#SampleSunday: New Frontier

Since I finally have something new to share for Sample Sunday, here’s the Prologue to my newest novel, New Frontier, which is a alternate history speculative fiction novel. The Prologue will be expanded on in Book 2, when the starship that leaves at the end of the novel encounters problems while trying to find a missing starship that lead them back to the 1960’s….  Available on Apple, Nook, Kindle, and Smashwords for $2.99,and paperback for $9.99 (links at end of post).

Prologue

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency…”

President Kennedy stepped off of the stage after his “New Frontier” speech at Rice University, when he was asked by Texas Governor Daniel, “What did you mean about doing those other things after you said we would go to the moon?”

“That was a mistake. I was going to fill that in by saying that we would eventually explore the rest of our solar system after we take our first steps on the moon, but I forgot about it. Anyway, in the grand scheme of things, who’s going to remember one little paragraph in a speech? All that matters is that I have a vision of what our future holds. The American voters will eat that up.”

“That’s why you’re the President, and not that yahoo, Richard Nixon.”

“I’m sure the American people are grateful for that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to Washington.”

As Kennedy stepped off of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, he was met by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who was never eager to converse with any of the Kennedy family, but this time he had to. “Mr. President, I need to speak with you in private.”

“What do you want?”

“Like I said, in private.”

“Oh, all right. Follow me to my car, we can speak there.” When they were situated in the back seat of the Presidential limo, Kennedy asked, “Ok, what’s so important that this has to be in private?”

“I’m sure you’re aware of the death of Marilyn Monroe last month…”

“What’s your point?” interrupted an impatient Kennedy.

“The point is that we have her killer in custody.”

“Didn’t the coroner rule it a suicide?”

“Well, someone told him to rule it that, but it really wasn’t…”

“Would you please get to the point already?” interrupted the President again.

“Fine. The FBI was informed that your brother, Bobby, was seen leaving Monroe’s house the day she died. After an exhaustively thorough investigation, it was concluded that Bobby was indeed the person responsible for the death of Marilyn Monroe. He’s now in custody, where he will be put on trial very soon.”

“You can’t do that.”

“Why? Because he’s a Kennedy? Your father may have gotten away with many a thing years ago, but he also had many friends in high places. With him retired, you and your brothers don’t have that luxury, since you are the people in high places. I’ve got so much stuff on you Kennedy’s, all I would have to do is go to the Press and give them everything available. You would be finished in no time. So, yes, I can have your brother put on trial for murder.”

“What can I offer you to withdraw the murder charge?”

“Bribery, eh? Are you sure you really want to try that with me?”

“What do you want from me?”

“Simple, really. You and your family stay out of my way, and I won’t air all of your dirty laundry. When it’s publicly announced that Bobby killed Marilyn, you will be shocked to hear it, and you’ll reluctantly announce that he will no longer be Attorney General of the United States. If you or your family sends your mob goons after me to silence me by killing me, my will has a provision in it that all the documents I have that are related to your family will be released to the Press. Either way, you’ll be ruined. Do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal.”

“Good.” Hoover stepped out of the car, leaving the President to his thoughts.

A year later, on a campaign stop in Dallas, with President Kenendy’s motorcade on its way to Dallas Trade Mart for a luncheon, gunshots rang out while passing through Dealey Plaza. Kennedy heard the bullets whiz by him, but then he heard a sickening sound next to him. His wife had been shot in the head. In the front seat, Governor John Connally, who had just been elected Texas Governor, appeared to have also been shot by the assassin’s bullets. Kennedy started to panic, but really had nowhere to run if an assassin was still trying to shoot at him. The Secret Service rushed in to protect Kennedy, surrounded the car, and the motorcade rushed away to Parkland Hospital. Both Jacqueline Kennedy and John Connally were pronounced dead within an hour of arriving at the hospital. The FBI announced they would begin their investigation.

After the funeral, Kennedy summoned Hoover to his office. “Did you have anything to do with what happened in Dallas, Mr. Hoover?”

“No, but if I did, you can bet that you would be dead, not your wife or the Governor. Unfortunately, we have no suspects. Too many of the witnesses claim that they heard gunshots from one of the buildings or from the grassy knoll that the motorcade was passing, but no one saw a shooter. Whoever may have tried to assassinate you was professional enough to cover their tracks. The FBI and I have run into a brick wall, and have decided to close the investigation. I’m truly sorry for your loss.”

“I’m sure you are. Thank you for coming.” Kennedy summarily dismissed the FBI Director from his office.

Five years later, after John F. Kennedy was no longer eligible to run for President again. He and the rest of the nation learned that Barry Goldwater won the Presidency of the United States in his second try after trying in 1964. Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic challenger since Lyndon Johnson decided to retire, had been assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan six months before the election, so the Democrats ran George McGovern, who was the Vice Presidential candidate, as the replacement. Goldwater soundly defeated McGovern.

While the world was waiting for Apollo 11 to land on the moon, John and Ted Kennedy were having a party on Chappaquiddick Island with their girlfriends the day before the scheduled moon landing to celebrate the fact that John had helped push NASA in that direction. Ted, and his girlfriend, Mary Jo Kopechne, decided to leave because Mary Jo needed to get home. “Teddy, you should stay here, you’re too drunk to be driving.” protested John.

“I know what I’m doing. Just because you’re my older brother doesn’t give you the right to act like dad.” slurred the drunken younger Kennedy.

“Ok, fine, but if you get into a car wreck, don’t blame me. I tried to warn you, you know.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Bye, bye Jack.” slurred the drunk Mary Joe, as she waved at him.

John waved goodbye to them as the two drunkenly got into Ted’s Oldsmobile and drove away. The next morning, Edgartown Police Chief James Arena knocked on the door of the house, John answered the door, and asked the Chief, “Can I help you?”

“Mr. Kennedy, I regret to inform you that your brother and his escort were found dead inside the Oldsmobile at Poucha Pond. It appears they didn’t see the end of the bridge and the car kept going. Due to how the car settled in the water, the two died from drowning. A pair of fisherman on a fishing boat noticed the car earlier this morning, informed us, and we managed to bring the car back up an hour ago. Unfortunately, I need you to come down the Station to ID them so we can officially record that the family knows about it. Can you come with me?”

“Yeah, I’ll come with you. I knew he shouldn’t have left while he was drunk. I knew something would happen, but he refused to listen to me. Now look where it’s gotten him…”

Even though John was hung-over, he was in shock at the news of his brothers’ death, and he was increasingly getting depressed over it. Of the four boys in his family, he was the only one that was left, and he wasn’t sure how his father, Joseph, would handle having yet another son not on Earth. Joseph had ambitious dreams for all of his children, yet of the nine children, four were no longer living. John was beginning to wonder if his family was cursed.

He went with the Police Chief, identified the bodies, and spent the rest of the week organizing a funeral. John wondered why all of this tragedy was happening around him, but not to him. He decided he needed to focus his energies now on his two children, before anything else happened to anyone else in his family. So, he decided to withdraw from public life, because it seemed to him that his immediate family would live longer that way. Four months later, Joseph died at the age of 81 of natural causes.

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