Star Brink: The Crash

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Connecting the Dots

Chapter 20: Connecting the Dots

“Mommy, it’s happening again.” Felicity’s voice called out through the fog of dream land.

Fara groaned loud as her eyes slowly opened to realize she was in bed. The only light came from the moon and it shined through the window right onto her face. She could feel Felicity seated nearby, almost jumping up and down. The little child’s jumping worked at waking Fara up but annoyed her greatly. If it wasn’t for the scent of fear and concern growing in Felicity, then Fara wouldn’t have hesitated to “calm” her down. Instead, Fara remained lying in her bed, loudly mumbling as she tried to pull the covers back over her, but Felicity stopped her. The child doing everything she could to wake her up told Fara it was quite a serious matter, but her tiredness made it difficult for to do anything. Eventually, Fara relented and rolled over to face Felicity.

“What is happening little fluffball?” Fara groaned as she tried to rub the sleep from her eyes to see Felicity looking freaked out.

Felicity gave Fara a confused look. “Can you not hear it mom? Jack is going crazy again.”

It took a moment for Felicity’s words to sink in for Fara as she slowly woke up. As her eyes widened and the sleep left, she began to comprehend what her daughter was saying to her. It was not till she was nearly awake that she started listening intently and almost immediately could hear Jack screaming in his sleep. Her ears perked up as she could hear it plain as day and she couldn’t help but her eyes remembering the last time she heard those haunting sounds coming from Jack’s bedroom. She knew he was having violent nightmares and that Hunter as doing what he could to help.

“Oh galaxy, is Jack having another violent nightmare?” Fara loudly mumbled as she fully returned to the realm of the awake.

Fara softly growled as she rolled over, remembering the last time she had gotten up to check on Jack, only for Felicity to grab her shoulder. “But mom, this sounds worse than last time. I think Jack is going ballistic and Hunter already left to comfort him.”

Fara reluctantly opened her eyes and pushed the blankets aside. She looked over her shoulder to try and spot Hunter but quickly saw that Felicity was correct. Hunter was nowhere to be seen but by sniffing the air she was able to determine that he was indeed with Jack. At first, she just shrugged, believing that the man was in good hands, or more accurately paws with Hunter, so she rolled back over to fall asleep. However, Felicity seemed to have other plans as she jumped over Fara and positioned herself, so she was looking her mother in the eye.

Fara found herself staring into the eyes of an adorable and begging child who relentlessly gave her pleading eyes. To say it was annoying for the adult canine was an understatement as Felicity didn’t let up on her adorable gaze. It was nothing Fara hadn’t seen before, Felicity having given it to her many times in her short life to get what she wants. Normally, Fara would just be able to shrug it off but in that instance, she found herself unable to. It took a moment for her to realize it wasn’t just Felicity’s pleading gaze but also the sympathy she felt for Jack, as well as her curiosity. Both combined was enough to get Fara to eventually relent and mentally agree to check on Jack.

“Stay here Felicity, I will be right back.” Fara gently and playfully whispered as she bopped Felicity’s nose, causing her to giggle.

Felicity nodded and rolled over, pulling the blankets over her body as Fara slowly stood up. The strain she felt from the previous day of chasing the energetic troublesome duo around slowed her down quite a bit. By popping her back she was able to fully stand up. She took a moment to rub the sleep from her eyes before making any headway to Jack’s room. If she was going to do anything at that time of night Fara needed to be somewhat awake.

Once Fara was awake enough she reached for her cane but decided against it. Her leg had already healed quite a bit, despite the lack of proper care and still needing a lot of medical work. The pain she usually felt was starting to go away but still existed if she was too strenuous; it all came down to how careful she was. Though she couldn’t take more than a few steps before the pain set in Jack’s bedroom was right next door so she wouldn’t have to go far, especially if she leaned against the wall on the way.

Fara swallowed as she rested a hand against the nearest wall and began hobbling over to Jack’s room. She took her time, making sure to carefully step on her injured leg. Any pressure she put on her leg sent waves of pain through her body but nothing she wasn’t already used to. Hobbling helped quite a bit as she was able to make the distance experiencing hardly any pain. It took some time, more so than she wanted, to hobble over to Jack’s door but was not necessarily happy to arrive as she carefully rested against the wall.

Fara hesitated, reaching for the door handle because of what she heard going on inside. Throughout her entire hobble her ears were well attuned to the sounds Jack was making as if she was standing right beside his bed. She could hear not only every sound he made but also overhear Hunter attempting to calm him down. It was similar to the last time she walked in on Jack experiencing a nightmare only at greater intensity. Just hearing it made her want to turn around and head back to bed but she still pressed onward.

Despite her hesitance, Fara eventually pushed the door open, her curiosity getting the better of her. She only pushed the door open enough that she could see into the room but even then, she didn’t like what she saw. The full moon shining through the window allowed Fara to see what was going on and it sent shivers down her spine. The moon light perfectly illuminated Jack frantically tossing and turning in his bed with Hunter doing his best to calm him down. Seeing Jack freak out fully woke up Fara as her jaw dropped from the combination of his pained screams and flailing around as if he was fighting back against someone torturing him. She had seen her share of emotional and mental trauma patients but never one as violent as Jack’s current situation.

“Crap, it seems to be worse than usual.” Fara quietly whispered.

Fara could only worriedly watch as Jack thrashed around violently as Hunter positioned himself on his chest. Given he was flailing his arms around like a madman and rolling around like a log she was amazed Hunter was able to pin Jack down at all. Thanks to Jack’s size he was able to hold the large dog off for quite some time but eventually Hunter was able to lie on top of him and get to stop moving around. That didn’t stop him from freaking out as if he were fighting off an unknown assailant and it concerned Jack that he was going to accidently hurt Hunter. She almost jumped in when Jack swiped at Hunter’s head but that was the last swing, he threw so she let out a sigh of relief.

However, Hunter’s presence didn’t stop Jack’s nightmares as he still let out a multitude of varied pained screams. He was still experiencing the nightmares and it didn’t appear to be demising and his facial expressions and screams showed just how intense it was. Though it was dark Fara could clearly see the pained expressions his face demonstrated as if he were physically being tortured. The screams that came out of his mouth varied with multiple being silent, no sound escaping his mouth but his face telling a different story. Fara was thankful that his screams were not loud, so she didn’t have to worry about Felicity and Amanda getting disturbed. Though that didn’t stop the gradually building sympathy and concern that she felt watching Jack lie there and freak out. She found herself wanting to do something to help Jack but hesitated since she didn’t know the source of the nightmares, let alone how to help him. Without knowing why, he was experiencing nightmares she was certain getting involved would only make things worse. All she could do was stand there and watch as Hunter did his job and tried to calm Jack, which seemed to very gradually be working.

“This is why mom left dad.” A child’s voice exclaimed from behind Fara. “Or one of the reasons.”

Fara jumped at the suddenness of the voice and spun around half expecting to see an Xulon or a PDF agent behind her. She raised her fists with her claws extended to take out the threat only to gasp when she looked down and saw Amanda standing right behind her.

“Galaxy it Amanda, we need to put a bell or something on you.” Fara exclaimed once she regained her composure. “I thought you were in bed asleep.”

“I was, till dad’s screams work me up. I am a heavy sleeper but even I can’t sleep when dad has his nightmares.” Amanda casually shrugged. “I assume for you and Felicity it’s worse given you’re . . . uh, canine-like aliens.”

Fara reluctantly nodded. “Surprisingly observant but yeah, it is indeed worse for us as we can hear every sound he makes. Then again your father is so loud that I’m surprised the neighbors cannot hear it.”

Amanda let out a cute giggle. “That actually happened one night and ended with a neighbor coming over and asking if everything was alright, says they thought someone was dying.” Amanda’s smile suddenly disappeared, turning into a big frown. “Unfortunately, mom left dad not long after that.”

Fara looked down at Amanda and even though it was nearly pitch black she could see the depression as plain as day. She swore she could see a tear rolling down Amanda’s cheek and had the urge to wipe it away, but she resisted. There was no need to be a psychologist for she already knew the reason behind the tears, and it filled her with even more rage directed towards Mary. That woman had caused so much depression to not just Jack but also to Amanda that it was borderline criminal. The little girl wasn’t even her child and she let sympathetic towards her.

“Yeah, I got a few . . . choice words I would like to say to your mother.” Fara growled as she placed a comforting hand on Amanda’s shoulders. “But your mother is not here so let’s not focus on her, not when your father is having a freak out.”

“Agreed, good thing I have lots of experience erasing her from my mind.” Amanda replied with a shrug than turned slightly to investigate Jack’s bedroom where she could probably see her father experiencing his nightmares while Hunter laid on top of him. “That is not a pretty sight but one I have seen way too much.”

Fara sighed as she leaned against the wall to lessen the strain on her bad leg and crossed her arms under her chest. “Yeah, no child should have to see their parent in such a state. What could be causing your father to react in such a would be a good start to fixing the problem.”

“Oh, that is an easy one.” Amanda blurted out. “He has nightmares, bad ones.”

Fara glared daggers at Amanda unsure if she was serious or not. Apparently, the child inherited her father’s sarcasm, and for using it at bad times just like him. At least Amanda was adorable in her sarcasm while Jack had caused Fara to roll her eyes multiple times. Fara couldn’t be mad at Felicity and the urge to pat Amanda’s head was quite strong. Instead, she remained leaning against the wall while trying not to smirk.

Fara let out a loud huff. “Did you have to inherit your father’s worst quality?”

“Meh, I think it’s dad’s worst AND best quality, depending on the situation.” Amanda sarcastically replied though her expression was series.

“Hm, I guess I can agree with that, . . reluctantly. He has made me laugh a few times; I will not deny that. He just needs to dial it back at times.”

“Agreed, dad can be . . . a bit annoying at times but his heart is in the right place.” Amanda responded. “But right now, dad clearly has some issues.”

“I would say your father has more than a few issues.” Fara stated as she turned back to face Amanda. “I do not suppose you know the reason for the nightmares.”

The darkness did nothing to prevent Fara from seeing how sad her question made Amanda. Even if she couldn’t have seen it her nose would have alerted her to the change of emotions. The amount of sadness her sense of smell picked up from Amanda was staggering that Fara was surprised she didn’t break out crying. The tears rolling down her cheeks were as clear as day despite her facial expression trying to hide it.

Fara immediately felt sick having been the cause of such sadness Amanda felt. It tugged at every one of her heart strings to witness the usually cheerful girl become so depressed and knowing her question was the cause of it. She immediately wanted to embrace the young girl and apologize, even reaching out her arms to do so, but Amanda stopped her. Much to Fara’s surprise, Amanda gently grabbed her outstretched arms as she reached out to hold her. The large canine couldn’t figure out why the child would stop her till she saw Amanda confidentiality shake her head.

Amanda scent had changed once again, and it caught Fara off guard as they stared at each other. Apparently, a hug wasn’t necessary as Amanda appeared to be quite confident, she didn’t need one. It took Fara a moment to figure out why; that it had to do with living under her mother’s neglect. The young child was no stranger to sadness and depression, all at the hands of her mother who only seemed to care about herself. Clearly, Amanda had mastered ways at controlling her sadness, pushing it aside at an instant; not like she had a choice under Mary’s neglect. It was a sad fact that made Fara even angrier and more depressed than she already was and heavily influenced her desire to comfort her.

“Unfortunately, I do know the reason behind them.” Amanda eventually said, before Fara could muster the courage to speak, with some tears rolling down her cheeks. “I was there when dad explained to mom the reason behind them and she just ignored him. A week later dad caught her cheating and their marriage ended shortly after that.”

Fara shook her head. “Of course, she did, that is not surprising in the slightest, no offense.”

“None taken, I have no sympathy or love for my mother.” Amanda replied as casually as she could.

“That is not a good thing but from I have observed your mother deserves it.” Fara responded, looking at the floor for a moment before continuing. “On a different note, what did your dad say about his . . . nightmares?”

Amanda sighed loudly as she leaned against the wall. “You do know they’re not nightmares but memories, right? Ones that dad experiences at great intensity as if he were reliving them?”

Fara nodded. “Yeah, that is what I figured. No one experiences nightmares in a manner close to what I have witnessed from your father. I have just been curious as to what exactly he is reliving to make him react so violently but have not gotten much out of it from just observing him. All he does is scream random phrases while tossing and turning as if he was being tortured.”

“Have you tried asking him? You won’t get much from just listen or watching him.”

“No, I did not want to make it awkward. I figured he would just tell me when he was ready.”

Amanda chuckled. “You clearly don’t know my dad then.” Amanda giggled as Fara glared at her. “What, I am just stating fact?”

Fara sighed loudly. “Yeah, I suppose you got a point, your father is not the revealing type.”

“Indeed, you nearly have to force him to reveal anything, at least I have to.” Amanda replied as suddenly appeared serious. “By the way, you are spot on with the torture guess.”

Fara tilted her head confusedly as he looked down at Amanda. “What the Galaxy are you getting at?”

Amanda crossed her arms across her chest. “I mean, when you said dad thrashes around as if he is being tortured that is because the memories, he is reliving are from when he was tortured by the Palestinian military.”

Fara stared blankly at Jack as she tried to comprehend what Amanda was trying to say. She remembered Jack telling her that he had served in a war called the Palestine/India War as a combat pilot, but he did not go into what happened. From how he addressed the war, without revealing much of anything, Fara assumed that his nightmares were caused by something that happened during the war. Amanda’s response had her thinking that Jack was indeed tortured, and her expression and scent confirmed it.

“Are you saying your father was tortured in the war?” Fara blurted out.

Amanda nodded. “I have never talked to my dad about it, but I did overhear what he told mom and it sounded pretty horrifying.”

“Ah, then you do not have to continue. I would rather not have you remembering that night.”

Amanda furiously shook her head. “No, it is just one of many uncomfortable memories in my mind, well more like nearly unlimited at this point. Sharing one is nothing and compared to the others it is not bad.” Amanda smiled at Fara. “Plus, you are not going to find out from dad, so I don’t mind speaking about it to you.”

Fara smiled as she knew Amanda was like her father, there was no changing her mind. “Alright, you win, tell me why Jack freaks out.”

“I already did, I said he was tortured.”

Fara glared at Amanda. “Why do you have to be so sarcastic?”

“Blame genetics.” Amanda answered with a cocky smile.

“Oh, I do, but that is not the point I was trying to make.” Fara sternly replied while trying not to laugh. “I mean, why and how was he tortured?”

“Well, that is a long story and I do not have all the details. I only know what I overheard from dad and mom.” Amanda stated, pausing for a moment. “I’m assuming all dad told you was that he served in the war?”

Fara nodded. “Yeah, he did not say anything beyond that.”

“Hm, then I’m certain he never mentioned that he was quite a skilled pilot, downing many enemy aircraft.” Amanda spoke. “And certainly, never mentioned that he was shot down and captured by the Palestine army.”

Fara fought back a gasp. “No, he never even hinted at that. Being captured by an enemy is a pilot’s worst nightmare.”

“Unfortunately, it’s one my dad got to experience firsthand. He couldn’t have been captured by a worse enemy as the Palestinians had a reputation for torturing any American pilot, they got their hands on.” Amanda looked down at the floor. “From what I overheard dad was their prisoner for three months and they tortured him relentlessly the entire time. I cannot say exactly what they did but seeing how violent dad’s nightmare are, I don’t want to know.”

Fara stared blankly at Amanda with her jaw dropped and eyes wide open. She had her assumptions that whatever Jack had underwent was traumatizing but never considered it was be caused by torture. To a Zordon torture was something they always avoided, viewing anyone who used it as scum. For him to react so violently was a clear indication to just how intense the torture he went through was. The way he screamed and thrashed around spoke to Fara as if she were watching his experience firsthand and it terrified her to just imagine what he underwent. To her it was perfectly clear the Palestinians were beyond brutal, and it made her feel very sympathetic towards Jack.

“I-I had no idea.” Fara apologetically stated. “Jack . . . I honestly cannot help but feel sorry for him. Not just for the torturing part but also how little assistance and support he has received for it.” Fara took a deep breath. “If he was a Zordon he would have been helped in every way possible.”

Amanda gave Fara a confused but also adorable expression. “Huh, sounds like your government actually cares about assisting those who serve.”

Fara nearly busted laughing at Amanda’s comment. “Okay, there are two things to address in that statement. One, we Zordons are primarily a military based society who place a heavy emphasis on fighting our enemies. As a result, we honor those who served and make sure they are taken care of not just during their service but also after they serve.” Fara paused to take a breath. “Second, we Zordons do not have a government, or politics for that matter. Being a military based society, we are led by high ranking officers and that has proven quite effective. We also have no politics, viewing it as a system that divides people. It is why our society originally fell and as a result we avoid politics and government as much as possible, instead finding military cooperation to work better than anything else.”

“Huh, so you guys view politics as evil?” Amanda asked seriously with a hint of sarcasm.

Fara didn’t resist the laugh that came out of her muzzle. “Pretty much spot on there, Amanda.” Fara laughed for a few moments before continuing. “But on a serious note it is disturbing to think that your so-called government does not take proper care of its own soldiers.”

“Indeed, my dad is a good example of our soldiers and veterans are treated. All they did for him had prescribed him medication and say good luck. He tossed the prescription in the trash and never went back.”

“Uh, why would Jack throw away something that would help him?” Fara confusedly asked.

“Because it wouldn’t, the medication prescribed to our veterans, especially for those suffering from PTSD, is often quite ineffective but VERY addictive.” Amanda sighed loudly. “Dad says he knows multiple people who took the mediation only to end up hopelessly addicted. He has stated numerous times that the medications are basically just drugs that cause more problems while fixing nothing.”

“That is . . . infuriating.” Fara let a light growl escape her muzzle, as she slightly turned to investigate Jack’s bedroom. “Your father sounds like he has been . . . screwed repeatedly throughout his life.”

Amanda reluctantly nodded. “He has, the past few years have not been kind for dad . . . or me.”

Fara internally agreed. “Not a pleasant thought but you and your father do have my sympathy.” Fara tilted her head back against the wall. “If you two were Zordons you would very well taken care of, that I can assure you.”

“Huh, so there is hope.” Amanda responded, staring confidently at Fara. So Fara, you think you can help my dad?”

Fara blinked for a moment as she stared blankly at Amanda. “Uh, that is kind of a strange question to just blurt out.”

“I know, but my dad does need help, you cannot deny that.”

Fara reluctantly nodded, realizing that Amanda had possibly been steering their conversation in that direction. “Agreed, but I hate to admit it but there is not much I can do.” Fara saw Amanda hang her head, showing how saddened she was by her answer, causing her to quickly continue. “BUT I do know someone who can help.” Fara saw Amanda light up with excitement. “I do believe my . . . .as you humans say stepmother . . . can be of great help. She is a psychologist, specializing in combat trauma. If anyone can help your father, it is her.”

“But only if you and Felicity get off this planet, am I right?”

Fara reluctantly nodded. “Indeed, and I cannot confirm when that will be. But you have my word, I will do what I can to help your father.”

Amanda gave Fara a big smirk. “Thank you Fara, I know it is only a matter of time before you two are off this awful planet.”

“Uh, that is not something I would expect someone as young as you to say.” Fara replied, awkwardly rubbing the back of her head.

“Just stating facts from my experience with other humans, especially my mother. Honestly, I’m just glad you and I have made some headway.” Amanda casually responded as she let out a loud yawn and stretched. “Well, I’m heading back to bed so good night Fara.”

Amanda turned around and headed back to her bedroom as Fara hesitantly responded. “Alright I guess, you are definitely a unique child.” Fara could only speak quick enough to catch Amanda as she was about to turn the corner. “Okay, good night Amanda.”

Amanda appeared to be quick to end the conversation, no doubt desiring sleep, leaving Fara on her own by Jack’s door. Before Fara could blink Amanda was out of her sight and soon she heard the door to her bedroom quietly shut. The large canine just stood there dumbfounded for a moment at how quickly and subtle Amanda made her exit. It happened so quickly that Fara barely had time to process she was exiting by the time her bedroom door shut. Amanda was also so casual about it that it was hard to tell what she was doing. If there was a surefire at to confuse a person, particularly in the situation of an argument, Amanda’s exit was it.

Fara guessed it was probably something Amanda learned from dealing with her so-called mother. She had overheard some of the stories Amanda told Jack about living with Mary, which were all quite unsettling. If Mary was a Zordon she would’ve had her children taken away immediately. Still, with Amanda being so young, it often amazed Fara at how grown up and observant she was; there must be so bright future for her, assuming she got the opportunity to seize it.

Huh, strange kid but quite observant. Fara thought with a smirk. She gets it from Jack.

Fara peaked through the door at Jack with a new perspective thanks to Amanda. It certainly was not the first time she had a perspective change of the man. How she viewed him had changed significantly since they first met where she saw him as a helpful brute. It did not take long for her opinion of him to change to the point she currently saw him as a genuine good guy; one that she hesitated to admit she was developing a relationship with. If she was being honest with herself, at the moment she saw Jack as a true friend and it only took a few days for that to happen. Fara would go as far to say she trusted Jack fully; more so than some of members of her own species. He had earned that trust more than once and she was happy to give it.

Prior to speaking with Amanda on Jack’s nightmares Fara had seen Jack as without any real weakness. Though he was far from perfect he was certainly a good man and quite a strong one. Jack hadn’t really shown any weakness around her till she begins seeing react to his nightmares. Since she currently knew the reason for the nightmares, caused by the horrible things that had happened to him, she truly felt sympathy for him. There were dreadful things that haunted him and caused him horrible mental and emotional problems. Though he never showed them when he was awake the problems were still there, and she truly felt sorry for him. Watching Jack thrash around while Hunter did his best to calm him down was almost too much for her to observe. Even though she hadn’t known Jack for very long she had a longing to assist him in whatever way she could. After everything he had done for her and Felicity, he deserved at least some gratitude.

I am going to have to do something for the guy. Fara thought as she watched Jack sleep and she grabbed the door handle. The question is what.

Fara softly sighed as she silently closed Jack’s bedroom door. She hated the thought of leaving him alone to suffer by she had no idea what to do. As much as she hard to admit it she wished that her stepmother Lilia were with her to help. Being an outstanding psychologist Lilia would almost certainly know what to do while Fara was left clueless. But, since Fara was alone on the issue, Felicity and Amanda didn’t count being children, she couldn’t help but be worried. She was terrible when it came to dealing with other people’s problems, but she wasn’t about to let that hinder her with Jack. Fara was determined to help in some way, she just didn’t know how at the moment. As she headed back to her and Felicity’s bedroom, she was certain sleep would be absent to her the rest of the night. Trying to help Jack, or do anything for him to show her gratitude, was going to be at the forefront of her mind and she wouldn’t get a wink of sleep because of it.

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