Domestic Bliss

Part 1

by Mara

Author's Note: It's a surprise! ;)

Editor's Note: Mara is using the Star Wars rank system in this piece. Why not? It is another universe.

Dwayne Hunter pulled up to the stately old farmhouse and honked his horn. He saw the screen door open to reveal his mom, decked out in an apron covered with flour. Darlene, his sister, was hot on her heels.

Dwayne put the car in park and pushed a button on the ceiling of the vehicle that would open the side door.

"Hey Mom, hey Dar," he called. "Glad to see you."

His mom, Kathleen, smiled. "Hey sweetie. How are you?"

Darlene smiled as she gave her older brother a hug.

"Doin' fine." Dwayne walked over to the other side of the Chevy Venture to retrieve the rest of his family. Before he could even begin to unstrap Sammy, Rusty, who had been sitting next to his little sister, leapt out of the van.

"Grandma," he screamed at the top of his lungs. Rusty launched himself at his grandmother and she deftly caught him and swung him up into the air.

"Hey, pumpkin. Oh, you weigh so much. Getting bigger, are we?"

"You bet." Dwayne sighed as he hefted Sammy out of the car seat. "So is Sam, she's like a mini-Velociraptor."

By this time, Ericka, who had been in the front passenger's side front seat, was out as well and stretching her legs. "Thanks, hon," she said, nodding to Sammy.

Dwayne smiled at his wife and gave her a peck on the cheek. "Does that get me out of Diaper Duty?"

Ericka gave her husband a sly look and then glanced over at Darlene. "Not on your life, Commander."

"Daddy got promoted!" Rusty said excitedly to his aunt and grandmother. Sammy gurgled and smiled up at her father.

"I heard," Kathleen said. "That's good news. Come on in, guys. I've got dinner ready."

"Oh boy," Rusty said. "I love the way Grandma cooks."

Dwayne smiled at his energetic son. Rusty was seven, and every bit his father's son. He had wavy red hair and bright green eyes. His face, however, looked more like his mother. Sam, who was five months old, already had a full head of dark brown hair and large brown eyes.

The group followed Kathleen into the house, where something, Dwayne decided, smelled delicious. His mother was many things, but most of all, she was a trememdous cook.

Jeff, Dwayne's nephew came down the stairs in leaps and bounds. "Hey, Uncle Dwayne, Hey, Aunt E. Sorry, I didn't hear you guys pull up."

Kathleen threw Jeff an exasperated look. "That's because your music is too loud, dear."

"Grandma," Jeff began, but his mom shushed him. Jeff then turned his attention to Rusty. "Yo, Rusty, what's up?"

Rusty slapped Jeff's offered hand. "Not much." He gave Jeff his best 'I'm cool' look. Dwayne couldn't help but laugh.

In the dining room a table had been laid out with turkey, yams, mashed potatoes, and Kathleen's specialty, cherry cream pie. The whole family sat down. Dwayne situated Sam in the high chair his mom kept around for visits and tied a bib that said "Army Brat" around her tiny neck.

Kathleen smiled. "Starting her young, huh?"

"Oh," Dwayne said. "It was a gift." He smiled at his family. "Let's pray."

Dwayne's family all linked hands. Dwayne began. "Thank you, Lord, for this day. Thank you for keeping us safe and for bringing us all together today. Lord, please bless this food to our bodies for your useful purpose. In your name I pray, Amen." He looked up into the smiling faces of his family.

"Let's dig in," Jeff said.

Everyone laughed at Jeff. He always had a way of breaking the silence.

Dinner was wonderful, and by seven o'clock, everyone was stuffed. "Thanks, Mom," Ericka said. "It was great."

The adults sat down to talk in the living room. Jeff went upstairs with Rusty and Sam. Surprisingly, Jeff was a pretty good babysitter. Ericka and Dwayne were glad for the break.

Jeff turned on the T.V. in his room and began to hook up his Playstation so that he and Rusty could play Star Raider, but something on the news channel caught his eye. "Yo, Rusty, look at this." Jeff twisted around to grab Sam, who was busy chewing on a sock. "Yech, Sammy, don't do that."

The anchor on the news was reporting on the Big Guy. "Just two hours ago, this news agency learned that the BGY-ll has been destroyed by an alien vessel. Apparently Big Guy was caught in the weapons blast of this ship." The picture cut to a live satellite view of a huge ovoid vessel with protruding spines. "The government is remaining tightlipped on the situation, but we have learned that no recovery is possible."

Jeff stared at the T.V. Rusty too, was fixated. "Oh, no," Jeff said. "Big Guy."

"Uncle Dwayne!" Jeff yelled as loud as he could.

Dwayne and Ericka came running up the steps. Darlene came behind them. "What's the matter?" Dwayne said. "Is Sam Okay?"

Jeff pointed to the T.V. "Big Guy's been destroyed."

Dwayne froze in his spot. "No." Dwayne shook his head to recover his thought processes. Jonathan had been on duty tonight. The shock of Jeff's simple statement rocked him. Jonathan was gone? Dwayne could hardly believe it. Jon had been a good friend and a wonderful student. Jon was his best friend behind Garth. Dwayne felt Ericka wrap her arms around him. She pulled him close, knowing that he must be in great pain.

"I shouldn't have let him go out this early." Dwayne's jaw set as a grim expression appeared on his face.

Ericka looked up at him with pleading eyes. "Dwayne..." she began.

But he knew he couldn't finish. He knew he couldn't say what was on his mind. That a good man had died tonight. The rest of his family and the world would think that a robot had been blown up. Not Jonathan.

Dwayne turned around and ran down the stairs. His commanding officer, General Thorton, should have called him. Just as he got to the phone, it rang. He picked it up, expecting to hear Thorton.

"Commander, we need you at Headquarters, now." It was indeed Thorton. The gravelly voice of his C.O. was tinged with sadness.

Dwayne pushed down the sick feeling in his gut. "I'm on my way."

On to Part 2!

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