The Rise of Jack: Part One

Brady Draghetti, Staff Writer

Previously… 

As the sword fighting got closer to where Ben was working, he activated the thruster and the house leaped toward the Earth. At the sudden movement, Alex and Jack were propelled backward along with everyone else. Jack went through one of the house’s back windows but managed to grab hold of the window ledge. 

Alex wanted to say a cool line before pushing him out, but now that the window was open the oxygen was depleting fast. So she just shoved him and watched as he grew smaller and smaller as he floated away into space. 

According to everyone in the village, Jack the walking menace, the enemy of Alex and Steve, was gone. He had flown out into space without a helmet, and everyone in the village no longer feared him. 

Steve spent his days managing Michael The Middle Aged Man’s career in fishing competitions and bringing him to different locations. 

Alex had accepted a job at a local farm in the warm desert of Southern Arizona where she and other people worked planting many different crops for hours at a time. 

Ben created his own business and website and started putting his work online to sell his useful inventions to big business corporations in cities across the globe. 

As for Dan, nothing much about him had changed. He often liked to get in his RV and take long trips for weeks at a time to just go and explore. 

Lately, everyone in the village had been doing their own thing. 

Far away from Earth, on Jupiter, was Jack. He wore an inflatable air helmet and stood amongst his new friends, the Martian Aliens from Mars. These aliens spoke English and rescued him when he was shot out of Alex’s space house. Jack had pulled a string on his armor to activate his oxygen helmet and the five Martians had pulled him into their ship. 

But the ship ran out of fuel and crash-landed on Jupiter. The Martians were prepared for this. They had ten friends who were Jupiterite aliens that lived on Jupiter, and now everyone was ready to plot their attack on Earth. Jack swore to get revenge on Alex and Steve. 

There was a base on Jupiter with an alien council. This was the council where the aliens did all their planning and meetings. 

“My new friends,” Jack announced to everybody, “It’s been a great time hanging out with you all, and thank you again for saving me. But it is time I return to Earth to take down Alex, her village, and all her kooky little friends.” 

The Martians, Jupiterites, and other aliens of the space council began to murmur in disappointment, concerned that their Earthling friend was leaving them. 

“But don’t get worried that you’ll never see me again,” Jack added, “because, as you know, my first two attempts to destroy Alex and Steve were on my own, and both were foiled. So this time is going to be different because I will be needing some backup.” 

The crowd cheered. 

The head of the Alien Council stepped forward and said, “Jack, for the past five months that you have been with us, we have been wanting to invade Earth and make it our own. But we never figured out how we could without being retaliated against. But having an Earthling like you who’s here in our council and on our side brings a new level of optimism to our plan. You know Earth better than any of us because you live there. And so, with that being said, I am officially making you…  the new head of the Alien Council!”  

The Council Head took off his crown and place it on Jack’s head. The alien crowd roared their approval. Jack couldn’t have been more excited. 

Once everyone was settled down, Jack got down to business. 

“Okay,” he announced, “I am going to pick fifteen of you to go after Alex’s village in a ship with me. The rest will be on standby to invade when I feel the time is right. Once we get rid of Alex and her gang, there will be nothing stopping us from ruling all of Earth!” 

This excited the aliens. Jack chose his five Martian friends and the ten Jupiterites to be his henchmen in the attack on Alex and Steve’s village. The rest would be in the small ships from the space council to invade Earth later on. 

There was only one problem with the plan. There was no spaceship big enough to carry Jack, the fifteen aliens, and all the supplies they needed. So Jack announced that they were going to be building their own spaceship to fly to Earth. The Martians got really excited and got into one of the council UFOs with Jack to search for anything useful in Jupiter’s atmosphere. There were all kinds of space junk. 

Jack and the Martians were able to find a bus from Earth that had somehow made it to space and was now floating aimlessly. They brought it onto the ground on Jupiter and tested it. It could still run and was big enough for everyone to ride inside with their weapons. 

The Alien Council had all sorts of parts for a ship, so they attached those to the bus and upgraded the engine. They also had to make it air-tight on the inside and install controls for the thrusters on the dashboard by the steering wheel. Within a few days, they had made the bus into a ship that could fly as well as drive on land. It was perfect. 

On the day of the launch, the aliens used their skillful building to make a runway on the flatlands of Jupiter with a ramp at the end for an easy takeoff. The Martians and Jupiterites readied their weapons and piled into their new ship. Every alien was equipped with a Star Wars-style laser gun that could deal serious damage to buildings. 

The former head of the Alien Council and other aliens wished their new friend good luck before he got on the bus to start the invasion. He hoped to see them on Earth soon. 

Jack boarded the bus and got into the driver’s seat. When he started the engine, all the controls that the aliens added were activated, just as they’d programmed it to do. 

“All systems are ago,” Jack announced to the aliens. 

He stepped on the gas pedal, and the vehicle sped down the runway. Each alien held on to the seat in front of them as Jack drove straight toward the ramp. He pressed the button on the dashboard to switch to the flying controls and used a lever that the aliens added which controlled the rocket boosters. 

When the bus reached the ramp, Jack jammed the lever forward to maximize the thrust from the rockets. The bus shot up the ramp and was propelled into the air. It flew higher and higher through the air just like a spaceship. Jack would use the lever to control the speed and use the steering wheel to simply steer the bus as it blasted quickly through space. 

“Well, it looks like this thing is working perfectly,” Jack said to the aliens as the bus ship flew on. 

They all cheered in excitement from their seats. 

“Road trip!” Jack exclaimed. 

“Road trip,” the aliens echoed. 

“And goodbye to Alex,” he said quietly to himself. 

— 

This was the first evening in a while that everyone could get together. They had all been busy with their other commitments. Steve, Dan, Michael, and Ben were outside Alex’s house having dinner with her. The few other villagers were tied up in their own lives and couldn’t come. 

“I’m glad we can finally eat together,” Alex told them. 

“Me too,” said Ben, “I’ve been working overtime to get my inventions to my new clients in Chicago.” 

“Steve and I have been doin’ a lot o’ fishin’,” Michael said as he pointed to Steve, who nodded. 

“It’s the busiest time of the year right now in fishing competition season,” Steve added. 

“I’ve been at Mount Washington for two weeks,” Dan told them. “Did you know they let you drive a camper van to the top of it now?” 

“That’s all good stuff, but I’ve been working my new job so much and I miss spending time with you guys,” Alex said sadly. 

“Even me?” Steve asked. 

“You get on my nerves sometimes, Steve, but yes,” she answered. 

“Thank you, I appreciate it,” Steve said in a sarcastic tone of voice. 

The sun was beginning to set as they finished their dinner. Everyone was talking and eating and having a good time. They all missed seeing each other. 

It seemed like everyone was ready to wrap things up and go home when Alex said, “So, does anyone want to join me for breakfast tomorrow? I have the day off.” 

“I wish I could,” Ben said, “but I need to load the inventions into my car and be on the road by 8:00. I’m supposed to take them to Chicago and have a business meeting presentation with them there.” 

“I’m going to be attempting to drive to Argentina,” Dan said excitedly. 

“I’ve got a fishin’ competition off the coast of Portland, Oregon,” Michael said. 

Alex looked at Steve like she expected him to stay, but then he reminded her that he was Michael’s ride to all the fishing competitions. 

When Alex went to bed that night, she couldn’t help but think her friends didn’t care about making time for each other anymore. The village was slowly drifting apart. 

The next morning, she was at her front window and saw everyone leaving the village simultaneously. First came Ben’s SUV, so tightly packed with his creations that you couldn’t even see through the back windows. Next in line was Dan’s RV, headed as far south as the roads would allow. And lastly, there was Steve in his pickup truck, hauling Michael in the passenger seat and Michael’s scooter in the back. 

The village was dead quiet after everyone left. Alex felt alone when she stepped out into the gravel street. Even the barking of Steve’s dog, Rufus, couldn’t be heard. Steve and Michael had taken Rufus with them to Oregon. 

Alex’s cat Luna came over and rubbed against her leg. Alex patted her. She wasn’t totally alone. Then she remembered the village leader, George, was still home. She wanted to go over to his house and talk to him but decided not to. She was afraid of interrupting him from doing something busy. 

The bus that Jack and his new army had converted into a spaceship entered Earth’s atmosphere. Jack slowed the rockets down. They descended rapidly toward the road that led into Alex’s village, the alien army getting the best views of the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf Of California. 

The ship flew east over the village. Jack turned it around 180 degrees and flew down toward the road that lead to the village entrance. He deactivated the spaceship controls and the bus touched down on the pavement. He then used the brake pedal to slow down the high speed of the vehicle and drove down the dirt road into the village. 

Meanwhile, Alex was watching Michael’s fishing competition on TV. She had recently gotten a TV just for that purpose. She figured if she couldn’t be with her friend, Michael, she could at least see how his contest went. Luna was lying down on the couch beside Alex. 

“Let’s see if he keeps his streak of wins tonight,” Alex said to Luna. She was so desperate for a friend that now she was talking to her cat. 

The fishing competition was about to start when the lights went out and the television went dark. 

“Huh. There must be a blackout,” Alex said casually. But when she looked out the window, there were lights on inside George’s house. 

Suddenly, the television became full of static and a few of the lights in the house started blinking. 

“Excuse me, we did not order a poltergeist,” Alex said nervously. 

Alex went towards the front door as the aliens appeared at the living room window. She went to open the door, but a spark came through the door knob from the outside and broke the lock. Alex quickly backed away as the door swung open. 

She recognized the person in the doorway. “Jack?” 

“Hello, Alex,” he said in a scary voice. 

“I don’t know how you got back,” Alex said, “but you made a big mistake coming here.” 

“Contraire,” Jack responded, “the mistake was thinking you’d won. But that was just the beginning.” 

“I get it,” Alex told him. 

“I don’t think you do. But you’re about to,” he threatened. “And so will those idiots, Dan and Steve. And your little pets, too!” 

Alex pulled out her sword and ran at Jack as he stood in the doorway. But he moved out of the way, and Alex ran out the door and came face-to-face with the alien army. They shot at her and she ducked, the lasers destroying the front of the house. 

“What are those?” Alex asked from on the ground. 

“Where are my manners? Alex, meet my galactic friends, who are just like me,” Jack said. 

Alex stood up. “Look, Jack, I don’t care who you brought to help you. You’re not going to take our village.” 

“We need more than just this village, we need the entire planet,” the Martians told her. 

 “We start with Alex, who has always held me back,” Jack said as he faced her. The aliens prepared to shoot. Alex picked up Luna and ran to George’s house. George came outside to see what the commotion was. 

“Alex, what the heck happened here?” he exclaimed. 

“I can’t explain right now,” she told him. “We need to get out of here!” 

The RV that Alex and Steve shared was parked across the way. George, Alex, and Luna sprinted over to it. As Alex started the engine, Jack jumped on the windshield and tried to break in. 

“Get us out of here,” George screamed. “Go, go, go!” 

Jack fell off the camper as it sped out of the village. He immediately got up and rallied the aliens into the bus. They drove after Alex’s camper. The aliens stuck their guns out the windows of the bus and started shooting at the camper. Alex kept driving. 

A train was approaching at the railroad crossing. 

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Alex asked. 

“Not even close,” George said. 

Alex sped up. The train came closer. The camper flew over the train tracks just in front of the train, putting it between Alex and Jack’s army. But train cars weren’t built to handle blows from intergalactic weaponry, and within seconds Jack and the aliens had exploded the train so they could get through. They didn’t even slow down. 

Alex pulled onto the highway and Jack followed. She drove between other cars to lose him, but the aliens just shot the other cars out of the way. 

“We can’t lose them,” Alex said, looking back. 

“Big truck, big truck, big truck!” George cried. 

Alex turned to see a massive eighteen-wheeler that was moving into their lane. The aliens fired another round of lasers. Alex swerved to avoid them, and they started hitting the semi-trailer. The trailer unhitched itself and began to tip, threatening to fall onto the camper. Alex sped away just as the entire semi truck toppled onto its side and blocked the whole highway, including Jack and his bus full of aliens. Alex, George, and Luna had successfully put an obstacle between themselves and Jack…   for now. 

 

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2! (coming in 2 weeks)