CAP Epilogue: The Conclusion
 

Back ] Up ]

The CAP Epilogue: The Conclusion
Omar posting on behalf of Ladybug...

 

Before I take a quick nap and see the doctor for what I suspect is strep throat, I decided to let you all off the hook and finally give you the end of this enthralling tale. Okay, so I just finally got around to writing it because I had writer's block. The effect is the same.

Hope you enjoy it!

*****************

Rose paused, unsure of how to begin telling the events that happened so quickly yet changed her life dramatically. Jackie put her arm around her, and they sat together for a moment, remembering.

“Do you want me to take it from here?” Jackie asked.

“Just start telling about that night,” she said. “I’ll jump in when I need to.”

“No problem.”

“Thank you.”

Jackie smiled at her and they squeezed each other’s hands. She took a deep breath and continued the story.

********************

It was a typical Friday night at the Blue Parrot. The place was pretty packed, and the entertainment was in full swing. Rose stood backstage watching her girls perform the latest dance she’d taught them, a mix of traditional and contemporary swing. It was quite innovative, really. The crowd loved it.

“I think I could live here forever,” Jackie said to Delphus. He put an arm around her.

“Wherever you are, that’s where I want to be,” he said. “But, there’s something I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Sure, hon. What’s on your mind?”

He looked a little embarrassed. “Well....I know I’m not a young man...”

Jackie shushed him. “I hate when you say that. You’re as youthful and vital as any boyfriend I’ve ever had.”

“I know you say that, but this is a more serious matter.”

Jackie frowned. “Please don’t talk to me about your will. I don’t want a penny from you, and I refuse to outlive you. We’re going to die together, and that’s all there is to it.”

Delphus laughed. “Well, actually, that’s all taken care of, but I wasn’t thinking about that. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.”

“What do you mean?” Now she was stumped.

“Well...there’s something I want, but I wanted to ask your permission first.”

“You don’t need to ask me permission for anything. I trust your judgment. You can have anything you want.”

“Actually, for this, I do have to have your consent. I was wondering...if...if...you would consider starting a family with me.” He looked at her, a little fearful, as if waiting for a rebuff.

She blinked. And just as the moment when he’d asked her to marry him, she could not think of a single reason to say no. “Delphus,” Jackie said, putting her hand on his, “I can think of no better way for us to express our love for each other. I would love to have your baby!” And she really meant it.

He embraced her fiercely, and kissed her all over her face. “You’ve made me so happy,” he said, almost in tears. “I’ve always wanted a family, but it seemed it just wasn’t meant to be. And then you came along and changed that. You’ve changed everything.” He kissed her again. “Jackie, I adore you. You’re everything to me.”

She laughed and hugged him. “It’s mutual,” she said. “Let’s start trying tonight.” They smiled at each other, thrilled in their decision.

Backstage, Rose was getting ready to go on. “How do I look?” she asked O.M.A.R.

“Spectacular, as always,” he said, handing her the brilliant headdress she wore for her signature hula dance.

“Is this new skirt too low?” she asked, concerned. It was hung around her hips so low down that it almost looked indecent.

“Of course not. It’s hypnotic. It makes the dance that much more effective.” He grasped those hips in his hands. “And it does things to me.”

She smiled, and entered into his arms. “This is the best time I’ve ever had, OMAR.” She kissed him tenderly.

O.M.A.R. closed his eyes, soaking in the feel of her lips on his. He could stay like that for hours. Sometimes he’d tried. When she finally broke away, he sighed. “How long until you go on?”

“Umm...looks like 8 minutes. Why?”

“Time enough,” he growled, and dragged her behind the large prop of the pig-roasting oven.

“Hey!” she squealed. “What are you doing?”

“I’m going to make love to my beautiful wife,” he said, putting his hands underneath the skirt.

“Right here, behind the stage?” she gasped. He always knew just how to touch her to make her wild for him in an instant.

“Yes. Right here.” He pushed her up against the back of the oven, wrapping her legs around his waist. And he made good on his promise.

With one minute to showtime, Rose put her headdress on and straightened her skirt, looking a little flustered and trying to un-muss her hair and lipstick. “Honestly, babe, you are so incorrigible,” she said.

O.M.A.R. smiled. “It’s you who does it to me. I can’t help it. Your sexy curves, your eyes, your smile... You are the epitome of womanhood.”

Rose just looked at him for a second. She threw her arms around him and kissed him long and hard. “I love you,” she sighed.

“I love you too,” he said. And then the music started and it was time for her to go on. With a smile she turned and put on her stage presence, hips wiggling in time to the drums, poi balls flying.

Everyone watched her, entranced by her movements. Her coordination was flawless, with her feet and arms and hips and hands all in harmony together. She had such poise and made it seem so easy.

Jackie, sitting in the back, thought she smelled something funny. Perhaps one of the tiki torches was low on oil again. She’d have to see about getting it filled.

But when she turned to look, she saw something that shocked her. The torch had been knocked over and was burning the thatch on the walls!

“Fire!” Jackie yelled. “FIRE! Help!!”

At first only a few people heard her over the drums and the music. The bartender gave her a pitcher of water, frantically filling more, and a couple of patrons tried to stamp it out or beat it out with their coats. But it kept growing.

Finally Rose stopped, seeing what was happening. She signalled for the music to stop. “I need everybody to get out of here right now,” she said. “Please walk outside the club in an orderly fashion!”

But people panicked. And there were so many of them that it became utter chaos. O.M.A.R. jumped down and tried to get people to calm down and make their way toward the doors without hurting anyone. Meanwhile, Jackie and Delphus tried desperately to throw enough water on the fire to keep in under control. Smoke began to fill the club, and people were screaming and running.

Rose hurried backstage. There was a group of kids in the dressing rooms that was supposed to perform after her. She had to get them out. She threw open the door, where they were huddled together in fear, having heard the screams and not knowing what was happening.

“Here!” she said, grabbing robes and throwing them over the children’s heads. “Get down and follow me!” She got on her hands and knees and led them out to the back door. They made it in time, and the children ran to safety. “Go get help!” she told them, and headed back inside, staying low with a robe over her head to keep from breathing the smoke. She went to all the dressing rooms, checking for anyone that may have gotten stranded or left behind.

O.M.A.R. was starting to get the crowd under control, but the fire was far from it. The whole west wall was ablaze now, and it was too hot to get close to. The water was ineffective, and Jackie and Delphus tried to evacuate.

“Go, go!” Delphus yelled over the din. He pushed her ahead of him and she held his hand, running for the door. Somehow in the crowd she lost his hand, but kept going, knowing he was right behind her.

Then the fire reached the bar, and the bottles of alcohol began to explode, popping and spraying glass everywhere. Jackie pushed her way out with the rest of the crowd, and stood by the door waiting for Delphus to emerge.

But he didn’t. Jackie panicked. O.M.A.R. came out, face black with smoke. He looked around. “Where is Ladybug?” he said. “Have you seen her?”

“No! She’s not here! And Delphus is still inside!” Jackie was terrified.

O.M.A.R. turned to go back inside, but she grabbed his arm. “You can’t go in there!” she said. “You’ll die!”

“They’ll die if I don’t,” he said with a steely voice, and went back into the burning building.

Jackie was hysterical. What was she to do? To follow him inside would be foolish. But to live without Delphus would be a worse fate. She decided to go and find him, and if she must die, she would die in his arms.

But as she moved toward the door, Delphus came out, staggering. He carried the bartender over his shoulders. Rescue workers had arrived by then, and they took the man from his shoulders. Delphus dropped to the ground, and others attended to him.

“He’s not breathing,” said one, and his partner helped try to revive him.They worked feverishly as Jackie stood by, trembling from head to toe, watching her husband fight for his life.

Delphus coughed, and the men leaned back. They looked at each other, knowing that though he was breathing now, it still wasn’t a good prognosis.

Jackie pushed them aside and took his hand. “Delphus,” she said. “Delphus! Speak to me, darling!”

He opened his eyes and looked at her. “Jackie,” he said weakly.

“Yes! Yes, I’m here,” she said, crying for joy that he was alive.

“I had to say goodbye,” he said.

“Don’t say that! You’re fine, you’ll be fine. You’re a hero. You saved that man’s life. And I’m going to throw you the biggest party.” She smile through her tears at him.

He smiled back at her. “Sweet Jackie,” he said. “I wanted to live forever for you. I wanted to be the best husband and father in the world.”

“You will! Don’t talk like that. You’ll be all right.” She was distressed. The rescue worker behind him shook his head at her.

“He’s breathed too much smoke,” he told her. “There’s nothing we can do.”

“NO!” She was angry. “Don’t you tell me that!”

Delphus touched her face. “You’ll be provided for,” he said. “Don’t forget me, my lovely wife. Always remember how much I loved you.”

He closed his eyes. Jackie sobbed openly, nearly hysterical. “Don’t, please,” she pleaded with him. “Don’t give up on me. Don’t leave me. I love you so much. Please, please...don’t leave me...”

But he was gone. She laid her head on his chest and cried with the pain of a sorely broken heart.

By this time there were scores of people working to put out the fire, and still there was no sign of either Rose or O.M.A.R.

Suddenly there was a great crash, and the roof collapsed. Jackie looked up in fear. Was she the only one of her friends to survive? She should have stayed inside! Better to die with them than to live without them!

Then there was a silhouette in the smoke. It was O.M.A.R., and he carried Rose in his arms, a blanket over her head. People screamed at the sight of him, for much of his flesh was burnt away, exposing the metal inside. He came out from the rubble and looked around for help, but they were all too afraid to come near. Jackie ran over and helped him put Rose down. Two rescue workers came to look her over.

“Are you intact?” O.M.A.R. asked Jackie, swaying in place.

“Yes. But Delphus...he...didn’t make it.” She choked on the words.

“I am sorry,” he said, and embraced her. She cried on his shoulder for a moment, and then they looked toward Rose, where the workers cared for her.

“She’ll be all right,” one said, as she regained consciousness. They were all relieved, and let O.M.A.R. approach. Jackie stayed back, out of respect.

“I am glad you’re all right,” he said, stumbling forward.

“Thanks to you,” Rose said. “You saved my life.”

“I could do nothing else.” O.M.A.R. fell to the ground.

“What’s wrong?” Rose asked, concerned.

“I fear I have sustained considerable damage,” he said, bionics clicking. She saw that his major mechanisms were indeed in very bad shape.

“I’ve got to get you home,” she said. “You need repairs right away.”

“No,” he shook his head. “It’s too late for that.” He pulled away the skin that remained on his stomach, and she gasped. His internal systems operations center was burnt to a crisp. “My neurons are nearly all fused, as well,” he said, putting a hand to his head.

Rose had learned about his engineering, so that she could help him with minor repairs and maintenance, and she knew this was bad. “Don’t worry,” she said, trying to be bright and reassuring. “I’ll get some help. I’ll even get Omar. He’ll know what to do. He can fix you.”

“No. I am beyond fixing.” O.M.A.R. twitched, and his gears made a horrible grinding noise. “I am sorry. I wanted to stay with you.” Twitch, grind.

“You can’t do this!” She was beginning to panic. "You're my husband. You can’t just do this to me!” She touched his gears, trying to force them to work, to keep him alive for her. To keep him from leaving her alone.

“Yes, my love,” he smiled. “Forbid me now to die. I’ll obey. I will try.” He put a hand to her face. And he stopped moving, stopped making a sound.

“O.M.A.R.?” Rose said. “O.M.A.R. Don’t go!” She whacked him in the shoulder. He whirred and jolted and began again to run, for the moment.

“You don’t belong here,” he told her. “You need to go home.”

“This is my home,” she said. “My home is with you. You’re my husband. I’m not leaving you!”

“No. Your home is in another place. Another dimension.” He clicked and whirred a little more as he spoke.

Rose stared at him in shock. “You...you know who I am?”

“I have known for a long time.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” She began to cry, touching his face, metal and skin, flesh and iron.

“Your origin and identity mattered not. That I loved you was the only thing.” His speech became awkward and halted. “You showed me the same kindness. No less could I do for you.”

And with a click and a shudder, O.M.A.R. ceased to function. He slumped over into Rose’s arms. She looked up at Jackie in despair.

Jackie came to her, arms open, and as the men took O.M.A.R.’s body away, the girls sat on the ground in front of the ruins and wept into each other for a long, long, long time.

**********************

They stopped now, crying again at the memory of their loss. There was not a dry eye in the house, for they all would miss O.M.A.R., and though they hadn’t known Delphus, he’d come alive to them through Jackie’s narrations.

“That’s all,” Jackie said. “There is no more.”

“What do you mean?” Bluetopaz said. “You just packed up and came home?”

“We stayed to arrange the funerals, of course,” Rose said. “And we tied up any loose ends with the businesses.”

“What kind of business?” she asked.

“Well,” said Jackie, “when Delphus said I’d be provided for, he wasn’t kidding. He left me everything. But I can’t handle that kind of responsibility. I don’t belong there. So I sold the casino and some of the other establishments he owned, kept a few personal items, and gave the rest to Delphus’ close friends and family.”

“You...sold the casino?” Bluetopaz was incredulous. “It must be worth a fortune!”

“It was,” Jackie admitted. “Let’s just say I won’t have to worry about how to bribe anybody any more. I can sustain myself quite comfortably now.”

“I guess so!” Bt shook her head in disbelief.

“What did you do with the nightclubs?” Ladybug asked Rose.

“I liquidated our partnerships and sold them to the highest bidder,” said Rose.

“How many clubs were there?”

“Oh...let’s see...24 in all, plus the dance school.”

They all gasped. “So...you also must be...” Bird began.

“Filthy rich,” Rose said simply. “Yes. O.M.A.R. and I had made some very smart arrangements. It paid off.”

“What will you do now?” Ladybug asked. “You can stay here with us. It might be confusing, but maybe if we cut and colored your hair....”

“No, that won’t be necessary,” Rose said. “I appreciate the offer. But O.M.A.R. was right. I don’t belong here. I’m going home.”

“To the other Deb U?” Bird asked.

“Yes.”

“To the other Omar?”

Rose paused. “I don’t know what he’s been doing all this time. He may not be the same person. I know I’m not. If we’re going to have a relationship again, we’ll have to start from the beginning. I’ll have to tell him everything. And it will take me a while to heal from losing O.M.A.R.”

They all nodded. “Well,” said Bird, “we wish you the best of luck. I’ll  get in touch with the Sov and arrange for him to take you home.”

“Thank you,” said Rose. And with that, the two young widows took their leave to get some rest. It would be a long time before they could give their hearts to someone again, if ever.

*****************

.......Some time later.......

Back in her own universe, Rose unpacked her bags. She had many mementos of her time in the other world with O.M.A.R.

She took out a small black box. It was what was left of O.M.A.R.’s brain: his thoughts, memories, personality. It was badly damaged. But perhaps the information inside was not irretrievable.

Rose hefted the box in her hand, and smiled. She stashed it in a dresser drawer before going to the library to learn all she could about cybernetics.

THE END.

*****************

If you've enjoyed this, then you must thank Jackie. She was the inspiration for this whole thing months ago.

Remember that thing I posted way back when, asking that if you could have any wish, what would it be? Jackie said she wanted to get married in Las Vegas and go someplace tropical for her honeymoon. As we were in the throes of the revolution at that time, the seed was planted, and I decided to grant her wish, so to speak, after it was all over.

Rose and O.M.A.R. got in on it purely by chance. It seemed to go hand in hand with what I'd planned for Jackie, and thus the epilogue as you've known it was born.

I had a great time writing it. Hope it was fun for you guys too!

Posted on Dec 16 1999 02:59 PM

back to top

 

Email Me

last updated: March 12, 2009
Shoshana 1999-2009