted. “I never would have thought she would be blinded by love. I would have expected that from you until a couple of years ago, but not her.”

“Gee thanks.”

“Don’t worry Paul; I’ve seen you mature a lot in the past couple of years, especially since you’ve been married. By the way, I understand that congratulations are in order?”

“Yes, thank you. Jane and I found out yesterday. The baby is due in February. Getting back to Ginny, why are you so worried about her?”

“I don’t know, maybe it caught me by surprise.”

“Doesn’t she deserve to be happy? She’s forty years old Ed, and I know for a fact that she wanted to be married and have a family. If she waits much longer the argument is going to become academic. Had I not had my head up my ass at the time, it might have been me. But she knew I wasn’t ready and that’s why the relationship didn’t go anywhere. I’ll tell you this much, the man who does marry her is going to be one very lucky man.”

“I see you still think highly of her.”

“Yes, don’t you?”

“That’s why I’m worried.”


As Matt loaded the Mooney with their bags and equipment Virginia did the preflight check on the aircraft.

“I still can’t believe you have a Mooney, it’s even the same color as mine,” she said.

“And I didn’t know you were a pilot, I’m very impressed. What else do you fly?”

“I have my multiengine and turbojet certifications. I can fly those small corporate jets.”

“How many hours do you have?”

Matt knew it was going to be much more than he had.

“Over two thousand hours, mostly in corporate jets.”

“Wow, I just got my instrument ratings last year, and I’ve only had this aircraft since March.”

“What did you fly before this?”

“I had a Cessna 172. It was a nice bird but it had a limited ceiling and it was slow. I have to fly out to Schaumburg, Illinois at least four times a year for training. It took almost nine hours in the Cessna. I can make the trip in five with the Mooney. I also don’t have to worry as much about the weather.”

Virginia nodded knowing what he meant. The Mooney topped out at twenty five thousand feet, enough to get over most bad weather.

They finished loading the aircraft and climbed in the plane.
Matt finished the preflight checks and turned on the radios to contact Boston Clearance Delivery. Once he had the information he switched to ground control and requested permission to taxi.

“Mooney Four Niner Bravo, taxi to and hold short of runway 4 left via taxiway Delta 2, Delta, Charlie, Tango, contact tower on 128.8 when ready.”

“Taxi to and hold short of runway 4 left via taxiway Delta 2, Delta, Charlie, Tango, tower on 128.8, Mooney Four Niner Bravo.”

Matt turned the aircraft around and proceeded down the taxiway. He handed Virginia the clearance info. “Would you mind setting the nav radios and autopilot for me Virginia?”

“Certainly, it’s busy this morning.”

“Yeah, that’s why I want to keep my eyes on the field. I’m not concerned about the big boys; they know what they’re doing. It’s some of these weekend pilots who don’t have a clue.”

“Don’t I know it,” she said ruefully. “It’s the same way at Heathrow. I finally moved my plane out of there so I wouldn’t have to deal with the mess. The only advantage was they won’t let you on the field without an instrument rating.”

“I’m surprised they don’t do that here, although they made a big change this year. If your aircraft isn’t equipped with an altitude encoding transponder they won’t let you in the airspace. Green down in Rhode Island is supposed to do it as well.”

“We did that a few years ago, sometimes they close the field to all but commercial traffic.”

“They do that here as well. Fortunately for me most of the controllers at Green know me and they know I’m based out of there. They may have to send me around a bit but I can get into the airspace most of the time. It helps that I do radio service work for them on occasion.”

Matt brought the aircraft to a stop behind a 737 waiting for takeoff. They were forth in line and the planes were stacking up behind them. He looked at the clock; it was 7:40.

“It’s a good thing we didn’t sleep in,” he said teasing her.

Virginia smiled back at him saying, “I know it, this seems worse than Heathrow.”

In a few minutes they were next in line.

“Boston tower, Mooney Four Niner Bravo, at runway 4 left, IFR to Twin Mountain, ready for takeoff.”

“Mooney Four Niner Bravo, Position and hold.”

“Position and hold, Mooney Four Niner Bravo.”

They watched the 737 lift off the runway ahead of them as the tower called, “Mooney Four Niner Bravo, fly runway heading, climb and maintain 5000, clear for takeoff runway 4 left.”

“Clear for takeoff runway 4 left, Mooney Four Niner Bravo, rolling.”

Matt pushed the throttle all the way in and the small aircraft sped down the runway. At sixty five knots he pulled back on the yoke and the aircraft left the ground.


After they had cleared the traffic at Boston Virginia said, “You handle this aircraft well for someone who as only flown it for a few months.”

“Tell that to my flight instructor, he almost grounded me on my check ride. I hit a gust of wind just as we were about to touch down. It scared the hell out of both of us. It was kind of a freak thing; I’ve done much better since then.”

“Well I hope so,” she said teasingly.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:30am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #6 - Jun 15th, 2010 at 2:59pm
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“Seriously I’d love to hear any pointers you have on flying this aircraft, you’ve had yours for what a couple of years now?” he asked.

“That's right, but you have all the basics down cold; the rest is just time and experience.”

“Do you have any family, Matt?”

“Oh yeah, my immediate family is not that big, my brother Patrick, my sister Crystal, and our mother. I lost my father a few years ago.”

“I’m sorry,” she said pausing for a moment. “What’s your mom’s name?”

“Denise,” he answered. “How about you Virginia; do you have any family?”

“I was an only child, my mother, Lynn, still lives in Brighton. I never knew my father; he was killed in World War Two before I was born.”

Matt did a quick mental calculation, she’s my age, he thought.

“I’m very sorry about your father, Virginia.”

“He was actually from this side of the pond. Dad was assigned to the eighth air force stationed in England during the war. Mom told me all about him when I was young so even though I never met him I still feel as if I knew him.”

“Your mom sounds like an incredible lady, and that was such a precious gift.”


Virginia wiped a tear from her eye as Matt had put into words how she felt about the subject. Damn, why couldn’t I have met him twenty years ago? She placed her hand on his shoulder and kissed him on the cheek.

Matt looked over at her, “What was that for?” he asked quietly.

“I’m not sure yet,” she said as her heart and mind conflicted with each other. “I just wanted to.”

She took his hand and laid her head on his shoulder, resigning herself to the fact that her heart was going to win. Ginny had never believed in love at first sight but ever since she had laid eyes on him something had been awakened that had been dormant for years. She knew she was going to have to tell Ed; for more than one reason.


Matt knew that Virginia was in conflict with her feelings; he had seen that look before. He already knew that he was in love with her and he desperately wanted to tell her so. But age and experience had taught him to wait as he was sure that he had already won her heart. He knew she would bolt like a gazelle if she felt pressured and he wanted her to feel safe. The mountain he was about to climb was insignificant when compared to the mountain his heart had just fallen from.


“Twin Mountain traffic, Mooney Four Niner Bravo, turning base to final.”

Virginia awoke as Matt was banking the aircraft to line up with the runway.

“We’re here already?” she asked.

“Yeah, you dozed off for a while, are you alright?”

“I’m sorry; I guess I didn’t sleep well last night.”

“Twin Mountain traffic, Mooney Four Niner Bravo, on final. That’s alright; you can sleep on my shoulder anytime.”

The single engine aircraft touched down on the field and rolled out. Matt turned off the runway at the next taxiway.

“Twin Mountain traffic, Mooney Four Niner Bravo is clear of the runway.”

“There’s not much traffic this morning,” she said.

“I know it, that’s kind of odd for a Saturday.”

Matt pulled the aircraft to a parking spot and killed the engine, while Virginia started the post flight checks.

They disembarked from the plane and tied it down.

As they off loaded their gear a voice called from across the field, “Well if it isn’t the Rhode Island contingent. Hey Matt, we thought you were coming alone!”

“Introduction time,” he said quietly to Virginia.

Virginia and Matt walked to the parking area to meet his friends.

“Hello gang. Virginia, I’d like you to meet Sandy and Jack, Diane and Paul, and Debbie and Pete.”

Virginia shook hands with all of them and then turned to Matt, “I have to use to phone before we leave, I won’t be long.”

She kissed him on the cheek and walked into the terminal.

“She’s British?” asked Jack.

“British American actually, she’s from Harlington Straker Studio’s. It seems they want to make a movie out of my book. Virginia flew over yesterday to discuss the idea with me.”

“She seems quite fond of you.”

“I know, and the feeling is mutual. Come on let’s get this gear loaded.”


“Matt is going to go over to see you next week about the film.”

“That’s good news, so you’ll be coming back?” asked Ed.

“Not yet. I’m going on that hiking trip with him. I have a ton of unused leave; I’m going to take some of it now.”

“This sounds serious,” he said concerned.

“Ed, you’ve been a good friend, and you’ve always known that I had hoped for more. But I couldn’t wait forever, you must know that. I’m in love with Matt; I just felt that you had the right to know.”

“Have you told him yet?”

“No, but I think he already knows, he’s very perceptive you know.”

“I suppose I can’t say anything to change your mind?” asked Ed.

“No, not now. I’ve made my decision and since you have already run the necessary background checks, I’m free to pursue this.”

“Yes, you are, and I’m happy for you, I mean that,” he said huskily.

“Thank you Ed, it means a lot.”

“You know you’ll have to remove yourself from the investigation when he arrives here in London.”

“I know, I assumed you would handle it yourself. I think you’d like him Ed, the two of you have more in common than you know.”

“We’ll see. Virginia, just be careful okay?”

“I will, thanks Ed.”

Virginia’s reason for telling him was twofold as the regulations required her to notify her commanding officer if she became emotionally compromised.


When she got back to the van it was loaded and ready to go. Virginia climbed in and sat next to Matt in the back seat. She snuggled up next to him relaxing for the first time that morning. Jack pulled out of the airport parking lot and headed south on Rte. 3. They would pickup 302 east towards Breton Woods and the trailhead just past the Cog Railway.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:31am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #7 - Jun 15th, 2010 at 10:18pm
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Chapter 4:
The van with the four couples pulled into the parking area of the trailhead and unloaded their equipment. Jack walked over to Matt and Virginia and asked, “Have you ever hiked these trails before Virginia?”

“No, this is my first time here. The last time I did any hiking was twenty years ago, while I was at Stanford.”

“Okay, so you’re not a novice, good. This is only Matt’s second time up the mountain so I want to put the two of you right behind Sandy and I. This is not the hardest trail and we are allowing plenty of time, so if we are going too fast, sing out, alright?”

“Alright,” said Virginia.

As Jack walked to the check in station Matt came over to Ginny. “Jack gave you the pep talk?”

“He seems a bit pushy,” she said quietly.

“He just comes across that way sometimes. No he just doesn’t want anyone to get hurt. Jack has hiked these trails at least a dozen times each. He knows this mountain like the back of his hand. I would trust that man with my life. He saved Paul’s life last year on this mountain.”

“Really?”

“It was a freak snowstorm; they were ascending the Tuckerman Ravine trail. They had stopped near the top and Paul slipped when he shifted his footing. He’d have gone over the edge had Jack not caught him.”

“So you weren’t being overprotective this morning when you asked to check my gear?”

“No Virginia, this mountain has claimed over one hundred fifty lives over the years. She’ll try very hard to kill you if you don’t give her the respect she deserves.”

Matt helped her get her pack on and checked her gear. In a few minutes they had started the long climb up the mountain.


A few hours later they had ascended above the tree line and Virginia stunned by the panoramic view of the presidential range. She turned to Matt saying, “My God, it’s so beautiful!”

“Now you know why I enjoy this so much. I come up here and all the problems of the world seem to fade away.”

Virginia had taken out her small camera to take a few shots of the view. While she took pictures the rest of the group removed their packs for a rest. Virginia was surprised how cold it had gotten above the tree line. She didn’t ever remember it being quite that cold on the southern California trails.

“Now would be a good time to put on our wind gear, the rest of the way to the Lake in the Clouds hut is exposed,” said Jack.

Matt helped Virginia remove her pack so she could get her jacket and leg wear. When she had donned her wind gear she said to him, “I’m cold.”

Matt wrapped his arms around her and she pulled him in for a long deep kiss. When the kiss had ended he looked deep into her eyes wanting to tell her his feelings. “Virginia I…” She kissed him again cutting off what he was going to say.


Diane nudged Debbie and said, “Are you watching these two?”

“I know it. They haven’t taken their eyes off each other all day.”

“Did you see the way she looks at him?”

“I know, and he’s just as smitten. Quick, get your camera.”

Diane aimed her camera at Virginia and Matt just as they kissed, taking three quick pictures in succession.

“Boy, he’s going to be sore with you Diane.”

“He’ll get over it, hell he may even thank me.”

Pete, laughing, called over to Virginia and Matt, “Okay you two lovebirds, we’ve got a mountain to climb.”

“Oh be quiet,” said Matt embarrassed.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:31am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #8 - Jun 16th, 2010 at 10:44pm
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This is Space Intruder detector; I have four sightings, Area 157-242 Green.

Lt. Colonel Barry turned to Lt. Johnson, “Ayshea, verify that.”

Ayshea punched up the screen and checked the numbers with the information being relayed by SID.

“Confirmed, the computer is still chewing on the tracking and range data.”

“Very well, signal yellow alert.”


The four couples arrived at the Lake of the Clouds AMC hut just before supper.

“You mean we get to have a home cooked meal and sleep in a real bed?” asked Virginia.

“That’s right. The AMC hut system was established years ago after a pair of hikers died on the mountain due to exposure. Hiking is great fun but you do have to be careful up here. That’s why Jack take’s it so serious,” said Matt.

“What else do they have up here besides a place to bed down?”

“Saturday night is karaoke night. It starts right after supper and wraps up around ten.”

“I’ve heard of that; some of the singing can be abysmal,” she said.

“Most of the people I’ve heard here can actually carry a tune, I was surprised.”

“What kind of music?” Virginia loved classical music but she also had a soft spot for love ballads of any genre.

“Oldies, classic rock, country, bluegrass, even some big band.”

“Are you going to sing to me Matt?” she asked smiling at him.

“Now how could I possibly refuse,” he said as he kissed her.


“We lost it sir,” said Captain Ford.

“What was its last known position, Keith,” asked Ed clearly frustrated.

“Colonel Carlin lost it somewhere over the White Mountain range. He said it just dropped off his radar screen.”

“The interceptors did get a near miss on one of them,” Straker paused, “Did you say the White Mountains?”

“Yes sir.”

“Damn, I want search teams over there, now!”

“Yes, sir,” said Ford.

Ed walked back into his office with Foster in tow. He closed the door and looked at his friend with worry in his eyes. Ever since Alec had died, Ed had found himself depending more on both Virginia and Paul. Ginny had become his best friend and Paul was a close second.

“You’re worried about her.’

Ed nodded, “I shouldn’t have sent her on this mission, Paul.”

“Ed, you can’t keep second guessing yourself, I’ve never seen you like this. What’s really wrong?”

“I guess I cared for her more than I knew, Paul. Did I ever tell you that I almost asked her out after the Timelash incident?”

“No, you didn’t, but I wouldn’t have been surprised.”

“You knew?”

“I did; I think Alec knew as well.”

“So much for secrets,” he said dismissively.

Ed leaned back in his chair pulling himself back into command mode. They had an un-located UFO on their hands that went down in a remote area. The mobiles would be useless in that mountain terrain.

“Paul, I want you out with the search teams. Take the next transport out. Virginia and her party left from the Crawford trailhead and there should be a check in station at the base of the trail. You should be able to get a message to her through the AMC network. We have another problem as well; Mr. Hewett is resistant to the amnesia drug. If he witnesses anything with either the aliens or our operation, we’re going to have a problem. Compound that with the fact that Virginia is in love with him.”

“You’re kidding!”

“She told me this morning. If he sees anything Paul, it’s going to put him at risk with security. I don’t want that to happen, I owe Virginia that much.”


Matt sat next to Virginia on one of the couches in the common room. Dinner had been excellent and the evening entertainment had started. Jack had done his rendition of “Sixteen Tons” and Diane had sang “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”. Another hiker was doing a great job of “My Way” and Virginia was enjoying the music.

“Jack did a great job up there,” she said to him.

“He really does know how to have a good time.”

“Do you know what you’re going to sing, Matt?”

“Yup.”

Are you going to tell me?” she asked flashing her eyes at him.

“Nope.”

“Why?”

“It’s a surprise, trust me you’ll enjoy it more.”

Virginia gave him a pouty look that made him grin even more.

As the song finished Matt heard the MC call his name and he quickly kissed her as he got up and walked to the front. Matt had chosen a new song done by his favorite country band. He looked across the room at Virginia and into her eyes as the piano intro played. Matt knew the song by heart and didn’t need to look at the words on the screen. He began to sing…

As I lay by your side, and hold you tonight, I want you to understand.

This love that I feel, is so right and so real, I realize how lucky I am.

Should you ever wonder if my love is true, there’s something that I want to make clear to you.

There’s no way I could make it without you, there’s no way that I’d even try.

If I had to survive, without you in my life, I know I wouldn’t last a day.

Oh Baby, there’s no way.

Matt had walked back to where Virginia was sitting and took her hand, leading her back to the front of the room, where they danced as he sang. By now she was crying tears of joy as she listened to him pour out his heart through the music.

I never knew until you what I was missing, now you say forever, and I find my heart is listening,

Yes I’m listening…

When the song had ended, Matt said to her, “Virginia, I fell in love with you the moment I laid eyes on you. I can’t even think about life without you in it.”

“Is this a proposal?” she asked.

“Yeah, it is.”

“Then the answer is yes, and you should know that you had me from hello,” she said as she kissed him deeply.

Matt had forgotten to switch off the mic so everyone in the room had heard the conversation. Everyone stood and began to clap, most of them wiping tears from their eyes. The newly engaged couple looked around somewhat embarrassed. Matt handed off the mic and they walked back to their seat.

“How long have you two known each other?” asked Debbie.

“Well let’s see, we met yesterday around half past noon and it’s what nine now? That would be about thirty three hours.”

“That’s got to be a record,” said Paul.

“Sometimes you just know.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:32am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #9 - Jun 17th, 2010 at 2:18pm
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Colonel Foster’s transporter jet touched down at Pease Air Force Base just after midnight. The cargo crew immediately started off loading the mobiles. In this hunt the mobiles would serve as forward command posts as they were not designed to traverse the heavy wooded mountain terrain. The base commander met Foster as he disembarked the aircraft.

“Colonel Foster? I’m Colonel Bowers,” the base commander said as they shook hands.

“My pleasure, Colonel, please call me Paul.”

“Alright, I’m John. So what exactly are we looking for Paul?”

“The European Space Agency lost an experimental space capsule this morning. We think it came down in an area just east of the Mount Monroe summit. We’re going to have to search the entire area.”

“That’s going to take some doing; there is a lot of ground to cover up there. If the thing landed below the tree line, you’re going to play hell finding it, Paul.”

“What are the chances of getting the whole area cordoned off?”

“An order like that would have to come from the Governor’s office, or from the President.”

“Then we’d better get it moving.”

“Paul, do you realize how much tourist traffic is on those trails right now.”

“Yes, I do. And the longer we wait, the worse the situation becomes.”

“Colonel Foster, exactly what was this thing carrying?”

“I’m not at liberty to say John, but I can tell you this. If we don’t find it before someone stumbles on it, there is going to be loss of life.”


“You want to do what?” asked Jack that morning.

“Virginia and I want to climb Monroe solo.”

“I don’t know Matt, are you two still going up Washington with us?”

“Yeah, it’s only two hours from here and if we don’t hang around we can be back down here before noon. Monroe is only about an hour and a half south of here. We can all meet back here before supper.”

“Do you have your radio?”

“Yup, and I brought the .50 cal.”

Matt always carried the Dessert Eagle when he was in the mountains. Two years ago he was hunting with a group of friends when they were attacked by a black bear. It took six shots with the .40 Glock to drop the animal.

“I see you came prepared,” said Jack. He had been with the hunting party that day.

“I had a good teacher.”

“Well alright, but you two keep in touch, you hear?”

“Yes Dad,” said Matt kiddingly.

Jack swatted at him with his hat.

Matt walked over to where Virginia was waiting.

“Well, what did he say?” she asked.

“He was a bit reluctant, but he agreed.”

She put her arms around him saying, “Good.”

“Just what are you up to?”

“Maybe I just want to spend some quality time on top of a mountain alone with my future husband,” she said giving him an impish grin.

“This could be interesting,” he said as he drew her into a kiss.

“Come on to two lovebirds,” said Sandy. “We’re ready to go.”

“To be continued?” asked Matt.

“Definitely.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:32am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #10 - Jun 17th, 2010 at 11:57pm
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The hike to the summit of Mount Washington took them almost exactly two hours, just as Matt had predicted. There were a few clouds in the sky and it was a tad bit colder than normal for a July day. Still the weather did not look threatening at all. Virginia took out her camera and asked Sandy, “Would you mind getting a picture of Matt and I on the summit?”

“Of course Ginny, I’d love to.”

Virginia grabbed Matt by the hand and led him up the small rocky incline that marked the official peak of the mountain 6288 feet above sea level.

“Picture time,” she said placing her arms around his neck.

“Collecting memories?” he said smiling.

“Yeah, why not,” she said drawing him in for a long kiss.


As Matt filled the water bottles, Jack walked up to him saying, “There’s a group leaving in a minute to go back to the lake if you want to go with them.”

“Okay that sounds good, Virginia and I will meet the rest of you at the hut for supper.”

“I don’t like the look of those clouds forming to the west; make sure you keep an eye on them.”

“Don’t worry Jack, we’ll be fine.”

They walked over to where a group was assembling for the trek down the mountain. Matt put Virginia’s water bottle in her pack for her and they checked each other’s gear. They bid the other three couples goodbye and started down the trail.

“Sandy told me that Jack is really worried about us going off alone,” said Virginia.

“There’s a story behind that, you see Jack and Sandy have been guides on this mountain for almost thirty years. His last name, Crawford; does it ring any bells?”

“This trail is called Crawford Path, there’s a connection?”

“Jack’s family has lived in these parts for over two hundred years. Crawford Notch is named for them. Three years ago Jack was teaching another couple the art of hiking. They had about the same amount of experience that you and I do. They wanted to take a detour on the way down Washington and Jack figured they would be alright.”

Matt paused for a moment letting her consider what he had said.

“What happened to them,” she asked already sure she knew the answer.

“They were on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail when the weather turned bad, snow, ice, wind, the works. The pair had tied to each other so they wouldn’t get separated just like you’re supposed to do, but instead of stopping and digging in they continued down. They were found at the bottom of the ravine two days later. Jack assumed one of them stepped over the edge and pulled the other along. It’s a fifteen hundred foot drop. He’s never forgiven himself.”

“Matt I’m so sorry…”

“The kicker is that it wasn’t Jack’s fault. They would have been alright had they stayed put. The storm passed fairly quickly and the temperature shot back up within an hour.”

“Jack’s lucky to have such a good friend,” she said to him.


Chapter 5:
“Where exactly are they Colonel?” asked Straker.

In the command mobile Paul regarded his boss. He never remembered ever seeing him this worried.

“The last place they checked in is the Washington summit, that was about two hours ago. I left a message for Virginia to call in as soon as they get to the Lake of the Clouds hut.”

“Any idea when they’ll arrive?”

“They should be there now.”

“Where exactly are you Paul?”

“The command post is parked near the Cog Railway. Our team is going to requisition the next ride up, and start the search from there. Mobile 1 is heading up the auto road now. They’ve closed the road both ways until we get into position.”

“Alright Paul, keep me posted.”

Colonel Bowers stepped up into the command mobile. “Have you had any hiking experience Paul?”

“No, none.”

“Then you had better stay at the summit; these mountains are not to be taken lightly.”

“These little hills?”

“Trust me Colonel; they can be every bit as dangerous as their larger siblings.”

Paul had learned over the years to listen to those who had more experience, “I suppose you’re right John.”


Ginny and Matt walked into the AMC hut about two hours after leaving the summit. The counter was empty and Matt assumed the caretaker was on a break. He filled out the log sheet noting their arrival and intent to visit Munroe. He logged an estimated return time of 6:00 pm.

The pair walked out of the hut and started the hour and a half journey to Mount Munroe.


Twenty or so minutes later the caretaker finished in the back room and came back to the desk. He noticed that the log had been moved and checked the names. Damn I missed them, he thought.

He picked up the mic and called down to the base camp, “I have a message for Mr. Foster. I missed his party, but they are due to return here around six.”

“Roger, I’ll pass the message on.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:33am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #11 - Jun 18th, 2010 at 4:55am
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The phone rang in the command mobile.

“Foster.”

“Yes Mr. Foster, this is Jim Burns over at the AMC check station.”

“Oh, Hello, were you able to get a message to Miss Lake?”

“We missed her when she came through. She is due back at Lake of the Clouds around six in the evening.”

Damn, thought Foster.

“Where are they going?”

“The log shows that they are going to ascend Mount Munroe and then return to the hut.”

“Alright, as soon as they return, have Miss Lake get in touch with me.”

“We’ll do our best sir.”


Matt and Ginny made it to the summit of the mountain just after two in the afternoon. Unlike Mount Washington this peak was untouched by man save the US Geological Survey insert at the summit.

“Well this is much more like it,” said Matt.

“I know it, it’s so beautiful,” agreed Ginny.

They both stood at the peak admiring the view. Matt looked to the west at the clouds that Jack had pointed out earlier that day. They seemed not to have moved much at all in the past few hours. Matt turned to Ginny and took her in his arms.

“So why did you want to want to get me alone on this mountain?” he asked.

“Why don’t you break out your sleeping bag and find out.”

“Here, now?”

“Yeah here, and now.”

“You know Virginia, this path is fairly well traveled; more so on a Saturday.”

She looked around not seeing anyone on the trails, “I don’t see anyone around for miles.”

Matt looked around seeing that she was right. That’s odd, even the trails are deserted, he thought. Oh well.

He drew her into a long passionate kiss being overcome by the love he felt for her.


“We’ve stopped all movement on the mountain Paul. The hikers will be held at the huts as they check in.”

“Good, let’s get the team onto the Cog. Mobile 1 just checked in they’re at the summit now. The park service is evacuating everyone up there except the weather observatory staff. They’ll be taken down the auto road.”
Paul Foster and John Bowers boarded the railway with the search team. This was going to be like finding a needle in a haystack.


The aliens walked along the tree line northeast of the Munroe peak stalking a pair of hikers coming down the path. When they were within a few yards the aliens fired their rifles dropping the couple. They began the gruesome task of organ harvesting.


Virginia jumped up at the sound of the assault rifle; she knew that sound all too well.

“Matt do you have a set of field glasses?” she asked quickly.

He dug into his pack and produced a small pair of binoculars. Ginny scanned the tree line below them. When she looked to the northeast she stopped seeing two red suited figures by the tree line. Oh my God, aliens.

“Matt we have to get out of here,” she said her voice shaking.

“Why, what’s wrong, what did you see?”

“Please Matt, just trust me.”

Matt knew she was gravely concerned but he trusted her judgment. He helped her get her pack back on and grabbed his pistol from his pack.

“You’re armed?”

“I never come up here without a firearm. This pistol will drop a black bear with one shot.”

They quickly walked back up to the summit and looked in dismay. The clouds had rolled in and the wind was picking up. The trail leading to the hut was covered in fog.

“Virginia, here,” he said as he handed her one end of the rope. “Tie this around your waist.”

She did as she was told while Matt tied the other end around his waist. Matt grabbed his radio and tuned it to the Mount Washington repeater. “WA1NJL from KA1BQP, are you there Jack?”

“WA1NJL, Matt, please tell me you’re on your way back.”

“Negative Jack, it’s all fogged in up here. I think we’re going to have to hunker down until it passes.”

“Alright, stay on the peak, the three of us will come and get you.”

“No way, Jack. You know better than that. Ginny and I will try to make it to the tree line on the leeward side of the mountain. If it gets bad we’ll stop and ride it out.”

“We’ve just been informed that we can’t leave Matt, some military organization has locked down the entire area.”

Virginia was listening to the conversation knowing that SHADO must be searching for a downed UFO. They were in grave danger and Matt was resistant to the amnesia drug. If they were to survive he needed to know what they were up against. She was worried how security would handle the mess later.

“That’s alright Jack, at least I don’t have to worry about you coming after us. We’ll see you when we see you. KA1BQP is clear.”

“Good luck, WA1NJL is clear.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:33am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #12 - Jun 19th, 2010 at 12:07am
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He turned to Ginny, “Are you ready?”

“Matt we can’t go down there.”

“Virginia, we have to get off this summit before the weather gets worse. The tree line will give us some added shelter.”
Matt could see genuine concern as he looked in her eyes. “What did you see down there?”

Virginia was torn wanting to tell him the truth and worried about the implications it would have. She knew his life would be in jeopardy either way.

“I might as well tell you, you’re going to find out anyway. The movie deal was an excuse for us to talk with you.”

“Who is us?”

“I work for an organization that deals with alien threats.”

“Somehow I get the idea that you’re not referring to illegal aliens.”

“Not in the sense that you mean.”

“We’re talking about little green men?”

“Actually they’re not so little. I saw two of them down by the tree line.”

He took the binoculars from her and looked down the northeast approach. At the tree line two red suited figures were… Matt couldn’t believe what he was seeing; it looked like they were cutting a person open.

“Virginia, exactly what do these aliens want?”

“They come to Earth to harvest organs for transplant purposes. We believe them to be a dying race.”

Matt felt his blood boil; these bastards just murdered those two people.

He lost sight of them as they disappeared into the woods. He checked the entire eastern tree line looking for a place to set up camp. The fog was creeping over the summit now and the temperature was dropping rapidly. He looked over the area again spotting a rock formation that was only a few hundred yards down the slope. He pointed to it saying, “You see that rock outcropping down there?”

“Yeah, I see it,” she answered.

“That’s where we’re heading; it will at least give us some cover from the wind. Be careful, the ground is starting to get wet.”

The pair made their way down to the small rock formation that turned out to be a natural lean to formation.

“This is a stroke of luck,” he said as he unpacked the tent to get it pitched before it was too late.

“Virginia, I have to ask, what about us?”

“I never expected to fall in love with you, Matt. It just happened; that’s why I had to call my boss before we left yesterday. I needed to tell him I had been emotionally compromised. I removed myself from the case, and took leave time because I wanted to be with you. Let me tell you, am I going to hear about that when I get back.”

“I’m glad you stayed, I thought you seemed more relaxed on the way up here. Your organization was that concerned over a piece of fiction?”

“It was a very well written and believable piece of science fiction that was spot on, concerning several points.”

Matt finished with the tent and stowed their gear in the back. He rolled out the sleeping bag, inside the tent, and had her climb in. When they were inside, he closed the tent up to keep out the wind.

“Virginia, I’m leaving my pistol and flashlight right here where we both can get at it. Do you have any firearms training?”

“I usually carry a Glock .40 caliber semi auto.”

Matt was impressed; this lady could take care of herself. That aspect made her even more attractive to him.

“The .50 has more of a kick, but it’s still less than a revolver.”

“Safety on the left?” she asked.

“That’s right.”   

“How long do you think it will be before we can make it back to the hut?”

Matt looked at his watch, it was just past four, “I don’t know honey, we have only four more hours of daylight. It will take at least two or three hours to get back to the hut. If this doesn’t stop in the next hour, we’d better plan on being here overnight.”

“At least the company is good,” she said trying to make light of the situation.

“What are the chances that our alien friends will stay out of the weather and leave us alone?”

“They generally stay out of open areas, preferring the deep woods, but we are pretty isolated up here.” She looked worried as she shook her head. “I just don’t know.”

“I think we’ll be alright,” he said drawing her closer.

“Matt you’re not angry with me are you?”

“Why in the world would I be angry with you?”

“I lied about why I came to see you.”

“Virginia my love, I come from a family that has a strong military background. My father, my grandfather, my great grandfather, my brother, all served in uniform, some of them making a career of it. I know all about the need for security.”

“I’m glad you understand; most people don’t.  Matt, you also need to know that I put you at risk by telling you this. From what I’ve been told you have a rare blood disorder.”

“That’s right, some enzyme that isn’t where it’s supposed to be, something like that.”

“That particular enzyme is the key element to the success of our amnesia drug,” she said.

“Oh, that would be how you maintain your cover.”

“That’s right. Anyone that runs across aliens or our organization is given the drug. It erases the past twelve hours of a person’s memory.”

“And what about those like me?”

“Recruitment or….,” she couldn’t finish the sentence.

“Elimination,” said Matt. “I can understand why. If the general public ever found out, there would be chaos, mass hysteria, and spiritual upheaval. Even today most mainline religions deny the possibility of life on other worlds. What I would like to know is how the hell they broke the light barrier?”

“I’ve always felt that they generate their own continuum, a bypass method if you will.”

“That would mean that they can control time as well,” said Matt.

“I didn’t know you were that well versed in special relativity.”

“I read a lot. I’m by no means an expert but I do know a little about the subject. It might come in handy seeing that my future wife has a doctorate in physics.”

Outside the tent the weather was getting worse. The mist had turned into freezing rain and then to snow. By six thirty there was almost a foot on the ground.


The search team had decided to make the descent from Washington down to the Lake of the Clouds hut. Paul Foster had decided to go with them against the advice of Colonel Bowers. This time it wasn’t recklessness that drove him. As the senior commander at the scene it was his responsibility to maintain SHADO security. In his pack he had enough of the amnesia drug for all the non SHADO personnel as well as any bystanders. He was also worried about Ginny.

They arrived at the AMC hut just after dark and the snow was getting worse. Once Paul had warmed up a bit he went in search of the caretaker.

“Mr. Lewis?”

“Yes, how may I help you?”

“My name’s Foster; Paul Foster.”

“Ah yes, I was told to expect you, by the way I’m sorry I missed your friend. I was in the back when they came through.”

“That’s alright, I need to find out who here is the best guide of the area.”

“That’d be Jack Crawford. You’re in luck, he’s here tonight. Come along, I’ll introduce you to him.”

They made their way through the common area to a table where three couples were seated.

“Jack, this gentleman would like to speak with you, his name’s Paul Foster.”

Jack stood and shook hands with Paul, “Please, join us.”

Foster sat down with them.

“You’re a friend of Virginia’s right?”

“That’s right, friend and co-worker.”

“I see. Well Paul, you’re probably not going to see her until morning, she’s stuck up on the Munroe peak with her fiancée.”

“Fiancée?” said Paul incredulously.

“Oh, you didn’t know? Happened right here on the dance floor. Personally I don’t think either one of them saw it coming.”

“I did,” said Sandy.

“You always were the romantic.”

“Anyway I spoke with them about an hour ago over the radio they had over a foot of snow on the leeward side of the peak then and it’s getting worse out there.”

“I want to take a team out to rescue them tonight.”

“Mr. Foster there are much easier ways to kill yourself, if that’s what you want to do.”

“We can’t just leave them out there.”

“Don’t you think I want to go? Matt is a good friend of mine, and Sandy and I have grown quite fond of Ginny as well. But right now they’re safe. Matt is a good woodsman, don’t tell him I said that, I don’t want him getting cocky. As long as they stay put they’ll be alright. Trust me Paul; I’ve been hiking these mountains for thirty years.”

Foster wanted to argue but thought better of it. The man in front of him knew his business.

“When do you think we can go?”

“These storms don’t usually last this long. If it let’s up by morning we’ll go at first light. Hell they’ll probably meet us halfway.”

“I certainly hope so.”

Ginny engaged? Wait until Ed finds out.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:34am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #13 - Jun 19th, 2010 at 5:47pm
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Chapter 6:
The mountain snowstorm ended around midnight although the wind was still gusting to fifty miles per hour at the Washington peak. In the Lake of the Clouds hut Paul was still awake talking with Jack. He still wanted to go out with the team but Jack had insisted that they wait until morning. Matt had checked in by radio around ten and even though they were both a little cold they were safe.

“I still can’t believe that she said yes,” Paul said referring to the engagement.

“I take it that you don’t believe in love at first sight.”

“No, that kind of thing is for the storybooks. I don’t see it happening in real life, especially to someone like Ginny.”

“I fell in love with Sandy the day I met her, as a matter of fact it was in this very building. We’ve been married almost thirty years.”

“Did you propose the next day, Jack?”

“No I waited a few weeks; it was our last hike up to Washington before the summer ended. I took her up to the summit and used the traditional one knee approach. It wouldn’t have mattered though. Sandy told me later that she would have said yes the day we met.”

“I guess you don’t believe it until it happens to you,” said

Paul thinking about Linda Simmons. What would have happened if she had survived; to this day he didn’t know if he had been manipulated or if he had truly fallen for her.

The radio on the table crackled to life, “WA1NJL from KA1BQP, are you there Jack?”

He picked up the handheld and answered. “This is WA1NJL, how are you two doing?”

“We’re a bit chilly but not enough to worry about. It looks like the storm has let up. There’s a full moon that is illuminating the snow, it’s a beautiful sight.”

Sandy came out into the room and took the radio from her husband, “Hey Matt, its Sandy KB1FQ. Are the two of you behaving?”

“No comment Sandy. Tell Jack that the wind is dying down.”

“Okay, I’ll tell him. He’s heading to bed anyway. The military sent a team up here to retrieve some kind of space capsule and Jack is going to be their guide; they’re leaving here at first light.”

“Then we’ll meet him halfway, anything else?”

“Ginny’s friend Paul is here and would like to say hello.”

“Put him on,” said Matt.

“Ginny, how are you doing?”

“I’m alright, but I’m surprised to hear you. How did you make it to the hut?”

“It’s a long story, hey before I let you go, I understand that congratulations are in order.”

“Yeah, I’m finally taking the plunge.”

“You’ll have to tell me all about it tomorrow. Good night Ginny.”

“Good night Paul.”


Matt sighed off with Sandy and turned off the radio. He had just put in the second set of batteries and wanted to conserve them.

“Matt, I have to go outside for a bit.”

“I was thinking the same thing; the wind has subsided we should be alright now.”

Matt looked around a bit at the surrounding area, the snow was about a foot and a half deep and would probably be all gone by the afternoon. There were no tracks in the snow except for the ones that Ginny or he had made. Their friends down below the tree line apparently decided not to brave the weather.

“Are you all set,” he asked as she came around the corner.

“Yeah, thanks.”

They cleaned the snow off their boots and climbed back into the tent.

“It looks like our friends don’t like snow. I didn’t see any tracks.”

“I hope so, I really don’t have any organs I want to donate to their cause,” she said with gallows humor.

“I hear that.”


The aliens had picked up several radio transmissions from the top of the hill. They recognized two of the voices as belonging to senior level operatives what the earthlings call SHADO. Taking one of them alive would be advantageous to forwarding their plans. Two of them set out towards the top of the hill in search of their quarry. The remaining two finished the repairs to their ship. They would have to depart by the midday sun.


Virginia was awakened by a howl in the woods. As she sat up Matt stirred next to her.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“I heard something,” she said as the howl repeated. “There; what was that?”

“A coyote, they probably won’t come above the tree line.”

Matt sat up and opened the zippered side window to look down the slope. Nothing new except…

Damn!

“We’re in trouble honey, we’ve got company. The two legged type.”

Matt and Ginny quickly got their gear on. He said to her, “We only have one gun, you’d better stay here.”

“No way, I’m watching your back,” she said in a tone that would broach no argument.

“Yes dear,” he said teasingly yet at the same time admiring her strength. He continued seriously, “Just be careful, I’ll never forgive myself if anything happens to you.”

She kissed him and said, “Nor I if anything happens you, now let’s go.”

Matt peered out of the doorway looking around. The tracks went by the tent and continued to the summit. They missed us, he thought. They climbed out of the tent and slowly walked around the outcropping. Suddenly an alien stood up from behind the formation firing his weapon at the pair. They ducked behind the rock formation.

Matt listened to the footsteps in the snow. He knew the alien was slowly walking around the corner. He leveled his pistol at the edge where he expected the alien to show up listening carefully as it approached. The alien quickly rounded the corner bringing its weapon to bear, but Matt was already lined up for the shot. He fired once hitting the alien square in the chest.

The alien was thrown back by the force of the impact, its back being blown out by the massive bullet. Matt and Ginny slowly rounded the corner looking for the other alien that they knew was lurking somewhere nearby.

As they had rounded the back side of the outcropping, Matt noticed another set of tracks on the other side. It’s circling back, oh shit!

He spun around just in time to see the alien reach for Ginny.

“Virginia, look out,” he yelled as he pushed her out of harm’s way dropping his gun in the process. He grabbed the alien by the arms and tried to keep it away from Ginny. He lost his footing and stumbled still struggling with the alien. It had a small round cylinder that it was trying to press against his neck.

Virginia cried, “Matt!” as she found the pistol he had dropped. She couldn’t get a clean shot without hitting him.

The alien managed to press the cylinder against Matt’s neck and he went limp. It stood up only to turn and face an angry set of blue grey eyes.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:34am by Matt »  

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Re: Matters of the Heart
Reply #14 - Jun 20th, 2010 at 2:39am
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Ginny had the pistol leveled at the alien’s head. She had been with SHADO for six years and although she had ordered the destruction of these creatures she had never pulled the trigger herself. That was about to change.

The alien lunged at her and she pulled the trigger. The shot hit the alien in the face tearing the head from the torso, the detached head and helmet landing twenty feet away.

Ginny tucked the gun in her belt and ran to where Matt lay still.

“Matt, Matt, don’t you dare die on me.”

He was unconscious from the drug that had been used on him and she had to get him back to the tent. That was easier said than done, he was the same height as Ed but he had a heavier build.

She managed to drag him back to the tent and propped him up next to the entrance. Ginny went inside and dug through her pack until she found a small box. It was an antidote that SHADO had developed to counteract the neurotoxin used by the aliens to paralyze their victims. The neurotoxin was wicked stuff, and if the antidote wasn’t administered quickly it wouldn’t matter. Either way Matt was going to be very sick for a while.

She prepped the syringe and administered the shot. In a few minutes he began to regain consciousness. He was still very lethargic from the drug and probably would not be able to stand.

“Virginia, are you alright?”

“Never mind me, how about you?”

“I feel like I’ve been hit by an eighteen wheeler.”

Virginia looked at him quizzically as she was unfamiliar with the reference. Matt saw her look and smiled.

“A tractor trailer truck or semi.”

“Oh, that must be one of those country music references.”

“Yeah, oh man I feel sick, what the hell was that stuff?”

“The aliens use a neurotoxin to paralyze their victims while harvesting their organs. I just gave you the antidote but you’re going to feel sick for a while.”

“Terrific I guess we will have to go through the embarrassment of being rescued. Jack will never let me live it down.”

“Come on Matt, let’s get you inside.”

She helped him get back inside the tent and get his wet gear off. He was starting to shiver due to the after effects of the alien drug. Matt noticed the pistol in her belt.

“I see you got acquainted with my friend.”

“Yeah, it does have quite a recoil but I like it.”

She placed the pistol where it could be reached by both of them and climbed into the sleeping bag next to him. His shivering was getting worse and Ginny knew she had to keep him warm to prevent him from going into shock.

“What time is it, Virginia?”

“It’s about three am.”

“It will be daylight in another couple of hours.

Not soon enough, she thought.


At the AMC hut Paul was not able to sleep. He got out of his bunk and went out to the common room. Jack’s wife Sandy was still at a table monitoring the radio. She looked up as he approached.

“Hello Paul, you should be asleep.”

“I know but all I’m doing is tossing and turning so I decided to get up early.”

“In that case I just made a pot of coffee, help yourself.”

“Thanks, don’t mind if I do.”

Paul poured himself a cup of black coffee and sat down at the table.

“Have you heard any word from them?”

Sandy looked up from her book, “Not since midnight, but I’m not worried about it. In fact I’d worry more if they call. They’re probably fast asleep.”

“Sandy, how long have you known Matt?”

“Jack and I, have known him for ten years, we met at the Hosstraders flea market. That’s a ham radio gathering. I wasn’t licensed at the time but I used to go anyway. Jack and Matt hit it off well and the rest is history. We finally got him interested in hiking a few years ago.”

“What kind of a man is he?”

Sandy knew why he was asking, Ginny was lucky to have such a good friend.

“You’re curious as to what kind of a man your friend is going to marry, aren’t you?”

“A little,” he admitted. “You see I’ve known Ginny for six years and I’ve never seen her jump into anything without thinking it through. For her to accept a proposal from a man that she has only known for a day is completely out of character for her.”

“Well Paul I can only tell you this, Virginia is one very lucky lady as her future husband is a man of integrity.”

“Thanks Sandy.”

“Anytime.”


The alien ship had been repaired by its occupants. The other two members had not returned from their assignment. The alien hierarchy and decision making process was beyond human comprehension. The decision was made for the remaining two members to go out in search of the two missing members. They left the ship and started through the woods towards the summit of the mountain.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 1:35am by Matt »  

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