After Jennifer transferred to a twenty-first century Zodiac, Triton swallowed the twenty-seventh century inflatable and headed back to the two-way Trans-Time Eleven time machine. Jennifer made her way to the extreme southwestern part of Tahiti and called her friend, Lacy Wu. Lacy met her on the beach near Tahiti Iti, southwest of the French Polynesian capital city of Papeete.
Jennifer was happy to return, even though she was unhappy that the Council of Five of the SS had not approved her plan to arrive five and one-half months sooner. She was lucky to get permission to return to her husband and family, as familial reunion was not one of the reasons that met the guidelines for permitted time travel. Trans-Time Eleven was used for life-saving missions, not personal reasons.
She and her twin Jenny had just saved humanity. That could be why she got this compromise solution to her requested plan, after a long wait of several hours. The Council allowed her to return to a point in time six months after her departure from the twenty-first century. This was equal to the exact amount of time that Jennifer had been gone, which would avoid time twisting and any possible negative side-effects created by returning at an earlier time.
“Aloha, Lacy!” Jennifer waved excitedly to her friend.
Lacy wrapped her in a big hug. “Jennifer, it is wonderful to see you. You have been missing for so long! Marty is a total wreck worried about you. Where have you been?”
“I had to rescue some former colleagues. That is all that I can say. It is a secret where and what happened. As far as the university is concerned, I am on sabbatical sailing catamarans. That is my cover story.”
“What did you tell Marty?” Lacy cocked her head.
“I told him I had to redeem my self-esteem. Can I use your phone to call him?”
“Yes, of course.” Lacy dug her phone out from a pocket and handed it over.
Jennifer was thinking about what she would tell Marty for now; she would tell him the truth in two months when her sister returned. She had a date to meet her twin sister Jenny in sixty days from today if the SS leader Tom Page allowed her the privilege.
Jennifer feared she would lose control of the Trans-Time Eleven-time machine. Yet Commander Kylie Brown would back her sister Jenny along with all the other returning SS members. She was counting on Jenny to meet her.
While feeling her self-esteem had been redeemed, emotionally Jennifer needed to get back to Marty. She dialed his cell number.
“Hello Lacy,” Marty said.
“It is me, Jennifer. I love you.” She smiled but put her hand over her heart.
“I’ve missed you so much. Where are you now?” Marty asked anxiously.
“Marty, forgive me, but I needed to resurrect my self-esteem. I am with Lacy near Papeete. How are the kids?”
“I’ve tried to meet their needs, but they miss you.” Marty’s voice quivered.
“I will take the night flight today to Honolulu, so I should be in about five twenty a.m. tomorrow. I miss the kids very much, but I miss you even more.”
“You need to tell me what’s going on. I’ll be there to meet you. What flight will you take?”
“Hawaiian Airlines FL482.”
“Roger that,” Marty said. “We’ll be there to meet you. I’ll write you about our lives, so you can catch up with the kids. They’re fine, no need to worry about them. They’re worried about you. Can you tell me about your time away?”
“I will tell you the big secret soon. I so want to share my life, my parents, and my past with you as soon as possible. Aloha, I love you.”
“Aloha, my love. You have six months’ worth of explaining to do. But not in front of the kids. Wait until we’re alone.”
After a triumphant return to Hawaii with the kids present, Jennifer felt the intense love of family. Even so she felt she owed Marty something more than her restored presence.
She needed to tell him the truth as soon as possible. And that wouldn’t be until she would meet with her sister Jenny again in two months. Until that time, Jennifer would do what she was trained to do…deceive.