Disclaimer: All characters the property of Sandy Franks, no infringement of his rights intended.
Personal Memo From: Dean M'Bell, Director, Division of Public Relations, Department of Galaxy Security
To: Keith Anderson, Chief of Galaxy Security
Keith: Look, I know it's a pain and believe me I sympathize with you wanting to keep the kids out of the spotlight but trust me, this is a good idea. The public has a legitimate interest in knowing something about the man in charge of their safety and formal press conferences just don't cut it. So grit your teeth and say yes okay? If we don't like the story we can always kill it on security grounds.
Article: 'JUST AN ORDINARY LIFE: Growing up in Galaxy Security' by Katrin Hoyle, Dailey Planet and Galaxy.
Galaxy Security Chief Anderson's family of five adopted war orphans settled themselves in a row on a sofa in the living room of their surprisingly modest apartment in the Federation building and eyed me warily. The four boys and one girl range in age from seventeen to eleven. All were dressed in flare bottom pants and numbered t-shirts, giving them an oddly uniform look.
I smiled and tried to put them at ease.
KH: So, Mark, you're the oldest?
Mark, a strikingly handsome boy with long dark hair and big blue eyes answered,
M: Not exactly. I'm the first kid the Chief adopted. Jason was the second -
Jason, taller and leaner with sandy hair and piercing violet eyes, interupted his brother.
J: But I'm actually two months older than Mark here.
M: Right. Then we got Princess and Keyop -
And is interupted again by another brother, Tiny, a heavyset boy of fifteen with a number five on his t-shirt.
T: And finally me. But I'm a Harper not an Anderson. The Chief's just my legal guardian.
KH: I see. So the t-shirts indicate the order in which you joined the family?
M: Something like that.
Princess, a very pretty girl with long hair tinted to match her big green eyes, speaks for the first time.
P: Numbered t-shirts were really big a few years ago. Lots of other kids wear them.
KH: That's true. You call your father 'Chief'?
Keyop, the eleven year old baby of the family, suffers from a speech impairment that keeps his comments short and to the point.
K: What everybody calls him!
P: When we were younger it was 'Uncle Keith'.
J: We can all remember our real parents, except for the kid here.
M: So we wouldn't feel right calling him 'Dad' or anything like that. He understands.
KH: I'm sure he does. What was it like growing up as the children of the Chief of Galactic Security?
P: He wasn't always the Chief. For years and years he was just another project head.
M: Yeah. Most of our lives we've been just another Fed-Gov family.
T: And believe you me it's not a glamorous life!
P: You can say that again. Standard Federation Issue apartment.
J: Federation issue car.
M: Fed-Gov salary - and with five kids that didn't go far!
P: Mind you we did get to visit some pretty interesting and exotic places.
M: On military spacecraft.
T: Talk about your no frills travel!
J: Most of the time there weren't even private cabins. We guys'd all bunk together -"
P: And they'd improvise something for me.
M: Come off it, Prin. You always got the best of everything.
J: Right. She'd bat those big baby greens and the crew'd fall all over themselves for her.
T: Remember that flight to Canopus? The captain gave *her* his own cabin.
J: And shoved the rest of us into spare bunks in crew quarters, even the Chief.
K: Treated like Princess!
M: Which is why we call her that.
P (laughing): I guess I was a little spoiled, being the only girl.
M: 'A little'? *She* got her own room.
J: And anything else she wanted.
P: Like what?
T: Like the ballet lessons.
J: The motorcycle.
M: And enough clothes for six girls.
P: Yeah, well maybe the Chief was just trying to make up for all the rotten things you guys did to me.
M (widening big blue eyes): Who us?
T: What rotten things?
P: Pulling my hair. Breaking my toys. Eating *all* my birthday candy!
T: Aw, I never ate *all* of it.
P: Did too! And remember how Jason used to hide in my closet and jump out to scare me?
J (grinning): She screamed every time.
P: Not to mention hitting on my friends and bullying my dates!
M: You had some real cute friends.
J: And went out with a lot of wimps.
KH: Just an ordinary life?
M: Exactly. I admit things changed a little after Uncle Keith became the Chief.
P: We moved upstairs to this apartment.
K: Own room!
M: Yeah, six bedrooms.
J: Security got tighter though.
T: Yeah, that's a pain.
M: No more public school. They switched us to a private one specially for kids of high ranking officials.
T: None of us liked that.
K: Bunch of snobs.
P: We have to give dinner parties.
M: Come off it, Princess. You know you love getting gussied up and playing hostess.
P: Yeah, but I don't love listening to you guys belly aching over wearing a tie.
KH: Dinner parties, eh? Sounds kind of glamorous.
P: Not really.
J: Not when the only good looking girl there is your sister.
K: No fun!
T: Can be kind of interesting though - sometimes.
M: That's true. We've met some interesting people.
KH: Like G-Force?
M: Not to our knowledge.
P: Their identities are top secret. We don't know any more about them than anybody else.
T: The Chief never gives anything away.
K: Poker face!
J: More like the great stone face.
KH: I understand you visit Center Neptune regularly.
M: As the Chief's guests. Of course we don't see the classified sections.
J: Which leaves our quarters, the mess room and the recreation deck.
J: Mountain Headquarters is better. You can do stuff there.
P: Hiking, trail biking, swimming.
K: Nice place.
P: But even there we never see any of the secret stuff.
M: It's not like we might run into G-Force in the halls or something.
KH: Supposing you did, what would you say to them?
M (shrugging): Ask for their autographs?
J: Ask them why they keep letting Zoltar get away.
P: Real tactful, Jase. I'm sure they don't do it on purpose.
M: Maybe their gunner can't shoot straight.
J: Or their Commander's just a lousy tactitian.
T (quickly): I'd aks to see the Phoenix. That is one cool ship.
K: Ask if I could join!
KH: You and every other kid on Earth, Keyop. Mark, I understand you spent a year at the flight school but you're not in the Service?
M: No, worse luck. Security worried about me being captured, used as a hostage or bait for a trap.
J: I didn't even bother to ask about joining up.
P: The Chief would never risk planetary security for us -
M: But he would risk himself which is just as bad. So the Service is out as a career, for all of us.
KH: So what do you do, Mark?
M: I test pilot new planes for R&D and run a little air courier sevice on the side.
J: I race, stock cars.
P: I help a friend run a little Snack Bar in town.
P: He's our best customer.
KH: And Keyop?
K: Go to school, bleccchhh!
KH: You older boys have moved out?
M: Sort of.
P: They come home to get their laundry done - and a square meal. I think Jason lives on pretzels and coffee when he's on the circuit.
KH: And what about Mark?
M: I can cook.
P: Microwaving frozen dinners is *not* cooking!
M: Hey I also open cans.
P: And Tiny's a fast food junkie.
T: Space burgers, yum!
KH: You keep mentioning security. Is it dangerous being related to Chief Anderson?
M: Well he's in danger all right. Zoltar's tried to kill him more than once.
P: You remember the Galaxy Express disaster.
KH: Very well. Mark, weren't you on the train with your father?
M: That's right. You know I might have met G-Force that time - if I hadn't been in the viewing car when Mala made her move.
P: Mark was evacuated with the other passengers.
M: Didn't see a thing.
KH: So being close to Anderson is dangerous?
M: Living on Earth is dangerous these days.
P: Anybody can be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
J: Yeah, ground zero's wherever Zoltar's latest mecha decides to rampage.
T: We're as safe as anybody.
M: Safer than most actually, when we're with the Chief.
KH: Would it be fair to say your father tries to shield you from his work?
P: He can be very protective sometimes.
M: Not that we appreciate it.
K: Not babies!
M: Usually he's very good about treating us like adults.
P: But every now and then his paternal instincts get the better of him. It's kind of cute really.
M: But real inconvenient sometimes.
J: You're just as bad. Going all 'big brother' and 'I'm the oldest' on us.
M: Yeah, well you can be pretty reckless, Jason. I worry about you.
J: See what I mean?
KH: What about you, Keyop. Is it hard having three big brothers and a big sister?
K: You bet! Bossy, bossy.
P: That's gratitude for you!
T: Not me.
K: Tiny's my bud!
T: We're both low men on the totem pole around here.
M: Well I like that.
KH: You feel passed over, Tiny?
T: Naw, that's not what I meant. Look, every family's got a pecking order, right? In ours Mark's the leader, Jase is the Second and Princess is in a class by herself as the only girl. I don't mind being a spear carrier. I'm a follower, not a leader.
K: I'm leader!
M: Sorry, Keyop, you're still the youngest.
K: Not fair.
J: Life's not fair, kid.
M: Give it time. We may all end up saluting you yet.
K: Like that idea! Commander Keyop!
P: Hopefully the war will be over by then.
K: Space explorer.
T: Need a pilot, Commander?
KH: You fly too, Tiny?
T: Naw. I'm the other kind of pilot, boats. I work part time at the Marina.
KH: If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
J: What kind of dumb question - ow!
He breaks off to rub his side and glare at his sister.
P: I'd be a bamboo. They bend but they don't break.
M: Nice choice, Princess. I favor the oak. Strong and sheltering.
K: Giant Sequoia, tall!
T: Pear. I like pears.
K: Shaped like one too!
J (uncomfortably): God, I don't know. Maybe one of those mountain pines. They're plenty tough. There's one old knarled one at HQ that's been through forest fires, hurricanes, you name it.
KH: I know it sounds silly, Jason, but the tree an interviewee picks tells me something about their personality. You, for example, value toughness - the ability to take it.
J: I guess that's right.
KH: Mark, on the other hand, is protective and responsible.
J: You can say that again!
KH: Princess tries to combine flexibility with strength.
M: That's our Princess all right.
KH: And Keyop wants to be taller.
K: Tired of being shrimp!
P: Give yourself time, Keyop. The doctors say you'll be taller than Jason someday.
K: Can't wait!
T: And I'm obsessed with food.
KH: Actually people who pick fruit trees are practical and value utility over appearances.
M: That's our Tiny to a 't'. Down to Earth.
P: Reliable. Unlike some I could mention.
K: My bud!
M: See, pal, we do appreciate you.
T (embarrassed but pleased): Aw, I knew that, Mark.
M: You know how it is with large families, the quiet kid gets overlooked while the troublemakers hog all the attention.
J: You looking at me, Mark?
M (ruefully): And in a mirror too, Jason. I'm not always the responsible one. Sometimes I need my brothers and sister to save my bacon or cover for me.
P: That's what family is for isn't it?