This is the fifth part in our ongoing serial story about Melina and Daeva. Melina who lives on Earth in the 21st century is a would-be physicist wanting to develop time-travel. Daeva, from the 22nd century, lives on Gardotion- 56, a planet far from Earth. She is using time-travel to abduct children from the past and create an army so she and her brother Tinsley can eventually take over the Earth. Melina saw Daeva take a child, and wants to pursue Daeva into time. In the previous chapter, Daeva has taken President Winton’s daughter.
The room erupted in chaos the minute the words were spoken. President Winton turned white, then strode out the door and down the hall towards the stairs, her face set in a hard mask, one her aides knew all too well. The White House Chief of Staff raced along beside her, with a string of military officers close behind.
The President barely seemed to notice her retinue. She moved so fast she seemed to float up the stairs. “Tell my husband to meet me in our sitting room.”
“He’s already there with the older children.”
“Good. And I want to talk to Barbara.”
“But she’s been arrested. They took her to police headquarters hours ago.”
“Well get her un-arrested. And Sonia, try to keep the media out of this one.”
“It’s too late, Madame. The press is swarming all around the grounds. You’ll have to make a statement.”
“Not until I see my children and husband and get the story from Barbara herself.”
“I’ll schedule a press conference for this evening.”
“Fine.” The President of The United States of America swept out of sight, into her private domain.
Sonia sighed and began speaking into her watch, while two soldiers took up the guard on either side of the door.
Inside the room, the President’s two older children jumped up from the couch and ran to her. They buried their faces in her neck and cried while she held them. President Winton might be exhausted, from flying through the night after a long day of negotiations with the European Union, and torn up inside because of her youngest’s disappearance, but she had to act strong, even here. She raised her eyebrows at her husband, and he shook his equally upset and exhausted head at her. He’d been in Melborne, trying to calm tensions over mining in the Asteroid belt, when the call came about Camille.
An hour later, the intercom buzzed.
“Barbara Nelson here to see you, Madame President.”
“Show her in.”
Barbara, who’d been their nanny ever since their eldest was born, wouldn’t stop crying, but eventually they wrestled the story out of her. She’d been sleeping in her room when something woke her, and she’d heard an odd sound. Curious, she’d turned on the child monitors, but they weren’t working, so she’d run to Camille’s room, only to see a funny-looking ship, vaporize. She’d looked everywhere in the suite, but she couldn’t find Camille, so she’d called security. She didn’t recall at what time. She’d been too upset to look at a clock.
“Are you going to put me in prison?” Barbara asked.
“That’s up to the police,” President Winton said. “We must gather all of the facts of the situation. But you will not speak of this to anyone except those directly involved in the case, and that’s an order. For now, you will assume your regular duties with my son and remaining daughter. I will have someone from security with them at all times.”
After Barbara went to deal with the children, and the guards had been assigned, the President huddled with her advisers to map out a strategy for the coming days. The story about the futuristic ship was already filling the airwaves, so they couldn’t keep that a secret.
At the press conference she announced that the FBI and police were on it, and would soon apprehend the culprit, and return her baby. Of course, this was a lie; they had no idea where to begin.
She stepped out of the Green Room and signaled to her press secretary to take over, then went to her private quarters to cry herself to sleep. She’d let a few tears slip on camera, but she couldn’t appear too weak; as the first pregnant Presidential candidate, she’d learned to carefully balance the image of her as a mother and a woman with the image of herself as strong enough to run the country.
Melina turned abruptly from her desk as her mother burst into her bedroom.
“Mom, what are you doing?”
“You were very rude to Dr. Adler, young lady. He told me the way you slipped out of his office before he dismissed you.”
“I am not crazy. And I don’t need his help.”
Without asking permission, her mother sat on her bed and crossed her arms. “For such a smart kid, you’re pretty stupid, you know.”
Surprised by the statement, Melina’s mouth dropped open. “What do you mean? I saw a woman in a ship, Jeffrey screaming next to her, then they disappeared. You don’t believe me, but I really did see it.”
“Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t. That’s not the point.”
It was Melina’s turn to cross her arms and glare. “And what is the point, dearest mother?”
“Cut the sarcasm and listen for once.” Her mother sighed and unfolded her arms. “You need help. Assuming your story is true, you saw your charge abducted, and you yourself were arrested, yet you don’t seem to feel anything. No horror, no upset, nothing. Plus, and this is something you had better get into your stubborn mind, if you don’t see Dr. Adler, you’re going to end up with some court-appointed yahoo, who will be certain to find you either crazy enough to be locked up in a mental ward, or guilty. I don’t want you experiencing either of those places. Dr. Adler can help you. He’s the best, and he’s willing to give you another chance.”
Melina, who had stayed silent while her mother spoke, bit her lip, and allowed a few tears to escape. “It isn’t true that I don’t care. I keep running those moments through my brain. If only I had jumped off the couch and run when I heard the first noise, maybe I could have fought off that monster and saved Jeffrey. I feel awful that I didn’t get there in time.”
Karen stood. “So go see Dr. Adler, and tell him that. He has to see your human side. Heaven knows, I’ve seen little enough of it.”
“How can you say that? I babysat him for a whole year. I love him. You’ve seen me hold him. You’ve seen me with Eran. I am not cold, just because I’m bright. Damn it, Mom, how can you say I’m not human?” Melina began to cry, the despair she’d held in for the past few weeks coming out in great gulps. She turned back to her desk and put her face in her hands, muttering, “I’d do anything to save him.”
Karen put a hand on her back. “I knew those tears were in there somewhere,” she said softly.
Melina looked up at her, “That’s why I have to learn all of this math and physics. I’m going to design and build a time machine, and I’m going to find him, even if I go to prison or the nuthouse.”
“Dr. Adler has to see your emotions and document them. I want him to testify at your trial. Let him know how upset you are.”
With a sigh, Melina conceded the battle. “Okay, I’ll do it. Make me an appointment.”
“By the way, the FBI wants to do a lie-detector test on you next week.”
“Sure, anything.” Melina was actually relieved that they would get that over with. Perhaps once they saw she was telling the truth, they’d leave her alone.
Her mother gave her a half hug, then left the room, and Melina turned back to her computer, where she was reading a popular science book on the physics of warp drives and time-symmetry.
To be continued…