Chapter 22: Painful Admissions
“Good night little one.” Fara whispered as she kissed Felicity on the forehead.
Seated at the edge of the bed, Fara had the perfect view of Felicity as she lied there barely moving. The young child looked half asleep already with one eye closed and the other half open and her tongue hanging out of her mouth. Covered almost completely in blankets, except for her head and arms, there wasn’t much of her to see. Since the sun had just finished setting it was just dark enough to make it a little difficult for her to see but not enough to where she couldn’t clearly observe her daughter. She looked almost like Hunter when he was asleep on his back. It was almost cute and kind of reminded Fara of what Daniel used to tell her of how she slept. But Felicity was not asleep, at least not fully yet, which was evident by her rolling over towards Fara as she drooled a little. It was amusing for Fara to watch her daughter struggle to remain in the waking world long enough to respond.
Felicity looked up from the blankets and gave her mother an adorable yawn. “Good night mom.”
Felicity didn’t say another word as she rolled over and pulled the blankets with her. She rolled herself up like a wrap, facing the opposite direction of Fara, and appeared to fall asleep almost immediately. It took just a few moments for Fara to hear Felicity deep breathing and tired moaning, indicating she was asleep. She couldn’t help but amazed, and jealous, at the sight of her daughter falling asleep so quickly and easily; she didn’t believe such a thing was possible till she saw it with her own eyes. Even though she knew it was only possible due to how much Felicity and Amanda played together that afternoon, which was nonstop chasing each other around the yard, it still amazed her that such a thing was possible. She wanted to lie down next to her, but she wasn’t quite tired enough for that yet after having not done much beyond sit around and watch TV; not like she could do much more than that in her current condition.
As Fara stood up she took a moment to admire how cute Felicity looked sound asleep, bundled up like the human food Jack called a burrito. Despite the house having a reliable heating system it was still cold causing her to bundle up even more than usual. It was a typical behavior for Felicity to wrap herself up in sheets when trying to sleep, something she inherited from Fara, and it was quite adorable to witness. The young pup had so many blankets wrapped around that she probably would have trouble moving, but she rarely moved when she slept so that wasn’t much of an issue. Thanks to the darkness all Fara could really see was Felicity’s ears sticking out and possibly the top of her head, but it was still enough for her to find it cute.
Aw, she is so precious . . . till she gets older. Fara thought as she made her way out of the room and closed the door silently behind her. Good thing the kids wore each other out today, it will make getting some sleep so much easier.
Fara smiled as she turned and leaned against the wall for a moment to think how she could use that to her advantage. Getting Felicity tired out enough to sleep had always been a difficult task, often nearly impossible. Only Daniel had been able to calm Felicity down to sleep and that changed after his death. However, Fara was observant enough to see that there was another who recently managed to achieve the impossible, Amanda. Ever since Mary had dropped off Amanda it had been obvious that her presence had a profound effect on Felicity. The two of them played together nonstop, resulting in them both being incredibly tired when it was bedtime. Fara was certain Jack had noticed it too with both kids and was just as thankful as her. It made putting them to bed so much easier and the two adults had agreed that it would be in both of their best interest to let the kids wear each other out, as long as one of them was supervising when the kids played together. Unfortunately, when the Zordon rescue team finally showed up that idea would come to an abrupt end; unless she managed to convince them to let Jack and Amanda come with them. That thought alone was enough to make Fara entertain the idea despite knowing that doing so would be quite a difficult feat to achieve.
“Good night Amanda.” Fara heard Jack call out from the nearby bedroom, causing her ears to perk up.
Fara grinned slightly as her ears turned to listen to Jack as he finished putting Amanda to bed. She was certain Jack was having just an easy time putting his daughter to bed as she did with Felicity. Though Amanda was older, and had just as much energy as Felicity, she was just as tired if not more so. That evening, Amanda was struggling to move around and stay awake just as much as Felicity was. The two of them were practically lying on each that evening on the couch after supper, making Jack have to assist them to bed early. She was thankful he carried Felicity to their bed after doing the same to Amanda who he was just finishing getting settled into bed. From what Fara could hear Amanda muttered back something that was incomprehensible before drifting off to sleep almost as soon as Felicity. Overhearing almost a play by play of what she experienced with Felicity nearly made her laugh, but she remained quiet to observe, hoping Jack was unaware of her presence.
Fara remained where and was, listening carefully as Jack carefully exited the bedroom and closed the door silently behind him. Due to not being injured he had an easier time then her moving silently. He was almost completely silent to the point that even her ears could barely pick up his movement. Once he was in the clear that changed and she was able to hear him as his footsteps changed but even then, she had trouble hearing him. She guessed that all his experience in the woods was the reason why his footsteps made almost no sound. Jack made his way to the couch, which surprised her as he usually went straight to the recliner. What further added to her confusion was instead of turning on the TV he just sat there, deeply breathing for a few moments. The unusual behavior made Fara curious, but she held it back and instead contemplated heading into her bedroom to try and get some sleep.
“Hey Fara!” Fara heard Jack softly call her from the living room, causing her to turn.
From the hallway Fara had a very limited view of Jack but enough to see that he was seated on the couch. She leaned over to see him looking directly at her with an unusual stern expression. At first, she was a bit uneasy to see it as he just sat there barely moving a muscle, making her think he was just messing with her. But after a few moments of the two of them locked eyes she eventually realized there was something he wanted. Since his expression seemed more serious than usual, she knew something was up, propelling her to step into the living room. His expression didn’t change even when she was nearly to him, giving Fara a sense of unease but her curiosity kept her near him.
Jack spot softly but with a stern tone in his voice as Fara’s ears picked up on something that gave off the impression of deep sadness and anxiety. “I think it’s time we talk about a serious matter.”
Fara tilted her head in confusion as Jack didn’t often bring up anything even remotely serious as he patted the spot on the couch beside him. He preferred to keep lighthearted not just for the kids’ sake but so the two of them got along. The only time things got even partly serious was when they were certain the kids were out of hearing range or asleep; since both moments were rare that prevented them from speaking just to each other. Still, they had been able to find a few moments to talk just the two of them and Fara hated to admit it, but she cherished those moments for reasons that were unknown to her. That moment was one Fara was glad to have with Jack, so she nodded and hobbled a short distance to the couch near Jack. She found herself so close to him their shoulders were almost brushing against each other.
As Fara sat down, softly groaning from her sore muscles after a day of chasing the kids, she noticed something different about Jack. She had to squint through the darkness to confirm her earlier suspicions. The way he had spoken to her was a weird tone she had rarely heard from Jack. Though it sounded similar to what she heard when he spoke of Mary what she was currently hearing was a on a completely different level. Despite him trying to hide it, as usual, he might as well be saying how he felt out loud. She could tell he was not only sad but also deeply nervous about something. His scent confirmed her suspicions was all she needed was a quick sniff and she almost became as nervous as he was. The way he sat there fidgeting and breathing heavily made her feel uncomfortable, giving her the feeling what he was about to say was something that would change things between them. That is, assuming he could get it out as it was perfectly clear to her Jack was having trouble just getting the words out. The moment only got more tense as Jack sat there to the point even Fara was getting nervous and wanted whatever he had to say out in the open.
“So, what is it you wanted to talk about, Jack?” Fara stated, trying to get the moment going.
Fara watched as Jack nervously shifted beside her. “Uh, well, I . . .”
Fara softly slapped Jack on the back of the head. “Just get it out already or the next hit will be a fist.”
“Why do you have to be so touchy?” Jack sarcastically stated. “I’m just not sure how to say what I want to address . . . and the fact that you will probably kill me once it’s out in the open.”
Fara shook her head with a smile. “We will see ONCE you get on with it. Just go ahead say it and I promise I will not kill you.”
“Yeah, the emphasize is on kill.” Jack sarcastically replied before taking a deep breath to steady his nerves. “You see Fara, what I want to bring up has to do with Daniel . . .”
Fara immediately almost ditched the promise of not killing Jack on the spot upon hearing him mention Daniel as she angrily growled at him. “What do you know about my life mate?”
“Well, right now, that my suspicions were correct, I suspected you were his life mate and Felicity his daughter for a couple of days.” Jack replied as he leaned back in the seat. “I know quite a bit about him, including how he died.”
Fara bared her teeth at Jack and shouted. “How in the galaxy do you know that?”
Much to Fara’s surprise Jack barely fletched, as if he was expecting her response. “Because I was there, Fara. I was the lead pilot of the squadron that intercepted him.”
Fara’s jaw dropped as she stared blankly at Jack while rage and confusion flooded her mind. She remembered how he spoke of his time while serving in the Planetary Defense Force but he was rather vague on what he did during that time. He had stated most of his interactions were against the (look up alien race name) but his was really limited against her own people. She never imagined that only time he had interacted with the Zordons involved her life mate, that is if he was telling the truth. From what she could tell he was and the rage that it caused her no small amount of rage, making her want to murder Jack painfully on the spot.
“You had better start talking really fast before I start clawing your skin off.” Fara angrily exclaimed. “I thought you said that you had little experience interacting with my people.”
“I’ve only had one interaction with your people during my time with the PDF and unfortunately it happened to involve your life mate. BUT it did not happen at all like you think.” Jack quickly responded, somehow keeping calm despite Fara’s death glare. “I’ll start at the beginning. The incident started with the local radar picking up Daniel’s ship and my squadron was sent to investigate. We were in the air quickly and had no issue finding him but as we got closer, I noticed there was an issue with his ship as it seemed to be heavily damaged. So, instead of opening fire as any other PDF pilot would have done, I slowly approached and tried to assess the situation. That is when Daniel contacted me.”
“Wait, Daniel contacted you?” Fara interrupted, she had never heard of a Zordon pilot purposedly contacting humans.
“Yes, he explained that he was simply trying to repair the damages to his ship when we encountered him. All he wanted was to make repairs and leave as soon as possible.” Jack boldly turned to Fara and spoke. “I was going to let him, even going as far as to issue an order to the other pilots to hang back and not engage.”
Fara looked questionably at Jack for a moment as she didn’t believe him at first till, she took a real, deep look into his eyes and saw that he was being genuine; a quick sniffed of his scent also confirmed that he was telling the truth. “Really, you were trying to assist Daniel? Such a thing has never been heard of and most Zordons would never believe it. Galaxy, even I am having a hard time believing it and would not if I had not spent any time around you.” Fara shifted her position before speaking again. “But if you did not shoot Daniel down than who did? I am guessing your squadron did not do it as I am certain they actually listen to you.”
Jack nodded. “They did, though every one of the pilots was confused they all obeyed and hung back. High Command certainly did not like that and there were more than a few threats.” Jack stopped as Fara smirked. “But, unknown to us, Daniel was flying right towards an artillery position that opened fire and shot him down. They almost took me down with him, at least one shell scratched my fighter.”
Fara nearly gasped. “What, that is it?”
“Pretty much, apparently, my refusal to obey orders pissed off the Commanders so much that they were willing to kill me just to take down Daniel.” Jack answered. “Before I could do anything to help Daniel, I witnessed him crashing down to the ground. Once he crashed there was nothing I could do as a ground team was waiting to recover him.” Fara could swear she saw a tear rolling down his cheek. “By the time I was in the position to do anything, and even then, there wasn’t much I could do, he was already in the PDF custody.”
Fara sat there, starring at Jack, as she tries to process what Jack had just told her. She knew Jack was hiding something from her, but she never imagined it would be something anywhere near what Jack had just told her. Since he flew with the PDF, she was certain he had done something against her people at some point, even though most of his assignments were against the (look up alien race name). She had always been a bit suspicious and cautious of Jack, despite having earned her respect more than once. He clearly knew something about them but never revealed it till that moment. The way he looked at her and Felicity made it evident, as if he was familiar with them despite having never met them till recently. The fact that he waited so long to reveal it only added fuel to her rage.
The confusion in Fara’s mind was almost overwhelming as she tried to comprehend what Jack had just told her. The fact that he was there when her mate was shot down was enough to fill her with rage. She wanted to lunge at Jack and strangle him on the spot just for that. Combine that with the knowledge that he could have saved her mate but chickened out, despite his family being threatened, and the rage that boiled within her as unlike anything she had ever felt since learning Daniel had been killed by humans. For a few cycles she had so wondered what exactly happened to Daniel, she desired closure at least, and she finally had it. That knowledge did help but also left her confused over what she had just heard, unclear over who to direct her at. Though Jack was not there and played no role in the incident, having not fire a single shot, she was still angry at him. She managed to restrain herself for the time being by taking several deep breaths and remembering the kids were sound asleep.
Jack just gazed back at Fara, seemingly awaiting her response. Though she was filled was rage and confusion it was clear how he felt about the situation. He had shed more than a few tears and been emotional multiple times telling the story to her, which led Fara to believe he was just as sad about the experience as she was. Looking into his eyes at that moment she could tell he was genuinely sorry not just for what he did but also for not telling her. To Fara he appeared to deeply regret him actions more than just about any of his other mistakes, which were plentiful. And that included his marriage to Mary. He was not hiding his emotions in the slightest, being an emotional wreck at the moment, allowing her to see just how devastating the incident was for him. If it wasn’t for the rage, she felt than Fara would have felt sorry for him. Instead, she had way too many questions that needed to be answered and a boiling anger that needed to be dealt with.
“Why . . . why didn’t you tell me this earlier?” Fara finally spoke.
Jack slowly looked up from the floor, wiped a tear from his eyes, looked her confidently in the eyes, and replied calmly. “Because I wasn’t certain of the connection till recently. I had my suspicions but wanted to be certain of it before mentioning anything.” Jack let out a loud huff. “That’s not a mistake that would go over smoothly.”
Fara glared intense daggers at Jack but reluctantly agreed. “True, that kind of mistake would probably get you killed. But that does not fully explain why you waited so long? You had to be sitting on that information for some time.”
“I did, I’ve known for a couple days. But I didn’t tell you because . . .” Jack took a deep breath before continuing. “I was worried how you would respond . . . AND it has always been my deepest regrets.” Jack looked back down at the floor, away from Fara’s murderous gaze. “I have wondered continuously what would happen ever since that day if I ever came across Daniel’s loved ones but believed it would never happen. I am glad it finally happened, and I will settle for the closure it provides but I am certain that will provide no solace for you.” Jack gripped his hands as he paused for a moment. “I wish I had told you sooner and I deeply apologize for my mistake. Once again my cowardice got in the way and . . . complicated things.”
“I think you may need to adjust your definition of complicated.” Fara growled loudly. “You do realize how complicated this makes things between us right?”
Jack nodded. “Of course, I do, the fact that you haven’t killed me is quite surprising.”
“I would not kill you for you had no hand in Daniel’s death and do not deserve death.”
Jack looked at Fara a bit confused. “But I was there and failed to save him. I figured that would at least warrant a beating.”
“I am still debating on that AND the fact that you waited so long to tell me.” Fara replied as she tightly gripped her cane. “Even though I cannot blame you for waiting so long to tell me, I know I can be quite scary at times.”
Jack shrugged. “From time to time, but usually you are easy to get along with.” Jack sighed loudly. “Still, that doesn’t excuse my actions but all I can really do is apologize.”
“That is why I am debating what to do with you.” Fara stated, pausing a few moments to take some deep breaths and think before continuing. “Tell me, do you at least know who the agent was that killed my mate, or who shot him down?” Fara growled loudly that if the kids were not sound asleep it probably have woken them up.
Jack gripped his hands to stop fidgeting before replying. “I know who killed him, well the so-called researchers that experimented on him. There were two of them but their names unimportant.”
Fara couldn’t contain her rage as he grabbed Jack’s collar and pulled him close to her face. “You had better explain right now before I rip your face off.”
Jack looked back at Fara unphased and immediately replied. “They are both dead, neither of which died peacefully.”
Fara let go of Jack’s collar but still spoke angrily. “How do you know?”
“Because, shortly after Daniel died the facility was attacked by (look up alien race name). I don’t know the reasons, but I was there, and it was brutal.”
Fara’s curiosity got the better of her, causing her to ask. “The (look up alien race name) can be brutal when they attack so how bad was it?”
“Well, the buildings were reduced to rubble, and I was one of only five survivors out of over a hundred personnel.”
“Yeah, that sounds about right.”
Jack nodded. “Yeah, one of the researches died during the initial bombardment, crushed to death by a collapsed column. The other was severely injured but managed to crawl away . . . somewhat?”
Fara gave Jack a confused look. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“That I made sure he didn’t survive. I absolutely hated the guy for everything he had done, not just to Daniel but to multiple both aliens.” Jack looked at Fara sternly. “I was not about to let him live. Not even a week later I left the PDF.”
“You made two food choices back-to-back.” Fara replied as she leaned back. “But what about the individual who shot my mate down?”
Jack sighed loudly as he shook his head. “I wish I had an answer for that but unfortunately I don’t have a clue. All I know for certain is that whoever fired the shot that downed your mate was on the ground.” Jack shrugged. “As I said earlier, I wasn’t the only pilot in the air none of the others were within range to take the shot and I definitely didn’t. He did fly straight into a ground unit, and they were the ones who shot him down.”
Fara scratched her chin as she thought for a few moments before replying. “Are you saying my mate was taken down by a ground cannon?”
“Yes, but we refer to them as anti-air guns. Unfortunately, given there were dozens of personnel operating those guns, and they were all firing wildly it is impossible for me to say who scored the hit.” Jack gave Fara an apologetic look. “If it makes you feel any better most of them died when the (look up alien race name) attacked.”
Fara hung her head and responded. “It does somewhat but not enough to make me feel much better. Still, I am glad to at least know they are dead.”
“I figured that would be the case.” Jack gave Fara a nod as he leaned forward, telling Fara he was about to say something serious. “I know I am not said it yet, so I am going to say it now, get it out in the open.” Jack took a deep breath and continued. “I’m sorry . . . for everything Fara.”
Fara stared blankly at Jack unsure how to feel with all her emotions running rampant at the moment. After everything Jack had stated her emotions were overwhelming her to the point she could barely think. There was so much going on in her head that Fara could barely move, let alone speak. All she could do was look at Jack and utter sounds that could barely be called grunts. Though she could tell that Jack was genuinely sorry and truly regretted his mistake, as if there was any doubt, he could feel anything but remorse, that didn’t help how she felt finding out the truth. Though she finally had closure that didn’t help the anger she felt that was mostly directed at Jack for waiting so long to tell her, and that was the tip of the iceberg for all the emotions swirling around in her. Though it did seem to help that Jack had finally told her it left a big question as to what they were going to do about it. Things certainly were not going to be the same between them with it being out in the open but given their situation Fara did not want things to get complicated though the answer was not clear at the moment for her.
Fara remained staring at Jack, who stared right back, neither of them speaking a word, or even moving, for what seemed like forever. Jack showed no change in emotion other than the occasional tear that rolled down his cheeks. His remorse and revert didn’t change in the slightest as he just stared back at her, fidgeting while he awaited her to make a move. Unfortunately, her expression and movement didn’t change as all she did was sit there, periodically looking at the floor at glance at something at the wall. Time seemed to stand still as the two of them just sat there and the tension built as they waited for someone to make a move. However, after a significant amount of time it seemed to become evident to him that she was not in the mental state to do anything other than groan and moan. She was able to see Jack getting anxious and fidget even more as time went on as he seemed to realize the mental state and shock, she was in prevented her from doing anything.
After an unknown amount of time Jack finally spoke up. “I think I’ll leave you alone to think till you’re ready to talk again . . . maybe let you hit me a few times.”
Fara didn’t say a word, didn’t even utter anything that could considered a reply as she looked down at the floor and tried to comprehend what to do with the information Jack had presented her. She didn’t know what to do but one thing was for certain, she couldn’t just ignore it. While Jack had done so much for her and Felicity the fact that he was there when he mate was killed couldn’t be ignored. Having him standing so close to her certainly didn’t help but his suggestion to leave her alone certainly did. At least he was being sympathetic and giving her space while all she could do was sit there like a statue.
“Alright, good night Fara and take some time to think.” Jack replied as he stood up and walked away.
Fara could only look down at the floor as Jack slowly walked away from her to the back door; assuredly to sleep outside. After the awkwardness and reveal they just had it was certainly a good idea for him to be as far away from her as possible. He didn’t seem to be in any kind of hurry and Fara didn’t even lift her head as he left her alone to think. No doubt he was going to be uncomfortable sleeping on the glider, but she was aware tent he and slept on worse sleeping conditions; and so, had she. Though she did use her ears to listen for him to exit the house she wasn’t in the current mental state to do much beyond that anyway as she heard her slide open the sliding door, step outside, and close the door. Fara knew she wasn’t going to get any sleep that night, after what Jack had just told her that was going to be impossible. There was so much she wanted to do, most of it involved giving Jack a few solid hits upside the head, but she was aware that it would probably be in everyone’s best interest if she approached the situation carefully.
“Huh, maybe I will take him up on his offer to hit him.” Fara muttered as she leaned back in the recliner only to sigh loudly. “But the question is, does he really deserve it?” Fara growled softly to herself. “I am really going to need to think this out before shoving my cane up his ass. No matter what I decide, I will not take Amanda’s father away, that would be too cruel, and she has suffered enough for one lifetime."