Domestic Bliss

Part 2

by Mara

Number two, your name means doodey! On with the show.

Dwayne sat with his hands folded in the waiting room outside General Thorton's office. Thorton was talking with someone, and had said that he would be with Dwayne in just a minute. Dwayne looked down at his uniform and frowned. Terrible thoughts filled his head. If it weren't for all the years of military training, Dwayne thought he might have broken down and been sobbing like a baby by now.

Jon. All Dwayne could see in his mind was the smiling young man, looking like he could take on the whole world. Jon, who held so much promise and skill. Most of all, he was a kind soul. The pit crew had nicknamed him 'Mama's boy'. He would do anything for anyone. He didn't deserve to go like this. Dwayne couldn't tear his mind off the fact that he should have been the one to die, not his apprentice. Dwayne should have been the one in the cockpit.

A soft hand rested on his shoulder as he sensed his wife sit down next to him. "How are you doing?" Her concern was evident in her dark brown eyes.

Dwayne took her hand, glad that she was with him. "Not so good." He gave her a weak grin in an attempt to make her feel better. "How are the kids?"

Ericka's shoulders slumped. "Dar and Mom are watching them. Rusty was crying when I left. I told him that everything would be all right. I wish I believed that that was true." She wrapped her arms around Dwayne. "Oh, honey." She couldn't think of anything more to say. Anything more would have sounded hollow.

"I know, I know," Dwayne said. They sat for several minutes, holding on to each other in silence.

The door to the office opened and Dwayne automatically stood at attention. Ericka, who was not required to observe such military decorum, stood as well, but placed her hands in her pockets.

A couple of military advisors walked out, followed by General Thorton. Thorton glanced at Dwayne. "At ease, son. I'm just gonna get this over with. At around 0500 hours Big Guy encountered a hostile alien vessel." Thorton paused, as if unwilling to voice his next words. "It apparently had more weaponry than we had thought. It destroyed the Big Guy. I'm sorry, Commander, but Lieutenant Foster didn't make it."

Dwayne felt as if he couldn't breathe. This was like Rusty all over again. He had lost another student, another friend. He heard a loud sniff from behind him. It was Ericka; she was not controlling the tears that ran down her face. Dwayne wished he could be crying along with her. But that sort of behavior was improper in the presence of his C.O.

"Commander, I know this is a shock, but we need you up in the BGY-12, now. Someone's got to stop these aliens." Thorton's eyes narrowed. "Someone has to pay them back for what they did to Jon. Are you up to it, Commander?"

Dwayne met Thorton's steady gaze. "Yes, sir." Fire burned behind his eyes as he began to refocus his energies. He couldn't bring Jon back, but he could keep this from happening to anyone else.

"Thank you, Commander. There will be a Commission briefing in ten minutes." Thorton walked down the hallway and out of sight.

As soon as Thorton was gone, Dwayne turned to give his wife a fierce hug. She held on to him as well, not wanting to say anything at the moment. After several minutes, Ericka pulled away and looked up at her husband. "You need to go to that meeting." She wiped away several tears on her nose.

Dwayne reached down and wiped another tear from her nose. "So do you, sweetheart." Dwayne gave her a thin smile and kissed her on the forehead.

"We will make them pay," Ericka said, almost in a mocking tone. Rusty had said those words once. He had died in much the same way as Jon.

Dwayne gave Ericka a gentle kiss on the lips. "I know, E. They'll be sorry they ever messed with our family."

On to Part 3!

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