No Place Like Home; Chapter 7: “Who knows?”
Rainbow Towers, Highway I55, crossing Rainbow Towers Way, Friday, June 7, 2024 at 2031 hrs:
“...do you feel strong enough to stand, Turbo?” Jean asks, while her eyes study Turbo’s every movement.
Turbo promptly positions his feet and with an upward thrust of his legs.
He easily returns to his natural standing position. Jean’s question seems to trigger a series of robotic-like but, swift motions from Turbo.
They exchange a curious glance.
Perhaps Turbo’s physical movements are evidence of lingering trigger responses of the bio-metrics program coursing through his body?
Naturally, they will have to remain attentive to Turbo’s health. They anticipate and will receive further instructions from the Bio-Metrics Division of The Space Academy soon.
In the meantime, Turbo reassuringly offers, “Yes ... surprisingly after riding the ‘mental trampoline’ my physical energy stores seem fully restored...”
Jean assumes she is still successfully managing to contain her personal concerns for Turbo’s well-being by masking her thoughts with a steady tone in her voice.
Turbo is all too aware of Jean’s feelings though. The two have been “life partners” for each other; first classmates, briefly lovers, then co-workers; an accumulation of nearly twenty years: gradually forging a friendship and lasting bond between them.
Jean pauses, while she relies on her training and experience as a specialized nurse with the Bio-Metrics Mars Program; she attempts to restore her nerves by swallowing some of her tension before saying, “Good, Turbo. I must admit the alarm bells were ringing soundly in my-...”
Her thoughts and words are momentarily interrupted by the buzzing sounds of the elevator emergency bell system.
Turbo, offers his trademark humour with the quip, “... I guess more folks want to ride the elevator and join our party’...”
Jean instinctively responds to the elevator alarm bell, carefully moving her left arm away from around Turbo’s waist while she reaches with her right arm and hand to push the “Resume” button and then the “7” on the elevator control panel. She finishes this task and returns her left arm to the supportive and loving embrace around Turbo’s waist. The elevator car resumes its route to the building floor location of Jean’s apartment rather than returning to the main floor first.
The personnel involved in the experiments of The Space Academy are sworn to secrecy and strict security protocols: Jean and Turbo’s “secret episode” will remain unknown to any tenants or casual passerby, they both reason, for the time being.
Her attentive gaze returns to Turbo’s face, and he responds to her look of concern with his reassuring, trademark toothy grin.
Now two familiar ring tones alert Turbo and Jean to his mobile phone as they make their way from the elevator to the door of Jean’s apartment. Turbo reaches into the breast pocket of his leather jacket to retrieve his mobile phone. Turbo glances at the notifications on the screen and announces, “The boss is calling ... and Molly too [Turbo’s wife].”
Jean reaches for her apartment keys and offers her suggestion with a practiced, professional demeanor; “...we expect Bio-metrics to call us... Captain, [referring to Turbo’s official military rank] we have to follow the established protocols and call-in the incident report to Larry [referring to Major Lewis Downy] at Bio-metrics Control...then her face relaxes, “... I’ll go ahead and return Molly’s call...she and your precious daughter, Boo-bear are patiently waiting for us to arrive for supper...”
Turbo’s stomach seems to be revived by the word, “supper,” agreeing with Jean’s suggestion and confirms its presence with a loud gurgle. Turbo notices her wide grin, and he declares, “...all systems performing optimally...!! Welcome home stomach..!!”
Jean releases what seems to be remaining of her anxiousness with each passing minute; revealing more teeth as her smile spreads across her face.
She inserts the key in the lock, turning the door handle of her apartment with a synchronized motion of her wrists. The two swiftly make their way into the safety and security of her rented dwelling. She quickly and firmly closes the door behind them.
Jean feels comfortable now, totally releasing her guard: all those anxious, pensive feelings inspired by Turbo’s medical dilemma in the elevator forty minutes ago.
Both are well aware of the commitment required of them, as are all the staff when they volunteered to support the Mars program.
Who knows where the next leg of their journey will take them..?
Both are genuinely aware “They” have all the answers to their questions.
In the meantime, Turbo and Jean stand in the foyer of Jean’s apartment and share another unblinking gaze.
Then each resumes their responsibilities by simultaneously pressing the keypads of their phones to dial the people who anticipate their responses at the moment.
To be continued...