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Chicago, February 2
Drafts of cold air blew freely through the window sill cracks of the open, flat apartment. Bleak sunshine tried in vain to warm Chicago. Snow flakes floated in the air like they'd never reach the ground. Wind gusts created eddies in the sea of individualized flakes beyond the apartment windows as Jarod looked out the window while munching on a slice of deep dish pizza and trying to decide where his next pretend would take place. The possibilities were endless. He could bust the illegal, organized drug operation in the Appalachian mountains. Miss Parker would love that. She mixed with rural people like oil mixed with water. There were too many missing children, corrupt politicians, and injustices to be reversed for the genius to stay idle for long.
What few belongings Jarod owned lay in his duffel bag on the folding cot nearby. He sighed as he bit into the stuffed, cheesy crust of his pepperoni and sausage pizza. It was time to be on the move again. The lone Pretender turned back to his laptop computer. A flashing icon caught Jarod's attention just as he started to close the lid; an incoming email. The man-child genius looked forward to his emails. Angelo was always likely to turn up information about Jarod's family or the Parkers. The Pretender grabbed another piece of pizza before opening his email. After decrypting it and deciphering, Jarod read:
Weather Balloon or Alien UFO?
By: David Barber March 3, 1965
Sunday afternoon, at proximately five o'clock, eyewitnesses reported seeing a blue sphere in the sky. One eyewitness, Cheryl Helms, of Las Vegas, reports that this unidentified object appeared out of nowhere just south of the now infamous Area 51. Military officials refuse to comment, except to say that they regularly release weather balloons to assist local weather bureaus. This is yet more evidence that Washington is stonewalling the public.
Along with the article was a picture attachment. Three figures took center stage in the black and white snap shot. The most significant one was a very young Mr. Parker. Beside him stood another man about the same age. The third figure; that of a humanoid creature, lay on display. Its limbs were spindly and the creature had an oversized head with large, dark eyes. Beneath the picture a caption read-Dr. Isaac Mentnor and Mr. Parker. Jarod enhanced the photo trying to pull more information about the location. Carefully, he examined every pixel of the old image. From the landscape Jarod determined it was taken in the American dessert. Suddenly a familiar figure appeared between the doctor and Mr. Parker. The face and stance reminded Jarod of his brother, Kyle.
“Major Charles!” Jarod exclaimed to the empty flat. “Dad, why where you in Nevada?” Quickly, he saved the enhanced photo and sent it to Angleo with a caption of his own and a warm thank-you. Now there was so much to be done; research, a new identity, travel arrangements, etc.. Jarod's hope as well as his curiosity were reignited.
NNL 1200 hrs February 5
“Hey, Olga, I get time off for good behavior Tuesday, want to see a movie or something, dinner maybe?” Frank swaggered into the lab. The red headed Russian didn't even look up from her microscope to say 'no'.
“Wow, Now I know how Lucy always felt when Ricky turned her down, only the accent's wrong.” Frank turned to walk out.
“The reason I am turning you down, Mr. Parker, is that I must be here to welcome a visiting doctor. Dr. Seaborg is set to arrive Tuesday evening, I'm surprised Ramsey hasn't told you already.” Olga adjusted her wire frame glasses, her expression as usual, set to exasperated.
“Great, just what this place needs, another Einstein.” Frank groused. He didn't care if they packed them in like sardines, Frank just wanted some of the lovely doctor's time.
“Einstein couldn't hold a candle for Dr. Jarod Seaborg to go by. You're just jealous.” Olga set Frank straight.
“Yeah, well I bet this Seaborg doesn't know how to win at beer-pong.” Frank bragged- before thinking.
“Probably not, thankfully.” The good doctor put her hands on her hips and raised an eyebrow. Frank let out a bottled sigh. Olga heard him muttering,
“Save a girl's life multiple times and she won't even go to the movies. Who needs and IQ of 240?” Olga shook her head as Frank left. The former CIA operative had been chasing her for two and a half years. He'd come close a time or two to catching her.
Frank walked back to the cafeteria. Unfortunately, he met Chief of Security, Nathan Ramsey, in the elevator. The unhappy security chief sized up the chrononaut. In a fair fight Ramsey could expect to have his ass handed to him. He knew he could only push the undisciplined army officer so far before he could expect retaliation.
“What are you doing roaming loose, Parker?” Ramsey's dark eyes narrowed suspiciously.
“You forgot to check my padlock last night, Ramsey.” Frank answered. Sometimes he just wanted to shove the little man into a prairie dog hole somewhere.
“This place would run a lot smoother if I could lock you up.” Ramsey started his usual rhetoric. Frank was glad to leave him on the elevator.
“Have fun, McCarthey.” Frank left Ramsey dumbfounded on the elevator. Gladly, the chrononaut ran into Craig Donovan, his best friend. The tall, good-looking, black, captain always had a smile on his face.
“What's got you glum, Frank?” Donovan asked as he chose his lunch from the buffet.
“Ah, Olga's got to babysit some scientist Tuesday.” Frank snatched a curly fry from Donovan's tray.
“That means me and you can knock back a few beers and catch the game at my place.” Typical Donovan, he saw the bright side.
“Yeah, I guess, but I'd rather be cuddled up to Olga during a horror movie than to look at your ugly mug.” The mischievous chrononaut stole another curly fry, but Donovan slapped his hand and told him to eat off his own tray.
“When are you going to give up on Olga, she's never going to give in.” Donovan asked as he pulled onions off of his burger.
“Probably never.” Frank grinned devilishly. His old friend just shook his head.