Episode 1: The Arrival a Pseudo serial written for a BBS online game played in the 90's.
Episode 2: Departure to Destiny, pseudo serial from BBS online game in 90's.
The Galactic Empire Chronicles
By: Nathaniel Miller
The Beginning -- Copyright © 1993
Captain’s Log: Stardate 3423.4
U.S.S. Magellanic Clouds on training mission to Alfa II Galaxy. Sector 920 at coordinates 34, 12, and 78. All systems are normal and functioning.
Commander Ihsss T’Larra, in her familiar place at the Communications console, panned a speculative glance to each station at the trainee crew who staffed the bridge of the U.S.S. Magellanic Clouds. The trainee crew mixed one at each station, beside an experienced crewmember, mans the bridge of this starship, doing the job assigned to them for this routine training mission. It is a good crew and they have done well during this mere training cruise. They have performed excellently, their handling of the ship, and the routine operations aboard her during this assignment. The most able of them is a young Lieutenant, a human woman named Sibrina Rodriguez who now occupies the captain’s chair.
Ihsss T’Larra, the true captain of the Clouds had expected good things from her, that she is quite young for her rank and yet she enhanced her natural aptitude with an inexhaustible capability for hard work. The Captain of the Clouds had sponsored her in the academy and Sibrina in return had not disappointed the reptilian communications officer by becoming the top of her class in the academy. She is a competent, young, fledgling officer who is on her first assignment to a Starship.
Captain T’Larra listened to the cool narration of the captain’s log as the young human narrated it, sitting in the command chair. Sibrina, the training cruise captain of the Clouds, completed the report and filed it. If the young human woman was nervous-and Ihsss knew she would be- that Sibrina concealed her feelings well for the situation here. She had never commanded a starship before in real life, only in the simulation tests that tested the reaction of the crew to many scenarios. It was only natural for her to feel anxiety, drawing a post of such importance on a training assignment and yet on any other occasion if she were assigned to a starship, Sibrina would be at the Science console or the Navigation console. They were her strengths and positions she fully qualified for and was well versed.
“It is a good start to a prospecting young officer’s career to be selected captain for a training mission.” Thought the reptilian captain, and secretly hoped to see Lieutenant Rodriguez succeed in her career with The Earth Defense Alliance. “And a name worth remembering for the promotion lists too.” She thought and nodded in approval.
Around the bridge sitting at each station, the many officers of the Magellanic Clouds, Ihsss’ friends, sat in their familiar positions on board the Star Cruiser Class Starship. Veloxa Bzzzarti and Thyrac Antilles, two insect-like beings called Veloxi, sat at their familiar places at the Helm and Navigation stations on the bridge. Felonious Caitlin, of a highly advanced feline race sat at his familiar position at the Science console. Voloxa Xerz, another insect person sat at the Engineering console on the bridge. (Usually he was found below as the Chief Engineer). Captain T’Larra, for this mission, usually sitting in the command chair, operated the communications station with her daughter Hi’Mthsss T’Larra.
Each of the experienced crew who staffed this ship has trainees under their command for this mission, except Felonious, who sat monitoring their progress at his console. This crew is one of the veteran crews, working on its eleventh year as one of the finest crews in the Star Cruiser community in The Earth Defense Alliance. As for this crew, their backgrounds are simple. This crew is made up and are refugees from their own worlds scattered through their section of the universe. A crew of many races who had been outcast, or displaced after their planets had been invaded, conquered, or destroyed by the Cybertron Empire. Ihsss and her daughter’s planet had been no exception, one of many invaded. The only difference for Ihsss and her crew, however, is their displacement had been voluntary. Ihsss and about fifty others had rose up against their persecutors, storming the space port, and stealing a ship to rocket into space. They had managed to evade the planetary defenses, and had traveled into deep space to travel within its infinite void to work as free traders among peaceful planets far from their homes.
“And the Cybertron should have known better.” Ihsss thought, shaking her large head, “A fool’s errand to invade my home-world with such a bloody conflict going on.” Here, the reptilian captain had managed a throaty, deep laugh, at the many memories of her home. She wished she could have been there to see that day, when her people had fought as one, and had overthrown their new Cybernetic masters in one month after invading her planet. The one and only time her planet had fought together as a race despite the racial tensions and persecution among them.
Despite the backgrounds and her shipmates enlisted to join her, Ihsss is very proud of her crew’s accomplishments. She is proud of them ever since their start of their profitable adventures together and of her own personal accomplishments after her exile into space. She thought of her home world and wondered if ever she would return there, or even if her accomplishments were even noticed by her own countryman. She had no idea that her efforts and accomplishments had traveled quickly home and with each new accomplishment, it put a widening crack in the tensions and unrest among the people.
“I can bet the Cybertron invading did not make it any better. At least that was short lived.” She thought. “Certainly, Hi’Mthsss and I could have faired better, there is no reason to go home to that now. Earth is our home.” Ihsss shook her head, gazing at the view screen and the bridge of their stolen Starship.
“Funny to think of that all now,” She mused, managing a quiet chuckle, “A strange turn in ten years total of wandering, from escape, exile and now a haven in The Earth Defense Alliance.” The reptilian commander turned, scanning the bridge once to regard her friends and swiveled the chair back toward her console.
“Leaving sector 332 and entering sector 333.” Veloxa exclaimed, “Transition mark.”
Everyone on the bridge turned to glance at the view screen, at the helmsman’s announcement, and quietly reacted to it. Captain T’Larra turned her head, as her reminisces, and memories faded glancing once at her young protégé in the command chair. Sibrina turned the chair quickly to face the view screen and from the blank bulkhead where she had been abstractly staring. She recovered herself quickly, still a little nervous for being commander for this training mission, and glanced only once to the Communications station. The insect-like pilot, Sibrina knew, was late with the transition mark but it was not critical to their progress. Lieutenant Rodriguez allowed it to pass and only had nodded in response.
“Helm, slow to warp one,” She ordered quickly, “Navigator, plot a parallel course, turn to two-two five mark four.” Both of them responded simultaneously, quickly punching calculations into their consoles. Thyrac watched her trainee carefully, letting him make his own mistakes and only correcting him as necessary. The ship shuddered, slowed, and Veloxa hit the switch in his console that switched the view screen to a tactical view, displaying a computerized three-dimensional view of the ship, surrounded by white three-dimensional compass that spun on its axis slowly around the ship. Moments later, a blue tracer line streaked away from the ship, curving away from it as it showed the new course.
“Course plotted and lay in.” The trainee replied from the navigator’s position, and even half turned to nod at human in the command chair.
“Helm, engage and maintain warp one.” She answered, glancing down at the two Insect-like officers at the helm and navigator station.
“Aye Ma’am.” Veloxa’s trainee replied touching the controls and the ship shuddered to lurch. It almost jumped forward in the star-filled background of space as it accelerated forward on a seemingly endless collision course with the stars that hurtled toward them. The ship banked sharply to the new course and the low throbbing hum of the engines could be heard as the ship continued acceleration. As low groan of the engines became louder, however, something inside the young lieutenant’s body had caused adrenaline to be pumped into her bloodstream. She noticed her heartbeat that raced at a steady pace and the thumping of her heart sounding in her ears. It was probably the feeling of being here in the captain’s chair and commanding a starship, a god-like feeling to command a ship in deep space. Still, there was something missing here and she sensed it among the experienced crew. At her post, the reptilian communications officer had raised an eyebrow at uncomfortable feeling she sensed passing through the young Lieutenant.
The young Lieutenant turned her attention to the view screen as the small ship continued to plow on its course set for the training mission. Even as everything was proceeding well, the young officer sensed something was going wrong. ‘That something was rotten in the state of Denmark’ as the old twentieth century clichés went. Sibrina had glanced around the bridge sharply, a playful frown appearing on her face, as a chill passed through her bones. Suddenly, her eyes fell upon the console of the helm and navigation where a warning light now flashed.
“Captain, deflectors have snapped on.” Thyrac’s trainee exclaimed tensely.
“Well shit.” Ihsss muttered, picking up the slang while living on Earth; a slang word that seemed to fit this moment exactly. She turned to regard the science officer Felonious, who had his furry head over the sensor module and buried in the sensor module’s viewer. A low murmur rounded the bridge and a worried glance passed from Thyrac to Veloxa. Even Sibrina had looked over at Felonious.
“What’s shaking Fel?” asked the young woman and Felonious responded to her jest with a toothy smile on his furry features.
“Sensors show two ships to port captain.” Felonious informed her, “They’re warships, Cybertron Battle-Cruiser Class.” Another pause.
“Have they seen us yet?”
“Not yet, Captain.” Felonious replied, putting his face back in the sensor scanner.
“Here we go again.” Veloxa whispered to Thyrac and she nodded.
“Red alert.” Sibrina prompted and touched the console. The klaxon began to wail noisily and the several back-up crews ran onto the bridge to fill the empty positions on the bridge.
“Shields up full.” She ordered, remembered the rules of The Earth Defense Alliance for keeping the peace. She gave in. “Return fire if we are fired upon.”
Stress and tension circulated the bridge, for the trainees mostly where this was their first taste of a combat situation. The rush of adrenaline surged through the young Lieutenant who sat in the captain’s chair. Still it was several moments before she touched the silencer located on the captain’s chair control panel and replaced the deafening alarm with silence. The view screen flickered and the Battle Cruisers appeared on the screen.
“They are passing on our port side, aft section.” Felonious reported, “Distance, thirteen thousand kilometers.”
Felonious shook his furry feline head, but stopped in mid sentence. “They have now. Here they come.”
“Visual.” Sibrina snapped in answer, the view screen flickered and Cybertron ships appeared there.
“Aye ma’am.” The pilot echoed, tapping many calculations in the console. “Coming left, to grid two, seven, three…” Veloxa shouted, but quickly subdued his voice as he continued. “Set to Z minus positive five degrees.” A warning sound buzzed from the console next to Felonious.
“Sensors show three more Cybertron Battle Cruisers to starboard Captain.” Felonious declared, followed by the Star Cruiser lurching twice as two direct phaser hits struck the Cruiser’s shields.
“Phaser hits on the port-side, aft section.” Kwai said, sitting at the weapons defense console. “Minimal damage.” The fight was on.
“Let them have it.” Sibrina shouted, and phaser bursts erupted from the Star-Cruiser’s weapons.
“Direct hits.” Felonious said, “They have light damage, but otherwise little or no effect.” Two Battle Cruisers bore down on them from all directions.
“Tactical.” Sibrina shouted, and the image showed the ship and the enemy ships that closed in around them.
“Forward view.” She instructed again and immediately the view screen switched to a forward view. Two Cybertron Battle-Cruisers loomed in the background of stars. A moment later, another phaser burst rocked the Star Cruiser and this time the dampers barely countered the lurch of the powerful strike.
“They are right on our tail and bearing down on the port and starboard side Captain.” Veloxa exclaimed and again two more phaser hits struck the Star Cruiser.
“There is damage, sections fourteen, fifteen and twenty-one.” Hi’Mthss reported, “Damage control reports minimal damage consisting of shorts and overloads.”
Each position found itself busy in combat operations and each trainee followed the directive of the experienced officers. “Distance and bearing, helm Mr. Bzzzarti.” Sibrina ordered and stood up from the captain’s chair, standing behind the navigator and helmsman. “Maybe we can get a few pot-shots in too.” Outside the ship, the small starship banked in a perfect arc toward the Battle Cruisers of the Cybertron. Inside the ship, a cool crew sat on the bridge sat waiting for battle, as all stations were manned and ready.
“Two thousand kilometers, bearing one three degrees.” Veloxa, the insect-like helmsman announced.
“They are closing extremely fast.” Thyrac added.
“Stand by all weapons.” She ordered. Another phaser hit on the shields made the cruiser again lurch. “Launch mines now!” ordered the young woman. Veloxa’s hands were a quick blur on the console.
“Mines are away captain.” Mines streaked away from the Star Cruiser. “Evade immediately, Z positive twenty degrees.” Without warning, the clouds streaked upward and spun clear of the ships. Mines struck the Cybertron and explosions on both sides hit the Cybertron ship’s hull. They lurched, the spark of internal explosions from the hull appeared, and debris floated away next to the ship.
“They are slowing captain there are several hits in their Engineering sections.” Felonious reported, “And three visible direct hits on their bridges. They are slowing from their pursuit.” Moments later, all three exploded into a hell fire ball of light and disappeared. Debris hit the Cloud’s shields and no one cheered on the bridge.
“Steer to course zero, one three.” She ordered, “Get us the hell out of this fight.” Lieutenant Rodriguez snapped, grasping the back of Veloxa’s chair.
“Aye ma’am,” The pilot replied. The starship shuddered again as it slowed down, banking quickly as it approached a Cybertron warship that had cut their escape route and who immediately opened up with a torpedo spread. Felonious from his place heard the curse muttered by the young Lieutenant.
“Incoming.” Thyrac bellowed, “Hang on.” Their ship vibrated and shuddered.
“Damn it…!” Cursed the young Lieutenant, when the Cruiser lurched and all hell broke loose as multiple hits rocked the ship. The lights dimmed, followed by the sound of shearing metal around them. Felonious knew the sound all to well and the familiar hiss of space leaking in.
“Shields are collapsing captain.” A voice yelled over the rumbling sounds of the guns.
“Divert all power to shields.” Sibrina ordered, glancing over at Felonious who had casually reached over and hit a red button on his console. A moment, the whine of a generator powering up and a pure white energy appeared from the Star Cruiser’s hull, absorbing the many torpedo hits from the enemy battle cruiser and erupted into a white-hot bolt that headed back, obliterating one more Cybertron Starship into nothingness. Felonious nodded to the young officer and flipped the switch.
“Engineering has diverted auxiliary power to shields and they are back up captain.” A voice quavered, “Only forty-five percent though. Dampeners have minor damage.”
Another phaser hit rocked the Star Cruiser’s shields and this time several of the trainee crew was thrown from their seats by the hit; Including Veloxa who hit the desk with a dull thud. Thyrac jumped the rail to assist the damage control crews with the electrical fires and the sound of sheering metal sounded around them. Sibrina jumped to her feet and moved to the Helm console. She returned fire and watched as several phasers bursts erupted from the Cloud’s weapons and strike the enemy starship. A lethal beam of energy lanced out and connected each ship with the raw fury. Several hits pounded the hull of the Cybertron ship, more explosions appeared as if it sprouted mushrooms and it finally disappeared in a flash of light.
“We got him.” Sibrina shouted, “Sweet.” Veloxa sat up and climbed up from the floor to the navigation console. He cast a look at Sibrina who now sat at the helm console. He said nothing, and dabbed at the streaming white blood from the top of his head.
“”I have control.” Sibrina thought, her heart racing at the ship began to purge and spin uncontrollably in a flat spin. Her hands danced over the console and the ship straightened. “I think its time to get the hell out of here.” She mused and touched the console. Veloxa turned to stare at her strangely. The ship lurched, evading the torpedoes that were launched by the Cybertron vessel. Sibrina’s hands danced across the controls and the ship turned heading right for the enemy vessel.
“What the hell are you doing?” Veloxa shouted, “We’re going to hit, brace for impact.” The view screen clicked to an aft view and Cybertron ships closed rapidly behind them. The view switched to a forward view to a huge Battle Cruiser Starship coming at them.
The Cruiser headed toward the enemy ship in front of them and followed closely by another enemy ship behind. Sibrina hit the controls and in space their ship made an impossible move, turning sharply into the old term a ‘flat spin’ using the thrusters, to evade another burst of torpedoes from the front ship. It rotated nose-to-nose three hundred sixty degrees to head out at z-minus ten degrees into clear space.
Behind them, two Cybertron ships collided and two of them exploded in a large energy burst. The others tried to evade, ending up that two more was to be consumed in the burst.
“It’s still four to one captain.” Felonious commented. “Nice flying.” Sibrina hit the console hard.
Their Cruiser swung wide and lurched just barely missing a torpedo spread aimed right at them. It wildly turned out of control and then sharply turned to miss another spread of torpedoes erupting from another Cybertron Battle-Cruiser on their port side. Sibrina increased to full impulse power.
“Damn it…!” She shouted, pounding the helm console buttons, making the ship lurch hard and just barely evaded more torpedoes. An enemy ship stayed hot on their heels and turned with the cruiser.
“Incoming!” Ihsss shouted, gripping the arm of her chair as torpedoes were launched from the Cybertron ships.
“Damn it again!” She muttered and struck the console hard with her fist. Torpedoes streaked from all the remaining ships and all were all aimed at the Star Cruiser. The young Lieutenant touched the console again, her fingers dancing over its surface. A shudder and the ship lurched again, banking hard, then rolled vertically, allowing the torpedoes to streak past. It was a wild reckless move and threw the trainee crew from their seats again. Behind them the smaller Cybertron ships tried to turn with the wild maneuvers and collided with the larger ships. In the cloud’s view-screen, a large explosion of energy appeared behind them.
“That was too close.” Ihsss said, and sighed in relief. The large energy burst enveloped the third Cybertron Ship and it too was consumed by the blast. However, through the debris one ship was still hot on their tail.
“One is slowing to sub-light, apparently it took bad damage.” Felonious beamed, “Stabilize the shields.”
Voloxa’s trainee turned, hitting a switch at the engineering section. “Shields steady at fifty eight percent power now sir. They are recharging now.” A young ensign reported. Sibrina nodded, vacating the pilot’s seat and returned to the captain’s chair. Veloxa took his proper place at the helm again.
“Hard over port,” Ordered the young Lieutenant, and the ship lurched rolling suddenly before it straightened again.
“The enemy vessel is hurt and moving away Ma’am.” Felonious reported, clicking a button on his console.
“Come about to go after them?” Veloxa’s trainee asked and Sibrina shook her head.
Behind her, the damage control crew had the fire under control, and a minute later, Thyrac too returned to her station.
“No, get us the hell out of here.” Sibrina nodded to the Navigator who had turned with a question look in his face.
”Engaging course back and maintain warp point nine after we drop from warp.” Repeated the pilot and Sibrina noticed the quiet sigh in relief.
“Damage control reports containment of a fire in sections fifteen and sixteen, Corridor twelve.” Ihsss reported, listening to her headset and the reports coming in all over the ship.
“Hi’Mthss, notify Headquarters, Earth.” Sibrina said quickly, “Apprise them of our encounter of Cybertron Empire Ships, and our position.” Ihsss finally had a chance to look down and she noted that she gripped the chair tightly.
“Aye.” The reptilian communicator replied, with quick precision tapped the many buttons on her console.
“There is jamming on all frequencies captain.” The trainee announced, “I can’t get through.” Ihsss grimaced, knowing what was coming next.
“They have cut us off, so there are more ships coming.” She muttered and Sibrina realized it too.
“Engage cloaking device Thyrac.” She ordered and at the helm, the bug-like navigator hit the button on her console. Outside the ship shimmered and then disappeared leaving nothing but the silence of stars around them. Another shudder and the ship’s impulse drive engaged.
Meanwhile, in his quarters on Earth: Lieutenant Seth Aguilera, from the US Army of the past, awoke with a start and with a cry of alarm sat straight up in bed in sickbay located at the Earth Defense Command Headquarters. As he sat there, he panned a quick gaze to the darkened room, disoriented, shaken, and freaked out by the horrible dreams that he had during his many attempts to sleep. He had not slept well in the last few weeks, bad dreams still plaguing him since he had been awakened from stasis where he was asleep for the better part of three hundred years. The dreams were the last thing he remembered before drifting off, an explosion, fire, and smoke sweeping through the chamber when a terrorist bomb had been set off. It had exploded, killing everyone in the area, and as the fire swept through the chamber, shrapnel that had been thrown from the chemical drums set ablaze by the explosion. He remembered the people that had been shredded, and the terrible gore he saw from the safety of his chamber. He had flinched as the fire had hit the chambers and a couple of shredded people had hit his chamber to slide off of the Plexiglas hatch. He remembered the looks on their half mangled faces, as they slid off, and the looks that the young officer would never forget.
“Oh god what the hell is wrong with me.” He thought. He shook his head in his hands as the nightmares faded. His gaze turned to the sterile environment that made up the hospital room, reminding himself that it had been a dream he was having, knowing fully well that it was no dream that they had awakened far into the future. The room he now occupied is a large room, and in it two beds could comfortably be sat in them. Equipment of all sorts lines the wall and several futuristic panels. Next to him a small terminal flickered and the face of a nurse appeared there.
“Bad dreams again Lieutenant?” She asked, and he looked over.
“Do you need something to help you sleep?” The nurse asked, and quickly he shook his head.
“I’ve had enough sleep.” Seth replied, managing a disinterested shrug first, then a slow nod before the terminal flickered and went black. Slowly he blindly reached out for his robe that hung nearby on the hook, swinging his legs to the side of the bed where he sat for a moment before standing up to wrap it around him. His gaze then went to the huge bay window that overlooked the city and he moved to stand in front of it. Lieutenant Aguilera gazed off at the sea of lights at a place he had called home once, the city of San Francisco and the Bay Area. As Seth stared at the lights, his gaze quickly found the visible landmarks of the town he knew like the back of his hand, and then to the dark waters where he knew the Bay was. It was difficult for him to imagine this place, but he and the others were here, far into the future, having beaten all the odds against their project. There were a few exceptions of course, and casualties along the way.
It was now three hundred years since the volunteers were put in stasis, and now were recovered from project Harpoon, an ill fated project forgotten centuries ago, where they had been guinea pigs for a new process that had been discovered. A process using a new technology that was developed by NASA and where people could be put in suspension as it was commonly portrayed in the movies 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010: Odyssey two, and any other common science fiction books of long past. They were accidentally left there when current events had distracted everyone from the project and then the explosion shortly after. The project was assumed destroyed, and the chambers never were recovered. Together twelve people would lie in these chambers for three centuries, put in a century where there was now warp travel, space travel and colonies in space; where space travel was second nature into the galaxy, far away from mother Earth.
“A time that undoubtedly would amaze them as they caught up” Seth thought, thinking of seven others that had met their demise while in stasis and people he had buried; teammates who would never know the twenty-third century.
Seth stood in the futuristic city of San Francisco, as he had many days now, staring at the sights of the bustle of the city. It was night now, but when he had first seen it in the day, he had gasped openly. The city he knew had changed a lot than what he remembered of it and from his window where he could gaze right down into the city. Seth immediately had noted that it is much larger than it had been in the past. Not so much in size, built down the peninsula, but it built upward in large, futuristic skyscrapers. He also noted that the landmarks that he knew marking the city had changed, especially the Bay that had changed itself in these centuries. The familiar San Francisco Bay had become small and slender, now controlled by a huge power plant at the mouth, catching the currents as it was kept a maintained size. In addition to the Bay, Seth also noticed as he checked out the sights that the seven bridges, with exception to the Golden Gate no longer spanned the watery surface of the Bay. They had long since been dismantled and left far behind in its progress, no longer needed as Tram Service came available. Seth of course was in the middle of it all and he shook his head. Across the bay, he could see the lights of Oakland, and the cities that were across the watery surface out there somewhere.
“There have been a lot of changes.” He muttered and cast a look at the computer terminal nearby where for the last couple of weeks he had been catching up on technology and the future.
“Three hundred years of catch up learning I have to do.” Seth thought, “I wonder how the others are taking this? Also what does the future now hold for me and my friends?” He thought, and yet shook his head.
“Computer, coffee, black.” Ordered the young officer and quickly the computer obeyed, below the replicator unit humming into life, quickly putting a mug of coffee on the platform. Seth grinned in amusement as the cup it materialize on the platform, and realized that he had discovered yet another feature of the future, taken from a familiar TV program from long ago.
Picking up the cup, he let it warm his hands before he sipped carefully from the warm mug and his first reaction was to grimace at the taste. He knew he needed stimulation and took another determined sip from the cup. Here the young officer turned his head and he managed a long panning gaze to the bay window again. His first thoughts had been to his friends who no doubt unaware of the incredible jump in time and fortune to survive the project. He was so engrossed in the sights around him that he is unaware of two people who have entered the room behind him. They are that of two young women, his friends who have entered behind him, and ones that he thought dead and buried with the seven others who had not survived stasis. There had been a minor mix-up on the records and they had been swapped, two cadavers of this century who had been fighting against the Cybertron had been buried in their stead. Seth was so busy staring out the window that he had not noticed their entry.
The two young women are both very beautiful, one of them a brunette as the other one was a gorgeous blond. The dark haired woman, named Emily, cleared her throat that he whirled around, his gaze beholding these two very beautiful young women. He met the semi-familiar face with question, staring at the long curly brown hair that draped down around her back and her brown eyes. His gaze moved to the other one, the same thing, with exception the second woman had blue eyes, blond hair and a voluptuous figure. Seth relaxed, composing himself quickly as he straightened, assuming they were the doctor and nurse on duty here tonight. The blond at first he thought had been another member of the group, Amy Panstingle.
“Amy?” He asked. The young woman shook his head.
He had not recognized the two young women, that of Denise “Watts” Watson, and Emily Montgomery, both of them Seth’s friends and stasis members who like him had volunteered for stasis.
“Uh, sorry for the intrusion,” Denise said, grimacing, “Wrong room.” Seth managed a grin.
“No problem. It happens to the best of us.” But as she turned and he found himself staring, sensing something familiar about these people.
“Please wait.” He said quietly and both of them paused, turning. “Is there something I can help you with Ma’am. Do I know you?”
Denise shook her head, “I’m not sure you would.” She replied, in a strangely familiar twang, and she glanced at the other young woman who shook her head too. He muttered a curse and for a moment, he closed his eyes and the faces echoed there readily in his head.
The young women stood there in confusion too and turned to glance at each other several times, and then back to young man here. The same feelings too, something familiar about him washed over them too. Both were unsure and Denise turned, squinting in the dark room. She muttered a curse.
“Computer! Lights!” She said sharply and the computer obeyed, the lights switching abruptly on. He grimaced at the brightness, as she did.
“Computer… Half-lights!” They both said simultaneously and the lights dimmed to a low level intensity. They both exchanged a smirk between them and then managed a burst of laughter. After a moment they became very quiet, Denise stared at him, smiling. Seth had already had his head shaved into a prison type crew cut and his dark features studied her. Denise’s reaction was one of swift acknowledgement when his face came back to her and she let out a gasp.
“Seth?” She asked, “Seth Aguilera?” She said, staring in wonder at his face and shook her head. Emily had turned too, shaking her head, but not without stepping up to him first, to lay a passionate kiss on his lips. Emily embraced the officer. Seth was not prepared as their lips touched. Her kiss was sweet filled with much promise and yet his eyes showed immediate surprise. He had not expected this at all and felt a slight flush creeping up on his face. Emily drew back after breaking the kiss and stared into his eyes.
“It is you.” She declared, and she held him. Seth on the other hand, his mind is a whirl of questions, he was trying to place this person somewhere and something in his head had triggered a memory. All at once, her face suddenly was familiar and it was many other times, arguments and power struggles since their professional relationship built itself three hundred years ago in the city of San Francisco, a place known for romance. It was several moments before something in his memories confirmed and made him remember.
“Denise?” He ventured a name, “Denise Watson?” Denise on the other hand smiled and nodded to him in reply. He turned to stare at Emily. “Emily!” He replied and he embraced her again. He immediately almost broke down as he stared at them. He raised his hand to touch her face, pausing before the young officer touched her as if she were to burst like a soap bubble. When his hand felt her warm skin he shuddered.
“Oh my god.” He breathed and embraced her back, returning the kiss. Just as a young nurse, the doctor on duty in this ward and a couple of officers from the Admiralty upstairs entered. Behind them walked, Amy Panstingle, Melinda Morris, Manual Perry and Amanda Garcia.
They walked together, as usual talking business, the doctor in the lead, escorting the Admiralty officers to the ward. They walked in Seth’s room unannounced, or had knocked, but Seth did not hear. Their gazes had fallen upon the very romantic scene that went on here and stared at the two officers. A smile broke out on the doctor’s face and the young Admiralty officer glanced at the other, then to the doctor who smiled at first, but his grin faded when he realized who was here in the room. Five minutes elapsed and an uncomfortable shuffle rippled through the group. Emily and Seth finally broke and she smiled at Lieutenant Aguilera. “I am so glad to see you.” She said, and they embraced.
“How can this be, they said you were dead…” He stammered, “I had to help bury you. I can’t believe it.” She frowned at the notion.
“Well you better believe it.” A voice said and Seth turned to the doctor and the group.
“Ms. Watson, Ms. Montgomery, what the blazes are you doing out of bed?” The doctor asked, as he walked toward the trio. Seth, without thinking moved to step in front of her and deflected his arm. Emily of course was so in shock by the feeling of Seth in her arms that her mind was so overloaded. She let out a groan. Seth’s head turned when he heard it and watched as if in slow motion her body began to swoon and fall to the deck in a faint. He moved like lightning and grabbed her, holding her unconscious form in his arms.
“Medics!” Seth shouted, and two burley men, clad in white uniforms appeared. The doctor was on hand and he pointed to the nearby bed where he placed her.
Amy, Melinda, Manual and Amanda had clustered around Seth and Denise when they saw them, amazed that they were here. They shook hands with Seth, the young women embracing him.
“We had better move her back. Get a gurney.” Seth caught the doctor’s gaze and slightly he shook his head. “She’ll be okay Lieutenant.” He told the young officer and Seth took up her hand. His gaze met the young orderly.
“You… move my gear to her room… NOW.” Seth said, glancing up at the surprised doctor who had bet his gaze. “She already has a room-mate, but we’ll keep you informed of her condition.” Seth heard them tell him. He shook his head.
“Bull, I am not going to lose this young woman again. Not you or anyone and have to bury her again.” Seth said his tone low and soft. The orderly checked the doctor’s gaze who nodded slightly.
“Very well sir.” He replied, as and he grabbed the robe and they moved her back to her room. Seth sat next to her as the Doctor worked over her. Her eyes fluttered and she stared up at the young Lieutenant Watson and Seth.
“Oh my god, I can’t believe it.” She said, her eyes flowing with tears.
“Easy, Em…” He replied, kissing her hand. “I am not going anywhere. Is she going to be alright Doc?”
Standing next to her bed, the young Doctor looked up. “Yes, she’ll be fine, just needs a bit of rest. Miss Montgomery, next time you should obey your good doctor’s advice.” Grinning, the young officer managed a quiet chuckle, and she grinned. He peered over at Denise too. “That goes for you too.”
“Sorry doctor Phillips.” She replied and he smiled.
“Well anyway, please rest.” Nodding quickly, Emily closed her eyes.
“It’s okay. She’s going to go to sleep for a while.” The doctor said, “Please.” He motioned him to the bed and Seth backed up to take a seat next to her. The Doctor took his blood pressure and everything from the bed that displayed the readings.
“I was told you are having trouble sleeping…”
Seth nodded and the doctor noted that in the small wafer thin board he carried. “Well that’s understandable, you and the others being in stasis for so long. Otherwise how are you feeling today?” Lieutenant Aguilera shrugged.
“Now that I have seen Denise and Emily, I’m just fine, but still a little confused, a little lonely.” He said, “I look out there and it seems that I have lost a part of myself to that city out there for three hundred years. There is hope that you guys made a mistake and I did not bury another one of my people.” Phillips grinned at him. However, a voice interrupted sharply.
“Well, good news the doctor here says you will be out in a day.” Mitty said, as she entered the room and he stood sharply at attention. He saluted formally. Mitty of course noted his immediate respect to military Decorum, and waved casually.
“At ease… At ease.” She said, shaking her head. “Great news though, we have something already in mind when you get out of here Seth. I have already discussed it with the Admiral and he wants to see you tomorrow afternoon.” The young officer grinned,
“Cool” he exclaimed and cast a look at Denise.
“Doc can she hear this?” The doctor shook his head.
“So what do you have Commander?”
“The assignment is a Special Forces assignment at Headquarters, and the Admiral feels you’d be perfect for it. We want you to report to Special Operations under Admiral Primetime, tomorrow at sixteen hundred after you meet with Admiral Hammer.” A grin was broadly on the young Lieutenant’s face.
“Great.” He replied, “At last to be useful again…” Here the young woman grinned. “Oh yea, how long will she be out?” He asked and Doctor Phillips turned.
“Not long… why?” The doctor nodded in immediate understanding. “I wanted to say goodbye.” Seth said, “And make sure to tell her I will be back soon. I am wondering if she knows if the others made it or not…” The doctor understood.
“Ah.” He replied, nodding his head. “Well, you won’t get that chance we’re going to keep her sedated for at least twenty-four hours.”
Quickly the young Lieutenant glanced down at his chronometer on his wrist. “Damn.” Seth said, “Please at least give her the message, I don’t want her to worry.” Mitty nodded curtly,
“It’s alright, she is in good hands. Doctor Phillips is the best doctor we have in Sick Bay at the Medical Department of the Earth Defense Alliance HQ.” Seth grimaced, managing a nod.
“Anyway that’s all for now.” Commander McDonald said and Seth started to get up as she started to leave. “Please, carry on.” Seth of course sat there a moment, realizing that he was back in the military, and he had a new mission. He definitely was looking forward to it. He had a lot to prepare for and a new century that awaits exploration by Seth, Denise, Emily, and the remaining five-stasis personnel from the past.
Back in space, however, at the same moment --- Aboard the Star Cruiser USS Magellanic Clouds:
Ihsss T’Larra now sat in the Command chair, her daughter now sat in her position of the Communications station and Sibrina sat next to the science console station. As Ihsss watched the stars hurtle toward them, they entered the sector where the tender awaited them. Sibrina has moved to the science station where she sat with Felonious. Ihsss impatiently sat in the chair, turning it back and forth as she scanned the bridge. She was a good commander on training mission voyages. She would take the trainees to a new level, letting them work uninterrupted despite several harrying events that had happened.
“Like a few hours ago.” Ihsss thought, glancing at her daughter. “Still they did excellently and I am going to make a lot of recommendations.” She thought. The crew on board had long since stood down from battle stations, but the crew all still remained on edge. For the moment, they had managed to escape the Cybertron ambush and the next wave that had been coming in on them. The ship had managed to long since get out of jamming range and had warned the Earth Defense Alliance of the impending raids of Cybertron ships before invasion. Now her ship had been ordered home.
“Helm, slow to impulse and turn to course one-three five,” Ihsss ordered, “Felonious, where is the tender.” He put his furry head in the viewer module again.
“On the port-side captain.” He replied. She nodded. “Bring us in slow and easy helm, slow to impulse power for approach.” A low hum of the sensors echoed across the bridge.
“You’re not going to like this skipper,” Felonious told her, switching the view screen. The image of a half destroyed couple of ships appeared there.
“Shit.” Ihsss exclaimed, and Sibrina at the moment was in her mind saying the same thing but a better idiom and colorful word came to mind. “Sound yellow alert and scan for any survivors.” Ihsss, turned her chair to the feline officer at the science console. He looked up from the console and shook his head.
“No survivors captain, or any life signs in the hulk, there are a few bodies as of yet that float near it. The signature looks like that of a Cybertron attack.” A bleep on the console echoed over the speakers,
“All stop,” Ihsss ordered, “Nice and steady helm.” The helmsman tapped the controls and slowly the ship wallowed to a stop. “Keep an eye out,” Ihsss warned, “The Cybertron may be out there.” A chill passed through her bones.
“Captain, a ship incoming,” Felonious reported, “on the starboard side. It just warped in.” Ihsss’ resolve was immediate.
“Shields up. Red Alert!” she ordered, and the klaxon alarm blared on the speakers. Again crews ran to their positions. “Two more ships to port.” Sibrina added.
“This is the Federation Destroyer Whirlwind, to unidentified ship. Halt and identify immediately.” The speakers said, crackling with static, and at his post, Felonious relaxed.
“There ours.” He said and Ihsss relaxed too, turned her head, flashing a grin to the feline officer.
“Hi’Mthsss, open hailing frequencies please.” She said, turning her chair to face the communications console.
“Hailing frequencies open skipper.” Ihsss replied after her hands danced over the console.
“This is Federation Star Cruiser, Magellanic Clouds.” Ihsss replied, “Glad to see you could join us.” A grin passed between the helmsman and navigator. There was a brief pause before the view screen flickered and a picture appeared of Captain March Williams sitting in the Command chair.
“Greetings Captain. Welcome back, we were worried and came in force when we got the mayday from the Rueben Saint James out here and their Destroyer escorts.” The voice continued, “We got the word that they were sent to meet you here, but it appears someone else had something else in mind.” He paused. “What is your status Captain T’Larra?” The screen wavered for a moment with static but cleared.
“We’re partially operational Captain.” Ihsss replied, “We have important information for Headquarters, an invasion report of a Cybertron force who have breeched sector 920 and 921. We need to be along side the tender for some minor repairs before we can get this relayed to Earth.” The captain on the view screen, a middle-aged man frowned, turning away from the screen for a moment then turned back.
“Our task force is nearby, and a tender is standing by to help make your repairs. We will relay the message and send a ship to escort you back.” The captain said, “Steer a course zero nine zero and follow us,” March instructed.
Ihsss nodded gladly. “With thanks Captain.”
He grinned nodding and the screen flickered returning to the field of stars.
“Thyrac, plot parallel course,” She ordered, and Thyrac, now rapidly punching in equations, looked up to nod.
“Helm, execute and make for impulse, warp point three.” Ihsss ordered and Veloxa’s claw-like hands danced over the console. The ships spun in place and slowly it limped along and on course, and headed for the task force that would escort them home.
The Galactic Empire Chronicles
By: Nathaniel Miller
Departure to Destiny.
Copyright © 1994
The infinity that is space, a world filled with serene light, uncountable stars in the deep darkness, and with dying and forming stars abounds with many life forms. Yes, space is alive. The entire universe, our galaxy, and even the many solar systems are filled with many such life forms. They are filled with many that love, aspire and fight in war, and there are others that are peace loving. The speck that makes up our Earth is one such place, a place where wars have come and gone, leaving their mark. A solar system named “Sol” resides in a mere corner of this huge galaxy known as the Milky Way and in one of seventy such systems located here. In this solar system, located in this part of the large galaxy, that nine planets orbit the single life-giving star. On the third planet of the system, an insignificant body really, called Earth, lives an advanced civilization known as human kind.
It is outside the Sol system, however, that a large fleet hovers here, moving at slow speed in formation, toward the Sol Solar system. Attached to a large bulky craft, a class of tender ship, that a smaller craft called the Magellanic Clouds, a Star Cruiser class starship hangs from the bottom of it by a docking clamp. It is the very ship that had been hell and back, managing to survive a Cybertron ambush and luckily managed to escape with only moderate damage and casualties. Now it hangs from the tender, taking on provisions and an army of repair teams fix the ship before it returns to Earth per its orders.
On board the Clouds, Captain T’Larra again sits in her usual place, the command chair, gazing at her shipmates as they make final preparations to get underway and detach from the tender ship. Slowly, she spun her chair left then to right, glancing at each station, the crew working with tender personnel, repairing the systems on the bridge.
“All systems functional, crew is making final preparations to get underway for Earth.” Felonious replied, turning his head toward the command chair. Ihsss glanced at his First Officer/Science Officer, and she nodded slightly to him.
“Helm?” Ihsss questioned.
“Helm ready.” Veloxa said aloud, but under his breath sotto voice, “Helmsman, ready than he’ll ever be.” Beside him, Thyrac, his mate chuckled.
“Navigation ready, for all modes of flight, course plotted for Earth.” Thyrac reported.
“Weapons Defense console repaired, shields recharged, all weapons functional.” A voice spoke up, and Ihsss glanced at the young humanoid named Kwai Mao who manned the station. She managed a grin and a nod.
“Well done to all hands.” She told them, “for tending to and all hands taking part in our swift repair.” The reptilian captain hit the button on her chair.
“Engineering, Aye Ma’am.” The accented voice of the Engineer replied.
“Status report.” Ihsss asked, “How long until we can get under way?”
“Pylon repaired, we are capable for all modes and warp capacities.” Voloxa reported, “Engineering standing by. We can leave anytime.”
“You have all done an excellent job for such a short flight,” Ihsss announced, “Hopefully our next adventure together will be a little more routine.” Here she paused.
“Stations,” She ordered, hitting the intercom switch, “All hands prepare for departure.”
The crews that were on board to repair the small ship hurried to the lift and soon it was only the Magellanic Clouds crew who now occupied the bridge. A few minutes later Hi’Mthss turned from the Communications console.
“Gantry personnel reports all repair crews have departed. They are retracting the gantry, Captain.” Ihsss glanced at Hi’Mthsss, her daughter, who occupied the communications station,
Outside the large ship, a metal gantry that connected the two ships was slowly moved back and folded neatly under the huge super structure of the Tender Frigate in which they were attached to for repair.
“Tender signals clear.”
“Engineering, detach docking clamp.” Ihsss ordered, “Helm, give us some thrust downward, z-minus five thousand and hold at station keeping.”
Outside the ship, a docking clamp released the ship, and slowly the cruiser slowly sank from the slot before a jet of blue flame pushed it downward even further. As the ship slowly moved away from the bottom of the tender, it rotated away from the larger ship, dwarfed by the size of it. On the bridge of the Cruiser, Veloxa’s experienced claw like appendages kept the ship at steady stop.
“We are free and clear to navigate.” He reported, making Ihsss turn her chair toward the helm station.
“Engage course to Earth, Warp factor twenty-five.” She ordered, nodding her head at the Insectoid helmsman.
“Aye, Captain.” Veloxa replied, as a claw-like appendage hit the buttons on the console.
The ship’s engines hummed into life as the helmsman hit the control and the ship jumped into warp space. On the screen, the stars hurtled toward them as the ship made its way on its new course to Earth. Hi’Mthsss was relieved that the first part of the mission was over, and thankfully Sibrina had brought most of the crew through this ordeal out in deep space. What troubled her was now the Cybertron, an evil cybernetic race who conquered the universe. They would reach Earth and she wondered what would be the reaction of the Earth Federation.
“War no doubt.” She thought and grimaced as her mood seemed to change. The ship plummeted through space as it jumped through many galaxies, and across space. As the ship continue on course, the stars hurled toward them on the view screen and Ihsss turned her chair to face the blank wall, peering at the modules of blinking lights there.
“Captain, the automatic deflectors snapped on.” Veloxa warned, as a warning light began to flash on the console he and Thyrac sat at. Felonious was on his feet in a heartbeat, his furry face in science station viewer.
“Captain, we have company.” Felonious warned, clicking a couple of switches on the console, “It is a Cybertron warship.”
“What is the configuration?” Ihsss asked, and the science station and sensors module hummed loudly.
“Scout ship, Cybertron Interceptor.” He replied, “They are turning toward us, they are arming weapons!”
“Battle stations, all decks.” Ihsss ordered, and a klaxon sounded on the ship, as the lights turned red, “Helm, slow the ship to warp ten! Kwai, stand by torpedoes.”
“Torpedoes ready Captain.”
A phaser hit the shields making the ship lurch. Ihsss was instant to react. Outside a beam of energy was fired again by the Cybertron.
“We’re hit again.”
“Return fire.” Ihsss replied, “Make sure we don’t miss.”
Torpedoes streaked like fireballs from the launchers and across the void of space as they struck the Cybertron ship. The Cybertron ship lurched, as there was a flash of light and the ship disappeared.
“Is there any damage to the ship, Kwai?” The Captain asked, and the young Humanoid turned from her console to shake her head.
“Maintain course and speed, take us home.”
A few hours later, Ihsss T’Larra sat in her quarters doing her log entry, and as she dictated it, the hum of the ship could be felt in the bulkhead and in the chair where she remained seated. She managed a grin at the feeling. Down in engineering, Voloxa paced the chamber quietly, scanning the engineering deck with his compound eyes, a look of concern on his bug-like features.
“Captain’s Log, Star date 4423.6
Encountered enemy ship at sector three eighty four, by four, eighty, one. Ship was a Cybertron Interceptor class starship which was destroyed outside the skirt of the colonies of Andromeda. Ship was destroyed, and headquarters advised of encounter. I have a feeling this encounter won’t be the last but, it looks like this war is going to be a long one with many losses on both sides. It is going to be and take a lot of fire power to push the Cybertron back to…”
She never got the last word, as the whistle on the intercom sounded, making her turn. Ihsss casually hit the console and the intercom switch.
“Bridge to Captain,” The voice said, and the reptilian Captain recognized it as Felonious who sat at his console on the bridge. She reached over to click the switch on her console.
“We are entering Sol.” The feline science officer’s accented voice said, “Sector 100, I thought you would want to know.”
“I am on my way, Felonious.” Ihsss replied as she rose from the station in her quarters after closing the channel. She practically ran to a turbo-lift and into one, hurrying to the bridge and a few minutes later, Ihsss hurried onto the bridge from the turbo-lift, toward the empty command chair where she sat down with a groan.
“Status report?” Ihsss asked, and she glanced at Felonious who sat at his console, his head in the sensor module viewer. The scanners hummed as they were used.
“On Course, Captain.” Veloxa said, half turning, seated at the helm console, “Maintaining warp 10.”
“Slow to warp one, for Sol only.” Ihsss ordered, and they could hear a hum and a low vibrating sound as the ship slowed down.
“Warp one, Captain.” Veloxa said, as Ihsss felt the inertia dampeners hum into life, as the ship slowed down even further.
“Very well,” Ihsss said with a nod, “Turn to course two, two, five… uhm… mark four, maintain course to Earth.”
Outside the ship, in the stars of space, the Star Cruiser banked, turning on its new course.
“ETA to Earth?” Ihsss asked, glancing at the helm.
“Approximately an hour and thirty-two minutes, present speed.” Veloxa replied, touching the console rapidly, “All engines and systems are functional.”
Ihsss watched the screen intensely as they approached the outer planet, named Pluto, which quickly moved passed them, Neptune, Uranus to follow as their continued their way to Earth.
Here she turned to Felonious Purrtz, the feline science officer.
“Give me a pre-approach scan, please.”
Felonious complied quickly, his hands dancing across the console in front of him.
“I was already scanning, Captain. There is nothing in range.” He replied, “Just the usual traffic for Sol, mostly mining and cargo vessels from Titan at Saturn.”
“Sorry, just a little jittery.” Ihsss murmured and the science officer understood, nodding a couple of times.
“Give those freighters a wide berth helm.” She ordered and the ship banked slightly, steering clear of the path they were taking toward two large freighters moving slowly through space. The captain felt something was wrong, and here she shook her head. She felt something was about to happen in which she could not control, jittery from the attack they had sustained in deep space, and feeling they were not alone, not even in their home solar system away from the Cybertron.
“There is something a miss.” She thought, and sitting in her chair, she placed her large reptilian head on her hand, deep in thought, as the ship continued on its course. Ihsss was unsure what she felt, and a lot of questions were on her mind, even way back when they were repairing the ship at the Tender. She was wondering if this was a full blown war that was coming to Earth, and how the EDC would take this attack. So far they had not responded to their inquiries about the attack and request for more information about why they had been dispatched home so quickly. Ihsss was concerned and she had every right to be. It would affect her crew in a war they probably didn’t want.
Meanwhile at Headquarters, San Francisco, Seth Aguilera stood on the transporter pad on Earth and as he shimmered out of existence, he appeared a moment later on the transporter pad of the Orbital Space Dock that orbits Earth. Standing on the platform his eyes slowly moved to examine the large chamber that made up the transporter room. Here he snapped to attention, saluting the Earth Federation flag that sat in the corner, firmly attached to a pole and placed into a metal stand. He then turned, saluting and held it until a harried young ensign, who had walked up to meet him. Seth remembered his training well, reciting the military general orders in his head, and keeping himself professional. The young officer returned the salute.
“Captain Aguilera, here for Zero G training with Alpha team.” He said smartly.
“Yes sir, welcome, sir. Your team is assembled on deck four, briefing room three.” The young officer replied. The Captain smiled at the thought, as he stepped off the platform to the console where he placed his hand on the scanner there, reaffirming his identification in the EDC.
He grimaced at the thought, it had not been long since he had been reactivated into the new military, and no doubt it was still hard to get used to things. Seth paused a moment, pulling the bottom of his uniform tunic, and it straightened rigidly. It was a familiar motion, one he had learned from a certain TV show of the past called Star Trek, the Next Generation and from a fictional character from that show named Jean Luc Picard. He glanced sheepishly at the chamber, amazed how trek-ish this century, amazed that technology had come this far, so fast. He suddenly became aware that his presence seemed to complicate the life of the young Ensign who had greeted him. He turned his head, acknowledging the officer.
“Do you need someone to escort you, sir?” He asked, and Seth frowned shaking his head.
“Negative, carry on.” Seth replied firmly toward the nearby door. He paused as it opened before him and he walked down the corridor to the nearest lift that would take him to the fourth level of this station. He was grumbling, even though he was not from this century, he had been cleared and sufficiently trained to catch up in this new world in which he found himself a part of. Yet he felt out of place all of a sudden. As he walked along the corridor, his eyes met the many officers and enlisted alike who like him carried out their daily duties. He returned their salutes, ignoring the murmuring of corridor as he passed them. No doubt there were eddies of rumors floating about this station, and no doubt his presence would make many more. He was well known as the seven that had survived incredible odds, their story already well known within the Federation.
He rounded the corner, walking passed one of the many windows that overlooked the interior of the docking bay, at the massive ships that line the docking port of all sizes and shapes. Here he paused, and took in the strangely ‘Trek-ish’ sight before him. He let out startled gasp. It is an open chamber that made up most of the space dock and in it many sized craft are docked in the massive interior of the bay. Seth stared at the Dreadnoughts, Destroyers, Frigates and other ships that were docked here. He managed a smile.
“Wow, now we’re talking.” He muttered, and moving on he walked a few more steps down the corridor and turning he came to the hatch for the briefing room. As he stepped through it, he noted the room is medium sized, and it is near a bay window overlooking the Space Dock’s Bay that his team stood around waiting for him to arrive. He stared silently at his team, four guys and surprisingly three women of mixed races commonly found in the Federation. The ones who were seated came to attention fast when they saw Seth enter the room.
“Attention on deck!”
“As you were,” Seth managed to mumble, walking swiftly toward them.
“Well, well… if it isn’t CAPTAIN Aguilera… Ready for a ride, skipper?” A voice asked and he turned, to see Manual not far away. He looked different, despite the shaved marine hair cut and the gold bar on his collar. Seth was immediately glad to see him, having found himself a bit on edge having to work with strangers. He was glad to see his teammate from stasis who had been assigned with him to these raids that would no doubt take them many places in deep space.
He moved and shook the Lieutenant’s hand warmly, “Yea, it’s going to be quite a ride.” Seth managed to reply, “Congratulations on your bar Lieutenant Perry. Damn I’m glad at least I have someone I know for this mission.” The Lieutenant managed a nod and laughed.
“Thanks! I’m glad to see you too, Captain.” Manual replied, motioning to the others, “This is our team we’ll be leading.”
Seth met the many young faces, and a few veterans of other campaigns who stood at –ease in the briefing room.
“Is this everyone in the crew assigned to the mission? I only count eight of us for the whole team?” Seth asked, and he raised his eyebrows in surprise, “I was expecting a hell of a lot more for this mission.”
“Yea, it’s everyone, sir. I know, sir, it’s not like the old days.” Manual replied as he handed Seth a sheet of paper, “These are the ones who…” Here he cleared his throat, “…volunteered, Skip.”
The young Captain scanned the sheet quickly, sighing and muttering ‘Great.’ under his breath.
Lance Corporeal Randolph Wilson – Gunner
Private Thomas Jones – Heavy Machine Gunner.
Corporal Arial Flatt – Corpsman/Medic
Gunnery Sergeant Steven Sanders – Technician
Corporal Janine Rand – Heavy Machine Gunner
Staff Sergeant -- April Murray – Grenadier
Seth grimaced and handed it back to him.
“I am Captain Aguilera. I am your Commanding officer for this mission.” Seth said formally, “Our objective is to attack the Cybertron wherever they are, and retake the planets they have conquered. I expect nothing less than excellence, to be incorporated as a part of this team and a level or professionalism and teamwork among this team with no friction. End of story.”
Seth glanced at the team who were frowning, and others stood silently with their arms crossed.
“We have a lot of planets and targets that we will be hitting in the next month, according to command, and our orders are to ship out on our first mission, at sixteen hundred hours, West Coast, US Earth time in three days from now.”
The others glanced at each other in silence.
“Alright, what’s the gig, sir?” Corporal Wilson asked, with sudden interest.
“Our first hit will be planet one, in the Denali Cluster, sector three, five by two five.” He said, stepping back and pointing to the screen. “It is a high production planet of Rilian. The Cybertron are using the planet and its population of humanoids as slaves to mine the mineral for their shield generators.”
“It has one planet similar to Earth, a Class M with a Nitrogen-Oxygen atmosphere, and it is the humanoid Denajians, who occupy the planet. They are a peaceful culture with a fairly high technology, and crude interplanetary travel. It is one of the many worlds in this cluster that the Cybertron cowardly conquered because they gave no resistance,” Seth explained, “We are facing three garrisons, as it is a key planet for the Empire in this sector. But command seems to think if we hit it now, instead of later it will break their foothold on the system and the planet.”
There was a gasp and murmur among the gathered crew who were seated at the briefing table, and others behind against the wall. Gunnery Sergeant Sanders raised his hand. A low murmur from his team echoed the briefing room. Seth tapped his knuckle on the table-top for attention and the room quickly fell silent.
“Yes, Gunny?” Manual replied, and the young sergeant stood.
“Let me get this straight, three garrisons, Sir?” He asked, “Is this a suicide mission or what sir? What you are asking with a team this size, against a force that large, is suicide.”
“How do you mean?” Seth asked, and the Gunny continued to stand there.
“What I mean, sir is by the time we get there, and drop on the planet, we’re walking into a serious force that will slaughter us before we can complete it.” He replied, “Who set up this mission, sir? It sounds like a lemon.”
“The mission comes from the Intelligence Staff at Headquarters and approved by the council.” Seth replied, “But I see your point, we’re going in covertly, hitting the station, their reactor, and the mine processing, then we’re retreating. We won’t be attacking any of the garrisons stationed on the planet and will be dropped there covertly by Star Cruiser that has a cloaking device.”
“Command figures that by the time they know we were there, it will be too late. The explosive power should eliminate the garrison and any ship there.” Seth said, as he passed out print outs of the technical data to each member of the crew. Each member scanned the sheets and examined the copy of maps that was with them.
“With the data you are suggesting and equipment you requested, you have a lot more firepower than needed.” Gunnery Sergeant Sanders pointed out, “Have you been updated on the weapons of this century, sir? It seems you are asking for a lot of indigenous personnel to be eliminated with the Cybertron. The blast will wipe out the garrison and half the planet if the numbers are right.”
“The numbers are right, Sergeant and the Captain is aware of the casualties that will be brought about for the indigenous personnel on the planet. He and I were briefed personally by the General Command Staff and Intelligence Staff on this mission.” Manual replied sharply, “It is acceptable losses, according to how command sees it. The mission is on and we have our orders that we have to carry out.”
“But, sir…” He said, and Manual gave him a look, making him fall silent.
“Look, I am not too crazy for this mission, or the losses that are to be inflicted on the planet population.” Captain Aguilera said, “Your concerns are not falling on deaf ears, I already brought this to command’s attention, and they are saying acceptable it is acceptable losses. So if Command thinks it has to be done, and can be done successfully in a raid, we have to follow through and carry them out. Let’s just try it, maybe we won’t have to do what they plan and find a better solution as we do the mission. It will be better now than having more people lost on the ships assigned to take the planet and system.”
“I’d rather kill the enemy, but not men, women and children, sir.” The Gunnery Sergeant said, “I think I speak for the rest of the team on this point.”
“Your concerns are duly noted. We do have a job to do, and the mission was deemed strictly volunteer.” Seth said, “Zero-G training is at sixteen hundred followed by a weapons check afterward. Holodeck three… Dismissed--”
The team stood respectfully around the table as Seth stood and the young Captain nodded, motioning to Manual. The young Lieutenant sidled over to his side. Seth waited till the team cleared before he whispered to his friend from his team of stasis so long ago.
“Keep an eye on the team, and in line during training, I want these hits to go off without a problem.” Seth told him.
“You suspect a problem?”
“Possibly.” The Captain replied, “Command is eager for these hits to be completed before the Cybertron have a chance to fortify their positions, and we do not need any problems with members of the team who won’t carry out orders.”
“I hear that.” Manual replied, “I will keep an eye out.”
“Thanks man.” Seth replied, clapping the Lieutenant on the shoulder as he exited out the door, heading to the team where they gathered for duty. Manual walked down the corridor of the station toward the changing rooms for the Holodeck and as he approached the door he paused at the hatch. Taking in a deep breath, he turned to step toward the hatch that obediently opened for him and he stepped in. He had a job to do.
Back in space, the Star Cruiser Class Starship, the U.S.S. Magellanic Clouds approached Earth at impulse speeds. On the bridge, the Captain sat in the command chair, commanding the ship on its trip back to Earth. For this journey, Lieutenant Sibrina Rodriguez sat in a chair adjacent to the Science Station in which she assisted Felonious in analysis duty.
Seated at the Helm, Veloxa sat at his console, as his experienced claw-like appendages piloted the ship on course, while his mate, Thrac Antilliac sat at the Navigation Console. At the Communications Console, Hi’Mthsss T’Larra, the Captain’s daughter sat at her station.
“Hi’Mthsss, signal the space dock control, we’re ready to start docking procedures” Grinning eleated, Hi turned to click the console.
“Space dock control this is the Magellanic Clouds, ready to start docking procedure.” A voice crackled over the intercom.
“Roger Magellanic Clouds.” Ihsss turned to Veloxa and Sibrina who sat at the Helm and Navigation console.
“Activate automation.” Ordered the captain and the helmsman, a large insectoid, his claw-like hands clicked the switches. Above them, the lights flashed.
“Space dock, you have control.” Ihsss said.
“Affirmative Magellanic Clouds, sit back and enjoy the ride, and welcome home.” Captain T’Larra grinned again.
“Magellanic Clouds confirms with thanks.” Ihsss smiled when she remembered something in Earth Literature that echoed this very situation a long time ago; a science fiction TV show she saw on Earth TV. Here the young reptilian woman shook her head.
“Naaah.” She thought, grinning and managing a chuckle. Outside the small ship entered the large space dock doors, the ship hardly noticeable as it entered. Ihsss of course hated automated entry into space dock. Veloxa was the best damn helmsman and Thyrac the best damn Navigator the Clouds and now the Earth Federation had.
“They could easily pilot it in.” She managed to think and grinned. To the young captain the automation was nothing more than a pain in the ass than actually doing any good. Still she used it anyway, because it was regulations.
Slowly the ship entered and behind hem the huge space-dock doors closed and inside many other types of ship lines the docks of the port. In one section, many decommissioned ships lined a tenth of the bay itself and the others are active duty Starships that make up the fleet.
“Docking bay ten,” Ihsss managed to mutter and turned her head to Hi’Mthsss her daughter who sat at her console. In the lounge, amidst many people who sat here, they all stood as they heard the announcement. ”Magellanic Clouds, now arriving docking bay 10...” They stood, as if in homage to the battered Star Cruiser, unable to believe they were seeing the clear signs of heavy battle. On the bridge, the crew busily worked.
“Veloxa, activate all moorings.” Ordered the captain and turning the Insect-like helmsman nodded.
“Aye captain.” The Insectoid Helmsman replied in an accented voice.
“Gantry is activated, as is the dock walkway.” Sibrina reported.
Outside the ship again, as it hovered in the bay assigned for its arrival, a large gantry moved from the sleek white side of the Space dock and level to the port side missile launchers that the gantry connected with the hatch there.
“Gantry in place and in sealed lock position.” Veloxa reported and hit the console, grinning.
“Inform all hands that repairs will be starting work at sixteen hundred. All off-duty personnel can start leave and duty sections must be off-line when repair crews come aboard.”
Hi’Mthsss turned from the console. “Captain, subspace message, private and scrambled arriving for you. Admiral Blitz.” She said. Ihsss rose from her chair quickly, and headed to a nearby hatchway.
“I’ll take it in my ready room.” She said, and stepped through the hatchway where a small office stood. She sat down at the desk and clicked the console.
“Alright Hi… pipe it through.” She ordered and after a moment the face of Admiral Blitz appeared on the monitor.
“Captain T’Larra.” He said, nodding to her.
“Greeting Admiral.” She said, returning the nodded greeting.
“I got word of your report, and you and your first officer must come to Headquarters at once. We have a lot to discuss, on the battle that took place, numbers and ship type.” He said.
“Please come to my office at Headquarters at fifteen hundred hours.” Ordered the Admiral, “as for your crew, I am offering them extended shore leave. We have an important job lined up for you and your gallant crew.” Ihsss smiled.
“Aye Admiral, I’ll do that.” She said.
“See you then.” He replied and with a blink the terminal view screen went dark.
“Attention all hands, shore leave is extended by order of Admiral Blitz.” Ihsss said quickly into the intercom, “All off duty personnel may disembark and shut down procedures will commence for all duty personnel.” A cheer went up outside the door and toothily, the reptilian woman grinned. “Have a good shore-leave.”
“Felonious Purrtz please report to my ready room.” She clicked the intercom channel closed. A moment later, Felonious stepped through the doors into her ready room and Ihsss’ regarded him in silence. She motioned him through the doorway
“We have to go to headquarters.” She told him and he stared at her.
“By fifteen hundred,” Ihsss told him, “It seems that Headquarters wants to put and keep a lid on this.”
“Great. What the hell Ihsss, we went through hell out there, and they’re gonna keep a lid on this.” He muttered, “They must have a reason right?”
“That’s in our debriefing.” Ihsss countered, “Better wear dress uniform, we might have to go before the Federation council, and explain this encounter to them.”
“You bet. We had better.” Felonious replied, “I don’t like cloak and dagger business.”
“You got that right, Felonious, neither do I.” Ihsss replied, “We will be leaving within the hour, however. We have an appointment at fifteen hundred hours.”
“Right.” The Feline First Officer replied, and he crossed his legs, “Do you know what this is about though Ihsss?”
“Blitz was not specific. I assuming it is debrief for the encounter with the Cybertron.” The Reptilian Captain replied, “But I suspect it could mean a prelude to war and our being assigned to a task force pretty soon to see action.” Felonious had a grimace on his face, and he shook his head.
Ihsss checked the clock on her terminal. ’14:45’ it said and she motioned to it.
“It’s almost time Fel.” She whispered, “Have Voloxa monitor repairs while we are away and the skeleton crew on board, as he will be in operational charge.”
“Aye, I will let him know.” Felonious replied, and he nodded his furry head sharply. He stood up and he walked toward the hatchway to the bridge, and Ihsss watched him go as the hatched closed behind him. She had a worried expression on her face and she was a tad uneasy about this meeting with the Admiral at headquarters.
“We will know in a few minutes, what is what.” Ihsss muttered and turned to her console to begin typing out a quick message before she departed.
On Earth, in Headquarters: Lieutenant Montgomery and Lieutenant Watson stood at the window of their room in the Hospital. As they peered out at the San Francisco Bay, they wait for another day for their medical and did not know of the battle that is to come for Earth. They are still recovering from stasis, despite the long period they spent in cryogenic storage. Both still wait any day for release from medical, debrief from stasis and welcome into the new military they now find themselves.
“Damn, this is going to be hell.” Emily grumbled, staring out at the bay window at the spectacular view and at the air trams that streaked across the sky.
“What’s wrong Emily?” Denise asked, glancing at her roommate who stood beside her.
“I don’t know, I am just getting cabin fever, I guess.” Emily replied, and she managed a sigh.
“You shouldn’t be like that Em, you’ll be getting out of here soon.” A voice said and Emily and Denise both turned with a gasp. Lieutenant Commander Angie Stethem stood in the doorway and they glanced at each other before bolting toward her. They ran toward her and embraced the young woman who stood in the unfamiliar light blue, dark blue trimmed uniform. She had a gold braid attached to the uniform at the left shoulder of it, marking her as an admiral’s aide.
“Holy shit…! Angie?” Denise exclaimed, “How can you be here?”
“I don’t believe it!” Emily replied sharply as she too stared at a friend from long ago from a place long and far away.
“I am glad to see you two.” Angie replied, smiling, turning as Amy and Melinda entered, clad in the unfamiliar black and green uniform of the Marines and the gray and green uniform of the EDC Army. They smiled seeing Angie standing in the room.
“I was in another stasis group.” She replied solemnly, “We were put in a year before your group was, and awakened a year before yours. By a strange fate of luck and it’s going to be Stethem-Miller.”
“Wow, I didn’t know there was another group.” Emily stated sharply, and Angie nodded.
“Yes, for the same thing as your team. Our group was listed as missing as an explosion in the chamber caused a cave in and killed everyone inside of it.” Angie said, “That’s why your team was created… but anyway…”
“So you are married?” Denise asked, smiling broadly.
“Yes, to me.” Another voice replied and they looked over at a Commander who stood in the door. They stared at the unfamiliar face, and body of the young man who stood there. He has a medium height and build, brown hair and one blue eye on the scarred face. A black patch covers the left eye. His face is rugged looking, and he wears a heavy beard. He wears the same unfamiliar uniform of the space fleet of the Earth Defense Command and on it he also has the ship insignia of the U.S.S. Ridgeback, a Star Cruiser Class Starship, where he has been serving on board as the First Officer for the last year while Angie had been serving at Earth Headquarters.
“Who are you?” Denise and Emily asked together, and he managed a smile finally recognizing their familiar faces from long ago in a different place. He and Angie had been together in Bellbrook High School a long time ago. The Commander knew a few of them in the second group from Bellbrook and also Wilcox who had been in the group.
“I am her husband.” He replied solemnly, “Commander Miller, Nathaniel Miller, First Officer of the U.S.S. Ridgeback, EDCR-312. It is nice to make your acquaintance again, Miss Montgomery and yours too, Miss Watson.”
Emily and Denise stared at the youthful officer, as he embraced Angie warmly, who smiled as he kissed her. Angie turned her head at the perplexed looks of her old friends from another time and place. They gasped loudly. Neither of them had told the Commander who they were.
“How on earth do you know who we are, Commander?” Denise demanded, but stopped, her mind a whirl of thought as she thought of his introduction. She at first had not recognized the name, but thinking on it further, something about him was so familiar from long ago. Emily stared at the youthful, one-eyed Commander who stood before them. She felt the same way about officer too. Something about him seemed familiar to her too. The Commander grinned, despite the heavily bearded face.
“I guess we are old friends.” He told them, “Bellbrook comes to mind, in like nineteen eighty-eight. I was there for three years after all.”
The duo thought about it, and they gasped. Denise was shaking her head.
“No, it can’t be…” Emily gasped, “Nathaniel Miller?”
“Nah.” Denise exclaimed quietly, “It can’t be. He can’t be here.”
Emily stared at the young man and after a moment she shook her head, and lunged to embrace the Commander warmly. She laid a passionate kiss on his lips. The Commander inhaled sharply as he struggled, and he took a step back from her.
“Careful Emily, I’m married.” He whispered and she nodded.
Angie looked on, smiling as Emily stepped back. She peered into his eyes. Angie had let the embrace and kiss pass, understanding that it was just the kiss off old friends, reunited after a long time, and it didn’t mean anything. She knew her husband wouldn’t go any further.
“I know… It is you, however. ” She said warmly, “I don’t believe it, but you are actually here.”
“Bet your life, I am!” He chortled as he returned her embrace. Denise stepped forward and she clapped him on the shoulder as their voices echoed around the room.
“So, Commander, what brings you to Headquarters?” Angie asked, “I thought you were at space dock with your ship, making repairs.”
Denise and Emily glanced at each other as he turned to his wife.
“I was. I just had to complete a final briefing here at the EDC HQ for a mission we are undertaking in three days.” He told her, and he glanced at Emily and Denise.
“Seth and his team are shipping out, and my ship is going to do the drop.” He said and Emily gasped. “Seth was an old buddy back in my old neighborhood back in the nineties too, so you don’t have to worry. I’ll take good care of him.”
Emily nodded, “If you do, you have my thanks. He’s my fiancé to be too.”
Nathaniel and the others turned and they all smiled.
“Count on it.” He replied, and he embraced his wife, while turning. “Meanwhile, welcome to the twenty-third century.”
Denise and Emily smiled, bowing and he motioned to them to the beds as they took a seat and they began talking, catching up on old times after several centuries of being apart as friends. Now they were together by a fluke of science, and by beating the longest odds in the history of the century. They had finally come home.