The Earthie with Stolen Valor
Three massive hands lowered down to the entrance of Earthie Embarkation. The three towering Betheran Warriors were seeing their Pilot Companions and fellow warrior brothers off on the beginning of their three day leave to the Earthie City of Bale. Pilot Companions Dave, Sam and Jeff looked up after they jumped off the giant hands at their colossal Commanders and saluted. “Have an eventful trip tiny ones,” said the Commanders to their Earthies.
While looking forward to their leave, the three Pilot Companions were sorry they would be separated even for three days from their Betherans.
A buzzer sounded and a sliding door opened up revealing the small transport that would take the three Betheran Warriors to the domed City of Bale. Hoisting their travel bags onto their shoulders, Sam, Jeff and Dave entered the circular craft.
After placing their bags into the overhead compartments, a steward came and buckled them in. Dave, a tall, sturdy built twenty one year old commented, “It will be refreshing to see our families and old friends.” The other two agreed.
The entire travel cabin began to vibrate as the transport’s power pods began to energize. Within moments the craft was lifting up.
Within a small apartment in the center of Bale, Jason was stepping out of his refresher chamber. Wrapping a towel around himself, Jason thought, “I feel like I could go for a large meal.” Jason went over to his dresser. On top were all sorts of Pilot Companion honors and award medals. They were all replicas he had secretly made at work.
All over his bedroom was Betheran Warriors memorabilia. He had photos, recruiting posters. Jason even had photos of himself taken at the Betheran Warriors Academy when he had gone on an Open Academy Tour quarter plus cycles. (three years in Earthie measure of time)
Going over to his closet, Jason pulled out part of a Pilot Companion uniform he had absconded with while at the Academy. Jason smiled as he remembered how clever he was in attaining that piece of valuable clothing. Putting on a pair of regular black pants, Jason next put on the top portion of the uniform.
Returning to his dresser, Jason put on six medals. He also took a piece of colored material and wrapped it around his neck.
Taking a last look at himself in the mirror, Jason left his apartment and headed down the street. He relished when citizens smiled at him and others who made a few salutes. He overheard one citizen say to his companion, “Look at those medals.”
A couple with one small child approached Jason. “Excuse me sir,” said the young father. “My boy just admires you Betheran Warriors. Could you please autography his model Robotic Fighter for him.”
“I would be happy to,” responded Jason taking a pen from out of his pants pocket. Speaking to the little boy, Jason asked, “What’s your name?”
Handing Jason the model, the boy answered, “Tim James.”
“To Tim James from Jason, your Betheran Warrior friend,” spoke Jason as he wrote on the side of the model. “Here you go my young friend,” said Jason handing the model back to the small boy who was all smiles. The parents thanked Jason.
Continuing down the street, Jason saw a restaurant that he liked. Since it was getting near noontime, Jason was getting really hungry. He entered the eatery. At once he noticed the patrons looking up at him from their tables giving him admiring looks. There was a small line of people waiting to be seated. Everyone in line suggested to the maître-d the Betheran Warrior should be seated first. “Oh please, I don’t mind waiting,” remarked Jason acting like he didn’t want to be made a fuss over. The customers insisted. The maître-d then lead Jason to a single table.
A small family was watching Jason being seated. The mother commented, “I wonder if we should invite him to dine with us. It’s a shame he has to eat all by himself.”
“I agree,” replied the father. “I think he should join us.” Getting up from the table, the father walked over to Jason. “My family and I would like it very much if you would join us.”
Jason pretended to be shocked and told the father, “I couldn’t intrude.”
It’s not an intrusion. “It’s our privilege.”
Jason got up and followed the father back to his table. Making a slight bow and introducing himself, Jason sat down next to the father. The family’s twelve year old daughter asked Jason, “How come your uniform isn’t complete?”
“Well, that’s because I am no longer a Betheran Warrior. So I can’t wear the complete uniform. I just wear the top portion out of respect to the others. You see we are like one big family.”
The mother commented, “My, those are such impressive medals.”
Jason then started to regale the family with stories about his exploits as a Betheran Warrior.
Entering the crowded restaurant was Dave, Sam and Jeff. Sam walking up to the maître-d asked, “Do you have room for three more?”
“I think I can find space for our brave warriors.” As the maître-d was leading them to a table, he mentioned, “We are pleased to be giving our services to another Betheran Warrior.”
Dave noticed Jason as they passed the table. He took a keen interest at his arms. The three Betheran Warriors were seated at a table not far from where Jason was.
“Hey, I see other Betheran Warriors,” said the father interrupting Jason. “You know them? You want to go over to them?” questioned the father.
Jason becoming slightly nervous replied, “They don’t look familiar; probably they are recent recruits.”
Leaning in towards the others, Dave told them, “I looked at that other Betheran Warrior’s arms. There were no connecting points.” Sam looked over and noticed the strange combination of clothing the warrior was wearing. Jeff also spotted the medals.
“You think we should go over and investigate?” questioned Jeff. “Why would he be wearing medals on standard dress? And yeah, he has no connecting points on his arms.”
Dave suggested, “We can after he leaves. Until them we can keep an eye on him.”
Noticing their occasional glances, Jason was becoming more and more uncomfortable. He quickly went through his food. Finishing, Jason told the family, “I thank you very much but I have to go.”
“Hey, hey that guy is starting to leave,” said Sam to the others.
Frowning, Dave suddenly signaled for the maître-d. “What’s up?” inquired Jeff.
“I want to keep our table but I want to question that guy about a few things.”
When the maître-d came over to the table, Dave told him as he pointed to Jason, “We have to leave for a few minutes to talk to our friend there. Can you hold our table?” The maître-d said he would.
Jason felt his blood running to his head as he was followed out of the restaurant by the three Betheran Warriors.
“Hey brother!” shouted Dave. “Wait up!” Reaching out, Dave placed a big hand on Jason’s shoulder. Jason stopped and turned around.
Flicking several medals with a finger, Jeff said, “That’s quite an array of medals.” Jason didn’t say a word.
Placing a hand behind Jason’s head, Dave told him, “Brother, why so silent. We’re all warrior brothers here.” Dave proceeded to give Jason a tap on the side of the face with his hand.
“I see you have two Squadron Commendations,” said Sam. “You know you can only get one.”
Gazing down at his medals, Jason answered, “I received two since I went out on two missions as Squadron Leader with two different Commanders.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” replied Sam. “We’re assigned to only one Betheran Commander.”
Becoming fidgety, Jason said, “My Betheran Commander was sick.”
“If that was the case an alternative crew would be called into deployment,” answered Sam narrowing his eyes at Jason.
Giving Jason a slight slap to the side of the face, Dave told Jason, “Only Betheran Commanders can be Squadron Leaders. What are you trying to tell us brother?” Jason stood silent.
“Your medals are on the wrong side of your uniform,” Jeff pointed out.
Smiling nervously, Jason said, “You got me there brother.”
Jeff also told Jason, “We never wear our medals out in public. We are a team fighting for one goal, the survival of Bethera. We never try to out shine our fellow warrior brothers. Only on special ceremonies like the funeral of a fallen Betheran Warrior we may wear them; and only with our dress uniform which you are not wearing.”
Jason started to back away from the three Betheran Warriors. Dave quickly reached out and grabbed Jason by his two arms. “Where is your connecting points brother?” asked Dave after which he slapped Jason across the face again.
“I, I had them removed.”
Slapping Jason harder across the face, Dave told him, “They can’t be removed.” Dave was silent for a moment then continued in anger. “We have had Betheran friends and Earthies killed and maimed wearing that uniform to protect people like you. And you dare to be strutting around pretending to be one of us.” Dave once more slapped Jason across the face. Jeff came and pulled Dave away from Jason.
“Stop hitting me.”
“I’m not hitting you. Those are just love taps. If I hit you, you would really know it. Now get out of here you pile of crap and stop pretending to be a Betheran Warrior!” exclaimed Dave with clenched teeth.
“Wait!” Sam then asked, “What is your name?”
“Jason. Jason Bartlett.”
“We’re going to tell Earthie Affairs about you Mr. Bartlett. So I would suggest you do stop pretending to be a warrior. Now get out of here. And make it pronto.”
Jason turned and hurried away.
“You think he’ll stop?” questioned Dave.
Crossing his arms, Jeff responded, “If he doesn’t, it will be time he met a Betheran.”
End of Part One.